Good again

I’m feeling a lot better now. I slept through the night last night without coughing, and this is a major milestone. It means Alan can come back into our bed and things can be normal again. I go back to work next week.

I am grateful for Alan, the girls, my friend Lish, my mom and my mother-in-law for the love and support they provided so that I could lie in bed for two weeks. Without them, I’m not sure what I would have done. When I was sick I wrote in this blog that Alan didn’t provide me good enough care, and I feel badly about that now.

I am grateful for the illness because as illness does so well, it pushed me to make the decision to change what needed changing. It forced me to admit that some things weren’t working. It forced be to experience and purge a lot of old gunk, like feeling unlovable and like a failure and all of that. Things will be better from here on out because of that–at least, it will in the career domain of my life.

My astrological chart is somewhat of a mess right now, and, in my mind, this is contributing to the challenges that have been presented to me lately. It tells me I will feel like I’ve lost my way until March of 2021. Bracing myself. So far, it’s true.

A day makes a difference

What a difference a day makes. Every hour I feel better than the last. I was up and about all day today for the first time since before Thanksgiving. I can talk normally again and am coughing a bit less. Still winded and a bit fatigued, but I feel happier and more alive. I think it’s safe to say I’m going to survive this. And also it’s safe to say that I don’t ever want to go through this again.

This morning, on an old oak tree right out our back window, sat a big bald eagle. It was eating a meal up in the tree! There were about five crows huddled around it, harassing it and trying to steal its meal. We have seen the bald eagle and the crows around here a few times before. Usually when we see them, the crows are chasing and cawing the eagle away with all their might–and the eagle leaves! Crows are fearless and relentless birds. They are tough. But this time, the eagle was tougher. Seeing those birds in the tree today was a metaphor for me–the crows are the pneumonia and the eagle is me, my life. I am winning this time, and I’m glad for that.

I hope everyone out there is happy and well.

xoxo

Getting better

Today I am up and about. Despite being short of breath and fatigued, it is good to be out of bed. Physically, I’ve turned the corner. Emotionally, I’m still pretty stuck in a painful and negative place. Today it’s anger that’s rearing its head. It has been waiting to come out, I guess–trapped in my lungs.

Anger is here because my ego is on full blast right now. My ego has been hurt. I know that sounds ridiculous, but that’s how it is. I feel like I shouldn’t have to clean the house when I have pneumonia. I feel like the three people I live with should be able to take care of everything when I am sick. I feel like Alan should have washed the bedding that I’ve been lying in 24/7 for 10 days. I feel like Alan should have changed to dirty furnace filter when I asked him to a week ago so that I could breathe clean air. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because that would make me feel loved and cared for. Loved and cared for in the way that I love and care for my family when they are sick.

Anna has been very caring and loving, and being that she’s only ten years old, I don’t expect a huge amount from her in terms of caregiving and house cleaning. She’s probably been the most attentive one in the house. It’s meant a lot to me. I feel unconditionally loved by her. It is a gift, and I am grateful for it. There have been a a few times over the course of 20 years that I’ve been bedridden, and each of these times I’ve gone through this same thing. Feeling forgotten, feeling uncared for, feeling unloved, living in a dirty house. What am I supposed to learn from this?

I really do believe that these feelings and events are here to teach me something. What is it? Perhaps I need to learn that I am loved and lovable, with or without the kind of demonstration of love that I prefer. I want acts of service. That’s my love language. What better time to provide that than when I’m sick? At least, that’s my logic.

The logical part of me know I need to just let this go. Let go of the need for a clean house. Let go of the desire to be loved through acts of service. Let go of the judging part of me that thinks I’m not loved. Let go of the guilt I feel for admitting these feelings and writing them in my blog. Because feelings are okay. And because I am loved, probably more than I will ever know.

Still lost

I’ve been sick for seven days with what began as viral pneumonia and has transpired into something bacterial, so I’m just a mess of wheezing and coughing and pain. There is so much pain in my throat that it’s almost intolerable. I am running out of coping skills and mental resilience. I resisted taking antibiotics because I’m fearful and stubborn when it comes to modern medicine. But today I caved and took the first dose, and it seems it’s already helping a bit.

The sickness arrived because I’ve been lost. So lost. Grieving, hurting, drowning in life. I feel like I’m in a snowstorm in the dark, listening for sounds in the distance that are calling me in their direction. Marriage and work and life overall have been an absolute fucking mess and my feelings have been so hurt. My self-esteem totally shot. Depression through the roof. Of course, somewhere along the line I was exposed to someone’s germs, too. I guess needed a break from life, and I got one. Not exactly the kind of break I would have planned, but here I am nonetheless.

