Musings, Religion, Wellness

Sleepy Thoughts

It’s been a stay-in-your-robe kinda day. Actually, C. and I both did so. His mood unfortunately seemed to tank rather suddenly a couple of days ago. As I usually do, I’ve worried that maybe I was the catalyst for that with my family issues and ensuing emotions. He says no, but you never know, do you? Thankfully, he’s scheduled at the psychiatrist’s office to talk about changing his antidepressant dosage or medication. Hopefully, that will help him.

Since there wasn’t much in the house we wanted to eat and he was feeling down, I took the opportunity to order from a delivery service (GrubHub) we had a $10 first-timers coupon from. We both ordered breakfast for lunch. I had a seasonal special that will probably be gone soon: Gingerbread pancakes drizzled with a little icing. I had some OJ with it. Yummy.

On Friday, we both went to the dentist. I was very surprised to find I had no cavities this time. Antidepressants often reduce saliva production, which often leads to an increase in cavities. C., however, learned he needs a root canal. He goes back on Monday. He’ll also need the dentures he ordered last time he was in adjusted as he’s never found them comfortable enough to wear.

As for me, I’m really struggling with feelings of sadness and guilt over my family right now. I keep replaying snippets of conversations in email and over the phone in my head despite my desire not to. I’m second-guessing whether I should have sent the email that included some accusations and hurt. But honestly, in my family, there’s nothing, nothing I can do that won’t be somehow misconstrued. The best I can do now is distance myself and try to build a support system here. I want friends, and when you do have those friends, those hard times in life become much easier to bear, I think.

My game plan for now:

  • Try to hang in there through whatever means necessary. This includes anti-anxiety meds in the prescribed dosage and beyond, if necessary.
  • Change emergency contact on everything from my family to C. and his family. They’re here in California and able to handle things here better anyway.
  • Call my pregnant therapist whose appointment I’ve probably already had a last appointment with and ask to squeeze in yet another, if possible.
  • Try to battle plunging into depression.
  • Learn about philosophy and techniques to help weather the storms and stressors of life.

Sleepy now, so I’ll wish you a good night. Be well!

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Musings, Wellness

Exhausted

It’s a double-post day. I’m exhausted after the events I described in my last post.

I deleted the ending of the post. I do not want things I say to be construed as cries for help or dramatics. I’m done crying for help. I could care less about dramatics. There’s no reason to share these thoughts and feelings anymore. If things get to that point, then they do, and I no longer need to tell anyone because I no longer need anyone to try to save me. I don’t need anyone’s sympathy.

C. and I had planned to go to a poetry reading tonight. Although he thought I’d want to stay home, I said no. So we went, arrived late, caught the last reader, and that was it. Anti-climactic. We walked around town, looking for a good restaurant that wasn’t too pricey. We never found one, so we went to Denny’s. Yeah, I know, but it was open, and I was feeling numb and not able to really enjoy a formal dinner anyway.

We both had pancakes (comfort, and over dinner, C. and I discussed several things I will need to do if I choose to stay. This is a partial list as I’m so sleepy keep nodding off in my chair.

  1. Cut family as beneficiaries of all of my (meagre) belongings and money.
  2. Change the emergency contacts of everything I can think of. Remove my parents’ number as an emergency contact anywhere I can think of it or find it.
  3. Ask C’s sister if she would be an executor of my will.
  4. Write a will leaving C. everything, including my car.
  5. Become closer to C’s family. I would like to invite them over for dinners.
  6. Work hard on building relationships here. I would like to have enough people here that I would have support enough to replace my family’s support.

I no longer want to rely on my family for emotional or financial help, but I need some security and some plans for when issues like serious car accidents.

I’m really too tired to continue tonight. Genuinely hope that your day has been a good one!

Musings, Wellness

Broken

I am too broken at the moment to feel like I can write a long, detailed post. Basically, I had a huge falling out with my fundamentalist Christian mother. It started with an email exchange that quickly escalated. There were accusations on both sides. She told me that I had always never taken responsibility for my actions.

Once again, in reviewing events of the past, she sided with my ex-husband (I was divorced in 1997), and said that, “You might have lost your teeth if you had been married to some other guy.” I responded, “It’s really amazing that you are actually saying that I should feel fortunate that I didn’t get punched in the face and teeth knocked out. Yay me, that I wasn’t the recipient of violent physical abuse that would have sent me to the ER or killed me. Thanks, Mom.”

