Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Shoulder Pains

Doctors can be aggravating.

I saw the doctor who referred me to get the Cortisone injection for the first time in two and a half weeks, and the vast majority of my 45-minute appointment was listening to him talk about how he doesn't understand why my shoulder still hurts.

And how if the pain I'm feeling is really from my labrum tear, then the Cortisone should have helped. Even though I explained to him that I got Cortisone treatment for the torn cartilage in both of my knees, and I still had to have surgery on each of them.

And the dangers of being on Vicodin for too long...even though this dude knows my medical history and knows I've been on pretty much every narcotic under the sun and am still not a drug addict, AND it's been less than a month.

And how he could try to get me into see the orthopedic surgeon at his main office instead of waiting for him to come to NYU in two weeks, but he doesn't think the surgeon will want to do anything about this, talking to me like I'm anxious to have my 23rd surgery (which he is aware I've had that many) as if I really want to have to deal with the possibility of surgery in the middle of my first semester of my Master's program. And don't even get me started on him suggesting a medical leave of absence over a SHOULDER injury. Let's just say I quickly explained to him that I've done that before for some way worse stuff and it's not going to happen again, and if I took a leave it would equate to me never getting my degree because my life is never calm or free from health problems.

I genuinely do not know how I'm going to make it to Christmas break before doing anything else about my shoulder when even writing a blog post or my weekly 1-2 page response papers makes my whole shoulder and arm feel like someone is stabbing it, and I'm going to have approximately 75 pages of papers due in December in quick succession. I have to find SOMETHING to be done, because I cannot keep going on in this much pain with my one good arm pretty much out of commission.

The question is what that something will be, and what's it going to cost me.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Vessel

When people use the word steward, or hear that word, it's usually in reference to time or money. But something that's been on my mind lately is how I feel this responsibility with the story that I've been given to do it justice, to do God justice. To take care of it, in a sense. I didn't really know how to put it into words until I had a talk with Pastor Ben today and he used the word steward and I had one of those "aha!" moments where it was like, yes, I found the word I was looking for.

I want to be a good steward with my story, but a lot of days, I'm not sure how to do it.

It's hard to know how to do that when there are so many unknowns. When it's still being written. When there are just as many downs as there are ups and I don't ever feel like I have a grasp on what it is I need to do to show people that God is at the center of all this.

It's like, one day I can feel so confident, so sure of God's presence in the craziness, and be able to boast of my struggles and my weaknesses because I feel so confident of how God is working in all of it, because I can see good in it. And then the next day, I'm at a loss. I cry and plead with God to let me feel His presence because the stress of one health thing after another makes me feel like I'm drowning and there's no one there to catch me. Even though I know I'm never alone, there is a very big and sometimes very painful difference between knowing something is true and believing it, feeling it deep in your aching soul.

And those bad days, they make me wonder if I can really be a "good Christian" (or at least whatever it is my mind tells me makes up one of those) if I have so many days where I'm angry and doubtful and frustrated and exhausted. They make me wonder if I'm being hypocritical or a liar when I talk about God's goodness in my life on the good days, even though I know that a bad day could very easily be just around the corner. But Ben really helped me with that, and what he said has stuck with me. The good days, when they are happening, are still very real to me. I'm not lying when I say what I say on the good days because on those days, I believe what I'm saying to be true. The bad days don't make the good days any less good. I am telling my story day by day, even though the polarization of the good and the bad may not make sense to someone else.

I am being authentic, and in being authentic, I am telling the best story I could possibly tell. I'm telling one that is real. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not one to pretend like things are good when they're not; it just takes up way more energy than I am willing to expend on a facade.

So yeah, I do feel a responsibility with this story I've been given, because it's so much crazier than what most people are used to or expect, but what I realized while sitting here, literally while sitting here writing, is that God doesn't actually need me to do anything. God can make whatever message He is trying to tell through me and my life known to the masses all on His own if that's what He wants to do. God knows my heart, and He knows that I am trying to do the best that I can in this life to walk in His will and show people His presence and power through the events of my life. God knows that I will go where He needs me to go, and talk to anyone who will listen.

I'm just the vessel. The One behind the wheel will work out the details of the journey.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

You make me brave.

I'm in a period of life where, truth be told, I feel like I'm caught up in the waves. Some of it is actually good stuff, like school, and adjusting to life in NYC, but that doesn't make it any less stressful or hard. But there's a good deal of it that is not good stuff. Bills, doctors appointments, fatigue, headaches, seizures, and mostly, this shoulder injury. And that bad stuff, well, sometimes it can feel suffocating.

The doctors who did my Cortisone injection said it would take 48 hours to kick in, and they seemed pretty certain of that time frame, like there wasn't much wiggle room. I'm past 84 hours now, approaching the 96 hour mark, and my shoulder hurts worse now than before that injection on Thursday. So...that's not exactly a good sign. I have 16 days until I meet with an orthopedic surgeon, and unless God works some serious healing power, which I know He totally can, it looks like I'm facing that route here soon because, well, I can't keep going on like this with my one good arm out of commission.

And that's disappointing, to say the least. And frustrating. And scary, to think of the impact it could have on my Master's work. Like, honestly, I'm just so freaking tired of health stuff constantly popping up to get in the way of me living my life and doing what I came here to do, what I've worked so hard to be able to do. There's no way around that. I'm tired of it.

But you know what? I may have my bad moments, or even bad days, but I always come back to the Truth. The truth that this injury doesn't have to mean disaster. The truth that I have a support system that is just as here for me now as they were when we didn't have hundreds of miles between us. The truth that everything that has happened in the past few weeks has made me just that much more aware of how desperately I need my Jesus. This time that I'm in right now, it's leaving me no choice but to cling to God and the hope that this time will pass and things will get better.

