Friday, April 7, 2017

Breaking through

November 25...the last time I posted here. Here's some updating.

That illness in November was the start of a three month cough, resulting in chest and back pain. 

I saw three different doctors over that time.  The first agreed it was a flu and gave me codeine cough syrup.  The second said it was post-nasal drip and gave me nose spray.  The third said I had a throat infection and gave me antibiotics.  Then I gave up.

I lost my sponsored gym membership because I wasn't been able breathe without coughing.  No cardio, and weights hurt too much.  I also lost a lot of my singing voice and am still trying to work my lungs back up to taking full breaths.

On December 20, my doctor said I could not to take escitalopram it at the same time as codeine.  I tried to start taking it in the morning, which was not my routine.  After missing three days, I decided not to bother.  It wasn't helping anything anymore anyway.

The withdrawal was long and slow, but not too violent, since my "regular" dose was already the lowest dose one would taper to.  First I just wanted to sleep.  Then I had trouble falling asleep.  My mental and visual clarity slowly returned and I realized that taking escitalopram kept me in a fog, making me tired and pressing me down. On it, I was exhausted in the afternoon - enough to need to nap.  Off it, I wake up not groggy in the mornings.  I can see better and think better.  I don't need an afternoon nap anymore.

Life has not been easy this past while.  Our teenager is not out drinking, drugging and sexing, but he is refusing to go to school many days.  He is being disrespectful.  He is not doing projects...I'm pretty sure he hasn't handed in any school work this year. His passion is music, but he has started letting down friends and family by not fulfilling music commitments.  He loves marching band, yet when I told him he will have to pay half the registration for next year, he said he will not be doing marching band next year then.  He and I see a psych to try to work through all this.  I want him to know that he can seek help from people outside of our family if he is not comfortable speaking with us.  His last visit required his father carrying him to the van.  The psych did a 30 min session with him in our van.  This was visit 7 and the first time the psych didn't see a calm, put-together, intelligent boy with all the right answers (her words).  He didn't speak.  I don't think it's working.  I'm dreading visit 8, but have found comfort in a parenting teens group that I set up on Facebook.  I'm so thankful for friends in the same age and stage as me. 

Our home has still not recovered from not moving.  Stuff is still piled and is still too much.  Space is not enough. Angry teenagers (and preteens looking to rile them up) are everywhere.  The basement is now a bedroom, rendering it unusable gathering or escape space.  My home "office" is our desktop computer on our dining room table, so we can't even eat together without being on top of one another.  School breaks are incredibly unproductive times for me.  While we have made GREAT strides in paying down debt in the hope that we can list our house way too low and sell it that way, by the time we are able to get out of here, we will have to replace the bathroom, and all of the bedroom doors.  Which means we won't be able to afford to leave.  Stuck in this mud.

Work has been busy.  First year-end and T4 season for me, and now tax season for hubby.  I'm in the middle of a job transition.  Slowly transitioning from one to the other.  My days are way too full now, but one job seems like a job and the other doesn't, so hopefully things slow down before that changes.

We gave up our flyer route.  I couldn't handle the stress anymore.  It wasn't fun for the ONE child who stuck with it to the end to do it all on his own.  He was sad to lose the money, but glad to get back the time. The "boss" said we were amazing and anytime we want a job with him, he will gladly hire us back.  I've heard that at most (all?) jobs I've left, which is good, I guess, but a reminder that I have been searching, wandering, for so very long, and along the lines of "it's not you, it's me", my theme seems to be it is me, and it's me.

Since November, I have gained 10 lbs.  Two days ago, I bought some pants with pockets so I can carry my phone with me at new job.  Size 12.  I remember one year not too long ago searching high and low for a size ZERO that was small enough to fit me.  This weight gain depresses me.  It feels like not so long ago that I was healthy, strong, confident, content.  I wish almost constantly that I could go back.

