Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nerved Up

Scarlet and I email or text each other a few times every day; mainly just to check in, or share funny stories of things that have happened at work or home. Inevitably, there's a line that comes up now and then during our quick conversations, and that line is the focus of today's entry: "I'm very nerved up today". Usually the other person will come back with "Why? What's bothering you?". Usually the next response is "I'm not really sure".

But alas....after years of writing this line, and decades of being friends, I believe we finally concluded that if we really think about it, and are honest with ourselves, we always really do know what is causing our anxiety.

So the other night when another dear friend of mine told me she was slipping back into the throws of sadness, anger, and crying, I thought of that line. I believe most of the time we really do know the root of our problem. Sometimes we deny it, or ignore it, or think it will miraculously cure itself, but it doesn't. It may go away for short periods of time, but after awhile it always rears it's ugly head again, and our anxiety and depression returns. Once again, we are nerved up....for "no reason".

Sometimes there's nothing we can do about that burden on our shoulders. Maybe it's something our kids are doing, or maybe it's the loss of a loved one. But sometimes, maybe....just maybe, that weight IS avoidable. Maybe it's fixable. Maybe we can eliminate it from our lives once and for all. What if we did let go of the albatross we carry around our neck? What a glorious feeling that would be!

So I guess my point today is that if you look deep inside and assess that which is causing your ongoing anxiety; think about what it would mean to eliminate that source of stress from your life. Sometimes it may seem too overwhelming--maybe even impossible. But maybe it isn't. Take a look at it from a new angle. Life is short my friends.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How Mary Got Her Groove Back

I'm now well in to Week Two of my annual fall vacation. I can't remember the last time I felt so relaxed and so.....what's the word I'm searching for?.......light. Kinda like when you've been outside in the summer heat all day and you are tired, dirty, and sweaty, then you have a nice cool shower and wash away all the dirt and grime, and step out feeling fresh and rejuvenated. That's how I feel.

I began the vacation by having someone clean my house. Major stress now eliminated. I had a little party for my staff at work. We were all happy, had good food and drink, and sat by the fire outside in the cool autumn evening. More stress eliminated. The next few days would be a little shopping, a hair cut, some naps curled up with the cats, getting my nails done, and the Restylane treatment. Stress is whooshing away now.

But the biggest stress reliever of all came last Friday when I was able to carefully and successfully have a conversation with someone. Something that I'd been building up, but didn't have the courage to execute. Ideas that were born from months of counseling, from a week of spending relaxed time alone with no television or other distractions, and from a great deal of soul searching. Suddenly I felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Like I was free of the burden that had been crippling me since about June. The burden that possibly came over me that last night at the beach when I left South Florida.

With my new found emancipation, I headed to the airport on Saturday morning, and ironically boarded a plane, back to South Florida to visit Kitty and her husband. Four days and three nights of the beach, the pool, the farmer's market, and lovely food and drink. Four days and three nights of pure relaxation with no obligations and no demands on me. I left my phone down in my room while I was there--only checking it once or twice a day. No texting, no constant contact with the world. Just me, getting inside my own head, enjoying my liberation, and being with two people I love very much. Remainder of stress......poof.....gone.

Kitty told me I seemed like a different person from when I was there 4 months ago. I seemed confident and happy for the first time in awhile. She said I got my groove back. And it's funny--that's how I felt too. Insecurity, jealousy, codependence, constant worry about what everyone else is doing or thinking, all vanished. I was thinking about me, in that moment. Enjoying life and getting in touch with myself. No one else....just me.

I thank Kitty and her husband for lending me their home, giving me space and privacy, and putting absolutely no demands on me. They are most gracious hosts. This time when I left; no tears. Only happiness. I thank Kate for the months of counseling that taught me I wasn't crazy; I just have distorted thinking. She is helping me work out so many tangled ropes in my life. But mostly I'm thankful that I got up the nerve to say my peace. Thankful for the words that flowed out so perfectly. Thankful that I got my point across clearly and loudly.

