Krissie: I’m baaaack

this is what I looked like last time you saw me, wearing the Disney sweatshirt and trying to finish the book. Finished the book, all hell broke loose and I went into a total meltdown. Such a total meltdown of screaming (mostly on my own) that my voice is still husky. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything permanent — it almost felt like it was bleeding.
Here I am this morning, after I went to take today’s picture and saw the last one. Sally cut my bangs and I’m not sure what I think but what the hell. She was taking care of me, so I let her do what she wanted. She put makeup on me and fed me and comforted me.

So here’s the story and there are many parts to it. Maybe I’ll skip over the rough parts. The scoop is, as you know, I’m fighting off a really deep depression. Plus, when you’re working on finishing a book it’s called Deadline Dementia and you’re a physical and emotional mess.
Unfortunately my son chose that moment to not only freak about about the reality of his testing report (he has severe learning issues. He scores very high on verbal skills, reasoning, and something else — I forget. So his LD is mostly invisible unless he tries to write or do math. He’s got ADHD and is severely dyslexic but lots of other stuff as well. And he was facing it. Which god knows is hard, because we’ve always tried to pump him up and shield him from hurtful stuff. To make him feel he could do anything, not tell him all the things he can never do. He’d been to vocational rehab and he was freaking.
But he started attacking. No excuse for it. It was verbal and emotional abuse. And he has to stop it. But he couldn’t, the more I asked him to stop the more he went on, and I finally snapped and started screaming at him. First to get out of the room, and then I just kept screaming, and then I ran out of the house in my socks and drove to where Richie was.

Lots of drama. Lots of tears. Lots of apologies. Tentative re-ordering of things. Plans are being made.

The thing is, I’ve been so protective that in his entire life I’ve never even snapped at him. Definitely never yelled, and no one’s seen me freak out like that. It’s happened twice in my entire life. When I was in my mid-thirties, fighting with infertility, going through intense treatments, my toxic cousin got pregnant and decided to do a number on me. So I drove to a quiet place and screamed (because people told me it would release tension). It didn’t — it made me sick.

The second time I was in the car, parked in the driveway, and my sister had asked me to read my nephew’s autopsy report before she did. I did, and started screaming. You don’t need to know.

So it was bad. But the next day Sally took excellent care of me, Lani and Jenny took care of Refab, and my son apologized, which is amazing. But this isn’t about my son. We can talk about that another time — in the meantime let’s talk about me.
So the next day (yesterday) I rearranged my living room (shoved the piano, the couch around). When I finish I’ll take a photo so you can see. But it made me feel wonderful. Today I’m going to finish the cleaning in the living room (figure that’s the place I’ll be spending most of my time in), do a little in my bedroom and do some sewing (before seeing my shrink).
I’m finally realizing that the book was gone, and it was good. I’m still feeling depression drag at me — so many things I’m supposed to do that I don’t want to do (career stuff), such severe money problems. But one massive source of stress is gone. (Of course, because it was so late, I knew the next deadline would need to be adjusted. I asked, and the book is due on December 15th. I laughed).

But I’m getting to do all the things I refused to let myself do. Nest. Fix up my house. Decorate for Christmas (Alex is coming to help tomorrow).

So we’ve got a lot to talk about in the days. I still want to talk about Depression Lies and everything people talked about that day.
And I need to talk about anger, which frightens me (clearly). So that when I freak it’s way out of proportion and I don’t know how to deal with it.
I want to talk about children, in particular wounded children and how we deal with them, what helps and what doesn’t.

And most of all I want to talk about Christmas because I gotta tell you, I love it and always have. Don’t know why because we had our share of Christmas horrors. But I just freaking love Christmas. And I’m finding “found” presents and ones I can make and I really don’t have to work unless I want to until Christmas is over, because I have had A Hard Time. Officially.

So, lots to talk about. Crusie’s feeling better, Lani’s cat came home, things are falling into place. Maybe they’re falling into place for me too.

