Peonies and Popsicles

A Little Bit of Us, My Writing, Craftiness, and Life as it is

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May 30, 2016
Where you live is supposed to be your home, somewhere you go for peace and solace. I dread going "home" every day after work. This is one of the main reasons my depression is so bad right now. I can't move out on my own because I can't find anything that I can afford on my income. Everything has become so expensive, and I feel trapped.
When I was a teenager, really all of my childhood, we lived in the country at least 30 minutes from shopping or "town". I hated it. As an adult I have always lived in "town" close to restaurants and shopping. Now I feel like I'm that 14 year old again stuck out in the boonies, and with my depression so severe, I sleep to escape. Jake was with Pat this weekend and I slept from Friday around 8:00 pm until Saturday at 5 pm. I got up for an hour or two and then went back to bed and slept until 2 pm Sunday afternoon. Of course, I can't do this when Jake is home, but I push my limits, which is so unfair to him.
My mom has become this person who doesn't care about cleaning and has developed some habits I won't even discuss here. It's very hard to get her to get rid of clutter and for me this is overwhelming. The times I've tried cleaning, you couldn't tell it the next day, and when I try to throw away something it doesn't go over well. I've seen her slip things in her bedroom that she wants to keep that really should be tossed. In an effort to get the house ready to sell (I've persuaded her that she doesn't need such a large house.), we've been going through everything. There have been tears because she didn't want to get rid of something, and I've had to reason with her the best I can that downsizing means minimizing what you have and who on earth needs 6 sets of china? We have had garage/estate sales, we're up to 4 and will have a 5th this weekend. Eventually what's not sold has to go to Good Will or somewhere like that, and she cringes at the thought of it and not making any money off of something. We also argue over pricing everything because she thinks things are worth way more than they are. We lose sales because she prices things way to high and it's even been embarrassing. I hate going back to someone behind her back to tell them we'll take a lesser amount if they're still interested. To date, she has made close to $4,000 between all the sales, and once said we had "piddly" yard sales.
What we have cleaned out so far isn't even the worst of it. We will need a huge dumpster placed on the property to clean out the two outbuildings and junk that's been tossed in the yard randomly. Talk about overwhelming. This is all before we can even consider putting a "for sale" sign up on the property.
I love my mother, but I am overwhelmed by the habits she has picked up over the years. It's very hard to live in a place that is so cluttered and quite honestly, I hate it.
I need your prayers and good thoughts that I can pull out of this depression for Jake's sake and that I get through all of the work in front of us regarding selling the house.. I've been working with my doctor on meds, but I'm not having much luck, as I've tried everything. We are now working on a combination of two meds to see if that will have any effect. I certainly hope something works.
ETA: I certainly don't mean to sound ungrateful to my mom for letting Jake and I live with her. We would have been homeless had she not. I am truly grateful.

Peeking Through

November 16, 2015

Depression and anxiety have kept me, the real me, from truly being around. The pretender me is here, barely making it through the days, neglecting so many things I should do, and worst of all not really being there for Jake.

Driving is causing high anxiety.  With so many more miles to drive living with my mother, I'm in a constant frenzy inside.  My forehead is practically against the windshield; I'm sitting so far up into the dashboard because I can't relax.   

I wake up in the mornings at the magic time of 4 am and can't go back to sleep.  I lay there thinking of every excuse NOT to go to work.  Last week, Wednesday, there was no way I was going.  I made up a lame excuse and called my boss.  There was no way that I was able to drive Jake to school either, so I kept him home with me. I can't describe those feelings where you know you can't function and there's simply nothing you can do about it.  This morning, I didn't even bother with makeup and most who know me would know I'd never go to work without makeup.  

I'm headed back to my family doctor today to check on my meds and see what can be tweaked.  So many medications FOR depression and anxiety can WORSEN the symptoms, so that may be an issue here, and the thoughts of starting a new med is enough to raise my anxiety ten-fold.  If you're familiar with depression and anxiety, you know that could mean a period of time where you're worse before you're better and it is tough to get through.

