Three Keys To Combating Exhaustion

https://www.forbes.com/sites/reganwalsh/2018/06/06/three-keys-to-combating-exhaustion/#750181d47edb

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Every Witch Way, But Mostly Dead

Authors’ Note: **POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING**

Yes, the title is spelled correctly. Yes, it’s intentional.

Most of my weekends are spent doing things I’d rather not do. The weekends were once my refuge for sleep, quiet, peace, laughter, productivity, cooking, more laughter, and space. They are now filled with rushed moments, trying to pack a lot of time into a few hours here and there. I almost NEVER get to do something I genuinely want to do, and despite the fact that I am being supremely honest about that, I can’t say it doesn’t gall me. It does. There’s not a lot about my current life that I signed up for. I find that’s a repetitive theme these days.

On one hand, a person might try shaming me by saying I don’t appreciate what I have. I don’t recommend attempting that tactical method with me. I might seem nice, but I’m not. Only someone who truly understands what I am going through and experiencing would understand why I say what I say and feel as I do. The truth is; I don’t need to justify my feelings to anyone or have them agree or disagree. They’re MY feelings. I own them, and they are accurate.

By a certain age, we all kind of find our niche and know the direction we plan on taking, whatever that direction may be. It could be personal, professional, or a mixture of the two, but the decision is made somewhere along the way to go right or left, or maybe North, South, East, or West. Some of us meet forks in the road, whereas other people see smooth sailing on the same road from the initial decision until the end of their life. My life, for some unknown reason, is one fork after another. It is an expensive place-setting with more forks than one really need have on a table called life, but there they are; ever-present and obnoxious as hell. I’m not a mermaid, you can’t dangle shiny things in front of me and distract me. Perhaps one should try diamonds instead of forks. I’m a Royal Asscher kind of girl. 😉

For a while now the saying “Different levels, different devils.” has been on a repetitive loop inside my head. I have plenty to write and say, and no interest in actually drafting any of it into a post or anything else. I don’t get writer’s block, but I do experience writer’s boredom. Let’s call me a severely bored writer for the moment. It’ll pass.

My usual desire to be creative on other artistic platforms where I have either interest or talent is also in a “bored” phase. For me to walk into ULTA and come out with NOTHING is almost unheard of. I found it kind of disturbing when I was the person who didn’t walk out with a bright orange bag.

A friend asked me how I was doing last week and I replied “I’m in a state of really not giving a shit about anything or anyone.” Not realizing that her reply could make or break someone else, she responded by saying “Oh. That’s kind of a good thing, I guess.” I informed her it most certainly is not.

I’ve been pretty ill on and off for months. I was holding up halfway decently, and have slowly started to decline. Let’s get something straight; no one should EVER rejoice in someone else’s pain or hardships. You can’t tell me I’ll feel better if “just pray harder” or if I “take a bath” and “light some candles”. Seriously?! What the fuck is wrong with people?

Your mental health, and mine, is just as important as the rest of your health. I call Mondays “Mental Health Monday” because I allow myself that time to do nothing, but take care of me. To shut everything and everyone off and allow myself to get into the correct head space to do what I need to for the week. Unfortunately, I already know that I will be badly triggered tomorrow. As a result, today was not the day I intended for it to be.

I am forced to make a heartbreaking decision. Will it kill me? Physically, no, but it will kill my soul, whatever is left of it after feeling like I’ve experienced various forms of hell for the past two and a half years. If I do it, there’s no point left for me anymore because I will finally know there’s no future left for me to return to. There’s no point in forging ahead without what little in this world that gives me hope and keeps me alive.

As usual, my brother caused critical damage to this situation, refuses to take ownership of his behavior and words, and I have no where else to turn. I have always been told that I don’t know how to ask for help. There’s a reason I don’t ask, and it’s because time and again, I’ve been shown cruelty and the true nature of others. If you genuinely want to help someone, then you’ll do it and NEVER throw it in their face. You won’t lord it over them and tell them what a horrible person they are. If you genuinely want to hurt someone, well, I’ve been hurt enough.

