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Monday, May 21, 2012


Therapist talked with me about some things that are happening inside me which he believes will not be helpful. Then we discussed different strategies to circumvent the processes and try build the healthy habits and persona I've established. At the time I believed acting on those strategies would be a good idea. Today I no longer think so.

As I've worked on the assignments I've been feeling increasingly stressed. Granted, there are a number of things contributing to that which are beyond my control, but what I'm talking about is different. With each assignment I am left with the absolute certainty that I am "wrong." That everything about me is "wrong." That there is nothing about me redeeming or right or desirable or beautiful.

Even more, I'm feeling increasingly alone and isolated even when interacting with people. It feels as though we are not connecting. Please notice the italics. This does not feel solely as if it belongs to me. It feels as though I'm trying with all my might to feel some sort of camaraderie or affection or softness, but I'm blocked by the other person. What I want is definitely not what they want. Everything we discuss feels clinical and detached. I feel judged and analyzed--as though I'm an interesting specimen to be dissected and discarded.

Then, of course, because I've been trained to do so, I enter the cycle of wondering why it feels that way. Perhaps I'm not giving people enough breaks from me. Maybe I imagined there was genuine feeling from that person when there was not. Perhaps my perception that I'm friendly and delightful and sincere and real, is flawed and I'm just not that interesting.

But I refuse to believe this. I'm alone quite often and I'm never bored with my own company. I think interesting thoughts, see beautiful sights, and laugh often. I'm not ungainly or awkward. I don't have bad breath. I shower daily.

Besides, today at the gym a man asked me if I wanted to go get coffee after my workout--and at that point I was unshowered and sweaty (but my teeth were brushed). And since my gym partner reports to me that the man who invited me was "wowcute," I am left believing that there is something appealing about me. Darrin says this is true and, "Thank you for coming home instead of going out to coffee, as I don't think I would like that very much."

Maybe I'm trying too hard to be something I'm not. Maybe whatever processes identified by Therapist are a part of my integral makeup. Maybe there's nothing scary or bad or wrong about them at all. Maybe Therapist is the one who's wrong.

I don't know. But I do know I'm tired of being wrong, of having something wrong with me, of always doing or saying the wrong thing.

So today I think I'll spend the day with me. Maybe tomorrow I'll do the same. And maybe the next day, too.   Because I've been trying and trying to figure out how I fit in the lives of other people--something they don't even know themselves--and the truth is, I don't. Maybe no one really does. Perhaps that's why we float from friend to friend, and divorce is common, and families grow apart.

Regardless, the time has come for me to stop spending so much time "fixing" me. There are many things I'm not good at, but there are also things I do well. I might not be good at relationships, but I think I'm very good at the friendship cycle. And while I'm not the parent of the year, I spend lots of time with my kids and I believe they know I love them. And I'm still married after quite a few years. That's something.

There is so much about me that is healthy and good and right. I don't have the time or the patience to wait for anyone else to notice that. Today I have to just enjoy being me.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I have a ridiculous immune system. I contract the common cold/virus/flu once every two or three years. Sometimes though, I rely on that immune system a bit too much which results in something a bit more serious than the common cold. A couple of years ago I got H1N1 and I truly believed I might die. It was not good.

Two weeks ago I noticed my throat was sore. Two days later the soreness was gone. I felt fine. This is typical for me when I get a virus; the symptoms are mild and they only last a couple of days. But the next day I began coughing. Thinking that the virus must have triggered my asthma, I grabbed the inhaler I use a couple of times annually and took two puffs. It didn't help.

By Monday I was coughing every few minutes, and sometimes I would have coughing spasms. I thought about going to a doctor, decided I would be told I just had a virus and nothing could be done, and took more asthma medication.

The coughing increased. I didn't feel that my lungs were congested, but occasionally I would feel heaviness or difficulty inhaling. I just assumed they were tired--after all, I'd been coughing a lot.

For the past couple of nights I've not been able to get to sleep until after midnight; then I awake every hour because I'm coughing so much. This morning I tolerated it until 3:30 a.m. Then I got out of bed and folded laundry, did dishes, mopped floors, and checked email. I've not been able to run for two days because I've not felt well, but I went to the gym at that point and did the necessary strengthening exercises for my hip.

Darrin began badgering me to go to the doctor when he got home from work this afternoon. I didn't want to. I kept telling him I felt much better today than I had all week. He rolled his eyes at me.

