Salvageable

I have not blogged much lately, and that is mainly because I have been doing a lot of really not feeling good, with stomach issues that have been present since late March/early April.  The local doctors have no idea what’s wrong, so Mom and my insurance case manager are going to work at getting me into the big, fancy specialty place in the big city.  Mom says, “so no more worrying now.”

Along with not feeling good, the only things that have sparked my thoughts to put on this blog are things that I don’t want (potentially) everyone to see.  I’m not doing much during the day, my brain isn’t working right, and I’ve only been to work one day in the last week.  Thank God for supportive parents as your employer.

But when it all comes down to is, I really don’t want to stop blogging.  There are things I wish I could post about without sounding like a whiny brat, and there are things I wish I could post about when someone is a real asshole.  I just need to get around these things, maybe start doing therapy again.  Write my “to-burn-later” letters, just let go of some of these bad feelings.

 

 

Astonishing Light

I am lonely, I am anxious, and have had a very different last week.  But, as Goddess of Mindfulness and Dad both pointed out, I rocked it.

The Big Dawg, QoB, and Rock were all out of town this past week at a water garden conference.  Big-time conference, lots of networking, lots of learning, lots of  fun (hopefully).  They left myself and Blue Cat in charge of the two stores, for the most part.

I think Blue Cat and I were fairly nervous for most of the week, especially when it came to dealing with pond customers.  I was better at saying, “we’re really not sure” and explaining the situation and that it would be better to come back next week.  Blue Cat was intent on just “handling” everything.  Sometimes that’s not the best approach, but sometimes it works.  I just hope he didn’t feed any irreversible information to anyone.

It was fairly slow, but we did bring in some money.  I was in charge of deposits, which I am used to, but I am used to someone telling me when to do one, and then just doing it.  I was also in charge of making sure we had enough money  hanging around to make change and therein lies a delicate balance.

So I’ve been beating myself up since Friday that I didn’t go to the bank and get more fives and tens.  My coin situation was fairly fine — I knew there would be a bank run on Monday, but I’m not sure there were enough fives and tens to last through today.  I never heard about it, so I’m assuming all was fine.  What a lot of lonely worrying I spent on that!

I also beat myself up, because I was supposed to not let the cash reserve get too high, and I failed to count Wednesday, and on Thursday we were double over what we are supposed to hold.  I made a frantic bank run on Thursday morning and am just hoping I’m not going to get lectured about my oversight.  All’s well that ends well, right?

These things have been eating me up all week, and I have convinced myself in my head that I am not competent to do the things I was asked to do.  Hold that thought right there, though, Rosa.

This past week:

1) I didn’t complain.  Not about working longer hours or about helping out with chores at Mom’s.  Did I somewhat dread doing chores because I made jokes about spilling entire gallons of water onto myself?  Yes.  Did I complain?  No.  When people are away, they need to hear that everything is fine.  And it was.  Completely.

2) I kept the dogs a little bit of company off and on throughout the week.  In my mind, that would help them be less neurotic when the folks got home, and hopefully it worked to a degree.  As Mom said, I had a little “staycation” in which I got to drink crushed ice and water from the fridge and put my feet up for a little while before doing chores.  It was actually quite nice to be away from the ensuing mess at home.

3) Speaking of the ensuing mess at home, I didn’t let myself get too bothered by it.  I knew I would get the chance to address it, but when I got home from doing work and chores, I was exhausted.  There is nothing wrong with ignoring a small pile of dishes or a mounting hill of laundry (as long as you still have clean underwear).

4) Today I got some feedback from Mom and as she says, if something got really messed up, we’ll deal with the fallout later.  I have been freaked out all week that we’re almost out of goldfish.  Talk about things that you can’t control.

5) I managed to get my colonoscopy and upper GI done on Friday, while Snickers and Blue Cat held down the fort.  I felt sick all day, so didn’t do much other than animal chores (which Dad helped with, hallelujah!) but I was ok with that.  I know I need to get better, physically.

So after typing this all out, and affirming that my mental health is intact (other than anxiety which is an all-the-time-thing ), I have to stop and say to myself:

Rosa — practice some self-compassion and you will get there.

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A Life Worth Living, Week One

Sometimes there is a good thing going, and it gets ruined by a handful of people.  That is what happened with me and Ten Things of Thankful.  I deign not to participate in it anymore, but I do feel like it is important to get some thankfuls out there at week’s end.

