July 23

Grief

I originally wrote this on March 20, 2022 for a self help therapy group on Facebook. I thought I would share it here, as my debut into blogging again this year. Mostly to give an idea of where my headspace has been.

On December 5, 2021, I lost my last guinea pig to a stroke. I was a mess afterwards as we had a rocky time with this guinea pig. He had a lot of health issues, since about late 2019. It started as a small lump under his right nipple; a mammary tumor. We excised it and that no longer gave him any problems. However, he developed an abscess in his cheek. This abscess traveled from his cheek to his inner ear. It was still with him when he died. He lived with it for two years.

Two years of medication, every morning, every night. Each evening, he had to have the abscess drained. He hated it. We hated it. We went nuclear on this thing. A trusted vet in Visalia helped us to learn how to give him shots, so that we could use stronger antibiotics and by-pass the gut. Gut issues are really hard on guinea pigs.

Even after all that, he died of a stroke.

I had a mental breakdown on February. I had been holding in a lot of grief. Over him, over Boo–the guinea pig who passed away before him, and over the loss of a puppy I always wanted but I was not in the headspace to take care of. I felt ruined. I felt like nothing in life would ever make me happy again.

Later that month, however, we said hello to a new kitty, now called Moxxie.

Moxxie arrived like a strange little spirit guide. An angel. Whatever you want to call it. She showed up at just the right time. She had been coming around our yard to eat for a short time, along with our other two outside strays. We didn’t know where she came from or why she chose us, but she was there.

One day, while Jason was at work, I saw her outside so I decided I would feed her. I opened the door and she walked inside. No fear. She came inside, plopped onto her side on the kitchen floor, and let me rub her belly. I have never seen anything like it.

In March, shortly after Moxxie’s arrival, my husband and I noticed that a cough one of our older boy cats (Skuld) was getting worse. The poor thing would have these awful sounding hacking fits, in which he would panic and hack and he would sit, hunched up, with strings of drool dripping from his mouth. He couldn’t seem to breathe without his mouth open. It was terrifying and heart breaking.

We took him to the vet. Initially, they diagnosed him with kitty asthma and sent him home with medications. However, in 24 hours, his condition worsened so we brought him back in. He was checked into their care because he was in desperate need of oxygen, fluids, and nutrients. He could not eat or breathe through his nose.

At the same time, back home, we noticed that our older girl cat, Belle (mother to Skuld and Skuld’s brother, Dandy), was also doing poorly.

At first, we thought Moxxie brought something into the home, as she did have a minor respiratory illness when she first arrived. (It cleared up on its own in a couple of days.)

That was not the case, however, as while Skuld was in the ICU, they discovered he had a large mass inside his tiny nasal passage, which was causing blockage and his inability to breathe. And Belle turned out to have acute kidney failure and had to be put down. She literally had 0 platelets and the treatment for kidney failure at her stage would have been fatal anyway.

So we continued to fight for Skuld’s life while mourning the loss of his mother. My husband called every single day, multiple times a day, for updates. We went out to the vet in Bakersfield to visit daily. Each time, the news we received only got worse. Skuld was away from home from March 12-18. March 17th was his birthday. 12 years old. March 17th. We told him on his birthday that we were bringing him home soon.

March 18th, we received the call that he had gone into cardiac arrest and died.

I couldn’t stop crying. Within four months–four months!–we said goodbye to three of our beloved pets in succession. We had Skuld from the day he was born. The tiniest black jelly bean. He could fit in a pocket. I felt so lost. So heart broken. So torn up inside. I didn’t think that I could ever stop crying.

I felt depression rolling over me. I didn’t want to sleep, eat, or do anything that I normally loved to do. Every day, I looked for Belle, I looked for Skuld. They weren’t there. And Dandy was orphaned, his mother gone, his brother from birth… gone.

I miss them all so much. To this day, even just recounting this, even just retyping this, I am crying. It doesn’t seem fair that we bring these lovely creatures into our homes… and one day, they just won’t be here anymore.

I don’t regret ever having them in my life.

And Moxxie, Moxxie, Moxxie. Has been an angel of amelioration, a balm to the soul. If it weren’t for her timing, we might still be sick with grief. She brought light back into our home. She is a beautiful, loving, affectionate soul. I’ve never met a sweeter, more loving cat in my life. And she showed up just when we needed that most.