And she condemned me. She said that I have no peace and that she would pray for me that I would find peace. An excerpt of another email (I think this is okay to share because it’s anonymous):

You can mock the truth all you want, but I challenge you to ever declare on your death bed that you have peace and assurance if you reach that point in your life without trusting your available Savior. The fact that we are all sinners, as both testaments declare, automatically makes you unacceptable before a holy God.
Isaiah 59:2  “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
No believer’s prayers can get you into heaven if you haven’t personally trusted in the blood of Christ that He shed for all who come to Him. God doesn’t honor anyone who tramples through His Son’s blood as if it were manure under their feet and “no one comes to the Father except through Him.

Things really tanked. She said she was cutting off all email contact with me.

I took a good dose of Xanax, waited a couple of hours, did some deep breathing and then called them. My dad answered the phone. We talked for a while about various events, upcoming appointments, etc. In the end, I said I know he knows of our situation, and he said he does and that I had sent the email to him and that “Your mother even showed me my name was at the top.” I told him that for years it’s been addressed like that in email, and we both know he doesn’t even use email, so that was very manipulative of her. But then I said that it’s fine because they’re married and I wouldn’t be surprised about sharing of emails when there’s a family unit like that. I said I did the same with C. as they knew I would because we’re a partnership.

Anyway, he said he didn’t want to be involved. I said that I understand that to some extent he’s obviously involved because he’s married to her, but that I want to keep the lines of communication open. I really want to see him again. I told him the reason why I haven’t visited for some six years now is that they have given me no indication that they even want to see me or care to see me again. He said he was sorry if I felt slighted.

He still didn’t say he wanted to see me.

I asked him to put Mom on the phone. He said he will if she accepts. She did. I said that we obviously had another incident. We talked a little. It didn’t start off heated. I said that I had been trying to reconcile with her before one of us dies (she and my dad are 79). I wondered aloud why we’ve never had a good relationship. We don’t even have any family photos. My mantel is almost bare. She said that those families that seem close are often not. I said C’s family is. Umpteen others’ families I’ve come to know are. What is wrong with our family?

To my question of why we have always butted heads, she said I was always strong-willed as is she. She said I was always a rebellious child even at two years old.

I repeated, “two?”

“Yes.”

I started laughing. It was so preposterous. A rebellious 2-year-old!

“What did I do that was rebellious?”

“You said no to me and covered my mouth.”

And then she told me that I was rebellious at three years old as well. I asked what happened. She said that one day my grandma was over, and my mom had her back to me. My grandma said something like, “Ohh, uh, you should see what she’s doing.” And it turns out I had stuck my tongue out and thumbs in my ears and was wiggling them at her behind her back.

In other words, I was a pretty badass child from day one.

I asked about how she’s said in the past that infants or babies often show anger in a sense of willfulness or rebellion that you can hear in their cries. (In the past she had indicated that you should nip that in the bud with a spanking rather than tolerate it.) She said that yes, you can hear an angry cry.

And then I told her that she’s actually taught child development and that she knows these things are normal for these ages. She replied that she’s read the articles and that she doesn’t agree with them.

The conversation went downhill. She said that she thinks I hate her guts, and I said no, but that I am hurt and resentful. I said that I also feel like she has never loved me or even liked me, and that it hurts.

She said that I converted to Judaism because of her and that if she had been witnessing to Muslims instead of Jews, I would have converted to Islam. I said, “You actually think I converted to Judaism because of you.” Yes, she said, she does.

Things started getting heated. She wanted to address line-by-line things from our emails, and I said no, that I wouldn’t do that. And she said that if I didn’t want to listen to her, well then..and then she hung up on me.

I 99% thought it was a hangup, but I called back and got Dad and said we had been disconnected. He said that she had hung up on me because I didn’t want to hear what she had to say. I said okay. He said something like it’s best we just accept that the relationship’s never been good and that I just go on and live my life. I told him again that I wanted for us to keep a relationship and that I wanted to still see him, and he kind of sounded annoyed. “Yes, you’ve already said that.” I told him I loved him, and we said goodbye.

The conversation had been on speakerphone, and C. heard all of it. He said he was sorry. I was upset, but not as much as I would have been in the past. I said I mostly knew it was hopeless to try to establish some kind of relationship with her, but that I had wanted to try one more time. I was quiet, but periodically we’d discuss this line or that line from the email or the conversation.

