Tag Archives: recovery

Not Yesterday’s tears

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written.   I’ve been holding things within, things that I don’t want tarnished by another person’s view, or comments.   I have had what some would call “wild” experiences, but they bring me tremendous comfort.   I am not ready to share them, and I may never be.    But I have so much gratitude for these signs, times.

I’ve had an eventful year so far, two days in San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed by a 7 day cruise with my best girlfriend.  It was amazing.   We visited St Croix, the place where someone very special to me took his last breath.   It was comforting to see such a beautiful place, I could easily visualize him there, and happy, and that is a gift, a true gift when someone dies too young.   It brought me peace.  We also visited St. Kitts (swam with dolphins), Barbados, Dominica (tubed down a river in a rain forest) and St. Maartan.

I returned home to my house in repair, and new windows.   I’ve been asked on numerous occasions if I hit the lottery, if I had a sugar daddy, or a new boyfriend who was footing the bills.  My answer is all the same.  No!    I have been blessed with good people in my life, good friends, family who look out for me.   For some reason, this year I scored, and big… I am again, very grateful.

The past few days have offered no restful sleep, and high pain levels.   I am tired, beyond tired.  I know I’m not alone here.    I’m reminded of a quote a friend told me many years ago “Fatigue makes cowards out of all of us”.   I wouldn’t quite describe myself as cowardly, but my body is clearly not cooperating with my desires or plans.  I don’t like it.  Today, after a couple of weeks with high pain levels, I want to raise the white flag and surrender.   I want to give up.    Today I called my dad, and during our conversation I unexpectedly starting to weep.

A couple of weeks ago I had a similar experience.  It was a sleepless night, I was scrolling through facebook and read a post that shared hundreds of ugly, vile comments on homosexuality.   At first I was in shock.   Then I got angry, and I wanted to respond, but I recalled a post by a friend who experienced something similar, and it helped me.  To my credit, I knew I was tired and could never hold a candle against people with such harsh views.  Instead, I cried.   The tears just flowed down my cheeks until the sheet I had tucked myself into needed to be replaced.    I am not gay.  My late sister called me “pathetically straight”.    I thought of her, and all my dear family and friends who are gay, and cried for them.  I cannot imagine being judged so harshly because of who I am.  I then cried for those I didn’t know who were being judged so harshly, so cruelly

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve also been witness to a friends “religious friends” judging her and her actions.    This instills so much anger in me.  Really?   When did God put you in charge of another person’s life?  Religious beliefs?  Spirituality?    I am not slamming ANY religion, but I am so dismayed by people who claim to be so holy, and yet they only portray to me and to many others, that this is NOT what I want in my life!  I have religious people in my life who treat me with respect, allow me the space for my own beliefs, and who are and will be there for me without judgement.  One cousin I am close to, who helps me more than he will ever know.  Who will, when asked, share his views and beliefs, and interpretation of the bible, but does not judge me or others.   Do I know which of these two examples is “right?”  No, but I sure the heck know which person I would like to hear more about his God from!  The paragraph is not about religion, but the lack of love, respect for others.   We are living in some pretty hard times, and frankly, I’ve run into some pretty cold people.

This afternoon I dug into my bureau that holds my most prized possessions.   Love letters, favorite toys of my aussie’s, pictures, emails, cards.   One of the items is packed neatly into a box with Bugs Bunny characters on the outside.  I opened it, and there was my sisters cap and gown, and the paperwork that we were handed when we went to see her graduate with a Criminal  Justice degree.   I pulled out the cap, the tassles that signified the year, and her graduating with honors.    I have had this neatly tucked away (and I have taken it out many times before) for almost 13 years.   She died April 8, 2003 at the age of 38.   Something fell out of her cap.  It was a pair of her sunglasses.   I wrapped everything back up, and then found an email from my older sister who gave us updates on how Darlene was doing.  This was 6 days before she died.   In the email she wrote “She seemed to have some unfinished business with Donna.  We had a hard time understanding her.  But it was a simple as ‘Tell Donna I love her and will miss her’.   I don’t think Darlene was able to say those things when Donna was here and it troubled her.”     Talk about tears.  I fell to my knees, sobbing.   Where was this email for the past 13 years?   Why had I not seen nor remembered it?    But you know what?    It was just what I needed, today, on this difficult day.  It was like having been penned and sent from heaven, itself.

And one last thing I’d like to share.  It was written in a card from the beautiful soul who I mentioned earlier who died in St. Croix.   “Dear Donna,  Being away from you has made my feelings for you and about us even stronger and clearer than before.  I know today that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  I love you, Jim”    I love you too.

I am not living in yesterday’s pain, or dwelling on my past.   Today it helped to revisit these momentous beautiful times and people who were once very prominent in my life (understatement).  It has helped to remind me that in spite of all the pain and shit that happens, love never dies.  Even when someone has crossed over, love can continue to grow.  And that perhaps, I may experience this amazing journey of love again, with someone new.   And as I looked at the MANY pictures of my sister, there were only a handful without her smiling.   She lived life well.  She worked hard, played hard.   She was just an awesome person.  I miss her everyday of my life, and to think ill of her because her sexuality, well hey… guess what?   If you do?  It’s on you.   I’m so glad I didn’t miss a moment with her.  She taught me so much and one thing she taught me by example?   Live your life, be true to yourself, and pay no mind to those who judge you!  It was a nice “visit” down memory lane.   It helped me gain new perspective (now through my sisters sun glasses), and those who have brought me dismay of late, have no more power.  I am reminded of all good.  I am reminded of why sometimes it’s so hard to carry on, because life was indeed much easier with the presence of those who are no longer with me, but just to be back there mentally, gives me the strength and desire to fight on.  Today it was nice to revisit the warmth of yesterday.

Go have yourself a great day.  Sending you all love and light,

Donna (pronounced, DonNUH)

 

 

 

Music, painting, and life!

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I’m listening to “Into the Mystic” (Van Morrison).   Love this song, and am reminded of many moons ago bombing around town in the jeep with all the doors off, and my dog happily in the back seat eye balling everyone and everything.   This music reaches into my soul and says “Life is good, maybe not perfect, but I am alive, and that’s better than the alternative”…. but many religious people would beg to differ.   Is it?

