brightrosefox: (Default)
I did not realize how weirdly difficult it can be to answer the question, "So, what triggered this C-PTSD episode and panic attack?"

I mean, how DO you explain all the fucked up, freaked out, screaming neuronal mess that can cause brief blackouts, episodes of time agnosia, obsessiveness bordering on mania, hyperventilation, emotional outbursts, etc etc etc.

And there is no one thing, two things, any things. That's why it's Complex PTSD. It can be anything and everything. Maybe it's because I read some news articles about police violence against disabled people with no legal consequence for the police. Maybe it's because a friend got triggered by their own things and during our conversation something triggered me completely innocently. Maybe it's because I had a nightmare about that time years ago when a skeevy dude tried to hurt and assault me near a shopping center and was beat up by another guy who just looked at me and said, "Run!" and I fled up the stairs until I couldn't breathe and never looked back. I don't know. I don't KNOW, guys.

You know? You know.

I have reasons for not talking about this stuff outside my psychologists and certain friends. Support is better than silence, though, and I have so much support and empathy to give, so when I need it I reach out to the friends who know.

Anyway. Yes, I took my meds. Yes, I did my exercises. Yes, I ate well enough.

And my cats have not let me out of their sight. (KITTIES)
brightrosefox: (Default)
Magnolia plus Magnesium plus GABA: Good for sleep. Yes.

From a supplement website:

"Q: What is Magnolia Extract?
A: Magnolia Extract is a standardized herbal extract made from the bark of the Magnolia officinalis tree. It is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been used for thousands of years. Our Magnolia products are highly concentrated for magnolia's active ingredients, and contain 90% honokiol and magnolol.

Q: What does Magnolia Extract do?
A: Promotes relaxation, supports healthy adrenal function, supports emotional well-being, and aids in digestion. The bark contains two phytochemicals, honokiol which may reduce common anxiety, and magnolol which supports emotional wellness. Together they enable one to feel better mentally and emotionally.

Q: How safe is Magnolia Extract?
A: Studies show small doses of magnolol and honokiol are safe for normal emotional support. However, large doses may cause a sedative effect and interact with alcohol, increasing its effects. Therefore, driving or operating dangerous equipment should be avoided when taking larger doses of magnolia extract. Magnolia extract has a two thousand-year-old safety record for use as a Chinese medicine, and as an effective relaxant. Use it confidently and safely … but use it responsibly, according to directions.

Q: Who should use Magnolia Extract?
A: Anyone who wants a safe, natural way to relax and reduce anxiety should consider supplementing with Magnolia Extract.
Additional Information:

Magnolia Extract is a standardized herbal extract made from the bark of the Magnolia officinalis tree. It is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been used for thousands of years. Roex Magnolia Extract is highly concentrated for magnolia's active ingredients, and contains 90% honokiol and magnolol.

Magnolia Extract promotes relaxation, supports healthy adrenal function, supports emotional well-being, and aids in digestion. The bark contains two phytochemicals, honokiol which may reduce common anxiety and magnolol which supports emotional wellness. Together they enable one to feel better mentally and emotionally.

Studies show small doses of magnolol and honokiol are safe for normal emotional support. However, large doses may cause a sedative effect and interact with alcohol, increasing its effects. Therefore, driving or operating dangerous equipment should be avoided when taking larger doses of magnolia extract.

Magnolia extract has a two thousand-year-old safety record for use as a Chinese medicine, and as an effective relaxant. Use it confidently and safely … but use it responsibly, according to directions."
brightrosefox: (Default)
This is the greatest.
http://yoganonymous.com/watch-ultra-spiritual/

Good news: Apparently, most of this small weight gain is actual muscle. Who knew.
Annoying news: Everything hurts in such a very specific way everywhere that most forms of exercise make it all worse. The only things that seem to make it better are isometrics and mild qi gong and a few basic Pilates-style moves... sooo, physical therapy with a spiritual bent?

Also, I still have a stress reaction to even the idea of "doing yoga for pain". None of my doctors are surprised. Plus, the physical therapist suggested some lovely snarky replies to "Have you tried yoga for your pain?" - my favorite is still "Well, yoga tastes like artificial banana, and I hate artificial banana flavor, so I don't want any yoga, thanks." Second favorite is "Nah, I'm still trying that floating Jedi thing in the swamps. I'd rather take the Dark Side with the cookies."
Seriously. Don't yoga push me. I did try it, it was painful, I found other things.

Now I feel like mimicking that scene where Bart draws a picture of Flanders and chases Homer around with it yelling "Howdily doodily! Howdily doodily? HOWDILY DOODILY?" Luckily, I haven't been pushed in a while, and the last few times, I remained calm and cool, because I am still fucking awesome.

