Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"I Believe in Love"


How long will my prayers seem unanswered?
Is there still faith in me to reach the end?
I'm feeling doubt - I'm losing faith;
But giving up would cost me everything.
So I'll stand in the pain and silence,
And I'll speak to the dark night;
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining,
I believe in love even when I don't feel it,
And I believe in God even when He is silent....

And I, I believe!

Though I can't see my stories ending,
That doesn't mean the dark night has no end;
It's only here that I find faith,
And learn to trust the one who writes my days;

So I'll stand in the pain and silence,
And I'll speak to the dark night.
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining;
I believe in love even when I don't feel it,
And I believe in God even when He is silent...

And I, I believe.

No dark can consume Light;
No death greater than this life.
We are not forgotten,
Hope is found when we say
Even when He is silent.

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining;
I believe in love even when I don't feel it,
And I believe in God even when He is silent.

And I, I believe.
----Barlow Girl

I "borrowed this from Mel, who, without a doubt, has one of the strongest testimonies I've read in a long time. Her beloved was killed in Iraq - they were yet to be married. She has attended weddings of friends who just "don't get it." Her hurt and pain have not left her without the one greatest blessing of mankind: HOPE.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Three More Funerals...

A father and son, both awaiting a certain death. The ironies of this life - death will not wait.
The father is 93, the son is in his sixties. The father has seen much grief and sorrow in his lifetime but has borne it all with much strength and grace. And now, it is a waiting game.
Will he outlive his son?

The son was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer several months ago. He was doing fairly well but it was not to be. It has spread into his stomach and he is now beyond medical help. He has seen his fair share of sorrow. His oldest son was in a car accident in which his back was broken and he is now a paraplegic. The ironies continue:

His cousin was born with Spina Bifida and does not have the use of his legs. The grandfather was diagnosed with Diabetes some years ago, and due to malpractice, lost his leg. One family, three male members having lost the use of their limbs. But God has endowed them with huge hearts!

The father (grandfather) was diagnosed this week with a malignant tumor that is very close to his lung, and due to his age and other maladies, mainly the diabetes, the doctors feel it is inoperable. Another member of this family is also dying: the father's brother. He is also in his 90's. He has cancer.

So the extended families draw close to one another, gaining strength from one another, knowing that they are facing the loss of three of their own within a short time frame. It is exceptionally difficult as the holidays approach. Please pray for them...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Can I Forgive? Must I?

Daily forgiveness

"As long as you don't forgive, who and whatever it is will occupy rent-free space in your mind."

-- Isabelle Holland

"We cannot avoid daily resentment and thoughts of guilt. They are a part of human nature.
What we can do is release their grip on us. We can forgive others and ourselves daily.

Forgiveness requires nothing in return. There are no conditions. It gets rid of old baggage and clears up unfinished business. It leads us to a life of authenticity, lightness and directness. Forgiveness is the highest form of letting go of resentment and ego.

True forgiveness is more than an apology, understanding and acceptance. There is an element of recreating and re-imagining. There is a need to envision ourselves as more loving, interdependent, courageous and compassionate. Forgiveness requires honouring the sacred journey of learning about life - our life and others'. "
I have tried so hard to forgive the person who has hurt me. I have asked for forgiveness from them directly but was once again, ridiculed. I have asked God for forgiveness for my anger against this person and I realize that my ego is standing in the way. I didn't do anything wrong - that's why it is so difficult to practically beg for forgiveness. I have always feared rejection. It has happened so many times, whether by death or intentions and my ego fights against it continuously. Everyone I have ever loved seems to have rejected me in one way or another, except for two very dear people.
All I can do is to continue to pray that hearts will soften and be changed. I need to find true forgiveness and to forgive seventy times seven. My journey of learning is leading me down a very lonely path and at times, I'm lost. I need to redefine myself and the way I see the hurt and let it go, quit clinging to it. Release it into the forest where I cannot see it any longer - let it go...
I will be healthier.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Death Comes Yet Again...

I hadn't seen Mike in years so I don't have facial recognition of him as an adult: I still see him as a young boy, big brown sparkling eyes and bright smile. He could be a handful, but he was always charming. We had Christmas together at my mom's house. What a loud bunch we were! Five cousins, all with brand new toys, and lots of them...Loud and lively but these are the things memories come from.

He spent a week with me and my kids, shortly after my husband died, and I remember taking a drive with them up to Lake Isabella - all of us crammed into the car. I remember lots of laughter and lots of fun and music.

Mike was born just two months after my oldest child. His mother and I spent a lot of time together, just young moms trying to figure out our way around motherhood. She watched my daughter for me while I went back to work. I have lots of photos of them together as young children. Now I will have to seek them out and remember him as he was.

I have heard it said so many times: A parent should never have to bury one of their children. It goes against nature - the oldest of us should not outlive the youngest. To see potential lost, dreams unfulfilled, to realize that Mike will not see his beautiful girls graduate from college, marry and have children, it goes against the whole concept of the circle of life. It isn't supposed to happen this way. And yet, what can we do about it? Absolutely nothing, except mourn and question that which we do not comprehend. Given time, we will pick up the threads of our grief and continue to put one foot in front of the other as we march onward. But our brows will have more furrows and our laughter may not come as quickly.

I pray that God will not visit death upon this family again soon and rob us of our youngest members. I still question his taking Doug and suppose, even with acceptance, I will always grieve. I have never lost a child but Doug was closer to my heart than my natural son. I can only imagine what my cousin is enduring and I wish it wasn't real. But it's not a dream, it's reality of the worst kind. You don't wake up from this.

Mike was just 41. He leaves a wife and two daughters, one in college and one in high school.
If you read this please remember them along with his mom and dad.

