So I freaked out, unfollowed everybody, made my blog private, had a 102 fever, and thought I was dying…

Lynda Lee is alive and well and her memoir is almost ready to publish!

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My dad…update.

I just received an email from my dad’s wife (my stepmother). Here is part of it:

Everything seems to be same with a few add-ons. The urine output is almost nonexistent
which means his kidneys are shutting down. I also asked why his tongue is hanging like
that and the nurse said that he is not able to hold his reflexes.
Yesterday, after I had talked to all three of you, I told ____ what you wanted me to convey
to him and then asked him to squeeze my hand if he heard me and, he did. I have not
had that kind of response from him since.

Please keep both of them in your prayers. Thank you.

The wrong kind of transference.

ebola_or_flu

Last Monday, when I saw my therapist, he told me he had a cold.  It seemed pretty bad too, because he kept coughing and sneezing and blowing his nose.    I didn’t think too much of this, and since I rarely get sick anymore (since I stopped my monthly cycle, my frequent colds also stopped, go figure!)  it didn’t occur to me I might be out of commission for a few days.  But the rare times I do get sick, I get really sick!

Well, lo and behold, come Thursday, I woke up with a  tickle in the back of my throat and felt slightly feverish.   I felt like calling in sick to work, but I didn’t because I can’t afford to.  I stopped at the grocery store and stocked up on some store-brand Day Quil, NyQuil,  and Robitussin for the inevitable cough that would come later.    I slogged through my day, feeling slightly groggy, but otherwise not too bad.   I saw my therapist again that night.

“Guess what.  I got your cold,” I said.   I knew he was the culprit, because no one else I know has a cold.  He spent the next five minutes apologizing.    He offered me the box of tissues that sit on the end table for his crying clients (so I haven’t needed them yet).  He actually looked worried about me!  I swear he’s the sweetest person I ever met  (why couldn’t I have married someone like him?)    I assured him I wasn’t mad at him or upset in any way and it wasn’t that bad anyway.

I spoke too soon because Friday I was worse, and so sleepy from both the virus and the medication I could do practically nothing but sleep after I made it home from  work.  How I managed to get through THAT day I don’t know.   I was too groggy and sick to even want to spend much time blogging.  I felt retarded.  My thoughts oozed slowly like January molasses.     I slept for about 14 hours straight.

Today was much the same only worse.  My cold has become the Martian Death Flu.   I was achy and I felt hot so I took my temperature and it was 103.   My cough was cruel and relentless. I sounded like a barking seal.    My nose felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls.  I’ve  already been through probably an entire box of tissues.   The weather was pretty but I spent all of today curled up in my bed, sleeping and reading a little bit in between fever dreams I can’t remember. I know I won’t die, but I sure don’t feel too alive.

I think this disease peaked earlier today, because now I’m beginning to feel a little better. I actually ate some dinner and now I’m drinking some coffee.  The cough has subsided somewhat and my temperature is down to almost normal.  I feel like tomorrow I might be able to join the living again.

Transference is a great thing, but this was the wrong kind!   Next time he gets sick, he should warn me in advance so I can get one of those space suits like those researchers who work with the Ebola virus.

Half-baked ideas; keeping a schedule.

I still feel ill, but my head is swimming with ideas for new posts.  The trouble is, I have so many half-formed ideas and simply don’t have the energy right now to develop one of those ideas  into something that wouldn’t sound half-baked.  All the cold medication is making me groggy and all I really want to do is sleep off this bug.

As this blog has grown, I’ve noticed that adhering to a kind of schedule does help keep me organized.  So far, I have Monday Melodies and the Sunday guest posts.  I’m thinking of having blog parties every other Saturday (too much work to do one every week).  I don’t want to become too regimented because then blogging would lose its spontaneity which is part of why it’s so fun, but I think I will have certain days where I’ll have specific topics.

My daughter’s test results all clear.

colonoscopy

My daughter, whose doctors suspect she has Crohn’s disease, had to go in the hospital today for a colonoscopy to rule out colon cancer. She’s all clear, so most likely the stomach problems she’s been having for about 5 years is “just” Crohn’s disease. Further tests have to be run to pinpoint exactly what she has, so she can get appropriate treatment. She’s so young to have to have that icky procedure. She’s groggy today from the anesthesia and sleeping it off at home but shes glad it’s over with and I am too. They even gave her photographs to take home (she won’t be posting them to Facebook, lol).

