So it’s a new day. I’ve been trying to wean myself off the night meds by slowly tapering off in the hope that it’ll leave me feeling less drugged up the next morning and less dependent on all this medication. Ideally, I’d only like to be on two at most, and of course eventually completely off them but it’s a process I can’t rush. I’m supposed to consult my psychiatrist before I start to taper off anything in order not to risk withdrawal symptoms and a setback in recovery, but these particular meds were prescribed to me on a low dosage, to begin with, and I am careful. I don’t recommend doing so of course because it’s dangerous though I acknowledge the hypocrisy of me saying that. Still, don’t do it. I’m doing it at my own risk. So it’s 9 in the morning now, and since I opted out of last night’s meds after tapering them down to almost nothing in the last few weeks, I didn’t have the most restful of nights. Still, I was determined not to take them even though every fiber of my being seemed to long for me to do so. It took a few more hours but eventually, I tired myself out and up and out the door I went to start the day at mass. I still wake up slightly afraid for how the day is going to unfold. It boggles my mind to remember how I used to plan my days weeks and even months in advance, and now I can barely think about the next day because I’m just focused on getting through this one. Anyway, I’ve come back quickly because I’ve to be out the door in a couple of hours again to make my way to college to meet a classmate and start working on another project due next week. I’m still getting used to traveling on my own again, but I’m making note of the small victories I accomplish each day. I should dedicate another post on that later, perhaps it’ll give me more confidence to reflect on my progress. So I’ve a decent hour left before I head out again and the morning itself wasn’t so bad. I let Rue, my cat, out for his morning stroll, or sprint – the cat just darts off all over the place eager to see and experience as much as he can before I tackle him and bring him back in (he doesn’t come easy – extremely reluctant). Well, I say let him but he just charged out as soon as I unlocked the door. In a way, it’s good for him as it is for me, to see him dashing around catching butterflies and just rolling around in the grass. Also, he forces me to exercise by chasing after him and crawling over and under my neighbor’s makeshift fence whenever he decides to infiltrate their field and farm.
(Rue basking in his newfound freedom)
(Rue sneaking into the neighbor’s…yet again)
Though I must say it’s a wonder I haven’t been at least called out or reported for trespassing just yet. I’m hoping that won’t happen, though. The old lady’s been nice thus far what with offering us some of her produce and making polite conversation every now and then, but I’ve seen how she gets when the cows decide to break down her fence and munch on her grass, and it took me aback. She looks frail but that woman’s got a lot more gusto in her than it would appear. I saw her charge after the whole herd, attempting to whack them with her hoe (the tool!) and hurl rocks at them while screaming profanities. She wasn’t satisfied until they could no longer be seen except in the distance and even then, she decided to vent what was left of her rage on the ground beneath her. It’s good I’m quick on my feet, I think to myself. As soon as I see he’s in, I hurriedly get down on all fours, scurry under, grab the cat and go. I’ve enough of a storm to deal with in my head, I could do without the wrath of an old woman, thank you. They’re not to be underestimated, I’ve learned. Rue’s a bit of a rascal, but he’s a lovable one so I find it hard to fault him. My dad just shakes his head whenever I give the cat leeway. He thinks I’m way too soft on him, but what can I say? I’m not meant to be a disciplinarian. So I’ve realized now I’ve spent the better of my post talking about my cat and the occasionally raging but kind (I note the contradiction) old woman next door but it’s what popped up, and I’m thankful for regular thoughts like this. My therapist insists that I stop using the word “normal” whenever I say that’s what I want to revert back to, but it’s difficult when I just don’t feel that way. Which is why I make time every now and then to watch up on a Ted Talk on mental illness to make me feel less alone in all of this. Of course the disheartening part of it is knowing that it may not entirely go away, especially in the case of pure O, and that the best I can expect is to manage and be in control of it. I’ll take it. Beats being controlled in turn, as it had done. Shivers. Yeah, I definitely need to spend some time making note of my small victories so my mind can drift to them and not simply all the horror that has transpassed and occasionally creeps in every now and then. I listen to Christian