Family Fibromyalgia Health Mental Whining

Health Update in Three Parts: One

Playing catch-up here, while my brain is clear from both migraine and fog.

After the first of the year, my doctors switched up my medications again, still seeking the perfect “cocktail” for resuming some semblance of normalcy and income generation. The order may be wonky, because my memory in that period is foggy.

  • I was given a prescription topical lotion from “Innovo” to use on “hot”/pain spots. It works, but has problems that greatly limit its usefulness, and was actually a bit scary a few times;
  • I was given a pain patch (Butrans) that made me tremendously ill and weak and was taken off of it after one month, so gnarly were the side effects;
  • I was taken off Vicodin and prescribed Percocet, because I was getting migraines with nearly every dose of Vicodin I took, with nothing else to fight the pain with, because…
  • My neurologist ruled out Tylenol, Advil and Aleve several years ago, along with a daily med that my GP and Rheumatologist have asked about several times, and his answer has always been that it’s unsafe in combination with (mild) cardiac issues and other Health Blahs. But…
  • When I asked him to explain again the limitation so I could explain it to my Rheumatologist earlier this year, he reversed his decision on all four drugs after we discussed everything I’d tried and reviewed my chart again;
  • He also told me that he couldn’t prescribe anything to help me with my migraines until my Rheumatologist and I “work out the Fibro pain issue without drugs that trigger migraines.” To our faces. With a straight face. After 4 years of him being my neurologist. Shocked doesn’t even begin to cover it.
  • He then took away my safety blanket prescription for Soma and I’m pretty sure I cried on the drive home, but again, brain fog. (Yes, it’s actually called Soma, Brave New World readers. And yes, it makes you go to sleep just as peacefully and stupor inducing.)

I called it my safety blanket because I knew that no matter how bad any of my pain got, Soma would let me sleep through it, which was an immense improvement to my quality of life and sanity. I always used it judiciously, since it worked and I needed to not build up a tolerance to it. I could lose the pain, at the cost of time with friends and productivity (HA!), but I decided when. I had control, in the worst cases, with this.

It felt like a long-time friend broke up with me, his claims were ridiculous to my ears. I wanted to scream and cry and throat punch, all at the same time, because every single prescription I’ve been given since “shit got real” 4 years and 8 months ago by him, has had migraine warnings, along with the other symptoms they were supposed to be fighting: dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and a predisposition for fainting and pretty much every combination of digestive trauma you can imagine. ‘Nuff said.

After the Butrans pain patch FAIL, I was prescribed Nucynta around March. The good news? After the Lyrica wean-down had it out of my system, I discovered how much of a fog Lyrica kept me in, on top of the other medications that I take, either daily or for other pain. All but the high cholesterol meds (more genetic FAIL, for me but hopefully not my sons.) have been tweaked or removed, so I think it really was the Lyrica that carried the brunt of it.

I had a brief wean down from it, then started a new daily, Nucynta, and while it did little for pain, it had less of a “dumbing down” then the Lyrica had. I was able to comprehend things better. In many, it was like I finally learned English again and was able to do a lot with being able to understand and reflect on the differences. You know the distorted “funhouse mirrors?”  That’s what sentences and conversations were like, of those that I can clearly recall. I learned from attempts at “tricks” to make myself productive and began new patterns based on my new understanding of my disabilities.

More on this in the next part. Migraine calling.



Health Mental Music No Whining Soulful Too Long For Twitter

Sia’s Chandelier, Because “Tomorrow” is Recovery Day


Chandelier by Sia

Just saw this video and was drawn out of hunting airline bargains for T’s summer visit and tha socialz from Balticon 48. The song grabbed me and then the video compelled me to rewatch from the beginning, and WOW does it resonate with me! Only after the second viewing, with tears running down my eyes, did I realize I should read the lyrics because I was clearly having a visceral reaction, so I decided to find them and when it resonated further, I chose to steal a selfish moment for this post.

