codependency

Eating Myself Sick (pt. 2)

Yesterday, I started writing about my most recent downward spiral into a binge eating episode. Now, for the rest of the story.

Two days ago was “Family Fun Friday” at my daughter’s school. Her dad decided he wanted to go and would pick us up, to go as a family, at 7:30 am. Every night my daughter doesn’t go to sleep before 10 pm, no matter how hard I try. Every morning, it’s a fight to get her awake, dressed, and out the door by 8:30 in time to catch her bus. It was very stressful knowing I not only had to have her up and ready an hour earlier, but, that I would also be in his presence, with his moodiness and anger over his current circumstances and belief that I’m to blame for the situation he’s in because I left the relationship nearly two years ago.

There was no time for a healthy or filling breakfast. So, I wound up eating two half pieces of pastry and half a muffin, along with a large cup of coffee with several creamers, while we were at the school. After we left and were on our way to where I volunteer weekly, less than two miles from his place, the arguing and criticism started. Then, he expected me to use his truck to go do my volunteering at the church. That way, I would go back with him when he picked our daughter up from school. No, thank you.

I wound up at his place, but, I didn’t take his truck. So, the angry texts started coming. Emotional manipulation and empty threats of a non-violent, but psychologically traumatizing nature started coming. Intellectually, I knew that the threats were empty, that his beliefs weren’t my truths, and that I’m not responsible for making him feel better. However, it didn’t stop the PTSD sensations of severe anxiety and overwhelm from taking over. I was jittery. My emotions were in turmoil. I couldn’t stop thinking of the “what if’s” and trying to formulate plans against them.

Anxiety at that level completely shuts down my ability and desire to eat anything. This effect results in a binge later. When I left the building and took the hour long transit trip home, I was okay. As I got off the bus and started approaching my home, I could feel the tension and anxiety rising. So, I decided that I was going to go do something else with safe people for the night, and left almost as soon as I got home. Then, something happened that triggered my sense of obligation, and my fatigue was so extreme, I just went back home.

I made a healthy-ish choice for eating, which sort of satisfied the nutritional hunger. Time to relax and self-soothe. Catch up on recorded shows and try to knit a scarf for my son’s birthday, three days away.

However, as the evening went on, both a physical and mental/emotional hunger grew. Unfortunately, I happend to have a little bit of cash. I checked the balance of my SNAP benefits. I could go get something to eat at the grocery store and make a healthier choice between Popeye’s and Safeway. I got dressed and went out the door. As I got closer to the bus stop to go to the grocery store, the aching in my thighs from all the walking I’d done this week and the overwhelming fatigue washed through me. Then I saw the bus go by.

I checked to see when the next one would come. Nine minutes. Not much time at all, but too long to sit and wait in the chilly night at the bus stop. Okay. Keep moving and walk to the next bus stop. Check the time. Five more minutes. Look up. A yellow, orange, and red beacon in the night – Popeye’s. It’s just a minute’s walk, then I can sit down. When I leave, I’ll still be close enough to walk home.

$6.99 special: Two tenders and four shrimp, a side, and a drink. Sounds good. Coke, please. Yes, honey for the biscuit! Do you have butter? Oh, it’s REAL? Even better. Cajun fries for the side. Thank you for the coupons.

Sit by myself, put my headphones on, and start watching a recorded show on my phone. A text from the ex. An update on our daughter and her complaining of a headache and upset tummy. More criticism for not updating him during the week or having her call him.

Mmmm. That honey and butter on that biscuit sure is good. The rest though, meh, but I eat it anyway.

In comes a group of women. Loud laughter and conversation. Friends having a night in on a food run. On the outside, looking in. Thoughts and emotions swirling on the inside. Calm and still on the outside. I look down and see the coupons I’ll never use.

“Do you guys eat here a lot?”

“Mmmhmm,” head nods.

“Do you want my coupons? I’ll never use them. Oh, sorry, they’re sticky from the honey.”

Home again. Anxious again. Minor relationonal skirmish. Isolation. Knit and watch t.v.

Knock, knock, knock. “Come in.”

