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I was told to write out what I would say to you if I could tell you how to make a relationship work with someone with BPD, someone like me.  For some of you it’s too late.  The damage is done.  I’ve hurt you irreparably, broken trust, and shattered security.  We’ve already reprogrammed our relationship to be what it can despite those things, and I deal with the wave of sadness that hits to think of all the things I lost by not being able to tell you what I needed, by not knowing myself.  Each and every one of you has asked me what I need from a partner, but even as much as I’ve grown in the last couple of years, I couldn’t put them into words until they were worded as advice for someone else.  If that isn’t just the portrait of BPD, I don’t know what is. My hope is that this can clarify some things, maybe starts some dialogues, and definitely give us some blueprints on how to move forward and forge stronger, healthier bonds.

Sometimes I need reassurance that I’m important, and I have said this over and over again.  I don’t need to be your top priority, but I do need to be one of them if you’re going to call me a partner.  Sometimes I need a little extra attention.  Nothing grandiose.  Just a reminder that I’m loved.  It’s never that I don’t believe I am, but it’s nice to hear, see, feel it from you.  I need random messages and occasional outpourings of emotion from you, not constantly, but I need it not to vanish for weeks at a time.

I need you to hear my words not my tone or body language.  I need you to believe my words not take them as passive aggression or sass.

I need to feel secure, and when i ask for clarification on what seemed like a small action to you, I need you to not take it as malice or suspicion.  I’m just trying to understand.  Sudden changes in tone, behaviour, or levels of interaction will be internalized if I can’t mention them to you and get them out of my head, which is running through every reason why it’s all a sign you’re about to leave me.  I’m not saying these changes aren’t natural or understood, especially when something is happening in your life.  I’m just saying I might ask.

I need you to talk to me.  I need you to let me talk.  This all boils down to communication.  I’m going to overthink things, and getting it out helps.  Weird things cut deep sometimes, and all I need is to mention it so it doesn’t fester.  I need to know we can have an open dialogue without you lashing out at me.  It helps me stay calm and rational.

I need you to know I worry about pushing you away.  I worry about being too complicated.  I worry about being misunderstood.  I worry.  Mostly I worry about whether or not you’re happy with me, whether you’re still happy with me, whether you stay because it’s become routine.

I need honesty, even when I might not like it, because I need to trust that you will tell me the bad things along with the good so I don’t constantly wonder what you’re thinking but not saying.

I need balance.  I need you to trust me to handle my issues on my own first before you swipe in to try and fix it, but I also need you to know that if I’m reaching out to you I’m at the end of my rope.  I don’t want to add to your stress, and I’m doing what I can and taking steps every day to do it better, but I can’t always do it alone.  It took me a long time to be able to ask for help, and if I do it means I trust you with my life and my heart.  Please understand this.

I need you to know my triggers.  I’ll never ask that you avoid them, because part of learning to cope with them is getting used to processing them, but I do need you to be a little sensitive to the aftercare if you’re going to trigger issues.  I need to know I’m safe having a reaction to things with you.

I need you to give me some control.  I need to feel competent.  I need to feel like you believe I’m competent.  I need you to not be condescending.  I’m an adult, and I’m fully aware of what’s happening and what I need.  When I feel like I’m being coddled, babied, or invalidated it triggers everything, and I forget I’m strong and stop trying.  I need to not stop trying.

I need you to be clear, patient, and observant at times.  Especially when it comes to your needs and issues.

I need you to trust me to adjust my behaviour when I am wrong.  I need you to trust me to understand when you need a little space, but I need you to eventually come back from that space. I need you to trust that nothing I do is malicious, and help me be a better partner.  Lastly, I need you to trust me to be doing everything I can to be a better version of me every day.  I’m not happy being this difficult to live with.  I’m not complacent in it.  I’m not making excuses.

This is not a list of things you have to learn to do for me.  This is a list of things we can learn to navigate together.

I don’t believe we are stuck.  I believe things can be improved even after years of unhealthy habits.  No, you can never really start over, and there will always be old wounds, but healing is a powerful thing, and all of my relationships are strong, or we wouldn’t be in them.

