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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Still Breathing

It's been a bit since I updated but my laptop died and I do not have the money to purchase a replacement yet so I write when I can borrow my daughter's.

So far things are good and bad with my son depending on how you look at it. He is more even keeled but he's still self harming but the self harm is reduced to cutting and not trying to bash his own skull in with a weight bar....but when he cuts it's pretty severe...but....it's not very often.....but he's not contemplating suicide....but he's still extremely anxious and obsesses. See? It's all about silver lining versus shit. It's all a matter of how you view things. *stress*

That being said, my hair is falling out most likely from stress. Good thing I have so much damn hair. I will need to start looking for a part time job once the kids start school because we just can't survive on one income for two households any longer. We did what we could for as long as we could but it's come to the end of our rope. This means relying on my son to help with the kids more. I am worried about that but am hoping it'll be low stress for him. His meds aren't worked out enough for anything high stressed and let's face it PTSD isn't something that can be controlled very easily. *Stress*

In the past week my husband got his car towed and it cost $320 to get it out and my son got a speeding ticket going to his sister's place...to the tune of $150. That really clamps down on the budget and makes things extra difficult. I have school supplies/clothes/shoes to buy for the little ones and my younger son's birthday is coming up too. Things are going to hurt financially this month for sure. *STRESS*

My mother has recently learned that being able to continue her work as a hospital floor nurse might not be possible so I have been dealing with her bullshit too. To the tune of defending my son for NOT being in college right now and telling her where she can go. *MORE STRESS*

Since I started writing this, people I know have come forward and told me about their struggles with their children's mental health issues. I am always reading op-ed articles about making mental health issues more out there and for people to quit hiding because there is not shame in it but you know what....not one talks about parenting a child with mental health issues. No one talks about how hard it is to deal with and the daily struggle that comes with not knowing whether or not it will be a good day or bad one with your child. The fear of going to bed because you have no idea whether or not your child will decide to end their life in the middle of the night. No one talks about it. There is still embarrassment and shamed associated with it. That needs to end too.

Today my stress level hit a new high. Between writing the check for the speeding ticket, learning about the impound fees, and defending my son, and his mental illness, to my mother...I had a good cry in the shower. It was either scream and scare the little ones or cry quietly. I chose the latter. There really isn't much lonelier than crying quietly in a shower then getting out, getting dressed, and acting like everything is perfectly fine.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Little by Little, Step by Step

My son was released from the psych ward at the hospital a couple days ago and so far everything is going well. He has new meds and finally a diagnosis. I'll keep that diagnosis to myself since it is rather personal. That being said, it's nice to see him a little brighter. He even has something to take for his anxiety and that is a a true gift. His anxiety was so crippling.

Right now I am trying to take life day by day. As much as I want to get my hopes up that these meds are the answer to his needs, I don't really trust it yet. I find myself asking him how he is doing multiple times a day and I am pretty sure that has got to be annoying to him. Today he left the house and went to a park with his friends. My son....left the house. That's huge. My BFF and his wife took the two little ones and me to an area wildlife park. Of course before we left I had to ask him if he was going to be okay alone. Leaving him home alone terrifies me still even though he is much better. I am so scared I'll come home to a body hanging out the third story window...you have no idea.

Of course now that some of the stress of his issues is starting to abate, I have noticed that I am a hot mess. I have anxiety now. I don't feel like getting out of bed. I don't have the energy to do day to day tasks, and I am just not me. I swear I spend my days spinning in circles. The worst though it at night when I am laying in bed. All the horrible thoughts that run through your brain as you relax sure can screw up one's ability to fall asleep. It would be wonderful to have another body to hold on to when those awful images invade my brain or the nightmares wake me from my sleep. Just someone to hold me, rub my head, and tell me everything is going to be okay. Someone to chase the monsters away so to speak.

Step by step I need to gain some control over my life and myself. I guess I really need someone to take care of me for a change but since that is not an option, I need to deal with it myself. Time to square up my shoulders, look everything in the eye, and try to not crumble. I should probably be grateful my bed is queen sized and not king sized or bigger. That would make that empty space next to me that much more immense.

