Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last Day of June

Yes-I did have to check my calendar to make sure that June does indeed only have 30 days (I ain't so hip with the days of the months and who gets what).

Anywho. End of the month makes me look back on what has happened this June, and it's been a busy/crazy month. Mostly crazy. I thought I'd blog this day with a list of thirty thoughts and happenings from June. So here goes...

1) The tree out front has sprouted a new, bright green pine cone. I am enthralled. This tree ain't pine cone-heavy, so this is big news!

2) I've weaned myself off of my expensive non-generic antidepressants. One source of financial anxiety eliminated-a bevy of emotional issues unleashed. Genius.

3) I've had multiple anxiety attacks this month.

4) I've had multiple depressive episodes this month and don't think I've ever been so depressed during JUNE-it's supposed to be fun summer fun!

4.5) Realizing more and more how lucky I am and how wonderful my fiance is-he's freakin' amazing. Like better than Captain Amazing by 100 million-bazillion.

5) I'm still sore from my most recent episode. (Seriously in pain-which to me shows just how serious a disease depression can be. I am in physical pain because of my brain not workin' right. Yikes!)

6) I'm seeking counselling and a psychiatric evaluation and becoming more and more familiar with the feeling of rejection due to A) Lack of insurance B) Having clinical depression that may require medication (Seems like folks are annoyed that I need help and they completely disregard the fact that I just told them I'm suicidal when they dismiss my inquiries for help in a way that makes me MORE DEPRESSIVE)

7) Camping was awesome and Mt. Rainier was gorgeous.

8) The fiance and I have found our wedding venue and LOVE it.

9) I have found multiple blogs from fellow depression battlers to read and am trying to build a sense of community and understanding around myself to prevent debilitating feelings of isolation and rejection.

10) I have realized that I have gained at least twenty pounds since last summer.

11) *Trying not to think of myself as a ghastly whale of a gal*

12) Actually spoke my mind after my sister started playing the blame game with me-big news for Hannah!

13) My brother found out he was accepted to a college in PA and will be moving this August.

14) My dad won gold in men's singles tennis at a national tournament in Houston and silver for doubles.

15) I've decided to drastically reduce the amount of alcohol I consume to avoid depressive dips.

16) I've decided to actively avoid violent/suicidal/depressive films and TV shows to avoid depressive dips.

17) I made progress on our wedding invitation designs.

18) We reduced our guest list and our guest list stress by A LOT.

19) I've decided to find an independent book binder to buy our wedding guest book and design and create the innards myself. Found this style on Transient Books' Etsy shop site>

*I'm really excited about this project-we're going to have puzzles and pictures and art and poems and prompts and places to sign in our guest book. No more empty pages, we're making something pre-packed with awesomeness

20) I've missed Iceland and really wanted some of that awesome hot cocoa from the shop across from the Odinsve.

21)I've seen some gorgeous birds.

22) The fiance and I have been on some rather lengthy impromptu drives to battle cabin fever and general angst. Had some good talks and learned a lot about dealing with each other during times of crankiness.

23) I have started to manage my anxiety over finances better (still a LONG way to go)

24) The fiance and I are discussing the reality of not wasting money on rent and possible putting money into ownership.

25) I took a yoga class at the Women's Wellness Center in downtown Everett and really enjoyed it. Think this might become a regular haunt for me.

26) Added some flare to the blog.

27) Took some awesome pictures of the kittehs.

28) Worked on a wedsite with the fiance.

29) Weakly contemplated the prospect of inpatient treatment for my depression and have reserved that option for a darker day that may or may not be in my future. While I try to battle the stigma affiliated with my depression, even I am deeply ingrained with a level of disgust. The idea of inpatient treatment makes me feel like a loon or a psycho, not to mention my anxieties over the cost of treatment. I'm even scared of what the other patients would be like, as if they'd all be dangerous or drooling or scary.

