Scaffolding of Life

Akin to erecting scaffolding we construct our lives layer by layer.  Steel supports, wooden planks, built higher and higher.  Attaining goals, homes, material goods, and careers.  We do our best to control all aspects of our environment.

Scaffolding looks stronger than it actually is.  It can’t support too much weight. It’s wooden planks will buckle.   It’s structure cannot be pushed or rocked.  The movement of change will cause it to fall.

Similarly, the structure of our lives is not as secure as we think it is.  Our structure is ill prepared for a tremor much less a cataclysmic earthquake that would bring our life’s scaffolding tumbling down.

Challenges, illnesses,  losses, and changes are the earthquakes that can bring our carefully built lives crumbling down.  It can leave us in a helpless heap, but instead of wood and metal, we are left in a heap of trauma, grief, anxiety, fear, and physical ailments. Life is not predictable or controllable.

The ultimate fallacy is the illusion of control.  We can not control what life has in store for us.  All we can do is repeatedly rebuild the wreckage left in its wake to the best of our abilities.

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Anxiety’s Mind Trap: Rumination

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Image credit unknown

A mind trap, if left unchallenged, can take you down the drain of worry, despair, longing, and loneliness. A whirlpool of anxiety ridden emotions swimming in the mind. One word that encapsulates the very essence of a mind trap is rumination. Rumination is defined as “contemplation or reflection, which may be become persistent, and recurrent worrying or brooding”.

That sums up for me, with multiple diagnoses, the tendency of my mind to get stuck on receptive thoughts. Thoughts that dwell in the past; longing for how things were in a time I think was better or when my functional capacity was greater. Conversely, my mind might jump to future worry. Dreading the awful things to come tomorrow or the next day. Future mind plots, schemes, and runs all contingency plans in order attain security in a potential situation or to gain control of something that, in reality, I have no control over. A mind trap at full throttle.

Medications help temper my thoughts and emotions. Therapy methods help me deal with the thoughts when they arise. I can battle furiously, often times subduing the overwhelming thoughts. However, in my current state of health, no amount of drugs and no amount of therapy can totally eliminate my anxious negative thoughts. I am never far from the whirlpool that hovers over the drain that contains a mind trap.

Old New Drug…Redux

If you’ve read my blog then you will have read my experience with Klonopin and my subsequent desire for a new drug.  If you haven’t read them they are several posts down, easily accessible if you are interested.

The latest in the drug trials of my life is that I was in fact convinced Klonopin wasn’t right for me and I did complain about it to my doctor.   I requested to try Xanax XR instead.  That seemed to be a mistake.  Xanax XR, although billed and marketed as a once a day tablet does not last all day long.  Oddly, I swear I could feel when it was dispensing its so called extended release.  It was smoother, more metered than me individually dosing Xanax IR but not markedly so.  Except for the extreme inconsistencies of the ups and downs attributable to the IR’s short life span, the other side effects were pretty much the same; and that’s not a good thing.

It seems whichever medication I am on I am still having elevated levels of anxiety.  I’ve had to dig a bit deeper and began to realize that I have some other issues going on.   The way I’ve been feeling had me thinking twice about my ability to properly evaluate these  drugs.  Combined with my sensitivity to drugs, and any changes in my regime, it seemed as though I didn’t know what was causing what.  Some of the side effects I attributed to Klonopin may have been simply me and a side effect of my conditions rather than the medication.

Taking Xanax XR was slightly better than taking Xanax IR but I felt it too failed to adequately dampen my anxiety to a functioning level.  I thought I needed a dose adjustment.  I walked into my doctors office ready to stick Xanax XR asking for the dosage to be adjusted but  walked out his office back on Klonopin.

In talking to my doctor and going over the past month I believe there is something else at play going on within me that is at worst causing additional side effects and at best is preventing me from properly evaluating the drugs.  I seem to be overriding the drugs with my thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  After considering all factors I decided to give Klonopin another go.  It definitely has a smoother more balanced feel and I may have blamed it for side effects that came from elsewhere.  I am more confused than ever about what is the right medication for me.

I am going to spend more time with mindfulness practices and try to get back in tune with myself.  I need to know who’s on first before I can be jumping around with medications.  Right now I can’t tell what causes what and I can’t determine what symptoms are a result of my conditions or medication side effects.