One realization after the next came. Much of my fear of the afterlife is due to my mom’s interpretation of what happens. Now I’m seeing her for the damaged little person she is, and that throws into question everything she has said, both about God and about me. No wonder I’ve felt my whole life as if I was treated as a bad child; she just said in a phone call that I’ve always been rebellious, even obvious at age two!

During the call, I came to a realization that I wouldn’t likely see my mom again for the rest of my life, and that I was okay with that. I thought that I might see my dad again, but that he didn’t sound like he really cared that much to see me. That leaves my sister. She has her own family. She loves me, but she, too, condemns me to Hell, albeit in a less hateful way than my mom. She has her family, and she’ll be fine. There’s my nephew who is in his Master’s degree for Mechanical Engineering. We aren’t really close as I didn’t have an opportunity to grow up near him. And that leaves my niece. She’s married and pregnant with her first child. By all appearances, she is really in the happiest stage of her life so far.

***

[deleted]

friends, Lifestyle, Religion, Wellness

Travel and Winning

I had a good day today! I woke up at around 3:30 a.m. and decided to just get up. I took my sleepy cat A. with me. She’s such a sweetheart. Then I just puttered on the computer for a couple of hours. I really need to get reading our book club book (—>), which is due on January 16. It’s really rated well on Amazon, so I hope to be able to get into it.

It’s really strange how moods can vary from day to day. I just felt completely different today when I got up than when I arose yesterday. Seeing my therapist makes a huge difference. I really wish I could make recordings of our sessions so I can play them later, especially once she goes on maternity leave and I switch to the new therapist. She helps me so much, but I often can’t remember details of what we have talked about. I think I’ll ask her at our next visit, which is probably our last, if she’ll let me record our meeting.

We are using the Amazon Echo SO much. We’re into advanced commands/skills, and it’s so handy. We learn new things every day, and it’s exciting that Amazon regularly puts out updates with new features. We’ve both ordered smart plugs so we can turn things on and off by voice because, you know, it’s just so much work to get up and turn them on and off. 😉 Some of them are actually going to be big helps, such as in our family room where we are constantly feeling around in the dark to turn on the overhead lamp, then a table lamp, then back to the overhead lamp to turn it off. The rest of the smart plugs are mostly unnecessary. 🙂

C. really wants to go to Europe. He had said London, but when I asked today where he truly wants to go, he said Venice. He’s been there before, but I haven’t, and he wants to go again, so Venice it will be. We want to travel much more, so hopefully London will be soon after Venice. Today he said he also wants to travel and spend a few days at Rosarito Beach, which is some 20-30 miles into Mexico. That scares me SO much. I’ve read articles and watched documentaries about people who have been kidnapped, held for ransom, etc., and the police are said to be very corrupt. He’s reassured me that it’s safe, but yikes.

Yesterday I wrote my sister a long email about my depression and OCD in childhood, religion, lack of socialization, and a bunch of other things. It was VERY risky considering our history, but today she replied with a civil, even kind, email. However, she did state that many children become “saved” (Christians) through first becoming very fearful of Hell and the Rapture and that many psychologists aren’t going to agree with that. Sigh. That one’s always going to be an impasse.

C. and I had a really nice day together. He worked in the yard, then came in, and I babied him the rest of the day. I haven’t always felt well enough to make meals, but today I did. It was a turkey sandwich for lunch, and a salad with chicken breast for dinner. Oh, and a pineapple/OJ + coconut rum + rum drink. A family down the street left a card and a chocolate orange by our front door, and he had wedges of that combined with wedges of a real orange. Spoiled! Later we tried out his virtual reality headset, and despite his initial lack of interest in it, he absolutely loved it. You can “swim” in the ocean, fly with birds, visit other countries using Google street view, and do so much more. We virtually went to Paris and saw the Eiffel tower and visited Jerusalem. So cool!

And today I did notice times that I started to go down roads that made me anxious, but I recognized them, stopped them, and said “cancel” in my mind. Not sure the cancel part is good, but will talk with my therapist about it. It really felt good to arrest the anxiety before it got out of control. Win!

friends, Musings, Religion, Wellness

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to my readers (both of you 🙂 )! On New Year’s Eve, since I’ve been having a lot of physical pain, especially neck and back pain (which I think I’ve narrowed down to too much time at the computer and not enough movement), I treated myself to a 90-minute (90!!) massage. It was at a massage place I’ve been to before. I know them for their very firm massages and often almost complete disregard for modesty. To a point, I like the former, but I’m not very fond of the latter. Still, after a while, I relax. You’re in a dimly lit room with a woman who has massaged umpteen bodies of various shapes, sizes, ages and conditions. No reason to be overly self-conscious.

