Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Seven days.

I started to write this blog earlier but got sidetracked. Just like any other day, I guess. I am trying not to think about this MASSIVE move as MASSIVE, but the epic proportions of my decision always comes back full circle and I freak out. I’m more anxious than I think I’ve been in a year. I’ll sort out my woes for you.

I have a list of things that need to be done, and I have actually done pretty well and closed up shop on most of it. My stress now is, what if I miss something? Just today I remembered that all of my Christmas ornaments (I get a special one every year) are at my grandpa’s. What if they all get accidentally thrown away? There are about six boxes I brought to my mom’s house where we are staying and I have yet to go through them. I need to re-arrange the stuff in my luggage. The airport dealey with liquids messed it all up when the only thing left to pack was my check-on bag- with ALL MY TOILETRIES. On the bright side, I got myself a little treat and will be expecting a new Paul Frank backpack at my door tomorrow. At least with that I can put my laptop, camera, purse stuff, passport, etc. in it and will have it with me at all times. I’ve done really well with selling all my extra crap, and I told my parents just to sell the rest at their next yard sale. Today was going to be THE DAY when I tidy up all of my stuff, but I was up last night crying so hard from stress I woke up with a migraine. Oh, and I’m losing like tons of hair. Bleh.

My next stress is my peoples. What if I don’t get to say goodbye to everyone? My fear is I won’t get to say goodbye and BAM they die (see “Letting Go, Part One” for further elaboration of my anxieties). This sounds awful, but I have no interest in seeing my dad before I leave. I’d rather just assume good things and go on my way. My dad will be 61 next month, and I don’t know when I’ll be coming back to visit. I plain just don’t want to see him. I’ve thought to myself, “would I kick myself if something bad DID happen to him and I never got to spend time with him?” and sadly, my answer is probably not. The image of my “good” dad hasn’t been true for a long, long time and every time I throw him a bone he fails. In the beginning of the year he broke up with his total bitch of an ex-girlfriend, moved around the corner into my grandparent’s house, and started attending AA again. I was really proud and excited for him. For about a day. One day my car window broke and it was supposed to rain the next day. I thought, “gee, my handy dad lives right next to me now! He’ll fix it!” I called him at about 4p.m. and it sounded like he had just woken up. “Hi dad! I have a problem! My car window just broke on me and I was hoping you could fix it because I---“ “Uh…I’ll call you back, okay?” He never called back.

Another fear is I WILL get to see everyone and I’ll be so anxious that I won’t enjoy my time with them. My sister is throwing me a 30th birthday/going away party, and to be honest I am surprised how many people are coming. Is it because it’s a party? Free food? Free booze? What if they see me after this long of a time and I’m disgusting to them? My social anxiety is still very strong. On top of that, a couple of my acquaintances who weren’t invited are coming with somebody else. What if they cause a scene? What if I’m so anxious at the party that I can’t relax? The last time I had a group of people around me was my pre-wedding dinner almost two years ago, and thank God I ended up getting drunk. I almost lost it (my mind, not my liquor). This time though, with the antidepressants and mood stabilizers, I’m extremely anxious to drink. What if I pass out? What if it doesn’t mix and I freak out? A lot of my friends who I haven’t seen in over a year will be there, and I’m scared they will see the person I’ve become and just not want to be my friend anymore. My light is gone. The person who is always warm and fuzzy and sticking their neck out for them no longer exists. Now there is a shell of a girl who is unbelievably fat, penniless, and sad.

Next comes the realization that in seven days, everything is going to change. Everything. Time. Food. Family. Money. Counting. Driving. Spelling. Climate. Jobs. Mannerisms. Culture. The list goes on and on. Now, I am the Queen of Starting Over, so a lot of these things I see as a great positive. I just also see my present self getting in the way. My in-laws have pledged to help us financially until we get situated. That’s extremely generous of them and I am eternally grateful. The thing is, I’ve never had anyone (except for my own family) pay my way. No boyfriends, no help from friends. Just me. And I’m very proud of it. After a bankruptcy and steady jobs, I have built up a good, healthy credit standing. Now in a foreign country that’s all wiped away. I didn’t think I would have to start over again at 30. Where’s my house? My career? My school diploma? My two kids and a dog? I have none of it. I’m moving in with someone’s parents (something I have never done) and I happen to be bipolar. How am I supposed to deal with that in front of strangers? I feel I have no safe zone anymore, and even writing that down brings me to tears.

