Monthly Archives: September 2013


Yeah, weird title for a post, I know. I had my session with T yesterday, and one of the things we talked about was something weird that happened to me. Prior to going in to my session, I was sweeping our tile on the first floor of our house. Most of the areas are tiled and with two big dogs (with lots of hair) and the dry grass we have going on outside, our floors are pretty covered with hair and grass. I try to keep up with it, so when I saw the grass scattered around, I grabbed the broom to do a quick sweep. I put a pile in an out-of-the-way corner and when it gets to be enough, I suck it up in the vacuum. Anyway, I’m wandering around sweeping up the junk, and I realize my mind is blank. I’m thinking mostly of the crap I’m sweeping up, and whether I’ve got my broom angled in the right direction.

Okay, so when I went into my session with T, I mentioned to her how well I felt I did over the holidays, and how I handled the heat situation. How I used the cool brick on the walls to not only lower my temperature feeling, but also to keep me in the moment. The rough brick against my bare arms kept me in the moment, and I didn’t spend my time thinking of anything other than the book in front of me and catching bits of breeze from the fan. And I told her about the sweeping, and how I feel like I’m spending more time with that “blank” feeling. And she looked at me and said, “That’s not a bad thing!” To which I responded, W.T.F. What do you mean it isn’t a bad thing? There’s nothing in my head, it’s just blank. And she told me that meant I wasn’t worrying over anything. But it feels so weird to not have anything in my head. I feel like I’m in a state of avoidance when I have nothing in my head. She told me it’s mostly because I’m not accustomed to the feeling of not worrying all the time. It’s bizarre, if this is how other people live. Just feeling like your mind is blank.

I’m concerned that I’ve swung too far in the other direction. That instead of spending all my time inside my head thinking and worrying, I’m avoiding. Avoiding thinking about everything. Arg.


Posted by on September 29, 2013 in anxiety, avoidance, in my head, therapist


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More pride

So you may have seen that we bought a new car. I haven’t really been driving it–the Hub gets that privilege–rather I’ve been driving our SUV to PT and on whatever errands I’ve done along the way. But yesterday my mom asked if I wanted to go over to my brother’s house to see the work he was doing on his kitchen (new tile, new cabinets, new paint)…and I said yes. I’m always up to see home renovations. And because I felt like I could, I offered to drive us both in our new vehicle so my mom could see how it drives and rides.

So although I’ve only test driven it twice, I buckled myself in and fixed my mirrors, and off we went! My brother lives about twenty minutes away, past my PT and T’s office. As we were driving, my mom and I were talking that we didn’t remember the last time I drove her somewhere. And we discussed how well I did through the High Holy Days, although she said she held her breath through all the services since she, too, remembered what happened last year. Anyway, I drove us to my brother’s house, we got to see the work he was doing and he got to see my new car, and I drove us home. Through neighborhoods and streets I’m not familiar with, in and out of a tight driveway, things like that. And it went fine, I had no problems and pretty much no anxiety other than what I would consider to be normal driving caution. I didn’t even have any weird thoughts about having odd accidents or anything.

I’m still getting familiar with the new car. I enjoyed driving it, but the gas pedal is touchy, so every time I adjusted my foot the car seemed to leap forward. Our SUV is not that touchy on the pedal. I’d like to get to drive it more often, but I hate to take it away from Hub because it has all the new fun bluetooth and radio technology that he loves. So we’ll see.

Anyway, proud of myself for driving me and Mom around without incident. Hope that I can continue that trend because I’d like to relieve my mom of doing so much driving whenever we go out anywhere. She IS getting older, and I’m sure it’d be nice to be chauffeured once in a while.

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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in anxiety, driving, family, pride, strength


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Another accomplishment

I know that some might see these things as small accomplishments, but for me they are pretty major.

