Music saves

I grew up in a butcher shop; a real butcher shop that my paternal grandparents owned and my father worked at. I remember the back room so vividly where all the processing was done. Most of all I remember the laughter listening big band music like Glenn Miller and diving head first into my grandfather wanting to dance on his feet. We swayed and laughed and had an amazing time. I remember the basement of the shop being the scariest thing I had ever seen, but it was the only place where the restroom was. It was so dark down there.

I remember my maternal grandmother’s love for the big band music that she eventually died to listening in hospice. I remember the time that I went to a wedding and her and I took the dance floor for a spin. My music levels have always been diverse though because of my daddy.

We lived in a house when I was young that he and my maternal grandfather built, and funny enough my husband and myself almost bought. My father had this giant music player that was equipped with a record player for the vinyl, an eight-track, cassette player, and an AM/FM radio. We would listen to Red Red Wine while I stood on his feet and danced (it’s the one thing that helps me forget).

I remember living in California with my ex-husband and going to my best friend’s house to hang out. We would listen to Marley over and over, Stir it up in particular, while we just danced around the house and cleaned. That was what military wives did, we stayed at home and cleaned.

I remember being introduced to Sabbath, Zeppelin, Janis, Jimmy, Jim, Marley, and all of the greats. I mean the greats of the time. Then I was introduced to different types of music. Scream metal, death metal, electro, and some of the newest forms of music that I am not sure even have a name. One of my favorites is “pray” by Terror Jr. My sister sent it to me saying me it reminded her of me. You see, when people ask you to listen to music, they want you to listen to the lyrics. “Deep in the shadows, that’s where I live, I can be your daddy, preach for daddy, pray for the pussy, whip me like a caddy”. How funny, but it makes sense…”A long way from God, but we can still pray here”.

I am going through a withdrawal of Xanax right now, the worst symptom being the insomnia and this constant ringing in the center of my head. I could not sleep so I came downstairs to listen to music and now I am in a better mood. Is that not the way that it typically works if you find the right kind of music you identify with?

I think that is the place where I began to understand that music soothes you in a way that nothing else can. When you are having a horrible day or night what do you turn to in order to amplify the mood that you’re currently in? I mean, I know that I have PTSD and some memories are burned into me. I would rather remember the beautiful times that I had with music than the ones that remind me of the terrible things. Sometimes the horrible lyrics can remind me of a situation but I never let that stop me.

You’re having a bad day? Get in your car, or room, and blast your music. It is called distraction when you are having a particularly hard time. Case in point: my oldest son was having horrible anxiety after my grandmother passed away. He was screaming and posturing, he could not stop crying. I threw him in the car, let him sit in the front seat, and blared his favorite rap songs. Bass turned all the way up. I must admit that this had two reasons…I was afraid I would need to take him to the hospital if I could not get him to calm down…we listened to Blackbear on repeat and drove around until 12:00 a.m. He calmed down and fell asleep in the car.

Play some music and lighten your load.

Thank you as always to Jenn Bovee.

Light up the Darkness,

TheLotus

In times of trouble

If only I had the emotional capacity to forget things and people. I have met people that are able to shutdown their emotions for another like a light switch. I will never be able to understand that thought or the emotional distance that someone like that must have. However, I am grateful that I do not understand that switch at the same time. If I do not understand it, then there is no way that I am the person that they are.

If you read my blog on a regular basis you are aware that I am polyamorous with my husband. Poly means many loves; they combined Greek and Latin to come up with the word which is a trifle icky to many people that study language. The wording is changing over time, but it all means the same. Poly could not be further from cheating than anything. Everyone in the relationship has say in the action of the group.

The last relationship I had lasted for six-years with a man. I remember sitting there and wondering if it was the right decision to be with him because before then it had always been women. I remember distinctly the first time we decided to be a couple. We were sitting in the basement watching Paranormal Witness on SyFy and he was nervously trying to touch me. He was putting his fingers closer and closer to my feet. I told him it was okay if he touched me and he stroked my cheek telling me how soft my skin was. I looked into his beautiful blue eyes and said “but what if I fall in love?”. He said nothing and leaned in to kiss me.

That was how it began, a simple sweet kiss and a worry. Many fights, him cheating on me, so many lies to me, so many changes…I thought it would keep us stronger in our relationship. He was there when I received the diagnosis of my son’s Autism Spectrum Disorder, he was there for counseling to make our relationship better, and he was there when I would have panic attacks or flashbacks.

