Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Monday!

I meant to blog this weekend but never got to it. I had a very productive weekend and feel great about it. I have had things weighing on me and was able to lift at least two big ones. I had my taxes done on Sunday after getting the paper work together and reviewing the forms from last year. It was much better than I thought. I actually come out ahead - paying a small sum to the state and getting a big enough chunk from federal to pay for the tax service and still have a little chunk left! What a huge relief! Setting my withholding high at my new job was a good idea since I was getting double paychecks for a couple of months at the end of the tax year.

I also cleaned the side of the garage that is supposed to hold another car. It's a two car garage but junk was spread all over and it was getting tricky just to pull my one car in. My son had found a used car at a real deal and put some work into it only to find out that it was going to take some more effort and money to get his license due to past mistakes that still waited for him after all those years. He was disappointed but I decided to pay him what he had invested in the car so I'd have it for my daughter when she drives. It is not much too look at but it's an old Honda - one of my favorite kinds. It passed safety inspection and can be licensed so I took it in. If feels nice to have two cars in the garage and daughter is happy because she was not thinking she would get a car to drive at all. My hope is she can use it in the summer to work part time and drive it to school and back next year. Her radius will be very small and limited but I want her to grow up and learn to manage responsibilities. My son and I agree that having a bit of a clunker is a rite of passage and even though he was disappointed he did not end up with the car it made him happy it was still going to be in the family.

Court went well for him. It was a nightmare drive two and from, though, because we fought terribly about some things. It was a standoff of sorts. I stood up to him about some boundaries. I am not happy at how I communicated but it is over and we have moved on. I think I bottle things up too much and blow up and let them all out when I am under pressure. He took the five year of probation which was a very good deal for him so long as he can behave himself. I got what was left of the bond money refunded to me and it was huge relief to have that issue no longer between us. He is very grateful for my help. The lawyer I hired was well worth the money. I have no regrets about giving my son the opportunity to be free and move on with his life. Although court day was rough between us we have healed our wounds for now and our relationship is back to amicable.

Daughter and I had a girl's day/night together Saturday for the first time in ages. Grandson went to his dad's house and her boyfriend was grounded for staying at our house way too late the night before. I was happy about that actually. It took her shopping for spring clothes. I bought a gift for my son's girlfriend and her kids. She is such a good person and I am grateful he has her in his life. I wanted to do something that would bring joy to them all. She works hard and does not make a very high wage. She had been trying to get the kids a wi (or is it s wii?) and my son had been trying to help. My daughter and I went and bought one and just brought it over along with a bottle of her favorite perfume (she was totally out - no woman should have to go without fragrance) and surprised them. I enjoyed it so much. It still makes me happy to think about it. I can't fix some of the things I wish I could fix but I can pick a nice thing to do when I am able and bring some joy into somebody's life without any expectations attached.

I took a Saturday morning riverfront walk with a friend after meeting at the coffee house, lunched with a buddy on Sunday in addition to the fun I had with daughter. So there was work and play. I even went through piles of paperwork at home getting ready for taxes and my personal injury settlement. There were plenty of other chores left on the list at the end of the weekend but I felt very good about what I had accomplished. And I had a lot of joy and quality time with friends and family. If I focus on the things I can do, and not the stuff I can't, I am so much happier. I am even reading a new book - couldn't commit to anymore than magazine browsing for a while.

One other major accomplishment was meeting the tenant at the rental house Sunday morning and giving her a demand letter for the money she owes. She should be out by Wednesday night and she has not paid for March. She told me Friday she would not be able to pay until late April. I had little faith in that actually happening so I told her I had to serve her with the paperwork so I could take her to court if she did not pay. I went by the house and picked trash out of the yard in the rain and called her. She met me and we sat in her car and talked. She told me she had been a bad tenant. I told her she was not bad, that she just got in over her head. I told her I had to do what was best for me and my family and I did not want to have to sue her, or contact her where she worked. I just wanted the last month's rent and I would forgive all the late fees. She gave me her new address, signed a receipt for the letter and we parted on good terms. Me minus the March rent. I will sue her if I must, but I am not going to languish in resentment or take it personally.

