In 2010, I started doing Crossfit style workouts, as a lot of you know. I loved it. I could take a regular Crossfit workout, you know the ones that have names to them, and adjust it and make it mine. I could change regular push-ups to knee push-ups. I could change box jumps to box step ups. Whatever worked for me and my body at that moment. I loved it. I religiously did it for a couple years, every day after work, rarely missing a day. One of our firefighters would give me a workout a day. And if he forgot, another one would help me make up my own. And then I started having foot problems. My right foot would feel like it was catching on fire and it was horribly painful to walk on. It would also, sometimes, cramp up so badly my toes would become like hammer toes. THAT was the worst.
I finally went to a foot doctor in December of 2011. He told me I had something called “Morton’s Neuroma.” It’s a growth on one of the nerves between the toes. Holy shit does it hurt! We tried six months of injections. The first four injections were cortisone. The last two were an alcohol solution to “kill” the neuroma. None of those worked and after the last injection of alcohol solution, I decided no one would ever (EVER) put a needle towards my foot again, unless it was for surgery. The last two injections discolored the top of my foot and changed the way my foot looks. To this day, the top of my foot is discolored and the skin looks thinner.
They also almost made me get close to passing out from the pain of it and it never once took away the pain from the neuroma. During the series of injections, I tried to continue working out with my Crossfit style workouts. I was healthier and happier than I ever had been in my 40 some years. Some days I could do my workouts and some days my foot hurt so badly, it took all I had to not just burst into tears. How did I know the pain was cry worthy? During the few years I did Crossfit, my pain levels went up. It took a lot to make me hurt physically. So when it was close to making me cry, I knew it was hurting.
We scheduled surgery for the end of June in 2012. I had the surgery and he told me it would be several months before I could do any type of high impact activities. This meant no running, no box jumps, etc. After my foot healed up a bit, I started out slowly going back to working out every day after work. Some days, I could do it and some days I couldn’t. Even just doing deadlifts where you have to plant your heel into the floor, my foot would hurt and sometimes cramp up. It was heartbreaking.
A few months after I realized I couldn’t really do much, I got depressed. During the years I did Crossfit, I didn’t need to take an anti-depressant. My doctor and I had weened me off of them after I started doing the regular workout routine. Here I was a few months later, back on something for my depression and anxiety. I tried to keep going to the gym regularly, but I was half-assing it. I knew I was, but I wanted to present the appearance of at least trying. I was back to having anxiety attacks and feeling very despondent. I ended up canceling my membership at The Ville, citing “financial issues.” Which in part, was true, but was not 100% true. Most of it was the fact I felt horrible about myself and I just lost my motivation. I lost my motivation to feel healthy and feel better about myself.
So, to soothe my hurt feelings over not being able to do my full workouts anymore, I would eat. I would eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and I didn’t care. I knew most of the food I was putting in my mouth was bad for me. I just didn’t care. I started to gain weight, a lot of weight (60 pounds to be exact), which added to the depression and anxiety. And then I really didn’t care. I stopped paying a few creditors, I kept eating shit, I sunk into a funk that I was in for at least a year and a half before something snapped. My dad was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, which didn’t help the depression. He later passed away with me 5 feet away on the couch in his living room. I spent a month helping my stepmom take care of him and as painful as it was, I am ever so grateful for that month. I got to know him through the eyes of his wife and his friends. He had changed. He was a different person than the dad I knew way back when. It was an amazing experience for me, as difficult as it was to get through.
September and October of 2016 changed me. Eventually, I realized it was for the better, but during those two months, I was scared and even more anxious and depressed. At the beginning of September, I noticed my ankles were swelling. I mean, really swelling. It was horrible. And I noticed it hurt to walk and that my heart rate would go insane whenever I got up to do something. It didn’t matter if it was to just go to the bathroom, my heart rate would skyrocket.
