Settling In

Up to this point, I have been rebuilding my own life from the ground up. Rebuilding inside and outside. Therapy has helped on the inside and for the outside I have acquired shoes and clothes and lots of books and yarn.

This week I have taken a new step in the rebuilding process.

I had some of my furniture still left in my old house. It hurts me so much to be there that I cry tears of such pain every time we have to go there. Scott and I had planned to get the boys to help and on Thursday this week, we would move my cherished furniture from my old house to my new house — the house Scott and I share.

I was entirely too upset to be a part of the “festivities” so I stayed home and worried myself into a migraine and upset stomach while the move was made but I was so happy when they arrived home and everything was brought inside.

We celebrated with pizza and donuts and by putting our bed together last night. We couldn’t get the box springs up the steps (they say that love grows best in small houses but come on!) but we still had the slats under the mattress so until we can get a set of separated box springs, it works.

In the meantime, there’s a lot more storage space which after rebuilding with clothes and shoes and books and yarn, I need a LOT of. AND there’s a lot of organizing, rearranging and homemaking to do.

And that, I think is the next step in my rebuilding. When I was out shopping last evening, I looked at tablecloths and bedspreads and dishtowels instead of clothes and cute socks. I think I am moving onto thinking of things around me and outside of myself.

I am moving onto making my house into my home and that’s a huge step forward for me…a long way from where I was two years ago and yet, a long way still from where I hope to be in two years.

There is a difference though that is the key. This time around I have dreams and I see myself in them.

Childhood Memories

I know we are all used to those posts filled with bright green grass, sapphire green pools and brightly colored hair ribbons hanging off perfectly curled ponytails swinging behind the gossamer curtains of childhood memories mixing with the smells of vanilla and strawberry and all those special things which take those writers back to perfect childhoods.

And those are very good posts…they’re just not MY posts and, really, they never WILL be MY posts.

I thought a lot about it today. What is my favorite childhood memory? Do I even have one? Do I have ANY happy memory?

While it’s well-known I don’t have a lot of memories of the years between 4th and 12th grade (and thank Gd that my best friend Christine keeps those memories very much alive for my son Evan for me…and keeps them for me when I am ready for them) – I have memories of my young childhood. I remember where we lived, where I went to school, the kind of saddle shoes I wore in third grade (black and white as opposed to brown and tan which is the kind I REALLY wanted), my brownie uniform that I wore every week to school and then walked to the Methodist Church in town for our meetings.

I remember the house we lived in, the year we lived with my grandparents and everyone forgot my birthday and then got me an old applesauce cake from the Thrift Store after we had supper. I hate applesauce cake to this day.

I remember the year I had a skating party for my birthday and I got beaten afterward. Beatings on my birthday were kind of expected. That particularly birthday I was also raped by an older boy who was visiting us. Later I was beaten for that too because, of course, it has to be a just-turned-8 year old little girl’s fault right?

And along with that I remember the same house and brutal beatings, the blood and the police who came as the sun rose and the broken glass and the screams going unanswered. Cries for help echoing in the subdivision in which we lived, blood curdling screams as faces were broken, glass was shattered and little girls were scared into silence.

Yes, there were happy times I suppose. I have seen some pictures that other people have. I don’t have any. My sister took all the pictures long ago and never gave any to me. She says I don’t belong to her family and so I don’t deserve any.

Whatever.

Maybe if I had happy pictures I’d convince myself it was all happy even though in my heart I know it really wasn’t. But I am also not so jaded as to think it was all bad. I know that everything is not so black and white.

But could I pick out a sunshine and rainbow moment of happiness that was all encompassing that involved time with my immediate family? Let me just say I qualify this only because I did spend so many happy moments with my grandmother and it was only with her that I can say I ever felt truly safe and happy. So my question then becomes and the question I have been framing is…

Do I have a happiest moment from the childhood I spent with my mom, dad and sister?

Sadly, the answer is no. I can’t for the life of me really think of one. And yet, there were opportunities. The Harlem Globetrotters Game, Disney World, so many opportunities.

But each opportunity that I think of was tainted either by a violent fight or by some other situation that had no business happening.

