Slip Sliding Away

In a lot of ways I’m still trying to stop the slip so please bear with me, I’ve tried to write this a few times and it just comes out in disjointed gibberish.  I will try to keep everything as simple as I can without too much fluff, which is when I get generally get lost.

I don’t remember what day last week I slept through my early AM pills.  Because it was late I didn’t take them but I did take the one I should have taken after breakfast.  It had been close to a full week since I was taking all my meds early, morning and evening pills.  I was barely holding on.

Tuesday I finished my CNA course and we had a certification program where we were all presented our papers which is my ticket to take the state test to start a new path.  It wasn’t that big of a deal to me until it was.  I made a point of getting a picture so I could put it in my journal.  I looked horrible.  The crush of the room was bothering me and ramping up my already jarred psyche so when it was over and the eating began I left.  I knew if I started to eat I wouldn’t stop and no one and nothing would be spared.  And there was food waiting for me at home and I could binge to my hearts contempt.  What I forgot to mention is that though I laid out my meds the night before, I didn’t take them…..and you can repeat that all the way to Saturday morning but by then it was too late.

Thanksgiving for my family was on Friday.  I was in a full blown anger hurricane and no one was safe.  I stayed in the corner and pretended I was ‘tired’….well, tired of all of them.  I ate only what I wanted; turkey, potatoes and dressing.  I was kind to the kids, although the youngest was put on my lap and when he felt the disruption in my aura he began to cry and try to get away from me….I really couldn’t blame him.

Saturday I took my pills again but my heart was racing, my breath was shallow, my blood pressure was all over the place and I just wanted to scream – I took a tranquilizer….and tranquil I did become.   My emotions flattened out and I slept for three hours, but my mind still hasn’t returned, it still can’t grasp anything and hold onto it for a long time.  Words slip off the tip of my tongue, ideas float just out of reach and my memory pulls up the wrong information and my mouth can’t stop it from tumbling out.

I’m back on my three doses a day.  I don’t know if I need to continue to slip to get back down to stable ground or if I need to start the climb again to where I was.  I just hope which ever it is it doesn’t take me back to a place I don’t want and can’t be again.   If there is any take away from this whole hellish experience is: DON’T GO OFF YOUR MEDS.  I’m not well, I’m not better, I’m not quitting.

Crossing the Line

Sorry, I’ve been distant, silent even.  Mostly because I did something wonderful and it confused me.  Let me explain…..

I went on vacation with my family, it was a wedding onboard a cruise ship and we were invited to join the happy couple for the honeymoon.  We all had our own rooms of course.  I brought a long two books; one pleasure and one enlightening.  I chose the Enlightening book first.  Before the end of the first day at sea I grabbed my book and went up to the top deck, sunglass/reading glasses in hand and a hat and read.   Within the first ten pages I came across a statement (that I can’t quote because it’s not exactly what I read but what I needed to hear) to the effect of:

There comes a time when introspection becomes indulgent.

It struck me so perfectly at that moment and I realized, every aspect of me said it was time to move on and move forward.  There was nothing more I could do with the deep dives into who, what, and why that makes me who, what, and why I’ve become.  I needed to put myself out there and try to put into place what I have learned, to build on the foundation that I have laid and hopefully not have any dead bodies hidden in the cement.  At many points in life we need to stop and do the self evaluation/inventory/mind-tripping that helps us move to the next level, but I feel like I’m all caught up now….

Crossing that line, the invisible line between the two worlds instigated a miraculous change in my psyche: I’m happy, I’m hope-filled, I have more energy, I am making plans for my future and are anxiously waiting to put that plan into motion.  (Mom is still doing well, so things are still as they were).  Crossing that line also gave me the push I needed to start  whittling down my meds.  I’m off one of my anxiety pills completely, I’ve cut my Lexapro in half, I’m still taking all my puppy uppers (Welbutrin).

I don’t know if I’m ready to go down another 10mg on my Lexapro.  This last jump down brought up the realization that I don’t really have the skills that I thought I had when  I was fully medicated, and emotions are starting to break through the chemical barricades.  I’m getting caught in the angry loops, but I have more success of talking myself out of them before I spin out of control.  I get overwhelmed and stymied easily , but if I just plug away at it, it gets done.  I’ve had to put some exercises into place so I could deal with the mental stuff, one of those is writing every day.  Which brings me back to the confusion….