The next thought, thanks to my “distortion filter” (per T-Pain, my nickname for my therapist)? What if I had continued in dance instead of wussing out when the toe shoes came out? Maybe staying in motion would have prevented at least SOME of my health issues. Did I cause or worsen my current and chronic pain conditions? Or did I prevent an earlier onset? Was I too undisciplined for too long? Luckily, since I’ll likely never know the answer, I’m letting the blame and guilt go on that since I can’t go back in time to fix it.

I feel a physical yearning, a hardly irrepressible urge to leap up and start dancing (I was sort of a dancer in my younger days.). I have to immediately squelch it because of Health Blahs. It resonated so deeply that I’m sharing both the original video, the artist’s lyric video and the lyrics, in case you don’t want the data hit to watch the videos.

Note that I specifically interpret “tomorrow” as what I call The Reckoning, or recovery day(s) I’m “prescribed” to take after stressful periods. Good stress or bad stress, emotional or physical, it doesn’t matter the type of stress or stressor, they all deplete my body to the point I can’t control it. Adrenaline and cabin-fever-driven needs to spend time in the sunshine (or moonlight) with friends and/or family are my favorite of all the stressors.

by Sia

Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn
I push it down, push it down
I’m the one “for a good time call”
Phone’s blowin’ up, ringin’ my doorbell
I feel the love, feel the love
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
Throw ’em back, till I lose countI’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelierAnd I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight

Sun is up, I’m a mess
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

Throw ’em back till I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

And I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight


And NO. I’m not relating “drink” to alcohol. I’m referring to all the tricks I use and the “mask” I try so hard to use to hide it when the pain gets overwhelming because it’s such a downer for those around me.  Besides, I have to take heavy medication to be able to leave the house/hotel room at all, and it makes me feel just as wasted as anything. It’s just without the pesky side effect of triggering my death by adding alcohol to prescription medications. You know it’s serious when I repeatedly turn down anything but a sip from Alchemist Extraordinaire, John Taylor Williams, aka @wryneckstudio on Twitter.

Instead of “drinks” or alcohol, I’m actually referring to fun, friends, love, giggles and adrenaline, and what I choose to sacrifice with a “rally hour (or 2)” for less resting and more socializing or for actually being coherent for the Beyond the Wall Live! show at Balticon and actually remembering the experience this year through a better balance with my medication and minimal alcohol, if any.

(Tip: Carry a full drink with you to prevent friends from surprise-buying you old faves. It seems to only occur to people when you have an empty glass! I have such generous friends that this is actually a problem!)

Miss you already, Balticonners, and all the chandeliers to swing from. <3

Chandelier by Sia
(Video with lyrics)

Dizzy Health Mental Rules of Etiquette

Health Blahs Update (in great detail)

It’s taking me a very long to write this update, which started two weeks ago, I have initiated my one hour publish rule. Apologies for messiness, but I have to be consistent with … me.

A follow-up with my Rheumatologist resulted in her halting the one month try of a weekly pain patch, Butrans. The increase in my already frequently present symptoms were misery-inducing, after it’d been on four or five days. I joked, with a nervous laugh, “Here we go!” as I pulled off the used one and put on a fresh one. By the time I put on the fourth, I wanted to cry as I put it on.

It was misery in a 1 x 1″ -ish square. The constant high pain migraine, constant nausea, sporadic and spectacular vomiting (no there are NO pix. *shiver*), dizziness (yes, I’m already dizzy a large portion of my day. this was “stay low to the ground” dizziness.), fatigue (I call it my lead blanket) and generally feeling constantly wasted. I burned myself more, cut myself more, have more bruises and fewer eyebrows left because of my slow reaction time (long story. derp!) I quit driving completely, which has put an even greater burden on my husband. (saving throw by Housie Jen, who let me accompany her on a double shopping trip!).  I’m hoping that the next prescriptions lets that resume.

Now, these side effects are things I already was diagnosed with on the “Vestibular Migraines” list of symptoms almost four years ago. I think that’s what made it utterly debilitating. I would occasionally only get 4, maybe 5 hours a day where I was fully cognizant and able to interact my beyond our home, but I required at least one or two days for recovery.

