The Silent Scream

I want to write about treating others as we would expect to be treated (if you love yourself enough)  In recovery, there is this long and arduous, yet somehow pure and raw discovery of who we really are and what our destiny entails.  If you are one of the lucky ones?  You will go through the darkest nights of repressed grief, shame, abandonment and despair.  I say this because in order to get sober, you have to do the work.  There will be slips and relapse, until you finally come face to face with your demons, make amends to people you may not even like (over and over again) have awkward discussions in the supermarket aisles because you run into the nurse you screwed over in regards to a shift you didn’t show up for because you were home, hungover and sick…..and not remembering that you had told her just last night you would work for her because her aunt died.  Those conversations.  Bad lighting, bad feelings and bad memories, oh my GOD those first years re hard.

If someone argues with you that getting sober is easy?  Call them a liar.  Call their bluff.  They may just break down and get real, emotions might be triggered….every sober person has a colorful, if not plethora of “stories” involving how hard it was not to take that drink/drug the night that something didn’t go your selfish way.

My husband just came home to find that I have yet another cold.  I have done everything under my control to protect myself this year (vitamins, homeopathic mixes, probiotics, vitamin C……) and remain healthy.  I do have a compromised immune system, and I can no longer apologize for things of this nature, as I do not relish in it, nor do I enjoy being sick and ineffective when I am painting the entire house, take care of 12 animals, have to clean, cook, do laundry, change sheets, go to the grocery store….. my volunteer work, clean the litterboxes…Come on.

“You’re always sick,” he laughs, bitterly.

His reaction let me down, and rather than retaliate?  I want to lovingly say that I have told him thousands of times that this is related to my Lyme, and my state of mind.  I used to pray for a cold to get a few days off around this time of year-you know, horizontal, you-can’t-clean-you-can’t-cook, you want to sleep until the cows come home, you know the drill.  As of late I loathe the idea of being less than 100 percent.  I wasted way too many days sleeping or sick, although I remain convinced that God wanted me alone, near and quiet.  I want to live this life I love, have new adventures and we aren’t promised tomorrow.  Carpe Diem is literally my new catchphrase.

There are things on my mind this time of year, but I push my feelings down.  Everyone and their mother knows that  many people suffer crippling depression/anxiety during the holidays, and not only are my parents gone, but I am only speaking to one third of my family, and the other third lives thousands of miles away in Las Angeles.

What I am trying to say is:  this has been a hard week.  I found out my estranged sister was diagnosed with melanoma in situ, and obviously I just cannot afford to break no contact.  Sometimes it’s all I can do not to drive down to Exton, and insist she cry on my shoulder, show some emotion, get it off her chest….no you are not perfect, who said you ever had to be?  Please, please seek counsel with a professional for your pain that you have pushed down for 51 years!  I don’t judge you, I am protecting my sanity and well being.

What I’m trying to say Dwain is this:  Why can’t you be happy about how far I have come?  Did you forget how much I dread the holidays… I have scratched and clawed my way out of bed, out of depression and addiction.  I have scars on the outside, but that is nothing to compare to what I have on the inside, that remains unspoken, so I don’t have to rock the boat.  But honey?  I’ve been apologizing for my own pain for way too long, just be the husband Jesus and I know you to be.  I love you Charlie.


She is a mystery, really. Waiflike and Elfin, this woman I call friend. An inspiration to one and all who know her, I am grateful that she turned my way, heard my song, and accepted me for myself-no judgement.

Erin and I met at a yard sale, held by my church, two Summers ago. She was selling essential oils, and her booth was next to my table-adorned with antique vases, my own creation, and nothing sold. I wandered over to her, immediately struck by her innate beauty……she gently took a bottle of Lavender, and put it on my wrist.

“Smell that,” she smiled. I knew right then and there that we were kindred spirits. I booked a show and thought how rare it was to find an authentic person selling her wares. She was down to earth, sweet to the core, yet a hardened energy surrounded her-as if she had seen things a girl her age shouldn’t. As if she knew that life was fragile, as if she knew my heart was broken-permanently at that time in my life. I didn’t fit in, and I knew this, but I had hope, and that is the best we can wish for in an increasingly wary world.

