Don't Go In The Basement!

I have a new problem, it's a very strange problem and I'm not quite sure how to fix it.  In Texas, we didn't have basements, and I moved when I was around 18 or 19, so I didn't realize this was an issue.  Now that we just moved to Illinois and we have a basement, and although we've lived in our house since the beginning of February, I just now realized I may need help.

I've been in our unfinished basement several times, always during the day.  I don't like it all, but there are big windows with natural sunlight and I turn on the lights as well, I do what I need to do and get out as quickly as I can.  I knew I hated going down there by myself, but didn't think about it much.

The other night it was raining very, very hard.  Water was leaking through the front door a bit, so we were going to check to make sure there wasn't any water in the basement.  While Mark was still at the front door, I went to the basement door, opened it, saw that it was pitch black with the stairs leading down and froze.  I thought how ridiculous of me and took a step down and just could NOT do it, I was terrified and stepped back up, turned the light off and shut the door.  Mark came to the basement door and I told him I could not go down there with him as we went to check for water.  I stood at the top of the stairs asking what he saw.  I knew it was not normal to be so petrified of going into a basement, but this huge fear overcame me and I did not want to have any sort of panic attack.  If there was not a reason to put myself through that, why should I?

Mark knew why I couldn't go down there, I knew why I couldn't go down there.  Neither of us had to say anything about where my fear came from, I just didn't know I had that much fear.

When I was a teenager and living with my mother and stepfather, at night, he would drink heavily.  He would get angry.  My bedroom was in the basement, and it seemed like he really hated me.  We got into horrible arguments and he was very mean to me all through my childhood, but it worsened the older I got.  Blah, blah, not trying to tell a "feel sorry for me" story, just explaining what happened. mother SAID she would get worried about me and for my own safety lock me in the basement at night.  I would try to come upstairs and find the basement door locked.  I would beg for someone to open it, but no one would. There wasn't even a bathroom in the basement.  But, apparently my stepfather would sit in his chair with a loaded gun when he was drunk and she was afraid he would shoot me.  I don't doubt this.  He got totally crazy towards the end, not that he wasn't evil and crazy from the beginning.  SHE said the only reason she divorced him was because she was trying to protect me from him and I guess she expected some sort of gratitude from me.  Huh?  So she would have stayed with a drunken lunatic sitting in a chair with a loaded gun had it not been for her trying to protect me?  Why didn't she divorce him when I was 7 then?  10 ?  12?  13? 14? 

So yeah, me and dark basements at night, they don't mix.  I'm absolutely terrified of them and don't even like them during the day but I can force myself down there at least if there is natural light.  HOW can I live in a house with a basement and not be able to go down there, ever, at night, even with someone?  Yes, I can go to counseling, but...that would require me to eventually go down into the basement at night to get over my fear and...I don't want to do that. 

Writing about it is making me mad, just thinking about WHY I can't go into the basement at night, the feelings I get, feeling trapped, afraid of not being able to get out.  I *know*, I just *know* that you are supposed to forgive people of things they have done to you, God expects that, but it is so, so hard for me when things like this come up.  There are many things like this that still haunt me and I'm in my 40's!  And to think my mother doesn't even try to reach out to me and acted cold towards me when I did try to reach out to her a long time ago?  Is it best to keep her cut out of my life?  It's so confusing to me.  I try to think what I did as a teenager to an adult to make my mother hate me, but it must have been pretty bad.  As my own father once told me, I did not win the lottery when it came to parents. 

What Story Do I Have To Share?

I've been asked to write something - at least 500 words - and "share my story".  I thought about it, and how rare it is that I find people who I can relate to who can understand what I'm going through, what I've been through, what I feel or have felt, and said I would do it.  As many people with blogs know, you get a lot of requests for all kinds of things through email and it is extremely rare that I respond.  My purpose is not monetary, to promote anything, even to change the world, and if I help someone through my writing, I am always incredibly surprised.  I just write about how I'm feeling and what is going on in my life, and when I've felt something very extremely, I try to document it at that moment so I can remember how it feels for later reference. I don't even edit and spell check as carefully as I used to - it just doesn't seem that important anymore.  But this had nothing to do with promoting anything, writing a guest post, reading someone's book, just a request to share my story to an audience as long as nothing I wrote had ever been published.

After I said I would do it, I realized...I have no idea what "my story" is!  Yes, obviously, it is a story about my journey of being mentally ill - being bipolar, I mean, I guess?  Everyone is so different, does anyone have the exact same symptoms and levels of the disease?  I don't know or have heard of anyone just like me.  Honestly, I have no idea why anyone even reads my blog!  What do I say that is at all interesting?  I don't think many actually read it anyway.  If I thought they did, I don't think I would write a lot of the things I write, it would be too intimidating.  From what I can tell, people search for things I've written about my experiences with certain medications and I totally understand that, I've done the same.

