Archive for January, 2014

Chronic Pain and Inactivity

January 27, 2014

Friday afternoon while putting away laundry I watched a few minutes of Dr. Oz and two guests who were from New Jersey.  He wanted to talk about the fascia (the sheath around the muscles all over the body) and chronic pain.  It was SO interesting I actually just laid everything down and waited until the end of the segment.  New research suggests that when people have chronic pain that cannot be resolved it may be from tightness in the fascia.  While this was previously described as “musculoskeletal” pain, it could truly be the fascia which tightens from inactivity since humans were meant to be mobile. 

This made SO much sense to me.  I have never been a big believer in fibromyalgia and there is a very large number of people on disability for chronic pain who are pretty immobile.  Continued immobility makes the fascia tighter and movement improves the pain and eventually their overall health.  Even more interesting – people with the most complaints of pain and discomfort had “back pain” that was resolved with activities including walking, swimming, water aerobics and yoga.  Loosening the fascia takes pressure off the muscles and reduces or eliminates pain. 

Hopefully physicians will latch onto this research and get people back to a reasonable quality of life and off prescription narcotics.  Ed’s back pain was always hard to diagnose and only responded to very specific forms of treatment.  I always thought he didn’t want to get better, after all, it is VERY easy to lay around, watch tv, play on the computer and talk on the phone.  This knowledge about the fascia also explains how patients will improve during therapy or massage and then have problems once they return to a sedentary lifestyle.

Cold Justice

January 21, 2014

This weekend I watched too much television.  I am REALLY struggling to finish the last 6 weeks of my graduate program.  I don’t think it is because of fear, more that I am just tired of working on it.  I am VERY excited to have a new job, learn more about the future of healthcare and computers and make more money (there is a chance my income will DOUBLE!).  

Friday at work my boss told me about a show called “Cold Justice”.  That night while I was flipping through trying to find something to watch (and pretending that my laptop wasn’t waiting for me to finish my homework) I saw an episode in Oklahoma that looked interesting.  In that case, the husband and wife had been fighting, and this man had been in prison for domestic abuse in the past.  His wife had been missing for 12 years and the sheriff believed that the husband was responsible.  For those who haven’t seen an episode, the show is about a prosecutor and forensic scientist who travel around working cold cases.  The prosecutor never lost a capital murder case and has a passion for families with unsolved crimes. 

When the cold team arrived they sifted through old evidence and found a recording from the couples little girl.  She was 3 when her mother disappeared and during an interview when she was 5 reported that her mom was rolled up in a carpet and left in a ditch.  This helped them to lean on the suspect, re-interview him and catch him in his lies.  He eventually confessed and took the sheriff to his wife’s burial site.  

Throughout the case I saw flashes of my marriage to Ed.  The manipulation, the trickery, the showering of love, the recognition and ownership of mistakes and then, nearly in the next breath, the violence, browbeating and tearing down.  While I sometimes think that my experience was unique, it is things like this that make me realize how many men follow this same pattern to trick their victims.

I’m Not Afraid of Myself Anymore

January 15, 2014

That sounds really funny I know.  When I turned 30 a good friend told me that she was happy to turn 30 and she really learned about who she was while she was in her 30’s.  Now that I am coming to the end of my 30’s I understand that.  I’m completely in love with my best friend.  We can talk about anything and I trust him completely.  First time in my life I’ve been able to say that.  Earlier this month I posted about abusers.  One of these kinds of abuse is using private and very personal information against a person to shame them.  Ed did this whenever he got a chance.  I was never truly forgiven for any sin, and I never knew when a past transgression would come out of the clear blue sky requiring me to be punished.

I turned 37 almost 2 weeks ago.  I am thriving and happy.  I am not afraid to push myself.  I’m not afraid to achieve.  And I’m not afraid the share the person I really am.  I have stopped trying to be something for someone else, and I couldn’t be happier.  It is a powerful thing to live without fear!

Old Friends, New Friends, Friends Who Know All About Me

January 13, 2014

Saturday night we had a going away party at our house for a friend who is packing up to leave for Arizona this week.  She and I have known each other for 12 years, she was in my wedding and has boys who are close in age to my son.  I can’t imagine just packing up and heading out, but I’m a planner, and all people make different choices.

With our houseful of guests I thought about all the football parties at our old house and how much fun we had entertaining.  I thought about Ed’s friend Bob, how I wouldn’t have my friend Vicki if I hadn’t endured that miserable marriage and how much people know about what I have been through.  It’s funny to think about where we are now, how things were back then and imagining what my future will look like!  I miss some of those friends and wonder what is new in their lives….

Sometimes it Sucks to be a Good Sport

January 10, 2014

I am going out with a few girlfriends tonight and another person, who I don’t really love, invited herself along.  I worry that she is too aggressive.  Too self-centered.  Too judgemental.  Too…. much of an alcoholic.  Too much of an abuser.  I definitely see two sides – the side that she always wants to show me, and then the side that I hear about from other people in other circles – hopefully we can go and have some fun tonight.  I will try to keep an open mind!  I will try to be the bigger/better person – but honestly, I’m not thrilled to have my party crashed!

