Yes, I’m still here. Where else would I be? I’m sorry that my blog entries end up being more like a long newsletter when I wait so long to post. The darn fatigue and discouragement are still doing what they do – keeping me from doing what I want to do.
Today I’m a little optimistic in a few areas and (as happens with me) the ideas seem to relate to more than one issue in my life and flow along themes.
A recurring theme this winter has been: Not Giving Up! The idea was presented to me in at least three ways just yesterday and today. It seems almost funny (and sometimes I think almost has a “spiritual intervention” aspect to it) when these occurrences happen, especially when “giving up on life” is the reason I give for sitting home in discouragement and depression doing nothing.
I was inspired and encouraged by the President’s State of the Union address last night; not necessarily because of any specific detail in the speech, but more because of his attitude. He said last night that he’s not giving up on Healthcare.
Now it seems to me that if anyone has the potential for being discouraged, it is the President right now! The bickering and fighting, the absolute refusal to work together, the constant sniping and disparaging remarks, looking for any and every possible situation to twist, color, and mislead that occurs with our “leaders” in Washington and in the media – certainly has had me discouraged and angry. Much of this is pointed straight at President Obama. Yet he calmly spoke of continuing to work together, with no seeming resentment or retaliation in his words or voice.
The President spoke of the millions of Americans that go out to work every day or post one more resume, attend another job interview – not giving up or giving in, but continuing on, not allowing disparaging events to discourage them. He said we give him strength and he continues on for us. Though I’m not one of the working contributors any more, I felt strengthened and encouraged by his words.
And I thought: “Wow.” If he can do it – not give up – not give in - to discouragement, anger and frustration, after all that has happened (and not happened) over these last months (year!) then maybe I can too. Maybe hope is not dead – for our country or for me personally.
Yesterday was also my Doctor’s appointment that I spoke of in an earlier post. It went fairly well, without any large incident to increase the anxiety that I felt as I left the house. What did happen was that even with four months lead time, my records (for whatever reason) did not get to them. So I had to recount my whole long history as well as try to address why I was currently there. And of course, trying to recap the circumstances and events of my life that resulted in a diagnosis of mental illness (PTSD) and the medical history of it all – put me in tears with elevated blood pressure and anxiety – and the Doctor got to see first hand “why I was there”.
When asked why I didn’t continue to see a Psychiatrist or continue with meds I told him that I didn’t see the point – I see no future that would be different from the past. I have given up hope that things can be different for me. Neither “chatting” with a Psychiatrist nor meds would change the circumstances of my life it seems, after years of trying.
The thought of trying to be out in the community or work place once again without emotional stability; thoughts of past events and fear of future ones of the same result fill me with dread to the point of near panic, and so I have “given up on life”. I need to learn to cope (which obviously I haven’t) and putting out thousands of dollars to the medical community only increases another major contributor to my anxiety – lack of financial stability and security.
The Doctor responded that he would encourage me to consider once again, to “not give up”. He seemed genuine in his understanding, interest, and concern. We talked about an anti-depressant that I would take at night, that would also help with the inability to get to sleep. We talked of my other current physical issues, worked out a plan, and I left with a faint little glimmer….
Lately, the winter, isolation, and boredom have me wishing for “something (of substance) to do”. Though my circumstances mostly keep it wishful thinking, the little glimmer last night and this morning had me trying to think (realistically) of just what I could (and would) do, if I can find the courage. The years of frustration from too much thinking and not enough action do have me determined to live my beliefs, so I guess something good has come of it. Now more than just rhetoric, I honestly feel strongly that whatever I do, I want it to be of service to others.
Even if I’m not ready to return to the regular workplace or schedule, perhaps I can begin with volunteering. It would get me out of the house, maybe could be on my schedule, and could be a minimal amount to begin. Baby steps, but steps just the same. So I did a Google search for volunteering in Vermont. I found the Vermont RSVP website (which by the way is not only for “retired” or “Seniors” anymore) and opportunities within the Nature Conservancy of Vermont.
Everything about The Nature Conservancy website made me think of Beth, as she’s also been looking for places to volunteer, and she already loves and spends time at some of the "Wildlife Reserves” spoken of on the site. I excitedly called her to tell her about it. I caught her just waking up and she seemed less than interested. She was also a little testy as she stated that she had already told me about it a while ago.
This happens so much with us – we can’t seem to get together at the same time with our enthusiasm about a subject! When she’s down or having a hard time I wrack my brain for ideas - things for her to do, past-times to keep her busy and move her thoughts elsewhere. She’s rarely receptive. I end up feeling frustrated and burdened because I’m unable to help her, though I try and try repeatedly.
And repeatedly she comes to me looking for that help, only to be disinterested in whatever I offer. At those times I feel “helpless to help” Frank reminds me that we “can’t really help” Bethany – because she’s an adult. He’s trying to soothe me and deal with his own frustration.
I think about the idea that sometimes you can’t help a person until they want or are ready to do it themselves. I understand that.
But I can’t stop. Because she is my daughter. I also understand that sometimes it is just a matter of a person finding the info or clicking with the possibilities for themselves. But that doesn’t mean you stop offering support or suggestions as we all travel our way in our own time.
All these thoughts occurred to me this morning as we talked on the phone and couldn’t quite seem able to get together. Regardless, I still thought “I’m not giving up” when it comes to trying to help Bethany in any way.
When Beth came over later in the morning we talked of it all. She said she had talked to her counselor just yesterday of how she and I had gotten upset with each other the other day – because she’s always trying to “help” me and I’m always trying to “help” her, and we both end up frustrated with each other!
Today was an easy conversation that left us both feeling loved and supported, each a little stronger and determined to move forward.
So, that’s today’s view from “Life on the Edge” in Vermont: baby-steps towards the recurring theme of Not Giving Up.