The Importance of a Fingernail

2/11/2016         4:27pm

It’s been a long time since I wrote. I’m sorry. I’m a bit distracted. My brain is trying to kill me. I’ve been doing maintenance ECT every week since December and it was h2016-02-09 16.33.54-1elpful until about two weeks ago. I’m not sure what happened.

I’m sitting on a bench at Fashion Valley outside L’Occitane. I just got a free facial and arm massage. I’m soaking in a moment to myself. The world weighs heavy on my soul.

I have a really hard time with grounding. I work on it with Soleil and David – and being present, feeling safe and here. I have safe objects or places or people that help me with that. Like a kid with a security blanket.

Some people would call it petty but one of my safe things is my fingernails. I take pride in their length and shape and strength. I play with them all day. Like the floor, they’re always there for me. They’re important but, unlike the floor, they’re fragile. I take caution, pay close attention to them. Then something like Tuesday happens.

I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to do physical labor, but S asked and I really need the money. I was sick and irritable and tired. I didn’t want to be there and was trying very hard to do what she asked and protect my nails. Somehow, while moving heavy boxes and sorting things, I incurred black and blue bruises on both feet and broke 3 nails. I was devastated. Bruises I can tolerate but the nails were for me. My heart sank and I stopped in my tracks. My breathing stopped for a moment before it returned angry and incredibly hurt. Core belief: I don’t matter. Her needs are more important than mine. Everyone’s are really. And I’m angry.

Soleil posted this quote on FB that keeps popping up in my head:

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I don’t know how to do that. Everyone’s needs come before mine. It’s an important skill to have but only on a limited basis. I hate people for a reason. I’m ANGRY.

The importance of a fingernail is more than you might think. That fingernail is me. Now I’m broken. No one stops to see.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

 

Sad

12/25/2015     10:49pm10553833_10154419045254307_1138106686227162752_o

It’s Christmas night 2015. I’m crouched on the floor. The tree is lit, as well as a vanilla candle. My mom and the pets are asleep. I feel sad. SO sad.

Today I woke up at 9am and opened presents with my mom. My brother, nephew and two friends came for dinner. Mom made green beans with bacon, spiral ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, fruit salad and a whole spread of appetizers. We even had a Hershey pie. I went to visit my friend in the hospital and got to see some of my favorite staff. That meant a lot.

I feel sad today. Part of me is disappointed that I don’t feel happy. The other part of me is just grateful to feel. I’m not dissociated. I’m feeling sad. I’m feeling…

There’s a Christmas movie on. I can hear my mom snore. I really hate the holidays. My providers are out of the office until the first week of January. What am I supposed to do?

X- texted asking to try again tonight on my terms, in God’s hands. I told him I’m not sure. He said he’s more sure than he’s ever been. He said some other wonderful things I have no great reply to. I don’t know what to say. Why is it so hard for people to understand that I’m terrified of people? I have strict boundaries and specific fears for reasons I don’t care to share. I’m a pretty private person. And why does he stick around for what little I have to offer? I can’t absorb what I need. I can’t have what I want. I don’t understand what I’m being given or what I’m supposed to do. I just know that, except for just after ECT and early in the morning, I feel sad and don’t want to be around people. Or I want to be held by S-. I feel calm mostly. I’m experiencing each moment. And each moment kinda sucks. But I’m okay with that. I’m here. I’m just sad. It feels good to be able to just be sad.

I’m so grateful for ECT & my team. Thank you, God. Thank you.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

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

I want to be okay

11/23/2015     10:35pm

I just got home from DBSA and Ralphs. They were exhausting. I started the Wall of Hope. I sat in on Libby’s room, finished it off when she left. There were 2 nursing students there I invited from Point Loma Nazarene. On the way home M- had a panic attack on the 52 after asking me what ECT is like. A police officer asked us to switch and me drive. I told him I couldn’t. Thankfully M- improved with time and air.

Mom is on the phone with Don, who won’t answer when he’s coming back. Ellie is asleep next to me on the couch. NCIS LA is on the tv. I see Dr. H in the morning. I’m not sure what to tell her. M- is taking me. A- is driving me on Wednesday.

I don’t know what’s supposed to happen to me now. I feel like a different person. I’m not the same me. When I wake up in the morning I don’t know what to do, where to go, who to talk to. I don’t know what to eat, what to wear. I don’t know me. I think it’s harder coming home this time because my train of thought is different. My whole outlook has changed. I’m just not sure how to change with it. I want to be healthy. I want to be okay.