Music is such an important part of my life.   When I get pounded down by life’s hardships, when I’m at my lowest, I can always go back and think of the last time I listened to music….   It’s related.   Music is one of the best remedies for my mental illness woes.

I’m painting.  Not well, but I’m painting.    I’ve been struggling lately (forever a head case) but as soon as I sit down, music blaring in background, and pick up a brush, I am settled, centered, peaceful.  I am VERY VERY grateful for this.   I try to turn off the inner critic that lives LARGE in my head, sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not.  It’s nice to have an escape.   It feels good.  Now if I could only figure out how to masking tape SHUT the inner critics mouth!

Autumn is fast approaching.   We have almost no color, but I guess it’s early yet.  The air is changing, and the geese are flying South.  This is my favorite time of year.  New England in the Fall is picturesque.   I love to bomb on back roads during foliage, as it looks like you’re driving into a kaleidoscope.   It really does!  No, I’m not on shrooms.   Not for a long while, smirks.

My girlfriend was visiting from Omaha for a few days.  It’s really nice to see her, and always good to talk.   It’s also really nice to have the company.  Dropped her off at the airport today and on the way home stopped in Michael’s to pick up canvas.  3 for the price of one!   Woohooo!

Hope you’re enjoying good health, moods and making room and time for some passion!

Variety, the spice of work!

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Whether my mood has been affected by the gloomy weather we’re having or this is depression trying to lay it’s lead blanket on me, my attitude and thoughts are aligned with the weather.  I’m doing my best to ward off this feeling of defeat.

I needed to replace my Aveeda body lotion, so when I was at Walmart I did so, only after grumbling that the price was now over $1 more.  My nighttime ritual is to plaster my body with lotion just before I crawl into bed.  Excited that Aveeda had changed the cover from a pump to a squirt, I proceeded to rub it in.   What the heck did they do, change the formula too?  The consistency was totally different.  I had taken Benadryl and quickly fell to sleep.   This morning I woke up with my face stuck to the pillow case and my body to the sheets.  What the heck?  Well, I had purchased BODY WASH.   My morning shower required no further soap!    There were suds everywhere, including bubbles in the air!  This incident is worse than the bleach in the refrigerator and the milk on the floor in the bathroom from a few weeks ago.   Sometimes the things I do scare me!

My work consists of several venues.   I design in decorative painting industry, needlecraft industry and recently started in beading.    I try to go with the flow of creativity, though sometimes deadlines dictate my work schedule and medium.   The past few days I have felt a shift coming.  This mornings actions confirmed this when I found myself putting away the beads even before I was reminded of a magazine deadline.  It’s time to reacquaint myself with my paintbrushes.   I’m looking forward to this but of course cleaning off my paint table will be a chore in itself.  May the force be with me!

It’s nice to have a variety of mediums to work with.   I find that I am gentler on myself, not beating myself up if my skills in one area seem to travel South.  For instance, when I find myself, not purposely, having brushes fly out of my hands, it’s time to move to something else.   When the yarn gets bunched and knotted and I’ve spent an hour untangling it, it’s time to move to something else.   After I’ve lost 3 needles and found myself bleeding from pokes, it’s time to throw the broach I’m working on across the room!   Okay, I didn’t, but I thought about it.

I’m recalling a time when Cabbage Patch dolls were the in thing.  Acquiring them for Christmas was next to impossible.  A friend of mine asked me if I’d make one for her great niece.  Okay, I can do that, as they sold the patterns and the cabbage patch doll heads at the local textile mill.    The doll was coming along nicely.  It was time to put the head on.    I had a full strength needle that was about 4″ long and was using this to sew the head on the doll.    This meant working it through the plastic.   I had stabbed myself so many times with the needle that my anger got the best of me and I threw it across the room against a wall.  Coincidently my then boyfriend and his friend walked in just as the doll slammed against the wall and fell to the floor.   He picks it up, brushes her off and said “I guess we’re not ready for kids yet?”

My mom was once a seamstress, making prom and wedding gowns for pay.   She would sew on our kitchen table which was in front of a sliding glass door to our back yard.   One day, while working with chiffon, our Black Lab, Cinder Poo (Pooey) saw something out back, he plowed through the area she was working right through the screen, taking along with it the sewing machine and gown.   That day my siblings and I stayed scarce!

Sometimes I remind myself when I’m having a hard day, or something happens, like yesterday that makes me feel defeated, that one day I will be able to look back at it and laugh, or impress myself with the strength I had to get through it.   Don’t you find this to be true?   I also find that as the course of life naturally happens, the gift of perspective comes to play.   Most of the stuff I used to fret about I wouldn’t today.   Unimportant!

Hope you have a great weekend!  Hope the sun comes out here, and I hope that my smile returns to my face!

Bob Dylan Unplugged….in the bose…. yup….This will surely turn me around!

 

 

 

 

 

The journey to wisdom…

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Another day that I feel was wasted with sleep, rest.   Shaking my head.   Tomorrow will be better.. .tomorrow will be better.   The antibiotic seems to be working however, I feel better.  Not so much that someone punched me in my face but more like a baby swinging their head back and getting me.    Softer…

I have been contemplating my life, my life accomplishments, failures, and more.   Sometimes I look at my life and think I’m the luckiest person in the world, I do what I love for work, I love my family and many friends, I’m surrounded with furries, I live in a beautiful part of the world where I get to often see nature’s creatures.    I can look at my designs in art, jewelry, needle craft, and read my writing and think “Damn girl, you’re doing okay”.     Other days, not so much.

On these days I have to remind myself that I should not measure success by way of my bank account.    I would barely get a few feet.  I’m not materialistic, though I love nice things.   I want my home to be a reflection to who I am, and offer warm comfort and welcome to guests.   I’m told that I have succeeded here.   I think about the unfinished mural of Tuscany in my kitchen, the hole in the wall to fit the stackable into it’s new location upstairs, the broken and old windows that offer no insulation, and the many other things that I know and some days, is all I see.   I have to look further.    My home, my body, my life is a work in progress.    If everything were to be put in proper place and fall together, wouldn’t that be boring?     Sarcasm (to tear flesh)……

Have been thinking about something and last nights conversation with my bestest girlfriend took this even further.    I, we are forever changing, growing.    We may watch a movie one day, and then years later watch the same movie and see it’s message so differently.  Why?   Because we are not who we were the first time we saw it, therefore we have grown, evolved from there.    It’s like driving the same road for years and then one day seeing something, sizable, that we had never seen.   It happens.    Instead of getting flustered with why we didn’t get the goodness, the message we are getting from it now years later, perhaps we can look at it as if whatever we saw then, was what we were ready to see?