Addendum:
Also, it's really interesting: I am totally fine with basic yoga, with flow yoga, with restorative yoga. But it is the way people talk about it as though it helps everyone heal everything? That is what I gripe so much about. Maybe some poses will help ease cerebral palsy issues, fibromyalgia issues, joint issues. Maybe. For some disabled folks. But if I say something like "No, thank you, I've tried that, it was too painful, it made things worse, and I have found other exercises that help me," I expect people to, if not back off, then at least acknowledge my reasons. The actual fact that many pushers have brushed off my reasons and kept pushing is what makes me want to slap them with their yoga mats. So when I talk about an exercise by calling it a name that is also the name of a yoga pose, please please do not assume I have taken up yoga. It's just that "Warrior Pose" is far simpler than having to describe the whole thing.
Comments:
Anna Sirén: Yoga? Us? Really? ...?
Joanna Capello Paul: LOL, it is to laugh. But by gods, people love to try.
Anna Sirén: Jesus, I can't imagine you with your ankles behind your ears, and that's not an insult.
Joanna Capello Paul: OMG ow. Ow ow ow OW.
Joanna Capello Paul: I'm just glad other CP folks get it. I don't know what's so particularly special about yoga, but it's become so elitist in many ways. And if I say I'm "doing Child's Pose" or something, I feel like I need to add "not actual yoga because that is painful" because just because it's a stretching exercise doesn't mean it's a yoga pose.
Cara Liebowitz: When a teacher who knows how to handle Ceeps is doing it, yoga can be nice. *coughcough* Kara T. Billingham. Yoga at crip camp was great fun, if painful.
Joanna Capello Paul: My mom teaches a certain type of yoga to seniors in Southampton sometimes, and the moves are so simple they're barely even yoga. What bothers me really is this culture of yoga-ier than thou elitism, and gods forbid I perform a "yoga style type pose" that is not yoga.
Cara Liebowitz: I wonder if Kara and your mom know each other. Next time you're in the Hamptons, stop by The Yoga House, LLC and ask for Kara, tell her you know me. One of my favorite things about Kara's yoga was that she encouraged us to laugh if we wanted to.
Joanna Capello Paul: Hmm. I'll ask my mom! Have you spoken with Kara lately?
Joanna Capello Paul: *looking at website* Well, it's good that she teaches Kripalu. My parents' basement tenant, who is a massage therapist, is a certified Kripalu teacher.
Cara Liebowitz: We speak every so often here on Facebook, last I saw her was over the summer. She is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful and so is her husband. Two very influential people in my life.
Joanna Capello Paul: I haven't been through Hampton Bays in a long time, but I do recognize that sign and building. I have a feeling that Kara and my mom have run in similar circles.
Melissa Boyer O'Doyle: I'd rather take the Dark Side with the cookies.
Heather Stover: I do vinyasa flow yoga and restorative yoga. It helps. With some things. It is not some magic cure for everything. If you're not into it people should leave you alone, your yogi wouldn't want you there with any less then a willing mind and heart.
Heather Stover: Gentle yoga classes are the bomb. I hate elitist yoga snobs.
Mad Miriam: You know you might just get people to back down more quickly by simply sating that you have a very satisfying home practice, thank you very much.
Joanna Capello Paul: ...except that when they keep nudging and insisting, I tend to feel backed into a corner, and I start snarling. I'm a very peaceful person. But I am also shy and isolated. I really don't like being pushed.
Mad Miriam: If your agreeing why are they still nudging and insisting?
Joanna Capello Paul: I really wish I knew. People are very odd.
Mad Miriam: I'll say. I'm sorry, I for one do not push cause well I know you have met the practice where you are at and since yoga means union isn't that the fucking point anyhow?
Joanna Capello Paul: Agreed. That's why I am so upset and pissed off when people don't seem to understand the whole damn point. Union is about, y'know, respecting people's choices. The fact that there ARE yoga practitioners who almost bully others into doing their kind of yoga - particularly disabled people - hurts me.
Joanna Capello Paul: For example, in the cerebral palsy support group I am in, there have been stories of non-disabled people pushing CP folks too hard, leading to injuries that were not fully recovered - physical and emotional. And that is just not right at all. And I feel like that is part of the weird elitist attitude that shouldn't even exist with yoga practice.
Mad Miriam: OMG Joanna Capello Paul I could not agree more, as a fairly mild arthritic I get the same shit and I don't get why its so hard for some teachers to understand that just cause I got into a really low lunge last week this week my knees and hips might just be too stiff to go there and that it does not mean I am not dedicated to the practice, it means I am listening to my body, something we should all aspire to do more often.
Joanna Capello Paul: Listening to our bodies! Exactly! I don't think people like that care about listening to the body anymore. You do what YOU must do for YOUR body. And I am so burnt out on teachers who don't listen. It's why I do restorative, flow moves with my mother over the phone.
I mean, I literally cannot be straight. When I try a lunge, or a pose that requires balance, I have to ask someone, usually Adam, if my body lines up. And when he helps get me into a straight aligned line, I start wobbling. It hurts. I am in serious pain. My body, my very bones, were never going to align like that. And so I need modification, compensation, compromise. And the fact that a lot of yoga practitioners have insulted me just for that literally created a stress reaction in my brain. So when I talk about yoga poses, I have to say "modified basic yoga" otherwise I start hyperventilating just from memories.
Mad Miriam: It is a myth that our bodies and bones can align to some artificial standard, we all all have such diffent experiences and phsyologies that make up who we are and it my mind if you are making room for the breath and creating sensation, but not pain you are doing it right. I totally agree through and think it is part of the problem with the comodifying of yoga, I think once upon a time, maybe there was the root of the notion that yogis practiced to access a place beyond pain and body and to reach a space where they could meditate and focus on breath and vein, but with institutions like lululemon and power yoga people see their yoga as about perfecting the body and not reaching past the veneer that is the body. Its fascinating and sick really.
Joanna Capello Paul: I appreciate you saying that, Mad Miriam. It makes me feel better, knowing that there can't be such "perffect alignment". I was always, always told that I'd never reach any ideal pose with cerebral palsy. So I stopped. And I found isometrics and just started doing meditative stretching, which was my version of yoga anyway.
Mad Miriam: Next time someone starts to push hard ask them if they practice Ahimsa, it is the first basic principal of yoga and translates into compassion for all living things, if they say "Of course." then tell them you do as well and intimately understand what is most compassionate for your body. Namaste.
Mad Miriam: I think all the wrong people have been foisting their opinions on you. I took up Kundalini yoga last year and the whole idea of it is that through the practice you are opening up channels on your spine for the kundalini energy to come spouting out of the top of your head, I expressed concern that I had a slight scoliosis in my spine and that according to this notion I was ineligible for kudalini enlightenment, my instructor said "No worries, the energy meanders its way around these things, it's like a stream." Thus I go with that notion.
Joanna Capello Paul: Ahimsa, eh? I shall look into it!
I have fallen in love with kundalini energy. I do what your instructor says, instinctively. I don't necessarily do all the poses and moves but I reach for that energy in my own way. Maybe one day you and I could get together and practice in our own imperfect methods?

*****
Copying stuff from other social media sites can be interesting...
brightrosefox: (Default)
'Reborn' by Laura Sava (anotherwanderer.deviantart.com/)
'Mirabella' by Rachel Anderson (www.silverstars.us/‎)

Two forms of my own story character, Asha Clara Night, my strongest, most individual, most personal fiction character.

These paintings. Completely different images that look almost exactly like incarnations of the same character of my own subconscious creation Women who look almost exactly like the dreamself I am becoming in my dreams and visions.

Laura-sava-Reborn

Rachel Anderson Mirabella


She was in my dreams last night and many nights before. I haven't decided exactly who she is yet, but in my dreams her name is Asha, meaning "desire, hope, hopeful; life; alive; she who lives." Which says so much, so so much.

She is another dreamself, not a spirit guardian, but much closer to my Self than my other characters (Alicia, Serena, Ananta: my spirit guardian coping mechanisms for epilepsy, memory loss, insomnia, sleep problems, [Alicia], chronic pain and fatigue, depression, anxiety, physical disabilities [Serena], neurology, neurodivergence, autism, total mind-body connection [Ananta].

Asha seems to represent many internal things about my emotions, my heart and mind, my rhyme and reason, my logic, my science, my creativeness and creativity, my power, my energy, my beauty. If she were to reveal herself as a guardian, she would be for emotional states, creative thoughts, desires, loves, patterns, ideas.
Asha is definitely powerful in a way I always wanted to be since childhood: Fae and and Elemental Mage and Neurodivergent and Autistic Witch and Quantum Magic Scientist and Story Crafter and Shape Shifter and Magic Librarian and Magic Keeper.

Asha seems to represent my deep, obsessive, compulsive wish and desire to be one of the psionic-mage superhumans in my stories, to take over for be when I feel failure and self-loathing and terror and panic. I think Asha may in fact be an actual entity, one who communicates outside instead of simply speaking into my visions, dreams, pain flare withdrawings, anxiety attacks.

All I know is that Asha was in every dream last night and throughout the past several sleeps, long detailed intense dreams, and she quoted Kosh. She spoke in a soprano version of my voice that could sing. She was always here She is always here. She has always been here.
I think she was with me since I was a baby. In different forms, in different species, with different names, in different imaginary beings, in different fictional characters. She was made of fire. She used to be a phoenix, a unicorn, a dragon, a star, a nebula. I know Asha. I know Asha in the way I hope to know myself.

The thing is, Asha has a fully active voice when I am completely conscious, aware, awake, functional, and stable. She didn't completely create herself, but she grew and evolved over my lifetime in her own way as a character in my subconscious. She took ideas I worked with and wove them into her personality, behavior, and mentality. My disabilities are hers. She stayed and changed and grew with me like a permanent piece of my spirit. Asha also represents my fluid sexuality - I often visit her in the place she calls home and we make love, representing my desires for love and orientation.

She lives with Alicia in the Wonderland cottage, but she freely moves about my brain more often. She shapeshifts into elemental energies, she moves around my hippocampus and amygdala and temporal lobes and cingulate gyrus and thalamus and auditory cortex and somatosensory cortex and parital lobe and the back of my brain.
She has altered the Wonderland cottage to be something else entirely, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two office rooms, a large entertainment living room, a large kitchen, a basement. The outside build would contain concrete, cement, hemp and limestone, bamboo, steel. The glass windows are shatterproof. The doors are hemp-lime and timber. That must say something about my mind's inner workings. Especially since the main reason for hemp being illegal is due to its threat to corporate patentable synthetic fibers and wood and paper product industries, while the medicinal drug potential became subject to false claims and fear mongering alarm campaigns until the original industrial potential became buried under the alarmist anti drug campaigns. Part of me probably knows how powerful this is. Medicine from nature itself and the human brain itself is usually denied and seen as worthless.