“Here. I ordered late night pizza,” two slices of pizza and a hunk of cheese filled bread in a small, long Domino’s box.

Gone.

5:00 a.m. nausea.

When self-soothing turns into self-abuse, it’s time to admit there’s a problem…again.

“Hi. My name is Lillian. I’m a food addict.”

Now, to figure out how to unravel and disconnect the eating from the PTSD and my relationships before I kill myself with food.

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Eating myself sick (pt. 1)

I guess it’s time to get back to recovery basics, when it comes to my eating.

Yesterday was hard. It was the perfect storm of hormonal cycles, PTSD triggers, and physical exhaustion. Truthfully, the eating spiral started while I was working on my food plan and trying to figure out how to make it work.

The rationalizations and justifications of, “I’m starting tomorrow, so I’ll enjoy this bacon, egg, potato burrito with country gravy and a Coke for breakfast, now,” and, “After all, you’re not supposed to go shopping on an empty stomach, right?” were the first steps on the slippery slope of my binge eating disorder.

Eating has been my consistent “go to” for self-soothing/self-medicating ever since I was a pre-adolescent. It started after I told my mom about my step-dad having molested me for the previous two years and we wound up going and living with my grandmother.

Dolly Madison Donut Gems in the morning for breakfast before school. Extra chocolate milk at school for lunch. Burger King on the way home from school with my mom. Snack or dinner while visiting grandma at the cafeteria she worked evenings at, during her lunch break. KFC when grandma got home after 9 p.m. from her job. Neither mom or grandma knew how much or how often I was eating. It was offered and I accepted. It replaced the “love and affection” I’d lost when my step-dad stopped paying attention to me  – which was the whole, warped reason I told my mom in the first place.

Getting fed was the way I felt like I was cared about and mattered…at home. At school, it was definitely self-soothing to drink that second chocolate milk. We’d moved several times during that year and I wound up in an inner city school in Houston. There was a large Latino population, a slightly smaller Black population, and a small White population. I didn’t fit into any of them. I talked White, was obviously a “half-breed” Latina, and obviously not Black. it was 1980, in Texas. Mixing races was very much frowned upon. Add into it that I was the “new kid” in sixth grade. I was either ignored or shunned, depending on which group of students I tried to interact with. So, I ate alone. That second chocolate milk and seconds on food, if it was available, filled in the interminable time between the end of one class and the beginning of the next, otherwise known as lunch and recess.

If I focused on how good the food tasted and how it filled me up, then I didn’t have to pay attention to the taunting or the isolation.

After school, mom would meet me in front and we would walk home, just talking about our days. These are vague memories, at best. However, I know that I enjoyed that time with her. Whenever, she could, she’d take me to the Burger King that was between the school and the apartment we shared with my grandma. Sitting there and eating my Whopper Jr. with fries and soda, extended my time with her. Time that was easy and uncomplicated. Time when I felt like she saw me and that I was loved.

Snack/dinner at Picadilly Cafeteria, where grandma worked, was usually an obligation kind of thing. Mom didn’t want grandma to know she’d fed me at BK. So, on those days, I’d have a snack – usally fried okra. I love the taste and texture of fried okra done right. Other days, when we hadn’t stopped at BK, I’d get a full meal. Mom and grandma, sitting with me while I ate, having quiet and easy conversation. Those were our family time meals.

Grandma LOVED Kentucky Fried Chicken, Original Recipe! My memory tells me she came home with a bucket nearly every night. My adult reasoning says it couldn’t have been nearly that often. Anyway, I was usually still awake, despite it being close to 10 p.m. If I was awake, the smell of the chicken was so good and grandma was so sure I hadn’t had enough to eat. So, I would eat…again.

So, food was how I knew I was loved. Food was how I received comfort and suffered through rejection and isolation. Eating was a deception and obligation for emotional safety. It was never about nourishment or health. It was always about emotion and relationships.

I suppose not much has changed on that front. On Thursday night, despite having eaten two very healthy and sustaining meals, one of which I stopped eating when I was satiated, that good ‘ole Southern comfort food got brought into my Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model group and I filled my plate. I overfilled it! Homemade mac ‘n cheese, homemade potato salad, greens & ham, and fried fish were irristable.