Love your pets. Hold them close. Cuddle them when they want to have a cuddle. You learn the hard way that one day, you’ll regret all the times you told them to go away, not now, I’m doing something. Make time for them. They love you. You are their entire world. And one day, they just won’t be here anymore.

October 24

Vent

Strap in, this is a long one. 

I have always had anxiety. All my life it has been there, lurking and grasping me around the throat to hold me back from the things I wanted to do. As a child, I wanted so badly to put my ring in the hat for a school play. Anxiety held me back. In high school, I joined the basketball team, but anxiety caused me to drop out before the first game. 

Now, I have had a choking phobia since I was around 17-18 years old and I choked on water. I am talking hardcore choking, I was drowning in it. Couldn’t breathe, every time I gasped for breath, a horrible sound came out. It was utterly traumatizing and it caused my liquid intake to go down. It made public meals torture. 

But three years ago, my anxiety hit the roof. We had in-laws living with us at the time that I wanted out. They had been with us for far longer than the “few months” they promised. Try six years. Years. Every day, I was waiting for a “normal” to return that never came. 

Many of my beloved pets became terribly ill in a short span of time and passed away. At the time, I recently had wisdom teeth removed and had to be on soft foods only for a month because of complications (they punctured a hole into my sinuses). 

I couldn’t eat afterward. I was hungry all the time. Ravenous. All I could think about was food. My stomach growled constantly and I always felt dizzy, weak, and lightheaded. Yet whenever I would try to eat something, my throat would close up and I would gag and spit the food out. 

I cried out of frustration, terror, and a growing sadness. 

I lost 65 pounds. 

I weighed as much as a 10-11 year old child. I was in 70~ area at 5’7” tall. 

I hated what I saw in the mirror. It terrified me. I was skeletal. 

I didn’t know it but my mom told me later that she called my aunts and cried about me. How scared she was that I would pass away. My sister worried about me. My brothers were at a loss. My husband felt helpless. He told me he was going to hospitalize me if I couldn’t help myself. 

I reached out and finally found mental health professionals. They prescribed me an antidepressant and upped my dosage of Ativan, which I only used previously for the dentist because of my severe dental phobia. 

One day, I was absolutely exhausted and starving and I had to eat. But I just kept sobbing over my food and spitting it out. I took ativan because I was desperate. But ativan saved my life. 

Every morning, I took 2mg and I could eat. It wore off around 3pm but I was able to eat regular breakfasts and lunches. My weight steadily went up. 

I soon had a team around me, rallying around me. I had a therapist that helped me cope using cbt. I had a dietitian who helped make what I did eat count. 

During this whole three year recovery, my psych had me on every antidepressant you can name from Prozac to Viibryd. None of it really did anything for me.  Some of them made things worse. Ativan continued to be the lifesaver. 

But my doctor didn’t want me to stay on it. I know the risks involved with benzos. But not even other benzos worked like Ativan did. Not Valium not Xanax not klonopin. My doctor kept messing with my medications.  She wanted me to be on anything except ativan. I tried her alternatives but nothing worked. 

Now I have a new doctor and she switched my ssri to a srni. Not. Working. All the while, for the past year and a half, I have have to fight with my doctor over ativan refills. At two points she was late getting back to me and the cold turkey withdrawals were horrible. 

If they would work patiently with me, I could titrate off but they are really messing with my head and body when they force me to go without over a weekend.  

This week was another fight for a refill. I just want to be done with so-called mental health professionals. Therapy and my dietitian did more for me than my psychs ever did. 

I wish I never even went to a psych. Going to force myself off drugs but I admit that I am terrified of losing weight and the ability to eat again. 

Wheew.        

February 15

It’s 2019!

This is definitely belated but hello, 2019! After the rough ride that was 2018, I am hoping for a much more positive experience this year. Part of this is due to an attitude change but it also helps having a good, strong support system which I have found that I do have!

Creativity has been tough for me for a while now. Once, there was a time where new ideas, stories, and characters flowed out of me naturally. They filled my dreams and they played in my head when I listened to music. For a while, due to mental struggles (and physical struggles–let’s be real here for a sec), I wasn’t feeling it. These days, I am starting to feel it again.

You may have noticed a couple of changes around the website. Most of it’s just the same old, same old, but my books are back on sale. Journey in the Dark may make an appearance soon as well. At the moment, it’s so old that I do not have the files on my current computer. If you’ve read my work, what’s been your favorite so far?

