Uptight, Twisted Inside

Hot thoughts are in my mind, all of the time.  I may be sober, but that is far from being recovered.  Every day is a new challenge…….the holidays, anxiety, old friends who don’t come around anymore, this because Team Hoffman is no longer the life of the party…..I would be a flat out liar if I said I didn’t miss the days of yore, but I can tell you what I don’t miss:

Drunken Dialing:  I shudder at the thought of the phone calls I used to make while drinking.  At one point, things became so bad that I had to hide my phones in my jeep, and lock the doors.  This worked for about a week…..and then I was back to calling people I had a beef with: bosses, girl friends, ex-boyfriends, employees that screwed me over…..I actually had to beat my boss, a doctor, into work every morning to check the answering machine before she did.  I was petrified I would quit without knowing it, and it didn’t stop until I gave up my drinking career altogether.

Unexplained Injuries:  I fell down stairs, fell into the wood stove, ended up with third degree burns I couldn’t explain-one Christmas Eve, after drinking an entire bottle of Grand Marnier, I fell on the front porch, breaking my shoulder.  I didn’t go to the doctor for over a year, too embarrassed and worried they would blame Dwain, like so many ER doctors had before.

The Morning After:  Is there a worse feeling than losing utter control over your words and actions?  I would gage just how bad my behavior had been the night before by my husband’s reaction upon my awakening.  If he wasn’t speaking to me (more often the case than not) I knew that was a good indicator that I had tripped the light fantastic, done something I would learn to regret, and/or spewed vitriolic hatred at the closest target I could find.  Chilling.  I had so much pent up rage in those days?  For good reason, but adding alcohol to the mix?  Criminal insanity, this disease of addiction.

Yes.   I want to be able to drink a beer, or twelve.  No, that will never, ever be my choice again.  And because of His amazing grace?  I get to wake up free from the knowledge that I had done anything to upset anyone.  Because of his protection?  I never tried heroin, or crack.  I don’t look at the recovery process any differently now than I did back then, but for one exception:  I have finally given the pain, the heartache, the wounded warrior syndrome-I have given it to my higher power-and what a life it has become.

The Bucket List…..

I want to be the girl in this video….travelling across the world, uninhibited, throwing caution to the wind.  Chances are, the likelihood of this happening is akin to a camel poking its head through a needle, and then realizing he still has to get his body through it.

I love, love, love to travel.  It’s just that we have no extra moolah, and what we do have goes to silly things like food, vet visits and electric bills.  I don’t have a bucket list in all actuality, but here is a sampling of things I would like to do before I leave this planet:

I would love to go to Ireland, in search of my ancestors.  If I do go to Ireland, I will be tempted to drink an ale with the kin folk-you know, raise up a glass to the country that turned us out-I hear they’re very folksy and welcoming, but let’s face the facts, I would want to live there, or perhaps petrify in one place, sitting at the pub, drinking Guiness, and singing the songs of my people.

Big Sur was a big draw, until I read about Bohemian Grove.  With our luck, we would find the wrong place at the wrong time, and I apologize, but becoming a blood sacrifice for the elite in this world?  Let’s just say I have no time for the big, wooden statue of Baphomet, and I don’t like people telling me what to do.

Hawaii was big on my “list” at one point, and now I see the error of my ways.  The fat faced dictator from HELL has threatened their peace, and I don’t want to spend my whole vacation in an underground bunker.

And lastly, there was Sea World.  Yes, I wanted to ride the dolphins with abandon, you know, be that girl: the one who never stops talking about her relationship with a fifty year old she met out in California, and then you come to find out it was a sea mammal.  No thanks.

So for now?  I’ll stay in this sleepy little town of horse and buggies, biting flies the size of Texas, and more cow manure than you can shake a stick at.

 

Winter……

 

Sitting here, lazy as heck-feeling the blue blahs…….and once again I am reminded of the millions of persecuted Christians around the globe.  Their plight unknown to the rest of us, and it runs chills up my spine.  Put on your big girl panties, Michele.  Yes, I am sick for most of the winter months, but that is my cross to bare.  Jesus has taken so much off of my shoulders, and yet I feel as if I am still haunted by ghosts of yesterdays past.

Battling a sinus infection since September, I am unable to do my volunteer work at the ER.  My boss won’t return my texts, so, I am rethinking the whole hospital ministry, period.  Do I really want to be subject to the viruses out there (namely MRSA and STAFF)?  Is this God’s way of telling me that this is not my ministry?

I begin the downslide that is evidenced by social withdrawal, childhood insecurities  and  feelings of worthlessness.  Turns out, it matters not that I won my SSI case, as if I cannot serve His kingdom, I am forlorn.  I am not feeling sorry for myself, this is nothing compared to what others are suffering, this I know.  I am longing for a normal life, something that has escaped me this fifty-six years.  I want to lunch with my friends, minister to others, stomp out injustice and hypocrisy, be a real asset to His Kingdom.

There are seasons in every life.  God spoke of this in Ecclesiastes, and so poignantly at that.  So, for now, I will pick up my cross and carry it to the best of my ability.  For there is a time for every season known to Heaven~

 

 

The Girl With the Most Cake…

So, this is a public service announcement about going off of your antidepressant medication, cold turkey.

DON’T DO IT……..SAVE YOURSELF THE MISERY.

