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Category Archives: different

I look normal

Yeah, I look normal. Fat, but normal. Short, but normal. Brown-haired, brown-eyed, but normal. Rosacea-faced, but normal.

I’m not “normal”. I have invisible illnesses. I have issues that most people wouldn’t understand. I have to do things and live in ways that most people can’t understand.

I loathe being judged for how I manage my life. It’s rude, it’s insensitive, it’s unkind. If you don’t know what someone is going through, consider giving them the benefit of the doubt. Consider that someone outside your tiny world is living their life the way they have to for their own reasons.

Once again, our air conditioning is not working right. We have an upstairs system and a downstairs system. It almost seems like our upstairs system is FINALLY working properly after years of instability due to refrigerant leaks that no one could find the source of. But now, our downstairs system is acting up. It’s been tripping our circuit breaker randomly. Seems to be at the end of long, hot days, so we assumed it was being overworked. Then it started happening more often recently. This morning, it was tripped when I went downstairs first thing this morning. So I went to the electrical panel and reset the breaker, assuming it must have tripped last night because of the humid weather. Before I could leave the room where the panel is, I heard the circuit breaker trip again, almost immediately. I went back to reset it, but again it tripped right away.

We’ve already had an electrician out to check the breaker, which is fine. Last week, we had an a/c guy out to check the system because of the repeated tripping of the breaker. He found nothing, but suggested that based on the symptoms, it was likely our compressor was going bad. It’s not even six years old. But he wasn’t confident that was the problem, so he left with the suggestion that we consider a maintenance contract, but because we’d already established a potential problem, the contract wouldn’t cover that. So WTF was the reason to get the contract? Now, today, the breaker wouldn’t stay on, it kept tripping, which meant a call to another a/c company to see what THEY had to say. Which also meant in today’s hot and humid weather, we had no a/c on our main floor.

I have incredible heat intolerance, and my body does not regulate heat/cooling very well. That means if I go outside and it’s hot and humid, when I come inside it takes me hours to cool off, even when our house is well-climatized. In addition to the heat intolerance and regulation issues, I also now have hot flashes to deal with. If you have hot flashes, you know that for some reason your body does not dissipate that heat very well. It’s like you are being boiled like a lobster without any relief. I wear sleeveless shirts every day, all year round. I overheat so easily, it’s ridiculous. And once I overheat, it can linger. I keep ice packs in the freezer to help me when I get desperate for relief. Also, parts of me get cold from being in the cold (fingers, toes, arms), while the rest of me is hot. WTF.

The a/c guy who came today did all his tests, got the system running, but couldn’t find the actual problem. Could be X or Y or Z. Potentially Z could be the compressor, which turns out to be almost $1300 to replace, not including parts as those are under warranty. The a/c guy, as he was taking my money for the visit, asked what we normally keeping the house temperature at. I told him 65 degrees (although upstairs it’s lower) and he looked like he wanted to pass out or throw up. He told me that’s probably why the compressor is giving out so soon. He told me, “you’re killing your compressor. you really need to have the house set at 70 degrees. a normal setting would be 72 degrees.”

When the house goes up ONE degree, I can tell. When it’s 2 degrees over what I’m accustomed to, I get hot. I know when the a/c has tripped the circuit almost right away. This person, who has no idea about my life, my pain, my heat intolerance…he has no right to judge how I keep my house. Of the things that I have to live with, this one I at least have some ways to help myself. I keep my house like a refrigerator because I have to. I don’t have a choice. I didn’t choose to be this way. I didn’t ask to have these issues. I am living the way I am because I have no other way to live.

I can’t even tell you how difficult it is to be this way and have to be somewhere other than home. Heat can trigger a hot flash, which exacerbates the problem. Even at my dad’s house–where he keeps his a/c at 72 degrees–I am incredibly uncomfortable. In restaurants, I am always hot, which really ruins what could be a good meal and a relaxing evening. Go to someone else’s house? The doctor’s office? A store? A movie? A concert? The library? The hair salon? Even in a cotton tank top, I overheat. It SUCKS.

