Tag Archive | Depression

Bittersweet Life Events

Lots of things have taken place of late (since March).  All have been quite emotional and has taken me on quite the journey of soul-searching and learning.

Without notice, my employer laid several people off – and I was included in that group.  My supervisor called me while I was on vacation to break the news to me.  The layoffs were effective immediately.

I found myself having to work through quite a few emotions during that time.  I’ve been laid-off before…but this one hit me a little differently.  If you have read previous posts – you know that I’ve struggled to get back on my feet after the divorce.  I literally had nothing financially – I was living paycheck to paycheck.  The day that I got the call was also a payday.  And that was the day I had been working towards – I FINALLY got out of that dreadful financial hole and was looking forward to breathing a little easier – until I got the phone call, that is.

So, needless to say, it took the wind out of my sail – as the saying goes.  I was devastated.  I found myself starting to worry about what I was going to do.  I was also a tad bitter.  You see, I was the ONLY person in my entire department who was cross-trained in all other positions.  Therefore, it didn’t make sense that I was one of them to go.  I learned later that the decisions were strictly on a whim made by the owners who had no real clue as to who did what….rather they went with the good old ‘seniority’ excuse. Hmph!  I also have some other emotions tied up in this – but I choose not to dwell on them and therefore, I won’t bother with them here.

For the most part – I only allowed myself to ‘grieve’ my loss for 3 days.  No more.  No wallowing allowed.  I immediately started the process for filing for unemployment (which I have never done before) and job searching.  

I was given a small severance package of 4 weeks’ pay when I was laid off.  So – God took me on a journey of trust and faith.  Not knowing how long I might be unemployed – I didn’t want to take a chance of losing my home.  So I took the severance and was able to completely pay off my mortgage (no, the pay wasn’t that huge….I was just that close to being finished with the note).  That left just enough to get me through about a month if I was careful.

During this time, I completely kept my eyes on my Savior and trusted Him fully to take care of me and my son.  It was actually a very pleasant and healing time for me.  My health improved.  I relaxed for the first time in ages.  It was wonderful!

It all came to a close WAY to quickly for me!  But exactly to the day that I ran out of money (unemployment had not kicked in yet) – I started a new job – though the pay was considerably less than I was making in my previous job.  This is as I suspected – I was going to have to accept a lower paying job because they just aren’t paying around here anymore.  But  I’m so grateful that it all worked out.  I thank God for always taking good care of me/us!

I must admit though – I find myself feeling a little down from time to time.  Some people will not understand this next part – but it is how I feel. You see, I have always thought that I would marry and have a husband who took care of me and our family.  Again as you know if you have read other posts here – that has not worked out for me.  That still saddens me.  Don’t get me wrong – I am not a gold digger or anything.  But I sure didn’t think that I would be in the position that I am now, at my age, in having to take a job because of money and the need to make ends meet rather than because I love it.  And honestly…..I’m tired of being the one to carry that burden.  

Another emotional roller coaster I’ve been on lately – is the care of my son this summer.  I’ve always had him in an excellent childcare facility during the summer.  My daughter went there when she was young as well.  However, with all of the above-mentioned issues – I simply am not in a position to pay for the childcare this year.  My ex-husband is the type of person to cut costs no matter what – so I could not count on him to take up the slack.  He did however agree to keep our son this summer.  You see, he now owns his own computer repair business.

Under normal circumstances – this would be a perfect solution.  But – in reality what that means is that my dear 8 year old son will be sitting in front of a computer monitor day in and day out for 9+ hours each playing some pretty graphic military computer games (that I do not approve of).  There is no talking to the ex about this – been there, done that.  He won’t listen nor cooperate.

In addition to that, my daughter and her husband have made the decision to move out of town.  Initially, I was excited for them – believing that they have so many more opportunities there than here.  As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for my father living here – and my not wanting to leave him alone – I would probably live down that way too.

