Wednesday, December 31, 2014

a very grumpy new year's eve post

i'm just going to say it - i hate new year's eve.

i hate the coming of a new year and the looking back and reminiscing about the past year and the goal setting for the new year. i think it's stupid.

shattered - so how i feel

because to me it means the christmas season is officially over and i have to start all over again in january. i know each year i make progress but my progress is so different these days then what i had envisioned for myself as a teenager that i don't like watching it come - ever so slowly.

around age 20 (give or take a year) i decided that the best way to 'bring in' the new year was alone. my anxiety gets bad in big crowds and i don't do well with a lot of noise and commotion. maybe if i drank it would take the edge off but i don't drink - and with all the meds i'm on it's probably a really good thing.

the past few years my mom has made soup that we eat in bread bowls and then we all end up going to our rooms (except for my brother - he likes a good party) and watch netflix or a movie until we fall asleep. i didn't even feel up to being around my family this year because my legs and arms were aching and i was extremely fatigued - most likely from the periodic paralysis.

so i spent it alone, in my room, eating sushi, folding static-ie laundry, and watching the movie new year's eve, wishing deep down i had someone to kiss at midnight - though i'd probably already be asleep.

a new year means having to go on, to find answers as to why my body isn't working effectively, facing my extreme sadness over my sister, s, leaving for her mission, turning 26 and trying to figure out insurance, feeling added guilt that i probably won't be returning back to speech therapy soon and the financial stress i put on my parents, and another year of difficult anniversaries that i'm just not ready to face again. it means more pain and sadness and change.

in 2013 my counselor then said in one of our last sessions, "this is your year! i just know it - i can feel it. great things are going to happen!" a few weeks later i was so depressed i was suicidal and had to go inpatient for a few days. i quit my job as a speech therapist assistant. i moved home with my parents and sold a lot of what i had gathered to start creating my life. i was so depressed for months that i stayed in bed and slept. literally, when i think back on that time i see it in my mind as grey. i don't see colors. i was so numb. i started doing a little work as a nanny in october.

if that was my year, i sure as hell don't want to see what 'not my year' looks like.

i guess i just don't get what all the damn fuss is about. it's just another day. it comes and then it goes.

what a down-er post, huh? but i'm real - and these are my real thoughts on this new year's eve.

i'll leave with three highlights from 2014 just so i'm not as horrible a person as you might be thinking i am ;)

3 - having pictures taken with my grandpa, aunt, and cousin in kentucky; getting pics taken with my family - especially ones of me and s as she will be gone soon; and getting a professional picture of me and my dear friend, s.

2 - getting a neuro appt in december of this year instead of september of next year at ut southwestern.

1 - the birth of my two nephews and my nieces turning 2.

peace, love, happiness, and all that other shit they wish you on new year's eve.

-i'm out-

Sunday, December 28, 2014

luggage

i have been thinking a lot about the trials in my life weighing me down. my anxiety is increasing, i am having more vivid dreams at night which i don't like because it makes it hard for me to sleep, my depression is an ongoing battle to stay on top of, the pcos is rocky with ongoing tests to determine if i have it or don't (the endocrinologist isn't sure), and the thing that is most stressing me out is having daily attacks where my body is paralyzed. i have often heard the saying "god doesn't give us more than we can handle" - well the second part to that (which i read somewhere is) "apparently god thinks i'm a badass." ha.

i have felt distant from god for a time. then as i got some dr appts i needed i felt closer to him and that he was leading and guiding me. i finally felt like i saw him in my life after a long time where i couldn't see him. i know that the times when i can't see or feel god are the times when i have moved away, not him. he is always there, i'm the one who moves. it's just hard to admit when the suffering feels unrelenting.

