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.

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.

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₵.