Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Say What?

Funny how when you plunk down at therapy and say not much happened you end up having a pretty insightful, intense session!

Turns out constantly censoring and sanitizing whatever you say isn't actually natural. Apparently speaking your mind is natural and OKAY! It's happened a couple times when I've been with my fiance and words spurt from my mouth without running through my mind first-otherwise I wouldn't know what it feels like!

Why did this come up?

While the fiance and I were visiting my folks and getting my brakes fixed I found the wedding invites and Mother's Day card I sent home with my dad a couple weeks back. Turns out he hasn't addressed the invites and sent them out AND he didn't give Mom her Mother's Day card.

I was pissed.

The topper-I actually expressed my anger.

The catch-the fiance and I were alone in my parents' house.

I've been trying to stop myself from suppressing my emotions and "fixing" everything. It was a big step for me to delegate the invites to my Dad and I had anxiety about them not getting done. Then I find them untouched and my fears are confirmed. Not the happiest moment in my life but it was actually a good growth opportunity.

Even though I wasn't able to express my feelings to my parents I did let them out, which is a good step-a big step for me. Graduating to conveying my feelings to people other than my most-trusted fiance will be a work in progress but luckily therapy gave me some insight and direction on this quest!

A big issue I discovered was that I take responsibility for others' feelings. I prevent myself from expressing my feelings because I'm afraid of the ramifications. I also have a huge "fixer" complex and very sensitive guilt gland so I tend to throw myself under the bus to try and prevent others' from what I predict to be their future emotions.

But I'm a big girl now. I need to know that my emotions are individual and independent from other peoples' and that my emotions are my valid just like other peoples' emotions are valid! It's a two way street, if I can be empathetic and understanding towards others they can be the same to me-and if they aren't, oh well.

It's a complex, confusing, deep-seeded issue for me but it was a very welcome and happy discovery. I can be self-assured and confident and genuine with my feelings and welcome people to join the party. It's okay to be ME!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Humdrums

I haven't been having a terrible time but it has been a bit pastel-a bit plain. I'm fighting the impulse to beat up on myself and feel bad about not being "productive" or "proactive" and simply let myself be.

So life is a little slow-mo of late.


Did you know that perforated toilet paper as we know it came on the porcelain scene in the 1880s?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Something Hilarious and Something ... Deep

First off, the hilarious.

I spend a lot of time with my kitties but I had never experienced Millie and Window's Media Player. I guess listening to public radio is a lot more entertaining than people give it credit!

As for the deep, it's actually Mother's Day related-how thematic!

Earlier this week I got a call from my sister asking where our maternal grandmother was buried. Let me put this in context for you....

We know next to nothing about our maternal grandmother but we do know that occasionally her birthday falls on Mother's Day. Our mom has brought this up multiple times and this year is one of those years. My sis concocted a plan to take Mom to the cemetery to visit her mother on Mother's Day/her birthday.

Okay. After the call I hopped on Google trying to figure out where that cemetery was. I remembered visiting it as a child but it had been nearly a decade since my last visit-so my memories seemed a little disjointed.

After nearly 45 minutes of fruitless Googling using all the last names I could think of (our grandmother had a few different marriages and went by several different last names through her lifetime) I switched tactics and decided to rely on my childhood memories more directly.

Powering up Google maps I simply scanned the region I remembered the cemetery being and soon I found there was really only one option. I called the cemetery to try and confirm my suspicions but there was no answer.

So I opted to drive an hour south to check myself. I didn't want to tell my sister and have my guess be wrong!

It was a beautiful day and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive with my book on tape blasting away. I had scribbled some directions on a slip of paper and as I drove further into town a pressure grew in my chest.

I recognized a certain hill. I instantly knew I was on the right track.

A couple more blocks and I found the entrance to the cemetery. My speed slowed to a respectful and somewhat lost 5 mph and I meandered into to the field of souls. I vaguely remembered the grave being by a mausoleum type of building and being positioned behind the caretakers' building.

Turning right I cruised past more graves and felt a pang of awkwardness as I saw families busy at work tending their respective sites. I felt like an intruder. I wasn't even sure if I could find the grave and I hadn't been here for over ten years and these folks were here dutifully attending their charges!

I decided to pull over and proceed on foot and before I knew it realized I had stopped my car a mere ten feet from my intended site.

A decade later based on a middle school memory I had found the headstone.

I felt a whirl of emotions and a huge lump in my throat. I had no memories of this woman except for this grave site. Even then I couldn't have described the headstone's design although it seemed so familiar when I found it.

And we share a name. Our middle names. She's a namesake of mine and I know next to nothing about her.

I took a rubbing of the headstone and snapped this picture with my phone and then sat down and journalled. I didn't recall many of the other stones, just the lady next door that had died a year before my grandmother. It was all strangely therapeutic and still grating. All the family awkwardness and bitter secrets shoved in my face.

My walk down memory lane didn't end there. I drove a few blocks over and then up a steep hill to my grandmother's old house. The house my mom grew up in and the home my aunt once took and my cousin as well.

Without the old stone wall along one side and the giant willow in the yard I wouldn't have recognized it.

The old red sides were replaced with neutral siding and the old crab apple tree was gone. The gravel driveway was maintained and level and there was a lovely wood and glass front door and blooming flowers in front of the windows.

It looked homey and cheerful. The house I remembered was dark and shaggy with a dank smell of old animals and cigarette smoke.

