Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Between my poorly insulated freezing cold house, the ridiculous heating fuel consumption, the truck's mechanical issues, my nonexistent love life, the negative budget, an ex-husband that can't stop toying with my emotions (for nearly two years), doing all of this alone, and the trials of a mother-son relationship, I am feeling pretty friggin defeated by life lately.
There. Done whining. For now.

Friday, December 2, 2016

I haven't written in a few weeks. Has it really been a few weeks? But there's so much to write about...
I guess I just haven't been inclined to. Oddly.

Nothing much new to write about, really.
Just the same old sadness. It doesn't go away. Not that I expect it to, not that I even want it to. It is what my boy (and his family) live with, now. And since it is my son, it is what I live with now, too. It is a new constant part of life. It is always there.
Yes, there are moments where it lessens, when there are distractions. That's what every day feels like; a distraction. Life moves along, whether we want it to or not. Like a strong current, and all we can do is ride along. What was it Dori said? "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

People still ask- How are you? How is the boy?
I'm okay. I hurt for my boy. And his father and stepmother. His younger brother, his step-siblings.
I hurt for my boy.
And I miss Jayden, too. I miss his presence in my son's life. I miss watching all of their silly antics every weekend on Snapchat. I miss watching him tinker on their boat, or his dirtbike, or the boy's four-wheeler.  If the boy couldn't find something that needed to come home for the week (sneakers, lunchbox, backpack, you name it...), it was always- "ask Jayden." That kid always seemed to know where it was. I miss laughing at him every time I'd pick up or drop off. Seriously, he was one of the funniest kids I know. Him and my boy shared a very strange and hilarious sense of humor.
He wasn't my son, or my brother. But I miss him in this life. It is still unimaginable that he is gone from it.
I'm swimming along. Go to work, go to basketball, drive kids to/from school, get groceries, do work errands... But there are moments when even the distractions fail you. And it hits you in the stomach all over again. And you cry. You just cry, and cry, and cry. And you curse life. And you hate everything.
And I worry. Jesus, do I worry. About my boy. And his family. A deep, sick, painful worry.
And all of a sudden life seems so much more fragile. I wish I didn't live in fear of our mortality, but I do. I always have. It's just intensified, now. I try to live each day thankful to be here, to have my boy, and my other loved ones. But it seems I'm too afraid to embrace that mindset. I'm always too afraid.
But I'm okay.
How's my boy? He's living. That's really the easiest answer. He's just, living. He misses his other half. He is depressed. He is angry. He has a hard time sleeping. But he is living. Following the current. That's all he can do, really.
He is changed.
And I still hate life for giving this to him. To all of them.

Everything else that I could write about, everything else in life, really, is irrelevant.
But I try to keep going along, to just be- normal.

Thanksgiving was nice. It was a small dinner, just my kiddos, my mom, and my niece. But it was nice. I only set the smoke alarms off a couple times while cooking. And surprisingly, everything turned out edible. Tasty, even.

Work is good. Nothing new there, really. I have a good crew. And good bosses. I am thankful for those things.

Being alone is becoming a bit more tolerable, I think. At least I don't cry on my way home from work anymore. That must be a start, right?
Obviously, I'd still rather not be alone. But, oh well. Whatever. At least there's the dog. Then again, I don't really even like him most of the time.

Christmas is coming.
I've shopped FAR more than I should have. Spent FAR more than I should have. But I do that every year. This year I've been worse, though. Trying to make up for the shitty hand life has dealt my son? I don't know. Probably.
The Christmas spirit is elusive this year. It's very difficult to feel the holiday spirit in light of things.
All I want for Christmas is peace and healing for my son and his family.
But there is no Santa.

Shit. I've got to get ready for work.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Is it Sunday? Usually it's Sunday and blogging. But it's not Sunday. And I still can't tell what day of the week it is most of the time. Except for Thursdays.

I won't talk about the election.
Ok, that's a lie.
I am not insulting people, I'm not claiming it was rigged, I'm not protesting. But I am mourning. I'm mourning my candidate. I'm mourning all that I believed in. I am despondent. And afraid.
But I'm not being a "sore loser".
However, I see a lot of sore winners.
I wish people weren't gloating and still slinging insults today, but alas, this is the start of our new America.
Ok, enough about that.

We still have other things to cope with here at home. More pressing things than even the presidential election.

The boy is very angry a lot of the time. Sullen. Withdrawn. He still doesn't really want to talk to me about it. He doesn't want much to do with me at all, actually. I am assured by friends, family, professionals, that this is totally age appropriate for a teenage son and his mother. But it sucks. And I thought that perhaps through this tragedy he would need me more. But he doesn't.
I did make him come with me to see our counselor this week. He talked a little. More than I expected. He said he would think about going again, but I know he doesn't want to. Perhaps I can bribe him again with Chi-fil-A.
His family at his dad's is making arrangements for a grief counselor to come to their home for sessions. He is actually looking forward to that. He did tell me that he feels more comfortable talking about it there, with his dad. Because they all suffered this loss with him. They can relate, and understand. Evidently I cannot. And of course I can't. It wasn't my brother. It wasn't my son. And at least he's talking to someone. I am thankful for that.
But a mother feels every stitch of pain that her child feels. And I have been in pain right along side him for these last three weeks.

It's Thursday. And Thursdays are particularly awful. I wonder if Thursdays will always be different now. Always remembering that Thursday morning when I got the call... Speed to the school and get my son. Explain to him what had happened. Speed to the hospital... What we all went through that day.  What my son had to endure that day. His stepmother, his father, his siblings. How I watched helplessly, as they all lost their boy.
I still have nightmares about it, when I do sleep. And day nightmares, if you will. While I'm sitting around, or doing errands, or watching tv, or driving, or working... And it just surfaces from out of nowhere. That horrible day, replays itself all over again, every painful detail.
Especially Thursdays.

Being alone through this has perhaps helped me become more tolerant of my own company. Being lonely in the midst of such tragedy can do that for a person, I guess.
Don't get me wrong, I would have been more than happy to have had a "shoulder to cry on"... someone to cuddle up to every night while I cry myself to sleep, to wake me from my reoccurring nightmares... Just to help me get through each fucking day. But that's not in the cards for me right now, I guess. That's not my present, and probably not my future.
But, I digress.

Missing four days of work last month is taking it's toll. Although the girls at work put out a donation jar last month (thank you, ladies). I did get some generous donations that helped us. But it's amazing what you'll spend when your child is hurting like this. New video games, trips to the trampoline park, dinners out.. all in an effort to just try and lift their spirits, if only for a moment. And I don't regret one penny spent. I'll borrow from someone if I have to. Sell something. Put off bills to still have a decent Christmas...

Speaking of Christmas...
I put out all my decorations early this year (as I do most every year). Everything but the tree.
I thought it would lift my spirits. And it did, briefly.
But what comes along with this kind of tragedy, is the guilt. It's absolutely awful. Guilt for living. Guilt for enjoying something. Guilt for trying to be happy. And you can say what you'd like... "They'd want you to continue to live, to be happy"..  blah blah blah... But it's simply not that easy. The guilt sticks to you. It clings to every happy moment you experience.
Not to mention, the knowing. Knowing that, for my son, Christmas will never be the same again.

I suppose, I should go get ready for work.
Thanks for being my therapy this morning. I see my actual therapist again on Monday.
I know I need to.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Two weeks. Two weeks of hardly sleeping. Two weeks of mindless autopilot. Of frightening moments when it hits you out of the blue and you relive the day all over again. Of not being able to get it out of your head. Of crying. Being angry.  Being numb. Not being able to concentrate. Of pain. The kind of pain that you could have only imagined before. Two weeks in my son's nightmare, and I just want us to wake up.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Usually Sunday's are for blogging. Today could be Sunday, for all I know. The last ten days or so have all run together.

Nothing much changes from week to week as I blog. But so much has changed since I last wrote. Life has changed, forever.

This will be a very short version of the story, as it is too long and too painful to recount.

My son lost his younger stepbrother ten days ago. On the morning of Thursday, October 20th, while he was getting ready for school at home, he ended his own life. He was 13 years old. My boy was not at his dad's that morning. He was with me, and already in school when I got that terrifying call from his father. Go get him at school. Get to the hospital.
I can't write about the rest of that day, or these last several days. I've tried to type how this all happened. Tell our story. His story. I've written several lines and deleted them several times more. As much as writing is my outlet, I just can't do it.

He was more than just his stepbrother. He was his partner in crime, his bosom buddy, his best friend, his brother. He was the highlight of his days at his dad's house. They were always together, inseparable. Every week when my boy went to his dad's, they were practically joined at the hip. They grew up together through the years. They may not have been blood brothers, but they were soul and life brothers.