Hindsight is always 20/20.  I enjoy asking people this question “If you could go back and do it all again, what would you do?”  You may be surprised to hear “I don’t want to go back”.   I feel that way.   But I can dare to look at the things I would have done differently.   Not failure, or regrets, just knowledge.  There is a difference.   Knowledge comes from truth.     No one goes through life without missteps.

As I mentioned before, I am trying to look at my life for what it is.  I recently have been getting my will together, and making known  my end of life choices, and realize on days that are difficult, that I have not all I need to live an unfrustrated existence, I can easily whip myself into self loathing, feeling bad about the decisions I once made that reared me where I am today.   Which feels like rubbing my nose in it, in a cruel manner to self.   What good does this do?  And also, is it accurate?   This is where self doubt is a good thing!

I sat with a woman yesterday who was trying to help me in one area of my life.  Tears started to fall down my face and she said “What’s wrong?”  With my eyes looking outside into the woods I said “This is not where I expected to be at this point in my life.  What have I done wrong?”   She looked at me, smiled, and kindly said “Did it ever occur to you that you are not doing anything wrong?”     Her words startled me.  “Um, NO!”     Flooding back are the words from close friends who have encouraged me through my life and the challenges, and the highs that comes with it.   Why am I so quick to blame myself for everything?   Why am I so quick to think that I am not “good enough”, something that I have learned once was the center of my being, ruling me, proving to myself and others the validity of those two words.  I am happy to say that I no longer have this belief at my core.   It still hangs around, surrounding my feelings, and there are days I can roll my eyes, push them off, and other days I begin feeling caged within them.    My girlfriend Pam has said to me on numerous occasions, “Why do you think you need anymore purpose than who you are right now?”   I don’t know.  I guess maybe I don’t!

I listen to my mother, colorful creature whose hard exterior covers a woman who has withstood much pain.  My mother is a highly intelligent woman.   At 52 I can finally see that! 🙂 ♥    Oh if I only knew half, then, of what I thought I knew now!    She is more intelligent than I am, and gives very good sound advice.    At 52 I do not hear or view her words as personal.  I listen, don’t always agree, but give her the courtesy of sharing her wisdom.   We can learn so much from our elders, from each other.  We just have to shut our mouths and open our ears, our eyes.  Something I forget to shut my mouth!  :0  We hear talk of others “he is an old soul.”   My youngest sister I would describe as an old soul.  Why?  Well, for one, she observed a lot.  Would watch with her eyes, listen with her ears and put the kibosh to blurting out whatever stupidity may have come out merely from age, lack of knowledge!   Not me, open mouth, insert foot.

So now I’m thinking back on this day of rest.  Was it a wasted day?  No, I’m healing, I need sleep to get beyond this illness.   Did I accomplish what I wanted to?  No.   Is that okay?  Yes.    Now looking back at my accomplishments I can view them with much kinder, softer eyes, perhaps even gently!    I may not like where I am today, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like myself as I do.

What does this mean?  What does this leave me with?   A choice.   Is what I do not like in my life worthy of change?  If it’s shunning me from self love, of course it is.   What, then, do I need to change?   I can, and I do, ask the advice of trusted others.   I can work through my feelings, my thoughts and get to a point where I am looking at myself reasonably, whole, not just negative or just positive boasting.   I can then pray or ask my higher power to guide me, help me to become who and what I’m supposed to become….knowledge and go about my day more open minded, more grateful, more observing than lashing, judging.  I believe many of us are our own worst critics.   I can be closed minded, judging myself unmercifully.   Does that make it true?   Ahh….. Nope!  Because feelings aren’t facts and our thoughts may not be truthful.

Here lies, then, the conundrum….   How do I decipher what I “know” (wisdom, six sense) and what I “think” I know?  Should I not listen to my inner voice warding me of peril?  Of course I should listen.   Should I not listen to my gut instinct, which is telling me to stay away from this, or that?  Of course I should listen.    I do think, however, when I start to bang myself around, subjecting myself to self judgment and loathing… perhaps I should THEN question, heed my own words.

The older I get, the more intelligent I get.  Unfortunately, however, I can’t always remember!   Ain’t maturity fun?  I am looking at life as a journey to wisdom.   I will not do everything perfect, and something I may dwell on today may become insignificant tomorrow, I may look back on things I would do differently, having given the chance… but when I start to beat the crap out of myself?  It’s time to put the stick down and walk away.  It’s useless, it’s abusive, it’s unproductive…. and chances are, I have not all the information to pass judgment on myself.   Perhaps what I am thinking is NOT fact?  That means, it is also is not knowledge.  So why do it?

I’ll leave you with the most valuable lesson I have learned ….  Life doesn’t revolve around me…. who knew?

 

EVIL and Kkkkkkkkkkkkkarma

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Today’s Lesson:   If I seek revenge on an evil act, I become part of it

Today’s Gratitude:   I am grateful that I am aware of today’s lesson

I am seething at the moment.  Have you ever been around evil?  I think we all have, whether we have recognized it or not.   How did you react mentally, physically, spiritually to it?  Does it consume you?  Is it changing you into someone you are not or don’t want to be?

I pray for those who have harmed me or my loved ones.   I learned this long ago in a 12 step program.    Evil to me comes in the form of several things, one being deceit, another being greed, ill will to others.    There has been a person that thankfully, is no longer in my life, but still reeking havoc on my family.  Evil..  Greedy.   I believe in karma, and this person has some major bad karma coming to her.  My fear is that when it knocks on this persons door, and it will, will it be through a mutual family member?

