Every day is the same.

I’m very glad that I have found a new therapist and that we’re about to start working on my depression.

Today, it was very hard to get out of bed, but I did it. I’ve eaten breakfast, taken my morning medicine, and brushed my teeth and used mouthwash. I even have laundry up. But that’s about as far as it goes.

I know I need to be doing more. I know it’s my responsibility to make myself happy. I just don’t have any idea how to do that. I know that I should change out of house clothes/pajamas, but I don’t see the point, since I’m home alone. Why be uncomfortable if I don’t have to be? It’s not like I’m going anywhere. It’s not like anyone is going to see me. It’s not like wearing jeans and a t-shirt w/a bra makes me feel better about myself than these PJs. It’s not like anyone would notice besides me.

I think the hardest thing that I deal with is that everything feels completely pointless, and I am lonely.  Interactions on Facebook seem to serve to punctuate just how alone I am during the day. I cling to that website like it proves to me that I exist.  I’m a modern day Sisyphus. Laundry and dishes are constant. You do them, and there is always more to be done.

Where is the joy in life?

I promised myself that today, I was going to try to cook dinner. It feels difficult even to start the process.  I’ve already hit up Allrecipes.com and none of the old recipes that I used to cook look good.  It just showed me that I put a lot of recipes in my box and didn’t rate very many… and those that I did take the time to rate, I rated during my first marriage, which brought up a whole bunch of ridiculous and unnecessary baggage for me.  At least it reminded me that there was a time when I could do pretty much anything that I set my mind to.

I am tired of feeling sad and ineffectual. I know I can be better than this. I’m ready to be happy with myself and with life. I just don’t remember how.

I think the path to wellness continues with a shower, changing into daytime clothes, making the bed, folding more clothes, and doing more dishes.  At the very least, I’ll be useful to my husband that way… and clean.

 

New Self Care Chart!

All hail the new self care chart!

It’s been updated with some pretty important things, like “take your medicine” and “eat.” — things that were noticeably missing and needed to be there…  There’s even a line for “Call your mother!” but it says “Talk to a friend or relative.”

Today, I took a step towards getting back into the kitchen.  I got off the couch and moved back up to being Adam’s sous chef in his cooking adventures and peeled some potatoes.  Yeah, it’s grunt work, but it felt really good to not just be sitting there while he was working on making our dinner, and it helped me feel more empowered.

Tomorrow night, I’m hoping to be the one to do the cooking.  I still don’t know what I’m going to make, but I know that I want to make something. Several of my relatives have reminded me that I love cooking, and I mostly remember that.  And tonight, I didn’t hate peeling the potatoes. So tomorrow, I plan to hit allrecipes.com and check out my old recipe box to see what I used to rate highly, and see what I can cook up to give Adam a night off from the kitchen.

In other news, I’m excited about learning how to use my sewing machine.  My friend Rebecca introduced me to a website called Craftsy.com and there was this wonderful tutorial called Sewing 911 that showed me the different parts of my sewing machine and the very basics of how to use it. Maybe sometime soon I’ll be able to make something cool.  Or a throw pillow or two for the couch. You know, baby steps.

At the very least, I am trying my best to find things to do other than just watch stuff on TV or sit on Facebook, though I am enjoying the series Lost Girl, which I have to believe evolved from someone’s Changeling game.

I hope everyone’s had a good weekend and that the week treats you well.

 

 

A Couple Of Very Good Reasons To Live

Today, I attended my niece’s 5th birthday party over at my in-laws’ house.  It was My Little Pony themed. We ate pizza. But more importantly, me and the little one played together, and we had a good time.

It occurred to me, somewhere between playing make believe with the shark cookie jar and catch with a plush puppy, that Dottie looks up to me, and that even if we don’t spend tons of time together — I have an effect on her, and I want that effect to always be positive.

Committing suicide, or even maintaining a suicidal mindset would not be a positive influence in any way shape, form, or fashion. She would think that I didn’t love her or her baby brother, and that’s the farthest thing from the truth. It would be a terrible example to set.

