Thanks to K.L. Caley from new2writing for hosting #Maydays prompts. I skipped the prompt about geeking out for now. But am going to write about today’s prompt on friendship. My view in my poem today is that even though friendship is excellent, there are times it is frustrating.
I know all my friends are out,
And I’m stuck inside.
I know we’re true adults now,
I still feel left out.
As if I wasn’t living life,
As if I’ve missed so much to time.
Conversations and memories,
I was never privy too.
Maybe I’ll never grow up,
Maybe a job high up isn’t so vital.
I’m making life up as I go,
It’s the best I can do,
I wish sometimes you understood,
It’s extremely difficult for me sometimes,
Not only dealing with what life throws at you,
But trying to work through problems,
Going through a veil, more like a brick wall —
Cancer is killing my friend,
I don’t know if she knows,
How wonderful a friend she is to me,
And I don’t know why but she always,
Floods the room with her beautiful light.
She has cancer and yet,
Her energy level is much better than mine.
I don’t know how to make my best friends understand,
They do, but sometimes,
They don’t see anything at all.
Two hours in, needing to sit down and not move,
Having eaten two pieces of cake,
One I shouldn’t have eaten.
Brought the hostess wine,
Do all the right things to be a gracious guest.
But rarely, do I feel ‘in’ on all the things going on.
I don’t know that feeling anymore,
I’m used to friends talking around me,
My mind fading in and out.
I try to pay attention, all the hours I’m out,
Don’t treat me as a child, like I can’t handle life.
Like I can’t handle honest words and your normal lives,
Mental illness is a bitch and people have little thought,
Of what you’re working past.
People may think things,
At this point I assume my besties understand my battle,
But maybe they don’t understand?
Maybe it’s still a disease people feel uncomfortable about,
Because they’re grown up into adults with jobs.
They have kids and careers,
They’ve the normal life.
I’m at home after years, fighting to have energy,
Writing writing, who picks that as a career?
But my dreams live and drive me forward.
No matter if my story is polished and presentable,
I make myself impeccable.
Nice hair and makeup,
Cute clothes for my size,
Trying to be thin, like most of them,
Pretty as them, but more width to my hips.
Striving for someone to take interest in me,
Not feel I’m doing nothing with my life,
Ask questions about me and be curious,
Just as I am curious about your life.
Don’t talk over me,
I know you all have your own fights,
Cancer the biggest I believe right now.
I wish because of it, you’d understand me more too.
I’m launching myself forward,
But I must move to a slower pace.
I don’t want to lose my best friends,
I don’t want to be the only one who feels,
We need to stay in touch.
An attractive guy would be nice,
A listener, a toucher, a hockey game lover.
I’d love a dog and our own condo,
No debt, and the ability to exercise well.
All these things I want,
With boundless energy,
No more worry about what my friends think of my illness.
Just like them, normal.
I want safety in his touch,
Seeking closeness with him and equality.
Connected to me, he’s not half-treating me,
As of I’m forever a spoiled kid,
Just because I need a ride.
Because I’m not well enough to drive.
Themes that under lie my life at times,
Girls looking above me, raising their noses,
Not knowing I fly in stars and midnight showers of rain.
It was along time before I had my first ‘real’ relationship. I went on Plenty Of a Fish, because my friend had met her husband on that site. My ex-boyfriend, was not like the other men I talked to. He didn’t ask me what my job was or about sex. He asked me about my religion. He was Muslim and wanted to date a nice girl with morals, ethics, and who was close to her family. I was reluctant to date him because my ex’s religion is Islam and I grew up with Christianity. But I had never dated anyone longterm before. My ex-boyfriend was attractive and fun so I began dating him.
My ex worked up North, where all the people who worked in the oil field, lived in camps. My ex worked three weeks on and one week off. I saw him once a week when he was home My ex was accepting of my condition. He didn’t mind that I lived with a mental illness which caused me fatigue and limited how long I could be out with him. He was quiet to begin with but later he opened up to me.
