How We All Doing?

Did you do okay with Christmas? This dead week is still going on. The week where work is lighter, there is no school, and you still have your lights up. It can be a nice slice of a quieter life.

Or it can be trying.

Last year the slow pace of this week drove my husband and I up the wall. We were still silently freaking out after having found out on the 12th of December that we has been largely wiped out by Bernie Madoff and company (Sidebar, just saw that a local station in North Carolina said evil M had some punches to the face or some signs of an assault. Is it wrong to want to buy the guy who did that a beer? Sidebar, sidebar, my husband said it would be a funny skit, a cop standing over a beaten Madoff asking, “Do you have an enemies?”). All we could do is try to be pro-active with what economic life we had. Talk to realtors, a budget overhaul, look around for things to sell. We wanted to get busy so we could salvage our life and stop the screaming in our heads, but it was “wait till next week!” Also, I knew I was giving birth mid-February, so I really needed to make hay.

It’s also a bad week for a mental health crisis. I have gone through that with a relative and unfortunately it is happening again with another relative. It’s the hardest time to find a bed in a mental hospital because this is the busiest time of year to snap. Christmas time is very hard on some people. But we knew that right? I thought it was interesting when I found out it is not a punch line or anecdote, people really do end up in scary, lonely situations at holiday time, and as my sister who is a licensed therapist said, “The dirty secret is there are not enough places for people with mental illness, and no one cares until they have a family member who has fallen ill.”

Which I think must be everyone. In a few hours of hearing of my family member who is in crisis, the few people who I told all had a sister who healed with electric shock, a cousin who had recently killed themselves, a brother who has to live with his parents since his release, and it went on and on.

And from my previous experience dealing this, and it seems to be following the same course this time, not all facilities are equal. Often the institution wants 1) to keep the patient from harming themselves and 2) wants them to be compliant. Which means they are put in restraints, and it feeds into whatever scary scenario the injured brain had already manifested. There isn’t a course of treatment. And good luck getting a doctor to get on the phone with you. All of us were stiff with tension, minds distracted. I keep saying “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” The constant balance of talking to shrinks, while playing happily with your little kids. “Everything is fine! Let’s play catch.” While you wonder if an anti-psychotic would be better than anti-anxiety drug.

A few years ago when we were mired in this, it was about a 4-month journey. At the other end was a breathtaking recovery. But nonetheless on the other side was also a changed life. A much, much better life than had seemed possible in that holiday time, but it was a different one.

No wonder I dread Christmas.

15 thoughts on “How We All Doing?

  1. Hi Daphne!
    Christmas was good for us, and I agree with you, “dead week” can be good..so far I’ve enjoyed it!

    Lately though I’ve been dealing with my daughter not wanting to eat…she’s 17 months old..I know..LOL. She eats breakfast and lunch ok, but dinner is the challenging one. One day i kept offering her food and she wouldn’t eat at all. I was starting to get frustrated but then I thought, “F*** it” and took my daughter out of the high chair and she went on to play. Bedtime came and I offered again, she didn’t want it, so she went to bed, FOR THE 1ST TIME EVER, not eating dinner. I was a bit concerned (heck who am I kidding, a LOT concerned!) but she slept fine and the next day she gave me her usual big morning smile and ate breakfast just fine..TODDLERS! LOL

  2. Daphne,

    I’m not usually profuse with the words… but here goes nothing. This whole holiday season, we kinda ignored it… not on purpose just kinda happened. First of all, on one of the first nights of Chanukah, my daughter (almost 22 months old) woke up from her nap barking like a seal – immediately turned the shower and called the pediatrician who was already out of the office. She then proceeded to lay on my husband’s chest for 2 more hours like a lox, so we took her to the PM pediatric clinic where she just laid on the doctor’s table until they started to poke her, then screamed/coughed until she puked – had 103 fever by then and croup…. later in the week paired with a virus and ear infection… No school for her for that week… Child didn’t eat for 5 days, didn’t get off the couch for 3-4.

    We ordered Chinese food in for Christmas Eve – my mother’s family invited themselves over (to our relatively small apartment) and shared fortune cookies with us… My aunt then felt it necessary to broadcast to relatives (my mother had 9 brothers and sisters you do the math) within a 50 mile radius that there was something WRONG with my daughter. SIDEBAR: my daughter is developmentally delayed, nothing is wrong with her health, she’s a wonderful child with more than a few quirks… nothing that’s not being worked on – and NOTHING that was my aunt’s to share. Needless to say, I’ve now had it out a few times over with my aunt, and will not be going over to her house to be gawked tomorrow for New Year’s. All in all, I’d say I’ll be happy when the old year’s out and the New Year’s in…. Just sayin’

    As far as mental illness goes, I just wanted to say, it’s a REALLY tough time of year… I hope that everything works out. The story sounds familliar. Good luck.

