Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Dog Dies, and other rantings

I'll get to the dog later. I'm just hoping that this is somewhat coherent, as I'm now fairly certain that the new anti-depressants aren't kicking in as the other one drops off, so I'm getting crazier by the minute. Or at least I feel like it. I've even caught myself curling up, from the cold in my bedroom before the heater kicks in, and stopping myself because I don't want to even look like the stereotypical tv/movie crazy lady, holding herself close, all alone. I'll freeze to death first, thankyouverymuch. *Deep breath* I keep trying to remind myself, and listen when those around me remind me, that I'm actually dealing with this better than I usually do, as I've informed the people around me within the first few days and called my doctor about the medication after the first few days and before I became suicidal. That is all a huge step up from what I usually do. Also, while I would usually worm my way into the bed and company of the closest romantic significant other when I started feeling bad (because somehow their love would magically protect me from myself and/or I could blame them when they didn't live up to my expectations/huge need and I hurt myself or made some suicidal gesture or attempt), I am trying really hard not to do that. I want to curl up with TyRoy and stay with him. I think if I asked, he would be more than happy for me to be there. But, as MP often reminds me, I'm alot for one person to deal with. I'm trying to spread it around and to delegate appropriately. TyRoy's friendship and love help a tremendous amount. We talk and write often. I'm sure I'll see him when he has time off. But I also lean alot on my mom right now. She knows how I'm feeling. She knows exactly where I am. She still holds my meds. She pushed me into not putting off calling the doctor until I was really awake, so I didn't waste more time. As it would be much easier for her to deal with any legal and medical issues if I was hospitalized (though she is still not my legal next of kin, until the divorce comes through), it's best to always be in contact with her, have her up on the situation. Even when I'm with TyRoy, he has all her numbers, just in case anything happens. And I'm trying to keep in touch with my other friends, because I know the isolation can get to me, even when I am the one doing it. I'm trying. Not sure if it's working or if it will work. Fuck. I think what makes me most upset about this is that I was just starting to feel like I might be getting closer to being a person living with a mental illness, rather than a person suffering from a mental illness. I've spent the last year and 3 months or so being someone suffering from a mental illness, feeling like I was controlled by it, feeling like my life was just fighting a losing battle against it. I was just starting to feel like that might not be it, like it might be something I could negotiate within a relatively happy life. But currently I feel like I'm battling just to not let it all slip away again.

But anger helps. Which brings me to the first thing I wanted to rant about. This evening, I was flipping through AM radio stations and decided to listen to a bit of the rantings of Michael Savage and his listeners. For those of you who don't know, I do listen to a bit of conservative and right-wing talk radio, mostly to know what the other side is saying. Know your enemy, right? One of his topics today was if pot should be legalized. A man training to be psychiatrist called in, decrying the evils of marijuana, as a gateway to other drugs, as a drug made infinitely more potent by chemists and growers which lead it to cause all kinds of psychiatric symptoms and illnesses. The psychiatrist-in-training also said that a high percentage (I think he said either 90 or 95%) of people prescribed psychiatric medications just needed a kick in the butt and a change in diet. OMFG! On the subject of weed: I would not go so far as to say that this man did not see people who smoked marijuana, especially the more potent varieties grown these days (as compared to the pot of the 1960s or even 1980s), and had a variety of bad trips, which lead to, as he said, suicidal attempts/gestures and visual and auditory hallucinations. I had a friend when I was a teenager who was only smoking marijuana on a very regular basis and started to get very paranoid, even when not stoned. But, for all the people I've known who've smoked marijuana, I've never known anyone who experienced LSD-like episodes. Maybe we just get skunk here in the Midwest. Also, I hate this whole "gateway drug" bullshit. Yes, almost everyone who does heroin has smoked marijuana. But correlation is not causation. Those people do not do heroin BECAUSE they did marijuana. I know I can't come up with a GOOD example that seems the same to me, but I have a bunch of things in my head. Being born is a gateway behavoir for becoming a homicide victim. Also, in terms of parsing out correlation and causation, maybe it isn't the drugs that caused the psychiatric problems, or at least not at first. It might have something to do with the fact that people who already have mental illnesses often self-medicate, even when they don't consciously know they are doing it. Then the drugs might exacerbate problems they already have with their brain functioning or just damage the way their body, especially their brain functions, causing even more illnesses, both psychiatric and physical. And they might have sought help if their psychiatrist wasn't a patronizing prick who wouldn't even try to work with them for a plan of medication but instead thought that they should change their diet and get a kick in the butt. I agree that medications get over-prescribed. But they get over-prescribed typically to people with insurance, who can pay, in communities (and of genders and sexual orientations) that accept that medicines can and do work for mental and emotional problems. The rest of people, sometimes people who really need it, don't have access to, or are taught not to take, the medications that could help them. Honestly, while I come from a therapy-friendly family and one that encourages the use of needed medications, I did not want to go on psychiatric drugs. It took a hell of a lot for me to start anti-depressants. But, you know what? I kinda wish the "psychiatrist" I went to in my mid-teens hadn't been so focused on how I was an idiot for what I wanted to take on my hypothetical deserted island and how the continued effects of the "Epstein-Barr" that he claimed I still had after my mono would go away once we bought this book and changed my diet. Because maybe he might have seen that I was suffering from depression, not Epstein-Barr, and I should be getting real therapy to help me learn how to manage it and possibly start the experimentation with drugs when I was 15 and had years and years and years left on my parents' insurance, before I was in college and paying for the education I was missing by not wanting to get out of bed. I bet that asshole loves Savage and his psychiatrist-in-training caller.

