New Digs

March 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm (Uncategorized)

Just in case anyone out there is wondering if I’ll ever be heard from again…you can now follow me over at leahElaine.net. Hope you’ll join me there!

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Leaning In and Letting Go

June 22, 2011 at 9:17 am (Uncategorized)

Leaning into the process, I am learning to let go again. All my life I have been learning to let go. Each time I start with the belief that this time will damage me beyond repair, but it is getting easier. Why am I so surprised to find this is true?

My husband has accepted a job in Portland. In the next few months I will be leaving behind the thick, desert heat for the cool mists of another land. I have spent more than a year wanting this. And here it is.

Tucson calls to people. Something about this place attracts the wounded, those in need of healing that only the stripped-down heat of this desert can provide. I was one of them. Some of those people never leave. They find themselves not only healed but also anchored. This too was me, for a while.

The others get their healing but move on; the Desert loosens her grip and sends them back out to their other places, better than they were before. I have become one of them.

I was restless and confused for months. This place I had come to love so much (and how sweet is the love that comes to replace distaste?) suddenly felt foreign and indifferent. And then one day I knew: She was telling me it was time to let go again. I began to dream of softer places, colder places, stranger (to me) places.

And now it begins.

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The Wanting and The Getting

June 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm (Uncategorized)

Fear embraces me, weaves in and out of me. I want to be excited about these new possibilities – I can be for a moment, maybe two – but always there is the doubt that tastes so much like grief. In the secret places of myself I ache with wanting this very thing, this very thing I never thought I’d get. So much safer to hope for something you think will never come than to deal with the reality of a dream come true. How many times have I wanted only to be torn apart by the getting? So much easier to let your fingers trail across the surface of the brass ring but let someone else grab it. My talent is in being a Could-Have-Been. In my mouth regret tastes sweeter than the shame of failure.

I know how that sounds. If only I could think myself free. I told myself the broken places made me invulnerable to fear. The worst has already happened (although I can imagine worse, I can always imagine worse) – this is just a tiny thing. But I don’t believe that. Yet.

Maybe I will try to imagine the best that could happen

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Learning the Steps Backwards

June 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm (Uncategorized)

The good news is that I didn’t have pneumonia. The bad news is that being well on my way to bronchitis did not explain why I had been so tired and grouchy. My husband pointed out to me that I always get tired and grouchy in the spring to which I replied (in the snotty teen voice I have perfected), “I do not!”

Of course last spring I got so tired I had a sleep test, an MRI, and more blood work than I care to remember. All of which came to the diagnosis of gee-we-have-no-idea. A trip to a higher altitude and a dial down on my cardio intensity eventually helped put me back to normal. I guess I could dig through my journals and see if this is a pattern as he claims. But now that the fatigue is lifting, there are about 382 other things I’d like to get done.

Like a reverse-season version of SAD I have come to hate the oppresive heat, the way it presses down on me, makes me feel like a prisoner of my own air conditioned coldness. I know it must seem blasphemy to those who ache to see the sun again, but I’ve started to hate the constant sunshine, the bland, bleached sameness day after day.

The startling news of my husband interviewing for a job in a colder climate should make me shake with delight. But I’m cautious, no use counting those chickens just yet. Or maybe, if I dare myself to be more honest, I am scared. It seems I may have finally learned that getting what I wish for rarely works out well for me.

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Being a Scanner Stokes My (Not So) Inner Geek

May 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm (Uncategorized)

So here’s the thing…I never intended this to become “The Blog Wherein I Bitch About My Brain,” and yet that’s where it’s been going. It’s not all bad since I really wanted this to be a safe place for me to say whatever the hell I wanted to say, and I suppose I’ve done that. I am hoping that recent developments will make that topic less all-absorbing though. I got a short-term OK from a (wonderful) cardiologist to continue my Adderall. I will be doing a stress test in a few weeks to confirm his opinion that my heart is strong enough to handle the current dosage. In the meantime, I feel normal again! Or at least what I suspect “normal” people feel like, knowing the can of worms I open for myself when even using a word like “normal”. And I found myself back where I was a few months ago, before a tachycardia lasted so long I had to visit an emergency room for a “reset”, reading Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose.

Actually I should say re-reading. When I plucked out the bookmark where I’d left off, I couldn’t remember some of the main points that had already been made. Because I got distracted. Back to the beginning for me! Of course near the beginning of the book reference is made to the internet community of what Sher calls “Scanners,” so this morning I’ve been digging through some of those resources. Were you aware that groups of people who have a hard time finding their “tribe” often form communities on the internet? Crazy.