This was the fourth time I’d been in this room with these women, many of whom are African American, all of whom have experienced significant DV trauma. Some are recovering from substance addictions. None of whom did I feel a connection to. I was always uncomfortable in this room, with these women. All I could see was why I didn’t fit with them and the reasons why they wouldn’t feel like I should be there with them. I guess I was mentally back in that sixth-grade school yard in Houston.

But, that food! It was common ground. I was sitting at a table with a Latina and a White girl, surrounded by Black women. All of these women are so strong and so inspiring and I’d been so intimidated and unsure that I could be accepted by them. I ate, everything, after stating I’d gotten way too much and that I probably couldn’t finish it all.

Well, I finished it after a particular topic came up while we were eating and I got triggered into sharing a very painful memory of loss from five and a half years ago. Then, I ate a piece of homemade apple pie for desert.

Sorry this is so long. If you’re still reading, thanks for hanging in there. To be continued tomorrow.

Life update and seeking a sense of safety

It’s hard to believe it’s only 15 days into 2014. I feel as if it’s already been three months, so much has happened in such a short period of time. I feel a need to decompress. This means it’s time to just write about the stuff that’s been going on for me in my life.

On New Year’s Day, I was alone again the way I had been on Christmas Day. I also wound up being under attack from the toxic texting that tends to happen when Keith is on his roller coaster of emotions from the way things have gone and his feelings about the choices and decisions I have made regarding our relationship and us living together. It’s hard for him to see and understand that although I still love him and that I do recognize and understand he has made efforts to grow and change, the reality is for me and for our daughter at least, the way things were between the two of us, was dysfunctional and having negative impacts on our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

I do not place fault or blame solely on him, his anger, or the critical atmosphere which he grew up internalizing. It’s only half the story. The other half of the story is my depression and my seeming inability to develop, maintin, and grow in self-esteem and doing the things I need to do for my self-care when I am in relationship with him in the midst of the tension, conflict, anger, and criticism. I have a complete lack of self-will and self-determination to do anything other than to enable him in his anger and emotional dysfunction and that depth of codependency is mine and much like the impact of an alcoholic who cannot function and drink at the same time, to the point that he sacrifices all else in life, in my codependent state and relationship with Keith, I have sacrificed everything on the altar of his dysfunction. I am powerless over it when we are living together, which is something that others in our lives cannot understand, accept, condone, or approve of because it means they are not treated well by either Keith or myself and has caused them harm, whether we intended harm or not.

Hand in hand with the codependency is my habitual self-harm behavior using food. Both the codependency and the food have been ways for me to distract, detract, numb out, and avoid dealing with the unresolved emotional and psychological traumas I’ve experienced in my life. Things which I have accepted in my life and thought accepting was enough to deal with them. However, true acceptance doesn’t happen if there are false beliefs attached to the acceptance. So, the acceptance of the childhood abuse, neglect, and abandonment which led to three years of domestic violence abuse by my son’s father in my late adolescence, all was predicated on the false belief that I was responsible in one way or another for any and all of those things or that I somehow deserved or that I wasn’t worthy of having experienced anything other than what I had.

Monday of this week my son showed up unexpectedly and unannounced. After having spent the previous week sick with the flu and having just come from being in the home with Keith during his weekend time with Luna because I was too sick to go anywhere else and it was his time to be in this space with Luna, there had been some predictable negative interactions and I was feeling raw and emotionally vulnerable. So, I really wasn’t prepared to interact with my son, especially since the last communication from him toward me was to announce on Facebook in response to a comment I’d made on his sister’s status update that I had given up my right to have an opinion or some such thing then unfriend me a little over a month ago, after the precipitating incident that caused LaLa and her SpiritLove to move out and me to leave three days later. I just really didn’t know how emotionally and psychologically safe we would be with each other once I opened the door and allowed him to come inside. But, I love him and I’m committed to being able to have a relationship with him, so I took the risk and opened the door anyway. I’m glad I did.

