Hanging Out In Ohio

June 10, 2009 at 7:58 pm (depression, family, therapy)

Last night I sent J, my therapist, an email. He encourages me to write him emails, because I am able to express myself better through writing. I explained that I am angry about our session yesterday. I said that I was driving to Ohio today, a six hour drive, and I was going to be ruminating about my anger the whole trip, and that Thursday I had to drive six hours back! I also wrote about my friend and how I had to see where she was coming from when she was “attacking” me and how I should, perhaps, overlook this and not take it so personally, and that I am seriously considering his words and I appreciate them, even though I might not believe it yet.

He never wrote back.

So now I am more angry than I was yesterday. I hate when people don’t respond to emails. A simple, “I got your email, we’ll talk more about this next week” would suffice. Anything! But I got nothing. I don’t email him very often, maybe once every four sessions or so. And he encourages it, so you’d think he would respond with a word or two.

So I’m in Ohio, picking up my son from college. This might be the last time I come out here, seeing as he is on academic probation and he doesn’t think he got a 2.0 this quarter. If he did not get a 2.0 the school will expel him. This makes me sad because he finally has a social life. The kids here are so much better for him than the kids where we live. They are down to earth, unpretentious, not materialistic, don’t care about labels, etc. Totally the opposite of kids in our town. Today while I was “helping” him pack up his stuff in his dorm room a girl came by to introduce herself to me. Wow, she was hot. She seemed very lovely too. He has such good friends here, and it’s not enough motivation to get him to go to class and do his work. He is incredibly intelligent, and I don’t mean to brag, but he doesn’t do any work. It’s very frustrating.

He’ll be home for 5 days, then he is off to Canada to visit the friend he went to see last summer. She, apparently, is his “girlfriend”, even though they live 2400 miles away from each other and see each other once a year. They met on the internet. I’m wondering if, now that he knows what a real social life is, he’ll be bored for the 4 or 6 weeks he’ll be in Canada doing nothing but watching TV all day and all night.

Meanwhile, I’ve really given up drinking for the most part. I drink once a week – usually Saturday or Sunday night. But I went to Applebee’s tonight, since it’s right next to the Holiday Inn I’m staying in, and I had a salad and a glass of wine. It was a pretty big glass of wine too. And now I’m feeling somewhat depressed. Because alcohol is a depressant, yes I’m an idiot. I know that. Usually one glass makes me feel better, and three or four make me depressed. But maybe since I’ve cut back my tolerance has decreased, and only one glass makes me depressed. That’s depressing.

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Why Do I Do This To Myself?

January 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm (body image, relationships, work)

We went out to dinner last night with friends. I was really looking forward to going, because my daughter had elections for her youth group last night also. She was running for president and I was worried and preoccupied with whether she would do well (i.e., win). So it was nice to get together with friends for a fun evening out. This particular friend is someone I work for as well, and my husband and her husband have played golf together a few times. It was nice and during the course of the dinner my daughter texted me to let me know that she won the election, so I was elated and relieved. Remember my friend who accused my daughter of ignoring her daughter? (Refresh your memory here.) I had emailed her during the day to be sure her daughter would be at the elections so that she would vote for my daughter. During dinner I got an email from her saying her daughter was babysitting. She said she committed to the babysitting job long before she knew about the elections (which is crap its been on the calendar since September). I was pissed frankly. My daughter deserved the support of her friends, and luckily she had a lot of other friends there and it worked out fine. But I was pissed.

Then the topic came around to changing careers because my friend’s husband is currently doing just that. He is a teacher’s aide during the day and going to school for his master’s in education at night. My friend knows I’m looking into different jobs, even though she doesn’t want me to do that because she really likes me working for her! But we started talking about things I might be interested in and might be good at. I said that I was concerned that it would be hard to get a “real” job because of a lack of any real work experience and not having an advanced degree, but they assured me that life experience counts for a lot and there are a lot of things I’ve done that could be put on a “resume”. I doubt that, but whatever. Then, for some reason, I guess just basic insanity, I decided to throw out my idea and see how it would go over. So I said “Actually I’ve been looking into the idea of becoming a probation officer.”

