Category Archives: friends
Some days I get this overwhelming feeling that I will not survive the day I am faced with. The feeling comes from struggling everyday with chronic illness, pain, loss, and insecurity in me.
Everyone around me, including my husband and children, never really get the internal person I am. The people that surround me see this strong, happy, enduring woman who lets her ambition drive her in everything she decides to take on. In reality though, there is this other woman who lives deep inside that rarely gets seen. This woman who lives deep inside is a scary one. I do not let her out very often for fear it will be used against me. Perhaps this is because my entire life things have been used as weapons against me. I have serious trust issues!
In all honesty I feel alone most days. It isn’t an alone that is repaired by having people around me either. It is hard to explain the loneliness I feel on a daily basis. To have success in conquering it I need to understand it and I do not. I find myself ignoring it most days by keeping busy. It is a temporary fix to a serious long term problem. Eventually I get to a point I can no longer ignore it and keep busy. It becomes so prevalent that is distracts me in many ways and it exhausts me. I eventually write as some way to alleviate it. Again I use a temporary fix to a long term problem. I know it is long term because I have dealt with this loneliness since I was a little girl. I have been a sick person my entire life and I believe this is where it originates. It escalated after I lost my dad at age eighteen. Every loss after that little by little it got bigger, and now with the loss of my lifelong friend, Andrew, it seems even larger than ever and makes me wonder what happens when it becomes so big I can no longer carry it around. It is a frightening to me because most of my life I have struggled with suicidal thoughts.
I have thought a lot about suicide lately. I haven’t thought about it as in I’m contemplating my final exit, but thinking about all those I have lost to suicide over the years. I also have been thinking on Robin Williams taking his life. I wonder if they felt the same way I feel with loneliness and eventually just decided to not fight anymore. What made them finally give up? Did they feel something else that I do not feel? Will I just end up like them one day? Will I be successful in this fight and be able to cope? When I think about Robin Williams, one of the most successful actors known, taking his life, I worry that if a man of that stature cannot handle things, what makes me think I will be any better. I am not financial set up like he was. I do not have a stage of the magnitude he had access too, to help him alleviate his worries. These are just some of the things I think on and not the darkest of them either.
Sometimes I find myself wanting to shut the entire world out. I find myself just wanting to be all alone so that I do not have to deal with anything outside my pain, illness and depression. My stuff is heavy enough without adding worldly things on top of it. It gets hard to work, parent, love, welcome, and interact.
Some are probably wondering if I have a relationship with God or a higher power. I do and maybe that is why I have made it as far as I have in my life conquering all the terrible events that have happened and demons that I carry. Maybe that relationship is the strength that keeps me going towards success against the suicidal thoughts and loneliness I feel. I would like to believe that I would never end my life on my own. I love life, I do. I love being a mother to my growing daughters. In the back of my mind I think about those who have actually taken their lives and think well they probably loved their kids too. They probably loved life too. What if I get where they were in their final moments? How do I prevent that? Can I prevent that?
I have questioned heaven since my dad passed in 1996. I wonder where it is he rests now. Is he just gone or is he really somewhere living a new life? Is it heaven? Has he any recollection of his life he left? Does he know I am here still? Does he see me? Does he live pain free and cured of all ailments? Can he hear me? Why can’t we communicate if these things existed? I would love it if it were all true, the story of heaven and angels silently flying around us, remembering who we were to them, but I have serious doubts that exists. I do not ask these questions just about my dad but everyone I have ever lost. I guess this is where faith comes into play. Faith is a very hard thing to understand. How do some people have such strong faith and others have little to none? Why do they differ so much? What is it about the person who has strong faith that lacks in the other? So many questions with no definite answer make spirituality and religion the most confusing thing I have ever seen.
Do I need to remind you I have serious trust issues? The circle of people who surrounds me closest knows the most about me, but still they do not have a complete picture of who Rachel really is. I am not sure they ever will. I have only had two people I can say knew me completely. Those two people are gone now. It isn’t that I don’t want my closest circle of friends to know all of me, I do! I just find myself struggling with allowing them to know my every thought because I have let people in who have burned me deeply. So that leaves me with thoughts I do not share with anyone at all. I hold them in and lock them away inside. So internally I struggle daily on my own with those secrets. Eventually I come here to my keys to release some of those secrets because most who read this blog do not know me from Jane next door. I am somewhat protected here. Even here I hold back because of the people who read this DO know who I am have used what I put here against me and it is very hurtful. I have no place to be completely open about WHOM I REALLY am inside.