I don’t really know how to say this other than to just come out and say it. I can allude to it and it’s hard to just say. I can’t freely talk about it yet but if you want to know why I have no favorite childhood memory, this is why – being molested can ruin everything that ever comes after it. No matter what that “everything” is…nothing will ever be happy again no matter how happy it seems.

Remember that.

Riding the FACT Bus

Last week I had to take the local paratransit.  Because I get medical assistance, I am qualified to ride the bus and because I had an appointment that was overlapping a commitment Scott had to attend to, I had to take the bus.

I have to admit I was terrified.  I didn’t know what to expect and there wasn’t much I could do about it.  I just kind of had to grin and bear it and hope it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Unlike my trip to the synagogue on Rosh HaShanah, I didn’t have the chance to prep with my therapist Kellye prior to my bus ride…this was a cold turkey bus ride.

The good thing about the bus is that the driver, Jack, is a really nice guy who makes you feel really comfortable right from the start.  He’s happy and talkative and seems to understand if you’re not so much.  He called about 30 minutes before he came just to tell me that he was on his way and what time I should be outside….cool.

I sat outside and waited.

At exactly 11:15 when he said he’d be there…the bus rolled around the corner and I got on.  Little did I know it was the “party” bus!  There was one person on when I was picked up and she was chatting away with Jack which was fine with me.  Then we dropped her off and picked up three more people who were regulars apparently and they just laughed and chattered away.

I felt a little conspicuous sitting in the front seat and definitely out of place.  My face was warm and the bus was hot.  I felt like I was going to throw up the entire ride but I made it.

We got to the road where we’d have to turn left to get to our destination….I was consumed by my panic and nerves and I jumped up and told Jack to turn…and he was all like, “I KNOW dear, I come here all the time, don’t worry!” and then laughed at me.

PUBLIC HUMILIATION as the rest of the party bus laughed along.

Inside I knew they weren’t laughing at me…well, maybe they were.  And if not, when I got off the bus and lost my balance and almost fell down, well, you get the point.

But, the real point is that I did it.  And it was a HUGE step for me.  Do I want to do it again?  Actually I do.  I need to do it again to make it not so weird and not so strange.  So I can maybe be a quiet part of the party and feel like I belong more and not feel so much like I felt – a fifth wheel on an already unbalanced bus!

Still, after I got my balance back and walked into my appointment I knew I had taken a major step for me.  It may seem really small to most people and even for me, given my past life – the chick who left it all behind and moved to Israel and made a life for herself and her son despite everything for two years and would do it again in a heartbeat (her heart tells her) – it seems a little trivial, but I know given where I am at mentally now, it was one of the biggest steps I could take right now.

I don’t know when or if there will be any more big steps, I just know there was this one and I am very proud of myself for making it.

Rosh HaShanah: Pride

I am so afraid of new situations.  It’s not new to me.  I guess I always have been my entire life.  I remember hiding behind curtains when I’d have to meet someone new when I was a very little girl.  I made my mom take me to the first day of school until my sophomore year in college for fear of things like the school bus stop, the school bus itself and walking into the building for the first time, roommates and just new things.  I actually became anorexic when I was interviewing for becoming an exchange student during my sophomore year, nearly killing myself with anxiety on top of the hell and horrors that went on in my house.

This fear continued on into college and still continues.  I would get sick on the first day of a new job or a new experience like joining a new club or group even though it was something I wanted to do.

It’s just always been this way.

And now that I have other more serious phobias, my social phobia has turned into full-blown agoraphobia, although very specialized and very defined.  It’s very, very real.

Last night was the evening service for the first night of Rosh HaShanah and I decided we would go.  I told Scott not to listen to any excuse I made short of a cerebral haemorrhage and me in the ER.

Scott has to work today and I also figured it was dark (it’s easier for me to do something in the dark) and we had every little step planned out.

We planned getting there REALLY early so we’d have a parking spot in the parking lot.  I’d wear clothes I was comfortable in and we would be hyper prepared.  I even called the temple early in the morning to just scope out the parking since it was what was really stressing me out.

I was ready.

I made a really festive dinner.  Cooking calms me so I made roasted curry chicken with apples, wild rice pilaf with apples, sweet and sticky green beans and apple cake along with gala apples and honey.  It helped because it turned out absolutely perfect, delicious and right on time.