My daughter has Crohn’s disease.

crohns

I wish I didn’t find this out through Facebook. 😦 Ever since she was about 15, my daughter has had episodes of intense abdominal pain, severe enough that she’s had to be taken to the emergency room on several occasions.  These episodes always seem to follow eating.  Her doctors tentatively diagnosed ulcers but no definitive diagnosis was made. One idiot doctor even said it was probably “nerves.” 🙄

Last night she had another episode of severe stomach pain and went to the emergency room again.  For a few weeks prior to that, she had been losing weight, and was anemic and suffering from strange rashes (these are all symptoms of Crohns).  I just saw her post on Facebook saying she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which is a chronic, autoimmune gastrointestinal disorder that has a tendency to lead to complications such as bleeding, weight loss, and even bowel obstruction and cancer.  There is no cure, but medications and changes in diet can control the symptoms.

Naturally, as her mother I’m worried but I’m glad doctors finally know what it is. I’ve asked her to call me later about it. In the meantime, please send prayers her way.

Crohn’s Disease information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crohn%27s_disease

Where I stand on “positive thinking.”

positive_thinking_problem
Positive thinking taken to extremes is deluded thinking.

I’ve seen several blog posts about the problem of forced positive thinking lately, and since this is an issue that has concerned me for a long time, I thought I’d add my own take on it.

In recent years, there’s been an increased societal pressure toward “positive thinking.” I think two factors have led to this trend–the New Age philosophy that we can “be as gods ourselves,” and the continued glorification of the Reaganistic optimism of the 1980s. The signs are everywhere, in self-help and pop psychology books, in countless popular slogans and memes that appear on bumper stickers and coffee mugs, on motivational posters, on calendars, on the political campaign trail, and all over social media such as Facebook. The forced positive thinking brigade has even infiltrated churches. Motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and preachers of the “Prosperity Gospel” like Joel Osteen have gotten rich by telling us that if we only think positive thoughts, our entire lives will change for the better. They tell us if we let go of negative thought patterns, we can become happy, successful, healthy, and wealthy.

This is all fine and good, and personally I see nothing wrong with positive thinking for its own sake. Even if the outer trappings of your life rival those of someone living in a Third World nation, it’s certainly better for you if you can scare up a little optimism and hopefulness, and it’s definitely bad for you to dwell in hopelessness, depression and negativity. At the very least, seeing the glass as always half-full will make you more accepting of your sorry lot and therefore happier. That said, it’s incredibly difficult to see the glass as half full when there is barely a drop in your glass. That would be deluded, not positive, thinking.

For all its advantages to our psychological well-being, there’s a dark side to the positive thinking movement too, which goes hand in hand with the current societal glorification of narcissism and the nasty belief that selfishness and lack of compassion are virtues. While telling people that thinking positive thoughts is not a bad thing itself (because there is truth to the idea that negativity tends to draw in negative things–I have seen this dynamic for myself), the positive thinking movement has been taken to disturbing extremes. It’s led to victim-blaming and an overall lack of empathy for the less fortunate. The poor are blamed for their own poverty, regardless of the circumstances that might have led to it or keep them trapped there. They are told they are “not positive enough” or “made bad choices.” Even worse, some churches of the “prosperity gospel” ilk tell them they must have some moral failing or God would be rewarding them with material blessings. They are made to feel shame and guilt for their sorry financial condition. The chronically ill and disabled are likewise blamed for “not taking care of themselves” or “choosing bad habits.” It’s easy enough for someone who has never had to struggle with poverty or serious illness to thumb their noses at those who have and tell them it’s all their own fault.

broken_society

Is this the way Jesus would have acted? No, of course it isn’t. In fact, most of Jesus’ followers and disciples were the most financially and physically vulnerable members of his society. Jesus himself was humble carpenter and certainly not rich. He didn’t condemn these unfortunates or shame them for failing to be positive enough, or making the “wrong choices.” In fact, he seemed to love these vulnerable people most of all. Whatever happened to the “social gospel” of the late 19th and early 20th century? Oh, that’s right–it became “communism.” Somewhere along the way, compassion for the less fortunate and the culture of charity got twisted into “weakness” and “enabling.” The enormous popularity of Ayn Rand, who believed the greatest human evil was altruism, is disturbing, especially since her philosophy of “objectivism” has infected the minds of powerful politicians of a certain political persuasion, including many “Christians.”

