Time. How it Heals.


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I am going to go against the grain and say money is everything, followed by health, and then time.

I put money first because for myself only, I have found that I have my health due to my (and others’) money, and I also have time because I have, in general, enough money. It is not that I have perfect health, or not serious financial problems, just that through recovery, the grace of my employer, and the people around me, I seem to make it even when I shouldn’t. My life has seen real miracles recently. So, that said, I want to give thanks for time.
Yesterday was a good day for me. Ever since bailing out of school and having a nervous breakdown, learning has been nearly impossible. I suspect learning has gotten rolled up with trauma and now my mind just won’t go there. I think my mind flips out and then sends out messages of danger, which of course brings on a freak out! Are you getting all the “outs” here? Well, that is what happened yesterday. I did well at a work “clinical exam” type thing, and for 30 seconds was elated, relieved, proud of myself, and happy to have it done and done well, as my boss will also be happy. It was really a beautiful thing. I made my instructor laugh and towards the end it was almost fun.
This is Florabelle. She is coming TOWARDS ME AND THE CAMERA. She knows she is safe and I love her and she will not get into trouble. She does stuff I don’t like, and she gets time outs, and even put in a crate when I can’t take it anymore. But she is never afraid.
Some time during during this “validation” session at my job I became like Florabelle. I know and have worked along side this instructor. She tested me on my least used skills first, and let me explain how it is where I work. I do know this stuff. I think we were both like “it’s in there, relax and do it”. As we progressed I became more myself and my skills and clinical personality flowed out. She validated everything signing me off as completed.
Most people have professional, work, school, or organizational proficiencies to prove. For people with serious mental health issues these can be sources of mental drama. First of course, is all the pre-game worry of something put on me. Another damn thing I absolutely have to do. When work is already timultuous and often unreasonable, I get like, “really?”. So I’m instantly pissed off.
Then there is the looking for the email, the looking for the dates of openings/closings of the learning modules, looking for the classes to sign up, looking to see what happens if class is missed or I fail.
Then comes the doing of the modules. The IT problems encountered when they didn’t work. More emails. Repeating the modules. Getting smart and printing stuff out for “proof”. More emails.
I want to scream.

Then of course there is missing the first run at my validation class because I called in sick (more why in another post). There is the reschedule of the class on the last day, because, hey, that is how I role!

