Archive for the Semi-confessional Category

Aggravating my condition

I have asthma. I’ve probably had it my whole life, but wasn’t diagnosed until I was 29 and even then not officially until I was 30. That was also the first time I heard a doctor say “Oh my God!” during an examination of me. The official diagnosis that is when she listened to my lungs and immediately put me on the mist. Then she allergy tested me. Then she referred me to an allergy specialist who submitted me to the medical board to determine whether or not I was medically fit to remain in the Air Force. I was hoping to get the boot, but alas, I was only put on profile restricting me to stateside assignments only. That also meant I couldn’t deploy which I was ok with, but that played a big factor in my decision to get out when my time was up.

When I was allergy tested, I tested positive (very positive) to 5 of the 8 molds used. The doctor went over the results with me ending with, “I don’t remember which of those 5 are outdoor and which are indoor, but both are covered and as long as you live in England, you are screwed.” That explained the foxhole incident when I was in mob school. I was given enough medication to survive without constant wheezing, and even got to the point by the last couple years there that I rarely needed albuteral because I was rarely having attacks. But harvest season was a whole different ball game. Harvesting killed me. Despite the daily steroid inhaler and the addition of allegra, I would be hitting the albuteral every couple of hours. Harvesting kicked up enough stuff into the air to aggravate my condition.

I have several conditions that get aggravated. The one that gets aggravated the most I think is my self-centeredness. Being honest with myself aggravates it even more than other people do, and other people aggravate it a lot. I mean, really. Other people just will not do what I want, when I want, and the way I want. The nerve. ;) Being honest with myself aggravates my condition by showing me how self-destructive my self-centeredness is. Particularly when my self-centeredness is feeding off of self-pity.

I think self-pity might be my drug of choice. It hurts to the point that I can’t take the pain, and so then I have to numb it with something. But my off button doesn’t work, so that my self-medication is just as destructive. It aggravates my condition. But it is familiar, and there is comfort in familiarity no matter how insane it is.

“I’m not crazy…”

“I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years.”

You know you have reached a new level when your therapist’s eyes get real big, her mouth drops open, and she says, “Oh my God!” For once I had the migraine BEFORE I had the appointment with her. It’s usually after. Because that’s where everything gets brought out and processed rather than putting stuff away for later or never. It’s draining.

I decided that one more incident may land me in a psych ward. Seriously, there is just too much. My sponsor got a middle of the day crazy call from me, and I couldn’t even articulate what I was really feeling. But I was freaking out. Turns out it was a panic attack, but it was unlike my normal panic attacks. And I was a far cry from being able to process what I am able to reason out when I have some sense of mental stability.

There was crazy all right. A bazillion frantic “What am I going to about X, but then what about Y, and there just isn’t enough time for Z, but I have to do them all?!” Prayer wasn’t working. Meditation wasn’t working. Saying “Crisco’ll do you proud every time,” every time I passed a Crisco for US House sign wasn’t helping.

So it was call my sponsor or let the crazy keep building unabated and walk into work like that. Granted when I did get to work, one of the trainers asked me if I needed a hug. I wasn’t ok when I got there. I wasn’t ok when I left, but I did what my sponsor said and it helped.

I suspect that my body is addicted to adrenaline. That would explain why after a time of really high stress, I am plagued with panic attacks. Also it would explain the depression that follows the panic attacks which is yet to come. But I can’t say adrenaline is my drug of choice. Because it never has been.

Thanks for letting me share. Enjoy some Clairee and Ouiser.

