Category Archives: Epiphany

Processing. Day Two.

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I know it’s a dull name, but right now, I’m just giving in to the glory that is hypergraphia and rolling with it.

You have to understand, writing is life’s blood to me.  I read all the time. Hundreds of books and probably thousands of articles each year. About everything that piques my interest. But the zone that hits when I get my writing stride going is like riding a tidal wave straight through the eye of a hurricane.

I emailed a writer once. A lady who wrote about twisted murders that were incredibly dark. And I asked her how she came to terms with that darkness and found the courage to put it out there for everyone to see. Because whatever you read, a part of the author will shine through. And the many times I’ve begun writing a novel, the darkness always threatens to come up and eat me alive.

The irony is that I don’t really remember what she said to me. But I’m certain it was something along the lines of, “Do it anyway.”

Because when you write, if you do it well, you write in your own soul’s blood.  I know. Melodrama. But you have to understand that until very recently, I lived in mortal fear that everyone would read something I’d written and know just how dark my heart really is. And that they would reject and ostracize me for it.

So I wrote about politics instead. 🙂 As a liberal who comes from a very conservative family in a very conservative community in a very conservative state, it’s tantamount to painting a scarlet letter L on your chest.

But the cool thing is, it helped. I think it was part of the process. Politics are a hot button issue, but ultimately, they don’t matter much. They may reveal a bit about who you are, but for me, my politics represent my compassion for the marginalized of our society. I could never talk much about religion because there were still a lot of scars I hadn’t healed from.

So now, I’m sitting here and wondering, do I still care what people think of me?  The answer is yes, of course I do. But then the second question I’m asking myself is, “But is that going to stop me from doing what I know I need to do?”

And the answer is becoming more No than Yes, and that feels like a victory.

Jeremi moved out six days ago. Already I can feel the need to write bubbling up to the surface again. Largely because of my last post. I exorcised a few demons with that one.

So I think I won’t hide anymore. It isn’t that I don’t care what you think. It’s more that I won’t let my fear of your disapproval stop me from living my truth.

I only get one life. I might as well enjoy it.

 

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Change Tends to Snowball

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Since we’ve switched to a whole foods, plant-based diet here at casa Forcie, I’ve noticed that other things about my life are slowly changing as well.

I think if I’d become vegan for ethical reasons, I wouldn’t have made it until now.  I do have ethical concerns, but it turns out the real reason I’m sticking with it is pretty much my own survival.  Specifically, I want to live to be old, and I want to be healthy enough to enjoy it.  Hence: whole foods, plant based diet.

I’m not opposed to having animal products once in a while [as in, two or three times a year]. But I’m finding that every time we eat meat or cheese, we all get sick afterward.  Our bodies don’t like it anymore.

That’s been surprising to me. Another surprise has been that no matter how badly you stuff yourself on healthy vegan foods, you’re only ‘overstuffed’ for about thirty minutes or so and then you’re back to your usual energetic self.

Another thing that the kids, Steve and I have all noticed is that we don’t get sluggish as much as we used to.  Our minds are clearer.

The one downside is that whole foods means that the food you eat isn’t much different from it was when it came out of the ground, so you have to fix it. I’ve enjoyed figuring out how to make plant-based dishes that are full of savoriness [AKA Umami] because that is what keeps this enjoyable for me.  It has to taste good or I’m not going to eat it.

Which is all fine and good except for two things: cooking everything from scratch, while better for my family and me, is also WAY more time-consuming than throwing a frozen pizza in the oven or slapping some ham between two pieces of bread.

I spent at least two hours preparing dinner every day, and since I’m also the messiest cook who ever lived, I spend one to two hours cleaning up as well [although cleanup is usually done the next day before I start cooking again…I usually have the kids ‘clean’ up after dinner, but they’re kids and they generally suck at it.

It’s one of those ‘choose your battles’ things, unfortunately.  It ends up being less work to do it myself than to try to get them to do it.  I end up choosing between having them clean up, after which there’s no time to fix dinner, or cleaning up by myself, fixing dinner, after which I end up spending four or five hours in the kitchen.

Depending on how I feel, I usually do one or the other.

Which is why I’m writing this now, because one of the changes I’m undergoing is that I’m learning to stop fighting the way things are and go with the flow.

