Sunday, December 27, 2009

Prozac has stopped my meltdowns, generally. It provides a wall between the clawing, gnawing, sucking-you-down-into-the-depths depression that's plagued me my entire life.

So that's nice.

I'm not depressed anymore. I'm just...busy. And stressed.

Dealing with the financial aftermath of having cancer and shipping an entire family across the country to have multiple surgeries by a highly skilled, expensive team of surgeons. My parents helped a lot. My husband's parents helped a lot. Both continue to help. We're keeping our heads above water, but just barely. I started working full time. My husband works part time and will go to school again full time shortly. It doesn't leave a lot of time for each other or for anything besides earning money to pay bills and cleaning frantically to keep the house running.

I suspect our standards could be lowered. My friend is getting kicked out of his house because he can't pay rent and has filed for unemployment. Extended family members and friends trying to pay for houses they can no longer afford, or can't sell because they got laid off. At least we're employed. At least we're healthy. We're staying on top of the bills, generally.

Just TIRED. And dropping the ball on everything except survival. I miss my husband on the weekends, when he's gone working twelve hour shifts from before I get up for the day until bedtime when he comes home, eats, and then goes to bed.

January... In January, school starts again. David will be busy. I don't know how busy yet; that depends on his teachers and how much busy work they want to assign. I will be working every single day of January because that's tax printing time, and it's mandatory to keep your job. Eight hour shifts, seven days a week. I'll be working graveyard shift, so that's midnight to eight a.m. The idea is for David to go to class in the morning while I watch kids, then he'll come home and I'll sleep in the afternoon/evening and go to work at midnight. We'll see how it goes. I'm looking forward to working eight hour shifts instead of twelve hour shifts, but I'm not looking forward to school or seven day workweeks.

Have a job interview tomorrow at the same place I work. Interviewing for a promotion, basically. Taking on more responsibility, learning new things... I'm kindof terrified. But I figure that if they've hired some inept people as operators then an idiot who can read directions would be an improvement. And I'm an idiot who can read directions. Whee!

Never mind that I'm the one writing the directions.


Tired. Want nap, want David, want house to clean itself, want babysitter, want to play warcraft, then have a couple days to hammer out a training manual to take into the interview with me so they'll stop looking at me like I've grown a second head.

I realize this post isn't terribly coherent. Bite me.

Mmm. Sister coming up to go sledding tomorrow. Might want to go. Don't really have time or energy, but I have sleds! Might as well use them.

And if you tell me to have a beer, I will buy a case and throw it at your head. I swear I will.

Sigh. On that note, I need food. Toodles.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Things Bugging Me

I created drama this week by posting a nasty letter on my other blog. In the end, it did resolve some things for some people, but I think some people are no longer speaking to me. That's okay. I don't mind that at all. Well, I'll miss talking to Bruce. But maybe he'll talk to me again at some point. It was worth it to get Julie and Shelley talking to each other again. Must resist sending letter to my grandmother...

The bottom line, though, is that I wrote the thing in the first place because I got set off by a little thing. Because my stress levels are up, even though I'm not depressed. There's just a LOT to be stressed about right now. So I'm dumping it here, and trying to come up with one thing I can do about each stressor.

Things that are bugging me:

- My house is a mess. Solution: clean it. There's just so MUCH to clean. And things like my desk feel impossible to clean. But I know it's not. I just have to do a little bit at a time.

- My in-laws house is a mess, and I'm their housekeeper. Solution: that's not really your problem. It's their house. You're cleaning it as a hobby / way to help out. The end.

- Our finances are a wreck. I got a phone call this week saying that a bill I didn't know about was in collections. It's a medical bill from my cancer that's almost $4000. I have no money left. My relatives have no money left. My credit score is probably plummeting. And I don't know what to do about it. I'm looking for jobs and sending out job applications. I did set up a payment plan with the people who called. I just really hate being in debt. And I really really really hate being in debt for something I couldn't control. It feels like I'm being punished for something that's not my fault. And even if I did get a job, I don't know if it'll pay for everything, and if I'm abandoning my kids, or how scheduling will work out with David in school and me at work and the kids need attention... Something HAS to be done before next semester starts, and I still have no idea what.

- My husband is super busy. I rarely get to see him. He's either at work, at school, or doing homework. And he's really stressed, and I don't know if he's going to get his fourth class finished by the end of the semester. Since he's so busy, I've taken on ALL of the housework and errands and other chores. And he doesn't have time to give me breaks from my kids (ideally I want about 4 hours of kid-free time a week, just so I can de-stress and reboot my brain). So I'm fried. And lonely. And David's fried and lonely and stressed.

- People. There was a lot of "I'm mad at so-and-so and won't tell them" going on, and other people whining, and I found out my friend's mom died and I didn't know because I stopped reading her blog because she never, not once, posted a happy post. And I think I just blew up. And not one of the people who should have read my LJ post and applied it to themselves thought it was for them. Everybody ELSE came and asked if it was about them. I guess the people who most need introspection weren't about to start now, right?

- My dad is drinking himself to death. My grandparents are dying. It's going to be another round of holidays this year where you feel a strong obligation to attend because THIS will be the last year such-and-such family member is alive. (The last three or four went the same way.) And so far everybody's still alive, but it's just dread, and waiting for people to drop dead and get that horrible phone call, and am I doing enough to help people while they're still alive to be comforted? Part of me wants to comfort them. Part of me wants to bash their head in for KILLING THEMSELVES SLOWLY WITH POOR DECISIONS. If your liver isn't working anymore, stop drinking alcohol or you're poisoning yourself. If you're diabetic, eat properly. Stupidheads. Also, stop being jerks.

- I feel like a jerk right now.

- Winter is coming. I am really really really dreading the long, cold, dark months stuck inside. I don't know what to do with my kids. I feel like an inadequate parent. I know there are lots of places to go and lots of things to do. I just have to get myself to do them. I'd rather be at my computer ignoring the world. On the other hand, I'd like to look back on these years and say that I gave my kids my all, and taught them what they need to know to be successful in life. To know that they are loved.

- There is SO MUCH to do. Cleaning my house, cleaning my in-laws' house, paying attention to my kids, earning money, doing websites, reading, watching television, doing service for other people, doing holiday stuff, church stuff.... *head asplode*

- Did we mention that finances are really bugging me? I did. Did I mention that our car is losing its heater and air conditioning capabilities, just in time for winter? Did we mention that I have no idea what to get for people for Christmas that doesn't cost a lot of money? Did we mention that there's dentist appointments overdue and next spring's doctor appointments for all my post-cancer checkups? Did I mention how much debt we have? We have medical debt, and student loans, and we borrowed $4000 from David's parents to pay for medical debt and tuition, too. And AAAAARGH.

- Oh yes. And I feel fat. And if we don't get our weight under control, my husband is going to develop diabetes like his dad. So I've had a hard time getting myself to eat this week. While food rots in my fridge. *headdesk* Add cleaning out fridge to my to-do list.

Monday, October 5, 2009

So my posting spree of doing a bit of cognitive therapy every day has ended.

