DON’T FEED THE FEARS….

I took my third dose of Doxy today, and admittedly I am feeling better. I can tell you that the biggest red flag for me, when something is wrong with my body (she’s been through a lot)is emotion. Whether it be mild irritation, weepiness, or flat out rage-this is my indicator that something is amiss. Believe it or not, I am not a weeper. But I’m not afraid of my tears, we need the release as anxiety and depression often rule the day.

I had big plans for my husband today, BIG PLANS I tell you. First stop-Good’s store in Schaefferstown. I rose at 6:30 this morning, eager to get out on a Spring-like day. My mood had vastly improved since yesterday, and my attitude was decent as I descended on the store. We get anything and everything at this little Mennonite boutique, from paint to outdoor wear, to kitchen appliances. I love their clearance department, and together, Dwain and I have spent approximately three million dollars on necessities. I was there to pick up a few cards, gifts and mainly-to return my husband’s dress pants that I had purchased at Christmas-they didn’t fit, but the tags were there-as was my receipt of purchase.

I was dealing with a sweet young girl, Olivia-she was telling me that she had to have a manager look at the pants before we could do an exchange. As I was leering at the candles (please, I have SO MANY candles, but for whatever reason-I always want more)when a gentleman in his forties called after me.

“Excuse me, Ma’am?,” I associate that name with little old ladies, and even at the age of 56? It isn’t palatable, from anyone.

“We cannot exchange these pants. There is a hair on the pocket of the brown pair, and the blue have a few hairs on them.”

INCREDULOUS, I told him the pants had never been worn, just tried on.

“Maybe if you took them home and cleaned them up?”

It took all of three seconds for me to go from status quo to flat out deranged angry. The cashier behind him, mildly alarmed at the tone of my voice, busied herself with a return.

“Sir, I panted, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH MONEY MY HUSBAND AND I SPEND IN THIS STORE???????,” I half screamed in indignation.

“Sorry, Ma’am, these can not be sold again.” I felt the rage wash over me like hard rain. I counted to ten. I took a deep breath, but none of these things helped to quash my Irish temper, and only now, looking back, do I regret the way I acted.

“I WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER SPEND ANOTHER BLOODY RED CENT IN THIS STORE!!!! I HAVE NEVER BEEN TREATED IN THIS MANNER BEFORE, AND I HAVE HAD IT WITH THIS F***ING, PIECE OF SH*T STORE, NEVER!!!!!!!!!”

My words echoed in my head as I headed to the parking lot. I almost broke the sliding glass door on the way out, and for that I am sorry…..but I pity and I mean PITY the jerk who sent me reeling. While at the grocery store next door, I bawled into the phone whilst standing in the dog food aisle. My poor husband, furious as well but trying to calm me down, told me he didn’t need a Valentine’s gift, that I was enough, to stop crying and go home and rest.

And I didn’t hold back a giggle when he said, “I’ll stop in with the man on my way home tonight.”

Like I said, I pity the fool……….

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.

Got Flonase?

 

I can laugh about it now, so that means I can write about the crazy ass allergies I have experienced this Summer.  Not since my first hay fever attack (I was ten and I thought I was dying-my father had just mowed the grass, and my eyes sweat tear after tear, then shut, completely)  have I experienced more than a sneeze or two.  This year?  Holy optical migraine, Batman!  What, please tell me, are they putting in the air?

By 5:00 p.m., I literally had to don sunglasses, IN the house.  My husband teased me relentlessly, and I did wish him bodily harm, as there was no way on God’s green earth that he was going to give me some compassion, hells no!

“What, may I ask, are you doing?,” he asked, one evening last week.

What did he think I was doing?  Practicing to be a starlet?  Trying to look super Coolio for the dog?  Possibly practicing some form of ritual to erase my many wrinkles?  NO.

If you, like me, have allergies-you will want to get your ass to the nearest pharmacy and buy some Flonase.  I did just that a few days ago, actually I went to Wal-Mart, but that fiasco is a story for another day.

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Yep, by late in the afternoon I could feel the melodious pull downward, and not just my sinuses.  The pain would begin in one dry eye (causing a pretty obvious eye twitch) and then proceed to the other.  Seeing, well, anything became a problem.  I found the idea of going to bed (most depressives will tell you that bed is depressing.  We associate bed with melancholy) absolutely loathsome.  So, I donned my red wayfarers and took up my cross, no matter the cries of protest-it was all I could do not to shoot myself in the nasal cavity, let me tell you.

So, if you got allergies-you got troubles.  Something wicked this way comes.  Do yourself a favor and buy the juice-the sweet, healing nectar will reduce the inflammation.  Your dog, cats and husband will be glad you did-take off the sunglasses, that is.  🙂

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Of Mice and Malaria….

