The Things I Do Instead

I’m 17.5 hours away from being free of caregiving for a bit, and instead of plotting self-indulgent folly I’m sending wine and pizza to friends in other states who had a bad day.

I could get a bottle of my favorite bottle of bourbon plus a few bottles of wine for what I just spent on my friends.

Because I love my friends, and they carry my burdens. And have for years.

So just one inexpensive bottle of wine for me, but one really meaningful show of support that will last a lot longer than the booze and cheesy bread.

Therapy Was Hard, Y’all.

I’ve made it to therapy maybe 3 times in the last two months. Before that I was thinking it might be time to stop therapy. Well, it’s not.

This morning I had to face unprocessed grief, missing out on triumph, losing opportunities, being financially stressed because I’ve put time into my family instead of my work, and not mattering enough to that same family for them to take the severity of my mental illness seriously.

I cried a lot, I kept crying when I left, I cried to my boyfriend when I got home, then I took a long nap.

I used to go home and sleep after therapy when I first started going, because it was so intense and exhausting. Today was like that.

On the up side, it was enough for my mom to see that I’m about to be the next family crisis. Nothing is changing overnight, and I don’t expect it to, but she’s committed to finding a different option for grandma that doesn’t require my involvement.

I need time and space to finish grieving so I can heal. I need time to practice healthy behaviors. I really need less cortisol so I can finally lose the trauma weight and hopefully some of the anxiety.

But hanging in there in the meantime is hard, y’all.

Exhaustion or Reprieve?

I’ve been really stressed about work, on top of everything else. I have a few challenging and contentious projects in play, and as much as I’d like to bow out of them, I need the money. I don’t get paid for the 100+ hours a week I spend caring for my grandma, and something has to pay the bills. As much as I’m trapped here, the world revolves on and things cost money.

I had a meeting with a client and a local government representative today to see if I needed to recommend that he pursue litigation. I expected the parties involved to be contentious, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve my client’s best possible outcome.

I’m exhausted, and got about four hours of sleep last night because grandma talked to herself and rustled around so much. I was pretty sure I was going to be worthless and forget my points. Instead, I got a calm and professional meeting with clear information, and I think I’ve convinced my client that his best course of action is to pursue the standard approval process, since it will save him a lot of time, maybe money and definitely grief.

This option keeps me involved in the project, which will still be a challenge but I appreciate the vote of confidence by my client, who asked me to proceed directly with the next phase and send him a bill.

I’m either so relieved the stress has lifted a bit or so exhausted I’ve stopped caring. Hard to tell until I get some sleep, which won’t be tonight.

I had someone in my corner, cheering me on and reminding me that being tired would tell me a lot of things that weren’t true, and that I’m good at this and will perform well regardless.

I’m grateful for the reminder. It was true.

What It’s Taking to Stay Calm

Grandma gets up between 1 and 2am to move from her bed to her recliner because she sleeps better in her recliner. Which means I get up to move her. She says her legs hurt when she lays in bed, but she won’t sleep all night in the recliner because she wants to not be sitting for a couple of hours.

She makes everything hard.

Despite demanding that the air conditioner be turned off at night because it wakes her up when it kicks on (she claims she doesn’t sleep anyway so hell if I understand why we need to be unnecessarily warm), she pulled her throw over her legs after I moved her, and tipped her recliner forward. You know, like you do as a kid on purpose.

But this wasn’t (was it?) On purpose, so there’s a thunk and a panicked help and me bolting off the couch to set her upright before she lands on the floor.

I have PTSD. Bolting out of any excuse for a bed in the middle of the night is not great for me, because the sudden rush of adrenaline can be a trigger. And usually is.

Since my family won’t support me and I’m left managing my condition by myself, I’m trying to stay calm, take on as few responsibilities as possible and keep my panic response in check until I can go home tomorrow afternoon. Which means I’m exhausted by 5, hungry all the time and still not really getting back the brain function that’s shut down by anxiety. I have very little energy, and will likely spend the weekend in bed.