This song, the song I mentioned on Friday, "You Make Me Brave," it says a lot of what I'm feeling right now. People think I'm so brave and so strong, and I just want people to understand that I am not brave or strong on my own. God makes me brave. The strength in me is the strength I get from holding fast to the tenderness of the One who is bigger than a torn shoulder. The fear of what the future holds that sometimes absolutely wrecks my heart is overpowered and washed away by the Champion who made a way for me to be made righteous and victorious over the darkness that this world holds. And I felt that so clearly and powerfully today at church when Pastor Ben had a couple ladies come with him to lay hands on me and pray for me and my life. God has fought on my behalf, has fought for my heart, and continues to fight for and defend me now. And because I know that, I know that I cannot be permanently defeated. There's a heck of a lot of hope in that, my friends.

I hope that, in whatever you're facing, my reflection on my struggle encourages you. I don't know what you're going through, but I do know that God is right here, right now, and He is bigger than whatever that storm is. He WILL fight for you, love, you need only to be still. Trust that He is the King of the universe, and He is the one King that can't be overthrown. He can make you feel brave when in your head, you're scared out of your mind. That's the cool part. You can face things you think you'd never survive on your own because His power is greater than whatever the storms of this life can throw at you. His Word promises that He has already overcome the world. It's done. It's over. No stress necessary.

I hope a reminder of that truth brings some comfort to you tonight.

Take a listen to the song, if you haven't heard it before. It's pretty awesome.


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Saturday, September 27, 2014


Holly and I have our moments, but overall, this living together thing is going better than I expected.

She and I are going out with our roommate tonight. She invited me. And she doesn't even know what happened last night, so she doesn't know that this is the kind of distraction I need.

And also, my Wolfpack came way too close to beating #1 FSU today. It was a hard game. We played darn good football, and it's easy to say that we have vastly improved on last season, when we went 3-9. Right now we're 4-1.

I'm out of words. My mind is too cloudy from last night.  I...need a distraction.

But the good news is, I definitely feel the prayers from various people surrounding me, and I am very thankful for that.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

The door slammed shut. Heartbreak.

I was planning on writing about this song, what its words mean to me, the reaction it stirs up in me, but that got upended tonight about half an hour ago.

Before I begin, I just need to say that if you've got any judgment to pass on what's below, please just save it. I am heartbroken and can't take it right now.

The Landon saga is well documented on this blog. The back and forth. The trying to convince myself that I picked my family and I didn't need him, didn't want him, and then always running back to him and starting the toxic cycle all over again. I knew it wasn't good for me, but I just couldn't bring myself to quit him. We are our own worst enemies sometimes...

Well, that door has been slammed shut in the most painful way I can think of. Almost six years of trying to convince him that I wasn't like all the others that had hurt him, of trying to convince him that when I said I loved him I really did mean it, of fighting to stand by him even when he gave me reasons to leave, of trusting him with very deep, very vulnerable pieces of myself, all of it crumbled to the ground in the span of about ten minutes.

I don't want to get into the details of what was said. Because it's not important. Because I don't want to relive it again. Because the wound is still way too raw. All that needs to be said is that he made it abundantly clear that everything I believed to be true about him, about how he felt about me, about all of it, all of it was a lie. He said he was pissed at me because I didn't reach out to him when something in particular happened to him, even though I never knew that thing had happened, that somehow that was his proof that I was lying to him about how much I cared. And it was in the specific little things that he said that just tore me to shreds.

I know this isn't about me. That this is about him, and that he is just way too screwed up and I can't fix that, despite the fact that I spent the past six years fooling myself into believing that if I just loved him enough, things would be better. But right now, I feel like the world's biggest idiot for nearly everyone I know who I spoke to about this situation telling me not to go back and yet going back anyway because I loved him that much. I know how I felt...feel about him. I know that what he said isn't true. But I feel beaten down right now. I feel devastated. I feel...heartbroken. That's the only way to describe this stabbing pain in my chest right now. And it sucks.

I know that this isn't the be all end all. That one day, I won't hurt. I won't be devastated. I will be able to focus on God's love more clearly and the fact that His love is the love that will never disappoint or hurt me. But right now I can't because it literally just happened less than an hour ago and all I can think about is how hard it is to breathe.

My sweet, sweet, beloved friend/big sister Courtney answered the phone tonight by the grace of God, because she was the first person I thought of to call that I knew that wouldn't judge me for this, that never judged me for going back to him, and there's one thing that I told her that I want to end this blog post on before I crawl into my bed and try to get some rest as a reprieve from this pain...The one good thing about this happening is that I don't have to wonder any more. There's no more what if, no more what should I do, who should I choose. I can forgive a lot of things. I've been able to forget all the other times he's hurt me in the past. But there's no forgetting this feeling I have right now. Eventually, I will be able to completely, totally move on, and not question myself anymore.

There's no coming back from this. I am finally, completely, 100% done. I won't make this mistake again.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

There is no pain like Cortisone pain.

Somebody stitch THAT on a pillow.

So I had my Cortisone shot appointment today. It was awful. Like, laying still for 30 minutes while people first use an ultrasound on your injured joint and then stick needles practically all the way THROUGH your injured joint is not my idea of a good Thursday morning. They kept putting Lidocaine into the injection site every time they put in more Cortisone and oh my word, the pain with the two combined made my toes curl up. They kept saying I shouldn't feel anything but pressure, which sounds good in theory, but that's a heck of a lot of pressure when you're going all the way into my shoulder socket.

