I Didn’t Get That Memo

There are plenty of things a person should not be able to do after they lose one of their arms.

But I guess I didn’t get that memo ….

I know I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

Yes. My physical situation makes me stand out from other ppl. A lot. But Being told I can’t do something just makes me work harder and more creatively.

My life is very complicated. But you know what? Thats ok. I’m lucky to even be alive right now!

I’m different then you. But that’s what makes me who I am!

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“To love life, to love it even

when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.

When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?

Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”

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Battling Guilt Over Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Month is observed each September and survivors often see social media plastered with the simple message that suicide can be prevented. As a survivor, this upsets me.

Short posts and memes say that by showing someone you care or by picking up a phone you can or may save a life. Notice the words “can” and “may” in those sentences?  I feel that many people miss those words, if they are even included. Those words are crucial to the message because saving a life is NOT always the outcome.

Without the words “can” or “may,” anyone reading these messages who have never experienced the horror of having a loved one die by suicide can easily think that a person who has had this type of tragedy must not have loved enough or cared enough or have ever had those conversations with the person who had ended their life. Even worse, an individual who has lost a loved one to suicide may read those statements and be overwhelmed by guilt thinking that there was something more they could have done!

We know better, and hindsight is a huge struggle for survivors. As if we don’t already second-guess everything we said or did, over and over, while reliving the days leading up to the death of our loved one …

My best friend died from suicide. She struggled for many years with an eating disorder, self injury, mental illness and addiction. I tried to encourage her on a daily basis. I found counseling for her and offered suggestions for various treatments. I sought help for myself so I could better help her. Not only were we friends joined at the hip, but we were also roommates sharing the same apartment. She was the first face I saw when I woke up in the morning and she was usually there when I went to bed at night. We spent many sleepless nights talking for hours on end. She sat at the foot of my bed for comfort while I went through some of the darkest days of my own life, and I did the same for her. What more could I have possibly done to show her that I cared?

I have experienced a lot of guilt surrounding Ashley’s death. Then I see all these social media posts, blog entries, and pamphlets stating that suicide is preventable. I don’t think people realize how damaging it is and the huge burden of guilt that it creates for us survivors in saying things like this. I really think that instead of coming out and saying that it is preventable, all of these prevention and awareness campaigns should add the words “can” be prevented or “may” be prevented.

Just sayin.

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The Issue With Showering

To those who spend hours putting it off because you know just how exhausting or painful it feels, right down to your bones, just to stand under the water for that long.

Those who don’t feel refreshed when stepping out of the steam, but instead feel like you’ve run a race, only there’s nobody there to cheer for you at the finish line with your medal, because damnit, there is no finish line.

This is your medal.

I admire those who have to sit or lie down for an hour or more with your wet hair in a towel, because there’s no strength or energy left for drying or body moisturizing or even putting on clothes.

To every person who day after day feels like crying when they step in the shower, and then there are the days when it feels even harder than usual, more exhausting, more painful, more intense, just more of everything, and you stand there hoping nobody can hear your deep heart-wrenching moans as you cry out in agony under the pressure of the water before you’ve been able to finish washing all the shampoo from your hair …
I hear you.

To the one who forcing yourself through it, because you know you have an appointment and will have to leave your house tomorrow, and you know that as hard as it is right now, showering and going out in the same day just would not be possible … I know.

This post is for everyone who lives day in day out, chronically ill, with illness of any kind, for those who feel like they are climbing mountains over simple tasks that most take for granted, like showering.

And to those of you climbing these mountains, and to all those who simply can’t make the climb today …

I see you.

I’m with you.

I am one of you.

Thank you for breathing.

Please, don’t give up.

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As The World Sleeps, Madness Rises

I’m lonely.
I’m going to die too soon.
I should write a will. Nah. I don’t have anything of value.
I’m such a terrible mother to my fur babies. Such a failure.
How am I going to survive spending 4 days travelling next week? Holidays should be fun.
All I do is worry. Worry, worry, worry.
I hurt. I wish I didn’t hurt. I hurt so bad.
Damn it, I forgot to put the clothes in the dryer.

I’ve spent too many nights of my life being an insomniac. Pain keeps me awake, but my active brain does a pretty good job of that, too. It’s dark at night, it’s lonely and I feel like there is no one else in the world awake, even though logically this makes no sense. My mind plays tricks on me. I’m tired all the time but I just can’t switch off. I have been through many phases of taking different sleeping pills, but even then I just wake up feeling groggy and like  haven’t slept for years.

The night brings out the worst anxiety; in the light of day I can rationalize, but the darkness brings with it a heavy depression that is pretty tough to shake. I worry. A lot. I don’t consciously think of anything, my mind just wanders from subject to subject.

I try to survive another dark night. I’m scared to go to bed, frightened of the battle with my body and brain. I don’t want to lie awake all night yet again. I lay there wondering what I did to deserve this. I’m a good person, I’m kind and compassionate. I have made mistakes like everyone, but this? What did I do to deserve this? I wonder about karma and the many gods I read about. Why do I feel like I’m being punished? Why me?

I just want to lie without pain, and sleep without repeating the same battle each night. I do everything right, have tried every suggestion anyone has ever thrown at me, but none of it works. I just can’t sleep and the longer the battle rages, the darker the corners of my mind I find myself in, trying to escape this hell.

The constant exhaustion that comes with being sick all the time is impossible to describe to anyone that hasn’t felt it themselves.

It’s beyond tiredness.
Beyond having flu for a couple of weeks.
It’s relentless.

There is no end and the beginning was so long ago, it’s impossible to remember a time that I didn’t feel like this. The fight with the dark feels impossible to win, night after night, trying to switch my brain off, trying so hard to find that happy positive part I know is there within me, but I lose it whenever the sun sets.

Am I going to get worse?
Will my heart stop beating?
Will I slip away while I sleep?
What will happen to my dog?
What will my husband do without me?
How can I save myself?
What can I do to fix this???

I long for the sun to rise, its warmth not only heals the world but also my tired, aching body and brain. I begin to relax as the hear birds begin their day outside my open window; I hear hope once more, arriving with the daylight. My body finally gives up and my mind clears enough for sleep to take over for a few short hours.

I wake up shortly after, groggy and heavy, my limbs weighed down and stiff as I struggle to stand, smile and face another day.

I’m alive.
I smile.

My day begins with the usual chaos that my labrador retriever brings: barking, whining as she impatiently waits for her morning kisses and snuggles, squeaky toys from one end to the other, and the madness of her hyperactive personality. I remember why I don’t ever quit, why the darkness will never be strong enough to absorb me. My amazing husband pulls me to him and kisses me on the lips. “How are you feeling hunny?” With tears in my eyes I tell him that I’m ok.

It’s incredible how my little family can create such distraction from the pain and my irrational worries. I smile, again.

I’m alive.
I’m fighting.
I’m living.

The darkness may be strong, but I am stronger.

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I Want To Be The One

I don’t want you to love me because I’m good for you, because I say and do all the right things. Because I am everything you have been looking for. I want to be the one you didn’t see coming. The one who gets under your skin. Who makes you unsteady. Who makes you question everything you have ever believed about love. I want to be the one who makes you feel reckless and out of control. The one you are infuriatingly and inexplicably drawn to. I don’t want to be the one who talked you into bed. I want to be the reason why you can’t sleep.

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