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 Little Bit of Catching Up…Procrastinating Done

Since I have been MIA for so long I am going to try to catch ya’ll up a bit.

I mentioned that I am in a loving relationship with an amazing man.

I could probably write a hundred ways that this relationship is different from any other I have had, but I won’t bore ya’ll that way. I will share one recent experience that will show the level of care and understanding I receive from this sweet guy.

Since Darrell and I met two years ago we have dated on and off. Off only because I was not really ready to begin anything serious, but we remained friends all along. Our feelings for each other continue to grow and we are closer than ever.

Anyway, I have been honest with him about my mental health issues since day one, my anxiety disorder, my depression and PTSD, OCD…you name it. (It’s like alphabet soup, right?)

About a month my eating disorder reared its ugly head for the first time in years. Being in recovery from anorexia is like a hibernating bear….asleep, but not dead. Well, someone poked it with a stick and it has come back mean as ever.

I was terrified to tell Darrell about it. For one, he knows enough about my mental health, and two, eating disorders are a very secret thing. Telling is not something that is easy to do, not even in therapy.

We were on the phone the other night when I started to tell him…then, well, I just couldn’t stop. I shared all the scary, nasty, nonsensical, crazy, illogical reality I have dealt with for the past few weeks.

I told him how it started with just wanting to lose some weight before Summer. I explained how it is with eating disorders, how it is so easy to cross the line from dieting to starving.

I thought for sure that this would be the last straw. That NOW he would go running. He didn’t.

Instead he called me from work later and told me how he was going online to find out more about anorexia. He said he didn’t understand it, but wanted to help me.

Even later that night, while he was still at work, he called again. He suggested I try to get back into some of the things I used to love…like my photography.

I was so touched and in awe of this man for thinking of me so much in the middle of his busy shift at work. I know that might sound strange, but any of you that know me know that I have never experienced what it’s like to be truly cared for…not like this. I couldn’t fathom that he had me on his mind that much and while at work, trying to figure out what to do for me.

The next day he took me to Walmart and let me pick out a really fantastic new camera!

Even though this gesture did not silence ED (eating disorder), it did give me something else to focus on (no pun intended) for the past few days. This camera is so intricate and has so many functions that I have actually only studied the manual, and some lessons online so far lol.

I am hoping to actually start taking photos with it today or tomorrow. I have not had much sleep, so probably tomorrow.

Thanks for listening to all of this rambling. I am so incredibly blessed by him…he warms my soul.

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Beautiful live oak

The Prodigal Writer Returns….I Hope.

Once again, I am sorry to all of my friends, followers and anyone else who is interested in this life of mine.

It has been such a struggle these past few years. I guess sometimes it’s easier to write about things when they are going badly than when things are well.

I am doing well. I am in a relationship with an awesome and caring man, though I’m still a bit skittish about it getting so serious. But, I know he cares so deeply for me…a type of caring that I have never experienced in my life. So, I’m just going with the flow for now…no rush.

I don’t really want to talk about my mental health struggles tonight, so this post will be a photographic “story” of me and my sweetheart’s Valentine’s Day weekend away. It was amazing to be in such a beautiful place with someone I adore. I was also allowed to bring my dog, Penny Lane, with us, so that made it all the more special.

My Wall of Joy and Christmas Spirit…

I just took an updated photograph of my wall of birthday and Christmas cards.

It’s funny cause I felt kind of “needy” asking folks to send me cards, but I’m so glad that I didn’t let pride stand in my way. This month of rushing to check the mail, and then opening all of these beautiful cards and gifts has made me so happy, and left me feeling blessed. I have not received this many cards in the past decade, never mind in one December!!! I am beyond blessed…I am joyful…I feel the spirit I was searching for, and it’s all because of you.

Forgive me if I don’t than each of you individually, but they have been coming so fast. Just know that each and every one of them is very, very special to me…Thank you…Hugs and much love to ya’ll!