For the longest time I used this blog as an integral part of my self exploration.  Anything too private was taken care of in my journal, and I’m back to journaling now too, but if continual introspection is self indulgent, it’s not something I should be engaging in if I want to move forward in my life.  And I’ve made some major strides in my life from March to now, but I didn’t know if I should start a new blog post-depression to write all the plans and the executions with both successes and failures or if I should just continue here; or should I do it at all?  I miss it, so I need to keep doing it .  I found that blogging my personal truths out into the world is an act of courage and bravery that makes me feel more courageous and brave in the real world. I think it’s not self indulgent if it isn’t wallowing in the dark but instead sharing the joy and excitement of rediscovering my life now that I’m outside the void.

Any input from my readers would be helpful.  Please,

The Bluffers Rebuff

I miss Sammy.  I miss the way she says ‘Hello’ in the morning, or says “By by” when I leave but mostly I miss knowing there is one living, breathing person* in the house that loves me unconditionally even when she bites me.

Mom and I have plastered over the dings in each others walls, though I didn’t hurl anything heavy, she took asserting my boundaries as a direct hit and then taking Sammy away so she wouldn’t breathe in her feathers as a killing blow.  Covering the wounds works like turning off the lights instead of doing the dishes….if you can’t see it, it never happened.  I was told that I was breaking a dying woman’s heart by taking Sammy to my sisters, but if Mom truly is allergic to her feathers then taking Sammy out of the house was the only recourse.  It’s not like I would allow her to live outside even if she could.  It is still seen as an intentional, malicious action against my mother, which was not my intent, and I tell her I don’t intend on having Sammy stay away forever.  I’ve ordered air filters/purifiers/cleaners for her room and the family room and once she can breathe okay I will bring Sammy home as a test.  Mom on the other hand feels she will never be able to be in the same room with her again.  It is her way of bluffing my bluff, to see who could last the longest without her.  Well, not to be too macabre or put too fine a point on it, I’m the one that can live longer without her.  That’s not why I’m not going to buckle to her will, or maybe it is, I dunno sometimes what is going on in my head.  In a lot of ways I’m still very angry at my mom for the way she treated me, talked to me, acted towards me, and yet knowing that it’s coming from a place of fear and her interpretation of everything as pain she doesn’t know (or want to know) any better.  I can’t change her, I can only change myself so she can no longer hurt me.  But she made me cry this weekend, and honestly that seems to be the worst thing that she could have done.  That was the start of her treating me better, she thinks she broke me.  What happened was I didn’t have all of my social meds for the day and I crumbled a little but she’s taking it as a victory.

To help me overcome my loneliness and the fun in watching her, I bought a wifi camera that will allow me to log into it and I can watch her all day if I wanted to.  I won’t, hopefully.  But when I’m at home and in my room I can put it on my 24″ monitor and it would be like she was in my room with me.  It just can’t get here fast enough!

*Sammy is a feathered person….and yes, I’m one of ‘those’ pet owners.

Once Bitten…..

There is a scripture that talks about a child being able to put his hand in the den of asps and not be harmed.  This of course is Isaiah divining the peaceable kingdom to come.  I know we aren’t living in the time of peace and harmony so why do I still stick my hand out to be bit every time I talk to Mom?  She is convinced that I truly do not earn my keep, at least not the $12.33 an hour I’m supposed to work for her.  I’m working from home today and she’s already planned blood draw and then her social worker is coming over which will more than use up the allotted time I’m supposed to work per day to “earn my money”  but it’s not cleaning house, it’s not doing her laundry, it’s not feeding her birds, it’s not slaving for her.  She wants unconditional love, unconditional devotion, and unconditional willingness to be kicked in the gut when she needs someone to hurt as much as she does so she has the illusion of control and doesn’t feel alone.  Where I want to hurt myself in those situations she wants to hurt other people.

