Thinking Isn’t Always the Best Idea

19 07 2010

So, I know, it’s been what, a year? And it’s been a pretty crazy year. Ive battled a lot, gone through a lot of changes and am still battling a bit, but I have to believe I’ll make it through. This post could potentially be long. I am going to try and catch everyone up, although I don’t know my posting schedule, or if there will be one yet. I finally have internet again, and will have it in my new place again too as I’ll need it for school. I guess starting at the beginning will work best.

I stopped writing after a little medical issue. Well a few medical issues. First, I lost something that I didn’t know I wanted, but at the same time am better off without at this point in my life. Ironically it was the same day Michael Jackson died, and as a nurse came to talk to me about prepping, we were hushed by a large woman glued to the TV. It was funny. I thought I would be ok – that it was just a setback, but depression set in pretty heavily. I considered moving back to Miami Beach, I wanted to break up with my boyfriend, I just wanted my parents. Eventually they became aware of my downward spiral and came out to help me. “A” and I stayed together, working through what was going on with me and I started getting help.

Shortly after I was hospitalized for a severe pneumonia. My lungs were so filled up they thought I had a pulmonary embolism. I stayed in the hospital, hooked to heart monitors and would up having my IV repositioned 8 times because I was so dehydrated and my BP so low that my veins would essentially push the needle back out. I think that may be when I started to see things about “A” that I really didn’t love. He had to be begged to come visit me and would take care of a million and one other chores before he could show up and crawl into my hospital bed with me, falling asleep with me until the nurses kicked him out. That part I loved.

Over the next few months I struggled with my depression, with agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house), and we began to fight much more than usual. I got myself well enough to get a seasonal job at Williams-Sonoma, and it was a rarity for him to ask how my day went, regardless of me always wanting to be involved in his. He would hang out with his friends, or invite them over, even when I was so dog tired I could barely keep my eyes open. Our sex life had also dropped away at that point, my fears of going through what I did again outweighing any desire to be intimate with my guy of almost 2 years (At the time). But we got through the winter, and, by January, I decided I wanted to go back to school – I wanted to teach. “A” even helped encourage that. So I started taking classes at a local community college and started applying for grad school. I was accepted to Cal State LA, and for a few months there, everything was ok. Not great. We fought. A lot. And we lived separate lives. And he had stopped saying I love you by that point. But, we were still in it together. And I was happy with my new career path. I was assisting a seventh grade class, I was volunteering to teach kids how to read, I was going to school. I thought it was getting better.

“A” dropped the bomb that he didn’t want to look for places to live together anymore, that he wanted to move out on his own. Around December he fell into his own depression and sought help. Unfortunately, he only sought help for a month or two before declaring that he was much better and discontinued seeing his dr. During this time he became more and more selfish, taking and rarely giving – I’d have to beg and nag him for our utility money – and in the year and a half that we lived together he never once paid rent, despite having a job. He would always claim that it was because he had his own place to pay rent for, though everyone rightly pointed out (and I ignored) that if he were serious, he would have given up the place he was never at and just moved in with me. By now we had no real social life together beyond sleeping and living in the same apartment. He always had a reason to be gone over the weekends, and Id fall asleep during the week while he watched tv. We ate together, we’d watch what he wanted to watch, and we’d fight. Despite it all I still loved him, although had to question whether it was the beginning of the end. He couldnt love me the same way. Or didn’t want to. I don’t know. But he moved out. And like a good girlfriend, although a poor self preserver, I packed his belongings for him, oversaw the move, and then unpacked. We thought, it’ll be ok. We just need space, we aren’t breaking up, just taking some space and he needed to concentrate on getting his life together. I thought that he really wanted to grow up. Start his own business (dog training), earn some money, and we’d date, like normal people and move back in together when we were ready.

As I was packing his belongings I found a poster an ex had given him (actually there was a lot of stuff from his exes that he hung onto, which was a major red flag for me) and tried to be big about it and said, I don’t even want to see the pictures, just throw it out. He said he wouldn’t but that it would go into storage. That it was part of his past. I accepted it, not wanting to fight – we’d been doing ok for a bit – and I knew it was a few shots from her modeling days, but he swore it was all G rated. He even taped newspaper over it and showed me he was putting it in the basement or in storage. Well, as I was unpacking the paper ripped and all I saw was a nipple. I flipped. We fought. He called me insecure and said I needed to remember I was who he went home to every night. I pointed out that he was no longer coming home to me at night and that it was our relationship and the future or a poster of his past that made me uncomfortable. After the fight he tore it up, threw it out and that was that. Or so I thought. The fight never ended, I was still mad and hurt and no longer trusted him – he lied to me about nudity, no matter how much he swears he didn’t realize it was in that picture. I didn’t want to see the rest. Didn’t want to hurt any more and see him as a real liar. Eventually the fighting got so bad and so intense that a cop was called. We broke up that day. He moved out a few weeks later (had to wait for his new place to be cleaned out or something) and I was heartbroken, but tried my best to keep moving forward. That was in May.

A friend, who he introduced me to, was also going through a rough breakup and we thought – hey, lets move in together. Save money, the dogs will have a yard, we get along, we can help each other through this rough patch. So I did. I packed up all my belongings and with the help of her and “A’s” cousin (who I was still on speaking terms with) moved me into her house in July. July 1. She and I had discussed that she felt he had been abusive to me. That I deserved better. I parroted the sentiments for her. That while she was still on good terms with him, wed be ok living together because she didn’t want a social life with him outside of work. July 1, she, lets call her N, also started dating “As” cousin. I was ok with it at first. I figured it was early in the relationship (literally) and it wasn’t like he would be spending the night yet or be there all the time. WOW, could I have been more off. The night I moved in, with his help yes, he spent the night and didn’t leave for 4 days. Everyday I told my roommate that I was uncomfortable with this, that I didn’t want to live with a couple, that I wanted to get away from my ex, not have a constant reminder. That I needed a fresh start and it was too much too quick on their part for me to be comfortable living around. She said she understood. Everyday. And everyday he would still be there. Id go to bed crying, missing A more than ever, even though just a week before I had been standing strong. I also started working at a day camp and was in charge of hundreds of kids, teaching them how to cook without having a kitchen. Not easy. But at least N was seemingly taking heed to my request and she went out with her new guy rather than holing up here. But it was uncomfortable. I couldn’t talk to her without her texting him at the same time. And it all fell apart the next Friday.

