Wasted Saturday

A wasted Saturday is a rare and glorious gift to ourself.

It seems that I am good in company at the moment, feeling genuinely cheerful and happy to be in social situations just chatting or dancing or listening to buddies, but am plunging in to worry and anxiety when alone when there is nowhere else to run from myself.  Feeling emotionally breathless is absolutely rubbish and I recommend it to nobody at all, not even my worst enemies.  So, Saturday my daughter and I took a day off of everything, absolutely everything.

When I’d awoken before dawn I realised that I could afford to get a bad day out of my system as I wasn’t required to be anywhere particular this weekend apart from Sunday Services.  I had a two A4 page of Honey-Do’s I’d written for myself, each line being a tiresome project which needed completing in the house preferably before winter falls. And I couldn’t face it.  I was close to tears, on a Saturday! What a waste of tears.  I determined I was not going to cry on my own time!  Instead, I was going to be still.  I was going to ignore the day as long as I could.

My teen padded in to my untidy room around midday and flopped on the bed.  We conspired together that we deserved a complete day off having run ourselves ragged for years.  It was exciting to be in this together.  We chatted a while about books we were reading on Audio because we’re both a little dyslexic and I’d rather listen to a book than struggle with text and so would she.  We’re both perfectly capable of reading but sometimes for recreation we just have someone read the darned book to us.  It feels like cheating but what is the point of technology if you can’t use it to enhance your experience of literature and make available that which you wouldn’t have tackled without the electronic intercedent.

After a while she padded off again and I settled in for more breathing.  Breathing is something I’ve taken for granted all these years but of late my glorious mind keeps trying to trick me that there is insufficient oxygen in the atmosphere.  Stupid glorious mind…

So, I lay there in my unmade bed and breathed.  Then when I’d done that for an hour or so I took a nap, then listened to a show and then breathed again.

I was roused only by the offspring’s enquiry as to what was for dinner.  Without said offspring I would gladly have spent all the hours until the next day in my room, but I’m contracted to care for the kid so up we got and a dinner of beef burgers and pasta was rustled.  Then, relocated to the living room, I sat and breathed some more until I realised it was now 2am and I really should go to my untidy room to breathe.  Brushed my teeth and toddled off to my chamber for some more breathing.

Is it me, or did somebody really turn down the oxygen supply in the atmosphere?  Asking for a friend.

2hrs 15 minutes

I turn over and look at the clock. I turn back and avoid the clock.

2hrs 15 minutes is the average time I’ve been spending in bed in the mornings, awake, trying to gee myself up to be enthusiastic about the day and everything I should have completed the day before which carries over to today and how todays actions are piling up too, compounding the problem.  Waking before the alarm is not something to which I am accustomed.  Laying there staring at the pillow beside me until the very last second is not something I want to make a permanent part of my life.  I sigh.  I turn over and look at the clock.  I turn back and avoid the clock.  I just breathe and try not to think.  I am well slept but weary.  The weariness never abates.  It’ll get better.

Somewhere between here and infinity

If all your peace of mind is gone, and is replaced by hypothetical money worries, you need to speak with your friends.

Don’t you love friends who talk you down from the emotional ledge?  (The correct answer is yes, yes we do love those friends).  I’ve been using much of my spare time to ponder next steps now that we are in the privileged position of being in credit for the first time in almost ever, and for the first time since becoming a fully fledged adult taking care of adult responsibilities.  For clarity, it’s not much in credit but there is a plus sign not minus on the ol’ bank account and that’s a good enough start for me.

When I was working toward bringing credit agreements down to a zero balance, there was a definite goal, a specific figure had to be reached for that to be successful, there was a stopping point.  While the task was immensely difficult, the actual ability to quantify the required outcome was simple.  Keep paying for stuff until there is no more to pay.  Reducing to a nought.  Simple to keep straight, eh.  If there was more than a nought on the balance of the credit agreement, I wasn’t there yet and had to keep going.  Simple.

What has had me vexed is the next step.  The next baby step.  It has kept my mind occupied while I pondered, cogitated, and strategized.

Now that the little number is increasing there is no ceiling, no natural end goal.  Numbers go up to infinity plus one as any clued up 8 year old will tell you.  It vexes me because there is no way to know how much is enough.  How much will we need to have set aside to get by in the next month, year, few years, decade, until retirement or until the end of my natural life.  There is no figure.  It will always be too little.  It will always be more than we had.