I found myself mourning the loss of this family landmark but also happy to see a happier house than I recalled. I imagined my childhood home transforming into someone else's home and cringed. I can't imagine losing that house to someone else's lifestyle-but I calmed myself knowing that I'd always have my memories.

It was a strange journey and on my drive home it took twenty minutes to swallow the lump in my throat and relax the tension in my chest.

So many memories and so many feelings. My sister asked that I meet her and Mom at the cemetery today-Mother's Day-but I couldn't agree to it. For some reason I had to protect that solo visit.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Good News & Bad News

I finally got around to calling the triage center where I was taken in March during my major episode (ya know, the one with the handcuffs?) and ask about billing options. The bill didn't arrive until mid-April and it chalked up to $475.

The phone menu option went as follows "if you do not have insurance, need to make a payment plan, or your account is in collections press 5." We all love being filed under that option, don't we?

In the end it worked out great, I got a friendly lady that simply moved my fee into a charity account! I don't have to pay a dime!

I was so relieved, especially considering the less-happy news in my life lately.

I haven't been looking at any financial information for over two months, in fact I straight up forgot the password to our joint account online banking. Of course that doesn't stop me from worrying about our money situation and last night my worst suspicions were confirmed.

The savings account we worked so hard to build up has been nearly drained and while we've been able to make payments on our charge accounts we're in more debt now than before my most recent breakdown. I'm sure we're not the only people around the world in this situation but for me it's a terrifying feeling.

I feel guilty and trapped and helpless-like a huge car compactor of financial pressure is bearing down on me.

We were entertaining thoughts of getting a companion dog for me and in reality we can hardly afford our cats! Not to mention my continuing therapy and medication treatment costs. I'm scared to back down my therapy-only a few weeks back we were considering sending me more often-and screwing around with me meds would only result in more hospital bills when I flip out again.

Getting a job is certainly what I need to be doing. The aspect of searching and interviewing is intimidating and depressing and I'm not quite sure how I will manage a work schedule. No doubt I could handle a few hours at a time, but I still feel vulnerable.

All I can do is try. Try and try to lose as much weight as fast as I can so I have a chance of fitting into my old work clothes...

Looking up at this mountainous challenge before me makes my heart quake. Somehow I have to manage the stress and fear I feel while looking for work and then manage to succeed at working again. The only way I'm able to proceed is literally one breath at a time-this might be slow-going, the trek starts now.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Weather Girl

Considering this flick was rated below a 5/10 on IMDB I didn't have many expectations. But when I couldn't sleep and needed a midnight movie I figured a ho-hum movie would work well to lull me to sleep.

My idea kind of backfired when I found myself laughing and clapping and thoroughly enjoying the movie. There were surprisingly familiar actors in supporting roles-Mark Harmon, Jane Lynch, Jon Cryer-and delightfully believable characters driving the action.

It also doesn't hurt to have a cute guy using his boyish charms on a sassy attitude-y down-on-her-luck gal!

Overall, for a rom-com I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed how this film set in Seattle actually felt like Seattle.

Hannah Gets Angry

Traditionally, I'm a self-berating, guilt tripper that minimizes my problems and struggles and harasses myself to "buck up!" and "stop whining you selfish b%$&#!"

With that in mind, it's kind of a big deal for me to get MAD.

It's a strange feeling for me but I think it shows some progress and is positive in a weird way. I'm slowing cultivating the skill to express my emotions and value my own feelings and opinions.

Okay, okay I'll tell you what happened :o)

It isn't just a single event-rather a series of little changes with a cumulative grrrrrrr.

First off, I've been more outspoken with the fiance. Not necessarily with beautiful command of language or with a firm grasp on my reason for speaking out, but I've been piping up more with my grrrrrr feelings.

My new expressiveness has mad some waves. Things haven't been pretty, especially I ride a grouchy wave straight into verbal snapping turtle territory. Our relationship is having to grow and adapt to this altered communication-I need to learn how to express my feelings in an acceptable way and we both need to adjust to the extra emotion being launched into our communal airspace! 

Not being used to exploring my angry feelings means that these feelings are easily misdirected. Considering the fiance is 98% of my social exposure-he bears the brunt of this. (sorry, hun)

Secondly, I found myself in a fit of pouty rage Sunday night during a depressive downturn. 

Usually my depressive downturns are sad and painful but not necessarily angry. This time was different.

I was angry about my depression. I was angry that my meds weren't working how I wanted. I was angry that my mind is still a tornado after a couple months of therapy. I was angry at the money my depression costs the fiance. I was angry about feeling handicapped by my illness.

I was angry.

For the first time EVER I refused medication. Okay-it only lasted a couple hours and when the fiance woke me up a bit later I submitted to his pill-pushing, but it was still a shift for me! I was fed up with the pills and appointments and bills and mindfullness and effort and struggle. 

Eventually I ended up on the phone with my therapist and she grounded me and calmed me down for the evening. I don't recall many other details of the episode but I distinctly remember the anger and how novel it felt. 

It felt good to be angry. I felt a fire under my butt! An energizing rage and a strange amount of justification when I usually feel self-doubt and deprecation. It wasn't particularly useful in this instance, but I relished the energy and realized it could be useful when harnessed properly. 

It may not be pretty, but I plan on getting angry a little more often. Watch out, world!

(Although my "angry" probably looks like a possum with indigestion to most everyone else-I feel like a lion!)