N was going back and forth between going out with her new guy and staying in. Realistically she was trying to coax me into saying he could come by. Of course he could, but I asked that he not spend the night. He tended not to leave when he did. She assured me he wouldn’t. They spent all night trying to get me inebriated so I could go to bed and they could do their thing. Which was fine. I eventually went to bed on my own, feeling like the worlds biggest third wheel. They are the kind of couple who are ALWAYS on top of each other. (I should mention he is also 6 years her jr and lives with his parents because he is too comfortable there to grow up, not because he cant move out, but he doesn’t want to). So I would rather be in my tiny room than watch people escaping their own lives claw at each other.

When N and I were alone later that week I opened up a bit more. Talking about how it was tough for me. That I wanted to move on, but having the guy around made it hard. We talked about how she was able to escape her ex and move forward, but that it was in a sense preventing me from doing so, and that I just wanted some time and space to do that. She admitted she talked to him about finding his own place, to alleviate the amount of time they would be here, and said he would always change the subject. The weekend prior she blamed him for not leaving, claiming he would take a mile when given an inch. That day (we were getting our nails done like girlfriends would) she said it was her own fault, that she allowed it and would work on that not happening until we were more settled.

Two days later I was bombarded with texts from her guy. Saying he wanted to understand what my problem was, that my issues were inhibiting their budding relationship, and I explained that I just wanted space, the same space N had received after her own breakup, and that I wanted to be friends with him, but needed to get over A first. Then the attacks started. He wouldn’t leave me alone, trying to force me to get him to understand something he couldn’t, and trying to force me to let them do what they wanted to do. I told N to get him off my back and she retaliated that I was stressing her out at her job. Funny, I guess it was ok for him to do that to me. He begged me to call him. I said I didn’t want to talk to him yet. Then N started in on it, calling me a bitch, saying that it was her house and she could have anyone over any time she wanted. I said yea, but I was asking as a friend – pointed out that she was given her own space to move forward and I was only asking for the same. Pointed out that much of what she would admit to me (wanting to get everything of her exes out of the house, not wanting to be in touch with his family, etc) was all I was asking for, and for a short time. I think because I had gone out on a date, they thought I would fall in love and not care what they did. But it was my first date in 4 years and unlike them? I don’t rush into that. Nor was I ready. I’d been single for 2 months by this point and A had only moved out the week before I moved into the new place. AND I was still watching his dog! I think they got their hopes up and it created an escalated situation, but by the end of the week they were both attacking me regularly, or not speaking to me, I was hiding in my hole (my room is smaller than a rich persons closet) and crying everyday. It was affecting my work because I was so distracted, that I used all my energy to keep it from the kids rather than planning my lessons and approving my purchase orders. Friday, it came to a head. They both continued to say horrible nasty things, a lot of which seemed to come from A’s mouth in his own venting (fine, break ups do that). I told N I was moving out asap. Found a place on Saturday and that is where we are today, Sunday.

Basically I am lying in bed, having buyers remorse because the place is more expensive than I wanted to pay for, but knowing in my heart that I Need to get out of dodge before I lose myself. I’ll be closer to school, and while I wanted to find a one bedroom, not a studio, its cute, the building and area are safe, and I’ll only have to be there a year while I finish school. For all I know, I can get a good job right after I graduate and make enough to upgrade to one of their larger units. Or find a new more exciting place. Who knows.

I am lonely, and scared, and miss my friends and family something terrible. But this is my cross to bear for now. And im just hoping I make it out of this in one piece.





Cough Syrup and Four-Legged Nurses

18 10 2009

Hey everyone.

I’m sorry so much time has gone by since my last posting. Although I promise a valid reason.

I have been in and out of the hospital for the past month or so. I know right. WTF? That’s what we are all saying.

About 5-6 weeks ago I came down with what I thought was a very bad cold. After the cold decided to get worse we figured I had a flu. The flu stuck with me for a week and by the end of the first week I could barely move the body aches were so intense. I honestly thought I had swine flu or something. Fevers started low but constant and after a week of suffering the fevers started hitting 102 and I couldn’t take it anymore. I do not have a primary over here yet so I begged Alex to take me to the ER.

After a few hours of laying in a room they told me they needed x-rays. What they saw was way beyond what I thought. Turns out I had a severe pneumonia and was only using about 10% of my right lung and there was a possibility I had a pulmonary embolism (aka a P.E. or blood clot in my lung). I wound up spending the night in ER where they ran test after test. By 5:00 a.m they decided I needed a CT scan to officially rule out the clot and I would be staying for another day or two. The CT scan came up clear but beacuse I was so dehydrated and the pneumonia so advanced they kept me in the hospital on heart monitors for a week.

Eventually I was let out. And the next two weeks I struggled to get better. They say it could take months to get over what I had, so I wasn’t surprised at my complete lack of energy. Last week I finally pulled out of it. I was feeling better. More optimistic about everything, started looking for work again.

