Monday, November 12, 2012

Anywhere But Here

I think I am over the hump with this illness, finally. I woke up early this morning feeling horrible, with lots of aches and a very bad headache. It was so bad that I couldn't function. So I went and got in the shower and stayed in there for 45 minutes. When I finally got out, I felt better. Tired, but better. I had my coffee and some pumpkin ricotta and by 11 I was feeling pretty decent. I actually cleaned the kitchen, which was in desperate need of cleaning. My kids had loaded and unloaded the dishwasher and took the trash out but nothing else had been done in five days... yikes. Now it is fresh and clean and all I need to do is mop the floor, which will have to wait because I am too tired. But at least I am getting a few things done today. My washing machine should be fixed tomorrow afternoon. I do feel like I could lie down and take a 4-hour nap right now, but that's not happening so I am just resting.

Tomorrow, unless I become sicker again, I am going to *focus* just like I talked about yesterday. I thought about it a little more, in the context of "one thing at a time." Really, my life is too complex to have my focus on *only* one thing at a time, at least when you're talking about days or weeks or months on end. I mean, I cannot put all my energy and effort into one area of my life and neglect the others. I have kids, I have dogs, I have obligations. But *focus* can be there in ALL of those areas. I think rather than simply a lack of focus, it really has been more about distraction. In fact, this morning in the shower, I had a memory and a thought.

When I was 26 years old, I was pregnant with my fourth child. He was very much planned and wanted. I'd been through childbirth (and worse) before, so I was quite excited about his coming birth. But even though I'd done this before, it would be nothing like my past experiences.

One minute I was sitting on my couch, contentedly reading a book in front of a cozy fire, watching the snowflakes drift down outside while my three little ones played with Matchbox cars at my feet. Less than an hour later, I'd be lying on my back on a cold metal table with a nurse trying to hand my newborn baby to me.

It was surreal, this rapid birth. SUPER rapid, and super painful. Only 45 minutes from start to finish, it was all of the pain of my previous 13-hour labor crammed into less than an hour's time. There was no time for medication, no time for an IV, no time for my brain to adjust to the fact that the baby was being born NOW, and no time for my body to acclimate slowly to ever-increasing contractions. I felt like I was trapped and couldn't get out. I couldn't stop it, I couldn't breathe through it. It was overwhelming. I remember wanting to exit my body. "Anywhere but here... anywhere but here..." The woman who was with me grabbed my arms and said "just go somewhere else... use your mind and go somewhere else." And in that moment, it seemed I almost left my body. I felt myself start to exit the flesh... it seemed I was leaving. I was really leaving... I had to go. And in an instant I thought I was actually dying, it seemed to me that I truly was leaving my body, the pain became distant, and I was floating. In just that split second I snapped myself back: NO! I thought, I need to live! I need to stay, for my children. For the baby. And just like that I was back in the pain, screaming with all my might, giving birth to my son, collapsing in exhaustion.

In that moment all I wanted was to escape. The pain was too much. I couldn't deal with it. You hear about people who see horrific accidents or have tragedy happen to their loved ones and they are so overcome with shock that they have to be medicated. Sometimes, things we have to deal with are just too much for us to handle, or so it seems.

I think that is the root of all this addiction... this gambling, this drinking, this drug abuse and cutting and wild promiscuity and binge eating and gaming. It's all one thing. It's all just people who are so overwhelmed or stressed or saddened by whatever is going on, or *has* gone on, in their life that they want to be *anywhere but here.* They want to be high or drunk or lost in a cheesecake. They want to be sucked into the Online world or the TV soap operas, lost in the excitement of risky sex or the thrill of a slot machine. It is all ONE addiction, it is all about escaping. It is all distraction, and it is the same for many of us on a lesser scale because maybe instead of dealing with our feelings or working on the actual problems, we eat a bowl of chips or surf the Web for 3 hours or do something else to go to another place. There are even healthy ways to do it: go for a run, take a long bath, focus on some hobby, go out with friends. The unhealthy part comes if we keep distracting and never actually come back and deal with what *needs* to be dealt with.

So, when I say I am going to *focus,* I mean I am going to be present. I am not going to try to 'go somewhere else' when there are hard things to deal with. At least, I won't keep distracting myself to the point of not getting anywhere. We all need to escape a little bit sometimes, but if life gets stressful the escaping can get out of control if we let it.

When I finally held my son in my arms, I knew he was worth it. I loved him with every ounce of my being and was oh so happy to be here and not anywhere else. On the first page of his baby book I wrote: "What is bought with the coin of pain is dearly kept." So true, about so many things.

Let us not always look to avoid the pain, but to work through it... work with it. Get to the end of it, and embrace the reward.


Lori said...

I think you've got that right Lyn. Good luck keeping focused and staying here.

Anonymous said...

