Posted in anxiety, Depression, friendship, health, Life, Mental Health, mental illness, People, relationships

Looking for the Lesson

So, I have to go in for my next rabies shot this morning. Even though I’m like 99.8% sure at this point that neither the cat nor I have rabies, I figure I still might as well finish what I started. Who knows when a furious raccoon might charge me as I’m walking to my car at 5 a.m., right? And when/if that happens, I’ll have a super power- the rabies vaccine, POW! Bite away, you frothy mouthed trash demon. Can’t kill me! Well, unless you sever an artery or something with your fetid claws.

As you can probably tell, I’m feeling a little less terrified and a little more back in reality than I was. Do I feel sheepish at all? Eh, maybe a tad. But listen- I am nothing if not a hypochondriac, and if I hadn’t gone ahead and handled this, I’m sure I would’ve only prolonged my misery and panic. Anyway, even though the odds of that cat having rabies were pretty low, what I may not have mentioned was that she WAS in some sort of altercation with another animal the week prior, and we do have a dearth of raccoons and skunks that frequent our yard. Those animals are notorious for carrying rabies, and the cat wasn’t vaccinated, and ALSO, there have been rabid animals in our county withing the past year. So…still, a bit (like a big bit) of an overreaction, but for me, too much knowledge, paired with a big imagination and a healthy dose of anxiety equals a real bad scene.

Thursday morning was the day of my rapid unraveling. It is now Sunday, and I am not yet 100% myself. I continue to wake up jittery and nervous, I’m avoiding my normal routine of coffee, coffee and more coffee ( I just stick with 1-2 cups, rather than endless), and everyday tasks such as changing my clothes and accomplishing anything much have been a bit beyond my reach. I did change from my pajamas into regular clothes yesterday, but they were the same clothes I wore the day before that, so…not really an accomplishment. It’s not like I was out rolling in mud or anything, but still. I finally began to feel almost regular by about noon yesterday, yet in terms of energy and drive I am still flagging. I’m sure such a rapid increase in adrenaline in ones body, along with whatever else might be happening, causes a big crash. I’m just speculating, but it seems logical.

I’ve been looking for the lesson in all of this- that’s just something I’ve always done, since I was a very young woman. I try to figure out what I am supposed to be learning from the thing that I am going through. Right now, I am taking from this that the effects of stress on me, mentally, will eventually come boiling to the surface. It is up to me to put my foot down and protect myself. That stupid and trite saying about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first absolutely applies here- I was trying to help other people when I have been seriously in need of some care, myself. My body, my brain, my spirit- they all got together Thursday and declared a state of emergency. I had no choice but to listen anymore. So, even if the thing I did to care for myself seems strange & over the top, it was a rational reaction to the crazy feeling inside of me. I honored myself by listening, even though I was embarrassed and scared.

Another thing I am learning from this is stop looking for help in people who refuse to be available to you. When you reach out to someone and they are not able to hear you, stop reaching out to that person. The toll it will take on your already vulnerable self is devastating. I have been incredibly sad about the rejection I felt from not one but two different people I have tried to reach out to, lately, and I know that added to the mini-breakdown I’ve had. But you know what? I found exactly what I needed, and BECAUSE I was so desperate at that moment, I did something unusual for me, and I kept reaching out. I called my friend Donna, and she came immediately to take my daughter so I could go to the hospital, EVEN THOUGH she thought I was out of my mind (not wrong) she humored me because she could see that I was hurting. She then brought my daughter to me at the hospital so they could examine her for bites or scratches, and after that, took the cat to the SPCA.  My boss, who is amazing and so supportive, sat with me on the phone at least four times and listened to me cry and told me it was okay to feel how I felt, and it was okay to not work, just to try to get better. My Ex, who I have a difficult relationship with at times, is currently sleeping on my couch so that I feel safe, and so I can have hugs, and also, so he can help with our daughter. I have incredibly good friends who go above and beyond for me. I don’t have billions of them, but I have a few really good ones.