Every year I go to services with my family–we call them the High Holy Days–to a synagogue we’ve attended since before I was born. The Rabbi is the same Rabbi who was presiding when I was born. The congregation watched me grow up, and although some of the faces have changed, I still know a lot of them. Well, those that are left, anyway. Our group grows smaller every year, to the point that we are on the verge of closing down. Last year, we held services in our smallest room because there wasn’t enough attendance to fill the large room. But the air conditioning wasn’t working right and the room had only one door into a hallway…at the end of a closed hall, so air flow was non-existent. I was also at the beginning stages of my “Prilosec fever”, so my anxiety was on the upswing. So the room was hot, and for the size of the room there were a lot of people. And due to my chronic illnesses, I am very heat intolerant. So partway through the services, I had a pretty bad panic attack. I didn’t know at the time that this is what was happening, but I recognize it now. I fled the room in tears and ended up sitting alone in the front lobby, in the dark, huddled in a chair trying to recover myself. It was a down time for me.

This year, the air conditioning in our building was, well, stolen. “Vandalized” they say, but technically someone ripped out all the innards. So we are holding our services in a borrowed room in another building. When we arrived tonight and I stepped into the room, I wanted to cry. For some reason, the room was hot as hades, and the air conditioning didn’t seem to be on. I have no idea why no one went to track someone down to rectify the situation, but considering it was nearing 7pm, it’s not likely there was a maintenance person on duty anyway. So I stripped off my pretty lace “jacket” and dropped it on a nearby chair, and prepared to get overheated. Even though the outside temperature wasn’t all that bad, it was horrible in the room, and I spent most of the evening pressing my arm and shoulder against the brick wall, trying to absorb whatever coolness I could from the stone. I fanned myself with a piece of folder paper I found in my purse, and I tried desperately to stay in the moment. I followed along closely with the readings and kept lifting my hair off my neck (the NIGHT I decided to wear it down of course) to keep from overheating. My mother repeatedly looked at me to see if I was all right, but I just nodded and tried to keep calm. The heat was bad, ya’ll. I wanted in turn to sit down and cry, and sit down and go to sleep.

In the end, I made it through the evening without doing either. I didn’t panic, I didn’t give in to anxiety. I used the hell out of that brick wall, both for its innate cool temperature and to keep me grounded with its rough texture. I didn’t repeat last year’s panic attack, even though it was the exact same situation that really could have triggered a body memory reaction and sent me over the edge. I’m so stupidly proud, even though it was a stinky evening.

Unfortunately, tomorrow we go back again, to the same room. I hope fervently (and feverishly?) that someone will turn on the air conditioning before we show up. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to cope again tomorrow, especially without being able to eat or drink.

Easy and meditative fast to those who do.


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I shouldn’t be angry

As you may have read, my in-laws were in a terrible accident a few weeks ago. My FIL has a broken shoulder in three places, my MIL did some pretty major damage to her foot and had a horrible infection on her leg that refused to go away. Fortunately, she is healing, though his damage is a lot more extensive, and they won’t do surgery because he has a lot of immune system issues (and inflammation) that makes them wary of operating unless absolutely necessary. I believe they are hoping his breaks will heal, albeit slowly, without surgery.

So we have offered repeatedly to help them, but there is a LOT of family in our area (and family friends), and so they’ve been well taken care of. Of course Hub did run to Florida to help them, and meet them at the auto-train so they didn’t have to drive the 90 minutes home from the train. And Hub (and I) paid for his and his brother’s airline ticket, for all the hotels for the two of them, the rental car, the gas home, groceries for them in their hotel in Florida, the hotel on the way home…and etc. It was not a small amount of money, and neither his brother nor his parents (step-father and mother) offered to chip in for anything. Even though the insurance was paying for a lot of their costs in Florida…not one word of “oh could we reimburse you for…” — nada. And I am extraordinarily grateful that we were able to afford it, because if you are going to spend a lot of money this is the reason. Family. Emergencies. They are why you save so when things like this happen, you can go and do and take care and not have to worry about affording it. This is why I wear shit clothes that are 10+ years old, and have shoes that I’ve been wearing since we lived in the townhouse (more than 10 years old). When I buy clothes (rare event) I buy the cheap stuff and wear it until it’s pilled and threadbare. This is why we don’t buy furniture and have our walls painted and put up huge decks on the house or install a swimming pool. This is why we wait until our car is paid off before even considering buying another. Family and emergencies. I get it, I am so grateful that we have been able to go help them when they really needed us.