So here’s what I’ve been doing today:

Reading these words reminds me to be kinder to myself. And that I need to get some friends.

It’s not that I hadn’t already read some of Barbara’s books. It’s not that I hadn’t already heard of Scanners. It’s just that I seriously need to pay more attention.

Oh, yeah, this is going to suck my brain out for a few days at least. Massive amounts of validation – I am about to be drunk on hope. And possibly gin and tonics.

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What Was I Saying Again?

April 13, 2011 at 3:38 pm (Uncategorized)

1. A shuffle through an old journal led to a curious note of shock. Did I really write that? Seriously, it’s kind of good.

2. A dashed off comment made on another’s Facebook post was greeted with much virtual applause from people I don’t even know.

3. A blog post poked me in the soft underbelly – a disgruntled “ouch” of truth.

4. Then one-more-thing-to-check-before-I-go-to-bed is a comment offering me the comfort of validation.

How many times have I begged the gods, my own intuition, the Universe, my dreams, the collective unconscious, anyone who would dare to stop long enough for me to talk – please, please, please send me a sign? Preferably one made in the shape of a giant arrow outlined in Watt-sucking bulbs flashing a migraine inducing pattern and declaring THIS WAY for all the world to see.

I am a fish living on land, aware the water is near but unable to smell the right direction (or maybe just always distracted by other beguiling scents?), flopping about suffocating and full of hope.

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Pinball Wizard

February 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm (Uncategorized)

There’s a pinball bouncing around in my head. Except there’s no chute for it to drop into so it just keeps going. Ping. Ping ping. Ping. Ping ping ping. Ping ping.

I didn’t realize how much the Adderall was helping. Until now. When it’s gone. One lousy trip to the ER and my husband is suddenly afraid my heart’s going to explode. I mean really, what are those odds?

Ping ping. Ping.

Want to know what the funniest part is? To me anyway. Until a few months ago, I believed everyone else in the world had that same pinball bouncing around in their heads. I’ve spent over 30 years trying to figure out why I couldn’t control it like everyone else appeared to.

Ping ping ping.

I miss the clarity. And actually getting things done. Oh yeah, that part was sweet. Right now I’m missing the sleep. Turns out a dose of amphetamines in the morning gives me a fabulous night of sleep. Which might explain why my single night of cocaine use ended in such an unexpected way…

Ping. Ping ping ping. Ping.

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A Compulsion

February 2, 2011 at 6:32 pm (Uncategorized)

Today I write. I’m always writing. In my head, a constant monologue, a never-ending blog post. In my head. But today, today, something had to be posted. It doesn’t matter what it is (how often is my block titled, “Which topic do I post about?”). It just needs to be out of me. And thrown into the world – imperfect, incomplete, but no longer just an idea.

Lots (and I want to quantify that, put huge number on it so you’ll understand LOTS) of my mental and emotional energy and time has been in a strange twirling swirl lately. I told the Universe I was open to her wisdom, and it’s coming through in torrents. Picking my way through the pieces and focusing on being in the wisdom instead of trying to always understand it, categorize it, force it to make sense… well it’s required as many naps as my preschooler will allow. A few threads:

  • Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning
  • My recent ADD diagnosis – a framework for my past, a new way of moving forward
  • The Declaration of You (found via White Hot Truth – because Danielle seems to be a direct line to the Universe)
  • I have been trying to hide for years
  • The possibility of a move to Nashville last December has brought up more doubts about living in Tucson
  • Julia Cameron’s Walking in This World  – without the actual walks
  • Iodine supplementation
  • All my to-do lists are useless because I lack Meaning and Purpose (see, Logotherapy)
  • I have zero ideas about how it would even be possible to leave here
  • I need a new psychiatrist – scary and annoying
  • The realization that I want to be seen

Now, time to carry the preschooler to the bathroom; he has decided not to walk today.

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Tucson’s Tragedy

January 9, 2011 at 8:58 am (Uncategorized)

We’ve had quite the weekend here in the Old Pueblo. I spent far too long yesterday planted in front of the constant news reports and learning how to type quickly on my iPad as I sent out updates through my Facebook account to all my friends. I also fielded calls from relatives in other places. My mother was a bit frantic in particular, knowing that there is a Safeway less than a mile from our house (the shooting was at a Safeway about 8 miles from us). Ironically I had been avoiding all media yesterday morning so I could get some things done, so I heard about the tragedy from my mother, 2 states away.

