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.

Accentuate the Poisitive

There is the quote by Emerson or someone famous like that:

“Your attitude determines your altitude,”

My attitude, then, has me tunneling through life.  I know I’m tired, I know I’m a little burnt around the edges, but I don’t need to be so negative/nasty about they way I describe taking care of Mom.  For example, people ask how I’m sleeping, and I tell them I’m getting used to hearing Darth Vader on the baby monitor…..again, an attempt at humor with the intent to let people know just how put upon I am.  I wonder if this is something I do for everything?  Do I make sarcastic and caustic jokes about things that I have committed to because I’m regretting the promise and not liking the work load?  I don’t want to be seen as a victim, but when someone asks how I am, ‘fine’ doesn’t quite cover it.  I want to warn them if they are younger than me to move close to a home where you can visit your difficult older parent daily, if you have always had problems being in the same room with him taking in your parent will not magically make you and her get along together.  That is the mistake I made.  You can’t make anyone change, you can only accompany them on their road and support them love them and be present for them.  I need to stop telling people to move as far away from their parents, in an almost too small house or in a house close to an old folks home.  I can refer them to read “Coping with Your Difficult Older Parent“.   It helped in getting that aspect in my life put in it’s place so I could work on the anger, low-self esteem, eating compulsively, anxiety, depression, and everything else that I’ve been dealing with.

Okay, so changing my attitude with Mom should help me…. will help me.  Even if it’s just adopted the words when someone asks how I’m doing, “Fine.  Really, I’m fine”  No snarky comments about Darth Vader, no side remarks about her attitude or her roid rage.  Maybe I can shine up my personal reality by “Eliminate[ing] the Negative”

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 Avoidance Obfuscation Sublimation Observation

Mom was busy yesterday.  She met with her Hospice nurse today, she had a large job of instructing someone how to make her famous potato salad and yet still carved out time to accuse me of being lazy, slovenly and piggish.  Okay, the piggish statement was a joke, though knowing the comment “Don’t eat it all” makes me see red.

I can’t get mad at her, well, I can, I just can’t let it blow out all over her.  She knows she’s pushing my buttons. She even admits to it.  I don’t know why.  I’m not sure I want to know why, it would probably make my head implode.  I know my emotions are in a snarl as well so I think any kind of joke or button pushing will hit me so totally off center that there isn’t really any hope for me not to walk away and keep walking.  I can’t do that, I don’t want to be that person.  I won’t be that person.

I have noticed when I’m angry, really, really angry I stuff it down with inappropriate behavior, like Mega Stuff Golden Oreos (the absolutely most perfect Oreo in the whole universe), I avoid coming home by “researching” things on the internet and sorta stretch the truth as to why I was late “Traffic and red lights all the way,”  Never mind that I left an hour or so later than when I got off.  The last few days I’ve been sublimating my anger by buying stuff for her.  Not horribly expensive, but expensive looking.  Well, expensive looking on a monitor.  Trinkets, baubles and tea.  I signed her up for Tea Sparrow, it’s a monthly tea delivery site out of Canada.  It’s going to be delivered to her without my name on it so she thinks she has a secrete admirer.

Though the goal is to make her feel loved, in truth it’s to help me assuage the guilt for feeling so irritated and angry with her.  I did this in MTC 150 years ago when my companion and I didn’t get a long at all.  I would have Elder Kelsch pick up something from the book store and post it from the outside.  It didn’t change the way she felt about me, but it did make me not liking her….well…hating her….more justifiable to me.  In my mind it took the power I thought she had over me, actually the power I gave her over me, and magically transformed it in my mind as me having power over her.  Power is a lot like control: It’s an illusion.  It was before I realized that the only power I have in this world is the power over myself.  I’m doing it again.  I’m trying to supplant the anger, frustration and emotional distress in my heart and mind by buying her things she really doesn’t need, so I can make her feel better but in reality I want the power over her, in my mind anyway.  Luckily for me, though she hasn’t changed much…… well ever……..but that shouldn’t deter me from doing my best in making her last days loved and as nice as possible.  Even if it means staying up and extra hour or so to do the dishes so she doesn’t think I’m leaving all the work for the morning person K.

But seriously, if I don’t do a button-ectomy  soon she is going to drown in chiffon scarves, packets of tea and crystal watches.

I’m Writing!!