We had to go to a rehearsal dinner for a wedding tonight. I felt miserable. After we'd been there for about an hour, Darrin made excuses to everyone and we left. I suggested we go to Walmart, but a dozen bottles of Nyquil and I'd drink it all. More eye-rolling from Darrin. As we headed to the store, we approached an urgent care clinic. Darrin suggested we make a quick stop. I rolled my eyes at him. However, I decided it couldn't hurt, especially because at this point when I coughed all the muscles in my stomach all the way down to my pelvic region wore cramping and hurting.

As it was almost 8:00 (which is when the clinic is supposed to close), we were almost immediately ushered into an exam room. The nurse and doctor took a brief medical history, then started the exam. For nearly five minutes the doctor listened to me breathe, saying, "Hmmmm..." each time.

The diagnosis:

1. Decreased function and spasms in both lungs.
2. Infection in both lungs.
3. Wheezing and low oxygen saturation.

Somewhere in all that, the doctor said something about almost pneumonia and why didn't I come in sooner and I stopped listening after that. I'm Samantha. I don't get pneumonia.

So now I'm on some stupid huge antibiotic, a steroid inhaler, and I'm supposed to take my regular inhaler every four hours. I'm very cranky about all this, and I'm still coughing.


I don't care. I'm going running tomorrow no matter what.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"I have just one day--today--and I'm going to be happy in it." ~ Groucho Marx

My daughter comes home from the hospital today. She's been there since Monday. We admitted her once again for suicidal thoughts/behavior, and a generalized suicide plan, rampant cutting, and debilitating depression.  Monday was not a great day.

I've been thinking a great deal since leaving Tabitha Monday morning.

In spite of everything, I am happy. I don't understand why. I just am.

I have reasons to be unhappy. Many of those reasons have been detailed here and in other blogs I keep. There have definitely been times when I've felt unhappy.

I understand suicidal feelings. I've experienced them. I know how it feels to believe death must be better than a current life situation.

I understand depression. I've felt it. I know that sometimes there are external reasons for, or physical causes of  depression, and sometimes there are not.

I understand eating disorders and cutting and false self-images and lack of self-esteem.

I know about loneliness.

Each time the above entities have reared their ugliness in my life, I've chosen not just to live, but to be happy. It wasn't a conscious choice, but it was a choice all the same. Sometimes it took awhile for me to find that happiness (or for it to find me), but eventually it arrived.

What I do not understand: my daughter.

For a few months I have allowed her anxiety and depression to interfere with my life to the point that I felt I no longer had one. That time is gone.

For a few months I have felt so much stress that I could not sleep at night and I dreaded arising in the morning. I no longer feel that.

For a few months I have longed to be free of my daughter and her problems. Today I will welcome her home without reservation.

What my daughter does not understand about me: It has become impossible for me to live in unhappiness. I can't do it. It seems that no matter how fast my unhappy feet can run, happiness is swifter--it inevitably overtakes me. And when I occasionally find myself running faster than normal, happiness simply runs in the opposite direction, circles around, and collides with me. I can't avoid it.

So while she remains in the morass of her depression, and continues to mutilate her body, and refuses to take her medication or use the provided therapy tools, or move beyond whatever hurts her now--I cannot stay with her in that place. Happiness moves me beyond it.

Today my daughter comes home. I will greet her, as I greet every person who enters my door, with my customary smile. She'll be hugged and kissed and loved as she always has been. I will encourage, and draw healthy boundaries, go to family therapy, and protect myself from being drawn into her nightmare. I will concentrate on doing the exercises and therapy assignments and daily projects which help me remain Samantha.

Daily I will walk with happiness, because it's so much easier to do that than to attempt avoiding it. Sometimes, at night, I will wonder why my face feels funny, and I'll realize it's because I'm still smiling even while I try to sleep. I will watch with awe as my royal purple irises bloom, wake to birdsong and sunlight in the morning, enjoy endorphins as I run, and plant herbs and tomatoes and beautiful flowers in my garden. I will inhale the scent of green as I mow the lawn. I will bake cookies, make up new recipes, and squeeze fresh lemons for lemonade. I will laugh and dance and turn in circles when I think no one is looking. I will sing.

I will live.

Because I am happy.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Mothers are all slightly insane." ~ J.D. Salinger

I've been waiting a long time to write this post. Until now, I could not because there were too many unresolved issues floating around inside me. Today I'm both relieved and sad that I've finally made it to the point where I can express the things I've wished to say for decades.