March 19

Breathe

It’s hard to remember that I need to stop and breathe sometimes. I feel as if this year has been even worse than our introduction to 2017. Thus far, all I can count is tragedy, from my uncle passing away to my aunt passing away to the poor cats who passed in between those two and then on to the fact that my Nana had a heart attack just a week before her 90th birthday…

I know my mom says she feels like death is surrounding her and it’s not just HER. I think we’re just seeing it more now. Or maybe that woman from FBE is right and life really is like toilet paper: the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

For a greater part of this year, I’ve been in some kind of funk. I feel so defeated and distant from everything. The stress of the family issues on top of dealing with my perfectionism issues with school, I’ve kinda gone off the rails mentally. All I want to do is sleep but I’m trying to stay awake and busy with things. …Things. I guess.

Some days, I feel much more capable of living life like a normal person and then there are days, weeks, hell… MONTHS where I don’t feel capable of even doing much more than rolling out of bed. Sometimes I wonder if I’d even roll out of bed at all if it weren’t for my husband and my pets. They’re worth getting out of bed for, of course. And my sister. I look forward to her visits. When I know she’s coming, I get up with more spring in my step.

I’ve been sick for nearly two weeks and it’s finally tapering off. I think stress battered me until my immune system left itself wide open for sickness. At least I can breathe without pain now! I think it’s making its way out of my system now but I do have one sore, crusty nostril from all the nose blowing and such. Ouch!

I’m not sure why I’m putting this out here. Somebody said something about journaling and I remembered that I have this website. I feel as if I failed because this was supposed to be my brilliant writer’s website but instead, it’s sort of become a dump for all my thoughts.

January 30

One day at a time

One day at a time.

I practically live by this mantra. Thinking about the future sends me into a frothing frenzy of anxiety. Thinking about the past causes me to pick apart every little thing I’ve EVER done and cringe at how awful a person I am. So the only option left is to live right now, in the only moment I will ever be able to really live in. This one moment, this second and the next. Slowly. Breathe.

For the most part, this method of living does help but there are times where it makes things so much more difficult to navigate in life. For example, when living day to day, the day I’m living in becomes that much more important. Every single little thing that happens in that one day will have a bigger overall effect on me than it should.

A couple of harsh words can send me spiraling into an abyss with pain so great that I feel I don’t deserve–or want–to live anymore. It’s not over-dramatization. In that moment of time, I don’t want to be alive. That scares me, especially as I’m naturally afraid of death when I’m not consumed by mental anguish.

The same can be said for the happiness of a moment. When I close my eyes and I’m listening to my current favorite song, I am swept in that moment. I’m in the song, I’m following the notes, the lyrics, the voices. They’re taking me on a journey. I love those moments. I feel truly at peace.

One day at a time.

It sounds so simple and it can be quite effective but one needs to remember that it also has its pitfalls. There is no single way of living that doesn’t come with a few unpleasant side effects.

I just have to remember in stressful moments that I’m living that moment, that I can’t rely on the fact that tomorrow is a new day. Striving for that new day brings hope but it also doesn’t help me in the moment. I need to focus instead on the moment I’m in and to find ways to enjoy it, to remind myself that the things that are trying to crowd my mind and overwhelm me will all have THEIR own moment later. Not NOW. LATER. There’s no use in going into a panic attack about an upcoming test, not if I am still taking each moment as it comes. Arrange time to do that work and leave it in that moment.

It works for me most days but occasionally, I take a little tumble. I’ll be okay though.

January 16

Tattoos I Want

Okay, the prompt was actually, “Tattoos I have and why” but since I do not CURRENTLY have tattoos, I’ll talk about the one I would ideally like to get (if I can ever choose where to put it, since putting it on my upper arm is apparently “too masculine.”)

So I’d like to get a black and purple stylized bat because bats are my favorite animal. Underneath the bat, I’d like it to say “Save Me” which has several meanings. Some of them are quite personal however, although they are also a part of several of my favorite songs as well!

I’m not sure this would count as multiple tats though. I think it’s just be one, since I’d like the words to be in fancy cursive style beneath the stylized bat or perhaps even on her wings.

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January 15

A person I find fascinating

I find a lot of people fascinating but especially people who are nothing like myself. I’m kind of shy, boring, and quiet around people I don’t know but I’m kinda weird when I do get to know people. However, I admire people who are outgoing go-getters, who are absolutely resolute in what they want to be and what they are going to do. People who know who they are and are adamant about that but not so stubborn that they can’t change for the better over time.

