Video

..an epiphany

I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’ – Isaiah 46:10


The other day I had an epiphany.  If I hadn’t had a couple of bad breaks as a kid, and then become sick in my early 20’s, I would have never met my husband.  It put things in perspective for me, and made me feel more grateful than ever, for my life, as it is.

As for everything else, it’s deteriorating rapidly.  A family member is bloody close to a mental/emotional breakdown.. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were in the next few days.  It’s like watching a train wreck in slow-mo, and you can’t do anything to stop it.  I’ve been surviving on Antacids, Canada Dry (the great, delicious, high caloric ulcer healer);  (too much) sleep, and prayer.  During my reading the other day, I came across the verse in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.”  It hit me right in the gut.  I’d been obsessing, every moment, over the well-being of my parents, particularly my mom, and not able to fully trust the situation to Christ.  Whereas I’ve been handling this, mostly, with steely jawed (teeth gritting) reserve, I broke down and wept at that message.

The text reminded me that I can’t be a disciple unless I’m able to realize that none of our lives are ours, and this is not within my control.  I can’t say this is still easy for me, because there are elements to it that I can’t write about, darkness and complications, but there’s nothing that God can’t conquer, if He will only be given the chance.  I’ve had some more peace, and have been able to pray for more strength.

I haven’t been eating well, or working out, and I realized I can’t let someone else’s insanity kill me.  So it’s back to a healthy lifestyle again.  I didn’t stray too far from it in the first place, but my metabolism is so slow, I can look at a dinner that’s higher fat, and I gain 5 lbs.  So, it’s plant-based, mostly, from here-on out.

If I can stay awake, I’m trying to customize another template, and move this blog to a domain, as well as work on a web project with my uncle/family.  I’ve barely looked at a PC in the last week.  So many things to/should/desperately-want-to do… and so very little energy to do it with.

..such strange candy

After getting up and taking my meds early this a.m., I slept in until 7 a.m.  Then, I couldn’t stay awake, and fell back asleep at 11, and woke up at 2:30p.m., in withdrawal.

It only takes being a couple hours or less late with my meds, lately, to start going into withdrawal.  This is disconcerting.  The list of chemicals I put into my body every day is … really extensive, so much so it’s both embarrassing to me, and really scary.  The fact of the matter is, I wouldn’t be alive now if I weren’t being managed so well on these meds.  My quality of life, while leaving a lot to be desired, is much better than a few years ago, when I required assistance to even take the few steps to the bathroom.

The pain med that I’m on is strange.  It’s non-narcotic, but treats itself, in many ways, like an opiate.  There is no ‘high’, but rather, it’s more like taking a Tylenol… a Tylenol that will -mess- you up if you stop taking it.  I’m on the equivalent of a very high dose of Morphine.  When I’m late taking a dose, the yawning and shuddering starts, and the aching legs.  Opiates are stored in your bones, so when you go into withdrawal, they start to leech from your bones, making them feel as though they’re going to explode, and causing the wracking pain that’s a large part of why coming down from opiates cold turkey is impossible.  If you have been on a pain med for a while, and you are going to count down on it.. and your doc says you won’t experience any withdrawals.. be skeptical, and prepare yourself.

I’ve gone through opiate detox two times.  Once, because the med I was on was billed as being completely non-narcotic, with no sort of dependency, information that was incorrect from the drug company (new medication).  I decided to stop the med, and despite a brief countdown, went through an excruciating detox.  The second time, the pain clinic decided to try giving me Oxycodone as a secondary pain med to the Methadone I’d taken for years, in order to try and make me more comfortable, and it gave me something called ‘opiate bowel condition’.  I couldn’t eat anything but a few bites of plain chicken breast or white rice every few days, for 4 months. One would think I would lose much more than 30lbs. during that time, but I went into starvation mode, and instead, just got very weak, very dehydrated, malnourished, and very sick.  My hair fell out;  I was so miserably bloated, it was literally affecting my ability to breathe.  If it weren’t for the god awful withdrawal process, and this new med, I wouldn’t have lived, much less seen as much improvement as I have.

Two hours, and into withdrawal bothers me, though.  I have other meds that treat neuropathy, not remotely narcotic, and if they don’t get refilled in time, I’m a live wire.. sparking explosive neuropathy shooting around my lower body frenetically. My eyeballs and face itch so that I want to claw them/it off, and there are the anxiety attacks;  I feel like I can’t breath, but I know, logically, I am breathing.. and so I try to talk myself out of something that is some kind of out of nowhere, chemically-induced knee-jerk response.  And, finally, the auditory hallucinations.