While I don’t subscribe to some Christian fundamentalists’ idea that Satan is behind all this worship of greed and self-love and the denigration and victim-blaming of the less fortunate, I do think it’s a very destructive turn in the way our culture thinks, and it’s psychopathic in nature. Lately I’ve been seeing more blog articles criticizing this trend, and that seems like a good sign that at least a few people (usually victims of narcissistic abuse themselves) are finally realizing our society has become woefully empathy-deprived. Hopefully their message can break out of the blogosphere it’s currently confined to and begin to touch the hearts of The Powers That Be who are not yet completely brainwashed by the Cult of John Galt.

It’s absolutely fine (and desirable) to be a positive thinker, because positive thinking does tend to have its rewards, but blaming the misfortunes of others on their negative thinking or worse, their moral failings is just a form of societal gaslighting and is utterly evil itself. It’s also rife with hypocrisy– the Positive Thinking Powers That Be denigrate the emotions of guilt and shame for themselves, but they make sure those who haven’t been blessed the way they have feel plenty of guilt and shame for not having been “enough.” They never stop to think how impossible it is for someone who is struggling every day just to have enough to eat or with severe pain or illness to think in a positive way. It’s much easier for the already privileged and healthy to be able to say “life is good” and mean it. The well heeled Positive Thinking bots never stop to think of this–or they just don’t care, which is most likely the case, because those who haven’t been “blessed” with wealth or good health MUST have done something wrong to deserve it.

Any society that is empathy-starved is eventually going to self destruct.

For further reading, check out this article from The New York Times and also this one about empathy being a choice.

I feel like I’m a bad friend.

bad_friend

Tonight on a whim I looked up an old Facebook friend I hadn’t talked to since 2012 (we had been close from 2009-2011) and was shocked and very upset to learn that she died this past September of Merkel cell carcinoma. She’d had to have part of her jaw and her lips removed and I even saw her post that first announced her terminal cancer diagnosis. She asked for prayers.

I never knew. I never bothered to check in on her until tonight and felt just awful about not having been there at all for her while she was in so much pain and dying. I left a post on her wall (which is still up) telling her to rest in peace and how sorry I was. What else can you say to a dead friend you abandoned? Sure, she was only a Facebook friend but I still feel like an insensitive heel.

About two years ago, another casual friend, someone I had actually known through work who ran a blog about living in poverty in the United States, and who was known to have suffered from major depression, committed suicide. I hadn’t talked to her in several months, and it was her husband who posted about her death on her wall. I learned this horrible news THE DAY AFTER she killed herself. All I could do was offer some kind words to her bereaved husband, who had loved her very much and was understandably devastated. I felt ashamed at not having talked to this woman during the months prior to her suicide and was almost too embarrassed to say anything to her husband.

I always seem to find out bad news about friends and people I used to know on Facebook, which is another reason I don’t like Facebook too much.

But neither of these things are as terrible as the way I treated a close friend of mine from back in the 1980s. Robert was gay and he was one of my best friends for several years. We used to have a blast together, and were even roommates for awhile. I remember planning his 21st birthday party and how much fun it turned out to be (and I hate parties!)

But Robert was also promiscuous and brought strange men home while we were roommates. He also developed schizophrenia around this time, and due to both his bringing men I didn’t know to the apartment and his declining mental condition, I had no other choice but to move out. We continued to remain in touch occasionally even after I married, but over time, as friendships do when lives go in different directions, we lost contact and stopped speaking.

betrayal

Just after my son was born in 1991, I received a phone call from Robert’s sister. She told me Robert was in the hospital and very close to death. He had AIDS and had lost his vision and his mind, and was no longer able to feed himself and had to be cared for like an infant. It occurred to me he probably already had AIDS during the time I knew him. I was shocked at the news and promised to come visit him in the hospital, but I never did. In all honesty, I was afraid to see him like that and chickened out, even though I had intended to go.

He died two weeks later. His sister called again and invited me to the funeral. Again, I didn’t attend because of the guilt I felt over having abandoned him and never visited him in the hospital.

I realized later how selfish this was of me, only caring about my own needs and feeling like seeing him like that would be too upsetting and just plain weird. My friend needed me when he was dying and I let him down. I never forgave myself for that and still pray for God to forgive me for my selfishness. I’m sure He has, but I never really forgave myself.

That’s why I feel like I’m a terrible friend and maybe don’t deserve to have any.

