I had a great Christmas!  First of all, I was able to go the entire holiday season without seeing Mark's sister!  For Christmas Eve, we skipped the traditional family gathering with his parents and had dinner at an upscale restaurant, then spent time at the piano singing songs, with me drinking WAY too much wine!  We went to his parents house the next day to exchange gifts with them, and it was just his parents and us, way too cool!  No kids running around, just adults!  I was thinking wow, this is so peaceful! 

But we took our little dog with us, and when I took him outside on his leash, Mark told his Dad where we had gone for Christmas Eve, and his Dad said he had figured that we had wanted to avoid the kids this year, which Mark acknowledged.  It's really not so much about the kids frankly, it's having to buy gifts for ungrateful people, which I've already posted way too many times about the topic.  Not seeing his sister was just an added bonus, ha!  But anyway, his Dad told Mark how important it was for them to have ALL the family together during the holidays, and the only reason they did it every year on Christmas Eve was because that was when his sister always wanted to do it.  But since we wanted to do other things on Christmas Eve now, from now on we would all negotiate which day we would get together and she'll just have to understand.  When Mark told me on the way home, I thought, "Are you kidding me?  So we're not out of this for good?"    His sister will be so mad next year, but honestly, nothing will be keeping her from spending Christmas Eve with her parents.  It just won't be the whole family get-together at her parent's house on Christmas Eve.  And this year we made a stand - we didn't buy any presents for all the kids, so we can not continue that from hereon out.  Hopefully.  I don't think the kids even care - I don't remember my aunts and uncles buying Christmas presents for me growing up.  But again, it's not even about the presents!  I would gladly buy them something to make them happy, it's the parents!

Mark gave me the coolest Motorola running watch for Christmas, and I ran outside for the first time ever since I started running last July.  It was cold, but I found that I liked running when it's cold - you don't get all sweaty!  But I was disappointed in my performance, I only ran 3 miles, but really, after not running for 6-7 weeks, I should be happy that I can run that far without stopping to walk.  I had decided to take it easy on my first try, so I definitely can improve my performance pretty quickly.  The device has a website to track your runs, just so many statistics about them, I can't believe how cool it is!  And you can upload your music to the watch, and then listen to it on bluetooth headphones!  It really was an awesome experience. : )  I thought I'd be embarrassed running and having other people looking at me in their cars, but I wasn't.  I figured they were thinking "that's what I should be doing - getting off my lazy butt and running...", because that's what I always think when I see someone outside running.

I still don't know if I have the part time job yet.  I turned in the final transcript of the last audio file, and she returned it to me saying there were a lot of corrections needed, that the accuracy wasn't good enough and to check the sound on my computer.  I decided to put the audio file on my iphone and listen to it, and was really surprised at how much better it sounded!  I have spent an *unbelievable* amount of time on this one file to get this job, I mean really, it's unreal how much time I've poured into "possibly" getting a job.  If I don't get it, it will still be great experience for transcribing which I can use in my soon-to-be profession, but wow, the audio is so hard to hear.  Anyway, I listened to it for the final time and even had Mark listen to it to see if there was anything I had missed, then sent it back.  Hopefully (big hopefully) it's good enough for me to get the job!  If there are things that I can't hear or understand, and neither could Mark, then I'm just not meant for the job.  I don't who would be.  Maybe someone with expensive audio forensic software?

I'm out of school for about 2 more weeks.  I thought I would be bored, but I've kept so very busy so far.  I met with a friend from school to practice at Starbucks, but she ended up talking the whole time - for two hours! and I finally put all my stuff up and told her I was leaving.  She said "oh!  Okay, let's practice now!", but I was done, sitting there for two hours listening to her talk, while I enjoyed it, I wasn't about to sit there for a few more hours longer.  We have planned to meet twice a week at Starbucks to practice, and tomorrow is one of the days.  If she starts talking again, I really don't know if I can be rude and tell her I'm there to practice and I need to practice.  If she needs or wants someone to talk to, well, we're friends, I don't want to deny her that.  But at the same time, the whole reason we're meeting is not to socialize, it's to keep up with our schoolwork while we're on break.  Maybe I'll just act not as friendly or something, like I'm very determined to get to work, I don't know.

For once, we have plans for New Year's Eve.  I don't know why, but I've been really outgoing lately.  I made plans to see a show and have dinner, and celebrate New Year's at a comedy club.  Something sort of laid back, not too formal, but I'll still probably dress up.  I don't ever remember doing anything with Mark on New Year's Eve, but he was all too happy to do something when I suggested it.  It's like I'm always the "party coordinator" with him, and he's glad to show up to whatever I plan.  And if I don't play the part, he'll stay at home with me and not do anything, too. 

One of the things he wanted for Christmas was an Xbox, so I gave him one, and then we went today to buy him a television for his office because I realized that I didn't want him playing games when I wanted to watch television in the living room or when I wanted to sleep in bed.  So now he has his Xbox 360 and a big new television in his office, and I don't know if he'll ever come out!

That's about it, I can't see that I have any bipolar symptoms.  I've lost 30 pounds since my doctor switched me to Latuda in July, and to get back to the weight I was when Mark met me 14 years ago, I have 30 more pounds to go.  But for now, it sure feels great to be rid of those 30 pounds!    


Found Family Members!

The coolest thing happened to me!  I haven't talked to anyone on my mom's side of the family since I was about 16 or so, when I moved out, so maybe 25 years.  One of my cousins has been looking for me for several years, and when my Dad died, she found his online obituary matching his last name (my maiden name) with my new married name, she found me on Facebook and voila, I'm now connected to a part of my family that I've missed out on for decades!  I have all of these childhood memories of these people, and great to see that they have such good hearts.  The strange thing is - not one of them has mentioned my mother - not one of them, not even once.  No one has said, "So how is your mother?", or if they do NOT know where she is, "Where is your mother?"  So if she said horrible things about me, they aren't saying.  It's more likely that she wrote them off and she wants nothing to do with them, and they know exactly where she is.  I don't care, it's just awesome that they were actually looking for me, and now I have all of these family members that I didn't have before!

I got an A in the only class I'm taking at school this quarter!  It's only one class, but it's 3 hours a day, Monday - Friday.  I took a smaller course load this quarter because this was my first quarter at the new school and academics had started the week before I began.  Starting in January, I'll have an extra class.  I used to have so much leisure time, now I find myself with very little since I started my new job.  I'm still in training, but it's almost over, and I have no idea how busy I'll be once I start.  I'm thinking the more busy, the better, because that would mean the more money I'd make.  And that would mean the better I would feel about contributing to the household, and how much more self-sufficient I would feel, which is very important to me.  But I can't work too much, I need my main focus to be on school.  That's the whole idea of getting a part time job, and especially one where I can make my own hours.

Mark and I have good days in counseling, and we have had a few bad days in counseling.  In our last counseling session, it went well.  The session was partially focused on just Mark, with her asking if he'd considered coming in by himself.  She keeps saying he's going through an "exostential crisis", but whatever it is, it makes him unhappy with life in general.  He's not necessarily depressed, but he's unhappy, how do I explain the difference?  Unfulfilled, perhaps?  Maybe he IS depressed, I'm not a therapist or psychiatrist.

It's December the 16th, and we still have no plans for Christmas, none whatsoever.  We have hardly talked about it, just about what we do NOT want to do.  I'm afraid we'll decide to go to his parent's house at the last minute, and then be scrambling for children's gifts at the last minute.  I'll have no idea what to get them at that point.  I'm pretty much over the gift giving thing, I don't care anymore, but now Mark is pretty dead set against spending the money.  It would make quite a statement to go to his parent's house without gifts for the kids, and that's a statement I'm not prepared to make.  It's just...the people with 3 kids have to buy 2 gifts, the people with 2 kids have to buy 3 gifts, and people with no kids have to buy 5 gifts, and we don't buy cheap gifts.  The parents give us nothing in return, barely a nod of acknowledgement of the gift we gave their children.  It's just EXPECTED of us.  Who wants to give a gift like that?  Okay, maybe I'm not completely over the gift giving thing, but I don't mind just doing it and getting it over with to get through Christmas in peace.

I'd been feeling really lonely this year around the holidays, like I have no family that's close to me, because, well, I actually don't, so reconnecting with family members has been a wonderful Christmas gift.  It's really brightened up my mood! 


Sad Day

I had a very emotional day - I was quite depressed.  I'm not sure what triggered it.  Perhaps it was seeing a picture of my mother on FB, and noticing (and Mark commenting) we have the same body frame - a small body structure.  Not short, just small bones.  It reminded me we're connected, and then I went to bed and started dreaming about that side of my family and woke up feeling disoriented.  I started wondering all day, with all the shit that went down in my childhood, why am *I* the outcast? 

I went to school, and during the last hour of dictation, I started to cry, but managed to keep it in and only my eyes got misty.  When class was over, I quickly packed my things up and headed out the door.  My friend was talking to me about how she was discouraged over how hard the tests were today, and I didn't have much to say, I wanted out of there, I just felt awful emotionally.

So on my home, soon after I left, she called me on my cell and apologized if she was rude to me or said anything that made me think she was mad, she was just frustrated at the tests.  I knew that, and told her everything was okay, I didn't mean to make her think I was upset with her.  I was surprised that she reacted so much to what I thought was not a big deal, I just left class in a hurry.  I suppose I looked unhappy, and she took it to mean I was unhappy with her.  I was stunned that she cared that much about my feelings.  People can be so self involved and callous, it's refreshing to meet someone who's not.  Maybe I'll surprise her and buy her a Christmas present. : )

So I got home, just so depressed and kind of crying.  I HATE feeling sorry for myself, but sometimes, you're just down, and you can't shake it.  You feel a certain way, not really knowing why or what to do about it, and I wonder, is this a bipolar thing, or does this happen to "normal people" too? 