Two years ago, when I was hospitalized for depression, I couldn’t talk about some very cruel and evil things that were happening to me.   I was accused of inappropriate touch in a situation that was a very moving memory for me.  How do you deal with something like that?  I was so hurt, very hurt, how this person (same person) took something very beautiful and made it ugly and bad.  I will share the incident in a minute.    I have never been so wrongfully treated in my life.  I couldn’t share about it because I was accused of writing blogs that defamed them.  Everything was taken, twisted, and this blank filled eyed person brought evil into everything that was good.  I was the target.   I am going to talk about it now because it has been a couple years and I know other people have gone through this.  I will not share on this again here.

It was not easy for me to have my breasts removed.  It was not easy to learn that the cancers I had were at high risk of recurrence and I was at high risk of another.   With my higher power in my heart, and friends and family at my side, I made the difficult decision to have double mastectomies and reconstruction.   I declined chemotherapy for reasons I will one day share.  For 2 years I went through surgery after surgery because my compromised immune system created complication after complication.    Part of reconstruction for the type I chose began at the same time as mastectomies.  Expanders were placed under the muscle.  Saline was inserted each week, or every other week to stretch the muscle and tissue, preparing for the implant.  It was a journey I would wish on no one.  But here is the thing.  I wouldn’t trade my personal growth for the world.  I learned who I was, what I was made of, and I now share my experiences, in essence, teach others the risks, things I learned which may or may not help them.  I probably, no, I know I share a lot of personal things in my blog, sometimes I will go back and delete because I feel too exposed.  The only reason I share what I do is because I know I am not alone in whatever it is I am struggling with, I am not unique with my challenges, my hardships.  If my experiences, my words can help even one other person…. isn’t that great?

Well, this innocent child had watched me go through this for months, noticing the change in my body from start and reconstruction and never asked about it.  I am sure this child’s parent told them not to.    One night this child came to spend the night with me.   We played, beaded, painted, read, took the dogs on a hike in the woods.  It was a wonderful weekend for both of us.    When we were getting ready for bed I took off my sweatshirt, revealing a cotton camisole, something that I had to wear for months….Anyway, this child seemed angry and upset, crawling down to the foot of the bed to look.  “That isn’t your pajama’s” she said.   I replied “This is what I am going to wear for pajamas”.   Now, she was  angry that I wasn’t changing into something different I asked “What is the matter?”    After a couple of minutes the reply “I want to see”.   Knowing the extent of the scars, I said “We’ll check with your parents first”.  “They told me to ask you”.  “No, they didn’t”.   Persisted until I said a prayer, picked up my shirt and showed my breasts.   “Does it hurt?”   “No, it doesn’t”….   “Can I feel one?”  “Yes… a tender touch to this rock hard breast “It’s hard, are you sure it doesn’t hurt?”  “No it doesn’t hurt”….. and that was that.   Curiosity of a child.   We snuggled into bed with a bag of Doritos and I prayed that I did the right thing.   Just as this child was falling to sleep “Donna?”….. “Yes”…..   “It’s no big deal!”    As she fell asleep, a plentitude of tears fell down my cheeks.  Through the eyes of a child, the innocence, the beauty, the validation that I was not deformed or should be concerned about how I looked.   It was a beautiful moment and one that I will hold dear.     In the morning I told the parents and they were fine with it.   Months later when it became convenient to manipulate to get what was wanted, it suddenly became improper touch.      Devastating.

I cannot describe to you the pain that this caused me.  I cannot describe to you the anguish and how devastating this was for me.    I went to see my girlfriend at her work and told her what was happening.  She and I have been friends for 30 years.  “You are still allowed to see them (child) ?   Yes.  “Donna, think about that.  If someone did something to my child you can damn well bet the last thing that would happen is their being near my family again.  And furthermore, the first thing I would do would be to call the police!  Did they call the police?”  “No”.  My girlfriend is very intelligent, she is also a woman of class, but more importantly, high scruples, morals, standards.   I trust her implicitly.  We have seen each other through some of the roughest times in our lives.  Crying, I could see the anger in her.  When she gets angry her jaw clenches, and her jaw was clenching.  She was angry.  She was angry because she knows me, and she knows that I would never do anything like what I was then was being accused of, and that this evil persons lies were so painful for me.  She loves me, and I her.    My visit with her helped me through the next couple of days, and finally combined with other things that were going on, I became suicidal.   I felt like I had little support through this, my friends were very supportive.   EVIL.    My nephew had come to live with me.  He also had been targeted in ugly ways.  At 20 years old he was one of my biggest supporters.  I will forever be grateful that he was living with me then.   I admitted myself to a psychiatric hospital.   It was all too much for me to sort through, to accept.    Beauty, innocence purposely distorted for their gain which was revenge at my family.

I have seen evil.  I have been victim to evil.   When the hair on my neck stands up, when my stomach starts to flip flop around someone, I walk away, I stay away.  Why?  Because I want no part of it.  It was during this time that I called my cousin who is a very spiritual, religious man, he spiritually guides me.   Actually, he called me at 2 am because we were both up (as usual) and I was having a particularly hard day.   He talked to me about strife, we spoke of evil.   The energy of this person is evil.  A blankness in the eyes, not a tear shed for anything in over 10 years plus, no conscience, cruel, greedy and more. I have nothing to do with this person but it angers me to see the continued pain caused by greed, lies, accusations.   I will not allow myself to hate.   It takes too much out of me physically, mentally.   I pray for this person.  I pray for those of the wake that is left from their actions.  I pray for their health, physically and mentally.    It is not for me to judge another, but it is my business when so wrongly accused of such vial things, or in general to assess a person, place of thing is good for me.   I am not the judge of her.   I am a victim of her vengeance.  People with vengeance in their energy I steer clear of as well.  They are dangerous.    I will never “win” anything at the level they are because I am not like that, I do not understand nor live there, nor will I ever be.

I will work through this anger.   I will support the latest victim, but I will never go near them again.   I think the devil himself would wear leather gloves before touching this evil entity.

If you don’t like what I said, do not tell me so.  Please keep your comments to yourself then.  If you understand, then by all means, please share, it helps me, it helps us all, there is strength in numbers.    I know that evil exists.  I know that there is a dark side that my body reacts to, warning me of the danger.   I am grateful for that.  I am also grateful I was able to walk away and leave them to their creator.  Because you know what happens?  In my pain, in my ego, I was becoming someone I am not.  It’s ironic how that works.

