I’m sorry: An open letter to my loved ones

Dear family and friends,

First and foremost, I’m sorry.  I feel like I’ve let you down in many, many ways.  And there is nothing to say, except, “I’m sorry.”

I can honestly say that I don’t have a handle on what’s happening with me, lately.  At one point in the not-so-distant past, I was lively and energetic.  That girl is…. well, she’s gone now.  And I don’t know where she went.

I feel like I can never get enough sleep.  Never.  I’m exhausted.  During the week, I force myself to get out of bed and carry on with my day.  I get up at 5:30 am, drive to work, work all day (most of the time without a lunch break), drive home and finally take my shoes off at 6:00 pm-ish. I. Am. Exhausted.  I make dinner (which, admittedly, isn’t all that exciting these days), and I collapse on the couch, too exhausted to do anything else.  By the weekend, I lie around the house, unmotivated to do anything but sleep.

And then, there’s the pain.  I don’t know that you would ever understand, unless you have been where I am right now.  Miserable doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Imagine, if you can, the last time you were really sick.  Then, imagine the last time you were really sore.  Like… for me?  It’s like the time I had walking pneumonia, combined with feeling like I had just done a half-marathon.  I dread waking up, because moving in the morning is like trying to break out of an invisible cast.  I’m stiff.  It hurts.  And I don’t know if it’s just a morning thing, or if I’ll be suffering all day.  Once I get going, random things will bother me.  My hips will hurt.  Or my toes will burn.  Or my back will ache.  Or I’ll be itchy.  Or my legs will cramp.  Or I’ll have a headache.

Good God… the headaches.  They’re not to be underestimated.  It could be a dull, constant headache.  Or Satan can be gripping my brain with his red-hot, pokey fingers.  They can last a few hours, or for days.

I get tired of taking medications.  Side effects from them mean that I have to take other things to try to feel better.  For example, the Tramadol makes me itchy.  So I have to take Bendryl to alleviate the itchiness.  But Benedryl makes me sleepy.  So I have to take an energy pill.  The energy pill makes the pain worse (not sure why).  So I have to take Tramadol.  And so it begins, again.

……I carry guilt with me.  All the time.  I feel guilty because I am tired.  I feel guilty because I am lazy.  I feel guilty because I am crabby.  I feel guilty because I am distant.  I feel guilty because I’m weak.  I feel guilty because I’m losing the battle.

I don’t have the answer.  But it isn’t for lack of asking the question.  Please, don’t stop loving me.  Don’t leave.  Don’t close your ears and your heart.  I’m trying.

Maybe, someday, the girl that you used to know will come back.  Until then, just keep loving the girl that I am, now. Hug me.  Tell me that I’ll be okay.  Hold my hand.  Talk with me.  Let me vent.  Help me forgive myself.

With unparalleled love,

me

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Real resolutions… I think

Rather than go into a long diatribe about making resolutions and why that is good, I’d rather spend some time going through my resolutions for 2013, and processing them.  More because it’ll help me, than because you want to know.  But maybe you’ll find it interesting, as well.  Then it’s a win for everyone!

  1. Get control of the chronic pain and fibro flares I’ve been experiencing.  The way I’ll do this is through diet and activity changes.  I’ll need to cut way back on carbs (which sucks because I am a carb-a-holic).  I will also need to cut back on processed sugar.  In the end, I think I’ll be fine with these changes.  But getting started will take some pretty serious dedication.  The reality is that this has sucked the life out of my life, as of late.  And I want my life back.
  2. Write one chapter a month of my book.  I’ve got 2 chapters done, now.  But I’d rather make this a focus than let it languish away in the depths of “someday….”
  3. Get my house decorated so it’s more like the castle I want to come home to.  When we first moved in, there was a lot of things we were doing to make the house our home.  We stopped, because we were happy with it.  But now I’m ready to do more. 🙂
  4. Manage my finances better.  This one’s a biggie.  I am one of the very worst people I know with financial management.  I’ve been in a hole for a little while, in terms of finances.  Borrowing or paying back or overdrafting or…..gah!  It’s maddening.  So this year, I will take control.
  5. Read!  Read more.  I love reading.  Why am I not doing it as much?  The hubs got me a Kindle Fire for Christmas and, so far, I’ve used it more for Pinterest than for reading.  So that will change. (By the way, I’m @theflameinside if you’re pinning and want to follow me!)

That’s about it.  How about you guys?  Do you do the resolution thing?  Why, or why not?  And if you have made some, care to share?

Well… that only took…. 34 days

34 days later and things are…. different now.