So the rental house is coming my way soon. I also had an uplifting talk with a landlord that I called after passing a sign in a yard. He gave me pointers on how to research to set my price, and some tips on marketing the house. He also says they average about twelve to eighteen calls a day on their house for rent. I only need one renter. I am going to enjoy planting flowers and spending some time over there at the house. It is mine and in reality it is an asset. No sense thinking doom and gloom. I will start fresh with my efforts to find the next person who will pay my mortgage for me on my investment. That is how I choose to see it today.

Choosing to see things in a positive way is my current effort. I saw my therapist today and I will be doing a thought diary. It is a great process for seeing how my thoughts impact my feelings, identifying distortions and correcting them. Modifying my thinking is something I can do. I am excited about life again today. I can say no to what I don't want and yes to what I do want. I can make time for things I enjoy. Pretty good for a Monday!

More will be revealed.

PS weight wise I rose about five pounds during the time between daughter's first therapy session and right after Son's court date. Not surprising. I corrected the pattern and the pounds are coming off. Not a big deal after all. Yes, it would be great not to fluctuate but in the big scheme of things I am just happy to be where I am today in my body.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rainy Afternoon

It's a rainy Saturday afternoon. I am sitting in the coffee house on the riverfront. When I was in the hospital I could see the corner this coffee house sits on, and I could see the river. It was a weird feeling. I belonged out here I concluded and not in there. It is nice to be out here. I am feeling better slowly. The medicine I took first started to have negative effects. We tried another and it was worse. Last weekend I could barely leave my room. I remembered that feeling from what I refer to now as the anti-depressant years. They were the years I gained the fifty pounds. They were confusing years.

When I left psychiatric medicine in 2005 I took up an aggressive exercise regimen. Then I lost weight slowly and steadily. I felt excited about that and had something to focus on and look forward to. I started blogging in the summer of 2006. I went through menopause. I went through some other things. I had happy times and not so happy times. I had dark thoughts now and then. I kept trudging along. Victories and losses. More victories, though.

This past year I have had to face some of the things I feared the most. And in the last few months especially I have been overwhelmed with many painful memories and events. I reached a point where I did not believe I could deal with it all. And in reality I can't. Not alone, that is. I had drifted from my support network last summer. It was slow and hard to notice because I was so focused on the impending job loss. But I drifted. Then more stuff happened and I was caught off guard. Not at all prepared, if there is a way to prepare. So eventually I had to admit a sort of defeat. A surrender deeper than any other in my lifetime.

I feel like I am starting over. I feel fragile and vulnerable but getting a tiny bit stronger every day. I cut back my coffee intake. I savor a few sips here and there and have also learned to appreciate decaf. It helps level my mood. No high highs and no low lows. I have been to the gym a couple of times this week. I felt tired and weak but getting better. I was really sick on top of the depression so I rested most evenings the first week home. The medicine was hard on me and it has taken almost a week to get to where I feel normal again. What I want now is calm more than anything.

I am now feeling like getting out of bed in the morning. And I am calling friends more and being honest. I have a wonderful Saturday morning group to go to. It is a lifesaver. I don't want to slip away again and hide out. It is somewhat deadly for me.

My weight has been stable through this. Funny that a couple of days ago when I started to feel better my appetite increased and I had a bit of a carb surge. I am not worried because I am level today and not feeling like overindulging in anything. And I don't beat myself up about having a little too much the last two days. I can correct that easily. I don't feel out of control. I am very grateful for my weight loss and maintenance.

Speaking of gratitude, the other day when I was feeling like I was starting over all over gain in life, I made a list of assets. I found that I have many more assets today than I had some 21 years ago when I was starting a new life recovering from alcohol and drug abuse. Now I am recovering from depression. It is an illness that sometimes tells me I don't have an illness. It centers in my mind. I have to watch out for certain signs and triggers. I am beginning to understand myself better now. I am learning how to take care of myself with regards to my mental health. The mental and the physical are intertwined.

