Irritable

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Irritable

I feel grumpy this morning.  I mean why not?  It’s been a long and arduous week.  But as I was thinking about it, I realized why I feel grumpy.  And grumpy might not be the right word for it….But it is the best I can come up with.

I miss the AT.

It is Thursday and it should be an art therapy day.  But it isn’t because he is still on vacation.  It is the third appointment I have will have missed and I am feeling it.  I would like nothing more than to spend my usual Thursday morning hour in the safety of his office and in the safety of his presence.  I need that relief from the rest of the world right now.  And I can’t have it.

So…It is not really irritable that I am feeling…but a little bit sad and abandoned and a lot disrupted.  But irritable is the best cover for those feelings…So irritable will win.

 

Overloaded

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Overloaded

Okay…I figured I’d better start mandala-ing again.

You know…I am kind of done with my every-thing-is-haywire week.  Thanks goodness for my PNP…She’s been the only continuity for me this week.  I am sooo ready for next week and regular stuff.  It kind of all hit me yesterday evening…This past week has been a total overload for me.

Seriously? Detour #3? and Welcome, Winter Driving

Seriously? Detour #3?

Yup.

Been there. Done that.  More tachycardia. A couple of new symptoms. Another ambulance trip.  Another vein poked. Another round of blood work.  Another “all your blood work is normal.”

But…this time, they sent me home with the Holter monitor.  Hopefully, they will be able to capture some data that will be helpful. And evidently, it is a near miracle that they actually got someone to come down from Cardiology all the way to the ER <cough> to put the Holter monitor on me. But since I was already there…And this was round three…They made it happen.

Three ER trips in six days and two ambulance trips in two days.  My insurance company is going to hate me.  And it is times like this that I am very grateful that we have good health insurance!!

Anyway…I follow-up with my doctor’s office on Weds.  My physician is not available, so I have to see a different one…I hate different.  But you already knew that….At least I picked one that I know that my friend L really respects.  And I think I have seen him once or twice before.  But <insert whine here> I want to see my own doctor!!

So, I have been resting at home and watching original series Star Trek with the family.  Not much else going one.

And my goal for today?  Stay out of the ER!!!!

Welcome, Winter Driving

We got snow last night (4 inches maybe?).  And now it is sleeting like crazy.  So begins the winter driving season…I have to go into the City for my PNP appointment.  It’s not that I am not used to winter driving, but it will be yucky icy today.  And I’d rather be curled up on the couch listening to is sleet rather than driving in it.

Detour #2

Detour #2

No mandala today, I am too tired and I don’t really have a mandala in me.

Yesterday was supposed to be a normal work day….But right when I left for work my tachycardia kicked in again. I went to work anyway expecting that it would settle on its own…But it didn’t.  One hour went by, two, then three and four…And I was feeling tired and starting to feel kind of weak and I could tell that my heart rate was really booking it…So, I asked one of the nurses to do a manual blood pressure (I don’t trust those machines) and check my heart rate.  Let’s just say…..things were crazy high…at that point my heart rate had spiked to 180 (had been running 120-145 most of the morning) and my blood pressure was 180/100…I have never had BP that high!  And I wasn’t feeling particularly anxious (i.e. not an anxiety attack.)

The nurse told me that I was not allowed out of the chair that I was sitting in and that I needed to go right to the ER.  So….I got to go in an ambulance to the ER.  And….more bloodwork, more EKGs, more IV fluids and….Still nothing conclusive.  I won’t complain too much as they ruled out cardiac stuff (for the moment anyway) which is a relief.  But still…What is going on?

This ER doctor was better. He listened to me and he didn’t try to give me lorazepam.  I like doctors who actually make eye contact with me and listen to what I am saying.

So…I am supposed to be getting a call from Cardiology today and be set up for a Holter monitor (you wear it for a day or two and it records your heart function) and then…We’ll see. Hopefully, this will all get straightened out soon…I am out of veins for IVs and I am kind done with the whole ER thing.

My PNP has been great…She has been available and trying to trouble shoot this from the psych med angle as well as medical possibilities…I really, really appreciate her support. I hate taking up peoples’ weekend/vacation time and she hasn’t seemed put out at all.

