Haiku Horizons, Home

Nestled in my lap

sleep, red-furry dog, snore, sigh

Home, together, safe.

 

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Coming home, head down

ashamed, broken, unsure, sick

Family is love.

 

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Homecoming queen sits

silver sparkles, crown, glory

starved, tortured inside.

 

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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.

Plinky Prompt: When was the first time you felt like a grown up?

Yes, they do cry during sessions!

Yes, they do cry during sessions! (Photo credit: photosavvy)

  • When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)? See all answers
  • All grown up?
  • We had just had our first baby and after two and a half years of infertility treatments this little boy was our miracle. He was born at the end of October and we were so careful not to expose him to germs. We did not allow anyone near him if they were sick or if they thought they were going to be sick.
    Nevertheless, at six weeks old, he seemed to have trouble breathing and was congested. We immediately called our pediatrician. I tried to feed him a bottle but he couldn’t drink. The doctor said bring him in right away.
    As my husband started the car and I cradled the baby in my arms underneath a pile of soft blue blankets. I realized for the first time, that I was responsible for this little boy’s life. No one was taking care of me, it was my job now to take care of him. At that moment, even though I felt a moment of  incredible fear run up and down my body, I became a grown up.

Plinky: What are your obsessions and why?

  • Hurricane Sandy 2012

    Hurricane Sandy 2012 (Photo credit: charliekwalker)

    We all have obsessions. What do you obsess about? Why? See all answers

  • My obsessions
  • Accidents. Terminal Illness. Plane Crashes. School shootings. Any type of shootings, 9/11 Again. Health and Safety Issues. Sickness. Explosions, Fires, Bombs. Natural Disasters, Nuclear Weapons…do you get the picture?Horrible things have happened before and seem to be happening at a rapid pace. I feel scared; I don’t let it stop me from doing things but sometimes inside me, I am a crouched, quivering child.Why?
    Because these are all random things; they are out of my control and most importantly, no one can tell me they are never going to happen again.If only…..The world has become a very, scary place.

Learning To Love Lexi

Lexi – photo by author

After our family dog, Callie, died from cancer of the spleen from one moment to the next, I was heartbroken. We all were. This happened shortly after her           tenth birthday party, a tradition in our home, mocked by the boys but revered by the girls. This year, being her BIG birthday, even the boys made an appearance and I was so happy. I even bought the number 10 candles and put them in her special mushy dog food that we gave her once a year as a treat. Little did we know it would be her last birthday and that she would die shortly thereafter. My son took me aside after she died and said quietly “Really glad you had that birthday party, Mom, it was a good party.” Of course, I burst into tears but was grateful.

Of the four of us and our neighbors, I was the most emotional; I’m always the most emotional. I couldn’t walk around our small, cozy house without crying. It was too quiet in the house, no one followed me or greeted me at the door, no one loved me like Callie did and I missed her desperately. I grieved intensely  for a while and then decided I was the type of person who needed a dog. Against the lectures of my family, I started visiting animal shelters on my own, with my husband and with my friend, Sarah.

After months of visiting, holding, petting, I hadn’t found the right dog for us. I had been told to adopt an older animal (and next time I really will) but at this point I didn’t want to miss a minute of a puppy’s young life. I looked at older dogs but not seriously. I was happy just being near dogs and puppies until one day, my thirtieth trip to an animal shelter but the second trip to the North Shore Animal League, my friend Sarah and I walked in and my eyes met the sleepy eyes of a rust colored puppy, curled up in a circle, sleeping. I had just met MY dog. We fell in love. I asked to see her, this “German Shepard Mix” and soon I was led to an inside room and she was in my lap, all kisses and hugs and sleepy sweetness. When another woman asked me if I was taking that dog, I immediately said “Yes, this was MY dog” and so she became mine. My friend Sarah and I filled out the papers, (I tell the dog that she has two mommies) and I called my husband and said “Honey, it’s a girl!”

I named her Lexi (were both names from my favorite show Grey’s Anatomy?) and I sat in the back seat, Lexi sleeping in my lap, while Sarah drove us home ever so carefully to avoid the huge pot holes in the road. I did not substitute Lexi for Callie, it was a different love, a new love, a love I had to grow into and an important lesson to learn. There are no two loves alike in this world. You can love equally but not exactly alike. This applies to every type of love there is, it’s a huge life lesson.