The reality is, I will never spend five hours in the kitchen a day, every day, in order to make sure we all have healthy food. There will continue to be days when I fling my hands up and say, “Screw it. I’m NOT cooking a damn thing today.”

And I think maybe that’s okay. I think I might be able to plan a little and freeze leftovers that can be taken out and thawed and eaten once in a while.  I also think we can have a baked potato night and the occasional ‘Dumpster Burrito’ night as well.

I tend to boycott fixing breakfast and lunch.  I eat them both every day, but they usually consist of easy stuff like PB&J, apples and PB, oatmeal, or one of my homemade TV dinners [Green Giant steamer bag and a veggie burger or veggie chicken patty]. The TV dinners are fairly processed, but not as much as the ready-made ones.

OH! That’s another  crazy thing. As my body adjusts to having healthy fuel, I seem to be drinking less coffee, tea, and soda.  I still have all of those things, but I don’t crave them as much as I used to.  It’s weird as hell to me that I really enjoy homemade lemon water these days.  I even like it without ice. It’s basically the juice from half a lemon in a quart of water, sweetened to taste [right now, that means enough sweet-n-low to represent the sweetness of about  8 tsp of sugar or 2 2/3 tbsp. I may switch to honey or some other natural sweetener at a later date, but sweet-n-low has been around forever and it’s cheap when you buy it in bulk].

It’s late now, and I’m actually getting sleepy, so I guess I’ll continue this another time. I was actually going to talk about something else tonight but apparently I needed to talk about this right now.

This is me, going with the flow. 🙂

 

Heavy Heart

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I keep seeing this thing posted on Facebook, and every time, I can’t help but think about what it was like for me to live hand to mouth for about fourteen years.  My husband and I got married when we were both in our early twenties. We might as well have been children, for all the life experience we had.

Steve had even been married before, but naive doesn’t even come close to describing how inexperienced we were.  We started out living in a house where room and board were provided as part of our salary. Neither one of us had ever owned a house before, and although we’d always lived in houses, we had no clue what kind of maintenance they required.

So when we had to move into a place of our own, we had no idea the responsibilities that came with buying a house.  All we knew was that we couldn’t afford rent on a decent apartment, and that a house payment was about $150-$200 less per month, so we bought a house.

Not long after that, a high pressure salesman came into our house and swore we’d save enough money on utilities to pay for these windows he was selling. We believed him.  He lied.

About a month later, after our ‘remorse clause’ time was up, I was fired from my job.  Now we had one paycheck and it wasn’t enough to cover all of our expenses. It was too late to cancel the windows, and I was traumatized from being fired and depressed as hell, so we did our best.

Three months later, I was pregnant with our first child. We had health insurance, but we couldn’t begin to afford the co-pays, let alone the deductible.  And then, I had complications.  Life threatening complications.

All this time, we would go along, struggling to pay the bills and to keep us both clothed and fed, and there was never enough money to do everything. We had no idea how to budget, and our parents hadn’t done much to pass on any wisdom because they weren’t much better at budgeting than we were, they just made more money so it didn’t matter.

The story is long, because it spans over fourteen years, but the short[er] version is, we made some bad financial choices. We were on Medicaid and WIC because we made almost no money. Neither one of us had a college education, and Steve was the only income. I was on bedrest for all three of my pregnancies, and since the only jobs I was qualified for were minimum wage, I couldn’t afford daycare if I had worked.

We were poor. When Steve worked as a tow truck driver, we never knew from one week to the next if he was going to get a decent sized paycheck, so budgeting was impossible.  Some weeks, we didn’t have enough to pay the bills, and other weeks, we’d have an average month’s worth of money.

It was either feast or famine, and mostly famine. Much of the time, the choice was literally, do I pay bills or do I buy food?  My kids never went hungry, but eventually, we did lose our house to foreclosure.

So during the famine weeks, I prioritized buying food over paying debts. And during the ‘feast weeks’ we should have saved it for the dry times, but when there wasn’t enough money, we went without so much, that when we had a little extra, instead of saving it like we should have, we bought some of the things we’d needed but gone without.

There was this underlying sense of deprivation, desperation, this deeply irrational fear that if I didn’t buy something I wanted with the money, I’d never get another chance to have it.

