Friday, April 30, 2010

Wakey, Wakey.. I'm awake!

I have really struggled the past couple weeks with how to share what I have been going through. I have started several times then stopped & deleted several times. So I am determined this time to jump in with both feet & get through it!
I am not sure exactly when I realized I was not myself anymore. I knew I had been moody, angry, on edge. I knew I intended to do things, but they never got done. I did all the things I needed to do to care for the kids, but next to nothing to care for myself. I would get the kids off to school, come home, sit on the couch or in one of the chairs, then be amazed that it was time to pick them up. I wasn't sleeping the day away, I was just staring at the television losing hours at a time. Hindsight is 20/20.I can see looking back, but not when it was happening. I finally made an appt. with my doctor. I was at a point I had never been to before. A dear friend had shared issues she had following her hysterectomy. That seemed like such a relief that it could be something that simple.
My Dr. spent alot of time with me at that appt. We talked about everything that had been happening in my life since my surgery last May. She believes I may have some mild symptoms due to hormones, but she firmly believes I was in a severe depression.
That seemed strange to me considering it has been over 4 years since Kierra's death. How could I be more depressed than I was when she died?? I had worked so hard to cope & be strong & do what needed to be done for my family.
August 25th, 2009 my brother-in-law & one of my dearest friends both died within 2 hours of each other. Randy had been very ill for the previous year & was diagnosed as terminal a short time before his death. Debbie had been unexpectedly hospitalized & declined quickly. It is hard to compare the 3 losses. There is no comparison. Each one was devestating for me in their own individual ways. I had been on autopilot since Kierra's death. Keeping myself busy & involved in so many things that I did not have time to let myself truly open that wound & let it heal. I cannot imagine it ever truly healing. So when my mind tried to process losing Randy & Debbie at the same time, it again tried to put me on autopilot, forging ahead like before. The flaw in that was that no matter how determined my mind was to ignore it, my body responded of it's own accord. I began to sleep less & less. I became more & more disinterested in the things I once enjoyed. I became oblivious to the things I left undone around me. I put on my happy face when necessary, but even that began to require energy I didn't have. I missed meetings for the cooking club, multiples group, school groups. I slowly removed myself from almost any social situation.
It took all I had to care for the children & try to function in what I thought was a normal world.
My Dr. not only insisted I try medication, but felt it was my only option. I have had an aversion to taking pills. Having exposure to several addicts in my life, I have always shied away from any meds that would blur my senses, or make me unaware. That seems funny now when I can look back & see how unaware I was for several months.
Taking the meds was almost immediately like waking from a deep sleep, or like fog clearing & being able to see what is right in front of you.. I was shocked to see how many things I had let slide, or completely forgotten about. Our house was by no means in a state that was unhealthy, but it was not how I was used to it being. I spent the first week cleaning & getting rid of alot of stuff. There are a number of projects I have left undone or only partially finished. But I am getting there.
I am trying to not dwell on what I haven't done, but keep moving forward to doing what needs to be done. I know it will take time. I know I will still have days when I will just want to do nothing but cry. My meds aren't magic. They aren't going to make me happy all the time. They do make me more aware, more motivated to get things done. I have enjoyed my children, my family, my dogs, my horses.. especially the horses.. more than I have in months. But I am not a zombie.. I am not so high that I can't function. Actually I don't feel "high" at all.. I feel awake, alive.. and glad to be. That may be the biggest change of all..

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Me & creepy crawlers.. Now it's war!