Reblog: “Why is my Life so Rotten?”

depression

My friend and fellow narc-abuse blogger, Fivehundredpoundpeep over at Blogspot, wrote this heartbreaking post today.

She’s far from alone. I think all of us ACONS have felt this way, some of us for our entire lives. I know I have until very recently, and I still feel this way more often than I let on. It’s gotten better, much better lately, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Surely this feeling of well being is TEMPORARY and before I know it the rug will be ripped out from under me. Of course thinking that is as unrealistic as thinking I’ll be singing and dancing and grinning like a fool for the rest of my life (even if I was raised in a normal home, that kind of upbeat perkiness just ain’t in my nature as both an Aspie and someone probably biologically prone to bottomless depressions–the narcs just exacerbated what was probably natural to me anyway). But I just don’t trust anything good. Is that because I feel like I don’t deserve anything good, because my abusers said I didn’t? Can’t I just enjoy these strange new feelings without QUESTIONING them all the time, or wondering if God is playing some cruel joke on me?

So here is her post. If anyone who comes to this blog has any suggestions for her, please post them in the comments or over on her blog at Blogger. http://fivehundredpoundpeeps.blogspot.com/2015/01/why-is-my-life-so-rotten.html#comment-form

Why is my Life so Rotten?

Dear God, Tell Me Why It Went So Bad.
Sometimes even a Christian wonders why so much is going wrong. I don’t buy into the Christianity that tells me if I have enough faith the piles of money will show up like Joel Osteen but sometimes I am serious wondering why the suffering quotient is going up so high. My husband bless his soul too, has been shaking his head regarding our collective misery. I have to pray about what is becoming of me and seek the spiritual answers too.

Sick And More Sick With No End
Why was I on antibiotics for three weeks, [swollen saliva glands] and then got a leg infection this week? That scares me. Maybe the doctor’s aren’t calling me back because they are stumped too. All Aspies hate making phone calls, I can cry from the stress of trying to get something I need from neurotypicals. How pushy should I be? Should I yell at them yet? Will I offend them and ruin the medical relationship? Did I say the wrong thing? I may tell my doctor who knows I am an Aspie, that I can’t take it anymore and want extensive refills on my antibiotics.

If anything the antibiotics should have prevented a leg infection. I did not have any leg infections for a year and a half. I felt free and like I had hope, only now to realize that has now passed like a fart in the wind. I did my Flexitouch every day, except 1 day when I had the flu for 7 months. I wrapped without fail. Why am I being punished for something I did not do? I worked hard to keep my legs from being infected. I don’t want to go back to the leg infections slamming me, and being afraid everyday. When they hit it is like the worse flu on earth and 4 days ago, I got a revisit to flu land with a high fever and pain. Will they even believe me? Or will they think I was not compliant when I was to the max?

Typhoid Mary ruined what little good in my life there was. I am sure by now she is on another tens of thousands of dollar cruise, enjoying her life. She would cry if she had my life and was forced to give up recreational shopping and traveling. I am sure as I almost puked my guts out this morning from stomach acid run amuck and handed two-thirds of my income over to keep a roof over my head–my husband pays the other bills and put the check in the manager’s slot yesterday, that Mommy Dearest is busy shopping from her second home in a warm state and going out to eat and enjoying her life. Fun for them, and constant misery for me. Why?

Why did I win the CRAPPY LIFE AWARD? The only people suffering more then me are in prison or the street. I even watched Intervention the other day thinking, look at those thin bodies, and their families still love THEM with a feeling of jealousy. I know people aren’t supposed to feel sorry for themselves. I have to smile and act with it, so I don’t scare people away in the regular world and since this is my blog why not be honest. I know nice people around here who have helped me, and don’t want to stress them out more. How did my life become such a mess? Every one I know who hit my age, got at least one break. Where’s mine?

I’m supposed to start a new lung medication today but afraid wondering what else will go wrong?

Nothing but Endless Disappointment
I have gotten to a place where I expect disappointment. That is not good. I have prayed to God incessantly about what to do about my rotten life and have hit a brick wall. I am sad and upset about many many things.

Self-help and endless advice books do not provide the cash or decent body I need to be happy. Every time I relax and get happy inspite of these things and it has happened on occasion, it’s like the rug is pulled out from underneath my feet. There is a void in too many places I can’t seem to fill. There are things I want to do that keep getting thwarted. My life is one where I am too tired to do everything and crying in frustration about all my undone tasks and people I have failed. The literal physical exhaustion is wearing me down, and I fear a totally bed-ridden life awaiting.