The best example I can give you would be the loss of my friend Andrew. It never crossed my mind that I would go home to bury him. I always imagined he would out live me. I always thought he would just be there. I can’t share some of my feelings with anyone because some it would be hurtful maybe to others. Maybe it would be wrong to say it out loud or maybe it is wrong to feel it. Maybe I shouldn’t miss him as much as I do. Maybe if I say it out loud it will be a bullet used to shoot back at me. Just some things I see as complications that I am not ready to tackle so I hold it all close to myself. I also wonder what it all means. Why has losing him been such an impact on me internally? It makes me question so many things.
Another example is my struggle with sobriety. I cannot even release thoughts on that here out of fear it will be used against me.
Some are probably wondering why I do not just keep a private diary. The main reason is I want and need feedback about my thoughts. I need people to interact with me and tell me if I seem crazy or if I seem to normal. I also wonder if my thoughts are normal. Do others have these battles etc? It feels good knowing others struggle with the same sort of thoughts, and problems. It helps getting advice too on these subjects.
I think I worry too much. I worry about being sick. I worry about my health preventing me from being successful in college. Am I biting off more than I can chew? Will I have the support in my life to finish and not give up to quit once I start? I need peace. I want peace.
I am finding it harder to find peace. I use to be able to go out into nature and have peace. I do not seem to get that anymore. My constant worry and thoughts seem to always be there. They never seem to quiet. It has gotten so much worse since Drew has passed. I loved him and I have no one who would really understand what that means or why it is that way. I miss him every day and if I would say that out loud it would be used against me I know it. It might even get used against me being put here. I feel wrong for loving him and missing him and that is not fair to me. He is gone forever. There is no chance of me EVER hearing his voice, getting his advice, joking with him, or telling him how important of a friend he was to me. So this is just one thing I am alone with.
I do not write posts here very often. I am guarded with my thoughts because it can be used against me; it has been used against me. Yes, I have serious trust issues.
It’s funny all the things in this world that don’t have much meaning to them. Well, until you lose someone special to you. Things such as lightning bugs at night, a day that mimics a distant old memory of a moment you spent with that person, things like the smell of fresh cut grass, a color you look upon from an old clothing article worn, the sound of a motorcycle revving its engine, or the smell of an oil spill from a mechanics garage….
I believe these things finally retain some sort of meaning to us after we lose someone because we want so badly to be near the person who is gone…
I find myself wanting to see stars in the night sky and lightning bugs flying around freely. I find myself wanting to see a red bandana; I want to smell the fresh grass after a rainfall, even a certain smell from the mud beneath my feet just to catch a glimpse of a childhood memory I know is there and I want to just be in that moment again even if it is only in my mind. That sound from a familiar song that reminds you of a smile they had. I find myself wanting to lie in the grass gazing it up at the stars smoking that old familiar brand of cigarettes just to feel close to a memory.
You find yourself going over all the time and space in between the years that have passed. Dredging up, from deep inside, this solemn feeling of regret; regret that you have taken advantage of the fact that nothing lasts forever like you hoped. Regret that you kept telling yourself there is always time. Saying quietly next time I will or I always have tomorrow. Then the day comes when someone tells you that special person is gone forever. You realize in that exact moment of the receiving the news how wrong you were about time, wrong about how life is tough not fragile, and how you wish you could have made just a few more memories, just a few more to add meaning to all the things you thought were miniscule, things surrounding you like the sound of rushing traffic, a cotton ball travelling in the wind, or the smell of brownies in the oven.