He shared with me something that another family member of ours, my younger cousin who is about 2-3 years older than he is, had told him. She’d let him know that when she was growing up and going through the things she was experiencing, I had been her safe person and given her a safe place to come to in her childhood when she didn’t have any other place to go to and feel a sense of safety. It was the first time he’d ever encountered anyone having that kind of perspective on me and the kind of person I have been. It was certainly not the way he has experienced me in his life and not like anything he remembers from his childhood. Apparently, it made him consider me in a different light and he was able to come to the realization that I attempted to give him and his sister safety and be a safe person for them as much as I ever had attempted it for our cousin. It was such a relief to hear him tell me that.

It also triggered more grief and realization inside of myself because I now understand that I never had a safe person or a safe place while growing up and I have carried that lack of safety with me the entirety of my adult life. Even when I am in safe places with safe people, I do not experience a sense of safety. I think that sense of safety is that sense of homecoming I’ve only ever experienced with one other human being and I think that lack of sense of safety is one of my biggest barriers in my relationship with God, myself, and others.

Prioritizing the next 28 days

I’ve just completed my fourth 28 Days to a New Me accountability challenge.

  • I got active in May by commiting to 15 minutes of daily activity. By the end, I was exercising 60 – 90 minutes a day. I was excited and confident, feeling encouraged and supported. I lost a little weight, my clothes fit better, and I was managing my symptoms better.
  • In June, I tracked my eating. I exercised the first couple of weeks, but dropped the activity when other things got in the way. Since I’m already self aware and cognizant that my food choices and eating patterns are way out of whack and very much a reflection of how I’m doing psychologically and emotionally, I’m not really sure I accomplished much.
  • July was the Ultimate Blog Challenge and I reestablished a daily writing habit. All self-care practices went out the window.
  • I decided to develop a book in August. I wrote daily, but the book has not happened, yet. Other things needed to be written and ability to write these past two weeks has been severely challenged.

Although I stayed in action all 28 days of each month’s challenge, I’m feeling very dissatisfied with myself and what I’ve accomplished. I recognize that some of that feeling is the damnable Impostor Syndrome rising up. However, I can’t help but feel as if the inner critic has valid points I need to evaluate.

I know I need to commit to the exercise and nutrition again, because those are the things that enable to me to manage my symptoms better and allow me to stay in a more constructive and positive frame of mind. I also know that I’ve been “dabbling” with my writing and it’s beyond time to get serious about actually developing it into something I can earn an income with. Otherwise, I will need to push myself mentally, emotionally, and physically to start looking for employment again, which could mean going back to pushing papers and being in an office where I’m serving an broken engine or system instead of actually having a constructive impact other than exchanging my time for a paycheck.

Luna is starting full-time Head Start on the 12th. I’ve already been in talks with the program director about volunteering and learning grant writing. I’ve spoken with the HR person and discussed a modified parent training program where I take the classroom ed portions of the Certified Teacher Assistant training program they offer. I’ve got the study books on hold with the library to study for the National Career Readiness Certification program offered by the local employment office. I’m fearful that I may have to set aside these plans for improving my skills and just take any job that can help our family financially, even if it just keeps us treading water and not moving forward.

The purpose of the 28 Days accountability group, is to create something new, to transform. There’s a part of me that feels as if revisiting previous goals is “cheating.” I feel I should recommit to exercising and writing, while adding on something new. After all, being successful in following through in one thing for 28 days and then dropping it when the next thing comes around isn’t really creating lasting change, is it?

Since, my ultimate goal here, isn’t actually losing weight (though that would be nice) or publishing a book (which would be affirming), it is about becoming a wholer person. (Yes, wholer. A concept taught by my friend, Steven Shomler, is that we may not be able to achieve actual wholeness, however we can continue to move into wholerness.) My heart’s desire is to be able to live a more integrated life inside of myself and be less segmented and compartmentalized. To let go of the the controlling manipulations which keep all my separate pieces contained and restrained. My goal is to create a balance between living my life for others and living the life I want for myself.

I recently watched Cloud Atlas and one of the things repeated throughout the movie resonated completely with me:

Sonmi-451: Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.

