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I’ve been reading this post and answering the questions to myself for a while.  I’ve addressed the first few here.  Now I think I’ll take the last three together.

4. What if what I need is already here?
5. What if I didn’t have to figure it all out?
6. What if exactly what I need is happening already?

These are all really hard for me.  Like Zen koans or maybe just something I can’t quite wrap my head around yet like “letting go.”

I know everything I need is already here, in my mind, in my body, in my life. But it’s like I can’t quite access it in the right way.  Much like I know I need to let go of my jealousy and desires to end suffering, I get it, I’m just not sure exactly how I do it.  When I let go of my negative emotions instead of clinging to them, when I forgive myself, will I suddenly be free to access all the power and good that is inside myself?

The last two questions seem like subsets of four.  Or maybe I just answer them in similar ways.  I know I don’t have to figure it all out, how could I?  But how do I know I’m even seeking the right answers?  How do I know I’m on the true and moral path? How do I figure those things out? Do I not worry about answers and just do what I think is best?  And surely what I need is happening?  I am healing, maybe too slowly, maybe just right.  How could now be anything other than what I need? Even when it’s bad the idea that right now is providing less than I need is incomprehensible.  The idea of it seems past some line of abject misery, far into despair.

Hmm, I’m trying to address these as I did the others and I can’t. I believe this is because I’ve already reached some level of release with these.  I don’t need to learn that I’m all I need, that every healing tool is inside me, that the future is unknown and seeking answers leads to insanity, that I need to be in now, that the answers from now will reveal themselves later.  The initial questions:

1. What if there was nothing I needed to fix in me?
2. What if I didn’t have to punish myself to get the lesson?
3. What if I didn’t have to apologize?

still hold some stumbling blocks for me, but I think, overall, I’m doing better with those than I was even a few weeks ago.

I did make my dentist appointment.  One more step along the path of recovery of my full self!

One of the best thing about having a website is tracking the search terms people have found your site with. Some of these are obvious but many are serious what the fucks.  I kind of want to write a post themed around these, together or individually.

Search terms that found me here:

images of bridges burning
prince charming
last night i fucked your boyfriend russia
chinese symbol for mental health recovery
flammarion
oxbow lakes
lonely girl in rain
birthday chipmunk
healing with the fairies trust
better than any drug
feeling blue proverbs
emotions mouths
i dreamt i cut out my toung
doesn t respect my boundaries
peacot
its everything nice.tumblr
bluestarchickadee
sleepy wombat
i wish someone would take care of me
i am very dangerous don’t get too close
cherry petals wind
vajíčka
which one is harder, “the rock” or “the hard place
if something starts to angle it?
why does facebook give me the option to like my own status. of course i like my status, i’m fucking hilarious and sexy.
hit at sternal angle code blue
astrology and chickadee
background of thinking lonely
alley in southern spain
my safe bedroom with teddy bear
do not mess with blue
charming prince with flowers

I’m back from a short vacation.  I always imagine that every trip I take will be life altering.  And I guess it is, just not necessarily in an immediate, choirs from heaven showing me the answer kind of way.  This trip, while fun, was exhausting both emotionally and physically.  Despite have spent all of yesterday evening doing nothing I find myself still wiped and barely able to think.

In a way the best part of my trip was going to breakfast with Dandelion before she took me to the airport.  It was really good to connect with her again.  You know how some friends can drift on an out of your life and some when you see them, not matter how far between, you are instantly back at a point of mutual understanding an love?  It was like that.  I gave her sort of a short run on down on the past couple years (and didn’t have to explain a lot of background because with good friends it’s just like that) and the only really painful emotional response I had to talking about stuff was about my teeth.

I spent a lot of the weekend meditating on that. So while I know a lot of my suffering over Hawthorn is about me feeling I’m not good enough or not feeling the confidence I once had and some other things that are purely about me.  I wonder how much of that is actually tied into my health and my view of myself after the accident where I lost my teeth.  My mouth hasn’t been comfortable since then, I worry about it a lot, I have terrible dreams about losing my teeth and I still suffer some pain, both from the original problem and the surgeries and solutions after.

So I am resolved to see a dentist this month and find out how much it will cost to get my teeth fixed. Really fixed, like the underlying problems, my bite problems and the cosmetic issues.  I will try and figure out how much I can get insurance to pay and I will borrow the rest.  I think if I can get past the dental anxiety (which is great, I’m crying just typing this up) and get to a place where my smile is pretty and I’m confident that I won’t just be losing teeth or physically suffering that that will go a long, long, long way towards getting me back to myself.

