Hope

I have an appointment for a county evaluation this coming Thursday. Evaluations always confirm my BPD, depression and anxiety. It’s what can be done that I’m looking for.

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By the way, my dog Chi seems to be 100% again!the vet thinks it was an autoimmunity. Cortisone helped. I sure do love her. When I broke down last week, she quickly jumped up on my bed and curled into me as I sobbed. It was the first time she’d jumped up on the bed in a month. She did it for me.

Worry and Panic about my dog

Chi

Chi

 

My dog has been lethargic the last several days. She ran and played hard on Friday. Saturday found her quiet and sleeping. A little stiff, I thought. Same same on Sunday. I began wondering if she’d picked up a bug. That  would take a few days to work through, so I tried to be patient on Monday. By Monday night, I noticed that her stool was very soft, though not diarrhea. She continues to eat, but only wants to get up when she needs to go outside. I was gone for several hours yesterday (Tuesday) and didn’t get home until early evening. Still very lethargic. My husband noticed that some bumps were showing on her snout. Bumps like the ones that erupted on  her snout last spring – and she was on two antibiotics for weeks. Ears down, tail down, trouble getting up from her bed. I felt desolate with worry about what was going on. She’s only a year old.

I was up with her for a couple of hours during the night. She did walk outside (it may have helped hearing deer munching on the twigs and leaves of branches we had trimmed, right next to the.) This morning, she  is walking a little better, but still doesn’t want to get up.  Thankfully, I’m able to get her into the vet’s office in a few hours. So, stool sample in hand (in a baggie), I hope to get some answers and help for her soon. She’s my baby girl, after all, and has been there for me through a lot of depression last fall. She’s my Chi.

Feeling Fragile

I’ve been with my mom for three weeks now, a week and a half since my  dad passed. All the other relatives have returned home, but I’m still needed here to support her and tidy up all the loose ends. Yesterday, we chose a burial plot for his cremains. We also went to visitation for a good friend of his who passed a week after he did.

All of life seems to be about death right now. Maybe that’s why I broke down last night and cried for my dad to come back and tell me it is all OK. I opened his bedroom door, hoping to see his ghost, but didn’t. I lay in bed, hoping his image would appear at the door with a twinkle in his eyes and a loving smile, but nothing was to be seen. I, his 50 year old daughter, cried and cried for the father I had lost.

It was his time to go, but I NEED to know that he was OK with it and how his life had played out. I had hope to have that conversation with him during his last days, but, although he was not in pain, breathing was so difficult as his lungs filled, he couldn’t talk because of the effort. At one point, when palliative care was decided (hospice), he asked me if it was the right choice. All I could answer was that we wanted him to be comfortable. I knew, and I think he did too, that nothing more could be done to try and heal him. His heart was failing as the valves leaked and constricted. He could no longer endure or survive surgery. How do you tell someone that the doctors can’t fix you anymore?

So after months of feeling better than I have in years, I feel like I’m about to crumble into a childlike heap of tears and emotions of loss and abandonment. But I can’t. I am needed as a pillar for my 88 year old mom.

Is this, then, my test of recovery? Will I hold strong now, only to fall apart once I am home and she is safe here? I hope not. I don’t want to fall back into that pit. I want to live and flourish in life. I have new friends who support me in ways I never experienced. I know I have to feel the pain, the loss, and know that it doesn’t have to consume me. I can feel it and be OK. I can, I can. I guess that needs to be my new mantra.

Fear and Loathing

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The river of life

I’m not at home right now. I had to return to my parents’. My dad is failing – as in death. I fear his death. His body has gone through hell over the years and it is a miracle that he is still alive. I loath this whole situation. My mom needs me, though, and I am and will be here for her. I love them both very much. This is a difficult part of life. A part I’ve never dealt well with. Mortality. There’s no coming back once the line has been crossed. I’m glad I never crossed it during any of my struggles.

This situation has caused me to reflect on all of my suicidal ideation episodes. I feel horrible about the emotional pain I have put others through over the years. I feel very calm about where we are at with my dad. He seems to be at peace and all that is left is tiredness. The hourglass has almost emptied. I’m confused by my calmness. All of my BPD seems absent. Am I in shock? I just don’t know.