There is a saying in DBT, that you are working toward “a life worth living.”  Amen to that, because in the throes of all that hell and depression and anxiety and mixed episodes, it DOES NOT FEEL like you are living that life.  If you stick with it long enough, however, you start to find little happy flowers popping up in your flowerbeds and you can go out anytime you like and smell the wet earth and lightly-scented flowers.  That, my friend, is a life worth living.

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The following are the events, people, dogs, and other things that made my life worth living this week:

1) Here, right now, in this moment — I can go to the grocery store by myself without massive panic and anxiety.  I even got myself some pretty good deals with the minimal amount of money I had to spend.  I am getting to a point where, *sometimes* I don’t need that boost to get there.  That is huge for me.

2) I thought I was going to lose a chat friend, and then I didn’t, and the chats are better than ever.  Not panicking, not pushing that person away, not going over the top…things I would have done before, they didn’t happen.  I processed it angry, I processed it slightly pissed, and then I processed it neutral.  In all things, neutral won out and wise mind prevailed.

3) I have made plans for the week.  I am having ice cream with Dad today, I am having dinner with my stepsister tomorrow, and I am having a make-up party with my best friend from high school on Tuesday.  I am looking forward to all three events and it makes me feel good that I can get out and do these things.  Having people around you who care helps create a life worth living.

4) All of my prescriptions are waiting for me at Walgreens.  This may seem like no big deal, but it took years of fighting several years ago to get me on the insurance I needed to afford my meds and it has taken years of fighting to deal with the Walgreens system and finally figure out what it was that I needed to do, on my part, to make sure my meds were there and ready and there were no problems.  Figuring things out like this create a life worth living.

5) Sometimes things come about that make you realize who your true friends are.  The ones that stay and listen and give advice, and the ones who can’t be bothered.  Learning which people to keep in your life and those which exist only so you can serve their every need, that is a big life lesson.  Sometimes the time comes when you have to “cut the fat” so to speak and let a few go.  Learning how to do this through effective communication is learned in DBT and builds more credence toward a life worth living.

 

I know I  have been blogging about DBT a lot lately, but it truly is the best thing that has ever happened to me, as far as my bipolar goes (well, except maybe Lithium 🙂  It is a good therapy for nearly every disorder, and the tenets really do help people even without the disorder.  All you have to do is practice the skills, and the happiness will come.

If you’re feeling froggy, feel free to link up to this post with your own list of what made life worth living this week.  I would truly be honored.  Or, if you don’t want to do a list of your own, leave just one thing in the comments.

How a Day-Planner Keeps Saving My Behind

That might sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true.  This past winter, I was in the midst of a terrible depression.  I was unmotivated.  I couldn’t make myself do anything — no household chores, not visiting anyone, I could barely go to work.  I had the most atrocious therapist at the time, but she did finally hear me as I tried to tell her how bad things were getting, and she put me into a group at the local mental health center.

I don’t recall the name of the group, but for all intents and purposes it was a DBT group, because it was based on the DBT idea of “building structure.”  Building structure is the idea that, by putting tasks and events into your life, you can improve the quality of your life by things seeming less stressful, less depressing, and you isolate less.

With bipolar disorder (as with many other disorders), having a routine is important.  As I have mentioned before, getting out of my routine or not having enough things lined up to do can really get me out of whack.  The DBT-ish program at the mental health center was intended to do just that.

It started out very simply.  Week one, you take a grid that you label the day at the top, and it goes from 12:00AM — 12:00AM.  The first class, you simply write in the things that you did that day.  As the classes progress, you begin to pick out goals and insert them into your schedule.  For example, one of your goals might be to knit more often, so you would write “knit” at 3:00PM for the next day.

There was and is no punishment for not meeting your daily goals.  Sometimes you have to cross things out and put them at another time or another day.  The important thing is that you just keep working on inserting goals, events, appointments, and daily activities into your schedule.

I did not initially think this class was going to be helpful for me, but it turned out that it really was.  I bought the cutest little (PINK!) day planner for $3 off Amazon, and I each night, I would write down my goals for the next day.  As the next day went on, I would check things off that I had accomplished, or move things around, or even add things to the list that I hadn’t anticipated doing.

