Inspiring Me Now

  • "The Purpose of Life is to Be Happy" Dalai Lama

April 23, 2016

Passionate

I haven't worked in the last 8 months. I had anxiety just typing that sentence. Unemployment has such a negative stigma associated with it. It took awhile for me to get over that. Saying or writing the word “unemployed” somehow evokes a feeling of shame. It’s shoved in your face in some of the most unexpected places too; at the doctor getting my flu shot, filling out an online order form. I was sure I was going to be asked at the Target checkout buying tampons. It’s also one of the first things people ask you upon meeting.


I began thinking ahead of time how I’d answer this question. In addition to being unemployed, I was/am single. (hit me up). It being 2016, I’m on the dating app Tinder. When signing up for a profile you’re prompted to list your profession. It’s the first thing you see under someone’s picture. If it doesn’t happen to be listed, or is a vague description, such as “self-employed” (which usually means weed dealer, btw), then it’s the first question asked when you’re chatting. Well, in my case it’s the second question. I’d rather know how tall you are… I can date a dealer, I cannot date someone who is 5’6”. 

So what did I say to people I met? Well, I straight up lied to some - knowing of course it wasn’t going anywhere. I’ve been a Spiritual Retreat Leader, a reporter for “High Times” magazine, and my favorite, Personal Concierge to Donald Trump - the irony was too amusing. Others I skirted around the issue, saying I was doing side jobs, etcetera. A select few would be privy to the truth, I am a 33 year old, single, unemployed woman. Look away children - the horror!!
Our identity is so wrapped up in what we do when, in most cases, our jobs are not a direct reflection of our passions. Sure you’ll meet or know a few people who are in sync with life and work, but mostly you just hear about them on TV or the internet: Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Bono…

The thing is, I’m a decent, dare I say, semi-awesome person. I have no criminal record (yet), I’ve never had a DUI, the only things I’m addicted to are Sour Patch kids and Leonardo DiCaprio. I love making people feel loved and I try to be humble and grateful for everything I do have.

True love spans the ages
It would be kinda creepy weird however, if that’s how you introduced yourself to someone.
The Daily Corgi: Jasper Islington Presents: "Gotcha Day" Roundup!: “Hi, my name is Jacqueline. I’m a super awesome person who loves animals and making people feel loved”. I’d sound like Malibu Barbie. 

You also cannot list these personal attributes in a resume:
  • Strengths: organized, detail oriented, super awesome
  • Weaknesses: puppy cuddles, tart candies
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to think more about this as I’ve filled out hundreds of applications and sat through multiple boring interviews. It’s unfortunate that we put so much emphasis on occupation. I wouldn’t be any less of a kind, funny person if I were a cashier at Walmart, but would I date a cashier at Walmart? Probably not. There’s such a double standard involved.


Now, as my unemployment is coming to an end, I’m thinking real hard about what I want to spend my time doing. Sometimes the thought of working in an office from 9-5 makes me want to bash my head against a file cabinet. The images of fluorescent lights and stale coffee haunt my dreams. At the same time, the comfort of a steady income is almost an inherent need.



I’ve been reading books about “finding my passion”. “Big Magic” by the uber talented Elizabeth Gilbert, was wonderful. It had a general bias towards writers which was “write” up my alley - get it… write… (Did I mention I also love puns?) The more I’ve thought about what I love, the more signs I’ve noticed pointing me towards writing. I come back to it ALL THE TIME. I love literature and storytelling. I love quotes and lined notebook paper. I love the direct connect between my mind and my keyboard. I love how I can be moved to tears upon reading just one powerful sentence. I love how I can fall in love with someone who doesn’t really exist. Writing is magical. I need it in my life to feel complete.


Once I’ve edited a blog piece and have it ready to post, I feel a sense of euphoria. It’s a rush knowing how many eyes are going see it. It’s scary to know every word will be dissected and digested by total strangers and friends alike. But it moves me, it makes me feel present and totally connected to myself. I can tune out anything when enter the writing zone.


So that’s it, that’s my passion and my calling in life and right now as I write this, I’m putting it out to the Universe that this is what I want, and this is what I shall have!

I’m not becoming a writer, I AM a writer.


