Sunday, June 29, 2008

What we did today...

Today, DH woke up in a GREAT mood. I think part of it was the CPAP, and part of it was just the bipolar illness starting to become more stable and DH getting back to being the same person he was when I married him....but anyhow....

DH wanted to go and play mini-golf. I had some doubts about it because the mini-golf place is an hour and a half away, and the last time we went, before I started blogging, "That Guy" showed up and came very close to punching a police officer. So I wasn't all that confident that it was a good idea. But we packed DD and Jim into the car, and off we went.

When we got there, it was sunny and warm. And we were all looking forward to playing. We were kind of slow, because there were four of us, none of whom were very good, so we let a few groups go ahead of us. When there was nobody behind us any more, we started to play, and almost immediately the sky clouded up, and at about Hole 4 (out of 18), it started to pour. A very drenching rain. DH had told Jim that he "always" beats me at mini-golf, and at that point I was actually below par and had one hole-in-one, too. So I didn't want to quit, and DH didn't want to quit because he wanted to beat me, and DD and Jim just wanted to play because they were having fun.

And you know what? It was really fun. Definitely a day we won't forget...when we were done, I had to go into the bathroom and use the hand blow-dryer thingy to try to dry my shirt a little. It didn't really work, but it warmed me up....we had eventually stopped keeping score, because the scorecard fell apart :-( so I don't now what the real score was, but it was still very fun. And "That Guy" didn't show up at all, not even for a second!!! It was wonderful, for sure. Like old times. There is definitely hope.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hit the nail on the head!

Well, I know I've complained before about how DH doesn't wear his CPAP machine, even though he had all the tests and they determined that he needs it, right? Have I mentioned how many times I've urged him to put that CPAP on at night, how many times I've told him to roll over so he'll stop snoring (I can't go out to the couch because JIM is still there, but that's another post...) and how many times he's gotten angry with me for "treating him like a child" regarding the CPAP?

He just called me. And this is what he said. "You know, my mood has gotten progressively worse since I've started working. I'm tired all the time and when I get home from work, even if I've only worked a couple of hours, all I want to do is sleep. And on the weekends things get better--did you realize that's because on the weekends I can sleep as much as I want?"

I'm thinking "Ok, here comes "That Guy" logic, going to tell me that in order to be mentally healthy, he needs to get at least 18 hours of sleep a day..." Or something like that...I was ready for it, I really was.

And he said, "I really think it's because I haven't been wearing that CPAP. And I need to get to bed earlier, too. I have less time to sleep now than I did before, and I need to get quality sleep so that I don't get so tired."

And his wife rejoiced. And didn't say "I told you so" at all.

I let him think it was his idea all along.

Interesting Personality Test

Have you ever wondered if you have a "personality disorder"? Are you Obsessive-Compulsive? Are you really paranoid? Here's a fun test to take. When I took it, I got "low" and "moderate" for all of them except I scored "high" for "avoidant". That didn't really surprise me, as I'm shy and not a very social person. It was interesting reading about the different personality disorders, too. Anyhow, here's a link, if you wanna to take the test--I'd love to have you let me know what your results are/were, if you're comfortable sharing with me!

Click here for the personality disorders test


Well, today was payday for one of my two jobs. And, because DH has been buying his own cigs and pop, etc., I had enough. Enough money to pay the garbage bill, enough money to pay for the 4-wheeler loan, enough money to pay one of the credit cards, and enough money for chicken feed and gas for my car, too.

What a wonderful feeling that was! Not struggling, not juggling, and certainly not frivolously spending, but I had enough. And it felt good.

I did tell DH that I wouldn't be angry if he quit this job. He is recognizing that he is not handling it well at all. He just kept saying "I have to work, it's helping so much..." and I told him "yes, it is helping, but if you put yourself in the hospital again, that won't help at all." "If you feel better making money, maybe a different job is in order." And he did agree, but he didn't sound like he was going to quit this one yet.....

He did decide that he's going to try to get set back up with his therapist (he hasn't gone to see his therapist since he started working) and see if he can figure out what's really going on and what the best plan is.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the extra money, but I'm not counting on it. So if it's there, wonderful, if it's not, well, I'll be budgeting (as best I can) for that, too. I'll let you know what happens.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stress from little old ladies! (Or "They're not as sweet as they look!")

Well, I'm not sure if I've told you that DH's place where he is the maintenance guy is a senior apartment building...anyhow, it is. And all along he's been telling me how much he likes all the old people who live there, they're so nice!!!

But today, I guess, one of the little old ladies decided to clean out the trash can outside the front door: "This is your job, you know. You're supposed to clean these out every day." DH explained to her that he was only allowed to do work if a work order was filled out and he did not have anything that said that he was supposed to clean the garbage cans. The next thing he knows, his "boss" is calling him down, not to yell at him, but to tell him that a) he does not have to clean the garbage cans unless it is on a work order and b) there was also a complaint that he didn't vaccuum the hallways, and he didn't have to do that either. So, DH went on his merry way.

He then received another summons from his boss: "We got a complaint that you haven't finished rebuilding the air exchanger yet." DH: "Well, no, I thought it would be better if I fixed this leaky faucet and the latch on that window first, since the air exchanger will take a long time." DH's boss: "I know, I just figured I'd better tell you."

Then he was reinforcing a railing outside the building when that same little old lady and a friend walked up to him and said, "When it's winter, are you going to sweep the snow off our windshields? Because the other guy always did." DH went to his boss and found out that the other guy did NOT sweep the snow from windshields, and, in fact, was informed that it was not part of his job.

Then, as DH was finishing up on the railing, his boss walked by and whispered "makes you want to loosen a couple bolts on those, doesn't it?"

No kidding.

You would think that being a maintenance man for a senior apartment building would be void of stressors like this, anyhow....yikes!!!! No wonder he comes home all worn out!!!

On a slightly similar but different note, DH and I had a long talk last night about the fact that it seems like all of this working is not helping his mental health. He agreed with me, and said that he's been more depressed since he's started working. I dared to think out loud about the possibility that full-time work might be too much right now. He didn't answer me. I told him that I'd rather have my DH back and healthy than have my DH working but "out-of-whack". I also told him that if he kept working and getting more depressed that he might end up back in the hospital. He told me, "I can't quit, you're counting on this money." I told him that we've lived without it for quite a while, we would be ok without it. He didn't agree. I also told him that this job brings with it a lot of other types of stress--i.e., he has to carry his own liability insurance, etc., and he agreed. I told him that this job wasn't what I had expected, and he said it wasn't what he expected to be doing either....but after all that, nothing was really resolved except I was able to voice some of my thoughts....and "That Guy" didn't show up....

