I Needed to Know. Maybe You Do Too

So I’m really physically ill at this point. Sicker than I ever thought I would get so quickly, and as the connection is being established in medical science, there is a link between severe trauma and health issues. I’m the poster child right now.

Nonetheless, the thing I needed to know is that I’m not alone. I was able to hear a survivor tell her story and in her aloneness and my aloneness, I felt connection.

You see, when I go to a new doctor, clinic, or hospital, they always ask for an emergency contact. I make my best attempt to just silently leave it blank as I felt embarrassed and like there was something wrong with me for not having someone. While I have people in my life, there is no one who knows me that intimately to be my “emergency contact”. I’m the emergency. I take care of the emergencies and do a pretty exceptional job at it.

I had to listen to another survivor and see how beautiful she was to realize I’m not flawed, defective, bad, or evil for having no one. She isn’t either. What I am is brave, strong, and beautiful for continuing to survive the insurmountable and keep my light burning with strong hope for all that builds in my life.

So I felt like the only person in the world that had no one in case of emergency, but I’m wrong. The people who hurt me did this to me. They helped create a life of being alone that I have perpetrated through my inability to maintain friendships or significant relationships as attachment is foreign to me.

I suppose the hope is in the fact that I continue to try. The hope is in someday when faced with another medical form, I can confidently write the name of my emergency contact. There’s the hope. Real, supportive, genuine relationships.

They are already beginning. I hope for you too.

Love

Lizzie

Can’t understand human relationships? Me either, date your dog

As I come to realize that human relationships completely baffle me, as how could they not? I never attached to anyone, but I sure love my dog. Please appreciate this list with the love and humor it is intended. But seriously, my dog saves me from loneliness and feeling like no one loves me. Get a pet. It’s highly recommended!!

21 Reasons why my dog is the best boyfriend ever

1. He’s so cute and everyone tells me this

2. He’s good arm candy, literally

3. He is appropriately affectionate and when I’m feeling a little prickly, he reassures me it’s ok and still loves me

4. He turns up the love when I don’t feel good

5. He loves loves loves eating the same thing for dinner every night

6. Even if he’s sitting in another girls lap, I know they are just friends and his heart is with me always

7. He looks at me like I am the most important person in his life and I never question it

8. He doesn’t snore!!

9. He likes to do what I like

10. When I expound my hope and dreams or some beautiful metaphorical experience in the universe, he listens attentively and goes in for the cuddle when I’m done

11. He wipes my tears

12. He never grumbles about helping with dirty dishes as long as I put them on the floor

13. He has the same politics as me (I think) as he never argues them with me

14. He is supportive of my endeavors. If I am working on my book, he tries to sit on the keyboard. If I’m painting, he will walk through it.

15. I like that in human years, he’s just slightly younger than me , which makes my old self feel good without the perverseness of being a cougar

16. He knows exactly how to snuggle when sleeping

17. His gaze is penetrating and I know he thinks I’m beautiful in just the essence of who I am

18. He will never hurt me

19. He is committed for life

20. He brings me gifts constantly that he finds and wants to share from his adventures outside

21. And best of all, our love is unconditional (unless he poops on the rug)

And maybe as I learn to love him, I can learn to love others (other dogs, definitely, but I’m talking about humans!)

Love

Lizzie

Huge Apologies for Nothing I can Control

When I first started this blog, I had the intention of posting 3 times a week. I have barely reached that goal ever, but I have reason.

When I started this blog, I was just beginning to get diagnoses for my physical illnesses, but as the 6 months have progressed, my diagnoses get more numerous and serious.

I have been in a huge period of grieving my own self and even with my blog being a place to be authentic, between being sick and grieving and trying to manage all of my life on my own, things like my blog and writing my book have fallen by the wayside.

The good news is I’m starting to have real help! I have a caregiver now and a local nonprofit that helps women who have been victims of sexual trafficking has been beyond helpful with my managing of my life.

In asking for help, and subsequently receiving it, perhaps life will get more manageable, and I can commit to doing things that I want to do?

This business of being sick all the time and trying to manage it all alone is tiring and stressful, which only makes you sicker.

I’ve talked about it before, but please ask for help and express yourself even in the more bleak times. I love the people in my life even more when they share their pain instead of just painting a rosy picture that isn’t real.

If you can promise to do it, I will too. Hoping to now see you 3 times a week!

