Tag Archives: therapy

On Love

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Today I want to talk about grief, and love.

I’ve felt “off” for a couple of days now.   But there is a lot going on around me, which has resurfaced old memories, feelings, and emotions… Are they one in the same?   My father hasn’t been doing well.   He is having “spells”, falls, and as a hard working man, he cannot find acceptance with the fact that he cannot do the things he used to do.   And since our moms passing, he has been talking often about his youngest daughters ashes.   They reside with her life partner, with instructions for nieces to scatter the ashes upon . her partners passing.    I’m not going to get into it any deeper than that, but my dad never liked the fact that we didn’t “know’ where her ashes were.    My sister and I never doubted the significance that would be placed on these from her partner, she’s a trustworthy person and was broken into pieces when Dar died.    My sister (only sister I have left of 3), took it upon herself to get in touch with her, and my dad will soon be receiving some of our kid sisters ashes to put in his creel, as was originally planned when she died.   I am on overload, sensory overload.   Flashes and images coming back from that time in my life, painful, painful memories on so many levels including many people, including my sisters partner.    So I have been, not purposely, revisiting all that, and then having just buried my moms ashes, it’s become very clear that I will never again see my mom.   There are no words.    Sporadic crying jags, the heavy feeling in my chest, and sorrow, grief.    I’ve now lost my mom and two sisters to cancer, my father had cancer and so far so good, the three of us children remaining are all cancer survivors and carry gene mutations which has also been resurfacing.  It has never gone “away”.  It will never go “away”.  It’s a fact of life for us.   Ohh, and add to this a canceled oncology appt for me this week because I hadn’t slept and wasn’t up for the drive to Bean town!

Nothing I can do or say will take away this turmoil I’m feeling.   I just know that it will pass, relief will come, and I am really looking forward to that happening.  So, being kind and nurturing myself, i spent the day listening to music.   I am so very grateful for music, art.   If I attribute my depressive disorders to that of an artist (hardly famous), it makes it a little easier to walk through.  Creativity is vital for me.  It might as well be a vital organ because without it, I will fall flat and refuse to get back up again.   And yes, i am stubborn.

Tomorrow I am picking up my bff who is flying in for a 10 day vacation with me from Omaha.    She was supposed to come a couple months ago but because of work it was delayed.  I AM SO GRATEFUL, now, that it was delayed because I pick her up in a few hours.     My home has been filled with family and friends for the past few weeks… MORE GRATITUDE.

My pcp told me I need to find a therapist.    So I bought a BOSE revolve wireless speaker.   I also sent my dad home, two weekends ago, with my Bose Wave radio and cd player.   A thank you to him for introducing us to music.   My family has an above average love and need for music and in our last childhood home there were five stereos at one time, all different music.    I was grateful to hear that my dad spent a day last week listening to music, and ON THE BOSE.   I know it will help him, I have wanted to do this for a while, but my WAVE is seriously one of my most prized possessions.    I didn’t know if i could do without it, but when I saw the shape my dad was in, there was no question what I was going to do.   So my sister and i packed it all up for him.    His sister had burned him a lot of cd’s so he’s enjoying them now.  It’s funny how little effort it takes, when we love someone, to give that which we love, but know will help them.  It was the right thing to do.

I haven’t finished writing what i wanted to tonight, but it’s going to have to be enough.  Thanks for reading my blog, and for all who do, I wish you a pleasant, peaceful day and sleep!

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In celebration of she

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Today we gathered as a family to celebrate my moms life.   My sisters and brothers families were there, we were minus only a handful to make the gathering “whole”.  My mom would’ve loved to have seen us all there together, and as I watched the “goings on” of all,  I know she would’ve been so pleased that so many came the long distance, and at great expense, to honor and celebrate her life.    My parents divorced many decades ago, but my dad and his girlfriend came.   I saw my dad physically choke up once or twice,  particularly when he was watching the slide show that my niece’s husband put together from our combined collection of pictures of my mother.  My parents were married 27 years, they had five children, built two family homes from scratch to finish with very little “contracting” out.   At one point I walked up to my dad and hugged him, told him how lucky we were to have him.  His reply?   “No, Donna, how lucky I am to have all of you!”

Alongside the pictures of my mother playing on the screen, depicting happy times, a playlist I had created for my mother a couple years ago played in the background.   The choice of flowers, white mums, roses, and a spray of blue delphinium, were absolutely beautiful.   My mother would’ve absolutely loved it.  Filling the inner circle of this wreath sat a beautiful urn with mother of pearl enhancements that contained my mothers remains.   My mom loved mother of pearl, abalone, it was her favorite stone.  On the same table were “keepsakes” that mom had saved, postcards, letters, cards, pictures.  It was so tastefully done, and I know my mother would’ve approved.  I know she would have!  Also included were pictures of my youngest and oldest sisters, whom I hope and pray mom is reunited with.

