One State of Mind, and Uncontrollable Pain

There’s so much I want to say, and so much I want to protect. I’ll try to say what I need to, without disrupting the delicate balance between the two.

Have you ever felt divinely guided in one direction, and maybe been afraid to jump? Or let me rephrase and say, were you overly cautious about a huge move? That’s where I am, and it’s scary. If you tend to psychoanalyze your decisions, as I am wont to do (to the Nth degree), then it’s terrifying, all while being amazing and exhilarating at the same time. I don’t jump; I’m careful. Until I’m not.

No matter what I do, all signs point in one direction. It might as well be a fucking headline in glaring red. I can’t go anywhere without reminders, either. If you’re into symbology, you will understand what I mean. The signs are in front of your face constantly. If you’re not into symbols, then maybe you understand synchronicity. I’ve pondered things ad nauseum for over five years, now. Around this time, last year, the symbology shifted and I tried hard to ignore it because I wasn’t ready from a mental perspective. I told myself I was being ridiculous. But now? It’s virtually impossible to ignore. It’s everywhere I turn. It’s the Universe saying, “Remember what you prayed for? I’m giving it to you. Be careful with it, but don’t you dare walk away. I worked too hard to bring this to you. This is YOUR magic, and this is all yours. Hold on tight, because this doesn’t happen for everyone. Don’t run from your destiny.” It leaves you in complete awe.

This keeps me up at night, praying for guidance. Guidance is laughing, because I’m struggling with this, and guidance tells me to listen and take what’s mine and meant for me. If there’s anything I hate, it’s me bringing up something completely unrelated in therapy, and allowing it to eat up 20-40 minutes of the time I am allotted every other week. Unfortunately, it ate up time twice in six weeks. I felt stupid bringing it up in the first place, until my doctor said I was doing the right thing. There’s nothing wrong with being cautious, smart, having difficult discussions, and powering through. Essentially, this is also a form of guidance, as well as self-care. It helps me work things out on my own, which is something I did long before I had anyone in my life to play therapist on any level. There’s a lot to be said for people who are capable of doing the work on their own. Let me be clear; none of this work is easy, but you have to show up for yourself.

Sometimes I can focus solely on the work I choose to do in order to improve myself, and other times I need to express myself in a rush because both of my best friends lost a parent this year (One lost both of her parents.), so they are essentially AWOL at the moment. It hurts me not to be able to share this with them, but I also don’t want to dump my drama on anyone. I would rather say something in a year. They can be mad, but I choose to be respectful of their pain and suffering, as opposed to being selfish, self-centered, and/or self-absorbed. That’s not who I am. I’m not a martyr, but am I sensitive to what my tribe members are going through? Absolutely! If anything, I am more self-aware than most people, and this is one of my better qualities.

I know when things settle down, they will be there for me. These are two of my longest friendships, and I know both of them want what’s best for me, no matter what. The same is true in reverse, and it breaks my heart that I had to walk them though these losses, coming from a place of experience. Maybe that was a gift, in a bizarre sort of way. My parents’ losses are felt deeply, but if I can help someone else by sharing how I navigated it all, then it’s not entirely in vain. Everyone reading this will experience loss at some point in their lives, and I hope my words of encouragement will help even just one person.

Navigating the day-to-day aspects of what I am going through right now are harder. I have a lot of late-night discussions and random bursts of laughter. I still spend a lot of sleepless nights writing until the sun comes up. Sometimes I can cut myself off earlier, but this often means taking prescription sleep medication, and I can say this based on my experience with it; it doesn’t always work. It’s never been consistent for me, but there are times it completely knocks me out, and times when it wears off too quickly. No wants a sleep aid to wear off after 2-5 hours. Then you feel like you didn’t sleep at all, and the cycle continues.

I hurt my neck about six or seven weeks ago (which is part of why I am experiencing so much painsomnia.). It initially felt like it was a flare-up from sleeping in a weird position during a rapid weather change, but quickly became me not able to turn my head at all. The pain affected the entire left side of my body. It eased up after a few days and I went to a doctor and had some injections put into my neck. Normally, this settles everything down in a few days, but it’s been a while at this point, and I am suffering terribly, and the injection sites flared up, as well. Any stressful situation or conversation causes my neck to get worse. I don’t even realize how tight my neck is, until I try to move. My doctor told me the entire back of my neck and head are badly affected, so she added some medication to the back of my head, as well. No help.

