Elephants

9-27-10     10:25am

I’m struggling this morning to find the motivation to take a shower. It’s been over a week. There is a show on the television about elephants in Bali. My mom is asleep. We’re supposed to be at dog training in a half hour. I don’t want to go.

Something is wrong with me. I am weak, lethargic, having episodes of tachycardia, muscle spasms in my back and head. My headaches have returned. My blood pressure is spotty. I know some of this can be attributed to stress but not all. I’m having this thing where the muscles in my face pull my eyes open wide and make it difficult to blink. So I don’t blink often and then my contacts get dried out. It hurts and when I do close my eyes it’s hard to open them. Consequently, I fall asleep. This has happened several times while driving. Yesterday I almost hit a car in traffic. It comes on quick and is often preceded several hours by happiness/euphoria. Yesterday I felt sincere joy and cried happy tears although I have no idea why. I made an appt with my chiropractor today. In this process, there are few if any thoughts in my head.

I’ve at least been thinking about blogging lately, even if I haven’t done it. That’s a step up from forgetting I have a blog. I saw my new psychiatrist a few weeks ago and she seems nice and competent. I don’t know what to do… I’m tired. So tired. A better word would be lethargic. I had apple and peanut butter for breakfast. Thank God for honeycrisp apple season. Lets work it in.

I have to go. I’m having trouble staying upright to type. Just checking in. Oh, I made reservations for CLOG National in Reno. I’m excited. Something positive to look forward to.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Chaos in the Chorus

9-10-14     11:26pm

I knew it had been awhile since I blogged but I didn’t realize it had been almost 2 months. 

So what happened 2 months ago? Dr. N, my psychiatrist and main support person, told me he took a different job and can no longer be my doctor. He explained the situation and I understand but it’s fucking me up. This is the first time I’ve experienced real grief. I don’t know what to do with it. At first I couldn’t stop crying and carried around the means to kill myself. Then I shut down. Then it would hit me in waves. All of last week I was bitchy and angry. This week I just sit and stare. I was supposed to see him yesterday but he cancelled to pick up family from LAX. I’m concerned about him and his family because his home country is Syria. That place has gone to shit.

I’m tired. I’m so tired. The sky is falling. I struggle to dance in the rain. The moon is under construction and it’s raining Starbursts.

My mom had cataract surgery on both eyes. She can see now and is fascinated with colors. We are working on decluttering the house. Our dog is amazing. I’ve decided to train her in French. Mom doesn’t buy it. I went to Harvest Crusade with Mom and my friend T and rededicated my life to Christ. I’m reading the Bible when I can. I keep praying. I feel my problems are insignificant compared to others’ but it’s the intensity of emotion that bothers me more than the stuff. I also started watching two little girls. They make my day every time I see them. One is 8 months old and the other is 2 and 1/2 and has autism. Mom is helping and it’s a good time to bond and learn.

The word “transition” keeps coming up. Everyone says I’m in “transition.” I’ve come to view it as an evil word. What does it even mean? The shitty, unorganized period of time between two or more important events? I feel selfish for having such an intense reaction/response to the situations in my life when those less fortunate can say nothing. I have a home. I have family. I just got approved for SSDI. I’m driving now. I finally have a room that feels good to me. I worked over a year saving up money for a new mattress and putting art up on the walls. Now it feels like me. Butterflies and tranquility.

My thoughts really haven’t been coming to me. They are either nowhere to be found or showing up in pictures. There is chaos in the chorus and sometimes I can’t even hear the thoughts. I just hear the cadence, the timing. Last night 7 had so much she just needed to get OUT so I walked around the parking lot after DBT talking to the moon. She’s so scared. 

Yoga therapy has been really great. It’s exactly what I need. A quiet space to explore me with someone who cares. An opportunity to move my body, to listen to it. I am so grateful for Soleil. I found a new friend at group too. Her mom hates me but that’s okay. She is fun. She reminds me a lot of me when I was her age. I want to be free. 

Right now it’s Comfort Drive time – the 3rd year I’ve done it. I’m concerned because there aren’t many donations coming in and usually it’s a flood. I’m too tired to hit the pavement so I wait and pray. This current situation has me praying a lot, relying on faith when I usually wouldn’t. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know why. Dr. N said I’m a fixer and this can’t be fixed. Then what do you do with it? 

I recently tried Amitiza for my stomach. I took it for about 3 weeks. Then I stopped because it caused debilitating, mind-numbing pain for me. Head pain, burning face, lack of thought, super weak, can’t stay awake, can’t breathe pain. My head feels much better. Now if I could only get the…  (falling asleep)

I really like the little girls. They make me happy, even when they’re sad.

I have to go. I’m literally falling asleep at the computer. Just wanted you to know I haven’t forgotten you. I want to write and I want to blog but I’m not writing much and what I am is not internet-friendly. I managed to hurt my shoulder somehow while thrashing around in my sleep. I really should get it checked. Feels like someone is cutting me with a knife when I reach for anything. 

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Thank God for Maggots

9-7-14  4:23pm

Thank God for maggots. 

I’m sitting in El Pollo Loco. I finally got food. I’ve been full of anger for a week now and today I broke. I spent two hours pouring sweat at Irma’s fighting maggots and flies. I called Mom and she Googled for me. At first I felt bad killing them. Then it was oddly relieving feeling their tiny bodies crush beneath my thumb, like bubble wrap.

