This uncertainty, part 4

Usually I have my whole life planned out. Well, maybe not that extreme but you get the point. I thought I would be one of the few marathon runners that would run into their 70’s. That didn’t happen. Sometimes I still dream of running. I hate exercising now. I told the doctor all I really wanted to be able to do is run again. She chuckled at this and told me if I did she would be replacing both my knees in the next two years. It’s been a whole year since I ran and this year my husband and daughter will be doing the last race I did without me. I am happy for them and don’t want them not to do it because I can’t. I just never expected my life to be this way.

I thought I would be checking Europe off my bucket list in the summer of 2020. You all know what happened with those plans. Who would have guessed? When I plan things I pretty much plan on it happening. But I also learned life doesn’t always work out the way we plan.

Usually by this time I have next year all planned out as far as travel goes. This year I have no idea what I want to do. Right now I’ve set aside several dates on the calendar for going on a trip. That’s about it. My husband and I are thinking of trying last minute deals with these dates. My only rule is that I want to go somewhere I haven’t already been. The problem with this plan is that we aren’t spontaneous people. Even if we have absolutely nothing going on, we both plan our days. We are by nature extreme planners. We like our structure and lists. On Mondays and Thursdays I wash towels. We are going to try this but we might not like it.

Typically I would get some input from my husband about where he wants to go and I would plan everything. Checking off all 50 states and all continents is huge on my bucket list, but my husband does not have these constraints. These are higher priority trips for me. Now my husband is getting involved in finding the deals. Since at heart he is a finance guy, he spent hours creating a financial calculator down to the penny to analyze which is the best deal. I could care less about that but I am concerned I will find something and it will be gone before he can decide what the better deal is. Then who is in charge of the planning. It has always been me and it’s something I really enjoy. I have a systematic way of doing things. Hopefully this is not going to create conflict. Now I think all this spontaneity might not work. Part of the fun is doing all the research and planning the details.

There is also some uncertainty about the next step in our business. There is uncertainty regarding the economy. In my mind there is still some uncertainty around COVID. This year we had to cancel a trip because of it. If anything I am getting better living with uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m not one of those we’ll see how everything pans out kind of person.

24 days

In 24 days my daughter is getting married. Until now, the date seemed so far away. July was the bachelorette party with friends at the cabin up north. August was the bridal shower. Our 25th anniversary trip in between those events, still the wedding seemed far away. The calendar on my wall flipped once again and now it is less than a month away.

Time keeps marching on although I wanted it to slow down a little. Maybe we could go back to when Angel was still young and holding my hand. I find myself wishing for things that have already passed. I haven’t experienced a lot of longing for the past in my life up until now. The other day I had a dream she was leaving me. The feelings seem silly because she will always be our daughter even though she will no longer carry our name.

I have been busying myself getting everyone else ready for the wedding. I made the appointment for Paul to get his tux fitted. Yesterday I took Arabella shopping. I want my other children to have something nice to wear to their sister’s wedding. I don’t know why I thought I could just waltz into a store and find something. I haven’t seriously shopped for a nice dress for my daughter since before COVID. Remember when department stores had racks and racks of homecoming and party dresses? It’s not like that anymore. The only dresses I found a lot of looked like nightgowns, pajama dresses.

It’s even more difficult to find something nice in the plus sizes. The only acceptable dresses that didn’t look like nightgowns were dresses my grandmother would be too young to wear, never mind a teenage girl. I ended up ordering a dress on Facebook marketplace and I’m praying it is going to work because my daughter is extremely busty. Thankfully she does have one nice dress she could wear if it doesn’t work.

I had a heck of a time finding shoes. My daughter wants me to wear nude dress shoes since I am standing up in the wedding. I do not own a nice pair of nude colored dress shoes. I started that search several weeks ago and came up empty handed until last night. I don’t wear dress shoes anymore. (Plus I hate the color). The only thing I could find looked either like ballet shoes or were two inch stilettos. No way! I did find a cute pair that looked promising only to try them on to experience excruciating pain with my arthritis and bunion. There was no way I could stand to have them on my feet much less stand up with them for the wedding. Last night I found an ugly pair of dress sandals on clearance that don’t make me feel like someone is sawing off my foot. Done.

Yesterday I started a new diet. Okay, I will tell you right now I am an incredibly vain woman. A couple months back when I was diagnosed with arthritis, I also got diagnosed with being overweight. The doctor said I should exercise more. Funny thing was before I started being in pain all the time I was at the gym 3 times a week and was running marathons. I was in a strength training class. I prided myself on maintaining a youthful figure. I thought it would always be that way until my own body humbled me. Now I’m all squishy. Not that anyone expects me to look like I’m 25 besides me when I’m almost twice that.