Let’s start just after that post:

I loved my job but I didn’t love who I worked for.  Nice guy with some serious control issues.  I don’t do well in that environment.  I was making things happen and feeling pretty good about it, but it was never enough.  No matter what I did, it was never enough to make him happy.  So, I took control of the situation and began to look for a new job.  Found one that read “part-time” but ended up being full-time.  More on that later.

Still no Lyrica.  Pain = *way* worse.  I’m currently in the middle of a flare that is a rival to any of the others.  Over the weekend I was pretty much useless.  Which sucks.  I’ll elaborate on that later.

Depression is better and worse, depending on the day.  Overall, I’d say I’ve climbed out of the hole a little.  Which is great.  Somedays, though, it sucks me back down.   I just take it one day at a time… kinda like an alcoholic.  More on *that*…. you guessed it…….later.

Later…

New job.  It’s pretty awesome.  I’m making more money, have more leeway, and have a ton of professional respect for what I do.  Plus, I have my very own office, with a door and everything.  For those of you who have lived (or still do) in Cube-City, you can appreciate the magnitude of having your own space.  I am the Director of Marketing.  I am learning new things and utilizing my skills to make a positive impact, and that makes me a happy girl.

I was going to go back to the doctor in September, but didn’t.  Like a dummy, I figured that the pain would pass and I’d be okay.  Welp….it didn’t.  So the joke’s on me.  The flare I am experiencing is seriously some of the very worst I can imagine.  I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.  Thankfully, the hubs and the kiddo have been indispensable and have been taking very good care of me.  In the very worst times, I can see how lucky I am.

And….the depression.  I would say that right about when I wrote that last post I had hit rock bottom.  I sat on the floor of my bedroom with a bottle of Xanax and a bottle of booze and knew I could end it all.  Obviously… I didn’t.  But the thought was there and it was an overwhelming. I would say that Fear is a companion of Depression.  And you know why Depression can sell Fear so well?  Because Depression talks to you in your own voice.  It whispers all those awful things about your worst fears in a voice that sounds *just. like. you* which makes it easy to listen.  And it almost got me.  By God’s Grace, I was able to hold on and get through.  I’m trying, now, to rebuild myself.  It’s much more difficult than you’d think.

So where am I now?  Here……  I guess I’m here.  And that’s no place spectacular, but it is alive.  And that’s enough, for now.

I caution those who may be reading this and feeling the same empty weight that I was….. reach out and talk with someone.  Accept that you may need help.   Remember, Depression is a lying bastard.  And Fear is his evil companion.  Don’t let them in.  You can get through it.

I’ll get back to more interesting posts…  Lord knows we have enough darkness in the world.  I’m going to get back to shining my light.

Love you all.  Thank you for reading.  xoxo

Coming out of the dark

Ever have one of t hose days that never seems to end?  From the moment you wake up to the moment that you go to bed, it seems like an uphill climb in the very conditions.  The last two months have been one of those days.  It has been a struggle, constantly.  Every single day, I was fighting my instinct to hide in the closet, literally. 

I’ve been off the Lyrica for about 10 days, now.  And yes, I’m having more fibro pain.  Which sucks.  Nights and mornings are especially tough.  But, on the flip side, I’m sleeping better.  Making it through most nights now.  But what’s more, my mood is beginning to lift.  I’m not nearly as short-tempered or anxious or dark.  The darkness was threatening to consume me.  I’ve been through some rough patches, but this last bout with Depression just about did me in. 

But, I reminded myself that the sun will rise tomorrow.  And I persevered.  For my kid.  For my husband.  For my family and friends.  And sometimes, that’s all you have.  That’s okay.  In the event that you’re ever feeling the way I was, ready to end it all, remember that there is someone who depends on you.  Your child, a spouse, a friend…. I know that the reasonable thing to say is to “live for yourself”.  But when “you” don’t feel like enough, live for someone else.

Get out – force yourself to.  Focus on the little things, and I’m not talking about a butterfly or a cup of coffee…. well, I suppose I am.  But not in the way you think.  When you’re in the hole, and you can’t see your way out of it, focus on itty-bitty things.  The feel of the warmth from the coffee in your hand.  The crispness of the autumn breeze in the morning.  The feel of the socks on your feet.  I’m not saying be *grateful* for them.  I mean… it doesn’t hurt.  Instead, what I’m suggesting is that you just focus on the things outside of you.  When you are in the dark place, your own thoughts become very loud and very persuasive.  If you bypass your own internal dialogue, maybe you can work past the pain.

The veil is lifting.  It’s slow.  I have moments when I’m totally overwhelmed again.  And other moments when I’m feeling empowered.  It’s a steady movement.  I’m coming out of the dark.  I’ll get there.  Just gotta keep moving.