Dirge Without Music
"....Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned."
~~~Edna St. Vincent Millay
My Life CLosed Twice
My life closed twice before its close---
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me
So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
~~~Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Overwhelming Sadness

I'm really in a rabbit hole - the tears have come easily today and often. I feel as though I'm in a closet, locked away. I haven't returned a call to my daughter because it's so difficult to talk. What does one chat about when one feels like that really have no reason or purpose? No one tries to understand the nature of being depressed. It goes so far beyond being "moody." My family either denies I have it or feel it is just a spiritual problem. It's just mom being weird.
I used to have anger issues which as I've gotten older I am able to control the outward manifestations but I stuff it all down inside me and chew it as though it was a palitable meal. I understand why people hurt themselves to get attention. You want to scream out loud that it's real and it's devouring me from the inside out, just as a cancer would; down to the rot and the stench of dying flesh, my desires are dying. I don't want to be. The effort is getting harder and harder to keep getting up in the morning. Why is it that some people fight so hard to live and to others it would be a blessing not to wake up? Why do I stay in this place for days, weeks, without leaving? It's too much effort to get dressed and go "perform." Nothing is real anymore.

I've had two separate migranes today. Forty-three years of migraines...and chronic sadness. I can be in the middle of a group of people and feel totally alone. I've been at church with my husband after services and had to go sit in the car because I was overwhelmed with thoughts of being alone, while all about me, people are visiting and loving one another. What makes me feel this way? I try so hard to reach out to people but there are times that I feel invisible. I don't know how to be loving, hard as I try. Right now, deep in my chest I feel a crushing sensation, as if the weight of all this has come to sit upon me and pin me down so I can't do a thing about it.

I'm writing feelings as they come - tomorrow I may be okay. But tonight I look out over a glass ocean, black as the night, adrift by myself,; no idea of where the boat will take me.
Just knowing that I will feel alone, as usual. I wrote a poem once, called "Isolation." It describes how I feel completely isolated in the middle of people. I don't feel safe. I feel as though I'm nothing more than a burden weighing down those about me.

It's tomorrow and I'm not okay...I opened my eyes hoping to see everything through rose-colored glasses but my headache came crashing down on me, making me want to just go back to sleep but that won't happen. My cousin called to say that her son is taking a turn for the worse. His kidneys are failing and his liver is not functioning properly. His dad doesn't want to spend the money on tickets to fly back to see him - truth be known, he's afraid of seeing him. He's lost 70 lbs. My cousin said they may not see him again and they've got to get back there one way or another. So after bickering over the price of tickets, he decided to go. She's afraid they won't make it in time...I ache for her and hope everything will be okay and he will recover. It should make my problems disappear completely but the blackness completely surrounds me today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rain Still Falling...

a I believe in miracles. I believe we are in need of one. Mike is still in Georgetown University Hospital; he now has pneumonia. His fever is not as high - it was 104 for weeks. The doctors still hold out hope that he has a chance at full recovery so I am going to grab onto that and cling tightly. His wife had to return to work but their oldest daughter has forsaken this semester at college to be with him during the day. Those of you who have been generous with your prayers, please continue to remember Mike and his family in prayer.

My migraine monster has returned viciously and so has my depression. Then I see friends battling reoccuring cancer with a vengence and such a spirit of determination; I see the frustration that Mike's family is enduring and so many, many others. I understand that I'm not "pouting" or in a "snit," as my dad used to say, but I have a physiological disfunction that takes me down to the bottom of the well at times.

It makes me sad to the point where I had to get away Sunday; just leave the house and drive, anywhere but here. I miss my house, my yard - especially now that they are bulldozing the property behind us that allows us a view of the foothills and, once construction is complete, we're going to be in a gully, looking up at the backside of houses. And I tell myself, yes: I have a home, I am fortunate to have a bed at night. I know all of this...but depression and bipolar disorder can wreak havoc upon ones ability to see the goodness in one's circumstances. Even though you know better intellectually. Tears can come without a reason or cause, just as did my need to leave for a while.

I long for peace of mind and quiet of spirit. I may not maintain that here on earth but hopefully, on the other side...Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.
(I'm speaking figuratively about rain - it was 96 here today and we haven't had rain since May)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rain Will Fall...

" Into each life some rain may fall..." Who said that? It sounds so watered down and meaningless when you're faced with some of life's biggest challenges, doesn't it? The sadness I'm feeling tonight is for a friend who is facing surgery this week. I found out tonight and it just knocked the wind out of my sails and she is being a real trooper. I've known a lot of people in my frame of reference who have faced obstacles, but very few have had the tremendous strength and grace this woman has. She is amazing! She reminds me so much of the way my mom was. Resiliant.

And my cousin's son is still in I.C.U., although the doctors are telling his wife his progress is amazing. Combine that with the fact that he has to have more surgery and they had to perform a trach. He was on a respirator for weeks. He will have to be on insulin for ever...I'm trying to remember how many weeks he's been hospitalized and it has to be close to three months. He's all the way back in Washington D.C., his parents are in California.

I don't have a sister but my cousin and I are as close as any sisters I know, and her mother's heart is so torn. There is not a good open line of communication between she and her son and she's been getting information second-hand. I keep playing the tapes in my head, imagining how I would feel if it was my son. It's so important to get all of the information available, not just the headlines - she needs the whole body of evidence, so to speak, a frame of reference. She is hoping and praying that when he's able, they'll decide to return to California and true healing can begin...

I believe in prayer. I am praying, and I know that many others are praying also. We are praying for healing of the physical body and in the later case, the heart and old wounds, as well as the ones brought about by the surgeon's knife.

In this world of topsy-turvy beliefs, it is a good thing to have old values and comforts to fall back upon; to cushion yourself with and to feel cradled in arms that will never fail you. Into each life, rain will indeed fall. It will pour down around you and leave you battered beyond belief. But listen for the soft rustling of angel's wings and believe...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I've given in to it - the "mood." The mood that comes and goes - the "lonelihood" that perches on my shoulder and taunts me, mocking the fact that I have isolated myself and am totally devoid of personal, social contact, of my own choosing. Maybe it is doubly wretched because I have dared to venture out recently and tasted freedom.

