My Pillow Sings a Siren Song, Yodeladyhoo, and Asking for Help

Last night sleep called to me with all of the allure of a siren’s song. I climbed in to bed at 9:00 only to be wakened later by Lady (aka Yodeladyhoo, Lady Friend, Lady Monster, Big Mama, Butterball, Baby Lady, and Laters). She had managed to push up the locking lid on the doggy door and get out, then she was standing at the sliding glass door barking. I don’t know how long she was out there barking, but I imagine it wasn’t too long. Yet it was very cold, and even if she is the fluffiest dog you’ve ever seen, I’m sure her poor little feet were freezing. I got up and let her in. I realized I hadn’t taken my medications. I was profoundly exhausted, so I decided to take 100mg of trazodone–it is an antidepressant and it aids in sleep. I usually take 50 mg, though the doctor prescribed 100mg for nights when I need to get a good night’s rest. I won’t be doing that again. I got up at 7:00a.m. and after being up for an hour and feeling groggy and sleepy, I went back to bed. Until 1:00p.m. Gahh! I’m a morning person. I missed the whole damn morning!! I also ended up taking some lorazepam because I was feeling extraordinarily anxious. That is not a medication I usually take either, but I do have it on hand for periods of intolerable anxiety and anxiety attacks.  It is addictive, and I try to strongly limit my consumption of it.

Despite that, I have been somewhat productive.  I have applied for several jobs online, and I have a list of places to go tomorrow. And I made out a grocery list! I am actually going to get up, get dressed, do some laundry, and apply for some jobs.  I am going to get out of this house for a significant period of time. I’m going to put on make-up! I am going to go grocery shopping! I’m putting myself out there, oh, gods, goddesses, spirits, universe, all of you celestial beings, and hope for something good. My main two goals at this moment are to get the house spic-n-span and polished up (rather than the lick and promise it usually gets) and to find employment. At this particular point in time, I’ll take nearly anything. Part-time, full-time, flipping burgers, cleaning houses. I need an income! I need Diet Coke! And the only way to get what I need is to get out there in the world and fight for it. I won’t find what I need inside these four walls, that is certain.

The most pleasurable part of my day, so far, besides being on Yahoo Messenger with Trey and on facebook has been…making up menus for meals and writing out the grocery list.  Ah, simple pleasures. I know I want to make a torta cubana with spicy black bean spread, smoked pork, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, onions, and cheese. I know I want Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas. Kung Pao Chicken with Jasmine Rice. Asian Lettuce Wraps. A juicy burger hot off the grill. And Chicken in a Pot: The Garlic and Lemon Version from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from my Home to Yours (http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/dorie_greenspan_-_around_my_french_table/). Desserts…hmm. I’m going to the kitchen as soon as I’m done here to make the Jamaican Pineapple Upside-Down Rum Cake I’ve been meaning to make.  Chocolate Chip Squares are calling my name, and so are Delicious Butterscotch Cookies. I read an article today on SF Weekly Blogs by Carina Ost called Top 10 Fictional Foodies of All Time. The mysterious Ruth Boudrain made it on the list. And I had never heard of her until I read her name on a WordPress.com blog. She’s got the food world all atwitter (http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2010/12/top_10_fictional_foodies_of_all_time.php).

The only difficulty with cooking when you live alone, is that you live alone.  There’s no one to help you prep, no one to eat with you, no one to clean up with you. Of course, I can invite friends to eat. And I’m going to start doing that. As soon as I clean the bathroom, the dining room, and the pantry. So I guess I should get working on those. To clean those rooms this week is possible. By the end of the week, I could be inviting someone to eat with me. Of course, it’s not polite to ask that person to do dishes with you, and when I cook, I do make a mess! And then, I get overwhelmed by the mess and leave it there until I again feel brave enough to tackle it. I could explain my situation to my guest, and if that guest is really a friend, she would understand.  The choice to help with the dishes would, of course, be hers, just as the choice to ask for help would be mine.  I have witnessed total destruction come down upon me from not asking for the help I needed when I needed it, so I have learned the very hard way how to ask for help. You see, I believe that people have a right to ask for help. And the person they are asking for help has a right to say yes or no. And that there doesn’t need to be any animosity because a person asks. Or because the person who has been asked says, “No.” People in this culture expect everyone to be so independent. I grew up believing that it was wrong to ask for help. That if you asked for help you were being irresponsible and selfish. It didn’t matter that you might be risking your health or sanity by not asking and receiving. And not only that, you weren’t supposed to need help.  If you needed help, there was something terribly wrong with you.  You hadn’t worked hard enough, you hadn’t planned well enough–you had some type of character flaw because you needed help.  I believed that for a very long time.  And then I stopped.  Because it’s bullshit. Absolutely fucking ridiculous. I don’t believe a friendship should be based upon one person’s need and another person’s ability to give. But I do believe if you have a friend in need, you should do everything you can to help her out, only to the point that you don’t hurt yourself in helping. Helping each other out in difficult times can only strengthen a relationship. Conquering problems together? It’s one of the things that makes relationships grow strong.  Spending good times together and creating memories of those times also keeps people together.