I know that, I’ve know that she’s angry and scared and is having problems adjusting to the inevitable.  I know this then why is it it hurts and tears at me when she says things like “Well, it’s not like you’re earning your money.  I could probably cut your hours back so K can work full time”.  I know she needs and wants to keep me on “the payroll” because she’s afraid that if I didn’t need my medical so desperately, I would quit her and leave her alone to die.  I think that’s what she has always expected her whole life, that she would die alone because her family doesn’t love her, that she is unlovable.  She’s convinced herself her parents and siblings hated her, and if even half of what she has told me is true, it is probably the root cause of all this, her husbands have abused her, cheated on her (or so her expanding memory keeps telling her), her grandkids (except for one) hate her and she doesn’t know why, I’m only here for the money and benefits.  I can’t seem to change her mind on that.

The bright side to all of this is the medications are working.  I know they are because I’m not ranting about her, knowing that if I keep going on and on about how I do my job would send me into an emotional maelstrom and I would dwell on it for hours if not days.  I might still pick it up from time to try to figure out what do but I’m able to divert my thoughts when I realize I’m starting to spin before I’m out of control.  Amazing what happens when you take your pills every day.

The angry person that I am wants to tell her what she can do with her $12.33 and comprehensive benefits and put them somewhere the sun doesn’t shine.  But honestly I couldn’t afford to pay for COBRA and also lose the pittance of a paycheck that I get from my second job.  Heaven knows I’m not able to afford everything else with my first job.  Pushing the anger aside I’ve been able to think clearly enough and realize that going without medical is no longer an option in the US, and ways have been provided to help those of us who can’t make their ends meet.  So, what this means to me is that I don’t have to work for her any more, I can be her daughter, do what I am emotionally and physically able to do for her and take back the control I need for my own sanity.  I know, I know, control is an illusion, no one has control.  Despite that, I need to protect myself as much as possible as she starts to deal with her own end-of-life issues I want to be there with her and I want to help her and prepare her but not at the expense of my own sanity.  If anyone is going to drive me over the crazy cliff it will be me.  I am the mistress of my own fate.

So this gives me a whole new list of things to do:

  1. Contact Covered California for help in figuring out the system (done)
  2. Get the cost of COBRA
  3. Sign up for VHP but not on Medi-Cal.
    • Medi-Cal patients are treated differently than VHP participants.
  4. Assign my hours over to K and then quit my job as Mom’s “caregiver” and then start taking care of her as her daughter.

I doubt she’ll stop trying to hurt me, but at least she might have to think twice because I’m not getting paid to be her personal walking and talking Damnit Doll.

The Best Laid Plans…….

Okay, here’s the sitch with not going to school this semester.

After Mom’s little tirades and big tirades about how I wasn’t earning my keep, how everyone keeps a 40 hour a week job and comes home and cooks dinner, does a load of laundry or two and then cleans and picks up after themselves……then swinging over to I’ll be too scared with you sleeping in a camp site with a knife for protection, they’ll just take it away from you and slice you open.  They enjoy stuff like that…..You don’t care about me.  I’m afraid I’m going to die alone and even with you here, you can’t even be helpful to me for that…..  I’m going to stop now, my head is starting to hurt.  Even with all her blustering I was set on going to school.  I figured if I could work from home on Thursday, my sister coming in the evening to take care of her I could skip the traffic and nap before class and then with chemical aids like 5 hr. energy and soda I should be able to stay awake on the way home and not have to stay at the state park.  Easy peasy.  She wasn’t going to talk me out of going to school because she was scared.  I was kind of looking forward to being that close to the beach to hear it in the morning when I got up.

I talked to my bestest friend in the world and she just simply said “There are too many moving parts to that plan to work well,” and I realized she was right.  I think if she said the exact same thing as what my Mom said I probably would have listened to her.  Yes, that sounds like an immature reaction on my end, but I know my BFF wants what’s best for me whereas my Mom just wants whats best for her, so I don’t trust any of her advise.  I realize that is part of her narcissism, and I know in some ways she can’t control it.  She has to realize something is wrong with herself before she can start changing, and she will never see the error of her ways.  So after more thought and prayer and thinking as to what I could do to move my plans forward if I didn’t attend school.