We played outside as much as possible during the last few days of warmth. My parents came to visit. My mom is doing well. My dad seems to be drinking himself to death. At the very least, he looks terrible. And now I have a cold, as well as my kids. But my fridge and cupboard are stocked with Really Good Food, and I have projects to keep me busy.

I bought a copy of the cognitive therapy book for my mom and sent it home with her. She was so interested in my copy while she was here that it seemed like a good idea. She turned right to the anger chapter that I'm working on (it's another loooong chapter that I've started twice and seem to be stuck in). My mom has a lot of anger, now that I think about it. From what I got out of the chapter so far is that there's no point in being angry with my grandmother for saying really mean things to my mom.

Prozac continues to keep me stable, during a time when I know I'd be a wreck without it. My husband is depressed and stopped taking HIS prozac, which was a really bad idea. So he has an appointment with his doctor as soon as possible to get back on it. Things are kinda stressed over here, but it's not the MEGA STRESS ALL THE TIME of me-not-on-prozac. So we're coping.

Stressors: Our finances need help. David has too much to do between work and school, plus his depression. I have a lot on my plate, too. Then there's Everybody Elderly is Dying. David's grandparents. My grandparents. My old neighbor, of whom I am very fond, had a heart attack. It's just, we're at the point where any day somebody could drop dead and we've had to make arrangements for What If There's a Funeral Tomorrow kind of things. Blah. And I'm worried about my dad, and my siblings, and everybody. But mostly we're just kinda insanely busy.

Doing more cognitive therapy is on my to-do list for today. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

chapter six

Chapter Six - Verbal Judo: Learn to talk back when you're under the fire of criticism.

- The only person who can hurt you is you, no matter what other people say.
- If people criticize you, what they say may be right or wrong. If they're wrong, there's nothing for you to be upset about. If they're right, then that's an opportunity for you to improve.
- You can write down what people say and the thoughts that run through your mind in reaction to it. Decide if those statements are logical or not and give logical rebuttals where necessary.

Ways to deal with people who criticize you (who may or may not actually be jerks):
1) empathy - ask the person a series of specific questions designed to find out exactly what he or she means while trying to avoid being judgmental or defensive when asking questions.
2) disarm - find some way to agree with your critic while avoiding sarcasm and defensiveness, and always tell the truth.
3) feedback and negotiation - present your point/view diplomatically.

If you've got a heckler, for example a student in a class you're teaching, you can:

1) immediately thank the person for his/her comments .
2) acknowledge that the points brought up are indeed important
3) emphasize that there is a need for more knowledge about the points raised, and encourage the critic to pursue meaningful research and investigation into the topic.
4) invite the heckler to share his or her views with me further after the close of the session/class.

In conclusion, you can take criticism three ways:
1) think you're no good.
2) think your critic is no good.
3) take the criticism as an opportunity to learn something.

So here's to hoping we all choose number three.

Monday, September 14, 2009

the end of chapter five

Okay, so Chapter Five has bogged me down. Trying to describe every little step of things gets tedious, and knowing that there's more to come before the end of the chapter makes me not want to post. So I'm finishing the whole chapter today.

In summary, do-nothingism is caused by different types of irrational thoughts. Just like depression, you fight those irrational thoughts with rational ones. Types of ways to help yourself:

- Make a daily activity schedule
- Make an anti-procrastination sheet
- Make a daily record of dysfunctional thoughts (and their rational replies)
- Make a pleasure predicting sheet (write down how much satisfaction you predict and actually get out of an activity)
- Make a but-rebuttal chart (knocks down all your excuses with rational responses)
- Learn to endorse yourself (with yet another exercise of writing down your "I suck" thoughts and replacing them with "I rock" thoughts.)
- Tic-toc technique (task-interfering cognitions versus task-oriented cognitions, which I don't really feel like explaining, so I won't.)
- Break down tasks into small components or time segments
- Change "should" statements into "want" statements, based on what action would be to your best advantage.
- Tell nags to shove it and then make decisions based on what you want to do as opposed to what people are telling you to do.
- Visualize success by 1) listing all the positive consequences of doing something you're trying to accomplish 2) learn to meditate/relax 3) while relaxed/meditating, go over the things you listed in the first step.
- Count the number of things you do without being prodded or encouraged by anyone.
- Test your "I can't do [fill in blank]" statements by trying to do what you just said you couldn't do.
- Write down the negative consequences you might have to deal with if you fail at something, then show how you can cope with those consequences.

Most importantly the author points out that action comes before motivation. If you don't feel like doing anything, and do something anyway, then your motivation will come. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

chapter five, part two

Continuing Chapter Five: Do-Nothingism: How to Beat It

Here are the first two suggested methods for beating do-nothingism:

1) Write a Daily Activity Schedule.

In the morning, write out a schedule for your day. Your first column write the time by hours. In the second column, write down your prospective activities (what you want or plan to do). In the third column, write down your retrospective activities (what you actually did during that hour). In the fourth column, mark whether the activity you did was M for mastery (a chore or something you don't want to do) or P for pleasure (something you do for fun) and then rate the activity between 0 and 5 on how much pleasure you gained or how difficult the task was to accomplish. Keep it up for a week.

2) Make an Antiprocrastination Sheet.

This is for getting through one task you don't want to do. An example I'll use for this is cleaning my desk, which is something I hate doing because it seems to be really hard, at least in my mind. First, write down the date. Then, in the first column of your chart, write down the small Activities you need to do to accomplish the big task (in my case, clean the top shelf of the desk, the bottom shelf of the desk, the filing cabinet top, and then wipe everything down.) In the second column, write down your Predicted Difficulty between 0 and 100%. In the third column, write down your Predicted Satisfaction between 0 and 100%. Then do your task. In the fourth column write down the Actual Difficulty of doing the task between 0 and 100%. In the fifth column write down the Actual Satisfaction of doing the task between 0 and 100%. See if there's a difference between what you predicted and what actually happened for your difficulty and satisfaction levels.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

chapter five, part one

Chapter Five is pretty big. So I'm breaking it up into smaller chunks. Here is part one.

Chapter Five: Do-Nothingism: How to Beat It

We covered changing how you think in the previous chapter. You can also change how you act. You don't want to do anything when you're depressed, which is what we call the do-nothing feeling. You want to do nothing. And that causes problems.

Do-nothingism is caused by faulty logic (just like depression). The types of faulty logic are:

1) Hopelessness - life will never get better.

2) Helplessness - your mood appears to be beyond your control because it's influenced by outside factors

3) Overwhelming yourself - everything is too much! too hard! or you think you need to be doing other things instead of what you're doing so you don't finish anything.

4) Jumping to conclusions - "This is going to suck."

5) Self-labeling - "I'm a lazy person."

6) Undervaluing the rewards - the reward is not equal the effort, or disqualifying
the positive (see previous chapter's notes)

7) Perfectionism - setting inappropriate goals and standards

8) Fear of failure - overgeneralization - "If I fail at this, I'll fail at everything." OR product versus process orientation - parenting is a process. your child is the product. you are only responsible for the process, NOT the product.

9) Fear of success - lack of confidence leads you to hide under the table.

10) Fear of disapproval or criticism - leads you to hide under the table.