I wish I could have more structure in the community. I would love to live in a unit like South Rotunda. I don’t know of any that exist.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

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

The Red Wristband

11-11-15     8:55pm

I was given a gift tonight. D- visited and we sang. I shared some of me with her. She doesn’t want to lose me. I enjoyed the singing, the truth connection, but I still want to die. The exhaustion of interacting used everything in me. I talked to H- in the hall. Then J- came with a gift – a red wristband.

I never thought I would be one of those people who took a million meds or had a rolodex of doctors. I’ve never planned to be a sick person. I didn’t look forward to struggling through days. Yet here I am with a red wristband. I feel defeated. I’ve turned into Janet, only I’m not dead.

What does it mean about me?

  • I have ECT at 9am
  • My doctors are very concerned about me
  • I am sick
  • I have failed
  • I can no longer tolerate living this life
  • I am… free.

I think I can let go now, stop fighting just for tonight. God is here and my family is around me. My insides are hollow and my outlook dark, but my soul rises up. This is the end. I want to die.

I trust my team. I don’t want to let them down. I will sleep safely and meet Dr. M in the morning for ECT. I’m scared but I trust him with the brain attached to this red wristband. I just don’t trust myself.

I thank God for my doctors and my friends & family.
I’ll let you know how it goes.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

One Breath at a Time

11-11-2015     4:30pm

Sorry for the last post. Didn’t mean to freak anyone out. I met with my doctor yesterday and today and he’s working with four of my other doctors. It feels good to have a family around me. I’m going to start ECT tomorrow. I’m nervous but not afraid. I just really hope it helps. I want to feel better. I want to enjoy my life.

Some people are still upset that I don’t want visitors unless we’ve talked about it. That request stands. I’m working hard here on getting healthy and I have a low tolerance for humans. Thank you for caring. I really appreciate it. I have cards and notes from people taped all over my room and a big sign on the window that shouts “YOU MATTER.” I check my email and voicemail often. I’m makin’ progress one breath at a time.

I really didn’t want to tell anyone about the ECT. I feel like I’ve failed and have shame about needing it. I keep most things secret in my life but I think this secret should be something I can use to help others, even if sharing it really bothers me.

I gotta get off the computer now. I’m typing myself to sleep and Chandler is about to propose to Monica on a rerun of Friends. Stay well, my dears.

Love, Michelle

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Porta-potty on a Race Course

10/11/15     3:35pm

Yoga Therapy Art_0054

I asked B- how to stop running. There were a lot of words I don’t recall that boiled down in my head to “Porta-potty on a race course.” Find small moments, opportunities to be, and take them.

I want to stop running. At least I think I do. But I don’t know if I can tolerate it. I have a lot of shit in my life and my past always threatening to eat me. To survive, I run. Don’t stop moving. As long as I am distracted or busy the thoughts or memories can’t get to me. As soon as I stop I get flooded. It can be dangerous. I don’t know how to slow down, to moderate. When there’s too much stress I get sick or my body shuts down. Involuntary protection. But running isn’t living. I never even see my mom.

Porta-potty on a race course. Take small moments for self-care and being. Pause. Drop in to existence for the time it takes to pee, then run again. Use the space as a gift of rest, a moment with the freedom to feel. No one is watching. No one is judging. Allow release. No one’s stopping me from choosing to run. Not for that moment.

I want to stop running. I want to be able to tolerate the distress of being, of the voices, the memories, the loneliness. I don’t want to be a secret. In the porta-potty I can hide and just be me. A-‘s wiling to start work on my trauma soon. Who will I be without fear? Can I tolerate the emotional debridement? Will I find me? Will I like her?

I don’t want to run anymore. I’m tired. God, I’m tired. Last night I wept and cried out to God. Today I sobbed all the way down here on the freeway. I’m not me. I don’t know how to be. (Reminder – joy only lies in movement)

My head hurts.

How do I learn to process and be me in chunks? Who will me be without trauma and pain? Will I be more able to help others and feel joy? Will I want to be?

I’m tired of running. I’m tired of wanting to die, of hiding. Of shame and lies. I want to be real. I want to be openly real.

Start by practicing in a porta-potty when you stop to pee.

