Portland at dusk, looking east to Mt. Hood and the moon rise….it doesn’t get much more beautiful than this! After a lengthy period of change, leaving me with some challenges to face daily, I am prepared to move on to acceptance, not resignation; to change that which is within my power, not dwell in powerlessness.
It has taken a long time to reach this place and it began, as with most change, unexpectedly. The new year brought me one challenge and that was to start this blog, using the “mantra” of fearlessness to bring my writing to light. I did begin in January but circumstances found me stepping back into the world of my journals, Netflix and solitude. I mourned the loss of a friend while also mourning physical issues that demanded major life adjustments which then triggered PTSD, anxiety & Agoraphobia issues anew. I spoke openly on FB and to loved ones of these things and knew I must present myself as the most negative person , all the while unable to stop. There were even those who, though well-meaning, could not understand that what I faced did not even offer satisfactory medical answers. This increased my frustration with those around me until isolation from them was easier than explaining myself ad infinitum. After all, if there were no satisfactory answers for me, how could I explain to others? Frankly, I would have preferred to slap the crap out of te more witless among them…better to discourage them from imposing their trite suggestions or the infuriating implications that I was making much ado of nothing. I was newly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain & Osteoarthritis….the first two without clear medical causes and almost no solutions and the last, a condition which has no cure, just limited treatment and the hope of slowing progression. These do not live in my mind but in my body: the inability to get a good night’s sleep due to pain; the pain & swelling upon waking & throughout the day, moving to different points in my body. Who the hell wouldn’t be upset? Who would compare their temporary and self-induced aches & pains to a chronic, non-stop travelling demon? The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Centers provided a response I wish I could tattoo on my forehead:
I am especially fond of the far right, center box….a whole lotta dumb going on. Not that there aren’t honest and thoughtful offers of advice & support but I’ve a low threshold for stupidity and my verbal censors are often absent, often to my amusement.
At any rate, this served to only exacerbate my emotional issues, which I have tried to address for the last several years. Where the medical community offers little to treat the various diagnoses, the psychiatric community is more than willing to dole out medications with impunity. It is easier than admitting that coping with my particular issues is not within their ken and referring me on to someone who can offer tools and skills needed to live with the earlier stated mental health issues. Better I should become addicted to some serious prescription drugs than talk it out or learn needed techniques ! That’s what I need is a treatment program to recover from my treatment! In the immortal words of Dr. Frank N.Furter of Rocky Horror fame:
It appears up to me to deal with the symptoms and deal with them I shall. I want my life back & I want me back….the raucous, age-inappropriate, adventurous me! As one cousin thought of me, “like a pirate or something”. I also want to speak my passion aloud: I am a writer. It has been the one constant in my life.
As stated earlier, I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the country, with a host of arts & entertainment; green space, such as a length of downtown area named the Park Blocks, each block with statuary & trees & benches on which to sit and enjoy the city from a serene point of view; the Rose Test Gardens or sipping cappuccino overlooking the Square or the Chinese Gardens.
I fell in love with Portland from the moment I saw the night skyline as I drove in from L.A., where I’d spent 7 years living a mostly beach lifestyle; where I became alcohol & drug-free & went to college for the first time, becoming a “Flintstone-era” techie and the rare female engineer in a male-dominated environment; I learned to roller skate & weight lift…let’s face it: if you live beachfront in L.A., you have to look good or so I thought. It was fun but grew tiresome, all of it. I wanted seasons-not extreme but some change; I wanted a city not a sprawl where one spends an inordinate amount of time in a car. I felt the new chapter open the moment I made that late night arrival along the waterfront and along the edge of downtown. I was in love again and felt at home for the first time since my teen wanderings began. I settled in, enrolled in the university in the middle of downtown, studying Political Science, Journalism and Creative Writing. I volunteered on a gubernatorial campaign & ended up with an eye-opening career in campaigns and the Oregon State Senate! Who would have thought the freshman high school drop-out, commune-dwelling, hitchhiking girl would find her way here? As they say, you can’t make this stuff up.
Given the money to do so, I would likely spend the rest of my life between school and travel..there is so much I want to learn and even more I want to see. That is the person I seek to recover. Though I will have the physical and emotional disorders to balance, it suddenly seems less daunting than it has in years. That could change with the weather, the pain or a PTSD-triggering event but, overall, I feel more optimistic than I have in years. As one fellow blogger told me, the one thing we do have control over is the use of our time here. I want to use mine well: being in love with my fiancé & our 4-legged kids; having new experiences & meeting new friends as well as reuniting with long-lost family & , maybe, living out on the coast where I feel most alive and recognize my very small place in this grand world. Baby steps, I know, will be what it takes. I will need to learn patience to pace myself, for my health; for my serenity; for my pleasure. I do not delude myself into thinking I’m well on the way but, like the cave in the header, I see the horizon and , for now, that is a joy in itself!
- One in eight with fibromyalgia uses cannabis as medicine (pasadenamarijuanaevaluations.com)
- Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia (everydayhealth.com)
- 6 Ways to Feel Better With Fibromyalgia (everydayhealth.com)