Monday, October 5, 2015

On Discovering New Intersections In Life

I'm finding myself at this weird intersection in life that I've never come across before. It's a mixture of emotions that is so hard to describe because I don't know that there is a way to describe it. For the last few months, I've basically dropped off of the face of the earth. That's mainly because I've been in this bizarre period of life where so much is up in the air. My normal reaction to stress and depression is to cower from from it...seclude myself. The thing is, when I go through depressive episodes, they normally only last a couple of months, max, and even during them, they're manageable with the self care techniques I've adapted over the years. And with stress, I've adapted to being able to thrive off of it for the most part. But this year has been different. Even before my dad's cancer diagnosis.

It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I am now, but finally I'm at this place where I'm seeing light again. A big part of that is my usual "feel good things." Fall has arrived! And even though the temps were back up in the 80s today, the humidity is gone and the air feels amazing and it's October. The fact that October exists will always make me giddy. I spent a good amount of time yesterday emailing two of my very best friends in the world, and the happiness that that filled me with is immeasurable. But why can't I keep that up? Maybe I will...who knows. But if history repeats itself, which it always does, I won't respond to emails on a daily basis. I won't blog every day. I won't magically start reading everyone's blog every day and commenting again. I won't start soaking in the tub and reading 100 pages of a book a night. I won't drink a cup of cinnamon spice tea every night. I won't stay up to date with Marvel Unlimited and all the series I have going. I won't go walking every day in the woods when I know how good it would feel. Why not? I don't have an answer for that yet.

The place I find myself right now is really fucked up when I look at it on paper, but it's a place that in a very twisted way, I'm happy with. It's the place that I've arrived at after a year or so of struggles, heartbreaks, depressive episodes, isolation and questioning everything. And it's not a really great place, but at the same time, it's uncharted territory and it's a place that feels like healing....even among sickness. Like I said before, it's an alien place, something I've never felt before.

My dad has cancer. His body is failing him and it's easy to see that looking at him. There's a good possibility that he might not make it through this and he has one HELL of a fight ahead of him, but he's ready for that fight and that makes my heart smile. This cancer is something that I would do nearly anything to make disappear. It is the ugliest, most horrible disease I have ever seen and it hurts to watch. Having said that, I'm closer to my dad right now than I have been in 34 years. I hate that it took cancer to force this change in our relationship, but I'm thankful for this opportunity that I don't know ever would've existed otherwise. I don't know that I ever would've had a close relationship with my dad under any other circumstance. I certainly never expected to.

I talk to my dad daily now. I take care of him because I want to. I find myself wanting to be with him as much as I can. We laugh and joke and talk about cooking and argue and hug each other and tell each other we love each other. I hurt for him and I'm honest with him and I'm my authentic self with him and we've both come to accept each other and appreciate each other unconditionally, faults and all. I never thought I would have that with my dad. NEVER. And it's a wonderfully amazing thing to have. And I hate that it could all disappear. But I'm choosing not to let that be an option in my thoughts right now.

This has flowed over into every aspect of my life. I find myself appreciating every single personal relationship that I have being so so so cherished. I look at each interaction that I have with each person in my life through a new lens and realize just how special and how delicate that is. How lucky I am to have that person in my life. And I'm realizing that it's not something that I should take for granted.

I've found a renewed passion in the work that I do as a counselor. For the past few years, I've hated my main job working at the psych hospital. Not because of the actual job I do, but because of the politics of the company itself. I don't know if it's just because of everything I've had on my plate or because I've made a (un?)conscious decision to stop letting all of the drama effect me, but I've switched my priorities back to the actual work itself and it's stopped feeling so much like work. I realized that for a few years now, I've really forgotten why I do what I do. When I do assessments with new patients, it's become just going through the motions for awhile now. But lately, I've been able to connect again with my patients. Truly give them that time and be with them fully and do a good assessment and hear them and why they need the help. Not just go through the corporate motions of what the company wants of "just get the info you need to get the insurance claim approved and get them in the hospital."

More than anything, when it comes to work, I've really come to cherish my private practice. I had three clients today and when I was finished with my last client, I actually found myself disappointed and almost craving another client. I had to sit back for a second and ask myself if this was a healthy thing or not. The answer to that question is probably really complicated :p But I don't think it's a bad thing. Once again, it's a renewed passion in truly being present with my clients...that human connection...and the huge payoff in seeing them improve week by week.

So how does this all become a new and weird intersection? Because when I look at my life and take a step back, it doesn't look healthy. And that confuses the hell out of me. I don't know if this is me reading too much into things, I don't know if I'm doing ok, I don't know if I'm failing miserably at life right now....for the first time in my life, I truly can't gauge how things are and that's the weird thing.

I see a lot of the basics in my life not getting done. Laundry doesn't get done until it absolutely needs to as does the rest of the cleaning. I haven't read a physical book in two months now. I've been needing to wash my car for ages now (this is a big deal because I HATE having a dirty car). My oil needs to be changed and that's way overdue (also a big deal because I'm normally pretty anal about having that done on time). I've been wanting to write letters to friends and email so many more people back and I've failed at that. My self care has gone out of the window basically. But I'm stepping into this place in my life at the same time where in a way, I'm starting to find a new kind of happiness that I haven't felt in a long time. And that confuses the fuck out of me. How can you be really excited an passionate about life and depressed and isolative all at the same time? Or do I just tell myself to stop worrying so much and let things come as they will?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm making things out to be more of a bigger deal than they are. If I'm being overly dramatic about my dad's cancer. If it's just my anxiety playing tricks on me. But then I see him again or he confides in me about how he's feeling and I know it's not good. I know I can't put my life on hold completely because of this, but I feel like I can't go on living life like he'll be around forever either. I hope he will be, but I know there's not a great chance of that.