What's so difficult to handle is that every now and then the real me will peek through.  It's a tiny peek, but it happens, so I hope with all my being that perhaps with a teak of the medications, the peep hole will open up even bigger.  It's that person who can get me through the day to day struggles.  It's that person who will work hard to get herself out of her mother's and back out on her own. Badly, I need her back.


Updates and Goal Setting

June 30, 2015

I finally have a job!  I'm in my second week at Temple B'Nai Israel as the administrative assistant.  It feels good to be working again, and I'll be glad when my training period is over and I can settle in.  The pay is much better than I thought it would be, too!

It may be a dangerous thing for me to set goals; I never make New Year's resolutions because I know I'll never keep them. However, I have decided to set a couple of goals for myself.  I want to be out of my mother's by late fall, and I want to get rid of this extra weight.  

At my mom's, I feel like I'm living as a guest where I can't really relax or be myself.  It only adds to my stressors, which doesn't help with my stress eating as I tend to do.  I love my mother dearly, but I don't want this to put a strain on our relationship, and I'm afraid it will eventually.  

As far as losing weight, I simply have to; I feel terrible physically.  I have to keep telling myself that getting rid of the extra weight will help my sleep apnea, my body aches and pains, and my blood pressure.  Did I mention my doctor put me on BP meds?  Not good.  I've done well on Weight Watchers before, and maybe I can do so again.

I'm not crafting much since there's really no place for me to set things up at my mom's.  I'm working off and on to finish a crochet blanket for a friend in Clemson colors of orange, white, and purple.  I have several other crochet projects in the works but just haven't felt like crocheting.  I'm sure the mood will hit me soon.  I love crochet too much to never do it again.

There are many projects that I need to get back to such as the magazine, He/She/Us, Christmas cards (Would like to get an early start.), and I'd really like to get back to scrapbooking.  I'm so far behind on printing photos it's ridiculous.  I'll need a fortune in printer ink and photo paper to catch up. Perhaps when I'm settled in my own place again and the cooler weather keeps us inside, I can catch up on everything.  I can't wait!


5th Grade Graduation!

May 29, 2015

Wednesday, the boy graduated from 5th grade and elementary school.  He should not be 11 years old, he should be 11 months old and still learning to walk!  Time is passing way too fast.

He tried to stop for me as they walked into the theater, but I was not quick enough.  Still, there's his sweet face.

There was standing room only, and this shorty was standing where she couldn't see the stage at all.  I sent another parent, April, a text asking if she'd get a photo of Jake and she got these great ones of him crossing the stage.  Thank you, April!

I'm so proud of my sweet boy!



Busy, Busy, Busy

May 3, 2015

I had a job interview on Friday.  I think it went well, but how do you know, really?  I'm not sure it's a job I want though.  I'm not big into customer service or sales, and that's this job.  I'd rather have the billing position they have open. 

Had a great time at dinner with my friend Kelly and his partner Hamilton.  Jake and I had dinner with them at Longhorn Steakhouse.  They had purchased a couple of pieces from On 2nd Thought and picked those up as well.

Saturday was the garage sale, and it went well.  Sold both bedroom sets, which is a lot out of the way.  An older gentleman stopped by and bought some things, and he also helped us price the tools in Jack's shop.  He's interested in some things as well, and may be back, which will help us a lot. 

I got to spend some time with a friend Saturday night, which I really needed.  Hoping I'll get to do that more often and not sit at home all the time.

Busy week coming up.  Lots of calls to make and errands.  Have more painting to do on the art boards and another flag to paint.  Hoping the deck chairs will be finished soon.  I can't wait to see them all together and outside in the sun all set up. 

Have a great week everyone!

Busy Wednesday

April 29, 2015

Actually, I have a busy Thursday and Friday, too, but today is a whirlwind.  Had to get Jake to school and Sidney to the vet.  Neither were really happy about things, but Jake went willingly and Sidney not so much.  I think I traumatized her putting her in her crate because she pooped in her crate!  I've never had a cat do that.  Poor vet techs had a mess to clean up I'm sure. 