I am still in physical therapy for my back. I really just need to be done with it. I need to start doing normal exercise so I can get back into shape. I miss my old body. I miss being able to wear my clothes. I miss....shit, I miss a lot of things. Mostly I just miss me.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I Am But Made of Glass

I don't know why but that statement keeps coming to my lips, "I am but made of glass and if you touch I may shatter." I have no idea where it came from but it fits my feelings are the moment. I truly feel bitter and on the verge of breaking. I haven't been posting about things that were happening here because my computer died and I still haven't the funds to replace it.

Basically, my son hit another crisis and he met with the new psychiatrist....that new meeting did not go well. He was too dismissive with my son and wouldn't actually listen to him. My son left his office within 30 minutes worse than when he walked in. It was so horrendous that within 4 hours after that meeting he had checked himself into the hospital under a voluntary 72 hour psych hold. Do you know how desperate you have to be to go to the one place that scares you the most and voluntarily check yourself in there?

Of course this meant I had to drive him down there and I was with him while he was explaining to doctors and social workers what had been going on in his head. He explained, in details, his plan on how to end his life if things become too overwhelming. I heard things no parent should ever hear come out of their child's mouth. Things that would make the blood run cold if you heard them come out of a stranger's mouth much less from someone you love. Walking away and leaving your child in the care of a hospital is always difficult to do even under the best of circumstances.

I walked out of that hospital with my head up after giving my son one last hug but once I hit the outside, I crumbled. The tears came and the stress of those last 4 hours was released in a way very out of the norm for me. I am not a crier. I couldn't stop. I even apologized to my friend that was with me for being a baby.

That was Tuesday. It's now Thursday evening and my son seems better. He called earlier in the day sobbing. He had had a panic attack and they had given him an injection. I guess he was a little disoriented and groggy after he woke up and he was working himself back into panic mode. He does want to see about being released tomorrow. He has had enough. I am not sure if they will let him go yet. Honestly, I am not sure he's truly ready but he's an adult and this was voluntary so no one can make him stay.

However,  even with the upswing, I find myself still feeling fragile. I am still but made of glass and I will shatter....


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Not Gonna Lie, I'm Drowning....

So after a good day yesterday, last night turned bad. I was up until nearly 7am because my son was just in a bad place. Not bad enough for 911 and 72 hour hold but still, not good. I slept maybe 5 hours total starting after the sun came up. Let me assure you that this is one of the hardest, most painful things I have ever had to do...watch my baby boy suffer. I am not a weak woman and I have had some extremely horrible periods in my life, periods that people would cringe to hear about but this, this is the most painful thing I have ever had to go through.

No one would ever equate me with being helpless but here I am, helpless as fuck. I am also not prone to tears and yet just watching my son suffer makes me cry. It makes me cry thinking about it or even talking about it. I feel like I am watching him drown but I can't quite reach him and the more I try, the more my legs become mired in quicksand. I am being pulled under as I am trying to save him.

Tonight I needed to breathe. My eldest daughter got off work early so I was able to head to my favorite couple's house and watch season 7 of Shameless with them. Well, we started it. It was awesome being able to just sit and watch something without any demands being made of me. Granted, I did have to field texts and calls regarding my eldest son but it was liberating not being in the middle of miasma. I thought everything was okay. He needed some spending money, no big deal.

I was even able to tell my friends more about what was going on, like face-to-face to people I knew loved me and were just as concerned with my family as I was. It felt good. He had slept a little this morning but when he woke up I knew it was not going to be a good day. When I had finally escaped the house, things were quiet. I thought I was in the clear.

I was so fucking wrong. As soon as I got in the car (1am give or take) there was a text from my eldest daughter telling me that my son was not doing well and she didn't know what to do. So I texted my husband to call him and then raced home. He is now on the back porch talking to his dad and I am here, typing this up. I don't know what to do. I am exhausted but I doubt sleep will come. I am too anxious and worried about him. I also have my two youngest kids in my bed. They are more clingy now; though to be fair I think it's more a result of their dad visiting and leaving again than their brother slowly losing his mind.  Then again, it could be a combination of both.