motivation videos each day to keep me alert and ready to take on the day. Right, I should probably make a move on getting ready. I’m going to have a great day today. I’ll do all the good things I want to do today. I hear my mother’s voice echo in my head as I start to prepare myself to get going. It’s what she tells me to say to myself each and every day after she’s managed to convince me to get out of bed (though I’ve been doing pretty well myself with this lately!). Occasionally she’ll get me up to join her on the balcony for a stretch and encourage me to scream out that I’m a strong woman and that the power of God resides within me. This lady is one tough cookie. We’ve always had a complicated relationship but I’ve come to admire and respect her deeply in the last few weeks. Her belief in me and her unfaltering inner strength is inspiring though she can still be kind of nuts every now and then when it comes to my dad (with all due respect to you, mom). I’ve come to learn a lot more about my family in the last few months, my parents in particular. A lot of things have come unearthed. Some things I wished I hadn’t known but it all kind of make sense how we’ve all turned out the way we have. Not that I’m blaming anyone, the past is the past. But it’s helped me understand them as much as myself, more. One of these days, they’ll go to counseling together after my constant insistence (and that of my therapist and psych’s) that they should, not just for themselves but so they can better cope with what’s happening with me. If they keep their word, that day will be next Friday. I’m rather interested to see how that goes. I don’t think I’ve ever known them to ever communicate with each other without hostility or some tension between them. The majority of the time, they don’t bother with speaking at all. Of course, recent events have mandated that they work together to support me so hey, good things come out of this too! I’m far closer to my family than ever before. Especially my mother. She’s been a lot more open about her past than she previously had been. It make sense that she’s the way she is, to be honest. She grew up in a military household, was the first of six children, and each time her dad had to go away he would bring her aside and tell her that since she was the eldest she’d have to look over the family and support her mother. He’d do as she did with me and bring her out to scream at the top of her lungs that she was a strong woman. She also finally told me the reason for her last divorce. Her last husband was a soldier as well and when he was away, had impregnated another woman. If it was just a mistress, I would have it slide, my mother told me. But to her, this was unforgivable. I would have stopped at mistress but there’s my mother for you. And maybe it wasn’t too out of the ordinary? I wouldn’t know. I don’t agree with it either way. Anyway, apparently he tried to come back and she wouldn’t have it. She got one of the guns in the house (she made a point of making it known that the one in her hand was superior to the one in his), and told me she shot at him, but missed. She wanted him to get lost, if the shooting didn’t already clarify that. As this was happening, his mother (who she said was kind because she acknowledged her son was wrong) had been begging and crying at her feet for her to please stop. He himself was hiding behind a tree. My mother tells me that the only thing that made her snap out of her rage was my step brother riding in on his tricycle. When she saw him, she quickly hid the gun behind her back. It kind of unsettled me to hear my mother recall this story cheerfully. She thought it was pretty funny, but she stopped laughing when she saw me staring with a concerned look on my face and told me that she knows what she did was bad, and that I shouldn’t do it (shoot at someone) before she continued on with her laughter. I laughed nervously in turn. I think I was right to be afraid of her growing up. I looked to my dad at this time, and could see that he looked particularly unnerved. Well, I can’t blame him. He’d just heard his wife reminisce shooting at her last husband and had received death threats from her himself in the past (though she assured us it was all bark and I believe her – though she still shouldn’t say it). After that, she said, she filed for divorce and that was that. But weren’t you afraid? That he’d come back? I asked. She scoffed at the suggestion as if to say he didn’t have the nerve to. I’m trailing off with my thoughts again, and whoops there goes the time, I’ll have to hurry if I’m to make it on time. I don’t like to rush but I always seem to need to. As this writing probably reflects again, I easily get caught up in what I’m doing or thinking. Oh, yeah, before I go, here’s the video I watched today. It helped me feel a little less alone. Surviving with a Mental Illness | Eric Walton | TEDxBoise