You’d think I’d said “I’d like to be a Unabomber.” Ok, I guess I knew that I wouldn’t get a rousing show of support for this idea, and I shouldn’t be surprised or hurt by people’s responses. I even wrote the other day “It would be fun to watch the look on people’s faces when I say I’m a probation officer.” My friend got a strange look on her face and kind of grimaced. My husband actually laughed out loud and said “You should stay away from criminals.” I said that I thought it would be rewarding and I’d prefer to work with juveniles, like Cody, my son’s friend who was recently arrested and charged with some drug infractions. My husband said, “Cody is a criminal.” Technically Cody isn’t a juvenile, he is 18, and technically he is a criminal. But it’s not like he’s an ex-con.

Then they all went on to suggest other paths for me to take – teacher, school guidance counselor, etc. I don’t remember much after that, I was just spiraling down. I think I felt like crying, but I tried to change the subject and we left not long after that. I was feeling really down when we got home, and I made the mistake of weighing myself after I had eaten too much yesterday and that made me feel grosser. I took my klonopin and went to bed and cried. I just hate that feeling of being out of sync with “normal” people, and having to hide all of the weirdness all the time. I wonder what it’s like to be a person who can be themselves around other people. That sounds like a nice way to be.

During the evening I also ran into a friend who sells a line of women’s clothing. She had a fashion show last summer and apparently I told her I thought it would be fun to be a model in the next show (I don’t remember that at all!) Last night at dinner she told me that the next fashion show is next month and she wants me to be a model. Ack! I know I’m currently the perfect size for her samples and it will be fun, but, ack!!!! What am I getting myself into? Ack!!!!!!!

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Learning New Things

January 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm (work)

I love to learn to do things. I’ve learned so many new things over the years. Today I really wanted a new ringtone for my phone. I went to many ringtone sites that advertise free ringtones, but then when you get there and sign up it turns out you need a subscription. I sure hope I didn’t inadvertently subscribe to a bunch to ringtone sites by entering my cell phone number. Oops.

So when I didn’t find any sites that let you just buy one ringtone I decided to make my own. I downloaded a song to my itunes, but it wouldn’t convert to an mp3 because it’s protected. I did some research on google, my best friend, and found out how I can use a program called Audacity to record a song that is playing on itunes, cut it into a nice 30 second chunk and save it as an mp3. Then I emailed it to my blackberry and saved it as a ringtone. This whole process took me a while I have to admit, but it was fun. Now I have to go back and check these damn ringtone subscriptions I might have. Note to self – never enter your cell phone number on any website.

Computers and technology toys are particularly fun for me. I can do a lot of things that other people can’t do. Not that these things are hard, but most people don’t have the time or inclination to figure out how to do them. A couple of days ago, for example, I made a 20 minute slide show comprised of the photos that we took on our recent vacation. I had a great time picking out the photos, choosing compatible music, making the transitions and funky slide effects, putting in captions, and putting everything in order. I burned it onto a DVD and we watched it on my husband’s giant TV. It looked so good – I was so proud of myself! I sent the DVD to the people who organized our trip. I put it in the mail yesterday, they should get it today. I’m so curious to see what their reaction will be. If anyone went to all that trouble to make me something really cool like that I’d be really touched and I’m sure they will be. They are such nice people, and I’m really hoping they’ll like it. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing about me – I really need that positive feedback. And then, of course, I’ll say to myself “Naturally they are going to tell you how much they love your DVD, they’re not going to say it’s a piece of shit for god’s sake.” That’s the kind of thing I need to get over. I really really need to get over that.

What else have I learned in my life? I learned to make beaded jewelry and I had a little business selling it. Everyone said they loved it and I sold a lot. But I got bored doing that. Then I learned to make soap and personal products like lotions and body washes. That was an even bigger business and everyone really loved my products. I loved my products. But it got to the point in the business where I had to decide to stay as I was, just a small business going to craft shows and having a little website, or taking the next step and getting insurance, professional labels, wholesaling, etc, and I decided to just close up shop. I think it was the fear of going forward, fear of failure. I really miss my products though, they were good.

I’ve learned a lot about cooking. That started when I was 11 or 12. I got Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” from the library and started mastering the art of french cooking. My mother liked that! I made a mean omelette at age 12. I love to cook, however I have a love/hate relationship with food right now. I’ll cook stuff, take one bite, and then give it to my daughter to take to school and all of her friends will eat it.

