Why Lying is So Easy Sometimes….Even When You Hate It

I truly detest lying. Not only am I really lousy at it (I have the opposite of a poker face), I am just a person who believes so strongly in integrity and honesty.

However, I lie a LOT lately.  When you suffer from a mental illness of any kind lying becomes habit. “I’m fine” comes out of your mouth constantly. Someone asks how you are and you smile and just say, “I’m fine, thanks”! You smile constantly when inside your mind you are screaming.

Why do we lie? Many reasons really. 

We don’t want to worry you. We don’t want people to think we are “crazy”. We don’t want to sound like we are just complaining or seeking attention. We don’t want you to stand there not knowing what to say. 

The worse part of sharing your mental illness with someone who is NOT mentally ill are when they reply with things like, “I know how you feel”, or worse, say things like, “Just think positive”, “You dwell too much on negative stuff”. 

Trying to explain “why” I feel the way I do when I am depressed, anxious or lately tortured by my ED is impossible.

I don’t even truly know why my eating disorder has recurred. That’s what the professionals are for…I want to know as much as anyone else why I am doing this to myself when for once in my life all feels right in my world.

This is the reason so many people with eating disorders hide it. It makes no sense to us or to anyone else and hearing the platitudes (even when said with good intentions), just makes us want to hide our disease even more. No one understands. So, I lie. 

I was talking to my SO about it last night because I have been trying so hard to figure out why now. I did come up with some fairly reasonable thoughts. Maybe with things going so well in my life I am just scared of being happy. Eh, maybe.

What really made sense to me was pointed out by one of my friends who also suffers from an ED.

Right now, even though my life is going well, it is all out of my control really.

My housing is based on my being in therapy, and following all the rules of housing. I never know when they might decide I have been here “too long” and need to leave, or if I slip up and then what? They are in charge of me having a place to live.

I am still waiting for approval for my SSI, so I have no income. The decision of whether I will have an income at some point is in THEIR hands. They need to decide if I am “sick enough”.  That’s another topic all together…Trying to prove how bad an invisible illness is.

Then there is my sweet, caring man who helps me with everything that Food stamps don’t pay for; Car insurance, cable, internet, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. etc. I was having to panhandle for all these things before. What if he decides that all of my “issues” are too much for him and just breaks it off with me? Where will I be then??

Broke and brokenhearted.

Anyway, when I was pointing all of this out to him last night on the phone he made the comment that “everyone” worries about those things. “Losing an income” etc. I told him “Yes, but most of them don’t suffer from a mental illness” My anxiety disorder, depression, OCD, ED, makes all of these worries a million times “bigger” than they are for the person who is not ill. His comment made me feel like he was minimizing my illness…comparing it to himself and others. So not cool. 

So, now I don’t want to talk to him or anyone about these things going on in my head.

So, I’ll just lie and say….”I’m fine”.

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A Room with a View….My Latest Project

Back in January, the housing program I am in decided to move a few people around. I was one of those who was moved into a smaller apartment. I actually love the complex more than the other. It is much quieter here and I am closer to the ocean.

When I saw how small the kitchen was my first thought was, “It needs a window”. I love to have a window to look out of while I cook or do the dishes. So I hatched a plan.

I found the window frame at a local antique fair, and then had one of my own photographs enlarged to fit. So, now I have a window “view” over my sink. I can also switch out the photograph if I’d like to change the view!IMG_4458

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At the End of the Day…

So many people are focused on their “to-do” list. They rush through their days, weeks, months, just trying to check as much of that dang list as they possibly can. They want to feel they have accomplished things.

I used to envy those folks. Their ambition, their drive, the way they could run here and there all day long and just get so much done!

My life has changed in so many, many ways in the past few years…okay, decades. I have dreams. I have goals. I have an “idea” of a “to-do” list. But, after all the loss, all the pain and all the surviving I have had to do, I know what is truly important to me each and every day.