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin--I'm heartbroken

I was just kind of surfing all the news sites when I clicked on CNN and saw a picture of George Carlin. It still took a minute for the headline to sink in:
George Carlin is dead.

Link here at CNN

He's been one of my favorite comedians for many years. I've seen him live, and I've made a point to see him on TV, and for someone who hasn't had TV for about 5 out of the last 8 years, that's saying a lot. I knew he was getting up there in age, but he always seemed so young, even in his recent pictures. CNN did have a picture of him performing recently and it did not look like him. I guess I just figured since he was so young in spirit, he'd be around for a long time.

For a while, I just kind of kept checking other news sites, hoping that somehow someone had accidentally typed in the wrong comedian or something...but it appears to be true....

Funny, as I read the news story, on the radio was Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young"....how ironic (or not, depending on your viewpoint, I guess).

Bipolar Trade-off

Well, I've spent the last year and a half or so, hoping and praying that he would be well enough to work again. How big the changes would be for me! But here I am and although he's working and has even given me some money, it's been kind of a trade-off, because since he's started working, he's not been in a very good mood. He isn't talking to me like I had been getting used to again, and he's so tired and dehydrated from working that he isn't doing anything else at all. Last night, on my way home from work, I bought a 50 lb bag of dog food and left it in the car for him to unload when he got up today. I told him that I did that and he said he'd do it "later". It has been a normal expectation that he brings heavy stuff like that into the house, and sometimes the "old DH" really didn't like it when I'd try to do it myself. But I knew he didn't do it, and now he's called me at work to tell me that he didn't have enough dog food to feed everyone tonite. And it took virtually every little scrap of self control for me to not say something snotty. I figure he really did know that he messed up, why should I remind him, too? Except I really wanted to.

Now tomorrow he'll be gone again, and I need to clean the house before 3pm because DD's new pca is coming to meet us and I'd rather not have her first impression be of a mess. So instead of sleeping tomorrow, I will have to stay up and clean. Ok, so some of this is just whining, but it seems like, the part of DH that started to come back once he started the Lithium, has been soaked up by his work and his fatigue, and once again I'm back to "single mom" status, with JIM still living on the couch, and my DH is gone again. It's a trade-off, I guess, because right now apparently having them both (a DH who communicates with me and a DH who works) is not a reasonable expectation.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Top 10 Mental Illness Myths

From PsychCentral:
(Click here to view the original story)

Top 10 Myths of Mental Illness
by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
June 13, 2008

We’ve probably all seen the top 10 myths of health (like that we need 8 glasses of water per day or that we only use 10% of our brain). So that got me to thinking… What are the top 10 myths of mental illness and mental health? I compiled some of my favorites below.

1. Mental illness is just like a medical disease.

While many advocacy organizations and pharmaceutical companies try to imply that mental illness is just a “brain disease,” the truth is that scientists still don’t know what causes mental illness. Furthermore, of the hundreds of research studies done on the brain and the brain’s neurochemistry, not a single one has implicated a single source or cause of any mental disorder. In other words, it’s far more complicated than you know.

Many mental health experts believe in the “bio-psycho-social” model of mental disorders. That is, there are multiple, connected components of most people’s mental illness that include three distinct, yet connected, spheres: (1) the biological and our genetics; (2) the psychological and our personalities; and (3) the social and our environment. All three seem to play an important role in most people’s development of a mental disorder.

2. Medications are the only treatment you need to treat a mental illness.

Psychiatric medications have been prescribed for decades and are generally proven safe and effective in the treatment of most common mental disorders. However, medications are rarely the treatment option that most people should stop at. While taking a pill a day is the easiest treatment option, a pill can only do so much. That’s because mental illness is not like any ordinal medical disease (see Myth #1).

Other treatments — like support groups, psychotherapy, self-help books, etc. – should always be considered by virtually everyone diagnosed with a mental illness. Medications are often the first thing offered, but are best seen as a way to help get a person jump-started in their treatment efforts.

3. If a medication or psychotherapy doesn’t work, that means your situation is hopeless.

Psychiatric medications are a hit-or-miss proposition. For instance, there are over a dozen different antidepressant medications a doctor can prescribe, and the doctor has no idea which one is going to work best for you. So virtually all psychiatric medications are prescribed on a trial-and-error basis – “We’ll see how you do on this, and if need be either increase the dose or switch to a different medication.” Reasons for switching or changing the dose usually include intolerable side effects for the patient, or the medication simply isn’t offering any therapeutic relief.

Just as one may need to try a number of different medications before finding the one that fits “just right,” one may also need to try a number of different therapists before finding one that they feel comfortable and productive with for psychotherapy. There is no “best” way to do this, other than to take therapists through a trial-and-error process too, trying them out one at a time for a few sessions until you find one that you seem to have a positive relationship with.

4. Therapists don’t care about you – they only pretend to care because you pay them.

This is a thought that goes through many people’s head, whether they’re just starting therapy for the first time or they’ve been in therapy for years. The psychotherapy relationship is an odd one, not quite replicated anywhere else in society. It is a professional relationship that will be emotionally intimate, a characteristic most people don’t have much experience with.

The vast majority of therapists, however, don’t go into the psychotherapy profession for the money (because it is one of the poorest paying professions one can be in). Most therapists get into the profession much for the same reason as most doctors or teachers do – they see it as a calling: “People are in need of help and I can help them.” Although it may not seem like that when you’re on the other side of the couch, most psychotherapists do therapy because they genuinely enjoy helping others work through life’s tough problems.

5. If it isn’t serious, it can’t hurt you.

Some people believe that mental illness is really just about “crazy people” — you know, people with schizophrenia who hear voices all the time. But it’s not; mental disorders encompass a wide range of problems in life, including being depressed for no reason for weeks at a time (depression) or being unable to concentrate on any single task for more than a few minutes at a time (ADHD).

A mental disorder doesn’t have to be life-threatening or make you unemployed and homeless in order to have a serious impact on your life. Even mild depression, left untreated for years, can turn into a chronic condition that significantly could impact your quality of life and your relationships.

6. Psychology and psychiatry aren’t “real sciences.” They’re supported only by fuzzy research and contradictory findings.

Research into mental illness tries to understand where it comes from and what treatments are most effective in helping people cope. Psychological research dates back more than a century, starting around the same time that modern research began in medicine and our better understanding the human body. Its rich history and scientific methods are far more complex than the simple, popular image of Sigmund Freud sitting in his office listening to patients as they lie on a couch.