I felt so good I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. a few days ago so I could get up and work out. As soon as my alarm went off I knew something was very, very wrong. I felt like crap. My whole body was on fire (all my joints get inflamed when I get bad infections and its ridiculously painful) and my chest was so tight it could squeeze a diamond out of a rock. The cough was worse too. No fever this time but something was up.

I called the internist who oversaw my recovery in the hospital and who is absolutely amazing. He doesn’t have a private practice but has taken all of my calls to his personal number whenever I have a question or concern. He told me he would meet me in ER. Not to wait. Because of my medical history the past month or so, he wanted to get me started on treatment immediately. SO I drove back over to my second home, was greeted my my Nurse Practitioner (who now knows me on a first name basis….erm….) and went back through the tests.

The good news was, after several hours in the ER I was released. I didn’t have pneumonia. The Bad news? I have Bronchitis and am on bed rest again. Fun times.

I will write as soon as my motivation returns. A lot of fun things did happen while in the hospital and there were some very funny moments. But i’ll save those for when I can accurately describe them without drooling on my keyboard.

K guys, I’m on very strong cough syrup – my parents and I joke around and call it white lighting, even though it is purple… But it’ll loop you up and knock you out as fast as lightning.

Laura, I caught a snippet of your last comment. I am so sorry you are going through something as horrible as what it seems. Feel free to email me. I can promise a coherent answer, but really, that may help. Who doesn’t enjoy a giggle after conversing with a friend on cough syrup (well a friend who is prescribed it and taking it for valid reasons… i’m told im very quirky and silly when I’m medicated). And CloRida. I hope the birthday party went well. I’m so sorry I havent been around. And of course Witchy – I hope all is well with the boys and their respective sports are going well.

TO my other followers. Thanks for sticking around. Hopefully this will be the last illness I experience for a while. I’ll be getting a CPC to find out why my immune system is so weakened and why my lungs have been so susceptible to infection.

Best wishes to all. And for a good laugh email me. If you are lucky it will be right after I’ve taken my meds and you’ll be in for some entertainment.

 

oh yea, and pictures of my experience to come as well.





The Art of Cover Letters

16 09 2009

Well I mentioned Funemployment is over. So that means I’ve been spending my days at Barnes and Noble, hiding in the corner on the third floor, sitting on the floor in the only spot that has an outlet. My laptop’s battery doesn’t hold power, so essentially I have a portable desktop as it has to be plugged in to use it. But it was nice. I was hidden next to a row of unused cashiers and therefore out of the way of most patrons, save an elderly couple looking for help and the random teen searching for the perfect journal in which to record their angst. 

 

Normally, I would agree when someone says “resumes should not take an entire day to update.” I mean really. Move some things around, take out the irrelevant, adjust the type font and save. Unfortunately I use a unique format for my resume. I use a table system that helps break up each section and helps make each task a bit easier to read. It’s nothing out of this world but it does look different than the everyday resume and helps make mine stand out a bit among the rest. (Note: I also offer all contact numbers directly on my resume. Potential employers love this. Not only do they NOT have to come to me to contact past employers but it shows an air of confidence: “Go ahead, call my old boss, I have nothing to hide.” This doesn’t mean they will hire you, but I’ve been told by multiple interviewers it put me ahead).  Through the years my mac has become ancient and I have had a system crash, losing all saved documents. I generally back up the most important documents on the internet via e-mail so I HAD a version on file, but for some reason the format was not translating to the new Word processor I have. SO, not only did I need to update, but I had to revamp the whole thing.  And had to keep it within a single page (Ugh, seriously?) No big. I was in B&N, I had my corner, I had dust bunnies for company, and really you do feel more accomplished when you leave the confines of your nest to get some work done. 

 

I returned home feeling pretty good. I had applied for some focus groups to make some extra dough, I not only updated my resume, but completely revamped it and found a few jobs I was potentially interested in (although one was taken down as I was looking at it – boo!). I decided to upload my resume to a few places, the first being with a major communications and paper distributor – when I saw the bane of my existence: The Cover Letter. 

My first thought was ugh. My second thought was, really? Not only does this need to be completely generic, but come ON. Just Hire me. Are you really going to get to know me as an individual with a page worth of forced bullshit. I take that back, with less of a page of forced bullshit. You want to get to know me? Talk to me, hire me, what will 2 to 3 paragraphs of exaggerated ambition tell you? And then I chided myself. The written word is my passion. Perhaps my grammar is off at times (ok, a lot of times, must work on that) and my spelling can be atrocious at times, but I love writing. I love reading. I joke that it is my addiction and that I  potentially spend more money on books a week than an addict on his or her drug of choice (an exaggeration of course, bills come first! usually). But really, if I can’t express myself within a page, at least to a certain extent, then what would I be doing trying to emmigrate from marketing into the other realms of communications. So I decided to be  abandon, for the most part, the normal structure of a cover letter. I was honest, blatant almost, with my thoughts regarding the silliness and constrictions of cover letters. I let my humor peak through. I threw in a few of the essentials but decided these poor recruiters read thousands of the same letter week in and week out. I tried to jump a little out of the box. 

 

Will this pay off? Who knows. We’ll find out… Stay Tuned.





Funemployment Part II

11 09 2009

Please See Funemployment before reading (previous post). 

 

I returned home, as ready as I could be to face my challenges. I was not, however, ready to go back to work. That anxiety had not faded. I worked diligently with my Cali Therapist, JM, for a week and a half before making the call. Or rather email. I knew I had to face the music and return to a productive life. We set a meeting for a Monday, exactly 30 days after my medical leave started, for my supervisor and the HR director. 

 

I would like to say my employers were perhaps more supportive of what was going on in my life than most employers would be. They were aware of the circumstances, I was honest with my condition (manic depressive) and they were forgiving of my decreased productivity and rooted for my well return. 

