So let me give you my day in bullet points:
I am sitting with my planner supplies in front of me, planner open to next week, sticky notes dotting the week letting me know when I have what (and I pre-plan using sticky notes just in case something changes, but the weekend before the next week I put the stickers in and plans are set!) I sit and survey my supplies and a sense of calm, or peacefulness, of tranquility settles over my whole body. My legs are a little sore from my run this morning. I am sipping a cold, delicious iced tea, and a slight breeze is blowing across my arms and legs. I must have spent over an hour and a half working in my planner. Many people, if they're not planner people don't understand how anyone can spend that much time planning out the next week, but man, if you get it, you GET IT.
overspending, which is how my mania manifests itself, and 10% of it would be happy with friends.
That's not a great breakdown if you look at life like that. But my therapist's point was that I've done an amazing job of doing the everyday things, like getting out of bed. Like finishing college in four years. Like holding down a job, even with the number of days I've missed. Like graduating graduate school. Like living on my own. Like remaining alive even when the desire to not be alive is so much stronger than I can even describe.
I spoke with my mother after my run, so I knew she'd be awake. I made the point that while she and my father have ALWAYS been super supportive I didn't think they really knew how hard a struggle it is for me to be appropriate to be in public, to be social, to be with other people. I assured my mother that I knew they loved me and would never give up on me, but I wasn't convinced that they knew how hard it really is for me 80% of the time. To this my mother responded that she and my father did, indeed, understand how hard things were for me. I have to take her at her word, that they really do know how hard the thought of facing another day, in public, interacting with others in an appropriate manner is for me? Do they really know how good shopping at expensive stores and buying EXACTLY what I want, regardless of price, feels to me? Do they know that for the brief 10% of the time, when I'm with my friends how fleeting that feeling is to me?
My therapist also made the point that even during that 80% of the time that sucks I am still compliant with my medications. I still make it to every therapist appointment. I still manage to wake up and shower (most of the time) and make it into work (most of the time). Her point was that even with my struggle, which is REAL, and which is LARGE, I still manage to be Rachel the "good girl."
So when I experience a day like today, perfect weather, perfect planning environment, perfect beverage, perfect lighting, I need to embrace it. Enjoy it. Experience it. My previous plan was to go downtown to a museum and sketch, which is something I haven't done in ages. Would it have felt good? For sure. Would I have been pleased with what I created? Probably. But you know what? I am so much more content right here at Peet's. I didn't even have to hop on the Metro to get here. And I'll be home in about 3 minutes flat when I'm done here.
Sometimes the best things are the things you find right in your own backyard (metaphorically of course).
Have a wonderful day and make sure to embrace all that you are given during those 24 hours.
am speechless. I simply can not believe that in 2017, after all the wars, and disagreements almost leading to war, the human race has not learned from its past.
In 1964 Simon & Garfunkel released He Was My Brother. It was smack dab in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement and they had something to say about it. And they said it in a harmonious way. The words still, much to my dismay, still ring true. It may not only be brothers. It may not be in Mississippi. It may not be outside of a church, although it still does have to do with religion. But it is still happening, and we still need Freedom Riders. They may not be in buses, they may not be young men, but they are needed now more than ever. Please don't get me wrong, however, when I say now more than ever I DO NOT mean to imply they were not necessary during the Civil Rights Movement. Far from it. They were needed then more than ever as well. I simply mean that we, not only as Americans, but as members of the human race, need to act. It may not mean traveling and confronting the Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, and all the other fanatics. It may mean writing a blog post. It may mean writing an op-ed piece. It may mean calling your congressman/woman. It may mean simply having a conversation with your peers or your children about acceptance and love and respect and freedom. It may mean many things to many people.
