Learning Lessons

My visit with the parentals this time was pretty boring and uneventful. A week ago, they had gone out for Chinese buffet with some friends and since then, dad’s been battling GI issues. That’s the polite way of saying it. Don’t make me spell it out. Needless to say, he wasn’t feeling well physically. Couple that with his recent depression, and he just has no energy and no motivation. I ran errands for them and also managed to clean out my old bedroom closet, which happens to be chock full of my mom’s crap. You would not believe, but she had outfits in there from when I was a kid, and when she was in her 30s: elastic waists, crazy boxy, cropped cuts, shoulder pads… I mean, clearly the hoarding runs in the family, because as I cleaned out some of my dresser drawers, I also found my own share of junk, including old awards, my varsity letter for track, a freaking camera with 110 film still in there…

I did make some progress but not nearly enough. The next morning, I located a nearby Goodwill donation bin and dropped off an entire trunk full of clothes and goods. Honestly, I didn’t even make a dent though, because their house is massive (even by East Coast standards)…

By the time I reunited with J again at his parents’ house, I started feeling really stressed. I seriously do NOT know how my parents (and grandparents, who are even worse!!) are going to get rid of all their stuff. It’s like the constant dilemma for modern living. You buy things (sometimes really nice things) because stuff makes a home, and you enjoy the stuff. But then the accumulating just never stops and before you know it, you are buried in stuff that you really can’t take with you as you wind down in your life. When I get back to Cali, I will have to research a bunch of services: hoard cleaning services, junk haulers, etc.

Yesterday, on our last evening in Maryland, I just started crying. Earlier in the day, dad came to me and apologized for not showing us a good time. He was sorry that we’d spent all this money and time to visit, and he wasn’t feeling well– mentally and physically. It’s ok, I mean, we aren’t like guests or tourists coming to town needing to be entertained. At the same time, I do feel so frustrated, weighed down by my own mental instability and then having that coupled with the obvious misery of so many around me. I just feel overwhelmed like I can’t sustain it all.

I suggested dad talk to a therapist, and what do I get? Resistance. Sound familiar? He insists he knows what has to be done. Part of me wants to lose my shit and say, well I’m dealing with my own bullshit, and if you aren’t going to help yourself and do SOMEthing, what the hell can I do? But I keep quiet. I suggest that he recover from his current GI issue, and as soon as he feels better, tackle exercise and all the rest (better mood and lower blood pressure) will follow. Sigh, sigh. Of course all of this applies to myself, to J. I am so similar to my father, it is unreal.

Later that day, I came across an article about how NOT to deal with depressed people. Don’t tell them to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Ok, well I fucked that up also. I feel really tired of it all.

I’m hoping that just going back home and reuniting with Marty will help me regain some energy and motivation. With depression, if you do only ONE thing a day, it has to be this: Don’t give up hope.

On that slightly more positive note, I was happy to hear from my friend L the other day. He hadn’t heard from me in a while and checked in with well wishes for the holiday. I replied with apologies saying it had been an intense and challenging couple of months with the new job… but I was hoping to bring balance back into the equation. L is kinda my unknowing mentor; I feel like he always has such wisdom to share. He replied again saying something like, “I think you eat intense and challenging for dessert,” which kinda made me chuckle. I see some truth in his statement, but am I really that bad??? Ok, maybe don’t answer that. Then L said you can only find balance when you understand first what is out of balance, and stasis doesn’t necessarily equate to balance… sometimes I feel like he speaks in riddles, but my curiosity is always piqued. I hope we’ll get the chance to catch up again soon. I could use some non-preachy advice these days.

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