Hub’s mother’s birthday is coming up. Hub’s sister is flying in from California to join us to celebrate. So lovely, as she hardly ever comes back east…sometimes even missing Christmas. They’ve been talking about going to dinner with the whole family, which is very very nice. No question we would go. Now Hub tells me that they want to have dinner at his mom’s house. Why? I ask. So she has to clean the house before people come over, so she has to cook her own birthday dinner, and then clean up afterwards? He tells me his step-father doesn’t want to go out to dinner because his prominent hand is the one at the end of the broken shoulder, and he’s embarrassed to try to eat out with the wrong hand. He is always self-centered like this. So I said he should suck it up. But Hub said he (Hub) told his mother he forbade her from cooking, that he would pick up food. So she says, “great! we want crabs.” Do you have any idea how expensive crabs are? And we’re going to have to feed the whole fucking family (minus me, who doesn’t actually EAT crabs)…and they’re just expecting us to fucking pay for all those fucking expensive crabs? I was actually so livid that I told him that we needed to put the conversation aside for the time being.

I shouldn’t be angry. I should be happy we can afford the things we need to afford. But I’m so angry that they are so selfish and ungrateful, and so inconsiderate. I can’t even explain to you how poorly they treat my husband, their son, and yet they are so ungrateful and inconsiderate of him. I’m seriously so angry I want to cry. I want to cry for him because they treat him like shit and yet do this to him…expect him to just do whatever they want no matter the cost. No matter what it takes from him. You don’t do things so that people are grateful, but you would expect they would at least treat you with love and kindness…and they don’t. And there’s not a damn fucking thing I can do about it, because they are his parents and he loves them…

My parents treat him more like a son than his own parents do… either his step or biological. My parents show their love and appreciation a thousand times more than any of his parents. I am so appreciative and thankful of how my parents love him and show him that.

But I’m so fucking angry.


Posted by on September 20, 2013 in angry, anxiety, family, hub, judgement, love, stress, thankfulness


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Yesterday I had PT. I took the SUV to my appointment as usual, went through the work with the Physical Therapist, then did my exercises with the therapist assistant. They had me doing some more intense work, trying to get the muscle really strengthened. We tried this set of exercises before, but it inflamed the muscle too much and had to put it off. Now we’re trying again. I hope we can continue with it.

After PT, I went to Wegman’s. Those of you with anxiety will understand. Wegman’s is large and overwhelming to those who don’t have anxiety…for those of us who do it’s like sensory overload. So I went to PT, driving myself, then drove to the Wegman’s and parked (anxiety-inducing as it is a parking garage with tight lanes and tight spacing!), then went in to pick up a couple of items. Here’s the thing…I don’t shop alone. I’m barely getting back into driving alone, and a few times I’ve stopped at a clothing store on the way home, but it was small and familiar. Wegman’s is large and we’ve only been 4 times since it opened. So I grabbed a small cart and headed for the gluten free section to find my bread, which was the main reason I was stopping there. After that, I started heading around to other areas to pick up some stuff for my mom and a couple of things that we can only get at Wegman’s. I didn’t rush through, I didn’t panic, I didn’t even get the flubadubas (which I generally get even when I go there with Hub). I made my way around the store to get what I needed and headed for the checkout.

It was busier than I had anticipated and the one checkout where there was only one person in line? The woman was wearing a surgical mask. Of course that could mean she was sick and trying not to pass her germs…or she was immune-compromised…or a germaphobe. No way to know. But despite a moment of health anxiety cropping up, I pushed my cart up behind her and started loading items onto the belt. She finished with her checkout and I got up to the counter and did my thing…and pushed the basket out to the parking garage. I loaded up the SUV and squeezed my way back out of the parking spot (next to a huge post and I was able to avoid taking off my side view mirror) and headed home. I made it home unscathed, brought the packages in and unpacked everything.

And I was done. I went to Wegman’s alone. Drove there, parked there, shopped there, drove home. Alone. By myself. Without even a ripple of anxiety. I can’t tell you the last time I did something like that…and I’m so fucking proud of myself.