The only downfall about the whole thing is that work is a huge gossip mill.  So, being taken out by EMTs on a stretcher in front of multiple colleagues and patients and family of patients and the social worker….I will be the talk of the town for days.  Plus, I had to spill my med list and other personal info (anxiety/depression) to the EMTs and I know that a couple of people overheard.  <sigh>  Not much I can do about it…an emergency is an emergency…Hopefully, people will remember that HIPPA applies to co-workers too! (They won’t…but I can fantasize.)

And lastly…When it was time to leave the ER and I was peeling off the EKG stickers…and finding more and more and more and more….I collected them all and stuffed them in my pocket so I could bring them home and count them (because I like to know these things). Between the stickers from the ambulance and the ones in the ER, I had 17.  Craziness!

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My Ultimate Failure

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My Ultimate Failure

One of the things my physician asked me Wednesday (before she discovered the tachycardia and started moving on that issue) was if I have had such extreme eating habits before.  And I told her yes.  Perhaps not as extreme as now in terms of calorie restriction, but definitely over-the-top in terms of micromanagement and the need to do it perfectly.  When I did Weight Watchers and lost a substantial amount of weight, I was crazy OCD with my points.  And I was very restrictive within their guidelines…I never ate my extra points and I never counted in exercise points…I only used the bare minimum.  And…I was a champion at weight loss.  I lost about 10# a month for a year straight…After that, the weight loss tapered, but I was still losing.  I was the poster-child, the star, the example.  Every week, the leader would call on me repeatedly for insight and tips and she would point out how much weight I had lost.  It was like, “Look at Heidi, she’s our success story.  She was ugly and fat and now she is beautiful and trim.”  (I bet the other people at WW hated me!)  And I sucked in all that attention and praise and all of the kudos.

And I valued myself.  I bought everything they said hook-line-and-sinker.  If you love yourself, you will lose weight and be healthy.  If you love yourself you exercise and take care of yourself.  If you love yourself, you matter and you make good choices.  If you love yourself, you will be rewarded.  Yup…I was oozing love for myself.  Only, I didn’t realize until later that my love for myself and their love for me was totally conditional.

Right after I hit the lowest weight of my adult life, I went back to school…I commuted, yes commuted, 110 miles/2 hours in the car each way 3-5 days a week.  I worked hard, got As and oh, yes….gained weight.  But initially, I still went to Weight Watchers (though had switched to meetings in the town where my college was).  The first time I went back to my regular home meeting and I had gained weight, they kind of tolerated it.  The next time…Well…the leader stopped calling on me.  And she stopped asking for my insight and advice. And I was no longer the wonder-child, the WW prodigy.  I was nothing. I had failed.

And I was left in a crisis.  If loving myself meant that I lost weight and if every shred of self-esteem and feeling good about myself was around losing weight…Then what did it mean when I gained weight back?  Clearly, I was a failure, and clearly I didn’t deserve to like or love myself, or to have good things or to take care of myself.  And I consider that WW failure sort the Ultimate Failure. Now, I can look back at it and see that re-gaining the weight wasn’t the worst part, the loss of appreciating and loving myself was. And it has damaged me almost irreparably.

And what did I do to counter that?  I threw myself into my studies and set myself with the goal of getting straight As and graduating with a 4.0.  (I am very good at that all-or-nothing thinking).  I traded one obsessive/perfectionist drive for another.  And in the end, I didn’t graduate with a 4.0.  I got a 3.98.  <sigh>  I was almost good enough!!!

I guess that is kind of the story of my life…Almost good enough, but never really good enough.  Loved, but only conditionally. Damaged and irreparable.  Not perfect and hating myself because of it.  It’s been the same since I was a preschooler.  No wonder I am fucked up.

And no wonder I have latched onto my eating issues….I am in control.  I micromanage to perfection and I lose weight which makes me feel good about myself.  It is all sooo rewarding!  I really do love it!

Fucked. Fucked. Fucked.  I hate my brain.

And Speaking of Fucked….

Remember my lovely PHQ-9 score from last week?  Evidently, if you take away my Fetzima (I’m now at half the dose I was taking), that good mood?  It goes away too.  This is why I never let myself feel hopeful.  My good things never last.

Exhaustion and Sleeves and Food/Eating & Shame and Flower Bulbs

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Exhaustion

Last night, I was beyond tired.  I don’t know if it was the stress of Christmas Eve and Christmas catching up with me, or if it is from decreasing my Fetzima dose or what…But I was so tired I was in bed at about quarter to seven and I slept until about quarter past 6.  11 and 1/2 hours!!!  I never sleep that long!