A month goes by with another consuming life drama (yet another post or two!) then the “collage cram” as we do for exams. I studied my printouts for an hour only because again, of course I had the test time wrong in my head, fortunately I was smart at some point and entered it with an alarm in my phone, which alerted me while in a library! I threw my sheets in my bag and ran for it. Sound familiar? Jesus! I am 40 something, WHY??!!!
More scream.
Because I am ACOA, that’s why. Because I am always nearly a wreck, living on a shoestring budget, and mostly alone in life. There is just too much to do and I am barely equipt- or so I often think. Anyway, as I shared, I did great. After the relief, the elation, the proud and happy moments came all the other shit that goes on in my head.
First was all the “you dumb shit” stuff. The “Why did you put off studying?” “Why did you spend 3 hours getting stuff off the intranet for a co-worker who didn’t print stuff out, was working all night, and probably wouldn’t use it anyway?” “Why did you then also soak in the tub forever instead of going to bed!” (still, another post or two). “Why didn’t you get up earlier? You do this shit all the time, this is why school is so hard for you.” “This was a only a damn work clinical, what if this was school?!”
You know, the committee in our heads that beats the hell outta us?
I managed to quell all that and texted my co-worker to see if she wanted my sheets. I offered to bring them to her, which she was delighted about, so I did. I also tutored her for an hour then headed homeward. Again I felt good. I felt like I not only hit it out of the park, I taught someone else. I succeeded and I assisted someone else to succeed also.
Then, BOOM!!!!
Enter the committee, the Devil, and Complex PTSD! I managed to get to the grocery store before scrambling home to bed. How dare I succeed! How dare I be THAT good! How dare I pull it off with barely studying! How dare I complete something, check it off, and even THINK of moving on! Who do I think I am!
Fear of punishment floods me as I drive home, lock my car, and enter my apartment. I stood on the rug right inside the door; empty, dark, shaking, and very confused. My mind felt a little blown, no ability to focus, and in dire need to shut down. I was going to collapse soon, the lights were going out.
I am good at this enough now to know this is PTSD. This is the abuse still inside of me roaring around my body. It is all the horrible mixed messages I received as a kid mashing around my brain. What my body feels is the effects of the chemicals that have been rapidly releasing into my blood stream. Relief, joy, excitement, drive, and fear, all with powerful forces competing for the action energy inside of me. First came a warning, then came confusion, then came safety (which I have instituted), then exhaustion and stopping. When I could move again, (I went into freeze mode for a few minutes) I double checked that I locked my apartment door, put my refrigerated groceries away, checked my work schedule, and went to bed.
It got dark, and my ears were back.
You see, success for me is bad. Doing well, moving on, completing things, growing somehow, brought abuse. Focus could never be on me. Not for a play, not for a concert, not for a birthday, not a holiday, not an award, not college graduation, not even for having a baby. And anytime someone did have to acknowlege something great I did, it was grudgingly, with great effort, definitely with the other put out about something, and of course I’d never hear the end of it. And truthfuly, for me, it really hasn’t been all that that stops me from being successful, it is SUSTAINING success. It is the constant struggle to get somewhere with those around me determined that I cannot. Determined that they come first always, that my needs are secondary or not needed at all. That my success means less for them. That I am not deserving of the light, ease, or peace. Dysfunctional families create so many road blocks for those trying to get out that I am beginning to believe it takes half again of one’s life to clear them. As I drove home I was amazed at how strongly the fear of some kind of punishment still upended me 32 years later. I could feel it coming. I had to take a nap because doing well is as bad as not. That is seriously messed up. Do you know what that means?
That means that either way, I cannot win at life. That means that people like me will find the same thing. That means that for moments, there is no way out. That means that there will be the realization that things won’t, can’t change, that suffering will not end. For me, that explains why I collapse, fall asleep, withdraw, totally crash. I slam on the breaks and stop, there is no where to go anyway.
Enter time. Time is the third thing I guard with fierceness. I am a pain about my own time. I needed to take most of today to re-boot. To re-boot from a mini crash because I had a success. I had to relax about a ton of shit I should have done today and write. I needed to get down on digital the other side of dysfunction, not just fall out from the not doing, but the damn doing also. I needed to write that success can be as bad as failure.
Time. I believe that recovery takes time. And I don’t mean that it takes two or five years to quit this or that, I mean that to do it well, to get to the roots of patterns of behaviors, I give up time doing other things and give it to my PTSD. I give up half a day, say noon to 5pm ish, and sit on my bed with my BlackBerry and sort out why I flipped out so badly yesterday when from the outside I’m awesome and can function beautifully. On the inside, I had reasons to perish. I do not wish to perish. I wish to beat the hell out of my PTSD. I wish to cut the ties that bind me to shame, fear, and failure. I wish to turn my back on the committee. I may even stop the newish emails with my mom. I really don’t have time to care about her concerns. In truth, I am still scrambling for traction that she and my aunt and my ex always got in my way of.
No. If you enhance my time, save me time, respect my time, understand that I need a ton of time because I’m so fucked up, fine; if not, kindly fuck off, you may not have my time.
When I glanced at my schedule yesterday before my “collapse”, nap that is, I expected to work at 3pm today. I was elated to see that I had today off. God loves me, this is proof. I napped in peace, spent the rest of the evening in the tub, then slept 8 hours. I am beginning to believe that my brain requires this time to heal. I NEED a ton of time to myself. I need to free flow think, do things slowly and deliberately, and not feel rushed and deprived of taking care of myself.
Not working myself to death, not worrying about all the shoulds, pay this, pay that, buy this, fix that, do this, go there; and keeping all that time for myself to decompress, ground, re-think, be grateful, and write, really kills off deprivation behaviors, my addictions. It kills off “no way out” thinking because I can stop moving, I can address the confusion, I can allow the shut-down. This blessing of time today was a gift of life to me. It was a gift from the outside cold air, traffic misbehavior, my job’s BS, any job’s BS, other people’s demands. A gift to be broken me. A successful broken me.
I feel shattered today. I needed all of today’s time for that.     clipclock



CBT: Addressing auto violations.


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Problem and My Reaction:

I received a notice via snail mail that I had Tollway violations. The state wanted $150 dollars.lgi01a201311071900[1]

  1. Mail remains, even after 5 years, a challenge for me to open and deal with.
  2. Time is not so much a factor right now, but as I work towards another job and school, it will be problematic. MAKE TIME FOR SNAIL MAIL
  3. SNAIL MAIL remains frightening to me because it TRIGGERS FEELINGS OF DEPRIVATION.

Additional helpful information: (Remember to gather more information to reduce stress and avoid freezing, leading to more problems.)

  1. I have an EZ pass.
  2. The notice said that EZ pass account holders should call a certain number.
  3. I vaguely recall this happening before and it turning out okay. Use good memories!
  4. A friend also said I wouldn’t have to pay the full $150. Complain to a healthy friend!

Barriers to resolution of the problem:

  1. After the initial shock, I did not freeze up, but I did have to take a day to gather myself. Everything can be hard if emotional management is challenging, emotional sobriety over the long haul requires constant attention.
  2. My debit card had been cancelled by the bank (possible security breach) and I was waiting for a new card. The ability to resolve the problem with a credit card and reload to be able to drive on the toll again, was on hold. Actually a good thing, thank you, bank. Gratitude.
  3. For me, frustrations with constant barriers become barriers themselves. Remain positive.

