Daily Archives: October 29, 2013

If I Could Turn Back Time…


I’ve been fighting off another bout of depression.  This time around it’s more situational than chemical.  In a nutshell, I am letting the past drag me down.  Like, more than usual. 
Yesterday would have been the 15th wedding anniversary for my first husband and I.  While he and I have both moved on and married other people, October 28 always causes me to pause in reflection, in regret, in wonder of what might have been.  As I have mentioned so many times before (I know I sound like a broken record by now) I left him and our two young daughters after eight years of marriage.  It was during a manic episode and I did a lot of things I am ashamed of.  I will never get that time with my kids back.  I will never be able to rewind and rewrite the story.  But it’s hard not to think about how different life would have been, for all of us, if I had not had that awful breakdown.  When I think about how much I hurt him, how much I hurt our daughters, it rips me apart inside.  And believe me when I say I think about it, literally, every day.  And then sometimes I get bitter.  After all, he listened to my pleas and got me released from the hospital. He filed for divorce.  He helped me move out.  Maybe he didn’t want to be with me anymore after all.  But I pressured him into all those decisions, so I still take full responsibility for it.  Meanwhile, he was the one who comforted our girls each night as they cried for a Mom that wasn’t coming back.  Oh how much I hate myself for that, and I hate the illness that made me so blind to it at the time.  It’s like something switched off inside me and I didn’t feel love or concern for anyone.  I didn’t listen to my husband, my children, or my parents as they told me I was making a terrible decision to leave.  How could I not see that then???  
I spent a few years wishing to God I could go back in time and do the right thing.  Maybe if I had just stayed in the hospital a little longer, I would have been alright.  Maybe if my husband had not filed for divorce, we would still be together.  I have thought about these things so many times and run it through my head backwards and forwards, always searching for a way to set things straight and be done with it, all to no avail. The damage can never be repaired.  Now I barely see my girls, even though we live down the street from each other.  I am only allowed to see them every other weekend, sometimes more if I get lucky.  I am thankful that they have a financially and emotionally stable life with their dad and stepmom, but I feel like I have been robbed.  And yes, I deserve that. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.   I know I am fortunate in the fact that some people don’t get to see their children at all due to various circumstances, so I don’t take those weekends for granted!  
I am in love with my fiance, and I know we are perfect for each other.  We have an amazing son together.  This throws a tailspin in my previous wish to go back and change my decisions.  If that hadn’t happened, I would have never met Douglas and we would have never had this precious little boy.  So I find myself in an even more complicated place:  missing my daughters, but being grateful for my son.  If I had the magical chance now, to choose one life or the other, how could I possibly choose? So I guess it’s good that I don’t have that option.  

It’s All Good

Sometimes I look back on old posts and think I’m very negative.  Too negative.  Am I really always that miserable?  The answer is no. I am not.  Oh, I get some fucked up days… many of them, actually, but I probably have more good than bad.  At the very least it’s 50/50.

This blog is my outlet when I’m sad, have the blues, am very depressed or extremely manic.  It’s not a conscious thing, it’s just that I find myself having more inspiration when I’m feeling shitty.  I am now starting to realize that’s not fair.  Don’t I owe it to my readers to show that things can, and do get better?  Don’t I owe that to myself?  I think I do, and, I think I should allow my writing to reflect that.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am depressed.  In fact, I’d say I’m always depressed.  As I’ve said many times before, it’s always there and it always feels like it crawling under my skin doing everything it can to make my life miserable, even on my best days.  So I smile, I laugh, I socialize on my best days to help mask the pain.  On my worst days it is nearly impossible to do any of those things.  I don’t shower, I keep the blinds shut and try to stay away from the world.  Those days are excruciatingly painful, but I must accept them, and remember they don’t last.

I am going to try harder to write more when I’m on an upswing from now on.  I think it’s something I need to do for myself and for my readers.

 

Medication

I’m upping my medication again. I’m hoping this helps to calm me down again. Or at least to settle down all the annoyance and depression that is swirling in my mind. So I’m slowly pushing my dosage of bipolar medication upward again. At least my OCD meds are remaining stable on dosage for right now though. That’s something to look forward to. I don’t have to worry at the moment about trying to juggle changing dosages on multiple medications.

The Bed Bug Chronicles Parte The Seconde

…in which we continue our woeful tale of The War of the Bed Bugs.bed-bugs

The Big Shot Professional exterminator made off with my infested camping cot and 200 shekels (approximately 65 US Dollars), leaving me with a completely empty apartment…or was it?  I strongly suspected that in folding up said cot, he had dumped some unwanted guests onto the quarry stone floor.  There were deep gaps between the quarries, which could harbor anything.

So I got out the bleach.  In Israel we don’t have wimpy 1% sodium hypochlorite bleach like we do in America.  We have 5%, which burns through rubber gloves, shreds clothing, and makes your eyes water as soon as you open the bottle.

I dumped enough into a bucket of water to kill anything, or so I thought, and swilled it around the stone floor, letting it fill the cracks between the stones.  Then I turned on the fan and got out of there.

