Crying in a supermarket
It's amazing how uncomfortable people get when you are crying in public. Very strange, really. We all feel so awkward, don't we?
I mean, it's not as though any of us are new to the concept of bawling. But it's as though the person just became highly contagious. People are afraid to approach you.
As you may have guessed from the title, I had a minor breakdown today at Albertsons. And the only reason I was even able to get my butt into Albertsons was because my mom drove me. Talk about feeling mature.
I was so tired that the new layout confused me. It's been this way for about three months, but I'm still adjusting to it. And today I kept looking for things in their old spots.
We'd only made it about three aisles over -- having successfully added milk to the cart -- when I was looking at salsa. We needed some. But Albertsons charges $8.49 for a big bottle of salsa. About two blocks up the street, at Sam's Club, the same stuff is under $4.
So I stood there, looking at the list, looking at the price, list, price, list, price. And all I could think is that I didn't want to take another step. So how could I make it up to Sam's Club? But I also couldn't pay almost $5 more when the cheaper stuff was two blocks away. And I couldn't get it another time: We needed it for that night's dinner.
I went to look at pasta, because it was too depressing to be looking at salsa I couldn't buy. And that's when the waterworks started. I was exhausted, I wanted to be at home, and I couldn't even get something as simple as salsa.
Part of this reaction was simple fatigue. Between the contract work, the blog and Tim's job stuff, there's been a lot going on. The lack of job weights heavily on Tim, as does not knowing what he wants to do.
Partially because of the stress from this (my opinion), his ADD has been worse. He keeps getting very single-minded. He's been more impulsive, which means I have to put the brakes on more often and keep him from buying when he's in these modes. It's just a lot to handle.
Also, it has meant that he latches on to ideas and won't let go -- until the slightest snag shows up. Then he's ready to quit. The snag, of course, has to be something he discovers. My comments don't penetrate. So, he went off half-cocked about medical coding; a month later he's finally finding some logistical problems. Like, he hadn't realized that he'd have to take anatomy courses to do medical coding.
It's all a tad maddening; but I am trying to restrain my temper and be supportive. I remember how painful it was when I first stopped working. It's hard on the ego.
If you think about everything that is tied into careers: We ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up; one of the first questions people ask is what you do (not even for a living, just what you do); we ascribe certain traits to certain fields of work and certain income levels.
So anyway, I've been trying to learn to be the patient, good wife. Especially because in the past I've certainly not been patient. But it really does take a toll, doesn't it?
We had a couple long talks today and I think we've reached a point where he's going to try to be more conscious of his impulsivity.
And we're going to wait to hear from the vocational rehab center before we do any more planning. Those people can help him find a career he can do. And frankly, all our attempts just end in exhaustion, depression and general malaise.
Still, it's all very frustrating. I get up, do some of my work, take a break for breakfast, then go back. Suddenly, it's the middle of the afternoon -- even though the work is only supposed to take about 2 hours it actually takes 3-4 -- and I've only done a bit on my own blog. No errands have been done and we still have to figure out dinner.
And so I found myself bleary-eyed and at the grocery store. I didn't want to take another step. Not even to go sit down. I just wanted my bed to magically appear and cushion me. But I couldn't. Because we didn't have salsa. Or a magical, teleporting bed.
It's so exhausting trying to act like a normal person. I've even scaled my expectations way back. But there's still things I don't get around to. Lately it feels like I blink and the day is mostly over, along with my energy.
Most of the time, I let this roll off my back. I remind myself that I can't change it. But once in awhile, it just hits me, how relentless this is all is. It's not going to stop.
I know this sounds silly, but I'm still a little shocked that it's been a decade of this and I'm still so far from acceptance. More silly: I sort of half expected I'd get a break at such a big milestone.
I know it's illogical, ridiculous even. I knew it wouldn't really happen. But it still seemed so plausible. I keep thinking that if only disability were a relay race, I could handle it. If I knew that I only had to go to a certain point, I could make it there.
But there's no end in sight. No one will come up and take the fatigue for a few years.
If they did, I would come back. Not gladly, but I would. If only I could have a few years of good, old-fashioned wage earning. If I could actually affect my financial future. Then I would come back for another long haul.
I think the impetus of this particular mood -- or perhaps just the proverbial straw on the proverbial camel's back -- was reading an article on Friday about science. The article said a scientist has determined a way to get muscles to better stave off fatigue.
This may very well be pertinent to me. To condense what I understand of the articles on Guillain-Barre, essentially some nerves were damaged and regrew quickly, rather than properly. So they are inefficient and make the muscles have to work harder to compensate. So something like this could actually have some promise.
I felt so hopeful for a minute. Then I realized: This was still in a lab somewhere. Not even a pharmaceutical lab. Just a university.
Even assuming they could miraculously come out with a medicine from this compound in the next five years, there would still be years of getting FDA approval. So likely it will be at least a decade before anything is even available.
After that, everything has seemed a little harder.
So what does this all mean? I wish my ramblings had some deep import or conveyed an important message that everyone could take heart from.
In this case, though, I think it's just that it really sucks to be disabled.
It's funny: you don't ever really think that you expect life to be fair -- until it dumps a bunch of "unfair" all over you. Then you just bleat out the injustice of it, even if you know there's no point.
I wish I could say that I accept my limitations with a quiet, dignified serenity. But the truth is, I often come home and hide under the covers, hugging some stuffed animals, until Tim comes and talks me out. (Why do we think that covers protect us from monsters, let alone wordly affairs? It's a mystery I've never sorted out. But I do feel awfully safe huddled up.)
So I'm not the epitome of grace under pressure. I'm a depressive with energy limitations, which means double the emotionality and grumpiness. It means that I'm often quite a handful to be around.
It means that my limitations don't make me into some Lifetime movie with a happy ending of triumph over a disability. I won't win gold medals or even a local race. I will be lucky to be able to work steady part-time work.
And, sometimes, that just has to be enough. Because it's all I have. It's far from perfect. It's nothing like what I pictured as a kid. But it's a life and it's the only one I've got. So I pick it up and make do with it -- even if I don't always make the best of it.
Because I'm human.
Because I'm disabled.
Because I'm the kind of person who cries in supermarkets.