The doctors seemed very confused that I didn't feel immediate pain relief because of the Lidocaine, but they seemed to understand once I explained to them that I've had so many anesthetics in my life that my body very well may not even recognize Lidocaine anymore. They said it will take about 48 hours for me to get relief from the Cortisone, which was all I wanted to know.

They also told me I would probably feel like crap for 24 hours and to rest, so rest I shall.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When people leave...

I woke up today in a funk.

After I fell back asleep last night after getting my paper in, it seems like all my dreams were about people who've left me, people I didn't even realize I still missed.

I'd convinced myself I didn't care. That it was their choice. That if they could do what they did without a second thought or an explanation, then maybe we weren't what I thought we were and they weren't worth the investment or energy.

Except anyone who knows me knows that everything I just said is a load of crap if you think about it. I can't not invest in people. I don't know how not to. And with these people that were haunting my dreams last night and my mind a good part of the day today? The parts they played were far too important for me to ever fool anyone, including myself, that losing them isn't that big of a deal.

You know what the sad part is? I truly never believed that things would be like they are now. The relationships we had seemed like such a Godsend that I had naively convinced myself that we really would be in each other's lives forever, and several of them had told me they wanted it to be that way, too, which certainly didn't help the way my heart longed to hold on to them. But you know, I never could have imagined I'd meet people like them in the first place, or grow to love them, so that shows you how good I am at predicting the future.

I seem to have this recurring problem in my life in letting go of the past. These friendships, if that's what they ever were, are, for a myriad of reasons, clearly dead, and yet I'm still aching for how things were even just a year ago. Too often, I catch myself wanting to go back to people and things that are in my past for a reason, instead of basking in all the good that is happening around me right now and resting in the hope for the future that lies before me. I realized this problem when I was talking to a friend earlier and said that as much as I miss my Campbell family, I wouldn't trade being in NYC for anything...and I meant it. For the first time in a long time, possibly ever, I am happy to have closed an era of my life that was hard to say goodbye to. I know this is where I'm supposed to be.

I guess it's because the people I loved so dearly at Campbell are still in my life. I can still text them to see how they're doing without feeling like a bother. I can ask them for prayer and believe they'll actually pray for me. Things like that. And the people who showed up in my dreams last night, well, I can't do that with them. And that stings.

It's people and situations like this that make me nervous about trusting people. I know, friendships end and people drift apart, but I have no idea what ended these and they just cut me out for no reason.  And these people knew me best. They told me we were family. They told me they loved me. They told me they wanted to be in my life for years to come. And then they weren't, and it was like none of the past had ever happened.

And I have to be okay with that.

It's times like this I need to sink my heart in the arms of the Lord. The one whose love I never have to question. The one I never have to worry will cut me off. When people disappoint and hurt me, I can rest in the grace of the God who pursued me and won me and has me until the end of time.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

On this day, I slept.

Seriously, that's what I did.

I woke up enough to read the minimum I had to to get my History paper in by 9:00,

but other than that,

I slept.

Straight through to Wednesday morning.

I just couldn't stay awake.

I don't know why.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Things in my head.

Since I got up today, I have had the song lyrics "I need you Jesus to come to my rescue. Where else can I go? There's no other name by which I am saved. Capture me with grace. I will follow you." in my head. Why? I don't know.  Maybe that will come to me.

Today's been reading and laundry and grocery shopping and waiting for a package to come and TV watching because yay fall TV is finally back.

Well, I'm tired. I'm going to try to read one more piece and then go to bed. I've got plenty of work to do by 9:00 pm that's for my class on Wednesday. Ugh. At least with the UN System class that professor gives us until class time.

I'm overtired and snappy so I probably shouldn't say much because then I'll say something I'll regret later.  Learning to keep my mouth shut sometimes is an interesting lesson to learn.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Funny how things work out, huh?

My body is, um, in one of those phases where it doesn't really like to cooperate. Let's just leave it at that. That sums up most of my day.

But the good part? The good part was church. Church where I got to see some people that are already friends and already dear to me. Though we were missing almost everyone because two of the sweet members were getting married up in Rochester. But still, it's a place that I love already. I can sing at the top of my lungs there and no one thinks I'm weird, even when you can totally hear me above everyone else (though I will attribute that to the lack of people, ha!). :)

The people at City Grace, they're the kind of church that gets it right. They took me in from the very first second and made me feel welcome, even though they didn't know the slightest thing about me.

I love people so much. And I love that this was the very first church I tried out here. The very first one, and it's just right for me.

I am so thankful that God led me there. So thankful.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Days fly by.

I really didn't get much done today.

Or anything at all, really.

Can't change the past, though, so eh.

There is tomorrow.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

It came!

It came!

It only took five days, four redelivery requests, two filed complaints, and about two dozen phone calls, but it came!

Now I won't have wasted $50+ trying to do something fun for myself for Halloween.

Pictures will come the day of.  I like it, though. :)

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Thursday, September 18, 2014


Well, when I got up this morning, that $99 charge had completely disappeared from my account and the money was back in my account. Sooo....glad that's over.

The package is another story. Three redelivery requests. No package. I spent two hours on the phone with the local post office carrier that delivers to my apartment getting passed from person to person who had no idea where my package was and said they couldn't help me. I filed another complaint with the national customer service and the very nice lady let me rant my frustration at her for 20 minutes while she filled out all sorts of paperwork and sent messages, and she told me that if I didn't have it tomorrow, to call back and all of this information would be going to the national Customer Affairs, instead of the complaints being sent to the supervisor at this completely incompetent carrier office.