After a severe coughing spell that threatened to activate my stress incontinence, I ambled over to my favorite coffee den in the Shuk to think things over and decide what my best course of action was.  Actually, my choices were few and none.  I couldn’t go back to Ron’s, seeing that he was also infested; and I really couldn’t visit myself on any of my other friends because of the risk of contagion: the little beasts conveniently travel in the seams of your clothes, the soles of your shoes–not to mention your luggage.  Damn, I was stuck.

I hit upon one good idea: the apartment came with a flat tarred roof that extended over three buildings.  I had access to it via an Arab-built wooden ladder that my landlord, a contractor, had doubtless saved from one of his many construction projects.  In Israel, the construction industry is almost exclusively run by Arabs. Instead of scaffolding they often use purpose-built ladders, which are abandoned, in many instances, after they are no longer needed.  They are sturdily built, reminding me of the ladders that the Pueblo Indians use for getting up and down the levels of their dwellings.  Mine was perfect for getting up to the roof.

There are two things that reliably kill bed bugs: dry heat above 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and prolonged freezing temperatures.  So after my coffee I went next door to the variety store and bought a bunch of black plastic bags, the better to cook bugs in.  I went home and loaded my clothes and anything else that could take high heat into these bags and hauled them up to the roof.  Also my luggage and my dog’s doggie travel carrier.  I must have made 25 trips up and down that damn ladder.  Let’s not forget that I was still suffering from the concussion I got from taking one on the chin, and it was becoming apparent that I had “done something” to my right shoulder in the same wreck, so I had to be extra careful on my excursions up and down the ladder.

Did I mention that the ambient temperatures were hovering around 40 Centigrade/104 Fahrenheit?  Well, they were.  Good for killing bedbugs, bad for people on Lithium.  I was feeling it.

Finally everything I owned was either on the roof baking or in the freezer freezing.  I wondered if my external hard drive would survive freezing, but since it certainly would not live through broiling I thought the freezer was the better risk.

As I stood there wheezing in the bleach fumes, it occurred to me that I no longer had a bed.  My Israeli mattress, a 3 inch thick strip of hard foam, was on the roof baking.  The Professional Expert Exterminator had pronounced that to be unnecessary, but I was taking no chances.

Under normal circumstances, I would have simply tossed the mattress on the floor until I could get some semblance of a bedstead; but Jerusalem quarry stones are not only very hard, but uneven and pointy in many places.  Not only that, but the proximity to my bleach job might melt the foam, and kill me via asphyxiation.

Then came one of those “lightbulb moments.”  Indeed, I did have a bedstead!

Three years ago, I was forced by family circumstances to give up my long-term lease on a beautiful house in the same neighborhood.  A very sweet couple moved in, and I had left them my bed; but they had their own, and they were storing mine–for when I returned to Jerusalem for good.

I called them, and within the hour had my old bed back.  Tears of gratitude welled in my eyes–or was it just from the bleach?

Nightfall, and I hauled myself back up the ladder for the last time that day, to fetch my mattress down.  Something nagged at me, paranoia perhaps, that I should run down to Davidka Square and buy myself a brand new mattress wrapped in plastic, but then again I had had the cover off of this one and inspected all the seams for signs of bed bug poo, and eggs, and all of the signs and symptoms of infestation, and found none.  I told myself firmly to have confidence in my own expertise, and plunked the mattress on my good old bedstead.

This wasn’t just any bedstead.  I had bought it in 1989, just after my ex-husband moved out and took every stick of furniture in the apartment with him (he was moving into an unfurnished apartment, you see), including the bed.  So I invested in this wonderfully simple bedstead made of hardwood slats, that came apart and went together in a few minutes’ time, perfect for the young upwardly mobile professional lifestyle.

The first night was blissfully bugless.  I awoke, anxious, and checked myself over for new bites; and finding none, rejoiced.  Even my dog was scratching less.  She is allergic to everything, and, as I found out later, bed bugs feed on anything with blood in it, including warm-blooded animals.   I took her food out of the freezer, and took myself out for Israeli Breakfast to celebrate.  If you haven’t had Israeli Breakfast, you haven’t had breakfast.  I will tell you all about Israeli Breakfast another time.

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that the third morning dawned with a peppering of itchy welts.  I freaked out.

I called Sammy.

Sammy showed up the next morning with a backpack sprayer and a respirator mask.  Now, I thought with satisfaction, we’ll get something done about this.  I stood guard over his van, which he had left in a tow-away zone, while he did his thing.  He came running out of the apartment followed by a noxious white cloud, coughing through his mask.  Jesus, I thought, what the hell did he spray in there?  I didn’t care, as long as it killed the damn bugs.

I was told to abandon the place for three hours, and then wash the floors very well.  VERY well, he said, looking significantly at Noga, my dog.  Sammy raises champion Pekingese, and knows what dogs can handle and what they can’t.

I left the apartment to air out for eight hours instead of three, just for good measure; then I went after the floors with a vengeance.  I washed them VERY well.  But I did NOT wash the bedstead.  I wanted anything lurking in there to be DEAD.  And so it was that as I was inspecting the bed, a very sick bed bug tottered out of one of the joints of the headboard.  It looked like its shell was melting.  Ugh, and GOOD.  Death to you!  Death!  And then another one, fat with my blood, dragged itself out from beneath one of the legs.  Oh. My. God.  Even now the hair stands up on the back of my neck to think of….what it…..had certainly done….

To be continued……