I don’t know what’s happening to me and I feel scared. I really want to make change in my life, to come to terms with what is and was, to be able to sit safely with the truth. I welcome times of brokenness. I want to accept that though I am broken, I am whole. I’m not there yet. I want to change. I’m not there yet either. Right now, today, I’m sitting in a porta-potty on the side of a race course, grateful. I have to get up again (I’m late) but for now there is peace. Thank you.

God, I love you. Thank you for this moment.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

How do you do it?

From:     8/24/15     1:32pm

M- said several times he and other people want to know “how she does it.” Well, how do YOU run from a dragon? In a methodical, complicated & somewhat randomized fashion. He smokes. I work. There’s no difference – except that I can breathe. I’m constantly running. It’s not to be admired. Yet it is.

I really don’t feel well.

How do you do it?

  • Don’t stop
  • Never stop running
  • Trust no one
  • Don’t share feelings
  • Better yet, don’t have them
  • Always watch, listen
  • Note any sign of danger
  • Network extensively
  • Tell only the required truths
  • Make allies, not friends
  • Schedule EVERYTHING
  • Learn the rules & the rules in play
  • Learn how to exploit the loopholes
  • Study systems
  • Hide out to spend time alone
  • Have an acute understanding you are NEVER safe.
  • Love from afar
  • Do not engage
  • Learn to walk away
  • Turn rage into ash inside your soul
  • Develop a network of safe support
  • Be whatever you need to be in the moment
  • Be specific
  • Focus on tasks
  • Never lose sight of the big picture
  • Ignore pain
  • Never admit weakness
  • Learn by doing
  • Do what works
  • Know God. Believe God.
  • Don’t make promises or keep secrets
  • Have at least one safe grounding person you trust who wants nothing from you
  • Try not to remember what you love, that this is not you
  • Avoid emotion-producing situations
  • Walk towards the fire
  • Cry out to God, “Why can’t I matter too?”
  • Distract from the fact you don’t feel love
  • Ignore painful personal facts
  • Avoid free time
  • Do projects
  • Don’t take no for an answer
  • Spend time alone
  • Scream
  • Pull your hair
  • Ask questions no one answers
  • Say important things no one understands
  • Spend time in psych hospitals
  • Take lots of drugs
  • Stop eating occasionally
  • Maintain control
  • Run from feeling trapped
  • Cry in private – public restrooms, parking lots, in the dark, behind dumpsters, silently
  • Get your love from hugs
  • Never think about this
  • Throw yourself into helping others
  • Hate almost everyone
  • Take your meds on time
  • Chart your progress – detailed & scientifically
  • NEVER STOP RUNNING
  • Choose measurable tasks over humans
  • Thrive on lists
  • When given the option, choose kids or animals or the disabled over adults
  • Learn to ignore
  • Swing
  • Twirl
  • Write
  • Run away every once in a while
  • Come back. Don’t talk about it.
  • Never let your guard down, even at home
  • When you fail, back away, shut people out, try again.
  • Sing
  • Rock
  • Pray
  • Never stop running
  • Then eventually die
  • But not without doing it all the right way

(stare)

That’s all for now.

PS –

  • Don’t forget to hate people, vehemently
  • Remember to eat
  • And always keep a hair clip, journal & cardigan on hand.

So if you want to know how I do it, my best answer is God.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

So… this is life

3/20/15     9:55pm

So… this is life.

It’s 9:55pm. I’m sitting on the tile floor of a hotel next to an ATM. The world around me seems surreal. I did Scotty’s dance, taped Missi’s. People greet me and ask how I am. Some of them ask with a knowledge from Facebook of the hospital. Some have no idea. To those whose eyes say they know, I am trying to be honest. A new thing for me. My doctor warned me I would overheat on seroquel and geodon. She failed to tell me what to do not to. One intermediate Scotty workshop brought my blood boiling to a point it shouldn’t reach until well into a Saturday night dance or several advanced routines in a row outside on a hot summer black asphalt day. I must brainstorm for tomorrow. But I’m tired.

(breathe)
There’s cold air blowing on me.
I really love to dance.

I’m not sure why I feel sad here. I don’t feel connected. I don’t feel alive. I guess I don’t feel ready. Will I ever? I want to dance again but I don’t have faith in me. I need help to believe. I don’t even know what a healthy person’s life looks like. What am I s’posed to want? And for whom?