Right about 6:00 I got a call from a woman at that carrier office (I had left my phone number and info with the woman who answers the phones pleading with her to get the guy in charge for the day, because of course the normal supervisor was out today, to call me) who said they found my package (about dang time) and she kept speaking to some delivery guy right next to her who told her he will deliver my package between 8 and 10 tomorrow morning and to just make sure I'm home.  Good thing I don't have class on Fridays, Mr. Demanding.  I really hope I get this thing tomorrow. This whole saga has been exhausting.

It's an early bedtime for me tonight. I was up all night again but made it to class and made it until almost 6:00 before I fell asleep in the recliner. I slept for almost an hour and a half before I woke up really needing food and yeah, back to bed.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Epic Fails

Epic fail numero uno: My Halloween costume being sent through the US Postal Service? STILL. NOT. HERE. Let's recap things, shall we?

Monday 9/15: Day it was supposed to get here. When it still wasn't by the time I knew post offices quit delivering, I checked the tracking online. It said they attempted to deliver at about 4:00 (and the kicker is I was upstairs) and left a notice. They did NOT leave a notice, but I figured there just wasn't space in the box because Holly's costume was there (and she ordered hers two days after me, go figure). I called the customer service people and she told me to call the post office carrier and see what is up...and then gave me the wrong phone number.  I filled out a redelivery request for the next day, got a confirmation number sent to my email and everything.

Tuesday 9/16: Redelivery day #1. What's in my box? THE NOTICE THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO LEAVE ON MONDAY. Like, it had Monday's date on it. No package. So I go upstairs, look at the notice, and the only phone number is the general 1-800 number for all of USPS, so I call and finally get through to that customer service. They have no info of a second delivery, so all they can tell me is to do another redelivery request, which I have the customer service person do for me. I tell her to put that if it doesn't fit in the box, to leave it on the floor underneath my mailbox. There's a main locked door, then the mailboxes, then another locked door before you can get up to the apartments, so I figured who in my building would want to steal a size 3X halloween costume? (Why would ANYONE want to steal a size 3X halloween costume?) I also give her the confirmation number from the first redelivery request, so she knows that I really did try already. I get another email with a new confirmation number of a redelivery request stating that it will be delivered today.

Wednesday 9/17: Redelivery day #2. No package. No notice. I call customer service AGAIN, admittedly this time more than a little irritated because this package with tax and everything cost me more than $50. They have no record of any delivery attempt being made after either redelivery request. Luckily this woman was very nice and apologetic, and instead of just filling out another redelivery request, she filed a complaint because she said two redelivery requests with not so much as a notice left is ridiculous.  She also gave me the name of the manager of the carrier and two CORRECT phone numbers to call tomorrow. Because seriously, this is ridiculous. I get having to make one redelivery since the mailbox was packed, but three? When my box has been basically empty the past two days? And nobody has any clue where my package is? Yeah, that's an epic fail.

Epic fail numero dos: Remember that deli I talk about all the time? The one we found just around the corner the day we first got here (which I cannot believe was almost six weeks ago, but that's another story)? Yeah, well, I got on my online banking tonight to check my balance just for curiosity's sake, and as I scrolled down to look at all of what was still processing and any charges Mom may have made on my account, I see a charge for 99 dollars. NINETY-NINE DOLLARS. At a deli? Not a snowball's chance in you-know-where. So I march straight over to the deli, and since the guys there know and love me, one of them straight up went and pulled out the receipts from Monday after noon, since I knew it would have to be after then since I had class Monday morning. They don't even have a receipt for 99 dollars. So it's not like they're trying to rip me off. Because what I initially thought was I had a charge for 9 dollars because I'm pretty sure I spent 9 dollars there on Monday, but no, that transaction is also in my bank activity, separate from this one, so I thought maybe whoever was there mistyped 99 instead of 9.  So now I have to call the bank in the morning to figure out what the heck that is about, and since I couldn't get a specific time off my banking app, will probably have to go back to the deli to check their receipts from whatever time this specific action went down.  If it were something small, I probably honestly wouldn't worry about it, but I mean, that's basically $100, and I don't have $100 to spare!

So two epic fails. USPS and Bank of America,


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I have anxiety and depression. Here are my words.

I wanted to write this post right after the news of Robin Williams' suicide came out, but there was such a whirlwind of everyone wanting to have their opinion heard that I decided to wait.

Various members of my family often say that they wish they had my brain. I know why they do it, and what they mean. This IQ does come in handy. But with that, comes the side of my brain that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

It's the part where I stay awake all night in utter panic about things that I can't control or are far in the future.  It's the part where I break down crying and can't even talk about why because I don't know how to put into words the tornado of bad thoughts running through my head like a news reel going at warp speed. My brain goes so fast that I can't even keep up with it; all I know is that I'm scared and I don't know how to make it stop.

There's a big stigma about people with mental illnesses.  A lot of people I've met think mental illness is one of two things: act like a complete psychopath in a violent rage or be mentally handicapped, and if it's not one of those two, you're lying or exaggerating.  Those people don't understand what it's like to have to physically will yourself out of bed in the morning, not because you don't want to go to school or work, but because your mind is telling you to stay where it's safe.  Those people don't understand that when you get so stressed out you start sobbing, it doesn't mean that you're dramatic or, for girls, hormonal; it means that you're so overwhelmed and totally terrified that crying is the only thing your body knows how to do besides shut down.

