Monday, January 4, 2016

Surviving 2015

As you may have noticed I have not posted in awhile, a very long while. I thought of doing it many times, but something always seemed to come up. I am not going to lie, 2015 was hard. Very hard. It was probably one of most difficult years I have ever experienced.  So much happened in the last year, and we are hoping for a much better year in 2016! 

2015 was a year of loss, sadness, health problems, financial problems, and change. 

I don't know if it is just me, but this year seemed hard for a lot of people. A lot of my friends seemed to have struggles as well. 

Here is a recap of our year..  

Right away the year started out rough in January.  My oldest turned 18, and relapsed with her anxiety and depression. She had struggled with it for years, and seemed to be getting better until the start of the year.  She always seems to have a hard time during the winter months, it could be from the weather, her birthday, or some past memories that happened in January.  Whatever it was, she started to struggle again, and tried to quit school. Luckily the school would not let her quit with just one semester to go, and had her start the work program instead of just taking some electives. My youngest had an asthma attack at school, which really increased her anxiety levels while at school as well.  It is also around this time that her migraines started. (and are still occurring a year later)  My son was dealing with some of his own school issues, and basically quit doing and turning in his homework. His grades really showed it as well.  My daughter's mouse Oreo died, and she was so upset she wouldn't deal with it for three days. He was one of the original mice she got for Christmas seen in the post  the unexpected surprise.

In February, the migraines continued. and my youngest started missing a lot of school  We saw the pediatrician, who referred us to an ENT, who told us we needed to see the pediatric neurologist.  My daughter's hedgehog died of a tumor that was probably cancerous. 





The weather started to get a little better, but the health issues continued for both of my daughters in March.  My oldest was sick a lot, and having a lot of stomach pain. She had an ultrasound to check for PCOS, and struggled to go to school. We never did figure out what was causing the pain, it was possibly anxiety as graduation was getting closer, and closer.   My youngest saw an ENT and a neurologist. She started on a migraine preventative, but was still in a lot of pain. My son was still not doing his homework, and the Robotics season was in high gear. 

This was the point when I took my unintentional break from the blog.  I am a private person, so I have been debating whether or not to share some of what I am going to share, but I think it would explain a lot, and might help someone else who is trying to survive their own crazy life. It is really hard for me to share some of what I am about to tell you.  

April was when things started to get really hard for us. I was forced into bankruptcy, because of my ex-husband.  He had filed for his own bankruptcy the summer before.  When he did so, he had been paying the mortgage and utility bills for our  house that I was living in with the kids.  It was the only house the younger two kids had ever known. We had moved there when they were 2, 4 and 6.  To get his credit back in order, he stopped paying the utilities on the house.  At the time it was very difficult for me to work outside of the house, because of kids' health struggles, and my oldest daughter's special school schedule. She only went half day, and I was her only way to school because she went in 3rd hour.  Because he also put the house in the bankruptcy, all three kids had increased anxiety. They  knew we were going to have to leave our house in the summer, and the change and uncertainty scared them. I am not going to lie, it scared me a little too. One morning the cable/internet was turned off, because I did not have enough money to pay the bill. He agreed to pay the bill for me so I could work online, but only if filed for bankruptcy. He knew I had a lot of debt, and could no longer keep up with all the bills, my insurance, and the utilities. He made an appointment with the lawyer that did his bankruptcy, and paid for it for me. I did not like this lawyer at all. He was quite arrogant. I actually had the chance though to let him know how I felt though. When he would not stop talking down to me, I told him that just because someone does not go to law school it does not make them stupid. (I think he respected that I stood up to him)  I also had the chance to tell him that just because a house is underwater does not mean you cut and run when children's livelyhoods are involved. I told him real people lived in that house, and were deeply affected by his "advice" to give up the house.  We also had another bomb dropped on us that month. We had been told that their dad was going to help us find someplace new to live for quite some time.  While he did look up things on the internet, he told us at the end of April that he was not going to financial help us get a new place just two months before we had to move.  It is very difficult to find anything affordable where we live. As you can imagine, the news did not go over well at all.  The youngest did not want to go see her dad, and the oldest relapsed into anxiety and depression even more.  Also during all of this chaos, my son turned 16. 