I didn’t expect to hear from her, but I was encouraged by her soft spoken lilt. We set a date. As it turned out, no one came to the party-and that was AOK in our book. More time to get to know one another, I thought.

The phone rang and startled me out of the conversation. It was the crazy cat lady, a recent acquaintance. She knew I was having the shindig, and as far as she knew, my house was filled with women, wanting to know more about the amazing healing powers that are attributed to essential oils.

“I can’t take it any longer. I am going to kill myself.”

This wasn’t the first, nor the last time she would try to manipulate me. She lived in her car, as her home was full of cats-one hundred and twenty to be exact. I told her to just come over, but that was not what she wanted. She wanted to usurp her narcissistic ways, and have me leave my own party to run to her home and console her. I felt so guilty knowing that she was fragile, but Erin had driven quite a ways for nothing, and I never would have left her sitting in my living room, alone.

I came down the stairs, crying and truly embarrassed.

“I am a therapist, if that helps.”

Thus began a friendship unlike most others. She is a foster parent, with three girls to raise. She is stronger than strong, and I am in awe of her persistent good nature, despite what she’s up against. She is a Lady of the Canyon, to quote Joni Mitchell. She works with her hands, has a project going at any given moment, and she finds time to cook and bake, from scratch no less.

Her current situation makes her a Warrior in my book. She is preparing for chemotherapy, and worries more about her husband and children than she does herself. She has a 98% chance of survival, translated? She will go through some tough days ahead; but she will be fine, she will be cured.

She will rise again, like a Phoenix from the ashes-and of this I am quite sure.

To Me, With Love

We had a groovy day today….out with friends for lunch at the Brickerville Hotel, then antiquing, where I bought myself two snow babies (very unlike me, I collect nothing like this as I am vehemently opposed to dust ridden bric a brac) and they now adorn our bay window. They are placed within eyesight, and their playful antics and rosy cheeks bedevil me. I am in love.

I actually found Kombu Cha at Walmart (no nonsense trip with, praise God, little drama)at a great price, which also pleased me to no end. If you have never heard of Kombu Cha, my next door neighbor turned me on to it last week. I am just learning, but the tea comes in various flavors-and it is chock full of probiotics. I feel so blessed by this knowledge, as I know it was no coincidence that I ended up on this path of organic healing-for the first time in four years I am taking this autoimmune disorder (Lyme) seriously and fighting as hard as I can to take care of myself the way others somehow know to do. I suck at it, to be blunt. But hey, back to the blog.

I got to thinking about my childhood. It wasn’t all tragedy, on the contrary-if the story of my life was a movie, the category would be dark comedy, best way to explain the not-so-horrible early years, where-no matter how I slice and dice it-for whatever reasons; despite ridiculous odds-my father’s alcoholism, and mother’s personality disorder that has apparently scarred me with CPTSD for life-I felt safe, safer there than anywhere I would end up being for the next forty years.

The bible tells us not to fear, despair or give up. Jesus wants us to be fearless in our walk, and comforted not only by Him, but by the beautiful, touching or just plain miraculous things that give us joy in life. He tells us that rather than be depressed or anxious, to leave our troubles in God’s hands-and to contemplate and meditate on the situations, places or people who bring you that peace that surpasses all understanding. In an effort to cut down on my stress, I have been daydreaming lately. If I become anxious (another symptom of my Lyme flare) I try to immediately go to my Lord and Savior, and once I am satisfied that He and I are on the same page? My thoughts turn to the beach, my childhood, our vacations as a family back in the day. But small things too-a heart shaped rock, May apples that spring up in March, the breath taking shades of our backyard finches, the face of my husband when he sleeps. The face of my dog, just a pure gift from God our beloved and loyal pets.

