Monday, December 30, 2013
My close friend and acro yoga partner died in a car crash on Friday. Since then I have been thinking to write something but then I find either I can't, or I am not willing to put memories to the page because then they have a way of becoming my truth and I am still sorting out my truth. When each of my grandmothers passed away I was almost instantly able to write something that captured the things I wanted to capture. Not so now... I think I feel different because my friend was so young. I just saw her, just talked, just practice acro and she was healthy and happy... My grandmothers each lived full, long lives. Death brought an end to their suffering, a sort of peace for each of them and my family. There is no peace in the death of my friend. Why is it that when someone dies, we want to imagine that there is some "good" that may come about as a result of their death or some explainable reason for it? What if there is no good that come of it? What if there is no "reason?" Is this the sort of thing that makes those with faith in God have doubts. If I actually believed in God, would I be questioning my God? I cannot find reason in these events. These events are not reasonable in any way. I feel sick, spiritually and mentally. I am trying not to judge my own reactions but it is hard not to when I see others in a flurry of activity caring for her pets, planning memorials and raising money. I feel paralyzed and powerless. I can't even put words on paper that feel adequate, let alone plan anything. I find myself shying away from memorials a bit. I think about my friend and how she would have looked at all the fb comments and been like, "Really? these people didn't even know me..." We all grieve and cope however we grieve and cope but it is almost like folks are attracted to tragedy like flies to a kill. I have no stomach for it right now. I don't want to go to a memorial filled with spectators who met my friend in passing or only via facebook.
Monday, September 9, 2013
As I sat worrying the other night about what to do with my Copaxone situation, it occured to me that if the choice had involved my anti-depressant, there would have been no choice. I would have just bought my med with credit and a prayer. It also occurred to me that my physical health is as important to me as my mental health. I would spend every cent in my arsenal in order to keep doing aerial dance. Once I had this realization, my choice was clear, start stripping (JK). Actually, I knew that I would contact the drug company to get help with my copay. I also decided that even if I could not get help to pay for my med, it is a more important expense than everything except food and rent. There really was no decision to be made: the choice was clear, if there is any chance that Copaxone is the reason I can do the things I do, I want to stay on the drug. I want to continue to fly!
Friday, September 6, 2013
Fellow MSers, I really need some good advice right now from some people like myself who understand... I went to get my Copaxone today on my health plan from my new school district. When I went to the counter to pick it up the woman told me it would be $250.00. I thought I had heard her wrong but I had not. I decided not to buy my Copaxone today so I could go home to troubleshoot. I signed up for the same Kaiser plan I had in my old district where I only had to pay $10.00 copay each time. Apparently even the same plan is not the same in each district and does not cover the same stuff. I came home thinking maybe I signed up for the wrong plan but then I checked and I had signed up for the best one offered so even if I changed my Kaiser plan, my med will still cost me $250.00 a month. The problem is, at the moment I just don't have the money. So here is where I need help... Do I just toss the dice and quit the med? I have no way of even knowing if it helps me. It does not treat symptoms and it does not cure MS. I am feeling fine and I have not had a relapse in over a year (knock on wood). A huge part of me wants to take 6 months off and see what happens. Please send advise but please be kind and don't call me an idiot or anything (sometimes I notice folks can be militant about meds so please have compassion). Thanks so much, Denver Refashionista
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Today is one of those days where it may be that my ambitions exceed my actual energy. So far I have bathed, folded laundry, eaten breakfast and played on youtube and facebook. It is 12pm and I already feel ready to go back to bed, even after sleeping 13 hours. It was a demanding first week back to work. I am not used to the early mornings and long days. I have been ridiculously exhausted since Friday. I brought home work today but hardly touched it. Instead I subbed yesterday for contortion and aerial dance. I thought just teaching wouldn't really make me too tired but then I came home and slept 3 hours. 