Monday, February 18, 2019

The Guts of Our Lives

One of the gifts of going to a family event  yesterday was visiting with a family member who is a kindred spirit. Our daily lives, political and religious views are miles apart. None of that matters. 

We hadn't seen each other in such a long time. We went from how are you? to the guts of our lives in the space it took to ask the question. She was really the only one I had hoped for a good visit with and even though we only had 15 minutes together, it was food for my soul.

We laughed, we cried, we hugged. It was good.

Those people you can let down your guard with are such a gift. The ones who really not only want to know how you are but can absorb it without the need to fix or advise or do anything other than listen with their heart and respond from their soul. I am fortunate to have people like that in my life. I hope you do in yours, too.


Friday I had an appointment with my physiotherapist. She has a unique way of doing what she does and her intuition has helped heal not only physical pain but has facilitated emotional release for me as well.

Once, when I told her I felt like I was walking around with a flinch just under the surface, she scanned my body with her eyes and pinpointed where she thought the flinch was stuck in my body . As she pressed there I burst into tears and the flinch disappeared. I'd file that under airy fairy shit except it's happened many times over.

Last week I missed a step while going down our entryway stairs and managed to whack my head right in the corner of the wall. First one side of my head hit and then the other. I landed with quite a thud. It was harder for Dearest One to see me fall than for me to experience it. I got up and carried on with my day. Except for a bit of a headache and some sore muscles I felt fine.

It's unusual that I didn't hurt myself worse. I am grateful for a body that is getting better at healing. Or perhaps not holding onto to injury so much.

When I relayed my falling experience to my physiotherapist she did her magic and fixed my neck. When we talked about how weird, but good, it was that I didn't injure myself much she looked at me and with a smile said, "You're not fragile." She repeated it for emphasis, "You're not fragile."

Friday, February 15, 2019

A Path

  • This has been a full week. 
  • Much time spent out of the house getting paperwork sorted for financial aid. Feeling grateful for kind and helpful people in the mix. 
  • Sleep disruptions. Can a person be tired of being tired due to sleep disruptions? 
  • Working more things through in therapy ending with taking a photo of the poster paper with all our scribbles on it for later reference. 
  • Spending time with a friend whose health is deteriorating fast. So scarily fast that we looked at each other and dropped f bombs when she told me a doctor broached the topic of end of life care. 

I just remembered that I have a family commitment this weekend. Hours of small talk with people I know but don't socialize with more than a few times a year. In a setting of 300+ people. My idea of torture. No one I would share what's really going on in my life with. That part is okay. I can do the surface socializing but find it exhausting.

It's been hard work for me to learn how to socialize with any skill. I much prefer one on one conversations. I know I tend to talk and talk and have had to train myself to listen, listen. Remembering appropriate social skills feels like being somewhat deaf and straining to hear a conversation. I much prefer being like the guy in the graphic on a solo path letting all those thoughts out.

I told my therapist yesterday that I've spent the past 40 years never letting the phrase I am depressed cross my lips. Befriending the thought and letting it be what it is has helped something shift. Given me hope. How ironic is that? Hey, I'm depressed and suddenly I feel hopeful about life. I told her if that stronghold of thought could be broken what else is waiting for me? I'm placing my bet on good things to come.

But not until after the weekend.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


This description of how to sit with discomfort resonates with me so much that I made it the screensaver on my phone. My default setting is to take the numbing detour you see described by the white line. In many ways this diagram of how to sit with discomfort reminds of the the welcoming prayer.

When I saw my therapist this past Friday we had a conversation about the appointment I'd had with my doctor earlier in the week. In particular about my doctor asking me to take a look at what was behind my mental block to taking medication for depression.

What ensued was a most uncomfortable conversation. I did and didn't want to go there. We went there. At one point I covered my eyes with my hands and dropped a staccato string of f-bombs.

I trust my therapist. I trusted where she was taking me even in the midst of great resistance on my part. It opened the door for me to give voice to long ago happenings and how they have shaped my view of taking medication. I will not be in control. She assured me I was always in control of my decisions including the decision about medication. I will be a failure  I whispered. I will be abandoned if I admit I am feeling depressed.

Thank goodness there is a safe place for me to give voice to these deeply felt beliefs. And a safe person to help unpack them.

I knew I could call my doctor's office after my appointment and ask for a prescription to be sent to my pharmacy. He'd made that clear in every appointment. I'd felt like he was frustrated with me at my last appointment and I internalized that as I'm not trying hard enough to get better.  My therapist wanted me to talk to the doctor in person about my perceptions surrounding those feelings before asking for the prescription (if that's what I decided to do.) That made me uncomfortable as fuck but I made the call and miraculously got an appointment for yesterday.