I found a new therapist for my daughter. One who has a treatment plan with a protocol. One who explained everything to us in a way we could understand. I don't feel alone anymore trying to deal with those issues. I feel we have a solution and we have hope. I took my daughter to the hospital a few days after I came home. The medicine they had her on was impairing her and it was a danger to her. I felt strong enough having dealt with my own stuff to confront what was happening with her.

I take my son to court on Tuesday for what is supposed to be that last time. He has choices, probation or prison time. He can make the choice himself. The matter will be settled and I will get what is left of the bond money back. There are lawyer fees and court costs but I will get something and I will have more cushion. My grandson is doing great. He made the spring volleyball team and is playing his first sport for the school. He says I can go to a game when he gets more confident. Funny when they are little if you don't go they get upset and when they are older they don't want you there!

The tenant moves out of the house next week and I will be paying for two homes, but I can handle that at first. I have felt some excitement about getting my house back just in time to see all the trees I had planted there bloom. Just in time to pant flowers and make it look pretty. I am not sure what I am going to do with it but I will do something. I need get it cleaned up and see what I am working with first. I offered it to my mom so she and my dad could move up here since she is thinking of taking him out of the nursing home (may not be able to pay for it and can't stand to see how he lives there) but she is not sure of what she is doing. My son wants to live there with her and help care for Dad but he has his own set of issues. He can stay there while it is empty and help paint and fix it up perhaps. I have options.

All these things could keep a person up at night but I have to let go of the uncertainty. There is uncertainty in life all the time. Yes, more for me right now but there are also stabilizing factors in my life, too. I need to focus more on them. For now I am going to enjoy the rain, the warm drink and the afternoon sitting here catching up on blogs. I know this was a long post but I needed to catch up with myself and put some things in writing.

I miss blogging. It is one of the stabilizing factors in my life. I appreciate everybody who comments and reads. It gives me that feeling of being connected.

More will be revealed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mom Interrupted

A funny thing happened on the way to work Wednesday. I took a detour via the emergency room and ended up admitted. I had been sick on top of sick and sick in my thinking as well. I just couldn't go on anymore. Tuesday was a day I could not get out of bed. It was a day in the depths of despair and I had been to two doctors the day before. I was supposed to get lab work and I was on an antibiotic. But one of the meds was for anxiety and apparently I am not as anxious as I am depressed because it had a very negative impact. The doctor who prescribed it never returned my call for help. So I went somewhere to get all my medical needs taken care of. It was the most drastic action I have ever taken on my own behalf and I am very happy today that I was able to make such a decision, and be painfully honest with the staff at the hospital.

I also learned to let things go. Completely. I surrendered myself to the care of the hospital. I was there two full days, two full nights and about three quarters of Friday. My brother picked up my car and took care of my kids. My friend came and got my gym clothes out of the car for me since they took my other clothes away (didn't meet criteria for the unit I was in). My brother took my daughter to the doctor, brought pizza home each night and was happy to do it. I had a view from the hospital windows of my riverfront. It was bittersweet but a reminder of the pleasures in my life.

I saw three doctors and I liked them all very much. I was tested for many things and I learned a few things, too. I have accepted fully that depression is an illness that can be treated with medicine and that sometimes we need to be open minded about treatments when we are sick. I won't detail my medical stuff but we have a plan. I agree with the plan and I am feeling better. I do not ever want to sink so low into hopeless thinking again. I want to set a higher standard for my mental health and seek help long before I feel like I have been feeling.

Anyway I am taking one of the few anti depressants that does not cause weight gain and I really hope I can tolerate it. I felt better immediately which happens in some cases but the full impact takes some time. So I am adjusting to it and paying close attention to how I feel. I find that my mind moves slow enough now for me to focus more on things and to think more before I act. I find that I am stepping back long enough from my feelings to talk to myself about what is going on in the moment so I do not react immediately. I can calm myself. I happened upon an anger management session in the hospital and I found it very useful to deal with emotions. I used to feel like my emotions controlled me. Now I know that I have options.

It is just the beginning and I feel a little scared because I really want this to work. I have the same situations in my life that I had before I went to the hospital but I can deal with them better now. It is not easy but it is easier.

So, more will be revealed!!