Life, Death and Love

I was originally planning to write another post about my slide back into depression, but then I watched last week’s Desperate Housewives episode. I find the show to be absurd yet entertaining most of the time, but occasionally there is an episode that touches you.  This was one such episode.

In case you don’t watch the series, here is the basic idea: four housewives who are best friends and neighbors share every triviality and tribulation of their lives.  The husbands are key secondary characters, and one of them is shot and killed in the previous episode. The episode I watched was the one that involves his funeral and how each housewife has dealt with the men in their life.  But what struck me about it is the impact that death has on our life.

As you may know, I lost my fur-child Goldie a week ago.  The pain of loss was refreshed today as I read the well-meaning condolence cards from our vet and the emergency animal clinic we took her to.  I remember as she lay there on her side panting, all I wanted to do was pet her and tell her how much I loved her.  I knew she wouldn’t make it to the vet in time but DH wanted to try.  It made him feel better to try.  I just wanted her to know how much I loved her because I wasn’t sure it was always clear.  So many times she got pushed aside because she wasn’t as demanding as the other cats.  She was quiet and kept to herself unless she wanted something.  How many times did I kick her off the desk, the chair, or the bed because I was doing something else instead of taking five minutes to pet her?

I lost my mother two years ago.  I didn’t say anything at the funeral.  I didn’t have anything to say.  I had been mourning her loss for years (she had Alzheimer’s) so I felt pretty numb about it by that time.  My mother and I still have many unresolved issues, issues that can’t be fixed now, issues that couldn’t even have been fixed before she became ill.  I did promise her at the funeral that I would forgive her someday.  The only thing that I hope she knew before she forgot me altogether was that I loved her.  Despite everything she put me through, she was still my mother, and I loved her.

My dad turns 83 this week.  There is a difficult past between us, but most of it has been worked through during the years.  I know now that he is proud of me, and he only pressured me to do well in school because he thought it was how he could make sure I succeeded.  He couldn’t have known that it would backfire.  That I would internalize every criticism and generate a sense of inadequacy.   He doesn’t know that I’m bipolar or that those genes most likely come from his side of the family.  They didn’t know those things back then.  My dad was an accountant and a steel worker, not a scientist, and “the web” as we know it didn’t exist back then.  He did what he thought was best.

Dad knows I love him.  Sometimes we don’t talk for weeks, and then I start to worry about him, but he swore to me that if he were ever to be in trouble, he would call me.  He sends me the most lovely cards, but gets upset if I do things for him. I know that someday I’ll have to go on without him too, although I hope that day is a long time away.

And I tell DH every day how much I love him.  I can’t imagine my life without him.  I don’t want to imagine my life without him.  My husband is the kindest person you will ever meet.  He takes care of me, even when I don’t or can’t reciprocate.  He takes care of the animals even though most of them think they belong to me.  I can’t think of enough wonderful things to say about him, even if he does irritate me sometimes – there’s still no one else I would rather be with.  Without him, my life would be empty, lonely, and pointless. So I worry on nights like this when he has to work late then commute 50 miles home.  I love him more than words can say.  He is my soulmate.

I’m not really sure where this post was going other than a simple TV show prompted me to think about the loved ones in my life.  The ones I love and the ones I have loved.  Always make sure the ones you love know that they are loved, be they human or not.  You never know what the future will bring and you’ll want them to know how much they are loved before you can’t tell them anymore.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Simmer

I feel as though I am walking on the edge of a knife. My temper is short, but I am containing it, keeping it under a false smile. Simmering, I can feel the rage building in my head, waiting for an outlet. The right trigger at the wrong time. Dsyphoric mania here I come. Clenching my fists, squeezing my eyes shut tight, biting my lip, counting to ten. Keep the lid on the pot, now is not the time. Never is the time, but right now is really not the time.

