Darkness is made of Many Colors

4/14/2017

© Michelle Routhieaux 2017

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Windows of Opportunity

12/5/2016     9:38pm

yoga-therapy-art

I’m sitting in the VA parking lot. The potluck was tonight and I pulled it off well, got a special award from Libby. I cleaned up and socialized, kind of. I feel weak and dizzy and faint, like before I passed out yesterday. I walked the stairs anyway. I want that star.

(rest on my fist the space between my eyes)
Mom didn’t come.

I missed my opportunity. I fucked up. This is my fault. I need and wanted ECT. In the time I could have done it and recovered I tried something else to appease my doctor, which went horribly wrong. Now I’m in a med change. She’ll want to know if it’s working tomorrow.

Is my new med helping? Is it better or worse? I’m not sure how to answer that. Before I was severely depressed and non-functional. I wanted and needed ECT and had time to do it but needed help with logistics. Now I don’t know what I am. My best guess would be rapid cycling mixed episode with mild psychotic features and marked memory impairment. I go back and forth from bitter to rage to desperation to confusion – lots of confusion – and back. The period I’m not supposed to have now comes for about 3 days every week and a half. I’m bingeing a lot, making myself ill, impulsively maxing out my credit cards. I shut down completely in private and in public at inopportune times. I’m isolating from everyone, including D-. Fighting with Mom every day. Is that better or worse?

I missed the opportunity. They don’t come often. Today I went back to work for F-. I’m expected at group and outreach events and appointments. Because my moments are split I don’t get to pick ECT anymore. I don’t get to do what I know works for me ‘cuz I’m feeling now. Fuck.

(curled over, feel my heart beat on my skin)

I’m cold.
What do I do now?

Just keep working.

I didn’t matter enough to fix. :(
Not my turn.

3 – When Daddy hides the roller skates, run run away.
No like Daddy clip his fingernails.
Ice live in penguins, Mommy.

I get to see J- on Thursday. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for it but I want my life back. I NEED me back.

What do I want/need help with?

  • coaching through PRYT training – fundraising, planning, accommodations, follow-through, step by step
  • going through my stuff
  • fitting all I own into my room
  • conquering the garage
  • dancing again consistently
  • financial planning
  • losing weight
  • standardize & wrap up group business
  • have friends again
  • sing again
  • be in a musical again
  • scheduling – me + responsibilities
  • being around my mom with compassion

(stare, hear a GameBoy game song)

3 – I want to go humbly. I mean home. You bozo.

(VA police sweep)

The difference between now and then is that in the darkness I felt hope.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

Quiet is Purple

11/29/2016

meter-11

(sit quietly near to be where I’m not)

What seems like a void isn’t.
And what’s heard as silence isn’t.
The lack of air that fills my soul, it makes no sound.
No one hears the silent screaming.

Tea. Broadway. Fading lies.
No Giving Tuesday for me.
No Denver, or Ohio, or Scotty.

Quiet is purple.
Quiet is me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

Life Update – Thoughts from the Couch

11-20-16     11:46pm

I feel sad. (pause) I’m sitting on the couch, tv off. Mom’s asleep. The clock is ticking relentlessly, rain falling on the metal overhang outside. I watch the candle flicker. I don’t know what’s happening.

Today I went to church and lunch with my mom and her friend. I fell asleep after, picked up a migraine and forgot what I wanted to work on. I’m not doing well. I’ve been quite depressed for some time. I wanted to rejoin the ranks of ECT but tried an intensive outpatient program instead. That ended terribly. Now I’m trying to figure out what to do, only I don’t have the mind to do it. Dissociation has taken on a life of its own. I’m losing time. I can’t follow what’s happening. I’m sending freaked out emails to my therapist that later I have no or little recollection of. I started a new med that I’m pretty sure is either making my symptoms worse or holding off the small sanity breaks I usually get. I’m usually a shark when it comes to managing money and two months in a row now I’ve forgotten to pay bills. I can’t keep up with my work, often forget I’m even supposed to be doing it. I go to my group and do the bare bones. I’ve been somewhat honest about the fact that I’m struggling but I don’t share in group or when I’m willing there isn’t time. I avoid it altogether most times since the feedback I get is often silence or replies that are only vaguely relevant. My friends express concern and ask if there’s anything they can do to help. I know if I told them something they would do it, but I don’t know what that is. I’ve pulled away from almost everyone. I don’t know what to do. I go in and out of wanting to kill myself. It’s not a likely scenario considering I don’t actually want to be dead and I can’t undie if I don’t like it. Soleil also pointed out recently that I’m always moving and there’s no movement in death. That would certainly be a problem.

