Saying goodbye to a decade…

Kathleen and Kait 2009It was 2009. I had a 14 year old and a 12 year old. Both seemed so old then and so young in retrospect. That New Year’s we went to my parents’ house for a family celebration that including a bonfire and cousins running everywhere.

 

Maybe it’s just me but I find that how things are now feel like forever, as if nothing’s going to change. And yet it does. Sometimes glacially slow and sometimes in the blink of an eye. Colin and I moved into what was my dream apartment (complete with pool) and he finished high school after many years of turmoil, mostly involving pronouns, his stims, and his love of math. Kait started dating her boyfriend and eventually had a baby with him. Kittens were adopted and adult cats grew older. The kittens did too but they’re still young. The adults are getting elderly.

I went to a friends’ apartment today and we were talking about the next decade and how old we’d be when 2030 rolled around. Sixty seems so far away but it’s coming closer in increments. Most of our time was spent chatting about happier things, stuffing our faces with food, and singing karaoke but sixty tugged at my brain. I’ve never pictured anything past 2020 so sixty is a novel concept and a not entirely welcome one. I can barely wrap myself around turning fifty.

I mentioned a few of my goals in an earlier post. Things like exercise three times a week and try to make friends. I want to get back into writing. I miss writing. I miss having a brain with an attention span too. I will definitely have to write in shorter chunks. And I need to make at least one friend. I don’t know how. I’m good at chatting with strangers but don’t know how to bridge the gap between chatty neighbour and friend. And I want to get back into cooking. Colin keeps putting stuff on the kitchen counter, which makes it difficult to prepare food. He has a lot of stuff, none of which belong there.

It is going to be so odd moving into an apartment just for me. I have never, in almost 50 years, lived totally on my own. Will I still be there on New Year’s Eve 2029? Who will be with me? Oh my goodness, my tiny toddling grandson is going to be in late elementary school! Our lives are going to change so much.

I’ve already had my New Year’s Eve celebration so I’m going to curl up in my swing chair and read a Patricia Briggs novel. Happy New Year to you all and I wish you all the best in 2020!

Kathleen, Allison, and Sean

Myself, Allison, and Sean about to sing karaoke

Pas de deux…

These days I’m caught up in a dance I don’t want and don’t like. Both dance partners, anxiety and agoraphobia, hold me tight in their arms, making me feel like I’m being torn in two.

Last night I put on quiet music and turned the volume down until it was just background noise. I got my chamomile, rose, and white tea pillow spray and misted my pillow. The bathroom nightlight was on, which meant my room was dark but not too dark, and I read a chapter of a previously read book while ensconced in my swing chair.

The kittens were snuggled at the foot of my bed and stayed there while I made myself comfortable.  Then I closed my eyes and panic hit. It clenched my heart and sent my thoughts into an unreadable whirlwind. It was horrible and terrifying and I just wanted to die so it would stop. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even cry.

I knew what I needed to do. I started with my breathing. This was remarkably similar to taking a toddler’s plastic bucket and scooping the water back to stop the tide. Then I grabbed my bottle of Ativan and took one tablet. The time it took between making that decision and getting the pill was probably only a matter of minutes. It felt like hours. The Ativan makes such a huge difference but it’s addictive so I try to keep from using it as much as possible.

I wonder sometimes if people think I’m faking because I manage to get out and do things but, at the same time, have my meds set for delivery (for example). They don’t realize that some days I can go out to a couple of nearby stores and other days I can’t go out at all. Plus, if I know I have to go out to the drug store every week to pick up my meds, I’m more likely to be anxious about it and unable to go out at all. And just because I can make it through a handful of stores doesn’t mean I’m fine. I’m just as likely to go home and make a beeline for my swing chair, unable to do anything else that night. Cereal for dinner and a 7:30pm bedtime. Even the cereal is a struggle.

I went out to Marshalls today and Superstore. I managed the buses and crowds and even made small talk with the cashiers. And I remembered almost everything I needed (except for the green onions). I’ve also eaten nothing but Kettle Brand Dill Pickle Chips and Bixby & Co Crunchy Peanut Butter and Maine Sea Salt Bites today. A chickpea salad with canned chickpeas and cherry tomatoes for lunch was too much. Dinner’s set to be microwave in a bag curry and rice. I’ve used all my energy today. It’s not just managing all the minutiae, it’s managing it all while controlling anxiety and agoraphobia. Meanwhile depression is still kicking around but anxiety’s been stomping it into the ground. It mostly manifests itself as inertia.

I need to get off the computer.

Fifteen minutes later…

I really need to get off this computer.

I believe this is called executive dysfunction and it shows up in my meal prep and, well, everything. Have you ever needed to use the toilet and had to give yourself a pep talk to go?

I’m simultaneously looking forward to my move and outright terrified. Right now, even on my worst days, I can say, “You’re going to Metro for milk. Can you pick me up a bag of English muffins too?” I’ll be alone when I move. Organizing my groceries around meal planning is great if I knew that I could make curry for dinner on Tuesday. That would be a definite maybe. So I wing it and sometimes even winging it is too hard. So I eat Froot Loops or potato chips and hope that tomorrow will be better.

It’s 4pm this afternoon and I’ve only got 4 thousand steps today. Maybe I’ll go downstairs to the gym after dinner. I’m hoping that extra walking will help keep me from another night like last night. Who knows?

Googles exercise and sleep quality

Apparently John Hopkins University knows and a half hour of exercise can be beneficial. So I’ll be on the treadmill tonight hoping to stave of an anxiety attack like last night. I see my psychiatrist on January 20th and hopefully he’ll have more advice for me too. Until then I’ll be doing whatever I can to keep myself calm and in control of my surroundings.