This week will be full of challenges and pain for me. I hate feeling hopeless and I hate feeling like I have failed when the truth is, I’ve FOUGHT LIKE FUCKING HELL to get this far. My body feels like it’s perpetually at war, and it is. My immune system fights itself and it leaves me in a constant state of fight or flight. As I type this, my heart isn’t sure if it should be calm or jump out of my chest. It’s exhausting and I’ve had enough.

I spend a little too much time in Witch City, and have for the past year. Yesterday I was subjected to more people than I EVER want to be around in close spaces for over two hours. I have never been more happy to escape crowds of people. I keep thinking how sad it would be if this was my last weekend ever. I wonder if the selfishness of others would then finally be realized.

I never get to do anything of my own choosing. But I do get to control what I write.

copyright © 2018 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Friday: The Dark Artifice

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I woke up far too early this morning to a dark, grey day. Normally that wouldn’t bother me (it rarely does), but it’s the fact that the weekend is hanging over my head…the artifice of it darkening my mood.

Under normal circumstances the weekend is a dear friend I welcome with open arms, but it isn’t at the moment. The weekends are now Loki; the trickster. Instead of being able to enjoy them, because who doesn’t enjoy Tom Hiddleston (I would usually say it’s the accent, but the truth is, I find him charming as a human-being.), I am almost certain to contemplate purchasing rope, and not for Fifty Shades of Grey type activities. More’s the pity.

I miss Cat and Kitten. They are my constant companions, the only two ‘little people’ who’d notice if I went missing. I don’t get to spend any time with them. Last night, while in the process of feeding them, OGK came creeping up the stairs and refused to heed the warning Kitten gave him with her baby hiss. It was a non-threatening “Back off!” kind of hiss. If you hadn’t been standing in front of her, you wouldn’t have heard it. Instead of realizing he wasn’t welcome at the moment, he took it as a challenge, as he always does. Thankfully I blocked his little stampede and herded him down the stairs away to diffuse potential drama. I’d plugged the Feliway diffuser downstairs earlier on in the evening to try and help keep him calm (It already helped diffuse the tension the girls experienced from the move.) and maybe allow him to adapt, but so far, no dice. Next step: A baby gate. The girls can jump over it with ease, they have a lot of energy, especially the little one (who I am sad to say, is no longer little. She’s actually taller than all three cats. I often wonder if she’s part hybrid. I’ll never know unless her new vet mentions it.). So, I’ve come to the conclusion that once I clip their nails this weekend, I’m not going to baby OGK any more. It’s been nearly a full month and I can’t allow this to go on any longer. It’s stressing me out and making me sick. He needs to adjust. The Feliway diffuser will help, but there’s no way it will do anything if the girls remain behind closed doors 23 hours a day. I didn’t adopt them to keep them locked away. That’s no way for any animal to live. Perhaps next week, progress will be made. It’s exhausting, to say the least.

Sadly, I’m already exhausted enough. Between the migraines, smacking the back of my head into the wall this week (an accident on my part, as I am not used to being that close to a wall), and the bitter cold causing my body to go into varying degrees of Fibro flares, I’m not very pleasant to be around. That’s okay though because there’s no one here to listen to what I have to say. My life could easily be a reality show: “Three Cats & A Kitchen Knife”. Because unless I am caring for them, writing, or in absolute agony, I am probably chopping vegetables and making something. My cousin thinks I should become a “celebrity chef”. I disagree. The thought of making tasteless food for egos the size of Russia is not something I could ever become accustomed to, unless it came with a seven-figure salary. I bristle when someone says “Don’t put any salt into that.” I am a traditionalist. The only salt you will see me use is kosher salt or sea salt. I don’t buy anything else and I will not use anything else in the cooking process. I’ll be damned if I put something tasteless on the table for anyone. It’s an immense pet peeve of mine.

