Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Staplers: Evil Machines of Pain

You know, I would assume most people have some memories of their early elementary school years. Me? Not so much.

I kind of remember kindergarten. My teacher's name was Mrs. Vince. She had brown hair and was nice. She gave us trail mix with carob chips instead of chocolate in little white paper cups as snacks. We took naps. I read my first book all by myself in Kindergarten. It was called: Put Me In The Zoo. I was SO proud of myself. (It's still one of my favorites. I have read it to my kids.) I remember little seeds growing in cups, too. That's about it.

I remember, at some point in my very early elementary school years (couldn't tell you what grade or how old I was) there was a little half-wall at the left of the doorway, dividing the room, on which stood one of those huge staplers with the large pad on top for smacking... Anyway, my mother had me up in her arms and we were standing near this evil machine of pain when I managed to staple two fingers together. I cried. There was blood. It was traumatic. I've been wary of staplers since.

And that's about it. I have no memories of my early elementary school days until third grade. I know (because I've been told) that I repeated second grade. I have no memories of first grade at all.

Is that weird?

My doctor asked me if I have ever been diagnosed with PTSD. No, I haven't. He wondered aloud if I'm repressing some kind of traumatic incident (other than the Stapler Incident) but I don't know. It seems unlikely. And furthermore, what could be that traumatic that I would repress it entirely? I'm really not asking for suggestions, just putting forth a rhetorical question.

I have lots, and lots, and lots of gaping holes in my memory. I've written about that before. All the awful stuff surrounding my mother's death...I get why I've suppressed those memories. But the other...? I guess I might never know. And maybe I don't want to.

I know after my second Second Grade, we moved. I remember that move. And with the move came a new elementary school, and - what do you know? - third grade! Memories. Coincidence? Who knows? My teacher's name was Mrs. Glover and she had blonde hair and soft hands and was absolutely amazing. She took me and my brother in occasionally when my mom was having surgery or other treatments and procedures. She had a second home in New Hampshire, which I visited. I remember I threw up in her car on the way up there. How she didn't hate me for that is beyond me. She also had guinea pigs. That's when I found out just how horribly allergic I am to guinea pigs. Benadryl became my best friend. Her New Hampshire home was built into a rock and part of the inner walls of her home were actually natural rock. I also remember the other third grade teacher's name was Pearl Johnson. (Or was it Jackson?)  See? Memories.

Anyway, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that some of whatever this stuff is (repressed or suppressed) can be directly linked to my current and ongoing depression and anxiety, but I'm no expert. Someone recently suggested I do some kind of regressive hypnosis to see if I can uncover whatever IT is. But I think probably not. As a wise friend of mine said, "Some doors need to remain closed."

What do you think?

TTFN
JMS

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I'm doing "The Thing" again

There are days where I'm just going along - feeling pretty good, getting stuff done, thinking about nothing in particular, or, at least nothing majorly negative - and then something, some little, tiny, itty bitty thing happens and suddenly I'm in a funk.

Then, I start to do "The Thing."

Those of you with anxiety issues will understand completely.

The Thing: "I'm a terrible person. No one likes me. I can't do anything right. I might as well just not even try..." and on and on and on. The whirlwind of negative self-thoughts and suddenly I'm spiraling downward; out of control.

OK - so a non-anxiety sufferer might say, "You shouldn't feel that way!" or some other well-intended, meant-to-be-bolstering statement. But it's not like I can turn it off; it's not as simple as that. Especially when coupled with depression! It's a self-hate, self-loathing thing that goes far beyond just feeling bad. I'm not a Gloomy Gus.

I try very hard not to take unintended slights, negative comments, or "constructive" criticism personally. But when you feel as I do, those things - casually tossed about - can create havoc within me.

Another thing, I am not an angry person by nature. When I lash out, it's usually because I've used up every ounce of my energy "faking it" to get through my day. My poor family tends to get the brunt of my Evil Alter Ego. I guess it's true that sometimes you hurt the ones you love the most. But after making sure I am a solid professional during the day, and kind and caring, and giving to others, I really don't have too much left to give. And home is my Safe Zone. Or, it's supposed to be. So when I get home and I'm surrounded by NEED (kids need me, hubby needs me, laundry needs to be done, animals need whatever they need in their needy way,) and I'm just done. I've literally got nothing left to give; I'm empty.

