About writingtowardshappy

I love to dance and sing and write. I'm trying to make change in my life and write myself towards happiness.

I don’t understand

7/27/2018     4:26pm

I don’t understand. I may have written about this before but I don’t remember and I don’t really care.

I don’t understand. To me it’s a simple phrase with a simple meaning. There is no extra fluff attached, no alternate meaning. Last year my therapist and I got into it because I kept telling him I didn’t understand what he was saying and he told me he believed what I meant was that I didn’t agree. Nope, only disagreed with that.

I don’t follow like other people do. Or maybe I follow too closely. I am cursed with the ability to spot errors, omissions, incongruities, however small. I need the info coming at me to make sense and if it doesn’t I will say that I don’t understand. I am blunt. I ask questions. I have no qualms with raising a stink to get an answer. It is especially disturbing to me when someone “answers” my questions with responses that are unrelated. I will state so and repeat the question, rephrasing it if necessary. A few years ago I started giving up after a few tries but not before stating that my question had still not been answered. I have somewhat of a fan base in some settings because of it. It’s not fulfilling to engage with someone who’s not the slightest idea what I’m talking about. In fact, it’s maddening – probably to both sides but for different reasons. I’m looking for information. If the person doesn’t have it, or won’t give it, it would behoove them to just say that.

People think I’m being rude or annoying. They jump to conclusions about my motives or what I really think or mean. I’m accused of alternate intentions. They tell me what I should say or do or think or not think instead. They often get very upset that I don’t understand and/or that they don’t understand what I mean when I point out whatever they said doesn’t make any sense – in general, not just to me. If they stop to follow the line of thought and learn what’s missing, sometimes they will admit that it really doesn’t make sense. Usually instead I just get confronted with anger, accused of things or people just walk away or insult and then ignore me, then pretend it never happened.

Sometimes the topic is important to me and I’m upset AND don’t understand. Usually though, I’m somewhat devoid of emotion or visibly confused or disturbed when asking questions attached to, “I don’t understand.” I can’t always communicate very well in that state. It’s the mockery and invalidation that usually push me over the edge. I’m not stupid. I can read body language and I understand your words.

Over the years I’ve learned how to convert curiosity/question/notice/wonder straight to bitter hopelessness and move on with my day. I can feel my self turn to ash and float downwards inside me as I do nothing or walk away. Fighting the thought that I don’t matter isn’t worth it because in those moments it’s completely true. What I have to say or my concern or thought doesn’t matter and if I pursue matter-ing it could (and has) make things worse. I ask much like Sheldon Cooper, with a level of non-intellectual understanding only slightly higher.

So I end up hating people. That I very much understand. I “speak Michelle,” as a provider of mine said long ago, and not many others do. I am cross-lingual in a few other person-dialects, but in observation the two-way mirror only reveals one side. This morning’s argument was me asking for details about an event I was asked to donate something to for a raffle, which I believe is questionable but didn’t point out.

Excerpts from convo this morning:
Person B: We always have raffle giveaways at our events to promote wellness…
Me: Why?
Person B: Why what (sic)
Me: Why have a standard of giving things away?
Person B: It’s not a standard. It’s something we like to do for our members. Why not? It’s generous. Omg!! You don’t like free mental health stuff??? Interesting.
Me: Don’t put words in my mouth. Free mental health stuff is fine sometimes, but it all costs money and at the end of the day I have to sit with and justify on paper what we spent the group’s money on. Does that make sense? I don’t mind contributing to your raffle. I just wanted to know the details.

I was livid but calm in text. If in her language “always” doesn’t equal a “standard,” there is no purpose in trying to get through.

It’s harder for me to interact with other humans I don’t understand than to harm myself by attempting to fill my own needs without engaging them. This afternoon’s debacle is within myself about why the HELL I can’t do anything today because I can’t think because my head hurts on the one day I have actual time. (PRN)

So very alone. I hate myself.
I don’t understand.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

 

On Zumba…

6/30/2018

I don’t understand why more guys don’t do Zumba. It’s free or cheap live exotic dancing in a socially acceptable setting. No one expects the dance to look great. In fact, most of us hate those skinny bitches who do it all perfect and sexy. Fuck them. Since I’ve lost weight and can dance I think I might be one of them now. But I don’t care. It feels fucking good.

