Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kitchen Refrigerator

Finished all the leaves on my painting yesterday.

The kitchen smells today. Waiting for a new refrigerator to be delivered. My husband valiantly tried to save some foods, but alas, most of it is going bad. Therefore the smell.

I woke at 3;30am and had difficulty with the anxiety of the refrigerator delivery today. Fell asleep again, but the refrigerator was on my mind. They were supposed to call last night between 6 and 9pm and give us an estimated time of delivery. No call. So the store we bought the refrigerator from gave us the phone number of the delivery company and I left a message first thing as I woke at 8am. Someone nice called me back. He said he was glad I called, there was some ambiguity about our address. They are delivering the refrigerator at the end of the day and my husband should be here to help. I have a feeling that if I didn't call, the refrigerator would not have been scheduled. As it is, it seems they are tacking us on last thing.

My worries? Having a stranger in the house. Missing the delivery and not getting the refrigerator until next Tuesday, the next time the store will do deliveries. My husband measured carefully but maybe the refrigerator won't fit in the spot we have in our kitchen. And is it clear to this mixed up company that they are supposed to take away the old refrigerator? Mild worries, really. I'm especially happy that I talked to the delivery company on the phone - now they have made contact they want to call me while they are on their way to be certain everything falls into place.

We lost a lot of food. Frozen food that had to be thrown out. The dog yesterday got two meat meals. But for some reason she won't eat the chicken we have for her today. Is she full or has the meat already gone bad? Don't know. The condiments my husband hoped would last are going bad, I can smell them.

I know most people don't stress out over a refrigerator delivery, but I do. Must be the schizophrenia. I couldn't paint today nor take a shower. Worry drains me of energy. It will be a bad blow to our budget if we have to eat out until the refrigerator gets delivered next week, should we somehow miss the window of today. We live on a tight budget.

It amazes me how much our lives depends on a refrigerator.

It amazes me how much worry can diminish and derail me. This is a post onset of schizophrenia change in personality.

My husband says that every day I live with schizophrenia is a victory. Recently on the internet I've seen news about a woman who a year ago was pushed into the shallow end of a pool and broke her neck during her bachlorett party. She was paralyzed from the chest down. Now, a year later after a lot of rehabilitation she is marrying the man she had intended to before the accident. I told my husband about the story and he said "see, there are other nice guys out there. Her fiance loved her and stuck by her."

I tell my husband he is one in a million for loving me and living with the way my schizophrenia limits me. The illness now is a little bit more stronger since I have dropped the Seroquil and increased the Geodone. But slowly I am losing weight, and this is what I want. The times when my head won't work properly and I am reduced to lying in bed have increased. On most days though I still have that window of clear motivated thought in the morning in which I can paint. My therapist says that some schizophrenics don't even have that, so I'm lucky.

I have a friend who is bi-polar who used to be creative when she was manic, but now with the stabilizing medication she says she has lost all her desire to create. So she misses her mania because she misses making art! When I think of all the deliberation and dedication and determination it takes for me to create, I think she can still do it. Only before it was easy, with the energy of mania, and now it will be hard. There is little said by art enthusiasts about making art as it being a chore, or tedious, or mentally draining - all things I find making art to be at times for me. But usually the end product, the end vision of loveliness is worth it. I'm nearing the end of a painting, just a few more months and it will be done, and I'm going to have a party celebrating its completion. Just a luncheon for two elderly couples from church. I've never done that before, thrown a party for the completion of a painting. Of course when its done I'll post the picture here, and I can't say that its my best. But it certainly has been a very long haul. Its funny, the picture isn't religious based, but the violence and sexuality is very low key.

Anyway, elderly people have seen it all, heard it all, experienced it all, they are usually pretty tough. I've got a high opinion of elderly people. They are my heroes. I don't think young people are as much fun to talk to as old people. Young people are eye candy. But the old people I know really have their heads screwed on straight. They earn my regard with their wisdom. And old people usually couldn't care less that I have schizophrenia. They don't judge, or if they do judge, their criteria for what it means to be a person of worth is a little bit different from the younger crowd, who still have star dust in their eyes.

My husband and I have had a talk, what would I do if I didn't make art? I think I would probably take the dog up the mountain for a walk or take yoga classes. But in me is a work ethic that says you should try to do something meaningful and hard at least for a little time during your day. I'm a better person because I make art - its not great art, but its real art. Probably this is my ego talking. I've got a big ego. If it weren't for my high opinion of how I ought to be spending my days, I would love to take the dog up the mountain every day. Beautiful nature and my furry friend running around like a lunatic with her tongue hanging out.