In case you’re wondering, Windex, Simple Green, and Raid don’t kill maggots. I settled for boiling water. It was nasty. But I did it. I’m falling asleep.

As I turned into Dixieline to buy fly tape I broke down. I parked and sobbed and wailed. It felt good. What about crying makes eyes look glassy?

I emailed Colleen back. It’s really nice of her to reach out. I want to write to Dr. H but I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to scare her or look too sane, but there are things I need her to know.

(falling asleep)

I don’t know why I’m sleepy.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Awake

7-25-14     1:23pm

Awake 7-24-14

I am awake.
I am alive.
Nothing bad happened.

We talked about radical acceptance. “I don’t like it. I don’t want it. AND I can tolerate it.”
I added, “AND I can love it.” I am awake.

I told her I want to wake up. I shared some past. I curled up tight in a ball. I talked about fear and confusion. She allowed me to feel what it’s like to be scared and confused, to stay with it. For me that’s new.

I notice I’m having trouble remembering. I was skipping around the numbers.

From the ball I took a chance and uncurled. I laid on the floor, moving my fingers and toes. Then I went upside down – plowish pose. Things were instantly better. I’m calmer upside down. I struggled in my head to find the courage to ask to do a back bend. When I did I shared the arguing in my head.

Soleil put her feet on my back and supported me as I peeled off the well. I opened my eyes to look at her briefly. I felt sheer freedom, relief. Then an overwhelming wave of nausea. I’ll call it emotion. I stayed with it for as long as I could then came down and put my hands and forehead on the wall. I breathed heavily. I was awake.

I learned the emotion is much stronger and closer than I thought and that I can access it when I want. I can be awake and have nothing bad happen. I can sit with and love my scary thoughts and the parts of me thinking them. I also noticed how real and very close my past is. I don’t want to run anymore. I am weak, and that’s okay. I want to integrate. I think I’m ready. We work together.

Lately I hear music almost constantly. The numbers in my head fight and change course. I feel pressed. I must always be working. I don’t want to wake up one day when I’m 50. I want to live life now. And take a nap. Soul-searching is exhausting.

I am awake.
I am alive.

(continued 7-26-14)

I felt.
Identified a want/need.
Allowed myself to want.
Let my self ask.
Used courage.
Took a chance/risk.
Asked for what I wanted.
Was honest about feeling scared.
Asked for help.
Trusted that she wouldn’t hurt me for asking.

Trusted her.
Experienced the uncertainty.
Stayed with it.
Participated.
Let go into the pose.
Embraced the feeling of freedom.
Let myself feel it.
Acknowledged pain when it came but didn’t stop even though I felt scared.

Watched the sensations grow
– pins & needles & burning in my left hand and arm
– extreme nausea
Chose to move up and sit back even though I was scared to get in trouble
– rested my hands and forehead on the wall
Watched myself breathe deeply, heavily.
Did not judge the moment.

What did I practice?

  • Patience for me
  • Trust
    trusting me
    trusting she wouldn’t hurt me
    trusting her words
    trusting her to support me
    trusting my own judgement
    trusting what my body tells me to do or not to
    trusting my instinct
    trusting God
  • Staying in the moment – present/awake
  • Staying with a feeling
  • Feeling
  • Telling the truth
  • Being Real
  • Being Michelle
  • Just being
  • Allowing myself to be happy, playful, and do basketball court angels

When I was scared I curled up so tight in a ball. I didn’t know I could get so small. I took a chance when prompted to uncurl. The dance is stuck in me. I must get it, let it out. I must set me free.

(listened to RadioLab)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Ya can’t fix tile with a laser beam

7/17/14     3:17pm

Do you want to stop dissociating? (therapist)

I want to not feel trapped. I want to not need to escape reality. I want to get what I need and to know that I have it. And what I have it for. I want ME.

I’m so exhausted. I fight but I can’t get out of my mind. I want to cut the pain out like a tumor. Just GET it OUT. I rarely cry. I’m surrounded by fog. My life is a lie it seems but only to me. I’m the one who can’t quite reach it.

Put on a smile. Dress nicely. Run to catch up. What day is it? Who cares? Just follow the box. This meaning is big-picture stuff. Just keep trodding along.

(slow deep breath, confusion)

I don’t want to be sick. It has benefits but not worth dying for. Why stay propped up on toothpicks when you could run? Have you tried?

(shutting down)

Tuesday I had a strong response and shut down in group. B- was the trigger. I didn’t say anything. (falling asleep) I want to be able to read menus again. I don’t know how I’m doing right now. When Ashley states it objectively it sounds bleak. I can’t remember what I’ve done or am doing. I’m very reactive. I can’t make decisions. I zone out driving. I hear music or racing thoughts or nothing. I get hot or cold for no reason. I’m not interested in people or activities or life. I’m having a really hard time making my bed and handling finances. I’m not brushing my teeth. My hair is falling out. I’m gaining weight. I’m picking again. I’m thinking in pictures. I can’t tolerate reading email and I’m not responding in a timely manner to text or voicemail. I’m not interested in tv. I have nightmares and wake up sweaty. I’m tired. Head pain and stomach pain are literally mind-numbing. Dr. T says I’m falling apart. I am.

I’m working really hard. I don’t know why I’d do that if I didn’t want to change. Groups and therapy are stressful. Who would volunteer for that? I’m not a glutton, nor do I like punishment.

