Psychic Storm

Last night we were driving home from Portland. My son and my niece were in the back seat and my Ex was driving. I was twisting my body in the seat contorting this way and that trying to find a position that wasn’t excruciating. Finally I settled into an upright fetal position leaning toward the window. The sunset was beautiful but mostly I kept my eyes closed.

The pain recently has been intense and unrelenting. I have almost no energy and can’t stay standing for very long. The only relief I find is when I lay down flat. I had Botox injections in my trapezius muscle, my neck, and up the left side of my head. The goal is to loosen the muscle just enough to release pain but not so much that it paralyzes the muscle. The pain has been much worse since I received the injections. At times my neck and shoulder blades have become frozen in one position as if they are paralyzed. I’m beginning to think this is going to be another one of those medical interventions that leaves me with more symptoms instead of less.

I have visions. That doesn’t seem like the right word for them because I don’t actually see anything. Instead I will suddenly become aware of something I didn’t know before. The information seems to come from another place, another dimension. As an example, I learned that I came to my parents first as a boy. I died several days after I was born of a heart condition. My parents left me at the hospital to die, so before I came through them again, as a girl, I had already been abandoned by them once.

I came to serve, to witness, and to heal the generational wounds in my family. I tried hard for many years, naively thinking that in return I would receive the love and acceptance that I craved. I came to them as an outsider. My three siblings were born to a different father. I was born to be the thing that held them together. My parents are dead now and my siblings are estranged so in terms of that particular life purpose I failed on all counts.

Last night I received information that I am dying. Of course I understand we are all dying. I’m not completely surprised by this because I have been sick for many years and recently things have gotten dramatically worse. The information I was given is that my death will finally bring my family together again.

I’ve lived my life for the most part as if there were no tomorrow. I put off things thinking I would always have time later. I’ve always assumed that I would live a long life. Right now I am 56. My death will bring transformation for everyone, including myself.

I haven’t cried in years but last night tears started pouring out of my eyes, silently sliding down my face. For so many years now I have been fighting to live. I have chased down the best doctors, I have tried all the best treatments. I want to live but I want to live in a functional body. Or even if I have a non functional body as I do now, I want to live. I want to live for my son most of all. But fighting to live while you are slowly dying is an exhausting futile battle.

Last week I saw my therapist and she revealed to me that her son had been murdered when he was 27. I love my therapist so the news hit me really hard, that she had to go through that. It also touched my own fear about my son who is 15 and hell-bent on altering his mood in any way possible. Trying to keep both of us alive is no longer a battle I can continue to fight. I’m too weak now and obviously it is a losing battle.

After my therapy session my therapist’s son started talking to me. He was jumping up and down so happy and excited that his mom and I were finally talking about him. He told me this has always been the plan and that he brought us together for this purpose.

Accepting death seems like another form of failure. I’ve always been a fighter. I’ve always tried to keep the mindset that healing is possible; not through doctors but through self-healing with assistance from the universe. I still believe that but none of us are immortal and death is as much a part of life as living is. Sheer will and tenacity can only keep you afloat for so long. At some point it seems like a relief to accept the inevitable.



What a wonderful world

I wake up in a haze. My brain feels toxic. I take Marley out. He pees several times in the usual areas. I ruminate on all that I hate right now. The apartment complex management. The public school system. Police. I remind myself that soon these obligatory morning walks will be filled with incessant rain and constant cold. I cringe at the thought.

I turn the LED light on the cannabis plant in the closet. Yesterday I showed my son how the trichomes look under a magnifying glass. He said he wants to learn how to grow. The smell is becoming much stronger and I hope it is not leaking into the other apartments. The woman across the way seems to be giving me dirty looks.

I turn on the kettle to make coffee and while it is heating I mix up my Kratom. Three measured level half-teaspoons (equal to 3 grams) mixed with water. I choke down the green muddy mixture. The grit sticks in the crevices between my teeth. I’m tapering down from at least twice that much a few weeks ago. The Kratom I ordered a couple of weeks ago was supposed to be my last. I went with a different vendor and I’m convinced it’s crap. It tastes bad, it smells bad and it has almost no effect. Still, I count the minutes between doses, the next one at 1pm, the last one at 5pm. I have another shipment arriving today from my preferred vendor. I ordered it last week telling myself I need good Kratom in order to proceed with my taper. I’ve done this 3-4 times now in the last eight months.

