Labels are for soup cans, not humans.

I am a human, not a soup can wrap.  Please don’t label me.

“Red and yellow black and white, they are precious in His sight”, was my first real interaction with human labels. From there, the progression escalated in less than loving titles and comparisons.

Some that were less than desirable were attached to me. Names such as “dogface” due to my terrible issues with too many teeth in a mouth not designed for large glaring teeth. Or how about “Bertha” due to my prominent derriere. Then there were labels such as “depressive”, “anxious”, “crazy”. Wow, those really make a person feel cared about and part of.

I did have some positive labels atrributed to me over the years. Labels such as “hard worker”, “high intelligence”, “care-taker”. These labels, while often viewed as positive labels, were hard to live up to when I was struggling with a multitude of health issues that no longer allowed me to feel confident in these roles. Some days I couldn’t live up to them.

I recall when a dear neighbor of mine who was often a role model for my children called one of the neighbor kids “nigger”. I recoiled. I actually arm punched this 80 something year old. I exclaimed, “I do NOT want my children subjected to ANY names towards ANY humanity EVER! If you cannot respect my wishes you will no longer be part of our extended family and friends”. We eventually came to an agreement, but I would NOT be dissuaded on my stance!

I have had so many labels attached to my person, it would be hard to figure out who I really am if I was prone to molding my life based on others perceptions and views and labels.

How about just taking me as I am. I’m Debbie. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a nurse. I am human. I care. I make mistakes. I do great things . I love! I give! I am caring! What I do is so much more about who I am than any label anyone could conceive to attach to me. Additionally there are labels that used to fit and no longer do.

How about “Dog Face”. I got my teeth fixed. I have been told over my lifetime that I am beautiful and have a wonderful smile. I am no longer a “dogface” person with a messed up mouth. That was fixable.

How about the label of “Depressive”? I currently am not depressed. In fact I am really enjoying my hopefulness for a brighter future.

I highly suggest each of us be very cautious when using labels. Those labels may not be accurate, they might not be appropriate, and they might not be any where near correct! How about we just meet one another with open-ness and respect. Leave the labels to soup cans!

 

 

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7 tips for managing symptoms while coming off mind altering pharmaceuticals

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This is a list of a few positive helps I’ve noticed that seem to be helping myself and others. Observing those in the groups that are coming off various medications, including Benzodiazepines, Opiates, anti-depressants and anti-psychotic has helped me learn. These observations are not scientific in nature and I have nothing to back them up except from what I’ve observed and experienced myself.
This list is not comprehensive in nature. Each individual observed may have been doing one or many of the listed actions in helping themselves manage their symptoms through detox and withdrawal.
These are the actions that folks are taking that seem to help them MANAGE their symptoms better. WE are unable to control them and time is a big factor. This list is things you can do NOW to help yourselves.

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1. Get outdoors!!! Even if it’s only to sit on your front porch and feel the sunbeams on your face or smell the fresh rain that just dropped or to shiver in the snow. Increase the duration over time. Maybe after successfully sitting on the porch for a week, you can walk to the mailbox the next week and then complete the activity by still sitting on the porch for 5 minutes. My personal experience with this was that, over time, I went further and further and felt so much better each time I got out to walk! Fresh air is crucial and this activity will also give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

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2. Exercise. As noted above, it starts small. Walking back and forth to the mailbox. Then walk to the end of the block and back. Then around the block. You get the idea. Mild exercise is excellent for boosting mood and for helping break the trail of lies our mind tells us that we are too sick. Yes, we are sick, but nearly every person is capable of doing something to stretch and strengthen their body! I personally have been trying Yoga and Qi-Gong and find them very helpful for me.

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3. Eat clean and stay away from sugars, gluten (I eliminated all grains), processed foods and many are sensitive to dairy. I personally eat a diet consisting of local and organicially grown meats and eggs and vegetables. When folks say they can’t afford to eat organic I remind them, I don’t do Starbucks, sodas, fast food, and I have no vices. Food is fuel for my body and it ranks high on the budget. Eat nutrient dense foods and you will feel better. Check out the book “It starts with Food”.

