Monday, December 29, 2014

Strange Magic

Strange, but it is hard for me to enjoy Christmas decorations before Christmas.

There is always such a mad rush to get everything done. Shopping, cooking, visiting.  It's not until after Christmas that I can sit down in peace and enjoy the beauty. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Mom

Sometimes it's hard for me to remember my mother. At least it is hard for me to remember her when she wasn't sick. But if I really think about it, I can indeed remember. 

I remember the fiery, feisty, strong-willed, beautiful woman that she was. I don't ever want to lose those memories of her. I don't ever want to let them die. 

Tonight is the first time I've cried for her in awhile. Sometimes I just really wish I had that strong woman here with me, on my side.   It just seems like things would be so much easier.

Especially at Christmas and my birthday...I miss her.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Too Tired To Think

Wow… No posts since November 18. What can I say? Thanksgiving....Holidays... 

My dad seems to require my help more and more. Work has been demanding. I still have a rash. Periods of depression. 

Stress of daily life takes its toll on me sometimes. I don't even know when I am trying to say tonight. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Today was an emotional day for me. I am still struggling with this incredible itching, and the rash is taking a toll on me. But that is not the reason for this post. 

Three and a half years ago I met my psychiatrist, Dr. JS. I was in the throes of depression and anxiety. You know the story – I just wrote about it a few weeks ago when Robin Williams died. I had seen doctor after doctor, decade after decade, and was prescribed drug after drug in an attempt to help my depression and anxiety. None of them worked. 

When I met Dr. JS she took a completely different course of action with me and got me on medication and into therapy that actually worked for me. 

Recently I found out Dr. JS is moving on. She has accepted a new position about an hour outside our town. Today was my final visit with her. It was very emotional. I feel that I owe her so much. Finally getting me on the right meds and matching me with the right therapist has changed my life. It is very hard for me to end any type of relationship. This was no exception. I felt a great deal of overwhelming fear. What if I relapsed?  Who will help me?  Who will understand my unique responses to drugs? Dr. JS gave me a wonderful peptalk and told me how proud she was of me. She told me I am a very strong woman I can do anything I set my mind to. But if life should ever throw me a curveball, and I find myself in a bad situation, I can come see her at her new facility. She would welcome me. But she feels I have found my wings enough to fly on my own with the help of my primary care physician continuing on the medication I have been taking. 

I will miss Dr. JS and I owe her a huge debt of gratitude. Letting go is always so very hard. I am thankful she came into my life, and wish her all the best. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Reflections

I know I haven't written much lately. It has been quite a battle the past few weeks with this rash, and the after effects from my antibiotic allergic reaction. This event has really taken a toll on me. I am better, but still have a long way to go with the healing process of my skin. Today I noticed the first signs of peeling. Much like a bad sunburn starts to peel. I am hopeful to have normal looking skin by the new year. 

I am feeling incredibly strong and stable emotionally. More so than I have in many, many years. Maybe decades. In time there are many things I want to write about. I am just spending these days organizing my thoughts and deciding how I want to express them.

I am looking forward to a very relaxing day today. I have a few chores to do, but I don't have to leave the house. The weather forecasters are calling for snow tonight. Not in the mood for that, but I guess we shall see what happens. In the meantime I hope everyone is able to relax and enjoy their Sunday, at least for a brief period. Peace

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trapped In My Own Skin

It's 3:00 in the morning as I begin to write this post. Actually I get a reprieve because tonight is the end of daylight savings time. In reality it's 4:00 a.m.  I have not been to sleep. I'm not sleepy. I am itching all over, accompanied by pings of stinging fire that feel like little needles sticking in various parts of my body. My hunger feels insatiable. I lay here fantasizing about what I might eat for breakfast. In the morning, I will take my steroid and the itch will once again cease, but in its place will come the feeling of being high on a drug you do not like. That feeling you get when your happy buzz crosses over to wishing to feel normal but you cannot. Many of you probably already know this story, but for those that do not, and since this is a journal of my life, I shall explain. 

About 2 1/2 weeks ago I found an itchy bump on my belly. Much like a mosquito bite. Only it wouldn't go away. It got more red and harder as the days passed. About five days after I discovered the bump, I began to notice a slight rash appearing on my arms. A couple of days later I had a scheduled doctor's appointment for a routine checkup about my blood pressure, and I casually showed her the bump on my belly and the impending rash. My doctor believed I had been bitten by some type of insect and was having a reaction to it's venom. She prescribed a steroid for me, and an antibiotic, as it appeared the wound was becoming inflamed and infected by this time. In the next couple of days, the rash spread all over my body. It enveloped me from my neck to my feet. Whelps begin to form. They got thick and it looked like I was covered in red oatmeal. The itching was relentless. Excruciating. Nothing would give me relief. When I telephoned my doctor's office they said I just needed to give it time. But after another couple of days I was just about to lose my mind. I went back in to the doctor, she took one look at me, and said I was having a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotic she had prescribed. She pulled me off the antibiotic and doubled my steroid in an attempt to counteract what had happened. I continued to get worse. Much worse. I looked like a monster and the itch and discomfort where almost more than I could bear. I called the doctor back the next day in uncontrollable tears. She was able to work some magic and get me scheduled to see my dermatologist the next day. That was this past Thursday, about two weeks from the time I first noticed the red spot on my belly. My dermatologist was very serious with me. A departure from his usual lighthearted self, he raised my steroid level another 50%. Now three days into taking such a high level of steroids, they have commandeered my body. When they are kicked in, I am no longer in control. It doesn't feel safe to drive. It barely feels safe to walk. I am in a fog, unable to accomplish anything. When the steroids wear off and I can walk and think straight again, the itching begins. The needles. The insomnia. I feel as though I am trapped in some type of sick nightmare. 

These events have coincided with my annual two-week fall vacation. In some ways I am glad that I was off work while this happened to me. On the other hand, I feel I have wasted precious vacation days and so many of the things I had hoped to accomplish remain undone. I don't know how I can be expected to go back to work on Monday. The thought of it is terrifying. I still look like a monster, I don't feel comfortable driving, and I can't think straight. It is a time of transition at my work, as we integrate with another company in a merger.  I feel I am missing out on a lot of important changes. But how can I be expected to function on little or no sleep? How am I going to assist customers with this horrific rash? When people see me I can tell they wonder if I am a junkie with an arm full of track marks,  or have some type of contagious condition. I I feel like a leper. This experience is one of the most frustrating things that has ever happened to me. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I know things could be worse. Much worse. For that I am thankful. But I will be glad when this nightmare ends.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Reflections

Possibly my favorite part of the week is Sunday morning. It's one of the rare times I am alone in the house and things are perfectly quiet. Well, I'm not alone, but my husband is at work, the kids are sleeping and all is quiet. 