Last night my niece made dinner for all of us, including my dad, his girlfriend, three of my brother’s four children, daughter-in-law,  My sisters husband, both of her children, son-in-law, and two of her grandchildren, my brothers friend, and her daughter.

One of the nicest things for me to hear was “young cousins” playing, laughing.   It was magical for me, and reminded me of my own, our own childhood gatherings with cousins.  It helped give sense to my moms passing – New generations making memories that will hopefully last them a long lifetime.   Oh the truly innocent and silly things they were doing, like making farting noises down a heat vent from the second floor of the farmhouse into the  first floor kitchen where the adults were gathered.    It was their laughter that I hope to never forget, I hope THEY never forget!

I could not be happier with how nice today turned out, the last couple of days actually.  I’m writing this blog so that in the days to come when we are all back to our busy lives, and feeling the loss of my mother, I can come back to this to recall, relive, reunite with the love that flowed, commonality, my family.

My mother was the strongest woman I’ve ever met.   I will always love her and be grateful for giving me life, and teaching me all she did.  I will miss her love, her encouragement, her help, her care when I was ill, her sense of humor.   I will miss her!

Now, personally, the events of this past week, up to and including my mothers passing, has made me realize that I have some work to do on myself.  I will likely share about this in future blogs, because writing is a valuable, helpful tool for me.   But it’s going to be okay, I will be okay, because I know I’m still teachable!

My daily goal, first and foremost, is peace.   In order to achieve this, I need to learn some new skills on how to handle my own emotions, particularly “anger”.    This is probably something most learned in childhood, but I was such an “emotional child” (annoyingly sensitive I’ve been told!)  it was easier for my family to not deal with my emotions, to perhaps “pacify” me.   I am NOT blaming anyone, I believe my parents, my family, myself, we all did our best.     But what worked then (well, it really didn’t even work then either), no longer works and is not appropriate.

I have spent the last couple months stuck in anger.  This wasn’t the first time this has happened, the last time it was this severe was a few months after my sister died.   I ended up hospitalized with such.  I have made many changes in my life, I have consistently improved upon myself, and the quality of my life, my choices, the people in it.   I’ve created a safe, loving, peaceful (for the most part) life for myself.   But what good are these changes,  learning how to set boundaries, recognizing when I’m being taken for granted, standing up for myself, and all the changes I’ve made if I don’t go “all the way” and change my OWN inappropriate behavior?!?    I am the only one who can do this for myself!   Anger scares me – my own and others.    Certainly I can learn new skills!   My life, my relationships will improve.  Particularly when circumstances and opportunities to which the only control I have is how I handle myself!       Yup!   It’s time.

Tell those you love how much they mean to you.  Forgive others who trespass against you.   Forgive yourself.    If you can’t say it, write it, or say it with flowers, or sweets.    To quote Nike…..     Just do it!

My mother died

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My 80 year old mother died Sunday evening at a local hospital.  Six days before that I had brought her into the hospital via the emergency room, at her requested time – 9pm.  I had been with her earlier for blood work, and the day before I brought her prescription over.  However, before that, I hadn’t spoken to her in a couple of months.   I was really quite hurt and angry with her.  But that wasn’t new, throughout my life we had many times we weren’t talking, what was different this time was, it would be the last fight.

A very intelligent, highly humorous and entertaining and skilled woman, my mother was very strong willed woman.  She rarely spoke of her childhood, and we weren’t close to her brothers or their families.  It was just the way things were.  Her parents both died before I was born, so I never met them.   However, just because we weren’t close with her family didn’t mean we weren’t close to others.  MY MOTHER was awesome at planning family outings.  She and my Aunt Fran always planned the family gatherings.  Both of whom were “inlaws”.   When my Aunt died and my parents divorced, that, of course, stopped.   Pleasantly enough, Facebook has been a way for me to reconnect with cousins and aunts and uncles I lost touch with, and some that I really never got to know.

This blog is not going to be about the things my mother did that upset me.  I will just say, she was a difficult woman to love, and I did love my mother, very much.   I know I was a good daughter, I know what I did for her, and that I was always there for her when she needed me, except for the few scattered months here or there when we weren’t talking.  This blog is also not about pointing my finger at my mother.  I will say to you, as a teenager my grandmother, aunts and friends of my mother would pull me aside and ask me if I was okay.    My sweet grandmother (paternal) once told me she thought my mother treated me the way she did because I was born at a time when my oldest sister became very ill, life altering ill.  I don’t know.  And I don’t need to know.  I have long since accepted her behavior, and learned ways to avoid it, and still be present in her life.  Because I always wanted her in my life, she was fun to be around, helpful, and offered incredible insight and help.