3 hours after that, I went back to bed and slept from 7:30pm until 8:40am this morning. I had plans to do acro yoga at 11am today but that was postponed until 1:00. Now I kind of wish I had not committed. I also committed to aerial at 5. In the meantime, my bed is whispering sweet nothings to me. I know to listen to my body and to avoid being stubborn but I really want one day a week to be not about work. I want my fun day to be full of acro and aerial. I hate the way that work always gets in the way of playtime LOL. I am going to play still but I am going to just take it easy and see how I feel. So much of disease management is about finding balance.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Summer vacation has been great. Really great. Great to the point I find myself too busy doing other things I love to even bother blogging. Not that I don't love blogging... I do but there is always some chance to go do aerial or to play at acrobatics in the park, or to go out with friends and family. Tomorrow I officially start on my new job so I thought I would write a quick life update before I get caught up in tons of work stuff. This year I will be teaching ELD (English Language Development) (ESL) to elementary school kids in Denver K-5. I think I am going to like it but it will be a lot of work. In other news-- I am engaged to a Dominican man named Jose. His fiance Visa was just approved so soon he will be living with me in Denver. We plan to get married soon too. We are super-happy and excited. My health is good (knock on wood). I feel good both physically and emotionally and I thanks to aerial dance, I am getting stronger all the time. I can even do pull ups now ( a feat for an adult female). I am feeling toned, thin and buff. I am absolutely addicted to aerial. When work starts I hope to maintain a good balance of work and play. Here is a link to my latest aerial video.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Monday, July 1, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I only have a moment to stop and reflect right now before I have to run out. It seems like I always have somewhere I need to hurry off too... Right now the thought is making me a bit irritable but the honest truth is that if I were to stay here now, my only desire at the moment is to go back to bed. I feel tired, not just tired, weary. That is something that has not really changed in the last six weeks. Things are shifting, not as much as I would like but they are shifting. It's still hard to drag myself out of bed but I am not paralyzed by anxiety the way I was. (This is where I left off 3 days ago to run off, I'm just now getting back to the blog). I have some time today to finish this post. Yesterday I was sore and fatigued in a way I have not been for a long time so when I woke up this morning, still exhausted, I decided to go back to sleep and take my last available sick day of the year. I slept deeply and well, and when I got up, I felt so much better. Gone is the rain of yesterday, and the sun is shining. I got right out of bed when I awoke again and even thought for a little that I was fully rested and no longer sore. That turned out to be a bit untrue. I do feel better then yesterday. My hips don't ache so badly and I don't feel like a ninety year old woman anymore, but I am still tired. The good news is that since I took the morning off, I still have about four hours until I need to leave home to go teach yoga. So now, after my power sleep, I think it is time for another nap. While my mental state is much improved these days, I have still gone back to my pre-diagnoses guilt about things like taking the day off, sleeping in, or just laying around the house. I am no longer so anxious, but there is still this annoying little voice in my head that is always questioning if I am forgetting something or if there is something I should be taking care of. The most annoying thing is that although that voice is quieter, it never fully shuts up and so I feel half-guilty about taking a break. Normally, I would still be at my day job so this time would be occupied but I am still here questioning myself about whether there is something I should be taking care of. This thinking is crazy for anyone, but is especially crazy for an exhausted woman with an auto-immune disease. Life is entirely too short to go through it feeling bad about my choices. It is also too short to be packed full of must-dos rather than things I want to do, therefore, I will now try to go take a guilt-free nap before I need to go teach two yoga classes. Now vs. 6 weeks ago? A lot better but I am still crazy:)