I’m supposed to go back to work this week. I have to be in control. I can’t get a straight answer from anyone – who is supposed to tell me when I can go back? If I can go back? Why can’t I work up the courage to call a lawyer? I can do a lot of things now. It’s time. I hate to admit it, but it’s time. I hate working; I hate not working. I hate having everything up in the air. The penny has to fall.

To make matters worse, my husband is sick. We don’t know why or how. It started two weeks ago – nausea & other digestive issues along with pain. Pain where your vital organs are. The gallbladder is already gone so what’s left? Not good. Scary. Doc gave Aciphex but it’s not fixing the problem. He’s in pain and he’s constantly exhausted and I don’t know how to help him. He won’t let me take him to the ER. I can’t lose my husband. I won’t survive. I can’t. He is the other half of me. The only one who can put up with my crazy moods, who supports me no matter what, who knows how to make me laugh and how to calm me down. I’m so dependent on him, sometimes I can’t even make simple decisions on my own.

All of this is building. Time is ticking. I am trapped within my own mind. Building, building, building. I can’t do what I need to do because I am constantly on edge. This razor-sharp knife edge. Keep the lid on. Hold on tight. This will not be a fun ride.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Christmas: Happy and Sad

Depression has been creeping back into my life.  It was at dysthymia for a while and I thought I could ride it out, but that is apparently not to be.  Even my OCD is coming back.  I snapped off my husband’s head one night because he wanted to go into The Room.  The problem is that The Room contains all of our Christmas wrapping stuff.  Argh.

Back to the topic at hand…

Christmas is a time of year that I normally enjoy, albeit sometimes with a little melancholy.  We are never surrounded by family.  My family is a scattered mess of psychological disorders and most of the individuals are toxic people.  The exception is my youngest niece.  She is a sweet young woman who is so much like me that we could be mother & daughter. Right down to the bipolar, but with a little schizophrenia thrown in for good measure.  Despite that, she is still highly functioning, graduating with an A.S. and a near 4.0 GPA.  She is looking at 4-year schools right now.  Anyway, the happy part is that my niece is coming to visit and I am really looking forward to her trip.  We have lots of exciting things to planned for her trip. (Art museums, the Zoo, etc.)

As to the sad part… DH will be with his family and not with us for Christmas. We had already committed to my niece’s visit when his mom invited us.  She is disappointed that I’m not coming too.  It’s the last Christmas in the house that DH grew up in because his mom is selling it.  This will be the first time in 15 years that DH and I will be separate at Christmas.  It hardly feels like we’ve been together that long but yet he’s a stead-fast piece of my life.  I would be lost without him.  I can’t imagine what Christmas will be like without him.  Basically, we will just try to keep ourselves occupied with fun stuff.  We’ll probably go to the zoo without him and we will spend Christmas day with a close friend of mine.  Usually DH & I spend Christmas with this friend and her husband, but my niece is welcome too, so that should be fun – at least it will be a busy day.

I still have mixed feelings about it all.  I understand why he is going (Christmas Conundrum) and that he feels it is a family obligation.  I know I’m not being shunned by his family because my mother-in-law is sad I can’t make it.  DH’s brother and his girlfriend are disappointed too.  But I’m still sad that he will be there and we will be here.  Heck, it would have great if we all could be there!  (We are giving our nephew the coolest thing for Christmas.)  But this is just another wave to ride, I guess.  A test of my endurance.  There will be other Christmases… the important thing is to enjoy what we have now.

Speaking of which – I’ve got to go to the airport!

Christmas Conundrum

I like Christmas. I find it’s a pleasant time of year. Even though people are often pushy and rude, I still enjoy shopping and I love buying gifts for others. I like Christmas music and snow, when we are lucky enough to have it. I love to bake holiday goodies. I like the Spirit of Christmas and sharing the joy with others. But this year we have a conundrum.

My niece is coming to visit and spend Christmas with us. I am really excited about this. I am disappointed that her mother, my sister, is not having Christmas for her daughter, but this means I get to see her. She is a sweet and strong young lady. At age 23, she’s just finished her two-year degree and she’s going to go to a four-year college next year. She’s much like me in that she wants to study science. In fact we’re so similar, we could be mother and daughter. She’s bipolar too.