Mark called and of course he could tell I was upset, so I told him what was really bothering me.  I was the outcast, so maybe it really was ME and not THEM.  He made me feel so much better.  During my childhood, I'm really the only witness who knows and will admit what happened.  My brother was too young to remember, my mother's ex-husband refuses to admit he abused me, and only my mother and I know the truth.  He said she knows I am probably the only one who sees her for who she really is, and refuse to play by her rules.  It's true, I won't coddle her for her affection. have a relationship, it takes two people.  Even if I wanted to mend our relationship, I don't think she would be willing.  And if she did, it would come with remarks that would be very hurtful, the anger would come back, and when I get angry about my childhood, it comes out big, in emails that I can't take back that say horrible things.

So it's almost Christmas, and I'm worried that I've turned Mark against his family.  Well, no, not his family, but his sister.  We don't get along, but he is fed up with her on his own too.  It certainly doesn't help that I complain about her though.  Now Mark doesn't want to go to his family's house on their tradional Christmas Eve gathering.  That makes me feel awful.  But I brought up something that has really irritated me for years now.  In his family everybody (except his parents) buy presents only for the children and not the adults.  Well Mark and I don't have kids, so we end up buying all these presents, yet their parents don't give us anything in return.  I don't care about them buying us something, it's just...if someone were to buy my kids something year after year, and we buy all these kids VERY nice gifts, I would want to give them something in return.  How can they just let people buy their kids gifts and not want to reciprocate?  It seems so selfish.  And with Mark's sister being so jealous of Mark that it feels like she is just seething and bursting at the seams whenever we are around her to say something to him, I just don't like being around her.  It's why I didn't go to his parent's house at Thanksgiving.  She doesn't wish him well, not at all, I can tell.  But Mark and his sister have different priorities, they've chosen different paths in life.  If she had been determined to be successful in business, she could have been, but that's not the road she chose, and that's not who she chose to marry.  So we have nicer things, I'm sorry that makes her so upset and she thinks it's unfair, there's nothing I can do about that.  Her political views are just so...socialistic.

I keep thinking of things that I want to tell my Dad, and then I remember "Oh, he's gone", and it makes me sad.  There were so many things left unsaid, there are so many things I wish I could take back and apologize for, but I'll never get the chance. 

Family.  People complain so much about theirs.  At least they have one to complain about.   I certainly don't want to take Mark's away from him.

I Got The Job! : )

I got the job!  A part time job I can do while going to school that is actually in the field that I'm studying which will look awesome on my resume once I graduate.  It's in the law enforcement/legal field, so they are doing a criminal background check, no big deal, but I have to get a fingerprint card and send it to them?  I've never heard of such a thing.  It sounds so interesting!  I'm used to ho hum boring finding/getting people jobs, trying to get them to take jobs they don't want, or telling them they didn't get jobs they do want, after they've called every day for two weeks and breaking their hearts.  And catering to difficult candidates and difficult hiring managers.  Or difficult account managers in an agency setting.  And finding candidates with skills that EVERYBODY wants and they know they're in high demand and they have huge egos and attitudes.  Can you tell I got really burned out on recruiting?  Sure, it's been great getting calls again to be a recruiter, it was awesome feeling wanted after I had looked for a job for about a year when the economy tanked and couldn't find anything, but I loathed thinking about going back into that field.  I've missed having my own office, working in the corporate world, but at the same time, it's just too stressful and boring to me.  I do NOT miss "corporate speak" - "forward thinking", "move the needle", "drill down", "world class", "actionable", all these stupid terms that no one uses in the real world that people say that really means nothing but makes it seem like people are really saying something.  And I "drank the kool-aid" and said the same stupid words in meetings all the time, such a follower.  No more!  Never again!

So as soon as I complete training, about a week once I start, then I'll begin my new job!  What awesome experience to have on my resume once I do graduate and look for a job in my field! 

Yay me!


Counseling and Jobs

Mark and I went to marriage counseling last Monday, and it was an emotional session for me.  It's the first time I've seen our counselor, by myself or with him, that I've cried.  We were both pretty angry at each other, but it seems that Mark's anger towards me all this time really stems from my not working, that he's the only one carrying the financial burden while I go to school.  We do struggle at times, we haven't given up anything, but it's not like it was before when I was a corporate recruiter.  So his anger comes out in different ways. 

I was just defeated in counseling, I said I couldn't go on like this anymore.  After more talking with both of them, we decided what needed to happen is for me to get a job.  I left being confused, a part time job, which I had already been looking for, or quit school and get a full time job?  I had already looked for part time jobs, applied to many of them, but haven't heard back from anyone yet.  So I looked for recruiter job openings and found quite a few this time.  Unlike 3 years ago, I started getting calls back.  I told Mark about this as I was starting to set up interviews, and he was like what are you doing?  How are you going to go to school?  I told him I didn't know, recruiters usually work too much to go to night school, so I would have to quit.  He said I had worked too hard and spent too much to quit, and to find a part time job instead.  Well that is what I wanted all along!  I was just looking for a full time job because the counselor was talking about full time jobs, but I guess he never did.  It's so weird, I feel like I could get a recruiter's position easier than - say - a part time customer service job!  I'm kind of picky about what kind of customer service - I want to be in an office and not retail, etc., but it's not highly skilled work I'm applying for here. 

There is a part time job that would be perfect for me.  It's as a transcriptionist, and since I write transcriptions all the time in school, I would be able to practice for school while I also get paid.  I got a response from the company (which I found out about from school) asking for all this information which I replied to this evening, but I just don't know if I'm experienced enough to get the job.  We'll see - fingers crossed!

I went to the ENT today and he cleared me for all normal activity/exercise finally since my surgery, and I haven't run for two weeks.  I have no idea how hard it will be for me to gain my endurance back.  It seems like I lose weight faster when I'm running a couple of times a week, so it will be good to get back to exercising, even though I HATE it so much.  Mark has started running outside instead of on the treadmill, and he is enjoying it so much better, he used to hate it too.  I would have to buy new winter running clothes, and really need a GPS running watch so I could track how far I was running and the pace, too.  I don't know, it may be getting too cold now to run outside.

My dog got sick, but I think it might have been my fault.  For Thanksgiving, I fixed him a tiny Thanksgiving plate, and he gobbled it up.  But then a few days later, he started throwing up, and the next night, he was throwing up even more.  I took him to the vet, and in their "poison cabinet", I saw a corn cob.  I didn't know corn was bad for a dog!  He ate corn on Thanksgiving.  I didn't tell the vet about it, it slipped my mind when we were talking, but she didn't feel anything on his tummy, gave him an anti-nausea shot and liquids as he had lost 1/2 pound (he only weighs 5 pounds).  She suggested doing x-rays and a blood test, but we decided to see if he would pass whatever was upsetting his tummy.  That night, in the middle of the night, he started whining like he was in pain for about 30 minutes, and shortly he wanted to go outside, which he hadn't wanted to do for a few days.  He came back in, and I guess he passed whatever was bothering him in his stomach because he's been fine ever since.  Today I just fed him rice and chicken, like she said.  Poor guy was starving, he hasn't been eating!  But the doctor said his pulse was only 56 beats per minute, down from 120 on his last visit.  She was somewhat concerned, I don't understand why it was so low.  She said that with that low of a pulse, she would think he would be passing out, but he isn't, so I'm supposed to be checking it regularly and keeping a log.  She's such a nice vet!  She's called twice today to check on him, and said she would call tomorrow and see how he's doing as well.  Bailey is a very loved little dog. : )

School is hard.  Often I wonder if I'll ever make it out of the speed I'm in, especially since I've missed so much school recently and it seems like I'm so much slower than I was before.  It's given me pause when thinking should I quit school and go back to being a recruiter?  But I know I'll be happier as a Court Reporter.  Most recruiters change jobs so often, they just aren't happy and always see grass as being greener somewhere else.  Maybe it's because you're always finding people new jobs and you want one too, I don't know. 

I can't sleep AT ALL tonight, I don't know why.  It's 2:00am and I'm wide awake!

Thanksgiving, What a Nightmare

I can't say I had the worst Thanksgiving EVER, but I'm unsure when I've had a worse Thanksgiving. 

I don't spend any time with people on my side of the family, and it makes me very lonely around the holidays.  I wish I had people in my family to love, to miss, who knew me from when I was little, or even when they were little who are blood relatives that I was close to.  I just don't, and it makes me very sad.  What I've tried to do instead is to make new traditions for the holidays with Mark and myself, such as Thanksgiving.  I make a whole meal for us, and I've done this every year for awhile now.

So I bought everything, and then all of a sudden Mark starts informing me he doesn't want a Thanksgiving meal.  All of a sudden he HATES turkey.  He HATES mashed potatoes.  He HATES stuffing.  He hates everything and doesn't want it.  I didn't understand, we have done this for several years, why was he being so spiteful?  Why was he almost angry at the whole thing?  He loves deviled eggs and I had forgotten to get the stuff for them, so we went to the store and when I told him why I was there, he said "had I known that I NEVER would have come here".  I mean really, what the F?  It really, REALLY hurt my feelings.  I mean sincerely, I was very hurt.