So even though I was fully committed to going to therapy and to not killing myself and to beating my obsessive thought pattern with suicide before — my resolve has been further strengthened. I thought, for the longest time, that I was doing this for myself, for Adam, and for our future kids… but I had forgotten about the children who already exist who I love and who care about me, and they matter in a very real way.

I’m intensely grateful that I am an aunt, and that life led us to Chicago, so that Adam and I could actually be a part of Dottie and Alex’s lives, and they could be a part of ours.

Children are a blessing.

It’s Like I’m On A Self-Care Mission…

Yellow badge Star of David called "Judens...

Yellow badge Star of David called “Judenstern”. Part of the exhibition in the Jewish Museum Westphalia, Dorsten, Germany. The wording is the German word for Jew (Jude), written in mock-Hebrew script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s all about me.

Today has been all about navigating the hoops set by my insurance company and finding my way towards better health.

I set up appointments with a dentist (which is a huge deal, since I haven’t been to a dentist in 8 years), my primary care physician, and a new therapist. I did 3 loads of laundry and a load of dishes. I went grocery shopping with Adam. I was really highly functional, even if I didn’t get “properly” dressed until the late afternoon. (Who cares? No one was here but me.)

Today, I ran into a couple of things on Facebook that really bothered me: more of the perpetuation of “maker” and “taker” stereotyping and then anti-semitism, attaching to the Wall St. bailout and then aimed at me.

“Makers” and “Takers”

The conservative media has started a very bad thought process in the minds of right-leaning Americans.  And that thought is that no one deserves any help.

The discussions I’ve had with folks always end up, inevitably, with the person saying at some point, “I believe there are people who need and deserve help, but there are too many people gaming the system.”  At this moment, this person has said to me, effectively, “I would rather deny help to people who really need help than to have my kindness taken advantage of.”

This is the problem with the talking heads. They help remove empathy from the common man. They make it acceptable to boil people down into two camps, based on whether or not they receive government money – kicking us into distinct tribes instead of recognizing each other as teammates like we actually are. They have no problem begrudging real people the medicine or the money that they need to survive because they aren’t real people to them. They are subject material to create rants about so that they can fill airtime and get advertisers. They let the needy become their object of hate, calling them “takers,” essentially qualifying the sick and elderly as thieves, so that they can make themselves look better and make more money.

And all the while, it divides our country. It divides our families. It defiles our humanity. It suggests the worst of our society that we can’t even trust each other to care for our elderly and our ill – at least not without making them the object of scorn and degradation.

Antisemitism can suck it.

Speaking of degradation, I ran into antisemitism on Facebook today. I’m not going to go into the whole situation because it’s shitty, but I have to say that there’s a lot of neo-Nazi propaganda going around recently, and as someone who was born Jewish and who still believes in One God, I don’t like it one bit. I’m not digging on how much I have to deal with controlling triggers I have over a fear of a dystopic future where we have to deal with a second Holocaust. I don’t like how many parallels I see in our American society today to 1930’s Germany. And I’m not good with history. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying, “Obama is Hitler,” or any of that shit, but we’re awfully lucky he’s not. We’ve got a nation that could easily polarize against “the bankers.” It’s a good thing that banks in America hire people of every race and religion. I think it’s the fact that we’re committed, as a nation, to being “the good guys” – to being tolerant and loving towards everybody – that makes it so much less likely that we’ll have that kind of terrible future.

That, and there’s always the words of wisdom that my brother, Daniel, taught me: there are too many people who are deeply devoted to the status quo for any of that shit to happen here. Whenever I lose hope and freak out, I can bring myself to normalcy by remembering that.

A Hopeful Future

We can’t be the good guys if we don’t take care of our elderly and our ill, but we’ll be better than the bad guys if we don’t have WWIII right here. Maybe we’ll luck out and society will show me that it can be better than I believe. Right now, I’ll settle for just making it through another day without a seizure and with the ability to keep doing housework without thoughts of suicide.  Happily, I’ve got a funk/soul/disco station that I found on Spotify today, and it’s making folding the clothes go a lot faster.

