It has been roughly a year and eight months since I quit writing in this space. It’s been so long that the entire WordPress interface has changed, so it took me five minutes just to navigate to the + sign that allowed me to start this post.
You are so lucky that I was successful, because I know you’ve been missing me, dear reader. Or maybe you have no idea who I am. It doesn’t matter. Either way, I am still serious about my grumpy.
A lot has happened since October 2017. Back then, in the dark ages, Jesse had built up to a cocktail of 4 or 5 meds to manage her behavioral and emotional needs. I had also started taking citalopram, the SSRI that helped me pull out of a deep depressive funk. Citalopram-Uh-Whamma!
It feels like a million years ago; we’ve come a long, hard distance since then. here’s what’s been happening, condensed highlights edition.
One, I’m still really grumpy. I abandoned this blog but I didn’t abandon my shitty attitude. I’m trying to spruce it up by showing grumpy gratitude, which is my new thing, but deep down, I still hate people and I’m just totally dismayed by humanity. Which may help explain why I’m in therapy in earnest, to help me cope with all the shit that’s going on in our family’s life and the world, and also to address some deeper long-term issues between my ears. Illustrative of the process is this recent exchange:
Me: I feel like when I learn to cope positively with some aspect of my life, my brain hunts down something else to feel overwhelmed about. There’s always something I can despair about even when things are going well at home, like the kids in the border concentration camps.
Therapist: Maybe it’s not despair. Maybe you just care. Maybe you’re just a kind person.
Me: <silent WTF>
Also about a month ago I weaned myself from citalopram. I was noticing a total lack of energy that didn’t make sense. At first citalopram had given me energy back, because it helped me overcome a significant bout of depression. But after a couple years it was time to get off it. So here I am, in therapy, without meds, getting by. Every two weeks I go to therapy with lots of problems, and about 55 minutes later I come out cured. Fantastic.
Two, Jesse is fighting anorexia. Add it to the hopper for this poor kid. The list of labels just keeps growing. A few months ago she participated in a youth panel on mental health issues, in front of an audience of hundreds. You could have knocked me over with a feather as she went through her list in her sweet, quiet voice. OCD, Tourette’s, depression, anxiety, anorexia. She hadn’t been sure she wanted to admit that last bit, the new bit, but in the end she did. So that’s been our Mt. Everest for the last year or so, you know, trying to keep her from collapsing or damaging her heart for life or dying, working hard to keep her from hospitalization and spare her the bitter, icy, indifferent grip of institutional treatment options and a feeding tube.
Three, anxiety hit Nick like a freight train this year, and no wonder. He has a compassionate soul and is just an amazing little person, and his fears for his sister have spilled out into the rest of his life. So he has his own therapist too, and she is the wife of my therapist. It’s all in the family here.
Four, speaking of Mt. Everest, we have another dog. Her name is Everest and she is a full-throttle beast of a poodle. Here, lemme find a few pics. Because dog pics make everything better, and I am completely and utterly in love with her.
This is how she treats the kids. She thinks they’re comfie seats.
Good girl, Everest! Good job suppressing Jesse!
What a beauty, my good girl! Such a good dancy-dancy poodle girl! Such beautiful dingleberries!
And of course she does much worse than twerk. Everest is a bounding maniac. She blocks and tackles us on the stairs. She’ll drop a tennis ball at my feet as I sit, put her face one inch from my nose, and bark wildly at me until I play with her. She attacks all guests — lovingly, but it’s awfully intense. Also she pees on them if she gets too excited. She likes to sleep porn-doggy style, flat on her back with her rear legs splayed out, her ass placed exactly on the pillow where my head is supposed to be. One day when I took her for a walk, she literally pulled me over when she started running, and she dragged me down the street a few yards before I could bring her to a halt and get back on my feet. Totally humiliating, but also, you go girl, you are a powerful beast of a dog despite your shee-shee looks and boujee breed reputation!
Everest is a poodle, and hence the second smartest breed of dog by most reckonings, and hence she enjoys working on a Rubik’s cube:
Who’s my good girl, who’s my big smarty pants doggy?
Also she knows what to do with a Donald Trump Dammit Doll (bite, death shake, pull out stuffing, deliver to mommy).
Good girl. Good dog! Such a smart dog, you even get politics, whoo-shjoo-boo-shjoo!
She is so smart that she thinks she can sit like a human.
Good effort, my big beauty!
Everest weighs well over 60 pounds, so she is more than ten times as big as our original poodle, little Madeline. Here is how Madeline feels about having boisterous Everest join our family — grim, barely tolerable, horrifying state of affairs.
There’s a strange love-hate kinda thing going on between these dogs, in which I think Madeline perceives herself — sadly, pathetically, erroneously — as the victorious dominatrix. But Everest is wise and big and tolerant, and no amount of tiny-dog-snarling keeps her down.
* * * * * * * *
Enough about the dogs. Let’s end with thoughts on what matters most here: Me. My therapist says that I have compassion fatigue, caregiver fatigue. He says that I should work on self-identity and self-care, that I should find things to do for myself, things that take my mind off the worries and responsibilities. He says that I should help my kids be more independent like an American mom, instead of weaning them late to responsibility like a Korean mom.
He’s right on all these fronts. I guess. Yesterday he suggested again, for the third or fourth time, that I would benefit from working on a sense of self-identity, apart from service to others. I threw up my hands, literally. I don’t know what that means, I blurted. I don’t even know where to begin that journey. I don’t have an identity apart from what I do for others, do I? What’s the point of existence if it’s just to satisfy my own needs? How can that be a life of meaning?
He stared at me for a moment and did The Therapy Thing. “Why do you think you feel that way?”
Uuuuuuuugh. Aaaaaaaagh. PSPSHHHSPSPHSHPHHHH. (is that how you spell a raspberry?)
Well and so I had a big cry and talked about deep memories and I don’t know if it’ll help, but I was exhausted when I walked out of his office. It’s all good. I’m cured until I see him again in two weeks.
But… this is why I’m going to try to write again. This blog was one of the few things I did just for me, until I quit a year or two ago to make space for all the needs of my family and all the volunteer commitments I made to school organizations and other stuff. I’m going to discover my own, independent me, my big beautiful grumpy me, not Me-Too but just ME! Me me me me.
I bet you’re really looking forward to it.