Adventures in sailing

We spent last week sailing Door County on a cruise with a couple of other sailboats. Door County is located on the thumb of Wisconsin and is a very popular tourist destination. We ended our trip right before Labor Day weekend because on a holiday weekend slips are harder to come by with multiple boats. But the week before they are generally plentiful.

The cruise started off a little rough. Paul and I decided to go to the boat early because the forecast was showing hot and humid weather conditions. We thought we could get everything ready and then hit the pool before everyone else showed up. It didn’t quite turn out as planned. When we got there a pop up storm came through and it was cool and rainy. The other couple that was planning to sail with us weren’t sure they were going to go with because she was feeling sick and wanted to get tested for COVID.

The following day we sailed through the wind and the waves reaching our destination just before another round of storms hit. I was in a foul mood as well. Along with getting whipped around on the boat, I was suffering through cramps and arthritis pain. Not a good mix. To add to that, my body does not tolerate beer, burgers, and pizza well. You know, pretty much all the fun vacation foods and drinks. So, I had to deal with indigestion and acid re-flux as well. I topped all that off with my usual insomnia.

By the third day, the other couple joined us. Our friend did not have COVID. Instead she was put on antibiotics for an infection but overall was feeling a lot better. From there we sailed to Sister Bay under strong winds and high waves. It was not a very comfortable sail. We decided to stay in Sister Bay for a couple days and visit some of the shops.

For breakfast one morning, we ate at Al Johnsons the place with the goats on the roof. It is a Swedish restaurant with an adjoining gift shop which we visited as we waited to get a table. According to my DNA results, I am a large percent Swedish. I traced my genealogy back as far as I could go on all sides without finding an ancestor from Sweden. So I ascertained I have Viking blood which explains so much as far as my temperament goes.

When we walked by later, there were people on the roof with the goats. None of us have ever seen people on the roof before. I sent the photo to several people and regretted sending it to my son who thought it was pretty cool. I pictured Alex and his friends trying to get up on the roof some time. Alex’s girlfriend commented asking what would happen if they fell. I said if the people fell off they were pretty screwed with broken legs and necks. If the goats fell off, then goat curry. Honestly, though, Al Johnsons is not like Red Lobster. They don’t have goat on the menu.

The wind and waves were pretty strong most of our trip. At Sister Bay waves crashed over the breakwater. I tried to take videos of people getting doused but every time I brought out my camera it tamed the wicked seas. We sailed to another harbor but that was pretty much uneventful. Then we took advantage of the one day with no wind or waves at all to motor back to our home port before the onset of more strong winds, waves, and storms.

The most enjoyable part of the trip back was having multiple monarch butterflies follow our boat. It’s hard to understand how such a small insect can fly so far from shore. Even though the trip started off rough, it ended on a good note. It’s hard to believe just like that summer is pretty much over. All the things we had planned came into fruition. I’m happy we were able to do so many fun adventures, but I’m sad to see summer slip away.

Fortune cookie wisdom #51

No man is free who is not master of himself.

Wow, nothing like a fun and carefree fortune cookie saying there. This cookie packs a lot of truth. It sounds good, but unfortunately is easier said than done. Who do we know who is truly free?

I want to think I am free, but really is this an obtainable goal? I am but trapped inside of my own body that no longer does all the things I want it to do.

I also think of my friends who struggle with addiction. How easy is it for us to tell them to just stop whatever it is they are addicted to? Just stop then the addiction will be gone. We want to tell ourselves this is the way it works when we see others struggle losing everything they have at times in danger of even losing their lives. Just stop and it will all go away.

I think everyone struggles with mastering themselves, some are just better at it or care more than others. I wish I could be better at managing my worry. Just this week I worried my daughter was lying in her apartment dead because she is sick and hasn’t been returning my calls or texts. Or better yet, I should think happy thoughts when struggling with depression. That will just magically somehow take the thoughts I don’t want coursing through my head away. Or telling someone with insomnia to just try to get some sleep to count more sheep.

I really think that if most people could master themselves they already would. Maybe we will never be as free as we want to think we are.