 

Life went on while I took my hiatus, as it always will, and regretfully budget cuts had taken place while I was away. I was not let go due to my ailement. Far from it. I will always have a friend with Lucky Strike and they are an amazing company. However, I was greeted on Monday with a promise of two weeks severance, a health insurance option with Cobra at 30% of the normal price and well wishes. I was officially Funemployed. 

 

To say I did not feel relief would be misleading. The job had created unnecessary anxiety and I could feel myself slipping from the determination I carried when I started. I enjoyed my job but it was becoming increasingly clear it was not the profession I was meant to be in. Have you ever reached a point in the day where you just know, no matter how hard you try, you will not be productive for the rest of the day? I had not experienced that for the first 5 months of my job. By the sixth that hour came sooner and sooner. I knew I was unhappy. I knew I needed a change, but I needed to pay the bills and that came first. By being let go I was forced to reevaluate my career choices and my goals. 

 

I have spent the past two weeks growing personally. I have looked at my options. I want to write, but I need to pay the bills. I looked at my passions – writing, reading (I read a book a day, two days if the book is longer than 500 pages), expression, creativity. What could I do with that? I could go into a career where writing was more prominent. But I realized I wanted to share my passion with those of a younger generation. In a world where TV and Video games are now the teachers of the young, I decided to go into the education field. In high school I was awarded with two amazing English teachers. The first perhaps moreso than the second (the second was young and inspiring in the way that attractive young male teachers are). Mrs Weyhe showed her students there was more to Literature than endless chapters and book reports. That Literature was a way of expressing one-self. She showed us not everyone was a star author, but everyone could take the creativity from a written work of art and express it in their own way. In that class I created sculptures, I wrote songs, i learned to read between the lines, and I found that reading could be much more than just a hobby. Because of her and Mr. Shanoskie I became an English Lit major. 

 

It had become time to make use of my degree. I began researching education programs and looking into taking the exams needed for my credentials. I was optimistic with my goals and thoughts but unmotivated. Whether it was my need for a break or the remnants of a depression that left me clawing for the refuge of my bed, I do not know. But reality hit home the day I was supposed to receive my severance check. I had looked into part time jobs and applied for unemployment, but with bills growing and life, being the sneaky thing life is, continued and I realized it was high time to get off my ass and get some work done. 

 

And that is where you will find me today. Working on my resume, searching for a job of any means (preferably in the education field, but I will use my skills to make some money) and contacting my University to send my official transcripts so that I can enroll in CalTeach for the Winter/Spring semester. 

 

Through my daily abuse of novels I have also realized my book will never write itself. Nor will I be able to sit and just write and see what comes out. I took the goal too lightly and disrespected it. Novels, whether fiction or non-fiction, memoire or novella, take research, time, care and a great deal of respect. It goes beyond wondering if my grammar will be shoddy, my spelling horrible and my creativity good enough. The first two is what “fresh-eyes” (friends and peers who can reread your work and catch what you cannot) and editors are for. The creativity is up to me. You either have it or you don’t. I’m sure I do. But as enjoyable as it may be for me to write, it is still WORK. It is about deciding on a topic, a plot, something to start from, and compliling research. It is hours, days, even months of putting together the necessary information needed. I thought back to all of the essays and works I was proud of. Even my creative pieces required some level of research and a high level of commitment. 

 

So I will teach. Even in this shaking economy I will work toward that goal, making money where I can while I attempt to reach it. I will find days to go to the library and research. I will try and blog more often. I will work at not hiding in my solitude. And I will put myself out there. 

 

Thank you to my loyal readers who continued to comment on whatever they felt like discussing and being patient. Thank you to two amazingly supportive parents who stood by me in my greatest hour of need. Thank you to my brother who has faced his own hurdles and is an outstanding person and one who understands the trouble I found myself in. Thank you to Kristy, the best big sis a girl could ask for, for understanding who I am at my core and for being there for me, regardless of what was going on. And thank you to Alex, for not running when times got tough, for staying home and taking care of our affairs and watching over our mutts when I could not, for loving me enough to see past the depression and to want to work with me on creating a good life. And of course thank you to my dogs. Because they are the most loyal creatures one could ask for, such as Mizz Laylay, who has yet to leave my side since my return. 

 

Photo 34

scan0039

Dad and Me, Disney World tram, probably 1990

 





Funemployment

11 09 2009

About a month ago I went off the deep end. Perhaps the turn of phrase is a bit extreme as I was not admitted to any hospitals (I say I was not admitted… not that I did not visit – thank you Emergency Room Ativan for at least calming me down), I was not threatened with being carted away in a lovely white jacket (are those in this year? I do have a puffy white one! With detachable hood! Crazy may be crazy but at least I can look fantastic while I do it) and there were no interventions. At least no formal ones. 

 

I digress. A month, or is it two months, ago, I lost control of myself. I didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol – in fact I vehemently avoid use of recreational drugs and/or alcohol when I feel myself spiraling downward. In fact, my refusal of whacky tobaccy and beer is usually a great sign something isn’t right. Well, maybe not beer. There are times where I am just not feeling it. I am not a big drinker. I have learned that drinking and other usage tends to up my anxiety levels. 

 

So where did it all start. Who knows. But I do know anxiety and depression took a hold on my fragile temple and I needed help. This came in the form of a 5 a.m. (2 a.m. for you east coasters) phone call to my parents. I had been calling them multiple times a day to express my woes, my anxieties and a covered cry for help for weeks at this point. A few days prior I was taken to the emergency room at the urging of my then therapist to be prescribed a quick-fix for my ever increasing anxiety. I was no longer getting out of bed without a bucket of tears and gentle prodding by Unny and an email with an inspirational thought from my father. I could also not start my day without being physically ill. By the time I placed the early morning phone call I was at the end of my rope and cried out for real help. I mean literally.  I was no longer leaving my bed, I was not sleeping. The only solitude I found was in the form of tears. In short, I was exhausted and lost.

