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

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

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

Polka-speckled Universe

7/14/2017     12:29am

You know, I never thought it would be this way. Maybe because I never really thought. No one taught me what’s required to be a successful grownup, what it’s like to lose a love, to lose your life.

I’m sitting on the living room floor. Just switched from “Code Black” episodes to meditation music on the tv. I’m surrounded by the contents of what yesterday was my purse. I emptied it this morning and haven’t been able to figure out what to do with it. The air is on but I’m not hot. There isn’t always a happy ending.

I stayed home today. Got home super late from the ER with a friend. I didn’t have anything pressing today so I slept, kind of. Woke up to a call from another’s doctor. And the headache from the night before. It pressed on unto an 8, still moving. Took 5 prns and a few hours to even somewhat subside. So confused. The muscle weakness made an appearance today. I made a few videos. I did that the other day too. I haven’t been writing. I’ve been so scared. Too scared to pick up the pen or to write truth on the page. Or I want desperately to write but am too physically weak or tired or in too much pain to do it. Or I just can’t post what I need to say because the truth that’s eating the inside of me will eat through the outside of others. So much I want to tell David and I’m so scared. I really wish x was here but she’s not.

I’m so tired. I’m dancing the line between driving and acquiring a new bracelet. It holds no magic power though. I’m sick. I can and do help a lot of people, but I’m still sick. I feel so alone. Disconnect from those around me. Talk of needing to find a sustainable way of living long into the future without the help of others terrifies me. I’m trying to hold out ’til the 20th for my ECT with Dr. M. I got a confirmation call today about an appointment with a new neurologist on Monday that I thought had been cancelled. Honestly, I don’t have it in me to figure out food much less bring together all the facts this lady needs and communicate them in a way that makes sense to humans. (silent tears to piano music)

(long pause, visualization)

Was it meant to be this way? Always on the outside? Maybe one of my parents was successful living disconnected but made me with someone normal and I’m some fucked-up hybrid with all the skills a disconnected person needs to survive but an incredibly deep need, a longing, together to be. A polka-speckled universe. Cornflower blue. (pause)

I need to reschedule a meeting tomorrow so I can leave an appointment early to meet with a friend’s doctor, who is also my doctor occasionally and that of one of my other people, to talk about things she won’t agree with or understand and come up with a solution I don’t support at all. I had it all planned out – appointment in La Mesa, meeting at the cafe next door, picking lavender for the afternoon and then the OCD meeting. Maybe a visit in between. Now the appointment is in Miramar at a facility I need to powwow with but shouldn’t right now, in a place that embraces secrets as I hunt for my truth. My meeting will be replaced with a few hours of arguing. It may be followed by helping a person discharge, which will take the rest of the night. If not, the other person hopefully will be there by then. I take refuge in the quiet moments there. I talk to the staff and take in what my body calls love – acceptance, warmth, care and concern. We help each other and they’re proud of me. (staring)

I know what I need. And I can’t have it. Even if it was there I can’t do it right now. I had two somewhat regular gigs helping people that paid for my doctors. Now they’re gone and I have to solve for x. I have a little bit of savings and my mom is helping me, which is a trigger and a blessing. I surrender. I’m not sure what to do. I was already really struggling. Now the bumpers are down and I’m on my own. My therapist talks about finding a way to be self-sufficient one day. Right. I’ve no idea how.

I need to write but I need to sleep. And I’m craving candy. I get paranoid around this time of night and I keep thinking someone’s here, that someone’s watching me. I have to go. I’ll pray for you if you pray for me. Kinda like buy one get one free. ;) I really wish that I didn’t feel censored and that I could write and keep up with my charts. 6 years of my charts. I WANT to do them. They matter to me. I must sleep.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2017

FUCK YES

1/27/17     12:09pm

I am SOOO ANGRY. And I slept 22.5 hours last night so I have plenty of energy to direct that way. I managed at least to scream “FUCK YOU!” after hanging up the phone.

I called the Coordinated Care Initiative line for the State of California. They are supposed to handle the conversion to and exemption of dual eligibles (those of us eligible for both Medicare and MediCal) from the new managed care requirements in this lovely state. The only easy way out of this requirement is to have HIV/AIDS or be an American Indian. I’m tempted.

