1/10/2018     4:16pm

Sometimes there are moments I stop and just watch. I get to be mindful. These are two pictures of leaves I stopped to admire. I’m so glad I did.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018


God Sent me a Hummingbird

7/23/16     10:56pmlavender painted lady

I am SO blessed. I’m sitting on the couch with my dog cuddled up next to me. Mom is sewing as we watch Big Bang Theory. It’s some sort of dream.

I woke up this morning. Yep. I wandered around my house most of the day confused and anxious, freaking out and shutting down. I finally found the guts to write to my brother’s step-dad about what I want to do with his body. I sent the message over Facebook and went through a basket I haven’t touched in ages while watching NCIS. My niece’s mom contacted me for the first time. Then the step-dad responded in agreement and my fear fell away. I could BREATHE. What a blessing. I also got to chat with a friend from Level 1. Thinking of her lifted my spirits.

In the afternoon God told me to go cut lavender. So I found my scissors and went 56 minutes before sunset. I prayed for God to sit with me as I cut the flowers, to bless me and the people who grew them, to heal the people who will receive them. I asked Him to let me just be. I walked and sat and cut. I listened to the neighbors. I watched the families interact. There was a butterfly that flew by. I say automatically, “Hi, God.” Sometimes instead I say, “Hi, Dad.” I pay attention to them and to the flowers.

As I sat on the ground collecting purple flowers I heard a buzzing. It was a hummingbird. It flitted around the plant beside me then came over to the one I was working on. I stayed still and watched. It backed up and stared at me. Then it moved forward, forward more. We were face to face and I didn’t move. God sent me a hummingbird. It hovered long enough to hold my attention. When it was ready it flew away. I praised God for the day.

I met a neighbor whose mom is a patient at Mesa Vista. I shared DBSA with her. I really hope this one house’s inhabitants show up soon. I REALLY want to cut the flowers in front of it. Mom wanted a bun taco from Del Taco so I drove through. I hadn’t been to that Del Taco or through that drive thru since November 16, 2001, when I left my dying father. The lady who gave me my food at the drive thru looked different. She didn’t fit the image of a fast food worker. I told her she looked too skilled to be working at a Del Taco. She said her husband owns the franchise and she fills in where needed. I told her about not being there since 2001. She told me her daughter, who was 26, died three years ago. She also told me about her mother with Alzheimer’s and their struggles. I offered resources and gave her lavender. She was amazing. She said to come back more often. I don’t know her name and I don’t like the food, but I’m pretty sure I’ll go back to see her.

I listened to Snap Judgment on the way home, bought bananas, made a smoothie and walked into my living room to Mom sewing. I don’t know what inspired her to do that (she is AWESOME) but I’m glad she’s back in her element.

I am so blessed. I’m exhausted but joy fills my face – and my soul, and my toes. Hallelujah blessed. Yesterday and the day before we SO awful. And today I’m okay. Held by God. I’m even back in touch with my old ballet teacher, who has been in the wind for years, and my 8th grade history teacher. They both appeared like the butterflies and the hummingbird.

Look for the small and so meaningful blessings in life. A hummingbird shouldn’t have to stare me in the face for God to grab my attention, yet today it did and it worked. God is with me. Don’t let me forget that.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

Sound as Medicine

11/27/2015     8:45pm

I’m sitting at Dizzy’s with C-. I had forgotten the power of sound as medicine. I need to come back here. This is my home. Notes fill the air, float directly into my ears. Vibrations cut through my body leaving memories. I close my eyes and the healing is all around me. A broad bright smile comes over my face and I’m warm. I feel love.

I’ve missed it here. I used to come several days a week. I knew everyone. It was my getaway, what fed me, kept me going. But one day I just disappeared and 6 months passed before I realized there was something missing.  I’ve been hesitant, afraid to come back but it’s time. The music and its family are calling me. This place is full of healing and life, joy. Pain turns to sound & understanding. It’s okay just to be. It’s welcomed. Truth is okay. Truth is me. Welcome back to Dizzy’s.

When I came in I gave C- the biggest hug, then another. He sat down with me and got me a hot cocoa. I wish I had a dad. C- would be a great dad. Dr. H pointed out how much I really miss having a dad. I do.

A- just got here and Dr. C is schmoozing on a girl next to us. Weird. I’m thankful for Dizzy’s. Open-source healing, low copay, no limits. Amen.

© 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

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

Feeling in my feet

7/25/13     4:05pm


One awesome thing – feeling in my feet. I love that I can feel what’s under me. I feel the rocks and crevices, nothingness. The feeling tells my brain what to do, how to react, how to narrowly not fall off that cliff. I feel the coolness of grass under me, sense the firmness of the ground. It allows me to feel the floor and to move with it.

I love that I have feeling in my feet. I can sense pain. I can thwart danger. I can adjust my balance. It also tells me when I’m injured, when I’m tired, when I need to stop. 

