Category Archives: therapy

…then the pandemic happened and man has this blog been on my mind.

Tap tap tap. Tap tap. Tap tap tap tap! Ok, that’s me tapping on the inside of your screen. What up? It’s been awhile, right? I think I’m back. At least I want to be back. I am a rider who writes things and those things collect dust in my computer. I remember the days of old, way back in ’09 and a few years after that when I wrote here all the time. I’ve been talking to a few friends about those very years when there were tales of Insert who became Jayden, calls for nouns to spark ideas which became calls for Sparks which became short stories, conversations in the comments, random stories about life as I adjusted to being blind. Some of the happiest times. Then Blogger broke accessibility and I came here
and I’ve been paying way too much money to host all this content that I don’t want to lose but I no longer want to pay so much for so I’ve been looking into ways to not lose my content but also not pay as much and then the pandemic happened and man has this blog been on my mind. So here I am. How are you? Like really, how are you?

Since before Corona, I have been trying to find my thing. That thing that we humans need, whatever it is, to feel like we’re contributing to the world. At least I need that thing. After I discovered back in ’10 that writing is something I could still do after going blind, I thought that my dream was to work towards publishing novels and memoirs. I’ve studied the publishing industry, done what I could to teach myself the craft of writing, read books, signed up for seminars and online classes, and finally decided to attempt earning a Bachelor of Art in an online degree program, which failed. Using brain power to access the online learning environment, which is optimized for Windows computers and Jaws when I use a Mac and Voiceover, all while meeting weekly deadlines, proved to be way too much to handle while working to stay healthy with MS. Do you know what is not a bad word? Failure. Trying, really trying something and failing shows me what works and what doesn’t, and committing to anything on other people’s schedules doesn’t work right now.

In December, I began intensive trauma therapy once a week and my therapist utilizes a treatment modality called EMDR. It has been incredibly clarifying! What came out in my last session is that writing on this blog used to bring me great joy. The school experiment failing has reminded me, with therapy, that what worked for me a decade ago is where I’m feeling called now. To my blog. To be able to share my writing with the world, on my own schedule and by my own terms. The blog has been on my mind, and then I decided to send a random tweet and I got a response from one of my long ago readers and friends, Torie. I took that as a sign. I mean, because of this blog I created a character based on her in a scene in a novel that I still work on from time-to-time, that’s what a big role this place used to play in my life. So here we are! I’m hashing out the details of what this will become and for starters, I’m going to get help fixing the colors and fonts and stuff, since my uncle pointed out awhile ago that it’s not very pleasing to the eye, also a new look to better reflect who I am today. I knew that I wanted to post here for anyone who might still be subscribed before I start sharing on the socials, just to get back in touch and check in before the changes happen. I’m considering adding some dreaded ads so that maybe I can supplement my food stamps, ha! I missed blogging! However I also know me, and I know that I tend to run headlong into new projects and then discover that it doesn’t work for me, so who knows. I’ve been feeling called for a long time now to write about facing life’s challenges and the things that I’ve learned about how to do that over the years thanks to recovery from alcohol abuse, and living through MS blinding me. I want to share my courage and tools and right now feels like the exact right time. I began writing this post on the 13th, so hopefully I’ll get into a better and faster habit and keep writing.

We will get through this COVID-19 or Corona virus pandemic, whichever name you like best. We just don’t know what it will look like. None of us knows. But I have faith that the human race as a whole will come together, is coming together, to get through this. While we wait to find out what comes next, how about we do what we can, by putting the oxygen masks on ourselves first and then turning to help whomever needs help?One thing’s for sure, there will be stories! I will be resurrecting the calls for Sparks, absolutle!

So really, how are you?


Filed under COVID-19, gratitude, in the news, Insert, Jaws, Jayden, sobriety, therapy, Voiceover, writing

Thanks for the Bone, Universe. It’s delicious.

This morning I had a house call with a nurse practitioner. This is a program my insurance participated in a couple months ago but it’s not actually new, just new here. Basically her visit was just meant to supplement my regular doctor visits and the point of the program is to try and keep people out of the hospital. I was incredibly impressed with her and the program and they’re “mission statement” if you will, keep people out of hospitals, keep people healthier, the better for all of us.

The visit was very comprehensive including the normal sort of checklist you might fill out at the doctor, but more brief. She got to know all about my medical history just by asking questions and having a conversation. She was easy to communicate with, knowledgeable about MS, not at all condescending, understanding about my choice not to get a flu shot, not distracted by my dog and ignoring her patient, not rushing, just all around a good experience.

