This has probably been the most difficult Mother’s Day that I have ever experienced. No need to pick out a card, or flowers, or some thoughtful gift. My mother has been in the hospital in intensive care the past three weeks, on a ventilator and for the most part unable to respond. She seems to recognize me when I talk to her, and follows me with her eyes, but otherwise is just too weak to interact. This has been extremely difficult, as before this hospitalization, she was relatively well and independent.
So I spent my Mother’s Day sitting at her bedside, holding her hand, and thinking about our relationship. Our relationship has not always been easy. We have had our ups and downs, but recently we have been on an upswing. We have been able to spend some time together recently that has been quite positive. She has been less critical of me, and I have been more open with her. Apparently she told a close friend that she had enjoyed the time we had spent together. That makes me feel pretty good considering our current circumstances.
I’m grateful for this bit of time I could be with my mother. We might not have another Mother’s Day together.
Why after almost 16 years do I still have some anxiety over seeing and dealing with my ex-husband? I don’t normally have contact with him at all since he moved to Alaska (I know, who the heck moves to Alaska??? But what a blessing!) but he has graced us with his presence for our son’s graduation ceremony. I feel very fortunate that he did move so far away, because we had a very contentious relationship and ongoing battle over custody and parenting. Let me just sum it up for now: it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t in our child’s best interest, but I did what I felt I needed to do to protect and nurture him.
Anyway, I imagine part of the anxiety is for my son. His relationship with his father is strained since dad moved away. My son had some say in where he lived when his dad decided to move, and he preferred to stay in Ohio, close to family and friends. His dad didn’t handle this well, and hasn’t managed to stay in close touch. He hasn’t seen him for about a year, and now he comes into town just for the graduation ceremony and is leaving tomorrow. Like my son said, it’s almost as if he just feels obligated. I mean who spends twelve hours flying just to turn around and go back in a day?
There has been a lot of acrimony and hurt between us too. At least that is how I feel. Our failed marriage was the result of his infidelity during my first episode of Depression (how’s that for a kick in the teeth?). He subsequently married the woman that he had the affair with, and had another family. Because of the depression, I found it an extremely painful time of my life, and he is still associated with that pain. I have grieved the loss of the relationship after all this time, but the darkness and despair of that episode of Depression still scares the heck out of me. And I associate him with being abandoned at my time of greatest need. Perhaps that is the source of my anxiety, I just never thought of it that way before. Writing is therapeutic too.
So, wish me luck as I put on my game face and do my best to confront my anxiety/my ex. It does get easier over time as my son gets older, and as I become more self-aware. At least it’s only for a day.
Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.
Celebrated another birthday this week, I think that makes me officially middle-aged, being forty-five. It hasn’t been traumatic or anything, just thinking that more than half of this life is likely over, and that it tends to be a melancholy thought for most. Age has never been something I really dwell on too much. I spend a lot of my time at work with older people, really old, like nineties old. So that tends to keep things in perspective for me.
I guess I’ve been what most people call an old soul. I’ve always been wise beyond my years, drawn to being with adults, especially older adults rather than children or people my age. I just seem more attune to them. I think Depression has aged me too. I feel like I have lived longer, harder than most. Maybe had more experience emotionally and psychologically so that has matured me. My body seems to register on their cohort as well. I have aches and pains that I believe are a bit premature for someone my age. I’m sure my sporadic exercise and irregular dietary habits don’t help the situation. But I just don’t think I should feel like THIS.
However, I am grateful to be here in this shape and form for now. I don’t know that I want to live to my nineties if it includes sickness and infirmity. I have observed much suffering in the elderly during my work as a nurse and would not wish it upon anyone. What I have now is more than enough to cope with, I can’t imagine life with diminished capacities as well.
I want to make the best of the time that I do have. It’s an opportunity now that I have learned so much during the first part of my life. So I best check with those elders for some wisdom on coping. I bet they have a lot to say about all those birthdays.
