Today’s Look

6/23/16     11:44pm

Today’s look:
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I have to give a shout out to Brenda, the amazing lady who has been doing my hair for over 20 years now. Crazy, huh? I just realized that today. She is kind and quick-witted, full of talent. She is conservative in cutting (no asking for 3″ off and leaving minus 7.”) We talk about life. Today she was telling me about her “flying squirrel” dog. I swear if she catches that on tape that dog will be famous. ;) No color or perms or other fancy stuff. Just incredible cuts that are sure to always flatter you and your face. She won’t do it if it makes you look bad, even if you want it.

Brenda works out of Kids Hair Salon in La Mesa, CA. So, if you don’t mind the sound of a kids movie on the tv, being surrounded by kids and parents, and looking at jungle animals on the walls, I’d give her a try. She washes, cuts, dries, and styles my hair all for around $20 (and a tip.) Can’t beat that. I wish I remembered to go more often. It makes me feel good.

Thanks, Brenda, for being so great and for making me look good for all these years. Here’s to 20 more.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

A Vessel

5/22/16     11:40am

Love and Compassion and Understanding flow through me.

Breathe… (smile, listen to sermon)
The air burns my throat as I take it in. My feet press against the pew and there is pressure on the bridge of my nose. I’m thinking slowly, bandwidth consumed. My eyes and temples hurt.

Pain flows through me, shakes every cell in my body. But it’s not mine. Hands open, arms wide, I breathe it out. The negative energy crashes over and through. It exhausts but doesn’t take me down. I’M STILL STANDING. God holds me up.

Love and compassion and understanding flow through me. When filled with anger and hurt I don’t lash out. I am quiet, listening, processing, able to make a choice. I speak slowly and what comes out is truth and compassion. It’s not mine either. I watch.

I’ve prayed for years for God to speak through me and to me, to make me a vessel only for Him. I pray for Him to speak through others and I listen. I couldn’t comprehend how much that would hurt or how much it would bless me. I am not who I was. She haunts me. He holds me. And I breathe…

The Devil attacks me. He WILL not bring me down.

I need to move my body, change more energy at home, allow myself to let go. Take back the breath.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

How do you…?

5/13/06     11:26pm

I’m sorry I haven’t written in awhile. It’s not because I don’t think of you. I’ve been busy and scared to share the truth. Today’s truth is not so scary.

It’s almost midnight. I have a bunch of stuff to print for an event I have to leave for by 6:30am tomorrow. I’m trying to read a few articles on FB but my computer is too slow to load them, thanks to having to redistribute my cloud files and them ever so slowly resyncing. The tv in the living room is blaring an infomercial and my mom is in her bedroom talking to her jackass boyfriend on the phone. Mine just sent me a short video mocking people who have too much stuff in their front seat when you go to ride with them. Last week he wrote “horder” in the dirt on my back window. I don’t understand. It’s a trigger for me to be made fun of, but if you’re going to do it anyway at least spell the insult right. He finds it funny. I don’t. My car is full of donations waiting for a specific space at a specific hospital that means a lot to me. There’s nothing humorous about that.

I folded clothes for a friend this morning after a long walk. I couldn’t breathe so I rolled on the floor and stretched for awhile. If I listen in the quiet my body tells me what I need. I met with someone about a partnership with my support group and had a muscavado brownie. Fucking amazing. (Eclipse Chocolate) I wrote beforehand in the car, enjoyed the peace of just the sound of wind in the trees. A man with some unnamed movement disorder kept driving around looking for parking. Eventually he came up to me on his motor scooter and handed me a beautiful red garden rose. He said he came to take his girlfriend to dinner but she wasn’t there. So I got the flower and a dinner invite. While I passed up the offer for tacos, the rose was nice.

I wrote for about two hours tonight. I went to my therapist’s office and laid on the floor in the hallway. There was no one there but the cleaning crew. It was a good safe choice for writing, complete with great jazz music overhead. (God-damn vacuum infomercial. Grrrr. I’d turn it off but that would attract my mom’s attention and she would start in on me again.) (sigh) Too late. She’s silently scolding now.

I don’t understand. All I want to do is write. I want to be by myself somewhere quiet and encounter my mind, vent my soul for a night. I miss riding the bus and trolley. I had that time to listen to music, to think and write. I could solve problems and develop ideas. I could passively observe. Doing everything quickly does not appeal to me. I want the privilege of moving slowly. God’s showing me a direction He wants me to move in but I’m too distracted to take the path. Like anything is really more important than God’s will, right? I feel sad and I want the right and the space to just feel it.

