Have you ever heard the saying, you are what you eat? Well, I’m living proof that you live in who you are, too. With that being said, one can presume correctly that, because my life is a gigantic blackhole of kinetically-charged chaos, so is my dwelling, my homestead, my address of residence.
It is a level of embarrassment in my life which I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with, but somehow I have. I never imagined that I’d be in this predicament, not in a hundred thousand dreams of nightmares, but here I am nonetheless. I’m living in a house built at the hands of Depression, decorated on a recovering addicts budget, and maintained in unkempt upkeep by chronic pain. It’s not what I had in mind, but it has to do for now.
Long before I was a married mom of four hoodlums, it was very possible I could have been classified with an OCD diagnosis. My home was always a spotless level of clean, worthy of magazine ad showcasing. Each and every thumbtack, sequin, and screw, had it’s own place separate from the toothpicks, bobbypins, and batteries. Everything micro-organized into labeled containers within containers for maximum organization. Everything was always nice and neat, nothing in excess, lost, or wasted. I vacuumed twice a day, every day. I swept the kitchen even more, scrubbing it down, by hand, every night after dinner. Not a single lacy cobweb or dingy dust bunny could be found hiding anywhere, not even in the unfinished basement with exposed rafters and beams throughout the ceiling. I would cut someone with my stabby self if they even thought about leaving their shoes on in my house.
These days, if I even let you get through my front door- after reading you the riot act and forcing you to sign consent forms releasing me from responsibility over your safety, I’ll warn you to keep your shoes on, unless, you want the Plague or Ebola, that is. Every single wall in this house has been colored on. Any cabinet below adult waist-level height has been colored on and stickered, too. The flooring, paint-splattered original-to-the-house wood flooring, which still desperately needs to be stripped and rewaxed, is a gigantic step up from the carpet I tore out of here over the last summer. The same carpet that was brand new to the house when I moved in. The house is totally done with, destroyed merely by living in it, as you do. There’s no helping it anymore. It needs to be nuclear bombed. Or radiated and evaporated. At the very least, quarantined in one of those little life-sustaining bubble thingies until someone finds a cure.
Four years ago, I was in the middle of a really bad time in my life. A time that was dark, cold, and isolating, full of burning bridges and severed ropes to the emergency lifeboats I mistakenly thought were weighing me down. I was fresh in the aftermath of recovery from an addiction to pain pills, stemming from chronic pain in my spine. Physicians were so quick to throw prescriptions at me, even before the final diagnosis was made! They allowed me the misperception off the starting gate, that the meds could actually help heal the damage, without warning me of the serious dependency aspect.
When all I wanted was answers as to how/why/where I was broken and a plan of action for treatment, all I got was more meds to mask the newest symptoms and the beginnings of immobility issues. Every time I tried to get someone to talk to me like a normal human being, I was blown off with the same spiel and more meds. After trying to get second, third, and fourth opinions, I was accused of doctor hopping to feed my arbitrary addiction. You know, the one they created in the first place! Never any real answers or treatment options beyond the meds, only a name to call my problem- Degenerative Disc Disease with Spinal Bone Spurs.
Within that time, my life had flipped, turned upside down, into the darkness of addiction, setting off a domino effect of misfortune, consequence, and debt that continued to follow me, long after I got sober. Way longer than I had ever considered, but, then again, I hadn’t even considered becoming an addict the first time I chewed up two Vicodin, instead of swallowing one, whole, as the directions on the prescription bottle directed. The doctors and pharmacists also failed to mention the living hell on earth the withdrawals are, that happen when the medications are cut off, as well. It’s the second biggest reason why the majority of people who are addicted to some kind of opiate, from Vicodin and Tylenol #3 to Morphine and Oxycontin to Fentanyl and Heroin, plus everything in between, don’t stay clean. Here it is, straight from the horses mouth for you: The actual reason why the majority of addicts of any kind don’t stay clean for long, is that domino effect of aftermath that occurs after getting clean.