11) Coercion and resentment - "I should" and "I must" statements makes everything unpleasant

12) Low frustration tolerance - you assume success should be easy and then quit when it's not. Also known as Entitlement Syndrome - feeling entitled to an easy life and getting upset when reality does not conform to your fantasy.

13) Guilt and self-blame - frozen in conviction that you are bad or let others down.

There are several possible treatments for do-nothingism. But we'll cover those in the days to come, since it was 40 pages worth of material.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

chapter four

Chapter Four: Building Self Esteem

Highlights from this chapter include:

You CANNOT EARN worth through achievements (oops), or based on looks, talent, fame, fortune, through relationships, or through approval of others.

The more depressed you are, the more logical and real your twisted thinking feels. Depression is illogical. (Therefore, fight depression with logic!)

Cathartic dumping of depressed thoughts is nice, but the improved feeling is short lived. Finding the origin of thoughts (such as having a traumatic childhood) is insightful but useless.

What IS useful is this writing down what thoughts come into your mind, identifying what kind of cognitive distortion they are, and issuing a rational response. And you HAVE to write it down to make it more concrete, and it's easy to do in a chart format.

Avoid emotional descriptions in your chart such as "I feel crappy" because that's true. You do feel crappy. Whereas "I am crappy" is untrue.

The bottom line to building self esteem is to silence or refute the voice/thoughts in your head that tell you that you are of little or no value.

Friday, September 4, 2009

gone for weekend

We're heading out this weekend to visit family. Won't have access to computer. Sibling watching house and feeding my fish. :)

Prozac makes Cats happy. :)

Have a happy Labor Day Weekend, folks. Toodles!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

chapter three

Chapter Three covers the ten cognitive distortions:

1) All or nothing - seeing everything in black and white with no gray area. For example, "I failed once. I fail at everything."

2) Overgeneralization - "Life ALWAYS sucks."

3) Mental filter - dwelling on only the negative bits while ignoring the positive.

4) Disqualifying the positive - saying the good things you've done or that is said about you don't count.

5) Jumping to conclusions -
a. mind reading - guessing someone else's thoughts. "He must think I'm an idiot."
b. fortune telling - expecting a poor future. "Life will always, inevitably suck."

6) Magnification and minimization (aka the binocular trick) -
a. magnification - blowing small errors out of proportion.
b. fortune telling - minimizing your good qualities.

7) Emotional reasoning - You think emotions equal the truth. "If I feel like a jerk, then I must be a jerk."

8) Should statements - "I should/must do this."

9) Labeling and mislabeling - a form of extreme overgeneralization. "I am a moron." or "She's a jerk."

10) Personalization - assuming it's your fault for things that aren't in your control. "My kid's misbehavior is my fault."


I can see all of these in operation in my life. I was kindof disturbed that using "I should..." statements is in here, because that's how I keep myself operating. "I should get up in the morning. I should eat breakfast. I should do the things I need to do in order to keep life going..." How am I supposed to operate without that list?

Monday, August 31, 2009

meds acquired

Fluoxetine (anti-depressant, generic version of prozac) acquired.


Hey look, it not only treats depression but obsessive compulsive disorder. Whee!

Have followup appointment with doc in three weeks, to make sure everything's working okay.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

chapter two

Chapter Two has a worksheet to fill out that gauges how depressed you are. I scored a 52 today, which puts me in the "severely depressed" group.

The author proceeds to describe schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and says, get professional help if this describes you. Neither of which pertain to me.

End chapter two. Maybe I'll wander into chapter three today.

Kicking Depression, ROUND TWO!

Round one of kicking depression was when I went to therapy. That helped. They finally said, "You're doing great! You have all the coping skills you need and I don't know what else to teach you." So I left therapy.

I'm not as miserable as I've been at other points in my life, but I know I can do better than I'm doing. So. We have...

Kicking Depression, Round Two! Bibliotherapy!

In one corner, we have Cat, with her newly acquired book "Feeling Good" by David Burns. It's the most recommended self help book EVER. It's been clinically tested to work better than just putting people on anti-depressants. So we're gonna use it to punch out depression's lights. Mwaha.

In the other corner we have the stupid thoughts in Cat's brain that drive her crazy, such as "You and everything you do are worthless/pointless."

Ready, set, GO!

Each day I'm going to do a bit out of the book. Today I read the introduction and chapter 1.

Chapter one states that our moods/emotions are caused by our thoughts. And that using this book to help change our thoughts (cognitive therapy) to more positive things will help us feel better.

Stay tuned for round two! (I'm counting this post for Saturday's post, even though it's 1 a.m. on Sunday morning.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

So maybe at this point I should go seek help of a different kind. I don't know that therapy can offer me anything else except somebody to talk to, which I have plenty of already. So maybe I should try out anti-depressants. Make an appointment with my doctor. Thing. Blarg.

I'm functioning semi-well. I'm eating and sleeping somewhat normally, and I STILL FEEL LIKE CRAP. Like, I want to shoot myself in the foot so I can avoid life while in the hospital kind of feeling like crap. And the new semester's just starting and it's going to be long and stressful and if I feel this way at the beginning, I don't want to know where I'll be by the end if I don't get help now.

I am SO sick of doctors.

*lays head on desk*

Sometimes life just sucks.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I’ve been trying to fit in
while wondering why I’m trying to claw my way out of this life.

Music and solitude and darkness
cut out distractions and let me focus,
help me remember who I am.

I mourn for myself
and all the things I’ve lost
and should have been.
For the pain I carry with me every day.
Recognize that I struggle
and it’s okay to not be perfect.

I’m expecting myself to run marathons
like a whole person
when I’ve been crippled.
I can make do,
and I do really, really well.
But I’m not whole. I have never been whole. It’s not my fault.

No one has said I haven’t done well
except me.
People have said I’ve been marvelous,
except me.
I’m poisoning myself with these thoughts
and crippling myself further.

I have to get the poison out.
I have to stop fighting against what I think people think I should be.
I have to love myself. Forgive myself.
It seems to be the hardest thing in my life I have to do.

I cry enough to hyperventilate
I make myself dizzy
I scream and lash out and bite myself
and it’s just as destructive as sticking a needle in myself or a razor blade.
I have to stop hurting myself.
And it’s an emotional hurt.

I’m in a bad place.
I will fight back.
I always fight back.
I will NOT lay down and die.
I will do what I need to and get better.
I will be gentle with myself,
but I will fight the darkness
inside me.

“I’m alright.
You know.
I will survive.”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Would it kill the universe to let me have a day where I don't feel miserable and stressed about everything? JUST ONE?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Well, I started talking to everybody again. Because I ran entirely out of people I WASN'T annoyed with. Resolved some things with some people, as much as they can be resolved. Spent yesterday trying to do nice things for people. Had a good day.

Today people are still fighting. People's secrets are still gnawing on my brain. The list of chores never ends. I keep not eating because I feel I need to get doing chores right away... Today's breakfast is cocoa and grapes. Skipped the parenting class because I don't feel like totally crushing whatever self esteem I have at the moment. Wishing people would stop hurting.

The weather is changing to autumn. I want to spend as much time outside as I can before it gets cold. I'm getting along really well with the moms in the back yard. Kyle's old enough to start preschool, but since we can't afford preschool, I need to do that from home instead.