It took me years to figure out how to control myself and ignore the desperation to have nice things, and even then, I could only go so long before I would be desperate again. The thing that finally kicked it was giving myself permission to splurge once in a while.  I would go until I felt like I would explode, and then I’d spend $20 or $30 on something special, and more often than not, it was something for Steve or the kids.

It served the same purpose. I’d gotten something we wanted instead of a need.  After a while, only getting the necessities feels like starvation. We never went hungry, but we went for years just buying the cheapest things we could find, which meant going without healthy food much of the time.

I remember my dad telling me stories about going to town with his parents and brother and sisters, and my grandma would give each of them a nickel or some small coin from her egg money, and every time, my dad would go buy some candy. Usually licorice, which is disgusting, or peanut clusters,but that was his thing.  He could have gone without and saved it up for something that would have lasted longer, but he loved candy, and it was something special, a luxury that he almost never got.

He used to tell me how mortified he was to go to school with patches on his jeans.  Kids were cruel to each other even in the 1950s.  He would take his lunch to school, and a lot of time, it was a homemade biscuit or homemade bread, and in his day, that was a reason to be ashamed.  Wealthy families bought their bread from the store.

The thing is, it hurts to see other people with nice things and to know that you can’t afford it. And when you get the chance, if it bothers you enough, you’re going to buy it, just so you can fit in.

After Steve and I were married, we would see friends our age, and they had nice cars, nice houses, and had more than enough money, and it felt like we always had second-hand stuff. We were always struggling, and I hated it.

We spent thirteen years never quite making ends meet, never quite having enough of what we needed, let alone the stuff we wanted.  And sometimes, when I got the chance, I just bought stuff because I wanted it.  It felt like buying candy after going without for far too long.

So when I see someone with a phone or a manicure, or tattoos in the checkout line and they’re using an EBT card, or WIC vouchers, I don’t think to myself that they don’t deserve it.  I think about that desperate feeling of lack, the never having quite enough to meet your needs, and the uncontrollable urge that hits you after you’ve gone without for so long.

Sometimes, a tattoo represents hope. Sometimes cigarettes mean the difference between sanity and screaming until your throat bleeds. Sometimes a manicure means the difference between feeling hideously ugly and being pretty enough to love.  And when you live in a constant state of stress, anxiety, and desperation, sometimes drugs and beer are the only escape you have from a reality that is too gray and stark and threadbare to be borne anymore.

Because as much as we like to pretend that we have control over our own lives, sometimes, things just don’t get better.

Sometimes, you’re trapped in a desperate life and there’s no way out.

Sometimes, pulling yourself up by the bootstraps means working your ass off at a job that pays less than a living wage, and struggling on, knowing deep down that it’s all you’re ever going to have.

There is more to being poor than laziness. There is more to a human being than a tattoo or manicure, and to stand and judge someone you’ve never met, who you will never see again, for using food stamps or welfare…well, that was me, and if I’d known what you were thinking, it would have broken my heart.

 

I’m Not Crazy, Just Bipolar

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Okay, so bipolar by definition pretty much means you’re crazy, but I read a book with that title and it made me happy.  Last week, I called my doctor and was talking to her nurse [named Joy, who happens to be one of my favorite people in the world] and I was talking too fast, and bursting into tears, and generally not making much sense, and she said to me, “Um, you need an appointment.  What are you doing this afternoon?”  It was 1:12 PM, and I was going to have to pick up kids from school at 2:30, so she said, “Can you be here at 1:30?”

“Yeah. Let me brush my teeth and I’ll be on my way.”  I might have changed my clothes, too, ’cause I don’t remember if I’d gotten dressed yet, but I was there by about 1:35.  They weighed me and did vitals, and in comes my doctor, asking what was going on.  I burst into tears mid-sentence, said I was feeling too crazy, told her about a trip through the internet I’d had earlier, and how I’d stumbled upon the term Bipolar 2 and so-called ‘Soft-Bipolar’ and that Bipolar 2 was scarily familiar.

I told her about seeing a psychiatrist years ago right after my son was born, and telling her about my crazy mood swings, and asked her then if I might be Bipolar.  She asked me if I’d every disappeared for weeks at a time, gambled all my money away, or gone on spending sprees or alcoholic binges. I hadn’t, so she said I was just depressed.

