Soul Doubt: Be Careful What You Pray For?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Be Careful What You Pray For?


Looking at the date of my last post on here, I was stunned to realize it had been a solid three months since I'd even plopped one little nugget of wackiness or wisdom on here- a site I swore to myself I would use faithfully to purge my overactive brain of its most pressing and/or interesting (at least to me) thoughts, fears, doubts or plain ole pontifications. Shit, I've had New Year's resolutions that were more successful than this has been lately.

What a Grade-A flake I've turned into. Not only here, either, in just about every aspect of my life except taking care of my little boy. At least some vestige of motherly instinct has overridden this oppressive case of the blues which has turned my oh-so-blessed life to crap. Which brings to mind the age old chicken/egg question: did I stop posting due to my depression? Or did my ceasing of not only online activity, but everything else in my life remotely recreational- hiking trips, church group activities, visiting friends and relatives- lead to the depression? Hell, at one point I didn't answer my phone for three days, didn't leave the house for nine, and refused to even step foot in my office (A month ago I was put on a "leave of absence", which I fear is p.c. for gently being replaced by someone who can do the job I had- actually, most likely it's taken several people to replace me... before my 'breakdown', I was working sixty and seventy hour weeks, and since I was being paid salary, this was just considered part of the job- some months were easy, the last couple were absolute hell).

Come to think of it, that might've been one of the catalysts for the "I can't take it any more" mantra I finally muttered to her... trying to juggle a multitude of home office duties, run a household while my husband works out of town Monday thru Friday, and care for an extremely active and energetic two-year-old I suppose pushed me to the breaking point. I have this problem, see- whenever my boss would ask me if I could tackle yet another project on top of the myriad other duties I was working on, I found myself incapable of admitting that no, I could not. I'd tell her, "Boss, I thrive under pressure!" and grit my teeth, put Jameson to bed and burn the midnight oil til it was done. Finally, I started slipping, though- boxes for food expos and demos weren't making it on time, I was forgetting to check the phone and internet inquiries from confused Celiac groups, cookbooks were getting mailed to the wrong addresses... I was losing it. And cumulatively, it was enough to have my boss send over her husband to pick up all the files, Pitney-Bowes mailstation, cases and cases of product, and all the other miscellany that I'd acquired over the last almost two years of my Namaste Foods employment. Employment that, unfortunately, was on a 1099 basis so I can't even collect unemployment. Haven't talked to her since, either, although her husband hinted at the possibility of my resuming partial or full employment once my mental state was back to its former (relative) stability. Being a fairly perceptive sort, however, that little aside, with the accompanying obligatory shoulder pat, registered pretty high on my bullshit meter. Bottom line, I'd become more of a liability than an asset, and no matter how much we all liked each other as people, our working relationship was kaput. I still greatly admire my former boss- she's one hell of a lady and I will never forget her belief in me when I was fighting my case so publicly- belief strong enough in my intellect and ethic that she hired me straight after of the end of the whole mess. And I think overall, I proved her right- I just got overwhelmed there at the end. If you're reading this- sorry, D.

Moving on...
See, now, the thing is, although I have been going a bit nuts from an entire month of doing nothing except tend to my son, clean my house to an almost ridiculous state of sterility and organization, and other borderline OCD activities I won't bore you with by listing, I'm not so sure I WANT to go back to working from home. My son is extremely demanding of my time when I'm here- it was a challenge to fend him off while attending to my work duties. Couldn't just ignore the little guy for eight hours straight, so multi-tasking took on a whole new definition. Plus- and anyone whose ever worked on a self-created schedule can attest to- it takes some serious discipline some days to force oneself into a home office to slog through the day's duties, rather than say, read a good book or sleep in just because you know you CAN.
So, working from home I think was a good idea on paper- and was wonderful when my son was still a little thing that would gurgle happily on a blankie on the office floor while I worked- it's no longer feasible for me, even once my mental faculties are all relatively stable again.
'Cause they're not, you know. I still sleep waaaay too much- when Tonydaddy's home, and can look after the boy, I will sleep 15 or 16 hours at a stretch, no problem. And wake up grumpy because I want yet more. My eating habits suck: I cook meals for my family, but pick at my own plate, when I even bother making one for myself. Usually I just subsist on cinnamon sugared donut holes from Super 1, endless cups of coffee liberally doused with French Vanilla creamer, and when I start worrying about scurvy, I'll steam up an entire broccoli floret and salt and butter the heck out of it and eat that for a meal. Not exactly a stellar food pyramid, I know.
So. I've regurgitated my symptoms for the blogosphere to hopefully just absorb with equanimity, as I do NOT want your pity. God knows, I don't deserve it. If anything, pity my family for having to put up with this senseless form of entropy I've lapsed into... for NO FREAKING REASON!
Yes, I was working too hard. Okay, no more job. Depression gone? Hell no, worse than ever. Now, I mope around the house, read an average of nine crappy novels a week (I go for the 500 page plus ones- they're at least lengthier so I can escape reality a bit longer) and do my best to fake smiles for my son who shouldn't have to see his mommy like this.


