Update on Ellie

1/16/2018     2:32am

So, Ellie had her last surgical check this week and the surgeon said she’s doing “Terrific!” They are amazed at her progress from paraplegic to walking around now and playing, and she just started physical therapy last week. He said we’re doing a great job with whatever we’re doing. I am so happy. I am grateful for everyone who helped out with the fundraiser in prayer or money and am grateful to have my dog back. She still has some pain and stiffness and walks a bit weird but I’ll take it. ;) Thank you SO MUCH.

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© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

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Finger Spots

1/10/2018     10:44pm

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I wanted to share my latest coping skill – memory on my fingers. Ever since my drawing Spots of Self-Compassion I’ve been using my pink Sharpie to remind me to have self-compassion. I put dots on my fingers or the inside of my wrist or up my arm. When I see the dots I hear “self-compassion” and, even if just for the moment, I soften my stance against myself and breathe. I choose what’s best for me.

A friend got me a collection of a bunch of new nail polishes and I’ve had designs running through my head for weeks – literally. What I really wanted to do was way more complicated. In my mind I saw white with pink dots on my left hand with “BE” on two fingers instead of dots. I wanted my right hand to have a different color on each finger and for the fingers to spell out “CHOOSE” in black letters with an infinity symbol on my middle finger instead of the letter Os. That was way too complicated for me to pull off right now and I’m pretty sure it would cost way too much for me to ask for at the nail place. I decided to go with just white and pink dots.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my doctor in the morning and I was actually on time, except that she forgot I was supposed to be there so I didn’t get to see her. That gave me some extra time to pick up my shoes from the cobbler and sit in the car marveling at the rain. I had time, which is new to me. I sat in the car listening to piano music and started the process. I’d hunted down some cheap white nail polish. This has been on my mind for weeks. I didn’t try to make it pretty. What’s the use if I’m not finished? I needed to be on time for David’s anyway. I finished the white, which honestly looks like white-out, and went into my appointment. He was quite unkind about the messy nails. I think he should be more appreciative of coping skills that live on my hands.

That night I finished them. I tried making dots with nail polish but it was nearly impossible to make circles so I switched to Sharpie. Tip – If you put a top coat over Sharpie the color runs a little. I put glitter over the top of that and the parts that ran are less noticeable. I left the two fingers with nail polish dots as somewhat of an exposure. Each time I look at them I choose to accept that they don’t match and to keep them that way.

Are my nails perfect? No. Neat? No. Will the polish last a long time? Not likely. Do they look great? Not really. Will anyone else understand without an explanation? Not likely. But you know what? I don’t care. These dots on my nails have already proved majorly helpful in redirecting me from intense emotion or self-judgement or shame to self-compassion, to moments of breathing, to small reminders that in every moment I get to choose. I am grateful for the coping skill that lives on my nails right now.

I challenge you to put a coping skill on yourself somewhere you look often. Where could Sharpie spots help you?

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

Strong Enough

12/13/2017     1:30pm

I’m sitting here scanning a box of poetry from high school. It’s been under my bed for years, now next to the couch for months. Today is the 17th anniversary of when suicide became real to me. I wish it’d never happened. And the impact of this writing I only read a few lines here or there of gives me ultra goosebumps, makes me extremely nauseous, and if I was standing I’m sure I’d collapse. (and the tears…) (“If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens)

I want to be right in the middle of the pain. I feel SO guilty. I LEFT her there. But she was me. And I can’t get her now. And she just screams and screams and screams. I can’t imagine having been my teachers when I wrote or spoke emotional truth. (stare…)

The music is very loud and I’m not sure what to do. Supposed to give a friend a ride to a group I’m leading tonight, at which I anticipate there to be some problems. I can’t be this person, or get into this person, and then do that. But not doing it validates that she doesn’t matter and never has. (head in hands…) (“Stronger” by Mandisa)

I wish I could see David today. I need to write too. Something specific. This is really best done somewhere with a garden. ;) I have to be strong enough to stand with her. I have to be strong enough for her, strong enough for me. Strong enough to let go.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2017

PLEASE

9/16/2017

It was the coolest thing. Usually I have trouble feeling connected, like I could be pressed hand to hand with you but not feel you – like there was a glass wall between us. But it wasn’t so at this yoga event I went to last Sunday. I knew the teacher and brought a few friends. It was literally us (the yoga people) and then the waves. And in between I lost the glass for awhile. I don’t know how and don’t care, but I found that girl from the other side wearing pink and saying, “PLEASE Don’t Leave Me.” This is her hand.
(Art from 9/12/17)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2017

Vent: I hate humans

8/28/2017     3:15pm

I really hate humans. I’ve been in need of a neurologist for a very long time. I ignore it mostly but my ECT doc recommended I see one back in May and found one for me. She saw me in July but doesn’t take my insurance yet said I should do Botox, which he agrees with. I haven’t had it in me to do the research but I finally did. Narrowed the field, cross-checked networks and affiliations, read reviews. And today I called the office of the one I picked, who happened to be recommended to me years ago. And his office staff was a BITCH. I asked to make an appointment and she said she didn’t have my referral. I said I don’t need a referral since I have original Medicare and she said that ALL of HER doctors require a referral. When I asked for details she said I’d need a written referral from another doctor with my diagnoses and all of the treatment history and records pertaining to the referral. I told her that was not possible since I have been seen for this by many doctors over many years at MANY places and asked what EXACTLY it is that she needs. She just repeated herself. I said I’d really appreciate if this was listed on their website. She said that every specialty is different. I said that’s why each doctor has a separate page. I asked what would happen if I sent her this unattainable information. She said the doctors would look over it and decide IF it is severe enough for them to evaluate and IF I’ve tried and failed other treatments and IF they decide I’m good/bad/whatever enough THEN she would call me to make an appointment.
 
Really? FUCK! I’ve been trying to take a shower for 4 hours now. It’s been 3 months of trying to get to a point of finding the damn neurologist, of accepting what the last one said and just saying FUCK IT. I DON’T CARE. (close my eyes) She may feel lovely in her rudeness behind a phone and made up rules, but she has no idea what she’s doing. WORDS MATTER. I want to give up now. But I can’t. I hate humans.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2017