So this year, I’m not able to go see family or other friends (besides my roommate/friend) for Christmas. Part of me is actually really upset about it, because while I’m not big on the commercialism of the holidays, they tend to bring people together, and … Continue reading Holiday Blues
I feel like I’m about to go back into another mental crisis. I get this way any time I spend any length of time around my mom, and it’s going to be a little longer still before I leave. My anxiety ramps up, she makes me worried about things that I have no business being worried about. My depression rears it’s head, making me more withdrawn, more down and just not wanting to do anything that I should or need to be doing.
Then on top of this, she makes lists of things I’m supposed to do for her. And not basic everyday things, because I’m already doing those, but things like getting every piece of bedding in the entire place washed, clean cupboards out and find somewhere to get rid of things at, make extra food to freeze for when I do finally get to leave- with the promise of if I don’t then she just doesn’t know if or what she’ll actually eat then. This is why I hate the guilt I feel, and the resentment I feel towards her. These are perfectly normal things for an elderly parent to ask of their child…. except for the fact that she’s not that elderly, or that sickly at this point… and it’s just she wants me to go back to taking care of her and everything else for her like I have so many other times.
My mental health will not let me do that. I am finally at a point in my life where I have to put myself and my well-being first. And I’m trying. She just doesn’t help or let me do the things I should be doing as a damn 30something-year-old adult. If I’m in town, she gets upset and hurt if I go spend time with the couple of friends I have around still, or if I go do something by myself that has no benefit for her.
I know me ranting all of this makes me sound like a selfish, petulant child, but it’s not my job to take care of her like this. Yes, she’s my mother. But she abused me mentally, verbally, and physically growing up. She still tries to get into my head and is verbally abusive still, even though I have taken steps to protect myself. I just have to wait this out, then I can go back to just messaging and occasional phone calls with trips here every once in a while instead of so often. I need that peace and serenity back in my life.
At least the next couple of days I get to do some Christmas decorating for the building she lives in. That’s something I like to do and can tune others out while I do it.
As I sit here with my mom, a turkey cooking in the oven, and all the sides ready to go in the oven soon, I’m left to reflect. Reflect on the last few years, reflect on times spent with family and friends and left to reflect on how my attitude and issues have weighed on myself and others. Yes, despite the almost constant state of depression and anxiety I’ve been in recently, there are still things to be thankful for.
I’m thankful for my friends. The very few of them that I do have and can count on. They bring me happiness, keep me grounded and let me know that it’s okay to be down, as long as we pick ourselves back up. There have been some ups and downs with all of them this last year, most significantly my best friend. I’m thankful for his patience, his kindness, and that we’ve both come out of a pretty dark place with a better understanding of each other and our friendship than we’ve had in a while.
My family, while mostly small and not people I put myself around frequently, I know there are some of them I can count on. When my mom got sick a couple of months ago, there were a few who reached out and few who helped. I’m grateful that they could when I could not get away to help.
There are so many other small things that I’m thankful for- rainy days, snow, the comfort of being in a warm house, not starving and mostly the ability to get my health- both mental and physical, back to some semblance of normal. I may never be what I once was, but I can get healthy, take care of the issues I have, and nurture the strength I have inside.
I hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving and start to the holiday season.
I had to drive up to my mom’s today, so I could be with her for a meeting tomorrow and take care of a few things for her. It’s not always good for my mental health to be around her, but I do try to appreciate the time I do get to spend with her as she ages. We’ve always had a rather rocky relationship, not helped by teenage angst, my dad dying when I was 19 and me taking over most of the things she should have been responsible for, and then me resenting that for the last 10+ years. So I know I can’t do everything, and I can’t even be here all the time for her. I feel guilty for that, but I have to live my own life too. I spent way too long letting her dictate what would happen that I have to struggle and fight to do it now.
The drive up here also put a few other things in perspective for me. Because it has been presented to me that I’m not as forthcoming with some of my friends when something is bothering or if there’s something going on. A lot of that is it’s a survival instinct for me. I wasn’t allowed to talk about how I felt or how I was coping with things growing up so I learned to hide it away to deal with it later. That is not a healthy way of dealing with things. So I have to adjust and remember that I can rely on those closest to me when I am lost in my own head. They’ve proven that I can time and time again, I just get set in my ways.
I also got to play a bunch of music I hadn’t listened to in forever. It was refreshing to listen to some of the music I did in high school. And I’ll even say I laughed in the car when three very specific songs that a friend of mine and I have a love/hate relationship with came on one right after the other. The irony of those 3 songs playing back to back right now is just amazing. It reminded me that I’m not as alone as I think I am at times.
So now I sit here in Iowa, taking care of things before leaving again on Tuesday. I know I’ll be back here again, probably sooner rather than later, but that’s ok. I have people I can count on that will support me, no matter my mood, no matter how much I waiver on decisions, and they actually care about me for who I am. And for right now, that’s enough.