This past week I learned that there are a few words I NEVER want to see on an item I spent nearly $5 on and that is: Hearty Minestrone Soup: VEGAN. My percentage of Italian blood boiled, wondering what psycho came up with that idea. Trader Joe’s, you’re damn lucky it didn’t taste like crap or I would have gone after one of your cheerful employees this weekend upon returning. Of course now, I don’t trust them and will be obsessively reading labels in the store, thus adding a good hour to my grocery shopping time from here on in. I will keep the vegan concept in mind for my few vegan obsessed friends, but in the future I want all of my groceries to be marked “We didn’t screw with it, Lisa!” That’s right, I want a special section with my name on it for things I buy weekly. Thus far, only Polar Seltzer has received the memo. Kudos to the Vanilla Pear. 🙂 The only holiday flavor I was able to find was Blackberry Apple and it was good, but it wasn’t stellar. C’est la vie.

I am torn between desperately wanting a nap and trying to organize a few things for the weekend. Oh screw it! I’ve already done 95% of what’s on the list, I’m allowed a two hour migraine-induced nap.

As I attempt to recover in order to embark on my Loki-filled weekend, I wish everyone a weekend full of happiness and productivity. Here’s hoping no one has to hear about me on the news. I can’t promise I’ll behave or be very nice though. In fact, I might take up hissing myself. I already hiss at the next door neighbor’s dog because she viciously barks at me. Now while she does bark at everyone, she liked Patient X just fine as soon as he tossed her a few Milk Bones. I refuse to succumb to her pleading for treats. I may be a trained human for cats, but uncivilized dogs can kiss my ass!

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copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

P.S. My eye is better.

Rest Alludes Me

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All I want to do is SLEEP. For God’s sake, it’s Saturday night and I am BEAT. It’s meant to be a ‘day of rest’. But really, why should my body obey unwritten laws?!

Today I completed two writing assignments, decided on a mountain of paperwork for tomorrow when I inevitably won’t be able to sleep (might as well kill two birds with one stone), watched a friend’s video from her birthday trip (Happy 31st lovie!),  washed & dried two loads of laundry, and fed Cat and Kitten. Cat is seemingly feeling better after being sick yesterday. I care a lot less about the stain on the carpet that I am treating and more about her overall fluffiness. Carpet can be covered and/or replaced, a cat can never be replaced. Big picture.

The birthday dinner was successful. Major kudos to the amazing chef, oh wait, that was ME. Yeah, I was a rockstar. 😉 I would have taken photos of the finished product, but quite frankly, we all know what food looks like. I was slightly grateful when Case Study #2 thanked me for dinner, saying how delicious it was, and said he was still recovering from being sick over the past few weeks, and could I save dessert for tomorrow. Sure! By all means…go and rest. It would also be great if he’d pretend he doesn’t know me until 2020, but the chances of that happening are slim to none.

And so here I sit, listening to Imagine Dragons and my muscles protesting everything I have done this week. I need a vacation that involves daily massages.

I have decided that the Topamax is interfering with my sleep at night (This is usually why I take it in the morning. My neurologist says I’m the only patient he has that doesn’t get sleepy from it.), so I am going to take the daily dose every day before 1:00 PM (because sometimes I forget) and see how that goes. I’ll try to use an app to track it, but that might not work as well for me as the migraine app does; it’s been an absolute Godsend at tracking each migraine, the symptoms, and my sleep. If anyone wants to try it out for themselves, I will tell you what it is. I don’t know if it’s available for the iPhone, but one can always check.

Okay my lovelies, I am off to finish my tea and try to lull myself to sleep. That means turning off all electronics. I will talk to you soon.

L

P.S. For those submitting questions for the AMA: Please remember to include your WordPress info so that your question(s) can be linked to you. Thus far I’ve received a few and they were all bereft of a WordPress link. I’d hate for someone not to be given credit.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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I’m Going To Use…

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This about sums it up for me today, people!

I went to bed feeling like this. 😦 I woke up feeling like this. 😦 And as the morning has progressed, I’m trying to talk myself off a ledge. Let it not go without saying that the work two doors down is not yet complete, so there’s a lot of hammering and banging to add to my misery. I could jump off my roof, but who the hell would take the time to notice? Case Study #2 would only notice if I didn’t respond to a few hours worth of phone calls, text messages, and ignored all pleas for food (I’d simply be an evil bitch until he saw the body.). His birthday is approaching, which in his mind somehow means I owe him lottery winnings or something. Perhaps a nice bodily organ. UGH!

