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The Battle Continues

In 1998 I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) also known as Clinical Depression. This was after a suicide attempt in August of that same year. I was already seeing a counselor for depression but I guess since I attempted suicide, they upgraded it to MDD.

There is still a daily struggle to stay positive, to remember that I matter and am loved. For those who tell me to just get over it can kiss my butt because if it was that easy then I would have got over whatever it is that causes the depression.

Depression is like thunder you hear rumbling in the distance, it is making it’s presence known. Will it become a full blown storm? Or is it just a rumbling to get your attention? We don’t know but we prepare anyway. It allows us to be sure that if we get hit with a huge storm of emotions that we can handle it somehow, or just be able to hold on until it passes.

Over the past few months the depression has been pretty bad, it usually just comes and goes nothing too bad that gets me too down but every now and again it hits hard. The past few months it hit very hard. I am super emotional, especially when thinking about certain events or people.

The battle continues no matter how much time has passed. Having MDD it seems like any event or bad memory can easily toss me into a downward spiral, so much that it takes a lot of work to just get myself moving. My mind and body are battling my heart, seriously it is. My mind and body want to just sleep, hide in the dark and live in my own little bubble of despair. My heart on the other hand wants to get in the studio to create, craft and make something bright and beautiful because my thoughts are dark and ugly.

Slowly things are starting to even out, I don’t feel so lost and alone in my mind. No matter how many times I can look around and see my family, see what we have built over the years there is a dark thought or two in my mind. It takes work to battle those thoughts, to fight them with the greatness of my life. Anyone who doesn’t understand depression would never understand the battle, but I understand it as does my hubby who keeps me going.

We have to learn to be more understanding of what we battle, understand that there are people struggling and even if they ‘look fine’ that does not mean that they are. I hate it when people tell me that I don’t look sick or look depressed. That is because a photo is just a snapshot of life, not a whole representation of it.

Reach out, take care of each other and pay it forward any way you can. Contact your friends or family that you know are battling something, let them know you are thinking of them and that you care. That can make a huge difference in their life, maybe even save it.

I hate mirrors

There hasn’t been a time that I enjoyed looking at myself in a mirror. Looking at myself was just to be sure my hair was within regulation and uniform was squared away. There was nothing else I wanted to see in that reflection. The person looking back at me was a person I did not know or cared enough about to look at. When I did look, all that reflected back were the mistakes and flaws.

For as long as I could remember I was told that I was ugly, or looked like I was stupid. Hear that as a child for as long as I did tends to lock it in and make it truth no matter what. Do I still believe that even now as a 44 year old? Absolutely I do.

The reflection in the mirror is showing me a person I am not proud of. Yes I am proud of accomplishments in my life but as for what is in the mirror…I can almost hate her. What she has done to herself and others, the pains she inflicted on people she loves is something I see. What good is she when she made such horrible mistakes and her self destruction took others along?

I hate mirrors. Yet here I am today, putting one up in my studio. There was a reason I left any type of mirrors out, no reflective surfaces. The person looking back at me isn’t one I enjoy having with me in my space. As crazy as that sounds, it is the absolute truth.

Maybe it is hard for some to understand, you could be one of the lucky people who had some great parents in your life, had some amazing positive influences in your life and that built a strong personal view of yourself. That is something I lacked for the longest time, positive influences. They came too late in my life and by then all my negative thoughts of myself had rooted deep into my soul.

That doesn’t mean I do not enjoy giving back to people or being a positive support to another person, that is easy to do. I love people, love that they are so giving of themselves and so strong in their struggles. Love that people can smile despite what may be happening around them. Love that people can love freely no matter what. I see positive in others, see them thriving not just surviving.