My ECT is on hold and I’m facing multiple losses right now. I don’t really talk to my friends. I’m not leading groups very often. I’m working on sharing in them. I’m starting to unfold and re-experience the traumas in my life. It’s scary but worth it. I want the darkness out of me. I want to let it go. I’m trying to learn to be a girlfriend. I suck at it but there has to be something said for trying.

I’ve been trying slowly to organize my possessions and get rid of things. I know I have too much but some of the stashes have a reason and most of the boxes are wired with memories. That’s not just a box of envelopes. It’s so much more – 3 therapy sessions worth of stories. And there are a LOT of boxes. Boxes, piles and bags everywhere. I have my stuff, group stuff, mom’s stuff, dance stuff. I have no office so my things are everywhere. I try. I know my mom and I have “issues” when it comes to things. Let’s face it, we’re hoarders. I know that. Do you think I don’t know that? I try my best not to think about it every day. It hurts when someone throws it in my face.

I’m so tired. I have a resource fair in the morning and then a Super Choir rehearsal. I’m hoping after to do some writing. Most likely I will be chastised all morning to type instead. Can’t I do both? Life is not all about work. I know this. My mom does not…

I’m sorry. I’m rambling. I just felt like talking with my fingers to someone and you were the person/audience that came to mind. I miss writing and sharing me. What helps you set aside everything you’re doing to follow what God’s told you or what you’ve discerned, even when it goes against all reason and odds? How do you set aside what logic tells you is required and do what you know your soul NEEDS? I don’t know how to do that. I want to learn. (Mom is at it again, nag, nag, nag. I wish she could just be content.)

I have to go prep for the event I don’t want to go to now. I hope to share with you more soon, maybe even some core truths. We’ll see. Thanks for listening.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2106

On ECT…

12/26/2015     1:56pm

I’ve been wanting to write on ECT for awhile now. It seems everyone has their own opinion about it, even if they haven’t experienced it. I say, unless you’ve tried it shut your face. This is my experience with it.

In case you didn’t know, ECT stands for Electroconvulsive Therapy (shock treatment.) Right, like in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” only not. ECT is used for severe depression when medications and other treatments haven’t worked, suicidal depression, psychosis, severe mania or catatonia. It may seem barbaric but it’s actually quite effective. Antidepressants have about a 30% effectiveness whereas ECT is about 70%.

I started ECT mid-November after 15 years of med changes and 13 hospitalizations. I wish someone had offered it to me sooner. 5 of my doctors worked together to make it happen. Here’s how it happened. I was given the option and information that I could sign only after having it for 24 hours. My doctors made sure my labs were good and I passed my EKG. I was evaluated by 2 doctors and then scheduled for my first session. I opted not to view the ECT video. I’ve seen it before. I’ve had many friends who’ve had ECT so I knew a bit of what to expect and considering I’d rather have been dead the outcome really didn’t matter.

I started ECT inpatient 3 times a week. The night before they give you a red wristband that means you can’t eat or drink after midnight until they take the band off (because of the anesthesia.) I got lucky for my first ECT and had my favorite nurse assigned to me. She came to get me super early in the morning when the ECT dept was ready for me and walked me down there. The nurse there greeted me with a smile and took my vitals. The nurse from my unit stayed with me until it was my turn. Then they took me back to meet my doctor in the treatment room. As soon as I go in, I sit down on the gurney (which is ridiculously soft.) The nurse on my left starts an IV in my left arm, the nurse on my right covers me with a warm blanket, the anesthesiologist is above my head and my doctor is either sitting at a computer on my right or standing at my feet talking to me. Someone puts electrodes on my forehead and right temple. I try to stay conscious as long as possible but inevitably mid-sentence my doctor grabs my right hand, smiles at me and says I’m going to get sleepy. The world gets a bit blurry, shakes back and forth two or three times and all goes black. The next thing I know I wake up in the recovery area. I still have no idea how I get there. When I wake up I feel happy and healthy, they take my vitals and someone gives me apple juice.

While I’m asleep they shock me on the right side and top of my head (unilateral), causing a seizure. In the IV they give me meds to paralyze my body so I don’t shake. Because of this, they breathe for me. They tape my eyes shut and put a mouthpiece in so I don’t grind my teeth. I don’t suggest keeping contacts in if you wear them. I did the first time and somehow lost one when they pulled the tape off. Don’t worry. They do it before you wake up and it doesn’t hurt at all or leave a mark. I have longer seizures than most people. Last week I had my longest yet – 148 seconds. The length of the seizure doesn’t seem to matter as long as it’s at least 20 seconds. Some people have bilateral ECT, which means they get shocked on both sides. That kind of ECT has more memory loss and side effects. They don’t seem to know how or why ECT works. I read an article last year that said it slightly damages the part of the brain that’s overactive in depression. Other sources say it basically jumpstarts the brain or changes the chemistry. Either way, it works.