What am I talking about?

Medicare is the health insurance offered to most seniors and people on disability (after 2 years). It’s hard to find a specialist that takes it but there are many useful hospitals that take it for medical and psych. There is a 190 day inpatient limit for psych days at a free-standing hospital. (When I’m better I shall be tackling this.)

MediCal is California’s version of Medicaid (federal health program for poor people.) It is near impossible to find a skilled clinician, if they give you a doctor at all instead of an intern, on MediCal. It is a good net if you have non-specific or only emergency medical needs but if you have chronic medical conditions and/or psych needs and have only MediCal, you’re screwed. In some clinics it’s better to be completely uninsured and pay a sliding-scale amount and see a good doctor. Having MediCal (and Medicare for that matter) also usually exempt you from prescription discount programs offered by manufacturers, even though formularies are scant.

If you have both Medicare and MediCal, MediCal won’t pay for any fee that is above what Medicare determines they should be paying your clinician – no matter how far below industry standard or just human dignitiy would allow. Yet our great state of CA decided that being covered fully by both insurances was just too much. In Jan 2014 they started a “demonstration period” of what’s called the “Coordinated Care Initiative” and started forcing people into either CalMediConnect (a program that pushes you into an HMO that rolls your Medicare and MediCal into one, SIGNIFICANTLY limiting your benefits) or whatever Medicare you already have plus being forced into a MediCal Managed Care Plan HMO. I opted out of this “demonstration” in the very complicated and hard to find way they barely provided as I watched the change mess up countless lives.

Then a few weeks ago I got a similar packet in the mail. I did some research online finding that the demonstration period ended Jan 2017 but no info on what the outcome was, whether it saved money, links to the actions taken by our government to expand or make it permanent. Nothing. Someone from CCI called to enroll me in a plan Wednesday since I hadn’t mailed in the form. I explained that I had no intention of joining an HMO because it would complicate and jeopardize my care and she told me where to find an exemption form. But the form says it’s only for people who don’t have another insurance. So I called back today.

I won’t lie. I’d be happy if this man’s head exploded and a MediCal doctor was left to piece it back together. He tried to convince me I wasn’t being forced into an HMO. FALSE. Then he told me I’d qualify for a non-medical exemption but failed to mention the American Indian or HIV/AIDS part right away. I asked about the demonstration period and where I could find information. “We’re just the enrollment center. That’s the state… That’s not my department. That’s not my issue,” he said. He kept coming back to trying to tell me my doctors wouldn’t be affected by joining a Managed Care Plan. Then he went and said it. “Well, if the only reason your doctor won’t see you is because of the extra time it takes to do MediCal paperwork, is that really a doctor you want to be seeing?”

YES!!!

How much more of a fucking idiot could he be?!! Just how they want them at the CCI office I bet. I told him, “YES!” Those are the doctors who have time to hear what’s going on, who listen to my situation, who have experience and choose to actually get paid for it instead of working for free or just supervising 10 interns at a time as they run around the office “practicing” medicine. FUCK YES.

Aside from just being rich, Medi-Medi with fee-for-service MediCal was the best insurance one could get. MediCal pays my monthly Medicare premium, automatically qualifies me for Part D Extra Help (making my generic drugs about $1 and my brand name drugs about $3), and picks up the copay at any doctor I see or prevents them from charging me one. I’m not looking forward to this new world and what will be denied or changed. At least I can blame screaming “FUCK YOU” at them on being crazy.

TIP:
I run into doctors who take Medicare but not MediCal and if you tell them you have both they say they can’t see you as a patient because they don’t take MediCal and it’s considered fraud to charge me my Medicare 20% or anything else.
WRONG
Usually I just call back and don’t tell them I have MediCal. Then they take me but I guess it’s still fraud.
I learned this from HICAP when I called a few days ago: It’s not fraud if they give me a statement in writing that they don’t accept or bill MediCal and I agree to this in advance of treatment. Sweet! I’m on the search for a preformatted statement like this and will post it when I find it. Then I can blanket the city and my group with this new information. I even had a girl turned down by a Sharp Urgent Care the other day because they told her the same thing. I do have ins at Sharp…

Don’t fuck with a fucker. I’ll take you out. ;)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2017

Hope in Electricity

1/23/2017     11:43pm

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I feel so good. My body is really sore and I can’t drive but I feel light. Colors are crisp and clear. They may only last a moment but I have ideas. I smile warmly for no reason. I breathe deeply without having to think.