But now, with one week left to go before the big move, I am finding myself feeling lonely and sad already.  Yes, I know, I know….it’s to be expected.  As a matter of fact, I did the same thing when I was her age – except I moved out of state.  I remember my dad calling me once to ask me to call more often because my mom was down in the dumps all of the time.  I did.  And I made it about 5 years before I came back to Texas…to home.

And finally….though I do not ever want to complain about what God has provided….I find myself feeling down about my new job.  It seems that a majority of the people there are unhappy employees.  I have worked in that type of atmosphere before and don’t care to do it again.  It is too emotionally draining.  I keep telling myself that it is simply people struggling to adjust to growing pains of the company and to change.  But the longer I’m there….the harder it gets to keep saying that.  So I pray that God will lead me….that He will guide me in the direction I should go.

On a positive note though:

One:  It’s Memorial Day weekend!  Woohoo!  May God bless all of our military – those who protect us now and those who have protected us in the past.  Thank God for all who have served and died.

Two:  It has been raining for 3 days now!  We have been in drought conditions for a few years now – so this has been a great blessing!  They say we would need 18+ inches within the next 6 months to pull us out of the drought – which is doubtful……but hey, at least it’s a start!

Take care….see you next time!

Life Experiences: Fibromyalgia & Fibro Fog

Many people have never heard of Fibromyalgia.  Some have heard of it but have no idea of what it is.  Some people know that it means you have chronic pain – but that is all they know.  Some don’t believe it even exists….

I remember the day my doctor finally said that he believed I have it.  Leading up to that day, I was in his office on multiple occasions with tears in my eyes telling him I was so very tired of hurting all of the time.  We tried many things.  Finally on that day, he said he hated to put this diagnosis on me because it would be like putting a label on me.  He said that many doctors still do not believe it is a ‘real’ disease/condition and therefore tend to ‘ignore’ your complaints.

However, I was somewhat relieved in simply having an answer to my problems.  It was a relief to have a name to put with the condition rather than believing I was going nuts – LOL!

My doc knows me well though – and as he predicted – I was not ready to throw in the towel and start taking prescribed meds for it.  I wanted to see what else I could do.  I was already on an anti-depressant and it wasn’t doing much.  The thought was that if one was depressed, it could bring on pain – OR that the pain was bringing on depression (chicken or the egg situation).

So he recommended several things such as massage therapy, exercise, etc.

I tried them.  Massage therapy caused more pain.  It created newer areas of pain.  Exercising seems to make me hurt more.  Not the kind of muscle pain – like a good exercise would do…..this was down deep-in-my-bones kind of pain.  I researched online to find what others were doing – and I tried various things.

Ultimately, the best solution for me is taking Luminex that I purchase through a company called Melaleuca.  It is a St. John’s Wort & Griffonia Seed Extract combo.  I’ve tried over-the-counter St. John’s Wort – and it has not worked for me, but I read that it has helped many. When I take Luminex I find that not only does much of the pain subside – but I also have clarity of mind.  Which is HUGE!

You see, when you have Fibromyalgia, you also get Fibro Fog – which is a term used for describing forgetfulness, memory loss or the lack of mental clarity with this disease/condition.  I can best describe it as when you try to recall someone’s name and you say it is ‘on the tip of your tongue’.  It feels like I know this – but can’t get the thought or memory to come to full fruition. Or you find yourself having trouble concentrating and are very forgetful. It is very, very frustrating. 

It took a while for my family to realize that I really didn’t remember things.  They would be so aggravated because ‘we already discussed it’ or ‘I already told you – don’t you remember?’.  We finally got on the same track and they understood that no, I did not remember and they were going to have to get used to reminding me.  And I’ve learned to set reminders on my calendar or set alarms on my phone for even the smallest things.

I’ve also learned my limits.  I know exactly how much energy and how many days I can go before I start suffering from major pain now.  For instance, I know that if I am out doing things after 8 hours of work – I better call it a night early to compensate for that or by the end of the week – I can barely make it through the day without being in loads of pain.  So I space my activities out to allow for more resting than normal.  I plan ahead for activities on the weekends too – I have to allow plenty of down time afterwards or I will be missing work the following week.