It may have been passive aggressive, but at this point, I don't even know if I care why.  I had surgery a week ago for my sinuses.  It wasn't a life or death type thing, it was more of an elective surgery.  I have bad sinus infections several times a year and when I went to have my hearing checked because Mark asked me to in counseling, the ENT wanted to do surgery on my sinuses.  I was unsure if I wanted to do it or not, and told Mark that, but he said it was up to me.  I thought and thought about it, and decided to do it - because the next time I got a bad sinus infection which give me horrible headaches which medication doesn't help, I knew I'd regret it if I didn't have it done.

So the doctor told me it would be about $225 to have it done, paid to his office.  I asked if there would be any other charges, like to the surgery center, and they said no.  Of course, this is not in writing, only the amount I owe them is.  So Mark went with me (remember, he left the decision up to me) to surgery, and when we went to give them my information, she told me we owed them $1700.  I told her no one had told me that, that I was told I wouldn't owe anything.  She said they tried to call me, but they had called me on my home phone number, which is weird, because they also called my cell the same day to tell me not to eat after midnight, etc., so why would I check my home messages for their call?

So Mark was furious with me.  As I was in my gown and an IV was in my arm, I was laying in the hospital bed crying telling him how sorry I was, and he just had this horrible attitude, I could tell how mad he was at me.  But I didn't know, I kept telling him that over and over.  So here I am, scared to death about going under anesthesia, crying to my husband because he's mad at me, nurses coming and going with me crying, I just felt so little support from him.  I needed him to be strong for me, to comfort me, to tell me everything was going to be okay, and he just gave me attitude and anger.  And I didn't do anything!  I didn't know that was going to happen!

So it seems like that's when his whole Thanksgiving meal fit happened.  He can be so meanly passive aggressive, I absolutely HATE that about him.  And here's this holiday, very emotional for me, a real depression trigger that I try my best every year to just get through without falling apart, and he's attacking me. 

So I get up early-ish Thursday morning to start the turkey, regardless of all his little nasty comments, and he was starting to wake up, and I asked him what he wanted for breakfast because I was going to run out and grab something quickly before I started.  He snapped at me before I left, and as I was gone, I just started thinking, you know, this whole situation is BULLSHIT.  Here I am, I go to counseling, I come out with all these to-do's, ways for me to change myself in to being the person he wants me to be every time we go, and I try to be this person every day, and this is the shit I have to put up with?  I had just HAD IT by the time I got home, gave him his food, and I honestly don't remember everything that was said.  HE said he apologized for snapping at me, and I said I wasn't going to his parents with him on Friday for Thanksgiving, and then he said fine, he wasn't going to eat my Thanksgiving dinner.

What the hell?  I'm cooking HIM a dinner and he has the audacity to tell me he isn't going to eat it?  Really?  I'm doing something nice for him and that's what he does?  So I just went to bed, I cried, I planned to stay there the rest of the day, not to punish him, just because the day was ruined and I didn't want to do anything with anybody, see anybody, go anywhere, do anything, I just wanted to be left alone.  Only he couldn't leave me alone.  He kept coming in and out, yelling at me.  At one point he told me I had to get out, and I had ONE DAY.  Yes, he really said that.  I'm still so hurt by that, I can't even tell you.

Finally we made up, he got all nice, he convinced me to make a Thanksgiving meal, and then all through dinner he kept commenting how good everything was.  But I felt it wasn't sincere, and told him so.  He had already said he hated everything, why should I believe that all of a sudden he thought it was all so good?  It just seemed so fake.  I'm sure I sat there with a pity party look on my face, I really didn't mean to sulk, and I wasn't, I was just very unhappy with the whole situation.  I didn't care how I was cooking the turkey, I didn't care how the mashed potatoes turned out, I didn't care about any of it.  I did it just to do it and get it over with.  Usually I find it a lot of fun, but not this time.

I couldn't sleep that night, so I got up and applied for about 10 part time jobs.  Come to find out, part time jobs pay CRAP.  And I mean CRAP.  But great, I saw lots of awesome Recruiting jobs are available now, not that I haven't done that in three years.  Where were they all three years ago when I needed a job?  They'd never hire me now after being out of the business for so long.

There is one job I saw at school that would be perfect for me.  Writing transcripts and getting paid for it.  I could practice my steno (like I should be doing anyway) and get paid for it.  I'm still waiting to talk to the school job placement counselor on that one, though.  She might have more info about it before I send my resume to them.

Mark made an interesting statement when we were fighting.  He was talking about something and said "now that we're being ourselves...", and I said "Really?  Because I thought we were becoming the person the other person wanted us to be."  Strange how our perceptions are so different on what we're getting out of counseling.

I'm realizing how bitter I'm becoming.  I'm tired of not doing anything and him getting mad at me.  I honestly think he's mad over money, and everything else I do is getting on his nerves because of it.  What else can I do besides get a part time job?  I think he feels taken advantage of because he's the only provider, but he's always the freaking martyr.  Work doesn't appreciate him, I don't appreciate him, and the list goes on.  He works so hard for everyone and no one gives him what he deserves.  He has a sense of entitlement, he doesn't do things because he WANTS to do them, he does them thinking he'll get something OUT of whatever he does.  He's just that kind of person.  Everything has an ulterior motive.  Think Ayn Rand.  Selfishness.  I'm not bashing Ayn Rand, but giving for giving's sake was never her strong suit.  It's always about "what's in it for me".  That's him.  He's always got to know what's in it for him, and if there's nothing, what's the point?

Yes, he's often very kind to me, but I always wonder, how long will this last until he gets bitter about being mad because I haven't done what he's expecting me to do from his being nice.  He hasn't achieved the results he was expecting by his actions, when the truth is, I never knew results were expected, I just expect people to be nice to each other because that's the right thing to do.  I'm nice to him and do nice things for him because I love him and I'm a nice person, not expecting anything out of it.  But if I tell him, after he says I don't do anything for him, of the things I've done for him, he declares them all invalid because they aren't important to him and mean nothing to him.  The fact that I tried is insignificant, trivial.

By the way, I did NOT go to his parent's house with him today.  He went alone to celebrate Thanksgiving with them.  I didn't not want to see his sister, who is even more passive aggressively hateful than he is.  I unfriended her on Facebook early in the year over a stupid argument, and I just don't want to face her.  I'm sure she knows why I didn't come, that it's because of her, and good, so she'll know how much disdain I have for her, that I don't even want to be in her presence.  She annoys me, her kids annoy me, and it just makes me wish I had my own family to spend the holidays with.

We have a counseling appointment on Monday, I don't know if I can handle Mark rattling off more changes I need to make to make him happy.  I think I'll probably break down in the counselor's office.       

Allergy and Possible Job?

Somehow I've developed a hydrocodone allergy from the time I took it last year to this year.  I obsessively itch and have a rash, especially on my face, which is rather odd.  I don't know why my body chemistry would have changed from then until now, but it has.  I'm still taking it after my sinus surgery when I need it because it's better than not taking it, it still has a pain relief effect.  I would call my ENT doctor and ask for something else, but it's the weekend, and I don't need it all the time.  It's just so strange.  It's impossible to go to sleep when all you do is lie there itching.  I foolishly took an allergy pill for the itching and then realized, oh...this will dry up my sinuses!  This has turned into a semi-nightmare, but it could have been so much worse.

I think I've found a job I want while I'm in school.  They always have posters and postings at school for part time jobs, but one caught my eye finally.  It's writing transcripts from home.  It would be perfect!  I could practice on my steno machine for school, and get paid to do it!  What better motivation would there be to practice than to not only get through school faster, but get paid for it??  I read all of the qualifications, and I have all of them, I just need help updating my resume with my school time gap.  I know how to write a good resume from being a recruiter, but I've never had to write one for anyone who was looking for work while attending school, and without current job experience.  The last time I worked was in November, 2008.  We should have a job placement recruiter at school who can help me with my resume, but since I've only been at this new school about 6 weeks, I don't know anything about it yet.  This company obviously wants court reporting students to fill their positions, or they wouldn't be advertising at our school!  It doesn't really matter how much it pays, just the fact that I'm getting paid to practice would be awesome!  Not only to practice on the steno machine, but my editing skills, etc.  I've taken Court Reporting English which teaches you how to punctuate for transcripts, so really, I think I'm the perfect candidate.  But then again, I guess we all are at school.  The question is - how many people will notice the poster and want the job(s)?  The posting said I would have to complete 2-3 transcripts to be considered for hire, if, of course, they like my resume and they're still hiring, so we'll see how it goes. 

That would be awesome to get a job - to feel like I'm contributing again.  It's an AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL feeling for me to be so dependent on someone financially.  I really hate it.  I've been able to take care of myself financially since I was 18, so these last few years have been particularly hard.  I know we're married and everything, and it's not that I want a back up plan in case we break up, I would just feel more comfortable if I were contributing financially and I wouldn't feel like I was spending someone else's money all the time, that it was my money, too.  And, even more so, we could use the extra money.  We were a two income family before I lost my job.  My husband can pay the bills very well, but I was doing pretty well myself, so it was quite a drastic loss when my salary went away.  We didn't cut back on anything, but there's not much wiggle room.  For my surgery, our portion was $1700, plus the doctor's fees, plus whatever the anesthesiologist will charge when we get his bill, and it's just all of those unexpected expenses that really add up.  It seems like there's something like that every single month.  If I still had my old job, it wouldn't have even been a bump in the road.  Oh well, eventually I'll graduate and all will be back to normal hopefully!  If I get that job and start practicing like crazy because I'm so money motivated, I'll graduate much sooner rather than later! : )

Surgery and Bipolar Venting

My sinus surgery was this afternoon (well, technically yesterday afternoon,), and it went well except for waking up in a lot of pain.  I didn't think it would ever go away.  The nurse called the anesthesiologist to see what more she could give me for pain, but it didn't help.  They finally called Mark to the recovery room, and he convinced me to eat something so I could take pain pills.  That eventually helped.  I've been fine ever since, but have been taking hydrocodone as soon as it's time to take the next dosage.  Even though I'm not in pain, I don't want to start.  When I was being released, the only wheelchair available at the time was a bariatric wheelchair.  Oh my gosh!  I slid over to one side of it, and both Mark and I could have easily fit together in it.  The nurse wheeled me up to the double sliding doors, and it fit just perfectly to go between both doors.  The nurse said there are people who have to squeeze to get into the wheelchair!  Suddenly I didn't feel so bad about my weight - ha!  When we were waiting for Mark, she was telling me that some adult patients wake up in recovery, talking in a childlike voice, saying "I want my Mommy/Daddy."  I mean, I know you're out of it, but come on, let's not be freaky.  I woke up saying "Oh my God, I'm in so much pain!", at least that's the first thing I remember.  Who knows the real first thing I said.  I'm pretty certain it wasn't "I want my Mommy/Daddy." 

