Getting Faith … In The Form of A Dog

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Sometimes our prayers are answered in the strangest ways.  Last year, towards the end of August, I was not well. I prayed. I prayed a lot. I prayed for hope, faith, to feel better, to release me of panic and anxiety and numerous other things.

I was a registered foster through an animal rescue. I had fostered several puppies and dogs over the past several months. I had just lost my beloved 18-year-old chihuahua, earlier in the month, and I was sad.

Little did I know, my prayer for faith would be answered. Oddly, it was in the form of a dog. A chihuahua, that needed a foster. Below is her story, from the person that found her.

“At The Feet of Jesus”
This little chihuahua was seen being thrown out of a moving vehicle last week at my apartments. Somehow, she migrated to DBU and has been staying by this statue for days, refusing to leave. No one could catch her or get close to her, but she stayed at that statue of Jesus faithfully. With the help of Vienna sausages, I got her to eat from my hand, but she still wouldn’t let me touch her. Last night, as I was feeding her, a friend set up a trap that we borrowed, and this morning, we discovered it had worked. This little chihuahua who was too afraid to get close to people, within a matter of 30 minutes, is wagging her tail, licking my face, trying to play, and following me everywhere. This rescue taught me something about life. Sometimes people or circumstances really break our hearts… Sometimes we feel lost, scared, lonely, and confused. This leads to uncertainty and fear. No matter what our state is, however… No matter what has happened to us in life… if we will seek out Jesus and rest at His feet, and just be so focused on being near to Him, He will send us the help we need and He will bring redemption into our lives. He will replace the hurt and rejection with healing and acceptance. Where are you today? Are you feeling lost or heartbroken? Rest at the feet of Jesus and find peace in His promise to redeem you .

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The picture above is where Faith was found. After being rescued, it was discovered that she was pregnant. She gave birth to four puppies. She nurtured them, and was then ready for her own home.

When I first got Faith (named by the person that rescued her), I had no intentions of adopting her. I was going to keep her safe and loved until she found her forever home. This 16 pound, full of attitude and sass, dog decided I was her people. She was home. She was my faith. I found pleasure, love, and peace with her by my side.

Faith had trust issues due to her past. I could definitely relate to that. Together, we learned to trust each other. Our love for one another continued to grow. Faith grew more comfortable in her new surroundings as each day passed.  She blossomed. She made me laugh. When I was to take her to an adoption event, I knew that I could not let her go. She was mine.

She has an attitude. She is bossy. She is demanding. She is quirky. She is loyal. She is my “Faith” and she is loved. Her life is important, and she got a second chance to feel love, security and trust, probably for the very first time. And I got a new family member to love until the end of her days.

So, when searching for answered prayers, don’t overlook something that might seem a little crazy. God works in mysterious ways, and knows what we need. I needed Faith. Faith needed me. We were led to each other when we were both in need.

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He Doesn’t Know Me Anymore …

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And I don’t know him. Is that what happens to people who have been betrayed? Betrayed by the very one that was supposed to cherish and protect you?

It seems unfair. To lose the essence of a deep connection, an emotional bond, because someone chooses to hurt you. I always hear, “I didn’t mean to hurt you”,  “I did it to protect you”. Lying is not protecting me. Lying is what killed my soul.

I used to believed in fairy tales and princesses. I believed this because it was what my life felt like, at one time.  To be knocked off your pedestal, by learning of someone’s betrayal of your trust, is a long, hard fall.  To realize you were never that special after all, is a bitter pill to swallow.

Perhaps it is part of the mental illness, to have felt like I was put on pedestal.  Apparently, it was a portrait I created in my own mind. That picture is nothing but a shattered image now. It mocks me at times. It laughs at how silly I was to believe such things. Fairy tales aren’t true. Certainly I knew this. After all, I was an adult.

Betrayal … it cuts you to the core. The continued lies to try to protect themselves, after you find out. It changes you. How can it not? To lose the one thing you clung to so tightly, have it ripped right out of you. It leaves a deep wound. A wound that likes to open itself up, and stay raw.

