Almost a Year

I had a dream this morning, half awake and half asleep kind of dream.  I heard my mother call me from her room.  Not her normal morning call but more of a genial kind of invite.  My mom was in her room and my sister S. was asleep in her bed while C was asleep down the hall.  I walked into my Mom’s room and she was sitting on the far side of the bed while S slept.  She was a solid vision, no apparition, do diaphanous edges, but solidly real.  She came around to the end of the bed and I sat with her.  I could feel her arm, literally feel. her. arm.  I held on and hugged it.  I apologized to her about not taking care of her the way I wanted to take care of her.  I wanted to do better by her, but I just physically couldn’t and I couldn’t seem to rise above the fray in my mind which exhausted my body.  (you know depression).  I don’t remember if she accepted it or not, but it didn’t matter.  I was able to say it to her.  S. woke up and saw Mom but couldn’t hear her and C. came into the room and could hear her but not see her.  Mom was happy.  There wasn’t the roiling discontented aura she had in life, I think she was at peace.  We wanted to know if she had seen my brothers J. and D. but she hadn’t.  She didn’t want to face them.  We encouraged her to see them.  We didn’t believe they wouldn’t want to see her.  I think I fell out of the magical level of sleep and into a deeper sleep because my dream degraded into something more surreal than pseudo-reality.

So, it’s been almost a year.  10 December 2017 feels like five years ago and yet it hasn’t even been a full 365 days.  So much has happened this year, considering what I was dealing with there are days I am amazed I get out of bed at all.  There is still a part of me that is a recalcitrant depressive but it has always been there, I’m learning how to work around it and move forward.  The post Rectal-Cranial Inversion talked about how I “accidentally” hit June 6 as my start date for phlebotomy class.  Had I stuck with that date I would have taken my test about the same time I took my test and I probably would have gotten my externship the same time too.  Having the benefit of hindsight I realize the June 6th start date would have been a better time for me to go to school because my head, some days, is still solidly inverted but mostly not now.   I wouldn’t have needed Red Bull to keep me awake through class, but it tweaked my anxiety to the point I couldn’t trust myself.    For the externship I changed my buspar (anti-anxiety) and then dosed down my bupropion, my puppy-upper than can also tweak anxiety.  Once I did that I didn’t panic and my externship people saw a noticeable difference.   I’m planning on dosing down again in the new year to see if I can finally be free of some of these meds.

So, yes, I passed my test; 96/100.  Not bad at all.  I finished my externship with glowing reviews.  I’ve gotten my certification and card from NCCT and I’m going to work with someone today about my licensing.  I feel I am ready to go out on a job interview and nail it.  At least I have the chemicals straight in my head so I don’t blather on like an idiot through the interview.

On the darker side of life I am still dealing with some of the little, annoying aspects of the depression.  Like not taking care of myself.  I have food but I don’t want to cook it, I’d rather go without or take a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter and be done with it.  I’m working as a Lyft driver so I’m having to have to be more social than I like and than still wipes me out.  I need to shower more, but who doesn’t.  To help with pushing out my bandwidth I have started courses that will put me back on the path to getting my bachelors degree.  I’m going for a basic interdisciplinary degree so I can include my history credits from 100 years ago but then I’ll be able to put on my resume I finished university.  I might even go further to get an MFA in writing.  Again, my dreams writing checks my body may not be able to cash.

I’m happy though.  I mean for the first time, in a long time, I’m happy.  I’d be happier with more money, but God has always provided when the world wouldn’t.   I don’t think I’m ever going to mourn for Mom, not the way some people do when they tear up when you mention their mother.  There are still parts that are angry with her but after the dream not so much.  It’s done and I’m moving forward…..one step at a time.

Bad Bad Ju-Ju Go Away…

Come again some other day. (Perhaps I should preface that with NEVER)

It was a long weekend, and far too short at the same time. I eested mostly on Sunday because of what happened on Saturday. What happened on Saturday you ask….

  • Got up and walked to the bank to get cash in case what I had in my checking wouldn’t be enough.
  • Arranged for the tow on the Geico app and waited inside for about 1.5 hours and then went out to stand by my car….in the driveway.
  • Had a nice chat with the neighbor for about 30 minutes until the tow truck driver showed up (Finally!!!)
  • J. hooked my baby up to his truck. He tried to turn it over, you know, just in case. We chatted about birds and UFOs.
  • Got to Priemier Nissan in San Jose.

So far so good, right…..

  • Started to climb down from the cab of the truck, it the first step, I was out too far for the second step and missed the step. Luckily, the Lord was with me and kept me safe, though my arms got one heck of a stretch and my back slammed against the inner door frame. Ouchie!
  • Talked to Doc at Nissan and he was honest with me and said his team probably wouldn’t even get to plug it into the computer so no use waiting in the lounge, so I decided to go home by their shuttle.
  • The shuttle driver wasn’t coming back. I growled to myself. I still have a problem asking people for help….in this case pride literally went before the fall.
  • As I was gathering my stuff to go to the lounge to call around up DRIVES Doc with my car.