I was impressed when she said, “I bet you’re happier than most that summer is over.” She knows!!! She gets it! When I explained that I’m on gabapentin for my pain and that I’m trying not to go the narcotic route for as long as possible, she gently but firmly explained that pain can trigger my MS just like heat so I should not live with pain. I mentioned medical pot and she told me how to go about opening up the dialogue with my doctor and what to expect about the process. We talked about how B and I are both in recovery so there’s that to contend with. She just understood it all.

When I mentioned the tooth problems and how much Advil I’ve been taking she asked if I had tried calling the insurance to speed up the process. When I explained that I had and it didn’t go well, she gave me a phone number to try and basically gave me the courage to keep trying until I found someone who could and would help. I’m going to try again tomorrow. If at first you don’t succeed and all that.

She tested my urine to check my sugar and kidneys which came back normal despite all the Advil. We talked about my vertigo and I told her I wanted to get a cane and she agreed that would be a good idea. She told me to call that same number to get assistance finding a neurologist.

Gosh, what else did we discuss? Oh she gave me a physical and everything looked good on the outside and sounded good on the inside. She checked my feet for neuropathy and even though I’m having tingling in the right one, that came back ok too. I did fail the three word test though. I could only remember two of the words. So I don’t know what that means. I also drew a clock haha!

“Can you draw the face of a clock?”

“I’m blind!”

“Do you remember what a clock looks like? Here, draw it.” Hahaha! I giggled. She said my circle was perfect. I drew the hands to the time she wanted but they were a little off since I couldn’t remember exactly where I had drawn the numbers. Good times!

I am exhausted this afternoon but it was such a good experience. She really helped. It’s like she picked up on exactly what has been a stressor and gave me solutions. Oh and we talked about therapy too, which is funny because this morning I was thinking I wanted to get back into it. She gave me a phone number for that too, a number that will help me find the right kind of help. She iterated how important it is to have that outside party that won’t judge what you say. It was like this woman was reading my mind!

So wow, maybe the universe heard me when I asked if a bone could be thrown my way. I definitely don’t feel so lost at sea now. I feel like now I can just focus on not feeling well at the time being and can just relax. I feel like she was my spotter while lifting heavy weights. Which oh man have I gained weight. We talked about that, too. About how easy it is to get out of the habit of daily exercising especially when you don’t feel well.

Anyway, yay! As I was catching up on Twitter after I had some lunch, I read the following tweet:

@BMcCarthy32 I have a painful wisdom tooth situation happening, so I apologize if I’ve been cynical and sarcastic on this website recently.

Wow, I get to have a painful wisdom tooth situation at the same time as Brandon McCarthy! How lucky am I? Wait Ro, I clicked that link, he doesn’t nor has he ever pitched for the Rays. I know, but I admire him. Dude got his head split open by a line drive, fell into a coma, came out of it and is pitching again. I’m honored to share wisdom tooth misery with him. Though something tells me he doesn’t have to wait for insurance to tell him he can have it removed.

Random Happy

If you read my review of “The Fault in Our Stars”, you know how much I adored it. If you follow me on Twitter, you know how much I like Mental Floss. So when I found out that John Green himself (author of aforementioned novel) does videos for Mental Floss, I was thrilled! That man talks so fast. Seriously.

So today, how happy was I to open a video full of outtakes from Mental Floss and John Green? It was the perfect way to unwind after the house call this morning. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time.


Filed under baseball, Dental Health, gratitude, humor as coping skill, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2013, spoons, therapy, twitter me this, youtube

Carnival Post – Top Ten

Here is the complete Carnival!


It’s the tenth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival! Click here to read about what the blog carnival is and click here to read about this round and it’s topic. The ADBC has come full circle in this round, being hosted by the original host, After Gadget.

I have had the ultimate writer’s block but really wanted to submit since I submitted in the first round. I’m just going to write and not try to be organized haha! The topic for this post is “Perfect Ten”. I wracked my brains trying to come up with an idea but my inner creative chick is still sleeping apparently so I’m just going to jump in to some free form and see what comes out. Sometimes writing about Jayden is like trying to express gratitude. I tend to get very flustered when my heart is so full.

Jayden isn’t perfect and nor am I but I always say our match was perfect. Guide Dogs for the Blind was perfect in matching Jayden to me. I can’t imagine anything that is lacking from our partnership. When GDB asked me what I wanted in a dog I had no idea since I grew up with cats. I told them I just needed a chill dog who would be ok when my MS flared up and I needed to rest. I think GDB gave me the most chill dog available haha! He is cool with whatever I need. He loves to relax on the couch with me but when I need him to work he snaps to attention like a soldier. He has gotten so in tune with me that he knows exactly what I need, sometimes before I do. He’ll slow down on walks when he knows I’m tiring. Sometimes I try to speed him up and he disobeys and then I feel my fatigue. He knows before I do; it’s pretty crazy! He really was the perfect match in so many ways. I’m amazed at these schools and how well they do in the matching process.

