Reach Out and Touch Faith

The times, they are a changin.’     Bob Dylan

The air was cold and clear.  I could see the full moon high in the sky, and a breeze blew by, adding to my desire to stay under the covers, I didn’t, couldn’t face another hypocritical holiday, not this time.  The monster in law called me yesterday, but I didn’t pick up the phone.  She and her husband have chosen their grandchild over their son.  They do not care about my pain, they don’t give a shit period.  Their world revolves around their grandson, and my husband had no choice but to give in, make the ham, drop it off.

I smoked a cigarette and thought to myself, HOW IN THE HELL DO I TELL HIM?  How do I say, NO MORE?  For 27 years I have pretended.  For 27 years they have treated me like an afterthought, a hindrance to their happy little family.  It would be funny if it weren’t so freaking painful.

Dwain had Jesse out on a hike.  When he came home, I sat, shaking-praying to get up the nerve to tell him that his family of narcissists have ruined their last chance….I have said no before, but there was always a plan or plot to get me to relinquish my rights and go along for the ride.  I didn’t want to face my puke of a step son, and I certainly wasn’t about to keep my mouth shut.  If I had to be there, there would be blood shed, and it wouldn’t be mine.  He has shown no remorse, not a care about the pain he caused, happily insisting to his father over the phone last evening that what was said, was said, but that he would be “civil.”

Really?  How kind, how incredibly kind…….

As he walked into the kitchen, I sighed.

I just told my mother we would not be attending the charade.  She asked if this was going to happen every holiday, and I told her, ‘Yes, as a matter of fact-you are enabling a monster.  A psychopath.  A remorseless narcissist.”

Well, smack my ass and call me Judy-I am over the moon with love and gratitude.

May your Easter be blessed and your family close.

Crazy……

I remember, I remember when I lost my mind……..great lyrics, great song.  After years of fighting for Social Security Disability, (I put up with way too much for way too long, and suffered a break down-depression is not a sign of weakness-it is a sign of being strong despite ridiculously mind-boggling stress) I have now been notified that I won.  I am grateful, yes, but now I am legitimately handicapped, according to the state of Pennsylvania.

I didn’t think I would be overcome with the words of the Judge’s decision:

Advanced age.  Alcoholism.  Depression.  Drug use.  Disabled.  Anxious.  Isolator.  Potato Chip Sifter and my personal favorite-mentally ill.  Perhaps it is time that I own these descriptive, if not melancholy diagnoses.  Knowing that PTSD was the problem all along, well, that does help, as at least I know the beginnings of my madness.  But I am proud to be here, proud to toot my horn in support of mental health awareness and the way Jesus will take the broken and make them strong and resilient, eventually.

I am not the poster child for the criminally insane, and for now, well, that is enough.

Watch Yourself Or You Also May Be Tempted

Something to Stu Over

Sometimes one of the hardest things one can do is try to help another up without being pulled down with them.

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I’ve had several friends tell me stories of how they gave into temptation while trying to help a friend overcome theirs. Here they are wanting so badly to help a friend in need get stronger and stay clean when they, themselves, needed someone to help them stay strong.

I know first hand how difficult it can be. When I first started my journey to freedom from pornography I fell many times while trying to help someone else. I simply wasn’t strong enough.

All those images and thoughts were still too fresh in my mind to help them. I thought I could, but I was wrong.

The things they would share with me became visions in my own head and as hard as I tried to not think about them…well…you…

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The Pill Mill……….

When I was younger, I was appalled at how many pills my mother took.  She was extremely ill, emphysema, cancer, osteoporosis.  She died at 59, after the doctors mistook an ovarian cyst to be scar tissue.  I wish I had known then what I now know.  Mary Lou had every symptom of Ovarian cancer, the extreme bloating, constipation, pain and upset stomach.  When the doctor came in to the waiting room, I had to be held back by my siblings-the jerk never listened to her, I was there when he did an exam after her complaining: he felt her stomach and abdomen-she was fully clothed, why bother right? I was there when he told her she was “fine, absolutely fine.”