Ok, I’m climbed down from my magical unicorn now. I fully realize that I cannot simply apply to be a writer. If I’d like to switch career paths I’d need to go back to school, which isn’t out of the question, but not a feasible option right now. So, until my first novel takes off, or I become a millionaire for some reason, I’m going to have to step back into the sometimes soul-sucking working world. I’m doing so with renewed energy. I finally know the path I’m on is the right one. I can feel it in my guts and bones.

Digitaldruck - A2 Einhorn-Poster "Unicorn Power" Kin... - ein Designerst├╝ck von kaeselotti bei DaWanda:

I don’t know how long it will take. I don’t know how many more stale cups of coffee I’ll ingest, but I can see my end game now and I am pumped, friends!


I’d like to say a “thank you” in advance for your support. Your good vibes, positive energy and encouraging comments are truly the magic behind the reason I can do this! I’m excited and terrified and kinda craving some sour patch kids. I know ya’ll will stay tuned and hopefully my journey will inspire some of yours.

Cheers to our passions, friends!

Love and much gratitude,
Jax

*PS: my apologies for the wonky line spacing and font size, the platform isn't playing very nice with me tonight*

September 16, 2014

Haaaaave you met Ira?

Well, I finally did it. After much contemplation I decided to adopt another dog. I had to put my sweet Luxie Lou to sleep in May and it's been pretty empty around here without her. She left big doggy paw prints on my heart though, so it took awhile to warm up to the idea of a new furry friend in my life.

I visited the Humane Society a few times looking for a good match. I looked at several doggies, all of whom were wonderful, but I just didn't feel the connection I was looking for, the one I had when I locked eyes with Miss Luxie 9 years ago.

Then I met Ira, AKA Pickles... he was shivering in his kennel. I called him over and he reluctantly came to the door. A volunteer took us into a room where I could play with "Pickles" and see if we were a good match. As soon as I started to pet him, he leaned his head against me and it was done. I couldn't fathom putting him back in that kennel. So I adopted him.

"Pickles" still at the Humane Society 
Adoptions are exhausting!
I named him "Ira" after Mr. Ira Glass from This American Life.

Channeling his predecessor

I think Luxie Lou would approve

He's been home for 3 days now and has been coming out of his shell little by little. He's a pretty shy guy. He was scared of the ceiling fan, the stairs, the elevator, the door... Now he confidently strides into the elevator and even sits on command, sometimes.


He loves watching TV
Hanging out in the sunshine and fresh air

Checking out the view
We have a lot of work to do, but we're doing it together and it feels pretty good to have a furry friend to get out of bed for again in the morning :)

Such a handsome boy!

September 11, 2014

Ferris Wheel

Depression is a disease of contradictions. I feel alone in a full room. I feel overwhelmed in an empty apartment. I long for companionship, but dread being in the company of others. I crave change but fear the adjustment to it. I want someone to cuddle me but I don’t want to be touched.

It’s as though there is a constant tug of war going on in my head. “Go out, stay in. Be social, do something alone. Stay up late, go to bed early”… it’s exhausting, so exhausting; physically exhausting. I feel guilty for the lack of energy I have. I assume people are judging me, hell *I* am judging me. I’m on a break from work. I literally have no responsibilities right now except to get up in the morning, take my medicines and make it to doctor appointments. When my bosses so generously gave me this time off to take care of myself I was so relieved. I thought “Ok! I’m going to get my shit together again! I’m going to rearrange and de-clutter my apartment, make it feel fresh and relaxing again. Exercise is something that every mental health professional suggests makes a huge difference in how you feel, so I’m going to start doing yoga every morning and try to meditate.” I started this great mental checklist that I was sure would help put me back on the right track.

Do you know what I've done so far in the almost 3 weeks I've been off? I moved my furniture around, leaving a mass of freshly unorganized items in its wake and gone to the pound twice to look at dogs. I haven’t gone grocery shopping, I haven’t done yoga, I haven’t even cooked myself a real meal. I sure as hell haven’t exercised. I just can’t. I don’t have the mental will-power. I start the day with good intentions, but they fade so fast sometimes I’m not sure I even had them at all. The only thing I know I can do is sleep. Some days I could sleep all day. And some days I have.