30) Made it through.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rough Times

Had an enjoyable-though slightly stressful weekend. The fiance and I drove south to camp with my best friend and her new hubby and we all went to check out a potential wedding venue at the base of Rainier. We had some good camping grub prepared with our little portable propane grill (okay-we didn't do everything by the fire, but it was still rustic) including some delicious dawgs and biscuits and gravy in the mornin. Also made s'mores for the first time in a long time and probably ate way too many!

The stressful part was driving over two hours and taking a wrong turn outside Elbe and being late to our meet-up at the campground with the BF and hubby. Also had some financial anxiety pangs after looking over the potential wedding venue and calculating costs. It's scary how much a "small" wedding costs (<40 people) I can't imagine stomaching anything larger. But the place was beautiful, as were the views of Rainier.

After we got home Sunday, I had another depressive episode right before bed (I think watching a movie where the main character commits suicide didn't do me any good).

I started to come out of my funk this evening but still feel terrible-achy and guilty and ashamed. The fiance was so frightened by this episode he called my folks and they're coming up for a visit tomorrow. I'm anxious about it. My mother has given me her "Hannah Pep Talk" too many times, and it just makes me feel worse about myself as she outlines all the things I should be doing.

This is the third time I've seriously considered inpatient treatment and I feel like it's only a matter of time before I have another episode and end up handing over the keys to my life to some ER tech. Right now I know that I can't go on like this, my oscillations are tightening up and the happy spaces between episodes are shrinking-but the depression has sucked up so much energy and fight I'm having a hard time comprehending a comeback. All I can do is take things an hour at a time.

PS I'm very lucky to have a man that knows when to bring out my "Golden Girls" DVDs and let me rest up and try to fill up my happy tanks again. Right now I'm just trying to figure out how I deserve such a great guy and how I can avoid screwing up his life with my plight.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I'm so happy to be a tax write-off!!!!

Swedish gave me 100% financial aid and I'm not required to pay a cent of the $1774.00 emergency room bill-THANK GOODNESS. I was so nervous about opening the letter, and so relieved when I read the good news. Tears of joy were shed this Friday afternoon, tears of joy for tax write offs and financial aid programs.

Thank you healthcare gods, thank you.

Friday Afternoon

10 Things I Like Today:

I like reheated coffee from yesterday's pot (or the day before yesterday...)
I like getting a picture text from my dad with a picture of his gold medal at the tennis tournament in Houston
I like sleeping in with my kitties
I like listening to the morning rain
I like watching the noontime sunshine
I like a sink emptied of dishes
I like the sound of laundry machines from the hallway closet
I like the fresh growth on the conifer out my window, such a delightful green!
I like watching my plants GROW and not DIE *score*
I like writing and sending courtesy snail mail on fern stationery

10 Things I Don't Like Today:

I don't like crusted drool on my pillowcase
I don't like sneezing and having something stick to my arm
I don't like smelling the garbage disposal
I don't like the healthcare industry
I don't like nasty leftovers
I don't like falling and burning my knees on the carpet
I don't like hearing so many sirens outside my apartment
I don't like picking up wet potato skin peelings
I don't like stepping on crunchy mystery objects in beach sand
I don't like my fear of failure

I just finished typing and a rain kicked up outside. I see the rain coursing down the siding outside and the thwaps of rain against the porch. It's a summer rain. Heavy but not chilly like the winter storms, energizing and not disheartening. Reminds me of the rain you run through to get inside from the car and laugh about when you reach the building, drenched. Washington looks swell today :o)

As for the cats, Iroh has put himself in a ring of ripped hair in the hallway near the food bowl a couple times this week. It's his way of protesting an empty kibble bowl and I wish he wouldn't do it, especially since his coat has developed some some semi-permanent bald spots.

Millie has become a little kibblemonster herself and is sporting several more pounds than her street weight! She monitors the kitchen floor often enough and has even hopped up on tables to investigate our left over dinner if we don't move the dishes right after the meal.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Disturbing Wedding Dream

Had another dream about the wedding (and I think it's ridiculous that I'm having all these dreams and it's over a year away-then again, I'm a girl and been dreaming about wedding for eons-shucks, guess I'm screwed).

