Thursday, January 24, 2013

Inner Dialogue


“Elsie, there you are.  I’ve been looking for you.”

“Leave me alone.”

“C’mon, you know it’s for your own good.”

“I’m tired.”

“No you aren’t.  You’re scared.”

“Fuck you.”

“Testy, testy.  Let’s work on someone else, how about that?”

“I don’t feel like it.  I’ll do it tomorrow.”

“That’s what you said yesterday and the day before.  You also said you were going to write in your novel, blog, be more active with your recovery to get past this bump.”

“Back off! I thought I’d do yoga and read.  Instead, I went to a S-Anon meeting and then I read.  I didn’t have the energy to do yoga right now.  I don’t have energy to much of anything.”

“You’re making excuses.”

“I know.  I know.  It’s easier to avoid this particular issue than it is to deal with it head on.  You’re right.  I’m not doing myself any good by pretending it’s not there, it’s time to dig my heels in and face it despite how much pain it will cause me.”


That is an example of the inner dialogue I’ve had with myself the last week or so after I accidently ran into a road block while making a list of the people I need to make amends to for my step work.

I was in the process of doing a resentment prayer for someone else on my list and felt peaceful inside and BAM I started writing down another person I felt I owed amends.  As I began writing down the whys of my amends to this person an old hurt began to surface, one that I barely touched on in my forth step, and I had to stop writing. 

I realized the hurt surrounding the entire situation was deep and although it didn’t involve this person directly, I sought that person’s guidance later on and was told to “get over it” and it’s not something one just gets over, especially as a child. 

I know I must do a resentment prayer for this person too but first and foremost, I must figure out how to overcome the hurt that was done to me as a child.  I must figure out how to move forward, or as the person said, “get over it”, but in a healthy way, thirty years later.

The incident itself was painful and is for me to share with my counselor, my sponsor and my group, but not on my blog right now.  I shared it with my counselor, almost in passing, last week, and she confirmed it was abuse.  I’ll meet with her again on Monday and go into more depth with her on how to overcome this obstacle I’ve run into but I know doing what I’ve been doing, avoiding it, isn’t healthy.

I need to confront it, I need to deal with it and I need to carry on.  I have to get back on track by doing the things I love to do: writing, blogging, reading, yoga and most important, spending time with my family and being present.

There are times when I find doing my step work extremely challenging and this is one of those times.  However, I know once I’m done, it will also be rewarding.

Thank God for rockin' counselors!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Life As I Know It - For Now


“What if this round doesn’t work?”  I asked my neurologist.  I watched as he prepared the 400 units of Botox and the electrode machine he used to detect the muscles in my scalp, neck and shoulders.

“Then it’s time to take a break for six, maybe eight months.  If this many units won’t work, then you need to give your body a break.  Most likely, it’s creating anti-bodies that are fighting off the Botox.  The last several rounds haven’t worked and you need to give your body time to get the Botox out of your system and we’ll try again.”

“Six months?”  I said.  I felt deflated.  I experienced the break Botox provided, the freedom, from severe Migraines over a year and a half ago and I wanted that freedom back again.  I wanted to return to work, I wanted to return to life.

“Don’t worry, Elsie, I’m confident this dosage will work, it’s fifty cc’s higher than your last treatment.  You should see a difference in two or three weeks.”  He said and set to work injecting the Botox into my scalp.  I used guided imagery to remove myself from the pain of the injections and soon the procedure was completed.

He was right, I was seeing a difference but it wasn’t positive, it was negative. Again. My Migraines were at a level they hadn’t been at since I had to end my career in 2007. 

In 2007 my Migraines were every three or four days and lasted two or three days each.  The pain varied from manageable; where I could sit up, talk, write and maybe cook dinner for the family or unmanageable; where I could only hold the television remote in my hand, use the wall for support to get to the bathroom, make myself a bowl of cereal, or snack on junk food and wait for someone to get home to help take care of me.  These unmanageable cycles ranged from a few hours to a day or two.

2007 has come back and my Hooligans, it’s been back longer than I’ve let on to most of you.  It’s been almost a year that the Migraines have been escalating to every three or four days.

It’s quite frustrating but I have been through this before and I know eventually with the help of my neuro, and perhaps an additional doctor, I will find relief again.  I will find the right preventative treatment and things will calm back down once more.

I hesitated sharing this with you today because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me when I don’t feel sorry for me.  I can honestly look around and see other people suffering everyday with diseases and every day life far worse than my own.  I have a family that loves me and I have a roof over my head.  I am grateful for that.  Things could be so much worse.  Things have been so much worse.

Why am I choosing to share it now?  As a way of explaining my semi-absence on Blogger these last few months.  I used to check on blogs every morning or every evening, even when I didn’t post a blog myself. I haven’t been able to do that because the Migraines have kept me behind at home leaving me less time to blog, less time to write and things have had to be prioritized.

We all say it to one another – real life has to come first and for me that’s what happened.  I felt I owed you guys an explanation why I'm not around as often and why I don't always answer my comments the same day.