I make my coffee and sit at the computer. I begin my daily computer regime. I comb through emails as if there might be something important even though there never is. I get stuck on Yahoo “news” and all the stories confirming my belief that the world is a raging cesspool. For a few moments I divert my search to substance abuse facilities nearby. Lately I have been thinking maybe I need one. I’m not certain I can stop using Kratom on my own. So much has happened and I don’t have the iron will I used to have. Most importantly, there is nothing about my life that is beckoning me to return to it. I have neurological problems that leave me in constant pain. I have an autoimmune disorder that causes me to make dinner on my knees due to fatigue and weakness. What do I have left to offer? I’m not certain I will ever feel alive again or feel as if my life is meaningful, with the exception of my son.

Red hot pain is throbbing below my left shoulder. I shift my position to try to relieve it, which never works. The pain makes my breath shallow and labored. I sit until it becomes unbearable.

The phone vibrates and I am surprised to see it is my brother. He never calls without a reason. He tells me someone called him trying to find me. The caller said they wanted me to have an opportunity to respond before they move forward. He couldn’t remember who they were. There are many collectors looking for me. I ignore them, hoping one day they will give up, but worrying that one may proceed with a judgment. I think of how tired I am of people saying they are trying to help you when they are really trying to screw you. My brother asked about the weather. We exchanged the obligatory “I love you” and hung up.

I have huge trust issues now. I’ve always had trust issues but now they are at an all time high. Anything I once trusted has been proven to be untrustworthy. I am almost always alone. I see all people and institutions, with the exception of my therapist, my naturopath and my son, as harmful. I believe them all to have ulterior motives. This lack of trust didn’t come from out of the blue. It arose from experiences repeated over and over in the last few years. It’s now my truth.

The phone vibrates again. It is from a friend asking me about something that my son posted on Instagram last week. He returned from lunch smelling like marijuana and the police were called. I went to the school and a very uncomfortable meeting ensued. My son was upset because the situation made me cry. My friend acts as if she is concerned for me but I know she just wants to know what happened. She almost never calls or texts unless she needs something. I think she uses my life as entertainment, like a good book. I’ve known her for years and I see right through her. I text back that I’m not up to revisiting the situation right now. Predictably, she does not respond. Her craving for gossip wasn’t satisfied. She has little tolerance for things that don’t directly benefit her. She is generous to strangers when it makes her look like a hero, but others, like me receive her generosity in tiny tightly wrapped packages with a demand of immense gratitude in return.

Marley begins to pace and bark at me, insisting he needs to go out for a poo that he didn’t take earlier. The stairwell of the apartment is filled with a wonderful smell of something delicious cooking. I think to myself that I should be cooking like that. Most days I manage dinner but everything else is happenstance. On our walk I run into the man with Parkinson’s who lives a few doors down. His hand twitches and jerks as our dogs sniff and greet. I’ve seen him walking with his marijuana pipe. My left shoulder is in a spasm that juts it up towards my ear. I feel a kinship with him.

When I return to the apartment my son is awake, home from school on suspension for suspected drug use at school. He will be required to attend an interview with a substance abuse counselor and follow her recommendations if he wants to return to school. I used to work as a substance abuse counselor. I can offer my qualified opinion that he is a budding addict, but at this time treatment will be lost on him.

My son sees the deadness in my eyes and says he is worried about me. I tell him I don’t want him to have to worry about me. That I know it must be hard to see me depressed and sick all the time, not wanting to leave the house. He tells me I am not a burden and I know he is lying. We hug.

I go to my bedroom and shut the door. It’s 1:00 which means I can mix up 3 1/2 level teaspoons of Kratom. I remind myself that the new Kratom will be coming today and that it is sure to make me feel better. About a half hour later I can feel the effects. Slight haziness and wired.