Our relationship functioned for awhile. My health improved so we were going out three times a week when he was here. Often, my ex would take an extra week off. My ex was gentle and he listened well. He gave good advice. But there were some issues in our relationship that became apparent.
The biggest issue was my ex staying in contact while working up North. Eventually, we were texting once or twice a day and I would call him every couple of weeks. It took three years to get to this point and a lot of hardwork on my end. When my ex was home we were together a lot. But I had to be diligent about making ‘talking’ and ‘getting to know each other better’ happen.
My ex would also come back from work and go on a trip without telling me where he was going. Suddenly, there was no way for me to talk to him, sometimes for two-weeks. I learned he was seeing friends or had gone off on a road trip for awhile with his cousin. At first, I worried a great deal when all communication was cut-off. I often thought early on, he had decided not see me anymore. He accused me of seeing other guys in the beginning.
Ramadan was an extremely difficult time for our relationship. For the first couple of years we were together, my ex went to Saskatchewan to do his fasting with friends. Almost the entirety of June and July would pass and I barely was able talk or contact my ex because the cell reception wasn’t good. He was scarcely able to use Internet and he never tried to phone me. Although, I attempted to phone him.
It was along time before my ex talked to me during Ramadan and an even longer time before he would go out with me in the daytime. Males can’t touch a woman they’re not married to during Ramadan before sunset. Muslims also spend a great deal of time reading the Quran in the day. I had no problem with my ex practising his faith during Ramadan, it was the fact he barely paid attention to me. Later, when my health became worse it was a challenge to see him at night anytime before 11:00 pm. It also took my ex an eternity to meet my family. He was scared of my Dad. He met my Mom a couple of times but not my Dad until the fourth year we were dating.
The issue that finished us was me. I didn’t find the relationship to be fulfilling, I never felt secure. When I didn’t hear from him for awhile or he wouldn’t listen to me, I would break up with him because I couldn’t handle it. I broke up four more times with my ex because I felt he was ignoring me and he wasn’t giving time to our relationship. I didn’t hear anything from him for a month one time. He wanted to get married but he valued all the activities he wanted to do above his time with me. My family is also special to me and so was my ex becoming apart of my family, which he never attempted.
I went the last nine months without breaking up with him. He wanted to get married. I went to a friend’s wedding at her church. She was walked down the aisle by her Dad and her husband and she made their vows before God.
At this point, I knew something was wrong with my ex’s and my relationship big time. I wanted to be like my friend and walk down the church aisle when I married. I believed in a Jesus who wasn’t merely a prophet but God’s Son. If I ever had kids, I wanted them brought up with The Bible and Jesus’ promise of salvation.
My ex hadn’t even told his Muslim family back home about me, even though Muslims are allowed to marry Christian girls. I knew his cousin because he lived with him and had been introduced to the odd friend of my ex’s at the bar. But after four years, I had no idea who most of his good friends were. Some of our problems were due to my health. I became worse for awhile and it became too much to date him often because he usually wanted to get together at night.
Mostly, I needed a fresh start. I needed to develop myself as a person on my own. I needed freedom. It was hard letting go of my ex but the religion issue finally pushed me over the edge. My family is extremely Christian and I couldn’t deal with relatives who didn’t think our relationship was right, when I wasn’t into my ex anymore. I wanted a guy who involved himself in my family, friends, and life — who could relate to my lifestyle.
I’m busy in my single life. My ex was a good boyfriend but he was not the guy for me. In a relationship, when it is the right relationship, you want to be with the other person exceedingly. You want to be with the other person so much because you love them and can work together to build a life sharing similar values. I wanted freedom and a chance to see what the world outside of “us” offered; for this reason my ex is my ex.
It’s difficult for me to believe I graduated from university nine-years ago. That it will be a decade in 2017 blows my mind. These are my Dad and my Mom with me in the photograph, and I have to say I would have never made it to graduation, or in the years post graduation without my parents.