That’s my plan for August, to at least make the initial appointment and find out all the work I still need done and how much it’s going to cost. And spend more time with Dandelion and my other friends, as I will surely need as much support as I can possibly get through all of this.

I had a great visit with my cousins.  It was fun to get out and do touristy Nashville things again. It was really fun to get to hang out with them. I talked A LOT. I talked a lot about me.  I was roughly 16 when they were born and so it’s only recently that we’ve been close enough age to really socialize, so I told them a lot about myself at their ages and things I’ve done with my life.  It was an interesting exercise to review and remember how many awesome things I’ve done (especially from their roughly 23yo perspectives).  It was sort of a confidence building experiment for me.

There was a lot of anxiety in the visit for me as well.  It’s hard to have house guests.  I worry too much over things I can’t control, even things that shouldn’t be worrisome. Plus there were huge storms and tornadoes here during their visit so some of my worry wasn’t even unnecessary.

I’m still very much struggling with how to find the balance I need to continue to get better.  I feel so much better than I did four months ago, but recognize how much further I still have to go.

I’ve been meditating a little on this post from Tiny Buddha.  I find I feel like I’m still missing some piece of where my anxiety is coming from.  I wonder, perhaps, if too much of my attention on it has been focused outward, on the robbery and the dental troubles and the break-ups.  I haven’t been looking at the internal stuff, much of which I think is the same as the article author’s: high insecurity and excessive need for validation, plus a hard time recognizing who I am, rather than who I was, and no clue who I want to become.

Despite the joy and love and fun I’ve had for the past few days, it’s also been excessively weepy for me as well.  I can’t say if just emotions feel heightened in general, or if it’s backwards motion in my quest to feel better, or if it’s simply ongoing hormonal yuck with the heavy period I’ve been having.  Or some combination of all of those.

I’ve been feeling the lack of closure with Hawthorn.  I can’t decide if it would be easier if I didn’t have to see him every day or if I stopped socializing with him.  I keep wavering on just pushing through, because eventually I have to come out the other side of this, or asking to step back, and taking as much of a break from him as I can manage.  But I do have to work with him and I do like him, and honestly I think it’s easier to push through and do the things I want with him and bear the parts that are less easy.  This morning he brought up having the port-mortem relationship talk because of an interaction we had yesterday (he was asking about an album he wanted and I gave it to him, but pointed that having listened to it every day for a month after our break up that the sound of the album was the shape of my broken heart) and still I’m not sure I’m ready to have that conversation.  Or maybe I’ll just feel better if I just get it done with.

I have really be reaching to socialize with people I see less often and get just get out and see people.  It’s been hard too, as people do disappoint and worry that my expectations are too high.  But then it seems sadder to expect less of people. I have lots of visitors and parties in the next 45 days and much of my own traveling after that.  I am going to make a concerted effort to spend the next 10 or so days being a little more introspective about my own anxiety and what I think I need to do to keep healing.

An excerpt from an email from Cedar:  You know, whoever told you that you have the eyes of an old soldier gave you a compliment.  A soldier that makes it to “old” has better eyes than the rest.  And once you make it to “old,” you usually make it home, too.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot the last couple days.  What the metaphor of old soldier means to me.  What it means to be a survivor and how one deals with things to become a survivor.  How, after surviving, one makes it home and lives again once there.

I don’t actually talk about my life very much, even here.  If you look closely at my words or listen to me, I almost always talk around the things that are my own personal emotional vulnerability.  There are a few close friends who I will revisit things with, but generally I prefer all the past to stay in the past and not be revisited or relived.  I suspect this is why therapy hasn’t been quite right for me so far. And maybe won’t be in the future, as I very stubbornly believe that there’s little to be gained from revisiting past suffering.  Combined with the fact that I think depending on which angle it’s viewed from my life has either been a series of a variegated horrors (as seen through the lens of protected, middle American, suburban prescriptions for normality) or endless run of luck, continuously bringing me to better and better places (as seen through a lens of the bulk of the non-white, non-wealthy people of the world).  I’d like to live on the pleasant side of the second lens and I don’t see how choosing to treat the past as series of horrors relived in therapy is going to get me to a better place.