I’ve learned a lot about organizing. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But I’ve read so many books on organization and time management. I actually should be more organized than I really am knowing how much I know about the subject. But I now have three or four people I work for, and that is what I do for them – keep them organized. One of them told me that when people ask me what I do I should respond “I’m an Organizational Consultant.” Sounds good I think. I enjoy the work – it’s solitary, methodical, and the results are visible and impressive. And let me tell you, when you organize someone who is unorganized they are so grateful. They act like you gave them the Holy Grail or something. To me it’s not a difficult thing, but for people who are scattered or just too busy to get their lives in order it’s a big deal. I enjoy that positive feedback and feeling like I am truly helping someone directly.

I’ve gotten a couple of books out of the library on the subject of finding a career based on one’s personality type. I’m going to glance through them and see what I can discover about myself and what I might do with the rest of my life. I did a little on line research about becoming a probation officer, but the information is hard to find. I have to ask some attorney friends if they know of people to talk to about doing this. I don’t think I’d need an advanced degree, just pass an exam and have the training. I don’t think it’s a job/career that most people strive for, but I could be wrong. It’s intriguing to me and I think I might be good at it. I know it involves interviewing people, driving around, writing reports, going to court, and handling many cases at once. I’d like to specialize in juvenile cases if I could. I’m really going to look into this, I really am.

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Frustration at the Doc

January 9, 2009 at 10:18 pm (anxiety, medication, ocd, psychiatry, therapy)

Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist. I normally love my psychiatrist, he is a great guy. Our appointments are only 15 minutes and he gives me my prescriptions. Yesterday, though, he irritated me. No matter what I talked about he would say something like “Obsessive people tend to think like that” or “That’s a characteristic of obsessive thinking”. He believes I have OCD, and I don’t like to think so. He wants me on meds, and I don’t feel like being on meds right now. I’ve finally gotten off of all of my anti-depressants, and all I currently take is klonopin every night before bed, which I half heartedly am cutting back on. I do wake up in the middle of the night sometimes with panic attacks, so I guess I’m depending on the klonopin to prevent that.

So he is a psychiatrist and his job is to diagnose people and give them meds to make them better, and I guess that is what he is doing. But it was irritating yesterday. We talked about my therapy, and some of my issues and feelings. He would say “But, Harriet, when you think about these things rationally don’t you see that they are not true?” I practically barked at him “What the hell does rational have to do with it, when I actually believe something due to 40 years of thinking this way?” Hello? Am I daft here? He did concede that he is glad that I am in therapy and I am going even though it gives me major anxiety and that the process is slow. Well, thanks for that, Doc. Now let me go get my rx filled.

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Living According to my Principles

January 8, 2009 at 9:12 pm (work)

The definition of principles according to dictionary.com is (well, there is more than one definitition, this is the one I like):

guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct

I like this because of the word “sense”. One has to sense what their own requirements are for proper conduct.

The definition of values is:

beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment

I have some strong principles and values (I mentioned this yesterday in regard to my therapist mentioning it. I was wondering why he thought I have a strong belief system because I don’t really feel like we’ve discussed this.) It’s easy to have strong principles and values, it’s a lot harder to live one’s life according to them. I feel like I really miss the mark a lot of the time. I’m not sure if I really do, however. I’m so negative about myself, such a black and white thinker, so if I throw away a yogurt container, for example, I feel like I’ve failed at helping to protect the earth by recycling everything I use. Is a person allowed to give themselves a break, or is that a sign of weakness and laziness and lack of principles? Logically and rationally I know that throwing away a yogurt container does not make me a failure. On the other hand what if 10,000 people this afternoon threw away their yogurt containers instead of putting them in the recycling bin. That’s a lot of yogurt containers now laying in a landfill for the next 50 years. Things that seem like no big deal actually can make much more of a difference when we look at the big picture.

I’ve been thinking about this since I started thinking about the career issue. I could never have any type of job that compromised my principles and values. I could never work in a zoo, for example, or work at Walmart. I am strongly opposed to animals being kept in captivity, and I am strongly opposed to Walmart’s business practices. I already feel that I do a less than stellar job at the regular part of my life, so it’s important to me to find a job/career that reinforces my beliefs.