My first ECT was the worst. They didn’t give me any extra meds because they didn’t know what I’d need. I had no idea where I was or who the people on my unit were. I was crawling on the floor nauseous with a HORRIBLE headache. I did at least remember my nurse, who I’ve known for years. My legs hurt SO bad for several days, which they told me was because they were super muscular and adjusted the anesthesia. They “stacked” my first two treatments – two days in a row. After the first one they started giving me Toradol and Zofran in the IV and I’ve had much less difficulty with pain and nausea.  After the first treatment I felt joy, which confused but elated me. I didn’t know it was possible. I had 5 treatments inpatient and was doing so well that they discharged me without a plan for maintenance treatment. Then my therapist fired me and some other shit happened and I took a hard and fast dive towards death. So I decided to go back to ECT. Now I’m getting treatments once a week.

ECT has not been without side effects. After doing treatments three times a week I couldn’t drive for 2 weeks. Now that I’m doing it weekly I just can’t drive the day of or the day after treatment. About an hour after I wake up I get a headache and feel very nauseous. Sometimes I can stay up and work on the computer or write. Other days I just sleep. I have Tigan to take PO for the nausea. My memory is spotty and my cognition is definitely impaired. I have trouble remembering names, passwords, how to get places. My mind, which is usually chock full of thoughts and ideas, is often pretty blank. This is new for me but I don’t altogether hate it. There are certain things I don’t remember at all. I’ve gotten into arguments with people about things I apparently did but have no memory of. This is frustrating for me. Thankfully at least one of those people understands why. My mind is usually a steel trap. If I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen. But I guess now it might have. I’m learning. It’s like ECT as ERP. I’m learning to accept not knowing or remembering. I so often now hear myself saying, “I don’t know.” I also get very sore muscles for a few days after my treatment – sometimes my neck or shoulders, tongue, back. The soreness seems to travel but doesn’t show up until the second day.

I feel offended when people tell me I shouldn’t be doing ECT or when they hassle me about how many treatments I’m having. They say they’re concerned about my mind or the side effects. They fail to take into consideration that it’s saving my life. I KNOW I’m not the same. I’m aware that my mind is different. I’ve seen how it can ruin people’s minds. It’s not ruining mine. I trust my doctors and God has given me ECT. Maybe not for forever, but definitely for now. I finally found something that actually helps me. I do feel sad more often than usual, but I believe that’s because I’m actually feeling. I’m dissociating less, actually living in the moment. It’s new for me. I think it’s good. I intend to keep doing ECT until my doctors and I agree on stopping. Please don’t try to dissuade me.

If you’d like to talk about ECT, feel free to leave me a comment here or contact me personally if you know me. I’m not up for philosophical arguments but I’m willing to answer questions or help you out. It’s not as scary as it seems. I promise.

This is the Mayo Clinic article about ECT. Mayo Clinic – ECT

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

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

Rebranding

3/1/15     12:32am

Hello, dears. ;) It’s like greeting an old friend, sitting down to type. It has been awhile. Someone asked me recently, “What happened?!” in regards to my hospitalization. Well, a lot. I haven’t been able to answer that question yet. I thought I’d try here but it doesn’t seem likely tonight. I’m tired. I feel disconnected.

I worked all day in somewhat of a trance on my room and my chair in the living room – organizing papers, moving things around, throwing things out. I took a 4 hour nap in between but was able to create a space for me. I took some pictures but they came out blurry. I made space to put down my dance floor, a rug and my purple BackJack. I assembled some metal cubes to store stuff I don’t know what to do with in. Everything is up off the floor now. I even changed out the art on my walls. My room reflects me now. Colorful, calm, full of possibility and flexible in use.

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My birthday’s coming up next week. I’m excited. I’m going to my aunt’s house in the desert – my favorite place in the world to be. I get to spend time with my family and my dog and alone time with the dirt – my salty desert dirt. Is it just me or are there a lot of the words me, my and commas here? My mind is on its own today.

