Snowmaggedon Jonas – 1/22-23/16

Thirty three inches of snow fell on us over the weekend.  With the wind blowing, there were drifts four feet or more.  From the comfort of our warm home (alhamdulillah), it was beautiful to see.  Our backyard is unbelievable serene.

  
During the snowfall on Saturday morning, my husband and I took the truck out for a drive and it was more than breathtaking.

  
But then chaos happened…the transmission went out in the truck – fortunately not until we were pulling into the driveway.   No way to move it.  Then, as the night wore on, I complained about being cold…but I’m always cold.  Turns out this time it was legit.   At 1:15 a.m., my husband even woke up cold.   There was no heat blowing thru the vents.  We had forgotten to dig out the outside vents.   So at 1:30 a.m., we dress in full snow gear and make our way to the back of the house through waist-high snow.   We can smell gas.  The gas vent is covered.   I started shoveling away clearing the vents and pipes.   Hubby got the back vents cleared.  Still no heat.   Well, there was heat, but it wasn’t blowing.  Must be the filters.   Sure enough, by 2:00 a.m. we had warm blowing air again.   After the worry over CO2 passed (our meter broke a few days ago), we managed to get back to bed and sleep…until 5 a.m when my sister-in-law called.  Although she could get home, there was nowhere to park.  She needed to come here to sleep.   But our roads were not yet plowed…we live off the beaten path and they finally got to us at 7 this morning…so even if she could get through the winding farm road from the nursing home to our side of the ‘ville, she’d have to go up a steep hill and down an unplowed road to our house.  Needless to say, she went to a motel.  See, if you are unfamiliar with snow emergencies, you get cited for driving unless it is absolutely necessary and if your car is parked where the plows need to go, you get towed and heavily fined.

This morning the wind has stopped, the sun is out and the sky is clear.  We started the digging out.  It was beautiful out there.  My husband fought his way through the hip high snow with the snowblower.   At one point, it “malfunctioned” and didn’t blow snow until I was right in its path.   I was covered head to toe in snow.  My beloved husband swears 16 ways to Sunday it was an accident.   Nevertheless, we forgot our advanced age and a battle ensued.  It was fun.

  
After finishing our driveway, locating the mailbox across the street and helping a few snow-blower-less neighbors dig out, we came in for homemade chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.  And Advil.   Lots and lots of Advil.

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Fitbit Conundrum 

I was given an accountability band (i.e., a Fitbit Charge HR) and I have been diligently tracking my steps, my calories in/calories out, and activity.  So far so good.  However, this Fitbit tracks my sleep as well.  This is a very good tool for me because insomnia was something I was struggling with and I am able to see when I am restless or when I wake up.   I’m noticing I am not sleeping as soundly as I was when I was put back on meds and I have some questions for my doctor at my next visit.   But this is not about that.  Here’s what I woke to this morning:

I use the silent alarm on the Fitbit to wake me.  When it went off this morning I tapped the side to stop it, but tapped a tad to hard and found it had 8 steps recorded.   8 steps?   I hadn’t been out of bed yet.  Thinking I misread it, I got out of bed and went into the bathroom (about 6 steps).  The Fitbit read 14 steps.   Huh.

The Fitbit records steps, I believe, per day, which would be midnight to midnight.  I went to bed at 10:30 p.m.   The sleep log shows me asleep at 10:44 p.m.  I have no recollection of getting out of bed at all.  I do remember waking up.  I spoke to my husband once and another time I remember thinking I could use the bathroom, but I didn’t get up.   If I had used the bathroom, the Fitbit would have (should have) recorded more than 8 steps.   It’s 6 steps to the sink in the bathroom and another 3-4 to the toilet – then back.  I decided to pass it off as a glitch in the Fitbit.

I begin to get ready for work.  I find that I have a dark painful bruise on my right thigh…side of my thigh.   I have no idea how that happened.  There are, of course, many reasons I could bruise my leg.  I could have hit it on my desk at work, banged it in the kitchen getting dinner ready or many other ways, but I don’t remember hitting it.