Once can only hope.

58 thoughts on “Krissie: I’m baaaack

  1. Wow, baby…lots to talk about, you’re so right. But first of all, because I’ve got my priorities straight after all–love the bangs! They frame your beautiful face and are very youthful. Nice touch on Sally’s part.

    The rest…sometimes screaming is the only answer, even if it doesn’t help all that much. We should all scream more often. The rest…well, we’ll get to it all in the coming days, but for now, just enjoy Christmas. That’s what I’m going to do…

    Bises galore, Krissie.

  2. Sounds like you hit a limit and your body couldn’t hold that stuff in anymore. As someone with a somewhat quick temper (I’ve worked hard to control that) with no problem yelling (grew up in a yelling household) I have no idea what to do about NOT getting angry. Takes a lot to push my buttons now, but I’ve done the scream until my throat hurt. Now that I think about it, doesn’t necessarily make me feel better but it does get others to wake up and change their behavior.

    Congrats on getting the book done and it sounds like the cleaning/organizing/arranging is helping. Cleaning and rearranging always make me feel better. Just lifts an invisible weight somehow. Kudos to Sally for taking care of you.

  3. I know we’re not talking about your son but yelling at him was probably good for both of you. Not the throat part, of course, but he’s an adult and it’ll be good for him to realize that you’re human, not just a parent.

    On the vocational stuff, I sympathize. My son is also “twice-exceptional.” On the academic testing, he’s had scores both too low to measure and too high to measure. (Different areas, of course.) But I hope that both of you know that the only trait successful entrepreneurs have in common is dyslexia. Yes, you have to think outside the box to find good careers that fit with LDs, but…well, here’s one article.

    My kid would make a rotten factory worker, a lousy doctor, and I told him flat-out that I would never, ever support him in going to school for accounting. I’m not encouraging my son to believe that he can do anything, because he can’t. No one can, though, it’s just more obvious for him than it is for the rest of us. But I do try to get him to think creatively about careers and understand that for him, it’s never going to be as easy as following the simple path of get hired, go to work 9-5, push papers around, get promoted, etc. He knows he’s going to have to look for something creative, erratic, interesting, and that utilizes his strengths and avoids his weaknesses, but those jobs do exist. And lots of dyslexics have found success in making them up themselves when they couldn’t find them.

    I think the bangs look great!

  4. Deb says:

    Today’s picture is lovely. You look wonderful!

    I don’t know….for someone who doesn’t normally lose it to lose it…it could be therapeutic. At the very least it made your son understand the stress you’ve been going through. Please continue to take care of and be gentle with yourself.

    Re: Christmas decorating. I’ve got my tree up–sort of. Completely misjudged the size when cutting it down. First inkling of trouble came when we nearly couldn’t fit it in the truck. After severe trimming was able to get it upright. I started on the lights–literally at the last string of lights, the tree starts tipping over. I hold the tree up but can’t reach the phone that is across the room. Let the tree fall, call my father with an emergency “HELP!”. He, saintlike, comes over at 10:30pm to get the tree upright again. (I live alone–except for 3 cats and 2 dogs…and they were no help). Next day he comes back to put some screws into the wall to tie the tree to and (hopefully) make it more secure. That evening I’m enjoying the lights on the tree when suddenly the lights go off. I cuss heartily but am able to locate the fuse that has blown and replace it (using tweezers). The next night one string of lights in the middle of the tree go out–I’m still debating if it’s worth trying to replace. Meanwhile, one of the dogs is huge and clumsy (but very sweet) and she keeps bumping into the tree. I completely expect to come home to a tree swinging precariously from two hooks in the wall.

    All of which has nothing to do with anything you wrote today….but thought you might enjoy for some comic relief.

  5. Tracey says:

    The bangs are GREAT! And I love the wave in your hair! Go, Sally!