So here’s the plan:

  1. I pay for my Continuing Education Credits
  2. I study and pass the test
  3. I pay the money and fill out the form
  4. I get my certificate back

With my certificate in hand by January, I will be able to look for a blood letting job and sign up for the online course for medical terminology and put on my resume that I know my education wasn’t very accredited but I am going to an accredited college that will teach me the right stuff, and by being so proactive in my education it will make me look like a good egg.  Everyone wants good eggs, bad eggs smell to high heaven, and even if you get rid of them their odor lingers for days/weeks/months to come.

One thing I found out while researching state parks for California.  They have a special pass for the disabled.  You pay $2.50 for the form processing and then you get 1/2 off your cost for camping and day use of the park.  I looked at there definition of “disability” and depression is one of them.  I realize that as things are getting better for me in that arena I will need to apply for it soon while I’m still in this maelstrom of emotions.  I want to start camping.  Glamping for longer times in the wilderness, but camping for weekends anyway.  I can afford that, it might be all that I will be able to afford for vacations in my life so I might as well embrace it now and get the stuff that I want and need for the wilderness experience.

Playing in Traffic

Just when I think things are going well the urge to go play in traffic and/or the compulsion to play Death-By-Chocolate reasserts it’s self into my consciousness. What’s really frustrating is I’ve made the decision to go down another step on the Lexapro and now because of these ugly specters I’m second guessing my recovery in general and abstract. I’m still going to reduce, of course. I won’t know that I’ll unravel unless I start pulling at the threads holding me together. I can always go back up if I find myself standing in the middle of the street.

Lulu Blue

My car is blue, and I call her Lulu.   Lulu has been having motivational problems.  The engin is fine, the tires are fine, the brakes are fine, the transmission, on the other hand, is whining like a school-boy after getting his family jewels rearranged for the first time.  It seemed like the perfect metaphor to depression for me.  I recognize the engagement of the mind, racing and racing, going around and around in circles, having everything needed for forward motivation.  Sometimes jolting forward and squealing the tires, sometimes just listlessly motoring along praying to get from point D to point E on the journey of life.  Feeling like you’re never going to get to H no matter how long you try.  Don’t even think about J, that’s completely out of the question.  I consulted a professional and he told me t get this stuff called Lucas Slip-Stop.  So, I picked up a bottle and poured it into Lulu’s transmission.  And we got traction again!  There was motivation without whining.  I had my Lulu back.

How is this like me….Seriously, you need me to spell it out.  I feel like my beat up old Chevy in so many ways, and it’s like the physical incarnation of my emotional persona.  I feel every single mile of the more than 200k miles it’s carried me through, and seriously, I’m tired of carrying it around with me. (Not Lulu though, I love Lulu, that car runs on tithing blessings).  Because of the weight of all the baggage, the dirt, the grim, gunk and other deteriorating factors in my life, I am weighed down, unmotivated to move forward.  Enter Lexapro, the pharmaceutical equivalent of Slip-Stop.  It arressted my decline and with increased use and improvement I’m able to engage better with the world.  I can even contemplate navigating my own life, I think for the first time.

Like an idiot I kept fogetting to take my social meds over this week.  And trust me it doesn’t take long for the seratonin to drain out like transmission fuid through a faulty seal.  Stuff happens at work and I’m spinning and upset, frustrated and incapable of focusing.  I was even in enough of a snit to want to quit today.  I thought I progressed enough so when something so predictable happens I shouldn’t be phased by it, it’s an indication that something is low or in need of topping off. The best and most remarkable thing is that even though I’m angry and I keep having to have to take refuge in my “happy place”  I’m still fundamentally, deep-down, hopefully happy. I’m a little worried that I won’t ever be able to get off these meds to be normal…or to what my semblance of normal should be…..but I know that I can and will get through it.

I’ve purhased a few new books:

Darkness Visible

Fixing depression through mindfulness

Jesus Wept

And another one I don’t knw the name of right now.

I recognize that I’m out of the darkness of the void but being firmly planted here on the bleeding edge of it is scary and I’m aware it’s going to take work, preparation and in sme cases a heroic effort not to fall back into depression’s strong, locked, comfortable ever-waiting arms.

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