I also know that I have a cultural, familial and inherent natural, personal bias toward Stoicism (real, ancient, philosophically ethical Stoicism, not necessarily modern emotionally repressed Stoicism).  This is surely a positive for me as much as it is a negative for me.  And yes, there are times in my life when I need help (now and recent months) and yes it does hinder me from sometimes reaching for or asking for the help I need (because of my belief that my will should be strong enough to carry me through anything).   But I recognize these limitations and I don’t see anything wrong with accepting that I am a specific kind of person who would rather bear the pain until it can be pushed back into a thing of the past than a person who wants to air it out publicly.  I’m only thinking this as I’m typing it, but it seems like there’s something to said for acknowledging the kind of person one is and dealing with things that way, rather than forcing one’s square-shaped being into a round solution hole, yeah?  Which isn’t to say I won’t keep trying to be better at asking for the help and support I need.  I will try and try harder and harder.  And I will continue to explore the options available to me for the support and healing I need.  But I am definitely making sure that I am considering myself through all of this and that I am not going to magically change into a person who wants to talk endlessly about my real, deep, emotional problems or open up in truly emotionally vulnerable way.  I firmly believe that trying to force that on myself is not going to really help.  To take a gross metaphor way too far: I have a huge wound and I want it cauterized.  I know it isn’t infected and I don’t want anyone trying to dig deeply in it to cleanse it, I’m sure cauterization will work just fine, thank you.  My method will leave a permanent scar, but I expect to get the full range of motion back eventually, and I’m not interested in being stitched and coddled in such a way that I’m returned to pristine perfection.

Of course all these thoughts on my nature and how I view myself are subject to change at any moment.  Even now I realize that all of this may either be in line with or completely at odds with my concurrent thoughts about the need for balance and equilibrium in my life.  But those concurrent thoughts are for another day.  Today I am willing myself to be in the moment, to enjoy the sunshine, to see the good in other people and to recognize when I can push negativity aside and just live.

Well I’m rather pleased with myself that I’ve managed to keep up with this blogging thing for a month so far.  Eleven more to go!  I tried to do an emotional inventory or progress report on myself last night.  I’m not sure if I was doing it because I had insomnia, or if I had insomnia because I was doing it.  So we’ll start there.

Insomnia: This has actually been a lifelong problem for me.  I have clear memories of my sleep troubles from when I was eight or nine.  It does seem to come in cycles and it does seem to be vastly amplified by stress.  The muscle relaxants definitely exacerbated it the couple of times I tried to take them (might experiment one more time with taking them during the day). The Lexapro actually seemed to help with the insomnia, but left me dull, fatigued and lethargic during the day (plus the intestinal problems made it a no go anyway).  I think that now that I am off the SSRIs, I will add the 5-HTP I was taking back into my regimen as it really seemed to help before and I believe it shouldn’t have ill effects with the St. John’s Wort (indeed they are often recommended together).

Sometimes I think if I could just get the sleep thing together I’d be much better off over all.  Possibly that’s true, but there’s so many other factors that I don’t think I should give too much sway to the power of sleep (though it is healing a and good).

Panic attacks: These had increased dramatically for me in Oct, Nov and Dec of 2010.  Now I am mainly back to having them only at night.  Which doesn’t help the insomnia much but is better than getting them while driving or being out socially.  The Klonopin does wonders for the panic attacks.  I have mentioned (to folks for sure and probably here) that I understand the dependency possibility with benzos like this but you can pry my Klonopin from my cold, dead hands because this stuff is MAGIC.  I think currently I am most relieved at the lessened panic attacks.  This makes all my other problems seem less insurmountable.

Therapy: I think it’s only just beginning to dawn on my how much long, hard work therapy is going to be.  It’s a bit intimidating but I think I am up for it.  Planning on continuing it until I think I don’t need it.  I do hope that this isn’t a forever thing.  I’d like to start setting limits and guidelines for it.  Like can I overcome my hysterical sobbing at the idea of going to the dentist? Can I learn to ask for help with out feeling like I’m doing something horribly, terribly wrong?  Can I create a relationship with my mother that feels good most of the time instead of half of the time?  Can I verbalize what I need out of relationships and set guidelines for continuing my trend of increasingly healthy ones (yes, I know recent events make them seem sucky, but both Oak and Hawthorn are Prince Charmings compared to previous dating history–I think I have already been making strides here and I’d like to continue that).  So within the bounds of all that, I can’t guess how long I’ll go to therapy, but I’m glad to have it as an outlet and a support and I think it’s been helpful so far, at least in showing me that there is a path and there is help.

