The Girl Behind Fox Hollow Cottage (part two)
If you are here expecting a decorating or DIY post, please excuse the detour while I talk about something off topic a bit. I’ll be sharing some “fun” stuff this week too. Thanks for your patience and support.
Hello, I’m back to pick up where I left off on part one [click here to catch up] of my story.
I told myself when I started this, I had to make sure and tell the story in a timely fashion, no showing you a picture of something fantastic like oh say, a mantel in a bathroom, and then not showing you the completed makeover for (mumbles under her breath) two years. I know I am a terrible blogger, but I never claimed to be HGTV and have a reveal ready in an hour. An hour – two years. I know, I’m stretching.
I get sidetracked, see shiny things, start others and need to complete the last 10% of the room. After the Marshfield Vintage Market. Or… at least this Summer. It’s on my list.
Anyhow… I’m getting off track. I promised to share more this week, and I am. I think I might be having trouble getting started, there is so much in this part I plan to write about today.
I left off talking about Jr High and High School. I met Jim (my husband) my Senior year. After we met, it was a whirlwind of school, and basically wanting to be with him every waking moment. Ahh… young love. Totally mushy.
I don’t recall having any bad episodes at that time but it was long ago. I’m sure there are memories that have faded and been forgotten. Plus it would be easy for me to confuse PMS, being young and hormones after all this time, so I don’t want to mix things up unintentionally.
I do vividly recall Jim being in a car accident the morning of Prom. I got the call from the E.R. and they kept referring to a Mr. Wolf, I asked, do you mean Mr. Fox? They said, Fox.. Wolf.. it’s some kind of animal, what’s the difference? It was a great phone call as you can imagine. My mom and I went to collect him from the hospital and bring him home with us (his parents were away) because he needed to be monitored. He hit his head and had a slight concussion. Needless to say, we were not able to attend the Prom. I had such a killer dress too. He was fine, so I can say that. haha. I don’t recall being hugely disappointed though, and my dad let me keep all the returned Prom paraphernalia money to go clothes shopping with, so I’m sure that eased the pain.
Jim was in the Navy Reserves, and was set to report for active duty after I graduated. Not long after, they went out to sea for 6 months. I was working and my friends kept me busy when I wasn’t. I felt like half of me was gone though and I missed him terribly. I was working at May Company at the time. (It would be similar to Macy’s now) It’s crazy to think how many big department stores have closed their doors since I was younger. I didn’t have a permanent department but I normally worked Jr. Girls Clothing, Women’s Clothing (which had the fur department!), Jewelry and even Children’s, which was overflowing with the most disgustingly cute stuff you ever saw! Plus, the restaurant was upstairs, and the smells that would waft down were exquisite, while being pure torture. Sort of like microwave popcorn, and French bread.
One day, during a huge sale, I was asked to work upstairs, in the Housewares department. I was completely unfamiliar with the entire floor but I didn’t think a thing of it, all the registers were the same. Yeah no. Housewares was like working on a different planet. Most things had no prices. Everything was on cards and placards near the merchandise.
I was also working alone. They may as well have thrown me in a Shark tank. People were everywhere wanting to know prices, sales prices, be waited on and rung up. Even if I had been knowledgeable it would have been a challenge. This was almost 30 years ago (must insert here… Dear Lord I am getting old!) and there were no bar codes or SKU’s on anything in the department. It all had to be looked up in books. These giant binders, and there must have been 5 for the different manufacturers and such. China, Everyday Dishes, Silver, Crystal, Linens, etc… I can still picture myself and the checkout stand, surrounded by people who were running out of patience. Which, really who can blame them? No one has all day to check out. I distinctly remember the crushing feeling of all those eyes on me, feeling inept, my heart thundering and like I was on fire all at once. A few of the people could see I was past my depth and tried to be very, very nice but they could not help me. I was on the edge, and barely hanging on without crying. I had no business being in that department. But I was young… and didn’t know how to reach out and tell a higher up, etc… I just tried to do it, until I couldn’t, and fell apart. When someone finally came to relieve me, I went in the stock room and cried and I could not pull it together to come out. I was done. That right there, is where the anxiety got me. I had no ability whatsoever to cope or square my shoulders and go back out there. I could not pull it together. I don’t know if I went home or to a different department. I can’t remember. I know I didn’t work in Housewares any more that day though. I did continue to work at May Company without incident after that.
- Via Wikipedia: Anxiety disorders are a category of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear, where anxiety is a worry about future events and fear is a reaction to current events. These feelings may cause physical symptoms, such as a racing heart and shakiness. Anxiety Disorder often occurs with other mental disorders, particularly major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, certain personality disorders, and eating disorders.
- According to Schacter, Gilbert, and Wegner’s book Psychology: Second Edition, generalized anxiety disorder is “characterized by chronic excessive worry accompanied by three or more of the following symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance”. Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder to affect older adults.
I’m going to try and say a lot, quickly, in this paragraph to move things along. Ready? I was living at home, in Southern California. Jim was stationed in San Diego. Once he returned home from his tour, we did a lot of driving back and forth to see each other whenever he had leave. Once he was out of the service, he went into construction and I went from May Company, to waitressing. We got an apartment. We broke up. I moved home. I got back into retail, eventually becoming a store manager at a Lerner New York. Jim and I got back together. I was still living at home.
Whew! This is so many years worth on information and I’m trying to hit the important stuff, and have it make sense, without anyone falling asleep! You sill awake?