Today I had ECT (my 1st since April). A change in anesthetic caused some problems but I am so much better. I am blessed with an amazing doctor who genuinely cares about me and a dream support team. Friends are helping with rides. I am released to rest and sleep (both from my depression & ECT).

It’s been almost a year since I was doing somewhat okay. My current therapist says he doesn’t recall ever seeing me not in crisis. Late summer I started to get worse. My repeated calls for help fell on ears that considered them my norm. I prepped to go inpatient in Sept/Oct but thanks to an amazing arsenal of coping skills and extra sessions of therapy I was able to hold off. I asked for ECT. My doc wanted DBT-IOP. I got pushed into a different program instead due to my people being in DBT, despite my multiple warnings that it was not a good idea. It was, as anticipated, a catastrophe that ended with an event appropriately described as trauma that I’ve yet to be able to process. In 1 day I went from 25+ hours of treatment/therapy per week to 2-3 hours. Not good.

Lately my suicidal ideation has been through the roof. I’m fighting for my life. I’ve also been impulsive, angry, self-harming, dark, unable to access empathy, scared, feeling alone and hopeless. Last week I called my therapist at midnight. I packed for the hospital. I cried.

They laid hands on and prayed for me at church on Sunday. It was unexpected yet utterly calming. I was surprised last week when my pdoc offered ECT. In one moment she validated and made my ongoing normalized experience true. I was confused. Even this morning I was panicked as they put me under. But Dr. M had my hand and I could feel God and see the outlines of my angel and D- and some unknown to my left. I am exhausted and sore but I am okay.

God, thank you for blessing me with family & friends and kick ass doctors. Please continue with my healing and keep using me for Your will.

My next treatment is Thursday. I wonder how long they will last – not the set but how long between treatments before the effect begins to wear off. I’m itching to do weekly. I can drive then. ;)

I enjoy resting and sleeping now. And rain

M

Update 1/31/17  1:46am:

I had a treatment on Thursday and another today. The weekend was really bad but I feel better now. I’m getting some rest and reminding myself to do one thing at a time, be “gentle to self,” as we say in group. I’m proud of me and grateful for my treatment team, my friends and ECT. There is hope in electricity.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2017

Non-linear

3/19/15     5:30pm

Non-linear. My thought is non-linear today. I was willful and skipped my Geodon. I also didn’t eat. Now I have a big headache. I can move today. My muscles don’t hurt. I can breathe easier. Literally. (move to stairs)

I thought I could wait for my mom here with some ice on my face. Instead my mom wants me to play with the girls. No.

I sound like a meth-addict today. Or crack. My thoughts jump on lilypads scattered. They come out fast in somewhat coherent globs. There are pauses where words should be. My muscles are twitchy, reactive. The ones on my face have been vibrating all day. I have periods of nerve pain, intense. I question me driving, stayed home extra hours today when I wasn’t okay. I feel small and scared. I want to go home. My face BURNS.

Tomorrow I will start half-dose in the morning and full dose at night. Dr. H is not mad at me, thankfully. I just want to feel better. Better. Me. Non-linear. I want my think back, please. With less pain. Maybe migraine today. I’m losing time. It floats away. The sound attacks my head with spears. Don’t let me ever have kids. Really.

Non-linear. My head hurts. Please.

I did some projects today. No. I want to go home please. Non-linear. Me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

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

Childless

6-4-13     9:53am

(quiet…)

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There is an issue going on at a group I attend. It is heated and ugly and hurtful. I had been handling the situation rather well, even people’s anger at me, until someone said to me yesterday he thinks the problem is most of the people there are “childless.” (pause ) Childless.

(quiet…)

I just stared at him. I said I don’t see that as a or the problem. He said for people with children it’s different… Right… It is the equivalent of saying his views matter more because he got someone pregnant. A grand justification. A rather easy excuse to cut many people off, I say, not deal with feelings. Hate is much easier than truth. I went on about my way but the word kept coming back. Childless.

