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    the blues

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 11:45 AM [General]

    I have never been the kind of person that lets things get me down. Lately though, I have felt the most unbelievable amount of sadness and emotional pressure. Yes, I know that it is probably normal considering the fact that many things are on my proverbial plate at this time, but that is no consolation. When you feel like crying, you want it to stop and you want to be happy - you don't want to hear that it's normal, which tends to undermine your feelings that you are safe to feel that way. I guess it's good to know I'm not alone, but I always feel like I have to hold some back when showing them my true feelings, for fear that they will think I'm a horrible woman for being this angry and frustrated in my life.

     

    Without going into a lot of details here, the problems with my teenaged daughters have been most of the problems between my husband and I. Not all, but most. They tend not to believe that mom can't make a go of anything tough, which is not a bad thing to think about your mother when you're a kid. After all, most mothers are there for their families and CAN take a lot before they crumble. The thing that hurts is, lately I have been trying to let everyone know that mom is starting to crumble. I've conveyed those feelings and found a lot of apathy. Disbelief. Denial.

     

    My husband is going through chemotherapy following cancer. It's been a very sad, terrifying, difficult journey mixed with moments of temporary elation when we realize the treatment went well, and then the worry and dread of finding out bad news, then figuring out how to fix it - how to fix HIM. God knows I don't want to lose this man. He is the love of my life... my joy and the reason for it. It's been a good marriage of 18 years. Even the cancer has not been a totally difficult and negative experience. He jokingly refers to it as our latest Great Adventure. So much of what I love about this man ♥ has come through in his cancer treatment, but so much of what I am seeing and feeling from him when he's having a down day, I do not like, and take quite personally. We seem to be at odds so much more since his diagnosis.

     

    I'm unhappy today mostly because I feel taken for granted and taken advantage of. I have always been a nurturer with capable tendencies. I'm a good mom, I guess, or like to think I am, and I suppose I'm a good wife. The truth is, everyone needs me so much I have never stopped to wonder if I'm really GOOD at any of these things I do to take care of everyone. I'm puzzled by the fact that I never really get much praise for anything I do 'over and above' and I think that's why I have feelings of inadequacy now. Not that I don't know I'm capable. I do. I just wonder if I'm doing everything right and when I am emotionally overwrought I find it difficult to be a good nurturer. Sometimes I am tired of nurturing people that don't seem to appeciate or even see it for what it is.

     

    I sit sometimes in the bathtub and just cry buckets... letting it run down into the water, and sometimes I say terrible things about myself, my life and how I feel about those I love. Those are fleeting thoughts and feelings and I know it when I say it but I have to get that out or explode. Afterward, I feel so much better, I glow. It's a needed outlet that I let myself have when I need it. After I do my verbal pity pot, usually I thank my heavenly father for listening and realize he probably was up there shaking his head and rolling his eyes, knowing that I really don't have it together very well. But, that's why I need HIM.

     

    I don't have friends to talk to on a very deep personal level. I always pushed those kinds of friendships away. Why? I am just now beginning to figure that out... but that's for another blog. Right now I am wondering if I might benefit from letting people in a bit more. My unhappiness in my life is not really so much what I'm getting or not getting from my loved ones. I realize that. It's more what made me need what I am not getting, because I do. All the time. I invest so much that there is nothing left here inside me, to take care of the needs I have that aren't being met. I feel depleted, all the time. I feel unappreciated, bullied, disrespected, and most of all, I often feel like an outsider in my family.

     

    I fantasize at times about going away alone - just for a solitary retreat type trip. I can't do it, not anytime soon - but it's a wonderful fantasy. My life raising three daughters from divorce through shared long distance custody with my first husband and then two more daughters with my second and current husband who loves me of course but doesn't really let me know I'm doing a good job, means that I have never really felt like I was good at the job. I think that right now I am struggling with a need to move on from caregiver at home - because I feel that my children are now raised (my youngest two are 15 and 17) and I am not so needed here - to an outside job where my nurturing tendencies can be fully appreciated and put to good use. I am planning to go to school and get my degree in the nursing field, though not sure what specialized type.

     

    At my age, I have limitations, and my health issues make it somewhat scary for me to think of being on my feet for many hours. But I have to focus on something other than 'staying at home' and caring for my family members. You know, on the subject of caring for my family members... a pet peeve of mine is that I am always doing something for them. Always either cooking, cleaning, shopping, washing, packing, reminding, running errands, chauffering, etc. etc. and they have all come to expect it. I get tired, and when that happens, I get cranky. They don't like that. They want me to plug along and not show any signs of wearing down. Most of the time I get some sort of comment like, "well, I'm sorry... but I really, really need this done." 