I normally get all amped up before the new year, cleaning, setting resolutions, and preparing to go into the new year with everything in order. This year I just couldn’t get into all of that, so we spent a quiet little New Year’s Eve at home, just the two of us. We watched TV, surfed the Internet, listened to music, ate pizza, and went to bed before midnight like old people.

On the Sunday before New Year’s, C. helped his sister and BIL move into his mom’s house. There were a couple of challenges, like there always are when you’re moving, but it all worked out. We went out to dinner with the three of them last night, and when one of them mentioned something in the house needs fixing, C’s BIL said, “I’ll take care of it,” and C. got this big smile on his face. “You don’t know how good it feels to hear that,” he said. He was doing so much work between both houses there for a while. He’s also so relieved that his sister and mom both have each other during the day now, too.

On January 1 we slept in. On January 2 I started feeling vaguely depressed. I remembered my therapist saying (and I think I also heard it in a podcast or read it somewhere) that your reactions like emotions run down a path that’s been well-paved. It can take a LOT of effort to go against what has become second nature in order to build new neural pathways, but it can be done. So knowing I was starting to feel like I was tanking, I tried to shake things up. Though I didn’t feel like going out, when C’s family messaged us in the afternoon and asked us to join them for dinner, I decided to say yes to help get a shower, dress, and spend time with others–and because I enjoy seeing them, of course. It’s just that socializing is about the last thing you feel like doing when you’re depressed, and maybe that’s why I needed to do it.

Then yesterday, I awoke from a very vivid dream in which I saw a child being sexually assaulted, and I dragged the perpetrator by the wrist to a police officer, all the while listening to her excuses about how she’s mentally ill and couldn’t help it, and my shouting at her that there was never an excuse to hurt a child. Have you ever awoken from a dream like this and found it hangs over your entire day? My normal smile-in-the-mirror-like-you-mean-it routine was a half-hearted grimace. Anxiety was high, and I felt anxious, depressed, and weepy all day. And then at night, my anxiety just went through the roof. I cried and cried til my eyes were puffed halfway closed.

Stuff I’m especially worried about:

  • Not having enough money. I do not have enough money to retire or live on for the rest of my life. Although I didn’t start saving as young as I should have, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. I got breast cancer, which completely wiped out my savings. Not long after that, my hands started going numb at work. My doctors thought it was carpal tunnel syndrome at first, only to then discover there were several herniated disks in my neck as well as lower back. Who knew you could get herniated disks in your neck merely from working at a computer for some 30 years? I had surgery on my neck, which improved the condition but still left me with chronic pain that makes it too painful to sit for more than about 30 minutes to an hour. And now the neurocognitive disorder is making memory, problem solving and other cognitive functioning too difficult to be able to work. With worsening depression and anxiety thrown into the mix, I’m screwed out of earning a living anymore. All of that has been out of my control.
  • Having few social contacts. Not counting C., I literally have two local friends, and one is the eccentric friend mentioned in the last post. Probably for several reasons mentioned I should cut ties with him, but I am terrified to do so since I have only one other local friend, C’s sister. I have a very weak support network. I am out of touch with my two high school friends due to their evangelical fundamentalist Christian religiosity. The same goes for the couple of college friends I had. So that leaves a couple of local friends and a few friends spread out across the country. What happens if I get old and have spent years building friendships here only to find myself old and alone back with my family and dependent on them? Who will be my friend then? Will they take me to church?
  • Having a family that is not close geographically or ideologically. My family isn’t safe to share with. As mentioned, although I love them, they are quite fanatical Christian fundamentalists. I have to keep them at arm’s length for fear of being hurt.
  • Just dealing with the challenges of aging. This is the biggie and really the one in which all of the others lie. I am worried about not having enough money for the rest of my life. I am worried I will not have anyone to take care of me since I don’t have children and am across the country from my family. I don’t know how to handle the deaths of my parents, my sister or C. if they die before me. Seeing the changes in my body scares me, and I’m worried about the losses I’m seeing in my thinking and memory. I’m afraid of not really believing strongly (or at all?) in God anymore and not having religion to lean on.