But...writing about "my story" will require me to think about things and details that are very painful and I really don't want to think about them, and especially attempt to articulate them enough that someone could understand what I am expressing.  Maybe for some people it is a positive experience.  I don't know, I just don't know.  Do I trust myself to go back to those places mentally and not fall apart? No, I probably will fall apart, but if/when I do, can I easily pick myself up again?

Yes, I plan to do it, but it's one of those things that you know you need to do but keep putting it off.  I am not trying to be an advocate for anything, that was never and is not my intention, but the times when I feel that I'm not so alone with this disease...those are very precious moments, and if I could give that gift to someone, whether I knew about it or not, of course I would want to do that.    


Sometimes I LOVE Protesters!!

Awhile back, not too long after we moved to the Chicago area, Mark and I were at a strip mall and I had been wanting to buy some new dog treats for my dog.  There was pet store next door to the store we had just been in but we had bought a lot of things, so Mark stayed in the car while I ran in to grab some.  The name of the store was Petland, so I assumed it was just another store like PetSmart or Petco.  I just KNOW I've blogged about this already, but there's more to the story now. 

So I walk in, and to my horror I realize they sell DOGS!  Of course I know what this means - they are responsible for supporting puppy mills!  I was so outraged that I was in a daze.  I sort of remember someone asking me if I need help, but I tried not to look at many, many people looking at the puppies and knocking on the glass, looked up and down the aisle for pet treats, didn't see any, and knew I would not be buying anything from there anyway.  I wanted to lecture someone so badly, but who?  A teenager working there for minimum wage?  What good would that do?  I walked out of the store, got into the car, and immediately Mark asked what wrong and right away knew how upset I must be.  But he's a person who believes in adopting rescue dogs as well. 

Yesterday we were on our way somewhere, and I saw a group of people protesting, holding out signs, and I told Mark to drive by slowly so I could get some good snapshots, even though I had NO IDEA what they were protesting.  I love drama though and was hoping for something interesting, but didn't realize WHERE they were that made the protest so important.  They were in front of the strip mall of Petland!

I wanted to join them, but Mark of course didn't think it was a good idea.  I just now noticed that sign that says "They pay $30 per pup then charge you $1500".  Maybe that is why there are Petland credit cards?  Shameful.
We spent some time with Mark's friend and girlfriend today and I brought this up, beginning with my experience with walking into Petland.  As soon as I said I didn't know what Petland was, his friend said they sell dogs, that's where I bought mine, which, by the way, he absolutely adores his dog.  So I asked him if he realized they help keep puppy mills in business and he just made a stupid joke on the word "puppy mill".  But he does have a sweet dog - very sweet and loving.  I found out from his girlfriend who was with him when they got the dog, which she said when they got him she didn't realize they were supporting puppy mills until later, that they told them they came from breeders and blah blah blah.  I realize I really inserted my foot into my mouth, not knowing that is where he got his beloved dog, and was shocked that either he didn't know about the horrible conditions of many puppy mills or didn't care.  I like Mark's friend, I just don't get not having compassion for animals, although again, he has all the love and compassion in the world for his dog.
Animals have always been a very sensitive subject for me.  It's hard for me to go to pet SUPPLY stores on adoption day.  I see the dogs in the kennels that need good homes and many times I leave the store in tears.  Mark, many times, has simply refused to stop when he sees it's adoption day because of my reaction to it.  I want to adopt ALL of them, they ALL deserve good homes, I want to take care of ALL of them, but of course, I can't, and he tells me we've already rescued one and given him a good home.  And he is SUCH a good, good dog, the best.  I have never in my life had a more loving dog or a better dog.  I love my dog!
Yes, I found Bailey sitting on the sofa table one day - he thinks he's a cat!  And sometimes he hops onto the ottoman, but he always thinks ahead and has a treat in his mouth to snack on once he gets there!  To think his life was spared by merely a day is such a tragedy - and miracle to me!  I sometimes see signs or bumper stickers that are paws that say "Who rescued who?"  Indeed!  He's absolutely my best friend - has to be everywhere I am, in my lap, in the same room, if I close the door and he's not in the room with me, when I open it I find he's still outside of the room just waiting on me the whole time to come out or open the door to let him in.  He is truly the most loving dog I have ever known!  I keep telling myself that Bailey will outlive everyone, because I can't bear the thought of losing him one day.
Oh!  Moral of the story!  Do NOT support puppy mills!  Yes, I could post pictures from puppy mills, but that would require me to have to view those pictures to post, and I simply can not do that, it is too emotional and heartbreaking for me.  It's all about profit, and if you've even just watched the Dog Whisperer go to an "acceptable" puppy mill (no, of course Cesar would never advocate a puppy mill), you would see that it still horrible conditions for dogs.  I've heard people say they don't want to adopt a rescue because it may come with baggage.  Uh...I think a dog from a puppy mill would have quite a bit of baggage!
We went to the horse track today - very fun, and I liked my husband's girlfriend a lot.  So much fun choosing horses to bet on with her, having girl talk, just being myself for a change.  We went to dinner, but I got very tired.  It could just be a lot of activity that I'm not used to since my surgery. 
Somehow during dinner the discussion turned to serving on a jury.  My husband's friend had served on a jury, went through a week's testimony on a civil case, and when they started to deliberate, the lawyers settled and he felt like he had wasted a whole week because the jury didn't get to make a decision.  I said no, the jurors did NOT waste a whole week - that whole time during testimony each of the jurors were being analyzed - their reactions to everything, and predictions were being made about which way they would go - for the plaintiff or the defendant.  No, they didn't get to make the ultimate decision, but they were a very important part of the process.  Everyone at the table used some kind of word to describe me that I can't remember, but it was like a Polly-Anna type of thing, thinking positive about everything, etc.  Um, no?  At school we talk about trials and juries every single day?  I wasn't just trying to be positive and make him feel better about spending a week and feeling like he had wasted his time - if he had, what would I care?  He would just hate the process, and I have no reason to stick up for it.  I was being brutally honest, that is exactly what happens, what did happen, and he actually said after they settled both attorneys asked each juror which way they would have voted (I think individually).  Why would they do that unless they were trying to learn if their predictions were right for future cases, what reasoning each juror had for the opinion they had formed for why they had decided one way or the other?  And there was no argument, just thanks after he said what he had to say, and then the lawyer departed.  I don't understand why they couldn't see that, it seems so crystal clear to me, but maybe what seems obvious to me is simply because we talk about juries so much at school and I don't even realize it seems so common sense to me. social life is starting to pick up I guess.  Party next weekend where they will be there as well which is good because I like them.  It's just that I'm the only non-professional.  All three are executives - well, his friend isn't exactly an "executive", in a high leadership position, but a well paid professional.  I'm a student not even in school right now, but at least I've been in management so I can make my points and agree or disagree.  All of these power couples Mark knows where both are so successful, it's hard to keep up.  Where in the world are women like myself?  Yes, I was once pretty successful myself, I will be again one day, I just hate being in limbo. 

