Some Days You Just Survive

May 7, 2017

Today is one of those. Depression and sleep deprivation from changing my medications and not being used to them and not knowing if it’s the right combination. And grief. Still with the grief from the loss of my relationship, now over a year ago.

There were so many things I wanted to do today. I just can’t. I’m going to bed. But I did survive.


Fighting Against My Thoughts

April 10, 2014

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has this issue.  I find myself constantly (actually, less constantly than before, so I suppose that’s progress?  Incrementally getting better?) fighting against the voices is my head, which is exhausting. I have to actually consciously think – almost talking back to them – and point out that I’m not stupid, I’m not worthless, my future is not hopeless, I’m not unlovable.  It’s gotten better and I start thinking that it’s gone; when all of a sudden I hear that voice start talking back to me.  It’s so much easier to just listen to it.  I still keep fighting it because I really do know that it’s better for me to not give in, but does it have to be so difficult?


This Too Shall Pass

May 6, 2013

I’ve talked about my nightmares before and how that’s one of the things I consider to be a miracle.  Granted, I have no idea why God ever permitted such horrible nightmares, and I’m often very angry about that, but I’m also able to be glad for the healing (although I’d really really like an explanation!)

Today I was taking a nap, suffering from allergies and Benadryl and all that fun stuff so the nap wasn’t very restful but I was having a hard time waking up.  All of a sudden, mostly asleep, I had this strong sense that the depression was back and I’d feel like this forever.  This was a pretty common element of my nightmares before and I’d often wake up and not really recover from it all day.  Today, even still mostly asleep, I felt something telling me “This will pass, this too shall pass.”  In my dream.  And I woke up and I was OK.  Minor and miraculous at the same time.


Things I Learned Today

April 13, 2013

People might like me even if I am myself.

 

There are people who can listen to stories about depression and alcoholic family without pity or shaming.

 

It’s easier for me to explain things in writing.

 

I may have had a lot of really hard things happen but there are even more ways in which God have been saving me my whole life.


Flamenco

March 25, 2013

I’ve been taking flamenco dancing classes for about five years, off and on. I’ve taken dance classes before – ballet and tap when I was young, swing and salsa in college and later – but flamenco is my favorite. It’s not necessarily my favorite one to dance but it’s definitely the one I admire the most and the one I would like to use as a metaphor for my life.

When I took ballet, it was always about sucking in your stomach, trying to be graceful, and – even as a young child – not being too large. Flamenco, on the other hand, embraces whatever size or shape (or age) a woman is. My flamenco teacher is constantly telling us to “take up all your space.” It’s about being stable on your feet and your hips, using all the body that you have, and learning the technique in a way that you can impart the dance with all the soul and feeling that it needs.

Another thing I like about flamenco is how empowered the women look. There is a specific look cultivated with this dance, and empowered really is the best word I can think of for it. Women keep their head up, look proud, and don’t lower their eyes for anyone. There’s also the stomping – which is clearly not the official term and my flamenco teacher would be angry with me for using it – that is so cathartic. As wikipedia says (and I rarely quote wikipedia) El baile flamenco is known for its emotional intensity, proud carriage, expressive use of the arms and rhythmic stamping of the feet.

I want to live like that. Not proud in a narcissistic way, but proud in a non-apologetic way. I had to spend so much of my life apologizing for who I was – in words and actions – that I didn’t get to have that proud carriage. I still feel so often (but less and less!) like I’m broken and flawed in an irreparable way that it’s hard for me to feel that I have the right to have a “proud carriage.” I come off as empowered to many people because I’m opinionated and not afraid of public speaking, but that’s not how I feel. I want to have the empowerment inside too.

I also want to feel like I have the right to take up all my space. I don’t want to try to be smaller or shrink into spaces I don’t fit in. I want to take up the space that I take up and stomp if I need to. Again, I think I come across as stomping much of the time but I don’t want to be an angry, reactionary stomper. I want to express myself in stomping if I need to. I want to stomp because I feel proud, empowered, and expressive. I want to stomp because I am beautiful and persevering and have learned to hold my head up high.