I touched base with someone recently who is coming off of shoulder surgery due to a pinched nerve which, for ten years, tormented her. She’d finally had enough of the excruciating agony. My doctors decided it was a pinched nerve without running any tests. I’m not kidding; they recommended physical therapy via YouTube and a cervical collar which is SO painful, I am not sure where I threw it one day, but I do know I threw it out of frustration. To make a long story slightly shorter, I now have to deal with a shitty primary care physician in order to get him to go back into my chart when this first started (during the height of Covid), and insist we discuss it, and that tests be run this time around. During the last two flare-ups, they put me on short-term opioids (In May and again in October of 2020), along with long-term muscle relaxers, which made a dent. This time, I don’t even know if they’re strong enough to touch this pain. The muscle relaxers help me temporarily, but I’ve reached my pain threshold and I am worried surgery could end up on the table. There’s clear-cut nerve damage. If there’s something torn, I could be sidelined for 6-9 months. There are parts of my head and face that I don’t feel anymore. My right ear, especially. It seems weird, but I realized it last Winter, and another time when, recently, I was putting a small earring into my myriad piercings. I jammed a sharp earring into a piercing which, for some deeply unknown reason, wants to close up on me. I could understand if I never wore anything in it, but I actually do. Every time I leave the house. I’ve had it since I was about twenty, so I’m baffled by it giving me trouble over the past year or so. I left the house one day with the earring in (along with all of my others, none of which had given me trouble), only to later discover blood trickling down the side of my neck when I reached my destination. I never felt a thing. I cleaned it up with alcohol pads I keep in my purse, but later that night when I took the higher piercings out, it all stemmed from the third cartilage piercing. I disinfected everything and I still wear it, but some days I get fed up and skip it. It’s not worth popping it open, having it swell up, etc. Eventually, I will find out if it’s related to a metal allergy, but honestly, one piercing out of so many seems a bit odd, even to me. Of late, all of them are swelling up, except for one. It’s been an odd, random experience, to say the least.

Obviously, I have a lot of my plate right now. In advance, I would like to thank all of you for sticking with me this year. I have definitely been out of sorts and challenged beyond measure, but I am grateful to walk this website into another year (Which officially starts on the 26th.). I did take a lengthy break from writing over the past while, because I needed it, I was burning out, and my focus needed to be elsewhere. My focus remains where it needs to be. I will revisit what I’ve been working on and forge ahead, but I might focus the next few months on a How-To manual (If you know, you know.). The idea started out as a joke between myself and a mother figure, but I quickly realized I might be on to something. If nothing else, I keep people laughing, and there’s a bonus to that.

If I am not able to write anything more this month, I want you to savor all the good moments. Be it Fall or Spring where you live, enjoy the little things, the big things, and everything in between. You never know when you might be stumbling on something life-changing. I’ve been the dumbest brunette on earth this year (In my bubble of an existence.), but I’m embracing the magic and protecting what, and who, I value beyond measure.

Wishing you all a wonderful remainder to the month of October. 🍁🍂🍃

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino-Molchanova & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author.

There Comes A Time For Healing…

“There comes a time for healing no matter how broken you are right now; no matter how heavy your heart is right now.
There comes a time when you will go outside and let the sun shine on your face and let the wind touch your hair, and you will not be tired by just simply being awake.
There comes a time when you will be happy to be alive again and that day you will appreciate your own being because now you know the other side.
Now you know the opposite.
Now you know what it’s like to not be sure if you really are; who you really are; if you simply are, anymore.
And that day will be the beginning of everything.”
―Charlotte Eriksson

Out of Time Blues

I blinked and it’s Thanksgiving week. How the hell did that happen?! The past two years have truly been a blur, and I definitely wasn’t having any fun. Yesterday was the most Friday-feeling a Monday could be. I spent the entire afternoon confused about what day it was and what the damn time was. Genuinely sad. We’ll add it to the list of things that make me feel completely fucking pathetic. 😦

I’m chalking a lot of this confusion up to burnout. Nine to ten hours of sleep most nights doesn’t really fix anything for me, either. The body needs constant rest and calm, two things I find extremely difficult to achieve long-term. I was born stressed (that’s not a joke, but an actual fact.). I’ve struggled with insomnia for so long, I don’t think about it much any more. Not until it interrupts my life and screws with my ability to be a functioning human-being. It’s doing that now; interrupting my life, and it has been for a long time. I’ve worked so hard to regulate it and get it under control. As soon as I do, and I think I’m on to something, something else happens which completely interrupts the new cycle, and then I am back at square one. I will address that with my doctor next year (In truth, I am looking for a new doctor because this one makes me contemplate evil things.).