Is It Wrong To Wish Someone Didn't Exist?

So...I'm sure everyone is getting information overload about the tornado in Oklahoma, and I am doing my best to stay away from media about it.  I've been extremely emotional lately and happened to find out about it before anyone else somehow and when I was breaking the news to people who didn't yet know, I didn't get the reaction I expected which upset me even more and made me question all of humanity in tears.  So, yeah, I'm staying away.

But I made a comment to my husband which seemed - well, maybe not NORMAL but at least I *thought* it was understandable or I never would have said it, yet he didn't understand it at all and didn't think it was right.  My abusive ex-boyfriend lives in Oklahoma City, I've talked about him before in my blog and certainly don't want to get all upset right now and talk about it again!  Briefly, we lived together for around two years, several arrests were made for domestic violence, there was a court ordered protection order for a year, of course horrible fights, bruises that everyone could see, people trying to intervene but...blah.  It was a horrible, horrible time and I really don't care to remember just how horrible at this moment.  It was extremely, extremely hard for me to leave that relationship, I can't exactly explain why except that I felt I couldn't go on without him for some really bizarre reason.  Typical battered women's syndrome I suppose.  I saw him as two people - I really did.  This most wonderful prince charming that would stay that way if only I just didn't do this or that that he said always made him so mad.  Because I *did* talk about it in my blog before, one smart ass commenter said not to say things unless the person was actually prosecuted (uh, probably because I posted his picture which I have since removed?) : )  YES, HE WAS PROSECUTED.  I dropped the charges over and over again until they would no longer let me - the district attorney said out of the three charges he had for just one of the incidents, he would only drop two and he pled guilty and was punished.  So...I read all the time in the news that somehow reporters find out about people being charged with things that are later dropped, so I guess even all of those times are on his record as well.

ANYWAY, back to my thought process and comment.  He lives in Oklahoma City as far as I know, last I knew.  Is it really that wrong that part of me was hoping he had met his demise in the tornado? Look at this from my point of view!  I know what he is capable of doing, how he can hurt someone physically, how he snaps, what he says to someone to threaten them, how he controls them, even what he does to animals.  I feel some of the weight of that on my shoulders, whatever he may be doing now, to whomever it may be.  Can people change?  That extremely?  Can one relationship actually be that toxic between two people, yet those same two people go on to normal relationships without physical or emotional abuse?  I just can't see that happening.  He's too controlling, but was it me?  How would I ever know?  Yes, part of his punishment was an anger management class, but he said that he and everyone in that class was court ordered to be there and they all laughed about it the whole time they were there!  Maybe he said that to me to prove I didn't prove anything to him and nothing I could do could change him, or maybe he did get something out of it and actually changed.  Too many "what if's" and "I'll never knows".