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I mourn the loss of that deep connection. I have mourned it for many years. Losing the one thing, you never thought you would have, takes a piece of you, never to be replaced. It leaves an emptiness. A loneliness.

You are left to question every thing. What is true and what is not. How many other lies are there? Do I even want to know? Yes! I want honesty. I want to hear it, all of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. It is the only way I can move on. Why does he not understand this?

I am here, yet I feel as though he looks through me like a pane of glass. He doesn’t see me, he doesn’t know me anymore. How can he? I don’t even know myself anymore. Things are not as they were. They never will be. You can glue a shattered piece back together, but there is forever the evidence of the cracks.

It is in those cracks, that I always get lost. Wondering, searching, needing to know.

You Always Win … (Trigger Warning)

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I can’t shake the overwhelming feeling that “The Darkness” wants me. It’s been knocking on my door for a while now. Today, I opened the door to let my mind stop fighting it.  The anxiety and panic have been over-the-top for a week or more. I cannot keep it down, and I am tired of fighting.

Hello old friend! I see you have searched me out and won. You always do! You always win.
Keeping me in your grasp until you feed yourself with my despair.  How long will you feed on me this time? Will you leave when I am completely broken?

I put up a good fight, keeping you at bay. But, you wore me down. You do that, keep eating at me until I give up.

I tried to meet you head on today. I gave you the blood, but I know it isn’t enough. You want more.

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My heart is racing. My chest is heavy. My body aches. I am dizzy and I am tired. I am mostly tired. Fighting you leaves me exhausted. You like that, don’t you? You know my exhaustion makes it easier for you. You strip me down, leaving only raw emotion, where it hurts me the most.

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You are faceless, but I feel you when you are near. You make me shiver, leaving cold air on my skin. You take my emotions, my soul. You take any little bit of what I have left and try to smother me.

You want me to yourself. I know one day you will succeed; because you always win. You come out of nowhere, and hit me. Oh, there are little nudges first. But when you get tired of me fighting you, you knock me down.

I know you well. We have lived together for some time now. You are always lurking in the shadows. You are waiting for that moment, when it has been too long. When you sense I am vulnerable.

You are like a vulture, a big black bird, waiting. You fill me with shame, anger, self-loathing, sadness and despair. You like to bring up all the old hurt, and throw it in my face. You like my rage. It makes you happy. You are greedy.

I Am More Than My Illness …

Although I struggle daily with my mental illness, I am more than that. It does not totally define me as a person. Yes, it alters my thinking at times. But I have passions, talents, and hobbies.

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I am a volunteer and foster for an animal rescue. I have strong opinions about animal neglect and abuse. If your idea of having a dog is to only to keep it chained up outdoors, please do not own a pet.

Animals are designed to be social. They need to be around people, and to feel love and give love. They need to be treated as part of your family. Pets are good for your soul.

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I like to draw and paint. I am not very good, but I love it still. I need to spend more time doing this. I used to get lost in it, but a lot of things have changed. I like to paint on reclaimed word, such as old fencing. I like to decorate frames, boxes, etc. using vintage jewelry. However, that can become extremely tedious.

I love to read. The problem lately is that I have a hard time focusing. Getting lost in a book is something you cannot explain. Only other readers would understand. You can mentally be taken to any place, and feel as if you are there. You can be whomever you wish to be.

I began to journal a few years ago. At some point I stopped. However, I have recently began to blog, and although I have a lot to learn, I enjoy it. I find it to be a good outlet for me.

I just wanted to let people know there is more to me than being mentally ill. Just like there is more to anyone with a mental illness. It may upset some of our days, or even weeks. But underneath all the fog, we are people with much to offer. Sometimes you have to open the oyster to find the pearl inside.

 

 

Like a Tidal Wave …

I just cannot shake this anxiety, and these panic attacks. They are happening often. Daily. I will be fine, and then BAM! Out of no where I am swept away!

