The Living Waters

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and in that spirit I dedicate this blog to all who are stigmatized, pigeon holed, persecuted or worse-because of circumstances often beyond their control.  You are my heroes: it is through extreme adversity and gut wrenching pain that you face each and every day.  It is my prayer that you are choosing healthy coping mechanisms and that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.  If not, I encourage you to follow my blog-not for me, but for you.  I’m not in this for a huge following; I am here to be the voice of comfort, reason and truth that I believe God has called me to be-a beacon in a time of darkness.

Please understand that I have never taken credit for my writing, whether you love it or hate it, the content comes from the Holy Spirit:  he speaks to me in different ways throughout the day.  By evening, I am writing-my version of what I believe to be Spirit-led writing.  I am what they call a sensitive-Abba has given me the gift of spiritual understanding.  Only in the past three years have I been aware of this gift from above-but I can say that I have struggled through tremendous adversity (but always under His loving protection) I believe that having lived a tortured life has led me to a greater compassion and love for others.  Sadly, my CPTSD makes it incredibly difficult for me to trust others with my heart and soul.

So, I don’t.

I have been texting my brother as of late.  We discuss political and social issues, and today I sent him a video from Abel Danger-explaining the spiritual warfare and global reset.  He has had trouble believing much of what I have written on the subject of our amazing president Trump, the Plan, or the Great Awakening.

So, my sister was one of the narcs who stopped just short of killing me.  I haven’t spoken to her in years, although I do pray for her.  One thing I’ve learned over and over through my many perpetrators is this:  if you don’t go no contact?  You are setting yourself up for greater pain, dysfunction and even severe health complications due to the constant stress of gaslighting, triangulation, projection and abject cruelty.  Even a short conversation could lead to a triggering of emotional flashbacks so severe, that it takes me weeks to come back to myself.

So, my brother lives in LA.  My sister lives in PA.

My husband called me in to see my niece Esme’s Instagram.  I looked down to see my brother on a scooter, but the voice in the video?  It haunted me.  Something is wrong with that tone, the insincerity-a false sense of excitement.

“There you go, Craig, you’re doing it!”  I insisted to my husband that it was my sister’s voice.  He balked.  He played it again and heard my brother in law’s voice at the end of the clip.  I took off into the kitchen, adrenaline pumping, anxiety rising.  I opened the frig door, and stared blankly into space, closed it, opened it again.

A few moments of despair, and it was over.

“Life is too damn good,” I said to myself.

Thus the end of the trauma.

Thank you, Jesus-for the head’s up.  And more importantly?  For walking every step of my  dark and lonely journey back to peace.

Come to the Living Waters, and drink from the cup of Life.

 

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 Backlog of Grief

 

This writing is for anyone who has or had an addiction to drugs, alcohol or any other means of escape from reality.  It is a warning and a note to self:  I never want to go back to those days of annihilation, of cramming every uncomfortable thought down my throat, of blurry acceptance of all things despicable or wanting in nature.  This is a known fact in the Rooms:  if you have been anesthetizing  yourself in order to feel better, escape the symptoms of trauma or even to get over your ex?  Chances are, you will experience sorrows beyond your wildest nightmares, you can’t push it down-grief will always have its way; there, I said it.

I remember the day I came home from my first rehab session.  I was given a pamphlet, The Grapevine (a publication that comes out quarterly from Alcoholics Anonymous, impossible to find if you don’t have connections) and a piece of paper titled A Backlog of Grief: You May Experience Some Discomfort………I remember phoning my sister, and reading this memo to her.  I remember being scared out of my mind, and I could not understand, for the life of me, why they would hand out such negative information to, well, anyone; especially someone with two days of sobriety under her belt.

The subject matter was grim-it warned that, out of nowhere, you may be overwhelmed with sorrow, remorse, pain, and yes-a strong desire to relapse.  You see, it works like this:  every negative emotion, every single feeling of despair, any loss you drank or drugged to be free of?  Well, they will reemerge, except for this time?  The pain is much worse as you are not sure where it is coming from, you don’t know exactly what fresh Hell has made its’ nasty appearance in your life, again, and let me tell you-it is so overwhelming and so nerve wracking that I spent days and days in bed, doing nothing but taking Benadryl and assuming the fetal position in my boudoir.

I would be out for lunch with a friend, and have to excuse myself to run to the bathroom, and more often than not?  The friend would come in to see if I was okay (or drinking) and be caught unawares by the wretched sobbing, anxiety and fear of losing control.  You feel empty, nonplussed, even betrayed by God at times…..why, why am I so forlorn?  Take this from me, sweet Jesus, take this pain away……..

I forgot, and often, about the piece of paper sitting on my living room table, next to my bible.  The thing is, they didn’t explain WHY these feelings would sneak up behind you, wrestle you to the ground; an albatross around your neck-they simply said you may experience periods of great emotion and trauma.

I was given divine guidance on a number of occasions.  One day, as a hospice volunteer, I was given a book on grief.  As I was reading it, my brain reeling, I recognized what the author was describing-this is why we tell others to take there time and grieve as long and as hard as they deem necessary.  (Of course, this can become a problem in itself, but we’re not talking about that now.)

You cannot push down pain.  It will come back with a vengeance you never knew existed-a crippling, one two punch to the gut-and you will be left with questions, yet no answers.

Here’s my advice:  it took some time, but eventually I became better and better at putting my feelings, thoughts and memories in context.  I could discern where the pit in my stomach originated-and only then could I do the work of healing my heart.

So, you see, you can’t run, you can’t hide…….and I know you can smell what I’m stepping in when I tell you that you’d be so much better off getting the necessary help to get sober as early on in your addiction as possible.