My mother was a hard working woman.  I truly believe  (as does my sister) and know she worked hard to provide her children (my dad too) with more than she (they) had.   Even as an elderly woman, she wanted to do what she could to help improve the quality of her adult children’s life, mine included.   She was a work horse.   When something had to be done, she jumped right in, even if physically she wasn’t feeling well, she stepped right in to help, which she would inevitably take over.  Sometimes that was great, other times not so much.  I have spent a large portion of my life talking very loudly hoping to be heard.  This also happened in relationships I was in, because I repeated this “come close, go away” behavior with partners, husbands, lovers.  I am 56 years old.  I am not blaming anyone for my choices, I am simply pointing out that I have done A LOT of therapy, of self seeking in effort to get beyond frustration, pain, hurt, and a desire to be loved.

My mother loved me.  I know this.   She loved all five of us children, in different ways.   Her love was “fierce”.  (This word was stolen from a post of my sister-in-law who had a love hate relationship with my mom throughout her marriage to my brother).  Even if we weren’t talking, having one of our “bouts”, I knew I could call her if I needed her and she would be there if I asked.   It was the manner in which she conducted herself, and how she got her needs met instead of humbly asking for help that I found disturbing.

In the 80’s when I went to my first “ACAP” 12 step meeting (Adult children of alcoholic parents), my therapist kept pushing and pushing for me to go.   So I finally went.  There I found a list of 20 characteristics of “adult children of alcoholics”.     I remember identifying with 19, in time I learned the one I didn’t identify with was just denial!  “Did your parents drink?”  My therapist would ask on a weekly basis.  “Once a year, New Years Eve” I would reply.   And she would ask me again the following week, in hindsight perhaps wondering if I was in denial of such, too.

My parents are/were both good people.   They were NOT alcoholics.  Though I’ve long suspected that my mother grew up in an alcoholic home, or certainly dysfunctional.  That is not to imply my mother’s issues were the only ones in the childhood house!  I have often wished my mother was raised and was willing to be treated with antidepressants.  I think her life and my whole families lives would’ve been drastically improved upon.  I know this from my own struggles with chemical imbalance, and severe depression.  “Mood stabilization” meds have improved the quality of my life, and allowed me to be present in my moms life for 7/8’s of mine.   12 step groups and therapists helped me learn how to identify feelings, and how to cope amidst these feelings.   Maturity has also brought me a split balance of learning how to deal with such, or the older I get, walking away from it, because I just don’t have the desire or energy to involve myself any longer.

I want to tell you that the day my mother died, I was there with her.  I held her hand, I stroked her head as she took her last breath, and I am so grateful her passing was peaceful, because her life was usually anything but.  Incessant worry, I believe we were actually raised to believe that worry could and would change the outcome of whatever the challenge was.  It doesn’t, nor will it ever do anything but add further injury to my already abused adrenal system.  Years of living in “fight or flight”, dodging the elephant in the middle of my living room, I believe reared me “fibromyalgia” at the young age of 29.  And by that age I already had two hospitalizations for depression.   My 10 year marriage with an alcoholic to my second husband, and 2 year marriage to my first alcoholic husband had both ended.  At 33 I fell madly in love with a guy who was “sober”.  It took only 6 months to learn that his drinking was hidden, that he was a binge drinker.  I can relate to this now because I’ve identified myself as a binge eater.  I painfully ended this decade length relationship 4.5 years before he died of the disease.

When it became clear that my mother was “actively dying”, I had to ask her some difficult questions, many of which I already knew the answer to because frankly, our relationship was one where I shared almost everything with her, everything except for addressing her behavior which I opted to do four months before she died.    In the short time since her death I’ve wondered if I hadn’t done that, if I hadn’t been at my wits end with her and being taken for granted by others close to me, would it had changed the ending?  Would it be easier on me facing her death now?  The answer is, No.   The truth is, I was long since burned out from being my moms primary caregiver in the 17 years which she dealt with five cancers.  My two siblings stepped up to help out a couple years ago when I conveyed that I was just tired, exhausted actually, and needed a break.  That is not to imply they weren’t “willing” before, but 78% of her illnesses I believe I was solely responsible for her care.  Ask me sometime how I came up with that number!

The problem was, I had my own health problems, and challenges.   And it was my mother who was there for me through these.  When I got cancer, (my brother was diagnosed 2 weeks after I was), she moved in and took care of me, going back and forth between my brothers house and mine.   Looking back, I am not sure how she did this.  And when I went through my last severe clinical depression and couldn’t be alone, she came once again to my rescue.  I will always be grateful for how good she was at nursing me (my siblings and her hospice patients) with incredible knowledge, strength, and love.