My son requests to go to the local hangout. I tell him no because I don’t think someone on suspension from school should be going to a hangout to smoke weed and cigarettes with his friends. He gets mad and tells me he doesn’t want to be stuck in the house all day in his room playing his guitar. I tell him I would like him to be home and sober because I almost never get to see him anymore when he isn’t wasted. He claims this isn’t true and we begin arguing. I am no match for him today. I suggest the possibility that he’s been hanging out a lot with his other mom (the fun one) and that maybe the two of them are conspiring again so that she can gain custody, he can live with her and do whatever he wants. An attempt was made two years ago when she had me served with legal papers. I realize later that the fear was sparked by the unknown caller trying to find me and my brother’s constant covert disapproval. The argument is spiraling now and I know it but I can’t stop myself. My son calls me paranoid and says he can’t BELIEVE I would bring up such a thing and that he is going to his hangout regardless. I tell him to go for it because I don’t have the balls to stand up to him today.

He ties a bandana around his wild unkempt hair, a dark scruff showing on his upper lip and chin. He is at least three inches taller than me now. He asks for money for food but I suspect he will spend it on weed or cigarettes. I want him to eat and under the possibility that he will, I give him some money. I feel like a raw gaping wound. I imagine what the school officials would think of me allowing him to go to the hangout. I am filled with shame.

The phone rings. It is my PCP’s office. They called to tell me my recent thyroid results (hypo). They tell me I need to find a new provider because having to run a TSH test every six weeks and then telling me the results and adjusting the medication has become too much of a burden for them. They insist this is needed because they are trying to help me. I tell them I understand.

This is the sound of one soul speaking

I am no longer chronically undiagnosed. In fact, I have multiple diagnoses since my symptoms began over six years ago. I’m tired of writing about chronic illness. There are only so many posts one can write about how much it sucks to have a chronic illness. I’ve written them all. I want to write about something else now so I changed my blog title to reflect this.

The title “One Soul Speaking” came to me yesterday and I was excited to find that it had not yet been taken on WordPress. I intend to write about what chronic illness has revealed to me. I left my body and buried my soul years before I became ill. Throughout the illness I have had intermittent glimpses of my soul revealing itself. When this happens it brings me great joy.

The purpose of my new blog will be to support the writing of my book, a memoir. I’m writing this book for myself, so that I can tell my story, my truth, unfettered by the judgements that others have placed upon me. I’m not writing my book to make money, to be famous, to gain the acclaim of others, to lay claim on truth, or to legitimize my existence. I’m writing this book to give my soul a voice, a voice that was lost long ago.

This is the sound of one soul speaking.

What Choice?

I’m struggling. There are multiple things going on that are making me upset. I feel as if I crave love, support, understanding, validation. I don’t feel like I am getting what I need. This feels like a unsolveable problem. My pain lately has become extreme. My brain isn’t engaged.

When I first became ill, after my second surgery, I was unable to return to my job. In order to have money to support myself and my son, I had to file a claim with the long-term disability insurance that I paid for while I was working. I was very uncomfortable with the word “disability”. In my mind, being disabled meant you were completely bedridden, paralyzed or preparing for death. To me being disabled meant you were over, finished, that you would never be able to work again.

If you had known me before I got ill, I was the opposite of what I considered to be disabled. I was raised by parents who instilled a strong work ethic. Work came before all else. Both of my parents lived during the depression and grew up in working class families. My mom’s mother was a waitress and her father was a cook. My dad’s father worked for the railroad and his mom raised a dozen children. I never had the idea that life owed me anything. I never expected to marry someone who would support me. I learned early that the best way to survive was to be as independent as possible.

I left home before I turned 18. My first jobs were in the fast food industry. The highest level of education anyone had ever achieved in my family was an associate degree. In my family, college was seen as a luxury for those who could afford to meander their way through life. My father did not approve of my desire for education and died shortly before I earned my Master’s Degree.

I loved working. I paid for all of the education I received by myself. If there was anything I felt proud of, it was my independence. So when I lost that, I lost everything.

I figured out that if I wanted to access my insurance, I was going to have to use the word disability and convince the insurance company that I was disabled. In order to do this I had to start thinking differently about myself and the illness. I already felt guilty for not working. No matter how sick I was I still felt like I wasn’t disabled enough. One of my former colleagues accused me of “slumming”. I never forgot that.