Every day I pray to whatever is out there to help him. To take his torment away. To help me find the strength to bear this burden. I honestly do not think anyone is listening.

Friday, June 9, 2017

It's Not All Bad

It was a beautiful day today. The sun was shining, I got to go to the store without children hanging off me asking for stuff, and I bought myself a treat...booze. Hey it's summer I an totally deserve that Gin & Tonic and Margaritas. We do have storms heading our way but I love a good summer storm. I might be able to fire up a video game tonight. I was blasting my music, singing in my car, and having a great day.

I took a detour home and hung out with my favorite girl, Angela, then came home and started dinner. I felt lazy so I experimented on the kids and made a ham casserole and skipped veggies because I can't be fucked to chop and cut. I even managed to get my semi-feral children bathed. Summers are pretty loose and relaxed around here.

I was reminded today that sometimes the fact I am a genuinely nice person that cares and will help out whenever/wherever I am needed can be a double edged sword. While most of the time my generous nature is greeted with open arms and thankfulness, sometimes I am viewed suspiciously or people paint me with a reputation I didn't earn because they do not understand why I am doing these helpful things for someone. Yes, I also run the risk of being used but that's fine, my helpfulness rarely involves money so the only things used are my time and energy.  One of the hazards of living in a small town where everyone knows everyone and their entire personal history, is you are an unknown element. Add that to a complicated history and relationship...tongues start wagging. Fortunately, I always keep my nose clean so eventually the truth comes out or everyone decides maybe I am not sent to town on a mission from Satan. I am used to people just not understanding me in general so I hardly notice these things any longer.

I was once asked why I am willing to stick my neck out for people, even virtual strangers, and I gave it some thought today. The short answer; I can't help it. It's just who I am. I think because I had no one to help me when I was younger and desperately needed it, I refuse to let anyone else feel lost, helpless, and abandoned if it is in my power to do something. Even something small like doing a load of laundry can have a big impact on someone's day. Most of the time people just need someone to listen and care. So that's what I do, listen and care. I'll offer advice or guidance when appropriate and then do a load of their laundry or something.

I met two of the most wonderful and accepting people I have ever known through my desire to help and I wouldn't trade them for anything on Earth. Other than leaving my grown children in Ohio, the pain of leaving them is going to leave a hole in my soul. I'll just have to visit them or they will have to visit me. Thank goodness for technology, we are all only a call/text/FaceTime away from each other. Granted, it won't be the same as showing up at each other's houses whenever we feel like it or need a chin wag/hug but it will have to do. It's better than nothing. Shawn and Angela are two of the best people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. We can discuss anything or tell each other anything without judgment or risking losing the love and respect we have for each other. I adore their boys like they were my own.

Someone took me to task online about not being sympathetic to my son's mental illness and treating like a burden. You know what, I am sooooo sympathetic to him that I don't make any demands on him at all other than to not be verbally abusive to his brother and sisters. We all tiptoe around his mood swings and try to not upset him. And, FYI, dealing with his illness while he is unmedicated IS A GODDAMN BURDEN. It's a burden to him and to me. Just because I am honest and admit the strain I am under with everything already piled on me, then having to help him find the right doctor and treatment, doesn't make me unsympathetic. It fucking makes me a human being. I can admit my feelings. Something I haven't been able to to for years for fear someone would point out that I was a failure. I'm not a failure. I am not weak. I am just a woman at her limit sometimes and that is perfectly fine. So you can take your judgmental, perfect ass and walk the fuck out of here. Got it? Good.

I was asked to explain my posting about the sex thing and how after awhile you don't even care about it any longer. Well, I am not sure what else to say about it except it's completely true. After the first two months of my husband being gone, I stopped thinking about sex. Getting "horny" isn't something that happened and I physically didn't care about it. That resistance to the sexual urge dissipates after you have sex again but you know that after a few weeks it'll be gone and life will continue on. Sure their are sex toys and masturbation but not only are they NOT the same as having a physical body with you, the orgasms are decidedly unsatisfying in my opinion so why waste the energy? I hope this explains what I meant.