Unconditional Love and a Time for Change

I’ve felt better lately than I’ve felt in well over a year. Not sure why. Maybe all the stress from my last year or two has finally dissipated. I’m glad for whatever reason. It’s allowed me to be emotionally available for my son as his girlfriend breaks up with him, yet again and probably for good. Last night, he asked me to hang out with him, in his room, and watch a movie. I cherished it. Sometimes you just want to be with someone that you know loves you unconditionally. Mom love. So, we watched one of those feel-good cartoon movies. Very calming.

I know there are many people out there, healthy or mentally ill, who haven’t had or have a mother who loves them unconditionally, and I feel very sad about that. It really is a loss. My son and I argue – a LOT! He’s almost seventeen, and we’re both stubborn. But even in the midst of a huge argument, I know that I can stop and tell him that I love him, and he will say that he loves me too. To me, that speaks volumes about unconditional love between a parent and child. I know that he has no doubt that he is loved and valued, just because he “is.”  For me, always having a very low self esteem, it says that I have accomplished a major goal in parenting. And it helps me feel better about myself.

That grain of feeling better about my self will hopefully flourish and grow and be able to feed me in having the strength of resolve to make other positive changes in my life. The positive changes that I’m addressing are finding a job that respects and honors me as a valuable person, and taking better care of myself through addressing emotional eating, exercising more and in constructive ways for weight loss and making healthier food choices (and choices in general.) I’m fifty and have at least eighty pounds that I’d like to lose. I’m going to do something scary here and show three pictures of me: thin ( 2 @ twenty years ago) and fat (current picture.) I’m not sure quite how I lost control of my weight over the years, but I hate the way my body feels now. I need to appreciate and love myself, respect and take care of myself so that I can be at my best – and fully be there for those I love.

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‘Twas the night before Christmas and a little anxiety crept about …

English: Christmas food of Poland, Sanok

The holidays are hard for me though. In addition to the general stress of them and family and trying to be on my best behavior and not argue at all, there’s the food, food, FOOD! It triggers the eating disorder part of me that I’ve also struggled with – failingly – since I managed to stay pretty thin until I went into treatment for bulimia at age 29, but it’s been a downhill battle and increasing weight gain ever since then and my weight is now up about 80 pounds from when I when into treatment! That does a ceaseless number on my self esteem and really makes being around boundless quantities of food distracting. I learned this summer that my bulimia was actually another form of self harm. Unfortunately, my body got to the point that throwing up felt like my chest was being ripped wide open, with no purging results, so I’m left stuck with ingesting food that becomes extra weight.  Sometimes I can kind of forget about my body image … until I see myself in a picture or mirror. And then the self loathing returns. And I want to purge … but I can’t. And I haven’t been self harming (burning or cutting), and know I should keep away from that but would really really really like to – so here I go into the remainder of Christmas Eve and onto Christmas Day with more food, food, food and smiling and not telling. I feel like the size of the Abominable Snowman. I can feel my anxiety bubbling up and ready to seep out or every crevice as if my body was made of porous  building blocks.

I do love my family, every one of them!

A birth that might not have been – had the threat been real.

This is a digital story I made about my son and some circumstances that were going on during my delivery of him, unbeknownst to me. In making it, I was constantly reminded of how much he means to me and the impact he has had on so many lives. As a person who struggles with their own self worth, I need to remember that although I am no longer a child, I too have been that child. Whether I’ve always liked myself or not, I’ve touched the lives of others as well. But I don’t want this post to be about me. I want to share my digital story of my son, Peter, with you.

Uncertainty

The Age of Uncertainty

The Age of Uncertainty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately I’ve doubted myself a lot. Quite a lot. I’ve doubted my ability to be a decent wife and a competent mother. I’ve wondered if my husband and son would be better off if I left. All I seem to bring to our lives is chaos, anger and arguments. My emotions then plummet into turmoil and depression, self doubt, questioning any value I offer to anyone by my presence. I feel as if I make every day, every situation worse. I no longer know what to say or do that will have a positive effect for myself or those I care about, so I’m afraid of each interaction – no matter how small it may be.

Shambhala Card

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To overcome uncertainty is utterly good.

Commentary:Uncertainty here refers to doubting yourself or the existence of basic goodness. When you don’t punish or condemn yourself, when you relax and appreciate your body  and mind, you begin to contact basic goodness in yourself. So it is extremely important  to be willing to open yourself to  yourself.

As human beings, we have a working basis within us that allows us to uplift our state of existence and cheer up fully. Because we have a mind and body, we can comprehend this world. Existence is wonderful and precious. We don’ know how long we will live. While we have our life. why not make use of it? Before we even make use of it, why don’t we appreciate it?