Oddly, I don’t feel angry or offended at the question. One would think I would be better by now, might think I’m not trying. I just feel sad. It’s a question I’ve asked others. Do you want to get better? Yes. I do. Life is better than treatment. But life is trying to eat me. Or so my brain tells me. I do what the voices tell me.

Honestly, I do not want to be present for this. But if I don’t experience it I won’t have a chance to remember. “I feel like a hamster,” I kept telling them. Trapped and people are watching me. They gave me Risperdal and Depakote. “I broke the stone statue” led to being under close observation. I don’t speak the language. Shawna tries but she rarely “speaks Michelle.” I don’t want my own language, don’t want to need translation. I just want to be, to understand, to experience just what’s real. I imagine it might be boring but I want the opportunity to try.

I don’t want to lose my superpowers, just to put them away for awhile. Ya can’t fix tile with a laser beam.

Love, Michelle

PS – I want out of my body. It hurts not to move or dance. When offered opportunities I freeze with fear. GET IT OUT.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Still Worth Saving

7/14/14     2:05pm

pink button 7-14-14Still.

(several sighs)

I feel my throat burn and face and hands tingle. The chaos floods back in quickly. I drew my picture. Then I colored out the anxiety.

Today I let go.
I am worth saving.
I am still worth saving.

Still. That implies that I was before.
I’m also still okay.

I feel nauseous and scared.

(go outside)

(stretch, toes in grass, look at sun & upside down trees)

I am okay.
I’m afraid of the pain.
I’m afraid of the pain being real.
It’s everything I want.
If I go through it, will it subside?
If I come to life, will I want to be in it?
Will I be able to get back out?

I am okay.
I’m still okay.
I don’t know what that means.

I’m accessing. I’m getting closer to her. I’m letting her take over me.

I feel frustrated because today it’s different. I went from chaos at an 8 to a 0 with Soleil. I practiced trust and truth, hanging on and letting go, listening. (wave of sadness). Then chaos clamped down like a dungeon door trapping me in when I left.

(image in my mind of me begging at the door when the back of my cell had no wall)
Just turn around.
You’re still okay.
It’s okay to save you.

Remember today, resist self-sacrifice.
Eat. Move your body. Believe.

That’s all ’til next time.
Over and out. -

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

I am not broken

I am not broken crop 7-8-147/8/14     11:55 am

Hear music:

It’s not over.
It’s not finished.
It’s not ending.
It’s only the beginning.
When God is in it, all things made new.

It played in my head before and resumed again.

I visited the dungeon. I sat with 15. She gave me a button. I’m not broken. And I’m not sure I believe it.

I’m not broken.
The button is real.
The sickness is real, but I am real too.

I talked about my kidneys and Ashley. My body held all of my sins and strife in a hollow ringing dark blue ball in my back. My body said to let go. Let go. I can’t follow the pattern of movement and change. Hands, feet, rocking, stretching. A whirl in my head like a blender. Then we were there. I went to the dungeon. I went to see 15.

Mom says not to go down there, that she’s bad and deserves to be punished and alone, a disgrace to the family. She eats spaghetti. But she’s not. She’s just a little girl looking to be loved. She’s not broken. I’m not broken. It was cold there. She sat on the floor instead of the bench. The door was open. I sat next to her. I didn’t say a word.

Her hair was stringy, eyes big. She was younger than me, scared but she didn’t run away. She just watched me. I wasn’t scared of being caught like before. I didn’t try to change or convince her. She’s not broken. I’m not broken. This isn’t our fault.

I feel nervous as I write this, like someone is watching and will find out and get me.

(someone screams in real life – look up)

She gave me a trinket, a small button with an anchor on it. It was dark blue and textured. She is the anchor and she is not broken. She is REAL and I have to save her. Or do I? Maybe I could just be her friend, hold her hand. Maybe she can teach me.

I decided that maybe I could take her a picnic. She had a very important message for me – “You have to dance.” The phrase comes to mind, “Don’t let me die in vain.” Is she really dying? I want the time to love her. She’s not broken. I’m not broken.

I set a goal to dance with some videos this week and to re-query Trisha about space. In order to be successful in teaching while sick, I need to drop my pride and be open. That is hardest for me. It’s why 15 is in the dungeon and why I don’t teach kids. I’m terrified.

It’s a made up fear.

No it’s not.

Kind of.

Okay, a little. But SOME of it is real.

Yes.

Plan for the ending.
Then LIVE.

Touche. Live.

Almost everything scares me. I stuff the fear inside the blue ball. Shame is placed in the dungeon. Sadness lives in my core. Anger stays in my head. Before the ball, fear burrows everywhere wreaking havoc on all of my cells. Uncertainty or loss take my breath. Overwhelm lives in my throat. I hold tight to the spiky pain. It makes me dizzy and confused. And exhausted.

I’m not broken. (deep breath)

I need to visit and learn from her. She survived. She’s real. The button is real.

All of the worries and fears of a few hours ago are gone. God gave me Soleil and 15. I prayed on a dandelion that God would set me free. I pondered the insight of a eucalyptus before it sheds. (My foot tingles) I remembered I grew like a tree last year and the tree on my wall to symbolize that.

I’m growing.
I’m real.
I’m not broken.
And I’m hungry.

It doesn’t matter what I lose.
God is holding me.
He has always provided, always will.
It’s not my plan.
It IS my life.

I’m not broken.
I’m real.
I have to dance.

I feel dizzy.

I just looked down at my anchor button and realized it’s a J for Jesus. (smile) Praise God. Yes, He is my anchor.

