Laddie! – (approx. 2 - 3 min. read)

I wrote this last week, knowing that I wouldn’t have time this week due to the extensive training I would be going through this week to get Laddie – my service dog.

For those of you that have been following me, you know that I get my service dog this weekend after a long three-year wait. I never thought that this day would ever come and now that it’s right around the corner, I’m feeling quite apprehensive. I wasn’t …but a couple of weeks back, when we were visiting some family someone raised a question that I hadn’t considered, and it really sent me for a loop.

I can’t remember the question word for word, but it was something along the line of “Do you really think that you’re going to get this dog, and everything will just change for you? That you’re going to be able to just get back outside like nothing happened?!

While I was picking my chin up off the floor, Gary, my husband came to my defense and said absolutely! He went on to say that when Xena was well, she and I went everywhere together, and he believed that Laddie was going to get me back out there. The rest of the visit was uneventful, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the question and if I were putting too much responsibility on Laddie; the service dog?

It’s been almost two weeks since that doubt was introduced into my mind and you’ve gotta know that I’ve done a lot of over-thinking about it and as it stands, I have a lot of doubt going on. I’m starting to wonder if I’m putting too much responsibility on Laddie and how it’s going to go? He’s over two years old because it takes that long to train him to do the job, but what if he doesn’t take to me? What if he doesn’t like me and we’re unable to bond? More importantly, what if having a service dog doesn’t help me to get my life back?! What if nothing changes for me and I’m unable to get out?

I’m in a bit of a tizzy because if he doesn’t take to me and to his job, they will take the dog back and if they take the dog back, then all my chances of ever having a semi-normal life will fly out the window and I don’t know what I’ll do if that happens. I’ve put so much onus on getting a service dog that if it fails, I will be sent into such a downward spiral, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to come out of it.

So here I sit, with only four sleeps in between me and fate. Deep down inside, I believe, in my heart of hearts, that getting a service dog is going to help me to live my life and I’m going to stay positive and quiet the negative voices that are trying to catastrophize one of the most important meetings of my life.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay tuned to find out how great Laddie's and my first week actually turned out. Thanks for following!

Should We Make Mental Health Mandatory in Our Educational Curriculum? - (approx. 4 -5 min. read)

This past week a petition came across my newsfeed regarding a mental health course that should be mandatory for our youth. The petition states that “we need to start mental health infusion in the elementary grades when many challenges with mental ill health become evident.” It went on to say that “the education system has a crucial role to play in child and youth mental health awareness, suicide intervention and prevention, resource awareness and skill development.” Honestly, I couldn’t agree more!

We teach things like math, English, and history, yet we don’t teach very much about life skills or mental well-being. With suicide being the second leading cause of death in Canadians between the ages fifteen to twenty-four, I think we need to start!

Statistics Canada published an article by age group, covering a ten-year period between the years 2000 to 2009. The article stated that “suicide is one of the leading causes of death for people of all ages,” and in 2009, it ranked suicide as the ninth leading cause of death in Canada. Worse yet, suicide was the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of fifteen to twenty-four – SECOND!

Honestly, I’m lucky that I didn’t become part of those statistics, incredibly lucky, and I want to do whatever I can to change those statistics!

Some other statistics that you might find staggering have to do with child abuse, be it physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. Worldwide, forty million children are subjected to abuse each year, and in the U.S. six children will die by suicide, each day, due to some form of child abuse.

These are horrific numbers and it’s time we did something to help our children, and I think it has to start in our schools. For the most part, ninety percent of children are abused by people that they know, love or trust and needless to say, between sixty-six to ninety percent of abuse victims never tell anyone about their abuse. I didn’t, not until decades later, and I was warned that if I said too much I would be taken to court and shut down unless of course, I could prove it in a court of law …and we all know how hard it would be to prove my allegations. First of all, it happened decades ago and most people think that I should have gotten over it by now. Second of all, there were no Aunts or Uncles living in Canada until I was grown up and had children of my own, yet they claim to have been around and are siding with my abusers.

Anyway, I’ve gotten a little off topic… children like I was, need to know that they can get help and the only way they’re going to get it is by being taught it in school. It needs to be a mandatory class and it needs to be taught no later than middle school (grades six-eight) because, for a lot of kids, this is up to five years after their first encounter with abuse.

As part of the course, our children will be taught about things like mental disorders, suicide, child abuse, and bullying. They will learn that if they’re a victim of abuse or if they know anyone that’s a victim of abuse, that they can get help. More importantly, they will be kept safe throughout the process. They need to know that if they’re struggling with anything, no matter what it is, that they can reach out and talk about it without being put down or stigmatized.

I believe that if our children are taught about the challenges life may throw at them and how to protect themselves, as well as others, they will have a much better chance of succeeding in life. I also believe that they need to be taught adversity and how common it is for adversity to touch them, or one of their friends. That way, they will be better able to cope with the trials and tribulations that make some youths believe that dying by suicide is their only solution when faced with extremely harsh conditions.

What do you think? Should we make mental health and well-being mandatory in our educational curriculum, or should we keep believing that somehow these kids are going to find their own way?

Stay safe, and stay strong. Thanks for following.

 

https://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2012001/article/11696-eng.htm

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide/index.shtml

https://cmha.ca/media/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/

http://arkofhopeforchildren.org/child-abuse/child-abuse-statistics-info

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/becoming-adult/201101/suicide-age-27-death-due-child-abuse

http://www.naasca.org/2012-Resources/010812-StaisticsOfChildAbuse.htm

http://www.victimsofviolence.on.ca/research-library/child-sexual-abuse/

 

Should We Make Mental Health Mandatory in Our Educational Curriculum? - (approx. 4 -5 min. read)

Do You Stigmatize Yourself? (approx. 1½ - 2½ min. read)

I have a really important question to ask you; are you ready? You need to be, because if you’re anything like me, you’re going to take a step back when you hear it. Not because you can’t answer it, but because you might be shocked by the answer. Here it is: do you stigmatize yourself?

Just in case you aren’t completely certain what stigmatize means, it means to make something seem bad or disgraceful; to characterize or mark as disgraceful.

So, do you? Do you criticize the things about yourself that are less than perfect? More importantly, do you make sure the rest of the world knows about them?

I do, and I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t criticize myself. It started out small with things like, why can’t you do anything right, but then ended up being huge with things like you’re a big fat waste of space and I’m not sure why you don’t just “off” yourself?!

For the most part, I didn’t hear them saying it directly to me, but I heard what they were saying through other people. When I think back to my childhood, I never felt confident or proud of who I was.