    I too grew up in a yelling household, and I’ve screamed until I couldn’t talk. Not proud of it, but as Teri said, it gets ppls attention, when just speaking softly or normally, even politely, does not.

    Which bring me to my next point…The thing is, getting rid of your pain & anxiety is immaterial until you fully absorb that you DONT DESERVE TO CARRY THEM in the first place. WHY are YOU the family caretaker? Because you love them; because you enjoy taking care of the ppl you love; because you’re the only one who will… But really, why should the others step up when you’re doing the job so well? (Except that its killing you, but nvr mind that now.). Tim can’t help his deficits but he MUST learn to manage them, and he can’t if you’re protecting him from reality. Same with Ritchie. This whole family dynamic is killing you, slowly, but killing you nonetheless, because that’s how depression operates long-term. It eats away at your emotional resistance, so you (and me, and many if us on this thread) take solace in food; it undermines your physical resistance thru your immune system, so you’re at heightened risk for everything from colds to auto-immune diseases. The weight gain … Well, we know where that leads to, right? High blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, adult-onset diabetes…these are not future scenarios; they are happening to you right now. You MUST attend to them, or they’ll attend to you.

    And this isn’t an “Only Krissie Can Fix This” situation. This is an “All Hands on Deck” issue. One way or another, everyone in your family has contributed to this situation, and they’re going to have to contribute to the solution. Dr. Tracey Says So, And So It Must Be.

    I am making myself obnoxious on this issue because YOU MATTER. Your writing matters. Your voice is incredibly important, in your industry, in your community, in your church, in your family, to all of us here. You inspire, your writing moves us and delights us, and we won’t give you up without a fight, dammit.

    So, grrrr.

  6. This is our first Christmas with the new pooch and I knew she’d eat things off the tree while at work so bought a tiny 3′ pre-lit tree and put it on a table. And the cats proceeded to destroy it immediately. The bedraggled tree is now in kiddo’s room on her chest of drawers. Looking quite forlorn and non-spirit-filled.

  7. Kieran says:

    Big hugs, Krissie. You’re such a loveable person. I hate to see you so upset. I hope you have a fabulous time getting your Christmas on!!

    Here’s a book I just ordered that might interest anyone here who has a child with Asperger’s or high-functioing autism.

    I mention it for two reasons. One, it was co-written by Temple Grandin and Kate Duffy. i can’t wait to see if that’s THE Kate Duffy, the legendary romance editor who sadly died a few years ago! I know it’s a fairly common name, but it would be so awesome if it were that Kate. Second, Temple said in her talk the other night that if you have a child with any sort of neurological differences, it’s IMPERATIVE that they find work. it’s the number one thing for life happiness for a person with differences. She said the worst thing is for them to give up, sit home, and collect Social Security or whatever it is they’d get. And she’s finding a trend now that a lot of parents are giving up on their children. She says to expose your child to tons of different things. And then help them find a career path. She says she never would have become an animal behavior expert if her mom hadn’t encouraged her to work on a horse farm as a teen, at a time when she said she had absolutely no friends. Her work saved her life.

    So a JOB. A CAREER. I walked out of that talk with that thought at the top of my mind. Temple said many adults with learning differences will have to go through the back door to get their jobs. She said her portfolio got her her job. She never would have made it past the first interview.

    So anyway, I just ordered this book to help my son, who wants to major in International Business. And I thought since it’s the new, updated version, maybe some other moms of kids with learning issues that fall under this umbrella would like to take a look. Krissie, your son has different things going on, but I think the same idea could apply. I’ll bet when he finds a good career path or even just a job that seriously occupies him, things will get better for him.

    Hugs to you both!!

