Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stupor

Stupor!! 

Yes Stupor. I have been in quite the Stupor. It's the oddest feeling, like walking through a dream, hoping to wake up some day. Wake up and do what you really wish to be doing, but doing what you need to simply survive.

When I was very, thin (120 lbs, that's as thin as I ever, EVER was in my adult life and thank goodness). I ate my way, naively, into a very bad state.

I thought I was doing something healthy for myself, eating bran muffins and TVP (to replace meat), but it wasn't healthy.

I ended up with:

Swollen intestines
Constipation
Swirling, dizzy, darkness
Weakness
Lethargy
Difficulty breathing
Craziness
Anxiety
Depression

I was Dazed, Confused and in an utter Stupor


I couldn't lift my baby daughter, I could hardly breathe. I felt a sense of surreal separation from myself. As though I were an observer of someone else who was walking about.

I remember concentrating on each footfall as I walked up the driveway to my parents house. I remember a sense of sadness because I had wanted to do so much, help with the garden, write a book, watch my kids grow up... but I felt like my soul was drifting apart from my body and that some day soon I would pass away.

I told my mom I felt like I was dying, she scoffed and said that was silly. I drove myself home and considered my options. I had no insurance, so I felt that going to the hospital was out of the question...

I settled upon the idea of calling my old pediatrician up and asking for help. He told me that I probably had alkalosis and that I should breathe into a paper bag. He must have thought I was crazy. I read about alkalosis on the internet, it's a condition where people become too alkaline from hyperventilation. I thought that drinking vinegar would help... more acid to counter the alkaline state... it didn't help.It was far more serious than that, I was numb, devoid of feeling, in a state of  anhedonia "Anhedonia: no pleasure in life; world looks colorless; inabilitiy to "love"; no remorse about personal behavior."

My brain felt like a dead weight in my head, useless, dry. I remember trying to lift up my hair dryer to try drying my hair. I couldn't lift it, COULD not BRING myself to lift it. My arm was a dead weight, I wanted to cry but couldn't. 

I gazed dazedly at myself in the mirror and talked myself through it. Forced myself through it. Then went outside to the Yukon, Sam and I were bringing the kids to my parents house. 

I remember the kids asking me a question, I couldn't answer it, I COULD NOT SPEAK it was so much effort to bring words to my lips. They kept asking and asking, I didn't want to let them do whatever it was but I said OK and I stumbled into the passenger seat of the car, relieved that I could sit.

I asked my friend Janae what was the matter with me, what I could do. She told me to stop eating wheat. I thought she was crazy, I thought her suggestion was crazy, WHEAT is for MAN. The STAFF OF LIFE, not eat it?? No, that didn't make sense, and yet it was the many bran muffins I had downed (along with TVP burgers) that had gotten me to that state.

Then I was afraid, very afraid... What could I eat!? Wheat was a part of everything, sandwiches, spaghetti, my delicious beef stroganoff... oatmeal, cream of wheat, rolls, bread, bagels, crackers.... everything I was used to eating... and it was in so many things.... it was a part of my identity. I was the type of person who liked artisinal breads, who made bread, cinnamon rolls, rolls, egg noodles, even spaghetti by hand. I LOVED BREAD!

But I was scared... I started cleaning out my cupboards much to the dismay of my family. I didn't know what to cook so I started making beef stews and chicken.... my kids are so sick of chicken.

From the time that I gave up wheat, nearly 5+ years ago until now I have slowly been regaining my health... I felt better, happier the next few days without it and never looked back. Each day my determination has grown and I've fought the disbelief of my family, the feelings of alienation, the feelings of separation... the sadness for it all... I've continued to fight, to research, because I never want to return to that state again.

Unfortunately, wheat/cross contamination is very prevalent. I was eating gravy on my potatoes every week, gravy made from cornstarch so it was safe right? NOPE it had been produced on the same equipment as flour and thus was contaminated. I would eat the potatoes and gravy, then would feel miserable, the same feelings of depression, difficulty breathing, speaking etc. would return. then throughout the week I would eat as cleanly as possible and would be almost better until I ate potatoes with gravy again. Then I figured it out, my mom felt so bad. But that is the danger, the wheat sneaks in.

