Tag Archives: overwhelmation

Which road?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost

When you’re out of commission as long as I’ve been, things tend to pile up.  All those little things you didn’t feel like doing before are now in front of you.  This is true for me even though I have had people help me so much.  For instance, the church went in to help fix our air conditioner. While they were there, they figured, holy crap these people can’t find their floor – or their cabinets – or likely their sanity. So they cleaned also.

If you know someone who is ill either mentally, physically, or both, and you’re wondering what to do – that’s it.  Clean.  If they are at all open to the idea, it is a huge help to them, and they likely aren’t going to ask for it because it’s embarrassing.  So that and cooking – both great ideas. They might even go to your church if you do it.

Anyway, in spite of this, I still find myself overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that I’ve gotten behind on.  Since we had so many clothes, enough to make a new carpet and then some, they bagged many of them up in leaf bags for us to sort through ourselves.  Which we will . . . eventually.  But right now, the idea of even starting this project makes me itch.

Itch like my head, because now was a perfect time to come up with the little buggers.  Sometimes I even wonder if I’m really better, but my husband assures me I am.  I want to go out again, I want to do things again, I smile again.  The problem is that there is so much left over from when I could do squat that I don’t even know where to begin.  I was told I could skip my Friday treatment.  So I did, and I went back on Thursday after getting home on Wednesday.  I can’t even drive yet, but I’m back at work.

Or I was, until Friday around 10 AM when I had to go home.  I just couldn’t figure out what to do with myself. Not like there weren’t things to do, but there were too many things both at work and at home that I was thinking about, and I had no idea how to prioritize them.  Of course I know now that the head itching, which was distracting itself, was not psychological for once.  So I can treat that.  But there isn’t a shampoo for prioritizing.

I just can’t figure out how so much got away from me.  I’ve been in treatment for 3.5 weeks, but even before the ECT, I wasn’t getting anything done because of the depression.  Its much easier to say “Yes I should do laundry, but that bed looks comfy” etc., etc.  So now I have so many decisions to make that at times I will skip an official meal because I would have to decide what I was going to eat.  Overwhelmation is taking its toll.

June is a big month.  My Things turned 13 and 17 – yes, you heard right.  I can believe 13 for Thing Two – she’s been thirteen for the last three years at least.  But 17 for Thing One?  You realize how old that makes me, right?  If you know me on Facebook, you already know – I turned 41 three days ago.  I can’t figure out how so much has happened.  Turns out that the world goes on even when you don’t.

In some ways, I needed this depression to understand how much things meant to me.  Things like, well, my things – my children and the other people who care for me.  I feel I’ve gotten much closer to several people through this, including my parents.  They love me more than I realized, and have even told me so.  I’ve seen how good so many people can be, and I’ve been inspired to be that way myself.

But where to begin?  I don’t know.  When you are driving to a big city 6 hours away on Sunday, then driving home Friday afternoon, only to repeat all of this again the following Sunday, your regular life takes a back seat.  Normal everyday things like getting housework done or even remembering to fill my pills regularly, take a back seat.  There just isn’t any time.  And I cannot begin to describe the homesickness.  A hotel away from it all sounds nice, but only for a certain amount of time.  You start to miss your own town, your own house, your own bed, your children, on certain weeks your husband, and your old routine.  And you want to smack the ceiling with a stick to shut up those people upstairs.

I haven’t been able to drive since beginning treatment.  While I was in Dallas, driving was scary anyway, and on weeks with my father you could forget going anywhere.  He’s 75 and much more nervous than he used to be on the road.  I’ve always been nervous, so there’s not a lot of change there.  Yet that meant more isolation on days I was with him.  I could go out with my husband at least, but that traffic was still unreal.  I don’t know how people live like that on a normal basis.  No wonder so many in Dallas are getting ECT.

Driving represents a certain amount of freedom for me, and I never realized how I took it, like so many things, for granted.  Or how much I used the word “thing” to describe everything. Sorry about that.  I don’t have great memory loss, but I do get flustered easily.  So here I am, discovering how much I’ve missed, and wanting for once to catch up, but getting confused easily and wanting to go hide under my covers at times.  Getting a few zaps doesn’t fix things right away.  Recovery takes more time, and as usual, I have no patience.  Life doesn’t have much patience for you either.  Get on the train or get off, it seems.

