Daily Archives: July 9, 2014

No Country For Old Men (Or Women)

Now that I have 24 hours of antibiotics in me and a LOT less pain, I can finally turn my attention back to a more pressing need: a way out of this mess I call my life these days.

No, I am not suicidal or depressed. I was for a short time there, but it’s over and I learned from it. But my life IS a mess, and my big issue nowadays is not knowing where I’m supposed to go from here. I feel irrelevant, lost, confused; I search the job ads daily and find little to inspire me or even bother applying for. It’s already been established that nursing is out, and 99% of what else is out there either requires physical abilities I don’t have, experience I don’t have, or a front-office appearance, which I also don’t have.

It’s tough growing older in a culture which still worships youth and beauty. It’s tougher still when you have disabilities, e.g., being overweight and having a mental illness. The bipolar I can conceal up to a point; but there’s no overlooking my size and shape. And there’s no way you can look at me and not see every year I’ve lived etched across my face.

I wonder sometimes why people who aren’t independently wealthy would want to live into their 80s or 90s and beyond. This country is not kind to its elderly, and even less so to its elderly poor. I’m only 55, but that is right in the middle of No-Man’s Land as far as the social safety net goes: too old to be considered for many jobs, and too young for Social Security. I used to read about this phenomenon and think I was immune to it by virtue of the fact that I was a nurse, and nurses were always in demand. What I never foresaw was becoming unable to continue in my chosen occupation, and now I’m stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

Even trying to get a minimum-wage job is fraught with peril. Who do you see at the window of your local Starbucks, handing you your mocha—a frumpy middle-aged grandma, or a perky twenty-something? Who’s checking you in at your dentist’s office—a 300-pound woman in her only “good” outfit, or a slender 35-year-old who could wear a burlap sack and make it look professional? In fact, about the only place that will employ almost anyone is that freak show known as your local Wal-Mart…..and THEY make you work holidays.

It has occurred to me that it might be best to look for a temporary job, something I could do to pay the bills while I keep searching for the Holy Grail. The main disadvantage is I already have a reputation as a job-hopper and it’s becoming tougher to overcome. One employer I interviewed with even mentioned it early in the interview, and I remember how my heart sank as I tried to explain it away. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not hopeless, and I WILL find a job even if it is working at Wally World. It’s the impending loss of my middle-class lifestyle that I’m grieving—the home where my kids did the last of their growing up, the respectability I came to take for granted, the ability to give the family good Christmases and birthdays.

And then I think back to where I was a year ago: working only 8-10 hours a week, AND husband diagnosed with cancer and not expected to live more than a few months. Thank God, he’s still here…..and as long as we’re together, I can get through anything.

 

 


An Unexpected Turn of Events

Today is my son Joshua’s Birthday – again.  It seems like not so long ago I wrote him a letter for his 18th birthday, and I guess, in fact it was merely […]

30 Mental Health Quotes that Inspire Part 8

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Before you quit because the road seems too long, turn around and look how far you’ve come.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

When your self worth goes up, your net worth goes with it. ~Mark Hansen

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character. ~Einstein

Make today count. You’ll never get it back.

When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.

There is only one success; to be able to spend your life in your own way.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

A positive attitude is contagious, but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.

Live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you, no one would believe it.

I have many problems in my life, but my lips don’t know that. They always smile.

Love who you have become because you have fought to get there.

Always remember that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.

Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.

Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expect it to change, the realist adjusts the sails.

They did not know it was impossible so they did it.

Where you start is not as important as where you finish.

Seek to be worth knowing rather than well known.

Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not, it’s not the end.

Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.

Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.

Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.

Decide that you want it more than you’re afraid of it.

Self-care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only give I have-the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.

I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.

It is important to congratulate those who have succeeded. However, it is more important to encourage those who have not.

 


Bitterness and the Struggle Within

It’s been about a year since I left that “hospital”, and I use the term loosely.  I have been struggling with writing this blog for several weeks.  A lot of things have happened in a year’s time that have changed me for the good, and some have not changed me for the better.