School starts Monday. David will be doing full time work and full time school. I miss him already. A lot. We need more money than we have. All our resources are wiped out. Savings, both sets of parents... Between cancer and school, there's nothing left for our finances. And there's still more cancer bills to pay, and more tuition, and our normal bills... and Christmas. And yearly pictures. Maybe I can make stuff for people instead of buying stuff. But the kids need new clothes.

Whimper. Sigh. Trudge along.

"When all you gotta keep is strong, move along move along like I know you do. And even when your hope is gone, move along move along just to make it through. Move along."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tired. Headache. Muscle cramps. Dehydrated. Depressed. Irrational. Ate food, though, and took tylenol. I've shredded my arm with my teeth. :( Too many days in a row of frustration. I gotta start wearing long sleeves or something.

The weather's nice today. Kids are playing outside while I read my book on the porch. You should read the Night World series by L. J. Smith - it's like Twilight in the premise but it's much better written, came out when I was a teenager (ten years ago-ish), and you don't want to shoot the characters.
I've been pretty damn cranky lately. Sure, there are a lot of things bugging me, but I think my coping level is just run down. I haven't been eating well. I haven't been sleeping enough (thanks to David's stupid work schedule and my lack of self-discipline. Luckily his schedule changes back to the one that works best for us after tomorrow). I haven't been exercising.

I've given up talking to everyone I'm not actually related to or don't absolutely have to talk to for a week. That's my goal. Thursday I'll come back online. I need to get away from the drama before I take somebody's head off. I have a TON of stuff I'm behind on because I've been talking to people who can't manage to behave like sane people with morals. I just can't take it anymore. Must stop plugging head into youtube instead... must get stuff done! AAAAH!

So. This week is Operation: Recover Cat's Brain! Eat well! Sleep during normal hours! Exercise!

Hopefully all the crap will finish hitting the fan by next Thursday anyway with all the friend drama. There's like, three fronts of it. Two people I should really stop talking to period, if I can manage it. Maybe. I dunno. Because I dislike them on a deep, character level. I know them well, and I do not like them. But most importantly, they're not healthy for me to talk to.

Projects: clean house, build Julie's website with PHP, finish editing everybody's creative writing (i really don't want to! i hate doing it! kirk, your writing stinks, and there's tons of it!)... do some pre-school type thing for my kid.

Must find something to do with myself and my spouse so we're both not staggering around every day barely managing to keep our tempers because we hate life so much.

I'm such a spoiled brat. I hate me sometimes. That's okay. I hate everything. At least I'm consistent.

Have I mentioned I hate sleep and food? I'm trading in this mortal model for a cyborg that plugs into the wall for 8 hours a night. Watch me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So I may be a mental hypochondriac. Heaven forbid I be normal, and heaven forbid there not be something wrong with me so I can be excused for poor behavior.

On another note...

Today's my birthday. I turn 27. Go me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let's be honest. I love my children, but I don't like being around them all the time. I want an environment I can control (at home if I clean a room, it's messed up SECONDS later). I want to do something where I get positive feedback because that's how I get any sort of self-worth. Right now I feel like a horrible parent. A horrible wife. A horrible PERSON not worth anything besides giving hugs and apologizing for being stressed and cranky all the time. And I realize that I'm stressed and cranky ALL THE TIME. My projects are done. I have zero deadlines. And I'm incredibly stressed out anyway. And it makes me want to hide from everyone and lash out at anyone who tries to bother me (like my children).

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Did the MRI this morning. Got results back. My brain scan is NORMAL! No MS or cancer! YAAAAAAAY!

I'm so relieved. My arm went tingly a few minutes ago, and my spine is still painfully cricked, but I DON'T CARE! I'm not dying! WHEEEEEEE!

I have my meeting tonight and that'll be kinda stressful still, but I have a design I like (finally!) and I have to stay awake long enough to pick up my husband at 11 tonight, and then I can sleep. I can finally sleep without the stress and paranoia and fear that my brain is trying to eat/destroy itself.

I need to have a My-brain-is-normal party. It needs to involve pizza and Warcraft and sleep.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One mole removed. No other moles or skin abnormalities found. They'll send the mole out for testing to see if it was cancerous and mail me the results.

Monday, July 27, 2009

round two

You ever get the feeling God's laughing at you?

Today was my doctor appointment to see why my arm, shoulder, and go numb on occasion. It went as I expected. I'm healthy, except parts of me go numb, which is not healthy. A numb arm could be a pinched ulnar nerve, except numbness extends into my face, which rules that out (which is what brought me to the doctor in the first place). So I have an MRI scheduled for Thursday morning, which is a brain imaging process that will see if I have multiple sclerosis or a brain tumor.

If those are ruled out, then it could be a pinched nerve in my neck. So at the moment I'm hoping for the pinched nerve in my neck, because the alternatives sound not fun.

Wednesday morning I'm getting my probably skin cancer mole removed. It'll be interesting to see if that one's actually skin cancer or not. It's big and ugly and black.

I'm thinking I'm going to be a wreck this week. I need to find a babysitter for my kids for some of the time for two reasons. One, because my kids deserve better than to be locked in a house with a panicked mother. Two, because I need to have a big project done by Thursday evening (I'm building a website for a guy running for city council, and Thursday is our next meeting).

So um, anyone want to babysit?

P.S. - I'm posting on this blog instead of my LiveJournal because my dad reads my LJ and I don't want him freaking out unnecessarily if this turns out to be nothing. My mom knows. That's enough for now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm in a strange headspace
and I wish I were somewhere else,
maybe someone else
for at least a little while.

Long enough to rest.
Long enough to get what I want.

But I want everything,
and it will never be enough
if I keep yearning for what I don't have.

So I will try to be content with what I have
and try not to obsess over things that should mean nothing.

If I pretend I'm not crazy,
then for all intents and purposes
I won't be.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I am so ANGRY.

My house was clean yesterday. Today it's trashed. I am not the one who trashed it, but I'm always the one who cleans it up.

I have ONE place in my house that's mine. My computer. And my kids keep taking that from me, too.

I don't have a life. I have endless babysitting, and I do a crappy job at it because all I want is to be left alone. And so my purpose in life is either pointless (cleaning) or a failure (raising my children).

Also, I hate my brain. It's obsessive. I want it to shut the hell up. Everybody thinks it's amusing watching me squirm over finding myself attracted to someone inappropriate. It's not amusing when it never stops! It's not amusing when I can't keep my mouth shut over who I find attractive and it makes relationships awkward. It's not amusing in my sister's case, when she never shuts up about it (hi, jen!) and it contributes to her not being able to function like a normal person. Today I'm having that problem. I should have spent today and yesterday sorting papers and paying bills instead of looking at pictures from the last eight years. It's a mental illness, albeit a minor one. I just want it to go away.

I'm tired. I'm sick. I'm a wreck. I just threw a huge tantrum and yelled at my kids and broke the surge protector that goes to my television. I'm lashing out at anyone and anything that comes near me. I've called everyone I can think of in town to come over for dinner (incentive for me to put myself and my house back together) and nobody can come.

