Tag Archives: Dogs

What It Feels Like To Be Me

I have found the past two weeks of my life have been difficult. Why is that? I know why but I hate to admit the reason. Admitting it feels like I’m giving up, like I’m a failure, and that hurts.

When I was in sixth grade, my Memere was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. She underwent chemo-therapy and surgery to remove it and then she was fine. But it came back. By the time I was in high school, it had returned at least three times. The summer I finished my Junior year and was waiting to begin my Senior year in the fall, the cancer had been back and had spread to her brain. She had surgery again that August to take out what they could in her brain, but they couldn’t take it all. From that date on, I watched her deteriorate before my eyes.

My mother and I went to my Memere and Pepere’s house every day to help take care of her. These were my mother’s parents and my mom wanted to be there to help not only Memere, but to give Pepere time to himself, too. By the time I started school, she decided to stop with all of her chemo-therapy and radiation treatments. As I watched her get worse, I began to have panic attacks in school. Suddenly, while in classes, I would feel like I couldn’t breathe and I’d ask to go to the nurse’s office, and she would let me call my mom, begging her to come and get me so we couldn’t go and see Memere until she could talk to me enough to calm me down and finish out my school day. By Christmas she was in a wheelchair, weighed as much as I did at that time, and had trouble swallowing her medicine and food. One week later, she couldn’t even get out of bed, then she had trouble understanding, and by the second week of January, she was gone.

I remember so clearly, the Friday before she passed away. My high school was gearing up for our annual Relay for Life event and we had a meeting for the whole school in the auditorium. It was a sort of review meeting, to go over what we had done last year and to see videos, and to explain to the Freshmen and new students of that year what Relay for Life was and why we did it. I stood up when one of the teacher’s giving a speech asked who had family members and friends close to them with cancer and then sat back down and when that same teacher started to talk about her own experience, well, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I was sitting in the very last row of the auditorium, in the very middle. With friends on either side, I suddenly felt so trapped. I knew I wasn’t going to make it if I tried to squeeze past all of them to get out to the aisle, so I got up on my seat and jumped over it to the floor behind me. I ran out the doors. In the foyer outside, one of the substitute teachers was waiting for the meeting to be over, I guess I must have looked terrible because she asked me what was wrong and the next thing I knew I was sobbing in her arms telling her all of the horrible things I’d been living through for six years and how it’d just gotten so much worse in the past six months and that I didn’t know what to do anymore. How I just wanted to go home and see my Memere. How she was dying and there was nothing I could do about it.

To be honest, I’m not sure where I would have run to if she hadn’t caught me and expressed her concern. I probably would have ended up crying alone in the bathroom, stuck in my own misery until someone found me.

And then, my worst fear came true. I told my substitute teacher on Friday that my Memere was dying and that Sunday she passed away. That was probably the worst day of my life so far. I cried so much. I still do. It’s hard, losing someone you love. I’m not sure that you ever really do get over it. You keep loving them even though their gone, and that is okay. But I felt so lost after that. I became so tired of forcing myself to smile and pretending to be alright. When we went on our Senior Trip to Walt Disney World in Florida five months later, that was the first time I actually smiled and laughed and it wasn’t forced. I meant it.

And life seemed to get better after that. I graduated and was sad about it, but it was okay. I started college and for my second semester I went to work at Walt Disney World in Florida as a part of their Disney College Program. I made a new friend and he became my best friend. But when I came home, I don’t know why, but my panic attacks came back. Slowly at first, so I just thought that the OCD habits I was picking up were normal. But when I went back to do a second DCP the following year and the habits became excessive and the panic attacks became so frequent that I was calling my mother and crying to her every day, begging her to come home even though I had a month of my program left to complete, I knew something was wrong.

But I finished my program and my dad and younger brother picked me up and brought me back home. And I was okay again. The panic attacks subsided and the OCD dwindled to being barely noticeable. And then it was back again, so much worse than before. This time the OCD controlled me. I couldn’t do anything without doing it as a habit of so many counted steps, so many taps of my fingers, so many buttoning of the same button, or zippering of the same zipper, over and over and over again until I felt as though I was insane. And I often did question my sanity during this time. I swore I was going mental, that I’d have to be handled with extreme medical treatment. I was terrified!

And the panic attacks became paralyzing. I couldn’t speak or move or even think when I had one. Just the same flash of fear that I was going to die consumed me until suddenly my mother or brother came to my rescue, pulling me out of my stuck state, forcing me to interact with them, to talk to them, to explain what was wrong and what I was feeling.

