Happy? Me? Strange, new feeling! : )

I am actually happy and content with my life right now!   It is a wonderful, if not scary, feeling.  I haven't felt this good in so long that I can't even remember when it was.  I find it sad that whenever I am simply happy I don't trust my feelings.  I have to analyze "am I too happy?", but no, I have zero hypomanic symptoms.  I really am simply happy.  Then I start worrying and even warning people about how depressed I can get and probably will be again soon.  Surely this can't last?  And I know it won't.  Eventually, for everyone, something situational will happen to bring me way down.  But even still, that is normal, right?  What is NOT normal is the way I process it and where it leads me. 

I am dreading, absolutely dreading the winter, and it is almost here in Chicago.  I was pretty depressed last winter, probably from January - March or maybe April.  Things started turning around when the time changed and there was more daylight.  I don't know how I could possibly warn anyone close to me any more than I have about my depression.  I do not want to lose ANYONE I am close to right now, that I have grown so fond of, because of it.  Last year I got Seasonal Affective Disorder which was finally diagnosed when I was able to force myself to see my psychiatrist.  The thing is - I wasn't even able to do that UNTIL I started feeling better, when winter was ending and the weather was getting warmer.  I got maybe the most antisocial I had ever been.  I didn't reply to anyone's texts, emails, anything on facebook, the phone (but I hate talking on the phone), and completely isolating myself to the point where I couldn't even leave the house to make a scheduled psychiatrist appointment.  If I had the tiniest thought that I could actually go grocery shopping, I grabbed it, no matter how I looked, showered, anything about my appearance.  I knew if I didn't jump at that moment, it would go away.  No idea how many cancelled and no shows for the psychiatrist and my therapist during that time, it is countless. I am so very grateful that neither of them terminated me as I have read happens a lot to psychiatric patients for not showing up, sometimes just one visit.  But on those stories, I just have to wonder what more of the story do I not know?

So now I am incredibly happy and content, but also very worried and scared about winter.    It's horrible to worry about when the next big depression is coming, but I feel really good and don't want it to stop.  Why can't I just be normal, with regular ups and downs, where people listen to upbeat music, get out of the house for an activity and be with friends, exercise, and that lifts their mood?  Is that really all it takes for them?  It must be, because people have sent emails and comments asking why didn't I just do those things?  So hard for them to understand that of course, I try everything I can possibly think of, but even though it works for them, it doesn't for me.  It must be hard to understand something they haven't felt or experienced and I am sure they think I am simply feeling sorry about myself and should snap out of it.  If given the opportunity, I do try my best to explain how it feels and why, but I don't know if I have ever helped anyone to understand.  That is also hard - trying to describe a feeling that someone else has never had, doesn't understand nor comprehend. and find it impossible to believe.

I love, love, love having my own business (however small), AND I finally made my first sale to a stranger, and so far, they haven't left a negative review!  No, not a positive one either, but I am counting no negative review as a positive!  I was convinced that they would be horrified and upset when they received my creation, and am still not sure they are not.  But I am REALLY putting myself out there for all types of criticism, and that is okay (unless it can be viewed by anyone on my etsy shop, and then I will probably cry for days!).  I need to know how and where to improve and have been giving wreaths away to family members hoping and BEGGING for any feedback at all.  I don't have hardly any confidence in my work right now.  They all say they love everything so much, but I really don't trust anything positive anyone says and believe there MUST be a motive or reason they are not telling me the truth.

I made a new, already best, friend!  We met, of all places, the dog park!  Bailey is great at helping me make new friends.  We have done all sorts of things together, text each other all the time, run together three times a week, and signed up to do a 5k together on Sunday.  She is probably the most perfect friend for me I have ever had!  She makes me feel good about myself, but SHE actually told ME that I make her so happy.  It is mutual!  We must have met each other at the right time for both of us.  But it just feels too perfect and I haven't had a best friend in at least a decade.  I am convinced it will end somehow, but haven't figured out how I will sabotage THIS relationship like it seems I do to every single one.  I tried to sabotage my relationship with my husband countless times, but he is stubborn and has stuck by me. I hope I no longer do that to him.  But I have no proof that this new friendship won't end like all of my other relationships have eventually done and I will be so sad to see her go.