I think it might be interesting to list my most valued principles. This could be very easy, or perhaps not. It will start off easy:

honesty
dependability
integrity
empathy
learning
independence
generosity
appreciating beauty
order
communication
creativity
discipline
family
friendship
gratitude
hard work
love
peacefulness
perfection
respect
serving others
patience
simplicity
productivity
protection of others, of animals, of the earth
belonging
helpfulness

That is 26 things. I’m going to try to reduce the list to 20. I’ll take out:

discipline
appreciating beauty
hard work
helpfulness
order
serving others

I think these 6 can be considered parts of other values on the list, so they are extraneous.

Now I’ve got 20 values that are important to me.

belonging
communication
creativity
dependability
empathy
family
friendship
generosity
gratitude
honesty
independence
integrity
learning
love
patience
peacefulness
perfection
productivity
protection of others, of animals, of the earth
respect
simplicity

Having “belonging” on the list troubles me a little, as I think it’s a bit selfish. But I can’t deny that I have a strong feeling like I need to belong. To belong to my family, my group of friends, society, the world in general. So I’m leaving it on the list. I’m going to go think about whether I truly live my life according to these values to the best of my ability.

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How Important is Work?

January 6, 2009 at 8:59 pm (therapy)

I had an interesting talk with my therapist today. I didn’t really have anything specific to talk about, and we didn’t have our session last week since I was on vacation, so I was floundering a bit. He mentioned the usual issues, anxiety, self esteem, obsessive thoughts and I decided to focus on self-esteem, since I think it is the root of all of my problems.

I told him how on our vacation we were with a group of 27 people (a lot were kids, so it’s not as bad as it sounds), and we didn’t know more than half of them. At dinner on the first night the dreaded question is asked, “So Harriet, what do you do?” This is the question that is asked whenever one meets a new acquaintance and is frequently why I avoid social gatherings like high school reunions.

I’ve never had a career. I was an environmental science major in college, but decided not to go to grad school because I hated school. I had good jobs, I stopped working when my first child was born, went back to work when my second child entered 1st grade, and have had “jobs” since then. But I’m not a doctor, lawyer, realtor, physical therapist, teacher, rabbi, artist, writer, accountant, etc. So when I’m asked what I do I kind of make up something and immediately turn the conversation back to the other person and get them talking about their career for so long and so intensely that they forget exactly what it is I do.

We talked about what is causing my discomfort about the career issue, is it a social thing, is it because I feel inferior to others, or is it because I really want a purpose and to be productive. I think it’s a combination. I felt perfectly comfortable not working when my kids were little, after all it was socially acceptable to be a stay at home mom. When the kids move out, though, then what am I? Just a stay at home wife I guess. He asked how much of a person’s self esteem rests on their career. I ventured a guess – perhaps 75% or so if they have a career that they enjoy and that they are good at. Perhaps 100% if they have a bad job or no job. And we concluded that if one has a career that they enjoy and are good at it causes a cycle so that other things they are involved in cause them to have even higher self esteem and that higher self esteem makes them seek out even more things to become involved in. If that cycle gets broken, then one can start to consider themselves a loser. As I do. He said, “Do you really think you’re a loser?” And I said, “Yes.”

We talked about careers that I would feel good about if someone asked me what I did, regardless of whether or not I actually think I can do them. For example, doctor, lawyer, chef, consumer advocate. For awhile I thought being a consumer advocate would be a perfect career for me. I have no idea how one becomes a consumer advocate, but I think it might ring my bell. I definitely do not want to be a doctor, or anything in the medical field. I’ve always wanted to go to law school, but never wanted to be a lawyer, and since I’m not independently wealthy that never happened.

We talked about my marketable skills, of which there are few. I said that I am good at Microsoft Excel and Word, I can use a PC and a MAC, and I’m organized. He said that I have a strong belief system and I’m passionate. That threw me. Passionate? I don’t really consider myself passionate, and I said that I don’t think that is something I’d put on a resume unless I was applying for a job as an actress or a waitress. And a strong belief system, which I’m wondering why he brought up and why he thinks I have one, is also something I would not mention in a job interview. I think employers prefer people who are flexible and open to new ideas. I do want to ask him about why he thinks I have a strong belief system and am passionate, but I’ll save that for another week.