(deep breath)
STOP (DBT skill) Now what did that stand for? (practice skill) Well, now I feel sadder.

Check the facts:

  • I’m at Possum Trot.
  • I’m sitting alone in a noisy lobby.
  • I feel sad and scared.
  • I am also excited to be here.
  • I feel free on the dance floor.
  • My face and neck are twitchy.
  • I stayed awake today.
  • I got to hug and laugh with Scotty.
  • I am able to dance w/o pain.
  • Mom is here.
  • I am scared for it to be over.
  • I really want to dance and feel loved.
  • I am fragile.
  • I am safe.

I’d like to watch Peg + Cat now.
My head hurts.

I want to feel safe.
Will I ever be a dancer again?
I need to go to sleep.

© 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

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

Indigo

3/7/15     6:40pm

I feel overwhelmed. I’m at Auntie’s and I can’t escape the noise.

(move outside)

I come here to escape the noise, the technology, the pain. This time I brought it with me. I helped Auntie learn her smart phone this afternoon and missed the sunset. Geodon is making me really sensitive to sound and I feel like everything is screaming at me – phone, tv, people.

I’m sitting on the porch now. I hear distant dogs barking, the hum of traffic on a nearby road. I try not to hear Steve Harvey on the tv inside. I look up and see sparking stars. They stand out, close and present, against the living night sky. A dark blue glow hugs the skyline – hills and plants. My salty desert dirt. I can’t smell it today. Allergies. If it wasn’t cold I’d sleep out here.

What do I want?

  • To have unpressured non-timed down time to be mindful in here
  • To teach Auntie her phone
  • To give gifts
  • To go to church
  • To scan photos

(stare at the stars, deep breath) Wow. The sprig of a tree stands out white in the night. I think I just learned the color indigo.

(watch the moths)
The cold is helping.
What I need is some place comfy for me to sit. That would reduce my anxiety and pain.

(stare at the stars)
They were really there, all the time.
(see a shooting star)
(ponder in which direction a “falling” star is moving)
(consider universal relativity)

This may be why I go crazy in the desert. For now, I’ll eat ice cream.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Revelation

3-7-15     6:13am

I woke up at 5:15. Feels like Christmas morning. I took a shower. We don’t leave until 7:45 or 8. I’m excited. It’s almost my BIRTHday!

I had a revelation in the shower.

Old Thought: I can’t have that.
New Thought: I can have all things God wants for me.

I feel the power of the old, the peace of the new. Surrender. I believe it. No conscious cognitive therapy involved.

I’m going to my aunt’s today. I want to ask for the house. I keep getting flashes of things that scare me, of reasons not to want to live there alone, aside from the fact that it’s next to nowhere. Snakes and intruders mainly. No readily accessible emergency services. Poor medical care. I know nothing about septic tanks or wells. Maybe it’s just a dream. At least it’s my dream. A dream worth having. Besides, God kills snakes. I pray a snake doesn’t kill Ellie.

I feel like I’m missing meds. Or I just slept great. Hmmm… What did I switch around last night?

I’m going to listen to “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” audiobook. Noreen recommended it. Thomas found it at the library. I put it on my ipod. I’m almost afraid.

But of what? Liking audiobooks?

No. That I won’t be able to tolerate those either.

Dammit, Michelle. Enough already. STOP AVOIDING. Don’t think. Just dance.

Yeah, I need to do that too.

READ THE DAMN BOOK.

Alright already. Geez, lay off.

Mom’s upset I’m up early. I feel like I’m missing Seroquel from a diet healthy in psych drugs, but I know I’m not. Hmmm… I really must trim some of my specialty medical care. I pay upwards of $900 a month right now in care not covered by my insurance. And that’s not a typo. Where did I get lost? How did this happen? Probably the same way new wardrobes showed up in my closet when I was manic. This time I’m collecting people. You’d think they were priceless.

I feel an overarching sense of excitement and impending doom. I’d like to sleep but I’m wired and already dressed. I told Auntie I’d make her pancakes. Gotta get there first. I know. I could upload back-pictures or do my credit counseling online. And take some Benadryl so I can breathe.

Over and out, Chickadee.

-M

Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Dropping in

3/2/15     11:20pm

I didn’t go to Soleil’s today. She let me reschedule due to rain. I also couldn’t stay awake. I spent the day with T- instead. It was nice. Shopping, the beach, group. I’m exhausted.

