Mental Illness: Overcoming Ourselves

As you know, I’m in a new romantic relationship. I could go on and on about all the great things that revolve around this life change, but this is a widow’s blog and I want to be real. I want to talk about what all of this means, how it has affected me, how I’m handling things as it pertains to my past and my pain.

The news isn’t all good.

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, happening really quickly. It feels unbelievable at times. But beyond that, as I am getting to know who I am now I am discovering that I have lots of emotional and mental issues. SURPRISE!! I already knew this much, but I wasn’t aware of how things would play out in terms of being with someone new. I have had a couple really intense breakdowns and I discover new triggers and observe my reactions to things quite frequently.

I’m exhausted.

DOGS: There are two roommates here, and I’m very mindful/ self-conscious about the dogs. They’re barking omg. They’ve run off omg. Someone peed in the house omg.

My dogs aren’t bad dogs. They’re undisciplined. They’ve lived their whole lives with a completely fenced and closed off yard to play in. Not here. The property isn’t secured around the edges and my dogs take off all the time. Mostly Walter and Rosie.

Walter is at the end of his rope. Resident boy Django is a DOLL but he won’t leave Walter alone. This results in Walter being on edge and pissy a lot.

SOUNDS: This is what I would consider a loud house. It’s not really LOUD, but there are lots of moving parts and the sounds get completely overwhelming. One roommate is a musician and plays the same music over and over again as he mixes and tweaks things. Dogs. Music. Conversation. People. It’s a lot for someone who has social anxiety and has been living alone for almost 3 years. A lot of peopling.

NUTRITION: This has been tough. I’m not eating properly. Not really eating much at all tbh. Roommates present a challenge with kitchen space, therefore presenting a challenge with grocery shopping or meal planning. This is really hard for me. REALLY hard.

COMPROMISES: Yes there are quite a few for all parties. I guess my biggest compromise is giving up having my own kitchen, and allowing my dogs to be dogs. I know Scott has made FAR bigger compromises. He moved me and the dogs in, for fucks sake. So his adjustments and patience are plenty.

Other compromises? I miss eating what I want when I want. I miss watching what I want to. I miss having space that is all mine. I miss the things that make a home feel like home to me, like pictures on the walls or anything that resembles my taste or decorating stuff. These are all just adjustments from being alone to living with someone. But for me, they sometimes eat me up. I literally cry sometimes because I just want to meal prep for the week, or because I can’t find something, or because this house doesn’t feel like “me”.

SHAME: Did you know that I am singlehandedly responsible for every bad thing? It’s true. If the weather sucks, I’m sorry. If you lost your keys, I’m sorry. If you had a bad day, I’m sorry. You’re angry at me? It’s my fault. You left me? My fault for driving you away. Things could be so much better if I wasn’t such a fuckup and a loser. I try to take up as LITTLE space as possible so I don’t “intrude”. Welcome to my brain!

LIFE: Scott has lived in the area for a long long time. He knows everyone. His kids are here. His friends, his childhood memories, all of it. Flip the coin and I have none of that. I’m completely a guest/ newcomer into his life and his world and I feel a little like I’m tumbling through space. Trying to navigate and reconcile that none of our shared experiences are new to him and that none of what we see is remotely familiar to me has been tough. It’s not easy to be the newcomer in a club of peeps who’ve known each other for years or even decades.

EMOTIONS: Wow. Where do I start. I feel all of the following things, even though not one person has done anything to make me feel this way.

  • Scared
  • Like he’s mad at me
  • Like he’s losing patience with me or the dogs
  • Like the roommate situation might be too much for me to deal with
  • Always on edge making sure the dogs aren’t making a mess
  • Always on edge making sure I do enough around the house
  • Unable to trust myself
  • Like I’m wearing out my welcome
  • Like I’m a crappy partner

ANTSY: Scott is afraid I’m going to run away. Sometimes I feel like running away. Not because things are bad – they’re not. They’re pretty wonderful except for my meltdowns. But I don’t trust myself. My fight or flight struggle is real and something I’ve never been really good at overcoming.

QUESTIONING MYSELF: Man. For almost 3 years I’ve worked on shedding my possessions. Minimizing my baggage (mental and literal baggage). Becoming more light and readily able to move or travel. And now I’m settling into a big house with a huge piece of property, and I’m wondering who the fuck I am. I was “domesticated” while married, but I’m a bit more “feral” now. I want to LIVE. I don’t give a FUCK about money (I know, immature or unrealistic right?). I don’t give a fuck about a job. I have the smallest wardrobe I’ve ever had or ever known anyone to have. I don’t want to spend my life doing household chores and tasks. I went through hell, and I’m still climbing out. I didn’t go through all of this to end up back in the grind. I have no desire to be back in any grind. I just want to LIVE life, every single day.

Yes, there are a lot of challenges – mostly self-made. But it’s the bigger picture here. Fear of losing control of my life and my choices. Fear that my mental health will drive him away.

Now, the good stuff?

It feels really good to be loved and needed.

Scott is a wonderful sweet man who treats me (and the dogs) so well. He’s kind, respectful, and understanding.

The dogs and I are safe.

The roommates are cool people.

I’m living in a beautiful home on a sprawling piece of land, because I met a man who opened his heart and his home to me and the dogs.

I’m living in a beautiful area that is rich with gorgeous sunsets, peace and quiet, cool outdoor activities and a 2 hour drive to San Francisco.