It saddens my heart that lyrics written in 1964 are still spot on today, in 2017. Where is respect? Where is love? Where is common decency? I will be 100% transparent here. When I became religious, and by that I mean right wing, Orthodox Judaism, I was not so accepting of the "others." It said in the Bible that homosexuality was not okay and so in my mind it was not okay and those who were homosexual were not okay. I was full of judgement, always thinking that I was right and others were wrong, because I had religion on my side. Well, as my fanatical side started evening out, and my religious pendulum swung back towards center, I realized that I had left out love and respect in my religious days. That does NOT mean that all right wing religious Jews are not full of love and respect. It simply means that I was not. But as I evened out, and came back to center, I realized that love of my fellow man/woman was SO MUCH more important that always being religiously correct. I realized that loving others not only made me a more decent person, but it honestly made me a more happy person. Love is full of light and happiness and freedom. Judgement is dark, and heavy, and confining. Respect brings gentleness. Prejudice brings harshness.
I guess the point of this blog, and maybe I should have made it at the start and made it a one sentence post, is that you don't need to love everyone else around you, you simply need to respect their choices, and in return they will respect your's. It is possible to live side by side with someone who believes in a different G-d than you do. It is possible to live side by side with someone who has a different skin color than you do. It is possible to live side by side with almost anyone AS LONG as you have respect for them. The bottom line is that it makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE to me who someone loves, be it the same sex or the opposite sex. What matters is their hearts. Do they love? Do they honor? Do they respect? It makes NO DIFFERENCE to me what G-d someone worships. What DOES matter is whether or not they respect my choice to worship a different G-d.
Yesterday afternoon I saw a rainbow. I haven't seen a rainbow in real life in ages. It filled me with such a sense of promise, of possibility, of success. I hope this rainbow will bring you the same positivity. I hope this blog will allow you to think about respect and love and honor (although something tells me that those of you reading this do already think of those things on the daily).
Let us not listen to the voices of the two-hearted, the destroyers of mind, the haters and self-made leaders, whose lusts for power and wealth will lead us into confusion and darkness.
Seek visions always of world beauty, not violence nor battlefields.
It is our duty to pray always for harmony between man and earth, so that the earth will bloom once more. Let us show our emblem of love and goodwill for all life and land.
Pray for the House of Glass, for within it are minds clear and pure as ice and mountain streams. Pray for the great leaders of nations in the House of Mica who in their own quiet ways help the earth in balance.
We pray the Great Spirit that one day our Mother Earth will be purified into a healthy peaceful one. Let us sing for strength of wisdom with all nations for the good of all people. Our hope is not yet lost, purification must be to restore the health of our Mother Earth for lasting peace and happiness.
Techqua Ikachi - for Land and Life!"
I'm not sure where to start. I honestly have so much swirling through my head right now I would need a dozen right hands to get it all out on paper (meaning I'm right handed and would need 12 pieces of paper to write down all the things). I guess I should start at the very beginning, it is a very good place to start don't ya know.
On Monday my mother and I made our way to Sibley Memorial Hospital for my next installment of maintenance ECT. Well the nurse looked at my arms and found no veins. "Don't worry," he said, "the anesthesiologist is really good and will find one for sure." Um, not at all the way it played out!!!! For 30 minutes, at the very least, the anesthesiologist poked and prodded and stuck me a minimum of six times, digging around, and could not find a viable vein for the IV. Finally the doctor said that we should think about a permanent port. NO WAY I screamed!!!!! The doctor finally asked me if I wanted to stop for the day. I said, "Yes sir!" And out I walked, back to my mother, sitting in the waiting area, shocked to see me so soon. I told her what happened, inbetween sobs and shakes. We sat there for a while while I got myself a little more together. We went down to the coffee shop where I got an iced coffee and she got a hot coffee. It was there that I made my decision:
NO MORE ECT!!!!
NO MORE INVASIVE TREATMENTS!!!!
IT'S TIME TO BRING IN THE NATURAL, HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENTS!!!!
I made the decision that while I will still work closely with the psychiatrist, whom I love and trust implicitly, and my therapist, with whom I have an equally trusting relationship, and I will stay on my meds, I am going to do more for myself than just be a passive patient. I think for a long time I expected people to do things TO me or FOR me. My psychiatrist would PRESCRIBE medications for me to take that would heal me. My therapist would talk TO me and I would answer her, passively. I would go to acupuncture, but not do any work in between the treatments. I expected that since I was so compliant and did everything my doctors told me to do I should be well. Um, let's look at that with our reality glasses on, shall we?
