First, I’m proud of me. I have gone to the dentist three times now and have taken care of all the little issues I’ve let get out of hand. Had two molars pulled (they were too far gone) and had a root canal and restoration on one tooth. Now I have a mouth full of strong teeth and I only have to go back for some minor fillings and a periodontal assessment. My mouth hasn’t been this happy in…wow, years.
You know why I waited so long? I didn’t have the money (D said) to put out until my benefits paid me back. I just didn’t want to fight that fight. I kept putting things off until, one day, my body decided I wasn’t going to be putting it off anymore. An infection drove me to get things looked at and then I decided not to wait until the next one to fix the rest. Yay me. (Kitty, it was your advice that got me there, BTW. Thanks for that…xx)
The bad part is that lying in that chair with my head tilted back and my mouth open really messes with my cervical spine. I was, at one point, holding my head still with my neck and shoulder muscles seized, cramping…I was shaking with the effort of it. My dentist kept stopping, asking if I was okay as he thought I was scared. (He’s such a good dentist. I’m so lucky to have him).
I went right home yesterday and took the weight of my head off my neck, which helped some I think, but the moment I stood up this morning I thought I was going to collapse. My neck, shoulders, spine, jaw, face and head felt like a badly balanced game of Jenga. Every time I moved my head my joints creek and pop in and out of socket…it’s a horrible feeling. I can feel the nerves firing off signals that start in my shoulder and end in my fingertips but when I try to massage the pain away I can’t feel anything thanks to the numbness. My knees, ankles and toes are also sore today. I can’t figure out why so it’s likely a random reaction to the weather? I don’t know. :( My fingers (and arms) hurt when I type or pick anything up and when I stand or walk my toes and ankles start to complain.
Now is one of those times when I need to stop what I’m doing often in the day and take a body scan to find all the places that do NOT hurt so I can focus away from the pain. It’s a trick I learned a long time ago but stopped using it for some reason…got lost in the darkness of it all, I think.
Head – Pain in head, face, jaw, neck
Neck – Pain throughout
Shoulders – Pain throughout
Arms – Pain throughout
Chest – Pain in ribs and collar bones
Abdomen – No pain
Hips – No pain
thighs No pain
Knees – Pain throughout
Shins – Slight muscle pain
Ankles – Joint pain
Feet – Tendon and Joint pain
Toes – Joint pain
So. Today, my abdomen, hips and thighs are functioning normally with no discomfort. Each time the pain builds to the point where I feel overwhelmed by it, I’ll stop and reflect on how my tummy, hips and thighs feel. Their muscles are relaxed and loose, no stress or tension inside those places. The joints move freely and smoothly. I’m letting my body know that we’re going to focus on the good, not the bad. Thank you to my lower half for keeping us in balance today.
This pain is now a part of me. I want to name it..make it a noun so that I can address it. It’s a part of me that I don’t like to indulge, however, I need to listen to what my body needs if I’m going to be able to do this. The pain doesn’t have to lead to depression..I’m understanding that now.
I have more control than I realized. Isn’t that amazing? No matter how deep or intense the pain gets, I am still in the driver’s seat here. I can choose to submerge and try to sort things out that way (which I’ve been doing for the last few years) or, I can come up for air and strategize to work out a better solution. I’m not sure it will work all the time, but it’s working so far. I haven’t felt that heavy blanket of depression for weeks and weeks now. It gives me such a sense of freedom, feeling like I have some control of my world.
So now, of course, I want to drop my antidepressants. It’s a trap a lot of people fall into when on multiple medications. It’s moderately possible that they are the reason I’m not depressed, however, I’ve been taking this exact combo for over two years … it would be strange if they just suddenly began to work. I’m betting that the constant present-focus the pain brings has allowed me to let go of the things that were haunting me. I will stay on them for now. It’s just a numbers thing…I really hate taking 8 pills three times a day. (Sigh – can’t win sometimes!)
Isn’t that interesting though? Something really good came from all this pain.
So, today, I’ll remember that and focus on the bits that don’t hurt. Tomorrow is another day…will see how we go.
….along comes my son’s little friend, Amy. This is the sweet little girl who has, literally, taken care of Colt while he’s at school since they started together in Kindergarten. She is my babysitter’s only daughter and she has a heart of gold, just like her beautiful mom. She is, by far, one of the most special people in Colt’s life and I absolutely adore her as well.
Yesterday was ‘Track and Field’ day at their school. No one told us about it and it wasn’t listed on their website, but apparently the students had been told to bring money for hotdogs and snacks. Of course, not knowing what was happening, we didn’t send any money with the boy so he was heartbroken when all of his friends got hotdogs and pop and all he had was his boring old lunch.
I would have arranged something for him had I known, but he doesn’t think to call us when stuff like that happens. He just cried quietly in the corner of the field and watched his friends enjoy their snacks. That is, until Amy found him and discovered why he was crying.
This seven-year old girl went on a mission. She dug out her change (her own money was spent on hotdogs, not her parents money) and then went on a campaign trying to collect change from her friends. She came up with $6…enough for a hotdog, drink and bag of chips and she gave it to my son. (There are tears in my eyes as I type this). Colt happily got his meal and felt better right away.