I’m still feeling crappy. Almost all my joints hurt. All my muscles feel weak. I’m really tired. Next week, I have an appointment to see a neurologist because my primary has no clue what to say to me. She went through the suggestion of virus, sinus infection, allergies. She told me to move around more, to drink more, to rest more. I have trouble getting up on my feet, standing on my feet, walking, sleeping, sitting, bending, moving…I’m going to have to explain all that to the neurologist who knows nothing about me. I’m hoping for compassion and understanding and open-mindedness. I expect none of it based on previous experience with doctors.

People who look at me don’t see my pain. They don’t know from looking at me that I have a shoulder impingement so I can’t lift my arm, or pick things up, or weed my garden. That random movements of my arm sends shooting sciatica-type pain down my arm. Sometimes petting the dogs hurts. I can’t put my clasp bra on normally anymore. Pull-over bras are almost as difficult to get over my head. Pulling shirts over my head hurts. Opening doors with that arm hurts. Reaching for soap with that arm hurts. They don’t know from looking at me how much harder it is getting every day for me to wash my hair. I can’t shave my armpits because I can’t lift the bad arm and I can’t reach the other pit with the bad arm. They don’t know that standing on my feet hurts my ankles and my knees, or that bending over hurts my shoulders and my neck. They don’t know that sometimes (but not every time) turning my head can instigate imbalance. They don’t know that when I stand up (or sit down even) it feels like the muscles in my legs might not support me, and/or that I feel like I’ve run a hundred miles (but really I can’t even walk a mile). They don’t know that I can’t pick things up because my arms feel weak, and I often worry I’ll drop whatever I’m attempting to pick up. They don’t know that I worry that I can’t take care of myself during the day, let alone take care of my dogs, because of these things they can’t see.

I look normal, but realistically I am anything but. You can’t see it, but it’s true. It’s anything but easy, but this is the only life I have. I already know that I have to spend more, do more, prepare more, worry more because of how I am…you poking at me for having to do those things is cruel. You judging me for how I have to live my life is shitty. Don’t do it.

(obv this isn’t aimed at my readers, so take no offense, I just needed to rant)

 

 

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Purpose and control

I was watching television and a character said he became a doctor because it was always his way to try to control things. Being a doctor made him feel he was in control of his life and his patients’ lives.

I was sitting there watching and it was like one of those AHA! moments. I started wondering if my fiction writing (which I’d been doing since I was a pre-teen) was my way of controlling things in my life. Or finding a way to have control in a world where I really had no control, especially when I first became sick…which is when I started intensely on my writing career and when I was first published.

When I talked about this with T, it also made sense as to why I haven’t been able to write very much in the last few years. I’ve worked so hard to release my idea of controlling everything, and so my default way of writing–and seeing my writing–is no longer the same. T said she could see exactly what I was dealing with, and she felt the discovery was a very interesting and insightful one. I’m not sure how I will be able to write again, but T thinks I’ll find a way. I certainly don’t want to go backward in order to find my ability to write again, but as I am now, I feel like my solace in writing is gone. I used to be able to disappear into my books and create lives and worlds where everything was the way I wanted it to be. But now, where I see that control really is an illusion–even though I’m still working on that in my own life–I’m not sure how to create stories the way I used to.

At the moment, I even feel like I’m struggling to get my ideas across in this post. I feel jumbled and like the words I want are not here. It’s sad and disappointing right now. The thing that I always went to feels like it’s well and truly gone. I mean, I know I haven’t worked on any of my books in recent years, nor have I really started anything new of note, but I guess I thought it would still be there to save me.

It sounds dramatic, but really my writing did save me when I got sick. There were days I never made it out of bed except to go to the bathroom, and yet those were the days where I wrote my books. Those were the most productive days of my writing career. Through pain and vertigo and fatigue…I wrote my books. I wrote deep into the night, hours and hours at a time, and slept through until noon. I would eat lunch and then go back to my writing. It kept me sane, it gave me a life to live when I couldn’t live my own life. My hands would cramp, my arms would ache (I wrote my books in longhand), my neck would hurt…but I kept writing. That was the first time I ever wrote a full-length book, and it was the first time I persisted in finding a publisher for that book.