Sunday I got a call from him that said on a cursory look at the diagnostics there doesn’t appear to be any problems with her. He wanted to keep her until today so he could make sure.

Now I know I have a part in all this bad ju-ju. I consciencly decided I didn’t want to take ANY of my meds. There wasn’t a coherent reason other than I didn’t think I needed it. And I skipped again on Sunday. I couldn’ sleep last night, almost called in sick to school (in a two week course is untenable) so I got up, med-upped, donned my scrubs and went to school. I’m out now and waiting for the shuttle. I did okay sticking people and I was a good sport and let people stick me. However none of this explains why I’m tearing up. Stress is really kicking my a** right now.

Facing Frailty with Faith

The post I created on November 17, 2015 was about how I finally crossed the line between void and light….though the dimness was about the same but my psyche started leaning more towards the light instead of the dark (and bed).  I started reducing my meds, and then I started putting requirement on me like getting my CNA and HHA so I could get a job with hospice.  The only thing I learned from that course is that being a CNA is not what I want to be.  The information and skill set I learned helped me with Mom, but again, I don’t want to do that again.  Maybe if I were a mother myself the wiping my mom’s nether region wouldn’t have been as traumatizing……I dunno.

I mentioned that I came down on my anti anxiety pills, which is good, and I haven’t gone back up other than as needed for extreme stress/anxiety inducing situations….like the day Mom died.  I think I took 2 Xanax throughout the day instead of just one.  However, I’ve held steady with my other meds for the last 2 years since I wrote that post.  Now I’m unemployed, I have until February 10 before insurance goes poof so I need to get back into the field of being an in home support person.  I just signed up for school, so that’s going to put a strain on me, and I can’t exactly go down on my meds at this point…..

I’m scared.

What if I can’t afford COBRA, or Covered California?

What if no one wants to hire me because of my age/weight/toothlessness? (Mom liked to hammer on that nail all the time and I can still hear her “You’d be so pretty if you just got your tooth fixed” in my head).  We’ll get to this kind of stuff some other time.

I am teaching myself to self-soothe that doesn’t include cookies or candy or shopping.  I remind myself constantly that Heavenly Father didn’t create me to fail.  If I fail it’s because I fail to try.  I have to put my foot out to step and trust the ground will be there.  And though all these sentiments are rather trite they are no less true.  I just don’t know how to quell the fear that I a going to overload my brain and then rush back to the safety of my bed.  Staying in bed is so safe, so peaceful and so not the way to get anything done, but the warmth convinces me not to care……

I guess I sort of went off point, or maybe not.  I’m not, for the lack of a better word, better.  I’m also not back in the void.  I can feel the attraction still, the safety of the known.  I am looking forward to taking the Light-Rail to school, studying in the coffee shop just down the street from the school and how I’m going to study.  (key words, looking forward to)  I have the mobility to go back to the void and look in and choose not to be subsumed, and it can be a big pull some days/hours, or I can walk back out to the shaded sun I’m in now.   Maybe it will break me, maybe I’m not ready but it’s not going to stop me from trying.  Papa always paraphrased Matthew 17:20 to me:

If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed

nothing shall be impossible unto you.

I should be able to muster up the faith of a tiny mustard seed.

New Year, New Dynamic

Mom died.

It’s been about seven weeks since her passing.  Time seems to go buy at different speeds at the same time.  I’ve hit new levels of stooopid I never knew I could.  I’m still not eating right, sleeping well or taking care of myself as I should.  The only thing I’ve been capable of doing is making crochets shawls.  I can count to 8, I can sit and watch it grow and not have to do anything else.  Since December 1, her last time to the hospital, I’ve made seven shawls.  One is my “house hold” shawl because I would rather wrap up than turn up the heat.  I seem to  keep going back to the hook for comfort.  They feel like hugs.  I’m trying to make one for all the women/girls in the family for the boat ride out to skater Mom’s ashes.  Hopefully I will be more back in the world by April.

I  haven’t really cried yet.  Maybe writing this out might break open the flood gates and release the torrent of tears that are just waiting for the opportunity to flow.  I don’t know why it seems so hard to express myself that way.  It could be the general fear of crying; if I start I won’t be able to stop.  Or it could be the medication is still providing the buffer that keeps me from completely dissolving into a puddle.  I’ve gotten the basics down in my journal but not really the emotions.  I wonder if I’m actually going to have any.  I mean, it’s not like this is out of the blue.  I’ve spent the last 12 years taking care of her as she, well not exactly slowly, declined.  The last three to five years have been the hardest, and living with her and taking care of her really tore the wellspring of hope out of me several times.  It did happen really fast, in the hospital on the 1st, back home by the 5th, then dead by the 10th.  There wasn’t  a rally coherent good by on her end due to the hypoxia from the lack of oxygen.