Yesterday, I dropped off a few little gifts for people that weren’t expecting them. My neighbor who’s had a really rough few years, my boss who ought to have expected it…that went a long way in cheering me up. I really fell apart, you guys. I’m putting myself back together. I don’t think I will be exactly the same person when all the puzzle pieces are back in place. I don’t think I am supposed to be. I think maybe that’s part of the reason we fall apart to begin with- so that we can come back a little differently, and maybe a little better, than we were. Maybe that’s the lesson.

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Posted in adventure, family, friendship, Learning, Life, love, Musings, People, relationships

Best Friends are Forever

I am, despite my hermit tendencies (these have not always existed, by the way- I used to go out almost every single night when I was younger) the kind of girl who is friendly with just about everyone. I live in a smallish town, and lived here throughout high school and the bulk of my 20’s, and, after moving away for a while, I’ve lived here for most of the years after that as well. So I know a lot of people. I can’t really leave my house without running into someone I know, at least marginally. There are no end to the familiar faces around here.

But I have always had a best friend, and that was the friend I could be my realest self with, tell all my dirty secrets to, and be as God-awful as I needed to be, knowing they would still love me. I have been so lucky to have these women (well, they are all women now) in my life, and I can’t imagine what that life would have been like without them. It certainly would have been lonelier, and a lot less fun.

I met Grace when I was 15, on a camping trip that I’m pretty sure I had lied through my teeth to get to go on. I had met this guy, and I really wanted to hang out with him, so I thought that spending the night with him in the woods was a pretty safe bet. Anyway, luckily, there were a lot of other people there, so when he got super drunk off tequila and had a fit because I wouldn’t sleep with him and started chasing me around in the middle of the night, I was able to hide in a car with Grace (She was there with her big sister) and her friend Danielle. I remember they were eating salami and cheese, and I just hunkered down there with them for a while. I don’t remember what else happened that night, but I know that I survived it, obviously.

A few weeks later, I ran away from home (again) and wound up at the home of an older friend named Robert who sort of took in strays- stray people, I mean, not animals. It just so happened that Grace was staying there too, with her sister Mindi, who lived there but didn’t ever stay there, and she offered to let me bunk with her. From that moment on, we became inseparable. We smoked cigarettes together, and starved to death together, praying that Mindi would stop by eventually and bring us Taco Bell. We annoyed everyone around us (we were always the youngest) and we bickered like sisters. Grace once broke up with a guy because he didn’t like me. I named my oldest daughter after her. When she fell in love, finally, with a man that she would go on to have a very long term relationship with, it was traumatic for me…obviously, this did not end our friendship, but it was the first time she had chosen someone else over me, and it was hard. On both of us. Of course, we went on to have many, many other adventures, but things changed, as they do, and so…

I met Vera. Vera was a close friend to a guy I was supposed to be roommates with but ended up hooking up with, and yeah, that wasn’t a total mess. I think I was 25 at the time? Anyway, Vera was (and is) just captivating and beautiful, like, seriously, and the coolest thing about her is that she is incredibly modest about the whole thing. Like, if she knew how gorgeous she was and acted as such, she would be unbearable, but she is totally like “eh, whatever, shut up”.  You have never met a more approachable, accepting human being. She is cool with EVERYONE.

Anyway, one day I got in a terrible fight with the guy I was living with, and I didn’t know where to go, so I went to her house- remember, I didn’t know her all that well, but she knew him, so maybe I was looking for some insight, who knows. She made me feel better, and we just bonded, and once again, after that we were inseparable.

What you should know about me and these friendships is that in both instances, when I say “inseparable”, I mean REALLY. We saw each other every single day, pretty much. Grace and I slept together in a twin sized fold out bed for the better part of a year. Vera was in a serious relationship when I met her, and she got in trouble all the time because we were constantly running around together well into the wee hours of the morning. On the days we didn’t physically see each other, we talked on the phone and made plans for the next day. I’m sure there were times that we got busy with our lives and did other things, but I honestly don’t remember that as much as I remember our constant togetherness.

Eventually, I moved away for a few years, and in that time Vera and Grace became best friends with each other. So when I moved back, instead of it being weird, we all became a little clump of best friendship. And then Vera met someone new, and moved away. Then Grace met someone new, and became very busy with that. And I was sort of left here, with this hole in my life, sometimes missing them so very much, but it wasn’t like we weren’t friends anymore, it was just…life happened.