It’s not like violence is a stranger in Tucson; we have a higher-than-average crime rate, a result of the drug trade and our proximity to the border. Just a few months ago I woke to the sights and sounds of the SWAT team on my own street, sent to arrest a neighbor for his alleged part in drug trafficking. That ended peacefully, but watching men in body armor carrying assault rifles around in front of my house reminded me that the violence I watch on CSI is very, very real.

But rampage shootings? Those happen in other places.

Well, not anymore.

Today and for many more days to follow, I will be keeping the family and friends of the victims in my thoughts, wishing them healing and peace. I will also continue, as I was before, to be a voice for reasoned debate and respectful disagreement. I believe that, much like the effect of broken windows in a physical environment, when we let the little things slide, we cede the larger battle. Most importantly for myself, I will hug my boys a little tighter and then still let them out into the world in defiance of my own fear.

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Making a Little More Peace with Myself

December 11, 2010 at 7:15 pm (Uncategorized)

I take drugs to help me deal with shitty moods. With the new addition made last month, I take 4 prescription medications on top of  3 supplements. I hated the idea of drugs when I first dared to enter a therapist’s office. I was strong-willed and high functioning – I could kick this depression thing in the arse!

And I did.

For awhile.

I took an antidepressant and was stunned at how normal I felt. But I’d read Listening to Prozac, I didn’t need to change my personality, just get a little boost. So I quit the drug. And I was great.

For awhile.

The pattern repeated an appalling number of times before I finally admitted to myself that I may be taking antidepressants for the rest of my life. Becoming a mother was a huge factor in that realization. Because while I am quite good at convincing myself that I deserve to feel awful, my children will never deserve a depressed mother. They’ll get one anyway some days; depression is wily beast, often popping up just when you think it’s gone forever. But it will not be because I was too proud to take a pill.

A few days ago I was chatting with the neighbors, enjoying the sunny day and a cup of tea. The wife has terrible anxiety issues that we’ve talked about before, and she asked me to tell her physician husband about the new drug I recently started. It occurs to me that at my age, it’s quite possible I will never learn.

His judgement curled his lip and tilted his shoulders; his whole body radiated, “Oh, you poor, little, misled child.” The wife had already informed me that he didn’t want her taking anti-anxiety medication, wanting her to focus on cognitive/behavioral therapies. I will never learn. But instead of telling him calmly and letting it go, I launched into a tirade of The Overshare. I needed to justify my choices to this man I don’t know so I told him things I’ve only told a therapist and my husband. I may have been loud. I may even have been shrill.

I needed to justify my choices. To myself.

Even here, as I write, I keep veering off to divulge details of my illness. I want to spread out the stories like a mystical map pointing out my obvious, internal flaws. When I’m depressed my mind often feeds me the line, “I’m broken.” I want you to see that I really am broken,that I really do require all these medications to feel normal.

But it doesn’t matter. Yes, it’s my body and my mind, and these decisions are between me and my doctor (and in my case, my husband because he’s the master of detecting my shifting moods), but it’s more than that too.

The moral superiority inherent in the judgement my neighbor makes when he disapproves of my taking antidepressants, suggests that I don’t deserve to feel good. I’m weak-willed, lazy, of poor character. If I could just suck it up and work a bit harder (like him I suppose?) I wouldn’t need medication.

I need to prove that I’m not lazy, that I’m truly ill, that I’ve already done all the hard work so I deserve my drugs. So I trot out all the ugly, embarrassing evidence. But.

What if he’s right? What if I am weak-willed? What if I am just going for the quick fix instead of doing all the heavy lifting myself? Does that mean I don’t deserve some sort of emotional equilibrium? Would he also deny me antibiotics if he found out I didn’t wash my hands the proscribed number of times? Would he deny a woman birth control pills if she hadn’t given condoms a chance?

Cognitive/behavioral therapy is a life changer, no argument. Also a life changer? Drugs. Not a life changer? The smug judgement that burns me with shame. So from now on, let’s just assume you’re right, Neighbor Man; I am going for the quick fix. Because I am too old, too tired, and too damn busy to do all the work you would require of me to reach your level of superiority (if getting to your level is even possible for someone like me). Go ahead,  judge me. Just don’t expect me to waste anymore time feeling ashamed of my choices.

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