Sometimes the feeling in my feet brings me pleasure. It allows a massage to relax me or a tub of hot water to soothe my stress. It warns me when I walk in the ocean if the water is too cold before I get hypothermia. It allows me to wriggle my toes in the sand with my mom, which makes me so happy.

Feeling my feet lets me know just where to place my tap to make sound and where to put a bandaid before I get a blister. It lets me enjoy a soft rug. It also lets me know when I step on a crack. And I can’t forget it lets me feel like I’m flying when I swing barefoot. I’m so thankful for the feeling in my feet. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

God is So Good

12-19-10    3:35am

Good is so good. I had a wonderful day today. Stressful in the morning getting everything ready for singing at SeaWorld tonight. Phone calls, coordinating people and such. The weather was gloomy (my favorite) and everyone made it safely and mostly on time. The Shamu show had some extra help tonight. ;) Afterwards my mom and I and the two girls we were taking home stopped at the bay and watched the boat parade and then at InNOut…

Right now I feel kinda spaced out. Well, more than kinda. It is 3:30am. But that really has nothing to do with it. Lately I’ve been in a sort of haze. I’m either really stressed and agitated or pleasantly tuned out. I don’t feel particularly down. More like drugged. I just sit and stare. Staying home usually drives me crazy. I was sick this week and home a lot, but I was ok. It’s like half of my brain is turned off – the half that freaks out and cares. I feel very tired, very mellow, and I can’t understand what you’re saying. Sometimes it concerns me but mostly I’m grateful. It is a reprieve from the crazy, from the agitation. From the times when I can’t stop moving or rocking or repeating words. A resting time. A much needed break.

I’m grateful today for the people in my life. For getting to sing last night, and today with the choir. For having my mom who is my biggest fan and my best support. And for my God who makes it all happen. I feel joy. And I feel tired. God is so good. So so good.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Feelin’ Good

11-6-10     9pm

Ugh. Long day. I wanted to feed the ducks but we didn’t get to that. An hour plus at a Super Walmart is more than I can comfortably handle. I can’t screen out excess stimuli and it’s just too much.

That said, I feel pretty good right now. I’m stuffed. We went to Janet’s Cafe for dinner and I had the best banana cream pie I’ve ever eaten.

Observe & Describe:

I feel warm, calm.
I see Zoe playing.
I hear Mom rustling plastic in the kitchen.
I feel my hair on my face.
I hear the cars outside.
I feel the air in my nose as I breathe.
I feel the texture of my bottom teeth with my tongue.
I see the colors of my pjs.
I notice the curve of my nails.
Feel the grip of the pen.
I feel tired, and content.
I feel all the places my body connects with the couch. I’m grateful it holds me up.
I hear an airplane.
I recognize I am breathing.

I am so grateful to be alive. God is good. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010


11-5-10                11:46pm

I find lately that as my level of pain rises so does my level of gratitude, my ability to be in the moment and to appreciate the beauty in each little thing. I am so grateful for the hugs, and the colors, and the stitching. The air. The smell of a desert summer. Everything as a piece of art, unique in its own way. It feels good to feel grateful, even in the pain.

What I am grateful for tonight:

My ipod and its music
Chicken fingers
A soft couch
The roses
The tree in front of the hotel
My new pens
My new shoes
The new piano guy
My mom
My clothes & my socks
My hairclip
My crayons
The trolley
My understanding of Mindfulness
My ability to laugh
My kitty
My networking skills
My memory
My ability to write
My blog
Jazz music
Cool summer nights

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Dig Up the Chickens & What I Want You to Know

3-13-10                 7:07pm

Even if I die tonight, please dig up the chickens. The mummified chickens in the hillside of the Flying Hills playground.

Those chickens taught me a lesson. I didn’t want to touch them. Dead chickens are gross. But no one else want to do it, so I did. I salted and patted and changed the chickens. And something interesting happened – a sudden change in dynamics. They were grateful for me doing this unmentionable task, then expected me to do it, then made fun of me for doing it… What? It seems to be a pattern.


My right hand is shaking and I feel like crying… I’m scared… (smile) Sacha just walked by and sang, “Cheer up, Charlie.” She’s beautiful.

“You are nobody ‘til somebody loves you.” – lyrics Daniel’s singing.

What I Want You to Know

  • That I love you.
  • I may hate people but I love deeply too.
  • Don’t let a chance for happiness pass you by, even if it means driving an extra hundred miles out of your way in the snow.
  • Say what you mean, no matter what people think.
  • Please don’t say it’s a shame that I died so young or that it’s before my time. Bullshit. It’s been a long fucking life. I have spared no experience, no expense. And the thought of living another 24 years like these just might kill me.
  • Please laugh. For every reason & no reason at all.

-Ahhh, half hour in comes the smile. :)

I’m so glad I came. :)

PS – I sold the hole punch. The new doctor is great.