 

Color me perplexed.  My husband and I had just returned from a long, overdue hike.  We bathed Jesse in the lake, and came home for a minute-to put him in and gather the pile of crap we would soon be returning to Dunham’s and Walmart.  It’s gorgeous in the East right now, and neither of us had any intention of making a day of it; more like hit and run, and I am no fan of the W word, trust me.  Of course, we were in a hurry to finish our errands and retreat to the quiet of our modest abode-Dwain to mow and I to garden.

As we drive up Mountain Road, we can see a family of people by our pond.

“Must be friends of my parents,” Dwain shrugged.

Yet as we neared the house, it became very clear, very quickly, that these strangers had embarked upon swimming in our pond.  There were four people, two men, a woman and an infant.

“Can we help you?,” my husband offered, giving me the hairy eyeball as if I knew what was going on.

And then, in a thick Russian accent, a response:

“We are staying at church, the church (and he pointed in the direction of absolutely nowhere) we visit.  Today we walk all the time, up and down this road.  We returning to Philadelphia by morning.”

What the Harry?  We were beyond perplexed.  I mean, they had their swimming trunks on, and I was in immediate fear for the child, no life preserver, no shirt…our collective minds were blown.

“I have to warn you, (my husband hollered, as if finding a family of Russians in his pond was just an everyday occurrence) we have snapping turtles in that pond.”  That is true, we do.  We asked if we could help them in any way, and they shook their heads no, we are A OKAY.  They walked up the road a bit, watching us unload our hiking gear, and the dog.

As we were walking up the steps, I distinctly heard these words:

“Get us out of the way.  They own bear.”

And with that, they were off, like a herd of turtles, in search of better terrain.

 

 

Rolling With It…

 

This is the exact concert my father was watching before it happened.   I was thirteen years old, and I can tell you what I wore to church the next day, down to the jewelry.  A red -appled  print with chunky red, wooden jewelry.  This was a great time in my life, before the pain and drama, before anorexia, before I went through alcoholism and depression.  We were in the hotel of a small town, situated between King of Prussia and Lake George, New York.  I loved Lake George!   The owners of the Canoe Island Lodge (where my family continues to vacation to this day, albeit rarely) were friends with my parents, and we their children.  We ate out on the lake, waterside service-just the  life of the rich and famous, oh man the memories!

So, anyways back to the story.  After writing my previous blog this morning, I didn’t want to end things that way with my readers, 🙂 I much prefer to be enthusiastic and uplifting than bitter and whiny.  It’s a look that doesn’t suit, well, any of us.  So, for me, all it takes, when I have run the gamut of emotions from horror to grief in, say,  a five minute timeframe?  I absolutely require some comic relief.  Jesus is often in on the joke, but today was amazing.

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As I climbed the stairs to groom Jesse, I remembered that I have a friend who has terminal cancer.  The soccer team in Thailand, oh my great Lord, that…I craved simpler, easier days gone by-and more than anything?  A laugh out loud moment.

I don’t turn the television on during the day.  I know that sounds vigilant, but the fact is-I’m not a one chip and end it kind of a girl-if I began the habit of even watching the a.m. news?  I would soon be on the path of daytime television, something I abhor.  I tape my Y&R, so there is no reason on planet earth to turn that monster on.  But today?  I had to hear another voice, another humanoid on this planet, and preferably?  A comedian.  I flicked on the tele and what do you know?  My all-time favorite episode of Friends: when Ross’ ex wife delivers their baby-making me scream fits of giggles, and turn my mood from dour to, at the very least, having a sense of humor about the dourness.

Oh, man.  I really diverted.  So this morning’s blog, featuring Miss Tina Turner, reminded me of the evening we were in that hotel.  My sister and mother asleep in one bed, me on the couch, and daddy-who was sitting on a chair and had not retired for the evening.  Because he was watching this concert, and because I love this music, I was awake as well.  How could you sleep through this?  Slowly, from the corner of my eye, I see my poor brother-his cot is folding up on both sides.

“Umm.  Dad?,” he says.

At this point my dad is three sheets to the wind, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t hear Craig the first time.  By the time my father noticed, my brother’s body was literally in the shape of a U.  The very same U the by now, completely closed cot, was making.

Dad looked to me, but I was of no help.  For all he knew, I was dead, as I was laying on the floor, laughing so hard I was sure to need oxygen momentarily.  My brother’s voice as shrill as they come, yelling for my father, who eventually stood up-removed himself from the sight of Ike and Tina, and saved the day by unfolding said cot, and my brother, thusly.

The.  End.

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.

Bliss (The Shroom Room)

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As deep and dreary as my addiction was, there were moments of extreme levity, and for that I am grateful.  Back in 1995, my brother threw a Halloween party.  He lived in Fishtown, a charming city within a city, the colored buildings decorated with goblins and ghouls alike, and, as it turns out-a city in which you can walk for blocks and blocks in the middle of the night-safely and uninterrupted.

I brought along a date, Tim, the cook from Houlihan’s, where I was presently employed.  He was nice, tall, and very much the gentleman.  I had no interest in him whatsoever, but always the people pleaser, I had no idea how to say no, thus the mitigating circumstances-allowing a stranger into you inner circle, your familla…..you end up red pilling a perfectly sane human being, whom, before meeting you and your brood, was as white on rice as you can get.

