How did I get here?

I find myself asking this question all the time. It’s not that I’m unhappy with my life. It’s that I’m dissatisfied. Yes, there is a difference. An unhappy person would be miserable all the time, grumbling about life, making everyone else miserable. I’m just not satisfied. I know there’s more out there for me than just sitting at home, bored to tears most days, wishing for something I’m not even sure exists for me.

This might be a good time, dear reader, to go grab a snack and a drink – pee if you have to – and make yourself comfortable. It’s gonna be a long and bumpy ride.

I didn’t grow up in a normal way, so what makes me think that any other part of my life would be normal is beyond me.

I was born October 21, 1970. Two parents. See, things started out normal enough. A sister was born in 1974, but died 2 months later due to a heart defect. Another sister was born in 1976, and for some reason, still unbeknownst to me, I hated her. Just her very presence irked me. Matters were made worse when, a couple of years later, she was diagnosed with Reye’s Syndrome. And wasn’t expected to live.  And spent a ton of time in the hospital, with family fawning over her 24/7. Which added to my hatred of her.

Abnormal still doesn’t begin to cover it. There was also heavy doses of domestic violence going on. It started before I was born. I thought it was normal. Until I noticed that my friends’ fathers weren’t beating the crap out of their mothers.  And punishments for my friends didn’t include a pot of hot chili being thrown at them. That all ended when I was 10, though. Well, at least the physical part of it. My mother took me and my sister in the middle of the night, to a friend’s house, so we could escape. They divorced, us kids lived with my mother with weekend visitation to my dad’s. Again, none of my friends had divorced parents.  My life was not normal, and I started feeling it by that time.

I was the smart one. The shy one. The one easily picked on by bullies. Never really learning how to stand up for myself against the thugs. Middle school was hell. I hated every minute of it. I started to rebel against anything and everything. I had a lot of hate. I hated my dad. I hated my mother. And I definitely hated my sister. At the age of 13 I got into a serious fight with my mother, and it came to blows. When the police arrived (my sister called them, terrified someone was gonna end up dead), I was given the choice to go to my father’s, or to a home for troubled kids. I chose the halfway house.  Life was not easy there! But it was better than my own parents’ homes. I learned how to defend myself, though, physically and emotionally.  I was there for a couple of months.

By 10th grade, I’d forgiven my father. After continuous fighting with my mother and sister, I went to live with my dad. He was re-married with 3 step children – a boy 2 years younger than me, and twin girls 7 years younger than me. The boy and I got along famously. We were the best of friends. The twins, well I was just indifferent to them.

Which brings me to high school. A poor kid in a rich school. Rich snobs everywhere I turned. Some were nice and didn’t act like snobs. But most were horribly snotty. I can remember overhearing a conversation that went like so: “I’m so pissed! I had to drive the Beemer, ’cause the Mercedes is in the shop!”. Luckily, there were a few kids in the same boat as me. The bad-ass kids. The rebels. I fell in with them quite easily, actually. But still, not a lot of close friends. 3 in fact. I was still somewhat of the outcast.

I went to a Vo-Tech school for the 2nd half of the school day (for computer programming/data entry), and didn’t have opportunity to hang out with everyone. After school, if I wasn’t working, I was on Stage Crew. No rebels there! Just the theater geeks. But they were cool, and I enjoyed hanging out with them. There were a couple who were still too snooty to give me the time of day (still are, I’ve discovered, thanks to Facebook!). Still, though, I was not normal. I didn’t have a normal group of friends. I didn’t have normal interests. And I went to Vo-Tech, which may as well have been a school for lepers according to the snobs.

In a year’s time, I was working almost full-time between 2 jobs, plus going to school. I’d lost a good friend to a drunk driver, and that still affects me to this day. Graduated at 17. I had a scholarship to college, which I pissed away. I’d been kicked out of my dad’s, for the ridiculous reason of not spending the weekends at home (I spent them with my boyfriend, instead). Turned 18, very uneventfully I might add. I dropped out of college, moved in with a roommate, and had a full-time job plus a part-time job. All within a year!