I was on a medication called Abilify, and it makes you not understand impulse control. We had decided to be just friends so he could find his “white picket fence family” but he was still going to be there for my family. Both my children called him dad and I believed that we would be in each other’s lives forever. I went to his house on a morning after a night of him drinking and had sex with him. A few days later I started to bleed and that is not supposed to happen due to IUD. I contacted my doctor to see if this was normal and they said it could be but take a pregnancy test. As it turns out I was pregnant. It turns out you can get results a lot sooner than you would think. I suffered a miscarriage as is most common with an IUD pregnancy. I handled it by myself, in a pool of blood. I went to my OBGYN to ensure everything was okay with my strings. While she was down there making the adjustments, the rest of the baby came out.

bloodpregnancy test

I found out he was lying again, and I asked him what more he wanted from me. He told me to fuck off. Okay, ouch. Then I heard he was lying and said that I did not have a miscarriage and was saying horrible things about me. I was so upset that he would say such things. We loved each other once, and saying those lies was gut wrenching. What was even more destressing being when my son with autism needed him. He did not answer. I do not understand how someone could be so calloused to a child. Me, yes, I do understand it, but to someone that called him daddy that has autism…I will never understand.

I am trying to understand it. Maybe it is because he was not the biological father. Maybe it was because I was so incredibly blunt with my last conversation. Maybe it was a combination of everything. Maybe we were just toxic. Either way, it is just something that I cannot wrap my head around.

I’m glad I don’t understand it.

Thanks as always to Jenn Bovee for always being there for me.

Light up the Darkness,

TheLotus

SAD

I am always so tired during the winter months and there seems to be little remedy for it. My depression peaks at this time of the year, as it does with several others. Seasonal Affected Disorder. Four to six percent of people may have winter depression or ten to 20 percent have mild Seasonal Affected Disorder (“Seasonal Affected Disorder”, 2000).

What I am trying to get at is that you are not alone if you feeling this depression. You may be tired, gaining weight, feeling alone, feeling overly sexual, feeling no sexual want, wanting sweet or even salty food. It is a constant struggle for me to continue to get out of the house and continue.

I do have tricks up my sleeve though that may be able to help you! I know that sunlamps may be expensive, but I can tell you that it is all worth it. Even just fifteen minutes a day can help you wake up in the morning. The feeling to want to rely on caffeine is undoubtedly a thought for many people during this time but it can also make the problem worse (at least it does for me). I notice if I intake too much caffeine through coffee that I become tired and sluggish. Slowly fading away into a nap for reasons unknown to me; until I started doing some research on a brain chemical called adenosine. This chemical and the transmitters is the reason behind being sleepy. Coffee makes you urinate, and when you urinate your blood thickens; when your blood thickens, there is a little less oxygen in your brain to help it to keep functioning (Scott, 2016). Doctors at the Mayo Clinic suggest to only consume 2-4 cups of caffeinated drinks. This includes soda, and to limit your sugar intake.

How does one take care of their oxygen levels though? Water, exercise, and mindfulness. The more cardiovascular exercise you can do the better. Although yoga is an amazing attribute to add to your daily journey, perhaps adding in a vinyasa yoga practice would help to raise the blood levels to your brain. Exercise frees the blood to flow more energetically to the brain.

Look, I know it is hard. Believe me, I know how hard it is to get motivated when you’re already in a slump, but if you start to make a routine you would be amazed at what you can do. Do not make it a resolution either, make it a lifestyle. I know that in the past years I have found that my SAD has grown to progressively rising levels, but I also notice the more I do (the more active I am in my lifestyle) the better I end up feeling towards the end of the day.

Today I had three cups of coffee and crashed hard and had very little water to follow it up with. My dietary needs were also not met. I am a vegan and need to ensure that my protein levels are high, but I did not do that today. Instead I fell asleep and woke up feeling like shit. So, tomorrow I intend on following my daily routine over again.

Thanks as always to Jenn Bovee.