I've been noticing lately that anything I ever say always comes back to haunt me in some way.  I've told people that to be joyful is a choice, and have learned that it's not.  I've said, if you want to exercise, you MAKE TIME to exercise.  Time is not always available to be made to do as we please.  In response to people saying, "I don't know HOW you all live in this tiny house," I've said, "It works great - there are enough rooms for each of us to go into one if we need to be apart."  It's now been proven to me that that is no longer accurate.    What I am learning is to just keep my mouth shut, and I do that a lot now.  I don't socialize at church coffee time, I don't seek out other parents at school events, I don't try to set up girls nights, despite my desperate need for a break from everything.  When the kids were small, we taught them that patience is to "sit quietly".  I'm trying my best to focus on patience.

For the past week or so, I have been plagued with nighttime anxiety.  I am absolutely panic-free until the second I lay my head on my pillow, and then my heart starts POUNDING, and my blood pressure shoots up. I can't lay down fully, and I can't take a whole breath without forcing it.  On Saturday night, I started having heartburn, which is extremely rare for me, and a loss of appetite.  Before I went on escitalopram, my digestive system would cycle through this weird state of hungry and feeling great all the way to the other extreme of no appetite, and the only thing I could consume was water, because it seemed that my digestive system completely shut down.  We are talking, anything I ate seemed to sit in my stomach and not move beyond there.  This week, I was taken right back to that time. I've noticed, since the onset of my panic attacks, that before I even know an illness is coming, my body will switch into panic attack mode.  This time around, Sunday was the worst bit of it; I was on worship team for church, ill, tired from my sleepless night, and a touch nervous to introduce a new song.  It all combined to make me nearly break down on stage, which is probably up there with my other worst nightmares.  I never want to cry in front of anyone, especially not in front of a room full of people looking at me.  I was thankful for the reclining chairs that day; during the sermon, I was able to lean back and take some pressure off my belly, which was telling me very strongly that I should be home in bed. So, all this panic and weirdness this week, with me trying to choose between going back into the fog of escitalopram or suffering through and hoping to find a non-prescription answer...and hubby starts complaining of symptoms similar to what I was experiencing.  And then teen starts complaining of the same. And I realize that I just need to listen to my body...panic means illness is on the way; be kind to yourself.  Ativan rescued me one night, and an herbal supplement another night.  Last night I was able to go to bed and fall asleep with only my hot pack as a comfort.  BUT, I also stayed up way too late last night working, which just might be the key.

This has been a very long update.  Finishing off with 10 highlights...

Having our pup has changed our lives in great ways.  I'm so thankful for him.

My parents bought us a new fridge for our anniversary.  This is the first time in 10 years that we've been able to keep veggies in our refrigerator for more than one day without them freezing!  I've started eating a lot more Greek salads.

Teen auditioned and was accepted into a performing arts program for high school.  This is a situation surrounded in prayer.

My new job is on a casual day-to-day basis, and I was able to secure a posting where I will go to the same school for an entire month.  And they welcomed me with open arms and are all so amazing there.  The whole thing is kind of a miracle to me.

Our income tax return allowed us to pay off a large chunk of our Line of Credit.

Hubby is currently on track to be done school by October, after a long 8 years of difficult coursework.

My mom traveled here and stayed with us for a few weeks during T4 season.  She caught up and kept up all of our laundry and dishes, which is one of the best gifts anyone could give me.  It was great to have an extended amount of time together.

We've set up a weekly family meeting that starts off with a game, ends with everyone picking chores and making the meal plan, and is filled with family business in the middle.  I believe it is changing our family.  Everyone is pitching in around the house, and I haven't cooked dinner (other than assisting) since we started!  I'm really liking the way it's going.

Family paint nite - I set up the first one and now everyone is excited to do another!

Spring has allowed me to wear a light coat all week long!!  :D

Until next time...

Friday, November 25, 2016


I'm failing.

I'm failing at it all.

Feeling so so very low tonight. 

Everything is a mess.

Two boys were home with influenza all this week.

My girl is fighting it now.  We are currently missing a concert after bailing on my commitment to drive some youth (including my own) to our church youth group's annual video game tournament.  I had to back us out of a luncheon with the newest member of our family that is taking place tomorrow.  A sweet baby boy, only a few days old, and his amazing mama and the rest of their clan.