And the weirdness continued. My medical problems started to become … well … a problem.  My best friend, her husband, and their infant twin sons moved in with me (after the roommate left). They separated. I fell in love with her soon-to-be ex. Anyone detect the whiff of world war 3? Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. I was absolutely inhumane to my (ex) boyfriend, because I was incredibly unhappy in that relationship (broke up with him by throwing his shit out in the yard). And I was thrust into step-motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, I adored those boys! They were one of the best parts of my odd life!

Things were seemingly normal for a couple of years. Then my medical problems got worse. I struggled to keep a job that I loved, despite driving to work suffering from extreme vertigo, and calling off way too often because of the dizziness. In 1995, we were married. Big mistake! Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that I don’t think I made his priority list. At all. Ever. I made many mistakes that year. I was miserable. I made everyone miserable. I found comfort in my friends online (back when AOL was pretty much the only way to get online). I met someone who made me happy. I left my husband 6 months after getting married.

2 months later, I was pregnant. After being told that I wouldn’t be able to  get pregnant because of my medical problems. And so began a 9 year relationship that was bad almost from the get-go. I was once again a step-mother, only this time to 2 great girls. The first couple of years were close to being tolerable. But once again, I was miserable. Aside from the kids, I kicked myself for every decision I’d ever made in my life. And hated the things that just happened to me, through no fault of my own. My medical problems continued to compound. I struggled just to be a whole person. The fighting … oh, the fighting. Some days I thought I was going to lose my mind.

In 2004, I had 2 choices: find work outside the home with an employer that would work with me and my disabilities … or end up in prison with a homicide sentence. I began working at Wal-mart. A couple of months later, I temporarily moved out. I had started to “find myself”. Cliché, I know. But true. Unfortunately, I didn’t count on my heart breaking into tiny pieces because I missed my Son. So I moved back. And so began the end of my relationship. My mind was free. My heart was free. I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. More cliché – I’m aware. Still true.

Then I met Bill. At work! The best thing to happen to me since Matthew was born! We hit it off very quickly. I moved in with him in January of 2005, we were married by September. And my medical problems continued to become worse and worse. I had to stop working. Which added to our financial problems. Issue after issue, piled one on top of the other. Oddly enough, it made our relationship stronger.

I now have the best marriage anyone could ever ask for! Bill truly is the love of my lifetime. I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s my rock, my sanity.  Ok, I’ll stop with the mushy stuff. Wait, not yet! I also have a wonderful Son, who I’m incredibly proud of! He makes me smile every day (usually after he does something that makes me question having a child to begin with!) … he’s the light of my life. Ok, the mush ends now.

Even with all this happiness in my life, I’m still dissatisfied. I’m still disabled. I’m getting fatter by the day, due to lack of exercise, which is due to my inability to exercise. We’re still poor, due to my being unable to work, due to my disabilities. See the pattern yet?

You know how people are always saying things like, “You have a roof over your head, your health, and love … consider yourself lucky!”. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don’t have my health – a roof over our head isn’t guaranteed – and love doesn’t put food in our stomachs.

My dissatisfaction with my life is starting to bring me down. Way down. I’m hitting a level of depression that I haven’t had in many years.  I’ve stopped seeing anything in a positive light. Joy is a foreign word to me right now. I’m afraid of losing the happiness, too. That’s the only thing that’s holding me together at the moment.

So, now that we know how I got here … how do I figure out how to get out of here? I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired! I want better for me, for my family. I don’t mind the abnormality of my life … nobody is exactly normal. But some semblance of normal would be nice. Some desire to smile for the sake of smiling. Feeling happy just because … not only when someone else is doing something to make me happy. I want to feel like I’m worthy of breathing in the air around me. Like a functioning, contributing member of society. Is that too much to ask for?

