8.13.2008

Cheese and Whine

I'm back! From the most glorious and shameful few days of giving the best silent treatments and cold shoulders I could muster.  Of course, I'm being facetious.  The truth is, I was probably being the biggest jerk on the planet and I'm quite sure my husband hated me.

Clearly, I have some issues. It's been too easy for me to put off trying to find a therapist because my life and emotions are on such a rollercoaster. The peaks and valleys are spaced out just far enough that it makes calling someone too easy to brush off.  The downward spiral that started on Sunday was probably one of the worst to date. I can't even pinpoint what made me fall into the black hole of crappiness that I did, but it wasn't fun for me and certainly couldn't have been fun for my family.

For some reason, I was in a bad mood on Sunday after church. Not sure why. We went to Lowe's with the intention of getting paint for our master bathroom. I had a paint sample from Restoration Hardware and was going to find the closest match. I couldn't find a great match and then started doubting the color I was even looking for. So...we left. No paint in hand.

After that I just couldn't snap out of whatever put me in a funk. Maybe it was something as trivial as the paint that sent me down the slide, which tells you how on the edge I am in general. Unfortunately, we were heading out to dinner for my sister-in-law's birthday that night so we went home and I tried to rest and relax hoping to shake off the bad mood. I don't know if that ever happened because then I started feeling icky and did NOT want Italian food (which we were having for dinner). My stomach wasn't in the mood, but it wasn't my birthday and I wasn't going to NOT eat. I got the least stomach-churning dish I could find and it was very good, but still, I was not feeling great. Plus, when we got to the table I began feeling worse and felt a panic attack coming on. Stupidly, I picked the seat that made me feel the most trapped and then I felt like I was going to freak out. The restaurant was dark and it was the first time I'd been there so I was miserable.  I tried to deal with it quietly and without alarming anyone except Seth kept asking me what I was going to order. I didn't want to talk - talking makes the freak out worse sometimes. So...I snapped at him. I tried to do it as nice as I could but it didn't work. And then the marathon of silence began.

I think a West sibling trait is to get into a funk and it be almost impossible to pull out of it. I just couldn't bounce back. I had cake, looked at my brother's photos from England, and listened to conversation, but I didn't talk. I hope I didn't ruin the party, but I'm at a point where I just don't care. I don't care if I look weird because I'm not engaged in conversation, I don't care if no one is talking to me (in fact, I prefer it), and I don't care about what anyone else is talking about. In fact, if I do care about the conversation, I find myself being so critical and hateful of what they are saying in my head.  I much prefer being in an environment where I can just be with myself or with people I'm completely relaxed around and don't have to talk to. I realize how sad and pathetic that sounds, but it's where I'm at right now and I makes me really mad to realize that.

I didn't talk to Seth all day Monday. Not on IM, not on the phone, not in person. I only told him when I was ready to go home from work but after that - nothingness. My mom finally called me around 9:30pm Monday night to see how I was doing.  She clearly noticed my funk the night before and said she was hurting for me. We ended up talking for over an hour. Mostly I got to release all these thoughts and feelings that I don't chose to share very often.  It's hard to find someone to share these things with that either understands or knows what to say in response.  You'd think I could tell Seth, if anyone, but it really doesn't work that way. I can understand how someone who doesn't know what it's like to deal with things I'm dealing with would have no idea what to say in response, but from where I sit, it sucks to lay out your feelings only to be met with crickets when you're done. It comes across as if he wasn't even listening and to brush it off and move on to the next subject comes across as if he doesn't care. (EDITED: He does care, don't get me wrong!) So...I shut up for 2 days.

But back to talking to my mom. We talked about me trying to find a therapist and how I had tried to call someone that day, but even that simple task (that was to be a big step) turned into something I didn't want to deal with. I called a woman and left a message requesting an appointment. A man called me back which threw me off.  He asked me what sorts of problems I was having and I was quite brief, and then he tells me I'd probably see him rather than the woman. I lied and said I'd have to get back to him when I could look at my calendar.  I thought, ***WHAT?*** How dare you call me back - ask ME if I thought I needed just therapy or medication - YOU GUYS are supposed to tell ME that. And thanks for asking me whether I had a man or women preference!***  I was so put off and felt completely defeated. There's a reason why you can sort by "man/woman" preference on psychologytoday.com! I had a preference and felt just like I feel each and every time I call a doctor's office. I was met with the "What do you think is wrong with you?" vibe which makes me feel on the defensive immediately.  I've been avoiding his phone calls since and am going to try and find someone else.

We also talked about my dad. I have squashed talking about him for years now. This was my mother's spouse, so if anyone deserved to cry over their loss for the last 6 years, it's been her.  So I just ate it. I just covered it up and shared bits and pieces of my feelings with Seth, but I've kept my evil dark thoughts to myself...until Monday. Since my mom won her case, her feelings have shifted. She doesn't cry like she used to and she sees my dad much like I have all along. I lost my dad in 2002 and haven't viewed this man we've been left with as my dad since then. I can't - he's not the same and never will be. I find myself resenting families who have great fun together, who go on trips, who have normal adult conversation and laugh together. You have NO IDEA how great that is until it's gone from your life. They don't even understand the luxury of going grocery shopping alone as their husband stays home to rest or do yard work or something. I've got a dad who can't walk fast, who talks funny, who goes to adult day care 5 days a week while my mom is at work, who can't button up his own shirt and forgets to brush his teeth or shower if you don't remind him 10 times in the few minutes before he is to actually do these tasks, and who forgets to swallow when not talking and then drools when he tries to talk because all the saliva has built up in his mouth. YES, this is true. This is my family. My mother is trapped by this and it has broken my heart to what feels like beyond repair.

Mom and I talked about my fear of her dying before my dad does and what would happen. We talked about what she might do in the future because she can't live the rest of her life like this.  The life she's living now seems to have made her realize the value of traveling and doing things outside of a normal home life and I think she wants to do things without my dad. We talked about how we both wish he had just died. This might sound awful to anyone out there whose father has died, but trust me, you got lucky and I am envious. If your fathers had become like my dad and were still in your life, you'd wished he had died, too - not only for your selfish reasons, but because it's just not meant for humans to live like my dad lives.  For a while after this happened and we were waiting to see how much he'd recover, I felt like one day we'd see why God had chosen to keep my dad on this earth the way he is. Now that he's not going to get any better, I can NOT see any good reason to keep someone here on this earth living like this. There can be NO good to come of this, in fact, it's done nothing but wreak havoc on our lives for the past 6 years and the wreaking won't end until my dad dies in my opinion. I can't help but harbor seething anger that this happened to OUR family. WHY? It's like we're all being punished.

I hate to write such depressing stuff, but this is my life and I'm tired of covering it up. It's simple, really. I'm not happy. I've tried finding things that I thought would make me happy but none have solved my problem. Maybe they've distracted me temporarily, but when the dust settles I'm still here in my skin and as unhappy as before. I hope to be posting updates with stories of progress made once I'm able to find someone to talk to. I think one of my biggest losses is not having any friends in the area. REALLY! It's true. All my close college friends are no longer close (in proximity or in relationship). I have Seth and my mom and that feels like about all.  I think having girlfriends may have made a major difference, but I've got issues with girls. I don't care for most of them and it's been hard to find girlfriends who I could talk with unedited and trust. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to make friends again.

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