So, What’s Next?

I am so sick of hearing people say, “Stay positive,” or “Have you tried x, y, or z?” No one understands the limitations of chronic pain unless they actually live it themselves. They think they’re being helpful with the positive outlook remarks and suggestions to cure my ailment. I know they mean well but they don’t understand. Those with chronic pain don’t want to be depressed. They don’t want to be sad. They don’t like staying home. When you’ve been trying to get help for over 10 years, you kind of lose hope and you lose yourself along the way too.

I’m nothing like the person I once was! I was a cross-country backpacker, worked with special ed kids, cleaned houses and started my own home Day Care for kids. I did volunteer work, worked as a Med Tech, started my own home business…and now I can’t do any of those things. I was a very independent young woman, with a great sense of humor. I was bubbly and always saw the humor in things. A great example is the time a co-worker and I were helping an elderly lady to the bathroom at the nursing home where we worked. We didn’t get her there in time and I ended up with “splatters of a yucky nature” all over my shoes. All I could do was laugh – not at the elderly lady – but at the situation. What else could I do? That’s just how I was. I had co-workers tell me they loved working with me because the day was enjoyable and went by faster. Don’t get me wrong; I still laugh a lot! I still try to find humor in my life daily, but that doesn’t mean I’m ok with being ‘stuck’ in this rut….and STUCK I am!

This chapter of my life is a most difficult one. I try to stay positive and focus on the things that I can do instead of the things that I can’t but do you know how difficult that really is? There is so much I can’t do! 

So, how do I create Deb 2.0? How can I reinvent myself when there’s so much I can’t do? My physical abilities limit the things I can do to actually change my life, myself. My bestie says that reinventing myself implies there’s something wrong with me in the first place. She’s right. There IS something wrong with me. I’m disabled. How does a disabled person change his/her life?

I would love to change my physical health but alas, that won’t happen until doctors decide they will help. I like who I am otherwise. I like my personality. I like my sense of humor. I am a strong, intelligent, creative, and compassionate person. So, how do I change this chapter of my life into something that I can be happy with?


Do You Remember The Excitement?

Do you remember your very first apartment? Do you remember how you felt when you first moved out of your parents’ home and into your own place? I do. I was so happy! I was excited to be able to start living my life. I was thrilled to have a place to call my own. It was so awesome to be able to clean my house when I wanted to clean it, wash dishes when I felt like it, do laundry on my schedule, etc. I could eat when I wanted, cook when I wanted and shop for the groceries I wanted to buy. I could arrange my furniture in my living room just the way I wanted to. I could decorate according to my tastes. I could do what I wanted, without consulting my mother or have her interfere. She still tried but it was my life now and I was happy to start living it!

That’s the feeling I want my daughter to experience. That’s how I want my son and his girlfriend to feel. I want that for them. The excitement, the thrill, the freedom.

For months now, I’ve had both children back home. My daughter and her son, now age 15 months, and my son, his girlfriend and their baby girl, who is now 10 months old…add to that my dad, 4 cats, 2 ferrets and an iguana, all under one roof. This house is very small and I’m not sure I’m going to make it! Don’t get me wrong. I love them all dearly. I will always worry about them no matter what.

They really do need a place of their own so they can live their own lives without me always being there to help them, clean up after them, guiding them. I need them to be independent. I need them to be free.

I need my life back! I need to feel excited about cleaning my house again. I need to feel free to do “my own thing” again. Is that selfish? It feels that way sometimes but then other times I feel like “Hey, I deserve to live my life now. I’ve been busy taking care of them for a long time. I feel like now it’s my turn.” Is that so wrong?

Loss of Self Identity

Many years ago, when I was unfortunate enough to get involved with my children’s father, my mother kept telling me “Don’t lose your own identity.” Of course, being young and naive PLUS not wanting to admit my mother just might know what she was talking about, I just ignored the comment. I didn’t even know what the heck she meant by that until later in my life.

I always tried to instill in my children to think for themselves, to be self-sufficient and to stand up for what they believe in. I taught them that what they have to say is important. I taught them to respect others for their thoughts and what they believe. I taught them to be responsible for their own actions. I thought I did a pretty good job until recently.

My daughter, S.R., who is 8 months pregnant with J.’s 5th child – yes, I said 5th – always maintained that she doesn’t want or need anyone to take care of her. She was adamant that she can take care of herself! When I have suggested in the past that she try to get on some kind of aid, she refused because she didn’t want to make things more difficult for J….. (Awww, poor baby. He has 4 little girls with another woman [his wife] that he has to take care of. Waaaaa! Waaaaa! Someone call a Waaaaa-mbulance!) She maintains that she can take care of herself. Well, that IS the way I raised her.

This morning her tune changed. She made a comment about ‘when she quits work soon’ to have the baby, due Oct. 29. I told her that if I were in her position, I would apply for cash aid and food stamps so she can sustain herself until she gets back to work. She quickly said to me, “NO. That’s what J. is for!” I said to her, “You cannot depend on him or anyone else to take care of you and that baby. You need to look out for yourself.” She immediately clammed up and never said another word. I was in such shock that I just left the room for fear I would say something to make matters worse.

Yes, he should step up and take care of her and that baby. He should be coming by to spend time with S.R., but is he? NO. He hasn’t bought anything for that baby. Hell, I’ll bet my last dollar that he hasn’t even been looking for a job! The last S.R. saw him was when he and his buddies hauled the camper off after the storm! She believes everything he says. She believes that he is out looking for a job. She believes he is going to find them a place to live. She believes that he is going to be there for her. He should be, but that doesn’t mean he will be! And he sure hasn’t shown that he is trying.

I sit here now, wondering what the heck happened? She went from a strong willed, opinionated and an independent thinker, to this naive little follower. I don’t know what happened. I’m afraid she is losing her own identity, like I did so many years ago. Take it from me, once lost, it’s a long journey to find your way back to you.