It was a funny thing, when I first became ill and had to go in hospital in 2009, I wasn’t thinking straight, but the only thing which got me through the long days in the hospital was that my parents were going to come visit me at 5:30 pm. The entire three-weeks I was in the hospital, they came every night and stayed until visiting hours were over at 8:00 pm.
My Dad would come first and he would read to me and play cribbage with me. I have always loved how my Dad’s voice sounded when he read a book outloud. I remember him reading devotions to my brothers and I when we were small kids. The boo my Dad read to me was called A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was an excellent book but at the sametime it terrified me because in my mind, my own situation related to one of the woman characters. All through the first week at the hospital I was still delusional, but my parents never let me down.
I think I would have cried had my parents not come to the hospital one day, even when my thinking became clear and organized in the second week after I started taking a medication which almost immediately stopped my delusions. I learned later, how tiring it was for my parents to work all day and visit me in hospital each night. On weekends I had a pass to come home, and it must have been a relief to them to relax a bit. When I was able to be in my own bed I felt safe again. In the hospital before I was on the correct medication to stop my delusions, I believed I was in a sort of Hell and that you couldn’t have parents in Hell, so eventually I was going to lose my parents.
Then the medications started working. My delusions went away. I wasn’t scared to be at the hospital anymore. But I still counted down the hours until my parents came. While I healed initially at home, I became much closer with my family. My Godparents, my Great-Grandma Reeder, My Grandma Eifert, and even my brothers, I realized I’d been neglecting. I hugged my brothers when I first came home and saw them. I don’t recall hugging them before that except when I was a child. I think they were both embarrassed but they both patted my back.
Before my episode, I was wrapped up in work and my social life. I had responsibilities at work which would have continued to grow and turn into not only a full work day but networking events at night during the week and weekends. I would have had ” a career,” but I doubt now I would have loved it.
It would have been fun I think but I’m glad life didn’t go that way. I learned to value my family so much more. My parents have let me stay at home while I have been healing for eight-years and they charge me little rent so I can save money and pay off my debts. My Mom drives me to places often. We do things together and Mom takes me to get a blood test every week and to pick-up some necessities at the local drugstore or the mall. I have gone on vacations with both my parents to Las Vegas and Phoenix. I have gone on a couple of trips with only my Mom and one with by brother N.
I have learned from my experiences in the past, you can depend on your family and that they will love and support you through good and bad times. At some point when I’m a bit more able to be independent, I will move out. I wonder what I will do without my Mom at night and weekends to talk to and make plans with. I wonder who I will talk to about sports with when my Dad and I don’t live in the same house. I wonder, but I know even when I am on my own, I will have the support of my family.
Thanks to Jacqueline from A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales for hosting Echos of My Neighbourhood each Thursday.
Prompt: When was the last time you did something completely new and out of your element? How was it? Will you do it again?
I must admit I’m a pretty boring person now and because of my chronic fatigue need to be in control or trust the person in control of an event at all times. I live a pretty repetitive life and sometimes when I do something extraordinaire it’s not something unusual for others but it is a big step for me.
One thing I can think of is learning not to be so shy because I have to advocate for myself or no one else will. I make a point of looking people in the eye when they pass by and smiling if it’s safe. I use to have this bad habit of ignoring people I felt uncomfortable around but now I realize I was being rude and ignorant. So if a homeless man approached me and talks a little bit downtown I talk to them, sometimes all they need is for someone to talk to them. Pretty much anyone who wants to talk to me I make a point of saying something unless they are a creeper. I think we’re all human and just want to be acknowledged. If someone is talking about me behind my back I smile at them and ask them how there day is going. And if someone wants to know why I have to leave a place early or I don’t feel well I briefly explain about the depression and chronic fatigue. Very few people have given me a funny look or treated me badly because of it. Most people are sympathetic and I have had few experiences where people have thought I was weird. I think mostly, because I appear perfectly normal and act normal. Not all people who have mental illness have these gifts.