  8. stephanie says:

    I’m realizing more and more that honesty is what’s important. Yes, it’s good to tell our kids that they can do anything and make sure they believe in a world of opportunities but I also want to make sure that I provide them with their own reality. Comfort is a wonderful artist. She’s also a great critical thinker. Until recently though she has sucked at anything requiring coordination. Of course, I didn’t say it that way, but I made sure to provide opportunities for her to learn those skills. Joy is a great mimic and loves movies but she has a significant speech impediment. She’s also ungainly due to her dyspraxia. Am I going to tell her she’s a wonderful actress or runner or jumper? No, but I do tell her when she’s mastered a new sound or notice improvement in her skipping. Also, she’s starting hippotherapy in January to help with her balance and coordination. I want my kids to know that they can do anything they set their minds to, but in some regards they’re going to have to work harder to achieve it.

  9. So glad you are back and looking so chipper. I like the bangs: they help frame your face nicely.

    Sorry you had to scream, but it seems to have had significant and beneficial results. You just cannot do it all and you just don’t have to put up with someone unloading their shit on you. And you cannot protect your son any longer: he’s an adult and needs to learn to deal with his stuff.

    Glad the book is out. Glad you can now concentrate on what you want to concentrate on. Get your Christmas mojo going with Alex and have a lot of fun!

  10. So sorry you’ve had to go through this again, Krissie. Hope the hoarseness goes away quickly. You look good with the new haircut.

    I’m fairly happy and easy going, until I snap. It’s a horrible feeling to lose control like that. In recent years I’ve tried to be honest about my feelings on a daily basis, rather than allowing negative feelings to accumulate and then snapping from the weight. My anger is almost always about being taken advantage of, or let me restate that, allowing myself to be taken advantage of because it’s easier and nicer to say yes than no. Once you learn to say no in a firm way it actually feels good. : )

  11. Kathleen G. S. says:

    Your son and daughter are no longer your children. They are your offspring, your son and daughter, and they always will be that. But they are no longer children.

  12. What Tracey and Everybody Else Said.

    I’m sorry your throat is sore, and I know that snapping and yelling at people is no fun. But I have to say I’m glad you did it – reacting to your son like a normal adult would react to another normal adult is not something to be upset about. It’s healthy. And normal. Mollycoddling him hasn’t gotten any of you where you want or need to be. He clearly doesn’t need to be tiptoed around nearly as much as you’ve thought he has, or he wouldn’t have understood what he did wrong well enough to apologize.

    Every so often, a Kali fit must be thrown. Speaking as one who’s been described as having a short, but thankfully wet, fuse.

  13. If the hooks are secure and the string can hold the weight, you’re good to go. We got tired of tree disasters and tie ours to the wall every year. There are always animals here (three cats, one dog) plus kids. You wouldn’t believe the mess a large decorated tree plus water makes. (Glass shards, anyone?) And they always fall over when you’re not home. Well, except once it fell on my daughter when she was 5. That was interesting. 🙂

  14. Lulu says:

    I’m actually going through something similar with my best friend who has mental health issues and is a “wounded child.” I’m drawing new boundaries and she is attacking. No one likes it when you change the boundaries or the rules of the game. And all relationships are a game, in a sense. Maybe “a dance” is a better analogy. When someone changes the steps in a dance, their partner may stumble and either step away or learn to dance differently too.

    It feels dangerous. No, it IS dangerous because it can mean the end of a relationship. Or at least the end of the status quo.

    But we cannot sacrifice ourselves endlessly in trying to save or even just help someone else. (Sorry, I think I’m mostly talking to myself here, saying things I need to hear.) We need to expect adult behavior from other adults. Maybe not perfect behavior, but decent adult behavior would be good for starters.

  15. Deb says:

    It’s amazing the fun our pets can have with Christmas decorations…..even after we think we’ve pet-proofed everything.
    Definitely adds a certain something to the holidays.

  16. McB says:

    sounds to me like your anger was valid, so stop apologizing for it. It also sounds like you should scream at your son more often.

  17. Chris S. says:

    When I was a counsellor, we used to have screaming sessions our giant walk-in fridge. Very satisfying.

    Sometimes you have get all the bad stuff out before you can fill back up with the good stuff.

    Here’s wishing you lots of good stuff.