So…why am I putting up a mirror? Well for a few reasons. One because my Mister said you want to be sure your face is ready for someone to come by. He is right, don’t want any boogers or something in my teeth making someone uncomfortable LOL. Another reason is recently in a Facebook post Ms Maureen said “Anna, look in that mirror and repeat after me: ‘I am enough! I am strong! I have handled things very few can and still remained a good person. I am enough!’ ” The thing is I had been told this many times over the past 10 or so years, it never meant a thing. When she posted that, it hit and it hurt. OH I know she did not want me to feel bad about myself, she wanted to help me understand that I am all those things even if I didn’t see it.

Today I put up a mirror in the studio. It is far not in my direct line of sight, have to make a point to stand up to it in order to see myself. It is where I can check my face, be sure I look presentable. Maybe I will put some inspiration around it to make me start to want to look at myself. Small steps…that will be what I am going to do. I got the mirror, next is actually wanting to look at myself.

Still hate mirrors, not happy with the reflection. It will take time and at the moment I got the time.


PAIN

Every so often I get these flare ups that take me out for days. It can be the migraine, fibro, anxiety, PTSD, costochondritis, or just exhaustion whatever it is they tear me apart.

Many can say pain will make you stronger or that you are not given more pain than you can handle. People say any number of things that are meant to support and encourage you while you suffer.

I know that pain can make you question why you fight. For almost a full week I have been feeling this building pain trying to turn into a full fledged Fibromyalgia flare up. It begins with the already slow burning intensifying into a rolling pain up and down my back. For me it starts at the hips and rolls all the way up to my neck, funny that it ends right at my hairline to my head. Don’t know why it’s funny but it is to me. Maybe my way of saying to myself at least it isn’t consuming my whole body. It extends to my shoulders all the way to the armpits and just rolls all around the back area. Hurts to sit, to lay back, to have my hair down touching my neck. It just hurts.

Exhaustion sets in because my whole body is bracing as the pain moves around, waiting for a bit of reprieve. It makes me sick, so between the pains I have to find a way to muster enough energy to stand, to slowly walk to the bathroom and just be sick.

Then it starts all over. Finding a comfortable spot to sit so the pain isn’t as intense, distract myself with tv or lose myself in the books I am reading. Slowly trying to relax as the ebbs and flows of pains torment my body and my mind.

It’s during those times that I hate that I want to keep fighting through the pains. Hate that I have to. Why don’t I just quit being an idiot and just let my doctor give me pain meds so I can just drug myself into a stupor and sleep while it all goes away. Even if it takes days.

Then I remember why I fight, why I don’t want the meds and why I want to do this. I realize that maybe pain for me isn’t what is making me stronger, pain is what is trying to make me give up. Pain wants to steal from me the joys of life, of my family and of my work. Pain is a thief. Plain and simple.

This thief wants to rob me of my faith. It is stealing my confidence and my hope. This thief is taking my hope and my desires. The pain doesn’t make me stronger, it is a deceiver. It is a liar and I have to remember that as I sit here for the second day in a row on the couch, lost in the pains while life continues on around me. It has started to steal me of the confidence I have in myself and in my strength to hold on.

Pain can be many things to people for a variety of reasons. To me, pain is a thief.

How I respond will determine how much more I will allow it to take from me. The choices are not easy to make. Do I say enough and go on with my ‘normal’ and risk the pain coming back harder and take more? Do I just continue to rest? Still allowing it to take from me? Just being aware of the possibility of how much I allow the pain to take?

Nothing of this is easy.  Falling into an endless pit of pain can be as easy as holding on for the pains to pass. I can hold on and fight, knowing the thief called pain will be waiting and watching for any opening of weakness to take over. Am I strong enough to keep my mind from crumbling? For those walls I put to crumble and let the demons of pain in to take me over. It is so easy to let go. So easy to just give in. Yet so much to lose in that. The strength to hold on is more than I have in me, or is the pain stealing my resolve?

Can’t you see how hard this is? Can you not see how it steals who I am so that I can no longer fight?

The fighter, the warrior is tired. The battle is long, hard and never ending. It takes more than I have to keep holding on.  Yet here I am…..still holding on.

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Being People Ready

I loved being around people. Enjoyed hearing about their life experiences and where they came from. Having served for 20 years, being people ready was something I never had to think about.