I am not broken

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Pain is a hat

6-30-14     2:07pm

Pain is a hat 6-30-14

Pain is a hat.

Pain is more of a hat than a liver. It can’t hurt me. It’s not part of me. Letting go isn’t loss. Hanging on isn’t gain. Pain is a hat.

I just finished with Soleil. Amazing session. I started out very agitated, scared. I talked about being scared Dr. Nicolas will be mad and afraid to go back to being sick.  A small dot in my stomach was me.

I laid on my back and she put her hand on the dot. We talked. I couldn’t trust, was still scared, so she held my hand. It was grounding. She was real. My hand felt real. She touched my forearm (real), my upper arm (real). She stretched out my arm, pulled. It was the reach of a line, a dance stretch. It opened up the inside of my upper arm, like when I twirl. I joined my other arm. I was calm. So calm. I felt pleasant joy. No anxiety. I listened to the tick of the clock, felt my heartbeat in my stomach. And I remembered what I told Ana – that maybe the pain/feeling doesn’t want to be there either. Am I fighting a friend, an ally?

Pain is just a hat. I can take it off and still be me. It and emotion and life are experiences. I choose pink glitter. I can change hats every day. Or leave one on for years. Or wear more than one at a time. Or I can wear no hat at all.

Some hats have magical powers. When I wear them I transform or change, but they don’t affect the real me, the foundation. Except the ones that are tattooed on, but those are more like skidmarks, scars, memories.

Pain is a hat.

(pause)

So, I guess it doesn’t matter what I go through, whether I’m sick or treated or not. Telling Dr. N doesn’t make the hat more real. Taking medication to remove it doesn’t remove me. Pain can’t hurt me. It’s a hat. Pain is a hat.

Thank you, God. Thank you.
For Soleil, and for hats.

Remember realizing Dr. N isn’t mad at me. I’m mad at me for not getting better. I want this fucking done. Get in the game, bitch. He just wants me okay.

My head hurts.

Getting better or healing and the process are no less painful, but I’m no longer afraid to do it. Me minus illness still equals me. I may be ragged but I’m still here, fighting, waiting for you.

I want a gluten-free brownie.

Me too.

I’m hungry but I don’t want to move or leave. I’m sitting in the sun in the parking lot. I hear the cars. They seem real. (run my hands over all of me) When I touch me I seem real. Then it fades quickly away.

A baby fell on its head in my car.

No it didn’t.

(sit under the trees)
(notice the breeze)

Train!

I don’t feel safe to drive.

(clasp my hands together)

I’m real.

Choose to hold on to the happy. Why not?

(13) I have to tell Dr. N.

It’s okay to be scared.

I agreed to tell Ashley when I need to use a skill to drive. I don’t want to . Where am I going? WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING ME?! 

TICKLE FIGHT! :)

Dr. N called me back. I told him I’m okay. I was at the moment. But I’m not.

I remember with Soleil God was a big fuzzy purple shoe bag that scooped me up. It was dark inside and I was trapped, so scared. I couldn’t see. He pulled the drawstring tightly closed when life was dangerous and let me look out the top when it was safe. Life was land.

Sometimes there are reasons we cannot see.

(13) I don’t want to wait here. This is stupid.

Is my life a sheltered workshop?

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

I am happy :)

5/31/14     10:03am

My soul is filled with the joy of the Lord. JESUS!

(deep breath) I am happy.
I am happy.

Last night I sang a solo at my choir concert. I am so proud! I was so nervous. I started learning it around 3pm. 2 hours in the car with Whitney Houston, 20 minutes with a karaoke track from iTunes and a lot of prayer. The devil fought me telling me I couldn’t do it, that I was worthless and needed to die. Not today, sir. Get out of my house. JESUS!

My head hurts so bad.

There were only 16 people in the audience – all family of the choir and a few church members. None of my friends showed up. I was so thankful to have my mom.

I read from Proverbs and prayed that God would sing through me and to me, that He would give me the courage to open my mouth and use me as a vessel for His word, keeping my focus only on Him. This song is a vocal dance for Jesus. JESUS!

My whole body trembled. An hour or so before, I hit a wall – weak, dizzy, close to tears, barely able to eat. I sat down a few times during the concert but decided not to take my PRN for my heart that I sometimes do during concerts. I didn’t want to interfere with the Spirit. My head and mouth hurt all day. I had decompensated to confusion, yelling at cars, then not moving. But I did it. Just for God. No practice with the choir. A lick and a prayer. All for God. Only for God.

The look on Ken’s face as I sang was priceless. He exchanged looks with Janet. I smiled genuinely. He didn’t know I could do that. Neither did I. :) I got so many compliments after, the best in an email from another choir member. He said:

I listened to the recording of the concert tonight on the way home and I am almost speechless regarding your rendition of “I Love the Lord.” I couldn’t really hear it when we did it, or I would have said something afterwards. I am just floored by the range, the intensity, and the emotion that you put into that solo. Wow. Just magnificent. Thanks for making tonight one of the best nights I have ever spent performing music. Those 16 people in the audience were definitely in the right place at the right time.”

I watched the video when I got home. It is the first time I’ve been proud of my work, didn’t hate the sound of my voice. I felt free.