Blogging: Writing in this space has been incredibly helpful to me.  I feel like it’s given me a place to order my thoughts and shake some of the chaos out of my head.  The vague anonymity of it (I mean I know you’re reading and I know you know me, but I don’t see you) has freed me from feeling judged about what I’m writing and I think I’ve done an excellent job of not self-censoring.  Ordering and writing down my thoughts here has really helped me with being able to later verbalize feelings and opinions on my health and my situation when I am talking to my friends in real life and I think has actually facilitated me being comfortable being much more open with people in person (therapy has helped with that as well).  So even if I am sort of parroting myself in person, I at least am using my own assessments of myself and feeling less confused and more likely to talk about how I’m feeling.

Medication: Clearly it’s been up and down.  I think my decision to make the leap to go on medication was the right one.  I don’t think it worked for me and I glad to find myself in a place to start trying more natural remedies.  However I think there’s a psychological impact of simply having taken the drugs.  I feel better. Period.  I doubt the SSRIs made me feel better in 8 weeks.  Maybe they did, but perhaps just the choice to have taken them, the asking for help and the actively starting to work on my problems is what’s making me feel better.  So sort of placebo effect as it were (with terrible side effects).  It hasn’t been easy, but I am glad to have the Klonopin and I am glad to know I have other options if I get to feeling where I am not doing as well as I’d hoped.

Relationships: Well, what can I say?  I feel confident that my inability to deal with things and see things for what they are (my anxiety and mental illness, basically) caused the demise of my relationship with Oak. I’m sticking by having made those choices in good faith while I was looking for safety and comfort.  I feel that at the time Hawthorm was genuinely offering what I thought I needed.  I did originally seek help not only for own sanity, but because tiny cracks had started to appear in my relationship with Hawthorn and I thought if I could get better I could save the relationship.  Clearly that didn’t matter since Hawthorn had the bad timing to accidentally coincide his break down with mine (or his precipitated mine, or something).  Despite their tragic ends, I think both relationships were good for me and I hope both were signs of a continuing trend toward someday having a strong healthy relationship or toward feeling free to not have one at all and still be happy.

Driving:  I don’t think I’ve talked about it a lot here, but I used to love driving.  Every instance of getting into the car, even to go to the store for milk was an act of freedom, was the possibility that I could just keep driving and go where ever I wanted in the world.  I loved the control of it, the power and that raw, open sense of possibility.  In the past two years I’ve had one car totaled while I was in it, been pulled out of another at gunpoint and forced to the ground, and stopped 18″ shy of dying in a really horrific accident that happened around me like a tornado but somehow left me unscathed.  Even taking an easy, low traffic surface street route to work was becoming cause for increasing panic attacks and incredible tension in my body.  I often wanted to cry when I got into and out of the car.  Recently I’ve noticed that my confidence is coming back while I drive and I feel much more comfortable and relaxed doing it.  I can even feel the sense of freedom and possibility starting to tickle at the back of my brain, like it’s getting ready to come back too.

Moving:  I think this is going to be huge for me.  It has sort of happened rather more quickly than I had planned, but so far it seems int he realm of doable.  Yes, getting my own space to heal and be in is good.  On the one had living with Hawthorn post break up hasn’t been a party but it hasn’t been as toxic as it could have been.  However, I HATED our house.  Of all the ones we looked at I wanted it the least.  Hawthorn chose it for the porch, the location and the architectural details.  I hated everything about it.  Nothing was functional, it was clearly remodeled for looks when it was flipped and not at all for functionality.  The landlord is a lazy jerk and repeated dealing with water POURING in from the ceiling, from light sockets, from door jambs and window sills has been severely anxiety inducing all on it’s own.  The interior colors actually make me angry in some rooms, the space just doesn’t feel psychically clean, either.  I was talking to a coworker (who as far as I know knows nothing about the Hawthorn situation) about moving to my new place today and how it seemed good even though I just moved six months ago.  And my coworker commented that she was so glad I was moving because she felt like I hadn’t been well since I moved into that house.  And it’s true, my allergies have been awful (as have Hawthorn’s), I can’t sleep for the noise the neighbors make, I fret about the ceiling falling on me, and besides the dust, age and other problems, I’m fairly sure the inside of the walls and airducts are crawling with mold.  So here’s hoping that the new place is just healthier all around.  It has a new roof–so no leaks, it has a brand new HVAC system and new ducts–no mold or dust, no past or future pets in the house at all to aggravate my already delicate allergies.  The only health concern really is that the new landlord has a pest service come once a month and I don’t know what kind of chemicals they use.  However since the trade off is no mice, no poisonous spiders and no roaches, I’m very willing to take it as a risk.

