Clipping Time’s Wings

Everyone knows that time flies, and I’m getting to that rounded age to see it zoom by at super-sonic speeds.  I was looking at the calendar of this blog, how many times I wrote in one month, how when I was in crisis there would be a darkened square two to three times a week, and when things were masquerading as ‘normal’ it was lighter.  Then I saw when I birthed this baby my jaw dropped.  May 2011!!  It’s been over five years, and before that it was about five years before with round one.  I’ve been trying to grapple with this for over ten years now.

The goal of this blog was to find my way back into the light but to make sure I didn’t trip the dark fantastic again if at all possible. I know life isn’t going to be all sunshine and flowers, there will be bouts of sunburn and allergies too. Now where once there was blackness and anger there is hope and joy . I am not cured, I don’t know if there is a cure, but this is working for me, the writing thing, I just wish it didn’t need to take so freaking long. I guess I should work on my instant gratification issues too

The new goal is to re-post the enteries and figure out a plan of attack in the event of a fresh hell in the void and to shore up the processes I found helpful. Time willing it shouldn’t take another FIVE YEARS!

Reverse Pride

Reverse pride isn’t humility.  Humility is humility.  Reverse pride is when you are prideful of the fact you aren’t better than anyone else.  We all know this idiom:

Pride goeth before the fall.

I didn’t think that really applied to me because I was on the floor, I would never be ‘worthy’ of the grace of God, to take part of the sacrifice Christ provided for me.  Which is why my thoughts when I do something less than Christ-like I hear, “It doesn’t matter, I’m going to hell anyway”  I wrote it off to self-esteem problems.  I’ve been reading a book called “The Miracle of Forgiveness” and in the beginning it talks about pride.  It talked about how pride is also telling God who/what/where/why anything that isn’t in your responsibility to change or judgement you can pass.  I realized in a moment of clarity I hadn’t just been telling myself I’m bad and unworthy but I’ve been telling Christ I’m bad and unworthy and the grace He secured with his blood isn’t going to save me.  EVERYONE will have a share of His grace, no matter what they’ve been in this life.  Life is eternal, growth is eternal, the Grace of Christ is eternal.  With this knowledge came the realization of there is absolutely nothing I can do about my future, well, other than be the best person I can be.  No matter how messed up I perceive myself to be.  I have no control, and I am not perfect and neither of those are within my grasp or prevue anyway so I’m trying to figure out how I can better utilize the time feeling like an eternal-bug-in-the-radiator kind of person.  I’m moving forward towards my future again, it’s nice.

This begs the question: Why do I feel this way?  I’m not a bad person (in comparison to like Hitler, Dahmer, and the ilk).  They’re going to receive grace.  I’m not ‘useless’ or a ‘waste of clay’.  Where do these thoughts come from?  Is it that sometimes when someone corrects you by calling you stupid, where every other time it just bounces off your psychic armor until one day the chink is displayed and you are mortally wounded?  I’ve called myself stupid most of the time when I do something wrong, from burning dinner and blowing a tire to stubbing my toe on something I’ve left on the floor.  I’m far from stupid.  I still compare myself to others and, yes, that’s wrong, but I’m finding out all the useless information I seem to gather has made me rather intelligent.  Not to be prideful, but my last IQ test (online) I hit in the high 120’s.  If I could do math it might be a little higher but I suck at math.  How can I be so easily fooled and so completely without guile that I would believe everything bad and evil that I am told both inside and outside my head?  The bigger question is, how to I seal up that chink so the darts of negativity aren’t hitting the pink flesh beneath?  I am correcting my thoughts when I become aware of them, I try to keep positive quotes handy on my phone, my notebook, my walls, but how can I paper the inside of my head with them?  Any suggestions?  Please share.

Crossing the Line

Sorry, I’ve been distant, silent even.  Mostly because I did something wonderful and it confused me.  Let me explain…..