There is no such thing as a coincidence, in my opinion. I am learning to praise Him in the storm, and trust him in the aftermath.

I pray you well. Each and every one of you. Be blessed.

My Analyst Told Me……..

About a week ago, my brother sent me an email with the information for a local therapist. I had given up therapy (God and I had this) and frankly, he was concerned. If I am going to face upheaval and pain, I call my bro, as I can emote at whim and he will not judge me. He gives great advice, so I looked so forward to meeting Nancy. The appointment was made for this morning.

I haven’t eaten in two days. I shake, from my feet on up to my hands. I have crying bouts-I cannot sleep through the night, never a problem before. This isn’t good for my Lyme recovery-let’s face it, what happened Wednesday afternoon wouldn’t be good for anyone. I drove in the wrong direction for 30 minutes, so distracted was moi. Finally, after driving miles on slick, rain drenched country roads. And I drove aggressively, fearlessly-which isn’t really me.

I spoke of the “incident” with my stepson in my last blog. How he has walked around in a state of rage for three months now, first depression-now red hot anger. He went on a verbal tirade about how I was a “blood sucking leach,” that I was a “joke” to the entire family. I was in fear of him punching me, and when I tried to go back inside, he blocked my way.

So here I am at Nancy’s pad. I fill out the paperwork and wait. An attractive and cheerful woman greets me with a hug. We sit down and I commence to lose my shit, and cry like a child. She proceeds to ask me a myriad of questions, mainly about brain fog and forgetfulness. By the time she gets to what she thinks I have? My mind is moving one hundred miles in seventy different directions.

“Dissociative Identity Disorder,” she says in a hushed tone.

She gave me the reasons behind her thinking, admitted that it was too early to be sure, gave me a tissue and rescheduled. As I drove to the pharmacy on the way home, it hit me pretty hard. I broke down and called my brother from said pharmacy. I wept through my interaction with the cashier. They know me well. They were concerned.

I have a few questions for sure. I am not going to go head over heels into this without ensuring that she can help me with my PTSD and Narcissistic Abuse syndrome. The only time lapse I remember was two weeks ago, albeit a four hour lapse. I was reading my bible on the couch in the living room, the clock read 8:00 a.m. When I traipsed into the kitchen for a glass of water (I had just received a very upsetting email from my sister)and the stove read 12:30 p.m.

I would poo poo the whole thing if it weren’t for the dichotomy between my mellow self, and my ‘I will cut a bitch” self. But doesn’t everyone have another side to them? DID happens for a few reasons, but in my case she believes that I suffered such devastating trauma from emotional abuse in my childhood, that I created another persona if you will.

Emotionally and physically exhausted, I made an appointment with Nancy for next week. I won’t let this ruin my weekend, as God has the final say on what I am suffering from, and He alone has the cure. Be blessed family.

The Girl You Want…………

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to hold tight to the female friendships I have cultivated.  Let’s face it, when you head for your forties-well, you start to realize what is important in life and what is detrimental.  You begin to stand up for yourself, and by the time you reach menopause?  You’re a whirling dervish of angst on the road to having no female friendships because you have told off just about every friend you have, for one reason or another.

I have lost sisters near and dear to my heart-but the loss was temporary, as those were the women who treated me with disrespect, dishonesty-they were not  the friends I thought they were-but it didn’t make it any easier to end the relationship.  My best friend in sixth grade (let’s just call her Shitstorm) threw a bowling ball at me because I had the highest average in the league.  She was also responsible for bringing a picture of me into school in the seventh grade, one in which I had cut my own bangs, and let’s just say she passed it on to my high school crush.  Mortifying.  I was friends with her for 30 more years, until she did the unthinkable…..that’s right, she was another narcissist, and crossing her was akin to playing hopscotch with Satan.