I do not like summer. In fact, I detest the long, hot, weary days. I do not mind the daylight; it's the miserable, scorching heat that sucks the life out of everything. I miss my yard. This yard is overridden with black widows, ants and an occasional roach. No telling what lives underneath us! At the other house, I had the soothing sounds of our pond and fountain and the wind ruffling the palm fronds. I miss all of that.

I suppose I am finally in a state of grieving for what was and angry that it is no longer. I have spent hours justifying and rectifying; now I just want to be angry and brood. It's a dangerous state to be in for me because I cannot allow myself to go too deeply and become bogged down in the muck of self-pity. But in order to work through something you cannot deny its existence.

My spouse's words reverberate through my ears: "I feel like I'm living in a rundown hotel." And this is my fault. I can go weeks without tears and then in a day go through a year's supply.
Scientifically speaking, tears contain a chemical that helps elevate our moods. If this is true, then tomorrow I should be on Cloud Nine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


This is in memory of my 50's. They're gone and buried and so I begin a new decade of life. Forty was difficult; fifty a bit harder, but sixty...sixty came and knocked the wind out of my sails. The mirror tells tales along with my joints. There are more changes overall than at any other point in my adult life.
I am drawn the to song "It Was a Very Good Year," where Sinatra sings "I'm in the autumn of my life." I have always loved that song for the "musicality" of it but the poignancy of the words always touched me and made me feel blue, even when I was much younger. Even more so at this stage of the game. The same is true of "September Song." Seasons come and seasons go but we're only given one shot at each in the game of life. We have to make them count!

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Well, we're here. I am now officially living in a mobile home park and the world hasn't ended. I am surrounded by mountains of boxes and possessions that need to be put away. This place is shabbier than it looked because of all of the previous owner's belongings. The carpet is not as new as it appeared, the floors in the bathrooms and kitchen will definitely need to be replaced sooner and not later, and the kicker is: no funds to do so.

In spite of my whining about inconsequential things like flooring, I have a home - a place to lay my head at night. I just caught a look at my dog, Katie, who's laying at my feet, sound asleep. She has her head laying on one of her "babies," (stuffed animal toy) using it as a pillow. When I think about it, the two dogs are more fortunate than people living in Darfur and other areas of this world. They have a home, too.

All things in proper perspective and in due time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Moving Day Approacheth

We're down to the last seven days. Friday and Saturday I cut myself loose from "things" that have been keeping me tied down; things that I thought I had to keep in order to keep my family and relatives presence near; things that have been in the family for decades; things I no longer want.

There is freedom in cutting oneself loose from the burden of being the keeper of "things." I hold in my heart the presence of those who gave me life and those before them. I want to be unencumbered of the things I have brought into my life that create a museum of treasures that were once purchased and handled by my family members. It's time.

I watched people buy my grandmother's and great-grandmother's things for a song. Let someone else enjoy them. I've had so many treasures that a lot have been packed away out of sight, only to be seen when a move occurs. What sort of caretaker have I been? A hoarder, basically. I have kept a few things that will go with me; my children have chosen a few things as well. but the majority of items have gone on to new homes to be viewed, handled and enjoyed.

Our treasures are not of this earth, they are in heaven, lest I forget.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I wonder how old I was when I began to sabotage myself. When did I decide to hide myself behind a nice layer of fat? When did I decide to hide behind a serious exterior? I waited until I was well into my fifties to lose 130 lbs., when the "bloom was off the rose." I never thought of this until now. I had a near-miss once, a near-fling and it scared the devil out of me (or should I say into me!). Was my inability to lose weight and keep it off a way to keep myself out of trouble? Was I that unsure of myself? Am I so shallow that I'd leap at the chance with another man? So I kept the fat around my body as insulation against making my body alluring?

I became attractive again and the feeling was giddy except the only men looking were as old as dirt. Well, for the most part anyway...I was safe. I'm far from beautiful but I'm not exactly a wildebeest either. I have never learned to be sexy or to flirt. I'm very comfortable with men - in fact, I prefer the company of men to the majority of women. Men usually have more on their minds than their children. I know how that sounds but women are usually not intellectually stimulating. That sounds arrogant, haughty, and misogynistic.

I admit it's true and I learned it from my mother. She didn't have girlfriends. Her only feminine companionship were her employees, some of whom she cared for deeply, but she wasn't into the bonding thing. Life, for her, revolved around my dad and brother. Women bored her. And didn't I know it! I've had to learn to like the company of women. The women I worked with usually were very busy bashing their husbands (I don't play that game) or talking incessantly about their children (once in awhile is okay, but a break, please!) and I'd rather talk about world events and politics. Is it a wonder I don't have many friends??? Sabotage.

I read something today that gave me grief. I realized that I have lost so much of who I used to be. Where did I go and why did I leave? I was never the life of the party but I was always one to have a good time. I used to be daring and feckless, writing letters to friends, addressed to "Lusty Flesh and the Four Skins," a name I made up for the occasion. In high school we used to go to the old Long Beach Pike (where they had the old wooden roller coaster out right by the water), and go to the "freak show" and heckle the barkers. My folks would've freaked themselves had they known! It's also where the sailors hung out. I never went without my male cousins...I used to smoke cigars with them. Their dads were doctors and they were good kids. We never got drunk or smoked pot - just good Cubans.

I was always ready for fun. My girlfriends and I took three years of French and would go around Disneyland "speaking" French as though we were natives and pretended to be tourists. We always went home with our stomachs sore from constant laughing over the silly things we were always doing.

And then life interrupted. I allowed my life and the events therein to "sour me." If I keep it up, I'll be an old lady who frowns at little kids and terrifies puppies! Heaven forbid! I have got to go hunting for the old me, the one who found sick humor in just about everything. I want to be the 100 year old woman who whacks the crap out of the young kid who tries to rip off her purse but smiles at him while he's running away.

