Grief Anniversaries Compounding More Grief

I am so glad this weekend is over.  I’m glad DSB’s surgery is over and now everything is on the steady with that.  I’m glad I have the first round of inventory entered into the computer.  I beyond love love love my dishwasher for enabling me to keep a very clean kitchen at all times, although it was constantly being cooked in by a very messy DSB.  I am thankful for Klonopin, even though I get tired of taking it.  But mostly, I am just glad the first five days of 2014 are over, because I don’t think I could take much more.

I have spent more time today crying and boo-hooing and angsting and sobbing and catastrophizing today than I care to spend in about a month.  I mean, the waterworks will just not shut off.  The negative tapes were churning away in my head and I just felt so sad and hopeless.  And I couldn’t figure out why.

And I’m not saying this is the only reason, but it is likely a factor.  My grandmother died two years ago yesterday, and today would have been her birthday.  I wasn’t particularly close to my grandmother, but it was her death two years ago that sent me over the deep end.  I firmly believe that I probably wouldn’t have taken such a nosedive if that terrible timing hadn’t ended up the way it did.

I have a lot of my grandparents’ furniture in my house.  I bought some new silverware yesterday, and I cried when I found some of my grandparents’ old silverware tucked underneath some more current items.  Cheap steak knives is what they are.  Except they don’t look cheap.  And are probably not.  They were Grandpa’s and thinking about him and those steak knives brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Isn’t it awful how grief compounds grief?  I’m over my grandmother being dead, and it’s only been a couple of years.  My grandpa is a whole ‘nother story.  He died in 2004 to be exact.  He died exactly 14 days after my 25th birthday.  I distinctly remember that I was on the Atkins diet at that time, and I heard the call right as I was starting to eat a steak dinner.  I couldn’t ever eat that particular blend of seasonings again.

There was a huge thunderstorm going on and I can remember the Big Dawg picking me up and taking me to the Assisted Living place where my grandparents had been living.  There was a big empty room, and Grandpa was on a stretcher, all wrapped up in white sheets.  And I totally lost it.

And I still do lose it, thinking of him.  I think of all the things I wish he had been able to see, to do.  I wish he had been able to meet DSB, to go fishing again, to make terrible soup, to hold his favorite dog, to see my sister get married and have her little boy.  He has so much to be proud of, and I can’t help but think that he absolutely MUST be up there looking over.  I don’t know how I would or could go on if at least some part of me didn’t believe that.

And maybe that’s strange to not know if there is a God, but to be certain there is a heaven.  I really don’t care.  I pray rarely, but I do talk to Grandpa, and the Bird Lady.  And I really do think sometimes they answer me back.  And I light a little candle and I send a thought, and that’s enough for me.  So that’s what I’m going to go do.  Light a candle.  Take a Klonopin.  Pray for dreamless sleep.

Amen.

Clear as Mud

I have been wanting to post since Wednesday and have even started a couple times, only to become disgusted with myself for the drivel that was pouring out of my fingertips, ending up banishing those whiny, self-important posts to the drafts bin.  I must do that a lot, because my drafts bin is super-full.

For the past few days, I have been very foggy, somewhat irritable, and a bit on the anxious side.  I can’t seem to get my thoughts together and it seems like my brain is swimming in a thick mud that I can’t see or maneuver through, but the mud is also very loud, like television static, constantly.  I’m smoking more and I’m thirstier than usual.  I’m not sleeping well, waking up in regular one-hour intervals all night, no matter how early or late I get to bed.

I think most of the problems I am having are related to not getting enough quality, restful sleep; however, why am I not getting quality, restful sleep?  I’m really not sure.  I am taking all medications as prescribed, avoiding caffeine, keeping to an evening routine, and so on, ad nauseum.  I just can’t sleep well for some reason.

I had been kicking ass on so many levels up until a couple of days ago.  I got my house clean, was making homemade meals, baked a chocolate cake from scratch, had a productive therapy session.  I was feeling good.  Since late Tuesday, though, my brain has been mired in the muck.

My kitchen is trashed out again.  Ok, it’s not that bad, but I’ve been out of dishsoap since Wednesday morning and haven’t been able to dishes since, because I am apparently too lazy to get to the store and get some.  I did make another home-cooked meal last night, though, so maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit.

