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Monthly Archives: March 2014
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Meeting small goals
As rough as it’s been I am going to try to focus on something positive. It’s really a challenge these days to view my gratitude list because it seems so bereft of anything but necessaties. I met my goals for the day~!
I had three goals. A shower, eating something decent, and a meeting. Of course, if I broke it down into actual steps, it would be more than three. All of these required steps. Gathering clothes and toothbrush and getting to the bathroom and undressed. Oh, and making a cup of coffee and making the bed. If I get out of it to get dressed, it’s getting made!!! Drying off and combing hair about wore me out. Then to gather my bag and keys and the dog and something to drink and head out the door.
Driving. That is a task. It requires concentration and mindfulness. There are some days I just can’t do it or shouldn’t do it because I would be unsafe. From lack of concentration. From medication. From fatigue. But today I drove.
I sat in my meeting and listened to others and participated and shared my thoughts. I can’t talk without crying right now…but I shared in spite of crying. It is because of my group and the help they have shared with me over the years that I forced myself out of bed at 6:30 in the evening.
I also went to the store. To get something to eat. I’d rather eat something from the store than the junk at a drive through. As well, I don’t have the money for a drive through but still have money on my EBT card. Well, not money per se. I can’t get cash, it’s only for food. I walked through produce first. What are the prices, what is going to taste good, what is healthy, what do I want, what do I need? Decisions, even the basic ones, are so difficult. I grabbed a couple oranges and a couple apples and some sweet potatoes and a bag of salad. That gave me a bunch of colors! Colorful food is good. Right?
I grabbed some organic TV type dinners from the frozen bin. I think I’ve only cooked twice a week or so in the last 3 months. I am not inspired or feel wanting to be in the kitchen at this house. The counters and sinks are full of dishes (not mine, I do my own each time I fix something) and there are ants all over the place. Let’s see…oh, and I got some sprouted bread and ice cream and 2 candy bars. I was following my diet so well, but nothing has tasted good and I have no energy to make things and so some treats beckoned me. Dear Lord, please help me not make food be something I use to deal with my feelings! I am a pretty healthy eater most of the time, so I am going to cut myself some slack.
I got home and things put away and ate a salad and a piece of fruit and tried one of the dinners but by then I was full. I undressed and climbed into bed. 3 hours and I am done!!!! I met my goals. I felt anxious and overwhelmed at times, to the point of tears while driving…but I did it. I met my goals for the day.
If I go back and read all what I just wrote, it makes me almost wanna laugh! When I think of how my days used to be utilized. Up at dawn and cleaning and studying and getting ready and going to work. And coming home and cooking meals for a family. And more studying. Meeting with friends for social time. Doing things with my kids. Keeping the bills paid and the paperwork caught up and the car washed.
Today I took a shower, got some food and ate it and went to a meeting. And I am grateful for that. It’s way more than I did yesterday.
Stigma – Mental Illness
I love when I find another posting that gives me a starting place to write since my mind is struggling so hard to have any focus these days. The blog post after my own ramblings is what got me going today.
Remember back in high school how loud and boisterous and goofy I was? I was depressed. Remember going out dancing and laughing and going til all hours of the night sharing stories and talking about dreams? I was depressed. Remember when we went camping and we just were hanging out reading out books and having a beer and enjoying the sun? I was depressed.
I have suffered and struggled with depression most of my life. Often with good reason. I have endured many struggles and challenges. My grandmother when she was about 80 years old called me an old woman. Because I had lived so much life in my then 35 years. Through counseling and therapy it has been determined I have endured the depression itself for over 40 years.
For much of the time, you would never know it. When I’m just dealing with it I just deal with it. I try not to make IT the focus of my every day. But for the last year, more and more I am sharing it because more and more it is taking over my life. I keep plunging down further.
I share mostly by writing. By postings on my FB page. Or in my therapy or support group. It’s too hard to share in person. All I do is cry or get angry so talking with anyone is just not something I have been able to do very well. And of course….it makes you uncomfortable to see my crying or hear that I wake up each day and battle all day long with the ideas of do I want to continue or not.
This young man most likely is not in the deepest valley as he is giving this talk. He likely didn’t sit on the edge of his bed the morning he did this deciding if he wanted to live through the day or not. He is most likely either on a peak, or at least able to rest somewhere along one of the mountain sides he traverses with his illness. I say this because there have been times in my depression where I am able to be in front of people. There have been times living with depression that I have been high functioning and going about my day quite like you do, only with a constant cloud over all that I do.
But currently…..I am in what feels like the deepest cavern I have ever experienced in my life. Breathing is an effort. Getting out of bed to go to the bathroom or try to eat something is overwhelming. Yet, I know I am doing the best I can today. I have been seeing my doctor and therapist. I am taking my medications. I really try to get out of bed and do something purposeful or enjoyable each day. Yet there are many days it doesn’t work. And I can’t do it consistently. And life….it is just time passing by. Staying here in bed and doing nothing has kept me breathing. But it isn’t feeling much like living. I am just trying to get through by keeping that window cracked to allow enough light in to remind me that there is hope on the other side. It’s so faint these days.
