Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Bug and I were watching brain games on TV last night.  Something was brought up about lying to yourself.  This is something I have a lot of knowledge and expertise in.  I have said that I walk around life with a bucket of sand to stick my head in.  If that is not someone willing to lie to themselves, I don't know.  It was around 9pm, my preference time to be in bed asleep.  I was tired like I always am at the end of the day.  Nothing special.  No desperate pain or mood, just normal me.  Bug usually stays up until 10 or so, but sometimes he is tired and lays down the same time I do. 

What could be nicer then climbing into a big comfortable bed, warm and snugly.  Feather pillows and a down comforter with flannel sheets and who needs a heater?  Then to curl up in my sweetie's arms and fall asleep.  Heaven.  I mean, like baby laughter heaven.  Sweet, simple and perfect. 

I have anxiety issues when I go to sleep.  I realized last night as Bug crawled in beside me and cuddled up close that I wait too long to take my anxiety pills.  I wake up within 15 minutes to an hour after I lay down.  I bolt straight up out of bed, quivering with the anxious energy.  I want to claw my skin off, because it is in the way.  I know that will not help, clawing my skin.  But I must have enough adrenaline running through me to power a continent.  My mind is not focused on anything but the anxiety.  When I am in the bed alone, I just do breathing techniques and maybe a few yoga poses to move the energy out, to still and quiet my mind so that it can do it's thing with my body.  But when Bug is lying next to me, it makes it worse.  He worries about me, just like I do him.  So I understand.  He was confused and asked me what had he done to make me so angry.  I did not yell or scream or cry, but I was able to let him know it was not him, it was me.  No, I simply said I was having an anxiety attack and stormed out of the bedroom.  I had not started a book after closing the Santa book by Baum, on my way out the door I grabbed a Barbara Kingsolver novel, Prodigal Summer.  I own several of Ms Kingsolver's novels.  Most of my friends have read several of her books and were in awe that I was not familiar with her.  I can't remember many names of authors, titles or actually much of the plot, but that is a poem by Billy Collins (and you would laugh if you saw how long it took me to come up with Billy Collins!)  One of my dearest friends had admitted a few months back that she didn't enjoy all of Ms Kingsolver's works, and in a sort of Kathleen way, that made me open that particular book last night.  I needed to read something soothing. By someone who isn't perfect. It is not the topic but the writing I am looking for.  I guess that is why I love the authors of the early 1900s and their "lilting verse". 

I opened the book and touched the pages, I always do this before I start reading a book I know I will love.  Feel the paper, feel the spine and how far will it bend without damaging.  I read through each page, printing information, date printed, dedication, etc.  I brush through the acknowledgements to determine if they are a thank you note or a surprise gift of more stories.  I only read 6 pages last night.  I was still wired and anxious, but that initial flood of adrenaline was gone and I could now try meditation and stretching.  I slipped quietly back into the dark of the bedroom.  I snuggled into the sheets and was met with Bug's regular gentle breath of slumber.  I realized then what had happened.  I had been caught.

I have been slipping in to bed earlier and earlier trying to get there and unwind before he found me in this state.  A state I admitted to myself over and over again last night that is happening more and I am simply hiding it. 

I know that is crazy.  Have I mentioned I am on two crazy meds?

I had several epiphanies last night.  First, I am not suffering from depression.  Insanity?  Possibly, but I am now more positive then I have ever been that I do not suffer from depression.  I have friends who do suffer, and there is no word better that describes what they must feel.  I realized this because I can still paste a smile on my face and go out in public and ask inane questions.  Those with depression are not capable of that.  They are not capable of just shaking it off and get on with things.  The jail they live in must just keep growing thicker and thicker around them as they try to deal with this world.  Yes, some people can truly be helped and maybe even cured.  They can cure some cancers, why not depression.  But they can not cure all cancers.  Not all depressions can be cured.  Maybe like me they can give them certain drugs that help them get through life, but really?  I can take a pain pill and pull on my boots and get out to work.  Anxiety?  Oh yeah, I have that, but depression and anxiety are not the same.  I think that it is very possible that some people with depression may also suffer from anxiety.  I can't imagine how living with depression you would not at least have anxiety be a side effect.  So if the doctor gives you a little pill that helps control the anxiety but is not able to solve the depression would that just make you more depressed?  I don't know.  But after last night and realizing that maybe, just maybe if I took my anxiety pill, for example, an hour before I want  to bed would I then be able to go to sleep with out dealing with the anxiety?  Might be a simple enough solution.  Take that one pill earlier and then take the others at bedtime like normal.  When you are overwhelmed by anxiety thinking of something this simple just doesn't happen.  So I was happy for both of those epiphanies, I do not have depression and maybe I could fix my anxiety by taking the pill earlier and act like a normal person when I go to bed.  I might even sleep better.  That would be a gift.