I went on vacation with my family, it was a wedding onboard a cruise ship and we were invited to join the happy couple for the honeymoon.  We all had our own rooms of course.  I brought a long two books; one pleasure and one enlightening.  I chose the Enlightening book first.  Before the end of the first day at sea I grabbed my book and went up to the top deck, sunglass/reading glasses in hand and a hat and read.   Within the first ten pages I came across a statement (that I can’t quote because it’s not exactly what I read but what I needed to hear) to the effect of:

There comes a time when introspection becomes indulgent.

It struck me so perfectly at that moment and I realized, every aspect of me said it was time to move on and move forward.  There was nothing more I could do with the deep dives into who, what, and why that makes me who, what, and why I’ve become.  I needed to put myself out there and try to put into place what I have learned, to build on the foundation that I have laid and hopefully not have any dead bodies hidden in the cement.  At many points in life we need to stop and do the self evaluation/inventory/mind-tripping that helps us move to the next level, but I feel like I’m all caught up now….

Crossing that line, the invisible line between the two worlds instigated a miraculous change in my psyche: I’m happy, I’m hope-filled, I have more energy, I am making plans for my future and are anxiously waiting to put that plan into motion.  (Mom is still doing well, so things are still as they were).  Crossing that line also gave me the push I needed to start  whittling down my meds.  I’m off one of my anxiety pills completely, I’ve cut my Lexapro in half, I’m still taking all my puppy uppers (Welbutrin).

I don’t know if I’m ready to go down another 10mg on my Lexapro.  This last jump down brought up the realization that I don’t really have the skills that I thought I had when  I was fully medicated, and emotions are starting to break through the chemical barricades.  I’m getting caught in the angry loops, but I have more success of talking myself out of them before I spin out of control.  I get overwhelmed and stymied easily , but if I just plug away at it, it gets done.  I’ve had to put some exercises into place so I could deal with the mental stuff, one of those is writing every day.  Which brings me back to the confusion….

For the longest time I used this blog as an integral part of my self exploration.  Anything too private was taken care of in my journal, and I’m back to journaling now too, but if continual introspection is self indulgent, it’s not something I should be engaging in if I want to move forward in my life.  And I’ve made some major strides in my life from March to now, but I didn’t know if I should start a new blog post-depression to write all the plans and the executions with both successes and failures or if I should just continue here; or should I do it at all?  I miss it, so I need to keep doing it .  I found that blogging my personal truths out into the world is an act of courage and bravery that makes me feel more courageous and brave in the real world. I think it’s not self indulgent if it isn’t wallowing in the dark but instead sharing the joy and excitement of rediscovering my life now that I’m outside the void.

Any input from my readers would be helpful.  Please,

Miracle & Milestones

Miracles abound when you have faith enough to welcome them.

Last Thursday I took a trip up to visit Sammy (the parrot) as my sister spends time with Mom on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings which gave me the freedom to go.  (Sammy didn’t want anything to do with me other than take a chunk of flesh out of my fingers, but that’s another tale of woe.)  I called to check on Mom while I was there, as I’m want to do when I’m not home to make sure she knows that I worry about her and she said she was anxious for me to come home because she needed to talk to me, but she was soooo apologetic I wasn’t sure if I should believe it to be good or not.  The last thing I needed after a long drive back from one valley to the next is to have another “talk” in *that* tone of hate, disgust and disappointment.

I guess I should back track at this point.  The day before, Wednesday, it was written on my calendar that I should put her name in the temple for prayers.  They rotate out the names ever two weeks so I call and put her name back in.  I didn’t want to.  I fought with myself because of the way she still talked to me after we had our fight over Sammy and the lock on my door, which in her mind was the greatest betrayal I could have ever perpetrated against her.  She doesn’t have boundaries, so no one can have boundaries.  I asked her a few days after the bird was moved to my sisters if she would ever like me again, she told me it still remains to be seen.  And from that point on she has tolerated me, sniped at me every chance she got.  I remained happy and chipper and trying me best not to flinch at her tone.  There is some sort of dark hollowness that you feel when your mother treats you like you are the worst person in the whole universe.  Needless to say, I didn’t want to, I didn’t think she should have it because of the way she treated me on a regular basis the anger started to push everything else aside to pour salt in my wounds.  I had to stop, redirect the anger out some sort of internal overflow spigot and rethink my position.  She can treat me how she wants to treat me, I can’t do anything about that other than not let her hurt me but I made the decision not to let her behavior dictate my actions so I put her name, a friends name and my name in the temple.  (who couldn’t use extra prayers)

Okay, back to last Thursday….