In short, I just feel emotionally unequipped to deal with my particular circumstances as well as the normal anxieties of life that everyone deals with. I want to be strong, resilient, and emotionally stable. I just don’t know how to do that or if it can even be done?

So in the midst of all of that crying last night, I went to the bedroom, turned off the light, turned on the recorder on my phone, and cried and described my fears to my therapist.

Today when I saw my therapist, I came armed with a big notebook. I played the recording for her. I had asked how to be ready for all of these events I was worried about, and she said that this all sounds like anxiety. So many times in the recording I said “what if…” and “I’m scared” or “I’m afraid.” When I said that all of this is real, she said yes, it is valid, but it is anxiety. I said that I do have to deal with finances and future issues, though, and she said that you must deal with those issues when you’re not anxious. This is interesting: You literally cannot deal with these types of issues when you’re this anxious because your amygdala (the feeling, fight-or-flight center of your brain) is competing with your frontal lobe (the logical part).

She also said that dealing with death is a task of our later years of life. Since nobody knows what is going to happen in our latter years or after we die, people tend to use all kinds of coping mechanisms to deal with their anxiety. Some become reckless, some try to avoid thinking about it, some postpone thinking about it, etc.

When I asked how my anxiety is measuring up with what others my age are describing to her when they come in her office, she said mine is severe. I asked what I can DO to make myself stronger and more capable of weathering the impending storms of life, and she said to start practicing:

  1. Thinking of all of this as anxiety.
  2. Identifying the anxiety. It’s best to learn to recognize it as soon as possible. Oh, I’m having anxiety. Know your typical signs of anxiety. For me it’s racing thoughts, nausea, rocking, irritability, picking at skin, biting cheeks, picking at nails, clenching teeth, and having what-if thoughts
  3. Treating the anxiety.
    1. Do something physical. Walk, take a cold shower, put ice on your forehead, and do guided meditations. Do these things before the anxiety gets out of control. Interestingly, the cold shower and ice on forehead are enough to cause a chemical response in your brain, she said (and she works at a brain wellness center that deals with neurocognitive science, so pretty reliable source of info).
    2. Take Xanax.
    3. Get OUT. Go do something with people or around people.

I think I mentioned earlier that I broke down and started crying with my sister on a FaceTime call, and then I told her I was sorry, but I wasn’t feeling well and would have to talk some other time. Later I took a huge risk and wrote her a lengthy email that included many personal things, like my lifelong religious fears and OCD she never knew about, my lifelong depression, how mental illness that’s evident at 5 or 6 years old just can’t be a spiritual condition, how I’m really scared of coping when Mom and Dad die, and my worries about who will take care of me or look out for me, if need be, when I get old. I also reassured her that I will be there to help when our parents die. It was a seriously loaded email, and it may not have been wise to send at this time when I’m feeling especially vulnerable, but it’s been done. She said she will reply to my email tomorrow.

If I make it to February or March, I will officially be in menopause. I am hoping and SO looking forward to that!

podcast

And in good news, I am really enjoying the The Hardcore Self Help podcast. It’s run by a PhD who is really mainstream without woo. I find his posts informative and actionable. Sometimes they help me get out of bed when I’m feeling down. I often listen to them when I’m getting ready in the morning. If you have anxiety, depression, and/or OCD, I highly recommend listening to Dr. Duff’s podcasts. He also has a couple of books out.

***

Am I going into too much detail in my posts? Seriously, I’d actually like to know. If you’d prefer they be less detailed, please just weigh in in the comments. Shorter, longer, or just right? Sometimes (like on the last post) I finish and I’m just amazed that it’s so long, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. So please tell me.

I’m also a bit worried that my posts are too downer. They’re often about mental health, but I go into so much detail, that I’m concerned my blog is coming across so negative all of the time. I don’t want to lose my (two) readers!

friends, Lifestyle, Wellness

Letting Go

C’s BIL worked on the set of the HBO series Sharp Objects, and the crew was given free Amazon Echos branded with the HBO Sharp Objects logo. He mentioned he has 2 or 3 he can give us, which made me REALLY excited because I love electronic gadgets, and I was already thinking of spending some of my holiday money to get an Alexa. C. brought home the little Echo Dot yesterday, and after setup, we had so much fun asking it all sorts of questions, many of them downright silly. Surprisingly, Alexa had an answer to almost everything. To complement the little Echo Dots that he’s giving us, I bought one of the taller Alexas to go in the family room. Eventually, I’d like to make it where you can use it like an intercom so we’re not hollering for each other all of the time.