I always pour a cup of coffee and sit in my favorite chair with my two old lady cats curled up against me. During cold weather months I am able to wear my favorite white fluffy robe. I can think. My head is clear. I can relax--I have given myself permission. I am able to meditate, and reflect on the past week, and the new week ahead. Where do I see myself? Where do I want to be? 

So however you choose to spend your Sunday morning, I hope it is peaceful and relaxing. I hope I hope it inspires and makes you stronger. Happy Sunday. Peace.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ham Salad

Tonight while I was making ham salad, I was oblivious to the fact that my good friend Rebecca was accepting that her beloved mother is dying. This is the same Rebecca who received a cancer diagnosis for her 50th birthday. Thankfully she is currently cancer free, but now facing this. 

I am convinced that losing your mother is one of the most life altering things that will ever happen to a person. Certainly it was for me.

My heart is breaking for Rebecca. I wouldn't wish that pain on my worst enemy. 

How insignificant my ham salad now suddenly seems.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tell Her I'm Sorry

Ever since my children were born, one of my biggest fears is that they would inherit the alcoholic gene. It is prominent on both sides of their family. 

But now something new has surfaced. What if my kids aren't alcoholic, what if they are codependent? 

Last night my son attended a homecoming dance. Late in the afternoon he asked if a friend of his could come home with him after the dance and spend the night. My immediate reaction was "Sure, yes". But the more I thought about it, the odder the situation got. 

The boy in question has been friends with my son for a long time. I know he has been drinking at parties for the last year or so. I started to suspect the reason the boy was coming here after the dance was so he would not have to face his parents. I let my son know that the boy was welcome here, but that I was not hiding him or covering up for anything. As the evening went on and the dance was underway, the boy's mother texted me, verifying the story that the boy was spending the night. At that point I was positive something was going on and I was not the only suspicious party. I texted my son to inquire if the boy was still coming here. He said he wasn't sure, that the boy has been drinking heavily and he didn't know if he felt like dealing with him. I dozed off and was awakened by my son coming in the front door...alone. Simultaneously I received a text message from the other boy's mother saying "Tell your son thanks for getting my son home safely". My son then asked me to please relay to her that he "was sorry--he couldn't stop him, and he tried to take care of him".  The first codependent thing to come out of one of my children's mouths?  What is my son sorry for?  And how sad that he had to spend his homecoming night taking care of this boy who consumed a pint of Heaven Hill?  The boy's mother replied that she was just thankful her son was home safely. 

I had a talk with my son this morning, and told him I was very proud of him. He did not let his friend pressure him into bringing him here and hiding him for the night. He realized if he did that, he would be caretaking all night. He wasn't up for that. Also he told me his friend is angry with him now because he says they don't  spend time together anymore. I told my son that was a guilt trip in an attempt to try to get him to bring him here for the night. I told him it was likely his friend would not even remember saying that saying that today.

My son is a much stronger person than I. Of course I am still hopeful he will not become an addict himself, but now I am also hopeful he will continue to be independent and strong, and not become an enabler for those who choose who abuse. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On This Day

On this day in 1983 I married my first husband.  Today would have been our 31st wedding anniversary. 

Naturally I think about it every year. Almost every year the weather is fabulous. I could probably count on one hand the years when it was rainy or overcast. Today was no exception. 

Sometimes it feels like that marriage never happened. It seems like it happened to a different person--not me. For the first few years after we divorced I felt a little bittersweet on this day. Glad to be free from the betrayal, the lies, and the drama, but sad at the loss of my marriage. 

Then there was a period of not thinking about it too much one way or the other. During the years when my children were small and my life was hectic, I didn't have time to think much about it. Today I've thought about it a lot. 

Sometime around the year 2000, he was involved in a terrible car accident. When I last spoke with his family, a year or so ago, they told me he had undergone19 surgeries since that accident. I didn't ask about him too much, but I am guessing he is disabled now and unable to work.  I can't help but think how different my life would be if I had stayed with him. For starters, I would have likely been involved in the accident. His wife was with him at the time. I am thankful to God I am out of that situation and out of that marriage. My life has not been perfect. At certain times it has been very hard. But I certainly would not change it for that life. 

So today I am feeling thankful. Very thankful to have the life I have.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Reflections

Here we are--another Sunday morning. They sure seem to roll around quickly. It's early fall; a cool and sunny morning. A warm and sunny afternoon. Who could ask for more?  

In the days and weeks since my writers block began, I've discovered something interesting. I've reached an level of contentment in my life. The funny part is, not that much has changed. A few things, yes. But for the most part, I live in the same house with the same people. I work at the same place. I am surrounded by the same family and friends as before. So what's different?  A few things. Simple things to most people, but not for me. These things came very hard to me, but once I figured them out, my life changed. The contentment came. 

I'll be writing about these changes in my coming posts so stay tuned. In the meantime, have a relaxing Sunday. Peace. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

It's Late

It's 2:45 in the morning and I'm wide awake. I was sleeping so good. Then one of my cats decided to wake me up. I tried to run her off, but she was relentless. Finally I got up, caught her, and put her in the garage. But it's too late--I've been wide awake ever since; almost an hour and a half now. 

Now would be the perfect time to write an entry. Problem is, I just have nothing to say. 

I am not sad. I'm not depressed. I'm not particularly "in" to anything right now, and I don't seem to be the least bit interested in what anyone around me, aside from my kids, is doing. That's funny, because in years past my life and my world revolved around the actions and the behaviors of others. That's not the case anymore, and I can truly say that and mean it. My monthly sessions with my therapist Kate have been more like friendly visits. A minor adjustment here or there if I need it, but things are just different. 

While I am I am glad I am not sitting around obsessing about what other people are doing, I need to find something that interests me. Something I can do for myself that I enjoy. Something productive. I wish I could be like a few people I know, and live to exercise and work out--or yoga or Pilates. That's just not me. 

I'll find my place in a minute, I guess. 

Sure wish I could go back to sleep. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Where Am I?

I don't remember when I've gone so long without posting. 

I need to sit down and tap into my own mind a little. Quit flitting around from place to place and task to task and just get inside my own head for a minute. 

Quite frankly, I'm not sure where I'm at right now.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


I guess I'm suffering from writer's block...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Reflections

It's a quiet Sunday morning and I don't have a lot on my mind. I want to be productive today, but also find some time to relax. 

A couple of things happened yesterday that bothered me, but they are things I have no control over, so I'm going to pray about them and focus on the positive. 

Have a peaceful Sunday. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Codependent Thought For The Day

Shared with me by my therapist, Kate...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

All Alone

Like so many people, I felt extremely saddened by the death of Robin Williams earlier this week. Everyone thought "How can someone who seemed so happy, and made so many people laugh, have been that sad??"  Fox News anchor Shepard Smith went as far as to call him a coward. A comment from which Smith has been back peddling from ever since.  Looking at social media, I noticed the people who seem to be affected the most this week, are the people who suffer themselves from depression, or know someone who does. All week I have read personal accounts of people trying hopelessly to explain depression. I saved a few of them, and my original intent was to share excerpts of them today. 