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Excited to check the mail! That’s new!

If you read my last post you know that I asked if folks could send me either a birthday or holiday card.

I get so lonely this time of year and needed to feel some Christmas spirit and not be forgotten on my birthday. Yesterday was kinda sad, it’s was the anniversary of my mother’s passing…so yeah.

So far I have received one Christmas card and one birthday card!! This is so cool. I was like a little kid when I opened the mail today and there was a card from someone I have never met…thank you stranger. Hugs.

This is my tree, and the wall behind it is for the cards I receive…There is only one because I took the photo before today’s card arrived. I will post follow ups as the wall fills up!

Again, thank you so much for caring and for being here for me….Love ya’ll…Kim

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Panhandling, Surviving and Perspective….

I am still waiting to get approved for disability and it sucks. I have a place to live and less than $200 a month in food stamps, but no income. I have a dear friend who pays the important stuff for me…car insurance, internet, meds etc. I don’t know what I would do without that help. However, there are times when I wish I just had money in my pocket…not for luxuries, okay, maybe to just see a movie or something if I wanted. But, everything is about “survival” and “necessities” …there is no fun.

To make up for this I occasionally go out and panhandle.

So, Sunday I went out very early to panhandle. Now, just to be clear…I don’t beg. I simply stand on a corner with my sign that says, “Need Help. Please show some love. Bless you”. It is a humiliating and ego crushing thing to do, but I have learned this past two years that ego is bullshit.

Anyway, I stood out there with my sign for about 3 hours and did fairly well. It felt good. People were feeling generous… Well, except for the one lady who pulled over to roll down her window, dressed in her Sunday best, her bible on the seat and berated me for asking for help with a cigarette in my hand. (I quoted Matthew 27:1 and told her “God bless you”).

So…having stashed the money I collected in a can when I got home,  and feeling some sense of security about it, I decided to go out again yesterday afternoon.

I was only out there for about an hour, and it was going so well. One young man even went across to Dollar General and came back with toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and other essentials for me. (Can’t get those things with Food Stamps). I planned on staying just long enough to add to my “stash” at home and put some gas in my car.

That is when the cop showed up. He pulled up and I approached his car…I don’t recall the entire conversation, but he tried to tell me that I couldn’t be out there doing that. That it is illegal here. Well, I’ve read the code and I was doing nothing illegal. As long as I am not impeding auto or pedestrian traffic…and I am not directly asking for money, I am not breaking the law. Mr. BigCop though said that he was doing me a “favor” by not arresting me. REALLY???

I came home so upset, feeling like now my ONLY way of getting any cash has been taken away. I cried…I cursed the cop…I cursed SS for taking so damn long…I cursed my ex for leaving me the way he did.

I was so upset I didn’t sleep last night. At 7 this morning I decided to take my dog Penny with me to McDonald’s, then go to Overlook park to share breakfast with her.

When we got there I noticed a man sleeping on a bench, his worldly belongings at his feet, his body curled up against the cool, damp air.

As we got ready to leave I grabbed a couple of the dollars I made panhandling yesterday, and walked over to the sleeping man. He woke surprised that I was standing there…even more surprised when I asked if he had eaten today. There was not ONE bit of judgement from me as I smelled the alcohol on him. I felt compassion and sorrow for him. He tried to refuse my offer…but I was more stubborn than he.

I gave him the money and the few cigs I had on me…and asked him if I could pray with him. We both cried as I prayed for both of us…

I sat of the ground and we talked for a bit. I told him about some of the resources I know so well, and asked him to come with me to a day center where he could wash up and get out of the damp, cloudy day.  He didn’t want to go at first. He was at his lowest…didn’t care what happened to himself he told me. I did not give up on him and he finally gave in. As I dropped him at the center I gave him a huge hug, and my phone number ….more than anything…I pray that I gave him some hope.