I can't describe the pain my son has been feeling ever since. I wouldn't even know how to try. There are simply no words for it. It is the kind of pain that you can't relate to, or understand, or even imagine. Watching my child experience this has been my worst nightmare come true. I am so angry at life for giving this to him. So angry. Our children are not supposed to have to endure this kind of pain. It is so heartbreaking. He will never be the same again. Neither will I. This kind of suffering should not exist.

He's holding up very well, considering the horror that is going on. The last few days I worry that he's holding up "too well"...  He's done his fair share of sobbing and crying and letting it all out. Now he seems to be internalizing. I think he has to compartmentalize it just so that he can get through each day (I know that's what I've been doing). He has been in school all week. He is hanging out a lot with his best friend. He is keeping busy. But he is in pain. It's just under the surface.
I don't push him to talk about it, but he does once in a while. I've suggested we go see our counselor, and he quickly shot it down. It's too soon. I hope in time he will agree to go.

Him and I have been working on a slideshow, a disc of music, and a video for the services. And as hard as it's been, we've relived a lot of fun memories through those projects. I know they've kept me busy, occupied. Feeling like I'm contributing something. Multiple trips to Walmart for blank DVDs, CDs, and cases, hours spent editing video clips and photos, music downloads, and burning dozens of copies of each for all of the family.

I've been so busy and so horrified for my son that I've hardly had time to do my own grieving for his brother. He was a silly boy.  Full of life and energy and charisma and love. I can't imagine him being gone from this world. His life had just begun, and he had so much more to do, to give.
And I grieve for his mother, and his stepfather (my boy's dad). My heart has broken for them. When I hold them I wish I could pull the pain from them.

My boy has been with me since it happened. Last night was the first night he spent at his dad's house. He just hasn't been ready to go back to that house yet. And we all understand that. As much as I want to shelter and protect him, I know his dad needs him, and his youngest brother needs him. I worried about him all night. I hardly slept (but that really isn't any different than any other night this last week and a half).  I talked to him on the phone last night. He seemed "ok". He was playing video games with his little brother and hanging out. They are surrounded by family and friends. I haven't heard back from him yet this morning. Although he's never been good about returning my texts, that turd. Perhaps he's still sleeping.

I've been trying to be strong for him. Although most times it seems he doesn't need it. I thought maybe he'd "need" me more through this, but he doesn't seem to. He needs this home, to decompress and be away from it all. But he doesn't need me to smother him. And so I'm trying not to. Well, not any more than usual.
He still complains that I touch him too much, hug him too much, say "I love you" too much (that hasn't changed). I've watched these last several days as he's held his dad, his stepmom, his grandparents, his friends... Yet he still shrugs me off when I put my hand on his back or my arm around his shoulder or go in for a hug.. I'm trying not to take it personally. I need all those things, though. But I'm trying to respect his space. Read him. Give him what he needs, and not what he doesn't need. Keep him fed. Keep him company. Just be.

I need all those things, though.
I've been alone through all of this. My boy has been here. My mom has been here. So has my daughter on occasion. Many of my friends have offered up their time. Everyone sending their thoughts and love to me.
But really, I'm alone.
Even the one person I thought would drop everything and come to me, to be my support, did not, has not. That has been a learning experience I will deal with, and write about, another time. What little energy I have is elsewhere right now.

I went back to work this week. I imagine I looked like a deer in headlights. A tired, worn out deer. On autopilot. I stayed after work last night for our annual Halloween party. I tried to wind down, socialize, have "fun". But I felt myself unraveling after a couple hours of it. I left in tears. I came home to my dog and my empty house. After a couple hours of staring blankly at the television, I finally cried myself to sleep.

Being alone has been a difficult thing to for me to deal with as it is. And as usual, I find myself saying- since when? Since when have I become this person who cannot tolerate her own company? Isn't solitude supposed to be empowering, enjoyable, or at the very least, tolerable??
This has been a test of my sanity. And to say it's barely hanging on by a thread is an understatement. Perhaps being alone in this terrible time will help me to learn to love my own company. Be more independent. To be stronger.
It sure doesn't feel that way right now.

Today is the funeral service.
Desperately hoping for peace and strength for my boy, his stepmother, his father, his younger brother, for everyone who loved that kid.
Especially for my boy.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Another Sunday, another blog.

Nothing much has changed in the last seven days since I've written.
Well, nothing substantial. Well, maybe. Just little things.

Worrying isn't one of them. That never changes.

My boy is still growing up and away from me. And it kills me. I wish he needed me as much as he used to when he was little. At times it seems he doesn't even like me. He doesn't want me to sit too close to him. He hugs me, but it's brief, I can't hold on for more than a second. He says I tell him I love him too much. My male friends tell me this is a normal part of boys growing up. I don't like it. At all.

My daughter just got into her new apartment, finally. After desperately searching for a place that would allow her dog, she finally found one. Less than a week later, her and her boyfriend are having trouble (again). Which of course throws her into worrying about finances... rent, bills, car payment, potentially all alone (Oh, how I know her troubles). Honestly, even though she may be facing these challenges, she would be better off. I hope she realizes this. Recognizes her worth.

Which brings us to a relative point... She's always had the option of moving in with my mother. So have I, for that matter. And with all of us worrying about finances (and I worry about mom getting older), the three of us are actually giving it some consideration. Mom threw out the idea of putting an addition on the house, to make more room for all of us. And then she started really considering it. And so did I. Now I'm trying to design it, lol. Whether or not we actually do it, remains to be seen. It would be very costly for us, initially. But in the end, it would add value to her home, and make it a nicer place for one of us (Me, my kids, my sister, her kids, whomever needed) to live for the future. And it would be very affordable living, as the home is paid off.
I don't know. It's worth considering.
I could afford a car payment then. I could afford to spoil the boy for the last few years he is at home. I could afford to go back to school (again). I could be there to take care of Mom.
And, hell, then I wouldn't be alone, right?
Speaking of which..

My present "relationship" has taken a somewhat unfortunate turn.
Let me start by explaining why I use quotes...
It's existed a year and a half. We use the "L word". We care for one another very, very much.
And yet, we have so many vast differences. Geographical, relationship/communication style, circumstantial, lifestyles... Differences that prevent the relationship from becoming anything more than what it currently is. And what it is, basically, is three-ish days per week spent together, and text messages in between. And yet, an undeniable connection, regardless.
And although we're aware of our future (or lack thereof?), we've always just kept on. Because the alternative, not being together, was a sadder reality. But, is it? Are we preventing each other from finding something more? Are we cheating ourselves out of an opportunity to find a real lifetime companionship? I don't know. I've never known, I guess. I've just kept on keeping on. And so has he. But the reality is always there, buried just under the surface.
But I digress...
All of that might not matter anymore.
Circumstances have arisen that will prevent us from spending much time together anymore (and we have so little time as it is). A substantial difference. Probably as little as one night per week. Maybe even less.
And if I've already become discontent with what little we currently have, how am I (are we) supposed to maintain a "relationship" on what we will have now?
I've cried and cried about it. Cursed the universe, again. For giving me such a complicated situation to begin with, and for making it even more seemingly impossible now.
F%&k you, universe.

But perhaps this is my future.
Perhaps, with all my failed, impossible relationships, this is what I am destined for. Being alone.
But, I can't believe that. As much of a skeptic and cynic (and often times pessimistic) as I am, I still can't truly believe that.
Because I am still a romantic, unfortunately.
And someday, I'll go to sleep next to someone (other than my dog) every night. We'll make breakfast on Sunday mornings. We'll go to kids sporting events, graduations. We'll have designated date nights. We'll vacation. We'll grocery shop together. We'll have grandchildren. We'll get old. And he'll hold my hand while I'm taking my last breath, or I will his.

Hey, it's possible.
I recently saw an article in the Bangor Daily News about an elderly couple who were married at the hospital. I guess that means it's not too late for me?
Who knows.

I'm going to go make some cheesy scrambled eggs, stare at the lake, talk to the dog, and watch men in tights (football).

Be well.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

I haven't written much for the past couple weeks, other than a quick blurb.
It's not that there isn't fodder for writing, there always is. Thing is, it's always the same, and I don't want to sound too repetitive.

Things are status quo here. Still alive, still working, still worrying.

The other day I woke at 4am, plagued with what I like to call my "mortality anxiety". I woke thinking about dying. My death. How afraid I am of it. How I wonder who will be there with me at that moment, if anyone at all. My children's' deaths. How I hope to not live to see that day. But then again, if I don't, who will be there to comfort them while they are dying??
I know, morbid, right?
It can't seem to be helped. Sometimes I just go there. More often than I'd like, unfortunately.
I envy people of faith.

