Thursday, February 21, 2013

Another Breakdown

Sure, as soon as I say things are "under control," I have a good old- fashioned breakdown.

In my defense, I do have a lot weighing on me:  My husband is still recovering and trying to figure out which way to go in terms of therapy and career.  Chances are that he will never work full-time again, due to his constant fatigue and his limitations.  However, he is still extremely intelligent and capable.  Most of his doctors have said he is very capable and that any agency would be happy to have him walk through their doors.  And they're not saying he's only qualified to do menial labor - they think he has a very good chance of finding some interesting work that would suit many of his background experiences.  He does have an MSW, he's worked as an IT Administrator for over 10 years, and now he has the wonderful(?) life-changing experience of having had a stroke and is making his way back.  Don't you think he'd be an asset to a variety of organizations??? I do, too, but he takes some convincing, and it's driving me mad!

In addition, we are on the brink of bankruptcy.  I am not embarrassed to share that.  We don't live in an expensive house or drive expensive cars.  Neither have we spent inordinate amounts of money on vacations (Hawaii would have been nice, but no...) or high-tech gagdets that we don't need - we don't even have cable and we still use "trac-fones."  We simply racked up a lot of money in credit card debt, trying to live life while balancing the demands of recovery and therapy.  I work part-time, and even with insurance, medical copays are killing us.  Add to that the fact that we desperately want our daughter to attend a Catholic high school, so financial issues are pressing to say the least.

You know, then there are the everyday stressors, like kids who have persistent stress-related issues like stomach aches and headaches, and a kid who is making the grade at school but is still weeks behind in his homework.  Kids who fight and bicker and parents who fight and bicker back.  Chores undone and general disorder. 

Oh, yeah, and then I have this ridiculous back pain that launched an attack on me, kind of out of nowhere - add a little pain to the stress, and I come unglued.

Let's just say I tend to break down once in a while. One year after my husband's stroke, I was still working full-time in a high-stress job, and I had an honest-to-goodness nervous breakdown, and my doctor took me out of work for 2 weeks.  After that, I requested part-time work and was moved to the school librarian position, which was a great blessing.  (But, yes, the stress of NOT working full-time weighs on me, too - less income, more financial burden, so maybe I should have kept the full-time job...but what good is a wife and mom who's a permanent resident at Sunnyside Insane Asylum?) Last summer, I experienced my first ever panic attack and ended up in Urgent Care.  The worst part of that was that my hubby was in Florida for 6 weeks, which was one of the precipitating factors of my breakdown, I'm sure. 4 weeks alone with the kids was actually kind of fun, but then it got offense, kiddos.

So, last night was another "straw that broke the camel's back" moment, and I asked my hubby to pray and do some spiritual warfare (yes, we believe that Satan is real and cunning, and that he harrasses us in our real life, so we pray against him regularly in the name of Jesus).  My husband, however,  suggested that I might be "borderline" or have, perhaps, advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage.  In his defense, he IS a guy, and he HAS seen some pretty freaky sides of me in our 16 years of marriage.  But I just was extremely overwhelmed and wanted some SERIOUS prayer from my protector.  While he stumbled back in a daze after my tirade, I texted my neighbor and she said she'd be right over.  In the few moments it took her to arrive, I read through a passage that I've been reading during Lent:  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15).   I chuckled to myself to think, "How on earth does Jesus know what it's like to be a hysterical woman?"  But I believe the Word of God IS true, and it is living and active, as the earlier verses in Hebrews 4 state.  So, I chose to let God shed a little humorous light into my plight.

After praying with Jen (also my neighbor's name - no I do not have Multiple Personality Disorder), and receiving some helpful suggestions, I felt much better.  My children had seen me sobbing uncontrollably earlier, and were asking "What's wrong, MOM?" I told them I would be OK, and Jen told them I would be OK, too.  I just asked them to pray for me.  They did and then left me to talk with my friend.  When Jen and I were done chatting, I was much more peaceful and ready to face my family again. I put on my bathrobe, my face was dried of tears and my soul was quieted.  As kids came in and out of the kitchen, they just said, nonchalantly, "Oh, Hi mom, you're up."  

I felt like I could totally relate to the guy who was possessed by legions of demons in Mark 5:15.  Moments earlier, I had been flipping out while my family stood by helplessly, and now I was now sitting there, dressed and in my right mind.

My kids weren't afraid.  They were just like, "Hey, Mom's back.  Cool."  After the extreme challenge of the past 2 years, I've noticed one pretty impressive thing:  my kids are very resilient.

That, my friends, is the power of prayer.

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