Farewell, old house

Tonight is my last night in the home I’ve lived in for the last 14 years.  I moved into it with a husband and a six month old, me at home with the kids full-time and I leave as a divorced single working mother of two teenagers.

This house has seen a lot.  My silent witness.  I’ve had times so terrible that I have looked at the walls, the furniture, the lighting in the room and thought that this house could never be a place that I could feel joy again.  But, time and time again, my house proved me wrong.  Joy followed sorrow, and then sorrow followed joy.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I am grateful to this house for having been a happy gathering place, both for myself and my children.  It’s door has been open and welcoming to many.  My porch has set the scene for many a languid evening with a glass of wine, me watching the world go by.

It’s been also a great comfort to me.  When my marriage ended, it became my sanctuary.   It’s funny that even when things were good between ex-h and I, it never felt like our house- but nor was it fully mine alone.  The first night he left, I was giddy with relief, and I cleaned and purged and reorganized into the wee hours, finally so happy to be able to breathe and make my environment mine, and no longer a place of conflict.

We move on though to new adventures.  Blending families will be a challenge, no doubt.  So many have done it, yet there are no owners manuals, no how-to’s or best practices.

Farewell, old house, my trusted companion– I’ll miss you and be forever grateful.

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The sweet and the bitter

It’s been a hard, hard day.

The girl (for quick reference, as ‘they’ don’t subscribe to binary descriptions of gender) has been riding me hard. This is not new.

There are benefits. She has made grow in ways that were previously unfathomable to be. She is unapologetic about who she is, whereas I, growing up, very much subscribed to a make-the-parents-happy-and-do-not-shame-them kind of model. She’s more honest. I, because of her, have been growing towards that level.

Maybe that’s one of the perks of ASD- the inability to edit yourself to the world. Whereas more typical people, like myself, are constantly angling, politic-ing our way into being…just so. I am growing because of her – more so than anyone else. And, as hard as it is, I am trying…trying…to be grateful for that.

Feelings

The last couple of days I think I have had some of my worst parenting moments ever.  I am doing better but I am still feeling guilty, and sad.

My girl is intense.  When she’s happy she’s HAPPY, and when she’s not, well, batten down the hatches.  Sunday came at the end of a particularly brutal week, which was brutal for reasons completely unrelated to her.  She was angry and anxious and argumentative and completely unwilling and unable to accept advice, or even just sympathy.  Even just getting away from her was futile- she seemed to have a need to rage.  Thing is, I can only be the target of such a rage for so long, and then my own rage comes out.

Anger.  Anger about not being listened to, anger about the lot in life I’ve been given, frustration that I just. can’t. make. her. happy.  Feeling put upon that I am her punching bag, her case manager, her caretaker…all rolled into one harried package.  It is not a nice feeling to resent your own child, especially when they can’t help who they are.

Or, can they?  People are a mix of what they are born with, and what they are able to do by virtue of their own free will, decision-making, or whatever you want to call it.  I vacillate between thinking, none of this is her fault, she is what she is…and then…DAMMIT STOP BEING SO OBSTINATE?  Her psychologist said, you can’t always blame Asperger’s.  Remember that she is also just a typical 14 year old girl with typical 14 year old issues.

As difficult as yesterday was, we made some good progress.  We dealt with one source of her recent anxiety:  drama class.  She switched into a tech class as one of her electives instead.  Drama had far too much group work, and she was constantly being reminded that she doesn’t fit it.  Kids would be told to get into pairs, or groups, and they naturally go with their friends.  Thing is, this girl doesn’t have friends.  In tech class there isn’t much group work, and given how into computers she is anyways…it is probably a better fit interest-wise as well.

She also started her PEERS group program.  Last night was the first session, and so far so good.  As far as I go, it is great to meet a group of parents who know exactly what I mean when I describe how my girl will talk and talk and talk and talk in conversations but not show any interest in how the other person in doing.

I also sent her new teachers a Girl 101 email.  I let them know about her IEP, her quirks, how she is doing, her addiction to her iPhone, etc.  I want them to feel like they have an open line with me, and knowing about her ASD will help them understand why she is the way she is, and how they can help her and their ability to teach her at the same time.

Onwards and upwards.  I am grateful it is a short week.  I am grateful that I remembered to take steak out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner.  I am grateful that her brother is such a good kid.  And am grateful that my Girl is upstairs right now, laughing and relaxing and in a much better place than she was 48 hours ago.

