changing our perspective on addiction

When I stopped drinking, there were challenges for sure, my anxiety being the biggest, but more rewards by far.

6.21.18

My head was clearer, my body more healthy (as much as possible for me), my spirit more free.

Still, I realize that I have a tremendous support system that made it so much better for me – and that there were other points in my life where I not only could not have stopped so easily  but I also drank much more and much heavier alcohol during those times.

I say this because I just watched this wonderful TED talk:

At the end, Johann states, “the opposite of addiction is connection” and I am realizing how true that is.

Now, when I feel overwhelmed with my health issues and anxiety disorder, I have my husband and daughter at home. I have my emotional support dog, Henry the Wonderpup. I have my amazing family, who live about two hours away but would be in the car in a flash if need be. I have wonderful friends who message often. I have my bestie, Al, who lives a couple of miles away and who’s door is always open. I have my bestie, Ginny, who lives a few hours away but is always on call. I am never alone, even on my yuckiest days.

However, many who are battling addiction, whether it is to alcohol or opioids or  amphetamines or another substance, feel that they are on their own. This is made worse by the fact that is often SO frustrating to deal with a person when they are in the grips of addiction that we naturally push them away. It is an incredibly difficult situation for all who are involved. That is why support is needed both for addicts and for their loved ones.

As it seems that I can’t go more than a few days without hearing of a death directly or indirectly linked to substance abuse and I hear of so much suffering related to addiction and I am so incredibly grateful to have been set free myself, I will continue to preach the “help is available for everyone” gospel as long as these fingers can type.

If you are struggling, you are NOT alone. Even if you don’t have a support system at this time in your family and friends, support is available to you:

aa.org

na.org

celebraterecovery.com

hipsobriety.com

For family members and friends: al-anon.org

There are many other support groups available online as well. Just do a search.

As always, if you are in crisis, present to the nearest emergency room. They WILL help you regardless of your insurance situation.

No matter how you feel, you are never alone.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and Blessings.

 

 

tales from that sahm life.

Y’all, I’m going crazy. Only a little, I think, but crazy none the less.

See, as you all know, I no longer am able to work outside of our home, and that has been a major adjustment, mentally, emotionally, and financially.

However, I have been able to be useful in some ways at home as both of our daughters are home with me. Our youngest, Sara, needed to begin homeschooling due to some health challenges so it was a blessing that we were able to work that out. Our oldest, Laura, is also home right now and we are working on some things for her as well. And, of course, they are getting to spend some quality time together these days. 😉

Where Sara and I have similar personalities so we can do things together but also enjoy our alone time, Laura is 100 percent extrovert. She wants company all the time. As a result, I hear, “Mom. Mom. Mom. . .” every waking moment. I JUST told her I HAD to have some quiet at 2:45 AM – only to hear “Mom” again at 2:55. Then we had a “Go. To. BED!” moment. Serenity now!!!

I’m going a lil’ crazy, y’all.

When I take a nap and get up to go to the bathroom, the toilet flushing is actually – seriously – the cue to come to my door and say “Mom.” #fixitjesus

I love her dearly and I love spending time with her. It’s not that. It’s just that I require some solitude to recharge as well. In fact, if I can have my time, I actually get to enjoy our group time together. Without my time, well. . .

Additionally, contrary to popular belief, I have actual work to do for my health coaching practice and writing to do as well for my book, my blog, and some pieces I am working on for other places.

Soooo. . . before I drop my basket completely, I have come up with a plan. My little extroverted extrovert (EE) needs some boundaries – and I need some peace. My solution? Office hours.

My office is across the hall from our bedroom and has a tunnel where Henry the Wonderpup can run back and forth as he pleases. So he and I will be keeping actual office hours – where we are not to be disturbed unless someone is on fire – each day.

Yes, my little EE will be ready to explode.

Yes, she will hate it.

Yes, she will say “Mom is cray.”

But. . .

Mom won’t be cray – and that is a good thing.

And Mom will be getting her work done.

And Mom will be much less stressed.

And that’s not all.

While I’m handing out bad news for offspring, the EE is a bit challenged in the housework department and we are going to remedy that this week as “Mom, Mom, Mom” has some major physical problems and so does Sara and we are both doing all we can do.

Oh, the meany head is on the loose. . .

This will be better than my other plan though:

mom 2

Bahahaha!

So, that’s all for today’s tales from the SAHM trenches.

Be well and Happy Wednesday, y’all!

Grace and Blessings.

swimming toward the light.

