Thursday, April 29, 2004

Sorry I have been neglecting my blog. Ironically, this is probably a very theraputic tool when in the midst of chaos and anguish, but inevitably, I get overwhelmed and avoid it. Oh, well.

The last week has been incredibly stressful and I have found myself seriously considering seeking some psychiatric help myself, which I may still do but have postponed at this point. The panic attacks that once had me so paralyzed have been threatening to re-enter the picture and my best efforts to fight them off without meds are wiping me out. I am also not sleeping well (surprise, surprise) so I have about as much oomph to me as a wet rag. However, I decided to get some St. John's wort and a vitamin B "stress complex" and both seem to be helping. Through my desperate research about bipolar disorder, in an effort to at least arm myself with knowledge because there's nothing else I can really do, I have learned (or more accurately, reaffirmed what I already knew) that vitamin deficiencies have a ton to do with "mood disorders" of various types and so I figured I'd practice what I'm preaching to my sister. So far so good. For me, at least. I keep offering suggestions based on what I am reading, but she's immune to positivity. Right now I am going to choose not to think about her.

Anyway, I am at work and should get back to work, so I will leave you to digest this portion of Erin babble.

Posted @ 3:22 PM

Sunday, April 25, 2004

K, well, as much as I sincerely meant it when I said I didn't want to go into details regarding my sister, out of respect for her privacy, the odds of anyone who reads this crap actually ever meeting her are slim to none I would say, so I am going to vent just a bit, because this is tearing me up inside.

Before Christmas, my sister was traveling in New Zealand and was brought to the ER by a tourist who found her wandering around and mumbling to herself -- totally out of it. She was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility after being diagnosed with "acute psychosis." No one really knows what happened. When she started coming around, she said she was just dehydrated, but I have never heard of anyone having ongoing mental problems from being dehydrated... Maybe a day or two, but not a month... Anyway, she was there for a few days, then transferred to another facility. She was eventually sent home (to Maryland) only about 70% recovered and on a bunch of meds, because she was well enough that the New Zealand government wouldn't foot the bill anymore (they do usually, but only to a point). So she spent Christmas in MD with my mom and brother and seemed to be doing pretty well. Then she started having really bad mood swings and behaving irrationally again. She decided she wanted to go back to California (where she was living prior to the New Zealand adventure), but first wanted to visit some friends/family on the east coast. My mom said this was a bad idea, because she was not "well" yet, but my sister is a stubborn shit and said she was fine and was going to do what she wanted to do, blessing or not. So she went.

She became maniacally depressed, tormented mentally, was having anxiety attacks and on the verge of being suicidal. She HATES medication, so she was weaning herself off and I believe that is when the shit hit the fan... Anyway, she went back to MD where there was a doctor ready for her and my mom could look after her. As much as she didn't want to be there, she clearly couldn't take care of herself and was talking about death and we were not so sure her torment wasn't enough to make her hurt herself...

She stayed in MD for another couple weeks and then decided she couldn't take it anymore and went back to CA. She has no insurance because she is not living at home and not a student, so her resources are limited. When she has called me, she has been terribly depressed and disheartened. No one knows what to do besides be available to her when/if she needs us. She calls me and cries about how she doesn't think she'll ever be normal again and I don't know what to say, because deep inside, I have my fears and doubts, too. She has officially been diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder, a very complex disease surrounded by negative stigma and misconception. Everything I read says it is manageable but not curable and there is not a lot of hope of "normalcy."

So anyway, we convinced her to fly to North Carolina from California to attend my grandmother's 90th birthday/family reunion thing. She was very upset that my brother didn't come and spent a lot of the weekend crying. She said she couldn't handle seeing the extended family, and planned to spend the weekend hiding out in the hotel. We got her out Saturday nite and she seemed to really have fun. She was laughing and talking and hugging, which is a more animated state than she's been in for months. Let me also clarify something - she is not is psychosis now, she is more or less "in the real world," but is covered with this dark misery that invades every thought, feeling, notion she has. So it's like she's there, but looking out at us from under this shield of sadness...

