My Gift Wish List

Santa Claus with a little girl

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HO, HO, HO?

Dear Santa,

I’ve been asking for this special gift, this present, for over a year now. Since it’s almost Christmas (and Hanukkah) please, could you read my letter again? I was silly to think that you would grant my wish before the holidays but ’tis the season now…fa la la la la, la la la la. I am not asking for a present for just me, I am asking for one present for the whole family. I am asking for a job for my husband that pays real money. Our family would really appreciate it. Please Santa, its been a long time. I’ve been a very good girl and will, once again, leave out cookies and milk for you and carrots for Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer. Thanks a lot! Hugs and kisses and love, from ME

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“Because I Am”

Black balloons

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Tonight I am having a pity party for one; I am the guest of honor. You are welcome to join me but motivational speeches and happy clichés are not allowed. I’ve learned that the sun will probably not come out tomorrow, it will be cold, dark and windy just like the last few weeks. Some of my friends with chronic illnesses seem to be feeling the same way: Is it the weather?  Seasonal Affective Disorder? Pain and unhappiness? Other friends that don’t have chronic illnesses are also fed up and feeling down. I’m wallowing in self-pity and I am allowing myself to do so. Wallowing and venting are the main attractions in my self-imposed symposium.

1) Both my husband and I have been very discouraged because of the job market; he has been unemployed for a long time. He is always the best candidate, the one they love, the one they want. We get excited, euphoric even, and then the final news hits us like a tsunami: “We would love to have him but there is no funding approved for this job now” or “There’s a hiring freeze that just  started.” We plummet, like rapidly deflating black balloons.

2) I need to protect myself from future painful disappointments. While, in the past, I have tried to feel positive and hopeful,  I am now keeping my defenses up because it is too damn painful to feel excited and then let down over and over again.I am tired of feeling bad and blue and not having anything to look forward to. Yes, I have tried to be positive, I count my blessings and I list the things that I am grateful for: nothing works. A good friend of mine told me she was depressed last week and I asked her “why?”  “Because I am” she said. I now understand that completely.

4) Physically, I have no energy. I’ve been over-eating and sleeping way too much these past two weeks. I’m trying to sleep straight through to May but the chances of that are pretty slim. I stopped taking the autoimmune drug that was helping my energy level because it made my legs ache continuously and I wanted to rid myself of extra pain. This is what happens when I try to rid myself of drugs and toxins in my body. I end up asleep. I made the wrong decision.

5) The holiday season is not joyful for me. After my father died, the holiday spirit died with him. We go through the motions for the children. I’ve accepted this but each year after his birthday in November things start to go downhill fast, straight through to New Year’s Eve, the night he passed away. Why can’t I prepare myself? Why is it only familiar when it is happening again? Think of it as a long, a really long extended period of situational depression.

6) I’m having a default Thanksgiving in my house this year. My mom broke her wrist and I just couldn’t let her have it in her house. She is also depressed because of her broken bone and pain and having to be dependent on others, this affects me too. I feel bad for her. I can’t begin to talk about my self-involved sister, there is too much to say and at the same time, nothing to say. Thanksgiving is in one week, I have nothing prepared and I am both overwhelmed and underwhelmed.  I will rally for the holidays because I have to; it’s a necessity not a choice.

Let me tell you directly what I want:  Accept how I feel and allow me to have the emotions I do have. Don’t analyze, debate or criticize me. Try active listening. Help out during Thanksgiving and be kind to one another. I would truly be grateful if you could do just that.

Plain and Simple: Unemployment Still SUCKS

‘You can calm down now,’ I tell myself, ‘everything is okay.’ But, it isn’t. I had trouble sleeping last night and I woke up feeling jittery and nervous.  I’m off-balance and anxious and it seems that any little, tiny thing can set me off course. I know the stress must be cumulative. For the last 11 months, my husband has been unemployed. He is trying so hard and there is not much out there. I FEEL for him, I want to see his pleased grin, his crooked smile.  I want this for him, more than I want this for our family and that says a lot.

I have been a stay at home mom with our children and I’ve also been sick for the past four years. I have a chronic disease ( and a few others) and even I, with my limited skill set,  look at the paper for something part-time. Of course the lack of money  is VERY important but really, we live without many frills. Having two teenagers makes it a bit harder and we have college to pay for: one child, in one year and the other child in the year after that. We will deal with it the best way we can, step by financial aid step.

I cannot see my beloved husband’s droopy face another minute even though he puts on a good show.  I am not the type of person to blame the President and the economy for our misfortune. There are many worse misfortunes and I remind myself of that all the time. It would be nice to see the happy glow back on his face, the spring in his step back. I feel useless and helpless and while we have had a nice summer together, the teenagers will be back in two weeks and that changes the family dynamics drastically. There will be more stress, especially with a Junior and a Senior in High School but also, many more distractions. Even though there may be more fighting, there will also be more laughter to replace the still silence that hangs in the air.

One of the worst parts about being unemployed is the way you are treated. I worked in Human Resources for over 20 years and we ALWAYS called the applicant with the decision that was made, good or bad. Now? There have been jobs he has been assured of getting and then? Nothing. No call, no e-mail, nothing. I know there are more applicants than there are jobs now, but please, a little respect would be nice. No excuses.

I am trying, again, to stay positive in my mind. To readjust and focus on happiness. The house has never been vacuumed that much and that often in the last 15 years. I would give that up GLADLY.  Help me in seeing good things come his way; I’ll keep you posted.