I won't know if the surgery was successful until I've gone for a period of time without a sinus infection, which can be very, very often.!  When I get up tomorrow morning, I'm not taking any more hydrocodone  unless I start feeling pain again.  I know this is very boring entry, just recording it for future reference. 

I use my blog a lot to remember what happened to me and when.  I don't have a good memory, and I don't know why that is, if it's all the psychiatric drugs I've taken over the years or what the issue is.  I haven't discussed this with my psychiatrist because really, what can he do?  He can't bring my memories back or make my memory any better.  I always tell Mark that HE is my memory.  He tells me things all the time that happened to us that I simply can not recall.  It's a freakish feeling, and it makes me sad knowing there are all of these things that happened to me that I've forgotten.  Or I guess, perhaps, Mark has a freakishly good memory, and it makes me seem forgetful, not not short term, but long term. 

I can stress ENOUGH how much I hate telling nurses and doctors that I have bipolar disorder.  I would say "anybody", but I don't tell "anybody", just when it's required for me to tell someone.  No one knows except for Mark and people in the medical field that have to know for whatever reason.  Sometimes they will ask what medications I'm taking before I'm forced to tell them I'm bipolar, and they jump to the conclusion that I'm epileptic.  I don't want to be epileptic, but it doesn't have the stigma that being biplar does. 

I watched Shutter Island a few days ago, and it was really on my mind for awhile.  It's like I don't want to believe he was a psychiatric patient, he really was a Marshall.  And it reinforced what I've always known - if I were to witness a crime or have to testify about anything that happened in court, it would come up that I am bipolar - mentally ill - and my testimoy would lose credibility.  I don't know if this is true in all states, but I know in some states, if you've ever been involutarily commited to a psychiatric institution, you're not allowed to purchase a firearm.  Yes, I've been in a psychiatric institution, but I checked myself in.  Are people not allowed to have a moment of weakness, a time when your illness overtakes you, and then you get better?  I find it to be highly discriminatory.  Just because you were in some place like that ONCE doesn't mean you'll be that way forever.  Or that it will happen again.  What about other issues?  Being convicted for domestic abuse?  Assault?  Why are they able to purchase firearms?  They've proven to society that they are violent.  Someone commited to a psychiatric unit doesn't mean they have.  Sure, they might have, but that's assuming.  People who have committed violent misdemeanors have already proven that they're violent.  "But that's not fair" they would say.  And this is?  Why is society so discriminatory against people who are mentally ill?  Maybe because those that are highly functional do not tell people about their disease, so the only ones you hear about on the news, etc., are the ones who lost it, who "went off their meds" as they like to say.  Can't people just simply be psychopaths or sociopaths without it being blamed on that?  There really are bad people in the world. 

Guess I'll go back to bed and try to fall asleep again.  Mark had stopped snoring for a few weeks, but now it's back.  As far as I know, when nothing else works, the surgery snorers get is the one I just had.  I really wouldn't wish it on him.  I can suffer through snoring.  I *am* going to record it one day though, just so he can see how bad it really is. For example, I'm downstairs right now, and he's upstairs with the bedroom door shut, and I can faintly hear him snoring.  And I have hearing loss!

Approaching Holidays

Oh, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving.  I love the holiday, but hate meeting up with the people.  This year, like every year, we're going to Mark's parents the day after Thanksgiving.  I like his family "okay" except for his sister.  His sister is making me question if I'm actually going to go.  We got into a pretty big fight this year which led me to "unfriending" her on Facebook, and she got very upset about that.  I never did anything about it, and now it's Thanksgiving, and here we are.  The only person I've really talked to about it is my hairstylist (don't we tend to tell our hairstylist everything?), and he suggested sending her a message so it wouldn't be so awkward.  I told Mark and he wasn't so sure, he's not a big fan of his sister's either.  The thing is, I'm not sorry, I didn't do anything wrong, so I don't want to apologize, and I wouldn't have to.  I could just say, let's put this behind us or something, right?  I unfriended her, I kind of feel it's my place to mend the relationship.  Only...if we didn't have to see each other, I wouldn't want to.  In real life, I would NEVER be friends with her; actually, I'm not friends with her in family life either.  But then again, how many people are friends with their family anyway?  I know some are, but those are the lucky minority.

It is so freaking embarrassing to go the the doctor and fill out all the new patient forms, list all of your medications (all 500 of them), and list that you're "bipolar".  Then I always feel that nurses and doctors look at me weird at first, like they're trying to figure out if I'm going to freak out on them or not.  It could be all in my head, I don't know.  I went to the second ear doctor and he questioned me about my illness, asking if I was stable.  I should have acted like a lunatic and said "What do you mean, stable?".  Of course I'm stable!  And if I weren't, what would an ENT doctor do about that exactly?  I was there for my hearing, it's not like he was going to prescribe me medication, I don't understand why that question was relevant, except to make him look important, that he knew I could be "stable or unstable".  I mean really, what could he have done with that information?

I have sinus surgery on Friday, that's what I got out of going to get my hearing checked, besides finding out I have mild to moderate hearing loss.  It's not life or death surgery, more a comfort of living thing.  I went back and forth about whether to do this or not, but in the end, I knew that next time I got a sinus infection and a bad headache, which is all the time, I would kick myself for not having it done, so I decided to move forward.  My surgery is scheduled for 12:30 in the freaking afternoon, so I have to be there at 11:00.  That means I can't eat or drink all morning before I go to the surgery center.  I was hoping for an earlier time.  I can eat and drink up until 3:00am, so Mark and I plan to stay up that late on Thursday/Friday and go to IHOP or somewhere and have breakfast.  It was his idea.  He's so regimented about his sleep, I was really surprised when he suggested it.  Sounds fun, though. : )

We're still going to counseling, our marriage has its up and downs.  Mostly ups, but sometimes intense downs.  We're still trying to figure each other out, after 14 years!  We go to counseling once a month now, our next appointment is after Thanksgiving.  It's like going to your teacher and getting your report card - how did you do last month?  Did you follow what we decided to do last time?  It's hard work, I don't look forward to going to her and saying "No, I didn't", and hearing how I'm not showing Mark love in the way he needs it.  So I do what we decide in counseling and have avoided it, not sure if I've done all we talked about this time.  Seems last time I was the only one to walk away with "to-do's".  She tried to get me to name something about Mark I would like changed, and he looked at me with a face that dared me to think of something, but at that moment I really couldn't think of anything.  He's tried to change in every way that I've asked him to, I had nothing to say.  But for me?  He said there were already so many things that I was working on, he thought it was unfair to give me more.  That made me mad.  So he wants to keep changing me into something I'm not?  Supposedly there are a lot of things that he has kept bottled up for years and years, especially with me being sick, and she's trying to get him to tell me what they are, but seriously?  Yes, I want him (us) to be happy, so I keep going to counseling and keep doing what we decide to do.  I HATE marriage counseling though.  Don't get me wrong, our marriage has greatly improved from it, but I hate going.

I guess I'm progressing in school.  Seems like I am.  I need to put more work into it.  Don't know when I'll pass 120 and be in 140.  Hopefully next quarter, I really hope so! 

Christmas is coming up too, yuck.  That means time to buy presents for Mark's ungrateful nieces and nephew.  I don't know why they have that rule in his family that we only buy presents for the kids, so that means Mark and I buy presents and receive none.  I guess because the parents of the kids (his sister, mainly), can't afford to by everyone presents, just their kids.  So that leaves them with only 3 kids to buy presents for that don't belong to them.  I'm not saying I want a bunch of junk from people that hardly know me, but it's the thought that counts, you know?  And there's no thought about us.  Mark and I, we are just expected to give, give, give, without a thought from his brothers and sister about how we might feel about it - that we're giving presents to their kids without them so much as sending us a thank you card.  That just seems so selfish to me, but maybe I am the one that seems selfish, I don't know.

Worst Ever Doctor Visit (for me)

My appointment at the ENT went so much worse than I ever could have imagined.

The ENT cleaned my ears out, and commented that the wax in them couldn't have been causing me much hearing loss, and sent me to the audiologist.  I then went through an extensive hearing test, but the weird thing was, my ears were ringing so loudly that I could hardly hear the sounds above the ringing.  The audiologist said several times "raise your hand even if you just THINK you hear a tone", and I kept saying okay, okay, like I didn't hear him the first or second time he said that? and I knew he must have been sending me tones through the earphones because there were long pauses when I didn't hear anything.