The patch resulted in my being in a constant state of clumsy, bruised, confused, whiny, cranky and sometimes, downright evil. Eldest kindly me Snippy on a stressful day recently. (He was totally right, I really was. My mood was justified, especially with the amount of pain in play that day, but still I had to try and turn my mood around for him, Chooch and our niece. Definitely not their fault!) This was aggravated by my minimizing other medications that could have added to the relief for fear of becoming addicted or of overdosing because these are not the meds you want to mess up and take too often.

When we told her about the vomiting, my fave story being a vibrant purple splash of color (vanilla nutritional shake with blueberries blended in was SUPER purple!) that I left on the shoulder of I-95 south a week before, she laughed along with us, but remained concerned.  I assumed she’d want me to tough it out longer to see if I acclimate to it. And while the mild base of constant pain relief was nice, Dr. says it’s not good enough to offset the symptoms on the lowest possible dosage. But pain relief is pain relief, so I briefly argued that maybe my body needed more time to adapt. In the end, I gotta say, I loved ripping that damned thing off. Didn’t even make it to the car! *ow*

I’ve taken a break off the Butrans before starting the next daily. I needed a damned break from that stuff, the pain increase has been powerful. I’m starting the new daily tomorrow. Bracing for side effects, but as ever, I’m hopeful for relief that I can do long-term. I’ve also gotten a specially mixed lotion (PBJ for good insurance, $900 for 3 month supply of lotion, zero after insurance!) and a regimen change for a regular pain-breaker.

The self-imposed driving ban is going to be extended for at least a week or two after the start of it. I hope to regain being able to drive again. I miss driving and LOATHE inconveniencing Chooch, who already works extremely hard with a 3+ hour near-daily commute. He wants to stay home more than I want to go out, most times, but we have mastered compromise on such things.

So, the process of finding meds that can bring normalcy to my life continues, after my 4th anniversary last fall. And both my Neurologist (neuro issue wrangler) and Rheumatologist (Fibromyalgia wrangler) indicated that there will not likely be anything that fixes me. As in, no cure likely, ever. Frustration? Infinite and immeasurable. Time and money lost (health costs + lost income)? Infinite and immeasurable when compounded by things we’ve NOT been able to do for our sons and loved ones. Gratitude for my problems not being terminal and only being pain? Also, infinite and immeasurable.

It’s at this point that I wonder if I can ever effectively thank the people that have intentionally, unintentionally or specifically shown kindnesses to me since this started. It’s pretty depressing to go back to Square One with every med and track the results. There’s no progress on my health improvement, but I just have too many amazing people that I want to share experiences with. Or watch them strive and obtain their goals or grow their families (preferably both).  Or sit in a corner booth with someone and giggle over nothing worth mentioning and/or solve the world’s problems. And, guys, we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg, there are so many games we have yet to play!

Whether I’ve known you 25 years (we gotta celebrate, Cindy!), 10 years ago, 6 years (Con Fam, you’ve never failed me!) or 2 weeks since we met.  Just, ya know, thanks. Good people make the bad days bearable and the good days drip with gold and sparkle like diamonds.


Health Mental Too Long For Twitter

Doc: Avoiding Isolation Via the Internet? Me: Check.


Going through yet another cycle of appointments (quarterly, unless something new happens), most for pain management since there is no cure for my fun bag of Health Blahs, I am was reminded how off-handedly I answer the most recent time I was asked that question, for the second time in two months:

Her: “Have you been staying social to avoid isolation and depression?”
Me: “I have that covered with social media and podcasting, when I’m able to do it. For years now.”

I’m eternally grateful that Chooch took a biz trip when he did to Abq and met up with old friends that introduced him to City of Heroes (MMORPG). We both (and two sons, for a bit) started playing and eventually started podcasting about. Around the same time, we started our family life podcast, or journal of what we enjoyed and disliked and in general, our lives were like up until 2011. Due to other creative projects, they have slid down the list of priorities, but we’ve been talking about doing them regularly again for awhile now. (Mostly me, as Chooch has other interests of creative expression.)

