When Friends Know Too Much (And Where I Hide The Bodies)

I used to post here more regularly. Over the years it became less and less. Really, I have so much to say! It’s just that for one reason or another I have more difficulty with the words. My writer’s block often comes from, perhaps, my own imagination and being afraid to share my life and thoughts.

I have personally met and come to know many people from social media, and they, me. It is wonderful to have so many connections! Most came to know me over social media and events because of how I used Twitter and social networking to find housing and get off the streets when I was homeless. Social media and speaking at events has allowed me to open up more, sharing my feelings and life with the world. As others follow me in real life and online they get to know more about me – as I call it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I know it’s probably just me, but I keep thinking that once people learn more about me and my mental health issues, they will no longer want to be around me. Nobody ever wants to hang out over coffee or something. Where as I was once included as a friend, I am now forgotten about, or so it seems.

Sometimes it may be true that stigma or other reasons may play a part. In reality, I think my mind, in sense, tries to “bury” when I feel that perhaps my friends know too much about me, and how crazy I am. So I become more secluded with each rejection. They can’t know more about me if I don’t talk. The more I stay in seclusion, the more socially awkward I become. That in turn can lead to more problems with my mental health. I may avoid people, opting instead for watching TV, using the internet, or playing games on my tablet.

I used to post about everything on this blog. Now for several reasons I choose to censor myself… way too much. There are feelings I should sometimes talk about – if not with a real person, at least a virtual one. But I am afraid. I am afraid that I will not be accepted by others. Though so many people have felt similarly before. I know those people would understand. But I am silent.

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Reliving desperation and admiration

I interviewed with a BBC Radio show today. (It won’t air until next week. I’ll let you know when.) The topic for the host started out as basically, people being almost addicted to their cell phones. Then by chance during an internet search she came across my story.

If you somehow aren’t aware yet, I first joined Twitter and social media in 2009 while I was homeless. What started out as me not knowing a thing about Twitter or how to even use it, quickly grew to experiences that I’d have never dreamed of ever having! I could use computers at the library during the day, but other than that, I mostly tweeted by SMS/text message from my phone. My phone was my life — my dire connection to the world in my times of need. I could call someone, text or email by SMS. I didn’t have a smartphone. Just a simple, basic phone. A dumb phone. In fact, that’s the type of phone I use now.

I had unlimited texting so I could post messages to Twitter as much as I wanted, anytime I wanted, all day and all night. Whenever I had a need to say something. Which, back then, was quite a lot! I posted about my activities, shared thoughts or information on jobs or things I heard about, and wrote volumes of tweets from my emotions.

Fear, anxiety, and prayers dominated many of my tweets. I shared a number of hopes and wishes, too. There were many nights I lied on the ground, afraid and paranoid that someone would come up to me in the night. Is someone watching? Is someone here? Who is here watching me? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affected me severely. There I was alone, but I couldn’t tell because my mind conjured up invisible people who might have been lurking.

I kept my “security blanket” tightly in hand all night. My phone was my connection to the world. Anytime I needed to say something, to vent, to express my fears, somebody was able to hear me. I couldn’t get their replies until I went to the computers at the library the next day, but they were there. Somebody cared. Another person suffered the same plight of PTSD once. I’m really not alone.

The tweets from my phone led to development of virtual and real-life relationships with people and businesses. Through my sincerity and openness of my life, stigma changed to acceptance, understanding, and kindness. I got to see God’s love in action, and emotion. These people — my social media followers — said that I changed them for the better. What I saw is how they changed me.

Sharing my story online and in real life at speaking engagements has helped me to open up. I am still shy and very socially awkward, but I am much more open with my emotions. Having constant access to my phone and being able to tweet by text has been extremely therapeutic.

I still tweet Clint Eastwood style — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes I feel that I share too much. But I need to get things out. Sometimes I need to vent. In a way, being able to tweet and vent my emotions is more than emotionally therapeutic. It can also be protective against bad thoughts so I don’t try to self-injure. I haven’t done any cutting in however many years. It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes still have those thoughts about doing it. So I greatly appreciate the kindness and compassion from all of you, my followers. A small gift, a kind word, a hug. It means the world to me! God’s love in action, indeed.

I discussed all of these areas and more on the BBC Radio show. (Again, I will share the link to the broadcast after it airs.) Talking about these things have so much effect on me emotionally! Ever since then my thoughts have been on all of my followers and how you have affected me, the place you have in my heart. I am reliving the desperation of my past and the admiration and love for the compassion I have received. Thank you all so much!