Asha represents that part of me that firmly supports the controversial balance of traditional pharmaceutical medicine and nontraditional botanical medicine.
Asha is my activism and advocacy. Asha is the fire that moves my belief in the combination of synthetic drugs and organic drugs. Asha is the phoenix in me that rises after every defeat, every failure, every attack, every oppression, every attack and assault on my truths and faiths.

Throughout many names, faces, back stories, lives, personalities, and individual growths... she has always been Asha Clara Night. And this is how she asked me to look so I could see that there is beauty deep and shining.

I must find and thank the artists for these images, since I found myself taking these pieces of artwork and subconsciously turning them into incarnations of my own fictional character.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151978626835684&l=17dde55bf4

Asha may well be the character in that second novel after all. It won't be this Asha, my Asha; just a version, a more humanized incarnation I can bring out to show the public. This excites me. She could help me write it, just by living in my mind.
brightrosefox: (Default)
http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3267

...well, this hit me like a rock to the head. Beautiful and profound. I applaud and I also agree. And this, right here, THIS, THIS is why I don't agree with so many so-called self-help happiness programs. Someone else's source of happiness can never be mine. Ideas are always lovely, word of mouth is a great idea, teaching personal knowledge of happiness is wonderful. But nobody, ever, can tell me how I can find my happiness.
THIS EXPLAINS IT.
BRB, having a moment.

The comic )

You know what it makes me think of? The ugly smugness of those particular people who think that if they just avoid negativity, don't get angry, and insist that we stop "being so angry" and how they seem emotionally superior, a sort of moral superiority, but so insidious. Because it's like the difference between having had a rock in one's head with the rock being dislodged and not having had a rock in one's head at all. If you don't understand someone else's different perspective, there is no fucking way you could truly understand where and why they are feeling how they feel.
It's the way Zach wrote about the difference that the students could not feel, since they never had the teacher's experience. And the teacher couldn't teach the teacher's experience because it was in fact unknown and unrealized. And so the teachings were in fact merely the teacher's perceived feelings and ideas. Which is very nice, but... it's more empty than fulfilling.
brightrosefox: (Default)
My darling Cara Liebowitz wrote a lovely post that I had to share:
*
"I was going to bed, I swear, but The Brooke Ellison Story is on TV. Gotta say, as cheesy and inspo-porny as it is, I love it. And on some level, I AM inspired by Brooke Ellison, mostly by her sheer determination and drive to not only succeed, but excel, not only in the face of such a life changing injury, but in the face of everyone who told her she couldn't do anything.

I don't know, I feel like maybe its different for someone with an acquired disability. For us congenital folks or those who acquired their disabilities very early on, we just go along living life the way we know how. We've never known any other way. But for folks with an acquired impairment later in life, especially one as severe as Brooke Ellison's, it requires such a radical restructuring of your life and worldviews. I am inspired by those who push through and come out the other side. I'm not so sure that's wrong.

Thoughts?"
*

I shared this because it is exactly how I feel regarding being a congenital and seeing an acquired do something dubbed "So Inspirational TM!". In the disabled community, most of us have a very strong opposition to "inspiration porn" - (the most well-known example, perhaps, being that Scott Hamilton quote and poster of Hamilton and a child both with those expensive prosthetic legs, saying 'The only disability in life is a bad" attitude" and any photo of someone in a wheelchair or crutches with a quote of "If they can do it so can you" or "What's your excuse" Fuck I hate those phrases so fucking much fuck fucking fuck - But every so often something comes along that falls into a category) that is only mildly inspo-porny and actually uplifting, even though nothing inspirational actually happens that we can see.
Like the quoted story, about a woman who becomes paralyzed and gets into a top-rate university after overcoming many challenges. Now, to people like me and Cara, with our cerebral palsy, it's like, So? That's it? What else happened? What made her so incredibly inspirational that it required a sappy movie? Why isn't there a movie about my life? I was born three months early in the late 1970s, nobody really cared about my cerebral palsy because it was mild, nobody thought I was autistic because it was the 1980s when autism was barely being looked into, I in fact had no idea of any of my invisible illnesses until I was in my late 20s... You get the idea.
Now, I have extreme respect for anyone who must go through a radical reconstruction of their identity when something like an acquired disability happens, because fucking fuck that is shattering and destructive and requires a particular rearranging of so many parts of their lives and their thinking.
There are some acquired folk who get snotty about it and either insist that everyone must "fight for a cure!" or throw themselves a public pity party and beg everyone to "find a cure!" which I can't really sympathize with.
Then again, I'm the type of cripple who embraces my cripplehood... because I have never known anything else. That may, in fact, make me seem snotty, snobby, snooty, etc.
But having a disability that permanently impairs daily life, whether congenital, acquired in very early childhood, or acquired later than childhood, changes your mindset, outlook, and indeed your soul, in ways that nobody can predict. And sometimes, you literally have to just roll with it. Limp with it. You know.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Copied from Facebook, because it should be put here.
*
My neurologist is hilarious and awesome. And she thinks the same of me. We're gonna schedule a brain scan. And we traded quips and jokes about why the he'll I didn't get diagnosed autistic until last year. And she agreed that I am badly stressed and depressed for no reason and she desperately wants to help, and she wants to increase the Zoloft a bit to see what happens, and she's very pleased that the passion flower is helping me sleep, and she cares so much it makes me cry. She hugged me when we were done.
I told her that I feel like I'm on another planet with super caring doctors who really help, and she looked so empathetic and almost upset about the lack of such support. I heart you, Chang Ching Debbie Lin, super neurologist and friend to patients.
*
And here I thought they would take more blood. I must remember that the good veins are in my right arm. I'm impressed I was able to watch both arms being poked. That was a big needle.
*
And of course I tripped and fell flat on my knees and shins while walking through the grass. As I was using the cane to slowly get up, I heard a woman call out, and then a hand was on my arm. She asked me if I was okay, and asked if I was going to the bus stop across the street. When I said yes, she held my left arm and helped me the whole way and stayed until we were sure I was okay. Then she went back across. Funny thing was that we were right next to both the hospital and my primary physician office.
I'm home now, and both my legs are bruised, and I'm all stiff and annoyed. But the look of concern on the woman's face made me grateful that people care enough...
*

Indeed, it's never big things, never major or massive emergencies. It is just several little things, one after another or at the same time, building up day after day, never stopping.

Dr Lin Super Neurologist has written "chronic stress disorder" on the list (right next to intractable epilepsy, insomnia, cerebral palsy spastic ataxic, and myalgia as doctor-approved medical issues on that lab test print-out I took to the lab that took two vials of blood). When she had touched my shoulders, she had exclaimed, "Ohh, you're stressed. These muscles are far too tight, even for the cerebral palsy." We joked back and forth - I said, "You know those internet memes that tell you to think positive thoughts to eliminate stress? I hate those." And she said, "It's exactly like saying that the best way to treat a stress-related disease is to get rid of stress. Helpful, isn't it?" - and she was genuinely worried.
She gave me those physical tests where I had to push against her hands with my hands and legs, and my left side barely responded, and I watched her mouth turn down and her eyes fill with sympathy. When I said that my medications were working very well for what they had to work with, she was almost gleefully relieved. She does want me to see a psychiatrist, and she thinks increasing the Zoloft may help mitigate some stress with its ability to handle more than just depression and anxiety. She was happy to see me able to genuinely express my sense of humor, and she liked that I called my depression episodes "hollows". I truly feel better for having seen her and for scheduling the six-month follow-up. Brain scan ahoy.

I know so many people with intense diseases, disorders that must be monitored and treated with porcelain delicateness, with multiple medical conditions that leave doctors stunned and astounded that these patients are still alive. This is why I don't like to compare. This is why I hate playing games, even though sometimes I find myself pain-bragging without realizing. My small, numerous, chronic daily medical issues are nothing next to something as huge as, say, cancer or MS. But they are annoying.