With no natural end result my mind has been in a spin.  It has in actuality been quite a little more difficult than dealing with paying down credit.  At least if we had almost nothing we knew what we could do with our little porridge pot.  At least if the money ran out we knew or at least hoped that we had food storage and petrol in the car and the bills were paid.  Although awfully difficult, there were specifics and I am a lady who loves specifics.  I need to know the end from the beginning and if I don’t then all merry emotional hell breaks loose.  Uncertainty does not sit well with me, never has, likely never will.

So, all merry emotional hell has been breaking loose as a consequence of feeling somewhat untethered.  Which is ridiculous.  How can success make a person uneasy?  It’s daft.  I felt like a fool.  I’d met a target, a stretch target as we like to say at work, and yet I was managing feelings larger than before I started.

Anyway, with a sky’s the limit, no end in sight, don’t know how much is enough mind-set I wasn’t feeling very settled.  Until in walks a buddy called Sinead, who herself was hot on the heels of a friend called Mel.

When I was in a tailspin and worrying out loud “what if the roof falls off?”, Mel had quizzically looked at me and said “you have house insurance”.  I slapped my forehead, of course I have insurance, of course if there is a disaster at the home not of my doing and that I cannot fix myself I can rest well knowing we are covered.  It soothed my troubled heart.  That worked for a few days.

Then I went on to fretting on the topic of “how much is enough to have set aside and when do I need to have it by?” because bills have due dates, don’t you know!  I was and still am in a due date mentality.

After confiding in Sinead in the corridor at Church between classes (sorry, missus!) who had only congratulated us on getting to where we were, she came up with the plan of having an account with a specific goal or figure in mind, like £500 for example, and when that is achieved, that is full.  I’ll have done it, it would be completed.  Then open another goal with a slightly increased figure in mind, work toward that and when that reaches the pre-determined figure, I’ve succeeded in that too, and it is done.  Then do it again and so on.  Effectively, we cannot determine the future but we can set goals and work toward them and tick them off when they are completed.  Is this making any sense?  Add a finite factor to an infinite problem.

It had the immediate impact of settling my troubled heart.  How simple.  How insightful of her to realise I wasn’t faux-probleming and that this really was a big deal to my family.  To both these ladies I doff my hat and say thank you in writing as well as in person.  Complex worries had simple solutions, these ladies comprehended the worries and helped by suggesting ways through.  How beautifully hearted of them.  Aren’t they lovely?

I was told a few years ago that someone perceived me to be a Solution Oriented Optimist.  Someone who could see the genuine problem, review, decide, act and stay positive when possible and even stay positive when highly improbable but never deluded.  Their opinion of my was a surprise because I knew what went round in my head at pace to get to the Solution they saw in front of them.  I think this experience over the past couple of weeks has fallen in to this category, without my friends I couldn’t see the solution.  They helped me peep through the fog of worry.  A fog which was of my own making but real to me none the less.  A solution has been formatted and we are making great headway.  Thanks for listening while I got this out of my head and on to electronic paper so to speak.

The House #1. Winning the right to the matrimonial home in the divorce.

I received an unexpected email from the solicitors office stating that the funds were transferred.  I replied “Oh, that’s nice, any idea of a completion date?” and they said “as far as I am concerned, the house is now yours”.

I went a little pale.  Blood drained from my face.  I felt a little woozy.  Things we’d been hardly daring to hope for over the past 4 years were almost within touching distance.

I enquired after keys.  “Oh, yes, this is an unusual situation with no estate agents who would normally hold keys, I’ll try to track a set down”.

I waited half hour and then went to the solicitors office, it was a Friday evening after all.

Upon arrival I discovered that the contact has gone home for the weekend but that Mr Pollyanna Whyte would make a key available at 5 pm at the property, no sooner, no later, I had to attend in person.

This was not awesome.  Firstly, he was now in my house.  Secondly, we’d had no contact for 4 years, you know, what with the death threats and everything, a woman tends to stop staying in touch when a surprise child beating and wife hurting during the rescue narcissistic personality type (at best – perhaps with added psychopathic tendencies because he’s not really clever enough to be a sociopath) goes off message and starts behaving in an antisocial manner.

I am on the Police National Computer so if I call, they know who it is and send someone even if I cannot verify details so I thought I’d ask if they’d be so kind as to go with me to pick up the keys to prevent a breech of the peace.  Sorry, Nope, sayonara sucker!  Ok.