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Dietary Recommendations for Managing MS Multiple sclerosis can be a devastating diagnosis, but learning to manage the disease can ensure that you maintain a good quality of life and diminish your symptoms. One way that many have found to manage their condition is to focus on diet to avoid exacerbating symptoms. There have been many "best" diets promoted for multiple sclerosis, but the research has not shown that any of them are the "right" way for managing MS. Instead, there are some general recommendations that may or may not help you manage symptoms, depending on your own body type and your unique condition. Here are a few dietary recommendations that may help you to manage your multiple sclerosis: Eat More Fish Oil Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are not only good for your heart but can also help you to reduce inflammation in your body, which can help diminish the symptoms of MS. You can get all the fish oil you need by eating fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. However, if you don't like the taste of fish, you can still get the benefits by taking fish oil supplements. These are sold as capsules that you can take every day, or you can get oil to add to your smoothies or other recipes. Just be careful to eat a diet that is low in overall fat, as this has been shown to improve the symptoms of MS. Cut Out Gluten More and more people have been shown to have an intolerance or a sensitivity to gluten, which can cause a number of health disorders, including immune-related problems and inflammation that can lead to poor health and disease. Even if you don't have an intolerance to gluten, it can still cause inflammation in the body, which can aggravate the symptoms of MS. Simply cutting out gluten -- found in breads, cakes, cookies, pasta, and any other products that contain flour -- and focus on other sources of complex carbohydrates, like brown rice, oats (as long as there is no cross-contamination), and quinoa. Cut Out Dairy Dairy has also been shown to increase inflammation in the body, though there is some debate about this. You may find that cow's milk gives you problems, but that goat's milk does not. Or you may find that milk is an issue, but that some types of cheese or eggs are not. Most seem to agree that casein is the problem ingredient found in dairy. Experiment with an elimination diet to see what helps you in reducing symptoms the most. Get More Vitamin D Some research has suggested that there is a link between low levels of Vitamin D and a risk of developing MS. The link is most pronounced in children who have low Vitamin D and then develop MS later in life. People with MS have also been shown to have lower bone density and to be at higher risk of developing osteoporosis, which definitely indicates a need for more Vitamin D. You can get Vitamin D from direct exposure to sunlight, by eating fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, and by taking supplements. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Veggies One thing that everyone can agree on -- whether you have MS or not -- is that a healthy diet consists of eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and veggies. By doing so, you will get the nutrients you need, you will reduce inflammation in the body, and you will improve your overall health. You'll feel better and you'll help to diminish the symptoms of your MS. Proper medical care, medication and therapy are, of course, the best approach to treating and managing your multiple sclerosis. However, improving the quality of your diet may also be able to help you reduce your symptoms. Try these common suggestions to find out what works the best for you and brings you the best results. About the Author: Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching all culinary schools in the US. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
I am just trying to live one day at a time, one minute, even as my mind keeps extending farther out into the days and weeks before me. Even the idea of little tasks and responsibilities fill me with panic. The only way to get through is by continually dragging myself back to right where I am in the moment, continually reassuring myself that I only need to think about the thing right in front of me. I just need to focus on that one thing. I guess that is the only way I am really hanging on right now. The more focused and present I can be, the less my panic. The problem is that it keeps sweeping over me in overwhelming waves. I am so ready for a solid shift back to feeling good, or even just ok all the time. Right now I truly value the minutes of ok. In times like these, I know it is good to go back to gratitude meditations. The trouble is, I am so overly fixated on the things that are not working, the worst possible outcomes. Sometimes these visions make me want to avoid even the things I should enjoy. Now I will try... I am grateful for the growing warmth and light of the early spring. I am grateful for my strength and generally good health. I am grateful for my friends, family and those I love. I am grateful for my home and creature comforts. I am grateful to be employed. I am grateful for my cats. I am grateful for yoga and moving arts. I am grateful that others do not judge me with the harshness I judge myself. Despite the darkness and the struggle, I believe I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful that right in this moment I am ok.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