I’ve done a lot of my own reading and research, but maybe it’s more helpful from a voice that’s not mine…

Which is why I’m here.    I was asked whay advice I would give to a partner of someone with BPD.  This is what I said.

Aloha.

 

Go now, feel.

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Today is World Diabetes Awareness Day, so I thought I’d share my story.  When I was a kid it was “a shame” because I was “so young”.  As I grew older it was less tragic and more inconvenient.  Diabetes had become so widespread by the time I was an adult that it was not only common but relegated to “nuisance” status by those who had never encountered it firsthand. When I wasn’t being lectured about my diet and lifestyle choices I was being sold ridiculous ideas about treatments and cures that would eliminate my dependency on insulin, from fad diets to a very specific routine that involved drinking hydrogen peroxide.  Diabetes became an urban legend that crept into as many conversations as it could.  Everyone had an aunt or a friend who had diabetes “real bad” and suffered immeasurably because of their own sad shortcomings.  Everybody knew somebody, but nobody really knew much about Diabetes itself.  I’m not here to educate.  Most people who actually want to know anything about this disease will do some reading.  It’s out there.  I’m here to tell you what they don’t tell you in books.  What happens to your life while Diabetes is doing what it does to your body.

By the time I was diagnosed at age 9 my mom had been a diabetic for over 15 years.  As a kid she was given a pretty short expiration date, and how we dealt with diabetes in children was dismal and rare.  We knew very few details about how blood sugar and body chemistry worked and even less about how systems in the body interact.  We were shooting blind, and we were losing.   My mom lost her sight just before I was born, and people had the nerve to condemn her for keeping the pregnancy that would do such a thing.  Instead of giving up, she persevered.  She learned braille, learned to take care of a newborn, and would eventually go one to be an advocate for people with disabilities and an education facilitator for other blind people.

For me there were few options when it came to routine, but my Diabetes was much different from my mother’s Diabetes.  We were beginning to count carbs and categorize food.  We knew that there were things other than food and exercise that affected one’s blood sugar, we just didn’t yet have a system for managing Diabetes that took into account a child’s changing body, other conditions, or fluctuating schedule.  Instead we were heavily restricted and chastised for not being perfectly regimented.  I went to camp for a few summers, but I came home in almost worse shape than I was beforehand.  I made some good friends, but they all seemed to be getting it, and I just wasn’t.  Around the time I began to take a dedicated interest in my own health I was patronized and treated like I was stupid, so I stopped caring for a long time.  If no one was going to help me I certainly wasn’t going to waste any more effort with something that wasn’t working.

Right before my thirteenth birthday my mom died of complications from her Diabetes.  The curse that had loomed over her since childhood had given her twice as long as she’d been promised.  For me it meant the one person who understood my frustration when I felt like I just couldn’t get it right was gone, and my teenage year were full of doctors and educators and adults telling me why they thought I was failing.  I was lectured instead of taught.  I was reprimanded instead of being listened to.  I felt like giving up.   To this day I will walk out of a doctor’s office and never return the moment my mother’s life and death is used to scare me to health.  Did I see what it did to her?  Of course I did.  Does it help to hold it in my face like a death sentence?  Never, and I won’t tolerate it.

By the time I left for college I was floundering.  I had researched newer insulins and better routines, but my medical team refused.  My driving privileges had been revoked because that same team told the California DMV that I showed nothing but disregard for my own health and safety, and to this day I don’t have a driver’s license.  Then I lost my health insurance.  Say what you want about the Affordable Care Act, but I know what it’s like to dodge colds like the plague hoping you don’t end up in the hospital.  I know what it’s like to get insulin in the mail.  I know what it’s like to consider every ridiculous idea that comes to you, because I couldn’t even pay for my own health insurance with a pre-existing condition and the state wouldn’t give me any unless I was homeless and pregnant.

I was lucky to find a job with reasonable health care benefits.  I was even more lucky to finally find an endocrinologist who would listen and work with me.  Because of her I learned about inflammatory disorders, autoimmune issues, and insulin resistance.  Because of her I found something that made me feel like maybe I wasn’t just waiting to die.