Speaking of conservatives, what is it about having a dick that makes people more conservative??? Ok, ok, ok-- correlation is not causation. I don't honestly know many women who are liberal either. And the ones who do claim to be liberal are in certain areas, but, because of their life experiences, or lack there of, don't often subscribe to a larger liberal feminist, pro-queer, anti-racist, anti-classist, anti-ablist, anything I'm ignorantly forgetting, agenda. And I'm sure that there are people out there who would look at my life or even just my writings and say that they don't see me going by that either. But I try. I don't try to say "I'm not anti-whoever but why do they insist on blank?" or "I have friends/lovers/relatives who are whatever so I can't be racist/sexist/whatever". I try to honestly listen to claims made about the privilege I enjoy as a white college-educated middle-class cisgendered able bodied (just looked it up and I guess that is the term out there but that sucks) female, to be aware of it, and to not accept it as something that is rightfully mine. There are lots of ways I've changed how I act and think and, I'm sure, more that I should change but do not yet know of. If someone points it out to me, I will try to listen and think about it without defensiveness, but I know it isn't the job of someone who is of a certain race or gender or class to teach me how to not be an ignorant bigot. I am not saying I"m perfect, but I try to be more fair and egalitarian and less prejudiced. But if I hear one more man who's never been in that position talk like he knows and everyone should get his opinion about the actions of a less privileged group he knows nothing about I'm going to scream. Just because you knew some lazy women on welfare does not make you an expert on all the myriad of men, women, and children who make use of welfare programs. Just because you don't like damned dirty hippies talking about how Tibet should be its own country, under the rule of its religious leader, autonomous from the Chinese government, doesn't mean that the religious rule of the Dalia Lamas was nothing but female child slavery and those hippies should shut up. Oh, unless you want to decry the male child soldier slavery in Africa and the rule of religious leaders in Iran. Just because you went to a school that had comprehensive sex education and passed out condoms doesn't mean that those things are the reason that girls at your high school got pregnant. Maybe there were other factors, like their self-esteem, like their socio-economic status, like the messages that society on the whole gave them, like the fact that their male partner may have pushed them into sex before they were ready and/or without protection. But whatever the reason, that doesn't mean that sexuality or sexual contact should be demonized all around. Also, no excuse for not reciprocating a sex act that can under no circumstances get one pregnant. You know, I know this is the "pussy" female answer but can't you guys just grow the fuck up and stop feeling like your privilege is so threatened that you have to piss on anyone you percieve as "taking what's yours"? Honestly, it's a HUGE TURN-OFF.