My mother is mentally deteriorating. A couple of years ago she suffered a small stroke. When the results of her medical tests returned, small dead spots had been found in her brain. At the time there was chicken/egg speculation as to which came first: the spots, which caused the stroke; or the stroke, which caused the spots. At this point, most of her physicians believe that the spots were there first--no one knows why. There is no genetic anomaly, she does not have Alzheimer's, and she has reported no trauma. However, what they do know is that the spots are becoming larger and no medication seems to deter them.

No trauma has been reported--which doesn't mean there has been none. My mother was a childhood victim of physical abuse from an alcoholic father. She used to remember the beatings given to her brother. Today she has no memory of that. I have no doubt that she was the recipient of similar abuse and that the dead spots in her head are a result of the trauma suffered from the time she was a toddler. I have no evidence nor medical records to back me up. It is simply my opinion.

Today my mother has no short-term memory. She has lost her sense of verbal social boundaries. She does things that baffle us, but also cause tragic laughter--because the situations are funny, but also very sad. I'm watching my father battle depression. This was not what he hoped his older life with his spouse would be--but then again, there have been many things she has done throughout their marriage which have caused him pain. My maternal grandmother lives with them. She nursed her husband through Alzheimer's disease, institutionalized him when he became dangerous to her, and sat with him as he died. She never dreamed she'd watch her youngest daughter slowly lose her mind, as well.

My dreams of rediscovering a parent/child relationship with my mother are gone. She has no capacity to form and nurture relationships. Most of the time, I'm okay with this. She and I worked very hard for a number of years to mend some of the pains of our past. She has apologized abundantly for the years of abuse and neglect. I've seen her weep as she talked of being monstrous, and drove her to therapy appointments so that she, too, could mend from past abuse. She did not have the stamina required to sift through her past and ceased her therapeutic venture after two months. At the time, I was angry with her. Today I understand that going through therapy to heal from abuse requires more inner resources than those with which she is equipped, and truly, I believe she did her best.

Recently, I sat beside Tolkien Boy's mother during a church meeting. At one point I was commenting about a topic I found deeply emotional. She put her arm around me for a few moments. My response shocked me. I felt completely baffled as to why she would touch me--ever--for I do not see myself as a person with whom others wish any sort of physical contact, and at the same time I experienced a huge surge of envy and anger toward Tolkien Boy who, for his entire life, has experienced love and nurturing from the woman beside me. All this was followed up by intense shame for my anger and jealousy, and that enormous cocktail of questions that always follow such an event: Why didn't my mother want me? What was wrong with me? Why would she not hug or touch me? Why does this still bother me after aeons of time?

I hastily excused myself when the meeting ended and went to the restroom to put my head back on.

I'm unsure whether I'll ever get to a point when, if I'm caught off guard, those questions will stop surfacing. There's something grounding and necessary about being deeply loved by one's mother. While I've made enormous progress through the grieving and acceptance process, it doesn't mean I no longer wish my mother/daughter relationship had been different. I believe I'll always wish for that. And occasionally, when I catch glimpses of the beautiful relationships shared by my friends and their mothers, I might feel that ugly envy and anger. It's not personal, it's just me acknowledging that I still wish for something most children are automatically given simply because they are born.

Today, I can admit this. And quite honestly, I no longer feel I am less of a person because I wish for something I cannot have. However, I can also admit that there are many things my mother gave me that other children are not given, and for those things, I am grateful. So on this Mother's Day, I give tribute to the woman who bore me--the person who is healthy and alive, but slipping away from our reality daily.

Dear Mom,

I'm writing to let you know of the many positive things I have learned from you which have enriched my life. Though most of the learning was stressful--I like to do everything myself, I don't like instructions, and I'm always certain I can do things better than everyone else--you resolutely continued to teach me the things I needed to learn.

You taught me to cook. Today my methods and choice of foods are vastly different from yours, but I learned about baking, and measuring, and stirring, and kneading, and how some foods mix well but others don't. I learned to preserved fruits and vegetables, and make jam, and dry foods. You taught me to experiment, to find out for myself what foods taste good to me. You helped us learn about nutrition and tried to impress on us the importance of growing a garden. 

You taught me to sew, and knit, and crochet. You allowed me to take that knowledge and adapt it to my abidexterity, rather than insisting I use just one-handed direction. When my finished products showed more uniform stitches than those which had to be turned with each row, you encouraged me to enter them in contests and shared my glee when my entries beat out those of more experienced knitters and crocheters. You showed interest in my next project, provided me with materials and encouragement, and made certain I knew you were proud of me.