At a very young age I started telling myself things like “I was too dumb to do the math,” and that “I was fat,” but I was neither of those things; I was merely a product of my environment. An environment in which the voices weren’t very friendly, or supportive.

Unfortunately, up until Gary, each one of my relationships ended up being very similiar to those environments because I continued to choose people that were narcissistic in nature. It was almost like I was trying to heal the relationships that so desperately needed healing by being with people that reiterated what the voices in my head were saying.

Was it because I was trying to convince myself that what they were saying was true? Or was I trying to convince them that they were wrong?

Whatever it is, or was, I’m not going to listen to those voices anymore. I know; with all my heart, that those voices are wrong. Those people aren’t part of my life anymore and the only person criticizing me is myself and it’s time that I stopped! It’s time that I end the self-stigma going on in my head and replace it with positive self-talk.

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following!

Do You Stigmatize Yourself? (approx. 1½ - 2½ min. read)

I have a really important question to ask you; are you ready? You need to be, because if you’re anything like me, you’re going to take a step back when you hear it. Not because you can’t answer it, but because you might be shocked by the answer. Here it is: do you stigmatize yourself?

Just in case you aren’t completely certain what stigmatize means, it means to make something seem bad or disgraceful; to characterize or mark as disgraceful.

So, do you? Do you criticize the things about yourself that are less than perfect? More importantly, do you make sure the rest of the world knows about them?

I do, and I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t criticize myself. It started out small with things like, why can’t you do anything right, but then ended up being huge with things like you’re a big fat waste of space and I’m not sure why you don’t just “off” yourself?!

For the most part, I didn’t hear them saying it directly to me, but I heard what they were saying through other people. When I think back to my childhood, I never felt confident or proud of who I was.

At a very young age I started telling myself things like “I was too dumb to do the math,” and that “I was fat,” but I was neither of those things; I was merely a product of my environment. An environment in which the voices weren’t very friendly, or supportive.

Unfortunately, up until Gary, each one of my relationships ended up being very similiar to those environments because I continued to choose people that were narcissistic in nature. It was almost like I was trying to heal the relationships that so desperately needed healing by being with people that reiterated what the voices in my head were saying.

Was it because I was trying to convince myself that what they were saying was true? Or was I trying to convince them that they were wrong?

Whatever it is, or was, I’m not going to listen to those voices anymore. I know; with all my heart, that those voices are wrong. Those people aren’t part of my life anymore and the only person criticizing me is myself and it’s time that I stopped! It’s time that I end the self-stigma going on in my head and replace it with positive self-talk.

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following!

Couch Surfing – (approx. 5 – 6 min. read)

We hit a bit of a snag last week when the sanitation guy came to pump out our grey water on Thursday. I had a feeling we had an issue when I peeked out the bedroom window that morning. It was raining and incredibly mucky where we’d cleared all the trees, but Gary told me not to worry and to go back to sleep while he headed out to get gas for the generator.

The first couple of times Stilton’s came to pump us out, we had been right up against the road, but we had moved the trailer onto the property and we were at least two hundred feet from the road now. I waited until I heard Gary turn the key in the lock and got up – I just had this feeling…

Less than twenty minutes later I heard a truck come barreling in across the mud, and when I looked out, it was backing up so fast that it knocked over one of the drums we’d been using for burning brush.

I threw on my coat and boots and headed out onto the deck that Gary had just finished putting up the day before. I waved my hands and when that didn’t work I put my fingers in my mouth and whistled; something I’d learned to do as a kid.

He stopped and turned to look at me like he’d seen a ghost or something and then threw open the door to his truck. He starts grumping at me, saying that he’s pretty sure he’s going to get stuck and that I better keep my fingers crossed. I assure him that I will… He has no idea that his aggressive nature has already struck the fear of God into me and I’ll agree to just about anything to get him the heck out of my space!

The next thing he does, is start throwing the hose, one hoop at a time onto the ground. All the while, he’s grumping at me and it makes me take a couple of steps back - literally. Luckily, I was up on our deck and I knew I could get back inside and lock the door before he could make it up the stairs, but still, he made me nervous.

He stomped around to the back of the trailer like a child that had just had his T.V. privileges taken away from him, and I heard him yank the cap off the waste water drain. I thought about going back inside and ignoring him, but decided it would be better to stay where I was, so I could find out if this was his last time pumping us out for the season.

After what seemed like an interminable time, he came walking back, dragging the hose behind him. He said something under his breath about not coming back and when I asked him what he said, he just said cross your fingers. He strung the hose back up on the side of the truck, climbed into his truck, gave me one of the dirtiest looks I’ve had in a long time and slammed his door.

I crossed my fingers and my toes, because there was no way I wanted this angry man spending any more time on my property than he had to. Then I watched in horror as he turned his front wheels on a forty-five-degree angle before he even put his foot on the gas. It was almost like he wanted to get stuck to prove a point. He accelerated like he was trying to do a burn-out and I watched as he dug six-inch trenches in the muck the two hundred plus feet in between the trailer and the road.

Finally he was gone, and I knew he wasn’t coming back. That’s when I started to cry, not only because I was relieved that he was gone, but because I knew we had to pack up and leave straight away. I was so worried about where we were going to go, or who we were going to impose on because we hadn’t made any plans for accommodations until the end of November. Which was when we thought we’d need them…

When Gary got back he saw that I’d been crying and asked me if I was okay? I told him what had happened, and he hugged me, agreed that we’d have to leave, and we started packing up.

I couldn’t stop crying as I looked around at what had become familiar to me, knowing that we were moving again. Sure, we had a place to stay while we built our house, but it wasn’t ours and it would have nothing of ours in it and that thought made me feel like a fish out of water. Plus, the fact that it wasn’t available until the end of November and we were going to have to put out one of our friends until then.

We had a place in mind because it had been offered to us in the past and we’d stayed there many times before, but for some reason I felt really anxious. This time we weren’t just staying for one night. We needed a place to stay for just over three weeks and that was a lot to ask of anyone.

I had this ominous feeling deep in my gut that somehow this was crossing a friendship’s boundaries, so I cried most of the way there. I just couldn’t get over the sense of foreboding growing in my gut and I was feeling extremely anxious. I’m honestly not sure why, but I did.

When we arrived, we were greeted like we hadn’t been there in years and the sense of foreboding went away completely as hugs were shared. As usual, they made us feel like we had just come home from a long trip and told us we could stay as long as we wanted.