I was trying to write in my journal last night, but obviously Sidney thought better.  She needed loving on and knew just how to make it happen.

I have a doctor's appointment after I pick up Jake, but in the meantime I'm trying to get as much done for our business as possible.  Here's what we have done so far and believe it or not both the Coffee mug display, the bench, and the American flag have sold.  We've sold a total of 4 trays, too.

Working on these things has really helped me stay creative.  I'm around my sister more, which is the best. 

Off to get ready for my doctor's appointment and reverse this morning, picking up Jake and Sidney.  Hope both are in a good mood once I get them in the car!

Depression 2

April 29, 2015

Christmas came last year and things were good.  I had three weeks off to spend with Jake while he was out of school.  When time came to go back to work, I was losing it.  I made it four days of the first week back, and then called out of work on Friday.  Monday comes, and I'm completely out of sorts.  There was no way on earth I was going to be able to work.  I call out again, and let my boss know I'm going to the doctor and will bring an excuse.  I don't bother letting her know it's depression.  That would have gone over like the proverbial poop in the punch bowl.  I made up something and left it at that.  I did see my doctor and got a work excuse to be out the rest of the week.  We changed my medication as well. 

When I went back to work the next week, Thursday came and they let me go.  Their excuse was so transparent, that I knew it was because I'd been out too much. 

I left the office crushed, but I knew there was really nothing I could have done to save the job.  I wasn't well, and that was that.  At that moment, if I had not had Jake to go home to, I would have probably done more than think about suicide.  I would never leave my son alone; I would not do that to him.  That was, however, the lowest of my lows.  I knew it meant that we would have to move in with my mother and that I was back at square one. 

Over the next few weeks, I struggled to pack, move, and clean the apartment.  I carried boxes to my car and cried.  I stood in my storage unit and cried.  The medication was not helping much at all.

By the end of February, we were moved but hardly settled in.  Both Jake and I, and I know my mom, too, were having adjustment problems.  This move was tough on all three of us.

One thing I knew was that I had to get my depression under control.  I could not find a psychiatrist who accepted my insurance.  I felt like I needed a psychiatrist who could help with the medication more than my regular family physician.  Finally, I found Dr. J.  He gave me samples of a medication and within a week and a half I was feeling more like myself.  I took the next milligram up for the rest of the trial period and was amazed at the difference.  On my return visit, we left the milligrams the same, as he said it would continue to help, and I'm to see him again in May. 

This medication in addition to the Cymbalta has been a godsend.  I'm not sleeping the days away.  I've actually been up early on the weekends, too, which for this night owl, is saying something!  I've been working with my sister to create a business for us and it's going well so far.  I've gotten things put away that had been sitting in my mother's living room since the move.  Things seem to be coming together. I even have a job interview this Friday.

I'm writing all of this to say, depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and if you need help, get it and do not be afraid to do so.  Those people who think depression isn't a real illness, who think you can get over it just by flipping a switch, they're so wrong.  Know that, and know that you deserve to be happy.  Find someone to talk to, a friend who understands, a psychologist or other type of counselor, or your doctor.  In fact, your doctor is a great place to start, as he or she can put you on the track to finding yourself again. 

Remember, there are suicide hotlines if you ever feel that you are in danger of hurting yourself.  And you know what? I'm here and can relate so feel free to contact me.


April 18, 2015

If you think that depression is just a passing thing, I can attest it is not. I have always been prone to the "blahs", but I was much younger.  Beginning in my early 30s, things changed and while I wasn't sure it was depression, I chose to treat myself with vitamin B6 and St. John's wort. For several years this combination worked well.  Once I decided to try getting pregnant, I had to stop both the B6 and SJW, but I think the excitement of possibly getting pregnant kept things light and upbeat.  Of course, getting pregnant quickly helped as well. 

While pregnant, I was in heaven!  Whatever all the hormones are that are flowing, I wish they could be bottled and I could have them all the time.  I felt physically the best I have ever felt in my life and emotionally happier and more stable than ever.  Aside from the pregnancy naps, I had the most energy ever. 