Gratitude week 130

  1. My daughter’s future MIL and I got together to plan the bridal shower and the meeting went better than expected.
  2. The bridesmaid dresses came in for my daughter’s wedding. It’s hard to believe the wedding is a little over three months away.
  3. Summer! We had a couple of really hot days, so I did break down and turn on the A/C. It’s cooled off quite a bit since then so today the windows are open.
  4. Paul and I went sailing and the weather was perfect. We were able to spend some time at the marina’s outdoor swimming pool.
  5. At the marina, I found a book I really wanted to read and finished my book so I swapped them out.
  6. Yesterday I attended the graduation party for my friend Lisa’s son. We are all grateful he graduated since it was down to the wire. I know how stressful that can be.
  7. I’m grateful to sleep in my own bed. Lisa said I could spend the night but I decided to drive home instead which meant 4 hours of driving. They were having a lot of people stay over and I have a hard enough time sleeping in my own bed medicated. Maybe it’s a PTSD thing, but if there are other people around I can’t fall asleep. I usually have to be the last person to bed and the first one up which is really hard on me.
  8. There was a time when I wouldn’t even consider driving four hours by myself. I’m grateful my driving anxiety is pretty much gone. Lately I’ve even been able to drive over tall bridges. These are things I’ve really struggled with off and on over the years. My dad would terrorize us when he was driving us as a kid and I carried that over way too long into my adult life.
  9. Life in general.
  10. After our power went out our refrigerator started making this really annoying high pitch shrieking cricket chirping sound. It was driving me crazier than I already am. The funny thing is the younger the person was the more irritating the sound was. Sometimes I couldn’t hear it, but my kids could. Or sometimes I could hear it and my husband couldn’t. The refrigerator also got really hot to the touch in certain areas. There was a problem with the fan and I’m grateful Paul was able to fix it.
One of the photos from our sailing trip.

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 #46

You will always have good luck in your personal affairs.

When is this supposed to start again??

Sometimes I wonder if this is all there is. Just me waiting for the other shoe to drop stuck in an endless loop of meaningless tasks. Cleaning the house, just to watch it get dirty again. Why don’t things stay clean and orderly? Why is life so messy?

I have been on edge and out of sorts lately. There has been so much change in my life lately. I wish I could tell you that I embrace change, or like it, but I don’t. I haven’t been sleeping all that well and last night had a nightmare I was watching my cat drown.

In the mornings and at night sometimes, my cat stares out the window. I wonder if he is waiting for our dog to come back. We used to sit their together staring out that window at night waiting for the dog to come in for the night. Today I washed the remaining dog nose smudges off that same sliding glass door. He won’t be coming back. I vacuumed the rest of the pet hair from the rug he entered eternal sleep on.

Yesterday my daughter and her fiancĂ© bought a house. This weekend she will be moving out. It is bittersweet. I got used to her living here for the last year and a half. I know it is time for her to move on with her own life and she is happy. But that somehow doesn’t make it easier right now. I’m not sure what will happen next. This will be the first time my husband and I have been alone since we had kids.

I know I should view this as an opportunity for growth. But it really doesn’t feel like that right now.

So here I’ll be waiting for the good luck….

Gratitude week 107

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a shitty week. I started the week out with COVID and ended the week by putting my dog to sleep. So…I think I’m good on my share of problems for awhile. Oh, if I could bet against my luck I would be most fortunate indeed. Anyway…

  1. About the only good thing about having COVID is now I don’t have to worry about getting COVID.
  2. I’m glad my kids were all able to say their final good-byes to our dog. They all gathered around our dog when the vet came out to put him down.
  3. I’m grateful all my children are in good relationships and their significant others really helped them through the process.
  4. The vet who came out to our house was kind and compassionate. She did everything she could to be gentle to ease our dog’s suffering and our own.
  5. I’m grateful for the 14 years we got to spend loving our dog. I feel at such a loss, my kids lost their childhood pet and their childhood is over. It’s a strange feeling, the regret of not being able to go back. It’s over. It’s final. But it was good.
  6. I’m grateful that Arabella’s boyfriend is going to be taking her pet frogs home to his house today. I have been taking care of them since she moved out and it will be nice to give them back to her.
  7. I have an appointment to get my haircut today and just got my nails done for the trip.
  8. I am getting excited to get away for a couple of days. I seriously think betting against myself would be a wise plan in Vegas. But I’m not much of a gambler.
  9. I was FINALLY able to get a good night’s sleep last night.
  10. It will be nice having high temps in the mid-60’s for a few days. Right now the wind chills are below zero.
You will be missed, my puppy!