Today I am still proud. My head and mouth hurt a lot. I feel nauseous. I’m eating kettle corn on the couch. Not the best idea after serious mouth surgery but I’m afraid to make oatmeal. I feel overwhelmed. I’m trying to settle, breathe. My doctor and therapist are both out of town so it’s me and God. He’s got this. (wink)

Thanks for listening.
May you be blessed.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

How to Save Verizon Voicemails using Google Voice

4-11-14     1:38pm hands-untied-from-rope

Puzzled by how to save your Verizon voicemails? Feel trapped on their network because you don’t want to lose the precious, special, or important sounds in their system? I was and did. I even tried saving them through the Verizon system but it left me with a file only that phone could read. Some people think it’s stupid that I save voicemails but it’s really important to me to be able to hear the sound of my loved ones’ voices. It soothes me, especially when I can’t be around them or if/when they die. Google Voice solves the problem.

What you’ll need:

  • Active Verizon voicemail account
  • Google Voice account
  • Phone #1 – phone that does not have a Google Voice account linked to it OR phone whose Google Voice number is not the same as the number whose voicemails you’re recording.
  • Phone #2 – a second phone that your Google Voice number rings to (cannot have the same number as the phone number whose voicemails you’re retrieving.)
  • time
  • patience

Directions:

  1. Go to Google Voice www.google.com/voice
  2. Log in if prompted.
  3. Click on the gear icon in the upper right.Screenshot 2014-05-02 21.38.16-1
  4. Choose “Settings.” Screenshot 2014-05-02 21.38.25-1
  5. Uncheck all phones but Phone #2. Note – Settings is also where you can choose a different number for your Google Voice number to ring to.
    **Remember to put the settings back when you’re finished recording! Screenshot 2014-05-02 21.39.37-1
  6. Click on the “Calls” tab and check the “Enable Recording” box.Voice Settings
  7. From Phone #1, call the Google Voice number that rings to Phone #2.
  8. If prompted when answering, press 1 to accept the call on Phone #2.
  9. Don’t hang up.
  10. Call your Verizon number from the keypad on Phone #2.
  11. Press # during your voicemail greeting and enter your Verizon voicemail password when prompted.
  12. Merge the two calls (making it a 3-way).MERGE
  13. Mute the mic on both phones to ensure only your voicemail is recorded.
    mute
  14. Press 4 on the Google # line to start call recording.
    **Make sure you hear the recording announcement.**
  15. Listen to the first message.
  16. During the message, press the keypad to minimize the numbers & then “manage conference.”kk
  17. Listen to the message.
  18. When the message is over, quickly press to control the Verizon #’s keypad, enter command (save/skip/etc.).
  19. Merge calls again before next message starts.
  20. Repeat steps 16-19 until all desired messages have been recorded.
    Note – It may take a few tries to get the timing down. I recommend trying this with one test message before recording all of them.
  21. When you are finished recording, press to control the Google #’s keypad from the calling phone.
    mm
  22. Press 4 to stop recording.
  23. Make sure you hear the end-recording announcement.
  24. Hang up both lines.
  25. Check your Google Voice account to make sure the recording showed up. It will appear as a very long new voicemail.

Congratulations! You can now download an mp3 of your voicemails or listen from your inbox. You are free to move about the globe contract free!

I really hope this helps. It took me SUCH a long time to figure out and I’m still not sure how exactly I did it. I just know I finally did. Let me know if it works for you. I know it gives me peace of mind that my memories are safe as I switch to T-Mobile.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

An Appealing Addiction

5-26-14     6:19pm

Until this surgery I’d never been prescribed pain meds. Many times I should have been. Many times not. I’m watching NCIS:LA, kind of. Mom is working online. Pets are nowhere in sight. I was going to go to group but I’m too tired.

I went to see my chiropractor today. My neck has been out of whack. He played up the awesomeness of pain meds. The message from the universe lately has been “Live a little,” regarding pain meds – even from more than one of my doctors. What? I’m confused. I just want to feel better.

I’m sorry. I’m feeling very distracted and am having sensory overload from the tv, air conditioner, Mom and life outside.

FUCK! WHY IS EVERYTHING SO LOUD?!

(deep breath)

Dr. X was right. Narcotics numb emotional pain too. I’ve felt amazing on Norco every 4 hours but I have a limited supply. I decided to switch to PRN today. I took Motrin this morning – 800mg. I held out until after 5pm for a Norco. I was hot and weak and couldn’t stay awake. Ellie stayed with me.

I did notice today how hair-trigger my emotions are. I’m bitchy or rageful or antsy or confused. My tastebuds are off. Sounds are SO loud. I cannot do anything. When I am on Norco I’m confused but happy. I love my “mommy” and don’t care about anything. I am tempted to continue taking this Norco. The only downside is not driving, but I don’t seem to care.

What bothers me is that it’s an appealing addiction. Everyone seems in on it but me. The fact that I am helped by narcotics seems a no-brainer. (why is the sound so loud?) Why are my professionals promoting recreational use? Why don’t other things help me this much? And why am I experiencing withdrawal after only 4 days?

A small glimpse into prescription pain-killer addiction. I hope I don’t stay for the show.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Walmart Check Printing

5-25-14     5:49pm

There is an awesome service I’ve been using for awhile that most people don’t even know about. I’ll share it with you as I sit here watching “The Croods.” Walmart Check Printing. Yep. I said check printing. From Walmart. No joke. I discovered it a few years ago when I was looking for Disney princess checks. Most sites I checked had them for $30+ per box for singles. That is way out of my price range. Thankfully, I stumbled upon www.walmartchecks.com I’ve purchased my checks from them ever since – both personal and business.