My dear friend Drew is gone. He left this world Thursday afternoon and these are the things I’ve been going through the last few days. I am heartbroken and I haven’t figured out how to start the healing process yet. I do not believe you heal from loss completely, you just learn to go on in a new normal of existence with that person absent. This will be the first friend I’ve gone back home to say goodbye too and that is because I loved that boy so much. I have memories with him as far back as I can remember. I feel good about a few things. I feel good that he did know I loved him and he knew he was an important friend of mine. He knew I would have moved the world for him if I had the power. I feel good that I believe deep in my heart he felt the same. The streets we grew up on were tough sometimes. Life at home wasn’t always pancakes and soda pop. School wasn’t always a playground. One thing was always constant though Drew and Rachel running together.
I look back on days of summer when I couldn’t wait to get outside to my bike so I could ride to see him. I look back at the times he snuck to my bedroom window at dark just to say what was up. What a ride. Many people around the neighborhood and school thought for sure we would have ended up being romantically involved, married, boyfriend/girlfriend but it never went that way. I think he loved me and he knew it would have ruined the years of memories we had built. It would have ruined our friendship. He was right if that is what he was thinking. Our love was more of a brotherly/sisterly love than a long lasting love that goes into marriage.
I can see him walking though our old high school, sitting at a desk in some classroom, smoking a cigarette across from the band rooms annex, walking down Hanna towards my bus stop, smiling or giving me a hand gesture as I held a camera, I can see him sitting in the back of the bus saving me a seat, looking back as I was deciding to flee the hometown to better myself with him telling me to go and I can’t help but smile.
Tears start to fall when I am done rolling those memories through my mind because I realize there is no chance of creating new memories, no more conversations, no more pictures to be taken, no more time left….because life is so fragile.
Drew I will love you forever my friend. Save me a seat up there …in the back…I remember we like it there…
I want to talk about being sick and a recovering addict today.
Let’s talk about being sick first. I just recently had a rheumatoid doctor diagnose me with Anklyosing Spondylitis (A.S) and well though we have thought for a long time I’ve had this disease we waited as long as we could to medicate me with immune suppressants. I came to a point in the disease I had no other choice but to start on humira. It is an injection I take every two weeks. I give it to myself now.
I was waking up so stiff I needed help to get out of bed when I finally went to doctor for medication for the disease. It became horrible. I have been on humira since May of 2013. I have noticed considerable change in my body with the medicine. It has been such a change that I wish I had gone on the humira sooner then what I decided. I avoided the medicine out of fear that it suppresses the immune system. I am still concerned about it making me sick with cancer, or flu like stuff one day but the relief I have received thus far is worth the risk.
I have so many health issues. It wears me out. It is exhausting being so sick with so many problems. None of which have a cure either! It is a daily battle for me to get out of bed and carry on my day as normally as I can to fit in to society. Some days I just hold myself up at home because that is all I can do those days. I have a tarlov cyst that is a constant source of pain. I have a neuroma that is a constant source of nerve pain, burning sensations, and fatigue. I have fibromyalgia which has become a nightmare of burning muscles, weak muscles, over active sensory problems like over sensitive to light, sun, noise, smells, and motion. Now on top of those things I have A.S. Which is a progressive arthritis of the spine and joints. The A.S leaves me fatigued, pain in the back, knees, elbows, feet, hips, neck and lower back. It is so damn exhausting!
There have been many nights I have thought about ending it all. To be honest the only thing that keeps me around are my beautiful daughters. I love them so much. I love being their mom. They are why I live. I know it is sad to read that I am suicidal and probably makes you wonder how stable am I to even think these things…well it might not be normal to think about ending it for you…but I know living with chronic pain the way I do makes it very normal. I am not a risk to myself because I have found something to live for even in the darkest hour of my pain, illness and fatigue. My kids. I have not found a way to stop the ideas from creeping into my thoughts at times but I don’t act on them. I don’t think I ever would for a few reasons. The biggest being my wonderful daughters. The second is my faith in Christ. I know I suffer these ailments for a reason. I am not sure the reason yet in my life but when it is all said and done it will be clear why I had to live my life the way he chose. The final reason are the friends I have today. The support they have for me is like coming up for fresh air in the middle of an ocean.
I try very hard to stay positive. I wake up and tell myself something positive and remind myself through the day that I have so much to be thankful for so do not focus on the pain. Some days this is so hard to do…some days I am so tired from fighting against the pain that I have no energy left for anything and that to breathe takes everything left in me.