My lack of ambition worries me, though my therapist assures me that it shouldn't. During my last visit she wrote on a paper for me to take home “rest is doing something” But I don’t feel like my “resting” is beneficial. It stresses me out. Not having a plan to follow and just waking up each day with no agenda is making my anxiety worse, on the contrary, the thought of making an agenda and trying to stick to it terrifies me!


I’m stuck in this depression/anxiety Ferris wheel. I guess that’s a fairly accurate description because I can’t just jump off, I have to wait until this stops so I can make it off safely.  Not having the controls though is frustrating. I guess it’s just more patience, more faith that I’ll get in to see a psychiatrist that will put me on the right kind of meds, more waiting and more blogging.

September 9, 2014

Depressed

I feel like I have a million things to write about, but nothing at all. I guess that’s a perfect analogy of my life right now. I’m deep into a soul sucking, energy zapping, mental marathon of a depression.

Depression is an extremely personal disease. Though I’m usually comfortable writing about most of my afflictions and issues, depression is one I've kept closely guarded the past 10 years or so. That is until the most recent bout, when I finally asked for help and the results that came about.

I've been medically treated for depression for about 10 years. I started seeing a therapist, as it was strongly suggested when I was diagnosed with MS. Though I've had my ups and downs, for the most part I've been able to lead a well-rounded emotional life. The last few months though, it’s like all the issues I've been trying to maintain came boiling to the surface and erupted.

I didn't wake up in this hole of a depression. It was a culmination of sad events that ignited it. I had to put my dog to sleep; my boyfriend – suffering from his own depression – broke up with me and moved out. It was then, slowly, oh so slowly depression entwined himself into my everyday life, making even the simplest tasks exhausting.

After a couple months, I was no longer sleeping through the night. The stress and lack of sleep caused my eczema to flare even more than normal. At my worst I was covered on over 75% of my body. I couldn't stop itching. My skin was so red it looked like I had sunburn. I was constantly cold from radiating so much heat; I was embarrassed about how it looked. I had been living from steroid treatment to steroid treatment for my skin and I guess my mind and body finally had enough.

My lowest of low days was a Saturday. I got up at 10am, drank a cup of tea, and had an uncontrollable crying spell that put me back into bed until 5pm. I got up and ate some toast, remembered why I had been crying before and went back to bed until 9 the next morning. I wandered around the rest of the weekend like a zombie. My thoughts were either racing too much to think straight, or I couldn’t form a coherent thought. I dreaded getting up to go to work. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, ashamed of my skin and stressed out that I was not pulling my share of the load in the office.

I resented everyone I talked to who was in a good mood, I withdrew from social engagements, I stopped posting on social media. I felt like I was covered in tar, moving slowly, constantly wiping it out of my face, trying to see what was coming.  I couldn't keep up anymore.

I went into work on a Monday and told my bosses what was going on. I have only been at this job for 6 months; I was terrified of the reaction I would get. I shouldn't have been surprised at the fact that they were wonderful. They offered to give me time off so I could sort out everything without the added stress of work. They gave me the flexibility to work from home and come into the office when I felt like it. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me – telling me to put my health first.

So I went home that day, cried more and tried to put together a plan of what to do.  I saw my therapist who told me that this was the worst depression she has seen me in and suggested an intensive day therapy program. I went to my general practitioner who told me she was no longer comfortable managing my depression and anxiety meds and told me I needed to see a psychiatrist. I went to my dermatologist about my skin that referred me to a specialist at the U. They gave me new meds to try (again) and referred me to an allergist. My skin started to clear up and I started the search for a psychiatrist. I called several places who either aren't accepting new patients, don’t take my insurance, or have a month long wait list. I’m banging my head against a wall! I finally decide to put my health first, to do something to manage this state I’m in and I cannot get help!

I’m trying to be patient, but I feel awful. I’m antisocial; I don’t want to be in public. I have an impossible time trying to find the positive in things. It’s like a big dark cloud is covering this deep pit where I’m stuck sitting. It’s terribly lonely because no one knows what to say to someone who is depressed and anxious. It’s not like a cold – you don’t just “get better”. You don’t wake up one day saying “man! I’m so glad this depression is over!”

