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~

When The Mask Slips………

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I know God has his reasons for opening my eyes to the narcs that were suffocating the life force out of me.  His reasons are just fine by me, as I know that what He wants for all of us is joy, laughter and freedom.  Aside from keeping myself alive-thinking about giving Lebanon Levi a call, you  know, for protection:  I have more than 2 enemies living on the same street, and one a town over.  They didn’t change, I did.

Being a victim of Narcissistic Abuse is akin to lighting yourself on fire.  You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  Only now do I stand up for myself; I once was blind but now I see.  I have stopped making excuses for others who treat me like rubbish; their roles in my life are passed, and as a result I am left abandoned, discarded-if you are going to confront a narc?  Don’t.  They are psychopaths of the very worst kind.  They have no conscience, no soul, they feed off of codependents and Empaths alike-and all they want is their daily supply from you-as long as you yes them to death, think as they do and buy into the false persona they show the world, you’re good to go.  Stand up for yourself?  Call them out on their bullshit?  Hell hath no fury like an exposed narcissist.  Trust me, this I know.

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They Call Her Out by Her Name…..

I have been having what some would call “hearing hallucinations,” and I know they are real, as real as the grass in the yard, the puffy clouds on the horizon, and the Spring peepers who cry out their mating call at this time of year.

Okay, how do I explain the inexplicable?  I’ll have to go back to the early days, circa 2013, after an incredibly stressful demolition of our church, by Christian Hypocrites who simply took over, spewed their venom and caused one of our pastors to turn to Atheism.  I was distraught over what I then thought to be the end of my life as I  knew it.  I got sober in this chapel, every single person knew my story and they showed me love and grace, not harsh ostracism.  The travesty is, we were beginning to do some amazing spiritual work……we were in sync, and you could feel the Holy Spirit-lifting us up and out of our day to day lives.  And then:  Kaput.

I began to experience a strange, but lovely thinning of the veil, if you will.  I began finding feathers in crazy places-different colors and hues.  I collected twenty of them and put them in a crystal glass.  No explanation for how they came to be in the middle of my bedroom floor; no cat toys missing pieces, no feathered anything to be blunt.  I did not realize they were feathers from the Angels at the time, no not until the last feather was gifted me:  a large, purple beauty, somehow I knew that this would be the last one, and it was.  I have brought these feathers to bedside vigils, to give others the hope of better days to come, when we are once again home, the complete and unwavering love of God, His mercy and forgiveness.

Shortly after the last feather appeared, I had been toying with the New Age.  I came out of that nightmare unscathed, but now things were getting downright eerie.  Five minutes before I was stalked by a half naked man, causing me horrible PTSD symptoms, I heard my angels wings.  So loudly, I turned around as I expected to see a Vulture, or other huge bird looking at me.  Instinctively, I knew what it was.  I believe I was guided by the heavenlies that day, and I have good reason:  the Conservation Officers were doing their annual trail checks that day, and I had the good fortune to run out of the woods and into the arms of the officer who took the case.

One day, I was absolutely driven to get up off my buttocks and take a picture of my back yard.  It was a dreary rainy day, and there was nothing to see…..but listen to myself I did.  As I brought the camera to my eyes, I saw 6 or 7 white crosses-along the garden plot.  If I took the camera away?  Nothing.  Each time I brought that camera into focus, I saw the white crosses, and I felt protected, if not a little shaky.

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Yesterday, while getting out of the shower, I heard those wings again.  I knew the angels wanted me to know they were with me, which scared the bejeepers out of me.  What now?  Why now?  I had to sit for a spell and calm myself down.

So, it is evening and my husband and I are preparing dinner.

“Honey, you know if you need to talk about the Bud (formerly known as my stepson) debacle, I know how much you’re hurting.  I want you to know that I am here for you, and if you need to vent, please do so.”

What he said next was so crazy making, so vile and putrid and everything that goes along with the loss of a child.

“I text him, last week.  I jacked him up and he said there will be no apology forthcoming.