 

“Dad, I don’t know what to do. If something doesn’t change, well, I’m at the end. I can’t go on like this anymore. I want to be happy but I’m not, I need real help and I don’t know how else to say it but I don’t want to do anything dumb and I’m not seeing many other options.” 8 hours later my parents arrived in Los Angeles. I started seeing a new therapist, I was put back on medication – of which I had carelessly had stopped taking under the false assumption that I was just fine and could control my disorder without the aide of medication – and my parents were there. I won’t get into the details of what was going through my mind. As significant as they are for me to work through and grasp, they were superficial thoughts brought on by a severe depression, much more intense than anything I have ever experienced. I called work and used my vacation days for a week to regroup with the help of my parents, boyfriend and new therapist, the wonderful JM. I wish I could say it all got better at this point, that with the support of my family and loved ones I made a fast recovery. Realistically my recovery was fast, but the climb was just beginning and it was steep. 

 

Let me stop here for some author comments. 

1) My father is a survivor of Colon Cancer. He was diagnosed at stage 3B and underwent 6 months of chemo treatment (for those unfamiliar with Chemotherapy you can only be treated for six month periods and then a break before starting another session). My father also suffered a severe depression at the age of 29 – with a wife and two young children and a demanding career. He has said, given the two (chemo treatment – knowing that he would survive the cancer of course – and depression) he would take going through chemotherapy over dealing with depression again. There is perhaps few things less painful than a state of mind where you just cannot see the light at the end. With treatable diseases you know you will survive. You know you must endure the pain of chemical treatment, but you know it will end and you will come out stronger. With depression, it’s almost impossible to recognize this and it is only evident that you will be a stronger person in the end when you are finally reaching the end. It is a dark, dizzying place to be and something you cannot fully comprehend without experiencing first hand. This does not include teen angst or heartbreak. The depression I speak of is a real medical ailment of which medical attention is necessary. 

2) Some may turn their noses up at the idea of publicly recording a downward spiral into a box with no escape. Some may say I am committing a professional suicide. What happens when a prospective employer happens upon my blog and is put off by my experiences. I say I am embracing my experiences. That these experiences have made me a stronger more stable being. Whether by use of medical aide, by the power of the mind (more powerful than you can even believe), determination or all three, I am a better person. This does not mean I do not have my moments. I am human and to be human is to err. This does not mean I have not cried since coming out of it. Tears are a release for me. I hope that anyone reading this can take from my experience. And can see depression as something treatable. And can respect those who have gone through it. That anyone reading this, random reader, regular readers or prospective employer, can take away that I am stronger now than I ever was and have gained essential tools. Would I want to go back through what I have? Never. Will it happen? I don’t know. I can only work on being strong and learning. But would I take back my experience? No. It is molding me into who I am. And part of that is being completely honest with who I am – faults, experiences, the whole lot. 

 

After a week with my loved ones, I was still at a loss. Waking up was hell. When you wake up and anxiety and depression have taken over your life, you are at your weakest. Your defenses are down and you cannot always prevent being hit with a ton of bricks. After discussing my continued decline with the therapist we called my place of employment. The state of California, by law, states employees are guaranteed 30 day medical leave (payment is up to the employer, I was unpaid) without the risk of losing ones job.  I was legally protected. We then went over my personal options. 1) Stay in California and depend on my guy for the extreme moral, emotional, and at times physical support I would require. 2) Go to Florida, stay with my parents and they would take care of me while I went through intensive therapy with my long term therapist in Florida. 3) Move home. 

 

I chose the second option for a few reasons. One being I needed my parents. The second was more long term. Unny had been strong for me for weeks already and I could see it wearing him down. This did not mean he was not willing. In fact he was rooting for option 1. But for the sake of my relationship and knowing what I needed I went home with the intentions of returning to California and starting again. 

 

I had 30 days to recover. We decided I would stay in Florida for no more than 2 weeks. As daunting as that was for me, the idea of leaving my family was unthinkable, but I knew the only way to recover would be to challenge my emotional needs and learn to stand on my own (I had regressed to the emotional state of a toddler and separation anxiety had taken over my life – this is not homesickness, this is the irrational thought that something dire would happen if I was not with my family). For two weeks I went to a therapist, spent time with my family and waited for my new medication to officially kick in. My sister was by my side everyday, regardless of the fact that her board exams were taking place at the same time. I am forever grateful. No one will ever understand me as deeply as she. She is my soul mate and my best friend. 

 

The second wednesday of my “recovery” we bought a plane ticket back to California. I spoke to Unny daily. He was thrilled and proud. Everyone was. As deeply lost as I had become I worked hard and improved significantly in a very short period of time. Three weeks after reaching the end of my rope I was halfway back up and ready to be strong. I would not have been so fortunate without the most supportive family and significant other a person could ask for. (Side note my computer just shut off. THANK YOU auto save). 

