tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

Friday, February 22, 2013

Today I was going to attend my first group therapy meeting. This group is for people with "mood disorders", a wide spectrum. I don't quite know why I'd go.. it's only a recommended part of my care plan. I suppose I'd go to compare my level of crazy to other people's level of crazy. But as I said.. I was "going to go". Oh well, there's always next Friday.

I mentioned this to my mother this morning. Her words exactly were "moody I get, but mood DISORDER... I'm not buying it"...
I would like to challenge her to step inside my brain for a week.. Hell, two or three days would probably do it. To have her know what it's like to not be able to control the things you say, or how you react, or the things you do. To not be able to trust how you're feeling from one moment to the next. To watch the people you love walk around you on eggshells for fear of angering you. To lose friendships and relationships over the years for no reason other than "you're mean" or "you're too difficult" or "you're too uncaring". To be happy, then sad, then angry, then happy again, all in the course of a day, and sometimes less. And to positively HATE yourself through all of it.
What shocks me is that this comes from a woman who enabled her alcoholic husband for as long as I've been alive. He who is obviously a classic bipolar 2, and who probably self medicates with the alcohol...

So far I've heard the terms "bipolar 2" and "anxiety disorder" from my doctor, my therapist, the intake LCSW, the psych nurse, and my psychiatrist. Two of them also threw around the term "personality disorder"...

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a sucker for labels. Just because they say it doesn't mean I believe it or "buy it" either. But since I've known my doctor for many years, and my therapist has known me for about a year, I think they might know what they're talking about. And after talking with me and my husband (who knows me better than anyone), the intake LCSW, the psych nurse, and the psychiatrist all seem to agree with the first two. So who the hell knows....

You know what? I know. I know me. I know when I'm "not okay".. When I'm "my normal". Which as of late, has been WAY too often. And so, I'll get the help that I KNOW I need. Regardless of whether or not you "buy it".

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel like telling the entire world to piss off and go eat a big fat piece of shitcake?

Yeah, I'm having one of those.





Saturday, February 16, 2013

And most recently...


I share too much through blogging. Personal stuff. And I'm going to do it again.
Maybe so that someone, somewhere, can relate and have an "ah-ha" moment. Maybe because talk-therapy is essentially as effective as medications. Maybe because blatant honesty is liberating. Or maybe it's just because I'm impulsive. Or because I'm somehow both an introvert and an exhibitionist (I know, I'm a walking contradiction).
Or maybe it's just because I'm sick of seeing in everyone's eyes how lucky they think I am, how good they think I have it, how wonderful and pretty my life is.
I'm sick and tired of pretending to be normal.

I have a great husband. (Mostly) happy, and healthy children. A beautiful home. Good friends. A wonderful (close and extended) family. Some exceptional qualities. Some average qualities. A few hobbies. I have my health. I am, "normal". 
Although, I've always known that I'm not.
For about the last 20 years or so.

This is "my normal"...

It wasn't until 6 months ago that I seriously (and begrudgingly) sought help for being "my normal". I've recognized for probably 10 years or better that I should. But always claimed- I'm fine the way I am. I am content. I’m fine. Why bother.

Over the years, people (including myself) have always made jokes about it...
I'm such an ogre. I'm so difficult. I'm bitchy. I'm irritable. So moody. So stoic, so serious. Rarely smiling. Such a grouch. Mean, uncaring, cold, apathetic (I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard those words)...
And other jokes too...
You got ANOTHER dog? You got ANOTHER cat? You bought a new car AGAIN? You moved AGAIN? You're going back to school AGAIN? You changed jobs AGAIN? You've been married how many times? You changed your hair AGAIN? You're engaged ALREADY? You broke up with him AGAIN?
(Fun fact- My children are the only thing I've never traded-in, changed-up, returned, or walked away from.. god knows I've thought about it)

I want to have a baby. I don't want a baby. I want to look for a new home. I want to relocate. I want a job. I don’t want to work. I'll go back to school. I'll sell my house. I'll get a divorce. I'll go spend a hundred dollars on shit I don't need instead of paying the phone bill. I got a cat. And a dog. Then some fish. Bought a new bracelet. Got a hobby. Colored my hair. Got bored, found a new hobby. Sold a dog. Quit school. Spend another hundred bucks on useless shit instead of paying the electric bill. Got a new job. Another cat. Another dog. Cut my hair off. Traded in my car I just bought... and on, and on, and on...
Fill the void, fill the void, fill the void... But... WHAT void?

