Wednesday, January 23, 2008

mental health, it's a good thing!

You know, as I get older, and have more on my plate, I really think that therapy is a good thing.
I have long felt that, though a useful and good tool for others, it just wasn't for me. I had nothing wrong, really! I also sometimes think that my general opinion of meds for everyone but me might be flawed.

I seem to suffer from superwoman syndrome. No matter how much I do in a day, or how well I do it, it's never enough for me. I often times take an "all or nothing" approach to things becasue of this, which ultimately results in nothing getting done. That's not good.
Yesterday, Hubby and Roomie cleaned the livingroom. Cleaned. Moved all the furniture out of the room and scrubbed, clean. I in turn, spent the first half of the day driving MIL to all of her doctor's appointments for her six week post op followup. She is doing fabulous. I then tackled the kitchen. It isn't CLEAN yet, but the dishes are done, the stove and counters have been scrubbed. I also got to thaw the pipes and drain for the shower, and clean that room, since it's been out of commision since saturday.
I kept telling myself that the dining/computer room and the bedroom needed to be clean. They weren't, the kitchen should have been more clean. The case in the living room was organized, but not clean. Hubby eventually forced me to sit down when I grabbed Roomie's empty dinner plate, from his hands in order to wash it. He was finished, and on his way to the kitchen sink, but not moving fast enough.
I am very pleased with how I did this term in school, of my two classes, I finished one with an overall 95.10 percent, and the other, harder class, with a 96.67 percent. I know that this is good, I know I should be happy, I am also beeting myself up for not doing better. I know I could have done better. Yes, they are A grades, but the could have been better A's!
I know I need to get these things under control, no matter what.
Add to this the funkiness I get a few times a year that I can only attribute to my Dad nad his families shittiness. Add to this something of a family history of mental health issues, add to this not sleeping well, being tired, beating myself up inside for not doing more, then not just doing something, etc.etc.etc. and maybe it's time I did something about it.

I realized that therapy scaresme. Talking to someone else about my issues, out loud, makes them real. I always try to be the strong one. I try to be the stable one, and admitting that I am not scares me. Hearing that I moght not be "all right" scares me.

Hubby and I have talked. he supports my decision to do this, and is actually encouraging me. He has sensed that things have not been %100 good with me for a while, and is glad that I started talking to him about it some, but he also knows that there are things from my past that I just don't feel like discussing with him, frankly. He is fine with that as well. After we get our tax returns, and I have an idea of how many hours a week I will be doing at my work from home job (I am retraining on my infomercial operator line), I will budget my mental health copays in, and make an appointment.
In some ways it sucks that I have to budget mental health, but then again, it's par with the course.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