Love

Lizzie

For my friends whose C/PTSD is now manifesting as chronic illness

(I don’t know why dinosaurs, but these looked fierce and like they were in it together!)

Apparently, the copy and paste isn’t working so well, so all the “a” look like “+”.

Nonetheless, I have worked tirelessly for over 20 years to get to a place where I can live peacefully with my traumatic past only to become so physically ill, I’m now interviewing caregivers. It may not be forever, but it’s for now. I’m trying to maintain my body will miraculously heal as I feel strongly in helping others to realize that trauma isn’t a life sentence and peacefulness and contentment can become the norm.

So I have some legitimacy, I have had more psychiatric hospital admissions than I’ve can remember beginning at age 15, but I’ve gone over a year without. I’ve been on every psych med out there in multiple combinations, and I’ve now gone over a year without.

I’ve depended on therapists as being my only lifeline and contact, but now I’m working very hard at building relationships that can sustain me.

Most of all, I spent my life in isolation and hated myself so much that I’ve made more suicide attempts than I can remember, but I’m in a bit of forced isolation due to my chronic illnesses. I am alone, but I don’t feel lonely. I actually enjoy my company!

But to those who know me, keep calling and please visit as we all need human connection even if we have learned to love ourselves.

I wrote the following as I get frustrated with people who compare their tiredness or lack of motivation to what I’m dealing with. I get angry as I spent 41 years lying around trapped in fear and anxiety and now, I’m just ready to live.

Love

Lizzie

An “unmotiv+ting” problem

I get + text this morning th+t s+ys, “feeling unmotiv+ted, trying to +t le+st get up to feed the c+t” +s if Iʼd rel+te somehow.

I donʼt rel+te. Actu+lly I donʼt rel+te +t +ll. You h+ve + problem with not being motiv+ted, my problem is th+t I AM motiv+ted.

Iʼm motiv+ted to go outside +nd r+ke the le+ves covering my front w+lk. Iʼm motiv+ted to m+ke + coffee d+te with + friend. Iʼm motiv+ted to str+p on some snowshoes +nd +mble +cross the T+hoe me+dows +s my feet cr+ve the gentle squish of pushing through snow, my body w+nts to delight in physic+l exertion, but most of +ll my

eyes w+nt to revel in the be+uty of winter +nd feel the p+r+dox of w+rm sun on my f+ce when its cold outside. Iʼm motiv+ted to finish + book th+t writes itself in my he+d, but the energy isnʼt there to sit up +nd get it onto p+per. Iʼm not sure + publisher will p+y me for the thoughts in my mind.

Iʼm motiv+ted to p+int sever+l pictures th+t will hurt my br+in until they move out +nd down the syn+pses of my +rm to explode out my fingers to cre+te + visu+l th+t others c+n +ppreci+te too.

Iʼm motiv+ted to re+d sever+l books +s I h+ve so much to le+rn. Iʼm so motiv+ted to even just go out for + drive to do the

necessities of d+ily life.

But unlike most people who just h+ve + d+y or two l+cking motiv+tion, I never l+ck motiv+tion. I donʼt underst+nd w+nting to just lie there +nd do nothing with your life. I underst+nd the need for rest +nd some solitude, but my f+tigue isnʼt +bout l+ck of motiv+tion.

I c+nʼt move. I lie in my bed expounding on multiple possibilities if I ever got the energy to c+rry them out. Iʼm done being +ccused of being depressed +nd l+zy +nd unmotiv+ted, +nd then getting m+d +t myself +s I believe these mistruths +s everyone keeps deciding they h+ve me figured out without +sking me one question.

I m+y h+ve s+dness, I m+y r+rely go out, but my motiv+tion is strong tr+pped in + physic+l body th+t just c+nʼt.

A Friend Suggested

A good friend of mine, probably the most supportive of all, suggested I start writing on my blog concrete things that really help me. Today, I’m going to start with suggesting reading.

In our tv and all things screens, we can get distracted and anxious by all that sensory stimulation. When I tried to numb out problems through binge watching tv or Netflix or whatever a few years ago, I found it made my mental health much worse. It doesn’t give you time to think. It simply gives you time to numb out. I believe making ourselves numb by an excess of too much of anything (mine used to be food and shopping, but I’ll post about that another time) is a huge cause of anxiety.