Resolution preparation:

  1. My new card came. I activated it. (only a few days between the notice and the card’s arrival)
  2. I read the notice and gathered the needed items. Card, driver’s license, violation number, transponder ID number.
  3. I double checked my bank account to ensure a transaction would go through. Estimated $60 to be paid.
  4. Planned expense. $10.50 in violations that were on the notice. Likely another $10.50, if not more. Another $40 to load the account.
  5. I felt a lot of gratitude that the money was there. Before hand I had also checked my broken budget. I knew there would be some “floating going on” about my rent. So while distressed, things were okay. No black/white thinking, no all/or nothing spending, no further harm.

Resolution action and Result:

  1. I called up the toll authority using the phone number on the notice. (Calm down and look for provided assistance.)
  2. After entering the violation number I got a person who confirmed the problem was that my funds had run out and not been replenished. They collected my identifying information.
  3. They confirmed the $10.50 in known violations and an additional $14 not on the notice. They were happy to load $40 for future toll use. This lovely human waived the fines of $20 per violation.
  4. A transaction for $64.50 was processed and I ASKED FOR A CONFIRMATION NUMBER. I always get them for proof of payment, transaction, or attention to the issue for documentation if needed.         Problem solved.


Now, how did this happen? How did I potentially inflict the pain of $150 going out the window? How did I risk my car registration? My driver’s license?  Gone untended, I could have been dropped from my car insurance further creating more expense by extending my current SR22 snafu an additional 3 years. Not to mention a possible criminal record because this is Illinois.

I belabor this issue not to catastrophize, but to bring attention to how something like missed toll payments can snowball.  I worry how easy notices could be missed or put off because people are too busy or too reliant on technology. I worry for those struggling to make it on low income, those without banks, and those who are transitory; because they make perfect targets usually due to inaction.  OPENING SNAIL MAIL remains part of life. Don’t ever let a legal issue like a toll get away from you. It can ruin your life even more than you are struggling now.


I want to stop making this face. Stop scaring myself. Stop hurting myself. 

Ask questions. Without or in spite of, judgment, criticism, guilt, blame, or beating on one’s self, STOP AND ASK YOURSELF WHAT WENT WRONG?  AND CHANGE IT! PRONTO!

What do I currently do?

  1. I have an EZ pass to make driving on the toll roads easier. Good.
  2. I have an account set up to see my activity, load funds, and pay fines. Excellent.
  3. I usually receive an email that tells me to load more money, and I load more money. Okay.

What happened?


  1. Did I get an email?           Yes, on Yahoo.
  2. When?                                 1/2/17
  3. What did I do, not do?    I didn’t load the toll account!

Why? What was happening that kept me from taking care of myself?

  1. Oh, ya, Ralph’s death. (A friend died on Dec. 26)
  2. Oh, how I HATE them!
  3. Driver’s license debacle thanks to On the Spot NOT filing my SR22 with the state and the state threatening to revoke my license at the time. (On the Spot fixed it STAT, no revocation)
  4. No money. Holiday spending, car insurance due, plates due, failed emissions test and expense.  OI!
  5. I likely saw it, and thought I would get to it and then forgot after a while. I would have had money for a month or so and I probably had it in mind for February’s budget.
  6. Into February, I got caught up in the dental thing. (Won a $1306 fight with the dentist.)

What now? What can be done to prevent this from happening again?

  1. I accessed the website to see my activity. (I did a good job remembering my user name and password! Current methodology is working!) Wow, the web site is new and EASIER!!!  See, people need to look at stuff-keep up! Spent some TIME navigating around the website while in a calm state of mind.
  2. I saw my payment confirmation online. No fines.  Credit of $40. Good to go!
  3. I updated credit card information, double checked my contact information, and set it to “auto re-fill” to avoid forgetting about an email again. THIS IS POSSIBLE DUE TO FOUR YEARS OF GOOD BUDGETING. I didn’t do this in the first place because I couldn’t.
  4. I added this issue to my “to done list” for achievement tracking. Crossing off lists feels good.
  5. I added this issue to my “goals planning” for August. The steps include the following.
  6. to do this CBT write-up because it is rich in experience, hope and recovery
  7. to add to my current budget, subtract from my balance that I thought I had
  8. to add to quarterly tasks as something to check on, and money needed for my  quarterly budget. The future will tell if I actually learned this second time around!!
  9. to add a post-it pad for the car to track tolls as I use them. “Truth in spending”.
  10. Also, to consider why I need to take the toll roads anyway. Why spend the extra money?

Wrap-Up, Assessment Date, Release:

  1. I finished up by placing the violation notice in my budget binder for reference and documentation.
  2. I added a note to October’s calendar to check my EZ pass balance.
  3. Done for now. 8/4/17 3pm. Save, print, share. May try to post, UGH!





