Wednesday, January 25, 2006

First post

Today I'm beginning an experiment. Can I blog? Will I blog? If I blog, what will happen? I guess we'll find out.

I've been inspired by the first blog I've ever read from beginning to end, and have actually posted comments on. If you're interested, the URL is . Though I believe myself to be a decent writer, I have always had the idea that just writing about myself is 'selfish', in the negative way. However, I hope I'll find that to be a false assumption and that I will be able to not only speak for myself, but also connect with others who resonate with whatever it is that I ramble about.

If you've gotten this far, thanks. I hope that the days ahead will be, at the very least, interesting, and at most, therapeutic and useful. The last few months have been rather tough for me, and I'm trying to do all that I can to feel better and have a normal life, if that's even possible. I've been reading a book written by James Hollis called "The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife", dealing with, to paraphrase, mid-life crises. It's not for the faint of heart. Dr. Hollis is quite eloquent, but also expects a lot from his readers, which I find to be a good thing for me. This is one of those books that can only be read (by me) in small bites. The words, the ideas, the feelings they stir, are very profound, and, I hope, life-changing.

For much of my life I've dealt with anxiety and depression, including panic attacks with a bit of agoraphobia and social phobia. I had what I describe as 'a nervous breakdown' in October. That sounds like a single event, but it's more that I didn't have any more fingers to put into the dam to keep it from breaking. Though I had a lower-level depression already, a visit to my sister, who has been in a dysfunctional, abusive relationship for 15 years, and now has 3 children, ages 8, 18 months and 7 months (yes, do the math), provoked my first panic attack in over 7 years. I am widowed since 1999, but even when my beloved husband died at home suddenly of a massive heart attack, I didn't have panic attacks. This visit to my sister revealed her to be probably manic, and definitely a little past exhausted. Her ex, with whom she and the children live (yes, really), and I had a verbal altercation, which left me kind of shattered. This man is physically abusive, a big guy, and very cunning, as many abusive men are. I've had run-ins with him before, once even having to throw my body against a door to keep him from breaking in after they were divorced, so I do have an 'actual reason' to fear him. But more than my own safety concerns, I was deeply disturbed by my sister's condition, her inability to extricate herself from it once and for all (she's left many times), and the concern that the children suffer in who knows how many ways. I had and have reason to suspect there has been sexual abuse of the children, maybe even of my sister, and that makes me sick to my core.

However, the bottom line is, what is 'me' and what is 'not me'? I've come to her rescue on behalf of my entire family (mom, stepdad, good sister, good brother) several times, but all to no avail in the long run. It's been hurting me more than anyone else, apparently, and I can't afford that any longer. Before this event, I also had been very dissatisfied and unhappy about my lack of any one career path. I have no idea what I want to do, and never have. I've managed psychiatric practices, been a billing specialist in a hospital, a trainer for medical software company, a systems administrator for a non-profit org, an online chat moderator/tech support person for a teen-oriented chat/game site, to name a few. Now, it sounds like I jump from job to job, but in reality, I usually hold more than one job simultaneously, and always have. Now I'm not working, for the first time in my life, and it's weird. I had hoped to be able to figure out in which direction I'd like to go now, but I've been temporarily incapacitated. I hope that as I get better and feel stronger and more at peace with my own worth, I'll be able to figure it out. Wish me luck.

That's it for my first post. Now we'll see what happens.


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