I admit, I had forgotten what having a puppy was like, after all, I was ten years older now and that makes a big difference. I think my puppy years are behind me and while I know I will always be a “dog person” I can see adopting an older dog in the future. But, what was most different were their personalities, Callie was a lap dog, a fearful dog, terrified of being in cars, scared of people, perhaps abused before she came to us. She liked nothing better than to stay at home in her comfort zone, yet she was perfectly attuned to my feelings. Lexi, wild thing, crazy dog, likes nothing better than to hop in the back seat and go for a ride, has the strength of a bull, loves to play, jump and go places and hasn’t shown a lot of tenderness (yet.) She’s fun and playful and but when I fell on the ground once, she didn’t leave me, I even saw concern in her eyes and gratitude in mine. Once she’s through her puppy phase I’m hoping she will settle down and be a really great dog. Actually, I’m counting on it.

I Panicked, Then I Got Over Myself (Because We Have No Choice)

The Donna Reed Show

The Donna Reed Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At dinner, my nineteen year old son told me that he and his friends were going to see a movie later that night. I felt a chill course through my body. “Batman?” I asked in a somber tone. “Yeah” he said, just looking at my face, “Mom. don’t worry.” But, of course, I worried a bit and it is making me furious that once again there is another thing to feel fearful about when so much has already been taken away. We have lost the freedom to feel care-free, happy, because other people are killing each other senselessly.  Wait, that is incorrect, we have not “lost the freedom” it has been stripped from us, leaving open, bloody wounds and physical and emotional pain that will never go away.

I’m not saying that I won’t go to the movies again, certainly not, movies have always been my safe haven but now there’s another feeling about going into a movie theater other than just pure joy and excitement and playing the preview game, (thumbs up or thumbs down?)….there’s trepidation, at least for now.

Right after 9/11 people were scared to fly, many, many people. Others were even scared to take the trains or buses, I don’t like the world now. I liked it better when “Father Knows Best” was on television and “Mayberry RFD” and “The Donna Reed Show.” Any situation was always wrapped up neatly by the end of half an hour, and there was always a sweet, comforting ending. Sure, some mischief may have been made but the child learned a lesson, hugs were warmly given and they all sit down together for a really good dinner. ( Yes, it was always made by mom.)

Life seemed easier back then, sure we had fire drills at school and we had to scoot under our desks (maybe there were threats we knew nothing about) but there were no actual terrorist attacks or abductions or practice lock- downs that my children speak of as part of their day, as common as milk and cookies were to us in the fifties and sixties. Knowing it can never be the same stirs a gloomy sadness inside me.

What can I do to help?  Anything? I know, probably not. The world as I knew it has changed. I just wish there was some way that collectively we could think of a way to make things better. Instead, we stand on the sidelines and want to lift a hand. It may be a totally unrealistic and innocent idea but I just feel so helpless doing nothing. Sure, I can spare a few dollars to donate to the victims of Aurora, Colorado but that’s not what I am talking about. It’s not ENOUGH.

I have a longing for the past, an ache for a simpler life, the life of my childhood. I want to help make things better and don’t know how.

Can anyone else relate?

Carry on Tuesday: “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

English: a little shy girl Русский: ЗАСТЕНЧИВА...

English: a little shy girl Русский: ЗАСТЕНЧИВАЯ ДЕВОЧКА (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She had always given up too easily. As long as she could remember, she chose not to fight but to deflate, like the air sizzling, slowly, out of a big brightly colored blue balloon. Why, she wondered now? Was it just her character or was she never able to feel safe and confident as a young girl even in her own home? It was hard to differentiate one from the other. Nature vs. Nurture?  Was it because she had  been six weeks premature and had to stay in the hospital for that long in a heated crib? She had always been a shy girl, an anxious one too.  Whose fault was that, she asked herself, in her older years. Surely it was not hers alone? Did her parents not think this was unusual enough to warrant some extra attention?

She didn’t like “playing board games”like Scrabble because there was no game that she thought she could do well in and she was easily embarrassed and ashamed. Had she dug right in, like others she knew and practiced feverishly, she could probably have been on top in at least one or two things but she never stayed long enough. It was a shame, she thought, later on in her life. No one had ever encouraged her to keep trying, it was almost as if they expected little so she gave them what they expected. She felt just like a tiny speck against a world made up of giant red rocks and icy mountain peaks, even large green valleys. She could disappear easily and no one would notice.