By then my chart at the Neurologist’s office was about four inches thick. My Neurologist submitted the requested records. Several months later the disability company informed me that I had met their qualifications. When I spoke with their representative she informed me that I would be receiving back pay. She seemed surprised by the amount and said something like “It’s not often I get to give good news like this”. She informed me that I was required to file for Social Security Disability in order to continue to receive benefits. That’s where the problems really began.

Maybe it was just bad luck but my representative for Social Security Disability was one of the most rude and condescending people I’ve ever dealt with. She would insult me on the phone, and chastise me for not having a pen and paper ready when she called. From the beginning she treated me like someone who was trying to work the system. I felt I had no recourse. I was trying to survive. In order to survive, you need to have some money. My disability company was paying me, but would stop if I didn’t pursue this thing. So I complied with all of the woman’s requests for information. My doctor went above and beyond in providing records. At one of my visits my doctor had a conversation with the social security rep that turned into a verbal confrontation. Combined with the sickness and the lack of clarity in my brain, everything just seemed to be crashing into a puddle of insanity where other people were making decisions for my life. My job had become to comply with multiple agencies demands by certain deadlines, Most of the time I was terrified.

I started worrying that someone would follow me and see me doing something like grocery shopping or carrying something upstairs and use it as evidence against me. I had just had my thyroid gland removed and the nightmare of unstable thyroid levels had begun. I was having intense periods of depression and anxiety alternating with paranoia. My brain, once being the one thing I could rely on, was failing me. I became terrified of answering the phone.

My first attempt at Social Security disability was denied. My doctor was trying to send them more records and the rep made the decision without receiving them. I appealed and was denied again. Everytime I received their denials it felt like a huge invalidation. Maybe I was slumming. Who was I anymore? I felt defeated. The second denial letter was thrown into a pile of things to attend to when I felt like I could think better. Then I forgot about it, like everything else. At that point the only thing I could attend to was day-to-day survival. I couldn’t think anywhere beyond that.

Eventually I got a letter from my disability company threatening to cut me off unless I reapplied to Social Security. They said, “Look, we have this attorney who will handle your case from start to finish and you won’t have to do a thing.” So I said OK (what choice did I have?) I didn’t have the wherewithal to go out and find myself an attorney. At that point I was rarely leaving the house. I was in bed most of the time. My ability to make choices grew smaller each day. I had lost the ability to steer my life in any direction. There were always more medications and possible diagnoses thrown around. I was having multiple MRI’s in an attempt to discover what was causing me to be in so much physical agony.

I re-applied for social security and signed papers to retain the disability company’s recommended attorney. I told them when I signed with them that it would be important to attach my new application to my prior one so that I would receive the proper amount of back pay. I never spoke to an attorney. I only spoke to the women who were in charge of the paperwork. They informed me that attaching my new filing to the prior one was impossible. They implied that I didn’t know what I was talking about so I let it go. They informed me that if I were approved for disability my son would also receive monthly benefits due to my disability (he was 13 at the time). What I wanted at that point was someone to handle this mess. I could not bear the thought of being humiliated again by a social security representative. Every challenge that presented itself felt like someone was yelling at me, telling me I was worthless. I signed with their attorney because I wanted there to be less pressure on me. I wanted the disability company off my back.

Because I had already re-applied through Social Security, the attorney’s minions didn’t have to do anything to handle my case. I received my first denial letter as expected. I think they may have filed the papers to appeal, I can’t remember now. I received a call from Social Security asking for more records. I gave them to them. They sent me a letter demanding that I attend a psychological exam with a provider of their choice. This felt like another violation to me but again, what choice did I have?

I attended the appointment with their psychologist. I was angry that I had to go and was committed to revealing nothing. As a survivor of sexual trauma, it felt like having an involuntary pelvic exam. The psychologist put me through a battery of tests and asked me about my childhood. I revealed nothing. Several months later I was informed that I had been awarded social security and received back pay. Soon after I received a phone call from the attorney’s office telling me that most of the back pay would go back to the disability company. I knew this was going to happen, it just seemed like another thing that was unfair but that I had no choice in.