I thought hindsight was supposed to be 20/20.  I find that is not the case for me, as far as charting out my feelings, emotions, thoughts, symptoms, successes, failures, etc. goes.  When I started this post, I had in my head that the last three days of my life have been a complete fail.  If I pick it apart, however, I’m doing pretty well, considering I’m not feeling the greatest mentally.  I’m coping, I guess you could say.

My mom has always said that I am my worst critic.  God forbid I don’t do my dishes daily — I’m a lazy loser.  I mean, I have had some great accomplishments over the last week, dammit!  How is it possible to lose sight of that so quickly?  Just because I’m feeling poorly overall, doesn’t mean I’m doing a poor job at living life.  My brain can be clear as mud and I can still function, even over-function, it appears.

If I had any wish today, it would be that I could learn to not see myself as a failure in all things, no matter what.  That I could keep my eyes on the prize, instead of concluding everything is a disaster, based on a FEELING.

So, Rose, stop catastrophizing, stop over-generalizing.  It’s gonna be ok.  Even if your brain is full of mud and you’re not sleeping, does not mean your life is an epic fail.  Promise.

 

Go Home

Sometimes, when I’m out and about, I get this feeling that I just don’t want to go home yet.  It’s almost a sense that there is something bad waiting for me there.  Don’t get me wrong, there really isn’t.  DSB is kind and sweet and the pups are the best.  But still, sometimes, I don’t want to go home.

On occasion, I don’t want to go home because I don’t want to interact.  I would rather think and be still and not have to utter a word, even if it was only one word. There are times that I don’t want to go home because I don’t want to face my poor housekeeping.  Other times, I just don’t wanna.

Today in particular, I didn’t want to go home.  I wanted to go see my mom and talk to her.  DSB and I had stopped by my godparents’ home, now vacant, with the Bird Lady dead and my godfather in a nursing home.  I have some happy memories of that place, and it reminded me and I remembered and now I feel sad.

I also was reminded of the year I spent there with Dr. Love, a year of near-constant bickering and arguing and passive-agressiveness and almost no love.  I feel sick when I think about that relationship.  It should have never happened.  But, it did.  I have to deal with that and those memories, and that made me sad and anxious and mad.

So, we did end up coming almost directly home from there.  I feel almost sick over today, when there is so much to be grateful for, which makes me feel even the more sick that I feel this way.

DSB saw his doctor and the cancer has not spread.  They are going to remove his left kidney, but he’ll be fine.  No chemo, no radiation, just a short hospital visit and about a month’s recovery time.

I saw my orthopedic specialist who informed me that my foot has healed completely and perfectly, and that I am in pain because I need to wean myself off the boot instead of trying to do everything all at once without it.

So, two happy, good, awesome things happened today.  I am not appreciating it and I hate that.

I feel as if I may cry, I feel as if I may throw a chair out the window.  I also feel as if I may just get naked and go huddle into the fetal position in bed and not come out until today has passed.

This isn’t fair.  I can’t let my emotions get hijacked like that.  I should have been on higher alert, or something.  I should feel positive and happy and relieved.  Instead, I feel anxious, sad, and angry.  I can’t see the good for the bad and that just isn’t fair to DSB.  I need to snap the fuck out of this ASAP before something truly dire does happen, like breaking all the glass windows out in my sunroom.  Because that sounds pretty good about now.

Don’t Put a Box on Me

Today has been both lovely and a struggle.  I woke up in the morning a bit hungover, after deciding to chase my regular sleeping pill with some Seroquel last night.  I was desperate for some sleep, and, as that usually does, it backfired.  I get that super-sleepy feeling but don’t get more sleep, and I pay hell for it in the morning.

After managing coffee and Tylenol, I managed to get the new DBT diary card that I created printed out with the help of DSB.  I had therapy today and we talked about me coming to group and she gave me the revised manual.  I haven’t looked at it yet, but I will.  We also talked about trying not to be stressed out in the face of extreme stress.  Of course the answer is to just live in the moment, but anyone who understands the concept and has also undergone major stress knows that it isn’t an easy task.