I have struggled and overcome and persevered and lived through much in life already. I am not sharing all of this to make you pity me or feel sorry for me. I am sharing it because I think too often depression is worsened by not being able to share it. It’s a very lonely road. In being selfish….I am reaching out trying to just still be part of the world even tho it’s so dark here where I am right now. Maybe I am searching for a little validation. My coping with my physical pain and emotional pains is at an all time low. I don’t like it and if I could make it stop or go away I would. But I can’t.
I need some stability and security, I need a motor home!!!
I just wanted to get well enough to go back to work. I have always worked. I’ve always earned my way. But I can’t work anymore and I am scared. And tired. And overwhelmed. I need help.
I was picking up hazelnuts with my grandpa to earn Christmas money when I was 8 and 9 years old. I was cleaning ovens or babysitting by the age of 11. Then it was to picking strawberries or beans. I got my first “real” job opening up a brand new McDonald’s right after my 16th birthday. I worked in restaurants for years as a waitress. I cleaned houses and did lawn mowing for a few years and then started up my own landscape maintenance business and was the owner/operator and took care of about 40 lawns through the summer and did whatever I could during the winter months. One year I went door to door after Christmas hauling Christmas trees to the compost yard with all three of my kids all day for 3 days in a row to make rent. I worked for the brown truck company as a pre-loader until I got injured. 28 weeks of casts/walking boots and I wasn’t able to ever go back to that job.
I then went back to school. I was a single mom and tired of not making ends meet and not being able to provide for my kids. I wanted to work in the medical field. I started working as a receptionist in a lab. Then I became a CNA. Then I became a LPN. All through this time of working I was going to school. Sometimes I was working two part time jobs in addition to school and providing for my children’s needs as a single parent. Then I took a break and I worked as a LPN for 6 years. I finally went back in 2007 and got my degree in Nursing and became an RN in June of 2008. Life was now going to be so much better. Easier. Finally barely making ends meet was done. My kids were grown and gone from home. This was going to be my time to work on creating the life I had dreamed of. A little place in the country with some animals and a big garden and places to play with my grandson.
I had battled an addiction to gambling for 15 years and finally about 18 months after getting my degree I admitted myself to inpatient treatment for 74 days. I finally got some help for PTSD and an anxiety disorder which had never been diagnosed before, but which I’d had symptoms of for years. I also have underlying chronic depression that had not been treated for a number of years. Going for treatment for my addiction helped me finally get to some of the issues that were the real problems. Another major leaf of my life was turning over. God had shown me a way to have the life I had hoped and prayed for.
After treatment I got myself a new apartment and went back to work full-time on a busy surgical unit. My daughter and my 6 month old grandson came to live with me. I was paying a large amount each month towards my old debt and was also able to provide a home for them too. I was actually putting some money in saving every month. I had a plan to be completely debt free in approximately 28 months with hopes of being able to have a down payment on a house in another 24 months.
Then just a couple of months after returning to work I was injured. It was my back. I already had a bad back from some injuries from a motor vehicle accident in 2004 as well as a couple of patient care related injuries. I had bulging discs in my lumbar region. This time I slipped, but I didn’t fall. Yet the rotation of swinging my arms and torquing my body to stay upright caused a severe muscle strain. I was put on light duty and was getting physical therapy, but it wouldn’t get better.
The fibromyalgia kicked in about 6 months into the treatment for my back injury. I had been diagnosed with it in 1998 and had worked with it in spite of being urged at that time to go on disability at that time. In fact I had worked hard and lost 40 lbs and worked out every day and got off all the medications I had used to take for it over the course of 2 years. But this injury kicked the fibromyaglia into high gear. I kept trying to do the light duty but some days I just simply could not get out of bed. I was in pain with my back and all my fibromyalgia symptoms were worse than they had ever been. And nothing we tried was working other than making me nearly comatose with medications. To me, that isn’t living. As well, I couldn’t work that way, let alone do anything else.
During that time I also got diagnosed with bursitis in both hips. I had thought it was the fibromyalgia, but it responded well to treatment with injections. Although the back pain and fibromyalgia symptoms finally got to a point that my doctor said I could not work at all anymore. That was in Feb. 2011. Other than when I had been injured with my leg or taking time off after having babies, I had not been without working or taking care of a household with children or going to school in as long as I could remember. I always worked!!!
I filed for Short term disability and long-term disability through my employer and was denied both. I appealed and lost. I got an attorney. I had no money coming in with the paycheck stopping. I used up what savings I had within 6 months. I was homeless. Since then I have moved 3 times trying to stay off the streets. I did finally get a small settlement which amounted to about 5 months of wages. I payed a bunch of bills and kept myself going until this last summer.
I kept trying different therapies to get better. Walking, exercising, gluten-free diets and Paleo diets and Pilates Physical Therapy. Over 15 years since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia I have tried so many treatments and I kept thinking if I could just get it to a daily low ache again I could go back to work. But it didn’t get better this time like it did back when I was first diagnosed in 1998. It didn’t respond the same way as it did before.