Yesterday I started the diet of no alcohol, gluten, dairy, and sugar. I’ve done it before after the bad bout of colitis I had. I did feel a lot better, but it is hard to maintain. I am hoping to lose some weight, but mainly to just feel better. I am not going to be super anal about it. But I would like to get back to being healthier again.

I thought I would write about getting ready for the wedding as that is what is happening in my life right now. I feel like I dropped the ball a little with everything being a super organized planner and all. In some ways I don’t think I’ve had to do a lot of worrying because my daughter is also a super organized worrier at planning her own wedding and I don’t want to step on her feet. I really didn’t think about it all that much and here we are at 24 days already.

Travel odds and ends

We decided to drive a couple hours to fly out of Chicago. We didn’t have a direct flight to Idaho Falls, being a very small airport, and had a layover in Salt Lake City. I wanted to fly out of our hometown airport, but with things going on in the area tickets cost an extra $800 per person.

I haven’t been down to Illinois in awhile. One thing I noticed as I was digging around in my wallet for change is that all the tolls are paid online with no collection of cash or credit anymore. It said we had 14 days to register online to pay our tolls which amounted to $9. It ended up costing us $300 to park our car at the airport for a week. It took us about an hour to find our car upon return even though I took a picture of the outdoor lot we were in. Indoor parking was more expensive. Chicago airport is huge and it is easy to get turned around.

I try to research the area I’m going to be travelling in. But it’s a fine line for me. I want to learn about where to go and what to see, but not necessarily everything there is to know about the state. I enjoy learning about the state while I am visiting and experiencing it. What I wasn’t expecting was how dry Idaho is. I think one day the humidity was 8%. Coming from Wisconsin where the average humidity is 71%, I didn’t even think that was possible. One hundred degrees in Idaho wasn’t all that bad once you got out of the sun. We would be dying here with the humidity. Thankfully it’s only been 100 degrees or more here once in my lifetime.

Everything in Idaho that wasn’t watered was dry and barren. There were a lot of wide open spaces and sparsely populated areas. I noticed the gas prices there were around $1 per gallon more expensive than at home. The speed limits were a lot higher too. A two lane highway there had a speed limit of 70 sometimes 75 mph versus 55 at home. Whereas Idaho was dry and barren, Montana was heavily wooded. The speed limit was about the same though which was a little scary because there were also signs warning us of elk, bison, and cattle.

A lot of time when we travel to other parts of the country, people can tell we are from out of the area. Not there. We didn’t talk much differently. The thing is, it seemed like no one was from around there even some of the wait staff and shopkeepers. Everyone was a tourist or came to the area to work for the summer. A large majority of the people in our West Yellowstone hotel did not speak English when we went for the continental breakfast.

Other than that, I didn’t see too many mask wearers in Yellowstone. Even though it said masks were mandatory in federal buildings, no one was enforcing it. Hardly anyone wore masks on the plane either. That part seemed back to normal. There were even people coughing and no one really seemed to pay attention to it. Although I must say, the airport in Idaho Falls was very small and they didn’t have doors to go into the bathrooms. For about 45 minutes, we could hear a woman in the bathroom coughing and throwing up. She sounded so sick I couldn’t bring myself to even use that bathroom.

The only other oddity was that there was construction at the Salt Lake City airport. We had to exit the plane down the steps onto the tarmac and take a bus to the main airport area. The strange thing was as we were exiting the plane, Paul saw his luggage fall from the top of the conveyor belt onto the ground along with another suitcase that fell behind the conveyor belt. I was thankful I put the pint glasses I bought into my backpack.

Also, I want to add that I really enjoyed Idaho. When Paul and I were visiting New Orleans we went on a tour with a woman from Idaho. I told her I’d never been to her state and asked her what the top things to visit were and she basically told me not to bother going. Idaho potatoes are a big thing in Idaho, but nothing big. I was also jokingly told not to join a militia. Other than that, I really didn’t know anything about Idaho. I honestly just wanted to check the state off my bucket list and it happened to be close to Yellowstone. It definitely would have not made the top 100 list for a place to celebrate a 25th wedding anniversary. Who knows, maybe we’ll go somewhere warm in the winter. I just wanted to say I really enjoyed it there, probably more than I enjoyed Yellowstone or Montana in all honesty. I was not expecting that.