During this bout of illness, I’ve been soul searching, crying, letting stuff out. Tonight at the dinner table I could barely talk but started bawling at my family and trying to say things that I was sad about related to work. My words were unintelligible through my blubbering and hoarseness but still they came out of me and I think that was healing. Then Anna, my angel daughter from heaven, touched my hand and then proceeded to draw me a bath, complete with eucalyptus, soothing music, and candles.

My mom came over today and that was really nice. She is a nurse so she listened to my lungs and convinced me to take the antibiotics because my lungs are full of gunk. She brought a bunch of food and took care of us. Later, my mother-in-law brought a crock-pot full of turkey noodle soup. Mia, Anna and I then binged on Dr. Phil and Judge Judy on the couch. It was just what I needed–all of it. The bath, the crying, the antibiotics, the crappy tv, my mom, the soup. I felt so loved. I am loved. I need to remember that.

In an impulsive, feverish decision, I sent a resignation email to my company for my role as outpatient psychotherapist, which is practicing therapy in the clinic. My last day doing that will be Dec. 17th. It’s a relief. I love the clients and the practice of therapy. Absolutely love that. What I can’t take any more of is the clinic atmosphere and the fast, impersonal pace of it all. Working there for the last 3 months has drained and discouraged me deeply. I’ll go back to doing the community-based therapy, which is a slower, quieter pace. In the community-based work, I’m mostly alone, I get time between clients, I can manage my own time and pace.

That’s that. Hope to feel better tomorrow. Thank you for listening.

Celebrating a 5-year pneumonia anniversary with more pneumonia!

That’s right! It’s about a month late, but still. Congratulations to me! In October 2014, Alan and I had bacterial pneumonia and felt like I was on the brink of death. Here I am now in November/December 2019 and have had viral pneumonia for almost a week. I don’t feel like I am on the brink of death this time, though. Apparently, viral pneumonia is rarely fatal–so, that’s comforting. I’m probably going to come out of this alive.

What is there for me to learn this time? The emotional backdrop that preceded this bout with pneumonia is similar, though less intense, than the backdrop of five years ago. Five years ago, I was bursting at the seams with way too much on my plate. This time, there was a full plate and I was starting to pull at the seams a bit, but it was manageable. There was a great deal of emotional suffering and holding on to beliefs and feelings that were hurting me. But, I wasn’t about to lose my mind, necessarily. And so it seems the main trigger has been emotional stress, and perhaps also that a child coughed on me multiple times.

The details of the emotional stress will be spared in this blog. All that needs to be said is this: the relief of suffering comes in letting go. It is in letting go of judgment and of wanting things to be different, and choosing unconditional love and forgiveness instead. We can even be as radical as finding a place of gratitude for the whole situation that came with the pain. Suffering is a teacher of sorts.

So, I’m working on that. Letting go. Forgiving. Loving. Finding gratitude. Remembering I’m not better than others. Being “hurt” is a function of the ego; the ego loves to make a victim of itself. I’m working on reminding myself that the events that transpire are events that are here for me to learn and work out my karmic debts.

Mia’s recording session

Mia has been working on recording an album of original songs for the last year. We couldn’t afford any more sessions, but thanks to my parents’ generosity, she’ll continue to record until she has a complete album.

Stephen Helvig is Mia’s production engineer. He is amazing. Not only does he have great technical skills and a great ear, but he can really connect with Mia and they work so well together.

Here are some photos from today’s session with Helvig Productions.

An abundance of good things

Looking through some photos on my computer at 12:40 on this early Saturday morning, I realize how many incredible gifts are present in every aspect of my life. Why I choose to complain, only heaven knows. Here are some of the photos. Also, for some stupid reason, I started opening a Facebook account tonight. It’s under review at the moment, so it’s not active quite yet. I don’t really want it. And at the same time, a part of me longs for it out of loneliness and feeling left out and wanting to be in the same game as Alan (he joined this summer for the first time). I guess I am taking on the challenge once again, even if only temporarily.

Mercury is in retrograde for the last time this year. Thank God.

Many posts on this site have been written during Mercury in Retrograde, or MiR, as they call it. It’s some non-scientific fluff that I like to follow and assign meaning to, because somehow it makes sense to me.

This MiR cycle lasts until November 20th. There is a great deal of inner turmoil (more than the usual amount) and resistance to change brewing in me at the moment. There is overwhelm about tasks and financial worries. There is feeling the need to plan ahead for next school year and possible sending Anna back to school.

MiR is not a good time to make commitments, but rather, a good time to explore options to be solidified later (or not). During MiR we lack the clarity and intuition that we might normally have to make good decisions or appreciate the life we have.

