Today I was able to reflect on how far I have come on managing my mental health. Sometimes it’s the small things that make you realize you are recovering. Today I was able to see a glimmer of light in the darkness.
I often question whether I am actually managing my depression and anxiety or if I am getting any better. Sometimes it feels like I have been sick for so long I will never get better – and I know there is no cure for my depression and anxiety. But I can and will manage it and I will feel better.
One way I can tell I am feeling a little better is how long it takes me to recover from a stressful situation. I have always been good at handling situations at the moment. I am not one to freeze or panic. I take control. But afterwards, I would worry and replay the situation over and over in my mind. I could never let things go. It would consume me.
Today I was able to recognize a baby step of recovery.
My mom is ill. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease 5 years ago. Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible and it destroys brain cells, causing thinking ability and memory to deteriorate.
Over 2 years ago my mom cut my brother and me out of her life. We do not speak or see each other. She does not talk about us with family or friends. We don’t exist to her.
But to my brother and I, she still exists and we still take care of her, from a distance.
We have a very tense relationship with her siblings (our aunts and uncles) because they wouldn’t believe that she was sick for the longest time. And when we reached out for help they adamantly refused to help us with anything and they still won’t help with things. I will say I am very appreciative of the small help we do receive.
So, now we just get the odd email when something goes wrong.
Today the email said that all the money in my mother’s account has disappeared and she is fretting about not having any money. And on top of that crisis, there was a nice little passive aggressive line in the email that possibly my brother and I took the money and moved it to a different account.
Well, as you can imagine my blood starts to boil!
- Everything my brother and I feared and had asked multiple times for their help to move a large amount of money into an investment for fear of my mother being scammed might have happened. (Insert me screaming “I told you so” in my head)
- How dare you subtly accuse us of stealing/moving/manipulating my mother’s money she needs to live out the rest of her life. Although, it’s definitely not the first time they have implied we have very skewed morals (my dad would be creating an ash tornado in his urn if he knew how the family treated us).
Oh, and also, the email informs us that one of our aunts has hopped on a plane and flew here because she was so worried about it…
Ummm, you couldn’t have emailed earlier so I could have investigated this? Also, you emailed me on a long weekend – the bank and financial investors aren’t open! 🤬
So, I make a plan. I will be at the bank first thing tomorrow to get a print out of transactions. Hopefully, my mom has invested the money and forgot that she did and we just need to set up a monthly transfer (no big deal). 🤞
But my mind is racing, my blood is boiling, my whole day is thrown off after spending 2 hours emailing back and forth, making phone calls, waiting, having subtle digs thrown at me about my morals and ethics.
Only a few months ago if I was dealing with this crisis I would close my blinds, lock the doors and retreat into a deep hole where my thoughts would race and consume me. My feelings of rage and anger and hurt would boil over and I would pace the house, or punch a pillow, or destroy something. I wouldn’t talk or text with anyone because I knew I would probably take my anger out on them. I would worry and stew and come up with every possible horrible explanation for the missing money. Then, I would lay on the couch or in bed and just crumble. And I could be like that for days or weeks.
But today, since I am in recovery and I have learned tools to cope, I didn’t crumble. It hasn’t stopped the racing thoughts or the feelings of anger and hurt. They are definitely still there, but I can manage them.
I am able to meditate to SLOW the thoughts. (trust me they are still there!)
I am able to stretch, do yoga, or go for a walk to physically deal with the anger and hurt I have.
I write, to get the thoughts out and to be able to look at them more rationally rather than emotionally.
And most importantly I am able to refocus my day and get back on track.
I need to take some time to do some of these things to refocus, so I might have lost 3 hours out of my day to handle the whole situation (luckily I work from home). But 3 hours is a lot better than a day, or a week, or two – which is what it would have normally taken to get out of my hole.
Not just because of this one incident, but because this one incident would have been depressions kick into the hole and everything else that I think about and worry about and feel would stretch its anxious hands out and hold me down in the hole.
Normally the worry would swallow me whole. It would consume my entire being. But now, I can put it to the side – oh it’s still there! I am so worried my mom was scammed and gave her money away. But I also logically know there is nothing I can do about it today and I will solve it tomorrow. I also logically know, that I have done my due diligence and have put every security measure in place to make the possibility of my mother being scammed very unlikely. (see how I am looking at the situation with facts rather than emotions 😮)
What I discovered:
When you realize that you can recover and you are recovering, it gives you strength. Strength to push those hands of depression and anxiety away. To build stairs out of your hole. To take those steps up to coping and management… and maybe, just maybe a little peace.
Tomorrow will be a new struggle, but I know I am recovering and I know I will manage.
~ Lacey ~
UPDATE: Crisis averted – she moved the money into investment accounts and forgot. Now I just have the hassle of closing those accounts, moving the money again, and putting more safety measures on her accounts.