I feel awful when my kids want me - need me - and I love them dearly but sometimes it's all I can do to respond in a normal voice. Mostly, I want to screech, "JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR 5 MINUTES, WILL YA?!" - and have been known to do just that. I've calmly asked for 10 minutes of time when I get home just to settle; to arrange my mood and transform from Work Jen to Mom & Wife Jen. It's a definite transition. 10 minutes NEVER happens.

So, when I'm sharp with my words, or short with my responses, or snappish - it's probably not you, it's probably me. Granted, sometimes it legitimately might be you, but probably not.

Still one other thing to consider. I once took that Five Love Languages quiz and discovered that my Love Language is - STRONGLY - "Acts of Service." I don't need physical touch or contact, I don't need gifts, I don't need words of affirmation. But if you do something for me - unselfishly - I will respond to that. Do the dishes? Oh, be still my heart! (Seriously!) Clean your room? I could KISS you! (And probably will!) Bring me a hot tea when I'm not feeling great and haven't asked for one? So freaking awesome! Run me a hot bath and make me sit there for 20 minutes after a tough day. You know, nothing major. Just little things. But that, above nearly anything else in this world, will make me feel loved; feel better.

Yeah - the minor slight that set me on my downward spiral earlier has eased off a bit. It was stupid anyway and I know it.

TTFN
JMS

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Testing Our Wings

An interesting, and unusual (for us) situation has arisen. Hubby has a late work appointment tonight, and I have a class, so suddenly there is a glaring lack of child care for the brief period of time we'll both be away from the house. Hubby and I came to a mutual agreement that, at 13 and 10 years old, the kiddos are both old enough for us to leave them at home on their own for an hour and change.

I'm having a Minor Mommy Moment. You know...those moments where you realize your kiddos are growing up and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Those Firsts. Of letting the baby birds test their wings. Of understanding in your head that everything will - truly - be fine, but you're having difficulty convincing your heart. Of suddenly realizing you're eyes are leaking a little bit and wondering how that happened.

....GASP....

OK. I'm fine now. But I know that later, when it comes time to actually leave them, I'll start worrying again. Even though I've got everything totally in place in case there's an emergency. They know all the important numbers, they know where to go if they have to leave the house... I will only be gone an hour. (I'll only be gone an hour. I'll only be gone an hour...)

Actually, I want to say something else on the subject. Related, but separate. I live in a neighborhood of mostly rental homes, and truthfully, I'm not 100% secure with our neighbor situation. We have a dearth of people I deem trustworthy. (We had excellent next door neighbors up until about 2 weeks ago when their house sold and they moved away and now we miss them terribly!) Don't misunderstand me, I know that "Rental Home" doesn't automatically equal "Sketchy Neighbors," but in this case I feel decidedly less than enthusiastic about our choices for emergency kiddo assistance.

In considering my "contingency plan" for tonight - my Just in Case of Emergency Back-up - I thought: Who do I know? To whom could I send the kids if a real emergency came up? If _________ were still next door I'd just send the kids there, but they're not. Option B? Think! Think! 

I finally alighted upon two sisters who live across the street - in separate houses - with whom I've had lovely and happy conversations in the past. They're both huge animal lovers (almost an automatic trust thing with me), they assist sometimes with rescue and I know they've both helped with donations to a local non-profit animal rescue. They do what they can. Girl child sold Girl Scout Cookies to both of them this past cookie season. And...I know how to get in touch with at least one of them! A ha! I'll ask her!

So, I reached out via Facebook Messenger. I relayed my plight and further said she probably wouldn't have to do anything but I wanted a place the kids could run to in case of emergency; someone I trust. She immediately responded with: "ABSOLUTELY! We'll be home and here is my cell number. Happy to help!" (I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist of it.) And right away, my anxiety decreased to acceptable levels.

So, kids will be set. I'll only be about 3 minutes away and can be home in a heartbeat if needed. They have all the important information they need. They'll have had dinner. Their homework will be done already. I'm sure if I pop in a movie they won't move at all while I'm gone, or even notice I'm gone.