By Christmas, after roughly eight months of going through this uncontrollable torture, of jeopardizing my job and school attendance because I couldn’t get out of the house in time because I was doing habits, of not going at all because I was having a breakdown, I told my parents I wanted to see a doctor. I ended up with a psychologist. He met me every week and spoke with me, gave me things to do to try and control my anxiety and OCD. And he recommended medication. But I’m stubborn. Medication was my largest concern of the whole thing. It was my worst nightmare coming true. I needed medical help and that was the last thing I wanted. Because, accepting medication as the answer meant that I wasn’t normal. That I couldn’t cope like every other normal human being could. That I was different and was going to be different for a very long time. In my eyes, it meant defeat, that I had let these anxieties and OCD habits take over my life, and I had lost.

It took a year for my psychologist and parents to convince me to even try taking medication. I was prescribed an SSRI (or a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), which helps to regulate the serotonin levels in your brain. And when I did, I felt sick for weeks. I didn’t go to school and I failed all of my classes from lack of attendance alone. I literally spent days dragging myself out of bed only to curl up in a ball on the couch and watch things to keep me happy and not focused on myself. Mostly, it was the Disney Channel.

And then, suddenly, I began to feel “normal” again. After taking the medicine for an entire year, I actually felt like my old, “normal” self again. Two years after taking it and I felt completely alright and expressed to my doctor that I wanted to ween off of the medication to see how I did without it now that I felt cured. They agreed and the process began. Originally up to 20mg of the SSRI, I dropped to a 10mg for 30 days and then 5mg for the following 30 days.

And now we’re back at present time. Precisely two weeks ago, I stopped taking my SSRI. Since then I have had two panic attacks. Both have been cope-able. The first was more tolerable than the one I had today. And it was today I realized that without the medication, they’re just going to get worse again. I can’t be a normal person without the medication. I can’t feel like a normal person taking the medication.

I feel so defeated.

I see my counselor about all of this tomorrow. I will start taking my SSRI medication again so that I can be myself, but what frustrates me the most is that I wasn’t like this when I was younger. My panic attacks didn’t begin until my Senior year of high school. My OCD didn’t start showing up with the panic attacks until two years after that. So why can’t I just be normal like when I was younger? The answer: I can’t. I will most likely be on this medication for the rest of my life and that’s disappointing. But if that means I can feel like my old self again with the help of the medication, then I have to learn to live with it.

That’s my update. Sorry it’s so long and deep and boring.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

What I’ve Been Up To (An Update)

Guys! I have totally failed in my upkeeping this “daily entry” thing for you on my blog here. It’s just…I’ve had a busy few past couple of days.

With school starting next week (-gasp!-), I’ve had to get my school supplies and text books. I’m taking some pretty interesting classes, yay!

  1. Anatomy for the Artist
  2. Elementary Japanese
  3. Public Speaking
  4. Intro to Astronomy (Online!)

I’m still trying to figure out how I’m supposed to take an Astronomy class online, but I did sign up for it myself, and it is a college course (since I’m in University and all), but I’m curious how they’re going to structure it. For example, will I have to meet on campus some nights to go to the observatory and look at certain stars and planets and such? I don’t mind, I’m just curious if that will be a thing.

Ah...DW quotes...and Van Gogh! -sigh-

Ah…DW quotes…and Van Gogh! -sigh-

Oh, um, also, I hurt my ankle.

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Yeah…. You see, I was babysitting a 4-year old. Well, I let the family dog outside and when I heard him barking, I thought maybe there was a gate in the fence in the backyard that might have been open, so I went to check while the 4-year old watched “Spiderman”! So, I ran after the dog, and there was apparently this hole in the yard…that I didn’t see, and my foot went into it…and my ankle went POP! Yeah…it hurt a lot after that. So to the ER I went (after babysitting of course), dun dun daa! I was there until 2AM!

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This was my result:

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My poor ankle and leg, all wrapped up and held together with a stirrup splint. Woe is me! Well, I mean, it could have been way worse! The good news is that it’s not broken and there were no fractures in the bones. The bad news is that I may have torn a ligament, tendon, or muscle. The doctor at the ER told me to keep off my foot for the next week, use the crutches they gave to me, and keep my foot wrapped. Keep it elevated, stay off of it, nurse it, be kind to it. Basically, (don’t) run. -wink wink there, Whovians-

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Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

P.S. This has secretly really been a big Doctor Who-themed post, hahaha!

Beni’s Walk, Emma, and ED Baker

Good afternoon world!