That is not the first time this beautiful little girl has saved Colt’s day. I am so thankful for people like her and for the gentle love she shows Colt. She is an amazing little person and, all by herself, can make me feel better about the rest of the world. I can hardly wait until she grows up so I can tell her how much of an impact she’s made.
Thank god for the beautiful hearts of children. I know they can be cruel, but just one like her’s makes it all so much easier to swallow.
Three hours after he apologized to me he wrote an email to my director. The topic of conversation is, apparently, me. I discovered this when I was checking his calendar as he had put a giant freaking NOTE in there that screamed my name along its banner. Nice. Right where he knew I’d not be able to miss it. These two do not like each other, do not speak for any reason, almost never meet except where they have to (and even then they barely acknowledge each other) and they’re getting together for a meeting…about me. I’m pretty damn sure it’s not going to be a positive conversation.
When I pushed back with the school principal…when he was calling my office over 20 times a day and refused to leave a message and I called the cops, I was feeling good then too. I had spoken up to a bully who was pushing me around and fucking with my autistic son’s education not only the professional way (went to his boss, had a very clear meeting with her after first meeting with him directly) but also the tantrum way (called the cops) and the end result was what? Ohhh right, he called Children’s Aid on us. That nasty little investigation is still not closed, by the way. We called the Social Worker who handled it and he rudely informed me that I had misremembered when I said he’d told us he was closing the case and would write a letter. D remembers too but, what the hell…who cares that we only have everything on the line. Let’s just fuck with this a little longer and see where it goes.
So, I stood up to my boss. He relented when I pushed, apologized profusely and in a way I took as genuine (I swear to god that’s the last fucking time someone fools me with that trick) settled things, and then five minutes later, calls my direct supervisor (the one who can actually fire me). Great. Now there’s three of us involved. Maybe we can get the entire senior leadership team in on the email chain. While we’re at it, we can cc in all of my colleagues just to make sure the entire damn place knows the drama queen didn’t get what he wanted out of me.
*More on that – I can deal with most of this exchange rationally, but when I get to the bit about the genuine tone in his voice…I just start to choke up. The shame just burns in me like you wouldn’t believe. I’m avoiding eye contact with the words I’m typing on the screen it so makes me want to curl into a ball and call in sick for the rest of my life. Bits of me are jumping up and down agreeing with every nasty word he says, and, as an added bonus, my head is racing a million miles a minute coming up with all the terrible things I THINK he might be thinking about me. I’m caught. Found out. I’m a fraud here….I don’t even know how I got here*
So now I’m sitting in my dark room at the back of the house, blinds drawn, hunkered down in that way that makes my spine scream the most, my heart is pounding in my chest, not quickly but so hard, I swear I can see it through my shirt sometimes. I have tear stained drops on my glasses and shirt, and pants, and keyboard. Fuck. FUCK! (yeah I know why Colt is swearing…I know. I don’t ever say it in front of him though).
(I got stuck here for about ten minutes. Sat perfectly still staring at the screen, feeling all the anxiety and fear churning around in my stomach and cutting off the air when I breathe).
What do I do now? I’m struggling to stay above water here but I’m having all sorts of flight fantasies and the adrenaline is so high. I feel like a little jack rabbit in the fields out back, standing straight up, ears stretcccccccching as high as they can go to be sure to catch every tiny sound, in the hopes of hearing the wings of my predator before her talons strike.
D’s being his usual helpful self by yelling all the things I should do at me. He worst case’s it to the point of lunacy and it drives my anxiety through the roof. He’s in that mode right now and keeps darting in and out of the room, yelling things.
“If it looks bad for you while you’re in there this is what you do!! OUT him, tell everything he’s ever done to you and then if they don’t care go raging into HR and demand they review your role and..and…and” NO. I do not rage I do not accuse and assign blame where it shouldn’t be. I refuse to. I won’t play dirty just to come out on top…It’s a failing in some ways, a strength in others. I tell him this as quietly as I am able and he leaves again. This sort of job paranoia is his speciality, after all. He “almost” gets fired every other month, it seems. (In all fairness, recently he’s been threatening to quit, not get fired, but the effect is hard-wired into me now anyway).
I have eaten two of the pills that quiet this panic reaction and I’m hoping my heart settles before I sleep. I have vicious nightmares when I sleep like this.
I made it (of course).
When he walked in he tried to catch my eye. I closed the boardroom doors and sat down, ready to take my notes. When addressing the group he would look right at me, while looking around the room at his colleagues, but each time he did, I didn’t look down or away…I just looked straight back and carried on typing. He hung around afterwards, chatting with people, as did I, but he didn’t seek my attention until he was about to leave. He said something like “Oh Grainne? Are we good?” To which I answered, “You bet” and he left.
End of trauma. Now I just have to work it out in my head so I can stop feeling these feelings of failure and fear…the panic of being threatened, I ‘frustrated’ him, he kept saying. Triggered the hell out of me.