I’ve been totally unemployed for a month now. (For the year and a half before that I was underemployed – either working part-time or for nothing but commissions). I’ve felt the depression creeping up on me again. A couple of weeks ago I thought seriously about checking myself back into the hospital psych ward. But without insurance or a job – and the fact that I still haven’t paid off the bills from the last hospitalization (when I still had insurance), I toughed it out on my own. I even quit smoking a week ago today.
But I know the depression is still there. It’s still affecting my every decision and action (or in my case inaction). The meds help – don’t get me wrong. And even without the one that costs almost as much as my rent per month I’m coping. That’s way better than I was a year ago. A year ago without that 2nd med I would have been faking my way through a 4 hour work day – not really accompishing any work, but being there, and then come home and gone fetal and cried for 2 hours. Now, at least I can partially function without that med.
But my level of function isn’t good enough right now. I need to be spending time applying for jobs. I need to start taking care of my apartment. It’s my home and it depresses me to be surrounded by all of this disgustingness everday. The people I love deserve better. I deserve better. I need to start taking care of myself now. I need to build the everday habits that will help me sustain a better level of function when I do find another job. And I need to start trying to build myself a support network again.
I’ve known all of this for awhile now. But I haven’t done anything about it. I continue to sit on my ass everyday with my laptop on my lap. Reading tons and typing little. Hiding in the armchair. Venturing out into the world as little as possible. And deliberately avoiding interaction while in the world.
But today some things happened:
First – my boyfriend, Jack, and I went over to his dad’s place. His dad, G, lives with Jack’s half-brother, W. (Obviously, I’m not giving full names deliberately.) W is a 21 year old paranoid skitzophrenic. He’s never fully in reality, despite medications and stuff like that. It’s pretty frequent that W will just out of nowhere jump into a conversation with something like “So, Katya, I need your advice. The devil offered me a deal and I’m not sure if I should take it. And since I don’t believe in the devil, will that make it not work?”
So W is an interesting character, to say the least.
So back to today. Jack and I were over there. Just mostly dropping off G and visiting for a few minutes. Well, we ended up staying there for a few hours in the end. After the four of us sat around chatting for a few minutes, W brought up that he would like to help G out more around the house, but that he doesn’t know what to do. To explain, W is only just learning to take regular showers and wear clean clothes. He’s not exactly up to speed on caring for his surroundings, let alone himself. But to his credit, he is trying to learn. So after he said that, G said that W could always start by cleaning his room. W started to respond like he always does that he would do it soon and that it might take more than 1 day. I suggested he work on it a little bit at a time. G said he thought W would do better to just take everything out of his room into the living room and sort it into piles before putting it back into his room in an organized way.
So anyway, one thing led to another and the next thing I know Jack is offering for the four of us to just jump in and start cleaning W’s room now. *sigh*
Unfortunately, there really wasn’t room for all 4 of us to work in that little room. So Jack and W went into the room and started bringing clothes out to the living room. G and I folded the clean clothes and chatted for awhile.
Now, I’d like to point out here that I like G for the most part. He can be a really tiring person to be around for a length of time, but I like him. Unfortunately, today, he was in a ranting/complaining mood. When he mentioned he could use some help figuring out how to make the kitchen area work, I offered to go in there and see what I thought. Of course, every idea I offered was met with “Yeah, well…” and either why it wouldn’t work or why he really just hated his apartment because of this room and showing me all the details of flawed workmanship throughout the kitchen that he needed to fix. Now, honestly, if you don’t have a countertop AT ALL except for two square feet of space tucked between the sink and the water heater – WHY IN THE FUCKING HELL WOULD YOU GIVE THAT SPACE UP ENTIRELY TO A DISHRACK?!?!?!?!?
But I digress. A little while later, G started ranting to me about politics and how it all boils down to race, money and overpopulation. I didn’t even try to enter that conversation, knowing from experience that if what I had to say didn’t support his worldview then he would just ignore me and piss me off.