I think my body is fighting the germs hard...I slather myself with Vicks every night and listen to binaural beats for full body regeneration as I fall asleep at night.  I pray for healing.  I stay on top of my Tylenol Cold and Flu meds and push through to get stuff done.  I try to take naps if I can.

But the truth's not working.

Some things are getting done, but none of it is the stuff that is important to ME.  None of it is self-care.  It is the stuff that is important to everyone else, and tonight I feel like I just have hit the bottom.  Day two of my period, which I sigh and refer to as hemorrhaging day.  It exhausts me so much to lose so much blood.  I can't get to the gym the week of my period because I get sick from pushing my body when it is so exhausted (not that I've been able to make it to the gym at all this month...).  You know, I have gotten two ultrasound requisitions to get this checked out; the first one about 1.5 years ago and the other more recently.  I still haven't gone.  The main reason:  ultrasounds cannot be booked online.  And also, other people always need my time and attention; I can't commit it to an appointment.

My home is a trash heap; junk everywhere.  I work on one place all the while stressing that I am not working on something else and turn around and there is still more.  There is not enough space for the stuff we need to live.  There is never an end to a job; never satisfaction of a clean area. Never peaceful rest.

My children are far far behind in their school assignments.  Some days they don't want to get up and go to school.  And I just don't have the energy to fight with them anymore.  Luckily their test and exam marks do not reflect their lack of discipline to get it all done.  I don't have the energy to fight with them about anything.  Not school, not homework, not video games, not bedtime, not eating, not brushing their teeth, not showering.  I remind them every day to clear their dishes from the table, which sometimes they do, but my hubby never does, and he actually is annoyed when I remind him, so I bother with that less and less too.

Our finances are a mess.  This pay period I had to transfer money from our line of credit to our chequing account THREE times.  And payday is still five days away.  And we're about to have house guests and tons of in and out of town travel.  And one boy needs dress pants that don't exist and the other two need jeans (I think) and we need groceries and it's Christmas.  And I'm not working a lot because there is so much else going on and our house is falling apart and our family needs me and I'm getting phone calls, emails, notes asking me to volunteer for stuff more than once per week.  My work needs me too; everything is an emergency in the payroll industry.  It is draining.  For awhile, I'd feel a jolt of panic everytime my phone buzzed that an email came in.  I'm not working enough. 

I'm not doing enough for anyone.

Friends have been helping with stuff in little ways here and there and while I appreciate it so so much, the truth is, I don't feel worthy of their assistance.  I feel like I should have this.  I should have all of this.  I should be helping THEM.  And I should be making it look like it's all a breeze for me.  And I can't right now.  And I can't see a time in the future that I'll be able to repay the favours either.  So, when help comes, I feel worse; more burdened.

Everything is such a mess.

So messy that even though I have doubled my Cipralex dose, I am sitting here actually crying as I type this.  With real tears.  I'm not gonna lie, it's been awhile since I've been able to cry.

I've always had all the answers. 

And now I don't.  The future of every part of my life looks dark and hard and like every step will require me to break through a brick wall just to be able to take the next step.

And I know that as I struggle and search, people are becoming impatient and frustrated with me.

And the thing is, I don't care.

And that makes me sad because I want to care.  I used to love all the people so much...

And now, I just can't.

Writing this all out has lifted it from my heart, and now I'm going to sit with my girl and watch a movie while I fold the laundry and think about nothing else.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Well, my body has reached the end of its tolerance for bad diet and little exercise. I have slacked for too long on consuming my all-important supplements of probiotics and fiber. 

On Friday, on the way to my connection group potluck dinner, my body fell into the start of a panic attack.  The nausea kept me from eating much of anything, and the headache showed up later that evening.

The headache and nausea continued through all of Saturday, all of Sunday, and was so bad Monday that I tried to stay in bed. On Tuesday I forced myself to move around and go about my regular schedule. By Wednesday I was able to eat again without rushing to the bathroom after every bite.  The headache had cleared on Monday night, after I forced myself to eat no matter the consequences.

