On Healing

Window view of dead end road to Port - geograp...

Window view of dead end road to Port – geograph.org.uk – 1156081 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is the first day I have felt stronger; strong enough to help myself heal from a very rough few weeks. I felt the urge to get out of my house. I went to a store and talked with the owner, a woman my age, and I bought myself a necklace that has a wishbone on it and a small mustard colored pocketbook. There was no occasion other than I wanted to make myself feel good and they were both on sale. It was so good to be out of the house, talking to someone new; even though the clouds and rain have been non-stop for two weeks, I felt my heart start to brighten, just a tiny bit. I had done something different.

I posted a sign in my neighborhood to ask others if they wanted to help me help others, to brain storm, ( ideas welcome here too) to perform acts of kindness; something I have always wanted to do but never really knew how to get started. I don’t know if I will get a response but I like the fact that I initiated it. I’m not usually an initiator but it’s about time I became one.

My husband and I drove and rejoined Costco, it doesn’t take much to please me. I actually used the electric cart so I didn’t have to walk the long aisles where I know I get tired and cranky (thank you, chronic pain) and I was proud of myself for the idea and figuring it out on my own. I was proud not to be afraid, proud not to be ashamed. Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, take a hike, me-1, them-0.

Since my son was not home on Mother’s Day, we celebrated Mother’s Day tonight and went out to dinner. The four of us had “Fother’s Day” (Faux Mother’s Day” ) in a restaurant that I chose. It was lovely and there was no fighting and GASP no cell phone use. My daughter complimented me on my hair and I was thrilled. We weren’t going to order dessert but lo and behold, on this day, every week, (yes, it’s going in my calendar) you get free dessert if you order an entrée. How could we possibly say no? One chocolate cake, one banana bread pudding (with almond ice cream) and one apple crisp (with almond ice cream) later we were completely full, unable to move but incredibly happy.

Bandages on wounds, kisses on boo-boos, soft, warm blankets for being cold. I sensed I needed a sign, a cosmic sign and I contacted a friend, a famous medium, Roland Comtois, who was kind enough to answer me but there were no signs from him. Later in the evening I got my sign on my own telling me I was on the right path: getting out more, being with people, feeling stronger and doing for others; my dad checked in with me from heaven. His initials, as always, blue on orange license plates, on a car parked in front of me, FBF. I should have been more patient for my own signs. I should have trusted myself. Thank you, Roland for listening, you are a gentle, sweet soul; a gift to both worlds.

I’m on my way back, stronger. There will be days when I feel unsteady. I’ve been through an incredibly rough year. It was bound to come out at some time. We had no home for over three and a half months. I had a despicable doctor who was cruel. I felt ganged up on by my mother and sister and that is a horrible place to be. I am stronger now, I will not accept being ganged up on anymore, ever. I have my own boundaries. I am on my way; I will allow myself a bad day or two now and then. That’s okay.

Advertisements

*S.N.O.W. The New DSM Disorder

February 26, 2010 snowstorm Dutchess County 24

Image via Wikipedia

S.N.O.W stands for Sadness, Nothing, Overwhelming, Winter disorder and people in the Northeast are suffering from it in masses this winter. Because of an extended period of snowstorms, approximately every two days, sometimes more often, more and more people have been diagnosed with the above disorder. It appears that this new syndrome called S.N.O.W. now appears in the new DSM (Diagnostic Symptoms Manuals used in mental health.) The disorder has the following symptoms: claustrophobia, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. To illustrate the symptoms the following scenarios should make it more understandable:

1) Claustrophobia: many people who are unable to go outside and are not able to be independent, to drive on their own through wintry conditions, feeling closed in, unable to breathe, unable to go anywhere.  Every time there is snow, freezing rain or ice the feeling of claustrophobia intensifies.  People suffering from claustrophobia generally also suffer from the following:

2) Anxiety: The feeling of being anxious, disturbed, uneasy. Your heart beat may seem faster, stronger, you may have chest pains and the feeling of being nervous all the time. This is natural for this condition.

3). OCD:  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: patients generally run to the window or door, or they stand next to the aforementioned window or door flattening their faces against the glass for many minutes on end. They go back and forth to see if the snow has stopped, the ice pellets have turned to rain and how the snowflakes fall and in what particular pattern. Patients also try to gauge how much snow, rain, ice, etc.   Patients say that they sit riveted to the Weather Channel or local forecasts or both.