I really didn’t want to leave my therapy appointment today.  I wanted to either be there, making sense of things, or to be by myself.  My dad had driven me to therapy and we went out for Chinese afterward.  He is very pleasant to be around, anymore.  We have had tough years but it seems like we are working through it.  He caught me up on local politics and news and I soaked all that information in.  Feeling slightly bad that I’m not registered to vote and therefore won’t be voting on mayor, school board, or city council.  Ah well.

A few minutes after I arrived home, QoB came by for a visit.  It would have been nice to chat with herr, but DSB and I got into quite an argument when, when my mom had left the room, I told him I was tired of him putting a negative label anytime I expressed an emotion.

A worry is just a worry, not anxiety.  Irritability is not an indicator of great distress…I’m tired and stressed out.  So on and so forth.  It didn’t go well, I didn’t handle it well, and now he’s up in the garage.  I don’t know how these things get so out of hand when I am just trying to make one little point.

I was even accused of giving up.  How fucking far am I away from that anyhow?

Off-Key, Out of Tune

I have been sick now, in some form or another, since early September.  Now that I’ve been through staph, removal of huge pilonidal cyst, bronchitis twice, my doctor tells me this week that I have pneumonia.  Seriously?

All of this sickness is making me depressed.  It is throwing my world off-kilter and I can’t seem to get it to straighten out.  I am not interested in anything, feel like sleeping all of the time, and am not enjoying being around people.  I am annoyed and irritable.  I can’t see a way out.  My brain is telling me that all of these physical illnessess will never go away.

I thought blogging might help, but my heart isn’t in it.  I just came home from QoB’s and, while I almost always enjoy my time there, it wasn’t doing it for me.  Trying to keep up a conversation took such energy and I just didn’t have it.  I found myself being annoyed with myself that I couldn’t just be happy and enjoy her company.  So I left.

Now I’m at home.  I like being at home.  My dogs are here, I have nice places to sit and relax, it is comforting.  But sometimes I feel lonesome.  At the same time, however, I can’t stand the thought of being around anyone.  It all takes too much effort, and that seems to be effort that I don’t have right now.

Part of me thinks that I am talking myself into being depressed, that this is all my fault.  These feelings are not true and I am giving up and giving in.  Because that is what I do.  I have been trying to do things to ward off these feelings — meditating, sacred self, sitting in front of my sun lamp, staying in a routine.  But I feel like my whole heart isn’t in it.

I keep hearing this voice inside my head, “You’re depressed.  You’re letting yourself go down that road.  You are so lazy.  Why can’t you just be happy?”  That last one…”why can’t you just be happy…” bothers me the most.  I don’t understand why I can’t just be happy.  I am pretty sure that I was enjoying being happy before all of this illness came upon me.  Now everything feels wrong.

What happened to all of that energy, all of those good feelings?  Why didn’t I enjoy it more when I had it and what can I do to get it back?  When will I start feeling less sick all of the time?  Am I still sick or am I just depressed and my mind is telling me I’m sick?

I can’t find anything truly good to say.  I have cases at work that are stressing me out, and I feel like there isn’t anything I can do to make some of these situations better.  There is a lot of in-fighting in my office area and it is becoming just so very clear to me that my supervisor likes to stir the pot.  I am almost dreading going to work every day because I am being faced with these impossible cases and all of the tension and back-stabbing that is going on in my office area.  I just don’t know how to move forward, tell myself that I am doing all I can.  I really feel off my game.

At work, a lot of times I feel like I give and give and give and help and help and help and no one gives a shit.  I guess if, at this age, I am still expecting to be patted on the back and given an “atta girl” that I am out of my damn mind.  It used to be different, though.  At least I thought it did.

I want to be a good person, a better person.  I want to be happy and live my life free.  I want to have the energy that it takes to do these things.  I want to not have to take all of these pills and inhalers and pills and inhalers and pills and still feel sick.

I am annoying myself, so I must end.

When You’re Gone, The Cranberries

ABC 123

Life has been quite the struggle later.  Between crippling anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, negative tapes, and insecurity, it’s been miserable.  I think I had a real wake-up call when I realized I was spending five to six nights per week at QoB’s house, calling Goddess of Mindfulness frequently, and being told to get a grip by my med doc.  Sometimes you don’t realize how bad it is getting until you’re already there.