The fact is, depression is nearly impossible to explain to someone who has never experienced it. Often when you try, people look at you like you're stupid. Or weak (a coward). Or lying for attention. So often, people just push it back. They only share the truth with a select group of people who get it. Or at least with people who try to get it. 

As this week came to a close, I changed my writing strategy. I decided I would write my own account of life with depression. If you follow my blog you've likely heard it before, and as it happened, in real time. But this Sunday morning I choose to write about it again. Just know that for every story you may have read about, there were ten you probably never heard. Like Robin Williams, and many other people who suffer from depression, much of my story has been kept to myself, or limited to a very small group of people.  Anyway, here goes. 

Therapists and doctors first started trying to diagnose me with depression sometime around 1989, when my first marriage began to fall apart, after confirmation that my first husband had been cheating on me for years. My dermatologist (yes you read that right) prescribed some Xanax for me. My friend Old Beth had suggested counseling, and I was seeing a therapist for the first time. Scott gave me a book to read called "Feeling Good". Shortly after that, my family doctor put me on Prozac. I could not understand this at all. My problem was horrific anxiety, not depression. At least that's what I thought. Yes I was sad, even devastated at the loss of my husband, but also relieved. All of the lies, betrayals, and the mind games would finally be over. I just didn't see myself as depressed. 

As the years went on, and life became even more complicated, I got worse. My anxiety began to interrupt my life; particularly in the days preceding my period. I was prescribed Zoloft, Effexor, and Sarafem. None of these drugs worked for me, and I could only bear to take them for a few weeks, as they magnified my symptoms significantly. My only relief came from Xanax, which was now being prescribed to me by my family doctor. My fear of being addicted to it was so powerful that I only took it (and still do) as a last resort. 

I was in and out of counseling. It would help for awhile, but my overall state of mind was worsening. My thoughts were becoming more and more irrational and harder to control. Life itself was becoming so complicated that I felt like I was losing my mind. I was hanging on by a thread, working, raising two small children, and dealing with an alcoholic husband. I felt as though I was in a constant state of fighting to keep my head above water. This was daily, but magnified tenfold during PMS time, which was now upgraded to something called PMDD. 

Then on April 20, 2008 my mother died. 

Most days my world felt like it was falling apart. During the next three years I would fall into a depression that often left me laying paralyzed in my bed--tears streaming down my face. Not sobbing out of control though. It was more of a slow stream of sadness. I developed "safe places". In the mornings, I would think "if I can just get to my desk at work, get my coffee, and be still and quiet for a minute, I'll be okay". By the afternoon, all I could do was fantasize about getting home, eating, and getting under a blanket on my couch with my cats on my lap. If it was October thru March, I needed a fire in the fireplace. On particularly bad days, my bed was the only place I could tolerate. 

During my annual visit to the gynecologist in the spring of 2011, I had a meltdown. I was fine until she said "You're weight is really up--what's going on?"  Then I started crying so hard that she was actually holding me in her arms until I got myself together enough to attempt yet again, to explain how I was feeling to yet again, another medical professional. She asked if I'd ever been on medication for depression. I told her yes, many times, and nothing worked. But instead of trying to write me a new prescription, my gynecologist told me I needed to see a psychiatrist. In fact, she insisted. She even gave me the name of a woman who's practice was within walking distance of my office.  She said I needed a doctor who was specifically trained to properly diagnose and treat me. 

April 14, 2011, I wrote in my journal that I had seen the psychiatrist. After a 12 page questionnaire and an in depth interview, I was diagnosed with severe depression accompanied by generalized anxiety disorder. I discovered that every antidepressant I'd been given over the years (decades now), was a serotonin inhibitor (SSRI). Clearly I don't respond to them well, so she gave me something different for depression. An anti seizure drug called Lamictal. She also put me on a daily anti anxiety drug. 

Since then I have seen her every few months to discuss how my meds are working. Additionally, I began counseling with the wonderful Kate. I now see her once a month.   As I mentioned just the other day, I'm now off of Lamictal. I still have out of control days. I had one very recently. And just about every day I have irrational thoughts and periods of high anxiety. They seem to peak in the late afternoon.  But most days I can use the tools Kate has given me to get them under control, or at least manage them. Some days it's still just too much and I find myself back in bed. Slow wet giant tears streaming down like a bathtub faucet with a slow steady drip. 

There aren't many people I've been totally open with about the severity of my anxiety and depression. I've written about it to a degree in this blog, but it's very hard to express these feelings. I often refer to it as a tornado in my head. I know that people who've never experienced it will never get it, so I reserve a lot of my feelings, especially my irrational thoughts to those who may have experienced something similar, or those who have loved ones going through the same thing, so that I may help them understand. Just know that for those who have this, it's daily. It never goes away. With proper therapy it can be managed, but there are days it wins. In the case of Robin Williams, it clearly won. It wins every day, with people much less famous. It wins with people like me. 

If you secretly have these feelings or suffer from anxiety and/or depression, get help. But not from your dermatologist or your gynecologist. Not even from your general practitioner. They are not trained to specialize in psychological disorders.   It's like asking your dermatologist to give you a Pap smear. It's not their area of expertise. Everyone is different. Every psychological disorder is different. We can't all benefit from the same medications or treatments. See someone who has been trained and specializes in this field. 

Sally has asked me to also stress the importance of spotting signs in your children. No one knows them better than you. Don't simply think that they will outgrow their problems. And I don't mean the typical moodiness associated with adolescence. I mean signs of ongoing depression. Ongoing anxiety. Hurting themselves. Withdrawing. Acting out. Find out what you need to do to get your child the help they need. Because I promise, with anyone suffering from depression, including Robin Williams, including me....what you are seeing on the outside is a small, small fraction of what's going on inside. 

Just know, there's help out there and you're not alone. You're not a coward. And the best news--you're not crazy!!!

I feel a lot better after writing this. Peace. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Shock

I was sad when I heard Robin Williams had died. My heart sank when I read he'd been battling depression. I was devastated when I heard he'd apparently taken his own life. 

I have so many emotions right now I don't know what to write. I only know I want to write. I want people to understand depression. This horrible, horrible beast. 

This is what my friend RC posted on Facebook.  For tonight, this is enough. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Mom

The other day someone was talking about my mom, and said "I miss your mom. She was so funny!"  But the thing is, the person they were referring to was my mom when she was older, sicker, and didn't have all her marbles. People thought she was funny because she said crazy things. After all, she had suffered two brain aneurysms and a series of mini strokes. The smokers thought it was funny that my mom would sneak out to the back yard or the garage, or wherever people were blazing up, and try to bum a cigarette. 

