Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 217—Life as I Know It

A friend of mine and I got into a disagreement over something yesterday.  He said I had too much emotional baggage, and that's not sexy.  Find a happy woman, he said, and that's the sexiest thing in the world.

And I said, No shit, dumbass.

We were chatting about this in the context of our histories and relationships.  I've had very few, but long, ones, whereas he flits and floats in and out with all sorts of women.  My hypothesis is the women he dates are either too young to be unhappy or are good actresses, until they feel they're in well enough to drop the facade.

I don't know if I've ever been truly happy.  There have been times I've been content, times I've been incredibly joyous and grateful.  But as far as relationships go, I don't know how to steer my way through that muck.

I was molested at age four.  I was a favorite, treated specially by my abuser.  I have no recollection of him being cruel emotionally.  I was a lonely little girl and he was like a wolf, a predator who could sniff the disengagement between my parents and me even at that young age.  He was an extremely close friend of theirs, and even babysat us on occasion.  A grown man in his forties babysitting his friends' kids.  There's a reason we have those feelings in our guts.

I remember his visits every Saturday morning.  He came over for coffee.  He didn't live in our neighborhood.  He had to drive.  My parents spent a lot of time with him.  So did I.

I remember, around the age of eleven or twelve, when I fell out of favor.  He had never before been short with me, never before acted as though I was in his way, but suddenly I was.  I had hit that magical time for pedophiles—puberty—when their victims lose interest due to bodily changes.  All I knew at the time was that he didn't love me anymore.

When I finally told my parents as an adult, they confided that he didn't have a phone, and after he had quit his job and moved away, they learned he had an adult son and ex-wife they had never heard of before.

Why write about this?  Why share it?  Because it's my life as I know it.  I've never lied about who I was and I can't start now.

This has been on my mind lately.  I do wonder where he is, if he ever was busted (I doubt it), and if I would recognize him should I run into him.  I even wonder if it would matter anymore.

All I can say is that we all are made of our experiences, good bad and ugly.  I spent half of my life blocking it out and denying it, and I'm not hiding it anymore.  There's no point.  This is life.  It's my life as I know it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

In and Out—Day 218


So the first thing that has jumped out at me in the last twenty-four hours is how much pain I've been in, and how much emotional pain I've been in.  One is clearly linked to the other.  And I'm starting to understand there are a lot of things linked together with this illness, more than I ever imagined.

Last night I received an email from a person I had known a few years ago, who apparently has struggled with the same symptoms as I have.  She went to the doctor and was given a similar medication cocktail.  She wasn't satisfied, and began to look at holistic ways to heal.  She gave me the names of a couple of books, and encouraged me to look for a solution that involved more than lessening symptoms.

I hadn't really thought of this illness in the context of healing before, mainly because I've been told that's just not possible.  Maybe it isn't.  But in my conversation with her, I realized that I already know things I didn't give myself credit for.  For instance, I do better when I eat greek yogurt, fruit, fiber, whole oats, olive oil, and whole, clean foods.  Fish and vegetarian foods are high on my list.  I need to rid my cabinets of nitrate-added foods.  My friend recommended that I avoid the whites, which I tend to do anyway, EXCEPT when I treat myself.  Yesterday I put together the worst possible combination I could.  I ran out of one medication, didn't take another one because it's running low, then ate cheese pizza for dinner.  Consequently I was ill all evening.  Beyond the emotional collapse I had in the afternoon and late evening, I was literally sick to my stomach.  I tend to have a lot of stomach problems without yogurt.  That was my first clue that food really REALLY affects how I feel.  Greek yogurt, for me, is a godsend.  The high protein makes me feel full for longer, and the active cultures help to control any other symptoms I have.

My friend recommended a lot of greens.  I probably don't eat enough of them.  I do eat salads occasionally—when I buy them from quick-food places, generally—but after our conversation I'm curious to add them daily in some way.  I have nearly completely stopped eating beef, and this past week discovered the joys of almond milk, particularly in cereal.  My friend also suggested watching out for sodium and msg.  I have had migraines from msg in the past, so I wasn't surprised by that, and I usually don't eat a lot of sodium, but it's still something to watch out for.

So I have some new dietary ideas.  Even more whole grains.  Less salt.  Reading for msg.  Adding greens to meals.  Continuing what I already know is right—fish, chicken, vegetarian meals, more veggies of all colors, olive oil, whole grains, and concentrated yogurt.  Oh, and fiber.  Bran flakes, all bran, whatever—mixed into the yogurt it's a great start to the day.

So today and yesterday i felt like crap. Today has been better than yesterday, and both days have been learning opportunities.  I'm figuring it out, slowly.  Tired today, but haven't cried, which makes me happy.  I want to do some work tomorrow for my job, hopefully.  Maybe get in a swim.  We'll see.