Finally, to the title- The Dog Dies. (Might be a little late but ****Spoiler Alert*********) Lately, I really hate how I can't seem to get away from movies that play on the shit I'm already dealing with. This Christmas, my mom, who loves movies with dogs in them, wanted to see Marley and Me. I knew it was based on a book, on a true story, but that's all the extra info I knew. I'm sure I would have gone with my mom sometime around now if I hadn't read an article about how not only does the dog die in the end of the film, but it is used to pull extra extra hard at the viewer's heartstrings. He nicknamed the movie "New Yeller." Well, for as much as my mom loves movies with dogs in them, she can't stand it when the dog dies. If she hears about it beforehand, she won't watch any movie where the dog dies. Needless to say, we will never watch Marley and Me. I'm really glad we didn't try to go see it over our Christmas holiday in Slightly Bigger Midwestern City, as my grandmother's 18 yr/o dog was at the time getting around very poorly and we were all afraid we would have to put him to sleep. I don't think I could have done that movie then. This all probably just means that people should be more aware of what movies they go see, though, to be fair, not all reviews of Marley and Me included that tidbit, which I'm sure parents who took their younger kids might have liked to know before they had to explain that their own dog would someday die. Yes, sometimes, people should just pay more attention. My mom and I decided to go see a movie the weekend after we found out that my uncle had cancer. She wanted to go to the new theater by her work so we just picked a movie that looked ok that was playing soon. We went to see In the Land Of Women. In which Meg Ryan's character has cancer. And loses all her hair. And looks painfully, unhealthly thin. I told Mom that I wasn't going to let her have the final say again.

Then again, sometimes nothing can really prepare you, even if you think beforehand that it might be sad, you sometimes can't guess how sad. I went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button tonight. I've read several reviews and knew what it was generally about. I thought it might be sad but I didn't think it would be as sad as it was for me. I should say though that it doesn't take a great deal for me to cry at a movie. It takes very very little, in fact, so I don't blame the movie usually. I don't here. And I made it through most of the movie without tears. But I started when Cate Blanchett's character, dying in the hospital, started to have breathing troubles and the doctor or nurse assured the daughter that it was normal, that her breathing would get shallower. It took me right back to being in the hospital room with my grandfather that last day and how those last hours and minutes are never as peaceful as movies make them out to be. I can still hear that noise, the sound of him trying to breath as his lungs filled with liquid. I cried because it was one thing I knew the movie would never convey. I continued to cry as Brad Pitt's Benjamin came back into Blanchett's Daisy's life, as she became an elderly woman and he didn't remember her. The innocence of people who've lost their memory was highlighted by the young (and thus innocent) appearance of Benjamin. For those people, who knew how old Benjamin truly was, it seemed difficult to take it to heart when he got upset and cursed at them because he didn't think they'd given him the breakfast he didn't remember that he'd just eaten. I think sometimes it's harder to not take it to heart in our reality when the person appears to just be an older version of the same person who once disciplined us. It's harder to remember that it's not their fault. It's harder not to want to WILL them to remember how to be who we think they should be. I think one of the things that really got to me was that the chronologically old/phycially childish Benjamin still had that magical twinkle of mischief and curiousity. The same one that I remember my grandfather having right up until end. There was always some little joke that he made you feel like was just between the two of you. And my grandfather loved to tinker with things, so, even after the stroke, when he couldn't remember exactly what he was doing or why, his hands still felt the need to take things apart, or attempt to. It was hell trying to get him to leave in the IVs and tubes at the hospital. Even once he got home, he'd take his feeding tube out of his stomach. Even when Grandma would try to cover it up with a weird girdle thing and two shirts, he'd find it and take it apart, after having forgotten about it, out of sight out of mind. Even though I'm crying right now, I'm also smiling because he could be such a little shit! But smart and sweet and I miss him.

I went with a woman for whom it should have been worse than it was for me, though I didn't see her cry. I don't know her very well and, in our conversation before the film, I found out that she had had a son, but he died in 07, when he was less than a year old. Somehow, she seems to be more ok with it than I am with my grandfather's death. In the movie, Benjamin dies, as an infant, in Daisy's arms. After the movie, my companion alluded to the fact that it was a bit hard, but that was nothing like how he'd passed. I didn't ask her to share anything more specific, though if she'd wanted to, I would have listened.

Well, with that, I think I'll go to bed. Don't take any of this too seriously. It's just the ravings of a mad woman.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

More Fun with Meds

First, I want to send you all to a post by a blogger I only recently started reading, but who makes me feel alittle less alone in this whole crazy mental illness thing, as she shares her experiences with seeking treatment for mental health issues without a great deal of censorship. Also, it feels good to know that someone so far away- she lives in London- can have such experiences so similar to my own. Hell, she even had an attempt in October, just like me. Her latest post is about her experiences on medications, which was also what I planned to write about today. Here's her post:

And now, selfishly, back to me. And my current med issues.

