Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Feeling Powerless

This morning, after 3 days of feeling ill, sleeping, & trying to meditate the muscle spasms away, I started to think about how powerless I felt. When my nerves to my legs get fired up and my legs don’t co-operate, I really feel powerless. People assume I am busy when I don’t call, post something on fb or appear at church… I suppose I am… I hibernate during flare-ups while at the same time wishing someone would come over, bring a meal for me, go to the store for me, or take the trash to the dumpster for me.

Now that I have a new computer and internet (thank you so much Roland), I have a new outlet to vent on and look for support. When I manage to come up for ‘air’, and the internet is working, I go googling. Some people go snorkeling. Google is incredible… you can ask it any question you can think of and answers will show up.

Yesterday or the day before I began to google information on Spondylolisthesis… (Which comes first? the pain or the retrovirus kind of thing). I came across a site that explained ‘Muscle Balance Exercises’ (which costs $-almost everything on the internet does). It wasn’t another vitamin or medication or medical treatment. I asked my chiropractor his opinion and he even decided to purchase the program so when it comes in, I can learn some new exercises to try. If they work, I'll post the link on my blog.

This morning I began to use one of my latest learned skills to connect my feeling of being powerless to other events in my life… hoping that if I do this enough times, the events will lose their intensity and their effect on my well-being. When I was a child, I wasn’t allowed to speak my mind if I disagreed… I was afraid of making my father angry (he could lose his temper and slug me)… I went limp when a date or boyfriend forced himself upon me… I agreed to an abortion I did not want to have. Add to that all the illnesses and physical conditions that came with this body I was born into and my limited decision-making skills plus feeling invalidated because no one I knew could relate to what I was going through. I went Googling again.

This morning, I googled ‘feeling powerless in chronic illness’ and came across multiple websites on the topic. Oriah Mountain Dreamer described her experience while attending a self-defense workshop. Her story could just as well have been my own so I didn't have to re-write it. I will need to study what she wrote some more so I can integrate it more fully into my life. She has been my mentor for self-acceptance.

Then I found a piece called “Life Without Depression”  and focused, again, on the words about self-acceptance. I also found a new mentor, Sandy Robinson . She already wrote everything I could possibly write about how I am feeling today so I got a huge dose of validation.

I recalled a comical site that was posted on my fb page about what Moses would have done if he had a laptop and facebook  I could relate. In the midst of life's challenges of every kind, I google, email, write, and work out solutions... at least until the next storm blows in.

While I have not fully recovered from this recent flare-up, at least I have my sense of humor back.   

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I used to only talk to two kinds of people: ones who were strong and healthy, who could not relate in any way to what I was dealing with, and ones who were not dealing and were feeling as hopeless as I was. I didn’t know there was another category until recently… ones who have been afflicted their entire lives, sometimes from birth, and were living positive, happy, constructive lives.

This past week, I’ve been dealing with a flareup. One person I talked to advised me that if doing a load of laundry (elsewhere-don’t have a washer/dryer) feels overwhelming, take one shirt out the door. If I can handle one shirt, get a second shirt, etc. Seems counterproductive, but the concept hit home. If I can take one step, I can take another step. Just focus on the next task and get through one task at a time.

A second person I talked to told me about a skill she had learned when she was getting counseling for  her depression.  Every morning, think of 5 positive things and write them down. Last night, in the midst of hurting all over and still feeling sick with flu-like symptoms, I found a whole page of positive things I can be thankful for:  I am still breathing (did you ever see the movie “Still Breathing”?). My heart is still pumping blood throughout my body. I still have my original knees and hips. My skin is healthy. My organs are healthy. I can hear music and birds sing. I can feel the things that I touch. I still believe in possibilities. I still trust God to deliver me. I know I’ll have days when I feel good (past history proves this). I know God will continue to bring me miracles when I need them (past history proves this). God doesn’t give me any more than I can handle and gives me the strength to handle what I have (past history proves this).  I keep looking at the websites and blogs done by others who are making it in life despite chronic illness and limited abilities … I decided that I can, too.

In regards to the idea of having to move, I remembered the miraculous Exodus’ that God provided to me in the past… such as the one that brought me out to Texas. God told me when to start packing. Months later, I was given a date to leave. When that time came, help was available to pack up my pickup truck with the essentials (I only took what fit in the truck including one of 4 cats. Somehow I had the strength to drive for 3 days (2 nights at motels). When the wheelchair lift fell down (was welded on), it happened near a town where the right person was available to fix it for me. I made it out here.

When the time is right, another Exodus will come. Right now I may be wandering in the deserts of life, but anytime soon, an oasis will appear. Meanwhile, since my legs are not feeling very strong, I will take one step at a time instead of looking out across a vast desert and feeling like I’ll never cross it.
I may not be able to go out walking, but I can still BREATHE. I will try to learn a new skill at home in my bed … basic beginning Yoga which is one step further than meditation. Breathing will most likely bring my body back to life and at some point, I’ll be able to get out my door again. I still have food in my refrigerator, a comfortable place to sleep, beautiful music to listen to, the birds are singing outside…. I got through yesterday, I can get through today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Broken People

I recently heard on the radio (K-LOVE) and read on a website that God uses broken people to administer to others.