After that the attorney’s office started calling me repeatedly telling me I should apply for benefits for my son. They were insistent, and since I thought it could benefit me I finally scheduled the interview with social security. After the conversation I received a letter telling me that my son had been awarded benefits and that I would receive back pay. The social security office was very clear that the benefits were to be used for the care and feeding of my son and nothing else. After barely being able to survive for the last several years I was looking forward to being able to provide for my son.

A few days after receiving the back pay the attorney’s office called and informed me that the entire amount of back pay would be going back to the disability company, and that my monthly benefit would be reduced by the amount that social security had awarded me. I wasn’t expecting that so I was really pissed. Then the attorney’s office started calling daily using manipulative tactics to get me to call them back. They told me they had important information about my taxes that I NEEDED to know. They questioned my sincerity. They said things like, “As your attorney’s office we must hear from you”. They used all the same tactics that collector’s use to demean me.

This “attorney’s” office did nothing to help my case. My case was decided on the information contained in my medical records. It became obvious to me that their office was really a collection agency for the disability company. Their job was to do the least possible work to get the benefits and then funnel them back to the disability company, most likely for a cutback. The worst part is that they did all of this while masquerading as my advocate.

I sent them an email asking them to stop their harassing and deceptive phone calls. They responded by saying they were just trying to help me. I took all of the money out of my bank account and put it into cashiers checks which now sit on my desk. I presume that the disability company will come after me now and tell me that unless they get their money they will stop paying the monthly amount. I suspect they will threaten me with legal action. And again I am left wondering, “What choice do I have?”

The City

I keep writing, not finishing, not posting. I want my writing to serve me. I want it to make me feel better. I’m just going to write something and post it no matter what it is.

I’ve been angry constantly. I’m pissed at everything and everyone. Much of the time I feel filled with hate. I’m also convinced that everyone hates me. Maybe if I could figure out what I was angry about I could fix it and then I would feel better. I always think if I find the root of the problem I will fix it and feel better. It never seems to work.

I’ve gotten into the habit of wanting to take things to make myself feel better. But there are times when taking something (weed or kratom) doesn’t help with anything and often makes me feel worse. That is the place I am in right now.

I want to feel peace so desperately but I can’t find it.

I started having symptoms in 2010/2011. In 2012 it got worse. In 2013 it got so bad that I spent almost the entire year in bed. I think it was right around the beginning of 2014 that I began having short windows of healing. I remember the first one so clearly. I had been taking Doxycycline for two months to treat Lyme. I went into the city (San Francisco) to do a few things. The energy of the city inspired me, as it always does.

imag1844A makeup brand was having a promotional event. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of it. There were beautiful male glam experts, models, and thick clouds of hair spray. Everything was glittery pink and chocolate-brown. A woman asked me if I wanted my makeup done. I would normally say no, but I was caught up in the energy and instead said yes. She did my eyes and lips. For the first time in forever, I felt beautiful. I felt alive. I had my camera with me so I took a few pictures.

I went home and my partner told me that my eyes were gleaming.

Shit Storm

Yesterday I wrote a post about feeling devalued. I received some feedback and it really helped me to feel a little better. I realize that I am constantly receiving negative feedback from multiple sources and just feeling like someone else understands and doesn’t consider my reactions to be out of the ordinary is comforting.

I found out yesterday that my thyroid levels have tanked again. My NP is about as invalidating as they come. She treats me as if I have a mental disorder because I have found that there is a “sweet spot” for my thyroid levels that affords me a sense of well-being. When I am hypothyroid there is no way to achieve any sense of well-being. Nothing is enjoyable. I feel sluggish and my brain is encased in a blanket of thick fog. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING seems overwhelming. I lose any ability to tend to even minor issues. I see no hope for the future. I lose interest in eating or taking care of myself in any way, including bathing. I feel as if the universe is conspiring against me, I feel extremely vulnerable and I become extremely angry in an effort to defend myself. There is no rationality. I feel as I am a failure at everything.

My son is in another country right now. He went on a vacation with a friend of our family. Their son is the same age as my son (15) and they are best friends. My son called two days ago. He was crying and upset. They had been mountain biking near the Arctic Circle. His friend slipped on some rocks and fell to the bottom of a waterfall. He laid there unconscious. His father somehow got to him and gave him CPR. A helicopter rescue ensued. My son kept telling me about the look of terror in his friend’s eyes as he fell down the cliff and how powerless he felt. He told me about how he prayed his friend would make it out alive as the helicopter was approaching.

