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Archive for the ‘hope’ Category

i haven’t been on line for a very long time. being able to pay attention and put even a few words together, focusing on a topic has been out of my reach for a while. i finished taking the klonopin and all of my meds april 25, ’08. it hasn’t been long. but the withdrawal, rebound…what was going on…not a good time.

but, knock on wood, i think things are getting a dab better. i do have some pretty “normal” days that all my senses are intact, my mind seems to be working well but i guess the best feeling is just not feeling “me”…my body or mind. no, i’m not saying i’m numbed out. it was just the constant bombardment of symptoms, side effects, psychological stuff…i was just too aware of me. it’s nice to walk around and be able to see, smell, hear, pay attention to other things that are going on. withdrawal began to feel like the worst prison i could imagine…trapped in my own, very sick and going crazy body!

i like feeling like i’m in touch with the world around me. usually i say that and hear that from others when they’re recovering from alcoholism and addictions! been down that block. this was worse…way worse. but i can cry and sometimes laugh…i do some creative things and have really gotten into cleaning out and organizing my sinfully messy home…i had lost all emotions but had anger, depression and severe anxiety. those bad ones are still with me, but they are much more quiet. i did decide to take some very low doses of two meds that are pretty weak in the spectrum of psych meds, but i’m sure they’re still not great for me. i just needed a break and those tiny doses of neurontin and wellbutrin have given me a holding place i think. i think i’ll rest here for a few months and then regroup and reassess.

so…i’ve been running a support group for fibromyalgia for all these months that i’ve been absent. i will also start yoga teacher training in september. let’s hope i can maintain…i think i can if i just believe.

after all…faith is all i really have. i have to believe.

peace!

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i’m holding my own at .62mg klonopin…i’m not bad today but my mind is a little muzzy today so my writing might be muzzy too…but i’ve made a commitment to try to write something positive every day, so…ok…so…spirituality…this is one of those topics that can be “iffy” to broach. i’ll come clean and let you know where i’m coming from but there’s more so please don’t stop with that part. it is not my aim to convert you, convince you…

maybe it’s me that needs some convincing today.

i just want to share something that’s important to me and well maybe it’s important to you, so take what you want and leave the rest. insert your own words in places if that makes it more comfortable for you. i believe in spirituality and not religiosity.

i never believed in god or anything like that. go to church? no way. i was convinced i would burn if i walked into such a place. when i was in 5th grade my life was so sad, scary and hopeless that, after a horribly painful experience at my church (that could only be topped by the finale of the movie “carrie”), i walked into the kiddies’ chapel, knelt at the alter and told god i was firing him. yup….i fired god. i was about 11 at the time and went through my life fighting with my entire family over celebrating christmas and everything religious. i was an adamant atheist until i was about 34. yeah, i spent time studying budhism, being a white whitch, satinism, tarot, taking in anything that the new age movement had to offer and chasing a healthy lifestyle with several pitchers of beer, maybe cocaine and cigarettes every night!

i value and use everything i learned over the years and incorporate it into my spiritual life still. but here’s where i found myself in the mid-’90s. my drinking had become so bad and i was so angry all the time at everything. i blew the whistle on some illegal activities at the university and eventually found myself in something too big for me and just way over my head. but i was in it. i had to deal with it and hold in there during the investigation (1 yr).  it got fricken ugly! i had a best friend of several years by then with whom i discussed everything but i didn’t know anything about their spirituality etc. in all those years they never mentioned it. one day they told me about a church that they went to and how cool the pastor was. i thought “what ever, anything is worth a try right now”. i went and in short…i found god. i met some really great people and found “community” which is something a drunk and mentally ill person like me would always shy away from.  but i made a decision in that time to quit drinking. what ever was going on was helping. they even helped me find the psychologist and psychiatrist that got me on a decent path. i eventually was introduced, by the same friend, to alcoholics anonymous…i started attending a few meetings, but i was slow to catch on…this was another group thing and i hate groups (still do). but i warmed up to that bunch of crazy drunks! (they’re my family now) my life really did make some tremendous changes in those years. i got happy, really happy…like giddy. “my whole outlook and attitude on life changed…” (the promises from AA) now my church was just a methodist church…nothing radical except in how they cared and loved me. so i had a great package i was working with and it changed me.