I still have 4 more days of vacation before I return to the hectic, daily grind next Tuesday. I want to stay in this place. I want to keep working on myself. I don't really know what crossed over in me, other than the fact that I was able to stand still for more than three minutes, organize my thoughts, then articulate them. Something I waited way too long to do.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Restylane Results

I had my Restylane treatment today, and so far am very happy with the results. You pay by the vial. Today my doctor only used about 3/4 of that vial, so when this round has had a chance to finish settling, I will go back (3-4 weeks) and he'll use the rest of it.

It was not pain free, but also not unbearable. Stung quite a bit when the needle was in. There was a tiny bit of redness, as you can see (the "after" picture was taken within 10 minutes of the injections) but nothing serious.

Here are the before and after pictures. This is without makeup. Sorry they are sideways...

So far I'm quite happy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Don't Look At Me!

To the partner of an addict, the easiest thing in the entire world, the thing that comes most naturally to us, is getting angry with the behavior of the addict. Especially when they are laying in the yard passed out, or miss an important engagement because they are drunk. Or worse yet, go to an important engagement and act like a fool. It's so easy to point the finger at them! Everyone is on our side! They all agree that the addict is the bad guy. The addict is the problem. We are WELL within our rights to bitch, complain, and even walk away from the drunkard.

But you know what's not so easy? Making the decision to take a stand when things are a little more gray. When the roller coaster is up and running. Bad days mixed in with a lot of good days. Stretches of using mixed in with some really good periods of sobriety. A far cry from the way things used to be. Do we really have a right to be angry? After all, they haven't done anything that bad...right?

So when things are gray like this and we decide we've had enough, the finger pivots around and now points to us. We are the ones who are rocking the boat. We are the ones who can't leave "okay" alone. Us codependents.....we don't like that feeling so much.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Running In Place

Today I had my first counseling session in three weeks. When Kate asked how things were going, and what all had transpired in the last three weeks, I was happy to report that I felt like I was making some pretty decent strides. Baby steps, or maybe even more than that. But the odd thing was, even though I felt like I was taking steps in the right direction, I felt that I wasn't actually getting anywhere. I felt like I was running in place.

The steps I have taken are mostly about myself. I'm working hard on my battered self esteem. I no longer feel quite so fat, quite so old, quite so unlovable and undesirable. I feel like I see where I want to be in my life and have a strong desire to get there. But even after taking these steps, things aren't changing much for me. I feel I'm still in the same place I've been for quite some time--in the front seat of a roller coaster that keeps going, and going, and going. Up hills, and down hills. Around turns and loops. Over, and over, and over again.

I'm ready for some type of change in my life, my friends. I'm ready to get off the roller coaster, and get on the straight away for awhile. I will be the first to admit; I'm not sure how I'll do that, but I need it...really bad.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Current State of Mind

I have a thousand things to say, but can't say any of them.
I have a thousand words to write, but can't write any of them.
I have more going on in my head than I ever have, yet am writing in my journal less than ever.
I want to blow scream at the top of my lungs, but instead I am sitting quietly saying and doing nothing. Not talking, not writing, not posting, not blowing up, not exploding, not screaming.

Just sitting quietly.

Thinking, pondering, weighing, deliberating, and then sleeping.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Morning Sun When It's In Your Face Really Shows Your Age

For the past several weeks, I've been working on feeling better about myself. I've been losing some weight, buying new clothes and shoes, and trying to look my best. This is an attempt at building self confidence, and so far it's working pretty well. But try as I may, I'm having a really hard time getting past the wrinkling and sagging that is occurring on my 47 year old face.

During my recent visit to the dermatologist, we discussed this problem. I'm not interested in going under the knife, or doing anything drastic, so my dermatologist recommended a procedure called restylane. Restylane is a gel that is injected underneath the skin to plump it up and fill in the lines. The results are not permanent, but should last several months. During that time, my dermatologist will perform a series of regular chemical peels to remove the layers of sun damaged skin he says is causing the "cracking" effect I dislike so much. I'm told most patients are ecstatic with the results they achieve from restylane, particularly when combined with the peels.

Perhaps I'm being vain. Perhaps I should be satisfied with the face I've acquired over time...but right now I'm just not. My husband is rather skeptical about the whole thing and had some less than enthusiastic words to say about it, but I'm doing this for me. I don't want to come out looking like Joan Rivers--just looking like Mary from a few years ago would be wonderful.

I'll be posting some before and after photos, and will keep you in the loop about the procedure.