Personally, I saw that as very sad. 

I guess it just bothers me that most of the people I know, never really knew my mother. The woman that was beautiful and vibrant, spirited and intelligent. They only had a chance to meet the sick version, who would sell her soul to get to a cigarette; the very thing that took her personality, her looks, and ultimately her life away from her. 

It's no one's fault. It just is what it is. But this Sunday morning, it bothers me. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Let It Be

It's been several weeks now since my doctor weaned me off my antidepressant. I've done very well staying "even" up til now, but a couple of days ago,  I took somewhat of a turn.  

By Friday evening I was teary, bitchy, and my heart was heavy. My thoughts were irrational, and I couldn't seem to pull myself together. what to do. 

I tried calling on some of the coping methods I've learned from Kate during the last 3 years, but that wasn't working. So, I did what any good depressed person does--I went to bed. Sure. It was still light outside. It was about 8:30. I didn't say good night to my family, I just went to bed. 

I woke up at 12:45 a.m. and looked at my phone. Missed text messages, missed phone calls. A clear reminder of how I had checked out of my life, and missed out on what was important. One friend really needed my help and I wasn't there for her.  I went back to sleep, and didn't get up until 8:30 in the morning. Twelve hours of my life shut down. I've got to get up now and face this shit.  I felt rejuvenated physically, now how to get my head straight. Think Mary, THINK.  Use your tools. 

It didn't help that my morning started out with an instant whammy.  A little drama with one of my teenagers. Do I retreat back to bed?  Do I run away?  Right then, running away was winning. My neck was hurting from sleeping so long. 

I decided to address that situation, then leave to go to the grocery. It was the closest I could get to running away. When I returned, I made up my mind to take on a project at the house. Something I could do by myself. While I was working, I started dissecting the thoughts that got me out of sorts in the first place. I switched them from their irrational form to a more rational one. Then I worked on a solution for the parts I had control over, and decided to accept the parts over which I had NO control, and just let them be. I also made the decision to stay alcohol free for the day. I need my head clear. I'm going to continue that today as well.  

So this Sunday morning I feel better. My head is still clear, and in a little while I will go back to my project. I will be productive today, and I will continue to focus on the things I can control--not those I can't. 

Interesting, but I was proof reading this piece, and realized how hopelessly ridiculous it will sound to anyone who has never experienced anxiety and depression. Those "normal" folks out there, who would think "just get over it". In fact, I almost deleted the post. But maybe, just maybe there is one person who reads this, that will know what it feels like to be paralyzed with fear. To have irrational thoughts swirling through their head like a tornado. To feel so sad and lonely that they don't see a way out. A person who has stray tears stream down their cheek throughout the day for no apparent reason. Maybe that person will see that there is a way to cope. I'm not sure there's a "cure"--if this is in you, it's likely going to stay in you--but you can learn techniques to manage it. To cope, and move on. It requires time and effort. It doesn't happen overnight, but it can happen. So for that reason, the post stays. 

Happy Sunday. Peace. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Practice What You Preach

I saw this quote a few days ago and I can't get it out of my head. 

It's saying some people say one thing, yet do another. You see words coming out of their mouths but their actions make it impossible to hear what they are saying. Essentially, many people are hypocrites. 

I can instantly think of about ten beautifully classic instances of people I know doing this, and some of them are pretty damned good. But what personal growth do I gain from that?  None. So I will turn this around and take a look at myself. 

I've lived most of my adult life this way. Saying I wouldn't tolerate certain behaviors, yet continuing to allow them for years. Decades even. I've made leaps and bounds here. Now, if I tell someone I'm going to do something, or NOT do something, I mean it. I'm proud of myself in that area. 

Clearly the one area where I continue to fall short is vowing to eat better, exercise, and lose weight. I talk, talk, talk it, yet I eat, eat, eat it. I drink it too. 

So instead of focusing on how much it bugs me when preachers come in to my office and flirt with my employees, or a number of other things, I'm going to try to take a life lesson from it. 

Practice what you preach. 

Happy Sunday, y'all. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

You Can't Have One Without The Other

Yesterday my son asked to use the car for a date with his girlfriend. Dinner and a movie.  He just got his intermediate license a few days ago, which allows him to drive without a licensed driver in the car. Since then he has driven to my dad's house and a couple other spots close by. So this would be his first real experience out on his own.

was paralyzed with fear. 

A friend of mine lost her niece in a terrible crash recently. And I kept thinking of other crashes involving teens. Having your child sick or hurt, or God forbid, losing your child, has got to be some of the worst pain I can imagine. I can hardly stand to think about it. 

This leads me to the real point of this entry. Thinking about this made me realize something. The worst heartaches we have in this life can only exist because of the happiest moments in our lives. Grieving over the loss of a loved one doesn't occur without first experiencing love and joy with that person. Having your heart broken by a lover is the same. It wouldn't hurt so bad if it hadn't once felt so wonderful. Losing a high level job wouldn't seem so devastating if you hadn't first enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and the payoff of hard work. An animal who is caged, resents it more if he once experienced freedom. You can rarely have sorrow without first having happiness. 

I guess we could put ourselves in a bubble to avoid this sorrow in the first place. Don't love or feel and you don't get hurt. Don't care for a pet because it won't live long. Don't make friends because they sometimes disappoint you. Distance yourself emotionally from your parents so you won't witness them grow old and sick. Don't hold another human being in your arms because one day they may leave you. Don't take chances, don't have adventure.  

Safer, but what kind of existence would that be? 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Step Outside Your Life

Being on vacation is funny. It can be like you are stepping outside of your life for a little while. No household chores to do. No laundry. No bills to pay. No groceries to buy. No responsibility. Sure, sitting down and having quiet time will allow your mind to go back to the real world, and know that all of those things are waiting for you when you return. But what a lovely blessing to step outside the box for a few days and turn it all off for a while.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Much Needed Break

I'm spending the week at Kitty's house in South Florida. A much needed break from the day to day hustle and bustle of my life. 

Flying down here, I was reminded of the strange superstions I practice when I fly. 

As soon as I go through the security checkpoint I have to find the nearest water fountain. Luckily in my city, there is a fountain at the end of the checkpoint. When I reach the fountain, I take two Dramamine. I have always had terrible motion sickness. During take off, I always pray. Once cabin service begins, I always order ginger ale. This was likely born from my motion sickness problem, but I still do it. As soon as I get off the plane, I find a restroom. It's just what I do. Superstition or habit, I don't know. 

