Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting off the Couch

The past few weeks I have been in a pretty low spot - despondent, unmotivated, overwhelmed. I was able to ride on the high needed to get through the sale of the house and my move but then I just kind of crashed. It became too much of an effort to shop and then cook for dinners, so we had more fast food meals than is healthy. Some days, when I was off from work, I just sat in the apartment rather than unpack or work at the storage shed. Other days, I went back to bed after the boys went to school and stayed there all morning. I could get through the bare minimum of what needed to be done and that is about all. The past month has reminded me a lot of those early weeks and months after my husband first died. I'd be exhausted and go to bed early but be unable to sleep. So I would read and end up falling to sleep fitfully with all the lights on and my face unwashed and teeth unbrushed. I'd awaken at 3:00 a.m. and just lie there, unable to even roll over and turn off the light. I've had numerous nights like that over the past month.

I guess there is truth to the fact that new losses reactivate old losses. There has been tremendous anguish over having to move from our home and I have found myself still struggling with feelings of pain from the divorce. In a way my emotional upset has immobilized me. I am grieving the loss of my home, the end of my marriage, the end of the life I had with my first husband which was symbolized by our home.

I am aware of all of this - kind of like a person standing outside of myself and observing. I've been doing some reading on optimism vs. negativity and hope. I want to try and move past this and feel less broken. Part of it is up to me. I am motivated to prepare healthier meals for us (especially since Swine Flu is running rampant here). It will take some effort but I am game. Some of the shift is due to my accepting my situation with greater grace. I am feeling less of a failure for having had to move. I continue to hear stories of many people from all walks of life struggling right now, having to downsize or losing their homes. I've done the best I can as a mom who has dealt with the death of a spouse, being divorced by another and then having the Recession hit all within a five-year period. Believe me, since my husband's death we have been struggling to make ends meet - I wasn't out buying clothes or cars or going on vacations. I was just a middle-class, middle-aged mom doing the best I could to survive and raise my sons on my own.

So with that acceptance has come some peace. And the depression has lifted. And I am making an effort to be more positive and hopeful. And I am starting to do more. And even though there isn't enough time in the day, I am doing as much as I can with the time I have and that is about the best anyone can do.

Today I am grateful:

1. For pumpkins.
2. For my job - it saved me from staying in bed all day on some days.
3. For picnic baskets (what made me think of this I don't know but they're pretty cool even though summer had ended).
4. For the scarf look everyone is wearing these days - the long, skinny scarves wrapped a couple of times around your neck.
5. For the smell of Noxema skin cream/cleanser.


  1. Depression is a mean and nasty thing and even though you know you're in the middle of it, I never could seem to do much about it. So much easier just to go back to bed and sleep.

    You are doing the best you can and that is what really matters. At least you aren't living in your car or a shelter--you've done a good job keeping your boys on an even keel. It's just so damn hard isn't it?

    I could tell you to keep on, keeping on, that things will get better someday, but those platitudes aren't going to help--even though they are true. People used to say the same things to me and I wanted to slap them--as it is, and it took quite a bit of time, the platitudes did come true. Life now isn't perfect, but at least I have enough to pay the rent and buy some food and a few extras.

    You are doing a good job--and I am glad you can at least see a few things to be grateful for. Inch by inch...

  2. Every loss does recall every other loss. You're doing a great job under difficult circumstances! I'm sure with teens no one tells you that, at least the blogosphere is here for you.

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop on the many, many things going on in your life.



  3. Thanks so much Jude and Supa for kindness, recognition and acknowledgment. Life really would be close to perfect if there was enough money to pay the bills and have a little left for extras. That is where I hope to restore myself some day.

  4. you keep slogging on and that is a truth about you. we are always stronger than we know or feel. just went it looks like we can't take on anymore, one tiny thing goes our way, even if we have to make it ourselves. you're determination to find something to be grateful for is your rope woven from your own will to survive. i pray ease comes for you. (if i missed your writing of a decision forgive me but ....) i pray a decision about your guy friend gives you and your sons peace. you are not a failure for playing the hand dealt to you. you are protecting your sons and giving them the best home and the best part of you that you can. i will not let you call yourself a failure without presenting an opposing argument.

    take care of yourself. be kind to yourself. with the responses above, you are watched over. people care.

  5. I thought I was the only one who was standing in the middle of depression and realizing it. Like a ghost watching my own life. Everything you wrote rang such a bell.

    I have to agree with you and everyone else, even the smallest of recent losses can trigger depression and revisiting all of the other losses. Let alone the HUGE losses you have experienced of late.

    I wanted to share something with you. A year after my husband died I lost our house to foreclosure. Without any insurance and the loss of his income there was no way I could hold on to it. The market was so bad that selling was not going to happen. The words 'short sale' hadn't even come into existence in my market at that time. I happened to live in the number one foreclosure market in the US at the time. So I know what you are feeling. What I did will probably make some of you laugh but I went out and rented, at a fraction of the cost of my mortgage, THE EXACT SAME HOUSE. I moved everything into it and put it all right back in the same place it was in at our house. That lasted for 2 years until the owner of that house lost it to foreclosure. In July of this year I had to move again and this time into a different house. It was so hard. I finally got everything put away by the end of August and in Sept came my husband's birthday. UGH. I've been in a downward spiral ever since. I do manage to get up and go to work but that's about it. Home and straight to bed. The weekends I don't even bother to get out of bed sometimes. I know I shouldn't do it but I just can't help it sometimes.

    After reading your blog entry I know it's up to me to turn this around. Thank you for inspiring me to at least attempt it. It's so good to know I'm not alone in these feelings.

  6. wNs - I hope things are better for you. I am still considering my options and what will be the best for all of us. The boys are less than keen on moving at this point in their HS careers. I'll keep everyone posted.

    Kelly - I am certainly sorry about all that you have gone through. The loss of the marital home after the death of a spouse is no small matter. The situation in our country with the foreclosures and unemployment is crazy. To have to deal with the crappy financial stuff on top of the grief/loss sure pushes the envelope for us, doesn't it!

    Try to hang in there and thank you for sharing your story. It makes me feel less alone and sends courage and inspiration my way too.