Posted by on September 17, 2013 in anxiety, driving, pride, strength


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What we do for Dogs

So what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought for or because of your dog(s)?

Yeah, today we bought a new vehicle–a minivan–so we can cart the two dogs around. Our SUV had some issues, among which was the size. It’s a nice-size SUV, mid-size, and Le Moo fit fine in it. Ignoring that getting her up INTO the SUV was a bear because she is big and can’t climb up on her own. And letting her jump down to get out is worrying for me because if she steps off wrong she could break a leg, especially with her bulk. So we used doggy-stairs (which we technically bought for Sweet Pea as she got older), which take up room in the SUV. So now we’re talking about juggling a 95lb dog, a large set of collapsible doggy stairs, and whatever else is going with us. No fitting a second large dog in there. And also, Butthead is, well, a butthead, and she would spend the whole time bugging Le Moo in the small space. Plus, the a/c in the back of the SUV is sucky…when you fold down the seats to get the dog in, the seats don’t lay flat and they block the a/c vents. And hell if those a/c vents even reach past a foot or so and of course the dogs tend to lay in the far back of the SUV.

So ye-ah, we bought a new mini-van. Happiness is fitting two large dogs into a vehicle at once with plenty of space for them to move around, plus a low step-in, plus air conditioning through the whole vehicle for them during the summers. No more putting doggy stairs in and out of the vehicle, no more worrying about not having enough space for two large dogs (we can even fit two appropriate size crates for them in there for travel!), no more worrying about the seats not laying flat, no more worrying about getting big dogs in and out of the vehicle. PLUS! The doors open by remote, so I don’t have to pull a shoulder out (the good one or the bad one) yanking open one of the sliding doors.

Sadly, despite the fact that we now have a new car payment (we literally just paid off the SUV), this isn’t the most expensive thing we’ve bought for and/or because of the dog(s). When we adopted SP we were living in a townhouse that had no yard. Literally, NO YARD. The back of our townhouse was attached to another townhouse, and we had townhouses on either side. Our front was a stoop, a teeny tiny patio area that basically was there so you could access an outdoor shed, and then we had a hill down to a sidewalk. We had common area, but the closest to us was very small and had lots of tall pine trees. Not much area for a big dog to do much. So shortly after we adopted SP, we decided to sell the townhouse and buy a house with a yard and a fence. We wanted someplace big and safe for SP to run around. So we bought a house that had a huge yard and a fence for her. I gave up a large master bathroom (our master bathroom was SO SMALL…smaller than even the hall bath!) so she could have a big yard. There was a lot I didn’t love about the house, but the yard was unbelievable and the neighborhood was safe. So we bought a house. I hate to even hint at what we spent on that house. Really, I liked the house just fine, but it was the yard that did tip us over onto buying it. If it weren’t for adopting SP, we’d probably have lived in that townhouse for quite some time before considering moving. Literally, we adopted SP, and within two weeks decided we had to move for her needs.

A whole house. I know, I know! But don’t judge me. 🙂


Posted by on September 14, 2013 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, Le Moo, love


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The surviving rescue dogs of 9/11

May we never forget those we lost, or those who rushed in to help and/or save others.

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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in anxiety, dogs, link, loss, love, tragedy


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So, it’s the day. And I’m in it. It’s about 2:30 in the afternoon, and I’ve done everything I can to keep busy. Including, apparently, not sleeping. This post will likely be rambling and sad. I’m sorry about that.

Yesterday I got it in my head that I needed to fix the grave markers for SP and her buddy Big B (my parents’ lab, SP’s mentor). The markers I bought had faded in the sun after not-quite two years. I thought the ceramic tiles had been painted, but apparently they had a thin veneer of printed plastic on the tiles, which faded to nothingness over the last several months. So I figured I’d just paint something on them and seal them, like using stencils or something. Only the Michael’s I went to didn’t have stencils I wanted (I wanted letters and numbers, but they only had letters and the fonts were weird and not readable or too big), so I ended up buying paint pens and some other shit to try to fix the ceramic tile signs. And after spending too much money and going home, I couldn’t get any of the stuff to work the way I wanted. I ended up just hand-writing on the ceramic tiles with the paint pens. I’m so mad at myself because they look like shit, but I did the best I could. Hub put one coat of sealant on them early this morning and I hope will do another coat later today. Then I’ll put them back up for the time being. Then I’ll find something to replace them. But meanwhile, after I gave up and just wrote on the ceramic tile, I took Butthead and Le Moo outside and I sat down on the deck step and cried. It’s been hot and humid and I didn’t really want to be out there, but at least I was in some shade…and I just cried. Hub came out and found me out there, but Butthead was, well, being a Butthead, so he took her in the house and left me outside with Le Moo. I think he wanted to sit with me, but he felt it was more important to get Butthead away from me at that moment.

