I made a major breakthrough in my recovery process this morning.
And I owe it all to you – DEAREST READERS.
You see, when I started this blog, as I have already said, it was a project blog and the project was to shovel, shift and sort through 2 dumptrucks worth of rocks and sub-par dirt.
And, for the most part, this is still a Project Blog – only now – the project really is me and not something that I am doing.
Now, I am doing many things and I have many skills. So that’s all good.
While I started this blog to make myself shovel dirt and get my garden photo ready, it’s really about communication.
You see, I lost my ability to communicate with people face to face, so I took to the internet to keep my sanity – and well, you all know what the internet is like – ill mannered bullies and anti-social behaviours online are actually worst than similar behaviours face to face.
Because when you only use words to communicate – and online, words, as the Bee Gees so earnestly sang – words are all we have.
So please – for the sake of agoraphobic shut ins every where – and for anyone who’s ever been bullied or made to feel like less of a person.
Use your words kindly and wisely – and most importantly, compassionately.
Because you never know – who is going to see your words or how they are going to emotionally react to them.
And they maybe – just words – on a screen or a page or billboard or somewhere – but words – especially when combined with images and sound – these are how humans relate to each other – we are social creatures – and well.
Social Media is the most unfriendly, uncivil and anti-social technology that we have invented, because it actually isolates us from each other – far more than anyone who spends their day in front of a computer and juggling other electronic gadgets can ever realize.
I stopped wearing a watch in 1992 – and I have to tell you – that action alone – reduced my stress levels so much – and it’s because I do not pay any attention to time – that I have been able to reduce my stress levels now.
I keep this thought in the foreground of all of my thoughts:
This is Now, Later will be different.
And this guiding principle – is what helps me – to get through, passed, beyond or around anything or anyone.
I live in the now – but I live for later.
So – I am going to go offline for a while – because – my second thought – is
What Would Suzanne Lyons Do?
And Suzanne, she is Elvis to me and then, well, sorry, once you mention Elvis – I can’t control myself:
If you’re an Elvis fan, no explanation is needed and if you are not:
none is possible
so now – I was a good little girl this morning – and I did not have an anxiety or panic attack – and I got up this morning and I managed to do everything that I needed to do – all my morning chores – I fed and watered the cat, Let the dogs out, fed and watered them, drove my baby to the Morning Train – and she’s in Vancouver, working 9 to 5 – and I can’t wait for her to come home tonight, I wait for that every day – because – while I am – practically – a stay at home republican housewife – I am a lesbian and an Elvis fan – both at the same time.
And after I left that morning train station, I did not drive to the grocery store, which I dread doing alone in normal circumstances – but have found that it’s okay to go when the grocery stores are first opened, there’s so few people that I can shuffle through the store and shop without incidents that could trigger panic or anxiety attacks.
And it’s very scary to be out and alone – not knowing when or who – you encounter will trigger a panic attack – and the last thing that my spouse needs is another call from me, telling her that I am in a hospital psyche ward again.
Well, if they would even let me call her – if I could remember her phone number, I guess I could call her – but I can’t cope with numbers yet, so phone numbers are beyond my mental capacity still – but I am getting much more comfortable with numbers – so it won’t be long – Dearest Readers.
Now – as to what would Suzanne Lyons do?
Well, I am going to share something that she said in Flash Forward and I don’t think she will mind – because if you watch her videos – she will tell you everything herself – and I do not, cannot in fact, compete with Suzanne Lyons.
She is – informally – my mentor and my role model.
Now – I promised myself something today – and I went to the lab to have my bloodwork done – and I have learned a trick about making needles painless – and I learned it from a public health nurse who worked at the Gay and Lesbian Centre – when – my spouse and I – well, girlfriends then – we did several things when we first got together:
1. We talked about how our birth families handled disagreements and we resolved to find a way to avoid and mitigate disagreements – and it was two years into our relationship before we had a disagreement – and we stuck to our agreed upon plan.
2. We went and had AIDS tests together – it was 1994 – and neither of us – had any reason to suspect either of us had been exposed, but – you can never know – so – we went together and got tested. We were both negative. Not a surprising test result, given that lesbians are the lowest risk group for AIDs, but that is not the only STD out there – so – being able to talk to your sexual partner – which all the women’s magazines tell gals repeatedly and endlessly to do – to improve the quality and duration and intimacy of the sex – but – the problem is – guys don’t like to talk – and they don’t like to wear condoms – and if they weren’t circumcised, wearing a condom wouldn’t be a bad thing – because it’s that religiously performed and migrated to medical procedure that makes men’s penis less sensitive to sexual stimulation – and when you combine that with – men’s masturbatory one hand/one speed technique – well, now I am not a man and I am a lesbian, but – I do read: Dan Savage
In fact, I even had a letter published in his column back when it was called “Hey Faggot” and not – as it’s called now – Savage Love – but that’s a post for another day. Now, I don’t know if my letter was ever published in his books, I doubt it – since – my letter provided an answer to a question that he couldn’t get an answer to – so I wrote in the answer and he published my letter – and it was not like the other letters with the clever or punny or punitive names – my letter was simply signed off as: Nina
Anyway, enough of the sex talk – I have a grapefruit to eat.