But for those things, City of Heroes and Podcasting, I wouldn’t have, what, 80% of the people in my life, many for at least six years. Relationships have ebbed and flowed, but I can’t imagine having gone through all these health problems and um, let’s say challenges, without the social network I already had in place in the local (and distant!) podcast community. I have friendships that have changed my life, utterly, and while some drew more blood than comfort, I still treasure them. I’ve learned a lot about humanity.

So now, reflecting back as I am on the perch of attempting reboot when my neurological issues may result in failure in ability to host again, rather than co-host, I am just very VERY grateful for the adventures, memories and giggles in my life. So whether I’m successful or not, it’s something that I want to do, whether or not I’m ever physically reliable enough to guest at conventions again or not. This isn’t branding, I’m not selling anything (can’t think of anything, lol!), this is just me, so I don’t have to worry at all, beyond the parental concerns.

And I have some very sweet friends that encourage me to do Girls Rules specifically, and I always have ideas hopping for that one.

Mental No Whining Too Long For Twitter

Not One Moment More, aka, I Was Raped

Family Friends Hauntings Mental Too Long For Twitter

An Epiphany Triggered By Friends?!?!

I am loved.


By more than one person.

It doesn’t matter who doesn’t love me, so I will no longer waste time on that.

It only matters who does love me, on some level, regardless of whether marriage, friendship or bloodline is the reason for our connection.

I don’t even care if it sound like bragging. I’ve spent my entire life talking myself down and struggling to find anything positive to say about myself. So, if it is bragging, fuck it. I’ve earned it.

I am going to now cast a suspicious eye towards all my insecurities, self-loathing, shame and guilt and do an honest assessment. If I’m as awful as I think, why do such amazing and fascinating humans think I’m not? I trust their opinion on everything else- events, movies, books, foods — why not their opinion of me? Oh, right… a life time of conditioning (according to T-Pain, my therapist) leaving me with the core belief of, “I am not, and never will be, worthy.”

I have grown bored with carrying this belief around and constantly measuring myself with it. So I now choose to measure my inner beasties by the same logic I use when considering other people, rather than the much harsher scale I use for my own actions/inactions.

I’ll also be granting myself benefit of the doubt, as I do for everyone else. Hell, even those that have “wronged” me whether in person, verbally or on the ‘Net.  I pick up on things that people think I won’t, and I know more than people think. Still, I’ll be choosing my battles more carefully and only expend energy in areas that merit it.

Is it odd that it hasn’t even occurred to me before to give myself the benefit of the doubt? Regardless, I’m not wasting time on wondering why not, I’m just going to do it from now on. Now, it must become the standard. I know my motivations. They are to leave a positive imprint wherever I go. I may or may not be successful, as I am a puny human, but I must try to make things a little better for my fellow Earth-trapped neighbors.

I also choose to be more selective where I spend my time and to plan less. One of the simplest ways to gauge a relationship, after all, is if people make an effort to spend time with you. Not while they are in the midst of a crisis or busy time of their own, but besides that. Friendship is a two-way, sometime three-way (or more) street.

I am releasing myself from the burden of believing it is all on my shoulders to feed and water friendships on my own, except in extremely rare friendships (you know who you are), where I am not the only one that appears to be doing the heavy lifting. I am rich in True Friendship and will not criticize or judge those that don’t reside there. I choose to try and have fun every where I go. I want to laugh as hard and as often as possible and make deep connections with people. You do your thing, I’ll do my thing, and hey — let’s have fun when we’re together, regardless of possible past drama! Life is too short not to be snorting in laughter more than is considered Appropriate.

I choose to make no time for hate, manipulation or lies in my day. How others choose to spend their finite time on this Earth? Beyond my control, so letting it go.

I am humbly grateful for the things that led me to this today, for it is a good day to know. The path ahead appears to be mired in confusion, sadness and chaos.

Luckily, there are some people showing up to help us find our way in the dark, as we have tried to do for them in the past, so we will eventually be right as rain*.

Now, off I go to scale Mt. Laundry and clean LT’s now-empty room. (Sidebar: Boys are gross. But damned if I don’t love ’em!) Counting down to Wednesday evening, when I get to see him again for a few days before he returns to his distant home.