I promised myself just over a week ago that if my head-space did not get better within a week, I would reconsider going on anti-depressants. I made it halfway through Tuesday (even wrote a nice hopeful blog post), and then the depression and anxiety hit me like a load of bricks. I found myself talking aloud, praying (something I don't do), and basically begging God to take mercy on me and to take away the pain. "I can't live like this, I can't live like this," I chanted to the unsympathetic walls. I scared my cats with my tears and outburst but there was a voice in my mind whispering, "It doesn't have to be like this. There is help to be had." It took all my will power and determination, but I finally emailed my doctor to ask for anti-depressants again (Effexor). I even called the pharmacy. I spent the evening alternately yelling at myself and crying. I promised myself that I would stick by my decision and follow up on getting the meds first thing on Wednesday. I got up, felt lousy and still managed to call and email again. Dragged myself out of the house and to the dentist's office. While I was there I had to decide whether I was going to authorize them to do over $300.00 in dental work and order me a bite guard (for clenching my teeth, huge surprise there). The total bill was $736.00. I don't have that kind of money right now. I was pretty well ready to just lay down and give up, but that's not me, not the real me. So I pulled myself together and said, "Put it on a credit card and a prayer." I forgot to mention... Tuesday night when I emailed my doctor, I made the decision not to second-guess my choices. I made the decision to be really kind to myself. I made the decision to do whatever I needed to do just to deal with day-to-day life. I decided to put my well-being above all else until I can feel strong, happy and in charge again. I think this was the best decision I have made in a really long time. I also feel proud of myself for making the big decision to help myself by admitting my need for help and not shying away from the dental decision. I think I might have a new, new year's resolution: be decisive and feel good about my choices. Anyway, back to my story... So when I got out of the dentist's office I still had not heard from my doc. Five minutes later though, I checked my phone again and I had just missed his call. He had prescribed me the med and asked me to call him. I did. He was very kind and reassuring and promised we would talk again in the next few weeks. My neurologist also emailed to check on me. By the time I had picked up my med, I felt so good about myself for taking this very hard step, that I even drove all the way to Boulder to meet a friend and take a hike. Last night, I felt some of my darkness had lifted. Going on this med is hard. For me the physical adjustment is intense and I know it may take some time, but I am determined to stick with it, to really just live one day at a time because I know beneath the chemical cloud of sadness cast by my depression, I am a strong, tough fighter.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I want to take a really deep breath that fills me completely. I want to follow that breath with another and then another, so that all my breathes are deep and steady. Right now, too many of my breathes are shallow. Not long after being diagnosed with MS, I was also diagnosed with Asthma, but the thing is, I never had asthma before... I only have asthma when I am anxious or depressed. It is more my reaction to stress, but it sucks to not fully breathe. I can tell when my mental state is not exactly as I want it to be, just by the quality of the breaths my body allows me to take. Despite my best resolves to just be, here and now, to be more than ok, I am still struggling. I want the struggle to just go away. It seems I am taking far more punches than I am throwing, but I also haven't thrown in the towel yet. There have been much harder times. I have my health and my freedom. I am safe and comfortable (even when my mind doesn't believe it). I said it before, and I will say it again, "I am not licked yet." I ask myself now: "How do I make this easier?" How do I remind myself that good days build on good days, that just a good now is more than enough? In another post, I mentioned breaks in the clouds-- how do I continue to find those breaks and then make them last? I know from experience that I can change my day, my reality, any minute, any second, but how do I do that when I have so many doubts? Lately, this blog has gone from "inspiring" to my own personal attempt to help myself. I guess I want it to be inspiring again. I have been psyching myself up lately. "Be fierce," I tell myself. I remind myself that I am tough. I remind myself that there are many things that make life good, and then I put my head down and push forward, getting up after each blow to fight again.