In May we were scrambling to find a place to live, and trying to finish up the school year.  My oldest had to have all of her online work about 60% complete by May 22nd to graduate.  As usual, she cut it very close to the very end. She was at 62% on that day. She had As in work completed at that time, and could have continued working for 3 more weeks, but the day they told her she could graduate she just stopped. She ended up getting D- s in both online classes. Until they actual gave her, her cap and gown, I had a hard time believing it was actually going to happen.  We have a tradition at our high school called the Senior walk. The Seniors walk the halls one last time, while their families and the entire school watch and clap for them.  I waited for over an hour and a half excited to see my daughter walk down the halls.  It was so an ordeal to get her through high school, I was hoping for a happy memory. The class walked by twice, and I did not see her.  I had a feeling in my gut, and I was right. Turns out she did not end up doing the senior walk, she was just too anxious. She hid instead.  I cried a lot that day. I knew she was still going to get her diploma, but I was feeling very disappointed after working so hard with her for four years that I missed celebrating that important day with her.  My son was still not doing his homework, and was going to fail his English class.  He had his Robotics banquet, and missed out on getting a letter.  I know he was disappointed by that.  My youngest was missing more school, than she was going. She also pretty much stopped trying to keep up with her school work. She was having migraines daily, and would just lay on the couch and cry. She slept a lot that month.   I lost a friend to MS right before Mother's Day. It was a bittersweet day. While she was no longer in pain, and we knew she was in a better place, it was hard to say goodbye. She left behind three boys, and a loving husband. 





June was a very stressful month.  We found an apartment that would be available when we needed it, but it was in the next town over.  We would have to be school of choice to stay in our current school system, and I would have to drive them to and from school every single day.   Graduation day arrived for my oldest. A day I honestly did not think I would ever see happen. I am so thankful how much the school worked with her to make sure she did.  Until I actually saw her walk in the processional, I did not believe she was actually going to  walk up to get her diploma. She really did not want to, but after seeing how disappointed I was not see see her walk in Senior walk she did it.  The other  two had to go to school for another week after graduation. We then immediately had our dance recital, rehearsal, and banquet. Right after that I was part of our sub garage sale, but with everything going on I did not get as much in it at as I really needed to. At the very end of the month, my mom arrived to help me pack up the house, and prepare for the move that was happening in July. My oldest decided to go live with her dad, since she knew we did not have a lot of room at the apartment.  I went from being with her every day, to seeing her once a week.  He does not live in the same town, and is far away enough that you can't easily just run over without using a lot of gas. It was hard, but I knew she was just 40 minutes away.

A couple of days before our move in July, my youngest turned 14.  She did not feel like celebrating at all. I totally understood.  I also could not afford to give her present, and we had not place to have a party. We went to go get ice cream on her birthday with her best friend. I still feel really bad about the circumstances around that time, because usually she has a great birthday, and this one would always bring bad memories.  My mom and I had to pretty much pack up the entire house by ourselves.  That was a HUGE job and it did not get done in time before the movers were scheduled.  I donated a lot of  stuff to charity.  I gave a friend a ton of children's books and clothes that my girls had outgrown. I had way too much stuff to take care of in the house, but with everything else that had had been going on all year, I just did not get to a lot of it. We were not shown our actual apartment before being given the keys, instead we were shown a model.  We were quite surprised when we got into the apartment, and saw that there was a lot less storage space than the model, and it was a lot more run down. There are gouges on my counter tops and one of the kitchen drawers, cigarette burns in several places, and very low quality appliances.  My kitchen sink is only 4 inches deep,  and does not have a sprayer to rinse the dishes. The stove is very cheap, and does not have a timer.. Who makes a stove without a timer?  The lighting is bad, with no natural light, which is very hard when you are blogger.  We went to less than half the space of our house, with people surrounding us everywhere. To say it has been a hard adjustment would be an understatement.  My daughter was also devastated at the end of the month when her special mouse Lucky died.  She had a hand fed her as a baby, and she was exceptional fond of her tiny fur baby. 

Every single day for the next six weeks after we officially moved to the apartment, I drove back to the house to get more stuff, donate more stuff, and basically save what I could. Our summer was pretty much non-existent  because of this move. This was pretty much all of July, and August, until our last official day at the house on Aug 25. I have not yet been able to drive back by the house, it is just too hard.  I did have two kids that had to get ready to go back to school during the month of August. At least they were going both be at the the same school this year for the first time in years.  It was a strange feeling when my oldest did not go back to school. She might do community college at some point, but for now is taking time off. During the month of August, we had yearly physical exams, and one of my kids got a surprise diagnosis which meant more tests, and more appointments. It was occurring because of their anxiety, and we had to get it under control quickly.

School started back up during the beginning of September.  It was not an easy day that first day of school  We had some first day traditions that we could no longer do  We also had to leave before the sun came up to get to school on time.  We were hopeful that after a long summer break, my youngest daughter's migraines and anxiety would be better.   Unfortunately no, they are a lot worse. She has been playing catch up on her work all semester.  I also found out during this month that my oldest had decided to move across the country to go live with a friend's family. She had been thinking about it for a few years.  We are all sad about this move, but since she is an adult now, it was her decision.  She left on September 30. We all miss her terribly.n Another one of my friends died toward the end of September. She had been ill most of the year, but this was a bit unexpected. She went into cardiac arrest while at the hospital and did not wake up.  