I spent an entire 24 hours convinced that our bedroom’s tower fan was picking up radio waves.  On a lazy, very hot, Saturday afternoon, while my husband slept, I listened to B side classic rock, some hair bands… they were bands and songs I recognized, but didn’t know, and would never intentionally listen to, yet every word, note, and guitar lick played out on my ‘fan radio’.  I listened to a symphony, some modern classical I wasn’t familiar with, and then an operetta with a bass, baritone, and soprano that was rather divine.  They sang in Italian, which had to have been babble, but the music was amazing, if I do say so myself.  All of this under the constant white noise of static, because, after all, it was a ‘fan radio’, not a real radio.

The next evening, there was some really great Motown.

Drugs, drugs, and more drugs.  I’m tired of sleeping, but if I don’t take a couple of certain pills, I won’t sleep.. at all… ever.

Yet I hope, still, that if I continue to pursue health: fostering my spiritual growth; working harder at my physical well-being (clamp down on caloric intake, start working out again);  and try to improve my mental health by reading, playing puzzle games, and pursuing my hobbies;  I will eventually be able to narrow the list of meds by a few.

That’s the goal.  I would just dearly like to be really awake when it’s awake time, and really asleep when it’s asleep time.  The latter is taken care of, and I suppose the former could be as well, but then that’s another pill.

…something about cherries?

People refer to a carefree life as being full of ‘sunshine and roses’.  Well, I remembered, today, that I’m allergic to the sun, so that might explain everything.  I still do love me some roses.  (insert rim shot here)

A bowl of cherries with colors desaturated exc...

I usually start out with a text, but I’m not this time.  This is just a quick entry to document the fact that I think… I think.. I’m clawing my way out of this pit, or rather, I’m actually reaching up and allowing God to take my hand.  I still don’t have any answers, and my family is still in a desperate situation with no foreseeable resolution minus a complete spiritual transformation in my dad (which I pray for … a lot).

It’s scary, I won’t pretend it’s not.  I suppress it typically, I grit my teeth, wear them down.  We all live with the emotional blackmail of knowing, full-well, that Dad would just.. end himself, if Mom ever did separate, which at this point, would be rational to save her health, and wellness (never mind finances).  It would be incredibly sad, and difficult for all of us.  I love my dad immensely.  My family is a testament to the fact that child abuse corrodes its way a victim’s life, into the next generation, breaking their children, and following them directly into their middle age.  It doesn’t go away just because a person couldn’t possibly be viewed as a victim any longer.  Being a child at heart is a double edged sword.  I believe every person remembers the happiest, and most heart-wrenching time of their childhood in their dying moments, no matter how old.

My mama instilled faith and stubbornness in her daughter, though, and two of them are how I’ve gotten by this long.  I figure they are how I will help her get by.  The other day, I simply wrote a post-it note, with a bullet point list of requests for her ‘house guest’.  ‘Please keep your eyes on your child, pick up after yourself, do your own laundry, and get yourself up for work’.  I stuck it to his mirror.  Stubbornness.  She’s off work in an hour, and I’m going to find out how it’s worked.

I can’t ‘fix’ much about any of the closeted daytime t.v.’esque drama that’s persisting in my little tribe, but I can keep praying about it, and I can start working on, once again, getting my strength up.. strength of spirit, body, and mind, so that I can serve God, my family…my mama.  Faith.

The fact that I can even think along those terms right now is a little ray of optimism.  I have my new friends on WP to thank for that.  I’d not presumed that one person would read anything I wrote here, but I’ve been blessed to have a brilliant assortment of intelligent, diversely passionate people that have inspired me by dropping by, and affording me the privilege of visiting their blogs.  It’s nifty to be a bit overwhelmed with reading in order to try and catch up with who I want to ‘meet’.  So thanks to you -all-, if you see this, and even if you don’t.  If you’ve commented, or we’ve conversed, it’s been a distinct pleasure!

I look forward to more… and right now, life is like a bowl of roses.. or… box of chocolates.. or is it something about cherries?

And queue lunchtime..

 

Video

Beautiful

My friend, Shaun, made a fantastic post today featuring Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful.  In his wisdom, he spoke about inner beauty, vs. outer beauty, and how important each is from one person to the next.  Here is his post.  Give him a read!  He posts fantastic music, and his thought provoking dialogue welcomes debate.  This is another ‘Beautiful‘, Shaun, one from my ‘favorites’ folder.

Love to everyone.  Whoever, and wherever you are, know that I believe you’re beautiful, and I believe in you.  If you don’t already, it’s time to believe in yourself!

..this is a real pain in the neck!

and he is gracious to that person and says to God,
‘Spare them from going down to the pit;
I have found a ransom for them—
let their flesh be renewed like a child’s;
let them be restored as in the days of their youth’—
then that person can pray to God and find favor with him,
they will see God’s face and shout for joy;
he will restore them to full well-being.

