For Just A Night

 

Never before have I gotten so emotionally involved in the world’s problems as I have been these past few months. Sometimes, I read The New York Times, other times I watch the news on television. Now, I panic.

I used to live with my head buried in the sand, not knowing what was going on in the world and that was a delightfully safe place; an artificial place but a comfortable one. On the other hand I have worked myself into such a frenzy now that all I imagine and see are horrible images and bombs and in my mind I’m questioning “but what if….?” That is not healthy for me either.

Thank heavens for The Food Network Channel, my go to place when I need to unwind or if I have watched too much news and can’t settle down. The cheery shows on The

English: Logo for Food Network

English: Logo for Food Network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cooking channel as well bring me entertainment, not that I have learned to cook from either one of them. The only show I refuse to watch is Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown and its element of nastiness and unmasked sarcasm. (See my blog “Cutthroat Kitchen” for that review.)

Today, I am starting off with a smile. I know what is happening in the world, I know there is sadness everywhere but I am trying to focus on my tiny corner of space. My daughter is home, safe from Spain, where she had a wonderful time. My husband is as happy as he can be without being employed but he is healthy and so am I. Tonight, our son is coming home so our family will be together for a few nights.

I really can’t ask for more than that. I appreciate it and I am grateful for it. It happens less and less these days as they are both in their early twenties. It was hard to get used to but even I, mother hen, have grown accustomed to the separation, they know I cry whenever somebody leaves. I have always cried when somebody leaves me. It’s who I am.

Tonight, at dinner, I will watch my family and try to soak up every detail, every single exchange in our own tiny part of the world, for every second it lasts.

For that, I am deeply grateful. I can’t ask for more.


 

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Something Was Wrong, It Was Me

High Anxiety

High Anxiety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It arrived every evening like a suspicious stranger, its presence like black fog slipping under the door. It was deceiving at first, mist, started slowly and then it changed in a split second and attacked me. I felt like I was being stabbed with an ice pick, repeatedly, the chill of cold anxiety running up and down my spine. The goal apparently was to shock me and knock me totally off-balance. It won, I didn’t stand a chance.  I don’t know why it came. I certainly didn’t invite it nor could I prevent it and its malicious presence only showed itself to me after dark.

I don’t know why it happened and I never completely understood it but the displeasure was here, every single night. I tried every trick I knew: deep breathing and meditation, but I did not stand a chance, it felt like I had been swept up by a tornado. Actually, I  lived in the eye of that tornado, I felt helpless, yes, out of control, out of control, out of control…

In past years during this same time period I felt sad, weepy. In the past eleven years I have known grief and a feeling of longing but not anxiety. Major life events happened, I felt loss , my dad was deceased but fear? This year without the regular Thanksgiving plans, control escaped me and anxiety with its octopus legs strapped me in and squeezed me so tight I could not breathe properly. Maybe Thanksgiving, without check lists and red lines crossed off made me feel undone. Would it be five people or nine? Last minute? I used to be so flexible, what happened to me? I missed feeling in charge, in control. I was alone in the world, it put me off-center, dizzy with fright.

I had trouble sleeping and eating and with my chronic pain disorder, Fibromyalgia, I questioned if this could have been a flare-up? Very possibly but I don’t know. The physical pain is the same but the IBS and the anxiety are on over drive.  Anxiety rolls in my stomach like one of those slippery aqua blue water park slides that I hate, wet,  flying down way too fast. I went on one of those once when my children were little and pleaded me to go on one of the rides with them. Trying to be a good mother and show them that fear should not stand in one’s way I relented, seeing their shiny little faces. Big mistake. I laid on my back and flew down the twisting spiral of hell screaming all the way down only to see them at the bottom, laughing. “Why did you lie on your back, Mom, didn’t you know that is the fastest way to go down?” OF COURSE NOT!!!

