Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Full moon or something like it....

Well, I was hoping that if I took some time off from dwelling on things that I could get myself out of "angry" for a while....it didn't work. I think, as some of you commented, I need to find myself a therapist somehow. I need to find a healthy way to channel my anger and accept my husband's illness. I'll have to find someone in the city, I was thinking on my way to work that maybe I'd call the employee assistance line and see if they have a suggestion. I think they pay for a few counseling sessions, too, so that would save me the copay....I'll let you know what happens with that...

Late last week, Social Security sent DH two forms to fill out (and one for me to fill out) concerning his prior work experience and his current abilities. They came with explicit instructions to make sure they got back within 10 days, or the claim "may be denied". So every day, I remind DH to fill out the forms (mine has already been mailed) and every day he is "busy" sitting on the couch or (yes again) lying in bed watching TV....he'll do it tomorrow. So today, I set the alarm early so that DH could fill out the forms and I could mail them before work. He got up and started filling out the forms. And he got so angry. Not necessarily with me, but at the forms and the questions they were asking. He was angry that he didn't know the exact dates that he worked. He was angry that he had to fill them out at all. And then this: "It's asking me if I take care of children, I'm going to put yes."

Me: How do you figure?

DH: Well, DD. You know, I make sure she goes to bed and I make sure she takes her pills....

Me: (to myself) : DD takes her own pills without anyone reminding her. She feeds herself when I'm not home, because you refuse to prepare food beyond cereal. She puts on her own pajamas, and goes to bed with one or two prompts. I (Carol) am the one who makes sure she gets up in the morning. To me, that does not qualify as taking care of "children".

Me: (out loud) : Well, I think they were thinking like more like younger kids, like changing diapers, getting them dressed, giving them a bath....stuff like that...

DH: Well, I take care of her!!!

Me: Well I think if you lead them to believe that you help her a lot, Social Security is going to suggest that you are not disabled, you can do day care. (I guess I probably shouldn't have said anything like that....kind of insinuated that he doesn't do anything....)

DH: FINE! (slams door)

Me: Maybe you should take a Lorazepam?

DH: (no answer) (did not take the pill)

and did not complete the form.

Then this:

DD comes home from school, I'm still there, at home, because I had to get DH's prescription and some dog food, since I stay in the city on Wednesday/Thursday nights.

DD: Mom, my teacher wants me to do this 9 hour project. Look what I found, "Dog grooming, self serve dog wash."

Me: What kind of project? Does she want you to work for 9 hours? Or does she want you to interview someone, or what?

DD: It's a 9 hour project she wants us to do.

Me: Well, it sounds like you might need more information. Do you have instructions?

DD: Forget it.

Me: Ok, then. Why don't you have a glass of milk?

DD: Where's the cereal?

Me: (to myself) You and your friend ate it all over the weekend, a WHOLE WEEK'S WORTH OF CEREAL. And now we don't have any and I don't have any money. So too bad for you. Make a sandwich.

Me: (out loud) There isn't any.

DH: (this is a for real quote, even though it's so pathetically funny it sounds like I made it up...) : Can I have some money to go buy her cereal?

Me: I have no money. You'll both have to make do.

DD: This is so stupid. (slams door to her room)

Me: (to DH and to DD's PCA (helper)) : There's plenty of food here. There's two loaves of bread, some oatmeal packets, fruit cocktail....and ramen.

DD: (comes out of her room) I WASN'T CALLING YOU STUPID!!!!! I WASN'T!!!! ALL I SAID WAS THIS WAS STUPID!!!!!!!!

Me: I never said anything about you calling anyone stupid. You need to have a glass of milk and try to calm down.


DH: DD. Go to your room.\

DD: NO. I WON'T!!!

Me: Can you take some deep breaths?


Me: C'mon, let's do it together, as deep a breath as you can--In......and Out......look at me....In......and Out.......do you remember that this is a good way to calm down?

DD: yes

Me: Now why don't you go into your room and take your glass of milk, too. Drink your milk, and breathe deep like we just did. And we'll check on you in 10 minutes.

