Wednesday, July 04, 2007

someone to talk to

...

Prior to Robb's injury, he and I had been living as sort of migrant laborers. Every few years, we would uproot ourselves and move halfway across the country for another job. And in the process, I somehow lost the knack of making new friends. Both our jobs were very absorbing, and somehow we just failed to establish the kids of friendships that we had enjoyed in Baltimore.

I'll admit that I've been horribly, horribly shy about making social plans since Robb's accident. I worry that the people we know won't have the patience to hang out with us anymore. I feel like we're not "fun" anymore. I was so touched by all the outpouring of support when Robb was in the hospital, but once we got home, I got the idea that people had done their duty, and we were on our own, again.

I don't meet a lot of people in the course of a work day, and those I do are either fifteen years younger than me, or busy with their own lives. I have a prickly, weird personality, and people don't know what to make of me. For whatever reason, I'm not an easy person to like.

Hell, I've been kicked out of not one, but two knitting groups. How many people can claim that much social ineptitude?

I also feel that I really have to put forward a "brave" face during all this time, and so I've been unable to unburden myself of all my stress and anxiety and sadness. I've looked, repeatedly, for support groups for caregivers, but apparently I just don't fit the demographic for these services. If Robb were elderly, or suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, I would be all set, in terms of support groups.

I ran across the following on one of my repeated attempts to locate an outlet for myself (I really, really need someone to talk to about all of this.)

Another important finding is related to both anxiety and depressive behavior. During the first year after injury, changes in the caregivers' anxiety and depression were related to the degree of expressive support. This means that if they did not have people with whom they could talk and express their feelings, they tended to have problems and become more depressed and anxious.

When caregivers who were stressed during the rehabilitation period had someone to talk with who offered support when they returned home, their depression and anxiety decreased. This continued to be true during the first year after injury. If, however, the support was not there, they became more anxious and had more problems with depression over the course of the year.

It is important for caregivers to have other people with whom they can talk. Without this support the caregiver is at greater risk of having problems with psychological adjustment.

This pretty much sums me up.

I fear that keeping this blog is actually contributing to my problems. People read the blog, and feel connected to me and Robb, but they don't pick up the phone to call. And I'm uncomfortable with reaching out to long lost friends, at this time in my life.

And holidays are particularly tricky, too. I feel like I should be hosting a huge party for friends in Upstate New York, but instead I'm alone in a scene shop, painting dog kennels to look like Victorian mansions, and feeling very, very sorry for myself.

But to once again quote Pride and Prejudice, "I am not afraid of being overpowered by the impression. It will pass away soon enough."

18 comments:

Steve, Christa, Emily & Joseph said...

Lisa,
I wish that I lived in California (I don't really but for these purposes I do) so that we could be there to help you vent. I don't have any expierience as a caregiver, but I do as a listener. I hope that you are able to find an outlet. I can see from the blog that you and Robb are still fun, just maybe a little limited. Keep your chin up.

Anonymous said...

So I am weird and have good sense of humor. (My sis calls my Switzerland because I can remain neutral in any sitution) Need an ear call or send a number or e-mail. Find me on Atlas Quest under Pink Panther.

Word of the day for you-thought it apropos:

phantasmagoria \fan-taz-muh-GOR-ee-uh\, noun:

1. A shifting series or succession of things seen or imagined, as in a dream.
2. Any constantly changing scene.

Kath said...

Do you really think you're hard to like? I don't. Probably because I like you and I think everyone's as smart as me! People who don't like you are dumb.

Anonymous said...

Lisa-

When I found out you and Robb were going to the Spring Flinger I was SO excited! For the past year we have been following your blog and have gotten to know you both from a distance.

But I have to admit I was EXTREMELY nervous about meeting you. I was very intimated by your talent. In my eyes you are a goddess of arts!

Don't ever feel that people don't like you. Even though we only met with you both briefly at the event the pedestal we held you on is still intact. You both are AMAZING people with such courage! Remember that.

SINCERELY,

Lani of Team Springamajack

Gina said...

WOMAN -

CALL ME. NOW. LATER, IF YOU MUST. k?

I get it. I do. More than you know.