In the end, I checked Idaho and Montana off my bucket list of visiting all 50 states. Nine more states to go…

Navigating life

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and nightmares.

Why should I expect that to change? The likelihood of no longer struggling with these things is about as likely as me waking up one morning with schizophrenia. It’s probably not going to happen. I was thinking about these things while I laid awake the other night.

Some things have changed. I started taking medicine prescribed by my doctor to help me sleep at night. It works better than nothing. I still struggle with insomnia and nightmares. The insomnia part has improved, but the nightmares have not.

Do you ever have dreams where you are falling and you wake up before you hit the bottom? I don’t wake up anymore until I’m dead. Sounds strange, right? In the last week, I’ve had two dreams where I was shot point blank, heard the sound of gunfire, and woke up after I died in my dreams. The nightmares just seem to go on forever. In one of the nightmares I was shot while I was cleaning my house. I mean, seriously??

Then I got to thinking, people really don’t change either. Most of my childhood I believed my autistic/schizophrenic brother would become normal again. If only we could find the right doctor, the right diet, the right medication. I was waiting and hoping for this. God was going to heal my brother. I didn’t know what this was going to look like. Would he be able to suddenly read and write like me or was he going to start life over in his toddler years. I thought it was going to happen, but it never did.

When my own daughter started having mental health struggles a couple years back, I thought the same thing. If only I found the right doctor, the right medication, the right inpatient program, outpatient program, etc.. Surely an expensive residential treatment facility would do the trick. But it didn’t cure her. It didn’t take her mental illness away. She is not the same person she was before. She will never be that way again. She may decide to end her life someday and I have to accept that and love her where she is at. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

After my dad committed his crime, there was a period of time where I was under the impression that he accepted the Lord and was a changed person. I wanted so badly to believe that was true. I thought maybe he would finally be the kind of dad I always wanted. But guess what? Nothing changed.

If I pray more and have enough faith, then my anxiety will go away. I used to believe that too. Maybe something was wrong with me because when I prayed for my struggles to go away, they didn’t. I don’t believe people anymore when they tell me those kind of things. It sounds like a gimmick to me. God is bigger than that. I don’t see God in that way anymore. I think faith is a wonderful coping mechanism. But I think people do more harm than good by telling others if they do certain things then their sibling, their child, their parent, or they will not struggle anymore.

Miracles do happen, but they are truly one in a million. I’m better off accepting that the way things are will probably be the way things will always be. If I look at it that way, my life makes a lot more sense. Look at the patterns of behavior. It’s very simplistic, but for me it was a real aha moment in the middle of the night. People don’t change. They may grow and mature over time like a baby turns into an old lady. But it’s still the same person with the same strengths and weaknesses with a little more wisdom and mindfulness on how to navigate life.

Fortune cookie wisdom #32

Either you can or you can’t. Either way you are right.

I really like the mindset of this fortune cookie. But I think it’s more important to have realistic goals and expectations.

For example, Paul’s step-dad Darryl is having knee surgery in a couple weeks. He said the recovery time for the surgery is 6 weeks. But he said his recovery time will be 3 weeks. I’m concerned he is setting himself up for disappointment.

Sometimes I wish I could do what I wanted without having to be mindful of whether I could do it or not.

If only it was that easy.

Fortune cookie wisdom #25

“You should let go of negative things today.”

Whoops! Too late! Maybe tomorrow.

This morning started with my husband and I having a ‘friendly’ debate. I wish it ended that way. It wasn’t anything horrible but in my mind it boiled down to one thing, trust. I told my husband that in life there is only one person I can trust and that one person is me. I suppose you could say it’s a trauma response and it probably is.

Then he asked me an important question. So you trust yourself over the experts? Great thought provoking question. Husband scores the first points. He said, “I missed the day you received your medical degree.” It’s true, I didn’t. But I don’t trust doctors because….a million reasons….I don’t trust easily.

Who can you trust in a world where you can’t trust anyone, could never trust anyone even the people who were supposed to look out for you??

We started talking about where we get our news stories, how everything is so biased it’s hard to know if something is real or trustworthy. I get ads on social media for things that support my views already not things to challenge me to think differently. I am more likely to open my pocketbook to causes near and dear to me.

Let’s talk about the vaccine. Yup, I just went there…We both wish there was reliable and accurate data out there. Back in the day we could go to the library and find a journal article backed up by reliable sources. We could do our own research. Now we can just go online and read something by someone like me who doesn’t really know a damn thing about anything and call it research. Or maybe we could watch a video on Tik Tok. That’s accurate, right?