Anyway, we had a mostly good weekend and she hugged me good-bye at the airport on Sunday and I thought everything was hunky dory. I had Wednesday off and called my mom's (where my sister was staying) just to say hi and she sounded great: upbeat, silly, happy. I was so happy for her.

Thursday when I got home from work Jay told me that my mom had called and my sister was in the hospital again, after taking a shitload of Valium and drinking a lot of alcohol - a suicide attempt. Evidently she had been planning it for months and the trip to NC was really to see everyone one last time, which is why she was so upset that my brother wasn't there. (They're very close.) I guess they pumped her stomach and gave her the option of admitting herself to the psych ward or they'd have her committed. She admitted herself and started taking her meds, but she says only because she thinks her cooperation will lead to a more expedited release, and she can try to kill herself again and "not fuck it up." Her reason for wanting to die is that she is plagued by this disease and can't stand herself, has lost all joy in her life and refuses to be on medication forever. While I would not wish her a life of misery, I refuse to believe that she can't find balance...

So it is now 3 days since she was found 1/2 dead by my already stressed-to-the-max mother and they tell me she is starting to show little signs of hopefulness, for herself and her future. I guess I am trying to take comfort in the little things, because the hugeness of this makes me feel very helpless. I bought a book about bipolar disorder and am trying to help by educating myself. I think that's all I can do at this point. That, and try to remind my sister of the things that make life worth living, the simple pleasures. And how much I love her.

Posted @ 1:05 PM

Friday, April 23, 2004

My sister is in the hospital again. I'm not going into details out of respect for her, but I feel like everyone around me is falling apart. I am going in to work late because I got no sleep last nite. I have to go take a shower and try to get my shit together. T.G.I.F. everyone.

Posted @ 9:53 AM

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

New layout isn't gonna happen today. Sorry to anyone who was waiting to see. I just have too much to do today. :o/

Posted @ 3:52 PM

Monday, April 19, 2004

Hola Amigos. I am back. I don't have time to write much now or post pics (which I very much want to), but I just wanted you to all know that no, my plane did not go down (as I thought it might.) Besides a weird case of horrendous nausea and cold sweat on both my short connecting flights home, everything was good.

I have been leisurely working on a new layout which I hope to complete Wednesday, which I have off. Stay tuned for new content and better presentation. (And don't hold me to Wednesday, it might not happen!)

Hope everyone's Monday wasn't too traumatic. (They often seem to be.)

Posted @ 8:41 PM

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I have to go pack for my weekend here. Mum (my grandmother) is turning 90 and there's this sort of family reunion/birthday party thing going down. So I am getting on a plane tomorrow morning and heading to North Carolina for the weekend. Yay. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Posted @ 8:24 PM

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I was thinking earlier...about all the soul-searching and "Extreme Mental Makeover" activity I have been doing this last year...and one of the hardest but best things I have done is be able to admit my weaknesses (like really admit them, not just say I have a weakness but actually really admit it) and I was wondering if other people have done that and what your weaknesses were? Mine are that I am a know-it-all and although I don't do it consciously, I point out other people's mistakes. I also am overly emotional and tend to react to any strong emotion by crying; that includes fear, anger, frustration, sadness and happiness, among others. (I will say that I never thought being emotional was bad, but I have realized that at this degree, it is out of control and I need to work on it.) I am a bit of an elitist and that is often disguised as anti-social tendency, but in reality it's not that I don't want to hang out, it's that I don't want to hang out with you, and most likely for some stupid, snotty reason. I am very intuitive, and because of that, I don't always second guess myself (when I should) and wrongly judge or label people based on assumtions I have made, rather than what I can truly tell about them intuitively. I also have been through some serious shit in my life, and known a lot of assholes, and I carry those scars into every new relationship, whether it be with a friend, lover or just an acquaintance, and I suspect almost everyone of dishonesty and ulterior motives. I am also so hungry for love and acceptance that on a one-to-one scale (not speaking of general conformity) I am absurdly accommodating, not wanting to step on anyone's toes, never holding them to anything they say...

These are all things I have identified and am working on every day. What are yours?

Posted @ 8:02 PM

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

At work, everyone's in surgery and I am up front alone and bored yet again. Lol. Nothing every changes much, does it?