Living a life like mine isn’t easy. It doesn’t help when you don’t get support or understanding from those around you either. I know I have had friends think I didn’t care for them as much as I say because I don’t hang out with them often. I don’t call them a lot. I am not sure what to do about that. My energy reserve is very low and most of what I do have has to go to my two kids first. Usually I have none left to share with anyone. When I am working it is even worse. Hell my kids then get very little of my time. I work, cook dinner and go right to bed only to repeat this same routine five days a week. I get a summer vacation when school is out so that is a nice break for me. The summer break allows my kids to get more of my time and energy. Unfortunately my friends do not.
Is that fair? No I don’t think it is. I only know that I can’t change the way I feel. I take one day at a time. I hope I have friends now that understand this part of me and know I do love them regardless of the time we spend together. I have lost lots of friends over the years because I am sick. They got pissed off I couldn’t do what they wanted me to do and quit talking to me. The friends I have lost I know now were just users. They were only my friend because I could do something for them at the time. When it came down to the point in my life I couldn’t help them they weren’t interested. Sure, it hurts to lose friends in the moment, but as I have had time pass I have come to realize they were really never friends. They were what I call users. We all have these in our lives at some point. Some hang on to them longer then they should if you ask my opinion.
Anger is a huge issue I have. I fight the anger demon daily too. I get so pissed off at my circumstance. It eventually leads to loneliness. I feel angry that I’m sick and can’t do the great things I want to do then I end up feeling lonely because I realize in this battle I am truly alone. I am the one who has to walk with the pain, sleep with the pain, wake with the pain and no one knows this but me. It gets hard for those around me to understand because I don’t look sick. I look like a vibrant 35 year old woman but my looks deceive you.
The pain is a third wheel in all my relationships. It gets pretty damn exhausting carrying this wheel around everywhere I go. It interferes with friendships, my marriage, my relationship with my children, hell it even interferes with my own self on a daily basis. It is crazy I have to wake up every single day and have a plan on what I will spend my energy on. I have some energy for a shower, some energy for my kids, some energy for cooking dinner, doing laundry that day, and energy to give to my husband when he gets off work. Hell most of the time I have NONE when he gets home and it is very frustrating. It gets even more frustrating when he doesn’t seem to grasp understanding of what all is wrong with me.
I am also a recovering addict. The health shit I carry around interferes with my sobriety on a daily basis. I am an opium addict. I became an opium addict in 1995. I left home to clean myself up in 1999. I have had one relapse in sobriety and that was in 2006 after my first back surgery when a doctor put me on Oxycontin. I abused the pills for about a year and in 2007 I went cold turkey again and have battled everyday since to stay clean. The Oxycotin battle went well into 2011. My addiction did not start with pills though. My addiction started with smoking it in a pipe. I think about opium every single day at least once. I think about how numb it makes you and how you feel no pain on it. I think to myself often if I could just smoke a pipe of opium I’d have no pain at all and could be normal…being a chronic pain patient makes being a recovering addict even harder to do.
Right now I wish I was high. If I were high right now I wouldn’t feel the pain in my lower back, my hands wouldn’t be aching, and my neck and shoulders would be completely relaxed. These are just some things I think about on a daily basis. What stops me from acting on these thoughts? Well simple….my kids. Again they are the reason I try to be a role model. I want them to have the best life possible and grow into responsible, caring, normal adults and that requires me to stay clean.
I am very fortunate. I know many addicts don’t get away from the grasp of opiates. Hell most end up heroin addicts. I know this. I’ve lost friends to this trend of opiate abuse that lead them to heroin. If I had not left home when I did I probably would have been led to heroin too. I would have used it to medicate my pain away and would have ended up strung out on it and eventually killing myself. I know this without a doubt. I know once you do heroin it grips so tightly that it is a miracle to get away from it. I take one day at a time.
