Building a Life on Happiness

11-16-15     4:47pm

Homework: Imagine a life built on happiness…

Imagine a life built on happiness…

I would have energy and motivation. I would take chances and try new things. I would take better care of myself and spend more time with friends. I would DANCE and maybe have the guts to try musical theater again. I could tolerate spending more time with the girls. I would spend less time in darkness crying.

(eat dinner)

I would probably do more fun things like bowling and Zumba. I would be stronger, more able to handle others’ crises without crashing myself. I would have more art parties and probably shower more often. I might even be able to start brushing my teeth regularly. What a concept.

If I had a life built on happiness I’d paint my nails more often. I’d probably answer my phone and my self-esteem would improve. I could move on to DBT Level 2 and spend less time in appointments and therapy. Maybe my health could improve and I could have less random physical and neuro symptoms. That would be nice.

A life built on happiness would probably be filled with hope and possibility, art and writing, LOTS of music and dancing and yoga and movement. And maybe I could learn how to do nothing. That would be nice. I could find peace. Learn boundaries. Set limits. Take risks. Breathe. Be.

I just asked my nurse how long my seizure was today – 79 seconds. I wonder why they’re getting shorter (105, 97, 79.) I hope it’s not a trend.

I almost lost my room today. I’m thankful I got to keep it. I wonder how my life would be different if I had discovered ECT works for me before now…  I’m glad I’m brave.

I was right. Something did die with ECT – the intense need to die, the voice telling me I need to die somewhat constantly. It is almost absent. I feel a sense of wonder and joy. I do get heavy waves of sadness but not deathly despair. I feel happy to be alive.

Dr. H is letting me go to DBT on Thursday. Armando is going to take me and bring me back. I’m so glad I’m not dead. It’s a new feeling. This is a chance to reinvent myself, build a “life worth living” like they say in DBT. I’ve never been healthy before. Life starts now.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015


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

Confetti Mind

1/31/2015     9:40pm

So, I’ve been checking my email repeatedly tonight hoping something interesting would appear. In lieu of that, I decided to post an update here.

I’m sorry I haven’t kept up the blog lately. My brain’s been trying to kill me. I had a manic episode that morphed into a mixed one and finally crashed into depression. I’m in the hospital now. I didn’t hurt myself. I just really want to die and have been in a lot of physical pain for some time. A new med is helping my pain tremendously but another new one meant to “organize” my thinking is turning out to make me more confused.

I’m in somewhat of a spiritual battle. I don’t know what’s happening to or with me or why I’m here. I surrendered to God last week, disengaged from my life. I prayed that God would fill every cell of my being until it burst and there was none of me left, only Him. I prayed He would use me for His purpose and not mine. I know it’s a dangerous thing to pray but I did. I’m very aware that I’m incubating here for something. I don’t feel anxious about His work in me. I just feel weary and tired. I need rest before the journey. My pastor visited tonight. It was helpful.

I… (confused)

My doctor is considering TMS or ECT as well as other med changes. I’m grateful that my outpatient doctor is covering for my inpatient doctor this weekend. I saw her today and will again tomorrow. She is concerned, says I’m much more scattered than usual. I agree. I was sitting in the hallway today staring. I asked myself why I’m here in the hospital. I didn’t know. That’s never a good sign. I’ve been dissociating a lot and she asked me to try to stay present. I did and the death thoughts came flooding back in. I could feel myself dying in various situations. It was very unpleasant. I told my nurse tonight, whom I hate, and he didn’t seem to care. I care. God cares. I miss Dr. N.

My mom came to visit tonight too and I was pressured-speech rambling. Now I’m exhausted. I’ve eaten way too much chocolate pudding today but I’m eating and that’s positive. (stare) I’m tired now and feel so incredibly sad. Also, my friends are mad that I asked for no visitors except a select few. I don’t know what to say to that. I just need my space right now.

I’m not sure why I’m typing this or sharing my life with random humans. I guess I just need to feel heard tonight, to share. Thanks for listening. I appreciate you.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

I am not broken

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

Hear music:

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

It played in my head before and resumed again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(someone screams in real life – look up)

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

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

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

It’s a made up fear.

No it’s not.

Kind of.

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


Plan for the ending.
Then LIVE.

Touche. Live.

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

I’m not broken. (deep breath)

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

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

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

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

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

I feel dizzy.