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I remember writing before about a dark night of the soul. Actually, I remember writing about many such nights. Last night I had what I might term, a light night of the soul. I went to bed early, planning to try to pick up a morning substitute teaching job, but I couldn't sleep. I took a little klonopin to help with sleep and to keep any anxiety that might pop up at bay. It could just have been the drug that relaxed me, but suddenly things seemed clear, easy. All my doubts and fear melted. Suddenly it was like, "I got this." The whole job hunt thing didn't seem so hard. I stopped worrying about what ifs. I got excited about the future a bit, and at least last night, I knew what I wanted, and it seemed simple. There were no obstacles in my way. I can work hard. If I teach, I know how to teach. I don't need to be afraid of what I end up with because I can do it, whatever it may be. I realized that while money and security are not the end all be all, they do help me to relax a bit. I spend way too much time worrying that I won't have, or won't get what I really need. When I look at this in the light of a new day, I may have missed the mark a bit, but some of the things I thought about last night were on point. No matter what I actually end up doing, I do want more security. I thought I really wanted to own and operate my moving arts business, but I think I might rather focus more on being a student. Sometimes I would rather just show up to learn and play. Right now I am imagining just working during the day, and then having most evenings to do with as I please. I realize that in my mind I have sort of glamorized this stuff, glossed over all the things that were really awful before. I am glad I am taking the time now to write about last night. It was beautiful, that temporary certainty that obliterated all the doubts that have been stalking my mind. When I look at some of last night's logic now, some of it seems rather flawed, but I took something from it too. I need that kind of certainty and confidence in myself all the time. When I believe in myself and allow myself to trust that things can and will work out, I feel good and any failures are just tiny set backs. Sometimes I doubt myself to the point where I am almost afraid to leave home or to take on any challenges. The truth is, most of the things I fear, I do just fine with. Last night I felt for a bit like everything was "solved." It's not, but somehow I still feel more hopeful and more confident today than I have in a while. I think I needed that short stretch of pure illumination.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
By the time Sunday night rolled around, I was fed up, ready to give up, and ready to email my doctor for anti-depressants, but then I was again faced with the idea that I really have no reason to be unhappy. Well this realization can only take me two ways: my struggles are either purely chemical, or I just have a hard time remembering how to allow myself to be happy. At that point, I decided to fight my hardest to be in charge of this thing. Is it possible to just continually decide to be happy? I suspect it might be. I decided I just have to give it my best try. Yesterday was a pretty great success. Today through trial and error, I am at a minimum ok, maybe a bit better, but I can feel the crazy lurking underneath. I got myself out of the house not long after awakening today. This kept me from devolving in ways that I do not wish to devolve, but did not save me from indulging in some acts of crazy. My latest, and largest obsession, is job hunting for next year. It doesn't seem to matter how much I remind and reassure myself that I have time, it's early and I will find something, I still think about this problem every day almost the minute I open my eyes. I keep thinking that if I can just get this figured out, everything else will fall into place. I wish that were really the case. I just can't seem to relax about this issue for long, no matter how much time I spend reassuring myself. I made a deal with myself that on my free days I would send out two cover letters. Of course today, despite my generally better state of mind, I sent out four, and I feel an itch to do more. I have been getting replies from a few of my letters, but each of them has been to tell me that the position I am seeking has already been filled. I suspect I am spinning my wheels in many cases, applying for phantom posts... And even though I know this deep down, I can't seem to stop myself in the same futile process every day. The thing is that I know myself. I know my own compulsions. It is super-difficult to coax myself into down time. I kept telling myself yesterday that laying around with a novel is hardly wasting my life or ruining my chances of finding a job for August, but I must have done a poor job of convincing myself because when I considered such an option this morning, I felt that bubble of contentment I spent yesterday creating, starting to slip a bit, and I knew that if I didn't leave the house, I would slide down that sharp abyss of mind into a place of darkness. I believe that I may have the ability to control my state of mind, to be in charge of how I feel, but I wish it didn't feel like "work." Until Sunday night, I found myself fighting so hard against impending anxiety and depression that my head ached. The last couple days I am not fighting nearly as hard, but it is still there, closer to the surface than I want it to be. That is why anti-depressants remain a bit of a lure to me. I promised myself a week to try a commitment to happiness, so I am really trying...