It was horrifying to hear his account. Immediately a picture formed in my mind of my son witnessing this tragedy. I could imagine how he felt, how his friend felt, how his friend’s parents must have felt. For the rest of the day there was a hollow feeling in my gut. I was angry at the universe for delivering this scenario onto my son. I wanted this trip to be empowering for him. Instead it was reminding him of the uncertainty of life and the pain of losing everything you love in an instant. My son told me that the image of his friend’s eyes kept playing out over and over in his mind. His friend is in the hospital and they are staying in a hotel nearby. At last report it looks like his friend is going to be OK.

Then yesterday I received a call from my LTD company. I was recently “awarded” social security disability. Because my son is a minor he will also receive benefits until he is 18. The money is supposed to be used for the food, shelter, expenses of raising a minor child. The disability company informed me that they would be reducing my monthly benefit by the amount that he receives each month. In addition they informed me that they are entitled to all back pay received which amounted to thousands of dollars. Is it fair? No. But really, who cares that it is fair or not? I know that there is no fairness in life, but it felt like another blow.

I’ve been going to physical therapy. In an effort to make it useful for me I had to switch therapists. The first therapist needs a post all on her own for the level of ignorance and incompetence she displayed. The new therapist is much better. However on the first few visits she wanted to talk about the “pain triangle” that I keep seeing brought up by health care providers in this area. I see big holes in their pain triangle and the logic they use to back it up and frankly I am tired of hearing this information. It suggests that people with chronic pain are super sensitive to pain and that’s the explanation for everything. They posit that people with chronic pain had pain at one time, but now it’s just the mind playing tricks on the body. At the heart of the theory is the hypothesis that just because you have pain doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your body. And please, don’t tell me that I don’t understand your little story. I used to be a nurse. I have a graduate degree. This is just pure unadulterated bullshit.

I have an autoimmune disorder. Inflammation causes pain and I live with it everyday. I also have small protrusions on my cervical spine that shred the nerves in my neck. This condition was diagnosed by neurologists at Stanford. When I brought up this example to these pain-bots they insisted that all doctors don’t understand modern pain science. Stanford doesn’t understand modern pain science. Got it.

One thing that really bothers me about these people and their message is that they are using the opioid “crisis” as fuel for what they are selling. They insist people don’t understand pain, that’s why they take opioids. And everyone is listening to them because everyone in medicine is looking for an explanation for why they don’t treat pain anymore. Now they can say, “Hey, it’s not really pain, it’s just your mind playing tricks on you!” Wow, I feel so much better knowing that.

In our area this message is being proliferated by a group led by a doctor who I have met. Everything about this guy makes my empathetic bullshit detectors to go off. He doesn’t talk like any doctor I’ve ever met in my professional life working in the medical field. He says that pain management doctors are useless and only doing treatments to make money. I really believe that this dude is not a legitimate doctor. I looked up his credentials online and it said his license was expedited, which means it was granted without fully verifying his prior experience. I would love nothing more than exposing this guy. I’ve thought of calling the colleges he has attended to find out exactly what his history is. There are few things more dangerous than a narcissistic sociopath with a brain.

The Psychological Gut Punch

I’ve been having a lot of emotions swirling around. Mostly anger and sadness. I go through these periods often. The anger seems to be related to feeling invalid and is directed at people who have done things to make me feel invalidated.

A friend has her elderly mother living with her and lives nearby. My friend went out of town and asked me to check up on her mom, bring her groceries, etc. I was happy to do so. On Sunday her mother gave me a list of groceries and asked me to come by at noon. I didn’t leave enough time to get distracted in the grocery store. So when I arrived at my friend’s house it was 12:50. This was after I arrived and forgot her paper and had to drive back up the hill to get it.

I brought my friend’s mom her groceries and paper. I apologized for being late. My friends’ mom said, “Oh, that’s OK. She (my friend) told me that you are ALWAYS late.”

“How nice”, I said, with a fake smile.