It is here now, sitting on my chest, making me dizzy. I want it to go away. I want it to stay away.

I want peace. I want normal. But all I have is chaos and this damn mental illness.

Sweep me away from it, wash me out with the waves! Keep me under the current, and let me have peace!277h

Losing Time … The Clock Seems To Be on High

 

It feels as if time gets away from me. Where do the hours, minutes, seconds go? The world must be spinning out of control, and time is slipping away, faster and faster.

I do not have to be anywhere. I do not have to worry about time, yet it seems to run my life. I want more hours in the day. I don’t have enough minutes in the day to complete all the tasks I want to do.

I get side-tracked. I have so many plans, and things I want to do each day. Yet, I look up and the day is gone. Where did it go? What have I accomplished? Is it really time for dinner? Wasn’t it just morning a few minutes ago?

Why I am a prisoner of the clock eludes me. When I worked outside of the home, time seemed to creep by. Eight hours seemed like a lifetime. Now, it feels like time runs on high, skipping minutes, hours, days.

I want more time. I want to be able to do more things I enjoy. I want to paint, write, and read. My daily tasks, that I must do to keep myself in a routine, have to be complete. If not, I have failed for the day.

Part of my Borderline Personality Disorder has caused me to have a sense of OCD. Things have to be done, order must be followed. It is structure that keeps me grounded. Without it, I would live in complete chaos. I do not like chaos. It causes anxiety. Anxiety and I are not friends, although it seems to like to visit me often.

My days seem to fly by. Where did all seven days go? Has something changed to cause time to flash by like a lightning strike? The clock is my enemy, I don’t want to look at it. Yet, it runs my life.

Maybe I will hide all the clocks. I won’t look at the time. I will just be, and do what I want when I want.

Right! I am going to set my alarm in the morning, so I can gain some more time!

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Attention All Shoppers – This crazy woman cannot find her husband!

I realized today that it has been a while since I have been out of the house. I have run a quick errand to the local grocery a few times. I actually believe my last long (more than 30 minutes) outing was December 21, 2016, finishing up Christmas shopping. I had a panic attack that day. My husband saw the exact moment it happened. The moment I was taken over by fear. He could tell by the look on my face I had to get out. He was afraid I was going to lose it, and hit someone.

Today we got out to return a few Christmas gifts and do a little shopping. After about an hour, I began to have anxiety. It grew more intense by the minute. I made it through the check out, and took my medication when I got to the car. I was hoping it would help ease my anxiety/panic.

My husband and I went to our second stop. I was hoping my medication would kick in and that I would be able to function. That did not happen. I began to panic, as I could not find my husband to let him know I had to leave the store. I searched and searched, and the anxiety was getting worse. I didn’t know what to do. I was in a panic!

I located a young clerk in the store, and told her I was having an anxiety attack and could not find my husband. I was extremely embarrassed to have to admit this to a complete stranger. She pages him over the intercom! I bow my head in shame, as I wait for him to appear. I feel as if the entire store has stopped, and they are all staring at the woman who had her husband paged across the entire store. He feels like a 5 year-old that is lost, being called by his mother.

I didn’t have my phone with me, so I could not call him. I didn’t have the keys to the car. I was at a point I was about to come unglued in this store. I had to get out, and get out quick! I am terribly embarrassed for myself and my husband that this happened.

I took the walk of shame to the car, where I can cry in private. I feel like a complete idiot for causing a scene. I feel guilty for causing him embarrassment in public. I wish this did not happen. I hate it!

It just comes out of nowhere, the anxiety and sheer panic, and hits me like a ton of bricks. I get a heavy chest, sweat, rapid heart-rate, my vision becomes distorted, my head aches, my body hurts, and I feel the need to run out of the store, fast!

He returns to the car after paying for our purchases. I apologize. I apologize that I am this way, that I embarrassed him, and myself. I feel like a failure. I cry and I cry some more. I cry for having this helpless feeling. I cry because I want to be normal. I cry because I know he must get frustrated with me.