Light up the Darkness,

TheLotus

References:

Scott. (2016, April 16). Why does coffee make me sleepy?. Driftaway Coffee. Retrieved from https://driftaway.coffee/coffee-make-sleepy/

Seasonal Affected Disorder. (2000, March 1). American Family Physician. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0301/p1531.html

Death comes to all

I need an escape from my mind a lot. It seems like there is too much in there. I am a lot of things: fat, attached to control, a deviant, a witch, a sinner, and many other atrocious mental aspects. I share my sins with others because it is my only escape. On top of all this, I have two wonderful children. I do not know how I have managed so well.

Death has visited my family’s doorstep far too many times in the past few months. I was grateful to see my first grandmother pass, to be near her when she lost her last breath of this time. I am grateful to know that somewhere or somehow, she knew that she was surrounded by children and grandchildren that loved her very much.

I had called my other grandparents to tell them I had received 100% on both essays for ethical communication and ethical business matters for international trade. Grandpa was so happy, he has a laugh that is contagious. I heard him say “Well, what about that…” then laughing and telling grandma all about it before he hung up. I never told him it was a conversation he and I had in his kitchen that convinced me to return back to college. You see, he was in the Air Force and went to school for engineering. When he got a career, it was with G.E. he was a supervisor. I asked him why a college degree meant anything to a hiring supervisor. He said to me “it shows that a person is dedicated to complete a four-year degree,”. I did not think I could do it, I was not a great student in high school. Now I am a 4.00 GPA student in industrial/organizational psychology. My grandfather is many things for me: strength, political combat, a learning of controversial debate.

I have only seen my grandpa show affection twice in my thirty-one-years of life towards my grandma, but I always knew the love was there through the small actions he would take. It was a different time and generation for them when they were young, and one can assume that it carried over into their life. He called my grandmother chief. He begged her for a blind date until she finally broke down and went out with him. I suppose the rest is history. A cool drink of water walking in the door to rescue her.

My grandmother’s story of childhood is not a good one, but it is not mine to post publicly. Let us just say it was not a good life for her in her childhood and teenage years. She always kissed me on the mouth, she always smelled the same, she was always ready to share gossip while grandpa took the kids downstairs to play. She fell two-years ago in the bathroom and knocked her head on the side of the tub causing a large clot in her brain. My grandpa did not wait for an ambulance, his stubborn ass picked her up put her in the car and drove her to the hospital. She had surgery on it and we were there (my husband and I) before she went back to have her skull opened to relieve pressure. She cried, and my husband took her hand in his and said it was going to be okay.

Grandma recovered but they moved into assisted living together. In sixty-years of marriage, they have never been apart. One day, my grandpa had a routine check-up with his doctor. Another healthy as a horse check-up for grandpa. They returned to their apartment but grandma could not get out of the car. She suffered massive stroke to her left side. I left work to be there and was surprised to see no one was in her room but her and I. Just like at the house we had alone time. She was foaming at the mouth due to the mucus and saliva build up in her throat. I held her hand and said “I love you” and she said “I love you too,”. I am not sure if she spoke again after that, no one has said she did. She fell into a vegetative state after that. Her breathing became labored and the family had to make a choice: quality or quantity of life. They choice quality as I would have. She laid in hospice for several days, no fluids, no foods. I held and kissed her hands (the front and palms) and told her it would all be over soon.

Grandpa held his composure until someone asked how long they had been together. Here, this rock of a man, crumbled into a sobbing mess. I could not stand it. It was harder to see him cry than the imminent death. I guess grandpa could not stand it either, Saturday he had a heart attack followed by a stroke that left him with aphasia. Grandma died on Sunday. He is trying his damnedest to join her…it is quite romantic. However, I grieve for him and my grandma. I was just recovering from my first grandma’s demise, and then the next grandma, and no my grandpa is ready to go with her. After all, they have not been separated for sixty years.

Thank you as always to Jenn Bovee

Light up the Darkness,

TheLotus

I’m fine, the most often used lie.

So, what’s happening? What’s going on? Are you okay?

I have heard these questions for a while now, and I am getting more accustomed to them. I wish there was an easy answer to give to everyone. Trauma and my post-traumatic stress disorder make it difficult for me to cognitively put everything into place where it needs to go on a time line. I will attempt to address it.

I had been fainting, and honestly believed I was dying there a couple months back. My doctors finally hooked me up to a month-long heart monitor (portable EKG, or “event monitor”). Essentially, I was wearing two long cords that attached to a device that tracked my heart’s every move.