I felt like I have been on that water slide for at least two weeks except in my head and my body. I’m in my own zone of panic. Nothing worked, nothing helped, my last resort was to try to listen to music which has helped in the past. No luck. Maybe I’m just so excited that tomorrow I will be seeing my children, home for the holiday? Maybe I am feeling out of control not knowing if we will be five or nine people? Or maybe the last four, stressful weeks have finally caught up to me: my husband got laid off, I had to have painful uterine biopsies and on the way to my doctor’s appointment I had a flat tire. I found out my friend and her husband both needed surgery, I took on my friend’s problems too.

Maybe I’m anxious now because I couldn’t allow myself to be anxious before. The food lists are really not important, there will be plenty of food, no matter who comes. My friends will be fine. My husband will eventually find a job and we are not living out on the streets. My tests results came out perfectly. AAA apologized for dropping my call, twice and they paid for the private road side assistance. I’m taking a deep breath, it feels good. All of a sudden, I feel like listening to music and I’m getting a little tired. That’s got to be a good sign. I hope.

Rx: Anxiety

Anxious

Image by Brian Auer via Flickr

Arthritic, gnarled witch fingers

crawl into my bloated stomach

weaving in and out, with fire lit thunder bolts

pounding their way through my blood engorged arteries.

I want to scream for it to stop and I do

but no words come out.

I hear the words perfectly pegged with accuracy but no one else can,

as they lean into me, their black eyes engorged, their breath hot on my face.

I am living in the deep, dark labyrinth where there is

no beginning and no end just twisted corners turned around.

The veins on my hands pop up aqua blue

against milky white skin that is painfully translucent.

Breathing in labored breaths,

I swing my torso around and tuck it into my body cave, fatty, yellow globules mixed together.

Tonight, there are no answers, just questions and mind numbing

sadness with extraordinary swells of sweating fear.

Help Me, Help Me Breathe – Meditation

meditation

I need help and advice. I get caught up sometimes in the thousands of minute details and decisions that need to be made in a day. I realized this morning, before I was actually awake, that I hadn’t printed permission slips for both my children, didn’t unload the dishwasher from yesterday, read the mail, finish the laundry, go shopping and…… I did realize that after looking for socks in two different stores I wound up buying one of each in both stores; I now have socks that will probably last until 2019. This is not working for me. I need to focus.

It could be that my life is too busy this time of year, I am not great at organizing and I forget half the things I should remember. I could blame it on my Fibromyalgia and Fibro-Fog but I am sure I could help myself in some way. I need my writing pad to remind myself of all the things I need to do and my red pen to cross them off, one by one, but I get too preoccupied to find my notepad and don’t want to waste the time to find it.

Does that make sense to you?

I’ve told myself for years that I should meditate,” should” being the operative word. I haven’t done it yet;  I say I don’t have the time but that’s plain ridiculous. I should be able to be seated in a quiet place for twenty minutes every morning and every night and breathe deeply, to center my soul. Why is it that I can’t  or won’t do that?  Sometimes I am in such a great rush that I forget to breathe.

For now, I need to  remind myself to stay in the present, to not worry about things I have no control over, to take it slowly and not flip out about terrorist attacks and subway and train plots, earthquakes, terrorism, tsunami’s, cancer and all other life-threatening diseases. I need to stay in the moment and move those bad, anxiety provoking and terrifying thoughts away, like swatting at mosquitoes. Swatting away a bug comes naturally, changing my thoughts does not. I want to form a new habit,  focusing on the good, on the present and nothing else.  Oprah said that “weight loss was her nemesis” and I am not repeating it to be mean at all. Going into panic mode is my nemesis, my downfall, this is the one thing I have trouble changing.

Which brings me back to meditating, I think it might help. Here’s my question: can I just do it? Do I need to be taught? There are meditation courses but is that worth it? Does anyone out there meditate and find it useful? Please let me know, I would love to hear your thoughts and advice. Namaste.