I just cry …

 

 

Shaking … from the inside – out

I am sitting here, trying to write. My thoughts are scattered, and I cannot seem to get my act together.

Yes, I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. The symptoms can be debilitating. Add to this, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and you have what equals hell on earth for 7 – 10 days.

PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), is like having PMS times 1000. I am shaking inside, and I am at odds with myself. This multiplies the symptoms of BPD, creating a horrible picture.

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I stayed in bed all day yesterday and slept. I was irritable and anxious. I ate 5 glazed donuts! (I have been following a low-carb, keto diet). I am sure the amount of sugar I consumed was more than I have had in months. But, my gosh, they were tasty! My husband came in the room and teasingly asked “Did the dogs eat all of these?” I wish I could have said yes. No, it was me. I ate them ALL!

My husband can read me like a book. He can tell, before I can, that I am going to start my monthly cycle. I cannot imagine the effects of PMDD were I not already on medications. I always suffered from PMS, at an early age. It seems as I have gotten older, it has turned into something bigger.

I only recently learned of PMDD after doing some research online. I have read that 5-8% of women suffer from this. About the time my body starts to ovulate, the symptoms show up. They last until a few days after starting my period. I get anxious, unfocused, angry, have a short temper. I am not a nice person. I try to stay away from people so I do not say or do anything that may hurt them.

At my age, birth control pills are not an option. I think having a hysterectomy would be my only viable option to not having this disorder. And I imagine having my ovaries removed would be necessary. That would mean I would need hormone replacement. I have heard horror stories from women who have had this procedure.

So, you take 7 – 10 days out of my month that I suffer from PMDD. Add that to any bad days I may have with BPD, and you can see where I might have some real issues. Luckily, my husband knows this, and tries to accommodate my needs. He is a buffer for me, knowing that I am suffering terribly and tries to pick up the loose ends.

I got up late this morning, and ventured into the rest of the house. Of course, all I could see was chaos. The floors are dirty, laundry needs to be done, the litter boxes are dirty. (At least the kitchen was clean!) Where do I start? How can things get so out-of-hand in 24 hours? I am sure in most people’s minds, this is not a big deal. But to me, it is chaotic. I have lost the structure of my day. Structure is how I survive.

I have cleaned the litter boxes, started laundry, and am trying to find the gusto to clean the floors. It has been rainy here, and the dogs have brought in mud. I have no idea what we will have for dinner. I need to go to the grocery store, but that is not happening today. I have no patience for that.

I would crawl back in bed if I could. But my mind is racing like crazy, and I find myself bouncing between tasks. “Come on, let’s get it together”, I keep telling myself. I am not a good listener today.

I am hoping tomorrow I am back to my normal. You notice I say “my” normal. I am sure it is not like most people’s. But it is mine.

 

 

Finding Mercy and Grace

I attended my niece’s wedding last year. The Pastor spoke of mercy and grace. This caught my attention, and I listened closely. I became saddened. I realized, in that very moment, that I lack these.

Grace is defined by giving us something that we do not deserve; while Mercy is defined as not receiving something we do deserve.

I was hurt to my very core by my husband many years ago. He had placed me on a pedestal, and I felt as if I were living a fairy tale … until that day; that turned into weeks, months, and years of pain.

I was knocked off my pedestal, and I hit the ground hard. I was slapped in the face with the fact that I did not live in a fairy tale, and I was not special. Had I been, he would not have made the choices he did.

He has apologized. He has tried in every way to make things better. But, you cannot right some wrongs. At least not in the mind of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. I know he deserves mercy and grace. I just don’t have it to give.

 

I do not know if this is something I lack spiritually, or if it is a symptom of my mental illness. As much as I love him, I still cannot let it go. Although, I never want him to hurt the way that he hurt me, I often find myself wanting to “pay him back” in some way.

I have come to realize that I feel this way about several people in my life. People that have hurt me deeply, leaving scars that will never completely heal. I know this is not healthy, but honestly, I am not a healthy person.

