This probably shouldn’t count as a date, but it was just what I needed and deserves to be here. I had a pretty tough week last week. I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and get treatment for it every 6 months. My treatment is AMAZING. It has taken all of my symptoms away. If I had amnesia, I wouldn’t know that I have MS. I had a treatment a week ago.
Part of my treatment protocol is that I get loaded up with steroids 2 days before, during and 1 day after to keep me from having allergic reactions to my infusion. I think I’m really sensitive to these steroids and start going through withdrawals a day or 2 after my last dose. These symptoms include blowing up like a water balloon, headaches, jitters, muscle weakness and the worst is depression. I always forget that they make me feel depressed, until I’m buried in it and asking myself what is wrong with me. Then I remember it’s the Roids.
The timing of this Roid Depression hit me really hard this time because I’m on sabbatical and made it my mission during this break from work to start the process of repainting and man-caving my garage. I have quite a bit of cleanup to do before I can start paint prepping. My garage is full of other people’s stuff. The main entrance to my house is through my garage and I have always felt like that garage sets the tone for the energy that is allowed to come inside my home.
When I was married, it was my ex-husband’s space. The emotional state that he was in, as well as the health of our marriage, was reflected in the state of the garage. Things were more tidy and racks and storage shelves were installed when things were good. Clutter, piles, neglect and disarray showed up with a vengeance when times were troubled. He went through a really tough time shortly before he started his affair with his co-worker, which resulted in the garage being full of all of the signs of things being bad, PLUS a massive amount of doomsday survival supplies. This consisted of six 55 gallon water barrels, lots of emergency food, guns, ammo, propane, etc. Walking through there to get into the house became oppressive. I totally cleaned EVERYTHING out of the garage when he was gone. I had movers come and load up a storage POD with all of his amassed doom and had it dropped off in his new driveway. My garage was organized and bright.
It’s now the home of my Mom’s things and things that belong to a friend of mine who broke my heart. We are on good terms now, but our friendship will never be the same, and having his stuff there is a reminder of losing one of my best friends. I made the mistake of setting out to clean my garage while unknowingly starting to fall into my steroid depression.
Ugh…going through my Mom’s bins and boxes was so heavy. She wrote SO MUCH and I found myself reading her writing. She was so dark and unhappy, always. I felt and saw that in her. It made it impossible for us to connect. I was her mirror and she saw the reflection of her misery in me. We were very alike in appearance, but polar opposites in intention, attitude, outlook and action. She has a box of poetry and journals, dating all the way back to the ‘70’s. It’s all sadness and deep loneliness. The more recent writing from the years before she died reflect her decline into deeper misery, delusion and mental illness.
I started to sink deeper and deeper with the withdrawal help of the Roids. I made it through getting rid of 3 bins of Mom stuff, but as I started to dig into each bin it felt like the work was multiplying and having babies. Other bins required more consideration of the contents within and it felt like I was starting to slide backwards. It was a Sisyphean sensation.
I had to step away from it and focus on dealing with my own clutter. Part of this clutter was a new ceiling fan that has been awaiting installation for the last YEAR. I had new ceiling fans installed on my backyard patio last summer and one got ripped out of the ceiling by monsoon winds. I quickly bought a replacement and my barber, who has become a brotherly type friend, offered to install it. I decided to use this ceiling fan as one of those things that I use to learn how to ask for and accept help from others.
The fan has become a little bit of a running joke between the barber and me. He now refers to it as “his” ceiling fan when we visit the subject of trying to coordinate our schedules so he can come out to put it up. I haven’t pursued it for a few months. Also, the barber commented on my appearance with a different type of attention a few weeks ago. I know he’s a really dedicated and faithful family guy, but somehow the change in tone of his comments made me feel better considering a different option for my fan install. I have another friend who sincerely and generously offered. Our interaction ebbs and flows so I’m not 100% comfortable that asking wouldn’t be an imposition. A gym friend of mine offered. I feel comfortable asking this person because he helped some friends and me assemble a giant trampoline in my backyard last year. He’s currently totally buried in renovating his backyard though. I know all 3 of these options are sincere, but my personal weirdness keeps me from feeling welcome to follow up on them. I’m working on it.
I started to feel really irritated with the ceiling fan sitting there, taking up garage space. It made me feel like I was a person who just sits around and waits for things to happen for me. I am a let’s wait and see person if I’m giving possibilities a chance to breathe, but that’s different. This was me looking at that ceiling fan and letting it sit there after failing to ask for help. It just looked like neglect and procrastination.
I could have hired someone, but as I looked at it more I realized that I could do this myself. I’m a MASTER at assembling things. You want to put your entire house together with IKEA, I’m your girl. You need to hang curtains or pictures? Hello! I outfitted my boys’ room in IKEA furnishings that I assembled. One of the pieces is a gigantic loft bed with an attached armoire. It was a total feat of creativity, strength and leverage to do that by myself because the entire loft bed needed to be assembled and then LIFTED and set on top of the armoire to attach the two pieces. It took some problem solving and creativity where I lacked strength to get that loft bed assembly lifted off the floor and up over my head to set on the armoire. I was proud.
Assembly of the fan wasn’t my problem. I was really intimidated about the electrical component. I found that 3 different switches in my house electrical box controlled these fans. I turned off the power to the spot for the new fan. The fan motor and body was pretty heavy so it was a little dicey to be atop a ladder trying to jimmy it into its bracket. I managed to pop it in and get to making my electrical connections. One of the wires coming from the ceiling was so dry and powdered, it crumbled when I took the cap off. I needed to strip some coating off to expose more wire. I don’t have a wire stripper, gonna get one, so I was up there on the ladder with scissors, a pocket knife and my finger nails stripping it. Thankfully, I had turned off the power…I zoomed through getting it connected and then getting the blades and light kit installed. I held my breath and turned the power back on. All was fine. I held my breath again and turned my fans and lights on with my remote. SUCCESS!
It’s just a ceiling fan. It’s not rocket science. I didn’t build a house with my bare hands, this wasn’t an epic feat in any way, but somehow taking charge of that ceiling fan was taking a piece of myself back from the darkness and sadness of my steroid depression and that garage. My garage has been like my Moby-Dick struggle. It’s like the bedroom in “Poltergeist” with the spirits that suck people in. Putting that fan up helped me to poke that garage in the eye. It shall be my man cave and be a wonderful welcome into my home.
A girl friend of mine will be helping me to clear out some more of my Mom’s things this week…I asked for help. My ex-brother-from-another-mother is coming to pick up his stuff tomorrow. I may not get paint rolled on the walls before my sabbatical ends, but I’ve made some important steps to getting closer. I had no idea getting into that garage was going to be so difficult for me. Getting out of the hole that it sucked me into with that ceiling fan victory was worthy of Date mention.
Thank you for taking the bizarre journey with me! 28 Dates down!