It’s winding down but I’m not

I probably seem like I’m all over the place and it’s true: I am.

Although I have moments like I did the other day, when I wrote that I was grateful—and that was true—I also have moments like these, where I’m overwhelmed and overcome by sheer panic and terror.

I think my mom is finally figuring out that I am both at alternating times. I can be great and hopeful and confident one day and then barely hanging on the next day.

I realized today that I’m starting to be very very aware of what was happening at this time last year.

It’s kinda funny in a way because the events of the months of November and December last year were so completely traumatic and I didn’t let myself feel what was really happening last year at all.

For one thing, J’s condition declined so incredibly rapidly over these two months last year that I didn’t even really recognize that it was the end until after the fact.

This year, I feel it so deeply. I can’t escape it no matter what I do. And now I am truly realizing exactly how horrible those months were and what J and I went through together.

That was an extremely traumatizing time and now I get to deal with it. It’s almost like my brain shut down completely just to get through November and December last year but now my brain is like tapping me on the shoulder, saying “hey, remember what you didn’t deal with last year? Now it’s time and you’re going to.”

Everything reminds me of it. The darkening skies earlier in the evenings and the cooler weather. The fact that it’s going to be time to change the clocks back from daylight savings time this weekend. It all just feels so familiar and I hate every minute of it.

My anxiety is steadily increasing and nothing I do will alleviate it. And now I finally understand why. All the stuff I couldn’t process last year because it was too traumatic is now back and it won’t let me go.

I don’t know how I will get through the next few months. I don’t even know if I will make it through the next couple of months.

Exhausted but grateful

I guess the subject line says it all.

I got so much stuff done yesterday and I am so happy and relieved about it. I even made a lot of progress on my room and I hope to do more tomorrow.

I had a long talk with the kids because I was getting really frustrated by the fact that they (Chloe in particular) were not really pulling their weight around here. So we had a “come to Jesus” kind of talk and got a lot of stuff sorted out and new chore plans and division of labor. I feel really good about that.

Mostly I am just feeling really grateful. There are income based apartments in Denton that are a whole lot cheaper than what I currently pay. I’m thinking maybe I’ll try to move there in 6 months or so. (Well realistically next summer.) But who knows? This state is turning into a dumpster fire and if the same old jack wagons get re-elected I might move somewhere else instead.

In a way, that’s what was so good about talking with the kids yesterday. I am trying to prepare them for being on their own. I don’t know if Dyl will live with me or just in the same city but Chloe supposedly wants to move back to the Midwest where housing is cheap.

Dyl is so helpful and has such an easygoing personality. He is so much like J in that way, only more in touch with his emotions and better able to tell me when he’s upset. I wouldn’t mind living with him or even near him.

But I need to get to bed now. Tomorrow I’m going to an All Souls’ Day church service at J’s church. It’s the first time I’ve been in church since his memorial and I’m a bit nervous about it. I don’t know if I’ll completely fall apart or if it will be nothing.

Anxiety and panic

Sometimes, I deal with really major anxiety and panic. This is one of those times.

Dyl asked Sav’s dad to take him to work and he said no. Okay, so back to the drawing board. Chloe can take him on days when she doesn’t work earlier than that. I can possibly take him (ugh) unless I get the job at JCPenney. We finally came up with him taking Lyft, especially if he only needs to take it one way.

But that’s even IF I do get the job at JCP. I thought I was a shoo-in for Williams Sonoma because they offered me a job before.

But I reapplied again recently and already got a rejection letter. I know what was different about my application this time: I couldn’t do well on one of the pre-employment tests. You had to look at a series of two words and press the letter F if they were different in meaning or the letter J if they were similar.

I just couldn’t do it at all and kept getting totally confused. I know that how well I can do with such tasks has to do with how much stress I’m under and I’m just really not functioning well enough right now.

But the question remains whether or not I’ll get hired by JCP and if I do, if I’ll be able to make it through a month of training on first shift. I couldn’t make it last time I tried. My mom said it might be different now because I don’t have as much of a safety net if I fail, because I didn’t fail when I had a month worth of training on first shift when I got the job when we moved down here.