So here we are; couch-surfing for the next three weeks. We’re no longer in our house on wheels, but we’re living on the fly. For the most part, I’m feeling okay about it because it’s not for very long, and then we’ll be living on our own again. It won’t be in our own place yet; it’s a house-sitting gig, but I’ll have my service dog, and I know that together, he and I will help each other to remember that home truly is where the heart is.

Stay safe, and stay strong. Thanks for following.

Being Held Hostage! (approx.. 5½ - 6½ min. read)

Being Held Hostage! (approx.. 5½ - 6½ min. read)

I feel like I’m being held hostage by Canadian cell & internet providers and after doing some research, I’ve confirmed it! And I know this blog seems like it’s completely off topic, and not about mental illness, but it isn’t off topic.  Please bare with me and you’ll see what I’m talking about it …honestly, I’m willing to bet there are quite a few of you out there that feel the same way.

The first thing I found out about our network is that Canada has an oligopoly going on when it comes to the wireless service industry. For those of you that don’t know what an oligopoly is, it’s “a market structure in which a small number of firms has the large majority of market share. An oligopoly is similar to a monopoly, except that rather than one firm, two or more firms dominate the market. There is no precise upper limit to the number of firms in an oligopoly, but the number must be low enough that the actions of one firm significantly impact and influence the others.”

In Canada, the oligopoly is Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI), BCE Inc. (BCE) subsidiary Bell and Telus Corp (TU) and they control 90% of the market. You might not think they’re working together, but in 2014 the three of them raised they’re prices – in tandem – ranking Canada among the highest paying countries in the world for the wireless service industry.

The worst thing about it is one of them claims to support mental illness and makes a big deal of how much money they raise to help it, yet their wireless services are priced out of the market for most people; especially people on disability, single parents and retirees.

Back in the day, phones were free when you signed a contract and you didn’t get charged extra for the amount of local calls you made. Today, not only do we have to purchase our own phones, we also have to pay for local calls. And to make it worse, we have to purchase a new phone every two years because they’ve somehow figured out how to time our phones demise right around the two year mark! Furthermore, the cheapest plan in today’s market still doesn’t include long distance minutes – even though there are thousands of towers in Canada – and for two phones, the basic plan is going to cost one hundred and ten dollars, plus tax.

As most of you know, I’m on disability and my husband is retired and the cost of a bare minimum phone without long distance comes close to five percent of our income. Add in a hundred gigabytes for the internet, and we’re spending nine-point six percent of our income trying to stay connected!

In my opinion that’s ludicrous, but we live two hours away from family and friends and we need to stay in touch. We’ve tried to keep costs down by using skype, but apparently out here in the country, we can’t get the gigabytes because the maximum is one hundred! Really? We put a man on the moon forty-eight years ago, but we can’t provide internet to over 6.3 million people living in the rural areas of Canada.

…but I digress.

We also tried to keep our costs down by cancelling cable/satellite T.V. and getting Netflix, but with the high cost of wireless services from our provider, and the fact that we can’t get any more than one hundred gigabytes where we live, we can only afford to watch an hour of Netflix a night and there’s no YouTube!

…You guys know how much I need my music videos to shut my brain down before bed, but that all seems to be out now! Plus, I’m going to have to limit my time on social media!! My social media family has been my lifeline this last two years, and I have no idea what I’m going to do.

As you all know, I have a mental illness and I’m afraid to leave my house. Other than my husband, the only forms of connection with other humans that I have, are through a wireless hub; one that I might add has limited access, and I totally feel like I’m being held hostage.

Why isn’t there some kind of plan for people that are on a fixed income? And why can’t I get the gigabytes I need to stay connected with my life-lines? It honestly makes me feel like I don’t matter. How can I keep talking about it, if I can’t get a provider to keep me connected?

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/oligopoly.asp

https://mobilesyrup.com/2016/08/11/crtc-releases-international-telecom-price-study-confirms-canada-pays-more-than-everyone-else/

http://www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/cancellsites.html

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/as-sa/98-310-x/98-310-x2011003_2-eng.cfm

 

An Epiphany – (approx. 2½ - 3 min. read)

I’m really struggling with this week’s blog. There has been so much going on that my head is literally swimming. We’re parked out front of our property in our house on wheels and living like vagabonds; something we always thought would be exciting, but it is far from glamourous.

We were unable to get any utilities set up before we got here because we used poor judgement with the first contractor, so we’re winging it. We’re using a generator for power and if you’ve never used one, you wouldn’t be privy to the loud, raucous noise that has become part of my world these last four days. We are filling our 40-gallon reservoir with water we’re getting from the neighbours,  one five-gallon tank at a time, plus we’ve got a sewage company coming in once a week to pump out our black and grey water.

The walls are paper thin, and because the window frames are metal and sweating from the difference in temperatures, there is no way to seal them with plastic to try and keep the heat in. I could turn the heat up, but we only have two small propane tanks and we need to conserve. I’m a chicken and won’t even ride in the car when there are propane tanks in it, let alone drive it and taking Gary away from clearing the land isn’t an option. Needless to say I’m freezing and that’s not like me at all.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping because my mind is playing tricks on me. It’s been telling me that the person that said, “maybe it’s time someone just made it stop;” when it came to me telling my story, is going to find me, out here in the middle of nowhere – and make it stop. It’s been telling me that these walls are really thin and it wouldn’t be hard to just do a drive by with a machine gun, and make me “stop.”

I know, I know – I’m catastrophizing, and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s what I do. Having PTSD has made me so good at taking a good situation and turning it into a bad one; one in which I get hurt. I just couldn’t convince myself that I was safe, but all that changed around two thirty this morning.

I was pacing, and trying to talk myself down. I had to resist the urge to crank the tunes and dance, because it was late and Gary was trying to sleep, but I had to get out of my head! I tried meditating, but my mind was way too busy, so I tried out some of the Tai-Chi moves I’ve learned, and that’s when I had an epiphany!

Drum roll please… I love the drum roll!

Since I started talking about it, I’ve had over ten thousand people follow me on Twitter and Facebook and although a lot of my followers don’t know my story, a lot of them do, and I believe it would be hard for my abusers to do any (more) harm to me and get away with it. Between the plethora of threatening emails, and the derogatory comments on my website, I know that the first people the authorities would look at, would be my abusers.

And I know that doesn’t save me, but it’s important for me to know that I haven’t lived, or died in vain and I realized in that moment that “they” can no longer harm me without the world knowing and I feel incredibly empowered.

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.

