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I am in pain and in a mood today.
I shouldn’t be, but I am.
It is what it is.
What it is is Friday before Mother’s Day. My house will be full with my progeny this weekend, but my heart feels half empty.
I miss my Mother, Lynda. I miss my Mom, Susan.
I’m missing my grandmothers; Helen, my Nennie, and Arlene, whose nickname was Teeny but to me she was Nana.
I don’t know why certain days have to be so hard, and since we lost Susan in December, my days have felt like one continuous sad groundhog day, starring me instead of Bill Murray. But some days are way worse than others. This is one of those days.
I have been experiencing some panic attacks lately. Some anxiety I have a hard time getting a handle on. Running is helping a lot, but sometimes it isn’t enough. So I have to run further. Or take a nap.
As I drank coffee at 6 am this morning, I felt the anxiety rise and my eyes flooded yet again. The brief thought came to my mind about going to the doctor to get something to help. All it would take is a quick appointment and then I would leave with a bottle of Xanax to get me through this weekend. It’s very tempting.
Until I remember. I remember that I don’t do Xanax. Or Valium or Ambien to sleep. I even refuse pain medication stronger than a Goody’s PM. I refuse them because I am a recovering drug addict.
Didn’t see that coming?
Yep, me either.
No one saw it coming, but it came. And it was all completely legit.
During my cancer treatment and the diagnosis of Lupus, followed by years of surgeries and recoveries, my body could no longer handle the pain. Terrible, beyond description pain. Every nerve ending in my body was on fire, constantly. There were parts of me that had deep, throbbing pain, parts that had sharp, shooting pain. Everything hurt, every minute of every day. It was the most miserable time of my life.
During this time, my doctors sent me to a pain clinic to help manage my pain. I went willingly and trusted their recommendation. For the next several years, while going through all the other stuff, I remained a patient at the pain clinic.
The benefit with being a pain clinic patient is more drugs for when you are in pain.
The problem with being a pain clinic patient is more drugs for when you are in pain.
When you first become a patient, you are started on low doses, but as time goes on, your resistance to those doses build, and you get bumped up. And up. And up. Before you know it, you are taking so many things at such high does, it is a miracle you wake up every morning. Truthfully.
It took a friend passing away in our home due to prescription pain medicine, prescribed by a doctor and obtained legitimately to finally pull me out of the bottle of pills I had fallen in. I had fallen in hard, needing hospitalizations multiple times due to nothing more than issues caused by pain medicine. It was a miracle that it didn’t kill me, and I still say to this very day that our friend’s death was my wake up call. When the coroner wheels a body out of your house that your neighbors think is you, it opens your eyes.
So I chose to step away from that which was numbing me to the pain, because it was also numbing me to life. I stopped the pain and mood medicines. I found new ways to deal with my pain by using my brain. Yoga, meditation, so much prayer that I could have probably joined a nunnery save for the fact that I am not Catholic. I did everything I could to stay away from that which my doctors wanted to give me so freely. I am still doing everything I can to stay away from that which would be given so easily.
Like today. I do want a Xanax, because the hurt part of me wants to be numb and not feel the pain of loss. Then there is that other part of me. The fire in my spirit, the guide in my brain that tells me, “No. This pain you CAN get through. You WILL get through it. Allow yourself to feel it. To not block it out but to accept it for what it is. Then allow yourself to let it go, in the way that works for you, knowing that deep down, it is because of such great love that you can feel such great pain, and that is a blessing.”
My inner voice is right. It is a blessing to feel pain sometimes. It lets us know we are alive. That we are experiencing life. All of it, the good and bad.
Childbirth is one of the most painful things a woman can go through, yet we do it again and again, throughout time, because the reward from that pain is so incredibly great. Mothering in itself is painful, no matter if you birthed your children or not. We hurt when our children hurt, we hurt when they become snotty teens and hurt us. Sometimes we numb that with a glass of wine, an extra yoga class or just a girls’ night out with friends, but we don’t numb it permanently, because the joy of when your teen apologizes is greater than any relief you could get from a Percocet; the surge of love you feel when that tiny hand in yours squeezes tight is stronger than any dosage of any mood stabilizer created by man.
If you are one of the motherless this weekend, it is okay to allow yourself to numb the pain if you need to, but it is also okay to scream, shout, run, cry, dance, reminisce and feel. Let our pain of missing them reflect their pain of bringing us into the world and let us honor that circle, that bond.
One of my guilty pleasures is watching South Park. Yes, I know it is crude, but it makes me laugh and there is a lot of hidden genius in the writing. I am closing out this post with a favorite clip, A Beautiful Sadness, because that is what this is and as painful as it is, I don’t want to numb it.
Until next time,