She tried to disappear one day when she was about thirteen or fourteen. Their family had a shared cabana at a beach club and one day she took off walking a very long distance and stayed away for hours. She wanted her family and friends to worry, to look for her, she wanted to be missed but when she eventually started walking back, and came “home” no one said a thing; they never even knew she was missing. She was upset, and mad that no one had even noticed.

She gave up all the time, but it didn’t seem like giving up when she was doing it, only years later, while looking back at her youth she figured out that she had been too scared, too fragile, too afraid to try new things. She gave up before she could fail; that was a very lonely and limiting life. She pushed boyfriends away before they became too close. She knew they weren’t serious, so she ended the relationship, knowing it would never be more than what they had then. She regretted that only once in her life but she didn’t have the emotional capacity, at the time, to communicate well.

Looking back forty years, she could see when her life had come to an emotional halt. It’s as if the brakes were firmly pushed and there she stood, alone and apart from most of her friends. Her husband still teased her about playing with Barbie dolls at fourteen with her friend, Linda. She was definitely a “late bloomer,”  her comfort companions were stuffed animals that surrounded her bed for many years. Even now, one or two are tucked under her pillow.

Now, as an older person, she sees the world in a different way. While physically she cannot run anymore, her mind jogs like the wind, as fast as possible. She is no longer shy and introverted but strong in her opinions and in her intuitive feelings. When she walks now, she walks with a brightly, colorful cane to help her balance issues but that does not stop her from walking, it fuels her with confidence, a confidence she never before had. Lastly, if she doesn’t like the sound of something she has written or a photograph she has taken, she will take another and another and not give up, until she knows, in her heart that it is exceptional and only she has to love it for it to be magnificent and divine.

Calling Myself A Complete Idiot Would Be A Supreme Compliment

Stir Crazy 3

Stir Crazy 3 (Photo credit: The Michael)

A few weeks ago I posted a very disturbing blog post that scared me and some of my friends and readers. It was called “Worried Sick: One Crazy Ass Blog” and people I didn’t even know got worried about me. Days later and a tears shed, it prompted me to write a gushing thank you post and sincere apology.

That said, I now believe I am a stupid and utter asshole, although I can’t say for sure. However, I realized today that I think I did something totally silly and possibly quite dangerous. In my “fibro-haze/know it all “frame of mind, I realized that I had stopped taking one of my Fibromyalgia drugs, Topomax (used also for epilepsy and a variety of other illnesses) cold turkey. What makes it even more insane is that I had checked this out once before and knew to taper it. My excuse? I forgot. Reason? Fibro Fog Forgetfulness. We just can’t win, can we?

I researched it today and found out that yes, stopping the medicine without tapering it can produce some significant and intolerable symptoms including severe anxiety, discomfort AND tingling of the hands and feet etc. I’m just lucky I didn’t end up in the Emergency Room (although that was listed too.) However, I was curled up in the fetal position in bed feeling a bit suicidal.

I won’t ever be that cavalier again. I think what happens with those of us with chronic pain is that we take so many different medications (none that seem to help us at all) that we figure stopping one won’t make a bit of difference. Wrong.

I was totally out of my mind to have not thought it through in my search to lower the amount of pills I was taking. Again, when they say “consult your physician” as much as we may hate to, understandably so, at least we should call our local pharmacist. Besides, at least we know their number by heart.

Life, Not Made Easy

An elderly couple comfort each other- Part of ...

An elderly couple comfort each other- Part of Paul Ganuchaud’s relief depicting life behind the front-line being one of two reliefs which form the Fort Mahon Plage monument aux morts. Fort Mahon Plage is in the Somme region of France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m 55 years old and still battling the stomach bug I got yesterday. With me, you never know if I caught this from my daughter or if it’s one of Fibromyalgia’s side effects rearing its ugly horse head again. All I know is that what I wanted was to be ten again and for my mom to make me two soft-boiled eggs in a dish, with crumbled up pieces of toast and a pat of butter all mixed together. That’s what I wanted and I didn’t want to make it myself.