I wake unhappy most days. Although there's not really that much to be unhappy about. (Reference all the above claims that make me normal.. kids, husband, home, health, family...) But I am unhappy. Never satisfied.  Always wanting something more. Something different. And when I'm not irritable, or angry, or excitable, intolerant, sad, or exuberantly ecstatic, I'm simply flat. Complacent. Indifferent. And I was that way before I started medicating, so it's not the meds.

And those "flat" times are when I am most content... (Unfortunately they are also the most infrequent)..
No manic episodes... Of energy, compelling me to stay up all night working on crafts. Or of impulsivity, when I go shopping for a new car, another animal, or just a $100 of useless shit at the thrift store. Or of anger, wanting to just break something, having to hibernate because I can't stand to be around the people I supposedly love…  can't even stand to be around myself. Or of obsession, when I'll sit and research/read about something, ANYTHING, for hours and hours, literally. Or clean the house until my knuckles are bare and my blisters are bleeding (unfortunately, that particular obsessive behavior doesn't happen nearly enough). Or of depression, when I feel that no matter how "good" my life is, I'm a failure. No one sees me, accepts me, knows me, or loves me. Or of exhaustion, when I can't (or just won't) get out of my jammies and off the couch for days.
Don't get me wrong, I have happy manic moments too. Moments when there's absolutely nothing wrong with the world, and I'm so happy I could spew rainbows and butterflies and dance for hours. Those moments typically coexist with/manifest into the energetic moments, or the impulsive moments. Those are the moments where I’m so exuberant, excitable, and entertaining, that everyone at work jokes and sais- Crista must have remembered to take her meds today! Ha ha!

My brain doesn't stop moving from one second to the next, but things don't always fire properly...   It moves too fast. I can't focus... Oh look, something shiny!  I can't finish projects (from a simple task to a college degree). I lose track of time. I can't remember things. Phone numbers, conversations, names,
places. In fact, most of my memories (from a year ago, or from 20 years ago) are generated by photographs, not actual events. Seriously. Imagine how that feels for a minute.
Add the "mood swings" (we'll just call them that for now) to all of that, and it's a recipe for a terribly confused mind.

I have a high level of anxiety. Which is a lot different from "I worry a lot", trust me.
I don't like driving long distances. I don't like being away from home for too long. I won't fly, I'm afraid I'll die. I won't go in a boat, I'm afraid I'll die.  I won't let my kid do anything fun (like wrestle, or ride four wheelers, or fire a rifle).. because, yup, you guessed it, I'm afraid he'll die.
I stress to the max whenever someone I love is doing any number of these things.. Yup, ‘cause I'm afraid they'll die. I constantly worry about my children when they're not right under my nose. (Sidenote, I affectionately call this particular problem my “mortality anxiety”).
In any “normal” situation, I (subconsciously) paint vivid, paranoid, and unrealistic pictures in my mind of what “might” happen, and cling to them with ferocity. Not willingly, of course! Who in their right mind would do that to themselves??
Yeah, it's a lot different than- "I worry a lot".
Add to this weird anxiety, something new (within the last several months).. I’m super “sensitive” (for lack of a more descriptive word) to sounds and noises. And I’m not talking about typical irritants like nails on a chalkboard, or a large noise that jumps the shit out of you...
A door closing, a child singing, people talking near you at the grocery store.. Hell, you could just say my name and I’ll become irritated and/or startled. I wish I could explain this better, but my vernacular fails me…
And heaven forbid you actually do alarm me (accidentally or not)… I’ll take your head off. Literally. Just ask my husband.

Speaking of husband, I'm on my third. Ha! That's so funny!
Seriously though... it's pretty goddamn difficult to form or maintain relationships when you feel like people don't (or can't) "get you". Or just can't accept you, once they start figuring it out…
I'm all too familiar with the whole- this isn't what I signed on for- mentality...