Anyway, I'm here, and so far it's been absolute Heaven. Friday night we went to an Italian restaurant and I enjoyed a huge portion of Veal Parmesan, linguini, hand twisted bread, salad, and a cold Peroni. Yesterday, my brother in law BB made a wonderful breakfast of blueberry pancakes, then we spent the day at the pool. A steak dinner and "The Big Lebowski" rounded out the day. No drama. No stress. Just wonderful food and great company. 

Oh....not all of us had a drama free day. The garage door broke and we were locked out for awhile. BB had to climb a ladder and crawl through the kitchen window which had fortunately been opened during pancake preparation.  

I'm thankful for this break, and for the wonderful hospitality of my hosts. Two people I love very much. Not sure I can ever repay all their kindness. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's A Miracle We Made It!

I ran across this article today and thought it would be a fun thing to share on this Sunday. Funny because it is so true! It truly is a miracle than any of us survived growing up in the 1970s. Have a peaceful day. 

8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead

The way things are going, every kid is going to go to school wearing bubble wrap and a helmet.  Back in the 1970s (and earlier), parents didn’t stress about our health and safety as much as they do today.  It’s not that they cared less – they just didn’t worry compulsively about it.

Parents of 2014 need to be reminded of how less restricted, less supervised, less obsessively safety-conscious things were… and it was just fine.




should be dead 10 8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead


Can your mind comprehend a more deadly toy than a weighted spear that kids hurl through the air like a missile? No one ever obeyed the actual manufacturer’s rules, we just flung these damn things everywhere.  We threw them. They stuck where they landed. If they happened to land in your skull, well, then you should have moved.

After roughly 6,700 emergency-room visits and the deaths of three children between 1978 and 1988, they finally outlawed Jarts on December 19, 1988. I suppose it needed to be banned, but a part of me is sad that kids today won’t have the battle scars and Jart survival stories we had. Goodbye Jart – you were an impaling arrow of death, but I loved you anyway.




should be dead 2 8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead


Cars came with seat belts in the 1970s, but no one used them except maybe out of curiosity to see what it was like to wear one. Of course, you’d have to fish them out of the deep crevice of the backseat cushion where they often came to rest, unwanted and ignored.

The only “click” heard in the 1970s automobile was your dad’s Bic lighting up a smoke with the windows rolled up. (cough!)

I should also mention that, not only were there no seat belts, child seats were nowhere to be found.  Whether it was the front seat of your mom’s station wagon or her bicycle, chances are, you were entirely untethered.




should be dead 8 8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead


Remember when playgrounds were fun? Sure, there was a pretty good chance you’d be scalded by a hot metal slide, or walk away with tetanus, but that’s what memories are made of.

The ground wasn’t coated with soft recycled rubber or sand as most are today – they were asphalt.  Remember being hurled from a spinning merry-go-round, then skidding across the gravel at full speed?  Good times.

I remember my school playground had a metal ladder “wall” that I swear went up three stories – it didn’t connect to a slide or anything. It was literally a ladder to the sky. I remember fully believing the oxygen was thinner at the top.  One false move and I’d have been a flesh colored stain on the asphalt.

According to the New York Times we are making playgrounds so safe that they actually stunt our kids’ development.  So, while blood was spilt and concussions were dealt on the playgrounds of the 1970s, we were at least in a developmentally rich environment – and we had the bruises and scabs to prove it.



should be dead 4 8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead

“Tanfastic lets the sunshine in.  It’s not loaded up with sunburn protection like old folks and kids want.  Tanfastic’s for you 15-to-25 year olds who can take the sun.  Especially if you want to get superdark.  Superfast.”

Back in the 70s, your goal was to get as brown as your skin would permit.  Sun BLOCK or sun SCREEN was basically nonexistent. You wanted to AMPLIFY your rays, so women typically lathered on Crisco and baby oil to get that deep baked look.

For the kids, SPF numbers hovered around 2, 4 and 8.  The idea that you would spray an SPF of 50 or even 30 wasn’t even an option, except perhaps from medical ointments prescribed for albinos.





should be dead 7 8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead

Whether you were riding a bike, roller skating, or skateboarding, one thing was for certain: you were not wearing a head protection.  You would have been looked at as a sideshow freak by other kids, and parents would assume you had some kind of medical condition.




should be dead 5 8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead

Hey, who’s watching the kid in the stroller?  YOU MUST HAVE YOUR EYES ON THE KID AT ALL TIMES OR ELSE HE WILL DIE!

My mother routinely left me alone in the car at a young age while she ran errands.  Today, this will literally get you arrested.  You see, once upon a time it was okay to leave your kids for long periods without supervision (remember the so-called “latch-key kids” of the 70s?), or let them free roam without constant surveillance.  Today, parents won’t let their kids go out to get the mail alone, and any fun with friends has to be scheduled, closely monitored “play dates”.

On summer break or weekends in the 1970s, parents kicked their kids out the front door and didn’t let them back in until the sun went down.  “Go play,” were their only words, and you were left to your own devices for hours upon hours.  Neighborhoods looked like Lord of the Flies.





should be dead 3 8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead

This poor kid is about to get rammed in the nuts by a goat, and the nearby adult isn’t the least bit concerned.  In fact, he finds this all incredibly amusing!  As hard as this is to believe, but when kids got hurt back then, adults didn’t come running with first-aid kits.  More than likely you’d be left alone with your pain, with no alternative but to get over it.

In the 70s, parents watched their offspring fall from trees and fall off bikes with a smile.




should be dead 1 8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead

From airplanes to your family car, it seemed the world of the 70s was shrouded in a haze of cigarette smoke.  It wasn’t just the fact that many more people smoked, it was the absolute 100% lack of concern for those that didn’t, including children.  Teachers smoked, doctors smoked, your parents smoked…. and they didn’t take it to a secluded smoking area, they did it right in your face.

Please don’t interpret this as condoning it.  There’s no question that engulfing your child in a thick carcinogenic cloud isn’t a good idea.  I’m just stating facts – this is the world we lived in.  It was full of adults who didn’t seem to have anxiety attacks over our safety, and we turned out just fine…. right?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mars and Venus

There's not a lot of things I know for sure in this world. I know addiction is evil. I know lying, cheating, stealing, and wishing bad on people will land you a wake up call from karma. I know it rains a lot in Seattle, and I know with 100% certainty that men and women do not think the same way. 

You've heard the saying "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus", and it's true. Sometimes a man and a woman can both have the same wonderful idea!  Both have the best of intentions, but before things are said and done, they are in the middle of a full blown argument. Why? Simply because we process things differently.

If you know me even a little bit, you know that I love to observe and analyze people's behaviors. But most of my friends are women. My therapist is a woman. My coworkers are women. So when I have the opportunity to get a man's perspective on a topic, particularly when it pertains to relationships, I jump at the chance!