they got me through the first year of the investigation at the university and in the end the guy who was the subject of the investigation, was found guilty. my life had been a living hell and once it was over, i had a psychotic break. but, with the help of the people at my church and AA i crawled back to hold on to my job for another year. a brief aside: i was the first woman to hold that position at the university. everyone before me, men, had only stayed an average of 18 months and i made it to four years. at the end of the fourth year, one day in particular, i sat up and decided it wasn’t worth my sanity to struggle so hard to exist in that environment. i packed up some boxes and walked out…no plans, no savings and no job to go to. a farm that went into foreclosure and i just lost my mind. i had been trying so hard to hold it together for my job that when i left that environment a spring just sprung! but something held on to me. now you can interpret that any way that suits you…for me, i say that “god was doing for me what i could not do for myself”.

i decided i needed to find what ever my next move was going to be. funny, i decided to go to seminary. my pastor took me infront of the board of methodist leaders in our community and they said they would back my decision to go to seminary. with their blessing i moved forward, enrolled in a marvelous  weslyan seminary(that was very conservative but an awesome school) in kentucky and began preordination. but after a short time i found i didn’t want to move from my farm to complete my studies there. i decided that if the university would accept me into their graduate counseling program, i would stay and do that instead…that’s what i did. i also came to feel that with the population i worked with…a secular counselor my be able to reach more people.

in time a distance developed between me an my church. i stopped believing in going to church and well that’s another long story that i’m passionate about. i don’t believe in organized religion but i’m still very much a christian. i don’t believe going to church defines you as a christian…how you live your life does. how you life your life is evidence of what ever beliefs you have. it’s in the doing. anyways…here i am, over 11 years later and i’m still involved in AA and i’m still a jesus freak…but i won’t have anything to do with organized religion. i love to draw upon budhism and native america beliefs and others. i love sharing and hearing other’s stories of how their spirituality works in their life.

i believe that we are all working towards a common goal…the brand of a person’s spirituality does not matter…only that i hopepeople have some plan for life….some set of principles that they live by and hopefully a belief in something outside of themselves. but, where ever a person is on the very broad spectrum of beliefs is awesome….i can meet a person where ever they are at and i don’t feel strongly that anyone has to have the same belief set that i have, for us to work well together. this is all very personal and individual and i do not “make” a person based on their beliefs, but rather how they live their lives and treat others.  i have certainly had the opportunity to make many observations of the various paths people choose…but anything i’ve observed, again, i keep to myself. i should not judge. i just want for people to find a happiness like i found…how they do it…each person has their own path to follow.

 again, so, in discussing spirituality, i have a very open mind as i hope you will have too. i may use certain words or phrases that aren’t what you would choose…just insert yours in place of mine. i’m not going to say that you have to find christ to be saved….or any of that…that is not how my faith works. when i write or speak…if god’s not your gig…just replace my word with yours.

yesterday i found a note card (i wrote on note cards and stuck them up around my house all the time in the early years). on this card was something that gave me a nudge. it is from a christian source but if you’re not of that faith, i hope you can still hear a good msg. in it.

