08 December 2023

A difficult time

I'm aware that I haven't written anything substantial in the last couple of weeks.  It's been a difficult time.  Money issues have forced me to confront the necessity of going back to a regular job, at least for some period of time -- that is, my survival depends on striving as hard as I can to get the very thing I want the least.  I've discovered that I'm going to need cataract surgery next year, a stressful prospect even if people insist that it's a minor procedure.  And approaching the anniversary of my mother's death (today is the day, marking four years) always brings painful memories and feelings to the surface.

I know several regular commenters have had the experience of losing a parent or someone similarly close, and they know that the pain and loss never really go away.  You just learn to live with them, because there is no other option.  This time, the burning memories -- the years-long agonizing decline into dementia, the eventual end -- and the hollow dark feeling of absence since then, all hit especially hard.  Along with it the final emotional realization of what conscious reason knew years ago -- this is not just a temporary thing, she really is never coming back.  Combined with the fact of being essentially completely isolated, all this pushed me into a morbid and almost surreal mental state for two or three days.

Most of my posts, especially the link round-ups and image collections, are put together over a period of days before being posted -- so I have them ready to go just by clicking the "publish" button, which doesn't require much mental focus.  But writing "real" posts is another matter, especially since my awareness of current events is dominated by the sickening new evil which has oozed to the surface in our society in the last two months -- the contemplation of which engulfs me in further despair about the future.  I can hardly stand to write about it, yet nothing else seems worth writing about.  So I post things like images and videos that have brought some comfort or at least distraction.

It has been getting better.  I do have help, and even the worst feelings of morbidity and despair seem to sort of burn themselves out after a few days.  I've come back from worse.  But for anyone else out there who is battling such feelings for whatever reason, I do urge you to seek out such professional help.  I wouldn't have survived through the last thirteen years without it.


Blogger NickM said...

I read your stuff because I agree with a lot of it. Some of it I disagree with but that's even more interesting because you make your cases well and that makes me think. I'm sure there are many other blogs and similar I can say much the same about but what keeps me coming back is your eloquence. In a world of emojis and tweets you're very different. I like that a lot. This post is as focussed as anything else I've read by you in all the years I've been a "disciple of the Infidel" ;-)

What you said just above about grief is absolutely brilliantly focussed. And I have experienced that "second loss". At first it is perhaps shock that almost engulfs grief but latter on - sometimes quite a bit latter - is that moment of clarity when you realise that it really is permanent. That's when it's really clobbered me.

I've searched for a quote. I think it's from a letter written by the wife of a prominent British politician during WWI. I can't find it. The gist was along the lines of, "In some ways the peace will be more terrible than the war because then the dead will be dead forever". Something like that.

I wish you well. My mother had cataract surgery a couple of years back. It went fine. I hope the job ain't to onerous - you never know.

Anyway, all the best and if I can help you know where I am. Even if it just to chat about dreadful bosses we've endured. I've had some stormers!

Except not financially of course! I'm curently broke and unfortunately that's "currently" as in "semi-permanently". I've seriously got to get my business back on track. And all the rest...

08 December, 2023 03:31  
Blogger Ami said...

Right there with you. I love my work but I'd really like to just... not. We need the money. Mortgage and groceries are important.

I was driving to work yesterday and thought, 'it's Thursday and my dad is still dead'. I am not sure how to even talk about my feelings, knowing that I'm doing the eulogy and I'm trying to keep my equilibrium until after. I want to get up and speak without falling apart.

Yeah, our relationship was awful in many ways, but he was my dad and we had a lot of things in common, too. I find myself angry at the dementia that eventually turned him into the odd, incoherent caricature of a human at the end, too. Just unfair all around.

I have no comment on the cataract surgery except to say that everyone I know who has undergone the procedure is glad they did.

I am not averse to seeing a counselor or other mental health professional, but the idea that one has to shop around to find a good fit is daunting and the idea of doing so paralyzes me. Oh, and it's not free. Even if a person has decent insurance (contradiction in terms).

Wishing you some warmth and kindness.

08 December, 2023 10:18  
Blogger Ami said...

PS.. Idle wonderings... I tend to withdraw when things are really overwhelming emotionally and/or physically, a trait I have heard others share. I wonder how common it is, considering the people I know who are opposites. The ones who can't wait to tell everyone how bad things are and what kind of shit they're dealing with. Like my mom.

08 December, 2023 10:28  
Blogger Darrell Michaels said...

Infidel, I know what it is like to lose someone you love. My wife passed away ten years ago this last November. My thoughts are with you as it does get a little easier with time. The pain is always there, but it becomes easier to live with, my friend. I find it easier if I reflect on the joyful things mostly while acknowledging only in brief passing the more painful memories. Don't totally ignore the pain though, as I found that comes back to haunt you even more so.

Life is tough right now for many people financially. I won't delve into politics and why that is in my opinion but I suspect you can guess.