I was on Zoloft at the time, and it worked amazingly well. I’d been spiraling into a deep postpartum depression and Zoloft kicked me out of it.  I felt great. In fact, I hadn’t felt that good in forever.  I realized then that I’d struggled with depression since I was a very small child, like about age six.  I also knew that there had been times where I was really hyper and happy, but again, I’d never exhibited the ‘typical’ signs of mania, so my psychiatrist told me that was actually ‘normal’.

After a year or so, the Zoloft stopped working as well, so we raised my dose.  We continued to raise my dose until I finally decided I needed to find a non-med way of dealing with my depression. I found a book that was basically cognitive therapy written down, and put the lessons to work.  I managed to develop some coping skills, and thought I’d finally kicked my depression in the butt.

Looking back, I see now that I was probably rapid cycling for most of my adult life.  I know I’ve had normal days, and maybe even weeks or months where I was pretty okay. But the thing that stands out now is that about every six months or so, I would go through a time where I was having a hard time sleeping [insomnia is a given in my life and has been since I was a kid. The big difference now is that I take a LOT of meds before bed so they’ll make me sleepy enough I don’t have a choice but to go to sleep. In essence, they knock me out enough that I can’t think even if I want to, which allows me to go to sleep].

The creepy thing is, I can also see that there are times when I’ve been full on delusional and possibly manic, but due to geography and lack of opportunity, never got into nearly as much trouble as I might have. In other words, I was willing to do crazy things, but my friends kept me more or less grounded.  Growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere may very well have saved my life.

In fact, once I could drive, I made some incredibly crappy decisions without any consideration of the consequences. The thing is, it’s still kinda hard to know what was just normal teenage behavior and what was outside of normal. I certainly wasn’t the craziest kid in town, but I definitely did things when I was hyper that I never would have done had I been thinking clearly.

There were definitely times that had someone offered, I would have done anything anyone suggested. But during my normal or depressed times, I was too shy to talk to the kids who would have encouraged that kind of behavior, and when I was manic [or hypomanic] I was angry at those same kids and hated them…so I avoided them anyway!

So much of my life makes more sense now.  I’ve been reading stories of people with bipolar disorder, and every once in a while, it hits me, “Dear God, that’s me.  It was always me.”  I’ve always had incredibly deep emotional highs and lows. I just feel more intensely than what can be considered ‘normal’.  Sometimes, I would have an intense high or low for no reason, and then go back in my mind to figure out what had caused the mood swing.  Now I know, there was no cause.  I mean, there might have been a trigger, but that’s not the same thing.

So looking back, I think my first manic or hypomanic state happened when I was about 13.  I spent the entire year completely hyper and pushing boundaries. The funny thing is, something always happened that prevented me from going through with some of my more erratic plans. My best friend and I had gotten caught skipping class and I believe we were suspended for a half day and got our parents called. So we decided we were going to run away from home. I missed the bus on purpose, and as my friend and I were walking out the front door to go somewhere that wasn’t home, my friend’s mom was waiting by the front door of the school and saw us.  My friend had an eye appointment she’d forgotten about.

My life is kind of littered with weird little coincidences like that. Things would happen to prevent me from going as far as I’d planned or been willing to go.  The few times nothing was there to stop me from making a bad choice, the experience was horrible enough that it scared me out of trying it again [or else it triggered an episode of depression, which sucked away my motivation].  One of the weird things about mania is that everything seems connected. It’s all a sign from God, or the Universe, or whatever.  It’s common to have spiritual experiences. It’s basically an altered state of consciousness without drugs.  It can be a time of wonderful creativity, or it can be horrible and incredibly self-destructive.

I never became suicidal to the point of actively trying to take my life, but I’ve been to a point where I wished I could die, and would do things that I knew could kill me if I got lucky.  Or unlucky, depending on how you look at it.  One of my more brilliant slow suicide attempts was when I started smoking at 18. I didn’t have the guts to attempt suicide, but I knew that smoking could eventually kill me, so I started.

So my first manic state was around age 13, and my second started right before I turned 19. Once I was 18, I had my driver’s license, so I was able to get into considerably more trouble than I had been at 13.  In fact, thinking about it today is still a little traumatic.  During that year or so, I lost my virginity through sexual assault, flunked out of nursing school, was sexually promiscuous with multiple partners, experimented with drugs and alcohol, and was generally a complete basket case.