Some who argue this point come from different scientific backgrounds and use different yardsticks from those fields to try and “measure” psychology, psychiatry and the neurosciences by. Unfortunately, that’s like comparing apples to oranges and then coming away upset that because they taste so different from one another, these two couldn’t possibly both be fruits. Psychology and its related sciences are indeed “real science,” using well-accepted scientific methods and methodologies that have been time-tested and that produce real, verifiable, and actionable results.

7. Mental illness is a myth, based upon arbitrary societal definitions designed only to sell you drugs or psychotherapy.

This is one of the most difficult myths to challenge because there is some truth to it. Much of how we define mental illness today is based upon definitions we humans created while observing sets of symptoms that seemed to cluster together when people presented with certain concerns. People’s suffering is no myth, but arriving at how we understand that suffering and then helping the person through it is open to a wide range of interpretations and options.

The most common method in science is to identify similar groupings of symptoms, give them a label, and then discover what kinds of interventions work best in helping a person feel relieved of those symptoms. Some of this is steeped in rigorous scientific method, but some of it feels (and perhaps is) more arbitrary and political. Mental illness is no myth, but some of our definitions could be a lot better and more discrete. And, for the record, defining mental illness came long before the practical, modern profession of psychotherapy and pharmaceutical companies.

8. Children can’t have serious mental disorders.

There is a whole category in the official diagnostic manual of mental disorders for children’s mental disorders, some of which are well-known, diagnosed, and treated, such as attention deficit disorder (ADHD) and autism. But in the past decade or so, some researchers and professionals are suggesting that many adult mental disorders are also possibly found (and perhaps even widespread) in children.

The jury is still out whether it’s legitimate to diagnose a 3- or 4-year old child with adult bipolar disorder (how one discriminates mood swings typical of normal childhood at this age versus a disorder is beyond me), but it’s a possibility. The debate centers around scientifically distinguishing expected, normal childhood behaviors (even when they span a wide continuum) from serious adult-like mental disorders that need their own specific treatment plan. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

9. Doctor/patient confidentiality is absolute and always protected.

Just as in a lawyer/client relationship, confidentiality between a doctor and his or her patient, or a therapist and his or her client, is not absolute. While it is a legally protected relationship much like a lawyer/client relationship, there are times when in most states a therapist can be compelled by a court to testify about something said in session or about a client’s background. These exceptions are extremely limited, however, to specific circumstances, usually involving the health or safety of a child.

There are other times when a therapist may need to violate the confidentiality of a relationship as well. Most therapists go through these circumstances with their clients at the start of the therapy relationship. Instances of such disclosures might include if the client is in imminent harm to themselves or others, or if the therapist becomes aware of child or elder abuse. Outside of these exceptions, however, confidentiality is always maintained by a professional.

10. Mental illness is no longer stigmatized in society.

I wish this were a myth, but sadly, it is not yet. Mental illness in most societies throughout the world is still badly stigmatized and looked down upon. In some societies, even admitting to a possible mental health concern can make you ostracized from your family, coworkers, and the rest of society.

In the U.S., we’ve come a long way in the past two decades with significantly more research, and increased understanding and acceptance of mental illness. While still not as accepted as having a common medical condition like diabetes, most people view common mental illnesses such as depression or ADHD as just another one of those concerns of modern life. Someday, I hope this is true in the rest of the world as well.

Lithium Dehydration!

Today, DH went to his Spenders Anonymous meeting and then went to work. Outside. In the sun. It's 85 degrees out. He's a big guy. And he's on Lithium. He called me after he had been there about an hour: "I don't feel good. I feel weak and woozy."

Me: Have you had anything to eat or drink?

DH: I had those two jugs of Gatorade you left for me--oh, yeah, I drank one of those on my way to Spenders. So I guess I had one jug of Gatorade.

Me: Are you drinking water?

DH: No, I had Gatorade.

Me: (hangs up quickly and runs to the store for more Gatorade and some bananas and brings them to DH, along with his water jug)

DH called about an hour later and said he felt better. Then he came home and basically laid in bed all evening, until I left for work. As I was getting ready for work, he told me, "I feel nauseous and dizzy. I think I'm dehydrated." I asked him if he had drank any water today. "No, I had Gatorade." Then he told me he was going to get up to BUY water. It was an excuse not to drink the water. So I sat by the bed and basically forced him to drink 40 oz of tap water. He promised he would drink more while I'm at work. I could tell he was angry with me for forcing him to drink that water.

I kept trying to tell him that Lithium is a salt, and getting dehydrated while a person is taking Lithium is a really bad idea. It can raise the levels of Lithium in his blood and cause him to have a LOT of problems. I tried to remind him that if he didn't take care of himself by doing things that he knows he's supposed to do, he isn't going to be able to work like he wants to. But I could still tell he was angry at me. But I know that he wouldn't have drank ANY water if I hadn't forced him.

I'm worried about him. I'm worried about Lithium Toxicity. I'm worried that even though he's doing better, he's still not making good decisions about his health. Oh--and the diabetes?? Yah. If I have this much trouble getting him to drink water, how fun do you think it is for me to try to get him to eat wheat bread, or sugar-free candy? Not happening at all. In fact, since his diabetes diagnosis, he has not changed one thing except he seems to be sticking to drinking diet pop instead of sugar pop. And he never went back to see the diabetes doctor, either, so he hasn't started on the insulin yet. I can't remember the last time he checked his blood sugar. You know, part of me wants to quit "being his mother" and reminding him to do all these things that he is supposed to do. But then I think that a) he has memory problems and b) if I don't help and he or his health suffers for it, isn't that kind of heartless? It's a tough call. Right now, I guess I'm still his mother. :-P

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hard to know what to say...

Well, DH has worked all week again. And it hasn't really gone "wonderfully" for him, he's come home the last three days very depressed. The first time was because his "boss" reminded him that when the maintenance work gets caught up, he might not be coming in every day...

Yesterday, he had no idea why he was depressed, but he was.

And today, the task he was working on was difficult, and it was taking him longer than he thought it would. So he was very depressed about that, thinking that he's "a worthless piece of ****" and "good for nothing"....

And I don't know what to say.

I've been working at one job I hate and one job I'd rather not do, for, well, one job, I've been there 18 years, and the part time job, I've been doing that over 2 years now....so his "problems" seem so trivial to me.

To the first day's 'problem' I want to say, "It was just a gentle reminder. She didn't say "we don't want you around here." She didn't say "We hate your work." And she didn't hint at that either. So what's the big deal? (I know to him it's a big deal, but jeez, when you work, people are constantly saying things that you don't really like, and you can't come home and let it get you all down, unless it's something like "you're fired", LOL. So what do I say? "I hope tomorrow will be better. Maybe you're just tired."