From the Darkness, Comes a Light. – (approx.. 5 – 6 min. read)

I already wrote this week’s blog, but it was such a pity party, I decided to deep-six it into the recycle bin – lol!  It was all about the property and all the “fun” we’re having while trying to find contractors and get permits, but it’s just too darn depressing. Plus, I have some incredible news I want to share with you.

Drum roll please…

I’m finally getting my service dog and I couldn’t be more excited! Service dogs have been helpful in assisting PTSD sufferers become survivors.

They can:

“Promote Integration and Activity: Having the responsibility of another being that is a consistent caring companion helps build ties to the future. The dogs are active and force the individual to get out and exercise. The care of the dog also brings routine back into their life.

Suppress Hyper Vigilance: Hyper vigilance creates constant tension and paranoia. Individuals often require more personal space than the average individual. The dogs are trained to create a physical barrier that keeps the public at a comfortable distance.

Provide Reality Affirmation and Redirection: The dogs are trained to recognize the individual’s anxious behaviour and physically redirect them to more positive activities I. e. petting the dog. In addition, for those experiencing nightmares or flashbacks, the dogs can provide vitally important reality affirmation with their persistent nudges and calm disposition. Often the fact that the dog is not reacting allows the individual to feel safe in their environment.”

I started looking for a service dog around seven years ago, but it proved to be quite difficult. There was only one facility that I trusted and I wanted to get my dog from them, but they weren’t providing service dogs for people living with PTSD unless you were a veteran or a first responder. They were hoping to extend the service to civilians because they knew that PTSD isn’t biased and can happen to anyone that suffers a severe trauma, or traumas and they told me to call back in a couple of years.

I knew that having a dog would help me to get outside and learn to live again, so I decided to start looking for my own dog; one that I could train myself. Her name was Xena and she was the reason I went out for the first walk I’d had in two years. Prior to being held up, I used to walk everyday, but I couldn’t find the courage to leave the house after that. Xena helped me to get out again and I wrote about my experience with her here: http://www.davinalytle.com/blog/2015/8/20/august-19

Unfortunately, she started going blind prematurely, and she was way too anxious to travel in the car. She would whine and pace like a caged animal, and I just couldn’t do it; she was suffering like I was and it just wasn’t fair to her. So, her companionship came to an end; not in the house - she could smell my anxiety before I even knew it was happening and would nudge or lick me, but she was no longer my travelling buddy.

Once that happened, I became a hermit again; never leaving the house unless I was with someone. It didn’t happen slowly, it was an overnight thing – Xena wouldn’t go in the car, so neither would Davina. I tried, believe me I tried, but it just caused too much stress and I became a danger on the road because I couldn’t control the panic attacks and the fear.

A couple of years went by and a friend of mine suggested that I get a service dog and it reminded me to give National Service Dogs another phone call to see if they had changed their policy regarding service dogs for PTSD. I left a couple of messages explaining who I was and shortly after got a call from them. They told me that they still hadn’t bridged that gap yet and still hadn’t given a service dog to someone like me, but if I wanted to fill out an application, they would put it to the board.

I waited and waited for what seemed like eons but it wasn’t more than a couple of months. I signed into my email account and there it was; an email from NSD. I was nervous to open it, because I knew what it meant to me. I think I deliberated for most of the day and then just threw the what-ifs out the window and opened it. To my surprise, it was an acceptance letter and all I could do was cry happy tears.

It’s been a long wait, but here we are three years later and I just received an email inviting me to my “Team Training.” It seems so surreal. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve and I can hardly contain my excitement! I will be able to go out without Gary by my side. I will be able to go grocery shopping and clothes shopping. I will be able to go for a walk, as well as go for a drive without having a panic attack and talking myself out of it. Honestly, I’ve been missing so much and I’m so …I can’t find the words, other than - from the darkness, comes a light.

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.

http://www.nsd.on.ca/

http://www.nsd.on.ca/programs/skilled-companion-dogs-for-veterans/

No Stigma – None at All! – (approx. 5 – 6 min. read)

I’m sitting alone in a hotel about thirty-five minutes from the property Gary and I just bought. We came up here yesterday (Monday) to continue clearing the lot, but unfortunately Gary is out there doing it on his own. I somehow managed to end up injuring myself again; this time a sprained ankle, as well as a torn ligament in my thumb – yeah, I know – who would have thought you could do that to a thumb?!

Needless to say, I’m beating myself up because Gary is out there, by himself, doing a job we should be doing together. I’m so angry at myself for injuring myself (again)! I was, and still am, embarrassed to tell anyone I was at the walk-in clinic having x-rays – again. I have at least two injuries a year and although a specialist won’t treat you unless you do have an injury, I still imagine that people think that I make them up.

..but back to what I was saying. We’re here and it’s a lovely little hotel. From what I can see, they only have eight rooms, but the rooms are more like mini apartments and they are so comfortable and welcoming.

When we first got here, we parked the car and headed for the front door – it was so welcoming. Gary opened the door and we both walked into an empty; although inviting lobby. We walked up to the front desk and waited for a few moments before looking for a bell to ring.

Had we worn, or brought the eye glasses we both needed because of age related vision changes, we would have seen the note on the door with our names on it, explaining what we were supposed to so. Instead we glanced at each other quizzically and looked around the room.

It was homey and comfortable looking. There were shelves of books and DVD’s everywhere and the main accents were figures, or paintings of elephants.

After waiting a couple of minutes, Gary went back to the car to got his glasses and that was when we found out it was self check in. I was a little un-nerved that we were on our own, and that the front door was unlocked (and not being monitored!) until the wee hours of the morning, but we were there. All the other hotels in the area were booked and it was too late to drive home.

I had reserved through a travel site instead of going through the hotels website, and would have known about their “open-door” policy ahead of time and probably not booked it, but it was what it was.

We headed up to our room, entered the code; it was key-less entry, and entered one of the most comfortable hotel rooms/suites I’d ever been in. Prior to opening the door, all I could think about was the fact that it was key-less entry and that it was the “last four digits of the phone number of the person that reserved the room.”

That meant there were only two options that the code could be – mine or Gary’s.  What if someone was following me; someone that was out to hurt me?! The instructions were right there on the front door and anyone could enter the room in the middle of the night…

I took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on my surroundings and how comfortable it felt to me. I have this weird spidey-sense …I’m not sure how to describe it? It’s like I can sense, or feel the energy in the room and I can feel that things are going to be okay (or not) and I know this all might sound weird, but it’s an instinct I’ve learned to trust over the years so I entered the room with an open mind.

