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


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
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**


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**