To the second day's depression, what I wanted to say was, "I don't think you're ready to work full time. You've basically been in bed for two years straight, and taking the jump to full time employment might not be the wisest choice." But what I said was, "Why don't you take a nap and see if that helps?" And he did, and it did.

To today's depressive episode, I didn't have a clue how to respond. If someone besides DH had asked me, I would've said that this maintenance job is beyond his abilities. And there's nobody there to train him. But I couldn't say that to DH, after so long without any job, and now he's excited and going to work....I don't know how to handle it. If I try to suggest that maybe this isn't the dream job he thought it would be, I'll either be showing that I have no confidence in him, or telling him that he's no good. So do I pretend, then? Of course I do. Sigh.

"I'm sure you'll figure it out. Maybe there's a book at the library that can help?"

Monday, June 16, 2008

The shopping outing

I wasn't sure if you were all sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear how our outing went on Friday, but here's the lowdown:

We left Jim at home. I think he actually invited himself, because he looked like he was going to get into the car when DH was in the car but DD and I weren't in the car yet...but then he didn't come with. (July 1 is only a little over 2 weeks away--I NEVER imagined he'd be this tough to get rid of....but that's a different post)...

So we got in the car and went to the thrift shop. DH got a pair of Levis for $6.99 and a shirt for $3.49. I got a bunch of T-Shirts. A couple of them had writing on them, and I think about three didn't. (I'm not allowed to wear shirts with writing on them at work, so that's an important distinction.) I also got three paperbacks (I can't help myself) and my stuff came to about $20 also.

And then there was DD. I made a parenting error that day. See, she's 15, so I've been trying to give her some leeway with money when I can, so that she can get some practice prioritizing and figuring out if she has enough, and all that. So I gave her $25 and told her that she should use her calculator and pick out what she needed for camp. Since she had made a list before hand that included shorts, T shirts and flip-flops, I figured the toughest thing that would happen would be that she would find more clothes than she could afford and have to put some back. I thought it would be a good learning experience. Here's what really happened:

DD bought a bunch of stuff and real quick ran and checked out before I could see what she bought. She told me she tried on everything. I already at that point knew that wasn't the case, but I figured she was going to have to live with the consequences of her choices. On Saturday, as she was preparing to go into town with me, I got my first glimpse of what she had bought. A ladies pinstriped suit. About 6 sizes too small. She couldn't button the skirt. She could only button the top two buttons of the jacket. So much for trying things on. And it definitely wasn't "campy". Then I looked at her shoes. Not flip flops, but sandals with 3 inch wedge heels. We don't normally let her wear things like that, and she knew it. And not campy. So those were taken away. She wasn't happy with me. Then she put on this little camisole thing, which she knows that we don't allow also, and it turns out to be a little girls size, so it completely didn't fit. At this point, I decided to let her go ahead and wear it to town, where she was meeting a friend for a movie. Apparently the friend set her straight (as I figured) because DD came home, took that off and didn't try to bring it to camp. She bought no t shirts, no shorts. So the consequence of her trying to be sneaky, and lying about it, is that most of the clothes she chose got taken away, and the others she doesn't want to wear. And she has one pair of shorts for camp. I'd like to think she'd learn from this, but I thought she knew better in the first place. I know I learned from the experience, unfortunately....

Oh--and the pizza was fabulous!!! DH got stressed out because the pizza place was so crowded, but once he tasted the pizza it was ok....all in all it was a very nice night, despite DD's tricks, which were more normal (for her) than I'd like to admit.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


It's really not that much money, is it? Not enough for the car payment, not enough for propane....but for me it's huge. DH got paid. And instead of his incessant begging for money for gas and cigarettes, HE GAVE ME $200. Now I know that was what I had borrowed from the credit card for him, and he had said he'd pay it back, but if I had a dollar for all the times in the last two years he said that, well, we'd have a much bigger house :-)

Not only did he actually pay me back, but when I told him that I was going to use it to pay DD's summer camp tuition, he FILLED UP MY GAS TANK SO I WOULDN'T BE SHORT. Can you believe it????

DD has gone to the same bible camp every year since she first came to live with us. She loves it. And they are pretty strict there, so we feel like she is well supervised and in good hands. And it's very cheap when you consider that she's gone for a week, and they supply food and fun and supervision....well, there was no way that I was going to have her missing that because we were short of cash....I was so thrilled that he gave me that money.

It's the first money he's given me in two years. I can't begin to tell you how that feels.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Looking forward to life without Bipolar

Today I drove to work fantasizing about how wonderful it would feel if our family got back to normal. I started thinking about how it would feel to see the balances on those credit cards go down instead of up. I started thinking about how nice it would feel to know for a fact that DH is going to have a paycheck, and that it will benefit me. And then I thought: "It's starting right now!".

I drove to work with this happy hopeful mindset, that we are starting to move past the worst of this. The Lithium has been a lifesaver, for sure. And I'm trusting DH a little more. It still upsets him that I don't trust him much, but he readily acknowledges that he did it to himself. I can tell that he is already feeling more "manly" (pardon the wording) now that he is working again. I can see that he feels like more of an equal to me again, and I can also see that his "provider" instinct is showing up a little, too. He seems to be looking forward very much to helping take some of the financial burden off of me. And I'm ready, for sure :-)

And tomorrow we are going on an "outing" as a family. We are leaving Jim at home, and DH, DD and I are going to go to my favorite thrift shop and DD is going to get some clothes for summer camp, and DH and I will browse and spend a dollar or two, too. Then the plan is, that we are going to go out for pizza, because a while back, I won a gift certificate for a pizza place, and it happens to be in the same town as the thrift shop, so it will be a genuine "outing" for the price of gas and about $20 total :-) But I think we'll all feel like it costed more, and it's kind of an optimistic "spending of money", because even that $20 is money that if DH was not yet working, I wouldn't be able to justify spending. It's a really good feeling.

Now, if "That Guy" doesn't drop in, it's got the makings for a perfect day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Financial Worries

Well, after two years of bipolar madness, my husband has gone to work at 8am every day this week. He has told me that his "boss" is easy to get along with and likes his work. That gives me quite a bit of hope, because I am certain that I can't get out of this financial trap unless he earns some money. But the big "if" is "if he shares it with me." For a while, after he'd lost the good-paying job, when the bipolar all started, he'd found another job, and was working all the time, but when he got paid, he spent all of his check on eating out and new tattoos and drinking. And I never got any of it. Back then, it didn't matter to me, because I had my own money, and I just figured if he wanted to not pay his bills, that was his problem. I didn't realize at the time that those two loans had my name on them. And I hadn't charged up a fortune on my credit cards to save his sorry you know what.