A lot of people say that suicide is a choice.  Yes, in the literal sense, you do have to make the choice to do the action that will end your life, but just saying that it's a choice completely discounts the fact that people who have hit the point where they "make that choice" can't even see themselves or the situation they're in because the fog of their depression (and possibly also anxiety) is so thick.  People in that dark place need help.  They need someone to walk alongside them and get them the help they need.  My mom getting me on my medication and Matt being the friend that he was SAVED MY LIFE.  I am 100% certain of that.  My medication helps me not have issues with my depression and keeps my anxiety attacks mostly under control, but they still come up every now and then.

After Robin Williams' suicide, there was an avalanche of Christians, a few of whom I greatly respected, who came out and talked about how joy is the only thing that will beat depression, and if you just pray for joy and look for God, everything will get better.  As someone who heard that countless times when I was at my lowest point, I can tell you that hearing that does nothing.  You can't tell someone surrounded by darkness that they just need to look for the good in life, or pray for God to take their pain away.  Telling them things like that does nothing but add to the emotional wounds they carry.  They can't even see themselves for who they are, let alone the situation in front of them.  And telling a suicidal person that if they go through with it, they'll do nothing but hurt the people who love them?  That's manipulation at its finest.  That needs to stop.  Like, yesterday.  These people are desperate for their pain to end, they don't need another person telling them how screwed up they are.

Jesus didn't just walk around telling people how wrong they were, He showed them the light and helped them.  One is judgment, the other is love.

Anxiety and depression are two very real, very dangerous, life-crippling problems.  I've experienced both much more strongly than I ever would have liked, and so yes, I get angry and more than a bit defensive when people make assumptions about what they are or how they should be dealt with and try to simplify the answers so they fit in this neat little box.  No one deserves to have their story glossed over with a "oh just pray about it" brush, and no one's life story can be simplified down to fit into some box modeled on others' expectations.  I have too many people that I know and love who have their own stories with anxiety or depression that I stand up for them just as much as (if not more than) I do for myself.  I'm lucky to have a few friends who also suffer with these issues so we are there to support each other through it.

At the times when I've felt most alone in my life, one of those two diseases was at the root.  Every single time.  And so please, I beg you, if someone you have any kind of relationship with at all is suffering from an anxiety disorder or depression, don't kick them when they're down.  Love them, in whatever way you know how.  Just love them.  That has a heck of a lot better chance of showing them the light and a way out than telling them what they should be doing.  Sit with them in the darkness so they know they're not alone, and then reach out your hand and help them walk forward.

Because even one small step can save a life.  You'd be surprised.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

And then I blinked and it was almost midnight.

This is going to be brief because I have SO much work to do and about 21 hours to do it in on top of, ya know, managing to get a little bit of sleep.

Apparently sharing an apartment means Holly and I are going to be on a constant cycle of getting each other sick because this is the second time in the past month we've both felt like crap at the same time.

I say that to say that I laid down after I ate lunch after class today, having doped myself up on meds and planning to get about 90 minutes of rest and then get up and work...And I didn't wake up until 6:00. Somehow I turned off my alarm in my sleep because I have absolutely no recollection of doing so.

I had to get dinner, find a place to order a delivery of cases of drinks online, and then spent the next several hours doing laundry at a new place that is way better than the place we were going to before but is more of a walk. And then we came back and I rested for a bit because my body was aching, ate a small snack, went to the deli to get some drinks to last until our delivery tomorrow because we don't even have enough water for all of us until then, put up all my laundry and took a shower.

And now it's almost midnight and I'm just sitting down to start on the 163 pages of reading I have to do to create discussion questions and write a response paper that is totally different than what I did last week (thankfully I got some pointers from the instructor, and she also said that several students had this problem, which made me feel better). And they have to be in by 9 pm tomorrow.

Did I mention I'm sick? Yeah, stellar timing. I hate that I'm feeling overwhelmed this early in the semester.

Lord, sustain me to get through this.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Well, this was bound to happen sooner or later.

(Warning. This is just meant to state how things were, not to sound cocky. I know it might come off that way and that is not my intention.)

Okay so here's the thing.

Grade school? Piece of cake. I graduated 6th in my class despite the fact that I was pretty much never there. I did the minimal amount of reading library books required, barely read textbooks, and never studied for anything. Ever. I got two Cs in high school, one because I didn't read enough library books to get my "points" for 10th grade English and the other was .6 from being a B and was in my senior year when I didn't have a single healthy day ever...and was an AP class. So like really, it was easy.

College? I had to work, but the assignments were easy. I was always one of the smartest people in class, usually THE smartest, and never once worried about getting less than a B by the time a semester was up. There were very few textbooks that I had a hard time understanding, and it wasn't until senior year that I really ever stressed about understanding material. Professors always loved my writings (save for one awful English professor) so I never worried about comments on my technique or style.  Once I got past the initial first-week panic, the only stress I had was really honestly centered around time-management (and that was my own fault).

Grad school? This is a totally different world. Now, I have classrooms full of people who are at least as smart as I am, if not smarter. Several of them have multiple master's degrees already. The work is miles above anything I've ever done requiring work and effort I'm not used to needing to put in. It's a complete shock to my system and is scaring the crap out of me.

I got my first response paper back for my History class today. I got a check minus (that's the system they're graded on, check plus check or check minus). I didn't expect that at all. Apparently I completely misunderstood the directions and wrote a reflection instead of a response paper. It took about 4.7 seconds for me to dial my mom and start crying.

Thankfully she is quite used to my panic attacks over school, so she knew exactly what to say to get me to calm down in about 10-15 minutes. This paper is only 1.5% of my grade, absolutely NOTHING to warrant the freakout I had. But I think it was just the first in-my-face proof that I am in for two years of work way beyond anything I've ever seen. And that's a hard thing to deal with for someone who's never had to truly worry about academic success before. But that doesn't mean I'm not capable of doing this program and doing well. It just means I'm going to have to get used to the major change.