So yes, I did search the internet for a list of victim names and was kind of hoping to see his name.  It wasn't there, and...I was a little disappointed.  That would bring a big peace of mind to me, not that I stay up and worry about it or anything.  But just to know that he no longer exists and would no longer be able to hurt anyone ever again?  That isn't normal?  Mark thought it was awful I would think that, and compared it to him thinking that he would never wish his ex-wife were dead even though she cheated on him.  Yes, I feel very bad for him that he was extremely hurt that she cheated on him, but this guy cheated on me as well, and it's just not the same!  Him cheating on me didn't even enter my mind when I was looking for his name as a victim.  That was the furthest thing I was thinking about - I had actually forgotten all about it and now...sure, it's not a pleasant memory but it's forgettable in comparison to everything else.

I talked to him, not in person, about six or seven years ago, and I warned him, very seriously.  I told him IF he ever did ANYTHING to ANYONE that would cause someone to try to find me because of our history (legally) to testify against him because of something he had done, I would absolutely testify against him, I would do everything I could to make sure he got whatever he deserved. 

What other means do I possibly have to try and stop him from hurting someone again?  That's all I have.  Any other opportunities I had to stop him from doing it to someone else I let go by my own stupidity and blindness.

I don't want him to suffer, I mean, I certainly don't wish him to be homeless or painfully, chronically sick or a foregone alcoholic or drug addict or anything like that.  But I most certainly don't wish success and prosperity on him either.  I wasn't wishing pain on him in a tornado, that didn't even cross my mind until just now, that's not what I was thinking at all.  I just don't want him to exist! 

A really weird thing though.  When I did talk to him all those years ago, he was curious and was asking was I married, what was Mark like, what did he look like, all of these strange questions.  I have no idea why I continued to talk to him, but I remember one thing I did say was that Mark was very lean, he had the body of a runner.  I don't know why that still stands out to me, it just always has - maybe he grilled me on that or something, he's always been very into fitness and the way his body looks, I mean obsessed with it, but he'd never ever been a cardio person, always a big weight lifter.  The more weight he could lift, the better.  I'd never seen him do cardio - ever.  Sweat from exercise?  Yes, tons.  Move more than a few inches?  No, never.

So I was doing my search, and wow, there was his name, and his city, on several websites, showing marathons he had run and his finishing times.  WHAT??  So I went back in my email to see around the time it was that we had briefly been communicating, and these races were all AFTER that.  If we were talking about running, why would he not have said he had started running?  He loves to brag and talk about himself and his body, if I said Mark had a runner's body and I loved it, I have no idea why he wouldn't have said "I run marathons" because that is just who he is.  But he was strangely asking questions about it, that what you like?  SURELY he didn't decide to start running because of THAT?  That would be too crazy, and like...really creep me out, I mean, seriously, but even if he did, surely he didn't keep ON running because of that, maybe he decided he enjoyed it.  He even did the freaking Boston.  What a loser overachiever, having to show he's better than whoever he's racing against, I have no idea!  But he never will be.  I just wish he didn't exist!!!!

Call Me Crazy? No, Thanks.

I thought I was overly emotional when I watched this particular show, but I recorded it to watch when I was lying in bed recovering from surgery.  I didn't feel like watching it for a long time, but maybe two weeks ago I was folding the laundry on the bed, near the television where I'd decided to record MANY shows where I thought I'd be lying in bed just watching television recovering (didn't happen), I decided to see what it was all about.  It was called Call Me Crazy, and I had heard it was supposed to help with breaking down the stigma of mental illness.  Jennifer Aniston directed or produced or was involved in some way, that's how I found out about it.  I'm a big celebrity follower - yes, I admit it - if a celebrity is doing something, wearing something, saying something, breaking up, making up, showing a "baby bump" (can't a girl eat a piece of cheesecake these days and just walk to her car without being accused of being pregnant??), I will be the first to know!

So, I have no idea why I had been avoiding it, but I had.  I dreaded it, I did NOT want to watch it.  I think deep down, I really don't consider myself any different than anyone else.  I don't FEEL mentally ill.  Why is what I feel or do or say or think anything different than anyone else?  How are THEY different than ME?  I don't like thinking that way.  I don't want to be different, I don't want to admit it.  I convince myself I'm not mentally ill, yet take all of these pills at night.  My husband watches me, they're all lined up on the counter every night, and I make excuses.  "Oh, those aren't ALL for my mental health, it's also allergies, and for sleep and for constipation..." which is true, but I'm trying to keep the focus off of the biggest reason I take medication every day, I know I am.  I'm very embarrassed, even to my husband, who has taken me to the psych ward, gone to counseling with me.  If I can't admit it to myself, how can I expect other people to accept it?

So I'm watching this show, and it's five stories, I think - different types of mental illnesses.  Yes, there was one where a woman had bipolar disorder - SO not me.  I don't have those extreme ups like she did, and while I'm sure others do, I couldn't relate.  But...I could relate to how all of the mentally ill people FELT about their illness, how people treated them, how they felt about what people thought of them, and especially, ESPECIALLY what they thought of themselves because of their illness.  How they were unsure of their futures - could they be successful?  Yes, I HAVE been successful while having this mental illness, I'm just in limbo now.  It was heartbreaking, and I don't think there was a single moment of the show where I wasn't crying, tears running down my face, I just wanted to lay my head in my pillow and cry and cry.  Wow, just thinking about it right now I can feel the lump in my throat and I'm trying not to cry.