In 10 minutes she was on her way back to normal, so I went to work. Maybe the anger is contagious or something.....? I don't know! When I left the house, though, all I wanted to do was move out. That was all I could think about.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm angry and I've got to do something!

And I don't want to be. It seems like every day now, I'm angry about something, and I didn't used to be like that. So I'm trying to figure out what's changed?

Is it that DH was doing well, and now he's not quite so well?

Is it because his lack of insight into his spending habits and vices is bleeding me dry?

Am I just overworked?

Do I need more "Carol" time? (I know the answer to this one, but don't exactly know how to accomplish it!)

All this time, I've clearly understood that a lot of DH's behaviors are illness-related. He did not steal from me before bipolar. He did not lie in bed all day or sit on the couch all day before bipolar. Before bipolar, if he created a mess, he'd be the first one to clean it up, of course. I understand that things are different now. Some of these things he's just not capable of changing right now. And I know, because he used to be different, that if he could change, he probably would. So what is different now, making me less tolerant, more angry, more disgusted? Is it just time?

The other night I was angry with him because I went to work, he was sitting on the couch. I got home, he was sleeping. In between, the laundry was no longer in the laundry basket, it was all over the floor. There were twice as many dirty dishes in the sink, and one doggie "accident" on the floor. So I told him that I was frustrated and angry. The fact that I expressed that, apparently made him angry, and he stomped around, slamming doors, etc., until he went out to his car. I found myself hoping he'd leave. I was disappointed when he didn't. What's different now? Am I just tired of the same old crap? I'm sure it'll pass (I hope). I don't really expect answers from all of you, I'm sure my own answers will come in time...

Mostly, I think I'm full of self-pity because this is not what I signed up for. He was going to work, I was going to stay home with the kids. We were going to be a team. We were going to grow old together, and THEN worry about people losing their minds! Whiney, whiney Carol. For a LOT of people, life doesn't turn out like they planned. So what? A LOT of people don't whine like me. A lot of people deal with worse. I've got to get out of the anger stage and move on to acceptance and the like. This is my life right now. It is not going to change just because I am angry.

I never could, in all my life, stand those people who whine about how terrible their life is, but do nothing to change it. I've always been one to think (and sometimes say) "If you don't like it, do something about it, otherwise, for crying out loud, SHUT UP!" I need to take some of my own advice and change something. I have no right to complain unless I am trying to change things.

In the meantime, I need to try (once again) to remember that I am a lot luckier than a lot of people. I know there are a lot of people who would give their right arm just to have someone to talk to, someone to say "good morning" to. I know there are women married to men (and staying married, too) who can't move, who can't speak, or use the bathroom on their own, and are expected to be that way for the long term. I know there are women married to bipolar men whose husbands are not willing to take their medications, not willing to go to appointments, etc. All of that is by far, far, worse than what my marriage is like.

I know that I (for sure) can't change DH. Lord knows I'd sure like to! But, since I can't, I need to start changing me. And, since, I'd like to stay married, despite my anger, I have to find a way to do that within the context of my marriage. Not as easy as it sounds, but I've got to do something!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guess what we did on Friday?

We took a 2 hour drive to another part of the state, to a Social Security office. Yep, we sat down with someone and the application has been filled out!!!! I couldn't believe it!!!

I know that everything I've read says that 70% of first time applications are denied, so the odds of anything are relatively slim. So I'm trying so very hard not to get my hopes up. It will probably be 4 months before we know for sure, then we would have 60 days to appeal. I alternate between getting all hopeful and telling myself to shut up.

If DH got disability, he would get $1400 a month!!! That is way more than what I take home from my part time job.....so many possibilities.....just the thought of getting that truck and 4 wheeler paid off make me giddy!!! Because then I would have some spending money again.....and not just "guilty" spending money, but money I could plan on spending on something besides bills. I could put money into savings. I could take the animals to the vet when they need it, not when I can afford it....DD could have clothes that didn't come from the thrift shop. Woo hoo!!!

Ok, Carol...70% don't get it on the first try. So shut up.

See what I mean?????