But every single relationship (except with my mother and brother, but I don't think that is a door that will ever be left open for me) has incredibly and dramatically improved and have absolutely NO idea why.  I do know that *my* attitude towards people has completely changed.  I can't even pinpoint why or how this happened, but I no longer hold grudges against anyone, apologized to anyone that I believed I owed one too and now am actually good friends with people that neither of us had spoken to in years.  It is mind boggling.

Why?  Why have I changed so much?  I wish I knew.  Suddenly people tell me the nicest things about myself, about me as a person, not things like appearance or things I own, but my actual personality.  Surely they are just being nice, but I don't know what their motive could be and I am really trying to figure it out!  I do know that for whatever reason, it is very important to me to try to make people feel good or better about themselves.  Yes, I totally know how corny and stupid it sounds, like some kind of  goody goody thing someone would preach to everyone that they should do.  I hate even writing about it, the perception someone might have of me even saying that, like I think I am better than someone else.  I am SO NOT!  I have a laundry list of flaws, but for some reason, I have no problem right now just saying what they are to anyone, completely owning them. Okay, so I tell people that I am depressed, not bipolar.  I am still scared to death to tell people that. 

But when I am depressed, no one usually knows.  People who are very depressed and even suicidal are masters at hiding it.  I know this only too well!  How do I know what any single person has going on in their lives, regardless of how they act?  I don't!  Maybe all someone needs to feel a bit better, if even for a moment, is a sincere, genuine compliment or to be treated with kindness, or even a simple smile!  That is effortless, probably for just about anyone but it may not occur to everyone.  But how would I ever be able to know if this total stranger I am speaking to isn't planning suicide when they get home?  What they are going through that could be the most difficult thing in their lives?  All I can do is try and never know if I made a difference to anyone at all.  I know this sounds very idealist and probably trying to convince people I am this great person, but all anyone would have to do was look back in my blog to know how very flawed, imperfect, and how I am often not nice or even a good person.  Do I think I am now?  No, not really, but all I can do is what has been pressed in my mind and heart as something I want and feel I absolutely must do.  To NOT do that, that would make me very unhappy.  So...I am just doing what seems to be what I want and need to do right now, not that anyone else in the entire world should do it as well.  Maybe it is not even important or needed, no idea.

A post would be way too long if I listed all of my flaws, things I want to change about myself but struggle and fail all of the time. There are many, many occasions where my husband has said he thought I was advantage of him or doing things just to hurt him.  I swear this is not true and even asked my psychiatrist about things that I do unintentionally but find it absolutely impossible to change.  For instance, I always forget to turn lights off, I am a messy person, I leave cabinet doors open and even the refrigerator door, I am a slob.  She said that is simply my personality, nothing is wrong with me, nothing can chemically fix that.  What if there was a pill we could take that would fix all of our flaws?  I guess we wouldn't be human then, able to make mistakes and learn from them.  Yet I can't seem to improve the things I listed AT ALL and don't even realize at the time, until it is pointed out to me, that I have even done those things!

Maybe this all comes with age, no clue.  All of a sudden I just don't have much pride and openly admit my flaws that I would never had shared with anyone in the past.  Why should anyone see a fa├žade, not the real me?  I don't try to be seen as perfect nor do I even want that.  I wouldn't be a genuine and sincere person if I pretended to be.  That would be an Oscar worthy performance to achieve!  I don't hide much - just straight out tell people, if the moment arises and needs to be said - to tell anyone something that would have been so embarrassing before.  "I have hearing loss and sometimes wear hearing aids. I am so sorry I am not able to hear you very well right now".  I totally could not hear at a restaurant not that long ago and just admitted it to the girl I was talking to.  Found out she had already suspected it, but not only that, both she and her husband thought she had a hearing loss as well!  I was able to walk her through the whole process of getting tested and if there is a loss, what happens from there.  What hearing aids are like, what they look like, etc.  It was nice to have an honest, open conversation about it without being judged like I always thought I would be.

I feel like I have been writing for hours and this must be incredibly long!  Here is a picture of the wreath I sold.  When I made it, I didn't even like it and questioned myself if I should take it apart and make something else.  For some reason (maybe someone can tell me WHY?) it has almost one thousand repins on Pinterest in just a few weeks.  Obviously I do not always have same taste as whoever my customers are! 

