Flashback Friday…

I was going through old videos today and found this one. It’s not fancy or artistic or preplanned. It was just a bit of afternoon fun. I’m so glad I recorded it to remind myself of what the kids were like when they were little. They grew so fast! Enjoy!

 

Saying goodbye to the old me…

It was Easter dinner last night and I had the menu all planned out. The previously frozen tofu was thawed and marinating in pickle brine. All I needed to do was peel and chop potatoes for fries then make the sauce for the broccoli before cutting the veggie into bite sized pieces. Oh and get the fries and broccoli into the oven to bake and dredge the tofu in a garlic powder and flour mixture and fry the tofu…

You get the picture. I’d hoped to make brownies too but I was struggling even with the thought of prepping the tofu. The veggies were overwhelming. So I ended up slicing up a tomato and an orange instead of prepping veggies. That way I wouldn’t end up curled up in the fetal position on the kitchen floor. Been there… done that… don’t want to do it again.

food prepI miss me. I miss the woman who could happily spend the day prepping meals then go on to read or write for a couple of hours. This picture’s from Facebook where I captioned it:

I spent all day cooking! I made apple sauce (apple, cherry, and nectarine sauce to be precise), chocolate pudding, fudgesicles, pizza dough, two different soups (lentil and broccoli-cauliflower), four loaves of banana bread, chocolate covered cherries, spaghetti sauce, almond cheese, and cashew cheese. Now it’s time for me to have a bubble bath, read a book, and relax before bed 

I struggle so much. I had to listen to two songs already just so I could be relaxed enough to write and I’m contemplating watching a third one. So many things I could handle with ease a couple of years ago, I can’t handle now. I get overwhelmed with shopping and will have to apologize to Colin because I just can’t handle one more store and the bus ride home too.

I used to curl up to read and finish (or almost finish) a novel. Now I’m lucky to get through a chapter. And I’m finding sleep getting harder and harder. My heart pounds… I feel short of breath. You’d think I was in a horror movie instead of my own safe bed. The past two days have found me listening to music in my swing chair in the wee hours of the morning, too anxious to sleep. It helps but it means I’m losing about two hours of sleep a night and I’m already needing an early afternoon nap so I can make it to evening.

I have brain fog. So much brain fog. People tell me things and I forget almost immediately, no matter how hard I try to remember them. I forget what I was saying as I’m speaking. I even forget what I’m thinking. I check my calendar multiple times a day, just in case I’m missing something. Sometimes I am and, luckily, I’ve found it before I was late. I signed up for free massages at Carea and completely and utterly forgot about them. Like I had no idea I’d even signed up, in writing, for one session let alone two. It was a pleasant surprise but still disconcerting. I am so thankful for reminder calls and texts.

The old me was lively and outgoing. She cheered people up and customers used to comment that her smile and friendly wave brightened their day. The old me carried around a notebook and wrote novel excerpts on the bus and quickly typed them out at home. The old me could hold a conversation that wasn’t online.

I’ve been autistic my whole life but the depression and anxiety ripped off my masks and I haven’t been able to find them again. I rock and sway regularly, listen to the same songs over and over (and over). Bounce in my swing chair to settle down. I have meltdowns when things aren’t going the way I thought and the world’s suddenly strange and different. Even though it really isn’t, it’s just my perception.

It’s weird to be mourning myself when I’m still here. But, in a way I’m not, there are so many differences between the old me and the new me, it’s like I’m a whole new person. I guess all I can really do is get to learn who the new me is and try to like her.

hair-band-1

 

Life, death and music…

CN: frank discussion of suicide

So I sit here in my nightie. I didn’t have anywhere to go today so I stayed in it. It’s cosy at least.

I just got myself dinner, feeding the cats first because they’re important. I was going to make french fries and gravy but I couldn’t handle peeling and chopping for that long. Even thought it would only be about five minutes. So I toasted myself an english muffin and made a mug of hot chocolate. I make them so often I can do it on autopilot.

I washed the dishes yesterday before dinner and I presume the dish fairy arrived shortly after. All the dishes look like mine but there’s way more there than there should be for a day. The thought of washing them is overwhelming.

Depression is like wading through tar. It clings to you and pulls you down further and further. Every single step is the hardest and every conversation is a struggle. How am I doing? Fine is too much of a lie. I usually settle for “okay”. It’s enough to slide by without sounding like everything’s all right. Because it’s not.

So I browse on Facebook, looking at the message box and wishing someone would message me. I am always the first one to message, which makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Everyone assures me there isn’t. Besides that, I have no idea what to say beyond hi.