It's quite dreary in New Hampshire today. Major rainstorm moving northeast and we're going to get almost all of it. It's ok. April showers bring May flowers. (Then that's where Sarah says, "and Mayflowers bring pilgrims." Lol. I love cheezy humor.

So I have been a bit stressed lately (what's new?) but am getting over it. This coming weekend, I am flying to North Carolina to attend my maternal grandmother's 90th birthday party and pseudo family reunion. I will be seeing a bunch of over-achieving relatives who always ask me what I'm doing with my life and even if it feels to me like I am doing good, worthwhile things, they never seem to think so. But maybe I am just oversensitive. I am also not a huge fan of flying (especially not this time, 'cause I have ridiculous layovers in Baltimore, on a flight that should take about 2 hours if it was direct), so I will be traveling about 6 hours on Friday and again on Sunday. All the excitement and travel should have me nice and cranky for work on Monday! Lol.

Anyway, Indie is staying home with Jay and I am all nervous about that. I know he's not an idiot and to be honest, he's probably the person she's closest to besides me and he knows her pretty well, so I don't know what I'm so worried about. I am just afraid he'll let her off lead or something and she'll take off down 3-A, or he'll take her down to play with his mother's puppy and Indie will rip one of his ears off. (She's can be an asshole with other dogs.) I guess I just have to leave him some pointers and take a deep breath. As Sarah always tells me, "It be OK."

Anyway, the one good thing about this weekend trip is that I will get to see my mom and sister. I haven't seen my sister since the shit hit the fan before Christmas, so that'll be good. And I see my mom like twice a year, if that, so I am looking forward to that, too. My brother isn't coming, so it will be just us girls camping out at the Comfort Inn. My mom snores like a lumberjack, so she got 2 rooms, thank goodness. Maybe I will be able to get some rest this weekend after all.

I suppose I will grab another Twizzler and find something to do. Nothing like eating red rope candy on a rainy day. :o)

Posted @ 9:01 AM

Friday, April 09, 2004

Ha ha, what an appropriate Friday Five for me to do at work!

1. What do you do for a living? I am the Client Services Director at a busy animal hospital. When I originally took on a job as a veterinary receptionist, I envisioned it to be a lot of filing, appointment making and other secretarial duties. Three years later, I am a 911 operator, grief counselor, debt collector, janitor, surgical assistant, educator and gate keeper. When we get busy enough (this is a start-up practice with a skeleton crew currently) and need more receptionists, I will also be a manager. In a day I make appointments for everything you can imagine, educate people about all aspects of pet care (this means all aspects - from clipping nails to exploratory abdominal surgeries), field emergency calls, check in, check out, make follow-up calls (ie. "How's Fluffy's rectal bleeding?"), keep the records updated and organized, order supplies, make reminder calls, and basically ensure that from the moment a client and their pet walk in the door to the moment they leave, all their needs have been met and they are thrilled with their experience. I am not exaggerating even slightly. This is what I do.
2. What do you like most about your job? I love knowing I have made a difference for someone. It feels really good to have people constantly telling you you're doing a good job. And I am not being cocky. Unfortunately, a lot of front desk employees don't have the right attitude or provide good customer service and people get so used to that that when someone goes out of their way to make a good impression, it's like the most amazing thing ever. Take note next time you go into your doctor's office, or even the grocery store. Nine times out of ten you are not greeted at all, and if you are, it's not with a smile. It's by some gum-snapping teenager with blue nails and too much make-up who treats you like a piece of shit unworthy of their obviously precious time. ('Cause they're a very important and popular person, you know. Lol.) I think these little things are what make the difference. That and sincerely caring about the quality of your performance. I get the feeling most people in customer service just don't give a shit.
3. What do you like least about your job? Dumb shits who shouldn't have pets. People who have let their pets suffer for so long and when they finally make the decision to end the pain and agony and find out it's not free, have the sack to tell me a bullet would be cheaper. I fucking loathe those people.
4. When you have a bad day at work it's usually because _____... See above. There are other things, but it's the people like that who make it the worst.
5. What other career(s) are you interested in? Some days I miss the grunt work... Like cashiering. Didn't require too much brain power, just that I was fast, friendly and could count. I really haven't considered too many other fields. I honestly enjoy customer service. I think this field is ideal, but I could see myself doing it in other venues.