 

There were a few deciding factors in my return. One being the need to face my separation anxiety and rejoin the world of emotionally mature adults. The next was knowing my future laid with Alex. Yes, the elusive name! I knew, if I wanted a chance at being independently happy I had to continue after my dreams and work on a future with a man who was all but laying in front of me screaming I love you, lets work on a life together. So with a sleeping pill, a one-way, non-stop ticket and the start of a healthy-tan I went home. (thank you Florida Sun and afternoon walks on the beach to dicuss life, love and all of the above with the worlds most Amazing and Supportive Father  – I use caps because that SHOULD be his official title – Sandy H, CPA name partner and Supportive and Amazing Father Figure – and Mom deserves the same, but inject Bookkeeper, Domestic Manager and Amazing and Supportive Mother)

(to be continued. immediately…)





I’m not sure

27 07 2009

I had what you would call your average life growing up. At least, what I would call an average life growing up. Because, growing up, it was my life, and it was all I knew. I wouldn’t call my life sheltered. My parents took no great pains to keep me from the outside world; nor did they force any other way of life down my throat. Life just was. I guess you could say I took things for granted. Saying I was spoiled would be going too far. I was provided the essentials, I wanted for little, but there were limits and I certainly did not get everything I asked for – unless it was Sunday. Sunday’s were for Pop-Pop, the Toy Store and Denny’s Brunch. There was a 15 dollar limit; but at the time that was still big bones, but isn’t it the grandparents job to spoil the grandkids. And on really lucky weekends we spent the night, which meant “Everything Chicken” and ginger-ale in a sippy-cup instead of water on the night-stand. But that’s for later. There’s plenty of time to tell you about my grandparents. Things, growing up, just, were. And that was fine by me.

I know we started in a one-bedroom in a lesser part of South Florida. It wasn’t the hood, but it wasn’t anything grand. It was duplex and rental city. It was what my dad could afford on his start-up salary; especially when, a short year into marriage, my parents were surprised with me. My Mom was 25, Dad was 26. I don’t remember much of that time of life. I know two and a half years later my parents gave me a brother. I doubt I asked for one but they gave me him anyway. Growing up Z used to tease me that Mom and Dad were so disappointed with me that they tried for another kid. Mom told Z they were so happy with me they wanted another, but he exhausted them so much they stopped. Z always needed a lot of attention. I know that. I don’t really remember it, although I became aware of it, growing up. Dad worked his way up the ladder. He got us a house in a nicer part of town. Right near my childhood best friend, J. That’s my first memory. Walking down the hall into a room with clowns boarding the ceiling. I’m pretty sure it was Z’s because I hate clowns. Or maybe that’s why I hate clowns. But we were going to change him, so I think it was his room. And I remember the lawn outside of J’s house. Vaguely. To be honest I don’t know which memory is first. I wasn’t more than 4. But I remember.

Dad got depressed around the time Z was born. He was 29. I didn’t know that at the time. But that’s the next memory I have.  Mom said Dad had a surgery. At least I remember being told Dad had a surgery. And maybe he really did. Maybe he really did have his appendix taken out. He has the scar. But I remember Mom telling me dad was sick; I remember walking through the hospital, the whole sterile bright lights and that smell that is indigenous to hospitals and doctors offices (although I’ve learned psychiatrists and psychologists officers are excluded from this phenomenon). We had chocolate chip cookies. And we shared them with the old lady sharing the room. I was no more than 3 and a half. Like I said, first memories get jumbled around, and even as an adult I have issues with chronology, so who knows if this was before the clowns. But I remember the light being almost blue.

Sometimes, I wonder how much of my childhood I’ve made up. How many memories were dreams that I morphed into reality, and what the difference was. For years I believed that a trip to see Sesame Street live was just a dream until I found pictures capturing the moment, proving the reality. And yet, I remember being told we never went. So, did I dream that?

Shortly after the hospital stint I know we moved in with my grandparents. My Mom’s parents. Not because Dad fell so hard he could no longer support us, and Mom didn’t leave him. She stuck by him. And he worked hard; and pulled out of his depression. This would become a major impact on me in my later years, although I had no way of knowing that at 3 and a half. No, we stayed with them while we waited for the new house to be finished.

At four years old my parents gave me what every quintessential history book and American novel – what every Manifest Destiny type would tell you an American should half. We had a two story house on a tree-lined street, My parents had two kids, spaced two and a half years apart. We had a yard with a jungle gym. My parents had outrageously large sunglasses (this was the 80s, although the look came back in 2000 when I proudly boasted my own pair). We never had the picket fence – ours was concrete – but we did live in art deco Miami Beach and, really, a white picket fence was just too middle America for us. Oh, and we got the dog. That was another memory. I don’t remember picking her out. But I remember one Hanukah afternoon, or night, (did I mention we were Jewish?), we were told there would be no present. We would be picking out a dog. And I remember driving home with her sleeping on Mom’s lap with her head on mine. Mom remembers her throwing up. I don’t remember that part.

I was close with my parents. And as I grew up I had the normal teen-angst. And as I write I’ll get into that. But I was oddly close with my parents. Some of my friends were like that too, but my family – we had this weird bond. Much different than any other family I ever knew. I told my mom everything. So much so that a lot of my friends wouldn’t tell me things because they feared I would tell my mom. 99% of the time they were right.

The point of all this isn’t some Augusten-esque peek into some crazy family who plays electro-shock therapy with each other and has a masterbatorium. Really, my family probably isn’t that crazy. We’ve done stupid things and made mistakes. Some of which I can write about, some of which I won’t. But really, we’re pretty normal. At least when you compare us to those obese mothers who whore their kids out on stage in glitter and tiaras, living vicariously through their five-year olds – I believe TLC already has a documentary about them called Stage Parents. There is no insect or excessive abuse. Perhaps a touch of alcoholism and addiction but, the craziest sexual escape you’ll read about is in the back of a Ford Taurus with no A/C on the side of a dirt road in the middle of a Florida summer with a guy named Bishop with faded tattoos.