Under my breath I keep muttering that I hate myself and I hate my life. And two weeks ago I was FINE. And then I got run down by too much to do and getting sick and not enough rest and here we are!

The first person who says I can fix all this by praying more gets kicked in the head and not spoken to for several weeks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thought process

I am not a moron. At least I don't think I am. If I choose not to think about a thing, it's for a reason. Some things are best left unthinked about, if you can manage it. I notice things and stuff them in the back corner of my brain where they stew for a while. Then I think about them and come to a conclusion. Often my conclusion is, "I can't do anything about it." And then I stuff it back into the darkness until something changes. But don't think I don't notice them or that my head is empty.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Also, I'm concerned about a mole on my skin that's gotten bigger (read: skin cancer) and I'd really like to have it taken off. Except it's located on my inner thigh, almost right up against my panty line. So that'll be awkward to have looked at. *sigh* I don't want to see more doctors or have more surgeries.

My prosthetic eye looks pretty good. The colors match. I learned that if it's too high up or down compared to my other eye then I can just move it with my finger. My eyelids are having problems, though. That's why my eye still looks funny. The ocularist said she thinks my eyelids will settle in the two weeks between when I got it and when I'll make my next appointment, but if it doesn't I'll need to get surgery on my eyelids to make myself look normal again. Please see previous comment on surgery.

Money is troublesome. There's tons of medical bills that I know are coming but haven't arrived yet. There's tuition due in the fall and spring of next year. I don't want to take out more student loans. We're not eligible for federal grant money. David wants a new computer because his keeps dying (often enough to make his computer exceedingly frustrating to use). There's other things I'd like to buy, such as a wheat grinder and pool passes for the summer.

What the hell is wrong with you people? Who wakes up one day and says, "I'm going to rape my classmate during school!" Also, who says, "Hey look, that kid's getting raped in the locker room. Oh it's none of my business, carry on!" Seriously, people! I'ma kick you all in the head. Repeatedly.

Man, I'm so ticked off at humanity. I'm finding myself finding reasons to not talk to people anymore. I realize I'm also being oversensitive about my own appearance and that makes me want to hide.

Otherwise, life is pretty good. My house is mostly clean most of the time. My kids are happy. I spend lots of time outside, which makes me happy, or at least content. I just want to hide in this bubble of my own house, good weather, and no complications (i.e. other people who cause problems).

There's a funeral for my old visiting teacher's stillborn baby on Saturday. *sighs* Sometimes life sucks and it's nobody's fault.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bad Day

I feel like crap. Today started out well, and then I had a fight with my husband and I haven't really felt good since. Technically we're reconciled, and he's babysitting kids for the moment so I can have some time to myself (yay, David!). But wow, I wish I'd feel better. Today's just... lame. Full of lame, and sucktitude, and all the cocoa in the world isn't helping.


Tomorrow shall be a better day. Tomorrow David takes his first final. Thursday is his second final. Saturday is Shelley's party, meaning a trip to Salt Lake. I dunno if I'm taking kids to that or not. I'd really, really like to leave them home, but I don't know if I can find a babysitter. Both Matt and Shay are moving at the end of this week. I dunno if I can help either of them.

I need like... 8 hours of solitude.

Friday, April 17, 2009

People are Irrational

I worry that people will cease to look at me and instead only see my bad eye. It's not really bothering me, just something that tickles my brain on occasion. I'm excited to get my prosthetic eye, so I'll have two green eyes again (and not have to worry about putting on an eye patch to open the door for visitors or go out). Also, I haven't had two green eyes in a long time. It's been one green and one brown... So I'm looking forward to getting my prosthetic.

I think people are over-pitying me. Yeah, I acknowledge that having cancer sucks, and losing an eye sucks, and part of me feels like my body is no longer whole. But it still works. I can still see. The rest of me is healthy. I can do everything I could do before I lost an eye. Quit thinking that I'm dying or that this is the end of the world!

People in church aren't going to leave me alone until I let them bring me a meal or babysit. "You must need help with kids now!" ...Like every other mother in the ward wouldn't like extra help, too? I tell them I'm fully functional, and they're not listening to me.

So to resolve that, I told them to bring me a meal and set up a rotating babysitting service in the ward. But that only appeases one group of people. I'm told there are other people who are still wringing their hands. Apparently my grandmother thinks I'll never recover. I think I'd like to kick her in the head. You know what "not recovering" looks like? It's my brother-in-law's best friend who went through a long ordeal with chemotherapy and surgery and almost died with colon cancer. He thought he was done. And then his screening came back with abnormalities on his innards again, so now they're telling him he's got to be on chemo for the rest of his life. THAT'S what not recovering looks like. Yes, I've lost an eye. I won't get it back in this life. But I can still SEE, and DO, and FUNCTION.

I suspect I'm going to bite somebody's head off the next time they call me "you poor thing" or something equally stupid. I had the best health care possible. I live in the best country possible. I have luxurious food, shelter, clothing, entertainment, education, family support, etc. Everyone's healthy. So SHUT UP about how "hard" you think my life is.

Today is the first day of sunlight after 3 days of rain and snow. I'm gonna go outside with my kids, and then clean my house.

Friday, April 10, 2009


As I get to feeling better and resuming normal life, I seem to be getting crankier. I seem to be just furious with the universe. I lay in bed trying to sleep and my brain just started in on "I hate my life. I hate this apartment. Why don't we have a house yet?" Which is stupid because I LIKE THIS APARTMENT. It's the right size for us right now, it has great playgrounds for my kids, it's conveniently located by school, etc.

And my kids are driving me nuts. And I want my husband's full attention and am mad when he's not paying full attention to me every minute when he's got things he needs to be doing. And I seem to be mad at EVERYBODY for anything humanly possible... It's not rational.

I took a nap to see if that would help. Ate food. Still violently cranky.

Why am I so cranky?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Back From Philly Sans Eye

We went to Philadelphia. We includes myself, my husband, our two children, and my parents. My parents were there to watch my children. We decided taking the kids with us was a better option than leaving them behind for days on end, especially since we didn't know an exact date we'd be coming home. We knew we'd be gone at least a week, which is a long time for little kids to be without their parents.

To make a long story short, they removed my right eye. Cancer had spread across my entire iris, seeded from the original tumor.

My dad and my husband took it very hard. You'd think from reading this blog that my dad's a jerk, and sometimes he is and most often to his wife, but he does care about us. So he worried a lot and was incredibly supportive. They were on their best behavior during the trip.

I have not freaked out once since we left for Philadelphia and came home. I didn't freak out during 8 hours of testing, or during a biopsy, or when they told me I was going to lose my eye, or after surgery when I sat in a hotel for days unable to do anything, or now that the bandages are off and I can see my swollen, bruised eye and know that I'll never see out of it again. I really do keep expecting my other eye's vision to come back any minute, but logically I know that's not happening. It's like when my grandpa died(step-grandpa, really, but he was the grandpa I knew from birth til my early 20s when he passed away). You go to think of him, and your brain just says, "He's not here right now." And you'll always get that "not right now" message but there's no real emotion attached to it.

Anyway, my theory is that I'm on enough prayer rolls that I've had spiritual help not freaking out, or maybe I'm just not dealing with emotions at all.