I didn't have a tumultuous childhood. My Mom was, and still is awesome. My Dad was, and still is, a raging alcoholic. But then again, so was I up until about 8-10 years ago. Thank god I smartened up. I don't do drugs, nor have I ever. I was never abused. There's no hidden trauma (as far as I know). There is however, a family history of depression and mood disorders. Most untreated. There's nothing for me to "blame" this on, other than perhaps genetics. Although at my initial therapy sessions as an adolescent (which led to years of off and on counseling through adulthood), I tried to blame it all on something. Anything.

Eventually I got older, and wise enough to know that there's nowhere to place the blame.. realized that I'm just wired differently. Not that that makes it any easier to understand or deal with... Most of the time it just makes it even more frustrating, and difficult to accept.
I've always said that the truly insane are a very fortunate group of people, mainly because they have no idea that they are insane.

I've seen several therapists over the years.  Over the years, my Doctor has tried a few different medications. She said then, and still says now; it's probably a mood disorder, probably bipolar. But she'd rather me have a psych eval to help figure it all out. She prescribed me anti-depressants a few years back. Unfortunately, they made me a bit crazy. Okay, maybe more than a bit. And so I quit them, and said- screw this. Fast forward a few years, and I'm trying some different "mood stabilizers". Which seem to work for a while, then I plateau, and eventually regress. Fall into the same "moods", confusion, anxiety, irritability, the same obsessive patterns.. Into "my normal".. She set me up for a psychiatric evaluation last year. I skipped it. We try another "mood stabilizer” recently. That one made me a bit crazy too. So we quit the meds and she sets me up for anther psych eval...
I guess I'll go.

I'm what normal looks like.

Let's get up to speed...

Wow. A year to date since I've written in this blog. I've been limiting my blogging to facebook. Although I admit, I haven't written much there either.
But since I've now payed for a domain name, I suppose I'd better bring you up to speed...

The following is one long blog; journal entries ("facebook notes") that have been written this past year in order to get up to date.
Get comfy, happy reading...


May 19, 2012

I really haven’t written anything since February? Wow, I’m slacking. Really though, anything noteworthy has already been written in status updates. This is basically just a longer form of status update.
And of course, therapy.
So, let the session begin.

I’m all moved into this beautiful house. Sharla’s house.
It’s funny, I’ve always had house envy with this place, ever since it was built 8 years ago. And now I live here.
Now I just have to figure out a way to consider it my house, and not my sister’s house. Perhaps time will solve that.

Then there’s that other house. The house that I’m barely holding onto. Actually, I’m holding onto it emotionally. Financially? Ha. That’s a whole different story.
I shame myself for being hasty. For having unrealistic expectations that Fitz Lane would sell quickly. And even more unrealistic expectations that we could keep up financially with both houses. The mortgage company is breathing down my neck. I wish I hadn’t asked my parents to co-sign. But I did. And they are loving and generous, and so they did. And now their credit is paying for it. If it weren’t for that, I probably would have let the bank have the house, maybe long ago.

I thought that when the move was over, things would normalize. And maybe that’s true. But I guess the move isn’t really over. There are still miscellaneous things (in fact, quite a lot) at the old place. In just the house alone. Box springs, desks, toys, clothes… stuff. And lots of it.
And in the garage, there’s a veritable toy/furniture/scrap/junk graveyard.
It’s really the most overwhelming thing. I have no idea what to do with it all. Many things are from the old farm. Much of it far too heavy to move again (an 800 pound piano, and a 500 pound old farm tool sharpening wheel, for instance). And I thought it would be a good idea to have all those things from the farm, for some reason. ‘For some reason”… I know for what reason… Because at that point, I thought I’d never sell. I thought I’d stay on the Lane forever.
My, how things change.

It’s so overwhelming, thinking about the Lane. The finances. The emotional ties. The junk, the cleaning, the upkeep… And so instead, I find things to do to keep my mind occupied. Refinishing furniture. Yard saling. Mixing new oil concoctions. Turning my black soap bars into liquid…
All fun, yet very counterproductive.
All they do is please me for a short time. Take my mind off things. And then the things are still there. And they still need taking care of, worrying over, stressing about.
The things don’t go away.

I hate that house that. I hate many of the memories that were made there. I hate that it is this all-consuming financial thing that’s hanging over the heads of my parents. I hate that it and the garage are still full of crap that I have no friggin idea what to do with.
And I miss that house. I miss the “prestige” of being a “home-owner”. I miss my cave. I miss watching the kids ride bikes on the long paved road. I miss the apple trees, the lilac trees. I miss the 2 acre lawn that I complained about mowing.
I miss the Lane.
And I have to get over it.
My, how things change.