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today's Conversation

DH: Hey, you awake?
Me: Uh....
DH: I don't suppose you have an extra $40, do you?
Me: What do you need $40 for, and no, I don't.
DH: Well, I need pop, and I thought I'd buy some gas, too.
Me: Drink Koolaid.
DH: I can't!!!!
Me: Why not?
DH: Because I can't carry it outside when I'm splitting wood!
Me: Use a Thermos.
DH: I'll do something for you.....?
Me: Drink Koolaid.
Me: Are you out of gas?
DH: Well, not yet.
DH: Oh. I forgot to tell you, we're going to need gas for the 4-wheeler too.
Me: Ok, get me a gas can. I've got to get duck food anyhow.
DH: Can I come with?
Me: No.

Not only did this conversation wake me out of a sound sleep, but after it was over, even though I stood my ground, I wound up feeling like a big meanie. And I know I shouldn't. I buy things for me once in a while. Like a pop. Or a magazine. Really not very often. But I'm the one making the money, right? So is it wrong for me to buy little luxuries for me and not buy him pop? No, I know it's not, when I remember that I bought him pop and cigarettes two days ago. So why do I feel like a meanie?

DH: I've got to go into town.
Me: Why?
DH: My mom is sending me a twenty from Western Union.
Me: You're kidding, right?
DH: No, I was out of gas.

I wish I could explain to his mom where the money doesn't go. But it is hard for me to say no to him, too....so I suspect it'll be just as hard or harder for his mom to say no to him. ARGH.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A better frame of mind....

Well, today (Tuesday) was absolutely beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky, no breeze, about 60 degrees....a perfect spring day. I woke up, and Elmo meow and Freckle meow decided that I needed kitty love, so Elmo stood on me and pushed his nose into my face until I gave him kisses (he's the only cat in the world who LOVES to be kissed) and Freckle did the pat-pat-pat with her paw, to make sure I was awake....

Then they both snuggled up with me, purring, and I could feel that Charlie was by my legs and someone else was on my feet and I just laid there and smiled. Lately I've had so little time to enjoy them, that sometimes I forget why my animals are important. Then I got up and "ducked and clucked" (that's the terminology for feeding and watering the chickens and the ducks) and it was great to see all those birds enjoying spring, too. I spent longer than I should, just watching and smiling.

This started me off feeling very productive today. So I set up an appointment for my mom, called the assisted living place to let them know, called my mother in law, did a little cleaning (and I mean a little!)....it was good!

DH had two appointments today, one for blood/labs and one with the jobs people. I don't know how either of those appointments went, because I was on my way to work by then. So I called home, and asked DD if DH was home. "He's outside". I asked if he was out smoking. "No, he's....um...he's outside splitting wood." I could not believe my ears. I said, "splitting wood?" "Yeah. Should I go get him?" Of course I didn't have her go get him. The tree that I presume he was working on fell during a storm last June!!!! And it has been sitting there ever since. I absolutely cannot believe that he is out splitting wood. I could believe that he was outside, it was a beautiful day. But doing something like that????

Could the Depakote be working?

Monday, April 13, 2009

How was your Easter?

Mine was pretty disappointing, for sure. I got off work at 8am and ran home to grab the crockpot and supplies, then I ran to my mom's and got the ham in the crockpot and all that....

I got home from her house at about 10:30am. I slept until 3pm and went back over there to finish cooking. We had ham, candied sweet potatoes, au gratin potatoes, rolls, and a fruit/marshmallow salad. Nothing was exceptional, but nothing was terrible, either. I didn't have a lot of energy to put into everything, but it's important to my mom to have a dinner on Easter, so we did.

My mom kept asking me what she could do to help. So I put the ingredients together for the fruit salad and told her she could stir it up. She was using the spoon to stab the salad, stab-stab-stab....to chop it up, and when I told her all she had to do was stir it, she didn't know how and said she couldn't do that. So I stirred it....then she still wanted to help, so I told her she could set the table. But she didn't know the difference between cereal bowls and plates. It made me sad. Luckily, just as I was trying to find a gentle way to help her succeed, DH walked in and asked how he could help, so I suggested that they set the table together....thank goodness!!!

