Saturday, April 18, 2020

A Decade Retrospective

When I look back at the past ten years, I am gob-smacked by the sheer intensity and  waves of stress and issues I had to deal with. 

Starting in 2010,  I lost 130 lbs.  I felt amazing. Yet at the same time, several things happened.  I had been going through perimenopause but didn’t know it;  my mother never went through it and I had no close aunts, grandmothers, older cousins, or older sisters  to learn from about it.  Suddenly I began to have  hormone swings like a teenager.  My libido skyrocketed even as my self-esteem plummeted.  This was already a Bad Thing  because I was in college with four kids, all of whom I was homeschooling and three of whom were teenagers going through their own hormonal angst.  Found out hubby is ADD.

2011 started with a bang;  my father’s second wife died and suddenly I had to take charge of him.  This father of whom I knew so little because once I became an adult and he remarried; he ignored me for the most part.  Thus began a whirlwind of stressful activity and responsibility for a man that was, I found, a selfish, often rude, grieving, lonely, asshole.

That year I traveled twice with my family and had my last period.  My husband and I moved my father 3 times.  The first time I stepped into his apartment, I wept because I had not been in any home of his  for more than 27  years.  Keeping my father from overdosing and harming himself was a huge and difficult task because I had to learn as I go that though he behaved like a toddler, he still had legal power.  I also learned that I could say no to him;  a difficult thing when it is your parent.

I lost what I thought was a close internet friend through their deliberate  subterfuge and gaslighting.  The grief was awful. 

In late 2011, I realized there was a name for what my mother and father did to me;   narcissistic personality.  I stopped all contact with my mother but still had to manage the care for my aggravating father.  Though my father gave me money to travel with my family, I felt guilty taking it because who takes money from a grieving, sick, disabled old man? 

2012 was still stressful because of my father, my weight creeping up, my menopause hormones, the changes in my libido and sex life, and my teenage kids.  My husband ended up in the hospital nearly bleeding to death and I had a 24+ hour brain black out called Transient Global Amnesia. My poor kids  went through a lot that year.  Still carried that guilt for letting my father help us financially.

Youngest and I were in an accident in the fall which caused them to be afraid;  I injured my right shoulder and it hurts still; even after religiously doing the physical therapy exercises.

2013 found me visiting my grandmother in order to bring her to visit my father, her only child.  He wanted her to come and she said she wanted to come so I flew out to her place to help her get ready to fly back with me and visit he son.   While there with her, I saw the neglect her local relatives had allowed her to live with and they came out and began questioning me as to what I was going to do with her. They were hostile to me.   

In the end, they and her local neighbors turned her against me to the point that she truly believed I was going to kidnap her.  I left deeply hurt and returned to find my father half believing her side of the events that happened.  When I told him what actually happened, he got depressed and even worse.  We had to move him yet again because people were not taking good care of him.  

Between that family betrayal and college and   homeschooling and teenagers, I managed to also take the family to visit New York but by this time, I had gained back 40 pounds and that weight made walking long distances hurt and depressed me.  This year we started teaching the twins how to drive. 

My youngest took an allergy medicine that caused  them to have horribly violent dreams and thoughts;  it was horrible for them  but once I stopped the meds, they got bettter.  

We got a new, black  kitten  but it was very sick and almost died. 

2014 saw me gaining  even more weight back despite my best efforts.  We had to move my father again but the new place was not any better than the last so after 2 weeks we moved him into a nursing home. 
At this point, he continued  harping about his money while at the same time pressuring me to let him help buy a house for me and my family.  I only relented when his social worker said he needed to do this to feel useful but the guilt ate me up.   So we looked for and bought house.  It is outside our local town,  in a more rural area that is more conservative but it was all we could afford.

In three weeks, we all ripped up carpets, laid flooring, painted all rooms and ceilings but the laundry room and pantry room. Fixed stuff, too. Then in one week,  we  packed and moved  the tons of stuff this family of six people with at least 2 packrats had accumulated in the 16 years of living in various homes in the town.  

By now, I had  zero interest in sex and my husband had less interest as well because he was over 60. I grieved my old self but also felt relief, too.

I started teaching my youngest daughter how to drive. This new home was just far enough outside  the town (6 to 11 miles) that no one had any interest in visiting me.  I was so happy  to finally own a home of our own and proud of all the work my family and I had done  but no one local  seemed  at all  interested in sharing my happiness. 

2015 started out badly as well.  First my grandmother died, then my father died 3 weeks later.  I had to fly back to do the probate for my grandmother and come home to take care of burying my father.  The stress was  horrendous;  I was still in school.

Our finances took an immediate turn for the worse;  for four years my father’s money and generosity with it had meant less worries  for all of us (though tons of guilt for me).  Now we were back to being  one car repair or house repair away from being broke and unable to pay our expenses.  

The older three kids were in college by now and had  been taught how to drive in the previous years; they began taking on student loan debt to pay for college and to help with household expenses.

 That fall, my husband’s father died and his sister treated him and all of us horribly at the funeral. 

My second born came out as transgender and  was really angry at me for  my issues with menopause and  his feelings that I was not the parent he wanted me to be.  He was constantly attacking me and it came out that he was (and had been ) bullying his siblings and was especially mean to the youngest sibling. 