So now, here I am. The price of gas is going so far up it's unbelievable. And even before that happened, financially, I had no "wiggle room". So I guess, in more ways than one, this "job" of his, could be a huge blessing. It would sure be nice to be able to pay off some of these bills. It'd be nice to put some aside for the propane. In August I'd like to have about $1000 so that we'll have heat for at least most of the winter. If DH shares some of his newfound wealth, it might be possible. And we need a roof so bad. I've asked DH several times to measure things and make a list of what we need, so I know if it's even within the realm of possibility this summer (probably not, but I feel like I've got to find a way, because the roof will be a whole lot more expensive if it leaks or worse yet, falls down!) Well, I know that we've been taken care of so far, hopefully things will just work out.

How cool it would be, if I had, say, $300 extra every month. $300 to pay extra on the credit cards, or put away for propane or the roof....it's very fun to imagine. You know, sometimes I think back to before this all started, and I thought we didn't have any money, but if I had kept such a tight rein on things like I do now, we'd be sitting really pretty. So I guess the hard times are a good teacher. I mean, when you have plenty of money, you don't have as much incentive to learn new and improved ways to cut back and still be comfortable....

I guess it would be better than not, even, if DH earned a bunch of money, didn't share it with me, but bought his own cigarettes and pop and gas....that would be quite a savings for me right there. Baby steps, Carol, baby steps...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How to tell if it's hypomania?

Well, it's been very strange. DH is just DIVING in to his new job. He's been getting up at 8am every day and now today he's going to fix three lawn mowers for that lady he used to work for, too. He's not really getting much done around our house at all. Every waking hour has been spent on either selecting/packing tools that he will need for his new job, or fixing lawnmowers. I don't know how to tell if he's just excited or if he's having some hypomania?

And we had a pretty big argument yesterday about the money. I was already upset about paying the $250 for the pawn shop stuff. So we went to the pawn shop and found out that it was actually going to be $385!!!! So, as you can figure, I was jumping up and down for joy (not) and I was very stressed out about it. So then we looked at just paying a month's worth of fees so that at least he wouldn't lose the stuff--that would be about $80. He said, "Well, what I was thinking was that maybe we could get the gun out for $235 and just pay $35 in fees to keep the guitar in there for another month." I told DH that "that's a half a month's pay from the one job" and he didn't say anything. All the while I was really steaming, because not only did I tell him not to do this and he did anyhow, but this is the second time he's done this and he clearly hadn't learned anything....and I keep getting stuck with the bill....And all of a sudden he went back into the "you don't love me" mode and told me to "Just forget it." And I was happy to forget it. Even though I knew that wouldn't be the end of it. And then all night he didn't want to talk to me.

Finally he told me that he's sick of being such a "burden". And "look at what he's done to my finances" and "how could I not want to divorce him"? We had a long talk, because I could tell that "That Guy" had taken the night off. I told him that I don't mind paying the bills. I don't mind giving him gas money, and I don't mind buying his medicines. I really don't mind. What I mind is when I give him $20 for gas/cigs or whatever, and fifteen minutes later he asks me for more. What I mind is when I know we have peanut butter, jelly, and bread, and he asks for money so that he can go buy bologna and cheese. Or that we've got tons of Kool-Aid and lots of glasses for water, and he still needs money to buy pop. That's what I mind, when he can't just make do, like the rest of us have to. And I told him that. And even though he didn't answer, I think he understood. He started to try to "explain" why he did certain things and apparently the logic (or lack thereof) started to become apparent to him, and he kind of shut up.

Now, today, I got paid, so I went and paid the light bill and the payment for his truck, which was late. I was going to pay the monthly fee(s) for the pawn shop so that he wouldn't have to tell his brother that he sold his gun. But DH said this: "How about you give me $200 today, and when I get my first check, I will pay you back $250 so that will cover the credit card and the fees and the interest?" And since I know that until he gets paid, he'd be nickel and diming and dollaring me to death anyhow, I agreed. I gave him the $200. And something I said must have at least made a temporary dent, because he has called me once while he was at a fast food place. He was waiting in the car, because Jim wanted fast food and DH didn't want to spend his money. (way to go!!!) Then he just called me again--he decided to go to the grocery store and buy bologna, cheese and chips so he can bring a lunch to work, and he says "I HAD NO IDEA THINGS WERE THAT EXPENSIVE!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THE BOLOGNA WAS?" And then he proudly told me that he had only spent $14 there and he sounded proud of himself. I know it won't last, but I'm going to revel in that for today....maybe now that he's gradually moving back into the real world, his money will become more dear than it has been....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Boy am I grumpy.

(Just a little observation, LOL)

I hate his tattoos

DH's nurse practitioner, the one who prescribes his meds, told him that many bipolar people, when their illness is not well controlled, get tattoos on their forearm(s). She wasn't very clear as to why that is, but she seemed to think that the fact that DH has tattoos on his forearms is suggestive of him having bipolar.

And you know, DH has always had only two tattoos. One on each shoulder, both of them very meaningful to him. And he always said that he would never get a tattoo on his forearm. He used to say that a person loses respect when they do that, and they're hard to hide if you need to.

So as usual, it was a shock when, on one of his self-medicating sprees, he opted to have a tattoo of a bloody wound put onto his arm, "to signify the wounds that never heal".

He also got one on his other forearm that says "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash". One day he saw that on a sign and he thought it was so funny he'd get a tattoo of it. Only it's only funny in a shop, not on a person's arm. Sigh. And the checks that he wrote for those tattoos bounced, too.

And you know what? Those stupid tattoos never heal either. They're a sordid reminder of the worst time in our marriage. DH (now that he's more stable) hates them, I hate them. And the only meaning they have is lost somewhere in his bipolar brain, and in real life, you can't even tell what they are. Just a bunch of jagged red. And a saying that isn't even funny. I hate them. Have I mentioned that?

A lot of the things that he did can be fixed or forgotten, but those tattoos are there to stay. Kind of like the bipolar itself.

I don't love him (or so he thinks)

I just got off the phone with DH. The first thing he asked me was "what time are we going to the pawnshop?" I asked him how much money I was supposed to come up with. "Uh...let's see....$100 for the guitar and $150 for the gun...."

Me: $250????? You're serious??? I'm supposed to come up with $250 to pay for stuff that isn't mine, stuff that I told you several times not to pawn, stuff that you pawned, when it didn't even belong to you, and now I've got to cough up $250 to save you from having your brother find out?