I still worry incessantly about my boy. His new four wheeler is the newest source of worry. It's a little race buggy that he drives fast, and jumps, and wheelies... I know he's always geared up... Chest plates, arm protectors, knee pads, helmet... But still. Ugh. Shoot me.
I worry about the little things too. School, his academics, is he making (good) friends, is he making wise choices, is he happy...
He's growing up so fast. He doesn't talk to me like he used to. He doesn't like affection so much anymore. He thinks I tell him I love him too much, he doesn't like it when I call him "babe" anymore (which I've called him for years), he doesn't want me to sit close to him on the couch.
It's his birthday today. He turns 15.
I looked back in my facebook memories today, and saw all kinds of pictures from over the years. You guessed it, I spent a bit of time crying over it all. Maybe more than a bit.

I still hate being alone. I'm still curious as to when that became a problem.
I'm codependent on my son (Norman Bates's mother syndrome still in full effect). I'm codependent on my job, my mother, my daughter, my "part-time" boyfriend, my dog, my beta fish.

I still worry about Daws and I, financially. I'm still doing it so far. But what about my meager savings? Will it be enough to give him a good Christmas? (And don't tell me to show him the spirit of Christmas instead of presents, blah blah friggin blah), Will I make enough to heat the house all winter? Keep paying the bills? The rent? What happens if the truck breaks down? I can't afford a car payment... Will I still be gainfully employed next month, next year? Are we going to make it? Will we be ok???

Last night I went out for the first time in months. I've become quite a shut-in this last year.
I wouldn't say I had "fun", per say, but it wasn't horrible. It was the typical bar scene action. I got hit on by a woman and two creepy drunk guys. I quietly made fun of various people with my friends. I managed to have a couple drinks, and realized I've become a lightweight when I had to stop at drink number two because I was starting to "feel it" and had to drive home later.
At closing time I was doing a little happy dance as we went out the door. My friend said- "You're excited to go home, aren't you? I haven't seen you this happy all night!"
Ah, the (anti)social life of a shut-in.

I have quite a bit of housework to do. I should get off this damn computer. I have to clean the house, go trade my iphone 6 plus back for an iphone 6 (I hate this gigantic phone), get ready for Dawson's birthday dinner...

I hate to end on a serious note, but...
I've realized nothing much has changed in my life over the years...
I'm still partially happy, at a mediocre level. I'm still sad a lot of the time. I'm still primarily alone.
I'm still waiting for that "something more" point in my life.

Ok, maybe I'll end with a joke instead of such solemnity...

What do you call a man with no arms and no legs in the autumn leaves?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Three things that constantly haunt me showed up in my dreams this morning. 

I was on a motorcycle with Dawson. And I was so very scared, I was trying to get somewhere but I was afraid to travel with him on the motorcycle. I was hoping someone would come and pick us up. I was nearly paralyzed with fear, with worry for him.
And then my ex-husband was there, next to me, also on his motorcycle. We were fighting. I was sobbing. He was leaving us, again. 
And then my father was there. I was yelling at him, pleading with him to tell my ex-husband not to leave. I cried- "Tell him! Tell him not to run away, tell him it doesn't solve anything! You know, because that's what you did!"

It made for a sour cup of morning coffee. 

And this morning the heat isn't working in the truck. There goes the Christmas savings fund. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's Sunday. Writing day, right?

It's the 15th anniversary of the disaster of 9/11.
I vaguely remember watching it on TV at home, 8 months pregnant with my son, wondering- what kind of world am I bringing my son into? What kind of world am I raising my daughter in?
What a horrific day it was.

And as I sit by the lake on this day, I (admittedly) can't fully embrace the memory of 9/11. I (sadly) can't sympathize with the tragedy of 15 years ago.
I can't, because I am too busy worrying about my small (tiny, actually) circle; myself, my children, my mother. My circle's struggles and challenges, it's present, and it's future.
As per usual.

It's foggy and muggy, and eerily quiet here this morning. And lonely. A few months ago, I may have used terms like beautiful, peaceful.
Today, and lately, really, it's just, somber.
Perhaps it's the weather. Perhaps it's that I am alone. Perhaps it's PMS.

It's been a tough weekend (what's new, right?).

Dawson is at his Dad's, as he is every weekend. Three days a week he is gone. Three days of fighting the urge (and most times, losing) to cry every moment. Three days of wishing the time away until he returns.
Norman Bates's mother. Sigh.

The first real week of high school is now under our belts. Already there are academic challenges, primarily in math. And I am absolutely no help to him there. Fortunately I had opportunity to talk with his guidance counselor, and she switched his study hall rooms around. He'll now be in study hall with the math/science tutor.
He is stressed out about school. He only alludes to it, never actually admits he is. But I can tell. Last week he was very quiet on the drive to school. He was so upset over his math homework. He did feel better after meeting with his guidance counselor and switching study halls. He was in good spirits Friday, and he went to the homecoming football game Friday night. I pushed him to go, and I'm glad he did. The more things he gets involved with, the more peers he meets, the more comfortable he will feel.
I had offered to pick him up from the game, but his father arranged for him to ride home with a fellow student, which, as you may have guessed, I was definitely not crazy about. And, as you may have also guessed, that propelled me headfirst into a two hour long anxiety attack. I actually worked myself into a good one on my way home from work, imagining them speeding, careening off the road, getting ejected from the vehicle.. you get the picture. It was a pretty awful couple of hours. But he made it home. Texted me on the way home and as soon as he got there, as demanded. Phew. (ugh)

This weekend he sent me a snapchat picture of a four wheeler, captioned- "Buying this at the dealership now". Low and behold, he was pulling my leg. But I didn't find that out until several hours later. But for those several hours, I had myself a mini pity party (schocker, right?)... Feeling horrible that I couldn't afford to get him such nice things, and his father could. Feeling like I'm not giving him enough. Dad's place has all the frills; snowmobiles, dirt-bikes, four wheelers, a camper, guns, brand new vehicles, big fancy house, lots of land to play on... I'm not doing enough, providing enough. I'm not giving him a fun, memory filled, highly enjoyable childhood. Blah, blah, friggin blah. And yeah, I know, I provide him with so many other things that he'll remember later. Yadda yadda yaddda. But it sure would be nice if I could afford a few new toys or fun experiences along the way.
I have a lake. Yeah, I know. But we haven't always been here. And there's no guarantee we will be for a long time. And so, what have I really given him? A few broken relationships. Several different moves. I think I've given the kid more challenges and broken hearts than anything else. Someday when he's older, I hope he'll forgive me for all of them.
No, I don't need reminding that I'm doing my best, that he feels loved, that I'm giving him plenty, that he'll remember this, that I'm an ok parent, blah blah blah.
I guess I just needed to wallow.
Ok, I didn't need to. I do it plenty. Far too much. Yeah, I know.

Random... I saw a commercial this morning about portfolios, and investing, and markets, and blah blah blah... And I wondered what it must be like to live that way. To wonder about your stocks more than you wonder how to pay the next electric bill.

I've also spent the weekend worrying about Logan. Her and her boyfriend now have less than a month to find a new apartment that will accept their two dogs. Nearly impossible.  And they have a limited income, as many young adult students do. She can move home to her Dad's, or in with my mother. But those offers are extended only to her and Phineus (her great dane), for reasons I won't bother to go into. If I had room for her here, I would have her live with us. Hell, she could, I guess, if she didn't mind the couch, or bunking with her brother. But she wants to be independent, stay with her boyfriend, find another place on their own. I wish I could help her, but I can't.

This weekend I also happened to catch a glimpse of my ex-husband's facebook post. No, I didn't go looking. It showed up in my newsfeed because he tagged a mutual friend. What a pleasant surprise that was. Ah, how lovely. A family getaway to Old Orchard Beach. Ironically, in what looks like the same inn that we stayed at when we went a few years ago. How appropriate. Photos of my (former) step-daughter, the girlfriend's daughter, their quaintly decorated room... And yes, it upset me.
Why? Exes are exes for a reason, I chose this life, blah blah friggin blah...
I don't know. It just did.
There he is, doing all the things we used to do, with his new family. Making memories, building a future. Probably getting ready to be married for all I fucking know.
And here I am. Sitting by the lake alone, my future uncertain, writing this obnoxiously self-piteous blog.
Well, hopefully it's pouring there today too. Pfffffffffft.

Yesterday at work was tough. I enjoy the day shift because I typically don't have to deal with the craziness that accompanies the nights. But once in a while, you get the daytime crazies. Yesterday was that day. I was able to grin and bear it like a pro, though. Evidently I've still got that ability. Although, I did keep repeating under my breath- Is it 6ofuckingclock yet??? I actually poured myself a shift drink at the end of my day. A little Baja Rosa on the rocks. Yeah, I tried. I ended up giving it to one of the girls. I can't even drink anymore, fah fahk sakes.