i have mentioned in posts before that i served as a missionary for my church. my sister, s, is leaving soon to do the same thing. i have two cousins, j and c, who are serving as missionaries too. one in argentina and one in korea. c wrote a letter home last week and told a story in it that touched me deeply. i asked me aunt if i could share it and she said yes. 
"One night, we had no plans or appointments so we decided we'd visit a member and leave them a little gift. We went to their house, which is about half an hour away on the subway, and were walking home when Elder Early noticed something kind of odd. It was this very old man, hunched over this giant box at the top of a small hill. He was in front of a big apartment complex and it looked like he needed some help. As we approached, we could tell he was in pretty bad condition. He was panting heavily, more like gasping, for air. By the sound of his wheezing, it sounded like he was a life long smoker. All he could do, after we asked to help, was weakly lift his arm and point at the box, then towards the apartment complex just down the street. So we got the message. We got the box and helped him off the ground (he had collapsed to the ground at that point; the poor man couldn't even stand) and started towards the complex. It was slow going, let me tell you. Every step was a struggle for him. But step by step, we managed to make it to the door of the building. We entered and were immediately met by a steep, narrow staircase. The lights were dim so we couldn't quite make out the building's interior, but nevertheless, we continued on, hoping the man didn't live at the top of this 6 story building. We started up the stairs, realizing that this was going to require quite a bit of time and exertion on our part if we were ever going to help this man climb those stairs. Step by step, little by little, we made it to his room on the 5th floor. We knew it was his room because when he collapsed on the flight of stairs on the fifth floor, he pointed to the door and handed me a set of keys. I opened the door and found inside what I was expecting: a big huge mess. It was honestly filthy. And by the looks of things, I could tell he lived alone. About 15 mins later, we had him situated inside with his heavy box put away. Elder Early and I walked home in silence after that, pondering about what we just had experienced. I wondered to myself how many people there are in this world that live alone, in dilapidated apartments isolated from the population, seemingly forsaken by family and friends. I wondered to myself, I really did, if God knew that man. I wondered if Heavenly Father knows someone who nobody else does. I wondered if Christ knew that man also. It was then that the experience really hit me. That's how the Savior must feel with us. That man had been carrying that burden all day and was completely out of energy because of it. It was only because of us that he was able to make it home. We all have burdens in our life. The Korean word for burden is 짐. It also means luggage--I think that's appropriate. Everyone has luggage and burdens that keep them from reaching their full potential, or being happy, or doing everything we want. And we all have baggage that keeps us from returning to live with our Heavenly Father again. It's only when we are humbled enough to fall into Christ's outstretched arms and let Him help us on our way that we can overcome those burdens that spiritually weigh us down. Unlike me and my companion, Christ is there for us every step of every day. Because of His Atonement, we can have access to His help, His Enabling Grace, whenever we put forth the minimal effort necessary to obtain it. He knows us because He knows our burdens, our luggage, our weaknesses, our everything. I realized again then, just as I do now, that God knows that man in that tiny apartment. He knows Him perfectly. He loves him so much, He sent His only Begotten; the only one who could help us get rid of those burdens, that luggage. I know that God not only did that for that man, but that He did it for everyone; He did it for me. That's why I made the choice to come on a mission. To share with others that fact that Christ waits at the door; He waits with perfect patience and perfect Charity for us to come to Him and accept His Enabling Grace. He can carry us up every single step of this life that we can't climb on our own. When we realize who we are and what is ahead, we begin to realize that there isn't a stair that we can climb without Him. I've loved this Christmas time and the opportunity it's given me to share this simple fact: Christ lives. He was born, He Atoned for us, He was resurrected, and now He is continuously and anxiously engaged in the work of our Salvation. He won't quit on us; my prayer is that we never quit on Him. When you find yourself in a situation you can't seem to handle, please don't look for someone to blame; look to Him for help."

such an amazing story. i can feel the trials in my life as luggage. i feel them constantly weighing me down. everywhere i go it's as if i can see myself picking them up to take with me. they are such a huge part of my life right now, i almost don't know how to fall into the savior's out stretched arms and ask for his mighty grace to sustain me. but i know there is power in his atonement. i know he has walked my exact road. i know he understands the pain, anger, and sadness i feel each moment of every day. and i know he is my only way out of such suffering. i can have all the dbt skills in the world but it will amount to nothing if i do not have faith in my savior to do what i cannot.

i feel broken, scared, helpless. but i know the savior is the antidote to those feelings. somehow i have to dig deep and cling to my faith and find the courage to reach out to him. he is waiting with healing power.