These varied, various, multiple little pains and problems are indeed growing and they are quietly and slowly debilitating no matter how many Happy Thoughts tm I throw at them, and they will be with me for the rest of my life, and I will work with them and treat them as best as I possibly can, and I am doing my best to turn away from insistent voices that cry about magical panacea drugs/herbs/exercises and seek out whatever magic works for me, magic or not. And all I want to do is reach out and hold the hands of those who are being struck down with health problems no matter how many times they get back up, who get back up no matter how many times they are struck down, who just want to rest.
I just want to rest.
brightrosefox: (Default)
So... there is that whole thing about "I am having a medical depression episode, I am medically anxious, I am in severe a chronic pain fibromyalgia flare that rates an 8 on Allie Brosh's pain scale, my spasticity is out of control, my hypertonia along with ataxia is interfering with my ability to balance, I'm very dizzy, I'm in a mental fog, I keep thinking of how Rose-kitten died and I start getting choked up, my joints ache and throb so much that I want to become a cyborg right now..."

And I got back from a shopping trip to Barnes&Noble and Target. And Adam picked out a beautiful autumn/spring coat with purple/rose/yellow/brown patterns I never would have considered and it was gorgeous on me and on massive clearance, and Adam himself found a perfect back-up backpack on massive clearance. And I found several new books I've wanted to read including a new Amber Benson book and a new supernatural suburban fantasy series, plus a Pinkie Pie doll from the company Aurora, the same kind that sells Fluttershy on Amazon, with soft simple fabric for hair that was perfect for cats to play with.

And I spoke cheerfully and joyfully with strangers, smiling so much that my disguise and my mask strengthened, and I knew that I could make it through as long as the medications held up, the Soma and Klonopin and Ultram and Vinpocetine and Picamilon and MSM and Vitamin D and Guarana and coffee. People asked me where I got my gold-colored cane and why I had it... and were honestly intrigued to ask about the cerebral palsy, no condescending remarks, no inspiration porn, just requests for details and honest educated understanding. And I was happy to educate, explain, enlighten, and watch their faces light up as they thanked me sincerely and walked off with more information, and that is all I want from things like that.

And the medicines did as promised, and I came home and fell down by choice, and as a wise, wise woman with a PhD told me, It Is Okay To Not Be Okay.

I am not okay. And that is okay. Eventually, I will be okay.

Some quotes I would like to share on trauma and living with illness, disability, life after trauma:

1. "Healing is seasonal, not linear.
It is true that healing happens with time. But in the recovery wilderness, emotional healing looks less like a line and more like a wobbly figure-8. It’s perfectly common to get stuck in one stage for months, only to jump to another end entirely … only to find yourself back in the same old mud again next year.
Recovery lasts a long, long time. Expect seasons."

2. "Whatever doesn’t kill you …
In 2011, after a publically humiliating year, comedian Conan O’Brien gave students at Dartmouth College the following warning:
"Nietzsche famously said, 'Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.' … What he failed to stress is that it almost kills you.”
Odd things show up after a serious loss and creep into every corner of life: insatiable anxiety in places that used to bring you joy, detachment or frustration towards your closest companions, a deep distrust of love or presence or vulnerability.
There will be days when you feel like a quivering, cowardly shell of yourself, when despair yawns as a terrible chasm, when fear paralyzes any chance for pleasure. This is just a fight that has to be won, over and over and over again.
… Doesn’t kill you.
Living through trauma may teach you resilience. It may help sustain you and others in times of crisis down the road. It may prompt humility. It may make for deeper seasons of joy. It may even make you stronger.
It also may not.
In the end, the hope of life after trauma is simply that you have life after trauma. The days, in their weird and varied richness, go on. So will you."

I chose these quotes because I have heard, over and over and over, "Oh, just get over it. Slap a bandage on it and walk it off. Are you still going on about that thing? It was years ago! Aren't you on medication and in therapy? Shouldn't you be past all that by now? Stop thinking about it so much; you're just making it worse. You're creating negativity in your own spiritual space. Negative emotions and negative thinking will destroy your immune system, you know. Stop stressing so much. I give up! You're hopeless! I can't even talk to you! You're a broken record! You're just making it worse. Why won't you listen to me? Every time you talk about getting worse, your mind and your body really believe it. Get over it! Think positively! Change your attitude! Do what I did! I quit thinking so much about the pain and trauma, and in a few months I was cured. I really think you need more positive thinking. You're bringing yourself down."

And the reason I have merely smiled, nodded, and replied, over and over, "Thank you; I shall consider that!" is because those people don't want to listen anymore, they just want me to stop talking, even though I just want to confide. And so I stopped confiding in them. It was a drain on my energy and time and it just made them irritated at me.

The point is that there is no straight line when it comes to trauma, pain, illness, damage, and negative life events. Some people will never seek treatment, and will continue to live in a post-traumatic stress cycle complete with angry outbursts, emotional breakdowns, and paranoia over things such as medical treatments. There is nothing I can do but be there, even if it is just as a voice to soothe, a hand to hold, a joke to tell, a distraction to offer.

But for me, everything is a cycle. I will never be free. I acknowledge that my entire life, literally, is, was, and will be about recovering from trauma. I have tools to work with. I have doctors who understand me. I have taken all my medical problems on with my own personal arsenal, and I know better than any of the people who dislike my methods how to work with, on, and despite myself. I have my girls, my spirit guardians, my coping mechanisms with human faces, the parts of my brain formed from fictional characters that allow me to handle different parts of my trauma. And so I keep going. Trauma is a part of my life. And that is okay.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Thanks to another trip to Michael's craft store, I have a new set of Faber-Castle Pitt artist pens below Fine, and Calliope has a Beanie Boo dolphin to cuddle, which she has been doing. I have an owl, which seems to work well as a knee pillow.

We went to the nearby Whole Foods as well, where I found my loved chocolate hemp milk, Guayaki Yerba Mate energy shots in Lime Tangerine, Orgain Chocolate Nutrient Shakes, a bottle of Acai+10 Superblend with Seabuckthorn and Mangosteen, and the rare Badger Balm large Lime lip balm. Adam picked up some fabulous cheeses, and a Coffeeholic Cream Cake for me.

Mom called to chat about an NPR medical science podcast about migraines and the placebo effect, and I revealed that forty percent of my smaller headaches can be slightly reduced by intense meditation after taking certain supplement pills. Good talk. Doesn't work all the time, doesn't work for the more intense symptoms, but I know how powerful placebo effects can be for mild and minor pains sometimes.

Luna and Calliope seem to be starting a... well, a tolerance, on Luna's side. As long as I give Luna attention first, she is nice to Calliope during cooperative play, feeding, brushing, etc. As long as Luna Moon knows she is still the precious queen and Calliope Io is submissive, there is peace. And Jupiter has been gently playing with Calliope, with the occasional soft bap on the head. I am pleased overall.

So, while at Whole Foods, I was limping down an aisle with my blue aluminum cane, right behind a tall man who had the same cane, in sparkly black, and we smiled at each other. "So, how are you?" he asked. I said, "Oh, well, the back pain and sciatica are acting up. How about you?" "Yeah, I'm going to need hip replacement and knee replacement soon," he said. "Oh, ouch," I winced. "I can't imagine. I mean, I'm 34, I was born with cerebral palsy, I'm still learning how to use this," holding up my cane. He nodded. "Yeah, my whole left side has been crazy for years." "Oh, mine too! I have spastic hemiplega on the left! The chronic pain has been getting worse for a long time, but I don't need surgery. Yet!" We grinned at each other. He looked around forty or so and over six feet. I could see right away that his joints were bothering him. "Well," he said, "You look absolutely lovely!" I smiled widely and said, "Thank you! You too!" He grinned back and thanked me, then said, "I hope the pain reduces as much as it can." And I said, "Same for you. Good luck with the surgeries." We said our goodbyes and hobbled off. It was as though we had been friends who hadn't seen each other in a while, commiserating in that cripple language that stays away from "Feel better" and steers toward "I hope your symptoms ease up" which, well, we all understand in the chronic pain community.