But I can't change the past, can I? So I emailed both the course assistant who grades these and the professor and asked for tips/pointers on how to make my paper a reflection instead of response, and hopefully I can do better for the next one.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week. Let's hope it's better than this past one, because the universe was SO not working in my favor.

And also I am not one of those girls who can cry pretty. Just saying.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Too much.

Too much sleep today because of my migraine.

And too much reading per class. Like really, 200 pages a week for one class is just nuts.

Will be working late and then have to finish it tomorrow after church since it has to be ready Monday morning. At least this professor gives us until class time instead of 9 pm the night before.

And then get straight into the stuff for Wednesday. And then Thursday. My life will be one big reading cycle until Christmas.

It's quite frustrating to constantly have pain getting in the way of things I need to do.

Just saying.

Okay, back to work.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

At least there's some answer.

I have a small tear in my labrum, the main ligament around my shoulder joint. Also some piece of it that's supposed to have a pointy end now has a rather flat and blunted end. So you know, I'm not a hypochondriac.

The doctor says he thinks that the tear is not big enough for the orthopedic surgeon that comes to NYU twice a month to want to go straight to surgery.  So on the 25th, I'm getting cortisone injections and will see if that helps, and if I'm still in pain by October 14th, I'll have a meeting with the surgeon.

So the good news is that there is an answer to the cause of my pain (though the doctor acted like he thinks I should be better by now) and there is a plan to deal with it.  The bad news is there is a lot of wait time involved, and the doctor is so obsessed with the dangers of narcotics that he won't give me enough to last through the waiting. So I'm gonna have to deal with that later if the pain doesn't go away on its own.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'm ready for t-shirt and jeans weather.

Well, the CT was awful. First they did several injections, first of lidocaine which did not work very well and then the iodine contrast injections. Then they twisted my arm in a way that an arm does not normally turn, so that hurt muscles all the way up my upper arm. And then they weighed my hand down with a sandbag to keep it all still.  And they actually did X-rays and a CT scan, so it took an hour and a half. Ninety minutes of feeling like someone was punching me in the arm, twisting my already injured joint, and having to bear through it. My jaw was clenched for most of it.

The good news is that  I have an appointment for 5:00 tomorrow to get the results. Hopefully answers and a plan of healing will be coming.

Anyway, I went to get lunch after that and got a burger and fries at a pub, and then googled a place to get dessert. My period has got my sweet tooth out of control this week. I found this French cafe that was about six blocks from where I was, on the other side of where I had to go for class.  Totally worth the walk.

I got a chocolate tart and chocolate eclair and it was worth every penny. Crazy good. The only downside was that by the time I got there, my legs were locking up on me pretty bad, and I had to walk four blocks to get to class. I made it, though. Barely.

God bless my professor. She sent me home halfway through class because she said I looked like hell. And between the even worse arm and shoulder pain from going through the scans this morning, and then the extra walking, and the heat, I felt like hell, too. I almost called a cab, but decided I needed to save the money and get the walking in if it was at all possible.

So I dragged myself home. Thankfully, I was so overheated by the time I got to my block that I didn't know how I was going to make it up the stairs, and the waiter I know at the cafe next door served me several glasses of ice water so I could cool down. I was absolutely drenched with sweat, which is hilarious because the high today was 10 degrees lower than it's been for the past week.

And then I made it. I got up here, took off my socks and shoes and laid directly in front of my air conditioning unit and fell asleep.

I got up in time to follow along live for the boys' soccer game.

I'd say that was good. :) The boys are 3-0 so far this season, first time since 1988. Yay!

Hands down, the best part of my day, possibly my week, was this.

I finally got to FaceTime with my brother and favorite hippie. Aka Austin. :) He is the best. Like seriously, we can talk about serious, deep stuff or absolutely nothing, it doesn't matter, every conversation leaves me grinning. He just has that effect on me. I'm so glad I know him.

I've been too mentally drained and in pain to do anything else the rest of the night except complete crossword puzzles on my phone and watch Criminal Minds. I'm going to get a good night's rest, though, because tomorrow I am going to have to buckle down and read a lot. Ah, school.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Some days just call for ice cream.

And days that include waiting 20 minutes for a metro to show up

and then it being so packed you can't even try to force yourself to smash in there,

spending the next 20 minutes trying to hail a cab with one bad arm and another that you can't hold up for very long,

finding out your brand new ID doesn't work,

almost being late to class,

having a seizure,

spending the rest of the day with a killer migraine,

and your mother insisting on taking $300 out of your account so she can buy herself a birthday present even though you're barely going to have enough to make it to the end of January when your next set of loans comes in

are pretty much the prime example of ice cream kind of days.

This was really not my day.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Well, I got my work done.

But that's all I got done today.

Well, that and shaving, which I was very much in need of.

My shoulder is so messed up. And the painkillers are making me tired but not really doing anything for the pain. But the doctor already said he won't give me anything else until we get the results from the CT scan, so I just have to suck it up and deal with it.

At least my only work for Thursday is reading, and it's online so I don't have to hold a book or anything like that.

And now I'm going to bed because yeah, I was up until 3 reading last night and made myself get up at 10:15 so I didn't sleep all day and totally ruin myself for tonight, but yeah, exhaustion from the painkillers and muscle relaxers and nausea meds is making me almost fall asleep at the computer.