Anywho, this dream was like an alternate wedding reality. It was hot, sometime in the summer unlike our wedding plans to marry in October. We met my parents and some other wedding attendees in a parking lot (some huge store like Cabelas or WalMart maybe even mall) and then we grabbed everything we needed and walked across a six-lane street to my parents' "house."

Why "house" you ask? Because it wasn't the house I grew up in. They had some new (old) house with loads of oddly sized staircases and light blue everything. There were people scattered all over the premises eating potato salad and rolls or watching TV. I was running between a tiny room downstairs and the living room upstairs trying to get dressed but kept finding out bad news about the wedding and whoopsies that had occurred.

First whoopsie-we had NO flowers. Nothing. No bouquets for the wedding, nothing for the reception, just no flowers. I gave up looking on my own and finally asked Mom and she said, "Whoops. Guess I forget to remind your sister."

Then I found out that my veil and dress hadn't been pressed and I looked like a hobo bride. My mother hadn't pressed hers or my sister's either and didn't seem to care at all (not like my mom).

Apparently my venue had fallen through and I had no idea where I was going to be married and the reception was going to be at an old lodge somewhere with potluck/picnic food. Don't get me wrong, I love that kinda food, but my fiance has been pushing for a good, meaty sit-down dinner since before he popped the question!   It was disappointing to find out that none of my wedding plans had gone through-I had my (wrinkly) dress and my befuddled groom, but that was it.

We didn't have the small guest list we have been trying to push for, we didn't get married outside, we had no control-it all just happened like any other wedding in the country, except that's not what we wanted. We want a conscious celebration without frills and bills that we don't want or need. We want the day to be about celebrating our commitment and love, not what's traditional.

This dream wedding had no soul. There were no concrete plans, there was so coordination, everything was assumed and just happened almost spontaneously. Some preacher showed up and knew he should be at the altar, someone threw some little girls down the aisle and they knew they should throw petals. Everything was lock-stepped in wedding mode and the fiance and I just moved through the day like hollow robots, bewildered and luckily in too much shock to be heartbroken.

The most important part of our wedding day is getting married. I think the second most important thing is keeping our guest list small., and so far (even over a year out from the wedding) this is where we have had the most resistance. We expected some resistance to our wedding plans as we take what we want from tradition and leave a whole lot out, but when what you care about most catches the most flak, it gets stressful and hurtful fast.

The fiance hasn't stressed out about it too much, but I know I have. I'm definitely more susceptible to worries about what people think and being afraid to offend people and this guest list battle comes just as I've been working on dissecting those concerns for approval out of my life. What's funny to me is that I'm the rowdy, loudmouthed, less PC person in the relationship, but I am much more debilitated by worry and disapproval than the fiance.

So this dream wasn't just about my anti-wedding, it was about me fighting for what I want and believe and leaving everybody else's preconceptions behind. Life's timing is funny. Guess my internal battle against the voices in my head has become externalized in the form of a wedding, should be an interesting year and a couple months!

In other news: Took a walk a couple of days ago and saw a mama duck with EIGHT babies. They were so freakin' cute. Two of the ducklings got adventurous and swam off where Mama couldn't see them, she hopped up on a log and stretched her neck out so far she looked like a lawn ornament! Duckies make me happy :o)

Also took a long drive with the fiance last night and we saw a beautiful sunset :o)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Getting Some Hurt Out...

If you've read my previous posts, you'll know that I went to the ER a couple weeks ago (everything was fine, just needed to make sure I wasn't rotting from the inside-out and becoming infertile or otherwise permanently damaged). Yesterday the bill for said excursion came in the mail.

At the mailboxes, the fiance opened it then refused to let me see the bill. Shaking his head and sighing he said "You don't want to see this one." We went back to the apartment and he still withheld the bill.

