Friday, June 8, 2018

You're Not Alone

This week we were rocked by two celebrity suicides. Kate Spade and today Anthony Bourdain. Now I'm not a big celebrity chaser and I'm not here to jump on the band wagon. But they news on Anthony's death hit me. I'm a foodie and I've watched his shows. I appreciated his view and I enjoyed watching him travel and try foods most of us Americans had never heard of. His death really got me to thinking about the mental health crisis we have going on in this country and the stigma it brings.

I have so many friends who suffer from anxiety and depression. Sometimes both. I see them try to cover it, hide it, pretend it doesn't exist. Some wear the masks of normalcy better than others. I can't write this blog and say I know what it's like. I don't. I can, however, sit here and write this blog and know what it's like to be in pain, daily. As you well know dear reader, I live with fibromyalgia and CREST Syndrome. Some days the pain is manageable. Other days the pain makes you wish you weren't alive. And this is where I can understand my friends with mental illness.

I can think back to the dark days as I call them, to a time before I had a diagnosis. When no one had an answer and all I had was pain. It felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Doctor visit after doctor visit, begging for help but no answers. It took me a year and a half to get to a doctor who could give me a diagnosis and therefore a way to treat my symptoms. That seemed like forever. I can not imagine what it must be like to cry for help, but either not get it, or get a stigma attached to it.

Earlier this week I was talking to a friend about their anxiety. And they asked why I wasn't judging them for it. I asked, do you judge me when I have a high pain day? Do you see me as less because of my fibromyalgia? The answer was no. My next question is, why should it be any different for you? They were stunned. But you see dear reader, this is how I see mental illness, an illness of the mind. It deserves no less attention or compassion than an illness of the body. This is how I see it. This is the message I will continue to spread until I see my friends treated by society the same as any other illness.

Dear reader, if you are reading this and the pain is more than you can bear, please please hang on just a little longer. I know calling it quits may seem like a solution that will end your pain. And it probably will. But I have to be selfish here and ask you not to go. What you can't see beyond in your pain is how much you mean to your friends and family. How much you are loved. And what a giant void you will leave. You can't possibly see what a wonderful human being you are. But trust me dear reader. We see you. We love you. Please give us a chance to show you before you make a decision you can't take back. Even if you feel you have no one else to turn to, please pick up the phone and call  1-800-273-8255. That is the national suicide prevention hotline.

Please dear reader, no more Anthony's or Kate's, or Chester's, or Chris Cornell's. Please no more death from people we will never ever know because they weren't famous enough to make the headlines.

Until Next Time

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A Time To Let Go

I sit in my house, alone, knowing what tomorrow is. I'm writing a blog that has been a year in the making. This blog is more for me to close a chapter than for you dear reader. Please bear with me.

On May 6, 2017 a dear friend had a party to celebrate a big accomplishment. I had spent the night so I could help clean up when the party was done. Aaron had been invited tospend the night as well but made the excuse the dogs would need to be taken care of. As I had pointed out we could probably get a neighbor to let them out for us a couple of times I found this strange but went with it. As I drove home late on the morning of May the 7th I couldn't get a hold of Aaron. Also strange.

I got home to find no one home. Not a living creature. Not Tegan, not Tanwen, not Seren, not Munro. No Mr. Holstein, or Gus, or Anna, or Nina. Items Aaron held in high value were gone. I knew as I took in the scene in what had happened. He had left me and in an act of cruelty he took all my babies with him. I've had people be shocked as I have told them this at how cruel it was. I wasn't. The man I was married to for 18 years is extremely cruel and will strike the lowest blow if he feels you have wronged him. I would later find out he had opened a new bank account the day after he had told me he didn't want to lose me. Lie after lie began to come to light.

A few months before he left he physically attacked me. I was too scared to call the police. I ended up calling a friend. We started marriage counseling. I thought maybe things would get better. I know now it was just lip service.