  1. January 22, 2010 at 11:33 am

    First of all, Shelli, I am so sorry you are in this place right now. But do know that you can (and will) pull yourself right out of it. Not knowing what your insurance situation is, but have you thought about talking to a doctor about your funk? I know several people who have benefited (greatly) from a little medicinal intervention. I’m also wondering if you’ve looked into some government assistance to help you along with your finances. These are just a couple of suggestions you may or may not have already tried. I just wanted to throw them out there! I sincerely hope that you can get some relief from this stress that is shadowing your days. =)

    • January 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm

      Thank you Mindy. I hope I can pull myself out of it this time. I’m struggling daily. I am currently receiving some government assistance: health insurance and food stamps. The insurance is damn good! The food stamps, well, it helps, but it’s not alot since we have one person in the house employed. I have applied for SSDI 3 times since 1993 – denied each and every time, because they just don’t understand what Meniere’s is, and how it affects lives.

      As for medicinal intervention, been there, done that. Either the meds don’t work at all, or they do work and I end up with horrible side effects. It has been a couple of years since I’ve tried any, so maybe there’s something new out there I have yet to try. I’m so hesitant to try anything though, because of how I react to medications. I’ve also done counseling, which was a waste of gas money. Again, many years ago.

      I appreciate the suggestions. I don’t know what it’s going to take. I know they say money doesn’t make a person happy, but when things are so pathetic for a person financially, having “just enough” would certainly up the happiness factor.

  2. ccbebe
    January 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Things will get better. Continue to let love in your life, and it will all work out. I’m sorry you’re going through such a rough time.

    • January 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm

      Thank you. I hope so, I really do. Love I’ve got. 🙂

  3. January 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Dear Shelli, I don’t know how to get you out of this hell. I wish I did. I read your words and know that you should be living a much better life. If I figure it out I will let you know. Love, howie

    • January 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks Howie! That actually made me smile. If you could figure it out for me, then think of the difference you could make for anyone else out there in my situation as well! 🙂

  4. January 22, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Obviously you are going through a rough time right now, but things will get better. I do not know very much about the medical problems you have, but I understand how medical issues can impact your day to day life. Mine don’t prevent me from working, but they do prevent me from doing/eating plenty. Have you noticed a pattern to when these feelings arise? I know that people in my life tend to have a much harder time during winter. Something about the shorter days and increased dank and dreary weather that we in the south east are blessed with during winter.

    Maybe try opening the blinds to let in some natural sunlight. I am not a fan of exercise at all, but when I have been down, sometimes just a little walk outside on a nice sunny day makes a world of difference for me. And when everything seems to be so overwhelming, mentally step back, and try to take things day by day. It is impossible to be happy for everyday of your life, but the thing that gets you from bad times to good times is hope. As long as you have even a tiny bit of hope left, things will get better. From what I have read, you have plenty of hope. I am sorry to hear things are rough right now, and I wish I had better advice to give, but just hang in there, things will get better.

    • January 23, 2010 at 3:28 am

      Thank you for your comment. 🙂 My medical problems are spelled out, if you ever get bored and want to read about them, check out my “previous blogs” tab. I do usually get more depressed in the winter; I suffer from S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) – have for as long as I can remember. Being more depressed is “normal” for me – being this depressed is something I haven’t experienced in years.

      Oh, to get out of the house and just go for a walk. I would love it! With my ankles, it’s not the best option at the moment. They’re getting stronger, just not fast enough. And I have to have someone with me at all times … someone who can go back to the house and get our truck if I become too dizzy to walk back home. I do plan on buying a Wii Fit, as soon as I can actually find a store that HAS one! I’ll do what I can with it, which is hopefully going to help me lose a bit of weight.

      Yes, I do have hope, even if it’s dwindling little by little every day. I’m afraid of running out of hope and happiness. Right now, that’s my biggest fear.