I’ve decided this year the purchase I want to save up for is a fountain. Yes, I want my own fountain. I got a mattress I love and last year I bought myself a swing. A fountain seems a fitting next step. I feel calmer near water and always gravitate towards it in gardens and at the hospital. So I’m starting a fountain fund. If you want to pitch in toward the fountain for my birthday, just because you like me, or because you have nothing better to do, you can send money through PayPal to my mom (diana.routhieaux@gmail.com). I made an Amazon wish list too. I want to buy a bowling ball this year but I’m not sure when. I’m overspending recently…

I feel like a seven year-old after a long day at the fair, coming down off cotton candy and ice cream, talking in circles and not making much sense. (stare) Then again it is 1:30 am and I took my meds at midnight. Eh, same effect. I’ll leave you to it. (Zap!)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Buried Treasure

5/22/14     11:56pm

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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

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

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

My Christmas Wishlist

11/12/13

Most Christmases I get gifts I don’t like or want or make wishlists of things I want but don’t need and have no place to store. So this year I made a list of things I actually want or need and can’t afford. I am not asking for Christmas gifts from anyone, but if you should feel the need to buy me something here are some ideas. ;)

I don’t have much money to buy gifts for others this year but if there’s something you need, please let me know.

My Christmas Wishlist:

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© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Making Friends with a Bush

11/2/13     12:18pm

2013-11-01 18.09.53(deep sigh)

I feel nervous. I know I haven’t blogged in forever. Sorry about that. I’ve been so busy and unaware of time or space. I’m barely writing at all. I blame this on driving. And partially on the fact that my brain is turned off.

Yesterday my brakes went out on the freeway. I know that God was there. A few moments before I switched into dissociative or crisis mode for no apparent reason. I was listening to my friend apply a DEESC Script to my current situation. It was afternoon traffic and all of the sudden my brake pedal no longer worked. I could press it all the way to the floor. No stoppage. The emergency brake also failed. Yet, I didn’t freak out. I swerved to miss one car and then again to steer clear of the car I’d just swerved in front of. I made it to an off-ramp and coasted into a parking lot. I chose a bush to stop the car with. We jumped the curb, I turned off the ignition. We were inside a bush. So I put the car in reverse and let it roll back off the curb and out of the bush, pulling the key out midway. We stopped.

My friend Sue who was with me had no idea what was going on, other than that I had swerved twice and that we were now friends with a bush. The car smelled like something was burning and I told her to get out. The drivers side panel was smashed so the door only slightly opened. The windshield wipers held decorative pieces of bush. I called State Farm and we walked over to the farmer’s market. I’ll tell ya, like a good neighbor State Farm is NOT there. I even tried singing the jingle. Didn’t work. It took 3 hours of call after call after call, being transferred and cut off. Didn’t help that midway through my phone started shutting itself off whenever they put me on hold. Eventually the tow truck got there and took the car away.

I did everything right. I did not freak out or fail to respond to the situation. I kept myself and my passenger safe. I did not hit another car. I stopped the car with relatively minor damage. I called the insurance company and had the car taken to my mechanic. I’m proud of myself. I also kept my friend calm who had 2 panic attacks and was freaking out. My mom, however, is not happy with me because I called the insurance and filed a claim. In that moment, and now, the only thing that seems to matter is that her car insurance rate might go up. I might as well have smashed into something dangerous and been injured to distract her from the money. I wish she could see that my coping was AMAZING. I even continued on with my plans for the night and attended a zumba party at my gym and had dinner with Sue. I didn’t freak out. Now I am exhausted.

Today I feel frustrated because our mechanic says there is nothing wrong with our brakes and he doesn’t know why the car would do that. IT WAS REAL. I WAS THERE. IT HAPPENED. I want the car fixed. I can’t have it do that again. I could’ve really been hurt. But for him the car is fine. My mom told me I should never call the insurance before calling her. I told her she’s the last person I call because she freaks out. I just really need somebody to say, “Damn, girl. You’re fucking awesome. You did a GREAT job. We’ll deal with the car later.” My mom wants to go to the gym now. I just want to write.

(eyes closed, head down, deep breath)

I haven’t been writing. My writing time is now taken by driving. All of my story is in me, mixing itself up. I joined an adherent DBT program and got a new therapist. We’re laying all my issues out there and it’s freaking me out. I need about an hour of down time after I see her before I can leave. I want a better life. I want to feel good, be independent, free. But I’m scared of dealing with my issues. All those scary things tucked away in neat yellow boxes tied with a ribbon on the back wall of my life. I don’t open them for a reason. Now they’re all in a pile on the floor and I’m freaking out. Do I want to change? Can I tolerate it? I don’t know. I think I trust her but I need to teach her about me. And communicate. I am in an almost constant state of fear lately. Except when faced with a crisis. Oddly enough I wrote the other day that I need the calm of a crisis. Well, I got it. Now I need to run away.

