Magical pathways (and why I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house)

Stay tuned for the actual point of this post, but here’s the “is-she-crazy-or-not” update.

That really great feeling from a few days ago?  It’s gone.  But I’m not quite buried in the fog, again.  I’m just…neutral.  Thanksgiving was nice.  No pressure.  I cooked.  We ate.  Watched football.  It was lovely.  I was feeling a little anxiety early on, but by the end of the evening it had passed.  Now I’m neither up or down.  Just… I’m here.  And I’m content with that today.

Christmas madness has begun.  I don’t do the whole “Black Friday” thing.  I’m pretty sure that buffets and Black Friday bring out the worst in humanity.  There’s no social order; it’s total anarchy.  Plus, don’t even get me started on all the Christmas music you’re forced to endure while shopping with all the other wackos.

I did go out, but it wasn’t until 1pm.  That’s a normal hour of the day to shop.  In my opinion, at least.  Which leads me to the topic of this post:

So there we were at The Great Indoors, which is closing in our neck of the woods.  Maybe they’re all closing?  It would make sense – I saw a robe hook for the bathroom door that cost $44.  For $44, I will drape it over the toilet like everyone else. And that was where the ridculousness started.  That place was bankruptcy waiting to happen.

At any rate, the hubs and I are walking around the store and half-snickering, half-actually-looking at the “closeout prices” of random items.  I put “closeout prices” in quotes because I’m certain the prices we saw were their sales prices.  Who pays $20 for a towel?  A regular, white bath towel?  I rubbed it all over and a genie did *not* pop out and grant me three wishes. Not even one wish.  A genie didn’t even pop out and scowl at me.  Bottom line: considering there was no genie involved, the towel was clearly over priced.

We continue on this adventure, making mostly quiet snide comments about robe hooks and the $7000 round hot tub that was “clearanced” from $8000.

Then, we stumble upon this gem.  This beautiful wardrobe closet.  I’m marveling at it, and say to the hubs, “You think it’s the path to Narnia?  Or maybe the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter?”  At this point, the sales person came over to inform me that this sweet little piece of furniture is 125 years old, and was originally priced at $22,000.  The good people at The Great Indoors are willing to part with it for only $7500.  I say, with the straightest face, “Do you think it is the path to Narnia?”  She looked at me, at first, like she *thought* she heard what I said, but couldn’t believe someone would ask such a thing.  So she says, “Excuse me?”

Me: Do you think this might be the path to Narnia?
Her: (blank look) Um….
Me: OR… it could be that mirror from Harry Potter.  The one where he sees his dead parents in the mirror.  I don’t have dead parents.  So all I see is me.
Her: Um…. (still looking at me like I have a cat on my face)
Me: I’m going with Narnia.
Her: (gathering her whereabouts at this point) *clearing her throat* It is from France. (it’s cute… she’s trying to stay collected and professional)
Me: Hmmmm… Narnians could be French?  I suppose anything is possible.
Her: …..Maybe?

At this point she literally walks away *just* before I asked her to open it so I could investigate the passage.  Too bad.  It could’ve been a whole new adventure!

And this is why I shouldn’t be allowed out in public.

On a clear day you can see forever

It is with a great amount of joy I tell you that the fog is gone today. I feel so much better – like myself, for a change. I don’t know how long it’ll last, or whether or not this is just an illusion of delirium (since I’ve been struggling so much lately), but I am feeling better. Empowered. Stronger. Maybe the meds are finally adjusting. Maybe this is just a good day.

I couldn’t tell you why. I just woke up that way. Like the days when I am down, I can’t put my finger on the difference. Especially when things are good, I especially don’t want to foul it up. So I wish I knew what the big difference was.

I did drink milk last night. Apparently milk contains opiates and, while the internet tried to convince me that I was addicted to dairy, I’m convinced that it was just a craving.

Wait… what? Addicted to dairy? Yep. Not even kidding. I typed in “dairy cravings” and this website came up that said that I could possibly be addicted to dairy. No joke! It appears that too much milk makes me a dairy junkie. I *might* as well be doing heroin, except that milk doesn’t require a needle. So that’s what sold me on it. That and the fact that I can take my opiates dairy in many forms: ice cream, cheese, sour cream, yogurt. Heroin comes in only one form: misery. So I’m sticking with the dairy. Maybe it’s just me. But seriously, anyone considering heroin should try a glass of milk, instead. No nasty needle marks AND you can make it chocolate milk, if you’re feeling wild.

