Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Home at Last!

“Where are you going?” Stacey asked as I crawled out of her bed at 3am getting dressed.

I normally get up close to this time anyway so it was only natural for me to start my day.  Stacey very audibly sighed.

“You need better hours at work,” she said, frustrated. “Our schedules just don’t jibe.”

I was badly missing my pups and the comfort of my own home – feeling like this alien visitor in Stacey’s house.  Despite taking two Klonopin and an Ambien, I lay awake for a long time last night after supper – listening to the sounds of the fall crickets outside the window and Sadie’s obsessive preening at the foot of the bed. Stacey stayed up late watching her favorite television show as I went on to bed around eight near my normal time.

“I’ll see you this afternoon,” I told her, kissing her goodbye.

I arrived home and immediately settled into my more normal routines after stopping by mom and dad’s to get my six diet Sprite for the morning. 

Stacey’s supper was really good, though.  She surprised me.  She cooked an extremely creamy, rich and decadent poppy seed chicken casserole. I went back for seconds which pleased her to no end. 

We also had an extremely candid conversation after supper about her bipolar disorder.  I don’t believe she is bipolar.  She exhibits none of the classic signs like my mother did when my siblings and I were growing up.  She doesn’t have manic phases which are so characteristic of the disease.  She also doesn’t exhibit signs of depression either.

“Maybe I am slow cycling,” Stacey replied as if she wished she was bipolar to explain her sometimes interesting behavior.

I can remember being so oddly overjoyed at being diagnosed Schizophrenic as I had a solid excuse for my own often abhorrent and odd social behavior. 

“Charlie says we are all crazy in our own way,” I replied in her defense, trying to assuage her worries. “I like to think of the two of us as being eccentric – like the mad scientists of old.”

Stacey smiled and held my hand. 

I honestly think too many people are misdiagnosed these days with there being no medical tests for these disorders of the brain.  You must keep in mind that I am entirely cynical when it comes to psychiatry as well these days.  Fearing that more harm is often done than good.  My own observations and experiences prove this.  Once bitten, twice shy as the old saying goes.  These one size fits all disorders just do not sit well with me for some reason.

Thoughts for Therapy…

I’ve been thinking this early morning what to talk to my therapist about.  I am sure my father will be a prominent topic of interest, but I mainly want to talk about goals for the future and implementing these goals.   For the first time in years, I feel happy and content, but there is this strong inclination to want more and achieve higher heights in my recovery.  I can be such an impatient individual and want results now.   I tend to live in the present and it has often been one of my Achilles’ heels over the years.  That’s why I never did good in school – always living in the present and never thinking of the future.  My mind couldn’t grasp that hard work today would equate to an A at the end of the semester.  Luckily, I was smart enough to always get by.  I don’t think I ever brought a book home during high school – choosing to stuff them into my locker for the next day.  As I have grown older, this inclination has been tempered some – the hard realities of adulthood and life forcing me to focus more on the future and goals. 

I was thinking this morning of what my therapist told me to do during our last visit about my disability and dad’s obsessive control over that money.  She said I should call county mental health and have a unbiased third party as my representative payee.  I reluctantly called for an appointment, but there was a backlog of patient intake and my appointment would be three months away. I plan to be off disability in May so it wouldn’t be much longer after I started receiving services that I would be out of the system.  I would also have to forego my current and beloved psychiatrist to start receiving mental health services from the county funded psychiatrist.  Something about that made me shy away in horror – the thoughts of an overworked and underpaid doctor came to mind – disheveled from the strain of his caseload.  I will just be content with the current and stable status quo – letting sleeping dogs lie.  I really don’t need that disability money anymore anyway.  And that is so freeing – to cast away a shackle that has kept me oppressed for years.  Disability is a vicious cycle once your in the system.   I was lucky I had a wealthy family who could afford to keep me in a house and car thus affording me more independence than your average disability recipient.  My living expenses were heavily subsidized by my father.  You could never afford to live independently on the meager allotment disability affords you unless you lived in the most poverty stricken circumstances.  

Dental Woes…

“The left side of your face is swollen,” mom said as we drove down through the Valley yesterday afternoon.

