Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Drawn and Quartered

Ever feel like life is pulling you in a thousand different directions? Ever feel like life presents you with so much stuff that you can't keep a handle on it all? Did you think I was going to give you advice? Too bad. All I can do is give you a knowing nod and go back to stressing about all the things I should do but haven't done.

I was recently made to feel bad about the fact that I don't work. The combination of being completely broke, hopelessly in debt, and not having any kids to take care of makes me feel like a useless lump of sludge that merely consumes and has no output. I considered going to CNA school again to help support the family while Chris is in nursing school. Just one little problem: Remember how I dropped out of art school? Yeah, I'm coming to terms with the fact that I had a panic attack. So now I'm a useless lump of sludge with no output that isn't right in the head. No wonder my self-esteem is in the toilet.

Today I dreamed that I went to visit my grandmother at her assisted living home. When I saw her, I cried--not because she has Alzheimer's but because I hadn't seen her in so long. I know she won't remember who I am when I finally do go, but that doesn't excuse me from going to see her.

Oh, and I should start exercising again. And I should do more to raise money for my NAMI Walk. And I should cook more. And I should clean. And I should pray more for my husband and my church. And I haven't made certain phone calls that I should. And I shouldn't begrudge having to take care of a friend who's disabled and mentally ill. And I should volunteer. And I haven't apologized to certain people for not fulfilling my obligations towards them. And I haven't gone to church in two months. And I spend more time with my family than I do with Chris's. And have I mentioned I'm a lousy wife? And I feel guilt when I don't want to adopt. And, and, and ...

Two Bible verses spring to mind:

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. 

I had a friend leave the world and go become a nun at a nearby monastery. (Oh, and add not visiting monasteries as another thing to feel guilty about.) Her parents were not happy, but she had to go and see if this was the life for her. I wonder about her and about the saints throughout the ages who've left the world behind. I don't perceive what she's done to be selfishness (Chris always says that the prayers of monastics may be the only thing holding the world together), but when I think about such a life for myself I can't help but think that it would be perceived as the height of laziness: What, all you do is pray? What about the poor? Why can't you take care of them? What good does praying all day do? I feel pulled in a thousand different directions, yet but one thing is needful. I want to take care of the homeless, the poor, foster children, my family, my pets. I want to bury my dead. And when I fall short of my own ideals, I feel useless. Maybe I have the wrong ideals.

It occurs to me that I'm very concerned about public perception. Humility is a high ideal in the Orthodox Church--one only achieved by humiliation. So I should be grateful that my joblessness became an issue. If staying at home, knitting and praying, and not having panic attacks is what God has called me to do, then I shouldn't be ashamed. Do I dare quote St. Theophan again (you probably have that excerpt memorized by now)?

I'll go visit my grandmother, and if anyone wants to take me to the monastery in Kemp in July after I get back from my parents' then by all means toss me in the car and take me there.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Oh yeah ...

... that's why we said we wouldn't adopt before!

It seems to me that buying adoption books is akin to most people buying a treadmill: Dust will be collected--or if it's my house, dogs will pee on things. But in the process of easing off some of my psychiatric meds, my anxiety skyrocketed (turns out those meds actually do things!). I began to get cold feet about adopting. Then things got worse: My anxiety was so bad that it began to depress me, and right now I'm in the throes of a depressed episode. With that, I'm remembering why we said we wouldn't adopt after the last adoption failed--I can't even take care of myself when I'm depressed, much less anyone else, and definitely much less anyone with special needs.

My meds make it hard for me to cry anymore, but I had a good crying spell and settled down to discuss the future with Chris. Chris wants to get through nursing school, get a job he actually likes for a change, and travel. I want to be a better aunt, be an artist (without art school!), and travel. Fortunately, we agree on some things! At this point I'd still kind of like to do respite care, and I do have my three sponsored children to care for, but anything permanent besides being married to my husband scares me right now.