So, to touch on the relativity of the title of this post, I should explain the events of the last two weeks. If anyone recalls, there was another post from last year where I detailed my maternal grandmother's failing health: a couple of strokes, a fall which the resulting broken rib caused pneumonia, general weakness and malaise... to put it succinctly, she is a very, very sick woman.
Week before last, Saturday, she was so ill the ambulance rushed her to the hospital for a blood transfusion and some other life-saving measures due to her renal failure. Since at that point, her symptoms were about as stable as one could expect, they discharged her with the hopes that she would rally better at home, since her only statement (slurred, due to the post-stroke aphasia) she would make, repeatedly, was, "I want to go home. I want to go home."

This was a big mistake. She is also diabetic, normally non-insulin dependent, but her blood sugar began testing out in the 400's. At one point it was too high for the reader to give an answer: it simply flashed "HIGH- HIGH- HIGH". At that point, we again rushed her to the ER, where she was placed on multiple machines- respirators, cardiac monitors, an IV administering blood thinners, steroids to help her lung function, fluids to help her dehydration. An entire team of specialists was assembled, and even after a solid four days of working on her, when I cornered each one of them individually (I can be confrontational when it comes to those I love!) and asked them, "What is wrong with my grandmother and what are her chances of getting through this?" my only answers- with very little variation from each- was "Your grandmother is a very sick woman- we are basically at a loss as to what could be causing the multiple organ involvement and shutdown; of course, we are doing every test we can think of and treating each crisis as it arises, but there is no way we can answer whether she will get through this or not at this point."

Surprise, surprise. Doctorspeak for "we don't know what the hell is going on". Because of my recent unemployment and therefore having the most flexible schedule of the family, I've been spending the most time at the hospital; spending nights with her (man, those benches are uncomfortable!) and translating her slurred speech to the nurses and CNA's as needed. Basically, just being there for her- I think her greatest fear is being left alone to die; either at a hospital or at a "care center" (PC for nursing home these days). Yes, there are some good ones, but we as a family are determined to respect our loved ones wishes and just want to get her home to pass on in dignity, surrounded by those who love her. As skilled as the nurses, doctors and other caregivers in those facilities and hospitals may be, none of them love her like we do, therefore, none of them can or will go the extra mile to make her as comfortable and happy as possible during her journey to Heaven. And after some one-on-one time I had with her the other night, I do feel like she has accepted Jesus back into her heart and will be reunited with Him upon her passing. I was actually pretty worried about that- my Grandma has led one helluva hard-drinking, hard-living, well-traveled life, and fell away from her childhood Lutheran faith a looong time ago. So I hope the little bit of Scripture I read her and the conversation we had after has made the difference- if anything, I know it made ME feel way better.

I guess that's what Part Two of this blog post is really about- with my grandma being sick, I've felt better than I have in weeks. I know it's because I've been too busy dealing with her, organizing family shifts of who's staying when with her, translating the more confusing medical terms for the rest of the family, and all that... but is that really solving my depression? or just putting a Band-Aid on it, if you will?

I am under the care of a doctor- she's tried four different antidepressants on me to date and none of them have worked worth a damn. So the next step, besides counseling at Genesis as soon as this crisis with Grandma has passed, is an eval with a psychiatrist, who'll hopefully be able to rule out something more serious like manic depression or something of the like.

But what if that doesn't work either? Should I search out other people's problems to focus on rather than my own? Will that "solve" this super-funk I've slipped into? Or is it just a result of extended sobriety: actually all the way clean of chemicals that for most of my life have numbed all the negative feelings I've encountered.

Any comments or advice would be very welcome. Thanks for listening, blogosphere.


  1. All I can say is that when it comes to depression, we have similar experiences. I wish we could have a soda or iced tea together and just talk about our experiences. I suppose dealing with depression is very much like being in recovery: one day at a time. If you'd like to have some back and for over email, drop me a line. I'm happy to listen, share my experience, but I'm not very good at advice. I can pray, though, and you are in mine.

  2. Kendra, good to see you back. My take is God needed you by your Grandmother's side at this point in your life. You may look back on these moments later in life and realize why it took what it took to get you to slow down enough to do a re-evaluation of your sense of place.

    I fell into a funk, almost like yours, several years ago which led to an eventual understanding that even though I invested and trained in a certian career path, I wasn't at all happy in that place I found myself and it had to change. But I was also unhappy with my home life and had to make a few changes there.

    Ultimately, I figured out that I was existing alright, but I sure wasn't "living." I was tolerating life. So, as hard as it is, I had to make changes -- nice and easy changes first.

    I love that new commercial that's out on TV where the older jogger is trotting along and says something like, "I never ran a step until after my thirties, and now at 56, I have ran more than 800race... The path to getting healthy just starts with taking a few steps, as many steps as YOU want to take.

    -- Bent

  3. Kendra, I have dealt with a lot of this too. I had the case of Post Partum depression/OCD tp end all cases before they were diagnosing it all the time. I had a lot of baggage that played into this. BUt under the best of times, being a first time mom is stressful.
    It is not entirely hormonal either, as they have documented the same symptoms in adoptive moms and in dads.
    DO NOT HESITATE TO EMAIL ME OR MESSAGE ME ON FACEBOOK if you feel up to a cup of coffee or just chilling out.


Thanks for taking the time to read what I ramble about- I consider it an honor to get feedback from you guys, so please tell me what you think, feel, if you have a similar story... whatever you'd like! Thanks again and God bless.