Well, That Was A Good Run…

1 Month, 9 Days – Start the “Days Since A Seizure” Clock Again!

Yep.  Had a seizure today. It’s not the end of the world. Not even close.  But I had dared to hope for a moment that I was seizure “free.” That’s too much to ask for in this life.  Days without, sure – but to think that I was done with them was just childish.

Today, I saw my psychiatrist. He agreed that being off of Cymbalta and Abilify was very likely the reason that I was no longer having seizures so regularly. Both medications lower your seizure threshold. Because of that — and because of the fact that Adam and I *do* still plan to have a child sometime this year, we’re not looking towards medication to help me, regardless of the fact that I am still depressed.

So how are we planning on handling the persistent, awful thoughts of suicide? Talk therapy. And after our discussion, it seems far more likely that my ideation trends more to the “obsessive” side of things and less towards the “depressive,” since I genuinely don’t want to die. I just keep thinking about suicide, and I don’t want to.

If anything good has come out of today, it’s been gaining the knowledge that Adam and I are solid partners, not on anyone’s time table but our own, and are doing everything the right way concerning my health. I’m doing the right thing getting back to seeing a psychologist, despite the fact that it costs money that I feel bad about spending. Adam says he doesn’t feel even slightly bad about spending money on my mental health.  If I don’t have good mental health, what good is my physical health or money? I know that I’m incredibly lucky to have him as a husband.

I wish I weren’t messed up. But the only way to get better is to take the steps necessary in therapy, so, once again, into the breech, boldly, I go.

 

 

Trying to Crawl Before I Walk

So, yesterday I had the thought that it may be time to learn the laws of Illinois and try to become a lawyer again in an attempt to “take back my life.”  That’s not an inexpensive or easy goal.

In fact, it would cost around $4000 for Barbri and the test — money that I don’t have right now, and then there’s always the question of whether or not I’m actually up to the task of actually being a lawyer. Sure, I’m not having seizures at the moment.  It’s been a great month without them, but I’m on a high dosage of Topamax (complete with word fishing) and I still have MS, with muscle weakness, neuropathic pain, and fatigue that has me regularly taking 2-3 hour naps most days.

I’m trying to build up my confidence and build back to having a semblance of a “normal” life, whatever that means. I think the best thing to do right now is to see if I can even work.  I think I should check out the Ticket To Work program.

I read a good article today on how there’s more to life than being happy: that it’s more important for your life to have purpose and meaning.  I think I try my best to give back to the world. I wish I had a more defined purpose, but for now, I feel like I at least try to give back to the world through this blog.  I feel like by chronicling my journey, I give others permission to feel however they feel and to gain strength by knowing how I’ve handled what I’m going through.

Speaking of giving back: I’m going to be retooling the self-care chart. I think it can be better.  If any of you have suggestions for it, I’m all ears… or eyes, as it were.

Truth be told, life is good right now, despite the depression.  I haven’t had an MS exacerbation in over a year.  I haven’t had a seizure in over a month.  My relationships with my husband and with my family are good.  I have every reason to be happy and hopeful.

That’s why there are moments when I think it would be a good idea for Adam and me to start a family of our own.  I’ve wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember, and when I’m not horribly sad for no good reason, I think I’d be a really good mom.

But how can someone be a good mother if they don’t have their own life “together”?  I’m still struggling to make sure I have proper daily hygiene right now.  Hell, it’s nearly noon, and I’m still in my pajamas.  I was just proud of myself for remembering to take my medicine this morning *and* eating breakfast.  It’s the first time I’ve done both of those things all week.

I wonder what my litmus test will be for knowing when I’m good enough.

 

Taking Back My Life – Right Where I Left Off

This transition is balls.

Realizing that I have copious amounts of free time and lack either the imagination or the resolve to fill it with meaningful activity makes me feel like I am worthless, even though I know, deep down, that is not the case.  It is just so hard, after nearly 5 years of sitting on the couch or in bed, every day, whiling away the hours impeded by a seizure disorder that caused 5-10 seizures a day, to suddenly spring back into action like a normal adult.

