Running the gauntlet

Not a good day today. The whole day I’ve felt like a depressed mess. Spent the whole morning and half the afternoon sleeping and have just felt like there’s nothing in me anymore. A superficial feeling of lack of emotions and numbness but underneath it all I know everything is boiling over.

Ok depression, you win today. (But please kindly fuck off.)

What triggered this? There’s a lot that happened yesterday and today….

My dad had originally scheduled his surgery for December 22nd. However, a spot opened up on December 8th and he took the offer (aka, NEXT MONDAY). Well shit. That was quick. Wasn’t exactly prepared for that. However, I understand his wanting to get rid of the mass as quickly as possible. I understand his anxiety.

Now, the problem is my mom. I wasn’t at home when he told her he changed the surgery date, so I don’t know exactly how things went down, but according to MM (and dad) mom started arguing with him, shouting hysterically, saying things like “Why did you do this??” and “Life is shit, I hate life!!”, etc.

I’m used to this sort of thing happening because I recognize my mom’s behaviors after so many years. She doesn’t bode well with change. She despises change. She likes a schedule and stability. In addition to that, you’ve got all my parent’s marital problems also making the situation shittier. Finally, the way my mom expresses her emotions (any emotion) is by expressing anger. She’s got the emotional intelligence of a two year-old (as horrible as I feel saying that, it’s the truth). Remember, my mom was raised by alcoholics and didn’t exactly have the best life at home, has a lot of career and life-related frustrations, and hasn’t really dealt with any of her issues (and by the looks of it isn’t going to deal with them now or anytime soon).

So, my dad was on the receiving end of all this. But not just my dad, also my sisters and I. Like an unavoidable flying vortex of death that sucks you in. Remember: He’s the one with (probable) cancer, not her. But yeah, that’s how things go down in my family: everyone is dancing clumsily on tiptoes around her (around both of them, really, but 95% of the time around her).

She isn’t talking to anybody since yesterday. I literally said 5 sentences to her today and we only exchanged hellos yesterday. Thing is, my sister Y and her girlfriend immediately decided to come home for dinner last night when dad told them the news. And mom isn’t talking to her either, which is pretty surprising because of all three of us daughters, Y is the one she speaks to the most and the one who she listens to and fawns over. (Both MM and I agree that Y has been mom’s golden child for most of our lives…but that’s a whole other post).

Evidently, last night was horribly awkward, what with us trying to liven up the mood for dad, his lack of skills for expressing his emotions, and mom being all steely and giving us the silent treatment. Awkward as hell.

And it pissed me off of course, because dad doesn’t really need any of that. He’s really hurt by her insensitive ways (he told me so). G has told me many times already that right now what he needs is our support, which I’ve been pretty good at doing (surprisingly). However, he needs his wife’s support too. And it’s left all of us feeling pretty angry and sad.

But it’s not as simple as saying mom is selfish. Their marriage is fucked up in a whole lot of ways I’ve tried to comprehend but at the same time don’t really want to know (because then I’ll be sucked into their fucked up vortex of a marriage), so there’s a lot of spite there on both sides. Also, mom is absolutely inept at expressing her emotions and she’s wholly pessimistic. So, she comes across as angry all the time because she doesn’t know how to deal. Meanwhile, dad is absolutely inept at expressing his emotions and comes across as awkward. And usually he’s pretty optimistic…but he’s lost that now. He’s been drinking more, looks like shit….I had to turn him away from the bottle last night (good thing he listened).

It’s just…shitty doesn’t even begin to describe it. Funny thing is, yesterday I was able to deal with all of it flawlessly, I was giving dad my support, I wasn’t as affected by mom’s behavior as I would usually be. But then today I woke up and it was like somebody just took the floor from under my feet…kicked in the ovaries (and everywhere else) by depression.

I joked last night with Y that both mom and dad need some intensive individual, couple’s, and group therapy, in addition to support groups for each. But I was actually dead serious underneath the surface. This cannot go on. But try getting them both into a therapist’s office. They don’t listen to any of us. They’re like a pair of stubborn little children, seriously.

Now, I’m dealing with all these attachment and emotional issues with mom, and this happens, so it stirred up all those problems. To top it all off, during one of my afternoon naps today I dreamed I was having therapy with R and that for some obscure reason she gave me a ride in her white SUV (not that she has one in real life, but for some reason it was made really clear in the dream that she had a white SUV). She was kind of a mother-figure to some extent in the dream, or at least that’s how it felt. So, thinking all these things about mom and then dreaming of R didn’t exactly leave me feeling like the most stellar daughter.

Then on top of that is the fact that I begin my pediatrics rotation next week. Back to med school….during dad’s recovery time. Not good at all.

And to think, I had an awesome appointment with G yesterday. I was feeling great….and then this happens. I’m willing to confront dad’s health issues head-on….but really, mom’s behaviors and mood aren’t helping any of us.

Oh, and I hadn’t mentioned this before, but because of the position they have to put dad in for the surgery and his ongoing back problems, there’s a risk of him being paralyzed from the waist down come the end of the surgery. Yeah, itty-bitty detail right there, but it was unavoidable. All I (and any of us) can do is cross my little fingers, do a rain dance, hold a rosary between my hands for the first time in years (not gonna happen)….and wish for the best.

I don’t know if I’m being naive, but I’m being optimistic and just trying to manage. I haven’t really realized it yet, but I’m scared shitless for the future….for all of it, for my dad, med school, my family, my mental health….everything.

I’ve learned a lot this year, and I’ve changed in so many ways…but this is by far my biggest challenge.


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