I was thinking about my life today while driving to Eastlake for a pickup. My doctor says I’m making so much progress, that he knew I had potential but never expected me to come this far. But where am I? Where am I going?
I’m not headed in any particular direction. It’s a day to day struggle to stay alive. I’m not in school pursuing a career. I don’t have a husband or kids. I’m floating, stagnant, goal-less. Well, I do have 2 goals but I’m not doing very well on them. I’m temped to starve to death or maybe just walk in circles. When I think about it I freak out. (deeep breath) Is this the end of the yellow brick road?
The word incubation came to mind followed by hibernation. I have stopped almost all events and responsibilities. I am tired. But I don’t think I’m hibernating. I am largely motionless but I am being nurtured and growing. This pause in my life is productive. My mind is catching up to me.
I feel very nauseous, head pain, weak.
I am incubating. If I don’t die, I’ll hatch. I will arise into my new life and follow the path wherever God leads me.
I’m scared to leave this place. I’m not moving forward. I am being carried. The angels are around me. My breath…
Incubation is painful like physical therapy. I am stretched and molded and melted, filed and rearranged. My body is trying to kill me. Maybe I need to die to live.
I really feel faint.
I need to lie down.
And see Dr. Collan.
Right now I feel panic like last night. I’m hovering on a subject so painful, raw. I want to go back to USC.
WHY did you take that life from me?
Why even show me or care?
My life is over. I want a new one. I want to die.
FG – If the new life was different but as fulfilling as the old one, would you stick around?
I need. I just don’t know what.
I’ve walked right out of my shoes. Now I walk on air – off-lifing. Where am I headed, running in circles in an incubator. I’m not ready to leave. But I’m close. I want a better life, to be free. That’s progress. In hibernation I shut down and rest. It rarely involves conscious growth.
I’m helping S- tonight. I’d rather be working on the Comfort Drive. I need to prepare for my mom’s trip and I need someone to help me improve my backing.
I feel overwhelmed but I’m here, incubating. I will be here as long as it takes. God help me.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2013
This morning I found myself staring at a list of questions for my biography in some book at my upcoming 10 year reunion. They all made me think. No spouse, no children. I’ve not become the me I wanted to be. I was particularly puzzled by the last prompt/question: Summary of accomplishments, dreams, travels since High School. It’s all been a blur. I had the invitation to regret, to be angry, to hate myself for what I’ve done. For the bio I came up with this. It surprised me but it’s true.
It didn’t seem complete. It’s not what I’m most proud of. So I continued it in my journal.
Summary of accomplishments, dreams, travels since High School:
- I survived. I’m alive. I’m thriving.
- Fought through mental illness
- Didn’t give up
- Found myself
- Set her free
- Learned to love her
- Continued to follow my dreams & ideas
- Learned to stand up for myself and my beliefs and eventually others’
- Learned assertiveness & put it into practice
- I’ve begun to tolerate being alone
- Developed systems of change for myself and others
- I refused to give up
- I didn’t hurt myself
- Separated myself from Mom
- Learned to see her as a person
- Got my license
- Weathered DBSA through thick & thin
- Joined a church I’m active in
- Stood up for my beliefs, even when it got me fired
- Learned to trust
- Stopped running away
- Owned/Developed pride in me
- Learned how to tolerate anxiety
- Continued to grow my resourcefulness
- Had a relationship
- Made real friends
- Learned how to manage money
- Didn’t forget
- Didn’t let go of the dream
- Took care of my body & teeth
I am pretty fucking awesome. Today Dr. N told me he’s proud of me, that I’ve accomplished something 2 years ago he didn’t think was possible – in terms of my wellness. He said he knew I had potential but didn’t expect this. It feels good that he’s proud of me and that he sees and appreciates the positive change I work so hard on every day.
Today I went to the casino and practiced the word Patient. I tried Compassion but it was too hard. I want to learn to be Patient. Now I’m off to dye a llama purple with blackberries, if I don’t eat them all first. ;) I love fruit. I have two biopsies coming up. Wish me luck.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2013
27. Mom thinks it’s the magic number, the number when everything clicked. Really, it’s just a number. Although I hear ____ say, “27. Now that was a good year.”
I turned 27 March of this year. It was not a remarkable day – appointment, lunch with Mom, major crash, terrible pain, OCD group. But my mom says something around then changed. She attributes all my recent growth to a number. Figures. She’s been in Texas. Today I feel great. A little dizzy, awake. Change is hard work.
A month or so before my birthday I spent 3 weeks in the hospital (see “Even Dark Clouds Pass.”) When I got out I was still going through it. The time since then has been fireworks. For the first time in years I started an antidepressant. I added structure & a complex schedule. I updated my day list and started using it. It is a list of things I do every day in the morning and evening that I keep in a page protector and check off with a dry erase marker. And I started BrainPaint, which I believe to be the key to my success.
BrainPaint. A simple notion. Painting with your brain. Ha ha! Not so fast, my friend. I paint with my brain indeed. BrainPaint is automated neurofeedback. EEG leads tell the computer what my brain is doing and the computer makes real-time fractals (pictures) and music to guide my brain into the wave pattern it wants. Forget training a dragon. Train your brain!