Today Shall Not Be Wasted. **


*Note: After typing that long used phrase, I immediately wondered what circumstance “right as rain” came from. Here’s what I found, for those interested.

**And if you are unfamiliar with the humble battle cry of heavenly hobos, I again recommend Mur Lafferty’s Afterlife Series. The quote is, I think, from book 3, called ‘Wasteland’. But you must start with the first one, I insist,  called ‘Heaven’. It has helped me embrace the Universe in a different way since the devastating loss of my mother six years ago. Plus, her phrase, “Turtle Tits” from one of the books, is in my top 5 curse word phrases.

Computer Mental

Whaddya Mean I Gotta Stop Using ‘Absorb Pain’?!


So therapy has been interesting. As I hit more and more health snags, hubby’s frustration in various areas grows stronger and I finally take on some losses and some progress on my stirred-up past, we are also surrounded by some of the most important people in our lives going through such pain, grief and turmoil as to be unbelievable.

All of this has caused many unknown Dark and Uglies to surface. Strangely and understandably given the circumstances, my City of Heroes gamer girl training kicks in, and I use the various tools available to me in the given situation to try and “heal” or “buff” the troubled person or animal. For those that never played a Defender archetype in the specific MMORPG I’m talking about, you can find the entry from the City of Heroes Wiki below my blatherings.

Essentially, one of the most powerful heals you can deliver using the empath defender powerset is “Absorb Pain.”  I played the powerset almost exclusively as a “Healer” for several years and learned through many failed Atlas Park sewer runs or missions scattered across the Hollows — that you never, ever take Absorb Pain as early as it is offered (level 2, FFS).


Unless you are well-practiced, you are just likely setting up your team for at least one complete wipe, if not countless wipes because you targeted and fired off AP on someone in trouble right before a Vahzi or street thug hit you from behind. Down you went, no longer able to keep your heals going to power the team. No buffs. Nuthin’ but “Sry guys!”  They are disastrous, confusing, hilarious team wipes, if you are lucky and have good team mates. (I was quite lucky in the team mates that we played with the most often and I learned all the most fun ways to end a battle in a cataclysmic way that left us laughing and w00t’ing long after went back for another attempt.)

This was especially true because, not surprisingly if your moniker is T-Pain (pseudonym of my therapist), I would watch everyone else’s health bars except my own. My hubby’s most frequent statement during a balls-to-the-wall battle royale? “Watch your bar, Shuro (my main’s shortened name)!” Everyone else would have full bars, but I’d be on the edge of wiping. I finally had to rearrange my entire screen layout, to ensure that my wipes were less frequent, and to prevent from negatively impacting the team.

Make no mistake, I’m a lapsed player and I have no idea if anyone even does those xp rich runs anymore. I’m sure there are better places now to muck about in my favorite way in that game. I miss the intense chaos and my pulse racing as we danced near the edge of a team wipe and Super Hero Greatness. And it was a full year at least before I risked my own health bar to vastly enrich a targeted player’s health bar. It sounded like suicide, and this was my only my second MMO. Once I finally girled up and chose Absorb Pain as a power, I never looked back and it became a game changing and favorite tool in my empath tool kit.

The point is, during therapy last week, T-Pain was trying to break through one of my core beliefs in a way that would allow me to reconstruct it in a healthier way.  As we talked, she expressed that instead of feeling bad for someone when something bad happens, I actually make myself feel their level of pain, as fully as possible. I’m not 100% convinced she’s right, but it is certainly seeming more and more likely.

Even just last night, I had to remind my immediately broken heart that the death of the grandmother of one of my best friends was not my death to grieve. This reportedly amazing woman that I never met was not my grandmother. I had to remind myself of this because I was shutting down and starting to deeply grieve the loss of a woman completely unconnected to me as if she were my own flesh and blood and lifelong source of love.

[Sidebar: I think the timing of our discovery of his grief is somewhat interesting. I had been having extremely intense feelings of loss and grief of closeness with the couple in question, so powerfully that I messaged them, trying to express that I loved them and hoped for more fun with them in the future.]