The process:

  1. Go to http://www.walmartchecks.com/
  2. Browse the categories on the left.
  3. Choose a design.
  4. Add personalization if you want to (extra phrase or logo, etc.)
  5. Place order.

Most checks are under $10 per box, including duplicates and Disney checks and other popular designs. They are of great quality and offer an extra security feature if you want it. I always choose the first class shipping because it’s cheapest and my order arrives in about a week. It doesn’t look like checks though because it’s not packaged in the traditional sized check boxes. It looks like this.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Good luck in your search for the perfect checks. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Buried Treasure

5/22/14     11:56pm

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My surgery went really well today. I had my wisdom teeth removed. It’s been on my list for 15+ years and I finally found an amazingly kind and talented surgeon and all the stars aligned to do it. He pulled the two top ones whose roots were in my sinus cavity and did coronectomies on the bottom two – some fancy procedure where they take the tooth part but leave the root. He did this because the root was wrapped around the nerve controlling feeling to my face. He’s the first surgeon I’ve met with who had a solution for this.

Mom took me this morning and has been caring for me all day – no small task. I woke up feeling excited (not sure why) and took a shower. I was mad we were late but calmed down. I remember before but not much after. She’s been there for me all day with meds on time and approved foods and attention. In fact, she’s in the kitchen now refusing to go to bed until I do. I just want to finish this.

The pain meds have been great, except for this afternoon. I’d been in bed all day and didn’t want my vitals to go too low so I skipped my 1pm flexeril. Shortly after, I began having trouble breathing, severe pains in my stomach and back, blood pressure 69/46 then 76/44. I was shaking all over, white as a sheet, freezing cold but my body was hot. I had to pee but couldn’t. The intensity grew quickly by the moment. My mom called the doctor. I tried to get from the bathroom to my bed but couldn’t. I opted for crawling on the floor, then lying on my back. Blood from one of the incisions ran down my throat. I could barely talk. I prayed she’d just call 911. The doctor wanted her to at least take me to urgent care for fluids, make sure I was alright. While they were on the phone and I was lying on the floor an image popped into my head. It told me to put my feet up over my head, upside-down like plow pose in yoga. I put my hands in the small of my back and my knees in the pressure points on the inside of my eyes. I could breathe. It was like magic. Mom propped some pillows under my butt so I could relax while still partially posed. Such relief. No ER. We didn’t go to urgent care. I didn’t know until tonight that my doc said he wanted me to have an IV. I would’ve gone. There was great concern that I might be allergic to the pain med he’d given me since I’d only taken it once. Turns out it was probably really bad cramps from a period I didn’t intend to welcome today. With blood pressuer that low I think it was safer for me not to take the flexeril, but I haven’t had pain like that in ages. Needless to say, I took my next dose of flexeril.

I am so grateful and fascinated that they let me take my teeth home. It’s like buried treasure. I want to see my incisions and stitches but Walmart didn’t have one of those little dental mirrors. I’ll look or have my mom look at Target tomorrow. I’m so tired now that it’s hard to keep my eyes open. Everyone is asleep but me. I think i’m doing well with the surgery because of my awesome mom and doctor and dentist but also because I’m already on an NSAID, muscle relaxer, and nerve pain pill. Without those I think I’d be melting. I got several crisis calls from people today. My face hurt after answering them but it was nice to be able to. Ellie, my dog, has been very receptive to my pain too. I am learning that people really are there for me if I pay attention.

I have to go. My meds are kicking in and the screen is becoming blurry. I didn’t forget you. Live long and prosper – toothless or not. ;)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

If you’re the prayin’ type…

3-27-14     10:30pm

I feel like I should be typing on a typewriter. The sound of the keystrokes is more fulfilling.

It’s 10:30pm, still an hour and a half in the day. I hope it is dull. I woke up in a terrible funk. A curl-up-on-the-couch-and-stare-afraid-to-move-no-thoughts-unable-to-do-anything funk. I managed to scribble a few words on the page. After a few hours I ate, turned some music on. I dragged myself out the door, despite the paranoia telling me I couldn’t go, that they were watching me and they’d find out. I didn’t want to go to choir. I needed someone to help me. But my mom was asleep and I couldn’t ask. I thought of calling my therapist or my doctor but my words were slipping away and I couldn’t explain it, didn’t know what to ask for or from whom. So I went to Staples. I figured binder shopping on rewards couldn’t hurt. I was able to drive safely. I was astonished. I figured I’d swing by Starbucks for a banana and a cup of hot water to warm my throat so I wouldn’t crack while singing my solo in choir.

This should be a simple thing – getting a cup of hot water from Starbucks. I had finally made it to a semi-stable place and calmed myself into being able to wait 15 fucking minutes in line, pushing me late for choir. When I got to the register the woman told me they no longer serve hot water there. What? She claimed that one of the partners got burned and it was a liability and that some people bring their own stuff to put in the water. ??? I just stared at her. I asked if I could order something else on the menu minus everything but the water. She said sure. She asked what I’d like. I asked what on the menu has water in it. She said if she did it for me she’d have to do it for everyone and glared at me. My emotion was at a 10. It took EVERYTHING in me just to stand there and not move, not make a sound. I put the banana down, put my hand up and said, “I can’t do this,” and walked away. I was to the car by the time I realized I could have ordered tea with the tea on the side. Not that I drink tea. I would have paid $10 for a damn cup of fucking water. What she said made no sense. And was rude. And was just beyond what I could tolerate.