I am lucky enough that my mom is still alive and so I called her and told her how I was feeling. “I wish for that too” she said somberly, the effects of getting older weighing heavily on her these past few days. She worries about me and I worry about her, not that it makes any difference at all but it feels good to know someone cares. Life, since my father died has been very difficult for her, for all of us, but on certain days she is inconsolable. Her friends are dying or very sick and getting old “is no pleasure.”

When my husband left today to go back to Rochester for work I felt sad and I couldn’t prevent a tear or two from trickling down my face. It’s hard when he goes but it feels impossible when he goes and I’m really sick. I can handle most everything on my own, Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, but when I get a stomach flu on top of that? I fall apart. I feel vulnerable and scared and alone. This is the worst of Fibromyalgia for me, not the pain or the aches, I can deal with those because I am used to them. It’s when something unexpected comes up that is out of the norm, that’s when I crash and feel vulnerable and all I want to do is stay in my bed and cry.

Since we got the new puppy, it’s like having a toddler again, a biting, misbehaving toddler. I know she is young and will grow out of it but again, when I am not feeling well everything seems like so much of an effort. I’m sure friends would help if I asked them but I usually try to “save” my favors for important things. I’ve decided I’ll be better tomorrow, I have no other choice.

I’ve tried to accept life’s curve balls and I always needed 24 hours to get used to a new, bad, situation. I don’t think I have that luxury anymore. Bad things happen to most of us, except for a lucky few, and it seems like they are happening all the time. Was it always like this? I truly don’t believe so but maybe we were so young and naïve and having fun, we just didn’t notice.

Carry On Tuesday: When As A Child I Laughed And Wept

Little Girl Feet

Little Girl Feet (Photo credit: mtsofan)

As a child I laughed and wept, but nobody heard me. I lived in my own world of stuffed animals and dolls and they were my friends. Once, when I was about five years old, my mother, from another room, asked me who I was talking to, I replied ” my friend.” There was not another child in the house.

My mother said I “could always occupy myself” unlike my older sister who always had to be entertained. “Play with me” she would whine to our mother and so my mother would play with her. Was it out of default that I didn’t even try or was I really happy in my own little world? I can’t say for sure but I think it was a combination of both. I’d wager a guess that I was never big on competing,  sure I would fail. My confidence level was always low; a loving gift from my mother. I knew she never meant to give me low expectations but her fear and worry overwhelmed her and so she thought she was protecting me when in fact she was holding me back, making stress and anxiety my constant companions.

At night, every night, my father would sit at my bedside and I would ask him the same series of questions. Would anyone go to the hospital? Would there be a fire? Would the birds come? (We had bats once) Will the boys come (My sister once had rowdy boys come on Halloween, banging on the door relentlessly and I was terrified) and a few more I don’t remember anymore. It was a ritual, a scared girl, needing momentary comfort every night, while the orange light from the hall beamed.

When I was told that my mother had to go to the hospital for a hysterectomy I remember sobbing that night when I asked my father the questions. I told him that the answer to the hospital question would be “yes” and I was inconsolable. The order of the routine was changed, the answer to one of the danger questions was wrong and I was filled with fear and doubt.

I never wanted to try anything new, I was scared and I always made excuses to get out of doing new things, fear held me in it’s vise-like grip until I could only choke-out syllables of lies. It was a long time before I could be honest and the first time I was honest was with my sister, on the telephone and it was such a relief. She told me step by step what to do and how to get to her house by subway and I got there, for the first time in many years feeling brave. What gave me the strength to tell her then, with my mother on the other line, I have no idea. Maybe I was just sick of being sick and holding all my fear inside me.

Eventually, I became more and more honest with people, telling them my fears or my utter lack of sense of direction. I felt safer in the world by becoming stronger as a person. It was okay to have shortcomings because apparently everybody did; I wasn’t the only person that was weak, everyone was weak in some way, I just didn’t know it. Now, I consider myself a very strong person, realizing my strengths way before my weaknesses and yet having weaknesses made me sensitive to others and to how they feel. I can read someone’s feelings just by looking at their face, I can see what someone is feeling instinctively, whether they are ready to acknowledge it or not.

I get messages from the deceased, I have a sixth sense, I knew that when I was in third grade, learning it as I walked down a street in my home town. My parents always called me “over-sensitive” as if I were to blame for feeling hurt, the truth of the matter was yes, I was sensitive, but looking back, they were not.