So finally the test was over, and I told him it was hard to hear anything over the loud ringing in my ears.  He asked if my ears rang very often, and I don't really know, it's never that silent around me as it was in that booth. 

So he showed me the test, and said I have mild to moderate hearing loss, permanent loss in both ears.  I didn't have much to say, what do you say to that?  But then he started talking about hearing aids, and I was just SHOCKED.  I said "hearing aids, WHAT?"  And he said "but you told me you couldn't hear..." and I said "but we're having a conversation right now?"  I just couldn't imagine wearing hearing aids!  I mean, hearing aids??  Seriously?  So he said "your insurance covers them", but no, that wasn't the problem - the cost!  That never entered my mind for a second!  It was me - actually wearing hearing aids!  I guess my reaction was less than pleasant, I'm sure he's had patients that cried because they wanted hearing aids and couldn't afford them, I don't know, but he told me to think about it, and if I wanted to make an appointment with him to come back with someone (why do I need to bring someone?), and gave me his card. 

So the ENT.  He examined my sinuses, and I had told him I get about 6 sinus infections a year, even after having sinus surgery about 10 years ago, and after his examination decided I have turbinate hypertrophy and chronic sinusitis, and wants to schedule me for surgery.  I was like WHAT?  And then everything happened so fast - scheduling for the CAT scan, the surgery, everything.  I was just in shock, I didn't have time to process everything - I just went from one room to the other nodding and being polite, answering questions, signing forms, being handed packets of information.

I guess if I'm cured of sinus infections, that would be great.  Yay.  Kind of hard to be excited right now.  I have permanent hearing loss.  Explains so much, why I can't hear so many things that other people can. 

You know how it makes me feel?  Old.  Losing my hearing, hearing aids, the whole thing.  He doesn't know how it happened, he doesn't know if it will get worse, just to make sure to come in yearly to get my hearing checked from now on. 

I wish I had my Dad to talk to right now.  He was legally blind, so maybe he could understand how I feel - losing your hearing versus losing your sight.  But it's not like I lost it overnight, so I don't know what I'm missing, does that make sense?  I don't know if hearing aids would help me, but Mark said "of course they would".  Would they?  I would only know by trying them, but if I don't try them, then I don't know what I don't know.

I don't want to rely on little devices on my ears to hear.  I just got Lasik a few years ago and got rid of my glasses, this seems SO much worse.

Hearing - huh? what?

Yesterday in marriage counseling, Mark complained about my hearing.  Yes, I know he's complained about it for years - how he has to repeat things, how I ask him what people said in movies, on tv, etc.  Last year, a teacher singled me out in front of the class and told me to get my hearing checked out, that she thought I had some hearing loss.  But I've ignored all of this because I can hear, and what would I even tell a doctor?

So now, because we went to counseling, it's become an "actionable item", and I've made an appointment with an ENT for tomorrow.  On one hand, I think I just have a lot of built up earwax that needs to be cleaned out, that's happened for me since I was a little girl.  But on the other hand, for years?  If I do have some hearing loss, I can't imagine what would have caused it.  I'm so NOT looking forward to going to the doctor tomorrow.  I feel ridiculous - going to an ENT just to find out I have excessive earwax.  And they had to make sure they scheduled my appointment when an Audiologist would be available.  I mean really?  I'm not deaf, I don't need hearing aids.  I just can't hear when people whisper, and I say "what? huh?  excuse me?" a lot, and I find myself watching people's lips when they are talking quietly.  Built up earwax could totally do that I think, but I hate the process of cleaning out my ears at the doctor, it is SO unpleasant.  I hated it when I was younger, I can't imagine liking it now.  I hope that's all it is, I really can't imagine anything else.

I stayed home from school today, not feeling 100%.  I have a sinus headache or something, but since I'm seeing an ENT tomorrow, it's very convenient for me to bring it up 

Everyone always asks "who's your primary doctor?" when I call to make an appointment with a doctor.  I don't have one.  I always go straight to the specialist.  I suppose that's not good,  all of these doctors have different snapshots of what's wrong with me, no one has a full picture.  My psychiatrist, my counselor, my old ENT, my OB/GYN, my podiatrist, my dentist, my psychatrist, my dermatologist, my eye doctor - none of them has a record of all my ailments altogether. But why go to a general practioner who will just fumble around trying to figure out what's wrong with you when you can go straight to the source and save time, as long as you know what's wrong with you, of course.

Hopefully by this time tomorrow, my ears will be cleaned out, and I'll be hearing what I've been missing! 

My Life Seems Quite Boring (Not A Bad Thing)

I've been doing pretty well lately after so much stress over the summer.  I've lost 22 pounds, and am running almost 15 miles a week.  It's taken me about 3 months to build up to running that far (I run 3 times a week), and to be honest, I absolutely HATE running.  I think it may be because I run on a treadmill and not outside, but everything is carefully measured on the treadmill, my speed, calories burned, etc., and while I know I could get that with a GPS watch, it doesn't force me to run at that speed.  Besides, it's been too hot to run outside until recently, and soon it will be too cold.  When my run is finished, I feel so accomplished, but during the run, I'm hating every second of it.  But I do feel good about myself and proud that I conquered running, something I never thought I'd be able to do!

After a couple of months of marriage counseling, my relationship with Mark has never been better.  He does so many nice things for me because now he feels "loved", I show him I love him in the way he needs it, and vice versa.  We still go to counseling, but we just go once a month now.  We have no idea what we're going to talk about at our next appointment, but we're still going to go.  Last time she just talked to us individually about what was going on in our lives because there were no issues with us as a couple.  But we still want to see her, she's helped us so much.  Why would we want to stop?  I don't want things to get back to where they were.

I'm much more positive about school since I transferred to the new school.  Maybe I just needed a change of scenery, or maybe this place is more inspiring.  There doesn't seem to be the negativity and drama that there was at the last school.  People are friendly and smile or say hello in the hallways, which for me makes a big difference for some reason.  The animosity at the last school between the students was terrible.  I can tell that yes, it is possible for me to pass this next speed, where last quarter I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to, but that could just be from more practice over time.  However, I attribute it to a different way of teaching.  There's a girl in my class who had been at my last school in my speed for 9 months, hadn't passed a single test, and in 7 weeks at the new school, has started passing tests.  I think that speaks for itself.

I have jury duty tomorrow, but I don't actually have to serve since I'm attending school full time.  But I'm such an idiot!  I didn't read the form when I got it, I just saw I had jury duty, on what day and what time.  I was showing it to my teacher at school to tell him I wouldn't be at school tomorrow, and my friend said she had just gotten a letter for jury duty, and there was a place on the form that came with it that you could check and send back so you wouldn't have to report in.  I took it out of my purse and looked at the form, and sure enough, there was a questionnaire that I was supposed to complete and mail in before tomorrow!  I thought about filling out the form and mailing it in, but it would get there after I was supposed to report for jury duty, and by then, a bench warrant could be issued, so I decided I'd better go ahead and go.  I've always wanted to be on a jury, but now I'll never be on one.  I'll either be a student, or when I graduate, a court reporter, who can't serve on a jury.  I thought about not telling them I'm in school and seeing if they picked me for a jury, but then I'd be in trouble if they did and it was a week long or more trial. 

I went clothes shopping because I have no clothes that fit me for fall/winter, and it was AWESOME buying smaller sized clothing than I've worn for the past few years since I've gained weight.  I wanted to buy everything I tried on!  I think I just might have!  I still have more weight to lose, and it always seems like the less weight I have to lose the slower the weight comes off, but now that I'm running, we'll see if that's still true.

My tongue is still doing that weird thing since I started taking Latuda instead of Geoden, and the Amantadine hasn't seemed to help it, although the only way to know for sure is to stop taking it.  All I know is that it definitely works as a mild appetite suppressant.  So now I'm in a dilemma - I want to keep it as an appetite suppressant, so when I see my doctor, do I tell him it's working for the Latuda side effect when I'm not sure it does,  knowing he might not refill my Amantadine, or do I tell him it does so he will?

My four year anniversary is Wednesday, and Mark wanted to go away somewhere like we did last year, but I didn't want to travel anywhere.  I bought two anniversary presents for him, and I thought he was going to let me pick out a purse as my gift, but then he informed me today that he bought my present.  I have NO idea what that might be, and am a little scared.  I didn't tell him anything that I wanted.  Oh well, whatever it is, I'm sure I'll love it, at least the thought. : )

See, my life is boring these days!  But boring is good, I'm not complaining about boring!

And GO TEXAS RANGERS!  One more game and we'll win the World Series!

Amantadine for Weight Loss?

I started taking Amantadine last week, and it has the strangest side effect that I wasn't expecting.  It's acting like an appetite suppressant.  I thought it was strange, so I researched it on the internet, and sure enough, it's been reported to do that for people on weight gaining anti-psychotics.  I take an anti-psychotic, but I don't think I take a weight gainer any longer, or at least I wasn't gaining any weight on Latuda.  I've actually lost 17 pounds since I started taking Latuda (with diet and exercise).  The movement of my tongue doesn't seem to be much better or maybe it is, I can't really tell.  I don't know what to tell my doctor now when I see him (in 4 months) - if it's working for my tongue or not, because I want to keep taking Amantadine for its appetite side effect. 

Mark and I went to counseling yesterday, and we really didn't have anything to talk about, so she just talked to us individually about what was going on in our lives.  She called us her "poster children", that we walked the walk, and said we could go longer to see her next time.  I feel like everything has been put out in the open and thoroughly discussed, and we've each been open to changing for the other one. 