- Job 33:24-26

I’m finding my legs again.  I didn’t let myself go back to sleep today, and my head is throbbing because of that, my body convulsing every few minutes because I fall asleep for a second.  The pain has been horrid, and I’ve lost ground with my strength.  I’ve actually almost blacked out several times, something I haven’t done for a couple years.  The fatigue, pain, and weakness are things I know will improve somewhat, or I can overcome again, to the degree I had before.

The real issue at hand has been my spirit.  Tumultuous, boiling, incessant worry, and feverish nightmares combined into a dichotomy with a desolate quiet, and pursuit of as much sleep as my pain would allow.  In my youth, in this situation, my emotions would have presented with sound and fury, passion and quest for justice.  Now, I find myself to be almost coolly rational.  The bonus is that I found myself able to verbalize my frustrations in a calm way, and prioritize logic before personal feelings in the conversation, but the void I felt while dealing with this family crisis was devouring.

Gritted teeth, and clenched jaws lead to TMJ flareup..  I’m enjoying an ulcer, with abdominal  pain leaving me incapacitated at times, and chest pain prompting me to inhale antacids, and take my pulse occasionally, ‘just to be safe’.  But my neck and shoulders are particularly effected, it seems, respecting no amount of stretching or re-positioning on my part.  They’re a rock hard mass of tensed muscles and tendons, and searing shoulder joints.

I don’t think one would have to be a former mental health-care professional to realize what state I’ve been in, but I almost delayed to label it, almost felt ashamed.  There is -no shame- in being depressed, though.  When I think to my Bible figures, the characters that stand out most prominently in my mind (unfortunately, my memory issues rob me from so much of what I’ve studied) David, and Paul both had to contend with periods of depression of sorts.

I would qualify their depression, like mine, as ‘situational’.  I would love to, and aspire to, one day, be able to hold my head high, and smile serenely in the face of adversity, but I think it’s human nature to get down when the situation has turned on its ear.  Chemical, situational, or a combination thereof, pain is pain.

David would find himself in a fix, having bad times, often of his own making.. sometimes not, and he would speak out, openly, to the Lord about how he felt.  That was of some comfort to me when I thought about how I ‘spoke out’ to the Lord a week ago.  I’ve never questioned God before.. I might have betrayed him in a myriad of ways, but I would have felt aghast at doing that.  After the other day, though, I remembered that even Jesus, in the garden, asked “Why hast thou forsaken me?”

Of course, he didn’t say “I’m so angry at you!” ….I did.  I don’t know that I can excuse that.  But I asked Him to, and His grace is sufficient for me… amazingly.  And that is what Paul said, when he had the mysterious ‘thorn in his side’, something that I’ve long wondered about, and somehow identified with, over the years.

  • Chronic Pain – thorn in my side
  • Endless Fatigue – thorn in my side
  • Limbs paralyze with continuous motion – thorn in my side
  • Morbidly Obese – thorn in my side
  • Degenerating, crooked spine – thorn in my side

…. but Your grace is sufficient for me.  I trust You with these.

  • My father financially devastating my parents
  • My poor mother having to face a complete lack of fidelity in her husband’s past
  • Random, bad decisions from father that’s causing severe stress for both parents
  • Mother, a woman of great faith and love, emotional and physical health failing as a result of all of this, and at a risk.

Lord, can I trust You with this?  This is my mother. I have prayed every day for her.  I pray constantly for her.  I plead.  She has given, and gives everything of herself to the people she loves;  to You, and to watch her being worn away, while being faithful, in such a miserable situation, is so agonizing.  It feels like I can’t possibly simply leave it to You.

But I know I have to.  She’s yours.. and my burden is far, far too heavy.  I can’t do this.  This situation is way too big for me.  Give me the faith to entrust it to you.  I really need some help with the pain in my neck.  It hurts… it hurts…. it all hurts…

April Rain Song

Words aren’t coming lately.  I’m in survival mode.  My prayers are guttural, silent, but tearing wordlessly from a place inside of me that leaves my chest throbbing.  There has been far less of a quest for fitness.  This is not like me.. this is situational.  This will get better.

And the rain was beautiful.

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

- Langston Hughes

play the ‘what if’ game with me

What if there were this girl….

What if her earliest memories were saccharine, with Mama and Daddy, both relaxed, attentive, and affectionate.  Other than her Daddy doing things such as putting a walkie talkie under her bed, and pretending to be the ‘boogie man’, when she was three, her life was idyllic.