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I suppose the fact that I can take the time to sit in a coffee shop and update my blog is a form of self-indulgence. At the moment, I don't have internet at home and I keep feeling this need to update my blog. Sometimes I think the best way to fight the darkness that keeps trying to engulf my brain is to write. I am not sure if it really helps, but I have already realized the hard way that I can't just hole up in the house and hide from dealing with my life. Sometimes I find the hiding gives me temporary relief but ultimately, I think it makes me feel worse. Sometimes I just want to bury myself in bed, under the covers with my beautiful kitty beside me and just try to forget, forget the imperative to do, and worse the imperative to find something to worry about every day. It seems the moment that I have managed to put one worry to bed, another one finds a way to crop its ugly head. I try to fight them, but every day, something seems to emerge. I feel like these things will strangle me. I just want to go back to bed, but I know that if I do, in the end, I will feel worse. Each day I find that by somewhere between noon and five I feel good again and I can hardly remember what was plaguing me. The whole thing then just looks like a giant self-indulgence, but when I am in it, I am in it. I find my breath is shallow, I am filled with a nameless fear and I am not sure how to find relief. Later, I seem to start dragging out free, deep breath, after free deep breath, until I feel fine again and no one who sees me can even suspect that my day started so wrong. I keep trying to figure it out... How can I get my day to begin without sadness or fear? Why can't I feel as good at 7am as I usually do at 7pm? Every day I tell myself, "Tomorrow will be different" but then the next day arrives, and the cycle repeats itself. I am confused. Why is it that no matter how much I tell myself not to even let the ugly thoughts start, they just creep in and then settle down to quietly strangle me? And then, like right now, they are just gone and I am fine but almost afraid to go home, afraid they are waiting for me there... A seemingly illogical part of me of me keeps thinking, "If only x,y and z fall into place, I will just stop worrying and everything will be perfect," but that is the real crazy because I am looking at external things to solve some very internal issues. For years I have continued to try writing all this out, always hopeful that if I am just self-aware enough, I will resolve all things that bother me.
Monday, March 4, 2013
Women and the MS Experience: Different from Men? It’s no secret: women develop Multiple Sclerosis two to three times as often as men. In addition, Harvard Medical School and Healthline agree that women’s MS symptoms are similar to those of men in both frequency and severity. Both men and women seem to respond to cooling therapy and experience depressive symptoms, perceived health, and exercise barriers the same way. So what’s the difference in “the MS experience” between men and women? The well-documented reduction in MS relapses during pregnancy is at least one opportunity for a break in the MS symptom parade—one that men don’t have the option to experience. Despite this brief chance to swap some MS symptoms for the nausea and exhaustion of pregnancy, treatments (in animal studies) based on altering sex hormones still only show limited promise for relieving women’s MS symptoms. In addition, the risk of MS relapse increases again a few months after the baby is born. Women can at least be grateful that having kids does not seem to negatively impact their MS disease progression in the long run. Despite the similarity between men and women in symptoms and disease progression, women don’t have quite the same disease indicators or related disease outcomes. For instance, MSRV, a retrovirus believed to be related to MS, is present at significantly higher levels in the blood of women with MS than in men with MS. This retrovirus is also present at much higher rates in women without MS than in men without the condition, suggesting a potential reason behind the higher rates of MS among women. Even more troubling, women with MS have to worry about the cardiovascular comorbidities associated with their primary illness. Unfortunately, women with MS are more likely than the general population and men with MS to experience cardiovascular problems. These problems include heart failure and stroke, which only adds to the chances that women (and men) with MS will fall prey to the number one killer in the U.S.: heart disease. Is There Any Good News for Women with MS? Although some of the news above doesn’t bode well for the health of women with MS, there is at least a silver lining. One of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease is also one of the most successful ways to relieve certain MS symptoms: exercise. An added bonus? Exercise can release hormones and chemicals that also boost mood and energy levels, combatting fatigue and providing some extra oomph in the fight against depression—which is common among both men and women with MS. In addition, regular exercise can improve mobility, endurance, and quality of life for women with MS. Thankfully, exercise can be slowly incorporated into the daily life of women with MS; “all or nothing” and “no pain, no gain” mottos do not apply here. Even if you are currently inactive, incorporating exercise (with your doctor’s knowledge and go-ahead!) may offer you relief from MS symptoms and its life-threatening comorbidities. The ultimate exercise goal for adult women is pretty manageable: 2.5 hours of moderate activity each week (like a half-hour brisk walk five days each week) plus strength or