Five years ago…

Five years ago a lovely young woman walked in front of a truck. She felt hopeless… without a future or an accepting family. Her name was Leelah Alcorn, something her family couldn’t accept even after death.

Don’t just love your children, accept them for who they are. It can be one hell of a ride but they’re taking that ride regardless of whether you’re with them or not and it’ll be easier on them if you’re with them.

Leelah will never have her chance but there are countless Leelah’s out there if you listen. Please support the kids (and the adults for that matter). Let them know you stand with them. Give them a chance to live. Leelah asked for this world to be fixed. Support will go a long way. And if you want to read my original post from 2014 you can find it here.

10885427_743472979077752_2790907920139759555_n

Coda…

There’s one short week between Christmas and the New Year. It should be a celebration. A goodbye to the old year and a welcome to the new. Instead it’s filled with the minutiae of our lives. When was that dentist appointment? Did I take the tofu out to thaw? It’s less a poignant goodbye and more, oops, someone stepped on the bagpipes.

!BLAT!

When you get right down to it, even New Year’s isn’t very relevant for us. It was chosen because January was named after the Roman God Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and one looking behind. But you’d be hard pressed to find someone worshipping Janus these days. I have to admit, the whole concept of a totally clean slate and our best future is appealing. We get to say goodbye to what’s hurt us this past year and look forward to better things.

I’m looking at 2020 with a mixture of anticipation and dread. I’m looking forward to moving. I have bought so many cute little things; items that will make me feel happy when I see them. And I’m going to have a new apartment that’s just for me. No one’s ever lived there before, I’ll be the absolute first. I’m also panicking about the move. I’m still waiting for my move in date, sometime this February. And I’m used to having so many things close to me. Three grocery stores, three drug stores, a Giant Tiger, and a Dollarama. I’ll have most of that… if I walk a half hour from my new place. That’s pleasant in the summer and hellish in the winter.

I mentioned some concerns to my psychiatrist and he commented that with my level of severe anxiety, it is common to have agoraphobia. I’m not sure how I’ll manage walking thirty minutes from home to face crowds on my worst days. There’s options like door dash and grocery delivery but I don’t want to rely on them too much to the point of avoiding everything and everyone. That’s not healthy and only makes agoraphobia worse.

This is the year I turn fifty. I don’t feel half a century old, despite having a grandchild. I’m planning on celebrating it at Ste. Anne’s Spa with my Mom and sister. It’s going to be so peaceful.

I do have several goals in mind for 2020. I’m going to sign up for Planet Fitness and I want to get there three nights a week. They have massage chairs which will provide incentive for me. The spa has massage chairs and I fell in love with them. I want to make sure I walk to the grocery store once a week, saving grocery delivery for the absolutely abysmal days, like -40C before the windchill. The easiest one of all, don’t check out the troll site. It’s been over a month since I’ve last been there. It’s hard when I’m depressed to stop myself and a lot easier when I’m feeling good about myself. But they’re not writing about me. They’ve made an almost unrecognizable caricature of myself then act if they know the truth. I spent my childhood being badly bullied, I don’t need to seek out bullies in my adult years. They’re not worth my time. Instead I’m going to focus on making IRL friends. I don’t know exactly how yet but I’ll do it, even if I have to set out snares.

Now to count the days down to when the calendar changes. I wish the best to everyone in the coming decade!

New Year wish2

Merry Christmas!!!

Our stockings are unstuffed and our presents opened. Poor Colin’s coughing up a lung and has a fever, I hope he doesn’t have bronchitis. He’s staying home and resting today while I go visit family at my sister’s place. Despite Colin not feeling well, Christmas has been good this year. My parents got me the cutest rhino sheet set and I’m looking forward to spending time with family.

This is the last Christmas song until next December and I think then I’ll try a more manageable 12 days instead of a month of song. And I’d like to say it looked like Christmas out but we’ve got bare ground and sere grass. It feels like Christmas though, and that’ll be good enough.

Our last song this year is White Christmas as sung by Bing Crosby. Enjoy and have a wonderful day!!!

Tomorrow’s Christmas!!!

And you know what that means? It’s Blackie Boo’s 13th birthday!!!! Okay, that might not be what you were thinking about. I can’t believe I have another teenager cat (Angel turns 14 years old in February).

She’s currently drinking a small bowl of milk. Bad for her I know but Colin introduced it and both her and Oreo beg for it now. And she’s been a real suck all day… which lead to me cradling her in my arms while singing Happy Birthday.

blackie-using-lara-as-a-pillow

Blackie using Lara as a pillow

I’ve shared so many Christmas carols that it’s getting hard to think of ones I haven’t shared. Luckily there’s lists of songs to Google and I found a song sung by Pentatonix. I hope you enjoy it as much as Blackie’s enjoying her milk.

One more day until Christmas…

I’m in a nostalgic mood today. Something’s off with Blackie. I don’t know what. She’s eating, drinking, and using the litter box. It’s something I can’t put my finger on. She turns 13 years old tomorrow so she’s definitely a senior kitten. And then there’s Angel, my most senior kitten who turns 14 years old in February. She growls at the other cats and has arthritis in her hips. But pain medication doesn’t work on cats, or so my vet told me. She’s happy as could be once she’s snuggled up someplace soft but her back legs are noticeably weaker.

So when I went to look for a song this morning, I decided to pick one that I loved decades ago when I was pregnant with Kait. Back then my favourite CDs were Solitudes. I loved how he wove nature sounds into his music. I didn’t have any problems finding Solitudes music on YouTube. My problem was finding a single song. So I present to you the entire CD of Christmas Wonder. Listen to as much or as little as you want… and enjoy!