Thank you (all) for asking about me. It means more than I can say right now.
I think the interactions (maelstrom post) recently took some snuff out of me, and also I’m sad that summer seems to have been curtailed rather early. Cool and rainy weather here. In my world, that means no swimming.
Outwardly, I’ve been pushing forward. I planned to start my youngest daughter’s Algebra class before school started (it’s an online access), and we hit 7% overall completed progress yesterday (school doesn’t officially start until Monday). Check off that goal. I walk around the house mostly seeming normal. I still plan and help with meals, laundry etc. I laugh, talk, and interact, but on the inside I’m staring off somewhere and feeling a little numb.
A couple nights ago I dreamed that I was pregnant, and whenever I thought it was time to give birth, something always happened to interfere, and labor would stop. I ended up in some icky public restroom, wondering if I was even really pregnant, and realized I was going to give birth right then and there. I grabbed lots of paper towels to put on the floor, and stood there squatting and feeling desperate to catch the baby so it wouldn’t hit the nasty floor. I was able to catch the baby (I think it was a boy), but as I realized I wasn’t sure if he was born alive or not, I woke up.
Last night I dreamed that an extremely well-dressed and attractive (career) woman shook out and handed me a couple kinds of loose prescription pills and put them in my hand. She was explaining how they helped her feel calm and keep things together. In my dream, I just took them, and didn’t ask what they were. I held them in the palm of my hand and stared at them.
Pretty sure that’s a warning sign for me. Here’s some history.
About a decade and a half ago, I had a kind of breakdown. It happened about a year after my passive aggressive husband forced a traumatic move across country (leaving a strong support network for me). The first year after moving I was left alone with six kids (the youngest an infant) in a very isolated house out in the boonies. After he moved us, my husband left and was working in the old state almost the entire time the kids and I were in that awful place. My firstborn had just graduated prior to that move, and I’d anticipated her starting college while living at home. I wasn’t prepared for an abrupt parting, and neither was she, but she ended up staying behind in old state and living with a friend’s family. Along with all the other shock and trauma, was the unprepared for missing of her.
It was such a struggling time. The power would frequently go off in storms. I had to learn to fire up a generator to keep us from freezing, because our heat was a pellet stove that required electricity. I was up and down at night with a nursing baby. The well water turned things orange, so I had to buy drinking water. I didn’t have a vehicle that would fit all the kids at once, and had to drive at least half an hour to the nearest town. One of our dogs disappeared on my birthday, victim to either a cougar or hunter. It was a drafty old house, set in the most beautiful surroundings on a hilltop. The kitchen was decades old and gross, no matter how much I cleaned it. I loved the geographical beauty outside, and hated the rundown nasty conditions of the house and isolation.
Even though I was knocked down emotionally in many ways, I was still fighting and looking for ways to thrive and make a decent home for my kids. I learned to make more inexpensive meals, and secretly saved a little money while we scrimped and shifted entirely to thrift stores for clothing and other needs. (The secret savings only lasted a month once I later told him about it.) No matter what my intentions were, I was treading water emotionally. My youngest son was a toddler still in diapers, getting not nearly enough energy from me. He had alopecia while we lived there, and would solemnly remove his thumb from his mouth, and comment that his Daddy was away. My oldest son had been ripped from his friends and fall semester classes, and was quiet and depressed. I felt a frantic sense of trying to juggle things to avoid calamity. Precarious was met with determined optimism, yet chained by fatigue.
After months of coping with too much, I gave my husband an ultimatum to come back, or hear from a divorce attorney. He was living with his parents. His mother was cooking, doing his laundry, and packing his lunches. His narcissistic father was wearing thin on sharing the attention. His mother called one day to inform me that their offers to help my husband with fees and paperwork to get professional licensing in the state he’d moved us to had been declined. His mother then told me that they’d offered to get him a plane ticket to visit us (it had been over a couple months since his last visit), and he’d declined that also. I was very quiet, and just said, “I see. Thank you.”
That’s when I called and gave him the ultimatum. I told him he had 48 hours to tell me when his plane would be arriving, and it needed to be a one way ticket here, or he’d get a call from my divorce attorney. He came back. How I wish someone healthy had been in my life to advise me and help me leave him then. (On the other hand, I wouldn’t have my youngest daughter, and she is priceless.)
He came back, and as soon as the lease allowed, we looked for another place. We rented this house (before later buying it) because it was supposed to be a long term rental. The property manager assured us that the owners had no interest in ever selling it. At the time, that was music to my ears. I just wanted a time and place to recover from all the insecure chaos and change. I wanted to somehow catch up to all the change, and figure out what to do. We were offered a year’s lease, and I requested six months because I planned to figure something out and make some kind of important change. I wanted time, but I didn’t want to be locked in. We weren’t here long at all when a realtor called to ask when the house could be shown. I didn’t even have all the boxes unpacked. Something just snapped somewhere inside of me.
I couldn’t sleep. I remember thinking it was no big deal at first, and that I’d just use the insomnia to catch up on laundry and housework, then sleep well the next night. The next night would come and still no sleep. At some point, it would catch up and I’d crash. Then the whole cycle would repeat itself. It started messing with my reaction responses, and small ordinary sounds from every day life would hit me with an adrenaline rush. This meant that I’d not only sleep, but would feel twitchy and jerky at night. I couldn’t think straight, and finally went to a doctor. Naturally, I felt I had to choose a ‘Christian’ doctor.
I remember that my husband drove me to the first appointment. He’d just parked, and instead of getting out of the car, I sat and stared at him. I asked him, “How did I ever get to this place?”
He replied, “I think I drove you here.”
The doctor (who was a detached almost robotic person) handed me four (four!) prescriptions, told me to fill them, take them, and come back in a week. The prescriptions were for Trazadone, Zoloft, Ambien, and Remeron. I stared at those pieces of paper in my hand, and asked the doctor if I was supposed to take all of them, and he said I should.
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t even take aspirin or Tylenol. I’m the person who would normally look up and research prescriptions, and always tries to avoid them whenever reasonably possible. That day I didn’t ask any other questions. I just asked if I should take them all, and that’s exactly what I did after getting home. No surprise that I woke up in my clothes (yes, I still dressed normally back then) in the morning, not remembering that I’d collapsed while walking through the kitchen, and not remembering my husband getting me to the bed. I’d just swallowed all those pills, and it was like shooting an animal with a tranquilizer gun. I’d just dropped while doing something in the kitchen.
In short time, I developed one of those rare adverse reactions while taking the drugs, and my vision was quickly and permanently adversely impacted (went from fully good vision to needing glasses in weeks). At the time, I didn’t care. I only cared about going to the weekly appointment with the doctor so I could keep the pills refilled that kept me from feeling anything. I just didn’t feel. A car could have wrecked outside my kitchen window, and I would have just stared at it like an emotional zombie. I only cared about not caring.
This is why the dream of the woman handing me those pills has me thinking and thinking. I’d like to say it jarred me like a wake up call, but I think the lethargy also has me feeling numbed.
My goal for today is to get out in the sun one way or another, and if I can’t swim, then to walk (and pray that funky bone stays in place).