I also mentioned that I’m afraid that if I do find the perfect career for me, and I do well in it, there is still the possibility that it will do nothing for my self-esteem. And then what? What if I spend time and money training and researching and looking for a job and it turns out I still feel crappy about myself?

He told me to think about some things I might like to do and it might really benefit me to have something productive and fulfilling now that the kids are older. To be clear here, I do have a job. I actually have four jobs and I do a lot of volunteer work. I just don’t have a “career” and I’m uncomfortable when people ask me what I do. And that is totally because of my feelings, not because people are specifically trying to make me feel inferior.

A bit of research I’ve done on the internet has led me to see that this is a common problem for us INFJ’s (still not sure how much I can depend on the authenticity of this method of personality testing, but it certainly describes me well.) I also have had it drilled into me by my mother since childhood, that one works and is productive. Up until about a year ago my mother would call me every couple of days to see if I was working. If I responded positively she would have an elated tone in her voice as she said “Good!” and if I wasn’t working that day she would say “Oooohhhh.” Finally, being so tired of her judgemental tones, I said “You know, I don’t understand why you are always asking me if I’m working. I’m fortunate that my husband makes enough money that I don’t have to work every day, and on the days that I am not working I am still doing productive things.” She said, “Oh I know that, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I said, “You have a tone in your voice when I tell you whether or not I’m working.” She said, with a tone, “I don’t have a tone.” I said, “OK, I’m just telling how I feel and it seems like you’re judging me.” And she said, “Fine, I’ll never ask you again.” And she never has. But even though she isn’t asking me out loud anymore, I still hear her asking me in my head.

I’ll have to think about the careers I might like to have. I’m definitely limited by the fact that I have no skills to speak of, and with one child in college and one about to go I can’t spend any money on myself for any schooling. To be honest, I’ve been thinking about this for 30 years and haven’t come up with anything, but I’ll play “let’s pretend” and give it a go. I’m thinking maybe a probation officer for adolescents might be a good career for me. And it would certainly be fun to watch the look on people’s faces when I say “I’m a probation officer.”

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Family Issues

January 5, 2009 at 9:16 pm (family)

What’s with family? Shouldn’t family be a safe and supportive place to be? Mine isn’t, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

My sister called me yesterday and said “Mom is very upset with a certain person in your family.” Huh? What is this – a guessing game? And do I really care? Well, yes, I do care. I care if my mother is upset with someone in my family and I probably should not care. But I do. So I said, “Someone in my married family, or someone in my immediate family?” And she said “Someone who lives in your house with you.” Come on, this is ridiculous, if someone has something to say they should just say it!

She goes on to say that my mother is very upset with my son, because he was home from school for six weeks and didn’t do anything productive, just sat in his room all day on his computer. I didn’t know who to be more angry with, my mother or my sister. I’m glad that my mother didn’t mention this to me, so that’s a good thing. If she wants to vent to my sister, fine, be my guest. I would prefer if she would be supportive of me and my son, but I guess that is too much to ask. As for my sister, why couldn’t she just keep her mouth shut? It feels like a conspiracy, or maybe I’m just paranoid.

When we were away on vacation last week we were with my husband’s brother and his family. My brother-in-law was talking with us about my son and he, of course, was full of opinions about how we should handle the situation with my son and school, etc. He has two perfect daughters, both of whom did great in school academically and socially. So of course he has no idea what he is talking about. But he offered suggestions like “I would yell at him” and “I would make him send me a report every week about whether he went to every class and did all of his work”.

Can anyone just say to me – “Wow, it must be hard for you. You have such a great kid and he seems to be having some problems. What can I do to help? How about if I just be a good family member and listen if you need to vent?”

Is it even possible for a family member to say something like that? I’ve never heard it.

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Ack – I’m So Behind

January 4, 2009 at 9:02 pm (family, relationships)

I thought I’d be able to keep up with my blogging while I was on vacation, but the internet was $16 per day per computer, and I was pretty busy sitting by the pool and the beach! I’m trying to catch up on reading everyone’s blogs and keep mine updated.