be not afraid
by: greg olson


i love this picture.
i see myself as the girl who has fallen into the water and there is the savior, gently reaching down to lift me to safety with him.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

my bethlehem

i listened to an incredible audio recording today by al (fox) carraway. among many things she is a blogger, youtube-er, speaker, mommy, and owner of believer clothing co with her husband, ben. i think she's really amazing.

anyway - what she said in her post, wait for your 'manger,' touched me deeply and was a gentle reminder from god that i need to practice greater faith and patience in my life as i go through the trials i have been given. i hope you'll take the time to read the whole post here. it's a good read. not very long but so worth the time

one of the things al talked about was the discomfort mary must've been in during the travel to bethlehem as it probably took a few days. being 9 months pregnant and riding a donkey - ya, probably not the most comfortable thing in the world! she probably had braxton hicks and other pregnancy things i don't know about as i've never had a baby - but she kept going. i related that to me. in my trails there will be discomfort. it's up to me... do i stop and sit on the side of the road and say "i'm done" or keep going and make it to my bethlehem to see what god has in store for me.

recently my health has gone from ok in the seizure department to really not good. many events have happened in the past few weeks which i'm not ready to write about but we have learned that i in fact DO NOT have seizures and the working theory is i may have periodic paralysis.

this has felt much too heavy for me. i have little to no energy each day and severe muscle weakness with other symptoms. i have wanted to give up on this trial that god has given me. many times in my discomfort on my donkey i have not wanted to finish my trip to bethlehem. i talked to susan about what my options are and she asked me to think seriously about my commitment to life and living. she told me that i can still live a full and fulfilling life with a debilitating neuromuscular disease.

it is hard for me to accept this. but in my reasonable moments, i know her words are true. for a while i have wanted to change a large part of the world. but i guess i can be content changing my small place in the world.

many miracles have occurred and i was able to get a much needed doctor's appt yesterday instead of september of next year but i came away from it feeling afraid. that night i had 4 different friends bring me gifts. each one touched my heart and i felt such love from them. one gift in particular made me sob as i looked at the picture and read the note my sweet friend, a, had written on the back.

i feel my savior's love


i knew this was god's way of reminding me to keep going. that yes, my donkey may be uncomfortable, but my bethlehem is waiting, and he has something great and wonderful in store for me there.

this christmas season i am so thankful for the savior of the world who came as a baby into a humble manger. i'm so grateful that mary was willing to endure her donkey and make it to bethlehem and for joseph who led them with great tenderness. i love my heavenly father and am so thankful he sent his son. i know i'm not ever alone because my savior has walked the road i now travel in my life. he is the greatest gift and i love him with all of my heart.


this video brought the true spirit of christmas back into my heart.
i hope it will bring it into yours.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

a letter

around this time each year i really wish i had someone special to share it with.

i have my family and amazing friends - and i am NOT discounting that in any way, because i know there are many who don't have family and i remember a time in my life when i felt i had no friends; i felt very lonely. my life truly is blessed.

still i long for a relationship in my life. i watch as friends and cousins are getting married and starting families and i feel a tinge of sadness and envy. especially this time of year: christmas, a time of miracles and magic. i have said it once and i'll say it again, i would NEVER take away what they have. but i wish - for my own sake - that i had that someone special that they have.

i read an amazing book by my favorite author, richard paul evans, called the mistletoe promise. it was about two people finding each other and falling in love during the christmas season. i'm a sucker for those books. it was a tender and sweet story. i loved it so much i read it twice in one day. it was so so good.

for awhile now i have been writing my "future husband" letters. there are many reasons i started doing this - most too personal to share - but i think the main one was to show him that i have been trying my hardest to BE the person he will fall in love with. is it silly to love someone you've never met? maybe. but i love him. and someday when i meet him, i'll get the chance to tell him.

i wanted to share a snippet of a letter i wrote a few weeks ago.