So I am left with DID I get up and walk 8 steps last night?  Where would I go?   8 steps could get me to the bathroom but not back.  Maybe I got up and started around the bed and turned back, banged my leg on the corner of the footboard, but why would I do that.  Nothing is there except the TV, but it was not on.  Again, my Fitbit tracks me as asleep from 10:44p.m. until well after midnight.

I sense a need for a video camera but fear some sort of “Paranormal Activity” style video.  ­čś│­čś│

*Fitbit update:  my husband does remember that I did get out of bed.  He thinks I may have walked into the TV stand (hence the bruise) and that woke him.  He said I turned around and went back to bed.  I’m not a sleepwalker…this is creepy.*

Owning up

I’m facing demons.  Well wait, not all of them are demons.  Ever since I moved back to my hometown, I have found myself confronting myself.   I don’t know how better to say it.  I feel like I’m in sort of a 12-step self-awareness program.  Shortly after returning home, it hit me hard that I had been running for years.   From what, one might ask…from the person I thought I was…I guess.

I think I’m going to try to blog my way through this if for no other reason than to put it on “paper” and make them more than fleeting “ah ha” moments.

Islam:  I am a Muslim woman.   No big surprise there.  I am a person who tends find something and jump in with both feet.   I did the same with Islam.   Many thought it was yet another phase in my life.  It has been 15 years.  I am a Muslim woman.   Islam is my path.  What drew me?   The accountability between me and Allah (God).   Period.  Someday I may blog more about my religion, but not today.  

Country girl:  Oh, I’m a country girl.  I like the wide open spaces.   I like country music.  (Don’t panic…I still love heavy metal music too).  When I came home, my heart felt at peace.  That is not to say I didn’t absolutely love the Pacific Northwest.   It is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world and I hated moving away from there after 16 years.   I think part of me was seeking the country life when I relocated to Phoenix.  

Running away:  So why did I leave?   I’ve been struggling with that since I’ve been home.   I know, when I left, I wanted my daughter raised in a place where all races, all religions, all ethnicities are able to interact without issues.   But can I say I ever experienced racism here?  Not really.   It’s a small community and different people do illicit curiosity but racism?  Nah.  I remember hating that my mom would know what I bought at the grocery store before I even left the parking lot.   But was it really THAT bad?  Now that I raised two children of my own, would it have been so bad to actually have a community involved in their lives?  I think, in retrospect, it would have been a great place to raise them. I think I ran away from my memories.  I ran from my reputation.  I thought I could reinvent myself with a fresh start.   I thought the same thing when I moved to AZ.   I was wrong.   Who I really am always broke thru and who I am is not that bad of a person.