It’s a waiting game, it’s a dangerous one. I get why people end their lives due to depression. The feeling of hopelessness is a horrible one. Feeling like no one understands what you’re going through; feeling like no one cares, feeling like a fool for not being able to “snap” out of it… I suffer from severe asthma, severe eczema, allergies, multiple sclerosis, anxiety and depression and I can tell you that out of all of these things, depression is the worst. It’s not visible to the naked eye, it’s hard to explain, and there are no “chicken soup” remedies to help you feel better.

It’s just keeping putting one foot in front of the other. It’s getting out of bed each day even if it is 2pm. It’s giving yourself a break if that’s the only thing you accomplished that day. It’s holding onto the hope that a doctor appointment is coming soon. It’s remembering that this is a chemical imbalance in my brain – not something I caused and that with the right medications I’ll feel able to feel happy again.


At the end that’s all I really want. I don’t want to be a millionaire or have hundreds of friends. I don’t want to be a size 4 or conquer the world, I just want to wake up and feel joy again. I want to go to bed excited to start the next day. I want to feel utter contentment for the life I have built for myself. Maybe, just maybe – tomorrow will be the start of that day. 

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION AND NEEDS HELP, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO REACH OUT: 1-800-273-8255

May 9, 2013

Still "hooked"



It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my little hook worm friends. I thought I’d share an update. As you may remember I got my first dose of hookworms in March of 2011. I got another “booster” dose in July 2011, June 2012, September 2012, and most recently in March. Let me explain further. After my initial does I opted to adopt 50 more worms. The staff at AutoimmuneTherapies and I discussed this option thinking that with the severity and stubbornness of my allergies, asthma and eczema, I might do better with a few more. The June 2012 dose was given with the same thought. I had seen great improvement but it has seemed to drop off a bit. Several weeks after that dose I realized I hadn’t gotten any of the “symptoms” I had experienced in previous doses. Sometimes the travel can be too much for the little guys so occasionally they aren’t viable when they reach their destination. The Autoimmune team and I agreed that another dose was in order.

This is a great representation of the
size of adult worms
 The winter months came on and I wasn’t feeling quite the same as I had in my first year. My eczema was flaring and my asthma seemed to be on the brink of bad again. In January 2013 I had an asthma attack that landed me in the hospital. On one hand this was sort of an awesome discovery. Before I got hooked up I was guaranteed at least one ER visit a year for my asthma. To have two years go by without one was awesome. The downside was that I didn’t think my worms were pulling their weight. I discussed this with Autoimmune Therapies and they requested I send them a “sample” so they could determine if I still had active worms producing eggs inside me. The “sample” was not so great to obtain. The only way to measure worm egg production is when they are expelled from your body… as poop. Yup, I had to send someone a sample of my poop. I countered the “ick” factor with the thought of what Jasper had to do get his worms… tromp thorough a latrine in a third-world country. At least I didn’t have to step in poop.
This is a how the worms migrate through your body.
Just replace the step where you get "Ground Itch" and put in
"applied larvae to arm". The larvae then continue on their journey.
When Jasper initially got his worms, he DID step in infested soil!
So I sent my sample off to England to be analyzed. The results I received back weren’t as great as I’d hoped. There were eggs present which mean that there were still live female worms in my gut. However, with the amount of worms I had been dosed with, they had expected to see more eggs. I ordered another round. That was April 8th of this year.

So I’m exactly one month in. It’s too early to tell if there have been improvements. My skin has cleared up pretty fast, but it’s around week 4 that allergies can worsen. I’m keeping an eye on this. We’re just approaching allergy season here in Minnesota. Tree pollen has been high and flowers and weeds and grass soon to follow (hurry up worms!!) I’ve also been trying to keep a healthier diet. I figure if my little worm friends are working their butts (tails??) off for me I should step up and do my part to help. I’ve started drinking green smoothies every morning. They usually consist of Kale, Spinach, orange juice and some fresh fruit, usually a banana or some strawberries. They are delicious and don’t at all taste like the sound they might. I think eating more nutritious foods will only help in this over all process. I checked with Autoimmune Therapies about taking a probiotic as well. I don’t want to take anything that will potentially lessen any effects the worms might have on my body. Probiotics are ok!