You recognized my aptitude in academics. You encouraged me to read and write. My earliest memories find you reading to me daily. You made certain I had access to books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and academic magazines. When you found me reading the classics, you bought more for me. You made certain I learned and spoke with proper grammar. You told me from the time I was a child that I would attend college and graduate. 

You paid for music lessons on a shoestring budget. It was vital to you that I be given the best training you could find. You recognized that I had unique ability and did all that you could to foster it. I was chosen to learn the violin and given my grandfather's instrument. You allowed me to practice at 5:00 in the morning when I know you wished for more sleep. Somehow, on a farmer's salary, you squeezed out enough extra money to send me to music camps and clinics. 

You taught me to clean and do laundry and care for myself. Through you and Dad, I learned the value and satisfaction of work. You taught me to budget money, to provide for my needs, and to use all that I could spare to help others. 

There were some things about our lives that both of us have said we wish had been different. But there are so many things you did for me that were life-affirming and wonderful. Jill Churchill has said: "There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one." Thank you for discovering some of those "million ways" and giving me many gifts which helped me to become the person I am today. 

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.


Friday, May 11, 2012

I have asthma. I like to pretend I don't because asthma is annoying and I would rather not have it. Being a runner at 8000 feet has caused my lungs to develop in ways they would not otherwise, and living in a relatively air pollution-free environment has allowed me to breathe without difficulty about 99.9% of the time. However, occasionally my lungs remind me that they're not quite perfect. I woke up this morning because of that little reminder.

I don't like taking my inhaler medication. It tastes nasty and makes me feel unfocused and shaky. Given the fact that I deal with anxiety and panic daily, I don't need the added dimension the inhaler provides. Often, if I quietly concentrate on breathing and go about my day as usual, the wheezing eases and I can avoid taking the nasty medicine. I've been working on this for about three hours now. It's not working and I can't go running till the wheezing is under control. I'm thinking of taking a day off my physical therapy/running, getting into a steamy shower, and maybe taking it easy today.

I suppose, if I'm still struggling to breathe in an hour, I'll take my medication and stop being stubborn.

Darrin says I'm like this with everything. When an easy "fix" is available, I find all the reasons I don't want to do it, I put it off as long as possible, and I try every possible alternative to avoid doing what's easiest. I don't know that that's true, but I often understand that the end result is not always better than the initial situation when one uses what seems the obvious solution.

I am in the process of figuring out who I am--what I look like, why I feel certain emotions, how I feel about myself and others, why selected things frighten or delight me... It's not an easy process, and I don't recommend it to anyone. I hate doing it. I find myself discovering all sorts of uglies within, and wishing I knew how to change them. I feel vulnerable often, unloved most days, and powerless when I used to feel powerful. Reality--my former reality--seems counterfeit.

Therapist suggested I not do this alone. I ignored his advice. That was a bad idea.

He told me I need someone to balance my discoveries, for while they're valid, they're not always accurate. He suggested that my beliefs, especially those dealing with how I believe others perceive me, are not always correct, and the purpose of doing this is to gain a more truthful understanding of who I am. So why did I disregard his advice?

I think I wanted to avoid leaning on another person's opinion of who I am. For years, as much as I have tried to stop doing so, I have heard the things said about me by my mother, and I have believed them. I have heard her tell me I was homely, ungainly, and fat. I have listened as she belittled my ability to read and write well. I have heard her disregard my musical talent--dismissing it, calling it unimportant--while at the same time pushing me to play or sing often, enter competitions, audition for groups--not because I was worthwhile or talented, but simply because it was expected of me. I believed her assertions that I am unwanted, lazy, stupid, socially awkward, disrespectful, unlovable.

Those were not the only messages sent to me by my mother. She taught me many things--especially about homemaking. I listened and learned and finally, surpassed her. When she didn't know I was listening, I heard her tell people how she loved hearing me play or sing. One day, when I went to her for help with an English assignment, she admitted to me that I was much smarter than she, and the schoolwork I was doing was far beyond her ability to help. At the time I believed she just didn't wish to take time to help me. Now, I believe she was telling the truth.

But she never told me she was proud of me. Any achievement I made was ignored, belittled, or taken for granted. And I was always made to feel that there was nothing about me that was beautiful. I was obnoxious and annoying. I had nothing important to contribute to conversations. I was cankerous, belligerent, rebellious, disrespectful...