I’m feeling like anything is possible. Today, at least. If a turtle had more faith in possibility, or just more faith in general, could he run faster? Who said that turtles are doomed to sloth? And if we had named a “sloth” a “zippy”, is it possible that he’d be a little quicker? Right now, I’m totally blowing your mind, aren’t I? Aside from the physiological dictations of each species, my point is that we allow ourselves to be boxed into a label. Someone, somewhere along the line, told us that we were worthless. So we own that and carry it around with us. Just one little thing on our back. Then, another thing: we’re stupid. Onto our back it goes. Add another. And another. And before you know it, that one rock has turned into a shell. And we hide under it. Our “limits” become our protection.

I say screw that! I’m nobody’s turtle. I am whatever I choose to be. I’m bright. I’m funny (admit it… you smiled when you read the whole sloth/zippy thing). I’m pretty. I’m capable. And anyone who says differently is full of crap.

Today is clear. I can see for miles. And I’ll proceed as far as I can. Stay tuned. You never know what’s around the corner for me, or for you.

P.S. A special shout out to Brian Christensen and Guapo who were unrealized angels sent to me. You were pivotal in today’s mood shift. And that goes to show, folks – there is power in kindness. Lift a stranger up today. Be nice. It’ll mean the world to them.

I got nothin’

I haven’t quite figured out the title for this yet.  I don’t even really know where it’s going… just that I need to write.  I need to spend some of my anxious energy on something.

I haven’t been able to shake it.  Whatever “this” is.  I have glimpses of relief.  They come in short spurts and then they go.  It’s just a funk.  I wish I could put my finger on it.  My “safe” group, that list of a few people who I feel really comfortable around seems to be shrinking.  Due to no fault of their own, I’m finding that a few people have fallen off the list.  It isn’t that I don’t love them… I just can’t handle their drama.  Their craziness makes me crazy.  I’ve got enough crazy, right now.  So for now…. I’m withdrawn.

I feel very lonely.  There’s a quote in the movie Titanic where Rose says, “I feel as if I’m in a room screaming and no one even. looks. up.”  I feel just like that.  More than anything I want to be coddled a little.  Not babysat… just… for God’s sake… tell me I’m worth something.  Show me I’m loved.  Tell me I’m important.  It’s not like I’m going to do anything drastic to myself.  I’m not in *that* place.  But I am incredibly lonely.  People all around me and I am the loneliest person in the world.

It’s self-inflicted.  I get that.  It’s all me.  That’s almost worse than it being someone else’s fault.  Because when it’s me, and I can’t change it, I’m just left to sink in the quicksand of my own emotion.

*sigh*  The holidays are the worst for me.  I hate Christmas.  All these people who are like, “Keep Christ in Christmas” are the first ones to bowl you over when you’re in line at the checkout.  Walk into Target, or Home Depot.  Look at all those huge blow-up decorations and overpriced lawn ornaments…. tell me – where’s Christ in that?  And beyond that, I just hate the pressure of gift-giving.  I love giving presents and I love getting them.  But the obligation of having to give someone something just because they exist.  Oh… and then the pressure of having to come up with something I want.  I dread it.  I generally don’t want anything.  I mean… stuff here and there.  But I’m not saving up a list of stupid shit I want to buy around Christmas, just so I have a bunch of boxes with my name on it under the tree.

I could hibernate from the Friday after Thanksgiving all the way to New Year’s Eve and be totally fine.  I like New Years.  Another movie quote, this time from Forrest Gump. “Don’t you love the new year?  It’s like you get to start over.   …Everyone deserves a second chance.”

I go on a mini-vacation from work next week.  6 days without having to work.  Thank God.  It couldn’t come fast enough.  Maybe I’ll feel better after some down time.

…….I hope.

Why it’s the little things that matter

I’d be lying if I said that since the meds everything has been smooth sailing. In case anyone stumbled onto this blog because they’re looking for info on what they’re taking or interested in taking, I’m taking Celexa for anxiety. I take one 20mg pill every day. I also have Xanax, which I use irregularly to help cope when I’m feeling really overwhelmed.