Let’s talk about the word “Strength”.  I had friends who met my mom and later laughed and said “No wonder you are a strong woman!”     I had no other choice.  And like the long difficult day she died, I was able to be her voice when she couldn’t.  I was able to love her, and ascertain she was being treated with utmost dignity and wasn’t in pain.  She taught me how to do that!   She always taught us about the importance of family, and I love my family, all of them, all of us flawed individuals!   I had a few hours alone with her that day, so I was able to share some things with her (She really didn’t have any choice but to listen! ha), and I had sensed for days that she was going to die, even though her doctors were not saying that, not at all.   So I had asked my facebook friends who had lost their mom “If you had a chance to say something more to her, what would you say?”   I asked this Saturday night.  Contrary to what some may think, I’m not a drama queen.   I ask for prayers from my facebook friends because frankly, it works faster than any other way I know.   I do not belong to a church, but I do have HUNDREDS of friends who pray for me (and I them) when asked.    My painting career has gifted me with quality people, friends, close friends.  I am so grateful for this.

I wish my moms life had been better.  I wish she hadn’t had to deal with the serious illness that stripped my oldest sister of a normal life and forced my parents to make painful, heart wrenching decisions for her care, and for the safety of their other children.  I wish my mom (or dad) didn’t have to bury their oldest and youngest daughters of a disease that one or both of them passed down to their children.   I wished my parents marriage had somehow worked out, because I believe they did love each other, and we could’ve had some nice family time the last few years…if only she would’ve considered treating that which I believe caused so much distress to my family, that to which was “the elephant” in the middle of our living room.

My mother was my friend.   She really was.   We are ALL perfectly flawed.  I have shared a lifetime of memories with her, both good and bad, but always, ALWAYS good when I was sick and needed her.   I think had she not given her life to raising a family, she would’ve made an incredible lawyer, or doctor.  She was passionate, educated herself of things that were important to her, and never failed at anything she put her mind to.  I mean that!   Other than the failed marriage, she had things she started and didn’t finish, for whatever reason, like hair styling school, but that was her choice.  She was a pillar of strength when she made up her mind to do something, and what an example she was for us this way.  “You CAN, and you WILL”, and she would roll up her shirt sleeves, or put on her work clothes, and make it happen.

My mother really did care for others, and she gave particular attention to troubled teens or giving a voice to the elderly or needy.   And that was and will always be honorable.  It’s unfortunate that that she plowed over those closest to her, but I don’t think it was out of anything but love.  A bull in a china shop comes to mind!  But even this has gifted me with my own strength, my own voice, and I, too, plow people over when I feel I’m being silenced.  Perhaps that was her button, too?   Who knows, I will probably never know and that is okay.  Why?

Because my mother had good morals and standards, she knew right from wrong, and she asserted all of these onto her children.  And she loved us.   She loved us with a fierceness that would scare the crap out of others or others who were treating us wrong!   She wanted more for us than she had  or wanted for herself, and she believed we could do or be anything, and she was proud of each of us, but she just couldn’t say that to our face. I’m astounded when friends or people I meet tell me things my mother has said to them about me.  I really had no idea she felt proud of me or my accomplishments.

And I wish my mother had the ability to admit when she was wrong or offer apologies for when she plowed us over.    Her life, our life would’ve been so much easier and better.  But it was what it was, and I’m left with this hole in my chest, with the loss of my mother, my friend, my confidant.  I am going to miss her, I already do.   All the friction that was between us for those few months has been set aside.  I will have to somehow deal with these on my own, and the minute I walked back into her life to be there to help her when I knew she was sick, it became unimportant, and serves now to only help me define and identify areas of my own life that need honing.

I am grateful she was my mom.  And though I hated some of her actions, I was able to share things with her in her final hours, that needed to be said.   And those were NOT about her faults, but about her strengths and her love.    Because you see, I too wasn’t able to tell my mom to her face some things, some good things.   Intimacy was a no no!   So I’m glad I asked the question I did to my facebook friends, and I used them as guidance of things I wanted to say to my mother, knowing from experience that when someone you love dies, the love doesn’t disappear.  It miraculously expands, a true and amazing gift it is!  I made my amends to my mom, and she, with her stoic and ailing self, acknowledged and did the same to me, just before I had to take over her voice for her end of life care.    Everything happened so fast, and my sister was enroute from TX to get to NH, and my brother was in and out,  running to get my sister when she arrived.  We all worked together, via text, to make her last day as painless a day as possible.  I’m trying to work through the aftermath, and second guessing medicating her to a point where she didn’t have a voice, but I did so knowing I was her voice, and with her strength and love and support of my siblings and their love for our mother, we did it, and I’m proud of all of us for that.

I am left exhausted, broken, in a fibromyalgia flare, but very grateful for this difficult woman, difficult mother, my strong willed, flawed mother!    Rest in peace mom.  I love you, I always will, and I know not how to walk this earth without you, but I’m on Day #3 and survived thus far, because of all you taught me.   And as I think about this, I realize, she was also able to teach me how to be humble, how to apologize, even though her own fragile ego didn’t allow it within herself, for whatever reason.      We are ALL flawed.  And a friend said to me something I saved, and this is where I am going in my life.  It isn’t about being “my best” . It is about being at my functional best, without regret, no matter what life throws me!