Dear Almighty – Please help me to like transitions, especially this one called life!

After weeks of deep depression (those who read my blog know how I was struggling), I was reunited with my husband and a year of intense stress seemed to fall away. After reading the article I re-posted in my last post, and the reply to my comment I received, I was thinking that maybe most of the year had been an intense and long relapse. But it wasn’t because it had been building up for years. It was more of a culmination. Like a zit exploding. Slowly.

One thing I’ve know about myself my whole life is that I hate transitions. I guess that’s part of being impulsive. I don’t like the waiting, the journey, the process. Once I’ve decided, I want IT, I want it done, I want to be there, and so on. Transitions are difficult. No, not just difficult. They are downright hard at times. They offer up opportunities for change. If someone has said they will love you forever …. and they one day they say they don’t love you anymore – well, then, point proved. Transition. Over time (transition) they changed their mind. The same goes with saying they will be with you forever … You begin to see how people with such as myself, might have issues with transitions and the nuances of problems that can arise due to them.

Time is comprised of transitions. (That might even be something of it’s definition in a building block way.) But I get to bogged down in the enormity of it all if I try to dissect time and put it all back together, and that’s not the point of this particular post topic. If I want to stop the transition of time, I sit in my back yard garden where birds fly about, wind chime gently chime in the breeze the fountain gurgles, all seeming to bring time to a stand still in tranquility.

Zip back to my post title and the topic at hand … you all thought I was drifting off, I’ll bet! Anyways, long depression, anxiety, struggling with self harm, yadda yadda yadda … started to lift and feeling much better the last few weeks after reuniting with my husband and the sale of out old house 2,000 miles away and all together in our new house. New house, new state, new life? Then anxiety and depression, and even thinking (but not acting) about self harming started creeping back in very quickly over the last few days. Self doubt, fear of decisions and upcoming TRANSITIONS! Yesterday, I lay in bed thinking about it all and wondering about it all and how these behaviors and thoughts have been a prominent thread in the weaving of my life – probably more like the warp or weft of the weave that is the fabric of my life. Everything is built upon it. So, I thought back to how transitions have been the one thing I have always been aware of struggling with. Funny, that with all my behaviors I’ve never really been aware of what was consistent with them. My husband could have probably told you what would set me off, but I couldn’t. Forrest for the trees (sorry, I digress again!) All of a sudden it hit me that life was nothing but one long transition from birth to death. It’s a transition there is no way for me to impulsively avoid. Things WILL happen along the way. Some things I will influence, others, I will not. Much like when I decide to get up from my table here in my garden and return to my house. I can choose the time and the path, but there are rock and leaves in my path that I will step on that may cause me to slip. I didn’t put them there. I can scour the ground watching for them, but I will then not see the beauty of my garden and may even miss and walk into a low hanging branch. So I need to find balance enough to enjoy the transition back into my house.

Going back to work is a transition that is creating a lot of anxiety. I’ve always worked, though, being very high functioning and using work almost as a coping mechanism. Perhaps my anxiety means that I’m not quite ready to go back. I still need this recuperative time to find some internal peace, self soothing and care giving. The people closest to me have not been physical nurturers (huggers) and for some reason I’ve always craved physical touch. Maybe not my whole life. I don’t know. My first intimate relationship was very physical, but then he turned and was abusive. So something must be twisted up in there, confused in my mind. He fulfilled a need that no one else has, but then, abused me and there is a lot of shame and punishment connected with that. Mental moment. Bad transitional period into adulthood. So I punished myself.I’m trying to not punish myself now, but to let myself know when the time is right. It’s hard. waiting is a difficult transition.

Most transitions have been hard for me to handle. I’ve regretted the decisions I’ve made and felt ashamed of them, then tried to hide my poor judgement from others. I’ve tried to overcompensate by doing more than I was asked to so people wouldn’t notice how incompetent I was (shell game with my skills.) Or, I just plain wouldn’t make a decision so someone else would have to, and then I would suffer through the transition.

So here I am, realizing that life is one long transition comprised of a multitude of transitions. There’s no getting around them, under them, over them. I have to go THROUGH them. Even though I hate them. So please Almighty, help me to learn to like transitions (even a little) because live is a long one!

 

Adventures of the Feather in an Uncertain World

A short story I wrote years ago that reflected my not fitting in:

Adventures of the Feather in an Uncertain World

 By: Catherine (aka, Hawkruh)

I wrote this the last time I went to a family reunion. I felt loved by everyone, but didn’t feel like I fit in any more. I was on the outside looking in.

