His Crisis, Is My Crisis

I’m placing the same warning that I placed on my post, Help Me Understand, Alone on a Limb, because I feel it needs to be said.

This is a very, very sensitive topic for me. I’ve always considered what happens in the bedroom, should stay in the bedroom… private. But I need to talk about this. I need to talk about sex. I apologize profusely for the “too much information” vibe of this post.

And again, this post may be triggering for some readers. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Proceed with caution. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have to write about this morning before it all slips away to wherever my memories go when I’m this upset. I went to bed around 3 am. KR had already gone to bed, which is unusual for him as he normally doesn’t retire until around 5 am. After work last night, he stopped by a local bar with some friends from work for a burger; and I’m pretty sure he must have had a couple of beers because I smelled it on him as soon as I laid down in bed. That would, of course, explain why he went to bed so early. But as soon as I laid down, he woke up, and to give the briefest, least crude description possible, began molesting me. Something in my mind told me not to fight it because, after all, I haven’t been the most receptive to sexual advances lately; so I allowed it to continue. I don’t want to describe this in detail. I’ll only say that when his advances turned to oral sex, it became so rough that I had to stop him. He, of course, got very angry; and a huge argument ensued. I tried to escape by going into the bathroom, the only room in our house with a locking door. He immediately followed and busted open the door, telling me, “There’s no reason for this door to ever be locked!” Needless to say, we now no longer have a locking door in the entire house.

He proceeded to tell me everything wrong in our relationship and his life… again.* There’s always that “I love you, but….”

He doesn’t think that I’m making an effort to do anything. It isn’t enough that I do all the housework, cleaning, laundry, take care of the cats, do all the shopping and errands, keep the kitchen cleaned up after him, keep up with the finances, all while trying to run 2 blogs (unsuccessfully, lately) and take some much-needed personal time for myself through hobbies and therapy in order to get through this bout of depression, which, by the way, is kicking my ass.

He’s frustrated with my indecisiveness over the simplest things, like what meal to have for dinner or what to do on weekends. And speaking of food, he’s tired of doing all the cooking. I get it. He works all day and comes home wanting to simply relax. I should be making dinner each night. It’s just not that simple when you’ve struggled with food and eating for as long as I have. “I hate to cook” is the understatement of the year. I’ll agree that this is something that I finally need to address. I’m certain that my health is suffering as a consequence of my disordered eating habits, but bullying me about only makes them worse! I’ve eaten nothing since Tuesday night; and even then I only had 785 calories all day, 420 of which were from soda alone.

He thinks that therapy is what’s making “my” problems worse thereby making the issues between us worse. He’s very quick to judge therapy or any other form of psychiatric care as an unscientific method, regarding it as  a complete waste of time ineffective. Perhaps, a lot of my own misgivings about psychiatric medications are a result of hearing his views about them for so many years. I suppose it’s possible that I simply internalized them as my own in order to keep the peace; but I cannot ignore the fact that I am much more impulsive while on them. I’m not even sure if he believes that my mental health issues are “real,” thus invalidating an entire aspect of my life that affects me greatly.

KR also brought up our financial difficulties during his tirade. He said he’s tired of working his ass off and not being able to afford anything. Both vehicles need expensive repairs; we need to move out of this trailer and find something more habitable; he needs some dental work done; he wanted to buy his sister’s motorcycle. The list went on and on. Waiting on Social Security Disability is no longer an option. He wants me to find a job and go back to work. Even if I got SSD, it wouldn’t be enough to pull us out of the hole we dug ourselves into. The money just isn’t there. This terrifies me. I remember how badly I coped while working a full-time job. I’m not even sure anyone would hire me after an almost 9 year absence from the work force, but I feel like I have no choice in the matter anymore.