Sensitivity, mental illness AND being right brained

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I read a LOT of self help books.     My mother said to me one day last year “I think it’s great that you want to improve upon yourself, but Donna, what about fun?    Well, I read art books, that counts for fun.  And I read articles online, a lot about cancer, guess that isn’t too fun…    But this comment of hers “came back” in my head this past week.

Thinking about sensitivity.   I have always been very sensitive.   Cry easily (ask my siblings, growing up with me, my parents didn’t know what to do with me and my emotions, so to eliminate stress for all, they would omit sharing things with me!   Now, this works, to an extent, but not all that great after that.   I found myself in my 30s and 40s before I started to really learn how to sit with stuff, how to deal with things that otherwise “hurt”.    Hey, they did their best, no blame there, just thinking about what it would be like to NOT be so sensitive?

I remember sitting in a 12 step meeting, an addict was struggling.  He shared how his newly found sobriety was good, but it was also overwhelming.  He realized booze helped numb him from his “oversensitivity” (also labeled that as a child).    He was an artist, and part of who he was was this beautiful sensitive soul, and he didn’t want to lose that.  But he was going bat shit trying to figure out how to cope with life on a daily basis without a numbing agent.    I sat there, shaking my head with understanding.  I thought EVERYONE cried at the end of Casper?!?   And a whole lot of other things.

Where is the balance?   I don’t know.   The older I get, the easier it becomes to screen or throw stuff out that I just don’t want to cope with.  I’m not talking about responsibilities, but others drama and things that frankly, bring me discomfort or discontent.   I have heard, numerous times, that most mental illness (including addiction) comes with an undiagnosed dual diagnosis.   I think about this, and I have many many friends who have been treated for one, and who still struggle.   It was like being diagnosed with ADHD just two years ago at 51.  Holy crap!    Medication made my life SO MUCH BETTER.  I was the first to judge another if they put their children on ADD or ADHD meds.  Now?  I encourage.  If this gives their child an opportunity to function better (and it will if they are truly ADD/ADHD), their life will be improved upon so much.  Mine has.

Most people my age are only diagnosed because their children were, first.     The things that I once thought were “normal” and that everyone shared, and now I realize, a big part of my self esteem and confidence being lower than it should.   Because I felt stupid, or lazy, sometimes crazy.   I have always known I’ve been wired different from others, but I always attached a negative connotation (just listed above) to it.   The truth is, I’m not stupid, nor lazy, nor crazy.   I’m not!  I struggle with mental illness and this isn’t fun.   But I’m not insane.

Most important thing for me to do has been and will be to learn how to cope….     I believe I have good self awareness, and I strive, I really do, to be a good person, do the right thing, one day at a time.    I’m not special in my struggles, I’m far from alone.   But you know what is worse?     It HAS to be having an undiagnosed, untreated mental illness.  And the stigma that is attached and has been to mental illness sadly keeps many lives struggling, with little quality.

I recently went off five medications after I was discharged from my outpatient therapy because I had missed too much time.  Another blog.   I weaned myself off, and started to pay attention to my body.   I believe I was overmedicated.   Now, I am starting to “feel” again, and my hands do not shake anywhere near what they did, which is part of why I stopped painting, teaching.   I’m doing well.   I’m focusing on the physical problems that need attention, and keeping a close check on my depression with close friends, through blogging, and a lot of prayer.

I want a quality life.   I want to feel peace, happiness.   I want to feel grief without losing myself to it, or several years of my life.   This means I have to learn to coping skills, and I have and am.     I need to accept that part of being me is being sensitive and to accept myself for who I am, and may very well always be.    I remind myself that God doesn’t make junk, and that I was designed to be perfectly imperfect.   We all were.

Today I’ve had a nice day, a peaceful day, a productive day.    I’m very grateful for this.   I’ll deal with tomorrow when it gets here.     Just want to say one more thing.  If you have never been diagnosed or treated for mental illness, educate yourself.  Read articles, peoples blogs, etc.   Only a very small percentage are really insane.  Most of us struggling with learning disabilities and mental illness are just trying to find our way out of the chaos that can ruminate in our heads.    I share on my experiences to help others know, they are far from alone.  I know it helps me to know this, too.

Happy Mental Health!

ExCiTeMeNt!

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How do you share an opportunity of a lifetime with someone when you are so excited your presentation alone will scare them off?

I am crazy excited.   I am looking younger, feeling younger and taking charge of my own destiny!     My friends are looking at me like “Are you doing drugs?”   Um NO.   I’m very excited and want to share this with others.    For the past year I’ve dared to dream again.  I have hope and am running with it that my life could and will be so much better.  Having fun, looking youthful, earning moola.   PSYCHED!

