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….
I’ve been meaning to post everyday and keep a “journal” of my workouts, but I keep forgetting. When I do remember, it’s days later and I have like 3 or 4 workouts that I don’t want to post all at once.
So I’ll just that I’ve been doing A LOT of rowing on the row machine. I love that thing. I’m working my way up to 5k meters. Once I hit that, I’ll work my way up 1k each week or two.
My feet still hurt almost every day. Some days are better than others. I have a certain level of stress that is only relieved when I work out, so I’m pushing myself and resting my feet when I need it. I can tell when I’ve over done it and then I take two days off from any exercise activity. It’s really quite irritating to not be able to do what I used to do in these workouts, but everyone has to re-start somewhere, right?
Hope everyone had a great weekend.
Until next time…
When I started going back to the gym 2 weeks ago, I made a decision to NOT throw myself into Crossfit the way I did before. I decided I would not workout 5 days a week and as hard as I could. I decided to workout when I felt like it – but I had to go at least 3 times a week. I’ve stuck to this schedule pretty well and with the start of the 3rd week, I decided to throw in something I haven’t done in over a year. The dreaded AMRAP workout. As many rounds as possible in a certain amount of time.
This is what I did today:
350m row to warm up
10 shoulder press #45 (my upper body strength completely disappeared so I’ll be working on that a lot)
15 minute AMRAP of
5 push ups (modified on knees)
10 sit ups
10 kettlebell swings (25#)
I did 7 rounds of this and feel pretty good about that, considering I had to go a little slower because of my foot not being in a good mood today. It averages to just a little over 2 minutes per round. Pretty solid work for my AMRAP.
Until next time…