In the grinder

Life keeps being interesting.  After being out of work for a week due to the acute asthma and treatment with prednisone, I was back this week.  Thursday, my partner was let go from his job.  I flipped but on the inside (see: pretending to be a functional human being).  I kept it together enough to finish my work day.  I was able to vent with a couple of friends.  He has enough of a severance package that we aren’t going to be homeless quite yet.   Plus he has skills and experience that are in demand.

I am hopeful something new will come along.  I’m just worried that it will take time we don’t have.  We are still recovering from a few difficult years so do not have a cushion. We both need continuing health care coverage so that is scary as well.  There will be a gap unless COBRA has gotten less expensive with the ACA which I doubt.

I am trying to keep hope. My partner would be a huge asset to any company.  It’s just a matter of convincing him of that fact.  And then getting his foot in the door somewhere.  I don’t even care if we have to move again.  Heck, going back to NC would be a boon for me.  I have a real in-person support system there.   I don’t see us going back to AZ but that too would be fine with me.   He has been thriving here so here is where the job search will focus.  I will cope.  I have to.

 

How Depression works for me

There seems to be a persistent myth that depressed people are doom & gloom all the time.  But we aren’t.  For me it starts with a baseline emotional state  that is low or less happy/up than others.  If that makes any sense.    On top of that,  I have a negative sense of worth exacerbated by a soundtrack of sorts that runs through my head telling me what an awful person I am.  I actually call them brain weasels running around in there.  One of my partners calls his monkeys.

Anyway, when I cannot counter the negativity, I fall into a more lower emotional state.  That is when I have to use my tools: sunlight, exercise, good friends, blogging to bring perspective.

The past few days, I’ve had a larger load than usual of the negativity from grief, monetary worries, job worries and the like.  I make it worse because I fret about things that are beyond my control.  I try to counter that tendency by focusing on the positive in my life.  Honestly, I have many amazing wonderful things in my life.  I am unable to fully enjoy those because of my wacky brain chemistry on top of my self esteem issues.

I am capable of feeling happy and even optimistic.  My key focus word is hope.  I try to hold on to it even when I am experiencing the worst of my brain malfunction.  As I sort through the lies (and let me tell you, Depression LIES) and seek perspective, I look for the hope that I know is there.  Writing out my feelings really helps.  Reaching out to friends and being reassured helps immensely.  The reaching out is so difficult when that soundtrack of self doubt is playing so loudly in the back of my mind.  But I have such caring, loving friends who I’ve come to understand really do not feel bothered by offering me a kind word or hug when I need one or ask for one.

Having such quality friends must mean that I’m not nearly as unworthy or awful a person and the brain weasels would have me believe!

So I am pulling out of the grim dark of the past few days.  I really wish I could commission a picture of me wrestling my brain weasels!

How do you picture your inner conflict?

 

 

Grief

It is an odd process.  It hits you unexpectedly sometimes.  My dad died 25 years ago today.  I made it through until the funeral without tears.  My mom was worried.  Towards the end of the funeral just before they closed the casket, she leaned over and whispered “This will be the last time you ever see your dad.”  I do not know what prompted her to say such a thing but the tears came at last.  Cascaded down my cheeks as the truth of her statement sunk in.  He was gone and I would never see him again.  Never see his smile.  Never hear him call me his little monkey.  Never see the look of pride in his eyes.

After a few days, I shut it all in again.  It wasn’t until the following Christmas, his favorite holiday, that grief swept through and out again.

In the intervening years, I have gone through that whole grieving process you hear so much about.  Even so, the lack of him in this place and time sometimes makes me very sad and moves me to tears.  I have many, many wonderful memories for comfort.  It still isn’t the same as being able to make new ones.  I think now and then about how much fun it would be to go to a baseball game or a car race with him.  To see him play with my niblings; his grandkids.   To hug him and smell the mixture of Old Spice and tobacco.

Today, I was feeling down from being sick and not having the job I want to have but I was mostly okay.  And then the news of the death of Glenn Frey popped up on my social media.  At first, I started listening to various Eagles’ songs.  And then memories of when I first heard them  came and then cars and my dad (my dad worked with cars all of his life).

So I’m going to feel what I feel and rejoice in the warm memories. I will listen to groovy music and feel many things.