Sleeves

The bruises on my arms from the IV and blood draw in the ER are pretty big…One is quarter sized, but the other is half dollar sized.  And they are dark and really show.  I am not happy and I hope they are gone by tomorrow when I have to go to work.  I never wear long sleeves to work and I don’t even have a long sleeve shirt that is compliant with the uniform.  I also have a bruise on the back of my hand (from the first blood draw attempt.)  And to top it off, I have a pretty big bruise on another spot on my arm (I think maybe from falling in yoga?).  I am pretty much the worse for wear.  <sigh>  I’m hoping for miraculously quick healing!

Food/Eating And Shame

I realize that I have been talking about my food issues on my blog a lot recently.  If my blog topics are any reflection of the amount of time I spend thinking about a particular issue, then it makes sense my food issues are getting more blog time lately.

Also…since the AT is gone forever on his vacation, I don’t have any Art Therapy inspired thoughts to share.  And since I never talk about food or food issues in Art Therapy, it makes sense that since he is gone, I feel like I can talk about that stuff.

Why don’t I talk about that stuff with him?  Shame.  Plain and simple.  It is way too shameful to bring it up and then to look at it. (Because you know you can never just bring something up in therapy…it has to be processed and discussed.)  I do talk about my food stuff with my PNP as we have broached it in the past and I don’t quite feel like I am going to die of shame to talk about it more.  That said, we skirt the heavy emotional stuff and mostly talk about the medical stuff.  And the Nutritionist…Well…I still burn from shame in there…But seeing her and not talking about food stuff would be sort of pointless…She is after all a nutritionist! And that makes the shame tolerable.  But with her, I don’t get into all the feelings stuff either, I really just gloss over it.

So, the one person who would be most helpful to discuss it all with, the AT?  In his presence, I am paralyzed by shame and can’t even broach the topic. I have pretty much no shame tolerance with him at all.   It’s my fucked up brain screwing me again.  If I talked to him, I would build some tolerance, but since I can’t, I perpetuate the shame.

Funny…I was going to talk about my eating issues today, but I feel a little guarded about it so I think I will let it go for today.  And I didn’t expect to talk about how shame impacts my ability to talk about this stuff in therapy….Must be the shame is a bigger issue than I realized.  I guess that doesn’t really surprise me.

Flower Bulbs

I want to talk about something totally different now.

So, we have been having the craziest mild weather for December.  These snowy hinterlands are not snowy at all!  Because of this, I was able to get my bulbs into the ground on Thursday morning.  I planted some tulip bulbs, red, yellow and purple which I am pretty excited about.  I also planted crocuses (croci).  Little crocus faces popping out of the snow in the very early spring are one of the most uplifting sights of the season.  Pretty much everyone one has them, some nicely planted in flower beds, but many just pop up here and there on people’s lawns. I realized last year that I didn’t have any crocuses anywhere on our property.  Clearly, that needed fixing!  I only planted about 3 dozen crocus bulbs…another 6 or 7 dozen would suit me just fine!! J  Next fall, I will plant more.  And hopefully I won’t procrastinate until mid-December to get them finally planted!!

 

 

 

I Am Surviving and Physician Probation and Anything Else?

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For my friends who celebrate Christmas…I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.  I hope you have a peaceful and joyous day. 

 I am surviving.

I may not be super happy with the extended family stuff, but I am surviving. Dinner at my MIL’s was tolerable. (Perhaps because I took a half a lorazepam?)  The good news is that since I couldn’t eat most of the food she made (gluten and meat)…I didn’t have to worry about eating too much.

We took a cauliflower dish to share that was made with chickpeas, so it covered my vegetarian needs and had some protein in it too.  Begrudgingly, my MIL took 4 chick peas to try, ate one and promptly spat it out with some dramatic fanning of her face, while saying, “It’s spicy…It’s too hot!”  I guess she wasn’t impressed.  And it wasn’t really very spicy at all.

This morning, we go over to my parents’ for brunch. <sigh>  But once that is over….I can fall back into my routine which will give me significant relief.  I don’t like all this food-at-other-people’s-houses…too stressful! I just want the comfort of my home-based introversion and food routines…It feels safest and I like it.

However, likely the Nutritionist will be pleased as I am diversifying…It may be forced diversification, but I am doing it.