I did have “the conversation” with my husband about the plan for my son and his return to college. I made it really casual, I was standing in the kitchen cooking, or something, and I said, “You know, I’ve been thinking. We need to come up with a way of determining how to know if A is doing better in school.” We threw a few ideas around and came up with the idea that he needs to get at least a 2.0 with no F’s. Not exactly setting the bar high, if you ask me, but it would be an improvement over 3 F’s and a D. Then I told my husband that he should tell A about the plan. Of course that didn’t happen.

Yesterday we went to the mall with our son so he could get a haircut and we had lunch too. I brought up the plan and he seemed ok with it. I know I should think positively about this, that he is a smart guy and he just needs to do his work and he’ll have no problem getting the grades. But it’s not his intelligence that is the problem, and it’s not that he parties too much, or even socializes too much. There are some deep long lasting problems here. He has not had success in school since 5th grade! But whenever I express concern I’m told I’m being negative. It’s very frustrating. I think I’m being realistic – is that negative?

We took A to the airport this morning to get his flight back to school, classes start tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens.

I’ve got so much in my head right now that I want to write about, I just wish I had more time!!!! Maybe I’ll write a bunch of posts tomorrow. And I’ll be catching up on all of your blogs this week too, I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying a fresh start with a fresh year.

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I Can Never Think Of A Title

December 24, 2008 at 10:22 pm (anxiety, medication, relationships, therapy)

I’m going to have to work on title creation. Today is Wednesday December 24th – Christmas Eve. We don’t celebrate Christmas, but Merry Christmas to all of you who do! I know this is a hard time for some people. Family issues, eating, traveling, the economy – it can all be difficult and I hope everyone is coping well.

I really thought I was done cooking for a while, but my in-laws are coming over for breakfast tomorrow, so I am making overnight cinnamon rolls and yeast waffles. I’ve been preparing those for the last hour or so, and now the dough for the rolls is rising and then I’ll put them together with the cinnamon filling and let them sit in the fridge overnight.

I really wanted to work out today, but I had to take the dog to the kennel, I worked for a while, a friend took me out to lunch and then we hung out at the mall, then I did errands, then I went out to dinner with my family and then I started cooking! I controlled myself at lunch because I knew I was going out for chinese food for dinner and I always overdo it with that. Just the sodium alone is enough to make me gain 3 pounds.

So let’s review yesterday. Yesterday was therapy day. I went to my appointment prepared with a topic to talk about. J (my therapist) started with, I have to ask you this since the holidays are coming up, how is your anxiety? I said that I have no problem with the holidays, there is something else I’d like to talk about, it’s not very interesting and I could talk about holidays if he would prefer. He smirked at the “not very interesting” comment, since that is one of my issues, but he said I should talk about my issue if that is what I want to talk about.

Notice that he did not bring up last week’s homework assignment. I’m wondering if he just forgets about these assignments, or if he assigns them strictly for my benefit and not to discuss at a future session. Well, if we’re not going to talk about them I’m not doing them. So there.

I explained the whole story about not contacting the therapist who could help us with some family sessions and how I dropped the ball and how it’s always my fault that my son isn’t successful and that there are family problems, blah blah blah. We talked about that for a while. He wanted to know what I thought the therapist could do for us, why I thought I was responsible for setting this up, how people are resistant to therapy and I can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink (we have a horse by the way, and whenever we give him water he drinks it, but that’s another story). I told him that I thought we needed a plan and that having a third party help us develop it would take the responsibility off of me. He agreed that having a plan is good, but that my husband and I could make a plan. The main thing is how we are going to determine whether our son is successful at school next quarter. This quarter he got 3 F’s and one D. So do we just want improvement, i.e., 2 F’s and 2 D’s, or do we want to set a higher goal. J wants me to sit down and have a talk with my husband about what we expect from our son and then we tell our son what the plan is.