PS: Side note to Joan of Real Time Paradigm, my blogging teacher at NextDoor:  I clicked “Publish”! 😜

Ms. Awesome Will See You Now

Sometimes I think that I am too nice. But is that really possible too be too nice? No. I am just very compassionate. It’s almost to a fault. People come to me for help and I am glad to offer it how I can. I’m not a doctor but I have received some certificates in health care. Sometimes people are dependent on the extra support. Being “on-call” can be a bitch! I’ve had to set limits at times. The neediness and dependency can really drive me crazy! On the other hand, I have an over-abundance of compassion and understanding. I realize that everyone has some sort of issue at some time or other, mild or severe, acute or chronic. I myself have faced PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), the eating disorder anorexia, borderline personality, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I am doing well now, but for some signs and symptoms of PTSD yet. The slightest comment or action by someone could trigger emotions and bad dreams. Yes, it’s hard that others who have never experienced PTSD don’t understand. Thankfully, I have identified with a couple people who try to understand and have been very supportive. I know how it feels to have someone there in a time of need. It feels awesome! So when others come to me for help–to use me as a psychotherapist–or for health advice or whatever–I accept the challenge.  I find gratitude in observing positive changes in “my patient” who comes to me for support. The moment something “clicks” is so very inspirational to me! That is my fuel! Like a gift from God. There is nothing better than to feel the moment of positive change. My door is open if you need extra support. Ms. Awesome will see you now.

Mental Chaos

Tonight my mind is succumbing to overpowering thoughts of what happened last night. I have not been able to get this memory out of my head all day. It is taking its toll on me now tonight. Too many thoughts, so many bad memories. Last night, overnight, I had a bad dream related to my PTSD. So much happened in it. And so many people. My ex-husband, my family, friends, my children’s old pediatrician (who touched me inappropriately once), and so many others. My children as well, separately and in different parts of the dream, as babies. At one point in the dream I held the corpse of my baby. Much more happened but this holds in my mind the most. Decay was already starting to settle in. I miss my children so much! I wish they knew the truth about me. I wish they would feel my love.  I need you, Kerry and Patrick.  Please, learn the real reason why I have not been able to see you for so long. I love you!

Misbehavin’

Oops. Sorry, LOL! My apologies to a certain case manager at Northwestern Satellite Clinic. I sorta know him from Twitter and I’ve tweeted him a couple of times (or “perhaps” more, LOL) since becoming a client. Its a No-No! Ok, so I get impulsive and have to say something sometimes. I understand why and all that and I expected it when I became a client. But like I said, I do get impulsive. If I can get some medication again for ADD that may help the issue. I kinda have to laugh because of my misbehaving. Yeah, my bad. I am a rule-breaker. Its hard to keep out of trouble this way when I am impulsive. Medication should help that. I’ll have to ask about it if the new psydoc doesn’t offer first. I really would like to focus better on things like I used to when I was medicated for ADD. Life was better. Well, it was better until I started working at a certain place that triggered my PTSD because of memory of a certain homeless person who stalked me and…more. He knows who he is. He is still a major trigger. I was warned by the psych people against having any contact with him–even on Twitter. They are cautious. I view my newly following him as an exposure therapy, plus I feel it is fair and appropriate that anyone who needs and wants my help can get it. I will not get in the way of a legitmate request from someone seeking help–I don’t care who it is or what I think of the person! Everyone deserves a chance to get help they need! This brings up a future blog topic about social services agencies that ban a person from getting ANY and ALL services–including food pantry and clothing closet…

God is with us

You wouldn’t believe the night we women at the homeless shelter had last night, and how it went from almost like a fun slumber party to ending with 911 being called when a severely emotional young woman in the group suffered a seizure after sharing very personal, painful memories about her life. Everyone gathered round to pray and I have honestly never felt more spiritual energy from praying as I did last night! It was powerful! Then this morning I received the following in my email. Its just amazing…

One day, when I was a freshman in high school,
I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.

His name was Kyle.

It looked like he was carrying all of his books.

I thought to myself, ‘Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?’

‘He must really be a nerd.’

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.

They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.

His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him…

He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.

My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, ‘Those guys are jerks.’

They really should get lives…

‘He looked at me and said, ‘Hey thanks!’

There was a big smile on his face.

It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.

I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.

As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before…

He said he had gone to private school before now.

I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.

We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.

He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.

I asked him if he wanted to play a little football
with my friends.

He said yes.

We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my  friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.

I stopped him and said, ‘Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!’

He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends…

When we were seniors we began to think about college.

Kyle decided on  Georgetown  and I was going to Duke.

I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never   be a problem.

He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class.

I teased him all the time about being a nerd.

He had to prepare a speech for graduation.

I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak .

Graduation day, I saw Kyle.

He looked great.

He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.

He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.

He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.

Boy, sometimes I was jealous!

Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech.

So, I smacked him on the back and said, ‘Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!’

He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.

‘Thanks,’ he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began…

‘Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years…

Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach…but mostly your friends…..

I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.

‘I am going to tell you a story.’

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told of the  first day we met.

He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.

He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and he was carrying his stuff home.

He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.

‘Thankfully, I was saved.’

‘My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable…’

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.

I saw his Mom and Dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.

Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions..

With one small gesture you can change a person’s life.

For better or for worse….

God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way.

Look for God in others.

No pain, no gain.

Trying to find motivation for writing this. Right now, oddly enough, it is pain distraction. I’m having some bad renal-related pain on the right side. (It was on the left side in back this morning, but not nearly as bad.) Finally just popped a good, strong pain pill and logged on to WordPress.