People still check in with me to see how I’m doing. When I take a step back to analyze where I am health wise now as opposed to where I was 2 or more years ago, the results truly have been life changing. This past January when I had the asthma attack that put me in the hospital, I hadn’t realized just how exhausting asthma can be. For the larger part of my 30 years here on earth I’ve struggled to breathe every single day. I didn’t know any different. I puffed on my “rescue” inhaler a few times and went on with my day. This past January my asthma started to get bad on a Friday night. I couldn’t think of anything that had tipped it off. By the following Saturday I was really struggling, taking my rescue inhaler and then taking nebulizer treatments. I was exhausted. My whole body ached from laboring to breathe. My shoulder and neck were in knots and I was sleep deprived. When Sunday rolled around I was too tired to fight it anymore and had my boyfriend take me to the hospital. I did have the choice of being sent home or staying overnight. In the past I would have gone straight home, but that was when I was more seasoned in labored breathing. It took less effort to recover back then. So I spent the night if only to get some rest. While hospitals definitely aren’t quieter than home, they are more relaxing to me for the fact that I know someone is right there if something happens. 
I went back to work the following Wednesday and it took me a good week before I finally had all my energy back. It was then that I realized just how much things have changed since I brought my little worm babies home two years ago.

I've also seen marked improvements in my allergies. While I still have symptoms they are 100% better than they were. Before the worms, I always had a stuffed or runny nose. People were always asking if I had a cold. Since my first dose, I've seldom had a stuffy nose. It's so great to be able to breathe! I seem to be less reactive to other allergy and asthma triggers as well. While I am still somewhat reactive it has been far less dramatic then in the past. I gave my dog a bath the other day and came out of it hive free. That used to be a huge chore I avoided. I'd have to wear long sleeves and long rubber gloves to avoid getting her wet hair all over me. We dove right in last week though and I had no hives or skin reaction whatsoever. 

My MS (knock on wood) has been pretty much non-existent. So much so that some days (SOME days) I can almost forget about it. I am still very cautious to avoid potential triggers like excessive heat. I take care to listen to my body. If I'm tired, I take a nap. If I'm too hot, I turn on the air conditioner. It's taken me a long time to push aside the embarrassment of my health issues and focus on taking care of myself. I guess I've moved into a more accepting attitude vs. the hiding and denial I used to foster. 

I’m certainly not to the point I’d like to be, but I’m realizing that nothing is an instant cure all, but taking care of me mentally and physically will support the process. So I continue to take my meds – though I have been able to back off some. I see my wonderful therapist a couple times a month, and I try to focus on what I have right now.  

I’m hoping I keep heading in the right direction. The next few months will be a better indicator.
If you know someone who could benefit from this sort of treatment or if you’d like to learn more, click on the link here check out Jasper Lawrence’scompany, Autoimmune Therapies. He and his staff are truly wonderful to work with. I’m so grateful the universe put us together! 

May 7, 2013

Fuel Tank Full of Happiness


A couple years back I wrote a blog called “Man Wish List”. For some reason this evening I was thinking about that list. I started going through my head contemplating what I wanted now versus 2 years ago. I’ve grown quite a bit since I wrote that so certainly my tastes must have evolved. I started thinking about “what I want” and the answers that popped into my head were strange. I realized that they were no longer references to a specific man (ie: tall, funny, blonde…) they were references to how I want to be treated and how I want to feel in a relationship. Seems that maybe 27 year old Jacqueline was a bit more conceited than 30 year old Jacqueline.

When I had written my “Man Wish List” it was a compilation of things I had put up on dating websites.  I had gotten mixed reactions and quite a few negative comments, and I can’t really blame them – everything I wrote was pretty superficial. So I’m going to amend my Man Wish List. 

I believe that I am healthy on my own. I believe that I don’t need someone in my life to make me happy (see “Cherry”) however it would be nice to feel like the person I'm with, the person I want to love, can top off my happiness. I like to think of me as a gas tank. I’m almost full and I have enough fuel in me to keep me going, but that little extra support/love/kindness from my significant other just tops me off. It keeps me going longer.