Maybe some people embrace their mental illness, is that possible?  I see where some people have NO TROUBLE just telling people what they have, what they take, it's part of who they are.  Yet that's not me.  I've never known anything other than who I am and how I've felt, so normal?  What is that?  That isn't what I feel, who I've been, what I am?  Yes, there have been times where it has been hard to function, impossible to function, and I realize that is NOT normal. 

I think, overall, I am just so healthy, am I right?  Am I wrong?  My blood tests come back with everything SO GREAT - blood levels - perfect.  Sugar level, cholesterol, fat, vitamins, everything, all in range.  Blood pressure - low and normal.  Heart rate - same.  All of the normal indicators would suggest I'm very, very healthy.  Yet...I just had a hysterectomy, but I got RID of that problem.  Check that off the list!  I've never had a problem with dust or dirt IN MY LIFE!  Now all of a sudden it makes me very ill?  I ran out of Singulair (it's now a generic, I can't remember the name), and didn't take it for just one day, and the lawn care company showed up that day in a big dump truck of dirt for the garden beds and I have no idea what else, I wasn't outside.  They were here for about four hours, I didn't go outside, but later my silly dog went out and rolled around in the dirt in the beds and came in covered in the stuff.  That night, I felt very sick, like I was going to throw up.  I thought it was because I ate raw cookie dough - I had made Mark a Texas shaped cookie cake for his birthday, and in the process ate a lot of the dough, but I've done that since I was a kid!  But I knew if I didn't fall asleep fast, I was going to puke.

The next day - omg.  I was SICK.  Horrible headache, it felt like I had a head cold or something.  I actually took hydrocodone my head hurt so bad.  Once the headache subsided I realized...oh, this might be allergies, but wth, what is it?  The FREAKING DIRT??  Seriously, I played in dirt when I was a kid, who hasn't??  Why didn't I get sick when I was a kid?

Mark came home from work and stopped at the store to pick up my prescription.  I took one right away, one again that night, kept using Symbicort for this stupid asthma I "supposedly have" and need to "trust my doctor I have", and sure enough, the next day I was much better.

So he said, "Wow, you are just a really sick person, aren't you!"  I am?  I don't think I am.  I think I am a very healthy person!  I make sure I eat vegetables, fruit, very lean beef or chicken, exercise when I can which I can't for two more weeks, am I overall a sick person? 

I think I'm a healthy person.  Yes, I have a mental disorder, but you know, I'm FINE.  It barely exists, it is just kind of there, I know nothing else.  I'm allergic to dirt, and well, exercise, exercise induced asthma.  Kind of sounds princess-y, doesn't it?  Allergic to dirt and exercise?  Ha!  Doctors will tell you to stay away from dust, lecture you like you're a smoker or something, but no doctor in the world will tell you not to exercise.  They will pump you full of enough drugs until you're able to move and not sniffle or cough! : )

There are people a lot worse than I am.  I have a few issues I'm getting under control, but overall, yes, I think I am a VERY healthy person.  I much as I can control, right?

Stuck In A Chicago Suburb!

Ugh.  Being stuck in the house all day, day after day, week after week, is just not healthy!  Especially when the weather looks so nice outside!  A nice surprise was that as everything started turning green and the lawn care company came to maintain our lawn, slowly tulips began peeking their way out of the garden bed and have bloomed!  When you buy a house in the middle of winter that is covered in inches of snow, you have absolutely NO IDEA what you are getting yard-wise.  We have some very, very pretty trees - some flowering, tulips in several flower beds, bushes, but for some reason a lot of dandelions - they're everywhere in the whole city!  (My suburb, uh...I don't think Chicago has a dandelion problem on the cement and asphalt) : )  It's funny, everyone's yards are pretty clear of dandelions, but then where there are no houses and no one is doing weed control, they're everywhere!  I want to take a picture of me and Bailey sitting in a field of dandelions - like everybody does of themselves with their children in Texas when they sit in a field of weeds of the state flower - bluebonnets!   Obviously, bluebonnets are much prettier. : )

Word of advice to anyone who is planning a hysterectomy:  Consider the timing of Mother's Day and the date of your surgery (if you can)!!  Mother's Day occurring three weeks after my hysterectomy was not cool, at all.  I was totally fine with it, and actually it wasn't that big of a deal, but happening upon my facebook page with everyone writing Happy Mother's Day was a bit much for me to handle that day!  Not having spoken to my mother in years and years always makes Mother's Day a downer already, but it just added to it.  BUT, Mark was so very sweet.  He surprised me with cards from him and the dog for Mother's Day, and took me to lunch for Mother's Day - for being a good mother to Bailey. : )  Well, I am a good mother to him, that IS true!!