I want you to know – that right now – there’s a windstorm around my house – there’s a lot of branches banging against the house, there’s airplane noise overhead, and I can faintly hear the roar of traffic and it’s punctuated by ambulance and police sirens.
Normally, just that is enough to make me cower and shiver in anxiety – but not today.
Not even with the barky little dogs that my neighbours don’t control or make any attempt to keep quiet – and those miserable little dogs – set off all the big dogs in the neighbourhood – and often – it’s like the 101 Dalmatians in the suburbs – dogs howl and bark – that’s social media at it’s finest and purest communication.
But today – I did all my morning chores – not in the right or correct sequence, but I got them all done – and then, I went to the lab and had my bloodwork done – adn I didn’t panic when the lab tech came in and her badge had a red line with the word STUDENT across it.
Instead – I spoke very quietly and I asked her if I could explain something.
She said yes and I told her that I was agoraphobic and that I had a dread of needles, although I stopped finding them painful a long time ago – and if she was only drawing one tube of blood – I wouldn’t have said anything.
But, I know how to read my lab requisition and I knew that there would be two if not three vials of blood drawn – and the needle – that’s the kid pain part – and I got over that a long time ago – for me – it’s the feeling of low pressure in my arm – and the lack of finesse that most technicians – well – they only put the needle in once – and then they pull off and push on – second and third vials – and that makes the needle move inside your arm – and those vials are vacuum controlled – and I am very sensitive to pressure changes – it’s why diabetics have such a difficult time flying and have to turn off their insulin pumps.
Anyway – I asked her if I could teach her a trick that I learned from a community public health nurse – so they all know about these tricks of distraction that take your mind off that they are about to poke you with a needle.
And this is the trick.
You have to take a deep breath and hold it – and look anywhere else in the room.
They have to have the needle ready and say “now” and insert the needle
and when they say “now” you have to exhale – and it works as long as all you are thinking about – is breathing.
IF they are gentle – and there’s no reason why they can’t be – you won’t feel the needle because you will be relaxed.
So – she listened and she agreed – and I noticed – that she had become a lot more relaxed.
After she finished the second vial – she looked at me and said – thank you.
And I saw something – a micro expression – you can google it – flicker on her face.
Then, she looked down at the floor then up at me, sitting down in front of her and I looked up at her – and she confessed – in a low amber voice.
It’s my first day working in a lab and you were my second blood draw and I was so nervous the first time.
So, I smiled at her and said, you were great, I never felt the needle, the only part that made me uncomfortable was the low pressure in my arm during the second vial. It made me nauseated, but, I knew it was just going to be like that until the needle was removed – and that I would be okay again.
Then, I asked her – can I tell you – just one more thing?
She smiled and said, I could tell her anything. We were just enjoying each other’s company – and I knew – that there was a waiting room full of people – but – their experience in that back room was going to happen after mine – and this was the tech’s first day – and I wanted her to have a very good day – the start of her brand new career.
So I said – well, if you employ that breathing technique, which is basically, yoga, then you’ll never have to worry about people being afraid to see you.
Because – Dentists – of all medical disciplines – have the highest suicide rate – and it’s because – everyone is afraid or resents going to see them.
That really wears on a person – especially – if you’re a dentist – because – dentistry – good mouth health – has been a critical factor in increasing the human life span and improves the quality of your life immeasurably.
And while Canada – has universal health care – it’s not really universal since it does not include dentistry – and it does include paying for a lot of things – that have no scientific or medical basis – in particular:
Chiropractic so called care – which has been scientifically proven to cause strokes and has not a single medical basis for being a credible treatment.
Massage yes – bone manipulation – no – especially not in the neck or spinal column.
So – here’s the way to tell good medicine from bad medicine:
Good medicine treats the problem and sends you back to your life.
Bad medicine, treats the perceived symptoms and keeps you coming back for treatments.
now – I have to go – offline for a while – because – so far, I’ve only eaten three sections of that grapefruit – and I have all morning – to linger, guilt free, and enjoy that Texas pink grapefruit – for as long as I can, in an many ways as I can and, DEAREST READERS
I can’t tell you – just how long, I have waited, to be able to eat grapefruit again, the breakfast of brainy people everywhere…..