That all being said, the hardest times are night. That doesn't change. Going to bed alone or even sitting by myself in the evening watching a movie/TV is when I really notice how "single" I am right now. It at these times when I start to feel the weight of everything and my mood can get very dark if I allow it. I do hate going to bed. My bed is so big for just one person.

Of course, on the other hand, I always have kids underfoot and household "disasters" to attend to so the thought of getting away is appealing. That would be a different type of alone. That's the type of along when you don't have kids making demands on you.  Still escaping for a weekend away is totally better with another person or people but hey, at this point I'd take doing it alone even if it was just for the sleeping. It would be awesome to have an adult weekend....


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Chaos Reigns Supreme

Summer vacation is here and the kids are out of school. This means loads of bickering and whining mixed with "I'm hungry" and "It's my turn."  It also means I get deal with a mentally ill teenager mixed with small children all day long.

My husband visited recently; the first time I had seen him in 6 months. You'd expect after being apart for that long seeing each other would be like the end of some romance movie. Well so did I. However, you and I were both wrong. It was awkward and strange. I had no idea how to greet him, approach him, to him. The week was filled with things he wanted/needed to do with little time for me. We barely even hugged while he was here. It cemented the fact that once we are in the same house together again, it will be as if we are starting our relationship all over again.

We fought. I was irritated he wouldn't spare me a few moments alone just to talk and he figured if he couldn't take me out then being alone wasn't important. He was so very wrong. I was left hurting because it felt like I wasn't important to him any longer. He had a new life, with new people, and I wasn't really a part of it. I was just something he kept around for nostalgia's sake.

It wasn't all doom and horror. The kids, all 5 of them, were thrilled to see their father again. It was wonderful having my entire family under one roof, laughing and joking around. Of course it also meant tons of cooking and cleaning for me but it was worth it to have us all in one place even for a brief moment.

There is a small part of me that wishes he hadn't come home. There I said it. Now it's out there. While it was great having him here, for the most part, it made his leaving again even harder. Having someone in bed my at night made my bed that much more empty and lonely when he left. Imagine if you will someone made you your favorite meal, your favorite in the whole world, gave you a bite and then took it away never telling you when you could have another. My life experience has become a series of bites; a nibble here and a nibble there hoping it will add up to an entire meal eventually.

They say communication is a the key to a great marriage and in many ways they are correct. That being said, communication is difficult with a 2 hour time difference and 2 people leading very different lives. When he got here, I had no idea how to talk to him. We don't speak much when he's away. At least nothing more in depth than the surface stuff. You know the stuff....how were the kids today? How's your back? What's the weather like? That kind of thing. He doesn't want to hear what is really going on with me because it's unpleasant. He'd rather keep things pleasant because it makes it easier for him to be away. I get it. I understand it. It's normal. It's also normal for me to want to share the trials and tribulations of things here. That just isn't possible so communication is at a minimum with us and it's better that way I suppose. He isn't depressed about things here and that is best. He's out there without us and I know it's hard on him.

It's funny though how I can say I have no privacy and have it be really true. Today I tried to take a short nap. I was extra exhausted and couldn't keep my eye open. within 45 minutes 3 of my kids barged into my room 4 times to ask me something or tell me something. Seriously, not even a knock. It's like they could sense I was trying to sneak in an hour of sleep and they couldn't allow it.

Day to day tasks are fairly mundane, not much happens here. The kids and I talk, watch movies, or whatever. Hopefully I can find the will to stitch again soon. It used to be my mediation but with so many distractions, I haven't been able to do it. Let me give you an example: my favorite couple had come over and we decided to watch Beauty and the Beast. The kids, the youngest especially, just couldn't let me sit and watch a movie without interruption.

Right now I am trying to plan a small escape for myself and my sanity. I just want to go to a hotel room and do whatever I want, watch whatever I want, cry if I feel like it, without interruption. Hopefully I can get the funds to do that sooner rather than later.