I was okay with it, I really was, or thought I was, about not having children.  A song came on the radio - it's one from Twilight and I just think that whole story is so romantic - falling in love FOREVER and getting married, knowing you'll be together FOREVER..  I was trying to explain this to my husband who wasn't getting it at all (they're vampires - they'll never die - they'll always be together, vampires are romantic, DUH?) and he just said what seemed to me the strangest, most odd, and at the time it seemed like the cruelest thing he could have said.  Something like women just felt that way because they were made that way to procreate and have children.  WHAT-THE-HELL?  I just looked at him, and I could feel the tears starting to form.  I started talking, and I heard the quivering start n my voice. "HOW could you think *I* would be thinking that right now?  That *I* would be feeling that?  That I would think something was romantic because of *that*?  I just had a hysterectomy!  How does having children in any way apply to me thinking something is romantic??"

Yes, I started crying, how could he?  I mean, I wish I could somehow convey the coldness in which he said it, the matter of factness steel-y way he phrased it, no wiggle room, this is how it is.  Of course a lot had to do with WHAT he said, but it was also HOW he said it.  Almost like he was disgusted by it, but I have been incredibly, INCREDIBLY emotional.

I have been a rollercoaster of emotions.  Happy, crying, and angry.  It could be hormonal, although I still have my ovaries.  We (okay *I*, it always *my* idea what we send his mother for Mother's Day, and *I* order it, or nothing would get done) sent his mother a specialty cake for Mother's Day, and she sent us an email that said something like thanks, we'll share it with his sister and brother in law, they are coming over for that day and his brother in law was cooking.  I was like WTF??? 

I was SO ANGRY!  I mean, I was really mad, like...I could not let it go.  It was our "date night", a night that we spend together ON PURPOSE, and all I could do for the good first part of the night is talk about how she had burned a bridge with me.  I had it in my head that she was saying thanks for the cake, but here is what your SISTER is doing for Mother's Day, she is actually visiting me, not just sending a cake, that is what a good child does on Mother's Day, AND they are cooking for us, not just sending something to eat.  If you've guessed I do not like his sister, you would be correct.  If you've guessed they've been compared, you would be correct.  But NOT by his parents, his own sister compares them to each other, and not flatteringly to herself! It drives me insane, but I guess that part is obvious.

So I was furious, beyond furious.  I got up the next morning, re-read the email, and thought - what was the big deal?  Why was I so mad about THIS?  It's just a thank you and says what she is doing for Mother's Day - so what?  I asked Mark what he thought, and he said the same thing, but I already knew that, because he was looking at me so strangely the night before when I was on my tirade.  He was agreeing, but in a way that he was afraid not to agree, ha!  And at the same time kept trying over and over to change the subject, but when I'm like that, dude, just let me get it out because....I'm sitting there steaming and obsessing, trust me.  Had his mother walked up right then I probably would have said  "Oh, hello! How are you?" because I'm just like that, I'm not rude or confrontational normally, but I will obsess until I get it all out!

And...lonely.  I've been very lonely, very lonely, yet getting used to it.  And any little thing Mark does, well, he needs to remember he's about the only person I see or talk to all day so if he is in a bad mood, then the only person I've seen that whole day has been in a bad mood and that is not good!  He is going through a super bad patch of a time at work, very stressful, very soul searching, just a very high stress project he is on where people have foregone how they treat each other because results are so much more important than people could ever be to the company.  UNTIL....the project is over, the economy rebounds (WHEN it does), and watch what happens to the people.  Someone he hired has already quit.  The reason?  She decided her husband made enough money for the family and she simply didn't like going to work any more.  Ha!  I have to admit, I love honesty.  But he would do the same, it's absolutely horrifying the stories he tells me.

Which reminds me of ANOTHER break down I had!  So he keeps talking about work because it's so stressful, and it keeps putting me back in the place I was before I went into the hospital - when the other person got the promotion I thought I deserved and it devastated me.  Very high stakes, cut throat corporate big consulting company I worked at and the thing is - I gave it 200%, all I had, everyone said I did a great job, great reviews, I was the best at what I did, better than everyone, I was getting 20% raises yearly, saying I was better than all my peers, everyone that reported to me was doing better than all of their peers according to outside consulting companies and - statistically you could also see that was true, I had developed many members of my team who were then MY peers as well, so the next step logically was when there was an opening, and there would only be one opening, I would get it, right?     No.  Someone that *I* had developed, helped get promoted and was my peer, then coached him because he could not get along with the person we reported to (obviously too well?) got it.  At the same time I was being told that person was being promoted and I wasn't, I was also told I had been nominated employee of the month but I would not be given the employee of the month title or benefits/awards because I had been about 5-10 minutes late a couple of times each month.  OH MY GOD, I could not believe what was happening.  It's like everything was so great and perfect, and then on that day, BAM.  As if they wanted to promote him, and so they had to bring me down and show me and everyone (above me for justification) that I was not so great, and they did it so hatefully, so ruthlessly, I still don't get it.  It broke me, you don't just give your all, feel like you did all you could possibly have done and you did it so well, you were really talented with people and brought out the best in them and did what was best for the company, and have them treat you that way without it effecting you.  Or maybe you can - Mark seems to be able to handle it better than I can.  I gave up.  It broke me.  As the days went on, the weeks, the months, I got worse and worse and worse, suicide was screaming louder and louder in my head and I wound up in the hospital. 

