I Pay My Shrink In Candy Corn

It’s true. I am lucky enough, (SO lucky) that I have a therapist that won’t charge me money while my husband isn’t employed full-time. I love this woman and it is the furthest thing from transference ever.

Candy corn detail.

She asked me last time I saw her, “How on earth did you get into my practice, I don’t accept new patients”? I grinned widely and said ‘you liked me on the phone, I present well.” Sure enough that was the truth. My old shrink, Doc, had retired somewhat against his will, to Florida and I looking for someone new.

Finding a good fit is the hard part. My doctor is a really good fit. I asked her once “what happens if I move?” she answered “we Skype!” How can you not love that?

For me, there is absolutely NO SHAME at all in seeing a therapist, in fact if I had the money I’d probably do it more often and with great pleasure. I do feel that we need MORE FUNDING for mental health and more trained people in the schools. I really do. I think that if each elementary school had really good therapist they would be able to track problems at the beginning and should follow through, working with middle school, high school etc.

Obviously, I have anxiety issues and I’m HIGHLY emotional and sensitive. I’ve told her that I want to be less sensitive and be a cold, hard woman. This way was just not working for me.  I was getting hurt and misled and I am too gullible believing the good in people. She looked at me intently, her blue eyes facing my green eyes, her red hair, wild like some sort of plant in the dessert and she laughed.

I said “I’m serious!” and she said “I know you are. But, you can’t change who you are. You are sensitive and that’s good and bad. Yes, you will get hurt but you can’t all of a sudden change and be a cold-hearted, feeling-less person. It isn’t you, it’s not who you are.” Inside I gurgled with disappointment and took a deep breath. I knew, down deep, she was right. How could I change the way I am?

The only thing I could change were my reactions (maybe) and not to get so emotionally invested in the beginning (maybe.) So, I am planning to greatly appreciate my wonderful, happy times that are greater than great with detail when they are positive and ride out the storm just like everyone else when bad things happen, when so-called friends disappoint. I take things way too seriously and if I find out a friend is disingenuous and fake, not to mention a back-stabber or liar, I admit I hate it but I learn again, not to trust everybody.

I KNOW who my true friends are, I cherish them with all my heart.

Friendship

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Fear, My Greatest Nemesis

Scared child

Scared child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I felt the tears well up in my eyes before I typed one word. I’m not shocked, I know myself, most of the time. I was given the gift of an unexpected compliment and I broke out into a wide grin.  I wear my heart not only on my sleeve but like a red neon sign on a black night in Broadway, flashing, off and on, non-stop.

Fear is my biggest nemesis. Fear has held me back from so MANY things too many to list. But, I know It has shaped my life. I lied for fear, I changed plans, directions, walked away because of fear, stayed home because of fear. I only hid fear for my children, my gift to them.I didn’t want them to have the same life I had. I’m proud to say they are fearless. An Academy Award please. Thank you. Now, it’s time for me to work on me but it is a little more complex.

Those of us who are called “Empath Intuitives” are sensitive, very sensitive people. Sensitive to others’ emotions but also sensitive in the world we live in. It can be more of a burden than a blessing. You need to grow into it, I’ve learned. As noted earlier, a word of kindness from a stranger means so much to someone like me, it happens so rarely, but when it does you feel it all the more.

My soul sniffs out secrets that I don’t want to know but I feel them like chips of ice starting at the base of my neck and roller-skating slowly down the middle of my spine. They cannot be undone. It will be very hurtful but it will be truthful. I feel much more pain than pleasure in this sad world. Does everybody? Or does it become level at a certain age? I’d say over 50-55 your view on luck starts to change in a downward spiral or maybe the rough patches are more consistent, last so much longer and connect.

I feel someone’s pain before they know it themselves, I can’t read their minds but I can sense what is on them, what they are feeling. I’ve had this quality since I was a child. In many ways, when I was young it only served to hurt me. My family always told me that everything was my fault because “I was too sensitive.” It took many years to figure out that I wasn’t too sensitive but they were not sensitive enough. We just didn’t see things from the same lens.

I believe the answer to fear is to do what you are fearful of. What other way is there? Stare it in the face, you are the boss, not fear. I’m totally guessing here. You control it, don’t let it control you and whatever you do, don’t stop. Face fear and do it and do it until you are not fearful. Is that the only way to go? I’m assuming. Feel free to live other suggestions.

Fear, change, sensitivity, joy, kindness: we are who we are.

Be kind to one another. Take a minute to try to understand not judge.

Celebrate that.

 

 

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Me, First.