I see now that my behavior during that time was completely out of character for me.  Looking back, and having read real accounts of what a mania episode looks like, I see that I more than qualified during that time.  In fact, writing even the briefest rundown of what happened to me during that year makes me cringe in shame.  I don’t want anyone to read it, and I didn’t even go into any real details.

It’s highly disturbing to realize that while most of my episodes have been with depression and hypomania, I’ve had distinct breaks from reality, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that they were far more frequent than I’d like to think about.

During the semester in which I managed to get kicked out of nursing school [I find that I want to tell you that I didn’t actually flunk out. I still had passing grades, all As and Bs, in fact. The reason my teachers didn’t let me continue was because I didn’t do my clinical papers.  Seriously. I didn’t graduate because I didn’t get my homework done. I could have sat and recited every disease process I’d seen, word for word, during my clinical time, but because I hadn’t written it down, I didn’t get to continue] I can’t help but wonder what might have been different if someone had been able to see my behavior as a manic episode.

It was 1993-1994, so chances are, I would have flunked out anyway, but still. If I’d have been diagnosed, they might have let me come back the following year if I’d managed to get stabilized by then.  There are some colleges that allow you to drop classes and take a leave of absence due to mental health issues.  God knows I needed one.  As it was, I got a mood stabilizer of sorts within a short time anyway. I met my future husband.

Which is where I need to end, because my current husband [who is the same guy! Let’s hear it for my beloved having the patience of Job dealing with a crazy wife all these years] is waiting for me to finish this so we can go on a motorcycle ride.  Cannot say no to motorcycle rides.  They are magnificent.  😉

Random Musing

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As I sit here, I literally have no idea what I want to write about, only that I have the urge.

So much has changed in my heart in the past month, that it’s really too profound for words.  Well, my words anyway.  I guess I’ll tell you about where I was so maybe where I am now will make a little more sense.

A month ago, my main emotions were frustration, anger, and rage.  I had built walls around my heart in an attempt to protect myself from being hurt again.  It’s so ironic that in trying to protect myself, I prevented myself from healing, and blocked the love that was there all along.

When you build walls, you fuck everything up.  It’s like I was trying to keep the bad stuff out, but during the building process, the bad stuff was walled up inside me, and couldn’t get out.

It was like putting a band-aid on a wound that is festering and infected and oozing shit everywhere.  It was one of those things that needed to be aired out and maybe have some maggots put in it to eat away the dead flesh, and there I was with my piece of latex, a little gauze pad, and no triple antibiotic ointment, trying to take care of it myself.

By keeping it covered, I was allowing it to rule my life.

The weird thing is [well, weird to me, anyway] I was angry and hurt and aching and oozing shit everywhere, and I was honest with God about my anger, but I never hated him.  I didn’t understand why I was going through so much garbage, but I always really wanted to believe in the God I met when I first became a Christian.

When i first gave my life to Jesus, I was so filled with love and energy.  I was young and stupid, so I spewed it everywhere, including on people who might have responded better to a smaller dose of my enthusiasm.  Heh.  Live and learn, right?

Somewhere along the way, I started putting humans on pedestals, though, and I guess maybe I fell into a little idol worship?  The idolatry, if that’s what it was, was never intentional, though.  I thought that’s what I was supposed to do, and no one ever told me different.

I looked up to the pastor of the church I was going to, and since he obviously knew more scripture and had a college degree under his belt, I followed him without question.

I see now that it was the ‘without question’ part that may have screwed me all up.  Of course, later on in the relationship, I did start to question, and it wasn’t long before I fell out of favor with the guy.

That was the hardest part for me.  I’ve never been much for following blindly and ‘because I said so’ will only work so long and then I’ll start giving you shit, or decide you’re full of shit, and move on.

It was different with him, because I loved him very much.  I have an excellent father, but the pastor was like a spiritual father, and so I felt very close to him.  My own dad never withdrew his love from me, and the Bible says that God will never leave or forsake you, so when the pastor of the church did just that, it fucked me all up, you know?

The wound apparently went a lot deeper than I thought.  I guess because I had seen the pastor as a father figure and God is called the Father, I placed the pastor’s actions and motivations onto God.  That pastor wanted to control his congregation with an iron fist.  He tried [unsuccessfully, by the way] to beat us into submission.

