Posted by: Kate | February 9, 2009

What Do I Have?

I’ve been doing more than my share of wallowing in self-pity just lately, and I know, objectively, that I’m not entirely out of line with this.  I haven’t had a series of tragedies; no one near me has died or been diagnosed with a serious illness, no fire or other major calamity has befallen, no big interpersonal dramas.  I’ve just had a series of unpleasant, painful setbacks, over the past several months, and each time it becomes that much more difficult – maybe even impossible – to just bounce back.

I recognize that the self-pity is neither helpful nor productive, but being something less than perfect, I’m still wallowing in it.  But I’m trying not to, and today’s effort along those lines is to remember what I have, instead of what I have lost.

I have a home, and my name is on the deed.  This means that, as long as we live here, I will have some measure of assets and stability.  Granted, the mortgage and the resale value are almost equal, so I don’t have much in the way of equity, but I am a property owner, such as it is.  I took several law classes in college – a little knowledge is a dangerous thing – and so I’m acquainted with a neat little quirk of property law, which exists for married couples.  With most ventures, of the business sort, if two people have invested in the same property or corporation, they have to agree upon how to split that asset: 50/50, 99/1, whatever… it has to add up to 100.  But marriage has a little quirk called “ownership by the entirety,” which allows both Willem and I to own 100% of the home.  No splitting; we each are owners outright.  It’s a reassurance, a little glimmer of financial stability in a vey unstable financial life.

I have three master’s degrees, and am six months short of the necessary supervised work hours to gain independent licensure in New Hampshire.  If I remain unemployed by April or so, I plan to reconnect with my former supervisor from the prison, who has already agreed to provide that supervision and client time at the state prison.  Unpaid, true, but also for free.  And in an environment I really enjoy working, mostly because they let me leave at the end of each day.

I have spinal arthritis, and near-daily chronic lower back pain from it.  This may not sound like good news, but it’s better than the alternative.  I saw my primary care physician in January because I was concerned about my ongoing back pain – which is worst after grocery shopping, oddly enough – and because, at Christmas, I saw my uncle, who has a specifically diagnosed disease (ankylosing spondylitis, for those of you who are freakishly aware of obscure medical conditions) and is absolutely miserable with it, on full disability from work in his mid-40s.  I was worried, so I saw my doctor, and then became more worried, because she thought I also might be a good candidate for lupus.  Testing was done, bloodwork and x-rays and the like, and the final diagnosis: spinal arthritis.  I do test positive for the AS gene, and may eventually develop the condition, but many who have the gene never manifest the syndrome.  I do not have lupus.  I’ll have annual x-rays and bloodwork to make sure I’m not developing AS, but for now, it’s simpler.  And, because I’m just quirky enough to appreciate things like this, there is a certain validation to getting a diagnosis of anything at all, instead of learning that it’s really all just in my head.

I have ideopathic anovulation, or unexplainable infertility.  High doses of Clomid aren’t doing the trick to bring on ovulation, and thus far, through a year’s worth of tests on both myself and my husband, nobody can figure out why.  This is a tough one to be happy about, because a part of me would rather hear, “Look, you have XXX condition, and that’s why you can’t conceive.  Don’t hold your breath,” instead of continuing to hear, “We have absolutely no idea why you’re not pregnant yet.”  But it does mean that I have no blockages, no cysts, no medical conditions interfering with things.  No surgery needed.  A green light to keep trying.

I have two gorgeous children, whom I love beyond reason.  I have a husband who is supportive and sweet and thoughtful, and who would cut off his own leg if it would somehow help me.  I have family spread around the country, and friends around the world, who would help if I could only figure out what to ask for.  I have people who love me, even when I am whiny and self-pitying.

So, yes.  There’s a lot of bad stuff in my life, and I am clinically depressed, at the moment.  (When I see my OB-GYN for yet another “OK, now what?” appointment, I’ll be asking for a prescription for an antidepressant – a big step for me, since I’ve been off those meds since my early 20s.  But therapy isn’t the answer right now, and meds, while they won’t address the situational problems that have led to the depression, should at least mask the worst of the symptoms for a little while.)  Shockingly, I don’t find it helpful to be told to abandon my dream of a B&B in an old house by the ocean, to be told to buck up, or to be reminded of how much worse it could be.  But I do have good in my life, as well, and I’m trying my best to keep that in focus.



  1. Amen.

  2. You’ve had enough going on in your life to warrant wallowing. Lord knows I would be.

    The only thing I know to say is take care of yourself.

  3. Why I’m just shocked that advice didn’t make you feel better.

    I say you’ve had more than enough to knock anyone off their stride. Good for you that you’re doing what you need to take care of you.

  4. Whew. I have nothing profound to say. But I read, and I feel…

  5. You said correctly that “self-pity is neither helpful nor productive, but being something less than perfect, I’m still wallowing in it. Their are times when we know that what is right thing to do but unable to do anything.

  6. Constant pain and multiple life disappointments are sufficient and total reasons to be struggling through each day, in spite of “blessings” that you totally appreciate.

    The only thing that ever helped me was to look in a totally new direction for something to learn. To develop a completely different side of my Self. Then, down that road, I realize the angst and maybe even the physical pain have shifted their patterns, and everything is brighter.

    Once my new path was a master’s degree–sounds like you’ve done that one enough! Once it was learning French and travel to France. Now it’s drawing and painting. And I’m loving how this activity is healing painful spots and moving me forward.

    What could a whole new learning thing be, for you?

  7. I’m sorry things aren’t going so well. The sun will shine again.

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