And who are the fact checkers anyway? Why do people get banned for expressing their viewpoints that don’t conform to popular opinion? I don’t know about you, but it sure makes me more interested in hearing what they have to say.

I’m sick of people taking sides and blaming each other. What good does that do? For months and months I heard about nothing but the Delta variant and how unvaccinated people were to blame for its spread. Family and friends were turning on family and friends. Now I don’t hear anything about Delta unless it has an 8 or 9 after it.

Does the vaccine work or not? I really want to know. I don’t want to hear research brought to us by the big drug companies. I don’t want to hear conspiracy theories. I’m sick about hearing stories of the Polio shot success. I don’t give a crap about a girl who flipped off anti-maskers. I wish the only thing I ever heard about a mandate was about a group of guys that go out for beers on a Saturday night.

All I care about right now is how effective is the vaccine. All I hear when I turn on the TV is how COVID cases and deaths are still on the rise and how safe the vaccine is. Booster shots and masks. Is it just me or is almost everyone still living in fear? Not travelling. Not seeing certain relatives. Still fighting with the opposing view. Vaccine safety is very important, but to me the most important question is how effective is the shot. What’s the next step?

Where can I get some real unbiased news?? We are supposed to make life changing decisions based on trust in politicians, drug companies, and crazy cousin Bob’s conspiracy theories on Facebook?? Is this all there is? There should be some accurate unbiased data by now. Where is it and how can we find it? I really hope someone erases this from our history books someday. I can’t imagine what future generations will think of us.

So much for letting go of negative things…maybe tomorrow.

Fortune cookie wisdom #23

“Everything is possible; just not so probable.”

Another great fortune cookie! How true! I think the possibilities motivates most of us in thoughts and actions.

How many people do you know that won the lottery? How many people do you know that buy lottery tickets?

I admit I am a very black and white all or nothing thinker. I try to tell myself I am a realist, but really??

I thought I could qualify for the Boston marathon on my first marathon.

I only know one person out of a lot of great runners who qualified and ran in the Boston marathon.

I think the book I’m writing could be a bestseller.

I don’t personally know anyone who wrote a bestseller out of all the authors I know.

As a child I thought if I could be close to perfect my dad would love me.

Whether my dad loves me or not is not dependent on how great of a daughter I am or am not.

Although my son absolutely hated high school, I thought he would love college.

My son hated college too and dropped out.

I thought the residential mental health facility would cure my daughter’s mental illness.

My daughter is still mentally ill.

Healthy people don’t get sick.

I’ve known of several healthy people who battled severe illness. Healthy people don’t live forever either..

I thought if I was a safe driver I wouldn’t get in an accident.

I got into a car accident even though I was a safe driver.

It’s true, anything is possible. With the odds stacked against us somehow we keep trying to reach for the possible, not probable. It’s all part of the journey.

A night in New Hampshire

It was time to head back south. We needed to check out of our Airbnb at 9 AM. Before leaving I needed to start a load of sheets. The notes also said to take the garbage to the curb. The dumpster was overflowing when we got there flies swarming in circles around the lid. It was expensive. The bed uncomfortably sagging so I would roll into Paul during the night. The coffee pot didn’t even work. I was wondering why it was full of stagnant water the first time I tried to fill it. But the host was nicer than most.

We had plans to spend one night in downtown Portsmouth at another Airbnb. This I assured everyone would be the nicest place because it had the highest price. From Bar Harbor, we decided to stop in Bath for lunch at a pizza place where I was able to order lobster on my pizza. Honestly I wasn’t crazy about the lobster on my pizza. It didn’t seem to belong on pizza next to my pepperoni any more than fish would.

After we sat down and ordered our pizzas, Arabella said she was ashamed of us for not feeding her. She was practically starving. WTF???!!?! She yelled at us that we never had food in the house and was embarrassed to tell her friends we wouldn’t feed her. She said all of these things while we were ordering our food. Her accusations of neglect and abuse were very upsetting to us. Then after lunch, we stopped at the grocery store (because where else would you take your kid if you are not feeding them???). She verbally attacked me in the grocery store in front of everyone.

Thankfully our trip was almost over. I was sad because I thought it would be a good time to bond with Arabella. Maybe if we take her on a trip she would appreciate everything we do for her. Maybe if she goes to a residential mental health facility that we pay for out of pocket she wouldn’t struggle as much with mental illness. The time for bargaining and denial passed. Our daughter was getting worse, not better. It was time to face that.