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4. Find a support group or a supportive group of folks you can talk with and be authentic with. This is probably the hardest, as our minds tell us we aren’t worth anything and we feel so brain damaged. Yet, those who are most functional have peeps! I go to a variety of support groups and have found a family that way. I highly recommend Refuge Recovery. It is a Buddhist based recovery program for ANYONE who is suffering. While many of us do not in any way fit the description of addict, we were dependent on our medication and not having it anymore creates huge anxiety within us. These supportive groups can be a place to learn coping mechanisms and learn tools at managing emotions.

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5. Don’t take supplements or OTC remedies. Each pharmaceutical that is touted to help one symptom has at least 2 if not more toxic potentials. I personally am not completely against all pharmaceuticals, but reaching for one every time something doesn’t feel good is not a healthy solution.

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6. Learn coping mechanisms. Regardless the reason you were started on one of the medications I listed above, it has left you with a state of anxiety and various other symptoms. Those who are practicing meditation, working with a therapist, reading books on emotional regulation or some sort of personal responsibility for managing their emotions seem to fair better over time. While it may not eliminate the symptoms, it will alleviate them.

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7. Find acceptance for the situation and have patience. The days and weeks will pass (for some months and years) but we can’t change that. Accepting it lessens the fight. There is much to be said for time. It does heal so much.

I truly hope for each that these tips are encouraging. They are things you can DO to make yourself feel better. They are things that YOU can do for YOU! We must be kind to ourselves through this process. We didn’t ask for it, but we still have to learn to maneuver it. We can’t control it either, but we can manage some of the symptoms. That is what this list is for, some management tools that I have seen helping those who are healing and moving forward.
Peace and Namaste

 

A time to write

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I had to gear up to do some writing. It’s been too long. Part of it has been time management and part of it has been deciding what I want to write about. Just now, for inspiration or a jumping off point, I went back to rereading some old posts. I find it interesting that just last year I wrote about how I’ve felt this last couple weeks and am just coming out of it. Years of this winter struggle.

Years of this struggle in the winter, so I go into my hole….my winter hibernation and yet I continue to be denied disability. I’m penalized because I don’t go to the ER or to the psyche unit where I know what happens and it’s all about medications. No…I go within and therefore don’t cost the tax payers money and really am not bother to anyone. I know that is what happens, when you get indigent care or some kind of charity.

That is the wrong way according to the judge. I’m better off letting myself go bat shit crazy or go to the ER every time I have an ache or pain. Because I didn’t go to the doctor for two year other than to the Emergency Room only two times, apparently I can’t be that health challenged. Ummm, those were the two years I didn’t have insurance. Although I don’t think Obama care is the answer, I am grateful that I did at least start getting some answers to my conditions after I got healthcare in 2013.

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By pushing my PCP, I found out about my food allergies and I changed my diet. I don’t prescribe to their answers for treatment and that also doesn’t get me any support for getting disability. For me, it’s not all about their pills. It’s about what I put in MY body. In the last few years, I’ve done a better job at making myself healthier physically and emotionallythan the present health care system ever has, and mostly without medications . All they gave me was band-aids. I ran out of being willing to just use something to cover it up years ago.

I have health issues. Some affect my physical body, and some affect my mental abilities.  Just like every other human being. I have found that eating healthy (or at least something your great grandparents might have ate) and mostly at home and using as natural as possible treatments in conjunction with some medications that do really seem to help over the long term and their side effects are tolerable is the best way for me. It is sustainable if healthcare isn’t available.

I think that is another of my major concerns in why I treat my ailments more in a natural way…or doing some hibernating…is better overall for me. It’s sustainable. I have conditions that have affected me in life changing ways over a LONG period of time. Sitting in an ER for 6 hours only to have them say things like “it’s just …” or “just take this xyz pill” is not my solution for the long term.

Anyhow…obviously in re-reading last February’s post I had to refer to it. It was appropriate. I read it and just started writing. There you go. Finally a post in 2016!!!!