And here I am, in need of that solace, and unable to find it.

I’m not the same person I was, no question about it. I just don’t know how to be the person I am and still have the purpose I had then.

 

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Hairy update

I have so much to write about and absolutely no interest in writing any of it.

sigh

What I’m hyper-focused on right now is my poor hair. Guys, I went to an Aveda salon and spent a shit-ton of money. SHIT-TON. Like yeah. Like WTF was I thinking shit-ton of money. It’s now about four weeks out from the coloring and I’m pretty disappointed on a couple of fronts. The main thing that upsets me is that my hair feels bad. Not emotionally, but physically. I’ve never had such crappy feeling wet hair in my LIFE. It feels like brillo when it’s wet, and I can’t hardly comb through it after I wash and condition. I’ve had my hair colored before by salons…I’ve box-dyed my hair. I’ve never had my hair feel like this before. WTF. It’s frizzy as hell when it’s dry–which isn’t incredibly unusual for me–but it’s also DRY. Like so dry it makes me sad. None of my fancy shampoos and conditioners are working. Argan oil didn’t help. Coconut oil hair mask didn’t help. Aloe vera mask didn’t help. Tomorrow I’m going to Ulta to try to find another type of shampoo and conditioner. I’m pissed at how much money I’ve spent on hair care to try to repair whatever the frufru was done to my poor follicles.

I particularly picked the Aveda salon because it was supposed to be gentle, plant-based, organic, safer hair color. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the stylist, but I’m disappointed in the results.

I’m also disappointed in the color retention. My hair is basically orange (which Hub lovingly tells me it’s “copper”), red, and then sort of white-ish-gray-ish-green-ish (from the washed out blues). There’s some red leftover on the upper areas which started out purple but mostly just washed out to reddish. Then there’s kind of the original brown with tinges of dark auburn where the darkest of purple was.

I’ve spent hours since the first post-color week passed looking over instagram posts while trying not to be jealous. At this point, I’ve begun to understand that those instagram posts are kind of manipulated to look the way they do. I mean, when they took my pictures, they made me go outside to get good light. The stylist posted a VERY photoshopped (filtered?) version of one of the pictures on her instagram (which I think looked pretty crappy) instead of using one of the ones  you saw on my previous post. Inside the salon, the colors were different…and after a week they were totally different. I mean, I knew the colors would wash out somewhat, but I think because we started with lighter colors (not my choice…I wanted jewel toned purples and blues) they washed out to almost nothing really fast. All the bright color that was hidden underneath is gone, too.

I’m not sure I have a good concept of how bad my hair color really looks. I want to go somewhere to get it “fixed” but I feel like it’s in shitty condition and I don’t want to make it worse. I mean, I know I sound dramatic and all, and honestly I’m sort of just complaining because in the grand scheme it’s HAIR and it’s really fine and I just mostly put it up and no one pays attention anyway… I’m just disappointed. You guys would be horrified to know how much I spent for hair color that barely lasted a week (and I only washed my hair twice in that week to try to maintain the color). I’m honestly horrified at what I spent. I feel like if I spent that much and my hair feels this shitty damage-wise, what will happen if I go to a less expensive place to get it “color corrected”??

Enjoy my updated photos. I’m ONLY doing this because I wish I had seen updated photos on instagram. 😦 Then maybe I would have gone into this with full knowledge of what would be…

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Remember the glory of what was?

Bleh.

February has just been…shitty. I’ve used that word a lot in this post, haven’t I? I’ll have to write more posts, because I’ve been exhausted and sick and had an urgent care + ER visit and doctor’s visit x2 and a big anxiety attack and a persistently puking dog and running to the vet and… and yeah, I’ve been in a lot of physical pain to cap it all off. Plus my new glasses gave me a migraine with visual aura–which I’ve only had once in my life and it was 10 years ago. So I sent them back and picked up the “fixed” version on Friday and they’re STILL not right. Ugh.