And It’s not supposed to just be some laundry-list of memories. But I will warn you. I’m just going to be writing. I’m not looking back. I’m not fixing things. If I do, I’ll stop. I know I will. It’s always what happens. I’ve already made a mistake because I went back to add this in. Maybe additions are ok. And maybe deleting things to protect others are ok. And whether this is all fact, or all fiction, or a mix of both, well I don’t know. Like I said, I’ve always had trouble telling memory from dream. And I’ve always had trouble remembering order. So if someone I know reads this. Don’t be offended. Don’t say “Hey that didn’t happen” or “It didn’t happen like that” or “That happened, but not then.” Think of this as a steam of consciousness. Just let this happen. We’ll call it an experiment. We can edit this when I get to 100,000 words. You keep count though, because I’m not going to. And don’t judge. I have no problem turning off comments if someone comes on here and judges. This is taking strength. People make a lot of enemies writing. And if that happens so be it. But I’m not strong enough to take on judgment yet. So I guess that’s my “blog” warning. Because I will post these as I write them. When I write them. When I feel strong enough to write them.  And remember. I’m not looking back. So I have no idea what I wrote.

I’m not writing this to turn into the next best seller. If it works out like that? Fantastic. What English major doesn’t dream of writing the next big seller. Well, not including those who take the BA to just get through school and have no idea what they want to do. Or those who fly through it to become teachers or lawyers. Or journalists. I guess there are a few who don’t dream of writing. But really, this is for me. To try and figure out where I went wrong and ended up the way I did. Or maybe not to figure out where I went wrong, because maybe nothing went wrong. Maybe this is just may way of healing. My way of being ok with where life took me. And my way of letting go to move forward. But whatever it is, it is. This is my therapy. OK, and if it turns into a novel, I will be fucking thrilled.





How Puppies Are Born, or, Why my boyfriends friends are banned from my house

12 06 2009

“You get over here, now.”

Andy grabbed my wrist and yanked forward. I flew after my wrist.

“You’re such dick.”
“Get over here.”

I cracked up. People around us were going to think I was some poor girl being manhandled by their boyfriend.

“But I don’t wanna.” I whined.

Andy dragged me down the street, one arm full of groceries, the other full of my wrist. I watched as people stared at us. Part of me wanted to call out, no, no, it’s cool, we’re just weird. The other part of me realized I was providing them with material of which they would surely rush home to their families.

Mija, you should have seen what I saw! Thees poor girl. Dragged. Yes, dragged. She had tears!

What kind of person would I be if I didn’t leave a bit up to their imagination? I bit my tongue and teared out my laughter. I’m a sucker for a good story.

It wasn’t that I wanted people to think I was some battered significant other. It was more the people on my street were so DAMN nosey. Why not give them a little flavour.

We got to the front of my building with a quick kiss and clamored up the stairs, shoving each other out of the way. What was the potential for a broken neck for a little rough housing?

Andy got to the door first and yanked me in.

The smell hit me like a ton of bricks. Elvis was hiding in a corner and I ran to the bathroom to see diarrhea everywhere. I guess in dog world a bright green shag bathroom rug is the equivalent of a dump space. Goalie remained on the bed thumping happily, looking oddly smug.

Ah, the joy of owning dogs.

I grabbed Elvis and ran him out the door, promising to help when I got back and hoping it would be done before then.

Elvis ran down with me and took his normal 10 minute piss. I swear I adopted a small horse, not a dog. He looked up at me with a shit eating grin.

Figuring he had already done the other business upstairs on my new only to find Andy contorted halfway up the stairs.

“Get over here! Now!”

No anger, just, shock.

“Whats the big deal,” I questioned skeptically. Was there more dog shit we didn’t notice? And if there was, so what. The dog got sick. No sense in freaking out about it.

I thought back to the first time Andy had to deal with an “accident.”

“OMG It’s everywhere.”
“OK, just wait, I’m parking the car, I’ll be up in a second.”
“Please, gag, just get up here. I can’t gag do this.”
“Go wait in the bathroom then.”
“I’m in the clos-gag-et.”
“You’re really pathetic you know that.”
“Just get up here.”

A small pile awaited me when I did finally get upstairs. True to his word, Andy had been in the closet gagging. I wondered what he would do when he had a kid explode out of their diaper.

He snapped to get me back to reality.

“Seriously, Mel, You need to come see this, you will NOT believe it.”

A week before we brought Goalie over to his moms house to meet our newest addition.

“Why are her nipples so big.” (Because it isn’t awkward when your boyfriends mother asks about nipples, dog or not).
“Well, she had a litter so maybe just stretched out,” I offered.
“No, something going on with the dog.”
“Naw, it’ll look better when we spay her.”

I reached Andy on the stairs and joked, “What, did Goalie have puppies or something,”
I received wide eyes in response. Andy grabbed my wrist and dragged me up the remaining flight to the apartment. The playful banter completely absent.

“You grabbed Elvis and I dropped the bags in the kitchen. I thought it was really weird that Goalie wouldn’t get off the bed! And did you see how she had shoved all of the covers off? Just, go, LOOK.”

And there she was. In a pool of afterbirth, licking away at what looked like a black and white rat.

“EWWW dude, she caught a rat and its all over my new mattress topper!”
“Seriously, Mel? LOOK”

Obviously I was in denial.

“Oh, Fuck, Me.”
“Not right now Hun, there’s a puppy on our bed.”

Elvis returned to his corner. He hadn’t pooped. He was freaking out. The diarrhea was probably Goalies.

I grabbed my phone as Andy ran to the computer. There was only one puppy, which probably meant we were going to be up for a while.

“Penny! I swear to god, I’m not screwing with you. There is a puppy on my bed. In a puddle of blood and after birth.”

“It says if a new one isn’t born within 2 hours then something could be wrong.”

“No, that was Andy, he’s on the computer. I don’t know! We left here an hour and a half ago and came back to puppy. Yea, it’s clean. I thought it was a dead rat. No, dude, you should have seen his face.”

“Should I put the groceries away?”

Seriously?

“Cool, yea, ok we won’t hit the vet until you get here. Just hurry. Please. What do you mean look for more puppies. Fucking-a.”