My “to-do” list is so very different now. Yes, I have the same things many folks have on theirs, wash clothes, go to the grocery store etc., but those kinds of things will always be here. The list may get longer or shorter, but it’s all just the things we need to do in life.

But what would happen if today was my last day? Would I care if the dishes were done, the clothes washed, the milk picked up? No…

As I sit here watching the sun set on another day, another day I will never have again…I ask myself these simple questions…

Did I make someone else’s day better today? Did I offer a hand, an ear, a shoulder? Did I make them smile or ease their burden a little?

Did I have enough to eat?

Did I laugh?

Did I tell someone I love them?

Did I give something of myself to this world today?

Yes, I did get my laundry done, the groceries bought, the house cleaned up, but at the end of this day, the only day that matters…did I “do” the things that really matter? I believe I did.

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“You Shouldn’t Tell People You Were Homeless…”

Should I be ashamed of the fact that I was homeless?

I have never been ashamed of it. It is what it is. It happened.

The apartment complex I live in had a pool party for the residents today. It was a wonderful, hot, sunny, South Georgia day. I mixed and mingled with old friends and met some neighbors I hadn’t known before. It was nice.

In the midst of one conversation with the guy who recently moved into my building, he says, “You know, you shouldn’t tell people that you were homeless”.  I’m sure my face showed my befuddlement as I replied, “Why not”?

I didn’t need an answer from him. I know the stigma attached to the word “homeless”. I know the thoughts that run through people’s minds, the judgment that will be there. But, the fact is, I don’t care what others think. I am NOT ashamed of what I have been through, and I don’t hide it. It is a part of my life now, another part of my journey.

When the question came up in our conversation of “how did you come to live here”? Well, was I supposed to make something up? This is my truth. This is my story, and I refuse to be ashamed of any part of it.

I have dealt with so much pain, so much loss and so much judgment in the past year of my life. I don’t want pity, I don’t need sympathy, but I refuse to not ever talk about it. My “pride” was flushed down the toilet when I had to start asking people for help…when I set up a GoFundMe site to keep food in my belly and a motel room to sleep in…when I had to accept money from virtual strangers from all over the world. And you know what? Thank God I was able to put my pride aside and let people know what I was going through, that I needed help! I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t told… if I hadn’t asked.

There were enough people being “ashamed” for me. Those closest to me, those who didn’t call, didn’t offer to help. They held enough shame that I didn’t have time for. I had to do all I could to just survive another day.

Now that I’ve come through, now that I can wake each day in this lovely place, safe and fed, surrounded by new friends and a new life, I have no place for shame. I will continue to tell my story, not to elicit a dramatic reaction or worse, pity…but because I KNOW that someone will hear this and they will be comforted by it. They will know that you can be down at the bottom and still rise up, that you can lose everything you thought was important, and find out that your soul, your determination and your compassion for others are the only “things” that truly matter. You can come back from anything.

I will forever be grateful for the kind souls who were there for me when I was homeless. I forgive those who chose not to be there for me, and most of all, I will NEVER be ashamed of, or afraid to tell my story. It is mine…And, as someone once said, “What others think of me is none of my business”.

Just my thought for today. Maybe I can get a tee-shirt made that says, “Formerly Homeless”…I would wear it proudly.

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Before I Was Homeless…A Short Drive and a Big Epiphany

My first day of school was so great! I love my instructor and my classmates, and I was so into just being in a learning environment again. I had thought that the “basics” would be totally boring, but alas, like any good scholar (who has a good teacher), I came away knowing things I hadn’t when I walked into class. I never thought I would be back in school at 54 years old! I’m so grateful I got this opportunity.

I even stayed after class and put in some of my mandatory lab time…I just didn’t want to leave!

Anyway…When I was finally able to tear myself away from my desk…I got in my car, opened the sun roof and cranked up the tunes. The sun was beaming down on my face…the breeze, with just a touch of salt, was wafting through the car…It was pure joy.