BUT, the thing is, was that chemical?    I was crying about it JUST last weekend, and that was 12 years ago!  Not about where I could be now, blah blah, just about, giving your all and failing, how that hurts and how I'm scared to do that again.  How I could never work at a place like that again, and when Mark talks about work, sometimes he brings it all back and I BEG him to quit because of course I don't want that to happen to him.  It happened to me, why couldn't it happen to someone else?  I guess I'm not that strong, I'm too weak, I'm too trusting, the person I reported to, I thought she was my friend and while no, I didn't expect her to give me a promotion because I didn't EARN it, as a friend, she shouldn't have been so ruthless about it, so mean, so calloused.  I fell apart when she was talking to me - she handed me a makeup compact and told me to cover up my blotched face where I had been crying, get my purse and go home.  I can't write about it anymore, I swear I'm going to start crying again.  It was so incredibly insensitive, the whole thing, one of the most insensitive things I've ever known.  No, no one called me fat or ugly.  It was worse.

But...speaking about fat.  I read about the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch - what the hell?  He doesn't sell clothes to "fat people" and that's a girl/woman who wears anything over a size 10?  And that only people of a certain size are "cool"?  That made me mad, and when I saw a picture of him, I thought for real??  Yes, he looks like he keeps in shape, but seriously, lay off the plastic surgery or whatever has happened.  BUT, I just HAD to go to the website to see these "cool clothes" that he said people really want and I had read other people sticking up for the brand, and then....I saw the cutest clothes and some were on sale half price!  I was SO conflicted.  I found jeans that looked just like what I had been searching for for some time, and plain colored tshirts with just the right cut, all on sale and in the right colors and cuts!  Luckily I spent the money Mark gave me for my personal budget this month because I would be disgusted with myself had I bought clothes from that company, yet...they are so adorable, I still want them.  But do I want them because he made it sound exclusive (he actually used that word, his clothes are exclusive - what a jerk, right?), or do I like the clothes because I just like them?  They are what I would normally buy, just plain stuff, very normal, no frills, exactly what I like and a very good price, but where do you draw the line?  I don't like him or what he said or believes, but can I not wear an A&F pair of jeans?  Can a gay guy not eat a Chik Filet sandwich?  Very conflicted, but it doesn't matter, I can't buy anything right now anyway. : )

I've written too much - I need people to talk to!  Help me!  I'm stuck in a house in the Chicago suburbs and I can't get out!!!!  Too bad I'm not making fortune cookies...


Time is Going By soooo slooooow!

I read that Catherine Zeta Jones is back in the hospital for her bipolar disorder, for "maintenance", or whatever reason it may be.  She was just diagnosed a few years ago, I believe, and I know for myself it took years upon years to find any sort of drug cocktail that even semi-worked, so I wish her lots of luck.  But when it came out publically that she was bipolar, it was a real inspiration to me.  First of all, I wondered, wow, what had the Douglas household been through before Zeta Jones was diagnosed and was finally hospitalized?  Even big celebrities, like Michael Douglas, can put up with their spouses having a mental illness and still love them just as much, or at least it seems.  For me, and us, that was a horrible time, lots of pain.  I was diagnosed on the irritable side, but  hospitalized on the depressive side.  I don't recall either time fondly, not at all.  Both are pretty dark moments of my life.

But also, Catherine inspired me when I found out she was bipolar because obviously she was put on mood stabilizers, or I assume she was, and her weight didn't go off the charts!  She didn't gain 30 pounds, 50 pounds, 100 pounds - a massive amount of weight trying this or that which made her appetite insatiable.  I realized then that it WAS possible for me to have this condition and be a normal weight, that I *can* be aggressive with my doctor and demand what I want from my treatment, and that would be medication that does not increase my appetite or have a side effect of gaining weight.  I had just kind of been sad about it, resigned myself to this new reality of what I was and it was a sacrifice for mental stability.  So, yes, with a huge PUSH from my husband, and I mean huge, I put myself back in the driver's seat of what I would and would not take, and it has only been for the best.

I'm no longer a zombie all the time, I don't eat the entire house when I take medicine at night, fall asleep with food in my mouth, go to bed in t-shirts stained with food from what I had just been eating but was so out of it I was probably missing my mouth.  Can you understand why my husband would not not find this attractive if he was observing this?  I would find it disgusting.  And he was observing it, because he would tell me once in awhile when I did some of those things when I didn't remember, although most of the time I did.

I no longer drive in the morning with cars honking at me because I'm weaving in and out of their lanes since it's all I can do to keep my eyes open I'm in such a fog, or sometimes waking up and just barely able to call in to work to say I'd be late, rolling back over and sleeping off the medication and going in later.  That is not being a functional person with bipolar disorder.  I would say I was getting by, I'm pretty much disgusted with myself when I think about how I acted back then and it was only a few short years ago.  Why did I put up with that?  Why did I find that acceptable?  Yes, I know how horrible things can get, but to live like that?  I was just in denial.