resistance training at least twice each week. Swimming, yoga, cycling, and other gentle exercise programs combine some muscle training with coordination and a bit of aerobic work. Many inactive people with MS are able to begin with stretching exercises and build up to longer, more difficult routines over several weeks. Women who use wheelchairs are no exception to this! Ask your doctor for advice on the best exercise options for you. Opt for a time of day when you have the most energy. If your worst fatigue hits you in the afternoon, try exercising in the morning. Use bottles of water as light weights for simple strength training while you watch TV, and incorporate more work into trips to the grocery store (park further away, carry a basket instead of using a cart, etc.). Work on your weakest muscle groups first; improve balance by working the core and the legs, or increase motor skills by combining stretching exercises with grasping, clutching, and wrist exercises. Your goal should be a combination of cardio and strength exercises each week. This will help protect your heart and fight the progressive nature of MS by restoring some muscle, energy, and balance. All in all, you’ll be fighting MS, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other problems with one prevention technique—and that kind of effective multi-tasking is certainly good news for all women with MS.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Sometimes I just want to lay down and never get back up. I just want to succumb to the darkness obliterating my light, my reason but I am not ready to stop struggling. I am not ready to just give up. I might if I had never felt like this before... But I have known darker times, tougher days and still gone on to know happiness. I wrote the other day about a break in the clouds. I have more of those these days now than I ever have had before in times of anxiety and depression. I am watching myself, trying to decide how many days of anxiety and depression, days where I feel powerless and unmotivated that I can take before I just give in and email my doctor for an antidepressant. So I count the days, good versus bad, and I cling onto the little things that give me hope, the little things that bring relief and sometimes even happiness. Today I am winning the battle. I won it Thursday, fought a skirmish yesterday, and survived, and now I look forward to a good day today and tomorrow. I am not licked yet...
Sunday, February 24, 2013
The waters of my life seeth around me like a storming sea. Sometimes I feel I will be completely submerged. I can't even lift up my head to look beyond the next wave. Sometimes I just want to give up and drown. The thing is, I'm not really ready to give up. Even in the darkness, I remember the moments, many moments where my joy was so great I felt I could hardly even contain it in one body. I remember moments where the waters were calm and placid. And again, even in these darker times, there are moments... There are moments of complete calm and deep faith that all things will work out just fine. And there are other moments of ecstatic joy. Often I am more than satisfied just to be motivated to make things better, or just to breath an entirely free breath. One of the real problems with anxiety and depression is that they feed on themselves. You feel bad or anxious so you don't want to do anything, or even worse, you feel suddenly like even doing the smallest thing is too much effort. You become overwhelmed and want to do nothing. Then, to make matters worse, you feel bad about doing nothing. These days I suspect that the only way I can deal with the really hard times is to start moving, get some momentum and then keep moving. I like it the most when I actually get to feeling content just being. It is a hard place to get to, but sometimes when I do, I feel really good being in that place. Sadly, it often wears off way too quickly. I had a pretty good day today. It was good enough to make me want to blog while I felt a break in the clouds. I am not sure how long this break will last, but while it is upon me, I thought I might leave myself notes on how to get back to that ever-elusive patch of sunlight. I had a good talk today with another special person in my life who I knew would understand. She was talking about being depressed, and she noted that you begin to forget the things you even like in life. Slowly you start to even forget most of your reason or desire to live at all. She reminded me it is good that I still have those things I know I really love even in these tough times. She is right. Sometimes I just imagine myself doing wraps and setting up drops for aerial fabric and I am filled with excitement. I think about doing acro with friends or teaching the stuff I love, and I just smile. I have noticed that I still have a big smile and a light in my eyes so I must somehow be there, the best of me, somewhere right below the gloom.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I have been thinking about blogging but I have had a cold for two weeks on top of my regular busy schedule and by the time I have a break, I just want to lay curled up with the cats and read. Mostly I have been focused on staying rested enough so I can make it to all my jobs. Money has been a bit tight, but I have just been buying groceries and staying home. I have still gotten out to take a few aerial dance classes and to practice some acro yoga with friends. Generally I have been a bit tired for these things but it has been a tough winter for me so far, and every time I go fly in aerial or acro, I remember the stuff that makes life worth living. In the hard times, remembering those things seems essential. Speaking of flying... Check out this article by Erin Mathiason about my aerial and moving arts classes. In this article you can also learn a bit more about how MS has influenced me as both a teacher and a yogi. Happy reading.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