"...i wish you were one of those miracles. i won't lie, the lord's timing is confusing and frustrating to me. i have had the recurring thought recently that i am 'damaged goods' and that no one - specifically you - whoever you are - wouldn't/won't want me. but i just cant fully convince myself that that's true. we're all damaged in some way. and we need the master healer to heal us. that's what i want more than anything - to be healed - but if i'm not healed in this life - will you walk through these trials with me? i can't say that i've been shouldering them alone - i've had family, friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, strangers, counselors, many praying for me - heavenly father and the savior. but to commit to me is to accept my past, embrace my present, and endure the future with me. are you willing to do that? i'm willing to do that for you. i often look forward to the day we meet, then fall in love and settle into life and living and creating a joyful life."

i'm hopeful that one day i'll have someone special to spend my days with. all in god's time. i'm just learning how to be patient. haven't i learned that yet?!?! (clearly from that last sentence i haven't ;)

a friend of mine and her husband have a blog with marriage advice and so much more - it's totally worth checking out : i believe in a thing called love.

and this - this commercial TOTALLY and ABSOLUTELY sums up what i hope my holiday season is like someday with my someone special. :)

cutest. commercial. ever.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

my ten dollar lesson

i'm part of an online garage sale where people post things they want to sell and you can reply if you want to buy it. on thanksgiving day a woman posted two coach purses. i LOVE coach purses. a lot. without thinking i commented "want" and was second in line to get them out of ten plus people who wanted them. 

for the next two days i was wracked with anxiety over whether or not the lady who was in front of me would pick up the purses (from my experience people can be flaky so i was counting on that) and if she didn't i was going to fly in there and snatch them up. i bugged the lady 2 times about whether or not i got them and had to (try) and practice some radical acceptance on not getting them - but finally i heard back - i got them! i was over to her house within the hour with seventy dollars and claimed my prizes!

i got in the car and was showing my sister b and was looking the purses over - one had a pretty bad stain on in but i talked myself out of thinking it was a big deal (which really it kinda was) - and happily took my purses home. i showed my sister s and my dad (who was impressed as i wanted him to be :) and then i put them up in my closet. and there they stayed for the next 8 days. i didn't look at them again. i didn't take them out and use them. i didn't want them. it's like, i had won and it was over.

 
 
i don't want to be dramatic but i really can't remember a time before when i have ever acted this way - so greedy. i decided that i truly needed the money more than i needed the purses and that i had 3 coach purses in almost brand new condition in my closet that i'm not using that i can use (which are mine) when i want to and my friend, c, just gave me a new grace adele purse for christmas that i love, so i really didn't need more purses, so i should sell the purses and get my money back.

i did sell them but was talked down to sixty dollars by a desperate sounding man who said "please help me" and i thought " 'tis the season" so i swallowed my pride and took the money. it was another anxiety provoking experience as i went back and forth with him, settled on the amount, figured out a meeting place, etc. anxiety - my forever enemy/buddy.

as i was putting ornaments on the tree last night a gentle thought crossed my mind, which is the whole point of this story: people - not things - give my life purpose.

i felt only a moment of joy holding those coach purses. 

but relationships, those are something i cling to in my darkest - and brightest - hours. 





susan tells my often that i'm not crazy. so i'm not crazy when i say that sometimes my family drives me crazy. i think that's normal. but i crave the family craziness around the holidays. i can't imagine not being with them. it breaks my heart to think of not being with them. and it doesn't matter that next year or in two years we'll be back together; i want to be together this year.

right before i went into the hospital 21 months ago i could only think of 5 people who would come to my funeral - none of them were family members, one was the wife of my then counselor but a stranger to me, two were friends, and the last one i can't remember - maybe the funeral director?? i was in a bad, bad place. depression shuts down your world and puts blinders on you. that's how i saw the world. it was awful.


since then i've been sending out yearly christmas cards and this year i sent out 75 with still more people i could've sent some to. that's incredible to me! that i have 75 people in my life who i know care about me - actually probably more - is stunning. my world is so different than it was what does and doesn't feel like yesterday.

i love the movie "the grinch." there's a line in there that cindy loo-who's dad says after they wake up on christmas morning to find the grinch has taken all of their christmas presents: i don't need anything more than this right here: my family.

i feel that way too - plus friends :)


i'm a very blessed girl.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

there's so much to be thankful for

i love the josh groban song, thankful.



i can't believe it's november!

how time is flying by.

i wanted to do the 30 days of gratitude like i did last year. it was a good experience for me to express gratitude every day for the blessings in my life.