Play on

If music be the food of love, play on;

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 1602

I was reading someone’s blog recently, and not only do I not remember whose blog it was, I don’t remember when. Could have been yesterday or several days ago. Anyway, the writer had a list of tips for bloggers, and one was write about what your passion is. Or something like that. That’s too broad of an area for me to niche. I may just be too ADHD. ;)

One Friday evening 2 or 3 weeks ago, James was sick and we were hungry, but I didn’t want to cook, and so I went to Lowes Food. As I was checking out, the young lady ringing me up asked, “Don’t you sing at New Hope?” She’s a New Hoper too, turns out, and I am slowly but surely losing the anonymity I used to enjoy in Sanford due to not knowing very many people. But, alas, I’ve made it. I’m a rock star. :cool: Of course, I’m not really, but it’s actually better because it isn’t about me.

I was in Food Lion the other night, and walked through the store singing along with whatever song was playing. I have no idea what it was, but it is just kind of funny to me that I feel comfortable enough to sing out loud (albeit softly) in a store. And without my kids. Even though I don’t remember the song, I remember just hearing it made me feel good. I’m sure it was from the 80′s. Did this yesterday at Food Lion also, and at one point even felt the need to apologize to the gentleman within earshot. ;)

A few mornings ago I was listening to the songs that were scheduled for the following Sunday on the way into work because I was on the schedule, and, oh, by the way, that was the closest I had come that week to practicing. One of the songs was a newer song containing an older hymn, Just as I Am. Since I knew the hymn portion, I was practicing the harmony vocals when just out of the blue, meltdown. 2 blocks from the front gate. Really? I didn’t melt down during any of the services that day, so it was all good. I did, however, have waaaayyyy too much coffee that morning resulting in my Beavis Cornholio impression for which I quickly apologized due to the inappropriateness of quoting Beavis & Butthead at church. I think they found that more humorous. I was off the chain.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I have always loved music and all kinds. Now, one of my goals for this year was to get a sponsor. I have one now, and Friday she told me to take some time over this weekend for myself just to relax. Well, who has time to relax when you are the only one with a driver’s license, and shopping needs to be done? I made the time. First of all, I shopped alone. This meant I was alone in the car for most of my running around which meant I could play Fleetwood Mac loudly and sing along just as loudly as I wanted. And I did it with the sunroof wide open. It was fabulous. Later at home, I sat on the front porch journaling and instagramming until sundown.

Music has a way of lifting my spirit when I’m feeling down. I can hear certain songs that will put a smile on my face no matter how down I feel. I can listen to certain genres and relax, which is why I often listen to classical when I am driving to and from work, and even sometimes at work. These are things I need to remember when I get into a funk or worry cycle, and then just listen to the music.


Facing Fear, 2

I was listening to the radio one morning back in December, and by radio I mean SiriusXM. I reached the point where there is just so many times per day I can listen to Sleigh Ride by the Ronettes, and if I never hear that Christmas song by John & Yoko I would be fine. Anyway, I gave up on the Christmas stations, and went through my usuals, and ended up on 80′s on 8 which I am sure is a complete shock to anyone who knows me. Granted, I did spend a few more seconds on 70s than normal listening to Truckin’ by The Grateful Dead and wondering (again) what is the appeal to the Dead. Just like Pink Floyd. Anyway, Van Halen was playing on the 80s, and more specifically, Van Hagar. And I thought to myself, “You know, as much as I hate to admit it, I like Van Hagar better than classic Van Halen.” Even though I am such a non-fan of Sammy Hagar. I resolved to go public with that, and those stakes got upped even higher in the office that morning over Nelson. Yes, I was a fan, and still listen to them from time to time.

What does that have to do with anything? More than I like to admit. When I wrote about facing fear, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to have to face. Well, one of those things is caring too much about what other people think about me to the point that I will try to change things as asinine as what kind of music I like to “fit in” with others. And now roughly 3 months later since I started this post, I have a good idea.

I have to completely change the way I think about almost everything.

While that is kind of frightening, it is also surprisingly liberating. I don’t have to continue to be bound by destructive and paralyzing thinking patterns born out of seeking approval from others. Of course, on the flip side of that, I have to figure out who I am. That’s both scary and exciting.

But necessary.

