People that make you Feel Alone

robinwilliams

This week there has been a lot of press about Robin Williams and his unfortunate suicide.  It is very hard to hear about anybody taking their own life, but when one of the funniest men in my lifetime ends his life, it’s almost unimaginable to think about the pain this man must have been in.

Last year, someone sent me the quote I posted above and I’ve kept it and thought about it often.  I thought Robin was so right in what he said.  It’s much easier to be alone, than to feel alone when surrounded by people.  It seems weird to think that when there are other people around, you can feel lonelier than when you are actually alone, but it’s true.  I know the feeling and I think it’s because when I’m alone, I’m at peace and there are times when I’m surrounded by people but I feel turmoil.

I pick up on other people’s energy more than most and that’s why I don’t like to be around certain individuals.  Normally I am very chatty and inquisitive.  I can talk to almost anyone and make them feel at ease, except when I am around people that exude a certain type of energy… whether it’s an arrogance or a belittlement or rudeness.

It is quite clear that all living things have a life force, a life energy, that can be used to do work and make things happen. It is this creative energy that is very real, but can’t be seen.  It is obvious that Robin Williams had an abundance of creative energy.  It animated him and gave him so much life that when I watched him on television at times, it almost seemed like he was a cartoon character.

Robin was full of life, but I guess he also was full of the demons that occupy so many people’s brains.  How come some people can balance the good and the bad (because we all have that in our life) and some can’t.  What makes some of us rebound on a daily basis and others just retreat.

Yesterday,  it was revealed that Robin was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and that he couldn’t face this newest illness.  My dad had Parkinson’s for the last 10 years of his life and it did make his life much hardier and less enjoyable, but he faced his demons daily and lived with his limits without complaining.

I am saddened that this great comedian, who seemingly had it all: money, glamour, stature, a loving family couldn’t see there was hope for him and that he had no other choice.  It makes me see how strong I am, because I suffer everyday, with no cure for my illness, yet the thought of ending my life has never once crossed my mind.  I am not passing judgement on anyone, it just pains me to think that this man felt he had nooptions.

 

Toxic People

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I read an interesting article this morning describing how to deal with a toxic person in your life.  It’s sad to me that the word toxic can be used to describe a person.  In my mind, anything toxic is poisonous, very harmful and can also cause death.  So why is the word toxic used to describe someone in our inner circle.

Many of us have at least one friend who can be described this way. We are so careful to remove toxic food and chemicals, second hand smoke, decrease the time spent on cell phones, wear x ray vests when visiting the dentist; yet we openly invite someone into our home that is equally as destructive.

Toxic people are good at getting what they want from you and manipulating you to the point where you begin to feel it’s your fault. They know when they’ve pushed you too far and then do something sweet and caring and get back into your life. I am speaking from experience. There is one particular person in my life that I know can be bad for me, yet at times the friendship serves a purpose and is just what I need.

The tip I am going to focus on today is to OUTGROW the DYNAMIC of the relationship.  I have tried many times to lead by example and to not stoop to their level when they get insulting or hurtful, but it hasn’t worked and I have learned that being subtle also doesn’t work with this person.  So I have given up on trying to change them and have realized that I can only affect change in myself.  If I change, then the dynamics of the relationship will have to change as I am no longer the person I was when we began this relationship.  Maybe the person won’t like who I become and the relationship will end on it’s own or maybe the person will also begin to grow and change.

While I can’t cause the other person to change, just as I am making a conscious decision to change some of my actions and behavior, they can too.  We are changing all the time, hopeful for the better!!

Happy Birthday

hbballoons

This week is my birthday  and I have a couple of little celebrations planned with a few of my friends and hopefully my body will cooperate and behave so that I am able to enjoy this week.  When I think back over the past year and think of  what has transpired, it occurs to me that basically nothing has changed, for the good or for the bad.

In one sense that’s a relief, but in another it’s a disappointment.  I can’t stand feeling like I’m not moving forward.  I need to learn and I need to experience new things this year and I’ve made a promise to myself that I will not let fear motivate me to make safe or bad choices.  I need to think about making choices that excite me and that will bring me joy and not avoid situations out of fear.

Recently Jim Carrey made a commencement speech at a University and when I listened to it my whole impression of Jim Carrey changed dramatically.  This man is profound and deep and is guided by love.  His speech has replayed in my mind many times since I’ve heard it and he is right on when he says that many people’s decisions are based on fear disguised as practicality.  He also says that you can fail at what you don’t love, just as easily as you can fail at doing something you love, so choose Love.

He’s right.  While my choices are limited these days, I still do have many choices.  I want to surround myself with positive people who encourage me to continue fighting to get well and who don’t see a sick person when they speak with me and constantly point out my limitations.  I want to surround myself with people who see possibilities in life, not live in the past constantly regretting decisions made 10 years ago.  I want to surround myself with people who are kind and loving and not people that continually hurt you and place the blame on their unhappy childhood.