Scott and Evan looked fantastic.  I was in a skirt that I felt good in, a sweater and a pashmina shawl.  I felt good.

Of course we forgot our tickets but we got them and still arrived in time to snag a space in the parking lot.  We backed in.  I took a klonopin so I’d be really calm and okay.

And it all worked out better than I could have hoped.

I cried throughout parts of the service as I felt Gd welcoming me and His love wrapping around me and the angels, Michael, Gabriel (especially), Uriel and Rafael surrounding me to keep me safe and there.

Scott was beside of me and I felt him there as I leaned against him.  It wasn’t overly crowded and people didn’t really bother me although the gentleman in front of us wished us a “happy new year.”  I replied “Shana Tova” and he smiled at me.

I thought the organ and choir would bother me as I tend to be more traditional but it was really, really nice and I loved it.  I felt at home.  The rabbi felt perfect for me.

Next week for Yom Kippur I am ready to go back.

I wish we could go Saturday for services but I know it’s all baby steps and that going for Kol Nidre and the next day may be more than my weak neshamale could handle and I don’t want to tank myself before I am ready even though I feel enthusiasm.

I am happy and I feel good.  I am proud of myself.

I did it.  And IT was huge for me.

Life As A Headcase: Doctor, Doctor…Breaking Up Is NOT So Hard To Do

This is a post about me and my doctor.  However, as weird as this may be it starts off with the story of my migraines but bear with me, we WILL get to the actual message of this blog…just hang in there and trust me.

Besides everything else that is going on with me, I also suffer from Chronic Migraines.  I don’t know why this is…does anyone ever know what causes a migraine?  Well, seriously, I guess some people can tell you what triggers theirs but I am not so sure anyone really knows what causes them.

Or even how they feel or how they present.

My migraines happen about 4 days a week.  My neuro was very conservative
and gave me 15 Fioricet pills a month.  That’s one every two days or estimating a month containing just 15 migraines.  With 4 headache days a week, my month has about 20 migraines.  This caused me to hoard meds because I was always so afraid I’d run out JUST when I needed it.  He also prescribed compazine for the accompanying nausea.

Still with me, because now we are at the heart of the matter…I told
you we’d get there right?

Now here comes the rant (because you knew there WAS one right?)  I had to
choose a primary care doctor so I picked one I didn’t know simply because all the ones I DID know either didn’t take my insurance or weren’t taking new patients.  So I picked a guy I didn’t know but who was in a practice and could see me in a closeby office on Wednesdays (the day I can get a ride.)

Well, yesterday I saw him.  While I was in the hospital, my treating psychiatrists and doctors (yes, GPs) prescribed a couple new things (Abilify, Remeron) and changed a few things (Klonopin to Xanax and upped the Fioricet/Compazine cocktail to one time a day when needed.)
So here I am, going to see Dr. Pompous Ass.  He didn’t get this name until yesterday but boy, he earned it.  I get why he said what he did by the way.  My rant is more about his attitude.  Dick.

Anyway, I gave his nurse all my paperwork with all my new meds.  Dr. PA walks in and says, “I don’t want to deal with all of your meds.  I only want to deal with your regular meds.  Your shrink can deal with your happy pills.”  Then he started listing them.

After feeling like the biggest hypochondriac EVAH or at least a simulated medicine cabinet for the entire Israeli army, he concludes he won’t deal with my Lamictal, Compazine, Fioricet, or Remeron.
Well, for your information, Dr. Pompous Ass, the Lamictal is for seizures, the Compazine/Fioricet cocktail is for unrelenting headaches that I actually came to YOU for several months ago despite the fact my neuro had at ONE time prescribed the combo for a post lumbar headache I got.  And…the Remeron, it’s not for depression, you ass, like I told you, and like I have asked you for for months, it’s prescribed so I can sleep longer than 2 hours at a time.

Idiot.

I am not even sure he put these back on the list but he treated me like I was a head case (okay, I am but I don’t need to be treated like one) and was actually rude.  Scott was there and he thought the dr. was a pompous ass too.

I mean I get why he’d want my shrink to handle the cocktail of happy meds I am
on (I counted, I am on four altogether so its not like I am on some ungodly number) and that was fine.  I am NOT fine that he won’t deal with the others so…

We broke up.