If this person is cyber stalking still….. I will once again say to you what I said gently and with compassion back then “Get help”.   Also remarks of my mental illness, cruel demeaning comments, knife slicing comments that cut through my heart.   My thoughts on this are…. what is worse?  Being treated for a mental illness or being ignorant to one and not seeking help?

Evil exists.  Karma exists.  Love exists.   Goodness exists.  I am protected, however through my God.   I am guided to be the best person I can be, to help others, to love others, and to accept both myself and others, shortcomings and all.  To learn, to grow, to teach.   I share this because I did nothing wrong.  I share this because “secrets” are not healthy, we are as sick as our secrets.  I share this and will share this more explicitly in the book I am writing.    I am not as fearful of evil as I once was as I know I will be protected.  I am, however, cautious and hyper vigilant on when and what evil will appear in my life next.   I have to work on that because that very hyper vigilance keeps me from appreciating this very moment.    Every day it gets easier for me.  Every day I grow and are becoming the best person I can be…

Please, no sympathy, I am okay.  I always welcome prayers, and if you will say a prayer for this person, that would be great.

Thanks for listening….

Today’s artwork is one season of several window scenes I have painted.   This is “Cardinal Window”  

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An instructional pattern packet is available for this painting. 

Accept tents …… where does my peace reside?

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What constitutes friendship?  How do you define and filter people in your life?   Close friends, good friends, friends, acquaintance, pain in the ass but with a good heart?   Who are the people in your life who inspire you, or are aspiring to you?   Longevity wise, how far back does your oldest friend go?  

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship the past few days.   I’ve been thinking about how I haven’t felt “loved” as much as I used to, so I started to examine my friendships, what has changed?   Some are just enmeshed in their own lives, location can also be a factor, you just can’t pick up the phone and say “Hey, frozen custard?”   Or show up, unshowered, in your crap clothes wanting to connect with someone.   Life can be insanely busy.    I remember Jim’s Nana saying something one day, probably 15 years ago now, that “You young people don’t ever sit, you are always on the go, far too busy to just sit in quiet and enjoy your surroundings”.   Or something close to that.   

Age, maturity has taught me the difference between consciously sitting by oneself, quiet, taking in all that surrounds me, and laying on the couch, one sock on, one sock off, hair up in a ponytail affixed to the couch like a cushion.  I call the first “participating, being conscious”, I call the second relaxation, but as with anything, the pendulum swings both ways, the flip side of that becomes laziness, self loathing.

Have you ever thought about something you really like about a person?  Perhaps that they are fun, carefree, enjoyable to be with because of this?    I’d much prefer to hang with people like this than a human jack-in-the-box waiting to spring out of its skin.    Okay, let’s look at the black or white, the left or right of the pendulum….   Fun, carefree…. the extreme becomes irresponsibility, non committal.     We know that the art of life is to find balance.  Balance with our characteristics, our behavior, our relationships, our time….and so much more.   I have very good balance with some things in my life, and are severely off balance in others.  Add to that, sometimes what I am severely off balance in today was balanced for years, decades.  Ying, Yang. 

As a child, discipline teaches us right from wrong, acceptable and unacceptable.   The temper tantrums that I see children having in stores today, the parents who are “bargaining” with them to behave always amaze me.  There is NO WAY I would have acted that way in a store, not without consequences.   This is not to imply I think the earlier are poor parents.  I have never had children, I only married them, so who am I to say what is right or wrong, but I can surely appreciate the difference.

Acceptance, for me, is the key to serenity, to happiness, to peace.   If I am not peaceful, frolicking around in dissention, depression, sadness, then something in my life is out of balance.  This almost always proves, for me, to be something in my life that I have yet to accept.   As stated earlier, these can change, without our knowledge, unconscious things that have triggered something, something that instills negative.    Some things I have accepted years ago comes back around to chew a hole, deflate my peace.    Does this mean I really never accepted it in the first place?  Who knows, I don’t think so, and most importantly who cares?   I have spent so much time reverting to my past.   I believe that history repeats itself if you don’t recognize it.  I also know that I have lost valuable precious time living in the past.

Grief, grief sucks.   We are told that “time heals all wounds”.    I don’t really believe that.  I believe that time teaches us how to coexist with our wounds, our losses, but it doesn’t heal.    If healing is true with others, I think that is awesome, tell me how you accomplished this?  Tell me how much time it took to heal your broken heart?  Clearly my acceptance, my reaction to the loss of my kid sister is much more balanced now, years later, than when it first happened.    I share a lot about loss, because that is a weight I carry daily.   I have had a lot of loss.   I am trying to lighten the load, to cast the weights into the lagoon of the past and fly over the hills and trees of this difficult place, this vortex, and get beyond, to new, to acceptance.

I want to go back to my not feeling “loved” as much as I used to.   Ironically, after much deliberation, I realize, it has nothing to do with my family, friends (close, good, friends, et all) but how I feel about myself.   I am not happy with myself.   What is it I am not happy with?   Well, there is a list, not a very long list, but a list of things that I am upset with myself about, one or two which actually promote self loathing.  This can throw a wet blanket over my self worth, self esteem, self confidence.    I can pick up any self help book, I can go to therapy, but unless I am doing the work, it’s lost time.  Perhaps pieces of what I am learning today will help me a year or two down the road, but if I am not doing the work, if I am not consciously trying to correct, to find balance to whatever it is in my life that is causing me imbalance then I will never experience long term self worth, love, peace.

I tend to be a black or white thinker, to my detriment.   If I owe a bill that I cannot pay, I don’t pay it unless I have it all.   Um, this doesn’t work!   Or, unless I can achieve and correct whatever it is bothering me, quickly, then, I accept and roll in crap, a couple times, to reassure myself that this part of my life sucks and will always suck.  But that is an example of my thinking, my thinking that I am trying very hard to change.  As stated above, if there is something in my life that I having accepted, there will be no peace.

Throughout my life I tried to find happiness in many places.   Laughing as I think about Garth Brooks “I have friends in low places” even though that isn’t what I am referring to.   If I was feeling low, not liking myself, the attention of the opposite sex could and would make me feel better.  I’m not talking about sex, I’m talking about approval, kudos from others.    This escalating when I was in a marriage with an emotionally unavailable husband…shopping, spending…  then this stopped working.    Thankfully as we age we mature, we learn and have learned, we have the knowledge to make better decisions, make better choices for ourselves.  Unfortunately this also comes with loss of bladder control, ability to read a newspaper unless you have on 2.75 readers, and a memory that resides in a colander! 