Brace yourself. This isn’t going to be pretty.

Suffice it to say that I’ve had one of the worst couple of weeks in the recent history of my life.

If you’re a new reader, you may or may not have read that I struggle with depression and Fibromyalgia.  It has been, at times, a daily battle that I have won and lost, depending on the day.  I am being medicated for both conditions, and in the last 14 days, I would say they both teamed up to beat me.

It started with the Lyrica.  I’ve been taking it for 4 months, now, and it had almost wiped out all the pain associated with the Fibro.  The only pain that it didn’t seem to help was the incredible burning pain in my hips.  Now, let me tell you about this pain: it was the worst constant pain I’ve ever felt in my life.  It was constant.  If I sat for too long, my hips hurt.  If I stood for too long, they hurt.  If I walked uphill, if I walked down stairs, if I lied in the same position in bed…. they hurt.  Everything.  I felt very old.  And very hopeless.

A friend of mine had cortisone shots in her hips a couple of years ago, and I thought I’d check it out to see if it worked for me.  The doctor said that sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  Pretty promising, huh?  But I figured, what the hell?  I couldn’t feel worse, so up on the table I went.  Two of the longest needles I’ve ever seen were used to inject the steroid and anesthetic combo that would, hopefully, give me relief.  The immediate relief was fantastic.  For two whole days I felt good (with the exception of the rather large swollen bruises on my thighs from the injection).  And then the pain came back and brought friends.  The aching went from my hips all the way down to my toes.  And for another two days, I suffered with that.  Then, like I light switch, all the pain was gone.  And I was elated.

Cue the depression.

Out of no where came a crushing weight of worthlessness.  I can’t put my finger on what exactly the problem is.  It is many things.  I feel useless.  I don’t feel like there is any one place in my life that is stable.  Everything feels like it’s holding on by just. a. thread.  Insomnia has reared its ugly head and now I’m not sleeping well.  Maybe…. 5-6 hours a night? That, of course, contributes to the depression, which contributes to the insomnia.  I’ve spent hours just staring at the wall, or a blank TV screen, or into darkness.  But more than that….it’s the feeling of total emptiness.  There are times that I have nothing left.  Just holding my head up feels like it takes all the energy I have.  Or holding the steering wheel.  Or breathing.

Does it sound as pathetic as it feels?  Wowsa.  I’m re-reading…. I really do sound pathetic.

To add insult to injury….. every fiber in my being is telling me that I am getting fired from my job this week.  It’s just a hunch.  I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but I can tell you that the energy is almost palpable.  We’ll see.  I guess I’ll know in a couple of days.

But how crappy is *that* feeling?  To not know?  It’s terrible.  And the worst part is that I haven’t heard “good job” in a loooong time.  I’ve been yelled at (yeah…. a grown, professional man yelling…. it’s awesome retarded).  Adults who work here (all of them!) have cried because of his behavior at some point in the last 6 months I’ve been here.  So yeah…. this place is toxic.  I get it.  I’ve been actively looking for someplace new for a couple of weeks.  But it would be nice to leave and start a new job, not leave, panic, have a nervous breakdown, find something, start working again, play catch up on bills…. I think I’m panicking right now.  *deep breath*

The hubs is convinced that the Lyrica is responsible for some of this.  The insomnia, the depression, the moodiness… all part of possible side effects.  So I’ve quit it, for now.  I’ll be going to the doctor to see what else is available, but for now it’s gone.

We’ll see.  That’s all I can say.  I’ll pick myself up, eventually.  But for now, life wins.  I’m staying down for a little while to recover.

Nope… it’s not awesome

**Disclaimer… not all posts will be all sad face like this.  I just felt like I should explain what was going on the Fibro thing before I went any further.  Like a first date… I want to throw it all on the table.  I promise, better stuff is coming 0 like gun buying adventures for the impending zombie apocalypse.  But today, I wanted to share where I am with the Fibro thing.

Invisible diseases are like silent letters in words.  No one really gets why they exist, but we all try to play by the rules.  Fibromyalgia is no different.  I’m young in my diagnosis.  Only a few months in.  I’m still trying to understand it.  I am still trying to get hold of the rhythm of it… the “why” of it.  Why was I fine yesterday, but today I feel like someone beat me with a log while I slept?  Why did it hurt to walk yesterday, when last week it didn’t hurt at all?  Why do my hips burn?  Why does it feel like razors against my skin when someone brushes my shoulder with their hand?  Why am I so tired?  Why don’t I know what tomorrow will be like?