I don’t want to be Aunt Scapegoat with her head hung down, and the black cloud growing and sitting alone one day staring at a wall totally broken. I am scared. I do not want to be her. I fear spiritual destruction at the hands of my Job-like existence.

What happens to someone who is an outcast mentally whose body is an enemy from hell? Now I understand why people do drugs and drink themselves into oblivion. I don’t recommend this of course but this world sometimes has so much sadness on the menu.

For seasoned ACONS who I know read my blog, please tell me if this can be the stresses of no contact. A lot of people disappointed me within the FOO beyond measure. Why can’t my brain stop ruminating about it? Am I buckling under the pressures of my year and half into no contact, having to walk away from the majority of my family and severe disabilities and financial problems combined? What if I am tired of having to be strong?

I Need Something To Look Forward To.
I need something to look forward to. Why can’t I have ONE THING to LOOK FORWARD TO? I have hope in heaven but I need SOME HOPE in this life. I do not think it is wrong to pray to God for some hope in my earthly life too or even just a time of respite. If I was a normal healthy person, I would hit the road right now seriously, go somewhere warm, go find some FUN. Hey I could do this now but it would mean not paying the rent and flirting with homelessness. There must be some reason I keep telling my husband as a joke, or maybe it’s not a joke, “Lets run away!”

All 12 step programs warn about the geographical cure not working but sometimes you just feel trapped. You want an escape from the grind. Some people with jobs may say “Every day is a vacation for you! Shut yer trap!” but everyone needs time away.

Positive Thinkers Prattle On
The positive thinkers would tell me, “you’re not thinking positive enough”, this is why nothing but bad things happen to you. In other words, the whole you are creating your own reality. But the inverse of that is they are just like my narcissists who told me everything bad happening is my fault. Both things are wrong.

I’m sick of thinking everything is my fault. I am sick of being told if I do this, that and this, that the results will ensue. I spent three hours a day on my stupid legs for the last year and half and my bad leg still betrayed me. Why don’t I get good results? I am sick of waiting for the hammer to fall, for the car to break down and the streets awaiting. I need a break.

If you were my life coach, what would you tell me?

Here was my reply:

Peep, I don’t cry easily but this post just did it. I have for most of my life felt exactly the same way–down to just about every detail you talk about here. No, I don’t have your health problems but my whole life I have felt like a failure, a loser, someone with no talents, no skills, painfully shy because I’m aspie, paranoid, feeling like God (who I wasn’t sure I even believed in) was putting me up as a joke, an “example” to others of how not to be. Like you, I looked at other people’s families who actually loved them and gave them the life tools they needed and wondered why mine were so cold and distant and disapproving of me. I was suspicious of everyone’s motives, and always, ALWAYS under the thrall or spell of a malignant narcissist. Sometimes more than one at a time.
I didn’t realize that was the whole problem–that and no perspective. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.

There are many days (most days) I still feel like a colossal failure, but because of blogging I may have (MAY have) found my purpose. I don’t get paid for it but I have a good feeling about it.

That’s where I think you are headed too, Peep. You are a brilliant, entertaining, heartfelt writer, with one of the best blogs I’ve seen on narcissism. Either that or your art. Your paintings are beautiful and you can write. Perhaps you can write a book on Amazon – it doesn’t cost anything (I don’t think–I have to look more into that) but I think your story would sell. You could even illustrate it with your wonderful “fat lady” paintings. Your life may have been painful but I think there is a purpose for everything–and God gave you this life in order for you to help others, and I think that’s going to be through writing or art, or both.

I don’t know if this would work for you, but I know I want to write a book at some point. I really feel like God is showing me my path that I have searched for all my life, and my difficult past was meant to prepare me to write about it and help others once I helped myself.

I’m not trying to be a know it all, Peep or tell you what to do, but I really think you already know this and are ready to take that next step. Don’t give up on God (not that you are)–we don’t know what his motives or timetable are, and all I can really tell you is there is a plan, you have not suffered this all in vain.

You are fortunate to have a husband who loves you too, one who understands your Aspieness, who is not a narcissist–lean on him for support. That’s a real blessing.

But don’t feel bad or guilty about feeling depressed. It just means you’re human and are reacting the only way you can to all the insanity you have been subjected to. But it WILL get better. Never lose hope or give up. You have helped so many with your blog and your story.