When I met my husband he had an insulin pump but little else by way of education.  Having been diagnosed as an adult, he had been forced to put himself int he hospital before his doctors would even consider the idea that he might need insulin, a pretty common situation adults with Type 1 find themselves stuck in.    In helping him I began to re-educate myself, and therein started my pump journey.  It hasn’t made me perfect, but it has enriched my life exponentially.  A few years later I would add a CGM, and it’s like a whole new life.

About six years ago my stepson, who was 2 at the time, was diagnosed, and his Diabetes gives me hope that he won’t have the childhood I did.  While it won’t be easy for him, we have tried to make it just another thing that he does, not something he HAS to do that will breed resentment.  While I know he will have his phases, his ups and downs, and his failures, we are trying to instill in him an open dialogue atmosphere as two adults who know what it’s like to try your hardest and still have a bad day or not try your hardest because you’re human and pull yourself back from it.

 

So here’s what the books don’t tell you about Diabetes:

1. Diabetes doesn’t ever come alone.  It comes with a litany of other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.  Your blood sugar affects anything from your muscles to brain chemistry.  Diabetics are prone to depression, vitamin deficiency, fibromyalgia, JRA, thyroid disease, heart disease, eye disease…you get the picture.  We are constantly watching, constantly wondering, and constantly being brushed off by the medical world, because everything wrong with us is attributed to diabetes.  Everything.
2.  Diabetes never takes a day off.  This should seem very obvious, but it’s not.  There are some days you just don’t feel like counting as closely or planning the next 4,000 steps of your day.  Much like a “cheating on my diet day” there are some days where you just accept that you’re going to feel like crap tomorrow and go to the Chinese Buffet.  Believe it or not, it’s ok to be human.
3.Disclosure about Diabetes can sometimes be worse than coming out as queer.  Believe me.  I’d rather explain my girlfriend sometimes than my insulin pump.
4.  Diabetes is expensive, even with prescription coverage.   Co-pays, vitamins, and testing and pump supplies, even at 80%, are very expensive.
5.  Diabetes means a lot of math and psychic ability.  Seriously.
6.  No one knows.  Let me repeat that: No one knows.  I could have all the complications.  I could have none of the complications.  I could have them completely aside from Diabetes.  Things could be related that haven’t even been linked yet.  No one knows, and I refuse to live my life concerned about hypotheses.
SO, today is Diabetes Awareness day.  I don’t think there’s anyone who can read this who isn’t aware that Diabetes exists, but sometimes that awareness comes in the form of an obsolete pamphlet written in 1989.  Hell, my work manual still uses the phrase “insulin reaction” to describe hypoglycemia.  As we’ve picked up the cause for more fashionable diseases, Diabetes has become old hat to those who don’t live it every day, but it’s still costing us.  It cost me my mother.  It could someday cost me my husband and the only child I have, because it’s already cost me much hope of having children of my own.  It cost me the freedom of a license for many years and the peace of mind to know I can change careers or start my own business.  It cost my husband his military career.  It cost my mom her sight and a huge chunk of her life.  These are things no amount of logs or checkups can bring back.
Diabetes Awareness Day….for me it’s every day, but it’s no longer the Diabetes that it was 21 years ago.  My hope for my stepson grows stronger every day, but it is defendant on us not forgetting that these forward steps don’t mean we’re on the easy road yet.  We’ve still got a journey ahead of us.  We’ve still got stories to tell.
Go now, eat the pie…..then bolus.
Aloha.

 

So, this time last year I had almost reached my goal weight.  No gimmicks, just a little moderation and common sense, and I was happy.  Then, three months before my wedding, I started a new medication.  I ballooned.  It took months for doctors to believe it was the medication causing the weight gain, and I was told the medication could take up to a year to flush from my system.  I tried everything.  I cut my calories and I started a regular exercise routine,  but nothing helped.  Currently, I am heavier than I have ever been.  I decided I needed a change.

A family member has had a lot of luck with Herbalife.  While I am generally skeptical of big programs like this I am an avid herbalist, so I researched.  You may all remember a while back, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, that I formulated my own system of vitamins, enzymes, and herbal supplements to treat my condition.  Looking into this new program, my first goals were to find similar results for less cost and condense my complicated regiment.  My next goal, of course, was to deal with the weight gain.