I don’t know if I’m ready for work, or even if this is the job I should stay with forever.  I like my coworkers, especially my immediate boss.  I get decent pay and really good insurance and retirement.  It involves History and English, which are two subjects I’m good at.  I’m proud of my job, and worked hard to get it.  My daughter will be in college in a couple of years, and it would be nice to be around there.  However, it doesn’t have an exact job description, which sometimes leaves you floundering around, wondering what you’re supposed to be doing exactly.  I feel guilty when I’m not working hard enough, which seems to be most of the time.  Not only that, I have a hard time concentrating on job tasks I often find boring when so many other tasks need doing elsewhere.  That work / life balance idea is rather laughable.  Yet I’m not sure what else to do.  If I quit, then I need another job, but what?  I’m not sure I could bring myself to decide.  I can’t even figure out what clothes to keep.

So keep in mind how I really do want to get it in gear, which means catching up on both my own blog and the blogs of others. This used to be a big part of my life, and I think it would help me to make it so again.  But I am struggling right now to get my life put back together, to figure out what is most important and what should be first.  I’m not sure how to do that.  Old Bob Frost said “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by.  And that has made all the difference.”

I like that poem, but I have a question.  Which road is less traveled by, and how do you figure that out?


How to Shop at Wal-Mart with the Voice in your Head

Look, there's an American flag and sunbeams? How can that be bad?

Look, there’s an American flag and sunbeams! How can that be bad?

How many people like to shop at Wal-Mart?  Show of hands!  Yeah, I thought so.  I know there are many lib’rals who would look down at me for shopping at Wal-Mart because they are, like, the Antichrist, but until there are more lib’ral shopping centers that offer prices that people in small towns can afford, they can shut the heck up. And this is coming from a lib’ral.  She happens to be a cheap lib’ral.  Cause she’s poor.  Good reason to be cheap.

Anyway, so we’re shopping at Wal-Mart (I know you do it when no one is looking you cannot resist that price on laundry detergent have you ever seen it so cheap I mean surely they don’t have the sweat shop children make laundry detergent, right???) which should be a simple thing to do. I mean, they have everything.  When you’re created by Satan, it’s easy to offer all variety of goods at discount prices.

Worship Evil.

Worship Evil.

But it’s not so simple when you have the voice in your head.  No, it’s not the kind of voice that tells me to jump off a cliff or go murder someone or just scream very loudly at nothing in particular or dance around like a toddler in a tutu.  This voice is just a big jerk.  It’s like Sad Pony when he’s really on his naughty sarcastic streak.  The big, heavy, obnoxious pony who sits in my head and smarts off while I’m shopping.  This is fun when to do while looking at ads for 1940s laxatives, but not so much when I’m trying to buy groceries.

Here’s an example.  I am shopping for food.  I’d like to be healthy, yet cheap, and also I’m rather picky (I do not like veggies.  Veggies are for communists. But I try to eat some anyway.)  So I think, hey, fruit is sweet but it’s good for you. Better than a candy bar anyway.  Fruit it is.  And so I’m looking at grapes and there goes Sad Pony.

Too many thoughts . . .must lay down.

You remember what happened the last time you bought grapes?


I kept forgetting to eat them and they turned into shriveled prune things that sat in the fridge so long they started to become sentient.

Too many thoughts . . .must lay down.

Right. You wasted food. Shame, Alice.  You know there are starving children and ponies in other countries, right?


I’d send them my grapes if I could.

Too many thoughts . . .must lay down.

Ha that was so not funny.  Don’t buy the grapes.


But they are healthy. I’ll eat them this time.

Poor Pony. He might need to be shot soon.

No you won’t.  You suck, Alice.

