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This Blog or That Blog?

Life has been a tad bit crazy since deciding to move to Virginia and it hasn’t settled down since we arrived. There has been no settling for us. To our credit, we wake up every day and tackle life. Good, bad or indifferent, we are still in the game. Yay us! Sort of.

My health has taken quite a hit since moving here. I was concerned about it before moving but did my best to keep my worries private. Sad to report, that my concerns were well founded. My health is worse in Virginia. I am dealing with all the old problems and a bunch of new health challenges. I am researching and working to get myself together again. It’s just taking some time. But the life that I have envisioned for years is still just far enough of reach that I can’t get there. It sucks. Back to the drawing board.

There are days where I have a lot of down time and up till now, I have mostly been sleeping, recovering and willing my body to get it together. I’m not sure how well that is working but where the mind leads, the body will follow. So I’ve been told.

During the times of quiet, my mind keeps thinking about blogging and writing. It’s been a struggle to get it going. For the first few months, we had no internet. It’s only been within the past 30 days that we have internet in our home. Then there is time. I’m the only driver in our home so currently, I drive 2 people to 3 jobs. It was 2 people to 4 jobs for first few months. I didn’t have much time to sit still while juggling 2 people with 4 schedules. But we’ve made it work.

One of my biggest excuses has been this insane idea of starting a brand spanking new blog. I’ve been searching and trying out new names. I’ve been resisting coming to this blog to build on what I have already started. A mini identity crisis? Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes I don’t want to tie some of my thoughts with my photography but it is so much easier to manage if it is all in one place. Does this blog allow me to do that? I don’t know but why start over? Plus, I can’t think of a new blog name that I like.

So, for now I am just going to get back to the keyboard. Hopefully.

I’m terrible at this…

Jamie

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Seeing Things

Seeing is believing or so they say.

I have been searching for a way to articulate anxiety. It is something that I have great difficulty putting into words so that others can see a little of what it is like to live with anxiety. I believe that if you can catch a glimpse of what others are experiencing in their personal struggles then, more often than not, we find a little more compassion and  understanding for things we don’t completely comprehend. At least, I hope that’s the way it goes.

I can only speak for myself but the more I begin to understand my own struggles with PTSD and anxiety, the more I wish someone else would just say, I get it, I get you. Intellectually, I know that there are a lot of other people living their best life with PTSD and anxiety. I know, that I am not alone. Bold, honest truth is that sometimes what you feel trumps what you know and those are the moments when we long for someone to love, accept and understand our struggles.

This past week, I’ve spent a fair amount of time watching the BBC hit, Luther. Thanks to Netflix, I’ve been able to catch up on four series just as filming begins on series five of the show. During one of my late night binge sessions, I came face to face with anxiety. It was the episode where Justin Ripley has been taken hostage. He is being held by the demented villain, hanging from a noose in a dark, damp, stone tunnel. He’s been beaten, branded and left for dead with a plastic bag over his head. Miraculously, Justin Ripley frees himself and begins to run toward the rusty ladder and a creaky hatch door that is presumably leading to his freedom. Up the ladder he goes and boom…that is when I see anxiety.

In a split second, as Ripley reaches the top of the ladder, I think to myself, “Oh no, don’t go out there! You don’t know what is out there!” Slamming the hatch door open, he barges out into the streets on London and his freedom. I slump back on my chair and mutter, “Oh my gosh, that is what anxiety like…” I am stunned. Suddenly, I have a visual representation of what my PTSD and anxiety feels like.

Life with anxiety and PTSD is just like being held hostage, constantly tormented by a nasty villain, all the while knowing that to survive you must break free. When you muster the strength and make a bold dash for freedom, the what if’s stop you at the bottom of the ladder. You never make it to the top and throw open the hatch door. You are crushed by a fear, worry and long list of unknowns and what if’s at the very first rung. You can see the door. You can see the noose on the wall. You need to get out. You want to get out. You’re paralyzed just long enough for the boogey man to get you again and suddenly, you’re hanging by your neck staring up at that hatch door, summoning the strength and courage to make another mad dash for freedom.

Hostage. Break out. Collapse. Repeat. Once a day or ten times in a day. It doesn’t really matter. To accomplish anything against anxiety and PTSD, you inevitably have to do it a hundreds times before you reach the top of a rusty ladder and find your freedom.

You see, I’m not trying to fail. I’m not the big screw up that you told me I was. I am not incompetent at life. I’m just a little tired. I’ve broken free a hundred times just to make a phone call. I’ve scrambled down a long, dark, damp tunnel repeatedly just to make a social event at Christmas. I’ve stood sobbing at the bottom of my rusty ladder under the weight of a thousand villainous thoughts attacking and dragging me backward just to mail a package at the post office.

I know you can do these things with ease, trust me, I know freedom is easy for you.
This is what it is like for me.

Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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PTSD

I was diagnosed with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in 1997. This may sound strange, but, I am just beginning to really understand how much it affects me and my life every day. Well, sort of, not really. It is all just so difficult to explain to myself and near impossible to convey to others what I handle on a daily basis. In the past few years, I have gained an even broader sight into my own self, particularly, my anxiety. I am noticing that for the most part, I am experiencing anxiety symptoms all day, every day. I live in a near constant state of anxiety. What is even stranger to me, most people I meet would never know.

I came across this article on Facebook about PTSD. I had difficulty finishing the article because the symptoms were spot on. I will have to read it in short sessions. One paragraph at a time, slowly absorbing the accuracy, until I can finish. Why? Because I read it and I am overwhelmed with the realization that this, too, is me.

Suddenly, I experience anxiety. I practice breathing. I pace a little. I gain control and push forward with my efforts to stifle the spinning out of control feelings in my mind. I’ve been managing the whirlwind for most of my life. I am used to it. So familiar with it that I am just now beginning to see that not everyone lives like me. Any way, I stumbled onto this article and it struck home so I am sharing it. Maybe you will understand more. Maybe I will understand more.

Five Invisible Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress

Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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Where are you?

Sunday, December 17, 2018

It has been a long time since I have had time or energy to write. The seasonal job proved to be more than I anticipated. It was a tremendous struggle to work the job and complete the temporary assignment. The job itself was not difficult but it was physically demanding. I spent many nights in pain, unable to sleep and barely able to function for days. I am happy to say that I did fulfill the job assignment and it ended on a good note. I am now in recovery mode physically but happy to have seen it through to the end.

I thought a lot about writing, photography, crochet and moving while I was shipping out all those custom order Christmas cards. I find it humorous that some times an easy way to identify what is important to us is by the things we miss in life. If we do not miss some thing, it must not have been that important. Photography, I knew I would long to do again. There is never enough photography in my world. Crochet, was a bit of a surprise but I do find it relaxing. I also enjoy making practical and useful items. Blankets, scarves, hats, those sort of things. Writing. This one really surprised me because for the most point I have fostered a love/hate relationship with writing. It is something that comes natural to me but I have resisted it with a fierce determination for the majority of my life. I often have words, sentences or paragraphs rolling through my mind. I think about words just like I see photographs. Typically, I push them aside till they fade away into oblivion. I was caught off guard when I discovered that I actually missed being at home pounding at the keyboard. I literally stopped in my tracks when the desire to go home and write filled my mind and heart. So, here I am.

Moving.

Moving has been an adventure in my own mind. It always is though, isn’t it? Relocation, whether from one house to the next or one city to the next, it turns everything upside down. My decision to move proved to be no different. In the past few weeks, I have researched a variety of cities, in a few different states for a kaleidoscope of reasons. I’ve been to Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. I have scoured coastal cities, mountain towns, bustling downtown neighborhoods and quiet college towns. I have cried a little, laughed much, wrestled with anxiety and had a few “hell no’s” for good measure. I have crunched numbers until my calculator up and walked away disappearing forever.

Through all the researching, discovery and indecisiveness, where have we landed?
Arizona.

The thought of leaving Arizona proved to each of us that this magical state we live in is indeed home. As I explored the idea of living anywhere else, my mind quickly focused on counting the days till I could get back to Arizona. The more I considered leaving Arizona, the more I realized that I just wasn’t done here. There is so much more that I desire to do and see here. I would often tell myself that adventure lies anywhere but my heart just could not let go of the fact that I wasn’t finished here. As the weeks hurried by it became very evident that we wanted to stay in our home state of Arizona.

And where is Arizona? Believe it or not, that is only about 99% decided, maybe 98%. There is a slim chance we may only move a far as a different apartment in Chandler. We are however aiming for Prescott or Prescott Valley area. We’ll know in 12 days if we make it.

Be Brave.
Jamie Christine

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Don’t Give Up. Don’t Give In.

I had a wonderful day yesterday. First day on the new (seasonal) job went fantastic!

I am working in a warehouse for the holiday season. My station is in the cards shipping department. Basically, I package cards in shipping boxes, put labels on them and send them on their way. I really enjoyed it. Every one that I worked with was friendly and always helpful. Willing to answer all my “need to know” questions. The hours are long. Standing for extended periods of time is a challenge for me physically. I wear my hiking boots and inserts for good support. Drink lots of water. Eat healthy. I may make it through physically. If I was going to stay in Arizona, I would most certainly be seeking a permanent job there. I really had a fun day. Best part of the day was not one feeling of anxiety! I am looking forward to working there for the next few months.

No surprise that I was in bed early last night. When the alarm went off this morning, I admit, I was not ready to get out of bed but I’ve waited months for employment. I can’t sleep in now. While I was resting my eyes, post alarm clock, I kept hearing in my head, “and if you don’t give up, don’t give in, you may just be okay.” It is a line from the song, The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics. I think it is a good message. Timely for me.

Whatever your struggle. Where-ever you are. Just don’t give up and don’t give in. Time will wander on and you will be okay. The Living Years

Have to get ready for work. Have a wonderful day!
Be brave.
Jamie Christine