Now it is Thursday. The panic intensified on Tuesday night and last night, and today I had a small rush of chilling anxiety as my bowel filled and I had the urge to go.

I recognize this pattern. This is how it all started. My panic would convince me that I was too nauseous to eat anything. Then the headache would come in because I was starving myself. In the past I would resort to drinking only water during this time. However, I have learned that starving myself and drinking only water is not the right answer. It's not the right way to treat my body. It's not a healthy choice mentally or physically.  I know that I need to push myself through the entire process.

But it's hard. 

The battle between what I know and what I feel must always end in a casualty. Someone has to lose. And when my mind is already overwhelmed with everything else our family of six does in one week my mind loses.  My body loses.

This is the story of my anxiety in a nutshell.  And this week has been me forcing two small meals a day, cutting out pop and cutting back on slurpees, going to bed early, and falling asleep with headphones pumping guided meditations into my brain.  I'm taking probiotics and a multivitamin and fish oil and vitamin D.  I'm using my happy light and blankets and my hot pack and electric blankets and drinking tea.

And my husband is doing everything he can so I have less.  I can't express the appreciation I have for him this week. How blessed are we that this panic hits while he is between courses so all I need to focus on is work, cooking dinner, and taking care of myself!

I'm riding this one out and praying that it is finished soon.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Thursday is always the busiest day.

I've always had a soft spot for Thursday.  I sometimes wonder if it is because I was born on a Thursday, or if it is because my favourite things have always happened on Thursdays.  

The first thing that pops to my mind is orchestra rehearsal.  And then choir.  In my teen years, I did music on Thursday evenings, and it was always so wonderful to be able to immerse myself in music.  To socialize without having to talk.  To be with people and not feel the stress of having to select just the right embarrassment-free words.

Through my parenting years, Thursdays have always been school performances and council meetings, and now, marching band for my teen.  I think that he has found his own Thursday love.  And it is because of music.  And that makes me tear up a little, because my heart can relate.

Thursday also holds that great feeling of anticipation.  Friday is soon.  The weekend is soon.  There is a sense of relief in that for me.  Even though our weekends these days (these years) are full and not relaxing in the least, the general consensus of people is that weekends are great, and something to look forward to.  I can feel that, even in not sharing the same eagerness to wrap myself in all the weekend has to offer.

Perhaps the relief comes in the fact that even though I don't get a break, the kids do, and overall, that means less work for me.  Because shuffling extra people about is some of the hardest work a mom has to do.  Now that my kids are old enough to be without constant supervision, there is freedom for me to rush around on my own, completing tasks and errands in half the time it used to take.

But, I digress.  Thursday is here.  Happy, cozy, hopeful, relieving Thursday.  Cake for dessert and then a council meeting and marching band to follow.  Comfort.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Birthday Post

Well, today is my birthday.  38.

Do I feel 38?  I don't know.  Maybe.  The number looks foreign to me, so maybe not.

This morning I slept in until 8:00.  My teen came to my bed to wake me up with a cuddle and the smell of bacon cooking called me downstairs.

My family greeted me with hugs and smiles, like every morning, and I sat down at the table to eat the most delicious eggs and bacon on a cheese croissant that I have ever eaten.  I was gifted a beautiful paper boasting that I was the best mom ever, with reasons written all over it.  There were more gifts - candy for my sweet tooth and beef jerky for my carnivorous side.  And the declaration of approval for something more, to arrive when the time is right.

The kids who were well headed off to school, and the one who needed to stay in bed, did.

Before he went to work, hubby and I had a long chat session as he folded laundry and I sat, doing nothing but listening.  Our weekly catchup sesh, distraction free.

I took a long, hot shower.  I didn't rush it, and I kept turning up the hot.  And then I took a long time doing my makeup.  My hair is beyond help, but we have a system worked out.  I spray leave-in conditioning protectant on it, and it does what it wants.  Win-win, really; it works right into the "whatever" attitude I'm trying to adopt.