So, call me already - to vent, to share, to laugh. . .whatever. A2 person bi-coastal support group has the possibility of being wildly succesful for all involved!

And, just for the record, I was JUST talking today to Marcela about how much I miss my curious, intelligent, and yes, enormously FUN california friends, Robb and Lisa.

You rock, woman. You always have and you still do. No need for you to put on a brave face or gild the lily. I know the truth. While it may feel like so much has changed, so much about what so many of us feel about you hasn't changed at all.

I love you, but more to the point, I LIKE you, more than almost anyone! I concur with "kath", anyone who doesn't is simply dumb.

DUMBDUMBDUMBDUMBDUMB!

Gina

Anonymous said...

Lisa. I can't believe you were lame enough to join a Knitting Circle! No wonder it didn't work out! I mean, do you knit one and pearl two and discuss the latest L7 concert? Are they even still touring? Time to call up all your old biker buddies for some visit time. What ever happened to Maria and Thorolf and all those guys? The only fabric-related people in this area are the Amish and wanna-be Amish who make quilts to sell to tourists, and the Real Amish would never kick you out of their group, they are incredibly understanding of everybody. I know you would fit in, heck, you already wear black!

I obsessively grow more and more things in my garden, because I find that to be very relaxing and theraputic. I go so far to say it is NECESSARY for me, so that I get thru the day with out kicking things. (I have temper issues. Yippee!) Whatever extra stuff I grow I give away - edible-wise or not, and have met great people who do the same thing. Hence Habitat for Humanity landscaping!

I think your blog is a great way to vent, and if you didn't tell us what was going on, we would all call all the time and you would never get any sleep, nor would we get to see pictures of your work or your cats. Keep it up and make sure you guys are eating well, good food will go a long way towards providing all kinds of energy.

Remember, any idiot can handle an ocassional crisis, it's the day-to-day stuff that really kicks butt hard. This is an old Viking proverb I read once in a Hargar the Horrible cartoon.

Annalisa

Dale End Farm said...

Dear Lisa,

25 years ago, I was 24 years old, and newlywed and pregnant. My husband was mugged and killed. My life changed forever, and I was soooo lonely. There were not many 24 year old pregnant widows around. I had to hang out with married couples with families who made me so sad, or single people with no kids, who had no idea what it was like to have a baby. I know that this is slightly different from your situation, but I think there are a lot of commonalities.

Now this sounds awful, but when 9/11 happened, I remember feeling so jealous of all the people who were recently widowed, because they had each other, and a nation on their side. How crazy is that???

Well, I made it through, and I remarried, and I now have the 3 children, 25, 10 and 7. But I lost the life I was going to have, and I never got that back. I have a different life. I have a *happy* life. I married someone I wasn't "in love" with, because I didn't want to be in love. Now I am in love. I don't have all the children that I wanted to have. Who knew?
I am a doctor now, and I wasn't ever going to be that.

One of the things that I love about letterboxing is being out alone in the woods with my thoughts. I also take long baths when I get home from work and read in the tub. I need that time, and I feel guilty that I am taking away time from my kids and husband, but I need to.
It's been so short a time since the accident..

Anyway, if you ever want to email I can be reached at diana@kjsl.com

wassamatta_u said...

You two are about the EASIEST people to like I have ever met! I guess the fact that you both have a somewhat twisted and warped sense of humor definitely gives us some common ground. It has been my privilege to become what you have termed "an imaginary friend", and it has been even more of a privilege to meet you in person. Your friends, both real and imaginary, think the world of you, and any time you need an ear, we are here.

shiloh said...

I haven't been kicked out of a knitting group*I had to giggle at that* I was kicked out of a biker group for being a trouble maker.(and I don't mean bicycle group)

I went to take a test the other day and the seat next to me was the last one to be taken. I wondered if I had a sign only visible to others that said to stay away from this guy. And no I wasn't wearing my biker leathers. :) I don't get asked to social functions either.

If only I lived closer I'd really like to hang out with ya'll

teekasue said...

Lisa,
Speaking as a person who has been asked to leave a woman's meeting at church for making waves in our class....I get NOT being the cookie cutter type ! But who wants to be that person? The world needs spice !!!