Time to try and right the ship.  Something has changed and I intend to find out what.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Gracie’s Story

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“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than they love themselves”

My parter and I had started contemplating getting another dog.  My last canine companion, Katie departed in June of 2014 after developing an inoperable bladder tumor and bladder cancer. Losing her was devastating to me.  She helped me through some difficult times and I miss her every day.  I felt I wasn’t quite ready for another family member, but after two and a half years my desire for a new canine companion was growing.  My therapist thought it a wonderful idea for the therapeutic effects of having a companion animal provide.  We weren’t in the financial position to adopt but my family generously offered to cover some of the expense.

Casually I started researching various rescue organizations locally online.  Both my partner and I have allergies so we had to narrow our search to hypoallergenic breeds.  Honestly, it breaks my heart a little every time I see an animal in need of a new home so looking is difficult.  It made me miss Katie all the more, but I know she would want me to love again so I continued to look around online.

I happened to glance at a picture of the cutest little Yorkshire Terrier on a rescue site.  I read her story.  She was in need of a home without children or other pets.  Her owners had to re-home her due to her attacking and not getting along with their other dog who was younger, smaller, and intermittently ill.

I made inquiries to the rescue and we made and appointment to visit Gracie.  Gracie still lived with her owners since there aren’t enough foster homes available.  Meanwhile we submitted to a background check for the rescue organization, which to me is an indication that everyone involved wanted to ensure Gracie’s happiness.  Gracie’s home was spacious and stately.  Her owners are obviously in a higher income bracket than we are.  They were welcoming,  nice and very concerned that she go to a good home.  It was obvious that parting with Gracie was a tough decision for them.

Gracie’s parents did everything they could to keep her and make the situation with their other dogs work.  Including Gracie they had four Yorkies.  They hired animal behavioralists to help the situation and train all the dogs;  yet the problems persisted and they had to make the heartbreaking choice to let one of their beloved go to a new home.

Having so much of Gracie’s story, history, and to see her home life was helpful.  I had never adopted an adult dog before and was afraid of problems.  Gracie was sweet and gentle and it was hard to leave after our initial visit.

We fell for her but didn’t want to rush into a potentially problematic situation.  After talking with Gracie’s owner it was obvious she wouldn’t be a problem. She just needed to be in a home where she was the solitary dog.   She was lovingly taken care of and her owner’s openly shared all her records.  We visited with Gracie for a second time and we agreed to adopt her into our home. That is how Gracie became to be the newest addition to our family.

The training she received is a blessing and is helping us help her settle into her new surroundings. She is adjusting very well to her new home, although we could tell she misses her former pack mates, especially during the first week.

I’m home all day so we have spent all our time together.  She has bonded well with both of us but more so with me;  in fact our only problem with Gracie is that she is having some separation anxiety whenever I leave.  We are working on resolving the issue together.

With my conditions it seemed only fitting that I register her to be an Emotional Support Animal so I did that as soon as I could.    The comfort and love she gives is invaluable and caring for her provides me with focus and helps take my mind off dealing with my own conditions.

The universe always provides in one way or another and Gracie is as big a gift to us as we must be to her.  We look forward to many happy years of adventures together.

 

Give Us The Tools & We’ll Finish The Job

Churchill’s famous quote from an equally famous speech to the United States during World War II.  Britain needed weapons and supplies to keep up the fight against the Axis powers.  Alone against the darkness they stood valiantly; yet they could only finish the job with help from their allies.

How hard it must have been for the mighty British Empire to ask for help. It’s a common theme throughout history and one that also resonates on a personal level.  I ask my mother, who passed away last year, for help often.  Like Churchill, my mother was a pillar of strength and determination.

My problems go deeper than grief and have been around for more years than I care to count. But when times are especially tough my mother’s strength is the tool I seek to help me finish the job of getting through the challenges of the day.

In my grief I cry; give me an ounce of your strength to make it through this day!   The strength I draw from her carries me though the darkest days of depression, the most virulent panic attacks, and haunting PTSD flashbacks.

I am not fighting a global war in the traditional sense; but if my body and mind are the world then I am indeed fighting battles on a scale of a great war.  

 

I was nominated for this challenge by Perfectlyimperfect32wordpresscom.wordpress.com

from the original quote challenge on The Punkpenblog

 

The Tear of a Soul

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Photo credit: Dieter G @ Pixabay

A swell rises
A tear falls slowly from my eye
Pausing to wait for the one behind
They fall together
Flowing like a river
I cry for what I can not have
For what once was and for what is lost
Where does happiness reside
Why is it just beyond my reach
Ever teasing
Ever taunting
A glimpse
A taste of what can be
Pulled away
Leaving me wanting
To dream of what could be
I can taste you on my lips
The bitter taste of lost opportunity
Lost love
Lost happiness
I taste the tear of my soul
Yearning for release