So when I blow out the candles on my birthday cake and make a wish, of course my first wish will be improved health for myself and continued health for my loved ones, but my next wish will be that all my decisions this year will be coming from a place of love and not a place of fear.

 

Finding my PURPOSE

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I’ve been ill for 5 years now and I really don’t know where the time has gone.  What have I accomplished or learned in these 5 years, if anything I’ve gone backwards not forwards.  Lately I’ve been struggling to figure out my purpose in life and why I became ill and what lessons am I learning from being ill.   My Reiki practitioner said that I fear moving forward and that this fear is  keeping me sick and stagnant and that I am blocked and must find my way out.  She said that she envisions me in a field jumping through leaves being happy and carefree and able to walk and move about freely. She has told me repeatedly that I will not stay in this state forever.

So what is holding me back?  How can I find my “new” purpose in life because whatever I thought my purpose was before I became ill, is outdated.  I vaguely even remember my healthy life anymore.  When I look at pictures, it’s like I’m looking at someone else’s life.   Getting up at 7 am, commuting to work, putting in a 10 hour work day, socializing over dinners and weekend excursions.  That isn’t your purpose in life, that is how you pass your life, so did my life ever have purpose?  Do most people’s lives have real purpose?

If I think about the people in my life, there are a handful that definitely live a purposeful life.  They try and help others, give back to the community, raise awareness and are just plain kind and loving to all humans and animals alike.  But most of the other people I know are just getting through the daily grind and not even appreciating all the gifts they have in their life.

The definition of PURPOSE is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”.  What have I been put on this earth to accomplish?  Is it to enlighten others as to how illness changes you?  So many people that become ill, remake their lives and try and help others so what special twist on that can I add.  I’m really not sure yet and maybe when I stumble upon what makes me special and unique, I will feel free and move forward.

I know I am a good person.  I am kind, compassionate, empathetic, smart but where has that taken me.   I love learning things, figuring things out and observing people.  What am I missing about what my life is supposed to be…

I hope I realize my true mission in life very soon.  Our life is what we do EVERY minute of EVERY day.  I know it is each of our own responsibility to create the future we want, but does sitting around and wondering what it will be limit the possibilites?  I must  trust and live in the present and let go of my fears of the future.  Fears of living alone, fears of becoming sicker, fears of not being able to support myself or take care of myself.  These are all fears that I have and that I try to put to the side, but they are real concerns.

For right now, I will try and embrace my life and not worry about what the future will hold.  Maybe the answer is right under my nose and if I start living in the present, it will make itself known to me.

To Stress or Not to Stress

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Living with a chronic illness is difficult enough, but your body isn’t immune to getting other conditions.  Wouldn’t it be great if once we had one illness, then we didn’t have to deal with any other one.  Unfortunately things don’t work that way.

I’m not an alarmist, never have been but dealing with an illness that has constant changing symptoms makes you very in tune with your body.  At least it does me.  I have always been very intuitive and very good at reading other peoples body language and mood changes, so it’s only natural that I am also very in sync with my own.

I don’t go running to the doctor at the first sign of new symptoms but I watch them and see if they progress, change or go away.  A few weeks ago I decided it was time to go check out some symptoms that were getting worse and that had to do with my heart and breathing.

I have always had low blood pressure, but about 3 years ago (2 years into this illness) my pressure changed and while it changed to what the doctors considered “normal” it wasn’t my normal.  At the exact same time, I also started getting very strong palputations and heart flutters.  After about 6 weeks of these heart movements, I decided to find a cardiologist and have them checked out.

I had a slightly irregular EKG, but nothing that alarmed a doctor.  I also wore a halter monitor for a week and while they did see some weird activity, it wasn’t anything that warranted any medications or further tests.  I was told to deal with the palputations and come back in a year, unless my symptoms changed.  A year later the palputations were still present so I went back and this time had a sonogram, which showed some funky things going on with my left ventricle, but again was sent home to watch for changing symptoms and a yearly follow up.

Which bring us to this past month.  During the last 6 weeks, I have noticed a slight difficulty in breathing and an ache over my heart.  These 2 new symptoms caused me some concern and I decided since it was time to go back for a check up, I better do it sooner than later.  This time the doctor order a “Nuclear Cardiolite Stress Test”.

Panic set in.  I can’t walk on a treadmill, I can’t sit up in a doctor’s office for 6 hours, I can’t go without caffeine for 24 hours or without eating for 12 hours.  I”m weak to start, how can I even think about taking the test.  I made the appointment because that was what the doctor asked me to do, but in the back of my mind I knew I was going to cancel.