As a side note: I cut my hair today.  It was an act of grief and an act of renewal.  I’ve been considering it for quite some time.  So today as the day.hair on jan 18 2016

 

Revisiting a post

I posted this elsenet and wanted to share it here as well.  I am running a fundraiser on giveforward and this is from an update on that site, page can be found here: Cheryl’s GiveForward Community Page

 

Sorry for the long gap between updates. So much going on!

First the good news. Barring any weirdness with my background check and othe pre-employment screening, I have a job starting on Jan 4! Hooray! It’s a temp gig and not full time but hey, it is something. I am so very happy about it. A little nervous because it is an entirely different track from what I’d been doing for the past decade or more. The pay is at the low end but again, it is something.

Visit to the (not) in-laws over the winter holiday was…..stressful. My (not) Mom-in-law will be 96 come March and there are changes that need to be made including getting her to stop driving. Possibly moving her into an independent living situation. Plus the (not) bro-in-law’s family continues to have financial issues. It’s heartbreaking to my partner who wants to be able to throw money at problems and solve them. But we don’t have the funds to throw anything. This trip was costly but as I said, the (not) Mom-in-law is nearly 96 and spending time with her is important. She is relatively healthy but you just never know.

I threw my wishlist in with the Secret Santa over on G+ and received lovely gifts. I hope that next year, I’ll be able to give gifts as well.

Anyway. Even with the job, I won’t get any income for several weeks more. Plus I still have debt to pay off. So, I am leaving this open and ask for your support until I am truly able to stand on my own again. I’m hoping that by the time this contract ends, I’ll have some other job lined up so will be able to pay all the goodness forward! I have several meds that need refills and some lab work plus a follow up for the kidney function stuff. And my ongoing therapy which is becoming tricky to schedule with having a job but my therapist has evening hours so yay!

Oh, I have seen a few places on various social media folks being or feeling duped by those putting up fundraisers. It makes me feel hesitant to make updates or post my fundraiser anywhere. But I am not duping y’all. I’m paying off debt, paying for medical supplies, going to therapy, going to the doctor and trying to get my shit together to be a useful member of society. Yes, I have also been given non-necessary fun things and been taken out to dinner and to the movies. If you feel I should only sit at home until I can afford those things on my own, that is fine. I do not want anyone to feel forced or coerced into supporting me. Give where you feel it will do the most good. I am planning on getting a semicolon tattoo http://www.projectsemicolon.org/ but I’m not going to use any of your generous donations for it. Any dinners out or movies are from people who want to support me in that way. I do not use any of your generous donations for those things.

Your generous donations allow me to pay my copays for my meds, my doctor visits, my therapy sessions, my lab work and to pay off debt.

Your generous donations allow me to feel like a functioning human being.

Your generous donations do NOT go towards movies, dinners or any of the gifts I’ve received.

Thank you to all who have supported me with gifts, love, donations and other expressions of your caring. I am truly humbled that I have such wonderful friends.

Pretending to be a functional human being

This article showed up in one of my social media feeds: http://www.ebony.com/wellness-empowerment/depression-and-the-black-superwoman-syndrome

I had been thinking about writing something regarding the way I pretend to be a functional human being. I wake up with pain of some sort every day on top of the depression (or alongside or whatever). Then I manage to get out of bed and do stuff. Nearly every day. To the extent that my partner frequently doesn’t realize just how non-functional I really am/feel. At my follow up with my doc, I’m going to ask her to do a thorough diagnosis of my arthritis and to discuss better pain management. My initial diagnosis a decade ago came with no discussion about how to manage it. Just a “yep, you have arthritis”. So I’ve mostly been using NSAIDS which is a concern with my recent decrease of kidney function.

So, it was incredibly difficult for me to start opening up about my struggles. My struggle with my depression, my struggle with my pain, my struggle with functioning at all. I spent a good deal of 2013 in bed.

Last year around this time, I took the step of getting a therapy appointment and then actually showing up for it. Thank goodness for therapists with online appointment requests! Making a phone call would have been too much. Phone calls fall squarely under social anxiety for me. I find them incredibly difficult at the best of times. A year ago, they were nearly impossible for me.

Some months after starting therapy, I started writing about depression on social media and the positive feedback I received was just amazing.  Opening up was a huge step in helping myself and apparently, helping others.

The stigma around mental health in the black community is awful.  I am here to say mental illness is not a moral failing.  It is a health issue.  There are resources out there to provide support, assistance and a path to wellness.  There should be no shame in having a mental illness nor in seeking help.