So, I’m trying it.  This is a big step for me, as I’m not usually one for routines or programs like this, but I’m trying to suspend my skepticism and trust my research.  If it doesn’t work I’ll go back to my old system.  If it does?  You’ll all know about it.

Aloha

Go now, make a change for you!

 

This is the first detrimental “sick day” I’ve had in almost a year.  Almost three years ago I came down with an illness that has yet to be named.  The “official” diagnosis was fibromyalgia, mainly because they just couldn’t find anything else.  A lot of my levels were borderline, but nothing was ever definitive.  In the span of two years I was in  he hospital at least half a dozen times not counting the times I was sent home from the Emergency Room.  A day like today would have ended with me in bed, a wheelchair, or the hospital.  This is a bad day. 

When this all started they gave me countless medications that did varying levels of nothing positive.  I stopped taking them.  Once they reached the current diagnosis the medication was even less helpful.  Most fibromyalgia medication is a differently dosed antidepressant of some form or another.  antidepressants make me suicidal.  Yes, I’m one of those people who actually gets the side effects listed in the commercials.  So, those were out. 

Eventually I had to take control of my health.  If no one was going to help me, I was going to help myself.  I started making a tea  blending catnip, valerian, and chamomile.  It works for rough days.  Catnip relaxes the muscles while chamomile works as an anti-inflamatory, and valerian helps with sleep.  It tastes like sewage, but with a little honey it makes everything temporarily stop hurting.  Considering the options that the source of my illness might rest in vitamin and nutrient absorption, I started taking a self-blended cocktail of vitamins.  Currently, I take 16 different supplements a day.  At the same time, when I start to have flare ups I stick to a gluten and casein free diet.

None of this is news to any of you who have read my early posts.  I posted this entire plan when I started it.  It was all a theory then, and a year later I’m having the first “bad day” I’ve had in a year, and I’m not in the hospital.  Is there still pain?  Excruciating.  Do I still hope we find the root of my illness?  Of course.  I have no idea what the long-term effects or current damage any of it is having on my body.  Hubby tells me quite often that he’s afraid of what may or may not happen with my health.  Just a year ago it seemed our lives were never going to be normal.  This year I’m working full-time and then some.  Even this “bad day” is not by far the worst.  I am blessed.

Go now, be healthy.

I used to get depressed a lot.  It’s a fact that there are different types of depression.  I get both physiological depression caused by chemical and hormonal imbalances and your every day, run of the mill, emotional depression.  I get panic attacks, I get crying fits, I have temper issues, and I get withdrawn.  I have been on medication for it, but the result is never good.  I end up a doped up Pollyanna with those thoughts of suicide the commercials warn us about, so when I try to kill myself at least I’m bubbly and smiling when I do.  I have stopped trying new drugs.  It’s really not worth the risk to me.  Instead, I have learned to control my temper and stop throwing things at Hubby, have my emotional release at the appropriate time in the privacy of my own home instead of the supermarket, and try not to take out my depression on those around me.  I do not perpetuate the “Misery loves company” motto, and I certainly don’t need to own any more black clothing than I already do.

In all seriousness, I have worked really hard to harness these episodes and let them pass.  I learned a long time ago that suppressing them makes them worse and sometimes permanent.  This is, however, in no way a cure.  It’s a coping mechanism at best.  Meditation and some heavy soul-searching can only take me so far.  There are times I just have to let myself be depressed and get past it.  I also have no control over the timing of these events.  They do not always hit me when it’s convenient or helpful to a current situation.

Let’s take a look at this recent down-swing I’m in.  Hubby’s last girlfriend and I had a few issues and emotional clashes.  Since I couldn’t express a lot of my frustration to her directly, he ended up taking a brunt of the backlash.  It wasn’t fair to him, and I handled it poorly.  As a result, he’s a little gun-shy.  My current depression hit the day before he was set to go on a first date with a new interest.  He’s really optimistic, not only about the two of them but about the two of us really getting along well.  I’m happy for him.  I’m optimistic.  He doesn’t believe me though, because the two nights he’s gone to see her I’ve been bawling when he left.    He tried to stay home the first night, because I was bawling so hard I couldn’t breathe.  I finally convinced him to go, but he’s still not convinced I’m comfortable with this situation.