  18. romney says:

    Everyone freaks out sometimes and pretty much everyone was wounded as a child one way or another. These things are over now. Give yourself the same leeway you give other people and move on.

  19. Lulu’s idea of a game or dance holds much water. Remember Eric Berne’s “Games People Play” – about the patterns of our behaviour? He gave the “games” great names.

    Worth a re-read.

  20. I suspect our new dog will eat things off the tree — and maybe the tree itself.

    We’ve always had a live tree, and last year after Christmas, the husband said he’d really, really, really like to get an artificial one from now on. Which I don’t want to do. So I haven’t gotten one yet. But he asked so nicely, I’ll probably give in eventually.

  21. Sharon says:

    When I was young, we were not allowed to scream at each other-it was considered low-class,rude and not something a lady would do.My mother realized that I should have been allowed to yell at my tormenting older sister when she saw me chasing her with a butcher knife. Sometimes geting out the emotions is a good thing. And I agree with the other readers-your children are now adults and need to lean on you less for their emotional and physical comfort.

  22. Lynda says:

    As usual, you’re getting excellent advice from the ReFabbers. So I’ll just add my love and hugs, and I really, really love your hair!

  23. Tracey says:

    Chris, this is true for writing as well, don’t you think? You hv to write out the sh*t in order to get it out of your head; then you can go back and edit/revise/delete/strike thru w/a heavy pen, whatever. And what you write next is almost always better. So is Life, she sighed, lounging in her bath tub…

  24. The whole screaming thing was probably cathartic, I hope so anyway 🙂

    Big {{{HUGS}}} And best wishes for a much better day, better week and into a brilliant New Year.

  25. pamb says:

    Jeesh! The first time you’ve “lost it” with him when he’s being an ass??

    No wonder he has trouble in relationships. His expectations are skewed–he expects he can jump on someone & they won’t jump back.

    Sweetie, you’re just introducing him to reality. You attack someone, they tend to attack back.


    ps. I still think throwing cheap dishes is a really great stress reliever. Just put an old sheet down by the garage wall, have at it, then fold up the sheet & throw away. Really. 😉

  26. Julie says:

    I agreee, though it sounds like your anger frightened yourself, it showed your family that you are human and have breaking points. Maybe next time don’t scream your lungs out but raise your voice when he won’t stop.

    Don’t be afraid of your anger, it’s just like fear or pain, warning signs that not all is right with your world. Saying “Being verbally abused makes me angry.” is not a horrible action, it’s truth.

    Don’t be afraid to shout your truth.

    Then forgive yourself for being human.

  27. Good idea on the sheet and cheap plates. Hmmm. Can I say about time on having the screaming fit back at the adult who just also happens to be your baby boy? Also, dearling, are you not a wounded child too?

    Now, Christmas – I am a morass of mixed emotions on it and I just found out today that a good friend’s mom has passed away. Sigh. Of course being of a bent persuasion, death isn’t always a bad thing in my mind. However, if Christmas is your holiday, then by all means, everything else can wait. They did mean December 2013, right, for the next deadline? And if not, then I just say tell them that is what you thought that they meant.

    Finally. FABULOUS bangs. I am a big believer in bangs because it is cheaper and less painful than botox.

    Rock on sister, rock on.

  28. Micki says:

    I had to give in on the tree issue about six years ago . . . the ones we were “culling” were dying of some sort of pine disease. There are pros and cons to both live and artificial, so the net happiness factor is about the same, I think.

    If you miss the smell, you can get various pine-scents (hinoki?). I amped up the clove/cinnamon decorations, and also sprayed some pinecones with mint, so I’m not getting “fake pine” but I am getting some really Christmassy smells.

  29. Micki says:

    I was a bit worried, but you look so much better in the “today” picture.

    We had a very nasty storm yesterday — ice and sleet, and then wet, heavy snow — inches of it. And thunder and lightening! And tornado warnings, which used to be very rare in northern Japan because we really don’t have the landmass to support the kind of energy a tornado needs.