Then, he went on to say that he feels unwanted or unloved, that I make him feel undesirable. I can’t remember exactly what words he used, but that’s the gist of what he meant. This tied directly into his demands for sex and how bored he is with our sex life. He mentioned that when we first got together, I was up for trying “anything,” which ironically is when I first began to have serious flashbacks, during these “anythings.” After the first couple of months of protesting and finally giving in, he somehow saw my “giving in” as a sign that I enjoyed these acts. I don’t believe that I could have possibly made it any clearer from the beginning that I did not/do not enjoy oral or anal sex or pornography. It’s very, very triggering for me. I find it repulsive, degrading, and completely demoralizing.

I’ve known KR for almost 14 years, now. In all of those years, up until the last few months, he told me he did not want children. He changed his mind. Now, he’s telling me that he wants a child. Another terrifying thought to me because I don’t think I could bring a child into such a volatile relationship. KR is constantly saying how some people should not be allowed to breed for this reason or that. I honestly feel like I am one of those people due to my mental health issues. Children deserve better. They deserve to grow up in a stable, secure home with parents who can provide them with the love and support they require to thrive. I don’t feel like I have that left to give.

I’m sure there are plenty of things KR said that I cannot recall. Most of this I had heard before. The worst part is that the whole time he’s lecturing me with these types of tirades, I’m thinking to myself, “I’m irresponsible. I’m lazy. I’m unloving. I’m worthless. I’m bad. I don’t deserve to live. Conform… submit… obey… Everything is always my fault.” I really don’t need him to bully and harass me because I’m quite adept in that respect to do it to myself.

*This was the point where I stopped writing earlier today before calling my case manager in a panic and complete despair. She agreed to meet with me and had me speak to a crisis counselor. I’m on the waiting list for the respite care program here in our community because I agree with my case manager, KR and I need a break from each other, even if it’s just for a few days.

Dreaming Out Loud

TEDxTalks: Art therapy: changing lives, one image at a time: Cathy Malchiodi at TEDxOverlandPark

I wish I had thought of becoming an art therapist early on in my college education. I truly see the value in using art as a means to promote healing and recovery. I know the thought of art therapy as a profession crossed my mind a few times in the past; but until now, I hadn’t given it serious consideration. Honestly, in my entire 41 years, I struggled to decide exactly what I wanted my profession to be. There were too many choices, too many things I found interesting – too many possibilities; so I couldn’t decide. And I ended up doing nothing as a result. I’ve had no lasting career of any kind.

My first semester of college, straight out of high school, I majored in art because I knew I had the passion for it. Drawing, painting, sculpting – simply creating and seeing the final piece completed gave me a sense of accomplishment that made the effort seem worthwhile. At some point during that first semester, though, I began second-guessing my major. I think it was the result of so many people telling me, “There’s no money in that,” or “That’s not a ‘real’ career,” or “You need to be more practical,” because in rural TN art wasn’t exactly seen as anything more than a mere hobby. Why waste a perfectly good college education on something so meaningless (in their minds)?

When I transferred to a college closer to home after that first semester away (partially due to expense, but more so due to homesickness), I relented and changed my major to early childhood education. I never finished my associates degree. I managed to get through the first 3 semesters before my ex-husband and I moved to Hawaii after he enlisted in the army. When I finally went back to college 7 years later, I changed my major back to art, specifically graphic design. I loved my art classes – hated my graphic design classes. One of my art professors told me I should get my degree in fine arts rather than graphic design; but still, that little voice in the back of my head said, “No, there’s no future in that.” I never finished my bachelor’s degree, either.

Now, I look at all of that college coursework I completed and wonder, “What was it all for?” I’m still just as far in debt as I was the day I left college, even more now than then. Due to my mental health issues, there have been a lot of deferment and forbearance periods since that time which incurred a large amount of interest fees. The thousands of dollars I have given Sallie Mae over the years has made no difference in the amount I owe. This last forbearance ran out this past November. I worry that I will be in default soon, if not already, since I still have no way to pay back the money I owe. I’m drowning in that debt.