But when you hit your fifties?  Why, you hold on to your female friends like grim death-the ones who love you no matter what state you are in, root for you when you are up against it, speak to your husband when your sister pushes you over the edge and you grab that bottle of vodka………why, they are your true blue tribe, and you have earned each other’s trust.  I am not saying there won’t be disagreements (holy crap on a cracker, that’s part of the equation ladies) but you will learn that nothing is more important than women who get and cherish you, zits, nervous breakdowns and relapses be damned.

Why, I can’t spare a square…….I adore my gal pals, each and every one of them.  And I will hang on for dear life-sorry ladies, you’ve been served.

Pistols At Dawn

No, this is not a docudrama on the perils of standing on stage props, poor Marilyn Manson.  I loathe everything that man stands for, but I have to admit-the poor CD sales, his broken ankle on the first night of his Heaven Upside Down tour; then the attempt to climb a stage prop of two guns pointed in different directions which resulted in the whole works crushing him-well, that’s a shame, as Jerry Seinfeld would say.  I must admit I did chuckle at first, not that I am gloating, but man o’ day-what do you expect when Satan is the god you serve? It is my prayer that as he recuperates, he has a change of heart-but that’s another story and I am sidetracked.

We were up in the jaw dropping beauty of the Adirondack mountains, on lake Algonquin.  Prior to the trip, I was an anxious and traumatized mess: fake news of the September 23 Armageddon, the flea situation, the hurricanes, the fear of flying high and actually enjoying life for a change-all of this led to a reoccurrence of my PTSD symptoms.  In 25 years my husband and I had not had a “real” vacation together, and as we hit the state of New York, my nerves began to mellow, I was beginning to exhale and I cannot praise God enough for His part in getting us there.

Prior to leaving, we had ripped out carpet, vacuumed every crevice, and at 5:30 in the morning I sprayed the last of the flea killer, and closed up shop.  My “best friend” of twenty-five years was taking care of my only indoor cat, Maya Angelou.  She was to feed her in the evening-I had no problems trusting a grown woman, RN and administrator of a local veteran’s hospital-I left food and instructions on the table.  My in laws were right across the street.  What could possibly go wrong?  As it turned out?  Plenty.

On our third evening there, I turned on my cell phone.  I had planned to stay away from my phone, social media, news venues and the like.  I needed to heal, and I wanted to spare my husband the constant freak outs about the world in which we live.  For whatever reason, I felt a nudge to check to see if all was well in the state of Pennsylvania.  I was relaxed, happy and hadn’t self-harmed in days.  My body was repairing itself, and I looked forward to the next leg of our journey.  We were to spread dad’s ashes on Lake Pleasant, hike Auger Falls, dine in a lovely five star restaurant, and I hadn’t seen Dwain so happy in ages.

The text read-‘Hi sweetheart.  Just wanted you to know that I was over to feed Maya this morning (what?  My father in law was assigned the mornings, why was she even there on a Sunday morning?) and I was wearing white pants.  I was covered in fleas.   Is there anything you would like me to do?’

Holy mother Mary, mother of Jesus, and Joseph!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She went on to say that the only room she had been in was the kitchen.  I text her back immediately, telling her to please turn on the air conditioner, asking if she wouldn’t mind setting off a bomb or two DOWNSTAIRS, as Maya the cat stays in the bedroom.  The very reason we hadn’t set off anything upstairs.  I phoned her and left a message, telling her where the vacuum cleaner was, and also reassuring her that I would make this up to her.

In less than the five minutes it took me to do this, my blood pressure sky high, my mellow harshed-I became hysterical-worried about the cat, my friend, the house………it was like being shot from a cannon, and I immediately regressed and began tearing at my skin, bawling like a child, inconsolable.  My husband was livid.  Why?  Why would she text me this news?  How could she be so cruel?  Was she not capable of figuring this out on her own.  And then it hit me.  THERE WERE NO FLEAS IN THE KITCHEN.  I KNOW THIS BECAUSE IT WAS ONE OF THE ONLY ROOMS THAT THE DOG AND CAT WERE COMFORTABLE IN.   There was nary a flea in my abode when we left for New York. My husband took me in his arms, shush honey, it’s okay, I’ll call my father, we will get through this, shhhush baby…….he was in touch with his dad immediately, and Tom was to set off a bomb in the kitchen.  Relief warmed my muscles, the blood returned to my face.