I considered waiting until the next working day, requiring Mr P to hand in keys to the solicitor and take it from there.  But then I caught my second wind after a little “I’m quite a bit frightened cry” when I’d tried to keep my act together but then a family member was nice on the phone and I had to end the call, and so I put on my big girl knickers and pulled up to the drive at 5pm on the date specified.

No cars were in the drive.

A sticky-note was in the window directing me to the neighbours house for the key.

No conflict.  Phew.

We had the keys.  By we, I mean me and Missy.  We had a home.

Now to find out in what condition the home had been left.

 

 

The happiest depressed person in the world.

I am happy. Delightfully and deep down so. I also have a long standing romance and dalliance with serious and catastrophic depression.

I am happy.  Delightfully and deep down so.  I also have a long standing romance and dalliance with serious and catastrophic depression.

Sometimes the dalliance with depression has been to the exclusion of all other emotions.  All encompassing and overwhelming.  White knuckling through life.  I’ve been managing and overcoming this for the best part of 37 years and am quite adept at getting back on my feet.

I had an atypical upbringing and marriage so am working on developing a “baseline of normal… what do regular folks do in this situation” – the topic is my choice because I really didn’t have a clue where to start building a healthy life.  Progress is speeding up recently since I brought in the big guns.

I have a lot of help from friends who keep it real and tell me when I am being a pain, and I have good access to counselling from Steven Lucas who quite frankly calls me on my nonsense too. ( Steven Lucas Counselling Central ). Working with a professional counsellor is like having a Formula 1 Pit Crew at your disposal to get the car back on the road when the tyres are worn down or wonky.  It is brilliant.  I highly recommend it. When I started speaking with a counsellor I had no idea what was wrong, I just knew I felt squeezy all the time and kept losing my breath so that’s where we started.  Best Thing Ever.

Depressive conditions come in lots of varieties.  I tend to favour a ballsy no holds barred grit your teeth, get it done and push through and never miss a day of work variety.  I get tense, agitated with myself but physically still, then a little hyperactive to prepare the house for the kid when I recognise a session rolling over me.  I have to take a few days of going to bed at 6pm  We often share time together in my room watching her shows on a device or reading books or listening to audiobooks.  She is not neglected.

The strange thing to me is that I think I might be the happiest depressed person in the world.  The two states co-exist.  Sometimes one is stronger than the other and becomes the dominant situation but neither is ever fully eradicated yet.  I am happily anticipating the day where I don’t feel that I am having to cope, I can just be at ease and ok with where I am.  It is close.

The happiness is a contentment.  A reserve of knowing that I will get through this.  A trust that it will work out in the end even though right now I have no flaming idea how.  A deep down belief that there is more for me in this life than against me.

As the happiest depressed person in the world I have the opportunity to let you know that if you hang on in there you become stronger and more able to manage whatever is occurring.

Whether that be internal or external, it doesn’t matter.  The more times you get through, the more times you can get through.

It doesn’t matter if the current episode was triggered by feeling stupid that you ran out of laundry detergent and what kind of mother are you that sends their kids to school in dirty uniform, or whether it is being made homeless as a result of somebody else’s actions.  Doesn’t matter.  Those situation are managed differently but the “sigh” feelings are similar.

Being happy and depressed is confusing to me.

I am constantly on the cusp of laughter and tears but I don’t cry unless it is over something beautiful like a piece of choir music or something that brings out the empathy.  Mostly the laughter wins out.

Slightly tangential – but it is my letter so I am ok with saying what I want – when I see others suffering with their genuine grief or distress, it kills me.  Absolutely rips me to shreds.  I cannot, for that reason, watch clips of Robin Williams because I am completely undone.  I can fully grasp the full breadth of hysterical joy to pathos in a heartbeat and it knocks the wind out of my sails.  When I see that happening in my friends lives I become very protective and want to help them know that they’ll get through it and they must never believe they are untethered to this world because I am here rooting for them. When things get rough I fight like a dog for folks, I need to learn to be more graceful.

I read an article once, probably on the Momastary blog, which spoke about someone saying “why are you crying?” and the answer was “Because I am paying attention”.

My internal barometer was running at a high 52% depressed, leaving only 48% for other feelings yesterday.  So, I deactivated Facebook while the world is going crazy, ate a cupcake, got a good nights sleep and today I feel 19% depressed.  That’s a heck of a lot of recovery overnight.

A long time ago I heard a quote by a chap named Spencer W Kimball.  He’d been asked how the Mormon church was managing the drop out society of the 1970’s and he said something like

“People are dropping out of society in an effort to find themselves, but when we lose ourselves in the service of others, there’s more of ourselves to find”.