Day Six of our family vacation is in full swing! While my parents and brother and his girlfriend and her two sisters are at the beach (see, we only have 6 beach tags, so one of us had to stay behind…. Side Rant: I think it’s quite incredulous that you need to buy tags to go onto a beach. A beach should be public property where families and friends can go to relax. But, no, some towns and cities actually charge you to use their beaches! How demanding! What is this world coming to?). Ahem, anyway. I decided to walk Beni around town while they enjoy the sun and surf. I’m pretty beached out anyway and could use a day to relax from the surf, sand, and sun.

Beni and I made plenty of friends on our walk today. She is an ever-popular dog. I guess it helps that she’s super adorable and very socialable and friendly. I walked her 10 blocks to Starbucks. Once there, the lady at the window where I placed my order for iced green tea gave me a treat for Beni. That was nice. She asked if I was a dog walker, because when I went to this same Starbucks and this same girl was my server earlier in the week, I had been walking Leila, then. I told her no, I just have different dogs, haha! Beni and I then sat at a table outside and relaxed in the shade of the awning over the building while I drank my tea. I have a portable dog bowl that folds up, so I undid that and gave Beni some fresh, cool water to drink, too.

While I sat there, I met two men who are here on vacation from Albania! I thought at first that they were speaking French, and when I said that, the one guy snorted into his drink. I guess he found it funny. But they were speaking Albanian! I’m just glad they weren’t speaking French because I thought for a moment that maybe I forgot all that I’ve learned and practiced when I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.

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Well, that being said, once Beni and I were done with our drinks and our break, I walked her 10 blocks back to our shore house. Now, she’s passed out on our couch, sleeping. What a cutie.

I found a new webcomic! It’s called “Emma”! Well, actually, DeviantArt introduced me to it, but that’s beside the point (or is it? Hm….). Here’s the link, so check it out: Emma: The Online Comic.

I think that’s it for now? Other than that, I’m reading E.D. Baker’s “The Frog Princess” series. Did you know that her book is what Disney’s “The Frog Princess” was based off of? It was written back in the early 2000s. Since I have to wait for October for the other book in her newer series to come out, I figured I’d re-read her first series since I:

  1. Can’t quite remember it. And….
  2. Am not quite sure that I ever finished the whole series.

I’m off to do some more reading (and writing probably). I’ll post some more pictures from my vacation later.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Between Errands

Yesterday morning and this morning, I woke to find that our youngest dog (she’ll be 2 in October) had piled all of her toys on top of me in my bed. She then sat down next to my bed staring at me until I sat up. Obviously, it was time to play. So, I collected her toys, set them aside momentarily to go through my morning routine of getting dressed and feeding myself (she’d already been fed so that was one less thing to do) and then commenced a lovely play session. Her favorite thing to do is to play fetch.

Then I went out to begin working on a sailboat. I’ve been commissioned to paint the name onto the port and lee sides of the hull at the stern of the boat. Since it’s a Western Potter sailboat, the family has decided to name it “Harry’s Potter” since they enjoy the Harry Potter books and movies so much. I managed to draw the design onto both sides before it began to grow dark, so my plan is to return to the boatyard and paint the designs today. Once it’s done, I’ll be sure to take pictures and share them with you all! I really do like the design I came up with for them. They wanted it to have Harry Potter and Nautical influences and they really love the design I drew. So, as soon as it’s painted, I’ll share the completed project with you all!

Right now, I’m sitting in my car, waiting. On Tuesdays, I drive around an old schoolmate’s stepmother so that she can do her errands. She can’t drive anymore and gave up her license a bit ago, so I help out and take her out on Tuesdays. It’s a nice little break in my schedule. Anyway, I’m waiting because she went into a shop and I have time to waste before she needs me to pick her up. Although, I never go far. Since I don’t have any errands to do myself today (aside from go paint a name on a boat), I decided to wait in the parking lot and play on my laptop. =)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day! It’s very hot here today. I have my windows down but the fact that my laptop is burning my legs doesn’t help with the whole heat factor. This post is done. It’s too hot to keep my laptop here. Haha!

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

A Surprise Coming Home and Happy Father’s Day!

Dinner last night at the “Crab Trap” was delicious. There was an hour and fifteen minute wait, though, so we sat outside on a bench for awhile. It was very loud inside. Even louder still when a 70s-style band began to play, because everyone had to talk even louder over the music. It was quite the busy atmosphere.

Today, I went to Shop Rite with my parents to pick up a pumpkin pie for my cousin, since we are going to my Uncle and Aunt’s place for a Father’s Day jamobree! My cousin loves pumpkin pie (he’s only 13) and he really wanted it, but our Aunt didn’t have time to make one, so we went to buy one as a suprise.