It became a routine for me.  A part of my evening routine, writing and checking and reminding myself of things.  It felt really good to check things off and it felt really good to write things down, knowing I had the ABILITY to get these things done, because I had done it before.  When we are depressed, we question our ABILITY to do almost anything.  With this system, you had already proven to yourself that you could.

As the class ended, I was back to feeling like the old Rosa.  The happy Rosa.  The goal-oriented Rosa.  And I wasn’t missing any appointments, either, with the  help of my planner, which is just another side-benefit of this exercise.

After DSB and I called it quits, the day-planner got moved here and there, and now it’s sitting in my desk.  Having felt quite unproductive (with good reason) for the last six weeks, I think it’s time to pull it out and start the exercise again.  Building structure isn’t just for people with mental health issues — it’s for everyone.  Everyone can learn and make gains with this skill.

The planner is out of the drawer and so far I have written laundry, clean kitchen, blog, and have ice cream with Dad.  What would you write down for tomorrow?

(Tentatively) Bouncing Back

As I was searching GoogleImages for photos for this post, I was struck by just how popular the idea of the “bounceback” is.  It applies to people, places, sports teams, jobs, the economy, relationships, and just life in general.  I wrote the title “(Tentatively) Bouncing Back” before I started searching for “bouncing back” photos, and now am left wondering if I should have chose something else.

But that’s what this is, in the life of Rosa right now.  I’m bouncing back, and I say I’m bouncing back tentatively, because not so long ago (say, maybe a week), I was in the throes of despair.  That’s how it can be with bipolar disorder, so I have to be very careful that these extremely good moods I am having are not just an upswing.  So, I’m tentative.

I do feel myself, the real me, the un-sick me, coming back to life.  After a psychiatric hospitalization and then over six weeks of dealing with very poor physical and mental health, I am starting to feel like “me” again.  Like Rosa has returned to the building, if you will.

Over the past week, I have been getting out more, doing things with family, doing more around my house, just moving around more.  I started back to work on Tuesday.  I thought I would never catch everything up and it would be a huge mess for all eternity, but after flailing on Tuesday, I managed to get everything up to snuff by end of day today.  So see, Rosa?  Not that bad.

I went to the grocery store for the first time in over six weeks today.  I am almost phobic of going grocery shopping, but I went to my cute little IGA in the bad part of town and managed to get everything on my list while staying within my budget.  It was such a good feeling…no, an amazing feeling.  Like I had just kicked that grocery store’s ass and taken it’s name.

I know, in my brain, what I need to do to feel good.  All those things on my Building Rome’s goal lists — I need to do those.  And I need to do the day to day stuff, make sure I get out enough, make sure my house is taken care of, make sure I am taken care of.

It’s a lot easier to have better mental health when you don’t feel sick all of the time.  I have figured out what I can and can’t eat to make myself sick.  I have some tricks to feeling better mentally, and I have been putting them to use.  I think one of the main things that has been  helping me lately is good ol’ DBT.

One of the skills, “one-mindfully in the moment” encourages you to approach something head-on, with full concentration.  It can be anything from doing the dishes to playing with your dog to singing in the shower.  You put all of your attention on that one thing, and I swear, you enter an almost-Zen state or, it’s a lot like (almost exactly like)  “being in the zone,” if that makes more sense.  If you do enough one-mindfully in the moment, you will find that you are also more mindful in general during the day.  Living in the moment is the only way to go.

So I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing over this past week; doing those things that are making me feel good and feel happy.  That’s right — Rosa is happy.  She’s bouncing back.

Open Letter to My Local Mental Health Center

Prepare for some rambling…

When I first sought your  help in 2009, I was worried I would not be accepted because I was considered out of your cachement area.  As it turned out, CMHC’s could not deny Medicaid clients based  upon cachement area.  This is a good thing, because in 2009 you allowed me to start your Intensive Outpatient Program in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).  I attended five days a week, for three hour days.  I can honestly say that this formal introduction to DBT saved my life.

You brought wonderful therapists into my life, some whom I thank God each and every day for.  There are too many to mention just one, but each of the IOP therapists are very special to me.  They gave me hope when I had none and taught me the skills necessary to survive with bipolar in a unipolar world.  The IOP program was just the tip of the iceberg.

After graduating IOP, you wanted me to do weekly DBT classes.  I was working at that point again and had difficulty with coordinating my schedule.  I hopped around to a few different groups, and then I gave up.  I went back to seeing the pdoc at my county’s CMHC, and continued therapy with Goddess of Mindfulness.