As I bitched about last week, my doctor's assistant called me on New Year's Eve, telling me that, after getting the results of my blood tests, the doctor wanted me to just stop the lithium. Not back down but just stop taking all three pills that I was taking at the time. At first, I had been against stopping, planning on staying on the current dose until I got a follow-up call, but an acquaintance, who has experience on psychiatric drugs, mentioned that I might have dangerously high levels and that if that was why the doctor wanted me to stop then I probably should. So I did. No lithium Wednesday night or all day Thursday. Friday morning, the doctor's assistant called me back and said that the doctor has misread his notes and I should NOT stop taking the lithium. While I was kinda pissed off about it and felt jerked around, I didn't think it was a huge deal that I had missed three doses. Well, it wasn't a HUGE deal but it did have some effect. Saturday afternoon, my mother, in St Louis visiting my grandmother, called me to see if I was ok, especially after the med thing. At the time, I felt fine and dismissed it as her being too worried. Then, around 8:30 pm, I started spacing out. By 9, I was completely out of it, back to the fogginess I had before. TyRoy and I were at his house, watching a movie, and I know I freaked him out when I just went blank. There was nothing that he could do. Mostly, I just curled into myself and tried to talk myself into not freaking out.

I also got a bit of the weird super-hearing that I noticed when I first got on the lithium. It is like how one hears just after their ears pop because of elevation. Of course, in TyRoy's still rather emptry house, the smallest noise sounds large anyway. Add to that the wild wind.... At one point, I thought there was someone in the house. Doing laundry. Ok, ok, ok. It sounds weirder than it seemed at the time. The wind outside and the settling of the house made it sound like there was something going on in the front of the house. Just a few seconds after, the furnace, which is below the bedroom and near the laundry area, kicked on. With my super-hearing, the furnace sounded like the washer and my crazy mind put it together that someone had gotten into the house and was in the laundry area doing a load of clothes. Ok, maybe it is as crazy as it sounds. But at least I had the precense of mind to know that it wasn't real, to not wake TyRoy and tell him that I thought there was an intruder washing clothes at 1am, and just make my own investigation so I could stop thinking about it. On the other hand, it does give me a better idea of what happens to people with psychosis or delusions. Your brain puts things together in a certain way. For most people, that is close enough to reality that it's ok for us to accept it as reality. But if your brain... misfunctions (?) and puts it together in a different way, how can you go against what your brain is telling you is reality? Especially when you feel like trusting your brain will save you from harm, as opposed to taking other people's word of what reality is. *Sigh* It's problematic at best.

And now I think I am having problems with my anti-depressants. Though it is once again it is hard to tell if the problem is WITH my head or IN my head. Monday I didn't want to get out of bed. I thought I was just being lazy. Then, I started eating everything in sight. No because I'm hungry, mind you. Honestly, on the lithium, I can't feel my stomach, whether it be empty or hungry or overflowing with stomach acid. It was emotional eating. Eating to fill a different kind of void. But still, maybe hormonal. Today I didn't want to get out of bed either. But more than that. Didn't want to get up, ever. Would have been happy to lay there until I faded away. Did I mention that I changed anti-depressants 2-3 weeks ago? *Sigh* See, I was on Lexapro, which is $130/mo without insurance. So I talked to my doctor about switching me to a cheaper anti-depressant. There are 3 that are on pharmacy $4/30pills lists - Paxil, Celexa, and Prozac. I took Paxil once and it didn't work. I used to take Celexa until it pooped out on me. So we have been trying Prozac. Um.... I don't think it's working. And I honestly don't want to wait until I'm completely suicidal either. Though I don't know how I'll pay for a drug that is $130/mo. I guess I just try to hang on, call the doctor tomorrow, and keep my fingers crossed.

Welcome to the wonderful world of mental illness and psychiatric drugs!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Same Shit, Different Year

Alright, so this didn't all just happen since the ball dropped and started 2009, but alot of the stuff happening right now don't really make me feel hugely optimistic for this new year. Also, as I examine my current biggest conundrum, I feel strangely like I've been here before. Oh, yeah, it's because I have.