She apologized, she was terribly sincere.  She wanted me to know that she loved me, appreciated me and was truly proud of what I have accomplished in my life.  She didn’t relent and let Sammy back in the house but the air purifiers haven’t come in by that time, so hope still spring eternal on that front.  The other portion of this was she realized she can’t keep trying to make me secure a happy end of life for her.  She has to make that choice, and she has to make the efforts to do so.  Now THAT is a miracle and a milestone for her.

My milestone is unemployment….again.  Only this time I have a plan, I have hope and faith and determination to make it worth while.  I also have someone to take care of Mom during the day so I’m not the only one with her.  I’m going back to my post The End Is Nigh…..Or Not.  Mom is afraid of dying alone, without someone who loves her there for her.  She’s having more and more problems in the night sleeping, or rather breathing well enough to stay asleep.  I’m thinking during this time I will do more watching at night, so if she needs me, I’ll be there and then sleep while the other caregiver is there with her.  I do want Mom to have a good end of life, I don’t want her to be alone, that said, I don’t want her to do it during the holiday season.  My father died on Fathers Day, and now I associate both days….actual death date and the holiday….with him.  I can live without two death dates for her as well.

It’s amazing what happens when you walk in faith and hope for the best by letting go and letting God.

Prayer: The Hearts Sincere Desire

I’ve been praying again, at least making an honest effort.  I still forget that I’m praying sometimes and let my mind wander but I pull it back as quickly as I can, apologize to my Father in Heaven and push forward.  It seems odd that prayer is so hard for me.  That it was nothing before but “Please, Father, get me through today.” (And He did) But because of my meager efforts I’m no longer extremely anxious about taking the forward steps I need to into the haze of uncertainty because I know He will prepare a path for me even if all I can see it one step at a time.

It’s so hard to describe the sensation of this for me.  I’ve always known there was a higher power (mine is God/Heavenly Father/Elohim) for as long as I can remember.  At one point I wanted to be cloistered away as a nun;  a life of service and reflection apparently appeals to the writers heart.  However, I chose the secular world and now my realities are 1) my job is ending 2) my education to be a phlebotomist is a joke in the industry 3) I’ve not stuck anyone in years and 4)it’s going to pay less (especially a non-union job) than the pittance I’m making now. (I’m not even going to go into the lack of writing, lack of journaling and lack of any creativity in my life right now).  My mind races and then collapses from exhaustion.  I think R.E.M. said it best:

It’s the end of the world as we know it

And I feel fine

I’ve never been able to really make plans for my future because I’ve always had the concept hard wired into my mind “Live now for tomorrow we die”.  So now, I pray about it, when the anxiety, fear and general loathing of change overtakes me and then a calm comes and the gentle words of peace and comfort scatter the emotions like cockroaches in the light and I feel fine.

Though I’m still anxious about a lot of things:

  • Mom’s ultimate destination and getting her ready, getting me ready, fear of walking in on her and finding her when I’m alone
  • Money lasting to the end of the month and not being able to buy stuff with my own money
  • Getting money together for my nephews wedding (This is new one, he’s going on a cruise and we’re all invited)
  • Job ending
  • Job searching
  • Being trapped forever with Mom
  • Never getting my eating under control and never being able to eat Golden Mega Stuff Oreos again
  • Dying before I have a chance to live
  • Being around people
  • Dealing with my family and the anger it stirs up in me and the fear of not being able to control it around them