Friday, April 27, 2007


I would like to stand at the base of these falls and let the moist, cool water fall over my head and calm my spirit. It was so hot today and I did nothing but pace today like a horse that had sniffed the air and knew it needed to be somewhere important but had no one to take it from the corral and began to snort and paw at the ground. Impatience ran through me but I couldn't channel my energy in order to accomplish anything. That makes my stomach churn and my temples throb.

I know what needs to be done but I want to run away. Escape the responsibilities of packing and another garage/moving sale. I'm selling the majority of my furniture and will not have the money to replace it. The window that needs to be replaced has jumped to $800 - the original estimate was $485. It could've been much worse - we could've had termites or some such.

Now that the house is sold, I just want it to be over with...I don't want to linger here any longer.
We have less than three weeks left to finish repairs, organize a garage sale and move. And we're expected to break a record tomorrow for high temperatures - 95 degrees. It's been so cool and comfortable...

I want to slide into that pristine pool of water, let the waters rush over my head and pretend everything is just fine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007



I poke my finger in my eye
to hide the fact I want to cry;
the tears run down my face like rain
and hide the fact I live in pain;
I live in fear and walk in night
because I have turned out the light;
I cannot face what I do not see
hoping all bad things will flee;
but faceless demons fill the hole
that I have left within my soul.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Blue Sunday

Today was Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. I didn't go to church - haven't been in some time. My family is displeased with me even though I don't go very many places any more.

Yesterday, we went with our realtor to look at mobile homes. We found one that will work just fine but it's going to be a squeeze financially. I'm quite content because it has a small, very beautiful back yard. I need greenery for my soul.

Right after we returned home yesterday, I got smacked with a horrible migraine. The stress is mounting, and so will, I'm afraid, my migraines. Even with my meds it hung around all day and into Monday a.m.

I never heard from any of my children today. Easter used to be such a wonderful day! Beautiful new clothes for everyone, a wonderful sermon, a family dinner and hunting Easter eggs. Today, it was a lousy headache and self-loathing . When the kids were little my aunt used to always fix me a basket, too. She'd toss in a necklace and earrings or some perfume. Easter always meant love of family and most importantly, love of Christ for us, His church.

I used to love Easter for the solemnity of the service and then the joy of the resurrection story.
Why doesn't it bring me joy now? I still believe, I will always believe...but I have no joy in my heart. I tried to put on a brave face, I wished others a "blessed Easter, " and I meant it but I cannot apply the sentiment to myself, no matter how hard I try. Even reading the account in the scriptures didn't spark the usual flame.

I watched some of the Fox special on Jesus - the new one wasn't too bad but my guilt is too much to bear right now. My depression is decreasing again, may need an adjustment on meds. I have forty days left in my home. This change is scaring me - is it the right thing to do? I'm sure that's why I'm typing with my eyes closed because the light hurts my eyes too much and my thoughts are so fragmented. I feel the spiral beginning and it feels as though it may spin out of control. Again. But I have to be strong. And I don't want to. I just want to slide down into the softness and stay there. I don't want to be me anymore but I will go on because it is required of me. Even though I hear my family says they love me but why was I alone today...I don't understand.

Dear Lord in Heaven, I thank you for the sacrifices you have made for me, your humble servant.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

An Offer We Can Refuse...

I'm in a funk today. I was in a funk yesterday. Now I'm really in a FUNK! Our realtor called with our first offer on the house. It's $20k below asking price and they want us to pay $10k closing costs. WTF??? That's my mood for the day so it was an appropriate offer. I managed to bring my bottom jaw back up to the level of my upper jaw and looked at hubman. He was still trying to do the same. The market has fallen so quickly that the amount left over would barely let us find a place to live, let alone buy mountain property.

We're demoralized, weary, frustrated and just bummed. We told them to stick it, more or less. We stayed firm with the price but offered to pay closing costs. See what happens...

Every one seems to be in a funk. People on the blogs seem to be on the edge, maybe it's just me. I've had to turn off the news - I can't handle certain events that are going on right now. The world that I know and love is spinning upside down in political correctness and foolishness. I feel as if common sense is an outdated commodity and the need to hate the president is so severe and overwhelming that the extreme liberal wing will do anything possible to pull the plug on any agenda that may help win this war.

I feel that if Bush said the world is round they'd swear it's flat. They're accusing the right of being full of hate but their hatred of Bush and everything the man stands for is over the top. They accuse Fox News of being slanted but they get their news from the Daily Kos and others like it. I check out other news sites because I want to hear it from both sides. I don't want CBS telling me "They Care," because it's a boatload of bullshit. They care about my dollar and nothing else.

Glenn Beck makes a great point. Follow the money trail. Who's going to get rich off of all these stupid carbon footprints? Where are the oil profits going? Both sides only care about getting re-elected and lining their coffers. I do not trust the majority of politicians any longer. Follow the money trail.

I believe in absolute truth, and my truth is not going to be my neighbor's truth. That's why wars are fought. This depresses me to the marrow of my bones because this world will never see peace. I will put my little peace globe on my site but I do not believe peace will ever be achieved. Man is inherently evil - not good. If it were the reverse, the Holocaust would never have happened! The good in man would have overcome the wicked. It never happens that way, though, does it...the bad draw the good down with them.

I can feel the negativity crackle in me just as though I had touched an electrical outlet. I need to go away from this and find my own peace some where. I can find myself drifting farther and farther from any kind of harmony today. Funk. That's what it is - a deeper funk. I want to be a mermaid and swim far below the ocean surface, far away from humans. Just for awhile...until peace prevails.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Inner Critics

“We tell ourselves so many lies and half-truths ... We listen and are duly impressed by these inner voices that turn into unseen judges that nag at us. We give each of these judges a seat of honor in our minds, all the while hating their guts and their never-ending supply of judgements ... We give the judges permission to accompany us on each journey of life, never daring to realize that we can park them, at least momentarily.”
-- Eloise Ristad

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Order in the Court!