I think it was last month that I had packed a bag and left it in the car should I want or need to go inpatient. I’ve since unpacked it. I did tell my mom after a bit and I told her I was considering more ECT or an IOP. She didn’t really seem surprised or upset, or anything for that matter. When I went into IOP all that mattered to her was that I got my work done, which I didn’t. Ending the IOP was traumatic and I was upset for days. I couldn’t tell her what was happening and when I was finally going to she said something so offensive about a few of my friends that I wouldn’t. We got in a huge unrelated screaming fight a few nights ago. Today she said I wasn’t making sense. I’ll give her that. I tried very hard this evening to talk to her. I told her I’m losing time. I spent all my effort trying to explain what that means, what it’s like for me. (stare off into space) She picked up the remote and said, “What do you want to watch?” There was no response or discussion.

My therapist is doing his damndest, which I have to give him credit for. We’re in rough waters and even I don’t believe in me. For some reason he does. I feel horribly guilty for telling him the truth about what’s happening to me. I don’t want to be the girl who’s always in crisis. I mentioned something recently about working with and educating the police and he straight up laughed, said he would pay to see that, take the whole day off work. I don’t blame him. He’s never seen the side of me that can do that, just the one that’s freaking out.

I don’t know what there is to be scared of. I am so blessed. I live in a safe home with my mom who loves me. I have the most incredible team of providers I couldn’t even dream up and a steady source of income. On top of that, I have a God who loves and protects me no matter what I do and a group that’s got my back. I can let go but I’m afraid to lose control. I’m afraid of losing who I am.
Did who I am even matter?
Not really.
There you go.
I still feel confused and scared. God keeps telling me, “Go.” WHERE?!!
You’ll know.
Shut up.

I have to go to bed now. My goal is 12am and it’s 12:12am now. Thanks for listening to me vent. I hope you’re doing okay.

Michelle

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

Rearranging the Furniture

11-14-15     8:30pm

I’m listening to the credits’ music from “August Rush.” Feels like it should be later than 8:30pm. Mom brought me dinner and visited tonight. I’m really glad I’m here. I had my second ECT Friday and it went MUCH more smoothly than the first. They gave me nausea and pain meds in my IV and I’m not having as much memory loss. My muscles are still sore but that’s it. It’s curious because instead of forgetting people I know, I think I know people I don’t. Eh. Whatever.

I made a really cool bleeding tissue paper art piece today. It is multicolored with a picture of two mccaws in the middle and says “Fly Free” because that how I feel. I also made a bracelet that says “JOY.” I’m not sleeping very well but my appetite is back. I miss my dog.

I’m not sure what’s gonna happen when I leave here – if I’ll go back to DBT or what my schedule will be like. I know I can’t drive for two weeks but I’m not sure if I’ll be doing any maintenance. I look forward to going back to Soleil and Dr. H and the girls. I’m hoping this emptiness in my head doesn’t stick around and that the thoughts start to repopulate. My doc here says we’re “rearranging the furniture” and not to worry. That’s a tall order but I’m working on it.

(yawn, look around)
I got to talk to my aunt today… I feel like coloring. Maybe I will. I could draw or color some furniture, or just imagine it. I feel SO grateful. I find it curious how whatever controls seizures so strongly influences mood… We were going to watch “Roman Holiday” tonight but the new lady doesn’t want to. (long pause) The noise from the tv is hijacking my brain.  Let me reiterate how grateful I am for this hospital, my doctors and ECT and I’ll let you alone. Goodnight. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Useless

3/13/15     10:25pm

It’s like there are no useful thoughts in my head, yet I am acutely aware there is something I’m supposed to do.