Once I’m out of this funk I’m going to have some serious damage control to take care of.  We’ll get through it, and I really do wish him the best.  *sniffle*

Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals.  Literally, our house has been full of tomatoes, cabbage, beets, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and an assortment of herbs.  Yesterday we welcomed the addition of a food processor into our home.  Then we spent hours canning tomato sauce and pickling sweet peppers.  By the end of the day I had much earned my reward of Friendly’s and a  movie from the Redbox.

The harvest from our lives has been much greater, yet maybe a little more below the surface.  In our day-to-day lives we’ve reaped quite a bit this season.  We started the year off by uprooting ourselves and moving in with Hubby’s grandfather in order to pay off our debts and start saving to start over in a year or so with a clean slate.  We had a lot of issues as a couple that needed smoothing, and I was just starting to improve my health with a reduced casein/gluten diet.  We threw a lot of seeds at once, and hoped at least a majority of then stuck.  Luckily, we threw them to fertile soil.  Through lots of hard work and determination we settled into a new routine that made sure we were both employed.  I was able to keep my job in Philadelphia with some help from friends and a little perseverance and sacrifice.  I’m working full-time with an illness that still has no name thanks to a staunch vitamin regiment, and we are working towards paying off all our debt.  As a couple we are stronger than we were a year ago.  We have pulled together to reach our goals, and we are making it happen.  With all this progress has come new ways of dealing with  challenges, the addition of new people in our lives, and the beginning of our household’s foundations.

In our magickal lives we’re reaped a whole library of new knowledge from seeds we never knew we planted.  My Reiki and chakra work continues to intensify, as does my interest in Hawaiian magick.  I’ve overcome obstacles and faces fears.  I’ve acquired self-esteem and confidence in my abilities in all areas of life.  Hubby is devouring books like they’re made of chocolate, and has not only finished a fully functional forge but has also started several other important endeavors.

Today I consider myself extremely grateful for what has come to us in the past few months, and I continually  give thanks for the people in my heart, for they are the true blessings I have been given.  They really are a fantastic and unbelievable group, and I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have around my table.  The garden of our life is flourishing and vibrant.  It still has a few weeds to dig out, and a few of our seeds have yet to bear fruit, but this is only the first of the harvest festivals.  We still have half a season ahead of us, and I can’t wait to see what Mabon and Sammhain will bring.

Go, now.  Give thanks for your harvest!

~*Namaste*~

Disclaimer:  I debated writing this today.  I’m in a pretty thick fibro fog, which makes organized thought a rough task.  I haven’t written much lately due to a quick but necessary move and a short stint in the hospital, so I decided to take a chance.  Forgive the slight leaps and jumps.  This was important.

As far as I am concerned, we live in a time and place where medical science is at least slightly more than trial and error when it comes to diabetes, that is, unless the patient happens to need hospitalization.  The problem is not lack of knowledge, it is lack of education on the part of most doctors and nurses.

When I first met my current Internal Medicine doctor she admitted she lacked specific knowledge on diabetes and referred me to an endocrinologist for anything diabetes related.  This seems to be a general condition of doctors treating patients in any hospital across America, and believe me, I have been in enough of them to know.  In the past I have had hospitals take me in then refuse me insulin until my blood sugar was high enough to need substantial correction.  When I protested that I did not enter the hospital with high numbers and that their methods were less than logical, the nurse said to me, “I know, my boyfriend is a diabetic, and that’s how he does it too.”  No, honey, that’s how every diabetic on the planet does it.  Only when I refused to eat until I was medicated or allowed to speak to a doctor was I given anything.  The doctor told me the policy was based on the unlikely possibility that I would crash in my sleep and never recover.  Even unconscious you can fix a low blood sugar in a  hospital, and it would have taken a lot more than what I needed to put me in that position.