Physician Probation

You may recall that my physician has been on probation with me.  When I saw her on Wednesday, she was much more her usual self.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I will admit, I had some worry as to how she would interact with me…But I got my old Physician back.  I hope it lasts!

Anything Else?

I did get to see my Pixie friend (and her mom) briefly on Wednesday evening.  Her mom had made me a gluten free banana bread (yummy!) and so they dropped it by.  Luckily, by the time they came, the lorazepam “drunkenness” was wearing off…So I was mostly back to myself.

I gave Pixie a little gift and then yesterday, her mom shared some pictures of Pixie exploring her gift.  It looks like she was having fun!

I really like Pixie…She reminds me of ds when he was that age, and she has spunk and sass and I find those traits very engaging, and she reminds me a lot of her mom.  She is a neat kiddo. And her mom is pretty awesome too!

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 Not too much else going on right now….I am kind of consumed with making it through Christmas which is not leaving too much time for anything else.

Unexpected Detour

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Unexpected Detour

The only part of yesterday that followed plan (or at least very nearly followed plan) was yoga.

Yesterday, I had yoga scheduled for 9:30, a check-up with my Primary Physician at 11:40 (to look into the recent development of heart palpitations) and then at 1:00, a playdate with SS and Pixe. It was a pleasing, tidy schedule.

And then at 7:30 the Dr’s office called and said they had had a pipe leak and were tentatively cancelling my appointment.  We rescheduled for the 31st.  Now…this was annoying because this was an appointment where they wanted to see me ASAP.  As in they wanted me to go back in on Monday.  And then yesterday was the next soonest time they had.  And somehow that ASAP was turning into the end of next week….<sigh>

Then just before 9, my YI emailed asking if I wanted to shift our time a half hour or so because she had a lot going on.  I could have still gone at 9:30…But I had just spent 20 minutes in my closet agonizing over what to wear to yoga (and in the end…what did I wear? The same old outfit.)  My anxiety was through the roof and so I emailed her and said it would be nice to bump it back to 10 then I’d have a little time to regroup. And I warned her about my anxiety.

Yoga was good.  She was able to pull me down from my anxiety and tenseness and get me to smile and appreciate the time doing yoga.  I left feeling tons better than when I started.

And right as we finished our very last bit of yoga, my phone vibrated and it was the Dr’s office.  It seems that my doc really wanted me to go in (I guess they really meant ASAP).  So I booked it over and we talked about my heart palpitations and low calorie eating and how low calorie eating can hurt your heart.  And then they checked my BP and my heart rate…And my heart was racing.  Which bought me an in-office EKG.  Which got me a very thorough medical exam.  I told her about my anxious morning, but she was concerned that something cardiac was going on…So I earned myself a trip to the ER.

Now, at this point, I was just exhausted and a smidge numb (remember, I didn’t sleep well the night before) and I felt anything but anxious.  I drove to the ER and dh met me there. And I got a second and third EKG.  And blood work.  And an IV.  And…..they could find nothing wrong with me.  (Yay!)  So, the doc asked if I had anxiety and I said, “Yes” and he started attributing the tachycardia to anxiety and decided he would give me a dose of lorazepam to see if it would bring down my heart rate.  Well…holy hell!  That dose of lorazepam hit me like a load of bricks.  (I am truly a lightweight when it comes to those kinds of meds) and since they gave me the lorazepam in my IV (vs. the pill form I take at home) it has a more immediate and potent reaction.  Not only did my heart rate drop…so did my respiration, such that they had to put me on 02 to get my 02 saturation out of the 80s (upper 90s is ideal).

Based on my response to the meds, the doc decided it was anxiety, told me I was now fine and then sent me home…Where I had to pretty much stay seated all evening because otherwise I was careening around the house like I was drunk.  Too much lorazepam is bad!

Now…that’s the story.  And far be it from me to question the ER doc….but……I don’t know that I was having tachycardia from anxiety.  I know that the lorazepam took care of it…but my god, that sedative also took care of my breathing and my physical and cognitive function…..In other words, it seemed to hit every aspect of my being…so why wouldn’t it decelerate my heart?

And I have had intense anxiety moments “attacks” before and they felt nothing like what happened yesterday.  Like I said, at the ER, I was exhausted and kind of numb….I was not ramped up and shaking and restless…I was laying on the gurney with my eyes closed wishing for a nap.  Does that sound anxious to you?