The present I am currently living is the future birthed from past crimes and kindnesses of myself and others. As is the present my adult children are living and experiencing. This future was created from chaos, confusion, and conflict. I’m striving to birth a new future for myself, which will, hopefully, build into better futures for those whose lives I touch. Making choices and decisions from the paradigm of self-satisfaction and building a life of material survival and comfort will not birth the future I envision.

A new friend shared this video clip with me today:

Since I’m an eclectic learner, I needed to see the actual words as well as hear them in the video:

We are all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions, moral choices. Some are on a grand scale, most of these choices are on lesser points. But we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are, in fact, the sum total of our choices. . . . Human happiness does not seem to have been included in the design of creation. . . . And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying and even to find joy from simple things, like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more. ~ Crimes and Misdemeanors, Professor Levy

The September 2013 28 Days to a New Me (sign up here) goal stems from my remembering that transformation works from the inside out, not from the outside in and that the basis for reprogramming thoughts, emotional responses, and behaviors stems from inner spiritual transformation. Back to the first three steps: I can’t, God can, I think I’ll let Him.

Like attracts like and water seeks its own level

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For those who have been following this blog for a while, you are familiar with some of the relational difficulties Keith and I have had and you may have seen previous postings where I’ve stated I believe we all experience difficulty with an undiagnosed mental health issue of his that I’ve identified as probably being Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

I’m bringing this subject up again, because of two reasons: One, understanding that behavior which is typically identified as stalking and domestic violence may not necessarily be something that is consciously chosen by the individual and is frequently dismissed and doesn’t stem from a need to dominate, control, and hold power over others. Two, people exhibiting these signs and symptoms need compassion, empathy, and understanding as much as their “victims.”

The following information comes from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness):

Individuals with BPD usually have several of the following symptoms, many of which are detailed in the DSM-IV-TR:

• Marked mood swings with periods of intense depressed mood, irritability and/or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days (but not in the context of a full-blown episode of major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder).

• Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger.

• Impulsive behaviors that result in adverse outcomes and psychological distress, such as excessive spending, sexual encounters, substance use, shoplifting, reckless driving or binge eating

• Recurring suicidal threats or non-suicidal self-injurious behavior, such as cutting or burning one’s self.

• Unstable, intense personal relationships, sometimes alternating between “all good,” idealization, and “all bad,” devaluation.

• Persistent uncertainty about self-image, long-term goals, friendships and values.

• Chronic boredom or feelings of emptiness.

• Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment.

Borderline personality disorder is relatively common—about 1 in 20 or 25 individuals will live with this condition. Historically, BPD has been thought to be significantly more common in females, however recent research suggests that males may be almost as frequently affected by BPD. Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed in people from each race, ethnicity and economic status.

In the past, I have characterized my relationship with Keith as toxically codependent. It was. It has improved quite a bit in the past eight or nine months as I have done a few things:

1) I made the conscious decision to start finding out how to communicate in ways that a person with BPD can receive and process information. Then began acting on that information.

2) Work on acceptance and forgiveness while also working on letting go of criticism and judgment. However difficult and personally painful it is dealing with him when he acts out on his impulses, intense & irrational anger, and unstable moods, I now know and understand that he is no more the cause of what I believe to be his illness/issues than I am the cause of my depression, hypomania, and attachment disorder. No one consciously chooses to be this miserable and unstable.

3) Seek support from my peers. Since the average, “healthy” person has no context to understand my decision to stay in relationship with him and I have been subjected to harsh judgments and criticisms regarding that choice, however justified the people passing judgment and offering criticism may be, I have stopped trying to get others to understand or condone my decision. Instead, I now participate in a closed, private, online support group with other people who are or have been in relationship with someone who experiences and exhibits symptomology consistent with BPD. It is a safe place to vent, receive, and give supportive encouragement.