Happily, I have found a new therapist and scheduled my first appointment for late January. Unfortunately, that’s after my current therapist leaves for maternity leave, and she was hoping to have a conversation with the new therapist to fill her in on things. I did ask her two important questions: 1) Do you have experience with OCD? (yes), and 2) Do you have any religious biases that might be problematic as I am dealing with trying to heal from religious trauma? (no). I hope things work out.

C’s helping his sister and BIL move in to live with his mother. She’s 79 and has no social life outside of Facebook. Zero. Her husband, C’s stepfather, died earlier this year, and the two kids have been struggling between them to be her social life and her everything. C’s sister doesn’t work for mental health reasons, and it’s not good for her to be alone, either, so moving in with C’s mom seems to be a good idea for both of them. So tomorrow is the Big Move. The plan is C will head over there whenever he wakes up in the morning. I’ll go order a half-dozen bagels and cream cheese and join them a bit later. I know it’s going to be really stressful for all of them, but I just keep reminding them that the move WILL get done one way or the other, and this will all be history soon.

Mood-wise, I’ve been doing better. I’m not sure if it’s meds or the busyness of the holidays or the excitement of my favorite secular holiday (New Year’s!) coming up, but whatever the reason, I’ve been functioning decently.

Yesterday, C was going to have breakfast with a friend of a friend. When I asked him about it, he was very snappish and said I was asking too many questions. That seemed weird. When he got back, he seemed amped up. The man he had breakfast with is a very successful retired businessman who sold his company for 8 million dollars. I asked him if it was a secret or if he could talk about it, and he agreed to talk. C. paid a something like $80+ breakfast to pick the guy’s brain about all sorts of subjects related to success. I don’t doubt he realized it, but I think he was looking for a spark of something to help give him passion and motivation again. He sounded more positive about life as he related the things they discussed. I’m glad and hope it continues to help him.

***

I’m sorry to talk about something negative now (I seem to be doing that a lot lately!), but I need to get this off my chest. It’s been a rough night.

C. and I have a mutual friend named D. whom he met in college when they were both studying mechanical engineering. They went on to work together for the same company, and C. said he was very straight-laced back then, even remaining celibate as an adult for some 25 years due to religious beliefs. C. said he’s changed radically over the years and loosed up a lot. He’s brilliant, funny, quick thinking, sensitive, and often kind. His kindness and friendship makes what I’m about to describe all the more difficult.

When I met D. in 2012, he was living in a one-bedroom apartment. Since I met him, he started becoming increasingly free-spirited. He retired, went to Burning Man where he brought substances with him and was offered other substances that he tried. He came home and raved about how beautiful his experiences were and how he grew so much from them. We briefly met a couple of the people he met there, and how do I say this without sounding like a horrible, judgmental person…we did not like the quality of people he was hanging around with. They were users, both of D. and of harder drugs than simply marijuana. We were concerned for D’s wellbeing.

Over the years D. become increasingly eccentric. About two years ago, he asked a friend if he could buy a shed and put it up rent-free behind her home, and she said yes. So he had a concrete foundation poured, and the shed was erected. He calls it his tiny home and has draped it with tie-dyed tapestries. The photos he has sent are really quite beautiful and amazing. His “tiny home” has no running water or indoor plumbing. He pees in a jar and dumps it in a toilet in the house when it’s full. He washes his hands and gets a drink of water from a jug-dispenser thing in his shed.

Since I met him, he has been involved with a few road rage incidents, one with me in the car. I was terrified. He was angry when a woman cut in front of him, so he deliberately bumped her car, then got out and gave her false information. I was afraid and sick as it all unfolded. I couldn’t believe he’d done it. At home, C. talked with him and told him it was a felony, yet D. kind of dismissed it. He also has very real, valid chronic pain issues, and when he got upset at a doctor’s office, he put his fist through the wall and left.

Since those incidents, he addressed his issues with opioid dependency for his chronic pain, which we really weren’t aware were as bad as they were. He weaned himself off of the opiates and was much less aggressive both on the road and off.