I have been experiencing bone-deep, soul-deep exhaustion. A misdiagnosis for chronic fatigue is evident, and I’m going to confront it. The last time I made the statement about how exhausted and drained I feel, my doctor found my Vitamin D levels were almost non-existent. It has never happened to me in my entire life (Especially as someone who avoids the sun.), so he blew it off as a New England thing. Yeah, I rolled my eyes at that ridiculous explanation, only to find out it IS quite common here. He put me on a two month prescription to replenish my stores and then ordered me to take 2000 mgs every single day afterwards. Not a single change in how I feel as happened by supplementing Vitamin D, and I’m not going to keep taking them if they’re unnecessary. My other tests were normal, but the few that were questionable were also blown off. I have major organs I need to be concerned about, and a doctor who doesn’t give a shit because his agenda doesn’t involve actually helping me. The previous doctors who treated me were big on recommending Tylenol and Aleve any time my chronic pain came up. They didn’t care if I was taking a bottle a month, so long as I wasn’t talking to them about my physical pain levels, because G-d forbid a pain patient should want quality of life! This doctor had a low-key meltdown over the mere mention of Tylenol, and when we spoke, I had stopped taking it entirely. His thought process was that it was killing my organs. Gee, ya think?! Stop pushing it at pain patients like it’s 1982! We aren’t amused, and gastrointestinal bleeds are at an all-time high right now where pain sufferers are concerned. It ISN’T overdose, it’s neglect. We aren’t being given options, unless it’s to be treated like hardcore addicts at pain clinics, with monthly pill counts and drug testing. If you come up negative for the prescribed drug, you don’t even get to say, “Maybe I metabolize it faster than other people do.”, which is a real thing, because you’ll immediately be accused of selling your pills. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who regularly goes to a pain clinic. They’ve seen it all, and it scares them. A friend of mine was shamed by the doctor at a clinic because one pill a day is not helping her. She’s suffering, but was given the riot act on how she should feel like a failure if one pill a day isn’t enough. I was OUTRAGED when I heard what happened. I find the language used towards pain patients pretty despicable to begin with, so this was a new low.

I decided to set a few of my writing projects aside in order to focus on something more important, for now. I’m not going to walk away from solid opportunities, even if that means moving out of my comfort zone a little, or in this case, a lot. I caught myself being pulled in too many directions and at the end of the day, there’s only one me. Telling my brain is harder than telling myself what I am doing on any given day. The brain is slower on the uptake. If you ever assume I’m being hard on myself, it’s because I am. Harder than I care to admit.

Sometimes I don’t think other people realize how blessed they are to be in good health. They will mention minor issues to me and I’ll find myself utterly dispassionate and disinterested in such things which can easily be corrected. I openly admit to lacking empathy and compassion about a LOT of things these days. Most people don’t know me well enough to know that’s how I’m reacting, but I’m being honest about it. What bothers me day in and day out doesn’t seem to affect other people, and I slowly catch on to their behavioral changes (I love when people think I don’t notice how they’re behaving towards me. They’re underestimating my intuition.), and then make adjustments to my response system in accordance. It’s a psychological survival technique, and for some of us, it’s every day life.

Getting out of bed each day without pain is something people should be grateful for. Little things you go through with no issue or suffering… Please consider how it sounds to people who are suffering so much that they have stopped communicating how bad it is to you because they are met with disinterest. We’re glad it’s easy for you, but we’d like to be considered, too. I’ve become dispassionate as a result of the lack of support. I am not alone in my emotional responses, either. I talk to people who are experiencing the same damn thing. We’re fed up, and we only feel supported in our own communities.

