Tag Archive | depression

Grief

It’s been a long time since I posted here, but recent life events have made me want to start writing normally again about my life.

Sunday, February 12, one week before my 32nd birthday, I lost my father suddenly to a heart attack. He was 65. We hadn’t seen it coming.

I know he wasn’t in tip top shape – his doctor had been on him to reduce his sweets intake, which he had been doing for the most part – but we still never suspected something like this would claim his life. Mom pointed out that he’d been complaining of indigestion in the months leading up to it, and I can’t help but wonder if maybe it was something cardiovascular masquerading as stomach issues.

Going back to that day, my best friend and roommate, Lisa, and I had gone to eat lunch at a fast-casual Japanese place we’d never tried before en route to downtown St. Louis to catch a few more Porygon before the Valentine’s event ended. We had gone Pokemon hunting the day before with two of her coworkers and managed to catch quite a few, but wanting to make it to lunch in time with my parents had cut the day short and I found myself lacking about 16 candy that I wanted.

Though the restaurant was a little disappointing, we pulled out with our bellies full. My phone rang – it was my mom, and I answered with a cheerful hello. But there was panic in her voice.

“Katie, something happened to your dad. He collapsed in the garage… The paramedics have been working on him for a while but I don’t know..”

I immediately started to panic myself. Something twisted in the pit of my stomach. I asked her if I should come home, and she said yes, so, since I fortunately had not gotten back on the interstate yet, quickly changed lanes to head back home. It was about 15-20 from my location to my parents’ house, but that day the drive seemed to last hours.

The whole time, I was in tears, mumbling to myself. “Please be ok, please God be ok…” Beside me, Lisa reached over to pat my leg as I drove, trying to calm me so I wouldn’t drive erratically.

As I pulled onto their street, police cars, a fire truck, and an ambulance lined the side. I parked behind them, two houses down, and ran to the house – I left my purse and jacket in the car. As I got there, I ran up to the garage, where mom had said he had been.

There I saw him, laying on the ground, a white sheet on his torso. A police woman quickly ushered me away to the front porch (the garage is on the side of the house, not the front, so I couldn’t see what was going on) and had a paramedic talk to me.

They had pronounced him.

It was as though the ground was ripped out from under my feet.

It hurt, so much. I immediately went to my mom and held her, both of us crying. Lisa hugged us as well and cried with us, since he was like a second father to her. We saw my parents almost every day, from running errands with them to eating dinner to going to sporting events with my dad.

The rest of the day is a messy blur of tears. My brother and half-sister showed up, just as shocked as us. The funeral home came and took him away. They set up a meeting for the following day. I got the story from mom of what happened…

They had just returned home from eating lunch. Dad hadn’t even gone inside; he wanted to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to cut down some branches from the pine tree in front that were damaged in an ice storm the month before. Mom had gone inside and was laying down. After a bit, her phone rang. It was my dad, and she could tell something was wrong. “I need you…” he said. She asked where he was. In the garage. So she ran out, phone in hand, and found him laying on the ground. He reached up for her, she took his hand, and he passed out.

She fumbled with her phone to call 911 and tried her best to do CPR while waiting on the ambulance. She said it took about 5 minutes for them to arrive, but it felt like ages. I know she blames herself for not calling fast enough, for not doing CPR right, but honestly, from what she said, it was likely too late already.

The firemen cut down the branch for us before departing.

The last week and a half have felt like an eternity. We had the stress of planning a funeral with no idea what to do, of figuring out where we go from here. Mom hasn’t been working; dad was providing and wanted to work a few more years before retirement so he could “pay off his toys”. We’re trying to figure out how soon she can get payouts, if she’ll be able to keep the house, and whether or not she’ll be forced to go back to work. This is all outside our comfort zones, and we feel like fish out of water – never mind not even having the time to properly grieve my father’s loss.

In addition to gathering photos for the visitation and writing my dad’s eulogy, my mom’s brother, whom I hadn’t seen in years, flew in for the funeral and stayed at my house. Even though I took a week off school and work, I barely had any rest. I had to wake early on my birthday to take my uncle to the airport, and the day passed with a whimper – not even a cake (which I did get, though a few days late).

Even returning to school and work has been hard. I missed a math test that I had to make up. I had to cram two weeks of homework into just a few days. At work, once again, my coworkers neglected my birthday (it’s custom to pass around a birthday card for all to sign, but not once since I began working here have I received one). I did receive two sympathy cards, though, and just reading them made me start to tear up again.

Despite the stress, my dad has been laid to rest in a national cemetery. He was a 20 year Army retiree and veteran, so he received a spot to rest, overlooking the Mississippi river, along with military honors – Army pallbearers, presentation of the flag to my mother, a rifle volley, and the playing of taps. All in all, it was lovely, but it still doesn’t feel right.

My dad was one of my best friends.

We shared many hobbies. Photography, astronomy, hockey, technology, just to name a few. We spent lots of time together. I ate with my parents nearly daily, and I was always happy to run them around or just provide company if they needed me. My dad would always message me on Google talk first thing in the morning – usually to report on that morning’s cat antics.