Probable Hiatus

Dear WordPress and my few followers. I am likely taking a hiatus because I am tired of writing some nice posts with cute pictures but not being able to post them. 
It is a home IT thing. My computer is too old and no longer recognizes my BlackBerry.
Many platforms no longer support BlackBerry so I can’t up-load photos with ease.
WordPress is very hard for me, I need dedicated time to even figure it out. I may just find an easier way to blog when I have a better, newer computer and maybe a different phone.
Maybe I can do short one-liners or something. I am bummed.
I write via EverNote on my BlackBerry. For now the posts will just stay there.
Advice welcome.



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I ranted yesterday. I know. I wonder if a person’s rants are just a sign of how passionately they feel about the issue. I hope so.

For me, beating suicidal ideation required a total values over haul. I had to tip my life completely over. I wasn’t on the right track as far as values prior to 2013. I have posted them in long form before, here they are again, short version. I don’t think addiction or self-harm can be beaten without serious internal values laser focused on the person who is suffering.

  1. Safety in all things
  2. Sustainability- can whatever it is be maintained whether one is up or down
  3. Balance – equal parts care to just yourself, work, fun, exercise, sleep, connection to others.

4. Harmony with yourself, the Cosmos, others

5. Stability- within yourself, emotions, budget, relationships, lifestyle

Other people are important. The values of friendship, church, family, work, all the things people usually name are important. But I have found that they have to be a little further out in the rings of my life. If I am focuses on others, I am not focused on myself. It isn’t selfishness.

Quite the opposite. When I am well, I have more to give. I am easier to get along with, I show up, I am more reliable. Stepping way back, demanding that others back the f off, is better for everyone later on when I am not suffering.

My verbose post about laziness and my yelling was because people mean well, but don’t understand the pressure someone can feel that leads to self harm thoughts (thank God, actually). I yelled because society is not nice to those who need more time, space, or effort to find peace within themselves, and then find their way in the world. It makes me mad that people can get stressed to death.



Be Lazy, Be Successful, Be Recovered


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 I got this from “Pocket Hits”.  I get dailys from them and Seeds4Life.


When people are suicidal, I get really really pissed off when other people keep pressuring them “to keep going”, to “go to or stay in school”, or to “get over it”, “grow-up”, or see that “we are here for you.”

This is all true, it usually comes from love, care, and real concern for that suicidal person. It is meant to keep the person going, mitigate the fall-out of circumstances, often, actually not over-reacting, but plodding along despite a scary situation. It is meant for good reasons and I am sure it does sometimes work.

The thing is, for some suicidal people, like me, it has the opposite affect . When I am suffering with suicidal ideation I want people to BACK THE FUCK OFF. Don’t pressure me “to keep going”. Don’t stress me out about missing or leaving school. I WANT TO DIE!! OKAY?    I’m not caring about a degree, I’m caring that I am in so much pain that I want it to stop. NOW!!

I can’t think about writing papers, logging in a hundred times a day to post to a ‘thread’, or do homework that doesn’t count toward my grade. I have to NOT think at all. I have to concentrate on calming my body down because it feels that destruction is eminent. I am going to explode spraying bits of myself all over my bed, not spread myself all over BlackBoard.

I can’t travel to my school, I can barely make it to my bathroom.

Just stop it!!! My mind is busy trying to kill me. I don’t need you encouraging it by cranking up my stress. I’m so stressed out that death is preferable to you, or school, or work, or anything. Death is my escape route from too much on me right now. BTFO!

In 2013 I dropped out of school. It is 2017 and my world did not end. I still have my job, healthcare, my child, an apartment, a car. Yes, I don’t have the income that graduating would have brought me, and that’s getting to be a problem. But I’m alive. I have 5 new core values, a solid budget, reduced debt, a gym membership, a church membership, new friends, and most importantly my sanity.

That year I took a 5 week leave of absence. I did nothing but sleep, watch DVDs, and go to the day hospital. It was the best 5 weeks of my life. It was the best thing I have ever done for myself. Five weeks of me, me, me, and me. Just me. Only me. All about me. Five. Weeks. Of me.

My brain had broken and was behaving badly. It was trying to kill me. Being lazy for five weeks in a row broke through the desire to commit suicide just enough to function again. And by function, I mean eat, shower a couple times a week, pet my pets, notice my studio’s kitchen was becoming a health hazard. I began to move about after five weeks. And by that I mean, I got out of bed.

In all, I did 11 weeks of ONLY MENTAL HEALTH. (I did work, but it was awful.) for the rest of the year my only focus was staying safe. A year. One entire year of just staying safe with myself. 12 months of behaviors laser focused on staying alive. Nothing else mattered. A clean apartment was nothing if I was dead. Paid bills would be good, but not if they caused me to over-dose. Other people were great, as long as I didn’t need them for my roof or any part of my future, I’ll maintain those myself, thank you. (This was necessary for me, I am in my forties, it was time. I don’t mean this for young people.)