He tried to suggest certain times that might be good for me to talk to my husband, I thought that was a bit micromanagement-style, I mean, I think I can determine when it’s a good time. J suggested a good time would be on our four hour flight this Friday, but since I’ll hopefully be in a xanax induced stupor since I’m a fearful flyer I didn’t think that would work. Then he suggested there might be time while we’re relaxing on the beach; but I just said “Look, I don’t want to deal with this while I’m on vacation.” He said, well maybe you can talk to him while you’re home over the next couple of days, you’ll be packing, etc etc. OK, OK, I said I’ll talk to him, I’ll figure out a time.

So I think we wasted some time in minutiae details that I can handle on my own, but whatever. I also mentioned that I thought that we needed a plan in case my son had to come home in March. J didn’t understand what I was talking about. I explained that the 2nd quarter of school ends in March, and if he doesn’t do well he is coming home for good. I said, yes that is negative thinking and that is not good. I think before I even gave him a chance to say anything, I said “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be thinking negatively. Never mind.” I kept saying “never mind”. I can’t help it, based on my son’s academic history for the past 8 years I can’t help but think that he might not succeed in this last chance that we are offering him. But it’s negative thinking, I prefer to think of it as realistic thinking.

I was severely criticized by my son’s therapist about a year ago when I expressed negativity about his ability to be successful in college. It hurt me pretty badly, and here I am doing it again, this time with my own therapist, and I get the feeling that he is judging me and it’s hurting me. That’s transference I guess. Once again, no one is validating my feeling, or exploring my feeling, just judging me. That’s probably another thing I should add to the list of subjects to talk about with J.

We also talked once again about how I feel responsible for ruining my son’s life, and J asked if theoretically I can believe that isn’t true. I said, no, theoretically, realistically, rationally, whatever, I truly believe that I ruined his life. There is no doubt in my mind. Yes, it is up to my son to do his work, whether he likes the class or the professor, or whether he doesn’t. But the motivation isn’t there, and that is due to mistakes that I have made over the last 18 years. J said an interesting thing – that my husband’s attitude towards my son is “Do your work”, and my attitude is more empathetic. I said I agreed with my husband that my son needs to do his work, and J acknowledged that, but said that I have a more empathetic view of my son’s problems.

After the session I felt gross. Why is that? I felt like I had spent the last 45 minutes stark naked running around the therapist’s office. Which is ridiculous, I was fully dressed and sitting on the couch the whole time. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had 45 minutes to kill, I went to the bookstore and wandered around aimlessly, then I drove around for a while. I just felt awful. I guess it’s exposing myself emotionally, it feels like taking my clothes off in front of strangers. Ick ick ick.

In the afternoon my mother called to chat. She asked when we were leaving on our trip and I said Friday. She said, “Have you been checking the weather and watching the news? Oh this is a terrible time to fly. People are getting stranded at airports everywhere, there is so much bad weather and so many storms and you have to be careful.” I reminded her that I am a fearful flyer and that I don’t check and I use coping strategies so that I can remain calm prior to flying. “Oh yeah,” she said, as though she just remembered, “I shouldn’t be talking about this.” I was so pissed at her. What the hell was she thinking? I work so f**king hard at being able to fly and this is what she tells me? I’ve been in f**king therapy for 8 years so that I can go on vacations with my family!! I was so pissed, did I mention that? I said, “I have to go now, I’m busy. I’ll talk to you later.”

When my husband got home I told him what my mother said, and of course he didn’t give me the response that I wanted. Is it right to want a certain response from someone when you tell them something. Probably not. He was going on and on about how what is the point of checking weather and crowds, especially around Christmas time and winter, etc. What I wanted him to say was “She was wrong to say those things to you, you work hard at being able to fly, I’m very proud of you for your accomplishments, don’t listen to her, tell her to f**k herself, etc.” I kept saying “I know there is no point in checking which is why I don’t check, that isn’t why I’m telling you this story.” But he kept repeating himself, and he never said what I wanted him to say, and my daughter was sitting there and I could tell she knew what I was talking about, that I was saying my mother was being a thoughtless bitch and that’s what I wanted my husband to say, and he wasn’t saying it.