So, not being shy and responding to people normally and explaining my illness like it’s nothing is a big step for me. So is talking to guys my age and making new friends and trying to keep working on some old friendships.
There are many perks to living at home while you or in school or having a place to keep your belongings while you are travelling as a young adult. But there comes a time when I think every girl and guy I know wants or has already left home and now lives on their own or with roommates. I am quite jealous about this ability other people have. In fact, now that my brothers who are both younger then me have moved on their own I very much resent not being able to support myself enough both financially and in doing every day activities necessary to living outside your parents home.
I understand many people may want to live at their parents house with little rent and with little to do but watch TV, do light chores, do a bit of studying or reading, and sleep, but that is not me. When I started working back when I was 23 years old I enjoyed the freedom having your own substantial enough pay cheque gave you. I liked that I could drive but I had no problem taking the bus, and I was planning to move out the January in 2009 when I became Ill with my current depression and chronic fatigue.
It is not that I am unappreciative of my parents goodwill in letting me live at home. In fact, I am extremely grateful because I could not afford to live alone, buy my medications, and all the other little necessities that a girl needs like makeup that won’t make her skin break out, an iPhone , tuition for classes, clothing more than I need it, and being able to get my hair cut and highlighted a few times a year. Some of these things I didn’t realize how much I took for granted until I had to make a budget on what little I could afford while paying down a loan. Yet, I still find I am blessed.
That doesn’t chase away that unmistakeable inner voice that tells me I shouldn’t have to be dealing with certain issues such as having greater privacy. I need a place to put my shoes so I hang them on the back of my door in a shoe holder from Home Sense. Having this shoe holder hanging off my door means that my door never closes all the way so other members of the family are prone to just walking into my space without knocking or thinking twice. It annoys me that at almost 29-years old I am dealing with this still. My bedroom is my one place to go where I can relax and not worry about people talking to when I’m trying to read or when I’m not feeling well at certain times a day due to medication and fatigue.
Also, when I picture myself at home I picture myself being able to earn my keep more than I am able. I think this bothers my parents sometimes but I don’t know maybe they just accept like I do that I do not have much energy left after getting ready in the morning, studying or reading, and a trip out for a few hours once or twice a week. But I feel this constant pressure that I should be cleaning the living room up where I sit more, doing the floors, washing my dishes more than I do, and cleaning my bathroom in one cleanup instead of in pieces at a time. I’m sad to admit I just don’t have energy and it has gotten worse these past 2 years. I think I should be helping grocery shopping and always be able to pick up my medications from Costco but the truth is there are few more exhausting places then Costco even if I’m just going along with someone.
But I want nothing more then to have a good job and build a career, live on my own, be able to contribute more substantial amounts of money to RRSP’s and charity, to build a life, meet new people, and to just have an independence that doesn’t require me to rely on my parents so much. But I know realistically, right now that is not possible but I emphatically wish that someday it will be possible for me. I don’t want a permanent illness and Im not ready to settle for the fact that I may have one. I want to believe that there are ways to cure chronic fatigue and live with depression. I mean, if you do not have hope what do you have? Nothing.
I would like a little more time please, just to figure my situation out. I would like you to stop asking questions about the state of my life. Because when I tell you how things are for me, I’m not sure that your listening to me. I’d say at least half the time you are off thinking about something or listening to something else. I know you can’t multitask but some of those conversations I had with you ( or with myself ) they were important to understanding me and how my life works.
Yes, I want to work. I want to work more than anything and more than most people who work actually do. But I can’t, that is not a privilege I have. So don’t tell me ” I don’t want to work! ” because if I could go to a job where I was content at and make it through the whole day, be able to concentrate on my work, and not become so fatigued I’m useless at my desk, I would be there. If I could be along side colleagues for 8 hours, making friends with some of the girls my age I work with I would, and If I could build a career and learn more, take school at night to understand my job better I would. But I was 23 years old the last day I was at work and I had a breakdown. Things had been wrong for awhile and I didn’t know I was having a psychotic episode and I didn’t know that that episode would change my life forever.