About Being a Responsible Adult

January 9, 2014

Last night when I was shoveling snow, in the dark, I thought about Ed’s reluctance to take responsibility for anything.  It reminds me of my future sister-in-law.  It is surprising the number of people who numerically “grow up” and then wait for opportunities to fall into their laps.  I am a hard worker with a high level of commitment.  I will stay at work even when I don’t want to because something has to be finished.  I stay up late at night studying and push harder than my classmates because I know what I’m capable of.  I have often wondered about the primary differences between people who push and people who wait.

At church on Sunday we each received a random piece of paper with something to consider or work on in the new year.  Mine was contentedness.  This might seem like a good or easy thing, but for me this is exceptionally hard.  I always want better.  I want to run or bike faster.  I want to get an A on every assignment (I have a cumulative 4.0 and will complete my graduate degree in 6 weeks).  I want to have a better body.  I want to pay off my debt as quickly as possible.  I want to live in a bigger house.  There is nothing content about my drive.  I often feel if I sit back and look at what I have accomplished I might lose some of that drive and push.  And I like those things about myself.  It is so hard to find balance. 

I never want to be Ed, or Shelby, or some of the people I have known in my life.  I don’t want to wait for life to bring great things to me.  I want to run out and find them.  Tromp through the wilderness, leave what I am not interested in, shake out what I am and prepare for the next great adventure! 

 

Dear Abby’s List of Signs of an Abuser

January 8, 2014

(1) PUSHES FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on strong, claiming, “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.” An abuser pressures the new partner for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

(2) JEALOUS: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone”; checks the mileage on your car.

(3) CONTROLLING: If you are late, interrogates you intensively about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.

(4) UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.

(5) ISOLATION: Tries to isolate you from family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of “causing trouble.” The abuser may deprive you of a phone or car, or try to prevent you from holding a job.

(6) BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS OR MISTAKES: It’s always someone else’s fault if something goes wrong.

(7) MAKES OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER FEELINGS: The abuser says, “You make me angry” instead of “I am angry,” or says, “You’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you.”

(8) HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad. Rants about the injustice of things that are just a part of life.

(9) CRUELTY TO ANIMALS OR CHILDREN: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry. Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partners will also abuse children.

(10) “PLAYFUL” USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; finds the idea of rape exciting.

(11) VERBAL ABUSE: Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel things; degrades, curses, calls you ugly names. This may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you with relentless verbal abuse.

(12) RIGID GENDER ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey, remain at home.

(13) SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.

(14) PAST BATTERING: Admits to hitting a mate in the past, but says the person “made” him (or her) do it.

(15) THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Says things like, “I’ll break your neck” or “I’ll kill you,” and then dismisses them with, “Everybody talks that way,” or “I didn’t really mean it.”

Readers, if you feel you are at risk, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or http://www.thehotline.org.

Reading this list gets me EVERY single time.  While it might seem like love early it can be terrifying in the long fun.  I was especially challenged because my parents marriage dissolved when I was very young, so I had nothing to model and at times our CRAZY relationship seemed very normal to me.  I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up because I looked “too good” to go to work.  The mood swings were out of control, everything was fine, I was a crazy bitch, I didn’t love and support him enough, no physicians would provide the care he needed.  I am SO blessed to have escaped.  I was afraid for so many years.  The best advice I can give is, don’t ignore Abby’s list.  Listen to your gut.  If you want out early get out early, there is nothing that will change his treatment of you.  If he hits you once he will do it again. If he screams and throws things don’t stick around to find out what happens next.  There is nothing sexy or loving about pain and drama!

Domestic Abuse

January 7, 2014

Those words on the page seem so simple.  Domestic Abuse.  The clean and legal definition of the injury of one person by another.  When the two have an intimate or marital relationship.  For years it wasn’t even prosecuted.  It was private.  Something that no one discussed.  My great grandparents had a marriage full of abuse.  The Klu Klux Klan in Iowa even burned a cross in their front yard to shame my great-grandfather.  Not only did he beat his wife, he nearly killed one of his children for disobeying, drinking and coming home late…. and being gay, but that is a different story for a different day.

One of our close family friends has been called for jury duty this week.  It’s a domestic abuse case.  The judge has promised all the jurors that it will be a one day trial.  While this is good for the jury and the justice system, it is interesting for me to think about all the suffering this pair has endured to make it to a court date and the knowledge that this will be decided in less than eight hours.  Women are sometimes killed when leaving because the abuser is so hell-bent on control.  I worried about that so many nights.  And I honestly believe that I was justified in that fear.  Hopefully the injured party in this case isn’t bullied, tricked or sweet talked into letting the abuser off.  Hopefully, the jury can offer her some protection.  Hopefully she is strong enough to leave, and willing to take advantage of the people who can help her, without being too proud, or too stubborn, or too embarrassed to admit that things were so bad, for so long!