Yes, I am childless. I have no biological children. I have not given birth. I’m not a foster mom. I don’t babysit. I don’t care often for others’ children. Oftentimes children annoy me. Not by choice… I didn’t wake up one day and decide not to have children, set a goal of dying alone in a house full of cats. I am aware there is a timeline on motherhood and that I’m a good portion into it… Childless.

The word keeps coming into my head. Childless. (deep breath)

I think that men have it easier than women. The person weilding this word pointed out most of the people in the group are childless. I don’t think that’s true. In fact, a good many of the men in the group have children they or someone else care for. A man may complain about paying child support but isn’t caring for the kids. It is harder for a woman to walk away. Like a lion pride, men can fuck and walk away. The women do the work. Most times. If we can’t or choose not to, there are other options. Options of course we will be hated forever for. But yes, it’s the fault of the childless that I don’t hate sex offenders.

I have dealt well with being attacked on many sides in the current situation. For this one I have no defense.

(quiet…)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Benefits of Pain

4/10/13     9:35am

  • Forces me to slow down, to be mindful of each thing I do
  • Refocuses my attention on God
  • Shows me what is and isn’t important
  • Humbles me
  • Makes me greatly appreciate the little things when they come back
  • Gives me permission to take care of ME
  • Allows me a space to heal
  • Reminds me this is His plan, not mine
  • Increases my empathy towards others
  • Purifies me
  • Reminds me of all my blessings
  • Shows me how frail I really am
  • Causes me to seek help
  • Causes me to want to apologize & forgive
  • Breaks down my walls/barriers/facade
  • Lets me cry
  • Takes my focus off of thoughts & feelings
  • Gives me new perspectives

I am thankful for pain.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Me

(Note – Yes, I am safe.)
1-6-13     6:30pm

Just got home from RENT. I went with Taylor. Cried through most of it. Exhausted now.

I miss Brandon. I miss my theater family. I miss being me. All of the goodness that I am now isn’t ME.  I miss Sarah and Mr. B, knowing I had a role, a purpose. All of that was taken from me.

It’s something we never talk about in therapy. We talk about sense of self. We don’t talk about me. Is it too late to get her back? Is she gone forever? Is the opportunity gone for me to be me? I so desperately need me.

Please.

healing card - therapyI pulled a healing card today that says this, “It’s important not to get stuck in therapy. Therapy is a necessary boat that takes you across a rough river to a new shore. In time, though, you must step out of the boat and onto new earth and never look back.” There is a passage with it about not carrying the raft forever and being wary of letting supports be a substitute for life.

I don’t understand. Illness took me. Therapy took my life. Therapy forced illness to cough part of me up and became my life. I can’t get the real me back. If I let go of groups and therapy I have nothing.

I wish someone had warned me, told me, “Don’t let go! Not for anything.” But they didn’t. They were living. Now I am scared to breathe.

A little girl wants me to teach her to dance. I’m terrified. Please don’t touch me. You don’t understand.

Who am I?

I am a little girl.
I am a friend.
I am a dancer.
I am an artist.
I am a patient.
I am a child of God.
I am me.
I am not what I feel.

(“I’ll Cover You”)

I want to scream out, “PLEASE HELP ME! Someone’s taken my soul!” But no one’s there to listen, only hear.

If I can’t be who I was, I don’t want to live at all.

You couldn’t tolerate the stress of who you were.

I can’t tolerate the stress of now.

Touche.
Take your AZT.

I think if I got into a show it would bring me back. I would find me again. I NEED me.

Me is dead. She is gone.

No she’s not! I saw her last week.

Elvis has left the building.

My head hurts.
I want to die.

I know.
Do you honestly think in your state of mind you could do it?

I’ve done it before.

But not with the physical ailments.

True.
What am I supposed to do?
I can’t do this anymore.

Sing, take drugs & teach.
Work your way up.
Peanuts to packing peanuts.

Fuck that.
When do we start?

I want to die.

I know.
I’m tired.

