The Discomfort of Disbelief

“The feeling of being doubted…is an ever-present background noise…”

Did you ever wonder if people believe you? Is that only the mental stomping ground of the addict? The alcoholic?

The feeling of being doubted, of my integrity being questioned, is an ever present background noise…especially when I am sick. I was even afraid, just now, to write the word ‘sick’. (wouldn’t it be better to minimize?)

One very HUGE contributing factor to this constant was the years upon years of describing extreme pain to a plethora of physicians who could find no ‘easy’ or ‘obvious’ condition to label me with. There were no broken bones, I had a history of drug abuse, I had a history of a mental illness diagnosis, and I am a woman. I was also very strong, working difficult physical jobs normally held by men, which may or may not have been a factor.

My experience has not been an isolated one when it comes to women who have Fibromyalgia and/or similar diagnosis. During the years before the medical profession widely recognized this condition I was one of a multitude who went thru years of mental anguish and physical agony before finally being given a smidgen of relief.

Finally a Diagnosis !

It took real determination (and very real disability and pain) to keep pushing on towards a diagnosis. I was told it was all in my head, that I was just overweight and needed exercise and that what I was experiencing was just a consequence of aging. At this point I was crying every night from the burning in my joints, in my muscles and in my spine. My best description for that time was as if I were wearing a dense heavy coat that was soaking wet, all the time. A coat that weighed about 100 pounds and was crushing me.

At this point my work was suffering, a kind boss had taken me aside after noticing my wincing, and suggested a Rheumatologist. Initially even he was sceptical until he got back the results of the CT Scans and MRI’s. (He was the first to order these types of tests!) I distinctly remember the initial shock at him gently taking my hand and apologizing, so sincerely, for not believing the severity of my discomfort. He went on to ask me if I had been in a car accident, the images showed that level of damage to my spine.

There were a myriad of issues the films brought to light, and from that point on my care finally addressed them. The physical relief was matched and even surpassed by the rush of validation! I was taken seriously!! I was, finally, believed!

Back to Dirt (continued)

I get to this point, late at night, when my eyes burn from staring at my tiny detailed artwork. And this is the time I want to stop and write to you my musings on the day. So, here I am, bleary eyed and hurting, attempting to communicate something meaningful from my storehouse of wisdom….Perhaps this is why my entries are all centered on pain! If I read something I wrote a year ago, it all sounds like the same Song, the same endless litany .

That is no way to treat you, is it? Your time is valuable, as is mine. What burns in me is this need for a primordial scream of anguish, a voice from my depths against this physical ball and chain. I dream of jumping up and running away, fast enough and far enough to leave my physical being behind. Oh, Dear God, please hear me beg for a way to endure…I know that my faith and prayers are heard and known by you, and that You continue to uplift and sooth my troubled mind…

I don’t want to wish for the pain to end, because the only thing that ends it is blissful death, or the oblivion of street drugs. Both things that would destroy my relationship with you, my Father…So All I ask is to endure, to know that one day pain and death will be gone forever.

I know I cling to sanity by a tendril…You, my God, keep that tendril from snapping. Thank You. thank you. thank you.

Plugged. Digital painting by Susan T. Martin2018

Musings on a Tuesday

Hello dear Friends,

It has been such a struggle during this cold and gloomy weather to drag myself out of bed, to put my feet on the floor, to be motivated at all. I have in my mind always that I should be helping other people to come to know Jehovah, to help them see His great love for them. That I pray daily for these things is some comfort, but this huge burden of immobility just crushes me down and makes me feel unworthy, and lazy.,

Over and over I have been reminded that Satan uses this as a tactic, that discouragement can distance us and keep us stuck in the mire of self hate, the sediment of low self esteem and depression. Recently at my meeting for worship

we went over the fact that those feelings can be overcome by considering the ransom of Jesus Christ, and by earnest prayer for soundness of mind, which is promised to God’s faithful ones.

It is very easy for me to not take the steps I need to take, but then the way to death is a wide and spacious road the Bible tells us, while the road to life is a narrow and cramped one. I must struggle thru the weeds and brambles on this hard and narrow road, not fall prey to the worldly wolves and lies that are strewn about like stumbling blocks. Keeping my eyes fastened on the light I see before me at the head of the path I will throw off these burdens and keep climbing.