This is basically how it goes, in my head. And God forbid there be the choice of more than one kind of grape.  Thing Two was once convinced that green grapes were the boys and purple grapes were the girls, or vice versa.  I usually get the purple because I like them better, so more than likely the green ones are better for me.  I don’t know.  At least there are, generally, only a few types of grapes.

Not like shampoo.  Dear God, have you shopped for shampoo lately?  Normally I go for cheap shampoo which means White Rain or Suave which you can get for less than a dollar sometimes.  Or the knock off brand of Head and Shoulders, cause you know I’m a total flake. You can get this for a dollar too, if you shop at the Dollar Tree where everything’s a dollar, though it’s fun occasionally to ask them how much stuff costs.  Don’t try it too often, though, or they might, justifiably, stab you to death with one of their .99 kitchen knives.

Hmm, I'm gonna ask the nice young man how much this card is, Mertle.

Hmm, I’m gonna ask the nice young man how much this card is, Mertle.

Today was different, though, because I have a newly minted teenager with hair from Hades.  I would complain more, but I’m fairly certain she inherited that thick, unruly mess from yours truly.  She’s been having trouble with tangles, by which I mean she has this enormous bird’s nest on the back of her head.  She’s going to read this and then write about it later in her tell all book.  I’ll be so proud. Anyway, someone told me that there was a special shampoo called “straightening” shampoo, that could knock out frizz and help with tangles.

I was all up in that stuff. So I decided to search for this shampoo.  They had it.  In about a thousand different brands.  I looked down both aisles for the first time in a while, since generally I head right for the .98 cent Suave (green apple!) and I’m out of there.  And Holy Crap there are so many different brands of shampoos and conditioners and gels and sprays, and each brand has at least ten different varieties, and each variety has ten different varieties of that variety, and so on.  My brain nearly exploded.  Clean up on Aisle 4.

They have to be freaking KIDDING me.

They have to be freaking KIDDING me.

So I wandered up, and down, and up and down picking up different products and reading the back labels.  From what I could tell, all of them were supposed to do the same thing for prices ranging from around three dollars to almost fifteen. Control frizz.  But how exactly were these shampoos supposed to do this?  What bizarre sort of chemicals were in these things? Did sweat shop children work in chemical factories creating shampoos all day so that my thirteen-year-old can have sleek, shiny hair?  Or at least hair that doesn’t balloon out like a 1970s afro, which is kind of odd on a little white girl?

I didn’t know, and I still don’t.  It would not surprise me if these hair product companies are fibbing just a bit and they all have exactly the same cleaning agents in them, and you’d do about as well just scrubbing your head with a bar of cheap Ivory soap.  But this was my child, and you know you do what’s best for your child, which is having her finally brush her hair before you lose your mind.  So I figured I’d cover all my bases.  I found Head and Shoulders shampoo with the anti-frizz crap in it and then some Vidal Sassoon (if she doesn’t look good, I don’t look good) cream junk to smear on it then comb out.  We are going to tackle this monster, by golly, or my name isn’t Alice.

Too many thoughts . . .must lay down.

Your name isn’t really Alice.

Oh, shut up, pony!

Oh, shut up, pony!

After I’d made my decision, I went and I got my groceries.  It was hard.  I wanted to drop my cart and run because suddenly Squirrel had decided to take up residence and he was all excited to get home and didn’t want to shop anymore or spend money he wanted to go home, but I shut him up too by dropping some groceries in the cart.  Boom!  Okay, a lunch item down.  Boom, there’s my weekly diet of sugary cola – maybe I dropped that a little too hard.  Boom, some fruit in little squeeze pouches that are really for small children but taste good, do not require spoons, and do not go bad like apples do.  Score.  Boom!  Before long, I was done and heading for the 20 items or less aisle.  A minute later a guy came up behind me with a newspaper.  I could have let him go first.  Pfft, yeah right.  No way, buddy.  I was done and OUT of there!

It wasn’t till I got home I remembered I forgot to go by and pick up my prescription.  Again.  Crap in a hat.

Overwhelmation: A Post on Physical Illness and Mental Health

Slightly more serious than my usual fare, but still an important issue I think – check it out on Canvas. (And yes, Sad Pony makes another appearance, too!)