I cried because I miss SP, and I feel lost without her. It’s like she took away my purpose in life. Just typing that makes me tear up. Sometimes I feel wrong for this grief. Sometimes I wonder how anyone can not feel this grief in this kind of situation. And sometimes I wonder what other people think of how much I am grieving SP. The length and depth of it. Am I so odd? I want to sit here and defend myself, to explain what my grief is like on a daily basis, versus around the time of the anniversary where I am particularly emotional. But really, I don’t want to defend myself, or quantify what I am feeling, because it is my life, my world, and more importantly, my grief.

I had weird dreams last night/early this morning. This is not really news for me, as I tend to have strange dreams. This time was about not being able to see the clock, not knowing what time it was, and no one answering me when I asked them about it. It was weird and sad and lonely. Hub is sleeping on the couch downstairs. He hasn’t been sleeping well and spent all day Saturday helping a friend move. He is sore and tired, and apparently hurt his ankle, too. After grocery shopping this morning, I’ve let him be. I tend to want to grieve alone, even though I know he feels as deeply as I do about SP. I think he grieves differently than I do, and although he does tend to want to grieve with me, it makes me way more emotional. I feel like if I let him be, he won’t try to share my grief and I won’t break down as hard. I don’t know. I’m rambling.

I’ve stopped and started this post a couple of times, each time breaking away from it to go do something. On one hand I want very much to release my emotions here, but on the other hand I am afraid to let go too much. Just re-reading my post about the anniversary of my loss of SP made me tear up. I don’t want to lose control because it costs me too much, physically and emotionally. As I’m typing this evening, I’m trying to think of something else I can go do to distract myself some more. I guess I will give in, because I don’t feel like I’ll be doing anything other than rambling at this point.


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I know, it doesn’t look like a real word, and honestly, it isn’t. But in my world, it’s a very familiar sound.


I have PVCs. Premature ventricular contractions. They are supposedly benign and actually very common, especially in women. Very common in people who have anxiety. Now, do we get anxiety because we get the flubadubas? Or do we get the flubadubas because we have anxiety? Really, I think lots of people get the flubadubas, but those of us who have anxiety feel them more prominently because we are hyperaware of every-fucking-thing.

*Raises hand*

Yes, hyper-fucking-aware-of-every-little-thing.

I know that I feel my flubadubas much more in certain situations. When I’m stressed, when I’m hormonal, when I’m already feeling health anxiety about something else, when I’m overtired, when I have tummy troubles. So shall we check off all the things I’m feeling the last few days to indicate why these damn flubadubas are hanging around? Yeah, check check check check check check check. I have no idea if that number of checks matches  my list, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m feelin’ the flubadubas and I hate it. Because the thing is, I don’t just feel the flubadubas, but with every flubaduba I get a ripple of anxiety that immediately follows it. If you have anxiety, you know that ripple…that sort of precursor to falling into the pit of anxiety-laden feelings. I’m sure it physically feels different to everyone, but for me it’s a feeling of unease that ripples up and down my chest. Almost like my organs are quivering inside me.

Since I’ve learned more about flubadubas, both on my own and through other people who have anxiety, I know intellectually that they will not hurt me. They are benign. But they still have the power to freak me out. I try very hard to let them do their flubaduba thing, I feel the ripple of anxiety, and I keep going. Usually this works for me and within a couple of hours they go away. Not so this time. This time they have been hanging around on and off for a couple of days. Oftentimes that does match up with a hormonal issue–you ladies get me–so I shouldn’t be surprised when they do occasionally hang around for longer. That doesn’t mean I like them any better, or tolerate them any more easily. They ramp up my health anxiety, which I’m already in the midst of an episode of that.

