June 7, 2010

Hiding: Day 54 -- My Catastrophes

Miner's first day gone, and it's already started out on a crappy note. Rocky -- who was supposed to let himself in -- knocked on the door to be LET in. And then he informs me he has company with him (in direct violation of what is probably the most important family policy right now: No Visitors.).

So that means I will wait in abject anxiety until it's over, which could be now, later, or never.

And I'm furious at Rocky no matter how sincere and compassionate his apologies are. He fudged the house policy at my very, very great (relatively) expense, and this, after Miner extended his weekend privileges because he is the more lenient parent.

Thanks a lot, son.

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So much for best-laid plans for a few small baby steps in the right direction.

 Priss offered to give Rocky her place in line for the bathroom because his shower would be quicker than her bath, but he let the water run for 45 minutes or more, give or take, no thought to his sister's kindness.

And maybe it wasn't the best decision for me to make, but I did decide to exert myself and call him on it, which he pushed against.

I should've been prepared for that, as an acknowledged risk, but I didn't -- stupid me who must always be in control and make judgments. I could not let it go.

So he stormed out of the room and snapped at Priss out of his anger at me, "Thanks, Prissy!" which was an additional travesty, as that was his payment to her for her generosity.

So I called him in here to point out his wrong, and what should happen but a huge escalation and blow-up about his selfishness and the result was me bellowing, "GET OUT!"

Miner is entirely inaccessible at the moment, so in my desperation, I called Mom in tears for the second time this week. She saved the day, apparently getting through to him when I couldn't, explaining what I couldn't about my condition, yet in a way that was respectful to me and not pitying. (Ah, pride survives all else.)

She told him these aren't normal times, I'm fragile right now, and we all have to deal with things in a different way. He understood that and agreed to "lie low."

The resolution came with an apology and him asking if I needed anything, and me apologizing and reassuring him I don't dislike his friends, I just can't tolerate stress of any kind, yada, yada, yada.

Thank God for my mother.

Naturally, Rocky's friend would be in earshot of the fallout, witnessing the worst it gets, because his mere presence alone added enormous pressure to me, which I knew would be the case if Rocky ever had company over during this time, which is why the policy is in place to begin with, to PREVENT meltdowns and blowups and explosions and implosions and all the like.

They just don't comprehend how delicate is the balance, how their trivial things are my catastrophes. And at times, I myself forget, when I try to take on something like a few phonecalls because I think I'm ready for it.

Hiding: Day 53 -- Condensed Homecoming

1. Hugs, flowers, chocolate, new coffee maker.
2. "We got new bathing suits!" (Read: tankinis I've specifically made a policy against.)
3. Meltdown.
4. Attempt at communication, explanation, resolution with spouse.
5. Fragile resolution: Husband leaves room, depressed wife self-medicates and dissolves into pathetic, weeping wad of self-pity.
6. Compassion, communication.
7. Shared nap for the first time in WEEKS.
8. Woman discovers archeological jackpot: McFaddin Beach, TX (east of High Island).
9. Shared enthusiasm.
10. Excavation trip inspiration? = Something new to look forward to?

-----

The McFaddin Beach Excavation Trip is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered. Secluded beach for miles and miles, well enough west of the oil spill that the kids should be able to swim with no trouble, a heavy concentration of archeological artifacts for Miner and I to beachcomb to our hearts' content, possible camping locale.

What more could we ask for?

I think it's funny our idea of a great beach vacation differs so dramatically from what most people envision. Don't get me wrong -- I love resort style vacations as much as everyone else, but moreso the idea of seclusion and the chance to find fossils and prehistoric artifacts. That makes up greatly for a lack of white sand and piƱa coladas.

The kids are definitely getting their Earth Science.

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"Grand Multiparity" - Having had more than five pregnancies; quoted br Dr. R***** in reference to me on the ultrasound order.

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Ate crab cakes and cabbage with him at dinner table. Talked about rocks and projectile points. Watched "Wolfman" together on the couch. Talked about dentistry. Now, he's gone, and I'm feeling awfully incompetent and unprepared.