I never imagined all the added bonuses (non guide work stuff) that would come with a guide dog. Let’s see if I can come up with ten added bonuses:

Good Potassium Numbers

When I was in the hospital when I went blind, my potassium was dangerously low. They gave me a pill and after I saw my doctor upon my release, she ordered a banana a day. That didn’t work out so well because I couldn’t make bananas last long enough; they went bad so quickly. After I got Jayden, I remember his raiser telling me Jay loved bananas. Now my potassium stays in good shape thanks to bananas and orange juice. How could anyone not want to share a banana with a dog who goes crazy when he hears the question, “do you want a banana?” (That link has audio) Oh and orange juice taste even better when it’s a banana chaser!

Tear Soaker Upper

I should have known what a comfort Jayden would be when I’m sad. Heck even my cats have soaked up tears over the years but they don’t hold still like Jayden does. Since Jayden and I have that incredibly strong bond of assistance dog and handler, he knows when I need him to just lay still and let me cry on him. It’s a good thing tears don’t hurt his coat haha!

A Schedule A Dog Makes

One of the hardest parts about going blind and being medically retired was the sudden loss of a schedule. Weekends were no longer anything special since every day was like a weekend. Working folk think this would all be a dream come true but when you’re twenty-nine and suddenly can’t be self supporting, it’s a huge loss of identity. It’s amazing what a schedule will do to add a sense of purpose, at least it did for me. Jayden is on a feeding and relieving schedule very similar to what he had at guide dog school. Working my life around his schedule led me to realize how great schedules can be for adding structure to my otherwise structureless life. I’ve since come up with workout and cleaning schedules that turn my week into a “work week” and allow me to enjoy weekends with B. Amazing how a pee schedule for my guide dog turned my day-to-day life into something more “normal”.

Fitness Lives

When I decided to get a guide dog I knew I’d have to do some work to build up my stamina. I needed to be able to walk a mile since I’m pretty sure that was one of the requirements for acceptance to GDB. Luckily the blind center has a gym and a health and wellness program and my name came up on the waiting list at the same time I decided to apply to GDB. Serendipity? My whole life I’ve wanted to be fit and healthy but it’s hard without guidance and I was never successful. I reached my goal of being prepared for guide dog school but I never stopped with the fitness. It has since become something of an addiction for me and since I no longer can work out at the blind center, I’ve developed a program for myself at home. I’m more fit that I’ve ever been and exercise has been the best form of treatment for the MS. This might be the most important added bonus!


Ok this is easily a tie with the fitness as one of the best added bonuses. Anyone who smokes or used to smoke knows how hard it is to quit. For me it was easier to quit drinking than it was to quit smoking. Jayden became another motivation however, when I thought about what would happen to him if I wasn’t around. I also hated exposing him to that and I’ve now been quit over a year.

Someone To Watch Over

I’ve never wanted children. Ever since I was a teenager I didn’t want children. It’s almost as if something prepared me for my future. It’s not that I can’t have kids now,I’m fully capable, but I wouldn’t have the energy. The MS is definitely my primary disability, not the blindness. However as a woman, it’s in my nature to want to care for something. I worked in therapy about the choice not to have children because even though for years I told myself I didn’t want them, there was still this huge sense of loss when I realized I would never carry a child and rase an adult. Jayden has filled a huge part of that void and that is something I certainly never expected. I knew going into this partnership that Jayden would look to me to fill his needs but I never expected the fulfillment I get out of being that person for him! I take pride when the vet tells me how good his teeth look or when a fellow dog lover tells me how great he looks. Yes, he was raised by another before he came to me, but I’ve continued to mold and shape him and care for him and I think of him as my child. I think most animal owners think of their pets as their kids, I know I always did with my cats, but this goes so much deeper. I never expected my guide dog to fill most of the void left by the child I’ll never have.

Fear Management

The first summer after I went blind we had an insane monsoon season and during one particularly bad storm, I asked B to go into the spare room and get the cat out of there. I can’t remember why I wanted her out. B went to go get her and then I heard shattering glass and the door slam and I started screaming, not sure where B was. The wind had been howling and whistling, sounds I had never heard before. B was ok, he had just come out of the room when the wind blew the window in and caused the door to slam. After that I was terrified of wind. I was afraid I would transfer this fear to my dog so I asked at school what to do about that. I was told to just try and be as cool as possible and make storms fun for my dog. I never imagined how this would cure me of my fear! Now the wind has to be really bad to scare me but I don’t panic like I used to. I just calmly take Jayden with me to a safe spot in the house and “cuddle”. I feel safer and he doesn’t get freaked out. I love this added bonus! That fear of wind was getting debilitating before Jayden came around.