Okay, I just took an Ativan. Kick in please. Some peoples’ motto is “one day at a time”. I can’t even deal with that. When I get stressed or upset just one time in a day, the whole day is ruined. I can’t salvage it. I just shut down and hope things will get better eventually. It has almost been a year since everything fell apart, and I feel worse off now than I did last year. How is that even possible?

Monday, August 16, 2010

I’m dying.

Okay, the title of my blog isn’t necessarily true. I’m not REALLY dying. I think. But I have always had a sinking feeling that things weren’t quite right with me and my essential organs. I’m absolutely convinced that I do have Multiple Sclerosis, however. I’ve just never had the proof and/or push to have tests ran or anything. Oh, except a brain wave scan when I was a teen. Let me explain.

When I was about twelve, I noticed when I started to walk, the left side of my body would go numb. Seriously. When I began to walk anywhere, I would notice a tingle in my toes, and it would shoot up my leg, my arms, and my neck until I couldn’t even talk out of the left side of my mouth. Seriously. The feeling would last about 15 seconds. I noticed it would happen in episodes, maybe only during the summer or when I was overly stressed. It was sometimes noticeable, especially because my neck would stiffen up and my left hand would curl up into a ball and I would stop walking because my foot would sort of drag. I was able to override it sometimes by putting my foot up against a wall and flex really hard when I would feel it start to tingle, but that was usually even more noticeable. I only confessed this to a handful of friends and family, and lovingly called it “Tard Girl” due to the posturing. I did have a brain scan, but nothing came up-I was sitting down the whole time. I think if they asked me to start and stop walking, something may have come up. I’ve had this malady for so long now I forget I even have it. Five years ago I started not being able to lay on my left side or my entire leg would start to tingle and fall asleep. That could also be, you know, my fat body crushing my poor leg. About two months ago, I noticed my left pinky and ring fingers had no feeling in them, no matter what I do.

My bones and joints feel like they have slow-drying cement on them. I can’t turn my neck comfortably anymore. I mean it’s completely locked up. I’ve tried to do the neck roll to loosen it, tried muscle relaxers, had my husband put pressure on it to see if it would crack, all with no relief. Yesterday I walked from a parking lot into a grocery store, and by the time I headed to the register, the middle of my back was on fire. Granted, I’m fat, but am I THAT fat? I don’t ever lay on my back because it’s extremely painful, but I blame that on the fat. Walking fifty steps makes my body shut down? That’s a little suspect. My lower back constantly feels like it needs to pop. I can’t find a comfortable position to sleep in with my current neck/back issues.

Speaking of sleep, I sleep about twelve hours a day. Seriously. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. I would get home from elementary school and take a two-hour nap. In high school, if I couldn’t get out of bed because I was too tired, I wouldn’t go to school. Work too. You know there’s those times where you wake up and you choose to go back to sleep? I don’t have those times. I can go to bed at midnight, and when I naturally wake up it’s 1p.m. Of course, I’m tired all day, partly from sleeping too much, partly from my weight bogging me down. Now I’m so used to my sleep patterns, if I feel sleepy at any time during the day, I cease to function. I’ve rationalized any excuse to use for leaving work early so I can drive straight home and go to sleep. I always joke that if there was an Olympic sport for sleep, I would win the Gold.

Other small random things happening lately are what made me write this blog about my health. I have a rash on half of my stomach. I have acid reflux suddenly. I gasp for air occasionally, and not just when I’m asleep-it happens if I’m sitting and just watching television. I’m seeing a chiropractor this week (thank God), but what I’m afraid of is that my body is so far gone that it will never go back to normal. When I woke up today the first thing I did was try and stretch my body to see if the pain throughout the day would be lessened, and it didn’t work. By “didn’t work”, I don’t mean it didn’t lessen my pain, I mean I was unable to stretch my muscles without extreme discomfort. It’s hard to think about losing weight when you are in a vicious cycle of pain-if I lose weight I will feel better, but I need to feel better to lose weight. Where’s Dr. House when you need him? Seriously.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Letting Go, Part 2.