1 - today i am grateful for my sister, s, and her decision to serve a mission for the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints.

2 - today i am grateful that my brother said, "i love you."

3 - today i am grateful for an understanding counselor and the ability i have to make repairs.

4 - today i am grateful for the rain.

5 -  today i am grateful for stephen amell because he is seriously hot!

6 - today i am grateful for the girls i babysit and that they make me smile.

7 - today i am grateful my sister and mom drive me when i am not feeling well.

8 - today i am grateful i got to go to lunch with my dad.

9 - today i am grateful that i got to go to church.

10 - today i am grateful for susan and that she gives me the time in therapy i need to talk and work things out.

11 - today i am grateful that c sent me a video of e wanting to "go see rachel now!" made me so happy that she loves me and misses me.

12 - today i am grateful that dad helped me set up my little christmas tree!

13 - today i am grateful that c, e, and i came and visited me!

14 - today i am grateful that i got to watch thor with my aunts.

15 - today i am grateful that i got to sit and talk with my aunts on the couch.

16 - today i am grateful for prayer.

17 - today i am grateful for insurance and that i can get the medical treatment i need.

18 - today i am grateful it is not 4 years ago.

19 - today i am grateful s caught me when i fell during a drop attack seizure.

20 - today i am grateful that i got a new grinch shirt.

21 - today i am grateful i got to go to one of the girl's i nanny surprise birthday party - she has some extra needs and was so touched by the surprise that she cried :)

22 - today i am grateful i had the energy to run errands and finish some christmas shopping.

23 -  today i am grateful i got to go to church.

24 - today i am grateful for the peace that can come from a good cry.

25 - today i am sooo grateful for my sister!

26 -  today i am grateful for pizza!

27 - today i am grateful for friends that surround our thanksgiving table.

28 - today i am grateful that i got to go out to eat with my family, twice.

29 - today i am grateful for my mom and that it's her birthday :) 

30 - today i am grateful for music and that i can sing along as loud as i want in the car.

in all things, there is much to be grateful for.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

would you know the day?

"if you could erase just one day from your life, would you know the day?"

i read this question in the book the mistletoe promise (which is SO good and written by my favorite author, richard paul evans) and took the question to heart.

do i know the day i would erase from my life if i had the chance?

the answer is yes.

it's not the day mamaw died.

it's not the day i checked myself into inpatient.

it's not my first day of college as a 15 year old with huge amounts of anxiety.

it's not the day i self injured for the first time.

it's not the day i went to counseling with my first counselor.

it's not the day i 'went out' with a boy who i dated for a few weeks and then got dumped.

the day i would erase from my life if i could is november 10 2010, the day i had my first seizure.

in another world, if this day didn't occur, i would've been able to finish my 18 month mission, return in october of 2011. i wouldn't have experienced depression or anxiety to the extremes which i have over the past 4 years. i would've returned to work or graduate school in january of 2012. in six months to a year i would have met someone and started dating, then married him. and this christmas i would be a wife, mother, worker, and home maker. all because i didn't have a seizure.

but because i live in a world that is reality based, i did have a seizure. my world was blown wide open. my anxiety reached levels i had never before experienced. i went through two major depressions and was hospitalized. i was set on a path of not just 'getting by' but healing. 

if i'm really honest with myself, and really believe what drs and counselors have said, i was going to go through the experiences in my life no matter where i was (ie: go through the depressions, experience the anxiety at those levels, have the seizures, get pcos, etc). i am thankful that i don't have to worry about feeding a baby three times a day and taking care of him all night and that i don't have to consider a husband's needs before my own during this time in my life that is very self-centered.

am i lonely, ya. do i hate the seizures, ya. but i'm a romantic at heart. i can't help but think that someday someone will come and sweep me off my feet and will see how truly good and loving and caring and compassionate i am because of the depth of my suffering. i know many, many have suffered more than i have. but that does not negate or invalidate my suffering. my suffering is sufficient and then some to turn me to god. and to me, isn't that its purpose?

i have had the sad recurring thought - you're damaged goods. but i know that is not from god. i know that is not enlightened thinking. we're all damaged in one way or another and need the master healer. i pray that he will heal me, but until that time i have hope that he keeps me safe. i am loved by many - prayed for by many. and one day someone special will love me for all that i am and for all that i can be.

christmas is a season of hope, love and miracles.


this video really helped me when i was feeling down.
"the greater our sorrow is the greater our capacity is to feel joy"
"the refiner's fire is real..."