I couldn't wait for Bug to wake this morning so I could explain what had happened.  I cried as I told him that I had been hiding this from him, this bedtime anxiety.  I cried as I told him that every morning I used to wake up with a smile on my face my arms wide open for the gift of another day.  All my life I have woke like this.  Now I wake up feeling like a failure.  Will I once again screw up the meds and make myself sick, or will I try and just get by without them and suffer not so silently, I am sure.  That is anxiety, I am sure, not depression,  Once I get up and realize I can handle my body for another day then I spend the entire day worrying about meds.  It would be so simple if I could just take a magic pill every few hours or maybe just twice a day and lead a limited but happy life.  It would be simpler if all this just went away, or if I could hit the pause button and get my feet back under me, catch my breath so to speak.  pun intended. 

But that is not the challenges I am faced.  Is my pain worse then other people?  I don't know, I don't think so.  I told Bug that here I am a child of the peace, love, drugs and rock and roll generation.  My generation had every kind of drug available to them.  Valium, or "Mother's little Helper" was given out like candy.  I however did not get involved in that world.  Now look at me.  I am 58 years old and struggling with meds.  If I had just taken the opportunity back in my youth to have found the pleasures of drugs then, maybe it wouldn't be so hard now.  Would I have been as healthy to live through this challenge if I had messed my body up any worse back then.  I don't know.  Just look on the TV and you see a lot of other people who also lived through that generation and are still kicking butt.  Look at the Rolling Stones.  Okay, they are not "pretty", but they look great for the lives they lived and are still kicking up their heals.  Too late now.  I guess I will just have to figure this out somehow.

I also realized that I have to quit hiding.  It is okay to not feel good.  It is okay to be anxious and to take your meds and get better.  To take the pain meds and have less pain.  I know all of that.  I guess I am still bad about not wanting to disappoint people.  I have pretty much lived my life full of love and adventure, but always a monitoring eye out to make sure that I did not disappoint my family, my friends, my pets, my plants.  Yep, anything I am "responsible" for I can disappoint.  Don't water the plants, they die, pretty disappointing from the plants point of view, don't you think?  And so I hide things that people will be disappointed about me.  Mostly unaware that I do it.  I guess that is obvious. 

So many people think I am going to get over this and be well and healthy again and live forever like them.  Crazy, but the need to rebel against that illusion I think is mostly based on knowing that I am going to disappoint them. 

Crazy?  Okay, but at least I have figured some of this out last night.  People constantly telling me to be fine is just like opening a giant bottle of guilt on me.  I know that they mean exactly the opposite.  They love me and want me to be okay.  I just want to be me.  Who and what I am.  Someone struggling with life and death issues unique to me.  Everyone is living their life in their universe and why I just don't smile and ignore the shifting of planets when our universes bump into each other and thank them for their thoughts and prayers.

Yes, I do know, it is because I hear "You are going to disappoint me if you do not prove to me that we all live forever."  Instead of "We love you"

It sort of feels like I am walking up a steep hill carrying two buckets of water.  They are heavy and I hurt and people telling me I am fine is like walking by and leaving me to my buckets alone.  You will be fine.

I am fine.
well, okay, that is debatable.  But constantly hearing, "you are going to be fine "is the worst.  But it is probably hard for them too.  They say with such certainty, "YOU will be FINE" like they believe it.  Maybe they really don't believe it, and when my fur goes up, it just makes them want to believe it all the more. 

Okay, so I said I was not going to fight this thing, instead I was going to try and be the best I could be.  I have disappointed myself on a regular basis about this.  Especially the disappointment thing.  So, I will try and remember the next time I am trying to have a conversation and I bring up my life as an explanation to something and they interrupt me with the, "you are going to be fine" to just shut up.  Shut my mouth.  I am going to disappoint them anyway, so why try and prepare them.  This is one of those causality loops in Star Trek.  You can't win, you just have to figure how to get by.  Where is Picard when you need him!

Wouldn't it be nice if I actually used some of this knowledge in my real world instead of just writing about it.  Okay, I am trying to, and I am not perfect, so I don't want to get all wrapped up in another disappointment issues.  Just do my best.  Easy to say.  After wandering around more then long enough in my fog of anxiety and chemo brain.  That is why I think looking at my PTscan would be good.  Truth is my placebo.  The world is brighter and easier this morning after my confession to Bug.  Partly because the front has moved east and the sun is shining.  Part is because I no longer fear about depression.  No, now I can maybe deal better with what I do have.  I wish that somehow it could be easier for people with depression.  That they could just wake after a terrible night of anxiety and fitful sleep and go, "Wow! I feel better!" 
They can't
I can because I just have to realize that trying to avoid making a mistake on my pain meds is not working.  The darkness and hopelessness was, for me, thankfully chemically made.  Some of my brain chemicals and some of the ones I take, along with the stress of the cancer on my body can do that.  But people with true depression, I don't know how they do it.
Blessed be is all I can wish for you.