My blood pressure spiked up to 148/98. This was the highest that I know it got, however, I didn’t have it taken all that often, so it could have been much higher at some point. I don’t remember what my heart rate was that day, but I know it was higher than 100. This was on Monday, September 14 around 8am. Later that day, I went to my doctor and explained everything I was feeling and about my blood pressure. She immediately put me on a water pill for the swelling and blood pressure. She couldn’t put me on a beta blocker because I have asthma, so we could just hope the water pill worked. She also referred me to a cardiologist for follow up. My doctor felt that my anxiety levels were through the roof (she wasn’t wrong), so she changed my anxiety medication as well.
Three days later, I was having chest pains at work so I had a coworker take me to the ER. They did an EKG (2nd in a week) and it was fine. They took blood and it was fine. They did a chest x-ray and it was fine. I sat in that ER for 7-8 hours and had a lot of time to think about shit in my life. The ER sent me home with no medications, no fluids, nothing. Nothing was wrong with me. I am currently fighting with their billing department because the doctor and the billers put down that I was treated for nicotine addiction. That is a story for another day.
After getting home that day, after a firefighter picked me up from the ER and took me back to my car, I sat down and I meditated. I thought, I processed, I analyzed. My slip down this depressed slope started when I couldn’t do my full Crossfit workouts anymore, yes, all those years ago (at least 4). It continued due to financial stress and the physical stress of working two jobs and going to school.
I started to let my new meds work. The water pill helped my ankle bloating and I got a home blood pressure thing so I could monitor it myself as well. I went to the cardiologist and they found nothing. They gave me an EKG, it showed nothing. They sent me for a nuclear stress test, it showed nothing. I still owe about $1500 on that one, and yes, I have insurance. The new anxiety/depression meds started to work and I started to see the fog lifting.
October of 2016, I resigned from my second job and immediately felt a sense of relief after giving my resignation notice. Almost immediately, I noticed a difference. I was sleeping better, I was feeling better, and my thought processes were better. I started thinking about what I wanted to happen and my main goal is to feel healthier and get back to some sort of working out. I have a row machine here at home, which I’ve used off and on, but not regularly. So I need to get consistent with that. I’ve also become very consistent in taking my medications at the same time (or within an hour) every day. I was in a spot in my life where I would half-ass taking my meds, just like I would half-ass a lot of other things. Taking them every single day around the same time has made a huge difference in how I’m feeling.
During this process, I was invited to a good friend’s house for a “Health and Wellness” class type thing. I jumped at the chance to go learn something new about how to improve my health and wellness. I figured I would just be listening and taking notes, learning things about nutrition and ways to make my home less toxic for me and my furbabies. I am still a bit skeptical about some of it, but I’m improving little things each day and I haven’t felt this good in a very long time.
I signed up for an online shopping club, with the intent to try a few products here and there with the hopes of improving my health. Three months later, I’ve changed all of my cleaning products over to their products. There are no toxic chemicals in them. Specifically, no ammonia or bleach, which I really like. I did have to get used to it at first, because it doesn’t smell like PineSol up in here when I clean now. So, ya know, I had to let go of that old thinking. “If it doesn’t smell like bleach or PineSol, it’s not clean!!!!”
I’m slowly changing my eating habits and I’m using an appetite control protein powder and make a shake every morning. I’m counting calories, I’m tracking my water intake and I’ve gone to eating 5 to 6 meals a day instead of 3 meals a day. I’ve pretty much stopped drinking Dr. Pepper regularly. I’ll have one every few days, but usually just one (compared to drinking 2 or 3 of the 20 ounce bottles a day). I’ve started taking a supplement for menopause, which has just been miraculous for me. I’m sleeping better, I’m feeling better, and I’m having fewer hot flashes and no night sweats after the first week of being on it. I’m also taking a multi vitamin pack that has a multi-vitamin, an omega-3, some probiotics, and an antioxidant. My energy levels have gone through the roof and I’ve started to slowly lose weight. And my bragging moment? I’ve lost almost 5 pounds since the beginning of December. A little slower than some, but it’s at my pace and I’m taking my time learning new habits and what not.