When this type of thing happens, people think you are paranoid and a bit crazy, they resent you for your special needs... very hard to deal with.

At that point in time I was also going through a series of difficult and life shattering events. We were very poor, and then the economy crashed and we were even more incredibly poor. My ex-husband didn't know how to control his temper, he flew off the handle at times beating on the kids (especially my oldest), destroying things and/or being irate and having us walking on egg shells.

He did NOT understand what I was going through. He thought I had lost my mind and that I was cutting out foods for my diet (to lose weight). He thought I was being mean to the kids because I didn't want to get them fast food, junk food... pop, candy in general. That's why on Easter Morning when I came downstairs after getting jittery from eating a few pieces of candy and falling on my face... he lost it. I had started picking up that particular type of candy I had a reaction to and we were arguing. Finally I threw some in his face and said "you eat it then!" Because I was frustrated and irate, he didn't believe there was anything wrong with it.

He reacted violently, threw the coffee table over, picked up a bowl that had held pistachios and threw it at me... it hit the wall and left a mark. He picked up the baby car seat and threw it at me as I ran up the stairs to the front door... it hit my leg and left a large purple bruise... I ran outside and down the street and then because I was depressed, and anxious about what people would think of me and that there couldn't possibly be anyone who would want to help me since it was very early in the morning... so I turned around, went back in the house and perched at the top of the stairs.

He apologized stating that he was thought he was dreaming, that I was his uncle that used to kick him in his sleep. I didn't believe the excuse but for the sake of the kids I went downstairs, started picking up pistachios and candy... sweeping up dirt from the flower that had been on the coffee table... cleaning up and making things "normal" for the kids. He helped me, then went back to sleep on the couch.

Major life shattering event... one of several I experienced while with him. The next couple of life shattering events, our complete and utter financial ruin from his poor choices and the news from my oldest daughter that he had tried something inappropriate with her when she went downstairs one night.

I tolerated his presence in my life as I bided my time, trying to figure out what to do.

It was really hard to pack his things, hard to be strong, hard to fight off the Stockholm syndrome that I was dealing with.

I started blogging quite heavily, trying to make sense of myself, trying to reach out and connect.

“Find myself”

I wrote stuff about my life, I wrote poetry, I found links to things I liked and wanted to learn about. I ORGANIZED my blog, my thoughts, my links… I reached out to people and started following Ajey’s blog hoping to learn something of writing lyrics, music.

That action changed the course of my life. Ajey became my friend. He noticed when I would stop writing and asked me what was wrong. I was at a place of loss and despair. I needed someone to listen, accept me, and understand. He filled that need. He listened and he supported me to do the right thing where it came to my husband.

I needed a strong person in my life and he was that.

Then things became difficult. We started a relationship. I told him I loved him, the result of the bright happiness I had after speaking with him. Part of me though understood the improbability of the relationship working. The cultural differences, the differing outlooks on important things… we became engaged February 2011 a month after my divorce was final. I flew down to Australia to be with him. A big part of me wanted to still the anxiety in my heart, still my doubts and fears. It was nice being with him.

I was still unwell from my bought with death, and it was near the beginning of my montly cycle so I wasn’t thinking straight… overly emotional.

We drove up to lookout point atop Mt. Coot-tha, he wanted to propose at the very top but there was a couple up in the little alcove at the top and he didn’t want to disturb them. I understood that and we walked around until we found a little fountain. We sat down by the fountain and he proposed. I accepted. I loved him. I knew that… there was still anxiety in my heart though, doubt, fear… too many miles separated us and I knew I was going back to the day to day grind.

I was extremely poor, driving around in a little ’89 Honda that I had bought for $300 dollars from our neighbor. The passenger doors were broken, they had been side swiped in an accident at some point and didn’t fit too well with the place they should latch onto. We had to slam them in order to shut them. It ran well… but was embarrassing in a way to drive.