Ultimate Feet Warmer

As I’ve been writing this off and on over the last few hours, Jayden has been in several positions on the couch next to me. While I was writing the last bit, he got off the couch and lay down on my feet. It’s almost like he was saying, “don’t forget to include how much you love it when I lay on your feet!” There is just something so comforting about the weight of him on my feet and nothing is better at warming them! I love it when he does this. The only negative about when your dog is comfortable with some part of him resting on you is that you don’t want to disturb him and therefore don’t move. I’m pretty sure my feet are going to fall asleep haha!

Attitude Adjustment

It’s really hard to stay in a bad mood when you have a goober head constantly cheering you up. I might be feeling depressed and then it’s time for Jayden’s afternoon Kong Wobbler treat. I’ve taken to pronouncing “wobbler” so it sounds very French and you can’t stay in a bad mood when you’re asking your dog if he wants his Wobbler in a high pitched silly French accent. Then when he’s done with it and I ask him to show me and he takes me to where he left it, I get so proud and excited and he gets thrilled to get his reward “cookie”, that I find myself grinning so big my cheeks ache.


When I decided to apply for a guide dog, I told my friend Chupa that I wanted to start a blog to document the process. I jokingly said I could call it Doggy Diaries or something. She said I totally should and my old Blogger blog was born along with the Doggy Diaries category. Before I knew it I was a part of a fellowship of other guide dog handlers and puppy raisers and I felt so apart of the blind community, finally. I felt so alone when I went blind since no one I knew understood what I was going through. There was one woman I spoke with on the phone, a friend of a friend and it was actually her guide dog who was the first guide dog I met. This blog though, led me to the people who helped me feel not so lonely and they came with me on the journey of getting a guide dog. Some of those people are still my closest friends today and I bet some of those people are submitting posts for this very carnival. The fellowship in the guide dog community is certainly one I never in a million years expected when I applied to GDB in September of 2009!

Ok wow, my arms are aching something awful but look, I wrote the post! Haha, and it turned out more organized than I thought it would. I’ll come back and add a link to the complete carnival post when it’s up.


Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, blog carnival, cats, Doggy Diaries, fellowship, GDB, gratitude, guide dogs, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, monsoons, num num food, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, therapy, weather, working dog, workouts, youtube

Possible new therapist

I got a return call last night from one of the therapists my old one recommended. I’ve got an appointment on the 18th. I could have gotten in sooner, but can’t afford it till then. I’m feeling a tad better just having a session scheduled. I’m also resenting the fact that I need to go back, when I had been doing so well and had “graduated” to per diem only. Guess this time in my life constitutues an as needed session. Ah, life. At least I know to pick up the tools when I need them. Just wish I didn’t need them.

Hopefully things are looking up, on my part at least.


Filed under therapy

My therapist moved to Florida

I woke up this morning in such a terrible mood and it’s not getting any better. I’m feeling a bit abandoned by my therapist. She moved to Florida. She gave me a few phone numbers of some women in the same building but I don’t want to start fresh with someone. I also can’t afford it. And my therapist helped me out with that. It’s betting to the point though, that I think I’ll need to call one of these women and just see what we might be able to do. I’m not doing so well. There’s just some major stuff I need professional help with. Doesn’t it always seem like when life is going you great, life throws a sinking curve ball and you’re out on strikes? Better bench me for awhile coach, I can’t hit right now. I just need a reminder that I’m still good in the outfield even if I’m not swinging the bat. Don’t ask me what I’m trying to say. Baseball analogies seem to work well for my life. Blech. At least I have Jayden. Don’t think I’d be managing to shower and get dressed if it weren’t for him. Actually I’d still probably want to work out. It’s great to work out when you’re pissed off. Have I mentioned I’ve lost nineteen pounds? Yep. Getting a lot of compliments, though all from people who don’t matter very much. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes it feels kinda pointless. I’m really happy though, when I can see through the haze and acknowledge myself. Oh and I ordered two dresses on yesterday. I’ve never been an “off the rack” shopper, but Gamma ordered me some clothes out of a catalogue that fit, so I took a chance. Here’s hoping they’re cute. Erik took a look at them on the website and he said they’re nice. It might be dangerous though, since I went shopping online yesterday since I was on the pity pot and the Rays weren’t playing. Yikes, can’t get hooked on internet clothes shopping. I won’t, don’t worry.
K enough rambling, just had to verbal vomit. Thanks.