At this point not only was I scared and anxious, I was hurt and angry. Yes, I was afraid to read the bill. I am extremely anxious about money. The fiance has seen the panic attacks and wiped the tears from my eyes when I dwell on finances and jump into my pit of self-loathing and despair. (I quit my job to move the hour-and-a-half north to live with the fiance and we've been subsisting on his paycheck alone-cue the anxiety and shame!)

But in addition to my anxiety, I was hurt and angry that he was withholding the bill with MY name on it, as if not letting me see it was the only way to prevent emotional disaster. It seemed to validate my feelings that I'm incapable of handling financial responsibilities, that I'm a bad partner to him, and a burden.

By the time I ripped the envelope out of his hands I was primed for an "episode." Then I surveyed the damage, $1774.00 for an ER visit with a statement that the physician may also be submitting his bill for services rendered. I was  quiet. Maybe it was shock, certainly a little disappointed, but my first thoughts were, "This is insane. I'm not paying for my health and well-being, I'm paying for that new building, those fancy electronic door locks, walkie-talkies and fancy, prepackaged equipment. This is some sick joke."

My episode began with hurt and anger, the feeling that I didn't really matter-I was just a slab of meat in the medical industry's profit machine. The fiance reassured me that we did everything right-we had a good reason to go in, that I had submitted my request for financial aid, and that this bill is a whole lot better than the bill I would've gotten had I been really sick.

But I was spiraling into my shame. There weren't tears yet, just silence. He tried to talk me down, but I rationalized and then sequestered myself in the closet. He tried to reassure me that everything would be fine and get me to sit with him and talk, but I was already dismantling myself-and it wasn't about the bill.

This is ridiculous. You sent in the financial aid, if they don't waive the cost for you they'll certainly give you a payment plan, you can handle this, why are you crying in a closet and making the man you love coddle you back to sanity? You stupid, useless, worthless person-you cost him so much money and then do this-ruin his night with your hysterics. All you do is impose, waste his time and energy and money. You're worthless. You'll never make it in this world. You can't hold down a job, you can't control your depression and you can't afford treatment-it's inevitable that one day you're going to end it all just to save everyone else the trouble of coexisting with you. End it all because that's the only way out when you can't hold it together and you're too much of a pussy to live on the streets where you belong.

The fiance kept reassuring me and eventually I was able to stand up and get out of the closet, but one quick thought threw me for a loop: I want to be happy, I want to live my life with him. My system flooded with guilt. How did I have the audacity to want such good things when I was so worthless? so incapable of managing myself let alone creating a stable, happy life with someone?

Stumbling to the kitchen, I tried to get a drink of water and nearly dropped the glass. I was convulsing with sobs and trying to take a deep breath as he urged, but my breaths were short and fevered-I was hyperventilating. The fiance got a chair from the dining room and made me sit down, my hands draped over the counter into the sink and my forehead pressed into the counter (I'm sure that left a gorgeous streak on my face). It took me a few minutes just to regulate my breathing.

Next of the tour of madness I went to the bathroom to blow my nose and ended up removing my engagement ring and slumping to the floor. My thoughts had settled-I was simply going to disappear. Sitting on the bathmat I leaned against the cabinets and my body lulled into a near sleep. I was resolved to leave my ring, pack a few things, walk away the next day and disappear. Stop the heinous cycle, stop hurting and burdening people I loved, and just disappear.

The fiance got me out of my second small space and we ended up on the couch, holding hands. He assured me that everything would be fine, that we could battle this monster in my brain, conquer my anxiety and depression and shame-we just had to try something new and stop the cycle. I couldn't promise anything, but admitted I had a little hope left. After some hair-smoothing and relaxing, things lightened up and we started laughing at Millie's funny nap-faces and twitching and the evening got back on track.

Today I'm still exhausted. My head aches and I feel hollow and collapsed. The last few weeks had been better. More laughter, I was more active-but last night makes me feel like I'm back in preschool. Vulnerable and weak, fragile and volatile.