I remember at one point in time being exhausted, trying to find a job, applying for training through the woman’s resource center at UVU, then searching through “professional” clothing that was outdated, out of style, ill-fitting and poor quality. Ajey wanted to talk to me as much as possible, keep in touch, and share our lives together. I remember sitting at the side of the rode in my little Honda, white knuckled and distraught, overwhelmed… and trying to talk it out with Ajey. My feelings were overwhelming to him; he was helpless, thousands of miles away. He just didn’t seem to understand how incredibly stressed out I was. I felt so much pressure. Talking with him so much at the time was stressful as I was working at a job that put a ton of stress on me. They didn’t care about my situation, they were very demanding… I often worked long hours through the night trying to do what I was asked to do… my manager was under a lot of stress herself and felt that the way to train was to throw people into the fray and let them work it out on their own, amazing that I messed up so often.

I did amazing things for the company, rebuilt their processes, documented them, and worked tirelessly with the sql developer to help them get the processes automated. I was working through the nights sometimes and still my manager expected me to be there the next morning at the appointed hour. I was so exhausted, and NOT dealing with the emotional traumas that I had been through.

My son was in the hospital the week that I started working (he "ruptured his kidney") and I managed to go visit him (an hour drive) and get to work and spend some time with my kids at home. I had to get my baby daughter (now about 3) to go to daycare, she resisted and hated it. I had to love her and leave her. It broke my heart. I was also required to attend court sessions about the child abuse that had happened in our home and victim support classes (which was very hard to get to).

I closed off, I couldn’t speak I was too tired… still sick… trying to cook everything for myself to try and recover my health it was all insanity. I was engaged, but not able to be helped from that fact… it was a great burden to be engaged to someone a million miles away. How could we keep up the relationship like that? Then the last straw was broke at my nightmare job when I was sabotaged by a girl who came in to work with us. She took my training and of course did better at all the processes right away. She planted seeds of doubt in my manager’s mind about my capabilities. Pretended to be helping me out and then planted more seeds of doubt. When my manager called me in, inviting a team lead to sit in on the conversation, and told me that I was almost good enough to do the job I had been doing and that she was going to demote me, I said I accepted the demotion… but then went into the office at night with my friend Darrin and cleaned out my desk, left my badge… no notice. The way they had treated me, they deserved that.

Miraculously I found another job, a temp job, at Adobe about 3 months later. I knew when I started that job that I would make the temporary position permanent. I saw where there were weaknesses in the process we were working, I learned how to lead, I worked closely with some amazing and wonderful women and they taught me a lot.

But I looked out the windows, at the dark clouds, and it felt like my own soul moved along with them. My depression had not let up as much as I thought it would. I was eating THE cleanest diet you could ever think of but I still dealt with depression, anxiety, stupor, fatigue, weakness… I fought it; I tried so hard to overcome it. But it was a factor in my inability to really FEEL at that time. I was so blank inside sometimes… and yet I felt bad. I was letting my sweetheart down. I couldn’t give him the time that he needed, WE needed, in order to refresh and regenerate ourselves.

Sadly some of the most frustrating things/decisions that I ever made were in the midst of this stupor. I let myself down. I let my sweetheart down. I broke things off with him because I couldn’t keep up with the pressure anymore. I couldn’t. I let things happen to me with the least resistance and didn’t speak up when I should have. Thus, HE ended up betrayed, and I went through some bizarre levels of denial and justification as I tried to explain myself. I had the unfortunate experience of trying to talk things through with some other blogger that Ajey knew who he had confided in and who said would help. She pretended to listen then came up with her own conclusion. She judged me to be a lunatic and unfriended me from facebook. That REALLY hurt. I was crazy though, utterly insane… in some ways. I allowed my ex-husband to stay at my house, AND give me a back massage… I didn’t get up in horror as he took off my pants and then started to rape me. I finally started stuttering NO. He stopped and I filed a rape case against him. That was no fun.

My blog is a reflection of my inability to speak. At one point I told Ajey to not comment on my blog posts since at first I didn’t want my family to know I was friends with him whilst still married (going through the divorce process). Plus sometimes what he said didn’t fit what I was trying to convey. I was hurt when he didn’t “get” it, silly but that’s how I felt. I stopped writing, stopped commenting. It was hard to keep up with blogging anyway since I had so much stress in my life, so many commitments.

But my inner voice fell silent. I couldn’t seem to break out of the stupor.