4) Focus more on myself and my own growth and healing. As I have looked at my own attitudes, history and patterns I am learning how I have played into our relational difficulties and am learning to choose different ways of responding to his behaviors and words instead of staying other focused on what I want him to change and do different. Doing that has not eradicated the “problems” but it has gone a long way toward improving our relationship

5) I am making conscious efforts to get out of my situational and self-imposed isolation and have committed to doing things I need to do to take care of myself and seek after ways of achieving my dreams and goals, instead of simmering in bitterness and resentment that he is limited in his ability and capacity to encourage and support me in those things.

I know that by choosing to stay in relationship with him, I am choosing a more difficult path. However, the things that I value and believe inform and dictate this choice. He is committed to me and our family. He is working to provide for and support our family. He WANTS to be a father to our daughter and is doing the best he can to be the dad and husband he wants to be.

A member of my support group shared an image from the Facebook Page, The BPD Monster and Me. I want to share it with you.

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One of the things I have learned and come to understand as part of the healing and recovery process is that the people and relationships I wind up engaging with and having in my life are a reflection of my inner being. What this means is that however dysfunctional and damaged I believe them to be generally indicates that I have the same level of dysfuntionality and damage. The less I focus on their dysfunction and damage and the more I take my cues from their issues and am willing to see and address my own, the healthier I become. As a result, I am encountering new people and building new relationships where I am finding new and different reflections of myself.

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Meditation: God Can

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Last month, I addressed the first of the Twelve Steps: Admitting powerlessness and the recognition that life is out of control when practicing addiction and habits, rehearsing and replaying hurts, and staying stuck in hang-ups. For me this meant I had to recognize my powerlessness over the loved ones in my life and how they relate to one another, or if they decide to relate at all. I had to accept that the fibromyalgia and depression are physiological factors I am unable to ignore or wish away. I even had to open my eyes and understanding to realize there is still another layer to my personal brand of insanity which alternates with the depression as a mild form of mania, and it has effects I have refused to see or acknowledge, until recently.

This much powerlessness, and the admission of it, can feel overwhelming and hopeless. However, it is only the first step in a journey that leads to living a life energized with hope.

The Twelve Step program(s) do not prescribe or dictate who or what Higher Power those of us seeking hope and an end to our endless cycling of addiction, compulsive behaviors, and destructive relationships with ourselves and others are to seek and follow. Merely that we admit and recognize that there is a Power Greater than ourselves able to do what we have not, restore us to sanity.

For myself, that Higher Power does come from my cultural setting and my initial understanding, as a child, that Jesus loves me and God has the whole world in His hands. However, I also believe that God is bigger than the boxes of various religions and that He/She/It chooses when, how, and in what form to connect and relate to people.

That being said, I have struggled, a lot, over the years, with my faith and practice in believing or trusting God in my life. I am definitely one of those people who tends to lean on their own understanding, focusing on the storms of life, and immersing myself in the worries, fears, and frustrations of the circumstances in my life and conditions of daily living. For a long time I felt guilty for those things. I kept hearing messages that implied or outright stated that I was willfully choosing to thwart God’s will and presence in my life by giving into these aspects of my inner nature and personality. Now, I’m coming to understand that God understands and accepts these things in me and that He knows my struggles, doubts, and fears. He is carrying me through all of these things in my life.

He is an ever present source of strength, courage, and inspiration. Even when I can’t see, feel, or hear Him, He is here with me. My inability to perceive His presence does not mean He is absent. My inclination to forget His character of love and instead to believe the lies and doubts, which are based on my interactions with other people and my own unstable emotions and imperfect thoughts, doesn’t mean that He is unstable, imperfect, or untrustworthy.

“To receive my Peace, you must change your grasping, controlling stance to one of openness and trust. The only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul is My hand . . . You will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what.” ~ Jesus Calling, p. 38

I lived a life of hopelessness in the midst of being overwhelmed with the pain and fatigue of the depression and fibromyalgia. It was a hopeless existence to think I would be able to control and manipulate the people in my life into accepting and loving me or each other. Being stuck in the unresolved sorrow of the troubles and trials of my early life and how I kept cycling through the uncontrollable highs and lows of thought and emotion without being able to exert control over my own spikes and dips made it easier to despair than hope.