Physically I may be weighed down, and my mind and body are full of sin and imperfection, and my breaths come more shallow and labored than ever before. But just like the Bible says at 2 Corinthians 4:16-18,” Therefore, we do not give up, but even if the man outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day.(17) For though the tribulation is momentary and light, it works out for us a glory that is of more and more surpassing greatness and is everlasting,(18) while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting.”

I hope no one else suffers from the disquieting thoughts that I do, recurring images of the life I once lived, that come unbidden to frighten and distract me. But these I know, and I want others’ to know, will one day vanish forever, and will NEVER AGAIN poison our lives. We will be free from all the flashbacks, all the debris, all the residual effects our current circumstances inflict on us. I believe this, I  know and have faith in this fact this because God has promised it to me, and to all who serve Him .

I want to read it now, so I will write it down here:

Revelation 21:3-5 With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. (4) And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away”.(5)And the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making all things new”. Also he says, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

What incredibly beautiful words. What a certain promise.

I feel better already!

I Am Blown Away…

So much suffering in this world, that anything I may go through just pales by comparison. Just pales.

A night out for friends at a club, a few drinks. A few laughs. Dancing. Happy, young, upwardly mobile.

Beautiful. Did I tell you how beautiful they all are? Faces shown on smartphones, tv screens, computes. They look like me, and you. They look like our kids, grandkids, cousins. Daughters. Sons.

Many ask , “Why?” There are answers to that question, but that comforts not. There will be no comfort here…or will there?

Yes, there IS comfort. It can be found in the pages of a book written by our Creator, Jehovah. He hears our cries, and He sent His Son 2016 years ago to show us that there WILL BE A Resurrection!!!

That is knowledge we can take comfort in, and we can be there to welcome them back. Ask any one of the millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses earthwide how to do this. See you there!

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Grief and Bipolar Disorder

Let me start this blog off by saying that I am not a health care professional, nor am I licensed in any form of mental health capacity. All I am is a person in pain, having lost a dear loved one, and who also happens to suffer from Bipolar Disorder.

So, in a sense, that makes me an expert of sorts. I say that in a lighthearted way, coming from a heart that is anything but light. Ever since Daddy died I have been running in circles, like a dog chasing it’s tail. Somehow, I am dealing with each necessary task: the funeral, the cremation, the memorial, filing for assistance for myself since Dad supported me in my disability, cleaning up all the evidence of his sickness and dying that were left here in the house. It feels like being in the center of a hurricane.

Knowing that I will soon be back in the raging storm, only this time I will be alone.

In my manic state right now, I cannot sleep, cannot rest. I either forget to eat, or I eat the wrong things in the wrong quantities. I baked a cake and cupcakes last night at 11:45, then ate 3 cupcakes before lying down. No wonder I did not sleep, right?

I keep getting up, in a half asleep stupor, thinking I have to check on him. Then I wake up sitting at my computer at 4 in the morning, all crooked and stuck like a pretzel. Once the other day I fell asleep on my face with my glasses on, and they had embedded themselves into my head. Not a nice way to awaken.

But the endless cleaning, and going from room to room carrying the strangest things, and the inability to breathe normally are also very disconcerting. I have the feeling of impending doom, the one I had for years in active addiction, the feeling that came back when Mom died in 2010, the feeling that follows me like a shadow. It keeps telling me that I am all alone now, that there is no one to love me, or hold me anymore.

It is a terrible, sad feeling, and my head knows it is not real. God loves me, and will NEVER forsake me. I am in a cloud of witnesses, all loving Jehovah, and He has tight hold of my hand. So-leave me alone, terrible darkness! Stay at bay, awful sadness!

Please God, help me have soundness of mind, help me to have a quiet heart, a hopeful spirit, and faith sure and strong!! I know that you hear me, in the name of Jesus.

I am loved, and I am safe. I will never walk alone!

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A ONE HANDED ENTRY

Picture 347
mommy with her sisters, before we knew she was sick.

Picture 433

mom and me at a JW Convention
mom and me at a JW Convention

this is tough, this being me.

i say all kinds of euphemistic things:

endure, be brave, be faithful…

a memory stirs,

i am back to missing you.

i am glad you are not suffering.

i am glad the pain is gone.

but here i am left,

wondering.

how do i carry on?

my life is like typing one-handed,

always swimming uphill

with one broken paddle, one broken pencil,

one half of one one-dollar bill.

i remember the days of our freedom

the two of us crying and laughing at once!

sipping our vodka tonics and talking like schoolgirls

till we were tipsy and high.

your kneecaps jumped up and down,

so i put you to bed,

worried that i somehow harmed

those beautiful knees.

they parted to give me birth,

but i don’t feel alive.

the sunlight changed the day you died

left me all dim and damaged inside.

now my life is like typing one-handed.

always swimming uphill

with one broken paddle,one broken pencil

and one half of one one-dollar bill.

my relief is coming, the shining day

you will return to me-free from any disease

it is our God’s promise to us!

the world will resound with our laughter,

our brothers and sisters will join in

we will all be perfect and no one will die,

not ever, no

never again.

i wont have to type one handed,

no more swimming uphill.

no broken paddles, no more broken pencils,

no need for one-half of one one-dollar bill!!!