Depression:  Ok, I hate this one.  I suffer from depression and anxiety.  Apparently, I have since I was little, but anxiety as an 8 year old is different than anxiety as an adult.   I remember my mom not being able to tell me my dad was coming home from a business trip or that we were going to visit my grandparents because I would work myself up into a migraine or become overly hyper.  I dealt with it.   I felt there was something different about me because my mind never stopped.  Scenario after scenario, hypothetical scenarios would play through my mind constantly.  I “hear” things like the dishes on the living room table.   They need put in the sink or washed.  Why am I the only one who “hears” it.   How do you ignore it?  I started forming OCD behaviors.  I started adhering to strict routines and making schedules and lists.  In 2008, I lost my son.   Well, back up from that….in 2004, I was involved with a man who was mentally abusive…I was a %^*-up, a terrible mother, a horrible wife, and a bad Muslim.   He drove my older daughter away.   He was overly strict and hateful to my younger daughter.  Then we lost our son.   He was stillborn.  My mom died a few days later.  I cannot blame him for the depression, anxiety or other issues — they have always been there — but he was the push-me-over-the-edge trigger.   I started having panic attacks.  I was put on medication.   It helped but only for awhile.  They kept increasing the dose until I couldn’t do it anymore.   The medication was not enough.   I had no support.  So I weaned myself off after two years and started counseling.  I was in therapy for two years and learned a lot about myself.  Faced a helluva a lot of stuff I didn’t like to hear.   I thought I was handling it.   The nonstop thoughts running through my head faster than the speed of light about every single thing was stoppable, when I could focus and realize what I was doing, I could stop the “noise”.   I was constantly anxious, but when insomnia took over, I had valarian to help me sleep.  Then the day came when I had to see the doctor.   The insomnia/valarian cycle was causing headaches.  I had terribly achy joints – made it hard to stand or walk.  My hands ached so bad I could not write.  My lips and face tingled like novocaine wearing off.   I remember that day.  She didn’t give me a choice not to go back on the medication.   She just asked what pharmacy to send it to.  And would not listen to my protests.   Her only concession was to promise to discuss it in 6 months.   I burst into tears.  I was a failure…again.   I had it under control.   Her response was “no, you do not.”  She ran the whole gamut of tests.   All returned negative.  So back on the medication I went and damn if I don’t feel better.   The point of all this…I need help with depression and anxiety and there is nothing wrong with that.   I still have my OCD behaviors and I still struggle with my own self-loathing (never good enough) but I also have a helluva support group behind me in the man that is my soulmate and my “safe place” (aka my sister).

Screwed up:  I screwed up.  I thought I could handle legal things on my own like my divorce and bankruptcy and I have made terrible judgments and mistakes.  I’d like to blame the system but it was the fact I would not ask for help.  Well, I am going to have to ask for help and pray some of the mess can be fixed.   But I needed to first admit that I did this.

Mental issues:  I have to acknowledge that I deal with self loathing.   Or, as my therapist called it, not good enough syndrome.   Everything is always about me and it’s never good.  If two random people are whispering, it is clearly because I have done something to upset them.  Don’t even get me started about when I feel I am disappointing God.  My therapist pointed out to me that this could be a form of arrogance.   That stopped me in my tracks.  I believe arrogance to be a sin.  So this is my ongoing struggle.  If I had a nickel for every time I’m told this is crazy, I could retire.   I know it is.  I wish I could stop.   For now, I can simply acknowledge it.  The mere suggestion that this sort of behavior is a form of arrogance has helped me to handle it.   

Well this is a start for me.   I see it in writing and it is real.  Under no circumstances do I mean to imply that I am anything but happy.   My life is incredibly blessed and I am where I am by the grace of God.  I am part of His Plan and my issues are my tests.  He has blessed me with an amazing family, a home, good health, a job, food….and so many blessing I can’t even begin to name.   I wanted to write these self awarenesses down because writing is beneficial to me.  It gets the noise out of my head.  I suspect I will have other self realizations as my wall(s) start coming down.

Happy New Year

I think 2015 was the fastest year of my life.  I am so happy to be back home with my soulmate and sometimes, as I drive through the farmland and bumpy “main streets” of my small hometown, it is almost as if I never left.

This past year brought me face-to-face with self-acceptance and my ongoing battle with depression and anxiety.   I learned I’m pretty ok just the way I am.  And who I am apparently needs help from others.  And that is ok.

This year brought fear of retaliation because of my chosen faith.  Not just for me directly, but for those in my family whether they have chosen Islam or not.   I have learned that the media truly wants us to be hateful beings because in real life…my real life…I’m greeted with smiles, chit-chat and all the other simple niceties that go along with a loving, happy community.  My scarf may created curiosity, but not hatred.

As for this coming year, I have only one goal.  Continue to be true to who I am…who I really am.  And be ok with that.  I suspect I will have moments of fighting it.   It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks and I’ve been running from myself for a very long time.   I will continue to accept the fact that I am a good person and people in my life love me…for exactly who I am.

Happy 2016 blogisphere.   I hope it is a good one for us all!!