Sometimes I think about being a poor, little old lady. My husband dead, me living on a small income. And I think that all I need is a small place in which to make my art. I'll try to make art until I drop dead. It won't matter how I age, even where I live. I wonder how people plan for the end of their lives. It makes the scary future seem better knowing that you will have something meaningful in your life to focus on until the end. Loss, poverty, loneliness, a body breaking down on you - all these things could happen. I suppose I anticipate the worst. And then I think that I will survive because I have art.

I didn't have art in my life today, but I'm hopeful that it will be in my life tomorrow, and the day after.

I've just talked to the mover who is driving the truck that my new refrigerator is on. I got a weird voicemail from the store that sold me the refrigerator. Had to call and check that the plan didn't hit a snag. The store told me the man delivering my refrigerator is the best man they have, and he reassured me that he is on his way.

So maybe tomorrow I can go out and buy milk.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Painted seven leaves on Monday. Worked for three hours to do that, my absolute limit. Had a full and exciting day and then became catatonic at night. Literally, couldn't move or speak, sitting on the sofa with my arms over my bowed head like I was waiting for bombs to be dropped on my head. My husband lifted me, dragged me, and dumped me on the bed. I'm just too heavy for him, he isn't being callous. Then while I was lying in bed he popped a bowl of pop corn for me and after I had worked on that for a while, he brought me a bowl of cherries. And before I could eat, before my evening medication kicked in and dissipated the catatonia he kissed me a lot.

Painted only two leaves on Tuesday. Felt extremely fragile. The big accomplishment that day was taking a shower.

No painting on Wednesday, had to see my therapist and lead the mental illness peer support group. Strange loss of focus and concentration, it felt like I was on the verge of falling asleep all day long. Drank coffee at my therapists, have never done that before, and drank coffee during peer support group in an attempt to be present and upbeat. Coffee kinda worked. After peer support went for a walk with Cherry Blossom in the dark, rather thrilling. She had just started chewing on my husband's camera and his computer memory chips (don't know where she got them from) and managed to save the techi stuff before any damage. But she hadn't been exercised for the day, and my husband and I believed that was the reason for the bad behavior. Our fault, bad parents. While we were out with Cherry we saw all the night life spilling out of the bars downtown.

Painted five leaves today. On each leaf there is a total of six different colors that need to be either blended or outlined, that is why a leaf takes so long to make. Working with two different sized brushes - of course the one that gets used the most is the tiny brush. The average size of a leaf is larger than a dime but not larger than a quarter.

Total so far; 31 leaves finished, 22 leaves yet to go. So I'm over the hump.

Got an email from someone who liked all the pieces from my Zyprexa period. Rather dismal to think that you are less creative on a different medication. Making stuff now that is less appealing to the public. But I was 5 dress sizes larger on Zyprexa with no end to the weight ballooning in sight - and I had a doctor tell me I would die early because I was so overweight. Diabetes, heart disease or cancer - something would come along she promised. Thank God I read on the internet that Pam Wagner lost tons of weight by switching from Zyprexa to Geodone. Thus I asked to be switched from Seroquil to Geodone. Any dose of either Zyprexa or Seroquil causes my appetite to increase to a point where I can't control it. Geodone is a weak drug for me, and it has become apparent that I need maximum dose to live a relatively normal life. This means episodes of schizophrenia that can be controlled with rest and relaxation, no need for hospitalization. The craziness comes, I withdraw from life as much as possible, and then the abnormality and fragility passes and normal thought, behavior, and strength returns. Geodone gives me a pattern of sane and crazy where sane wins, sane takes up more hours of the day.

I'm running out of my Geodone tomorrow. Started the process to get more on July 5th, tomorrow will be the 15th. There was a mix-up by my nurse, and now I am waiting for the insurance company to ok an increase in the dose. It means they have to sell me more pills for the same price. They don't like this, so they make things difficult. They ask for special authorization from my nurse, in addition to her ordering the prescription. Even after she gives authorization it can then take several more days to process. I told the pharmacist that I am schizophrenic and I get suicidal without my anti-psychotic and that I was scared of running out of medication. The pharmacist promised me pills to tide me over. So today I'll call the pharmacy an hour and a half before it closes and see if the insurance company came through. If not I'll walk down to the pharmacy and negotiate for extra pills in person. Its a private, family run pharmacy, so perhaps the humanity potential and client treatment is something a bit better than what you would get from a big chain store pharmacy.