It's amazing what solitude and reflection will help clarify. I can now look back at my "marriage" and see it was all about him. What else should I expect from a narcissist. I can see the manipulation. The gas lighting. I can see why he never maintained friendships. To hard to keep the facade up over a long period of time.

I'm not going to use this to rehash everything that has happened this past year. Just know that he continued to try to manipulate me even after he left. This past year has been one of the best of my life while at the same time being the most hellish. I get reminded every day on Facebook the babies I have lost. I was told in July Seren died. Interesting how that text came after we filed for temporary orders. I still believe she is alive and it was an attempt for me to contact him (I went no contact a couple of weeks after he left when it became clear we were not going to be able to work this out like adults).

Our divorce was final on April 13th. The house will sell on May 14th. This chapter of my life is about to close. I only have to deal with him one more time, next weekend when we divide the community property. I do not look forward to being in the same room as him. I have begun to rebuild my life. I graduate from an intense IT training program on May 25th. I look forward to going to a job every day and solving problems once again. Only this time, I will be working for me.

A year has gone by. I look at who I was a year ago and I look at who I am now. What a year of change. I am using this blog to publicly close this chapter, to let go. I hope a year from now when May 7th rolls around I smile and think wow girl, Look at you go!

Until Next Time

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Beware the Ides of March

For the past 7 years, I have felt like Julius Caesar and I have something in common. Its the day we were both betrayed. Caesar by fellow Romans. Me by my own body. If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know I suffer from Fibromyalgia and an autoimmune known as CREST Syndrome. In the days leading up to this anniversary, I have thought about the past 7 years a lot. Especially in the context of the past year.

I've been doing better. Over the past 15 months I've lost 51 pounds. This has allowed me to move more with less pain. I'm glad I had already started to lose weight when my husband decided to walk out on me. I could not have handled working the jobs I have worked with the pain I had been in. I worked weekends last fall at a Rein Faire. They were long hard days, but I was blessed by working for my friend and fellow Spoonie Ruby. We watched out for each other and made sure not to use up to many spoons each day at take lots of rest breaks. I spent three months working for Target stocking shelves. There were so many days I came home from Target rung out. In January I started to work for my towns Parks and Rec department, where I am also on my feet most of the time. All the while I continued to look for an office job.

I stated to a close friend in January I knew my technical skills were a little out dated, which I felt was keeping me from finding full time work in an office setting. I just didn't know how to go about getting them updated without paying to go back to school. In my current financial situation, that was just not an option. A few weeks after making that statement the opportunity I had been looking for presented itself. A 12 week training program in Application Support Management with job placement help for every successful graduate. Just what I needed!! I went through the multi-interview multi test process and ended up being one of 22 selected (over 90 applied).

Upon finding out I was accepted I felt two things at once. Overjoyed to finally get a professional break and terrified. The training program would be in downtown Dallas Monday - Friday 9-5. So not only would I need my employers to work with my new schedule (Target declined to) but I would need to the spoons to take on this additional task. There were so many days after working at Target and the Rec Center I barely had the spoons to feed myself. How the heck was I going to pull this off for 12 weeks?

My parents have been incredibly supportive through the divorce. In talking to my mom about my new undertaking she expressed concern for me and my health about doing the training program and working my jobs. Thanks to Target not working with me (after telling me we'd talk about it for a week and a half) I only had one job to worry about. Of course this spawned another concern, paying the bills, as I had barely been getting by. Once again my parents are being amazing and are helping me bridge the gap.

So dear reader why am I telling you this? As you know I do tend to make points. Mine is this. For years after getting sick I never thought I'd ever get close to leading a normal life. That I'd never work physical jobs again. Or work full time. I have been in my training program for almost two weeks now. I'm doing it and I'm not just getting by. I'm doing well and keeping up with the homework. I'm doing things again I never thought I would do.

So on this historic day of betrayal I want to send out a message of encouragement. I don't know what is going on in your life, but have hope it will get better. It might not be soon. I had to wait 6 years for mine. Don't give up. You never know what amazing thing might be around the corner. And if your a fellow spoonie - I'd love to connect with you.

Until Next Time