Building A Life Worth Living, Week Four

life worth living

 

The tiny miracles, true friendship, amazing family, beloved critters, and lovely events in my life that have made life worth living this week:

1) The ability to send an “unpublished” post to a few friends, have those friends reply in earnest, and wind up with an email chain full of great advice and love.  Thank you…stuff like that makes my week, any week.

2) The beauty that I was able to start again with Goddess of Mindfulness, the ORIGINAL therapist to end all therapists.  She has been a great support to me in what has been a really difficult week.  I have never had a mental health professional be more supportive and more willing to spend the time.  And to genuinely care — that might be the best part.

3) That a tiny miracle, a new baby, may be growing in the belly of one of my dearest friends.  That I will be able to be witness to this little one from pregnancy on up, is precious.

4) The trust that QoB and the Big Dawg have in Blue Cat and myself, to run both stores while they are away at a conference.  The Rock and I did it last year, and it seems that the Big Dawg is getting better at ceding intense control.  That, and we’re trusted — that is the big part.

5) The resiliency of the Kizzer Wizzer.  She had been so accustomed to me being at home 24/7 when I was sick, and now it seems I am gone all the time.  She has transitioned beautifully and is still a happy little dog — she gives me no reason for guilt.

6) The ability to end the week on a high note, feeling good, feeling positive and optimistic, and most importantly, living in the  moment.  The weenie roast at the end of the week was perhaps the best time I have had, with friends, in quite some time.

7) The reaffirmation that I made the right decision in not having children.  It is lovely to watch friends’ and families’ children grow, but I know deep in my  heart that I could never do it myself.

8) The wisdom, courage, and forethought to remove myself from toxic situations before they become too ugly.  Truly beautiful wise mind.

9) Noticing the serious side effects of a temporary medication after one day, being mindful to it, and deciding to not continue.  My mental health is a priority to me, and I would rather have painfully swollen feet and ankles, than to be up peeing every two hours, all night long.

10) The sheer joy of having a big bag of ice in the refrigerator, so I can have my water as cold as I like it, thus motivating me to drink more water.

Ten Things of Thankful

As I start this post, I have my fingers crossed that it will go as well as the one I did two weeks ago.  I had a record-high comment count for that day!  I think I’m getting the hang of photos and I’ve got all sorts of things to be grateful for, so let’s begin!

1) As mentioned above, I was blown away last time by all of the TToT team members comments. The bloggers who sponsor this link-up are amazing, and, when I did this two weeks ago, made me feel more welcomed in their space than I ever thought possible in a link-up.  That being said, they make an obvious choice to lead off Ten Things of Thankful.  I am thankful I found the linkup and I am thankful for the TToT team’s big welcome.

via Mohit Mago

via Mohit Mago

 

2)  Feeling a whole lot of thankful for our main employee (like, other than those in the fam) and my dad for saving my cookies on a big order today.  My back is feeling better, but I’m not up to hand-selecting 40 extra-large goldfish and dishing up 12 dozen minnows.  They must have sensed my panic when the guy placed his order, standing by the bait tanks.  I was able to pass the task off to them easily and go do what’s more my thing — bullshitting and ringing up happy customers.  😀

No, not that kind of goldfish.  Don't I wish!  As a sidenote, these are special goldfish crackers, that the blogger where this photo originated made into a recipe he calls pirhanna goldfish.  Go check them out, they look amazing!   (via http://thatdarneddad.com

No, not that kind of goldfish. Don’t I wish! As a side note, these are special recipe goldfish crackers, called piranha goldfish. Go check them out at That Darned Dad; the recipe looks delish and oh-so-easy!

 

3) Last TToT, I gave thanks for the ever useful, much needed hair tie.  Well, now I have to say I am ever so grateful for my hairbrush.  A lot like hair ties, when one loses their hairbrush, bad things can happen.  Try sleeping on wet-from-the-shower hair without brushing it first.  Good thing I had a hair tie (and a found hairbrush) the next morning!  Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

It was actually a little worse than this.  Picture hair about that big, but much more curly and frizzy. The originators of this picture actually have some good tips on how to repair frizziness.  Check them out here!

It was actually a little worse than this. Picture hair about that big, but much more curly and frizzy.
The originators of this picture actually have some good tips on how to repair frizziness. Check them out here!

 

4) My mom’s BFF, Glo.  She is an amazing woman, known best for her authentic Mexican cooking and looking perfectly dressed and accessorized for every occasion.  I’m actually not sure if I’ve ever seen her without earrings or at least some form of makeup on.  Glo has been taking me to church with her and helping me on my journey to perhaps become Catholic.  Glo is about the sweetest woman I’ve ever known.  She would do (and does) do anything for anyone.  I feel very blessed to have her in my life.  She is my mom’s best friend, and my good friend by proxy.