I’m dropping back into life and I’m confused by what I see. I didn’t realize how many demands are placed on me, what people expect, what I was able to give. It’s astounding. Life didn’t ask it of me. I chose to give. And I chose to take a break. Life didn’t change. I did. Praise God for that. But I’m not sure where I fit.

I have a very low tolerance for other humans right now. I’m also not fond of bright lights or noise or extended car trips. My creativity is blossoming and I feel peaceful and calm, but I have no use for or real ability to do what I usually do. I don’t want to help people. I want to be at home. I don’t want to do paperwork or answer emails or look at texts. I don’t even want to be on my phone. It’s not that I’m depressed. Quite the opposite. I’m alive. I’m alive for Christ’s sake! And I’m dropping in, assessing the damage, deciding what to do next. I’m not sure what that means for now but I’m pretty sure it will turn out to be nothing less than miraculous. God is good and I trust He has me here in this state of disarray and confusion for a purpose. I wait with anticipation…

What helps you when dropping into your life after an absence of some time? when you find what you left doesn’t suit you anymore?

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Day 18 – Looking Forward

2-12-15     5:30pm

Day 18. I think I’m getting better. Today I realized I haven’t been harassed by an electrical outlet in days. I don’t even want to die 24/7 today. What a concept. I even danced in my room. I admit I did it because it was part of my homework, but I did it. I’ve been working closely with my doctor here and with a therapist.

I’m having trouble concentrating. There aren’t many thoughts in my head right now but the ones that are are being diverted by Comedy Central blaring behind me and the sound of my fingernails on the keyboard. Mom’s coming tonight. I keep thinking it’s Friday and that there’s an OCD group tonight. Neither are true. It is, apparently, almost Valentine’s Day though. Not that it matters. One day after Friday the 13th.

I’d like to write something helpful here or even somewhat coherent, but I don’t really see that happening. (deep breath) Oh, how I long for the sound of quiet. I’m hoping I’m allergic to someone’s perfume or something else here and not to my new medication. I can barely breathe through my nose and my head and ears hurt but I don’t have a cold. I’ve also been getting migraines and having eye pain every day. Today was definitely better than the past few.

What I’m looking forward to:

  • Playing with Ellie at dog beach
  • Getting my nails done
  • Sleeping in my own bed (first time I can say that!)
  • Holding the girls
  • Watching NCIS
  • Seeing Soleil
  • Eating at CBW
  • Using my BackJack
  • Having a computer all to myself
  • Going to Possum Trot
  • Visiting Auntie
  • Driving
  • Going to church
  • Gospel Choir

Feels good to look forward to something positive. I can’t recall the time I was able to do that last. Praise the Lord for Dr. M and D- and my mama. Here’s to more posts in the near future with substance and grace.

© 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

Purpose

Thoughts after a friend’s comments today. She made my life make sense.
Yes, I am safe.

10/2/14     12:45pm

“It’s your job to help them make sense. You’re really good at that. You have a unique angle… Praise these people for the good they’re doing.” -C

Judgement          (piano music)

Anger at incompetence

They’re doing their best

Your best isn’t good enough

My best isn’t good enough
(sigh)
It never is.

She pointed out I let things get me upset. There are many thing worth being angry about. I don’t understand artificial limits. Things are SUPPOSED to make sense. People are supposed to be good and competent and do their jobs well. Life is supposed to be good. Objects belong in their assigned places. Needs should be met. There should be love.

Yet, there is chaos. The force of the world turning empties the drawers. Walls fall down. Good people die. Fourth graders run the world.

IT’S NOT RIGHT.

People wonder why I get mad. I can have empathy for individuals, not so much for systems of care. The happy people seem to not have or have overcome this programming. I observe them operating calmly under the belief that people are good, practicing forgiveness and rest. This is utterly foreign to me. When I try this I have to not care. I stop giving a shit and my anger turns to bitterness. It erases my hope.

The anger is what propels me, causes me to seek or make change. People don’t like it. I assume they think I do, like I could walk away if I tried. There’s nothing else inside.

(quiet pause, close my eyes)
I want to die.
(watch the people)

When you take the anger I sit on the floor, silent, looking up at you. Who’s my mommy? Will you take me home? I don’t belong here.

(silent)

Inside the donut.
Goosebumps.
Thank you, God.
Thank you, C.