I’m going to bed. Me and my fluffy frizzy orangey hair. Nite nite.

 

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All the colors (pic heavy b/c yeah)

So here’s the thing. I went into the salon and said, “no yellow and no orange” and had given them an “inspiration” photo which I think they must have misplaced. But truthfully, I told the stylist to do what she thought would look awesome, but that I wanted purple and blue to be the base colors.

I got some purple (in some lights) but not as much blue as I wanted. Beyond that, the stylist really went gung ho on my hair. Other stylists kept stopping to watch, and one who went home before we were done made my stylist promise to get pictures and put them on instagram. Ya’ll are gonna see more of me than you ever have (don’t be dirty!) in this here post.

So for comparison, here’s my hair under normal recent circumstances.

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I had some color done last January and that shit just hung on for dear life. It really didn’t look too bad, but you can see it was growing out. It was red, so the stylist was worried about some warm orange tones sticking around even after the “lift” procedure.

Step one…I call this “Foil and Plastic Nightmare”

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It was hot as shit under those plastic sheets and those foils. And then THIS nightmare happened…

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I had no idea this is what would happen. I seriously sent this to Hub while I was in the chair saying, “Who am I and what am I doing here?” His response was “uh, okay…” I walked into the salon at 9am. By the time they’d washed and toned and washed this mess, it was about noon. My ass hurt so bad from sitting in that chair, I can’t even…

Then I got the goods… (I wish I had taken pictures of the colors in the bowls, but alas, I did not.) This was about the time other stylists started stopping by the chair to watch the painting. Every now and then one of them would walk by and go “oh yeah!” or “so cool!” or whathaveyou. It was weird.

That’s some shit going on there. At this point, my butt hurt so much I actually got up from the salon chair and was walking around aimlessly. I was pacing around in the front area and a poor woman came out of the salon area to pay and I think I scared her. She jumped and sort of giggled, then ran to the desk to pay. So then I sat on the cushy sofa in the front waiting area while I ate some crackers I had brought along. Shortly thereafter, the stylist came to check on me and we headed back to wash out the colors. Oh, the colors! I got a wash and a special deep conditioning and a scaaaaaaaaalp massage. Then back to the chair. She did a quick trim (I only wanted a trim), showing her assistant how she was handling the cut (which I had thought she was going to do in layers but I don’t think she did).

I wish I had pictures of this, but it was now 1pm and my stylist had another appointment at 1:30. So she pulled in her assistant and the TWO of them started drying my hair at the same time. One yanking one direction, the other yanking the other direction. And as my hair is drying, they both start grinning and pointing at different sections of the hair and I’m like WTF, just show me already! So my stylist laughed and they just kept going. Big round brushs twirling, yanking, hot air. It was quite the show. Then they took a picture with my hair straight.

Brace yo-selves…

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That is some kind of sumpthin’ right thar!

I sort of wanted to cry a little. It was so crazy. I’m so not a crazy person. But this was so crazy.

My stylist had to get to her other client, so she left me with her assistant because I didn’t want to leave with straight hair. The assistant went to work with a big barrel curling iron and as she’s curling my hair she’s muttering, “so jealous, dammit. I want this hair so bad.” I told her I was sorry but it was attached to my head. She told me she was going to get the stylist to do it to her because it was so fun. So the curl is done and the assistant drags me out in front of the salon to take pictures for their instagram. Then she took a few shots with my phone.

One more time, Effie…

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So there’s that.

Now, for more real-life photos…

One of the neat things? She did a bunch of teal and magenta shit underneath, so when I put my hair up, you can see all the more vibrant colors. Also, depending on the light, my hair looks like different colors (you can kinda see that in the pictures). And lastly, as it fades, I’ll get kind of a new set of colors, which will be interesting. Sorry for all the blobby white bits…you  know how I feel about privacy. Although, shit, if you see me on the street at this point you might recognize me from the cray-cray hair. Oh well… LOL

So after all was done, I paid up (holy shit did I pay) and after more compliments from the front desk staff, I went out to my car. I locked myself in, picked up my phone and texted Hub… “You’re going to flip your shit!”