Over the weekend I remembered there was a quote that had resonated with me from a YouTube video I'd watched a few months ago. I went looking and found it:

"Sometimes we are an unreliable witness to our own experiences. If we are convinced we are always right, how then do we bring inquiry to things that feel factual."

I've been invested in being right about so much in my life. A white knuckled grip on being right.

It felt factual that I would be a failure if I took medication for depression. It felt factual that I wouldn't be in control and that I would be abandoned, too.

I took all those thoughts to my doctor's appointment yesterday. I am grateful for a doctor who I can have hard and vulnerable conversations with. This is the second time I've had to go back and clarify perceptions with him and he always thanks me for doing so as he says it makes him a better doctor.

It's making me a better, more authentic person, too.

Friday, February 08, 2019


The word curiousity keeps popping up in my life. When I read the quote over there I find I am much better at judgement than curiousity. Especially towards myself.

A hard doctor's appointment this week left me feeling quite judgmental about myself. Then I kicked into my default  I'll show you mentality. That only lasted long enough for me to remember that operating out of that paradigm wasn't sustainable or healthy.

In talking about this today in therapy it felt like a lifetime of beliefs came crashing down. I spent the rest of the day bawling my head off any time I talked to Dearest One about my appointment. I couldn't even tell him how grateful I am for my therapist without being a weeping mess.

Maybe a better term than crashing down is opening up. Something shifted. Defense mechanisms relented. Perspective was gained.

It's fucking hard work.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Hard Things

This quote was on my FB feed last night and reading it made tears spring up instantly.

This morning I saw my doctor, who will not consider my going back to work right now or in the near future. He told me what my day to day life would have to look like before I would be ready for that. Okay, then.

We came up with a plan to see if I can get some funds from other programs in place while I appeal the decision made by my disability carrier.

I spent this afternoon with a friend who has been undergoing chemo since late last year. I meet her at the cancer centre for each appointment and we sit and visit while she has treatment. Her cancer is inoperable and she is doing everything she can to live as long as possible. She has an acceptance about her plus hope that treatment will do its magic. We laugh a lot when we are together. We have open and hard conversations, too. It is good to spend time with her.

Friday, February 01, 2019


The no judgement part today is hard. My claim for long term disability was denied this morning. I think I need a few more months before I'm able to go back to work. My doctor and therapist agree.

There are layers to thoughts going through my mind. Old stories. I'm trying to remind myself that this decision isn't a judgement of me.

Over 40 years ago my mom spent a summer taking me to doctors for worrying health symptoms I had. One morning, after many doctors and no answers, she came into my bedroom and accused me of faking. She told me I could go to one more doctor and if they couldn't figure it out then that was it. No more doctors. That doctor told me I was depressed. When I got home and told my mom that, she said, "What would you have to be depressed about?" We never spoke of those health issues again the whole time I was home.

Deep breaths, Hope. Deep breaths.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Another Try

Yesterday felt like a write off of a day.  Last night when I crawled into bed I wondered why people ever got out of bed anyway. What was the point?

There's nothing much to do but ride those days (and thoughts) out and remind myself that, even though they feel permanent, my thoughts and feelings are temporary. I can say all that this morning but yesterday all I felt capable of was whining to Dearest One for the umpteenth time. Where is my motivation? Why aren't I better already?!

Today is the second anniversary of my dad's passing. No matter what the ageing process threw at him, he would get a wry grin on his face, lift his pointer finger in the air and proclaim, "It beats the alternative." He meant it with every fiber of his being.

I'm writing this at about the hour he passed away. Whew. Deep breath. I still can't write more about it than that.

This morning I cleaned the fridge out ahead of grocery shopping later on. As I took a jar of mostly pickle juice out of the fridge and dumped its contents, I was brought back to a time 25 years ago when the only thing in my fridge was a jar of pickle juice and a few potatoes. Meager pickings with three little ones to feed. We lived on home made bread and baked beans. At one point I went to the food bank and swallowed hard when I told the woman behind the desk that my kids hadn't had any fresh produce in so long. She didn't have any. That was a hard day.

Better days came even though it wasn't the last time we needed to use the food bank. The next time my kids were teenagers. The day the lady at the food bank offered me a 20 pound bag of flour someone had donated was a good one. Baked goods fill bellies. I love to bake.

My dad's favourite dessert was pie. Last summer I bought fresh picked berries and stuck them in the freezer in anticipation of making a pie for dessert tonight.

I'm glad the sun showed up again today. I'm grateful for another try.