With all of this being said, if you made it this far in the post, I love you and am grateful you are here. I’m working towards a better me, so that I can be a better person, a better friend, a better employee, a better woman.
Until next time….
After coming home on April 4th from spending 3.5 weeks helping my stepmom with my father’s end of life care, my house was burglarized on the 7th. They got in through one of the windows of the garage and then into the house. Thankfully, they didn’t hurt my dogs from what I can see. They did, however, feed them raw bacon to keep them distracted. They took some electronics, costume jewelry, and Yankees memorabilia. All replaceable.
I would be lying if I said I was okay. I put on this public perception that I’m okay and I’m pushing through and I’m fighting it. That’s my public persona. In private, I’m a mess. I am afraid of every little sound. I’m sleeping with lights on and a bat next to my bed. I’m obsessively checking the locks on the doors and windows.
This quote is something I keep telling myself. I am unstoppable. I got this. I can do this. But in all honesty, I’m afraid to be here alone anymore. I am on edge and jump at every little sound. I need to get back into both jobs this week and I’m not looking forward to it. It worries me. I’m anxious. I’m not sleeping well. I’m not eating well.
I’ve rearranged the house where they ransacked it. Just by looking at it, you wouldn’t be able to tell that anyone was in here and that anything is missing. I’m looking forward to getting a new laptop (about another week) so I can do my regular and main stress relief – play World of Warcraft. No one understands the release it gives me (well, maybe another gamer would) and how relaxing it really is for me.
Until next time….I will keep moving forward and I will keep breathing and I think it’s stupid that we have to “remember to breathe” when going through anxiety attacks.
When Josie turned 13 years old (about 2.5 years ago), I started calling her my “Old Lady.” She was the longest “relationship” I’ve ever had. She was the love of my life, my soul mate, my companion and my ride or die bitch.
In June of 2000, I saw her for the first time when she was just days old and I named her. I named her after the cartoon Josie and the Pussycats, if you’re wondering. In August of 2000, when she was 7 weeks old, I brought her home. She was so tiny, she fit in the palm of my hand. Over the years, she grew quite a bit, but never went over 8.5 pounds.
Here she is as a very young Josie. Looking over the edge of my bed, trying to figure out if she would make it or not!
She was such a precious girl.
She was loving and cuddly for the first few years of her life. As she grew older, she didn’t like to be held unless she was in the mood. She didn’t like to cuddle as much unless she didn’t feel well.
In October of 2000, I had surgery on my left hand. I was laying on my bed, propped up against the wall, watching TV and playing “tug” with her with my right hand. At one point, she jumped and landed on my left hand. I moved my left arm so fast, it flung her off the bed and across the floor. I just about died. I was in tears until I knew she was okay.
One of her favorite things to do was to jump up on my lap while I was on the phone or in a conversation and since I wasn’t paying attention to her, she would put one of her paws on my mouth to try to shut me up. She would do this to very few people, but my best friend Tobe was given this treatment when I lived with her and her sons.
In May of 2015, she had a stroke. At that time, we discovered she had a slipped disc in her back, which was causing a lot of her clumsiness. She was also in the beginning of kidney failure and dementia. She had high blood pressure, a heart murmur and was deaf. In May, the vet told me it would just be a matter of time and that my Josie would let me now when she was ready to go.
Yesterday, when I got home from work, I discovered Josie had lost control of her bowels and bladder. She was experiencing very labored breathing and was whimpering in between each breath. After I cleaned things up as best I could (including her butt that was caked with poop), I wrapped her in a pee pad and a towel and snuggled her. I knew it was time.
I was devastated and heart broken. As I cuddled her, I took this photo because I wanted that reminder of how I knew. She let me know through the way she was looking at me that she was done. She needed to rest.
I called my mom in a panic and we agreed it was time. I then took her to Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital over in Louisville.
They put us in a “comfort room” and came in to talk to me (between my sobs I learned the vet’s name was Ruth). Ruth let me know that they would do it in this room and I could hold her as long as I needed before they did it and after.
