Monday, November 23, 2015

Loaded Words: Gratitude

"What are you grateful for?"
It seems like an innocent and helpful question. Nobody means harm when they ask it - however the question fills me with sadness and maybe a little anger. 

At the very worst time in my life, a time that was so dark and so painful, I am impressed with myself for living through it, I got asked that question a lot. 

I always came up with something: some "tender mercy" that made other people feel better about me or my life. 

The reality for me was, it felt like I was digging through three tons of crap to find a couple of M&M's The digging was awful. It stunk. It was hard work. I had to look so hard for the stupid little tiny pieces of chocolate, but once I'd found the M&M's, was I supposed to eat them? I didn't want them. They didn't make ME feel any better, but people around me sometimes seemed to pretend like these crap-covered chocolate pieces were a ten course meal. I was so blessed and so lucky to find them. 

My life was too painful, and I lacked the ability or the awareness to really express it at the time, but it felt awful. I felt like I was being masked over, asked to hide or disappear. Instead of feeling loved or supported, I felt very very alone. 

Todd and I have been talking about ways to bring mindfulness to our meals. He had the idea to list things we are grateful for before we eat. It sounded like a good idea, and I was all for it. And then he asked me what I was grateful for as we sat down to eat dinner, and I just cried. 

It felt like he was asking me to pretend and hide: to disappear and only show him what was acceptable and not what IS. 

In my tears, I could easily recognize my feelings are not based in the present. I have much to be grateful for, and I am very grateful for a lot. Sometimes, I still just need to cry for what was. 

As a survivor of abuse and PTSD, eating disorder, major depression and anxiety, that question did not offer me relief or hope. It offered the people around me relief and hope. It gave them a chance to escape my reality by forcing me to comfort them. I know they meant well, but it really hurt. 

It would have meant so much more for people to ask me about what I wanted to tell them, because most of the time I would have chosen to say sugar-coated sweet "positive" things to protect them. It meant a ton to me when people let me share my pain with them without expecting me to sugar coat it with gratitude s and "tender mercies".

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I took manure and leaves and I made dirt!

This might sound silly, but I am super proud of my compost pile.

My first wheelbarrow full of manure and our three horses

When we moved in in March, I knew nothing about composting (except that I wanted to do it). I got a wheel barrow and a shovel, and started gathering manure and leaves. I started researching and reading to learn about something I had never even thought about before.

The biggest it has been was 20 feet wide, 10 feet long, and 5 feet high. It's about a third of that size now, since composting worked, and I spread the compost on our flowers and garden area. (Hopefully we can get things to grow faster than the deer and rabbits eat it. This year, that wasn't the case, but the soil was not nearly as good as it's going to be now that I have beautiful compost on it.)

Guys. I took manure and leaves and some vegetable scraps, and I made dirt! 
I feel proud. I also feel silly that I feel proud. And I still feel proud.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Preparing for surgery: I feel afraid. #Endometriosis #PTSD

I'm getting ready for surgery in three weeks. It's stressing me a little bit, but the things that stress me are not the same things I have heard others worry about.

I'm afraid of laying on a table half naked while they put me under the anesthesia. That sounds like a perfect recipe for flashbacks and panic attacks. I talked with my surgeon and he told me they would do everything they could to keep me comfortable until I'm out. I also know from experience that even if I feel panicked, once they put the IV in, I'm out pretty quick.

I'm afraid of waking up half naked. I'm afraid of feeling afraid or triggered and being too drugged or in too much pain to be able to think through (and get past) the panic.

I'm afraid of staying in the hospital and not being able to wear pants and having people coming in to examine me. I'm afraid of panic and feeling afraid and alone and being unable to tell anyone whats going on. When I get panicked or have flashbacks, I can't talk. I get paralyzed.

Mostly, I'm afraid of wanting Todd's help through my recovery. They tell me I will be pretty much completely down for two weeks. I won't be able to lift anything for six to eight weeks. That means I will need help. This summer I had my wisdom teeth out. I tried to convince myself then that I didn't need or want help, but I'd wished I had done it differently.

I talked to Todd and told him I wanted his help, and I asked him to plan on being home for at least a few days after I get home. Just in case I need help getting food or whatever else I might need.

I'm still afraid that he will find somewhere else he would rather be. But more than that, I'm afraid I will tell him that I don't need his help. I feel like I shouldn't ask him to stay home with me, but I should tell him he can go fishing or go play with the grand kids or... anything really... but I want his help. I want him here with me.

He tells me to just trust him. Let him show me that he'll be here. Let him show me that he loves me, and not just when we are working together or fishing or riding. He says he also loves me when I'm tired and sick and need/want help.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#Endometriosis. Is it okay that I admit it hurts?

Tonight I stayed home from my fly fishing club meeting. Last night I missed rehearsal. I could have gone to both, but I was in pain and felt nauseated and hated the idea of even driving across town.

In the past, I would have gone. No one would have known I felt bad - maybe someone might have noticed my pale face or the cold sweat, but probably not. I am pretty good at faking it and pushing through a lot of pain. I have been pretty proud of myself for my ability to push through.

And. I'm tired of pushing through pain. It's exhausting, so I stayed home on my couch in front of the fireplace cuddled up with my cat.

I tell you all this, mostly because I'm trying to keep myself from telling myself horrible things. Somewhere in the back of my head, I hear a voice telling me I'm lazy and weak. I'm scheduled to have surgery in three weeks. Part of me is excited and hopeful that the surgery will make me feel better (after I feel worse for a while). The other part of me ridiculously believes that surgery won't help because the pain is all in my head. I'm just weak and I need to push harder, because the pain isn't real.

It's funny that I think it's not real. I finally have doctors giving me diagnoses and telling me that surgery will help. (I have suspected adenomyosis and endometriosis. My uterus is enlarged and out of position, and my cervix is tilted and twisted. I'm having a hysterectomy and they will be cutting out any endometriosis adhesion's as well.)

I feel ashamed that I stayed home on my couch. I don't want anyone to know. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, or to express concern or sympathy for me. The shame and the fear are getting in the way of what I want. I want to feel supported.

This blog is a nice place to start doing something a tiny bit different.
I'm in pain. Sometimes I cry because it hurts. I feel exhausted trying to focus on anything besides the pain. It's not horrible all the time, but it hurts all the time. I sometimes get really depressed and discouraged, because its hard to enjoy anything when I'm in pain. I love being a part of the orchestra. I love fishing and being with the horses and working in the house, but sometimes I can't enjoy any of those things.

Even as I write this, I feel ashamed. If anyone knows that I cry or that I feel pain, they will think I'm weak. Because my pain is in my pelvic region, everyone will think I'm gross. Maybe I'm overly sensitive, and other people don't complain or cry even though maybe they feel the same thing I do.