The thing is that was 8 years ago. My disability in general has progressed a lot in the past 8 years. And rather than feeling like I can’t afford to fail and therefore I won’t, the pressure I feel actually makes it more likely that I would.

No, it’s not that I’m “thinking negative,” as she would say. It’s that I know how this works by now. Feeling pressure almost always makes me perform much more poorly.

And meanwhile Dyl doesn’t know if he wants to get his own car because he doesn’t want all the associated expenses of having one. My mom really took me to task over that and said she was “worried that he wasn’t prepared to be an adult” and that I should make him pay for my car insurance and gas, which makes no sense to me at all.

Frankly, I am a lot more worried about Chloe than I am about Dyl. Yes, he doesn’t want to drive (but he does want to learn how.) He has a ton of anxiety about driving, which I think is understandable since he was with Chloe when she got hit by a car when she was 14.

But that’s the only way in which Dyl’s not ready for adulthood. He helps worlds more with things around the house than Chloe does. He also got a job way before Chloe did (and Chloe was not looking very hard for one at all.) He has also actually lived on his own in the dorms at A&M and he liked it.

I’m already super anxious about my own prospects. I don’t actually know if I’m going to be okay in the long run. And my mom expressing her concerns about Dyl just made it a whole lot worse.

Got a lot done today!

I got a lot done today (or I guess yesterday, since I’m about to go to bed.)

I got up early to take Dyl to his interview. And he got the job!! Woohoo!!

It’s such a good fit for him. It’s only 15 hours a week but that will still give him enough energy to cook and continue studying coding. He’ll be a mentor to unschooled kids.

If you don’t know, unschooling is a type of homeschooling that’s very, very unstructured. You basically facilitate the kids following their own interests and believe that real life applications can teach them most of what they need to know. I very much appreciated the concept but ultimately opted for my kids to go to public school, mostly because I knew they needed much more socialization than what I would give them (because left to my own devices, they would get virtually none) and because if they wanted to pursue advanced math or science, they would have better opportunities.

Now that they’ve all been through school, I can say that the socialization provided by school was kind of a mixed bag but (with Dyl especially) the access to advanced math and science was well-founded. He has already far surpassed either me or J, and J was excellent at math.

Anyway, we did kind of an unschooling sort of thing with them at home in addition to them attending public school. They’re all quirky and probably neurodivergent and they really retained their natural curiosity. So the job is actually an excellent fit for Dyl.

After he interviewed with the adult director of the program, some of the teens in the group got to interview him, too. One of the questions they asked him was “if you had to eat a spoonful of any condiment, what would it be?” And he didn’t even have to think twice before answering McDonald’s hot mustard sauce.

Then they asked him what he would do if kids brought in contraband items and he answered like a total smart-ass at first and said, “It depends on how cool it is” (then answered the question more seriously.)

He went in with his piercings and his longish hair pulled back in a ponytail and his tattoos visible and none of those things were an issue at all. He’s really going to thrive in this environment, I think. And they always say that you use who you know to find out about good jobs and I’m really, really happy that I could help him find this one.

Then Dyl and I went to Walmart to pick up a couple of things and then I took him to the Indian market by our house.

We ate dinner and that was good. And then I wrote an article on deadline and got a whole bunch of housework done. I changed out my sheets (which I had been meaning to do for a few days) and cleaned my bedroom a bunch and cleaned the kids’ bathroom pretty thoroughly, too.

Tomorrow I have to wake up early again to get Dyl to therapy and at the same time as he’s in therapy, I’ll be doing my orientation by Zoom for driving people to the polls on Election Day.

I feel really productive and proud of what I accomplished today. It’s a good feeling.

I didn’t get much done today

Or at least it doesn’t feel like I did.

I took all the Goodwill stuff in my trunk and dropped it off. I went to go vote early because I’m going to be driving people to the polls on Election Day.

I wrote 2 articles plus one for Medium. I also washed the dishes.