This parenting thing never gets easier. In my opinion it's harder when they're very young and there's so much to coordinate. But still, it never gets easier; the decisions just change. Also, hubby and I tend to be pretty conservative about what we allow our kids to do - like what video games they play, what they look at on the Internet (the Internet is a deep and scary place for kids), how much "screen time" they get on their tablets; it's not a free-for-all. Therefore, you can imagine how picky we are about who has access to our kids.

Wish us luck!

TTFN
JMS

By the way...in case you were wondering, no, I did not just put my kids at risk by letting the world know when they'd be home alone. I purposely did not post this until after I got home again. I'm not that dumb. :)




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wormholes of Lost Time and Anxiety Attacks

I learned a lesson last night. Walks down Memory Lane are, for the most part, not the most prudent of ideas for me. Especially when I let my brain run away with my thoughts. When my brain eventually returns, it brings baggage. It's difficult to explain the baggage, though, because not all of it is bad, or sad, or hard. Some of it is okay. Not happy, exactly, but okay. It's just stuff I'd forgotten. And for whatever reason, those things brought with them hitching, gasping breaths, giant tears, and vomit. I literally made myself sick. Full-blown anxiety attack at 10:30 PM. It was awesome.

There are blank spots in my memory. Black, gaping holes of time I can no longer pin down; time leading up to, and immediately following, the death of my mother, Mary, back in June of 1989. And, if I'm being honest, I don't really start having full, in-Technicolor memories again until about 1993 or '94, when I moved to Mystic, CT.  I was definitely in a dark place for a long time. I'm not entirely sure how I didn't get myself into a ton of trouble; I'm convinced there were plenty of opportunities. Somehow, I managed to...for want of a better word...survive. 

No matter how dark things got, though, I never, ever considered removing myself from this mortal coil. I did some self-destructive things, but I don't think those things were ever life-threatening. Stupid? Absolutely.

But when my thoughts wander into the wormholes of lost time, sometimes they unearth things which I'm not ready to examine. I can't steel myself against, or prepare myself for, what memories will hitch a ride back to my conscious mind. And that's what happened last night. I dug up stuff that I would have preferred stayed buried.

Mostly because of the mental and emotional state I was in during those times. I'd lost my mother. I was a teenager. I was hurting and destructive and was convinced no one cared or understood or wanted to help. It was those feelings that resurfaced last night. That desperate pain of grief and loss and of being lost. 

So I cried. Long and loud and hard. It was awful. I don't recommend it.

The lesson I learned is sometimes, those blank spots are blank for a reason. It's usually self protection. And to shed light on them - even a dim light - can be...not exactly detrimental, but certainly not helpful, either.

I feel better this morning. I do. Yesterday was not a good day anyway so I was already fragile and my barriers were down. Today, aside from seriously puffy eyes and some post-crying jag congestion, I feel better.

I believe getting better - trying to find that emotional upward swing in a downward spiral - is a game. Like two steps forward and one step back. Progress. Set back. Progress. Setback. I'm not sure you're ever really...there. Done. 100%.

But I'll take better. That will do for now.

TTFN
JMS

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How are you?

I hurt today.

Aside from an extremely stiff neck and aching shoulders, I've got this deep ache inside my chest. (No, it's not a heart attack.) You know that place just above where your sternum ends? There. Deep. Like something oily and heavy and dark has lodged itself in that spot. (No, Supernatural fans; I'm not possessed, either.) It's a multifaceted ache. Sadness. Stress. Pain. Exhaustion. Anger. Frustration.

I've often wondered why it is we get angriest with those whom we love the most? Why it is that they can hurt us more than anyone else we know? Why we will work our hardest to make them happy and do what we can for them - with little to no acknowledgement of the sacrifices we make for them - and yet, we continue? Death by 1000 cuts. Little, tiny hurts over an extended period of time can result in the same "death" as outright murder. Why? Why do we continue to do unto others even when they won't do the same unto you?

Because it's the right thing, that's why. No matter the hurt. No matter the sacrifice. Those we love, naturally, can hurt us the most because we love them the most. They're thoughts and opinions and deeds - misdeeds? non-deeds? - can injure us far more than anyone else's.

But when asked, "How are you?" your automatic response is, "Fine! How are you?" Deflection. I'm great, but let's talk about you now.

Wanting to have the energy - physical, emotional, and mental - to do all the things which need to be done, with a smile on my face, isn't too much to ask, is it?

TTFN
JMS


Friday, April 21, 2017

There's a SNAKE in the lobby!