In the evening, I talked to my PNP who agreed with me that it didn’t sound like it was my anxiety.  She expressed concern about my SNRI, Fetzima, (that norepinephrine again!) and since my mood is okay on the recent Lamictal increase, she wants me to drop the Fetzima dose starting today…To see if that doesn’t settle down my heart some.  So…we shall see what happens.

And the worst part of yesterday….I missed making ornaments with SS and Pixie and I am really disappointed about that.

It was not the day I planned.

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Not Anxiety! and Triple Decker Appointments

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Not Anxiety!

This is the last thing I need right now…But my anxiety has been picking up and last night, I was awake in bed between about 2:20 and 3 and then again between about 3:45 and 4:something.  All I know is that the dogs got up at 4:45 and I had finally just fallen back asleep.  And in between, I had anxiety dreams.  <sigh>  I don’t need anxiety right now and I definitely don’t need poor sleep…When I don’t sleep well, I struggle mood-wise.  And I can’t catch up with a nap today because I have yoga (yay!), a doctor’s appt (stress) and then a playdate with SS and Pixie (fun!).  So…I need to suck it up so I can still enjoy the fun things on agenda for the day.

Why am I anxious?  For one, the doctor’s appointment.  For two, Christmas Eve with my MIL and Christmas day with my parents.  I am soo not emotionally ready.

But I suppose it doesn’t matter…My anxious things are going to happen whether I like them or not and whether I am ready or not.  So…I will just suck it up and keep going.

Triple Decker Appointments

Well…Monday’s triple-decker-appointment day was a far cry from the one a few weeks back when I was in my post-flashback dissociative haze.  It’s almost startling in how different a place I can be in just a very short amount of time.

The AT appointment was good.  I showed him a video/slideshow I had put together.  I will post it here, but have to figure how I am going to do it, as you can’t directly upload video to WordPress.  The slideshow is kind of a “tribute” to the pre-trauma me and her subsequent losses.  I don’t really know exactly why I made it…The AT had been talking about starting at the beginning, with the pre-trauma me, and then a couple of days later…This idea popped into my head.  It’s one of those things that felt right to do, even though I am not sure where it came from.

He also gave me a homework assignment to work on for the next week and a half.  A way of communicating to the pre-trauma me.  I am working on it in my head but I can’t quite get myself to sit down and start it.

After the AT, I saw my PNP.  When she asked how I was doing I told her, “Great!”  Because (current anxiety aside) I really do feel good right now.  And she whipped out a PHQ-9. (Food for thought…why does it peeve me when my primary physician pulls out a PHQ-9, but I don’t bat an eye when my PNP does it?)  Anyway…after filling the form out “Heidi-style” my PNP scored it and I got a 4.5 (there are not really half-points, unless it’s filled out Heidi-style).  4.5….That puts me in the not depressed range.  I think it might be the best score I have had on a depression screen since I started seeing my PNP in August of 2010.  That said…I am a bit skeptical.  It all depends if I can hold the mood…and historically, that hasn’t happened. Of course, historically, I haven’t had such strong support as I have now either, nor have I been on Lamictal…Time will tell.  I am not jumping on board the remission train yet.  I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

That part of my appointment went really well.

Then we got talking about nutrition.  And my need to express control through eating….or barely eating as the case may be.  And my PNP was not happy.  Or really, she was very concerned.  And I got some more patient education about how super low cal eating is bad for my body.  And when I related some physical and memory issues I have been having lately (which I attributed to the increase in my Lamictal) she was even more concerned.  And then she said she was going to call in check in with the AT and then she said she was going to call and check in with my primary physician too.  And I am not stupid, I understand that means that she is very concerned.

So…My last appointment of the day was with the Nutritionist.  And she was very concerned as well.  And when she did the math on my basal metabolic rate, my current calorie intake and my exercise…She said that we have to increase my calorie intake ASAP.  ASAP, but gradually so as not cause further health issues that can be caused from switching from really low calories to high(er) calories.  And then she said she was going to talk to my primary physician.

As a matter of fact, after I left my appointment, they called me and wanted me to come back…But I didn’t get the message in time.  I go back today to see my primary and for blood work and I am dreading what my physician is going to say to me. <sigh> Also my Nutritionist is emailing me today to check in with me.