We all know that my grammy passed away. I was there for her death, but the shit that gets me is that I wanted to go see her and didn’t. I didn’t because I did not want her to see the heart monitor and become upset or disturbed. Looking back at it now, she probably wouldn’t have cared. My oldest wanted to get her Calvin and Hobbs comic book for her, and couldn’t wait to present it to her. Well, the heart monitor came off, and I couldn’t get that visit. You know the one, the infamous “one last time,”. I never got it, but you better be damn sure that Calvin and Hobbs comic book is buried with her. It was hard to see the once matriarch of a family dead, her mouth open and resting on the pillow. The nurses kept checking her vitals and damn it I kept expecting them to say ‘OH! We have a heartbeat!’, that never came. The woman I love so dear is gone, and I will carry that pain and the visage of her face in death with me.

As it turns out the heart monitor did find a weird defect or whatever called inappropriate sinus tachycardia. Apparently, my heart was beating rapidly (over 100 BPM) and having an arrhythmia even while sleeping. It is genetic and needs to be treated with a beta blocker. So, my first impression was great another medication to be on.

This all happened when I was on the medication of Abilify, which did not go so well. I had no impulse control, and went outside of my boundaries and slept with my ex-boyfriend. Funny how the universe works sometimes, but it turns out my strings or the mirena was a bit dislodged. So, lucky me, I became pregnant. Although I was frightened, I told my ex-boyfriend what was happening. He said he was scared too but would be there for me no matter what. Okay, good, because that is what he needed to do. I told him that while I was in the first trimester that neither of us should be dating so I did not become stressed out. He said he agreed. I tried everything to become pregnant last year, but the stars were not aligning. Jokes on me, almost every conceived child on a mirena will end in miscarriage as it turns out. The baby, or zygote, or fetus, came pouring out of me in a gush of blood. I bled for a long time. I had not had a period since I had the birth control placed so it was interesting. I told my ex-boyfriend and this person told me it was relief because he wanted to start dating and finding his white picket fence. I found out he had been lying all seven years of our relationship. I am forced to see one of lies every day at work. Every time I see that lie (a person) I relive the moment the child was expelled from my body and how relieved he was. I went through the pain myself.

So, heart condition, grandma dying, miscarriage, and being told to fuck off by a person whom I had carried and a lost a child to…I can handle this right? I’m fucking wonder woman of mental illness, and do not let it define me.

Back to the beta blockers. Due to the beta blockers I am able to come off the benzodiazepines one milligram at a time. This is wonderful news for me. I hate taking medicine, and knocking it down to maybe two well that sounds amazing. Then it happened.

I became increasingly tired, and could not get up out of bed. The doctors decided to do a two milligram drop of my Xanax this time (I had been on 8 mg for over a year). Biggest mistake I have ever made. The physical pain that you go through is rough, but that’s just puking and shakes and not feeling good. You know it won’t last though so you just keep pushing on and putting up the good fight. The symptoms fade after two weeks. Ha.

I was still increasingly tired when they removed me from the two milligrams of Xanax, and my depression has become extreme. Extreme enough for me to hate myself. All the wrong things I have done, even if it was a deserving reaction. Everything about myself I have started to hate. I cannot go on living like this. Off to the psychiatrist we went. She was confounded because when you lower a medicine the anxiety increases and you are more awake. Well, not with me. It caused something physiologically to happen with my PTSD. Everything that I have just stated above and more started roaming my head day in and day out…still is. I do not want it to be there, but there it lingers.

They had to put me back on the two milligrams to get me back up to six milligrams a day of Xanax to have a baseline of what is happening. Yay, more medicine…more medicine cocktail. Then they plan to remove me slowly, half a milligram at a time. They wanted me to go to a hospital that specializes in trauma and ptsd. Well, the program is thirty to forty-five days long. Guess who has two kids, and animals to look after? Me. I do not have time for that.

That is what is going on, that is what is wrong. I am trapped in my own head. Filled with shame and the what ifs. I am there, in the dark. After I realized that there was nothing but the dark, I was able to say fuck it. I’m going to go to work physically tomorrow (I have been working from home) and suffer through it. That’s what I do, suffer in silence, fake a smile, say I’m fine, just wishing someone could see me drowning in my life water.

Off to sleep for me.

Light up the Darkness.

TheLotus