I smoothed things over with Dyl, which was really important to me. He had been upset because he made some edible gummies and I didn’t react well when he first told me because they’re a lot stronger than I expected them to be.

He was very discouraged by my reaction so I had to genuinely apologize and thank him for his efforts. He was more concerned with getting the gummy consistency right than with how much the dose was.

After I got that smoothed over, I went outside with Chloe and Dyl and had to show them how to smoke a joint lol. My dad had brought down two joints out of his personal stash (it’s legal where he lives.)

I didn’t particularly care for it because it was the sativa strain and I’ve never enjoyed smoking it. But they were kind of struggling because they were total newbies and had never smoked anything, so I had to demonstrate how to do it.

Dyl didn’t enjoy smoking it for the same reason I don’t (I hate the smell and having the taste in my mouth.) But Chloe rather liked it so I gave her the other one my dad brought.

I’m aware that to some people, this is an example of bad parenting. But I don’t see it that way at all. If they’re going to try it, I would rather have them be at home and I’m honestly very honored that they trust me so much.

I’m honestly not sure if this would have happened while J was still alive. I’ve experimented a lot more with drugs since his death, mostly because it often allows me to talk to him.

I also had my job interview for JCPenney remote work today and I think it went well. I also applied for remote work for Williams-Sonoma. Maybe I’ll get something. The extra money would definitely help but I’m still not sure if I can make it through the training period on day shift.

Dyl has an interview tomorrow with the private school that has the open position for someone to work with the unschoolers group. I think he’s be great at it and since it’s only 15 hours a week, he’d still have time to study for better jobs.

It looks likely that I may move to Denton next year. I’m too late to apply for any term before next fall, which sucks. I have to figure out how to do it and still keep my disability, which may be a challenge.

And of course even if I do get a full time job, I’ll still keep doing my freelancing and volunteering with the Trevor Project.

I may be busy but I finally feel a bit like the “widows fog” is starting to lift. And thank god for that.

A nothing day

I didn’t really get anything done today and I might have to reschedule my appointment at UTSW tomorrow.

I was up early for therapy yesterday and today Chloe needed me to take her car to get it fixed. The guy at the collision shop remembered me by my car (probably because they had it for so long lol.)

They would have had a guy from the car rental place go pick her up and take her to get the rental like they did with me but I remember that it was awkward AF being in a car with some dude I didn’t know. So I just took her instead.

I guess she’s passing very well for female because nobody ever assumes she was born male. She really does have feminine features and bone structure. The guy at the rental car place even upgraded her for free to a much nicer car than they gave me. (She got a Jetta, while I had to suffer with a tiny Nissan Versa. Given how long I had it, I was not amused.)

But I guess she gets special treatment because she’s a pretty young girl and honestly I’m really thrilled about that.

At the same time, this was one of those occasions when I really wished J were still here. Not just because it was an early morning appointment but because car stuff is so far outside my wheelhouse (no pun intended.)

I got some groceries and helped a friend and did a load of laundry but that doesn’t feel like much, especially considering how exhausted I am.

I had lots of stuff I wanted to do today and in the end I just had to nap to recover. I really hate days like this. But I guess it just happens and I have to listen to what my body needs because I really pay for it when I don’t.

Moving forward

I feel like I still have all this motivation but I don’t quite know how to channel it yet.

I have a job interview on Thursday but even if I’m offered the job, I’m not sure if I can take it. I’m going to be seeing my doctor at UTSW about trying transcranial magnetic stimulation for my depression and apparently that will require driving to UTSW every day for 4-6 weeks. Yikes.

But I also decided that I am going to grad school to become a therapist after all. I’m looking at a few different schools but it seems most likely that I will end up at Texas Woman’s University, which also greatly increases the likelihood that I’ll end up moving to income-based housing there. There’s a waitlist for the apartment complex that rates best and who knows when I’ll get in.

On a totally unrelated note, I got my boobs measured and to say that I was wearing the wrong size is kind of an understatement lol. I was wearing a 38B and I’m actually a 34DD. So I guess that’s quite the difference haha. I really don’t feel busty enough for a DD but I guess the tape measure doesn’t lie.