rememberance, part 1

Just over 13 years ago, two brothers set fir to a duplex in Minneapolis, in the middle of the night. The resulting fire had flames shooting over three stories above the two-level home's roof. In the upstairs, was the home's owner, a friend of my dad's family, a bachelor, and his two dogs. In the basement, was pictures and memorabilia of my dad's family's life. In the main level, my aunt, and my grandma, and memories and relics from my grandfather, like his flag encased in a frame, with five bullets-a memory of his time in the service.
My Aunt had just gone into her room, at the back of the house, after making toast. My grandma had been in her room, in the center of the hosue, for a few hours, and was sound asleep. The fire was set at the front corner. The house was old, with wooden siding, wooden floors, a wooden framed front porch. the front porch had an old couch, an old wicker chair, and lamps, with old papaer and cloth shades. The other side of the front porch had piles of newspaper, ready to be brought to recycling the next day.
The fire spread quicvkly, for even though it was the winter, it had been very cold that year, and there wasn't much snow to act as a damper. My aunt recalls hearing a crackling noise, and smelling burnt toast. When she left her room, and entered the kitchen, the house was full of smoke. She panicked, she thought that the toaster had shorted, and set the house on fire. The house was on fire, but not due to the toaster, no, it was started by two people who had never met anyone who lived in the home.
My aunt was not able to get to my grandma. Someone outside the home saw the flames, and dialed 911. Emergency vehicles were on their way.
The man who lived upstairs was not home that night. His dogs, however, perished in the fire. They believe the smoke got to them before the flames. My aunt, sitting in a bus that arrived to offer shelter, had very bad frost bite on her toes.
The firefighters were able to enter the home, and get out my grandma. She was very badly burned. It was found at the hospital that she had third through fifth degree burns over 85% of her body. In some places, the burning was so bad, you could see charred bone. She was unconcious, at the time, they didn't know if it was from shock, or smoke inhalation. They were grateful for her unconciousness, however, and administered drigs in the way to the hospital to keep her that way. My aunt still though that the fire was caused by her making toast.
By the times the flames were put out, there was really nothing left. Because it was so cold, some of the items in the basement, like the pictures, were encased in ice from the hoses. There was water damage, and some are gone forever, but some still exist. The pictures of my grandfather, of my uncle who passed before I was born, and of my great gramma were all on the main level, and are gone forever.
At the hospital, my aunt found out that the fire was not her fault, that it was arson.
At the hospital, we found out that gramma had severe brain damage. That even if she survived the treatments for the burns, she would probably never function again, and if she did, she would be in constant pain, in a wheelchair, more than likely unable to communicate. Ultimately, the request to stop treatment, and to not allow lifesaving measures was made. We know she wouldn't want to live this way.
Thirteen years ago, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she was buried, in a closed coffin ceremony. I had never personally seen a funeral so large before. Everyone whose life she touched was there. MY mom, my aunt, her sister, and my maternal gramma were even there. At this point, my mom had been divorced from my dad for 14 years.
My aunt needed years of therapy. She needed to learn that it was not her fault. She needed to learn how to live on her own. It took almost 8 years before she could make toast, or smell burnt toast, without becoming physically ill.
Shortly after Hermes was born, the brothers who seet the fires finally had their day in court. It took six and a half years for the system to provide any sort of justice. It was found out that they had set fires before, It was found out that the older brother, shortly before burning my grandma's home, had set fire to the trailer where his ex girlfriend and toddler daughter lived. They were charged with the federal offense of arson in the first, and premeditated homicide. They argued that they didn't know anyone was in the home, but legally, if you set fire to a residence, it is believed that the assumption it is occupied is present.

withen the year following, well the six months following, the fire, is when I first lost contact with my dad. I do not know if it was truly a series of miscommunications, if it was the Step-mom's influence, or if losing his mom finally caused him to flake completely.

A month and a half after burying my paternam grandmother, my maternal gramma died in her sleep.

Every now and then, especially around this time of year, it still hurts. I still miss my paternal grandma deeply. I have no way of knowing what her lifespan shuld have been. I have no way of knowing if she would have lived to see her first biological grandsons, or what she would have thought of them.
I still miss her. I still love her. Occasionally, I drive past where the house was. It's a parking lot, now. Much of the old neighborhood has changed, but there are still some people, who if they see me, when I get out of the van, can peg me as being her granddaughter. They all make a point oftelling me how much she loved me, how proud sahe was of everything I did, and that she always knew I would grow up to do great things.
I wonder, if she is looking over me, sometimes. If she sees how smart her grandson's are. If she is disappointed in her son, for letting me go. If she knows that I crochet and knit, like she did, or if she knows that I can make her ham gravy, and goulash. Would she be proud?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hey Folks!

Greetings to my loyal readership, of which I could count on my fingers!

Seriously, I had my first weigh in after starting my Jenny Craig program, and I lost 5 pounds!! GRanted, it's my first week, and I will see a larger drop the first few weeks, most of which is water weight, but still, 5 pounds...80 ounces. Next time you are at the grocery store, pick up a 5 pound bag of fruit...I lost that.