I wrote about my disease issues in detail last week, ending with my diabetes diagnosis. At that point, I had been loaded up with steroids for my RA flare – after two ER visits – and was going to take our girls to our planned outing on Sunday – which I did. I also assumed I would be posting here and on my health coaching practice blog on Monday.

But, instead? All week . . . radio silence.

Where my RA has made me incredibly ill before, this week it just totally Laid. Me. Out.

I was in total misery, no matter what I did.

I honestly couldn’t seem to get the pain under control well enough to write a post or read a book or get my thoughts together half of the time.

When I was “lucky,” I was sleeping for incredibly long stretches due to exhaustion (and that’s only lucky as it was a respite from the pain).

It was truly surreal.

I finally began to see the light yesterday evening.

And today I am beginning to really feel like myself again.

And I am incredibly thankful for that.

I don’t know if the flare was worse because of daytime heat exposure on Sunday (I usually only go out for nighttime activities during the summer) or because I was active when I was already flaring or just because. Regardless, it was so so frightening for me and I know for my family as well.

RA is just a beast.

The key now is not to allow myself to become fearful of the flare – as that is so easy to do after one so scary – because I can’t live in fear. Instead, I’m picking back up with my practice work and my writing plans and the daily posts on my LHH site and my to-read list and our wonderful trip to see our family tomorrow.

Always forward.

Happy Weekend, y’all. Have a wonderful Father’s Day!

Grace and Blessings.

 

 

a new diagnosis

Friday evening, I was still dealing with the RA flare I wrote about in my previous post.

I had come downstairs with my dinner to sit with my husband and started to feel weak and as if my heart were racing. When I checked my pulse, it was around 147.

I told my husband I needed to go upstairs and take some medication and get in bed.

By the time I made it to our bedroom, the situation was worse.

heart rate 167.

So I took a high dose of metoprolol and laid down for several hours. When I got up, I still was feeling pretty gnarly – though thankfully my heart rate was in the 120s and 130s. Still, Sara and I loaded up and set out for the ER. . . again.

After many hours, the good news is that the only thing cardiac they found – other than my mitral valve prolapse – was a low potassium level. I’ll be seeing my cardiologist sooner than I wanted to work on the rest.

The bad news is that I now have full-blown diabetes.

I was told last year that I was pre-diabetic which wasn’t unexpected with all the steroids – but still stunk. Additionally, my Dad and literally all of his immediate family members have diabetes. Soooooo. .  .

I was started on metformin and am doing all the things I’ve been telling all the patients to do for all of these years.

And the pill collection grows. This is just AM and PM, not including all the meds I take during the day:

While I know this is totally manageable and I will be okay, right now I’m pretty damn upset about it, both because it is yet ANOTHER diagnosis and also because I’ve seen way too much diabetes over the years. I’m just sick.

Still, I have had plans with the girls for today for quite some time, so, even though I still am feeling like Hale, I am going to get myself ready and go. Sara’s best friend is coming as well, and, if I feel too bad (a distinct possibility right now), I can always turn on the ac and some music in the car while they enjoy themselves. I’m not ditching them now.

And the next few days will be spent figuring out how I plan to change my diet and getting myself to swim and logging my blood sugars and getting a handle on this – and then I will be okay.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.

 

 

 

a sick week, kate’s passing, and nights in the bad place

First, let me say that, for whatever reason, I am having an incredibly sick week. This will be relevant to the rest of my post in a bit.

Two days ago, a gnarly flare led to my being unable to stay awake for more than a couple of hours at a time and my husband and daughter began conspiring – in the best kind of way, out of concern for my rapidly declining health – to get me to the ER.

So, late last night, Sara and I set out for the emergency room, where I got my usual: lots of labs, fluids, IV steroids, and anti-inflammatories.

Of course, my inflammation markers are all kinds of up. That wasn’t surprising.

We got home early yesterday morning and have rested all day but I am still running a gnarly fever with some nasty body pain. The pain is improved a bit but far from gone.

Soooo. . . I am taking increased doses of oral steroids – trying to avoid a second round of IV steroids – but, if things aren’t better in the morning, sometimes the RA wins. . .

hrrrmmmm. . .


Something else that is heavy on my mind – and many other women’s it seems – is the sudden death of Kate Spade.

Like a lot of women my age, I first saw her Sam handbag when I was 19 and the woman that I was nannying for had it. I had never heard of her but I fell in love with it and had to have one. Needless to say, it took awhile for me to save up, but, oh my word, when I did get it. I loved that bag so freaking much.