The voice should have been silenced long ago.

It should have been silenced when--

-I took an IQ test which assured me I was not stupid.
-I received three music degrees which let me know my ability was above average.
-I won awards and achievements in many different areas.
-I realized I make friends easily, people aren't frightened of me and they actually believe I'm pleasant and delightful.
-I recognized that while my bones no longer poke out as they did when I was emaciated because of anorexia, I look healthy and fit--but even if I was fat, it wouldn't really change who I am.
-In spite of a failing economy, I've never lost a job or been without work. In fact, I've always had too much work.
-I chose to live my adult life near the person who tore me down, accepted her request for forgiveness, offered my own for any offenses I've given, and tried to build a relationship with her.

There are many reasons the voice should be silent. But it is not.


It's time for me to figure out how much of what that voice said was true and disregard those things which were untrue. I need to decide for myself what I look like, what personality traits I will claim or discard, and if, in fact, I am unwanted or unlovable. I need to know--and I need to believe what I know.

Probably I will take Therapist's advice in the near future. When I have established what I believe, I will seek corroboration. Because I'm a coward, I'll probably ask people who won't say unkind things to me, but I think, given the bulk of unkindness I endured as a child, that's probably okay. There's nothing wrong with finding people who support and affirm who you are.

And now I'm going to try that steamy shower thing. I still do not want to take my medicine.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


You see, I am Samantha.

If you don't know me personally, that statement might seem meaningless, so for you, I will explain: I don't give up--ever. 

For the past couple of years I have slogged through medical difficulties (not quite finished with those), financial problems (welcome to today's economy), parenting difficulties (um...what parent doesn't have those?), identity crises (just preparing for my middle-age crisis which will, no doubt happen within the next couple of decades), depression ( happens...), and difficulties managing stress/panic/PTSD. 

I won't lie; there have been moments when I absolutely wished to give up, when I felt so incredibly tired I wanted to lie on some busy street and let the traffic run over me, when I felt alone and picked on and completely unable to manage my life. 

However, giving up seems to be one thing I do not know how to do--even when I wish to.

This morning I woke up--literally and figuratively. Many of the therapy exercises I've been working on finally kicked in. Add to that the fact that I've been trying to take care of myself in a lot of different ways; I've been taking time to be with people in person, through phone calls, and online; and I finally decided that I will be who I am and finish the things I've begun and live the life I've been given.

And in the midst of all that, I found my lost sense of humor, regained my endless sense of wonder, and took just a few moments to dance in my kitchen this morning.

If you know me personally, there is no surprise in all this. It was bound to happen...a matter of course...simply inevitable.


Because I am Samantha. I think deeply, love endlessly, and live joyfully. My cooking is delicious, my energy is boundless, and my laughter is contagious. 

And my favorite number is three. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Today I saw a butterfly. It's been so long since I've run on the ridge above my house that I almost forgot it was time for them to arrive. This particular butterfly nearly collided with my car while fluttering across the street as I drove home from my first rehearsal this morning. I think tonight, when the afternoon wind dies, I will wander up to the ridge and see if more butterflies have come. I'm guessing the wildflowers are blooming.

A friend stopped by for a visit yesterday. I wasn't expecting her and it made my work night later than I wished. I was very tired--chatting with every person I could find online to keep me awake. I still didn't quite finish my hours, but I was close enough to rationalize stopping and heading for bed. My friend mentioned that the birds seem louder than normal this year. I don't think they're any louder, there is just a larger variety. The birdsong is incredibly beautiful as the different calls mix together. I can hear it through my closed windows. There are moments when I stop my work just so I can listen.

As my world seems to thin and sway, the one constant is my intense love of my surroundings. I might never figure out who I am, but I don't believe I'll ever tire of watching the shifting blue of the sky--the branches of my crab apple tree currently covered with feathery blossoms that will turn from white to green to deep red as the blossoms become fruit--the stillness of the rabbits on my lawn as they pretend I cannot see them if they don't move--the gold of the spent sun as it sinks below the horizon--and the birds provide a constant soundtrack to all I see.

I don't know what to do with people anymore. I smile at someone and have my smile returned...and I wonder what that means. Why did they smile at me? Is it a reflex? Do I look as if I need a smile today? Perhaps they were smiling at the person behind me...

