It's been a while. Welcome back to me. I changed the design template because it reflects what a bloody mess 2010 has been.
I'm still on sick leave. Last August was a pretty horrible month. We went through some really rough financial times - my claim wasn't accepted until late September, my husband lost his job (again) but got another one and is still at it (he loves it), our Ford Windstar died but at least we still have the old Sundance as a second car (but that's dying a slow death), and my husband had to take some investment money out of the bank to pay for groceries and school supplies. Investment money. Makes us sound rich, doesn't it? We're not. It's part of his retirement fund.
In September I was finally put on Cymbalta. Took a long time to kick in. I'm on 90mg now and after 2 months at that level I'm finally seeing some progress in my thought processes. A big problem right now is the fatigue. I'm taking a sleeping pill called Zopiclone. I have to get up at 6am to get my son ready for school. Once he's gone after 7:00 I try to stay awake. Rarely happens. By 9am latest my head is a bobble and I honestly have a hard time keeping my eyes open. I need to sleep. Can you imagine if I went to work like that? I know what you're thinking - don't take the pills. I have to. If I don't no matter how tired my body is, my brain doesn't turn off. So many thoughts spin around. I doze off but wake up often. Basically, by 5am I'm ready to sleep.
I've noticed I've gotten obsessive about certain things. My days pretty much have consisted of no tv, no internet (usually only in late afternoon/evening and not for very long), no music even. The blip.fm site I loved to go on so much has become too overwhelming for me. I think it's because there are so many songs being blipped at one time I just find it too much. I've been on maybe 3 times since July. I became obssessed with reading. In August, I read Under the Dome by Stephen King in 9 days. It's over a thousand pages. Other books I read within a week. Buying books is an expensive habit, so I decided instead to play Mah Jong on the computer. I cannot stop. It hasn't been until recently that I've begun to tire of it. Then I obsessed about colouring mandalas. I'd print out 6 or 7 thinking that would last me a couple of days. I would print out more the next day because they were all coloured. My thoughts go all over the place when I colour them but, oddly enough, when the tv is on I can colour and concentrate on what's going on in the show at the same time. Normally I can't seem to concentrate on two things at the same time. I have often thought about blogging what I've been going through while it's happening, but a) I found the idea too overwhelming, and b) it would be rather depressing. (Now I'm paying the price by typing in a long post.) I was told to start a journal, which I did. I haven't written very much in it.
I am in counselling (at least when I can afford it). Right now we talk about what's happening in the moment but nothing has been discussed about how to deal with stress once I'm back at work. And during this whole time I've volunteered to help out with ... 3 things at my son's school. I have felt nervous to the point of sickness each time, but once I got to the school I felt safe - at home even. I often feel nervous about going pretty much anywhere. Sometimes I'm okay once I get there, other times I just want to leave right away; doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing.
Which is why I thought Christmas was going to be Circus of the Damned. We fully expected to spend Christmas at home this year because we really didn't have much money to buy presents for everyone at my sister's. Last year we went because it was my brother's kids first Christmas post-divorce. My brother has custody and we didn't want them to be that upset with their first Christmas without Mom on Christmas Day (they saw her on Boxing Day). This year, my sister emailed me in October asking us to come for Christmas. This time, she is the one going through a divorce. This came out of the blue. A 30+ year relationship gone. How could we say no? Her kids are grown but I think it's true what they say (whoever "they" are) - the older the children are, the harder the news is for them. Not to mention my niece is getting married this coming summer. She did not take the news well. At all. Neither did her brother but he is more open about how he feels.
Since my sister is having financial difficulties because my brother-in-law won't face his obligations like a man, I made a decision - we were going to do something fun. One year, my aunts/uncles/cousins participated in a gift exchange that didn't cost any money because we had to give something that we didn't want or need anymore. The results were hilarious. Antlers, girdles, even a condom was exchanged. I figured this year everyone needed a good laugh. My sister's friends were in on the exchange as well. Everyone had a great time! My niece's fiancé received lingerie, I got a devil's mask (awesome), my husband got a wig, my mother got a tire with a nail in it. All sorts of good things were passed around. Only problem was, almost everyone left their gifts at my sister's house. They're supposed to keep them.
Surprisingly, Christmas went well. Even with my mother there. See, last Christmas I began to have panic attacks because I felt very stressed out over work and my brother's situation because a) his wife is a real piece of work, and b) my mother was acting rather cruel towards him. I was afraid my mother would be the same way with my sister. She didn't seem to be. I expected to feel rather sick the closer I got to my family but, surprisingly, I felt okay. I think I have the Cymbalta to thank for that. I wound up having a good time. There were only two times I felt anger rising towards my mother and both times it was because she was blocking my way. I found that strange. Or maybe not. Any psychotherapists out there can discuss this point, LOL.
The worst thing about Christmas was I wound up in a huge argument with my brother and sister over my father's will. My Dad wanted my brother to hire a lawyer for us and get things started. Neither he nor I had the money to do so. Now, he has decided to have his wife as the executor of his will. I have a problem with that. They're separated. Not legally, but physically and I would say emotionally to some extent on my father's part. They no longer live together. Their house was sold and she got more than half of the proceeds. She also has his pension. She moved to a city west of Toronto, he moved to a city east of Toronto. She visits every other weekend. I was told that one of the things that sparked the fight that broke them up was my Dad told her he wanted only his kids to be in his will. I'm thinking that she drives all that way in hopes of getting into his good graces and will get some of his money and a portion of his house. My sister and brother are co-presidents of her fan club. They don't see my point of view. They swear she'll be honest and give us what my Dad wants us to have. They refused to understand what I'm thinking. I stood my ground - I'm proud of that. I know I didn't need to swear so much but I was pissed because my brother just wouldn't listen to what I was saying. So I talked to my Dad before I left home. He told me he didn't trust his wife at first but after having long talks with her, he believes that once she gets everything she will give us our equal portions and not keep any for herself. (I still don't believe this but I have no choice - it's what he wants.) Originally he wasn't going to include my sister in the will because her husband is well-off and she would already be provided for. I asked him to include her in the will, given her current situation. She should get a chunk of change from the divorce, but you never know. We won't be getting very much from our father, but I feel better having her included. We ended the conversation by him saying that either he'll have the wife get everything and she doles out our share, or he splits everything four ways (so she will be in the will). He did tell me he really didn't want his money given to her daughter. Family, eh?
I came back in better spirits than I thought I would be. I've asked myself if this means I'm ready to go back to work. I'm not sure. I still have vivid nightmares about work. (Cymbalta gives some amazing dreams.) I'm always stuck in some kind of maze or an elevator or I can't make my way from Point A to Point B without having to climb over dangerous obstacles. (Once again, discuss.) I'm off the whole month of January. I see my family doctor on the 31st. We'll see what happens then.
I have my work cut out for me in 2011: work on my marriage (anxiety/depression does take a toll), work on finances (especially with the wedding coming up), work on finding something to do for money that won't make me feel like disappearing off the planet.
I'm sure I've said this before - I will try to blog more often. If only to avoid long-ass posts such as this. I could have said so much more!
Whomever (whoever?) you are, whatever you do, I hope you have a better 2011 than 2010.
My husband just got home. He bought a bottle of champagne. I bought 2 bottles yesterday. Today we also celebrate 15 years of the day we first met.