I hung up and looked at Andy who was standing there telling me to calm down. His dog just exploded all over my bed and I was supposed to be calm. My boyfriend obviously does not know me.

“And, what should I do?!”
“Uhm, it said to watch for new puppies. Feel around if you can.”

He wanted me to do what.

“Yea, stick your hand in there.”
“YOU do it!”
“I’m a guy, I don’t know anything about babies.”

Right, because I’ve given birth how many times?

I took a deep breath and spread her legs. And screamed.

“WHAT is there another one?”
“It’s just so gross!!”
“Fuck, Mel! Just do it.”

I dug around. It was my turn to gag.

There was a knock on our door. There was NO way Penny was already there. She lived an hour away, and even speeding it would take at least 45 minutes.

Greg stood at the door.

“Willie is out with her girlfriends drinking tonight. She told me I have to pick her up when she was done. Figured I’d hang out in the neighborhood for a bit. See what you guys were up to.”

“You gave him the number to get into the building didn’t you,” I called over my shoulder.
“Greg, I swear to god dude, you are you so whipped.”
“Whatever man, I’m not whipped, I just take care of my girl. Mel, you’d expect Andy to do the same thing right?”
“No, I’d find a cab. You’re totally whipped.”

About this time Greg noticed the blood on my hands and the wriggling mass on the bed.

“NO SHIT.”
“Yes, shit. Do something useful.”

I’m really not all that bright in certain settings. If I am stressed, I don’t think, I act. Normally this would benefit a stressful situation. Unfortunately we were dealing with Greg, and Greg’s version of being useful and helpful is to stand over your shoulder and dictate.

“You shouldn’t do that; Have you felt for more pups yet; you’re totally doing it wrong; you should get her spayed; did you know….”
“George, if you would prefer to be elbow deep in dog cooch, then be my guest. Until then, please shut the fuck up.”
“I was just trying to help.”
“Go help your friend unload the groceries, or watch tv or wait for your girlfriend to grab you by the balls and drag you off somewhere.”
“Whatever, no need to be testy.”

Andy rescued me, dragging Greg away by what was left of his manhood to start looking up emergency vets.

Knock

Finally. Some semblance of sanity would commence.

“Where is she! Oh Goalie, what did you do!” Penny rushed past me toward the mess that was once my night time haven.

“Will she let me hold her?”

“Yea, I’m pretty sure,” I shrugged at Penny. “She was letting me handle her pretty well and kept licking me when I would touch her.”

Penny cooed to Goalie and gently lifted the bloody turd, er, I mean puppy.

“So, I thought they were supposed to be cute.”
“Oh, Mel,” Penny laughed. “Any other pups?”
“No, just that one. Did you guys find a vets office.”

I dialed the number dictated and asked directions. After telling me to head south on Colorado (ok), hang a left at Broadway (errrr, ok), Turn right on Verdugo (Where?!) I told the nurse to hold on. Greg, I need you to take the phone and write down directions.

“Why me.”
“PLEASE just DO IT.”
“Well what is the address? I can figure it out.”
“Greg, here is the deal, a very kind but impatient woman is sitting on the phone waiting for SOMEONE here to take directions. Seeing as I’ve lived here all of 3 months I have no idea what she is talking about. Write. Them. Down.”

Again. Completely forgot Greg would be the wrong person to ask. After arguing with the vet tech about the best way to get there (and the time officially reaching the, “Oh shit we need to get the dog out of here” point) Greg hung up with the tech and promptly told me that his way was still better. Upon this I grabbed the paper out of his hands, wrapped the puppy up in a towel and followed Penny and Goalie out of the door.

“Hanging in there, kid?”

Penny could always tell when I was ready to lose it.

“Yea, but I want a ciggerette for the first time in months now.”

I navigated the unfamiliar streets. 9:42 p.m. Ok there was no way the vets office would be packed at this time? Right? Wrong.

We walked into a very crowded room, sick dogs and cats hacking their lives away onto the floor and every Tom, Dick and Harry crowded us instantly.
“Is that a new dog?!” (No, actually, I think it’s a sewer rat)
“Can I touch it?” (No)
“How old is the baby” (How old does it look dipshit).

I was told by the staff that we would have to wait around. I looked at the surrounding area and mumbled something about my new puppy dying and it being her fault. We were immediately shown into a private sitting room.

Andy walked through the 20 minutes later. Penny and I were sprawled on the ground petting Goalie and snuggling the puppy.

“Where is Greg,” I asked. I hoped I didn’t sound relieved. Greg was ok, just, not in an emergency.
“He lost what was left of his manhood and went to drive Willie to another bar.”
“Gotcha.”

Goalie received her x-ray and we awaited the news. How many more? Was she ok? Were there dead puppies in her?

“So is it a boy or a girl.”
“I have no idea, Andy, its just a wiggly ball right now.”
“What should we name it?”
“Tanner,” Penny offered.
“Too trust fund baby,” Andy countered.
“Max?” I suggested.
“Fred?” (Andy)
“What if it’s a girl,” Penny asked.
“Hula?”
“Hula?” Andy laughed.
“I don’t know, I thought a cute Hawaiian name.”
“She’s a border collie, you need a Gaelic name.”
“Yes, because I have so many of those in my memory bank,” I retorted.

A lanky guy with a stethoscope came in and sat on the ground.

“That was the only one,” He said pressing into Goalies belly. I was relieved. We couldn’t afford a whole litter.

It was a girl. It was healthy. The doctor went over the odds and ends. We went back to the front I signed away my first born child and any future mortgage I would open up to the Emergency clinic.

We got into the car. I turned back to face Andy and Penny.
“What do we tell her when she finds out Elvis isn’t her real dad?”








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