Predictably, because my husband loves me, he told me how amazing my hair looked when I got home. He’s kind of a sweetheart like that.

I think, should I get this touched up in a few months, I’d opt for more blue. I like the blue areas a lot. I really would like more of my hair to look like the underside…but there’s always next time.

Also, I left the salon at 2pm. No joke, from 9am to 2pm. My stylist rocked, and she earned her money for sure.

If I had a mic, I’d drop it. I’m all done.

(edited to add a link to the hairy update)

 

 

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I’m cheating on my therapist (part 2)

You might want to read part 1 first. It’s kinda long…

Session number four (at least of the “active” sessions) started out with V talking to me about being bullied again. But this time, it was my grandmother that we were discussing. During my very first conversation with V, we were talking about those “resource” people and V was asking me about extended family like aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. I told her that I loved my grandmother very much, and that she was a big part of our lives growing up and into my adulthood. But that I had some mixed feelings about her, because she was always harping on my weight.

And like some weird television show, I had one of those epiphany moments. I realized very clearly how abusive my grandmother had been to me all my growing up years. How much she had damaged me, hurt me, bullied me, abused me. There was no physical abuse. She loved me. But she hurt me so much.

She compared me to people around us, other girls, other women. She told me I’d never be happy if I didn’t lose weight. She told me that I wouldn’t get a husband if I didn’t lose weight. She took me to her aerobics class as often as she could (very often in the summer when I was out of school), where I was forced into working out with other women of all shapes and sizes. Then she pointed out how I couldn’t keep up with this woman or that woman. She compared me to her (younger) friend’s daughter, a girl who was two years ahead of me in school. Pointed out how slender and in-shape that girl was, how smart she was, how happy she was.

She watched what I ate when we were together. She pointed out what I shouldn’t be eating. She encouraged me to deprive myself, and to eat only the things she gave me. She chastised me when I ate too much, or pointed me away from the cookies or the cake that she had baked for others in the family.

I was the only girl in my family, the youngest of four. I was also the only one of the kids who was overweight. I snuck food because I felt deprived of the food. Oh don’t get me wrong, my mother was watching me, because she, too, was unhappy that I was overweight. But she was more subtle about what she did and said. And she didn’t do the overt comparisons that my grandmother employed.

I went to fat camp, subsidized by my grandparents, because I know my parents couldn’t have afforded it at that time. It was a spectacular failure. I might have lost five or ten pounds at the time–the diet was very restricted and the activities were very forced on us–and I gained it all back very quickly…and then some, I’m sure. And my grandmother pointed it out, reminded me how hard I worked at the camp, and how I was letting it all go to waste.

I loved my grandmother very much. She loved me. She had her own weight issues, her own body image issues…I know this affected her and how she treated me. I know it affected her and affected my mother as well. That doesn’t mean what she did to me all those years wasn’t painful and damaging. As an adult, I understand where it came from for her. I’m working hard to separate her as the woman who loved me from her terrible behaviors toward me. I’m trying to remember that I’m NOT damaged. I am whole and I am okay.

My grandmother is only part of the reason that I never feel like I’m enough. Good enough. A good enough daughter. A good enough sister. A good enough wife. A good enough friend. I work ultra-hard, go the extra mile, do all the little things and the big things…and yet even when people are appreciative, I worry that it wasn’t enough. That I wasn’t enough.

My mother had three boys. All she wanted at that point was a little girl. A daughter, who she could dress in lace and ruffles, who would wear sweet pink dresses and play with baby dolls, who would love her tiny tea set and be the epitome of every dainty little girl. I was none of that. I hate lace and ruffles–they made me itch–and I wasn’t overly fond of pink. I hated dresses. I never once picked up a baby doll and I totally ignored the expensive and lovely tea set that I’m told my uncle bought for me at my mother’s urging. I played with the boys’ toys, with the boys themselves as often as I could work my way into their play-time, and I wore pants and tee shirts. And I was far from the dainty little girl she had hoped for. Very very often, my mother would speak of me, and then tell people all those things…I waited so long for a baby girl, I wanted to dress her in lace and ruffles, I wanted to see her play with baby dolls and tea sets. She never wanted any of those things… Over and over my mother would tell people of my failures. My mother loves me and I love her. If you read any of my blog posts, you can’t miss that. We’re amazing friends. I’m in awe of her. I’m deathly afraid of the day I will lose her. AND she made me feel like I wasn’t enough while I was growing up. I wasn’t who she had expected me to be.

