Friday, November 28, 2014

A Different Kind of Hope

I'm not a big one for playing the "what if" game.  I generally try to avoid it at all costs, simply because there's no point to it.  It's like trying to dress a rose bush...you can do it, but it's difficult and often times painful and there's really zero point in trying.  However, there is one time that I'm guaranteed to play the "what ifs".  It's every year, the Friday following Thanksgiving.
 
The Friday following Thanksgiving has, for the last fifteen years, been an incredibly painful reminder of just how fragile life is.  It's a reminder that life can, and does, change in the blink of an eye.  It's a reminder to not take things, especially each other, for granted.  It's a reminder that our time here is not guaranteed.  It's a reminder of the day that my oldest daughter, Hope, became deathly ill and literally had one foot out the door.
 

When Hope was six months old she contracted bacterial meningitis that entered her body through an ear infection.  She spent ten days in the hospital, four of those in the picu in a medically induced coma.  A coma we weren't sure would be reversible.  We ended each day not knowing if we'd get another with her.  We weren't sure what damage had been done when she stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated.  We weren't sure if she would ever be the same again.  I did know that I was never going to be the same again.  Watching your child dying in front of you leaves you forever changed.
 
You entertain the worst of the worst thoughts known in existence.  Like, what will I bury my child in?  Do they make coffins that small??  How will I ever be able to get over the death of my child???

That remains the single darkest moment in my life.

It's so hard to not acknowledge the what ifs in this sort of scenario.  I constantly ask myself what would have happened if we hadn't gotten to the hospital when we did.  What if the doctor didn't recognize the serious nature of my daughter's illness as quickly as he had.  She'd had one seizure at home, and we rushed to the hospital, but it was a 25 minute drive.  By the time we got there and got triaged and into a room, almost an hour had passed since the seizure.  She was almost behaving normally by then.  What if the doctor had been distracted and missed some of the signs.  What if we had gotten a different pediatrician at the hospital we were transferred to.  What if he hadn't been a fucking rock star who knew his shit.  What if she had suffered some serious brain damage from being oxygen deprived.  Oh my God, the list of what ifs could go on for days.

So, I end up spending about half the day playing the what if game.  I mourn the loss of daughter's hearing.  I mourn damage we do know about and the damage we're blissfully unaware of. 

But then I see her crooked smile and remember that I still have her.  She's not quite as whole as she was that Thanksgiving (none of us are), but she's still here.  I get to hug my daughter.  I get to watch her grow into the charming, witty, and intelligent young lady she's becoming.  I get to sneak up behind her (because I'm super sneaky she can't really hear me) and scare the shit out of her.  I get to go to the Gay pride parade and be a proud mom.  I get to sit on the couch and get lost in an episode of Grey's with her.  I get to see her growing up to be every bit as quirky as her mother.

I am so blessed to have been given this time with her.  I'm so thankful to have this beautiful person in my life!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Help

I'm not big on asking for help.  I'm generally much happier giving help than receiving it.  But, I need help so I'm asking for it.  If you're inclined to do so, please give.  Thank you.  If you can't, thank you anyway.  Hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving and get to spend some quality time with family!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Stone Soup Living

I started my latest journey on February 14th of this year.  My girls and I moved out of my ex husband's house (he and our kids and I made the decision to cohabitate in an effort to keep a roof over everyone's heads) and into the apartment we're in now.  I was beyond excited to be moving, for a number of reasons, but the best part of our moving meant that I'd be moving next door to my person.  Her door is literally three feet from mine.  It's pretty awesome.

My handsome fella.
My person is...well, she's amazing.  As far as best friends go, I've hit the jack pot.  I have truly awesome friends.  Seriously.  You should all be fairly green with envy.  One of my dear friends recently took me shopping for my ex husband's girlfriend's tortoise that my kids and I somehow ended up with.  I whole heartedly have come to love my Mister Tuttle .  He's a handsome fella and he just makes my heart melty.  She knows that I'm struggling to care for my human kids right now, but that he has needs.  So, she took me to get him a heating lamp and some new bedding.  Seriously made me cry.  My Mister is all kinds of happy (and warm!) right now.  Yet another friend came over and kept me company (and got me a little bit completely snockered).  Then she had her husband bring us over a sofa.  Another friend is working to help me land a job, and helped me with my resume.  Then there's my person.  She is my resident therapist and that little voice that leads me to act appropriately.  She's like Jiminy Cricket.  She's my Jiminy Cricket who brings me food and watches tv with me. 

See, amazing friends.