Hell, when watching Game of Thrones this season, I was beyond devastated by the death of Lommy, an inconsequential-yet-named character on the show. (Note: If that’s a spoiler, sorry. But when you read here, that may happen. Also, WTF, get caught up so you can listen to my GoT podcast, Presents – Beyond the Wall: A Game of Thrones Podcast! (Or as I like to call it, SFM.comP-BtW:AGoTP.)

Here’s the crazy lady part: My magnificent nephew has hair (when much younger) that was identical to Lommy’s. When they showed him, I would smile to myself and think of his blond curls and wonder how he’s doing. When he died, I lost my shit. This nephew, who I have always referred to as GK, is in the military and although stateside, my fears for him are not difficult to figure out. I cried and cried and cried and cried. Chooch heard me say, “They killed (GK)…”, and he said, forcefully, “That is not (GK). He is safe and fine.” I repeated that over and over until it sank into the dark corner it needed to, and then felt like a fool.

Well, when T-Pain finally made her point in a way I could process, I started laughing and said, “Holy shit. I’ve been using Absorb Pain instead of Ally Heal.”
T-Pain gave the expected puppy dog head tilt and I explained it to her quickly. She clapped her hands and said, “Yes! Exactly! That’s it!” She then leans forward in her rocking chair and says, serious as a heart attack, “Don’t do that anymore.” I cracked up, and a discussion followed on how to halt an (who knows how long) unhealthy habit.

While I’m proud of myself for catching those — a result of her making me examine every negative reaction to determine the appropriateness of my natural response –, I feel as though I short-changed the friend and the grief his family is experiencing. So in exchange for dodging possibly debilitating grief at a time when there are things in mid-air about to crash to the ground in some areas of our life, I ended up in a shame spiral. I still call it a win, because I caught and adjusted the framing of the loss. And I’ve finally worked through the shame, thanks to My Viking.

So, yeah. I’m going to burn a respec and drop Absorb Pain from my powerset, until T-Pain tells me otherwise.

And I need to see if I ever posted about my prison yard epiphany. It keeps getting proven true.

Happy July, Dear Readers!


City of Heroes, Defender Archetype

The Empathy powerset is available as a primary set for Defenders. The following table shows which powers are available and at what level:

Power Level Effect
Empathy HealingAura.png Healing Aura 1 PBAoE, Team Heal
Empathy HealOther.png Heal Other 1 Ally Heal
Empathy AbsorbPain.png Absorb Pain 2 Ally Strong Heal, Self Moderate Damage (Special)
Empathy Resurrect.png Resurrect 6 Ally Resurrect
Empathy MindWall.png Clear Mind 8 Ally Resist Disorientation, Hold, Sleep, Immobilization, Fear, Confusion, +Perception
Empathy Fortitude.png Fortitude 12 Ally +Defense (All), +Damage, +Accuracy
Empathy RecoveryAura.png Recovery Aura 18 PBAoE, Ally +Recovery
Empathy RegenerationAura.png Regeneration Aura 26 PBAoE, Ally +Regeneration
Empathy AdrenalinBoost.png Adrenaline Boost 32 Ranged, Ally +Endurance, +Regeneration, +Recharge, Resist Slow
Mental No Whining Uncategorized Vestibular Migraine

Mental Health Day

Chooch and I spent Friday night through last night purging, packing and cleaning our home in anticipation of going to closing in the next 2 weeks. The non-stop work was driven by our fear that we would cause a delay in closing due to not being finished. We worked tirelessly and through exhaustion and countless complications.

Because we are moving to a much smaller living space, we have to do an extensive, two-step purge. Step one gets the house empty, while step two gets our remaining belongings moved out of storage (where the are now) and into our new home.

We are purging as we go, but as the family archivist/museum, I have thousands of photos (not an exaggeration) to sort through and choose which will be digitized and then do so. There are also family items that I will no longer have room for and that my family does not want. Those items I will photograph before selling/donating. Since I’m bearing the time and financial brunt of this process, it is taking a long time. Progress is halted for now as we have to prep for the move.

I cannot express how hard this has been, as it is the first true purge since my divorce. Even so, I am finding boxes that I packed over 20 years ago that need their fates determined. And of course, nearly every box has a ghost or two inside, either of my Mom, grandmother, my kids or my ex-husband. Finding the hand-made calendar that documented the last month of my Mom’s life was particularly hard.

