Sunday, March 18, 2007

Suffering

This past week I've been suffering from depression, for me it's been fairly severe. I guess one could tell from my posts the last couple of weeks. Yesterday it kind of came to a head, I got upset, cried for a few hours and went to bed early.


I am still not "over" this feeling. I won't be for some time and I know it. It WILL get better, I know that, too. I've been here before. The question is, how long will it be til it is better. That's a question I cannot answer. I'm functional. I can still laugh, just not much, often, or loudly. Depression. It runs in my family just like it does in many others. I've witnessed it from mild to severe and it's not pretty, but it is manageable. For me, it makes me introspective and sometimes dangerously so. I become overly self-critical and it ends up paralysing me. The good thing is this: I won't wallow in it, I won't allow it to make me non-functional because I have others that depend on me. I have my husband and my dog and that is all I need to keep me going. When I was alone with just two dogs and it hit me, they were enough to see me through. A dog is like a balm for my soul. They fill a void inside me that no other person can ever fill. To someone that has never loved an animal like that, then you won't understand, but many will.


Right now, I feel abandoned. I feel completely and utterly alone. I can count on one hand how many times my mothe has called me in the last year and a half that I've been here in Australia. My father has called exactly once, and that was only at my great-grandmother's request that he specifically call me to tell me she was in the emergency room (Granny Sox turned 100 last October). She is my oldest living relative and I was informed by my great-aunt just before I moved here that I am Granny's favorite...this is something that I never, ever knew. Never even considered....ever, that I might be someone's favorite ANYTHING. I know this rambles a bit, sorry. I do miss my family, no matter what they have done to me, or put me through...they are my family and always will be. Yes, I function better when I'm farther away from them, but it still hurts when they expect ME to be the one that always calls or writes. Neither of my sisters have ever called me here. The first 6 months I received a few emails from my youngest sister, but that's it. Her excuse is that she and her husband have "other priorities" for their money. What she doesn't realise is that I know how much money they make, and my husband and I make less than half that, yet I still find a couple of dollars for a phone call on a birthday or a card on a holiday.


I expected many friends not to keep up. Apparently, friends are the first to fall by the wayside for expats. I did not expect my own family to treat me as if I do not exist. It hurts a great deal to know that I make the time to keep up with their schedules, to see when my family will all be together, so I can make 1 phone call to say hello to everyone, and they can't return the favour. I feel like I need to be grateful for the little bit of attention they DO give me. Why should I be? I guess it's because we (me and my sisters) were always told how ungrateful we were as kids, and even grown-ups. I'll never forget the time middle sis finally exploded at being told that a few years ago and she let loose a tirade that finally shut the parents up once and for all about the ungrateful garbage...because it isn't true...we always were grateful for what we had, which wasn't much, but we did have what we needed.


I was one of those kids that didn't know my family was poor until I was about 13, and it came crashing down on me in a hard way. I overheard some "friends" talking about how my family lived in a mobile home...excuse me, trailer. But, see, I knew how my parents had sold their really nice house in the suburbs (but a really bad school district) to buy an over-priced bit of farmland with a mobile home on it just so their kids could grow up in a decent town and get a good public school education. My parents did finally build their home on that land, but a couple of years after I moved out. My parents sacrificed, my mom quit working to stay home with us. She endured quite a few miscarriages because she and dad always wanted a boy. Well, they got me and two other girls instead. A fact that helped me in some ways and hurt in many. I grew up being an over achiever. I could do anything boys could do, and I was better at it to boot. I learned to drive a tractor at 9. Yeah, smooth move on my part, cuz I had to cut 5 acres of grass every damn Saturday til I moved out. I learned to drive a stick shift at 12, in the snow (one of our few) and it was just after my youngest sister Jen was born. I'm the oldest, Erin is 7 yrs younger, then Jen is 12 (just a few months shy of 13) years younger.


Anyway, I was taught to change the oil and tyres on a car, and do pretty much anything a boy could do. Grandaddy took me fishing, even daddy took me hunting until the time I saved a wounded dove and wouldn't let the boys wring it's neck. I grew up in the country, but with the benefit of a decent education that I am continually grateful for. Except now, being here in Australia, that doesn't seem to be enough. I have failed two tests. Tests that I SHOULD have been able to pass. Heck I graduated at the top of my class in high school, as well as, college...I hink perhps maybe they teach things differently here. I still haven't figured it out...except to say that the information I was given to be able to study for those tests was woefully incomplete. That too weighs on me and makes me feel terribly inferior, not to mention, being an american on foreign soil where everything is so....foreign, so VERY different from America.


Honestly, the differences I've learned to live with and actually enjoy. It's a bit slower in terms of lifestyle...kind of like New Orleans was. But even down to the difference in cheese (it's yellow, not orange), the closest I can get to an American meal other than what I make at home is McDonald's. Even what I make at home tastes different because the ingredients have subtle taste differences. Again, those kinds of differences are the easiest to get over.