I try so hard to be enough. I’ve been bullied and abused and put down for who I was. I only ever wanted to be loved.

As we were talking about my grandmother–and in part about my mom–V asked me to picture myself as a child. I could immediately remember my little bedroom. The walls were painted a pepto bismal pink, my white iron daybed mattress covered in strawberry shortcake sheets (which were in part pink), the white dressers and desk that had once belonged to my mother, the deep cranberry wool carpeting that my grandparents had passed down to me from a previous house. The full length mirror on the back of my door. The tiny little black and white television on my dresser, under the shelves that held the dolls my grandparents brought for me from every trip they took out of the country (I had never asked for dolls, they just bought them for me). The window air conditioner an uncle gave us for my bedroom. V asked me what that little girl was thinking, and I blurted out she just wants to be loved….she doesn’t want to be alone.

In previous sessions with T, I didn’t really understand talking to the little girl that I used to be. I’m not sure why this time it was more accessible. Maybe because of the revelations I had about my grandmother and my mother. The thing is, I don’t know how to make it better for that little girl. I was alone. I felt unloved. I’m not alone as an adult. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother, I have a good relationship with my father and my brothers. My husband loves me very much. I have a very good friend whom I’ve known since second grade. And yet I still feel not good enough. I just want to feel good enough.

I don’t know what’s going to come next. I was supposed to see V again next week but I’ve canceled the appointment due to my mother’s health. That doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about all of this when I have free brain time, but I’ve been pretty occupied with my mother’s appointments, her care, and taking care of her personal and business issues. I have another appointment scheduled with V in a couple of weeks. If I can manage the appointment, I will. In the meantime, I’m still seeing T, so maybe I’ll be able to address some of these thoughts with her. We’ll have to see how it goes, considering everything else happening at the moment.

 

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I’m cheating on my therapist

Around the time I was working up my nerve to fly to my niece’s wedding, T suggested I try seeing a hypnotherapist. I flew to the wedding (part 1 & part 2) without the benefit of hypnosis. I just didn’t have enough time to see the hypnotherapist by the time I had decided to try it.

But I’d gotten a good referral from my massage therapist, and I have been having terrible time sleeping…still. So I thought that was something pretty tangible that would tell me whether the hypnotherapy was working. Better sleep? Yes it’s working. Not better sleep? Nope, not working. So with the blessing from T–the title of the blog was a joke, really–I set up an initial session with the hypnotherapist.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from V (the hypnotherapist). I didn’t expect to meet someone so…mousy and insecure. The first appointment took close to ninety minutes, as we did a get-to-know-you-and-your-whole-life’s-history thing. She took copious notes–something that T never does–as we talked. She asked a lot of questions about my history. When I told her that T offered to talk to her, she said that would be fine, if I decided to continue sessions with her.

I tried to cram a lot of information into a little bit of time, relatively speaking. I tried not to forget stuff. I had trouble with chronology and timelines. I was open and honest. We set two appointments and I went on my way.

By the time I was ready for my first regular appointment with V, I’d been through some pretty bad health anxiety. I’d been nauseated and feeling pukey for a couple of weeks. That alone was enough to boost my health anxiety. So I went to the doctor’s office–where I found out my primary doctor was out of the country, so I saw a “temp” doctor–and spent twenty minutes with a doctor who quizzed me on everything. He sent me home with a prescription for anti-nausea pills, and had me go to the lab for blood work. The blood work was “unremarkable” (how I hate that term) he told me via my health care portal. I scoured the blood work, finding that my calcium levels were high. Without forethought, I did a search on google to see what that meant. I tried to only look at “expert” sites like NIH or WebMd. I found that the high calcium could be parathyroid problems (a tumor or something), or it could be a result of cancer. So I stopped reading. I left a message for the “temp” doctor asking if I should be getting a repeat calcium test because it was high, and a parathyroid test that NIH recommended. He said “let me know if you’re not feeling better and we can retest. I’m not concerned about the calcium test.”