I think that pain is what motivates me to writing in my blog the most–whether it be physical pain or emotional pain. There are a lot of times when I would do it more often, in immediate reaction to something, but I don’t have a laptop or netbook computer to capture those moments. So then I text a tweet to my Twitter account from my cell phone instead. Sometimes if I am in a place where I can write privately and have abundant paper with me I will write my thoughts to transcribe later.

Life is like what seems to attract me to blogging: no pain, no gain. It takes some level of effort to succeed and reach goals. When I blog, I gain from readers, and from within my self. In life, I gain by doing things that will lead to taking me out of homelessness. I am trying. And I am doing. I am taking steps to helping myself accomplish that goal. I am trying to make more notes to help me remember things. I am getting mental health care, including counseling and psych medication. I am working with my caseworker regarding psych issues and future housing possibilities. I know that everything is working out. Finally. I am on the right track.

Unfocused Ramblings

I have no idea what to really write about today.  My mind is so chaotic right now.  Its like I have so much to do and don’t know what I’m doing, or what needs to be done.

I used to have a PDA and planner.  That helped!  I could be more organized and have notes everywhere, LOL.  I loved Franklin Covey planner sheets better than other brands, but sometimes I would buy something else.  I used to have a laptop too.  I could go online or work on other projects like Word documents or Powerpoint even when the library was closed.   The laptop was almost like a sleeping aid because at night I’d lay in bed with my laptop, log on to the internet, and be asleep before my email was downloaded, LOL!

I’d do better and not have times like this if I was on psych meds.  Right now I am only on meds for medical issues.  Its  hard.  I want them.  I know I need them.  I have too many moods and potential for reacting to something because of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).  And times like this, right now, I don’t even know what’s going on in my  mind.  Maybe I’ve been trying to do too much and I have neurons firing chaotically .  I do have a habit of that–trying to do too much at once.  But is that so wrong?!  Moods like this–is this a type of mood?!–only make everything that I try to do difficult!  I keep thinking that–I don’t know.  Maybe that I’m not being productive enough?  I guess it could be a little anxiety.  I don’t know.  My mind is too…something I forgot the word for already.  Maybe ADD?!?  Whatever it is, I feel like I’m not getting anything worthwhile done and doing nothing good.  I feel like the stereotypical homeless “bum” who does nothing all day.  But I have done some good and productive things today,  haven’t I?!  I know I have.  I am probably being too hard on myself.

I’ve had a great day!  I got some great messages and DM’s from people on Twitter.  Friends from one of my fave sites, Psych Central, have started following me on Twitter.  I have received a lot more hits on my blog and the Pads Chicago website, and received donations through Pay Pal.  I’ve been in a decent mood, laughed several times.

It could be something with my health issues?  I’ve had a headache, sort of migraine like but not.  I remember now that I do usually feel strange, even confused, when it happens.  This could be why.  I have a rheumatologist but she hasn’t made a diagnosis yet.  It’s hell living with these issues.  I wish something more would happen!  Something so I don’t have all these pains and problems!  I am literally sick of it all.

I wish I could go to bed.  But being homeless, I have no bed.

My secret

There is a secret side to me. I don’t know how to explain it. But being homeless probably only makes the problem worse and easier. It’s nothing shameful. It’s just, I am afraid to admit it, I guess. Sometimes I am ok with talking about it. But right now, when this issue is going on, it becomes hard. I become afraid of myself and what I may do. For insane reasons I start thinking that doing something good and healthy should be avoided. Its like an old best friend, there when I need her. Right now I feel like I need “her”. I want or wish it would be ok. But I know the truth. It’s not. I have medical training. I know. Which makes it even harder on me. I want so bad to go back like I used to be.

God will provide :)

First, I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. The bus driver recognized that I am homeless and let me ride for free!! I only paid 25-cents for the transfer so I could get back.

Then I get back.

I hadn’t eaten yet today. Someone had bought me a Mountain Dew last night which I saved for this morning and drank. That’s all I’ve had so far. I decided to use money I was saving for the train to the food pantry to buy food instead and thought I could try and get a ride from someone to there next week. I decided on a small microwave pizza–only $1 of the $2 I went in with. (I’ll let it thaw and eat it, LOL.) Well, walking through the parking lot someone I saw in the store walked up to me and gave me a Jewel gift card! With that and going to the church tomorrow for breakfast and lunch, I’ll make it through the weekend just fine for food!

Funny how stuff like this always happens when I decide to “splurge” and eat. I eat, and more food comes my way so I don’t have to go without after.

I admit, a small part of me thought about not eating anything at all today and just going without for the whole day. I have history of an eating disorder, and now that the shelters are closed food is a bit more scarce. Because of my health issues, its not as easy for me to get around all the time to get food, nor do I often have money. Well, I ignored that old part of me and decided to get food like I had planned. A person with history of bad habits like mine and its like I’m being rewarded for eating. Somebody is watching over me.