When the girls and I moved in, we decided to throw a Christmas in February party.  It was a total blast!  I love spending time with my friends.  I love parties.  And I especially love food.  I think this party was truly the beginning of our stone soup way of life.  What transpired in the following months has been a truly wonderful blessing! 

It started with one meal, and then blossomed into  much more.

So good they should be illegal!
We now regularly swap meals (and ingredients).  She'll cook something yummy, and it'll end up on my plate.  I'll make chocolate chip banana nut bread, and they'll get a third of the loaf.  She makes yummy hamburger soup, and my family raids her fridge for as long as it's in there.  I make a batch of Hot Cocoa Rice Krispies treats and she gets....ok, that one wasn't a great example.  Those are reeeeaaally hard to share!  I shared the cinnamon rolls, though!

My point is this.  We've realized that we don't have a lot.  Seriously, nothin.  But, together we've got something.  I've got the pot, she's got the stone.

In the past I have firmly declared that I am not at all domesticated.  I hated to cook.  Hated.  Who wants to work all day, go to school all day, clean, do laundry, go to the store, etc. and then have to come home and spend a couple of hours in the kitchen?  Who has time for that shit???  Thank you, no.  However, in the last nine months I've really come to enjoy it.  I love having someone to cook and bake for!

I love that I have a ready made village to share the burden of life's hardships, as well as the joys, with!  And I really love the fucking food!!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hope



Well, after what's been a monumentally craptacular few months, I am finally starting to feel that things may be starting to finally turn around.  A bit.  Still no job, but I'm feeling hopeful again.  I've had an outpouring of love and help from some amazing friends this week.  I am truly grateful to have such wonderful people in my life.  It's far too easy to lose sight of all the good in your life when you're constantly bombarded with reminders that your life is kind of in the crapper at the moment.  It's easy to forget that you need to stop each day and remind yourself that you're actually doing ok and have more going for  you than you previously thought.  This week I was reminded that I have great friends, and it's time to let them back in and accept the help being offered.  Thank you to my awesome friends for being oh so awesome!


For a while now, I've been fighting a battle that cannot even be seen.  I've been waging a war on myself, fighting to be victorious over my own brain.  I've been so lost inside of myself that I now find my world has gotten rather small.  I've been nesting and making my home so warm and comfortable that I've had a hard time wanting to leave it!  Now comes the part where I need to just push through and finish this marathon session of self loathing and pity and get back to living.  Not an easy task.  Most days I long to crawl into bed and pull the blankets up over my head and ignore the rest of the world.  I am super happy to report that I have not yet done so.  I do cry, but I'm still of the opinion that crying isn't necessarily a bad thing.  You burn something like 10 calories an hour crying, so how can that possibly be a bad thing?!  Plus, it's cathartic.  Truly and seriously.  Every once in a while I find a good cry can be the best thing to fix my mood.  A good chest heaving, swollen eyes, nose dripping, ugly cry.  And thanks to some trying events of late, I've been able to have a few of those cathartic cries.



I've found myself trying to take things back to basics.  I've been reminding myself that I cannot run before I first learn to walk (ya just gotta love those tried and true clich├ęs!).  I've spent a lot of time thinking about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and how I keep trying to accomplish top of the pyramid crap when what I need to be focusing on is the base needs.  Seems logical.  I think I may have finally gotten the basics down *takes a deep breath and a bite of cinnamon roll* and am ready to move onto the next row. I feel fairly certain that I'm ready to move past this shit and get on with life.

And really, I'm not all that bad off at the moment.  Yeah, shit sucks.  We're broke.  Like, seriously broke.  I look back at decisions I've made and wish that maybe I'd been just a little more careful with my funds.  Maybe done a few things differently.  But, there's not much I can do about that now.  Time to just suck it up and move forward. 

I like to find a reason for the shit.  A purpose for it.  A silver lining, if you will.  And the last year has served as a much needed learning experience.  I'm reminded that I'm still vulnerable and need to protect myself, because there are still lying assholes in the world who are out to only further themselves.  I'm reminded that trust and respect are things to be earned, not given freely.  I'm reminded that I am just as important as the next person.  I have definitely been reminded that actions are more convincing than words.  Truly, all valuable lessons. 

In the last six or seven months, I've come under a lot of scrutiny from certain individuals who feel they are entitled to have an opinion about my life and how I live it.  I've been told that I'm doing it all wrong, that I'm failing, and that I'm useless.  I choose to reply thusly:  fuck you.  Until a single step has been walked in my shoes (and I say step because I'm not sure most people could make it a mile in my shoes) you don't have a clue what I'm going through, what I've been through, or the amount of shit I have to deal with on a regular basis.  And here's the thing...I'm still here.  I'm still fighting and soldiering on.  I haven't given up.  I haven't quit.  I have a whole lotta fight still left in me.  Do not count me out just yet.  I have started over a number of times.  Started over from scratch.  I may not be "winning", but I'm still here.  I'm like the Energizer Bunny, I just keep going. 