I’m now more annoyed than anything that my so called “friend” isn’t paying me back. Hasn’t even said a word to me so I have no idea what’s going on. For all I know she was intentionally scamming me out of a lot of money. All I can say about that is that I’m glad it’s her karma and not mine. I believe way too strongly that you get back what you put out there and I definitely wouldn’t want that coming for me.

The realizations

I’ve discovered that if I get a little high, I can figure out a whole bunch of things for myself.

Like last night, for example. I realized that I was actually in love with my former best friend.

I think she had to know that, which makes it feel even worse how little she cares about me. She was always extremely clear that she didn’t have feelings “like that” for me, so she certainly didn’t lead me on.

Instead I think she knew full well how much I loved her and she took advantage of that. I actually think that’s much worse.

But at least now I know why I had such a hard time getting over her.

Potential opportunities and choices

So I finally heard back to reschedule my interview for that work from home customer service job. I actually do really want to get it and want to do everything I can to get through training.

However, I also heard about a great part-time job opportunity for Dylan. It would pay $15 an hour, which is the minimum wage he wants to work for. It would also only be 15 hours a week so it would still leave him plenty of time for other activities like studying. It’s also a pretty chill job—it’s just hanging out with unschooled kids. The job description was basically that they want someone who’s comfortable with LGBT kids and said that they would have to play games of MarioKart or agree to get makeup put on them, which is stuff that he already does.

BUT if he were to get that job and I get mine, I would not be able to drive him there. (I really, really need him to start driving ASAP.)

Maybe I could ask Sav’s dad if he could drive him there and pick him up. He might do it. Of course, Dyl would have to pay him for the gas, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

Chloe finally started working at Starbucks this week, too. So we’re all deep in big transitions (or they might be on the horizon soon) and it makes me feel hopeful.

I’m also making a lot of progress on cleaning my bedroom, bathroom, and closet. I’m actually getting rid of or selling a whole bunch of stuff. I have way too much of a lot of things.

I’m looking ahead to possibly living in an apartment maybe as soon as next year so that gives me a very good reason to downsize my things. I’m actually pretty excited by what I think my house will look like once I get this all done. I have some deep cleaning projects to do too and now I just feel like I want to get them done.

I have a bit of motivation coming back and I really couldn’t be happier about it.

Sleepy and unmotivated

I guess the subject line says it all but there’s a little more to it than that.

My mom mentioned trying to change my sleep schedule because she thought it might make me less depressed. It’s not working, presumably because she only saw the link between my sleep disorder and depression and assumed correlation = causation.

So now I’m going to bed much earlier but I still can’t wake up to an alarm. Instead I just end up sleeping for 15 hours. I feel vaguely disappointed because I know Amy was able to do it but I can’t seem to do the same.

Sleeping for 15 hours has a way of making you feel incredibly lazy, I might add. I’ve still met my article deadlines and have made major progress on cleaning my bedroom, bathroom, and closet. But it still doesn’t feel like enough.

I’ve got a hater now on my Medium articles, which I guess is a sign of my success (however small it may be.) But I have to admit that I don’t really like seeing new notifications and logging in, only to find out that it’s her again.

She doesn’t know me. She’s quite a bit older than me. And she’s shitting all over my perspectives, even on my older articles. I really don’t care if you don’t think women need feminism, if my gifted education was really all that good because supposedly all gifted people are equally talented at math (not true BTW) or even that your daughter has even fewer hours awake each day than I do.

I don’t care and I don’t have to prove anything to you or anyone else.

That said, though, my creative writing professor who was such a bully to me that I quit the program has been showing up in my “friends you might know” section on FB. I’m not going to add him but I am considering writing him a letter to his university email (and maybe CC’ing the department head) to tell him how negatively his class impacted me.

It wasn’t “constructive criticism”—I could have handled that. Instead it discouraged me from writing fiction at all for many years. I don’t forgive him for that.