Over the years, he’s also started increasingly talking about conspiracy theories, “evidence” in Genesis of aliens mating with humans, specific types of aliens that have been on earth, psychic phenomena, and so-called near-death experiences. He wrote a book mostly about near-death experiences (regretfully proofread by me). He’s also given a lot of money to a guy who calls himself a spiritual counselor or psychic or something, and that guy told D. that he’s psychic. So D. has grown in his belief that he has a psychic gift. The result is that he is constantly talking about his “vibes.” It’s extremely annoying. He’ll randomly “read” strangers or salespeople, and the stuff will be ridiculous, like a woman will say she’s a nurse, to which he’ll reply, “You’re also a very responsible person. You have children, don’t you? Yes, I thought so. You love your daughter a lot, but oh, she’s a handful sometimes!” Well, what nurse ISN’T responsible? And moms usually love their kids.

D. has admitted that he has mental illness, and his brother is committed to a mental hospital. He once asked C. to let him know if he sounded like he was ever getting carried away with things. That time came long ago, and we talked with him, but it fell on deaf ears. He is very resistant to help, feeling like others are trying to control him. It makes it difficult, if not impossible, to help him.

Things have become increasingly uncomfortable in our relationship with him to where it’s hanging by a thread. C. has asked him to stop constantly swearing in our home; we’re not uptight, but we also don’t want to hear it frequently. C. has also said we don’t want to hear about his drug use or some of the colorful skanky people he’s hanging out with, either. He often makes sexually inappropriate comments, to which I’ve been saying very forcefully “TMI, D.”

His behavior has been annoying C. for a long time to the point that he becomes quiet and moody, refuses to join us when we go out to eat, retreats to the bedroom to leave me to talk with D. alone in the family room. To make things worse, D., then counsels ME with things like, “Well, you may not have noticed, and I want to offer this kindly, but what you said back there really made C feel diminished as a man, and as you can see, he’s been quiet since and has retreated to his room.” And I’m caught in the middle of this insanity. I bit the bullet last time and told D. that his talking about his vibes is really upsetting C. and that that’s why he’s behaving this way. I asked him not to talk about them around him. That was the visit before tonight.

We had scheduled a get-together for Friday. Knowing C. is so stressed, I thought this was an especially bad time for them to get together. He’s supposed to come over for New Year’s Eve, so I called and told him that I thought it was best we cancel until then. That way the big move will be over (C. is helping his sister and BIL move into his mom’s house), and C’s stress level will be lower. He said fine. Then today he asked to come over anyway. I told C. that we shouldn’t say yes because it was a boundary I set and that I didn’t think it was a good idea, but he said to go ahead and invite him over. So I did. Once again, there was tension, and this time even more than usual. C. got moody. D was oblivious, made a couple of sexually inappropriate comments, swore, talked about his vibes despite having told me last time that he wouldn’t any longer. We were all going to go to lunch, and when D. stepped out to take a walk, C. said loudly, “You go. I’ll go with you, but I’m not going with D.” I shushed him. I told him that I had said this wasn’t a good time to get together, yet he had insisted. He admitted I had been right. He said, “I want him out of my house.” Great. Now what?

So I told him that it’s time this is addressed. I can’t deal with the tension anymore, and I’m tired of being the middleman who tries to cover for the awkwardness and repair the angry and hurt feelings. It’s stressing me out, and I won’t do it anymore. So we agreed that I’d go to lunch with D. and talk about all of it first, and then we’d all talk together. I asked C. to be tactful and keep his anger in check. Then I took some Xanax and headed to lunch.

At lunch, D. said that he could tell something was on my mind. Yep. He said or asked something like whether C. was upsetting me or we were having problems with our relationship. I just looked down and stayed quiet. It is SO hard for me to confront anyone and be so honest, but then I somehow was, and I told him everything that’s upsetting C. He acted like he was fine with things and said that they’ll talk and maybe he’ll find he can’t come to the house anymore, and that will be okay.

When we got home, the guys started to talk about picking out a movie, but D. said he’d have to leave before long. I turned the TV off and said we needed to address the elephant in the room. Things started off okay. D. naturally got a bit defensive at times, making some points that I absolutely agreed with. Then things started getting heated. C’s got a temper and goes from 0 to 100 fast, so I had to ask that they take it down a notch, and they nodded and did. Once again, I was right smack-dab in the middle, playing referee.