I haven’t told him yet since I have to see my new doctor first and that won’t be until August 27.

Don’t burn the bridge that renews your meds, right?

On August 27, Evan and I are changing to a really nice doctor who is a woman
(yeah!) and who also has a specialization in pediatrics as well as family meds.  This should be really good for Evan since she’ll be able to understand the autism and how that affects him.  I think that will be a win win for him and for me.  I am not sure how she’ll handle my head case but I am confident that it HAS to be better than what I am getting now and even if it’s the same…I KNOW it can’t get worse.

The whole thing pisses me off but I don’t have a great rapport OR history with Dr. Pompous Ass so changing now is the right time.  Also, this doctor is affiliated with the hospital I go to and I plan to hook her up with my shrink with a release so they can share information.  As long as she deals with all of my OTHER meds I have NO issue at all with her passing the pipe of my happy meds to my shrink.

I just want what I need and what has been prescribed to be respected and
handled properly.  I want to be respected and treated with dignity and not treated like I am asking for something that I am not actually holding paperwork to show you it has been prescribed for me.

Let’s hope this works.

Life As A Headcase: Frustration

I love to use websites for inspiration for my writing, especially when I can’t seem to come up with anything I think is worth writing.  My favorite site is Thoughts From The Blue Notebook and today’s topic deals with frustration.  Which…I guess is a good topic for me because Frustration is a great friend of mine.

Back that one up, maybe not a great FRIEND but due to my physical issues, it is a constant companion.

Frustration comes to visit right along with the Darks.  I feel down and I get frustrated because it makes me feel inadequate, lazy and whiny.  I am afraid I am getting a reputation as a hypochondriac because I have so many things on my health plate.  I get myoclonic seizures which annoy the hell out of me.  Imagine having your reflexes tested non stop for minutes or even hours!  And there’s nothing I can do to stop it except take medication that I often run out of if I have a particularly bad month.

Frustration is there beside of me.

I want to take my son to the book store, have a mocha latte and read a magazine on home remodeling.  I can’t because I have seizures and my license has been gone since September.  I am optimistic though that I’ll get it back but Mr. Frustration mocks me now.  And the time drags.

I think time and Mr. Frustration are close, personal friends…or just in on this together.

I’m content and happy with my life but I have this part of me that longs for the
magical recreation of those happy moments in my life.  It’s like this part of me whom I call The Little Dreamer Girl wants to collect all the happy she can so we can just fall into it and roll around naked.  (Okay TMI, I know but that’s what it’s like).

And very often this quest to bring me baskets of happy blows up in her tear stained face because like a cat bringing home a dead rabbit, only to make it’s owner happy, other people don’t really understand what she’s all about.  Hell, I hardly understand all these parts of me.  How can I expect anyone else to get it.  And when they don’t get it, how can I even explain that it’s not ME doing this.  It’s Little Dreamer Girl and I really have a hard time stopping her from gathering those happy things and bringing them home.

Frustration holds her hand I think and I wish she’d quit going off with him.

Frustration digs deep into my soul, what little I have left, when old friends won’t talk to me anymore.  When people I thought would be there forever don’t want anything to do with me.  And especially when they stop by and say hi never to return. Frustration exacts his revenge and takes his pound of my flesh and blood, and mind, and runs, cackling into the darkness.

Frustration is a contant in my life.  Not MY constant (ala LOST) but constant enough that I am not surprised anymore when I feel his presence.  I just try to remind myself that Frustration comes and goes, although at his own whim.  I never know when he’ll show up or even when he’ll go.

He knows of my neshamale’s (Little Soul in Hebrew) deep connection to Israel and Jerusalem and he sits by the sidelines taunting me, enveloping me in sadness and homesickness, and making sure I know it will never be in my grasp again. He plays with my life like tinker toys.  Some days he let’s me be built up and other’s he pulls me apart.  His exaltation comes when there is absolutely nothing I can do, when I feel completely overwhelmed, powerless and empty.

But that’s how Frustration is.  And sadly, I have to learn, somehow, to live with him.  He will always be there and somehow I have to find a safe place and never let him win.