What shocked me, after her death, was the bottles and bottles of Ativan-she took 4 a day, and I thought that to be too much, too addicting, too sedating.  Now?  I take Ativan daily.  As a prn.  Ironically, the first time I ever took one was the day of her funeral.  Surrounded by friends, I fell asleep on the couch-and didn’t wake up until the following morning.  What addict is going to turn that away?  It was easier to let the melodic pull of oblivion take me away, to dreamless sleep and few cares, if any.

Today I take 200 mg. of Zoloft, 2 mg. Suboxyne for opiate addiction (down from 8 mg. and let me tell you, it was rough, really rough to taper) and one Trazadone for sleep.   My husband thinks this appalling, but I have fought hard to maintain an appearance of normality-in an increasingly abnormal world.

I can tell you that as a nurse, EMT and hospice worker, I could not get into the Suboxyne program soon enough.  I was in a dirty city, walking the streets of dilapidated houses, children in various stages of undress, and very scary men, who gathered on street corners to deal their goods, help a friend in “need.”  I asked a few of them, but as white on rice as I look?  They didn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.  Looking back, I think they thought me a cop.

I was working as a private duty nurse, and volunteering at a local hospice.  I was starting to face withdrawal from OxyContin, and I didn’t want to be the girl who steals patient’s pills.  My cousin by marriage (not a normal person in that family) ran a methadone clinic, and rehab.  I had attended that rehab until our fearless leader Tony called me out on missing a class, in front of the entire room.  When you quit drinking you are wired out of your mind, so many emotions coming from one heart-it’s maddening and exciting at the same time.  I told him off, asked why he allowed drinkers and cokeheads to use in our meetings (was this even remotely fair to the others who were serious about recovery?) and slammed out the door.  He wasn’t going to use me as an example when people were slumped in their chairs, or re-dusting the entire room, like the energizer bunny on crack.

Anyway, back to Scott.  I called him from my  locked car that very day.  I told him where I was, and I asked if I could come to the methadone clinic to talk to him.  He shut me down, but two minutes later?  I heard a commercial about Suboxyne: it has served me well, saved my career and, most likely, my life.  My advice to anyone starting the program?  Start at a really low milligram, that way you won’t have to detox every time you take a step down.  I ended up calling my girlfriend one morning, I literally couldn’t move, I was that weak.

“I can’t take it.  Would you please take me to the doctor?”

The good doctor had taken me off, cold turkey.  We had argued about my use of cannabis, and I stormed out-only to return a week later, begging for mercy.  And, thankfully, that is exactly what I was given.

What I would like to say is, don’t let anyone convince you to go off of any medication you may be taking for your mental health, especially if the plan is working.  Do I like having to take meds on a daily basis?  NO.  But one day, perhaps, the stigma will stop.  No  matter, because I have come to the point where I just don’t care what others think.

It’s not their body.  It’s not their mind.  It’s none of their business.

A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall…..

I ache within every fiber of my being for the man I married some 26 years ago-he is such a good man, you have to understand that he is always thinking of other people, his heart so pure, a heart of gold.  There are so many thoughts fighting for my attention right now, a fevered frenzy of angst.  He does not deserve this.  And I wish I could take his pain away, but I can’t, so I am praying like crazy that he feels the love from above.

For 27 years, his parents and son have given me a hard time.  They disliked me intensely from the very beginning, I took some of the attention away from them and we all know how narcissists love that!  I have also been insisting, over the years, that they treat me  like dirt-alas, all the way up to Christmas, Dwain was full of hope, always veering toward the idea that I was being paranoid-which happens often, but I am almost always right.

There was an incident.  Dwain’s son, Bud, flipped out on me so successfully, that I almost had a vacation booked at the local psychiatric hospital.   Remember the therapist who diagnosed me with DID?  Well, angry over a love triangle-he acted abominably-where he wanted his original girlfriend, whom he dumped unceremoniously for her best friend-oh, and his best friend’s girl-to take him back at Christmas.  She said: No.  She is over the moon with her new man, and he treats her like a princess.  He became sullen and removed from the conversation, reality itself.  He still lived with the beatch, and he said that they were happy, but inside-he was boiling.