This is where the conundrum comes in. My mother in law has just accepted an offer on her house. This means that this year will be the last Christmas they have in the house that my husband grew up it. She invited us to spend Christmas with her. I told her that my niece is coming and we really couldn’t go. However, my husband has been thinking maybe he should go. He feels torn because he wants to stay here and spend Christmas with us, but he feels as though it’s a family obligation to go and spend Christmas with his mom, who is 70 years old. If he goes, this will be the first Christmas we have spent apart since we met.

I feel torn too. I want him to be happy. And I want my mother in law to be happy. But I also want him here with me. And I know my niece would love to have him here. This is his only opportunity to go because even if I didn’t have my niece here, I am in no condition to travel. However, she can drive and we can shop and we can bake and we will be okay, but we will really miss him. So I don’t want him to leave but I also understand that it’s important to his mom, and to him too in some ways. But this breaks my heart.

He keeps asking me what I think. Do I encourage him to go? Or do I encourage him to stay? Or do I encourage him to make up his own mind? I don’t know what to say to him. I don’t want to keep him here against his will. Nor do I want to force him to go. But it’s going to be really hard without him.

The really sad part is that yesterday we were both happy and excited about Christmas. Now we both are upset and frustrated about it. Amazing how quickly things can change.

Things I’m Thankful For

This is my no means a comprehensive list, but I thought of a few things over the holiday. So here’s starter list of things I’m thankful for:

1. My husband. My soulmate.
2. My Dad is alive and well.
3. My “bro”
4. My childhood friend, J. She is always there for me when things go wrong back East.
My “fur children”:
5. Princess
6. Goldie
7. Indy
8. Lucky
9. LunaKitty, my fur angel who had to leave me two years ago. She was a wonderful part of my life and I still miss her. I’m thankful she shared most of her short life with me.
10. Saxon for easing the pain of losing Luna.
11. My niece
12. Good doctors: PCP, psych, GYN, surgeons
13. The hairdresser who washed my hair for me when I could not
14. The friends who sat with me after my surgery
15. All my friends, near and far
16. My friend, L, who invited us forThanksgiving dinner
17. My massage therapist
18. My vacations. Not everyone gets to go to Scotland, France, or the Netherlands.
19. Meeting nice people
20. My left wrist seems to be getting better
21. I can make a fist with my right hand
22. I can walk. I wasn’t expected to after the accident but today I do and without a cane.
23. My house
24. A savings account with a positive balance
25. I’m still collecting a paycheck while on sick leave

All of you for reading my blog and giving support in a way that no one else can. 🙂

Veteran’s Day

My father join the military in 1946 at the age of 17. He traveled the globe as part of the US effort to clean up after WW II. In China, he met a young woman that he fell in love with. He couldn’t speak the language and she couldn’t speak English, but it was love. Sadly, at that time, enlisted men could not marry women that they met on tour. Only officers had that privilege. Had that not been the case, I may have been half-Chinese.

He spent two years helping with the clean up efforts in Okinawa. Amongst his travels, he stopped over in Honolulu and fell in love with Hawaii. He has told me on several occasions that he can never go back because if he did, he would never leave. I went to Hawaii last year and it’s a beautiful place. Pearl Harbor is particularly haunting. I can only imagine what it looked like at that time with the devastation so fresh.

In 1947, the US Air Force was split off from the Army and my father ended his career as part of the Air Force. He spent the last of his Air Force career as a clerk typing out forms. Each form needed 13 copies and because you can only make one duplicate at a time, that meant he had to type each form seven times in addition to one original. At least he learned how to type.

I spoke to my dad last night. I said, “Dad, it’s Veterans Day.”

He replied, “So what?”

I said, “I want to thank you for your service to our country.”

