Losing SO Much More Then My Dog

I got my dog, L.V. as a puppy. He was only four lbs when I brought him home. He was everything I’d ever wish for in a dog.cb974930bf9df15e0cc90ba18f392175 L.V. went from being a 4 lbs puff-ball to a 75 lbs. guardian. He was my friend, my companion, my protector, the one thing that was always there for me no matter what. He loved me and he would have died for me. There were many a time when he came between me and danger – or at least what he thought of as danger. 

While everyone around me, had lives, families, jobs, children, whatever I had him. He calmed me when I was stress. He kept me for killing myself on more than on occasion because I was responsible for him. But most of all he brought me great joy and happiness, and a much need feeling of being safe.

So when he started to limp around New Year’s, I was SCARED!!! I knew that he was 12 years old and that is old for a Rottweiler. But the thought of losing this important part of my life was killing me. It got worse when the doctor came back with the fact that L.V.had bone cancer in his back leg, and there was nothing I could do but keep him comfortable and wait. The doctor told me that L.V. would let me know when it was time. I thought that this was crazy but because I wasn’t ready to let go yet I went with it. In the end, he did tell me when it was time, but for six weeks I went through hell. Was he comfortable? Was he in pain? Was he eating? Was he sleeping? Was I being selfish to hold on to him, instead of letting go? I will forever be grateful for those 6 weeks. I was with him almost the entire time. It helped me come to terms with losing him, and I got a few more memories to hold on to. When he went, he went peacefully to sleep in the vet’s office. 

Now I’m sure there are those of you that are saying he’s just a dog, what’s the big deal. But he wasn’t just a dog to me, he was everything I didn’t have. I know that, that is putting a lot on an animal but he was my emotional support. The thing that kept me semi-sane in all my madness.

Coming home was the hardest part, I had to leave a part of me lying on the floor of the vet’s office and walk away, knowing that I would never see him again. Then I got home to a house that was soooo quiet, and the thing that I usually used to comfort myself was no longer there.

I started thinking I could heard him, I keep seeing him, I became hyper-vigilant because he was no longer there to protect me. I wasn’t sleeping, I’d spend hours  – I can’t say crying because it was so much more than that – keening, whaling . Till I’d tire myself out but when I did sleep I wake up screaming because I couldn’t find him. My family wasn’t at all helpful. My father didn’t know what to do with the nighttime crying so he did nothing. He didn’t check on me, he didn’t even wake my mom to have her deal with it. All he could say was NO MORE DOGS. My therapist was worried and suggest that another dog might ease some of the pain. Or at least give me something else to love. My mom didn’t like the idea but begrudgingly took me to some shelters to look at dogs. None of which she liked.

Having spent a week and a half in utter misery, with both my parent basically saying no more dogs at least not now. I took matters into my own hands and went looking on my own. I came home with a puppy, Moo. He’s going to be less than half  L.V. size which is good because I can no longer handle a big dog. But Moo is colored the same as  L.V. which makes me feel like I haven’t lost him completely. While he is not  L.V., he is something I can love, and that loves me. And I don’t feel so alone.

I still grieve for L.V. nothing can take his place but Moo has help a lot. He’ll never be  L.V., but he can be Moo and that is enough.

No my dogs are not named  L.V. and Moo. These are just their alias for this page. I’m not so mean as to name a dog – Moo. :)

 

Blog for Mental Health – 2015

As you know if you’ve read my blog, my wish is to not only help myself but to help others that are dealing with mental health issues, especially those that are effected with the aftereffects of child abuse.  It pleases me to be a part of Blog For Mental Health – 2015

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

A short biography of my mental health and what it means to me:

I’ve been diagnosed with DDNOS (Dissociative Disorder not Otherwise Specified), MMD (Major Depressive Disorder), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Agoraphobia with Anxiety Disorder. Not only are my disorders an assortment of abbreviations that most people have no idea what they stand for, when you do actually spell it out for them the still have no idea what they are. You don’t know how many times I’ve heard “PTSD is what soldiers get, right? How can you have it? You’ve never been a soldier.” And there is little to no information on DDNOS. My goal with my blog is to change this – to change people’s preconceived ideas and to enlighten them; by doing that I hope to help not only myself but others, because right now without this blog, I feel helpless.

I have spent a lot of time working on a series of posts called ” The Legacy Of Child Abuse”. So many people don’t realize how much damage child abuse causes.  I’ve also been working on accepting/acknowledging my alters. This means that I am allowing them to rewrite their pages from their view point so that I can better understand them and who and what they are. It is a long and painful process. 