For the past year I've been on antidepressants, but weaned off of them recently because I couldn't afford them and thoughts of suicide/self-harm were becoming more and more prevalent regardless of the meds. I thought eliminating the $120.00 price tag from our budget would help me relax and eliminate some anxiety, but I'm still paralyzed by financial worry.

The fiance wants me to go see the therapist again, but I can't justify a $100.00 therapy session. I cancelled this week's appointment because I knew the ER bill was on the way, and even if the medical center waives my bill, I can't spend so much money for therapy.

I feel too unstable to work right now and finding a job is difficult enough as it is. It's exhausting and frustrating trying to find affordable resources, and I keep thinking that my depression/anxiety/problems is a money pit that will haunt me for life. Just yesterday we were joking about how our children might be skyscraping, freckled, pale, ginger-haired sideshows and now I feel like a fraud even considering motherhood or  a healthy marriage. Just yesterday I felt resolved, deserving, and capable. Now I'm grieving my seemingly intangible dreams.

All of this is part of my sick cycle. I've bounced back from these lows before, I can sense my ability to rise up again-but right now I feel too weak. I think today I'll just concentrate and purging my harmful thoughts, try to be upbeat and nurture some sense of appreciation for myself. There is such a wall of shame to climb over after these collapses-shame for hurting the man I love, shame for feeling like a failure, shame for not excelling at this game called "life."

I figured speaking out and shoving my monsters into the light might give me some footing, at least make me feel like I'm fighting back a little bit. If nothing else, show my fiance some effort toward preserving our happiness-at least acknowledging that it's something I cherish.

I'm also reading a book right now that emphasizes speaking up and not sequestering my feelings of shame. I'm certainly ashamed of this-these dark thoughts and feelings that reduce me to a useless pile of blubber. I try to reassure myself that other people are in the same boat, that I'm not alone. It's painful thinking of others so isolated in fear and hurt, I wouldn't wish this for anyone-although I've still got to work on un-wishing it on myself as a form of punishment (talk about a head case).

As for the cats: Iroh was a brave kitty today and actually reached into the shower and pawed the fiance's calf. We have no idea why he gets so anxious to see people when they're taking a shower, but he'll stick his head around the curtain and meow at you with his big, worried eyes. Millie has been sleeping in a suite of adorable contortions and has been very proactive in getting her pet quota met.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dreams and Diplomas

Had another dream that was somewhat wedding related. Although the only link involved big cakes at a ballpark.

The beginning of the dream involved a desert/ranch/rocky area and teaching my mother how to take better pictures. It seemed like we were getting ready for senior pictures or engagement pictures, but it wasn't clear. Most of the picture session involved taking pictures close-up to make somewhat abstract shots. I ended up taking a shot of a little rock from low to make it appear larger, there was a horse ranch behind it, and then there was a donkey running around with a calico pattern in his fur and had balls like the ones obnoxious truckers hang off the back of their pickups-disturbing.

Anyways, eventually we made it to a ballpark and Mom and I talked with some event coordinator that was responsible for our cake order mix-up. Apparently we had ordered a four-tier cake but all they had to offer was a seven-tier cake with a fondant head of Amadeus Mozart on top. Not quite sure where the Mozart head came from, but it was odd.

After the cake ordeal we had to navigate the ballpark to get to Dad and the rest of the family, which wasn't normal itself-the ballpark was at least six-stories high and filled with conference rooms and playing kids. I had big heels on and had to avoid the kiddies and the balls they were playing with, and Mom was walking ahead really fast without any problems.

When I woke up we were watching the field from seats that reminded me of an old Shakespearean theatre, surrounded by dark wood and all the seats were layered on top of each other like apartments. I do know that we were there to watch the Mariners play ;o)

In other recent news, the fiance and I were down south for my sister and cousin's graduation from high school. It was interesting to attend a graduation ceremony as a non-student, I think I closed my eyes for a bit, but they had some great speakers and singers. The entire time I couldn't help thinking of an uncollege movement I've heard about on the radio.