It’s been a month. I officially started my second month today. It hasn’t been easy. So if you’re looking at this and thinking that the pill will make your life better right away, it probably won’t. That’s not to say that I haven’t noticed changes in the last month. I have. And it’s been a good thing, overall. Before the meds, I was regularly having total, very public, meltdowns at work. I’ve managed to control my frustrations since. I still get frustrated. I still have my moments. That’s what the Xanax is for. And yeah… I’ve taken one here and there. It helps.

My BFF said, “It doesn’t make sadness and anger and disappointment and frustration go away. It just makes it easier to deal with.” Yup. That’s exactly right.

I’m acutely aware of the triggers. I’m also very in tune with what my body does to signal me before I get to my breaking point. I have a safe place I can manage these moments in, and that makes all the difference. Just knowing I can say, “I’m feeling bad today” or “I feel crazy” without judgement or babysitting. I’m having very off days. And a lot of them. I am having physical manifestations of anxiety: autonomous deep breathing, jaw clenching… things like that. Things that I very well may have been doing *before* the meds, and now I’m just aware of them. It’s hard. This is hard. Because I feel totally outside of myself. I don’t like that feeling.

People can say the stupidest things. “Just get over it.” “Happiness is a choice.” “It’s all in your head.” And you know what? They don’t make it easier. Don’t think, for one second, I haven’t said, “Just choose to be happy. This is all in your imagination.” Reality steps in, though, and I’m reminded that this is bigger than “choice.”

It’s the little things that get me. Big stuff? I got that. Maybe it’s because we’re hard-wired to manage the big things that hit. But the little things creep in and before you know it, they’ve rooted in and taken over.

It got me thinking about what triggers me. And I have a few things, off the top of my head, that I see are sparking those feelings. But…. I’ve also decided that I’m not going to share most of them here, with the exception of this one thing: Seeing the issues/non-issues in other’s lives get me. When I read about someone who has been triggered to eat dysfunctionally, it makes me question my own habits and then I’m back to them. Conversely, when I read or talk with someone who’s like, “Yeah, life is super wonderful and everything’s great and I’m so happy.” That does it, too. And not because misery loves company. I don’t want everyone to feel like I do. God! What a horrible, sad world this would be! No, it’s not that. Instead, it becomes a comparison game. “Why is she/he/they/everyone so fucking happy and I’m stuck in a hole that is slowly collapsing on me every day?” It isn’t that they are happy. It’s that I’ve taken to comparing myself to everyone in an effort to identify with anything that may feel normal.

On the flip side… you know what’s really saving my ass? The little things. I know, right? Funny how that works.

  • Skinny Peppermint Mocha Latte – that makes me happy.
  • BFF #1 time. Heart.
  • My safe place, which is literally saving me from totally losing my mind.
  • Writing. A little. A lot. Whatever. About anything.
  • Music.
  • A kind word. (Pay it forward…. say something nice to someone today.)
  • Fleece sheets.
  • A hug.

They’re keeping me going. They are giving me hope and strength.

This is about to ramble for a minute. Stick with me, here, folks. If any of you have ever driven in fog, or walked in fog, while it can be beautiful, it can also be quite confusing. You see, when there’s no fog, you know you’re on the right path/road because you can *see* the landmarks that tell you where you are. Without those landmarks identifying your progress, you’re left wondering where you are and how much further you have to go.

I don’t know where I’m at. I feel like I’m walking through a fog. I can’t see any sign of progress, because there are no landmarks to tell me how far along I am. And I don’t know how much further. So I lean, quite heavily, on any light to guide me. Often times, it’s a friendly voice, calling out to me. That voice is leading me. And thank God. Because I seem to have lost the cognizance to lead myself.

It’ll get better. The doc said give it another month. So I’m gonna. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime… if you are feeling the way I am, or have felt… know that you’re not alone. Be patient. Let the meds do their work. And build your support system for when things are tough. You will get better. I promise. In the meantime… just stay the course.