I received notice for jury duty this week. Sunday evening I went on line and saw that my panel (#43) did not have to show up. The procedure is to call in or go online, which I think is easier, and see if your panel has to show up. Monday evening I checked in - nope. Tuesday evening, same thing. I'm beginning to think I've lucked out when I clicked the button Wednesday night. Panels 41-49 to appear at 8:15 a.m. Thursday. Instant panic! I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, something akin to opening a bill and seeing that it's about 3x more than what you were expecting. When W. went to bed at 10:00, I told him I'd need the car. By midnight, I was certain there was no way I was going to be able to pull this off.

The last time I had jury duty my office was just one block away from the courthouse. We would go and check in then they would release us, providing we could get back to the courthouse within ten minutes if our panel was called. They were actually kind enough to call us if that was the case. It sure beats sitting in those hard chairs, wasting time, knowing your work would be piling up. Then if you should happen to be impaneled, it could be another week or two, if you're lucky.

Was the anxiety due to the fact that the courthouse is so close to my office? Or is it because of having to make a public appearance? I really don't know. I have been able to go shopping on occasion but it's nothing I makes plans for. If the car is here and I happen to be "up" for it, I go. If I make plans, too often it's just not in the cards and I can't force myself to leave the house.

By 1:00 a.m., I knew I was making myself sick, literally. At 1:30, I logged on to the website and e-mailed the court's jury services and begged off, telling them I was ill. Technically, a lie but I had worked myself into such a state, I knew I'd wind up being up all night.
The whole time this was going on, I was going in and out of different websites and blogs, managing to find an escape here and there. But it was so temporary and I'd always have to come back to the fact that I have to get up and go to the courthouse in the morning, followed by that old familiar feeling. All this from a person who dutifully, for years, was able to get dressed and go off to work everyday - well, most everyday, when I wasn't working myself up to a state of anxiety! But now, it's become debilitating.

It's now 2:30 a.m. and I'm relating this so it's freshly in my mind. My body is still feeling "edgy," but not as intense as I was just an hour ago. My breathing is calming down and I've been able to get in a few deep breaths. I have no idea why I'm having so much difficulty other than another outcome of stress-related disorders.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What??? Me Anxious?

Painting by Roy G. Tabora

My kids were in high school and I wasn't working. One day after school I picked the girls up and stopped to do some grocery shopping. I had a full shopping cart and was headed to the checker when all of a sudden, my legs became leaden. I could hardly get one to move in front of another. I became panicky, not having a clue what was happening and told my oldest daughter to park the cart along the side of the store and tell the checker we'll be back. I had to get out of that store and the sooner the better as in RIGHT NOW. The girls were alarmed, not knowing what on earth was wrong with me, thinking maybe I was getting a migraine. We went out and got into the car and I actually couldn't drive because we had a stick shift. I had my oldest go find a pay phone and call my husband at work and tell him we were stranded and needed help. He came and paid for the groceries, loaded them into the wagon. By this time I had calmed down and could drive so he followed us home. I had no idea what had come over me.

Shortly after that episode, I went back to work. A couple of years later, this occurred: I left the office to walk the two blocks down to the Bank of America building to drop off some papers. It was an average day - not too cold, not too warm, just average. I worked at an insurance office as a fire and casualty agent. The street was one of our main streets, across from the court house; lawyers and their clients hustled up and down, briefcases in hand. It was just a typical business day. I finished my business and started walking back up to the office, crossing a side street. As I got in the middle of the street an interesting thing happened. I couldn't get one foot to move in front of another. Try as I would, it was as though my feet had become mired in tar. What's up, I thought to myself, trying to move my very uncooperative feet.

Then they started to shuffle a little, as if I was a 90-year old stroke victim instead of a forty-year old. What was going on? I turned around and headed back toward the bank since it was closer than the office, taking these little shuffling steps, sometimes moving, sometimes not. I felt like some strange lurching creature had all of a sudden inhabited my body! Making my way to the bank seemed to take an hour, in reality it was just minutes as I performed this weird other-worldly dance with my feet and legs. Of course, I just knew everyone was watching me, wondering who was this strange marionette entertaining them.

I entered the bank and to my relief, the pay phone was just inside the huge front doors. I fished through my pockets and found a quarter, another huge relief, and called my office. One of the younger agents answered and I said, "This is me. Can you come pick me up? I'm at the bank and I can't walk." She started laughing, thinking I was playing some sort of joke. "No, I'm serious. Something's wrong. Please come pick me up." She wasn't real happy but said she was on her way. She pulled up next to the curb and it took me some time to make my way to her car. I collapsed on the front seat and she said, "What the hell is wrong with you?"and started to laugh again. I assured her it was no laughing matter! She pulled up in our parking lot and went on in as though I had really wasted her whole morning, leaving me to jerkily make my way in on my own.

The other woman I worked with was concerned and as I made my way through the front door, she met me and asked what was going on. I sat down and told her what had happened. She brought me my coke and I nearly downed it in one swig. After a while, I got up and walked around as though nothing had happened! My feet and legs worked like they were supposed to and I figured I must've had some weird kind of muscle cramp.

A few weeks later, I stopped at the grocery store after work for a few things and it happened again. At least this time, I had the shopping cart to hang on to. I made my way to the checkout stand as though the proverbial corn cob had availed itself of a certain part of my anatomy. I got to the car and drove home without any problems.

There were occasions at church after services where we would be visiting with friends and I would be overcome by a sensation that I had to leave. Even though I was in a room full of people I would feel as if I was totally alone. Often times I would leave and go sit in the car and wait for my husband and the kids, totally overwhelmed by a sensation of sadness.

