Posts Tagged ‘postaweek2011’

h1

When you get mad, what calms you down?

Jun 18, 2011

©2004-2011 ~S-Pan

I have been so angry lately, a trait that has never really been an issue for me in the past, but is becoming more and more difficult to deal with.  Because depression is often defined as “anger turned inward”, I guess I’ve always just opted for the depression thing. I’m better at that.  But the more evident it becomes that I am powerless to change the things that anger me, the more I find my inward filling to capacity and unwanted emotions spilling outward.

So I snap at people. I avoid people. I try to avoid myself. Guilt soon crashes my anger party because I’m a Christian woman who is unable to find or keep the peace that I know God offers and I know is experienced by others. I should know how to do this; I should know how to cope. But I don’t. And then, I become even more angry… at myself.

Right now, my anger has made it necessary for me to hide in my bedroom away from everyone, including my brother-in-law who is visiting from Chicago. I get two days notice and then he’s here, at my messy house, for 3 days. We haven’t seen him for about a year, but worse than that, he hasn’t seen me for just as long. During this time, I have become sicker; my ability to keep the house clean has become increasingly hindered; I have lost 2 more teeth – a fact I hope to keep hidden by smiling very little and, if the occasion arises, to laugh politely while covering my mouth  (Think: Geisha Girl ).  Perhaps worst of all, I am so much fatter than the last time he saw me because I continue to gain weight for reasons my doctors cannot identify.  Since I never wear shorts and only wear t-shirts with sleeves that extend down to my elbow, I am always warmer and crankier than everyone else in this hot house that lacks central air.

The bedroom is safe. The bedroom is air-conditioned.  The bedroom is closer to the bathroom – always something I need to be concerned about.  No one can look at me while I’m here in the bedroom and I can’t see all the things that need to be cleaned… and then stress over it. It’s easier to lie to myself about my life and easier to believe some of those lies when I’m in here.

But hiding is not enough; still, I am mad.

Today is the anniversary of the day my husband and I first laid eyes on each other. It is a date we have remembered and celebrated every year, but one that he has apparently forgotten today. Perhaps it’s for the best that he not remember the healthy, much thinner, attractive woman (who still had the majority of her teeth); the woman who was wearing short flouncy skorts, a sports bra, a tan and a broad smile. It’s probably better he not allow himself to think about who I used to be and how much fun we used to have when I was able to participate in the activities we once enjoyed doing together.

He and his brother went on a long bike ride today – something I was once able to do, but now I just glance at my still nearly-new bike in the garage and pretend I believe myself when I think, “someday…”

And the anger intensifies.  No, no, no… it’s not fair!  I throw a little tantrum in my bedroom sanctuary. I cry tears of anger more than sadness and make a mental note of how much uglier I look when I cry. I honestly don’t know what to do to feel calm or break free from this runaway train of thought that always leads to anger. So I resort to my trusty Xanax. It takes the edge off and, at some point soon, I should be asleep. Barring any dreams that mimic reality, I will then be calm and free of any anger… and blissfully unaware that I let it get the best of me again.

h1

Weekly Photo Challenge: Round

May 1, 2011

A beautiful Saturday morning at my daughter’s soccer game.

Later the same day: Dusk at a minor league baseball game with my husband.


A good day.

h1

I-dentity Cry-sis

Apr 27, 2011
© gurudesignZ.com 2002

When I was about 14 years old, I had a crush on Shaun Cassidy – for about 2 weeks.  During those two weeks, my best friend and I spent an afternoon babysitting and scrutinizing every word in a celebrity rag sheet (Star Magazine, I think).  And who should be on the cover of this Pulitzer-prize-worthy publication?  Shaun Cassidy.  But wait, who was this woman on his arm – where *I* was supposed to be?  All I remember is that her name was “Debbi”, spelled just like that, without the ‘e’. 

The next day, I began spelling MY name “Debbi” – without the ‘e’.  In my insecure, peer-dependent opinion of myself, I now had something that made me…. interesting.         O, happy day.
 
After about 2 years of writing “Debbi” on my test papers, term papers, and all things school-related, I graduated from high school and began working on Wall Street as a receptionist.  It was just a temporary gig until I started college; I was only 16, I had time.  But a combination of events kept me at my Wall Street job earning money instead of a degree. 
 