When Stress Takes My Hand And Leads Me To The Refrigerator

 

day 75

Image by kygp via Flickr

 

I could say that eating unabashedly after dinner is not my fault. I could say that my hormones take over and I just go blindly to the kitchen without thought or reason. That’s partially true. It’s 10:00pm, “do you know where your children are?” asks  Channel 5 (or what I refer to as the “murder channel.”) Yes, I know where my children are but do they know where I am? Probably. They hear my not-so-lightly-padded- feet in the kitchen, the sound of the refrigerator opening and closing, cabinets flung open and the sound of crackling from aluminum packages. When there is something stressful going on in my life I get extraordinarly hungry. No, not at meal times. Not for breakfast or lunch or dinner. I’m doing a days worth of snacking after dinner and while I know its wrong, I still do it. What leads me to the refrigerator at night, is pure and simple, stress. When I am anxious, I eat. I eat, therefore I am. Food comforts me and even thought it’s not a popular thing to say or an easy one to admit, it’s true.

While I grab and choose food there’s usually something that prompts me: a commercial on television, a friend’s description of her lunch or I just need sweet than salty, sweet than salty and  yes, sweet AND salty. Sigh. It’s a vicious circle and I can’t blame anyone except myself or my evil twin as I like to call her. An example of my choices: pretzels dipped in Boursin cheese, Yoo-Hoo, my beverage of choice, vanilla cake, Oreo cookies, Munster cheese spread with strawberry jam, left over pizza with salt, Yodels, rice with ketchup, chips with salsa and guacamole, 100 calorie packs (because they don’t count!), chocolate covered cherries and baked Lays potato chips (because I am watching my weight) GRIN.

Full disclosure: I have been known (infrequently) to have a sample of all of the above when I am not stressed (or don’t know I am stressed) and just hungry. I know it’s bad when I don’t think about what I want to eat, I just grab and stuff. If you ask me if I feel guilty about it, I would have to say, in all honesty, no. While I am eating I don’t think about it, the day after is another story. I am able to forgive myself quickly and at least try to eat healthy food the next  day. Luckily, this bingeing doesn’t last more than a few hours at a time. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t do drugs, my vice, when stressed or just hungry is simple: food. I am a foodie and my idea of a lovely evening is going out with my husband or friends to a delicious meal. It’s gluttony, it’s enjoyment and it’s food. I take full responsibility for my actions, stressful or starving, I’m ready to order.

The Fabulous Fibro Spa and Resort

HibernationNow and Phylor’s Blog present: How a spa would be designed and managed by fibrologists:

Dear Guest:

Welcome to the Fabulous Fibromyalgia Spa and Resort! Whether you are staying in the main building or one of our cottages (the Pain Villa, the Fibro Fireplace, the Befuddled Bedroom, or the Nerve Damage Madness), you will find that we are equipped to handle any situation that may arise. While we don’t leave a chocolate on your pillow, you will find 2 Advils or Aleves and specially designed heating pads specifically for those tender 17 points. We know there are days when you don’t move around all that much, so rather than steps or long walkways, you will find escalators similar to those used a airports. Please hold on to the sides as we know that some of you may have balance issues.

You can check in at whatever pace feels comfortable to you. As memory problems can be an issue, you will be given several key cards (room number stickers available upon request) in case you should misplace one or lock yourself out of your rooms. At 4pm and again at 9 pm, our special welcome cocktail, the Fibro Fizz will be delivered to your room.

Each suite or cottage contains a memory foam king-sized bed, a large bathroom with tub and Jacuzzi. We have an array of unscented toiletry items available upon request at check in or with reservation. Beside your bed, you will find a white noise machine with peaceful sounds such as waves lapping the shore, rain-gentling falling, and other soothing sounds from nature. At your writing desk, you will find a supply of post-it notes in different colo(u)rs and patterns, pens, and stationary for making notes. There is high-speed wifi, HD cable, and a list of more than 200 movies on demand at no extra cost. You can search the movie database by genre, stars, director, screen writer. We are always open to suggestions for additions to our list that can be made available within 24 hours. Providing these in-room movies has been a big hit with our guests. If you don’t feel up to going to one of our many social areas, you can relax in the comfort of your own space and refresh your memory by re-watching classics, give your mind, rather than your body,  a workout with the action pictures (yes, some folks do move that fast), and since laughter is great medicine, our list of comedies is extensive.