We had a surprise coming home. Beni decided while we were gone to take ALL of our shoes lined up by the door and bring them into the living room and put them on the couches in a new line. It was actually really hilarious and I couldn’t help laughing. Beni is just too adorable. Oh! I don’t think I’ve ever shared a photo of her, just of Leila and Pocket. Here is Beni:

Beni

Her actual name is Beignet, because the night we got her, Kit was making beignet’s, and she’s sort of the same color of the finished product. That pretty fawn color. -insert admiring sigh here- She’s a year and 8 months old. She still has puppy habits and she’s sooooo cute! I love her. She’s a good cuddler, and she’s really calm. Her mother is a therapy dog. Her demeanor is much calmer than Leila’s. She hardly barks, unless Leila riles her up. And…she’s staring at me with adorable sad puppy eyes as I’m typing. She wants me to pay attention to her, so I’m going to indulge her and wrap this post up quickly so we can play!

Lastly, though (before I do go), I want to wish all of the Father’s of the world a very happy and fun-filled Father’s Day today!

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Dinner for Dad

Since Kit has to work tomorrow, we’re celebrating Father’s Day this evening by treating our Dad to a place called the “Crab Trap”. I’ve no idea where this place is, but Dad has been raving about wanting to go there all week, so Kit and I have planned to take him there, along with Kit’s girlfriend, and our Mom, of course.

Everyone in the house likes seafood, except for me. However, I’m going along with the plan since it’s for Dad. It wouldn’t be very fair of me to object when we’re supposed to be celebrating him. Actually, I’m looking forward to the trip. It’s a fair ride, apparently, and I like long car rides. It gives me time to slip into my imagination and come up with story ideas, write, read, or to chat with everyone in the car.

That being said, I should help get things ready so we can go.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Loud and Tasty

Loud. It was very loud last night, until I walked outside at 1 AM and heard what quiet sounded like again. Whew. I went to a bar last night with Kels (who’s been my friend since 6th grade), her boyfriend, and a bunch of his friends. The bar has a dance club attached to it. You go down a hall behind a liquor store to get to the dance floor. There was fog and lasers and super loud music. I had fun, though. Usually, I am not the type of person to go to this kind of place, but I feel that sometimes, it is good to experience. I always feel awkward at first then, after some dancing, I’m good to go. I never drink. I actually don’t drink alcohol, anyway. I don’t like the smell or the taste of pretty much most drinks.

I bought a fan brush today and a detail brush to get some closer work done on my commission. I say it’s coming along nicely, but that’s my opinion, haha! Before purchasing these necessary items, though, I ate lunch with my Dad at Starbucks while he was on break. I ate a delicious mozzerella, baby spinach, and sun-roasted tomato panini with olive oil-basil-garlic pesto:

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Oh…so delicious. My mouth waters just thinking about eating another one. Now, I want another, haha! I wonder if the restaurant I am going to with Pepere and my cousin will have something similar that I can order. Hm….

I’ve started a new Korean dramedy today on Netflix: “Shut Up & Let’s Go” about an underground boy band that ends up getting transfered to a rich kids school. It’s a pretty basic plot, so I’m curious what they’re going to do with it. Since the boys in the underground band (Eye Candy, by the way) all seem pretty rough-and-tumble and seem to come from a “poorer” district, and they’ve already developed conflict with a three-man band at their new school, I’m sure that there will be conflict with that.

Anyway, the lead singer of Eye Candy, Byung Hee, seems pretty spontaneous so far. His eyes are captivating! I’m not sure if it’s the black eyeliner that he wears around them, or what, but I swear that in some scenes with really bright sunlight or light, his eyes almost look orange! I wonder if he wears orange-colored contacts in these scenes, or his eyes naturally look like that in bright light! What do you guys thing? Here’s a photo of him:

Twice today, our other dog, Beni, has jumped up and put her paws on the counter to grab at food up there. This morning, she got into Leila’s medicine (so we had to call the vet for two new doses, since that’s how many she got. Since Beni is about 5 times Leila’s weight (Leila weighs 15 lbs, Beni weighs 70 lbs), the vet told us not to be worried about her consuming the medicine. She said she’d be fine. Now, it seems she has just done it again and gotten ahold of the loaf of French bread that Dad brought home today. I just give a little melodramatic sigh over this. I wonder if something’s up with her. Does she want even more attention than usual today? Hm, hm, hm, things to ponder.

Oh, on the other hand, Leila is feeling much better! I can tell because her activity levels have resumed back to normal. Yay!

Please look for my words again soon!

-Soleil