Holding Down the Fort

Having chronic illness/chronic pain & mental illness is difficult on any normal given day. Add the stress of trying to hold the fort down while your spouse is thousands of miles away and everything is compounded. It’s never the big things that people think it might be, but the little things, the everyday things, that build up that end up tipping the scales. It’s frustrating that what can be normal stressors for most people can be overwhelming for me.
Planning a certain thing for dinner that I couldn’t end up making because I used up all my spoons cleaning, that I really didn’t anticipate doing but my body just gave out and now my plans are wrecked and I’m irrationally angry and upset about it. My kids not doing their chores the way they are supposed to, like loading up the dishes in the dishwasher so my favourite coffee mug is not clean for breakfast and my OCD rears it’s ugly head so I have a meltdown crying because now I can’t have coffee. Then, the backyard fence is falling apart; the new stove I purchased couldn’t be installed because the gas line was prehistoric and needed to be updated, come to find out our furnace gas line had to be updated too, all of this costing money we didn’t anticipate. Renovations on the house I had planned took much longer than expected- almost two weeks longer and the cleanup afterwards left me recovering for another two weeks. I had excitedly plotted out a string of projects for the house to get done while the husband was deployed, but after that first renovation project left the house demolished, I couldn’t do anymore. The idea of it stressed me out so much I couldn’t even think about it.
It wasn’t just the renovations; it was that I was very much at a disadvantage being someone who didn’t understand the trade or how it worked and not knowing if I was being taken advantage of. There is nothing more stressful, nothing that blows up my anxiety more, than situations like my stove where I have to have a serviceman come to investigate my gas line, having to rely on faith that he is telling me the truth and that I need to update the one behind the stove and the furnace or he cannot install my stove per Texas laws. Do I know Texas law regarding gas safety? Nope. It seems like the guy is trying to protect me. He even replaces the one behind my dryer for free because my husband is in the military and so is his older son and his younger son is about to go in too. But when I tell him that Home Depot forgot to order me a hood for my stove, he tells me that it’s no problem and he has plenty; he can install it no problem all he has to do is take measurements. That was almost 2 weeks ago and I’ve called and haven’t heard back from him. But it’s difficult because of my social anxiety that not even my husband understands the depths of- that even making call-backs for repairs and services can sometimes take hours or days of pre-work just so I don’t stumble over words. Then, after that, I’m drained.
It becomes much more difficult as children grow older, and still live in the home, to force them to be a family unit and want to care for one another and understand one another. The twenty-something-year-old’s, while progressive and doing much to change the world at the moment are still caught between childhood and independence and rebellion. Sisters, especially, (though I only speak from observation) want to be treated independently after a certain age and not like the younger sister next-in-line, who can’t think for herself. We’re a close family, in a small house, with two pairs of siblings sharing a room each. It’s difficult for them to get privacy. We also all deal with a variety of mental health issues, which makes it uniquely difficult to see things clearly all the time and appear like people deliberately don’t care, when that isn’t it at all. We are all just people who have a unique way of approaching various situations that may clash with one another. But I think if we can focus on the love we have for one another, we can get through anything.

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