This is what sold: (any and all product photo tips would happily and appreciatively be accepted!)

And here is what seems so trendy right now, the monogrammed wreath.  Still working to find the most secure way possible to attach that letter!!!!

Drama every where I go, and depression as always

I have no idea what is I wrong with me.  Each day now, seems like it is worse in the afternoon, I've been getting pretty low, down, I guess depressed.  I want to be cautious with that word because so many times now it doesn't seem like I'm depressed then I'm told that I am.  I was doing all of these non-normal things and didn't know why but wanted to change myself, yet depression never entered my mind.  So NOW that I think I am getting depressed, with no idea why, I hesitate to use that word.

Nothing bad is going on in my life.  My husband supports my new small business venture.  I made this awesome new friend when I took Bailey to the dog park last week.  She is so very nice and just moved here less than a year ago so it is fun talking about our impressions of how things are different and strange here.  I don't see how anyone could NOT like her.  Incredibly pleasant and adorable yet...I find her asking me to do stuff every single day, even multiple times a day and I am really just slowly venturing out on making friends in general, not just Chicago.  I'm quite hesitant to get that close to a friend and feel...attached to them, care a lot about them.  I haven't had a best friend in what seems decades.  She really is the nicest person I've met since I've been here.  We've been to lunch, had such a fun time, we've started running together and plan to do a 5 week in 6 weeks.  She's a great influence on me.  Very much what I need right now - a totally genuine person.

My other friend....my neighbor.  Wow, what can I say about her.  I don't know that my life has ever been quite as messy as hers is now.  She has a total jerk for a husband, I mean rating up there in the 99 percentile of jerks for husbands.  He had changed jobs and had taken a job as a CEO in California, where he promptly packed up his things in his car, drove there, and left her.  There are always two sides to every story but...the side against him is documented.  Lots and lots of horror stories from her before today and she told me what happened to him.  Cheated on her many times and such awful emotional abuse.  Yet she wanted to reunite with him so badly, was very depressed, but neither her therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist nor I could convince her to let him go.  And I only suggested it - it is not my place to TELL her what to do but to comfort her in my opinion.  Nurture my friends, you know?  No judgement - that is what I would want from a friend.

But TODAY, oh my.  Oh my my!  She had mentioned he had been fired from his CEO job with 9 pages of complaints, reasons, whatever you want to call them from the job he took in late December/early January.  Weird to me, because wouldn't he have had to be an exemplary employee to work his way up the ladder to eventually take a job as a CEO at a global company (although just the CEO of the US branch).  I've always thought he was a slimy, creepy man from day one when I met him, before I was friends with his wife.  It is incredibly, incredibly rare for me to feel this, either I don't pick up on it or it sincerely rarely happens, but it was like he was lusting for me in front of me.  I have no idea what it was that he did, I just really wanted him to go back to his house as soon as possible. It's like it was implied, and this is so weird because no words were spoken, but if I was into him, he was up for it.  How can that be, why did I feel he thought that?  There was something he did but I can't put my finger on it to this day.  TOTAL stranger, but I digress.  Mark knows though - I told him at the time he was creepy.

She told me today that he had been fired, the 9 pages written up of reasons, was for sexual harassment, the company found nude pictures of him on their network, inappropriate things on his social media (hey- he took the job knowing he was representing a company, that's the deal), embezzlement of money I guess on his company card and who knows what else!  Seems like a lot of it was sexual in nature, perhaps sex with women at work, but I don't exactly remember that part.

Her main concern is health insurance - she doesn't understand COBRA. He told her he is a sex addict.  I asked her how did he get diagnosed?  This is the CRAZIEST part to me and she totally buys it.  He said he took an online test and had every single one of the symptoms.  So now she wants me to suggest a rehab clinic for him in California for sexual addicts.  WHOA WHOA WHOA!  #1 Yes, he is creepy, but a doctor has not given him a diagnosis. #2 Why would she ask ME of a referral to a sex rehab center in California?  WTF? #3 A million things could go here, or I could keep numbering them, but I am still processing the info myself.