Gary and I unpacked and then we sat and had a glass of wine. I could see he was exhausted and needed to crash, but he was staying up to make sure I was comfortable with my surroundings and able to get some sleep. I assured him more than once that I was okay, so he kissed me and went to bed.

…I was not okay.

All I could think about was the fact that the front door was open to the world and my code was the last four digits of the cell number that I’ve had for decades! I was way too freaked out to sleep and ended up chatting with my social media family and reading their blogs; well into the wee hours of the morning.

Around two in the morning, I decided it was time to try and get some sleep, so I ate my cannabis cupcake, took a couple puffs off a joint, then curled into bed beside my man.

The next thing I knew the sun was shining and my man was kissing me on the cheek and saying good-bye. I told him I loved him, he told me he loved me back and then he was heading out the door…

Immediately my mind started to race and all I could think about was the damn code for the door! I got up, put the coffee on and opened the curtains. For the most part, I felt comfortable with the room, so I decided to call the owners and ask them if they would change the code for me; that way I could stop stressing over it.

I dialed the number, the phone rang a couple of times and then a pleasant voice on the other end of the phone said, “hello?” I asked if it was Rob (the owner), then I introduced myself. I told him I had PTSD, shared a bit of my story, and explained that I was worried about the code being the last four digits of my phone number. Within a half hour there was a knock at my door and when I asked who it was, a voice said, “It’s Rob.”

I hesitated for a minute, then reminded myself that one of the owner’s names was Rob and that I’d called him earlier. When I opened the door, I saw this tall man with a kind face, standing there smiling. He said he was there to change the code for the key-less entry, but he wanted to introduce himself first and let me know he was there, so that he didn’t startle me when he started playing with the door handle.

Wow – someone that got me and they didn’t know me from Adam! So, I decided to get really courageous and I told Rob that I used cannabis for medical reasons and asked if there were somewhere I could smoke it? He said there were chairs and tables in the backyard, and to make myself at home.

No stigma - none at all! It seems like there really are people out there that understand about mental illness and I’ve been lucky enough to find two of them not far from where we’re building a house. Plus, we’ve found a place to stay where I feel comfortable until we get our house built, and that is extremely important to myself, as well as being important to Gary.

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.

Another Crisis Averted – lol! (approx. 3½ - 4 min. read)

I spent twelve hours completely alone this week while Gary went up to meet with a couple of tradespeople.  Leading up to the day I tried not to think about it, just like I do with every stressful situation, but it was extremely difficult. You see he had to meet the first trades-person at nine o’clock in the morning, which meant he had to leave no later than four o’clock – while it was still dark – need I say more?

We’d discussed me going along for the ride, but as you all know I’m a horrible passenger and I spend most of the time in the car in a state of hyper-vigilance. Plus, the fact that Gary would be in the bush for three hours and with the record high temperatures, it would be too hot to sit in the car while I waited for him.

The morning in question, I heard Gary’s alarm go off and immediately the anxiety started. My chest felt like it was going to explode and I lay there wondering if I was having a heart attack instead of a panic attack – something you know that I do on a regular basis.

Next every pore in my body opened up and I started to sweat buckets – literally! Usually I get up and walk around so I don’t soak the sheets, but I didn’t want Gary to know I was stressing, because then he would worry about leaving me. Instead I lay there and pretended to be asleep while he made breakfast and got dressed, and when he came to kiss me good-bye, I told him I loved him and managed to hold back to the tears.

…but when he went out the door, and I saw the car lights backing up and out of the driveway, they started to flow. I mustered up all the strength I had, got up and checked to make sure everything was locked up and then climbed into bed to try and go back to sleep, but it reminded me of the last time I had been left alone and that made me cry harder.

The last time I had been alone in the middle of the night was years ago and I had a dog, as well as an alarm. This time however there were neither, and I was terrified and suddenly missing Xena who died not too long ago. I got up again, went to the washroom and grabbed some tissues to dry my eyes and blow my nose before climbing back into bed again.

Once I was back in bed, I rolled over onto my back and listened intently to see if anyone was lurking around outside. I heard a dog barking off in the distance, and a loud bang; almost like a car back-firing and my mind started to race.

I turned onto my side and tried to concentrate on my breathing …breathe in, belly out, exhale out, belly in …breathe in, belly out, exhale out, belly in. I started to sweat again and within minutes I was absolutely soaked. I got out of bed and went back into the bathroom. I looked at myself in the mirror and gave a little sigh as I stared at the disheveled face staring back at me thinking that the person in the mirror looked like she’d just seen a ghost.

I reached down and grabbed the joint that I had left in the ashtray before bed, lit it, and then inhaled deeply. As I exhaled I tried to release all the negative thoughts that were in my head and replace them with positive thoughts. I spoke out loud and recited what day it was, where I was, and that I as safe – over and over – just like a mantra. I took a couple more hits off the joint, put it out and then climbed back to bed.

As usual the cannabis calmed my mind and the next thing I remember was waking up to the sound of birds and the sun streaming through the windows. I rolled onto my back, looked up at the ceiling and smiled to myself because I had done it. As scary as it was – I had done it - and I hadn’t called Gary for moral support! I made it through another stressful situation without anything bad happening. Plus, that unnerving feeling I get when the sun goes down, and the world falls into darkness, had disappeared and I was feeling quite empowered.

Stay safe, and stay strong. Thanks for following.

A Little Information on Child Sexual Abuse - (approx. 4 – 5 min. read)

Surviving with a mental illness is one of the hardest things a person will do, especially when they’ve grown up with sexual abuse. Being abused - in any way changes a person’s view of people, as well as changing the way they look at the world we live in.

A person that has grown up being abused has very little confidence in themselves and their ability to function in the outside world because they have been made to believe they are unworthy.

The figures related to childhood abuse are absolutely astonishing and of epidemic, if not pandemic, proportions.” In fact, the chances of a child being sexually abused or raped is one in five and I believe it was the same when I was young, except it was talked about even less than it is now.

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a worldwide problem, but unfortunately, it’s a topic that most people don’t want to discuss, especially amongst members of a CSA survivor’s family. In fact, families will do almost anything to stop the truth from coming out; sometimes going as far as disowning the victim. This makes it very hard for a person who has been abused to find the attention and help that they need to survive and thrive.

CSA can happen to anyone and for the most part (about sixty percent of the time), it’s a family member, or a close friend of the family that is the perpetrator of such an immoral deed. Thirty percent of the time, it’s a caregiver (teacher, babysitter, minister, or coach), and about seven percent are considered “stranger danger.”