So last winter I broke down and filed for Social Security Disability. It was killing me to admit defeat. All I had wanted to do was be a nurse and help others and finally be able to meet some of my financial goals as well.
With the stressors of lost dreams, moving,giving up so much, the strain on relationships, and the chronic pain and other symptoms associated with my various conditions I am just worn out. My doctor says it’s not likely I will be able to do work enough to be self sustaining again. She said I did my work hard and fast over the first half of my life and now I have the body of an 80-year-old. My counselor feels that I shouldn’t even consider trying to work until I am more stable mentally as my anxiety and PTSD has made even going to the market a challenge. The pain from the fibro and the back problems and the bursitis in my hips combined with the anxiety and PTSD symptoms have sent my depression spiraling out of control.
I have sold almost every thing I have and currently have been living in an abandoned hoarders house which should actually be condemned. There are mice and rats here as well as other critters living in the attic. All around the outside of the house is littered with old debris and garbage. There is raw sewage in the back yard. I came to be living here because a man I was dating said I could come help him clean this old house up that he was living in rent free to try to get on his feet after some financial difficulties. Even tho we cleaned out the main living areas in the house it is still very awful conditions. None of the plumbing works right and there are broken windows and leaking under the sinks and the drains all back up. It’s really deplorable. He has been making money, but we have decided to end our relationship. I now have to move out. I need to get out. It is very unhealthy for me here. Physically from the filth and mentally from the environment. Being here is making me more sick each day. The stress just makes everything worse.
I need some stability in my life. All I want is a little stability until I can get my disability. I have been kicked out of 4 places now from lack of money to keep staying there or from a relationship ending. This move will be my 42nd move in my life. (You can see in this post how many places I’ve moved to https://nobetz.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/moving-day/). I am only going to be 52 in May. I just don’t have it in me to keep packing and deciding what to get rid of and it makes my health so much worse.
I am almost completely out of money now. I have less than $100.00. Currently my SSDI claim is in appeals process.
I would like to buy an older used motor home so I can have a roof over my head and not get kicked out again. I just want to have my dog and cat with me and the bare minimums that I need to have a comfortable place where I can rest and take care of myself. Right now, I am really losing hope and having a hard time finding any purpose of continuing on. I have one or two days where maybe I can get to a support group or my therapy appointment and take my dog to the dog park and then the next day I’m in bed. I know a lot of the depression part is because of my situation. I am grieving giving up the idea of being able to provide for myself. I am grieving the end of so much.
I have looked on Craigslist and I know I could get myself set up in a comfortable motor home as well as get it set up to be “off grid” so I wouldn’t have to worry about anything but getting water. I want to put solar on it and convert the toilet to a compost toilet. I have a friend who has said I can park it on their property and we will work out some sort of barter for payment to stay. As well, here in Southern Oregon it isn’t too hard to find someone who will let you park your motor home in exchange for some gardening or some type of work around their property.
I am able to do a few things on my good days. In the last 2 years I have bartered for many of my needs. I have cleaned houses (which is hard and I usually am in bed for a day or two after but I can do it on a decent day). I have cooked and baked foods for others. I even cooked for a wedding in exchange for some cash and physical therapy. I have cleaned around this hoarders house as well as I helped completely clean another hoarders property that I lived on for a year. Even tho I can’t work at a regular job I still try to do what I can to be somewhat self-supporting through my own contributions. I also would do photography and made and sold some wildlife photo greeting cards. But right now…I can’t do this by myself. I need help. I typically am only up out of bed 2 to 4 hours a day with maybe one good day every other week. I also have chronic insomnia and rarely get more than 2 or 3 hours sleep a night.
If I can get the motor home, get the conversions done to make is self sustainable, put what belongings I need and want to keep, get all the titles and taxes and insurance on it I could have a year or more to just work on getting mentally healthy again so I can try to get physically healthy again. I can have a garden where I am going to park it so I can have good healthy food out my door. I love to cook and yet with things how they’ve been I have found no joy in any of the things I used to enjoy. I’ve given up all of them. Will you please help me get my joy back? Will you help me feel safe and secure and stable so I can heal? I just wanted to work hard and make all my dreams come true, but it didn’t work that way. Can maybe one little hope be fulfilled if not a dream come true?
I decided to do this at the urging of some friends. It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It is so hard for me to ask for help. Yet, I really don’t think with my conditions I would manage on the streets or in a shelter. As well, I would have to give up my dog who has become so attached to me after being rescued and she has helped me make it through these last few months. So, anything you give will go towards getting me and Shasta a long-term permanent roof in the form of a motor home.
For those of you who have followed my page, I unfortunately had to rehome the chickens this month because I couldn’t afford food for them. I also have not been posting on my page the last 10 days or so because I am just too overwhelmed with life.
Thank you all for any help you can give. I will be wise and frugal with what is bestowed upon me and when I finally get past this time in life and am able, I will pay it forward and help another. God bless your days and dreams.
This posting is going to be linked to my GOFUNDME campaign so I can keep from being on the streets. Thank you for reading.