DH: Uh, yeah.

After giving it some thought and realizing that I was still in that same crappy situation as I was a couple of days ago, here is what I said:

Me: Ok, I will get these things out of hock. But this is the last time. It will never happen again. After this, your decisions are yours as far as pawnshops go, and this is your warning. No more.

DH: (silence)

DH: I don't suppose while you're at it, you could give me $50 for the tools I pawned last week?

Me: Nope. I told you not to do that either.

DH: I see.

DH: (in that sulky "you don't love me any more because I'm a piece of #&*@" voice) Well, I'll talk to you later. Bye.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THE NERVE???????? I CAN'T BELIEVE I AM GOING TO DO THIS FOR HIM WHEN HE'S SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL (NOT). But it does feel liberating to have said "no more" to him. I was very clear about it. And I was so close to saying no tonite, I'm pretty sure I can do it. I feel like most of the time he's clear enough on Lithium to understand the decisions he makes and the consequences. We'll see.

Right now I hate being married.

Oh--and did I tell you (no, I'm sure I didn't) that his mom is retiring next week, and there is a party on Saturday. I'm hoping that he'll go there for a week or so...coincidentally, it's the week that DD goes to bible camp, too....what bliss that would be if Jim went with DH and then DD was at camp....I'm sure it's just a fantasy, though....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bipolar, personality, or am I just confused?

Well, I have a lot to write about tonite! First of all, DH got a job, kind of. He got hired as a maintenance guy at an apartment complex in town for $15/hr and he is feeling good about that (for the most part). He's already fixed a couple of things there and is happy to be earning a little money.

The bad thing about that is, that it's a "contract" position, which means that instead of being on the payroll and all that, DH has to bill the complex and then they give him a check and at the end of the year, there's a 1099 form that has to get filled out and basically NO TAXES GET TAKEN OUT. In the lingo of the tax guy, DH is "self-employed". In 2006, when DH had a paper route, it was the same thing, and when the tax guy got done with us, DH had actually only earned $160 total. Big time bad, especially if he puts in more hours at this job than he did for the paper route. So it's kind of bittersweet. And depending on if I'm talking to DH or "That Guy", the outcome(s) is different. When I talk to DH about this, he doesn't even wait for me to say anything, he says "I'll just do this for a couple of weeks, then I have to get something at the casino or something, because otherwise we are going to get screwed with the tax man." Which is right. Work enough to help out. Buy some cigs and some pop and gas, and then move on. Right now we can't afford to say "absolutely not" but every hour that he works for them will hurt us more.

"That Guy", on the other hand, has a different take on it. Since "That Guy" is doing something he likes and it's good money, and because "That Guy" believes it's the only job in the world, he will stay there and we will worry about the taxes at the end of the year. Not my favored outcome, of course, but "That Guy" and I don't exactly get along anyhow....

That said, I was telling DH about how the price of oil jumped $11 a barrel on Friday, how the Dow crashed (down 394 for the day) and how the unemployment numbers are the worst in over 30 years and he got some kind of bug in his bonnet about how we had to go get gas. Right now. I told him I couldn't see the logic of getting a bunch of gas on the credit card right now, because the interest would undoubtedly eat up any savings....and then I let it drop. Then DD started to get a little annoying, so then DH wanted me to take him to Subway to get away from her. I told him there was a ton of food in the kitchen and I couldn't justify that. So he went outside. When he came in again, he asked me about the gas. I told him again that I was still trying to be smart about things and I didn't think we should do it. Because all in all, a couple of tanks of gas aren't going to make that much of a difference....so then he asked me if I could go to the store for him and get him some bologna and some cheese so that he could pack a lunch for work tomorrow. I didn't say much. Then he brought up the gas AGAIN. I am sure he was just looking for an excuse to fill up his vehicles. When I told him we weren't going to do it, he got really sulky and got that "you don't really love me" attitude and went outside again.

In the meantime, I observed that we had peanut butter, jelly, bread, and butter if he wanted to make a lunch. So I decided that we didn't need the bologna and cheese. I took DD to visit my mom and we stopped on the way home and got a gallon of milk and some canned biscuits (3 cans for 99 cents!) so that I could make biscuits and gravy for supper. When we got home and DH saw that I had bought milk, he asked if I got the bologna and the cheese and I said no and right away it went into the "you don't love me" mode again....but I know we didn't need that. Actually, if I had time to make my own biscuits, that would be better, too, but the time and energy I would have to come up with might negate the 99 cents for the 3 cans....and I was kind of fuming the whole time I cooked, because basically every conversation I had with DH today involved him needing more money for something. But I couldn't point that out, because he was "That Guy" at the moment.

So we sat down to eat, and since we all love biscuits and gravy, it went over very well. DH, Jim, and DD all complimented me on the meal....and then they got up and I started thinking "yah, there you go, all you do is ask for money and then I cook for you and you leave me with a mess...." (I was feeling pretty surly and sorry for myself)....and then DH came back and cleared the table while I was finishing up. That was a nice surprise...

Then he went into the bedroom, and I just sat at the kitchen table, listening to the radio, since I had to leave for work in 15 minutes anyhow....and I was in no mood to have to tell him again that we have no money. Then after about 5 minutes he came out and sat down at the kitchen table with me. I can't possibly express how unusual this was, usually he'd sulk in the bedroom because I'm mean and then he'd fall asleep...or else he'd find some stupid reason to drive to town and buy something because I'm mean....anyhow, he sat down and asked me what I was worried about. I still wasn't sure who I was talking to, DH or "That Guy", so I just said "everything". And he said "yeah, me too." And he just started talking about how he's worried that this job of his is going to a bad idea, and how he needs a "regular" job, and then he said, "I don't know why, but I've had it in my head all day that I needed to get gas. I had my heart set on it. But you're right, it doesn't make any sense right now." I told him that I'm scared that my credit card payments were going to be more than I could handle and he told me that he was going to help me, he promised....I explained to him that earlier in the year it felt like we had more money because I was working extra hours and we got our tax refund and then that rebate check, and now I'm not working any extra hours and no more big checks to hope for, and I'm getting burnt out....and then I told DH that he has a lot more "fun money" than I ever get and he nodded and said "you're right." Then tears started falling (mine). And I had to go to work.

I hope it all turns out ok. And I wish I had some way of knowing ahead of time when "That Guy" was going to show up or disappear.....argh. And is it DH's bipolar that makes him get these spending ideas in his brain, or is it just his personality? It's hard to discern.

Friday, June 6, 2008

What can I do when he doesn't see it???