I hope that the new year finds greater prosperity and some sense of peace for you, sir!

08 December, 2023 11:53  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I'm sorry you are having a bad time of it. I know it's hard but hope the skies are starting to clear a bit for you. It being around the holidays doesn't help either I know.

My mom passed away 11 years ago but it's still hard. My husband passed away 3 years ago and one of my brothers passed away almost a year ago. Things like that are hard and it stays with you. But I tell you that so you know I understand and if you ever need to reach out to someone feel free to email me anytime. I'm a good listener if you ever need to talk.

08 December, 2023 13:45  
Blogger John A Hill said...

Sometimes we get into a funk like that. I haven't posted in a week or so myself. February will be four years since my dad passed away. And yeah, there is so much evil in the world today.
Damn, back to a regular job for a time is pretty serious. I do a part-time winter gig working at a crisis cold weather shelter and feel the added stress from that.
I'm glad you've sought professional help. Holidays can be especially difficult. Sending good energy your way and wishing you peace.

08 December, 2023 18:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NickM: Thanks for the kind words. I do put effort into the writing. To me it's kind of like running a flag out -- "This is me, is there anyone else out there who feels the same or is also interested in this?"

I've told the employment agencies that I really prioritize a short commute, so job location is paramount. That should mitigate one of the worst miseries of a regular job. Of course working from home would be the best, but bosses here are still fighting tooth and nail against that, and a new person doesn't have the leverage to demand it right from the start.

Ami: I was lucky to get a good counselor on the first try. I know they aren't all equally good. There may be sites that rate them or something. Unfortunately, men in particular seem very reluctant to try to get professional help.

There have been times when I "withdrew" in the sense of stopping blogging for a while, when something stressful was going on. Unfortunately these days I feel so isolated anyway that I don't think it would be healthy to cut off interaction with people even more.

Dementia is a horror. There is work under way to defeat it medically (and the aging process in general), but I no longer have a lot of hope that it will succeed in time for me.

Darrell: I'm sorry to hear about your wife. It is a curse to have to lose what we treasure the most. I know it does generally get easier over time, but I guess the sense of loss is always there, ready to flare up when we're subject to stress from something else. Certainly the pain must be allowed to express itself. It can be cathartic.

I appreciate your not bringing politics into this one.

Mary K: Thank you for the offer. I remember reading about your husband on your blog. I've been feeling somewhat better -- having a counselor has been a lifesaver.

The holidays can be stressful and depressing, but it's easier for me to just not participate since I don't know anyone nearby well enough to feel pressured into things. So that's a plus.

John: Thanks. I don't know how long the job thing will last. Since I'll still be getting Social Security as well (unless the pay is high enough that they'll reduce it, which I hope won't happen), I hope I can start piling up savings pretty quickly. There's also the nuisance that every time my employment situation changes, my health insurance changes. In every other advanced country, there's basic insurance from the government that's available whether you have a job or not, but here, there's one more bureaucratic hassle to deal with every time you start a job or leave one.

09 December, 2023 07:42  
Blogger bluzdude said...

I've had cataract surgery on both eyes (not at the same time) and wasn't nearly as bad as one would think. I was glad I did it because it completely eliminated my need for corrective lenses. Healed up quickly, you just need to take it easy for a couple days.

09 December, 2023 08:16  
Blogger nick said...

I've never experienced severe grief (I was never very close to my parents so losing them wasn't distressing). I'm sure professional therapy can be immensely helpful in dealing with the sort of mental and emotional crises you mention. I hope the new year will be an easier time for you psychologically.

09 December, 2023 08:50  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Bluzdude: Thanks, that's reassuring.

Nick: Thanks. The counseling has been hugely helpful. It's too bad more people in distress don't avail themselves of it.

10 December, 2023 00:08  
Blogger Mary said...

My mother died 30 years ago and I think of her and my Dad (gone 33 yrs), everyday. They were wonderful people and parents. Even though I was married for almost 30 years (he has passed too), it’s my mother I miss the very most. She was the one who truly had my back, as they say. Luckily neither parent had dementia, which is the most awful disease of all.
I’m always glad when the holidays are over..I loved them when I was a child, though.

It will get better..but takes time and when you’re alone, holidays, financial issues and pending surgery, it can be overwhelming, I’m sure…I had cataract surgery too and all went very well. Just be sure you have a Dr. who you trust and has lots of experience and good reviews.

Just read your current post and hope things are good with your temp job and you get your computer fixed soon. I’ve always enjoyed your posts. We are much on the same page.

05 February, 2024 06:54  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mary: Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the heartfelt words. I'm sure it's true that the grief never really goes away. And for most people, their mother is always their closest person (until they have children of their own, I suppose -- but I never did).

The temp job isn't too bad as these things go.

My mother did have dementia, and it eventually got very bad. She eventually forgot almost everything, even how to talk. She always remembered me, though.

05 February, 2024 17:55  

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