In our house I am the person who is "worried about" - and watching my husband try to keep his head above water - without admitting he needs support from others by the way - breaks my heart! HE is so strong but I know how he worries and works to make things better for me and his boys. He covers up all of his stresses so I won't have one more thing to push on me and yet I feel as though that is exactly what I am here for to share his burdens....we are such the team in everything else but when it comes to his worries about my situation his is mute.

His/Your stress and pressure is so much that it is life saving to have an outlet for your venting - Michael has started a journal because he is not a talker - that's my territory ; ) It truly has help a ton , although for me I call my best bud , no matter where is may be at the time and say "You got 5 ? " and vice a versa and 5 minutes later i have purged myself and touched base with another person who cares and knows and doesn't judge....it feels GREAT!!!

You deserve the best in life no matter what a bunch of bunged up knitting twits say - kick butt with your knitting at home and keep kicking butt with your sweetheart and know you are loved !!! That is the best revenge!!! Oh yeah and keep on Boxin'- ; )
Hang in there - always here if you need anything ! TRULY!!!!
TEEKASUE aka Tyna

Music Woman said...

I wish I lived in CA Lisa, so I could speak with you face to face. You were so personable when I met you at Bandaid's house! Hey, if you send me your phone number, we can talk all you want, since I believe Peter and I have unlimited nationwide coverage on the phone. Vent to me all you want, or just give a call and let me know how things are going. Perhaps you can give me some insight on how I can plan my wedding in Napa. Since I don't live there, and have no concept of anything in CA, you might be able to help me ;-).
Music Woman

Gothknits said...

I don't find you difficult to like at all. You are one of my favorite people and I cried buckets when you left. I wish that I was closer and could be there for you.
Instead of being kicked out of a knitting group (I was on the verge of it...all I did was ask one friggin' question) some like minded people and I broke off and made our own...maybe that's the way to go.
I'll call more often. I really will. I'm always here for you.

Eclipse said...

I don't face the same kinds of challenges and situations that you (and Robb) do but I really do understand what you mean about feeling as though you are not an easy person to like.

I tend to be a bit of a loner myself, although I often do find myself craving the company of friends and feeling very alone. Many of my friends go out and do things to which I am not invited (but which I get to hear all about after the fact)... I know how it feels to feel socially inept.

I would love to have dinner with you and Robb anytime, and I've often wished to have crafting days with someone, but not many of my regular friends are so inclined. You have my email address - please, please feel free to drop me a line anytime you want to hang out; I'm a short drive across the bay and I'm happy to come over and craft or just chill out with you.

I've really enjoyed the time we've spent together and I would really look forward to the opportunity to do more of that. I know we have a lot of the same interests; surely we can find something to do together. I know you are shy - I am terribly shy too - but if you reach out I promise I'll respond. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm going to eventually send you guys an envelope full of stuff entitled "Free Comic Book Day". Why? Because we got a lot of free comics at the local comic book "palace" and got doubles of everything. They have many colorful characters featured in them, but I believe they need a superhero comic who throws kintting needles into evil "club kicking out-type people" at night and throws paint on things during the day.

Howzat sound?

Annalisa

Anonymous said...

Dope slap- what Gina said (or I'll let the puli scream in your ear)

Ziska

Syndee Zegel said...

Lisa,
Feel free to drop me an email (syndeezegel@msn.com) anytime to vent, SCREAM, etc...Being an impartial party to your situation may help if you need to open up to someone. I cannot fathom that you're unlikeable. From what I have read from, and about you I don't see how you couldn't fit in--then again, I tend to like those who are slightly or far away from the norm (it makes life interesting). Also, if there are no support groups for you--my gut feeling is that there are others out there like you who are feeling the same frustrations--maybe you should start one (in your spare time, when you're not blogging or creating lovely puppy mansions). Possibly a nearby hospital could help you get started...Hang in there!

Raphael said...

When dealing with anxiety or depression (whatever the cause), it often helps to accept your feelings, but remind yourself that they are irrational, and that those catastrophic convictions you have are false, no matter how true they feel.

(I've been going through similar things, though for very different reasons from you)

Derek said...

Robb and Lisa, I have lost your phone number... and I can't find your email. PLease contact me. bimdeee@yahoo.com

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