I wish I could say it was all sunshine and roses, but it wouldn’t be realistic and it wouldn’t be true.  The other day, I sat down and wrote something, that I hoped would be cathartic and get things straight in my head.  It doesn’t really fit in to any one category on this blog, except to explain part of what lead me to do what I did, and what I have been going through since. I hope you will keep an open mind, this is a bit different for me.
 

 

I laid down on the mattress, and could almost fill the very same spot where my mother once laid, stricken with cancer.  Lung cancer of all things, after she hadn’t smoked in 21 years.  From June of the year before, until the following January, I cared for my ailing mother.  Perhaps I wasn’t the best caregiver, but I put every ounce of energy into it, when no one else but my father would. 

 

I sat in the corner in a chair every single day, ready to spring into action and bring my mother anything she might need at any moment.  Eventually, I began to realize that I had no medical training, and all of the love in the world wasn’t going to be a substitute for that.  She needed to go to the hospital to at least get some fluids.  Little did any of us know that would be the last time my mom ever saw her own room. 

 

I called an ambulance to take her to the hospital, but the closest hospital couldn’t handle any more patients, so we were directed to one farther away.  It was just me and my mom, no one followed, or even seemed that concerned.  Denial is a very destructive thing. 

 

I yelled from the front seat, “I am right here, Mom”. 

 

I got back a meek, “Ok”, and that was one of the last things she ever said.  We got her to the hospital, and a doctor that possesses no bedside manner whatsoever, looked at me, a young woman that was in tears already, “Your mom is a very sick lady” and walked away.  They let me see her one last time before they put that thing down her throat.  The one thing she was most afraid of.  I looked at her, and I was sobbing.  She looked up at me and said, “It’s OK…..it’s OK”.  I never heard my mother speak again after that.  We brought her in on a Thursday and Saturday at 7:00 PM, she was pronounced dead.  Each member of our family stood around her bed, holding on to a small piece of her. 

 

I will never forget that day.  I relive it like it was yesterday all the time.  That was in 2008 and I still cannot come to terms with it.  Not only was it the end of my beloved mother’s life, but it was the end of life as we all knew it to be.  As a family, we always had ups and downs, and when I consider what I have been through since her death, all I can say is that she was a saint. 

 

I had no idea that my siblings could be so cruel, callous, and heartless.  It wasn’t long before the mysterious death of my brother took place, ironically on my birthday.  The details are still up in the air, but let’s just say he was a lifelong addict.  I wasn’t doing a very good job of keeping the family together, as I promised my mom that I would on her death bed.  Now I realize it was just too big of a task for me to take on.  These people are not children that need their hand held through everything. 

They are grown adults with a good upbringing and there’s no reason for them to treat me, or my mom’s memory the way that they do. 

 

Am I still angry?  Yes, of course.  It’s only been a month or so, since I severed ties with almost my entire family.  It wasn’t bad enough that they treated me like dirt, but they went to my father without me present to attempt to, I suppose “stage an intervention” because I was a big meanie.  They insinuated I no longer went to the doctor or took my medications.  I see the doctor every 3 months, and I would literally die from withdrawal without my medication every day.  Oh, and by the way, would it kill you to thank me for taking care of mom for 7 months when none of you could find it in your schedule?

 

It may seem as if I am just writing this to air my dirty laundry.  Believe me, if I wanted to do that, people would not remain nameless, and there would be a lot more detail.  What these people have put me, my husband, and my father through is unforgivable. 

 

I’m sorry, I try not to be this bitter, and I always try to find the silver lining when I blog, and for now it will just have to be that I no longer have to deal with the pain, sadness, hurt, anger, and the expectations I could never live up to as long as I lived.  I am free of harassing text messages and emails, and I have to say, I haven’t felt like I have been able to relax up until now.  Thanks for listening, and please feel free to share your stories in the comments.  I love to get feedback from my readers. 

 

Be well, my friends. 

 

 

 

Bipolar parenting is not for the weak

My kid is channeling satan right out of the gate today. Which is a shame because my mood seemed okay.