Darrin says I don't talk anymore. He could be right. I don't really have anything to say outside of this blog. I feel that all I can talk about right now is the confusion I feel constantly, the agony of trying to figure out how to function normally, and the weather. I give myself an "A" in weather.

I think I am going to go buy myself flowers tonight. Life feels better when I have flowers.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Today I awoke, aware that there are some major changes happening inside me. Therapist has been working with me to assure that through all the changes I retain "Samantha," fully integrated and well-adjusted...

Probably "sort-of-well-adjusted" is a better descriptor.

Regardless, I've been doing a great deal of mental and emotional work so that the changes which take place do not undermine the persona that is me.

I know. That sounds crazy. I suppose it is, technically. Most people do things to adapt, adjust, accept, which do not compromise who they are, but rather, enhance their "selves". A few of us, however, get lost when those things happen in our lives. We forget who we are, or (as in my case) we create a new persona in order to avoid facing the things that cause the need for change in the first place. I've done that three times. 

And then I had to put myself back together again. I don't recommend that process to anyone. It's very important--and very yucky.

Stress is a catalyst which causes me to want to invent a new person. I've had a lot of stress in my life lately. 

Therapist has suggested that I do the work he assigned so that I can remain whole and healthy while dealing with the large amounts of stress. I don't want to; and I'm really tired.

I told him of the relief I feel when I lean in the direction of not being healthy and whole. He reminded me that this is the first time this has happened when I've been conscious of the symptoms and desires. He said that, alone, means I'm still in control--I still have a choice. He reminded me that if I give into that relief, I'll lose much of my desire for current relationships and probably more than just a few memories. He told me the person I am--the fully-integrated, multi-faceted, whole person I am--is well-equipped to handle the things that are causing me pain right now. I can work through them. He believes in me.

I don't expect anyone to understand. I'm talking craziness. And I really am very tired. I find that right now I'm completely unable to do the following:

1. Manage PTSD symptoms--which means I spend my days wondering how to interpret intent behind words, fighting past voices, and unable to understand if people care about me--and if they do care about me, WHY? I am unable to figure this out.

2. Sleep--I do sleep, just not well. I'm up every 30-60 minutes, wandering around my house, checking to make sure the doors are locked, trying to get the stupid dreams out of my head, reminding myself that things I dream are not real. I'm very grateful when 4:30 rolls around and I can dress in my workout clothes, drive to the rec center, and wait for it to open.

3. Think logically--I can't even fool myself into believing I'm logical right now. This is something I've always felt I could control. I want it back.

I have a friend who wants to take me away for a few nights. We would go to a condo in the mountains. I would be given a great deal of space to gather myself and learn how to think again. I need to do this, but the thought of not working, leaving my family, changing my routine, terrifies me a lot. 

It's weird, but admitting this here, on my blog, makes me feel less panicked about everything. 

There are two assignments on my list that make me more stressed than the others. One is that I have to learn to see myself as I am. I have to recognize that I'm not invisible. I have to decide if I'm attractive or plain, obese or not--I have to look at my flaws and my assets--I have to learn how to recognize myself when I appear in a picture--I have to know who I am physically. I don't want to do this. It scares me.

The other is that I have to allow the people who love me to help me remain "me". I don't even know how to go about doing this. I'm pretty sure Therapist outlined a plan replete with suggestions, but when he said that "help" word, I had a panic attack and forgot to keep listening. What if they don't want to help? Who has time for that? How can I allow help without becoming dependent? What if they say they'll help, but then they don't? What if no one loves me? Who will I ask then?

Panic inspires illogicality.

So, instead of working on my assignments yesterday, I went to rehearsals for nearly the entire day, then I went to Walmart where I saw a doppelganger of AtP's boyfriend--except it was the version of him that wears gym shorts with black dress socks and brown leather walking shoes and a too-large-striped t-shirt. And Doppelganger needed some grooming of facial hair--but still--change the dress habits, and trim the facial hair and it would be difficult to tell Doppel-g from the original.

Also, I was very happy because our resident Oompa-Loompa (translation: a Walmart employee in her early sixties who must bathe in self-tanning lotion because she is orange) was helping with the self-checkout department. I love seeing our Oompa-Loompa. She makes me smile. When I am in my sixties I'm not sure I'll be able to pull off the white hair and orange skin, but I'm going to try. Then when Therapist asks me if I see me as I am, I'll say, "Yes. I'm an Oompa-Loompa. It took 16,000 bottles of self-tan to achieve this, but it was worth every penny." And then I plan to dance for him.