On a recent trip for a viral infection I resorted to hoarding juice and sneaking in my own testing supplies to self-treat.  Let me assure you, this is no easy task when one is half conscious from a stomach bug.  Still, if I had not taken my own measures I would have not been able to fix an extreme low that was ignored for almost an hour.  We cannot let this kind of  situation exist.  How many patients have not healed or been kept in hospitals for extended stays because their diabetes is not being properly managed by the people charged with caring for them?  Then to have them tell me I need to just trust the professionals who have time and again left me in worse condition than when I started because they have the big fancy titles, degrees, and several years of overpriced education is ludicrous.  Prove to me you really deserve my faith and you will get it.  Deny me insulin based on some protocol based in fear of far-fetched risks and you will not.

I really have no idea how to solve the problem, I just think it needs to be  brought to the attention of anyone and everyone who will listen.  Diabetes may be ever evolving as far as treatments and care, but the basics have not changed.  It is imperative that hospitals start paying attention and educating their staff.  I am tired of being approached like a bad child and lectured like I have no clue how to take care of a condition I have had for almost two decades by people who keep making me sick.  Does this make any sense to you, my friends?  Do you have any similar stories to tell?  Maybe we can gather them up and send them to somebody who can do something.  I fear, more than likely, that person doesn’t exist and we will have to make our own change.  Either that, or start hoarding those little juice cups that come with breakfast.

Go now, readers, and test your blood sugar.

If cleanliness is godliness baking soda is the source of all that is holy, at least in my house.  Everyone has his or her dirty little cleaning secret for baking soda, or at least has heard of a few.  Whether or not you have ever used it in your daily cleaning routine,  baking soda is most likely a key ingredient in a product you buy from the grocery store.  I was turned on to the versatile power of such a simple thing a couple years ago when I tired of the irritation my skin suffered as a result of commercial laundry detergent.  A little research and a wonderful Livejournal community later I was hooked on the white powder…the other white powder. 

With the holidays here in full force, whether you entertain at home or not, you have probably looked around once or twice at the dust and grime glowing in the twinkling lights and vowed to spend a day making your house twinkle.  Let me share some of my many uses for baking soda with you in an attempt to simplify your cleaning process.

Laundry Detergent:  Hubby scoffed when I suggested trading our chemical rich detergent for baking soda mixed with a small bit of Borax, but agreed to a 30-day trial.  In his opinion nothing could clean construction and mechanic filth from his work clothes unless it was harsh and abrasive, preferably high-octane.  Four months later he asked why I had decided not to do the trial.  Obviously Hubby does not sniff his clothes.  Otherwise, he would have known I had switched just after he agreed to the trial.  For more smelly articles, or just for a nice accent, you can add a couple drops of your favourite essential oil to each load.  Just make sure it is an essential oil, not a fragrance oil, and one you have tested on your skin beforehand in case of an allergy.  Lavender is a wonderful antibacterial and, for those with sensitive skin, tea tree oil works great as well.  I use a cup of a 3:1 mixture of baking soda and borax per load, and I have never had to rewash anything.  It even works for items the animals have used. 

Kitchen Cleaning:  Everyone has been told at one point or another to put an open box of it in the fridge to keep it fresh and eliminate odors, but I clean everything from the sink to the hardwood floors with baking soda. For extra shine add apple cider vinegar to your mop water, sprinkle the floor lightly with baking soda, and mop as usual.  Apple cider vinegar is baking soda’s best friend and partner in cleaning crime.  Remember those volcanos we all made in grade school?  They were also tiny eruptions of clean!  Recreate this science project in your garbage disposal to clear away grease and gunk clogs.  This works on bath tub drains, too!

Bathroom Scrub: Baking soda can be used exactly the same way you would use Comet in toilets, tubs, and sinks.  Sprinkle it straight or make a paste and scrub it in with a brush to get in the cracks and crevices.  You can also make your own toothpaste with baking soda, and it can be used as a dry shampoo or deodorant in a bind.  I also make my own bath bombs and salts using baking soda and a few added ingredients. 

These are the main areas of cleaning, but baking soda can be used anywhere from the cat box to the baby changing table.  It works extremely well on anything that may be damp or sticky that may need to be dried up before you can clean it.  You can even sprinkle it on furniture and carpets like a cleaning powder as long as it can be vacuumed.  Coupled with apple cider vinegar and a few essential oils, and occasionally a handful of Borax, you can clean just about anything.  I would not recommend it on anything susceptible to scratching, though.  For glass and easily marked surfaces I would just use the vinegar. 