Took prenatal vitamins for 4th night in a row (Good job, 'Ailina). Small responsibility successes.

No goals for tomorrow, except to find out accurate due date.

Bottom line: Feeling better, but damned scared about facing tomorrow alone. And very worried Wednesday appointment won't happen the way I want it to. Irrational fear, probably, but the anxiety is real.

June 5, 2010

Hiding: Day 51 -- Recovering at Mom's

I've decided to try to make a list of small milestones to look forward to, to get me through the hours and days until I'm well. I think I'll make a separate master list so I can add to it. First item: toast, sausage gravy, and orange juice for breakfast.

Things to Look Forward To

. Today: Toast, sausage gravy, and orange juice for breakfast.
. Tomorrow: Chicken & dumplings for lunch.
. Monday: Ultrasound.
. Wednesday: Psych appointment, prescriptions.

Hmm...not as dramatically effective as I thought it would be. Only four items on the list, and they end at Wednesday.

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Slept very, very little, and still more bad dreams. But woke up to two items on my list: toast & gravy and chicken & dumplings. Wasn't expecting both. But now I've overeaten, and I'm back in bed. I tried to sit up with Mom and Stepdad to watch TV with them for a while, but I was too weak and tired.

I expect Miner and the kids are on the road here for their cousins' birthday party. I doubt I'll see them or hear from them, which is another stress I have to get through, but there's always solitaire.

-----

Haven't heard from the family. Not that I really expected to.

Alternating between eating, playing solitaire, and sitting with Mom and Stepdad watching home improvement shows.

Feeling a little less foreboding today. Even surprised to find a few inspirational ideas going through my head for homeschooling, field trips, things with Miner, preparing for the baby, fixing the house.

But I really should ignore those thoughts with the same urgency I ignore the negative ones, because even positive thoughts will lead to the same place: pressure, failure, and/or disappointment. Then I'll be right back where I am right now because everyone will expect me to be "back to my old self," ready to take on the whole world. Ready, willing, and able to make a difference.

Not taking a step in ANY direction until I'm on medication. Period. For my own safety and sanity, and for the safety and sanity of those around me.

-----

Texted him to ask if he'd made it home yet. That was at 8:30. He hadn't even left yet. They won't be getting home until around midnight, if not later.

Been playing silly text-based games I downloaded. None are very good quality. Wish I had it in me to read a story. At least until I get sleepy. May take a melatonin anyway, even though it didn't help much last night.

Hiding: Day 50 -- How Doth He Love Me

Seems even isolated here in my old bedroom in Leesville, I can't escape the pain of being. My body is arranged in just the environment I need -- calm, quiet comfort -- but my head is still sick.

And 4.5 more days until I can drag myself into the psychiatrist's office to ask for some relief.

Had a migraine since before the sun came up. Not sure why. Had biscuits and gravy for breakfast, chili for lunch. Even a half cup of coffee. Some o.j. with breakfast, buttermilk with lunch. Slept most of the day. Tried sitting up with Mom and Stepdad in the afternoon, but they had a visitor, and tried thumbing through mail order catalogs for a while but that ended up stressing me out for some reason. So I came back to bed and have been wrestling with this headache ever since.  That, and more crying. The pain of that makes me so sick I don't even want to write about it, but to be general, thinking about the vicious cycle of wanting to be loved but pushing them (him) away, needing him but not wanting to need him and not trusting he sincerely CARES anyway.

How sad is that.

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I wonder, how long would it be before he'd miss me if we were apart? I mean, truly miss me? I think he has such an apathetic approach to life. It's like he experiences no emotion.

He once told me he rarely feels anything and is never "happy." At the time, he was describing what he thought might be Depression, but out of context, it's true -- it seems he is never happy or excited about anything. Especially nothing related to me.

Not a good time for me to be mulling over all this, since now is prime time for internalization and self-blame.