And this is my problem when I begin to dream of a future. I see a goal I would like to accomplish, but the obstacles feel insurmountable. Past failures remind me that future dreams are just that – dreams – silly childish dreams. The reality of my situation is that mental illness still blocks my path, and I fear I’m running out of time to accomplish anything at all.

 

Blinders On

Hmm. I lost a day somewhere. All day long I thought it was the 18th. Maybe, it’s just the result of flipping my sleep schedule back to a more “normal” time frame. I actually went to bed at 9:00 pm last night and woke at 6:30 am this morning. It won’t last. It never does. I haven’t been able to maintain a regular sleeping schedule for many, many years. I’m sure that doesn’t help my mental health any. KR’s second shift work schedule for the last couple of years has us up at odd hours anyway. When it comes to making myself sleep, I’ve found that eventually my sleeping hours always end up creeping later and later each day until I flip full circle by having to stay awake for a full 24 hours just to make it to an appointment or other obligation. This worsens around the time of season changes.

And I’m longing for spring’s arrival.

Or maybe, the lost day is the result of a weekend that was a confusing mess of numbness and vacancy. I don’t know. I can’t make myself write about Valentine’s night. I really wouldn’t know what to say about it anyway, as most of that night isn’t available for recollection. From what I do recall, forgetting it is probably best. I’m almost certain that I had a pretty bad flashback that, well, even at the moment makes me feel nauseated and anxious enough to change the subject completely.

Yesterday, I went for a walk, a 3.6 mile walk, to be exact. The weather was so warm compared to the last few weeks. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take in some sunshine and fresh air. Today, I feel it. I’m tired and achy, joints popping in protest with sore muscles to boot. The park was crowded with people relieving their cabin fever. Uncle Creepy was there, a man I’ve noticed at this particular park often. The first time I ever met him back in 2012, he asked for my assistance in helping him walk back to his car. He said he was recovering from a stroke, walking for his health (basically used the sympathy card). The second time this happened just a few weeks later, he copped a feel of my breast. Whether or not it was an “accident,” I’ve avoided him ever since. It took me close to a year and a half after that incident to become comfortable enough to even walk past him. Most of the time, I would dart up through the woods to the higher path or turn on my heels and go back the way I came just to avoid him. The day I finally worked up the courage to walk past him again as he was sitting on a bench last autumn, he asked again for assistance, with the same story. I told him, “I’m sorry, but you made me a little uncomfortable the last time I helped you.” Not just a little – a lot; but I gave him the benefit of the doubt with that comment as I continued to walk past. Yesterday, he only said “hello” as I quickly walked by.

As I continue to search through house rentals online to find us a better place to live, I’m becoming more and more discouraged. There are so many problems with this trailer and so few affordable options. Thus far, the places I’ve checked into have given me the same answer in regard to our pets, “No.” Over the last 3 years, we’ve exhausted every available option in this community. The financial issue of moving into a better place has been the greatest obstacle, but the pet issue leaves me feeling hopeless. I love these cats. They are family, not mere pets. My two have been in my life for 14 and 13 years. KR’s three have been in his life for 8 years and the twins, 7 years. Neither KR nor I take the responsibility of pets lightly. We both feel that when you open your home (and heart) to a pet, it is for the life of that animal. While I often feel like I work myself to death cleaning up after 5 cats (I am after all an obsessive clean-freak), their presence is a great motivator to keep me sane. Without them, I fear I wouldn’t bother getting out of bed; and I couldn’t imagine having to “choose” which ones to keep should we be forced to find any a new home. How could we possibly choose?! Lying about having 5 cats feels wrong; and I worry that lying would only cause more anxiety for me in the long-run, especially if the person from whom we were renting found out and evicted us as a result.

I’m really at a loss as to what to do about our housing situation.

My Story – Part 7 (Chaos Relived)

Continued from My Story – Part 6 (Trying to Survive)

I want to reiterate my trigger warning on this post because I discuss suicidal ideation and weight issues with numbers that could be triggering for some readers. Please, keep yourself safe. 

