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After going back and rereading my last blog (a full two weeks ago) and recalling what I did think the next morning; it wasn’t then, and still isn’t self recrimination. In the late morning light it was not, “What was I thinking?” Rather, it was, “Wow, that was new!” Definitely still on shaky ground, I worked two more days then had two days off. My plan was to quickly regroup then post a light, clever, I-am-not-really-that-pathetic, happy entry to not crash my blogging days before I even get a good start. Um…no. Then I was going to share “The Melody Lingers On” conversing about finding the strength to continue riding the waves of even further drama and disaster while rebounding from going along with being out-of-control. Nah. Those distressing events are a part of my story here, but I will tell them in the context of discussing how they play into my recovery.

As time passed the brewing disharmony that was surrounding me, the event that lead to my drunken Dunkin discourse, and the melody that followed began to simmer down. Once again on my bed staring at my Wall, I began to see the interconnectedness of my distress and the recovery learning opportunities. Next my mind formed a piece on The Cycle of My Current Life: Bad days, Benders and Balancing Out Again, and Again….

Cycles are a giant part of mental health, of life in fact. I had cycled A-Z, soup to nuts, All is Good, to Drunk and Disorderly, to All is Good Again in two weeks. Not bad for someone 30 days out of a 20-month depressive siege. It has been profoundly important for me to remember that through all of what may challenge me; I continue to work full-time. In fact, I have even picked up a day every week this month. My schedule has been 5 days 1 off, 5 days 2 off, 5 days 1 off. While this doesn’t sound like much to the average person, in my field it is a lot. On the last day of my final 5 day sets, I came home to sadness and what could have been really really sad for my household. In the end, gratitude was what got me through and will be my sustaining force for a few more days.

Currently, my household consists of two rabbits, two chinchillas and me. Rabbits have been my mainstay pet of choice since I was eleven. Eventually I hope to blog “Lessons from Belle” or some such title, as Belle has taught me much about companionship, tolerance, and respecting her own trauma. Bunz is her current Leporidae  companion. Daniel and Isabella are my chinchillas. Sadly, I was not responsible about getting one of them spayed or neutered so the inevitable happened although I thought her too old for such shenanigans. He is a youngster of three years, she is fourteen. One night this week I came home to a nearly unresponsive Isabella laying on her side in her home. Yanking her out, I discovered a still born baby half in half out of the birth canal. Quickly I placed her in the bathtub and began a search for my city’s phonebook. The emergency pet service I reached directed me to the nearest office. With Isabella wrapped in a kitchen towel we sped off. Once there, it was one of those situations where difficult choices had to be made on the part of the on-call vet and the human caregiver. The balance between giving/receiving needed care and the willingness/ability to reach a monetary agreement added to the upset. This limited negotiation is not what I am used to and hurt quite a bit. Teary eyed I said I couldn’t just let her die. After a rough estimate was reached, she received something for pain, was lubricated up, and given oxytocin to induce labor. After Baby was delivered I had to approve an xray to be sure there were not anymore babies inside. Once out of immediate danger, I asked for hydration also. Of course she should have stayed the night, but I couldn’t afford it. The bill was actually more money than I had even with transferring funds to my checking account. The gracious veterinary tech-receptionist covered the small amount over that I did not have. The tears that had already begun to flow over my regret at allowing this to happen to her and my lack of funds, now really poured. The kindness of people always surprises me. After giving the emergency vet office all the money I had and the receptionist pitching in the balance, they brought her to me and we were homeward bound.

Driving to my apartment I reflected on my exiting promises of staying up with her for the next 24 hours and making a follow up appointment with an exotics vet in one day. The staying up with her for 24 hours would be tough, but I would do it, and I did (mostly). However, the follow up appointment was not going to take place. The bill emptied my bank accounts. People who have serious depression frequently suffer economically as well. I am among the under-employed. I have an education, but not the income that usually goes with it. There were and still are, no funds to take her to be seen again.

We got home about 4 a.m. My bed became Isabella’s recovery area. I set her up in a cat carrier where I could see everything. Small animals get GI stasis easily after a traumatic disruption of their systems. We also needed to be cautious of infection. The wait for eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping began.

At noon, I had to leave her for a short time to keep one of my doctor’s appointments. After the appointment I went to my bank with several personal checks written to me by family members. My mother pays me her phone bill by check and I had a check for my birthday from my aunt. All together it was $160. Going into the bank I was relived that I had been lax in cashing these checks. I knew I had a check still outstanding for $70 that I needed to cover. I was not at all happy about only having $90 and still needing a few groceries, rabbit food, and gas; but I would make it 10 days. As I stood in line at the bank I decided to call my dentist and cancel my appointment as I wouldn’t make it there and back and go 9 more days with my gas currently on empty, even with a few bucks in the tank. The rabbit food would also have to be forgone as it is a very long drive to get it at the feed store. I sent an email to my aunt that I would not be driving in her area the next day. Reaching the counter I signed the checks to deposit them. I asked if the $70 had cleared and the clerk indicated that it hadn’t. When my transaction was complete the clerk handed me my receipt. It read .23 for available funds. My stomach crash landed on the arches of my feet. I flushed and asked why. Immediately I knew it was a dumb question. Funds on hold pending clearance of the checks through the other banks. Reaching for the counter to steady myself I asked if there was anything to do and for how long. As a person who dissociates, I saw myself teetering and heard my voice get low and raspy as I said, “but I don’t have any gas in my car”. Years ago I would have burst into tears, gotten hysterical, and had to run and hide somewhere. But now I am better controlled, outwardly at least. I nodded and tried to smile at the distraught and probably fearful bank clerk. He didn’t know that I wasn’t upset at him. Quietly I turned and walked away.