There was a young man on NPR talking about college being overpriced and overvalued. A couple days later I heard this quote, "Experience is the best teacher." This correlated exactly to the uncollege movement and the concept of cultivating a workforce of students with skills and not simply degrees.

During the graduation I couldn't help but think of all the graduates who would go on to obtain degrees and still not be able to find work. Or worse, obtain degrees in subjects they resent in order to find work. So many go to college without thinking of their true reasons for attending, without a real goal in sight-simply a social norm, expectation, and a carrot on a stick. I hope more people can take the time to discover what they actually want from life and make the decisions appropriate for their life.

Another thought was that this graduation might be the most celebratory moment in some of those kids' lives. Coming from a small town with lots of sad stories, I could see the addicts, unwed mothers, and McDonald's regulars in the making. Of course, there are always success stories but I tend to find myself thinking of the lost souls.

I can empathize with the uncollege movement. I was catapulted through schooling with the vague notion that a college degree guarantees employment and I very nearly went straight into a graduate program after getting my BA. After some soul searching I realized that what I really wanted was to slow down and learn from life before returning to a classroom. I majored in English, but nowadays I'm contemplating more service-oriented vocations (counseling, nursing, social work, etc.) and while I know that I'll always nurture my love of words, I understand that that doesn't mean a master's degree is necessarily in my future.

In other news: The fiance's face is still peeling, but a layer of olive oil did help moisturize without searing pain and he his looking better each day. The cats are currently staring me down for a bit of string cheese and the fiance and I can't seem to agree if our cats are a good weight or overweight and whether our kibble dispensing is at the appropriate level. Either way, we know they're happy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Being Engaged and Wedding Planning

I've been a "fiance" for a while now and I think I can speak for the two of us and say that we're a happily engaged couple. The fiance loves to affectionately observe my ring finger and reminds me constantly that he chose me. I still find myself awestruck by the fact that I am engaged, that I found my man, and that this time last year was such a radically different situation for me! All in all, we're both excited to have each other on "layaway" and we both space out imagining the wedding day (smiles and dazed gazing) and we're both booming with wedding plans.

So far we've considered quite a few venue options in western Washington and think we have found the BEST option, possibly PERFECT option.

Originally we were sold on a big log-cabin style lodge in Gold Bar near one of our favorite hiking spots-Wallace Falls. It was perfect for a private, outdoor ceremony and had room for up to 100 people.

The downside was the price and the fact that even with the location paid for we would still have many other costs to consider. I took a cue from the ball of anxiety hiding in my gut and started looking more fervently for smaller venue options that were more inclusive.

Enter our top choice venue.

During a fluke Google search and ensuing clickfest, I was directed to a small inn in Ashford, WA near Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park. The venue specializes in elopements and small weddings, with their largest receptions serving only 50 people. Perfect for our celebration.

The location offers indoor and outdoor ceremony sites and the reservation includes champagne toasts, lodging for the newlyweds, welcome package, and wedding planning services. After the initial reservation we can add things like reception dinner, cake, flowers, massages, and the planner can help us find an officiant, hair and makeup services if necessary, or photographers.

Our initial wedding concept we a blend of casual/outdoor and elegant (the elegance mostly involves the fiance's desire for slightly upscale, scrumptious vittles-not cheap BBQ). A delicious dining experience is important, but the rest of the celebration is intended to be semi-formal and relaxed.

Both of us consider ourselves "traditional folk," but during our wedding planning we haven't found ourselves attached to many traditional wedding staples. Neither of us are interested in a garter toss (seriously, it kind of grosses us out-the tradition started as a way to "prove" the marriage had been consummated and over the years it has lost it's meaning and become a reception sideshow-ain't nobody needs to be up my skirt in public!)

I'm not planning to toss a bouquet and we aren't attached to the idea of ceremoniously cutting the cake. There will be no onslaught of rice or bird seed upon our departure and our ceremony seem to be headed toward an amalgam of Buddhist vows, poetry readings, family readings, and personal statements. The fiance is very interested in a unique unity ceremony-his favorite ideas involve dirt or beer.