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Have played solitaire for solid hours this evening. Have even researched the connection between solitaire and Depression. The game helps so much to keep my brain active and focused and OFF the tormenting thoughts, which have taken a turn down those paths I've locked away and made permanently off-limits in my mind -- namely, his past transgressions, real, imagined, and every degree in between.

I would drag him off to marriage counseling if I were already being treated. Going now would be like trying to form a puzzle picture with pieces from a motorcycle, a radio, maybe a few items from the closet, a big blue ball, and Scotch tape. (????)

He sent me a photo of a bouquet of flowers he and Priss picked up for me while grocery shopping last night. In my favorite color. And it made me cry.

Ensuing Thoughts in Order:
1. I am so loved, more than I must know.
2. I am so loved, and so undeserving.
3. Maybe it was an impulse buy that was more of an afterthought and really didn't have anything to do with me.
4. Maybe it was a peace offering or some kind of compensation for a guilty conscience.
5. These thoughts are ridiculous. I'm crazy and don't deserve flowers.
6. Flowers = sadness.

??????

I took a melatonin, hoping it would knock me off the solitaire thing, but the only reason why I'm stopping now is because the phone battery is about to die, it's 12:25 AM, and I have to pee. Otherwise, I'd keep playing until I passed out. Certainly better than going to sleep to possibly face awful, awful dreams.

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4:30 AM. Disturbed by a dream I had that he somehow ended up with an invitation to some kind of business symposium, so he dressed up in a suit a pretended to go as a business entrepreneur. When it was his turn to introduce himself, he said he was into porn distribution and sales.

Then, a couple in the chair next to him started making out, then screwing, and he was trying to look away but couldn't help himself. Then suddenly everyone in the symposium was coupled up and copulating except him, but then some lady came over to him and he left with her. I ran to the airport trying desperately to get a ticket out of there but couldn't.

Then I dreamt I was trying to run him a bath, but Priss told me, "Gran is the only one who can run him a bath the way he likes it." I was so hurt. He didn't seem at all willing to tell me how to take care of him but was perfectly happy to have me remain inadequate.

And still fixating on him and imagining him noncommittal and indulging in all sorts of borderline vices I'll never know about. Usually, I can ignore the possibility and leave his sin (real or imagined) in his lake of sin (real or imagined) and separate myself from it, compartmentalize that in him, and live. But this Depression has destroyed all my coping mechanisms and left me defenseless against all these horrible thoughts.

So I end up resenting phantoms, reacting to apparitions, which sends me into a suppressed rage and perpetuates the bitter cycle of self-loathing.

There are even times when I feel like suggesting we separate.

?????

June 3, 2010

Hiding: Day 48 -- OB appt. & "Mom's Sanitarium"

Saw the OB today. Almost cancelled because this morning was the worst by far -- I think because Miner finally made it home so his presence was heavy and adversarial.

Couldn't tolerate a moment of it, so I called Mom crying, asking if I could come rest for a few days. Unbeknownst to me, she hopped in the car right away intent on coming to my rescue and sweeping me back to Leesville.  So here I sit.

Miner intended to go with me to the appt., but I asked him not to, told him it would only add more stress. He relented.

As I was walking out the door, Mom called to say she was meeting me at the hospital.

I arrived before she did, and I have to say, the waiting room almost killed me. Packed with young couples, ladies yakking on their cell phones (naturally I could hear BOTH sides of the conversation), and a couple out-of-control toddlers running around, knocking things over and pulling things down. Loud. Chaotic. Encroaching. Torturous. I thought my head might split open. All I could do was sit there with my eyes squeezed shut, wringing my hands and envisioning the strange boiler-bladder I invented in my head, into which I funnel all stress and anxiety. It didn't help much. Especially overhearing one of the ladies "sharing the news" with one of her girlfriends who was squealing and laughing on the other end of the line.

Somehow, I made it through an hour of that. I ALMOST went to the window to reschedule, but never did. Mom showed up just as the nurse called me back for vitals. She was thrilled to see me, even under such awful circumstances, and she agreed to wait while I saw the doctor alone.