When my boyfriend, P.I., and I broke up at the end of 2004, he told me I could stay with him until my court date over the child support with my ex-husband. When that court date was postponed until April (court was continuously postponed for a total of 6 years due to the fact that my ex-husband never showed up), I was left in a state of limbo, having no where to else to go and no income to support myself. P.I. allowed me to continue living with him and his parents; but he was constantly picking fights with me, pressuring me to find a job and abandon my disability claim. I looked at my life and chastised myself relentlessly for not getting my act together. I began working part-time as a floater at a preschool. Working with kids made me miss mine even more. I continued looking for a better job until I found a great full-time graphic artist position at a factory in Tullahoma, TN, making $11.50 per hour (the most I ever made in my life). In April, I spent the first two weeks at my job living out of a hotel room, eating nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and cereal. After I received my first paycheck, I put a deposit down on a 2 bedroom apartment and moved in.

Tullahoma is a small rural community, about two and a half hours away from where I had been living in Clarksville. I was so lonely. I knew no one there. The depression worsened. By the end of May, I ran out of medication. I tried getting help through a local mental health facility, but the services were minimal and unhelpful. My life felt so out of control. I called the crisis call line more times there than I ever had. Prior to moving to Tullahoma, I gained approximately 60 lbs, which in and of itself was a huge stressor for me given my disordered eating habits. This brought my total weight up to 170 lbs by January 2005 – the most I had ever weighed in my life, even while pregnant. I believe the weight gain was a result of an earlier change in medication. My best guess is the Lexapro because after I ran out of medication that extra 60 pounds of weight fell off very quickly. By the end of 2005, I was back down to 105 pounds. By the middle of June, I was a nervous wreck, realizing that even though I was making more money than I ever had, I still couldn’t afford to pay rent, electric, child support, student loans, buy food and groceries, and gas, not to mention my car was also giving me problems. I was in over my head again financially, all while going through horrible withdrawal from medication. I began feeling suicidal again; so I went into the ER for help.

(Hospitalization #7 – suicidal ideation) That night, I was transported to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga, TN. This was another state-run facility like Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute; but this one was by far scarier! (I have to interject here that transporting mental health patients by police car, shackled, and handcuffed, as I had been on numerous occasions, is not only inhumane and dehumanizing, but incredibly traumatic.) Riding up to this facility in the back of a police car down a long, long road that looks like it’s in the middle of absolutely no where, my first glimpse sent chills down my spine. It is actually on a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Tennessee RiverIt was lit up in the darkness of night with floodlights that made me think of prisons or the old-style insane asylums of the ’40’s and ’50’s. I had only seen pictures of places like this. I spent 3 very desperate days trying to get out of that hospital. They took me off all of the medications, except one, Effexor.

After this hospitalization, I tried to keep it together – I really did. Work was stressful. I couldn’t keep up with the pace my supervisor wanted me to work. I had missed several days due to the hospitalization and had a few tardies. My supervisor called me into her office to tell me that she was moving me to night-shift. I couldn’t object. I had no say. It was just done. A few days later, I walked out on my job. I just got up and left, in tears. As I sat at my computer that night trying to do my work, thoughts kept running through my mind. I’m not really sure what they were, now; but these thoughts had tears streaming down my face, panic quickly setting in. Humiliated that I was crying at work, embarrassed that I couldn’t make myself stop, worried that someone might see, feeling a despair that I had so often felt, and experiencing a panic like I had never felt before… I just got up and quickly walked out.

The move, the new job, missing work because of the hospitalization, the change in medication, no support system, no friends or family in the area, still dealing with child support issues and not being able to see my son, having transportation issues, not making enough money to cover all my expenses, even mourning the loss of my relationship with P.I. – it ALL became too much to handle. I didn’t even speak to my supervisor. I just left work and never went back.

That was the last time I worked.