But I’d read that there’s no other reason for a high calcium result except a parathyroid problem. It’s black or white. Normal or high. 1/10th over the normal is a problem. I contacted the endocrinologist office I’ve been to in the past (where the endo called me crazy) to see if I could get an appointment. Because I hadn’t been in over 2  years, I was considered a new patient. And they couldn’t see me until the first week of February (which was almost 2 months away). There are like seven doctors there, and of course the person with the availability first was the doctor who had called me a crazy person. I took the appointment anyway, because the waiting is so hard.

Anyway, I was all hopped up on health anxiety, so I emailed the hypnotherapist to see if we could work on the health anxiety rather than the sleep thing, because I was really struggling with the health anxiety. She said “OF COURSE” and so I attended my first appointment. I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to be hypnotized because I have some issues with control, and I worry about someone taking advantage of me by hypnotizing me. I know, it’s weird, but there it is. And I told V that. As we talked about what we wanted to accomplish, she said that she doesn’t really use hypnotherapy as much as she uses “light hypnosis” and intentional breathing, along with EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) to help people. She said she has a lot of experience with patients who have chronic illnesses, chronic pain, sleep issues, anxiety, all of which is wrapped up together.

I was disappointed. I wanted to try hypnosis a lot, but she IS the professional and I need to trust in that. So we went forward with her plan, and I had four regular appointments with her. The first one focused a lot on what she called my “resources”. People and pets (and spiritual being) in my life who represented different things to me. Comfort, security, love, acceptance, faith. Once we established those “resources”–with some brief conversation about my grandmother, which I’ll address another time–we did some breathing and worked on bringing those “resources” into my “heart-space”. It was a little…woo-woo for me. But I promised myself I’d really try to participate and engage in what she was doing. I’d try to trust the process even though I wasn’t entirely sure about it. The first session was over pretty fast, with me just concentrating on those “resource” people, and breathing in thoughts of what I wanted at that moment–calm and acceptance–and breathing out anything I didn’t want or need in my life. While I was doing this, I was holding these…paddles. They’re used for EMDR instead of the eye movement, as a lot of people (including me) can’t do that “eye movement” part of the EMDR. The paddles BUZZ, left hand and right hand independently. One, then the other, then back to the first, then the other hand.

The second appointment (not including the initial session), we continued along the same vein, talking more about my “resources” and pulling them into my life when I need them.

I wasn’t entirely sure about V for a couple of reasons. She comes across as insecure…often saying things like “I’m not sure I can help, but…” And I just felt that her energy was so soft. She seemed unsure a lot, and would talk about HER anxieties and how she disliked going to therapy (and was impressed that I was able to follow through with it because it’s hard to talk to strangers). She’s SO different from T that it was throwing me. Also, she didn’t really send me home with techniques to work on. No homework, like with T. Nothing to make me feel like I was “practicing” at home. It was odd for me, after so many years of CBT with T.

The third session, we talked about my experience with being bullied as a kid. She said oftentimes the imprint of being bullied goes much deeper than we can ever imagine. I wasn’t so keen on this session, because I felt like the bullying I’d experience didn’t impact me that much. The experience was sort of a blur of interactions melding together. But what it DID bring up was my issues with my grandmother…and in some ways with my mom. She promised to work on that for the next session, but as we continued talking about my growing up years and how I was bullied, I said that I felt like the odd man out all the time. One girl among three brothers. I was the only fat kid in the family. I was the sensitive one. I was the loner. And then we talked about how I repeated this as I pursued a career in a male-dominated industry. And how I repeated this by taking a job in a company where I was one of two females working a technical job (and the two of us didn’t work together…she was an engineer, I was in IT). It was interesting, mostly because I felt that there must have been a reason WHY I did that. Why I put myself in positions where I didn’t fit in with everyone else. What came out of that particular session was how much I missed feeling capable. The jobs I’d had were hard, they required a lot from me, and I earned a lot of respect in each of the positions. I miss being productive like that. I miss feeling the accomplishments. I forgot that I was that person. I forgot all the things I did, and the things I was able to do.

