We've been on vacation this week, the same place we always go every year. The Outer Banks of North Carolina cause a mass exodus of our family, with dreams of swimming, shopping, lounging around and enjoying the beach. We've been performing this exercise for approximately thirty years. When I was a child, it was just me, my brother, and my parents. Now it's also my kids and husband, and we board our pets nearby so we can visit them.
This year haas been different. The week started out okay, but has slowly disintegrated into something else. An inability to go out, to get restful sleep, to even have the energy to don a swimsuit. Instead I've focused on staying in my bed, taking my medicine, and avoiding everyone else.
I cannot separate the depression from the fibro anymore. They are so closely intertwined for me. I have struggled with depression for years. In fact, I can't remember a time in my life where Depression wasn't an issue in my life. I don't recall, but my mother says she found a suicide note from me when I was eleven. I do remember feeling hopeless and fat, which to me signified every shortcoming I had. Even at eleven, I had figured out that skinny girls had a leg up on me.
I cry a lot. Mainly out of intense sadness and loss, but also out of guilt, that my children are paying for my illness. The days of mom taking the kids to swim, or go to the movies, or going to festivals or amusement parks--all things I actually like to do--seem to be over. I asked my mom, as I sat next to her crying last night, if it was getting better. She said she thinks so. I just don't know.
Today is the last day of our vacation. I can still go to the pool and swim. In fact, that may be what I do tonight, later. I don't want to look at my entire vacation and say the highlight was...um...???
Reality is that I did go out with my mother one day, and I went out with my daughter one day. My son and I have had lots of good talks. My husband has taken the kids out--both separately and together--to see sights and to eat and all sorts of vacation stuff. My son was just telling me how fantastic the lighthouses were that his dad took him to see. As hard as I am on my husband sometimes, he really can be a good guy. I would feel so much worse--more guilty--if I were not able to do those things and he wouldn't. He tries. And I'm happy to report, too, that my son seems to be making more progress in the last several weeks. My biggest regret is that I didn't go by the organic dog biscuit place and pick up some treats for my dog. Not only that, but I didn't go see her this morning. I was so exhausted I laid back down and next thing I know I'm waking up at two. So depending on the hours that store is open, maybe we'll run down there tomorrow morning. My dog would love that.
When I get back home, I need to begin calling for the kids' camps, for PT for me, and two other doc appointments I need to schedule.
I did have a good job interview a couple of days ago by phone. I will be talking with them again in a few days after completing a writing prompt. I feel confident in my answer to the question and confident in the fact that I will get the position. The great thing about the position is it allows for a good deal of mentoring adults. The bad thing is it doesn't allow me to work with children. In fact, I am never to be in contact with any of the children in the classes where I'm mentoring teachers.
I do realize that I could probably get a babysitting job that pays decently and would be a bit less stressful, but I need to stretch my brain. I already feel like fibro is stealing so much from me. Some days I just don't have the fight in me. Like today. I'd rather sit and watch TV than take a shower, don some clothes, and go to the damn organic treat store. Or to put on my swimsuit and go down to the pool and swim. I still haven't had the xray or ultrasound done that my doctors have requested. I guess I'm not a great patient. But I'm trying. I went to my new endocrinologist the other day and that went fantastically. He works for one of the top diabetes centers in the nation (right near where I live, ironically) and knows that my numbers aren't super, but aren't terrible either. We need to fine tune. I agree. But it's the first time I've ever gone to a doctor to treat my diabetes that hasn't scolded me or made me feel like shit. It's the first time I haven't been told that because I'm obese I'm going to die, lose limbs, go blind, or whatever. Of course I'm going to die. And so are you, and my family, and the janitor at the Y, and everyone else. Living and dying. It's what we do.
I really just needed to write today, to forgive myself for not running hither and yon during my vacation. That maybe my ideal vacation includes a few days of down time...especially when my neck and shoulder are painful and my allergies are nutty and I'm just tired! The days are coming quickly that I won't have that option--to go back to bed or skip whatever's going on. I intend to be employed in a good job. I intend to think, to write, to throw myself back into work and to be successful. I AM better than three, six, or nine months ago. My life isn't over until I say I give up, and I don't. I've made progress this week in some ways. I'm going to keep moving in that direction. I'm smart and able, and my relationships with my kids are good. We are doing better than we have in months. I'm excited to begin to work again. I don't think I'm naive--I know there are days I'm going to hurt and I'll have to suck it up for awhile. My life is going to change and I'm resistant to that, but if it means that I have a higher quality life with my kids, I'll do it. I want to be well enough to go to Disneyworld again in the spring. And not with one of those crazy rental carts that old people use (sorry Mom and Dad). I want to be able to do all the things I've done before and enjoy it with my kids. I just turned 42 and truly believed I was old, until I saw my endocrinologist who told me in no uncertain terms I was NOT old. I was young and had a long life ahead of me. I can't tell you how much I needed to hear that. I really, really needed to hear that.
I don't know where I'll end up after this year. Another grant? A Ph.D? An Ed.D? Or maybe an alternative certification for special education? Who knows? Isn't that what makes life interesting--the lack of knowing? What I DO know, what I believe, is that God is putting me where I need to be. The reasons may not be clear at the time, but that's not my lookout. That's what faith is about--allowing Him the freedom to lead so I can follow. He's done a fantastic job so far--leading me into a career that I've loved, leading me to another state to affect the lives of preschoolers and their families, as well as improving the preschool lab I worked at. And most obviously, leading me to the position of motherhood. Sometimes I feel like I traded giving birth to my own child for mothering the two I have now. Maybe I did, but maybe I didn't. I'll never really know. But I do know that my kids are smart, funny, fantastic kids who needed a mom to love them. And I love them with my whole soul.
Well, this has been a rambling post (along with a few tears). I am greatly looking forward to my meeting with the psychiatrist on Monday, because my antidepressant and my anti-anxiety meds are not working. So I guess maybe expecting me to be all Yee Haw! about this vacation is kind of unrealistic. What I did was make sure the kids got to do what they would find fun. They swam and they saw lighthouses. They went to the beach and ate ice cream and went to restaurants. Me? I relaxed. I wrote on facebook and thought about my interview and insurance and all sorts of things like that. I talked a lot with my son, snuggled my absolutely wonderful daughter, and talked with my mom. I joked with my Dad and my husband. Maybe the gift of going to the same place for thirty years is the fact that you already know what's out there and can choose to relax and know you're not missing much, because you only live 90 minutes away and can always make a day trip.
So good for me, maybe? I think so. I can always go get a coffee later, pick up some dog biscuits, and swim.