There’s debts to be paid from all the financial responsibilities neglected to pay for more medication. There’s no support system left, because there’s no trust remaining with family or friends, strangers can peg a train wreck headed their away rather quickly, and other recovering addicts are not the greatest support system, regardless of whatever AA/NA preaches, because everyone has demons of their own they carry with them. Most former addicts have arrest records that won’t get through the background checks every employer uses these days, prohibiting anyone, even the most deserving and longest clean citizens, from getting a second chance at making an honest living. No job, no income, and then there’s more debt. More government assistance. More shame, embarrassment, and discrimination for mistakes long gone and done with.
So, why not keep on using drugs, numbing all of the downer feels, drowning out the life that’s too screwed up to be fixed into anything better?
If I’m gonna live dirt-broke and dirt-poor, might as well be down in the dirt high, too.
I can’t say I blame a lot of them for that kind of reasoning. Had I not had the fire burning fierce in my soul, never liking being on all of those meds, consolidated with the blessing of a husband I have, I can’t say with any certainty that I would’ve been able to get out of the vicious cycle of addiction, otherwise. It was a really hard battle with the DDD factor, to find non-abusable medications that would ease the real pain, still there, long after the withdrawals passed.
What better time, than this perfect storm a-brewing, to find out Depo Provera was no match for my Fertile Myrtle self. I was expecting! Child number four! Right smack in the middle of the declarable national disaster of my life. Someone, certainly had a sense of humor, above me. Now I had a fourth child on the way, with chronic pain to manage resulting from a genetically inherited disease, while maintaining my recovery. That’s right at the time we moved into this house. After all the destruction and mayhem I had experienced in my last residence, it was a dream to me to be able to start fresh in a new home. I really thought this place could be the beginning of something great for my family, a stepping stone back into the social ball game, a place to feel proud and accomplished of all we had overcome. Little did I know upon signing the lease, that the real landlord for this new house was going to be Depression and it was going to redo everything I blueprinted the way it wanted.
During the course of my pregnancy, and the first months we lived in this new place, I was feeling really rough. My body was thrown into a permanent withdrawl type ordeal because the pressure of the growing baby irritated the spinal injuries and the pain meds severely upset my stomach. Coupled with the morning sickness that grew in intensity with each one of my previous babies, I was so very sick throughout the whole pregnancy. So sick that I had to be on round-the-clock nausea meds, administered every 3hrs & 55mins exactly, to prevent it from fully wearing off before the next dose kicked in, or else I couldn’t even keep the pill down long enough to dissolve before I wretched it back up. I wasn’t worried about organizing the house as we moved in, I just threw everything that wasn’t necessary for every day use into the hall closet or basement, to be stored until after I delivered the baby and could take the time to sort it all out. Without puking on it.
Furnishing the house was just as big of a challenge with a baby on the way, as the organization. Like I said before, there was plenty of destruction and mayhem before getting sober, so I didn’t have much of anything worth bringing along when I was starting anew. It was the unexpected pregnancy of the child now known as Stinx Majinx, that really threw my game plan through a loop. Since I thought my family was complete after the third, I had parted with the baby gear as I went through each stage, never thinking that the Depo shot would one day fail. The triple-the-retail-price sacrifice of Rent-a-Center in order to get us nice furniture on weekly payments without credit check play call was uprooted for the Secondhand-Family-Freebie pass play, so the budget could make room for this new addition.
The results are a mismatched mix-up of styles that look like I hired the local white trash redneck garbage picker as an Interior Designer. Another one of those happenings I had no intention of keeping the way it worked out, but once I went into labor, all bets were off, all remaining rights to my blueprints, revoked. That bundle of sleepless nights joy brought home the Baby Blues with her. At first, I accepted it as the familiar gig from the past, knowing it would wander out the same way it came in, riding the changing hormonal tides of post-pregnancy and new life. I couldn’t have cared less about the nitty gritty details of housekeeping. I was beyond over-tired, exhausted, drained. I was a sauntering zombie, unable to think clearly, focus my thoughts long enough to care for the newborn, let alone, three other children and a husband who is gone 72hrs a week, trying to provide financially for his family. Everything in regards to the house and it’s upkeep was loaded onto my back at this point and there was no one else who had my back, but my hubs. What good can a man do at the home when he’s already out doing good for the home?