     

    Then, when I am sitting on the moist heating pad letting my back spasms die down (I have them frequently due to a bulging disc in my spine from a few injuries involving stairs when we first moved into our home three years ago - the injury caused nerve damage that is very, very painful. The best I can do is rest it when it hurts. I do not want surgery), I need some things brought to me like drinks, or snacks, or baskets of clothing that is ready to fold so I can do something while I have to sit there. I get an attitude from the girls when I ask for these things.

     

    They have made it very obviously (mostly the youngest) that my problems are just that; mine. They have no interest in them, or what I am feeling or how I am hurting. On rare occasions I can get a back rub from my husband, and those are the best. Strangely though, most of the time I feel as if my health issues are passed off and actually become a point of contention. It's like they are angry at me for having difficulty, because I should be there for THEM, fit as a fiddle and raring to go. It's hard explaining to them that in a perfect world that would be the case, but even strong old mama can fall, get hurt and then be in a lot of pain and need down time. When I need it, I take it. I have to, or I will hurt worse. I don't know what this means to them, but I do know that they show me no sympathy at all - just anger at having to pick up the chore list and help out then.

     

    Part of this is teenaged attitude and difficulty with behavior. Part of this is me, close to menopause and so raw that I am easily offended. Another part of this is the fact that I compare the way I was with the way my daughters are. I would have always helped my mother every time she needed me. I never would have acted like it was an inconvenience making her comfortable if she was injured or sick. It just really rubs me the wrong way to be treated that way when I have invested so many of my years taking good care of them through everything they have encountered. Yes, their age comes into play but mostly it is just they are different kids from me, because even at their ages I wasn't like that with mom.

     

    Another part is the cancer is difficult, and I'm expected to be there for him all the time. On a really bad night, I don't begrudge him anything he needs, even in the middle of the night. Chemo can be very difficult. I have great sympathy for him at those times and through all of it, really. It's just hard on me being the only one. His family doesn't come and offer to be his gopher for a night so I can grab my purse and go to a movie. They rarely even call. I know they love him very much, so this just tells me that they are assuming that I am doing just fine. Sometimes I'm really, really not doing fine. Taking over for me for a while, accompanying him on one of his 3-4 hour chemotherapy sessions, picking up some food or some prescriptions we need, or sitting to talk with him for a while would be a Godsend, but I can't ask them to do that. Actually, our neighbors have been more attentive and helpful.

     

    I'd love to be able to go and browse the antique mall for 2, 3 or 4 hours without my cell phone ringing repeatedly with demands that I hurry home so someone can do something or have something I am required to make it happen. If that's not bad enough, I cannot even go into the bathroom and finish one small, personal task without a knock at the door (usually after they tried to open the door first without even knocking) wanting MOM. I get frustrated. It seems that they cannot do anything without me, yet they treat me with such superficial esteem, I have a hard time feeling the love.  

     

    Is it normal to be in a point in my life when I feel like my family and their problems are literally eating me alive? Am I being selfish by feeling sorry for myself when I feel as if my turn never comes to be cared for, or at the very least, to have someone really see and remember what I have done and thank me sincerely?

     

    I have never known any other life other than caring for people. I've been a stay at home mom always, except a few times when I had part time jobs when my babies were little, to help out. I never wanted to work as a career, until now. I find my life so much less satisfying now and like I am spinning my wheels. I know it's not going to be easy to go back to school at my age and succeed, then go to work full time. People say, "be careful what you wish for," but in this case, I think it's necessary. I'm just not sure what my future holds, and the cancer has literally destroyed our finances, our credit and any chance of retirement. Going to work for a decade or so would help save at least some of that, and it would give me something I would love to do and could work towards, with respect and admiration. That's something I need that I am definitely NOT getting here at home.

     

    Thanks for reading. I know it was long but this was my first blog, and it felt really, really good to write it. I'm new here and don't have any 'friends' but would really like advice about my feelings - though not necessarily a pat on the head to reassure me that all is going to be fine. I'd love to have thoughts of substance as far as how I can replace a feeling of inadequacy with one of capability and not be so sensitive about being used and played all the time by people that I know really don't need me for half of what I do for them. I just can't seem to say no, and it's causing a lot of angry feelings. I don't like being angry.

    Judith

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