Depression and I have been friends for a long time, it never was a big deal or held me back. I just kept on going on knowing that the depression was right there with me. I would see the docs when required and take the medications as prescribed, life went on. When I had my first suicide attempt as an adult, depression was a contributing factor.  Big DUH right lol.

So what do I mean by ‘Being People Ready’? What that means is being ready to see anyone other than the person(s) that live with you. When I retired I cut myself off from people. Never visited my old job or people I worked with. At the point of retirement I was angry, the PTSD was at its worse and anxiety was debilitating.  So I was never really ‘people ready’ because well I didn’t have to. The depression had it’s hold on me too and for the longest time I never wanted to see me, did not care what I looked like or if anyone saw me in a not people ready get up.

Depression, PTSD, anxiety, paranoia and so many other things kept me from caring about my own appearance. Oh I sometimes would agree that I was gaining too much weight or was not taking care of myself like I should have. Yet part of me did not care because I didn’t need a good view of me to do my nonprofit work. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I started to get out of my house and start trying to care about my appearance that I began to put some effort into what I presented to the outside world.

Six years post retirement, I am about to open my doors to my nonprofit and now have to be People Ready. Care has to be given about my appearance every day that my gates are open. This will help me more than anything I have ever tried. It pushes me out of my comfort zone to a certain degree but I am in my safe place so it is easier for me to manage the anxiety and paranoia.

Last year I pushed myself out of comfort zones. Had a PTSD F*ck It List, much like a Bucket List and I hit each and every one of those goals. What that did for me was give me the confidence in myself, in my ability to adapt and overcome situations what were not comfortable for me.  This year I am pushing myself so far out of the comfy bubble that I know it will do more for me than I can ever imagine.

Every morning I have to be sure I am People Ready. I have to look in the mirror and see myself. Something I truly avoid each and every day. Now I have to see me and be sure I look presentable. I have to be sure I wear shoes, socks, my appearance is comfy casual so I can work in my studio and people can come by as they want.

Being People Ready is scary. I have to see me, have to look at myself and acknowledge me. It is very hard to do when ME was never a priority. While I do my nonprofit work and share myself with you all on the interwebs, I never really put myself first. Now don’t get all ‘YAY for you’ yet because I am not really putting myself first yet, lol. I am being sure that I am putting a good face for the nonprofit out there so that I can do more for people but I know that in time I will start to matter to me. This is going to help y’all. The more I look at myself, the  more I can say ‘hey I am okay’ and feel it too.

I am 44 years old, have an amazing husband who loves me. Three wonderful sons, an amazing DIL and grandson who are my everything. Somewhere during this wonderful new chapter of my life, I will see myself as worthy of it all. I love what I do y’all and love giving back to anyone I can. There is a part of me that is so broken I can’t see the good in myself, but I am working on it. Being People Ready is going to help, how can it not?

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Chaotic Cycle

This summer I had my first Costochondritis episode, I thought I was going to die because the pains were so bad. A few days after my ER visit, my doctor diagnosed me as she had suspected my pains we were chasing were due to costo. I learned to figure out a way to keep the pains down without medications. We thought we had it under control, then on Saturday 15 DEC I had another flare up that landed me in an ambulance and in the ER again.

My breathing was labored and it caused my muscles to seize up, it was one of the most single scariest moment of my family’s lives as they watched me fall to my knees as the pain intensified. The amazing staff at Womack Army Medical Center took care of me and because of some scary numbers ran CTs, Xrays and EKGs to be sure there was not another underlying issues that caused the costo to be so bad. Thankfully it was just costo.

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I rested for the week, in bed or on the couch and did nothing but read or rest. By Friday I was feeling well enough to fix my hair and actually get out of the house. It was so nice to feel independent again. Sadly, that day of freedom cost me another costo episode.