The rain has driven me inside, and I've turned on my television simply to drown out the silence. It's on CNBC. And I'm suddenly ashamed of my limited knowledge of current events. I have no idea about the current state of affairs in politics, crime rates, national protests, the stock market, the illegal immigrant population, who's leading who in the polls, who's building a wall, who's being investigated for what... And I find that I don't really care. Because, as I mentioned earlier on in this blog, I'm far too busy worrying about my tiny circle.
Myself, my son, my daughter.
Maybe I should become more educated, more aware, more worldly knowledgeable. But I probably won't. And I'm ok with that.

I'm not smart, I'm just well spoken.

And I'm on my last k-cup, which means it's probably time to go do that grocery shopping I've been putting off all morning.

Be well. And thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

It seems I always write on Sundays. Maybe that's because I have nothing else to do on Sundays. No work, no boyfriend to visit with, no son to hang out with... Just me and the lake. And facebook, maybe a novel, dishes to do, laundry to put away, floors to be cleaned...

I asked my bartender if she needed me to come in and make change for her today. She said no, her drawer was all set. I said- well damn, now I have nothing to do today. She said- relax and enjoy.
Why can't I do just that? Why can't I sit lakeside and stick my nose in a book? Or turn Netflix on and binge watch something?
I'm trying. I've actually been doing it? Maybe? I've been sitting here on my porch by the lake for hours... drinking coffee, surfing facebook, looking at college websites (yes, still trying to determine what I want to be when I grow up, and how to go about it), playing games on my phone, texting (and probably annoying) my son...
But my mind is still so unsettled, that even doing this much doesn't really feel very "relaxing"...
Although, I still haven't gotten out of my pajamas.

I've still been fighting the high worry/anxiety state of mind. It seems it's going to stick around. Although I've been trying to calm myself. I'm trying to not worry so about my future and the future of my children. Sometimes just putting it out of my mind works. Sometimes though, it's still debilitating. I get caught in it, and can't get out. Sometimes it goes from worry and anxiety to full blown crippling fear. And I'm stuck in it.
It used to be that I never worried about the future. I don't know why... Maybe it was circumstantial. At one point in my life, my future seemed fairly well predictable. Comfortable, safe. Now there is no way of knowing how/where I will be, near future or distant.
Maybe this is what we do as we age, as our children grow older.
All I know is that I have no goddamned idea what next year looks like, or two years, or five, or ten or more. For myself or for my children. And it's so. fucking. frightening.
But still I try to fight the worry.
I wish there were a bigger word for worry. Worry sounds too normal. This doesn't feel normal.


Work is good.
No big stressors there at the moment. Everything seems to be running smoothly, for the most part. There's the usual bar bitches, as there is everywhere, and particularly in every bar. Who isn't doing what, who isn't pulling their own weight, who isn't doing something right, who likes/dislikes who... But for the most part, we're a pretty good crew. There are nights I sit and worry about it (shocker). But I remind myself that everyone is capable. If shit doesn't get done, or get done right, it will eventually. We make it work.
And we are fortunate to work for the people that we do. I guess I've never mentioned it, but we have some pretty awesome bosses. Seriously, though. I don't think I've ever hung up the phone, or walked away from either of them, without hearing them say "thank you". Simple, I know, but it goes a very long way. They actually give a shit about each of us. They're goddamn good people.
I still enjoy what I do, again, for the most part.
I still find it ironic that I have such a hard time with alcohol/addiction, and yet I am in this industry. So very ironic.
I love the day shift. As much as I hate people, I do love my daily customers. The ones that you see day in and day out. You develop relationships with them. You're no longer just a bartender, and they're no longer just a customer. It's something along the line of friends, even though you don't hang out with them outside of work. It's a very interesting connection, actually; it's hard to describe.
I have one customer in particular that I've grown quite fond of over the last few years. He reminds me of my dad, so very much. He loves his beer and his whiskey. He's more of a grouch than I am (if you can believe that). He drives me crazy a lot of the time. And he's dying of cancer. I don't know what I will do when I don't see his face every day.

Kids are good... Mostly?

Dawson is gone with his Dad, as he is every Thurs-Sun. I still haven't grown accustomed to this, even after all the years we've been doing it. I think it's actually gotten more difficult lately. I miss him so much when he's gone. I cry most Thursdays. And off and on all weekend. Most people live for the weekends. I despise them.
And he seems to be growing farther from me as he gets older. Is that normal? This sucks. He tells me I say "I love you" too much. He looks at me while sitting on the couch and says- why are you sitting so close to me? I want the days back when he would watch a movie with me and snuggle on the couch.
Norman Bates's mother. Sigh.
And he has a girlfriend. Ugh. Yuck. Ewwwwww. UGH!
He started high school last week. Jeezus H. How the hell did this happen...
I've been (you guessed it) worried sick about him each day. I worry from the moment I drop him off till the moment that school lets out. And he's only been going two days now. Christ, how will I survive this???
Living in a choice of high school town certainly has it's benefits. The downside, however, is that the eighth graders don't all move onto high school together, they don't have their entire class to rely on in high school. They all go their separate ways. In Dawson's case, only six of them chose Hermon.
Add to that his high anxiety, much like his mother. Although, he does a much better job of suppressing it. Or maybe just hiding it. I'm not really sure. I know he's super nervous, he's just not saying so. And he struggles academically. Jeezus. I worry about him so.
All I can do is hope that he has a great experience. Be there for him as much as possible. Try not to smother him. Try to help him with all his homework... Ummmm, I didn't even pass Algebra. We might be screwed.
Try not to worry. So. Goddamn. Much.

Logan is.. well.. I don't know. Damnit.
She's dealing with shit of her own. Shit that I can't help her with. Maybe if I were financially comfortable, I could help her with some of her worries. But I'm not, and I can't. And believe me, I punish myself daily for that.
Even still, I can't help her with her personal stuff. I can't make her do, or not do, something. She's an "adult" now, right?
Try not to worry. So. Goddamn. Much.

And, I'm still lonely a lot of the time.
Maybe I'll eventually get used to that.

My bartender just texted me and said she needed some change. Yay! I've got something to do!
Guess I should go get out of my pajamas.

Be well.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I'm sitting lakeside, procrastinating. 
I have a ton of dishes to do, sweeping, laundry to put away, and a mile long grocery list. 
I don't sit here because it's beautiful, or peaceful, or enjoyable. Although, it is sometimes all of those things. I sit here because I can't get out of my own way. I can't get out of my head long enough to accomplish any of it. To get out of this chair. 

For the last month I've hoped that this state of mind has been a phase. And if it is, it's just hanging around longer than usual. 
I spend more time worrying and saddening myself than I do anything else.
Worrying about everything, it seems. If I can think it, I can worry about it. And I think waaaaaay too much, so unfortunately, it provides plenty to worry about. 

I worry about Dawson. He's going into high school. I worry about that so very much. I worry about how he will do academically and socially. I worry about how he will adjust. I worry about driving him every day (there is no bussing to Hermon). I worry about whether or not he will like it there, if he will be happy with his choice of high school. He says he's not playing soccer this year, after playing for the last eight years. I'm afraid he'll regret it once he gets settled in. But I can't make him, it's his choice. 
I worry about him in general. I worry so when he's at his dad's, or anywhere out of my sight, for that matter. 
And I'm so sad that he's growing up. Most of the time, it feels like he is all I have. And as he grows, I'm losing him. 
Norman Bates's mother. Sigh. 

I worry about my daughter. She's struggling with work and college and money and relationships. As we all do or have.
I hardly hear from her or see her. I text her and bug her a lot. If I'm lucky I see her once a week, or most times every other week. Is that how it goes when they leave the nest?
I wish there were more I could do for her (financially). I wish I had made a different life for myself so I could still provide for her, or even for myself and Dawson, more than I do. 

I worry about that a lot. What I'm providing. For myself, for my kids, their future and mine. What I could have provided if my choices in life had been different. If I had gone to college and got a "real job". If I made more money. If I had made different decisions. If I had a dual income. If I had a life partner. 
We have a lot to be thankful for. But when there is no extra money for things other than necessities, it is sad, frustrating, to say the least. 
I'll never own a home that I can pass along to my children. I'll never have a legacy of any kind to leave them. In fact, I I'll probably be a burden to them when I'm older. I worry about that too. 

When I'm older... Where will I be? Will I still be (primarily) alone? Will I live with my elderly mother because I can't care for myself, financially or otherwise? If I even still have her? Will I be one of those sad stories of an old homeless lady? 

I worry that I won't have my wits about me to even know, by then. I've been thinking a lot about that, obsessing, really, and wondering why I have so few memories. None at all from childhood. Christ, I can't even recall what life was like when Logan was little, or even Dawson. I can't pull out a memory of them. The only memories I have are photographs. I can't recall really anything on my own. That doesn't seem normal. It scares the shit out of me. Not to mention, it infuriates me. It's not fair. I want to remember when they were little. I want to remember something. I worry that this is some prelude to dementia/Alzheimer's. 