Triggers

Theater
RENT memories
B- memories
USC memories
shame about my life
missing Sarah
believing I can never have me back

Vulnerability Factors

Janet’s death
pre-existing severe depression
exhaustion
allergies/infection
headaches
holidays

Thankful Taylor is texting me. Need to take – and -.
Make a plan, Michelle. You can do this.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Resolution

12/4/12     12:50am

Today was a little better. I didn’t sleep much last night. Woke up a bunch of times semi-clear and paranoid. I was really agitated so I took half a Xanax. I went to the dentist to talk with the billing lady and couldn’t think at all. Then I slept the entire day. But before sleeping I went to the mall to return something and actually shopped a little. It was a good sign to me.

I slept all day with my kitty next to me and went to group tonight. And J showed up at the end to see me. I was caught off guard but we had a good chat. A heart to heart and I was able to be assertive and not aggressive and listen actively. I’m proud of myself. We are now on, I guess, somewhat good terms. We are not a was but I’m not sure what we will be. For now we are slightly more than friends, which is okay with me. I got to share in group too. It was good.

My muscles are only moderately painful today and didn’t start bothering me a lot until this evening. Granted I did sleep all day, it’s still good. I’m hoping I’m on the tail end of this round. My head barely hurts today. Fingers crossed. It’s been a long 19 days.

My kitty’s sitting on the table giving me the “PLEASE take me to bed” stare so I have to go. I’m so grateful for today. When I have trouble walking I can still dance. When I have trouble talking I can still sing. And tonight I can pet my kitty.

Love you, Michelle

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Life Update

12/2/12     9:54pm

I’m having a really hard time.
My muscles are fighting me.
Round after round of sustained contractions in my back, stomach, left arm.
Almost constant moderate to severe head pain. Small windows of reprieve. Weakness that makes it difficult to breathe, move.
My brain feels heavy, paralyzed.
It’s hard to think.

My mood is up and down. Sometimes euphoric or elated. Others suicidally depressed. Small periods of effective work. Minutes. Trouble standing. Pain sleeping. I wake up thrashing, throwing my head back and forth. My left hip keeps popping out. My wrist is improving slightly from the fall.

I can’t hear my stream of thoughts.
I can’t feel my feelings.
I don’t want to shop.

It’s 10pm & I’ve been ready to sleep for hours.
Hours…
Hours.

I need to sleep.

Some days I wonder how long this can go on. The voice in my head says “forever.” My history says usually about 2 weeks. When I’m in it I think it will never end. When I’m out I forget what it’s like. Right now I watch NCIS.

(stare)

I have sharp pains in my muscles too.
Happy Sunday. (weary grin)

(eat chicken rice)

My organs get in on the action.
My heart, bladder & bowels. My stomach.
My eyes.

(stare)

I started talking to a recorder on my phone. I’ve yet to transcribe. Feels good. Eventually they’ll be on the blog.

I’m really glad I write.

Mom’s boyfriend is going back to New York tomorrow. I don’t want him to go. We’re not buddy buddy but I like him. And he makes her happy. The house will be quiet without him. I feel lonely.

J’s back in town. (It feels good to write.) I haven’t seen him yet. He texts me on and off. I don’t want to see him. It was good while it was good. And it was bad when it wasn’t. It was better when he left. It will be better when it’s over. His texts and actions and inactions and lies make me angry. I’m proud of myself for keeping my boundaries and for knowing and believing at my core that the ending does not devalue the good. I just can’t do it anymore.

He’s texting now. I feel frustrated. I can hear the sales-pitch in his tone. I feel bad because I think he honestly doesn’t know or understand. I love him. I want the best for him. I want him to grow up. We can play, but I can’t be his mother. I can’t be his God. And I can’t be his taker.

I haven’t written in so long it’s like unclogging a pipe – the one from my hand to my brain. Reconnecting with an old friend. I do not control what comes out. I just watch.

My brain and body are fading. less pain. falling asleep. NCIS is like family.

My eyes feel glazed in plastic.
My feet are tingling. My tongue is curled.
My back needs to crack.

I’d like to paint my nails but my muscles are too weak. It’s better than being cramped.
I wonder what my Potassium level is.

I feel like I have to keep writing even though I have nothing to say. And I have to pee. Hmmm…

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012