For the next 2 days, I was agitated and couldn’t sleep.  I really didn’t know what to do and went back and forth in my mind.  I asked the 2 closest people to me (who understood my condition) what do they think and both said that I shouldn’t do it.  But on the 3rd day, I decided I had to because the alternative was worse, “what if I really had heart problems and then had a heart attack?”

This was the first time since I’ve been ill, that I really had been faced with a medical decision about taking a complicated test.  I really had never thought about dealing with a second condition or going through a procedure that would tax my already weak and fatigued body.  It’s a scary thought that something else could be wrong and that dealing with my current illness would not be my first priority because what I am living with is a life long condition.

I hope to feel stronger and have less symptoms, but will I ever be totally free of this condition, probably not.  Do I hope to have less severe symptoms and be able to lead a normal life, yes I do.  So for now, I am happy to say that I survived the Stress Test.  It was difficult, very difficult, but the results did ease my mind.  But now, once again, I have unanswered questions and have been referred to a pulmonologist.

Why can’t anything be easy and have a solution?  I have decided to wait another while before dealing with more tests.  I’d like to try and enjoy the summer a little bit and not be sitting in doctor’s offices agonizing about lung scans and xrays and blood tests.  Just as these symptoms appeared, I am hoping they will disappear.

This experience did teach me that on day’s I think I can’t handle one more thing, I can.  Or on day’s when I am down on myself and fall in that deep hole of despair, to remind myself that things are really not the worst they could be and that I have to appreciate the current life I am trying to live.

Freedom

freedomtowerslant

Freedom means different things to different people.  One of the actual definitions of freedom is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”.  Taking that definition literally, I guess one could say I am not free as I can’t act as I want without hindrance or restraint.  Maybe it’s not an external hindrance, but my body is not free.

Yesterday,  my body held out long enough so that I was able to get to the new Freedom Tower in downtown Manhattan.  It wasn’t easy to arrange this, but  but a friend drove me there and dropped me at the farthest point you were able to drive and I was able to walk the few hundred steps to actually touch the Memorial.  From my earlier posts, I mentioned I was down there that morning on 9/11 when the unimaginable happened.

It was very moving and quite overwhelming.  I haven’t been down to the Wall Street area since I was fired from my job and had to go on disability.  I don’t know which memories were stronger, but they were all mixed in my mind.  My previous life on Wall Street and the destruction of the World Trade Center.  Both are very emotional and overwhelming on their own, add to it my vulnerability of being limited in my movements and it was an intense 30 minutes.

I felt my body tense as we approached the Memorial and I was dropped off.  My eyes were darting to every side street and nearby store and my mind was wandering with what ifs..  What if my friend can’t park, what if I need help, what if I have to go to the bathroom before my friend returns.  But once I made it to the Memorial and touched the sides and heard the flowing water, all of my worries about my vulnerabilities switched to the people who lost their life that day.

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I wasn’t able to share the experience with my friend, as a parking spot was not easy to come by.  So I waited on the nearby benches to be picked up and sat with my memories and my thoughts.  I was disoriented and couldn’t figure out how the original WTC was where I was sitting.   Back in 1986, I worked in the WTC for a year and up until the week before the attack I passed through the concourse several times a week.  Just as many other people who worked downtown Manhattan did:  whether it was for shopping or banking or eating or just passing through.

Life as I knew it changed slightly that morning, as I didn’t lose a loved one.  I was left with a deep sorrow and definitely some emotional scars, but  After about 6 months or so, my life pretty much returned to normal.  My world ended in 2009.

We all have our life altering moments, some are widely publicized for the world to see and others are more personal. A terrorist didn’t take my life, but an illness did.  An illness that leaves millions of people suffering every day.

Where have I been hiding??

hiding

 

I haven’t posted in a while, but have been lurking in the backgrounds reading post of the bloggers I follow, but I’ve been feeling very uninspired.  I also  haven’t been participating in any of my on line support groups and I have been wondering why I have shifted my focus away from these communities.  Instead, I have been reaching out to certain individuals from my past that I miss and that I really want to reconnect with.

For the past 5 years, I haven’t cared or thought much about these individuals.  They really, in my opinion, abandoned me when I became ill and when my illness became a problem for them.  So why now am I reaching out.  I’m not sure.  Is it because I am trying to reconstruct my old life (which I know I can’t do), is it because I need to let them know how they have hurt me in order to move forward or is it because I miss human interaction with people.  Not just any people, but people that I have fond memories of.

I’ve heard a million times that time heals all wounds and maybe the hurts I felt are diminishing and I am ready to see these people again and discuss how their actions have hurt me.  I am trying to arrange to see one person in particular within the next week or so and this will be a big meeting for me.  I wonder how I will act and if when I see this person, will all the hurt I’ve been carrying around with me  just dissipate or will I have the need to rehash why I felt hurt and slighted by him.  These are my truths that I’ve been carrying around, what will his truths be?

I hope I have the opportunity to find out!