I left Tullahoma. At this time, I asked my family for help, the first and only time I ever did so. I wanted to move back to my hometown to be closer to my son; but both my mother and my sister refused my pleas for help. My mother simply said she didn’t have the space. My sister told me I needed to stick it out where I was at and make the best of it. Fearing that I would go to jail if I missed the court appearance over the child support (now in July) and having no where else to go, I put everything I owned in storage and went back to Clarksville, TN. Again, homeless, I slept in my car for a couple of nights. I ended up losing everything I owned as a result of having no way to pay the storage facility.

For 3 days, I stayed at a place called Foundations Respite. Upon release, I was supposed to go to a domestic abuse shelter in Clarksville. It was the only place they could find for me since the homeless shelter was full. I dropped off the few belongings I had with me at that shelter and went to speak with P.I. over an unpaid water bill in my name. He convinced me to go to the ER that night because I expressed to him my suicidal thoughts. My plan was to speed down I-24 and crash into a rock wall. (Hospitalization #8 – suicidal ideation) I was in the hospital for a total of 24 days this time. My medication changed to Cymbalta, Risperdal, Remeron, and Adderall (for the newest diagnosis of ADD). After I was released from the hospital, I was supposed to go to a homeless shelter in Nashville; but P.I. allowed me to move back in with him. This was probably not one of my smartest decisions, but he was the only person who would take me in. There were so many people living in that house already – a total of 5 adults, 2-4 kids at any given time, 4 cats, and the constant traffic of friends and family coming over. It was crowded, to say the least, and totally overwhelming.

By the end of November 2005, I quit taking ALL the medications because I feared I wouldn’t be able to afford them any longer without insurance (I think this was around the time that TN was phasing out TennCare). I realized that I felt horrible and stressed whether or not I was taking them. This was when I first began to seriously question their effectiveness. Of course, that led to yet another hospitalization at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute in Nashville (Hospitalization #9 – suicidal ideation) because coming off of medication really is brutal. I seriously frightened myself this time as I sat there for what felt like hours (probably, more like minutes) holding P.I.’s gun to my head with my finger on the trigger. When I couldn’t force myself to pull that trigger (the thought of my son saved my life), I called my case manager. Like I’ve said before or meant to say before if I haven’t, ANY changes in my medication led me to suicide attempts or at least stronger than normal suicidal voices in my head. They became much harder to resist while medicated – I had little to no impulse control while medicated. Six out of 10 times, I was able to make myself seek help before I made a lethal decision. I can only say that my will to live was stronger than my will to die in those 6 instances. The 4 suicide attempts were the opposite, my will to die was stronger. Given the fact that I continue to experience suicidal thoughts even now, I honestly can’t say how to prevent them. The only thing I know for certain is that provided I can make myself “wait out” those thoughts and whatever emotions bring me to that point, I have a better chance of not acting on them.

Shortly after hospitalization #9, in January 2006, P.I. and I moved into a trailer that we had all to ourselves for a little while. Things calmed down some, but our relationship was never quite the same after we got back together. We argued a lot. He complained a lot. For the most part, I was vacant, in my mind. I could sit for hours just staring out the window in perfect silence, like I did when I was a little girl. My disability case had been reopened so many times the previous year that, at some point, I was told they had no record of me. I hired an attorney in 2006 to help me, but I had no hope of actually being approved. Shortly after summer 2006, P.I. got a job offer in Lebanon, TN; so we moved again. Not even a couple of months after we moved there, he met someone else and began having an affair with her. As he made plans to move in with this woman, I reached out to the only friend I had at the time, K.R. As I mentioned previously on my blog, even after our relationship ended in March 2002, K.R. and I remained friends and talked occasionally. He was the only friend to come see me while I lived in Tullahoma. He was always an ear to turn to when I struggled. He offered to let me stay with him in Nashville, TN; so I moved in with K.R. into his one bedroom apartment. Shortly after moving in, we decided to give our relationship another try; and we’ve been together ever since, just over 7 years, now.