I know I miss my eye. I want my two eyes again. Depth perception is off, and it's frustrating to know that it's permanent. But I won't get it back, so there's no point in mourning.

I have been reminded to be grateful instead. I had the best care from family and friends and doctors that I could have possibly had. Everyone else is healthy and relatively happy. I know what it’s like to not be able to see, to not be able to get up (like when I had my c-sections), to choose between doing something you really don’t want to do or die. I can use this knowledge to be grateful for what I have and to push myself to do better and be better at doing things, helping people, etc.

So, there you have it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Going to Philly

I'm being sent to Philadelphia to have the tumor in my eye removed. On the one hand, this is great news. It means I'm keeping my eye, which was unexpected. It means I'll be in the care of the best doctors for it in the nation. My family and friends are being extremely supportive, especially my parents who are paying for all this treatment and traveling as well as volunteering to watch my kids while I'm gone.

The downside to this is that I will be leaving my kids for a week, if not more. No one can give me a concrete timeline of when I'll be able to fly home after surgery until I actually get there and they look at the tumor themselves. So I've got my husband and my father both wanting to go with me while the other stays behind. My dad wants to go so there will be one parent with my kids and so David won't miss so much work and school. My husband doesn't want to leave me. He doesn't want to have me half way across the country at the mercy of a parent that causes me so much stress, or be helpless and far away waiting for a phone call when I'm in surgery. So we seem to compromise on my dad being there for the first half of the week and my husband being there the second half. But nobody's really going to be totally happy with any situation that's put forward. Everybody's stressed. I've been on the verge of crying all day just from stress. I really don't want to go, but I have to.

This is a really lousy way to live. I can't seem to function very well this stressed out, and it doesn't seem to be stopping. One doctor appointment bleeds into another before I can calm down. Monday I get to go in for a round of blood tests and liver tests and an EKG. I was supposed to schedule a general physical exam today, but never got to it. It was enough trying to sort out the travel plans. It's causing a lot of hurt in already strained relationships, and I don't see any way to stop it.

I need to dig myself out of this pit of stress and depression. My body is still capable of movement. I'm not sick or in pain. I need to have the house clean before bed tonight (because mess = stress, and cleaning helps me feel better). I need to make dinner. At least I went to the gym this morning for the first time in a couple weeks. I had a good breakfast/lunch. I got the dishwasher running. I dealt with the things that absolutely needed to be dealt with today. I got groceries for this weekend. I'm not totally useless, but I need to get off my butt and do more so I will stop feeling like my chest is caving in.

To keep myself from getting overwhelmed I will do things in very, very small amounts. One thing off the floor and put away. One small section of countertop cleaned off. One piece of laundry folded and put away. At least it will be progress. I really, really, really just want to read and/or play video games, though....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm Still Kicking

Hey folks. Sorry I haven't updated. I've been distracted!

Monday's therapy session (our first family group session) was mostly answering questions about what we want to get out of therapy this time around. We go back again tomorrow and maybe we'll make more progress. I was supposed to write down times things went well this week as my therapy homework, but I didn't. Things were pretty laid back this week, so we didn't have too many tempers flare. We're just letting a lot of things slide because everybody's stressed and we don't want to aggravate it.

My doctor appointment was much more of the same. Doctors coming in, poking me in the eyes, and not giving me a lot of information. We did get an ultrasound done of my eye, and they want us to come back this coming week to do Grand Rounds, which is where a lot of doctors look at interesting patient cases and decide what to do about it.

I'm noticing a pattern in stress levels. I get stressed in the two or three days leading up to an appointment and the two or three days after an appointment as I digest whatever information they've given me. I spend those days watching television, playing on the computer, or reading a lot to try to give my nerves a break by distracting them with other things to think about. I've been pretty useless this week post-doctor appointment. Today I am finally cleaning the house and getting things in order in preparation for next week when I'll be too stressed to handle things again. But at least we're still getting by and nobody's blown a gasket or anything.

So today I'm cleaning the house. It's almost done. Tonight I hope to make food that we can munch on all week, and update the checkbook. Maybe clean off my kitchen table, which is piled in papers needing to be filed. That's all. And then it's off to playing more World of Warcraft.

Hope everyone else is doing well. Take care. *wanders off*

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Family Counseling Session Scheduled

There. Parenting therapy session made for the whole family for next Monday. Parenting is causing me all sorts of grief right now, so I will kick its behind. ...Or maybe lovingly but firmly place it in time out until it behaves. Yeeeeah, there's a reason we're going to therapy. My brain is violent!

This past week has been CRAP. Spent the whole week watching television like a vegetable so my brain doesn't have to think and/or deal with this reality. Which is not healthy, and I know better. I did do house cleaning and whatnot, but my kids got ignored. And Sunday they got taken out of class in church for poor behavior, and they were the last straw on my babysitter's bad back so I came home from date night to find her in tears. And it's just gotta stop. I feel I can't communicate with them. I feel I cannot have a life beyond babysitting which makes me really, really frustrated and angry and resentful. And it's not changing any, so I'm getting outside help. *points to counseling session* So THERE.

My counseling session is one day before my eye doctor appointment. Who knows if I'll be a basket case by then. Probably. Arg.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Relaxation Techniques

This is an article on relaxation techniques for mind and body. Check it out!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


My stress level has gone up. My coping skills are fraying. My self-esteem is shot. I'm struggling to function.

During my brief period last week when I thought cancer might kill me (it's not going to kill me), I looked at my life and realized I only had two big regrets: I haven't given enough love, attention, and guidance to my children, and I need to get my scrapbooks/journals in order so they can have an idea of my life. I realize that life isn't guaranteed, so even though cancer won't be the end of me at this point in time, I still need to get my butt in gear.

Monday I will call the local family center to get ideas on parenting help that isn't in the form of books, advice, or parenting classes. I need a person to physically come in my home and help.

Today I'm spending at my in-laws with my family, trying to get as many snuggles in with my kids and spouse as possible.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Click the Link! <- awesome news article about how you can overcome the odds and succeed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Eye Cancer

Well, today I got my official diagnosis of eye cancer. I suspected since Monday when I went in for an eye exam and told the doctor that I had a brown spot in my eye that recently started growing bigger and darker. He sent me to a specialist today, who confirmed my suspicions but gave me a better prognosis than I expected: it's an iris melanoma that is treatable by surgery (instead of radiation and multiple surgeries) and is unlikely to spread to the rest of my body. If I take care of it, then it won't kill me, or blind me, or cause me to lose an eye. My eyesight in that eye is pretty shot, but it has been like that for years. My other eye has perfect vision.

So I guess now the goal is to manage stress and try to continue functioning normally. I still have laundry and dishes to do and children to take care of and a husband to soothe. We're still not recovered from January's overbooked work schedule. Anyway, so I think I'm going to go tidy the house now as much as I can before bed.

Hope everyone is well. My next appointment is on the 24th. Will keep you posted. Fret not; all will be well.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Every Day is a Fresh Start

Our January's been a long one. We did pretty well until the last week of the month, when our reservoirs of energy, patience, and willpower seemed to finally dry up. But now January is gone for another year, and we can try to put our lives back in order now that we don't have 20 extra hours at work piled on.