I looked in the rear view mirror and sure enough, I looked like a lopsided chipmunk.  I have been feeling extreme fatigue the past two days and realized I have an abscessed molar which is causing this feeling.  My body is fighting a strong infection.  Lucky and I seem to be in the same boat these days.

“I’ll get you a dentist’s appointment,” mom said excitedly, always eager to add more appointments to my healthcare calendar.

“No way!” I said in horror – my strong distaste of visiting the dentist overriding any pain and discomfort I am feeling. “I have a whole bottle of amoxicillin at home and will take it to see if that helps.”

Mom sighed, always aggravated at my aversion to professional healthcare.  I tried to explain to her the common truth that men are just not as likely to visit a doctor as women are.  Mom usually has enough appointments lined up to be her health insurance’s worst case nightmare.

“Should I talk about you during Therapy tomorrow?” I then asked mom as we drove by Fairfax elementary school at the end of our journey down through the Valley. “I would like for you to be more assertive and gain more control of your life, and I worry about you.”

Mom laughed nervously.

“Your father says I have a nice life being able not to work, have nice cars, and sleep all the time,” Mom replied. “He says I don’t lack for anything.”

“But are you happy with all that?” I asked hoping for the reply I surmised I would get.

“No,” mom replied. “I am miserable. I get so lonely and just lie in the bed for hours everyday. Your father is never home and Helen gets on my nerves she is such a busybody. Your father says he would love not to have anything to do and that I should be grateful.”

I laughed with a smirk.

“Dad is going to go nuts when he retires and sells the pharmacy,” I told mom. “He won’t know what to do with himself after being a workaholic for thirty years.”

“You think so?” mom asked.

“I know so,” I replied. “He will probably constantly travel or find something work like to fill his time.”

I love my mother dearly and hate to see her in the predicament she is in – much the same predicament I experienced for years.  How do you change another person’s life for them – to encourage them to fight for their freedom and independence?  I guess you can’t.  I don’t think things will ever change for the better for my mother.  She is just too codependent on my father.  I know that sounds so maudlin, but it is the sad and honest truth. 

5 comments:

Sharon said...

Your Mom unfortunately will only change things in her life when she feels ready to - as you well know. I pray she reaches the same point that you're at, but it's up to her. You're a good son to worry about her the way you do, just keep up the open communication with her as she needs your love and support. In the meanwhile, keep moving forward the way you have been. You're doing wonderfully and, like the rest of us, you may stumble occassionally but keep getting up again!

Syd said...

A couple of things come to mind when I read this: Perhaps your mother would benefit from going to some codependency 12 step meetings. CODA meetings aren't as common as Al-Anon but there might be some in Auburn. It is tough to see others simply exist without having much joy in life. It sounds as if your mother is stuck and needs something to focus on that gives her joy.
The other thought is that Stacey may have her own codependency issues that have nothing to do with bipolar disease.
I am sure that the dogs were glad to see you.

Lottie said...

I'm so glad that you are doing so well. It makes my heart smile! Stacey's bipolar disorder may be very much like my own... it's classified as Bipolar II Disorder. The mood swings are not as severe, and the manic highs are sometimes not highs but extreme agitation. I have been on Seroquel for just over a year now and have not had any major mood swings since then. That diagnosis was the best thing for me... finally being TRULY diagnosed and not just grasping at straws about what was wrong with me. You know how that goes... you lived for years thinking you were more "crazy" than you really are. Being misdiagnosed just plain sucks.

Again, I'm so glad you are doing so well... it's so nice to see this side of you!

kristi said...

I want it all right now too. I have a friend who had gastric bypass and has lost over 60 pounds in 3 months. I have lost almost 30 in the same amount of time,but it has been a hard road and lots of work! Frustrating!!!!!!!

Carol said...

Personally I sleep just bad enough that I hate the thought of sleeping with someone again, but, you're right, people take it so hard when you don't want to share a bed.

I lived with someone on disability, she could work a day or two here and there but she could not work enough to put much time together. I was careful never to bitch much about work around her because she would have loved to been able to hold down a job.