I felt like my plate could not handle anything more;  I went into numb mode and just tried to keep going day to day.   I wondered why I had no grief over the  loss of my family members;  people would give me sympathy on the loss of my father and grandmother but little did they know I felt nothing but a partial relief at not having to manage my selfish father or worry about my religious grandmother. I inherited her money and it paid the bills for several months; not enough money to do much else. 

2016  saw my husband’s mother’s death in April;   his sister again treated all of us horribly and then we had to fight her legally to get  his inheritance.  That fell mostly on me and I was still in school;  also got second oldest’s name changed and started using different pronouns for him. 

I finally graduated with a master’s degree but  felt like I learned little for all the debt I got into in order to support my family without having to leave my kids alone to fend for themselves.  

This year also brought attention to all the shit women have been living with forever;  it hit me hard because for most of my life I had just ignored it but the #metoo movement brought it out front and center.  Then Trump got elected president.  I was shattered. 

My brother finally asked about our  father and I could then tell him he had died;  father had begged me to promise not to tell him and would get very depressed when I refused  so I promised and kept that promise.  Brother got really angry;  unjustified because he never asked about our father or cared  about his health or called him. So it was good riddance to him;  he and I were  ever at odds because of our mother’s narcissistic  triangulation.

2017 I had another episode of TGA but it was shorter.  Oldest son had to have his gallbladder out in ER surgery.  Trump assaults on all of us  just kept coming.

People I had been kind to figuratively stabbed me right in the face so I dropped most  local friends and curled up, cried a lot,  and became a recluse. 
Inheritance came in so we added a room so all the kids now have their own room.  

Isolation became my life;  my youngest  had zero interest in the local homeschool group because they were all little kids and my youngest was a teenager.  They broke up with their two  local teen friends because those friends began being rude and racist and homophobic.  So we  went nowhere. 

2018  my youngest  began having  psychological problems with  urinating.  Several ER and doctor visits  and  having an ER catheter found nothing.  They now cannot travel  long distances because of this issue.  They even have problems at home if they feel the least pressure to be somewhere or to be done in the bathroom because others need to use it.  My stress level just kept climbing.  We did take  them to Las Vegas to see their only remaining online friend and it was a worry for me the whole time.  The counseling in this town is shit.  So no way to get them help, either.

I did get my heart looked at and tested and everything was good.  Then in the fall, youngest and I lost Medicaid because husband made   a bit more money and they no longer counted any of the older kids against that income.  We couldn’t afford the ACA, either.  The older three kids  were able to get Medicaid  for themselves, husband  got Medicare the previous fall so  four of us had healthcare.

2018 elections  were good but still not enough to get rid of McConnell and GOP in the Senate.

2019  was  a year of just hanging on; dealing with Trump shit,  rising costs, adult kids being so angry about the school load, youngest’s  angst,  and my weight topping out at only  15 lbs less than  what I weighed before losing 130 lbs.  At the end of the year, I did manage to lose 15 lbs but it has not budged since.  

I hurt more now, have less energy, still feel isolated and  am wishing we could just move away from this place.  I live in the red-voting area  near  the town but even in the blue voting town I found  progressives to be just as mean, nasty, and unfriendly as the red ones.  Hubby and I cannot keep up with this enormous yard and the adult kids are too busy and too lazy to want to help.

Youngest came out as non-binary and changed pronouns to they/their/them.  

All my kids seem to  have some kind of mental issue now;  social anxiety, difficulty urinating, learning issues, ADD, ADhD,  anger issues. They also seem less resilient than  hubby and I were at their age (despite hubby and I  being raised in abusive homes) and still are.  Was hoping 2020 would be better but……

2020 my youngest turned 18.  Oldest 3 will finally  graduate from  college this spring.  And then corona virus hit.  I am watching civilization fall apart around me in troughs and waves. Warren dropped out.  Then Bernie dropped out.  The grasping, hoarding, greed is astounding to see.

I am now 60, officially an old person.  I look like shit, I feel like shit, and I feel stuck.  Older kids planned on working after graduating but that’s out.  Hubby  is at home teaching but what will happen in the fall;  will he be able to keep his job?  Will they reopen and put him and all of us  at risk or will he be allowed to teach from home?  

So we are AGAIN in stasis.  It has been this way for YEARS.  And we cannot move  until hubby has logged ten years in teaching here for his public service loan forgiveness so not until 2022 or 2023.  

Oldest son is chomping at the bit to move  to VA when  his friends move in June  but this virus won’t be gone then, it probably won’t be safe to do much until they find a treatment or a vaccine and neither will be done this year.  So he is unhappy; and being an extrovert means he needs people to be happy. 

We are all just trying to get through this last semester and then figure out what next.  Our van needs fixed;  probably the power steering but we can’t spend the money in case we may need it to live on in the fall nor are the  repair shops open and if they are, too risky to interact with people. 

God; just reading over this makes my head spin.  The stress levels we have endured are staggering. 

Were there good things in those 10 years?  Of course but the bad by far outnumbered the good.  Maybe the next post I will try to write the good things.  It  may be a lot  shorter post.