As I’ve been writing out my story, I realize that it is growing far longer than I intended; but so much has happened in my life that I attribute to my mental health struggles. I don’t even feel like I’m going into as much detail as I could; but for the sake of brevity, as brief as I can get it anyway, I’m trying to establish a timeline here. Bear with me. I’m getting closer to the present day. 

To be continued…

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

I remember a time as a small child when my mother suffered from severe migraines, or sick headaches, as she called them. These migraines would leave her in bed sometimes for days at a time, often violently ill. Some of my earliest memories are of playing as quietly as I dared, in the hallway right outside my parent’s bedroom. Somehow, I knew better than to make any noise. I obsessively lined up my Fisher Price Little People (the Sesame Street set) on the hardwood floor, pretending they were having a race. Each wood slat served as a racing lane as I moved them one by one to the finish line – the doorway to my parent’s room. In that silence, I learned to go deep into my imagination, content in my own fantasy world.

To this day, I very much enjoy the sound of silence. Often, I would argue that I absolutely require it for my sanity; however, I’m not so sure pure silence truly exists. As I sit here writing this, I hear:

  • the hum of the box fan,
  • the high frequency, piercing whine of something electrical,
  • the ticking of the wall clock,
  • the squeak of my chair,
  • the sound of my fingers typing these words,
  • the metal siding on the trailer banging in the wind (a storm is brewing outside),
  • and one of my cats snoring (this makes me laugh).

And it’s always in silence that my thoughts become so noisy, so loud, like a thousand voices whispering… yelling… SHOUTING… all at once. It’s as though silence amplifies sounds and thoughts.

Technique #2: Meditation

Here, my thoughts turn to mindfulness and the art of meditation. Quieting those thoughts, those inner voices, requires only acknowledging them and allowing them to pass on by. That’s the hard part, not ruminating on any one thought longer than a brief moment. Because meditation has been one of the most effective tools I have found in dealing with depression and anxiety, I feel it is worth mentioning as one of my favorite techniques. For a great guide in beginning the practice of mindful meditation visit Psychology Today’s article: How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation. For me, meditation is the practice of learning to hear the sound of silence.

Feel free to share any helpful videos, links, and resources you have found online that might help others learn this valuable technique. And I’ll continue to update with the same. I’m afraid I’m drawing a blank at the moment.

“In the attitude of silence, the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

If you would like to participate in this week’s writing challenge, head on over to The Daily Post for more information about the Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence.

The Joys of Being a Woman

Fair warning to the menfolk: this post is geared more towards the female population as I will be discussing such icky things as hormone imbalances, menstrual cycles, and menopause, in addition to a little more information about my history of disordered eating. So feel free to brush on past if these topics are a little too intimate for your taste…

or run away…

either/or… 

Still with me? Okay…. 

I began so many different blog posts this week, yet published none of them. Most ended up in the trash. I began this post last night during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics as they were still working their way through the alphabet in the Parade of Nations. Watching the opening ceremony was my reward for actually getting my chores done yesterday. I love the opening ceremonies, well, other than the commercials and the interrupting announcers. I couldn’t really concentrate on what I was trying to write, though; so I postponed posting again.

This has been a very rough week. I’ve felt emotionally out of control (my M3 score is 75), physically exhausted and achy, and mentally unfocused with little desire to accomplish much of anything. My sleep has been up and down with little consistency, Sa 9 – Su 6.5 – Mn 7 – Tu 9.5 – Wd 9 – Th 5 – Fr 11 (hours per day). And I haven’t slept since I woke up yesterday. Yeah, I’m all out of whack.