Gratitude week 99

  1. Because of my insomnia I was able to see the lunar eclipse. It looked like a big eyeball in the sky. It was one night I was happy to be up in the middle of the night. Who says good things can’t come out of something bad? LOL
  2. My 15 year old cat had a thyroid check up with the vet. Not only is his condition staying stable but he gained some weight.
  3. I got my haircut and I really like how it turned out. This is the shortest I ever went.
  4. I am finally starting to feel less depressed. Why should I allow other people’s bad decisions ruin my life?? Especially since I don’t have any control over it. Letting go is a process and I finally feel like I am accepting things the way they are. I am in a pretty good mood so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.
  5. I’m grateful for my husband. He has two days left of his month long detox diet. He did an awesome job with it. He is also willing to make some positive changes and compromise which I appreciate.
  6. Angel took me out to eat and to see a comedian Friday night. I’m thankful for a daughter I can go out and do fun things with. We spent the evening laughing and didn’t talk about problems.
  7. Yesterday I spent the day baking with my best friend. We made four batches of cookies and two batches of candy. We both made some new recipes. We aren’t much for baking but it was nice to spend a couple hours together chatting.
  8. I’m sitting next to a roaring fire while I write these words. I love having a fireplace on cool wintry days.
  9. I finished reading the first edition of my book and started the writing process again.
  10. I am getting excited for the holiday season. My husband, daughter, and I are ready for the race on Thanksgiving day. We will be hosting a small party at our house that evening. Then the following day we will be getting our Christmas tree and decorating the house.
  11. This past week Dan, Angel, and I met up with the DJ. All of the major things are now done for the wedding which is a relief.

It’s probably not the best time

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been a rough week. I probably wasn’t doing myself any favors yesterday by rereading part of the book I wrote. I read journal excerpts written by my mom of a time when Matt was violent towards me. I was reliving getting hit and kicked. I really want to get going on the project of finishing my book but it is probably not the best timing.

Rereading the book forces me to process past traumas all over again all while I am going through current trauma. I am distraught my daughter decided to quit taking her meds. I am sick of taking care of her pet frogs for her. I want to find a better home for them because she is probably going to neglect them anyway if she takes care of them.

I am sickened by Arabella getting into porn. It is very triggering because porn was a big part of my life growing up and I didn’t want it to be. It also triggers me to think about what Angel and Dan found on my dad’s computer.

I was feeling quite down last night and was glad when Paul’s step-dad Darryl came by for a visit. Darryl felt sad about everything going on with Arabella. He is estranged from his two sons and had some hard times with them as well. Darryl said he was planning on getting married in 3 weeks. He wasn’t going to have a big celebration because they both have been married a couple times before. Paul’s mom passed away almost 5 years already from cancer. I told him he was more than welcome to have a small reception at our house and I would gladly help with wedding planning. Both Paul and I told him we could use something worth celebrating right now.

It’s been strange taking the sleeping pills. I do sleep better but I still have bad dreams. This morning I woke up before 5 after having a dream about my dad and Arabella. I felt so sad upon waking that I started crying. I get this feeling like I can’t do this life thing anymore. There hasn’t been much joy for so long now. I texted my best friend and she called me on her way to work. She told me we were going to get together for cards tomorrow night to take my mind off of things a bit. She is the best.

I got it into my head to not read my book today. Instead I wanted to create a timeline of my life to see if I could find any interesting patterns. On the left side I wrote down the traumas and on the right the good things. I want the book to have an orderly flow. When did he poke me in the eye? When did he threaten to poke my eyes out with a knife in his hand? My autistic/schizophrenic brother Matt was violent towards me on a daily basis for somewhere around 15 years. When did it start? When did it end?

When Angel was 4, Matt attacked her and I cut off almost all contact with him. Those were hard years feeling isolated from family. Here I am again feeling isolated from family because of everything that happened with my dad and COVID. Angel and Alex have not seen my dad for two years. My dad is not invited to my daughter’s wedding. It does hurt because he is still my dad. It’s a horrible feeling because I feel so conflicted. I feel stuck in the middle. Just because my dad was a terrible father doesn’t mean I’m a terrible daughter. But maybe I should just walk away from it all.