For me, I stopped my life completely. I had to. I had to tear it down and re-create new ways of navigation that didn’t stir up suicidal ideation.  It has taken me 5 years. To some, I have been lazy for five years. I would argue that Michael Lewis, of Moneyball,  is onto something here. Not “would I be sad if something didn’t get done?” but rather, “would getting it done just get me dead?” Now, THAT would be sad.

I vote for being lazy and the success is being alive.


I absolutely love self-help books. I also love just plain smart books. I’ll read anything that I think can be applied to changing behavior.

Being Lazy Is the Key to Success, According to the Best-Selling Author of ‘Moneyball’

“‘People waste years trying not to waste hours,” says author Michael Lewis.

By Minda Zetlin

Co-author, The Geek Gap@MindaZetlin

Pasted from <https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/why-being-lazy-makes-you-successful-according-to-the-bestselling-author-of-money.html?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits>

Lewis was a keynote speaker at the 2017 Insight Summit put on by online survey company Qualtrics. In a candid interview with Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, Lewis explained why laziness never seemed like a bad thing in his mind, and how it’s helped him succeed.

“I grew up in New Orleans, where no one did anything,” he said. “It’s an endlessly charming and delightful place, but the idea that your worth was connected to things you did in the world was an alien idea.” In fact, Lewis recalled, his father had him convinced that there was a Lewis family crest with this motto: “Do as little as possible, and that unwillingly, because it is better to receive a slight reprimand than perform an arduous task.” That turned out to be untrue, but the idea that leisure was to be cherished and that being constantly busy was not necessarily a good thing stuck with the younger Lewis.

Embracing laziness has helped him be successful because he focuses his efforts only where it really matters, he explained. Here’s how that can create a real advantage:

You’re OK with doing nothing.

When was the last time you felt comfortable doing nothing?

Not for an hour

or a day,

but in general,

with no immediate projects at hand?

Lewis said he has no problem with inactivity if nothing worthwhile has captured his attention.

If he believed that being industrious was important, he said, “I’d be panicked at the question ‘What are you working on?’ if I wasn’t working on anything.”

Have you ever taken on a project just so you wouldn’t be inactive, just to keep things going?

How many better opportunities have you missed because that project made you too busy to pursue them?

Being willing to be inactive or less active means you’ll be available when something truly worthy of your best effort comes along. It also means you’ll have the time and space to go looking for those really worthwhile projects. If you’re busy being busy, you’ll miss them.

ME- to me, nothing is worth it if I’m dead. Aren’t I worth my own time, interest and effort? Even if that effort is almost nothing at all? Remaining breathing ain’t nothin.

You won’t waste time trying not to waste time.

That’s something most of us do, Lewis said. “People waste years of their lives not being willing to waste hours of their lives.”

Me- think about that… what is wrong with wasting some time? The way I see it, as a child I spent a lot of time staying safe. Not being victimized, kidnapped, or killed. I hid a lot. Times that I did explore, I got royally busted. Or another thing I see now is people who were overly scheduled, had helicopter parents, or other wise over scheduled.

By the time I was 18, I WAS FREAKING EXHAUSTED!!!!

Waste some time. Pleeeeeease waste some time. Catch up on sleep, childhood, exploration, learning about yourself.

If you mistake busyness for importance–which we do a lot–you’re not able to see what really is important.”

Me- Nothing is more important than yourself. Nothing is more important than saving your own life.

Lewis is willing to waste time–a lot of it–if something seems like it could be really worthwhile. He’ll spend a year or more hanging around someone who interests him even before he knows for sure whether he’ll wind up with a book.

Have there been potentially great projects in your own life that you didn’t get to explore because you didn’t have the time to waste?

Maybe the next time something comes along that tugs at your heart, you should  find a  way to waste as much time as it takes to get the project off the ground or prove to yourself that it won’t work.

You’ll zero in on what’s truly game-changing.

“My laziness serves as a filter,” Lewis said.

ME- I love this!! For me, learning to filter demands on me has been life-saving.

“Something has to be really good before I’ll decide to work on it.” Lewis has published six heavily researched books in the past 10 years while also working as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, so his laziness certainly hasn’t stopped him from producing quite a lot of work.

Me- it will get done, I will get things done. I only won’t get them done if I’m dead.

But it has helped ensure that what he does is his very best work–only the things that really call to him. Here’s the test: “If a story I’ve gotten to know didn’t get told, would I be sad?” he asked. Unless the answer is an absolute yes, Lewis doesn’t take on the project.

Me- if it doesn’t keep a roof over my head, relax me, make something easier for me, re-fill my soul, make me happy, help me bring mental health into the light, or bring authentic relationships my way–I don’t do it. Period. I want to thrive, not just survive.

The answer is a loud “NO” if that thing is another thing I have to survive. This includes a job, an educational track, an activity, or a  relationship. Don’t ask me to survive something.

When was the last time you asked yourself if you would be sad if some work didn’t get done, or if a possible project didn’t happen? Next time an opportunity arises, ask yourself that question before you say yes.