He seemed stunned by my statement of thanks. I don’t think anyone has ever thanked him for serving. I think we need to remember to thank our veterans more than just once a year. Whether in war or in peace, they are willing to lay down their lives to protect us and defend our rights.

Thank you to all the vets and military personnel out there. We appreciate you.

One Week After Surgery

It’s been one week since my surgery it’s been an eventful and yet very very slow week. okay it’s just been a slow week. Healing is an extremely boring process. First there’s the sleeping. Sleeping is good. But when you aren’t sleeping, then what? There are limited number of things you can do with only one hand. And you would be surprised how many things that you both can and cannot do with just one hand.

For example, I am quite impressed with anyone who breaks their arm and then is able to wear jeans or some other zippered pair of pants. At all. Trust me, even wearing pants that are a size too big is a challenge. Working a zipper with one hand is harder than you think.

Second, when your “working” hand is most disagreeable, you’re limited even further. This means I end up watching a lot of TV. And lots and lots of TV is very boring. I can stream stuff, but again, that’s TV. I’m only talking to you now through Dragon dictation and my iPad. My iPhone lets me read your blog, but the WordPress app for the iPad doesn’t allow for reading. (Unless this function is hidden where I cannot find it.) Otherwise you would not be hearing from for a long time.

Okay, now you know the sad state of my recovery, that is my boredom, let’s talk about the surgery. The surgery – well I don’t really know yet because I don’t see the doctor till Monday when have my first follow up appointment from surgery. The doctor told DH that there was a lot of scar tissue that had to be cleaned up, and they reattached the tendon. The doctor told him the surgery went as planned so there were no complications unforeseen circumstances which is good.

I am very fortunate that I have friends who were willing to come sit with me last Friday night and Saturday. (My cover may be blown, but that’s another post.) My hairdresser washed & styled my hair today for nothing. She said that she wouldn’t charge me for doing something that I cannot do for myself.

My husband has been very supportive helping me to take care of myself: food, medications, personal grooming, and other stuff. Today was a real day on the town. After I had my bath and got my hair done then we went to lunch and did some other errands and stopped at Starbucks and talked. So I bought him lunch and coffee for all the wonderful things he’s done for me this week. It’s not about paying him back, it’s about love & helping someone who has been an integral part of your life for 15 years.

It’s almost Thanksgiving and I am thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life. I can’t pay any of them back, but I will do what I can to Pay It Forward.
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The Fallen Man

This has taken me a long time to write because I found the situation traumatic, as I describe below.  It’s a personal thing, so I doubt it would trigger anyone but me, unless you have elderly parents.

Have you ever come across a scene and just froze?  DH & I were shopping in Sam’s Club and an elderly gentleman fell out of his motorized shopping basket chair.  The man lay there, struggling to get up, and I stood staring mutely, rooted to the spot.  My husband moved forward to help him up and it was only after DH crossed my line of vision that I could breathe, think, and be useful.

I wasn’t seeing a stranger lying on the floor.  I was seeing my father in my mind’s eye.  My father is 82, in poor health, and wouldn’t ride one of those scooters if you sat him on it.  He’s diabetic, he has trouble walking, but he’s too stubborn to use a cane.  He smokes like a chimney and coughs like a choking man.

Another gentleman came over and together with DH they helped the fallen man stand up.  I picked up his ball cap and his phone and handed them back to him.  I moved on autopilot, trying to be useful where I could.  The man had tripped because he had put too many items on his cart, blocking the foot rest.  His foot caught one of them as he got out of it to reach for the Kleenex package.  DH got the package and put it into the man’s basket, and moved the offending item from the footrest to the basket.  Sometimes I swear I am married to an angel.

A little while later, after we had all parted ways, DH and I were shopping in another part of the store.  I suddenly started to shake. I was trembling and digging nails into my palms to keep from crying.  When this started happening, DH and I had a conversation that went something like this:

Me:  Why am I doing this?  (Shaking and crying)
DH:  Because you’ve had a terrible shock.
Me:  How so? I didn’t know that man.
DH: Because he reminds you of your dad.
Me:  I think I need a Klonopin.