I read an article in the Reader’s Digest a bit ago. The author had been suicidal and jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. As soon as he let go, he knew it was a mistake. But what could he do at that point? Thankfully he survived. One out of four who managed that feat. Out of thousands who didn’t. And you know what? Every one of the survivors knew it was a mistake as they let go. I refuse to believe they were the only ones and it breaks my heart to know the thousands more were lost. There’s no second chance when you’re plummeting.

I also read a surprisingly graphic news story about a teenage boy who jumped from a four storey balcony. The surgeons discovered shattered bones and shredded organs. They had to stitch him back up and let him die. There was no way to save him. They couldn’t stitch together fragments. I’d wanted to donate my organs and gave no thought to what condition they’d be in after a fall. I figured I’d be just me, still intact only dead.

I’d planned on jumping off our seventh floor balcony (eight if you consider the slope to the basement). The only thing that stopped me was my fear that it wouldn’t be high enough. That I’d disable myself enough not to be able to try again. Thankfully my sister saw my rambling note on Facebook and drove me to the hospital and she and my mother took turns sitting with me while waiting for my turn with the psychiatrist.

Any time I start feeling suicidal in the least, I think of that first article and the four survivors. Some mistakes you can’t come back from and that’s one of them. Jeez, I waffle over which ice cream to buy at the grocery store. Deciding whether to die is so much more dire and the consequences spread devastation over such a wide range. That’s not a decision I should be making. Someday I will die but it won’t be today.

So here I sit weighted down by depression. Soon I’ll move my bones and wander over to my swing chair, where I’ll proceed to rock and listen to music videos.

And hopefully this bout of depression won’t last too long.

List of world wide suicide prevention lines

Positive steps…

makes you happyFor the longest time my life was defined by being Katie and Colin’s Mom. Meals were picked with their palates in mind, activities planned around their interests. My free time was marked out by their bedtime; once the bath, stories, and lullabies were done… then I got to creep downstairs and do some activities of my own. At least before I got too tired to do them.

Then they got a bit older, Kait upgraded her name, and they had more freedom to explore, leaving me with a bit more freedom too. But even with that extra freedom my life revolved around their needs.

I’m going to be moving in a few more months and, for the first time since I was 25 years old, I am going to be on my own in my own empty nest. No one will be counting on me (other than the cats). I will be cooking for one and cleaning for one. And all my free time will be my own.

It’s a hard thing to wrap my brain around after almost a quarter century putting myself blog picturein second place. And it’s made doubly hard with depression and anxiety. But I am determined to do it. I’ve metaphorically dusted off my digital scrapbooking program and am making an album for our Dominican Republic vacation. Plus I’ve been taking time each night to sit in my swing chair and watch YouTube videos. I love music and this relaxes me before bed. And I see friends of mine several times a month to sing karaoke. The microphone is a cheapie that I picked up for twenty dollars but it works well enough for us. And singing with just the three of us gives us the confidence to branch out on songs we aren’t 100% sure of.

And even more changes will happen once I move. Their transit system stinks so I’ll be walking a lot more. Plus there’s going to be a Planet Fitness nearby which I’m determined to join (and attend). I’ve been told that there will be groups held in my new building, which means the potential of making friends with my neighbours. I’ve lived here for five years and I don’t think I’ve even seen some of my neighbours.

I used to write almost every day and regularly for several hours at a time (obviously while the kids were busy or asleep). I’ve got out of practise when it comes to writing and am hoping a quiet apartment with no distractions will help me get back into practice again.

I am looking so forward to letting the real me step outside. I’ll always be Kait and Colin’s Mom but from now on I’m going to be known mainly as Kathleen. And that feels good.

Falling through the cracks…

I got approved for my apartment back in January and figured it would be easy to get Colin an apartment before I moved. After all we had so much time.

The first spot we looked at was my own building since it’s being built as affordable housing. A market rent apartment there is $840/m which is doable. Sadly they updated the page and now electricity is not included. The local hydro company informed me it would be between $100 or $200 a month, which he cannot afford.

Then we moved our view to the co-op behind us. I’ve got friends there and the price was reasonable at $894/m. It even included all utilities and basic cable. We went to pick up an application and discovered the rent was just over $900/m now and going up more in June. Colin sadly informed me he just couldn’t afford that. He’d be left with just under $200/m to buy groceries and his bus pass. And there’s no way he could afford internet or a cellphone, which aren’t technically necessities but are needed to communicate.

He’s involved with four agencies now and got a chance at a room. It was $850/m and included meals. He agreed to take a look, hoping it would be as big as his room here because then he could keep all his computers. He’s got a computer for every Windows that has been produced since he was born. This kid is a born geek.