(swing outside)
I feel like a rat in a toilet bowl scrambling to survive the flush. Chemically dulled. Staring. Curled up. Twitchy. Tics. I want the med work in the hospital to stick. Why can’t it be simple? I’m not feeling hope. I’d like to cry. No tears.

Word of torture: USELESS
Rebuttal: Human
Reply: Broken
Answer: Jesus

(pray, swing)
I’ve been seeing a grey fuzzy cat that’s not there. I miss Dr. N.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Feed Me

12/23/2014     1:04am

It’s 1 in the morning. I just finished baking three batches of cookies and a pan of brownies. I’m tired. I haven’t blogged in forever. I forget how long. It’s not personal. I’m not writing much either and when I do it’s not stuff I can post. I’m getting sick. Forced down time.

I’m really struggling. The stress has been building for months and I’ve watched my functioning slowly and quietly deteriorate. Saturday I had a total shutdown and couldn’t speak or move. Then I could move but not speak. The words came back Sunday but were touch and go. I almost got hit by a car yesterday because I wasn’t paying attention. I was too focused on trying to eat something so my blood sugar didn’t get any lower. I visited a friend in the hospital a few days ago and she joked that I should be her roommate. I didn’t tell her it was quite possible.

Today was a lot better. I saw Jim and he said I should adopt a hospital schedule. I’ve done it before to get through hard times. It just makes me sad. I carry a Snuffleupagus around for safety. Yes, the Sesame Street character. I’m not eating enough or I’m bingeing. I am tired all the time. I don’t know what’s happening but something is taking over my brain. I have a solo in the Christmas Eve program at church and I think that’s my only solid reason to be here. Tonight I have a scratchy throat and I’m praying for God to sing through me and preserve my voice for the show. I’m not sure what comes after that. Mom and I are doing Christmas at our house just us. I’m not looking forward to it. I just don’t feel Christmas this year. I miss Dr. N terribly and I can’t think straight.

I see Ashley tomorrow. I don’t know what to say. I need help. I’ve been having panic attacks and allergic reactions from things I eat even though I’m not supposed to. I left group early tonight because I was too anxious and I couldn’t tolerate hearing any more stories. No one followed or asked. I wanted to share what’s going on with me, how I’m scared and feel so alone. But I left. I hid and ate. I need help.

I’m not feeling poetic or wordy tonight. No creativity flows from me. Just the remnants of a disagreement with the oven and the faith to ask God to heal me. Even just the cold. I want to go home. Someone please feed me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Are you the pumpkin man?

11-29-13     11pm

Well, I feel tonight. Jumbled words in my mind let go with the music. A moment just to stop.

I watched the hall empty, mesmerized, listening to the sounds, taking it in. Streisand-man is annoying. Otherwise a wonderful night. Even the food was good.

The anxiety is trying to escape me but it’s stuck inside my body. Tweet tweet goes the bird dog. Scream. I said SCREAM. (scream)

(deep breath)

Parked in Old Town.
I miss my mom.
Want to run away.
Or just run.
I don’t know why.

Feed the toilet.
Arms not right.

Are you the pumpkin man?

Where am I?
Take me home.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

I wish it was Tuesday

11/28/2013     10:29pm

Dear God,

I wish it was Tuesday. My voice is stuck inside me and nothing reaches the page.

I’m sitting in the car outside Mesa Vista. Light from Cog lights my page. I feel myself falling in slow motion, like a feather through Jello. Life moves quickly around me. I feel lifeless. Can’t move. Can’t stop. Another holiday out of touch. I need to catch this one early.

December is coming. Tomorrow’s Black Friday. I’m about to break. Double on Wednesday. I need so badly to be held. God? What are you training me for? What do you need me for now? I need you. I need a lot of things. I don’t want to end up back in the hospital and that’s the direction I’m headed.