Filed under baseball, Gamma, Jayden, rambles, random stuff, therapy, treat for me, workouts

Mh – Upside of depression

“For Darwin, depression was a clarifying force, focusing the mind on its most essential problems. In his autobiography, he speculated on the purpose of such misery; his evolutionary theory was shadowed by his own life story. “Pain or suffering of any kind,” he wrote, “if long continued, causes depression and lessens the power of action, yet it is well adapted to make a creature guard itself against any great or sudden evil.” And so sorrow was explained away, because pleasure was not enough. Sometimes, Darwin wrote, it is the sadness that informs as it “leads an animal to pursue that course of action which is most beneficial.” The darkness was a kind of light.” – New York Times article

Thank you Sadia for sending me the above linked article.

Ok, go read it. Wow. It’s seven pages so grab some coffee or something, sit back, and read. The article talks about the benefits of depression. Benefits? Really? Yeah. It gets into a lot of clinical stuff, but the underlying theme is that when we’re depressed, we’re more able to focus on our problems. Yeah, duh, we’re depressed because we’re focusing on our problems. Chicken? Egg? So something triggers a depressed episode, be it life events or a chemical imbalance. We get down, we get blue, we don’t get out of bed. We ruminate on the problem, over and over and over, right? Well, the theory in the article is that we’re more apt to come to some sort of conclusion and find some sort of solution because we’re so focused on the problem. For the lucky ones anyway, who don’t do a permanent escape.

For me, as a spiritual person, pain is the cornerstone of spiritual growth. I had a sponsor tell me that she’d never stand in the way of my pain, because I’d eventually learn from it. How true that is. When I was depressed, I finally asked for help and got into therapy. And we ended up working on so much more than just being depressed about being blind. My sessions with her taught me more about myself than anything ever has, and depression led to that. So you know what? I can buy that there’s an upside to depression. Go read the article. See what you think…


Filed under awareness month, mental health, therapy

MH – My adjustment disorder, or situational depression

If you’d like to submit a guest blog, visit this post. You can also submit something in multiple comments under the anonymous selection.


When I went blind two years ago, my life was over. I could no longer work, I could no longer drive, I could no longer use a computer, I could no longer crochet, I could no longer see my friends, I could no longer see my face. It was over. At 29, my life was over. I used humor to cope at first. When a friend came over the day I got home from the hospital, I said he looked great with purple hair. Eventually the humor faded.

At first it was all about going to doctors. Surely it couldn’t be the MS. B took a week and a half off from work to help me adjust and go to the docs and the labs. At the urging of the attending physician and B when I was leaving the hospital, I had began a low dose of Lexapro to help me “get over the hump” of such an event. I was also tapering off steroids. B had to count out my pills the night before and put them in a little box so I could take them in the morning. I remember not really wanting to take the Lexapro. I mean come on, I’d just gone blind. I was going to feel things. I didn’t want to be numbed out. The doctor assured me it wouldn’t do that. But it did; that’s just how pills work on me. I ended up depressed and not caring. Not feeling the feelings of the depression, it was there, but I didn’t care and not in a good way, if that makes sense.

Over the next few months, all I did was sit around all day listening to audio books that a friend brought me from the school library. That was literally all I did. Sure, I figured out I could make the bed and even do some cleaning, but for the most part, I sat around listening to books, taking my steroids, eating Pringles and gaining weight. I went to meetings when people could take me.

B had to find my shows on tv for a bit until I figured out the remotes. I’d end up getting in bet at 2pm to watch General Hospital, Ellen, Who wants to be a Millionare and Jeopardy, then finally the news. B would get home and I’d struggle to eat. Then I’d go back to bed. On weekends I went to bed even earlier, sometimes as soon as B got up because I wanted to listen to my stuff.

On the 4th of July I cried all day. I couldn’t see the fireworks. B brought me the Duffy cd and when ‘Distant Dreamer’ came on, I sobbed. I was no longer a dreamer. I no longer had a life.

I had gone blind in April and in August, I finally had enough. I went to B one day and said I needed help. I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t accept this. The steps weren’t working. He called a friend who hooked me up with a therapist and I began seeing her once a week on Saturdays. B had to get up earlier than he liked to take me, and I hated myself for that. I was such a burden. I was so worthless.

I went to therapy to work on grieving my loss of sight. But it turned into so much more. We ended up really working on me, about how yeah, I was mourning my vision, but I had decided I was so incredibly worthless and that was what was killing me. She helped me start seeing my strengths, she helped me learn how to talk to B and tell him what I needed. Like more touch, because I could no longer see it in his eyes that he loved me. So now whenever we pass each other, he touches my back or my arm.

She helped me realize that I wasn’t a burden when I asked for help. She helped me see that I was still me and I was pretty fun to be around, especially when I had my humor.