And that got me thinking. People tell me "You look beautiful/lovely/great" and of course the silent "even though you're in pain" follow-up. And I actually honestly don't mind that at all. It isn't an insult to me. I know they're usually talking about my chronic pain specifically, not my disabilities as a whole. It's an unspoken thing - "You're chipper and glowing and not letting the pain show, rock on with your badass self." I know that so many cripples would see it as a back-handed compliment and insult, because it totally can be. But for me... I guess it lifts my spirits, especially and specifically when a fellow cripple says it and even able-bodied people who may have invisible illnesses. It is something I need to hear from other disabled folks, because even when I think I look hideous and shitty, to hear someone tell me I look great despite my pain makes me happy, which in turn makes me feel psychologically and psychically better, which helps me try to combat the symptoms, etcetera.

So, my fellow chronically ill and disabled folks, how do you react to such a comment? Is it an insult or backhand compliment for you? Is it a lovely compliment? Do you view it differently when it is said by other chronically sick and disabled people as opposed to able-bodied people?
brightrosefox: (Default)
Back pain back pain back pain backpain backpain backpain NNNGGHH.
It's the lumbar area, leading to sciatica down both legs. Of course, you know? I've got an appointment with my new orthopedist on January sixth, and we're going to get be fitted for true customized orthotics... although I am going to insist they be cushioned, if not highly comfortable. The ones I had as a teenager actually made my feet hurt whilst walking. I still have the left one from those days. It is not comfortable. I understand practicality and function, but still.
Nnngh. Back, hips, legs, knees, ankles. Come on, drugs, work faster.

When we came home from grocery shopping, I looked up at the stairs and whispered, "Mama's home, Rose." I had meant it merely for her memory, for her spirit that now lived in the house, free to leave the clay statue that was a vessel, as Adam had not bound her to it. Adam said, "She's still gone, sweetheart." And I knew, and I reminded him that it was just... oh, I couldn't even find the words. It was just for her ghost. But he knew. We held each other and he knew.

My friends have cried for me, I think, more than I've cried for myself. I will have pockets of moments in which I will break down in gasping sobs, but they are so quick and triggered. A brush that had moved through her fur while I was comforting her in her lethargy, before I understood what was really happening, tufts of fur clinging to the bristles that I may not remove for a while. My pillow, and the soft bean-bag type pillow behind it that served as a general cat pillow but which was generally used by Rose especially in the mornings. A bag of Greenies treats that I realized I no longer had to move to a high place where Rose couldn't grab it and tear into it. Sitting in this desk chair, now, and knowing that Rose will never jump onto my lap and rub her cheeks over my mouth. She will not curl up on the floor, waiting for me to announce that Mama is going to bed so she can lead me there and see me to sleep. Oh. Yes, I'm in tears now. Oh, babygirl. Luna is on my lap now, kissing me, nuzzling. In her own Luna way.

We will be adopting another cat. Yes. It may be sooner than anyone thinks. I've already dreamed of her. I've already named her. I already know her age range. But... you know, someones through the grief and the numbness and the deep deep shock and the horror of physical death, we know deep deep inside that even if it takes only a week or two to get another pet, it is nothing like a replacement. It just means that the throbbing empty hollow burning in our hearts might start to heal, just a little. Luna is still my heart and soul, my queen and my moon goddess, my precious love. Jupiter is still my beautiful big boy, my chatty feline child who brightens my day just by smiling. The new kitten, the new young cat, will never be Rose. She will be herself.
Rose is never coming back, not even in a new incarnation. I'm not even sure I want that; it might hurt too deeply. Rose herself was already the reincarnation of Adam's patchwork dog, Ralph. Rose spent five glorious years learning to love and be loved. In Buddhism, that is a vital thing. All animals understand this. It is slightly Jainist. Adam and I, in our eclectic paganism, are mildly Buddhist in various, often conflicting, ways. It is not possible for us to be fully Buddhist in any way, but eclecticism is a wide arena.

"Life is a journey.
Death is a return to earth.
The universe is like an inn.
The passing years are like dust.
Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a dream"
brightrosefox: (Default)
Seizure happened in the kitchen. Jupiter meowed and rubbed against me while I crouched. Adam came in and gently lay me on the floor. My eyes were open and blank. Adam touched my face and reached for my mind, and I spasmed and gasped and blinked. I asked why I was on the floor. Adam helped me up and stood me against the large freezer. My memory is swirling. Alicia is holding me. Earlier, Adam said he told his boss, a fellow animal lover, that he needed an extra day to care for his wife. I rolled my eyes and said that was not necessary; that I was fine. Never mind. It was so dark and so white equally braided as order and chaos magics. I was spinning at ninety-nine percent light speed and thirty-five miles an hour. The world was elsewhere. A few seconds lasted a thousand years. Adam suggested I go upstairs and rest. Jupiter is suggesting a cuddle. I am thinking coffee and clonazepam and baclofen. I am made of light and love and pure order-chaos magic in its simplest form. I can give myself the right strength. May be that I can regenerate. As brightly and intensely as a Time Lord. I always shine enough for everyone.

brightrosefox: (Default)
"Sometimes the only way I know how to work through something is by writing..."
Hi.

"Now I know that the number one rule to being cool is to seem unfazed, to never admit that anything scares you or impresses you or excites you. Somebody once told me it's like walking through life like this. You protect yourself from all the unexpected miseries or hurt that might show up. But I try to walk through life like this. And yes, that means catching all of those miseries and hurt, but it also means that when beautiful, amazing things just fall out of the sky, I'm ready to catch them. "

I need this. I've spent my entire life catching all of those hurts, and sometimes those hurts are beautiful and amazing - because they live inside of me. Even the painful parts. Even the Monsters. I don't always declare war on the symptoms, I often imagine myself using psychological coping mechanisms, transporting my quiet self to a Zen garden with cats and sunlight and wildflowers, as the warrior parts of my brain battle those Pain Monsters with spears and war cries. It is a mind over matter dance that does not erode the symptoms, but helps me work with and deal with them. I apply creative writing to cope and to run to other worlds in my mind.

It is seen as Positive Thinking. But I tend to flinch at that term, because it is usually followed up with a sunshine up the ass platitude. I do apply a method of positive thinking to my conditions, disorders, and disabilities. But it is my own personal method, and whenever someone tries to insist that I use a different method, I naturally stand firm and stare them down. This is why I am happy that all of my doctors, specialists, and therapists are extremely willing to help me achieve my own positive thinking, because it is my own, and I know exactly what I want from it.
Unfortunately, it also makes me extremely vulnerable to criticism. I am probably Doing It Wrong. I am probably Wanting To Be Chronically Ill All The Time. I am probably Magically Convincing Myself That I Am Getting Worse. I Obviously Am Not Thinking Positively Enough - because my biggest coping mechanism is to write it down, and to share my newest findings with people I love and with people who understand my situation. At least, those are my assumptions. I made a few poor assumptions and lost a few acquaintances. But I moved on. Now, I am still writing, still speaking out. Now, I am determined to hold on to my personal method of positive thinking no matter who tries to change that method.

That is why I love this message from Sarah Kay. No one else can work inside my mind like I can. Each of us has the power to think positively in a way that works for us and us alone.