The physical symptoms have me worried that my thyroid is acting up again. I’ve had a headache almost every day this week, including yesterday. My brain felt like it was throbbing. This is probably too much information, but I gave a fair warning. My menstrual cycle is so out of control that I never know what to expect from my body day-to-day. I went a total of 4 months without a period, only to get a fairly normal one in January, and then, spotting again a week later. I began having problems with my periods starting around 9 years ago. I was only 33 years old. They became irregular, sometimes lasting for as long as 6 weeks to 2 months at a time. And then, other times, I would fail to have a period for months at a time, like this recent episode. I finally saw a doctor in 2007 who told me that the problem was my thyroid; but I gave up on treatment after several months when I began experiencing severe paranoia, convinced that the doctors were poisoning me. I haven’t been back since. I can’t remember when the last time was that I saw a medical doctor (maybe 2008 or 2009?). My boyfriend told me to go to a doctor, at least go to the health department; but my phobia of doctors prevents me from even considering this as an option, let alone the cost and lack of insurance.

I suppose it could be possible that I’m going through early menopause, but I have to admit: I know very little about menopause. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know what is “normal.” Sure, I’ve researched it a little online; but there’s a whole lot of wishy-washy information out there that’s more confusing than helpful. I’ve heard plenty of women talk about hot flashes, which I have experienced for several years, bordering on night sweats, Lord, have mercy! And if these problems are simply symptoms of menopause, then, that’s a completely natural, normal thing to be going through, right? At least, that’s how I rationalize it in my mind.

Ladies, why is it we don’t have more open discussions about our bodies and the cycles of our bodies that affect us on such a powerful level? I mean, seriously, what have we to be ashamed of? I have my theories on where this shame stems from, but I’m not about to get into a religious debate over it since I don’t want that to be the point of this post. Our menstrual cycles and menopause are a completely natural, normal part of life. Even a lot of the hormonal fluctuations are. Our bodies are so complex and amazing that they have this incredible ability to create an entirely new little person in our womb. I will, of course, give the men credit for their contribution. Without them, the propagation of our species would come to a halt. However, it’s the woman’s body that combines the two parts together to form that innocent bundle of joy (or screaming mess of demands, depending on how tired you are at that 3 am feeding). Our menstrual cycles and hormonal fluctuations are an important part of that system up until such time that cycle comes to an end, during menopause.

Of course, my physical problems could be the result of two other possibilities. One, they may be the result of Lupus – even the thyroid issue could be a result of Lupus. See My Story – Part 1 (Childhood Background) where I discuss my diagnosis of Lupus. Therein lies the problem of confronting an original trauma from age 14, one that left me with significant questions about life and death. Or, number two, all of my problems, including a lot of the psychological issues, could be the result of an untreated eating disorder, specifically anorexia. I spoke briefly of this in My Story – Part 3 (The First Half of My Year of Hell) as it related to that time period in my life, but 1998 was also the worst my disordered eating had ever gotten.

Prior to 1998, I would have simply considered myself a picky eater. My mom would attest to that. She became so frustrated with me as a child that I became accustomed to not eating if I didn’t like what was prepared. Don’t take that as a statement of blame on my mother because I’ll be the first to admit that I was an incredibly stubborn child! In the years that followed 1998, I rarely ate more than one meal per day. A lot of times this was a result of just not having enough money for food, but other times, not so much. These last 10 years or so, I’ve restricted myself to strictly one meal per day. Occasionally, I would allow myself a small snack; but I have to admit that I feel guilt when I eat more than I feel I deserve. Also, the more stress I am under, the less I eat. Again, I think this is a control issue, an attempt to control something when everything feels out of control.

In an attempt to close yet another long-winded post, I’ll end with questions for those of you who have struggled with eating disorders or phobias, like that of my fear of doctors. How do I get to the point where I feel I deserve to be healthy? How do I improve my self-worth? What made you choose recovery? How do you make yourself want to live?

Pesky Little Ants

I feel like I have ants crawling all over me… probably because I’ve had ants crawling all over me today! One had me going cross-eyed because it was crawling around on my glasses. It never fails. Whenever we have heavy rain, they come inside in hordes. Maybe they’re just mad because I’ve started squishing them; but good grief, it’s the middle of winter. The ants should not be this bad! And they bite, too!

Oh… and the kitchen ceiling is leaking again. <Sigh>