Yesterday, there was a snake in my office building. In the lobby. On the handicapped ramp. It was itty bitty and terrified, it's little head covered in dust bunnies from skulking (can a snake skulk?) along the baseboards. Eventually, one of our guys carefully put a black wastebasket over it and called TWRA. Eventually, when they showed up, they identified the little guy as a common water snake (someone said it was a copperhead so no one was willing to go near it) and put it gently in a bucket labeled: SNAKES ONLY. Bye-bye little snake. Be free!

OK - I'm not a snake person really, and I probably wouldn't have touched it if you'd paid me, but it was a distraction. And I was clearly distracted because...

...well, let me back up a minute.

Prior to the snake incident, I'd been in my office filing. Truly, of all the activities which make up my job as an administrative assistant, I dislike filing the most. Good thing I love my job, eh? Anyway, having to wear a security badge all day, every day, whenever I'm on site, can get...annoying sometimes. The badge kept getting in my way as I was filing and finally, I'd gotten irritated enough that I yanked it off, tossed it on my desk, and continued filing.

I forgot all about it.

(Do you see where this is going yet?)

Shortly thereafter, our mail carrier poked his nose in my office and said, "There's a snake in the lobby!"

ME: A what, where?

HIM: A snake! In the lobby!

ME: You're joking, right?

HIM: No, Sunshine (that's what he calls me), I'm not joking. There's really a snake in the lobby.

So, of course, what do I do? I go to the lobby to check things out.

Like I said, I'm not much of a snake person, but I got distracted. Lots of people out there gawking at the snake, including my boss, a couple of other manager-types, my predecessor in my current position, among others. Chatter turned to questions about the possibility of other snakes. Where did this one come from? Were there others? Where there's one, there are usually more...right?

I said, "I'm going to step outside and take a quick peek around. If I see any more, I'll let you know," and proceeded to exit the building.

(Aahh! You've figured it out, haven't you?)

As soon as those building doors sealed shut behind me - like that second; that instant - I realized I'd left my security badge on my desk. Inside the building.

I was locked out.

CRAP!

Now what?

Well, initially I considered sheepishly banging on the door of the lobby and asking to be let back in, but, truthfully, my boss was still right there and I have enough pride to not want to look the fool in front of him. So I moved off to the left, ostensibly searching for more snakes, in case anyone should ask, and then I could just sort of follow them back in the building and no one would be the wiser, right?

But no one came out.

Of course, I would lock myself out of the building at a time of day when everyone was back from lunch and already settled into their afternoon work.

CRAP!

Now what?

In a moment of brief brilliance (I don't have those moments often), I remembered: K! I'll go ask K! Her window is on the lower level and accessible to me by a couple of steps through the landscaping. (I watched carefully for snakes.) I rapped a gentle shave-and-a-haircut on the glass and she paused, clearly wondering if she heard what she thought she heard, turned slowly around, saw me, and mouthed, "Where is your badge?" with a wicked grin.

I mouthed back: On my desk!

She mouthed: Ok. I'll come let you in.

After letting me in, she said, "You'd better have a good story for leaving your badge on your desk, you goober!" (or some variation thereof.) After which, I launched the "There's a snake in the lobby!" story.

It was an interesting day.

I love my friends. Thanks again for rescuing me, K!

TTFN
JMS

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tidbits

Do you remember my post called My Current 'Shiny Squirrel'? This is the little thing I wrote a month ago or so about April, the pregnant giraffe. Well, she finally had her baby and I was there to see it. Ok, not there there, but I was able to catch it live! Girl-child saw it, too - sort of by accident - and she recoiled in horror, announcing, "EW! GROSS!" We've had The Talk (most of it) but I think she was unprepared. I said, "Well, honey - that's how all babies are born, except human babies don't fall to the ground, they're 'caught' by a doctor." She said, "Except the babies who are hatched from eggs, mom!"

***

New meds are...underwhelming? I've been on them for several weeks now and the biggest difference I've noted is that my jaw is constantly tight and hurts all the time. It wakes me up at night and I try to relax my jaw but I'm clenching so hard my whole face hurts. I'm grateful I go back to the doctor on May 4th (May the Fourth be with you!) so we can talk about this. I know it has to be medicine-related because I've experienced something like this before, a sensitivity to Lexapro (1% of people taking Lexapro may experience jaw pain and tightness) which is another antidepressant. This is painfully similar.