We arrived on Friday night and intended to stay until the house was done. We were approximately 8 – 10 hours away from being done with clearing out and cleaning for the buyers when we finally received a tentative closing date. Instead of the beginning of March, as we expected, it looks as if we may not go to settlement until March 31st.

That revelation sapped our momentum, as it was already 7 pm and we were going to have to work through the night and then sleep a few hours and return to NextHome in the morning. We instead took our third cargo van full of donations and final trip to storage before returning  to our future home and beloved house mates.

After some brief but intensely awesome time with Tiny Expert and Feral Dancer (our housemates’ daughters), I went for my weekly therapy session. It was a great session, and just in time. She continues to support me giving back as good as I get, meaning if I am treated poorly I do not bend over backwards in hopes of getting better treatment. I put a period and move my energies to where they will matter and be appreciated.

If I am treated lovingly, I reciprocate. Now, I continue to do acts of kindness, but have learned that some will never appreciate or reciprocate. And I am getting to where I am fine with that. I know that if that were the sole requirement for my acts, that I would have a precious few to do those for. I allow myself to feel good in doing the act, rather than in holding my breath for any type of acknowledgement from the recipient.

I find that I still have a long way to go with accepting the now long-term limitations that I have. I now acknowledge that I cannot just jump in my car and go run errands, or make plans that involve me driving, or to even be the sole adult when caring for the young and extremely intelligent and active girls I live with for extended periods of time. As a result, it doesn’t ever feel like I contribute enough to those around me, especially my husband. I feel intense guilt when I am unable to do the things that I must do, let alone the things I want to do.

At the end of my session, my therapist always asks how I’m going to be kind to myself / what am I going to do for me every day? I don’t know why I never have an answer ready, and the question always takes me by surprise. I guess that’s proof I still need to go, huh?

All I can do is to continue to work around my limitations, put one foot in front of the other and never stop trying to be a better person. And only I get to define what that means.


Hauntings Mental No Whining

WTF is up with me?

Sorry for the lack of posts here. I’m having an internal crisis of late, and am torn in different directions. I’ve been starting posts and leaving them unfinished. I’ve been writing titles that interest me, never to go back and write the post. I’ve been outright deleting posts after I start them, due to their lameness or lack of interest to even me, the writer. I respect your time too much, Dear Reader, to post anything more than mildly boring, rather than an outright snoozer.

I’ve been wondering to myself about the recent months of perplexed thoughts and actions, and have come to no conclusions. I turned 42 last year, and know that if I’m to find the answers to the great questions, I’ll have to find them myself. This has grown even more necessary recently, and I feel that I’m having to discover myself all over again. This is a surprise as I’ve already done that a few times in the last decade:

  • When my ex-husband became my ex;
  • When I finally met my soul mate and resigned myself to an ever-expanding blissful existence at his side;
  • When my Mom died;
  • When our home no longer had my children living in it.

I had thought I had all points mastered, in spite of occasional but intense bursts of sadness from the last two. But it’s possible I’m still in the midst of the identity crisis of not being a “Daily Mom.” Yes, my kids live, laugh, breathe and have experiences every day, but my role is no longer daily. I’m still haunted in our over-sized home by the silence that used to include game sounds, arguing about homework, and footsteps or music pounding from above. That is something that we have made progress on, as our next home has a combination of characters each more magnificent than the last.

Lately, I’m coming to think that it’s hormonal changes, triggered either by my weight loss and subsequent regain, or perimenopause ~ the beginnings of menopause. *tick*tock* I don’t fear that change any more than I’ve been fearful of any of life’s other mileposts. I just have to find a way to organize around it an move forward.

I have more love in my life than ever before, and am accepted for who I am by more people than ever before. And yet, I’m finding that some of my old stumbling blocks still cause me to stumble, and the old insecurities still leave a nasty mark when they come out swinging. When folks have installed our panic button, they can tap it easily and often if they so choose.