So, I made a conscious decision to do things to make myself feel better.  I have started taking my Cymbalta regularly.  I am doing my sunlamp every morning.  I have tried to decrease my dependence on QoB and Big Dog by not going over every night, and instead, getting things done around my house.  Staying busy has been the key.

I know that both Dr. Love and QoB say it is ok to just “hang” but there are so many things that I want to do that I haven’t been doing due to the lack of motivation that depression and anxiety brings, that it is feeling good to get caught up.

I have cleaned the top two levels of my house, and it’s just a matter of time before I get the basement finished.  I’ve tackled some small projects that have been bugging me, and have been working at building mastery by cooking.  I have also really been working on mindfulness, especially in regards to my eating habits.  I find that if I pay attention, I am not really hungry during the times when I was usually eating.

It doesn’t take as much as I think it does to feel satisfied, and the integration of some new-found foods has much helped.  I was really in a rut with eating junk food and am now eating a lot of vegetables and some fruit.  I have also been concentrating on eating whole grains, and limiting sugar and salt.  No more empty carbs!

For example, I have been eating a lot of spinach salads, squash, sweet potatoes, brown rice, chicken breast, and the like.  I am making a meatloaf for dinner tonight that isn’t particularly healthy (covered in bacon), but it’s for Dr. Love and he deserves some good comfort food, taking a break from eating work food.  I fully believe that I can be rational about the meatloaf and just eat a normal portion.  YES I CAN!

Sacred self has also been a big part in feeling better.  I took Kizz for a walk last night and am trying to get into that routine.  I bought myself some new shower stuff and am spending time doing things that I enjoy.  Some of the skills mix together, but it never ceases to amaze me how much they work.  I am not keeping a diary card, but maybe I should be.

Back to basics, baby.  Goddess of Mindfulness and the IOP program gave me the greatest gift — my DBT skills — and they are something I can always bring more focus onto when the going gets rough.  It’s just getting around the willfulness that depression and anxiety create.

Keane, Somewhere Only We Know

Say it All Together Now: Yes WE CAN!

It was pointed out to me yesterday, that sometimes I do my very best to keep myself miserable, always looking for the next thing that is going to suck, or be hard, or make me unhappy.  This revelation was brought to us by Dr. Love and the letter “G.”

Ok, so maybe it’s not a revelation, exactly.  This is something I have known about myself since the beginning of time.  It’s been brought to my attention by many therapists, psychiatrists, family members, co-workers, so on and so forth.  It’s something that I work on at times, and at other times, something I blatantly ignore and wallow anyway.

It’s a difficult trap to be in, to have been this way for so long, to change such an ingrained behavior.  The perfect example is my constant dread of winter.

Winter generally means hard times for me.  And I dread it year-round.  In the middle of the summer, I am anticipating the down-times of winter.  The lack of sun, the cold, the snow and ice.  There is a seasonal component to it that I tend to exacerbate by obsessing year-round about all of the winters past where I have despaired.

QoB has pointed out that this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I anticipate the worst, I get the worst.  If I could just change my thinking, maybe it would be better and I could just be pleasantly surprised.  I suppose there is some validity to this, but it’s still hard to expect something different when I’ve always come up with the same thing.

What’s the saying?  Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.  Something like that.  Color me insane then, because I practice that time and time over — expecting something different from the same patterns of behavior.

Something to work on, I suppose.  I am starting to go back to therapy more frequently.  There are a lot of things to focus on, little day-to-day things and some bigger things.  To face it, though, there are a lot of big things that are caused by and are causing the little day-to-day glitches.

Lily Allen, The Littlest Things

Fighting Off the Glitch

Today has been a rough day.  I think it may have started with some restlessness last night (likely driven by eating too late and not getting to bed on time) which was then thoroughly compounded by the two huge slices of homemade pizza I had for breakfast at 6:00 a.m.

I sat in my computer chair this morning for a good two hours this morning, struggling to be awake when I really didn’t have to be.  I’m starting to get into that pattern where I don’t like sleeping, again.  Part of it is the recurrent nightmares, part of it is feeling like there is too much to do and I’m wasting time by sleeping.  A few more nights like last night and I’ll be at least hypomanic by Saturday.