And I was so good with money, I still am.  I loved to watch the numbers in my savings account increase each week as I admired myself for such monetary maturity.   When I left home and moved into my own apartment, I needed more than just a savings account, I needed checks to pay bills.  And I needed those checks to tell the world that I spelled my name D-E-B-B-I —  Because at 18 years old, this was still extremely important to me. 
 
I remember gleefully opening my first box of checks and peeling away all the paraphernalia packed with all those booklets, anxious to see my name written across the tops of about 1000 blank checks.  But my excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I saw that the bank had spelled my name WRONG.  One thousand blank checks and my name was spelled “DEBI” on every one of them.
 

My dilemma was excruciating, as dilemmas only can be for a teenager: Do I return to the bank and have them correct the mistake, which would take another several weeks?  Or do I just drop one of the “b”s from my name, too? 

For the last 30 years, I have spelled my name “DEBI”, and that is exactly what is written across the tops of my checks today.  I no longer need an ‘interesting’ or differently spelled name, but it is quite easy to scribble on the bottoms of all the many checks that pay all the many bills now. 

But no matter how it is spelled, the important thing has always been – and is – that it’s not “DEBRA”.  It is not the name my parents insisted I use while growing up and, to my horror, even corrected my friends when they overheard them call me Debi.  (or Debbi, or Debbie :-/)  “Her name is Debra.”
 
 
If only the teenage angst over how to spell my name was the identity crisis I now experience.  As a person with more than one chronic illness, I don’t know who I will be from one day to the next.  Will I be bed-ridden?  Will I feel well enough to do laundry or grocery shopping?  Will I be so depressed that I hide in my bedroom until I have to come out and behave ‘normally’ for my husband and children?  Will I awake to discover that my pain is manageable and I barely feel sick at all, then become engrossed in one of my many untended projects… only to be punished with multiplied pain the next day?
 
I am not the vital, healthy, attractive woman I once was.  I can’t even hold down a job.  There is no savings account to watch with glee or pride and there are fewer and fewer activities available for me to enjoy. 
 
I’ve always thought the name “Debi” brought to mind the vision of a youthful, fun-loving, adventurous girl.  And I always thought it was a good fit for me.  But not anymore.  Now I feel like a fraud, like I should change my name to fit who I have become… something more like Ethel or Gertrude (no offense meant to those bearing these names).
 
Whenever I’m at the grocery store and a young check-out girl looks down at my check and then up at me, I feel certain that she’s thinking: “Debi”?  Really??
 
No, not really.  The bank just made a mistake.
 
h1

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Apr 16, 2011

Winter Revisited


The snow and ice weighed heavy on the huge pine tree in my front lawn, taking down some very large and heavy branches.  This view is through my glass front door, through the spokes on my front staircase.  Stripes of sun through the wooded lake across the street highlight the fallen foliage.

Note to self: In the future, clean the hazy dog breath/slobber off the door before snapping a picture :-/

h1

Weekly Photo Challenge: Light

Apr 2, 2011

Early morning drive to the hospital

Sunrise Drive 

Though somewhat terrified because I would soon be at the hospital for major surgery, I just couldn’t ignore the vibrant, soothing colors of the sunrise that enveloped me.  I also couldn’t turn around and take the picture directly, hence the side mirror. 

Of course, there was also this fatalist, “sunrise behind me”, and “could this be my last sunrise?” drama taking place, but I don’t think it’s evident in the photo :-)

h1

I Found my Mojo…

Mar 29, 2011

Sadly, it resides in the section of intestine my surgeon just removed.

The scar depicted above looks a lot like mine, except that mine is not healing properly and it goes through my belly button (though my surgeon promised it would not).  Oh, and the scar above is on a a nice flat belly that belongs to a body builder and my scar… well, let’s just say it does not :-/

It’s been 4+ weeks of pain, of infections, of an unexpected heart problem that had me in the ICU, of one doctor visit after another with more and more tests and more medications added to my already long list: MedsMy body rebels if I try to do anything even minimally strenuous and I’m always tired.  Tired from doing nothing.