And what about when I'm not "that old"? Where will I be in a few years, five, ten... 
Again, will I still be alone? Will I still be employed? Will I be able to support myself? Will I have moved in with my mother? Will I hardly see my children? 
Will I still be alone...

And when did I become so codependent? Codependent on my children, on my mother, on a partner... Or have I always been? Will I be no ones  widow?
When did being alone become such a crippling fear?

I have a relationship now. We spend three or so days a week together. I want more. I want a life partner. I want to wake to someone each morning. Will it come to that? It is hard to see. 
I have Dawson a little over half the time, for now (until he gets so bored here with me that he decides his fathers house is more fun.. Another worry. Or until he's grown). 
But those couple/few days each week that I'm alone, have become miserable.  Intolerable. Damn near debilitating. Like today. 
And I wonder.. Is this it? Is this all there is? 
You get a little bit of something, once in a while, temporarily. A little bit of your children, of your relationship, your job, your friends (in my case, hardly any)... And aside from those little bits, there is nothing. Nothing but you and your thoughts and your worries. 
And a void. 


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

All this tragedy should make you feel thankful for your life, for what you have, your loved ones...
I'm trying to view it in that light, but it's just not working. 

All it does is compound the weight I carry. This inexplicable, constant, debilitating worry and anxiety. 
Worry for my son, my daughter, myself, our futures...

The financial struggle of single-parenthood does not help matters. Can I keep up with these bills? And for how long? Will we always live with mere pennies in the bank account? There is no extra. What happens if the truck breaks down? How will I school shop? How will I provide a Christmas? 

And then there's the far distant worries... How will I care for myself when I'm older? What if I can't? What if I have nothing to offer my children? No financial help to offer them, no house to leave them, no insurance policy... I've worked so hard for so long and have nothing to offer for it. 

And I worry so about my children. All these accidents lately. I fear them driving, traveling, going somewhere, doing something, anything
Worry, worry, worry...

I used to fear death; the after-life, or, more appropriately, the absence of one. Up until recently, it was one of my greatest fears. Lately it seems more like the ultimate release from a world of struggle and hardship and tragedy. 
I know that sounds morose. I don't mean it to be. I'm just thinking out loud. 

I need to think out loud. I wake in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning, with all of this. I think about it all day. Every goddamn waking moment. I can't concentrate on a book or a movie, or the day's chores or to-do lists, or making dinner, or work... 
Worry, worry, worry...
It's absolutely maddening. 

I wonder if it's mid-life. 
I don't know what it is. But I wish it would stop. 

I wish I could close with a joke or something to lighten the mood. But I just can't. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Just a quick blurb before work...

Today marks three years since Dad has been gone.
On Father's day, on his birthday, on his favorite holidays, I tip back a Coors Light in memory of him.
But on the day of his death, I always say- I will not drink a Coors Light today.
And so, I will not drink a Coors Light today.

I will go to work. I will serve Coors Light all day (among other things). I will try and paint on my happy face. I will smile at my customers. I will try not to cry behind the curtain on occasion. I will try not to be short-fused.
I miss him so goddamned much. Especially times like these. Times when I could use his strong presence, his quiet wisdom. As I've always said, he's the only person who ever got me.

Tonight I will take my boy to see Def Leppard. I won tickets as part of my prize package when I won the Penobscot Theatre live band karaoke contest. I won tickets to three other shows as well; Journey (I gave those tickets to Mom and my niece), Bryan Adams, and Hall & Oates. Dawson will be my date tonight. He may have to be my date for all of them. Or maybe I just won't go. I never did like crowds.

(For those of you who haven't seen the video of my performance all over Facebook, I'll insert it here)...

So, anyway... Tonight the boy and I have a date.

In other news...
I wish I could decide what I want to be when I grow up. I have opportunity to go back to school, I did qualify again for substantial financial aid. Now I just have to figure out what to do, what to study, what to pursue. And can/will I actually stick with it this time??
What do I want to be when I grow up? 
I can't tend bar forever.

The lake "newness" seems to be wearing off, at least a little bit. I don't post a lake sunrise picture on Facebook every day anymore. I don't sit in awe of it every day as I used to. 
But I still go to it... Step out my door, stare at it, listen to it, if only for a minute. Each day. 
It's at least temporarily peaceful.

I need to go get ready for work, drop the dog at daycare. Have more coffee. Always more coffee.

Take my mind and take my pain, like an empty bottle takes the rain
And heal, heal, heal, heal
...And tell me some things last

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I didn't write yesterday because I was in such a foul mood.
I don't know if I'm any better off today or not, but I'm writing anyway.
I'm compelled to. I have to. I write so I don't go mad.

People will disappoint you.
(Oh, I guess I'm in no better mood today. Oh well.)
Seriously, though. People will disappoint you. The general public, the people you care about. Friends, family members, lovers. I know that. You know that. It's something we're reminded of almost daily. It's not a big surprise or some new epiphany. So, if we're all aware, why then is it still so surprising when it happens? Why does it still cause us to be so hurt, so bitter, so resentful?
Stupid. Stupid people. Stupid disappointment.

"Summer vacation" has begun and I am already struggling to find ways to entertain my son. Everything costs money. Hey- look, Dawson, a lake! Hopefully that will be the primary source of entertainment this summer. Oh, that and basketball and soccer. The high school has a very strenuous summer program for each. And it starts in less than a week! We are going to be very, very busy.
Speaking of which...
My boy is a freshman. Ugh. I don't want time to continue to move so quickly. I don't want him to grow up. No, don't grow up. Don't leave me, son.
Norman Bates's friggin mother.

I hardly see or hear from my other child. She's busy, I know. Busy with school and work. Busy being an adult. Busy making poor relationship choices (much like her mother, unfortunately).
I think you worry as much, if not more, when they've left the nest.

In other news...
Well, there really is no other news.
Everything is fairly status quo.

The dog still drives me crazy, but I love him.
The lake is still beautiful, and brings me peace, on occasion.
I still miss my adult daughter; I still suck the life out of my teenage son.
I still stress about work.
I still struggle financially.
I'm still alone most of the time.
I still wait for the Abilify to make me feel more human.
I still agonize over whether or not to go back to school.
I still miss my father.
I still feel lonely.
I still hate just about everything. I'm still a romantic misanthrope.

Friday, June 3, 2016

It's 5:30 am and I've already been up for an hour. I'm not sure what this early rising trend is, and I'm not sure I like it. Aunt Laura says it's perimenopause. I suppose it could be. I'm almost 43. Sigh.

I'm feeling my age more so lately. After a day of bartending, my knees hurt, my arms, my feet, my hips, my back...


I met with one of my prior college professors this week, she also works in admissions. Here I go again, maybe? One last ditch effort to get my college degree. Hopefully I can stick with it this time.
I've used much of my lifetime availability of federal assistance. I'll have to be very careful with course selections and make sure I'm not overspending my financial aid.

Side note...

May of 2011, I quit Key bank and started school. Early spring of 2012, I put my house on the market and rented Sharla's house. Two months later, I dropped out of school. This time last year I sold my Trailblazer. Early spring of last year I left my husband. If I look back at that last marriage, I can remember two other times that we split (more appropriately, he left) in the spring.
Now I'm enrolling in school again. And I've listed my truck for sale. I want to paint, build, write, craft, do something.
If my bipolar had a pattern, it would look like spring is ripe for mania.

If only it were just spring, though. I've noticed similar trends in the fall, when I also tend to shake things up with big decisions (sometimes disruptive ones). In the fall of 2011, I left my soon-to-be husband for my ex-fiancé (albeit briefly). I started trying to get back into music in the fall of 2014. Last fall I sold my VW. Last fall I moved out of Mom's and rented the house on the lake.

I find it less than comical that we always used to say to my daughter (about her dad)... "remember hunnie, spring and fall are his tough times".
Evidently they are also mine.
(And yes, my daughter is screwed. If she doesn't inherit these mental issues from either/both of us, it'll be a miracle).

Part of my therapy was that I was supposed to look for a pattern. I suppose I've found it. Part of my therapy has also been to put myself on a budget. I have yet to do that. Ooops. Part of my therapy was to "be still" during these times; do nothing. Go ahead and craft, paint, write, but otherwise, stay still. Indecision is uncomfortable, but sometimes the results of my "manic moments" are more uncomfortable. But I can't be still. I need something.

This is funny, considering these are also the times I tend to drastically change my hair... Cut it off, grow it out, color it crazy (I did just highlight my hair)...

So, my mania doesn't look like the over glamorized (and unrealistic) mania you see in cinema; I'm not jumping off buildings thinking I can fly. But trust me, that's not what bipolar looks like.
This is what it looks like. This quiet struggle. The disruptive behavior. The constant need for spending, for doing, for change. The discontent. The irritation, the anger. The (unpredictable) depression. The (enjoyable) highs. The scattered thoughts.  The inability to regulate moods and emotions.