Although most of the studies on long term consequences of CSA focus on women, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re female or male. In fact, the statistics for CSA is one in four for girls and one in six for boys.

What’s shameful is that even though these statistics are so high, there is very little help for CSA survivors (I tried to find statistics, but it was difficult. I will update this as soon as I can find accurate numbers). Female CSA survivors have it a little easier than their male counterpart because they can confide in a girlfriend, or girlfriends, but male survivors tend to keep their abuse to themselves; hoping that somehow, they can fix themselves.

There are a lot of indicators that a child is being abused and the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA) compiled a list I thought I would share:

Indicators of sexual abuse in young children include: 

» Sleep disturbances

» Bed wetting and/or loss of fecal control

» Regressive behavior

» Self-destructive or risk-taking behavior

» Impulsivity, distractibility, difficulty concentrating

» Refusal to be left alone

» Fear of an individual, such as an alleged offender

» Fear of people of a specific type or gender

» Fire setting

» Cruelty to animals

» Problems relating to peers

» Sudden changes in behavior

» Difficulties in school

» Inappropriate interest (for the age) in things sexual

Indicators of sexual abuse in older children include: 

» Eating disturbances (overeating, bulimia and anorexia) 

» Running away

» Substance abuse

» Self-destructive behavior, suicide attempts, self-mutilation

» Incorrigibility

» Criminal activity

» Depression and social withdrawal

» Problems relating to peers

» Sudden changes in behavior

» Anger issues

» Difficulties in school

I found NAASCA one day when I was doing research and they have a lot of knowledgeable information on CSA, as well as an extensive list of help (http://www.naasca.org/Groups-Services/_Groups-Services.htm) that is being offered in English speaking countries throughout the world. They are dedicated to addressing the issues related to trauma and child abuse, which includes things like sexual assault, physical or violent abuse, neglect and emotional traumas. They do this from two different perspectives:

“1) educating the public, especially as related to getting society over the taboo of discussing childhood sexual abuse, presenting the facts that show child abuse to be a pandemic, worldwide problem that affects everyone

2) offering hope for healing through numerous paths, providing many services to adult survivors of child abuse and information for anyone interested in the many issues involving prevention, intervention and recovery.”

When I found the NAASCA I cried happy tears because they made me feel less alone in dealing with the abuse I suffered as a child. I know (now) that I’m not alone and with people like the NAASCA, I believe we’ll be able to educate the ignorant and end the stigma around CSA.

Learn the signs. Watch for things like unexplained injuries, changes in sleep habits; such as nightmares, inappropriate sexual behaviour, or changes in school attendance or performance. If you suspect CSA, don’t speak with the child in question. Immediately contact your family physician and they will put you in touch with a professional that knows how to get the truth out of that child, as well as make sure that they are safe.

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.

References:

http://naasca.org/

http://www.naasca.org/Groups-Services/_Groups-Services.htm

https://www.childwelfare.gov/

And the Journey Begins! – (approx... 2½ - 3 min. read)

A lot has been going on so I thought I would give you some updates!

First off, some incredible news! I had my follow up with the eye specialist and I can read one more line since the last time I saw him, so the central serous retinopathy has gotten a little better. I have glasses to drive and to read, so life is pretty much back to normal when it comes to my ability to see.

Secondly, I’m off the anti-viral meds for shingles that I have on the left side of my brow/face and for the most part, they have cleared up but the next month or so is going to be stressful, so I’m going to hold out on that for now. Most of the pain has subsided, so other than the marks on my face, it’s not affecting my life.

Third and this is the biggest news! Drum roll please….

WE FOUND A PIECE OF PROPERTY!

It’s farther away than I would like to be but it is what it is. There is nothing close to our kids that we can afford, and honestly, it’s time we started taking care of ourselves anyway. Our kids are married, have children and have beautiful homes of their own, so other than not having their Mom close to them, they are set …at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

So, now the adventure starts! Yesterday, we drove up to the municipal offices for the town we’re moving to and got all the information we need to get started. The first thing we have to do is stake where we want the driveway to go and then apply for a civic number, but we must wait for the lawyers to complete their jobs first.

Once the lawyers have done their due diligence and confirmed title, etc., we wait for our civic number, as well as the approval to put our driveway where we want on the lot. Once these are done, we can put in the septic system, which is the next step and then our well.

We’ve done quite a bit of research over the last couple of weeks to find out who would be the best person to put the septic in, and decided to go with someone that was referred by a friend and, I might add, is highly recommended in the area.

While the septic is being put in, we’ll also have the well drilled so that we can start thinking about having the foundation poured. We have no idea how late in the year we can do these things because the ground freezes, but we’re going to get as far as we can, so that we can start building first thing in the Spring.

Most of the work is going to be done by my husband, with labourers of course, but building a dream home is on his bucket list and this is something he really wants to do. Over the years, he has done a lot of building/renovating; a lot of it to our last house, and he spent the last three years doing commercial framing, so I have every faith in him. Plus the fact that I have always wanted to live in my “dream home,” so I’m also incredibly excited …and scared shitless …but nobody likes moving or change, so I’m going to cut myself a little slack.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay tuned to hear about the next step in our adventure as vagabonds.

I’m at My Wit’s End! - (approx. 3 - 3½ min. read)

Apparently, I’m not learning how to listen to myself fast enough because the “infection” that the walk-in clinic diagnosed me with, turned out to be much worse. I finally gave in and drove the hour and a bit to my family Doctor, instead of the forty-five minutes to a walk-in clinic, got an accurate diagnosis and was put on meds that started working straight away.

It wasn’t the Doctor that diagnosed me first; it was her nurse and when she told me what it was, I couldn’t help but cry. It was the second time in just over a year that I’d been diagnosed with shingles and I knew that the pain that I had been dealing with might not go away once the skin healed because I still have residual pain in my back from the first time I got them.

Anyway, I’m not going to dwell on it because it won’t change anything. I may have scars on my face where the shingles are and I may have residual nerve pain but like I said, there’s nothing I can do to change that. I can, however, continue to move forward and try to find a way to calm the symptoms of PTSD so that I don’t keep ending up with health issues that are caused by the stressors of living with a mental illness.

As you know, I work-out regularly and I eat healthy; I also try to meditate, but I struggle with meditation. I have apps on my phone to try and help but like I said, I struggle. I can keep my mind quiet for about a minute and a half, but then I start to get antsy, for lack of a better word. I just can’t seem to sit still and I feel extremely vulnerable sitting with my eyes closed – especially if there are other people in the room - so I’m going to try something different and that’s Tai Chi.