Some things we are looking forward to include destroying a raccoon-shaped pinata and dancing the night away to a playlist packed with our favorite songs from across the board. I'm also planning to wear my hiking boots down the aisle and I've got my eyes peeled for an outstanding pair of flashy heels for the reception.

Our celebration isn't uber-formal/traditional but it isn't extremely off-the-wall either. Our basic desires are to be married at the end of the day and not exceed $8000 in our total spending. For a moment we considered going "super budget" and aiming for a couple grand as our budget cap, but in the end we decided a great photographer, delectable food, and a snappy suit were more our style and what we want to make up our memories.

So where are we in our wedding planning? Yours truly has a dress, veil, and some other accessories already (bought at an insanely satisfying sale price), we have our invitations draft form, appointments to meet with a photographer and our venue/planner, and through the venue we have menu and cake options to consider.

Over a year away and I feel like we've got the bones of our wedding already laid out :o)

In other news: The fiance is hiking Mt. St. Helens with his hiking partner tomorrow morning. He's been gathering supplies and in a state of excited/nervous agitation for the last two days.

As for the cats: Millie has found herself in and out of paper bags since last night and Iroh has been especially handsome after his most recent grooming session. They have also landed themselves in our invitation design!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Six Mini-Updates on the 6th of June

1) Had a troubling dream last night where my sister moved in with me (in this alternate-dream-universe I wasn't living with the fiance or he had left, not sure). In the dream I came home to an apartment strewn with belongings-hers and mine.

She seemed to occupying every space all at once! Pictures and stickers and clippings were stuck in clusters on walls around the apartment, half of my stuff was moved out of my room but she had her things half in mine and half in her assigned room. Then I tried to go to the computer to get into my email and she had switched the CPUs and everything was in gamer-speak with weird themed icons that I couldn't navigate.

At the end of the dream I was struggling to navigate what used to be my computer that had been infected with my sister's weird theming software. The alarm on my cell phone went off in the living room and I woke up-bewildered and troubled!

2) Visited the ER on Saturday after a sudden onset of intense cramps and hot flashes alternating with chills and goosebumps. Since I had the IUC inserted barely a week before we called the emergency line provided by Planned Parenthood in Bellingham and the doctor recommended I see someone immediately.

The fiance urged me out the door (I was reticent to get checked out without any insurance or money to pay a doctor) and we headed off to Swedish Medical Center's Mill Creek campus a few blocks away from our apartment. The ER was very nice and fancy and most of the nurses were friendly. The doc gave me the all clear and we headed home.

I was conflicted, relieved that I was all right but anxious about the impending bill and feeling like I hadn't really needed to see a doctor if I was indeed FINE! But in the end the fiance reassured me that when it comes to my health (especially a potential infection in my lady-plumbing) you can't take the risk of avoiding the doctor. My health is more important than any bill. Good man :o)

3) During a bubble bath reading session this weekend I experienced a sort of epiphany/vision. The book was dicussing Buddha Nature and in the middle of a sentence my mind exploded in imagery not directly related to the text.

The vision involved an early 20th century house with a booming garden. The house had been renovated into an office space and I was in a room/office with a "patient." I had the sense that there were other practitioners in the building and that we worked cooperatively with each other and each and somewhat different specialties.

The patient I was with was a young girl, maybe fourteen years old, and her mother had brought her in to "talk to someone." Apparently the girl was conflicted about her boyfriend and felt like he was stealing her time and isolating her from her friends and family (it wasn't that clear cut, but that was the gist of it). In the end we talked a little about her problems and then went to my "bubble room."

I'm pretty sure the "bubble room" came from the bubble bath I was sitting in at the time of the vision, but it was so much fun! There were big trays of water and bubbles and we sculpted and blew the bubbles around while talking about her life and worries. It was a little weird, but a powerful image.