Yes, I know blogging is a form of writing, but the stuff that I pull out of thin air, the writing that makes me feel like I am who I am meant to be, that’s the writing I’m talking about.  True, it’s not Chaucer or even Cartland, but it’s mine, it’s me and it’s wonderful!  I’ve had a really good day.  I mean, really good day emotionally, mentally the whole shebang.  Taking all but one of my social meds first thing in the morning is the best idea I’ve had in what feels like eons, but it’s working.

I know what I said earlier, in my last post that I wasn’t going to drop my class for school, but I talked it over with the one person that knows me better than anyone living, and she was a little shocked and made me think that the sleeping in the car had a few too many moving parts to it and it really wouldn’t be safe.  It turns out the knives I’ve bought are illegal to carry, but another friend of mine told me about some other tools that would be more effective and legal as all get out.  They’re called tactical pens and tactical flashlights. 

But I’m going to save that for another blog.  I just wanted to shout from the top of the Blog….I’M WRITING!!!

Lucy is an IDIOT…….5₵ Seriously?

I don’t really see how Lucy kept her sanity while counseling people for 5₵.  Maybe chasing the ever aloof Schroder is her release from the cares of her patients.  5₵ is not nearly enough, $5,000 an hour doesn’t even intrigue me.  I am as interested I practicing psychiatry or participate in the mental health profession about as much as Charlie Brown liked Peppermint Patty “that way”.  Yet Mom seems to insist on using me as a one-stop-shop kind of therapist where she can drop off her cares and troubles and have me just happily take on the vitreous she spews about me, about my sisters, about how horrible and unsuccessful her whole life has been.  She is hurting in so many ways because the prednisone seemed to have ripped off the rose-colored glasses she used when looking backwards at her life.  With clearer vision she, of course, begins to compare hers to the people we know now in Saratoga California and they are successful and well moneyed.  She feels that she is entitled to having money because she made bad choices that really hurt her, if not physically then emotionally.  I just wanted to grab her at one point and tell her to get over herself and stop dwelling on what you don’t have and on what she does…..but that too, would give her cause to call someone and accuse me of Elder Abuse so she could add to her cadre of horrors.

My portion of her raving comprised how I don’t do my work here, and what I do do isn’t worth my hire.  She wants me to put in at least 45 minutes a day, because most people in the world have a full time job AND come home and fix dinner.  Heaven knows she did.  Though the kindness I show her is nice, it’s not what I am hired to do, and I need to put more of an effort in to make sure we don’t lose the new care giver.  Apparently she wasn’t happy with the three or four things I left in the sink.  So, I did the math.  52 hrs a month works out to be about 1.75 hrs a day.  So, I will do my hours and then be done with it.  There!

Making that decision seemed to end the conversation in my head until I started to peel back my motives and her motives behind everything.  Even before she got on the steroids she was hinting that I wasn’t living up to my end of the agreement.  I was feeling overwhelmed with work, church, family, OA, and now school.  I’m both excited and scared for that.  But it means that she will be seeing less of me, she is scared that she will be left alone, or whatever it is in her brain that makes it hard for her to let go and let me be out in the world.  It’s the “I don’t feel well, can you come home early?” instinct that she doesn’t say outright but the actions are there.  Yes, I’m inferring a lot of this from her body language, and from past behavior I have nothing specific and recent to present.  As much as she wants me to fly and to reach my goals, she doesn’t want me to because she is afraid I’m going to quit her and go to Oregon.  I’m not, I’ve told her I’m not but because of how many times she’s been hurt in the past, because of the abuse and the feeling she isn’t worthy to be loved, because the only tools she has to express herself is anger and venom she doesn’t have the wherewithal to not only be open and honest with me let a lone herself.

So, what does this mean to my future as a phlebotomist.  Am I going to quit and stay home with her….HELL NO.  I need to do this, and I need to do this now.  I need to push myself until I can’t take another step.  If I can’t do it, I’ll add more medication to the pile until I can.  (Yes, I know, drugs aren’t the answer, but they are a tool).  I will be conscious enough to put in my 1.75 hrs a day, which will be even less per day if I have to give some hours to the new one to stay, but I won’t just be her employee, which is the true meaning behind the “There!”.  I was going to work for her and then go to my room and go to bed.  That’s not who I want to be, that’s not who I’m meant to be.  A fully mindful person doesn’t allow her own anger from seeing the thorn in the side of the person that bit her to begin with. 

The one thing I need to never, ever do again, is to be Lucy, my own sanity is worth more than 5₵.