I've recently increased my dose of Abilify. I've noticed no change yet. Wait and see. It's too soon.

In general, I feel like I'm at a crossroads again. I can't say why. I just am. And no, it's not because it's springtime.
It just is.

Anyway... in other news...

My boy recently went on a rafting trip to celebrate 8th grade graduation. (Graduating 8th grade??? WTF!?!?) You can imagine my anxiety while he was gone. Or perhaps you can't. It was unbearable. Sorry to anyone who I was bitchy with yesterday, it was a difficult coping day. He made it home safely. He's not dead. Although, one of the parent chaperones did say that a few kids went in the river. Somehow I knew one was mine. Sure enough, he was. He said it scared the piss out of him. I'm glad I didn't go. As fearful as I am of most everything, I would have had a friggin heart attack.
But he's home safe now. He's not dead. I can breathe.

Next week he graduates 8th grade. My baby, my last baby. Growing up and going into high school.

My other baby is growing up, too. She's 21! Holy shit! Jeezus, where does the time go???
She's dealing with some heartache right now. Boys suck. Although these scum needed to be purged from her life, I can still relate to the loss she feels. Loss of love, companionship, no matter how defective, is still difficult. I hope she can see how deserving she is, of better. Of more than that. I hope they stay gone. I hope she recognizes her worth.
I want to grab her and shake her and scream- LET THEM GO! In fact, I have. I hope she heard me.
So, which one of you has a nice young man for a son that would like to meet my smart, beautiful daughter? Heeheehee...

Work is good. Busy, busy. I may only tend bar three days a week, but I'm always busy.
We have two new girls coming on, and one guy leaving us. More change at the bar. I hope it all works out for the best.
I have to find a peaceful state of mind for work. It's been harder lately than usual. Most days I'm so tired of hearing my name called. So tired of people. The end of the shift is all I can look forward to. If I didn't know any better, I'd say I need a vacation. But I don't travel (mortality anxiety). I suppose I could just take some time off. I really haven't, in two and a half years. But I can't afford to, so I won't. Not to mention, I cannot anytime soon, with all the changes taking place.
So, just power through it. Know that it is a phase (even though it feels like a long-lasting one). It will pass. I will go back to enjoying my work. I won't be grumpy. I won't be discontent. Happy face, happy face, happy face.

Speaking of work, I should get off this thing and start my day. Four cups of coffee down, time to motivate.

Be well.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Just thoughts over 4:30am coffee...

Regardless of the relationship type, some people just don't stay with you.
It could be as simple as geographical location. It could be that life gets too busy to maintain. It could be a difference of opinion, beliefs, lifestyle, too vast to conquer. Or it could be that they're just not made of the "sticky stuff" that holds people together.

I'm not made of that sticky stuff, either. I've let so many people go over the last 20 years, it's astounding. Some I'm sad about, or regret. Some I am overjoyed to have loosed them. And some I simply feel nothing for. Some are like an old coffee mug in the back of your cupboard, so unused, unfamiliar, so nondescript, that you don't even remember it was there.
And perhaps that's the strangest thing; the non-feeling. Because, don't you usually feel something for the people who've not just crossed your path, but spent some time taking up space in your life?
Who knows.

My "mortality anxiety" (that's what I call it) has seemingly resurfaced. After months (nearly a year) of being free from it.. (Well, not quite free, perhaps just better at coping).. I know that it's running free again once I start dreaming about it. Dreaming about my death, the death of my children, of the (few) people I love. Dreaming about what comes after, if anything. I hope that something does, but I tend to believe that there is nothing. The more I think, dream, obsess, the more fearfully I live.
It's uncomfortable and annoying, to say the least.

Someone said to me the other day- Do you have so few friends, have you become so accustomed to being alone, that you talk to yourself all the time? Have you always talked to yourself this much?
I laughed and said- I asked my therapist about it, and she said I'm not crazy, so it must be okay.
I've just got to try to stop doing it so much in public (grocery shopping, banking, any outing, really, etc); because it certainly makes me look crazy.

The last couple weeks, my son and a few of my customers have asked me why I'm so "stressed out". My son is particularly keen to my moods, so I expect that from him. But I've always tried very hard to cope while working, and I usually succeed. Evidently I am failing as of late; I will try harder.
I have noticed it myself, though, too.
The agitation that is supposedly part of my "condition" has been at a much higher level. I am being snarky even as I write that, but it's no joke. And people just don't get it.

It's not some kind of "bad mood" that you can just get over or deal with. It's not just a matter of putting on your happy face and playing pretend. Check your baggage at the door. That's what normal people do. It's not like that. It's not like that at all.
I cringe when I hear my name called. I can't stand the sound of other people talking. Just a touch startles and irritates me. Sensations are elevated. The slightest mishap (an unexpected noise or touch, any kind of mistake, a misunderstanding, any sign of any kind of conflict... anything) sends me into a fit of internal fury.
Living with this makes everything difficult, if not intolerable. Shopping, going to soccer games, working, being around people at all... And it's not even just in public. At home I am so frustrated and impatient all the time, with everything. Some days I can't cook a meal or do the dishes without throwing a fit.
So when you see me, and I seem irritated or angry or "stressed out", please know that I am doing my goddamn best. This is me coping. I am "dealing with it". This is my happy face. This is me pretending to be just fine, like most people do. But it's not like most people. Not at all. It is a constant battle.

Add to all of this, a re-evaluation of sorts, as of late... Considering my life and the direction it's going. The feeling that I am just skating along, but knowing I need to make it something more. Do something. Relationships, education, work (insert life change here), something... I feel a change coming on. I need it. Am I being manic? No, I think not. Something, or some things, need to change in my life.

It's now 14 hours later, and I'm just coming back to this blog. I started it as the sun rose, and am finishing it as the sun sets. Not planned, just so happened that way.

I got through doing dishes today without throwing a fit. That was last night. When I was trying to make a milkshake, and ended up with milk and ice cream all over the kitchen, and a blender that was forcefully (if not a bit dramatically) launched into the trash.
I picked it out today. Fixed it.
Got through the dishes.
Didn't bite anyone's head off in public.
Didn't eat any small children.
Today was a good day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I updated my "Patients Like Me" account this morning (a website where people like me can seek advice, support, etc), and I happened to think.. This would make a good blog entry. And so, I'll share...

I think I have been suffering with bipolar since I was a teenager, but it has gone undiagnosed. Back in my teen years I was just moody or difficult; troubled. Although I was a good kid, I struggled with severe mood swings, depression, and maintaining interpersonal relationships. I can remember starting counseling around age 13.
 My grandmother (father's mother) was stricken with major depression and mood instability. In fact, I hear stories from my Aunt about how my grandmother wouldn't get off the couch for days, how she was nearly incompetent at times, how my aunt basically raised my father and her other younger siblings.
My father was a raging alcoholic since I can remember. His drinking was what I blamed all of my problems on in my childhood. He eventually drank himself to death in 2013. He was constantly changing jobs, cars, hobbies, and homes. We moved as much as most military families. I believe he also suffered from (undiagnosed) bipolar. But he self-medicated, and it killed him.
Now at 42 (and off and on therapy over the years), I've been through 3 marriages, gone back to college (and dropped out) a handful of times, bought a new car every six months, moved about two dozen times, and changed jobs almost as frequently. I have very few friends, and still struggle with maintaining relationships of any kind. I spend heedlessly. There are days when I can't get out of my pajamas, and there are days when I could write the manifesto (like today). I have dramatic ups and downs that can't be predicted, or controlled. 
It wasn't until adulthood, and (finally) a good relationship with a PCP (around 2009) that she recognized my problems/symptoms and recommended medication.
We first tried a couple different anti-depressants. Both of which seemed to make me "crazy". I was irritable (angry, even), restless, hyperactive, sleepless, wound-up. We then switched and tried two different mood stabilizers. They were mild on the spectrum, and I don't remember exactly what they were. They both seemed to have little success, and I eventually stopped taking them. 
I sought help again in 2012, and my PCP  recommended a work-up at our local psychiatric hospital. I also began seeing a new therapist. That is when I began taking Depakote. And yet, I still hadn't receive an "official" diagnosis. The Depakote seemed to stabilize my swings, but made me quite "flat". It also caused weight gain, and killed my (already low) libido. And so, once again, I stopped taking it. 
Fast forward to the present year... (I am still seeing my therapist).. After my third divorce, a few more job changes, another (failed) attempt at college, three or four moves.. and I find myself seeking help again. I had heard that Topamax had some off label success with bipolar, and helped with weight loss. So I asked my PCP for it. It also was used for my headaches. It was a miracle drug for my headaches! But it made me eat like a pig, and the pins and needles in my hands were absolutely intolerable. It did nothing for my "moods". And so, once again, I stopped taking it (my headaches are back, unfortunately). 
I knew I still needed help. And so my PCP set me up with a meeting with the in-house psychologist in February. Him and his psych nurse and a resident doctor listened to me babble for about an hour, and I left with a prescription for Abilify. I have been on a very small dose (2.5 mg daily) for about a month. We will now move up to 5mg. I have seen no difference in my swings yet. In fact, I know I'm not any better. 
Almost every night I drive home from work crying because I feel so alone; so sad. (I am a bar tender and manager at a local bar). I see so many people having fun with their friends on a daily basis. And I wonder- why I don't have that? Why am I so isolated? Why don't I have any friends? Why can I not successfully maintain any relationships? Why am I not a "people person"?  (But damn, I do a good job faking it at my job every day).
I have a hard time concentrating. I am so distractable. I am irritable most of the time. Frustrated. Angry. I lose patience in everything I do, from cooking a meal to working my day shift. My son asks why I am always so "stressed out". Perhaps it could just be related to my current financial struggles, but I don't think so. It's always been there. 
I have spent all of my "bill money" these last couple weeks, I've been "hyper-creative" (obsessively writing, painting, crafting), I've posted my car for sale (that I just bought a few months ago) and have been feverishly looking for a new one, I'm considering going back to college (again), I got a puppy (in my defense, a service dog was prescribed by my PCP), I constantly go back and forth emotionally in my current relationship. Sounds silly, I know. I'm not jumping off buildings thinking I can fly, but this is my mania.
I still see my therapist every other week. I see my PCP every month, but she's retiring in June, so I have to find someone new. Ugh.
And I wait for the Abilify to be my answer. For something, to be my answer.