My son will be twelve in December. My son. Okay, so that always looks weird on paper because I don’t really have a son. What I mean is, I shut down when he was a baby and never had a chance to pick up where we left off. I’ve always been more of a “birth mother” than a real mother. Some of it was my fault, some was out of my control. I found out at 2 he was autistic, and with him being him and me being me, there was never a bond. It’s a lot more detailed than that obviously, but it’s hard to write about someone I don’t really know.

I got pregnant in April of my senior year with my high school sweetheart, four months after we got back together. He immediately asked me to marry him, and moved into my parents’ house with me. That lasted a week. I kicked him out and from that day, was on my own. I cried every day. Hell, I cried when I found out I was pregnant. I cried when I found out I was having a boy, not the girl I was so sure was in my belly. I thought of suicide every day. I was unbelievably stressed out. I didn’t know what to do. I suffered from terrible migraines that made me go on disability. I never talked to my belly. My baby daddy was in the mix, just not with me. He went through some crap too-moved out of his parents house for good, started dating a girl with a kid, wrapping his car around a pole, and getting a DUI. My labor was extremely easy, and that was that. You know what my first words to him were? “Hi, my name’s Hed, and I’m gonna be your mom”. At four days old, my family was at my house, and my brother was holding my son. I remember him standing up and handing the baby to my mom, and they conversed almost in secret. I blew it off.

That night, my mom was in my room with me while I was feeding my son, and he started to stiffen and gasp for air. My mom says, “that’s what he did earlier today”. He was having his second seizure that we observed, and my mom didn’t even tell me about the first one. I’m convinced that, with my mental history, she didn’t think I was strong enough for a baby, something that has been confirmed through my son’s years and her actions, and her disdain when myself or my husband mentions children down the road. Anyway, he ended up in the ICU for five days. We still don’t know if his seizures caused the Autism or if the Autism caused the seizures. His week in the hospital, combined with my mom’s concern for him, sealed the deal for the two of us. Eventually he moved into her room, and even when it was time to move out with my then-boyfriend, she insisted my son stay with her and my stepdad. I took the offer because I was working full-time and thought once we got situated he could move in with us. That attempt happened when he was three. My boyfriend and I moved him in with us in our one-bedroom duplex, and I became a mom. That lasted a week.

The catalyst that started it? He spilled a soda on the rug. That’s it. That’s all it took. He was so hyper, didn’t listen or pay attention (Duh, he had AUTISM!!!), and I couldn’t take it. I called his father and told him he needed to take him, I couldn’t handle this. My toddler was a stranger. I was a fool to think that I could take a three-year-old in and become Carol Brady. Most of the time I couldn’t even take care of myself properly. I was devastated because it made me feel like a complete failure. I really thought I was strong enough to do it. We went to court, reversed custody. That was it. When this happened, his father eventually stopped speaking to me and used my mom as the middle man. My son started getting dropped off at my moms again, and I started visiting less and less. My first bout of extreme depression started around this time, and I couldn’t even get out of bed most days. When I started working again the visits became almost non-existent. When we did hang out, he wanted nothing to do with me. Why would he? He didn’t even KNOW me. Years passed, and my son’s father began a relationship with an amazing girl that just loved my son to pieces and did everything she could to deal with his Autism. At new jobs, I would mention my son in conversations, and I would always get, “you have a KID?!?!”

Last week was the first time I had seen my son in a year. He’s almost as tall as me. He has hair on his legs. He dresses like a young man, not a kid. Today,randomly my son’s father called my mom to see if my son could be dropped off with her, as he was getting married today. Two months ago, he and awesome girl had a baby of their own, and in my opinion they want to officially have a family circle together. As I have been planning to leave for Australia, I thought of leaving a note with my mom that if something should happen to my son, she would have authority to make decisions on my behalf. When I heard about the marriage, I made the biggest and hardest decision of my life: to sign my parental rights away so my son could be adopted by his stepmom.