I’m currently reading a book “how to be sick”. It’s Buddhist inspired and goes into meditation and acceptance and so much that is useful to me as a chronically ill person. Even if you don’t suffer from chronic physical illness, if you are suffering from chronic depression or anxiety or C/PTSD, I recommend it.

There is a prayer or chant or meditative phrase I like that goes something like this that the author talks about:

I will accept the present moment and see it as a friend.

I love the simplicity of it, and it’s so true that if we stay right here and right now, life is generally pretty ok. Perhaps you’ve heard that staying in the present is beneficial from other people or therapists or whomever, I had too. I never embraced it and completely dismissed the power of it. I was convinced nothing would alleviate the pain and suffering I was living from having a traumatic past, but as I have gently reminded myself to stay present and grounded, life has changed. Life can really be ok.

My concrete suggestion today is to read a book that inspires you to live better. I’m going to work on getting a book list up of ones that have been particularly useful to me.

Try it. Five minutes is all I ask and take a moment, or several throughout the day to return to the present and notice if there’s something beautiful surrounding you!

Love

Lizzie

Not Every Moment is a Victory

I share a lot on my Facebook page my ups and downs of my physical health struggles. It’s interesting as if I post something positive, I get lots of likes compared to my days where I feel like I’m losing the battle, but I promised myself to be authentic, and I try to do it everywhere, even the fake platform of Facebook.

What I realized is that not everything in life is positive and good and happy. There’s lots of down and a whole lot of commitment to just basic existence.

Why can’t we support each other when life isn’t all shiny and rosy? I know I need more “likes” for when I struggle compared to when life seems to all be going my way.

Do you need to be liked when you’re depressed, anxious, or suicidal? I don’t get so bad off in those regards anymore, but when I did, it sure would have helped if someone could have extended a genuine hand.

It’s why I support so many I’ve never met through those especially hard times. I feel honored when someone calls via messenger I haven’t met because they just need someone to listen. If I have the time, I will give it.

If I can help someone in distress, I will do it every time I have time, especially if they show willingness to want to do the work it takes to get there.

My life is far from perfect. I’m in physical pain 100% of the time now. I have a nasty virus that is attacking my body, wreaking some serious havoc, I’m homebound most of the time, but I recognize and accept that not every moment is a victory. I’m currently accepting my life isn’t hugely victorious currently, but perhaps the peace that comes with the acceptance is actually the victory?

Love

Lizzie

Authentically Me…Ouch

I genuinely meant to write about the holidays and how painful they can be for so many, but instead I took the time to engage in self care and enjoy mine for the first time ever.

My son and I were invited to my boyfriends parents cabin to spend 3 days of Christmas celebrations. I found myself fascinated by how loving and caring they all were with each other. They had beautiful traditions and so much love and contentment abounded that I was soaking it up.

Holidays at my house were marked by a drunk and abusive mom and so much fighting. Even if there were good presents, the stress of actually putting my family in one room for an extended period of time negated it all. Holidays were scary and even more eggshells to walk on than usual.

Back to this years Christmas celebration. I almost studied their interactions like I was watching a nature documentary. The difference for me this year is that I felt zero fear. I was excited to be around them knowing that this family may become mine someday.

I was very authentically me, but I pushed myself. I didn’t want my introduction to be me as the chronically ill self I am. They definitely asked about my illnesses and I definitely downplayed it. Considering I just had thoracic spine surgery 6 weeks ago, I can’t believe I made it through three days of being present and content, but they all made me feel so comfortable and loved.

We got home last night. This morning started with a bit of aggravation leading to near constant tears all day. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. It finally hit me that I was grieving. As exciting and wonderful as it was to be around my boyfriends family this year, I realized how much fear holidays have brought me. All that fear and anger and sadness had to get out of my body today. I cried, sobbed, even yelled some bad words for a lifetime of holidays lost.

I look forward with gratitude to a shift in my life to being safe and living safely, but grief is real. Shoving those feelings down today probably would have meant an anxiety attack tonight. Instead I’m still horribly sad, but I’m calm, peaceful, and grateful. This was a terribly uncomfortable day, but I got through the yucky feelings and hopefully will have a more enjoyable day tomorrow.

This painting comes from a complex place of explaining the experience of the past few days. A representative that nothing is simple and you can be hopeful for a new future while being incredibly sad for your past while remaining grounded in the present to handle it all.

I hope the holiday wasn’t too rough. I hope you knew some safety. I hope you got some peace.

Love

Lizzie