I have also discovered that stress is a major factor.  Once I made it through my divorce and I changed jobs – because I had been in a very high-stress position for several years – many of my symptoms went into remission.  But let something stressful pop up and I instantly feel it in my back.  My back and neck will knot up and within a day or two it will feel like it is on fire in one or two concentrated areas.  And, if left long enough without my attempting to do something to relieve it – I find that the pain often travels to different areas.

And just in case it helps someone else – I also found that when something just won’t stop hurting – such as a specific spot on my back or leg – I can take a Loofah-type back scrubber and lightly scrub the area of pain and surrounding area as well.  It is like it stimulates all of the nerve endings and therefore the area that was causing so much trouble kind of relaxes. 

So how did it all start for me?  I thought I had pulled some muscles in my back when in labor with my son because they did a double dose of epidural on me and when it came time to push – I couldn’t really feel if I was pushing or not.  So I was doing my best without feeling….and figured I over-did it because I made myself throw up in the middle of all that trying.  

Even weeks afterwards, it got to the point where it felt like my entire back was one giant muscle spasm – constantly.  To top it off, the slightest touch hurt like I was bruised.  It actually took 3 years for the muscle spasm feeling to subside.  But the bruised feeling remained.

These days I often say my ‘everything hurts’ – because most of me does hurt.  There is never a day or a moment where there is nothing hurting.  For me it is mainly my skin, muscles and joints.  If something scratches my skin – even if the skin is not broken and there is nothing visible to the eye – that spot will hurt for a day or two just as if it were an open wound.  I have an overall pain that is constant – and then there are more concentrated pains such as the burning in the muscles of my back and shoulders or random shots of pain that can be anywhere.  Sometimes I will get an electric shot of pain in the palm of my right hand for instance, and then it will quickly shoot up to my elbow and then over to my left arm or something weird like that.

Many times I can’t sleep because my entire body hurts.  There is no good way to sleep when your skin hurts – and all of that constant pain and lack of good sleep tends to make the mind weary.  I suppose that is where the Fibro Fog comes from.  My retention for things is gone.  And that is tough as I have always been a sharp-minded person.

I could go on and on – but you get the picture.  I recently told my dad that I really believe my mom (who passed away in ’08) had Fibromyalgia – but it didn’t have a name way-back-when.  My heart hurts for her in all of the pain that she was in and no one could comprehend or understand.  I remember her crying because she hurt – and nothing seemed to help.  And let’s face it – it is difficult to have sympathy for someone when you can’t see what their problem is in a physical sense.

So for those of you who have it – I’m so sorry.  And I understand completely – even if your symptoms are different than mine.  I get it. 

For those of you who do not have it – please tune in and try to have compassion for others who are suffering from this or other conditions that are not visible to the eye.  It doesn’t mean it is not real.  It doesn’t mean that we are complaining for no good reason.  We don’t need you to have the solution – trust me, we’ve been there, done that with all of our doctors and tests – but just know that we may be a little slower or need to rest a little more often in order to maintain a decent life.  Know that we want to be included – even if we can’t participate – we appreciate being remembered – at least invited.  And if we can’t make it at all – we still want to hear about it afterwards – don’t shut us out completely.  Don’t leave us lonely.  It may seem like we just want to lay around and be lazy….but that is not the case – trust me.  We just need to plan ahead even for the smallest things and we need to be able to cut out early if need be.

Thanks – and have a wonderful week!

It Has Been One of THOSE Days!

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We all have days that make you wonder if you shouldn’t go back home and start over……or go back to bed.  It seems like we had one like that today at work.