My team of professionals and myself have held the theory/belief that part if not most of my depression and anxiety was due to my environment.  Maybe I’m overmedicated now that the environment has changed or maybe I’m so completely overwhelmed (I had my car broken into after the memorial service and I drove myself to see my sister C. run in the Carlsbad marathon, I lost my job when I lost my mother, going back to school in February, and creditors filing suit).  I’m overwhelmed.  I guess I should stop trying to push myself so hard and try to do things one day, one task, one blog post at a time.

I’ve had some dark days, but in general I still have the light and hope for my future, so I don’t believe I’m back in the void, although, truth be told crawling back into that warm dark place to hide sounds really inviting..  I’ve had more bouts of anxiety than depression, I’m becoming more aware of my desire to take care of myself (like eat, bathe, change clothes, etc.)  In some ways I feel like I’ve been reborn into this world but I’m going to have to fend for myself.  I’ve got to find a job that pays well enough for me to write until the nectar of creativity runs dry.

My nephew gave me the best advise yesterday.  I didn’t want to go home, it felt like a trap so he told me when he feels that way he goes out into the world and tries to find something beautiful.  So, I went home briefly and grabbed Sammy and we took a trip to the coast and watched the boats in the marina and on the way home on Highway 35, I got pictures of a beautiful sunset over the foothills in the valley.  It was beautiful and my anxiety was calmed.

Clipping Time’s Wings

Everyone knows that time flies, and I’m getting to that rounded age to see it zoom by at super-sonic speeds.  I was looking at the calendar of this blog, how many times I wrote in one month, how when I was in crisis there would be a darkened square two to three times a week, and when things were masquerading as ‘normal’ it was lighter.  Then I saw when I birthed this baby my jaw dropped.  May 2011!!  It’s been over five years, and before that it was about five years before with round one.  I’ve been trying to grapple with this for over ten years now.

The goal of this blog was to find my way back into the light but to make sure I didn’t trip the dark fantastic again if at all possible. I know life isn’t going to be all sunshine and flowers, there will be bouts of sunburn and allergies too. Now where once there was blackness and anger there is hope and joy . I am not cured, I don’t know if there is a cure, but this is working for me, the writing thing, I just wish it didn’t need to take so freaking long. I guess I should work on my instant gratification issues too

The new goal is to re-post the enteries and figure out a plan of attack in the event of a fresh hell in the void and to shore up the processes I found helpful. Time willing it shouldn’t take another FIVE YEARS!

Reverse Pride

Reverse pride isn’t humility.  Humility is humility.  Reverse pride is when you are prideful of the fact you aren’t better than anyone else.  We all know this idiom:

Pride goeth before the fall.

I didn’t think that really applied to me because I was on the floor, I would never be ‘worthy’ of the grace of God, to take part of the sacrifice Christ provided for me.  Which is why my thoughts when I do something less than Christ-like I hear, “It doesn’t matter, I’m going to hell anyway”  I wrote it off to self-esteem problems.  I’ve been reading a book called “The Miracle of Forgiveness” and in the beginning it talks about pride.  It talked about how pride is also telling God who/what/where/why anything that isn’t in your responsibility to change or judgement you can pass.  I realized in a moment of clarity I hadn’t just been telling myself I’m bad and unworthy but I’ve been telling Christ I’m bad and unworthy and the grace He secured with his blood isn’t going to save me.  EVERYONE will have a share of His grace, no matter what they’ve been in this life.  Life is eternal, growth is eternal, the Grace of Christ is eternal.  With this knowledge came the realization of there is absolutely nothing I can do about my future, well, other than be the best person I can be.  No matter how messed up I perceive myself to be.  I have no control, and I am not perfect and neither of those are within my grasp or prevue anyway so I’m trying to figure out how I can better utilize the time feeling like an eternal-bug-in-the-radiator kind of person.  I’m moving forward towards my future again, it’s nice.

This begs the question: Why do I feel this way?  I’m not a bad person (in comparison to like Hitler, Dahmer, and the ilk).  They’re going to receive grace.  I’m not ‘useless’ or a ‘waste of clay’.  Where do these thoughts come from?  Is it that sometimes when someone corrects you by calling you stupid, where every other time it just bounces off your psychic armor until one day the chink is displayed and you are mortally wounded?  I’ve called myself stupid most of the time when I do something wrong, from burning dinner and blowing a tire to stubbing my toe on something I’ve left on the floor.  I’m far from stupid.  I still compare myself to others and, yes, that’s wrong, but I’m finding out all the useless information I seem to gather has made me rather intelligent.  Not to be prideful, but my last IQ test (online) I hit in the high 120’s.  If I could do math it might be a little higher but I suck at math.  How can I be so easily fooled and so completely without guile that I would believe everything bad and evil that I am told both inside and outside my head?  The bigger question is, how to I seal up that chink so the darts of negativity aren’t hitting the pink flesh beneath?  I am correcting my thoughts when I become aware of them, I try to keep positive quotes handy on my phone, my notebook, my walls, but how can I paper the inside of my head with them?  Any suggestions?  Please share.

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.

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