I’ve been doing some research and I think Tai Chi may be exactly what I need to help with the day-to-day challenges of living with mental injury/illness.

Medical News Today states that “Tai Chi is a competitive martial art known for both its defense techniques as well as its health benefits.” The phrase “Tai chi ch’uan” translates to “supreme ultimate fist” or “boundless fist, and can be traced back to Taoist and Buddhist monasteries. Tai Chi is considered safe for people of all ages because it doesn’t put too much stress on the muscles or joints and has been shown to improve balance, fitness and flexibility, especially when it comes to the elderly.

Another thing I found extremely interesting is that it has also been shown to alter a person’s responses against shingles; making the immune system better and stronger. Studies also say that it appears to reduce pain, the symptoms of depression, and it can also help to alleviate stress and anxiety, which are found in mental illnesses.

It (Tai Chi) has evolved over centuries as a form of “meditation in motion,” and there are many people that claim that it promotes serenity and inner peace through its gentle physical exercise and stretching with mindfulness.

Honestly, I’m at my wit’s end but I think Tai Chi is exactly what the Doctor ordered! I’m going to get started on Monday of next week - which I might add is the first class available of the season for beginners. The class starts early in the morning, so that I won’t have time to talk myself out of it, plus I can get to it without going on a highway; you know how important that is for me when I have to drive myself somewhere. I promise to let you know how it all goes.

Stay safe, stay strong and thanks for following.

References:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265507.php

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/67350.php?sr

Learning to Listen to Myself - (approx. 2 - 2½ min. read)

If I’ve learned one thing this week, it’s how to listen to myself and not feel guilty about it. I over-extended myself last week (again) and ended up missing almost two days of “work,” and then this past week I had issues with my new laptop, which put me even further behind.

The worst thing is I’ve picked up a skin infection that's been going on for almost two months and I can’t seem to get rid of it. For the first month and a half, I just tried to deal with it and get rid of it by myself but then it really, and I mean really, started to hurt.

Throughout my life I’ve been made to believe that I’m a hypochondriac and if you ask some of my family of origin, they will say that I have Munchausen’s; an illness where the patient makes illnesses up. Needless to say, that when it comes to going to the Doctor, I wait until it’s bad; until it’s so noticeable that no one can accuse me of making it up.

This time, while I sat and waited to make sure it wasn’t all in my head, I joked about it. The infection is in the middle of my forehead, just between my eyes and it’s not pretty.

I’ve been joking with Gary that it’s a third eye, all the better to see mental illness with, and I joked with one of my closest girlfriends that it was me turning into a unicorn; that is so unlike me. In the past, I would have hidden away and not discussed it with anyone, but things are seemingly changing as I’m learning to believe in myself.

Anyway, I went to the Doctor’s a couple of weeks ago and she prescribed an antibiotic cream. She told me to use it for seven days, but if it didn’t go away, I needed to go on oral antibiotics. You know how I feel about any kind of meds and so I crossed my fingers that the cream would work. I used it for the full seven days making sure I applied it every eight hours.

After about five days it started to go away and I started to feel like myself again, but when I put myself in an incredibly stressful situation this past weekend, the swelling started again!

I removed myself from the stressful situation, but not before the infection got so bad that I had to head back to the Doctor’s. This time, I couldn’t escape the inevitable and I was put on oral antibiotics. I dislike just about every kind of man-made medication, because if there’s a side-effect I get it, and who the heck wants to feel worse while they’re trying to feel better?!

But and it’s a strong but, I’m in a lot of pain and if it gets much worse, I’m thinking they’re going to have to give me more than an oral antibiotic.

Going forward, I’m going to go to the Doctor sooner and stop listening to the darn voices in my head.

Stay safe, stay strong and stop listening to the voices in your head.

Thanks for following.

It's Time to Change My Mindset - (approx. 3 - 3½ min. read)

I was going to share what I’ve been writing in my journal this past 3-4 weeks, but someone brought something to my attention and I thought it would be more cathartic for me to write about “it” instead. “It” being the fact that I’ve become quite negative over this last couple of months and it needs to stop.

When it was brought to my attention, I would have to say that it definitely could have been done in a better, gentler, way, but I’m glad the person felt it needed to be discussed.

This person was part of a group of people that we’d invited out to the park for fireworks and a beach party. The recreation committee has been putting on a great show for years and we thought it would be nice to share it with anyone that wanted to come out.

…always keeping in the back of my mind that fireworks and people are things that are definitely out my comfort zone, but like everything else that reminds me that I’m not like most other people, I just figured if it got too much for me I could, and probably would, just leave.

Unfortunately, my mentality and the way I was going to deal with it, didn’t extend to anyone else so that’s not the way it turned out. When I discreetly turned around and left the beach, I apparently made everyone else worry instead, and that (apparently) destroyed the night for everyone.

When I think back, I’m not sure why my reaction upset everyone because there’s no secret about my PTSD symptoms and the things that trigger or upset me. In fact, everyone who knows me knows that it’s part of who I am and that because of the extent of my traumas, it will be a lifelong challenge for me.

I just don’t get it. I’m so sick of talking about it, but apparently everyone needs a reminder. Nothing has changed for me, I still don’t like crowds or loud noises and I’m sick of trying to explain how things like that make me feel. It is what it is and I can’t change that!

However, there is something I can change about it and that is to stop being so negative. Sure, we sold our house and we haven’t been able to find our forever home, but we’ve found a nice alternative and that is something to be positive about.

As of today, I’m going to start now and try to change my mindset and stop being so negative.

 …I’m not even sure when I started down this slippery slope of despair, but it’s not who I want to be and for the most part, it’s unlike me. I try to stay positive but there’s just been too much of the unknown lately and somewhere over the last couple of months I stopped thinking rationally and I stopped walking my talk.

Starting the second I sat down to write this blog, I decided to change my mindset and I’m going to work on being more positive. I believe my husband and I are going to find the place that we want and it’s going to be beautiful. In the meantime, we have a roof over our heads and we have each other. We also have incredible support from our kids, their families, my husband’s family, as well as our friends, and we know that isn’t going to end.

We are going to find our forever home. It’s inevitable and I’m going to stay positive about it happening in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, nothing has really changed - we have shelter and the love of family and friends; that’s all that really matters in life.