That’s just off the top of my head, the things that I can pick out when it’s spinning.  Though I know everything in my heart will be okay, the chemicals in my brain still won’t settle down and leave me in peace.  I’m hoping to replace my emergency anti-anxiety pills and the half one I take every day, with meditation and prayer.  It is my sincerest desire to be trusting and rest in the Lords embrace and know everything will be okay.  Though my heart is starting to trust my head is still overly paranoid and distrusting of everyone and everything, both physical and spiritual.  It’s not the end of the world, just a change, and I will be fine.  Prayer needs to be my bridge from this life to the next, I can feel that in my heart to be true and I need to be more persistent in following the whispers of hope and orient myself to the feeling of warmth and comfort the Spirit provides when I follow my heart.

The Best Laid Plans…….

Okay, here’s the sitch with not going to school this semester.

After Mom’s little tirades and big tirades about how I wasn’t earning my keep, how everyone keeps a 40 hour a week job and comes home and cooks dinner, does a load of laundry or two and then cleans and picks up after themselves……then swinging over to I’ll be too scared with you sleeping in a camp site with a knife for protection, they’ll just take it away from you and slice you open.  They enjoy stuff like that…..You don’t care about me.  I’m afraid I’m going to die alone and even with you here, you can’t even be helpful to me for that…..  I’m going to stop now, my head is starting to hurt.  Even with all her blustering I was set on going to school.  I figured if I could work from home on Thursday, my sister coming in the evening to take care of her I could skip the traffic and nap before class and then with chemical aids like 5 hr. energy and soda I should be able to stay awake on the way home and not have to stay at the state park.  Easy peasy.  She wasn’t going to talk me out of going to school because she was scared.  I was kind of looking forward to being that close to the beach to hear it in the morning when I got up.

I talked to my bestest friend in the world and she just simply said “There are too many moving parts to that plan to work well,” and I realized she was right.  I think if she said the exact same thing as what my Mom said I probably would have listened to her.  Yes, that sounds like an immature reaction on my end, but I know my BFF wants what’s best for me whereas my Mom just wants whats best for her, so I don’t trust any of her advise.  I realize that is part of her narcissism, and I know in some ways she can’t control it.  She has to realize something is wrong with herself before she can start changing, and she will never see the error of her ways.  So after more thought and prayer and thinking as to what I could do to move my plans forward if I didn’t attend school.

So here’s the plan:

  1. I pay for my Continuing Education Credits
  2. I study and pass the test
  3. I pay the money and fill out the form
  4. I get my certificate back

With my certificate in hand by January, I will be able to look for a blood letting job and sign up for the online course for medical terminology and put on my resume that I know my education wasn’t very accredited but I am going to an accredited college that will teach me the right stuff, and by being so proactive in my education it will make me look like a good egg.  Everyone wants good eggs, bad eggs smell to high heaven, and even if you get rid of them their odor lingers for days/weeks/months to come.

One thing I found out while researching state parks for California.  They have a special pass for the disabled.  You pay $2.50 for the form processing and then you get 1/2 off your cost for camping and day use of the park.  I looked at there definition of “disability” and depression is one of them.  I realize that as things are getting better for me in that arena I will need to apply for it soon while I’m still in this maelstrom of emotions.  I want to start camping.  Glamping for longer times in the wilderness, but camping for weekends anyway.  I can afford that, it might be all that I will be able to afford for vacations in my life so I might as well embrace it now and get the stuff that I want and need for the wilderness experience.

Slowly I Turn, Step by Step, Inch by Inch

There are twelve steps and twelve traditions in the OA handbook. I’ve been stymied by the first three.

  • Admit you have a compulsive eating problem

Okay, admit you have a problem. I wouldn’t allow myself to believe it even when I admited aloud that I have a problem, even though we are required to introduce ourselves at the meeting as “Hello, my name is Pamela and I am a compulsive overeater”. Even when they are listing the things that overeaters do and I’m nodding my head in a silent confession, even when more of me oozes off the folding chair than is on the seat, I’m not a compulsive overeater. I’m not, I’m not I’m NOT!

