Oh yeah, the sleep schedule is unraveling all right, just as summer begins and I continue to lie awake well past midnight, my mind awash in endless torrents of thought. I’m still going to bed by 11:30 every night—well, almost every night—but then I proceed to stare up at the ceiling and try to figure a way out of my current difficulties. And there just don’t seem to be any more rabbits I can pull out of my hat.
I’ve done the math in my head countless times, and there is NO chance that we can continue our accustomed lifestyle with our existing cash flow. Fine. But what the hell are we supposed to do about it? We can’t afford to live here, but we can’t afford to move. I take that back: We can pay the rent and eat, but we won’t have electricity to cook with, Internet or phones to continue my job search, or meds so I can stay reasonably sane amid all this upheaval. Or, we can have all those things but no house. It’s like the choice between the lady or the tiger: pick the wrong one and we’re screwed.
We haven’t been this fucking poor since the way-back days, when we lived hand-to-mouth on food stamps, a wing and a prayer. I thought it was bad last summer when I was getting over $500 a week unemployment benefits and working part-time at the nursing home; now it’s $360 a week and no supplementary income other than Will’s small Social Security check. And yet, our income is still too high to qualify us for any form of government aid, which doesn’t bother me in the least….it’s just that we’re stuck in a middle-class life when we’re not middle class anymore. And there is nothing on the horizon to indicate that the situation will improve anytime soon.
I don’t know what to do about jobs, either. When I think about returning to nursing, my stomach knots up and I get a squeamish, squirmy feeling bordering on nausea. There is an opening at the assisted living where my sister Louise is, but as I recall, the last job I had in a place like that nearly landed me in a psych unit. No thanks. I’ll take my chances on something else…..although what that would be is anyone’s guess.
This is the crap that keeps me up nights, long past the time when I should be asleep. I’ve been taking my nighttime meds around 9 PM, but now it’s almost like not taking anything at all, except for being relatively calm while my mind goes through its mental gymnastics. I don’t think the change in Zyprexa has anything to do with it at all—I was having trouble getting to sleep before I cut it down from 5 to 3.75 mg—but I have noticed a slight uptick in my overall anxiety levels and am half-tempted to take an Ativan at bedtime to help me get past that.
It’s not the most ideal solution to say the least, but I can’t just keep staying awake into the small hours and expect to remain stable. I am not manic or even hypomanic, but I can almost feel it straining against the chemical fence holding it back and that’s scary. Of all the times I cannot lose my shit…..well, perish the thought.
Which brings to mind yet another thought that torments me in the dark when it’s quiet and all my little (and big) fears come out to play: what will I do if I can no longer afford my meds? Most of them are very cheap, but the Geodon is still fifty bucks a pop and when you put that together with all of Will’s and my meds, our pharmacy bill totals over $250 per month. That’s chump change when you’re making $5000 a month, but a big chunk out of the budget when you’re getting less than half of that. Gaaah!
Under ordinary circumstances, I would be able to say “Now self, you’ve been in rough spots before and ALWAYS come through.” Yeah, that worked when I still had a few tricks up my sleeve, but I’m fresh out. And when you get right down to where the cheese binds, yes, I’ll make it through this as well…..just probably not before my life falls apart.
Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer today, but I’m not finding a whole lot to be happy about right now, except the arrival of my new granddaughter, my favorite season, and the promise of warm, sunny days ahead. I hear outdoor living isn’t too bad during the summer months, especially if you’ve got lots of bug spray on hand and a camp stove so you can make coffee in the mornings. I’m just thankful that if I do wind up homeless, I’ll still have Will with me. He’s doing great, and unlike me, he actually LIKES camping. He can also kill large, hairy spiders without going into hysterics.
He knows where the Ativan is, too. Hey honey, can you help me make it through the night?