“but doubt is as crucial to faith as darkness is to light. with out one the other has no context and is meaningless. faith is, by definition, uncertainty. it is full of doubt, steeped in risk. it is about matters not of the known but of the unknown.”                                                                                   — carter haywood, “a priest forever”

now, i would always love to hear other’s phrases, sayings, meditations…it all enriches my life. not just my brand of faith but everyone i know, their brands too have carried me through the roughest times. i can not count on myself at times, i can not count on my family, community, neighbors, government, doctors…all the time. and in those times when everything is just not available to me i have to have something to hold on to or i’d fall down. i have been far from perfect, but faith does not require perfection from us.

spirituality is kind of an abstract thing, so to bring it to a more concrete place where you don’t have to take that leap there are a few simple exercises that work ’bout as well as prayer and meditation. and if you don’t have or don’t want a higher power this is a good place to start…these things have helped many people. they help me. and i have a sponsee who’s doing one of these exercises as i write….she just called and after putting off doing this for over a year, she’s really finding benefit and taking the power out of some overwhelming thoughts and memories.

i kind of like the idea….for me…that when i sleep at night i can say “here are my problems of the day…i turn them over to you so that while i sleep you can work on them and me.” it seems when i can stop pushing and wrestling with ife and others…go with the flow in a way…when i can take many of my concerns and place them somewhere else, (because i can’t do anything about most of them anyways) it lightens my load so that i can deal with just exactly what’s in front of me at this time. when i work through things one at i time i can manage. but if i have all of my worries and concerns running around in my head i just get over burdened and overwhelmed. i get what we call “analysis paralysis”, i stay stuck. fatigue, anxiety, depression, anger can overwhelm me. when i’m feeling “stuck”…well i’m usually trying to manage more than i can. so…

i find list making as a good tool to throw in about here. so if you’re not into a “higher power” and all, you can achieve a similar relief by taking all of your concerns for the moment and putting them out of your head and onto a piece of paper…maybe make a checklist…but then just pick one at a time and work your way through. some of them will take care of themselves as you’re working on the one in front of you…really, i’ve seen that happen often,  i have some friends that make a box they may place atop their fridge…they and their family members….if they have an overwhelming fear or concern…write it down and put it in the box. at the end of a given amount of time…usually a year…they go back through that box and read over all they wrote and see what’s become of their worries. but that time, when they read what they’ve written…most of it went by the by and mostly nothing ever came of their worries! by simply writing them down it took it out of their mind and put it somewhere else…similar to making a list. it takes some of the power from that concern…it lets you take action on something that is likely out of your control anyways and gives you, even if small, a sense of accomplishment or control. now these are concrete activities that, spiritual or not, begin to illustrate the power of “turning it over”. you can give your concerns, worries and even “prayers” to a box a list and, if you choose, your higher power.

in AA our first encounter with this exercise is in our 4th step inventory, but we continue to take daily inventories and do what we must to keep our side of the street clean and turn things over. but you needn’t be in AA to use these exercises….they can help anyone dealing with any kind of issue…even just plain old “normal” daily life.

so, maybe try making a “worry box” or a list of sorts…don’t check them twice…at least not right away. maybe share what you’ve written with someone you trust and see if it doesn’t take the wind out of the sails of your worries and concerns.

when you go to bed tonight, do something to put all your crazy-making thoughts elsewhere while you sleep. don’t worry, they’ll probably be there tomorrow, but if they’re not….cool! in their place, fill your mind with a great thing to focus on like a sunny beach or open field…i have a big rock in a pond surrounded by wonderful smelling pines up in the ansel adams wilderness that i go to. the pains and worries of today are not allowed to come with.

take care.

peace out!

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detoxing off these meds makes it more of a challenge for me to hold on to my serenity. i’m not as agitated as i was a few weeks ago but…got a few good blows to my finances and other things this morning and now i’m kinda pissy. well, i also got extremely boggy and tired part way through the day yesterday which gave way to my eating the last of my candy stash! as soon as i caught myself i threw out any other junk food that might have been around. that stuff is poison for me and will ruin me into the next day. it’s bad…up there with drinking. well, getting agitated is kind of my default mood too.

so…deep belly breaths here…and now i’m going to try to focus on writing something positive for today! i’m hanging steady at .62mg of klonopin. my pain is actually not bad right now. i don’t know if i can attribute that to the lyrica or the fact that i have way fewer drugs circulating in my system. but, i guess i can be grateful for just having a bit less pain today.