It's not just the weight, it was everything that went with it - all of the other side effects that I mentioned as well.  Those were all brought up in counseling.  I even wrecked my car on that medication, just on a freaking curb, and you know what I did when the air bag went off and the SOS system came on to see if I was okay?  I said I was, and kept eating my McDonald's french fries while they asked if I needed a tow truck.  I was SO hungry I had left the house for food in that condition and didn't even care when I wrecked my car, and my hunger was STILL more important than getting into a wreck (over $8k of damage).  Tell me - is that NORMAL?  Is that something that someone who is mentally ill has to resign themselves to just to live?  To be "better"?  Is that even better?  Okay, so I don't die of suicide, I die of driving to McDonald's to get french fries instead.  Would that make everyone feel better?  Is that the point?

This laying around doing nothing is soooo old.  I'm not really laying around, I'm sitting around all day.  I should be taking naps but I'm not tired enough to sleep.  My tummy still hurts from surgery and I still take medication for the pain once in awhile, but not often.  It hurts mostly at the end of the day.  Last weekend when Mark and I walked around stores, THAT is when the fatigue that women talk about hit me.  It didn't take long at all and wow, I was exhausted.  I am so surprised when I hear the few women that are going back to work two weeks after a hysterectomy.  No, they don't say they are ready, they say they are NOT ready, but that's all the time they have to take off or one of them said their doctor released them to go back to work.  If I just sit here and do nothing, I'm okay, but if I do anything at all, I'm in trouble.  Pain, exhaustion, not worth it.  I took a whole quarter off from school to have this surgery and to heal so...I'm going to make the most of it.  I only get one chance to heal from this so...I'm going to make sure I do it right.

I live in the craziest neighborhood, but I think most neighborhoods are like this, they just don't have a platform they've created to vent on like my neighborhood has created.  People say things when they're behind their computer that they wouldn't normally say when they are in person.  JUST THIS WEEK, here are some of the complaints that have been posted:

  • Am I the only one that is sick of looking at big green garbage cans all over the subdivision. AND I just passed a house (Saturday AM) that has all their garbage at the curb for Wednesday pick up! It does state in the covenants that garbage cans must be in the garage or shielded from view. I think that village states no cans at the curb until 6PM the day before pick up. It looks terrible!

    • Who do we contact about our landscaper mowing at 6:40 in the morning? I thought the noise ordinance was no earlier than 7:00?

      ((Sidenote - there is a noise ordinance???)

      (In regards to someone concerned about a pitbull that was getting loose in the neighborhood and biting):

      • I have not seen that dog, but there is a blonde lab that is always off leash in the area of and that is constantly using the open area and my lawn as a bathroom! I think maybe it is time for the HOA to remind ALL dog owners to keep their dogs on their own property or face the Association mandating that they put up a fence.

        FACE THE ASSOCIATION!  What are they going to do?  Line up a firing squad?   I'm absolutely sympathetic to someone whose neighbor's dog is using their yard as a toilet and find that incredibly rude of their neighbor, but "face the association"?  Ha!  That actually is one of my pet peeves though - people who don't keep their dogs secured.  Not so much about my yard, but for the animal's safety.  It could get hit by a car or run off and get lost.  And, in the reply to the original message that is not on here, someone's pitbull mix is apparently biting other dogs and people.  Just secure your dogs, people! : )  That includes MY neighbor, who allows her dog out free to wonder into OUR backyard with my dog secured to play and sniff butts with my dog.  That is really awkward for me.   I go to call him in but he wants to stay out, then their dog looks at me as if I want him to come in, too, and then I start that the bulldog mix that the neighbors are talking about, because it is loose and it is a bulldog mix...

        Just for the record, the week isn't over yet, it's Wednesday morning.  Neighborhood people?  CHILL OUT!  I do want to say I'm a bit nervous, though.  Since my surgery, I don't get up and shower and get dressed right away.  I lounge in my Victoria Secret night shirts.  They do cover me well, not see through, long sleeved, but they are a bit short.  Not at all lingerie like or the VS t-shirt type nightshirts, more formal, but still.  I let my dog out and the poor little guy loves being out in the sun but we don't have a fence and he is attached to this long lead so he can go everywhere in the backyard he wants, except he gets wrapped around trees and barks for me to rescue him.  I don't have time to get dressed so I put on my Ugg slippers and walk out there to get him.  

        Is there a dress code to be outside in my neighborhood???  I'm just waiting for the post that says something about me being outside in my nightshirt for all to see.  I only have two neighbors - and those women are....hmmm.  They don't take care of themselves, I'll just say it that way, so I could see them getting upset if they found my attire not to be appropriate, and it's probably not.  I shouldn't be outside if I'm not dressed.  But cut me a little slack!

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