In the Burning Phase of My Life.

To befriend the shadow girl in the mirror…

Thursday.


I have come to realize something about myself.

I am not very good at relaxing.

I think it could have started at birth. After all, I was born more than three months before my projected due date. Apparently I’ve always been more than a bit nervous, and just a little bit in a hurry. Those who know me would consider this a humorous understatement.

While I was at Rosewood Ranch for eating disorders for inpatient anorexia treatment, I found out that the way that I had been living for the two decades previous was exhausting at best, and extremely dangerous at worst. Big news, this??? I think not. If my life construct had been ticking along on all cylinders I wouldn’t have been busy dying of a disease that was completely out of control. I learned many tools that rattled around in my brain as revolutionary, but really had no time to resonate since each day was so packed with new stimulus, new connections, and new information. It seemed that time would tell what would stick and what would simply slide off of the Teflon coating inside of my skull.

The year since leaving Rosewood as a person in recovery has been a mix of so many things. The perfectionist in me has refused to see that each day will be up and down, sometimes minute by minute. But I’m tired of the perfectionist quacking at me all the time. What has She done for me except nearly killed me on several occasions? There has to be a better way.

I have, for better or for worse, gone off all of the cornucopia of medications that I was placed on while in treatment. The antidepressant that I was prescribed in massive doses for my OCD is very harmful for my bipolar disease. Who wants to stay on a medication that can forcibly send you into higher manias? This is something that I am trying to prevent. The two drugs that are meant to manage the bipolar disease artificially spike my appetite. As a longtime sufferer of anorexia nervosa, the very idea of having my physical appetite out of my own control is a rampant poison that I cannot drink. I found myself in the uncomfortable position of deciding what was more necessary…addressing the bipolar disease, or preserving my sanity and easing my eating disorder. The eating disorder won.

There was an interesting side effect, aside from the obvious physical ones, to going off of all of my meds.

I began to FEEL things again.

And this, for me, is not as simple as it sounds. I am used to being tired and sedated. Good thing? No. But predictable? Yes, indeed.

There came a day a couple of weeks ago that I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I’m usually pretty good at that. But an internal check didn’t help. Then it occurred to me.

NOTHING WAS WRONG.

I was looking for something, and nothing was there.

This was new to me. I sat down and stared at the wall with vicious intent for several full minutes. And still, nothing popped up.

I was just having a day.

Like the whole rest of the world, I was just living. No big whoop, nothing to report.

ohmygod, I can’t handle this there’s got to be something to FOCUS ON…!

Nope, wasn’t going to happen. It was then I realized something huge. I had been living a crisis-based life for as long as I could remember. This phenomenon extended far before the time when I was legally allowed to drive a car. It most likely even went back to the time when I was still growing in permanent teeth and playing in the sandbox. I knew no other way to be. But here it was…just a day. Then I realized, once the internal cogs of panic stopped turning after finding NOTHING to panic about, that this was going to be fine.

Not everything has to be about putting out emotional fires. I was allowed to just be. This may sound simple, but for me it is astonishing.

This blog is a part of that. Not everything needs to be perfect. Not everything needs to be “just so.”

Sometimes, it just is. And I am learning to be okay with that. Save the drama for your mama. I’m just going to put my thoughts down and see where they go.

Okay?

Okay.

‘Nuff said.

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March 11, 2010 Posted by | Deep thoughts with a side of coffee. | , | 2 Comments

Life At Street Level.


What I'm aiming for...daily peace.

When we made the decision to move to New Orleans earlier this year from Arizona, we knew that we would be giving up certain things. We were going to be living on our own for the first time in a long time. This would mean giving up the constant companionship of our two wonderful friends and housemates, Robert and Jill. It would mean giving up a lot of comforts that they had so selflessly provided us with for so long. And it also meant giving up the use of Jill’s Blazer (BBB!) which she had allowed me to use as if it were my very own vehicle.
At first, this seemed like an enormous, uphill inconvenience. I mean, I had been so sick last year with anorexia before treatment and just afterwards that I could barely walk around the block. How could I POSSIBLY walk around New Orleans all the time, a city that still was unfamiliar to me once you diverged from the usual tourist spots. Plus, the summer heat and humidity made it feel like I was searing my soul in a hot skillet. So I trudged, my head down, just hoping to make it to my destinations.
And then, over time, it slowly changed.
The weather became cooler. The streets seemed to be shorter, and more like, well, home. As I began to walk with ever-growing confidence, my strides became longer and my shoulders thrown back. These two simple physical actions pulled my head up from my feet, and I could all at once take in everything around me.
Life is very different when you are not speeding by it at sixty miles an hour and observing it through a rolled-up window. The colors are richer, the smells stronger. You are innately aware of all of the sound and the life flowing around you, the symphony of life at street level. Each breath in and out brings a new perception. Life on foot gives you the ability to slow down and see the small miracles that happen every day when you are not worrying about when your red light turns to green.
This frosty morning, after walking my son Thor to his school bus stop, I headed down Magazine street, bound for home. There, I saw an older lady waiting for her ride to pick her up. I had stopped to talk to her before, about the weather and whatnot, and we had smoked a cigarette together. I passed her by two days after that, and she greeted me and asked if I had an extra cigarette. I obliged her that day and was off on my own way home.
This morning as I placed one foot in front of the other, I saw her again, waiting again in the same spot. Her head was turned and she did not see me, so I perhaps could have just walked by. But life is different now, not speeding by me with three hundred-horsepower. So I stopped.
I saw that she did not have her customary cigarette in her hand. So I pulled out my pack and offered her one. Her face lit up. And since I had no one behind me, honking their horn, and only my feet on the pavement to tell me what would happen now, I decided to stay and smoke with her.
We puffed away, the smoke and steam from the winter morning making two dragon-plumes of human exhaust, timed to our staccato bursts of laughter. I listened to her talk about her life, what was concerning her now, what made her get up in the morning with that sunny smile that she always has. It’s not that her life is always good. It’s just that she understands that life happens at the speed and manner in which it MUST happen.
Today, I made a friend, because I was moving slowly enough to really see her.
I am not suggesting that all of you should give up your vehicles, because I know what a boon it is to have the convenience of rapid transport when it is needed. All I am saying is to sometimes leave the car keys on the desk when time allows, and go forth bravely on foot. See life at street level. You just may experience something that changes your life.
Oh, and in this day of rising gas and insurance prices, with no car I seem to have a lot more extra money to budget towards coffee and cigarettes…
Enjoy.

March 11, 2010 Posted by | Little ribbons of life. | , , | 2 Comments