It is going to be a GREAT year….up on the hillside! I don’t know what it’s going to look like and I don’t have any unimaginable expectations. I just choose for it to be good~

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February is a challenging month!

I had forgot (which I am grateful for all the other months of the year) how challenging February is for me.  I typically really suffer with my physical ailments this month because of so many weather changes always occurring.  I also know from years of experience that my depression often is at it’s worse during the coldest darkest times of the year.  Especially in Oregon. Rain, rain, and more rain.

Since I moved to S. Oregon it has been a little improved, as far as the depression goes.  Yet, I can still feel that it is there.  I am doing all I know to keep it at bay and it is not as bad as I have experienced in the past.  I have not allowed myself to hole up at home for days on end.  I only allow myself to cut myself off from everyone for a 24 hour period at a time.  So…at least every other day I FORCE myself to get out of my trailer.  I make myself do something away from home.  It might only be going to the library to check out a movie or book and use the internet for an hour, or maybe going to a girlfriends to visit for an hour, but I get OUT of bed and out of the house!

I have been doing so much better than last year in regards to my pain issues and my depression.  Most of my closer friends have noticed the change over the last few months.  But I am feeling the barbs of winter piercing my peace.  Fortunately, I am finally able to keep tucked back in the recesses of my schemas…this will pass!!!  Winter will pass.  The constant weather changes will pass.  Flowers will be blooming soon.  I can start planning my garden.  I will look forward to floats in the river with my friends.  This is a huge change from years past.

When depression hits, it is so hard to be able to remind yourself of happier times.  It is so hard to be able to hold on to the idea that it will pass. Even when you can cognitively rationalize your sadness and lack of energy, it can be impossible to force oneself to “be happy”.

So today…I accept that my thoughts and feelings will pass. I know this from experience.  Winter will come to an end.  Spring will erupt and things will bloom and the days will get lighter and the air warmer and the music brighter!

It has take so many years and so much help to get to this point.  I am just grateful today that I realize…this too shall pass!

If you are struggling with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or depression or pain related to the weather…have heart!!!  The weather changes!  And…you can change other things in your life to help too.  We have choices in our life of what we let affect us.  While my depression was at a lower level, I programmed myself with as much positive enforcement as I could to help me through the hard time.  I am finding it to be helpful.  When things get really bad, I tell someone.  I remind myself that it is temporary..whatever is making my heart and soul ache.  And I give myself a break.  No one feels happy, joyous and free all the time.  I accept the bad with the good these days.

Do you struggle in the winter…with depression?  With SAD?  With winter in general?  I would love to hear how you deal.

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Hurting, sad, mad and yet able to be inspired.

I came across this blog post today, Pain and an Unfulfilled Life, and it inspired me to be very honest and forthright about my life today.  No pretty pictures.  No tasty recipes.  No happy happy joy joy stuff.  This is laying it out on the line.  I am SMAD (sad and mad) about my life right now. And you know what? It’s okay. It’s my life and I’m allowed to have whatever feelings I need to have.

Part of this sad and mad is due to once again having my heart hurting. Another relationship busted.  But honestly, that’s secondary. Yes, I’m sad my most recent relationship didn’t work out. But I’ve learned from previous experience that this too shall pass. I’d rather know now, then after investing years of time and possibly having a marriage and everything in our lives completely blended. It hurts. It sucks. But….life will go on.  I’d rather be happy and alone than unhappy and lonely with someone who I was not good with.

So, that is part of the sad. The mad is from really hating my life right now. What really makes me almost lose it, is that I don’t see it getting any better any time in the near future. I live with chronic pain. The last 3 years have rendered me unable to work. I have a variety of diagnosis. Fibromyalgia seems to be the one everyone reverts to when discussing my disabilities and the fact that I live in chronic pain. But there are other issues too. Bulging discs in my low back as well as in my cervical area result in chronic back pain and occasional bouts of severe disabling headaches. Then there is periodic sciatica, bilateral trochanteric bursitis, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis in my back, and my feet (Oh my gosh how my feet hurt). I  have struggled periodically in my adult life with many bouts of chronic depression.  I also was diagnosed with  PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder when I was in treatment for my gambling addiction nearly 4 years ago.  Those mental health issues have been pretty well controlled for quite some time. Yet, pain triggers my mental health issues and the pain has been worse than ever the last 6 months. Our bodies and minds are connected you know? So, the pain is bad and my brain tanks, which makes the pain worse, which make my brain chemistry all messed up.  But hey, everyone says I look great! 🙂  Blech.