I am still feeling very raw and the past couple of days have been punctuated with a few tears here and there. I always manage to pull myself together before much more than 1 or 2 has left my eyes. I can't show weakness. I can't show fear. I cannot show sadness. Everything I show, my kids pick up on and I can't have a bunch of little ones what rely on me solely worrying that I am losing my nerve. No one wants to follow a frightened leader into battle and I need these kids to follow me. So I screw my emotions to that sticking place, shake it off, and plow ahead. It's isolating as Hell but what choice do I really have?


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Trudging through the Swamp of Despair....

You get 10 points if you understand the reference of this post title.

So a quick update on my life so far:  Husband's company closed and he lost his job. He couldn't find another one locally that would pay as much (no where even near as much) as he was making and the benefits were atrocious.

On December 6, 2016, my husband left for a job in Colorado leaving me behind to get things with the house sorted so we can sell it and to let the younger two finish the school year. If only it were that easy. On March 31, 2017 I collapsed from pain on my driveway and was unable to move. I couldn't walk, stand, or even roll to my side. At the E.R. I was informed I had herniated 2 discs in my lower back. What was I doing to cause such a heinous injury? Nothing. I was literally standing still. I returned to the E.R. 5 days later because the steroids they gave me didn't help and I became immobile again. I also learned I had scoliosis. That would have been nice to know years ago. My older son has a mental illness that has been misdiagnosed for years. Things have gotten seriously awful here so I am staying in Ohio until he's got a better diagnosis, his meds are sorted out, and he is stable enough to live on his own (this means a job for him and as of now, he can't work).

Needless to say, this all has avalanched into my being stuck in Ohio for an indeterminate amount of time. The separation has been a strain on my marriage and my life in general. Though part of me is happy because I won't have to leave my best friend I've ever had.

Now that everyone is all caught up, it's time for me to get real. I mean really real. There will be curse words and some no-holds-barred dialog, so consider yourself warned.


Yesterday it happened. I succumbed to my frustrations and despair. I let my steel will bend and I stopped being the pillar of strength everyone keeps calling me. I had just finished physical therapy and had returned home faced with the prospect of yard work. I set about trimming the bushes because I couldn't see my side entrance any longer and it needed to be dealt with. My upper body was sore from PT and using the hedge clippers (manual) was like holding extra heavy weights. It was so humid I felt like I was breathing underwater. This was not the moment when I failed myself though. I trudged ahead knowing that this was something that must be done and I was the only person that was going to do it.

I resigned myself to mowing the front and back lawns as well. The day was dry and we were expecting several days of rain. The poor lawn hadn't been mowed in about 10 days; it had to be done. I went to the garage to get the mower. Hubby had visited last week and done a few DYI projects that needed doing. However, between him and our son, everything had been put back into the garage in such a way I couldn't get to the mower. So here I am dragging a table saw, bikes, and other crap around just to get to the goddamn mower.

I trundled the mower to the front yard and this...this is the moment I broke. It was only for an instance but there it was. There wasn't any reason for it, I think I just became overwhelmed with what felt like the enormity of mowing both lawns, sore from PT, and on a day that felt like I was being nestled under Satan's balls.

I started crying. Anyone that knows me knows I am not a big crier. The waterworks do not open just because there's a cute dog or a sad movie. Yet, here I was, losing my composure, on my front lawn for no discernible reason whatsoever. Well not discernible to anyone that is not me. I sucked it up pretty quickly. Scolding myself in my head for being a pussy-ass crybaby...only 4 tears actually made it out of my eyes. I started the mower and away I went; until the mower stopped working. I fixed it and continued, after trying to hunt down proper tools for almost an hour.

This moment of self-perceived weakness got me thinking. What the hell is weighing on me. Sure kids, house, bills, etc are all easy to point to as being crushing weights of responsibility...and they are...but there is so much more going on. I never talk about it. I have lightly flitted over it in conversations with friends but I've never been really open and honest. Most of the time when someone wants to know how you are doing, they really want to hear "fine" so they can be happy they absolved themselves of their obligation of asking without actually having to offer anything more. I came to a few conclusions though whether or not these revelations really help me in anyway remains to be seen.