I think it stemmed from my musings on vocation and thinking about my future lately, and it was such a clear cut image of myself at work that I was a little bowled over by the dream-skit. I talked to the fiance about it and I've also been looking into nursing and counselling careers, although I still find myself conflicted (someone who has been counseled herself, counseling others). Much to think about there...

4) Finally retrieved my bridesmaid dress from the back of the van and washed it in the bathtub today. I faintly remembered stowing something in one of the pockets and was able to remove a wad of tissue just before the pocket filled with water. I was quite happy to save myself from the frustrating desiccation of wet Kleenex!

5) The fiance and I enjoyed a delightful Sunday evening walk around the lake and spotted two big frogs in a water reservoir. I've never seen such a large frog in the wild and I was blown away. They were bigger than hockey pucks!

If we leave our bedroom window open we can hear the frogs croaking away all night. I've always wondered what they looked like and how big they must be to make that much noise-and now we know!

I can't help but think of the "frog rain" scene in Magnolia and how disgusting being bombarded by slimy, cold hunks of frog flesh.

6) The fiance and his hiking partner went to McClellan Butte this Sunday but their hike was cut short after a BEAR SIGHTING! A couple miles up the trail they heard big rustling up ahead. There was no one else parked at the trial head and after some shadowy movements they decided to abort mission and find another trail.

They ended up hiking Bandera peak instead and the fiance was pooped and burnt when he got home that afternoon. It was a very hot day and we think he must've wiped the sunscreen off his forehead after removing his baseball cap, because only his forehead was burnt but not the rest of his face. His arms and neck were pretty roasted as well, and it was kind of hard to sit near him without having my temperature escalate too!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Putting My Crumbs Together

Had another session with the therapist today. While it didn't feel as productive as our first session, it did get me thinking about something that's been bothering me for a long time-what I'm going to do with my life.

For years I've had this idea that someday I would find my calling, a career where I could make money, pile up retirement funds, and work with the same company for decades. Today's session led me to consider this preconception of my life's work-and to realize that it doesn't reflect my own dreams.

I grew up "The Golden Child" of the family. Straight-laced, straight As, not very exciting, pretty durn shy and reserved. Thinking about it now, all that time I spent keeping my thoughts to myself gave me a whole lot of time to suck up everyone else's comments and I think they set up camp in my brain so long ago that I've mistaken them for organic beliefs.

Musing about this infestation leads me to think of all the anxiety and distress I've felt about finding my path to success and surviving in the "real world." In reality, my "real world" is what I make it and what I cultivate. So much of my depression stems from the sensation that I am wrong, I don't belong, I am broken. Considering now that my mind's qualitative scale is mis-calibrated to my true desires presents new possibilities, possibilities to consider myself successful and in pursuit of my ideals, not nearly as misguided as I once conceived.

In fact, I have found a sense of reassurance deep in my gut that once I can purge these erroneous expectations and preconceptions of success and embrace my own desires and definitions of success, that not only will I be able to pursue happier days, but also find a greater strength in myself. And I know that I need more strength, the strength to stand up and walk the path less followed and live honestly and with authenticity each and every day.

I don't quite know where my happiness lies right now, but I know that it is waiting to be discovered and nurtured into its full glory. I know that I'm not a retail gal, I don't belong in the banking industry, and I need to work with my heart as well as my head.

While I am nearly continuously frustrated with the state of our nation's affairs-I have to be grateful for the fact that I can pursue my dreams and consider my options in a free country. Many other places around the world I wouldn't have been educated or made it out of the hut (not to mention the possibility of having seven kids by this point in my life or being relegated to secretarial or hairdressing work). Even a few decades ago I wouldn't have made it out of the kitchen!

So I will pursue my happiness (all the while hoping to pay my bills as well) and be grateful for the opportunities I have and all the joys already in my life today.

In other news: I changed the %*&#$@! ring tone of my man's phone alarm that has been driving me batty the past few mornings. I never knew such an annoying ring tone existed. It possesses dark powers of crankiness that transform me into a snarling, grouchy beast of rage and bitchiness! So I killed it. :o)