That evening as the family was winding down after cleaning up from dinner and snacks, the pains started. Off I went to lay down and get into comfy clothes so that I can control the pains before they ramped up. The episode intensified within minutes and the family was scrambling to get me settled enough so that I can get ready for another ER visit.

Describing the pain that just starts as a twinge then turns into a chest crushing pain is hard. In less than five minutes of the first pain I was unable to take full breaths and just panting for air. I have never had severe costo episodes within a week of each other than intensified so fast. My coping to extreme pain is nausea, once that hits I know the pains are more than I can take. Of course, the fact I can’t take full breaths also brings on panic attacks so I have to work twice as hard to keep all those issues in control.

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We got my to go bag ready, hubby was dressed and I was almost able to walk to get into the car for the trip to the ER. This was all within a 30 minute time frame, the first pain to ready for ER.

I really did not want to go to the ER, we know what this is. The ER staff has to go through the steps for chest pains to rule out other issues. It is at least a 6 hour visit because of it all. We (and by we I mean ME lol) decided to see if we could control the pains once we could get the breathing under control. It took another 30 minutes for me to get from panting breaths to a more half breath. I just wanted to lay in bed until I could take full breaths again.

This was an intense hour, we went from shutting down for the night to ready for ER. If we can find a way to manage the pains without medications, then that is what I will do. I can take the pains, but my family does not like to see me doubled over and puking because of it.  When I decided to take a no pain management route with my issues, I forced my family to tag along. They know there are pain meds that can be administered at home for things like this and sometimes do not understand why I would put myself through this type of situations. The hubby understands but he is left feeling helpless during episodes like this. No one likes to see their loved ones in such pain.

We were trying to figure out what brought on this lastest episode. Was it the driving? The walking? Doing house chores I wasn’t doing all week? I was frustrated if it was because that is called living.  If I wanted to get up and sweep or mop, why shouldn’t I? If a drive to get some gifts for visiting family is what I wanted to do then I should do it. These kinds of medical issues frustrate me to no end.

I will have to get some emergency pain meds, if not for myself then so my family does not feel helpless when episodes come on. I can take the pains, can close myself off and deal with it. Sometimes that is a bit selfish because I force my caregivers to watch me suffer through it and it isn’t fair to them.

What is the point of all this? I looked and felt better yesterday, was ready to enjoy family and have some time to do things I haven’t been able to for a week. My body was not ready for it. I have no idea how fast or slow I am suppose to take it after episodes. Sounds stupid right? It is the truth. I can have a small episode of fibro flare up or costo flare up and within an hour feel better. Larger flare ups like last Saturday take me out for a week. Today I feel tired but not as painful, feels like I slept wrong that’s it. I feel like I can do my normal morning chores and routines, with less energy that’s all. Do I want to rest on the couch or in bed? Will that help? I honestly have no idea. If I was on a pain management routine I would be zoned out by the pain medications and the decision would be made for me. This is all so frustrating to figure out. It is a damn if you do and damn if you don’t situation.

Often times people forget I have so many issues, only remember the PTSD but I tend to keep pushing past the auto immune issues that I battle daily. So many ask why, and the simple answer is I will not let it control my life. There are times like last week and last night it knocks me on my ass but I get back up and say screw you! My family now watches me more, asks more about how I am feeling but it’s because it rocks them to see me in pain. I  have to remember that they fight this with me too and my choices in treatment affect them just as much as it affects me.

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Em

There are people and experiences in your life that are more impactful that others. Not sure why that is, or what causes it, it just is. Em was one of those people to me. Way back when I first retired I saw a post on a nonprofit that offered pen pals, I signed up and within a few days I received notification that I was paired with a Pen Pal! I was so excited that I wrote her that day. We never exchanged emails or phone numbers early on. We just learned about each other from our letters. We wrote each other once or twice a month, some times it was less because life makes us live it. Through the years we shared, encouraged and were fast friends. We finally shared some on social media but not much. Mostly it was to say ‘look what happened today’ because we wanted to enjoy our letters to each other.

