Thursday, June 14, 2012

Anxiety and an Empty House

After my volunteer shift at the animal shelter yesterday I started feeling anxious.  My gig involves socializing with cats, which I love ... and yesterday, also gauging my comfort level with the idea of getting a new cat.

Yes, my kitty has only been gone for five days.  It's too soon for me, and my poor husband was out of town when CC was euthanized, so he still needs to process the fact that she's really gone.  Nonetheless, I want to start thinking having cats in our family once again.  The house is just so fucking empty right now.

What I can't tell is whether I'm anxious because I started imagining myself with other cats, or because of the empty house.  Every time I hear a noise, I think "Oh, that's CC".  Only it's not CC, and it never will be.  That's one of the things about grief though; always thinking you see the deceased out of the corner of your eye, or hearing them in the other room, or thinking that they're on the couch or upstairs or wherever.

This experience made me realize that I've never been alone in my own house before.  I've always had cats, ever since I moved into my own place at the age of 20.  For that matter, I got Piglet and CC at that time.  They've never not been here.  One or the other was always on my lap, or sitting on the couch with me, or hanging out in the next chair.  One or the other was usually talking to me.  It's never been this quiet before, and I'm really having a hard time with it.  Of course, I could take the Xanax my pdoc prescribed me, but I'm already on so many goddam drugs, and for some reason Xanax scares me.

So until we're ready for another cat, I may just have to live with anxiety.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Acceptance, Actually

The path to healing is supposed to involve "acceptance".  Sometimes this is called "surrender", a word which I hate for its connotations of cheesy romance novels.  So I'll talk about "acceptance".

Since my psychotic episode I have struggled mightily against my illness.  I felt like I had to; I couldn't afford to go back there, I couldn't afford for my mood to get any worse, I couldn't afford another mistake with my meds.  I've struggled against everything that's gone wrong with my life over the last two years.  The jobs I've lost.  My relationship problems.  The loss of my cats.

Then, the day before my cat CC died, I was overcome with a sense of calm.  The universe is kicking my ass right now, for whatever reason.  There's nothing I can do about my illness except what I'm already doing -- taking care of myself as best I can.  The job stuff, my cats -- those situations are both out of my control.  My relationship -- well, that needs work, no question, but we're finally ready to start that work after healing from the trauma of our previous, fraudulent couples counselor.  So there, at least, there is something I can do, and I am damn well going to do it.

I don't know why or how I attained my sudden sense of calm.  I just know that for the first time in two years I feel like I know what I can and can't control, and I feel deeply that things will get better.  It's a damn good place to be.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Other Shoe Drops: RIP CC the Cat

Ever since I lost my first kitty in March, I've been terrified that my other cat was soon to follow.  I felt like she was the one thing I had left to lose, and I keep experiencing horrible loss.  It didn't help that she went and developed hyperthyroidism.  But then the meds seemed to help her for a good few months.  And then last week she started seriously throwing up again.

They vet ran her blood work, which had been normal the week before, and found some pretty bad liver numbers.  They were, the vet said, consistent with a liver tumor or lymphoma.  I guess hyperthyroidism can mask these conditions.

Given that CC was 18, I was not going to put her through chemo or surgery.  I elected for palliative care.  That was Thursday.  On Saturday I had to put her to sleep.

I'm coping with this better than I coped with Piglet's death.  I think it's because it's not the same roller-coaster, where she was at death's door several times and then bounced back.  CC had a normal life right up until her last hours.

But damn, how I miss her, and how quiet and empty the house feels without cats.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Getting Out of the House Helps

I haven't been blogging a lot lately.  It's because I decided to take my shrink's advice and get out of the house.

His theory was that moping around the house wasn't good for me.  It wouldn't be good for anyone, but in my case I'd been housebound for months while taking care of my late lamented kitty.  Being here all the time, he thought, was probably retraumatizing.

So I pledged to get out of the house three days a week.  I have to go to physical therapy anyway, and PT is close to my volunteer gig at the animal shelter, so I'm spending more time thinking about cats than my own misery.  When you're depressed, this can't help but be a good thing.