I sat in the car not moving, barely breathing for several minutes. Couldn’t scream. Couldn’t talk. Needed to die RIGHT THEN. I kept seeing myself stabbing me in the stomach with the ice pick my mom used to own but now doesn’t remember. The urge was SO intense. I didn’t move. Cuz seriously, I don’t need to be driving like that. I was pissed when I remembered I’d agreed to live 6 months for the DBT program. Fuck. When is that up? Eventually I started driving. I had the urge to admit myself to Grossmont as I passed by. Air 1 helped. I couldn’t figure out how to get to the college from the mall. The freeways were all twisted and I kept missing the off-ramp, driving in circles. I was so mad. I wanted to quit altogether but I thought choir might help me feel better. I made it to the school, paid for parking, got a big hug from Derek. Much needed. Sat next to Karen. I told her I was a 1/7.5 on the mood chart. She got it, invited me to a movie this afternoon. Singing was much needed. Bumped me up to a 4 for about an hour, then I crashed to a staring 2 for awhile. The movie brought me back up. Honestly, the best film I’ve seen in quite some time. I needed the feel of home. It’s Kind of a Funny Story. After the movie we went to dinner. Then I skipped choir, hit Walmart, and crashed again on the way home.

I’ve been crashing a lot. I’m concerned. My doctor says I need to cut back on what I’m doing but I don’t know how. I know if I don’t I’ll only get worse. I don’t know how. I wake up in the morning when my alarm turns off, not when it comes on. I need express instructions. I am tired during the day and my back is spasming and locking up on me. My head pain has returned and my blood pressure has dropped markedly. I can’t concentrate. I don’t write. I can’t think. When I come home at night I shovel M&Ms into my mouth (literally a giant bag every night) and fall asleep on the couch on or around 9pm. My mom wakes me up and I go to bed. There are all these positive opportunities for me right now. I even just had a great weekend at Possum Trot, which was awesome. I don’t know what is happening.

So tonight while I was curled up on the couch falling asleep next to my almost empty bag of M&Ms I heard my mom shouting into the phone. It seems my sister-in-law died unexpectedly this morning in my brother’s arms. What? Right. I know. Where the Hell did that come from? I got up and came in the kitchen to read the post-it note she was scribbling on. I would have known this sooner if I’d checked Facebook today but I didn’t. Lovely. My mom told him he shouldn’t be angry at God. Actually, IT’S OK. Not that she’s dead but that he’s angry. I don’t understand. And I don’t have to. I just have to go. After an errand in the morning, my mom and I will go up there. Crisis is a good distraction but why death? He was finally happy. I don’t understand.

I’m tired. I am tired. I will go tomorrow and do whatever is needed. Greg is family. MY family. I pray this brings the family closer instead of pulling them apart. I hope my brother can hold on. I love him dearly. I also hope my staring, body-crashing episodes are paused for the duration of this crisis. They are not needed. I should tell my people. I should also sleep. It will be a long day.

Thanks for reading, listening. I know I haven’t been posting. I write things that just never make it here. It’s been a bumpy ride. Please keep my family in your prayers if you’re the prayin’ type. Thanks.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

At least I’m not scared…

2/14/14     6:45pm

I feel suddenly very dizzy & tired.

(lay on the floor, deep breath)

Today I saw Ashley and told her about total system shutdown yesterday. I told her I’ve had that in the hospital but that it’s not a reason to go in and she asked if I want to be in the hospital. No. I answered clearly, outright, without pause or thought. I just realized I was right. I don’t desire to be inpatient right now. That’s huge.

Last year on Valentine’s Day Dr. N wanted to discharge me. I wasn’t ready. I was scared and angry 1 day off Elavil in pain with no Seroquel in my system. We sparred and he admitted he was angry at him, not me. He gave back my Seroquel. We bonded. I was ready the next day. I don’t want to be in the hospital. That’s very new for me.

(awe…)

I think I’ve found meaning and purpose this year, though I’m not sure what they are. I feel grounded. I have a self. Self. Hm.

Getting better doesn’t have to mean letting go.

Really?

I saw Margie walking out of the parking lot. I didn’t even stop to say hi, nor did I feel the urge to, nor feel guilty for not stopping. Huge. I am making some serious progress… I am tempted to compare that progress or myself to someone normal, but I don’t know what that looks like.

(distracted by group)

I am doing better.
I’m scared to be doing well.
I’m scared to do better. I’m scared to do worse. At least I’m not scared to be scared anymore.

(OCD scuffle)
Breathe.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

One freakout at a time

2-6-14     9:57am

I’m feeling really nervous. Too much awake time before the day starts. I started a really cool project last month. I think it’s God’s project because it wasn’t my thought before it fell out of my mouth, but I’m so nervous to do it. I got the approval a few days ago so it’s actually real now. I don’t want to fuck up or do it wrong or bring shame to me or my organization. I sound Asian. I know that’s racist. I don’t care. I want to do GOOD. I want to stay with the mindset I recently named Eyes. We are dynamic. But right now we are freaked out. I need an easy task to do. How I hate the smell of dog food. Do you think skies will mend?

To do this well I will need support and major organization. Let’s do it!

PS – I got cable in my room yesterday. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

PPS (5 minutes later) – I think my freakout is being exacerbated by thinking about another project I agreed to last week. While I was peeing I realized that it’s a lot bigger than I ‘d thought. Crap. One freakout at a time, people. ONE at a time. (series of zaps)

© Michelle Routhieaux

Let the Monsters Go

1/24/2014     10am

I’m holding onto some monsters,
and they’re eating inside me.
They burn my flesh and rot my food.
They wear barbed wire and twirl.

