There was a time when I would roll my eyes whenever someone told me that they were depressed. It always seemed like an attempt to excuse bad behavior. I suppose it's only fitting that I get a batch of it myself so I can experience it first hand. I've been sad in the past, I've been angry, unmotivated, and anxious- but never all at once to this degree. I wake up and all I want to do is roll over and go back to sleep. This year has been so hard and it's only really snowballed.
◘ I lost both grandmothers within the same month.
I didn't talk about this too openly because it's online. Half the time you're talking to strangers on the other side of a screen. They don't have much personal investment in your life, your family, or your emotions. Half the time, it's just polite to say something comforting to someone that's experienced a loss but there's very little sincerity unless you're talking to a personal friend. To most people, I'm just a few typed words and doodles. I spoke to close friends and if asked, I gave a vague answer as to why I was sad. It was very hard on my family and I found myself feeling like I'd been hit by a bus. Grandma M had been sick for a while and honestly, my family had been expected her to pass any day. She had multiple seizures that cost her the sense of taste and use of her fingers, she had a few failed surgeries, she had a heart murmur, and she was impossibly thin. It was surreal for me because she had been with mom and I just days before eating at a local seafood place. She seemed fine. The sad part is her older sister is running 5k's and raising sheep dogs to work in the field. Grandma lost the will to live and became very bitter towards God and everyone else. The hardest part was watching my mom go through this. She doesn't have peace about Grandma's passing and she wells up to this day whenever something reminds her of Grandma. We have a lot of Grandma's stuff in the house, waiting to be sorted through, so this is a lot. I've had to suck up my own emotions so I can be there to hug and comfort her when I see her eyes start to glaze over.
Just a few weeks later, Grandma B passed. She had broken her hip months past and a lot of us believed she had dementia. She would stand up, forgetting that her hip was busted, and we would get a call that she had been rushed to the hospital. Within a year she went from living independently to living in a hospital. Towards the end, she was starving herself. She refused food and water but she still would smile when she saw us come in to visit her. The last time I saw her she was so thin and pale. She still smiled and took my hand when I came to her bedside. I didn't even get to tell her that I graduated from college. Neither grandma saw me do that.
When we got the call, I had to stay home. Dad was the first there and mom said he was just in the hospital room holding her. He looked at my mom, completely shocked, and told her that he wasn't able to cry. Dad's been on a lot of medication lately and he's just not been able to express emotions. Between the diabetes, the heart problems, and a number of other things, he's just not been himself. I can't imagine not being able to cry when your mother passes on.
With Grandma B, we have a little more peace. She was a prayer warrior and she always seemed more excited to meet Jesus and get back to her husband than afraid of death. She never stopped smiling. It's hard to think she's gone. It'll be difficult to go to the tree and not have a cute little calligraphy card waiting for me on one of the branches.
In the aftermath of all this, Grandpa M has grown increasingly bitter. He's so skinny, so angry with the world, and he does so little. He refuses to move out of the apartment he's in, even if it's a 2 bedroom, because he can fool himself into thinking Grandma's just asleep in her room. He sits in his apartment staring at the tv. He's told me so many times that he wants to see me find a guy and start a family, get a career and get a nice little house. He was proud to hear that I got my Associate's degree and that I had a career path I was working on.
◘ Family drama.
This has been an issue that's perhaps been the most devastating to me. There's a divide in my family and it's made it very hard for me to find a safe, happy place to go to. My youngest sister has run head first into the world and has created a lot of tension within the family because of some of the choices that she's made. She doesn't seem genuine when she comes over and more and more she's just outright avoiding us. Her boyfriend has become outright hostile. I've been accused of being a lot of things that I'm not. I really can't go into it much here, but it's very difficult to even return home. My brother has become increasingly hostile towards myself and my mother.
You know, I can handle being treated badly online. I can handle trying to reach out and be nice to strangers who are, to be fair, text on a screen only to have them slap me in the face. I can handle co-workers being jerks and giving me attitude. I can handle a lot of things, but I can't handle my home being a place of hostility. When I come home, I'm given the cold shoulder by my own brother. He throws little snarky passive-aggressive comments at my back, does little things to trigger my anger, or outright makes things harder for me at home. He blasts offensive music at my door so I can't even sit in my room and find a place of peace. He hovers outside the door, listening in on my conversations then bursts in if he hears something that upsets him. He comes in while I'm playing games and declares that they're inferior. It's small things that build up and create a hostile environment. The one place I should be able to find peace and harmony is just hostile. I'm tensed up, waiting for him to try something. The only time I really get to relax is when I come home and I find he's at work.
◘ Carpal Tunnel.
It started late September. I thought I just pushed myself baking. I was going home every day and drawing at least one completed doodle, I was on top of my shop quotas, I was baking perfect bread every morning, I was doing a good job! But as the next month went on it got harder and harder to bake. I started getting my product out later and later. The last day I was in absolute agony. I finished an hour late and my fingers were tingling by the end of my shift. My boss asked if I could stay a few hours later and I lost it. I broke down in tears because I wanted to, I knew he needed me to, but I was hurting so bad I couldn't handle the thought of even one more hour. I went to the doctor and they looked at my wrist and swollen hand. They gave me some pain meds but it didn't do anything other than twist my emotions around. (Fun side effects.)