I'm behind on housework. My children are neglected. My husband is depressed. I can rant and rave about how it's not fair, not my fault, too much to do, but the only thing that will help the situation is to actually put effort into it instead of just talking about it.

My biggest problem, I think, is that I am failing to teach, love, and care for my children to the best of my ability. So I will try to focus more on that. I think putting effort into my children's upbringing will be the best investment of time and energy I can make.

Today is church (we're going late, but we're going) and then a family party before my husband goes to work. Tomorrow is my husband's first day off of work in a month, and I (of course) filled it with dental and vision appointments. Then the rest of the week we get to see how my husband's new work schedule will work out (he is switching from a 3-11 pm shift to a 4 pm - 2 am shift).

My husband gave me a list of things that are bothering him. I'll see what I can do about them.

My days go better if:
- I exercise in the morning to get endorphins pumping
- I eat a healthy breakfast and lunch to give me enough energy to do stuff
- I DO stuff instead of sitting around. Doing stuff gives me a sense of accomplishment.
- I enjoy time spent with my husband and children instead of waiting for them to go away and leave me alone.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Better Option

In the car I listen to the radio. The songs of this alternative rock scene have a theme of egocentric emotional pain. It makes me sad. And then I get disgusted when I hear a song about what to do after the singer has died... I understand death is an inevitable and normal part of life. But it sounds like this guy's given up already and it bothers me.

There's a news article this week about a guy who killed his three kids, his wife, and then himself because he and his wife both got fired or laid off or something and he decided it was just time to stop living in this world. So many suicides lately by people who are giving up on life... I understand being so tired and hurt that you don't want to live anymore. I understand being so hopeless or disgusted with this world that you don't want to be a part of it anymore. But I also think that out of all the possible choices one can make, suicide is so far down the list that you can't even see it as an option.

If you're really that desperate or in that much pain, then choose a surrender of a different sort. Go find someone, anyone, and plant yourself in their path and say, "I need help, or I'm going to die." I guarantee you that you will get help and you can survive. Your life may be miserable but you will be ALIVE and therefore there is hope for a better tomorrow.

There's a quote I really like from the television show "Firefly". It goes something along these lines:

"If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. If you can't crawl, find someone to carry you."

I may not have had that word perfect, but it's the same idea. Also, there's a song that I've had in my head for a couple months that goes, "And even when your hope is gone, move along just to make it through."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Need A New Attitude

My attitude towards parenting sucks.

Let me explain. I feel like a bad parent. I can't really say I feel like one of the worst parents ever, because my children are alive, fed, unharmed, etc. But they lack training, attention, discipline... Their mom (that'd be me) can't seem to find a balance between wanting to control everything they do and getting frustrated when they don't live up to perfection that I give up and letting them do whatever they want as long as they're not destroying anything or harming themselves or others. And even then, my son (3) picks on my daughter (1) enough and gets away with it because I feel powerless to get him to stop.

I feel like nothing I've done with them works, so I just want to give up. I feel I've already failed and I feel I have no other options besides continuing to fail, because all the things I need to do to succeed take more energy/persistence/determination/patience than I feel I have. If I try to be determined today, I know I will fail tomorrow when I'm tired after doing so much today, and so I'll be inconsistent, and I'll be torturing my kids for nothing... All I can see is failure failure failure.

I've read half a dozen parenting books cover to cover. Logically I know the things I need to be doing. Establish rules and stick to them. Set logical consequences to discipline problems. Teach life skills. Praise a job well done instead of blanket "you're great" praise. Keep food in the kitchen. Put away toys you get out. Introduce my 3 year old to appropriate chores like folding towels or putting napkins on the table for dinner. No hitting, kicking, biting, yelling, or temper-tantrums or you go in the naughty chair for as many minutes as you are old. Keep a regular routine so kids have structure and know what to expect. I'm not STUPID, I'm just...stupid. *hangs head*

I get tired. It seems I'm always tired, no matter how much sleep I've had or how little I've done. And no, I'm not pregnant. I get resentful. I feel sometimes that my life has been invaded by little monsters who don't respect me or care about me enough to not drive me insane and who love to destroy everything and keep me from doing things I want to be doing. And I'm caged here as a slave to the little monsters, and I'll be judged by how well I take care of them. That's not a very good viewpoint if you're trying to inspire love instead of resentment. And then I get depressed because I love my kids and want the best for them and I'm failing them miserably.

So there's the problem. What's the solution? I've had enough experience working away from my kids to be grateful that I'm a stay-at-home mom. Maybe I can try a to-do list... Ha. That's not really working so well. I've read enough parenting books. They all say that I'm at least semi-normal in my feelings, and that I need to take care of myself before I take care of anyone else. So I had a babysitter take kids for an hour and a half today to try to reset my temper, which usually works. I was pretty happy when my kids were gone and I thought of all the things I wanted to do... and then when I went to pick them up my son threw a fit and my babysitter's having trouble with them because my kids always get their way after I've told them "No," so now they expect that "No" means "Pester Mom more until she gives in or completely blows her top."

I've lost my train of thought because my son's bugging me and I can't handle it and I've just thrown his coat across the room because he put it in my face. I can't get myself to behave. How can I get anyone else to behave? I just want everyone to GO AWAY.

Somebody please tell me how to stop being a moron. And if you hand me a book on parenting, I will point out the whole bookshelf I have of them already.

Progress Report

So far this week I'm lucky to get maybe half of the things on my daily to-do list done. Maybe there's too much on there? Maybe I need to spend less time on the computer still and more time being productive? The house has been mostly maintained, I've made zero progress on Institute class lessons or scrapbooking besides printing a few pages and stuffing them in my binder... the kids have been pretty well played with. Blah. I'm getting enough sleep. I drank 32 ounces of water one day and learned that if you suddenly drink enough water after being dehydrated, your body stores it and you instantly gain ten pounds. I hate drinking water. Today we're starting with a huge glass of cocoa and then maybe we'll move to water because yesterday I tried to stick to healthy foods and felt like I was starving the whole day and therefore got very little done.

The EVIL month of January is almost over. One week left, and then my husband will have a day off. Of course, on that day we have dentist appointments for the whole family and a vision appointment for me. I've got one eye that's totally changed color over the last year, which I figure can't be good. And my long-distance vision is dying. It's probably time to get glasses and actually wear them. Anyway, I hope to get a break soon. I need one. When one starts feeling homicidal towards anything and everything, it's time for a break.