For an additional $50 a night you can upgrade to one of our luxuriously padded rooms, conveniently located next to one of the dining areas. With walk-in bathtub, Epsom salts on demand, and doubly padded walls and floors, these rooms appeal to the fall and/or trip crowd.

Every hour is medication cocktail hour at the indoor and outdoor pools. Our staff will gladly prepare whatever combination of medicines, vitamins, and supplements suits your personal needs. Some of our more popular concoctions are the Savella Sling with just a hint of Tramadol,  the Lyrica Laser prepared with or without Xanax, the Gabapenten Gobbler, best served with a dash of morphine and the Oxycontin Overboard that contains over 7 medications, and 10 supplements.

Our dining facilities that include a formal dining room, casual café, and coffee bar are open 24/7 for your convenience. Our chefs have created a luscious array of soft foods for people with TMJ. You can choose from menu items, or request the kitchen make something special for you. Room service is also available 24/7. There is no need to get out of bed, the restaurant has a key and tipping will be added at the end

Our spa has all the latest in massage and relaxing techniques including hot stone therapy, therapeutic massage, breathing and relaxing exercises. We are always happy to deal with your bunions, your broken toes, your mangled feet. Included in your package are several free extras we call our Fibro Fix-up: a manicure and pedicure, hair cut, tricks to hide those dark circles from sleepless nights, and the opportunity to consult with one of our Fibro Fashionistas for the latest in lounging and sleeping wear. Our full Fibromassage offers gentle touching of those inflamed areas all over your body. We especially cater to the 17 point system of pain centers. Our staff has won over 25 first place ribbons at the Annual Feeling Fibro Massage and Comfort Olympics.

A recently added feature is our Fibro Fitness team. These well-trained and dedicated Fibro-Fit individuals wheel the exercise equipment to your room, carefully encase you into the fat-melting machine of your choice, and the machine does the rest. For those of you who don’t need to shed a pound or two, we have a special cheesecake and ice cream diet to ensure you get those needed extra calories. You can have these special meals delivered to the privacy of your own room, or you can join others on the thin side of healthy Fibro-Fattening Bistro.

One of our more popular features is the Xanax Room. Open 24/7, you can order the strength of Xanax you need to let those feelings of panic and anxiety just slip away. And the price is right: free Xanax! Adjacent to the Xanax Room, the Ambien Pre-bedRoom prepares you for a cozy, sleep-ful night. There are teas, comforting lavender and other scented oils and candles, and helpful staff members who will accompany you back to your room, and tuck you in for that nice, long sleep you have been looking forward to.

We have a fleet of electric scooters should you feel like a leisurely ride along one of our specially designed walkways that sweep themselves clean, so there is nothing along the route to jar your bones. We pride ourselves on our gardens, including the Zen garden should you feel the need to meditate outdoors, and a complete herbal garden for creating our special teas such as:

Morning Eye Opener, Afternoon Nap, Evening Relaxation, and Bedtime Comforter.

We have hotel hosts and hostesses posted every two feet so that when you lose your way because of Fibro fog and get lost, someone is always there to turn you around and point you in the right direction.

This is only a small sample of the information will find among the pages of your welcome kit. Please feel free to ask questions as many times as you need to while acquainting yourself with our facilities. Our aim is to give you as much pain-free, fibro fog-free time with us as possible. You are free to participate in any of our organized activities such as Bend and Stretch or Sitting in a Chair yoga classes, make use of our arts and craft room, or, simply lay back in the gentle hug of your bed, and let us do all the work for you.

Thank you for visiting the Fabulous Fibro Spa, we hope to see you again soon.

hibernationnow.wordpress.com and phylorsblog.wordpress.com

for Chronic Babes Blog Carnival