The interaction flustered me and I could feel the anger rising inside of me. As I drove away I was thinking about how the interaction felt familiar. I was in a situation doing something kind or compassionate for someone, and instead of meeting me with kindness, I was met with criticism. Criticism about something I feel ashamed of.

Time has never been my friend. I’m always trying to cheat it in one way or another. I misjudge time frequently. I don’t allow enough time to get ready to go somewhere, and then I am late. Or I am supposed to be somewhere at a specific time and I get distracted by something which also makes me late. Sometimes when I make a point of it, I can be on time. Other times I can try my hardest and still fail.

What bothered me most about my friend’s mom’s comment was that my friend felt compelled to say that to her mother. I realize that there was probably no animosity in it but it doesn’t matter. I often find myself on the receiving end of these types of comments from my friend. What I have realized about her is that she needs to put down people around her for some reason, perhaps so that she can feel better about herself.

This friend attended my son’s birth and I really wish she hadn’t. She stayed with us for two weeks and during that time on many occasions made me feel bad about myself. I had severe postpartum depression and anxiety and I didn’t need that. To this day, 15 years later, she still brings up incidents from that time and criticizes me for it. Most of the time it is for things related to my OCD symptoms. She loves to repeat the story of how I was standing in front of the grocery freezer unable to make a simple choice of what item to buy due to anxiety.

My friend filmed the birth and shortly after she and my partner wanted to watch it. I asked them to wait until I was ready to watch it. Giving birth was traumatic for me and I wasn’t ready to relive it. One day I walked out into the living room when they thought I was asleep. There the two of them were, sitting and watching the birth video. They scrambled to stop the video from playing. They obviously had no regard for my feelings. To me, this is the definition of betrayal.

In the last 15 years I have changed tremendously. I barely resemble the person I once was. But to her I will ALWAYS be who I once was.

I realized after the “always late” comment that the resulting feeling is the same thing I used to feel with my now estranged siblings. It is like receiving a psychological gut punch. It’s always done under the guise of “kidding” so that If I react in any way I will just be told I am being too sensitive. No matter what I say or do with these people, I am always the one who is in the wrong, even when I am attempting to do something kind.

The perp downstairs

Last night around 11:00 I started hearing loud noises coming from the apartment below me. At first it was really loud door slamming. It happened about three times. I just moved into this apartment, so I don’t really know what the norm is for noise in this building. It’s been really hot here and everyone has their doors and windows open with fans blowing. I thought maybe it was accidental. But it was extremely loud, as if someone was slamming doors in anger on purpose.

Then I began to hear shouting. I went out on my deck and I could hear their voices piercing the quiet stillness of the hot summer night.

“Whose fault is it!?” he yelled. BAM@!! Something was hit with a huge force, rattling the walls of the apartment.

I could hear her voice, pleading. She was explaining, appeasing, trying to reason with him. She was crying.

When something like this happens and I’m alone, initially I freeze. Should I do something? Should I call the police? I felt immobilized. I felt angry. I wanted to go and knock on their door and tell him I was going to call the police. I reconsidered. He could have a gun. I decided to walk my dog, who needed to potty anyway. I walked down the three flights of stairs past their door. As I reached the ground floor I saw a police car just parking out front. Relieved, I walked up to him as he was exiting his vehicle.

“I’m so glad you’re here! I didn’t call you but I’m glad someone did.” I pointed him in the direction of the apartment. On my way back up the stairs the officer was standing at their door and it was open. My dog thought that was an invitation and tried to enter their apartment. “Wrong door”, I told him, keeping my eyes on the ground.

The cop took the guy out front for a talking to. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. It was quiet for a while and soon the cop left. A short time later they started up again, there was a brief period of yelling and then quiet. I knew he was probably blaming her that the police were called. I knew that the level of risk to her was raised exponentially because he had been exposed.

After it was over all I could think of was the number of times I have been the girl who was pleading, cajoling, and crying. Multiple times with my first boyfriend in high school. A short time after that with my first girlfriend after high school. There was sadness and anger. Sadness that after a childhood filled with alcoholism and violence, I was compelled to recreate it again and again. Anger at the perpetrators who excelled at making me feel like it was my fault.

