The battle continues…

Happy Birthday Week To Me!

So many people wrote or called me to let me know that they cared.  I’m very thankful for all of my friends and family in my life.

Birthdays can be hard for me.  It’s like New Years – one of those days that you evaluate your life.  If you suffer from depression like me, you can really go down a dark rabbit hole hearing all of the negative voices attack you for not being rich enough, thin enough, or not being in a relationship.  I tried hard to keep my mind focused on positive things and off of myself.  I repeated a self-compassion mantra that I’d learned from a friend and it seemed to help.

I also went to a lot of meetings, talked with a lot of friends, and took several long walks around Lake Johnson near my apartment.   At one point during my walk yesterday, I cut the music off and started talking with God.  I mean, really talking to him – OUT LOUD.  I know people thought I was strange.  I revealed to him how scared I was that I still felt so sad after so long.  I explained that I really needed his help and guidance and begged him to help me.

When I say “begged”, I mean I BEGGED.  I earnestly asked God to guide me as I moved forward with my life.   At one point, I just kept saying “help me, God…help me, God”.  I am tired of feeling this continuing sadness.   I don’t understand where it’s coming from.  I know that my depression is part of it – I probably need to talk with my doctor about it. But the other part is that I feel spiritually bankrupt.   I feel disconnected and lost.  It has gotten slightly better but it still feels like a lead weight on my shoulders pulling me down.

It really sucks feeling depressed and spiritually empty.  But I know that this life is a journey and that God has some purpose for me in battling these two things.   The saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is one that I’ve tried to keep close to me during this time.    I hope it is true.   I have to keep searching for the answer and listening to what my higher power has to say to me.   Answers will come and I want to be ready to receive them.

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Recovery and Faith

One of the most interesting debates in AA is the use of the word “recovered” versus “recovering”.   I’ve heard people at meetings introduce themselves using either term.  The Big Book uses the word “recovered” and I do not see a problem with others using it to describe themselves.

Some folks are afraid that when people use the term “recovered”, it gives people a sense that there is a “cure” for addiction.   I think no matter what, people who want to stay sober will do whatever is necessary to stay sober, regardless of the language we use.   They will seek out the means to fight their addiction to the best of their ability with the tools that recovery programs have to offer.

I still can’t believe that it has been 10 years for me.  That was a goal I never felt I could really achieve – it seemed so far away.   As I’ve shared in other writings, I’ve struggled this year with my connection to God.  It seems to be missing.  I’m going to meetings, sponsoring people, doing service work, praying and meditating and I feel so far away from God that it’s scary.

I just have to keep on keeping on.    Perhaps there is something that God wants me to discover at this point of my life.  Perhaps he wants me to work a little harder at maintaining that spiritual connection.   I don’t know what he’s asking but I have to have faith that my connection to him will return someday.  I have to believe that “this too shall pass” and life will return to some semblance of sanity.    I must continue to believe that I’m doing the right things to keep my connection.   God will help me.

martinlutherkingjr1

 

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Medical or Spiritual: How Can You Tell?

Let me first start off by saying that my depression is better than it was six months ago.  Six months ago, I was in a terrible black pit that I thought I could not get out of.  My doctor prescribed a new medication and it helped tremendously.  My mood is much better.

But, I’m still not “there” if you know what I mean.  I feel around 80% capacity with a small lead weight wrapped around my neck pulling me down.  I recently told my doctor about it and he prescribed a thyroid medication saying that sometimes it could provide me that “bump” I need to get up to 100%.   I have felt a slight shift in my mood which I am thankful for – but I just wonder what to do next.

I keep wondering where to go next.  Is this a medication issue, a recovery issue, or a spiritual issue?  I’m meditating and praying daily, trying to eat a little better, and I recently joined a gym.   Hopefully those things will help to lift this continued pall I feel that has come over me.

I truly hate feeling this way too.   I hate feeling less than 100%.   I hate feeling hopeless and that this mood will never get better.   I just have to continue to have faith that my mood will lift at some point.  I just have to do the best that I can each day with what I’ve been given.

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My Buddy Is Gone

Well, on Monday, the vet sent my little buddy Orangey over the rainbow bridge.   His cancer was aggressive and I did not want him in pain.   I will forever miss him sitting on my lap and sleeping for hours.  He clawed up my furniture. I will miss his tiny meows when he was hungry, and I’ll miss him bolting to hide under the bed whenever someone knocked on the door.

I found Orangey in the backyard of my house when I moved to Durham, NC back in 2008, along with three of his siblings.  Their mother gave birth to them right in the backyard and my roommate and I found them back there.   He almost ran over them with the lawnmower!    There were three other kittens, Deucey being one of them.   When I moved out, I took Duecy and Orangey with me.

I’m thankful today that I am sober enough to feel my grief and emotions – even though they suck.   Ten years ago, I would have been so selfish that I probably would not have been as available to my friend as I am now.   I probably would not have had the money to take care of him. I am thankful that I did not avoid my responsibility to him.  I sat with him, stroked him, loved him, and thanked him for allowing me to take care of him.

My friend Carl came with me for support and I am so thankful that he did.   I do not think I could have made it without him.  My vet, Dr. Colleen Wallace at Cozy Cats, was so kind, gentle and wonderful.  I cannot thank her enough for all that she did.

Goodbye my little friend and I hope God is holding you tight.

Orangey 3

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Today is the Day

Today, I must say goodbye to my little cuddle buddy and friend, Orangey.   Oh man, my heart is hurting today.  I can’t believe that I have to do this so soon.  He’s only 10 years old for God’s sake.   But the vet says that his sarcoma is growing very fast and his quality of life will quickly deteriorate and I do not want him to suffer.

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Carl is going to come with me as I handle this horrible issue. I, at first, thought I could do it on my own, but there’s no way.   I’m thankful for his kindness and consideration.

Why do pets affect us so deeply?  Why is it almost harder to say goodbye to them than family at times?   I believe it’s because pets, when loved and properly cared for really do reflect back to us the best things in us.  I believe they are sent to us to teach us about true love and sacrifice.

I found Orangey and Duecey 10 years ago in my backyard in Durham and they’ve been with me ever since.  From getting sober, to finishing grad school, to dating, and being alone – they have been there through my roughest of times.  I hope he’ll remember me as someone who loved and cared for him deeply and appreciate all the evenings of him lying on my lap – knocked out and just content.

He forced me to learn how to relax and just enjoy being in the moment.    He taught me about sharing space and forced me to look at my limitations in a real way and honor them.  I have to accept that this is what needs to happen, but this shit blows.

I will miss you my friend and I love you.

Orangey 3

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Emotional Sobriety

My ass is getting kicked lately by my emotional sobriety or lack thereof.  I feel like my twelve-step program is not working  as well as it has in the past.    I feel unhappy, and in emotional pain and feel lost.  I told my sponsor today that I really just don’t know what to do.

He worked with me on Step 6.  We started studying “Drop the Rock” and found some interesting and insightful things in there.   My god, this tenth anniversary has been tough.

Anyone else struggle with emotional sobriety after being sober for a long time?  Any advice?  I know that a big part of my recovery is learning to love and like myself fully.  That is going to be a journey.    I hope I survive it.

This video by a speaker has been helpful.

 

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Off to the Vet

I have to take one of my cats to the vet today and I’m nervous.   Orangey has a large lump on his side that is really concerning me.   I am scared of two things.   First, that it’s cancer and second that the treatment is beyond my financial means to take care of.    Ugh.

Wish me luck and Orangey luck today please.

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