I have to go to lunch. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Posted @ 12:42 PM

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Well, it's fairly early and Jay is in bed. The time change (I am on the east coast) has messed up his biological clock, so he's for some reason pooped, going to bed early, and waking up at like 4 am. I wanted to tell him to stay up later and thus sleep later, but it's really his business, not mine. So here I sit, in the silence, trying to think of magical ways I can get out of cleaning the litterbox. For example, if I light the right color candle and burn some sage and pray to the muses, will the turds get out on their own and march into a plastic bag in an orderly fashion? Lol. I am a fucknut.

Just a little bit of an elaboration on my last post: the "undercurrent of pissy female issues" at work is not PMS. At least not for me. Just a bunch of females being stupid and catty, overly sensitive and unreasonable to each other. I am sure I am participating somehow, but trying to look from the outside in, I think I am the least of it. Honestly. Over the years, I have realized and perfected the necessity of being objective. Anyway, having done my best to get an unbiased understanding of the goings-on, I realize my only choice is to handle myself as appropriately as possible, try not to fuel the fire and not let it get to me. Easier said than done, but it's a start.

Um...what else...? I have an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully I am finally going to get somewhere with this sinus bullshit. If I choose to be socially snotty, that's one thing. But being helplessly booger-snotty is something entirely different! So I am pretty excited about the possibility of some relief. It really is something I have dealt with and considered "just the way it is" for too long.

This girl I knew back in like '97 (when we met working at a shitty summer camp) evidently moved to the Mass/NH border from East Buttfuck, Pennsylvania and has left me a couple messages. Sometimes the idea of putting on airs (the whole, "Oh my god, how have you been, you look great, blah blah" schpeel when you are really thinking, "I would rather gnaw my own arm off than put on this act") is too much to bear, so I haven't called her back yet. Probably will this weekend. As I recall, her last visit was a bit stressful, 'cause it was when the whole roommate/DWI/assault/jail shit was happening (anyone know that story, or did I just drop a bomb?), and it was just not a good time for out of town guests. So I am hoping to get my shit together and give it another go. Maybe it'll be nice to have her semi-local.

I guess I should go do the litter box and take my dog out. Argh. I hate domestic obligation.

Posted @ 8:26 PM

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Hmmm. So it would seem I haven't blogged in...well, a while. This week was very busy and tense at work (undercurrent of pissy female issues) and I have just been disinclined to exert any effort above and beyond what is absolutely required of me lately. I had a total crying, bitching, psychotherapy session with Jay yesterday afternoon and I think I am feeling better about everything... It's really little annoying shit that has been going on for a while and the frustration of it all just built up and I popped like a tick. Yeah, nice image. A tick. A juicy one.

So the latest excitement (heh, yeah right) is...well...we all know nothing exciting happens to me really. Just a series of diversions in an effort to distract myself from what actually is the undeniable monotony of adult life... Jay and I have decided to implement a workout routine of sorts. Nothing totally overwhelming. Just some crunches, push ups, leg lifts, kick backs (we also made up the name "McGees" because we don't really know what they're really called) every week nite. I didn't even realize how weak I was until I woke up on the morning of Day 3 and couldn't lift the coffee pot (which was EMPTY) due to the pain in my armpit muscles. I don't know the actual name for them, but the ones that are right under your pits. hurts like a mofo, but feels good at the same time. I think we're going shopping for an exercise bike this afternoon. I have owned a treadmill (which sucked because it was at an incline that couldn't be adjusted, so you had no choice but to walk uphill), a Gazelle thingy (which I got sick of looking at in the living room, so I moved it behind my bedroom door and well...out of site, out of mind. I gave it to Jay's cousin) and now he's getting me a bike for my birthday. :o) I am pretty excited actually. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

I guess that's all I have for now. Hope everyone had a good weekend. Oh, happy belated birthday Jana and congrats to Angela & Casey. Coco won't be a bastard child anymore. Yay. Ha ha. Just kidding. As if I buy into that baloney!!

Posted @ 1:25 PM

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