I do things in Zumba I’d never do in “real life.” I want to be watched, complimented, to be in the dance and then walk away. It’s all a practice. This one’s just more sexy. And currently mostly a reprieve from men seeking women. What a comedy that might be…

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

Soundless Emerging

6/27/2018

As I stared out from the log/cave (bottom center of the page), S- asked what I saw. Squirrels. There were two squirrels eating nuts at the base of a tree. There was a black bear and a mountain lion, each peaceful. The air was hazy, debris floating free. I could see the bottom of the legs of two firefighters as they ran past me in slow motion. I couldn’t hear. It was that soundless-emerging that happens after an explosion or emergency, sometimes with loud high-pitched ringing. This though was a thick lack of sound that stopped communications, put itself between me and everything else. The sound becomes the glass that separates me…
And as I drew I remembered the reddish glow of the sky. I wasn’t sure what words would accompany. Since I drew the other half of the fire-people I thought they could use a hose. And out of the hose came PRESENCE, and it put out the PAIN.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

The Only Safe Space

5/30/2018

We talked a lot about the concept of impermanence. The colors were bright and the idea scared me. I was present, some of the time, but answered, “Bubbles!” at a less than ideal moment. I went outside in a very dark space and started blowing bubbles I had in my purse. As I pondered, I watched the bubbles pop – like Cinderella does when she’s scrubbing the floor and singing. I watched the bubbles pop. And it dawned on me that they were proof I am capable of accepting an impermanent thing without freaking out.

Then I figured I should probably go someplace safe. At first nothing came to mind, but then I remembered I have a list of places on a crisis plan in my journal. I tried to recall them instead of looking and, as the places came to mind, I asked myself what they all had in common… The only thing these places had in common was me. So, the only safe space is me. It’s a lot to take in.

Session 5/30/18, Drawing 6/19/19, Description 7/7/18
© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

 

Permission to Breathe

From Session Work – 5/15/2018

18-05-15 Yoga Therapy Art_0160

Excerpt from related writing:

“S- is right. I have been losing weight… If I inhale just right, like in lyrical dancing or turns, that feeling comes back. Bone sticking out, ribs expanded, hollow underneath, organs hug my spine, shoulders down, hips squared, head high, sometimes on my toes with beautiful arms, or just the torso part with the rest dancing in my head. I haven’t had the privilege of that feeling in a very long time. And if I can do that again, then it’s okay to make shapes when I breathe. The crescent moon – belly soft and round on one side but when you spin it around the other side is concave. Just like my belly when I breathe or dance. I’ve been thinking about this symbol. I drew it on my hand so every time I look down I see it. It gives me permission to breathe. I AM the crescent moon… I even hate my body less today.”

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

God Loves

2-12-2018When I was really little I used to get bored in church. I was that kid that couldn’t stand children’s church when it was really daycare but had no idea what the pastor was talking about in actual church. So my mom and I would pass notes and sometimes she’d write phrases for me to copy.  This is one of those phrase papers. I found it in a box of things from before I was 5. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

Stroke Code Thursday

2/1/18 11:07pm

Today has been one of the most harrowing days of my life. I’m currently propped up on pillows on the couch staring, half-watched the tv. Mom’s falling asleep with Ellie in the chair, intermittently telling me random things. I’m trying to to type but it’s extremely difficult.

I went to the VA MH Council meeting this morning – no problems. I mean, I didn’t want to go and felt a bit out of sorts but no more than normal. I was running late but participated a lot and socialized with Jean & Howard and McCail after, walked down with everyone. I didn’t want to leave just yet, wasn’t sure about plans for the day, so I sat down in the lobby and journaled and charted. It’s something I’ve done before. I like having moments to myself, unrushed, and I like watching the volunteer interactions there at the front. I was starting to feel like my blood sugar was low, getting a bit weak and disoriented. I wrote it down. I was alarmed when I got up to leave and began stumbling to the right. My purse is heavy and I used it as a counterweight. I figured if I could just get some food I’d probably be just fine. I made it to the Valet, ate a glucose tab, made it to the Chipotle parking structure, thought things were fine. I worked on something on my phone before getting out of the car. But when I did I was still falling and stumbling to the right. I had a heck of a time trying to get up the broken escalator stairs. I was starting to freak out as I waited at Chipotle. It was hard to breathe but I wasn’t feeling anxious. I made it through the line leaning on the counter, could barely hold myself up. I held myself up on the table until I could sit down. A growing portion of the right side of my face felt pressure, then tingling, then burning. Lips sat in a pout. My right hand and arm were shaking so bad I couldn’t eat more than a few bites. It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever experienced and God in my head kept telling me, “GO.” I knew I wasn’t safe to drive. I drank half my soda, bagged the food, and called an Uber. Thankfully, there are many around me.

I was lucky to arrive at the hospital in an utter lull. I knew what would probably happen and did – Stroke Code. Front of the line, many nurses and doctors all around testing everything under the sun. I was having trouble speaking clearly, moving my right side purposefully, holding a steady gaze. I had no pain. I wasn’t anxious. I was actually quite peaceful. All I’d wanted to do that day was get my nails painted but that would have been after Chipotle. Lots of blood tests, urine tests, eventually an MRI.