Remember not too long ago when he got that $50 check? Well, tonight I was chatting away happily to him on the phone, when he suddenly said..."Guess what tomorrow is?" I had to do a quick mental spin and remember when all the anniversaries and birthdays were, then I tried to remember if there was some important appointment or something, and, feeling pretty embarrassed, I sheepishly told him "I don't know."

And then I found out. Lucky me! "It's the day when my pawnshop stuff needs to be paid for again." I was speechless. I still kind of am (except to you, apparently).

I told him I didn't have any money. Even his truck payment is late right now, because I don't get paid until Monday. My bank account is empty. I have maybe $5 to my name and I feel SO PUT ON THE SPOT when he does something like this. I didn't tell him that, because at the time I wasn't able to articulate very well. I basically get put in a spot of "make my own financial situation even worse, to save DH from his stupid bipolar mistakes, that I told him not to do, so that he can save face with his brother who doesn't know that his deer rifle has been pawned."

It's "enabling" in its most basic form. If I pay for it. The only way I could do it right now is to take a cash advance from the credit card and that will cost me $15 up front for a fee, PLUS the added interest. I HATE the thought of doing that. My credit card balances have never in my life been this high, and I'm scared because we are so much living on the edge, it's not even funny. But when I expressed my lack of enthusiasm for running to the pawn shop first thing in the morning, "That Guy" got that "mood swing" voice, all cold, that voice that says to me "Well. Now I know you REALLY don't love me at all." So I told him I'd talk with him about it tomorrow. I'm hoping by that time I'll have a plan of "action".

He truly doesn't see that he had $50 in his hand. So why on earth is he asking me for money????????? I know he's not "all better" but sometimes he just makes no sense at all and even worse than that, he refuses to understand when I make sense.

I didn't point out the $50 thing to him. But I sure thought it. And I might bring it up in the morning, depending on how things go.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The mental illness lingers

Today DH got up and actually went to an appointment. I should've been excited, because he hasn't been going to very many. He took my car, because it gets better gas mileage. When he got back, I had to pick up DD from school because she cleaned out her locker and had too much stuff to bring on the bus. When we were on our way home, we passed DH, who was on his way to town in his truck (remember the truck gets 10-13mpg). Part of me kind of went, "Uh-oh...he's on his way to spend money again" and I almost instantly got grumpy.

What had really happened, some of which I was aware of at the time but didn't pay any attention to, was that he had fixed a lawnmower for a lady that he used to work for when his bipolar was in full swing. He had gotten the job (back wayyy before Lithium), worked his you-know-what off, and in his manic haze, spent all the paychecks on tattoos, drinks at the bar, and food, never paying a bill. When he worked for this woman, almost every single day he would come home upset because of something she said or did. I don't like the thought of him doing more work for her, as based on what I knew of her, she was not a healthy person to be around...anyhow, he fixed this lawnmower, and I was aware that she had written him a check for $50. So instead of asking me for cigarette money, he went into town to cash the check and buy some cigarettes.

But I was upset. Sometimes I think that I'm so used to getting upset at everything he does, that I've kind of forgotten what it's like to have him act rationally. I assumed that he was wasting gas that we couldn't afford, to go into town and spend money that he couldn't afford to spend, on useless stuff. And while I'm not 100% sure that he was 100% honest with me, I did end up feeling bad for jumping to conclusions. After all, he had earned the money himself and was using it on things that I would normally get stuck buying for him, so that's good, right?

And after I apologized to him, he told me that he was going to fix another lawnmower for that lady. I expressed my misgivings, and he said, "you know, she's the same person she was before, really demanding and critical, but she doesn't bother me any more. Something's different." LOL. Lithium, of course.

I need to be more aware of times when I'm just getting upset because "that's what I've been doing for two years." I think I need to take a step back and try to start responding to him as a more normal person sometimes, instead of "this bipolar person who was put in my life to thwart every plan I ever made." LOL. That's about it, isn't it?

Bipolar Tragedy

I was just getting ready to sign off when I ran across this story and it sounded like DH in a lot of ways (although to the best of my knowledge he has never wanted to hurt anyone else). DH was also being treated by mental health professionals, had insurance and a supportive (I think, anyhow) family and it still took a LOT for someone to finally actually see him as bipolar. I have worried about my and DD's safety when he has been suicidal, because he promises me that he won't hurt himself, then he would say things like "I could never leave you". I hope those days are behind us now, with the proper diagnosis. My heart goes out to this family--there but for the grace of God go I...

Undiagnosed Bipolar Illness Leads to Murder

Family's 'Perfect Life' Shattered
Father With Undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder Murders Children
June 4, 2008—

Every Saturday morning, Kim Crespi gets in her car for the 90-mile trip from her home outside Charlotte, N.C., to the maximum security prison where her 46-year-old husband, David, will spend the rest of his life.

Like thousands of other wives whose husbands are in prison, Kim cherishes the few hours she and her husband have together, sharing news about their children, their church and their friends. But what makes these visits unusual and the bond between Kim and David different is that David is serving a life sentence for murdering their twin daughters.

Watch the story Friday on "20/20" at 10 p.m. ET

Kim Crespi reminisced about happier times, saying, "It was a house of love, peace and fun. We had a perfect life."

Married for 12 years, the Crespis had five children. The youngest were identical twin girls, 5-year-old Tessara and Samantha.

"Tess and Sam were precious to us," recalled David. "They were incredible. They were a gift. I mean, we were just so thrilled to have them."

The Crespis lived in a large home in a fast-growing suburb outside Charlotte. David had a high-powered job as a vice president at Wachovia Bank while his wife stayed home to raise their large family.

"I had the American dream," said David.

But he also harbored a dark secret that destroyed it all.

Severe Depression
In his late 20s, David suffered his first episode of severe depression. During the course of more than 10 years, he says he sought help from psychiatrists who treated him with therapy and antidepressants. His depression sometimes became so acute that despite being a devout Catholic, David attempted suicide.

"I did certain things where I attempted to take my own life -- running a car in the garage. I hung off a bridge in California," he said.

The attempts stopped after his wife, Kim, made him promise not to kill himself. But David said his thoughts continued to focus on death. "I thought about killing other people. They were irrational, random, crazy thoughts that horrify me."

Terrified by dark thoughts that he believed were not real, David did not share them with his wife or doctors. That turned out to be a tragic mistake.

"He never told them what he wanted to do to his family," says Mecklenburg County homicide prosecutor Marsha Goodenow. "He alone could have stopped what he did to this family if he'd just told somebody what he was thinking or feeling."