“Time makes you bolder…”

I have an interesting (or not) history with my mouth. The same mouth that often landed me either in the corner or on the receiving end of a paddle or separated from the rest of the class, doesn’t really like to run so much as it did. Or maybe it just comes and goes. I don’t know. It’s weird. I’m weird. Whatever. ;) I’ve said this a few times to a few people (and maybe in a post or two before) that I can write what I just can’t say. Generally speaking, I avoid talking when it’s a subject that matters. This makes therapy REALLY hard for me. And my therapist. I did verbally vomit on my therapist during our first session. That was interesting for me because I spewed out a LOT of stuff that at the time I didn’t even think were related. And just like physical vomited, I was completely drained afterward.

It happened the other night again. At Al-Anon. I’ve kind of prided myself (haha) on being open whenever I have to speak, but not rambling on and on. Well, that streak ended. Partway through the verbal vomit, I realized I was just verbally vomiting, but I couldn’t stop it. It just kept right on flowing unchecked. It was almost surreal.

I still want to just sit quietly and absorb. But that’s just not the way recovery works. Sometimes you just have to get over yourself and throw up what doesn’t need to be sitting and stagnating. Sometimes it is for no other reason than to have someone else tell you that what you have ingested is not healthy and that’s why you threw it up. Unrealistic/unmet expectations hurt. Broken promises hurt. When allowed to build up, the hurt can lead to resentment and then bitterness which seem to taste and feel good for a time. Resentment rots. Bitterness rots. And the rot is going to make you vomit at some point.

I need to start journaling again

I am really glad I haven’t written in my journal since February 7, 2013. Kind of. I’m glad because so much of it consists of a record of James’ drinking, and did not and do not need to keep track of that. The last entry was about my dad; the first time I put down in writing that he was verbally abusive, and that I suffered because of it. I have now pretty much addressed all that, and am working on healing (and not perpetuating it).

With those 2 big things to deal with, I am glad I finally broke down (literally), and am getting treatment. I am also glad that Dr Garlick convinced me to continue taking happy pills with the half dose. In fact, I might even see about having him add a mild anti-anxiety since recurrent anxiety is as big an issue and the recurrent depression.

And here I am still putting my junk out on the blog. lol. Except not really. There are things that I’ve heard and read over the past few days that I really need to capture. But it’s not stuff that needs to be blogged. So why even mention it at all in a blog post? :dunno: I don’t know. I feel like writing, but I just don’t really have anything to say?

Anyway, I see my feelings doctor this evening. She’ll get a lot of the details. :)

Learning empathy

Last week was kind of a rough week. By rough I mean busy. And as an aside, if you ever get desperate for entertainment, go spend a day in traffic court. Oh, my word. The only thing I will relay though, is James’ case is now over. The court was merciful with the DWI to the extent the judge could be, and for the next year, I am the only licensed driver in my household. What does that have to do with anything? More than one would think. The kids were bombarding me Sunday with their needs (aka wants), and I finally had to say, “Look. I know I am currently the only responsible person in our household. I can’t do everything for everybody. I can only do so much.” Given the awkward silence, I think maybe they got it, and they quit making demands. Well, until we got to Walmart anyway. ;)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, ESV)

I was profoundly moved last year when I attended an AA meeting. It more exemplified James 5:16 than I’ve ever seen in church. That was the final push I needed to finally start attending Al-Anon. It’s in Al-Anon where I see 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 in action. Not that I haven’t or don’t see it in church. I’ve just been more able to see it in targeted manner in Al-Anon. Because in many ways that’s what we do because while our individual circumstances are different, we can all understand what each other are going through. Those who have been in the program for a long time are a huge help to us newbies just by understanding and listening.

Over the post few years, I have slowly started first facing and then working through my childhood issues which are “Daddy issues.” I didn’t really realize to what extent I had been affected and why until I read Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp. I was able to identify the root of a lot of my issues and some of the root causes. And it is still on-going as I try to come to terms with them while also working through the issues of being married to an alcoholic and drug addict.