They were much less interested when they figured out I’m a psych patient. Reminded me SO much of Adrienne and scared me, but I was exhausted – both from shaking so much and fear and from the Ativan they gave me to try to stop the shaking for the MRI. I couldn’t move if I’d tried in the MRI thanks to drugs but I couldn’t stop the twitching/shaking. It’s been like that sometimes in the past few weeks. I don’t know why. The MRI people were nice. The last doctor not so much. The nurse came in and said great that my mother was there and she could drive me home. Ummm, excuse me what? The doctor came in and said my MRI of my brain was perfect and there was nothing wrong. I looked up at him and said, “I’m gonna have to call ‘Bullshit’ on you for that one there but continue…” He gave no explanation of any of what happened or why, how to prevent it from happening again, what to do if it comes back. Nothing. He just left. Dickwad. It’s really hard to type this ‘cuz my fingers are unpredictably shaking and I’m mostly lying down ‘cuz I’m too weak to continue sitting.

I didn’t call my mom ‘til just before the MRI. I knew she was off work then and she’d want to know. I didn’t ask her to come or for anything. I specifically did not need people freaking out around me. Minus all the patient reports outside, that room was so peaceful. I prayed and watched and felt. I listened. I tried to write. It worked a little. There was no tv or music, just me. And that was okay. The Ativan toward the end made me really tired and I know it’s still making me tired now. I’m still getting waves of confusion and dizziness. I contacted Dr. M but I think he wasn’t there.

So what do I do now? I asked David and Soleil for cancellations tomorrow and David called me. After talking a little, I get to see Soleil tomorrow. He says if there’s nothing wrong with my brain then it’s all psych and I’m under a tremendous amount of stress. Don’t you throw that psychosomatic crap at me. When I’m stressed my pain gets worse. I don’t go ‘round fake believing I’m having a stroke. Too much work if nothing else. I told him I agree I’m under a shit ton of stress but ALSO that something neurologically is WRONG with me, STILL. Fluids don’t solve that. Neither does the Chinese food I ate after. Nor will a few hours’ sleep. Today, though, wasn’t stressful before this. I wanted to get my nails done!

I need help but God only knows what with. I’m SOOOO tired and sore. God save the queen. Here’s to a tomorrow sans weakness, shaking, falling over and pretty large needles. Here’s to a tomorrow that’s not so scary and more easy to understand. Please pray if you do. Thanks.

Ⓒ Michelle Routhieaux 2018

How to Disengage

1/25/18     12:04pm

I really need some help disengaging from someone. This is not mean or bitchy or inappropriate. Currently it’s one of a last few options I have.

I have an ex-boyfriend who is currently making my life Hell. We have been broken up for over a year. He is obsessed. When we first broke up he stalked me, which he denies. I was afraid to do or go anywhere. I couldn’t post online or on social media or my blog (you’ll notice the sharp drop-off in content). His interest/obsession goes up and down. He recently went to rehab and I didn’t hear from him. It was so peaceful. But he came back with such a renewed obsession over me. He texts at all hours. He corners me at my group. Thankfully he hasn’t shown up at my house. He asks all sorts of questions. A few days ago, in response to me saying I do NOT want to be friends, he emailed me a suicide note, involving me in a PERT operation and tracking down doctors I don’t care to be involved with. He talked the PERT team down and went directly back to texting me. He’s trying to get me to let him go to a concert with some friends in a few weeks. No! I’ve tried to be nice but I finally just texted “LEAVE ME ALONE!” In true fashion, he replied with more than one text. It spills over into FB Messenger and email.

Since he came back from rehab and started pursuing me again, my anxiety and fear have been through the roof. I can’t pick up my phone without wondering if he’s waiting there for me. He’s not a bad guy. He’s just refusing to respect my boundaries and this MUST stop.

  • I DO NOT want to be friends.
  • I DO NOT want any contact. If there is an emergency, go through someone else.
  • I am NOT your “hope.” I will NEVER be your “hope.”
  • What you’re doing is HURTING me.
  • THIS IS NOT OKAY.

The last wave of obsession last year did not result in a restraining order because I was trying to be nice. I’m done being nice, but I only have so much energy. I ignore most of his texts and he actually said a few days ago, “U don’t have to assume that if you reply to any message I send you, I’m going to purse (sic) your heart anymore then I would normally.” SERIOUSLY?!! He keeps saying he’s giving my mom and I a bunch of money in a few months. I appreciate that, and I won’t claim we don’t need it, but you can’t buy us. (pause) I feel defeated and I can’t get away.

Any help or advice would be GREATLY appreciated. And yes, he is most likely reading this post.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

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

Finger Spots

1/10/2018     10:44pm

IMG_20180110_223233

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