now, my focus (focus, focus, focus now), is going to be….ummmm…lets do something about daily meditations or affirmations! sounds good.

my sponsor has told me to do this and i think it’s a great idea: keep a book of daily affirmations or meditations right next to your bed so when you get up in the morning, before you even get out of bed, you do your reading for the day. it kind of sets a tone or theme for the day  before anything has a chance to derail you. (i even like using them at bedtime to help me sleep.) yes, this is just another “nothing new but good to remember” thing. with so many things whirling about us, this is one more thing we can do that is good for us and no matter what…we can do it and it will help. yeah, there are plenty of days that we are just going to feel bad/awful, but using mindfulness we may be able to make a part of ourself feel ok if not, hopefully pretty darn good or….great!

one thing…when things start to get bad, having a list of these little things you can do…..meditate, eat a good meal, walk, laugh, call a friend…taped to your refrigerator or bathroom mirror can help you see if there’s something you haven’t done today that you might give a try.

just remember that you are very brave and driven as it is, if you are detoxing off of meds, drugs, alcohol etc. it takes quite a hardy soul to take on that battle. it’s jumping off into the unknown with out a safety net most of us have relied upon for decades! that’s amazing and awesome. so, even if this is going to really mess with our bodies and minds for awhile while we’re getting healthy we need to “keep our eyes on the prize” and find little nice things that, no matter how we feel, we can do for ourselves. we need to sustain our emotional (and spiritual) well being. we need to keep that little place in us, which is driving us…we need to keep it fueled. so to feed our motivation (and if it’s like mine today…it’s very hungry). today i have some sites that can help you find some positive words and concepts to focus on. and if you start heading off in an uncomfortable direction today, you can use these words or concepts to try to pull yourself back to a better place. no, i’m not all “skippy-just do-it’s easy”…it can take a lot of strenth to pull it off…but you have it!

here’s a link to a section in the “about.com” site: http://quotations.about.com/cs/inspirationquotes/a/OvercomingAd1.htm there are many pages covering about any topic you can think of.

perhaps a subscription to a daily might be helpful…

at beliefnet http://www.beliefnet.com/newsletter/step1.aspx 

they have chicken soup for the soul and:

Inspiration
 
Bible Reading
A daily measure of God’s Word – Daily
Saint of the Day
Keep up to date on today’s Saint – Daily
Prayer of the Day
Inspiring prayers from around the world – Daily
Angel Wisdom
Let angels be your guide – Daily
Jewish Wisdom
Wisdom from ancient sages to modern thinkers – Daily
Buddhist Wisdom
Food for thought from the great Buddhist masters – Daily
Hindu Wisdom
Find more meaning with the Vedas, the Gita and more – Daily
Muslim Wisdom
Thought-provoking Qur’anic quotes and more – Daily

and if you want a real book, go on over to amazon…there are hundreds out there…used, for a few bucks. find something to suite your needs. since i’m in AA i really like “a woman’s spirit” and “each day a new beginning” from hazelden meditations. after a decade of good but not perfect use mine is dog eared.

for a start…amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b/103-6736159-8733422?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=daily+meditations&x=13&y=13

 keep up the good work!

peace out!