There is life, and love, after loss.

And in reality, all is well. I know this is just an adjustment and lots of growing pains. I’m not unhappy at all. I’m content and happy overall. It’s just a reminder that loss is heavy. PTSD is real. Mental illness is pretty scary. And ultimately, I got this. Everything is going to be okay. ❤

Peace, friends. ❤

~ Lisa

From Barrio to Opera – Finding my Groove!

Hello everyone! Wow what an amazing week I have had really enjoying and seeing so much more of this beautiful place where I live.

One day this week, I spent the day with my good friend Nancy. Nancy is a New Yorker (Brooklyn baby!) but she’s been here for many years. And Nancy ain’t screwin’ around. Nancy lives in Puerto Plata right in a barrio. And hanging out with her was awesome. She taught me how to make rice old school, and showed me the Dominican washing machine OMG…her house is tiny but has everything you would need. In her living room, one chair and a motorbike parked so it doesn’t get vandalized or stolen outside.

Then we went out on the bike! I was on the back of a moto for the first time. Part of Puerto Plata day was getting a hot fresh-made empanada from a little hole in the wall (literally). SO delicious. This little video at the very end, you will see the empanada hole in the wall. 🙂

 

Then we went to the port. It was cruise ship arrival day so Nancy knew that the vendors would be out selling their little knick knacks. So we bummed around there, there’s an AWESOME amphitheater, and then we cruised through town on the moto. MOTO!!

 

We stopped and saw umbrella street and the pink street. Went back to Nancy’s and had real Dominican food (minus the meat!). It was just a fabulous day that was so good for my soul and my mood. I can’t wait to do it again. I put the photos of Puerto Plata into a slideshow.

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Then Thursday, I went to the horse ranch where I’m volunteering for them to help them raise some funds and awareness. Angela and her brother Manuel are seriously some of the most pure, accepting, kind, grateful, humble and insightful people. Angela is with her horses like I am with my dogs. Excellent care for every animal in her care. The ranch currently has 17 horses, a donkey, two geese, some chickens, a rooster and some dogs. ❤ All in the most beautiful and peaceful setting. Angela and I are becoming friends and we don’t speak the same language. It’s almost comical. She speaks FRENCH. And I DON’T. She speaks NO English. And we both speak AWFUL and VERY LITTLE Spanish. LOL but somehow we connect and we laugh and communicate. Manuel and Angela are also musicians. Angela is a vocalist. When I arrived this week, I accidentally interrupted their rehearsal. When they told me to sit and enjoy, I was STUNNED when Angela opened her mouth to sing. STUNNED. Out of her tiny body and soft spoken demeanor, the most powerful voice came.  It gave me chills. She was rehearsing, Manuel on the keyboard, dogs lying around, horses in the distance. Just ethereal.

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Donkey name Ghandi with an injured foot.

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One of the beautiful horses getting his daily grooming.

 

Thursday was just that – Thursday. And I like it that way. After I went to the ranch,  I went out to the local watering hole with a couple of friends. It was a nice, chill, no-pressure day.

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Happy Thursday!

Today, my foster girl Rae left on a jet plane to meet her new family in Canada! We will miss her a lot, but she’s going to have a wonderful life. She was with us for a couple of months!

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Sweet life, baby girl! 

This was by far the absolute best week I’ve had.

When I decided to move here, I didn’t want to live like an American in another country. I didn’t want to live in the all-white gated communities because I felt like, why live behind a gate? If you live here, you live here. But after the robbery, I feel differently. ONLY because I am alone. If I were here with Michael we would never live in this house. He would have laughed at the idea and told me to come down from the pedestal and reminded me that we aren’t big huge McMansion people. Truthfully the house is uncomfortable in that it’s too much. It’s so big. SO BIG. Much more than I need. But I digress.

I can live behind a guarded gate and still not let my life be whitewashed. I have ALWAYS really dug diversity and I’ve always really dug people that can just be. No plans. No money needs to be spent. Just come over and we’ll screw around or hang out or go act like tourists. Come over and hang out with horses and share some coconut water and listen to people’s dreams. My circle of friends is SO diverse and I’m loving the way my life is setting up. I don’t need to surround myself with people like me. I need to grow and explore and take it in and DO. I don’t mind being the only person that looks like me in a whole crowd. I LOVE it. I love to look at my circle of friends and realize they are all so interesting and so different but yet there’s a way to connect with them all.

And I just ended the week by announcing publicly that I am moving on from my rescue and the DR rescue. It was incredibly freeing and felt really good. I also finalized some chats with an upstart rescue in the US who is focused on the China Dog Meat Trade. I am officially taking on their communications. It’s bittersweet because it carries a very heavy responsibility with it, and I know it’s going to be emotionally draining, hard work. But I have decided that while I serve my life sentence I’m going to LIVE. I’m going to travel to China. I’m going to do everything I can to bring light to the subject.  It crosses into some grey areas for me…such as, how do I advocate about this without preaching vegetarianism? It’s a whole other topic for another day, but there’s an invisible line somewhere saying it’s okay to kill certain animals to eat them and not others. I’m a veggie for those that don’t know.

And that wraps up my week in pictures and video! Just a happy week. The first of many now that I’m in a good headspace.

I hope you’ve all hung in there, and if you’re a holiday loather I hope you made it through the first wave alright. The next month is going to be a sick torturous ride of merriment and happy families. Hang on tight.

Peace,

~ Lisa