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

I am not broken

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

An Appealing Addiction

5-26-14     6:19pm

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

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

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


(deep breath)

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

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

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

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

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

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

My Christmas Wishlist


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:


© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Time to be me

9-16-13     9:32am

I’m tired. And I’m having money problems. Second month in a row. (sigh) No doubt due to the fact that I can’t think and I’m spending money without remembering. My house is dirty. Literally. There is cat poop in the tub, dirt on the floor, dishes piled up, papers and blankets everywhere. Not due to my mom at all. Usually when she goes out of town the house slowly looks wonderful. This time it’s looking more like my dorm room close to the end at USC. I don’t know what to do. My calendar is chock full. I need rest.

I have an assessment today to join an outpatient DBT group. I really just want a nap. And to wake up to a magically clean house. I am tempted to ask for help with my home from my FB or group friends. I just haven’t. I don’t want to be in this situation. I feel like a hypocrite – the one

(stupid fucking blender refuses to work)

– who helps others learn to clean and organize but has fallen to ruin herself. I need help. I need God.

I feel the need to cancel everything on my calendar this week. It doesn’t seem possible. I need the Comfort Drive stuff OUT of my living room. I love the drive, love the movement. I need it gone. It is a wall, a literal wall. I feel like my eyes are melting. My doctor thinks maybe I’m falling apart because I’m on birth control. I don’t care why I’m disintegrating. I just need it to stop. I need. Please. Please.


I bought new lamps yesterday. They make me feel grounded. A miracle is happening here. The lady in the mirror is different. She is catty and brilliant. I have not seen her in years. Just breathe. It’s time to meet 15, hold her hand, bring her closer.Teach her how to live healthfully. Bring her out of shame.

I am sleepy. I need food. I need to go shopping.

I need the boxes out of my living room.
Time to be me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Help Zoe!

3-15-13     9:21pm

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Sooooooo… As you may know, I have a super awesome kitty named Zoe. She is black and shiny and lovely. She talks to me all day and shouts when she’s angry. Her favorite toys are my hair ties, which she often loses under the couch.

Anyway, last week Zoe got really sick. She had a very high fever and wasn’t moving. I took her to the animal hospital and they kept her for a few days – gave her medicine and fluids. She was refusing to eat or drink or pee. When I finally brought her home she started eating and peeing again. She is on the mend. Today she watched birds. She hasn’t played yet but she is cuddling and meowing and not crying anymore.

I set up a fundraising website to help pay the bill. I’m usually pretty good about budgeting for things but I never factored in a kitty emergency. I’d appreciate any help and would LOVE it if you could share the link to the site with your friends & family. Strangers are good too. ;) Every little bit counts. I’m working on getting her pet insurance. For now, I’m just grateful she’s getting well. The site is here. I’m so tired but I’m proud of myself for asking for help. It’s new for me.

Love, Michelle

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

When I lost…

4 minute writing exercise at a workshop

3-17-12     11:30am

When I lost my faith I stopped dancing. When I lost my dancing I lost me. Somewhere in a corner she is locked up, crying quietly. I lost me. I don’t understand. She understands less. When I lost my faith, I lost me.

I used to believe I could do anything, that somehow God had blessed me and I would do good. But now I do this. They say this is me. But in the mirror she’s not what I see. When I lost my faith, I lost me. I miss being me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Creative Euphoria

9-4-11     11:03pm

I have a migraine headache, triggered by the last song of a gig I went to tonight. I felt very creative and euphoric so I tap danced in my living room for awhile. I walked down to the pizza shop to give the pizza girl a card, talking to someone out loud in my head the whole way. On the way back I wrote an entire rhyming poem. I never do that. It just popped into my head. Now the creative euphoria is wearing off. I feel very confused and I feel pain. I wish I could find that space more often. I felt happy… Confused pleasant pain isn’t all that bad though.

I wonder what it’s like to use drugs to get “high.” I like my neurotransmitter highs. They’re legal and they’re free. ;)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

The Trolley Chronicles

12-18-10     12:18am

Wow. The trolley chronicles raw data is shocking tonight… And refreshing. :)

I sang with Sacha tonight. I didn’t want to. It was so wonderful. Like a drug I have missed so much. People loved it. I was trembling, but I loved it too. I felt like me. I miss feeling like me.