Gnight. Hopefully I make it to class and back tomorrow okay. Even walking is harder with my arm in this sling because I have to hold my purse with my right arm, which I don't normally do, and so it throws off the alignment of my spine and thus hurts my whole lower back and hips thanks to all my stupid nerve damage. Ugh. If this had happened to my right arm, it wouldn't be nearly as big of a deal.

Okay, enough whining. Help is coming, and for that I am grateful.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Five days in and I'm already behind.

Because when the first week of graduate school classes coincides with your period (even though it was supposed to be here a week and a half before this) and a bad shoulder injury, the period leaves you curled up on the bathroom floor for hours with a fan blowing directly on you praying to God you don't start throwing up, and the shoulder injury is to the shoulder of your good arm aka the arm that doesn't have severe nerve damage aka the arm you do everything with and it leaves you taking painkillers around the clock to cope, reading boring textbooks for a class you're not all that excited about to begin with is not really high on your list of things to remember.

I have approximately 182 pages to read, two discussion questions to think of, and a 250-600 word response to write by 9 pm tomorrow. Technically, I'm allowed to skip 3 of the weekly response papers, so I could take that off my list, but it'd be good if I could skip the last 3 at the end of the semester when all my big papers are due.

I better just suck it up and get to reading.  Hopefully I can get about half of it done before I crash. I read pretty quickly so it's possible.

It would help if I didn't get sucked into Criminal Minds, huh?  Ha!

Today I went to class, took a nap because I felt nauseous and was exhausted, and went to Kmart in the grocery store with Holly, and yeah, yeah, watched Criminal Minds.

Okay, here we go. I need to not be behind this early on in the semester.

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

The best kind of love.

So as I've mentioned, I've been binge-watching Criminal Minds lately. God bless 2014 and all the websites that upload free episodes of TV shows that you can't access on network websites.

Well, in one of the episodes I watched yesterday, a group of teens were trapped in a metal cage and forced to participate in this bizarre battle-to-the-death by two creepy obsessed gamers. It involved shock collars and was just so creepy. In one scene, one of the gamers called one of the girls, Wendy, forward because it was her turn to go into a round, and she started panicking and sobbing even harder. One of the gamers shocked her hard, and so she was going to go forward, but suddenly, the boy who had a longstanding crush on her, Billy, jumped in front of her and shouted, "I'll take her place! I'll go in her place!"

It didn't mean much to me at the time, it seemed like an expected turn in a TV show (what came next wasn't, but that's for another time), but then, this morning at church, we sang the song "This is Amazing Grace," and since then, I've been thinking about this scene.  You probably know the song, but in case you don't, the chorus goes like this:

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That you would take my place
That you would bear my cross
You would lay down your life
So I could be set free
Jesus, I sing for
All that you've done for me

And those words got me thinking about Billy and Wendy and that scene. Yes, it was just two teenagers, a stupid crush, a deathly video game brought to life, and on a TV show, no less, but what Billy did, it was such a vivid picture to me of what Jesus did.  Billy's love for Wendy, whatever form it may have been in as a high school boy, caused him to step forward, thinking he could save her from harm by offering himself instead. Billy offered to take Wendy's place in the gun battle. He knew it wasn't going to end well for him, but he knew that he would rather save her than watch her die.

Jesus knew it wasn't going to end well for him, either. He knew as he carried that cross up the hill exactly what kind of pain and torture waited for him, but he walked forward anyway. He offered himself up so that I, you, every one of us could be saved. He gave his life for us. Plain and simple. And anyone who has come to know Jesus knows that his love was, is, and will always be the perfect love that all broken souls long for. He took wrath upon himself so that we didn't have to.

John 15:13 Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Billy cared for Wendy so deeply that he was willing to literally lay down his life to protect her.  The Bible says right there in that verse that that is the strongest, best, ultimate kind of love we could ever ask for.  And the important thing is that in the game, Wendy hadn't done anything to deserve to die, it was all at the whim of her kidnappers, but we did. We deserved to die and God made a way, anyway, so that we didn't have to.

People throw around the phrase "I would take a bullet for you" or the like as a way of showing their closeness with or adoration for someone else, but I think a lot of us, if it came down to it, would probably pick ourselves over other people. Even me. There is only a select group of people that I would even think about giving my life for, but in the moment, I'm not sure how I would react. That's the honest truth, my selfish nature at its best. I like living too much.

I want to be like Jesus, though. Like Billy. To love everyone around me so deeply that I would give anything to save their lives. Even myself. Because that's the best kind of love, that sacrificial love, and I've been the recipient of it too many times to not pay it forward.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mistakes in pushing myself.

Pushing yourself to your limits can be a good thing. I push myself to work when my head pain makes me want to just sleep. I get outside when my mind tells me I should just stay in my room. Oftentimes, it can show you that you're capable of more than you thought you were.

But sometimes, I push myself for things that aren't always worth it. I made myself do the Anima video that got released last night. I told myself that the new videos get looked at more, and I wanted anyone who saw this new video being released to have captions if they needed them.

Bad idea. Bad bad idea.  My shoulder did not like that at all.  Looks like I really will have to put my Anima work on hold for a while. That makes me sad.

You know, I never realized how many muscles a simple act like typing actually required before this. Random thought.

I spent most of today sleeping hard as a rock. I didn't even get up to eat until 5:00. Then I watched my soccer boys get another solid win via the livestream and followed along on Twitter to see Wolfpack football get another win, too, so that was a good evening.

I'm excited to go back to church tomorrow. So thankful that I already have that family.

Also, binge watching Criminal Minds continues. Tomorrow I will have to buckle down and work on the reading assignments, but for now, I will enjoy my show.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Come on Thursday.

The doctor thinks that either my labrum or my rotator cuff is torn.