For up to two days I would have to manage without any money at all (except my precious laundry quarters). My gas light was on and my wireless bill is due. Heading out of the bank I knew I needed to count my eggs, assess my meals for work, measure my rabbit pellets, and sadly, check my wine status.  So much for a trip to my storage unit for fans and my air conditioner.

The steps through the larger building that houses my bank and out the door were traveled in a shocked haze. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run and scream and call someone to complain or ask for assistance. I wanted a friend, a boyfriend, an aunt. Someone, anyone, to turn to in my fear and frustration.

I had crossed one street and was about to cross another when I came back to myself. It was as if I was imported back into my body alive with all my senses. If felt the ground beneath my feet. The rub of the V of my flip flop on the top of my right foot. I felt the heaviness of my new weight, it’s discomfort around my waist. My purse pulled down on my shoulder and caught in my long hair. My eyes blinked in the bright sunlight, the smell of the blooming trees wafted across my nares, my ears picked up on the sounds of the traffic, the bitterness of black coffee registered on my tongue. It wasn’t rough like a jolt to my body, but it was some kind of a landing. I not only returned to reality from wherever my mind fled to, but a sense of a former me came back also. A calmer, self contained, knowing self that I haven’t glimpsed in years, descended as I observed my senses. I acknowledged her, but my current self now firmly returned, grabbed onto recovery.  This really sucks. This would be a good time for a gratitude list.

Twenty-three cents. After how hard I have worked to not be living paycheck to paycheck. I had $700. Then $400. Now it’s gone. Why do I even bother? Something always has to happen. I am just not supposed to have any money. I am not suppose to get my needs met. I am not worth not having to panic to survive. I am too damaged. It’s too late for me. All the regret, shame, hopelessness, self abuse that I carry around began to flood me. The mind is a fast place.  All this in about a half a block! Hello! You have grown. You have learned. You have broken many unhealthy habits. You are different than you were one year ago. Hugely different than two years ago.

Like driving a manual car, my brain slowed, shifted gears, and went at a different pace. My thoughts shifted to being grateful for where I am today. Boy was I relieved that I had the $400 for the vet. They did ultimately work with me, and a generous soul was among them to cover the rest. My beloved Isabella was saved. She will be okay. My little family is intact. I did not have to face the loss of a pet.

It was stressful trying to get a wireless internet signal in the midst of the emergency, but after going outside, sitting in my car breathing, and calming down so my head could work; I changed the settings on my cell phone and got on the internet. One, I HAVE a smart phone and the ability to do banking at 2 a.m. Two, I was able to check my bills and found all of them except the phone bill paid. MY RENT WAS PAID.  So was my student loan, and credit card. I would only get dinged $5 for a late phone bill as opposed to the other debtors.

Maybe my laziness was a good thing right now. If I can hang on 48 hours, I can put some gas in my car and buy a couple of grocery items. (I have quarters!) The bank teller was very polite and sympathetic.

Summer is here at last! I am glad this is not happening in the cold winter. It is a sunny, beautiful day. The trees smell awesome.

I am grateful that I was told about only having 23 cents while holding a cup of coffee.  I appreciate my doctor’s  office providing coffee in the waiting area.

This is important for people who are addicted to hot liquids. Everything is survivable with tea or coffee.

I really like my purse. I am glad I switched back to my large green leather purse that can hold everything I need to live through the day.

(By now I was reaching my car.) I am grateful for my car. My car is perfect for my needs. It is paid for and I didn’t have to give it up when I moved to the city. My apartment is located in a safe neighborhood where there is ample street parking. She needs repairs, but she does her best.

I am grateful for the garage that I park my car in when I go to work.

(By now I was driving home.) Breathing deeply as I drove, I began to settle down. I realized that I had become much more self sufficient. I was grateful that the urge to call someone was passing. I was grateful that the person I had been dating was still out of my life. I wouldn’t have wanted to explain my upset to a man. I was super grateful for having moved closer to work with the gas situation. I was even grateful that I was upset in a new and different way. Part of my upset is now I know differently. Back to the positive self talk above. As I neared home, I was realizing that I really had changed. I had grown more self preserving. I really wanted that $400 back in the bank! I was also smarting all over again about $300 that I had to pay the day of the drunken Dunkin debacle. I had almost an entire paycheck in savings and now it was gone. I was devastated because I was finally learning to save even with barely enough to live. I had socked away almost half a month’s income. This is huge for me. I finally know what it feels like to have had a tiny amount of security. I felt something good for me.

One hundred percent of the time I walk into my apartment I am grateful. I love it’s bright south windows. It’s east and west windows. I love it’s hard wood floors. I love my babies having their own room. I love it’s full kitchen. I have divided it into a sitting area and a bedroom area. As I lay things down in the “living room”, I know Isabella and I will be alright. She is on my bed in the cat carrier moving about, having eaten and taken water from her bowel. I see dampness on the pine bedding and tiny poo. Crawling onto my bed I am grateful for all of us having a home. Time for a long nap.