I often wonder if other people feel like I do. Do they carry resentment and pain? Do they wish they could hurt the person that destroyed a piece of them?

Black and white, that is how my brain works. There is no in between. I cannot rationalize his reasoning or excuses. I cannot process it mentally. All I can process is that he hurt me deeply.

Mercy and Grace … maybe one day I will find it.

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Scattered Thoughts

I just can’t seem to get it together lately. I feel chaotic and not in control of my days. I look up at the clock, and before I know it, it will be one o’clock in the afternoon. What have I been doing? What have I accomplished?

Things have been different around here since the first of the year. One of my daughters, her husband, 4-year-old son, three dogs and a cat moved in temporarily. I am fortunate that I have the space, and they were able to use a very large room as their “temporary home”. This has definitely changed some things up for me, but I do not think this is the cause of me feeling out of control. It isn’t like we are cramped, or in anyone’s way. I sometimes forget they are even here. Well, until one of the dang dogs goes to barking non-stop. Then my dogs get antsy, and that does drive me a bit nuts.

I seem to have lost my balance, and the structure I followed daily to keep me focused. I still manage to get the laundry done, the floors clean, cook and clean the kitchen, etc. But I am missing something, and I cannot put my finger on it. I feel like I am losing time, that I cannot account for. I feel like I used to do something, and I don’t remember what it is.

I paint and do other crafts to distract myself from my thoughts. I really lose sense of time when I am doing this. I can repaint the same item over and over, never liking the outcome. If you have BPD, you know all too well how you can obsess over the tiniest thing. I obsess over something until I have made myself crazy – crazier than I already am.

I try to keep busy, from the moment I wake, until I go to bed. I do not watch television. I love(d) to read, but I haven’t in a while. I downloaded several books on my tablet months ago. I still haven’t felt the sense of ease to be able to sit down and read. I listen to music. Music speaks to me. Music has been a source of comfort (and pain) for me. Music helps me identify my feelings, and helps me with thoughts that I am unable to speak out loud. It also allows me a place to escape mentally.

I have only recently started to blog, and I enjoy reading other people’s blogs very much. I identify with so many of them. When I read blogs from people I follow, I feel I am at a place that is comforting. I have found a place I fit, and where I can be myself. I don’t have to pretend, or try to impress anyone. I am actually very surprised to see so many people who are like me. The word “darkness” is what I call it when I go into one of my fits. I realized that word is used by many people to describe themselves as well.

Darkness is a place that can be scary, yet I am known there. I have become friends, of sort, with the darkness. I think I sometimes miss the darkness, and need to go visit, if I haven’t been there in a while. Darkness is something I know all too well. I feel welcome there, and although it is not a good place, it feels like home. At first it is like putting on my favorite fuzzy robe, and being wrapped up in the warmth . But then, it takes a hold of me, and keeps me as it’s prisoner until it decides it is done with me. When the darkness decides to let its grip of me go, I am left completely exhausted. I am physically and emotionally bankrupt, and it takes days to recover.

I have a sense of dread that has been washing over me lately. I don’t know what I am dreading, if anything at all. I will get a sudden heavy chest, and my anxiety will peak. I have no idea why. But, what I have noticed, is that it usually happens around the same time each day. Typically between 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon, I will start to feel a bit of panic. I have yet to be able to identify the source of this.

I try to guide my thoughts to a certain area, and I just get scattered. Everything runs together, and nothing makes sense. I lose any focus. What was it I was supposed to be doing? What was I planning to do? Where is my coffee? My brain is full of chaos and noise. I think that is one of the feelings I hate most. Chaotic thoughts that I cannot control, like a lighted ticker-tape sign running across my forehead.

I suspect I am looking for a place that does not exist. I am searching for a sense of peace that is not to be. I don’t know if I will ever know peace again. I think being cursed with BPD strips you from any peace you ever had, and robs you from feeling at ease. I am constantly on high-alert, waiting for the darkness to come.

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