Now, there are some that may think to themselves or say “Well, you did a lot of things that weren’t so great over your life and maybe this is your comeuppance”. That first part is a true statement. In my gambling addiction I really sucked as a mom, a wife, an employee and as a person in general. I used to think that all my trials and tribulations were the price I was paying for my sins. Yet, in all honestly, I was bombarded with many trials and tribulations even before my gambling ever started.  But if that is the case, if this is punishment for my sins,  can you tell me what to do to atone for all my wrongdoings that I haven’t already done? I would do anything to atone for my previous sins and shortcomings and have been working on them for quite some time. I used to think my sins were unforgiveable…but I now know my God is big enough to handle even MY horrors. I personally believe God has forgiven me and I have forgiven me, so if this is a punishment, can you tell me how to have it stop? I don’t think that is the case, but am open to suggestions if you have one.

Or maybe some think “You haven’t tried the right treatments and you aren’t really trying hard enough. You need to just do XYZ.” Okay…what is X and Y and Z? I have tried medications. I have tried physical therapy. I have tried accupuncture. I have exercised. I have changed my eating to be mindful of food considered inflammatory. I have prayed. I have cried. I have tried more medications. I have had counseling. I have lost weight. I have quit smoking. I got chickens to care for so I am forced to get up each day to care for them even when it hurts so bad that I am nearly throwing up. While some of these treatment modalities have helped, there isn’t a one of them that has made it better to the point that I can count on it working for me everyday. I am grateful for what relief they do give me, but it isn’t the type of relief that would allow me to commit to going to a job on a routine basis.  Additionally, many of the treatments cost money and when you aren’t working and don’t have insurance…..well, you get the picture.

Some are thinking and have said that with the Affordable Care Act that I can finally be cured, or at least get well enough to become a productive member of society again. While I am hopeful, I am not going to hold my breath. I don’t look very good when I’m blue in the face. I have an appointment with my Nurse Practitioner next week and am going to request a very thorough workup. I want proof that I have tried all that I can. I also want to know if by chance there is something underlying that has not been noticed because everyone (including medical professionals) gets so hooked up on Fibromyalgia that they forego looking at anything else going on. That makes me mad too! I was so glad when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, because it gave a name to the pain that was changing who I was. Then I realized that the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia came with a stigma and I got sent to the back of the bus on being taken seriously about anything that hurts or doesn’t feel right in my body. Well, now I have insurance and I want some answers!

What really pisses me off the most is that I can say without any excuses that I have been one of the hardest working people I know and it hasn’t helped me in the slightest during the recent years. In my former life (before the pain won) when faced with a trial such as a relational breakup or a move or anything, I would just get busy and go to work and get it done and move on. But I can’t do that anymore. I have to do little steps. And those little steps don’t get me very far on remedying my situation. In my mind, I want so bad to push through it. But that likely could put me in bed for days to a week, if I was able to do it at all.

I have no plans. I have no dreams. My only goal is to do one thing at a time to try to get me to the place I’m supposed to be to have the life that I am going to have.  I have absolutely not even a hint of what that is going to look like in a month, or a year, or 10 years. But based on how things have been the last 3 years, nothing is going to be pain free, and nothing is going to happen smoothly or without a great effort on my part. Yeah…I am sad. And I am mad. I feel like I have no choice. Yet in all reality I do have choices.   I can choose to keep moving along putting one foot in front of the other. I can be grateful for the love I have from some really special friends in my life. I can enjoy my dog and my kittens and my chickens today! I can keep trusting that as long as I am doing the next right thing, God will get me to where I am supposed to be to do whatever I am still here for. It’s okay with God if I get SMAD. He understands.