For the past decade I have been struggling financially.  I know I’m not alone.   I would work 12 hour days, travel, flop into bed and wake up in the morning doing the same thing over and over.  My down time was spent crying, questioning my existence.  Yep, I was one gloomy girl.     Having hope is WONDERFUL!     Being excited about my life and the potential of it is WONDERFUL!   I want to share this with everybody because I believe they, too, can change their lives….all for the better.   

Don’t you deserve to at least look into it?    🙂 🙂 🙂    Now I shall stop my blabbing about this, well, for now.

My life is changing.  I am healing.   I am so grateful to be in the place I am, as it’s new, someplace I’ve never been.   It hasn’t been easy getting here, quite the contrary but the old adage “Anything worth having … dot dot dot!”    What if?   What if I could turn my life around?  What if I can be financially secure, my art can become my art, my passion without deadlines and traveling like a maniac to meet my bills? You know what?  I’m the only one who can do this and I’ve fallen into an opportunity that the potential is unlimited….   I’m doing it!!!!!!!!!!! WOHOOOOOOO…….

Tomorrow I’m off to Boston for my biannual oncology visit.    5 months cancer free and planning on continuing this road STRONG!

donnascully.nerium.com
LAUNCHING IN Canada this month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Commitment

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Alongside intimacy, I have problems with commitment.   If you want to go out to dinner with me you are better off springing it on me that day.  It’s just the way it is.   I have improved some in this department, but am far from “norm”, whatever that is.

I can be in a long term relationship, faithful, and wish to be in another, but in all honesty, that scares me.  Not the faithful part, the intimacy part.  And no not sex, intimacy is much more than that.

Recently I have come to grips with what I need to do for myself, what I need to do to take care of myself.   This involved admission of an addiction to food, and action to arrest it.    I’ve joined OA, which I am excited about.  I don’t have to do this alone because frankly, I can’t, I’ve tried.  My best intentions and attempts landed me in the slump I was in.   

I need to make commitments to myself.   While I have in past struggled with this too, I am much more willing to try, am making changes that will improve my life, mentally, physically, spiritually.   As part of this I brushed off the old treadmill which has been unused for a year, and planned to start using it on the porch where it sits.   Hmmm, this will only last 2 weeks until the heat and humidity set in and then I will have a viable excuse to stop.  So, painstakingly I rearranged my art room, saying goodbye to a piece of furniture that I love, but no longer have the room for.  Fortunately a good friend is taking it, so as silly as it sounds, I will still be able to see it and I know she will put it to great use.   I remember going to my friend’s house and she had an exercise bike that had clothes draped over it.   I said to her “It must be a pain in the ass to remove those clothes every night when you use that!”   Like I have never used an exercise machine as a clothes rack!  Too many!

The treadmill is now where there will be constant air conditioning through to Fall, I can listen to music effortlessly, and if desired, watch television while exercising.     It was a difficult decision to make because first, I don’t like a treadmill right there when you first walk into my front door, but this is where I stand the greatest chance of keeping to the commitment I’ve made to myself to get in shape.  I’m actually pleased with my decision, which reinforces, to myself that I am giving this my all.    The crappy part of all of this is the relocation of many things, including scads of items that were in the cabinet I am getting rid of. 

I have worked very hard to get my house organized.   If you lived in my chaotic mind for the past decade you would probably vomit at the steady rollercoaster in thinking.   Grateful I was diagnosed with ADHD last year and am on medications that have improved the quality of my life, and since then allowing me the mindset, since, of cleaning out every nook and cranny of my house.   My cellar has never been this empty since I moved in 26 + years ago.    I need to get it cleaned and sealed, am not sure I’ll be able to do that with my allergies and sensitivities but the fact that it is almost ready for this is gigantic!     A furniture hoarder, thus the constant flux of furniture in my house, which consequently ended up on my 3 season porch, has ceased.    I have two pieces left in my shed that I am bringing into my house, and I will not be buying anything unless something is removed.   For the first time in my adult life I will have no “unused” furniture to fall back on when I’m in the mood for change.  Still, the peace of mind, the freedom I am feeling in taking these actions is much greater than my desire to continue the “treasure hunt”.    It’s so much easier to clean my house, my little house suddenly is looking more spacious, and everything has a place.  I’m sure most of you will say, well, yeah… but I have not lived that way in a very long time.   It didn’t help to be living with the crazies of active alcoholism for almost a decade and then was in fight or flight mode to make my way back from it all, which too, has taken almost a decade to do.  Still there are financial restraints that I sometimes feel like I’ll never get beyond.  But progress.  I have to look at the progress I’ve made.

I called my bestest last night to vent, purge myself of the feelings of frustrations I was having with once again, having my house in disarray.   As with most projects, one leads to another, to another until almost every room of your, well my, house is involved.    I made a point last night to clean up what I could so that I would not come downstairs and be overwhelmed immediately.  It worked.   I have a lot of work to do, but it is doable.  It certainly doesn’t seem as bad as it did yesterday.

