To Be Alive

A couple of weeks ago I was hospitalized for severe depression and PTSD. I am slowly, with the help of some amazing doctors, fighting my way back. It’s hard, I’m waiting for a new antidepressant to kick in, but I am attempting to focus on living day by day. It’s worth it. Maybe I’m worth it, too.

A couple of weeks ago I was hospitalized for severe depression and PTSD. I am slowly, with the help of some amazing doctors, fighting my way back. It’s hard, I’m waiting for a new antidepressant to kick in, but I am attempting to focus on living day by day. It’s worth it. Maybe I’m worth it, too.

Continue reading “To Be Alive”

the sad times…

I am feeling horribly fragile today, as I have been on most days these last months. Fibromyalgia pain, worsening back and neck pain from arthritis, migraines, foot pain, and depression, a nasty depression relapse that just goes on and on and on…Are my medications not effective any longer? Are changing hormone levels playing a role? Am I getting worse as I get older? Did breaking my foot so badly throw everything off? Or all of the above?

It’s hard to say. But none of my usual self-care strategies seem to be helping anymore. My gratitude journal, guided meditation, walking, losing myself in a good book…all of my long honored tried-and-true comforts are failing me. I’m also having a tough time reaching out to friends because I don’t know what to say.

And part of this, I know, is the ongoing pain of childlessness. The gaping, supperating wound that never heals. It’s always there, a dull ache that crescendos to a roar at times, like around Father’s Day, which is this coming Sunday.

I don’t quite know what to do with so much pain, both physical and emotional. My husband has been wonderfully, incredibly supportive, I have terrific doctors, but it’s as if my usual coping mechanisms have run dry. So all I can do for the moment is to hold on tight to the love I know heals me. From my family, my husband, my God. And force myself to get out of bed every day, to get dressed, to sit out in the backyard with the sun and the flowers and the dog, and hope that eventually healing grace will start to take hold.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’

Mary Ann Radmacher

goodbye may

Goodbye May…you’ve been simply lovely, despite the twin evils of fibromyalgia and depression. Tulips, crabapple blossoms, lilacs, lilies of the valley, and peonies galore. Of course Catholics celebrate May as Mary’s month, and for me, May has always been my mom’s month, bittersweet now that she’s gone, since her birthday and Mother’s Day fall so close together. So goodbye to May…and hello June! I’m looking forward to summer flowers (my salvias and lupines are blooming already) and hopefully a photography trip up to the North Shore (of Lake Superior, for all of you non-Minnesotans out there).

What was your favorite  part of May?

the sweet, simple things

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.

–Laura Ingalls Wilder

I find it interesting that the older I get the truer this is! A small bouquet of tulips, a letter from a friend, my husband’s dimples, snuggles from my cocker spaniel, crabapple blossoms in early May…it really is about the little things, after all.

How about you, my fellow fibro fighters? What are a few of the small, sweet things that matter in your life, that help keep you going despite the pain, depression, and fatigue?

medicine for the soul

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul. (Luther Burbank)

Especially for those of us dealing with chronic illness and pain, and/or mental illness, it is more important than ever that we cherish the little things. For it is the little things that make up a life.

fibro frustration

Really, frustration should be listed as one of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. I’m too tired and sore to feel rage, which is what this feeling would morph into if I felt better…although of course my not feeling well is the cause of the frustration, so there you go. Another example of the crazy spirals and cycles this disorder causes. Please excuse me, gentle readers, for giving into the temptation to vent. One of my goals for this blog was to be genuine, which I haven’t been, because I haven’t been honest about my physical or emotional state of health.

I didn’t even write about breaking my foot last October–a break that required two surgeries, thousands of dollars out of pocket, and is still causing me pain. I was stuck in bed for over two months after the break. And all I did was fall in the kitchen! Thanks to the fibro…I have dizzy spells and last summer I actually blacked out a few times. Unfortunately, I was rushing to let the dog in when I fainted this time, and twisted my foot as I fell, which caused a complicated break called a Lisfranc fracture. A fracture which almost always requires surgery. One thing I can say for certain though, is that I have a husband who truly loves me! And a dog who considers it her duty to take care of me whenever I’m sick. Fiona stuck to me like glue the entire eight weeks, while George waited on me hand and foot (excuse the pun).