But the most frightening part of it all is that I feel smothered in apathy.  I can’t think of anything I want to do; there is nothing that interests me, nothing that jolts the sensor that resides somewhere inside of me and makes me excited about beginning a project or a new task.  I just feel nothing.

Sometimes, I feel sad or guilty, but I just can’t revive the old me… or find her.  I have been trying to write this blog post for over a week, but have about a half-dozen deleted drafts to show for my efforts.  My heart is just not in it.  I have always loved to write: I’ve been journaling for years – long before there was something called “blogging”.  But here I am writing, yet it brings me no joy.  It is too arduous to include the details I originally thought I should mention.  And my journal just continues to gather dust.

Yesterday was my birthday.  We have a tradition of going to a local pizzeria to celebrate, but I was still feeling too poorly to leave the house and I couldn’t really eat anything at the pizzeria, anyway, so I broke our family’s tradition.   I could see that my daughter was disappointed, as my birthday is a much more exciting event to her than it is to me.

I read something about post-surgical depression, but this feels more like post-surgical apathy.  At least for the sake of my family, I hope it passes soon.  I hope mojo is the sort of thing that regenerates when removed – like a starfish’s arm or a salamander’s tail.

I wonder if they endure an empty feeling while they wait for their appendages to grow back.

h1

What would *I* do with a million dollars?

Feb 18, 2011

one MILLION dollars

Remember when $100.00 was a lot of money? 
$1,000.00? 
A million dollars is still a good deal of money, though – certainly enough to alleviate a significant amount of stress or financial hardship.

Honestly, I don’t need a whole heck of a lot.  I just wouldn’t know what to do with it all.

After giving the first 10% to my church, I would pay off my house, THEN go about the business of making all the repairs that this comfy old house needs so badly.

I’d pay for my son’s college so we could eliminate the need for his pending student loans, and I’d encourage my two older sons to attend college [now that I could afford it

I’d breathe a little easier.

I’d go and get a professional haircut instead of mutilating my own hair every few months.

I’d put money away for when my husband retires, and I’d tell him to immediately quit his second job!

With a million dollars, I would pay off all my medical bills and open up some sort of savings account so I could afford all future bills not covered by insurance, plus all the expensive co-pays on my medications.  Perhaps I’d even delve into holistic medicine or some alternative type of healthcare where all the doctors work together and treat the patient like a person instead of like an annoying conglomeration of symptoms.

Peace of mind.  No, you can’t buy it, but you can afford to ward off so many of it’s thieves.

If I had a million dollars, I would wrap a really big box for my husband and fill it with lots and lots of cotton.  When he finally emptied all of the cloud-like cotton out of the box, there would be a toy airplane tied to a certificate at the bottom that enabled him to take his favorite Cessna out for a flight each weekend.  He has a pilot’s license and absolutely loves to fly, but it’s just too expensive to rent a plane for even an hour or two.  Flying has become a memory of something he used to do when he was single.

There’s no way I could get away without buying my daughter a toy or two (or ten :-/ ), just as long as it’s a one-time deal – no spoiled kids in this house!  But, oh… not having to worry about her college fund – how wonderful would that be?

I have always imagined starting a charity for young widows with children.  I would want to try to start that.  People express their condolences when they meet a young widow taking care of young children; sometimes they’ll bring over a meal or leave an open-ended offer of “call me if you need anything” before they disappear, but few people realize how – or if – she’s able to take care of everything.  Is she by herself?  Does she have a family that helps her?  Did her husband have adequate life insurance to help with the children?  Who babysits when one of the kids is sick on a school day and she can’t take off from work?  As a former young widow with 3 boys, I know there are many things that people assumed about our situation that just weren’t so.

At least now I can laugh (though still with disbelief) about my boss at that time telling me, in all seriousness, that I didn’t need a raise, I needed a husband.  No, my children needed to eat… I’m pretty sure I needed a raise :-/

A million dollars IS a lot of money and the responsibility of spending it in a good and proper way is daunting to me.  The words, “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48) take on a deeper and more personal meaning in the shadow of ONE MILLION DOLLARS.  Perhaps I’m better off just dealing with the daunting tasks at hand.

For now, anyway ;-)