I've been to my new school for 2 days now, and the jury is out about what I think about it.  People are definitely nicer there, I guess I'm just out of my comfort zone.  I don't feel like I'll EVER progress past 120, but maybe I always feel that way in every speed.  I definitely remember asking teachers in previous speeds "Do you really think I can do this?" trying to get encouragement from anywhere I could.  I see people in my speed for a year, I don't want to be one of those people!  I don't think I even have enough financial aid to be one of those people! 

I haven't really had any bipolar symptoms in awhile, or maybe I have and I just don't remember them because it hasn't been recent enough.  I didn't handle Mark's comments about our marriage or me very well, so I don't know if that's a bipolar symptom or just that I'm a sensitive person.  I don't think any woman would feel good about their husband telling them they thought they were overweight and needed to lose weight.  But, now I'm grateful that he did, because our counselor said she has many men who come in and feel that way about their wives and can't get the courage to tell them, but tell her they just don't find them attractive any more and they don't know what to do, while the wives are just going along thinking everything is fine.  Now Mark compliments my appearance, he's definitely good about giving positive feedback, maybe it's just to encourage me to keep running and dieting, but who cares, doesn't everyone like compliments? 

Just An Update

I went to the psychiatrist on Wednesday, and the first thing out of his mouth was "so, we were going to try Latuda, how did it go?".  I still think I am one of his first, if not his very first, patients to try Latuda, but who knows.  I told him it went very well and I liked it.  He asked if I was less hungry which was one of the reasons we switched from Geoden to Latuda, and I told him I had lost 15 pounds since I last saw him, in July.  Don't think it just melted off, though.  Those 15 pounds were pure blood, sweat and tears!  I worked hard for every single ounce of those 15 pounds!  But had I stayed on Geodon, could I had done it?  No, I don't think so. 

So all was well on the medication front, except I told him about this weird side effect Latuda had on me.  I was preoccupied with my tongue and swishing it around in my mouth.  I did it all the time without realizing it, and suddenly I would become aware of it.  I had asked Mark if he could see me doing it, but he said he couldn't tell.  I didn't want to stop taking Latuda because of it, so my doctor gave me a medication for it - Amantadine.  When I went to pick up the prescription, the pharmacist was very puzzled why I needed it.   I did some research on it when I got home, it looks like it was once used to treat the flu, but was discontinued, once used for Parkinson's, but not a great medication for that now either.  Doesn't matter, my tongue is moving less now.  Not completely gone, but less, which I'm grateful.

After being so anxious about school and all their negativity by trying to scare you that they're going to kick you out of school at any time if you don't pass a speed, I transferred schools.  I start at a new school on Monday.  It's not that I don't like goals, but they couldn't even give me a date when I needed to pass the current speed I'm in.  On the first day of the quarter (on Monday), the teacher said "take a look around and you'll see some people missing.  Some are gone not because they don't want to be here, but because they weren't allowed to come."  Really, that's motivation??  I realize she was telling us to practice more at home, but I can't deal with the pressure I put on myself to begin with, and the pressure always hanging over my head that they are going to kick me out soon.  The school I will be going to doesn't have a timeframe when you have to pass tests, but of course, eventually your financial aid will run out.  I'm better off at the new school in that regard, but because of that, it didn't completely take away the anxiety. 

Mark and I seem to be getting along okay most of the time.  We have our moments, but for the most part, I think we each feel the other is showing they love each of us in the way we can recognize as love, if that makes sense.  We have our moments where we argue, where one of us will get frustrated and it seems like it's not working, and then eventually it will even out.  I just have to take a deep breath when that happens, it always seems so hard during those times.  But eventually it passes, eventually.

I'm still training for a 10k, but truthfully, at the end of the program, I'll just be able to run for 60 minutes straight, and that won't be 10k.  I'll be lucky if it's 5 miles, not 6.2.  But the reason I started running in the first place was to burn calories, and I'm achieving that.  When I started running, I would burn 180 calories per workout, and it was a real workout!  Now I burn almost 550 per workout, so I've come a long way.  My goal is to burn around 700 calories per workout.  I don't know if I'll achieve that without some speed building, but we'll see.  Once I finish this program, I don't think I'll train for distance next.  I think I'll just continue to run for 60 minutes at a time for awhile and increase my speed little by little.  But FIRST - got to reach that 60 minutes!

Which reminds me, today is a run AND a weigh day.  So a bad and a good day.  I actually don't like to run.  I don't know if that's because my runs are so challenging and I've never given myself a break since I started running in July, or I just don't like it.  But I think few people actually LOVE to exercise, maybe eventually I'll learn to love it.  I know I love the feeling at the end of my run! 

I think I started my "monthly visitor" this morning, so my weigh in may not be so great this morning.  I'm not weighing myself until around 7:00am, the same time I weight myself every Friday.  Believe it or not, it makes a difference. 


I just got home from running my first 5k, and I did it!  I ran the whole way, didn't walk, and not only that, but I placed second in my age group!  (40-44).  The first place in my age group was only 0.02 minutes ahead of me, so that means it was the girl right in front of me who I considered giving it it a burst of energy and passing her at the end, but never dreamed it would make a difference. 

My time actually wasn't that great - 43:04, but I guess good enough for my age group and the few hundred people that were there.  After only training for two months, I'm actually VERY proud of myself that I set a goal and accomplished it!

The only setback was that I thought I would need an extra "push" and drank a 5 hour energy drink and 3 cups of coffee with not much to eat before the race.  When we got there, I guess caffeine can be a type of laxative because I had to keep using the bathroom.  I have mostly stopped using caffeine, so that was an immense amount of caffeine for me. 

Mark did incredibly well - he ran the 10k and placed 7th overall and 2nd in his age group.  I think his pace was something that seems so insanely fast to me, like 7.5 minutes per mile.  So he got a 2nd place ribbon too!  I'm glad he won something as well, it made our first race together very pleasurable.

I'm not going to lie, it was freaking hard.  It was all I had in me to keep running and not start walking, but I knew if I started walking I would regret it, so I kept running, even if it might have seemed I was running as fast as I might have been walking. 

Mark and I started at the front of the pack and when the buzzer went off, I just ran with everyone else before I realized, I was running WAY too fast and was audibly taking breaths in, like screeching.  I slowed way way down to catch my breath, and then of course people kept passing me, and kept passing me.  I didn't care, I just wanted to finish, and finish running.

So anyways, I did it!  I feel so accomplished!  I don't plan on doing it again next weekend, but maybe next month?


I finished the Couch to 5K program last Tuesday, and already signed up for a 5k race.  It's today!  I've been awake since 2:30a, so if getting a good night's sleep the night before is a requirement, I'm in trouble.

I've never actually ran a whole 5k - the program ensures you run for a full 30 minutes, but doesn't tell you how FAST to run.  When I'm finished running, I've run 2.75 miles, and a 5k is 3.1 miles, so I'm a bit nervous about that last stretch.  I plan to drink a 5 hour energy drink and go to IHOP and drink lots of coffee for energy.  I hope I don't overdo it and make myself sick! 

Mark has been running for about 5 years and has never entered a race, but I convinced him to enter this one with me, so it will be both of our first races.  He entered the 10k, so we won't actually be running together which is fine, we don't run at the same pace, but it's fun that we'll be running our first race at the same time and we can go together, etc.

I've lost a couple more pounds, exercise and diet, but I went for 2 weeks without losing weight.  It freaked me out a little, I didn't think I was doing anything differently than when I was losing weight, but I kept plugging along and finally yesterday I weighed and lost 2 pounds.  (I weigh myself weekly).  So it's about 13.2 pounds I've lost since the beginning of July.  That's actually pretty good for me, maybe not so good for others, but pretty good for me.  Running must increase my metabolism or something.

I start a new program on Monday - it's Bridge to 10k - for graduates of Couch to 5k, to train for a 10k.  It takes 6 weeks!  I don't know how you can train for 9 weeks for a 5k, and expect to only train for 6 weeks for 10k, but we'll see how it goes.  I fully don't expect to be able to actually run a 10k at the end of the program, but I do expect to run for 60 minutes.  Wow, 60 minutes!  But I never thought I'd be able to run for 30 minutes, either.  I never thought I could be a runner, now I am.  It just goes to prove that you can do anything you set you your mind to do!

Today, my goal is just to be able to actually RUN the whole 5k since I've never run outside before with hills and everything, just on a treadmill.  I don't want to have to stop and walk at all.  I don't care how slow I have to go, I just want to run the whole way.  Time is not important.  I want it to be as pleasurable of an experience as possible so I won't quit and give up on races.  I have all the time in the world to work on my time. 

Other than that, marriage counseling is going okay, we go about every 3 weeks.  We didn't have much to talk about last time we went.  Our relationship has improved dramatically.  I feel so much more loved, I hope he does, too.  I'm trying to do what he said on the survey is important to him, and he is definitely trying to meet my needs, that's for sure.  Maybe that's all that was missing, just someone to show us what the other one needed.

I get freaked out about school, that I'm not progressing fast enough.  I wonder all the time if I should transfer schools.  There's another one that's a longer distance than where I live, but maybe they wouldn't have such tight time constraints on when I have to finish speeds or lose my financial aid.  It's not like I'm about to lose it, but it's always looming in the future.  I've tried to ask specifically WHEN that will be, but the policy has changed, and it doesn't seem like they can give me a definite answer, they just give me formulas, instead of "you have until x-quarter".  That's all I'm asking for, is a date.  All I'm left with is an unknown, as if they know I will transfer if I actually know, because I really might, and they do have a problem with people transferring to the other school.  There was recently a mass exodus to the other school, and I'm not sure why.  But I don't want to run out of financial aid at this school, just to be told at the other school that because that happened, I won't have financial aid there either and had I come there sooner, that wouldn't have happened.  I really don't know how these things work.  So I'm constantly worried about this.  I suppose I should call the other school, but won't they then tell me all the reasons why I should come to THEIR school and try to recruit me?