*sigh*

For those who don’t know what Fibromyalgia is, see this link for an in-depth explanation.  Here is the quick explanation: Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that causes me (and other patients) to feel pain where there is no reason for it.  The pain can feel like it is radiating from joints.  It can be sharp, shooting pain.  Sometimes it feels like my skin is burning.  My legs ache, sometimes.  My back can feel like it is on fire.  Advil (or other NSAIDs) don’t help.  Pain, though, is just one part of it.  The exhaustion is unbelievable.  I can’t tell you how tired I am.  All the time.  Some days are better.  But most days feel like I am walking uphill in mud with heavy boots on.  Then, there’s the fog – “Fibro-Fog”… sort of feels like I took Sudafed and took a short nap in the middle of the day.  You know that feeling of foggy-grogginess when you wake up?  That’s how I feel, on some days. 

 

i'll be fine

The sun will rise tomorrow.

The worst part – there’s no explanation, rhyme or reason to it.  I can do the exact same thing, eat the exact same thing, sleep the same way, for the same amount of time… but the pain will change and shift every day.  It can be very frustrating.  Some days I feel like just hiding in the closet and crying.  Other days I want to scream and run and just get away from it.  And some days are fine.

It makes the depression worse.  And the depression and stress make the Fibro worse.  That really sucks!

I take Lyrica to help control it.  That helps.  I thought I was going to die before I started taking it – this makes it a little more manageable.  But it doesn’t make it go away.

The moral of the story is that it isn’t awesome.  It hurts, a lot.  The moral of the story is that you never know.  Someone who may look totally composed on the outside may be falling apart on the inside.  Someone who may be quiet and withdrawn might be suffering in silence.  Someone who is losing her mind might not be able to help it today. 

So be gentle.  We’re all fighting our own battles.  Sometimes, you just can’t see them.

Back in the saddle again

Welcome back to the inner workings of my little demented interesting mind.

Quite the bunch of changes have occurred for me in the last several months – so let’s just jump in, shall we?

Last year, I had a job that I hated.  Like… hated.  The company was owned by well-meaning people, but really had the managing capability of a bunch of empty cardboard boxes.  I was out of my element and very very very stressed out. 

Now, I’m in a much better place.  I’m the marketing director at a dental practice.  As my gracious friend, Guapo, predicted, the job offer came in February.  I was thrilled.  This job pays more, offers more (in terms of professional growth), and has given me the comfort and support I need.

To my surprise, however, my depression worsened.  I waved it off, at first, to the transition (newsflash – I don’t handle change well).  But after I was quite comfortable in my new position, I was still struggling.  Scary, alarming and unexpected struggling.  Like… I’ll-bet-I-can-throw-myself-from-this-bridge-and-end-it-now type of scary.  My struggles were noticeable by my close friends, as well as the hubs.  I found myself isolating – totally unnerved by people.  In fact, my anxiety of social situations has caused me some pretty awful experiences.  This is all new – the social anxiety, at least.  I love people!  My job has required it! And I never minded, until now.  I find that I avoid new people and new situations.  I’m so concerned that people won’t accept me.  Or that I will not be liked.  The BFF says that I need to not give the power of my self-esteem to other people.  ….that ain’t wrong.  But…nonetheless…. it’s where I’m at now.  It’s a slow steady movement to work through it.  Baby steps.  That’s what I say.

And just to make it interesting, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in May.  After months of pain, it got to the point where I couldn’t stand it any longer.  It’s been hard to walk, hard to move, hard to get out of bed in the morning, hard to function during the day.  It’s be a big ole shit sandwich.  I’m still new in the diagnosis, and finding myself feeling hopeless and useless.  I’m tired, all the time.  I just started taking Lyrica (after a somewhat upsetting “experiment” with Celebrex), and I’m seeing decent results.  I’m not waking up pain-free.  But it’s helped just a little.  Which, these days, feels like a lot.  Instead of feeling like I was beaten with a log while I slept, I just feel like I ran a marathon. It may not seem like a pleasant difference, but I assure you, it is.
The other part of this is that I struggle with how to explain it to other people. I mean, how do you say, “There’s no reason, there’s no cure, there’s not a lot of understanding.  Yes, I’ve tried Advil.  No it doesn’t work.  I know… I don’t look sick.  Trust me… I feel sick.”  Additionally, because this is just how things go, the meds situation has taken some getting used to.  I never wanted to ever be a girl who had to take meds every day (I never even liked the pill!), but this is where life has taken me….

….and so it goes.

It has been an exhilarating few months of highs and lows.  I’m getting by.  And glad to be back to writing.  It is truly a release for me, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the swing of blogging.