Many of these things were so private that only my husband knows about them since I keep nothing from him, no matter how gruesome. Although I’d love to share more here, I’m afraid that while I am wholly honest , I can only be so revealing. We don’t know each other that well, after all, so can you blame me?

I’m trying to rapidly sort myself out, especially as I’m letting those around me down. At least, I feel I am, but I’m told that those that really love me are never as hard on me as I am on myself. That being said there are many strange currents in my life right now, and with fewer than a dozen exceptions, I find I don’t know where it is safe to expose my heart put my trust any longer.

With all the changes occurring in my life right now, it would have been awesome to have had stability in some corner of my life. Well, I do have it and I know I’m blessed. It’s one corner of my life, but it’s a big one. There is no passive aggression, there is no negativity directed at me, there is only love and support shared from person to person. If I am to be judged harshly for finding joy and appreciating it, so be it. Just because things are hard doesn’t mean you can’t find laughter along the way. In fact, I am very sorry for you if you cannot find it when you need it most.

The focus for me now is therapy. To figure out all that is causing me to continue self-destructive behavior. To fight some lifelong demons to the ground and disarm them once and for all. To live and laugh without occasionally stop to rub my head from the weight of all the guilt and stress I feel over things I have no control over. To try and make failing relationships work with those I love and miss.

So, it’s late. And I don’t know what I’m trying to say. But, I will say goodnight now and hope that my next post makes more sense.

Oh, and see Paul, if you haven’t already. It’s freaking brilliant. Simon Pegg, Sigourney Weaver, Sci-Fi conventions, ’nuff said.

Definitions You Know Mental

Definitions You Know: Powerless

As I mentioned in my last post, I have started therapy. One common thread in the sessions to date relates to my near constant feelings of guilt. I don’t know if it is how I was raised (Catholic, middle child/diplomat), the example set by my Mom (she could fix nearly any situation or problem, if you would just shut up and listen to her) or if it is just *me*, but I feel more guilt in a day than I can count. I actually did try to count one night last week, and had four rushes of guilt in an hour. And this was just light-hearted and fun conversation, not an argument or conflict in any way. There were just things that I wanted to do for loved ones, fix for them, surprise them with, things like that. And I felt guilty because I hadn’t or was unable to make these things happen for them.

When I mentioned this to my therapist yesterday, she assigned me homework that goes against everything I understand and know.  I have to remind myself throughout the day (and every time I feel guilt) that
“I am powerless in fixing things for other people. I can not fix any person, place or situation. I can be present for them to lend support, I can do acts of kindness, I can do fund-raising and any other efforts or attempts to help. But I can not fix it.”

It is completely logical and reasonable, yet it is a string of words that may as well be in a foreign language since I am unable to truly understand and accept it and make it a part of my inner monologue. I have it written on paper and have to constantly re-read it because I can’t memorize it. It is like memorizing a speech in an alien tongue, and will take time. And it doesn’t mean DON’T try to help people. It is simply meant to be a reminder that it is not in my control how much sadness or hardship others have in their life.

I currently have a lot of guilt in not being able to fix problems for a loved one that is weighing on me heavily. I have done a lot, and more than some have told me I should. And it’s entirely due to actions of said loved one, no victim of circumstance there. I am happy to say that I am making a huge difference in a tangential issue as a result of the person’s actions. And I take joy from the impact my husband and I are making on the life of this innocent victim. But… it’s not enough. I feel compelled to fix the whole thing and have been trapped for months in a pit of uselessness and guilt because of my inability to do so. I have literally done everything I can, and it is not enough. Not for me, and not for the person that got themself into this situation. In spite of it being all I can do, I am spiritually crushed under the weight of the guilt.

So I’m going back to the dictionary to re-learn this word. It seems to be at the core of my guilt, and if not, then it is at least a great place to start.






1. unable to produce an effect: a disease against which modern medicine is virtually powerless.
2. lacking power  to act; helpless: His legs crumpled, and he was powerless to rise.
1545–55; power  + -less

Related forms
pow·er·less·ly, adverb
pow·er·less·ness, noun

1.  ineffective.
2.  feeble, impotent, prostrate, infirm.