Small shit first, though. As most people know, the economy sucks and the job market isn't good either. I'm registered with several temporary employment agencies, the state employment agency, and I fill out applications and send out resumes all the time. I've had very few interviews and the ones I do get go horribly wrong. My first interview at a local casino had to be rescheduled because I got lost attempting to get to there. I should have had at least 30 extra minutes. I had directions from online and a map printed from the same website. Still got lost. So lost that, by the time I figured out how to get there and got turned around, I was already late to the appointment while still 20 minutes away. Another interview went very well and I even had a second interview this week. They showed me their computer program for the specific job and we discussed specific hours and pay. Then, at the end of the interview, just before I left, when I thought I had this job on lock, the boss said that he thought it important to let me know that it was a Christian company and, while they didn't hire or not hire based on religion, that was how they did business. I said that I was more than fine with that, though I wasn't a Christian myself, and that the one thing I could see as being a potential problem is that I'm openly bisexual and involved in the gay and lesbian community, which I knew could be a problem for some Christians. That was the end of that interview and my chances at that job. Though the BIG issue might make having a job here a moot point. But I'll get to that later.

I had a doctor's appointment that I couldn't pay for at the time like I was supposed to because they wouldn't accept my mother's credit card without her there. I stopped keeping track of how much money I owe my parents at this point. It's too depressing and, realistically, I'll probably never pay them back anyway. Best just to attempt to make myself as much of a slave to them as I can, do as much of the housework and errands as possible. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about January's bills. My car needs some serious work and I'll be completely fucked when it breaks down on me after over 1 1/2 years of the "Service Engine" light being on.

Doc is playing with my meds again. Just before Christmas, I got a blood test to check my lithium levels and some other shit. New Year's Eve, my doc's physician's assistant called me and told me that the doc had gotten the test results in and I should just stop taking the lithium. She was very casual and nonchalant about it all. I was fairly speechless. I have this problem, especially around any kind of "authority figure" who tells me something unexpected or uncomprehended. Without proper time to collect my thoughts, I usually just agree and leave/hang up, only to realize within a few minutes all the questions I should have asked or the things I should have said. I did manage to ask her if I should step-down on the lithium or just go cold turkey. She did say that I should just stop all together, cold turkey, which contradicts everything I'd been told about the medicine previously. I called back and left a message, asking for more details, what the tests showed, why he wanted me to stop, etc, but I haven't heard back, obviously. I'm still just... very confused. Were the levels too high, dangerous? If so, wouldn't it be better to step down, hoping to avoid any crazy side effects from going from too high to nothing at all? Or were the levels too low to be therepeutic, so increasing the dose for effectiveness would increase my side effects to unbearable levels, when I'm feeling... a bit better anyway? I'm so frustrated!!!!!!!!! Why put up with all the bullshit side effects if he was just going to take me off it?!?!?!? Or are we going to try something else after this? Hell, I know this sounds completely superficial, but part of the reason I cut my hair off was because of how dry and unmanagable it had become since getting on the lithium. I assumed I'd be on it for quite awhile and I just couldn't do anything ok looking with my hair on this medicine. But now I'm off of it and my hair should go back to normal so I did it for nothing!?!?! I hate this stupid fucking medicine, medical, psychiatry bullshit!

Shouldn't complain too much about my social life and love life. Things are more settled down at the moment, though I somehow keep managing to pick fights with TyRoy and ruin all possibilities for good times. The rest of my friends seem to be luckier, as they are around alot less and are less close to me. I continue to date, despite other situations, and have made friends, maybe more, who knows.

So, for the big issue that's got me tied up in knots right now- taking care of family. Summer 2007 I was in Slightly Bigger Midwestern City (SBMC), taking care of my grandpa in the hospital and taking care of my overwhelmed but healthy grandmother. Early on, I started worrying about... well, to put it bluntly, getting stuck there. If anyone was going to stay there and help, it would be me because I didn't have any concrete ties, job, nuclear family, etc, that I had to stay in Slightly Smaller Midwestern City for. My mom had her job and my dad. My uncle, who'd just gotten his first surgery to remove a tumor, had to stay at his job and in the state to get medical care under his current insurance. Also all his friends, his support network, his partner are in the state. At that time, I had a couple of friends in SBMC and no job or significant other back in SSMC. I was supposed to start a new school semester and a new job in August but I could have skipped that. Ended up fucking both up anyway.

