Holding the Space (for My Self)

I am going through a lot of life changes at the moment; feeling old, disconnected, left behind.

I’ve left Social Media for the second time and cannot anticipate being active in Facebook or Twitter again until I have a book deal. I just cannot concentrate on writing when I am active in writing groups helping others instead of myself.

When Sadness Hits

Holding the space Navelgazing Writer

My kids and grandkids are halfway across the country, busy busy with their own wonderful lives (and I am happy for it!), but I miss them all terribly. My own mom, 6 miles away is having a hard time with her memory and being physically slower. I visit her and my puppies as often as I can, but with working so much, it is a challenge. Plus it is about $32 round trip with Uber (which I LOVE).

I no longer have close friends with whom to talk about politics, books… life in general… because they have moved on with their lives, too.

Holding the Space Navelgazing Writer

Holding the Space

I know I sound pitiful and need to perk up, so I talked to my youngest, Aimee, who is a healer better than I ever was, and she said to hold myself as if I were holding her new baby girl. That image was a lovely one because I would hold the baby so lovingly, smiling at her, making her laugh and kissing her all over.

I’ve written about Holding the Space for others, but clearly, it is now my turn to do so for my Self.

Holding Space Navelgazing Writer

I’ve thought about looking for new friends, in Writer’s Groups or in Second Life, but I am in a sort of hibernation mode for now. I want to keep whatever energy I have close to me, foster my own writing, not working on anyone else’s.

My writing is going well and I think it’s one of the best things I can do for myself as far as Holding the Space goes. I am up early in the morning, writing while listening to Lindsey Stirling and then nap again before starting work around 11a or 12p. Work is going really well, too. My work writing is great, my work social media (required) is going really well. I love what I do so much. It’s really quite awesome.

So, here I am. Alone. Looking at myself in the proverbial mirror and evaluating what is left of my life and deciding what to do and where to (metaphorically) move next.

I can do it.

Holding the Space Navelgazing Writer

 

 

Forgiveness

I have a Rubik’s Cube in my hand… the hand in my mind… working it working it working it, trying to figure out how to change things I have done in my life, how to correct them, make better decisions, hurt fewer people. If I can just figure out the right way to get the colors lined up, my life would not be filled with so many regrets.

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I have apologized to those around me, including my children, many, many times, yet I still feel horribly guilty for my transgressions. I’ve confessed my sins in therapy for 30 years now, yet continue enduring the weight of guilt, it often weighing me down into depression.

And then I heard, in a book* I am listening to, “How long is the sentence for these crimes you committed in your 20s, 30s and 40s? What is a fair sentence for your crime?”

I am 58 and believe my sentence is now over.

In this decision, I thought, “Does carrying others’ pain lessen their own misery?” It does not. I also do not believe my children want me to suffer anymore.

Pain

I am here to answer the questions people in my life have. I am here to apologize for things I am responsible for, but I will not wear the yoke of guilt any longer. I release my Self from my shame, my pain, my sadness and my grief for the things not done or that I did wrong.

Therefore, I shall make amends… and forgive my Self.

* Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

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Surgery Done! Yay!

Surgery turned out to be a joyous experience. The team all laughed with me… I implored them all to have fun during surgery… to be mindful,  but have fun! They were all wonderful.

During pre-op, I asked the surgeon if he listened to music during surgeries and he said he did… any requests? I said questioningly, “Hamilton?” His eyes lit up and he said he had it on his phone, no problem at all. I was so happy to know I would fall asleep to Lin-Manuel Miranda singing to me.

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I am a really hard poke, but the 40-year experienced nurse got me on one stick. YAY! My BP was awesome, I was doing great.

My daughter Aimee hung out with me and was the epitome of great support.

Once in the OR, we all continued laughing and then the surgeon came over, masked as everyone else was, and said, “Now here is the most important question.”

I braced myself.

“Do you want the Soundtrack or the Mixtape?” I laughed loudly and said, “Play the fucking Mixtape!” So I went to sleep listening to Busta Rhymes belting out “My Shot.”

I woke up great and easy. My mom came to say hi, which was nice.

I guess the main tumor on my arm had some roots to it, so they had to dig 1.5 inches further than they expected. Oh, well. The place on my back was smaller and closed with Dermabond (Superglue) and does not hurt one tiny bit. Yay!

Yesterday was my 58th birthday. WOO HOO!

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My voice was somewhat hoarse after surgery, normal apparently. I’d never had that happen before, but whatever. Now, however, I am completely mute. A laugh sounds like a mouse squeak.