Today my friend Nodrog and I were discussing if it's right or wrong, okay or annoying when a person constantly feels the need to ask their partner where they stand. Even after a great date, the person wants confirmation that they will indeed see each other again. "Are we good?"  "Is everything okay with us?"  I believe it's mainly women who do this, but I'm sure in some relationships, men do it too. 

I told Nodrog that I had to learn to break myself of this annoying habit. Sometimes I still slip up, but I'm aware of it and try very hard not to do it. Nodrog had something to say that I found very interesting. With his permission I am quoting it. 

 "...women are just different than men.  They go after what they want.  Men have the luxury of sitting back and letting the woman chase.  It doesn't mean we don't want you.  We just subconsciously know you (the woman) is like that.  Of course, men chase too, but when we do it, it's in a different way.  Our chases are rather irrational.  Women chase in a more intellectual way.  Women have a strategy and an agenda, and a bigger picture in their chases, and that's often why they're disappointed, because men tend to instinctually expect the woman to take care of everything". 

Another thing I'm pretty sure about: Men and women get along pretty well until they become romantic. Then, forget it. They start speaking two different languages. It's over. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Reflections

Lately I keep having this feeling that I'm not sure where I fit in. I can't really explain it. I just feel like I'm not sure of my place in this world. 

I discussed this with my counselor Kate this week. It's interesting, because she feels this stems from a lack of drama in my life. My role has always been the fixer, the rescuer, or basically I've just been walking around trying to figure out the difficult situations I find myself in. I'm not involved in anything complicated currently, so I feel lost. 

I know how ridiculous that sounds. Truth is, I wear many different hats--why do I define myself by the role that I have tried so hard from which to break free? The role I had struggled with for so long? I am making great strides in my journey. It is just difficult to accept changes--even if they are changes you want very much.  Trust me, this won't be something I struggle with for long. I am enjoying the lack of drama, And I like where I am right now. 

As I sit here this morning, both my children are out of town. My son is at the lake, and my daughter left yesterday for a week long vacation in Florida. I realize my role as a mother is also changing. While that is a bit scary, I also welcome it. I love seeing my children grow and thrive. So this Sunday morning, I relax. I will stop wondering where I fit in, and remember my roles as mother, friend, and daughter.  

I will try to write more in this journal, as I have been in a dry spell. What to write…? I guess we will find out. 

Monday, June 9, 2014


I don't have a lot to say. My life feels eerily quiet right now. 

This is good. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

School's Out For Summer

Tonight I turned off the 5:55 am weekday alarm on my phone, and replaced it with a 6:35 alarm. That can only mean one thing. School is out for summer. A little break from the day to day grind. Instead of having three people to be responsible for in the mornings, I only have to worry about one. Just me!!

This will be a nice break for awhile, but in a few weeks I'll probably be ready to get everyone back to normal. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Decoration Day

When I was a kid, we would often pack up the car and drive 4 hours to the country during long weekends. This was the place where my parents grew up. At that time, several members of their family including my two grandmas, still lived there. We would often go there for Memorial Day weekend. Only my parents called it Decoration Day. 

My parents would make a trip to the discount store, and then load the car with plastic wreaths and other flower arrangements.   Sometimes the fake flowers would share the backseat with me. I can still remember the way they smelled, laying there in their cardboard boxes. Not sweet like flowers are supposed to smell. More like dust and plastic.  Once we got to the country, we would hike up to an old cemetery, where my parents could place the plastic flowers on assorted graves of people I did not know. 

As a child, many things I did not understand we're frightening to me. This ritual was no exception.  This was very scary to me. I didn't like the muddy old country graveyard, I didn't  know the people in the graves, and I didn't know why we were putting the ugly plastic flowers there.

Today most people view Decoration Day or Memorial Day as a welcome holiday. The first work holiday since Christmas. A three day weekend to get together with family and friends, go to the lake, or have a back yard barbecue. Just be sure to take a moment this weekend to remember the fallen soldiers and the families they left behind. 

See, that's not so scary, Little Mary. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Monkey On My Back

I felt like an alcoholic sneaking a drink when I did it. A junkie who hides in the bathroom.....

I opened a new pack of birth control pills tonight and I took one. 

Sue me! It's been a rough week… I'm not ready.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Because I'm Happy....

Often when I am stressed or overwhelmed about something, I will write about it in this journal. It is a good way for me to organize my thoughts and get back on track. But sometimes I take a look back and realize I sound like an unhappy person.  I'm not. I have so many things to be thankful for, and I am indeed thankful. I also have many things in my life that bring me happiness. I have the greatest two teenage kids a person could ask for. And the greatest friends. 

So fear not readers, I am not hopeless and desperate. I don't want to leave that legacy. I am happy and hopeful, blessed and thankful.

Happy Sunday. 

I apologize if the "Happy" song is now stuck in your head for the duration of the day...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

I'd Like To Throw A Party

I wish I could have a nice long, relaxed meeting with my family practitioner, my gynecologist, my cardiologist, my psychiatrist, and Kitty's neurosurgeon/headache specialist friend.  Maybe then I could get to the bottom of everything that's going on with me, and how it may all be connected. 

But, we don't live in that world. So I guess I will see them one at a time, in hurried 15 minute intervals, and try to connect the dots myself.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do

It's no secret. I have had a long standing love affair with "the pill". I love the pill. I do!  We have been the best of friends for 32 years, since I was 18 years old. The only times I have been off the pill were the two times I planned to get pregnant. Both times I literally kissed the empty package goodbye. That is a true story.

I mean, what's not to love?  Let's just toss aside the fact that it is highly effective in preventing pregnancy, and look at the other benefits. You know exactly when to expect your period, which is helpful in a multitude of ways, from vacation planning to scheduling doctors appointments and bikini waxes. You know your period is going to be light and mostly uneventful. Less cramps, shorter duration. Long term use of the pill significantly reduces your risk of endometrial, uterine, and ovarian cancer.  It's a flippin' wonder drug!

So it's no wonder I was on the verge of hyperventilating when my gynecologist suggested I may want to stop taking it, "just to see what happens". 

In my 32 years of "womanhood" I have had three gynecologists. The first one retired. The second one died of lymphoma, and my current one--a delightful woman who is younger than me. You remember, the one who recommended I see a psychiatrist after I melted down in her office during my yearly exam three years ago. All three doctors agree that it's fine to stay on the pill throughout menopause as long as it agrees with you, you don't smoke, or have high blood pressure. Well it's agreed with me just fine....up til now. The abundance of estrogen is suddenly having an ill effect on me. I'll spare the details. Also, my blood pressure is sneaking into a very naughty place. Thank you, excess 50 lbs!

So long story short, I'm giving it a try. My doctor has warned me that in addition to needing a new form of contraception, I may begin to experience a myriad of delightful menopause related delights, such as (and I quote) "extreme vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, heavy, unpredictable periods, hot flashes, and mood swings". I can hardly wait!