But I'm pretty sure that not all people feel this same kind of obligation to take care of family personally and directly. I think part of it has to do with how close we all are both emotionally and geographically and that we just aren't a big family. I'm an only child, thus I know I'll have to care for my parents, probably all three of them, and an only grandchild. For me, I think that part of it has to do with the fact that, as a female, it's been drilled into me by society that I should be the one to take care of family-related things. I vaguely remember an in-bed conversation with TyRoy about a co-worker who was having a difficult time deciding what to do about caring for her parents or in-laws when there were other siblings and family members, blah, blah, blah. I think HIS point was that there were so many more options than she was acting like there were, most especially putting the person or people in a care facility, and that she shouldn't be the only one making the decisions. Oh, and quit bitching so much. Sigh. I can understand his frustration and I don't necessarily disagree that she should have more family help and that there are options other than direct personal care. But I don't think that society puts the same pressure on him, as a man with a career that takes him all over the world whenever it wants, to take care of an ailing parent or grandparent in a direct personal way. He just doesn't see it as his JOB to be there, in person, to take care of his parents. And most (straight) (American) men do not.

On the other hand, when it started to feel like my grandmother might need someone living with her all the time when I was visiting for Christmas, I started to panic internally. On Christmas Eve, there were several times where she forgot things, messed things up, couldn't follow instructions, and things like that. I started to wonder to myself how we could trust that she was taking her medications on time and in the right amount and things like that. I tried to push it into the back of my head because things looked fine. She seemed to be taking care of herself and the house and the dog. Then she went into the hospital because she was having upper respiratory problems after a head cold the week before. While Mom seemed to dismiss the memory issues as just a lack of oxygen getting to the brain because of the respiratory problems, they seemed to continue while she was in the hospital. My uncle and his partner stayed because my uncle is currently on disability, unable to work with the cancer treatments, and his partner still had more vacation time. And while my uncle is planning on staying there a bit longer, when he and I discussed things, he made clear that he does not forsee himself being the one who stays in SBMC to care for grandma. He is of the opinion that no one should be forced to move, but that, since it is grandma who needs the help and grandma who complains about the house being too much for her, she should choose to move closer to all of us, as we'd be more than happy to help out in anyway we could. He doesn't think that I should feel like I have to go there just because I'm the only one who is in a position to. Physically, my uncle isn't in a position to do the things that my grandmother things he should be able to. But he stated, point blank, that he knew he couldn't mentally or emotionally and he was't going to try to make himself. After my experience in the summer of 2007, I know that I'd go fucking nuts if I had to live with my grandmother 24/7 and take care of her. I do love her, so much. And it might not be very grateful of me to say that I couldn't do it, because Goddess knows my family has put up with me being a major bitch for all my life, but I just know I can't. And I have lived in her house several times during my adult life, always as a stop-over before a dorm or my own place, without trouble. But at the time she had Grandpa to balance her out and I didn't have an obligation to care for her, just help to pull my own weight.

In the end, however, the problem is that, whether Grandma should move to be closer to us so we can care for her or not, I seriously doubt she ever will. Which means we'll have to collectively and individually decide at what point do we think she has to have someone there and, if professional in-home care can't be obtained, who will go and be with her. None of us want her to live alone if it is too much for her, for her living conditions to deteriorate. And none of us want her to have to go into "a home". If we had to make that decision right now, it'd be me doing it, if for no other reason than that no one else will. Honestly, I guess I still have just as little to lose by moving to SBMC as I did summer 07, except for the only thing I really passionately want is here and cannot move to SBMC. Oh, and those friends I had in SBMC? I alienated one. One thinks I'm too dangerous. And the other is in jail. So that's out too.

One of my short story teachers defined melodrama as arising from a situation where the character is in what appears to be a perfect trap, where the only ways out are suicide or homicide. I wouldn't go so far as to say that is how I feel here but I do feel a certain trap here. I don't have anything else important in my life, no good reason not to do this thing that I feel very very VERY obligated to do. But I know in my heart that doing it will probably make me completely miserable. It will also mean that I spend several years with my life on hold, working to prevent the only thing that will end my endentured servitude. When those years ended, I don't know how I could not be a bitter emotional wreck. And seeing as I'll probably have to work full-time and care for my grandmother, I'm not sure when I'd have time to make new friends, find new lovers, or even just have a little time to myself. *Sigh* Yeah, I feel trapped.

Well, sorry to bitch so much. But I needed to vent to someone who can't tell me that they don't understand or that I'm wrong while I was doing it. If you have a similar situation or concerns in your life or you want to talk about how you feel about your family aging and what you see your role to be, go ahead and comment. Thanks.