So, here I am, writing about the commitments I am making to myself, the decisions that I’ve made.   Once I make a decision which has truly set into my brain, I’m pretty good about keeping it.    I’m replacing all the negative self talk with positive affirmations, reaching out to those who can and will support me, and I’m on my way.  As we often hear, life isn’t about the destination but the journey, I started this journey with movement, action.   Success doesn’t begin with an hour on the treadmill, it begins at the time of thought, readiness, preparation, arrangements.   I am doing it!

 

TGIF

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Sung to the tune of “Thank God I’m a country boy!” -John Denver, “Thank god it’s Friday night… yeah!”    Five doctors appointments, medical tests… I’m glad this is behind me.

Today has been a good day.  I saw my shrink, which was long overdue.  And I saw my therapist for a couple minutes who came over to me to see how I was doing after a particularly difficult week.  It meant much to me.   It’s nice to know she cares.   Believe me, I have many stories to tell of therapists I have had in the past.   One very good one, and a bucketful of soggy onions.

Took my mom shopping, always an adventure.   Bought a new mop and bucket because Sophie Lauren chewed the mop up and trashed the bucket.  Anyway, I decided today would be a domestic day, yes I planned to put on my domestic goddess tiara.   A hankerchief!  Trust me, it doesn’t happen often.  First frustrated with my 3 month old Electrolux until I found the cause.   I guess I should vacuum more often?  A baseball size fur ball.    Kinda gross, kinda funny.

As I mentioned before, this week has been a hard week.   I’m not going to go into it all, I just want to reiterate perhaps to myself, and any of you who are struggling…hang in there, hang on…it does pass.    I surely hope this is behind me, but probably not.  This is an anniversary time of my youngest sisters passing, and weeks prior, and right around the corner will be my oldest sisters passing.    If you’ve ever lost a sibling you know, it sucks.  It feels like someone or something reached into my chest and pulled out a large chunk of my heart.  Time teaches me how to coexist with it, but it never really goes away.   We are also coming up on the anniversary when I found out my ex died.  Deep sighs.    I can do this, I can do this.   And if that isn’t enough…. the diagnosis of breast cancer(s)….

The past couple of days I’ve been thinking about life in terms of rules.  There are none!   The older I get the more I “get” that it isn’t about our experiences as much as how we HANDLE or COPE with them.   Life isn’t a bowl of cherries, at least mine hasn’t been.  It has it’s highs and lows and another thing I am learning is to appreciate the times that seem “boring”…they are a blessing.    Sort of like how I have changed my view on “bad boys”.   I was always drawn to them, the excitement?  The mystery?  I don’t know.   Now a days I’m thinking that who I would once view as “boring” will be very nice.   I’m not into parties, I’m not into crowds (a topic that was covered today with my shrink).   I enjoy going out for dinner, I enjoy going for rides, particularly back hills, or better in the woods.   I am no longer an extrovert.  I’m told that this happens sometimes with age, but I’m very much an introvert now and that is okay with me.

Reconnecting with childhood friends has brought an array of memories.  Oh how simple life seemed then.  Yes, times have changed, but maturity and more happens and it can easily become hard water to tread in.    It also grounds me.    I’m not particularly crazy about seeing even these people, I will typically dodge them and go the other way in hopes they hadn’t seen me… but usually when I do see someone and have a conversation with them I walk away feeling good and wondering why I would ever “run” from such an experience.    I am also horrible when it comes to commitments.  “Yes, yes sounds good!” and when the engagement comes, I’m dragging feet and the majority of the time, will cancel or back out of the plans.    Ask any of my family or close friends.    Yeah, I’ve learned that “fear of intimacy” is directly related to, sibling to “fear of commitment”.

As difficult as this week has been I have learned a lot.  Why perhaps I am as described above, what perhaps prompted or caused it.   I’ve relearned that I can endure, that I beat the crap out of myself with unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of myself.  As a person who has struggled with depression the majority of my life one would think I would “understand” it’s talon grip.    I call myself lazy and a few things, negative connotations.    “Why can’t I ‘pull myself up by my bootstraps’…and more.   Depression is real, it can be debilitating.

There is a house and garage/barn that has been in the process of being built for months now.  Every time I drive by I slow down and study it.  The lines of the house, the design, the architecture is just beautiful.  I don’t know how anyone could look at this and not see that architectures are artists of a different medium.     Anyway, watching this reminds me of the importance of building a good foundation, not to skimp on that as it’s the most important in building.   The most beautiful house (life) can easily be compromised, severely, if the foundation is shoddy.  Yah yah, I’m full of metaphors these days.