My life has been hard from an emotional standpoint, and it could have been so much worse. I have bounced back and forth between avoidance, suppression, and acting out. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression for almost as long as I can remember. Sometimes all seems right in the world, and I feel great. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I want to run away and hide. Sometimes the pain and the darkness are so oppressive that I can barely function. Often there is nothing going on around me to match how I am feeling. This makes me wonder how much of my emotional turmoil is just delayed response.

I have done my share of questioning with why me. Why did that happen to me? Why do these things keep happening? But sometimes, I can look at myself and wonder why did God choose to redeem me. I know the choices I have made that I can’t blame on abuse. I know the things I’ve done that I can’t even attribute to peer pressure. I’ve been both the victim and the bully. God knows those things too. Jesus died because of those things. Yet He called me and redeemed me. And so I have a completely different view of the suffering I have and do endure that I did not bring on myself, as well as what I did. I can empathize.

I think empathy makes it much easier to show compassion. Therefore, I am able to see the crap I have had to deal with that I didn’t cause, while it sucked big time, has a greater purpose. And the crap I’ve had to deal with that was self-inflicted can also have a purpose for good.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17, ESV)

And in all of the mess and pain and chaos, I can be thankful because it has forced me to rely on God instead of trying to push through on my own strength. One of the sayings in Al-Anon is “Let go and let God.” This is what I am learning much more slowly than I would like. But even in my deepest despair, I still can have hope. Not “I hope things get better,” because that is a really a wish. I have hope knowing that there will be a day when God Himself will wipe the tears from my eyes. And with the empathy and compassion I am being taught through my pain, I can pass this hope on to others.

2013 Goal Wrap up

At the beginning of the year I made a list of goals for 2013. Now that the year is almost up, I thought I would recap. Because I need a topic that can allow me to be a little ADHD. ;)

Goal 1: Learn to rest

This didn’t turn out the way I originally intended. Meaning, I really didn’t know what kind of rest I needed, just that I needed rest. It took me nearly the whole year to finally comprehend (actual meaning – surrender) how I needed to rest.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a, ESV)

I was carrying burdens that weren’t mine to carry, some of which I have been carrying since I was a kid. Once I figured that out, and went through painful process of understanding what are my responsibilities and what belong to others that I have been taking on, it has been a lot easier to chill out. It took a lot of prayer, psalms, texts, therapy, Al-Anon meetings, and happy pills to get to this point. It is still a work in progress.

Goal 2: 13 races in 2013

This was met and exceeded! I did 14 races, and so signed up for 14 next year. I have a plan to do a race recap post sometime before the end of the year.

Goal 3: Crochet

I need a lot of practice yet with this one. However, I tried my hand at knitting and it is just so much easier for me than crochet. I finished a scarf for Chad, and have (twice) started a scarf for Jamie.

Goal 4: Pushups

Fail. I know there is still time to at least do one, but whatevs. I did a 30 day plank challenge in July, and barely managed that with all the drama.

Goal 5: Make my marriage and family priority

This has been both a win and an epic fail. I won’t go into great detail (though it’s mentioned in Goal 1 and I have blogged about it off and on), but it has absolutely been the biggest area of personal growth for me, and it was/is absolutely painful growth.

Goal 6: Journal every day

Yeah, no. I did ok, and then slacked of after a couple of months. But then I started blogging more and putting a lot of junk out on the blog that normally would be in a journal, so there’s that. ;)

Goal 7: Eat healthy

I have been on and off this wagon. Eh. Another ongoing work in progress.

Will I make another list of goals for 2014?

Maybe. If I do they will be more measurable. Like finishing Jamie’s scarf. ;)

“Love never ends.”