Maybe I should consider renting it out.

It’s probably PMS. Or maybe I just need more coffee.
.

.Friday, July 06, 2012

Three months in between blogs… Since I only usually write when I’ve got something to complain about, that must mean that things are looking up.

And today, I actually can’t complain. Well, I could, but I won’t. Ok, I lied. I’ll complain for just a minute.. But then I’ll cite the reasons why I shouldn’t. How’s that?

I often feel like a failure. I am turning 39 in a couple weeks. And so far in life, I haven’t much to show for it.
No college degree, no high-wage employment. No nice car. No 401k or retirement plan. No nuclear family. No husband; just a slew of ex’s.

I owned a house. I did accomplish that much. But here’s an admission; I’m deeding it back to the mortgage company.
And that only adds to the sense of failure.
I thought the house would sell quickly. I thought we could afford two (hefty) house payments until it did. I was wrong. But at least I was hopeful.
When Sharla told me she was going to rent her house, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to get it. She certainly couldn’t afford to hold onto it and continue making three house payments while she waited for me to sell my place and take over one. And that is completely understandable.
Rock and a hard place. So- take Sharla’s house, put mine on the market, and hope for the best.
Well, “the best” never came, and there mine sits.

Fortunately though, at least my emotional ties to it have dissipated. For a while I thought of renting it out. And not for financial reasons, but just so I could “hold onto it”. After a frank conversation with a wise real estate agent/financial advisor, I recognized that it would not be a smart monetary move. The market rate for rent would still not cover the mortgage payment, and then I would have to consider immediate (and constant) repairs and maintenance. Once figured, the initial and yearly overhead was staggering. And so, no renting it. Wait for a buyer. And the buyer never came.
And so, instead of paying and paying and fighting to catch up and trying to afford everything else, the decision came to deed it back.
Now I only have to work towards acceptance.

Now. Onto the part about why I shouldn’t complain…

I do SO LOVE my new house (Ha! I said mine, not my sister’s!!).. Even though I have failed in home-ownership, I am in a house that I have only dreamed of living in. My neighbors are a bit sketchy though.. (Just kidding Mom!)..

I have a fantastic man in my life. Not only does he love me and the children beyond measure, he takes care of us. And by that I don’t only mean financially. There are all kinds of little things too… buying me flowers, going grocery shopping, cooking dinners, cleaning (yes ladies, he gets groceries, cooks AND cleans), nightly foot rubs.. I wish I had a better recollection of things, because the list goes on and on… His patience, generosity, understanding, and kindness are immeasurable. And for him, I am fortunate. Maybe I should buck up and marry him.

I did accomplish a couple of great kiddos too.
I know I’m biased… But my daughter is really the epitome of a “good teenager”. Yes, they do exist. No drinking, no smoking, no drugs, no “tasteless” wardrobe (you've all seen those teenage girls.. ugh), years of academic honor roll, good driver, fun and friendly and outgoing, responsible, goal oriented… (Hopefully she won’t read this and use it against me)…
And Dawson, even as challenging as an adolescent boy can be.. is a compassionate and caring young man, sensitive, honest, sweet, charming..
So, for them, I am fortunate.

I’ve got a pretty cool family too. My parents might make crazy neighbors, but they’re pretty ok as far as parents go… Not just good parents though, good people… They would literally give their last dime to someone who needs it, even if they need it just as much. I see Mom doing it every week at church. And Dad, who is old and broken, who would work for nothing if it meant he’d help out a friend.. I have a good friend in my sister. Always have. And a bunch of Aunts and cousins that are irreplaceable too.  This summer has already started off with a few impromptu family gatherings that have made me even more grateful for that core and extended family.

I’ve got a few good friends. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating. I probably only have a couple. But the two or three that I do have, I wouldn’t trade for a thousand more.

And you know what else? We all still have our health and our lives.
I personally know two men who are battling cancer. One, not much older than me, with a wonderful wife and kids. And he is riddled with it.
Another, my parent’s age. Otherwise healthy. Just found out he has lung cancer and was given 6-12 months to live.
And another local young man, who is in the hospital fighting for his life, with a severely traumatic head injury.