I received a surprise visit today from a woman who I just adore.  She is 85 and an artist.  She is my mentor.   We visited for an hour or so, getting caught up on things and showing each other our latest paintings/designs.   It made my day.  I am also excited that tomorrow I have plans to spend it with girlfriends, beading.    I am excited that I am excited about this and not dragging feet and feeling skivvy.

I am off to do laundry, make some brownies and enjoy a quiet night at home with my furries.

Have a great weekend! ♥

Memory Lane

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A particularly quiet therapy session early this afternoon had my therapist ask “Are you quiet because you are tired from not sleeping?”  Apparently I’m normally a chatter box!   Truth is, I have not been sleeping.   This is not unfamiliar territory for me, though it is distressing.    I am taking my meds, I am trying to get to bed at a reasonable time each night, but sleep doesn’t come knocking til 6, 7 or 8am.  A couple years ago when I was going through a particularly hard time mentally, nights filled with insomnia, a friend said to me “Fatigue makes cowards out of all of us”.    I am revisiting that statement today, nodding my head in agreement.   I made it to therapy today, did some important errands and now going to pay a few bills…  This is all I am expecting of myself today.  Hopefully I will be able to retire early tonight with heavy eyes and an ability to sleep.    I think insomnia is why I like being knocked out with anesthesia so much.   Count backwards from 100….by the time you hit 98, 97, GONEZO!

Contended with some unexpected traffic jams resulting in a longer trip home, through the small town, communities where I grew up.    Looking through the memories of a child, but eyes of an adult.   I shared my memories with Lilly, as she sat in the back of the jeep looking like she was listening.  The fields which once spanned my comprehension now seem small, quaint.  The names of childhood friends popped up without effort as we passed the homes where they once lived.  How can I remember these things, and forget what I had for breakfast, or if I had breakfast?

I attach feelings to music, to places, not particularly to things, and smells, smells are an immediate recognition of whatever it served to remind me of.    Feeling lately like I’m failing cognitively, it was just what I needed to give myself some reassurance that I have not lost it all …. completely!    Yep, this was a ride down memory lane.   I am a country girl, middle child of 5, who grew up in a small town in New Hampshire.   My world is not merely as small as it once was, larger from the observation of a youngster.  Life seemed so much simpler.  Good God, I’m sounding like “We walked 5 miles home, without shoes”….  The appreciation and gratitude encouragement speech which sadly, was true and more sad, that we needed reminding of our luxuries.

I cannot watch the commercials on television about starving children, or abused animals.   It keeps me up at night.  When they come on I mute the television and go in the other room.   Sarah McClaughlin offered a song years ago to the cause and to this day I still cannot listen to the song.    I cannot watch the news, and certainly not in the evening, if I am looking to get some shut eye.     I wonder what my grandparents would say if they were to hear the commercials now, or the programs, or see all the violence that the news dispels to us.   Yesterday, as I was shoveling, I was thinking about the one popular and repetitive ad for Viagra “If you have an errection for longer than 4 hours…”, yesterday I filled in the blanks with “Go to the emergency room immediately, and if you can shovel snow, come see me!”   Not sure the correlation there, but I found it comical.

How about the commercials that depict a perfect family, or happy couples who fill the Christmas tree with gold, diamonds and more?    Sorry, no one has the perfect family, and happy couples are a minority these days.   It is so nice to see happy people together, it is contagious and reminds me of times in my life when alone time was something that happened every few weeks.   Now, single, self employed, and struggling with isolation, the beginning of the three headed beast of depression, I do get lonely, I do long for touch, but I’m not willing to do anything to change my situation.

“A course in miracles”, Marianne Williamson “Return to Love”, so many self help, recovery books I have read simplify and identify the two directions (choices) we have that can change our entire life……. Either you are walking towards fear, or walking towards love.   When it comes to relationships, I defensively, once unconsciously clung tight to Fear Avenue.   I still do, today, but I am edging closer and closer to the embassy to love.   At 52 I realize, boring is good.   Boring means consistency, accountability, dependability.    There is much truth in women liking “bad boys”, at least for me.   I have nothing left in ambition, desire to travel this road anymore.   Fear of being hurt has me wear a cloak of armoire which is slowly being dismantled.    I want to be in a relationship, I want to feel safe, thus willing to trust another with my heart.   I know it will take one very patient special man.   I love the song by Train “Bruises”….. ‘we’ve all got bruises’.  

I guess I’ve rambled on enough for this one post.  I am grateful to have learned, through travesties, self preservation.    I share only what I want others to know, only those things that I am comfortable sharing.   A natural survivor mode that came late in life for me.    “You wear your heart on your sleeve”, something that I heard over and over in my life.  I guess I still do, but no where near the depth that I once did.   I am grateful for maturity, I am grateful for growth.  I am grateful for my ability to be alone, one with myself, I am good company.  I am also grateful for the desire, and inching towards Love.    Fear sucks.

In honesty, I have offered you this part of me….  in hopes that my sharing will help another….   xo!