Thor is starting to talk more, and mroe clearly, every day. Somehow, after we got his routine set again after christmas, it got all wonky on us. We are working on dealing with it, but it's really tough on me. Hubby has been home sick most of the week, thankfully he has sick time, and Thor and Buddha seem to have picked up his cold, which is going to make the whoe getting back to normal thing that much harder.
What is totally awesome, though, is that Thor is realizing that if he wants something, and asks for it by name, he is mroe likely to get it. It's awesome. At lunch I'll get "Momma, more ap-ploo Juicy-Juice...puh-le-ase? Yeas?"
When he is having his "quiet time" in his room I'll get "Momma, Iceh Age Mo-Veeee, puh-le-ase?Yeas?"
What is really cracking Hubby and I up is his tendancy to ask "Yes?" immediately after asking for something. It's like, in his mind, if hesays yes immediately after asking, we will say yes.
On the down side, with more talking and active communication, he is starting in with "No!" Not the drawn out no of the past, that could mean any number of things fron no, to yes, to oh, look, there's a butterfly on the window, but an actual, sharp, childlike 'no!'. Take the good with the bad.

Buddha, well, he's a little pick pocket. He can take something from you, while you are looking dead at him ,and you don't even realize. He is talking much more now. Apparently, he was one of those kids who waited till he could break out the full sentances. Apparently, he is also a teenage girl. The bulk of what he says currently is "I don't know", "I'm cute, yeah?", "I want it", and, my personal favorite, even though I try not to show it "Oh Shit! What was that!"
He also loves to make people laugh, and if you walk up to him and say "Buddha, monkey?" He will do an AWESOME monkey impersonation. He can also count to three, tell you who and what things are, and in general, is pretty much where he should bne for a kid who's 21 months old.

Hermes...Hermes, Hermes, Hermes, Hermes. He is smart. This is causing some issues. When he gets bored in school, because he already knows what their doing, and he finished his work, he talks. When I picked him up last night, after King Fu, I had a few mnutes to talk with his school director, think principal. She let me know that they've had a few problems with his talking this week,. They understand it's because he's, and I quote, "Much smarter than most kids his age, if not in the school", but she also let me know that his teacher is very smart as well, which is why Hermes is in her class. They are going to work more on coming up with things for him to do, and I am working with him more and the importance of not talking out of turn. I explained to him that when he is talking when he isn't supposed to, it makes it harder for other kids to learn. He doesn't want that, so he will work on it. We are also practicing being quiet when there is nothing to do at home. As long as he has something to work on, he is good, but it's getting hard to find busy work for him at school. They really don't want to have him skip a grade, yet, as he still needs to work on socialization, and he's already the youngest in his class (june birthday) and the shortest in his class...heck, alot of the kindergarten kids are bigger than he is.
His Kung Fu instructor let me know last night that Hermes is the smallest and youngest in his particular group, and that Hermes could take down any one of them. The kid is strong, and actually has really good control. Hubby and I are thinking that, come spring, we will start working on budgeting in the money to keep Hermes in Kung Fu over the summer, and maybe add a class outside of school during the school year. We do not want to overload him, but he enjoys it, and it is something we can use to help him behave. If he doesn't behave, no Kung Fu that week, outside of school.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy new years, and all that

First, a very happy new years to my massive counts place you at maybe just into the double digits, w00t!!!
Tonight I have my first appointment with my Jenny Craig advisor, Melissa. We will not only weigh me, but get my body fat percentage (boo), discuss my weightloss goals, and get my menu for the first week or two. I am really excited about this. I was talking with a friend who is also in the weightloss study, and is in the Jenny Criag over the phone group, and after talking with her advisor, going over the amount of weight she has to lose (which is in the ballpark of mine) and everything else, she found out that it is possible to be at our goal weight come christmas next year. It would be amazing to be back where I belong for the major picture taking holiday of the year!