Red flags

  • Self-harm
  • Dissociation (more frequent & intense)
  • Desperation/Agitation cycle
  • Nightly dreaming
  • No interest in food (ED + decreased appetite)
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Episodes of tachycardia
  • Weak/Dizzy
  • Depersonalization
  • Derealization
  • Really out of it
  • Increase in switching
  • Intense need to be held
  • Confusion
  • Decrease in personal hygeine
  • Severe fatigue
  • Rocking
  • Racing thoughts or no thoughts
  • Feel my face hanging, heavy
  • Late frequently
  • Anhedonia
  • Can’t complete tasks
  • Catastrophize more often
  • Don’t care about my appearance
  • Not feeding animals
  • Sleeping in makes me feel worse
  • Soul-crushing depression
  • I just watch from behind the glass

Coping Skills I’m Using

  • Day list (when I remember)
  • Walking Ellie
  • Sticking to a schedule
  • Eating nut bars
  • Deep breathing
  • Singing
  • Watching NCIS
  • Decluttering
  • Sensory distraction – light, temperature, sound
  • Scented candles
  • Getting out of the house
  • Eating regularly
  • Rocking
  • Chewing gum
  • Projects

Triggers

  • Driving
  • Mom
  • Too busy – outreach, S, appts
  • No music nights
  • No free/down time
  • Money problems
  • Ankle injury
  • Gluten-free transition
  • -‘s episode, –
  • J/M/S drama – trust
  • Brother’s HD
  • DBSA business woes
  • Heartland scuffle on Monday
  • Clogging – Quarternote end, dying, teaching, etc.

What do I need?

  • Modified schedule w/emphasis on self-care
  • Talk to my providers
  • back to Day List
  • Go back to the bus half time
  • Meet with a dietician
  • Go back to Dizzy’s
  • Start writing again
  • Find/schedule more alone time
  • Go back to the gym
  • Schedule garage time
  • Pray

Let go.

  1. Schedule – weekly
  2. Menu

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

All I Can Do

6-29-13     10:15pm

I feel sad. I just went walking. And praying.

(long pause)

My heart is heavy.

Janet is dead.
Libby is gone.
Joe didn’t show.
The sisters are fucking.
The ocean is cold.
My eyes are dry.
I might have cancer.
I’m alone…

Otherwise things are okay.
I want to go home.

Hear “All I Can Do (Thank You)”

The picnic was fun today.
Not sure if I’ll make it through the fair tomorrow.

© 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

Feelings

1-4-13     7:27pm

In the silence music comes to me.

Now “I Need a Miracle.”
Before “Walk on the Water.”

Waves of intense anxiety followed by crashes. Labor of feelings.

(breathing)

I colored. I am a unicorn. My head hurts.

I’m glad Mom doesn’t have the tv on.

People keep asking if I’m okay. I don’t know what to tell them. I want their support. But I don’t want to want it. I don’t want anyone to know I need help.

15       LEAVE ME ALONE.

There was so much love and support at the group last night. I couldn’t take it in. I felt squirmy.

15        Leave me alone. Stop talking to me. Hide under my desk.

I’m not supposed to feel. Don’t you understand? Feelings are for secrets, closed
doors and letters. I don’t feel. I dance.

Feelings get me in trouble. I am not allowed to have them. I am pro other people openly having feelings, sometimes. I, however, tuck them away safely in a vault that eats at me. I can’t even get to them if I want to.

Feelings are scary and dangerous. They make me feel ashamed. It is my job to be strong. It is my job to be a robot. Do the work, listen, comfort, be.

I am angry that other people can have feelings but not me. I feel them in a tiny ball, an orb in the center of my brain, best friends with the hippocampus. They hover there and tell me what to do. I speak this out loud as I write it purely monotone, a few syllables at a time. I stare. My head hurts. Please help me.

*Smack* Don’t you EVER say that again.

I see other people cry and they’re comforted. I’m not easily soothed. I get angry. I don’t want people touching me. I don’t want them to know. I want to be fucked up in private and then go back to my life. I don’t accept help. I feel lonely. I push people away. But not out of unlove, out of self-stigma.

15
Leave me alone.

I don’t trust them.
People who say they will help lie.
They just hurt you.
It’s a trap.
Stay in the dungeon where it’s safe.

FG                 
She doesn’t understand.
She has good cause not to trust.
She is learning.

13                               
She is killing us.

FG                
Maybe so.