Work happened next, and I managed to get an hour in before I was whisked away for a yummy pho lunch with my mother-in-law and my littlest cutie nephew, who has always reserved a special look just for me.  No words, just a little eyebrow crinkle and intense eye contact.  I managed to get a few high-fives (well, high-ones...)  from him and almost a smile, so I think he might be softening.

For dessert, I had a gummy spider from my gift candies.  Sweetest spider I have ever eaten.

I went out into the cold for a drive to the bank (to take out $20), the slurpee store (to break the $20), and to meet up with a friend who was selling me supplies to feed my addiction.  My stamping addiction.  I blasted the heat in my van until it was burning my hands, but my feet would not warm up.  Note to self:  October is sock weather.

Back home again to fit more work in before the kids would arrive home.  On the table next to me, my phone buzzed non-stop with happy wishes and kind greetings from my friends and family.  I am so thankful to have the most thoughtful and kind people with me on this life journey, inspiring me, challenging me, supporting me.  I didn't get a lot more work done.

I watched some TV with the kids, and when they switched to video games, I headed to facebook, to messenger, and to my texts to thank everyone for the happy birthdays.  I know facebook prompts the happy birthdays, and each one is precious to me.  Adult birthdays are just not the same as kid birthdays; just another day like all the rest, really, with all the same responsibilities.  It's nice to have people taking time out of their day for a little note of love.  I think I need to focus on doing this small act more in my own life; I've not done it for awhile now.

My hubby brought home Wendy's burgers for dinner, and I realized that in one day, I had eaten all the animals.  Chicken and pig for breakfast, chicken for lunch, and cow for dinner, with a little more pig.  I think that the meat I ate on this day is more meat than I have eaten over the entire last month combined.

After dinner, I went to drive my boys to the Y for their activities, and as I was waiting to turn left out of our alley, a guy threw himself up against the passenger sliding door of my van, and then walked along the rest of the block flipping me the bird.  I was in shock for a second, thought about chasing him down the my van...but then settled on driving slowly along beside him blowing him kisses, because that was less likely to get me jail time.  He walked with his middle finger up on one hand, and the other hand covering his eyes.  Even as he crossed a side road.  Crazy.  I think he was afraid I was going to take his picture.  Guilty, much?

The rest of the evening was low-key.  I hung out with my new stamp set, made a couple of cards, drank Coke and drank water, and facebooked a bit while my hubby did laundry (best gift ever!) and baked my birthday cake (we'll eat it tomorrow).  I am heading to bed earlier than normal because I am exhausted and nauseous.

38 so far...lots of meat, cold, love, and an early bedtime.  I'm feeling older already.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Today I

Did a MuscleWorks class
Did a Step class
Drank a Slurpee
Sat in a sunbeam
Ate pizza
Hung out with my stepdad who has worked hard on our van for a month so we can be safe
Ate cake
Played mini golf with a friend 
Had dinner (that my husband stepped in and cooked when plans changed) with my brother and kids and stepdad and hubby
Learned about my van's transmission 
Went school supply shopping
Drank two cans of Coke
Drank four cups of water
Took my pill
Watched a movie with popcorn and candy
Am sitting under my warm electric blanket
Am about to meditate

Friday, September 2, 2016


I just Googled "how to remove a curse".  For real.

I'm out of ideas to make any of this better.

One thing after another this year.

I'm realizing that not only am I bad at decision making, but I also consistently make the wrong choice when I finally get there, and I'm letting people down.  People's lives who touch mine are affected.  It is both intriguing and nauseating to watch it play out.

As a leader of my family, how can this be remedied?  Obviously, as tempting as it is, I can't just do nothing forever.

I can see how people who have no one relying on them can get lost in the depths.

I know my Christian friends are thinking that I need to trust God more.  Maybe I do.  But I am looking at the brokenness around me and seeing pain and heartache and hard times and a world of not enough.  Not enough money, not enough health, not enough relationships, not enough patience, not enough love.  It is blackness.  And it is thick.  And God's light is not illuminating the blackness.  And I don't see him anywhere.

And maybe I don't want to.