So anyway, on the drive home after we extricated ourselves from the situation, Jack and I were talking and I ranted a little bit about G. I mentioned how G just seems to like complaining and how he doesn’t seem to want solutions. I pointed out that he blames everything, including the state of the apartment, on W and all of the time he has to spend being a caregiver and making sure W is fed and everything. (W is just learning to cook. For awhile it was too dangerous to let him near knives and fire.) Now, I don’t discount that. I really don’t. My 2nd husband needed a caregiver as well and I was it. In fact, that’s a large part of the reason we’re not together anymore but that will be another post another day. My point is I know how taxing it is just having someone else that dependent on you. An adult I mean. With children, it’s different because the level of care needed for them changes over time. With an adult, it’s generally pretty static. W is not likely to ever be able to live alone. And G needs a break. I get that.
But when he’s whining that he just needs a couple of hours without W around to get some maintenance stuff done around the apartment, or to properly caulk the cabinets so he feels comfortable actually putting dishes into them, or whatever – I just keep being reminded that he had almost 2 days to himself when W went to stay at his mom’s for a weekend. And how did he spend those 2 days? He’s the 1st to admit: he watched two seasons of a TV show. That’s it!
On the one hand, I want to help and just get the apartment set all the way up for them one day while they’re out so G wouldn’t have to worry about those tasks on top of the daily maintenance and caregiving tasks. But on the other hand, part of me thinks that G enjoys complaining and wants to have stuff to tinker with and figure out and fix.
So I was explaining all of this to Jack in the car when suddenly I start to feel sheepish. At the end of the latest movement of the tirade, I blurted out “He complains constantly about all of this crap and doesn’t DO anything!”
I stopped. I really started to feel like shit.
After a couple of miles in silence, Jack asked me what I was thinking about.
I thought for a second and in that second, I decided to be honest. “I feel like a big hypocrite,” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I was complaining about G complaining all the time and not doing anything and here I am beating myself up all the time for all kinds of shit and I don’t do anything about it either.”
We were almost home when I finished that speech. I asked him if he had a response.
“I think that statement right there shows a lot. It gives me hope for change.”
I almost started crying.
I didn’t much appreciate what Jack had to say, but at the same time a little fire started inside me. The kind of fire I haven’t felt in a long, long time.
It was motivation.
When we got settled in at home, I did some thinking. And then I did some cleaning. I made my own laundry detergent (I had bought all the stuff but hadn’t made it yet). Then I made some all purpose cleansers with vinegar and stuff (seriously it’s super-easy if you want the links I used just email me or comment). And to try out all my stuff, I cleaned my bathroom.
When I sat down again, I felt a little better. Not 100%, but better. Then I did some reading.
Specifically, I read Aunt Becky’s newest entry on Mommy Wants Vodka. (If you’re interested, here it is.)
Aunt Becky inspired me. And all of the comments she received on that post inspired me even more. Aunt Becky is so brave. Reading that, and this post over at Band Back Together (another Aunt Becky project/phenomena), compelled me.
I realized something in these combined experiences today. I realized that I need to start doing some proactive things to improve my life. So I’m making some pledges to myself right now.
- I’m starting again on FlyLady’s program. Effective immediately, my sink will be shiny. I’m taking her babysteps. So I’m getting dressed to shoes everyday and starting to build morning and bedtime routines.
- I’m going to commit to job-hunting for at least 1 hour every single day (maybe I’ll give myself weekends, or at least Sunday off).
- Every day, I’m going to post something honest either here or over on Band Back Together. Learning to share what I’m going through and dealing with in an honest way is something I need to learn to do. What better place than safe in the quasi-anonymity of the internet to bare my soul and face my demons?
- I’m going to comment on at least one other person’s blog every day. Just to show some support, love, whatever. I think it helps people to know someone else took the time to read what they wrote.
- I’m going to say SOMETHING on Facebook. The people I know in real life are important too and I’ve been neglecting them. I need to get back in touch and reconnect with people in the real world too.
This isn’t going to help me overnight, but I do feel like I’m putting some effort forward. And that feels a lot better than sitting back waiting for things to happen to me.