And now? These days I’m a consignment shopper and thrifter – and generally not a brand person – but I still love Kate. I have a bag I carry regularly but she travels with me every day in this form:

I have every intention of carrying it until it actually falls apart – kind of like I did my first Sam bag.

I don’t even bank with the Regions in my town, but when I have gone in for business stuff, the sweet lady who is the head teller noticed it was Regions green and I told her our Mom retired from Regions. Because of that, she remembers me and my lil’ wallet, even though I’m not a customer. Just a funny, sweet thing.

So I was totally shocked when I woke up Tuesday morning to the notification that Kate had passed away and then just heartbroken when all the details began pouring in.

Tonight, as I sat down to write, I looked through some articles and think this one bears passing on (just because I love it):

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2018/06/kate-spade-remembered

Because she died due to depression and anxiety, there are a few things I want to share:

I noticed that many people who knew her wrote that she “seemed happy” and almost implied that they supposed that wasn’t true and both her husband and father spoke with her the night before she died and said she was upbeat. She may well have been. Her happiness didn’t have to have been an act.

Two common risk factors for suicide are chronic physical illness and mental illness. As someone who lives with both, in the form of RA and anxiety, I can honestly say that, even during flares, pain and anxiety are often much easier to cope with during normal waking hours than in the middle of the night so I can see how she could have been fine that evening and then very not okay later.

During the day, there are distractions and there is activity and people are around.

At night, when it’s quieter, it’s easier to get into the bad places – anxiety tends to come on and pain actually tends to be worse – so you are really in danger if you are already struggling in some way.

I am so blessed to have my husband and daughter I can wake up if I really need to – if the pains are paining too much or the anxiety has me on the ceiling – and this little dude who always burns the midnight oil with me on wakeful nights:

However, everyone doesn’t have that support system – and everyone who struggles NEEDS one – so the best advice I can give is for us to all do our best to be that friend and that family member who is available – to be woken up or inconvenienced or to go and sit with someone who is having a really bad night.

And, also, let’s all love on our people and be very aware of when they are struggling.

Sometimes life is just plain hard, and everybody – no matter who they are – needs help at some point.

Be well, everybody. Look after your people.

Grace and blessings.

 

 

 

whole.

First, let me say that I am not on a morbid kick.

It’s just that when I watched the Ram Dass documentary I wrote about in my previous post, at the end of it, Netflix recommended another short documentary – about 40 minutes – called “End Game” exploring end of life care, that was filmed in San Francisco. Since I worked as a hospice nurse for a long time during my nursing career, I decided to watch it also.

And I was meant to see this documentary. It was a God thing.

While I am already familiar with hospice care and the things patients and families go through, the film introduced me to this fantastic facility:

https://www.zenhospice.org/

And one of their physicians, Dr. B.J. Miller, who is himself disabled and a triple amputee (he only has his left arm remaining) from an accident in college, was speaking to volunteer orientees about his disability when he said something that I so so needed to hear:

In my own experience, it took me several years before I stopped comparing my new body to the old body. But when I did stop comparing — when this became the whole me, not me missing stuff, I stopped suffering. My identity had accommodated the facts of my life. So, I like thinking about suffering as a gap. Like a wedge. The gap between the world you want and the world you got. You know, that to me, sort of sums it up very nicely.

Holy shit, y’all. YES.

There is no comparison between the “RA me” now and the “healthy me” of old.

And I can do things to make myself  better – and I am doing them – but I don’t even need to consider my “before RA” body. That isn’t even on the table.

This is the whole me now. I am complete as is – and I will move onward with what I have.

Acceptance is the key.

Forward, always forward.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

wheelchairs and mala beads

Probably the most well-known quote from the spiritual teacher Ram Dass is “We are all just walking each other home.”
You’ve likely seen it before. It’s a favorite of mine.
He is one of my beloved teachers.
So, tonight, I finally watched his Netflix short documentary, “Ram Dass, Going Home” about his post-stroke life and older years in Maui and it was so moving to me.
It spoke to me about living a life of dependency – a fear of mine with RA – and learning to let things go. He said, “I don’t wish you the stroke but I wish you the grace from the stroke.” Oh my heart.
Seeing him sitting in his assistive recliner, with his mala beads, in his home filled with altars he can no longer sit at. . . I understand. And to see a dear teacher handle this with such ease makes it easier for all of us to do so as well when we have to.
If you have a chance, watch his documentary. It’s really beautiful.
And it even ends, “Love everything. Let’s all walk each other home.”