Session four was all about my grandmother, my mom, and where my feeling of “never good enough” came from. Next time.

 

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Mowed me a lawn…

Two weeks ago, I wanted to try to trim the grass along our fence because it looked like crap and Hub hates trimming. But I couldn’t use the trimmer, it was too difficult for me. So I asked Hub to do it, and then I asked him to help me learn how to use the riding mower. It’s a zero turn thingy, so it has these two handles that you have to coordinate to keep the mower going straight. I am not coordinated. I can’t drive a stick shift car. But he helped me get it out of the shed, then showed me how to use it. Ya’ll, it was AWESOME. We have a little hill in the back yard, so once I got used to that–i.e. that I wasn’t going to fall over–I would pick up speed to go down the hill. The weather was really nice, sunny and cool with a breeze. And when I hit that hill and picked up speed, it was just fun. Like riding a go-cart. And the mower is LOUD, so I felt very zen-like because I couldn’t hear anything. My thoughts were drowned out. I was concentrating on using the handles to follow my tracks from the previous round, I was feeling the sun and the wind. I was just zoning out and I really felt good. I was tired when I was done from all the bumping and jostling, but it felt like such an accomplishment. I did the back yard, then stopped. Hub did our front yard area (which is really an empty lot that we thought we might parcel off and sell some day) because I didn’t think I could do it all and still be able to function physically the next day.

So today, with the beautiful weather we had, I decided to do the lawn again. Once we got the mower out of the shed, I was off. And it happened again…that zen-ness of just mowing. Noise and wind and going round and round. I decided to go ahead and do the front yard, too. I got it all done without any issues (the first time I mowed I ran into two of our gutters. I mean, I really messed up one gutter and I REALLY knocked over a pipe that goes into the ground from our gutters in another area, but luckily no permanent damage there, so far…) and it felt awesome. I know it’ll all be more difficult over the summer in the heat and the humidity. And realistically, depending on when my hysterectomy is scheduled, I probably won’t be able to mow all summer…but knowing I was able to do it was pretty freaking cool. And knowing I could do something that a) Hub dislikes doing and b) will free up some of his time, which he can then use to do something else I can’t do and c) I didn’t think I could do.

My only concern is what physical after-affects there might be. Controlling the mower is not easy, and that means stress on my arms and shoulders and neck, all of which are weak (and painful) spots for me. The bumping around on the mower isn’t entirely comfortable either, which could affect my back. But we’ll see tomorrow…if there are tears when I can’t get out of bed or move, I’ll know I did too much.

My last visit with T, I told her about the first time I mowed. And that I hiked into our back woods with Hub to put up no trespassing signs (we keep seeing people walking around back there looking for deer antlers, but it’s private property and also…it’s pretty messy. If someone trips over a dead tree and gets hurt, we could be liable…) and not once during the “hike”–which really was more of a walk while avoiding poison ivy and marshy ground–did I worry about getting hurt. Or getting stuck. Or not being able to get back out.

I told T that I’ve been feeling less anxious. It’s a weird feeling because I almost feel unemotional…but not. I don’t spend as much time looking into the future or imagining what might happen. I’m learning to say (and think) that what’s going to happen is going to happen. And that I will deal with (whatever it is) when it is upon me. No point in spending hours obsessing and thinking about my upcoming surgery appointment. When the time is upon me, I’ll work with it. And I told T that it is just strange. She told me that my body is thanking me for the lowered stress and anxiety…and I’m sure it is. All I know is that I still feel weird at the feeling of “calm” that I really can live in.

 

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