I phoned my brother and told him I would call him when we returned.  I wanted him to know that I was turning said phone off and would not even look at it until our return.  When we were unpacking, the phone must have fallen out of my purse, and there it remained for three days.  I had bought my “friend” a lovely gift for tending to my feline.  I flicked on my phone to call her to see if she was home, but was immediately stopped dead in my tracks.  She had left three voicemails and a text.  She had called each night of our stay, and then left another text:

“If you EVER get around to checking your messages, there are still a number of fleas in the kitchen.  THANK YOU.”

Appalled, I thought back to the many times I had given her the benefit of the doubt when she belittled me.  Because of low self esteem I had clung to her advice, and many times I felt her to be intentionally cruel and callous.  One Summer I had given her a pair of earrings.  I took great care in picking them out, lovely avocado halves, expensive but worth it.  Days went by and I finally called her to ask if she liked the gift:

“Please give them to one of your nieces.  I will put them on the porch.”

Many, many times I had asked myself if it were possible that she was a narcissist.  That is not a term I use lightly, and I pushed the thoughts out of my head immediately.  I thought back to the day I called her, the day my sister sent me the email that would end our relationship.  I had told my sister my feelings, for the first time in, well, ever.  I was hysterical, crushed at the idea of losing my blood, my world upside down, I cried out to her.

“You fucked up Michele.  You fucked up.”  The harder I cried in protest, the louder and meaner her words.

Jesus has taken the scales off of my peepers.  I have learned that highly sensitive and empathetic, albeit broken people are subject to being surrounded by the Jezebel Spirit.  But I am stronger and wiser now.  She is a part of my past, and there will be no confrontation, because at the end of the day, that is exactly what she wants.

I Will Find the Center In You…….I Will Chew it Up Inside……..

This is the darkest post I hope to ever write.  This is a story about how alcohol kills-everything that is good, pure, worthy, decent……..alcohol is a vampire, it sucks the life blood out of you, then leaves you in a heap of disgrace, humiliation and nothingness.  I may have been “sober” for ten years, but I have slipped on more than one occasion, each time the lull of “It will be okay, just one drink” has seduced me….and each and every time I have wallowed in despair.

I would like to tell you about the last ten years of my drinking career.  A vocation so evil, so pummeling that I literally lost those years of my life.  Sadly, I cannot, as I was so far gone that the last years were swallowed by indignity, fear, and Godlessness.   Or so I thought.  I got sober when I was 46 years old, and for the longest time I honestly thought I was ten years younger.  Ten years of our lives, gone up in smoke. 

I weep just thinking of what could have been, but there is hope and we must lean not on our own understanding.  We have to summon every ounce of courage in our souls to rise up and fight this demon.  And together, with Jesus, we can do it, one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

What I do remember is locked behind a door that can only be unlocked by God, and only when it serves His kingdom.  I am taking off the deadbolt and releasing the ghosts that have kept me silent.  We are only as sick as our secrets, and becoming sober is the most freeing, healthy and frightening place we can be.  You have to hang on for dear life, but don’t be afraid of the ride, you have nothing to fear and everything to gain by telling your truth.

My last drunken event was my husband’s sister’s wedding.  I had consumed at least a bottle of wine before the ceremony, and that was 2:00 in the afternoon.  I do not remember the wedding, or the bride…….but what information I do have came at a cost, and that was my husband’s dignity.  I know that we didn’t stay for the cutting of the cake, as I had been playing footsies under the table with an unwilling participant-my husband’s cousin.  I also told a dear friend that I had enlightened my family with the news that he and I were having an affair-which led to some heavy duty amend making on his part, and I have never, to this day, as much a held his hand.  We are friends again, but that took ten years, 200 or so AA meetings, and the good Lord above-only now am I at peace.