Friday, November 21, 2014

anger-fear-sadness

this is where i am tonight.
i have three powerful emotions running through me.
i will explain them below in dbt terms.

anger - losing power, not having things turn out as expected, being in physical pain; believing that things should be different than they are, ruminating about the event that set off the anger in the first place; muscles tightening, teeth clamping, being unable to stop tears, wanting to hurt someone (self); frowning, crying; narrow attention, attending only to the situation making you angry, imagining future situations that will make you angry, dissociative experience.

fear - having your health threatened, being in the same situation where you have gotten hurt in the past, flashbacks; believing you will not get the help you want or need, believing you are losing a sense of control, believing you are incompetent and are losing mastery; fast heartbeat, lump in throat, muscles cramping, clenching teeth, feeling nauseous, butterflies in stomach; frozen stare, crying; narrow attention, losing ability to focus.

sadness - things are not what you expected or wanted, things being worse than you expected, getting what you don't want, not getting what you believe you need in life, discovering that you are powerless or helpless; believing that you will not get what you want or need in your life, seeing your life as hopeless, believing that you are worthless; feeling tired or low in energy, feeling lethargic, giving up, frowning, posture lumping, crying; feeling irritable, blaming or criticizing yourself, ruminating about sad events in the past.

i could just sit here, starring at page through my tears for hours. i think this is the first time i'm at a loss for how to say what i'm feeling. i want to be healed. so badly. each day i face dizziness, whirling sensations inside not my head but my brain - yes, those are two different locations, drifting inside and outside my body, standing one second the next flat one my face with no warning, heavy brain feelings deep in the core of my brain, heavy numb limbs that feel detached from me, eyes that blur and cross during seizures, a body that cramps and ticks and jerks, a neck that can't hold itself up when i'm in a seizure. and i carry this drop sensation - this heavy - dizzy - whirling - sensation with me 60-70% of my day. 

 48 hr eeg 11/17/14-11/19/14

this is when i wonder how life can be worth living even when it's hard.

this is when i wonder how i can go on.

this is when i wonder what my purpose here is.

how can i do any good if i sleep for 12 hours work for 2-4 have seizures for 2 and watch tv/sit on the couch and stare into space feeling awful the rest?

i'm a waste of space and flesh.

is this really what god planned for me? is this really where he wanted me? why?

tonight, i just can't.

Friday, November 14, 2014

to s

*these are pieces of a letter i just wrote to s followed by a poem*
 
i haven't had a seizure today - which has been a nice break. i did sleep until 2 and it is 11 - but still that's a pretty long time to go without one.
4 years ago 4 days ago i had my first seizure. my life has been altered since that day. when i was in a seizure yesterday my sister s was holding my hand and then she left to go shower and dad came over and held my hand until i got out of it. he was so somber and serious. i couldn't get him to lighten up. i hate when people take things so seriously. i mean i want them to take it seriously but sometimes it's hard. i think i've told you that in my church we can get blessings. i have been given many blessings that have said i will be healed from the things that now afflict my body and mind. dad said something last night that just idk made me sad. he said 'how long have you been sick? 4 years and you're still not healed? it's not that i'm loosing faith, i just don't understand.' and that's just it. i don't understand either. why haven't i been healed? what is it about my faith or my diligence or the timeline that hasn't been right? i don't understand. i got a blessing just two weeks ago that said i will look back at this time in my life - and to me that meant this month, november - and see miracles. well, when? in a month? in 6 months? in 5 years? in 30 years? what is god waiting for?
it is moments like these that i have two mental paths i can choose to go down : my life is worth living even with a seizure disorder even if i am never healed in this life time AND my life is not worth living if i have to do it with a seizure disorder.
seizures will continue and holidays will be here, and i just have to make the most of this time of year because i love it and don't want to let this time of year pass me by. i don't have a choice but to go on. death isn't an option. it was 20 months ago.