I titled today In and Out for a reason.  Often I feel like I'm weaving in and out of this maze of fibro.  The last few days have felt very much like that.  I'm in, then out, weaving information and medication to go with my body's signals.  Maybe it will make sense, sooner.  Or, less pleasantly, later.  But eventually I'll have weaved a complex tapestry that makes sense for me, for my body.  That allows me to function in a way that is useful and brings joy back into my life.  That's all I've wanted from the beginning, and all I'll be pursuing through the changes I make.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learning from One Another—Day 220


So today is an okay day physically.

In the last several weeks, I've been investing some time into making some new friends.  Granted, most of them are online, but I'm okay with it.  Today I got an email from one of my new friends who is having a hard time.  His problems are in personal relationships, and it's one of those situations where it's clear as an objective outsider what is probably going on, but something he can't see.

It made me sad for him; so sad I wished I could be there to comfort him and tell him it would be okay, everything would work out, that he's going through growing pains and they always hurt but if he pushes himself, he WILL grow and WILL be successful at what he wants.  But again, the only one who can figure that out for sure is him.

When I listen to this particular person talk, her reminds me so much of myself that it's eery.  We have the same hangups, the same types of problems, but we handle them with opposite coping skills in many ways.  Neither of us are good at caring for ourselves.  I can see that in him and my first instinct is to help, but I know he has to figure out how to help himself.  How?  Because I'm having to figure out the same thing.

It hurts to see someone you care about hanging themselves with the same rope over and over again.  I wonder now if that's how my friends and family feel...if that's why some of my friends have taken a step back.  They realize there is nothing more they can do other than be supportive of my own process.

We all have our "aha!" moments in life, and this may be one of them for me.  Seeing my friend struggle for solid footing makes me realize how much I do the same thing, and how easy it is for me to tell him what to do to gain that footing for himself.  But I need to know how to develop my own strong footing, and no amount of somebody else's yammering is going to make that happen.  It will only happen when I'm ready to do it myself.

So to my new friend, you are in my thoughts and prayers.  You're a good person and need to remember that.  Handle yourself as gently as you would a child you care for, because when you're hurting we all revert back to scared children.  And I hope you'll talk to me when you're ready.  I think you're awesome.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 221—And the World Spins Round and Round

I'm so dizzy today.

I guess I should post my numbers—

Pain- 5

I forced myself to get up this morning because my mother was here and I knew she would bitch if I didn't get up.  She came in here the other morning screaming about how it was eleven or something and I hadn't gotten up.  Well actually, I HAD gotten up.  I had taken one kid to school, made sure the other kid went to school, charged up the battery in one of the cars before I found myself back in bed sleeping.  I'm trying to be patient, but there are days I want to yell, "Get the fuck away from me...I'm fucking tired!"  I want to be left alone to sleep.  I'm exhausted.  Everything is dizzy and it hurts.  My back hurts and my shoulder hurts and my hands hurt.

I know my mother thinks she's helping me.  Somehow she's gotten the idea that if she's "hard" on me that I will buck up, little camper, and do what I need to do.  All day I 've wanted to sleep.  Curl up under the blankets and sleep.  I'm cold and dizzy and achy.  I hate it.  But I hate being bugged about it even more.

One of my friends told me a bit ago that it's good to focus on the positive.  I have to admit she is right.  My earlier post was based on pain—emotional and physical—and so I'm going to focus the rest of this post on  the positive, both emotional and physical

Physically, I am able to move easily most days and walk wherever I need to go.  I have joined the Y and once I can get over to swim, it will be a good thing.  I just need to make time in my schedule.  I have watched many people my age or even younger who have lost mobility, so it's a blessing to have that.  I feel lucky that despite the pain, I have medication and doctors who are willing to help and make my life better.  That is wonderful.  Earlier today I was feeling really lonely, and asked for hi's from some of my friends in another state.  And they came flooding in, from friends and former parents of my preschoolers and former students I had.  How lucky am I?  And physically, to have the ability still to type how I need to, to meet the needs for my job, is a blessing too.  Today I felt really badly and thought about quitting.  But why?  I need to take one day at a time, and if i get in over my head I will worry about that then.

Emotionally?  I am loved beyond measure.  I have a mother and father who will do almost anything to help me.  I have a husband who loves me and two children who are beautiful, smart, and loving beyond measure.  Not every mother of a 14-year old boy gets a hug each night along with an "I love you, Mom."  My twelve-year old loves me too, and takes the time to tell me regularly.  We laugh together and love each other.  

What made the difference in my attitude?  My friend's reminder, no doubt.  In addition, a nap this afternoon made a huge difference.  Today I just needed the rest.  And I can work tonight if I'm up late.  I'm so lucky to have a job that's flexible like this.  Otherwise, I fear I would not be able to pull it off.

Friends, family, God and His loving spirit.  I am blessed for sure.