Body health: So far I am failing in this category. I’m giving myself a pass because there has been so much stuff going on (all my recovery efforts plus the unplanned break up and moving additions) that it’s been hard to add even more to it.  I have been walking more and doing a little yoga.  My future plans include much, much more exercise: walking, swimming and yoga and maybe hula-hooping?  I really need to make a physical therapy appointment and get going on that.  Just, you know, time and planning &c.  I am probably going to wait on the PT until moving is done.  I will get going on the exercise thing definitely (the community center and neighborhood gym is three block from my new place, no excuses).  I will try not to beat myself up on this and rather congratulate myself as I get going with it.  I know it will help so much to have less pain in my body.  I know it will help my mental health so much just to get the exercise.  I know it will help my outlook to look and feel better.  I could only just get so many duck in a row at once and I’m still herding these little wild running exercise and body health ducks.

I think once the chaos of moving dies down I am going to start working devoting a (certainly boring) paragraph of each of these entries to details sleep, exercise, panic attacks and the like, just so I’m keep better track of it and little more accountable for it.  Seems sensible, yeah?

Astrology:  While I give only limited value to astrology, and at that only as a descriptor not as a predictor, Free Will Astrology has always done wonders for me.  Even if it is just words that tell me how to frame my current thinking, it’s helpful.  This week for me we have: Taurus Horoscope for week of February 3, 2011 — I’ve found that even when people are successful in dealing with a long-term, intractable problem, they rarely zap it out of existence in one epic swoop. Generally they chip away at it, dismantling it little by little; they gradually break its hold with incremental bursts of unspectacular heroism. Judging from the astrological omens, though, I’d say that you Tauruses are ripe for a large surge of dismantling. An obstacle you’ve been hammering away at for months or even years may be primed to crumble dramatically. Yeah, I’m definitely feeling this!   Thanks, Rob Brezsny!  I will also continue to consult my father, who is an astrologer, about things like this Saturn transit of my Fourth House, as I’ve said, I feel like it gives me a framework to work in and understand things and I’m glad to have that.

I am not having a good day.  I assume it’s the medication switch up.  Last night instead of my usual Zoloft (and occasional Klonopin), I took Lexapro several hours after taking Skelaxin for the locked muscles in my neck.  I woke up just after midnight feeling fairly wide awake, although dizzy and disoriented.  I know I went back to sleep but I don’t really feel like I slept at all.  This morning I am shaky and a little queasy (although less nauseaous than I was with the Zoloft). I have a weird migrainey headache that is sporadic but leaves me feeling like there is a wide open hole running down the side of my skull.

Last night I commented to Hawthorn that I’m not really pleased with taking SSRIs at all.  I do want to get better, I hope this is a way towards feeling better, but right now they are making me feel YUCKY.  It seems like some regimen of Klonopin, physical therapy and psychological therapy should be enough.  I functional enough most of the time, I guess, but I definitely have moments where I wonder if I should be driving at all (even when I’m feeling clear headed) or doing anything besides laying on the floor hoping it all passes.  Hmm, re-reading this I sound like I’m way over dramatizing it. I guess I just don’t like feeling like my body is full of chemicals.  And I was already feeling like my mental stuff was out of my control and presently the drugs don’t yet seem to be changing this.  So I feel anxious, crazy and now nauseaous too.  Wheee!

My plan for right now is to just get through this week. Hopefully with lessening side effects. And while I will surely keep documenting my stupid love life and drug reactions here, I’d like to use this space to keep track of the good things too. Working toward a more positive focus as a way out of the anxiety. We’ll see.  Just this week, gotta get through this week.

I had a breif exchange with Oak last night.  He said he was feeling lonely despite enjoying time with his friends.  I suggested that the upheaval of the past year (being overseas, his family problems, our break up) might have left him feeling a little disconnected.  He said that yes, spending time with two happily married couples who seemed to have it all probably was contributing to his sense of loneliness. And you know, I’m pretty sure it was a fairly off hand comment on his part but it hit me like a ton of bricks in the chest.  Oak back tracked and said it was no big thing, just an off night for him.  He admonished me to keep busy, keep distracted and promised that if I could get through this it would get better.  “This” I suppose means either move out and away from Hawthorn, or piecing it back together with Hawthorn and settling down.

The two giant, leafless trees outside my window are filled with hundreds of little birds fluttering between branches and telling each other about the snow.  Tiny winter birds of happiness. Today I will make them an omen to help me remember that spring is never that far away.