Um, besides being stressed and cranky, I think I'm okay. Yay!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cat's Basic Daily Needs

I need to be the best at basics. I will excel at basic personal and household duties, until I put Martha Stewart to shame. Oh wait, she already puts herself to shame. Never mind. ANYWAY, what are my basic needs and duties, you ask? I'm glad you asked. You asked, right? Well, here they are:

basic things I need done every day:

6 hours sleep
get dressed
one meal at the table as a family
prayers & scriptures
read with kids for 20 minutes
15 minutes one-on-one time with each kid and spouse
brush teeth (kids and self - with toothpaste!) before bed

basic things I want done every day:

8 hours sleep
healthy breakfast at table with family – 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, 1 protein, 1 grain, 1 dairy
make beds / tidy bedrooms
tidy bathroom
healthy lunch at table with family - 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, 1 protein, 1 grain, 1 dairy
drink 64 ounces of water
family prayers
1 Institute/scripture lesson done
1 scrapbook page done
15 minutes one-on-one time with each kid and spouse
read with kids for 20 minutes
play with kids actively for 1 hour
take care of any papers on desk / needing to be filed before bed
tidy front room before bed
tidy kitchen before bed
wash and fold and put away one load of laundry
brush teeth (kids and self - with toothpaste!) before bed

weekly needs:

exercise 3 times at gym
update checkbook / pay bills / update budget
get groceries
put gas in car
run any errands
date with spouse
family game/activity night
update family journal
plan to-do list for upcoming week

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wondering How to Let Go

I've accepted the fact that nothing I do will change my parents or their behavior. My mom will always be depressed and self-hating and my father will always be an alcoholic until they choose to modify their own thoughts and behaviors. What I still have problems with is accepting my parents and their faults without getting sad or bitter or angry.

I realize they're human and both came from really really nasty upbringings that make mine look like a cakewalk. There's no way they're ever going to be perfect. I'm very thankful they did so much better for us than their parents did for them. In some ways they've done wonderful jobs: we always had food and shelter, we always got as many books from the used bookstore as we wanted, we got to go on awesome trips around the United States and to beaches and amusement parks. I know they're doing the best they can. So whyyy am I still so angry?

My father's still an alcoholic. For a few years he was sober, so I got in the habit of saying he "used to be" an alcoholic, but he still is. And he's drinking again.

Today's my mother's birthday. I called home to see if she was there to wish her a happy birthday, and my dad was drunk to the point he could hardly talk straight and will be passing out shortly. My mom, when I got ahold of her at work, sounded happy. It breaks my heart to know that she'll come home to a passed out, reeking husband who may or may not have made it to the bedroom. Have you ever seen someone passed out while sitting on a toilet with their pants around their ankles? It's funny… and yet, not.

So that makes me want to take a baseball bat to his head and beat some sense into the man. Buuut, it won't help any. I know logically that alcoholism is a disease and you can't just shake yourself out of it like you can't shake yourself out of deep depression. You gotta take steps and keep working at it and keep on top of it or it will swallow you again. And the steps my dad tries to take don't seem to work very well.

His doctors have tried putting him on every kind of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety pill I can think of. Paxil, prozac, zoloft, effexor… His body's reaction to those drugs turns him into a happy man who can't think and can't function, and then he STILL drinks. So instead of a cranky man who works part of the day efficiently and then gets smashed in the afternoon, you have a happy man who doesn't do anything but drink. And did you know that combining anti-depressants and alcohol is a very bad, unhealthy idea? Like, a potentially lethal idea?

Under it all, I think he's extremely stressed about life and hates himself. He's been to therapy many times and I don't know that any of it's helped. I can't seem to do anything for him except try to express love instead of anger. Keep the bridges open and whatnot. The anger only hurts me, so I'd like to let it go but don't know how.

I can't help but think that if things had been a little bit different, we would have been very good friends. My father and mother would have been a good, equal match instead of the conflict that is there. Sometimes he does nice things for her and sometimes he tells her she's fat and stupid and lazy. Thinking about the life that I think should have existed makes me bitter. Sad, bitter, and angry. It's like my mantra: depressed, frustrated, and angry about soooo many things.

I dunno. I just needed to vent. Nobody really wants to hear these things, so I'm dumping them here instead of somebody's IM window. I would like to be able to let go of my anger and replace it with compassion (even while I hold onto anger as a young child clings to a familiar, comfortable teddy bear that protects her from the world).

I keep waiting for the phone call that tells me my father's had a heart attack. He's moved on to Jack Daniel's, a step up from vodka (his previous drink of choice). I wonder and wonder and wonder if he's just trying to kill himself. His father didn't live to age 55, and I don't think my dad expects to, either. He can't have much of a liver left. He's combining drugs that don't mix well. He's drinking and driving. He's been taking trips to Hawaii every six months.

There's nothing I can do. So I dump it here, give a voice to the feelings and thoughts that I prefer not to think about before I bury them again and move on. It's not my problem. It's not my life. It's not my responsibility. It's not my fault. There's nothing I can do or should do to try to "fix" things.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Trying to Find...Something.

This life bothers me.

Being the best at basics is one of my goals. It involves spending so much time and energy maintaining a better status quo - to be healthy instead of just getting by. I spend hours cleaning and cooking and running errands and changing diapers, and then I'm tired for the day and spend the evenings dicking around on Facebook. It chafes. I feel like I'm wasting my life. This goal is good and necessary but it conflicts with my other goal: to create something, to accomplish something good...

I want to write. No, blogs don't count for this goal. Years ago I had this dream that I could write something that would be encouraging to young adults who are stuck in a lousy situation to give them the strength to keep fighting and hoping for a better life. They will not find this blog that is geared towards adults anyway, but they might find a book in a bookstore with my name in the author's line.

I want to get a(nother) college degree to have tangible proof that I've used my time productively. I can see you nodding your head with sympathy and also thinking that it's just a need for recognition or whatever that I should just get over or find recognition elsewhere.

What I NEED TO BE DOING and what should be my biggest accomplishment is my children. I have been blessed with having a part in the creation of two little people who need love and guidance and lots and lots of teaching if they're going to survive this world intact. And what am I doing? Cleaning my house, running errands, but mostly dicking around on the internet. Anything but doing the things with my children that they need that bore me to tears... play toytrains. Read the same books over and over. And over. And it's too cold to go outside. *hangs head* This sucks.

The lazy part of me says they're fine, they actually get more attention and mommy-time than a lot of other kids in this country. The meaner part of my brain, the one I think I should listen to more because it drives survival, is stabbing the lazy part of my brain with an ice pick. A very pointy, cold, metal ice pick. Because the lazy part of my brain is the creation of American culture, and it says I should play all day and eat junk food and make fun of people and it just needs to die.

So! What does the mean/intelligent part of my brain say? First, it's going to take a shotgun to the television and blow it into itty bitty pieces. Then it's going to TURN OFF the computer unless I need it for work or educational purposes. Then I'm going to find new, fun, educational things to do with my kids that do NOT include Dora or Thomas the Train. And when I'm tired after dinner I will not sit down and stop, I will keep going and finish my chores for the day instead of letting them pile up like they have. And that way I will have time to write and create things. I will grow up and shut out the distractions that are meaningless and make more time for good experiences with friends and family. I will remain focused on what's most important and leave the rest behind.

I am angry. I am frustrated and angry. But at least I'm not depressed. Ha!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

An Unexpected Break

We are all feeling much better today than yesterday, which is wonderful. Also, my husband's workplace called today and said they didn't need him to come in since work was slow for the New Year's holiday. So he packed up the kids and took them to his mother's house to give me a much-needed break from toddlers and a chance to clean my house. Yay for good health! Yay for breaks! Yay for clean houses! Yay for wonderful, thoughtful husbands! Yay for bleach wipes! Yay for not having to listen to Dora the Explorer all day! WHEEEEE!