I would print out photos of things I was doing, people and cats in my life lol and she would do the same. I learned of how amazingly talented she is with her welding, she made welded art pieces. This girl had a knack at making costumes or her own clothes as well. I kept telling her I wanted to sew more. I would send her beaded crafts, necklaces and earrings or bracelets. She loved wearing them and told me once that they fit a skirt she just made. Her talent and joy in it motivated me to keep my own crafting going.

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She was so young and had such a brightness to her. Of course there was also the sadness and pains. See, Em’s hubby was a Veteran who was battling PTSD. She worried for him, hated how he had changed but loved him so much. That much was clear in our back and forth communication.  I knew what he was going through to a certain extent, I was battling my own PTSD demons. So we shared that with each other too. I loved how free she was, how fierce she lived! Damn it to hell if I admired her love and hate of it all.  Look at her all beauty and FIERCE!

 

She was kind and smiled, had fun and had her own adventures even when others didn’t agree lol. I remember her sending me post cards of places she and Curt went even when they shouldn’t have. They just wanted that adventure.

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I only had her in my life for a bit over 3 years. It wasn’t enough, but the impact she made was huge. At that time during our back and forth letters, I didn’t see it. Maybe didn’t really pay attention to it, I don’t know but I knew it was there.

As time went on we would reach out on social media, a quick check in with each other because our letters had gotten sporadic. We weren’t losing touch we just didn’t write as much. Things were getting rough for her and her life she felt was getting harder. Mine was just busy and chaotic but we just had to be sure we each knew we were there for each other.

The afternoon of  December 4, 2015 she told me that her husband was missing. They had been trying to find him but couldn’t. I wasn’t sure what to do, I remember checking flights to her area and trying to figure out how I could get there. Traveling for me was not easy, but I wanted to be there for her to help somehow. Later that evening, she messaged that he had been found, sadly he had taken his own life. That was the last time I heard from her.

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The next day, I was waiting to hear from Em. I knew she was with family and with friends to begin the process of taking care of Curt. It wasn’t a surprise that I didn’t hear from her.  Just happened to be going through some military pages when I stumbled upon a post about Curt, as I read on it said that they just found out his wife lost her battle. I was floored. My heart was broken, shattered and I was just done. I remember walking into our gym where my husband was working out and didn’t say anything. Just stood there because speaking those words made it more real. He had his headphones on in full beast mode lol so he didn’t notice me standing there. Honestly I have no idea how long I stood there crying and unable to get his attention. He finally saw me and I still couldn’t say it. He knew what happened the day before, he is my shield in the battle against PTSD so I share with him many things. He just held me and I was finally able to say what happened. I think I just shut down after because the following days are a blur.

I didn’t know who to contact, didn’t know where to call to get information or anything. I was just lost. There I was going thought the military social media sites to see about a phone number, email address something. There was a go fund me set up and I emailed that person but never heard back.

A few days later I got a phone call, it was Em’s sister Ashley. She called to tell me about Em, about Curt. It meant the world to me that they reached out, to want me to know that Em cared about me. Here I was hearing this from her sister, I should have been the one providing comfort in her loss. I failed. No matter what you say or what anyone says, I failed Em and Curt. She wasn’t just my pen pal, was not just a friend. She was more to me and I hate myself for not doing more.

I cannot tell you why Em’s death hurt so much, I have lost many people in my life. Yet losing Em was a breaking point in my life. So many questions as to why I was doing what I was doing if I failed the one person I never thought I could let down. The one person who didn’t ask for loving a Veteran battling his own demons but she loved him madly.

How can I tell people that I am here to help them when I couldn’t help my own damn friend? Can I honestly say that I am doing anyone any good? Oh these and many other questions came into my head over and over and over.

This doesn’t get easier, time does not heal everything. I think of her and Curt every single day. As I sit here at my desk typing away I see her gifts to me. Every night I go to sleep and every day I wake up I see her post cards. She is EVERYWHERE in my home and in my life, but she isn’t here anymore.

