Cleaning house and picking up the broken pieces

At some point in the Fall, I started to radically re-arrange and change our home.  Unfortunately this was short lived when I slipped a disc at the end of November and was off work for six weeks.  I managed a few days back at work before having an episode that landed me in the hospital that I am still recovering from.

For several cold weeks this past Winter, in an effort to ease up my back, all hours of the night and day, I paced back and forth between a lot of what was placed outside on our very large covered deck.  Most of it was either to be recycled, donated or simply gotten out of the way while I moved other things in our house around.  I cursed myself for having picked up a box just the right wrong way to lift and felt what I had done to it as I was doing it.  The full extent of the pain didn’t set in for hours and just got worse every time I would get up.  I done did it good!

I spent a good 5 weeks only being able to lay down or stand up.  There was NO sitting.  At least, no sitting without either being in excruciating pain or bending my body in an unhealthy way to try to lesson the pain just long enough to get a few bites of food in my mouth before laying back down again.  It was horrible.  Utter and shear painful hell.

My whole back injury recovery time, I cursed the boxes and furniture both outside on the deck and inside our house because I could not deal with them.  I cursed the stack of unmade bookshelves that laid on the floor in our living room for months because I couldn’t deal with them.  I cursed a lot of things.  Including letting my back get back to this point again and remembering swearing the last time this happened, that I would not let it ever happen again.  But then the Holistic Healthcare Practitioner in me started looking at it from an Eastern perspective:

(Anyone happen to know the original source for this:)

Emotional Pain ChartHow about that:

  • Spine: Represents the support of life
  • Lower Spine: Fear of money. Lack of financial support.
  • Sciatica: Being hypocritical. Fear of money and or the future.
  • Slipped Disc: Indecisive. Feeling totally unsupported by life.

While I loved being a barista, at some point, that yearning inside me to make more money started.  I know I am worth a lot more than minimum wage and had started thinking about moving on in the Spring into something more suited to my drive and skill set.  Unfortunately at the same time I went back to work, I was under a lot of stress from varying sources across my life including a lot of family stuff which I am thankful has almost completely subsided.  

A few days before I went back to work, I got subpoenaed for something that I had blocked out almost as quickly as it had happened.  I witnessed an assault that triggered something from my past.  That evening, I got violently ill and was sick for three days afterwards figuring I had either eaten something bad or had caught a flu bug.  

Being subpoenaed and remembering the assault is I feel, the straw that broke the camels back that lead me to my hospitalization in January.  I was certified for four nights and should have been in there longer but I won’t get into my experience in dealing with the severely lacking resources for mental health in the Okanagan.  I am very grateful for my psychologist being able to see me pro bono and a holistic healthcare practitioner who is seeing me at a reduced rate.

In March, on our ten year anniversary, my partner and I had a ceremony in a park, in our bare feet, in the rain.  It was beautifully perfect and relatively stress and drama free.  I could not have been happier with how our day went, followed by two nights in a hotel along the waterfront in White Rock, child free.  The bald eagle photo that shows up in the header is one that I took from our hotel room during our honeymoon.


Our honeymoon was *exactly* what I needed to help relax and spend a few days alone with my wife.  After we got home, I could finally cook again without burning things and forgetting I was cooking and I could finally focus on the computer screen again!  Both of these were huge strides forward for me.  I almost NEVER burn food and while my memory is still not that great, at least I am not forgetting (most of the time) that I am cooking.  I hardly had my computer on for two months because of the sensory overload of just looking at the screen never mind trying to focus on anything to read.

Almost five months have passed since I was certified and while I don’t feel as delicate and raw as when I was first discharged, I still feel fragile, traumatized and scared shitless of an episode like that ever happening again.  The further we get from the episode and look at what was going on in life at that time, the more confident we are that it will only ever be a one time thing and that we can just sum it up as my having had a mental breakdown.

I certainly don’t go out as often as I used to and there have been a few mornings where I can feel anxiety creeping up when I go to my favourite coffee place to work.  I think the hardest thing I have been struggling with when I leave the house (it happens at home too) is sensory overload.

This whole recovery process has been an interesting experience for me.  I have never had to deal with my mind working against me before and it can be devastating the days that I do regress.  I have had no income since my medical EI ran out and I am yet to talk to a doctor who tells me that I am going back to work anytime soon.  I find it very frustrating having that choice taken away but the alternative is putting both my mind and back at risk.

Since returning from our honeymoon, I have been putting my energy back into my web portfolio and being the stay at home parent.  The house is looking and feeling much better.  The bookshelves are together and along the back wall of the master bedroom housing my partners massive academic library.  The “office” has almost completed its transformation into the “chill lounge” which finally has my massage table setup!  The rest of the clutter around the house is almost gone!  I have even started to work outside on our yard.

While that fear of another episode happening still lingers in my mind, I have to keep pushing forward.  Sometimes my good days outnumber my bad days and when it’s the other way around, I feel devastated and fear that I might never return to the way I used to be.  This is part of the reason I decided to write about the fact that I had a mental break down.  It’s from talking to others that gives me hope that some day my bad days will be few and far between and that someday, life will go back to “normal”, whatever that was before all of this happened.

The Blank Canvas

I have been turned quite inward most of this calendar year.  Looking for answers, direction, motivation and the meaning of life.

There is so much I want to do but only so many hours in the day.  And of course, that need to do real paying work that saps up most of my time and energy during the week.

Before me in life, lay a fresh blank canvas.  I fear picking up the brush.  I fear dipping into the wrong color.  Worst of all, I fear touching down the paintbrush in the exact wrong spot, wrecking that fresh new canvas.

We are down to the last three weeks of Summer before life returns to “normal”.  Our son will be back in school, my partner back to teaching and the tourists will go home and Kelowna life will also return to “normal”.

The Summer heat has been above normal (mid to upper 30’s) and my first yearning for a cool crisp patio to sit and sip on a Pumpkin Spice Latte happened the first week of July.  Fall is by far my favourite time of the year and I am eager for its arrival this year.  Even so, the heat has not bothered me (much) and the Summer feels as though it has whizzed by.

I have worked this year on clearing out our office so that I can start practicing in it.  There are a few stacks of boxes that I would like to get out of there before hanging out my shingle to start my holistic healthcare practice.

Come Fall, that is exactly where I would like my paintbrush to start the next major masterpiece of my life.  

Now to figure out which color to start with.


I wake up for the first Sunday in March to head out to blog at 7am and am met with 4-5 cm of snow on my car.  This, of course, after I broke out the shorts a few days ago.  Happy I was smart enough to put my jeans on but I left the coat at home.

The only comfort in seeing this much snow is knowing that this week should be the last few dustings of it before it’s gone until next Winter!

Buried in snow, buried in Chemistry homework, buried in housework, buried in work and I’ve fallen behind in my blogging (again).  Seems to be the flavour du jour these days:  being buried!

While I have slowly but surely been unburying myself with regards to my mountains of work, I managed to sew together another three blocks for my boxer quilt.  As of last weekend, I am also unburied from a crippling debt load!

As much as it sucks playing catch up, it’s actually nice to be busy again.  I spend too much time on the computer doing not much of anything which was a huge part of the reason I quit FB for all of five months before re-registering again to get sucked back into the void.

Unless Okanagan College adds more classes to their ABE Summer semester, I will be having a crazy Summer.  I had been registered for the evening Biology class this semester but it was cancelled due to low registration.  Brushing up on Biology was the whole reason I decided to upgrade my high school sciences which is tuition free.

Grabbing my shovel to get back at it!