I first became aware that God had bigger plans for me in 1995 when Santa Claus (or an angel) came to me in a dream and told me I had everything I would ever need in life the night I found out my 1st husband had changed the lock on our storage space and I couldn’t get in to get my son’s & my things after we had split up. I rebuilt my life again and we did eventually get our things back.

In 2008, I experienced another mystical experience one morning just before a car accident. I saw 2 “etheric” beings when I was leaving Walmart. (They were not solid like human beings. I had seen these same 2 guides (angels?) years before in a spiritual class to learn how to stop being empathic so I recognized them. On my way home, I took my eyes off the winding road to catch the tote bag on the passenger seat that spilled over. My truck ended up in the ditch. A block of time disappeared between grabbing the bag and ending up in the ditch. One moment I was in a state of despair, the next I felt like God had just told me everything in my life will be OK. I believe those beings wrapped themselves around me to keep me from getting hurt as I did not have a single bruise or scratch and a block of memory was gone. Maybe they even took me out of the truck. I have accute memories of every second in other auto accidents, but not this one. All I felt was a gentle tap as my left shoulder touched the window then every loose item inside came flying at me. The truck was totaled. This was significant because I had been tripping and slipping a lot on the farm where I was living at the time and each time I was injured.

Last July (2010), I heard a voice in my head tell me to go to a Laundromat when I didn’t have to do my own laundry. I met a woman who turned out to be a counselor. After talking to her, I took a leap of faith and stopped taking 11 medications cold turkey. On the 7th day, the withdrawal process was complete. I felt like the Holy Spirit got in, cured me of all my afflictions, and filled me up with a purpose.

Two months later the afflictions came back, along with the side affects of being on anti-depressants, Klonopin, muscle relaxers and pain meds for 15 years. (See blog entry of March 15, 2011)

I have realized that I have survived everything that I was afflicted with. Once again, God has picked me up, brushed me off, and sent me out into the world again, forcing me to grow and evolve. This time, life involves other people.

Some days I have to curl up and stay in bed. Some days I am dormant. Then there are days when I feel adrenaline rushes and feel compelled to go to a specific store or other location at a specific time where all the people I need to talk "just happened" to decide to go at the same time. Or the perfect website will mysteriously appear on my computer screen.

Life is a journey, not a destination. I want to talk to people who have lived long journeys to know what it’s been like for them. I want to stop isolating myself.

Perhaps broken people fall, split into hundreds of pieces so that God can re-assemble them into a new jigsaw puzzle of His creation. After all, God is the creator that brought us into existence to begin with. What does God want to create through me?

For many years I felt helpless and alone. No one seemed to understand me or what I was going through. I searched endlessly for meaning in every aspect of my life, while others were just living and doing. Perhaps I have always been clinically depressed most of the time. More recently, I’ve felt like I am on a non-stop rollercoaster on “Groundhog Day”.

I desire to learn how to find peace in the simple things in life. I don’t like living alone but I need to be alone. When illness and muscle pain flare up, I start to feel helpless and overwhelmed. I know better than to try to figure things out or make changes when I am completely exhausted, and I am trying to break this pattern.

I’ve already moved 41 times since leaving home, so my first reaction is that I need to move again. My tendency is to run away (move) every time my life feels stressful or uncomfortable. Then I feel overwhelmed by the thought of moving. Recently I talked to 3 other women who also have FMS & CFS who have done the same thing. They couldn’t deal with any stress so they up and moved (out of relationships, marriages, misc. living situations, etc.). It’s not just me.

I thought owning a motor home would be a good solution… that when I needed to move, I could move my house. This motor home turned out not to be the solution I thought it would be. It is 27 years old and it would require repairs and much work (along with gas) to get it mobile, not to mention all the packing I would still have to do because I am attached to my nic nacs, books, & projects.

Once again, I must let go and let GOD. I must return to BELIEVING the way I believed 15 years ago when I wrote 'Appearances.'

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Off to the Races

After I stopped taking antidepressants, Klonopin, muscle relaxers, & Hydrocodone cold-turkey (after 15 years), my mind and body went into hyper mode which included two months of euphoria. When the ephoria subsided, my mind started collecting every negative thought I ever thought and sending me crashing into anxiety attacks and tears. If I had indeed “fractured” from all life’s traumas, each of these “personalities” started to fight with each other… and I definitely thought I would lose my mind. However, maybe it would have been a blessing if my mind did get lost for a while.

The opportunity presented itself for a lot of healing. For months, trauma after trauma surfaced… some in gentle waves and some like cyclones. One of my sisters began her training as a Life Coach and I let her use my situation to do her homework assignments. I also participated in a weekly discussion group on the topic of life cycles. Another ingredient was reading a lot of books written by other people who had gone through similar progression from dysfunction to fully functioning people. I found motivational speakers on Facebook, and I am re-learning to express myself with a new vocabulary.

I believe I completed years worth of work in merely six months, but life is a journey, not a destination and, apparently, I am on a very complex one.

I came up with a way to deal with the racing mind thing. I divided my life into several college type classes such as Psychology, Philosophy, Religion, Natural Medicine, Outdoor Living (you get the idea). I trained myself to focus on one “class” at a time. It is not a good idea to be everywhere else but your car when you are driving.

Today is a new day and I live one day at a time. I got through yesterday, I can get through today. No matter how bad it seems, it’s temporary.