Bottom line, through all of this.   I have to be happy with myself.  If I am looking to others for approval, if I am looking outside of myself for the answer, for acceptance, for happiness, it will only be a temporary fix.   The only way to happiness is to choose it. 

I am grateful that this evening I am feeling much better about myself than I was this morning.  I gifted myself with a visit to a friend who has inspired me, encouraged me.  Someone I consider to be a good friend.

I feel like this blog has been all over the place, with little correlation or flow, though I hope not.   Remembering the words of my father the second time I went in-patient for depression.   “You just have to pull yourself up by your boot straps”.   I cried, and cried.  Why didn’t he understand that I was doing my best?   Did he think I haven’t tried?      Today I think about the extreme, the black of the white, the right or left of the pendulum   “I care, I don’t know how to help you, I can’t do this for you, I’m frustrated, please get better, I love you!”

We are designed to be perfectly imperfect.   My parents generation you didn’t “air your dirty laundry in public”, you just “keep going”.  The extreme of this is self preservation, perseverance.     

Is there someone you are reacting negatively to what they are saying?  Is it possible to look at the extreme, to see if there is perhaps a message there that the person is not able to convey via words?    And not to leave this for last purposely, because it exists in my every day life, breathing, exhaling, movement, thoughts…. my spirituality.   I just cannot live a full life or happy existence without God leading my way.   I cannot live a full life or happy existence if I am not accepting myself as I am today.   I don’t have to “like” something to accept it. 

Acceptance, for me, is the key to serenity, to happiness, to peace.   If I am not peaceful, frolicking around in dissention, depression, sadness, then something in my life is out of balance. 

The past few days as I rolled around in my crap, I was shown what it was I need to change about myself.  It will not be done overnight, it will be achieved by stepping in that direction, the direction in which happiness lies for me, a little amount, a bit everyday.  Some days will be sprints forward, others a step or two backwards, but I don’t have to look at it as negative, I can look at it that it is just giving me a running start… 

 

Letting go, Letting God

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This afternoon while hastily running errands I thought my brain was on fire.  “Do this, next do that…. yada yada yada”.  All because I slept in, which I can legitimately blame on trying to beat this cold I feel coming on.  But I digress…   I had just received some good news “I’m doing it, I’m doing it… my life is getting better, my life is getting easier”…  I was saying to myself with a smile on my face.  It is always a powerful feeling when you realize your hard work is paying off.    

If you follow my blog you know that last Winter I was hospitalized for severe depression.  This was my 4th and by far the worst bout with such.   With the help of my doctors,  (therapists) my family and friends I have climbed out of that hole.  These days I would say I’m not only out of the hole but resting a foot or two away from the edge… progress!   How quickly things can change, however, if I am not vigilant on taking care of myself.  

At my most vulnerable, I met others who, too, were at their most vulnerable, all of us were fighting our demons.  I chose to write about this then and share this information with others in hopes that my experiences, my words could help other (even just one) other person know, they are not alone with their struggles.  We are never alone.     I met some people then whom a handful (few) I call “friends” today.  These are people whom I need not explain a thing, they understand me, they do not try to fix me nor judge me or my actions, I return the same respect to them.   It’s a very deep connection on one level and shallow on another.  These are the friends in my life who I have shared the most intimate details with, and yet I see them rarely, know not their everyday lives, so in that regard, it can, from the outside, appear shallow.     I shake my head as I think of the irony, it is not those who I am around day in, day out, those closest to me that know me or understand me best, but these people who know my darkest corners, have shared my darkest hours.  I am grateful for these people.  I am grateful for this handful of souls who I feel love me as I am, and love me when I can’t seem to muster up love for myself.  More ironic yet, the faces of these souls were the same faces that I judged before.  I did not understand nor “like” the relationship the addict I was with (who was trying to get clean) had with others in recovery.  After all, I was their wife, their girlfriend, their fiancée, why did they need anyone else?    Shaking my head and rolling my eyes.  Just who the hell did I think I was??   What a mess I was!   Today I look at these relationships much differently.  Today I value their friendship, I understand they have pain (do not profess to understand it, but acknowledge and validate it), and I do not judge but try to offer a warm hand, ear when I can, and they, me.    I cannot fix them, nor they, me.   This, my friends, bakes up to be one very honest cookie sheet! 

While waiting for the red light to turn green, and accompanying Adele with her hit “Someone like you” I felt excited about the good news I had gotten and grateful that I recognized my life changing for the better.  Happy, a bit nervous as I am always afraid of being “cocky”, looking out for good old karma,…out the corner of my eye I see a guy who had been inpatient at the same time as I was.   My heart stopped and I seriously had a hard swallow at what was in front of me.    Relapse, back stroking, I don’t know and its not for me to know the details or judge, all I saw was “one of my own” back in the throws of the disease of addiction.   How quickly tears can flow down a face that in the last millisecond had a smile.   

Though not a “friend” we were hospitalized on the same floor.   As fate would have it this would be my third hospitalization on a detox floor, as there was no more beds in the psych ward that a person with my mental challenges would be.   I know not why this happened, I know better than to ask, as I believe everything happens for a reason.   I do know that from these experiences I am no longer so quick to judge another harshly about their addiction(s).   I saw things that I never want to see or experience again.  If you had ever seen the movie “Ghost”, when the murderers at the end die, and the souls of their victims cry out through them, this is how I would describe addiction.   It’s a body snatcher.   The exterior looks like the person you love, and at times you see moments, flickers of who you love, but the progression of the disease, they are being increasingly ruled by an entity outside of themselves.  I personally believe it to be miraculous when one gets and stays clean.  Not without a lot of work on self, discipline, vigilance, not without devine help one gets clean.  Recovery isn’t a green card that says pass go.   In order to keep your recovery you have to continue with the very same actions that helped get you clean.   Ask me why I gained back most of my weight after losing a back street boy?  Because I didn’t follow through and continue the actions that got me there, I went back to my old ways, the very actions that deemed me overweight to begin with.    Definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results .  This insidious disease wants souls, try to escape its hold, it clenches down, harder. 

