Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Little Ducks All in a Row

One of the dozens of character bisque figures from my mother's collection

My action plan in the days following my latest release from the hospital has been more or less one of inaction. On the whole, I wouldn't recommend this approach to most people; and yet, within the last week, and seemingly without much involvement from me, a surprising number of the "stuffs" on my plate have either resolved themselves, or are in the pipeline to be resolved.

My car is on the way to being repaired. It just sort of happened. I didn't ask the insurance company to fix it. We were on the phone to talk about . . . ehm, the other person's car, and they just took it over from there. By the end of next week it will be done. All other ramifications of the accident are now fully in the hands of the insurance companies. Legal help for my October court date has been, if not secured, at least contacted.

My furnace has been cleaned for the year. I have a Will in the works (which is kind of a dangerous thing to have in the works in my state of mind, but needs must where the Devil rides, or something like that). The temporary disruption to my phone and internet service was nipped in the bud quickly and easily. Been to the doctor to get my prescriptions adjusted. With the exception of the weekend, which I'd rather not get into, I've been a little Worker Bee. I've been Making Things Happen.

This all feels to me like . . . a band-aid has been applied to the most glaring boo-boos. It's what you do, right?

At the mental health outpatient program we are. . . working on things. There's a lot to work on. For starters, I have all the self-esteem of a tapeworm. No, I take that back. . . a tapeworm has more self-esteem than I do.

I did my first comprehensive job search a few days ago. Lawsy, Miz Sca'lett, after that, a person needs to swallow a whole bottle of Welbutrin! Oh, there's work out there -- if you're happy doing telemarketing for T-Mobile. I guarantee you that after a couple of days at T-Mobile I'd be grinding the Deadly Nightshade plant that's growing in my back yard into a fine paste and downing it with a vodka chaser.

Yeah, Job search. That's an instant trip into Depression City.

Anhyhoo, that's wagon before the elephant stuff. I need to get my resume in order first, so that I can spring, like a wolf upon its prey, when that perfect job comes strolling down the path to grandma's house.

But, you know, my desk is in order. My desk is really neat and organized. I'll never miss an appointment because they're all perfectly entered onto my computer calendar and synched with my phone and iPad. I'm really, really organized. . .

... except I still manage to get about half of my appointments wrong, somehow. Go figure.

If you keep busy enough, you don't notice that your life is essentially empty. My old job at Colby had reached the point where it wasn't even good for that anymore.

I had to laugh in the IOP today, one of the facilitators was trying to think of something positive to offer me, and what she came up with was that I'd managed to establish a really good relationship -- with my cats! I about busted a gut on that one! Talk about praising with faint damns! It reminded me of the old joke about the comic book character Ant-Man: "Wooooooo! I guess you really clean up on those ANTS!"

Yes, my Indian Name is "Makes Friends with Animals". That's also my Mutant Power.

And now I can see that this post has begun to follow the example of my Action Plan and meander off in no particular direction. OK. yes, I'm getting something done. But is it Art?

-- Freder


  1. "...your life is essentially empty." That's true enough as far as it goes, but every time you say this, you never carry through the thought. After devoting years to caring for your Mom while living in an isolated rural setting, her passing _has_ left your life considerably emptier than it was before. Now, without a job to hate, that negative experience has been replaced by more emptiness.

    But the inevitable next thought after "...[my] life is essentially empty" is "AND HERE'S WHAT I'M GONNA TRY IN ORDER TO START FILLING IT UP AGAIN."

    _That's_ the part you've shown close to zero inclination to addressing. And _that's_ the part you're now in perfect position to begin to address. The world won't come to you; you need to engage with the world.

    There have to be all sorts of organizations in your area that would accept volunteer help, even for a handful of hours a week. There are job centers and such that could put you in touch with free training resources; you could take a class once or twice a week. And if your below-tapeworm self-esteem won't let you re-engage with strangers quite yet (though eventually you have no choice -- you can't hide at home with the cats forever), you have a batch of friends who deeply care about you, all of whom would be glad to see you knock at their door or would break bread with you in their hometowns (and in some cases, that town is the same as yours; where they ain't, well, it's been proven there's a cat care-&-feeding network who can sustain their well being if you took an overnight trip).

    When we were at the hospital that last time, on Sunday, July 1st, you told me you want to get off the cycle depression/booze/hospital merry-go-round. I believed that was true then, and I still believe it. But I also believe the only way that cycle can be fully broken is for you to find something to care about again, and the only way to do that is to get involved in _something_ that doesn't involve TV/computer/iPad screens, but requires real hands-on activity.

    You told me last Saturday, "You don't understand ... how very much I do NOT want to leave the [Outpatient] group." You didn't examine the reasons WHY you did not want to leave (and I'm very happy for you that you _didn't_ leave, as you know) -- one of those reasons is clearly that you are getting _ongoing, positive human contact_ within that context.

    There are all sorts of other contexts through which you can get ongoing, positive human contact. When you accept that and begin exploring which context are the right ones for you, then and only then will you be able to fully step off the merry-go-round and enjoy the kind of life you so richly deserve.

    You know I said all this because I love you, and while you may quibble about some of the nuances of this message, you know the core of what I'm saying here is true. (And if you doubt that, bring this whole message to an Outpatient session and discuss it within the group; I'd be interested to know what they say ...)

  2. Do you really see what you think you see?


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