i feel so stupid. you have often said i am smart. i don't feel smart anymore. i feel dumb - stupid. i'm clever, witty and wise but not smart. i don't have any smarts left in me.


~~~

my seizures

i see blurry
i see double
i see out of focus
i feel nauseous
i feel anxious
i feel tired
head goes limp
arms go limp
legs go limp
heavy sensation
floating sensation
distorted sensation
muscles twitch
shoulders jerk
body startles
dizzy
lightheaded
drop
i can blink
i can swallow
i can breathe
looks like i'm sleeping
possibly praying
inside i'm weeping

Friday, November 7, 2014

a month of anniversaries

november is a month of anniversaries for me.

hard anniversaries.

as i grow older i am learning that not all anniversaries celebrate happy occasions.

the 10th is when i had my first seizure on my mission.

the 18th is when i returned home early from my mission.

both course changers in my life.

and today, the 7th, one year ago, is when b and i were hit by a drunk driver at 10:45 in the morning.

another course changer.

because if we hadn't gotten hit by that drunk driver i never would've been admitted to the hospital that day and i never would've had severe lower abdominal pain resulting in a cat scan where a large cyst on my right ovary showed up which the er dr suggested i follow up on. in my fear i put it off until other events (missed cycles, weight gain and acne) caused me to sit in my wise mind and decide to go see an obgyn. in march i was diagnosed with pcos which has been another course changer.

fear has been a primary emotion in dealing with this diagnosis. some anger. i was so sick for 6 weeks while trying to get on a good medication. now here in november again i am not satisfied with 'progress' i have made and so i saw an endocrinologist who is doing more detailed testing. fear once again rises - as does a sliver of hope - as i face many blood and other tests. what does my future hold, i wonder, and will there be answers?

as i rewind in my mind to that day one year ago today i think of the many blessings. the clearest being, i was not driving. i had three seizures and it would've been a legal nightmare if i had been behind the wheel when he hit us and i then had a seizure. people immediately stopped and helped us. i remember in particular a good man who took care of the drunk guy making sure he didn't get away because yes he did try to leave the scene and two angel women who one took care of me and one took care of b. i also remember a calm police officer who took matters into hand and got the situation figured out quickly once there. the paramedics were great too but bossy. neither b nor i were seriously hurt. sore for a few days - i mean really sore - but not really hurt. such a blessing. and the outpouring of love from our friends was huge.


    
there was also something more - something deeper - that i learned from this. i have been very open on here about my time in inpatient due to wanting to end my life. without getting into too many specifics because i don't want to trigger anyone who may be struggling and looking to this for help, a recurring thought i would have during this time would be to cause a car accident. later - after my time in inpatient was over - i learned that daydreaming about causing a car accident was an unhealthy way that i dealt with stress and anxiety. it was something susan and i worked on. beginning a few weeks before the accident i had started daydreaming again about being in a car accident. i knew this wasn't ok but was in a lot of distress and wanted a way to escape my feelings. as susan and i later discussed the events of the accident we came to the same conclusion: god did not cause the car accident, but he allowed it to let me see that it is not really what i wanted because after being in that accident it scared me so badly that i became more grateful for my life, my health, and the progress i had made.

i wish i could say that since then i have never daydreamed about being in a car accident. that wouldn't be true. but every time i start to go down that path, i stop, and remember the awful impact of his truck hitting our car, the screeching of the tires, the metal on metal sound, the smells, the screaming, the seizures, the panic, the smoke, the tears, the fear, the yelling, and the pain. that is not part of my life worth living.

for months i was not able to drive past the scene of the accident and i was angry at the drunk driver. i wanted him to go to jail and be punished. when i finally did drive by my anger rose and rose and i had to do a lot of work on it in therapy. today, coincidentally, mom drove me past the scene and i felt nothing but tired. i didn't feel anger, fear, or resentment. it's a fact. it happened. it's in the past. i guess i see it as water under the bridge and i have learned what i needed to learn from it.


in all things there is much to be grateful for.








Tuesday, November 4, 2014

my mom