Do what looks after you.  There is always hope even when none is apparent right now. Do what looks after you.  It is ok to find moments of funny even on the darkest days.  If it happens, let it.  Do what looks after you.

Best Description Of Depression Ever (and funny as heck)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driving Licence and a $980 Bill.

In getting through the legal process without having to go to a final round, I managed to avoid spending £5,000-£7,000 extra.  I’d held the funds in reserve.  What that did was free up a large to me but small to others lump of cash.

I had promised Missy’s granddad that we would get over this winter if at all possible.  I’m in the UK, they’re in Jamaica in a small town near-ish to Negril with the 7 mile beach and palm trees and International hotels.

Between making the promise and now, we had Brexit.  Did you hear about the Brexit referendum?  The most poorly designed and explained vote in the history of humanity.  No electoral college, no regional tally, just yes/no and adding up the vote total nationwide.  So when people were casting protest votes thinking they’d be offset in their Conservative neighbourhood by other people, their vote counted direct toward exit.  *Sigh*.

Brexit Referendum made our exchange rate tank, completely plummet.  We went from £1 = $1.62 to £1 = 1.20.  The currency dropped by 25%.  We could buy 25% less stuff with our money overseas.  But flights and holiday companies put their prices up by 50-100% depending on when and where you were travelling.  Prices hiked and I sat watching the prices tick ever upwards with each refresh of the page.

When the court agreement was reached I decided to spend some of the remaining money on flights to keep a promise.  I had enough to spend the dosh on, moving costs, conveyancing, white goods, but I’d made a promise to a loving granddad.  January sales came around and I was able to get flights and a 5* All Inclusive Premium hotel for peanuts which is joyous.

The Grandparents live around 25 miles from the resort and offered to have us stay at their place on the compound.  Our hotel was practically thrown in for free and has kayaking and windsurfing and 4 restaurants and a swim up pool bar so instead we opted for the majority of the visit being arranged where we go to the house every day but stay at the hotel.  Missy is free to sleep over at the house any time she fancies.

I started the car hire booking and discovered that my licence was incorrect.  Transpires it was in the wrong name, it had expired, it was registered at the wrong address and did not match my passport.  So everything that could be wrong with it was.  I wasn’t able to book the car.

Then I went about arranging taxi’s to regularly take us down the road, a half hour journey to the family home from the hotel.  It transpires that the round trip is US$140.00.  Yep, that’s a daily bill of $140.  Not Jamaican Dollars, US Dollars.  I’ve bought cars for less than $140.

At that point, the frantic, short notice, pleading with the Administrations Gods began.  I have sent off a driving licence renewal request with amendments.  If you apply online and they can verify with your passport number, the turnaround is around a week.  I need the turnaround to be a week but had to revert to analogue so hence the praying… praying hard.  We need my driving licence to arrive at my house by Tuesday.  They’ve had the paperwork since Saturday.  This is cutting it fine, even by my standards.  I have got to stop doing this to myself!

It is not like I didn’t have two previous opportunities to get the licence fixed.  I was prompted when I got a ticket one year ago, picked up the forms to make the amendment and forgot to send them off.  Then during the house buying process I was reminded again that the licence was expired but opted to wait until we were in the new house and had a permanent address so that it wouldn’t have to be changed again afterward.

I have got to do things when I first notice them.  This is the lesson I needed.  A US$980.00 bill for taxi’s alone if this licence doesn’t return in time is the kick in the pants required.  It is so not funny, but it is a little funny, but it’s not funny.  I really should adult better than this.  What is the point of bedding linen being in a matching pillowcase in sets if your driving licence is expired?  Priorities.  At least I won’t go through this pickle again in the next 5 years.  At least I stand a fighting chance of the licence being returned in time.  Fingers crossed.  Wish me luck.

Chest pains are normal, right?

Chest pains are normal, right? I know you’re going to say yes they are.

So, in among all this dynamic living, my little body is giving me some swizz.  It seems to love giving me little chest pains right under my sternum.  I have to stretch out and breathe lots each time it happens.

I am a little cheesed.

Firstly, because I clearly am an immortal goddess as demonstrated in my clumsy stumbling adventures through life.

Next, because I am handling all my challenges.

Also because we already discussed that I am rocking this whole moving house and moving on thing.  My head is on straight, things are going well.

So, it transpires I am a human with human frailties.  How very rude!

But, chest pains, they’re normal, right?  (Please say yes).