She asked why I don’t go back to theater or singing now, to be on Broadway. (sigh) It’s such a tough question. There are the logistics, but I think it’s more about faith. I don’t always believe. I’ve seen the castle crash down so many times that I don’t believe. Stuck in a dream between what I could and can do, held back by the fear of what I can’t and won’t.

I open my mouth to breathe so my face doesn’t explode. The last show I did was at the La Jolla Stage Company. I was not cast. I was an addition, choreographer needed help. I couldn’t think, was fresh out of Cog, had a job. I had gained weight and I wasn’t me. And the show was a nightmare. I walked away knowing I was done. I felt shame.

In the past 9 years I have been hospitalized 8 times, spent 24 weeks in Cog, 8 weeks in DBT, 9 months at Scripps. Now that my mind is mostly under control, my body and brain are failing me. I don’t have the energy to dance very much. I don’t remember things. Some days I can’t move. And the days in between are quite a ride. How does one do a show without dancing a lot, memorizing lines and being healthy enough to show up – not to mention able to get to rehearsal? I don’t know. I just don’t know.


I’m sorry for leaving for awhile. Thank you for singing my song. It’s very special to me. I sang it to my dad at his nursing home in the 4th grade. People rarely sing it and it always makes me cry. And I don’t like crying in public so I retreated to the bathroom for awhile. I wrote through a series of flashbacks. I thought I was okay but cried some more in the lobby. I’m scared. And I need a dad.

The trolley ride was amazing tonight. I spent most of it listening to and bantering with a guy who just got out of jail. He had tattoos everywhere. One side of his head said, “Don’t fuck with my head and I won’t think with my dick.” His right temple said “Ass-Hole.” I asked why and he said because he can be one.

It was a lot of talk about jail and ghetto drama and life. Some of it was pretty ridiculous, but he shocked me at the end. He was telling me about how he had built his life up from nothing after 6 years in jail for something he didn’t do and now that he’s lost everything again he’s not scared because he knows he can do it again. All he wants is to see his twins born. I admire this man. He is a lesson in adversity. (shift)

I feel very tired and sound is bothering me. I’m hungry for tater tots. I should go to sleep. I need –

I’m sorry I let go. I really had to pee.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Blog Radio Tonight

I’ve been asked to be an expert on a blog radio show tonight – Re-born Identity. (A radio show you listen to on the internet.) If you want to listen in you can. It will be live tonight from 8-9pm Pacific time. You can listen to it after that on the website as well. I’ll be discussing depression. If you want to call in you can do that too 877-497-4102.

Michelle :)

Dear Blog

11-1-10     2:35am

Dear Blog,

I didn’t forget you. I think of you often. I know I should be posting. There is much to say. I just feel overwhelmed. There is stuff in my journal destined for your pages. I just haven’t gotten there yet. Don’t lose hope, my dear. I’m still here.

Love you,

A Box

9-17-10                3:40am

There is a box that arrived on my doorstep a few days ago. It sits on my table and waits for me. I stare at it. He said it wouldn’t come here this time. In the box are a few papers, some labels and test tubes. It’s evil really, like that ride at the fair where they hoist you up like 15 stories and then ask you to pull your own rip cord. But this box, you see, it haunts me. It could give me the thing I’ve been looking for for years… But I don’t want it. And having it here is too much to handle.

When I tested for HD there was a system, a process. There was a support person and a battery of treatments & research available. There was a group of people who knew exactly what it was and had been through it and were behind me 100%. This time I have a box. I find a lab. I surrender my blood,  drop it off at FedEx, and wait 2-3 weeks for the results.

DAMN! Damn Damn Damn! (sigh) Was planning to go tomorrow but the website says it can only be shipped Monday through Thursday. Fuck. Come on, people. The box doesn’t say anything about that…

Listening to this

Quite fitting for tonight. The website both says you can and can’t ship on Fridays. (sigh) …


I should sleep, but I don’t want to… I don’t want to.

I want to dance and paint the sky with my hands. (zap) Maybe tomorrow.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Come to the OPT Walk!

Okay, so my mom did this program through Grossmont College called OPT – Office Professional Training. It was a major improvement to her skills and her confidence and it’s FREE. Sooooo, they do fundraisers. And this Saturday is their walk, which she’s in charge of. It’s $25 to do and you just walk around the track at Grossmont 20 times. Personally, I just give them money and watch and eat oranges. Please donate if you can, whether you come to the walk or not. Click the link below to view the flyer. Thanks. :)

OPT Walk a thon flyer June 12, 2010