My son was a huge source of stress in our lives. I had had to call the police when he threatened me; he tormented his sisters and step-brother; we were fairly certain that he was abusing drugs but didn't know what to do. There was constant fighting and yelling. He hated us and made no bones about it. He hated us because we tried to police his actions. It became violent one night when he cursed at me and my husband (his step-dad) grabbed him by the front of his shirt and hauled back to hit him. I calmly took his hand and told him, "It's not worth it." My husband was extremely protective of me and had reached the end of his rope, especially since my son was almost 18, not in school, not working, and we were 99% certain he was using.

There was a period of approximately six years of constant stress with problems with children's issues, my mother's death and removing my son from the house. This is a small sampling of the things we dealt with. All families deal with everyday stress and some not-so-everyday stress, like death, bills and kids, and we are no different. What is different perhaps, is how my nervous system is wired. Somewhere around this time we started with a different insurance company and I saw a counselor who explained to me that I was having panic and anxiety attacks and prescribed the appropriate meds.

Even though the stressors no longer exist my body has suffered from the compounded effects of stress. It is accumulative. So even though something happened ten years ago, ten years later your nervous system is still misfiring. This also means that living with my former husband of thirteen years and all the ups and downs of his alcoholism has left its mark as well. I'm not blaming him or anyone else. It is genetics and learning how to correctly react to stressors and most of all, take your meds!

Every job I've ever had has been extremely stressful. They've always required an extreme amount of customer service and that is stressful when you've got all the dots on your dice! When I short-circuited in early '06 all of that stress had succeeded in melting all of my wiring together. I took off for about a month and had just gotten back into the groove of things when Doug passed away. Even though I am confident in an afterlife and am also confident of his position in that afterlife, the stress of losing him completed the job of meltdown. Now, I'm trying to live in the here and now, with my limitations and not letting them reduce my significance as a human being.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I suddenly awoke from a sound sleep, my mind instantly alert but in a heightened state of panic. What was wrong? I lay quiet for a moment, my thoughts racing and my heart beating, thump, thump, thump. I couldn't remember having a nightmare but I was reacting as if the devil himself had been chasing me in and out of the maze of my brain.

I started to roll over but, wait a minute. What's wrong? In my mind, my body was moving but in actuality, nothing was following suit. I tried again. Roll over! A simple request from brain to body, roll over. Nothing. Now my throat was closing and my heart was beating faster: Roll over!!! Still nothing. No foot moving, no leg, no arms, no torso...if anything my body seemed to have grown to the mattress. My breath was coming in and out. My heart was definitely beating. I was alive but NOTHING WOULD MOVE!

This had to be the nightmare. I was still asleep! That was it! Okay, now wake up. Go on, just wake up. Easy does it, come on, open your eyes and wake up. But my eyes are open, I am not asleep! I am awake!!! Go on, body - MOVE. MOVE! MOVE!!! Nothing. Not even a finger would wiggle. Good God, am I dead??? No, I wouldn't be able to think if I was dead...

A stroke. I've had a stroke. That's what it is! That's why nothing will move; that's what I am - paralyzed. Paralyzed. Paralyzed. The sweat was pouring off of my body and my heart couldn't beat any faster. My breathing was shallow and rapid. Dear Lord, I've had a stroke!

I could see my husband's face on the pillow across from me, just inches away. If only I could move something, open my mouth and scream, anything to get his attention. The room was dark and I could only see the outline of his face but I knew he was asleep by his breathing. Please, please, please wake up! Can't you see I need you? More than at any other time in my life I need someone. Look at me, please look at me. Help me! I can't be paralyzed. I'm too young! I have three children, a husband and a household to look after. MOVE, damn it. Dear Lord, please, I beg of you, please let me move.

I struggled in vain to move, the pressure in my chest increasing until I thought I was going to explode. Words cannot express how valiantly I tried to get my body moving, straining, willing myself to just move. I could feel tears running down my cheeks and all of a sudden, I was free!
I could move!!! I scooted over to my husband's side and grabbed him, held on tightly and burst into tears. He woke up alarmed, and asked me what was wrong. Did I have a bad dream? "No," I told him. I was paralyzed. I couldn't move. "Oh, honey, you just had a bad dream. It'll be alright." He was already on his way back to sleep. "NO!" I said. I couldn't move and tried and tried to get to you."

He pulled me tightly and rubbed my back. "It will be better in the morning." By this time, I was beginning to wonder if I HAD had a dream. But my hair was still damp and my body was feeling the tenseness from fighting the "paralysis." This had not been a dream.

The weeks went by and I didn't think too much about the awful night I had experienced. I tried to put it out of my mind, still not understanding what had happened to me. Until it happened again. The same abrupt awakening, the feeling of absolute terror and panic, the paralysis. When the "spell" was broken, I again awakened my sleeping husband and told him it had occurred once more, and once again he informed me that I'd been dreaming.

When it happened for the third time I made an appointment with my doctor. He very nonchalantly informed me that I'd been suffering from panic attacks. Oh good. It had a name. Panic had a name and it was panic + attack. Even a layman could understand that! Shortly after my revolutionary office visit I had my fourth attack. I told myself, "Okay, this is your friend, Panic. You can deal with this. Just relax, breathe slowly - in and out - deep breath, in and out. Relax."

As I worked on my mind and body, I started to feel my body loosen up and finally relax. I let out a deep sigh of relief and realized that I'd beaten it. I said a brief prayer of Thanksgiving and went back to sleep, no longer a prisoner of panic.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Bipolar Blues

This is me today. In my world today it is dreary and gray and I am all alone inside myself. I hate sinking into these spells. It's been quite a while since I've slid this far back down into the rabbit hole. I snapped at hubman last night and today the realtor, who has been conspicuously absent lately, called with a client and I told her "No." What a stupid, stupid thing to do. And then the realtor lectures me. Fine. Tell them there's an open house Sunday. If they're interested, they'll come. I've never done this before. All of the times I've had this place spic and span only to have no one show up. Today, it's not spic and span and I don't have the energy to bother with it, let alone myself. Don't lay any guilt on me - I do enough of that all by myself.