  5. January 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I have read your other blogs, and let me just say, you are an inspiration. I myself have had my fair share of health issues. I am 24, and I have already had 1 biopsy (I have been threatened with another one, but I have been lucky enough to evade it), seen no less than 4 specialists in different fields, had more ultra sounds than I care to count, and have a ton of side issues related to my main problem, Celiac’s disease. I really admire that you have gone through as much as you have and you have remained a strong woman. I have the utmost respect for you.

    I know you said you tried therapy, but have you looked or tried any sort of support group? I think just talking with people helps. Also when I get really bummed about my condition, I try to no dwell on what I can’t eat (anything with wheat, rye, and barley). Instead, I do something I enjoy. I read that you like cross stitch, just treat yourself with one of your hobbies. When was the last time you had a blood pannel done? There may be something hormone wise going on, like maybe thyroid hormones or something.

    The Wii Fit is so much fun! I would suggest that, as for procuring one, have you searched the internet? I seem to have better luck finding stuff on it than in stores. January is almost over, and spring will be here soon. Look to your family for support and love. Keep an open mind and heart, things will turn around for you!

    • January 23, 2010 at 7:47 pm

      I don’t know too much about Celiac’s Disease, but I have 2 family members that have it … both recently diagnosed. I can appreciate the hell you must be going through, because I see both of them totally rearranging their lives according to what they can eat. My cousin has found a whole host of gluten free foods that she’s currently enjoying, and seems to be figuring out how to cook some of her old favorites in a new way. If you’d like I can put you 2 in touch with each other. She lives in SC, so might be more in tune with the southern stores and such.

      As for bloodwork, I’m stuck like a pig on a continual basis. I’ve been tested for thyroid problems, diabetes … you name it, I’ve been tested for it. It’s frustrating when all the tests come back negative for anything, yet I have the symptoms of so many things.

      And thank you for the kind words. They mean alot to me. 🙂

  6. January 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Life sucks sometimes. I wish that I had some magical words that could ease your mind or the resources to alleviate some of your financial concerns.

    Unfortunately, I don’t .. but from experience, the answers lie within.

    I can tell you one thing .. although we haven’t been cross-commenting for long, I think of you as a friend and if you need me.. to vent.. for support.. to just mentally escape, then please email me.

    Sometimes getting out of our little world’s helps..

    • January 23, 2010 at 8:13 pm

      Thank you Leese. I know the answers lie within, I just can’t seem to find them at the moment. My psyche needs a good cleaning and organization I think. If I do need you, I’ll call on you. Thank you! 🙂

  7. January 24, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    First of all, congratulations on finding the love of your life. For any child of divorce, that’s a feat! Secondly, I completely understand how difficult it is to not have the negatives overshadow the positives in your life. By all outside accounts, people would think my life is ideal, but the problems I have lie deep and carry big shadows.

    Stay strong. Keep striving for happiness. I know for myself I try to mindfully stay in the present. I appreciate the things that make me happy and try to really allow myself to feel happiness in those times. And when I’m feeling dissatisfied, sad or angry I try to really let myself feel those things too. I used to always try to squash those down, telling myself I had no right to feelings like that when I’m so fortunate in other ways. How silly.

    Good luck to you on your journey.

    • January 24, 2010 at 11:40 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Trying to stay strong, really I am.

  8. January 26, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Don’t think anything I could say would make any material improvement to what you are going through. {{{{hugs}}}}

    Like I said, let’s kick Karma’s ass if it does not manage to make something wonderful happen for you!!

    • January 27, 2010 at 1:50 am

      Sounds like a plan to me! 😀

  9. February 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Oh Shelli Girl! This is a tough one that can’t be ammended by a comment, but lies deep within yourself, and there’s a couple of keys somewhere to unlock it.