And that was the update to my health profile on "Patients Like Me".
It was a learning experience even as I wrote it.
Even though I am (somewhat) at peace here on the lake, am mostly happy at my job, and am in a relationship, I know I'm no better in mind than I was last year, in 2012, or even 20 years ago.

As I sit here and listen to the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, and the song "Escape (the pina colada song)" is playing, I realize it represents how I feel about most everything... My relationships, my home, my belongings, my car, my job, my education... I am constantly seeking something new, something different, something more, to fill some kind of void that never, EVER goes away. Just like my father did, all those years.
  (The psychologist blames this on my dopamine levels -Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps       control the brain's reward and pleasure centers, hence the Abilify).
This kind of pleasure seeking issue sounds so silly, even as I write about it. But trust me, it's not as silly as it sounds. It's not silly at all. It's an obsession, It's all-consuming. It's destructive. And it's terribly, terribly frustrating to live with.
Add to the pleasure seeking- the constant irritability, and uncontrollable (and unpredictable) highs and lows, and its a recipe for absolute misery at times. Although, the highs are pretty good.

I can control some of my moods. Well, sometimes. Oh, who am I kidding. I don't do a good job at it at all. New cars, changing jobs, attempts at school, overspending, obsessive crafting for hours, writing the manifesto, ending/beginning relationships... My irritable outbursts. The angry moments. The inability to concentrate. The times I can't get out of my pajamas or off the couch. The times I do nothing but cry.
The psychologist also highly recommended cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). My therapist says we can try it, but that I'll also have to put it into practice on my own. That's no fun. That's too much homework.
And so, medication. Keep coping. Wait and see.

Today feels like a good day, though. Although I've had too much coffee already and I'm chain smoking. I want to sit by the lake all day. But I can't sit still. Maybe that'll help me accomplish some yard work today.

Be well.

Monday, May 2, 2016

It's been a while, and I feel like talking. So, get comfy.

It's 5:30am, and here I sit, in my usual spot by the lake for my morning coffee.
I don't mind waking so early nowadays.

I guess I'd better get used to it, now that I'm adding a puppy to the household.
Yes! I'm getting a dog! After several (lonely) months of living without and animal in my life, I'm finally getting a dog!

I began the search thinking that I would adopt. That I could kill two birds with one stone- I get a service dog, and a displaced dog gets a great home. I filled out several applications. About a week later and I've had only one response and home visit. I understand that it takes time, but I am not a patient person.
I was looking for a (young) adult. Hoping to skip the puppy angst of chewing, potty training, and all the other headaches of puppyhood. But at the same time, I worried about the train-ability of an older rescue dog. I know, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.  But even an adult (especially in rescue) is bound to have some learned bad behaviors. Maybe a puppy is a good idea? Maybe a blank slate is better to start with? Either way, I'm going to potentially (and probably) have my hands full. I don't know. So much to think about. So anyway, my search continued.
And then I saw this ad for puppies. They were shih tzu/mini Aussie mix. I didn't really want a tiny dog, so I thought this might be a good mix. While talking with the breeder, she mentioned that she had just had a boy fall through from her full mini Aussie litter. She sent me a picture, and it was pretty much all said and done then.
I did spend a few days obsessing over the breed and the fact that it's a puppy... Oh god, it's an Aussie. Can I keep it busy enough??? Oh god, it's a puppy. There goes my shoes. And poop on the floor. And crate training. And sleepless nights. And, and, and... I spent about 12 hours reading online about Aussies and training.
Even when I went to meet them, I wasn't sure. But mom was SUCH a sweet dog. She wanted nothing more than to lean into you and have you pet her. And when you stopped, she'd gently paw you and ask for more. Her and I played this game for about an hour while I was there. The dad was a little more skeptical of us. He just laid on his couch watching us with his puppies. Once in a while he'd come over and sniff us, let us pet him, then right back to his couch to watch over.
And the puppy... Oh, the puppy. Those ice blue eyes. That tri-color coat and stub tail. Oh god. How did I think I could resist! And so I (begrudgingly) parted with my deposit money. I pick him up this coming weekend.
So I have a week to prepare! I'll go broke this week on supplies, I'm sure. Broker than I already am? If that's possible?

I worry that I shouldn't be spending on a dog, especially when things are so tight. But, it is an investment. It's not just a new coach purse, or a bunch of new home decor stuff, or a new wardrobe. It is going to pay me back tenfold, for a very long time.

And then I worry.. is this the part of me that I don't like?
Am I being impulsive? Am I cycling? Am I in a an "up" moment right now? Where am I in my mind? Will how I feel about this change tomorrow, next week, next month? How can I know I am making the right decision? About the dog, or my job, or my relationship(s), or where I live, or, or, or... How can I ever really know, about anything?
You have no idea what it's like to live this way. Never being able to regulate your own emotions and/or thoughts. Life feels like such a roller-coaster. All. The. Time. And then there are the "blank" times. When you simply feel nothing at all. Worse than the emotionless moments though, are the down times. When you're stuck in sadness. There's nothing you can do. You know they will pass, you just don't know when. It could be hours. It could be two or three days. So you wait it out. Those moments are debilitating. Knowing it will (eventually) pass is the only thing that keeps you sane, keeps you from being stupid.
It all makes every day difficult. Every decision. Every moment. Self identity is nearly impossible.
Mix BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) with depression and bipolar, and it's a pool of crap that makes life... interesting.
But I'm not crazy. I cope. I function. I'm normal.

Speaking of which.. I'm finally trying the Abilify that I was so dead-set against (as if the stigma of mental health diagnoses aren't enough).. I was quite appalled at the thought of going on an anti-psychotic. I was afraid that by agreeing to it, it somehow was the final sentence that states- Congratulations, you're officially crazy. But when my therapist said- Crista, it might not help, but what would it hurt to try it? ...it made sense.. Stigma aside, denial aside. Just try the Abilify. And so I've been on a tiny dose for about a week and a half. Too small, and we (me, my therapist, my doctor) all know it, but as with any medication, start slowly and gradually increase. And wait and see.
And so, I wait. To feel differently. Or, maybe better put- to feel less different. I wait to feel balanced. I wait for peace.

Speaking of peace...

Living here on the lake has brought some. More than I expected, actually. There is definitely something about the water that brings it to me. Moving here from across the street was one of the best decisions I've made in a long while.

Anyway, back to the dog...

I am very excited about the new puppy. A bit (or maybe more than a bit) of anxiety accompanies that, though. I know I will have moments of regret. I'm sure I'll be complaining. The poop on the floor, the chewing, the crate training, the craziness. But I have to remind myself that it will pass. Not right away, but it will.
I will invest in some training (and lots of chew toys). I will be consistent.
And with any luck, I'll end up with a wonderful companion and service dog.

In other news.. 

I do miss having two incomes! Sigh. 
Just once I'd like to not have to owe someone money. Or complain about the cost of living. Just once I'd like to have someone say- oh hunnie, I paid the electric bill yesterday, or got the groceries, or paid the cable bill, or, or, or... My good friend Sue loves that Don (her hubby) checks with her every day- Do you have enough money today? Sigh. Now that, I miss. Just in general.
I have obviously forgotten how difficult it was to do it all on your own.
But, I am doing it. I guess. Barely.