Posted in Chronic Illness, Communication, Coping, Depression, Pain
Tagged aging, courage, Mental health, Mood, Pain, perseverance, Self-help
Most people say that as you get old you have to give up things. I think you get old because you do give up things. —-Theodore Green
I don’t know who Ted Green is, but he got me thinking…have I given up things? I believe I have, but always rationalized it somehow. Thought it was part of growing up and being mature, the trade-off for having a family, etc. Was I supposed to let things go? Does everyone let things go? Do women just let things go?
Still having some deep discussions in therapy, a lot surrounding my career and choices. I have let things go because I made this career choice of nursing and thought I had to do certain things to be “successful.” Let’s just say I’m a high achiever, went to a high achieving college and nursing program and being “just a nurse” was not enough. I felt like I was expected to represent my high level of education and achievement by leap-frogging into management or something. So I did. This of course left little time for other pursuits as I was juggling being a single parent and fighting with my ex in and out of court. So I gave away little pieces and parts of what I enjoyed and had pursued before nursing dominated my life. Like ceramics and photography. Like needle arts and sewing. There were many things that I gave up along the way that I am slowly trying to retrieve. But now I am wondering if one of these things or perhaps something else altogether should occupy my work time instead?
More than halfway down the road and I’m questioning EVERYTHING. Doesn’t make for day-to-day stability. Some days I just want to escape and not have to think about any of it. I feel like a big goof. But then I think, I don’t hate nursing, I just don’t have a passion for it like some do. I’ve done a lot of good things during my career, and I’ve touched a lot of lives in a positive way. I am proud of that. It’s not a total wash. I don’t regret what I’ve done so far, although it has been a rough road at a number of turns. I just wonder if it’s time to take the road less travelled. Mr. Frost says it will make all the difference.
Posted in Coping, Happiness, Stress
Tagged courage, depression, Happiness, Hope, Nursing, perseverance, self-esteem, Stress, Work
Human beings are not helpless. They have never been helpless. They have only been deflected or deceived or dispirited. So long as people have a vision of life as it ought to be…they can look at the world with…confidence.
What is your vision of life?
If you have made serious mistakes, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but staying down.—Mary Pickford
I know as a depressed person and a perfectionist, I take my mistakes way to seriously. Actually I do everything I can to avoid making mistakes, perhaps by not taking risks that could be beneficial. I HATE TO BE WRONG. I feel like it is a personal flaw to be found in error on something, that is how hard I take things. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. I’ve tried to adapt and be more accepting of constructive criticism over the years, but it hasn’t been easy for me. I worry that if I’m down, I won’t be able to get back up again. I often wonder if anyone else has the same feelings?
I’ve worked at trying to adapt the mindset that mistakes are a learning opportunity, but I am much kinder to others in that regard than I am with myself. I might be holding myself to an impossible standard that no one could realistically attain. I need to work on being kinder to myself. I am likely the only one keeping me down with my skewed views of myself. Just one more thing to work on this year.
Wonder if he ever thinks about this day? We would have been married 21 years if he had been able to handle my Depression. Sadly, instead of supporting me in my darkest hour, he selfishly got involved with someone else. Looking back, perhaps our relationship would not have lasted because he has always been an essentially selfish person. But the trauma of how our relationship ended and the years of acrimony that followed have contributed to the chronicity of my illness and my negative attitude toward relationships.
I think by this time that dates should mean very little. I don’t really have any “feeling” about this particular date. Although I truly don’t appreciate that he chose to have his second marriage on the 31st of December either. He is just that selfish and insensitive. Just like I don’t really think about his birthday or any other date. It just happens that so many negative things have occurred around the Christmas/New Year holidays. We split up at this time of year too.
What I do recognize and acknowledge regularly is that something very special came of those circumstances. I am blessed with a son, who is now maturing into a young man. He has been my challenge and delight, and I love him more than anything. So regardless of any bad memories or emotional pain I have suffered, I know that my son was part of the plan. And I can celebrate that.