my mom has often told me the story of when i was 3 or 4 and was following her around the house, staying right under foot, doing everything she was doing. in exasperation she finally turned to me and said, "rachel, what are you doing?!" "mommy," i said, "i'm watching you so i'll know how to be a mommy when i grow up."

and that's honestly what i've always wanted to be: a mommy.


my mom has done - and continues to do - so much for me that in this month of gratitude (and her birthday month :) i thought i'd do another dedicated post and write 10 ways my mom has made my life worth living.

1 - when i was on my mission having seizures, my compaion and i were told to stay in our apartment while they tried to figure out what to do with me. we got a call one day and when i looked down at the phone and recognized the number as my home phone number i knew the voice on the other end of that line would be my mom's. it was. warm, familiar, and comforting, it brought tears to my eyes, as i hadn't heard her voice in 6 1/2 months. though the circumstances weren't ideal, i was grateful to hear her.

2 - after going to the hospital last year, the only person i wanted to see once that door locked and i was permanently stuck in there was my mom. i was lonely, i was scared, i was afraid, and i was depressed. a perfect cocktail for a mother's love. it was her i wanted because i knew she could make things better.

3 - mom worked tirelessly on the phone making calls to get me in to see a dbt therapist while i was doing intensive outpatient treatment at the hospital. she got insurance to work and did all the behind the scenes stuff that i wouldn't have done because i was not in a good place. she did what i couldn't. this has been the pattern in many instances in my life, where she teaches me and shows me what to do while i am learning.

4 - i had to move out of my apartment, but i was - my words - depressed mush. so it was mom who did all the packing and coordinating and moving while i basically stayed in my room, slept, and cried. those were dark days for me. she made my heavy burden lighter.

5 - in the early days of my treatment - and still now, but especially then - i didn't sleep well. every night she left my room with the invitation to come get her whenever if i couldn't sleep. i knew she was just a walk down the hallway away. 


6 - when the seizures started acting up - and now since they have been acting up - she made sure i got to all my dr and therapy appointments. that's no small thing! driving me all around different towns every day, changing her schedule to accommodate mine. it was and is a sacrifice of love that she willingly makes to make sure i get the help i need.

7 - every night she makes a home made dinner - she even takes requests! i love coming home to the smell of food and a warm kitchen. it makes the house feel homey.

8 - i can always count on her to come and get me if i don't feel well. just last week i was at a friend's house and left but decided to pull over because i was having seizure auras. she dropped everything and came and got me with no questions asked. that's true love. 

9 - mom totally gets my jokes! not everyone gets my delightful sense of humor but when mom and i get going there's no stopping us! we can laugh and laugh and laugh about something for a long time and i have had some of the best times sitting on the couch, late at night, laughing about an embarrassing situation with her.

10 - she always wants to talk and listen. she has let me know time and time again that i am important to her. if she's in the middle of something and i want to talk, she stops what she's doing so she can listen.


my mom makes my life worth living.
she has for 25 years.
i'm grateful she's in my life.
she's a blessing to me.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

a phone call to heaven

**ring ring** **ring ring** **ring ring**

hello?

hi, mamaw, it's me, rachel.

hi, rachel! how are you, sweetheart?

ah, mamaw, i'm not so good today. i really miss you and i just needed to hear your voice.

tell me, what's going on?

mamaw, i've been having more seizures and i can't figure out why. i feel tired and drowsy all the time. having seizures is such a lonely and isolating feeling.

you know i'm praying for you, right? 


yes and i'm so grateful for that. i can feel the difference it makes in my life.

what can i do for you?

i don't know, mamaw. i wish you were here. i wish i could come visit you.

i wish you could too. you know i try to come visit you as much as i can in your dreams. i came just a few weeks ago and we talked about your life. you were doing better then. 

ya, i remember. you should come see me again. i miss your beautiful face and loving hands. i miss rocking on the front porch swing with you and sitting by your reclining chair inside. i miss going to the dirt races with you.


i miss doing those things with you too. you know i'm ok, right?

i know.

i'm safe and happy and watch over you each day. i love you so much. 

i love you too, mamaw. thanks for talking with me. bye.

bye, rachel.

**dial tone**