Yet, hope, is not a feeling. Hope, like Love, an action, a decision, and a characteristic of God, whose presence is inside of me as much as any of the other things which have been in control of my mind and my life.

The revelation I have had is this: pain, misery, despair, and all the negative, evil things that exist inside of my mind and in this world cannot and will not overcome hope. Hope keeps me believing that life is worth living, despite the pain and fatigue. Hope keeps me moving forward, even after I have traveled in circles and wound up back in the same places I’ve visited and lived before. Hope is more powerful than a wish, because Hope is an action, a choice, and a decision. Hope is part of the character of God and that means it is part of my character as well.

I now move from powerlessness into hope. I believe a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.

Compassion for Kitty

After nearly losing my mind and my humanity in the same day when I sat in cat poop, I was on the verge of animal abuse and traumatizing Luna. I’m not proud. Quite ashamed to tell the truth. When LaLa showed up while I was still working to let go of all the negativity and rage and I told her what had happened. She told me, “Violence against animals is still violence.”

I know this. I believe this. I never could have imagined that I would EVER be capable of animal abuse in anyway, shape or form. I’ve had the same harsh and judgmental thoughts toward those who abuse animals that others have. “They deserve their own personal level of hell along with child molesters.” Yeah, THAT.

Thank GOD I didn’t actually abuse him.

However I was overly harsh and nearly out of control and Luna witnessed it. It scared me.

It scared me.

I had a REALLY rough night last night in conflict with Keith via text and private message after a Head Start Parent Policy Council Meeting where I was approached afterward and informed I had communicated in a way that possibly made others feel as though I was correcting them and treating them as inferior. In the middle of the conflict with Keith, the cat pooped on a blanket on the couch. I felt sick . . . for multiple reasons. The cat was not harmed in ANY way shape or form.

Insomnia reigned. I reached out privately to some supportive people.

I don’t have the energy or the will to go into details. We just need prayer, I need a lot of prayer. I feel like the plane is taking a nosedive and the oxygen mask I’m supposed to use for me never dropped but I’m supposed to be administering the ones that dropped for everyone else. Not a pity party and I know God will carry me through, but I’m having a hard time breathing.

After receiving private, one-on-one, compassion, encouragement, and support from one of them, I was breathing easier. I was able to work through the conflict with Keith, somewhat. Definitely feeling the powerlessness and unmanageability of the co-dependency. *sigh* Process. ODAT.

3:30 am scooping the box and cleaning up someone’s barely digested, regurgitated cat food. yay.

3:45 Sweatshirt on and out to smoke a forbidden cigarette.

4:30 Oblivion shuts my eyes and switches off the brain for a few hours.

7:30 The slight vibration of the silent phone from a text sent by Keith, “Are you still awake?” Interpreted by my bleary eyes and muddled brain, “Are you awake yet?”

Um, no. Roll over. Close the eyes. Drift in the zone trying to regain oblivion, didn’t happen.

*sigh* Walk out the bedroom door sniffing for the telltale scent of a cleaning task. Nothing new. Gratitude.

Into the living room, switch the lights on and look around. There he is: Big, beautiful, silent, beseeching. Carefully, gently, calmly I pick him up and cradle him in my arms.

I’d forgotten how soft he is. How steady and low the thrum of his purr is. How gently he reaches his paw to rest on the back of my hand. Claws too long to sheath fully, barely pressing against my flesh.

I rub my face against his fur. “I’m sorry buddy. I guess we’re both broken, huh?”

He needs my compassion and empathy as much as I need yours.

Later….

Luna comes out of the bedroom. “He’s not a bad cat anymore?”

“He was never a bad cat. Mommy was just wrong.”

“Yes.”

If you or someone you know in the Portland, Or area can help Jade, please send an email to humaninrecovery@gmail.com. We love him but cannot provide for his needs. We don’t want to take him to the shelter where he will likely wind up euthanized and don’t want to turn him loose to fend for himself and we risk eviction by having him in our existing housing situation. He’s been part of our lives for over 12 years and it’s breaking my heart to not be able to give him the care he deserves.20130130-091953.jpg