I want to cut or hurt myself to feel. I could cry a few days ago. Now I just stare. Tears in my forehead. Crashing. Must sleep.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

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

I am not me

12/2/12     1:24am

I had a really hard day today. So hard I can barely write. Physical pain, funeral, ton of triggers. Nurse from my past, comparison to childhood friends, too much noise at music, people flirting with me, disaster at the end.

Please, I just want to be free. No one in my life but my mom now knows the real me. ME. I’m in here. Please. I’m not a “loyal jazz fan.” I’m a girl. A human. Someone who once was great, who is deeply pained now just to watch. It hurts to be alive some days. It hurts to be alive.

Photographer                    Actor                    Teacher
Dancer                                Writer                  Fundraiser
Singer                                 Speaker                Organizer
Idea-maker                       Tutor                    Traveler
Lover of Life

I was these things.
I was good.
Now I see myself as darkness and pain. Still. A motionless watcher. Shell of a soul. My core is still there but my body refuse. The worst part is that I know. I know what I am not doing, who I have become. And no matter how awesome others see it, it’s not me. I am not me.

When my mom picked me up after jazz tonight I just started crying. I was so upset – not at any person but circumstance. There was confusion over plans. I am not able to be spontaneous. I don’t drive. I plan my rides and they take a long time. Tonight there was a last minute switch and I didn’t get to go. I felt trapped, gypped. I can’t get out.

M- asked the other night why I don’t drive. I couldn’t explain it all. (crying) I failed at life. I feel ashamed & guilty & embarrassed. He called me out. I can’t take care of myself. I try to keep that a secret. I want to drive. I just can’t do it right now.

I want so much to be free. Not to feel lonely. To be independent. But tonight I hide & cry. I am not me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Take me to the pirates

1/1/12     4:30pm

I woke up today hearing myself say, “I have no reason to be happy.” It was strange. Right out of a dream, literally.

There is a light hope in the air. It’s 2012 and new things will be happening. I got a request to be an AVID tutor today. Instead of feeling excited I feel terrified. I already committed to volunteering for 6 weeks to teach dance, which I am thoroughly enthralled by, but it also scares me. I’m not good at balance. I need stuff to do but overwhelm easily and my body just freaks out. I’m scared to live. I didn’t use to be.

I remember when my life was a whirlwind of activity. No one could keep up with me, except my mom. I taught dance and went to school and tutored and wrote and did projects and theater and choir. I had jobs. I had a few friends. I don’t really know what happened. Somehow I lost me.

Now I’m afraid to leave my house some days, terrified not to. I see doctors, go to groups, don’t dance. I write when I can and I live in the fantasy. I live in the fantasy. I want to have a full and productive life. I’d rather be healthy.

I’m frustrated because 2 days ago I was freakin’ out. The pirates were coming and I was happy. Everything was fascinating. I was floating and the world was on edge. But the pirates are gone now. They left me. Why would they leave me? Doesn’t anyone love me? Don’t they understand that I want to go home? My brain feels frozen and hurts. I feel so sad.

(Breathe… Breathe.)

Pervasive sadness has no words. Take me to the pirates.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Happy People

12-21-11     10pm

Seeing happy people makes me really sad.

I sang at Sea World today. Major stress getting everything organized but the singing part was fun. Now I’m crashing – exhausted and sad.

There is a person who works the event that I really like. He is gay and taken, but I like him anyway. He has such a warm energy. I just watch him and I dream. Lately I feel very homely. I’m not sure if that’s the right word. I’m getting old. My life time is kicking in. I want to settle down. I want a partner. I want a family. I want to feel warm and safe, not as a child but a me. And when I see people like this guy, I wish I had one just like him in my life.

(Breathing…) But, I am me.
For some reason that cannot be. I don’t understand and I feel angry. And I eat more Chinese food. Then I just feel sad… So sad. That sad where everything is quiet and the tears don’t roll down my face. Even bad people have families. Why not me?

Happy people make me sad.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

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. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rebornidentity/2010/11/22/tis-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year I’ll be discussing depression. If you want to call in you can do that too 877-497-4102.

Michelle :)