I feel utterly paralyzed in my pain. My neck and shoulders hurt so bad, I want to cry. It also turns out that my bruises have given birth to bruises. If you’ve never had a deep bone bruise on the top of your that you cannot explain, all I can say is that it hurts. If it were a series of ugly colors, that would be one thing, but it’s a faint shade of brown. The pain, however, is not faint. I’m almost certain that when I wasn’t looking, someone tried crushing my hand.

All I want to do is go back to bed. I keep wondering if that’s a viable option. Can I call it a Mental Health Day? “A Step Away From A Nervous Breakdown” Day is too long, especially if anyone ever wants to turn it into a t-shirt. Oh leave me alone, I’m weird.

I hope everyone is having a superior Wednesday by comparison. Practice a random act of kindness, even if it’s as simple as paying for a stranger’s cup of coffee tomorrow morning. Go forth and spread positivity, even when you, yourself, don’t always feel so positive.

I’ll be back as soon as I am able.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Bright, Blue, and Dark

10418355_391119307742525_1244338325782921632_nDespite what the Migraine app claims, I slept horribly (hours don’t count unless it’s quality sleep). Under normal circumstances the fact that I took two Benadryl for my allergies would mean I would have gotten an extra 2-3 hours of sleep. Alas, around 5:00 a.m. I was haunted by Case Study #2. Note To Self: Change locks and murder anyone that wakes you three times in one night for their own selfish reasons. By sometime after 6:00, I was awake, pissed off, and hungry. Thank God for awesome leftovers because that’s all I was craving this morning. When you haven’t made something in several years, having it after so long is like a homecoming. I wanted to celebrate the happiness that was occurring in the kitchen. 🙂 However, I’m not in the mood.

Despite bright blue skies vividly showing off the start to an early Fall, my mood is dark. I would love to say “Oh, it’s just Monday blues.”, but I know that’s not it. I’d love to say “It’s just the holiday bothering me.”, but that isn’t it either. Normally those might have been the lies one would tell themselves to get through a bad day, instead of honoring the fact that some days aren’t good, and that’s okay. We don’t wake up every single day feeling our best, or wanting to cast that cloud on others. I often say my mood first thing in the morning will determine my day, and that’s true. If I wake up on a mission, then I’ll slowly, but surely get things done. If I wake up feeling sick, or in a terribly low mood, then it’s often best to keep my mouth shut and my mood to myself. The last thing I want to do is lose my temper in public.

Because today is a holiday, it is often solemn. I normally read, keep a low profile, maybe talk to someone via phone or e-mail, but basically I keep to myself until the holiday is over. Unfortunately, that’s how most of my days are, minus the minor socialization and reading. I have so much to do and the stress is weighing heavily on me. I know that it will all get done, but man, all I want to do is crawl into a cave today and be left to my own devices.

It is extremely difficult not to feel insignificant in God’s eyes when you are going through difficult things with minimal support. But then you look in the mirror and you realize that ultimately, you support yourself. You look in your eyes and say “No matter what, I’ve got this. We’re going to be okay. We’re going to rise above everything. Hell, we’re going to fly.”

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Pull The Covers Up And Leave Me Alone

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I’m a pretty dark person. I have a wicked sense of humor and I’ll say anything goofy to make someone laugh, but when it’s my life, there isn’t a lot I perceive as humorous. I’m not the kind of person who laughs at someone else’s pain or who enjoys hearing about someone’s breakups, divorces, illnesses, a death, etc. Laughing at other people’s pain is evil, in my eyes. When someone mentioned losing their Mom last week, I sat on my couch and cried. I’d already endured a rough week and hearing the words “My Mom passed away, but she’s at peace.” made me ill. I felt SO bad for this person. I was relieved that they had support from a spouse, friends, and family. That made me feel better for them, despite the fact that losing a parent at any age is one of the worst things one can go through. I should know; I’ve already lost both of mine. I’d give a lot to have even just one of them back. I spend every day of my life feeling like an absolute orphan.