I know what it is like to feel hopeless, helpless…like no one cares. I wanted him to know that there ARE people who care and that we can all do something to help…without judgement, but with compassion and a hug.

I came home to my little apartment, looked at the food in my fridge and my warm bed…and I quickly got over my anger and frustration of all that happened yesterday.

I only wish I could do more for him or someone else. I’ll be okay…God’s got this.

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Net Worth, Self-Worth, Society Judges One by the Other…

Last night I put Penny in the car to run to the local convenience store to get a couple of snacks. I didn’t plan on begging, even though the night cashier there knows me, and has only warned me to avoid the cameras the few times I’ve been there for that reason.

As I walked in the store I held the door open for a cab driver with one leg. He smiled and said “thank you”. I finished getting my things, using what little food stamps I have left.(less than $20 until the 15th). As I walked out the cab driver was getting into his car, and for some reason, I ignored all the “rules” of begging and went and asked if he had a few dollars for me to get some smokes. I didn’t realize that his passenger was an employee of the store…She stepped right out of the cab, giving me a look like I was something she had just stepped in…”You can’t DO that here”…I just turned and walked away, my face red, the shame whelming up inside of me.

I came home and cried.

I don’t want to be like this.

I don’t want to have to ask others to keep helping me. My friend “D”…he pays my interned/cable every month, pays my car insurance, buys my shampoo, toilet paper and everything else that comes with everyday living. I hate asking him for money for smokes, he works hard for it and he doesn’t smoke. He also tells me every time I ask, that I have to quit. I love him for who he is and how he helps me, but I hate the lecture every time. So, I try to beg and panhandle for my cigs, and for whatever else I can get money for.

I hate the way people look at me when I am standing outside with my sign…I know what they are thinking. They don’t know that I have a mental illness. They don’t know that I have tried SO hard to be able to hold a job. They don’t know that I don’t want to be out there like that.

Then there are the ones who just look away, doing everything they can to not see me. I don’t blame them. I make them uncomfortable, angry, sad…whatever it is they feel/think.

I thought I would get up early today and head out with my sign. Maybe even make a new sign. But, I just can’t do it. My mind can’t do it. My body can’t do it. My pride can’t do it.

I am so sad. Everyone is celebrating with family or friends. Everyone is happy and grilling out, going to fireworks.

But, I know the truth. There are many people just like me who are just trying to survive. People who feel like shit every day…People who smile through it all…trying to hide the shame they feel. The shame they know their families feel about them…

We all know that society today is so materialistic, so driven by “what you have is what you are worth”.

Today, I feel like I am worth nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

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How Penny Lane Came to Live with Me…

As I explained in my post titled Homeless to Helpless to feeling Hopeless…Survival is Exhausting.  Back in October I rescued a dog that I named, Penny Lane.

I had been deep in the throes of a very bad depression to the point of sitting one night and wondering if the railing on my balcony would hold my weight. I made it through…THAT night. I knew I was in a seriously dangerous episode of my disease, so I made the necessary visits to my therapists, used what coping tools and meds I could, but I still struggled to come up out of the pit.

Even though the housing program that I am in is wonderful, it does not allow pets. However, after doing some research online I found that I could apply through my therapist for an Emotional Service Animal. I jumped on it as fast as I could. My therapist knew that the loss of my dogs, and my being alone constantly was really making my life horrible, so she wrote a “prescription” for a therapy dog for me.

I was so excited that night! I poured over the Humane Society site, choosing which dogs I would go visit the following day. When I got to the humane society I asked to see the first dog I had chosen. He was cute, but had as many issues as I, and I was afraid I was not up to the challenge of helping him. I walked through the kennels again, passing by Penny’s cage for the second time, she stood and reached her paw out to me between the bars and kissed my finger.

I asked if I could take her to the social room to see if she and I were compatible. Well, I never made it to the room with her. As soon as I held her I knew…I just KNEW that she was MY dog, and I was her “Mama”.