I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but I've been confused and surprised by the new animal additions to your home. even before the first one, you were stretched thin taking care of your children and their chronic illness and yourself. there are many unwanted pets out there, and there are ways for you to donate time without committing to them long term. I know you talk about your children being your reason for living; as someone who wasn't able to have kids I can relate to that feeling but also - on the other side of it - feel strongly that its unhealthy to put that on other beings, human or animal. I'm sure you put a lot of effort into raising your children, but they will grow out of your day to day life while you have decades of life left. there will be pets and maybe grandchildren, but what if not? is your life valuable to you outside of that role?

Lyn said...


If I have said my children are my "reason for living," I misspoke. They are not. They are a huge part of my focus and my joy, but I had a life before them and have one aside from them. They're all in school now... in fact, 3 are in college. They are still my heart, always will be, but having 3 adult kids is a lot different (and my role is less day-to-day, as you said).

As for the dogs, I got #1 almost two years ago as a 100-pounds-lost gift to myself. She is the foundation for my new and very active hobby of dog sports. I've had to cut back a little on that because of the plantar fasciitis, but will pick it back up when my pain is less. Dog sports is an AWESOME activity that I love; I've made lots of new friends in this area of my life, too.

Dog #2, well, she is a love... and you probably know that when we got her (off the street) the intention was to rehome her. But then our little dog died, and this one grew on us :) I found that having her is actually BETTER for us all. She keeps my other dog busy playing when I am working on other things. She has a very calm and soothing personality and sort of oozes peacefulness. She is the least demanding dog I have ever met, which is the main reason she is a great fit. She makes having 2 dogs easier than having one... and no more work except it takes a little longer picking up poo. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn:
Loved this post and had to tell you. It really speaks to me. I've been a binge eater and "out of myself" seems like where I wanted to go.

Suzy said...

I just have to say - I really appreciate the graceful way you respond to anonymous commenters who pick at your life, and what they see as being wrong with it/ your choices. Better than I would do. But I have 3 dogs and 2 cats, and 2 kids so I am sure I am doing it all wrong anyway (sarcasm). Thanks for the lesson, and for your blog.

Steelers6 said...

Wow, what a story! Whew! Wild. Did the medical professional helping with the birth confirm that according to your vitals you were near death?

I am personally noticing my own difficulty staying focused on a task lately. For me I feel it is perimenopause, that interesting -ha- process before menopause. It has brought many challenges my way, & started fairly young imo. (Around age 40)

Glad you're starting to come around!

Lyn said...


It was so fast once I got into the hopital, I was not hooked up to anything, no one took any vitals that I remember and the nurse who was in there was in a panic trying to find a doctor to come fast enough. I was okay within an hour afterwards, though, so perhaps the feeling I was dying was a consequence of the very intense pain.

Anonymous said...

This is powerful. Thank you.

I love that you have room in your heart to care for so many :o)


timothy said...

great post, and stayin in the moment is a wonderful way to be "present" in your own life!

h2oratt said...

I love your blog I often think I should write one but wouldn't want to deal with the people analyzing my decisions.
I am a big dog person and dogs can help me much more than most people. But that is probably the root of my problem i have always related better to animals than to people. I also have a problem with focusing.i really feel I am ADD. I really need good ways to stay on task
Anyway the best to you and yours

Anonymous said...


I've been reading your blog on and off for a couple of years now. I must say that you're a talented writer and impressively introspective.

Keep up the posts - I have gotten so much out of them!

God bless you and your family.

Tracie said...

I love ready your blog. I have read your blog since the beginning of your Medifast journey. You are an amazing woman and we well written writer. I often find myself looking for your updates for some inspiration. Keep doing what you do...I think you are on a great path!

Leslie said...

You are very nice to the "anons" who toss out the questions that are clearly meant to judge and be all tsk tsk-y. I felt like smacking that one who commented about your animals. Rather than take the time to write something bitchy, why not move on to another blog if you can't say something nice. Just reading that comment put me in a mood! You were way nicer than you needed to be. In fact, with comment moderation, I'd have hit the delete/bye bye button.

Hang in, Lyn. You're moving in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Disassociation , depersonalization, derealisation, are different levels of the same defense mechanism. Those who go through repeated unbearably painful situations often develope multiple personalities. Not to say you didnt actually almost die. Wow! I see a few friends of mine who raised several children take on two or three pets as thier children leave the nest. Its all about your own comfort levels, but never rule out letting them go if you get too overwhelmed. Me? I owe not dying of a blood clot to my two pets. No matter my pain level they force me to get up and move. Angels that they are.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you are feeling better Lyn. Leave the kitchen floor dirty till you feel up to it. You are probably the only one that realizes it is dirty. At least that is how it is at my house!!!


i should be full said...

You have written so much wisdom about addiction here. Escape is what it's all about. It also becomes unhealthy when the thing we are doing to escape pain is causing more pain than that which we are trying to escape. I try to remember that: If I have a problem and I eat over it then I have two problems. One problem is easier to deal with than two!

I think your new food plan is bringing you clarity and focus. Enjoy the benefits it brings, you deserve it!