New Theme

I chose a new theme for my blog because quite frankly, my old theme was depressing me.  Hopefully this will cheer me up a bit.

No Control/No Sanity

Have you ever gotten to the point where you are fully aware of your mental disorder and realize how bad it really is?

I’ve always been aware that I have a lot of anxiety, in fact, I have generalized anxiety disorder, but I always thought I was handling it fine.  “I’m a normal human being and I don’t have to let this control my life,” is what I always thought.  This should be true, but I’ve come to the understanding now that I cannot control this on my own.  It’s taken over my life in a huge way.  I have a mental disorder.  I have others, but this one is in complete control of my mind.

I see the bad patterns and tendencies that I have when it comes to anxiety, and I feel powerless to stop it.  I’ve been trying to get it under control for about two years now, and all I’ve done is become hyper-aware of it.  I then, in turn, get more anxious because I feel like such a failure in attempting to control it.

I am anxious every second of the day, nonstop.  Constant worrying, constant fear, sometimes even terror.  Mortality has been my biggest issue lately.  I lie in bed at night after checking on my daughter for the third time, worrying that she will somehow die in her sleep.  I made a hair appointment (only because I had a gift certificate that was about to expire), and all I could think about until we had to make the trip was that I was  going to kill my daughter and I in a car accident.  I’ve been worrying about my husband at work, and I have no reason too.  I worry about my daughter every second she is away from me, even when she’s just in her bedroom and the door is closed.  If it’s quiet for too long, this fear rises in me and I have to check on her.  Every time she is fine.

Those are the big ones that make me really feel my disorder.  I know it’s not normal to behave this way.  There is an immeasurable amount of smaller worries, and things that should never even hit the worry radar that are making me go insane, little by little.  I fret over EVERYTHING I say to people, analyzing it all for stupidity.  I’m so worried that I will sound dumb to someone.  Right now, I’m worried about a work project that I just finished.  I triple-checked everything, but I’m worried that I might have missed something, even though it would be far from a catastrophe if I did.

It’s hard to really express how horrible this is for me, how horrible it has been for awhile now.  I really hate living like this.  I’m not comfortable in my own skin, and especially not my mind.  I expect that people judge me every time they look at me, and I hate that I am me.  Sometimes I wonder why God even gave me an existence, or this existence in particular.  It’s not fun to be me right now.  It’s not fun to be a slave to a mental disorder.  I feel so utterly out of control of my thoughts.

I think a call to my doctor is in order.

Grief Quote

“Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind”

–Marcel Proust

I Grieve, Not Because of Death

Obviously, I haven’t posted in awhile.  The last few weeks have been insane to say the least.  My grandmother’s passing has opened up so many emotions that I never realized were there.  I have so much to write about today, but I’m not sure where to start.

It has been emotionally exhausting just to be in the presence of the rest of my family members during this time.  Even though she was 83 years old, her death was unexpected.  She had gone into the hospital and had surgery to remove an infection, but she was recovering very well.  So well, in fact, that they moved her from ICU to a rehabilitation center.  She was there for 3 days before a massive heart attack took her peacefully in her sleep.  My aunts were lost and confused.  I helped with the funeral arrangements, and it seems I was the one who had my shit together the most.  I didn’t shed a tear, although I did feel icky.

Being in my grandmother’s house the day of funeral was surreal.  It was packed with family members, but it felt wrong.  The one person who was ALWAYS sitting in the same chair every time you went there, was gone.  It also felt very wrong to be going through her things.  It felt very wrong that family members were dividing up her things amongst each other.  I understand that is what has to happen when someone dies, but I wasn’t ready for it.

This is the woman who emotional abused and neglected me for a long time, yet I miss her.  She was a constant in my life.  She was always there.  I came to the realization last week that I never thought I would see her die.  I’ve always expected to die young, always.  It might be because my mother died young, but I never thought about the future at all because I was sure that I wouldn’t have a long life.  I was ok with it, but it left me not ever contemplating the situation of my grandmother’s death.  Even when she was in the hospital, I never thought she was going to die.  It was a non-issue.  Now I can think of nothing else than mortality.

My grandmother kept everything.  Letters, medical records, pictures, keepsakes and even every single one of my report cards from 3rd grade (when I went to live with her) until I graduated high school.  It was kind of fun going through those.  I found the only “D” I ever received.  I also found a letter that was written by an old friend of my father’s family to my father about his behavior after my mother died.  I always loved this friend as a second mother.  There was one sentence in that letter that rocked my world.  It said, “On her death bed, she made you swear to never send her daughters to live with her mother.”  Imagine my jaw dropping.  My mother apparently knew that my grandmother would not be a good person to raise me if it was one of her last requests.  Of course, we know what happened.  My father didn’t give two shits what my mother wanted, and he did exactly what she didn’t want him to.

If I had even the slightest bit of love left for my father, it disappeared the moment I read that sentence.

