Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Empty life

So I sort of forgot my stupid birthday.  Dr. Mind mentioned it and I thought I was fine.  And in a way I am.  But my issue with my birthday is that in the past a lot of hard things have happened on or the day before my birthday.  I have cried on my birthdays more than anyone should.  And this all cemented when I had a period of several (5?) years in a row that all had something substantially bad on those 2 days.

Tomorrow is the day before my birthday.  Sunday, obviousky is my birthday.  Please don't say happy birthday because I don't like it that much.  I couldn't care less about aging but every year old memories greet me.  Because Dr. Mind worked exceedingly hard at this for a few years, like as in we worked on it for two months each time before it came around.  This made it not so painful but far from my favorite day.  This year I assumed I could manage and that I did not really care very much.  We only talked of this for about 3 minutes before the end of the session.  I truly thought I was fine.

I didn't count on the current feeling that everything that can go wrong seems to and that I am looking at my birthday more as a good time for something else to go wrong and a time that I have to force myself to not reflect on the last year because 35 sucked.  It just did.  And 36, while I sincerely hope that it is an easier year is bound to have some seriously painful moments.  It already has.

And I can't explain this, (confidentiality promises are innate in the class I am taking), but looking around last night I did not see anyone who I thought was going to be my new best friend.  There was nothing anyone said that I really clicked with.  I actually wound up thinking "well, I don't belong, these people are too sick" or "desperate for help to the point they aren't listening to what we're asked to say" but me?  I was the one knitting because she's incapable of sitting still.  From what I picked up I'm probably the most recently released for a hospital and also possibly most likely to be fighting serious suicidal desires.  I don't know who I am or where I fit anymore and for so long I got used to being able to do so much that I shouldn't have.  A lot of my identity was wrapped in up the notion I was succeeding against the odds.  I knew that Drs. Brain and Mind had more to do with this than I did at times, but going from developing the home health agency's OT program (did you know I did that?  I did.  I was the first OT so how things work and the education that the staff have been given came from me) to starting to say this week when people asked me about work in a couple ways that I am not working and am on disability.  Starting to say that is probably a good start.  Both times though I was totally aware of my sad, sad voice.  One of the people teaching the class is someone I've professionally interacted with a number of times.  In fact I think she's peripherally mentioned on this blog in a professional capacity.  I talked to her about it and then said I was not working.  She said the same in just as sad voice.  It is so hard.  Without being an OT, without succeeding against odds, my identity is kind of unknown.  I've said numerous times to Dr. Mind and probably on here that the entire suicidal episode made me have no idea who I am because the real me wouldn't have done any of what I did and would in fact have been running to Dr. Mind for help.  But the loss of who I am is even more clear as I try to face that so many of the things that I thought made me who I am are gone.  I'm Aunt Jen, but I'm too sick to spend time with my niece.  I'm a Christian without much interaction with churches or the Bible aside from what Michal brings to me.  I'm still an OT but I'm also not an OT.  I remember asking a patient who was quite moody and I was trying to build rapport "So how long were you a nurse?"  She snapped at me that she still WAS a nurse.  At the time I kind of thought "whatever, you know exactly what I meant and you are retired now".  And now I totally understand not wanting to give up that part of who someone is.  The person I was a year ago would not need to be in that class.  That's the thing that I left with that was so obvious.  I was still bipolar a year ago and I still had a severe form of the illness.  But I was NOT severely ill.  Now I am and now I am very confused about who 36 year old me is as opposed to 34 year old me (35 psychiatrically was not bad but 34 was the year I thrived.  And I think I thought for a long time that 35 might have been tough but that I was getting my asthma under control and the surgery was going to fix the other problems I had and by the time I turned 36 the nasty year of bad health would be over and I would be back to being the real me, the one not so sick.   And instead I'll turn 36 in 24 hours and the rest of my life kind of stretches out in a frighteningly blank stretch.  I've never had a birthday that I can remember (I probably didn't have huge goals when I turned 1) that I had no idea at all what my life would be like in 12 more months.  I have had the wrong picture before, I've had things go much worse or much better than I would have guessed, but always there's been something on the horizon.  Now I know only that the goal is to get me to stabilize and that's my future, trying to get there.

This hurts enough I'm crying.  I've been terrified to cry, especially without Dr. Mind or Brain.  But I hate this.  It's scary and it sad.  It is so sad.  I fought so hard to work.  I am not saying it was always wise, it wasn't.  But a huge chunk of me has been lopped off and it's not overly likely that  I'll get that chunk back.  And an empty life is I think what I wanted so badly to avoid with the suicidal stuff if it is put in a nutshell.

Well, Dr. Mind wanted me to write......I guess I did.


Anonymous said...

Jen, in a way I know how you feel about not knowing who you are or what your goals are.

I was a stay at home mom (when I was married) for about ten years, and then two years after I went back to work I divorced and became a single mom. Mom, mom, mom - the person responsible for my daughters' physical, financial, and emotional well being. And then they grew up and left.

Being a mom DEFINED me; my entire focus was on raising my girls. They were my life. They defined my life. And my only prayer in those days was, "Please God, just let me live long enough to raise these daughters of mine."

Nowdays my prayer is more like, "Well Lord, I just don't know what I am suppose to be doing. I will study your Word and look to you for guidance, but basically I am lost about what my future looks like. Will I even have a future?"

So yeah, I get it. Kind of. But I also understand that my identity loss was caused by life's natural progression. Yours isn't. But that lost feeling? I think it may be a little similar.

Your darn right it is sad. Soooo sad. I cried a lot too. Because it is LOSS. And it is saying goodbye. And it leaves a vacant place deep, deep inside. In my estimation it is like grieving and we must go through it. Tears and sadness are a part of grief, right? And anger too I suppose.

All I am trying to convey is that although difficult and NO FUN at ALL, this sadness is a natural process, and feeling the way you do is completely normal.

Jen, I am honored to know you here on the Internet and I cannot imagine I would feel differently if I knew you in person. I also know how it feels to not "connect" to certain people but gee whiz, I sure have a hard time believing it is because of who YOU are. I see you as one of the finest people I've come to know.

Lots of cyber hugs coming your way... it will get better you know. Right now it feels hopeless and like all sorts of doors are closing, but it WILL get better, and NEW doors will be opening to you.

I think Michal needs to bless us here with a prayer. Please know I am reading, thinking of you, holding you UP in prayer.


Anonymous said...

p.s. Just because your life is changing in NO WAY means it will be "empty"! Different? Yes. Maybe for a bit, or maybe for more than a bit. Scary because of the unknown future? Absolutely. But to assume your life will be empty? NO WAY. ~ Becky