I'm no where near ready to give up yet.  I have a lot more fight left in me.  And with each new day, I find myself daring to hope again.  And hope does indeed give me a sense of inner strength.  With a renewed sense of hope, I can conquer anything I set my mind to. 


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Depression is the mother of all eff you's.

Well, today marks the three month "anniversary" of the last day I worked.  In those three months I've accomplished a whole lot of not much.  I've tried, I sincerely and truly have.  I get up everyday.  I go through all the motions of being a functioning, contributing member of society.  I brush my teeth, sometimes put on a bra, sit on the sofa, put something mindless on the television, go about searching down jobs that 427 other people are also applying for...and then I cry.  No, seriously, I cry.  A lot.  At some point I'd like to think I'll run out of tears.  I'd like to think that at some point I'll just snap out of it and remember how it feels to be happy.  At some point I'd absolutely love to find a fucking job. 
I miss money almost as much as I miss happiness.  My bills are piling up and our belts are all getting just a tiny bit tighter.  I'm not at all suggesting that we're starving, or even close to being close to starving.  I am waiting for my utilities to get shut off at any moment, but we're not starving.  I will fight to keep our lights on and a roof over our heads, but this fight is starting to wear me down.
I have approximately 3,968 moments of sheer anxiety, each and every day.  The vast majority of these happening at night, when I'm laying in bed, desperately searching for sleep.  Sleep alludes me on a regular basis, and yet somehow that's all I feel like I do.  I can assure you though, I don't.  I toss.  I turn.  I cry.  I sometimes vomit.  I worry.  I play the "what if" game.  I rehash every single decision I've made that's led me to this point.  I think about things that happened 14 years ago, in another lifetime.  I wonder if tomorrow will be the day I get a call about a job interview.  I wonder if tomorrow will be the day we lose our power.  Or the internet (truly my lifeline at this point!).  I wonder if my kids will be able to overcome their childhood and survive my raising them.  I wonder if I will.  And I panic.
I do this over and over and over.  It's become routine now.  I know I am in the depths of despair and I know how I got here.  I even know what I need to do to get past this.  However, I am stuck.  It feels like I'm stuck in quicksand.  It feels like the harder I struggle, the harder I try, the deeper and more desperate I get.  And time just doesn't seem to be my friend.  I know I've got lifelines, amazing friends who support me and what not. 
My friends are pretty awesome.  I know that some of them understand EXACTLY what I'm going through.  Some don't have a clue.  Some are probably really tired of having to help me out so damned much, or listen to me whine about all my first world problems.  Some of my friends do regular "well checks", message me, come by, do random nice things in hopes of cheering me up.
Yet, I feel horribly and utterly alone.  I know I've barricaded myself in my own little hidey hole and put up the "do not disturb" sign.  I know I'm not at all inviting at times.  I know people don't quite know how to deal with me right now.  I get it.  Hell, it wasn't all that long ago I was telling a friend that isolation is the WORST thing for you when you're depressed, and did my best to cheer them up.  But I somehow can't seem to cheer myself up and find it in me to interact with other humans.
Please believe I've tried.  I don't enjoy being the social equivalent of a groundhog.  I want to want to leave my hole, go outside and do things, get paid to leave my house for eight hours a day, have fun, and do more than just survive.
I want to live again.
I want it so fucking desperately. 
Great, I just realized how depressing that all sounds. 
I promise I'm not "hurt myself" depressed.  I get up every morning.  I face each day with hope that something, anything, will go my way.  I want that stupid scale to tip in my favor.  I don't need a lot.  Seriously.  A job and a few Xanax's (I'm fairly certain my script that expired in 2011 is more dangerous than helpful at this point...) and a few hundred dollars to get my bills paid.  I'm not greedy.  :-)
So if I seem not myself the next time we talk, please know that it's me, not you.  Please don't feel compelled to treat me like a ticking time bomb, I'm not going to explode.  Don't be afraid to ask me how I am doing.  I can certainly talk to you about my depression, I'm not shy.  Do feel free to give me a hug, cry with me, give me a job, pay a bill (dealer's choice as to which one!), and just be my friend.  I will get past this.  It's just going to take some time.  :-)
Well, that certainly was a whole lot of sad shit right there.  Sorry for being all Debbie Downer so early in the week.  But, it's kind of cathartic putting pen to paper (metaphorically) and writing down your thoughts/feelings.  So, I guess I'm really not all that sorry...