I don’t know how others reacted, but since he was my first pastor, I didn’t know that what he did wasn’t typical, and my heart broke.  That sounds cheesy, but it’s true.  I was shattered, and it messed up my relationship with God in a big way.

I think I internalized the rejection from the pastor and expected the same from God.  So I wanted His love and acceptance more than anything, but I believed that He had taken it away from me.

The only thing that kept me from turning away from God completely was the fact that I knew Him, sincerely and in such a way that it’s one of those things where you tell a person who has never experienced what you have, “You’ll know it when you feel it.”

I had known Him, and I knew that he was out there, but I couldn’t find him anymore.  I tried for years to re-connect with that first love, and I couldn’t.

It wasn’t something that I intentionally did, but as the damage to my heart grew through the emotional abuse of the pastor, I didn’t realize what was happening, so I just noticed that things weren’t like they used to be.  I couldn’t feel God’s presence as strongly as I had, and I didn’t know what the problem was.

I went to the pastor for help, and all he said was, “That just happens sometimes.”  I searched my heart for sin, but there really wasn’t any rebellion that I knew about.  I tried to figure it out, but what was happening to me was so insidious that I just couldn’t put my finger on what was going on.

Part of it was the legalism that the pastor was teaching.  When you try to ‘obey the law’ you get really judgmental and it just sucks.  If your list of ‘don’ts’ is longer than your list of ‘dos’, you need to rethink your priorities.

I can plead ignorance and be truthful, because I honestly didn’t know better, but damn I was annoying, and probably damaged some people with the garbage I was taught.

So the legalism [which is another name for judgmental asshole-ism] was a definite barrier between God and me, but once I got out of that, I still couldn’t find Him anywhere.

I’m dragging this out, but it’s partly so I can try to figure it out, too, so bear with me.  We’re in therapy, here!

See, I’m thinking that wounds inflicted by others can create barriers between a person and God, too.  It’s not that God put the barrier up, I did it, and I know that, but I don’t think my issue was so much a ‘sin’ issue in the sense that I was doing wrong and knew it.

I was confused and hurt and forlorn and lost, and it was because of something that had been done to me, not by me.

I prayed, literally for years, that God would show me what I needed to do, or that he would bring someone into my life that would show me where I had gone wrong and help me get back on the right track.

I wasn’t faithful about it, but as I searched other religions, I kept praying that if I was on the wrong track, that He would change my direction.  I just never let go of the hope that I could find Him again in this big mess, and what do you know?

Today, things are more clear to me than they’ve ever been.  I’m still an idiot, but I’ve learned some amazing things in the past month.  I can talk to people about God and not feel like a liar or hypocrite, because the walls are gone and I can hear him again, and feel him again, and I know now that he never left me, but when I built my wall to keep the hurt out, it kept him out, too.

He was always there, though, waiting patiently, and chucking a little love in through the cracks in the mortar so that eventually, I would tear the walls down willingly and finally  be completely unprotected, but completely safe in His arms.

I’m absolutely in awe, and totally humbled by God’s love for me, and I hope and pray that I never forget again Who it is that I follow.

A Brief Update on Life Around Here.

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So.  It’s late and time for bed.  It’s been a long time since my despair post, and I feel like I should update and let y’all know I’m not dead.  In fact, I’m really, gloriously alive, and it’s all good.

Weird how that happens, eh?

What’s happened is miraculous.  There’s just no other way to describe it.  The night I wrote my last post, I had just spent a couple of hours curled up in the fetal position on my bedroom floor, sobbing and praying incoherently.

There was a wound in my past, from over ten years ago, that had been re-opened.  It was something I didn’t even know I was still carrying around, but once it was healed, all of my questions and doubts about Christianity were just.  Gone.

I know now exactly what I believe, and in Whom, and even why, and I can’t tell you how wonderful that feels after over ten years of flailing around, trying to figure out why my heart felt dead.

It wasn’t.  I never completely turned away from Christianity, and I know now that God was always with me, but I sure couldn’t see, feel, or hear him, except for tiny pinpricks of light in a big-assed swamp of darkness.

I sure didn’t like much of the past ten years of my spiritual life, but now, I’m actually thankful for it.  I gained some wisdom, which I now remember asking God for a long time ago.  And I know that there are people out there, going through exactly the same thing I did, so maybe I can help them in some way, where before, I wouldn’t have been able to.