When we got to Portsmouth, Arabella was exhausted. She said she was going to take a nap and she probably wouldn’t be up in time for supper. At times she has been known to crash, sleeping 12 hours. Maybe she would wake up a new person. In the meantime, Paul and I decided to take a walk around town. There weren’t a lot of shops open so we didn’t stop. Instead we took a walk down by the river and crossed the bridge. Our mood one of mutual sadness. Something was really wrong with our daughter.

We came back to the Airbnb to pick up my mom and Arabella for supper. Arabella was still sleeping and didn’t want to go with. We went to another seafood restaurant. It was really busy and the service was slow. The bartender was also our server and waited on all of the tables around us. The food was unremarkable. The ambiance was nice though.

We got back to the Airbnb later than I thought I would. I brought back some extra food for Arabella in case she woke up and was hungry. When we got back, Arabella was up. She was dressed up wearing makeup and a mini skirt. She turned up her nose at the food I was offering and said she was going to go out to get something by herself.

Although the shops were closed, there was live music playing that we could hear outside of our bedroom window late into the evening. It wasn’t in the least annoying. I thought Portsmouth was a charming and clean town. I was really struck we were not approached by panhandlers at all on our trip. I think the biggest problem we faced was parking (especially in Bar Harbor). I can’t imagine trying to find a parking spot in peak season.

Most of the Airbnb’s we stayed at were old. Some of them were older than the state we live in. The staircase in the Airbnb in Portsmouth was so small there was no way you could carry a dresser up those steps. Comparable to where we live, the cost exceeded the quality. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving a review saying it was too expensive because maybe that is the norm for the East Coast. The houses did have a lot of character though and it was an experience.

Gratitude week 91 and 92

  1. Arabella didn’t have strep the day before we left for vacation.
  2. The airline told us that our flight into Chicago would be delayed due to a storm, but we ended up getting to the airport in plenty of time to catch our connecting flight.
  3. My kids at home did not fight.
  4. My son’s roommate turned 21 while we were gone. Twenty one always scares me a bit because although they tend to party hard as it is, 21 takes it up a notch. They did have a party while we were gone but were safe and cleaned up after themselves. It’s the best I could’ve hoped for.
  5. I checked visiting Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire off my bucket list and maybe Connecticut as well. I can’t remember if I’ve been there or not and I’ve for sure been there now. I only have 11 states left to go before I’ve visited them all.
  6. Being back at home and sleeping in my own bed.
  7. Clean sheets.
  8. Fresh lobster. My mom, Arabella, Paul, and I ate a whole lobster for the first time on Paul’s birthday.
  9. We brought gifts home and Alex seemed really happy that we didn’t forget about his girlfriend.
  10. I’m grateful that my husband did most of the driving. The traffic was horrible and we ended up upgrading our rental to get a larger SUV which made parking (which was already bad) and driving more difficult.
  11. We did some hiking at Acadia State Park, shopping, and sightseeing. I have tons of great pictures I hope to share with you.
  12. My daughter’s wedding is now less than a year away. Angel asked me if I could help her with the wedding planning which I would love to do.
  13. We are going wedding dress shopping this weekend.
  14. There are several times when I felt like I was near my breaking point over the past couple weeks, but here I am.
  15. My mom did a lot better than I expected her to on this trip. I’m grateful we didn’t have any ER visits or major problems. Travelling with Arabella was rather challenging. We had to keep telling ourselves that this might be the last big trip we take with her since this was a high school graduation gift. We tried to make the best of it.
  16. Arabella has her psych evaluation this week. I am finally hoping for some answers.
  17. Fall and the beauty of falling leaves and letting go.
  18. Oh my gosh, I got carded at a restaurant. It’s been a couple of years now. I’m 47 but there is someone out there who thinks I could pass as under 21.
  19. I’m grateful for employees that show up for work. I thought Bar Harbor was a horrible place to park and bathrooms are really hard to come by. The public bathrooms are just filthy. There was a woman cleaning the walls of the bathroom stall. Someone made a mess I would prefer not to think about. It was very disgusting, but the woman cleaning was so pleasant about doing her job and keeping things nice for people that I gave her a tip. It felt good to bring her some happiness as she really deserved it for the thankless job she was doing.
  20. I’m back!! I will probably write about our trip over the next couple of days.

Triggered

Maybe my expectations were too high. I thought that my dysfunctional family of origin could handle being functional for a couple days. Is that too much to ask for? Apparently so.