Eventually I got better. Eventually I started to slowly accept what my situation was. My life wasn’t over, it was just, different. I started seeing her every two weeks, then every three, then once a month, then she finally graduated me last year in September, moving to a per diem basis.

I continue to use the tools she gave me. I continue to tell myself I’m not worthless, even when I have those days. I find things that hold me accountable, working out, writing these posts, doing that workshop, making blankets.

I never knew what my diagnosis was until I applied for my guide dog and my therapist had to fill out a thing. I asked her what my diagnosis was, and she said she was calling it an adjustment disorder. Huh? But what if the school things I can’t adjust to my dog? It was explained that for me, it only applied to traumatic events. I was like, ok, but doesn’t everyone have a hard time adjusting to trauma? Yes, exactly. Alrighty then.

So I don’t know if my experience was typical. I still rather call it situational depression, but maybe it is an adjustment disorder. I do have a hard time when anything changes and just recently I was going to run back to my therapist until I found out she’s moving to Florida. So I sat back and just remembered what she taught me. I react. And how old am I when I react? About three. So snap out of it. Oh! It’s gotten easier, that’s for sure, and I don’t think I need to spend a fortune getting to know another therapist, as long as I can remember the tools.

I haven’t been back on meds since the Lexapro. Let me say, that I believe in meds. I believe in meds. Ok? Ok. I just didn’t believe I needed meds for what I was going through. I felt like it was normal to be depressed after something like that. For me, that worked. It wouldn’t work with everyone, like those with a chemical imbalance or those who suffer something even worse. So I am absolutely NOT bashing meds. Let me just make that clear.

My therapist did threaten me with them though. At one point my PMSing was getting so bad that she told me I really had to watch it when I started being a bitch, or else I’d be going on meds. Ok! She knew how to get me haha! I learned to feel when I was ramping up. I learned to accept the blue days and take a mental health day when they occured. I wanted to feel it, because for me, when I feel it, I can move passed it. Because of my alcoholism, I am quite leary of anything that makes me “check out”.

I should also mention that this wasn’t my first struggle with depression. I had it in my drinking, but it was caused by the drinking. Situational. I’ve had it ever since my mom died because I didn’t deal with her death until I got into therapy because of my blindness. Situational.

But it took going blind to see my depression for what it was. Situational. I haven’t had that paralyzing depression for quite some time now. I just have my blue days, like everyone else. That was my experience.

Now for the clinical:

“Adjustment disorder is an abnormal and excessive reaction to a life stress, such as starting school, getting divorced, or experiencing grief.”

Alrighty then. That was the first time I’d looked up adjustment disorder. I don’t think I agree with my therapist. I don’t think I dealt with things abnormally, but maybe I did haha!

If you’re so inclined, you can read more here.


Filed under awareness month, gratitude, humor as coping skill, mental health, mom, therapy

Judge not, lest ye be judged

I never fully understood that sentiment. Basically, don’t judge, or else you’ll be judged, and it’s not gonna feel good, right? I took that very selfishly. Ok, I won’t be judgemental, because otherwise I’ll be judged and it’s gonna hurt. See how that benefits me, and not the people I’m not judging? So yeah, it never worked. I wouldn’t say I’m incredibly judgemental, but I’ve definitely had my fair share of snap judgements, which I think is quite human.

But in talking to a friend this morning, I really realized something. I’m a full believer that pain is the cornerstone of spiritual growth. I only know this from my own experiences. I know it doesn’t hold true for everyone, but it sure is true for me. When I get sick of the pain, I finally become willing to turn to my higher power, whatever it is, and do the work to becoming whole again.

I therefor am so grateful for all the hard things I’ve experienced in my life. When I first got sober, life was pretty easy. I went to meetings all the time and hung out with people constantly. I worked to make a living, but my life was all about immersing myself in the program and doing the things I needed to do to stay sober. It worked for just over a year and was just a lot of fun. When I was diagnosed with MS at 13 months sober, I still did all those things. Basically it was all outside things. Going to meetings, being active in service. But I wasn’t working on what was inside me, and I was going to drink or die. Luckily I had enough of a foundation to pick my tools instead, and I went back to the steps, which helped.

Things continued on like that, through the adjustment of living with MS, not being able to work, etc. Life got really fun again, going to meetings, hanging out with people all the time. Going back to work and settling in like I had done previously. Getting to meetings was a little harder, because I worked on the other side of town, and it was exhausting me. Trying to work forty hours a week with the MS was a little too much, as I know now.

The theme here is tons of meetings and hanging out with people. That was what worked for me in the beginning, so that’s what I needed to keep doing. But man it was getting hard.