I avoid opiate users. I have had doctors note my medical file to avoid long term prescriptions and if ever prescribed it must be very small amount and there must be no other options. I am glad I was educated enough at the time I left my hometown that I knew to have a successful shot at staying clean you had to change your entire life scene. That is what I did and I think that is why I was successful in getting clean and staying clean for so long. I honestly think I would not have relapsed at all had I not been put on Oxycontin for pain. These things happened for a reason. I am not 100% sure the reason but I know Christ has one. Maybe it was to make me a better mother then what I would have been had I not done these drugs. Maybe it was to show others that it can be done. YOU CAN GET CLEAN and stay that way. Maybe I became an addict because I was suppose to leave my hometown so I could have a shot at a better life. I don’t know. All I know is I am thankful. Even when I wake angry about it, even when I feel so lonely in it all, even when I think that things would be better if I ended it, I end up where I belong. I end up being thankful and remembering why I carry on. I remember how I cleaned myself up and understand that in itself is a remarkable feat.
I know having chronic pain for the rest of my life is not going to be easy. It hasn’t been easy yet. I know living with my pain leaves me very vulnerable to relapsing again. These things I make sure I don’t forget. It keeps me vigilant against the monster lurking just around the corner in a pill bottle, a pipe, or powder. I take one day at a time and pray often. I love my friends that understand my problems and are there to support me when I need them. I love them for understanding that even if I can’t hang with them often I think of them often. They are the other reason I stay clean and carry on.
Everyone has their own story to tell. Everyone has their own struggle to fight. This is just a piece of mine. Thank you for reading. It felt good to let it out.
My Life In Puzzle Pieces
Jessica Hamm Wert
Jessica is one of my closest family members. I have always thought of her as a sister, and I always will! There isn’t a memory growing up that doesn’t include her. I love her more then anyone could possibly know.
We did everything together our whole lives growing up. Her mom is the closest aunt I have. Jessica is one in my family who knows every dirty secret I have. She is one of the most trusted family members I have. I would do anything in my power for her.
We fought like sisters, we made up like sisters, we grew like sisters and I will die continuing to call her my sister.
When I left Ohio at age nineteen we lost touch a little. I went to clean myself up and find a better way to be me. Through the years I’ve missed not being there in town with her. I have missed not being around to see her beautiful children grow. I have missed not being there for a support system to her but she has always understood that my hometown is not a place for me. She knows as well as I do that if I lived there again I’d be right back on drugs and most likely would have been dead by now.
I get homesick from time to time and she is one reason I do. I know though I can’t go back there…it would be a bad outcome for me. I’d rather love her in a distant then be close to her and be the addict I was for so long. I am not proud of that but she understands it.
We are connected with social media. Hell she was one of the few who I opened a facebook account for. I wanted to be connected to her so I wouldn’t be missing out on so much in her life.
We danced for hours on weekends. We skated at the local rink on weekends. We obsessed over Guns N Roses together. Every memory I have of her in my life is cherished…even the fights we have had. She truly is a blessing in my life.
She was there in the worst of times I’ve had, and she has been there for some of the best of times I’ve had. I cherish her like no other and that will never change. Jess thank you for being a cousin, a best friend and a sister to me. I will love you forever.
She is one of the most caring, giving people I know in my life and if you are lucky enough to have her in your life don’t hurt her because I will break your face.
My Life In Puzzle Pieces
I have known James for a long time. His smile caught my interest in school. My favorite class in high school was speech class which we had together. He helped it be a blast for me. He is a special kind of guy. He has one of the biggest hearts one could have. He was always so sweet in school. I think he is just as sweet now as he was back then.
Years after I had left Ohio I was going through some old papers, and pictures I had from school and found a letter I had written to him but never gave him. Apparently we dated for like a week though I didn’t remember this until I read the letter I wrote. We never even kissed according to my letter I had written then. Now that I look back on that letter I wish I would have kept it instead of trashing it. It would have been a nice thing to share with him as an adult. Embarrass myself real good it would have. Haha
The letter was basically telling him he was too good for me and that I was too messed up of a girl to allow him to waste time on me. I ended the letter with love Rachel I will always remember your smile….and I did.
I had mentioned this to him as well, and he didn’t remember either so I didn’t feel as bad with not remembering myself. The one thing I hate most about growing older…the things you forget over time. I wonder what else I might not be remembering about James and my connection back then. All I know is I’m glad we have friendship today.
He still has that great smile I loved in our school days. We are connected with social media and I’m thankful he is my friend. He has grown into a fine man and he is a great friend. Thank you James for the memories and the friendship. You will forever be cherished by me.