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,

Surrender Follow Up

I can breath again.  I never understood in the OA book how they wanted me to surrender to a Higher Power, I thought I had given myself to God and Christ years ago, but after the surrender, I realize I really haven’t. I don’t think I fight against Heavenly Father, per se, but I don’t always do things His way (meaning I’m addicted to the hard way) and in that I need to surrender my faith and trust that He will carry me through. I know if I could I would have a higher sense of the peace and comfort I’m feeling now in what I’m doing in my whole life. I can be a stubborn idiot in the face of simplicity..

On the darker side of the depression, I won’t surrender.  Yesterday I was close to tears more than thrice and I have no idea why.  It’s annoying to have emotions.  I know I will eventually need to give in and feel them again, but right now is not a good time.  I’m fairly happy, I’m hopeful and I’m planning for my future.  I have everything I need.  My wants on the other hand……

Entitled to Surrender

I’ve been looking for a definition that encompasses my meaning and feelings for the word entitled.  Microsoft wasn’t helpful, nor were the additional sites it sent me to.  Merriam Webster Dictionary  was accurate but didn’t quite go far enough.  I went to the Urban Dictionary and it was almost spot on but the language used on the site isn’t as refined as I would prefer it for my use here.  So, I’m going to give you my definition:

Entitled

The belief of when you are doing something that benefits the whole you should be compensated, taken care of and/or relieved from your efforts from time to time.

That said, I’ve been fighting with this concept all through the holidays.  It really hit home when my nephew gave his 18 month old nephew an iPad mini.  I’ve wanted one for like ever but I never have the money in hand at the best time to buy so I’ve just made due with my iPhone and my Kindle.  Honestly, this almost brought me to tears.  It shouldn’t but it did.  I feel like I’m completely forgotten by the outskirts of the family.  The Grandkids know what a handful their Grandmother is but as long as it doesn’t impact their schedule or cause them any hardship they deign to visit for an hour or so or call once every eclipse. [Don’t get offended, I’m not done yet.]  After I wiped the tears away about the give before anyone could see them, I started to get angry.  I’m doing all the heavy lifting both emotionally and a good portion of the time physically but the 18 month old is entitled to an iPad to help him learn his ABCs.   (I’ve got an opinion on that but it’s not suitable for this forum….I’ll have it on Psyche-Stew soon.  Then on top of all of this, my sisters have been pulling back and recognizing I need a break but only willing to dole it out in one to four hour increments.  I need a Freaking Vacation….one that doesn’t include Mom, or a massage, or even just a weekend away so I don’t have the constant static of the baby monitor hissing in my ear while I’m trying to sleep.  But mostly the recognize it but are too busy to do anything about it.

So, for kicks and giggles I sat down and figured out just what I feel I’m entitled to.  We have someone during the day to take care of Mom, which is very helpful for me. However, that leaves me with 18 hours a day M-F and 24 hours per day for the weekend when Mom is all mine.  I would want the three of us to rotate the weekends, for the sisters to come three to four times a week to spend time with Mom so she’s not completely glommed onto me all the time, help with cleaning the house and cooking [because, honestly, I suck at both]. send me to a spa on a regular basis and understanding when I reach out to them for help and/or support I don’t get a litany of the things they’re doing and a bright “Hang in there” before I hang up.

To sum it up, I want them to take over preferably all of the work and leave me with the praise and accolades I receive when people see me and I tell them what I do. Not much, really.  😉

NO ONE IS ENTITLED TO THAT.

The only thing I am entitled to is my life and my free agency.  Beyond that, if Iwant to be entitled to something Ihave to find it within myself to provide those accolades and care I crave.

That said…..

I surrender.

Merriam Webster got it right this time defining Surrender as:

Surrender

: to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed

: to give the control or use of (something) to someone else

: to allow something (such as a habit or desire) to influence or control you

I’m not talking about backing away from my commitment to my mother or to my family.  I’m not going to quit anything that I am already doing,  that is not an option unless I plan to surrender who I am entirely.  No, I mean I’m going to stop fighting with reality and waging a spiky-word warfare with unsuspecting siblings.  My life, for now, is to be here for Mom, and I can’t do that fully if I’m allowing unhelpful thoughts discourage me and distract me into thinking that I’m being taken advantage of by the whole family.  I surrender the  illusion of entitlement.  I realize everyone is doing the absolute most they feel they can do and I can’t ask, demand, or whine about them giving more.  I’m the one who volunteered for this, to be the caregiver, and I will continue to give until my service is complete  My choice.  My free agency.  And that is how it is for every persons life.  I know that kind of has an over tone of I’ll-show-them, but I’ll assure you it’s not.  I’m anxious to live my life, to get out and meet the oncoming trials head on and ready to wrestle them to the ground.  For the first time I think in ever I am going to put my needs (writing, meditation, mental health, etc.) before anyone else’s.  I will be my next caregiving opportunity, for that, I believe, I am entitled.

Climbing Down The Walls

So, I am unemployed, or underemployed.  I still have the granny nanny job, but the relaxing job of 8 hours a day five days a week, along with the paycheck, is gone.  Monday I needed two doggy downers to get me off the walls, but it completely wiped me out for Tuesday and then another attempt at the wall yesterday, but I talked myself out of it and avoided the chill pills.  I sat down and made a list of everything I need to do to, both large and small, and having it all in one spot keeps me away from the walls.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I just love ticking things off a to do list gives me a deep down, tickle of a thrill.