Several days ago my husband was complaining that with a planned walk with the dog I wanted her to do a half an hour down stay in the park. Its harder for the dog to process a command when there are exciting things going on all around, and the park offers more distraction then training in the house. My husband started explaining to me how valuable his free time was, and that he didn't want to waste half an hour in the park. We negotiated; a twenty minute down stay, then ten minutes. I took whatever I could get. But my husband was still peeved and he began to explain to me what all the over time he has been doing translates into extra weeks worked at his job. It was a guilt trip. First time he's ever done that. I started screaming that I was sorry I couldn't work, that I was sorry I was dependent upon him financially, and that I was sorry he had to work over time so that we can pay all our bills. After the screaming, which came on rather suddenly, my husband realized that no amount of guilt he could put on me could equal the guilt and self loathing I already feel. So he calmed down.

And we took the dog for a walk. Suddenly I started thinking that it would be a really good idea to put a bullet in my brain. And I told my husband my idea. It was so impulsive and so compelling that if I had had a gun I would have done it. Life appeared too complicated and too difficult to endure anymore. We walked for about an hour and by the end of the walk the idea and the picture of a bullet in the brain had disappeared. I guess the endorphins of exercise cured me.

This episode happened while on Geodone. I loath to think of the episodes that would happen should I stop the Geodone.

And my husband said that he discovered that the ten minutes in the park that we sat on benches and made my dog do a down stay was really very pleasant. He called it "quality time". We had nice conversation, it was fun to watch the traffic go by. So he isn't adverse to doing it again for a longer period of time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Had a fight last night with my husband. Waited in the dark on a sofa in the kitchen while he fell asleep on our bed. As always, I have the option not to go to sleep next to him, after a fight I don't particularly wish to be physically near him. The dislike after a fight is visceral, I feel my skin crawl with disgust should my body touch his. I feel free and at peace sleeping by myself in the kitchen. Sometimes sanity and peace is just having your own small private space, all alone, by yourself.

Today during his lunch break he drove home from work to apologize, said he realized that he had been a little rough on me. During this fight I said the least, while he got rather excited and heated and talkative. Sometimes I felt like I was being used as a punching bag. But I'm really good at withdrawing inside of myself. I keep very still and look anywhere but at him. I think giving him no reaction at all is a little bit disappointing to him, but I was tired and thought that things had escalated far enough. After I said how I felt about some issues I had nothing more to say. Your feelings are true, you feel them and they don't lie. Feelings can become exaggerated and balloon in importance or they can fade or die away, but they are usually very legitimate. I think in most fights we try to change the feelings of the other person. We argue and try to be persuasive. But I think you loose moral ground in a fight when you don't stop and respect the feelings of the other person. I think the more I felt disrespected and trampled upon, the quieter I got.

I woke this morning feeling trapped in a marriage. The thing about a marriage is that there are just some things about your partner that you can't change, and that you have to accept. You can remind, nag, complain and be critical, but if you are doing this all the time it feels pretty miserable. You turn into a miserable person. Reacting to your partner keeps you chained to them, you have to say "I'm going to live my own life and let him (or her) do as they please." Really, the only person you have power over is yourself.

A current challenge to me is to keep myself separate and don't interfere in parts of my husband's life. For instance, it is best that I have as little to do as possible with his relationship with his daughter who just turned 25. She's coming over to the house this Saturday and I might take the dog out to the woods or go to the mall by myself, just to avoid her. She's been critical of me and never apologized for the negative things she said. I also feel critical of her and don't wish to say anything antagonistic. I know that I would feel better if she were a less important and powerful voice in my head. My feelings toward her are about as confused and conflicted as any feelings I've ever had toward another person in my lifetime. It's my burden to work them out and to come to some peaceful resolution all without involving her. If I involve her the outcome is clear; I will get rejected and vilified. She's had an abusive step mother before me and thus really doesn't like step-mothers. I've got some cold comfort knowing that my relationship with my parents when I was her age was horrible - and it was mostly my fault for being immature and spoiled. And oh yeah, I was mentally ill and barely medicated. But life tempered me, I grew up, I got from somewhere the idea to respect your elders. Don't know where it came from, but it finally arrived.

I've had a week of making no art. Today I didn't feel like getting out of bed, so I drew in bed. Made a picture. Its looks pretty immature and primitive, but it felt good making it. I think my head cleaned up while I drew.

I'm really in sorry shape. My husband's co-worker went on vacation for a week, and to be nice while he was away, he gave my husband keys to his motorcycle. My husband has been having fun driving it. Today my husband is borrowing a second helmet from a different co-worker, and I know, he wants to go on a ride with me when he gets home from work. Problem is, I can't imagine myself putting my arms around my husband and holding on. It was really nice that he came home and apologized, but I still feel repulsed by him. Its a sunny day out and I could see us together going for walk and giving the dog her exercise. I don't mind his company - I just don't want to touch him very much.

I look forward to drawing tomorrow. Eventually I'll get up the strength to paint again. And eventually I'll forgive my husband.

I just need a little time, and a really simple, slow and easy existence.