I am.

With the lightening of my psyche, coming out of the depression and controlling the anxiety I see myself more clearly. What used to be hiding in the shadows or under all the other fluff of my life is cluster of barnacles that won’t come off by wishing, hoping or praying. My standard operating procedure in things that I don’t want to do, say housework, is to either shut the door or turn off the lights. If you can’t see it, it’s clean. Tada! I could do just that, deny that I have a problem, let the barnacles continue to infest, grow legion until they ultimately sink me. Careening is the process of beaching a ship at high tide to expose one side of the ship to scrape off the parasites. The sole purpose is to allow the ship to reach its full potential on the water. Yes, I’m well aware of the easy fat jokes I’m not utilizing, but the days of being the jolly fat girl has come to an end. In my own best interest I’ve beached myself and scrape back the shell that hides the real reasons for my compulsive overeating. Believe me, I don’t think I eat this way because I’m physically hungry. I need to do the hard work but thankfully, not alone.
 

  •  Locate your Higher Power (Heavenly Father/God in my case)

I have always had a Higher Power. Even when I wasn’t actively engaged in His good cause. I’ve always known God lives, that He loves me. I’ve been blessed with this innate knowledge that seems to have eluded most of my family. However, knowing it and living that knowledge hasn’t always gone hand-in-hand for me.

 

  • Admit you can’t handle your life anymore, God can. I’ll give it to God to deal with.

I’ve seen His miracles, both large and small, I’ve seen the power in the Priesthood, and felt His healing touch when I was sick and afflicted with things I didn’t want or need any more. Knowing that the path I’m on will only lead to a double sized cemetery plot of I don’t do something about it, I still won’t can’t seem to reach out to Him for help in this. It’s my problem, my weakness, my life and I am trying to live it as close to His book as I can. It’s like I want to be perfect now and then give myself to him as a testament to my beliefs and how I’ve lived them in the world.
Unless perfection weighs in at 300+ lbs, I’m as far away from perfection as the Mariana Trench is for shell-seeking scuba divers. Perfection isn’t for this life, I’m not even sure it’s attainable in the next, but it is the conglomeration of knowledge and our ability to act on that knowledge that perfects us for exaltation. I know this. And yet perfection seems to be my goal in EVERYTHING. This is a trap because I know I’m not perfect yet and I need to be perfect, or at least perfect in all the things I can be perfect in, otherwise I’m sinning, and as a sinner I cannot ask nor expect help from a caring, loving Heavenly Father.

Yea, I caught that little oxymoronic paradox. If He is a loving and caring Father in Heaven, He wouldn’t care that I am perfect or not, only that I’m struggling and suffering. Even if the suffering is self-inflicted. He loves me, and He wants what’s best for me. I lack faith. I have been going through a dirge of hopelessness for what seems like ever, but it twinkles back every now and again, so I know it’s not dead, but those two small words are the key. We are to have faith, even if it’s the size of a mustard seed, and when planted in prepared soil (hope) it will grow to bring shade and provide homes for small helpless animals of the meadow. I lack these things, the hope and the inner-wherewithal to act on that faith. Faith, is a verb, I know it doesn’t sound like it is, but it is. Faith without works is dead. Maybe I’m afraid of the work, maybe I’m afraid of the success, all these things need to be examined but nothing, ever, will get done unless I jump.

I’m not ready to jump.

Last night I did it. I took the first small step, well actually all three. I am a compulsive overeater. God knows this and I have turned my life and sanity over to Him. Yes, I’m still prying fingers off one at a time to relinquish full control over to Him, but slowly I’ve turned and, step by step, inch by inch I will turn my life from compulsive overeater to humble personal achiever.

 

Footnote:

[1] When I hear the word “Careening” I think about careening out of control, which is what I am, but now careening seems to represent “caring” and that is the type of careening I need done.

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