When I went blind, it was easy to continue doing that for awhile. As with any “tragedy”, people came out of the wood work to be there for me, to take me to meetings, to hang out. But eventually that started to fade. People got back to their lives and then it was just me and God. I had all my tools and I used them. I’d get to meetings here and there when someone offered or I felt that urge to do the outside thing, to keep up appearances, because God knows, I had done my fair share of judging people who didn’t do it the way I did.

Eventually it was taking so much effort that I was exhausted before I left the house. And I’d go to the meetings and just not be able to relate anymore. Sure, I could relate with not drinking, but everything else…quickly it became clear that the stuff I was struggling with needed professional attention and I started therapy. It was there that the healing really began. My therapist didn’t have judgements and if she did, she wasn’t allowed to voice them. She helped me work through things the steps had only scratched the surface on, things I didn’t even know where there. It was with her that my healing really took a new shape, a new intensity. She didn’t cloud her input with her own experiences and opinions.

Soon I found it had been a week, then two, then three, without a meeting. And I was happier! Ha! Imagine that! I was talking to my close women friends in the program though, constantly, and my relationship with my higher power had only gotten stronger.

Then the judgements started. Only from a few people, but people I respected at the time. So I started questioning if what I was doing was really working. They would ask when I had been to a meeting and when I’d say I couldn’t remember, I got the ooooooh.

After I got Jayden, life really changed. I was adjusting to having a dog to care for, feeding and relieving schedules, keeping up commands. Again, the judgements came. Remember your primary purpose, remember that sobriety has to come before anything else. I still agree with that, and my sobriety does come before anything else. But I’ve had to refine the way I live to suit all aspects of my life. After talking with the girls, I now know I’m doing perfectly fine.

But you know what I noticed the other day? I still judge. I was talking to a friend who has a friend who’s getting sober, and I found out they smoked pot. Instant judgement. I was about to retort when I thought wait, didn’t you just write a note on FB about how people coming from a place of love are often misguided? Didn’t you just say that until we all walk in each other’s shoes, we’ll never know what it’s like for the next guy? So I held my tongue and didn’t say anything because you know what? I choose not to smoke pot for my own sobriety. That doesn’t mean everyone does. Who am I to say that someone can’t be sober from alcohol and still smoke pot? It’s not my place to judge that.

I was talking to a friend this morning and she told me about a guy who drank after his eight year old son was struck in the chest by a baseball at little league, and died. And my first thought was, I know a man who didn’t drink when his son was murdered. Again, snap judgement. I will no longer say that hey, I stayed sober even through going blind, so anyone can stay sober through anything. Because you know what? How can I know that?

For a group of people who say we really practice not being judgemental, the judgements have added to my finding another way. I’m not saying I’ll never go to a meeting again, but I’m sure as hell not gonna beat myself up for not wanting to take paratransit to a scary part of town and arriving early and alone, or putting up with someone not wanting my dog in their car. I won’t beat myself up for it anymore.

I’m so glad this all has happened though, because it did force me to talk to God and make sure I’m ok. And it made me look at my own judgements a lot harder than bringing it up in a meeting or even putting it on paper (or computer in my case hehe). I’m discovering that life experiences are the absolute best way, for me, to take a look at myself and work my steps *daily* not once a week, or once a month, or for an hour in a meeting.

I’ve learned so much about myself over the last week or so and I didn’t step foot in a meeting. That’s what works for me. And I will stand up for that next time someone wants to judge it, because it’s not the way they do it.

I’m pretty proud of myself for owning my own truth and not doing what others think is best for me, just to save face. This growth is pretty damn cool! =D


Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, faith, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, sobriety, therapy, transitioning

This that and the other thing

Ahhhhh….that’s the noise one makes when things start getting done, the feeling of being overwhelmingly busy begins to subside and life starts looking a little normal again.

I’m waiting to update on Jayden until I get a phone call, so that will be in a Diaries post. I just wanted to update on where I’ve been, since I know I’ve been a bit absent.

Aside from worrying about Jayden all week, I’ve been working on the F2K writing course I mentioned briefly here. It’s been a lot of fun exploring my creativity in a fictional sense, since here everything is fact. I was talking to Georgie about it and telling her how weird it is that characters are just taking chape, seemingly with no real work from me. I suppose it helps that my female character is based a lot on me. The first assignment was to have the character write about me from her perspective. I was able to have her talk about herself in tandem with talking about me, and what came out is that she’s like the old me, the negative me, the dark me. She’s the part of me that is in the past, demons not dealt with. My maile character is turning into more of the present me, with solutions to life’s problems, an inner light, a strong sense of spirituality. It was so crazy to read back what I had written, to see who these people are becoming, and now I can’t wait to explore more and find out exactly what their setting is. I have ideas of course, but if the first lesson taught me anything, it’s that my ideas will morph and twist and become something I never expected. Georgie said I should post my assignments on my blog, but I don’t think I will. The class setting is pretty protected from theft, but a blog? Yeah, not gonna trust that. So many people have told me I should write a book about my life, based on what they’ve read here and while the thought intrigued me, it didn’t excite me like my fictional characters have. So, maybe I am supposed to write a book, but maybe it’ll be a fictional one.