So obviously she is trying to help him get help.  He asked if he could move his stuff home meaning move home I assume, and I was quite surprised she told him no.  She has been pining for him for a year.  But here is the idiotic part.  He WANTED to get his things out of storage, but his live in girlfriend had the key to the storage.  It's like I can't even believe these things happen, in real life, to people I know.

I'm sure there is more but blah, even Mark, who cares less about gossip, news, anything that is not car or work related, just HAD to find out what happened to get him fired.  We already knew it was horrible things, I was just surprised Mark actually cared about it.

Still working on my little business, trying to stay positive, but it is hard.  I sincerely feel like a failure in every facet of my life.  Here I am, 46, and I have failed at everything.  I don't see hope in anything at all except God, I never lose hope there.  But I don't think he can pull me up right now.  Maybe He is not ready to, there is a lesson to be learned.  I think learning a lesson from depression or misery is a bunch of crap.  I don't think He would punish me for me to learn something, yet I don't understand why there is pain and misery in the world at all.

Oh - Mark started medication - Luvox.  Had never heard of it nor taken it.  He seems better but he gets very nauseous.  Everyone has a side effect, or two, or more, that they simply refuse to tolerate.  That would be high on my list.  Him?  He is suffering through it until his next visit which is pretty soon.  To each his own!  Sounds pretty desperate to get better!

Slow Down Drama, You Move Too Fast!

I have gotten to where I absolutely hate drama.  Of course, in my own life, but it seems like drama is always happening to people I know as well.  It isn't their fault, and while I so many times can see the way out of their misery, it is very strange.  Obviously we are not all going to see everything the same way, but the answers seem so apparent to their problems to me, yet all they want to do is complain and not do what to me is perhaps the only thing that will help them.

God knows this blog is full of me saying "Why this" and "how did that.." with obvious answers, so that is where I have empathy.  Just because I see it does not mean it is apparent to them and does not change the way they think and/or feel.  I know only too well that when I feel a certain way that is not a feeling based on factual information or even any reason (whether I know it or not at the time), that in no way means that I still don't think and feel the way I do.  Even telling myself it isn't real changes nothing and why would it?  I feel what I feel, some things can be explained.  I guess the only good thing is to as absolutely self aware as possible but it is hard for me to believe anyone like that exists.

My husband has been so angry and screaming how miserable he is for years now, I swear it is years, only worsening.  We've been to couples counseling, he went to counseling on his own to two different therapists.  I now can say I DO know what it is like to live with someone like me, and it is not pleasant in the least.  Where I am depressed and cry, I think men can get depressed and they feel anger or misery instead. 

He called about an hour ago after his first psychiatric appointment, and finally feels understood and he has a starting point.  I am elated!  At the same time, from my own experience, I'm a little apprehensive to see what and who I will be living with in the next few weeks.  I know I have changed a LOT from a medication, and I've also only changed a tiny bit, the bit I wanted to go away.

I do feel so, so, so anxious all of the time, but I really do think a lot of it is because I worry that *I* am making him miserable.  I worry that all the time and what his reaction is going to be to different things.  Then when he does get upset, no matter what it is or why, I just keep saying over and over "I'm sorry because of this..." "I'm sorry because of that".  I need to take the word SORRY out of my vocabulary!  How can he not be annoyed with the simple fact I say sorry ALL THE TIME! 

I do feel responsible, very responsible.  I could write out all of the reasons I feel responsible for his misery, my dog not always acting happy, poverty in the world, dogs in puppy mills, it doesn't matter, I feel responsible for EVERYTHING and guilty for EVERYTHING.  I'm always thinking ahead of what the next thing I could get in trouble for would be, but that would be because of my husband's reactions for the last few years.  I've talked to my therapist and psychiatrist about it but they don't believe it is a chemical problem.  I need to focus on ME, just me.  How exactly can I ignore the misery the people that are close to me are in and not want to help?  For years...I've tried to help.

I'm still working on my little business.  I get up and down about it.  It is really something you have to like to do because it is really easy to get down when you are not rolling in the money overnight.

Here are a few pictures of wreaths I have made in the past month.  Yes, the photography is crappy and nothing about any of them is perfect, maybe even ugly, but...I'm trying! : )

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