In light of this reality, I saw the Cyclic Depression I’ve always suffered from, had snuck in under the guise of the addiction recovery, hiding behind it all along. The imbalanced hormones from the very normal Baby Blues gave Depression it’s chance to announce it’s presence, rearing it’s ugly head with an intensity unlike any time before. My mind was consumed, overcome, by a darkness that had been slowly seeping back in through the cracks and crevices of my brain since I had stopped abusing opiates.
Now, after four years of chaos, turmoil, and solidarity, this house is better off on an episode of America’s Worst Houses To Live In. If that show even exists. If it doesn’t, then my house should certainly be the inspiration for such one after this! There are so many times I find myself looking around at all that needs to be caught up on and bursting into tears. It’s not that I wanted it to be this way, it’s not what I had envisioned, and it’s not at all how I wanted things to turn out to be! Depression took over, engineering it’s own blueprint and hiring the lazy, half-ass carpenters, Recovery and Chronic Pain, to carry out the plans and influencing the interior design of the place. There’s finger prints on every surface, boxes to be sorted full of old clothes, toys, and books just waiting patiently to be repurposed, and stacks of laundry baskets that sometimes get emptied out from living out of before it can actually be emptied out by folding and putting everything away.
My floors are lucky enough to be swept and vacuumed daily. It’s a good week if the kitchen floor gets washed. Accidentally. By Stinx dumping out the entire 2 gallon water jug from the fridge, trying to be a big girl. It’s a great month when I remember to not only vacuum the bedrooms, but change the kids’ sheets, as well. The living room window could use a good washing, but why bother when the dog’s gonna press her nose right back into it the second I move out of her way… besides, if I want to clearly see the outside, then I’ll take my butt out there and enjoy nature up close and personal. Forgive me, also, because I have flower beds that haven’t seen flowers in them since I took up residence. My inner green thumb self is much better at smoking green plants than growing anything of anything color.
This house Depression has built for me may not be the house of my dreams, but it’s still my home. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it will take more work than I’m able to put forth effort for and more money for products, supplies, and equipment then I can afford to try to take back what Depression has created out of my home for me. Everyone and their mother’s uncle’s fourth wife, advises me to take baby steps to get ‘er done, but when you have four kids, presently all under eleven, you can’t complete such a large projects in pieces, without expecting everything previously done to come apart while you’re working on a new section. Because, well… life happens is why.
Life does happen, IS happening, and that’s what I focus on when the tears start to roll. Life is constantly passing by. What good would it do to wallow in the happenings that have already passed by instead of making the most of what’s actually happening right now? There’s comfort to be taken in the ever-changing moments of life, because nothing stays the same for long. That means the house that Depression built, with Recovery and Chronic Pain heading it’s crew, won’t last forever. There will be another house, another opportunity, another chance- to do things right next time, get life in order inside my life at home to go along with everything that I was able to get in order outside of my home during the time I’ve lived at this one. Fate is really pretty comedic in it’s ability to alter your perception of reality along with the course of one’s life.
Throughout the time I’ve lived in this house, I saw it as a cursed blessing, a positive turned negative, as my plans fell into what I believed to be the wrong hands. I now know that Depression was meant to build this house all along. Once it gets evicted and a new home to build, all by myself this time, in the works, it is going to be my turn to shine. This time. This time, I will have all of the tools the trio of Masquerading Contractors left behind, in my tool box. Those missing tools I never knew I would need until I learned from life that I did. Until I finally learned how to live in the moment, in the house, Depression had built for me.