So I’m moving forward with new, stronger faith than I’ve ever had before.  I trust God without reservation now, and I can’t tell you what an excellent thing that is.  My despair has been replaced with joy and peace.

I know that there will be other things that I have to go through, but hopefully I will be able to come at them with a different attitude.

I’m out of words for now.  I’ll write more later.  Steve and I are doing a Marriage workshop thing that is really good.  We’re learning how to improve our marriage [there’s always room for improvement, no matter how good things are, eh?]  So maybe I’ll tell you about that later.

In the meantime, y’all take care, okay?

Pneumonia and Steroids…

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Yup, that’s me right now.  I was in bed, mostly unconscious on Thursday.  Steve took me to the doctor and they gave me antibiotics and steroids.  So yesterday, the steroids really took effect and I was pissed off for no reason, but I could breathe, stand, and shower on my own, so it didn’t matter, you know?

My guess is that I had pneumonia, based on my inability to breathe without severe pain, my lips turning slightly blue when I stood up, severe lethargy, etc. I could be wrong about that, of course, and the doc didn’t tell me one way or the other, and didn’t do any diagnostic tests.  I suppose it doesn’t matter much, except it’s nice to know for informational purposes, since they more than likely would treat it the same way whether it was bronchitis or pneumonia.

Oh well.  The ‘roids are giving me rage and energy, and the urge to write again.  Thank God this is a short pack of ’em.  Started out with 24mg [in six pills] and go down one pill per day, so I should be able to maintain my sanity, eh?

Life is still good.  I am happy.  Oh!  I got accepted into nursing school, and will start that in August.  After just eleven months, I’ll be an LPN.  My plan is to work setting up medical equipment in homes, ’cause working at the hospital here would suck.  The pay sucks, the hospital itself sucks [well, if you’re a patient, anyway].  Apparently, the administration thinks that the nursing staff is the least important rung on the patient care ladder, so they don’t pay very well, and they hire crappy nurses.

I’m a good nurse [yes, already, even without the certificate or work experience that says so]  so I’d be a good addition to any office or hospital floor, but working in bad conditions is not something to which I really want to expose myself.  It’s crazy that the hospital here pays LPNs about $12-$14 an hour, and the medical equipment setting up job mentioned above pays $22 an hour.

Kind of a no-brainer, eh?

So I’m thinking that if I get a good job as an LPN, I’ll go on and get my BSN here in town.  There’s an ADN [that’s a two year nursing degree] program about an hour from here [in KC] but the school costs $16,000 for 8-10 months of schooling, and the BSN program here is around $3500 a year, and it’s a four-year degree.

The four year degree mostly just looks better on paper than the two year, and there are different opinions on which program actually makes better nurses.  However, if I get my BSN, then it’ll be easier to get my master’s and become a nurse practitioner, which is actually what I’m thinking of doing.

If I’m gonna do the career thing, it seems like I should go far enough to make it worth my while.  Nursing is a worthy thing to do just for the love of helping people, and I plan to do short-term medical trips to other countries to help out where people really need it, but I’d be lying if I said that was my only reason.

Nursing is a way for me to help my own family: to help take away some of the financial stress we’ve been living under for over ten years now, to pay for my kids’ education, to give us something to retire on.   Nursing is a practical way for me to ensure these things, an it’s something that I know for sure I can do, that there will always be a job available, and the jobs are varied enough that if I get bored working in one area, I can move on to a different one.

Am I giving up my dreams of writing, or being an artist?  No, not exactly, but I have realized that writing and art can’t really be depended upon to put food on the table, at least not until you actually finish a book and start getting paid for it.  I’m not even close to that.  I don’t even know if I have what it takes to write a whole novel, because I’ve yet to find the determination to stick with a plot long enough to finish it.

I may always just be a blogger and hobby writer, and that’s perfectly respectable.  I may also get some kind of crazy inspiration and be the next JK Rowling, and that would be fine, too [hee hee, but just ‘fine,’ not ridiculously wonderful or anything!].  But, I don’t know the future, so while I’m still dreaming that one day I’ll be a great famous writer, I’m making plans that will help take care of my family in the meantime, eh?

So, how are you doing?  Leave a comment and let me know, okay?