For a few years, my needs were fulfilled at my local CMHC.  It wasn’t the same, though — the therapists were not as invested, it was difficult to get a med appointment where the pdoc didn’t continuously cancel.  It was a fight to get any medication change.  It was if I would just come in to get the rubber stamp and then would be sent off on my way.

In 2012, I had a major bipolar meltdown and came seeking help from you again.  I needed that Intensive Outpatient Program, I needed those caring therapists, and I needed the care that I knew my own local CMHC couldn’t provide.

I started IOP again, and stopped seeing Goddess of Mindfulness, instead seeing Marty for individual DBT therapy.  IOP was very different this time.  The classes were extremely small, participation was minimal, the therapists often didn’t keep the group under control.

The times had changed — there was no longer a ten minute break after every hour.  I don’t think the therapists realized how difficult it was to sit for 90 minutes without a cigarette or a soda or a break when you are in such a mind-addled state.

One thing for sure — IOP wasn’t the same.  It wasn’t as helpful, I didn’t feel as successful, there was not much group interaction or cohesiveness, and frankly, most of the therapists seemed bored, as if they lacked passion for the subject now.

I moved quickly through IOP this course and started just seeing Marty individually.  She was a very different therapist than what I was used to.  She called it like she saw it, and the way she saw it was often very different from my view of things.  After about a year of seeing each other, she announced to me that she would be retiring the following summer.  After that, her heart wasn’t in it.  She certainly didn’t seem to care anymore, and it was like she had given up on me.

I decided to switch tactics and go for a non-DBT therapist there at the center.  That was worse.  She seemed cold and unfeeling, judgmental even as I would describe what was happening in my life.  I started to avoid appointments, and go for long periods of time without checking in.

During a time of mini-crisis, I attended a “Building Structure” group in which you basically made plans for each day and the day after.  It was a very useful group for me and I went for three weeks, then graduated.

I ended up going back to see Goddess of Mindfulness after that.  I couldn’t afford it financially in my budget, so I had to take $15 out of each weekly allotment and put it toward therapy.  In my eyes, it was a good use of money that I may have just frittered away elsewhere.  It still didn’t add up to what Goddess of Mindfulness should really be paid, but I was beyond thrilled when she accepted my request to be her client again.  Over the moon, really.

And since my 2012 return to the CMHC, there has been Dr. Wizard.  I kid you not, the man is a genius when it comes to medication.  He listens, makes small adjustments, is encouraging, worries that I am on too much medication, and, here recently, hospitalized me when it seemed to him like I was under too much duress.

I have never had a problem getting in to see my pdoc, and I thank the wonderful front desk staff for that.  Sure, calling the nursing line works sometimes, too, but the front desk staff are better at prioritizing clients and slipping people into time slots quickly.

When I came out of the hospital on Monday, I was in a daze.  I knew they had started me on a downturn of Geodon and had started me on Abilify, but I wasn’t given any titration recommendations.  I was just told to follow up with my pdoc at my next scheduled appointment on July 9th.  That was three weeks away.  I was feeling a bit better, but as a couple days went by, it was clear I needed more  support, possibly more medication.

On Wednesday, Goddess of Mindfulness had me call the CMHC to try and get an appointment.  I called the nurse’s line first, and left a message.  They called me back thirty minutes later and tried to tell me that there were no openings and I would have to “sit tight and wait” until the 9th.  The woman I spoke to barely spoke English and I actually ended up screaming into the phone, “I hope I don’t flip out before then!” and hanging up on her.  I know, real classy, Rose.  I’m out of my mind, I guess.

I then tried calling the front desk and asked to be put on the cancellation list.  I explained my situation and I was put as an “emergency priority I.”  I told them I only needed one hour’s notice and I could be there.  The front desk girl assured me I should be able to get in soon.

Much to my surprise, I received a call at 9:15 the next morning, asking if I could be there by 10:30.  Of course I can!  I made it down and Dr. Douglas kept the Geodon the same, but bumped up the Abilify.  He said, if all goes well, we can do it again at my next appointment on July 9th.  He was very understanding and caring, and we had a nice chat.

All in all, this is a good CMHC.  I think the DBT therapy program has possibly fallen by the wayside a bit, and I can tell you that the individual therapists like my last one should be fired, but what I really need is my pdoc and Goddess of Mindfulness, and I know I will be fine.