Me- I would take Lewis a step further, ask yourself if it’s worth your life. 

Pasted from <https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/why-being-lazy-makes-you-successful-according-to-the-bestselling-author-of-money.html?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits>



Recovery is so freaking exhausting


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I love this image that I got from the internet. I feel like this more and more. I have a feeling that this is getting  to be very very common in American Society. We are wearing ourselves out.

American work life is completely insane, yet I know that on a global scale, we are extremely fortunate. It’s weird to balance attention towards my own dysfunction and my place in my own society, yet have gratitude for my address. My thinking zings between the utter ridiculousness of the expectations of my job, and the peace I feel on the days that I “cannot people”, choosing to tend to myself well. I’m pretty sure that it is the pain that people feel in their jobs that propel them onward. It is probably also the case that the ability to be  quiet, have downtime, get organized, and prepare for that moving on, is how people move out of such jobs. And then gratitude for what a person has and what they may reach for keeps them rooted and provides some direction.

All of this is so exhausting to me because I have to constantly be in process with it all. There is a lot to hold in my head at the same time, while under awful stress at work.  I resent needing so much recovery time from work.  For myself, I hope a good deal of this is just work that I should have done in the first 25 years of my life, and didn’t get to; so I am doing it now.

Doing this work well into adulthood seems to be an even slower process than before because there is so much more going on – work, health, associations, children, normal daily activities, odd things like battles with dentists, the state, insurance companies, debt, and keeping up with technology.  It’s a lot of balls to have in the air and grow-up, or out, heal, or complete at the same time. I literally feel the weight of every single decision large and small. Everything does indeed matter because it is either part of something old that may be on the way out, or something new that I am trying to develop. Every dollar spent is either continuing old comfort finding but budget breaking strategies, or a deliberate move to improve my life today to have a better tomorrow. Because I have such scars from neglect or deprivation, everything I do is to compensate for that. Is painting my bathroom, putting up a shelf and adding cabinets to make it “look better” and like “I know what I am doing” or is it to make the room more user-friendly so I have room for my things and can add a means to wash my uniforms? Well, both, depending on the emotions going into it  and the amount of money in the bank.

Really figure it out.

For me, my DIY Life, my notions of DIY recovery, ferret out those emotions and help me spend my money better. When I finished my kitchen, I wanted to roll right into the bathroom and whip it out that same month. I felt like I was finally on a roll and “doing something” to move my life ahead. Then I remembered that this a habit that I am trying to break. It was “outward facing”.  It was a move to say “see, I am not a lazy looser slob”. It was to say “see, my place though small, old, and not well-kept (the building), is nice. Please say my place is nice.” My emotions wanted to be told that I was “good enough”.  Luckily I know myself enough now to be hip to what I was up to. Below is the exhaust fan/light I installed myself. I am a DIY chick.

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I decided to wait on the bathroom and it was a good thing because disaster hit draining my bank account more than I am comfortable with now. I over-road my usual MO to over-ride myself. Cool. Recovery does work but it is hard, long, and exhausting.  I have the money in the bank, a couple of days off, and no one to impress; so after writing this, I am off to buy paint. I am finally in the right frame of mind.

Relax, let it flow

Earlier today I was not sure that I could “people”. Thursday seems to come fast for me and I nearly had to send a text, as I did last week, that I would be missing my standing lunch with friends. Last week, my Wednesday shift was so horrific that I didn’t want to deal with a single person the next day. Today I felt a little of that. I really wanted to stay glued to NPR listening to the Comey hearing and insulating myself from my world. I actually had moments of forgetting that it was even “Thursday lunch day”. My phone alarm went off telling me I had 10 minutes to leave the house. I was going to cancel and stay in. But then I remembered that I am part of this group. I had flashes of us at other lunches. Memories of protests, meetings, field trips, movie nights, and conversations of things coming up suddenly engulfed me with warmth and an odd feeling of a spot at the table missing —– me.


*NEW AND DIFFERENT* I would be missed. My presence, my energy, my issues would not add to the group, the annoying ones AND the amusing ones. Finally, at long last, I am beginning to see myself from the point of view of other people. I am beginning to have ideas about their perceptions of my reliability and connectivity. And I mean this in healthy, whole, “we are a good group” sort of way. I BELONG. Not being able to “people” sometimes cuts me off from PEOPLE who are MY PEOPLE!! People who have been put in my life to bring me along, literally and figuratively.  People who are part of a Welcoming Church which does what it says it does. I forget how welcoming these wonderful people are. Just when I think I can’t, is sometimes when I need to the most. Off I went, in my jammies, with my coffee mug and my rabbit.


Lunch was great. Florabelle was a huge hit and nobody cared that I hadn’t showered or put on real clothes. I wore my torn, pink t-shirt night-gown, pink and white boxers, a grey and white with pink, apron, and one sage flip-flop and one with a big pink flower on a black bottom (could’t find matching flip-flops). I looked silly but I didn’t care. Showering and dressing takes time and makes me tired. I wore the apron because boxers don’t have pockets and I needed to take my keys.