Aside from that, I went to a rehearsal for a choir last Monday, but we’re not sure it’s going to go anywhere. It’s a completely different style than I’m used to. It’s Afro Cuban, done in a call and response style. The lyrics are learned by repetition and memorization, and they are not english haha! It was a lot of fun, but we’ll see if it continues.

I’ve been pretty isolated lately. I’m not really sure if it’s my doing or not. I mean I’m still going to Saavi and stuff, but obviously the last week we were pretty home bound while Jayden was sick.

I guess I’m talking more about getting out and being with friends. I think I’ve hit another impass in my life, where it comes to how I handle my sobriety. I have an incredibly strong relationship with my God and my spirituality. I practice the principles of what I’ve learned in my recovery program. I do these things by nature now, because I love what they’ve made me. I love who I am today, so why would I want to stop? It has become less about staying sober and more about continuing to be the person I want to be. Which actually is all about staying sober, because by doing these things and being happy with myself, there’s no reason to even want to pick up a drink.

The thing is, I’ve started getting some judgement for the way I do these things. I don’t do it the “typical” way. I don’t go to meetings every day anymore, like I used to. It’s not that I’ve chosen not to, but with my special circumstances, I’ve had to adapt my sobriety to fit with my limitations. I talk to another alcoholic daily, heck, I live with one. I’m surrounded by recovery 24 hours a day, not just for an hour in a meeting. The problems I’m running into are other people in the fellowship not being open minded at all that it can work this way too. I know their judgement comes from a place of love, but it’s just misguided, and if anything, it makes me want to run from the rooms, which is a sad commentary. I’ve talked with the people who know me best, B, Carol, Georgie and Erik, and they’ve all assured me that what I’m doing is working just fine. Georgie and I were talking about how you just need life experience to make you really see that there are different ways, and before I had mine, I was one of those who thought it had to be done n a meeting every day too. Carol and I were talking about pre and post spiritual experience, and how everyone intuits that differently. I’m feeling much better now after talking to these people, and I’ve always known I was right with God, and that matters more to me than anyone’s opinion. I just needed to hear it from others who value God in the same why I do, to fully accept that I’m doing just fine.

I have done some back sliding in the things I worked on in therapy, though. Namely my self esteem and confidence have taken some major blows and I had worked so hard to build those things up. My therapist had graduated me back in August, and I need to get in to see her again. There are just certain things that the steps and the fellowship can’t fix, that outside help has been the best for.

I had definitely fallen into a bit of a depression in the last couple weeks, and it’s not usually until I’m about to come out of it that I can recognize it and go, oh! That’s why I was so blue! Haha! So things are looking up there and when I get back to my therapist, she’ll be able to narrow it all down even more.

When I start taking on projects galore, I know I’m trying to step away from my own little reality. Not to say I’m trying to escape, but when I get uncomfortable, I’ll take on something different. Which is actually a good thing, in my opinion. As they say, pain is the cornerstone of spiritual growth, and for me, that takes shape in several different ways.

I’m really enjoying the autism series. I got really behind in posting daily, but I got caught up today. I’m just making the number on the autism label match the date. I was starting to wonder if anyone was reading the series because I’m not getting comments aside from Katrin, who really adds to the material. But I looked at my stat counter today, and people are reading and following the links, so that makes me happy. The whole point of the series is to help people become aware and I hope it’s helping that it’s all in one place and written for the layman. I’m really excited for tomorrow’s post, because I have a guest poster! You’ll have to tune in tomorrow to read it. 🙂

So, that’s where I’ve been. I’m settling in to the writing course, and can’t wait for the next lesson to be posted on Wednesday. I’m so surprised at the feedback I’m getting. Someone told me I’m good at “turn of phrase” which I had to ask what that even means, and I’m still not even sure haha! People have said my writing was poetic. Wow. Never would have thought that. Hopefully some day I’ll be able to share it with you all. I’m already thinking about the audio book narrators hahaha!!

A Diaries post is coming soon, promise.

Oh haha, I have to mention that B is out buying me a new belt right now. I was going to go with him, but don’t want to take Jayden out yet, so we measured my old belt so he can get a smaller one. I’ve had that belt since about 2002 and it finally needs to be replaced with a smaller one. *grin* So happy!


Filed under accomplishment, Choir, faith, fellowship, I might be a writer, Jayden, plugs, sobriety, therapy