Monday.  Walk in and find that two offices have been flooded due to who-knows-what….some leaking pipes or something.  It ruined a few things in the payroll office.  There were guys here cleaning up the mess, setting up fans and looking to repair the mess.  Instantly, when you walk near the place, you smell the mildew/moisture – which is not a good thing for some of us (me included) who have allergies to such ‘aromas’.  Top that with the cleaning products that permeated the air – which triggered more problems for some very highly sensitive folks in the office.  All of that made for some pretty miserable people.

Add to that – our phone system was down.  Tech guys didn’t know why. They rigged up a phone that allowed the external calls to continue coming in – but they couldn’t be transferred or place on hold, etc.  Therefore the receptionists had to take messages and/or ask the caller to call the employee’s cell phone (company phones, not personal).  Can you spell S-T-R-E-S-S?

And finally – a dear, beloved man that our company has worked closely with for many, many years passed away this weekend.  His funeral was today.  Several folks are greatly saddened by this.

I must say though – everyone handled the chaotic morning better than some places I’ve worked before.  Everyone simply got to work doing what was necessary.  And ultimately it smoothed out by the end of the day – for the most part. 

Yes, it has been one of those days, for sure.

Then there is my friend.  She and I email back and forth to check in on each other from time to time.  She is ‘stressed’ she says.  I say she is depressed.  Either way, she doesn’t sound good.  I worry – no, I am concerned about her – because she tends to take on unnecessary burdens.  She is a people-pleaser and therefore she takes on too many things trying to ‘help’ others at the expense of her own well-being.  She means well.  She is a good person.  But she needs to stop doing that.

Most of our conversations consist of her looking to escape by moving somewhere else.  I’ve known her for over 20 years and she has always wanted to leave town.  She did once…for a while and then she came back.  But she still dreams of leaving.  I personally think she is looking for things to be ‘better’ in another place rather than facing what the real problem is in her life.  Do I know what her ‘problem’ is?  No.  That’s not my expertise – but it seems to me that she is looking to fill a huge void in her life with material things rather than with what she really needs.

I believe she has a lot of self-esteem issues.  I believe she needs a closer relationship with God – let Him fill that void.  But she’s not there yet.  She ‘searches’ by visiting different churches every week – but can’t seem to land anywhere. And she believes she is ‘good’ in this area – and honestly, who am I to judge?

I care deeply for her – and I’m concerned greatly.  I pray for her.  I don’t ‘worry’ because that is not of God – and I know that He knows better than I what she needs and what she needs to learn on her journey.  She and I have little in common – we don’t even know why or how we became friends actually.  We are both single moms – but her kids are grown.  I have one grown and one 7-year-old. So we don’t really hang out or do anything together.  We communicate by email and sometimes by phone and that’s it.

Since we don’t hang like best friends normally do – I choose my words carefully with her so as not to sound like I’m preaching.  After all, I’m on my own journey (hence the name of my blog).  But I do try my best to be encouraging and uplifting when I can.  But here’s the kicker…

I have to be careful so as not to be taken down the negativity road myself.  What I mean is – have you ever been around people who want to dwell in the negative all of the time!?  If you have, you know how draining that can be.  You know how it can ‘rub off’ on you if you aren’t careful.  Since I come by negativity very naturally myself – it takes real effort to keep myself from going there.  So when I find myself banging up against that wall with her – I try to be encouraging, she shoots it down, I try another angle, she finds something wrong with it too…I simply have to step back, and remind myself of the Truth.  And remember that He is in control and that it is not up to me to do or fix her situation. 

If God chooses to use me to be a testimony or something – that’s awesome!  But that doesn’t mean that I am to ‘do’ anything – because that is ME controlling the situation again – or trying to at least.  See how I must self-talk all of the time because I find myself chasing my own tail!?  LOL – don’t worry, I’m not crazy yet. Just traveling along on my journey with my best friend – God!

But I do have a tremendous need for my vacation to hurry up already!!!!  I can hardly wait – mountains, fresh air, fresh water…..ahhhhh!  Can you see it, feel it, smell it!?!?  I have included pics I took on my last vacation with this post – this will give you an idea.

 

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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