Last week I was in quite the mood. This week, I would really like to take a different tone. Not that I am not still angry over what happened, but because the last time I held onto and dwelled on some incident that happened there, I ended up with a physical demonic attack.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27, ESV)

So, since there isn’t anything I can really do (besides either blog about it, or go get in someone’s face), I “let go and let God.” Sometimes I have to do that multiple times a day. ;)

I wrote about demons a couple of weeks ago because I don’t think (at least among the more conservative/fundamental churches), spiritual warfare is being taught in a way that prepares believers to fight. Spiritual warfare is not simply a battle of wills within your mind. The battle of wills is putting sin to death within you. But I digress, and I’ve already written that post.

I think something else that has been neglected in being fully taught is love. And therefore, we have a culture that largely has no idea what love is both inside and outside the church. We largely equate love with affection for another person or sexual attraction to another person or even pity or sympathy. Each of those can and do operate outside of actual love. Because love isn’t about what you get out of it.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, ESV)

Love honors “for better or for worse.” It’s what can recognize the repentance of an adulterous spouse, forgiving and remaining. It is what stays with the alcoholic drug addict when almost everyone tells them to boot them to the curb. Even when they deserve to be booted to the curb. Love doesn’t care what your social class is. Love doesn’t care what color skin you have. Love doesn’t care what political party you belong to or even whether or not you belong to one. Love doesn’t provide a list of rules to earn the love because love knows everyone is created in the image of God and no one can ever be good enough to earn the grace that Jesus provides through his death, burial, and resurrection.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11, ESV)

Love doesn’t wish ill on others. Love doesn’t dance on graves. Love reaches out to the broken.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21, ESV)

When I started this post, I didn’t know how in the world I would write it. It just seemed so hard, probably because I am still learning how to truly love. Turns out, though, that the scriptures speak more than I ever could. And I fail so often on most of these. But I will wrap this up with one final appeal to the church. First, always remember that even we who are believers were once enemies of God, and were reconciled only because the Holy Spirit drew us and enlightened to us the once for all sacrifice that Jesus did for us enabling us with the faith to believe in him as Savior and make him the Lord of our lives. We have done nothing to make ourselves better than unbelievers nor one another. Jesus did it all, and He did it because he loves us.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10-11, ESV)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, ESV)

Funday Friday #18

Oh, man. This has been quite the week. I’m not exactly firing on all cylinders today because I had a really hard time going to sleep last night. The cats (Tiger and Sushi/Mako) played a very large role in that until about midnight. But additionally, things that I had been trying to ride out for the last few weeks just kind of dumped on me this week, and I spent some time connecting dots. Also, I think much was easy to mask thanks to my “happy pills” so that I was reverting back into my old coping skills that quit being effective decades ago. And other stuff that is for a post of its own.

Anyway, big shout out to Petra for looking me in the eye and speaking some hard truth to me last night. And praying for me. Also, she needs to blog. ;)

Another shout out to Molly for listening to me dump a little the other day, and then praying for me. She is running her first half marathon tomorrow. GO MOLLY!!!!

For the second time in a week I had to change the wifi password over the kids not getting their work done. :sigh: Chad and I had a pretty good talk yesterday morning about school work in which there was no belligerence or threatening. I really love it when we can sit and talk to each other rationally. Jamie and I have mainly communicated through texting this week. I got a good laugh yesterday when I texted her the new password. She replied with “Can’t you not make stupid passwords?” No. :) And that password got that stupid fox song out of my head finally. Until I just typed that. ugh.

I haven’t been to Al-Anon in like 3 weeks. So of course I have seen 2 people from my home group in the past week. The lack of attendance probably has a lot to do with my attitude this week. I did have a counseling appointment this week and it was terrible because I was all brain foggy and could barely make coherent sentences or say the right words. I did a lot of hand talking. I left so exhausted that I sat in my car afterword for a while recovering.

I’ve been eating and drinking like crap.

KitKat caught/killed another mouse in my office yesterday. I missed it which is fine with me.

Happy Friday!