Every day, my husband leaves for work, and I am left at home to do whatever I want to do until he gets home. He has told me, in no uncertain terms, what he wants me to do with that time: enjoy myself. And the worst thing in the whole world is feeling like I can’t.

There is a whole city out there that I could start to explore if I were willing to brave the buses and trains on my own.  I’ve never lived in Chicago before.  And yet, there is nothing that I want to go see.

There is so much here inside the house that I could do: practice piano or guitar, songwrite, read books, redesign this website, create menus for us, cook, clean, watch movies, wash dishes, fold laundry, play with the foster kitten, take Brisco for a walk, write letters to friends, scrapbook, dick around on Facebook, play some video games, make some jewelry, call some friends I’ve been meaning to catch up with…  but I always revert to the things that I can do on the couch that I’ve done for the past 5 years: like I’m stuck in a loop.

I am making some progress.  I’m showering, brushing my teeth, and getting fully dressed every day.  That’s new this week.  It’s a step in the right direction.  You can’t rejoin the real world in your pajamas.

But everything seems so pointless. Nothing brings me any happiness.  I am completely off of anti-depressants because we want to have a child… but who knows when that’s gonna happen?  I question the sanity of even thinking of having a child with my depression being like this.  You don’t have a kid to make you happy or to give you something to do.  You have to be strong in yourself to teach a child how to be happy.  I don’t even know if I remember how to be genuinely happy. I just remember how to look on the bright side and think positively… how to consistently tell yourself that ending your life is a bad idea and that things will be better tomorrow.

I honestly wonder what a day would be like without suicidal thoughts. Or if that’s even possible for me. Days like today, where the darkness is persistent, I wonder why I bother fighting the thoughts at all, and why I matter so much to the people who love me.

The thing is, I don’t have a good reason for suicidal thinking today.  I’m not in great pain.  I’m not having seizures. I’m not longing for escape from a body that has me trapped in some kind of physical hell. I have a husband and a family and friends who love me very much, who I love dearly and who I don’t want to hurt. So I don’t understand why the thoughts are present — but they’re very much there. And they bother the hell out of me.

But I acknowledge them, and I try to move on.

Sometimes, I feel like it takes so much energy just to not harm myself that I have no energy left to give to do anything at all, and all I want to do is crawl back into bed and disappear. I am so embarrassed about how much time has gone by since law school to now where I have done nothing of real value that I am ashamed to exist.  I try to remind myself that I created the Paleo Compendium (which has over 750 followers) and wrote the Tao of Rae, but it doesn’t feel like enough when I’m busy beating up on myself.

And the only way that I can think of to live up to my own expectations is to pick up where I left off with no excuses and try again at being a lawyer, whether or not I currently think I can be one.  I’ve got to stop being a crybaby and act like an empowered adult.  The seizures may have thrown me off the horse, but I’ve got to get back on, or I’ll be the victim my whole life.

So my life, at least the one where I was making the decisions about where I was headed, got jacked by a seizure disorder when I was taking the bar exam for CA.

Maybe it’s time to start studying for one for IL.

FML, I’m floundering.

WTF am I supposed to do with my life?

I worked my ass off in law school and then a stupid seizure disorder stopped me from passing the bar exam 3 times in a row. One time I didn’t even get to go to the test because I was hospitalized. Now I’m in a totally different state with completely different rules – and if I learn the laws here, I’m not even sure with MS that I’d be a reasonable fiduciary.

Do I say “fuck it” to the years I spent going to law school and try to go back to being an administrative assistant? Being a housewife is *not* working for me. I feel like I am trapped in a cage that I never get out of because I can’t drive anywhere. Home should not feel like a prison.

I feel like no matter how hard I try at things, I never get anywhere with my life, and that I left the best job I ever had and a city full of friends to try to do more and be more and it feels like it was the biggest mistake I ever made. But if I hadn’t gone to law school, I wouldn’t have met and fallen in love with Adam … and that would be a terrible shame.

So I guess that I’m just supremely frustrated after nearly 5 years of being completely disabled. Any words of wisdom other than “quit whining” are greatly appreciated.