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I called the doc and they said that sometimes intubation can scratch the vocal cords. Yeah, it can take ONE to EIGHT WEEKS to be able to talk again. I asked for a referral to a whomever one sees for vocal cord injuries. For those that do not know, my JOB is talking. A LOT. I cannot NOT work for 8 weeks! Let’s all visualize my vocal cords bathed in healing juices. Oh, and happily, my throat does not hurt at all. So, there is that.

I am doing well, 2 days postop. Am glad it is done, looking forward to the Path Report.

Thanks for laughing along with me!

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Surgery Scheduled

Excision Surgery to remove the malignant melanoma and the dysplastic nevus is scheduled for next week, March 28th, 2019… the day before my 58th birthday. I keep thinking I am okay, not nervous or worried, but my behaviors say differently.

I was in pain a few days ago so bought a bottle of amaretto. In a 24-hour period, I drank the entire bottle. When I was done, I thought, “Hmmm, this is not a good way to cope,” so called my therapist and had an emergency session with her that night. She offered other ways of coping… distraction being the main one… playing more in Second Life, writing more and finding a good book to read.

(Please don’t tune out the next section!)

I considered calling the psychiatrist for some anti-anxiety meds, but thought that wasn’t a good strategy for a former addict either. Instead, I bought Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

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This is the basis for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, the course I took in San Diego several years ago that helped me with a great deal of pain, depression, anxiety and then later, with getting clean from opiates.

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When I was in all that liver pain, I meditated a lot, but when the pain was pretty much gone, I stopped (like a goofball). Now, here I am again, needing to meditate and I am having to relearn the skills I knew so well not so long ago. I am not worried, but BE-ing in the moment (did you who meditate chuckle like I did?) and going with where I am and doing it. Talk about the Beginner’s Mind!

In anticipation of next week’s surgery and not using pain meds afterwards to help with pain management, I am going to stay “In the Moment” and meditate to work through the pain I will surely have. Although I am not trying to anticipate it. laughing I sound like an advertisement for MBSR.

Next week, here I come!

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I’m Depressed (Again)

Due to a glitch in my insurance and the Latuda company’s lack of medication, I went about a week without it. Might have been more. I have been back on it for 4 days now, but have fallen into depression. I wasn’t sure at first, but after sleeping 20 hours a day 3 days in a row, I think that qualifies as depression.

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And the crying.

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I hate the crying.

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The welling up of tears for (seemingly) no reason. The way they fall unabated, no amount of logic stopping them. They just turn on and off at their own whim.

What am I sad about? Nothing. There is no precipitating factor here, merely biochemical.

I want out of it.

NOW.

Forgiveness

Mom and I sat at the vet the other day, in that tiny side room with the dogs hiding under our feet. We wept together, apologizing for all our past hurts and wrongs. It was extremely freeing to know my mom forgives me for all those horrible kid things I have done… and she has heard that I also forgive her for her own parental difficulties.

I hope to know that with my own children one day.

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Snatch with Prompt

This was the Prompt:

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This is what I wrote in 30 minutes (unedited):

When Colors Run

Deep inside my colorless cocoon, I have a vague sense of other lives nearby.

I slither through their reality; where is my own? Surrounding myself with the darkness of my depression.

My mirror’d existence bursts into color, fireworks exploding with energy that drains my body, but never my mind.

Having Bipolar Disorder 1 is, quite literally, opposing colors of my brain. I see auras anyway, but during a manic episode, the colors scream off my body, tsunamis of energy crashing into my brain again and again. Voices screech… or whisper… I, never knowing which will be next… raging about how I look, feel, need to act, need to fly, need to find this or that, things that are elusive even after hours of mentally and physically searching.

Exhaustion never comes.

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When the electricity finally dissipates after months of zapping me, I collapse into that dark world once again, struggling to keep breathing and not smother myself with the thought that this will go on forever.

Reaching outward, always outward, needing several hands to keep me alive, I am fed my medication, waking only to swallow, then sleeping yet another 23 hours.

Writing is my emotional gauge. By how many words I write in a day, I’m able to see where I stand psychologically.

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Not writing for days, weeks, months… I am in that dark place and need help. Too often, because I am alone, I do not recognize the need for many weeks and, by then, am buried by the pain.

However, when I write 20,000 words in a day… several blog posts for me, blog posts and essays for work… long emails to friends and family… run-on sentences with divergent topics… it is they who sense my need for help and their well-rehearsed phone calls are made to see who can get me to the doctor the fastest.

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Walking the tightrope, umbrella in hand, I teeter, side to side, always searching for that inaccessible balance.

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