So here are the things that can top off my tank:

I want someone to make me feel like I am one of the most important parts of their life

I want someone to let me know they think about me as much as I think about them

I want someone who I can lean on when things get tough

I want someone who will know when I say “I’m fine” that I’m really not fine

I want someone to romance me and make me feel beautiful

I want someone to take the lead instead of letting bossy me make all the decisions

I want someone who will support me in my endeavors, no matter how crazy they may seem

I want someone who will cheer me on when I’m down

I want someone who will leave me love notes and send me unexpected texts because they know it’s the little things that I love the most

I want someone who will stand up to my bullshit and tell me "no" when they know I need it

I want someone who will not judge me for my shortcoming or flaws

I want someone who will push me to be better than I am

I want someone to make me feel like their equal instead of their inferior

I want someone who will every once in a while say “aw, fuck it!” and go with the flow

I want someone who will push me to say “Aw, fuck it!” so *I* will go with the flow

I want someone to respect my feelings and opinions even if they might not agree

I want someone who can challenge my feelings and opinions with healthy conversations

I want someone who I will still be able to laugh with in 60 years

I want someone who will be as honest with me as I am with them

I want someone who will take me on expensive shopping trips to the mall and who will show up at my house with a romantic love poem and flowers and a giant stuffed animal of some sort and then serenade me with an angelic voice and I’ll cry tears of joy and we’ll kiss and he’d tell me that he thinks I’m hotter than Kate Upton and that he’s so sorry it’s taken so long to find me… Wait, maybe I’m getting a little off track ;) I guess in the end what I’m getting at is that it’s not the money or the stature or the good looks that I’m seeking. I’m seeking someone to compliment me, not to fill a void. Just to clarify though, I’d never turn down a giant stuffed animal ;)

May 2, 2013

Serotonin Boosters

I've been too emotional lately to listen to much music. Every song has a hidden message reminding me He is gone. But last weekend, enlightened by the wonderful weather, I cranked up my jeep stereo. This song came on, by an artist I'd never heard of. It's got a pop-ish almost 90s feel to it and I almost turned it off until I heard the lyric "I've been dipping in my darkness for serotonin boosters". It's not often you hear the word serotonin in a song.

By the time it was over I was noddin' my head (like, yeah ;) ) and drumming out the beat on the steering wheel. Breaking up sucks and sometimes I swear it's the long recovery period that is the worst. So I was a little jazzed when I heard this. Some of the words made me wonder if Frank Turner himself had pulled memories right outta my brain. I'm enthralled with music for just that reason. Just when you think no one else could possibly know what you're going through, someone puts your feelings to music.

"Recovery" by Frank Turner

Blacking in and out in a strange flat in East London. Somebody I don't really know just gave me something to help settle me down and to stop me from always thinking about you.

And you know your life is heading in a questionable direction when you're up for days with strangers and you can't remember anything except the way you sounded when you told me you didn't know what I should do.

It's a long road up to recovery from here, a long way back to the light.
A long road up to recovery from here, a long way to making it right.

And I've been waking in the morning just like every other day. And just like every boring blues song I get swallowed by the pain.

And so I fumble for your figure in the darkness just to make it go away.
But you're not lying there any longer and I know that that's my fault.

So I've been pounding on the floor and I've been crawling up the walls. And I've been dipping in my darkness for serotonin boosters, cider and some kind of smelling salts.

It's a long road up to recovery from here, a long way back to the light.
A long road up to recovery from here, a long way to making it right.

And on the first night we met you said "Well darling, let's make a deal.
If anybody ever asks us, let's just tell them that we met in jail." And that's the story that I'm sticking to like a stony-faced accomplice. But tonight I need to hear some truth if I'm ever getting through this.

Yeah you once sent me a letter that said "If you're lost at sea, close your eyes and catch the tide my dear and only think of me."

Well darling now I'm sinking and I'm as lost as lost can be and I was hoping you could drag me up from down here towards my recovery.

If you could just give me a sign, just a subtle little glimmer. Some suggestion that you'd have me if I could only make me better.

Then I would stand a little stronger as I walk a little taller, all the time.
Because I know you are a cynic but I think I can convince you. Yeah, cause broken people can get better if they really want to. Or at least that's what I have to tell myself if I am hoping to survive!

It's a long road up to recovery from here, a long way back to the light.
A long road up to recovery from here, a long way to making it right.

So darling, sweet lover, won't you help me to recover, darling, sweet lover, one day this will all be over.