I am having a difficult time with this particular question. I suppose fascinating doesn’t necessarily mean admirable. I find myself fascinated with evil people because they think so differently than anybody I know and I suppose I try to understand why. I don’t know that I ever want the answer to that, though.

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January 14

Where I would live (but haven’t visited)

So it’s been a LONG time but it’s about time to get back on the writing train. I dropped the 30 day writing challenge some time ago but I’m going to pick up where I left off.

Today’s topic is where I would like to live but have never visited.

I really want to say Ireland but it’s tough to choose an entirely different country when I’ve never been out of the country. There could be laws or traditions in the area that I’m not ready to commit to. So for this topic I’m going to choose somewhere in Oregon. A smaller town near a rural area but close to a big city. Maybe.

Or it might be nice to live somewhere I don’t have to rely on having a car. Maybe it would be nice to live in the heart of one of the big cities and take a bus to the places I want to go. I could visit galleries and museums. I could go to nice cafes.

I’ve heard the weather in Oregon is really nice, too.

Washington could be nice as well, though. I like rain. It used to rejuvenate me. I’m not really so sure what it does for me now, since I haven’t felt like myself in some time.

But yeah! I suppose I’d choose to live somewhere in the northern pacific area. I don’t want to live on the East coast or really anywhere that gets a lot of heavy snowfall or scary storms. I don’t like this desert heat where I live but I also don’t like it when it gets too cold, either!

January 14

Sleepless

I am so tired. I am so exhausted. I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. Something is wrong. I haven’t felt right in weeks. Steadily I have been losing weight. Food feels disgusting in my mouth. I can’t stand the texture. It makes me want to gag. Even things I like taste good for only a bite or two.

I have been reaching for something to make me feel good. Something cute to wear. Something to take my mind away from what goes through my head over and over again.

These voices inside that are full of self doubt. What am I doing with my life? Why can’t I succeed? I can’t help but compare myself to others my age and younger. I see them going places while I remain stagnant.

What is the point of going to school? What is the point of waking up?

The first one I don’t know how to answer. I thought I had a plan and then I panicked and changed it. Now the new plan… does it even matter? I feel worthless. What am I learning in these classes? Stagnant.

I wake up for my pets. They need me. They give me purpose. It gives me reason and will to live because I must feed them. Water them. Talk to them. Pet them. I do it every single morning before I take my vitamins and my pills.

After that. What? The sense of dread and anxiety starts. I don’t know what I am doing. I keep reaching. I play stupid mobile games but no longer care about getting X character. Yeah who cares. Set the game down.

Watch the same shit. Fall asleep. Wake up feeling even more like I was hit by a truck.

I find joy in building. Sites. Worlds. Getting shit started.

But when it’s time to play.

Where does it go? The will to do it. The will is not there. But I keep grasping for it. Hoping I will feel it again. The sense of purpose. No. The sense of joy.

I cannot stop crying. I don’t know why. I am back. Exactly back where I was when I desperately reached out for mental health help.

I am medicated and I feel exactly the same way. Maybe. Maybe even worse.

Why can’t I stop crying? I feel selfish. Ungrateful. I feel like an awful human being. I have so many things in my life to be happy for. Family who loves me deeply. A husband who loves me even if I don’t feel like he does right now. I have so many beautiful pets who need me.

And all I can think about. All I can see is my own misery. And I hate it.

I was always anxious. My whole life. But this deep sense of sadness. I don’t know what to do with it. I just want it to stop. I just want to feel happy again. I don’t know how.

I need help. But I don’t know where to go. Medications. No. They were a miracle for some things. But for the rest? Pointless.

Because here I am. 4am. Typing this on my phone with tears running down my face. And I feel this dark. Horrible. Knot of misery and pain in my chest and my throat and my head. I feel it in my legs my toes. I just want it to stop. Please make it stop.

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January 13

Every Night

Eyes closed tight, head so weary

Darkness bathed in artificial light

Every night, this burden so scary

Eyes open and nothing feels right

 

Listen, focus for a familiar sound

Heart pounds staccato hard to the moon

Moving my head, my body around

Nerves frayed, soothed by the midnight croon

 

Eyes sleepily close again

Heart begins to slow

Whisper to ten

Tonight I say “no”