I started to go back to work in October.  I am a substitute teacher, which I love. I was hired on Sept 30th, but did not get my password code I needed to take jobs until October 12. It was supposed to take only 1-2 days.  My file was  accidentally overlooked. After two emails, I finally got my number.   Since the kids have to be driven to and from school, they are not always thrilled that they get out of school before i do.  It can be stressful to be a sub, because you do not always know where you will be until early morning.  I found out that hard way that I do not like to work at the middle school, and my son does not want me to be at the high school.  I much prefer grade 6 and  younger. My youngest daughter went to her first Homecoming dance this month, and we sort of got ready for Halloween. It was another holiday that was unusual for us, since we could no longer do our usual traditions we did at the house. There was no trick or treating at the apartment.  We did not carve pumpkins, and did not give out candy.  We did find a nearby neighborhood to go to, but it felt weird.  We also dealt with more loss.  My father in law (the kids grandpa) died from Alzheimer's in mid October. He had been sick for a long time, and the kids don't remember much about when he was healthy.  This was their first real family loss, and all had a hard time processing it. Chincy my daughter's last original mouse died, and a few days later our hamster Inka.  



November was our first Thanksgiving without my oldest.  Since his father had just died, the ex thought he should go spend it with his mom, and asked the kids to go along. She lives 6 hours away.  My son decided to go, but  my youngest daughter decided to stay behind. It ended up being just me and her, and a whole lot of food.  We did go Black Friday shopping since it was just us, and were given free movie tickets for being one of the first 100 people in line at Kohls.  With her headaches getting even worse, and missing way too much school, we went back to the neurologist. He really felt his messed up sleep, and mood issues were making the migraines worse. He wanted her to take her medicine much earlier in the evening and to see a therapist.   She started talking to someone about her anxiety, and was diagnosed with depression.  She finally got her braces off that month, and had several problem spots where she did not brush well enough. The dentist said she would need 4 fillings as soon as possible, and they would need to watch many other areas. After a great start to the school year (5 As and 1 C first quarter), my son stopped doing his homework again. He was becoming more angry, and I started to hear from a couple of his teachers. Our heat went out for the first time, on a day when we got 17 inches of snow.   

That brings us to December.  The first weekend of the month, our heat went out again. This time for three days. I came down with some sort of virus, and was sick for several days. As you might suspect, none of us were in the holiday spirit this year.  We did put up the smallest tree, and left all of our holiday decorations in storage.  It was all we had room for in the apartment.  I had meetings at school for both of my kids because of their issues. My daughter has a 504.  We had to add migraines, and depression to it since she now had the paperwork she needed.  The school has been wonderful with her, but she has gotten to the point where she can not miss any more school. She is struggling in all of her classes, because of how much she had missed. If she fails her classes, she will have to go to the alternative H.S. at the end of this semester.   I also had a meeting with my son's team. He has Aspergers, which is why he has a special team.   His anger had become a problem. He has said a bad word to a teacher more than once, threw his calculator when it did not work, and yelled at a sub.  His teaching consultant, social worker, autism specialist, school psychologist, and principal were there.  When I found out why he yelled at the sub, I started to cry. She wanted him to make something for Christmas, and he told her it was overrated and stupid. I knew he was struggling with the loss of our home, missing his sister, and stressed about Christmas.  We all agreed that he is dealing with anxiety and depression too, and also needs to see a therapist.  When someone asks me if I had a great holiday. I don't know what to say.  I could lie and say yes, but in truth...no, we didn't. They were hard, and I am glad they are over.  The oldest did not come home, because she is afraid to fly during all of the holiday chaos, and we were reminded of all our losses.  We were not able to do a lot of family traditions, and the kids struggled to want to do much of anything.  We did have some presents under the tree, but that was because of a gift from the school.  That in itself was difficult for us.  We used to be the ones who did things for others. While grateful, it is hard for us to be on the receiving end. We rang in the new year, quietly at home just watching the ball drop.  I am so hopeful that 2016 has to be a lot better.. 

Not to make this post too much of a downer, there were a few bright spots during the year.. In March, I ran into a friend that I grew up with in another state. He lives in my area, but we did not know it until recently.  He helped me quite a bit with the move, and invited me to his church on Easter.  I immediately felt like I was home, and now go every week.  I have since joined two small groups, and now have many more people in my life that I did not even know a year ago.  My faith has been tested this year in a big way, and it has only become stronger.   With all of our challenges of this past year, I found out how strong I really am, and I know I WILL SURVIVE our crazy life.  






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