Nervous anxiety is pumping through my body at the moment, which is what brought me here. Seeking to escape the discomfort of the anxiety, I’ve been running around aimlessly tonight, jumping from one thing to the next, mostly online.

My new job has been stressful and overwhelming so far. I’ve loved the therapy aspect of it, but disliked strongly everything else–the management (very Big Brother-like), dealing with rules and regulations, the billing and paperwork, and the insurance hassles. I’m still doing a portion of my old job on top of the new one, so at least there’s some sense of normalcy. It’s overwhelming to even explain why the job has been overwhelming.

I cannot wait until I am fully licensed (hopefully one year from now) and am seriously thinking about doing a cash-only practice as soon as possible. Because I can’t stand billing, crappy computer networks and software, insurance, and rules in general. I want to do my own thing. I want to get paid for it a reasonable hourly rate that I choose. I want to live by my own rules and be my own boss. I just have absolutely no idea how to do that.

In the meantime, let’s talk about the good stuff. Mia and Anna have been happy with homeschooling, even though there has been some lack of direction and structure. They are happy and healthy, laughing a lot and getting along quite well these days. Mia had a paid music gig which was a joy to be a part of. In addition, she continues work on recording an album. Anna quit ballet for reasons too exhausting to write about. Let’s just say we’re all happier now, but she still wants to dance ballet…and we just don’t know where. There has been lots of music in the house lately, which has been lovely. Halloween came and went, too, and that was fun as always. Alan is good. He was Bob Ross for Halloween but unfortunately his photo will not upload.

Here are a few photos of everything else.

Thanks for reading! Until next time…

Fall cabin camping

We spent three days and nights at Afton State Park in a camper cabin. Well, actually we all spent two nights there–and then Mia and I spent the last night at my parents’ house and came back to camp in the morning. Body pain from a bad mattress made that diversion necessary–but it ended up being a nice little visit with my parents.

This was our second time staying in the Big Bluestem cabin during October. This year the weather was cooler and a bit rainy, but still allowed for a quiet, cozy and peaceful getaway. Mia and Anna sang and played guitar, told jokes, and we all laughed more than we have in a long time. Alan taught us how to play Black Jack and Poker. Mia, despite not wanting to go on this trip, was a great sport about it and even made time for a long hike with the rest of us. We hope to do this again and maybe have a few other families join us.

Here are a few highlights from the trip.

Growing pains

October is here, and so are the usual fall-things, like Halloween paraphernalia, colder weather, pumpkins, rust-colored leaves. It’s been one of my favourite times of year since I was a kid, and I think it still is. We had a bonfire last night, complete with the girls playing eukelele and singing. Meanwhile, our dog, Penny, chased little creatures of the night and dug holes to chase them until her paws were covered in mud.

There have been hard things going on over the last month or so. There have been transitions, and these together have brought what I am calling “growing pains.” Growth is hard, and it hurts. We don’t always know when the growing will stop, or if it will have mercy on us and give us a rest. The hardest thing for me, I’ve learned, is when others grow. When those closest to us grow and don’t need us as much, or need us in different ways, or turn toward other people instead of toward us. Different from how it’s always been, disrupting the normal flow of things, disrupting the lovely predictability and safety that’s always been there.

Many new things about my honey have surfaced over the last few months; he’s gone through an inner transformation, or mid-life crisis, as he calls it. I’ve learned that he likes Facebook and joined it without telling me. This is the same Facebook he teased me for using so much when I first started using it…and the second, third and fourth times I went back to it. He’s connected with many old friends he’s lost touch with over the years, and this has been so good for him. I’ve learned that he will share things with others that he has not shared with me, over Facebook, even. And I’ve learned this makes me feel a little jealous and left out. I’ve learned that when asked of the life experiences he’d most like to re-live, he will spontaneously narrate a long and lovely list of wonderful moments, some of which I didn’t know about. Mostly, I’ve learned that this list will leave out much about me. And again, I’ve learned that this not only makes me feel jealous, but super jealous and super left out. At the same time, I want to honor the process and allow things to be what they are.

Therapy would be great at a time like this. However, it’s currently not in the budget, so this blog will have to suffice. This blog is no stranger to that.

There have been many good times, hard times, and just as many ups and downs. Right now I’d say is a hard time. The feeling of joy has been a rare and short visitor. Other than a glimpse here and there, joy has not been here. Yesterday joy paid a short visit when I was eating lunch at the co-op with my sweet girls on a beautiful sunny day, laughing and talking, without being in a rush to be anywhere but right there in that moment. Today joy was in the purple sky at sunset and coming home to the smiling, loving faces of my children. And maybe that’s all we need–a glimpse of joy, here and there. A glimpse to remind us of what’s waiting for us when the growing pains are over.