Widely Vascillating Mood Changes

Over the past few weeks,  I have had many successes.  Progress has been made, indeed.  The mixed episode is still going strong, unfortunately, and sleep and social interactions have been quite bothered.

Yesterday, I was very up and I was very down.  I was angry and pissy and entitled.  I rode roughshod over people’s feelings, and I do feel badly about that.  I didn’t realize just how much my moods were swinging until it all came to a crash today.

Today, I went to visit my mother and, although I had already apologized in an email, I apologized face to face for being so hateful.  I explained that it felt like people don’t want to deal with me when I am at my worst, especially her, and that sometimes all I need is a 30-second phone call or text to put my fears to the side.  She tried to explain to me how this wasn’t possible.

I really lost it, swung completely into a depression where I actually pondered checking myself into the local psych hospital.  I mean, REALLY pondered it.  I felt, in that moment, like I had no hope and that no one around me cared.  Like I had no one I could reach out to.  Of course this is not the case, but this is how I was FEELING.

I felt like being totally self-destructive but I couldn’t get out of the crying jag I was in.  A little bit of talk down the road, and I’m back to fine and don’t recognize the me crying my eyes out and talking about being through with life.

I hate these mood swings.  Up and down and all around.  Sinking me into a pit of despair before being lifted up into a mixed mess of hypomania and agitation.  Surely bipolar disorder isn’t meant to be like this.  Surely I am alone in my symptoms and my mood swings.  I mean, I AM special, after all.

It seems like I don’t talk about these mood swings with Goddess of Mindfulness because we are so busy talking about other things.  Well, these mood swings might just be the MOST IMPORTANT things to talk about.  If I swing really low and I am by myself, I cry and cry and cry.  If I am with other people, I cry and swear and am very angry.  When I’m up, its as if nothing is wrong except some extra energy and a bit of agitation.

I told my mom earlier that I can’t keep going on like this.  I don’t mean that as a suicidal statement, just as a fact — I can’t keep doing this.  It’s killing me and it’s hurting the people around me.  I don’t know how to stop doing it and I can’t get in to see my psychiatrist until the first part of August.  Almost two months away.  I don’t know that I should wait that long.

So, depending on what time of day it is, you may or may not get a Rose that  you are otherwise unaccustomed to.  There is the happy Rose and the free spirit Rose and the crying and devastated Rose and the hopeless Rose and the goal-centered Rose.  They are all the same person, but each one of them comes and goes of their own volition.

I try and  use my DBT skills when I start feeling an episode coming on, but it’s hard.  It’s fucking hard!  Like I said before, maybe I should go back to diary cards.  I really hate doing them, but I know they will help.  What I do know is that I’ve got to get this ship on an even keel because the lows can be a killer, as can the highs.  I need somewhere in between.

Ten Things of Thankful, Numero Cinco

Anxiety is so unreasonable, at times.  It didn’t want me to post today, but here I am, with a little help from my first two TToT.  Anxiety doesn’t have to win every time.

So:

1) I am thankful first of all for

Israel ‘IZ’ Kamakawiwo’ole

for providing the world with a little happiness in the form of this video:

RIP IZ.  The beauty and simplicity of music was not lost on you, buddy.

 

2)  I am thankful for finding this Dr. Seuss photo quote while attempting to burn off anxiety, pre-post:

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3) The Dr. Seuss photo quote reminds me of all the books Mom used to read to us growing up, and then, as we grew up, that we read to her.  We were reading fools growing up.  I remember carting huge stacks of books home from the library and devouring each one.  To this day, myself, my sister, and my mom are all voracious readers.  I honestly don’t think there is any greater or more life-changing gift you can give your child than the love of reading.  Thank you for that, Madre.  xoxo

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4) On a related note, I am thankful to Shel Silverstein for bringing awesome books that were funny and ALSO meant something to young people all over.  The man was a true literary genius, and if you have kids, they should

be reading these books.  A couple of my favorites follow:

 

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5)  I am thankful for free farm-fresh eggs (thanks Mom and Big Dawg!).  You can do so much with an egg, the possibilities are almost endless.  Check out some great ideas here.  We do a lot of scrambles with sausage or bacon and potatoes for dinner, egg salad, and the ever-popular egg sandwich on toast.  Leave your favorite way to eat an egg in the comments!