I won’t go into the details, but my step-son abused me mentally and emotionally. Almost physically.  He yelled that I was a freak, a gold digger, a low life for being on disability-“that he had to pay for my retirement.  He was screaming at me in my driveway, and I was broken, literally sobbing-because not a word of what he was saying was true, and he was pushing buttons, my wounds and vulnerabilities out there, for all to see.

My husband emailed him and jacked him up.  Bud replied that there will be no forthcoming apology.

We talked to his parents.  We all agreed he needed help, prayer.  We asked them to talk to him, to possibly make him accountable for his actions, as weeks before we were all on the same page.  I had very little faith that his parents would follow through, and I was correct.  Today, my step-son stopped at his grandparents (strategically placed across the street 😦   He was there for over two hours and I told my husband, who bought a 30 pound ham for the event, to stop in with them on his way home-to feel them out.

“What did your parents have to say?,” I hit him up the minute he finally walked through the door.

They said that nothing “came up.” He walked into the living room, looking older than his years, drained and exhausted.  

I    pointed out the screeching betrayal, the hypocrisy.  And then I shut my mouth, before I hurt him any more than he’d been.  He doesn’t know I saw him arguing with his father in our garage, but I did.  I saw his father stomp off in a huff.

In one year, narcissism has taken all but a handful of our families.  I am close to my brother and Dwain is close to his.  It breaks my heart that  they broke his heart.  How can people be so cruel, so selfish and vain?

“We are enough,” I whisper.

We are so much more than enough~

 

Falling Down

Oh the humanity.  Yesterday, my “swollen lymph node” burst all over the place while I was sleeping.  I have been taking the antibiotics, and I have to say I was a bit surprised to find out that it was a boil, no lymph node involved.  The good doctor at Med Express told me he’s like to alleviate my pain, but he would “just find blood” if he drained the bloody eye sore.   But all’s well that ends well, and yesterday was my first day in months without pain.  I wanted to celebrate, so I took Jesse shed hunting.  I have never had such a crappy year in that department, and we are starting to lose patience.

I have a balance issue, which stems from my Lyme, aging and well, taking chances I should never take……EVER.  Something happens to me when I get outdoors amongst the critters and trails, the compulsion to hunt sheds is overwhelming…..and I have seen some pretty slippery slopes-wet leaves, wet rocks and today?  A plank used to cover the electricity for an electric fence.  I was so eager to be a hero, (my husband goes BONKERS when I find one) that I threw caution to the wind, not even thinking about the danger.

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And I didn’t blink an eye when I fell, unceremoniously, on my right shoulder.  Completely wiped out, I lay there-as an EMT I know not to get up right away.  And, as a trained stunt-woman (not really, but I have managed to achieve some pretty miraculous falls, for sure) I try to roll with the punches.  As I didn’t make a sound, the pup ran up and licked my face.

I don’t know Jesse, I think this time I really did it.”  He barked and licked my face, as if to say ‘Jesus Christmas, not again.”

I fell on my right shoulder, which has a story of its own.  Twelve years ago, a desperate drunk, I drank an entire bottle of Grand Marnier.  That’s right.  Not the sharpest tool in the drawer while imbibing, I tripped over a plant on the front porch, then walked inside and fell again, this time hitting my rotator cuff on the sharp edge of my grandmother’s desk.  The next day, Christmas, I could not move my arm at all.  No range of motion, and throbbing, insidious pain.  I knew I had broken my shoulder, but I couldn’t subject my husband to another ER visit, where the physicians and police began questioning Dwain as they suspected he was abusing me.  Nope, wasn’t going to jeopardize my man’s reputation.  As a result?  In cold weather or even plain old damp, I succumb to the melodious pull of searing pain, and I get over it.

I have fallen standing straight up in one position.  I stepped on a rake while gardening and knocked myself out in the driveway.  I have wiped out going uphill, downhill and even straight ahead.  I have fallen in creeks and lakes, in my kitchen, and most embarrassing-in front of my entire church.  I know what I’m doing by now, but I have to admit I fall much more, now that I am in recovery.  🙂

I refuse to let my inability to stay vertical affect my shed percentile.  Tomorrow is another day, and I shall rise like a phoenix, from the ashes of my own stupidity.