“Lord I’m Ready Now” by Plumb plays over and over in my head. It’s so intense. I’m ready to let go. I don’t want this anymore. Fall into the arms of Jesus and weep. I feel so alone.

Yes, I’m a bitch. It’s all I know. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Teach me your ways.

Read the book.

Shut up.

(deep breath)

Go.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Thank God for Maggots

9-7-14  4:23pm

Thank God for maggots. 

I’m sitting in El Pollo Loco. I finally got food. I’ve been full of anger for a week now and today I broke. I spent two hours pouring sweat at Irma’s fighting maggots and flies. I called Mom and she Googled for me. At first I felt bad killing them. Then it was oddly relieving feeling their tiny bodies crush beneath my thumb, like bubble wrap.

In case you’re wondering, Windex, Simple Green, and Raid don’t kill maggots. I settled for boiling water. It was nasty. But I did it. I’m falling asleep.

As I turned into Dixieline to buy fly tape I broke down. I parked and sobbed and wailed. It felt good. What about crying makes eyes look glassy?

I emailed Colleen back. It’s really nice of her to reach out. I want to write to Dr. H but I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to scare her or look too sane, but there are things I need her to know.

(falling asleep)

I don’t know why I’m sleepy.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Awake

7-25-14     1:23pm

Awake 7-24-14

I am awake.
I am alive.
Nothing bad happened.

We talked about radical acceptance. “I don’t like it. I don’t want it. AND I can tolerate it.”
I added, “AND I can love it.” I am awake.

I told her I want to wake up. I shared some past. I curled up tight in a ball. I talked about fear and confusion. She allowed me to feel what it’s like to be scared and confused, to stay with it. For me that’s new.

I notice I’m having trouble remembering. I was skipping around the numbers.

From the ball I took a chance and uncurled. I laid on the floor, moving my fingers and toes. Then I went upside down – plowish pose. Things were instantly better. I’m calmer upside down. I struggled in my head to find the courage to ask to do a back bend. When I did I shared the arguing in my head.

Soleil put her feet on my back and supported me as I peeled off the well. I opened my eyes to look at her briefly. I felt sheer freedom, relief. Then an overwhelming wave of nausea. I’ll call it emotion. I stayed with it for as long as I could then came down and put my hands and forehead on the wall. I breathed heavily. I was awake.

I learned the emotion is much stronger and closer than I thought and that I can access it when I want. I can be awake and have nothing bad happen. I can sit with and love my scary thoughts and the parts of me thinking them. I also noticed how real and very close my past is. I don’t want to run anymore. I am weak, and that’s okay. I want to integrate. I think I’m ready. We work together.

Lately I hear music almost constantly. The numbers in my head fight and change course. I feel pressed. I must always be working. I don’t want to wake up one day when I’m 50. I want to live life now. And take a nap. Soul-searching is exhausting.

I am awake.
I am alive.

(continued 7-26-14)

I felt.
Identified a want/need.
Allowed myself to want.
Let my self ask.
Used courage.
Took a chance/risk.
Asked for what I wanted.
Was honest about feeling scared.
Asked for help.
Trusted that she wouldn’t hurt me for asking.

Trusted her.
Experienced the uncertainty.
Stayed with it.
Participated.
Let go into the pose.
Embraced the feeling of freedom.
Let myself feel it.
Acknowledged pain when it came but didn’t stop even though I felt scared.

Watched the sensations grow
– pins & needles & burning in my left hand and arm
– extreme nausea
Chose to move up and sit back even though I was scared to get in trouble
– rested my hands and forehead on the wall
Watched myself breathe deeply, heavily.
Did not judge the moment.

What did I practice?

  • Patience for me
  • Trust
    trusting me
    trusting she wouldn’t hurt me
    trusting her words
    trusting her to support me
    trusting my own judgement
    trusting what my body tells me to do or not to
    trusting my instinct
    trusting God
  • Staying in the moment – present/awake
  • Staying with a feeling
  • Feeling
  • Telling the truth
  • Being Real
  • Being Michelle
  • Just being
  • Allowing myself to be happy, playful, and do basketball court angels

When I was scared I curled up so tight in a ball. I didn’t know I could get so small. I took a chance when prompted to uncurl. The dance is stuck in me. I must get it, let it out. I must set me free.

(listened to RadioLab)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014