I turned down Fourth Street and passed through my old neighborhood…taking me past the house that is no longer mine, with the husband and dogs that are no longer there, past my old life…and you know what? I did not feel a bit of regret! Nope, not one bit. You know why? Because as I drove past all I thought of was the lonely, sad, defeated, hopeless woman who used to live there…and she is no longer there…Nope. Here she was, driving home from school, heading to her new apartment…THIS IS MY LIFE! Oh my gosh…I can’t really convey on the page what this felt like… I started to tear up with joy.

I mean, just a little over six months ago I was sitting in that house alone and scared. My husband had just left that day, and I had taken my sweet dogs to the shelter. I got back to that little house that last day, scared and not knowing what was to come. I didn’t know what I would do with all the belongings in that house. I had no idea where I would go two days later when the eviction notice took effect. I sat down and decided to order Chinese food…I mean, come on…it’s not like the $20 was going to get me a place to stay, right?  I was beyond exhausted by all the loss, pain and worry. I decided for just that night to eat Chinese food and watch my favorite shows in my little house one last time. I decided to just “be”.

As I finished what I now refer to as “The Last Supper Before Homeless”…I took the fortune cookie in my hand and prayed…I prayed for everything I had lost, and everything that I knew nothing about…where I would go, where would I live, what would happen to me along the way?…When I finished praying, I opened the cookie and this is what I found…

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I had no idea at that point what my future would bring, or all that I would have to face…but, it was that little ray of hope I needed to just keep going, to take the next step…So, I took that little fortune and taped it to the front of my laptop…it is still there. And look where I am now.

I would never have imagined that all that loss would turn into all this gain, all this happiness, and honestly, there are still five months left to this “current year”. Who knows what else in in store? Now that I have made it over all the loss…survived being homeless, gotten a wonderful new place to live, new friends who care so much about me…and now, a chance to go to school…I am sitting here tonight in what can only be called “BLISS”. I have more than enough food, enough love, safety, warmth…and best of all…more hope than ever before. What can I say…I am blessed.

Homeless to Harvard…Well, Not Quite

Okay, so the title is a bit misleading. I am NOT going to Harvard, but I did get accepted to take part in the Star Foundation’s Employment Training program. I am going back to school! It is an eight week course that focuses on computer skills and training to help in obtaining employment. I am so excited!

The program only accepts 24 students per quarter, so I was truly blessed to be accepted. It is just another step toward independence and the creation of my new life.

The training includes Word and Excel, which is why I signed up. With those programs under my belt, my employment possibilities will be greater.

In other news…I had some blood work done a while back and found out that I have diabetes. Blah. I’m not really surprised as it runs in my family, but dang, I was hoping it would skip me. Nevertheless, I have it. Now to find a doctor or clinic I can afford to see. I can manage it pretty well on my own for now, but it’s scary. Luckily I have at least the basics to monitor my glucose levels.

Well, I guess that is it for now! Things are moving forward and the future is bright with possibilities!

Love, peace and hugs!

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No Looking Back…A New Year…

I’ve pondered this post all morning. I have read many posts reflecting on and reviewing the past year (looking back), and many more on looking forward, people making resolutions and plans for the new year.

Looking back, or reviewing my past year, well, let’s admit, it wouldn’t be pleasant. I am only going to take the wisdom I gathered from that time, tuck it into my heart and carry it with me. Looking forward is wonderful, though I think that resolutions are just an unnecessary  pressure we put on ourselves. I’m not against planning on making improvements to ourselves or aiming for accomplishments, but the greatest gift I received from this past year, was a new way of looking at “time”. Time is an illusion…but, that is another post.

Whether we spend time reviewing the past year or planning for the coming year…we are using up the most precious moments of “now”.  Yesterday is done, tomorrow not promised. So, I will not look backward nor forward today…I will only look around me. THIS is the moment I have to spend…right now. I don’t want to lose it by pondering any other.

Wishing you all a wonderful, exciting and prosperous New Year…but don’t forget to just “be” in this day. The rest will come (hopefully), whether we plan it or not.

A photo I took while enjoying my tea this morning, and once again feeling so incredibly blessed with my life…

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