I have stolen some of Em’s moments in time, moments of laughter and joys. Moments that are heartwarming and make me laugh. Then there is that moment the memory of losing her hits and it is tragic. Y’all I cannot tell you why she has such an impact, I cannot even begin to explain it all but she has and she always will.

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Maybe I am just a pen pal, who was lucky enough to be paired with her. A total stranger who is a nobody to many. Whatever the reason I know this means something.

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Hidden Battles

When I share my story, the first diagnosis I share is PTSD. Not that I am putting other diagnosis of items I deal with aside, but that is the one that has caused the most damage. It ended my military career, which at the time was the end of the world. When the PTSD diagnosis was given in 2010 a lot happened that just made it all worse. I lost my troops, was told it was too much for someone with my issues to handle. Little did the leadership know that my troops were what made it possible for me to come to work and function. They just worried what a PTSD person would do, they assumed I would fail my mission and my troops. Instead, my leadership failed me.

That is why PTSD is the first issue I say I am dealing with, but there are others. One diagnosis has been left off when I do get into other issues. Lupus. Yes y’all I was diagnosed with Lupus after 5 years of it being tossed around. This was before the PTSD diagnosis, before the Fibromyalgia diagnosis. This was way back before many of my medical issues became so bad.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus mostly known as SLE but commonly just called Lupus was first diagnosed in 2007 before my second tour to Iraq. It was placed on the back burner until tour was over. I wasn’t having major symptomatic issues so we figured we could deal with it when I got back. There were issues that came up that had me going to the medical folks for some relief but nothing that kept me from doing my job. Once that tour was over and I was home in mid 2008, we started to tackle how to treat the major issues that were presenting themselves. For the rest of the year we were good, symptoms were in check and I was ready for another tour when it came time.

For the rest of my career we were able to maintain control of the Lupus and it was never an issue. Glad to know why I was having issues with my body so we could tackle issues as they came around. We only had to deal with flare ups from time to time.

If I listed every medical diagnosis for everyone to know about, there would have to be a page just for that. Seriously y’all its a long list. I don’t talk much about the Lupus as the symptoms mirror many of those for Fibromyalgia. That does not mean that I ignore it which is why I bring it up now.

Here are some of the symptoms that someone may experience. They are so similar to the RA and Fibro that I have. Which is why it was misdiagnosed for so long.
Pain areas: in the muscles
Pain circumstances: can occur while breathing
Pain types: can be sharp in the chest
Whole body: anemia, fatigue, or fever
Mouth: dryness or ulcers
Skin: red rashes or scaly rashes
Hair: hair loss or loss of scalp hair
Also common: anxiety, blood in urine, clinical depression, face rash, flare, headache, joint stiffness, raynaud’s syndrome, sensitivity to light, swelling, water retention, or weight loss.

When you are dealing with Autoimmune Diseases it is important that you get every symptom checked for a proper diagnosis. For me it was important because I wanted to be sure I could still deploy.  As I said earlier, the PTSD is what ended my career and caused more disruption to my life than the others. It was when things went bad that all medical issues became overwhelming.

Keepsakes

I love reading or hearing people tell me about their family relationships or how they grew up. While many of us had rocky childhoods, those who share part of their family have some amazing memories.

My childhood wasn’t great, there are some bright spots in there and I hold onto those memories as best as I can. That is all I have though, memories. Mementos are non existent. Yet the memory of me wishing for them as a child is there. How I wanted a hope chest or keepsake box to hold all of my dreams and trinkets. In all the books I would read the characters had them and I would picture them all in my mind.

I could put notes and found items in there, with a little keepsake note so that I can always remember that item or event. Over the years I would be able to look through all the amazing items collected over the years and just reminisce.

This is something that never happened and then when I was old enough to buy things for myself, it became something that just faded with so many other hopes and dreams.