 

 

Gratitude

Ok, I am trying a mental mind-shift. I woke up feeling…ok. But just. Then the hypervigilant thoughts started creeping in, looking for something to feel bad/anxious about. Well, fuck that noise. There is good in my world and it is right there, in front of me. I just need to remind myself of it.

So, without further ado, in completely random order…I am grateful for:

  • my happy kids
  • this sunny day
  • really great, awesome girlfriends who are always watching my back
  • G, who is riding this storm right beside me
  • meds– yeah, they’re not doing exactly what I want, not yet, but they are doing something right
  • living so close to a beach, where we are off to this afternoon
  • my home, especially my bedroom, which is my sanctuary
  • summer holidays
  • my job and all the flexibility that comes with it
  • the delicious Thai chicken in the slow cooker that will be tonight’s dinner
  • having a regular psychiatrist and an awesome therapist

I am looking forward to this afternoon at the beach.  Just me, one of my favorite girlfriends, and our kids.  Lazy and easy.

 

 

Sick day

I succumbed today to staying home on sick leave.  This is the first time I have done it because of my mood.  Part of me is relieved to not have to go to work and pretend to be a happy, functional worker-bee, part of me feels like a failure.  

I woke up sad, and disappointed that three weeks into these meds, I am not feeling noticeably better yet.  I know the drill- that it can take up to six weeks to really feel better, yet I am disappointed.  And always in the back of my head there is the worry that I just won’t feel better.  Intellectually, I know this is bullshit.  I’ve been through it before and have come through it every single time.  Sure, there was waiting, and medication tweaks, but I did get to where I wanted to be.  Every.  Single.  Time.

I go back to Dr. M on Tuesday.  This is good.

I will be with G from tomorrow night for a week.  This is also good.

I have amazing friends who love me and support me unconditionally.  This is good too.

When I look at these good things, I am so grateful I am weepy.  Weepy actually feels good, because I am feeling something. Sometimes I feel so blah and flat and…nothing.  I really hate that feeling.  There is no joy, no pain, no anything.  When I feel weepy, I at least feel alive- which is kind of nuts, but it is what it is.

I have been trying to make my way through The Mindful Way Through Depression.  Mindfulness appeals to me on so many levels, but maybe I need to take a step back and wait for the worst of this phase to be over.  The authors do make the caveat that you shouldn’t embark on this journey when things are really acute.  Thing is, when I do feel better I don’t want to touch anything to do with depression, even if it is preventative.  I want to rush back to living my life, enjoying the good stuff.  I turn my back on depression completely.  Which is completely antithetical to the accepting nature of mindfulness.  The irony does not escape me.

I am going to set some small goals for myself today and try to make the best of a not-ideal situation.  I will take a bath, tidy, fill in the forms I need for D’s appointment tomorrow, finish some paperwork.  I will read some of the trashy book E lent me.  I will figure out what to make the kids for dinner.  Water plants.  Slow and easy.

Please God, I just want to get through this and come out the other side…

 

Day 5

This is my fifth day on Effexor (75 mg) and Seroquel (50 mg).  Not sure how I am feeling.  I was definitely down today, more on the anxious side.  I ended up taking 1 mg Ativan, so I am feeling more level and functional now.  I know I am anxious when I really can’t concentrate, feel like I am suffocating wherever I am, and break out into a sweat.  The A definitely helps with that.

I keep telling myself I need to be patient.  Let this new mix work.  I am back in the system now and have a regular psychiatrist after waiting for months, and this is a good thing.  Celebrate!  At least I am under someone’s care now who seems confident of what she is doing, as opposed to my GP who didn’t understand my mix of meds.

I don’t want to think about depression and anxiety 24 hrs a day, really!

So.  I got my new tires on.  Victory!  Did a small Costco run and stocked up on a few basics.  I have a reasonable healthy (but easy) dinner on the go – butter chicken (ok, from a jar!) and steamed rice. Hey, the kids will eat it without complaint.  The house isn’t in ideal condition, but it isn’t a disaster, either.  Baby steps.

In the meanwhile, I am going to try a bit of self-help and list three things I am grateful for, today and every day.

Here goes:

1.  My guy G – I know I am loved

2.  Having an income

3.  My home – cozy and safe