Upon arrival, Tim and I took a seat on the couch.  I dressed up as Madonna, my costume of choice for ten years straight.  So easy, and downright sexy, I thought.  Mini skirt, fishnet stockings, fuck-me pumps, heavy eyeliner applied to give the appearance of bushy eyebrows, a leather jacket and….voila!  Madonna.  Craig, my brother, wore no costume, and many of the men, including my date, had no intention of looking the fool in an outfit their better half picked out at Marshalls.  We had just started to relax with our beers when my brother said this:

“Courtney dressed up as the devil.”

I could tell by the spark in his eyes that I should turn around and take in her apparel.  My poor sister had bought a devil costume, complete with horns, cape and pitchfork.  The dynamics of our relationship back then was complicated, yet loving.  I saw her as the kindest human being on the planet, so Little Bo Peep compared to my Twisted Sister.  I was wildly protective of her, and as the older by five years sister?  Let’s just say nobody messed with her, at least not while I was within a five mile radius.

My sister took a boat load of teasing from her siblings.  It was the thing to do at the time…..but this was an opportunity so rare, so appetizing, so off the cuff…..I had to shame her, lovingly of course.  We laughed at the store bought  uniform, and then we went upstairs (I have to preface this story by telling you about these particular stairs-old house stairs that wound tightly in a spiral up six flights of building.  Dangerous for a sober party goer, deadly for the drunk) as Craig had a surprise for us:  mushrooms, of the Timothy Leary kind.  Psychedelics from nature, what could possibly go wrong????????

As I poured my second beer from the keg, my sister, wide-eyed and stressed to the max, whispered in my ear: “I didn’t get off right away, so Craig gave me more in a candy bar.”

“MORE???????”  How much MORE??????,” I asked my red as a beet sibling.

You have to understand, neither of us had ever tried such a thing, we were very sheltered growing up and weed was as strong as it got, at least until this evening.  My sister was not a seasoned partier-Craig and I were older, prone to experimental drug use…..but Courtney?  She was afraid of chemicals, and I had to hide my horror that she had just ingested a boat load more than she should have, and now I had to keep my eyes on her-for the duration of this shin dig.

The party eventually moved upstairs, into my brother’s room.  Starting to feel a bliss heretofore unfelt, I laughed and carried on:  we hung out with comedic people back in the day, big personalities and broken psyches.  We all had a past in common, one of waiting tables yes, but more times than not?  Depression and mood disorders, addictions and afflictions.  But we were family, and my brother threw the best ever parties.

The shrooms now in effect, I found everything hilarious…..I have never, ever laughed this uproariously in my entire life.  Jokes weren’t just funny, they were deliriously mad cap….a spirit of frivolity hung over our collective heads.  The bliss that set in was heady stuff, and it all came to a dramatic stop when we noticed the drama unfolding in front of our very eyes.  Courtney, always incredibly vanilla, incredibly modest, was laying on my brother’s bed.  My friend Terry had just made a hilarious observation, and Craig was gone…….his face purple, his laughter echoing throughout the house………and then it happened, in slow motion, the docudrama that featured drugs, booze and my little sister….becoming unhinged in front of our eyes, and no one could stop what was about to take place.

Apparently, while loosing his proverbial shit at Terry’s story, Craig did not notice that my sister’s store bought costume was stuck underneath his elbow.  The harder she struggled, the louder he laughed…..until she was literally down to her bra and panties.

“Red alert, red alert,” I repeated over and over again in my head.  I have to help her.  People screaming and crying laughing at the site of her didn’t help.  I was angry and ashamed for her, yet I could not move-not one inch.  The hilarity had kept me frozen in place, and the more my brother laughed, the harder it was to move.  My eyes swept the room…..men gawking, women crying….and my little sister, also frozen-but in fear and embarrassment.

After what appeared to be hours, I finally took her hand, walked her to the bathroom and redressed her.  She clung to me like a cure for cancer, and didn’t leave my side for the duration.  We did everything we could to sober her up, walked her around the block a hundred times, coffee, Ativan…..nothing worked.  By four in the morning, everyone had left the party but my siblings and my date.  Exhausted, we fell into my brother’s king size bed, Tim laying on the floor next to me.  It had taken us hours and hours to stop laughing, to calm down enough to get some shut eye.

“Phatt, foof, tweet, (sound of a balloon in the last seconds of life) farrrrtttt, farrrrtt, farrrrttt.”  By the time I discovered that the noise was coming from my own ass?  It was too late.  I could see the silhouette of my brother’s face in the dark-laughing so hard he was gasping for air, and then it hit me:  my date was lying behind my behind, and he was getting the worst of it. The HORROR…..the EMBARASSMENT.  Suddenly, the joke was on me, and I finally caved and went with it, laughed until I cried, despite my growing panic.

The happy ending?  Tim never darkened my door again…….poor dude.