I stared at a blank page, for too long. Deciding what to write, if I should even write, am I doing anything productive with this besides getting out my thoughts? Doubt creeps in at the worst moments in our lives and feeds on the emotions to get past our defenses.
I doubt a lot of things right now. I doubt myself- my fragile friendships, potential relationships, working, cooking, doing what’s right by my mom, I honestly fully doubt I should even be existing at this point. I’m a walking contradiction. I do my best to show everyone kindness, compassion, that someone cares. Yet I can’t even give myself those three things, let alone deserve those things from someone else.
Every day I seem to battle the monsters of my mental illnesses. Every day I fear I lose a little more of myself to them. My depression and anxiety eat away at me. Destroying the things I love and people I care about in their wake. Those two things are slowly destroying my ability to care about others- and it frightens me. My compassion and empathy have always been strong points for me. Things that even the worst circumstances haven’t crumbled, yet something I can’t control does it without a look at the damage. The pieces that have to be picked up, aren’t ones that I want to pick up. In them, I just see me at my worst, a selfish coward who can’t be bothered to even smile at anyone.
The self-doubt has crept in and made itself at home in my head. I don’t know how to keep fighting it at this point, but I still have to try. If not for myself, then for others because I know I’m not in this or doing this alone.
All it takes is a spark to light a fire. One small, simple thing can create unimaginable change.
For the 3rd time in 1 month, I’ve packed and moved… It’s probably not my smartest of decisions but I feel it’s the right one. I’m where I feel I am needed the most. I’m sure there are some out there who would disagree, and tell me this was a dumb decision or that they’ll tell me ‘I told you so’ if it blows up. But here’s the thing. I don’t think it will blow up this time. There’s been a lot of heart-to-hearts about why I’m here and what it means that I am even after the things that were said about me to someone else. I’m ultimately here because I am too kind of a person. I give too many chances, but when I’m at the end of my capabilities, I will walk away. I was ready to walk away. The person I’m here helping saw that. Knew that I only can do so much and that they were out to just hurt me because they had been hurt too.
Only time will tell if this was a good or bad move. I’m hoping good. Because it is my best friend. The person who helped put my pieces back together right after my separation and ultimate divorce from my ex-husband. The person is a part of my life because I value all of the good I have seen of them, and all of the good I know they’re capable of. At a time when I was at my lowest, and some medical issues came up, they took care of me. They made sure my bills were paid- not wanting anything but an eventual payback but there was no rigid timeline. This is my time that I can pay them back. Between helping with bills, cooking, making sure that they are doing the things they need to I can start to pay back what I feel they are owed.
Part of the decision to move again was that my mom was doing better without me there than she was with me there. She’s moving around better, is eating more, has more energy and is just overall in better spirits. While she doesn’t fully understand why I’m doing what I’m doing, she supports me in it (which is something she doesn’t do often.) So I plan to go back for her appointments as I can, the ones I can’t I plan to call the offices and check what is going on. So there can’t be any more miscommunication, and so that the important medical information isn’t kept from me.
Will my time in Decatur be permanent? Probably not. I’m sure that I want to move away from here, and find a place that is a good fit for me, my family (what’s here now and what is still in the future) and live that happily ever after we all dream of. I know nothing is that easy, and there will be a lot of work, stress, and tears. But it will be worth it.
We all deserve good things. We just have to be willing to put the work in for them.
Alright, so obviously the number thing is going out the window. I sometimes have a hard enough time keeping track of who I am, where I’m going and what I’m doing that things get a little sideways for me at times. Today, while not a bad day, just leaves me exhausted looking at numbers and the short amount of time I’ve been at things. I love writing, and I love getting my thoughts out but sometimes, it’s impossible for me to fully wrap my head around an idea and see it through. Today is one of those days.
So this may be a little all over the place- because I don’t edit and parse things down. I just write, make sure it looks good and my grammar isn’t totally atrocious and call it good. So you get my off the cuff, thoughts that are plaguing me right now. In no particular order of importance.
First off, I’ve been in Illinois helping a friend. What with or why isn’t my story to tell. It’s not been easy, but it’s been worth it. I drove for 6 hours because my friend needed me. Insane? Maybe. But if nothing else I’m loyal to a damn fault. He and I have had many ups an downs in the time we’ve known one another, but we work past it. I know he’d be there for me if I needed him, just like I am here for him.
I know I’ve struggled a lot in the last couple of days with a few things. My anxiety has been through the roof. Not just about me and my situation, but for my friend. My depression through a curve ball at me that I didn’t see coming. I’m still not completely out of that one, but I can deal with it. It isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with feeling like this, and it won’t be the last either. I’m scared of leaving here tomorrow (Saturday.) I’m scared to leave my friend alone, not because he can’t handle it. I know full well he can. But because I can help now, and carve out time now, but I can’t promise that later. I have a job to find, an apartment to get and things to do in Iowa. But he understands, and I know that he’ll be okay in the long run even if things are tough right now.