    Sometimes when I’m depressed, I watch a movie that has a protaganist I love and respect, and it makes me feel better. I don’t know if this can help for you, but it’s one of those little “keys” I found. Depression is such a fierce and crippling thing, and I know it well. Stay strong, Shelli! Lock and load. sister. You’re tougher than you think!

    • February 2, 2010 at 3:25 am

      Thanks Dan! I try to immerse myself in things that will make me laugh. I’m a tv junkie, and almost all the shows I watch have some comedy about them. But when I’m done watching the show, I’m right back to being depressed. It’s like it just doesn’t touch me deep inside; it’s more of a surface happiness for a brief moment in time.

      Talking things out appears to be helping. Knowing that I’m not alone, that I have friends that will give me a boost, that’s really helping lately! Since most of my “real” friends have abandoned me over the years, I’m starting all over with new friends. And it’s helping! I know I’m tougher than I think … I wouldn’t still be here through all of this hell if I was any weaker, trust me on that one! I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel; but it’s one long ass tunnel.

  10. February 2, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Okay Shelli . . . don’t think I’m nuts.

    Here’s what to try if you want. Next time your favorite show is on, put on a big ‘ol pair of sweats. If you don’t have them; get down to Goodwill or Job Lot or whatever and get ’em cheap, because – well – they’re sweats. When that show comes on, start with cheater push-ups (don’t think I’m nuts, don’t think I’m nuts), from your knees only, do push-ups till it’s really hard, the stop. Watch a clock or count to sixty, and do it again, for six sets. Now stand and do deep knee bends, keeping your back straight, and repeat those reps for six times. Do this every other day and watch what happens. This is a ladder up to a better you, with stimulation and good feelings from the show before you. Watch what happens, and please don’t stop. As you break through the first week of physical pain (there will be some), you can add things, but if you try this I swear to Mr. Bean and back you will slowly climb out of this funk. It’s all I know and believe right now, from where I’ve been. I hope you try! If you don’t I understand, but I’m not nuts! Eccentric is a good word!

    • February 2, 2010 at 9:29 am

      Hey, we’re all a bit “eccentric” here. Ok, I’m actually a bit nuts. The point is you’re in good company, and nobody judges the nuts around here. LOL

      Sweats – check! (it’s all I wear anyway)

      Push-ups – we’ll see about that one. Wondering how I’ll actually watch the show, if I can’t see the tv. (room constraints)

      Knee bends – not gonna happen. At least not any time soon. I haven’t been able to get into a squatting position since the surgery on my ankle. (achilles tendon removed from the bone, replaced with a pin)

      I have an exercise bike, but absolutely zero room to put it in the house. And it’s a bit rusted, from sitting outside for so long, due to there being no room in the house. I know I have to find a way to exercise. With my health issues, I’m finding it very difficult, and potentially dangerous to go it alone.

  11. February 2, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Okay Shelli . . . the nut is back in the nutty pack! Very slow and gentle stretching, with ten pound hand weights for curls and overhead stuff, or whatever weight feels comfy. Just something to get the blood going and into the muscles while watching something you like. Anything at all. I read all about that woman on the Biggest Loser yesterday in the dentist’s office, and instead of scoffing like I feared I might, she was inspiring about how some activity can get you going again, to just feel better. But everybody has a different path that they have to find. Sorry of it all sounds happy feel good preachy woo woo. I just want’cha to cheer up and get outa Funk City!

    • February 3, 2010 at 1:47 am

      Which woman from Biggest Loser? I faithfully watch that show, and secretly wish I could be a contestant. I doubt they’d accept me, since I have way too many problems that can’t exactly be handled on the show. I’m going to be getting Wii Fit as soon as a) I can find it for sale somewhere, and b) our tax return comes in. Of course, that leaves out the option of watching a show at the same time, but it’ll be helpful, I’m sure. And considering I have to have someone around me at all times when exercising, it’ll be entertaining as well! LOL

  12. February 2, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    PS Sweats rock . . . it’s about 80% of my closet!

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