She had been brought in as an abuse/neglect case, and had spent most of her young life in a cage, but that didn’t stop me from loving her at first snuggle. I signed the papers and brought her home. It has taken a lot of work to get her to where she is now. At first she was understandably afraid of everything and everyone..except me lol. I took her out to crowded places, and had strangers hand her treats. I spoiled her with treats and a soft bed, and toys, and a ton of hugs and kisses. I taught her that humans can be good, and that love is possible, that life is amazing. And she taught me the same.

She is a totally different dog now. She still doesn’t really like men, and she has an aversion to baseball caps, but otherwise, you would never know she had such a rough start in life. She has also made my life so much better. She gave me company. She gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Most importantly she made me feel loved and needed. I’m not sure who save who…but, we are both blessed indeed.

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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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Homeless Day 39…The Best Laid Plans…

Hey ya’ll. I have moved three times in as many days. The place I had thought I could stay did not work out. I won’t bore you all with the details for several reasons, the most important of which is that it doesn’t matter why.

I got my dog, Cody out of the shelter before heading to Florida this past Monday, and I drove 600 miles round trip to discover that it was not going to work out. I spent one night in a decent hotel to rest, and am now in a rather seedy place, though grateful for a bed and AC. The temps have been in the triple digits for days…NOT a good time to be homeless for sure. I pray for all of those people who must be out in this horrid heat.

I got my application in for food stamps, but as my husband is still receiving stamps for BOTH of us, he hasn’t reported the change yet, I can not receive anything until September 15. Yes, I have a roof, but going hungry has made it very difficult to remain healthy enough to go full steam ahead on the job hunt.

I was in the ER last week because I could not stop sleeping. They ran labs and came back to tell me that I am malnourished, dehydrated, and suffering from severe exhaustion, probably brought on by too much stress…uh, ya think? None of this was a surprise to me. It’s an awful catch 22…I need to be healthy enough to find a job and go to work, and yet, my situation provides neither enough food nor real rest to get myself to that point. My muscles have atrophied from lack of protein, and the motel I am now in, I can’t even really cook. At least at the last place I had a small stove and could make some protein rich dinners with little funds, now, even that is a challenge. Microwave food is not good on the nutrition, but it all that is affordable on a couple dollars a day. I pray so desperately for those who have even less than I do, my God, true hunger is the worst feeling ever! I won’t ever use the phrase, “I am starving” to indicate that I am due for a missed meal again…hunger hurts.

One of the hardest parts of this entire homeless, hungry situation is the complete desolation of pride. It is not easy to ask people for money, food or help of any kind…I can’t tell you how many times this past month+ that I have quoted the bible phrase, “You have not, because you ask not”…I am so grateful for those who have helped me survive and have helped keep a roof over my head, when in all reality I could not have done it myself. I want to be self-sufficient, I want to be strong and healthy…but, at this moment, I am not.

The second most difficult part of this has been the judgment I have encountered on so many aspects of my situation. I can only say one thing about this without becoming judgmental myself, and that is…if you have not been in my shoes, in my heart, in my head…you have no idea of what I am going through, and can not honestly have an opinion that is worth anything.

I have learned a lot about judgment of others during my homelessness, and I am ashamed to admit how much I was jumping to conclusions about the people I see every day. I am determined to not do that anymore…No one can truly know what another human being is going through or how they got there, and it’s really none of our business, our only business is to love each other. We need to look at everyone as connected to us, put our judgment aside and love them as God intended. We so often forget that we are all one, that what affects one, affects us all.  Each of us has God living within us…we need to see this in every person we come across. “If we judge someone, we have no time to love them” Mother Teresa

The thoughts and feelings have become “backlogged” in my head and my fingers, and now that I have begun “leaking” them out here, I’m afraid I may never stop writing, but I will for now. I love you all so much, and wish I had more words to express my gratitude, and I am grateful for many things. I really need a hug.

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