Oh…and the Nutritionist had a long conversation with me about my Thinking Brain vs my Eating Disorder Brain.  (I understand the concept, though I think of it as my Logical Brain vs. my Emotional/Irrational Brain.) Anyway, the Thinking Brain, it gets it…what I am supposed to do, why I need to do it, how to take care of myself. And the Eating Disorder Brain….It screams at me and scares me and it has to have total control.  And at the moment, it is clearly winning.  I can see it when I look objectively…I am just not sure how to fix it.

The Nutritionist gave me some goals for the week:  Increase my calorie intake (I agreed to add a daily Lara bar to my food repertoire), stop weighing myself daily because I am just reinforcing the negative behavior (except I did weigh myself yesterday and then I weighed myself this morning because of my dr’s appt), plan what I am eating at my MIL’s and my parents’ for holiday meals to reduce my food anxiety, and add salt to my diet.  I did ask her if I had to eat a whole Lara bar each day…and she said yes.  That will be hard but I did do it yesterday.

It is going to be a long week.  I may have a food-related nervous breakdown before it is over and since my anxiety is already ramping up…well….We’ll just see what happens.

 

 

 

Another Year: Endings And Beginnings

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Another Year: Endings And Beginnings

While I was sleeping last night, the old Solar Year ended and the New Solar year began, though we will not see it for another couple of hours yet, when the sun rises.

I am really glad to see last year gone…But not all of it.  There are parts of last year that I want to carry with me into this year and beyond.

The hard part of last year was my depression…And though I have had worse years with my depression, until 2015, I had never felt crushed by such hopelessness and end-of-my-ropeness.  When I started the year, I had pretty nearly given up completely.  And the year continued to challenge me.  I don’t think I have ever felt as suicidal as I did this year.  I felt so suicidal, that at times I scared myself….And I have been in my head a long time…It takes a lot to scare me!  And paired with the suicidal thoughts were thoughts of self-harm and an occasional self-harming action or two.  Not a good year.

But all of the bad brought a lot of good to me.  First of all, I am still here.  And I am in one piece.  The resilience that I was sure was failing me….I still have it!  And it feels stronger as I end the year than when I started.

I have grown closer to dh as I open myself up more and more…I think I have finally figured out that he loves me no matter what and that my depression is not going to push him away.  It only took me twenty years to figure that out…But the fact that I got there is pretty huge for me.

I have rekindled friendships this year and started a new one.  I like having friends!  When I first became depressed, friends were the first thing to go.  I just couldn’t hack it.  But now, I really look forward to seeing and talking to my friends.  And I feel lucky because the friends I have right now, the “real” friends, they know about me, the Real Me, and they still accept me. This kind of boggles my mind…But I am going to just accept it and let it inspire thoughts like, “Maybe I am okay just the way I am.”

And of course, one of the biggest “goods” that came out of this year was the development of Team Heidi.  The AT, my PNP, my Yoga Instructor and the Nutritionist.  Every time I turn around, one of them is there reminding me that I am strong and that I will make it and that I have worth.  I don’t always see these things for myself so it is really nice to have frequent encouragement.  Plus, they all share the same goal as me, they want to see me as a happy and whole person who can enjoy her life and manage the ups-and-downs without crashing.

I had no idea that I would be building such a team.  Nor did I have any idea that I would build such a strong team.  They all are passionate about their work and it shows.  And each one has a different approach and perspective, but they complement each other perfectly…Kind of like pieces of a puzzle fitting together.  And I trust and feel safe with each person on my team.

All that “bad” from last year? It brought me an abundance of good. Funny how that works.

So…As the sun rises this morning, and I look ahead to the new Solar year…What do I want?  I have been thinking about this for the past several days….What do I want?

I think what I would really like is to learn that I am safe in the world.  And that I am okay.  And that I do have worth and that I matter.  And I would like to start to like myself and to feel whole and exquisite.  And I would like to take care of myself spiritually.

It seems like a lot to want…And it will not be easy getting to the point where I feel all those things…But I feel like I am finally on the right path and have the right support and the strength and resiliency to get there.  This is such a far cry from the beginning the year when simply being alive was a day to day struggle. But, I am already not the same person that I was a year ago or six months ago.

You know, I think the biggest thing I have been able to awaken over the past year (and this took lots of help and support from Team Heidi) is Hope.  I don’t feel hopeless anymore.  Sure…I have moments of hopelessness. But I don’t feel like my core is full of darkness anymore.  I think a little seed has started to stir inside of me and that if I nurture it just right, it will start to grow.  It kind of makes me feel like hugging myself!  Maybe there is actually hope for me!!!

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