I am alone. This is an honest truth. Every night I go to bed alone. I wake up alone. I care for the kids, the house, the yard, the day-to-day bullshit...alone. I deal with the disasters, experience the happy moments, watch TV/movies.....alone. The sheer loneliness is soul crushing. Sure hubby and I talk on the phone but it's not the same as having him here to help. Plus he's terrible at the phone. I love him but he doesn't listen most of the time because he's distracted by stuff on his end. Seriously, the man cannot walk and chew gum so he certainly can't cook his dinner and listen. There's a 2 hour time difference between us too which doesn't help.

The one thing I have learned about being alone is that you can get over the need for physical contact with another human being (yes in the adult sense not hugs from kids...that's different). Honest truth, you get to the point where things like kissing, cuddling, and sex are just not necessary to life. This does, however, make you a little too independent in body language and can make you seem unapproachable. It's hard to appease your ego with the knowledge that someone in Colorado wants you when you are stuck staring at an empty bed day after day.

I have no privacy and there is no such thing as "Me Time." Since I am solely responsible for everything and everyone here, I never get a real break. Maybe I get to watch a movie at a friend's, if I am lucky or maybe they can come here but that's still only about 3 hours of freedom (unless they are here in which case I am still juggling the kids and house). There is always a kid needing your attention, or something that needs cleaning or fixing. My "Me Time" are the few hours at PT and when I can steal an hour or two at a friend's house. Though even then I am worried about getting home because I don't know what the kids are destroying and whether or not my older son is actually taking care of his little brother and sister for me.....or are they having a full Lord of the Flies experience in my house. He has trouble dealing with them because of his issues and being unmedicated at the moment. I used to walking or hiking when I needed to clear my head or think. Now I can't even manage that because I just don't have the time.

It all up to me. Whenever the realization hits that keeping everything here balanced and going is all up to me, anxiety takes a hold. I don't feel like I am up to the task but then I don't really have a choice do I? I mean, who else is going to do it? Imagine someone handed you two buckets of nitroglycerin, one for each hand, then put you on a tightrope then said, it's all up to you to get to the other side without blowing up. That's my emotional and mental state daily.  I have friends I can lean on but I hate leaning too heavily on anyone, not even my husband, and they have troubles and woes of their own plus I hate being a bother to anyone. I love them both dearly and I love their kids like they were my own. I'd do anything for them and I am grateful I do have them in my corner whenever I need them. They force me to be social and prevent me from isolating myself. I couldn't have gotten this far without them.

I hear things like "You're a strong woman. You can do this" or "Military wives do it all the time." First off and fuck you for the military comment. I am not saying it because I don't think military wives have it easy, I am saying it because I am not a military wife. I feel bad they have gaps from their spouses but they signed up for the marriage knowing that was possible and the military does off a support system for spouses of deployed personnel. I am fucking alone here, twat wad, and I didn't sign up for this when I married a civilian. I am also pretty sure they feel the same way I do so don't belittle their feelings like that....so fuck off again. I am tired of being strong. I am so fucking tired. You couldn't even begin to grasp the mental and emotional exhaustion I am suffering from. Some days it's hard getting out of bed. That is not an example of strength, trust me. This is humanity at its lowest.

I do all of my crying, when there is some, in the shower or at night when everyone is asleep because I have to be the rock that keeps my family from sinking. Of course one has to ask who is holding up the rock? As of right now, the rock's sheer will and stubbornness is the only thing holding her up. I need a weekend off. I need to go away, stay the night(s) there, and not be responsible for anything above deciding whether to have the mimosa or margarita. A weekend when no one demands anything of me. That would be heaven. I just need someone to arrange it all and whisk me away. I don't have the energy to plan.

As for now, I shall remain alone, plugging along, pushing self-indulgent self-pity down into the depths of my being, facing it all head on, and wishing it would get just a little bit easier....and crying in the shower.