4) Depression: the feeling of sadness that does not go away, feeling “blue,”sad, lonely, isolated, unable to feel joy. The feeling that you will never be happy again, that you are unable to enjoy anything in life including but not limited to: loved ones, music, television and anything else you formerly enjoyed doing. You may not want to get out of bed (and really, why should you?) because you feel there is no way out. You may be correct in this assumption.

Once the diagnosis has been made, the following recommendations generally fall in the following perimeters: 1) prescriptions include: a week, 2 weeks 4 weeks or three months (depending on the severity of your patients’ symptoms and bank account) to a warm climate for as long as you can. Some destinations, for example, are: in Arizona, New Mexico, Florida or Los Angeles.  A sun “lamp” to give yourself the (fake) feeling of getting outdoor light can also be used though there are no firm statistics that support this.  Tanning beds are also thought to be an option, but one which comes with a medical advisory of a possible link to skin cancer, more specifically, melanoma.

Of course your mental health professional may write you a prescription for anti-depressants but really, by the time they actually start to work (6-8 weeks) Spring will be hopping on its feathery feet to come and stay for a little while. For the short-term, think of yellow daffodils sprouting and listen to the song “Breathe” sung by Anna Nalick, continously. Symptoms of S.N.O.W. should dissipate within two to three months. It is possible that in the winter of 2012 the symptoms may resurface.

*a parody

The Somewhere Tree

Wind Damaged Tree On E. Knapp Street

Image by Shamanic Shift via Flickr

I don’t exist, at least in the same way I have existed before. You won’t recognize me; I’m hiding out. I am a thick, sturdy, massive tree and maybe I am folding someone deep inside me or around me, or in my sturdy limbs high up into the rich, blue sky. I won’t tell you. I have disappeared because this is where I want to be. I don’t know if I will come out of hiding sometime or will stay behind these thick brown roped off curtains I made myself that contain me; comfort me. If I am hidden no one will steal my heart or break it into shards of mirror glass and take advantage of me.

Maybe my silhouette or the swing of my wiry tree hair show as the wind passes by my burlap sap and brown cloak. I intend to blend in with others, or maybe hide behind them for as long as I choose; for as long as I need. I felt a lot of things that I don’t feel anymore.

It’s as if I am out of my body looking in, trying to remember who I was and why I was that way. My heart was way too open, and too big for my body. My emotions were on overdrive, my thoughts obsessed with sympathy and kindness. I sat up once, curled into myself, sobbing. This was not my fault, these were conflicts I should not have been allowed to witness. This was NOT something I did; I am innocent. Something, somebody should have been there to protect me, to draw me back out of the wind, to rescue me but no one did. This attack felt like a tsunami or a tornado.

My eyes peek out behind the outline of my shadow. They dart back and forth, to the left, to the right and then they close.  It is all black and rosy and peaceful when my eyes are closed. I choose not to see anybody. I am now a tree that has stood proud and tall with missing branches from the high winds; limbs cut off, dangling in the middle between life and death. Too many people in this world judge others, that’s not how life is supposed to be. Sit with me on the grass and listen.

Life is hard, we all know that. At my age I have experienced hardship as well. There is no age limitation on pain, physical and emotional chronic pain. Back off, please don’t try to touch me; I can almost feel you near me and I don’t want to. I will shrink and cringe if you approach me. I will go inside out.

I have helped you from my heart but that same heart is no longer here. It cracked into bits and never put away. It was not like a picture puzzle; the pieces don’t fit in the right place anymore, and they won’t. Once you have lost your heart, or it has cracked, your heart will never beat in the same way again. You will skip a beat or you will have an extra irregular beat but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t take away the love that was in your heart; I am protecting my heart.  You can also feel that you are being hit, again and again, until you gasp with pain and have trouble taking a breath. I am a tree in a blizzard, fighting to stand strong, my limbs are moving, my bark is now unattached, flying into the air, everywhere but home to me.  You can still see the tree but it is not the same. I tried to show you who I was but you left, not noticing that the tree you once loved was now completely different. You walked away.