Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pirkle Truck or... Purple Truck?

After my round of screw ups I wrote about nearly two weeks ago, I've only had one more big one that had the potential to be life threatening crazy.  Lots of small stuff, but thankfully only this one last biggie!

Picture by Linda Deal on
Coming home from my therapist's office right after we'd talked about the dog fight and the knife I saw a purple semi truck and found it so distracting that I started turning the steering wheel to drive head on into it...  My mind wasn't, however, completely blank like in the previous incidents.  I was remembering Myrtle Olsen and a phone conversation I overheard, anyway I heard her side of it, at the drive-in restaurant she owned in Shelley, ID when I was a kid.  Now this was back in the days before everyone carried cell phones and trucking companies depended on GPS tracking to know where their trucks (and drivers) were at every possible second... and a dispatcher for Pirkle Transport had called Olsen's Drive-In, knowing that the driver she was trying to reach with an urgent message about his load, frequently stopped there.  For at least half an hour Mrs. Olsen, getting ever more frustrated and angry at the disruption, insisted there was no purple truck parked outside.

Simple misunderstanding, I'm sure.  "Pirkle truck" does sound very much like "purple truck."

But still... that little flash of memory had me headed toward plowing right through his grill.  And that was disturbing enough that I had to pull off on the next road and get myself together to finish driving home.  I was truly scared that my mindlessness was going to cause real bodily harm, or even death, to someone.  Maybe even me.

These are the kind of things that make driving exhausting!  I feel like I have to keep an iron grip on the steering wheel and have a constant stream of self-talk reminding me to keep my eyes on the road and not on trees, junk, road kill, advertising signs or whatever might be off to the side.

My therapist, his name is Tom and I guess I should start calling him that because it's easier to type and... it is his name... Tom thinks I'm still over-thinking about mindlessly letting the dogs out in the yard together and causing that huge bloody fight and that's making me read too much into a simple mistake.  He said more experiences that turn out ok along with time and self-permission to simmer down the hyper-vigilance about it will show me that it's ok to forgive, forget and move on with life.  I hope so!  It would be so nice for something to feel normal and right again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Help! I'm Screwing Up Again

I wrote a little bit here about a painful episode in my current life where everything came crashing down around me all at the same time and my psyche couldn't take it any longer.  I sought out help.

That's still not a fully comfortable thing for me to admit.

I'm glad I did it but there's still a little part of me that wants to hold back talking much about it because of the lingering stigma of needing help with mental health issues.  Today I'm going to try and step out of that doubt and talk about therapy a bit.  I'm still seeing the therapist a couple of times a month.  And this last time he reminded me that I haven't been doing so well at keeping up my end of things...

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I haven't been writing, specifically, so he gave me two assignments to write out before our next appointment.  One is what I'm calling a 'Screw Up Journal" (and no he doesn't like the title, I'm to find something more positive) detailing all the stuff I'm forgetting so that there's a record to help determine if it's just the one big screw up leading to the next and the next and on to the next one after that OR if there's a more serious underlying cause.  The other is an essay about what a happy life would look like to me.   We had talked about stability, which was seriously lacking for a long time, being key but things are somewhat more stable now and I'm still not ok.  I know what's missing:  security is the other half of the equation.  And security is still elusive.  Why must it be so very elusive?


About 10 days ago, my lack of focus/concentration/attention caused an incident that was very dangerous.  Potentially lethal even.  It scared me in many ways.

With absolutely nothing on my mind, truly just a total blank, I let all of the dogs out into the yard at the same time.  They don't get along.  They fight.  That's why we keep them separated and have for many months.  All along I thought I was protecting Lightning from Thunder, but... what I'm really doing is protecting Thunder from Gizmo.

Gizmo attacked.  Then Lightning and Jack jumped in.  And between the 3 of them they took Thunder down viciously.  I had to break them up or they would have killed him.  In the process I was bit at least twice, scratched and badly bruised up.  Somehow I managed to get Lightning into a headlock and restrain him with my right arm while beating Gizmo with his spiked collar that had slipped off over his head as hard as I could swing with my left.  That gave Thunder enough of a break to get out of the middle of it.  I drug Lightning and Gizmo into the house still snarling and thrashing.

All 5 of us were bloody messes.

Luckily all the wounds ended up being small enough that I could care for them at home - no trip to the vet for stitches (and explanations!).  And thankfully I kind of switched into an emergency management mindset and did what had to be done before I sat down and bawled for 3 days.

The tears were partly because my actions put my baby in harm's way and got him hurt.  All of them hurt, really.  That's a huge amount of mental anguish!  And they were partly because I was shaken to the core and crying is how I deal with stress in pretty much any situation.  I don't necessarily feel great appreciation for that feature of my personality... but that's how I've always been.  Stress me out and a river starts flowing from my instantly red and swollen eyeballs.  And still another part of the tears came from fear... Fear of disappointing Derek and fear of having him see me as the utter failure of a human being that I felt like.