I just finished reading the audiobook (guess "listened to" is the better word there :p) of Jenny Lawson's new book, Furiously Happy. It will most likely be the most memorable book of the year for me, if not one of the most memorable books of my lifetime. I listened to it at the most perfect time in my life that I think I could have. The title of the book comes from a time in Jenny's life when she was overcome with one of the darkest and deepest depressions of her life. She has major depressive disorder and an anxiety disorder among a few other disorders that she openly talks about. She has coping mechanisms that are often destructive and include self harming. But during this dark and deep depression that she was in, she decided that she was going to give a big FUCK YOU to depression and in the times that she was not stuck in the deep hole, she would be "furiously happy." She was angry at her depression. And that is what this book is about. Being furiously happy. I love that. Those two words together sum up so perfectly what I'm feeling right now if there's a way to describe it and I thank Jenny so much for writing this book. It meant the world to me. It describes depression and anxiety in a way that no one else ever has in my opinion and in a way that I don't think anyone else could if you haven't lived it yourself. And it's a type of clinical depression that I don't think I'd truly felt until this year.

I guess that for now, I'll continue to be my own version of furiously happy. I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing, but I know that it's working for me. In it's own fucked up way at least, it's working for me. Smiles are coming back. Passions are coming back. Now I need to find balance again. That's what I'm looking for....balance. I guess the nature of cancer isn't going to allow for me to have too much balance as long as my dad is fighting this and I'm ok with that. But somehow I DO need to find a way to start finding time for me again. I don't know what magic hat I'll pull that time from, but I'll find it somewhere. I do have a week off of work coming up after this week though and FUCK I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT SO MUCH!!!!!!

Finally, my apologies to anyone who actually read this :p I really should put a disclaimer at the top of this blog that states that this blog is my own little personal journal and all are welcome to read along, but that the posts are likely to be extremely long and extremely boring to anyone but myself :p This is likely, for awhile at least, to remain a place where I sort of sort out my brain and I usually do that by just writing writing writing until things start to make a little more sense. Ok....a little bit more sense has been made and that will do for tonight :)


  1. I so get where you are right now. I just wanted to say that. If I told you why, I would be sitting here writing all night. Just know that I get it. <3

    1. I don't know if you got the comment I emailed back to you....I never know if that works or not :p But thank you, my dear. Knowing that someone else gets this feeling means more than I can say. And at the same time, I'm sorry that you do know how it feels because it's a confusing place to be in. I'm always here if you need to talk!! <3 back :)

  2. I wish I knew how to help you make sense of your confusion. But maybe you don't need to make sense of it. Like you said, just accept what is. I think the long and short of it is that life doesn't have to make sense. And in fact, if truth be told, I'm not sure that it ever does. All of life is full of contradictions. I so often crave things to be black and white, because it's easier. But it's also less interesting.
    And balance. I've come to the conclusion that it's a huge fucking myth. Maybe there are people who can really achieve it, I don't know. But I'm trying to accept, and I have to continually remind myself when I find myself sliding back into that pit of hopelessness, that I need to quit chasing that elusive dream. Beating myself up over not having found some sort of balance in my life only ends up making me feel worse. Maybe you will find balance, Chris. But if you don't, that's okay. I think that maybe we have to trust our hearts more. Having this newfound incredible relationship with your dad vs. having a clean apartment and an oil change--there's really no contest, is there? And Sweetie, of course, it doesn't have to be either/or. And of course, I want you to again be able to find the time and the passion and enthusiasm for all the things you love. (I want that soooooo much!!!) But I'm so happy to hear that it sounds like you're okay with what is right now, while still having dreams for the future. Confusing as it may feel to you, to me it sounds pretty damn mature. I want to grow up and be like you.
    *hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs* *more hugs*

    1. I am so so so thankful for the amazing friends that I have in my life. And this is exactly why. Thank you for this comment, Debi. What you said about having a clean apartment and an oil change vs. a relationship with my dad really helped put things into perspective. Sometimes that's what it's about...perspective in the moment. And god help you if you want to grow up to be like me :p You have that completely backwards! It's you that I aspire to grow up to be like :) I always have since the day I met you! *hugs back*

  3. Dear Chris,
    A heartfelt journal entry! I get it, too, Chris. And I love all that Debi said. She's a wise one. From my perspective...The most important thing in your life right now is you and your Dad. Treasure every moment. There'll be plenty of time for laundry and oil changes and those other day-to-day things. Your focus is and should be entirely on your relationship with your Dad right now. There's nothing more important than that at this moment in time. Give him and yourself this time without questioning what else you "should" be doing. It brings great happiness to both of you right now, and will be a tremendous solace to you at a later (hopefully much later) time. Big hugs to you, Chris. You are such a beautiful person...and a very nice friend.

    1. Hey Robin!!! It's so so good to see you over here!!! Thank you so much for these words. I really am so happy that I decided to start blogging over here. I needed a place to start writing more personally and the advice that I've gotten from people like you in return is something that I never expected but is something I'm learning to cherish so much :) You're so so right. The time with my dad right now truly is something that I already know will bring me solace when I need it. Thank you for that advice! *hugs back*

  4. I wish I could write such inspiring things as Debi does.. but I can't. I am in aww of you though and always have been . I am thankful you are strong enough to deal with so much and yet see some light at the end of the tunnel. I love you for that. And for all the help you give to others. You and Debi both , amaze me.. I am so glad I found you!! Keep doing whatever you are doing... :)