I go to my psychiatrist in about a month for a refill of Latuda, and I think it's worked rather well.  I've weathered quite a few storms while I've been taking it, and managed to keep myself together *I think*.  Exercised, dieted, went to marriage counseling, lost my dad, mainly kept a positive attitude, but had a lot of anxiety, I mean a LOT, in the beginning.  But the anxiety has subsided and I've gone down on my klonipin at night, it just seems like things are better.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so.


I went to Denver to meet with my family over my dad's death.  He was cremated, so there was no funeral.  We all met at my sister's mother's house (his ex-wife's, but they were still good friends), and it was nice.  My aunt had made a video with pictures and music, one of his friends brought his guitar and sang songs that my dad liked, and people told stories. 

I found out that I wasn't the only one that my dad was "freaking out" on in the last few years.  He was doing that to almost everyone.  He would just get really intense, insane, freaked out that you were wrong and he was right, and cause all kinds of problems.  I guess they talked to each other and found out he was going through difficulties, I decided not to put up with it.

It's all very sad.  When I was meeting with my family, it was probably one of the first times I let myself cry.  His friend was playing all of these songs that he liked, and I was surrounded by people that loved him, and it was just very hard.  I stayed as long as I could, and then left.  I realize I went all the way to Denver, and then stayed maybe 3 hours with my family.  That's all I could handle, but at least I wasn't the first to leave, not nearly. 

My sister and I didn't talk much, there was too much going on.  Mark was very quiet, but he usually is in situations where he doesn't know people, except maybe at work.  Afterwards, he asked me how could we even be compatible, I guess by the way my dad was portrayed.  I asked him if he is the same as how one of his parents would be portrayed if they died.  He said no, so he finally got it.  I thought it was kind of a rude thing to say, actually.  But my dad and Mark are virtual opposites.  The biggest being Mark is very materialistic and my dad just wasn't.  Not at all.  Politically they couldn't be more far apart, the way they view the world, just everything.  I can't say who is right and who is wrong.  I see both sides.  I do see one side as being more selfish, however.  But I'm not even saying I'm not on that side.  I don't even know where I stand on anything anymore.

I had told my school that I was going to be gone for a few days because my dad had died, and today I was sitting in class when my cell phone rang (it was on silent but I saw a number pop up).  I listened to the voicemail and it was the director asking me if I needed to take a leave of absence.  Yes, she knows my dad died, but what the hell?  Why do I need to take a leave of absence when I'm SITTING IN CLASS?  So during break I hopped onto my laptop and sent her an email.  Maybe she was trying to be caring, but really?  I'm at school and you ask if I need a leave of absence?

I had separation anxiety from my dog, leaving him at a kennel for the first time since I got him.  It was a nice kennel, every dog had their own "room" with a door with a glass panel, and they were walked 4 times a day and had group time and I don't know what else.  I guess he found a friend while he was there, but when I went to pick him up, he cried almost the whole way home like he wasn't happy when he was there, and when we pulled up in the driveway, he REALLY started crying until he got into the house.  He panted heavily the whole way home, was almost shaking, or maybe he was shaking, I don't remember, I could just tell he wasn't happy.  Maybe I'll need to find a new kennel for next time, or maybe it was just the fact he was away from home for the first time and being from a shelter, he didn't know if I was going to come back for him or not.  I sure missed my little dog though!  I didn't know how attached to him I had become!

I'm still thinking through things, so much going on.  Marriage counseling, death, and lots of other things.  I guess I'm still somewhat sane, that's a positive.


Today will be Week 7 Day 3, the last day of Week 7, in my Couch to 5K program.  There's only 9 weeks, so I have 2 weeks left.  But I won't be running a 5k when I'm done, which is 3.1 miles.  I don't run that fast, maybe 2.5 miles, or a little more.  Eventually I'll be running 5K, I don't know when that will be.  I've lost about 11 pounds since I started, but it's not all from running.  I've drastically changed my diet, and maybe Latuda has helped, I'm not sure.  I had lost another 2 pounds on Friday.

Thanks for the kind words about my dad, they really helped.  I broke down at the most inconvenient time, but I guess you can't really choose when or where it's going to happen.  Mark was getting gas on the way to church, and I just lost it.  A full face of makeup, and I couldn't stop crying.  We were walking in to church, and I pulled it together enough not cry through the parking lot, but when we got inside and I heard the music, I lost it again.  If anyone saw me, they probably just thought I was really moved by the music, but I don't really care what they thought.  My dad just died, I don't know how you're supposed to act, but I think crying is probably involved.

I called my sister, the first time we've spoken in maybe 8-10 years.  She was really glad to hear from me.  She had been wanting to call me, but said she didn't have my phone number or email or anything.  My aunt had given me her number.  I asked if she was okay and she asked if I was okay, then she told me the details I needed to know like my dad had already paid a funeral, etc.  She said the sweetest thing though.  She said maybe there was a silver lining in all of this, meaning by us talking.  I sure would like a sister, maybe she would too.  We'll see where it goes from here.

I'm actually looking forward to going to Denver, not for the funeral, but just going to Denver in general.  I haven't been there in SO LONG.  I used to spend time there visiting my dad.  I have a lot of fond memories of being there.  My dad had taken me to Casa Bonita's a few times, and I loved it so much that when I got back to my little hometown in Kansas I wrote a paper about it English and read it in front of the class.  I was so small town - haha!  But I want to take Mark there, out of tribute to my dad and to show him where I used to go. 

Politics aren't the same since he passed, watching the Cowboys play the Broncos won't be the same, or any Dallas team play any Denver team.  I didn't realize that with our limited long distance relationship what an effect he had on me.  He was the most die hard left leaning liberal I knew, and he certainly meant well.  I think all liberals mean well.  I used to be one, and I meant well and was very sincere, very caring and giving, I don't know how or why I changed.  He probably saw that I got selfish, and maybe I am, I don't know.  I'm really confused right now.  Did I allow Mark to influence me?   I feel really guilty about the things I said to my dad at the end that led to us not talking.  I mean, REALLY guilty.  Maybe I was wrong and he was right.  But that's politics, there never is a wrong and right, that's why people argue.  But it drove us apart.

I'm looking forward to putting this all behind me and getting on with my life.  I don't know how long that will take.  I wish I could say once the funeral is over and we're back home, but I'm not sure I'll be over it by then.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not all depressed going around crying all the time, I'm functioning, maybe not laughing all the time, but not in bed with the covers over my head either.  I'm not sulking, I feel pretty normal, which I think is awesome with everything going on in my life.  My husband dragging me to marriage counseling because he's so unhappy and listening to his list of reasons why he's so unhappy with me, my dad, I mean, any of these things could be a major trigger for a serious depression.  Yet I'm "hanging in there", dealing with it all.  I'm not sure what's kept me grounded, but I'm glad it has.

My Dad

My Dad died.  I'm in a fog about it.  Everybody grieves differently, I'm just in la-la land, a total space cadet, totally unable to focus on anything but that.  I didn't go to school today, I just stayed home in bed, got up around noon even though I wasn't sleeping, canceled my hair appointment, and here I sit. 

My Dad died of natural causes my Aunt told me.  He had been in the hospital I guess for his leg, he almost lost it because it wouldn't heal (he had diabetes).  Then his blood pressure was very low and they had him on medications, but his kidneys started to fail.  They took him off of the medications, and apparently his blood pressure went back up and his kidneys started functioning.  So they wanted to put him back on the medications and he checked himself out of the hospital without consent from the doctor.  I knew NOTHING about this because we weren't speaking. 

To make things worse, apparently his wife had just EVICTED him from the house, actually got a court order and had him evicted.  My aunt and his other daughter and his ex wife and found him an apartment and moved him into it.  He's legally blind, has a bad back and has diabetes, so he didn't work, he was on disability.  He also has major mental health issues, and I was very relieved he hadn't taken his own life.  My aunt said they found him a cute apartment with people just like him in the complex. 

Apparently he died from a blood clot.  They found him in the closet, he had been on the phone (dialing someone, I suppose, not actually on the phone with anyone), and I guess he fell out of the chair into the closet.  The police found him when they searched his apartment for him.

So now it's all so complicated.  His body is at the morgue, but his wife, who is not his ex-wife, has authority over him, instead of his daughters.  She has the rights to everything, to say exactly what happens to him, over anyone.  She called my sister and my aunt crying, telling them a different story than what he had told them, and you know, who is to say what is the right story, there are two sides to every story.  My sister was much much closer to him than I was, so I'm not getting involved, I'll let them work it out between them, if there is anything to work out, if my sister will even be involved.  For all I know, I could be paying for a funeral, how do I even know?  I hate this waiting, waiting, I can't book a flight yet, I don't know when to go to Denver, I don't know anything.  Everything is so in limbo, I can't make any plans. 

Any my relationship with my sister (half sister) is complicated too.  I don't know her very well either, and the last time we spoke was many years ago.  She wanted me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, and I told her I would, but when it came to getting measured for the dress, I just couldn't, I felt too fat, so I didn't.  So when I put it off, she said it was okay, just pick out a red dress.  I didn't do that either, and rightfully so, she got really mad and said something like "you know, messing up someone's wedding is really fucked up", and I said something like "I guess we'll never be close".  I was the person in the wrong, so how can I just pick up the phone and call her?  I'm afraid she'll still be mad at me, not want to talk to me, whatever, and that will just make things worse.  I probably should just call her, but I don't know, I'm just...scared.