The next day, I tried to unsheath a knife that was not sheathed.  The particular angle of the blade in my hand didn't cut... but it had the potential of leaving a deep slice across my entire palm.

The day after that I walked away and totally forgot until the smell got to me that I had food cooking on the stovetop.  Yup, this Idaho girl burned the potatoes... literally.

These 3 incidents we discussed in the session along with the thought that I was feeling like a danger to myself and others.  That's the 'why' behind keeping a record.  Did the one big screw up have me so stressed out and worrying about screwing up that I subconsciously sabotaged myself into the others?  Or is there something more messed up going on inside my brain?

Sadly, my run of screw ups continues.

Coming home from my therapy session last Friday I nearly drove head on into a semi-truck.  It was purple.  And that distracted me from keeping my eyes, and mind, on the road.  Actually, I wasn't completely blank on this incident...  I was remembering Mrs. Olsen (of Olsen's Drive-In fame) arguing with a Pirkle Trucking dispatcher trying to locate a driver that "there was no purple truck parked outside!"

Yesterday I nearly cut down the blackberries and tried to replant the poison ivy because I doubted my identification of which was which.  The leaves are somewhat similar in appearance but not in how your skin reacts to contact with them!

I hope we can fix this before someone is seriously hurt or, God forbid, dies from my mindlessness...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gratitude in God’s Timing

August 3, 2014

I wanted to call this Remaining Grateful When it Seems God is Taking FOREVER to Answer a Prayer… but that title was way too long to fit the space this blog format gives me to work with.  This is my “take-away” message from Church today because so much of the focus was on gratitude and that all prayers are answered.  We may not get the answer we want or get it when we want it but it is answered.

For the first time in a long while I felt an answer to my prayer one night last week.  Derek had a rough day filled with disappointments at work and during his bitter complaints there was a little piece of me that started to doubt his success in this career choice.  I had some moments of fear that he would do something stupid, like walk off the job, and send us plunging right back into the same financial crisis we are trying so desperately to escape.  I don’t have any more help cards to pull out so that is especially frightening and stressful to me.  When I spilled out my fears in prayer, I heard a distinct “Don’t worry… I got this!” in response.

That doesn’t sound like a very Godly way to word it, does it?  But that is what I heard.  And after a long dry spell where it felt like the heavens were closed to me, I’m not sure if I felt more excited about the offered relief or grateful just to get an answer!
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At Church a woman I’ve become rather friendly with mentioned finally receiving an answer to a prayer 24 years later.   You could see the amazement and gratitude in her countenance when she spoke about this long sought answer.  What a testament to patience!!  I think I probably would have given up, assumed the answer was no and forgotten all about it.  I know it probably doesn’t seem like nearly such a terrible wait in the reckoning of God’s time but it’s mind boggling to me.  And I sincerely hope it doesn’t take 24 years to see my prayer’s answer come to fruition!!

One of our lesson topics today was prayer or, more specifically, about listening for His answer when we pray and how sometimes our minds are so full of clutter and background noise that we miss it.  Maybe at some later time, we realize that it was there but “in the now” getting an answer is not part of our conscious recognition either because our own pride won’t accept an answer different than what we seek or that we’ve failed to calm our minds enough to hear His still small voice.  Somewhere in scripture it talks about the voice of God being in the stillness following whatever tumultuous event is giving us grief.  He doesn’t speak to us in big grand ways that get the attention of the whole world but rather in a soft quiet voice only we can hear… if we are ready to listen.  That darned “if” clause gets us sometimes…

Our Relief Society President was teaching the lesson.  Two months ago her husband had a stroke.  He made it to the hospital and treatment was started in under an hour and, amazingly, he’s retained much of his functioning.  He walks and talks so well that people who didn’t know what had happened probably wouldn’t guess.  If that’s not amazing enough in and of itself… they both count his stroke as a blessing because of what it’s taught them about prayer and paying attention to see God’s answer applied to their lives.  She gave some specific examples of how she’s doing that.  She spoke of things like turning off the radio chatter when she’s driving to work and using the time to talk to God and just be quiet and listen.  Sometimes she plays a CD of hymns as soft background to her reverie.   And it’s astounding what she’s learned about herself, her husband, how to meet their family’s needs, how to answer hard questions that are posed to her as Relief Society President, how to better meet the demands of her job and a long list of other things just by purposely making her drive a quiet time of seeking heavenly inspiration.

I’ve been trying to carve out some quiet in my day several times a week.  Actually, it's a line item on my To Do List though, admittedly, it’s something that gets sacrificed when I fall behind on other chores and has mostly been turning into a nap when I do take the time.  I’ve been telling myself that the napping is just part of getting my strength and stamina back so hopefully one day it can be what’s intended because I really want it to be my time to turn to the scriptures and pray… and listen.