On top of those fun issues, I have a long, boring 6-hour drive ahead of me tomorrow to go back. I am dreading it. I hate traveling alone. Music and podcasts only get me so far. I’m hopeful I can find some people to talk on the phone to and spend the day chatting or catching up with others. But if I can’t, it is what it is. When I get back I resume taking care of my mom and the joy that is. I know she’s been fine since I left on Tuesday, but I know I need to get back.
The other big thing right now, racing through my head and thoughts? Relationships. I’m in one. It’s been great so far. I’m a little scared because of the quickness things have moved, but at the same time, it feels right. It feels more right than my marriage ever did. I’ve only told one friend (and they’re happy I’m happy) but I know I can’t tell my mom. She’ll just criticize me and my decisions assuming I haven’t learned anything. Despite all of that, I’m happy. That is something I haven’t felt in a long, long time. I feel cared for. I know he would support me if I needed it. And you know what? It feels good.
Sometimes we just have to let ourselves feel the good things, and let ourselves get recharged so we can keep doing positive things.
I’ll be the first to admit I wear my feelings on my sleeve and run headfirst into situations I have no business being in. I have a very long history of doing that, and I don’t plan to change that part of me. I like helping people, offering them support even if I am on the verge of my own breakdown. I don’t ask for that help in return, because I know most people can’t give me that time I need to feel more like myself. But today, I just don’t have enough spoons for a lot of others. I use the Spoon Theory a little differently than most. A lot of people use it for doing basic everyday things. I use it for interactions because they can wear me out depending on how emotionally driven they are.
A friend feeling suicidal? I’m generally the first one to hop in my car and do what I can to ease their pain, and just listen. Doesn’t matter if it puts me into danger or not. I go in, talk to them, let them talk, yell, vent, scream, whatever it takes. I help get them back into an ok state of mind and push them towards getting the help that they do need and deserve that I just can’t give. I give them the normal suicide prevention hotlines, and there are some great texting options as well. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say there were times I’ve reached out to them for support for myself in some very dark times. It was some great crisis support staff that encouraged me to seek out therapy for own self-destructive behavior.
A different friend just needs someone to listen to their problems, no matter how big or small they are. I lend my ear and we spend time together with me just listening and offering bits of advice as I can. I don’t force my opinion and I don’t just straight out tell them that their problems are insignificant. I value that time with others because it helps give me perspective on some of my own problems and I can work through them with someone else.
Then there’s a third friend I have. We barely speak, just occasional messages on social media with the occasional visit if we are in each other’s vicinity. We live states apart but have been friends since we were kids. It’s all a different type of support, that no one can try to take away and we’ve lost touch at various times but always end up finding one another and picking back up like no time has passed and no distance is there.
In my own struggles with life, depression and just being overwhelmed, I’ve discovered that I can’t offer help to those I care about most if I don’t have enough spoons to take care of myself first. Today, I almost didn’t have enough spoons. I stayed up very late last night (ok it was into the very early morning hours before I finally slept a little), but a special someone I cared about needed my support. It was when I was woken up by the first friend with a phone call that I quickly shifted from having plenty to not having enough. Once the phone calls resolved and I talked with that special someone I started getting those spoons back. They showed they cared. They showed that the care and love weren’t just one-sided. And I quickly regained my footing for the day and was able to get a few of the things done that I really needed to.
But back to the subject at hand here. Sometimes all it takes a little kindness to someone we don’t even know. Other times it’s a smile and a friendly word to the cashier at the store we’re at. Just be kind. It doesn’t matter what your stance it, what your income is, what your politics are. It’s free to be kind and show compassion.
We all need some kind of support in our lives. I’ve finally found someone who understands that I give so much of myself so freely because I don’t know any other way to be. Even when it means I slowly destroy myself in the process. We have to help one another find the good things in life.
Be kind to each other. The world needs more of that.
Crisis Text Line:
Text HOME to 741741
or text START to 678678
There are other groups that offer help out there, and I’ll be happy to include them here.
But if you or a loved one are in crisis, please reach out to your local first responders/ call 911 or your local emergency number.
Our lives take unexpected turns.
Sometimes we have control of the wheel, other times we’re just the passenger. I have let others be in control often enough that I wasn’t sure where I was going, what my purpose is, or even if I had a future of any kind.
So instead of leaving things unknown or up to fate or God, I am trying to make the decisions for myself. What is in my best interest? What is it I’m really looking to gain out of life? Do I want a family? Am I content with my career choices? Can I find love again?
All I know is that I don’t have any solid answers right now. But I’m working towards finding them. Finding what I want. Who I am, beneath all the layers of my past. Who I want to be in the future.
Better times are coming. Better things are coming. Self-discovery is a long, hard process but it’s something I need to do after 33 years of living for others. So I’m going to do my best to document it while I try to live my best life. I’m sure there’s going to be some pain and hurt along the way, but no journey is complete without it.
So as we approach the middle of October, I start this journey again. With the intentions of finding the answers I seek, with the help of the people who love and support me.