  3. Seriously, this week has been hellish. Everything might be slow but that means more work for me at the office. A lot more housekeeping too. To top it off, I broke my favorite pair of eyeglasses. Thankfully, I have a backup pair. That is what I’m thankful for.

  4. Sorry to hear of your family member and hope she/he gets the help and support they so need..

    When I heard of Madoff getting roughed up in jail I smiled, and immediately thought of YOU :)

  5. With you, sister.

    Gave Christmas as much of a pass as I could while still showing up for family dinners, and celebrated a NY New Year (watched the ball drop in Times Square at nine pm and went to bed), The dead week seems more like a month. Year. Whatever.

    I totally agree on the scarcity of good meltal health care – no chance in hell I’m going to look around for something new, because, well, a) no insurance; b) just had meds changed so am awake all the time thinking about what’s wrong instead of sleeping all the time, not sure that was a fair trade, and c) three kids and a mortgage say I don’t really have the luxury of time or energy for it.

    Ist there some sort of home electroshock therapy? DIY Insulin Popper? Just sayin.’ You don’t have to reply in public. *Wink

  6. what , It’s the happiest time of the year?? 😉

    trying to avoid people who upset you can be a holiday sport for sure.

    And for people who don’t have insurance, sheesh, no wonder there are so many crazy homeless people, what are they suppose to do? I’m a cradle to grave advocate.

  7. Daphne,

    I sincerely hope your family member is in a better place today. It is a scary world when you need help and it seems hard to find.

    Our Christmas appeared festive and joyous on the surface. Our tree was up, the wreath on the door, and the christmas flag was flying.

    It was a joyous time celebrating our faith, the human aspect was somewhat dissappointing. This year we needed more mainly emotional support. My husband has been out of work since August and we went through this before and it was a long stretch. Anyway my family (with the exception of one sister), being the loving bunch they are couldn’t even bring themselves to ask how we were doing, how the search is or feel the need to tell us to skip the gift (we draw names) as we know it is a difficult time. Instead we got the orders for the 2 gifts we were responsible for purchasing and heard about the money spent, remodeling projects and vacations planned. All of this is fine and I certainly want them to be happy and prosperous, but it would have gone along way if they would have put their arms around my husband or myself and say we are praying for you, we love you, is there anything we can do to help you.

    We were raised that you only have each other as siblings and if one was in trouble you circle the wagons. I have circled the wagons my entire life for my parents and siblings in anyway I could and it was heartbreaking to realize there really isn’t any wagons coming.

    On the flip side God has blessed us with a wonderful group of dear friends who have become like family to us. Their concern, support, love and generous spirit has really lifted us up during a very difficult time and we are extremely grateful.

    As hard as it was, we grew for the better this Christmas by truly realizing beside our faith what is important and that is the wonderful people we have in our lives and the realization it might not be who you thought it would be but it is every bit as beautiful.

    Wishing you, Mark, your family and extended family a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year and a sense of humor to handle any curve balls!

  8. i love the line ” the human aspect was somewhat dissapointing” I hear you. That can feel so lonely when people near you don’t get you. I think people think they will make you feel more uncomfortable if they bring it up.

    Happy, prosperous year to you as well.

  9. @ellennow, sometimes people don’t want to feel others pity them by treating them different and wish to live as much as possible a normal life. This may be the reason why your extended family acted like everything was as usual.

    My advice to you is to ask for specific help especially from people you had helped in the past. If they don’t help at least you’ll know how things really are. If you used to play the strong one role and you seem to be doing fine on the surface people may not even know how you really feel.

    I hope things we’ll work out for you.

  10. my wife is disabled from a drunk drvier hitting her head on and killing her mother and friend. i am personally going thru disability from health problems myself . my daughter and son are tring their best to take care of everything. i wish someone could build simple porch over my door so my wife can get out in summer and porch from freezing in winter. this would be the perfect wish for our christmas

  11. Bonjour, je vois dans les caracteristique 10,9mm d’épaisseur alors que samsung a annoncé depuis le MWC11 que sa tablette avais fais une petite « cure » pour atteindre les 8,6mm d’épaisseur… Alors j’ai pue lire que samsung avais des stock de Galaxy Tab 10.1 en 10,9mm qu’il écoulerais … peut être en France ! Alors ou est la vérité ?

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