Lioness

Lioness (Photo credit: Crouchy69)

I need to give myself more time to trust people, I need to stop following just my emotions and balance myself instead of falling in love with people.  I AM a Libra after all. People need to prove themselves to me, slowly, before I trust them. No more eyes lighting up with a friendly smile, no more picking out a person and internally saying “I want HER to be my friend.” Nope, not gonna happen anymore.

I’m too old for this.  Stranger people are often more attracted to me, people with stories upon stories because I do like to help and I am a good listener.I am also the most gullible person alive because I believe in truth and have learned the hard way, several times, that many people are manipulative and NOT honest, not even a bit.  People sniff out that I am a good and loyal friend because I always get sucked in. I’m not doing that anymore. I’m too old to do that,

I need to take care of myself, finally. Me. I come first. Not some stranger on the Internet or the woman picking trash and me encouraging her to come to my house so she could take our cans. Of course, she could take our cans but that’s not really the point. I don’t have to become her to be nice to her, I don’t need to get wrapped up in her life to feel her pain. I do what I can do. I don’t need to borrow her sadness and take it on, we all have sadness in our lives, struggles. Being empathetic is good, taking on everyone’s pain as your own is not.

Of course I feel horrible for the family whose husband has cancer and yes, I donated money, not a lot, but the amount we could afford. I wrote them a note to offer help because that is something I can give but I can’t pretend that this family whom I have never met are my best friends. I don’t know them, I just know that someone’s husband and children’s daddy does not have long to live, for the mother and father and siblings who have to bury him. I am sad for that. For anyone facing that.

I mourned for the little girl who died of cancer who I knew really only from the internet. I became attached to her as many people did. I checked on her status as often as I could. I followed her photographs. There was one photograph that had a lasting impression on me, it looked like she was walking straight into heaven’s door, and she was still alive. Talia Castellano, I still think of you, you definitely have left your mark on the world and on my soul. That is not something I want to ever change.

But, I no longer want to be that quivering duck, hiding in the corner anticipating disaster before it presents itself, worrying before there is something t worry about. As an old friend used to say “Don’t meet worry half way.” No longer a duck, I am a lioness, strong, in control, protective of my loved ones, independent. A lioness, a strong woman, in nature. I have my family, I have my two soul sisters, Ash and Michelle, I have my close friends.

I need more bubble wrap, more of a shield to protect myself instead of always caring too much for others. It can’t continue. My friends know I will be there in a heartbeat, there is no doubt. I need to strengthen MY boundaries and tighten up some rules. Not for you, for me. I want to stay centered and make my life easier. Because, damn it, I deserve it. I am tired of being super sensitive and people, I am sure, are sick of it too. I need a thicker skin, so that annoyances, criticism, hurt feelings will roll off my back like oil and water. I want to be those little beads that form and separate and not get emotionally weighed down all the time. I’m not saying it will be easy or that I won’t get sucked back in sometimes but I am going to make a conscious effort to be aware of it. I need a filter from the outside world, a shield. This is my life too.

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I’m Cranky, No, I’m Sad, Whatever…..

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets (Photo credit: Bill Gracey)

I want to slap people, well, not really.  I’m disappointed in people: in general and specifically and now there is nobody I want to be around except my auburn colored dog, Lexi.  It’s not as if anyone has done something horrendous but it seems a lot of people (okay, women my age) are going through a lot of “something-something” (as my friend Barbara would say) at the same time. Kind of a later mid-life crisis for women, different from when we turned 30 or even 40. This is worse, this is mid-life crisis on steroids or acid, maybe both.

Yup, I said it. First I just felt cranky and after a bit, I felt lonely. All along I thought those words were antonyms when in fact, they feel like synonyms today, they are definitely connected. I could blame these moods on a lot of things, certainly the beastly weather. This unbearable heat and humidity for the last week has everybody miserable but I think I would be doing myself a disservice. I’m not sure that answer would be entirely honest. It definitely has an impact on how I feel physically, Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups, IBS, not sleeping well, feeling out of sorts, all are true, but there’s definitely an emotional component as well.

I want to crawl and hide someplace where no one can find me. I want to be on a path, in the woods where I can find my peace, in Nature where nobody will hurt me, I trust animals, I don’t trust people; not anyone. Everyone’s history has its secrets, its shame, hurt, heartbreak. In nature there is innocence, love, and peacefulness. I want to move to a little red cottage in the woods somewhere where nobody can hurt me. Again.