Obviously I'm not shy about talking about my body, or women's health issues. But I tell you this information tonight, because it is a significant life change for me. An incredible milestone. I'm not sure how I will embrace it. But as Kitty says, I have a "take back". If it doesn't work out for me, the doctor says I can reunite with my beloved.  Hopefully by then I will have some weight off and my blood pressure under control. 

As Bernie Mac would say, "Pray for me, America". 

Friday, May 9, 2014


When I turned 50, I talked about it being the day of reckoning. Not just a number, but that point in life when all the abuse you've dished out to your body comes back to bite you. 

Since that article I am faced with not one, not two, but three separate health issues.   This is too much to deal with all at once, and has me completely overwhelmed. 

I'm too exhausted to go in to it all tonight, but hopefully will find the inspiration sometime this weekend. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Thoughts

Wow....I didn't even write about Derby this year. Things sure have changed. 

I'm tired, friends. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Setting A Bad Example

So I saw my doctor yesterday about the strange activities in my head. The physical ones, not the mental ones this time. She agrees they could be migraine, but also says there is a possibility they are tied into my blood pressure being high. I have always had extremely low blood pressure, usually 110/70. Yesterday it was 135/87. The only time in my life it has been this high was when I put on a bunch of weight a few years ago. Ironically, it's at about the same level as it was then, and I am at about the same weight as i was then. So I am to lose weight and monitor my blood pressure for the next few weeks. 

So I finally got the medical kick in the pants, why do I feel so scared? Why do I feel paralyzed with thoughts that I cannot do this? My head is telling me "You cannot do this." My body is telling me "You cannot do this". 

Then after my appointment, I was driving in my car and my phone rang. It was my dad. He immediately began the conversation with "This is going to piss you off, but I don't care". He began talking about the bluebird tattoo that I have on the back of my neck. The one I got a few years ago in honor of my mother. Everyone knows the story of the bluebird. If you don't, go back and find it in my archives. The bluebird and that tattoo mean a lot to me. I think the tattoo is beautiful, and a defining symbol of my personality. My dad acted like he had never seen the tattoo before. He thought it was new. I showed it to him when I got it a few years ago. He says he doesn't remember that. He told me that I was not a good role model for my children, and a bad influence, because he has been preaching to them to never get tattoos. 

If you know me at all, you know how quickly my dad's words can make me feel five years old. For a few minutes after the conversation, my feelings were hurt terribly, and all I could think of was that I hope he doesn't suddenly remember the other two, less visible  tattoos I have! And thank goodness his eyes are too bad to notice the nose stud I have too. For a little while I felt like someone just needed to put a big red letter "A" on my forehead, and write me off as the bad daughter. But then the strangest thing happened. When I parked my car, and sat still for a moment, a peace came over me. The same peace I used to have when my mom was alive and my dad would hurt my feelings. My mom would always defend me and tell him to back off. She always made me feel like everything was okay. Yesterday sitting in my car I had that same peace wash over me. I feel like my mother came to me, wrapped her arms around me, and told me not to pay any attention to him. I believe my mom came to my rescue. 

So today I am on a day of vacation. I am trying to rest this morning. I took a little nap and a nice hot bath. I am trying to get my head clear today. I need to tackle the thought of weight loss, and finally getting myself healthy. 

Life is complicated.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday State of the Union

Good Sunday morning to everyone. 

I am in a state of high anxiety right now, and I don't like it. I am having multiple physical stress symptoms. Tightness in my chest and racing heartbeat for a couple of weeks now. Dizzy spells for a couple of weeks. Throbbing in my temple for two or three weeks. Now my temples have gone numb. I spent most of the day yesterday imagining I was in the early stages of a stroke, but knowing that probably was not true. Even though I have never experienced these exact symptoms, I know that they are symptomatic of the type of migraines I get. I don't get the typical blasting, blinding headache. Not often anyway.  

I can't even put my finger on exactly what it is that is causing my stress. Multiple things. For instance, I was told in a meeting by my new bosses that in the coming months there would be days I felt like killing myself. Not particularly a great way to make a first impression with your new management team. This, along with everything else that is going on in my life, and I am a walking anxiety machine. I am going to attempt some physical exercise to release some stress from my body; even though what I really want to do is lay down and be still. I know I have to get a grip. 

I wish I saw a way to make significant changes in my life that would relieve some of my stress, but that mountain seems overwhelming, and impossible to climb. I don't like having setbacks like this. I like moving forward, but I guess that isn't always possible. I am not looking for advice or sympathy, or anyone to solve this problem. I am just documenting my feelings in my journal. And today, these are my feelings.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Reflections

I have a busy day planned today, with a very full schedule, but it's pretty and sunny, and my head seems to be clear enough to handle it all. 

I'm getting ready to start some minor, but overdue remodeling at my house. I have some folks coming today to take away a very large dining room set. I plan to convert that room into a bedroom; which was its original purpose. I will move my son to that room and turn his room into a much needed guest bedroom. 

After that, I want to make some changes to my living room. We've been in our house nearly 11 years now, and it's time for something fresh. Hopefully my very large imagination will not get ahead of my very small budget. 

I worry today about a school friend of mine who is very ill, battling for his life in the hospital. He has overcome cancer, only to find his lungs destroyed from the harsh chemotherapy. He is one of my "Boys of Summer", and spent several evenings back in the day, hanging out on my front porch. He seems to be at every concert I attend, and his daughter goes to the same school as my daughter. A nice, nice guy, and I wish him well. 

Kitty and her husband will be here for a visit in two weeks. It seems unreal, but they just passed the 3 year anniversary of their move to South Florida. I am very much looking forward to seeing them. 

Even though it was chilly yesterday, and the wind had quite a bite to it, spring is definitely upon us. I believe we've seen the last of the snow, and I'm starting to see flowers and some color. I welcome spring. I don't necessarily welcome all that comes with it, but I am happy to bid farewell to this harsh, seemingly never ending winter. 

Blessings to everyone as we begin a new week. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Regrets? I've Had A Few...Part Five

And now we wrap up our five-part series. 
Bronnie Ware writes:

#5.  I wish that I had let myself be happier. 

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. 

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. 

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness."

I have had a lot of happy times in my life. Also some very unhappy ones. Some, for long periods at a time. I agree, this was all by choice. I have chosen the life I have led; even the unhappy parts. I still believe the choices were born from a sense of obligation, mixed with a decades long notion that I could AND WOULD change the circumstances surrounding my unhappiness. All I had to do was "fix" the person I felt was responsible. 

I am only 50 years old, and hopefully very far from dying. I did not print this series as a reflection of the end of my life. I printed it because I hope I still have a lot of life to live.  And one day, when the time does come, I don't want regret. I want people to be able to say "Mary lived her life the way she wanted to!"  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Regrets? I've Had A Few...Part Four

Moving right along with our series. Bronnie Ware writes:

#4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 

"Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks, and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remained in the final weeks, love and relationships."