Moving forward, I’m going to ask that you call me on my behaviour, just like the person that sponsored this blog. It’s imperative that I try to stay in a positive frame of mind, otherwise I end up where I am right now and that is having a whole mess of pity parties; as you know, they just aren’t very much fun. Plus, they aren’t very constructive in helping anyone - let alone myself - survive with an illness like PTSD.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay positive. Thanks for following.

I’m Back – Did You Miss Me? – (approx. 2½ - 3 min. read)

I know I’m supposed to be writing about the new adventure we started but it’s proving to be a lot more difficult than previously planned. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that we were supposed to be staying at a friend’s place while we were looking for a piece of property, but apparently you aren’t permitted to have anyone live in a trailer on your property.

So, we were forced to change our plans and look for a park and although we found one and it’s beautiful - it’s incredibly expensive, especially for retirees. Plus, there is someone in the park who has triggered me and I honestly feel like crawling into a ball and hiding under the covers – forever!

I just don’t get how some people can be the way they are and it's making my head spin, especially the fact that I won't be able to avoid this person.

…the worst thing is I'm having trouble calming myself.

Everything I used to be familiar with is gone, except for Gary and I’m feeling pretty discouraged. I’ve been trying to stay positive by believing things will sort themselves out but right now I feel like the sky is falling - again.

I know I should be embracing this for what it is – an adventure - but this damn disease is making it extremely difficult. I keep trying to tell myself that I’m going to get better and things are going to get easier, but when they don’t I get even more frustrated with myself.

And, having people constantly telling me to stop thinking about it or that I need to get over it is not helpful. I’ve been researching PTSD for just over 12 years, and I still haven’t figured out how to stop thinking about it; that in itself is so discouraging for me.

I know some of you are thinking that I should try harder, that I’ll get through it, and I want you to know that I am. The fact that I’m still here is proof of how hard I’m trying.

I finally found a lap top, an alternative for my desk top, and I’ve gotten back to my writing. If you’ve been following me, you know that writing is what has kept me sane this last couple of years and it’s not that I stopped this past few weeks – I still wrote, but nowhere near as much.

Honestly, I find it a lot harder to write without the help of a word processor and the ability to add or take away thoughts. When I write with a pen and paper, it just ends up being a jumble of scratched out words and the “mess” on a clean piece of paper just adds to my anxiety; I’m a perfectionist and there is nothing perfect about scribbled thoughts on a page. In fact, I’ve started new journals because I just can’t look at… I’m not sure what I can’t look at, but it’s all good now that I’ve got a lap top.

Another thing that’s getting me back on track is being in touch with my support groups on social media. It was torture not having access to the internet and all the support I get from my social media family, but all that is sorted out now.

I will get there – I know I will. This was just another little set back.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay tuned to hear more about this new part of my journey.

Guest Blog - I’ll Love you Forever...

Before I went on hiatus my daughter tagged me in a post on facebook. The tag was to her website (https://oneramblingmamablog.com/2017/07/26/ill-love-you-forever/where) she had posted an incredible letter that she had written to me.

It’s her version of what she saw growing up from a child into an incredible young woman; as well as a pretty incredible mother. It’s her rendition (for lack of a better word) of what she saw and heard growing up and I wanted to share it so that you could understand a little more of what life was like for me.

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.

https://davina-lytle.squarespace.com/config/pages/58891108c534a512cb890960

https://oneramblingmamablog.com/2017/07/26/ill-love-you-forever/

 

Going on Hiatus - Again - (approx. 1  min. read)

I can’t write much this week because we have to be out by Thursday and there is still so much to do, but I just wanted to let you know what was going on.

We purchased our trailer and I think we picked it up yesterday, but honestly everything seems to be blurring (for lack of a better word) together. I can’t remember what I did an hour ago let alone what I did yesterday and I’m still having trouble putting a sentence together.

But I digress...

We’ve found a beautiful park to put our new home in (for now) and we’re going to take a couple of weeks off to unpack and get our footing. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to get internet there, but no one seems to be able to give me that answer. Plus I don’t have the time right now to spend hours waiting for the local cell phone companies to pick up the phone, so I’m going to wait until I talk to the “neighbours.”

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to tell you all about my new adventure. How I’m dealing with being away from “home,” and all those things that are/were familiar, but honestly I think I’ve got this. I have an incredible man at my side and I’ll be almost directly in between my girls and their families, so what more could a girl want?!

...guts would be good - lol - and I’m working on that!

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.

P.S. Please look for a guest blog written by my daughter - it's scheduled to go up next Thursday. :-)

Leaving the Shire! - (approx. 2½ - 3 min. read)

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but my husband and I have sold our house and we’re moving. It’s not what we originally planned for ourselves but my husband was part of a group of employees that was forced into retiring a couple of years back, and this is the decision we’ve had to make.

Retiring is what everyone wants but we aren’t financially ready for it yet. We probably would have been had we gotten together earlier in life instead of just 12 years ago, but we didn’t. We also might have been ready had we not lost everything in our previous marriages. We also might have been ready had I not been diagnosed with PTSD and told that I would never be able to work full time because the stress would kill me.

...but I digress.

Our plans were to stay in this house and be close to our kids and our grand kids, but between my PTSD and my husband not being able to find another job at his age, our original plans are out of our reach.

So, 7 months ago we put our house on the market and it finally sold, with a thirty-day closing date and that is now less than two weeks away. We have no idea where we’re going at this point because there isn’t a lot of equity in the house. Our plans are to purchase a piece of property further North, where the property is cheaper and we can build a house, but we haven’t had any luck yet.

The good news is that we purchased a travel trailer and we can live in it until we find a piece of land, and get a new house built. It’s a great plan but as you know, I’m afraid of the world and most of the time I don’t leave the house unless there is someone with me.

In our current home we have an alarm system and we used to have a dog. In our temporary home, we will have neither. The service dog I was supposed to get to take over Xena’s job is going to someone else because I no longer have a fixed address.

Burying my brother-in-law, losing our furry family member, Xena, and leaving the home we thought would be our forever home is absolutely devastating; especially when we’re not sure where we’re going!

Needless to say, I’ve been crying - a lot - and I have to tell you it’s not helping. In fact, it’s just making me feel even more miserable and I need to stop! I need to embrace this for exactly what it is - an adventure! I’ve always wanted to build a dream home and I’m well on the way to doing it. Sure, it’s going to take awhile and I may not be on social media as much, but I’m hoping you’ll continue to follow me and find out how I’m surviving with PTSD and living as a nomad at the same time.

Stay safe and stay strong! Thanks for following!