I guess the bright side of my grandmother’s passing is that I was given her old cedar chest which, as it turns out, was my mother’s.  It was her hope chest.  I imagine my grandmother got it when my mother died, and I remember it always being at the foot of my grandmother’s bed.  It’s in rough shape, but I plan to restore it as a treasured memory of my mother.  I also got my mother’s graduation picture, which is just stunning.  I’d never seen it before, and I treasure it.  It’s beautifully framed, and sits in a prominent place in my living room.

I am worried about the aftermath of my grandmother’s passing.  I’m not sure what will happen to my family.  She was the matriarch after all.  I don’t want us to grow apart because she’s not around as a center point.

Mostly, I have a head full of new facts and emotions I’m not quite handling well.  I know it’s a process, like everything in life, but I’m letting myself get overwhelmed.  I’m letting myself hurt for awhile.  If I know my cycle, I’ll become numb after that and then I’ll start analyzing.

I hope the Good Lord gives me peace for awhile because it’s already been a really rough year.

Ending Lives, Beginning Sorrows

It’s hard to see someone at the end of their life.  I’ve, unfortunately, seen many.

When I was a small child, I watched my mother slowly deteriorate from colon cancer.  She struggled for three years before it took her.  I still remember seeing her for the last time.  My father took me to the hospital to see her shortly before her death.  At that point, there was nothing else they could do for her besides keep her comfortable.  She didn’t know me.  She didn’t see me.  She lay there with a glassy expression.  To be honest, I think she was already gone, but her body was still hanging on.  For years, that last moment with her haunted me.  This was my beautiful, strong, loving mother, and she was now unrecognizable to me.  The cancer ravaged her and turned her into someone I didn’t know.  To a six year old, that’s impossible to understand.  Over the years, my understanding became clear, but that memory will always linger.

My great-grandmother, my Nana, on my father’s side was one of the most beautiful women I have ever known.  I loved her so much, and held her close to my heart.  After my father abandoned me, she was devastated.  She lost contact with him, and subsequently, my sister, who he kept with him.  Before this, we would visit her at least once a month, and we always enjoyed our visits.  My sister and I were her only grandchildren, and she cherished us.  After my father gave me up, she held onto me tightly despite living across the country.  I wasn’t able to visit her for about 6 years, but we kept in constant phone contact, and she would send me care packages monthly.  When I finally visited her when I was 14, I didn’t want to leave.  I loved being there so much, it felt like home.  Alas, I couldn’t stay, but I was able to visit her again when I was 16, and again, it was wonderful.

I got a call just shortly after my 18th birthday that my Nana’s health was failing fast.  I flew down, and walked into her hospital room.  The doctor said that her kidney’s had all but shut down, and she wasn’t going to last long.  I told her that I came to see her and that I loved her while I held her hand.  Not 30 seconds later, she took her last breath.  To this day, I believe she held on just long enough for me to arrive.

My uncle on my mother’s side was so precious to me.  He stepped in and became my father figure when my own father didn’t want me.  He was there for me growing up whenever I needed him.  He was also an alcoholic.  Last summer, my aunt rushed him to the hospital because he was quite yellow.  Obviously jaundiced from his liver shutting down.  He got medical help too late.  Shortly after his liver shut down, his kidneys followed.  I went to the hospital to see him, knowing that he wasn’t going to make it.  He couldn’t wake up, and they were just keeping him comfortable.  I told him I loved him, and sat with him for awhile.  He died two days later.

Just recently, my grandmother went into the hospital for the last time.  She had surgery to clear up an infection, and it was touch and go for awhile.  She hadn’t been to the doctor in about 45 years, so she had a lot wrong with her.  She was in the intensive care unit for about a week after the surgery while they monitored her to see if she would recover.  Despite some episodes with her heart, she did start recovering.  I took my daughter up to the hospital to see her, and my grandmother was happy, smiling and said she felt good.  I held her hand for awhile, and so did my daughter.  That was the last time we saw her.  She was recovering so well, that they moved her to the rehabilitation center to recover even further.    She was there for a few days, and then she had a massive heart attack in her sleep.

Despite going through this multiple times, seeing someone at the end of their life doesn’t get any easier.  Every circumstance is different, every relationship is different.  The surrealism doesn’t change.  Even if you know that your loved one is going to pass, it doesn’t seem real for a time afterward.

It’s like a bad dream that you hope to wake up from, but never do.

Great News/Endless Possibilities

I hate to ever get too excited about anything.  I’ve learned from an early age that full-fledged optimism will get you nothing but disappointment.  But, I think some really wonderful things are on the horizon.

I got new furniture yesterday.  For the first time in my life, I’ve got a full living room set:  couch, loveseat, coffee table, end tables and lamps.  It all goes together beautifully, and I love it.  Now I just need to stop obsessing over something happening to it or being forced to take it back.  I know that won’t happen, but my anxiety is getting the best of me right now.  I also got a beautiful dining room set that I love, but again, worry, worry, worry about things I can’t control or things that won’t happen altogether.  Maybe once the novelty wears off I’ll be ok.