I’m going to report the incident to the management. It seems likely that this could happen again. Next time I will call the police as soon as I hear it without second guessing myself. If I see him in the stairway I will give him a death look that says, I’m on to you.

I’m not going to let him disturb my sanctuary.


Moving, Live with real time updates

I should be packing right now. On Saturday movers will arrive to transfer my belongings from one apartment to another in the same complex. I haven’t had any help with packing and maybe I should have. I’m about fifty percent packed up. Not surprisingly my body is not cooperating.

The eagle talon pain is there on the left side of my body. The last two days I have pushed myself without rest and I am experiencing the effects of that. I haven’t been eating much. I’ve engaged in some adrenaline pumped shopping binges. I started drinking Frappucinos again as meal replacements.

The apartment complex I live in is filled with college students who unload their entire apartments into or beside the multiple dumpsters on the property. I have furnished my apartment with so many treasures rescued from the dumpsters. Now that the school year is over the dumpsters have been overflowing. I can’t seem to stop myself from raiding them. I get such pleasure from getting really good stuff for free. But I’m moving and I need to be packing, not raiding dumpsters.

I’m not kidding when I say really good stuff. Both my son’s and my wooden high quality bed frames came from there. Also, a beautiful modern desk in perfect condition. This last weekend I found a laundry basket with beautiful clean luxury linens in it. They looked like they came off of a bed fit for a princess. They were clean, but I washed them anyway of course. I’ve also gained beautiful stoneware plates and bowls, a brand new Wok, and expensive cutting knives for the kitchen. It’s astonishing what people throw away.

A friend offered to help me move. She can be very judgmental. It just seems to be part of her personality. She helped me move years ago and was critical of how prepared I was when the movers arrived. The thought of her judging me is in the back of my mind when I pack. I keep thinking I must do better than that move years ago.

The plan today is to stay in the moment. Pack one item at a time. When the inner voice says I must keep going I will take rest breaks anyway. My plan is to take one 15-minute break for every hour that I work. My mind says that is way too much rest for the task ahead of me. But the alternative is continuing to push and to create adrenaline to distract myself, which will lead to increased pain and fatigue.

And now, back to work.

Relative wellbeing

A couple of people have asked how I’m doing so I am posting an update. How is that for a nice boring intro line? Combined with my highly specific title it should make for a viral post.

Part of the reason I haven’t been writing is because of my obsessive need for perfection. But enough about that. Right now I’m not doing well at all. Just day before yesterday I was going to write a post entitled “Healing is possible.” Today that seems like a long forgotten dream.

I have not been able to give up Kratom. I seem to forget quite often that I have not just one illness, but several. The fatigue and pain at times seems unbearable. But I wasn’t thinking about that when I decided to give up Kratom. The symptoms persist. And without Kratom, what do I have to help? Cannabis helps, but not all the time. I don’t want to go back to pharmaceuticals.

My mind is in a dark place right now. I’m tired of fighting, trying to balance my thyroid, etc. Waves of sadness wash over me with great regularity. Many times it seems as if there is no rhyme or reason. My dreams are active and full of people from my past that have gotten lost along the way. Mostly family members. It feels very much like I go somewhere when I dream. I wake up exhausted and agitated.

It feels as if something terrible has happened or is about to happen. The right side of my brain feels filled with cement, pulling my neck to the right. There is a sense of urgency about trying to figure out what could be causing this most recent downward turn of events. Is it something I’m doing or not doing? Is it something I’m taking or not taking? How can I fix it? I can’t.

By the end of the day the muscles in the right or left side of my upper back tense to the point that it torques my shoulder out of position. It often feels as if I am being gripped by a huge steel talon. Is something attacking me on a psychic level? Often these symptoms come after a period of relative wellbeing as if to remind me that it is not safe to trust the universe, to relax, or to be happy. Healing becomes out of the question. It is very rare that a general sense of well-being is present. I call it relative wellbeing when I am not completely overwhelmed with symptoms and can do things like go to the grocery store and make dinner.

Sometimes I wonder, am I releasing myself from a self-inflicted prison and then re-caging myself because it feels the safest? Why am I always filled with so much guilt and shame?