Now I am right back to frustrated.

No one but becca has truly seen what I deal with day in and day out with this child. Spook puts on such a good act for others. For me, it’s like she knows every button to push because she wants me upset. I know that sounds like  a persecution complex but it’s really not. The child is a manipulative troll.  Others have witnessed it, too. Others outside my family who have all but canonized her simply for being cute and precocious. I love that girl with all my heart but I am a firm believer in telling it like it is.

She’s pure sociopath. Which is what we all are, especially as children, before social programming takes place. what worries me is, she’s not outgrowing it. in fact, she seems to be digressing. I thought getting her away from my mother would change it all. It hasn’t.

An example of my kid’s lack of empathy. She was told to get out of the kitchen entryway Sunday. I got a call and needed to get to the kitchen and idiot that I am, I assumed she’d heeded the “move” edict. Nooo, she was right there, and instead of moving she stayed put and I tripped and fell on a metal strip on the kitchen floor. My knee was bleeding and bruising and swelled up the size of a golf ball. Instead of “are you okay” or “i’m sorry”, she starts screaming I’M SCARED I’M SCARED. I’m on the floor saying ouch, and she’s worried about herself so she uses the fear excuse as if she is in imminent danger. Then spends the day showing me all her boo boos without regard to mine, which she repeatedly kicked me in and climbed on all day.

This is a pattern. She hurts a cat, we chastise her, and all she cares about is HER feelings, her booboos, her needs. No empathy at all. It’s almost creepy. Because I have met some of the brattiest kids and they could at least mimic empathy and feign apology. My kid doesn’t even bother.

No amount of talking to her does any good. In fact, you can talk to her calmly about how it feels when she gets hurt and how she wants to be told sorry and comforted, but instead of saying “Okay” she will launch into a tirade on some other entire subject. It’s like the lights are on but nobody’s home. Truly. I have a witness now.

The child does not sleep more than 4 hours at a time. She’s up three four five times a night. I get no peace, no true break. She even wants to sleep in my bed. There are times, between her and all the mental battles, that I feel like I am losing my mind. People judge, throw out advice, declare, “My kid would never act that way”. Arrogance. For every kid with blind obedience, there’s a kid like mine, pushing, shoving, rejecting boundaries, defiant at every turn, combative over every word you say, never satisfied with anything.

I am trying to be patient. Trying to use the “she’s so young” justification. But the truth is, I feel defeated and hopeless even if I can’t afford the luxury. Still, I keep getting up every day and making the effort even if sometimes, I grind my teeth to the point my gums bleed.

Parenting with a mental illness is not for the meek or weak.

It’s not merely “oh, all parents go through that.”

Most parents have the benefit of a stable mind and clear mindset. I don’t get that much. So I am forever in self doubt purgatory and my kid feeds on it like vultures on roadkill. I won’t give up on her, or on myself, but I am starting to feel the toll it’s all taking. And I am surrounded by unsupportive people who are convinced it’s all me because this child puts on such a different face for them.

A weaker person might decide this is bad for their weak psyche. Like the one who donated the sperm to make her.

I refuse to be weak.

I just hope I have the strength to stay strong.

Because another depression and all it’s wrong messages just might back my kid up and convince me I am the worst mother ever and make me want to abandon ship.

I want to say I wouldn’t do that.

But if driven to a looney bin, I guess that’s exactly what I’d be doing.

I am hanging by a  thread but I am hanging on for dear life.

I make grown men cry and run away. I will NOT be defeated by a 4 almost 5 year old emotional terrorist.

It’s true, though.

You reap what you sow.

My mini me.


Crumbs of Clarity

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Fractured Dawn (haiku)

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Slow Sinking Deep

I'm awake, I am stupid,
I am weak,
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It All Started At Birth ~ Rehab

It got a little painful writing my life’s story and the events that led me to become a very serious substance abuser.  I was trying to mask the feelings I had after being assaulted by my “boyfriend” at the age of barely 16. I did not know at the time that I had developed PTSD, […]