I got the best news last week.  My husband is FINALLY going to start working first shift.  He has been working third shift for two years, and has been living a separate life from our daughter and I.  His hours are so long, and his work so strenuous, that I was basically running the house by myself.  Now that he is going to first shift, he will be on a normal schedule, and will be able to help out a lot more around the house.  We’ll also finally be able to plan things to do as a family because he won’t have to sleep during the day.  It’s really going to be wonderful.

I won’t have to try to squeeze dinner into a ridiculously small time frame so he can eat before he leaves for work.  I will be able to workout in a gym because I won’t have to get home right away after work because he has to leave for work.  We’ve also talked about all of us getting on a low-carb meal plan so we can get healthier.  We’ll finally be able to clean out our spare room so I can turn it into a craft room/study.

The act of him going to first shift has my mind spinning with the wonderful possibilities.  There’s so much that I want to do, and will finally be able to because we don’t have to work around his schedule.

The best part about this news?  We’ll finally be a family again.

Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse – 1/28/11

Just a quick note to say that there is a new issue of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.  The World As I See It is hosting it this month.  I entered my blog post entitled Life Experiences this time.

If you are a child abuse survivor, or this issue touches you in anyway, I urge you to check it out.

The Mind Knows Best

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all it’s contents”

–H.P. Lovecraft (The Call of Cthulhu)

This is my favorite quote.  Ever since I read The Call of Cthulhu, it’s stuck with me.  I interpret his meaning to be, that if we recalled everything that we’ve ever seen, done or know…we’d lose our minds.  Madness was such a focal point of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories.

A recurring theme in his stories focuses on a world that stays just outside human perception, and those unlucky fools who glimpse this world in any way, become insane.  The Other Gods and their role in the world are too alien and horrible for the human mind to fathom.  They are the very essence of insanity and horror.  Some things we just shouldn’t know about, if for no other reason than to save our sanity.

As a survivor going through the healing process, I feel like this sometimes.  Whenever I have a flashback, or finally remember in detail a specific memory that I have suppressed.  Sometimes I wish those memories would go right back to the corner of my brain where they came from.  Sometimes uncovering things is too intense to have any benefit whatsoever.  Sometimes I really wonder why in the hell I want to recall the terrible things that happened to me.  I know I can’t stop the memories from coming, but when I dig into my head to actively try to recall certain things, I always wish I hadn’t.  It takes days to recover from sometimes.

It may not be the healthiest thing in the world to not want to remember everything, but it saves my sanity not to.

What am I not remembering?  I have holes in my memory banks, and there’s still a lot of memories that are only partially there.  My husband can tell me story upon story about his childhood.  Books and books of memories.  I have a handful at the most.  I think there’s more abuse there that I don’t remember.

I’ve recalled enough trauma to last me a lifetime already, and I have no idea what the hell else is in there.  I don’t want to remember anything else.  That’s my mind saving my sanity.  That’s my mind having mercy on me.

Health Quote

“He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.”

–Arab Proverb

Working On It…

I’m so discouraged today.  I know…what’s new, right?

Through some encouragement from some online friends, I drug myself to Curves last night.  I wanted to get signed up and take a tour.  I really, really want to start exercising, but I’ve never joined a gym before, so I have a lot of questions.  Well, they were closed.  It was so frustrating.  It took so much energy and encouragement just to go there.  I’ve never taken that step before when it comes to my health.  It was my own fault for not checking their hours, but that doesn’t make me feel any less disheartened.

I am determined not to give up though.  I’ve changed my eating habits a lot already.  I’m on a very, very low-fat diet to help regulate my digestive tract.  I have Gastric Dumping Syndrome, which means that most of the food I eat hits my small intestine with little to no digestion.  A low-fat diet is supposed to really help alleviate this problem, and honestly, losing weight on top of it is just a bonus.  This syndrome causes me pain all the time, and frankly, I’d like to be able to eat out from time to time.  It’s really embarrassing and disheartening that I can’t ever eat too far from a restroom.

I’m making good healthy lifestyle changes.  I’m even working on cutting down my caffeine intake, and hopefully I can cut it out completely before too long.  I don’t want to be dependent on anything.  I’m tired of substances having control over my life.

This brings me to alcohol.  I have cut down, but I’m still drinking a couple beers in the evening to help me sleep.  My doctor prescribed Trazodone to help me sleep, but I guess I don’t trust it.  I know beer works to calm my nerves and allow me to sleep…eventually.  The trazodone does as well, but I feel hung over the next day after taking them.  With beer, I don’t.  I know I need to stop drinking altogether, even if it’s not much.  It’s not conducive to weight loss, and I’m relying on them as a sedative.  It would be fantastic if I could fall asleep without an aid, but I just can’t.  I tried and failed for too long, and I don’t want to anymore.  When you’re an insomniac, you finally get to a point where you will do just about anything to get a good nights sleep.  Nothing else matters.  I need to keep taking the trazodone, and let it work.  Maybe once I’m used to it, I won’t feel hung over every morning.

So here I am…still depressed as hell.  I’m not real hopeful about much right now, but I’m not going to stop trying to get healthier.  I don’t have a choice anymore.  If I don’t actively try to make my life better, it’s not going to happen.

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