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."