Why would I take a certificate in Residential Design after deciding in the end it is something I can’t do? Because it was 2009, I needed something to do and The Faculty of Extension at the U of A had a daytime course called Residential Design and it seemed interesting and I liked it. It was 3 hours a week and I could spend time in the other days of the week working on the projects and papers. I didn’t do the best work at first but I improved, the course was a way to measure my mental improvement. It was also related to commercial development, the type of company I worked for before I got sick. I kept taking courses in design in the day until I couldn’t, until the only courses I needed to take were at night. It was extremely hard for me to do night courses and I have one left. I decided I might as well get the certificate after taking 6 of 9 courses even though I knew I won’t really use the certificate. I don’t have the energy levels to be an interior decorator, nor if I’m honest the passion. It was more something I did for myself.
It was not a waste of money, education is never a waste of money and teaches you way more than just the subject your taking. Education helps you to think, to weigh decisions, to think practically and logically. Education is portable knowledge so don’t ever ask me why I am taking Residential Design, I will use it, just not the way you think.
Why am I doing practically nothing right now? Well you see, mental illness or physical illness that causes mental illness, whatever I have, is not black and white. Little things that you can no longer do due to your illness can have repercussions on the rest of your life. Doctors, medications, therapy, and healing (if it’s possible) all take time. Not to mention if you read any of my other recent blogs, you’ll understand I’ve been regressing this past year and my psychiatrist can no longer help me. I have spent the last 4.5 years trying to solve my illness with psychiatric medication and it helped a little. But I still have no energy and there’s a physical reason for that. So now I turn to my family doctor to help me find some hope of recovery physically. Do you know what it’s like to never wake up refreshed? To never not be fatigued? Do you know how it is to have to cut short most of your evenings, and I only get a few, because you can’t handle being out anymore, you’re just too tired? Do you know how hard it is to do just usual every day activities such as studying or house work? Do you know how hard it is not to be able to cardiovascular activity when you so desperately want to lose the weight you’ve put on through medication and inactivity?
You did not get these things yesterday. You were asking for the 3rd or 4th time. And some other things just to clarify: yes I can drive. But I gave that privilege up because paying attention, and the speed of the road was too much after I was sick. I had my license for 2 years and passed the test. Now it’s been about 4 years since I have driven and I can’t afford a car or insurance to drive my parent’s cars. Even if I could, they take their cars to work in the day when I possibly could drive.
Yes, I can cook. It may be only a few dishes but I can do those dishes well. My own diet is pretty simple and cooking foods together often seems to make them fattier so cook simply. Also, worst of all, my Dexedrine wears off right around supper and I become useless from the withdrawal until about 7 pm or later.
Yes, I have money but I’m living off of about $1500 a month right now and that doesn’t go far. I try to save some money to see you and take cabs but it shouldn’t be such a big deal giving me rides sometimes and paying for things a little more since you make 4 times my wage. I realize you have more expenses but I have bills too. It’s not like I can do any better, I’m stuck with what I make. Plus, you know I’m trying to pay down debt and stay on budget. On the same note, when I have the money to contribute please let me. Let me pay for lunch, or buy you a small Christmas gift, it’s not that hard to let me give back.
I think that’s it. Do you understand now? Just give me more time, I can’t fix everything on my own or maybe even at all. Just like me for me right now. That’s all I ask.
A tough decision – something a lot of us have to make one time or another. Now I hate to talk about my experiences with depression a lot; I do not want that to be the only example through which I can relate to you on a lot of issues; however, in this instance, well my life now is what it is and having a depressive episode a major one, has challenged me to make a lot of hard decisions.