There have been moments in the last few days of extreme lows like nothing I have experienced in a long while, but there has also been some very joyful moments, and some moments of great clarity. I had one of the clarity moments earlier. I was teaching yoga and my focus for the class was on an aspect of ahimsa (a yama or "yogic principle"). The aspect I was focusing on is one interpretation I have heard where ahimsa means, "freedom from." Usually we talk about ahimsa in terms of non-harming or non-violence, in this case, the "freedom from: might be freedom from violence towards oneself or others in deed or action. If I have somehow misunderstood or misquoted, may the yoga experts forgive me. I try to relate what I teach to things that have meaning in my life at any given time. Anyway, I digress... So in class I was talking about "freedom from," suggesting that students insert their own word into this phrase to fit their needs, and I kept thinking, "freedom from fear." Fear often impinges on my world and mars my present, so I always want freedom from this fear. To make a long story short, when my students were in svasana (a final, sedate, supine pose) I was thinking about the idea of freedom from, and I realized it was not so much freedom from fear that I sought, it was freedom from expectation. So much of what brings me down is expectation. It is my perceived idea of what others expect. It is my expectation of myself (also often based on what I think others expect). It is my default expectation that things will not work out the way I want them to, or that I will somehow "fail." In short it is negative thinking based on expectations (many of which are also negative). I have a huge self-expectation that everything I do must be done well, that everything I create or do must be done with some kind of final, or grand outcome. Sometimes the joy of doing the things I enjoy (even blogging) gets lost in my expectations about the final product. Exhausting. The other day I drew a sketch just to practice. I didn't think I needed to create some final, near perfect thing. I loved the process. As I realized all these things about my own expectations, I also realized that is what I really want freedom from. It is such a cliche to say, "It is what it is" but truly, It is! I want, "Freedom from expectations."
Saturday, January 19, 2013
When I woke up this morning, I felt super-low. I was really missing my fiance and I was worried about a lot of stuff. I even started creating a list of things I was worried about for myself. It seemed like it might be a good idea to take out a calendar and actually look at the dates related to things I needed to spend time worrying about. As I type this, I am almost laughing at myself. How is writing a list of dates to worry about going to help anything? At the time it sounded potentially therapeutic, but now I am feeling quite good, and it just sounds nuts. The other day I was writing about how just being in the moment is really the best thing I can do. The crazy within seems to believe it is the worst thing I can do. Why dedicate perfectly good worrying time to just relaxing? Seems counter-productive (LOL). I'm glad I saved the blog writing for now. This morning's post would have been super-hopeless and depressed. It is quite possible that I will wake up again tomorrow feeling equally depressed. On the other hand, I might feel great. Things often change by the hour. Right now I feel hopeful and content. The things that seemed insurmountable earlier, seem like minor concerns now. Most of the mole hills I have made into mountains in the course of my existence are hardly worth even remembering now, and some of the trials worth remembering are so much bigger than anything that I currently face. Today's reminder: things can improve by the hour.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
As I mentioned in my last post, adjusting back to my regular life in 2013 has been a challenge. I am hanging in there, just trying hard to take things one day at a time with my eyes still fixed on the life I want. Lately, my greatest challenge lies in staying fully present. I worry a lot about things in the future and things I can't control. I'm trying to remember the good little things in every day. I enjoy my drive to work, the warm heater, my coffee, the music... I love every moment I spend with my beautiful black kitty. I love the way she snuggles her warm body next to me, the way she smells, her soft fur... I love the way practicing yoga and aerial makes me feel inside and out. It makes me feel strong and certain. I like that feeling. I love reading a good book and discovering there is nowhere I have to be. I love imagining things I want to create and practicing aerial dance moves in my head. I love my cozy little apartment. I often worry about money these days but truly, at least right now, I have everything I need. I am waiting, often sadly for my fiance to be able to come here, but I am trying to remember all these beautiful little things instead of just waiting for the day we can be together again.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
I never knew it would be this tough to end my vacation and come back to my regular life. Right now I am just taking it one day at a time. I really miss the DR and I especially miss my boyfriend (now fiance). I realize that for now I need to remain in the U.S. and work hard here. Since I am a bit down today, I thought I would just post the video from my interview for RAW Denver artists from a few months back. Hope you enjoy.