The next time somebody tells you that you need to stop doing it This way and start doing it That way, think long and hard about it before you even reply. Some things are just not worth debating. Sometimes all you can do is smile and nod and say "Thank you for the advice" - and move on. It is your mind, after all.

http://dotsub.com/view/e8f7d701-e410-464d-9051-eeae8a1ddd44/viewTranscript/eng

http://www.upworthy.com/watch-the-ted-talk-that-inspired-two-standing-ovations?g=2

I will probably listen to this video enough to memorize or recite most of it, and my poor memory will do its best to hold it close.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Oh, hey, my long lost theme song.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/Wmd60Kk9Ljk

Gracefully she's circling higher
She has the wind beneath her wings
And looks down on us, she said

Robbed of my innocence
Had no more time to play
I sure got my feathers burned
But I'm stronger than the flames

Here she comes, here she comes
I've been waiting for so long
Here she comes, rose again from the flames
My little phoenix

Eternity is set in her eyes
Throwing sparks back at the world
That'll never die and I think

She was robbed of her innocence
Had no more time to play
She's only a little girl
But she's stronger than the flames

Here she comes, here she comes
I've been waiting for so long
Here she comes, rose again from the flames
My little phoenix

Here she comes, I've been waiting
For my little phoenix

You've got to get close to the flame
To see what it's made of
You've got to get close to the flame
To see what you are made of

Here she comes, here she comes
I've been waiting for so long
Here she comes, rose again from the flames
My little phoenix

***

This reminds me, fascinatingly, of chronic pain, invisible illness, mental illness, disability, and the struggles of marginalization for a bodymind that is full of monsters.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/yxPMc-XWOZ8

Phantom voices with no words to follow
At the mercy of the cold and hollow
I withdrew into my sanctuary of silence
My defense

In this moment I am just becoming
Liberated from my cell of nothing
No sensation there was only breathing
Overcome oblivion

Falling Awake
From a walking sleep
And all that remains
Is the dying memory
And now I can dive for
These dreams I make
Like I am Falling
I am falling awake

Waves of melodies once forgotten
Like a symphony across the ocean
Never knew that they could hear my calling
Deep within
Crashing in
Rushing in
Like falling

Falling Awake
From a walking sleep
And all that remains
Is the dying memory
And now I can dive for
These dreams I make
Like I am Falling
I am falling awake

There is no returning to that emptiness,
Loneliness
The dream that lives inside of me
Won't fade away, it's wide awake

Falling Awake
From a walking sleep
And all that remains
Is the dying memory
And now I can dive for
These dreams I make
Like I am Falling
I am falling awake

***

And this one, same thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdG3ECUC-mE

Whenever I wake up
I'm lost and always afraid
It's never the same place
I close my eyes to escape
The walls around me

And I drift away
Inside the silence
Overtakes the Pain
In my dreams

I feel Immortal
I am not scared
No, I am not scared
I feel immortal
When I am there
When I am there

Whenever I wake up
The shards of us cut within
Always the same day
Frozen all in the fringe
I surrender to the sleep
And leave the hurt behind me
There's no death to fear
In my dreams

I feel Immortal
I am not scared
No, I am not scared
I feel immortal
When I am there
When I am there

So far or right beside me
So close but they can't find me
Slowly, time forgets me
I'm lonely, only dreaming

I feel Immortal
I am not scared
No, I am not scared
I feel immortal
When I am there
When I am there

***

And for my new friends in disability and invisible illness, I present my number one theme song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJnCHctOeJg

Smash glass against the wall
Curse the music on the radio that the neighbours play.
Door slams, she turns her head
Watches through the window as he pulls away
Funny how your racing brain drives you so mad
When all the while you feel so numb
Too old to be clean far too young to be broken
Like an army we come

Cut back, left behind
I watched you self-destructing oh so many times
Shot down, once again
Sitting in a chair crying what am I going to do with my life?
Just learn to hide the way that you really feel
Never let them know that you're scared
But understand that you're not the special only one
Watch us now, watch us real close

How we all dance with this fire 'cause it's all that we know
And as the spotlight turns toward us, we all try our best to show
We are lost we are freaks, we are crippled, we are weak
We are the heirs, we are the true heirs, to all the world

Let's go build a fire down on the empty beach when the waves are crashing high
White heat purify, as the sparks fly up into the great black sky
Sacrifice these crutches to the crackling flames
Stand as silhouettes against the dawn
It's far too late to try to sleep now, seems I'm never tired any more

I want to dance with this fire 'cause it's all that I know
We are lost we are freaks
And we try our best to show
I am lost
I'm a freak ha ha.

***

Depression Monster is still wrapped around me, steel claws and silver grin, but I am fighting and fighting, and I have many spears.

Husband returned from New Orleans around one-thirty this morning. Rose and Jupiter immediately climbed on him and we all fell asleep in a snuggling pile.
Later today, errands! Petco Unleashed with coupons for Blue food and litter. Trader Joe's for cookies, whole milk yogurt, chocolate hemp powder, trail mix, pumpkin cereal bars, fairytale pumpkins. Dollar Store for calendars. H-Mart for produce and foods from outside North America.
Had a lovely chat near the with from a guy who was from Jamaica, who extolled the virtues of awesome iron-rich burro bananas and said that his grandmother, who ate them every day on The Island, was 130. She probably did lots of things. The man himself looked barely 40 but he could have been 50. I asked him which bunches of burro bananas looked best. Yay, snacks.
And we got a pure honey nut spread, roasted seaweed snack packs, tamarind paste, demerara sugar (4 lbs for under 5 bucks), black plums, pomegranates, red leaf lettuce, and stuff I forget now.
I have taken more medication to ease this pain, I have meditated with cartoon comedy to beat back the Depression Monster, and I now will get back to writing.
brightrosefox: (Default)
You know how people who work out a lot always say things like, "Wow, that workout class of my choice was intense! I'm going to be so sore tomorrow I don't think I'll be able to sit down!" and then they go do it all over again and again and they keep talking about their horrifically sore stiff painful muscles and how it's going to help them get in great shape no matter how much it hurts?
Yesterday afternoon, I walked two miles between picking up my prescription, getting lunch, and strolling around the neighborhood. This morning I woke up in excruciating gruesome pain, and now my entire lower body doesn't want to move. My legs, hips, and knees have decided that unless I have my cane on me, I cannot walk.
Where is my special prize? I though we got prizes for sore muscles.
Please, fully healthy able-bodied person who works out every day and treats post-exercise soreness like a badge of honor, tell me why I should feel sympathy for you.

See, this is why I sometimes feel slightly triggered if a friend talks about how painful and excruciating their extreme exercise regimen makes them feel, especially if it's like bragging. You know. P90X or Yuppie Boot Camp or CrossFit or Zumba or Power Yoga or Dance Yoga or AcroYoga or anything combining yoga with anything or anything combing dancing with anything. You're relatively healthy, you exercise like crazy until oh dear, you are in so much pain you can't walk, ha ha, and you keep doing it and sometimes you laugh and attempt to compare yourself to a disabled person until your workout pain fades and you do all that healthy working out again.

(Also, I will never stop saying how sick and tired I am of hearing about Snobby Yuppie Yoga Workout classes. I get it, you stretch and expand your mind and you exercise at the same time; good for you; now put your mind back in your brain. Stop telling me how yoga can help me and why. Stop. Just... stop it. My mother (who casually teaches old ladies kripalu style disabled yoga) does that for me over the phone very well because we're the Gilmore Girls with more bickering and we do that kind of thing.)

The point is: Having physical disabilities and chronic illnesses means living with certain limitations unique to each individual, no matter what. People in wheelchairs do exercise and yoga, people with breathing problems take dance classes, people with semi-paralysis take martial arts, etc etc... and everyone finds a way to raise their own limits while compromising and compensating to fit the workout to them instead of fitting themselves to the workout. Unfortunately, not all of us are able to do this in a class setting or even a group setting for whatever reason.