Today is July 4th and here is one time where I want to be social and go to a barbecue. The one family who intimated they wanted us to come over apparently forgot, changed their minds or life got in their way. We’re not invited to anyone’s barbecue basically because every year my husband and I host the barbecue ( Thanksgiving,  parties etc). I’m tired of being taken advantage of and being the one that hosts the numerous meals for friends and my family. I’m right here, I’m not invisible, look at me. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it could be a pizza on paper plates, it’s the effort and the manners and the feeling of being wanted. I’m both cranky and and lonely, it’s a tough combination.

I told everyone at the last big gathering that “I’m now on strike.” So while I am fantasizing about a Hebrew National hot dog, sizzling on the grill, plumped to perfection and lying in a soft bun covered with mustard, I will be here trying to forget other people’s broken promises and talking myself down from being way too sensitive. Everything is alright, I have to make it alright, I have no choice.

There is only one thing that is a guaranteed fix. Works every time. (No, NOT drugs or alcohol ) The one movie I love more than life itself: The Sound Of Music. It fixes me, I can’t resist singing every song (knowing every word to every song) and relaxing while watching it. So, today while you are eating S’mores and drinking beer, sweating in the horrendous heat and humidity, I’ll be here, on my bed, in air-conditioned splendor singing along with Maria and the Von Trapp Family Singers with my dog Lexi, on my lap.

Plinky Prompt-3 Things You Love About Yourself

  • Tell us three things that you absolutely love about yourself. See all answers
    • Just Call Me June Cleaver
    • Leave It To Beaver 1959 This is so much harder than writing 3 things I hate about myself but here we go:!) I’m sensitive to others

      2) I’m perceptive and pick up on others feelings, body language, mood

      3) Very empathic

      All these help in being a good mom, wife and family member and friend.

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Finally, I Am So “IN” Repost

anxiety

anxiety (Photo credit: FlickrJunkie)

For the first time in my life I’m in fashion and not following a trend that started four years ago. I am cutting edge; I am “IN ” because I get ANXIOUS.  I’m not talking about buying Uggs (I did buy those 4 years after they came out)  but I still wear them year after snowy year because they keep my feet toasty warm. Apparently, talking about anxiety is now fashionable and trendy. I’ve been popular for this newly accepted diagnosis all my life, I just never knew it. I could be President of this club, and CEO if not founder and major stock holder. The stock market is practically riding on my shoulders, okay the world.

There always seems to be a flavor of the month diagnosis, last year it seemed it was Bipolar and in the last few months, the newest and most focused on illness seemed to be Bipolar 2, (I can imagine a Bipolar 3 diagnosis soon). No disease is funny but when you start putting numbers after the diagnosis it feels like an  iPhone upgrade, with each upgrade things are a little bit different but you still need to buy new headphones or a different speaker.

My friend, Jenny the Bloggess always talks about her bouts with panic attacks and how, on the road, to plug her new book people have stopped to offer her Xanax. Last night while watching an HBO show called Newsroom a character had to go outside because of her anxiety and she didn’t have her Xanax with her. Look fellow anxiety sufferers, we’re even on television, HBO no less!

I’ve never been embarrassed or ashamed at the fact that I get anxious at times. I told my children about it when they were old enough to understand,  just as if I was a diabetic that had to take medicine. Some people are anxious, some are not. I would say my anxiety definitely started in my early childhood when I constantly had to be reassured, each night before bed, by my very nurturing father who would answer a list of questions that I had, same questions every night (I have OCD Worrying) I guess back then, in the old days, people didn’t send their kids to a doctor for an evaluation or to a psychiatrist, it was “just one of those things;” I was always “too sensitive or over-sensitive. I suffered with anxiety until I was in my early fifties when I finally got diagnosed and received medicine to help prevent anxiety attacks and medicine if I have an anxiety attack. I have what is commonly known as “Anticipatory Anxiety” and I’m one of many, many people who suffer with this.

There is NOTHING to be ashamed about worrying or being anxious. You worry because you care and you feel scared. You are fearful of bad things happening to you or to your loved ones or scared about planes, or elevators OR like one of my ex-friends, scared about everything, which is tragic. Unfortunately, she was even scared to go to the doctor and scared of taking medicine so her phobias piled up on her every year like a bloody car crash. There is so much help available if you are suffering, but you must consult a specialist.  My life turned for the better when I stopped worrying obsessively. So, we’re now out of the closet (not that I was ever in) we’re human, everyone deals with life in a different way. It can get better, trust me.

Keep your *Xanax or Valium or whatever you take with you but only use it as needed. Sometimes, the thought of having an anxiety med in my handbag is enough to deep breathe the scary thoughts away. Sometimes.

