New job soon lost, Mom getting cancer, and me having an ovarian cyst, coupled with 7 months of unemployment -- and I'v only just recently crawled out from under the large rock I call home. Yes, I ran and hid.
October saw me and the rest of my phone cohorts moving downstairs to a new office, and a new company (as our call center dissolved & merged with another). With the move, I had a new employer, and a lot of different tasks (not all for which I'd gotten enough training, IMHO). My stress levels were high trying to do my best there, but went through the roof, when in mid-October, my Mom (in Michigan) was diagnosed with breast cancer. I actually had to go get meds to help me sleep, I was that worried (especially since I was 'on probation' for my new job, and absences during the first 6 months would cause me to 'not be kept.').
November saw my Mom undergoing 2 biopsies and a lumpectomy. Needless to say, my stress levels stayed high, as I could not visit her, and knew that my sister (who has 2 young boys) was the sole support person for Mom (as she was when my Dad was homeless). My sister is a trooper beyond measure, and I am forever grateful to her for the love and care she gave to Mom during that hard time. I tried to call a lot, and to 'be there' for her when I could, but there's not much a person can do from almost 2300 miles away. (Guilt was the hat I wore every day.) And of course, I called my Mom a LOT (as well as Jim, who is still in MI taking care of his elderly father).
In December, my Mom started radical chemotherapy, and lost her hair. All of it. I know that that was very difficult for her, as was the chemo, because she's been used to having a healthy, athletic body her whole life, and to being beautiful (she is still the most beautiful woman I know). It was harder on her, I think, to lose the ability to clean her house, and to go through the embarassment of having to wear a scarf or wig, and to not be able to go in public (due to her very weak immune system). She's not the semi-hermit that I am -- she needs people and action, and I think it was a difficult transition for her.
In December, Mom also developed a large clot in her blood vessel where they put her 'port', so she was on lots of blood thinners. And because she is stubborn (gee, no one who knows me would have guessed this, eh? /wrygrin), Mom continued to shovel and snow-blow her driveway. This was worrying for me and my sister, because with Mom, the slightest cut could have killed her, or she could have passed out in the snow, and no one would have seen her for a long time -- Mom lives alone, with a cat.)
December saw me having increasingly frequent stabbing pains in my R lower abdomen and back. They turned out to be from a 4cm x 4cm cyst on my remaining ovary (I think it misses the other one, and was trying to grow it back /wrygrin). I was out sick for about a week around the time that the cyst ruptured, due to being on painkillers and having to rest. Needless to say, that Christmas was not an easy one, but I am glad I had insurance and the cyst resolved quickly. And I was grateful that Mom was fighting hard, and being cared for lovingly.
On January 4, 2011, I was told that I "would not be kept" at the new call center, and I lost my job. And I'll admit it, after that, I stepped away from nearly everyone and went into a tailspin of my own. I'd hit my breaking point, and could not cope well, so I hid. For the first 3 weeks, I was not even sure I'd get unemployment, and lived on Food Stamps and my little bit of savings, and did not know what to do with the shame and fear. I stopped reading LJ, didn't get on Facebook much, and only Tweeted infrequently. I watched a LOT of TV, and did little else for the next half-year (again, trying to escape from the shame and fear). I applied for a lot of jobs, but didn't even get rejections back from about 80% of them, so that didn't help much.
I knew I was in the middle of a big depressive bout when I mentioned to a friend that I'd not listened to *any* music for several months. He replied that music was like breathing, and it really made me think: Wow.... me, not listening to music? That spoke volumes about where I was at, mentally and psychically.
Alot of the "crawling out from under the rock" changes have happened in the past month. I've done a great deal of cleaning and re-arranging, and can now sit in my room, at my desk, on the computer (I'm a clutterer by nature, but am working to change those habits). I realized that I'd fallen back into that old selfish, self-centered depression that sees only me and my own life. With the help of friends and loved ones, I got out, and reminded myself, once again, that everyone has problems, and that I could work through mine, too.
It was not that I didn't know how to nurture and care for myself, it was the fact that I'd lost the will to do it. I felt worthless and helpless, and allowed those feelings to convince me that I *was* worthless and helpless. Depression strips the joy from everything -- I even had computer games that I've been given or bought, that were unopened and unused. And normally, I *love* to game. But I couldn't even bring myself to install the games (which is rather easy). And I'd given up one of my best loves -- I had not read a book in 5 months.
I've pretty much crawled out, and am doing things to make sure I don't 'fall back in the hole.' I know I need to cloister myself sometimes, but I think that more than a week or two is probably not good for me. And not having joy in my life kills me bit by bit -- I need to continue to do things that nourish my soul. And I have taken steps to do this.
I am starting a new job soon, and have started gaming again (Diablo II for now). I continue to watch my show (Bones) but I am trying to curtail (and be choosy about) my TV watching as I need what brain cells I have left. :-) And I have worked my way through 9 books in the past 2 months, between reading them and/or listening to them via Audible (when my eyes bother me, whether from my CPAP mask or allergies, it helps to continue a book by listening to it. And I can pick up where I left off, when my eyes feel better).
Also, my Mom came through chemo like a champ -- except for the fact that she's told her MD that, if the cancer comes back she will refuse chemo (because it was so hard for her). And she's scheduled soon to have a prophylactic double mastectomy, and will probably come through that well, as well. And I hope to have $ saved soon after starting my job, to be able to at least go visit for a weekend. One thing at a time, though. :-)
That's about it for me. I will try to come back here and post when I can. Please feel free to friend me on Google+ or over on Facebook, or on Twitter (leave me a msg here if you need the contact info, or send me a text msg). And I will do my best to back-read, and catch up on people's lives. I'm sorry that I haven't been in touch -- I really could not do it at the time, but can now, and I will work to keep those lines open.
Thanks for reading, and **hugs** to all.
- Deb / Loba