Long have I thought words were my friends. Today, words failed me. They fled from me. They refused to be summoned for an experience I now cannot describe.
I was pushing a cart out of a Wal*Mart Supercenter. My brain flooded with messages that told me I'd done the same thing before, that I liked pushing a cart across a parking lot, that I was truly myself. I felt as if some ancient muscle memory took over my body and steered me with confidence and purpose. I imagined my eldest child as a baby, sitting in the cart, smiling at shoppers and attendants.
This is freedom. The mundane, ordinary minutiae of life sings in serotonin intervals. A sometime chore blossoms into a cherished event. This is freedom.
I began driving again on October 26th. I've had a few excursions, and they have all been outstanding. But I was never alone long enough to reflect on the fact that I was driving again.
I've not been a regular driver since August 2009, when I began passing out as many as six times every day. You can read further on this blog for some of the gory details. Sufficient are these for our discussion: I was helpless and disabled; I embraced my diagnosis of conversion disorder; I've been coming back to myself over these many months.
Sometimes things affect you so deeply and for so long that you forget they affected you at all. Not driving affected me. In Oklahoma, where public transportation is nearly nonexistent and we build outward not upward, driving is the difference between self-sufficiency and others-sufficiency. Driving means independence. It means having the power of self-direction. It means options.
I wouldn't normally have gone to Wal*Mart, particularly on a random Thursday afternoon. At that time, my husband normally has our only vehicle at his worksite. Why have two vehicles in a home of one driver? He's ill today, which is also blessedly rare. I tucked the boys into napping beds and plotted my adventure. Not too far. Not too chancy. No big roads. Not even my favorite shop.
The worst part about being a prisoner, I think, is remembering not being a prisoner. When I was bedridden, I sorely wished to do laundry. When I was homebound, I longed to drive myself to Sonic at Happy Hour to buy a soda. I've wanted to do my own grocery shopping. Take my boys to the park. Visit a museum. Visit friends who needed someone too. But I shoved it down because remembering upped my grump factor to intolerable levels. I dismissed those things as out of reach. I focused on places I could walk with my children, having others in my home, and living at peace where I am.
Do you know a word that can describe how I felt pushing a cart out of Wal*Mart toward a vehicle I would drive, a vehicle whose windows I'd roll down and whose stereo I'd turn up? Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious doesn't even come close. I may as well have been flying of my own volition, such was my freedom and joy in that moment.
I cannot speak to freedom from actual bonds, troubled relationships, foreign authorities, and so forth. Is it the same? Does a trip to Wal*Mart become indescribable? I do not know.
If you know someone who is homebound, is on bed rest, has limited mobility, or the like, please remember him/her. Go out of your way to help your friend feel independent and free. You have no notion how they long to do some of the things you would wish away. Laundry. A trip to the post box. Choosing an item off a shelf at the store. Forgive that person for grumpiness and discontent. Bear with your friend through the hardship. Hope, especially if your friend no longer remembers to hope, that freedom comes.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Tomorrow is the last day of my 30-day cleanse, based on the book "Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind" by Dr. Jeffrey Morrison. Seven months ago I took his symptom survey, available at morrisonhealth.com, and I scored a 141. A bit more than 30 days ago I took the same symptom survey and received the same score: 141.
My friend and I drank the shake that first morning - my birthday, no less - and it was magnificently disgusting. But, we had promised to stick it out 10 long days. By the tenth day, though, we were feeling better and losing weight, and we decided to commit to 30 days.
When I retook the symptom survey on Friday night, my score was 54! On the one hand, I was shocked. On the other hand, I feel so good.
I'm walking now. Today, we walked 4.33 miles. 'We' is me and my three-year-old. Turns out, he's an exercise junkie! He loves it, doesn't complain, and cannot sleep afterwards. We're exploring a nature preserve near our home, and it is full of trails and interesting discoveries.
In not-so-good news, I cannot find a psychiatrist who treats conversion disorder and is within my insurance network. I do have an excellent therapist, and I'm making good progress with my overall health.
Check out the cleanse - it is life-changing, game-changing, amazing. Choose health.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
In eight minutes - the time I have before my next work session - I will condense the last many days for you.
1) I have a shiny new therapist, who is essential to guiding me through this mess.
2) I've started walking daily, and I use a New Balance Via pedometer that incorporates a USB thingy so that I can track my progress on my computer.
3) I'm on day 8 of a 30-day detoxification. For details read Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind by Jeffrey A. Morrison, M.D.
4) Today I walked 8747 steps - yay!
5) Today I gorged on a food not anywhere close to detoxing - boo!
6) Today I learned again that Emotional Eating and I are friends who shouldn't be.