INTRO: Have you ever seen a bird with a feather out of place? Jutting out at an angle away from the smooth coat formed by the rest of its feathers, the single feather appears in need of plucking. Trying to smooth it back into the others is futile. It may blend in for a short while before the tension in its attachment becomes too strong and its direction changes, out of place again. For the sake of writing a story, pretend that I am that feather, and the coat of feathers is my family.

For years and years, the feather tried to twist its shaft so that it would blend in with the other feathers. With each attempt, the other feathers would look at it and wonder at its gyrations. I was actually quite comical to them to watch the various ways the feather would try to get it to fit in. But it puzzled them as well. You see, the feather didn’t understand why it was so different and felt out of place, confused, and angry because of it. It wasn’t trying to be a distraction from the beauty of the bird. Yet, it felt it was and became ashamed that it hadn’t been able to find a way to fit in. Other than the feather, it was a beautiful bird with luxurious plumage of various colors and lengths. The other feathers all found their place, whether long and slender, short and broad, of vibrant hues or a subdued gray. The bird was full of love, proud of itself and all that it had seen and done. As the single feather twisted itself, trying to change, it became more of an irritation to the bird. Where the feather’s attempts had been amusing for a time, the bird was now tired of it and wanted the feather to stop distracting the bird as it went about its business.

With a sad sigh and a heavy heart, the feather stopped trying to fit in. It feared that if it continued, the bird would pluck it out in exasperation and toss it to the wind. If that were to happen, the feather would float alone, at the mercy of the wind, time, and gravity with an unknown fate.

So, the feather tried to stop fitting in. But it was hard, very hard. And sometimes the feather found itself twisted, again trying to change. Occasionally, when twisting and turning, the bird would peck at the feather and threaten to pluck it out. The feather would quickly stop and be very still, afraid of where it would end up if that were to happen. While still, the feather would look at the other feathers and see how well they complimented each other. They blended together and covered the bird with shimmering color, creating protection for the bird through their unity. The feather longed to have a purpose as important as theirs.

Time went by. Some days, the feather was content, even happy. The sun shone, and the bird flew on gentle breezes across the land. When it rained, the bird took shelter wherever it could; a flowering bush, a protective branch, and once, with a group of other birds, which seemed to speak the same language. The last time that a group of the birds too shelter together, the feather listened closely as the birds chattered about where they had come from and their hopes for the future.

There was talk of flying together – safety in numbers – as the weather started cooling and the days grew shorter. The feather hoped that the bird would join the others in their flight. It all sounded like a great adventure! It continued to worry about not fitting in with the bird’s other feathers, but thought it might be able to forget about it if the flight got exciting. And then, one cool morning, there was no need for words as the birds rose as one and began their flight towards warmer places that would have enough food and shelter for them all. The feather shook with excitement, and a little fear, for what lay ahead.

As the bird rose high into the air with the others, the feather knew that its life would soon change forever. The birds flew, rising and dipping, turning and twisting. It seemed impossible that the flock was hundreds of birds and not just one. the movements were so well coordinated. Quickly, they were higher than the feather had ever been. The wind and force of the upward motion were very strong; pulling the feather until it had no control of itself and fearing it would be pulled loose and left behind as the flock flew south. That fear caused the feather to cling as tightly as ever it had to the bird. Where they were headed was unknown, a mystery; causing fear to swell in the feather. But to be completely alone, left behind and without the unity of the other feathers and birds, would be a sure death.

The birds flew south for day. Each morning, they would rise in flight as if on command, though none was given. Each night, they would land and find shelter and food in a field. And as the birds rose into the sky, each morning, the strong winds again woke fear in the feather. Somehow, it managed to maintain its connection with the bird, although the fear never truly went away. Each night brought relief because the feather kept thinking that the field they had landed in might be their final destination.

Eventually, a morning came when the birds did not take flight, but continued to eat and talk to each other through the day. The feather was happy and even found that there were days when it forgot how different it was from the other feathers. Those days were like golden seeds to the bird because all was well.

Days passed uncounted, but enjoyed. Eventually, the days started getting longer and warmer. The feather had been noticing other flocks of birds in the air. They all seemed to be flying in the direction the bird had come from. Once again, the feather found itself confused and feeling different from the others. Unsure of itself, it again began its gyrations, attempting to blend in with the others. It was actually more difficult than it had been earlier in the feather’s life. The feather’s shape had changed and it was also stiffer now. The twisting and turning that it had done before with temporary success was virtually impossible now. The tension of twisting was so great that as soon as it started to relax, it sprang back to its previous position, protruding at an angle away from the head of the bird.