 

 

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Fighting Shame

February 4, 2013

I posted about my dog so I’m not going to rehash it, but I’ve been working through some of the issues that came out of the whole thing.  Fortunately, as my neighbor who got bit has no medical insurance, my renter’s insurance will pay for all of the medical bills.  If they didn’t, I would have because legally, it’s my fault that my dog bit someone.   However, I’m coming to realize that it being my fault legally is very different that it being my fault.

My instinct (I am the oldest child of alcoholics, after all!) is to be hyper-responsible. My dog bit someone, and while I needed to put her down for safety reasons, because she was getting worse, not better, she didn’t hurt the other dog at all, and my neighbor had one stitch.  As the renter’s insurance person told me on the phone, “Honey, for a dog bite, that’s nothing.” 

It was terrifying for all of us and I think we all feel traumatized, and I don’t want to deny that.  But as the dogs were fighting and we were trying to get them apart, my neighbor’s mother was screaming at me – things like “You’re a horrible person!  You deserve to be put down!  Not just your dog, but you!  What’s wrong with you!”   And I realized, those are the voices I have in my head a lot of the time. 

Now, I don’t really think I need to be put down, but I do often think I’m a horrible person.  I have sort of had this feeling all my life that I’ve done something very very bad and I just haven’t been found out yet.  I don’t think even I know what this bad thing is that I’ve done but I know it’s very bad and very serious and I shouldn’t let anyone find out or I’ll be in serious trouble.

I’m trying to realize that this isn’t true.  Of course, I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve done things I regret, but I’m not actually a horrible person.  Or even close.

One of the things that made me realize this was that I was avoiding our (shared) yard, because my neighbor’s mother might be there and she said all those things about me.  What if she has more to say?  I’ll feel so terrible about myself.

Then I realized (I know, a little slow), that she’s WRONG.  She’s wrong about the things she said and she’s wrong to say them.  The answer isn’t to hide from her – I live here, after all and she doesn’t.  If she does say anything, the answer is to say, “I was too busy in the moment to tell you this, but you may not say such things to me, ever.  If you insist on verbally abusing me, I will go to the police and get a restraining order and you will not be able to come on this property again.”

I may never have to say it but for some reason it made me feel like I wasn’t just standing up to this one person; I was standing up to my shame.  Only in my head, but that’s where it lives.


Grace and Comfort

December 24, 2012

This last week has been incredibly difficult on a personal level (I haven’t even been able to think about events on a national level because I don’t have the bandwidth). After what I described in my last post, I made the very difficult decision to put my dog to sleep. She was a wonderful dog almost all of the time but with that tiny fraction of time that she wasn’t, she was dangerous. I contacted several dog professionals who I trust implicitly. They told me, with great sadness, that there wasn’t another responsible option.

I wanted a miracle to save my dog. I didn’t get that, but I got a different sort of miracle – I actually felt God with me. There were a number of details that could have been much worse and weren’t. There was not one person who judged me for making that decision. There was not one person who expressed anything other than compassion, love, and sadness for me. No one offered suggestions for what I could have done or should have done.

One nationally known dog trainer/behavioral specialist who bills way more per hour than I can afford and who met me and Rio once made herself available to me by phone and email all week. My dog trainer who loves Rio came with me and held Rio’s paw until the end when I couldn’t handle being in the same room. A friend came over immediately after the incident when I had to deal with the situation. My brother spent the night on my floor to be with me when I had to put Rio down. Other friends texted, called, came over, and helped me clean up her toys. I can’t imagine having to do this without these people – or without the comfort I experienced from God.

This month, besides the tragedy in Connecticut, I have had two friends file for divorce, one lose her mother in a fire, one lose her brother, and several more who are dealing with anniversaries of death. And there was enough grace and compassion for me when I lost my dog.

I’m still very sad. My sister was explaining to my 2 1/2 year old niece that we weren’t going to see Rio any more and she said, “But I DO want to see her.” I do too. But I am feeling the truth of God binding up the brokenhearted, even when it’s “only” being brokenhearted about a dog.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”