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Nurse Fiona caring for the patient

I finally got back on my feet–both of them–in January, but I had some extremely painful nerve damage in my second toe. Thankfully, that has gone away, perhaps because my anticonvulsant (gabapentin) that I take to control my seizure disorder also helps with neuralgia (a side benefit to seizures I never considered, but actually the same medication helped when I had ongoing pain from the shingles too). The second surgery, which was March 18, was simple, just to take out one of the metal plates from the first surgery, but that too turned out to be unexpectedly painful and to make life even more interesting, I developed a nasty, painful, blistering rash on my upper foot and ankle, on Good Friday no less. Time for antibiotics.

Well, it’s all over but the pain. The pills took care of the rash, my post-op X-rays looked great, my stitches are out. And I should mention that my surgeon was terrific, skilled and kind, as were all of the nurses, anesthesiologists, etc., involved in my care. My surgeon thinks the residual pain in my foot may be due to fibro; I can tell it’s not bone pain, and he did have to move a lot of tissues and nerves around during the surgery to get the plate removed. So fibro makes sense as a cause.
Damned fibro.

I’m also having a nasty, cruel depression relapse (probably partly tied to the fibro and vice versa…don’t you love it) and trouble with anxiety over finances. Major anxiety. I’m looking at filing for relief from my student loans on the basis of total and permanent disability, which makes me cry every time I think about it. And every time I think about the blood and sweat and tears that went into that master’s degree.

Too tired to write anymore. I’ll finish this tomorrow.

 

unfulfilled potential

Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do.  (Pope John XXIII)

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mini-miracles

It’s so easy to get into a rut this time of year. The January Blahs, I call it. Grey, dreary skies, the post-holiday blues, temperatures dipping below zero, some of the shortest days of the year (yes, longer than in December, but not by much), nasty, dirty slush everywhere–all of these things add up to one crummy mood. So I just trudge along, each day blending into the next. 

And in the process, I completely miss the beauty in the world because I am wandering around with blinders on, unable to see the miracles happening all around me.  Because there are miracles, and beauty, even in January. We just have to pay attention.

  

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.–Paulo Coelho 

My miracles today? My cocker spaniel coming over and snuggling with me when I started to cry over the loss of my Uncle Al, who died last week. A super nice compliment from the teacher of my online still photography class. My amazingly wonderful husband who actually listens when I need to talk, and somehow instinctively knows when I need a hug. Our backyard looking fresh and pretty with a coating of new snow, and our house feeling so cozy.

What were your mini-miracles (or big miracles) today? 

  

Protecting Yourself by Liking Yourself

I love this post because, personally, learning to like myself–even part of the time–has been so incredibly difficult. Peeling back all of the layers of shame and defensiveness I’ve encased myself in is truly a struggle. For me, two things have helped. One is my firm belief that I (that we are all) made in the image and likeness of God–the “imago Dei”. The other is a quote from St. Catherine of Siena: “Become who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”

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Soul Healing Art

Stepping Into Stepping Into

I often wonder what pushes us forward in life. What transforms us? What stimulates our movement from an abusive relationship or toxic behaviors (by others or those we lay upon ourselves)?

And I think it begins with one thought inside of us – we begin to like ourselves. We begin to like ourselves enough to say “No” to things that hurt, belittle, injure, or limit us.

This initial liking may be but a small sliver, but it is enough for the magic to begin. It begins to serve as a reference for what will and what will not be allowed in our lives.

And in this liking of ourselves, we establish a sense of value within ourselves. And like anything of value, we begin to understand that we are worth protecting. So we leave harmful situations or if we can not leave, we begin to take measure both…

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