Weight was 121 pounds. (That's a difference of 16 pounds (or "libs," as Squeak pronounced the abbreviation at Pirate's Cove Mini-Golf in Hot Springs (because Pirate Blackbeard was 6'4" and weighed 250 lbs ("libs") according to the informational plaque on Hole 14))). Blood pressure was 100/71.

Had to go back through memory and recall all five kids' birthdates, birth weights, methods of delivery, and places of birth. I could only guess on the weights.

Due date is September 25th, unless the ultrasound reveals differently.

Dr. R***** was well-paced, thorough, acutely receptive to what I told him. He was on-board right away with my desire for a homebirth and seemed bewildered when I said it was "up to him" whether or not I'd go forward with it (I went on to explain the potential complications of my Depression and thyroid disease).

He performed a doppler. Took him a minute to find the baby's heartbeat, but find it he did. I almost said something witty about that confirming I am indeed pregnant, but the coy remark didn't make it to my throat. I was too mystified to have heard this little one's "pana."

And, too, I realized how little I've bonded with this child because I've been so buried in my own misery. Just like what happened with Bunny. All the more reason to claw my way out of this hole -- so that distant relationship doesn't happen again.

I'll see Dr. R***** again in two weeks.

Went for labs. A whopping $100 per vial of blood (if you break it down that way, and the phlebotomist took SIX). But, my thyroid panel was included, and that's most important. I may have the results as early as Monday...

...when I'll be going in for the ultrasound. Miner won't be here for that, but maybe I'll get a printout or something to send to him. And I'll have to remember before it's too late: "Don't reveal the gender, please."

Wednesday is my psych appointment. GAWD, I can't wait for that. She'll review my TSH thyroid results, and she'll prescribe hormone replacement pills and an antidepressant for my Depression and Anxiety. I'm HOPING she'll be able to prescribe a mild sedative I could take on an as-needed basis to get me through until the SSRI's kick in, which could be anywhere from two to four weeks, assuming I'm not dead by then. (joking)

As soon as I have my new scripts, I'm high-tailing it to see the midwife, if she'll still have me.

So after all that medical voodoo today, the account is about $$$ emptier (could've choked up a lung writing out those checks, including the prescription for "bigger-better" prenates). I take solace in the fact that's $$$ paid toward the total cost of labor and delivery, which we're figuring to be about $3000 total.

And now I'm in the little full-sized bed in my old bedroom, in the soft darkness and silence. Mom is here to help take care of me. Stepdad is here to make delicious soups. And I'm far, far from home so I won't be a burden or thorn to anyone, and they won't be a burden or thorn to me.

Hiding: Day 47 -- (Graphic) Mal-Ideations

Woke up crying this morning. Sleeping off and on. Bad headache. No appetite again. And trying not to think about him. He's a sore foot I want to gnaw off.

And now I don't want to see the OB. I don't want to worry about appearing healthy or appearing sick. Or how I appear, because how I appear is not an accurate reflection of anything. This illness is a bag of mixed nuts.

"What's the problem?"

I don't even know where to begin.

Try, "Everything's my fault, and nothing's my fault. I want to salvage everything in my life, and I want to destroy it. It means everything and nothing at all."

Today, I notice I've begun to detach myself from other human beings. I don't feel in sync with anything. I don't feel part of the family -- or any family. I don't feel married, in an arrangement of any kind.

It's like I was a piece if a complete puzzle, but I'm not a piece of anything anymore, but maybe instead, that little, useless ball of lint under the couch the wasn't created for any purpose, but rather, formed from various wastes drifting about that eventually clung together to make "me."

What happens to useless lint?

Last night, I fell asleep thinking about what it would be like to run the van off of the road at top speed. I wondered if the airbag would deploy, if I'd think to turn it off first, if it would burst on impact.

I wondered if it would be bloody, if I would be decapitated or clipped in half. Would I be crushed to the flatness of a couple inches. Would I be recognizable.

I've thought of starving myself, slitting my wrists in the tub, in a lake, in the sand on a beach. Of stepping in front of a mack truck. Of overdosing on NyQuil (stupid idea, but of all the things I've thought of, over-sedating is the most attractive).