So. When I say that my body is in horrible horrible pain from extremely simple, quick, easy working out after you say the same about extremely intense, slow, difficult working out, a tiny part of me runs off and cries.
The story:
When I was very little, I took gymnastics to try and help with the cerebral palsy. I lasted one year. I excelled at parallel bars and rings and anything that put me in the air. But I could not do floor exercises or balance beams. When I was a teenager, I took tai chi. The master was sixty and looked thirty. I was the youngest student. I kept making the mistake of following the master and not accepting my body's limitations. The master forgot that I was disabled. In the end, I wound up handling a few injuries that led to permanent sciatica and the master was so horrified that he offered to help me recover and to pay for doctor sessions. When I was in college, I took a few simple, mild exercise courses, and after every single one, while the other students were high-fiving and laughing and feeling energetic, I was curled up trying to hide my tears of agony. The first few times I tried even basic yoga, my entire body rebelled and screamed negative things until I meditated and listened and learned what was better for me, which led me and my mother to develop a highly modified version that was almost not yoga.

The point:
I have limitations with my disabilities. Do not tell me that I have none. Do not tell me that the only limitations are in my mind. Especially do not (ever) tell me that the only disability is a bad attitude. Back off and let me do what I do and make gentle suggestions here and there. Offer to help me stretch a little more and steady my arms while I lift a heavy thing. Help me stretch and flex my legs when I do my physical therapy. Do not whine to my face about how sore you are after your dance yoga power ballet spinning acrobatics martial arts class done in a well-lit air conditioned crowded room blasting out hip pop music. You chose that. You wanted it. You had the ability. Any pain you endure will fade and you will continue your workout readily because your pain means strength. You may even try to compare your temporary workout pain to a disabled person's chronic pain - good luck with that.

I dream about dancing. I dream about being a gymnast. I dream about mastering tai chi and qi gong. I do my best every day to make small, gentle, careful moves that point in all those directions. I don't push my limits. I raise my limits so that I have farther and deeper to go before I reach those limits. And it is going to take a long time. I have to be extraordinarily careful so I don't trigger various symptoms. I only look healthy.

So go on. Go do your Power Dance Acro Cycle Pilates Trampoline Athetic Yoga Karate Class. Rip up your muscles so they can knit together and become stronger. Be strong. Be intense. Be powerful. Be proud. Fuck it, be arrogant and condescending. You deserve it for all that hard work.
Just don't tell me that I can do all these things you do with ease and don't tell me I have no limits and don't tell me that I'm just challenged or differently abled. Do not insult me. Just talk to me. Then, if I ask, work gently with me.
brightrosefox: (Default)
I really must post more here.
I've been in a depressive episode, one that now includes a postitctal state.
Feeling truly alive and worthy can be difficult.
Bah.
I'll work through it and past it. I always do.
Everything hurts. Pain is concentrated in my skull, my face, and my neck. It is hard to lie still with my eyes closed.
Luckily I have many different treatments, yay.
Maybe tomorrow I can really start the second novel as more than outlines. I still need a title. The title "Glass Lotus" is still among the top choices. I still need to research paranormal contemporary nontraditional urban fantasy novels featuring LGBTQU characters with disabilities and superpowers. (Good luck, Jo.)
At least I am eating.
brightrosefox: (Default)
You know it is a bad day when...

A Cerebral Palsy induced fall against carpeted stairs leads to a Complex Partial Seizure which leads to a Panic Attack with wild animal sobbing so intense your partner comes up and worries to death over you and carefully leads you to a couch and gives you water and holds you.

"It's just stairs," you tell yourself over and over. "You can maneuver them. It's just stairs." And at the top, exhausted by victory, you lay on the floor, weak as a new kitten, heart and head pounding to near bursting, crying until it sounds like laughing. And maybe all you can do in that horrific posictal state is laugh. On the inside. Because Epilepsy is a monster and has no qualms about gaining allies.
Now it is time for Fibromyalgia to have its turn. Burn body burn.

I am so tired. I have no more synonyms for exhausted, fatigued, beaten, weakened. I am done.
But I will never stop. If I cannot be myself I will be a dragon.

For those who know my Healthy Multiplicity: indeed, Alicia and Amara were like drill sergeants in my mind. They were the only things that kept me climbing those mountainous stairs. I love my human coping mechanisms.
Typing doesn't make me tired ever. And this must be written.



So... *cough*
I am okay. But I am not okay at all. So many painful things are inside my brain and my body.
It is okay to talk about that, right? To be not okay? To try to pretend to be okay?
See, that is why I love online friendships. Because if I cannot speak without bursting into stuttering wild sobbing, I can type slowly and people will understand. Right? Oh, my everything hurts.
I could say I have a muscle pain, or a joint pain, or a migraine... but I have everything pain everywhere. And I don't know how to explain it without it coming across as "My pain is worse than yours!" and I don't want to do that. Because all pain is horrible. My pain is no worse than yours. Pain is pain is pain.
I don't know what to say. My brain is so everywhere. I feel so split open and raw and drifting. I think some of the things keeping me together are my fictional characters, who still demand their stories.
I want to sob and scream and howl until I am so raw that I cannot speak. Is that okay? I can do that, right? Nobody will bitch at me for complaining, right? I just don't know. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to feel. Fear is something that feels flat but understandable. Like am emotion I am aware of but unable to truly experience in a deep true way. Like crying. It is a thing that is happening. I just feel confused. Why do I feel?
You know?

Oh, yes. The seizure. Oh, Alicia. She appeared to me so quickly, so fiercely, I had no choice but to grab her outstretched hand and run with her. She yelled, "Come with me now! You need to get through the looking glass! There is no time! Amara is waiting! Serena is waiting! Go, go, go!" and she almost shoved me through the portal, and all I remember is Amara catching me in her arms... Amara with her truly calico hair and her stormy eyes of deep purple and darkest blue and pure gold, her short slim muscled hourglass body that held me in an iron grip, my mouth against her olive-colored neck, and our tumble to a cavern floor that was lit with sunlight and moonlight, so I could see her properly, how she was only a few inches taller than me, her mouth pouty and full, her oval face the dream of every American woman in a plastic surgeon's office, her straight teeth bared in strain. She got to her feet gracefully and looked down at me and said in the voice of temple bells, "Rest now. Serena will be here soon. I've never fully introduced myself, but that can wait. We have so much time."
I shook my head. "Alicia said there was no time--"
Amara smiled and entranced me. "Only in her dimension. Here, there is every time. I am everlasting, after all. I love and guard your entire mind and brain, remember? I work with my sister, Amber, who encases everything in your varied forms of spirit and soul and energy and power. Alicia and Serena are limited. Amber and I are unlimited. We shall be with you until the end of everything. You hurt badly. I sense it. Serena will be here in a moment. I will stay with you."
I stared at her. "I've never known you until now. I love you."
"Yes. You were meant to. I am the culmination of your neurology, your neurochemistry, your biochemistry, the stuff in your head that help make you the things that are you. A Self. A Mind. A Brain. I change as you need to change. I will always be here."
Amara my immortal began to slowly fade, and Serena came running. She gathered me in her arms and murmured soothing words, and suddenly I felt as calm and as safe as I ever could.
And then I awoke, and I was a person climbing the stairs.
And I climbed the stairs, sobbing and forcing myself, and at the top of the stairs I lay crying, and then my husband found me and helped me to my work couch and gave me water, and I couldn't talk about my girls, but it was all right. I would be all right.
brightrosefox: (Default)
So, husband treated me to IHOP new Tiramisu pancakes. It is actually good. They put in real coffee. Adam's birthday was yesterday, July eighth, and it was spent with a beautiful husky malamute mix named Haruka, owned by our friend Adam M., who was passing through to hang out. Good times were had.

Also, I had a panic attack out of absolutely nowhere. Then again, that is why they are panic attacks.
Panic attacks are such wild ravenous monsters. I am helped immensely by caffeine and clonazepam and various Ayurvedic tonics and lots of slow careful breathing with slow careful stretching (except anything that lowers my head; I get too dizzy and panicky again). But hearing, feeling and sensing my heart about to explode is terrible.
I am becoming calm.
My cats are surrounding me with adoration.

