Last night we went to see The Last Jedi, Episode 8 in Star Wars. Yes, I’m kind of a Star Wars geek. Just ask Wicket W. Warrick, The Ewok, who was given to me for Christmas in 1982, and is still with me today, albeit, a little flattened and scruffy. I have multiple Wicket stuffed animals, along with a Master Yoda backpack, gloves, and trinkets. A Chewie stuffed animal. Santa hats. Probably more things I can’t think of, but have meagerly collected over the past 40 years.
Last December, my heart stopped, and I cried. I lost my Princess. We had just seen Rogue One, and then, that night, or somewhere in the near future, I got the news that Carrie Fisher had passed away. I was devastated. A part of my feminism died. (But I gained it back over the year, and last week, found my public voice.) Not only did Carrie stand for a beautiful and sassy Princess, who turned into a General, amongst other things over the past 40 years, but she stood for breaking down the walls of mental illness, specifically of bi-polar disorder.
In the late 1980’s, I remember my mom watching an afternoon talk show, of some sort and said, “Princess Leia is on. She has manic depression.” That meant nothing to me. At. all. I had no clue. No clue what it was, nor any clue that I would be diagnosed with the same mental illness, about 15 years later. I remember marveling how beautiful Carrie was, but couldn’t understand why she started drinking and doing drugs….this was kind of a let-down to my Princess. It wasn’t, in fact, making any sense to me, at all, until I started as a Certified Peer Specialist in the Mental Health Field in 2012, dealing with folks that were dually diagnosed.
I have never struggled with excessive drinking. Or street drugs. I have, however, abused Seroquel. I did it, unfortunately, in the mid-late 2000’s, while being a role model and dance teacher to girls, aged 3-11. OMG. I barely even remember some of that time because I was out-of-it. I’d try to get my prescriptions ASAP and “stock up” on them. “Just in case” I wanted to check out. That is something I still struggle with from time to time. Being in nursing, albeit, veterinary nursing, hey….I still had pharmacology and have to understand the pharmokinetics and chemical componets of a drug. Which most of the time, comes to the veterinary field from the human field. Being drugged up, or, as it were, drugged down very low, made me in slow motion, apparently. The one day, after I taught, I received a phone call from my boss, the owner of the dance studio. She said some parents (meaning more than one) had called her concerned about me. Apparently I had talked so slow and was moving in slow motion. Really? I felt fine. As a matter of fact, I felt nothing. And that was great, and the point. I didn’t want to feel anymore. At all. Nothing. Zilch. Nothingness. Blackness. I just wanted to float in black darkness amongst the stars and sleep. I can’t believe those girls, who are now all around driving age, or going off to college, looked up to me. I feel like such a let down, an embarrasment to them, their parents, my dance teacher, my husband, my parents, my friends, and myself.
I wish I could have gotten to talk to Carrie about our diagnoses. I think I might even admire her more today than I did 5 years, or even 35 years ago. She’s one tough cookie. I admit, I have not seen most of the movies with her in, other than Star Wars. I didn’t follow her, like a rabid fan. I have not read her books; but I plan to, someday. I admire her wit, for thumbing her nose at those that said she hasn’t aged well. She stood up and did what she wanted, all while dealing with a debilitating thought process and chemical imbalance. (To see a list of really awesome articles about her from the Elephant Journal, go to this link: EJ: Carrie Fisher articles .)
Now I don’t want to be a movie star. What I DO want to be is someone who can stand up for those that’s voice has maybe gone silent for a while. I want to be someone that people can look up to. If you knew me, you would know I’ve been struggling with this aspect right now, in the past few months. Some terrible things have happened to some very close friends. I haven’t been the greatest friend because I’m battling my own demons lately. Pain. Migraine. Those two have been up my ass with a vengence, as of late. Today was a horrible pain day to wake up to. It took until about 4pm, to be able to get up and throw some Chao Chilli Mac & Cheese in the toaster oven for supper and pop a Curate bar into my mouth. (Maybe someday, I can do a video of a few vegan shopping trips at our local stores.) Pain was why I chose (yes, it IS a choice) to self-medicate. I self-medicated because of the emotional pain from a traumatic life of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, up until that point. But I wouldn’t have told you that in 2005, I would have told you it was from the Fibromyalgia pain. At that point in time, my foot was a minor issue….it only took abuse from my ex-husband up until 2001. The horrible sprain, that basically ended my ballet and dancing career, happened in 2008. Followed by a fall down steps where I was working part time. Followed by a horrible car accident in 2009, in which my right foot was pinned, up underneath the dashboard with my foot between the motor and the dash.
NOW I have more pain 24/7 than ever. But I choose NOT to self-medicate. What I do choose to do is mild stretching, until I can get to my new yoga teacher’s class to get a formal stretch in. I choose to find alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs for pain control. Like eating fully balanced meals and snacks that are plant-based. (Yes, I do cheat.) I choose to see my therapist almost every week and talk about the pain and past traumas that may be being held in my physical body. I choose to get massages, TuNia adjustments, Reiki, and other holistic energy-based healing methods for my pain. Yes, I have been making self-care a priority this past year. Soon I will be seeing a pain psychologist to see if I am eligible for a Dorsal Root Ganglion Spine Stimulator for my CRPS/RSD pain. My pain management doctor and I are hoping it will help with the migraines and fibromyalgia pain, as well. This is not the magic cure-all, at all. I am still on Savella, Pristique, Gabapentin, and Latuda. I take supplements for pain, such as Flax Seed and Evening Primrose Oil (Omega Fatty Acids). I also take L-Tryptophan for sleep and alternate nights with herbals like valarian, chamomile, and hops for sleep. I also throw in a melatonin every few days. One thing that truely seems to be helping is meditation, as I mentioned in a previous post last week. (The Apps I use page is still in the works). I love Insight Timer (link: Google Play Insight Timer). Jennifer Piercy’s Yoga Nidra practices have really helped me to zone out, relax, and get some rest.
Another thing I am choosing to do is try CBD oil. It has been amazing in the past week and a half. With the exception of today, I have had much less pain and anxiety, which would put me in to several anxiety attacks a day and a few panic attacks a week. My medication was evaluated, after I had all but one symptom of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome in October. My CPRS/RSD jolting shocks and burning electrocution pain is significantly decreased and seems to start coming back, close to when the next dose is due. To see what I’m trying, go to this link: Hempworx 500 Peppermint. Try it for yourself! See what a NATURAL PLANT can do for you!
I believe my pain today, came from Friday night, at my husband’s holiday party, sitting for 3 hours in a very uncomfortable chair. Also last night at the bookstore was excessively hard on my behind. I guess I’ll just have to carry a sciatic/butt cushion with me from now on. Fortunately, the theater recliners were cushy and wonderful. And a good thing because we got 2 of the last 6 tickets left….and hour and a half before the show. The movie is well over 2 hours long. But was very enjoyable. Every time General Leia Organa made an appearence, I teared up, knowing I’d not see her in the (maybe?) Episode 9 and on. To think of what Carrie had to deal with, and in the spotlight, is amazing. To think of what some of “us” have to deal with is amazing. Don’t ever give up. May the Force be with you.
Take Care, Be As Well As Possible, and Until Then…
Positive and uplifting comments are always encouraged and welcomed!
Friday night, before the party, with Chewie behind me. And some amazing, uplifting quotes.