Dark Thoughts, Dark Actions
On Jan. 20, 2006, Kim and David were home with Tessara and Samantha. The girls weren't feeling well and had stayed home from kindergarten that day. David was depressed and unable to go to work. He agreed to watch the girls while his wife went out to get her hair done.

According to David, it all seemed like a sign. "And it just came to me. There is no future. There is nothing. And that's the way it's all aligned for them to die."

The twins asked their father to play hide and seek. By the time Kim arrived home, her husband had stabbed her daughters to death, and he was in police custody. In his confession later that day, David admitted to the crimes and told police that the sprinklers had instructed him to dial 911. He was placed on suicide watch and prison psychologists later diagnosed him as having bipolar disorder.

Missed diagnosis
Despite the fact that he was being treated by mental health professionals, had mental health insurance to pay for the treatment and had a supportive family and employer, David's bipolar disorder went undiagnosed for years. Ironically, it wasn't until he was incarcerated that his illness was finally diagnosed. "The best psychiatric care I have got in my life has been in this prison," David said.

His experience is not unusual. According to a study conducted in 2001 by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, a mental health advocacy group, it takes an average of 10 years and four different doctors for a patient to be correctly diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

What is atypical is how David's illness manifested itself in violent deaths. "The occurrence of aggression and violence is not as common as one might fear. And, in fact, homicide is relatively unusual in bipolar disorder," said Dr. Maria Oquendo, a psychiatrist at Columbia University's School of Medicine who specializes in the disorder. She says bipolar patients are much more likely to harm themselves than others.

Oquendo cautions that there are times when a parent suffering from bipolar disorder, feels hopeless and suicidal, and their children could be at risk. "They feel that they don't want to abandon their children, so they will, quote, 'Take their children with them.'"

Today the Crespi family still lives in the house where the twins died. Their mother Kim finds comfort in the rooms where they lived and played. "We get to live with the angels," said Kim tearfully. "Sam and Tess, our saints, the angels are always there. I feel nothing but love here."

Kim perseveres through her faith and her undying love for her husband and still feels that she "married my soul mate. And Dave needs me so there's lots of reasons to get up in the morning and see what God has for us, you know?"

But for Kim's weekly visits David Crespi is virtually alone with the pictures of his slain twin daughters lining the walls of his 8-by-12 cell. "I loved them dearly. And I miss them. And my life and the lives of other people I love will never be the same."

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

My mistake and "What do you think?"

Well, I got tired of the old template. I was looking at a bunch of blogs and a lot of them looked just like mine. And that made me feel boring, so I decided to spice things up a little :-)

But in the process, I messed up. When you change the template like that, you lose all your widgets. I knew that from looking into things, so I looked up and figured out how to save them all. But even though I knew what I was doing, I still managed to mess things up, so I lost a lot of my blog (some of which probably was ready to leave anyhow, LOL) and that included my blogroll.

I feel kind of stupid for doing it, but I know what I did wrong and won't make that mistake again.

But if you used to be on my blogroll and you aren't now, it's only because I can't remember all of my favorite sites right this minute. I'm sure most of them will come back to me eventually, but if you want to send me a reminder just in case, I won't be offended.

Have a great night.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I am never satisfied, but I am grateful that it's only bipolar.

You know, before DH was on the Lithium, if you would've talked to me, all I really wanted was someone to talk to once in a while, someone who got out of bed every day...or even once or twice a week....someone who had a sense of humor and someone who could remember that DD goes to bed at 9pm. It really seemed like so much to ask, it almost seemed impossible, when you looked at how things really were.

Now, after Lithium (it's funny, DH and I both categorize these times as "before Lithium" and "after Lithium", LOL), I've got all of the above and more. I've got a husband who goes out and gets firewood, a husband who cleans every once in a while. A husband who has more "easy-going" days than I dared to even hope for "pre-Lithium".

But I'm still complaining. The improvements are great. And it's so exciting. But I still want a husband who can get up in the morning without me prodding him. I still want a husband who has a job. I still want a husband who can go to the store and say to himself, "well, it's on sale, but I still can't afford it." A husband who can say "Let's save up for that big vacation." I really do appreciate all the positive changes that have come in the last few months. And I love my husband. Very much. I guess I still really wish for the exact same guy I married. And I realize on an intellectual level that he might be gone forever. And despite all the good that has come, still I whine. Poor me.

But there are wives of Iraq veterans who are facing a lifetime of PTSD, a lifetime of brain damage far worse than anything DH has...wives who are facing a lifetime of having their "rock", their strong protector, soldier, husband, be completely dependent on them. Not able to get the firewood or crack a joke. Not able to walk or talk or even be left alone safely. And all of these with absolutely no hope for recovery. No Lithium is going to help. I need to remember that what DH and I have gone through is trivial compared to many couples. It feels worse, because it's happening to US, but when I manage to think of all the ways things could be worse, I am grateful, for sure.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Disqualified by bipolar

Well, I know I told you that I'm sure DH isn't ready to work yet. But we (I) are really hurting for money. We've still got a $600 dentist bill to pay, and I am thinking that propane will be about $1200 to fill the tank this fall, and I have no idea where that is coming from :-(

So anyhow, to save gas, since my bank is in the same town as DH's Spenders meetings, I decided to ride with him. It was a pleasant drive--for the most part, I've really been enjoying his company lately. He talked about getting a job, and as we were driving, there was a McDonald's with a big "Now Hiring" sign. DH said he just couldn't apply at a fast food place, and I wasn't too worried, since I had already decided that working would probably be a bad idea for him....

Anyhow, on the way back, I decided that I would treat us each to lunch off the dollar menu at McDonald's. While we were there, DH suddenly struck up a conversation with the manager and walked out of there with a job interview. I was very excited for him!

So (as an aside), guess what he did next? Since having an interview is almost the same as having a job, which is almost the same as having a paycheck, he went to the hardware store and charged a $40 labeling machine to label his nail/screw containers in the tool shed! (I'm not sure if you remember, but in our small town, you can open a "charge" account at many of the stores, it's based on your good name/reputation) He did have the good sense to confess, and he admitted it was a very bad idea. I told him that I thought he should maybe try to brainstorm and see if he could figure out why he did that. He agreed, but I don't think he's given it much thought yet.

Anyhow, he went to his interview, and they told him he's "overqualified". So he didn't get it. I thought he would have been feeling rejected again, especially when you can't get hired at McDonald's, but he handled it fine, and then told me he is "going to get up early and REALLY pound the pavement and find himself a job." So maybe being "overqualified" isn't such a bad thing....?

Today was a "good day". He was in a good mood and handled all of his stressors very well. I can't wait for the time to come when all of his days are like that, but I'll take what I can get right now!!