Again, I was living back at home, but we were looking at getting a new place in the canyon. We were thisclose to signing a lease on a townhouse, when we decided to move to Oregon. Jim and I were both driving a ton and we were sick of commuting… and traffic… and gross smog. Plus, I think we just wanted an adventure, and to strike out on our own. We had visited Oregon together after I graduated, so I’d been there one whole time! Jim had Summered there, staying with his mom many times growing up. We thought the blue skies, slower pace and lower cost of living in Oregon sounded perfect.
So at 22, I left home and moved to Oregon, with my boyfriend. I know. We were not even married! I feel for my parents, I really do. I must have given them some sleepless nights and worry. I just didn’t understand why they weren’t excited for my adventure? Duh. hahaha.
It was during this time that I had some of my worst troubles.
We had saved money in preparation for our move, and we found a house, jobs and started a life all on our own. I worked a short time in the floral department at Safeway and as a waitress because I took the first jobs I could find, soon I was hired at Macy’s though and I was back in retail. I loved my job. I was a counter manager for Elizabeth Arden and I worked with an amazing group of girls. My department manager was a gem. We are still friends today. I was so lucky that she was so supportive, kind and understanding when on more that one occasion I would cry in her office and just not be able to stop. I couldn’t be at the counter… it was like before. I was useless at those times. There was no talking it out, no rationalizing, no calming down, no perking up… I wanted to be in a dark hole somewhere. Curled up, in a ball. Away. You have to understand, most of the time, I was fine. I was a good employee. I worked there for years! I got awards, I beat sales goals, I won contests, I had customers I loved and who loved me. But on those days… I was lost. She encouraged me to talk to my doctor. I did.
This is when I was clinically diagnosed with Depression. I was in my early 20’s. I don’t remember if I was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder at that time, but I got my first prescription, for Prozac, from my primary care physician. I didn’t take it long, or properly and I did not stick with it. I felt a huge stigma taking it, I didn’t like how I felt, and I didn’t think it was doing anything. How interesting. I didn’t like how I felt, but it wasn’t doing anything? Dang, I am really, really stubborn. It’s one of my better personality traits… lol.
Jim and I got married, here in Oregon in 1992. It was a beautiful wedding and a happy, happy time. I need to keep interjecting, that there have been joyous, wonderful times in my life.
I was still working at Macy’s, and I continued to I ride an emotional roller coaster for several years. When I was having what I would call “a hard time” or a “bad day” it was always exacerbated by trying to deal with basically anything. Like work. So I usually melted down at work. It was all about coping. When I was in, I’ll call it a “Depressive Cycle”… my ability to cope with basically anything would disappear. If I could have stayed home, hunkered down, and rode it out, there probably would have been less melt downs.
But ya can’t call in to work mental.
In 1995 we planned on having a baby, I got pregnant right away, and 9 months later we had Austin. It was 1996. I had a great pregnancy as far as my mental state. Everything was in perfect alignment. I’ve heard this from others as well! Even with a scare over my protein levels and being told there could be particular problems and having to travel to see a special doctor, etc… I was fine. (and so was the baby) I did develop pretty severe Toxemia towards the end of my pregnancy. It was discovered at one of my (weekly probably by then) OBGYN visits. My doctor told me I was done with work and I could not go back. I remember crying in my store managers office when I went in to tell him. He was married with kids and I was pretty sure he’d seen a woman cry before. He was really sweet. I was crying because I was scheduled to work that weekend and I felt like I was letting my co-workers down. Plus, I had planned to work until the baby came. Also, I had a scenario in my head, I was going to be at work… and have to leave for the hospital because I went into labor. So dramatic.
Instead, I lived on the sofa on bed rest until Austin came. I’d love to tell you all about his delivery, it was one of the most important, special things I’ve ever done in my life!! I’ll stick to the subject though. After Austin came, I still had Toxemia. I expected it to be gone as soon as I delivered. I had him in the morning, we stayed overnight, then we went home the next day. I didn’t have Postpartum Depression, but Jim recalls me having a difficult time getting in the groove of things the first few weeks. With the Toxemia and some blood pressure issues, I had to have a little help. My parents came soon after and stayed to help for about ten days, and then Austin and I fell into a routine. He didn’t sleep.. but we fell into one.
After my maternity leave I returned to work at Macy’s. We had a great girl who watched Austin right in our home and I felt secure knowing he was safe, loved and well cared for. Shortly after my return, I interviewed with Estee Lauder and became a counter manager for the larger line. Things were going really well and we were a happy little family!
– In real time, it’s after nine now, and I’ve yet to eat dinner. I’m going to stop here. The next part is going to be pretty involved for reasons you’ll understand soon. Thank you for reading and following along. If you started from the beginning, if you caught up today, or if you just happened upon it, I appreciate you reading.
I also want to say thank you to everyone who has sent private messages, and left comments on my first post. I am touched by your thoughtfulness and that you have shared so much of yourselves with me (and us).
Peace and blessings to all! xoxo, Shannon
As I said in my first post when I began talking about my story, suicide is not something I have ever considered, even when feeling my absolute worst.
If you are, have or do think about suicide, please, please, please seek help. In that one moment, you don’t want to make a choice that you can never come back from. There is hope. There is help.
You can click here to visit The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and live chat if you are in crisis.
Or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.
PS: All my original comments and responses were sadly lost… as comments are automatically disabled on older posts (which I didn’t realize) but you can always message me on Facebook or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org