If I keep on track, perhaps I can have someone over by the end of the week. Whitney* and I haven’t seen each other in ages.  I haven’t seen John* for years either. And I want to see both of them very badly. John is applying to schools for a PhD program, so he might be leaving here soon. Emma* is going to Germany in a month, and I would love to drive to Tucson and see her before she goes. I’ve been waiting for Gwendolyn* to call me back…I was going to take lunch to her as she just had both knees replaced, and she was to call me with a date, but has not yet done so.  I found out one of my school mates lives in the city. It would be lovely to look her up and chat.  It would be wonderful to see my new potential friends, Artie* and my mail carrier.

I read an article today in the Scientific American written by Steve E. Hyman bout the “cognitive straight jacket that the DSM-V (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) has on psychologists and psychiatrists. Slipping the ‘Cognitive Straightjacket’ of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Psychiatry’s Diagnostic Bible Meets the Awkward Facts of Genetics. The premise of the article is that there are still no accepted laboratory tests for any common mental illness, and there should be, and that particularly for investigative purposes, the DSM diagnoses don’t work because they are too rigid and limited. The first DSM should have been treated as a set of testable hypotheses, but it was treated as something written in stone. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=dsm-psychiatric-genetics) There is information about genetics that supports the argument. My own experience with having been diagnosed indicates that diagnosing patients with mental illness is very tricky, it relies on some rather frighteningly outdated tests, and different specialists looking at the results of those tests come up with different answers. My first diagnosis was that I had Histrionic Personality Disorder, a thought disorder, I was psychotic, and that I was decompensating.  But I always “presented” very well (meaning I didn’t appear as though I had a thought disorder, or was psychotic or had Histrionic Personality Disorder).  My second diagnosis was that I had OCD, and Dr. L. told me that in testing OCD can appear as having a thought disorder. I’ve also been labeled ADD, and that has been ruled out. So has psychotic. I’m comfortable with my current diagnosis. Well, as comfortable as I can be having a mental health diagnosis. When I first was diagnosed, I cried so many tears into the phone as I spoke to my mother about it, I shorted the phone out. It was unusable after that. But after some thought, I was relieved.  When you have information, at least you have a place to start from, an opportunity to learn and therefore change whatever is alterable.  It initially felt like a death sentence.  That feeling changed to an appreciation that I could understand why I did some of the crazy things I did. And knowing has led me to a place where I make different choices than I used to.  I can’t help it that Histrionic Personality Disorder makes me think and react like a teenager.  But knowing that it does gives me an opportunity to ask for advice and make decisions on an adult level.

It’s been a pretty alright day today. I am feeling good. Better than yesterday. I told myself today would be better and it was. Interesting, no? I’ve finished a little later than I expected, so the cake may have to wait for tomorrow. And that’s alright. Tomorrow will be a great day too. I’m going to clean the bathroom, do some laundry, apply for some jobs, and grocery shop. I’ll have a lovely dinner, whatever I decide it to be, and perhaps work on some sewing in the evening. Goodnight, all, may your slumber be peaceful and restorative.

Gratitudes:

1.) My children whom I love and need, and who love and need me.

2.) There are jobs available, to which I can apply.

3.) My mom, who I love to the moon and back.

4.) My college bestie, Tamsen*, she can always make me laugh.

5.) Trey, for being incredible, and also making me laugh.

6.) Can’t forget Lady and Pennie, the two best dogs on the planet.

“There is nothing wrong with being afraid–but there is nothing more wrong than allowing that to be your master.”  ~ Bobby Darin

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About ZephyrLiving

Join me on my journey, if you like. A return to mental health. When I started with my first blog in 2011, I was three years in. Now it's 2015, and I am so much better. I though I had nothing less to lose. I was so very wrong. So arrogant--or deluded! OCD, Compulsive Hoarding Syndrome, Chronic Depression, PTSD and Histrionic Personality Disorder. A big list, a big task. I've come a long way and still have far to go. But I've built my foundation and I'm working at it every single day! Join me for some laughs, some inspiration, some hope, and support. Peace.
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