The monsters eat my words.
They have the power to stop my body.
Fuzzy little pricks they are.
But the monsters want me.

They scream at me but they’re here.
They’ve become my family.
I am full of holes that folks will see when they are gone.
I am torn & damaged.
The monsters are eating me.

What will I have without them,
if I ever let go?
Who is me that the monsters are eating?

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

I Want to Be Well

med box-big

My daily meds

1/16/14     10:54am

I want to be well.
I want to be well.

I just left physical therapy. I had tachycardia during some of the exercises. 10 step-downs shouldn’t send my heart rate to 140, making me shaky, dizzy & weak. I told the guy working with me. He asked if I have a heart condition. Yes, but it’s not properly worked up or treated.

I want to be well. I want to dance. Hell, I want to be able to walk up stairs to DBT without a problem. I’m tired of being sick. I take so many pills and am so limited. People look from the outside and say I’m so functional and assume I’m doing well. THIS IS NOT MY LIFE.

I take 27 pills a day, plus any of my needed 10 PRN options. I have 6 support groups, 4 therapy groups, 2 pdoc appts, 2 other doc appts, and 8 therapy sessions a month. Right now I also have 2 PT appts/week. I understand these things are keeping me going, but they’re not my life. I help people and go to church and sing in 2 choirs. I still want to die. I’m working the PERT Academy in 2 hours. No one will know. And since Angela’s not there there will be no refuge. It’s all a lie. Smile and move on. Somehow, I’m still here.

I wasn’t supposed to live. Don’t you understand?

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Words from the Couch

1-4-14     10:17pm

It’s Saturday night. I’m sitting on the couch in mismatched pajamas, paying bills more slowly than usual and half-watching “Modern Family.” I hate that show but it’s on so often that they feel like family. Damn family.

Today I woke up early. I delivered a payment, took some returns, drank a strawberry papaya smoothie – oddly tasty. I can’t think. Damn tv. I used up all my energy. I’ve been sick for the past week with a nasty cold – hyped up on Sudafed 12 hour, Umka fast-actives, glucose tablets and chocolate. Literally the walking the dead. My thoughts are fragmented and I’ve been dissociating more. In fact, on Monday my new therapist almost didn’t let me leave. I thought I was getting better from this cold thing until today when I was almost falling over in Target from physical exhaustion in a cold sweat and nauseous all day with no interest in food. I actually chose to eat a zucchini and half a can of corn for dinner. (switch off the tv) Odd. I think I’m getting the flu. Thing is I don’t really care. My body has shut my mind down and, aside from a small burst of activity today, I’m content to lie on the couch and stare. I feel like it’s 4 in the morning and it’s only 10 o’clock.

I feel sad. Like I will never accomplish all the things around me because I’m too tired and I don’t have it in me. I’ve been thinking on and off recently that I want to go back to school. I doubt that will happen unless I figure out how to read again. For several years now I’ve been unable to read more than about a paragraph without getting nauseous, dizzy and having a bad headache. I contacted a lady in town who screens for Irlen Syndrome and provides overlays. She also does neurotherapy (not sure what that is) to help people with learning or reading issues succeed. Of course, her work is not covered by insurance and the cheapest option is just the screening for $195. A full assessment is $500 plus $250 for every following visit and she doesn’t take credit cards. For some reason she thought it was a steal that if you pay for 10 sessions up front they’re only $200 each. Right. Let me sell my left leg. Is it worth it? I’d give almost anything to be able to read again, to soar off into faraway lands, to create characters in my head, to do school. I just don’t have $195 to throw away for another non-answer. I wish I did.

I really want to pay off my debt. I know that will take a million years but I still want to. I so desire to be free from this mess. (freeze…) I work it out in my head and on paper. I come up with plan after plan. I pay it all down and then I spend again. It’s like the two halfs of my brain aren’t connected. I WANT TO BE FREE. I want to be me. I need to pay the credit union a visit and talk to them again about a debt consolidation loan. I think I figured out how to meet their demands and my own.

I’m tired. I’m sick. I’m not thinking right. I want to write but every time I try I fall asleep or I feel too scared and I close the book. Right now I have time, just not the brain. There are a few posts written in my journal. Most days I forget them. Other days I can’t find them. Today is the first day in months that I felt an emotion, opened the book, and wrote. Praise God.

The dog is laying on my foot (yes, I have a dog now) and I’m so tired that my eyes are watering. Christmas is still alive and well in my house until Don gets back. Hopefully that will be soon. I’m helping my mom a little with her room. It’s going better than I thought. A practice in acceptance and non-judgemental stance. My new DBT group is going well at Applied. I’m so tired… I would like the soothingness of walking in circles but I’m too tired. (stare…)

PS – I watched “Pulp Fiction” today for the first time on Amazon Prime. Good movie.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Fuck Savings Bonds

1-4-13     2:20pm

Savings bonds are evil. My mom finally found mine from grade school. I thought for sure they would have matured since it’s been awhile. Nope. These don’t mature until 2028. 2028! What the fuck?! Seriously? Why would someone gift these to me or present them with awards? It’s a scam, I tell ya. Why does the government need to borrow our money anyway? Fuck. Stupid damn savings bonds. NO soup for you.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014