Once I had Jake, I tried going back on the B6 and SJW.  It did not work at all, especially once you throw in postpartum blues on top of what I assume was general depression.  Eventually, I realized I needed help and visited our family doctor.  I began trying different antidepressants.  Some didn't work at all.  Others worked for a period of time before plateauing.  Eventually, after a few years, Cymbalta was introduced and it was a miracle drug for me. 

I have to say, I don't take anything except maybe Advil or Excedrin Migraine, but I knew that I'd be foolish trying to deal with depression without medication.  Cymbalta worked really well at a dosage of 90 mg. 

When you have depression, you learn to distinguish the difference between your depression and something else.  In comes perimenopausal symptoms such as tearfulness and irritability.  My doctor added a birth control pill for the estrogen help given I was around 47 at the time, and for about 3 years this was an excellent combination. 

There can be triggers, I believe, that can possibly alleviate the depression a bit as well as cause it to worsen.  Well, I had one of the worst triggers ever, which was losing my job.  I wasn't worried at first, thinking I'd have a job within the month.  That month turned into 6 and then into longer.  I lost my insurance, which meant I could no longer afford Cymbalta at $600.  (Don't get me started on pharmaceutical companies and their gouging of the American people.)  I go to my doctor and with the help of my family, I'm able to get Effexor, which helps a bit, but nothing like Cymbalta.  Eventually, as the time goes by without finding a job, it becomes more obvious that the Effexor isn't going to cut it, and I'm becoming more and more depressed.  I don't do anything I enjoy because I feel guilty because I'm not working.  The mindset there is I can't enjoy myself and should spend ever waking minute looking for a job. 

Then you have outside influence or input, some of which makes you feel like crap.  Some people couldn't believe I was still unemployed, but this was 2012 when unemployment was very high.  I loved hearing all the places I should try.  I'm not saying I don't appreciate input, but there are certain things I'm not capable of doing or not qualified to do.  Then the best one was, "Do you think you aren't being hired because of your weight?"  Well, what a horrible thing to say and given that I hadn't even had an interview yet, NO, it's not because of my weight.

You can look at depression like a closet that keep filling up and filling up and when someone says something like the weight comment, that only adds to the closet. Every "what have you done today", "have you found a job yet" makes you feel like a loser, and the depression not well treated feeds your mind.  "Yes, I'm a loser, a failure, and everyone thinks so."

I was to the point where I would take my son to school and come home to go to sleep until time to pick him up.  I was in flight or escape mod, and once you're there, it's very tough to get out. 

Eleven months went by before I found a job.  I began work at Limestone College part-time, which was a great job, had promise of going full time, could lead to a job in another department that was full time, and I could go back to school paying for nothing except my books.  I was able to get insurance for Jake and myself and finally able to get Cymbalta again.  I started back on the 90 mg with an eventual increase to 120, which is the max dose.  Also, with the Cymbalta, it is prescribed for fibromyalgia pain, which is a recent diagnosis for me.  Off the Cymbalta for 11 months, I could not believe how my body felt. It would hurt for Jake to rest his chin on my shoulder.  There were parts of my body that I didn't know could hurt that were so painful.  It was nice to have that pain ease up a bit being back on the Cymbalta.

Despite everything, I could tell things were not right.  I was making mistakes at work that I'd never make normally.  I would wake up and know there was no possible way I could go to work.  Things were simply out of control and I was spiraling downward. 

On the weekends Jake was gone, I slept them away.  In the evenings after homework and dinner was done, I slept, went to bed and slept some more.  I tried to keep up with everything, tried to go to work and function like I knew I could, but it wasn't happening.  Panic attacks at work took over, and I run to the ladies room to get myself under control. 

It's getting late so I'm going to stop here for the night.  Guess this post will be in two parts!

High Hopes

April 17, 2015

My sister and I, I think, have a good thing going if we can make it work.  Our problem is we have no cash on hand because I'm not working and neither is she.  We're both trying not to get frustrated, but it's tough.  Hopefully, we can borrow the tools we need from my dad, but we'll see.  He's pretty particular about his things.  If not, I'm hoping something will turn over for us. 