It's gotten progressively worse. I can't do art because by the time I get home, my hand is swollen, the pain shoots down the bottom of my arm, through my elbow, and sometimes into my shoulder. I pop ibprofin to do some art simply because I'm going insane without it. I do stupid little things like b/c work, chibis, and landcape doodles but it's not enough.
My entire life has been effected by this and it's one of the hardest things for me to deal with. My work schedule was changed. For years I got used to waking up at the same time, working at the same time, leaving at the same time. I would go to the gym after work, walk home, clean the house, then relax for the rest of the day doing some artwork. All of it's gone. My hours are down to less than 20, I go to work at the time I used to leave it, I come home to clean but I can only go for an hour or two, and for the rest of the day I sit and stare at the computer, I read, I play my games but I'm miserable.
My best friend asked that we not spend money on each other since we're both in kind of a tight financial situations. Instead, we would draw something for each other. I tried, but I couldn't do it. So instead I paid someone else to do art and sent her something I knew she really needed. I feel horrible about it, I really do, because I wanted to draw something for her.
What's worse is the neurologist has been giving me the run around. I fill out workman's comp forms, send them in. I set up an appointment for a nerve conductivity test and wait. I get the confirmation call and they ask for my insurance. Well, hope and change has made it hard to get any health care and I can't afford the mess they want me to sign up for. I'm a minimum wage, part time working college student living at home, paying rent by fixing suppers and cleaning the house. I don't have money, the workman's comp was my money. I told her this and she told me I needed to fill out MORE forms. So I did, as requested, and sent them in. When I contacted them again, they said I had to wait to get more forms in the mail.
It's getting worse. I'm in constant pain just trying to do what I love. My hand swells up so bad at night that I have to ice it for nearly an hour before it looks normal again. I wake up with my arm numb or my fingers tingling.
◘ CONSTANT online drama.
I've never pulled my punches and I never will. It's a personal policy of mine that it's better to dish out brutal honesty than fluffy bulls***. In the end, you're left with either honesty or bull***. In a place that's supposedly welcome to all opinions, faiths, and background- gaia is pretty damn hostile to someone such as myself. I'm a military brat, privately educated, and firmly Christian. I'm very traditional in many regards and I believe that topics such as bedroom activities are best kept out of the public circle. Perhaps this makes me a 'prude' by modern standards but there was a time when keeping private matters private was considered extremely polite. However, sex and sexuality is everywhere. When I started gaia back in high school it was not much of an issue. Most of my shops allowed anything so long as anything adult rated was kept in private. However, more and more and more people began pushing, prodding, gnawing, biting, screaming, and fussing that I just wasn't tolerant enough. Allowing something in my shops but being blunt about my position on some things was absolutely intolerable. Ten years of harassment in real life, on gaia, and various other outlets later- I've become absolutely hostile. I have something very close to ptsd around certain topics because I have literally met with real-life situations that had me losing jobs (multiple), losing my reputation as an artist, losing commission income, losing private e-mails and aim screen names to hackers, and even having my face smeared around.
Let me get something straight-
I don't have a lot of friends that agree with me. Most of my friends are very liberal minded, 'loosely religious', or not religious at all. We get along fine because no one's ramming something down the other's throat. I can exist around people who disagree with me. I can live with people who are living in a way I don't agree with. My dad smokes. My sister is very liberal. My brother likes putting smutty things on his walls. I don't scream, yell, and breathe fire. Honestly, so long as I'm not pushed on things that make me uncomfortable I'm pretty laid back, but these are hot topics now. Not because I go looking for trouble, but because I've not given into pressure. I can and will tolerate but I will never endorse or support something that's against my beliefs. I hate when people get bullied as much as anyone, but these days it seems okay to bully if someone holds an opinion that isn't politically correct. Tolerance is a two way road. I have a right to my beliefs and I have a right to express them just as much as anyone else does. Telling me that I'm not wanted, that I'm not welcome, that I don't deserve a chance just because I'm not on the same bandwagon as everyone else is hypocritical coming from the 'love and tolerance' camp. If I did that to someone based on how they live or how they choose to voice their opinion I would be outright banned.
The web is really my last escape some days. I can't sit down and draw without discomfort. I can't just find a quiet place to read because my brother believes it's in his right to blast the speakers and let me listen to every line of dialogue in Mass Effect. I go to the gym but there's only so much punishment a body can take before you're back to the problem again. Now even that's become a hell. I hang in there for the few amazing people that have pulled me off the ground and given me some support.
I've lost so much this year and now I'm losing my ability to do the one thing I'm good at. What job can I do without use of my primary hand? I can't think of even one.I feel absolutely useless and broken. I feel hated even in my own home. I feel like maybe I'm being tested but I'm not sure how to get through it.
So if I'm acting odd, there you go. That's why. I'm putting this here as a means of explaining myself, not as a means of excusing myself or gaining sympathy.
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