* I am in no way encouraging people to take medicine, without being under a physician’s care.*

*Obviously I am not a doctor and I am not dispensing advice, I’m an anxiety sufferer who wants to help others.

*I am not getting paid for this (I wish).

Plinky Prompt: What Stresses You Out The Most

    • So Stressful!
    • “You Worry Too Much” DUH.
      stress I stress myself out by worrying. Worrying about my kids, my husband, my dog, my mother, my sister, my friends, victims I don’t know and I worry about myself. I worry about sickness, death, and the flavor of the week on the news i.e. terrible shootings. Worrying about worrying. I “pre-worry” when I have absolutely NO CONTROL over any outcome. In psychiatric terms it is called “anticipatory anxiety.” What good does that do me? IT DOESN’T DO A DARN THING. Yes, I know this but sometimes it’s hard to switch the channel. I am too sensitive in both a good way and a bad. I am incredibly sensitive to others, compassionate and intuitive at the same time I take on other people’s issues to heart and feel for others. A lot. I have tried to change a million times with no luck. I have heard “You are too sensitive” so many times I could scream (especially when it is said by totally insensitive people) I KNOW THAT, I DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE THIS WAY. So, give me a break. I do deep breathing, I’ve tried all the tricks but this is who I am. PLEASE, TRY TO BE understanding, know I worry because I love and I care. Maybe I care too much but don’t you think that’s better than not caring at all? If I could be a cold-hearted, non-worrying-bitch I’d have a much easier life. Sorry, no can do. I worry. I care. And that’s okay.
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Tired, Tired, Tired

(106/365) Tired but can't sleep

(106/365) Tired but can’t sleep (Photo credit: Sarah G…)

I can’t watch the news anymore; even when I just glance at the news on the computer, I know the world is a scary place, a terrible place.  The fear is in my stomach first, like raw clenching tentacles and the tightness inside me like an army of multi-colored stretched rubber bands.  I feel anxious, I see it reflected in my own eyes, fear, insecurity, doubt. Yes, the world is a bad place and many dreadful things happen. I also take other people’s pain and clutch it in my arms, like a hug surrounding a wounded child.

I can list a number of my most awful days in a second, like rapid-fire stock market trading but when I try to conjure up incredibly good days, I have to think, hard. The usual, marriage and childbirth come up, of course, but really, what was the last golden day I had that was out of the ordinary?  I stop to think. Tonight, I can’t come up with anything; my brain has been taken over by fear and pain.

I know I am too sensitive but it sticks with me like a second skin; sometimes I invent future nightmares. I know I shouldn’t do that and I try to stop myself  but there are times when I feel overwhelmed. It passes, I know, but while it happens, I forget.

My legs, from Fibromyalgia tonight are aching, painful, much more than usual. Fibromyalgia is eating up my world slowly but aggressively. New symptoms, tingling and numbness of my hands and feet, leg pain, imbalance, nerve pain too. It wasn’t supposed to get worse, that’s what the doctor told me, or did I dream that? I knew it wouldn’t get better and I accepted that easily but today is so much more painful than other days. I want the pain to end and drown in sleep. Tonight, I want to curl up and try to find a comfortable position and just lay here in the dark. I asked my husband to come upstairs to kiss me good-night, I haven’t done that in many years; his tender kiss on my forehead reassuring.

I don’t want conversation or to watch television, I don’t want to read a morbid book or even a funny book and I don’t want to listen to music which usually calms my soul. I just want to stay still in the dark and breathe evenly and not hurt. This pain is severe; I never take pain medication but tonight I may have to grope for a pill from an outdated prescription.  I don’t really want to take it, it’s a false reading of tortured limbs but tonight, but tonight I need a break.

A break from physical and emotional pain, let me lie here and fall asleep with my dog sleeping on my foot and my warm diet root beer by my side. Let me forget the worry and the fear and the pain. “I don’t want to fight,” I said, to my sister online; I don’t want to waste the little energy I have on our frequent disagreements. Fighting is not the answer and not the solution. This stress on me is unnecessary and I want it to end, there is no room in my life for painful interactions. Whatever it takes, I promise to try to do it because I want peace between us, even if sometimes, it is artificial.

Let me stay in my little corner tonight, huddled on one side and let me sleep, just let me sleep.

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.

Haiku Heights – Illusion

Illusions

Illusions (Photo credit: azuk)

I thought I knew her

like the softness of my glove.

This bitter cactus.

*****************************************************

Eighteen pounds just lost

Still image of a fat girl

Bloated, in the glass

****************************************************

Daughter flies out fast

not looking back,  just forward

She was once my girl.