Words with a friend

What follows is a text conversation I had with my friend tonight. Since it contains some of the details about what has been going on for me recently, I thought I would share it here.

I’m also sharing it because I’m feeling frustrated, invalidated and hurt. It seems that sharing how I feel and what I’m going through only receives validation, encouragement and hope from total strangers who seem to offer more support and understanding than the people I know and love in my life. So, thank you all.

My friend

I am surprised that is your only question

Me
I have not been online much or in communication with basically anyone so I don’t know what questions need to be asked

Friend

Oh. Ok. I have noticed that you are not communicating at all.

Me
It isn’t personal, I am just dealing with a lot of different things and don’t really feel like discussing or debating. Mostly because it’s same old stuff and compared to what I know you and others are dealing with, I don’t want to come off as whiny, wimpy or whatever. I’m irritable, edgy & having difficulty focusing and know I’m being a lousy friend, but I’m really just at the edge of my capacity to cope.

Friend

Do you think it might be time to find a new way to do things and deal with things?

Me
I think if I had insurance and access to treatment I could do that but I don’t. I’m also very much immersed in getting Luna engaged in services and trying to be as supportive and helpful with Jerry looking for work & trying not to go mentally/emotionally comatose over the fact that he has no job. There are no savings and no income. So trying to find new solutions to old problems isn’t on the top of my to do list.

Friend sends picture of surgical wound that looks icky & painful.

Me
That doesn’t look good. I’m sorry.

Whenever I sneeze I feel like my lower back is shattering glass, like my left leg is going to collapse & my bladder is going to fail. I can’t sleep more than an hour or two at a time and falling asleep only happens after total mental exhaustion hits.

Friend

Is Jerry able to get unemployment?

Me
He’s applied. It will take time and if he does get it it will only be $122/wk

Friend

That is better than nothing

Me
That’s true but less than $530/mo to live on.

Friend

I don’t know what to say.

Me
I don’t expect you to say anything. Shit happens and it sucks. This is why I haven’t been in touch with anyone really. Life’s hard for everyone and nobody needs my crap weighing them down, even if I had the energy to put it all out there. I can’t imagine going through what you are [recovering from Stage IV breast cancer, double mastectomy, radiation, chemo & reconstructive surgery with severe diabetea] and having me update you with all this stuff. I don’t want to listen to me or talk about all this, but it’s all I have going on. I feel overwhelmingly useless to you, myself or anyone else. I think you need positive, healthy & functional people in your life and I don’t think you should be concerned with taking care of anyone except you.

Friend

Thank you

Me
For what?

Friend

I keep hoping you will become a positive, healthy functional person. Thank you for saying that.

Me
You’re welcome.

The fact of the matter is that I need treatment medically & professionally for the issues I have. Contrary to what so many seem to think and believe I am not choosing to be this way. The fact that I am still getting up and getting out of bed each day, following through on the things I do follow through on and staying focused on certain promises and commitments is huge for me to be able to do on my own without the supports I need.

I’m tired of basically having everyone I care about look at me, talk to me and treat me like I’m not doing enough and that if I would just … I could heal myself. But because it’s mental illness & an invisible illness, even people who think they are being supportive tend to treat me, and others like me, as though I am just too lazy or stubborn or unwilling to make the necessary changes.

Friend

Like I said maybe its time to do things differently

Me
Believe it or not I have tried and I am trying. But there is only so much I can do. I am currently engaged with Head Start, the VOA Family Relief Nursery, and Morrison Center to ensure Luna has the services she needs. Early Intervention has evaluated and referred her for supportive services for speech articulation and developmental delays in her adaptation & social/emotional areas. So I’m waiting for an Individual education plan to be developed & instituted by MESD.

In the meantime we’ve done the paperwork to apply for unemployment and public assistance if UI doesn’t kick in. I’m going to be supporting Jerry in his work search efforts and we are participating in a parenting class through the VOA. There is something scheduled every day.

No services that I need are available for zero cost and there is no money for sliding scale fees. I can’t go through the grocery store without being in tears at some point. I have been writing some to help cope but being in any position for any amount of time is difficult and my concentration is shot. I don’t have anything else to do differently at this point.

End of text messages.

I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got and in the situation I’m in. Even though I often feel like a hopeless failure, I know that isn’t true and I’m doing better in many ways even if I can’t feel it or recognize it in the moment. I’m sorry that it isn’t enough for others in my life.