I had been witness to this self professed alcoholics detoxification.   Night tremors, seizures, loss of control of bodily functions, he fought his way through hell to get clean.  He was brought to the local hospital a couple of times, was returned to the ward to continue with his detox.  When we asked if he would be alright we were told “We don’t know”.  He remained on premises for another month in out patient and then was transferred to another facility for follow up care.   It is no small feat for an alcoholic or drug addict to get clean.   It isn’t about their “will” as I had once thought and judged.  Perhaps why I was hospitalized with those I had judged prior?   I don’t think that anyone sets out to be an addict, who the hell would want that for themselves?  And who the hell would pick up the same behavior after going through so much to get out of it????????  Alcoholism, addiction is no laughing matter, not even in the least.  As a person who has survived by finding humor in mostly everything, I find no humor in alcoholism or addiction.     None at all. 

To get healthy I had to make choices to get and keep my own self healthy.  He was not one of the few (handful) I kept in touch with.  But that doesn’t mean I was not devastated at his relapse .I may not call him a friend, but he is a brother in flesh, a brother with an atrocious demon.    As I sat at the red light watching him make his way up the street, flashbacks surfaced from almost two years ago.   When detoxing  he was put on a plethora of drugs which made him groggy, look and act drunk or drugged,   Alongside of this the evidence of his emotional pain shown on his face.  How did he get to this point?  How did the little boy that his parents and grand parents loved and adored, doted on, grow up to be like this????   And how could they deny what had become of him????   Haunting, ridiculously sad, tragic. 

My first instinct was to pull over and talk to him, but that was brief.  In order to hold onto my own recovery I knew I could not help him, at least without harming myself.  Involving myself in his life at this juncture was not good for me.    I have often wondered and yes, judged others as to how they could turn a blinds eye to others in obvious peril.  At times I still do, but I now also know where it can constitute taking care of your own body, soul.     I said to my therapist a few weeks back “I feel like I’ve hardened”.  She said “No, Donna, you haven’t hardened, you are learning self preservation, you are learning how to take care of yourself”.   I am grateful I knew better than to involve myself, but I also wanted to help so I did the one thing that I know I can do, and what I believe is huge, and that was, I prayed for him.   I prayed for God to look after him, for him to get the help he needs, to hopefully get clean, once and for all.    Now that isn’t a small prayer.   I prayed for God’s will for him to be done.   I know not what God’s will for him is, nor am I supposed to know.  I practiced “Let go, Let God” and I will continue to pray for him.

As I drove away, trying to compose myself and the stomach which I felt coming up through my throat, I swallowed my tears and thanked God once again for today    Though very sad for him, it ironically made the good news I had gotten earlier, even bigger.     Seeing someone fall isn’t easy, seeing someone self destruct is hell, I have seen both, and I have practiced both, fortunately for me, for whatever reason, I am still in recovery, and I am making progress.  While not perfect, and with still a bundle and backpack full of problems, my life is getting better, my life is getting easier.   It’s about my perspective.   Today’s gift is perspective.   

It’s not for me to know or judge another.  I dislike it when others feel they know what is best for, or judge me.  What has changed is that I no longer empower their thoughts with anger.  I smile, collect my thoughts, find humor in the irony of judgment and continue down the path that I’m being guided to.   I know not what is best for another, I know not what God has in store for another, and if I’m living my life right, I do not have time to think I do….  I’m here, keeping my own side of the road clean, cleaning up my messes, trying to learn from my errs…The only one I can change is me.  The only one I can fix is me.  As a recipient of such, I also understand that the significance of prayer should never be described as “just”.  Prayer is everything, everything.  The Serenity Prayer?  My favorite.♥

 

 

Change.. not “the change”, but making changes within

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Yesterday I had alone time, driving for a few hours. This is time I usually talk to God and whip out my microphone to sing with whomever is blaring from the radio or cd player (always outdoing them, I might add). I love adventures, and this was to some place I hadn’t been in a while. Unexpectedly it was quite emotional as I realized I hadn’t been in this “neck of the woods” since my youngest sister’s funeral several years ago. Places we shopped, ate, where she once lived, worked, good memories and painful ones. It triggered a crying jag that lasted 2 hours. Though it proved to be quite cathartic, it was nonetheless painful.

One of the subjects I thought of yesterday was change, self discipline. Many years ago I had adopted a dog we named “Miss Mollie”. She was very alpha, so we decided to take her to dog school. Well, our beautiful Mollie the Collie mix didn’t do well. She was rescued, we were her third placement home. She found a great home with us, she was spoiled rotten, but she didn’t do too well in dog school. It wasn’t Mollie’s failure, but ours. Training a dog takes discipline, self discipline, changing the way we did things, and sticking to that. We failured her. Sadly, Mollie lost her life to traffic but it wasn’t because she didn’t listen to us, it was that she did. Perhaps if we had been able to, as a couple, work with her on her home boundaries… perhaps this, perhaps that… yada yada ying ying. Anyway, she went running across the road to greet another dog. Jim yelled “Mollie No, stop” and she did, just as the truck came bellowing down the hill. Thankfully she died instantly.

When we were in dog school we would argue afterwards. The instructor said Mollie needed to know we were alpha, not her. Jim didn’t want to discipline and wouldn’t oblige or help with the training, and I wasn’t committed to changing the things in MYSELF to grant her stability. Yesterday I was thinking about how difficult it is to make changes. To not only be disciplined but be self disciplined in doing so. As I said earlier, we failed and we ultimately failed Mollie. Ain’t nothing we can do to change the outcome of that situation, but what I did learn from that was, I can and do commit to making changes within myself. I truly do try to be the best person I can be, which means growing and learning from all experiences. As I have said on numerous occasions, my journey through cancer was nothing I would wish on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade my personal growth for the world. With all that said, I can, with rigorous perseverance, make changes within myself. I am always challenging myself albeit word games, painting, patience or pride. I have also learned that I cannot do this or give this to another person, that is up for them to do. “Hands off”, give those I love the dignity to make their own decisions, change whatever and/or if ever they feel the need to make changes on their own. I can cheer them on, I can make suggestions, but the only one I can ultimately change is myself. The only one I am responsible for is myself. Amen!