I guess the hardest thing is that we weren't even talking when he died.  I had cut off communication from him, but I did leave it open and told him if he wanted to have a relationship with me that didn't involve politics then to pick up the phone and call me.  He never did.  We just had a political-email relationship really.  And when our politics started to clash, he couldn't deal with it.  When we agreed, it was great, but when I started veering from what he believed, he saw me as a traitor and was so very angry and spiteful to me. 

But apparently he had a great relationship with my sister, they talked on the phone often I guess, they saw each other (they both lived in Denver), but we never had that kind of relationship, we never even lived in the same city except for the first 2 years of my life.

I guess I never really knew my Dad.  My Aunt was going on and on about the good things about him, and I was thinking....what did I really know about him?

Even though, I knew enough about him that I'm upset, I've shut myself down, I can't comprehend things.  Last night Mark was laughing hysterically at a website and I thought, can anyone be more unsympathetic than that?  I guess I can't expect the whole world to grieve with me, everyone can't be sad just because I am. 

Anxiety and Counseling

Since I stopped taking Geodon and switched to Latuda, I've lost almost 10 pounds.  But I've also been dieting and on the Couch to 5k Running Program (on Week 6 out of 9 weeks).  Some of it is from the anxiety I feel almost all of the time, it takes my hunger away.  I don't know if it's because of the absence of Geodon which really calmed me, almost dulled me, or what it is.  But I do feel a tremendous amount of anxiety.  My doctor cut down my klonipin last time I saw him from 3 per day to 2 per day, and since I was taking 2 every night to sleep, I cut it back to 1 per night so I'd have a cushion for panic attacks that might arise.  So there are lots of reasons for the anxiety I feel.  But I keep telling myself, people actually PAY to feel anxious like this so they aren't hungry (phentermine), so maybe it's not such a bad thing.

Mark and I are still in marriage counseling.  We each completed "emotional questionnaires" and faxed them to our counselor, and in our last session, she had our top 5 needs that we had indicated, and our satisfaction charted, with a level of satisfaction tallied at the bottom for each of us.  All of us were surprised that I was more unhappy in the marriage than Mark was.   I mean, I knew I wasn't thrilled in the marriage, but Mark made it sound like it was such a dire situation, that how in the world could *I* be more unhappy than HIM?  But apparently I am, and although I said we weren't really there for me, I was fine, the counselor said "obviously I wasn't fine", and we each went over our top 5 needs, and she discussed some of the comments that we'd made on the questionnaire.  Some were hard for me to hear, but I think it was harder for Mark, believe it or not.  I had already heard what he was unhappy with in our previous session, nothing was new to me. 

But it's opened the door to open and honest communication, and our marriage is already better.  We're both trying to work on improving the needs of the other person, what the other person indicated they aren't getting, and it seems like it's helping.  What is really hard for me, though, is that he feels like I've "let myself go".  I mean, I can cry and cry about it, but what good would that do?  All I can do is buy new clothes, keep exercising and dieting, get manis and pedis, buy shoes, you know, all kinds of girlie things that girls are supposed to love to do that I've neglected to do for awhile.  And to be honest, I've neglected my friends because I've been embarrassed of the way I look, so it's good for me to do these things to feel good about myself, too.  Why I think it's okay for me to look a certain way for my husband but not for my friends shouldn't be right.  And "attractiveness of spouse" is high on his list.  He goes overboard taking care of himself, it's just...I don't know, I guess I got comfortable and sloppy about it because I'm in school, gained weight because of meds, I could list a hundred reasons but in the end, does it really matter?  It doesn't mean that my feelings aren't really hurt though.

I've heard people say that when someone is depressed, sometimes they feel anxious instead of depressed.  In that case, I may be really depressed.  I don't really know what to think of all of this anxiety.

Is It The End?

I ran my Couch to 5k program today Week 5 Day 3 which was running for 20 minutes without stopping.  I did it, which was incredible, but I did have to slow down the speed halfway through.  No matter, I still ran for 20 minutes nonstop.

I feel like my marriage is crumbling and there's nothing I can do.  I am so anxious I can hardly concentrate at school, I don't have much of an appetite, I cry at times.  My husband goes to dinner every night when he's in Chicago, but his dinners last for 5 hours, who has 5 hour dinners?  He says who he's going with but I'm skeptical.  And he's given a laundry list to our marriage counselor of all things he is unhappy with me about that I don't know how to deal with besides trying to fix them, but it's overwhelming.  It makes me think, is it worth it?  Is it better to just pull off the bandaid now?  The way I feel right now is not good, I hate the way I feel. 

I completed a questionnaire the counselor required us to do individually and faxed it over tonight for our session on Friday.  I felt like I was tempting fate by notating MY needs and where *I* am unhappy, like I don't have a right to do that.  Like tonight, I said you go out every night when you're in Chicago, why don't you do that when you're in Dallas?  His response?  So comforting, HA!  I would, but you're there.  Like I'm in his way of having a good time???  Why are we even together then?  He said I'm afraid that you won't let me entertain next week when everyone comes in to town for business.  I said I had no problem with that.

It just seems to me like he's tired of me and wants to move on, but I don't know what is stopping him, maybe it's an emotional connection that's he's not quite ready to break, but will once he gets the strength.  It's not about love anymore.  I sure don't feel loved or cherished. 

Is marriage counseling just a waste of our time and he's ready to move on, and we're going to go through all of this when his mind and his heart have already moved on? 

How can I NOT feel anxious and depressed?  We've been together for 14 years, and I thought a man who adored me and would never leave me is now extremely unhappy with me and I don't know where this will end.  I can only change so much so fast, but in the end, will it all be for nothing?  Is divorce inevitable?

Latuda and Counseling

My birthday was last Tuesday, and it was the worst birthday EVER!  I was dreading it all week, and it when it came, I was so depressed when I woke up.  No, not because I was a year older, but because it was our first marriage counseling appointment.

It went much worse than I ever could have imagined.  I had seen the therapist twice in the past, so she knew all my history, such as how I grew up, etc.  She knew nothing about Mark, so she wanted to get to know him.  Basically the appointment was all about him.  When she asked why we were there, I just "ask him, he has a list".  So he pulls out his tablet, opens up an application, and begins to give reasons that he's unhappy with me.  I glanced over at what he was looking at, and I couldn't read the words, but it looked like some sort of Visio-type application with boxes attached to boxes with words in them.

I never really got a chance to defend myself.  He would say something, and every once in awhile, she would say "How does make you FEEL?".  Well "how does that make you feel" gives me a very limited choice of answers,  "sad, unhappy, mad, etc.", not really the ability to stand up for myself or say anything in return.

So I left just absolutely CRUSHED, I couldn't even talk, I just wanted to start uncontrollably sobbing.  Mark said in the car "So do you want to go to dinner for your birthday tonight?" and I just put my hand up and shook my head no.  All I wanted to do was go to bed and cry.

But, reflecting now, I'm glad things are out in the open.  She sent us both questionnaires where we BOTH put down our needs and how well they're being met (on a scoring system), and then we'll talk about that.  I have unmet needs too, not getting back at him, but while we're in counseling, might as well address them.

Maybe the Latuda is working, because I was able to pull myself together on my birthday and we did go to dinner that night and have a nice night.  Before, I really would have stayed in bed the rest of the day.

Also, something is causing me to really lose weight.  Don't get me wrong, I am TRYING to lose weight, it's just that it's coming off much faster than it normally does.  I've lost about 7 pounds in the last month, when normally, I can't lose more than 4 pounds in a month.  I don't if it's the Latuda, because I started the Couch to 5k Running program around the same time, I guess that's all it could be that I've done differently.  It certainly could be either one.  With the Latuda, I'm not cheating on my diet like I was with Geodon and snacking at night, and I think running might raise your metabolism.  Maybe it's a combination of both, but I'm thinking it might be the Latuda. 

So that's awesome if Latuda is speeding up my weight loss.  The only downside to Latuda I've seen so far is that it makes me constipated.  I've been taking Fibercon at night, but so far, it hasn't worked at all. 

I'm really proud of myself for sticking with the Couch to 5k Running program so long.  The next time I run, it will be Week 5 Day 3, and it's running for 20 minutes with no stopping.  When I started in Week 1, it was all I could do to run for 1 minute at a time!  The program is 9 weeks long, and since I'm about to start Week 6, I can see the end is near and am so excited that I might actually finish!  No, I WILL finish, failure is not an option!

So I've made all these little changes in response to our counseling session, bought lots of clothes (ha!  who thought that something I love to do would be part of me doing something for counseling), getting my nails done every week, oh, life is tough.  But there are other changes, like letting Mark pick movies (even though he picked the one he knew I wanted to see and not one he wanted to see, so why is he complaining that he never gets to see movies he wants to see?).  I know his questionnaire is going to be really tough for me to read, it's going to hurt my feelings a lot, but I'm sure I'll get manage through it and hopefully our marriage will be stronger for it.  She told us BOTH of us would have to make changes, I was surprised to hear her say BOTH, after him listing off all my faults and me saying nothing. 

I don't want a divorce, so it's something I have to do.  I realized that I have unmet needs too, but until I read through that questionnaire, I didn't actually realize what I had been ignoring, what had been hurting me for so long.  So counseling should be good, I hope.  Or not, and Mark won't be able to handle it as well (that I handle it well) as I am able to.  Oh, and Mark is supposedly going through an early "exostential crisis".  You THINK?

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