When I got home, I was happy. I had energy, direction, and thoughts of upcoming events propelled me forward. From lunch, I realized I wanted to get important stuff done to that I could play better. I realized that I should spend the money on the paint for the bathroom, get it clean and painted, and possibly get a small washer before my vacation and trip with some of them to an upcoming festival. I got the bug to tend to my needs first, so that when my time off work came around I would know how much I could safely spend and return home to something nice for myself. This is all together a different way of thinking than I am used to. This is sustainable thinking. This is “I have to maintain myself and be able to stay as things are,” thinking. This is “I have to have confidence in the future, so I need to take care of now,” thinking.

The people that I am going on this trip with are excited for me to go. This is totally wild for me. Nobody is ever excited that I can, and have, accepted an invitation of theirs to do something fairly big. It’s weird to experience my minister’s glee over us attending this festival together. I feels weird to have another person so matter-of-fact about me riding with them and not beating the plans to death.

I came home feeling like I had a sliver of purpose.

Surprise! There was a plan afoot!

Maslow tells us that we need to belong. We need affiliations with family, churches, professions, areas of interest, and a community. These affiliations raise our self-esteem and confidence, and give us validation, and direction. As an extrovert, I need others for my energy. Yes, my job and my recovery  drain me making me unable to handle anyone for a day or three. I get so freaking tired of people. But I have come to see that it is in fact people who heal my issues of neglect and deprivation when I let them, thus actually giving me strength for the times when other people suck me dry.

I “peopled” and I liked it.




Count Your Wins


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Hello! WP fellow travelers! I am here to share my 637 wins with you all.

I have trouble standing up for myself. This issue has been front and center in a battle with a questionable dentist.

In February I had oral surgery for two dental implants. I verified that the dentist was in-network with both the insurance company and the dental office,  I verified the estimate best I could with my insurance and further negotiated the charges.

I explained my financial limitations, how I would be paying for it – a combination of flexible spending and insurance, and that I could not carry credit card debt. I did the math to the dollar. This is critical to living within one’s means which is critical to living in recovery.

The dentist initially stated that the office would not submit to insurance, that I had to pay up front, then submit myself. This, then did require a line of credit. This is scary to someone who has been in credit card hell.

This entire thing is hinky, but I am sticking to the money part in this post. Against my better thinking;  I paid him in full, or so I thought, at the time of the surgery, or so I thought, and waited for my insurance money to cover the credit card bill.

As it rolled out, he got all my flex spending, hit the credit line, and got paid by the insurance company.

This is not unusual, just that the way it was done was inappropriate, he is not being transparent, and he refused to give me the excess money to pay the credit account. I even missed one payment because I was unaware of this lender’s process, my bad, but this the short version. I did pay the credit bill when I found out, thus throwing off my already tight personal budget.

Another wrinkle is that he is not honoring his contract with my insurance company. I have my explanation of benefits so I know he has over charged me by $682.

I am  very good at research, keeping records and knowing how dental/medical processes work.

I completely suck at standing up for myself.  I stink at not panicking when it comes to money. I also have almost no negotiating skills when it comes to complex, mulit-partied, lots of money, kinds of situations. But I do have friends.

A friend of mine is a finance guy. He came over and made a spreadsheet which he then morphed into an understandable document that anyone could understand. With that as my template, and his constant guidance, I was able to make and execute a plan to retrieve part of the insurance money.

I won by doing good homework, monitoring my insurance account online, calling the insurance company weekly, knowing my rights, and enforcing dental billing rules. I retrieved $637 by turning to someone smarter than me when it comes to numbers. I was confident in my instance of being treated fairly because the insurance company validated my concerns.

Through my friend’s guidance, I know that this is just part one of a multi-part negotiation of finishing my dental work yet not being taken advantage of by the dentist. This will be a delicate dance of getting what I want for my smile, while protecting my pocket book, my recovery.

To wins of all sizes! Cheers!






Hurting Myself Less

Sometimes I wonder if recovery is just about hurting yourself less. I wonder if I will ever get things all the way “right”. Will I ever get the pleasure of something big without some part of it accomplished in a way that harms me? Will I ever have pleasure without pain?