He was a smart man, a silently caring man, one who was always there to bail me out of trouble if I needed him. He never forgot a birthday or anniversary. He loved to learn, and loved to share his knowledge. He was opinionated, but wouldn’t force his opinions on others. He was kind. He was funny. He was the best dad I could ask for, and I miss him more than I could ever put into words.

I want to try to document my fondest memories with him before they start to fade. Like going to the Winter Classic in January, the first one ever in St. Louis. Of going to many hockey games, particularly this year, when we bought a 12-game pack to see the Blues play. Of going to take photos together. Of going to look at the stars together.

It hurts, and it probably will for a long time. I still expect him to message me any minute. I even had a moment of wanting to tell him about NASA’s planetary discovery yesterday, only to despair when I remembered that he’s not there.

I’m terrible with grief. I’ve really only lost my grandparents – my mom’s parents were gone before I was even born, and though I have lost both of my dad’s parents, they lived out in Arizona for most of my life, so I never was super close to them. I cried a little when they died, but it didn’t feel like a knife to the chest or a kick in the gut the way this does. I don’t really know how to process a loss this close to home.

To my friends – please forgive me if I’m not quite right for a while.

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I miss you, daddy. You were awesome.

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What a difference two months can make

My life is on an upswing.

I had thought that the job opening I applied for within the company would go to another coworker, as she had already had an interview while I had yet to even receive a call back. I brought up to my boss that I had applied as well, and he mentioned it to the powers that be when he had an opening. Within the week I had my first phone interview, then after another week or so of waiting, got set up with a call with the man in charge of the position.

Phone interview on a Friday, and Monday I was called to say he would be in town the next day, along with a job offer.

Wait… what?

I hadn’t been expecting it to move so quickly, but as soon as I saw the number written on that piece of paper, I was in. A chance to do something new, get away from the dead end that was my position, and make more money.

It was a bit of a rocky transition, with my final day of the job I’d held for seven and a half years being rather anti-climatic (my boss wasn’t even there due to family medical issues), but I’m in the new position.

I celebrated by buying myself a Prius C and selling my Scion xA. I was able to use money from the Scion to pay the taxes and pay off some bills I had been way behind on, and I think that from now on, things will start to get better.

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I’m still unsure of this new position, as even the ones in charge don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing exactly… it’s the kind of job that will build as time goes on, but for now I’m in waiting mode, just trying to jump in where I’m able.

I had one business trip already for “training” (touring a printing plant, basically), and more are to come. I’m new to the world of business trips and business lunches… but it’s nice to be treated like more than just some flunky data entry employee.

Doing a little better in Calculus now, have my induction to Phi Theta Kappa next week. It’s a breath of fresh air to be getting recognition for my hard work.

I added one more AD to my mix, which I’m still adjusting to, so it’s too soon to tell if it’ll help, but based on the bouts of start-up depression I’ve been fighting, I’m realizing just how much my first AD is helping me. To think that I used to feel like that daily… no wonder it felt like things were falling down around me.

Here’s to a good end of 2014 and an even better 2015.

Summary of lately

1. My father shattered his shoulder about a week and a half before my moving date, rendering him unable to help
2. My father had shoulder replacement surgery the first day of the move, rendering my mom unable to help due to helping him out
3. Due to overtime at work/helping dad with things before his surgery/etc, we were no where near fully packed on moving day
4. Paid brother and a friend to move the furniture (thank god) but everything else was up to us. We are two weak-ish out of shape girls. Cue tears, exhaustion, and copious bruising
5. Still got out of the old place 2 hours late.
6. Started school immediately after move, so haven’t had time to fully unpack
7. OT at work has meant 1 day weekends, on which I am too tired to do much homework or unpack
8. Haven’t been sleeping enough lately due to life BS
9. Have been dealing with the worst breakout of my life
10. Have been having to seriously juggle finances, constantly flirting with overdrawing my account and praying that my phone doesn’t get shut off before I get my student loan refund to help pay the bill
11. I have a calculus test on Monday (which I’ve barely studied for), plus a chapter to read, quiz to take, and three page paper to write by Sunday for Politics
12. Despite being exhausted and having calculus tonight, my dad insists I come over to help him get 20 boxes of long, heavy porcelain tile from his truck to his house. Despite having a hand truck to help, it still took all my energy, since dad couldn’t help much due to his shoulder (why he didn’t ask my STRONG brother to help is beyond me)
13. He wants me to help mow the lawn tomorrow
14. I’m on the edge of losing it due to stress and worry
15. I’m out of vacation days at work so I can’t even take a damn day off

There you have it.

Getting help

Wow, I haven’t written here in longer than I thought. Sorry about that.

Early in the morning on May 19, I woke up at 4am and had a bit of a meltdown. Everything just hit me hard, and I ended up confessing how I’ve been feeling to my mom in a long email. It was kind of a slap in the face. I needed help, no matter what it cost me, or else things were probably going to end badly. That day I called and set up an appointment with my doctor (earliest was June 9th, so I took it). Just that step felt good.