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6)  I am thankful for learning (ever so slowly) how to give up control and just let things be.  It is a constant practice, a continual embracing of willingness.

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7)  I am thankful for good health insurance.  Without it, I would be unmedicated and DSB would be mired in severe debt, or dead.  Likely dead, the way he refuses to go to the doctor when he DOES have insurance.  I don’t think Obamacare was the answer for everyone, but I personally know a lot of people it greatly helped.  Clearly, something is still broken when people are sick and can’t afford to go to the doctor, can’t afford the medicine to get well, the treatment to stay alive.  What kind of society, what kind of government casts people off like that?

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8)  I am thankful for the Regina Spektor Pandora Radio station that I created almost five years ago.  It has bloomed into something totally terrific.  There is almost never a repeat and so much more interesting and new music has piled in on the phone.  If you haven’t tried Pandora, I would highly suggest it.  Who could resist songs like this?

 

9)  I am thankful that getting into this post has almost totally resolved my anxiety.  I have been trying to work through it this past week without using Klonopin, as I felt like I was letting my DBT skills get rusty by not using them, and using the Klonopin instead.  So far, the results have been good.  I’m not saying I’m never taking Klonopin again, because I will, I’m sure — I just don’t want to rely on it as my first choice.

Clonazepammacro.preview

 

10) I’m lastly greatful for TToT.  I know it’s going to be there every week, and I look forward to it.  I like writing it and I like reading everyone else’s.  Feeling down and out?  Participate — writing gratitude lists should be part of everyone’s therapy homework.

You can link up to TToT over at Considerings.  She and the gang will be happy to come and give you a hello!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Live There: Get Up

 

 

 

melt down

 

As anybody who knows me or has talked to me in the last week or has done even a minimally good job at following this blog, ya’ll know the past week or two has been beyond the bounds of stress.  I may have snapped at a few people, been less than my cheerful self, become irritated by small things you asked me to do, seemed overwhelmed at a task that wasn’t that big, not returned your calls, or avoided you all together.

Right here, right now:  I intend to fix that.  Like the picture above says, “cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.”  Well, I think, after tonight, I’ll be done crying it out, at least for a little while.  I could say for a week or a day or a month, but we all know what Father Time can do and how Mother Earth likes to smack us upside the head sometimes, maybe when we’re getting a little too proud or confident.

 

bad day

It’s easy to generalize a bad day into a bad year, for sure.  Especially at the start of the year, when not much time has passed.  It has not been a great year for DSB’s health.  There was the abcess from the kidney removal, the subsequent surgery to remove the abcess, and then, to add insult to injury, a wound vac that must be changed three times a week by a registered nurse.  And now a (going on 5-day) stint in the hospital with pneumonia.  DSB’s 2014 has been unpleasant, medically speaking.

While it’s safe to say that DSB has not had a stellar start to 2014, I can’t take that on as my own.  To generalize that to myself, to say that dearest Rosa has not had a stellar start to 2014, would be a lie that only I would tell myself.  That I have sometimes told myself time and time again, when things between DSB and I were not going well.  Because when someone is sick and someone is tending, tensions grow.  When someone is sick, the other person worries and stress rises.  But Rosa has not  had a bad start to 2014.  Some amazing things have  happened, and I think I have chronicled some of them in my TToT posts.

To, me, I can feel like the woman in that picture above.  I can sense the wonder at the rising or setting sun, the yellowed grasses around me, the sky, the very being of myself.  Some truly wondrous things have happened to me so far this year.  I have:

1) Formed and continued solid friendships with my bloggie friends.

2) Solidified my love for DSB, by choosing right over wrong, trust over lies, consideration for the other over self-indulgence.

3) Forged deeper connections with my inner voice.  I can let that voice out now, and have it be heard, and not worry (too much), about what effect that voice is going to  have on a person that chooses willingly to read what I have written.

4) Given up trying to hide myself from the one who has always hunted me.

5) Learned to forgive, not to forget.  Learned to trade in anxiety and lonesomeness and uncertainty in a fatherly relationship for compassion for what that person must be going through at this time.  We are all human, even dads.

6) Learned to separate myself from that which is negative in my life.  I choose not to have negativity in my life, and won’t tolerate it.  Even if this means giving up people that I thought I cared about.