The list is a two fold tool.  First, it puts everything that I need to do, everything I need to think about, everything that I need to buy in one place.  I need to put them in line with priorities, and I’ll put that on the list to do.  Second, it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I cross something off, but not enough to celebrate and blow off the rest of my to-dos.  The most important things that I need to do is get the credits for my CEC ‘classes’, study, pass the test and then start looking for a job in medical.  The other is to bolster my meager income and finish the chapter for House of Dragons.*

What is surprising me is that I am still getting up relatively early, I’m getting a good nights sleep, though some nights I stay up as late as 11:00pm (scandalous, I know) but I’m feeling the need to stick to my work schedule.  I don’t want to sleep the day away.  That said, that doesn’t exactly mean that I want to take the world be storm either.  I’m not hiding in TV, but I’m not as productive as I could be…..but then again, it’s only been four days…..I should probably just get to know myself without having some place to go in the morning.

* Soul Searching: House of Dragons is the first installment (hopefully) in my stories of missionaries all over the world.   This is about a cadre of companionships in Vietnam trying to return a lost Vet home and the general struggles that go along with being in the Lords service.

Suck It Up, Buttercup!

I feel like I’m devolving into a puddle of goo.  I’m shaking, implosion seems eminent and sleep doesn’t help.  But then I’m not supposed to be sleeping….I’m supposed to be shopping, cleaning, organizing, learning, writing the ending of my finished novel (House of Dragons) and working on a general editing pass at my other one (Hearts of The Mothers) for NaNoWriMo instead of writing something novel.  All I feel capable of doing is sitting and trying to keep my heart from bounding out of my chest.

Okay, maybe I’m expecting too much from myself the first day of unemployment and I did want to take today easy, but then I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack, problems breathing, heart pounding etc.  So I checked my stress level, which I figured would be low because I am on my blood pressure pills but it read 86% which, in the meters terms, is extreme.  I checked my blood pressure and it was 131/76 with a heart rate of 86.  So I did what any off-cetnerly sane person would do….I took something from my anxiety collection and I’m hoping the weaker compound will do me okay.  I need to get back to putting that in my morning pills.  It’s not like I have to worry about falling asleep at my desk any more, but apparently I need them.

I think also the collapse of my schedule has something to do with it.  I need to start a new schedule and commit to it as if it were a work schedule.  It’s so hard to commit to something that doesn’t have a prod to go with the carrot, or in this case the carrot is the freedom to write not money. I need to get up, do whatever work I need to do around the house and then LEAVE home and follow my plan as outlined.  I realize that I need to put the plan in writing, work on a check off system and just keep moving forward as much as my body/mind/soul will allow me.  Not knuckling under their weight but using it as a counterbalance to propel me forward.  Which honestly sounds all pretty and easy….on the screen….but in the end I just need to suck it up and get it done.

Miracle & Milestones

Miracles abound when you have faith enough to welcome them.

Last Thursday I took a trip up to visit Sammy (the parrot) as my sister spends time with Mom on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings which gave me the freedom to go.  (Sammy didn’t want anything to do with me other than take a chunk of flesh out of my fingers, but that’s another tale of woe.)  I called to check on Mom while I was there, as I’m want to do when I’m not home to make sure she knows that I worry about her and she said she was anxious for me to come home because she needed to talk to me, but she was soooo apologetic I wasn’t sure if I should believe it to be good or not.  The last thing I needed after a long drive back from one valley to the next is to have another “talk” in *that* tone of hate, disgust and disappointment.

I guess I should back track at this point.  The day before, Wednesday, it was written on my calendar that I should put her name in the temple for prayers.  They rotate out the names ever two weeks so I call and put her name back in.  I didn’t want to.  I fought with myself because of the way she still talked to me after we had our fight over Sammy and the lock on my door, which in her mind was the greatest betrayal I could have ever perpetrated against her.  She doesn’t have boundaries, so no one can have boundaries.  I asked her a few days after the bird was moved to my sisters if she would ever like me again, she told me it still remains to be seen.  And from that point on she has tolerated me, sniped at me every chance she got.  I remained happy and chipper and trying me best not to flinch at her tone.  There is some sort of dark hollowness that you feel when your mother treats you like you are the worst person in the whole universe.  Needless to say, I didn’t want to, I didn’t think she should have it because of the way she treated me on a regular basis the anger started to push everything else aside to pour salt in my wounds.  I had to stop, redirect the anger out some sort of internal overflow spigot and rethink my position.  She can treat me how she wants to treat me, I can’t do anything about that other than not let her hurt me but I made the decision not to let her behavior dictate my actions so I put her name, a friends name and my name in the temple.  (who couldn’t use extra prayers)

Okay, back to last Thursday….

She apologized, she was terribly sincere.  She wanted me to know that she loved me, appreciated me and was truly proud of what I have accomplished in my life.  She didn’t relent and let Sammy back in the house but the air purifiers haven’t come in by that time, so hope still spring eternal on that front.  The other portion of this was she realized she can’t keep trying to make me secure a happy end of life for her.  She has to make that choice, and she has to make the efforts to do so.  Now THAT is a miracle and a milestone for her.

My milestone is unemployment….again.  Only this time I have a plan, I have hope and faith and determination to make it worth while.  I also have someone to take care of Mom during the day so I’m not the only one with her.  I’m going back to my post The End Is Nigh…..Or Not.  Mom is afraid of dying alone, without someone who loves her there for her.  She’s having more and more problems in the night sleeping, or rather breathing well enough to stay asleep.  I’m thinking during this time I will do more watching at night, so if she needs me, I’ll be there and then sleep while the other caregiver is there with her.  I do want Mom to have a good end of life, I don’t want her to be alone, that said, I don’t want her to do it during the holiday season.  My father died on Fathers Day, and now I associate both days….actual death date and the holiday….with him.  I can live without two death dates for her as well.

It’s amazing what happens when you walk in faith and hope for the best by letting go and letting God.

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.

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