7) I stopped writing here for a while because I was spinning tires and philosophizing - not all that interesting, really.
8) I'm back because the tires have thrown mud all over everything I am, and I don't know how to change that but I want to.
9) I'm glad you cannot see me this moment, because I'm a smeared, tired, disappointed wreck.
10) My eight minutes are nearly spent, and I've shown the barest tip of this iceberg.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
What good is a rearview mirror when the front windshield is full of condensation? Focus, I suppose.
The past doesn't help move a person forward, but it does give a sense of general direction and something to do while hoping to avoid a pothole, a tree, a telephone pole, or a cow standing stock-still in the middle of the road.
Today I visited my counselor for the second time, and we've spent our time on both occasions in the rearview mirror. Some things seem tiny, obscure, far away, and other things seem too looming to be believable. Objects in a rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.
Other than a catchy song, what does that mean? The near-past only looks better from the present perspective. If viewed on a straight line time diagram, would anything appear bigger than any other thing? If viewed on a straight line, what might pop up that I can't even recognize in the rearview mirror?
Amazing moments of clarity act like windshield wipers on condensation - they make a way to see through the distortion of future and keep me on track. That's when I realize that the future is just like the rearview mirror, not even reversed. The objects closest to me are huge, feel catastrophic or elevatory, tangible; as I speed through life, though, only the immediate objects have such impact. Immediately behind me. Immediately before me. My perception of middle- and far-past or middle- and far-future is glaringly flawed, biased, untempered by immediacy.
Here's to moments of clarity, hoping they come in regular intervals of life's windshield wipers and not because the windshield's cracked, broken, gone.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The one thing everyone has - excuses. I don't have a treatment plan. The referral physician doesn't accept my health insurance. Three phone calls have been made to the referring physician, but no reciprocal contact has been made. I don't have a treatment plan.
See? It flows in a nice, logical circle.
Problem: I'm tired of living in nice, logical circles. I want to break through the circle and into whatever exists beyond.
Monday, December 12, 2011
I'm often amazed at how little is required for a falter. So many glorious things are happening in my life, and I am focused on negatives. No driving. Which births no freedom. Which means no going. Which leads to isolation. Which turns into no, thank yous when others come calling.
Conversion disorder is only partly responsible for my present state. I've all but stopped writing. Writing feels like a guilty pleasure, a distraction tearing me away from all my worry. You'd think I'd use the writing for exactly that purpose - tearing away from worry, or pushing straight through it. But I open a document and stare at the little blinking cursor, knowing that to give the words life I would be forced to let go all the other blech in my head. The stories are there. Exciting. Torturously outlined. Simmering.
Still I hold on to all of it. The words never make it past my fingertips. The worries never run away or run out or run dry.
Times like these I wonder if running would help. Maybe the physical nature of running would allow some of the worry to perspire and leave me.
But I don't run. I stare. I care for little boys who think they're big. I shuffle duties, make a bit of motion on this and that.
What if I block out some time when no one can reach me, when I am utterly disconnected, when I am left alone - intentionally isolated - with my stubborn cursor and my words? Would the dam break to bits? Would the words flow and the worries halt and the focus of my life reset? What if.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
My dad once told me, "You've sabotaged more opportunities than most people are ever given." That sentence is among the top five hardest things about myself I've heard to date. He was not wrong.
There is no time in my memory that I was not afraid of both success and failure. To succeed means expectations that might result in a bigger failure than the initial failure might have been. To fail means accepting my limits, whether knowledge, skill, or anything else. To succeed means some big, scary unknown - anything, ANYTHING, could be on the other side of success. To fail means to stop, stop dreaming, stop being.
The week of Thanksgiving my short story Perishable was published on Amazon Kindle. The day I uploaded the ebook and hit publish was a day of headache and stomach ache and general fear and dread. The day afterward my husband confronted me with a let's-think-about-why-your-head-hurts look and conversation.
"You're afraid your book will flop."
"You're worried that no one will buy it or read it."
"You just published yesterday and your body is focused on all that fear."
He played right into my newest, shiniest fear: that I'll never again be allowed to call a headache a headache. I'll never again feel bad without a teaching point. I'll ever be faced with statements and looks and questions I want to avoid...at least until the pain stops.
Maybe that's true. Maybe it must be so.
My husband loves me and knows the stakes here as well as anyone. He spoke to me gently, and goodness knows he's been more patient than most (than I) would have been.
If I walk through life, tip-toeing so as not to be noticed, clutching average with all my strength - what?
***stops and thinks hard for five full minutes***
Then I might succeed at being average.
Then my talents, whithersoever they may be, will become waste.
Then I've failed spectacularly.
I can't avoid success or failure. I must choose a life or a void.