Once Bug and I had talked and I had confessed enough of my sin to him to cry them away and forgive myself, I wanted to write.  I opened the computer and something someone had posted on FB had a link to a cancer FB page called the "It ain't Chemo Warriors".  I hit the link and looked at it.  It looks like a wonderful page for those still with the hope of beating cancer.  For those who chose to fight their cancer, this is a great place to go and be part of those like minded.  I saw another link to Choose Hope.  It is a site where you can buy cancer wear.  Yep, their is a line of clothing, jewelry and accessories for those who have cancer.  I bought Bug a "cancer sucks" hat.  I bought myself a shirt that says, "I have CHEMO BRAIN what's your excuse?"  I am not sure I will wear it on my own initiative.  But I thought it might help Bug when we go out.  I am pretty crazy now, but I fear of a time where my brain is completely gone and I wander off somewhere and give him a heart attack or something.  He can simply put me in that shirt, it is bright pink and then it should be easier to find me. 

Yesterday, Bug and I met our realtor Barry and our contractor, Robby and his wife to throw out ideas about a house we want.  It is in a different neighborhood, has more acreage and (cue the angel's) a house.

The house is one of the ugliest on the road.  There is another barn house out in this part of town, but it is not nearly as ugly as ours.  But, if things should work out and this house should really become ours, I assure you it will not be ugly long.  I don't care if it takes to my dying breath, I would build my garden. 

No, not the garden I have dreamed of here at Labrun.  This property is 8+ acres, most of it still hardwood.  A creek and a pond round off the treasures.  The pond would appear to be spring fed by the color and the amount of water in it.  Now, that is a garden.  Yes, I would want to add in some of my favorite flora and fauna, but that would depend on what is there now.  I see the crepe's and magnolia.  I see the landscaping, but have no idea what else might be sleeping below.  What joy to have a piece of land where there are surprises waiting.  I still feel like that here at my little trailer.  And I do love it here.  I love our yard and the plants that have worked with me to survive through all of this with me.  But to have a place that is already a garden.  That would be wonderful.  Not that I will not make gardens.  I have always stacked rocks, planted seed and sang songs.  That is just who I am.

We are waiting to hear back from the contractor concerning the cost and work that would have to be done.  Is this our place?  Maybe, it is one of the few places we have both walked up to and wanted to go further.  Each time we start to rethink the place, we simply stand in front of the house and the property soothes us.  It speaks to both Bug and I in our own languages.  Mine one of trees and plant names, bird and insects I have studied my whole life.  I think his language comes more with the music of a John Deere Tractor.  He bought it last week and hopes to get it after he and Dad get back from CA.  There are things he can do with it here, like fix the road, clear the area for my garden.  But there, there is bush hogging, clearing, digging, scraping, chugging.  Yes, this is property that he could enjoy with his tractor.  Two different languages, but we make it work somehow.

I am still not accomplishing the everyday things I would like to get done.  I do not have my meds worked out, or the pain, or the nausea, but the sun has cleared, and I get to stand in it.  I can put my face to the sun and feel the warmth of it's distant heat and the cool of the front passing through.  There will be more gray and clouds and rain, but like the small bruise on my back, everything will be just fine. 
I Just need to deal with what is wrong with me
I am so lucky. 
I can walk into the bathroom and take a pain pill
and if necessary an anxiety pill and I will feel better.

It is only transient
but life is transient
It might make me sick to my stomach
It might not
You know, that is a good idea
I will close for now and go take a pill

I was just proofing this blog.  Yes, I do proof, hard to believe isn't it? 


Bug just called me.  The bank has accepted our offer.  We did not have to go up at all.  We can afford the house. 

My garden
I think I am over the moon happy
I think I better go take an anxiety pill

what have we gotten ourselves into now?


  1. I was sad and out of whack yesterday. I do take a small amount of medication for anxiety and depression. But there are times that the sadness just comes on me, and I have to work through it. Yesterday was one of those days.

    I'm happy for you about the house. Tomorrow our landscaping project begins here on the back yard. I will post photos of it. I hope that you get your garden at the new place and will enjoy years messing with the dirt and the plants.

  2. As you know, I suffer from both depression and anxiety. And they are both horrible but anxiety is the more difficult to deal with for me by far. Perhaps because I am not so used to it. Perhaps because it is such a physical thing- that panic in the body. It's so hard to describe. It's sort of like (very much like) being in terror all of the time. No relief. Terror. Not anxiety. They should call it terror disorder. And so I understand. And I also think that yes, you should take the pill an hour before bedtime and perhaps take two pills. Why not, Kathleen? What is the goal here? I should think the goal is to be as comfortable in all ways as possible.
    Even without the cancer, you have so much going on in your life- and now the new place! Which is wonderful! But trust me- overload is overload whether of good or bad.
    So what I'm saying is- take the medication you need to take. Because whatever time any of us have left on this planet, we deserve to be able to live within our own skins without terror.
    I love you.

  3. I am listening along, and nodding along. I agree with Mary.