A friend of mine called me the next day and she asked about my dad.  That’s when I broke down into tears and told her this story.  I said that I felt bad that I couldn’t help the gentleman more.  And I feel ashamed that I was just stood there and didn’t rush forward to offer my assistance.  If DH hadn’t been there, I don’t know if I would have snapped out of it.  My friend told me that it was understandable given the situation with my dad.  (My dad slipped and fell when he visited me last year.  He wasn’t hurt, but I felt horrible, and I’m not very good at forgiving myself.)  She has been through the same thing with her mom, who is in a wheelchair.  She said that it is natural to hesitate when faced with this sort of thing.  We all have aging parents, and it’s difficult to handle this type of situation.

I talked to my therapist about this situation.  She basically said the same thing in that it was natural to be shocked in this situation.  She suggested that I do something to ease my mind about my father, so I called the office of the trailer park he lives in.  I spoke to the woman at the office who said she checks on all their residents every morning and the other office person checks on them in the afternoon.  My greatest fear is that he will fall ill or pass away and no one will find him for days.  I love my Dad very much, regardless of the childhood trauma he knowingly or unknowingly imposed.

In any case, I feel better now that I have done something to ease my mind about my Dad.  I’ve enlisted the help of my ex-stepmother (they are still very close) to try to ensure that he is not alone for Thanksgiving.  I don’t know if he can make it out here again with his health, and it would be difficult to go there since I can’t procrastinate with my surgery too long.  It’s all so complicated.

Now that my depression is abating somewhat, I am going to make a conscious effort to talk to my Dad more often.  I think that will help ease my mind too.  It’s about all I can do from 1500 miles away.  So it will have to suffice.

Maybe I can be of better assistance the next time I see someone in trouble.  One can always hope.

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pay it Forward

I’ve been blessed in my life with some very wonderful friends.  Most of them don’t know about my illness, or if they do, I don’t trouble them with my ups & downs because I don’t wish to invade their lives.  Perhaps it’s not fair of me to rob them of the chance to support me, but it’s how I feel about my bipolar.  (I can be quite stubborn about suffering alone.)  I do allow my friends to support me on other medical issues or when I have a family emergency.

I have one friend who is wonderfully supportive.  When my mom had a heart attack and bypass surgery, she picked my husband and I up at the airport and let us stay at her place.  She was single at the time and living in a small apartment, so she gave her bedroom to my husband and I, while she slept on the couch.  Another time, during a family emergency, she gave me the keys to a spare car in addition to the keys to her house and said, “I’ll see when I see you.  Good Luck.”  When my mother died, she did the same, except she didn’t have a spare car at that point.  She apologized that she couldn’t go to the funeral because she was already committed to a different funeral that day. (Bad time of the year, I guess.)  I love this woman more than she will ever know and there is no way I could ever pay her back for her kindness and support.

Another friend texted me the other day and asked if I had some time to talk to her.  She was scared because she was being tested for a medical problem that was similar to something I had gone through.  We spent two hours on the phone and by the end of it she felt much better, less worried, and we’d even worked out a game plan for how to approach her doctor.

A couple of months ago I spent two hours on the phone listening to a friend who was going through a divorce.  I also listened (read?) via IM.  He was very grateful and listed my name (along with all the others who supported him) on his Facebook page in a big thank you note.

There have been many times when I’ve listened when someone needed to talk.  Friends or even just acquaintances, and of course, there are times when I can’t.  Times when I am in a “bad headspace” and need the support myself.  I’ve looked for support, but only for more typical things – work relationships, personal relationships, medical issues, etc.  But when it comes to my bipolar, I only look for a handful of people: my husband, occasionally a friend, but mostly my therapist, pdoc, and you, dear readers.

I have sort of gotten off track with the last piece, but what I am trying to tell you is this:  you can’t always pay it back, but you can always pay it forward.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.