It’s not fair to my son for me to sometimes be in his life. My sister was adopted when my father gave away his rights, and she turned out beautifully. I had the opportunity to be adopted by my own stepdad, and I turned it down because I didn’t want my father to be alone. My dad ultimately popped in and out of my life when he chose, and it screwed me up something fierce. I always used to think my son’s father was an all-around dick, but sometime over the years I realized he was a fantastic father, and we just happened to not be good together. Aside from all the selfishness that I have in me: the pride of being somebody’s mother, the thoughts and assumptions others may have of me from my choice, and the ultimate failure I feel from never having an opportunity to get to know my son and all his complexities, I know in my heart that this is the right choice. As Forrest Gump would say, “and that’s all I have to say about that”.

Letting Go, Part One.

So, unless you have never read my posts or live under a rock, you know that I am moving to Australia. In 15 days. so obviously my posts are few and far between at the moment. I’m sitting here at my mother’s house on my laptop, and I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions. My core thought is to stay where I am, don’t change, and eventually you will get back on track. That is the way of Hed’s world, and my life has a magical way of working out. The other half says fuck it, get the hell out of my comfort zone, and really start anew, as fresh as I possibly can. I’m terrified. I have this hope that just being on new soil will make me wake up earlier, eat healthier and have more energy. But nothing on Earth changes you unless you change yourself, and I want to change. I think.

I’m always getting sidetracked when I write, by the way. I always have a solid idea of what I’m going to write, and my crazy brain always types what it wants. Okay, I’ll restart: I have a major roadblock in my head, and every time I even think about it, I break down. It’s my grandfather, Pop. He is my rock, the dad I should have had, the one that has done more for me than my dad (or anyone else) ever has, and my constant source of anxiety. You see, back before my grandmother died, my main goal was to make sure I wasn’t a fuck up so when they ultimately passed, they would die hopefully being proud of me. On April 1, 2006, I was casually dating, working as an assistant manager, and thinking about moving on my own for the first time ever. That was the night my mom called me and told me that my grandmother was in the E.R. because she had an allergic reaction to her medicine and was having a hard time breathing. Should I go to the hospital? No, she tells me, she’ll be fine. Forty-six days later, she died. I never had a chance to tell her I was moving, to tell her that I was okay, to pay her back what her and Pop graciously let me borrow. As soon as she died, I stopped looking at my grandfather as invincible. I now was on a MISSION to make sure that when, not if, he passed, I was a good person in his eyes.

Four years later, he’s still going strong. My parents and our family spend obscene amounts of time with him, and he adjusted pretty well to living alone after 55 years of couple-dom (P.S.-my grandfather is a prideful man, he wouldn’t even think about moving in with anyone else). It’s been my mom with the health problems-the melanoma, the carpal tunnel in both hands, the knee surgery, the knee cleaning surgery, the upcoming knee replacement surgery. The thing is, my morbid, depressed self looks at my grandpa and thinks DEATH. Death, death, death. He will die. Sooner than later. The thought of Pop dying stops me in my tracks. How am I (or my family, for that matter), supposed to function knowing the rock of my family is gone? In most instances, you would just spend as much time as humanly possible with that person and build up the strength to accept that everyone dies, right? I casually mentioned (through tears) to my mom that when I say goodbye to Pop when I move to Australia, it may be the last time. It’s not like I’m coming back next month or anything. Unfortunately, her response was, “it probably is”. Oh. Crap. When I say goodbye to Pop in two weeks and give him a hug, I’m pretty much giving my last respects. How the hell does one do that? Most people pay their last respects when someone is in a coma, or dying, or at a funeral, yet I am forced to say goodbye to a pretty healthy, alive person? I’m consumed with the thought. Of course, there’s a chance my mom may get cancer again. Or my best friend dies in a car crash. Or my grandpa will live to 110. Am I thinking about any of these? Of course not.

So that has been the major thought I’ve had, the reason I opened up Blogger to try and get this off my chest. Writing it all down usually helps me not only get it off my chest, but to let a thought or feeling rise up and float away, giving me a shred of clarity until a new worry pops into my head. But tonight, something cataclysmic happened that will never be undone. To be continued…