Since then, my tuition reimbursement was approved by my company, so I was able to finally catch up on some bills. My roomie and I went apartment hunting and found a nice place, and she was able to get a small loan to pay off the rest of our bills and make all the deposits. We’re set to move in mid-August, which isn’t soon enough if you ask me. But the financial burden being lifted a bit helped me to justify spending money on seeing my doctor.

So last week was my appointment. After asking a bunch of questions, he started me on 60mg of Cymbalta (well, I’m on the generic, but w/e). It’s only been one week so I’m not positive if it’s working yet or not, but then again, I’m still working through the initial side effects. The first 48 hours were the worst – extremely dizzy, nauseous, bad headache, dilated pupils (which probably led to the headache), fatigue, trouble sleeping, bloating. Right now I’m just dealing with the occasional dizzy spell, occasional headaches, and semi-dilated pupils (though no where near as bad as that first morning). I’m yawning a bit more frequently, but that could be my cutting back on caffeine as well. My appetite has greatly diminished as well. Not craving bad stuff nearly as much, and what would normally fill me is too much now. That is a very good thing – I was eating way too much before. Oh, and my skin is starting to clear up (!)

So, we’ll see where this goes. It’s an expensive medication and it sucks that I need it, but if I can feel human again and have the passion for my hobbies that I once had, I think it’s worth it.

This blog is turning into an outlet for my depression, but I think that’s ok. Sometimes just writing things out helps me feel a little better, so I’ll try to keep it up. I used to use livejournal for this stuff but it seems everyone jumped ship, so I’ll use this.

I’ve never quite been in this situation before. I have multiple things overdue, a big hospital bill hanging over my head, and my depression took a nosedive over the last few years. Before then, I was still suffering, but it was manageable. Most nights I sit on the couch, uninterested in doing anything. I can’t find the motivation to do my homework or study, clean up around the house, play a video game, or even go out and do something. And then, when bedtime rolls around, I find that I’m exhausted and yet can’t fall asleep quickly, my mind racing with worries and doubts and negativity (or, I can, and then wake up after 15 minutes, unable to get back to sleep). When morning comes, I just want to sleep away the day, and have trouble getting up for work. My appetite is also way up. I’m snacking like crazy and I put back on the 10 or so pounds I lost last year. I’m about 20 lbs over where I was in 2011.

The biggest red light was when I went to Japan in October (before I really got into this current mess). I had a great time, but the entire trip I felt like I had a cloud over my head. Despite being with people I had longed to see, hanging out with old friends and crushes, I still couldn’t bring myself to feel like I deserved any of it. And my biggest disappointment of the trip, not getting to meet one person, came with a feeling of “well, I didn’t really deserve to meet him anyway”… yeah, definitely not a cool thing to think.

Even now, a good friend of mine in Niigata offered to help me visit Japan again if his shop turns a profit, and all I can think is that I don’t deserve that kind of kindness. I hate relying on others, or feeling like I owe them. I want to be self-sufficient, to be able to do things for myself without having to inconvenience others, and so this depression is really killing me in that respect. I need help but I’m too proud to seek it.

It’s funny how I can write freely about it here, yet when confronted directly, I say “I’m fine,” or I shrug off the question. I can’t seem to go to my mother and ask her for help dealing with this. I know she’s supportive of me, and she knows I have a history (I was on antidepressants as a teenager), but I still feel like I want her to think that I’m doing ok on my own. I don’t want her to think of me as a failure (which is dumb, I’m going back to school after 10 years so I can make something more of myself, I wouldn’t call that failing, yet I still see myself that way).

The biggest factor is my job. I’ve been with the same company for over seven years, yet in that time frame, my pay has only increased about $2.50 an hour… and I’m one of the lucky ones. My roommate and best friend, also at this job, has seen hers increase less than $1. After seven years. Our company went through two bankruptcies and was bought at the beginning of last year, but the new company still has yet to correct our pay ranges.  My job started out simple and stress free, but it’s grown exponentially more complicated, and I’ve taken on more responsibility (I’m doing essentially three jobs right now), and yet I can’t even get compensated for it. THAT makes me feel like a failure. THAT makes me feel like nothing I do matters. I want to run out the door and teach them a lesson, but I can’t even get the energy to update my resume….

But back to the depression… as for what I’m sure you’re thinking… “Why don’t you just go to the doctor?” Well, I have one answer: Money. I’m in that awkward place where in the United States, I make too much money to be eligible for low-income programs/benefits, and yet I don’t make enough to keep up with my own bills, yet alone have extra to pay for visits to the doctor/medications/etc. I know I’m not alone. This is the reason the middle class is eroding in this country. I know this is important, but how can I choose between treating my depression and keeping the lights on at home? I even tried for some depression clinical studies in the area, but one is no longer recruiting and the other is only recruiting people who are currently on antidepressants. Well… fuck.

So there we are. I’m sitting here praying people buy what I have on Craigslist/tumblr and hoping I can keep myself together enough to do well in school and get past this.

……

Depression caused me to ignore important things, like paying my bills.

Now, half of everything is overdue, I’m getting threats to disconnect services, and I don’t know how to climb out of this hole.

Which deepens the depression.

An endless cycle.

I really don’t know how to manage.