No apology?  That man-child stood in my garage and screamed cruel and untrue things, called me a freak, told me the whole family thought I was a freak.  And, as it turned out, he was plenty pissed that I am on SSI, as “it’s not fair I have to pay for her income with my taxes.”`  He was this close to hitting me and when I went to go inside, he came after me and I just waited.  If he hit me, then I could go to court, get a Protection From Abuse-hey, I’ve suffered worse things, believe me.

I have made the decision that he is dead, dead to me for all intents and purposes.

You see, what seemed to irritate him most? That I had suffered CPTSD, and depression.  Apparently he thinks I made it all up; that after owning my own businesses and working (often two jobs at a time) for 40 years, I just decided, as if upon whim, to close shop, be lazy and ruin my husband’s life.  How could he be that cold?

And then the inevitable kick in my aching groin:  “Bud will be at mom’s for Easter, with his gal pal extraordinaire, the woman who was the icing on the cupcake of his disaster, the woman who so eagerly took what was not hers, her best friend’s boyfriend.  Don’t get me wrong, Bud is responsible for his own actions, but being the raging narcissist that he is?  He will never take accountability.  He ruined his own life and he should have thought about that before he let his penis do his thinking.  Sorry, I’m a bit rough around the edges today.

Father, forgive him, he knows not what he does.

She talks to angels, they call her out by her name.

Monday, Monday

Have you ever spelled a word, one you have been spelling your entire life, and looked at it like, What?  Monday isn’t spelled that way!  Just crazy how that works, like, your brain stops functioning at that moment in time?  Call me crazy, but I like words and I like spelling them correctly even more.  As a matter of fact, I won a spelling bee in 7th grade.  My prize was tickets to see Tony Orlando and Dawn.  My best friend came in second, and she raised such a fuss?  I had to take her with me as a guest, and she told the kids at school that she had won.  Full blown freak, she was.

Lately, I have become so dim witted that when my pastor asked a geography question about the Olive _______________yesterday during Palm Sunday service; and I was THIS close to yelling out GARDEN.  Jimminy Christmas, thank God I didn’t.  And no, I do not walk around stoned: that is for my PTSD, and that’s taken in the evening.  Plus, almost 99% of the time I take it prn.  Of course, there are some days I take it as much as is humanly possible, but hey, it’s all good.

I always dread Mondays because that means my precious weekend with El Husbando ends and the work week begins.  But I do enjoy cleaning (in this neck of the woods they call it “redding up”) and getting my house back to normal.  If I am lucky, I will finish the dishes and start dinner before Dwain gets home.  Let’s just say, that hasn’t happened in eons.  My husband was so patient while I was recovering from Lyme, and now he has to wait even longer for love, because the second degree burns on my infected lymph node HURT.  If I had my druthers, a root canal or transvaginal biopsy with no lidocaine….no, I am lying.  I’m petrified of the dentist and have already suffered the latter.  Jealous bitch gynecologist..my poor husband could hear me screaming in the waiting room.  I asked for the lidocaine, she told me I wouldn’t need it and as she cut the tissue (OMG) she says, “Oh btw, you have endometrioses.”  I hope the Karma train pulls up at her abode, and real soon, if at all possible.

For those of you who missed it, on Friday I went to Med Express to have my lymph node looked at.  The prognoses: infected lymph node.  A week of Bactrim and hot compresses, being applied four times a day.  So on Friday Dwain “warmed up” a towel in the microwave, causing second degree  burns on my boil, which looks like somebody stomped on a grape, the purple variety.  I can’t blame him, as I fear my scatter-brain has rubbed off on him:  we are like two morons, passing in the night, only stopping to laugh at the latest ridiculousness-but at the end of the day, due to the Lyme, I am a blubbering simpleton.  Yesterday, (I am almost afraid to admit this) while returning from a friend’s house, for no apparent reason at all, I put my jeep in second gear-whilst driving;  I can tell you that I had just picked up the grass, and my head almost exploded due to the grim terror I felt at that moment.  Sweet Lord have mercy on my stupid self.

What the bloody hell?  What is my PROBLEM?  God, will you please call off the dogs?  I need a few days to regroup before the next calamity, and if any of you has put a nasty spell upon me?  Do me a huge…….take it back, for the love of God, take it back.  🙂