I let the doctors tell me what to do. Did I always do it? Honestly? No I did not. They told me to cut out processed foods and to drink enough water and to get regular, consistent exercise. Did I do all those things? Absolutely not! I still grabbed the mac n' cheese when I had a bad day. I still reached for a Coca-Cola rather than water. And lastly, I would curl up on my couch, hour after hour, watching Netflix or iTunes, even when the weather was so gorgeous you couldn't believe it was real. I met with a nutritionist, who was great, and loving, and kind. Did I follow what she said for me to do? Nope, not even close to it. I mean, don't get me wrong, I bought all the cookbooks she recommended and I might have even cooked out of them once or twice. But did I incorporate her recommendations into my permanent rotations of cooking? N.O.P.E.
This past experience with ECT, showing me how being passive is sometimes just as hard and just as unpleasant as taking charge and being in control of your own life and health, opened my eyes to something that I think I had my blinders on about. I need to take 100% control of how my health plays out! Will it be easy? Absolutely not, I have many, many, many years of old habits to replace with new ones. Will it always go my way? No, I've been learning that life is about riding the rollercoaster; you take the ups with the downs and learn from them both. But regardless, you take the helm and set the course.
So what am I going to do with this new realization? Quite a few things actually.
First of all, I am really making sure to drink at least 2 liters of water while I'm at work and then one more when I get home (and by water I mean seltzer with a splash of 100% cranberry juice). I find myself in the bathroom quite frequently doing this but I've been told your body gets used to the additional water intake.
Secondly, I am focusing on my nutrition. I make sure to eat a healthy breakfast, protein based, every morning. I have a mid-morning snack usually of fruit, or fruit and plain Greek yogurt. I eat lunch which is left over from dinner the previous night. Always a protein and some veggies. In the afternoon I have another snack, usually nuts and dried cranberries. Then I come home and for dinner I have something involving a protein and some veggies. I'm learning that the recipes I make do not need to be fit for the Queen of England, she is not coming over any time soon. It is okay to make simple, wholesome meals that do not involve a ton of random ingredients and spices. And of course there are carbs thrown in for good measure. I'm just not making them the center of all my meals, good bye Wacky Mac!
And lastly I am focusing on my exercise. I realize I have been a lazy bum since my NY Road Runner's days. It feels good, I am rediscovering, to work up a sweat. To have sweat run down your arms, down your nose, into your eyes (well that doesn't feel good, but you get my drift). I've been going for three runs a week, usually for about 50 minutes. I am currently doing a run one minute, walk four minutes pattern for eight repeats. That'll cover about 2.35 miles. At least that is what I did yesterday. I'm aiming to cover more ground in the same amount of time before adding more running to the ratio. Not sure what Runner's World would say to that. Maybe I'll ask them. In fact I think I will! Thanks for the idea blogosphere!!!!!
So far I am half way my first week. So far, so good. I'm going to run to the Giant to pick up some tuna fish and tomatoes to make a salad for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. Knowing me I'll probably make more tuna fish salad than for only two meals, so I'll eat it more, that's okay, I'm not so picky.
Here's a question for all of you readers out there, whether you've been with me from the beginning or are just reading for the first time: What are you doing to take active control of your life? Are you playing the passive recipient? Is it working out for you? That is not a judgment question, I really want to know. Because for me I think playing the passive recipient seemed to be working for me until it wasn't. You know, perhaps my life could have been a whole lot easier if I had taken charge sooner......I'll never know. But what I do know is that it is not too late to become the master of my ship, my own designated driver, the decider (you know George Bush, you're not the only one who is the decider). Leave a comment and let me know what IS or IS NOT working for you right now, in whatever season of life you find yourself.
But in the meantime, I leave you with this powerful image, posted by my friend Sherry on Facebook earlier this week:
Why I'm Blogging
Just your average 40 something trying to find the way in which she can make sense of her life. I hope you'll join me for this journey.