Relevant but random... I did consolidate my student loans and get them out of default, so I can now qualify for government grants to go back to school, which I have been considering. That is, IF I can decide what the hell I want to be when I grow up.

And although I am lonely much of the time, I try and remind myself I am not completely alone. I have company, sometimes. I have Dawson, well, half-time (Norman Bates's mother effect still in full force). I have my mom and Logan on occasion. A few friends, I suppose. None that I actually talk to or spend any time with, though. Ok, maybe I don't have friends. Lol...

Hence, the dog.
Hopefully he won't mind me sucking the life out of him.

Be well.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

People change.

I've (re)learned this lesson recently. And like most life lessons, it wasn't terribly pleasant. Fairly painful, in fact. 

People change. 

And not just change their looks, their habits, their lifestyles...
People change right to their very core. 
Everything (you thought) you knew about someone, every single piece of their being, however intimately and completely, can all change. So drastically, that they become an entirely new person all together. 

And in many cases (such as this), the change is not favorable. It's not progress or evolving. It's not a positive change. For you, or for them. 
They wouldn't recognize it, though, because they've changed. They don't see this odd and unusual person they've become. 
Or maybe they do. 
But because they've changed so drastically, they simply don't care

People change. 

And as luck would have it, the people who change are the people you have loved, sometimes for years, your whole life. 
Perhaps the person you held dearest to you, in the highest regard, closest to your soul, they change. 

And all of a sudden, you are left holding a love for someone who doesn't even exist anymore. 

So, what do you do with it?

Let go, move on, all the things people normally do when they lose someone close to them. 
But it's not the same. It's more complicated and difficult than the typical letting go. 
Because you know that person existed once. And human nature curses you with hope (Hope is an evil thing). The hope that that person will suddenly reappear. The hope that the person with whom you shared an indescribable bond, isn't totally lost. 

But they are. You know this to be true. 
They've changed

So you tuck away your love, into a tiny corner. You shut it away, in hopes that it will change too one day. 
That it will turn into something less powerful, less consuming. Into something  meaningless. A vague memory that doesn't elicit any feeling at all. 
Slowly, but eventually, you wait for it to change. 
And hope that one day, finally, it doesn't exist, right along with the person you once knew. 


Saturday, April 2, 2016

I already know I should wait to write until tomorrow morning. I'll have had (hopefully) a decent night sleep, I'll have had some coffee (instead of Angry Orchard), I'll be looking at the lake in the light of day, and things won't seem quite as dreadful as they do tonight. I'll be in a better space, tomorrow.
I should just wait and write. Until tomorrow.
But I need to vent, to "talk", so to speak. And since I seem to be running low in the friend and/or companion department, I'll just sit here and bang on this keyboard until I feel better.
Although, I really should wait till tomorrow to write.
But, I've never been very good at waiting.

Some days (weeks, months, years), I really, really despise the service industry.
Today (this week) has been one of them.
I heard, more than once this week, people (customers), state that being a bartender isn't really "work". Forget that I'm the manager.. no, just bartending isn't actually work.
I heard things like... "You don't really consider this a job, do you?" Or, "This isn't actually work, to you, is it?" And today's fucking cocker (I was very, very busy).. "How's it feel to actually work for a living?"
I wanted to reach out and punch the source, every time something like this escaped their lips. And yet, I bite my tongue. Go about my business. Laugh it off. Smile and serve. All the while cursing them under my breath and hoping they get nailed for OUI on their way home.
I could go on and on and ON, for HOURS, about how much fucking work this job actually is. How physically and mentally draining it can be. How much fucking bullshit comes along with it.  I could go on, and on, and fucking ON. But I don't have the energy; I actually worked for a living today, and I'm too fucking tired to explain it to the morons of the world.
Oh, and let's not forget the customer this week who had several happy hour priced shots for himself and his friends, all ordered by yelling it across the bar from the corner table, (while I was "actually working for a living"), cashed out with a tab of $33.75, and left me a dollar and a fucking quarter, while saying "sorry I can't leave you more"... I felt like throwing it back in his face and screaming- "Keep it! You obviously need it more than I do, you cheap son of a bitch!"
Ah, but No. Laugh it off. Smile and serve.
Fuck you, service industry.

Added to the stress of "work" this week was the move. Yes, it was "just across the street", but it's still moving. And it still fucking sucks. Especially when you're essentially doing it alone.
Minus the help of my "man friend", and two sweet friends from the bar. Without their help, I have no idea how I actually would have done it. No help, no offers, no nothing. Thanks for them, then. Thank gawd for them.
I'm still living out of totes and baskets and boxes. But I can now step outside and the water is at my feet. I look out my windows, and it's all around me. I am lakeside. And it is amazing. It is the only peace I've found, in a long, long time. However fleeting.

Speaking of friends, though... I'm pretty sure I don't actually have any. Ok, maybe I have like, two. Or maybe one? Maybe? Jeezus, I don't even know.
I have lots of people who I'm "friends" with. Probably dozens and dozens and dozens. Over the years, I've made hundreds of these "friends".  You know, the kinds of friends who will hang around with you when you're out in a bar, or say hello when they see you at Walmart, or comment on your facebook posts, or even text you once in a while. They might send flowers if you were hospitalized. They'd attend your funeral service; they'd probably even have some nice things to say about you.
But... I don't really have any close personal relationships that go beyond that. And I'm not quite sure why.
I see other women who go shopping together, do lunch, do dinners, get their nails done. Their children hang out together, or at least know each other. They are close. They're tight. They're sisters.
I had a sister once. I mean, a real one, not a friend...
But I digress..
So anyway, those unfamiliar female ties. Or even male, for that matter. I'd make a damn good wing man. Guys need pedicures, too, right?
Or even something more than a friendship. How novel that would be. A companion. A close personal companionship. A life partner.  I might have had one of those once, too. Maybe twice. Or three times? I have been married three times, right? I lose count...
But, anyway... no close personal relationships. Like I said, I've had them. Once, maybe twice. But people grow apart, geographically, emotionally. Shit happens. Life happens. And then, what are you left with?
A handful, or a hundred, "friends".
So, if a human being has no close personal ties, what does that mean? What does that say? Somehow I think it says more about me than it says about others.

So many things happening in my life, and yet no one to fully take part in any of it. So many things in my mind (constantly, running rampant, uncontrollably), and no one to really share it all with.
Seems like a silly example, but.. I had that psychiatric "work-up" a couple weeks ago, and had no one to talk to about it (other than my therapist).. how it went, what the "result" was, how I felt about it all... Even my "man friend" and I don't talk about things like that. How unusual that is. How odd. That you can be so intimately involved with a person, and yet so emotionally/mentally disconnected. How very odd. But then again, nothing about this current relationship has been anywhere near normal.
Addendum; After tonight, I'm not even sure it qualifies as a relationship at all. 
Again, I digress...
I can't honestly say I have a close personal relationship, at all, with anyone.
With the exception of perhaps my therapist, my children, and my mother (occasionally).
And this keyboard.
But even those relationships have their limitations.
Essentially, I am alone. Perhaps.. I am responsible for that.
Seriously, who sits home on a Saturday night and gets drunk by themselves and talks to their beta fish?

(My calluses aren't tough enough. I keep forgetting Angry Orchards aren't twist offs.)

Backing up a bit... as far as that psychiatric thing.. I have decided to try his/their recommendation of the Abilify. As my therapist said- "It may not help, but what can it hurt to try?"
And so, off I went to the local pharmacy to fill my new prescription. My anti-psychotic. Diagnoses and script in hand, ponytail, hat, sunglasses. Incognito; no one can attach the stigma to me if I'm not recognizable.
It sits on my counter still, in it's unopened bag. And this week alone I've had such ups.. And such downs (as is blatantly obvious by tonight's blog), and on the edge of an anger that's only barely contained by a thin veil of wavering self control.
And still I tell myself I don't really need it.
And it sits on my counter.
Maybe I'll start it tomorrow.

Tomorrow.. The boy comes home from his Dad's tomorrow. I always feel better when he is home. I probably smother him too much, rely on him too much to fulfill my own emotional needs.
Norman Bates's friggin mother.

I'll see my boy tomorrow. I'll start my prescription tomorrow. I'll finish unpacking tomorrow. I'll talk to someone other than this keyboard or my beta fish, tomorrow.
I'll feel better, tomorrow.

I'll rise up, I'll rise like the day
I'll rise up, I'll rise unafraid
I'll rise up, and I'll do it a thousand times again
And I'll rise up, high like the waves
I'll rise up, in spite of the ache
I'll rise up, and I'll do it a thousand times again