… the personal and the national intersect? In my case, a perfect storm. A series of personal “events” (I hesitate to call them “tragedies” because they’re so bleakly ordinary) — death of a spouse, rejection by a child, financial losses, medical problems — intersected with the national financial crisis, and I lost everything. Lost my husband, lost the love and support of my daughter (my only child), lost the chance to have a relationship with my grandchildren, lost my home to foreclosure, lost my financial stability.
I had been out of the workforce for several years, taking care of my mother and my husband during their final illnesses; though I had been professionally employed in the past, that gap in my work history combined with the economic freefall (only an economist or a politician can pretend it wasn’t the worst depression since the 1930s) meant I couldn’t find a job. In 2009, out of sheer desperation, I took a job at WalMart. Everything horrible you’ve ever heard about working for WalMart is true.
After my husband’s death I had hoped to start a little farm (a lifelong dream of mine) — I had the property, but what I did not have was the physical strength/stamina to do the required work, nor the money to hire it done. I tried to live on the property in a little travel trailer — impossible. I was forced by a particularly destructive series of spring storms to return to my house in town — for sale, but not yet sold. I’d lived in that house for 25 years, raised my daughter there, my husband died in that house. I hated it — an ugly, aging, money sink.
As if all that weren’t enough to cause depression, while all this was going on I went into menopause which can cause depression all by itself. Pharmaceutical attempts at controlling the depression were frustrating and fruitless. If I hadn’t had the responsibility of animals to take care of, I would have killed myself a dozen times over. To this day they’re the only reason I succeed in getting out of bed every day and going to work. I did finally get out of WalMart, thank heaven, and back into a salaried job with benefits, but I have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck. Like so many others.
I’ve successfully created my first blog post, I think. Now I have to come up with things to say. Since I have no idea of my target audience, have no purpose in mind for this blog, and have no desire to be “known” or “famous” or “respected”, I’m not sure what it is I think I’m going to achieve. Guess I’m just sending words out into the void because I have no one else to talk to.
Sometimes I feel like all my trauma is nothing but elaborate self-pity. How the people who were supposed to love me have done me wrong and how unjust it all is. There are a lot of people in the world worse off than I am and I need to remove my gaze from my navel. All of which is true, but my pain is no less real for all that.
I’m clinically depressed, I’m sure, but have tried so many drugs and combinations of drugs that I’ve given up on the pharmaceutical cure. They don’t help, or they help briefly and then stop helping, or the side effects are intolerable. I’ve still got a broken crown in my mouth from the jaw-grinding [bruxism] the last one caused (can’t afford the $1K+ to get it replaced).
I didn’t used to be like this. I used to be serene and happy and comfortable, and the only thing that makes the memory tolerable is that I knew at the time that I was lucky. I just didn’t know how fragile it all was. I thought I was happy because I was strong and well-adjusted, but it only took one perfect storm for it to fall apart like sodden toilet paper.
Hello, world. That is WordPress’s default title for a first blog post and since I can’t think of anything better at the moment, I’ll leave it. I am not sure that I have anything to say to the world, or to anyone in it. I suspect that I am a very shallow person, and yet I have a subterranean life that might surprise those who know me only casually. And that means everyone — I see to it that all who know me, know me only casually.
Title of the blog — Pain is a Patient Teacher — that is something I have learned in recent years. Not physical pain, but mental pain, psychic pain, emotional pain. When that kind of pain takes hold of you, it means you have something to learn, and it keeps teaching and keeps teaching and keeps teaching and doesn’t let go of you until you have learned ALL it has to teach. Most of my life I’ve been a quick study, but in retrospect, I realize that I was only in kindergarten.