Exhausted and discouraged, the feather gave up trying to fit in with the other feathers and shifted its focus to the lengthening days and increased activity in the sky. And then on morning, as had happened before the birds had flown here, birds again gathered in the area that the feather’s bird was. When the flock had gathered and rested for a few days, it again race as one being and climbed high into the air. Fly and roost, fly and roost, the flock traveled to the north. When, again, a morning came when the flock did not take to the sky, the feather knew it was home for a time.

Day by day, the flock grew smaller as birds flew to nearby areas, usually in pairs. The feather’s bird was still part of a larger group. The feather wondered how the birds decided to stay with the group or to pair up and move off. Once again, the feather was confused by the events going on around it. It quieted itself. No longer did it try and make itself like the other feathers. That had become too difficult as well as not working. The feather became quiet. It couldn’t fit in, and it also didn’t want to draw attention to itself. In its stillness, the feather felt the warmth of the sun and the gentle brush of a breeze, opening itself to absorb it all. The warm breeze helped it to feel strong and confident.

As the flock grew smaller, the feather noticed that the bird was acting differently around the remaining birds. With some, it was aggressive and tried to get them to leave. With other birds, it seemed to show off by walking proudly and trying to get their attention. When the bird was around these birds, the feather felt a tingle running up its shaft. This feeling made it want to pull away from the other feathers and to stand as straight and tall as it could. It actually wanted to be different and for the other birds to look at it because of how uniquely different it was.

Finally, the bird was chosen by one of the other birds that gave it a lot of attention, even as the others drifted away in pairs. As the two birds came together, the feather understood its difference and was glad about it. It had been the key to gaining the other bird’s attention. The feather’s angle and length showed that it was stronger than all of the other feathers on all of the other birds. It was because of this strength that the other bird had chosen the feather’s bird. The feather was happy with a deep contentment. To be so different from the other feathers, to not fit in, had been a gift that the feather was able to give the bird. To fit in, as it had tried so hard to do, would have left the bird alone when all the others had found a match. Realizing this, the feather quivered, held itself up as straight and tall as it could, spread itself to catch the breeze, and was happy.

The feather’s happiness continued until one day when the bird became angry at the feather and plucked it out, tossing it into a mud puddle. The feather was confused by the bird’s action. It wanted to be back with the bird, to return to that was impossible once it had been plucked. The feather lay in the puddle until the water had dried up. Now, covered in dirt, the feather felt invisible as it blended in with the ground. A tremendous sadness filled the feather, as it believed that it would remain on the ground until passers-by had trampled it into dust.

Many people traveled the path that the feather lay in. Some did step on it, causing bruising and rough it up a bit. It felt that its fears had been justified and were coming to be, and it wilted even further. Its days of purpose were gone. So, too, was the fear and excitement of clinging tightly to the bird as it flew high into the sky with the other birds as they traveled.

One day, a light rainfall started and fell continuously through the day. The tiny drops fell on the feather gently. Those that fell around it were not even large enough to make a sound or puddle as they hit the ground.

A woman walked down the path with her eyes downcast in sadness. She was thinking of her sleepless child who was having bad dreams that woke him the moment he fell asleep. As her lowered eyes followed the path, she saw the feather. The gentle rain had washed away the dirt and its unusual beauty and color now showed. Seeing the feather, the woman remembered the dream catcher that had hung above her bed as a child. Her mother had placed it there when she was having bad dreams and not sleeping. The woman had completely forgotten her own trouble with sleeping until seeing the feather. It was the colors of the feather that was so startling to her. The blues in it were the same color as her mother’s eyes.

Picking up the feather, the woman said a quiet thank you and shed a single tear in gratitude for the gift of the feather.  As the tear slid down her cheek, it glistened in the emerging sunlight and looked like a diamond as it fell to where the feather had lain in the path.

The woman created a simple, but beautiful dream catcher. Hanging from its center was the feather.

Note: If you’re not familiar with dream catchers, know this, a dream catcher is a circle made from a slender branch or vine. A sinuous strand is woven across it, looking like a spider web. The web catches the bad dreams, however, the good dreams are able to slide down the feather to the sleeping person below. The feather dangled and drifted as a gentle feather wind blew. Securely attached, yet lithe and purposeful, it felt fulfilled.