Get thee to a meeting.  Call a friend.  Talk to your therapist.

The following information could save this from happening to the next person.   There is help, and financial aid for those in need.

PENNSYLVANIA ADULT AND TEEN CHALLENGE-WE CAN HELP! (844) 888-8085.

 

 

 

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.

Renew Your Mind, the Rest Will Follow

I could not, for the life of me, get out of my own way today. You know that feeling-when you know, before it happens, that whatever you do/say/touch will be a mother loving nightmare of epic proportions. Yep. I should have known at the gas station, where I sat for ten minutes (no lie) trying to put my seatbelt on. A simple task performed day in and day out, and not once, but twice this happened today. I try not to get hysterical when something isn’t going smoothly-I always think that God may be holding me up for a reason, and that puts things in perspective.

At Walmart, I wore my brand new Batman hat, complete with ears that go up and down and it glows in the dark, the batman signal. It has long pom poms on each side. Incredibly warm. I set out today to make at least one person smile-and I was blessed by the reactions of most people this morning. I would say, ‘watch this’ to a complete stranger, and inevitably? If not a guffaw, a giggle and smile. I want to two of the cashiers that have been there forever. My whole heart goes out to them, they look so fatigued, so defeated. I felt pure joy when the saddest one laughed. In twenty some years, I have not seen her lips turned upward.

At the park, Jesse burst out of his orange hunting coat-whilst jumping in to the creek. This after chasing a heron so majestic it caught my breath. I begged him to go back into the creek and retrieve his coat. He swam right toward the thing, then balked at the idea-he hates this bloody coat. We were just beginning our trek, and as I waded in the Hammer Creek, ice cold water sloshing around in my shit stompers, I cried out to the heavens, “WHY, GOD, WHY???” Instantaneously over myself, I hiked the entire trail with freezing, wet feet. I remembered how hysterical my mother became at even the thought of my feet being wet, screaming – “You’ll get a kidney infection if you walk around in wet feeeeet!!!” That’s when I got teary, and remained emotional for the duration.

I stood at the window and took in the orange and blues, purples and pink of the evening sky. My husband had mentioned our Dylan, the golden retriever who lost his battle with Leukemia in 2015. I tried to hide my tears. Dwain came to comfort. I again began my nostalgic grieving-then, as I praised Him for the perfect Fall evening-a television reporter said these words:

“And after the ending, there is a new beginning.”

Christmas By Myself This Year

I am ready to crawl into the fetal position and be done with this nightmare. What was the movie?The Nightmare Before Christmas? Never saw the flick, but who cares? Who gives a flying fazuck? It’s Christmas time, the halls are decked, the tree is done, my shopping almost complete. Wake me up when it’s time to take a long Winter’s nap; put a fork in my for crying out loud-I’m DONE.

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As a matter of fact, this Facebook post just about sums it up right now. All I want for Christmas is to have my husband and critters healthy and safe. That’s it, that’s my list. But the unseen forces of this world have a different idea-they want me a withered nub of nothing, so I have news for them.

STEP OFF!!!

Last Sunday, exhausted from a weekend of socializing, I drug my weary ass cheeks up the concrete stairs-I had a drink in one hand and a purse in the other. I was also carrying my dog’s collection of toys; left like little bodies, littering the yard. And so it was that I had no hands to break my fall when the inevitable happened. I tripped, my forehead breaking my fall.

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Not very pretty, but after an OK from the Emergency Room doctor, I went home-thinking, this won’t be so bad. I’ve suffered worse, believe me. But a week later? I still feel nauseous and the headaches are not so pleasant. But none of this matters, it truly doesn’t. Last night, God put everything in perspective for me. I was spent from crying all morning; I miss my parents at this time of year-Christmas was truly special at our home. I know what the reason for the season is-I just want a modicum of peace to fill my heart and soul.

I turned the music up (Charlie Brown Christmas, my favorite holiday tune) and Jess and I began to dance. Jubilant for over a minute, the smile was wiped from my face when I bent down to hug the dog-I found a small lump on his chest. The room began to spin, my heart was beating erratically, this can’t be happening, NO, no, no, no. My husband was in the shower; I yelled up to him, told him the grim news.

I thought a word of comfort, solace…maybe even hope. What I received instead? Name calling, of the you ruined my Christmas variety. It was if he thought I was purposefully looking for bad news: Lord have mercy! He had put up the Christmas lights, cut us a tree, dealt with my weeping just hours before.

He gave me the silent treatment. I gathered my things and headed for bed. 5:30 folks. I went to bed at 5:30 p.m. I awoke to the piercing pain in my heart. I remembered the lump. My husband slammed the door as he left the house, as I was none to eager to hear his apology. Actions speak louder than words, you know.

I phoned the vet, made an appointment first thing. My mood was as low as low could be; until I stopped in at Walmart for a few things. I asked a woman for help finding the cat nip, and the look on her face told me two things: I forgot to comb my hair, and I was now the freak at Wally World. I stopped to take a perusal of my appearance-sweet Jesus, the tattered clothing, combined with a shiner reminiscent of Muhammed Ali? Not good. I didn’t care, I was on a mission to be at the vet on time. I paid for my things and drove to the animal hospital.

To my surprise, Dwain stood at the door.

“What are you doing here?,” I mumbled.

Thirty minutes later, with a diagnoses of a fatty tumor, I took my dog for a hike. I thanked Abba with all I had in me. And when we returned? Tootsie went to comfort his friend.

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We must remember what is truly important at this time of year; and that is our family, friends and treasured children; whether animal or human. Be grateful for the small things, and let God take care of the rest.

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.