Before, my episode I was utterly clueless to the ways mental illness actually affected someone with the exception of my Baba who is a paranoid schizophrenic. But the thing is, there are many types of schizophrenics, many different types of anxieties, and depressions and each illness experience, although perhaps sharing some similar symptoms. is unique to each person. Have you ever thought about that, how does it actually feel on the inside to be mentally ill? The other concept I did not understand was how ‘physical’ depression can actually be. Your body can literally, be “physically” depressed and not just your emotions. Your mind can be physically depressed – which means you man not even feel sad but physically your brain is still affected by the depression. My episode was three years back, but I continue to be especially physically affected by it both in my energy levels and ability to concentrate and have mental endurance to do activities for long periods of time.
My struggle to live a normal life with depression has lead me through a sizeable amount of prescription drugs. Sleeping pills because I cannot sleep on my own anymore, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and stimulants. Each drug I have tried with the exception of the ones I perhaps, had to go on when I was first very ill, have been tough decisions. Now you make think a little pill, well, is just a pill but it is not. Ever watch those prescription drug commercials on TV and ever notice the wide range of side effects each drug has? Those are the tough decisions when you are taking a medication, do the benefits of this drug out weigh the bad side effects? Now each drug I have continued to use I have continued to use on the basis that when I started to use it I felt somehow better. I do not always know exactly what that ‘better’ is but something just clicks, starts to feel better so I continue to take the drug because it helps. Nonetheless, I have tried many medications that have not worked for me. I found that doctors and nurses cannot tell you exactly how a drug will affect you, truth be told, they do not know, particularly, in psychiatry I think but maybe it is that way with medication and physical illnesses such as cancer as well. So some drugs make you extremely sick. And although I may be encouraged to continue to try a drug that makes me feel awful, where life and death are not concerned, I do not believe it is worth it to keep taking that drug. When medication is doing you more harm then good, physically and mentally making you sicker, giving you bad side effects, and not showing you that glimmer of improvement that you would like to see, I believe that drug is not for me. Now I do not want people not to take their medications because sometimes the truth is, you do need a drug even though it makes you ill, but for me, in this case, drugs that make me feel really sick even if it has only been a couple of days, are not the medications for me.
Such was my experience with Clozapine this last weekend. I have never felt so sick, not even from a bad flu, as this drug made me feel. After, two days I was done with it. Clozapine is supposed to be a ‘last resort’ antipsychotic and it was for me to. Typically, it may be used for schizophrenia but also in cases of depression or where a psychotic episode has occurred. It was a difficult decision going on this drug – blood tests every week for the first 6 months and less often( for a longer period), a very good chance of large weight gain, and increased chance of diabetes, extreme tiredness, possible immunity disorder (hence the blood tests weekly), and other conditions having to do with the heart etc. The thing was though that, I had never tried this drug so it was a good option to try and Clozapine actually heals the brain a little bit every year, one of the only drugs in psychiatry to do so. Also, Clozapine causes you to sleep without the use of sleeping pills. For some people this is the ‘magic’ pill, for me it was not. I am comfortable with that decision especially given what that means.
I have gone through so many medications that I am told by my doctor she does not know what to do to help me medication wise after this. I can function half normally on my current medications but not enough to work, to go to school full time. And suddenly, I am okay with that. I do not have a choice and I am fine. Someone somewhere may come up with a drug that may aid me in the future, but now I am at the limits of my doctor. And like a big weight off my shoulders when I decided I had enough with the Clozapine, I was okay with that. At least I can be stable, where I am at now. I know what I can expect this summer, in terms of what I can and cannot do. I still face many challenges such as my insomnia, and an energy decrease in winter months by a degree, but I know what to expect. And this brings me peace.
Tough decisions, its hard to tell yourself you are okay with having a limited life, but it is also foolish to limit yourself. Many people suffer through many illnesses and bad times, and go on to do great things. Rather, than accepting my limits completely, I am learning to work around them to the best of my abilities and that is all any one could ask of me. I am blessed by God in the place I am at in life. It was not where I thought I would be, but I am okay with that. How about you? Are you okay where you are at in life? What tough decisions have you had to make?