I'm going to apply some of my favorite cosmetics...
(Buxom Full Bodied Lipstick in Provocateur, It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Colors in Pretty Woman, In Love, Ruby Slippers, Tarte La Lip Creme Lipstick in Stiletto Red;
Lauren Brooke Creme Concealer in Warm Light, Tarte Creasless Maracuja Concealer in Light, It Cosmetics Bye Bye Concealer, Erzulie Perfect Match Cream To Powder Mineral Foundation in Light, Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation in 2.0;
Too Faced Exotic Single Eyeshadow in Midnight Mist; Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Gravity; MAC Eyeshadow in Contrast; Buxom Eyeliner in Sapphire)

...and convince myself that nobody hates me and that I've done nothing wrong and that everything is all right.
There is this child inside me that firmly believes that no matter what she does, how she does it, or why she does it, someone will pull her aside and say in a low voice, "Honey, you shouldn't have done that, it's rude." And she won't understand why because parts of her brain just keep going and the parts of her brain dedicated to social cues and politeness are sleeping. And she is just afraid all the time that she has said something wrong and then she just waits and waits to be pulled aside as chastised. Even when it never happens. She waits, and she waits, shivering, because she is so completely convinced that everything she does and is will be scrutinized and scolded. I really must find a way to soothe her.
brightrosefox: (Default)
I must quote this, because it struck me deeply and knocked me over and stunned me and amazed me.

*****
From: [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling.
I don't know if I can explain it, any more than I can explain why I find anyone amazing, but you're open about what you are and what you are going through. You don't expend energy trying to be normal, and you never seem to even want to. You aren't afraid of what you ARE, even when the things that HAPPEN, sometimes because of things that you are, are scary. You seem sometimes scared of things that happen or that you (body/chemistry) do to you, but not scared of yourself, really. You're fierce. You're . . . we don't have a word for it. The way in which children and animals are alike, that we *call* innocence, but isn't innocence, it's just a kind of transparency and guilelessness-without-cluelessness. You're contradictory, and this isn't a problem. You've imposed . . . not order . . . but some sort of reason and meaning and story on the chaos in your life, and you have made beautiful things out of it inside you. You persist. You change, you are not destroyed. You're mercurial, joyful in the sense of being flat-out at everything you feel and not in the sense of being always happy, you're generous, you're very kind, you're forgiving. You aren't afraid to spend a lot of time working with and understanding yourself, because you know that is important. You are more people than just-the-one-you you. You are comfortable working with shape and meaning and color, when words aren't good enough. Whole parts of you are indescribable. You're a *good person*, while still being strong and fierce, and that is overwhelmingly obvious to anyone with half a synapse. You belong in fairy tales, like so many of the rest of us, writing better endings. You're kind of amazing.

And tangentially, THAT is why when people are all like "disabled people are so inspirational!" I get kinda pissed on the grounds of "THESE PEOPLE THAT I KNOW, they are SO MUCH MORE than a stepping stone for your ego or a friendly reassurance that hey, if those people can manage to get themselves to a beach/a gym/on a horse, you have a good chance of not being an utter asshole failure your entire life, and accomplishing REALLY important things!" and at the same time am like "No, really, we ARE inspirational; you have no fucking idea how 'inspirational' the disabled folks I know are . . . and if you had one iota of their self-awareness you might not be saying such asinine crap."
You want to find disabled people "inspirational?" I'll accept that . . . if what you are finding "inspirational" is their honesty in speaking out and sharing their opinions, their desire to help others, their weapons-grade swearing vocabulary (so many disabled people I know HAVE THAT, it's glorious), their ability to incorporate something literally disabling into their self-image and life when our culture gives them limited scripts and limited opportunities, their persistence in navigating the obstacles placed in front of them not by what they are, but by how our culture and the many dickheads in it unwittingly and often VERY DELIBERATELY make it harder to do so, the fact that they are often poor as dirt but are the most generous people you will ever meet, that they have known pain and so they often know great compassion.

*THAT* SHIT IS INSPIRATIONAL.

So is persistence, yes, which is why I am always impressed when I see someone who has had to deal with major issues accomplish something that is made particularly difficult BY those issues SPECIFICALLY, but when that sort of thing is nearly always ONLY praised in the context of visible, physical disability, or when it's some completely unrelated shit, that pisses me off.

It's like . . . people are apparently impressed by when disabled people do anything *while smiling*, because that indicates the triumph of overcoming our miserable existence? Or that we have a good enough attitude to forget, for a moment, that we are fucked up and are supposed to be miserable constantly? I don't even KNOW. But these same people aren't finding me inspirational when I'm at my blackest and am hanging on by my last claw, which is arguably when I am being my MOST BADASS. That's when I need to be pulling up my bootstraps and thinking my way out of it with sunshine and baby kisses. But an ungroomed, exhausted, surrounded by laundry, not moving, fat, blotchy, cat-strewn DEPRESSED person staring at a computer screen or TV or at nothing in particular doesn't look good in a facebook picture. "This person: probably exercising more willpower not to give up hope and eat a bullet than you will exercise at any point in your whole life. Stop. Bitching. That. Your. Yoga. Is. Hard." <---- Nobody wants that. (And, while maybe sometimes true, it's also kinda dickly, because Suck Olympics are uncool. The things that have made me most miserable sometimes do not seem to be proportional or make sense. To wit, the hour-long crying jag I had when my last pet scorpion died, years ago. Dude, I cried less painfully when my GRANDMOTHER died. What even the HELL?)

All I know is that the shit people usually talk about as being inspirational is not really very inspirational to me. Like, *if* it's true that Chris Evans really does have anxiety/panic attacks (never read reliable info about how severe his "problems with anxiety" are, though he apparently went into therapy) and he still navigated two MONSTROUS blockbuster movies and associated press events, I find that totally fucking impressive, because I KNOW WHAT THAT IS LIKE, and I know I couldn't handle it. And that's the stuff people don't seem to understand. That's the stuff people latch on to and *make fun of.* Because people who don't Get It can be real dicks about that stuff.
*****
I truly believe that if Namaah and I lived closer, we would see each other several times a week and never get tired of each other's company.
My husband once told me that everyone has multiple soulmates, that a soul can be split into many different parts. I think Namaah may be one of my soulmates. It took me five years to realize that, and that's okay. I like to take things slowly.
brightrosefox: (Default)
I stretched the hell out of my back and legs and arms. It was lovely. I did it my way. I am very pleased and very satisfied. I won't discuss the various burning barbed wire pains that are distracting me even through the codeine, but I will talk about the beautiful meditative exercises I've been working with. Peaceful, serene, tranquil, calm, relaxing, refreshing, fantastic in multiple ways. The scene always changes, but always appears Zen in some way.
I had mentioned that my human coping mechanisms, my spirit guardians, had begun communicating with each other deep in my brain without my conscious knowledge, which leads me to believe that parts of my brain are starting to come together as part of the story, as my unlimited imagination and writerbrain is starting working on a whole new, amazingly unique, private story all on its own. No wonder I have been working on Amber's story beyond these bits of my brain. Amber has also given me free reign to write her as a fully developed character and not just a created coping mechanism.
In general, I am just... very happy.
And the funny thing is that I am in a depressive episode. I have all the symptoms, and I am quite conscious and aware. But I have things that are helping distract me: Talking about my imagination and my creativity, talking about the triggers for my panic attacks and my simple seizures, talking about comedy TV shows and powerful fiction books. Somehow it all is able to keep the major depression away, although it is a very intense fight. Sometimes I find myself weak and struggling, even physically, as thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness, frustration and terror, pessimism and guilt all slam into me and my wall and my shell.
I suppose I could say I am happy. I feel happy.
But... what is happiness?
"Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy." Sure, I feel those things. However, there is a strong undercurrent of the exact opposite.
Brains, man. Brains are wild. Brains are weird. Brains are so complex. One day, I want to have an MRI and see exactly what my brain is doing. I want to sit with multiple brain specialists for hours on end, and just... talk. I want to talk about my brain.
Brains, man.

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