Brainstorming

I am feeling a bit more positive than I was in this morning’s post, Dad got up for a while around 2pm, I laid on the couch dozing on and off, keeping my eyes and ears on alert. He fell on Wednesday, big gash on his head, poor Pops.

It happened while his caregiver was here, she called me saying there has been an accident. I believe the first thing you should tell a loved one is that the patient is OK before you dump the accident stuff on them. It keeps from shaving a couple years off their lifespan, because, as a family member, your heart just falls out of your chest when you hear,

” Hello, Ms. Kiko? There has been a terrible accident…”

What is the first thing you think of? Yup, I thought so: That he is dead or maimed or otherwise terribly injured.

So, I had been dropping off a painting at the Art Gallery, so I raced the 10 miles to the hospital in rush hour traffic, all the while telling myself that, as a law abiding Christian, I should be setting a good example and pleasing God by obeying the speed limit. I really tried, and I do always try, but that is a difficult task when your Dad is lying helpless and afraid in an Emergency Room.

I hit the Hospital doors at a trot, had my ID already in hand to be checked in, and rushed down the hall to his bedside, ready to find him at death’s door.

Of course, the scene that greeted me was quite different!

“Hiya there! Where have you been?”, he laughs with a big smile.

He smiles his most charming at the cute little nurse who is taking his blood pressure.

“Are you Ok, Dad? I heard you had a bad fall!”

He looks at me quizically, “Did I?”

I could just pinch him, but he looks so little and frail in the big hospital bed, so I kiss him on the cheek instead. Now I can see the big gash on his scalp, and blood all over the pillow. Oh, my, I think, here we go again. I just cannot bear him spending any time in this hospital, this is the place where he fell twice in May, the place that caused him so much anguish mentally, the hospital that hastened his Alzheimer’s Disease and broke his spirit, and the place where I had to face the reality of my losing him. Imminent. On the Horizon.

I hate that hospital. I told Dad’s doctor that I am trying to sue them for what they had done to him, and the doctor brings me back to reality: I am going to do whatever is necessary to get your Dad better from this fall…

Now I feel like a real heel, like that wasn’t what I wanted too?

I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs:

  I DO NOT WANT TO FEEL THIS!!!!

I DO NOT WANT TO WATCH MY FATHER DIE!!!

WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS FALL TO ME? TO SEE MY PARENTS, TO SEE THE PEOPLE I NEED, THE PEOPLE I LOVE, TO SEE THEM ALL LEAVING?

TO SEE THEM ALL DYING.

TO BE LEFT HERE all alone.

But, I did not say anything except , Ok. Thank You.

Now you understand a little more why I am so tired today, this month, this year.

Each day that goes by I feel a little more dead myself,

all tied up in my solitary cell, watching my life pass by.

I know deep inside that I want to do this, and I want to be with Daddy till the end. I just get so lonely at times. But I don’t mean to sound bitter. I am grateful for everyday I have. Just feeling a bit sorry for myself tonight. It will get better- I promise!

I will place my burdens on Jehovah tonight, He will hear my cries for help. I will pray in Jesus dear name, and Jehovah will breath new endurance into me.

His promises will all come true.Picture 731

Profound Joy!

Profoundly Alive. Zestful. Happy.

Hopeful. Forward Looking. Lifted up. Elated.

Active. Alive. Aware. Absolutely Positive.

I am these things, I am all of them.

I must believe that I am.

Loveable. Loved. Free. Truthful. Beautiful.

My heart healed, my wings mended, my joy complete.

I am now the person I always wished I could be.

I am not responsible for anyone else’s decisions, for anyone else’s pain.

I have paid the price for my past mistakes by enduring the consequences for my actions. I am not required to flog myself  any longer. I do not have to grovel before an abuser ever again.

I am fine, protected by God’s Love, able to fight the fine fight with the tools He provides, and His Holy Spirit.

The Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word the Bible.

The Breastplate of righteousness.

The Large Shield of Faith.

The Helmet of Salvation.

Loins Girded about with The Truth.

Feet shod with the Good News of Peace.

” There are are more who are with us than there are who are with them…”

I am no longer a victim, alone in my suffering and fear.

There is a way out of an abusive relationship. It starts with telling yourself the truth. It is not going to get better, his gifts will not make it better, your family does not hate you like he says they do. You are not ugly. You are not stupid. You CAN survive without him. You have everything you need within yourself, it is just hidden under all the fear and lies. Listen really close, and find the voice of the person inside you who spoke before he hit you the first time. She is calling out to you now, she is ready to come home. Just reach out, turn that doorknob, and don’t look back!

promises fulfilled
promises fulfilled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Quiet Sunday Evening…

I listened to my meeting for worship this afternoon, and it felt so good to hear Jehovah’s word’s spoken and discussed. The Public Speaker, who is a brother from another congregation (usually), gives us an upbuilding talk each week, based on the Bible. And it is really nice, because the public is always welcome at our Kingdom Hall, to be encouraged by God’s word in these troubled times. There is no collection basket, which I found very refreshing when I began attending the meetings, having been embarrassed by the basket passing at a church before.

I miss being physically present at my meetings, it did my heart so much good to be surrounded by my happy brothers and sisters. You know, that is something so different about going into a Kingdom Hall, compared to a church. All of the people are so happy, calm and peaceful. Even if you are new, you are greeted and made so welcome. I remember when I attended a different place for worship, and I felt so out of place because my clothes weren’t as fine, or my car as nice as the other people’s. I have never felt that way in Jehovah’s house.

Anyway, I miss my meetings. I can’t go because Dad never feels up to going anymore, he can’t get ready by himself, and by the time I bathe and get him ready then I’ve already missed half of it. I keep asking the caregiver about working on Sunday but she is unwilling, or unable. She did work for me 2 Sunday’s ago, I will ask her to do it again this week. Either that or I will have to pay cash for someone to come, because I must keep my spiritualiPicture 021ty intact. It is so easy to fall backwards, fall back into bad ways. My bad mouth, foul language, and rotten speech come back so fast, and so does my anger. But when I study the Bible and pray and listen to the meetings, I want to make God happy!

Working Again!

A dock at sunset on White Sands Island in the Maldives.
A dock at sunset on White Sands Island in the Maldives.

A green sea turtle swims past a school of Raccoon Butterflyfish near Hawaii.
A green sea turtle swims past a school of Raccoon Butterflyfish near Hawaii.

A cascading waterfall, flanked by flowers.
A cascading waterfall, flanked by flowers.I did not take these photos, they are in the public domain.

Ahh! I am an active creative force, taking the images in my mind and painting them on canvas, writing them on paper, sharing these thoughts and images with the human family. It is so cathartic, so freeing. All the pain rushing out of me-all the light rushing in.

I love my life today-I feel alive today- even the pain of my physical body does not shut off the colors flowing out of my fingertips!

I am working on a couple paintings for my next show, it is a group show about Water. We have rivers here, beautiful lagoons and estuaries full of wildlife that is crying out for help. Our local politicians are finally interested because the sick rivers are giving the tourism industry a black eye, and a light is finally shining on this area’s darkest secrets: Pollution and sewage being dumped into the water by Big Sugar, by Cattle Ranches, by people cheating on their permits and laws regarding dumping.

So this show is about the artist’s interpretation of a body of water, the ocean, a river, a pond, and the surrounding area. The works have to have water in them.

This is a subject close to my heart, my love of God’s magnificent creation makes it very painful to see the ruination of our planet. To me it as as if the St. Lucie River cries out in it’s pain. I live a stone’s throw from the river, I can walk to the marina  and I hear the motor boats and jet skis when they go by. The beautiful variety of water birds and wildlife who call the river home come through my yard every day. Hawks, Eagles, Caracara, Sandhill Cranes, Herons, Egret, Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Bobcat, Gopher Tortise, River Otters, Racoon, Opossum, Alligator, Wild Boar, the list goes on and on… And Oh! the fish! Fish that we now cant eat, green algae poisons the river and suffocates the aquatic life, stealing the oxygen out of their water.

I am very motivated and inspired by this subject matter, and I will share my work with you soon.

Remember to care for our garden Planet, this Beautiful Home Jehovah gave us.

Thanks!