I read that when depressed people think of suicide, they mainly think about the aspect of it that will bring an end to the pain. For me, I think of self-inflicted justice. An equalization, as death is to all. I think about peace and rest, comfortable nothingness.

Coincidentally, Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" has been the most recent earworm, going on 48 hours now. But he's got it right, even if he may have meant something entirely different:

"...Gonna free fall, out into nothin',
Gonna leave this world for a while..."


Yes, I want to leave this world for a while. Not suspended in time, but moving through timeless, spaceless air -- feeling the wind blow by me, going nowhere. A complete void of context.

Death is not a void of context. I like to ignore the truth and pretend it is, but I know better.  The blasphemy of it is that when I am shriveled up in pain, a large part of me doesn't care about the truth.

-----

I wish you would decide to disappear into another life, maybe go back to Washington or Korea or the Philippines. I wish you would find a new context, forget me, and never say my name again.

-----

Don't know how much NyQuil I've had. But I just took some melatonin. Anything to calm my anxiety. No alternatives but to lay awake for a while.

June 2, 2010

Hiding: Day 46 -- Torment

Tried to stick it out as long as I could without pharmaceuticals, but reached the breaking point. Weighed the risks. It's a no-brainer. The family/marriage/and-or-I will not survive without it. Appointment is made.

-----

I really just want to be medicated out of my mind. I wish I could be euthanized, actually. This wad of feeling -- rational or irrational or f***-whatever -- causes excruciating pain, like a cancerous tumor, and I wish I could scrape it out with a scalpel.

I want to be left alone to suffer. I don't want anyone looking at me or observing me or evaluating me or judging me. I don't want to lie here while everyone condemns me for my demons. I want to be alone so they can torment me and I can react to them without someone else watching me writhe, pointing out all the ways I'm affecting THEM and how I'm making THEM feel, how miserable I'm making THEIR lives.

That's the hardest thing to bear. And the greatest impossibility is for me to get away from it.

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It's a countdown until my OB appointment. He wants to go with me. I'm less than pleased with the idea. We are not a happy couple going to our first well-baby appointment with dewy eyes and excitement. I'd exclude him so I can go about this in a cold, clinical way, alone. That would be better than trying to go about it like normal people yet have it end up cold and clinical anyway. That would count as a failure for two. Alone, it's simply an objective.

But it wouldn't be fair to him to leave him out, or to ask he not go. He'd allow me to go alone.

Hell, he might not even want to go. Wouldn't that be a bitter twist.

An entire week until my appointment with the neuropsychiatric nurse practitioner. That's like having an appointment with God. Not really, but it feels like I'm going to see a divine healer. That's the appointment I'm REALLY looking forward to.

So I will languish in bed for another 44.75 hours until I go to see the OB. And another 7 days and 18 hours until I see the head shrinker. I intend to spend every hour of it in bed, if I can.

What do I do with the time? Alternate between fits of crying, heavy naps induced by 2 T of NyQuil, passive sessions playing cards on the iPhone (which is the only time I'm relatively calm), and an occasional hot bath.

Nothing to eat. I have no appetite anyway, but I had chicken strips from Papa John's yesterday and pizza and ice cream today. That very well may be all I eat today.

If I could have anything, it would be soup. Soup, soup, soup. Potato soup, chicken noodle, vegetable beef, won ton min, udon. Hot liquid to fill me up and calm me down. That's what I'd have.

And I have to figure out how the kids will eat next week. I won't be cooking. I should ask them.

-----

...and this is how Dad must've felt. The last time I saw him, I walked into the house, and he called us to the back bedroom. I found him sitting in nothing but a tie-back hospital gown, watching TV from the edge of a bare mattress on the floor. He'd obviously been there for days -- weeks, maybe, as I've now discovered firsthand how that is not only possible, but likely.

Now that I think about it, his eyesight had probably gotten so bad by then, he HAD to have the TV so near to him so he could see what was on it.