In my left arm.

So that arm is in a sling.

My good arm.

The arm that doesn't have nerve damage.

Thursday morning I have a CT with a dye injection straight in my shoulder to see what is what.

I would like that to hurry up because I have to stay in the sling basically all the time until I get the results.

My life is a never ending drama, huh?  Of course this would happen to the arm that I do basically everything with right at the beginning of grad school.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Art

Ever since my interview with Jon this past Saturday, there's been one specific thing that's been stuck in my head. And it actually is something that wasn't in the interview. It was something Jon said as we were leaving, him to go back to the theater and me to go find dinner. He mentioned something about how he loves getting to talk to other artists. I said, "I've never really called myself an artist before," and very matter-of-factly, he responded,

"Well, I just did. So get used to it." 

I remember thinking to myself as I headed back towards the subway, He thinks I'm an artist. Jon thinks I'm an artist. I was in a little bit of shock that this guy that everybody who knows him knows he is an artist, he's on Broadway for Pete's sake, called me an artist and said it like he was sure of it.  It's not that his opinion is some magnificent thing that is ultra special, but I really admire and respect him, even more so after that interview, and so to have him be the first person to tell me I, too, am an artist was a surprise.

I just write a blog, after all. This thing started out as a diary that Chelsea couldn't find and ended up chronicling the best journey I could ever have imagined, but still, was it really art?  But then, I remembered Dr. Thornton telling me something after I handed in a book review at the end of this last fall semester: "You say writing comes naturally to you, but writing is an art you have to craft. It's something you have to work at."  I'm the kid that filled journals with stories because words had to be let out. I would write out scenarios of things I wanted to say to people in my life that I never could. I know that I write better now than when I was in high school, when I started this blog. This has taken time and effort, though, and I know that I wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't spent so much time throughout my life jotting down whatever popped into my head, whether it be stories or blog posts.

This is how I tell my story. I say what I need to say here on this website. It is my safe haven to share pieces of myself that I can't always say out loud. I write letters to people when I don't know how to voice what is in my heart. I can't believe I never realized that this little old blog is art, too. The greatest art is authentic, I think, the stuff where you can see and feel the artist's soul in it and know that it really is a piece of them. I don't just write on this blog every day out of habit. I write here because it's something I crave. I write because my day doesn't feel complete if I don't put something up. I write because things come more easily to me here.

Maybe one day, my platform will turn into something else, and I'll write that book I've been dreaming of doing for years now. I've got a story to tell the world, I know that much. But for now, it's this little old blog.

So yeah, I'm an artist. Who knew?

Thanks, Jon.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Glad today's over.

Class today was, fine, I guess. It was a typical introduction to the course class and we had to do those cheesy interviews to get to know each other or whatever. Mostly the material he talked about today makes me think that this class is going to bore me with way too much reading and not enough things I'll actually be interested in, but we'll see.

And this afternoon I was supposed to go to the hospital and see a neurologist about the 4 seizures I've had in the 3.5 weeks I've been here, but NYU's health insurance rules say that I have to be seen by an on-campus doctor first to get a referral to go somewhere off campus. So I wasted an hour out of my afternoon and $20 on cab fare to be yelled at by an obnoxious woman at the hospital's business office. So that was fun.

The good news is that the student health center can fit me in tomorrow.  The bad news is that I didn't tell them I would also like to be seen about my shoulder, because I hadn't decided on that yet when I set up the appointment. I hurt it when I fell in the seizure in my room two weeks ago and figured it was just sore, but the pain never totally went away, and then it came back strong when I fell on Sunday and it hurts all the way down my shoulder blade in my back, like I've got a seriously pulled muscle or something. I hope that's just all it is. This is my left arm, and I'm left handed.

Said shoulder pain is making it very difficult to work on Anima videos, because I feel it even worse in my shoulder blade, a stabbing pain, when I'm typing. Better to slowly chip away at the list than not do it at all, I guess. As of right now, I have 15 videos left (out of 62) on the list, and I plan on getting one more done and then going to bed. Not too bad for how I've been feeling and I just got the project on the 25th.

I'm so tired. I got almost eight full hours of sleep and I'm just so out of it. Good night.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jitters of the night before.

Twelve hours from now, I'll be sitting in my first grad school class in a program that I've dedicated the next two years of my life to.

You'd think after sixteen years of education, this wouldn't be so hard for me, but nerves are still running rampant through my body. I'm still scared I can't do this. I'm still scared my body isn't going to hold up. I'm still scared I'm not going to make it here and that everything I've worked so hard for will be for nothing.

But what I do know is that I believe that God has brought me here for a reason. It may not be the reason I planned on, but it's a reason. And I know that He promises to be with me every second of every day. And I know that I always fail to see the ability in me that everyone else is so far from shy about pointing out.

God tells us in the Bible THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE TIMES (depending on the translation) not to be afraid. I don't think it'd be in there that many times if it wasn't a lesson He really wanted to get across. He's bigger than fear.

Whatever happens, whatever tomorrow brings, I will sing of the God whose goodness I trust in with every fiber of my being.

Soli Gloria Deo.

Here we go.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Girl Talk

My period is a week late.

Now, the good news is that pregnancy is obviously not a concern.

But the bad news is that I feel like I've been PMSing for the past two weeks.  And that blows.

I feel like I've been on the verge of tears all day and I have absolutely zero clue as to why.

I'm so tired of my energy being drained when I have so much coming up and I have this beautiful city to explore.

If I didn't know that my thyroid levels were just checked so recently, I'd think something was up there.

Blah. One more day of nothing.

And then classes start.

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