I think it often the case that those of us with mental illness who rely on medication wish things were different.  We want to “fit in” so badly?  We take the first crumb of normality and think ourselves cured…no longer in need of care.  And sadly, due to the fact that depression, if not situational, is due to a lack of serotonin in our brain-well, taking a few pills a day is such a small price to pay for one’s sanity.  Depression is often in the genes, and there is no shame in taking medication.  As a matter of fact?  I will cling to my Zoloft from this day forward-and I regret using this forum to celebrate what I thought to be my freedom from illness, suicidal ideation, melancholy mind set.

After six days without Zoloft (simply a matter of having the flu and not wanting to drive into Lititz to pick it up) I was nauseated and off  balance.  When my husband, dog and I travelled to pick out the Christmas tree?  Dwain stopped to take a picture, and like the poster girl for Tourette’s, I yelled:

“I swear to God I will shove that f***ing phone down your throat.” 

By the afternoon it hurt when others spoke to me.  I was so edgy that the sound of my cat purring sent me into a hissy fit.  On the seventh day I saw an octopus crawling on my bathroom floor.  I hooted and hollered and jumped a foot in the air.  This turned out to be a cat toy, and I ran for my medication like a cartoon character on crystal meth.

Thus endeth the GREAT ZOLOFT EXPERIMENT OF 2017.

In lieu of becoming a serial killer, I have decided to pick up my cross, take my meds and dance like nobody’s watching.  And here I will sing the song of my people,  Cumbia my Lord, Cumbia…….. 

 

The Silence is Deafening

Trying to get something done around the house, and let’s just say the couch is winning.  After feeding the felines, Jesse and I head to the couch, defeated yet eager to rest.  I flip on some Christmas music, and this song is the first I hear.

I have often wondered why I simply can not grieve in front of my husband.  I believe it is due in part that I know my tears upset him, and I want my lover to be happy, at peace.  Watching my emotions carefully-I just took myself off of a ten year addiction, albeit to Zoloft.  What began as the flu and not wanting to drive, turned into a trial run of freedom from the bondage of antidepressants.  Please don’t get me wrong, I thought I was to be on this drug forever;  I never gave this a second thought really -I am irrepressibly in agreement with anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medications for those who suffer mental illness.  I am the poster child for Ativan, yet I knew deep down that the depression had vanished.  Seven days later and I have no homicidal ideation, let alone suicidal.  But as I sat down to ponder, the haunting taunt of Bing Crosby’s vocals coming loudly from the surround sound, I wept.

Tomorrow my golden retriever turns five.  Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes, and I can’t see the computer screen.  After the loss of Jesse’s brother Dylan, four years ago, I have remained traumatized, the idea of him aging rips my heart right out of my chest, and any animal lover will understand those feelings.  Not for one millisecond do I take the blessings of this year for granted.  My husband’s new career, financial stability (kind of-my SSI check never amounted to much, and the monthly payments help tremendously-I had hoped to give my church an abundant Christmas tithing, and still do-but overhearing my husband discussing our mounting medical bills from a shoulder injury and physical therapy he suffered this Summer? Let’s just say I have devised a payment plan) and the miracles of being set free from physical and mental anguish are miracles, of this I am certain.

Yet I cannot contain the emotions this song bring about, so many memories of childhood Christmases -I would cut off my right arm to go back to those innocent days, ones I somehow knew were precious and rare, even back then.  We lost my parents years ago, and my brother is in California with his beautiful family.  There will be no Christmas phone calls, or holiday gatherings with my sister, or nieces and nephew.  No Christmas Eve conversations with the best friend who tried to ruin the first real vacation my husband and I had taken in twenty five years together, and prior to that?  I should have known her to be a vindictive and malicious narcissist years ago..no gift exchanges, no carols sung.

This makes me terribly sad, and lonely with an ache that permeates the air I breathe.

But none of this changes the fact that this is the time of year that we celebrate the birth of our King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords and hope to all nations.  And the best part of the story is that He forgives us if we turn to Him with faith and sorrow for our sins.  We are a new creation in Christ and no longer need to carry our heavy burdens or past mistakes along with us!  It matters not what we have done, He will forgive us.  It is because of what He has done that we are set free~

In his great mercy God has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.                                                                                                                        1 Peter 1:3

 

I Put A Spell On You….

I began smoking in my early twenties, after my man walked into a local watering hole with a fiancée I didn’t know he had.  My girlfriend Suzie didn’t want to give me a cigarette, didn’t want me addicted, and in retrospect?  Lord I wished I had listened to her.

I had always been repulsed by the habit.  My parents smoked, and I remember picking up the ashtrays that stood in my way of cooking, cleaning or breathing-with a napkin in my hand, disgust in my heart.  I found out my neighbor turned my eleven year old sister onto cigarettes while in High School-and I promptly paid her a visit that she wouldn’t soon forget.  I remember picking Deanna up by the back of her shirt, and threatening to open a fresh can of WOOP ASS if she were to do it again.  I was a runner, and a good one at that.  Little did I know that evening would begin a thirty-four year habit……..and nothing I tried lasted longer than a month.  I finally gave up giving up, and made an irritable peace with the two to four cigs I smoked each morning with my first cup of joe.

Yesterday, I was overcome by the notion that this was the day of reckoning.  The idea of giving them up was so unsettling?  Why, I lit one up immediately to quiet my nerves.  I prayed that God would make me sick at the thought of it, and as surely as the sun rises every morning, he answered that prayer without hesitation.

I gagged, I dry heaved, I put the half-smoked butt in the litter box and cried.  I wept crocodile tears of fear and release…..I was terrified to let this crutch go.  And this morning?  Free.  My fears diminished, I sat on the couch with my golden retriever and began my day…..without the cloud of infirmity that has plagued me forever and a day.