See more of these here

See more of these here

 

5) I am thankful that my friend and fellow blogger, Marilyn Armstrong, made it through serious cardiac surgery without much of a hitch and is now resting at home.  She can now hang out with her beloved dogs and amazing husband Garry Armstrong.  Marilyn has been a good bloggie friend to me now for months, commenting on my posts and exchanging emails.  She is one of the wisest women I know and I cherish our friendship.  In addition to friendship, her book, 12-Foot Teepee, sparked the desire to start getting in better touch with my God.  I am very thankful for Marilyn and am excited to see the day when we can email and chitchat back and forth again.

6) On a related note, I am very thankful that my friend has her husband, Garry Armstrong, to rely on while she is resting.  He was so very faithful to her blog while she was in the hospital, giving daily update posts.  Garry was a world-renowned TV news reporter back in his heyday, and you could see it come through in his posts.  He, of course, had to put aside his fears and worries as a  husband for a bit, and let all of Marilyn’s bloggie friends (and there are many) know how she was.  He is actually still making the posts and I know that Marilyn is leaning on him in her recovery.  He’s just an all-around good guy, as far as I can tell, and I enjoy the conversations I have with him as well.

7)  I am thankful for my parents’ dog, Miss Kitty, for putting Rascal’s fur shedding into perspective.  The only difference is that Miss Kitty lives outside, and Rascal is very much an inside pup.  While I still haven’t (and may never) get over the incessant shedding and continuous sweeping and vacuuming, I can take it as it comes and realize, as with most things, it could be worse.

I unfortunately don't have a picture of Rascal, but this one looks a lot like him.  He is a Lab/Pitt/Spaniel mix.  He sheds like a mother.

I unfortunately don’t have a picture of Rascal, but this one looks a lot like him. He is a Lab/Pitt/Spaniel mix. He sheds like a mother.

 

8) I am thankful for my mom loaning me her digital camera, after DSB broke mine.  I need to test it out, get it going, get used to it.  I was shocked to find I have no pictures of Rascal, and no current pictures of Kizzie.  This just will not do, because they will probably be gracing my TToT more than once.  Supposedly it’s just a point-and-shoot camera, and any idiot can use it.  We’ll see — I’ve never had much luck before.

This is just about exactly the camera I'll be working with.  Suggestions and tips and advice are welcome in the comments section or by email!

This is just about exactly the camera I’ll be working with. Suggestions and tips and advice are welcome in the comments section or by email!

 

9) I am thankful for DSB.  I am always thankful for DSB, actually, but I don’t always mention it.  When I hurt my back, he took one for the team several times and helped me out around the house.  He really isn’t doing very well medically, so that made it all the more special that he directed what little stamina or energy he does have into helping me.  We celebrated our two year anniversary on March 27th, and actually celebrated-celebrated last week, when we had a little extra money.  I bought him a filet knife, knife sharpener, and fishing license and made him banana pudding.  He didn’t buy a present, but gifts aren’t all material things.  He showed me, in his own way, how much he loves me.  I hope this is a love that is meant to last forever, I really do.  Sometimes I have doubts, but then we spend five hours together just talking and bullshitting and joking around, and those five hours feel like five minutes, and I think — how could this  NOT be the love of my life?

 

love-inspirational-daily

 

 

10) I am thankful to many blog friends out there, too many to name.  You consistently read and comment, you email, we chat back and forth in the comments section.  You know who you are and I want you to know that you mean the world to me.  I’ve never had friends before like I have friends now, and I never want to go back.  All of the connections I have made, the wonderful and witty and new and inspiring writing and thoughts I have been made privy to, the sense of community.  Love.  Love.  Love.

Landing the Right Job

Today’s Day Eight Reverb13 prompt is as follows:reverb13 - 400px

What went right in 2013?  Maybe you didn’t quit smoking or lose those pounds or go to Paris, but something did work, did happen, and/or was realized. What was it?

In 2013, a lot of things went right.  A few things went wrong, and a lot more fell through the cracks, in between.  They just “went.”  As DSB says, “it is what it is.”  He actually says that so much it is annoying, but I think after reflecting upon this past year, there is some truth to it.

Sometimes we have to accept our circumstances for what they are.  And I have had to do a lot of accepting over the past year.  This coming April will be two years that I have not worked a “regular, full-time” job.  I have been working 15 hours each week for my parents in a very low-stress, flexible way.  I didn’t work much last year (2012) because I was struggling so much with my mental health, but I worked the full season this year, and I think that is definitely something that has “gone right.”

My little job gives me a sense of purpose and makes me feel like I am helping my parents out, which is especially a good feeling, because they do so much for me above and beyond.  My little job gives me structure, too.  Three days a week, I know where I will be and what I will be doing.  It isn’t a glamorous job, but it is rewarding and easy.  I get to interact with people, use my brain a little, and get out of the house.  That may not sound like much, but I think it is a lot of what is helping me keep it together.