I have lots to blog about, will have to backtrack a little later.. been very busy.. as usual, life is busy & we tend to get caught up in it!
The kids & I made a quick run down to Clearwater/St. Pete to check on Brian's Mom & get some stuff done at her house. We got there yesterday afternoon & came home today. I decided to stay at her house last night so I could get more done. Her house has been empty for about 4 months while she has been back and forth between the hospital & rehab. She has lived on her own there for almost 5 years before that. Her ability to care for the house is limited & despite the best of intentions, it has been difficult for anyone else to convince her to let go of "saving" things. I spent almost a week there a few years ago to clear out her garage & a storage room in her house. Yet everywhere you turn there is more stuff!
My Grammy was one of the most fastidious woman I have ever known. She battled cockroaches, palmetto bugs, silverfish etc. all the time. I am a Yankee. I didn't move to Florida until I was 9 years old. We didn't have those kinds of bugs up north. I learned very quickly that there are lots of them in Florida & they like the dark! Most kids collected change for candy, I collected change to buy bug spray after waking up with them crawling on me in my bed! I would hide it under my bed because my parents said it was a waste of money & couldn't understand my fear. Every night I would push my bed away from the wall & spray all under & around my bed. Then I would lay awake until I heard my parents go to bed. Then I turned my light on & sat in the middle of my bed with my spray in hand. I fell asleep like that most nights & I would wake up in a panic the next morning to turn off my light before my parents noticed. I got caught many times & got in a lot of trouble for wasting electricity. That fear & obsession about roaches of all kinds has stayed with me throughout my life.
When I was a very young bride & pregnant with Kierra I lived in Indiana. My Father-in-law put the deposit down on a trailer for us to live in. It was a new experience for me & I tried to be grateful. When we went into the trailer & checked out the kitchen someone opened the stove & roaches scattered all over. I screamed & ran out crying that I could not live there. I paid dearly for embarrassing my father in law & husband. (both are now in the EX category!) I begged for bug spray & suffered many sleepless nights there until we moved.
Brian & the kids thought Joe's Apartment was a funny movie.. I couldn't stay in the room while they watched it! While they laughed at the bugs dancing on the toilet seat I was fighting back the heebie-jeebies & dreading the nightmares. They came.. me in a bathtub full of them & no one could hear me screaming!
And yes, I have to talked to a therapist about it!! I can manage my phobia quite well. But there are some instances that despite my best efforts I have aftershocks of physcosomatic hives & that sensation of things crawling in my hair.
Brian's childhood home isn't far from the neighborhood I lived in when we moved to Florida. His mom came from a generation when times were tough & you reused everything you could to stretch that dollar & not be wasteful. So did mine. They saved paper bags, cardboard boxes, margarine containers, all kinds of things that could be useful again.
I had my first episode of "hives & spider hair" when I helped my parents pack to move from Florida to Tennessee several years ago. They had cabinets full of stuff that they had hoarded over the many years they lived there. Needless to say there were lots of roaches of various sizes scurrying as we tried to pack & clean. The hives & creepy crawly scalp lasted a few days then just as quickly went away. Creams & meds did nothing to help. I would even scratch in my sleep. I rarely stayed at their house back then. I have only stayed at Brian's parent's house a handful of times in over 27 years of marriage for that reason.
Roaches love paper of any kind, in any form. Not to mention any food that is left available to their houdini ability to get inside things. They love clutter & dark places. They especially love cardboard boxes full of papers, books, anything that gives them a food source & a place to hide.
Cleaning Brian's parent's garage & storage room had that same "hives & spider hair" reaction cropping up almost immediately. It lasted for weeks that time. I wasn't going to stay there last night, but we got in later than planned & I really wanted to get some cleaning done & get anything trash worthy out of there.. I filled 4 commercial trash bags!
By 3 am I was tired & ready for sleep.. I had cleaned & sprayed, sprayed & cleaned. She had hoarded paper bags, years worth of the plastic bags the newspaper comes in.. empty envelopes from things that were mailed to her.. pieces if cardboard from the back of note pads.. just lots & lots of roach food! With the house empty & almost always dark there was a bug party going on 24/7. I could not bring myself to turn off the lights.. so I went to try to sleep in the one room I had purged, cleaned, & sprayed hours earlier where we were all sleeping. I could not do it, I could not close my eyes. I dozed a few times & woke up in a panic, grabbing the can of bug spray to protect myself. I thought I was still doing well since I did not break out in hives. Although the creepy crawly scalp thing was in full force! On the way home I started scratching my thighs & arms, then I was rubbing my back on my seat.. yup.. hives had arrived!!
It may seem silly to some, but it is what it is.. some people have a fear of flying, of snakes, of spiders, of mice.. I have a fear of roaches.. but I will still do what has to be done to get that house purged of them. I am planning on a trip down in about 2 weeks to bomb the heck out of that house. A few more trash bags & their food sources should be gone.. any important papers/books will be put in airtight bins. Blankets, towels, & sheets will be in large ziploc storage bags. Because now it's war!!