I am the owner of a yahoo group for Americans living here, and a few of the members have started getting a bit snarky because I (and the moderator) haven't allowed them to question the rules in the public forum. Even in a place where there is supposed to be support for each other, they insist on tearing each other, but mostly me, apart for the simple rules. Since when did the internet become a frickin democracy? That aside, I just ound out that my new job, or rather my new boss thinks that because he does things differently from any other dentist I've ever worked for, that I am far less qualified than he originlly thought. WTF? He does things differently. His assistants have never worked for any other dentist, well except for me, so he really has no way of knowing what other dentists do or what other assistants know, now does he? Honestly, he's a great guy, but he likes to make things terribly complex. For instance one of his procedures will have over a hundred separate steps (all written out in procedure sheets), when in reality all it takes is maybe 20 steps. I cannot fault his work for he is exceedingly thorough. He just makes things more difficult than need be. He doesn't understand that I learn by doing and learn from the mistakes; however, when I'm micromanaged, I get flustered and can't learn a damn thing. I don't mind him being a perfectionist...I'M ONE TOO! But don't screw with my learning curve and make me feel like a damn 12 year old that doesn't know my ass from a hole in the ground for fucks sake.


Sorry, this has been one long farkin whinge, hasn't it? Well, I feel a bit better for having gotten it out. I shall be back to my normal snarky smart-arsed self in no time. As I keep telling hubs, don't worry, I'm not to the wrist-slitting stage yet and never will be. 1) I have too great a will to live and, B) I'm too much of a coward to off myself. Said tongue-in-cheek so no one needs to call the men in little white coats on me, k?


Now, pardon my back whilst I go hug my dog and kiss my loving and extremely patient hubs.

12 comments:

The Prof said...

Thanks for expressing all this honesty! As a soon-to-be-expat who is also susceptible to depression, I found this entry helpful in my mental preparations for the Big Move. I hope that you have a better week ahead and you get a few good cuddles from the hubs in the meantime...

Tors said...

kitten...
*hugs*hugs*hugs*hugs*hugs*...
my e-mail box is always open if you want to talk or cry or whinge or whatever. You're not alone.

Mylifeinstockholm said...

I don't have a history of depression, but after moving to Sweden I can honestly say I was depressed for most of my 10 years there. The expat life is not the glamorous, exciting thing most people think it is. It's really the life of an immigrant: difficult, confusing, alienating, self-esteem annihilating, lonely. And even if you have love, it's often not enough.

Slick said...

That's what your site is for...expressing yourself Kimmie.

Honestly, I'd hate to be in your position with the family thing. I don't have any words of advice but be strong. Your parents done right by you when you were growing up. They haven't "left" you.

Now, gop hug that dog and your man!

Mooselet said...

I was pretty miserable for my first year here as an expat. It's tough, especially when it seems as if your family has forgotten about you. My mother is pretty good, but my brother is horrible! Every year he swears he's going to come over and visit, and every year I get the brush off. But I've made some truly great friends here who help me tremendously when I get to feeling low.

You know I know just how you feel about the Yahoo! group thing, so tell those sh*t stirrers to get their own group and to go fark themselves.

Keep your chin up girlie, and as my dad used to say - don't let the turkey's get you down.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Sorry to hear that you are getting swung around some by depression. It sucks. I just read somewhere that depression has been linked to a deficiency in magnesium... and really, I don't think I can name any foods I eat with magnesium in them. Hmmm....
I couldn't agree with you more about dogs! ;) Just keep hugging your dog & DH...think of them when the new dr is needling you.

Sideon said...

Hang in there. Even at the most alone-feeling moments, you're not alone.

Drop a line, ANYTIME, and if I'm quiet for too long myself, then email and tell me to get off my ass.

Hugs and love from California.

Sideon said...

The wordpress template is gorgeous, by the way!

IHateToast said...

being an expat is very lonely. especially if you don't choose to be in a group of expats. i tried that, but just because i'm an american, doesn't mean i have anything in common with another. so the melbourne group made me feel more lonely.

you will find your groove. don't know when, but it happens. eventually.

Slick said...

Helloooooo??

This thing working?

kitten said...

Yes, SLick, it's working you silly goose! I've just been down in the dumps and quit my job 2 days ago. SO I needed some space. THanks for the comment, as I've been checking my email....and you blog, too btw :P I have read my usual daily blogs. SO yeah, dis fing ith werkin.

kitten said...

anonymous: It's quite obvious WHO this is and I do know who you are ( I am savvy enough to use dns tracking ), so please do not try to hide behind some anonymous bullshit, come right out and claim your views. NO ONE bothers to listen to or care about what some anonymous jerk posts, so until you can speak up and claim your own name and your own ideas and stop hiding, fuck off.