Other than that, I've gained weight, which irritates the you-know-what out of me. I suspect that, too, is medicine-related. We'll see.

***

We took a mini-vacation this past weekend. Nothing super exciting, but it was fun and impromptu. We visited some of Hubby's family, stayed in a fancy hotel (Yay Priceline!), ate in a dive diner (which was awesome), visited the church we got married in almost 17 years (and two kiddos) ago, and took our time coming back. We stopped off in a few places, fished in a couple other places, and finally got home just before 9PM. The picture (at left) is my favorite picture from our mini-vacation; because there's just such joy in it. Go Girl-child!

***

Work has been seriously busy. Good, but busy.

***

Sandy/Mom has been unhappy, but improving in small increments. I am grateful for any improvement because even little improvements are huge steps toward recovery. She's still in a nursing home right now, rehabilitating, but she shows more progress every day.

***

My allergies are - in a word - awful. So are Boy-child's. We're both a mess. You want a classic example of seasonal allergies? Here we are!

***

That's about all I can think of right now. Have a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day! (Oh! Spell-Check didn't tag that word? Seriously? How odd. Either it's in the dictionary and I spelled it correctly, or it's so far from Spell-Check's ability to even distinguish it as a word, that it doesn't have any idea what to do. I'll take "Mary-Poppins Words" for $2000, Alex!)

TTFN
JMS


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Drowning and the Lottery

I tend to steer away from writing about other people I'm close to - in particular my husband - simply because he's not a fan of having his world laid open for everyone to see. No matter what else is wrong with me, I've got to have an outlet and for me, that's what this blog is, right or wrong.  I also try to steer away from talking too deeply about my adoptive mother, Sandy. A lot of time, I refer to her as Gammy because it's less invasive, I think, to her privacy.  Needless to say, sometimes it cannot, or maybe, more accurately, should not be avoided.

I've spent a lot of time lately trying to unbury myself from years of depression and anxiety and, while it's really only been a few weeks, I could tell I was on an upswing. I was starting to feel better, a little, I think. I honestly don't know because I'm not sure I really know what feeling better feels like. (Gosh, what an awful sentence! You understood that, right?)

Anyway - I am trying very hard not to immediately dive into the negative and trying to focus on the positive. But by golly, it seems something is always trying to knock me down! Has my strength not been tested enough already? Except, that I just do what I always do - like the saying/song goes - I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. I keep going. I do it anyway. Because honestly, it's worse if I don't push forward. It's what I do.

People say, "You've got to take time for you!" or "If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else!" or "Make sure you get some rest!" - and they're all well-meaning. But quite frankly I don't have time for me right now. I've got time for kids, and hubby, and house, and work, and church, and Sandy and everything all of those things include, like school stuff and homework, art night. Church plays, Sunday school, Puppets. Cat litter, daily feedings, vet visits, flea meds, brushing, love, attention, what-the-heck-are-you-doing-with-that-Q-tip? Scouting events, merit badges. Cookies, cookies, cookies. Do laundry - pile after pile. Make sure kids stay clean and healthy. Talk about stuff that's important. Make sure I continue to get a paycheck by doing what they pay me to do, which is no small feat in itself.

My ability to find room for one more thing on a regular, daily basis is basically nil. I'm already up to my eyeballs and then some, breathing through a thin reed, and praying I don't drown.

So, when Sandy had yet another health scare this past weekend I just felt so...frustrated! With her (not that it was her fault), with the situation (not that it could have been helped), with me (because I feel like I'm not doing enough), with the fact that I can't find a way to help her (because...lots of reasons), with everything! As difficult of a relationship as she and I sometimes have, she basically saved my life and I will do anything - anything - to reciprocate.

Therefore, I am now consumed by trying to solve this problem. Because that's what it is, a problem. Clearly she cannot live on her own anymore, but she's not ready for a nursing home and cannot afford assisted living. Which means, at the very least, she'd need to move in with me and my family. And as we currently are, that is an impossibility.

Basically, I need to win the lottery. Just a couple million dollars; I'm not asking for much. Then I could fix up and pay off the house we're in, and buy something suitable for us and Sandy. See? I just solved the problem.