    This morning, the roads are plowed, the sky is blue, the mountains purple, the ground virgin white . . . . It’s windy but a chipper wind.

    Nature is like that . . . sometimes the best days happen after a storm has gone through.

  30. We were always pretty clear on the math and spelling issues. The main thing we emphasized was how smart he was. The evaluations aren’t written with tact, and Id idn’t want him to think he was stupid.

  31. Reb says:

    No wisdom to add to everyone else’s, but just wanted to say I like the bangs too. And that you’re smiling.

  32. i have no wisdom to shared except this bit of selfish whining: having a fractured leg bone sucks the big one. if i don’t get some quality sleep soon i’m going to snap and off my dh. and d does not stand for dear. so there!

  33. Sales is terrific, though. Sales is about talking to people and finding out what they like. It’s about understanding other human beings and meeting their needs. My mom was a realtor and she was amazing at it, because she viewed her job as finding you the perfect house for you. That’s what sales is when it’s done right. If your son is good at looking at other people and understanding how to find them what they’re looking for then he’s going to be incredibly successful in life. And disdaining that because you think it’s about forcing stuff on them that they don’t want is just going to hurt him and make him feel bad about what he’s good at. Sales done well is a fantastic skill. Fantastic. Not just because it’ll make him rich, but because good salespeople make everyone’s life better. When you buy a car, you want the salesperson who both loves what he’s selling and is willing to look at you and find you the perfect car to meet your needs. If your son can be that person, then rock on, him.

  34. Kieran says:

    I’ll never forget our black cat named Andrew (after the prince) who was running around the house with a long piece of tinsel trailing out of his butt. He kept trying to catch it.

  35. Kathleen G. S. says:

    I shuddered when I saw Krissie’s (shudder) so I was delighted to see this comment. A good salesperson is also an educator, helping people to understand what options are available. They can also teach you something about yourself. When my husband and I started invested in good rugs, our salesman helped us understand how we made decisions, something that was a great and lasting benefit to us as a couple.

  36. I know that’s true about not giving him a dose of reality. My therapist always told me if I didn’t stop him from attacking me he’d end up attacking all the women in his life. Which is true.

    Can’t break dishes though — my mother always did that.

  37. pamb says:

    I’m glad he was okay! I worked at a small vet clinic for 8 years & every freakin’ xmas we had to do surgery on a cat for tinsel. Lost a couple when the tinsel had sawed thru the GI tract & infection won. ;;sigh;; Twice for puppies, too, but they both made it. 🙂

  38. Kate, I’ve been there. Try some over the counter sleep aids, or ask your doctor for help. Sometimes you just need a week’s worth of valium or whatever so you can get the rest you need.

    Hang in there! Huge hugs!

  39. Krissie. Hugs. Love the bangs. Love the pretty smile. Sometimes we gotta yell to be heard, and that doesn’t make you a bad person.

    I think everyone should be born with a “how to” emotional health guidebook. Plus a “how to” be a child/spouse/sibling/parent that fits each individual. Yeah, I know I’m dreaming.

    In the meantime, as the bumper sticker on a beaten up gardening truck said, We’re all in this together.

    Sending love & hugs & holiday cookies without calories and Christmas Joy!

  40. Micki says:

    (-: Yes, beautiful, romantic Hokkaido. I grew up in Nebraska, which has a stark, severe beauty (best thing: thunderstorms!). But Hokkaido? It looks like a picture postcard All The Time. Right now, it’s posing as Currier and Ives — frosted evergreens, fields of snow, blue-blue skies. Pain in the butt to drive in, but just great for looking at — almost all of my schools have these fantastic windows . . . .

  41. Ohhhhh, sigh! I mainly have seen Hokkaido in the dorama, Blue Bird (at least, I think that’s the name — my brain is still swiss cheese). It’s surprisingly like Vermont. Lucky woman!

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