We have been making different items from pallets.  Our first item was serving/decorative trays.  We've sold two, have four left, and of course will make a tray in whatever color you'd like. 

We have found a company that has lots more colors of the chalk paint and I can't wait to stock up. 

Other items in the works include lounge chairs, coffee tables for indoors or outdoors, Americana artwork on pallets, end tables, and more! 

We've had a lot of rain here this week, and I have been afraid to do any painting in the garage for fear the paint wouldn't react well with how damp it's been.  Hoping for a day of sunshine tomorrow so we can get the lounge chair and table painted. 

Check back for more completed items soon!  Working on a web site for us as well so once that's ready, I'll share the link.


Catch Up Time Again

April 14, 2015

I cannot believe that I have not introduced our new family member here on the blog!  She was found on the Limestone campus where I was working, and I couldn't leave her there.  The guys caught her for me, as she was feral and scared to death.  Pat came over and used her "cat whisperer" talents, and amazingly Sidney was fine with us within a couple of weeks.  She's funny, and honestly, she kept me smiling (along with my sweet boy) through a very low time.  Here's the gorgeous Sidney!

Well, she's not too gorgeous here, as she'd been outside for who knows how long, and she was only about 6 weeks old. 

We picked her up and held her with a towel so she wouldn't scratch us too badly.  She really came around much quicker than I thought.


Funny thing, I took her to the vet for her initial visit and checkup.  At 6 or 7 weeks old it is hard to tell the gender of a kitten, but the vet was pretty sure Sidney was a boy, and actually so was Pat.  When I finally scheduled what I thought was "his neutering", the vet said HE was a SHE!  At least Sidney fits either gender!  She was a very sad girl with the cone.

Isn't this a cute shot?  I think she's very photogenic, but I'm a bit partial.

Sidney is a great helper when I'm crafting, and who could resist those eyes??

Her silly side, and she is very silly!

Since losing my job, Jake and I have moved in with my mom.  I'd give almost anything to be anywhere else, but it is what it is right now.  I truly love my mother, but I am not at an age to be moving back in with mom.  Jake isn't happy because we are further away from everything and have no neighbors to speak of and especially none with kids.  He misses being able to walk over to his friend's house every day and play whenever he wants. 

There's also an issue of Internet, which I hope I have solved.  My mom lives in a void where no Internet exists aside from using Verizon to gouge you with their prices.  However, I did discover satellite Internet and I really hope it works out.  The plan is affordable, speed is good, so let's hope this is a keeper.  I'm tired of hearing Jake complain about no Internet and my mom complain of us going over the data limit. 

For me, it's an issue of privacy.  I NEED privacy, down time, alone time, and I had this when Jake would visit with Pat on the weekends.  Now when he's gone, I'm still here with my mom.  If my phone rings, she asks who it is.  If I get a text, she wants to know who's text me.  If I say it's not her business, and that it's a matter of having my privacy, then I've hurt her feelings. 

I'm hoping with every ounce of my being that things will get better and this won't ruin my relationship with her.  I do have to set some boundaries, though.

During the month of February when I was packing and preparing to move, we worked hard in my mom's house painting, moving furniture, tearing up carpet, etc.  My sister and a friend put the new wood flooring down in all bedrooms, the halls, and the sitting room.  I know my mom can't wait to get the rest of the house done.

Here's a before of my room although it doesn't show how completely full it was of furniture and other things!

And here's the after.  I still need to get some pics or art up on the walls. I have enough space for a little sitting area in front of the bed. 

Here's Jake's room before and after.  I painted the shelves of a bookcase my mom let me have a glossy green that matches the accent wall and the outside of the bookcase is a glossy version of the grey on the walls.  I really like it.

I also painted my mom's room for her, but no photos yet.  Now we have the other rooms to paint, but we'll get it done as we can.  It's a lot of work for sure.

There's so much going on right now, good stuff, I hope!  I'll have to write more later.  This post is getting a little long.  Night everyone!

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