My therapist also say I have problem with Happiness. That could be because I have no idea what makes me happy. I’m going to be putting a lot of time into that for a while with a blog I’ve called “The Happiness Project” so I won’t be posting as much on here as before. I am going to try to do better then last year though and post something at least once a month.

The Antidote – Part 2 – Meditation

This is my second post on the book “The Antidote – Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking”. This time on its chapter on Meditation/Buddhism. I’m not Buddist but some of the stuff it teaches is interesting/useful.

If you are like me, for years you have been hearing people (therapist, parents, friends, doctors, etc.) telling you that meditation is the way to relieve stress and to become calmer, so you try it. And you try it and you end meditationup feeling like you are failing. That somehow you are just not doing it right. For me, with the multiples, meditation isn’t just about quieting one mind or part of it, it’s like a whole neighborhood. You have multiple houses all blasting their radios – heavy metal, polka, something Spanish, a talk show, etc. You have to spend time going around to each of these house and turn off the music. And when you think you’ve got them all off, they switch back on again, and you have to turn them off again. On and on it goes till you either give up or you have all of them blasting at once. Either way, it’s not a relaxing experience.

So you can image my thoughts when I got to this chapter. I was ready to stop reading. Then I learned something I HAVE BEEN MEDITATING WRONG. I thought I had to completely clear my mind to properly meditate. I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when I found out that, that wasn’t true. Meditation is not about emptying your mind, reaching a state of bliss or achieving a trance-like state of calm. It is not a way of seeking happiness, but a way to stop running away from things that we are either not aware of or don’t want to face.

Here’s what you do: You take the time to sit comfortably still, close your eyes and notice your breath as it flows in and out. One breath in, one breath out. Things will come up, sensations, emotions, etc. We need not be distracted by them but instead we need to notice them. We need not judge them but instead watch our thoughts and emotions, our desires and aversions, as they come and go. We need to resist the urge to run, fix or cling to them. Whatever comes up, good or bad all you need to do is stay present and you observe them, acknowledge them, then let them go. Always returning to your breathing.

The chapter goes on about practicing non-attachment, but i’ll leave some of the book for you to read

The Antidote – Part 1 – Stoicism

As I said in my last post I am re-reading The Antidote. It starts with the modern, popular approach to happiness. The simple technique of picturing the positive, seeing thing going right, and the by doing What's The Worst That Could Happen1this you can magically make what you want to happen, happen. The problem with this is that when things don’t turn out you end up feeling even worse than when you started.

Stoicism on the other hand has you picture all the things that could possible go wrong. It prepares you for the worst case, ever if the worst case doesn’t happen. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t. But it also doesn’t have you floating along on this rosy cloud of positive thinking where everything is going to be ok, only to have that cloud disappear and you find yourself plummeting to earth with nothing to stop you, because you were not prepared.

I’ll use an example of what I am going though right now. I fell a couple of months back and really damaged my left leg, foot, and ankle. I have been to an Orthopedic Doctor, a Podiatrist, and a Neurologist.  I’ve had X-Rays, Blood Work, MRI, EMG (electromyogram), and Nerve conduction studies.

Now I could have gone the “Positive Thinking” Route – which means that before each of these doctor’s visits or tests I’d be saying to myself “Everything is going to be just fine.” and “The tests are going to show nothing is wrong” or “The doctor is going to say I’m going to be better in no time”. As just standing on my left leg feels like someone running it over with a truck this was a little hard to do.

So I choose the Stoicism Route. After the fall first came the X-Rays and Orthopedic Doctor, so worst case broken bones, cast and maybe surgery which also meant hospital. :(  You can image my happiness went I was told no broken bones, no case, no surgery, no hospital. Next came the Podiatrist and the MRI – worse case – torn tendons, surgery, hospital. This time I didn’t get as much happiness but I was prepare and relieved when it turned out that I had 5 pulled tendons, 1 partial torn tendon, and a bone bruise. Still no surgery or hospital but I have to stay off my leg as much as possible, keep it elevated, wear a brace and use a cane. I did get some happiness out of getting a Handicap Parking Permit so I can park in Handicap spots. Next came the Neurologist, EMG, Nerve conduction studies and next week a MRI of my spine. Since the fall I have lost feeling in my toes and skin, no Diabetes. But the EMG required them to stick me with needles – which brought up thoughts of blood and passing out – I didn’t. I went in to the EMG and the Nerve study prepare for nerve damage. While it wasn’t as bad as I was prepared for it to be – I have Neuropathy and damage to my sensory nerves in my feet and hands (I burnt my fingers with hot water and didn’t even feel it, it was scary). That is why I’m getting a Spinal MRI next week. Scary worse case there is more nerve damage in my spine, surgery and hospital, there is no fix and it keeps getting worse, or they don’t find anything but I’m still in constant pain. What ever it is I’m prepared, and I’m not coming out of all of this devastated because it was trying to think positively – basically every was going to be ok – and it isn’t. What's The Worst That Could Happen