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13 comments

  1. I have gone back and look at what portions of text I received. I only recieved 15% of what you are showing as being sent by you. I have been showing your blog to lits of people and asking for opinions. It has been very interesting and eye opening. Once I can get to an actual desktop computer I will be able to be more specific.

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    1. I’m glad you have taken the time to read through this and let me know that my interpretation and assumption that you had received all my texts to you was wrong. Having that knowledge definitely alters my understanding of what happened in this conversation. I realize that because I didn’t follow up with you to confirm and clarify that I contributed and amplified a problem that may not have existed. Because you have been a good friend and have been communicating with me about this, I have been able to recognize some of what I did and have been doing in the relationship and communication problems between you and I as well as myself and others.

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  2. I only received about half of the messages that you sent. For some reason when we are texting I am not receiving everything you are sending. My intention was never to be mean or unsupportive.

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    1. Thank you, I appreciate that and I know you are always acting out of a place of caring. It’s just difficult for me to separate that knowledge Fromm emotional and psychological responses, especially during high stress moments, and because of how your messages come across. You have always tried to be there for me and I appreciate that. I also know that I have closed a lot of myself off from you and others.

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  3. I sympathize. Sometimes all you can do is just keep going. *hugs*

    In the meantime, I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. I know it’s silly and frivolous, but I thought perhaps you could use something silly and frivolous to think about, if only for a while. 🙂

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  4. This is some of the barest, potent writing you’ve ever done. I truly understand the way that vanished income can crush ‘hope’ like little else. But that being said, it does get better. You are right to dismiss the slings and arrows of those who, not being you, have their own armchair quarterback opinions. You are dedicated to your child (and Jerry) with what you do have; namely You. There’s never been a “You” like you in the history of the world. There’s also a reason why flight attendants speak to putting your own oxygen mask first (if you’re traveling with children or those who may need assistance). You’re not in a position to help if you aren’t squared away first. I’m glad to hear you’re doing the paperwork to access a social safety net instead of sitting in your chair wailing about the ‘woe is me’. But sometimes, woe is us. Enduring poverty is a horrific gauntlet for anyone to walk (I know of what I speak). I KNOW how dried up cash flow can warp the simplest thoughts. I also know that you are worthy. Doing ‘routine’ while grasping for how to be different is a mammoth struggle, but it’s your struggle and you’re letting us in to see it. That my Friend, is a quiet and powerful display of your Courage. If others can’t see what you articulated about knowing what “isn’t true and I’m doing better in many ways even if I can’t feel it or recognize it in the moment”, that’s for them to process — not you. Not your problem. You’ve got enough to carry that is/are ‘your problems’ so I encourage you to get (and stay) picky about what you spend your time doing (and thinking). 15-seconds at a time; one minute at a time…one hour at a time…one silent and tortured prayer at a time and this time, will at one point, be behind you. It happens. It has happened for me. It will happen for you. Why? Because that’s what each of us is asking for on your behalf…because that’s what you’re expecting of yourself. Powerful. Please don’t shut down (even when it feels like you’ve got no power left)…support and assistance are simply slow sometimes to realize you need their help. Stay true and they’ll make their way to your doorstep. I believe. I believe in You. Dan

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    1. Dan,
      Thank you so much for being one of my biggest cheerleaders as I’m on this journey. Having met you and being able to read your blog and receive your feedback has been very instrumental in my ability to keep coming here and posting, especially after my periods of absence and inertia. You are a blessing to me. Thank you for believing in me and believing for me when my own belief feels like diminishing smoke.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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      1. Wow! I’m gratified at what you say, but hey, no pressure, right? Sheeesh. But apart from the sheepish color racing to my cheeks, you’re welcome. Wild how we all get there together…even when the paths are not the same. So very fine. Good stuff. Dan

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  5. From a friend to a friend, just keep doing what you are doing Honey. Sometimes just getting out of bed and putting one step in front of the other is all we can do. It is enough my heart is with you always whether we communicate every day is not important I understand as you do that we all have stuff going on. Whether we live across the road from one another or a thousands of miles apart is irrelevant. Friendship is friendship and love is universal and cannot be measured, compared or equated. I love you remember that and I send you healing. keep doing what you are doing it is enough.
    Your friend
    Tina

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