Tag: parents

On the edge

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 My depression rears it’s head, making me more withdrawn, more down and just not wanting to do anything that I should or need to be doing.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.

Thanksgiving

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.

Lack of Sleep

I haven’t had a lot of sleep the last couple of days. Not that it’s anything unusual. I do my best to try and get at least 5-6 hours but it’s often broken and leaves me tired and fatigued more than what my other health issues already do. 

Which brings me to my second issue. I’ve talked to my mom last night and today some. She’s trying to guilt me into going earlier there, regardless of what I want or need to do around here. On top of that, I’m supposed to care and actively ask about her problems and issues. I just get told to suck up my anxiety and problems and deal with whatever the issue is. Which is something I try to do. But my anxiety is getting more invasive and overwhelming. My depression is the same. I can do things to hold it at bay, but after a while, things start getting worse.

Yes, there’s a medication I’m supposed to be on for it. I hate how it makes me feel, or better yet the lack of things I feel. I feel nothing when I take it consistently. I feel no happiness, no sadness, no anger, no frustration, no good no bad. I just exist, and at its core, that seems like a fantastic thing. However, that’s what has led me to cut in the past. I have made great strides in not cutting, and haven’t in over a year. But there are times I have that urge still. 

Anyways, today was not as productive as I would have liked. But at least I’ve ate, napped a little and done a little organizing. Considering the way I’m feeling all the way around today, I still count it as a mostly successful day. Tomorrow I’m hoping to paint some walls and hopefully will get some better sleep tonight. 

Drive

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.

~T

Day? Who Knew Numbering Things Would Get Old So Fast?

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.

~T

 

Day 2(and Day 3 Because Life Happens)- Indecision and How It Affects Me

I have always been indecisive. Not sure what I want, where I want to live, and what I want to do. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. I was indecisive as a child because my mom refused to let me be independent while my dad encouraged it. My mother was convinced that I had to be the best/brightest at whatever I was doing in order to bother to do it at all. It used to drive her insane in high school when I actively was involved with the band. I refused to bring my trumpet (that I chose over getting a cheap car mind you) home to practice. I didn’t want her to constantly tell me what I was doing wrong, despite her never playing an instrument in her life. I had quit playing organ years earlier for the same reason. She had the unrealistic desire for a 4-6-year-old to play perfect the first time they played anything too.

Twelve years ago, I got married to someone I knew for 3 months. We went from dating to married in that short time. I don’t regret it, but I don’t recommend it either. We were happy for the first 6 or so of our 12-year marriage. After that, our differences started becoming too much and we mutually decided to end things last year. Where’s the indecision, you might be asking? Well, when you can’t decide for 6 years if you want to be married to someone or not it takes its toll. When we finally parted (officially earlier this year), it was on mostly okay terms. Not the best of friends but not bitter enemies either.

There’s been more indecision and upheaval throughout my life. From bouncing around and moving the last year and a half, and the instability that brought, to dealing with being the “adult” at 19 just after my dad died. My mom played the grieving widow part well, but it was me who sat with my dad at his chemo appointments, and me who took him to radiation before he passed away. It was me who made some of the hard decisions after he died. I was the one who couldn’t say goodbye the night he was moved to hospice. I was also taking her to work and working some at the same time too. But then I had to listen to her go on about she just did so much for him… It killed the last part of love I had for her. Which has made me indecisive on how I feel about her and taking care of her as she gets older. I do it now, out of obligation and guilt. Guilt because I promised my dad I’d do everything I could to help her out. Now no one expects a 19-year-old to follow that, but I have tried my best to. And now with me at 33, she needs help. I give what I can, but if she doesn’t want to take care of herself, who the hell am I to force that? And I feel torn about it, because well she is my mom and the only family I really have left. At the same time, where was the mom I needed when my world kept crashing down? Why do I have to be there for her now? I know I don’t owe her anything. I just do it for my own peace of mind and so that the guilt won’t completely eat me alive.

Where does that leave me now? Still undecided in a lot of things but I know a few things. I want to finish my degree in Psychology so I can help people. I hope it’s sometime in the next few years but no one really knows what the future has in store. I want to find the happiness that I’ve lost out on and had previously given up finding. I want to be the person I could have been 10 years ago if life hadn’t decided to dump all those things on someone who wasn’t wholly prepared or even a little prepared. But at least I have things I want to accomplish and want to strive to be now. That’s more things decided than what I had yesterday. And maybe tomorrow, I can finally decide what some of my favorite things are.

The goodness and kindness we can show to others is what keeps me from getting stuck on all the bad that has happened in my own life. We can each be that force of good- if we just get out of our own heads from time to time.

~T