I hate that my eating is so out of control.  My radical acceptance for the last three weeks on my diary card has been: “I have an eating disorder.”  Because, really, I just rationalize ten ways to Sunday why I do what I do.  I am trying to focus on working on it, and in order to do that I have to admit that there is a problem.

But sometimes it’s like, seriously, Rose?  Seriously? Am I back here again with this eating bullshit?  Am I really?  How hard does it have to be?  Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, try to get your 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables.  Alas, it is much.much.much harder than that for me.

It’s irritating to have issues and to always have to stay on top of them.  And it’s exhausting, really.  As long as I am doing x, y, and z (my PLEASE skills, really, from my diary card), then I have a good shot at managing.  As soon as my sleep starts to hit the skids, I fail to eat “normally” for a period of time (and then fall into a pattern of old habits), I stop getting out and about, then I’m done for.

Luckily, I haven’t slid too far down that slippery slope yet.  My eating has really just been bad over the past few days, which totally coincides with the sleep problems.  When I’m having sleep issues, I eat too much.  Period.

I have plans to sleep until 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, even if it kills me.  I will lay there in bed if I have to, but I am not getting up.  When I get up at 8:00, I don’t have time to eat a piece of pizza for breakfast, but can wait until I get to work and have a bagel and some grapes or some such business.

Blogging tonight has helped, along with a “SMACK!  You could’ve had a V-8” lecture from Dr. Love.  Sometimes I just need a reality check and there is no one better at doing it without offending me than Dr. Love.

Ok, so this song is on the soundrack for Beautiful Girls, one of my most favorite movies.  If you haven’t seen it, you should rush out to your local Family Video immediately and rent it for the 7 day option, because you’ll want to watch it over and over.

Another fun note about this song, Dr. Love and I have a song we sing to the Kizz with Sweet Caroline‘s melody.  What can I say, we’re easily amused.

Neil Diamond, Sweet Caroline

Overreacting to Normalcy

Today…(wait for it, wait for it) has been a pretty.good.day.  I am counting my weeks on DBT weeks now, starting on Wednesdays and ending on Tuesdays.  The rationale is that you do your diary card based on the week prior to group; therefore, with group being on Wednesday, Tuesday is close of business.

I had an annoying and blatantly obvious revelation today while I was chainsmoking in my car in an abandoned parking lot on my lunch break.  It became even clearer as the day went on, to the point that I’m finding myself observing my behavior and thinking, “How the hell did I not catch that behavioral phenomena before?” 

I am an emotionally reactive person.  I suppose I already knew this, or at least most of me did, but I was not willing to admit it.  And of course, like all of these little revelations that self-introspection brings, it annoys the crap out of me and leaves me shaking my head.  My interpretation of how my day went is based on how I’m feeling at that moment.  So.  Case in point being today’s situation (which is repeated non-stop in my life).  I had a pretty good day today.  I was up not-too-early and not-too-late, able to drink just the right amount of coffee.  I got a good parking spot, had positive interactions with my colleagues and other contacts, and really just plowed through my day and finished a lot of projects.  At the end of the day, I’m feeling good, ready to go home and see what could possibly make this day better.

On the way home, I lose an earring.  A new earring.  A new favorite earring.  A new favorite earring that I am convinced is good juju for Washburn Lady Blues games.  My mood went to hell almost immediately.  And it lasted for about ten minutes, because I remembered how great my day had been and how one earring isn’t going to change the world.  So I started cleaning and getting dinner together and putting away laundry.  And then, out of nowhere, everything started to get on my nerves.  My anxiety spiked, my cleaning became more frantic and the little voices inside my head were rapping about how dirty the house is and how lazy I am because I let Dr. Love take care of the laundry and how if only I could lose some weight I would have more energy and I could do it all myself.

So, that was about fifteen minutes ago.  I decided a little effectiveness was in order, a little self-soothe, distract.  Hell, you can lump it in to a bunch of different categories. 

So here I sit…smoking my e-cigarette, basking in the glow of my sunlamp, listening to my music, and blogging. 