 

Slowly I Turn, Step by Step, Inch by Inch

There are twelve steps and twelve traditions in the OA handbook. I’ve been stymied by the first three.

  • Admit you have a compulsive eating problem

Okay, admit you have a problem. I wouldn’t allow myself to believe it even when I admited aloud that I have a problem, even though we are required to introduce ourselves at the meeting as “Hello, my name is Pamela and I am a compulsive overeater”. Even when they are listing the things that overeaters do and I’m nodding my head in a silent confession, even when more of me oozes off the folding chair than is on the seat, I’m not a compulsive overeater. I’m not, I’m not I’m NOT!

I am.

With the lightening of my psyche, coming out of the depression and controlling the anxiety I see myself more clearly. What used to be hiding in the shadows or under all the other fluff of my life is cluster of barnacles that won’t come off by wishing, hoping or praying. My standard operating procedure in things that I don’t want to do, say housework, is to either shut the door or turn off the lights. If you can’t see it, it’s clean. Tada! I could do just that, deny that I have a problem, let the barnacles continue to infest, grow legion until they ultimately sink me. Careening is the process of beaching a ship at high tide to expose one side of the ship to scrape off the parasites. The sole purpose is to allow the ship to reach its full potential on the water. Yes, I’m well aware of the easy fat jokes I’m not utilizing, but the days of being the jolly fat girl has come to an end. In my own best interest I’ve beached myself and scrape back the shell that hides the real reasons for my compulsive overeating. Believe me, I don’t think I eat this way because I’m physically hungry. I need to do the hard work but thankfully, not alone.
 

  •  Locate your Higher Power (Heavenly Father/God in my case)

I have always had a Higher Power. Even when I wasn’t actively engaged in His good cause. I’ve always known God lives, that He loves me. I’ve been blessed with this innate knowledge that seems to have eluded most of my family. However, knowing it and living that knowledge hasn’t always gone hand-in-hand for me.

 

  • Admit you can’t handle your life anymore, God can. I’ll give it to God to deal with.

I’ve seen His miracles, both large and small, I’ve seen the power in the Priesthood, and felt His healing touch when I was sick and afflicted with things I didn’t want or need any more. Knowing that the path I’m on will only lead to a double sized cemetery plot of I don’t do something about it, I still won’t can’t seem to reach out to Him for help in this. It’s my problem, my weakness, my life and I am trying to live it as close to His book as I can. It’s like I want to be perfect now and then give myself to him as a testament to my beliefs and how I’ve lived them in the world.
Unless perfection weighs in at 300+ lbs, I’m as far away from perfection as the Mariana Trench is for shell-seeking scuba divers. Perfection isn’t for this life, I’m not even sure it’s attainable in the next, but it is the conglomeration of knowledge and our ability to act on that knowledge that perfects us for exaltation. I know this. And yet perfection seems to be my goal in EVERYTHING. This is a trap because I know I’m not perfect yet and I need to be perfect, or at least perfect in all the things I can be perfect in, otherwise I’m sinning, and as a sinner I cannot ask nor expect help from a caring, loving Heavenly Father.

Yea, I caught that little oxymoronic paradox. If He is a loving and caring Father in Heaven, He wouldn’t care that I am perfect or not, only that I’m struggling and suffering. Even if the suffering is self-inflicted. He loves me, and He wants what’s best for me. I lack faith. I have been going through a dirge of hopelessness for what seems like ever, but it twinkles back every now and again, so I know it’s not dead, but those two small words are the key. We are to have faith, even if it’s the size of a mustard seed, and when planted in prepared soil (hope) it will grow to bring shade and provide homes for small helpless animals of the meadow. I lack these things, the hope and the inner-wherewithal to act on that faith. Faith, is a verb, I know it doesn’t sound like it is, but it is. Faith without works is dead. Maybe I’m afraid of the work, maybe I’m afraid of the success, all these things need to be examined but nothing, ever, will get done unless I jump.

I’m not ready to jump.

Last night I did it. I took the first small step, well actually all three. I am a compulsive overeater. God knows this and I have turned my life and sanity over to Him. Yes, I’m still prying fingers off one at a time to relinquish full control over to Him, but slowly I’ve turned and, step by step, inch by inch I will turn my life from compulsive overeater to humble personal achiever.

 

Footnote:

[1] When I hear the word “Careening” I think about careening out of control, which is what I am, but now careening seems to represent “caring” and that is the type of careening I need done.