This year, I’m ditching Thanksgiving entirely. I am grateful for what I have every single day of my life, and Chanukah begins on the 28th. I decided to embrace that above all else. I had the best time finding unique, handmade items for my close family members. I’m not entirely done, but I paid attention to the things that bothered them last year, and tried to find happier things for this holiday, which is my absolute FAVORITE. I boxed up a bunch of treats for my brother, which he’ll likely get in time. He’ll also be receiving some cool things from a company I found on Etsy. I did almost all of my holiday shopping by supporting small businesses on Etsy’s website. Not only were they happy to help, but they were also timely in getting things shipped out. I had to hide things in some ridiculously uncreative ways, but I’m so excited to see the joy on people’s faces when they open up something that not everyone will own. Anyone who is receiving a surprise in the mail will hopefully be delighted, as well. I tried to be thoughtful and unique in all of my choices, and it stems from years of cringing every time someone would ignore me, and give me something I’d never in a million years look at.

Is it odd that after all these years, I’d be happier with a Harry Potter memento, as opposed to a book I probably won’t read (If you follow me on Goodreads, you probably have an idea of who my top ten favorite authors might be.)? I’m only slightly furious that Pandora created all these amazing Harry Potter charms, yet made them overpriced as hell. That’s okay, though, as I don’t buy their items anyway, but if you were looking at these charms, I will say the detail is incredible. They’re beautiful. I’ve had my own Harry Potter charm bracelet since 2003. I had it custom made in Arlington, Texas and while I do have to polish it, it still means a lot to me, as does my original which is so jam-packed you can hear me coming if I wear both of them together.

Is it terrible that I don’t think Ulta gift cards EVER go out of style (They don’t, and you can tell by how I used my birthday gift cards from the brands I work with throughout the year. Asian skincare is THE BEST, but have you tried The Ordinary? Excellent product line. It’s affordable, but they don’t skimp out on quality. Their most expensive item is under $30. Since I also use 111 Skin, which is not cheap, it is very easy for you to do the math between the companies.)? If I want something badly enough, I will get it for myself or save up for it. I am the person who expects nothing from others, but gets a kick out of being the giver of gifts.

I will be staying out of big box stores this year for holiday items. I want small businesses to get the support. I plan to book an appointment at a local New Age/crystal shop, as well. I’ve become friendly with a local reader. I like her so much (You rarely hear me say I like anyone, so when I do, it’s a big deal for me.), and I’d rather support her as opposed to a total stranger who might not have the accuracy she does. That’s a gift to myself. I’ve found it’s wise to reward myself this time of year, too, especially since December is difficult as I move towards the anniversary of my Great-Uncle and father’s passing. It doesn’t get easier. Every year, the memories are so vivid for me and if I were a lesser being (As in, less emotionally intuitive and less emotionally intelligent.), it probably wouldn’t bother me, but it does. Honoring loved ones, even if the relationships weren’t what you may have hoped for, is still important. It’s my responsibility to do it as the leader for my generation. I could eschew it, but that feels wrong.

Next year, I will likely make a pilgrimage to all of the cemeteries involved since it’s important to make sure everything is cared for. My parents are low maintenance because it was their express request, but I haven’t been back to most graves in at least ten years, and I know it’s time. Especially when I consider how long it’s probably been since I’ve visited my Great-Grandparents’ graves. My Grandmother was still alive when I did it, so I know it’s been way too long. It’s depressing, but I feel a strong sense of responsibility for these things, even though they’re unpleasant parts of life, they’re also reality.

I’m sorry this is not an upbeat piece of work, but at least it’s honest. I look forward to sharing as we head toward a brand new year. 🙂

Wishing you all a good week,

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses©®™ is a copyrighted, registered trademark.

The Beginning Of Everything

“There comes a time for healing
no matter how broken you are right now;
no matter how heavy your heart is right now.
There comes a time when you will go outside
and let the sun shine on your face
and let the wind touch your hair
and you will not be tired by just simply being awake.
There comes a time when you will be happy to be alive again
and that day you will appreciate your own being
because now you know the other side.
Now you know the opposite.
Now you know what it’s like to not be sure if you really are; who
you really are;
if you simply are, anymore.
And that day
will be the beginning of everything.”
―Charlotte Eriksson