About three years ago, I met a girl named Cinamon (yes, I spelled it correctly, and yes, this is her real name) at one of my meetings. Let me be clear- this was the first time I had met her, but I had been hearing about her for YEARS. She and her twin sister had run in the same circles as I did, but we just somehow had never crossed paths. When I walked into my meeting that night, I knew exactly who she was and I was like “finally!” because I knew I would meet her one day. She said she took one look at me and knew we were going to be friends.

She had a tiny newborn baby when I met her. By the time Delilah was 4 months old, Cinamon was my roommate, and she lived with me for about a year. Somehow, we not only managed to stay friends through that (I am AWFUL to live with) but we grew even closer after she moved out. She is the person I want to call every time there is anything going on in my life that I want to dish about. She knows exactly who I am, and she still thinks I am awesome. I think she is the most patient, kind, loving human being I have ever met…and she’s still super fun and weird and silly.

The other day, she called me and said she was on her way over, she needed to go through my closet and find a shirt, and it hit me- she filled the spot! How lucky am I? To get to have not just one, but three best girl friends in my life? I may not see Vera and Grace as much as I once did, but you can bet your ass, when we do get together it’s like not a minute has passed. And now I have Cinamon, and I am so grateful for her.  One TRUE friend is worth fifty kind-of friends, in my book, and I get to have three that I would do almost anything for.

I’m really counting my blessings for them this morning. I love you guys. 🙂

Posted in Addiction, advice, Blogging, family, friendship, Goals, inner peace, Life, People

Simple Pleasures

 

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When I started this blog, I thought that it would be about a woman (me) on a quest to better herself, to stave off the BS that is aging, and how she (I) learned to be, or to stay, beautiful…Man, I could never have guessed how right I was, in some respects, and how misguided I was, in others. I had no idea the battle that lay ahead, that I would be swept back up, on several occasions, pinned back down beneath the tsunami of my own addiction. I could not have guessed that, by the time I got here, to this day, I would be far less interested in the state of my appearance than I was in the state of my spirit. That my crows feet would not even place on the top ten list of my current concerns.

I know I talk about my struggle with drugs a lot, and if that bothers you, I highly encourage you to find another blog to read…because drugs are a huge part of my story, a major contributing factor in the making of me as you know me, a curse and also a blessing. ‘How in the world can you call it a blessing ?’ You might be asking yourself…well, let me explain, would you?

If it weren’t for the drugs, that revealed my illness, that caused all the struggle, the hardship, the bullshit…I would never have known the joy of overcoming all of it. I would never have gotten through it and looked back and thought, ‘Man, you made it out alive, through all of THAT?’ . There are things I will keep to myself, that I will never write about in this blog, or tell my mother, or share with most people, because they just don’t need to know. But rest assured, when I tell you that my life was hard, and sad, brutal and depraved, even- you can trust that I am telling you the truth. I wasted a lot of years on what amounted to very little.

But I learned from it. And because of all of that, my appreciation for what I have in my life today, the simple, little, common pleasures are profound. Last night, I made dinner and watched Matilda with both of my daughters and my older daughters boyfriend, and I realized that even a month ago, I would not have found myself there. No one wanted to be around me, and that was fine, because I didn’t want to be around them either. Now, it is the best part of my day, spending time with people I love. Actually, the whole day is the best part of my day, because at every turn, I am filled with gratitude. And that is why I can tell you that my illness is also a blessing- because the flip side of the coin is a wonderful way to be.

In the past month, i have done more than I have done in the past year, and I am not kidding you. I got my nose pierced with my daughter, I went to the boardwalk, I went to the mall. My sister came to visit me for three days, and I got to show her around town. I went to the lighthouse here for the first time ever. I went to a family barbecue in Palo Colorado Canyon. I painted with my toddler. I went to the library, twice. I read a book, I started writing a book, I wrote a couple of good blogs. I started exercising. I took a Zumba class, and pilates, and body sculpting. I lost five pounds. I hung out with old friends. I booked a vacation. I planned a day trip with some other friends. I went to a street festival. I went to some meetings. I called my mother- a lot. I talked to every person I love, at least one time. And that is just in the last MONTH. My life is so full of good, I can’t really describe it.