And a state of near-perfect calm has come over me as I realize,

I’m hungry and dinner’s ready.  Time to eat!

Gnarls Barkely, Going On —

— another repeat, I realize…feel free to make some suggestions, as I could use an a new artist to obsess about. 🙂

Gimme a Break

This was written yesterday…

I have a shit-ton of radical acceptance to practice.  I am having a hard time accepting my current activity level.  I have to walk a lot (I mean A LOT) at work and at the end of the day, my legs hurt, my feet are swollen and aching, and my back is killing me.  It’s a lot of work hauling all this weight around, I realize, but DAMN.  In the past, I have always used walking as my exercise and as my stress relief, and now I am unable/unwilling/in.too.much.pain to walk when I get off work.  That stresses me out, totally and completely. 

I think it stresses me out for a lot of reasons.  After having my millionth anxiety attack of the week while at the dog park with Dr. Love and Wizzah, I packed things in and went to Mom’s.  Bottom line — I want every single thing in my life to be perfect RIGHT FUCKING NOW.  Not in a few months, a year, a couple of weeks.  Right now. 

If I were at my “perfect” size, I would weigh literally half as much as I do now.  That would still put me above my healthy BMI.  I look at that and it’s so friggin overwhelming.  I want it to happen yesterday.  Yes, all the walking at work, the eating Lean Cuisines and 101-Different-Ways-to-Eat-Chicken, the avoiding fast food will take it off eventually. 

And then I went and ate dinner, never to return to my computer…

UNTIL NOW:

Today was a much better day than yesterday.  Today, I had perspective.  I had the wise words of QoB and the Big Dog.  I had some time to think about things, some time to blog about things. 

It depends on the day how I feel about my exercise/weight situation.  After a day like today, knowing what I know now, walking as much as I walked today and BEING MINDFUL of exactly how much and how fast I was walking…I feel pretty good.  That and I feel like I have handled some rather awkward situations that have come up today in a way that is indicative of how I like to think of myself — strong, proud, good work ethic, not letting the day-to-day BULLSHIT and petty people get in my way, having the ability to control how I react to others and not letting others dictate how I will react.

My position at work is strange.  I am employed by the contract agency yet work almost exclusively with the Dept. of Corrections.  I said something to the MH secretary the other day about how it’s strange and she says, “well you could always come over and have lunch with us.”  Okay, so yes, I suppose I could.  But really, it’s uncomfortable.  I don’t know anything about any of what they are talking about, and they’re not really willing to let me in.  I am “THE NEW GIRL.”  They’re all still plotting out my strengths and weaknesses and how they will exploit them whether or not I will be the girl that they want to invite to play bingo on Thursday nights. 

And I spend a lot of time thinking about this rather awkward situation and don’t do much about it, other than be as friendly as possible.  It’s hard to go over there and not really have anyone to chat up, but I am not going to go out of my way to eat lunch over there every day just so they stop looking at me like I have an alien coming out of my forehead everytime I open my mouth. 

I think a lot of the problem is that I am the most “undereducated” person there, if you don’t count the activity therapist — but hey, she is a THERAPIST, so she’s got something going for her.  Hehe.  When I expressed my love for this job, for putting things together and all of the coordinating and phone calls and emailing and organizing messes, she told me that the last person quit because she wanted to do something more CLINICAL.  Like drive around drug icted felons in my personal vehicle all week and take them to Walmart?  Because that’s exactly what you can do with only a bachelor’s degree in psychology.  That’s about as “clinical” as it gets.  Yes, there is all the bossing around of other people and the micromanagement of their lives and the come-to-Jesus lectures that fall on deaf ears.  Oh yeah, and you can be on-call 24/7/365 and not get paid any extra for it.  And yes, you do have to take calls on Christmas, or on the day of your grandfather’s funeral service and make five additional calls so that you don’t have to leave graveside to hospitalize a meth freak. 

And I just realized that I have FINALLY let go of the desire to be a case manager, to do bachelor’s level clinical work.  Please Dear God, please let me just shoot off emails and talk on the phone all day AND GET PAID FOR IT. 

Now for some white boy cracka rap.  I still love it.  🙂

Eminem, Lose Yourself