And for them, I am grateful for me and mine.

Wow, I never have so much good to say. Maybe I’m having a stroke or something. Can someone please call 911 for me?



Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Wow. In a few days, I’ll be Mrs. Jakacky (yes, I’m keeping my name, for personal reasons).
I’ll be getting married on the beach where Troy’s mom’s ashes are scattered. I can’t imagine a better or more proper place. A quaint and private ceremony with the family.
Then we’ll be going out to celebrate with friends that night.
Sunday morning we will leave for CT in our rented Audi Q5, staying at the beautiful Bellissimo Grande, hitting up Mohegan, Foxwoods, and Mystic Village…

Wait… I’m getting MARRIED??? AGAIN????

Why yes, I am. And oddly, I couldn’t be happier about it.
Third time’s a charm, right?

I swore after my first divorce, I’d never do it again. And then I did (and WOW what a crazy ride THAT was!).. And then, after that lunatic, I swore off marriage again. And then I got engaged to another shmuck. That ended, and I swore (once again) to never do it again. For sure, for good, period, end of story.
So much for that.

And why bother to get married, anyway? I mean, Troy and I both wear rings, we live and behave as if we’re married, and I’m even keeping my maiden name… So again, why bother?
Well, I don’t know. It is just a piece of paper, right? Just some symbol or stigma that someone decided was the “right thing” for two people to do. Well, I guess it just does feel like the “right thing” to do... It just feels… right..

I can’t explain it, so I’ll just use Troy’s latest status update…
(For those of you who aren’t friends with Troy, or just didn’t happen to see it)…

So, I get to marry the woman I love with all my heart (all 26 percent functioning, swollen heart) on Saturday. The thought of this fills me with overwhelming joy and excitement. This day seemed like it would never come and now it has arrived. Things haven't always been easy, we've fought-we've made up, we've not liked each other very much-we've found that appreciation again, we've broken up-we've gotten back together again. A lot of this has been played out in public, on this site in fact. But, looking back and (more so) definitely looking forward, the one constant was and always will be the love that we share. Even when we took a short 'hiatus', neither of us could ever deny that we still loved one another. When Crista and I first started dating we hit it off right away. It was like a wildfire out of control. It was incredible. Almost scary. Oh, and we actually met online. So, no surprise that so much of our relationship has played out here. Anyway, we were only dating for a few weeks when I had to face the worst tragedy of my life-my mother suddenly dying from a stroke. My mother and I were extremely close and without Crista, I'm not sure how I would have managed. She was perfect. There when I needed her, giving me space when I didn't. She was amazing. I knew she was special right then. And, she's had a lot to deal with since then. Surprisingly, I'm not all peaches and rose petals. Between heart problems, surgeries, rehab, clots, etc, etc. We've had 2 years of ups and downs and continuous tweaks and adjustments to our relationship, attitudes, and expectations and are at a place where I am truly happy. Crista is the love of my life. She is beautiful, smart, fun, witty, a great mom (to all the kids-Logan, Dawson, and Kayli), loyal, sexy, appreciative, and loving. I will be extremely proud to call her my wife once Saturday finally comes. I love you, madly Crista. Sun and Moon.



And so, THAT my friends, is why I’m marrying him.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

I’m going out of my comfort zone for a moment, so be forewarned; the following note may contain explicit mushiness and should have an “R” rating for Ridiculously sappy…

Today I marry my best friend…

A man who’s been constantly and unequivocally loyal, patient, kind, nurturing, supportive and loving.
He is funny and charming, and brings out the “silly” in me, even though I’ve always been content being stoic.
He accepts me and all of my moods and idiosyncrasies, and cherishes me with the same love and kindness, regardless.
He is witty and smart, with the perfect blend of brawn and tenderness (I’ve always said I wanted a tough guy who reads Dickens).
He is a friend, confidant, and father to my children.
He has cared for us when I was in financial turmoil, and more importantly, when I was emotionally lost and empty.
A good and decent man, who upholds my expectations of honesty and integrity, with life values equivalent to mine.
A generous and selfless man who puts all of us first in his thoughts and actions, every single day.

A man who I will be honored and humbled to call my husband.

I love you Troy Varnum, with every ounce of my being. Sun and moon, forever.

Now let’s PARTY!!!!!!!!!!