I went back to see him, November of 2011. I had regained my temple recommend and went to support him with getting his endowments. Again I was getting to the first day of my cycle and this time was rather sick. We went about, and had fun, but I was fairly weak. We had to stop when on a hike because I would almost faint. We took it slower. There was one point on the hike though when we were walking through the woods, saying silly things, that I felt I had regained some precious kinship with him, the feeling was akin to how I had felt with my cousins when I was a teenager. We had many moments like that and he was so thoughtful. He had many little surprises for me; we connected again and remembered all about how fun it could be with each other. He was spiritual as well. Brought me to church, tender with the ward members, introduced me to his friends, well liked. We went to counseling together and the councilor helped, he made a lot of sense. I would have liked to have gone to him more. We worked through a lot of things and I thought that our issues had been placed behind us and that we would be together soon.

Then I got back home. He went to India to be with his family and to find a job. It seemed that things started to change, his requests of me started to change. He wanted me to come there with my kids… or just me and a couple of the kids. I just couldn’t. I was still trying to become stable at home. I wanted to have a good job established. I really needed to have my career skills in order. I was busy, busy, busy… not as stressed as I had been, but I still struggled with a sense of stupor. He was under a lot of stress; he didn’t like the jobs he was getting. He withdrew from me, I withdrew from him… and I didn’t file the papers for him to come here, the fianc√© visa, until July of 2012.

Even then I didn’t feel prepared and I was unsure of how things would be together. He explained to me his family situation, his father losing his memory, his sister unmarried, and his family honor in danger if the extended family knew of me, my kids. I had also made the mistake of being quite untactful when he sent me a very thoughtful gift of products from India. Well… we grew apart, in a big way, and each day I despaired at the thought of the future, the uncertainty. The VISA wasn’t coming, and I just got tired of trying to keep things up; emotionless conversations, emptiness, aching, longing… and feeling unloved, unwanted, unattractive. I wanted to find someone who I could be myself with again. So I broke things off with him that December, 2012. I looked into dating others, went on a few dates. Started talking to Darrin more, we had backed off from even being friends when that had threatened my relationship with Ajey. But there was no point in not being friends when I had broken things off.

I had a hard time emotionally. I was so distraught and heartbroken, heartbroken and sorrowful for me and him. I grieved.

At this point in time I had discovered that I was anemic, had low thyroid and iodine levels (the iodine playing a role in the thyroid levels). Physically I was still unable to handle the stress very well, so I didn’t handle it, Ajey was left alone and I know he suffered.

I am FINALLY recovering. Finally! I still have times where I suffer from stupor, stupidity… like my trip to Hawaii. Man I got sick. We tried to get gluten free meals for me but people just didn’t understand the concept over there. I ended up compromising again.

My issues now involve; finally facing up to all of the emotions that I have left on the table as I have struggled through the years, trying to rebuild my identity; trying to be a good worker when I feel like treading water… I can’t do that, I need to get back to work, refocus and be the type of worker that I know I can be. My determination to be a better mother is the strongest pull on my heart though. So that’s the state of my life.

In some ways it is hard to explain how I feel about the past, how my relationship with Ajey ended. He’s found another girl to marry, good for him. I couldn’t live up to what he needed, what we needed. I feel that my illnesses over the years have contributed in my inability to carry out what I wanted to say, to do, and to be. I don’t want to fall into the same traps again, to be in a position where I am compromising my thoughts and heart in order to placate another person. AND/OR hurt another person. It sounds like I’m making excuses when I mention the degree of illness I’ve been dealing with, hidden illness, it's more of an explanation than an excuse.

Now, I am utterly aware of the danger I face each day. Every time I get ill, I compromise in some way, knowingly or unknowingly. I compromise in a way that hurts me or others. That is the explanation for anyone who thinks I am extreme when I avoid eating out, or eating what other people make. I don’t want to be depressed, in a stupor, again! It’s that simple.

I hate that other people have been hurt. I hate that I have hurt. I hate that I haven’t been WHO I might have been all these years. I have been the best that I could be, and have achieved amazing things… but I feel so much better when I'm strict in my food choices.

I face new challenges. The challenges I have faced my whole life… but with a new perspective and a different outlook and ability.

I say, keep up the healing and let me live!! J

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