Don’t you dare tell me to feel better or any other sappy shit!! This is purely informational - not whiney Pat or Dan

Thursday, January 10, 2013

As The Clutter Clears

“Here are the stack of Christmas cards from the last few years.” Devin said, as he handed me the large pile. “I kept a few from my Nan and Mom. Do you want to go through the rest and see if there are any you want to keep?”

I was impressed by this small step in progress.  Devin was taking another inch forward of letting go of clutter and paper. Weighing the difference between sentimental and not. His medicine really seemed to be working.  I continued to remain cautiously optimistic.

I laughed as I found my mom’s card from last year.  Her handwriting done, best she could manage, an incomplete sentence and “Love Mom” at the bottom.  Best card ever!  I kept another from an aunt who recently got some disturbing news on the health front and put a few others aside as I divvied up the pile.

I came across a small, black Christmas card signed “Merry Christmas! then her name.  (Her husband's and children have been omitted).  I read the card again.  All of our names were listed and all of their names listed then the flood of memories came rushing back. 

She was Devin’s first affair partner.  The first person he crossed the physical line with.  No sex was involved, not even kissing. A flash and a touch but you don't do such things when you are married, sorry folks.

The memories of disclosure came flooding back.  The memories of Jessie and her family spending the night in my home as they traveled down the east coast flashed through my mind.  Her kids playing with mine, me cooking for her family while being deceived the entire time. 

Quickly, I took some deep, calming breaths.  I thought of the present, the here and now and took a mental inventory of where I was. I remembered all of the progress Devin and I had made in the  time since the disclosure, his remorse, his empathy and it grounded me.

I handed the card to Devin and asked, “Why is this in here?”  My heart still beating like a drum but calming just a bit, but no tears were nearby.  Then couldn’t help but snap, “Really?”

Devin read the card, his expression one of confusion and worry and then it clicked, he realized who the card was from.  I could tell from his reaction he assumed the card was someone from my side of the family, someone he didn’t know.

“I didn’t know, I’m so sorry.”  He got up and threw the card into the kitchen garbage and came back and hugged me tightly.

“I know you didn’t mean to hurt me.” Was all I could muster for the time being.  I went into the bedroom and prayed for strength.  I grabbed my affirmation cards and read them several times until I remember just how damn strong I am.  I am stronger than my triggers. 

Ten minutes later, I was back in the living room and feeling just fine.  I let him know I was doing great and thanked him for doing the right thing and let him know I knew he probably thought it someone from my family which made me feel better, it showed she meant nothing to him.

Then it was Devin’s turn to hit his emotional rock bottom.

It wouldn’t hit him for another twenty-four hours and as I type this, I am grateful he was able to find the strength to overcome it.  I have never seen my husband so hopeless before, so emotionally broken.  It was scary.  It had me frightened enough to call our counselor on Monday, the day of his appointment and share my concern with her.

I was concerned his recent increase in his medication had caused this depressive state.  The things he was saying he hadn’t said since disclosure week and no matter how much I tried to support and love him, he was still sinking into a pit of despair. 

It wasn’t until after his appointment with our counselor, I realized his meds might actually be allowing him to reflect, to think, now that the confusion has died down.  Seeing me trigger, without having that noise in his head, may have really caused him to focus on the core issue:  his addiction, which he’s been avoiding lately.

Either way, after his appointment, he came home and we talked for a very, very long time.  He admitted he has a lot to think about and he needs to communicate better with me, the kids and his sponsor.  He’s been happier ever since.  So, my rockin’ counselor – thank you!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Serenity Now!!!!

Funny how we think something is lost, gone forever, but truly it's simply misplaced for a short time.  

That's what happened to me for a few weeks when I allowed myself to become immersed in Devin's shifted addiction that has now been clarified by our counselor as possible OCD. (Clarified to me, not to him).  I lost my serenity, my peace, my calm.
I went searching for my serenity but kept coming up empty.  I dug into toolbox of recovery tools but it wasn't there.  I even went into my U-haul box that I keep - remember this analogy I used some time ago?

"I look at my recovery and his recovery as two separate boxes in my mind.  Big ass brown packing boxes.  Mine is worn and frayed from constant use.  Sometimes the contents are scattered all over the ground while I'm busy working on myself. Then I pack them up neatly and put them back until the next day. My SA's box gets opened once a week without fail but the edges are still brand new, no wear and tear.  I've learned to accept that but it took a long time to stop trying to dust off his box, take out the tools and show them to him myself.  If he's going to the meetings, he knows they are in there."

I searched deep in that box too, but, to no avail, my serenity, my peace and my calm were gone!  Suddenly it occurred to me!  I keep them so close to hand all the time, they must be where I keep my credit card and ID card when I'm in a hurry at the gas station or food shopping; my back pocket.  

Bingo!  There they were! Happily, I reached in and took them out embraced each and every one of them again.  Once I did, I was able to step back away from Devin's chaos and notice something very strange.  It ain't so chaotic anymore.

The budget has been done.  He's come to me for FANOS.  He's talked of the noise quieting in his brain.  He's going to the gym.  He's connecting with our son.  The meds are working.

I embrace my my serenity, peace and calm and remain cautiously optimistic.