I saw my MD Tuesday and all was well. Ever since Wednesday I've been on a downhill slide. I've always had the strength to put on my "happy" mask and march off to work or to dinner or whatever was required of me. I no longer have the strength required to slide that mask over my face and pretend that all's well. I can no longer carry out the acting skills necessary to waltz my way through an evening with friends and come home totally exhausted after hiding all of the junk I carry around with me, and hoping no one sees it. What I've done now is lay it all out on the table for everyone to see and nobody knows what to do. Another self-fulfilling prophecy...

Instead, I sit in a closed up house with one little light bulb on, feeling as if I could sleep 12 hours straight. I took my afternoon dose of meds like a good little patient even though there are times I wonder if they actually do any good or if they just line the pockets of Merck and friends. Maybe I'm taking placebos. That would be the ultimate joke. The other night I had a class of wine - one of the rare times I've taken a drink due to my bypass, which cases the sugars to dump straight into my blood stream for an instant high. I could get used to that...but I don't want to pile on another risk factor. I'm not supposed to mix alcohol with my meds.

One of the things I whine about to my doctor is having knowledge and not being able to change my circumstances. He has told me to view this as one would look at diabetes. Knowing you have diabetes and eating correctly is a good thing but there's not much one can do for depression/bipolar disorder except acknowledge it and work with it. Looking back into my family history, I can easily find 3-4 close relatives that I believe were also affected. But in my family, you didn't talk about things like that. I think that was typical in the '50's-'60's. If my brother knew I was keeping a blog and divulging so much of myself to total strangers he wouldn't "get it." But of course, he doesn't "get" my depression, either.

I've had a lot of loss in my life but others have, too. God has given me a husband that is sticking with me through thick and thin. So much different than the first time around! Thank you, God!
The guilt creeps in when I think about how much he has to put up with. I'm not a hoyden on a day-to-day basis but when the siren song calls me I can be a horrible person to live with. I am by nature a nurturer and when I draw up into a ball and become so self-centered I feel as if I lose contact with the best of me.

I have been having issues with both of my computers and when I cannot "fix" something (or someone) I absolutely go to pieces. I become fixated and will spend hours on a problem. I realized that I need to reload Windows 2003 on my laptop but everything is stored away. Can't find it - so, no clipboard and I can't perform a task I was looking forward to doing. My PC won't shut off and my windows program is frozen. I'm going to have to have someone come a fix it for me and that drives me crazy. So anger come riding in on a big black horse. I feel stupid, even though my background is not in IT, I should be able to read a few simple instructions. While I've been typing this, I've been crying and stuffing my mouth with Hershey's kisses. Stuffing that anger down again! I need to be out reading Miss Bee and Katie, Heart of Rachel and others who continuily uplift me and make me a better person.

But I will spend most of today brooding, wondering, and yes, HOPE that tomorrow will be better.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Eating Anger

I love this picture. It has balance, a distinct sense of light against dark and direction. I love paintings and photos of windows. Perhaps it's the idea of light being shed into the dark, illuminating the shadows.

In my prior entry, I spoke of my anger towards my husband's lover. It was misdirected anger. She was not my friend, this is true, but she was only a actor in the role we were playing. I was the queen of all enablers. I lied to cover up his absences at work; I lied to both of our families; I lied to our friends and our church family. I didn't want anyone to know he was an alcoholic. I knew it would bring shame on us. In my immature way of thinking, if I was a better wife he wouldn't drink to excess or find other women. He would stay sober and come home to me every night.

The first time I let go of my anger after we were first married, I threw a hamburger at him; it smacked him right in the face and slid down the wall. I didn't see him for three days. Just like with my mother when I was five years old and got spanked for throwing rocks, I quickly learned that throwing things or showing my anger in any way, productive or not, would not get positive results. So I learned to stuff it all inside and keep a tight lid on it. That's how I was able to have all of those "civil" phone calls with "HER."

I couldn't acknowledge anger because the consequences were too painful. I didn't know about journaling or physical activity. I had no idea that I was bipolar, either. I didn't get that news until I was in my forties. I had miserable premenstrual syndrome but was told that it was only something that neurotic woman complained about. Never mind the incredibly awful migraines, and all of the other good stuff that accompany PMS. I was just neurotic. Okay. This was in the 90's, too.

All of my anger led me down the path of overeating. If you can't beat it, EAT IT!

to be cont...

Friday, February 2, 2007

Woman With a Purpose

I headed home from work at 5:00 that hot August evening. I was weary to the bone and just wanted to be home, my nylons and high heels off and in a cool shower. It was 1970, I was 23 years old and pregnant with my third child. My other two kids were with their dad's folks because I was due any day now, and they had gone on a two week camping trip.

As I came to my street, instead of turning in , I kept going and headed to the bar my husband frequented with his girlfriend. I felt the anger well up inside me, churning in my stomach and coursing through my very pregnant body. We had been separated for the last three months and I had actually lost weight, this last month. I lived on black coffee, cokes, cigarettes and an occasional sandwich.

It was a Friday night and already the parking lot was beginning to fill up with pick-up trucks, guys stopping for a couple of beers before heading home to a house full of kids and an unkempt, nagging wife. I wanted nothing more than a confrontation. I wanted to run into my husband and his lover, head on, full force with a bullet. I wanted to tell him to make a decision: which one of us was it going to be, make a choice once and for all!

As I entered the dark bar, it took seconds for my eyes to become accustomed to the light and I made my way over to the bar. I felt as though every eye in the place was on my bulging stomach. I had only gained a total of 12 pounds throughout all of this but every bit of it was right in front. I plopped myself onto a stool and the bartender came over and asked me what I wanted. I asked for a coke and slowly looked around the seedy joint, looking for the two people I had come to humiliate. I hadn't noticed our car in the parking lot but the slut's apartment was within walking distance so I had no way of knowing if they were inside.