This only one example of how if have been using Stoicism, there are more. It is amazing how much more you can cope with, deal with, do when you ask yourself “what is the worst that can happen?” and realize that you know what if that does happen you’re ok with it.

Suicide Prevention Day

Phoenix:

I don’t usually reblog something written by someone else, because my blog is for me and what I am going thorough. But this post, its words are so touching and they mirror my thoughts so much that it I had to post this on my blog. Thank you for putting into words thoughts I think almost every day.

Originally posted on Another Hope Entirely:

To be perfectly honest, I dread and resent this day.  I know that’s a very unpopular opinion, but I’m not sorry.  I just can’t embrace it and write a tearjerker post about my close calls with suicide and how glad I am that I didn’t succeed.

I’m not glad I didn’t succeed.  I’m not actively suicidal right now, but my life is difficult and painful every day.  If any one of my suicide attempts had succeeded, I wouldn’t have to drag myself through that every day.  I wouldn’t have to worry about whether I can find a doctor who will give me medication to manage my chronic pain.  I wouldn’t have to worry about becoming homeless because my disability check isn’t enough for anyone to survive on.  I wouldn’t have to worry about how to get therapy when no one thinks I need help.  I wouldn’t have to worry about…

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Positive Thinking – Oh, How I Hate Thee!

The Antidote - Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive ThinkingI don’t know about the rest of you but when my therapist told me that I needed to start thinking positively, that it would lead to me being happier, all I could do was cringe. But then I got to thinking about it and I started to wonder do I even know how to ” Think Positively”. I really didn’t so I took myself off to the library to find some books on the subject. I ended up with books like The Power Of Positive Thinking and Everyday Positive Thinking. If these books work for you, great! In fact, more power to you, but after about 20 minutes with them, I wanted to scream. I can’t stand in front of a mirror and tell myself everything is going to be alright, when I KNOW it’s not. I could be hit by a car, struck by lighting or have something else equally horrible happen to me. Besides I HATE lying, and that is what I felt like I was doing with myself.

Fortunately when. I was picking those other books, I also grabbed “The Antidote – Happiness For People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” (I guess they couldn’t call it ” Happiness for People Who Think Positive Thinking is Crap).

If you feel the same way about positive thinking as I do that positive thinking often is used by mental health care providers to take the place of actual logically thinking, then this is the book for you. It talks about how our constant search for happiness is making us miserable, especially because we can’t even decide what will make us happy – what happiness really means for us individually. Let’s face it what makes me happy or what I see as happiness most likely is not your idea of happiness.

There are many wonderful things to discover in this book. I’ve already read most of it and it has been changing my view of life. I’m going to start it over because there is so much I want to remember and share, so I’ll be writing about them as I go though it again. Stay tuned for my post on Stoicism.

The Little Golden Books

Most of my childhood is a mystery to me, I know that it is there somewhere. But it is like coming to a locked door and knowing what you seek is just beyond it. The issue is that you don’t have the key and no matter how hard you knock there is no one there to open it for you. One of the things I do remember from childhood are the cardboard covers, shiny gold spines and colorful pictures of The Little Golden Books. I still own (Kit loves to have them read to her, or to just look at the pictures) a whole collection of them. They are a prized possession – The Saggy, Baggy Elephant, The Gingerbread Man, The Little Red Hen and so on. My favorite was always The Poky Little Puppy.The Poky Little Puppy

So you can imagine my surprise when I was checking out the new self-help books at the Library to come across the book “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book”. I, of course, immediately grabbed a copy. While it doesn’t help with the Big Issues, it does remind you of some things that we have probably forgotten about since childhood like: frolicking, singing, daydreaming and believing in the impossible just because it makes us happy. So if you get a moment grab a copy and remember a time when all you wanted was to know how the Poky Little Puppy was going to get back home once the hole was filled in or if the Gingerbread Man would get away or get eaten.