On the up side, I finally feel the whole weight of my actions, the helpful ones and the ones that hurt me. I am a hundred times slower than I was six years ago. This is good because now I generally have the time and the resources to deal with my mess-ups due to memory lapses. Taking forever to do things, being “lazy”, and not giving a fuzzy rodents behind actually helps me reduce the impact of mess-ups. In terms of recovery, I rarely lose much ground in moving forward even with good sized mistakes.
When I say, “it will be okay, there’s enough,” for the first time in my life, that statement is true. I am no longer covering something. I am no longer trying to be more than I am. I no longer spend without thinking. I don’t use a credit card. I never pretend anymore. This week, stubborness almost got me. I recognized the thought process starting up but ran the other way. Today I see that running the other way saved me from repeating mistakes I have been doubtful I could stop making. Running the other way totally arrested a spiral that was one of my worst MOs. I think I recognized the false power hit of that behavior. Maybe my slippery memory remembered the pain and chaos I plunge myself into when I ignore reason, my budget, and my commitment to stay inward facing. Appearances and productivity are seductive little bastards. They pal around with judgement, fear, and shallowness, who is such an asshole. While there is truth to needing to finish my bathroom, but nothing about it in any way should be allowed to topple the entire damn household. Addiction has no rest here.
Or maybe my memory is working well and I remembered what it feels like to feel good. Maybe in that moment of struggle with my stubborn streak, a new me stepped in and said, “no, this is how we do it now”. Maybe I remembered how it feels to be comfortable. It’s possible that my new behaviors around having enough, back-ups, and practical things like 12 rolls of toilet paper, 1 unopened tube each, of my toothpaste, and every form of tape on the market, is finally so part of my new normal, that it literally stops me from doing stupid shit on purpose. I’ve gotten really stubborn about being able to spend $100-160 at a grocery/discount store monthly at the bare minimum.
I’ve gotten stubborn about holding myself to myself when I say “no, you can’t have it now, next time.” I damn well expect it the next time. Often it is something as small as Liquid Gold. I don’t care, I love that stuff, it makes my cupboards look amazing! It also turns my hardwood floors into mirrors. Slippery as thin ice, but gorgeous.
Maybe I’ve gotten stubborn about maintenance of what I’ve got, built up, accomplished. Perhaps there is enough of the small daily things about my life that make me so happy that it isn’t worth the risk that my destructive stubborn streak is bent on.
Maybe my memory remembers that it sucks or has a line to my subconscious that I don’t know about and sometimes stops a headlong rush of planning and doing what instead seems ok, but actually isn’t because I forgot yet ANOTHER thing. I was lazy about some small spending these last couple of days. Turns out, yet another large expenditure needs to be covered. Now, the “it’s ok, there is enough,” is not true without canceling something, and extremely tight budgeting for two paychecks.
I am continually frustrated, grateful, and amazed at my tiny life. I remain with one job because I stubbornly love this life of mine. I don’t love every single aspect of it, but as a whole, I say “I’m so happy” to myself now more than any other time in my entire life. I genuinely have about ten things all the time that bring me joy, comfort, and peace. I don’t want this disturbed. Additionally, all the struggle and the time I have, is perfect for real growth and development. I write out nearly 100% of my struggles. I learn what I am actually doing, not what I think I’m doing, what I really think, and expose my feelings by typing out all this tightness, suffering, and mistake making. I’m basically growing up from 21 to 31 in four years. I swear forty years of life confronts me almost everyday and I feel like I absolutely have to stop in my tracks and deal with it no matter what is going on. I stubbornly cling to the ability to do this. I usually tell myself that normally I would have gone through all this stuff at 18 or 22 or 25 or 35, but I couldn’t at those times, so I’m doing it now. And honestly, this probably is the best time for me to do this, because I finally have the resources and enough know how to do it. I constantly have to remind myself that I couldn’t have done most of what I do for myself now on $4.25 or $12.00 an hour, without health insurance, medication, a computer/internet, a smart phone, and the years spent at my aunt’s building a significant part of the kind of life I always wanted. I have things in my life now, based on that blueprint. That is the only map I have except for Maslow and Erikson. My whole life I’ve thought, “can I please just grow up here?!” Right now I am grateful 100 times a day for this opportunity.
On the other hand, my mess-ups are almost always because I don’t make enough money. In terms of dollars, just $500 a month would prevent mistakes like the two I encountered this week. That’s not a ton of money, yet not having it could devastate my tiny, tight, delicately balanced life. I also can’t save, replace, or expand. It’s almost a catch 22. More money would mean less of other things like time to process, the driving need to process, self-honesty, focus on the basics, and clarity of my thin trajectory. It could also bring more of things I don’t want, like distraction, noise between me and God, demands on me, and a velosity that is too much. Oddly, when I have more, I can unintentionally hurt myself.
So, moving forward, how do I maintain my tiny life, my emotional sobriety; yet make the kind of money I need to be financially secure?
How will I know when I’ve peeled down enough layers that I know myself and can provide for myself safely every single time? How will I know when I’ve built up enough layers in new healthy behaviors that I don’t have to doubt myself? How will I know when there is enough of me to believe? How will I know when I’ve learned enough to stop hurting myself?
Or maybe I will never know enough, maybe nobody ever does. Maybe this is why people have to stick together. I’m going to need people to put up with me, to find me extra hours, to share coffee time with me, or take me out for pie while I continue to untangle the wires of self-destruction.