As I slowly realized they weren't there I had to ask myself how long was I willing to sit and wait for them. I was still full of anger but it was beginning to dissipate as I realized I had been on a fool's errand. The bartender came over with another coke and said, "The guy over there told me to bring this to you and tell you that if he knew who you were looking for, he'd warn him and send him out the back door!"

I guess the look on my face told the story when I walked in. Pure anger. I had been ready to force a confrontation and demand that she leave my husband alone and send him home to me. Sure. As if that would do it when all of my pleading in the past had hadn't worked. What on earth made me think that confronting him in front of his drinking buddies would work magic?

I dragged myself out to my stiflingly hot car and drove home to my stiflingly hot house that had been locked up all day long. We didn't have air conditioning since the few really hot days we had didn't warrant it. I peeled off my clothes and took a cool shower and turned on the TV, just to keep me company. My aunt and uncle lived next door and she dropped by to see if I was okay. I reassured her that I was fine, just tired and was going to watch TV and go to bed early.

The heat was brutal. I had an old oscillating fan blowing on me but it wasn't providing much relief. The house was situated in such a way that there was no cross ventilation whatsoever. I'd fill up my glass with ice and before I could finish my coke the ice would melt. Thank goodness I had a couple of bags of ice from the grocery store in the freezer. I scraped some ice off the inside of the freezer compartment with a washcloth and held it to my forehead.

I kept thinking of the woman with whom my husband was sleeping. I'd only seen her once at a distance. I couldn't tell a whole lot about her but we'd spoken on the phone several times. Oh yeah. The last time she'd called, she asked, "Hi, is Bill there? He hasn't gotten home yet." Home? HOME? Just what the hell was she asking ME? This is his HOME, bitch! But I'd sweetly replied, "No, I haven't heard from him yet."

I look back and wonder how in the sweet hell did I pull it off? I always managed to stay civil with her so she couldn't tell him that she understood why he left me. But the minute the woman hung up I would call my mom or one of my friends and go off on her like a banshee! I would rant and rave until I got it out of my system, shaking and crying until my eyes were swollen. But in a strange way, I felt elevated over her because I wouldn't give her the satisfaction of acting like a guest on the Jerry Springer Show.

I wondered where they were and what they were doing. The images of them being together haunted me and made me ill. I thought of the two of us together and the pictures melded into one. I couldn't stand it any longer. I hated her! The enemy. Why had she entered our lives and stirred up this hornets nest? If only I could get my hands around her neck...

The heat became worse as the evening wore on. I went on to bed and tried to watch TV but the room was small with only one window which opened onto the front porch and there was no air moving. It was sweltering. I got up and paced throughout the house. But questions kept swirling through my mind. I tried to read for awhile but the book couldn't hold my interest. My hair was wringing wet and my body looked as though I hadn't bothered to dry off after my shower. My nightgown was soaked through and through. My head started aching so I went into the bathroom for an aspirin. I shook the aspirin into my sweaty palm and looked at it. I looked back at the bottle and saw the white, round pills and many would it take? How long would it take? Would it be quick? Would my baby suffer? I had some liquor out on the back porch, surely a shot of that would knock me out and we could just drift away where things would be easy and cool and green and soft and...But Wait!!! What was I thinking??? I'm pregnant! I can't even be thinking like this! My God, please help me!!!

I sank down onto the bathroom floor and sobbed until I could no longer catch my breath. I laid there for what seemed like hours and finally got up, slowly because every part of me ached. I looked at the clock - it was just 11:00 p.m. I thought for certain it was early in the morning by now. Damn! How was I going to get through the rest of this horrible night? I knew my aunt and uncle were already long in bed. I just needed someone to talk to. I didn't want to call my mom and dad because I was too afraid that in my present state of mind, I'd frighten them. What was I going to do?

I went out to the couch where by now, my cola was all watery and tepid, the glass leaving a big nasty ring on the coffee table. I turned on the TV again and poured a new soda over fresh ice. Thoughts ran through my mind like a freight train, each one jockeying for first place. I seriously thought I was losing my sanity. All alone, my children with their grandparents, my husband off with some bitch he met in a bar; what was wrong with me? Why would he leave me? After all, it wasn't the first time he'd done this. I must be a horrible person or he would want to be with me. I sat with my head in my hands and wept some more.

The shop! Someone would still be at the store. My parents owned a business and it stayed open until 1:00 a.m. on Friday nights! Someone would be there...I raced to the phone, hoping dear Ellen, a close friend, would be working late. The phone rang a couple of times and a male voice answered. My heart stopped. It was Dave. Oh no. He was an old flame of mine from high school who worked for my folks - the only guy that ever broke up with me. In fact, he'd broken my heart and left me for another girl. I should hang up quickly. But I found myself saying, "Hello," and bursting into tears.

He asked who it was, and through the sobs I managed to get out my name and he asked what was wrong. Was I all right? I was sobbing so hard and choking out words that I wasn't making much sense. I finally got out that I was in trouble and just needed someone to talk with. He asked if he should call my mom and dad and I gulped out, "No!" He was quiet for a minute, then said that business was real slow and he would come on over. I thought, "This is not good..." but gave him my address.

He was at the front door within ten minutes. I had calmed down somewhat and was able to tell him what I had almost done with the aspirin and how frightened I was that I had even contemplated doing something that horrible, especially with my baby's life at stake. He took my hand and prayed with me and asked God to give me peace of mind and spirit. We talked about high school and everyday things; we talked about faith and how precious life is; we talked about how difficult relationships can be. We talked for another couple of hours until I was completely exhausted. He left around 3:00 a.m. and I went to bed. I slept until early morning, thankful that I had gotten through the night. Grace.