I gotta go. My mom wants to go to the gym and I’m trying to promote her exercising. I’m so tired, physically and spiritually. I’m singing a duet in church tomorrow that I haven’t practiced. I’m excited. It is “Pie Jesu.” Lord, grant them rest. Lord, grant me rest. I have the appropriate feeling state for the song. Now I need to sing it.

Thank you, God, for keeping me safe. And thank you to whomever is reading this. I really appreciate you.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Recipe for a Day List

8/18/13     5pm

This is my day list. I use it every day. Today I updated and prettified it. If you’re trying to make one and want customized bullets, use Word instead of Publisher.

Day List 8-18-13

My day list has been so helpful for me. I have memory problems and things an average person would have no problem remembering slip my mind and run away. Like somehow it’s a trap and they finally escape. So awhile back I decided to make myself a list of things I need to do every day to remind me. I put it in a page protector (clear plastic cover) and mark off each thing with a dry erase marker as I do it. I made a space on my wall to hang it last night because I keep losing it. My day list gets me through the day. 

The day list has helped me keep up with self-care when I’m really depressed and make sure I come back to basics when I’m manic or agitated. I find that when I’m doing better I don’t need it as much and when I’m doing exceedingly bad I don’t even remember I have one. Thankfully, my psychiatrist reminds me. 

I feel accomplished when I do everything, which is pretty rare. I am grateful it reminds me what to take with me. I made it. I love it. I’m proud of myself. 

Recipe for making your own day list:

Ingredients – 1 sheet protector, 1 sheet of paper, pencil or pen, 1+ dry erase markers

  1. Think about what you NEED to do every day (not what you think you SHOULD do or what someone else thinks you SHOULD do).
  2. Write those things down in an order you are most likely to do them.
  3. Place the paper in the sheet protector.
  4. Put the list in a place you’ll see it every morning, next to a dry erase marker.
  5. Use. (Do a task, mark it off, erase marks at the end of the day.)
  6. Revise as needed.
  7. Celebrate your accomplishments!

Just a note – some people think my list is stupid. My mom doesn’t get it. She hassled me about it at first. Why do I need a list? Can’t I just remember that? Honestly, no. I’m glad I kept using it. If it works for you, do it. Let me know how it goes. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Awesome Dentist & Insurance

6-19-13     11:36am

dental3

So, I’ve been catching up on dental work from the past few years. Bad experiences with several dentists kept me away for a good 3 years while a giant hole grew in one of my teeth. My meds make my teeth decay faster so it wasn’t a great combination, seeing as I was averse to brushing my teeth. However, thanks to the springboard motivation from BrainPaint, I am now brushing my teeth rather regularly and seeing the dentist to fix the damage.

I wanted to share my awesome dental insurance and great dentist. (see below) Since I need a lot of work done I wanted to find a policy that covered everything I need and was affordable. I settled on Blue Shield Individual Dental HMO. It’s great. I can apply online as an individual and it only costs me $19.80 a month. There is no deductible, no waiting period (except for braces), and no annual maximum. I do have to choose a dentist on their network but I found a great one so I’m stoked.

The dentist I love is Dr. Pham at Bright Now Dental in Rancho San Diego. He and his staff are kind and gentle and down to earth. He told me what I needed to have fixed without scolding me for letting my teeth go. The hygeinist, Lydia, is awesome. She did scaling and root planing for me also without ever patronizing me for why my teeth needed it. I feel welcome there and they don’t try to push anything on me or convince me to do something I don’t want to. Kathlene, the office manager, is great too. She laid out the price list for the services I need and let me choose in my own time what I’m ready for and offered to help me get Care Credit if I needed it to pay my insurance copays. So far I’ve had a root canal, scaling and planing, and a temporary crown placed with no pain. The only thing that bothered me was a filling that they smoothed out for me. They often have same or next day appointments available. I really like it there.

I’m proud of myself for taking care of my teeth again. I don’t want to lose them. And I’m so thankful to have found this insurance and a dental office that I love, that gets me. I still get anxious going there sometimes and take a Xanax, but I feel safe. I know I will be okay.

If you want to try out the insurance:

  1. Check out the Blue Shield Dental HMO overview (last column under “all ages”)
  2. To apply, go here for a quote. Click on the “Dental Plans” tab. The quote page will allow you to apply online.
  3. On the application, for provider name/number enter “Dung Pham.”

If you don’t want insurance but want to see the dentist anyway, he has a new patient special  – cleaning, exam and x-rays for $29. Just print the coupon.

PLEASE tell them Michelle Routhieaux sent you if you choose to go. It will help me pay for my dental work. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013