The tech took my Josie to put in an IV port and then brought her back to me, still wrapped up in the pad and towel. I held my girl and sobbed and told her I loved her and that I would be okay. She could rest now. I thanked her for being the best dog ever and for being my constant companion for the last 15.5 years. The vet came in and gave her a sedative through the IV. I immediately felt and heard a difference in Josie’s breathing. It was no longer labored. She then made eye contact with me as Ruth put the meds in that would put her to sleep. She went within 2 minutes of that injection, the entire time, holding eye contact with me. I watched the pain leave my baby’s eyes and I watched her rest for the final time. It was the most precious and heart wrenching thing I have ever experienced.
Less than 24 hours later and I’m going in between being numb and being devastated and sobbing. Right now, as I’m writing this, I’m sobbing. I have to get ready for my 2nd job though so I need to compose myself and get ready for that.
Josie Barrett was born June 4, 2000 and passed away November 30, 2015. My best friend, my soul mate, the love of my life. I will never forget her. She was the best companion I could have ever asked for.
Until next time…
After my last post, I started reaching out. I’ve contacted my work EAP and have my first counseling/therapy session on Monday after work. The therapist answered her own phone and I got a great vibe from her after just a 1o minute conversation, I’m actually looking forward to it. I’ve also started a 9 week program online through the same EAP for my anxiety. It’s a Cognitive Behavior Therapy thing and I think it’ll really help.
I’ve rejoined a gym. I did cancel my membership at Crossfit the Ville per my doctor’s orders and I’ve gone back to the chain gym type. I joined Planet Fitness for $10 a month. I have 24/7 unlimited access to the equipment. Their cardio area is to die for as far as I’m concerned. They have treadmills (I can’t use those – too high impact); ellipticals, Arc machines and rowing machines. The rowing machines and Arc machines will be my best friends when I go. I tried the Arc machine and loved it, so I can see myself using that quite often. If I were to upgrade to the $19.95 a month membership, I’d have unlimited tanning each month (once a day) and unlimited use of their hydro-massage tables.
Did you know that working out is the least used anti-depressant there is and in order to save my feet, I had to go with the lower impact stuff. I’m looking forward to getting back at it as much as my feet will let me without trying to push myself to the brink of death, as I did with Crossfit. Don’t get me wrong. I love Crossfit. I mean, insanely love Crossfit. I’m hoping I can work my way back to the Crossfit box once my doctor and I get my feet under control.
I also got a new dog. This was a spur of the moment decision and I ended up getting him for free. A friend had to re-home her 5 year old Havanese because he got aggressive with their son. She posted on Facebook about it and I told her that if Zeevah got along with him, I’d take great care of him and spoil him rotten. I took her over there Tuesday evening after work so they could have a “play date” and they got along very well. I can’t blame her for doing it, but I know how heartbroken she was. So I’ve added a new four legged friend to my routine and I just adore him. He is so stinking cute, I can hardly stand it most days. The girls are getting along with him very well. Zeevah has a new play mate and Josie loves it because now Zeevah doesn’t aggravate her as much as she used too. It was a good decision and he’s turning into a great addition to the family.
So while I’m working through this depression and anxiety, I’m finding myself not having to force as much as I was. For months, I was forcing myself to act “normal.” I was forcing myself to pretend everything was okay and nothing was wrong with me, all the while isolating myself, not doing things that I enjoyed (except play WoW and shop). Now that I’m done pretending and I’m taking proactive steps to fix it and recover, I’m feeling slightly better. The road to recovery will be ongoing and possible a lifetime of work. And I’m okay with that.
Here is my Motley Crew now (from left: Josie, 15 year old Yorkie; Zeevah, not quite 2 year old black lab/GSD mix; and Beck, 5 year old pure bred Havanese)
Thousands of people have been diagnosed with – and some have not been diagnosed, but suffer from – depression. Whether it’s mild or major, the depression lives within a lot of us. There is a project going around, called “The Semi-Colon Project.” This project is about tattooing a semi colon. You can find out more here . The author of that blog post puts into words things I have never been able to say out loud to anyone. Except one or two people in my life.
A semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going.
There’s been a rush to get semi-colon tattoos somewhere that you can see everyday. It brings awareness to depression and I think it will be a really good thing. Also in this blog post, the author says, “You cannot spot depression because you become depression.” And it rings very true for me. My doctor recently told me that he felt my health issues I was having was my depression and insomnia playing tricks on me. I poo-poo’d that idea right out the window because I ALWAYS recognize my depression. Right. I see how well that has gone for me lately. So when I re-posted the blog post, I also posted this; “This project intrigues me. On many different levels and taking a little nudge from the author of this blog post; I am depression and I’m an educated, successful, independent woman. I am depression and I am a college student who made the Dean’s List with straight A’s last semester. I am depression and I have successfully worked in public safety as support personnel for the majority of my adult life. I am depression and I am not ashamed to tell you that.”
Several weeks ago, I posted about an old friend who died suddenly of acute liver failure. We had not been friends for a long time, but I thought of her often and missed her friendship. She passed before I could tell her I missed her. I struggled with guilt for a while and then I think I settled into a depression that I haven’t quite gotten out of yet. I feel like crap all the time and when I sit and analyze it (as I am prone to do), I realize a lot of (actually most of) it started right after she passed and I went to Indy for her funeral (which was beautiful by the way). I have felt an overwhelming sadness ever since then I haven’t been able to shake it. While I’ve moved forward and continue living, I find myself wanting to do nothing but sleep. I have had several anxiety attacks (as a matter of fact, I am in the middle of one right now waiting for the Ativan to kick in) and instead of posting on Facebook that I’m feeling this way, I post it here. I’ll probably post this link onto FB later, but for now, this is where I need to talk about it.
We got a new EAP again this fiscal year as of July 1, so I’m trying to register on their website so I can utilize some of their services (they are free), and I somehow locked my account out. *sigh* This just set me deeper into that funk. So I emailed their webmaster and I’m awaiting a response from them on how to unlock the thing.
In the meantime, I think about things going on and I have to say I am blessed. I have a good job (even though I get frustrated and overwhelmed a lot), I have a beautiful roof over my head (I love this house even after 10 months), I have the love of an amazing family and amazing framily. My GA family, my blood family, my work family. I have a TON of people who care about me. So, it’s time for me to come clean. I’m struggling with my depression, which seems to make me struggle with my physical health too and the two together are nothing but shit sandwiches back to back.
And to help me feel even worse, some Douchebag decided to put some raw meat in my trash can outside so I spent an hour or more on Saturday bleaching the shit out of my trash can and killing thousands of little white maggots that made my skin crawl.
So while I wait for my account to get unlocked with my EAP, I thank you for letting me share and for being there for me as usual.
Until next time…
Yesterday marked a week since my old friend passed away. In that seven days, I experienced a myriad of emotions that left me exhausted and extremely sad. The first thing I felt was guilt/regret. Guilt that I never reached out to mend those fences, regret that I would never get a chance to do so in this lifetime, face to face, physically. I let the guilt and regret consume me for several days, including the day of her funeral in Indy. I felt devastated that I would not get the chance to tell her to her face that I love her, forgive her, and hoped she felt the same. Fear of rejection is a horrific thing to feel and we really need to learn to work through all of that.
I’ve been in recovery for more than a decade and while I’ve struggled every now and then, one thing I’ve always done is work the steps. I live by those steps in all things I do. And I forgot Step 9. I forgot to work Step 9 and I feel guilt over that. However, forgiving myself is something I must do; otherwise I will be miserable and it will eat me up for years to come. Step 9 says “Made amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Whether that amend is positively received or not, the amend must be made to give myself inner peace and forgiveness.