I’m doing BrainPaint at Healthy Within under Dr. Divya Kakaiya. She determined what areas we could work on. I’m almost through my treatment. I don’t want to stop. I go 3 times a week. I consider it an outpatient program even though it’s not. It’s not all peaches & cream, but BrainPaint saved my life.
I feel tired of writing.
I have 3 pages of what’s changed since BrainPaint that I may choose to share here later. Most notably, I don’t want to die every day anymore. I’m sleeping, brushing my teeth (yay!), and can tolerate being at home. Kinda crazy. I even got my permit. I am blessed that my mom was in Texas for the past month. Without limits or rules or judgement or simply the energy of another person I’ve been able to settle into life, to blossom. I’ve been repotted.
27. I like it.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2013
I’ve been listening to God lately. It’s an interesting thing.
I’ve been growing in my faith lately. A lot. It’s strange to me but quite welcome. I’m having a lot of memory problems and other issues so I don’t remember if I told you or not. Last week I watched this sermon online and it struck a chord – Family of Origin Part 5: The Lost Child. I’ve been attending The Rock Church sporadically and hadn’t been in a few weeks so I decided to watch online. It was just what I needed and it talked about something I hadn’t thought about in awhile – the still small voice.
I hear that voice a lot. The still small voice that tells me what to do. I hear it more lately. No, I think I just trust it more lately. It tells me things and I do what it says. I’m never sure why I’m supposed to do these things or go these places on instruction, but there’s always a reason. I find myself in the right place at the right time, even though it was exactly the wrong place to me and I’m often upset about being there. The voice tells me where to go and what to say and whom to say it to, or not to. It redirects my path when I’m straying in a different direction, creates anxiety when I’m headed away or tells me to stay through the anxiety when I’m not supposed to go. Or to give or to compliment or to pray.
I am at once comforted and confused by this voice. The still small voice of God. I am comforted because I trust it and believe I should do what it tells me. I feel I have a companion, like intuition or a gut instinct that’s always right. But I’m confused and sometimes I doubt. Not because I don’t believe or I think it’s wrong but because doing what voices in my head tell me to hasn’t always turned out alright. It gets really scary sometimes and I end up in dangerous situations or do risky things. Or I give away all my money or run away or in some other way harm myself. I want to listen and obey this voice in my head that sometimes tells me to do things I don’t understand but that don’t seem bad, but I have a hard time trusting that He’s not one of “them.” The them that are out to get me, who tell me things in my head. Who scream at me and haunt me in the night. Who make me believe bad things and hurt myself. How do I know the still small voice is safe?
I guess the answer is that I don’t. I have to take it on faith. It’s just hard trying to tease out mental illness from religion when they’re so closely tied together. When God or experiences with God are such a part of my illness, or what society calls illness, it’s hard to know what’s real. I believe that when I am manic I’m not delusional, just closer to God, more able to experience Him and His presence. Somewhat of a spiritual emergency. When I’m experiencing weird spiritual things I have a choice to categorize them as spiritual experiences or psychiatric symptoms and how I define them determines the course of action. But what I’m hearing lately I don’t consider either. I just hear the voice of God. I listen for it. And I’m surprised because I follow it about 90% of the time.
I’m listening to God. I feel peace. In the midst of chaos and crises and illness, I feel peace and assurance. I seek to raise others up, to show love. I’m becoming a better me. Listening to God, letting Him work through me.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2012
I went to an ANAD meeting today. (I’m feeling anxious right now.) I went to the meeting and I realized how grown-up I am, how much progress I’ve made. I am not in that anymore. I’m not even in me. I worked for S-. I’m being opened to wisdom.
I have better boundaries. I understand why I do things. I practice mindfulness and DBT. I plan. I take care of me. I let things go.
Today last year I checked into CAP2. I could barely talk. I wanted to die. I was terrified. Dr. N was mad at me for giving up. I was so tired that I didn’t have it in me to try. Too tired to want to get better.
(deep breath, crickets) zap.
I rested. Then I did the work. And all year I’ve been working, learning, growing. Experiencing. Life.
I am more able now to deal with tsunamis of emotion. I can handle physical symptoms without freaking out. I made it through several crises, one of which I really would’ve preferred to be inpatient for, on the outside. I did it. And I’m doing it. I’m doing it.
My set of symptoms hasn’t changed much, but my ability to deal with it has. I also have stuck faithfully to the charting system I created with Dr. N in the hospital. July 28th will mark one year. It’s been good seeing him often and having a system we both understand and agree on. I trust him.
I’m finally to that point of being able to think about creating a life worth living. I want more for me. Marc wanted me to do that in 2008. I wasn’t ready. I don’t know what it will look like – probably a lot different than the picture in my head – but I’m open to ideas. I’m open to what God has planned for me. I’m open to God.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2012
Thought of the Day
I am not an asset.
I do not belong to anyone.
I belong to God.
I choose whom I work for, when and what I do.
I set clear boundaries.
I enforce me.
I am on a journey in a set direction and nothing will deter me.
I am free.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2012