Today I went to visit my friend Etelka, it’s her birthday and she came by to invite me over. She just lives a few houses down at the end of the loop. I am not feeling well but I wanted to give her a gift I made for her and so off I went. We visited for a while, laughing and chatting. She was making some foods for her family that will be coming by this evening. As I was getting ready to leave she asked if I wanted this box, maybe I could use it for my sewing. You know me, never one to pass up a sewing item lol. As she showed the box to me I just fell in love with it.

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Once I got home and got to cleaning it up, I remembered my little dream of having a keepsake box or hope chest. Going through the cleaning and selecting the fabric for the tops, I told my husband what I wanted to use it for. It brought back all the memories of when I was a child, wanting something like this. While it is too small for a hope chest, a keepsake box is what I intend it to be. All the amazing gifts and trinkets I get from friends and adopted family will now have a home. I can sift through the amazing gifts and feel the love. Maybe when I am older and have more grandchildren I can sit there with them as we go through the box. A tradition I have always pictured others having, going through keepsake boxes with family.

This little box has been cleaned up and new fabric has been put on the top. It is ready for me to start putting in my gifts, my little notes and trinkets I get. I know that this is something that I will hold onto for as long as I live. I even have a small red toolbox that replaced one that was taken from me so many years ago that will be the first item inside. Thank you for that Ms Vicki.

I am no longer a child holding on to memories or hoping to mend broken relationships. I am a woman building my own memories and creating traditions for my children and their children to keep going.

Here is the new keepsake box for me to start filling up. Thank you Etelka!

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Scatter Kindness

My family and I frequent the big box stores for house supplies and groceries like many families do. One that is close to our home and we can get to in a few minutes. I like to go do shopping after the school traffic has cleared but before other people decide to venture out.

This trip out was no different. I got myself ready and off I went to get the normal family supplies that tend to run out all too often. As I parked I noticed a homeless man sitting off a bit from the exit. He is a regular in this area and so I figured I would get him something while shopping. Stopped and spoke with him for a few before venturing in, asking what he wanted and needed. He said “If they have something hot, that would be great.” It is a brisk 59 degrees outside so I could understand that. So off I went to do my shopping and stopping at the deli for a hot breakfast sandwich for him.

As I stepped out, I heard before I saw someone yelling at the homeless man. Telling him to get a job so he wouldn’t have to beg, stop bothering people, blah blah blah. Oh that just pisses me off! WHY must you be an angry, mean and hurtful person? The homeless person was not at the doors, he was off to the sides. He didn’t go bothering people going into the store, if they looked at him then he would talk. Most people ignored him.

Homeless people are PEOPLE. You have no idea what brought them to their current situation. NO idea what happened in their lives. Maybe they want to work but have no address so no one gives them a chance.  Whatever the circumstances, they do not deserve to be treated poorly.

Now there was a police car and the police man was in the car just a few feet away from the homeless man. Think that maybe if there was a problem that the cops would have asked him to leave? I do. What made this horrible man start yelling at the homeless man? It takes so much effort to be ugly, rude and disrespectful. It takes nothing to be kind and caring. Yet the rude man made it a point to walk towards the homeless man and be mean. He made it a point to yell at him, why not go talk to the cop? Or to the employees of the store? I made sure to tell him exactly that, as I put myself between him and the homeless man.

I handed the homeless man some hot sandwiches, drink and snacks. Putting my back to the rude guy. Telling him what was in the bag and wishing him a good day. Then I turned around to again face the rude man. I told him that the time it took for him to be an asshat, he could have just walked into the store, done his shopping and left. Yet, he chose to veer away from the entrance and be disrespectful to someone. I may have used some not so nice words as I told him to just leave this gentleman alone. Made sure the angry guy left before I again said my farewell to the homeless man. Then I walked with my cart of supplies to my car.

It makes me angry. Do you think the mean man woke up pissed off? I do. He was mad, rather than wake up grateful for another day. Rather than enjoy the nice fall morning and another day on this earth.

I hate bullies, and I know hate is a strong word but its true. People who want always make someone feel less, that is what is wrong with us in this country. People wake up ready to cause chaos and mayhem, while others wake up thankful and grateful.