I get this daily email with a reading in it, about recovery and my disease. It gives me guidance and ideas on how to deal with whatever it is I’m feeling. Yesterday’s seemed to be fitting since it had been a week since she passed:
June 16 Reflection for the DayThe Ninth Step of the Gamblers Anonymous Program is: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”To make restitution for the wrongs we’ve done can be extremely difficult,to say the least;if nothing else,it deflates our egos and batters our pride.Yet that in itself is a reward, and such restitution can bring still greater rewards. When we go to a person and say we’re sorry,the reaction is almost invariably positive. Courage is required,to be sure,but the results more than justify the action.
Have I done my best to make all the restitution possible?
Today I PrayMay I count on my Higher Power to stop me if I start to crawl out from under my Ninth Step responsibility.May I feel that blessed,liberating wash of relief that goes with saying,out loud,to someone I have harmed,”I was wrong.I made mistakes.I am honestly sorry.”May I not worry about cracking that brittle,cover-up crust of my ego,because the inside will be ?more mature.Today I Will RememberRestitution is blessed.
I was on a break from work yesterday when I opened up Facebook on my phone and got one of the biggest shocks of my life. Someone I had once considered a great friend had passed away at the age of 40. It was unexpected from what I’ve gathered. Many years ago, we had a falling out. We were both mean and it was ugly. I remember the details, but I won’t go into them here. I’m just going to say that I held a grudge for a few years. Somewhere along the way, I forgave her for her part in it and hoped that she forgave me. Over the last year or so, I would think about reaching out to her to mend fences and then I’d just chicken out. I didn’t know how it would be received and I just didn’t want to face rejection, if that’s where it would end up.
It was a clusterfuck of misunderstandings that led to our fall out. I don’t know exactly when that fall out started, but I know where it ended and it never sat well with me. My feelings were hurt and I got angry. My anger and resentments have always been fear or pain based. And until I worked on that part of myself, I felt anger and resentment towards her.
At one point in time, we were as close as two people could be. We had so much fun together. We helped each other, we challenged each other to be better women. She also flew all the way to Vegas to drive cross country with me when I moved here to Louisville. How many friends do that? She was a very large part of why I moved to this region. She was just a few short hours away in Indy, so I knew we could spend weekends together whenever we wanted to or had time.
And now she’s gone. I’ve talked to her, I’ve let her know I love her and forgive her and hoped that before she left this world, she forgave me for my part.
I am sad. I am heartbroken for her husband, best friend and family. She was so young and so full of life. Rest in Peace, my old friend. Until we see each other again. xoxo
If you watch Game of Thrones, you’ll know who Tyrion Lannister is. He says something in the first season that I just love and it has stuck with me since I read the book and watched the TV show. He says “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”
The entire scene between Tyrion and Jon Snow was amazing to me because there were two outcasts, sitting together.
The “meat” of the scene is here:
Tyrion: Let me give you some advice bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.
Jon: What the hell do you know about being a bastard?
Tyrion: All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes.
I just love that. “Wear it like armor.”
What do you wear like armor?
Here are a few things I will never forget:
- I am a compulsive gambler. I cannot gamble normally. I cannot try to win things on the radio, I cannot enter raffles or play the lottery.
- I used to do dishonest and not so nice things to ensure I could keep gambling.
- I was not a very moral person.
- I am in recovery. I am a better person today than I was 14 years ago when I was gambling.
- I am courageous and brave.
- I am a woman of integrity.
- I am honest and forthcoming.
- I have a great sense of humor.
- I’m a hard worker and am very conscientious in my work.
- I am growing and go through an evolution pretty often.
- I like change. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me active and aware of what’s going on around me.
- I am a college student with hopes and dreams of my future.
I’ve had my past thrown in my face and used against me in order to hurt me. And it worked. Until I didn’t let it, until I started wearing it like armor. No one can hurt me with that information unless I let them. I refuse to let them anymore. My past is exactly that, my past and I don’t live there anymore. It helped mold and develop who I am today. I’m grateful for my past, as it shows me where I don’t want to return or don’t want to repeat.
Until next time….