I think he'd been sitting there for so long, because it took an enormous effort for him to get up to walk into the next bedroom. I don't even remember why he got up now, but I recorded those few moments on video. I don't know why I was recording that day, but it was the last recording ever made of him.

At one point, and I only noticed this going back and seeing the video again years later, it seemed he was trying to hide behind the doorway, and then putting silly things up to the camera, maybe to draw our attention to anything but himself. He was embarrassed. I didn't know it at the time. I know that now.

Laying here in bed yet another day, it suddenly struck me -- I'm in my same pajamas, hidden away under the covers, surrounded by chaos and clutter, isolated from everyone else in the family, all at once wounded, furious, agonized, despondent, humiliated, ashamed, desperate, and yet utterly hopeless, waiting and wishing an end would come, maybe wash me away in my sleep.

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I feel I should seize the moment to mention Cleo (feline). She has been my nurse for the past two months. She hasn't left my side, day and night. As a matter of fact, she curls up at the top of my head, on my pillow, like a 20-pound fur hat.

When I'm sleeping, she sleeps, too, and is as still as a stuffed animal. When I wake up, she feels me stir, and she comes close to my face to inspect me.

Sometimes, after I've been sitting here in silence and I bellow out to tell the kids to quiet down, she rushes to me as if to quiet me.

Her presence is calming and reassuring. She asks nothing of me, makes no demands. She is perfectly self-sufficient.

And even if she is vigilant and nurturing, she is never coddling or suffocating or needy. She keeps the distance she, too, requires, so we can both rest in our own spaces.

I pity Piko, even if he does irritate me to no end. He wants so badly to take care of me the way Cleo does, but his constant chewing on his hide drives me to utter distraction. I cannot tolerate it. So he's banished from the bedroom until I am well.

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It makes my head spin how his steps --whether they're meant to inflict pain or not, whether they're in some way immoral or not -- bring about such agony and turmoil for me.

The mere fact he says things like, "You need anything?", "You know I love you, right?", "I never want you to hurt; I never want to do anything to hurt you"...those things seem like mockery to me. I honestly, genuinely feel down to my very core that he's mocking me, patronizing me, placating me, throwing me a bone so I'll sit down and shut up.

I feel totally powerless. I can say nothing against him. I can insinuate he's responsible for nothing.

And if I'm wrong, he's right about everything, and I'm sick and selfish and pretending to be a victim.

No wonder there is so much hatred in my heart right now. Someone is responsible. Someone must be hated.

-----

And it's about time again to medicate myself to oblivion. At least in the only mild, generic way I have available.

I don't like the way NyQuil makes my lungs feel heavy and makes it hard to breathe. But the guarantee of sleep is worth it.

-----

My brain is seriously misfiring. Or strange things are going on, a kind of upward pressure that's forcing up long lost, painful memories, like when Aunty and Uncle drove all the way from Dallas to "repossess" the bug and Dad's ukulele on "moral grounds" because I left Ex. Retribution. Punishment. Because they felt entitled to mete it out.

And yet, years later, Aunty would tip morality on a sliding scale for another particular situation of which I was a casualty -- but all's fair in love and war, right?

I remember Uncle calling Miner a "bum" to his face and ordering him off of his property, and I pushed the bug alone and pregnant out of his yard.

And I remember again, years later, after Dad died and we were all gathered in his house. I'd just given premature birth to Bunny a week earlier (and probably less than that) and Aunty and F****** took to slapping each other in the hallway, and I couldn't stand the desecration or the stress, and I stepped between them, still weak and bleeding from labor.

And later, in the kitchen, Uncle told me he loved me, and he shook Miner's hand, establishing redemption and peace. And forgiveness.

Love should be linear, growing or fading through time according to the purifications of the season. Forgiveness should function the same way.

But my head won't allow redemption to follow anything. The past is a flat line stretching back through memory, and every painful moment swells up like a raw, throbbing welt yanking me back to relive the trauma and reclaim the guilt and the punishment.

They are inexhaustible. When one memory has lashed me from head to toe, another comes and takes its place. And there are so, so many.