D. was under the impression that all of this was an issue between C. and him, and at one point said to me, “Do you not want to hear about my vibes anymore, either?” And I paused a moment and said, “No, I really don’t” and talked briefly and gently about why. I could see him pull back into himself. A wall went up. He viewed me differently. It was as if I had joined the “other” side even though I didn’t want there to be any sides. Shortly thereafter, he said, “So what you’re saying is that you want a break from me.” We said that neither one of us had said that. I think he was projecting: He is hurt and wants a break from us.

At the end, he said he needed to leave, and I asked him to please stay a little longer and let us know things that bother him about us and that we need to work on. He was quiet a moment, made some small joke, and said he’d have to talk about it some other time. Avoidant?

The talk with him, both alone and with C., was very difficult. For once, I was brave and authentic, tactful, honest, kind, and thorough. I guess I’m proud of myself in that regard, but I feel no joy. The friend I used to know has changed. It’s growing increasingly clear that we probably need to break ties with him or at least set some very firm boundaries, and then if/when he doesn’t respect them again, that will have to be the end.

We had previously scheduled that he would come over on New Year’s Eve, but I’m thinking that he will cancel. Maybe that is for the best.

How do you let go when it’s someone you know needs help, yet you know you can’t help them enough? I feel guilty, like I’m abandoning him, but we’ve tried to help him for a long time now. There’s no other way we can think of to help him, and he’s not respecting our boundaries. He lives alone in a shed. I know he’s not happy. Will he be okay?

And will I be okay losing one of the only friends I have, however damaged he may be?

And as I finished typing that last sentence, he canceled our New Year’s Eve plans. I can’t stop crying. I know I have done nothing wrong and that we had to have this conversation, but I am so sad.

Lifestyle, Wellness

Productive

Last night, C. wanted me to do home surgery on something embedded in the sole of his foot (“just go ahead and poke around in there”), but Dr. Liora refused to touch this one. Instead, I made an appointment for him to request a referral to a podiatrist for that and an ingrown toenail. After that, I continued to knock out task after task, which felt really good as some stuff had been on my to-do list for ages. I spent a lot of time trying to find a new therapist to replace mine who is about to go on maternity leave. Unfortunately, just finding any therapist within driving distance, let alone one who has experience in treating OCD, is proving challenging. Hopefully, my current one will return from maternity leave soon.

Sometime this year (last year?) I started feeling a lot of pain in my left knee. Sometimes it would also feel unstable, like it was going to hyperextend. I think an MRI showed some fluid, but other than that, it was normal. The diagnosis was something like “patellofemoral pain syndrome,” and I was prescribed physical therapy. With disuse (aka being a total couch potato), the pain and popping eventually went away. I’d really like to get back to walking, especially since I just discontinued my gym membership. It’s been a catch-22, however. Every time I try to walk even a few hundred feet, my knee pain flares up, especially if the landscape isn’t flat. So as of a few days ago, C. and I have been trying to walk a short distance at a slow pace every day.

Today C. worked on the yard for a couple of hours, and then I took him to a bagel shop where we had nova lox bagels (YUM). We then stopped and checked the house of a guy I’m housesitting for. I asked C. to walk around there for a change of pace, but he was too tired, so we came home.

jeans

I was really tempted to just stay home, but I really, really needed some jeans or other casual pants. Since I’ve gained weight, I’ve been stubbornly refusing to buy clothing until I lose the weight. The result has been literally wearing the same nylon workout pants every day, and I wear my robe while I wash them. Sexy. Finally today I gave in and headed to Kohl’s where I scored not one, but two (yay!) pairs of jeans–one black and one blue–and some underthings. Although these jeans are a bit on the granny side due to the elastic waistband, they look decent. The tops I wear typically cover the waistband, so it won’t matter anyway. And since the waist is elastic, they should still fit me when I lose weight, too. Score!

I was in a lot of pain after shopping, so I took a Percocet and have been contemplating how to get back in shape. Someplace I have old physical therapy exercises printed out, and I need to start doing those daily again. C. wants to go to Europe (probably London), and I really can’t do it until my knee is more stable. I think I will continue to try to walk every day, however slow or short the distance, and use my Fitbit to help track my progress.

Not terribly exciting stuff, I know, but still a satisfying day from the standpoint of all that I accomplished. Hope your day was good as well!