In the end, baking soda is cheaper and just as affective as commercially sold cleaners.  It has been a gift from the gods as someone who is extremely sensitive to harsh chemicals, and is safer for homes with children and pets.  The only concern?  If you use it all cleaning one thing you have to make or acquire more before you can clean anything else.

Go now.  Be clean!

(I apologize, yet again, for interrupting a series…something tells me I need to write this NOW  I also apologize for its length.)

You heard it here, dear readers, and it is no secret that yours truly does not have and has never had a driver’s license.  I had a permit when I was sixteen years old, but I failed my first test because of a parallel parking issue and the new insurance card was not in the vehicle for my second attempt.

My first hurdle came from the State of California.  As a diabetic I had to have my doctor fill out a five page questionnaire regarding my health.  At the time I was having a lot of problems with my insulin routine, but no one seemed to want to help me smooth out the areas where I was having issues.  Still, I was not losing consciousness, I was never in the hospital, and my ability to function was in no way impaired.  My pediatrician was always certain I was lying about taking my shots, but that is a topic for another time, and wrote on the form that “with diabetes there is alway’s a chance something can go wrong”, so the Department of Motor Vehicles revoked my driving privileges.  This was a week before I was to move to Philadelphia, where I would have no need or use for a car, so I dropped the issue and learned to take the bus.

Even then I never felt comfortable at the wheel of a car.  I would have dreams where I was driving but could not keep control of the vehicle.  Either the car stopped responding to the wheel turning, I could not reach the pedals to adjust the speed or stop at intersections, ot a myriad of other panic inducing scenarios.  I could tell I was not ready to be a driver.  I could ride a bike, motorcycle, or scooter.  I could even drive a boat or a 4-wheeler, but mention driving a real car ona real roadway and I would have panic attacks.

My second speed bump came just as I decided I needed a license here in Pennsylvania.  A week or so from getting my permit I was on my way to a play at a Shakespeare Festival.  They tell me the light was red.  For all I know it was Royal Blue with gold inlay.  What I did see was a van in our path.  It did not register that we were going to collide with it until three seconds after we did.  Seat belts locked, airbags deployed, and my brain imbibed a sound and smell I will never forget.  When I opened my eyes, all I saw was white smoke and the airbag deflating.   My glasses and my right shoe had been knocked off, and I was certain in my mind that my driver was trapped, so I ran to the driver side to see how bad the situation had become.  It took little coaxing to get him out of the car to safer ground which was the middle island until help arrived as a couple Good Samaritans called for help and made sure we were alright before police ad ambulance arrive.  I set my focus on retrieving things we would need from the folded Volvo and managed to get our glasses, wallets, my shoe, and my bag containing my airport badges and insulin from the front seat, but by then the pain was taking over my sense of deliberation.    Panic had not yet kicked in, but once at the hospital I immediately felt nauseated, and the triage nurse handed me a shallow kidney-shaped pink basin to throw up in should I feel the need.  It seemed an ineffectual receptacle to me, so I prayed I would not actually need to make use of it.  I was taken back to the ER where I was introduced to Dr Charming.  They hooked me up to a heart monitor, and IV of fluids, and a blood pressure monitor that appeared to be connected by a coaxial, and I wondered whether I got HBO.  They then ran tests and set me up in a hospital gown to compliment the skirt I had planned to wear to the play.
Apparently the one person who did not know I was a diabetic was Dr. Charming, and he held me personally accountable for not disclosing such information immediately.   So, when I asked for a cup of water I received a Styrofoam cup with “Jenn does not reveal medical history” emblazoned across the side of it.  Obviously, Dr. Charming was in the mood for a smartass competition, so I scribbled “Jenn is a Type I diabetic” across the other side and made sure he was given my cup. Dr. Charming was not as good at tolerating as much smartassness as he was at dishing it out, so my cup was returned by him with “a PITA” added to “Jenn is”.  “It’s an acronym,” he informed me with a smirk, “know it?”  Touche, Dr Charming, now give me the news.  The result was a bruised kidney, possible internal bleeding, three months without work because I was unable to lift anything, and a battle with Esurance that was never resolved or paid out.  They could not believe that, as someone with no car or license, I did not have car insurance nor did I live with anyone who did have it.  I am still paying for the loss of wages and the coverage I was supposedly entitled by the insurance company, and it took me years to be able to be in a car and not have panic attacks or not hold the handle or seatbelt nervously.