So…if you are out there, right in the middle of your own self imposed prison sentence, can you try to put yourself in my place? I am telling you, right now, you can start to turn it all around, you are just like me. Everyone who loves you still loves you. You can have back everything you had in your life…or nearly everything, and what you can’t have will be replaced by something just as good…maybe even better. Just think about it. And that is all I have to say today. :)addic

 

 

Posted in advice, aging, beauty, family, friendship, humor, inner peace, Learning, Life, People

Growing Up.

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I have spent most of my life terrified of being a grown up. I thought that it would be boring, depressing, lame and embarrassing. If you asked me, the ONLY benefit of being an adult was getting to eat ice cream for breakfast…and maybe the idea that you could have a kitten without begging your mother first. Also, when I still got a tax return, I kind of liked that. Oh yeah, and I did like the whole concept of having a home of my own in which to have sex…not that NOT having one ever did much to slow me down.

I was scared of becoming irrelevant, fat, unattractive, and being forced to drive a mini-van around while young people in Miata’s drove by laughing at my sloppy middle aged pathetic ass. I mean, I thought that just naturally happened when you hit a certain age. Now, here I sit, 38- nearly 39, and it occurred to me yesterday that A) I am an adult, and have been for quite some time, B) Being an adult without being a grown up is at least as sad as driving around in a mini-van, and C) I think I am finally growing up. And I really like it.

Here are a few reasons why I think I may be growing up:

It hit me that the whole purpose of working at a job is SO THAT YOU CAN PAY FOR THINGS LIKE BILLS. I mean, obviously, the hope is that you can get to a spot where you can also buy cute shoes, go out to dinner, and maybe take a vacation once in a while. But when you are a grown up, you pay your bills first and then see what is left. Hopefully, something. Maybe you sock some away into a savings account, maybe not ( I said I was growing up, I didn’t say I was all the way there yet, cut me some slack!). But you don’t go buy the shoes, go out to dinner, and then see what you can to about paying some bills. If you do it that way, you are adding a whole lot of stress to your life. By paying bills first, at least you know that even if you hate your shoes, you’ll have light to glare at them with.  This was a big breakthrough for me.

Another thing- It can take years to reach your limit with misery. My threshold has proven to be extraordinarily high. But once you reach it, maybe go a little beyond it, then finally get the hell out of it…Well, you realize that happiness, YOUR own, personal, happiness in life is THE MOST PRECIOUS thing you have. When I am not happy, there is no way I can make my kids happy, no way I can run my life with any hope for success. So I have become as protective of this happiness as I would if it WERE one of my children. I am not willing to make the kind of decisions I have in the past that led me to misery. I just won’t do it. Which leads me to this:

As a grown up, you learn that you can trust your gut instincts. Looking back over my life, the times I did not do this, things have never gone well. I promised myself a long time ago that once I was free of my last relationship, I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever go against my gut, not ever again. Last week, I chose to honor that promise, and I have no regrets. I am not going to complicate my life until I really think it is worth it, and I am not there right now.

Most wonderful of all of my discoveries, however, is this- Being a grown up can be amazingly fun, and really liberating. You know what? I have gotten a little fat, and I don’t turn heads the way I once did. Big fucking deal! Who needs that kind of scrutiny, anyway? It really bothered me for a while, but (thank GOD) I am so okay with all of it now. I had all that, for a long time, and now it is a younger generations turn. In the meantime, I am getting down to meat and potatoes of life- connecting with friends, taking care of myself, mentally, spiritually, physically, and with great affection and care. I don’t have to spend the time I once did wondering how I looked to everyone else. And I spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about that shit.

I love the knowledge gained with age- that we really are all going to look like idiots at times, and that can be part of the fun. I love finding that growing up can exist harmoniously with having a young, fun spirit. I really love the realization that this world is so big, there are no limits on the adventures and experiences we can choose to have…the only problem I can see now is how there will ever be enough TIME. But I will cross that bridge when i get to it.