Unlike any other job I have had, I have never called-in last minute, never faked sick, never walked off.  I’m not sure I’ve even had a sick day, although I did miss a couple of days when I broke my foot early 2013 and missed a few days when I did my last group therapy session.  That is a new record for me.  I think most of it has to do with the fact that I have a lot of respect for my parents and I don’t want to put them in a bind.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, job-wise.  I know I can’t return to the stress of working in the mental health field, and I probably can’t manage full-time employment.  Hopefully I can keep going on working for my parents for some time to come.

Figuring Things Out

So after a week’s worth, possibly more, of posts about depression, despair, hatred, anger, misery, so-on-and-so-forth, I’m on an upswing.  For the past two or three days, I have been feeling much more like the “alive” Rose.  I have been doing more, accomplishing more, taking enjoyment in everyday activities, doing things I like to do, and definitely (I think, anyway) being a more enjoyable person to be around.

So what does this all feel like?  Well, it feels like I’ve had a lot of caffeine, but in a good way.  I feel extremely, almost scarily clear and focused.  I feel like I can accomplish tasks that seemed insurmountable just days ago.  I am facing upcoming rainy, Fall weather, and I feel like I’ll get through it without a glitch.

I have had a lot of structure the last two to three days, and I know that helps.  I worked on Saturday and Sunday, and had several things going on today where I was busy all day.  I accomplished a lot at the store and feel really good about the direction the winter season will take for my job.  I will be learning QuickBooks (book-keeping software) and more about Excel, and am quite excited about that.  I am even more excited that, in learning these things, I will be able to help my mom more and I can do the rote work and she can focus on the more complicated tasks.  It boils down to me being the QuickBooks bitch, and I’m okay with that.

I have decided to keep going to group, for now, even though I was thinking of not doing it to save money (it’s about a 30 minute drive from here).  Group has been really helpful for me, and I really do enjoy it, so when I brought up the possibility of quitting with QoB, she suggested to me that I might occasionally be able to afford extra money for gas.  Problem solved!

I don’t know why I hadn’t asked her about it before.  I just keep trying to stretch my weekly money as far as it will go, and know that there are some things that I once considered essential or wouldn’t have batted an eyelash over buying are now just not in the cards.  I have come to accept my more limited budget (I know, it’s been over a year now, but it’s a lot to come to grips with!) and be more creative with my money.  I also get a lot of help from QoB and the Big Dawg, which I couldn’t be more grateful for, and, frankly, would be up shit creek without their assistance.  My dad helps, too, when he can, and that is also appreciated.  Every little bit helps.

I think the key to all of this happiness and clear-headedness and contentment is keeping to a schedule, staying structured, and getting things accomplished.  I know this group I have been doing has done wonders at getting me to achieve goals I didn’t think were possible two months ago, like showering semi-regularly (I know, gross, but huge accomplishment).  It also helps me to have a job, even if it is a bit of a cush job and very low-stress.  I think I need to keep on with the structure, throw in a bit of sunlamp, and I am going to have a very functional, quasi-happy Fall.

And hooray for Ritalin.  Just sayin’.

This and That

Overall, the last week has gone rather well, especially the latter part.  I worked Thurs-Sat, we were quite busy, and I handled it.  I went to a busy grocery store on Friday at 5:00 p.m., which was actually quite brave of me.  Friday-payday-just-off-work crowd had the place slammed and I am usually so not good with that.

But, I was on a mission and I survived.  With barely any anxiety.  As I texted my mom…”I killed that bitch!”  And I rewarded myself with a dollar vanilla cone from Sonic.  Victory never tasted so good.  I have barely been able to step foot in that grocery store, crowded or not, for over a year due to social anxiety.  I honestly don’t know what came over me, other than I was just plain determined.

I saw the doctor on Monday and he said my foot was still “cracked,” but then he poked and prodded it, determined I wasn’t in any pain, and told me I could take the boot off and resume my normal business.  So, I did.

By Thursday, an hour into my shift at the store, I was calling my mom and asking her to bring me my boot.  Foot is totally killing me.  Worse than right before I took  it off.  I am beyond bummed about it and pretty pissed at my doctor, and even more so with myself for listening to my quack doctor.  I have an appointment with an orthopedic specialist on Monday for a second opinion, so we will see how that goes.

DSB sees the urologist and gets the results of his tests on Monday, as well.  Monday could be a good or crap day, depending.  Right now, I’m just trying not to anticipate and to live in the moment.  Adaptive denial, I believe they call it.

QoB has been out of town since Thursday and is not due back until Tuesday.  Life is a little different around the edges without her around in many ways, but it seems like she is having fun and a much-needed vacation.  It’s a good thing, because once the season starts at the stores, she won’t have a lot of extra time.