Right then! For the next six weeks, I expect to see lottery tickets in my mail box every time I look there.

I know. I know. Not gonna happen.

But a seriously frustrated person can dream, can they not?

Wish me luck.

TTFN
JMS

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dear Boy-child *OR* One Mother's Guilt

Dear Boy-child,

Sunday was your 13th birthday. I know I didn't do anything - really - to help you celebrate. I feel awful about it. My reasoning still stands, however. You've got to make an effort in your room, and with your other chores. We talked several times about consequences, and, unfortunately, that meant no major birthday celebration on a momentous birthday which should have been celebrated in a big way. You only become a teenager once in your life. I'm not blaming you for anything. I was just trying to be consistent in my parenting and discipline. But in hindsight, we should have celebrated. I'm so sorry. I know you feel let down. And I definitely feel like an awful mother.

I remember my own 13th birthday. My mom and dad (your Grandma Mary and Grandpa Bruce) purchased a huge motor home and took off on a trip across the country to see the sights. They were gone for several weeks, which happened to mean they were gone for the entire month of October and, therefore, gone for my birthday. I was so upset they weren't there, and to this day, it still bothers me. What I didn't understand at the time was how sick Grandma Mary really was. I guess they figured they should take the opportunity to go on that trip while she still felt well enough to go. I have postcards - tucked away, safely - from them, during that trip. I'll show them to you some day. They're painful for me to look at, because they remind me of my mom, and some of them are in her handwriting, and also because of my stupid missed birthday. Sometimes, I imagine they smell like her...which is probably weird.

But I'm not dying. I'm not even sick. Your father and I did not take a whirlwind trip across the country and leave you with family members and friends to take care of you. We should have celebrated your 13th birthday.

I'm sorry.

I love you so much. I am so proud of the young man you are. You make me a better person; I mean that quite literally.

Thank you for being you.

Love,
Mom

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"I have two words for you: Therapy!"

I feel better today, I think. I'm plugged into Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats which is new to me and yet also very familiar. I love it! It's been good to tune out all the extraneous noise and listen to music; it seems to help me concentrate. Though, admittedly, having to remove my ear buds every time something comes up (which is often) is kind of annoying. But, it is what it is.

Girl-child and I had some bonding time last night, which not only put her in a better frame of mind (she's been a grouch lately) it made me feel better, too.  Kid therapy is great!

Speaking of therapy, the next time I see my doctor (which will be April 4th) I think I'm going to talk to him about seeing a therapist. What does he think about that? Does he know anyone he'd recommend? I've talked about this before - and relatively recently - with a friend of mine, who gave me some very sound advice and a direction to pursue, but none of the arrows I followed led anywhere. So I gave up. Now, granted, I didn't try very hard, but I wasn't ready then. I think maybe I am, now.

As a kid in therapy all I really remember is that my therapist used to like to play Chinese Checkers with me. I'm not sure if it was a method of getting me to just talk about stuff while "focusing" on something else or if she just didn't really know what to do with me. But I saw her for about three years and, other than remembering her name, Chinese Checkers, the way her office looked and smelled, I don't remember gleaning any benefit from it.

As a young adult in therapy, I was mortified. I didn't want to share anything that was super personal, and, though I know I was made to go with the hope that therapy would help me, a troubled young person, I was resentful of it. Yeah, I talked about stuff, but I don't think any of it was useful.

As an adult in therapy - which, truthfully, has been very minimal - I had the unfortunate experience of speaking to someone who, essentially, made things worse. She said stuff to me during our first meeting which, on the one hand made me feel like, "YAY! Someone who gets it! Someone who understands!" but on the other hand, didn't actually HELP me in any way. There was no guidance. Simply, cut the cord and be done with it. Forget about it. Move on. You do not feel the way you feel. I spent three sessions with her, and then decided not to go back. After that experience I've been...shall we say...cautious.

But maybe I'm ready now. I just need to find the right person, who also takes my insurance, who won't just say words they think I need to hear, but will tell me when I'm being a dummy, or if I'm on the right track; provide guidance back to the light and provide a helping hand out of the darkness.

Such a person has to exist in my town, don't they?

TTFN
JMS

PS: Post title is a quote from the movie So, I Married an Axe Murderer. It's a comedy. It's funny. You should check it out.