Cutting to several years later, the girl’s mother was pregnant with her little brother.  She had been told another pregnancy would be hard on her, so Daddy objected to risking another kid, but brother happened nonetheless.  Daddy got ticked off, and just took extended business trips, leaving Mama and this girl, about 5, alone.  Mama was really sick.. really really sick, and ended up crawling between the bathroom and bed.  The little girl learned how to scramble eggs, and make t.v. dinners all by herself.  When Mama had her little brother, she adored him, and she never stopped.  I wonder, what if all that happened…

Yeah, what if her daddy kept going on business trips a lot, and even longer ones, but when he came back, he wasn’t as nice and fun every time.  And when she asked him for some ‘knickers’, because they were so very popular, he explained, very gently, that they wouldn’t be ‘flattering’ on her, because her legs weren’t thin enough, and if she would lose weight, he would buy her all the knickers she could ever want.  Maybe that was when the little girl realized, for the first time, there was nothing okay about the way she looked, and that her Daddy wasn’t happy about it? Furthermore, at 11, her dad might have had her wear a girdle to meet her Mom at the airport to show off the weight loss she’d had from the diet he had her on.

What would happen if mental and emotional abuse started somewhere during that time and, there were everything from shouting and railing that she ‘had no brains’, because she put a plastic label on a file folder backwards, to waking her up every single morning, and telling her she was unworthy of her mother’s love.  What would it be like to try and do everything she could to make everyone happy, most A’s, and a couple of B’s, and still be treated like the object of loathing?  What if she could look back, as an adult, and realize that she was never praised for any of her accomplishments, or told “I love you”, unless she said it first, and then it was awkward?  What if she didn’t have the most wonderful mother known?  Would it change anything if later, as a woman, the girl would find out her dad was seeing traits in her that he hated/feared in himself, namely, she was fat, and reacting?  What if she found out that likewise, he was projecting out of guilt, re: things he was doing away from home?  How would it affect the girl to be the black sheep of the family, to be viewed as a ‘problem child’, without, as a child, having ever committed any wrong doing?

What if the girl was also a musician, and played an instrument.. not so much by choice, for though she loved music, and instruments, the whole thing was a device by which she was supposed to gain social acceptance to make up for her being fat?  And if perhaps this was explained to her?  One must excel academically, and musically, and be excellent in all things, in order to make up for being fat, because otherwise, you won’t get anywhere in life.  This again, from her Dad.  What if she was ‘pretty good’, in a manner of speaking, at what she did, and it became her whole identity.

What if it was the only thing her father approved of, so he became a ruthless dictator over the experience, ruling with an iron thumb, and mandating practices…angrily.  What if she used to have abdominal pains, and throw up because she was so stressed, and miserable, when she had to deal with him, surrounding performances…even and especially performances at church?  What if thirty years later, people still know her as the <insert instrument here> – girl.  What if no one knows her name, or anything about her, except that she played the thing she played?  What if her family is still a tiny bit bitter towards her because she doesn’t play anymore, even though it’s now physically impossible to play?

What if she finally got sick of it all, and there was anger, and resistance on her part, and she briefly considered suicide in college?  Oh and not to forget, then maybe a marriage to a literal con-artist.. what would life be like if he committed bank fraud in her name, after she found out that he had forged his entire personal history to seduce her?  Would she be able to be on the bank account with her wonderful second husband, for years afterwards?  Would she still get the occasional call from a debt collector, over a dozen years later?

What if the woman met the man of her dreams, and despite being sick, and in constant severe pain, is very grateful to be alive?  What if she adores her mother, her hubby, her brother, couple of friends, and her pets?  What if she’s contended with and understood, if not forgotten, her past?  What if she’s made so many mistakes, it hurts in the middle of her chest to think about it, and it feels like her life is a practice in humiliation;  but those two things have made her learn to accept the grace of God, and forgive herself, taking life on its own terms?  What if she’s forgiven her father, and wants nothing more for him to be able to feel forgiven, forgive himself.. and live his life free?

What if.. after all of those years of drama, and standing by him through it, the girl, now a woman at age 40, is seeing him self-destruct, financially, and otherwise?  What if she’s seeing him try so hard, but being so selfish in his approach to life, that it’s harming his family, and it’s breaking her heart?

What if she has just seen her father give a boy of 21, a card that reads ‘To My Loving Son’?  This is a boy that he brings to his house constantly, lavishes attention upon (along with his little family), in a bizarro way that she cannot even comprehend or recognize.  What if, a week later, the boy and his toddler son are living in the woman’s parents’ house, and as petty as she feels for it, she no longer feels comfortable in her own mama’s home?

What if…

What do you think she would be like?

What do you think she would do?  What do you think she -should- do?

Would you be able to go over there Friday night, and honestly be okay with everything, or at least portray yourself as a very reasonable facsimile of the same, if you were in her place?