Then last night I drank too much – I had three drinks with no dinner of course. I was watching “Good Will Hunting” and I was crying during most of it. Sobbing I should say. I also decided that I didn’t need klonopin before bed anymore – just quit cold turkey! Dumb!!! I woke up at 3:15am with a panic attack, I haven’t had a panic attack in months. I also felt like I was getting a migraine. So I got up, took half a klonopin (yeah, I don’t even deserve a whole one I’m such a loser), and tried to breathe myself back to calm. The klonopin worked luckily and I did go back to sleep, but when I woke up this morning my eyes were swollen, my migraine was in full force and I felt nauseous. I drank coffee, took an imitrex, hot shower, and managed to get myself out of the house.

OK, I’ve been rambling on way too long here. Anyone reading this – I certainly don’t expect you to read the whole thing. It just feels good to get it all out here, it’s very cathartic. I’m writing this for myself, to clear my head, to get things out that I could never say to anyone in person. If no one ever reads this it’s perfectly fine. I never realized how good writing this all out would feel, and I even have more to say – but my fingers are getting sore.

So – have a Merry Christmas to everyone and I’ll write tomorrow about how my conversation with my husband went tonight about our plan for our son.

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What A Crazy Weekend

December 22, 2008 at 5:30 pm (anxiety, medication, therapy)

Worked Friday, did errands after work – I had to buy wrapping materials for gifts, and ingredients for all of the things I needed to cook. For my sister’s holiday party I made cookies, pecan pie and cheesecake. Her party was Saturday afternoon. Then we went out for dinner with friends on Saturday night. Lots of eating happening on Saturday. Then my daughter and I had a party to go to on Sunday evening, and for that one I made Asian Cabbage salad and Chocolate/Whipped Cream/Heath Bar trifle. Plus we needed to bring a little gift for a gift exchange, so I made some decorated cookies and wrapped them up and put them in a pretty basket. Here’s what they looked like:

cookies

And here is the trifle:

trifle

Basically it took me all day Sunday to do the cookies, trifle and salad. The party was kind of weird, there weren’t that many people there and I had a few too many glasses of wine and I think I got a little loud, although everyone was laughing. Not sure if they were laughing with me or at me, but what the hell, it’s the holiday season, right?

So I’ve been off the wellbutrin for 5 days now and I don’t really feel any different. I still have the irritability, which kicks in around 2 or 3PM every day, and most of it is directed towards my daughter. Not coincidentally I guess, she gets home at about 2:30PM. I am just so frustrated with her leaving her messes all over the place, I’ve almost fell at least three times over her shoes, coats and bags in the garage, and then she leaves half eaten and half drank food and drink all around and the dog gets into it, and she doesn’t throw her used tissues away, they are just scattered around her chairs – ICK!! I’m feeling overwhelmed by this mess of a house and it is making me very irritable. Dare I say angry?

Maybe being on the anti-depressant made me less sensitive to these things. But there really does have to be a limit to how much of a mess one member of a family is allowed to make. It’s just so disrespectful to everyone else.

And then there is my son, and his college issues, and my husband is not getting along with him right now either, so he is irritable, which is making me more irritable.

Tomorrow is therapy. I didn’t do my homework. It’s not that I didn’t think about it – I was supposed to notice when I got urges like driving off of bridges, etc, and write down what might be causing these urges. First of all I had a lot more on my mind this week, and I was very busy. And those really aren’t excuses, I swear. But secondly, I really really believe that there isn’t anything causing these urges, I think I just have a mental illness that makes me have bad thoughts. Or “irrational mental impulses”. I don’t know, I just don’t know.

Most of the time my therapist doesn’t even remember assigning homework, so I’m not too worried about it. I would prefer to talk about my feelings of guilt and self beratement that I am having about not calling the family therapist that my friend recommended. I think that is an area that would be beneficial to be explored, and hey, I’m the patient so I’m in charge, right?

I’m actually not as anxious tonight as I usually am the night before my appointments. I’m wondering if that is because I’m not on the wellbutrin anymore, although I don’t know if the effects would be apparent only 5 days after totally stopping. Wellbutrin can be activating, and maybe it was making me more anxious. Or maybe I’m just getting less anxious about therapy in general, finally after how many months? I worked out on the treadmill this morning and I’m going to yoga tonight, so maybe all of the exercise will help too. And feeling like I have something to talk to him about is reassuring as well. We’ll see how it goes, it never seems to go like I imagine it will!

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