I am good at listening to others and giving exceptional advice, but I’m not very good at listening to myself in an advisory capacity. The last thing I want to hear is the sound of my own voice. I spend a lot of time trying to shut the inside of my head up. I don’t do drugs, so that means I pull the covers around me (usually because I’m cold) and close my eyes. After a few minutes, kitten comes to check on me and she’ll cuddle in, which always makes me feel cared for. She’ll look at me with such loving green eyes and I know that she is conveying her concern for me. “Why are you sad, Mama? Don’t worry, I’ll stay with you. ” And she doesn’t leave my side until I leave the room. She is the epitome of loyal, and it is gratifying to see so much love from such a little person.

Cat also checks on me. These last few weeks she has been very observant of my unhappiness and has spent a lot of time watching me, cuddling with me, sitting on my lap at times, and looking for me. If I leave a room, she’ll trot after me to make sure I’m okay. She stares at me with her deeply knowing little face. I can almost hear her thinking “Mommy’s not okay. I always hear her say ‘I’m not okay.’, why doesn’t anyone listen to her?” I don’t know.

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I’ve been so miserable that I’ve struggled emotionally in deep, dark places. Very few people have noticed and even fewer have shown me that they care. That’s okay, because it only proves what I already know; Most people live on their own fucking planet and aren’t aware that other people exist. Good for them, but please, stay the hell out of my lane or I will mow you down for shits and giggles. I have absolutely no tolerance for anyone who has their head that far up their own ass, though I am slightly impressed with their ability to physically aim so high. Since their heads never come out, there is no need to stock up on Listerine for the “great hose down of 2015”. I’ve decided to ignore assholes, douchebags, and vicious souls for the foreseeable future. I don’t care who the person is any more, I don’t need the stupidity and heartlessness.

Oftentimes people forget that all forms of depression can strike them down at any given moment. They can be the happiest person in the happiest place, and suddenly feel as though there are no words for their internal pain. Lying about it, pretending it does not exist, and blowing off the pain of others to make yourself seem stronger doesn’t make you better, it makes you afraid of being stigmatized. It’s 2015. Get the antiquated thinking out of your head and stop being an asshole to yourself, and others. It takes strength to treat a chemical imbalance. It takes strength to talk about it. You should be ashamed if you’re lying about it and hiding it. You should be even more ashamed if you’ve hurt friends that suffer because you can’t handle the fact that they’re stronger than you are. Yelling at someone who is suffering is not helpful. Screaming at them is even less helpful. You either want to help someone because you genuinely love and care about them or you scream because you lack proper communication skills.

I will yell when I’m frustrated, I will tell someone to back off or leave me alone when I am frustrated and need space, but the only person I abuse is myself.

I never know with any certainty if I will emerge from these dark places. Medication isn’t an option for me. I wait for new drugs to be released every few years to see if something new will be the answer. And by new, I mean NEW, I do not mean reformulated with a new name, which is what most pharmaceutical companies do when a major money-making drug is about to go generic. They will re-release it under a new name, having slightly tweaked it. If you’re not proactive in researching these drugs, you will spend years taking the same fucking crap, experiencing the same horrible side effects, wondering why you never feel better.

I am the exception, not the rule. Many people do find medication that works after some trial and error, even if only for short periods of time. I am chemically sensitive and I have been written off as “treatment-resistant”, which means that my brain doesn’t respond to all sorts of crazy chemical cocktails. No drug has ever worked for me on a long-term basis. Every time I “go dark”, it is up to me, and me alone, to try to pull myself out of the deep, dark hole before things get worse. I’m really tired of everyone’s opinions in regard to that. When you’re hurting, you want to be understood. You don’t want to hear hypocrisy or “That’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Um, NO. I will have this for the rest of my life. That my friends, is fucking permanent.

I will never be a perfect, blooming flower for anyone. I wish people understood that depression does not diminish who I am, it does not detract from what I bring to the table. It does not make me less talented, less intelligent, or less anything. If anything, it makes me the more interesting person in the room with a little more vibrancy at times because I hold a lot back daily. I don’t shine all of the time, but when I do, I highly suggest wearing sunglasses.

Here’s hoping I will soon shine again.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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