After the meal, my mom did wipe off the table, I think she felt good about that....and then I did the dishes, DH went to pick up DD from a friend's house. So I threw in a load of laundry as long as I was there at my mom's ....and when it was dry, my mom wanted to help fold the laundry, but I could tell it wasn't one of her best days....I hoped I was wrong, though. I usually give her the towels and the panties to fold, and I fold the rest. Today she held up a pair of panties and asked me what they were. After I told her, she folded them, but it was sad that she didn't know.

And DH? Well, I knew he wasn't buying me Easter candy, LOL....but he did give me another coupon book, with lots of very cool coupons, like one for he will make dinner including side dishes....and one where he will do certain other chores that he doesn't usually do....unfortunately, the thing with those coupons is I have to wait until he's in the right state of mind to use them....otherwise nothing will get done and I will get frustrated. And lately, things haven't been too good as far as state of mind. But you know, I always gave DD and DH an Easter basket, and DH would always feel bad because he didn't give me anything for Easter...this time he did, and that in itself is pretty cool.

I know deep down, that he loves me. And I love him too. But, to clarify, I DO NOT love "That Guy" at all. I know it's been "That Guy" in my house lately. I fantasize about divorcing "That Guy". But sometimes little things like those coupons help me remember that my DH is still in there, too....


DH's mom sent him $70.00 for gas and cigarettes. He went to Spenders Anonymous on Saturday, he said the meeting was good. They talked about the pain their actions have caused others. I thought that was a relevant topic, for sure!

Then, last night when I was at work, he asked me to "stop by and pick up a pack of cigarettes on your way home." I said, "I thought you had $70.00." He sounded kind of sheepish when he said, "Well, on my way to Spenders I stopped at McDonalds. Then on my way home, I stopped at Hardees. Oh. And I stopped at Target and bought a computer game, too. Yeah, on the way home from Spenders, even. I guess I didn't get the message."

I didn't even have it in my to be angry. Just sad. Really sad. And tonite I feel trapped. This person I'm married to, he doesn't make any sense. He's spending me into oblivion, and I'm working myself to death. And right at this moment, I don't see much of a way out of it. I wish I did. But tonite I feel trapped.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Helping Animals with my new Gadget....

I've supported the Animal Ark No-Kill shelter for many years. I volunteered for them when I lived in the city. I find that they are doing amazing things for animal welfare, especially for feral cats and pit bull-type dogs, who are forgotten and unloved members of our "homeless animal" society. They have what they call the "Neuter Commuter", which is a bus that goes around and gives free or low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to feral cats and pit bull dogs. They really put their money where their mouth is, as they are doing everything they can to make sure that no animal needs to be "put to sleep" just because it is inconvenient. I am amazed at the things they are doing and the things they are striving for.

So I decided to add their gadget onto my blog. I know most of you don't live anywhere close to where you can just go there and adopt an animal, but they let you "sponsor" the animals in their shelter, too. And you can always donate to them outright, if you have a little extra money...

Anyhow, I just thought I'd call your attention to it, since it's a ways down on the page....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crossing my fingers for Depakote

Well, we finally got to the pdoc, who determined that the Abilify, if it was doing anything, was making things worse, so that has been discontinued. And DH's Lamictal dose has been lowered from 300mg to 100mg, because it would interact with his new Depakote prescription (yay!).

The pdoc is concerned about DH's moods fluctuating, and with the spending, too. So here we are, moving on to the "next good thing".

DH reported to the pdoc that his back hurts really bad, and he feels like getting a new tattoo(!) and that at the moment, he doesn't regret the stupid ones he got when he was manic before(!). That's a huge sign that something's worse than it was before. And DH kept telling me, "If you're going to divorce me, please let me know how much time I have to get my stuff out of here...."

LOL, a couple of times I almost took him up on that, but I bit my tongue and remembered that I married him "in sickness and in health...."

I have to confess, though, sometimes I think things would be so much easier....

I guess I've never been one to take the "easy way out", though, huh?

And the best part yet? The pdoc had oodles of Depakote samples, so I didn't have to come up with more money!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When your hut is burning...

Someone, who apparently had some clue as to the feelings I've been having lately, sent this to me, and I thought I'd share it with all my friends! So here goes:

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?' Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.

The Moral of This Story: It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.