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by now you may know my story….i’m down to apx. .62 of klonopin, (i am on 300mg of lyrica) and am managing my bipolar, alcoholism, fibromyalgia, pain and withdrawal symptoms best as i can. it’s difficult, and work, but i have my secret weapon!

ok this may not seem medically sound (but it is, very). i’m not promoting or selling anything here. you don’t need any special prescription or expensive supplements. there is no diet to follow and you needn’t exert yourself in moving from your sofa or bed! it’s free! i’ve mentioned it before but…..it’s….laughing!

now,  if you’ve been in a lot of physical discomfort and flattened or tied in knots for weeks you must just want to say “yeah, right”…and i totally get that.  but, when we are in pain, our minds clouded and confused and tired beyond description not to mention hosting a grab bag of symptoms, our mind just can’t possibly go towards smiling let alone laughing. or can it?  there is nothing funny about detox…or can there be? i’ve written about my symptoms and believe me…i’ve definitely been way laid by a slew of withdrawal side effects, depression, bipolar, and fibromyalgia too. i’ve curled up on my sofa, not answering the phone and not even able to focus on what was on tv. i’ve been as angry as a cat with a clothespin on its tail.  no…i was in no mood to laugh.

 well, in-spite of that statement, most days i did manage to pull out at least a smile or happy word or slight laugh thanks to AA,  my friends, and my dogs. many days i look at my dogs and think….they didn’t ask for me to be sitting here so distraught that all i do is let them out, feed them and then stress them out by crying or being in pain. yes it does upset my dogs (and my friends) when i’m in pain. if not for me, for their sake, i have to muster some moments of happiness, some how, because they need me to! and, i need it too.

the times when i can laugh, even if i’m being sarcastic about how i’m feeling or my situation…heck my friends need to hear me lighten up because they’re used to someone who, most of the time, behaves as if she hasn’t a care in the world (far from it)…i need that too. it’s not a facade…that’s how i am…a bit of a pollyanna. i know, go and gag. but the weight of the world, even with out detox, could be unbearable if i didn’t have this little….something, i don’t know what…just this little thing that drives me to laugh, i would have given in to despair years ago. laughter has brought me through so many situations….i’d be lost with out having it in my life. and i just plain love the high! and it’s a high that won’t make me have to pick up another 24 hour chip!

 these days the world is so heavy with gas prices, inflation, elections, horrible shootings, war…god i’m going to stop because i could fill a page or ten and i know you all could add another ten to mine. these are some challenging days that, unfortunately, are here to stay for a good (or not so good) while!

so, we have some decisions to make, and this is a decision

i always refer to victor frankl and his writings about his time in concentration camp. when i think about him, i have to kick myself in the butt and say “even this, that i’m going through, is not worth giving in to total despair”. now the world, detox and victor frankl are nothing to laugh about.

but can they inspire one to try to raise up and try to laugh? hell yes!

laughter is free and laughter is contagious. it does no harm but in fact does a world of good and has many health benefits. it increases our heart rate and exercises our lungs. it engages certain muscles and best of all, releases those happy hormones that can give the best and healthiest high! not to mention, fight pain!

so why do we shy away from something that has no bad side effects and promotes good physical and mental health and makes us feel so darn good? i don’t know…i believe we all want to feel good. isn’t that why we are detoxing off meds, getting sober, and perhaps taking some meds? isn’t that why some of us drank…to feel better? no, being free of meds and sober wouldn’t be of much value if it just left us feeling horrible. that defeats the point of it all, right?

yes, i love laughing and i try to make others laugh when i’m working with them to deal with their life’s issues. laughter may not make a problem go away, but it takes some of the power of that problem away…it can kind of give us a sense of being in control…

 you don’t believe me….read this excerpt and then check out some of the links:

from the MAYO CLINIC:

“The benefits of a belly laugh

Laughter’s benefits on your health are no joke. A sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but data are mounting about the things that laughter can do.