Pain is a great motivator for change. While chatting with a girlfriend the other night, we were discussing her regret of leaving an abusive marriage because her ex changed after she left and became a better man. My comment back to her was “If he hadn’t lost you, he probably wouldn’t have changed”. I believe some of us are “transients” so to speak, to help ourselves and others grow, whether it be through a successful relationship (notice I didn’t say perfect) or one that is failing or doomed to fail. I sometimes wish I had found “the one” and been with the same person for 30 years or more. That didn’t happen for me, and that is okay. Firstly, because of what I just described, I’m not convinced there is only “one” person for us, or to share our lives with. I DO know, however, that there are soul connections and what I would want is one of substance, and depth. I am not shallow in my thinking or my actions, I would not fare well with someone who was. I know fellow schoolmates who have been married to the same person for 30 plus years. But…I have had 3 long term relationships, thus three different lives really. I have grown and become a better person from all of them. That saying about “people come into our lives for a reason, a season” I believe is very true.

It isn’t easy to be in a relationship, it takes work. It isn’t easy to make changes to yourself, as the older we are the harder it is to break the habit, look in the mirror and take responsibility for ourselves and our decisions. For some, it seems almost impossible for them to find comfort in change of any sort, even if for the good. Change is inevitable, and it is healthy, and more times than not, it is necessary.

So in lieu of all this talk, I decided to make a change to the way I would normally have handled yesterdays “triggers”. Instead of driving home via the way I went up which triggered so many emotions, I opted to go another way, through another state to spare myself of further pain. This, my dear friends, is progress for me!

What do you need or want to change about yourself? Are you looking into the mirror or pointing a finger at another? I suggest the mirror and drop the hand or fingerpointing, as for every finger you point at someone, there are three pointing back at yourself.

Here’s to change (holds up iced tea/lemonade, toasts), to leading healthy productive lives, and feeling good about ourselves and the choices we make.

May you not be fearful of the mirror, and may your fingers rest comfortably in the pockets of your own jeans. Have a great weekend everyone! Hugz & love to you all! D

Empowering Self

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Eat right!

Exercise!

Relax, truly relax.

Work hard, play hard

Remember NO is a full sentence!

Appreciate yourself, your talents, gifts, who you are

Stay in the NOW!

Think positive thoughts…. walk in the light….

Do not judge yourself when you slip, gently move back towards the light.

Treat yourself like you would those you love, perhaps even a little better!

Rid yourself of doubt, fill yourself with I can, I will, I am!

Look at your strengths, the uniqueness of YOU….. embrace them

Ask yourself… What do I want?  What do I want to do before answering or agreeing to do something.

Dump all guilt, its a futile dangerous head trip that keeps us in the sewers of yesterday

Smile, say Hi to people you do not know, be friendly

If someone cuts you off in traffic, blow them a kiss…. Why get aggitated?  That is time out of YOUR precious life, your energy…. do you really want to expend it this way?

Take time to stop and not only smell the flowers but study them, listen to the birds sing, feel the wind on your skin, feel the ground underneath your feet

Talk with conviction from your heart, let others get to know you

Seek only your own approval, To thine own self, be true!

Do something nice for someone anonymously, do not tell anyone else

Challenge yourself by doing something you are afraid of

SING!  Sing to your hearts content, and dance naked if you want to…. I wouldn’t suggest this outside of your home, but let the music move you

Love yourself and your body as you are, accept who and where you are

Spend time with a child, watch how they interact with others, watch the manner in which they love, offer affection, trust….

Believe that everything is just as its supposed to be

Trust that there is a plan for you, you must participate in it, but there IS a plan

Delve into your heart your soul , grab the hand of the child within and let him/her come out and play

Allow yourself to be silly, angry, happy, sad….. all are important parts of our processing

Seek out passion, not in another, but in something that brings you joy to do, make, participate in… something that you believe in

Unveil your creative self whether it is in music, painting, writing, art, cooking, masonry, knitting…… on and on….. CREATE

LIVE in this moment embracing all that you have, are… it is the empowerment of today and the stepping stone on what we aspire to be if we are granted tomorrow!

And there is always GREAT SEX! (grins)

It’s over…

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I sat there staring at the computer screen.  He DIED?  He is dead? Denial takes over, No, No, No, it isn’t him.  I read on, the obituary verifying his childhood schooling, time served in the Navy and yet I still denied it.  For probably five minutes a war raged  between reality and denial.   Then I read his parents and brothers name as survivors. Oh my god, he died… This can’t be.  Tears streamed down my face at the speed of a rolling river.  My heart sank, and I suddenly felt like I was going to vomit.  I grabbed my cell phone, my hands shaking, I realize I do not know the number.  Back to google.com, where I found his obituary… I found his parents phone number, misdialed it twice because I was crying so hard I couldn’t see the numbers.  Third time is a charm…  His mom answered.  This is Donna Scully…. “hi Donna!”…. her voice was her cheerful self but with a very tired solemn tone that I wasn’t familiar with.  Rolling my eyes now at feeling the need to use my last name, but it had been 4.5 years since Jim and I had parted ways and probably 3 years since I last spoke to his mother.   I had kept tabs on him not in an obsessing way, but I always felt the need to know where he was in the world.  I never stopped praying for him, in fact I would hold the paw of Brody, the aussie we got together and say “it’s time to pray for daddy!”.  Last week being the last time.   I had never given up hope that he would find sobriety, that I would hear from him again.  A few months earlier  I had heard he had married the woman he met in a bar just a couple months after we parted, a new drinking buddy and together they moved to the Virgin Islands.  When I heard this it only confirmed to me what I already knew inside 4.5 years prior when we parted.  He is going to die of this disease, he is going to die.  ” Is it true, did Jim pass?” I asked.   “Yes, she said with a short sigh.  Yes Donna, he died in December.”  The dam breaks.

The love of my life, the man I spent almost a decade of my life with and had once intended to spend the rest of my life with is dead.  It’s over, I thought to myself as I lifted my shirt to wipe away the continuous flow of tears.   

There are three possible endings for an alcoholic:  Recovery, institutionalized, or death.  How I wished he had been in the first category.  This beautiful, intelligent, funny, kind, hard working, fun loving man has died of an awful awful disease.