See, I had that massage the other day. And along with it has come a headache, that has been with me for two days on and off. That makes me worry that with the massage, which she did do some focus on the muscles around the sides of my neck, that she broke up some plaque or something in my carotid arteries. Which then has allowed some of that plaque to rush around my body and go to my head, which could lead to something horrible like a stroke or an aneurysm. I hated to even type that because a) it sounds foolish, as people have massages every single day and b) I hated to write it and make the thought real to me. But here on my blog, I try to be as honest and open as possible, so I typed it. And there it is, in all its stupid-ass glory. And as stupidly glorious as it is, it is what I have been struggling with since the massage two days ago. Now, in my head I’m thinking…two days have gone by so if something was going to happen, it would have happened already. And in my head I’m thinking…I have got to go google this to see how long I have to worry about this happening. But I did not go google it. I did not look it up. I am struggling so hard to not go look it up. You know I have that google issue. I have it bad, ya’ll. But I’ve been so good about it, I don’t want to backslide. And I don’t want to scare the shit out of myself.

I spent the whole day yesterday alone (with the dogs), feeling the flubadubas, trying to just move through the day without focusing on my health anxiety. I did okay, but I know that based on the flubadubas, I was still hyperaware. It sucked. I mean, it was good because I was alone and I didn’t have a panic attack or freak out or call Hub and make him rush home from where he was. And I didn’t call my mother and lean all over her. I stood my ground. But it fucking sucks. It sucks to live like this…

Fuck you, flubadubas. Go away. Leave me and my poor screwed up hyperaware brain alone.


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Massage Envy

The physical therapy group that I go to has recently added a Massage Therapist to their roster, rounding out the talent there that includes PT, accupuncture, and Bowen Technique. I’ve been to a massage therapist in the past–13 years ago–and I liked it very much. It is more specialized than a typical massage, and I feel a massage therapist has more training in therapeutic work than a masseuse. I was interested to see the new addition, but consider how much work I feel I needed to do in PT, I didn’t consider using the MT at this time. However, in order to boost the MT business, the group decided to give away gift certificates to clients, one free one a day for I don’t know how long. Lucky me, they decided I would get a gift certificate! So I checked my schedule against the MT’s–who is only there two days a week–and set my appointment.

I was both excited and nervous, because I hadn’t had a massage in a very long time! I had asked my Physical Therapist to speak to the Massage Therapist before my appointment, so she could be aware of the issues I’ve been working on and not make anything flare up…which she did do. So when I went in for my massage, the therapist was ready for me and we talked about what she should focus on and that she should work more lightly than normal, and we could adjust as we went along. I was very pleased with the Massage Therapist because she was kind, easy-going, and generally had a good spirit. And hot-damn did the massage feel good while she was doing it. I forgot how nice a good massage could feel, even on muscles that are tense and tender.

Immediately after the massage–which focused on my neck, shoulders, and back–I felt nice, relaxed somewhat, and glad I had the opportunity to get one. But by the time I got home after a twenty minute drive, I didn’t feel much of anything different than before the massage, except I had a headache. And by the time Hub got home an hour later, the headache was really annoying, and I felt some of my imbalance bugging me. Not bad, but like it was just hanging around the edges, waiting to get bad. By the time I went to bed I felt grumpy and off-balance even more. Brushing my teeth I felt the swimmy, floating feeling of imbalance, and once in bed I felt the on-the-boat rocking motion. As if that wasn’t all sucky enough, then I tossed and turned all night, unable to get any rest. I think I slept maybe total of an hour or two, the rest of the time I was awake, lying there, feeling exhausted and off, with a headache, tossing and turning all over.

I don’t know if this is typical for post-massage (the restlessness, I guess, because the rest of it is probably singular to me because I’m so messed up), but it makes me not want to have another massage. As much as I enjoyed the massage during, the after-affects were crappy. Even today, the day after, I feel grumpy and yucky, and a tiny headache still lingers. Bleh.


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