7) Started to open myself up to the possibility of rejection.  Making jokes, telling fish stories, and selling bait isn’t as easy as you might think.  There is a world of nuance within those walls.

8) Decided to stop counting my breaths as I am trying to fall asleep, and instead to just.breathe.  In, out.  Don’t say it, don’t think it, just do it.  Appreciate the feel of the air through your nose, through your mouth, the rise and fall of your chest, the tickle in your throat.  Don’t put a word on it, just be, just do.

To celebrate, let’s take a listen to my second most favorite meditation practice, singing bowls.  And let’s be honest, Goddess of Mindfulness, my first pick is always the metal, but nowhere else can I get those bowls.  They are addictive and the stories you told me on Wednesday left happy traces of puppies and friends and love on my heart.  Bless you.

Please note that these are quartz singing bowls and they have a very special place in my heart.  If you can (after you get through the commercial-ish first section), do take a listen.  Take off your shoes, set your feet on the floor, sit upright, and breathe.  You can do this.  You really can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing Upon a Star

This has been a different week for me.  I still feel good, but with an anxiety cloud looming overhead.  I have read many “thankful for” or “gratitude list” posts and I want to do something a little different tonight.  The following are things I am currently hoping or wishing for.  Some are intensely personal and others more generic.  Come wish upon a star with me:

1) I wish that DSB’s health problems will be resolved so he can live a fuller, happier, healthier life.  The wound vac is in the way of a lot of his activities, not to mention the pain he is in, and the sickness he feels from the infection.  I wish him health.

2) I wish that my friend, Marilyn, coasts through her heart surgery tomorrow and is back to blogging and emailing and carrying on within the next several weeks.  I wish Marilyn time and patience.

3) I wish my mom a relief from stress.  This is our busy season, and she is trying to get plants potted and work outside on the few days that are warm.  On top of that, she runs all of the financial and business end of the stores, and that is a non-stop battle.  Beyond that, she is a loving and caring grandmother, and a supportive and positive role model for her daughters.  I wish for her to feel the appreciation from others for what she does every day.

4) I wish my therapist knew how much she helps me, even on a day-to-day basis.  Just fifteen minutes sitting on her couch this week, talking about what might seem mundane to most, helped with my anxiety level tremendously.  Perhaps I put her on a pedastal, but she and her words have saved my life over and over.  I wish Goddess of Mindfulness the experience of knowing she really IS helping people.

5) I wish certain bloggers who I follow, who are in such despair, that they are able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  People do care, even if it only amounts to your readers.  There are people out there who care about you and don’t want to see you leave this life unexpectedly.  I wish those bloggie friends the ability to see into a more positive future.

6) I wish I could get in control of my eating.  I have taken the first step by nearly eliminating sugared drinks from my diet, but I need to do more.  I could be so much  healthier and happier even 100 or really, even 50 pounds lighter.  It’s not about the looks, it’s about my ability to function in day-to-day life.  I am tired of the binges and the guilt and the pain that go along with it.  I wish for myself to remember that food is fuel.

7) I wish my sister could get a little more sleep.  My nephew is 8 weeks old (and one day!) and he is not the best little sleeper in the world.  I wish for my sister patience, and the knowledge that I love her very much and would do just about anything to ease the stress and busyness and, maybe, the feelings of loneliness.  I love you, sis!

8) I wish for my BigDawg that he can take things as they come this crappie season.  I hope he can let others do a little bit more, so he can take a few more breaks.  I hope he can get off his feet once in awhile and use that damn tennis ball for the plantar fasciatis.  I hope that he gets the big sales he wants and that shad entrails come in soon.  I wish for him a fun summer with great employees that he can trust and rely on.

9) I wish for my Dad good health and optimism for his eating habits.  I hope he is able to go to the gym, like he wants to, and that he is able to do that without injuring himself.  I hope he is able to schedule in some big walks, and that he doesn’t over-do.  I wish health and never-ending happiness for my dad.  I also wish that he will go with me to Mass on a semi-regular basis.

10) I wish for you, yes, for you reading this, that I am very appreciative of any time you spend on my blog and that every “like” and comment mean the world to me.  Sometimes I just want to be heard.  I wish for myself, the knowledge that I am reaching out and touching someone, even if it is only a small number of someones.

Won’t you follow along and make a wish with me?  Please do link up, if you so desire.  I found that writing this “I wish” list was quite cathartic and meaningful.