Remember this quote from St. Theophan?
“Do whatever falls to your hands,in your circle and in your situation–and believe that this is and will be your true work;nothing more from you is expected.It is a great error to think that you mustundertake important and great labours,whether for heaven, or, as the progressives think,in order to make one’s contribution to humanity.That is not necessary at all. It is necessary onlyto do everything in accordance with the Lord’s commandments.Just exactly what is to be done? Nothing in particular,just that which presents itself to each oneaccording to the circumstances of his life,and which is demanded by the individual eventswith which each of us meets.”
I still don't know if adoption will ever happen--I greatly prefer that the Lord just plop things in my lap rather than me seeking situations out. I wish life was just a little bit easier to sort out. I also wish this depression would end. These things take time.

I'll keep the adoption books, just in case. But I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be Chandler & Chris, World Travelers, in the course of my life. Okay by me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Let the Training Begin!

First off, let's start with a picture of me:

That brown goat was eating my cardigan
I believe in Health at Every Size, but I'm still not exactly the picture of athleticism here. Far from it. But I just couldn't get motivated to do things besides sit on the couch and watch my husband play video games (and honestly, he couldn't get motivated to do things besides sit on the couch and play video games). Fortunately, I finally have some motivation ...


NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and twice yearly they have 5K walks to raise money and awareness. Since my life has been turned around by the treatment of my major depressive disorder, I'm very cool with raising cash for a mental health organization. Chris and my new-lease-on-life mom have agreed to join me--all the more motivation--so I took my first tiny walk this morning. 

The walk was not without challenges: I was extremely anxious, a problem that will easily be solved with time and aided by taking my Klonopin in the morning--and anyway it seems appropriate to manifest my mental illness while training for a mental illness walk. I also didn't bring any water, which is a bad idea in summer in Texas--lesson learned. Provided it's not raining as horribly tomorrow morning as it is right now, I think tomorrow will go much better. Otherwise it'll be half an hour on the excerbikel. 

It's probably tempting to make fun of me for actually training for a 5K walk when most people I know are training to run marathons, but hey, I'm doing something. The fat acceptance books I read tell me to do things now instead of waiting till I'm skinny to do it (unlikely anyway), so here I am, undertaking a tiny walk for mental health while I'm a hearty size 22. And I'll probably come in dead last, but that's fine by me. It's like when Chris and I climbed Enchanted Rock (a giant mound of granite in central Texas): We did it--nyah.

I still have to decide if we're doing the walk in October in Fort Worth or waiting until the one in Dallas in spring. I feel good enough right now to do October. Time will tell. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Favorite Feet

My favorite little girl Miss Lemon took the opportunity to show off her dainty feet for me some time ago. I just now got them off the point-and-shoot. Are those adorable tootsies or what?!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Adoption Books Are Not for Sissies

The book I'm reading right now prompted me to ask my husband last night, "Can I ask you a question that might make your brain explode?" After he obliged, I continued, "Is it worse to have an abortion or to drink and do drugs throughout the pregnancy?"

Chris attempted to get out of answering the question by suffocating himself under his own pillow, but finally he emerged and said, "They're both incredibly selfish things to do."

In order for you to ponder this miserable question in your own mind, you may want to consider that the pregnant person in question was proud of herself for not having an abortion. Like my husband, I'm stumped. But the whole world of adoption and foster care mystifies me. How could things go so wrong that the child's parents would treat them so badly? Why doesn't anyone in the extended family step up for the child? How can the majority of Americans turn a blind eye to what's happening throughout the country? And when is Christ returning, because I'm not sure it can get much worse than this?

I've been reading a lot of adoption memoirs just to get ramped up since it'll be a while before we actually adopt. In the last one I read, this happened:

1. One child is diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder, becomes violent, and has to be hospitalized.
2. Years later, two children turn out to be psychopaths, run away from home, turn the community against the family by claiming abuse, and end up completely severing ties with the family.
3. Another child reveals that the psychopaths molested him for five years.
4. The same child, cursed with the double-whammy of sexual abuse and a family history of mental illness, is diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia.
5. The same child also turns violent and has to be hospitalized.

Good fun read.

As dismal as it all is, it's a good thing not to go into this blindly. If I can get through these books and still want to adopt at the end of it, then I'm in denial, naive, or the biggest kind of idiot. Probably all three. But if you have no hope, why adopt at all?