This is an area of my life where I have stayed extremely strong. As I have written before, the bonds I share with my close friends are what has kept me alive. Just thinking of the people who read this blog, many of them have been friends of mine for 30+ years. I truly do not know what I would do without them. I think maybe this is something I learned from my mother. Her friends were so important to her. My dad too. 

But there are many people who choose not to maintain friendships. One reader told me a family member has let most of her friendships go. I also know people who have not only let friendships go, but have severed ties with everyone. I do not believe you have to physically be with someone to nurture a friendship. I have a dear friend who I haven't seen in years, but still relate with through email. I have often said that in my life, men have come, and men have gone, but my relationship with my friends has persevered through it all. The one true constant in my life. For that I am grateful and very happy. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Regrets? I've Had A Few...Part Three

More on our Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. Bronnie Ware writes:

3.  I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. 

"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others.  As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result. 

We cannot control the reactions of others.  However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win."

This one is complicated for me. In my life I feel I have expressed my feelings...a lot!  It just seemed to fall on deaf ears. Why?  Because I expressed my feelings, thinking it would cause someone else to change their behavior!  That was my sole purpose for putting it out there. Of course it did not! It didn't change a thing!!

While I'm still codependent, and still hope people will react the way I want them to, I'm now so much better at expressing my feelings, then taking the measures I need to take to reinforce them. I distinctly remember the day I found the courage to start doing this. It was about a year and a half ago, and it was hard. BUT, not as hard as I feared it would be. I have felt much more free since that day. 

When you express feelings, people may or may not react to them the way you hope. So then it's up to you to decide if that is good enough...or not. 

Happy Sunday, everyone. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Regrets? I've Had A Few...Part Two

Tonight I will continue the series on the five regrets of the dying. The first entry probably touched me the most, but each one is good, and the one that touches you may be different. 

From Bronnie Ware: 

#2. I wish I didn't work so hard. 

"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle."

I have been at my job for 30 years now. I stayed home with my children the first three months of their lives, but after that I was a working mom. My children stayed with their grandparents for a a while, then went to daycare. I have never regretted this. It kept me from going insane, and it taught my children a wealth of social skills and gave them the head start they needed to make a successful entry into today's school environment.  But oddly, at this point in my life, I wish I didn't work so much. My children are teenagers, and don't need me in the same way, but I am tired. My house is not organized the way I would like. I don't have time to do some of the things I would like to do. But I am in a financial situation where I must work to help pay the mortgage and other bills. While I do not feel I will ever regret working, I hope that I will not have to work full-time until I am 70! Maybe I do need to simplify things a bit.

I do know there are Detach readers who will relate to this entry more than I do. To them I would say work hard for now but have a deadline in mind. Visualize yourself in five years. Ten years. Where do you want to be? Can you simplify? You will know when the time is right.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Regrets? I've Had A Few...Part One

The mother of one of my classmates passed away a few weeks ago, but instead of the traditional funeral, her family had a Celebration of Life. There are photos of family and friends at the celebration, everyone smiling and happy. It is what the mother wanted. While I thought "This is kind of cool", it all seems very foreign to me. A far cry from the sad funerals we are used to in America. So yesterday the classmate posted something on Facebook saying that her mother's doctor had given her a phone call expressing sympathy, but also said to her, "Your mom lived life like she wanted to".  What a fabulous statement. "Your mom lived life like she wanted to". Think about that. It stuck with me, and I made a comment saying how I would love for my own children to one day be able to say that about me. 

This morning I received an interesting email from Kitty. It was titled "The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying". An article that recounts the lessons of a hospice worker in Australia, from her departing patients. 

I think I would like to talk about it. But not all at one time. Let's just discuss the introduction and #1, for now.

Bronnie Ware writes: "For many years I worked in pallative care. My patients were those who have gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to under estimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five". 

1.  I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. 

"This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even half of their dreams, and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it."

It is very interesting to me, that seemingly all of these people made peace with death in the end. Interesting and comforting. There have been times in my life where I was very afraid to die. I have attributed this to my need to control. What will happen to my children if I die? Who will take care of things? I am not as afraid of death today, as I was 20 years ago. Even 10 years ago. I hope that I am able to fully make my peace with it before my time comes.

Now for the part about having the courage to live a life true to myself… I had such a flood of emotion and thought after I read this, I felt tears filling up my eyes. While it has all been by choice, or maybe a sense of obligation, a large part of my life has not been lived the way I wanted to live it. It is not what I expected. I have made changes in the past couple of years that are leading me in the right direction. Leading me to live the life I want, not the life others expect of me. I still have a long way to go. But this has made me realize, there is no time to waste. I want to take care of myself. I want to do fun things. I don't want to be scared of other people's reactions. I want to be confident in my decisions, in my choices, and with my life. I want my children to be able to say I lived my life like I wanted to!

Next time we will discuss the second regret.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Codependency Revisited

Recently, my interest in codependency has resurfaced. I heard a couple of stories, and ran across some articles, and I want to revisit this topic for a short time. 

Today there are many definitions of codependency, and many opinions as to where it comes from. Most people believe it is tied in with alcoholism, but some do not. 

Codependency guru Melody Beattie's official definition says "A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior". 

This is an obsession, that can grow and grow over the years. The one thing that remains consistent is, fixation or obsession with any one thing is bad. Fixation or obsession with a person will slowly, but very surely destroy a relationship.

Sally has given me permission to share this story.  She had a very good friend for many years. A friend who's company she thoroughly enjoyed. The friend had an unhealthy romantic relationship with a man, that eventually fell apart. The friend needed a place to stay, so she temporarily moved in with Sally. She began to focus all of her attention on Sally. She started questioning her whereabouts, who she was with, and what she was doing. She would become angry when Sally did things with other friends. Slowly, Sally's devotion to this friend began to deteriorate. The friend was chipping away at the relationship, which at one time was very solid.

Eventually, Sally had no choice but to ask the friend to move out, and has now permanently severed all ties with her.

During the first couple of years I wrote this blog, I researched reasons why people may become fixed on other people. Often it is because they don't want to focus on themselves. Additionally, they are looking for other people to make them happy.  

Sally being forced to separate ties with a friend who eventually sucked the life out of their friendship, has reminded me once again how devastating codependency can be on any relationship. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Quotes I Like

After seeing this, I want to get back to my roots; just for a few days. The reason that I started this blog:  codependence. 

So many of us look to others to make us happy. We find that we cannot be happy without them. This is dangerous and unhealthy because it gives people power over us. And when they have power, they can take away our happiness with even one simple action.

So think about this message and ask yourself where your happiness is coming from. And are you allowing someone else to control it?