change of attitude

Rising from beneath: April 2021 NaPoWriMo, Day two

Today’s prompt is inspired by Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” It’s based on our own personal journeys. What might our experiences be if we took a different path?

No matter how many times I wanted or tried to veer from the path I was on, I wasn’t able to. Having travelled this far, I realize I don’t want to have taken a route other than the one I’ve been on.

Why?

People. My children and my grandchildren might not exist. Or, if they did, they wouldn’t be who they are. I wouldn’t have or know the people in my life, not the way they are now.

My life has always been challenging and full of stress. It’s made who I am. There’s more work to be done. I like who I’m becoming.

Rising from Beneath

I was told I could be anything I wanted…
But I wasn’t taught how and
I never met anyone who was.

I was told that if I had knowledge I would have power.
Helplessness was all I knew…
despite my accumulated information

I was told, “Aim high! Shoot for the stars.”
From my depths my aim was as high as other’s low.
I shot just to see the stars.

Years of climbing, fighting, struggling
Always landing back in the hole
Anchored by the trauma of my past.

Cycles of poverty and neglect,
Generations repeating the past.
Lord, let me be the last.

Breaking through, crawling out
Eyes blinded by daylight
Skin scorched by the sun.

Someone (not Churchill) admonished one and all,
“if you’re going through hell, keep going. It’s no place to stop.”
no longer energized, yet, here I am…still going.

I think it’s a good fight. It’s been a hard one.
Redemption, restoration, rebuilding
Self and relationships once lost.

Constantly feeling weak and lost
Continually infused with life’s breath,
Molded by refining love.

But wait, there’s more…so much more
Five decades to grow up.
Here’s hoping for another 3-5.

New battles rise up,
New fears to face.
The war against self goes on.

More to see, more to be.
My future resides with me.
My path lives in me.

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When hypo-mania meets a fibro-flare

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It’s 3:21 a.m. and I’ve been awake since 1:37 a.m., if I remember the numbers on the clock correctly. This is usually the first sign that a hypomanic episode is starting. It makes sense, now that I understand the cyclical patterns of cyclothymia, since the previous hypo-manic onset was about a month ago, April 22nd or 23rd. However, I must confess, that I was seriously hoping that it had somehow, miraculously gone away. After all, I don’t officially have any “real” diagnosis. Also, I’m in the midst of the fourth week of my 28 Days to a New Me journey, and I’ve been doing great with it. I’m exercising every single day, regardless of how I feel or what other things are going on in my life. I even exercised two hours with a migraine last week!

Hmmm, migraine, I guess I should have seen this coming. *sigh*

Why should I have seen this coming? Well, last week about this time, I had to struggle and push through a depression episode that was triggered by the fact that Keith was experiencing another disruption in his work/home time cycle and, yet again, our finances are swirling down the porcelain bowl. I did push through it with the support and encouragement of people in the 28 Days group. It also is kind of a requirement that when Keith is home and going through his stuff, that I work through whatever it is I’m experiencing to stay present and engaged with him and Luna.

But, let me tell you, even having all the encouragement and support, prayers and validation that I did, for the first time in what feels like forever, and being open to receiving all of that, only took the edge off. I’m not whining or throwing a pity party here, but I’m just being real and honest.

Depression

Being depressed is not just being down and needing a pick me up and a quick change of attitude or perspective to turn things around. Being depressed isn’t a choice. At this point, it is a biological, neurochemical imperative; a downhill slide in an uphill battle, pushing one hand against the mountain that feels like it’s crumbling down around you while you try to reach all the leaking holes in the breaking dam with the other hand.

Having the knowledge and the tools of things like The 12 Steps of Recovery, scriptural promises of God’s love and provision, psycho-social knowledge of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other related treatments, and being responsible for the well-being of a child are the things that help me fight through it without the help of or access to medication and consistent treatment by a professional. I’m grateful to have reached this point. However, let me be clear, it is one of the most exhausting things in life to be in a state of depression. It’s even more exhausting fighting through it when just about everyone around you expects you to continue functioning at the same levels as when depression isn’t active.

And so, I pushed through the latest episode of depression and kept going . . . at a cost.

The weather went from dry and warm back to blustery, cold, and wet at the same time as I was pushing through the depression. Then, I thought trying a Zumba class for the 55+ set would be a great idea. The juxtaposition of all of these things combined to trigger a fibroflare of severe pain and fatigue. I’d already been experiencing severe numbing and tingling, mostly in my hands, arms, and shoulders, but also in my feet. At my last screening via the Lions club, last October?, I wasn’t diabetic and the numbing/tingling thing has been going on for more than 20 years.

So, deep fatigue, brain fog, sharp, shooting pain, deep tissue achiness is all combined with the stiffness and pain from what is probably arthritis in the knee and a herniated disc in the lower back with a pinched sciatic nerve are all happening at the same time as my body is going through the rigors of consistent physical exercise after becoming so sedentary that taking a shower had become a workout.

I have concluded that swimming is the only exercise I can safely and consistently do at this point. Even if I have a migraine or any of the other symptoms, I can still swim. I swam a mile in an hour and a half on Tuesday, then again on Thursday. While I was in the water, I was alert, energized, and feeling fine. I felt strong, powerful even. My body functioning and responsive to my commands. I could feel the engagement of my muscles, throughout my body, as my arms and legs pushed and pulled against the resistance of the water. Smooth, buoyant, and purposeful. I didn’t want to stop when I hit the mile mark. Within 15 – 20 minutes of arriving home, the fatigue settled on top of me like a lead blanket and I slept for an hour to an hour and a half. When I woke, my brain felt sluggish and disoriented.

I have concluded that life would be easier if I could live in the water, like a merperson. This conclusion restores a childhood memory of my enjoyment of the show, The Man From Atlantis, and how I would try to swim underwater with the full body waving movement and arms tucked to my sides. I wonder if merfolk deal with things like depression, hypomania, and fibromyalgia?

It’s 4:15 and I’m exhausted, but not sure if I can sleep. I’ll try anyway. Maybe I’ll dream of the ocean and being the purple mermaid Luna told me she dreamed I was the other night.