The room turned out to be in a nursing home and had two other beds in there with no privacy curtains. He would not have the room for any of his belongings, other than some clothes, and would be living in close quarters with two strangers. He turned it down and we all agreed it wasn’t a good fit.

I figure, with four agencies, he should find something soon. Which is good seeing as all I’ve found in his price range is a bachelor in a really crummy building, complete with free range roaches.

Huffington Post

I left a message with the building I’m moving into asking for an estimated completion date or tentative move in date but haven’t heard anything yet. I’m going to need to give two months notice here so the earliest I can move at this point is July 1st. I’m sure all of us who are moving there are in the same boat.

I can’t help but feeling like we’re falling through the cracks, especially Colin. I’ve found several amazing looking basement apartments for under $700/m but one agency he’s working with will not assist him (or anyone else) with basement apartments. They’re offering to pay his last month’s rent and putting $200 towards moving expenses so it’s not like we can just say, “Nah, they aren’t worth it.”

But tomorrow’s the start of a new work week and there’s two agencies now who are looking for supportive housing for him (on top of the other searches). With any luck they’ll find something amazing for him soon and we can start our packing and letting go… of our apartment… of belongings that just don’t fit… and of living with another person. Let’s just hope those cracks are small and Colin gets a place before he falls through.

No longer hidden…

It was the ’80’s, the heyday of Much Music, a Canadian music video station similar to MTV in the States. Now we could not only hear the songs  we liked but watch the imagination of the artists (or their staff) when it came to the videos. The only disappointment was it meant the end of the Solid Gold Dancers and our chances of getting on stage in what looked like a gold tinfoil leotard and dancing to the hits of the early ’80’s. I know my sisters and I weren’t the only ones who pondered this career option.

I liked watching and listening to the music but there was very little out there that I liked enough to remember both the artist and the songs. One of those artists was Cyndi Lauper. I loved that she didn’t care about what people thought of her and wore what she liked. And I loved her song True Colours. The only thing I disliked was the relationships added to her videos. Time after Time mentions nothing about a relationship yet it permeates the whole video. And in True Colours she literally pulls some guy out of the water to kiss him before moving on. Relationships and physical intimacy made me uncomfortable, even though I had no idea why and having her add both to her videos bothered me. It almost felt like a betrayal, something I’d never try to voice and couldn’t explain.

It was years later that she came out as a lesbian, which wasn’t a huge surprise, although I still wished she’d gone more neutral in her videos. Maybe she didn’t have the option. [it was years ago that a friend of mine told me Cyndi Lauper’s a lesbian and today that a friend told me it’s her sister who is one. Thanks C. Proofreading’s always a help]

It was years after this that I discovered Pentatonix through a Christmas video playing on Facebook. I loved their harmonies and voices and started searching out more songs. Eventually I bought enough of their songs that half my exercise album is their vocals. We even went to see them in 2015 with Kait and her boyfriend J.

Something that’s not hidden (like it was in the 1980’s) is both Mitch and Scott are gay. Even so, I figured they’d end up singing about girls because, hey, that’s what happens. My heart lifted when I saw this:

… and it still lifts each time I hear it. I’m so glad times have changed.

Googling my way through town…

It’s April now and I know no more about my apartment than I did a month ago, which is really anxiety inducing but nothing I can change. They simply don’t have the information. Although if they could stop saying things like, “I doubt it’ll be ready for May” when it’s already April, that would be a help. What I do have is Google Maps, which I used as well when we moved here.

Two months ago my Mom drove me around my new neighbourhood, which gave me a decent idea of the distances involved, although I won’t get any real idea until I’m walking around. For now I’m using Google Map’s satellite view to get a better idea.

It turns out there’s a vet clinic and a pizza place directly across the street from my new building. That is going to be so handy… and yummy. They have three different veggie pizzas and I should be able to get them just to keep the cheese off. Plus I just found a new vegan cheese and it’s so very good. It should be great sliced on top of pizza.

I might or might not have just gone to get Fauxmagerie zengarry double creme vegan cheese and a sleeve of garlic crackers from the kitchen.

There’s a Planet Fitness near the grocery store and a Japanese restaurant that sells tempura vegetables, avocado sushi, and tempura sweet potato sushi. You know, because there has to be a balance in life.

I also found a Thai restaurant in town. It looks like a bit of a hike but, after eating tom yum soup and golden curry, I’m sure the walk (or roll depending on how round my belly is) will be necessary.

And I found the couch I want to buy for my apartment at Structube. The miloh sofabed. It’s really a futon but, shhh, don’t tell that to Structube. I really like the blue and think it’ll look good with my mermaid sequin and blue butterfly pillows.

Now to wash the dishes and slowly wait for the move. Hopefully it’ll be as good, or better, than anticipated!