It started out okay. I headed up north with Angel after she was done working on the Thursday before the 4th. We were jamming to our favorite tunes that were cranked. A couple people waved as they passed us on the highway. People everywhere were excited to celebrate the first big holiday after COVID. The weather was going to be absolutely perfect. Who could ask for more?

Thursday went well. Angel and I opened up the cabin. A couple hours later my brother Luke joined us with his family. But after that pretty much everything went downhill. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why. I had a plan for everything. The plan was if my mom slept well, she would drive up with my brother Matt. If she didn’t sleep well, they would hitch a ride with my husband Paul.

It looked like my mom left the house, so I got my nieces all psyched up for her to visit when my mom called me and said she wasn’t coming up. My brother Luke and his family were leaving later that afternoon for family camp which meant my mom wasn’t going to see them since she was feeling tired and anxious. This was really triggering since a couple weeks before my mom left my brother’s house right before my niece had her dance concert. Now everyone was angry and hurt. My nieces were so incredibly sad saying that grandma didn’t care about them. I was furious because I already had contingency plans A through F in place in case something like this would happen.

The new plan was that my brother Mark and his wife would pick up my mom after driving 5 hours. They were going to spend some time with my dad because Angel and Luke did not want to see him. Luke ended up going to pick up my mom instead. Everything got all messed up and everyone was upset.

Eventually on Friday afternoon almost everyone was up north. I thought the problems would end there, they didn’t. Arabella called to tell me that her car wouldn’t start and how was she going to make it to work the whole weekend. I told her she could use my car. Another problem solved.

My husband decided to help out by mowing the lawn since my dad doesn’t do anything to get the cabin ready for us. He is terribly lazy and now that he has this new heart condition he does absolutely nothing. He won’t even take out the trash now. He expects everyone to take care of him. But I digress. Since my dad didn’t mow the lawn, Paul did. The grass was so high that Paul did not see the metal line that the dog was tied up to and hit it. It got all twisted up in the lawnmower. Worse yet, it yanked the dog so hard that his collar broke. Originally Paul had him chained to his choke chain and I put him on his collar. Good thing because it probably would’ve killed him otherwise. I was very angry that my dog could’ve died.

That evening my brother Luke and my daughter Angel left. Angel was very upset before leaving. My brother Mark’s wife Carla did not congratulate her on her engagement. She made passive aggressive comments about Angel sleeping in their bedroom. She also said how she couldn’t wait to have steak with my dad. Angel took this as an attack. My brother Luke does not want his daughters around my dad nor does my daughter Angel after she found child porn on my dad’s computer and turned him in to the police. Angel felt like Carla was blaming her for this. After Luke and Angel left, my dad showed up which is another stressor. Matt and my dad are very difficult people to be around.

Carla screamed at my brother Mark the whole weekend. She yelled at him for everything like eating his cheese separately from the burger she cut the cheese for. She is incredibly controlling and verbally abusive. At one point she yelled at him so much that I was even shaking. It triggered my husband because his mom was the same way. He wanted to tell her off but we didn’t want to make things worse for Mark. Carla offered to take care of my dad and Matt so my mom didn’t have to. She was taking it out on Mark.

Paul and I tried to spend as much time outdoors away from everyone as we could. Sunday morning I suggested to Paul that we go kayaking. Then everyone wanted to go kayaking. Carla yelled at Mark that she wanted to go and why didn’t he plan that for her. Since the kayaks were Mark and Carla’s, we decided to pull the canoe out of the garage. My mom wanted to go too. We didn’t get far before she wanted us to turn around since she can’t swim and is afraid of water. Then she wanted us to take Matt so he wouldn’t be left out. Matt is worse on the water than she is so we said maybe later.

There were some good things that happened over the 4th. The fireworks over the lake were absolutely awesome. My aunt Jan came out with her husband and my son came up for the fireworks. But for the most part, I found the weekend with family to be very triggering. My anxiety was through the roof. I fell into a deep depression that took almost a week to pull myself out of. I felt like I was a child trapped in despair. It dragged me back to that feeling again. It was hard to see others triggered by the events too. I always liked being up north. As a child, it seemed like a safe and special place. But then I started to remember times when it wasn’t that way. It ruined my memory that there was any safe or happy place in childhood. The things I clung to were remarkably but unbeknownst flawed.

I really think that I need to limit how much time I spend with my family of origin. I didn’t realize how much it would negatively impact my current state of mental health.