The Meek Shall Inherit…

I spend so much time here, complaining or ranting….my Irish temper gets the best of me, and hormones combined with my Lyme and depression-I literally pity the fool who messes with me on these rare days.  I’d like to change the direction of the narrative, a shift in thinking for my readers-I am afraid I am giving you the impression of a bitter, mad woman-raging at the world, narcissists and evil doings of those I never suspected would betray me.  That is only a small part of the person I am, and I’d like to balance the scales, if you will.

Firstly, I give God all of the glory when it comes to any achievement, as I know that I could not have achieved it had I not had the strength given.  I know, and have known for years that I have an incredible life.  In my younger years, I had to have everything perfect, OCD and, I think, the need to be in control of everything.  Abuse survivors are known to develop anorexia, because they can control what they eat, and in type A personalities this means everything.  Our lives have dealt us a one two punch, so to speak.  We need to feel safe, we crave solitude, we love our own company.

I live in a quaint, small historical town-Kleinfeltersville, Pennsylvania.  I moved here from the Philadelphia area in 1989-when I first saw this piece of land, I cried.  The pond, well, it sent shivers down my spine as I love any body of water-the living waters call to me.  A big, beautiful red barn, acres of pine trees and the view of the Blue Mountains surrounding us, on clear days.

I am so incredibly thankful for my life, as it is now.  God works the most intricate of tapestries into our story, and often, when we face affliction?  On the other side of that desolation is a better life for you, and he intends to bring us closer-I am quite thankful for my health, and give it my best shot at eating the right foods-no preservatives, GMOs or sugar-but I am thrilled to say that I eat brownies and ice cream.  In bed.  Every night.

In Spring I am deeply involved in our gardens.  One for wildflowers, one for veggies, and a rose garden….actually, I am up to my eye teeth in gardens because my husband hates to mow 8 acres of land.  He has put in food plots for the deer, orchards of pears and apples, and every year he thinks he’s going to give me a new garden, to lessen his tractor time.

Things are better in Spring, aren’t they?  You begin to come out of your cocoon, and back to your relationships and social life..slowly, but with anticipation of the future.  And we all know that those of us who suffer depression don’t think we have a future.

I love cinnamon on the stove, and baby lights adorn much of my living quarters.  I have a primitive home with beams, which are hung with flowers I have dried over the years.  Each arrangement is different, and I also weave antique baskets into the mix, creating a very cozy and life affirming atmosphere.  I am a birdwatcher, and just the sight of a yellow finch and I am getting out my camera.  I love to bake, putter around the house, and paint, every ten years.  I am currently steeling myself for the entire downstairs and walk in closet.

Each day I start out with my beloved Jesse, golden retriever extraordinaire-we have coffee, then set out on new adventures amongst the forests and mountains surrounding us.  He is a therapy dog, and everywhere I go-he goes, for the most part.  He gives me his undivided attention and unmitigated love each and every day.  If I am not well, he won’t leave my bedroom, even to go potty.  I love to make vintage vases, I find in my 100 year old dump at the back of the farm.  I paint the glass, after sterilization and use different techniques.  I then adorn them with old pearls, antique lace and other old things, and give them as gifts to friends.

Having faced some pretty crappy circumstances, I find that each and every time

I go through a deep valley, I am better for it afterward.  Inevitably, the blessings are far more than enough-He knows our needs, and he hears each and every prayer.

The bible says that the MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH.  That used to frighten me, as I have been anything but meek in my lifetime.  But now I believe that the meek include those who are content with what God has given.  They have been carrying their crosses for eons, yet they never complain.  They give things over to God, especially any kind of retribution.  They have genuine love in their hearts, and want the best for others.  They answer to one man and one man only, Abba.  And they have the faith to move mountains.

I heart my life.  Thank you Jesus.  From the bottom of my heart~