This brings us to today, mere weeks from taking my first driving test in almost a decade.  The weather is bad, and I am in an extremely light car on the turnpike.  We hydroplane and we fishtail, but the friend driving maneuvers out of it beautifully.  A second later we catch something and swerve quickly into the median, sending us bouncing across traffic into the right hand lane.  K is upset, but we manage to pull the car over to the shoulder and check for damages.  We are safe, but the car is totalled.  We see several accidents throughout the day that are far worse than ours, but we are shaken.  We sit in the tow truck for over an hour and a half while the driver and his coworkers try to pull out a car that had gone off the road, up a forty-foot embankment, and into a wheat field.  We spend another couple hours in the town truck office trying to find a rental car dealer open after noon on a Saturday.  Finally one of the workers offers to drive us to the airport to pick up a rental car.

Despite all this, I am calm.  I am not afraid to get behind the wheel of a car.  I am not afraid to drive.  I have let go of these fears.  Am I cautious?  Of course, but I am no longer afraid of an accident.  They happen.  One piece of advice from the Tree last weekend was to cast away the fears that no longer serve me, because they are now holding me back.  Nothing here can hurt me in ways that can not be healed.  I am ready for my next step.  I am ready to grown, even if it is something as mundane as getting a driver’s license at the age of 26.  In a way I can find the positive in today.  This was my test, and I passed.

Now, my friends.  Go cast away the fears that no longer serve you.

I have always been a healer and a nurturer.  As a child I had a small army of orphaned baby dolls I had taken under my wing.  In my teenage years I realized my love of working with children in care homes and those with special needs, and from that point it was a goal of mine to make my life about healing and enriching the lives of those who are often unseen in our society.  In all these aspects I was guided internally to touch and sooth.  An ex-boyfriend of mine used to call them “magick hands”.

A few years ago I realized my role as a healer on the path and a talent for helping people heal themselves.  Not long after Hubby and I started working with the coven we are now a part of I took on a very personal relationship with the goddess Brighid, particularly as healer though I relate to her also as poet, warrior, and craftswoman.  She has guided me in healing and soothing the bodies, minds, and hearts of people who find themselves opening up to me without knowing why, and I turn to her when I feel too weak to fulfill my role.

Last year I began to pursue what I felt needed to be my next step.  A former girlfriend and good friend of mine had been a Reiki practitioner for several years, and through her I came to understand its universal benefit.  After several attempts I found a Master who fit me and my needs, and this past Sunday I was formally taught and quite beautifully ceremoniously attuned.  Krissy was an amazing teacher and has done a great job of following up with her students and keeping in touch with them regularly.  I do not know when I will be able to attend one of her Reiki shares or continuation classes, but I look forward to continuing to learn from her and her other students.  This is a big step for me.  It is a chance to continue my education and to grow as a healer.  It helps me understand myself and my body, and I fully intend to pursue a Master level so I can extend this opportunity to grow and change th world with others.

The main thing I love about Reiki is its universal application.  One does not have to be Pagan or even extremely spiritual for it to work.  One has only to be open to the energy and the possibilities of being well.  This, to me, is the beauty of Reiki.  To some people it is a highly spiritual experience.  To others it is more like a massage or a workout.  Whether or not the receiver knows what or where a chakra is or what the colours and bells and whistles represent, she can still have a wonderful experience.  In my opinion, that is what life is all about, experiences.

I’ve linked Krissy’s site if any of you dear readers have questions or would like to know more about Reiki.  If you can get to Delaware for her classes, I highly recommend it.  Otherwise, if this is something you would like to pursue, and it is something you are meant to do, the right Master will come to you.

Now, go make a new experience today!

~*Namaste*~

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