Casting the net

I spend a fair amount of time on the internet. Mostly for work; sometimes for play. I have certain things I look at everyday. That is all for play. I check my horoscopes (yes… I check two… I’m crazy, I know). I check my email. I check Facebook. I check the quote of the day on BrainyQuotes.com, which often provides some sort of inspiration for my day. It’s probably just the kind of person I am, but I tend to find something to lift my heart in many different places. The thought is that, by doing that, I can try rise above whatever is holding me down. The last several days have been just that sort of time. I don’t know what had me by the ankles. But I felt like I was drowning. I’m doing better today.

I often feel like God speaks to me through those types of things, and whispers to my heart whatever message He knows I need to hear. And other times, God speaks His message through me, to someone else that might need it. Either way, I’m just blessed to have that relationship with God, and honored that I can help lift others, when given the opportunity.

So there I was, doing my daily OCD checks-of-the-day, and I found a quote that I liked. Which was nice. But then, I continued reading and I found this:

You philosophers are lucky men. You write on paper and paper is patient. Unfortunate Empress that I am, I write on the susceptible skins of living beings. ~Catherine the Great

So, you read that, and at first it seems all political, right? And you think, “Sure… it’s easy to criticize our leaders, but hard to be the leader being criticized.” But look a little deeper than that. Re-read it. Go ahead… I’ll wait. That quote is really saying this:

All of you with opinions, looking in from the outside, have it easy. It’s easy to judge, cast your opinion out like a net meant to entrap me, change your mind and recast the net again. But you don’t have to live with it. No one holds you accountable to opinion. Me, on the other hand? I make a choice, and that choice is etched into me, somewhere, forever. My choice may be wrong… my choice may be right. But I live with it forever, while you’re busy casting nets.

You don’t have any idea how this spoke to me this morning. Don’t get me wrong – I make judgements all the time. And, sometimes, I feel like I am a horrible person because I think these things. But you know what I try to do? I try not to trap people in the net of my opinion. If you put someone in a box for too long, one of two things will happen. Either A) he will get accustomed to that restriction, and slowly become every thing you tell him he is. Or B) He will live in that place for a little while, and eventually break the confines of that restriction with the ferocity of a wild animal – looking for any sign of freedom.

I’ve seen this over and over. Do you know how many times a parent has trapped their kid in the net of their misplaced expectation? Or how often I hear someone talk about their spouse in terms of absolutes: can’t, won’t, always, never. What about the things we say to our “friends” (notice the quotes around that)? We point the finger and lay blame, and in the end… how are we accountable to that? We say, “It’s just my opinion,” or “I can’t help how I feel.” I call bullshit. There is a distinct difference between putting someone in the box of your opinion and letting them know where you stand. I’ve been in situations with loved ones who have hurt me. But it’s never okay to say, “You’ve done this to me,” versus, “I’m hurt that this is where we are now.” It’s so much better to say, “I’m disappointed,” than it is to say, “You’re wrong.”

And that goes double for the situations that you aren’t a part of. Yeah, I get it: I have people I love that I am furiously protective of. And it angers me, in ways you can’t imagine, when they are hurting at the hands of someone else. But my job isn’t to cast blame and perpetuate rumors and magnify a problem. My job is simple: love. Love that person who is hurting. Nurse their heart until it is stronger again and help them through it. I can’t account for the other person’s choices. I can only account for myself. And *my* choices.

So… what are you putting into your relationships? How many people have you trapped in the net of your opinion? And what does that say about you? Do you, somehow, feel more righteous for it? Does that opinion absolve you from the mistakes you, yourself, have made?

Or – are you the one trapped in that net? Release yourself. Forgive them for their ignorance; they obviously don’t understand the ramifications of their actions. But you can only account for you. And their opinions mean nothing. At the end of the day – words are only words. It’s your actions that define your character. And you will make mistakes; you *will* fail. But that’s okay. Failure is the human condition. Once you release yourself from the net of someone else’s expectation, there is a freedom in your soul that cannot be put into words. Make your choices. Let them be carved into your heart; let them be tattooed on your flesh; let them be etched into your soul. But own who *you* are, first. Let the rest of the world take care of themselves.

You have a purpose on earth. And believe me, God’s purpose for you was *not* to live in the net of expectation.

And you can quote me on that.