I feel isolated and rejected from most of the extended family because I am not vaccinated. My Aunt Jan made it clear I was not welcome at the family reunion. She tries to act like it’s no big deal but I feel very hurt. I just found out my Aunt Jan’s husband tested positive for COVID anyway. I just have to wonder if it was worth it. Was it worth pushing me away when I could use the support of family with all the hell I am going through just to get COVID anyway? Now whatever relationship I had with them is gone.

I feel okay right now. I will get through this somehow. Every day has its ups and mainly downs. If I feel anything it’s this tremendous agony over my daughter. The thing is I don’t want her to come home. I don’t want her in my life. What kind of mother am I? Would I say that if my daughter had some other illness such as cancer? Why should I feel this way about a mental illness she did not choose? My daughter’s last words to me were fuck you. I just can’t do this anymore. There’s nothing else I can do. I have nothing left to give.

People say it’s hard to have teenagers. It is. But it’s even harder to have children who are struggling mentally ill adults. I can’t ground her from bad choices. I can’t take away her phone and video games. I just have to watch her destroy herself as it destroys me.

How do I insulate myself from the bad choices of others? I am not a psychopath. I cannot turn off all feelings even if at times I want to. It’s not healthy for me to shut down and numb out. How do I not let it bother me? I can’t seem to figure that one out.

And so it begins

And so it begins…my daughter stopped taking her meds. My mom told me this as we were on the way to get a massage Tuesday morning. Arabella told my mom she doesn’t have a doctor or dentist anymore which isn’t true. It all started when Arabella blamed me for the insurance not covering the next part of her psych eval. Oh if only I was powerful enough to control the decisions of insurance company coverage.

As we were talking about this my Aunt Jan called my mom. My mom put the call on speaker phone. I hate when she does that as my relationship with my aunt is not on the best terms right now. I was stressed out and really didn’t want to talk. My aunt asked how I was doing and I responded okay. I can muster up an okay I guess. My aunt went on and on about a girl from her church I was briefly friends with before she moved out of the area in grade school. She’s a dog groomer now, isn’t that amazing? She lives in a really big house, isn’t that exciting? The other day she spent the day with her father-in-law, isn’t that wonderful? Like who frickin cares??

We got to the spa and my mom got locker number 13. We laugh because bad luck can be funny. I felt like crying during my massage. My daughter quit taking her meds. How long will it be before we get a call? Don’t think about it. I’m sure things will get better. How could it be worse?

I’m glad you asked. Now rewind back one day to Monday.. I had my physical Monday morning. They did a pap smear and took my blood. I didn’t lie on the depression and anxiety forms which of course was concerning to my doctor. I told her of the insomnia and nightmares when asked. I only have nightmares now when I do dream. I’ve had periods of insomnia and nightmares since grade school.

My doctor asked if I had been drinking to cope with my problems. I told her I would if she thought that would help. Instead she offered me some pills to help me sleep at night and feel less depressed. How ironic. Drugs are not the answer, but they can be. So I said yes I will try them.

Then in the afternoon I went to the dentist because why not torture myself by seeing both the doctor and the dentist on a Monday.

Angel told me Arabella dropped off her (my) car at my mom’s house for her to take in to fix. Apparently it is not her responsibility to take care of it because it is not her car. She told my mom she has enough money to buy her own car. But she doesn’t have a job or any money. Right? Arabella told my mom and Angel that she has thousands of dollars. Maybe it’s not true. Angel said it is true because she saw the money in her account. How can this be?

Angel said she told her sister she wouldn’t tell anyone but I guessed correctly. Lucky me! Arabella decided not to get reduction surgery. Her cup size is at the back end of the alphabet in a hard to find size even online. She is 18 with a baby face. How hard is it to guess how she is making money online? Maybe I should turn off her phone but that is her only form of communication with the few people she still talks to.

Thankfully I didn’t know about this when I met with our florist friend for wedding planning. He asked how my other kids were doing. It somehow seems I am never prepared for that question. When asked I told him Arabella was between jobs at the moment.