These issues cannot be fixed from a large scale because it all starts with you, with me. If I wake up upset, pissed off and angry then that is how my interaction with people will be. Yet, if I wake up with a more positive attitude then the interaction with people I come into contact with is going to reflect that.

How we go out into the world, will be reflected in how the world treats us. We are mirrors of our feelings, if that makes sense. If you treat someone cruel, they will be cruel back.  Greet someone with a smile and they smile back. How easy is that?

I am so mad and sad. I know this homeless man, know his name and part of his story. Just like I know the many others in that area who I give items to from the trunk of my car when I am out. I don’t write that to get the ‘Yay Me’ acknowledgement. Just some background.

Treat people the way you want to be treated. Plain and simple. Treat them the way you want your loved ones to be treated. What if that was someone you know? What if the homeless man decided to believe the crap the mean man told him? URGH it is so frustrating!!!!

Be kind, be respectful and just help others.

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Skin sensitivity

One thing i have found with my battle with Fibromyalgia is that nothing prepares you for living with it. Symptoms manifest differently for everyone, over the past few months the skin sensitivity has become increasingly worse.

There was already some issues with clothing and I had made those adjustments. Any clothing with large seams or heavy seams, pants that binds around the waist and anything that pushes on the shoulders or back will hurt to wear.  Sadly that is most clothing!! Undergarments are especially tough.

This type of sensitivity is called Allodynia and can sometimes be described as a burning sensation. This is due to the malfunction of nerves and they become aggravated and register the sensations as pain. There are medications that you can take that will help alleviate some of the symptoms but also help those nerves settle down and ease some of the pains.

When I am not having to go out into the world you will generally find me with my hair in a bun high on my head to keep hair from touching my neck, a wide strapped tank top and yoga pants. These types of clothing do not hurt as much. The yoga pants are high waisted because my waist is super sensitive. I do not wear regular bras but wear sports bras that have wide straps and back, panties are almost always a no-go. I know not a topic you want to hear but come on, someone needs this information. I needed it and did not find anyone willing to share. Button up pants are almost always a problem for me, due to my pudginess lol the belt area is always hurting my waist.

If I am going to be out at events or something like that I will wear compression garments. Not to hold in the bulges but to spread the pressure around most of my body and not cause more pains than I am already feeling.

Wearing shoes is another problem for me as well. Doc said I needed to wear shoes to help with the foot and leg pains but wearing socks and shoes really hurts worse than the foot and leg pains. So I do not wear them as often as advised. It is a balancing act, try to find a way to not cause more pains to  yourself so that you can continue to live your life. This is what I do to live mine.

If you are ever in my home you will see lots of pillows and throw blankets all over the place. That is my fault, some fabrics just hurt to sit on. Having different blanket and pillow textures help me relax. What doesn’t hurt me today could be hurting tomorrow. Same goes for covers on the bed, there are times I have to sleep on top of covers because it just hurts too much.

Any extra touching of the skin hurts, even hugs or any rubbing. I get asked why I don’t get massages for the muscle pains and well imagine your body on fire while someone massaging those burns. It is PAINFUL and not worth the trouble. I have tried.

This topic can go on and on and on and on lol but let me just say that everyday I have to go through a few tops and bottoms to find the one that is less painful. There is this kimono jacket that I got years ago that was my go to cover, now it hurts too much. I love that thing. My clothes are the same shirt and pants in various colors because that is the ONE item that feels good on my skin. It is a tough issue to have, even harder to live with. If you know anyone with skin sensitivity please do not assume they are being distant if they don’t hug you or wear that sweater you bought them for Christmas. It could be painful, that’s all.

This isn’t just about clothing either, we could have sensitivity to light and temperature changes. There are days I love my heat pad, other days I want to kill it. Showers are especially tough, do not get me started on that!

I get tired having to go through various articles of clothing because of this. Tired of having to go find something new because my old clothing doesn’t feel as good as before.3

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