Short-term benefits
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body, beginning with your face. Laughter can:

  • Stimulate your organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension and tummy aches. Laughter can also ease digestion and stimulate circulation, which helps reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Long-term effects
Laughter isn’t only good for a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long haul. Laughter may:

  • Improve your immune system.Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can impact your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses. In fact, in one study, people with cancer who watched a humorous video showed less stress and an increase in a particular cell activity that’s beneficial in fighting diseases such as HIV and cancer.
  • Relieve pain. Research increasingly shows that laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make difficult situations a little bit easier. One study of nurses who work in emergency rooms found that nurses who use humor in dealing with their patients and co-workers experience greater job satisfaction and feelings of personal accomplishment than do those who remain dour during their shifts.”

again, that is from the mayo clinic, and check out their site for more information “how to learn to laugh”. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-relief/SR00034

now try some of these or google phrases like “laughter is the best medicine”, the benefits of laughter” etc. you won’t believe what you’ll find. maybe you find that long lost smile and dash that sense of hopelessness. what do you have to loose? feeling miserable? ditch it and find something silly!:

from the MDA site: http://www.mda.org/publications/Quest/q34laughter.html

a silly list of funny dittys: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Woods/7822/laff.html

laughter is the best medicine: http://www.newfrontier.com/1/beyoo795.htm

these were some good points on laughter: http://www.laughtercoach.com/home_whylaugh.html

here’s my search page on laughter: http://www.ask.com/web?q=Researching+Laughter+the+Best+Medicine&qsrc=6&o=0&l=dir

make a decision, a commitment today, to do this one good thing for yourself and those who love you…even if you think the only one who loves you right now is your cat…your cat needs you to laugh.

peace out!

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from the new york times:

i want to post this again, on it’s own because this suit is also relevant to those wanting to be free of the psych meds they take. it’s a tender and grey area, but i kind of feel the articles like this discredit our plight to remove these poisons from our body and, i’m convinced they are poisons. i’ll concede that at times some may be a  neccessary evil…but read for the outcome!

i will keep william bigley in my prayers.

one out take:

“But the documents being discussed in Room 403 offered plenty of evidence that Mr. Bigley, whatever his delusions, has good reason to dislike the medicines.”

One Drug, Two Faces

Joshua Borough for The New York Times

John F. Brenner, left, Nina M. Gussack and George A. Lehner of the law firm Pepper Hamilton, represent Eli Lilly in the Zyprexa trial in Alaska.

Published: March 25, 2008
ANCHORAGE — Two courtrooms, two floors of the Nesbett Courthouse, two views of Zyprexa.

Skip to next paragraph

Alex Berenson/The New York Times

William Bigley has taken Zyprexa and similar medicines, called antipsychotics.

In Courtroom 403, lawyers read corporate memorandums to a jury that must decide a lawsuit brought by the state of Alaska, which claims that the drug maker Eli Lilly hid the dangers of Zyprexa, Lilly’s best-selling schizophrenia medicine.

At the same time, in Courtroom 301, William Bigley had his own opinions on Zyprexa, and all the other drugs he has taken since 1980 to battle demons that only he can see. On this day, March 14, a state court judge would decide whether Mr. Bigley should be held for 30 days in a psychiatric hospital.

Mr. Bigley, 55, told the judge that the drugs were “poison” and that he did not need them. “I’m fine,” he said. His words were sadly undercut by his regular pronouncements that he knows President Bush, owns a private jet and has seen flying saucers. Of all the facts at issue in the two courtrooms, one is beyond debate. Mr. Bigley is not fine.

Even so, Mr. Bigley’s hearing — which had an unexpected outcome — offered a textbook illustration of the agonizing choices faced by mentally ill patients as they consider taking Zyprexa and similar medicines, called antipsychotics.

By calming the hallucinations and delusions that plague people with schizophrenia, drugs like Zyprexa allow many patients to live outside psychiatric institutions.

But the documents being discussed in Room 403 offered plenty of evidence that Mr. Bigley, whatever his delusions, has good reason to dislike the medicines.

All antipsychotics have side effects, and Zyprexa’s are among the worst, according to the American Diabetes Association and independent scientists. In many patients, Zyprexa causes severe weight gain that can lead to diabetes, as well as sharply higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Those are all risk factors for heart disease, the leading killer in the United States.

read more:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/business/25zyprexa.html?ex=1364184000&en=436fce2bbfbf41d1&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

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