I really haven’t told anyone this but I’ve also been having heart palpitations. The doctor thinks it’s anxiety based and I agree. Sometimes I think I am going to have a heart attack. I don’t feel like I’m having a panic attack, it just comes on quickly out of nowhere and goes away after 20 seconds a couple times a month.

I’ve also had joint pain. I’m not sure why. Maybe all the stress and long distance running finally caught up to me. The last several days I’ve had intermittent pain in my ankle. At times it is too painful to walk on, then a couple hours later it is totally fine. I couldn’t figure it out because I didn’t hurt myself in any way. This happened to me over a period of 4 days. This has happened to me before for no reason. I have joint pain in other areas as well. Maybe I’m getting arthritis? I’m awfully stiff when I wake up in the morning too.

Yesterday I got my blood work back from my physical. It showed several serious problem areas. They wanted me to come in for another blood draw. Until my lab appointment I googled the crap out of it convinced I was going to die. I hate to admit but there was a little part of me that didn’t feel disappointed. My mom came over and I talked to her of my impending doom. But then the second lab results came back fine. Lab error. Way to freak an anxious person out! After that my mom received a call saying my brother Matt was having an allergic reaction and had a rash all over his body. But for a moment I was the sick and dying one.

Maybe I should start an anti-gratitude list. There is so much crap I didn’t even tell you about like my dog falling down the stairs. I am so glad this week is almost over because I am so done with it already!

The support I need

Sometimes life happens and you need to just sit and gaze into the darkness inside of you for awhile. You have to face it to keep fighting.

I can tell when I’m really stressed out. I can’t sleep and when I do it’s filled with nightmares. My stomach is on a burning and raging fire. I thought maybe I had an ulcer this time. Maybe I had finally reached the end of my rope. I gazed into the water at Kennebunk and cried. I didn’t know if I could continue holding on.

But somehow I’ve been fighting this battle my whole life and never once tried to take my own life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about it sometimes a lot.

When I told my mom I felt this way after she asked what I was thinking about, she told me she would try to give me the support I needed. When we got home from our trip my mom was on the war path. She tried to beat a lot of dead horses. She told people I was thinking of killing myself and they needed to help me which infuriated me because it wasn’t exactly true.

She told my brother Luke he needed to be there for me. My brother Luke walked away from my family almost a year ago. I invited his family over for Christmas last year. We even put the date on the calendar. Then after he found out about Arabella, they cancelled. It wasn’t about COVID because his whole family had it in November. He didn’t want his daughters to be exposed to my screwed up family especially when his wife Emily has the perfect family. Then the few times I did see him up north this summer I felt criticized and condemned by him.

Then my mom went and told my dad that I was ready to jump off the Kennebunk bridge. I am one step away from killing myself and he needs to step up and call me. My dad made every excuse in the book not to call me so my mom kicked him out of the house for a couple days until he finally called me. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t know the only reason he called was to get back in my mom’s good grace. It was the first phone call I got from him in over 3 years.

Maybe my mom even told my Aunt Jan because I got a message from her that she was thinking of me. I could tell how much she was thinking of me when she told me I wasn’t welcome at the family reunion because of my vaccination status. I am about ready to tell everyone to piss off.

I told my mom that it meant nothing to have people reach out to me out of obligation, force, or manipulation. My personal problems are really none of their concern. I can take care of myself like I’ve been doing just fine my whole entire damned life. I told her she had no right to share things I’ve said in confidence with anyone else especially since I was trying to be open and honest with her about my grief over my daughter’s mental illness. I told her if I wanted to tell them I would’ve.

I don’t want to be too hard on my mom because I sincerely believe her intentions were to try to help me. But she is driving me crazier. I felt stressed out when my dad called not comforted. None of this is supportive to me, it’s stressful. Telling people I want to kill myself. Sheesh! She did buy me flowers though. There’s that.

This morning I asked my daughter Angel if she thought I was going to kill myself. She looked stunned and said no. Angel is really supportive. She is a good listener. That’s all I want my mom to do. I want her to listen. I don’t want her to try to control things in my best interests. I don’t want her to tell everyone a sob story about me to try to drum up support. That just makes me feel worse.