I am still feeling like I have to explain every move and emotion to DSB (through no fault of his own), and it’s not a good feeling.  I still feel like I have to be on the defensive, and it doesn’t feel good.  I think I have some past trauma stuff popping up when it comes to all of that, and I am hopefully going to be working on all of that soon in therapy. I think it is much needed, especially for the sake of DSB and mine’s relationship.

Wow, I just re-read that last paragraph and it is just now making sense that the way I act in this relationship could be influenced by past abusive relationship.  My brain has been in complete denial!  Off to do some research!

Finding Meaning in a Bait Shop

Almost one year has passed I stopped working any sort of formal job. When I quit my last position, I was sure that I would find something else, once the mania and depression and overall craziness blew over.  Sure that I would breeze right back into the mental health field, armed with my several years of experience and (nearly-useless) Bachelor’s Degree.  It turned out that, instead of this happening, as had been the pattern for several years (work, severely decompensate, period of unemployment, back to stressful job, rinse and repeat), I ended up choosing another route.

And it was a route that I was not altogether convinced, at first, would even work out, nevertheless be the best thing that had happened to me.  Every member of my treatment team encouraged me to file for disability.  My family and DSB and everyone I asked agreed.  No one thought that I should go back and repeat the stressful job to severe decompensation to unemployment and back again cycle.  The cycle that has gone on my entire adult life.

I had a good part of my identity tied up in my career, as do many people.  I was terrified that I wouldn’t be working with the mentally ill, that I wouldn’t be advocating for them, that I wouldn’t be able to help people get up out of the mire.  Most of my self-worth was entrenched in this work, and I just didn’t know how I would fare without it.

I filed for SSDI/SSI in April of 2012 and was approved in June of 2012.  I didn’t receive a check until November 2012, but thankfully my parents and DSB were able to support me during that time.  It wasn’t my concern at the time, but I never wanted for anything.  I was too busy being depressed and irritable and generally unwell.  

Time has passed and I really feel like I have evened out.  I’m would even consider myself content, happy on a good day.  Not working took quite a bit of getting used to, but I found things to do to fill up the time and I am working at my parents’ businesses on a very part-time basis.  DSB and I are able to spend a lot of time together, which is simply wonderful, and I also spend quite a bit of time with my mom, QoB.  I think not working has really allowed my relationships to get stronger, as well as allowing me to focus on what is really important:  love and family.

I will be working more this summer, as my parents’ businesses are somewhat seasonal, but I have worked out a schedule with BigDog and QoB so that I will only be working about 12-15 hours per week.  I am pretty sure I can handle that and I know it will be a huge help to them to not have to hire someone for those hours.

Working at the shops really gives me a sense of achievement, as it puts me out in front of the public and forces me to interact with others.  In other words, it puts me out of my comfort zone, and that is a good good good thing.  Building mastery and building structure, both DBT skills, are very key to my success as far as my mental state goes.  I need to feel useful, like I am challenging myself.  I also need to stay busy with structure in my life.  This small bit of work does that.

Not everyone with a mental illness has the incredible support system that I do, and I am immensely grateful that I have several people that I can always count on.  I don’t think I would be faring as well if not for these people, and for them, I am eternally grateful.

Invalidation and Willingness to Make Change

This post is really giving me fits.  I want to blog about having worked the last six out of eight days, and how that has affected me, but I immediately begin to invalidate my own feelings both in the post in and my head.

“Well, you didn’t work that hard!”

“It’s not like you were always there by yourself!”

“Stop complaining!  You complain too much!”

“Why can’t you just help your folks out for once and not be such a big baby about it?!”

Sigh.  I feel anxious today.  And yesterday and the day before, and maybe a little bit some other days, too.  I hadn’t taken an Klonopin PRN in over a month, and I took one today.  Just couldn’t stand it anymore and DSB was the one who suggested it.  Made me feel ok about it, like I’m not a failure for taking a PRN, that it isn’t some cnegative indicator of my personal character.  I love the way he can make me feel all those things with just a few simple words.

There were some positives to working so much — I got out and about, had some social interaction, was forced into showering and wearing decent clothes.  On the other hand, I let things slide a bit at home, as far as not keeping up with the dishes as well, or the laundry.  I also didn’t practice the DBT skills that help me “make it” every day…self-soothe, distract, PLEASE, effectiveness.  I did, however, use skills that I don’t normally use, like building mastery, opposite-to-emotion, turning the mind, and willingness.

Overall, I think working some is positive for me, but that this was just a bit of a leap.  Maybe next time take it a little slower.  I’d like to work some this summer, but know that I can’t do a huge work-week.  This realization has bounced into my head several times since I started on disability, and it always stings like a sumbitch.  I can’t, and won’t, let it keep getting me down.   I have to find middle ground, somewhere within myself, and I can, and I will.