Sounds right, yesterday was Tuesday, although husband thought it was Wednesday.....he's no help when it comes to what day it is sometimes! Was he disappointed to realize that now he had to work "an extra day", as he had thought yesterday was Wednesday. Poor guy: no breeze, high humidity, and hot already. A few of the guys he works with want to sign on with a company out of Florida, and are re-thinking the whole "work year round" appeal with the heat and humidity concept. Concrete, as I didn't know at first, is HOT already.....they actually have to use ice right now to get it to work right with the weather. The whole crew comes home so tired, hot and covered with concrete, it makes me realize that I have a cushy day by comparison! 

So, it's Wednesday. Got it.......husband didn't know that the pdoc had put me on an anti-psychotic, as I hadn't told him yet. Frankly, I knew he wouldn't be thrilled anyway, so I didn't announce it to him. I figured IF there were bad side effects, then he would have an unbiased recognition of them. This morning however, I wake to the question of why is this medication listed on the daily medication chart I use? Well, this isn't the first pdoc to recommend it, the psychiatrist's since the hospital have all been saying I need an anti-psychotic, and I see his face change. He is reacting to the term "psychosis" much like I have. 

He does remind me that I had side effects from taking it for the short duration last time. Yes, I know....but I also know that side effects come with most medications, and I'm sensitive to meds. So, half the dose, give it some time, and let's see. The reality is that each of the pdocs have recommended either Saphris, Seroquel, or Latuda. I know what Saphris does, so let's give it some time first. Half the dose, and watch......I feel clear already, and that was a benefit that I liked with it. He said: "what about the facial twitches?", well darling, still have them, and they should have been gone already. Frankly, I had them when I was 17.......a wee bit embarrassing, and I had them during college.....and that wasn't that long ago. He's worried about manic phases, but the pdoc said what I experienced was more energy and clarity, not mania. I have to agree with that, I grew up with a manic personality (my mom), so I know what the "grandiose thoughts" are in actuality, and that is not what I'm experiencing. Anyway, he then says: "Well, I threw the meds away, so let me pull them back out of the trash." Mmmmmm, good idea since they are very expensive. 

Go figure, I found a picture, beautiful really, that someone had put near the trash can. I hung it up, and the boys and I have been waiting to see how long it will take him to notice. He hasn't yet. I also hid the chocolate, which he raids, and he hasn't found that yet. BUT he finds the meds.....really? He'll find the chocolate next, but the picture he won't notice until we move again. Sometimes, he makes me laugh. He can find most of my hiding spots for sweeties, but cannot tell you, right now, where the strainer is. Same place since we moved in, but it's not a high priority. I don't blame him one bit for keeping tabs on the medication, there are so many, it takes both of us to keep track of who takes what and when. 

He said a co-worker asked him yesterday why I always look so mad? Huh? I didn't know I looked mad! He said, well she's writing a book right now about her experiences in the Kingdom Hall growing up, and you only see her when she's out on the balcony writing. That made the crew laugh, as one of them, it turns out was raised as I was, but was kicked out of his home at 16. His parents are still very devout, and as is typical, he had to adjust the hard way from a life of isolation to instantly being "outside". He was shocked to meet "another one", as we often feel when meeting other people from our generation who were raised this way. We often keep quiet about it......I mean: who would understand, except anyone who has been there? Anyway, they all had a good laugh over the subject.....but it made me think: do I really look "mad"? His co-worker said, "well, sometimes she smiles, and it's beautiful, but generally she looks focused and like you really shouldn't talk with her."

Well, I can tell I switch, and I've seen my reflection at times in the window while out and about......and no, I'm not exactly approachable all the time. Most people that I talk with end up wanting to be "insta-friends", and I'm not keen on that, so I don't really walk about with an expression of openness. It's true, his co-workers only see me while I'm outside typing, so yes, I do look serious and am concentrating on difficult subjects. Additionally, the few people I have talked to where ever we live comment that I'm soooooo kind and enjoyable to talk with, that now they want to visit every time they pass by. No thank you......I actually will go inside the house if I see that it's that time of day, where people are now coming and going. I end up knowing everything about everyone in no time at all, and truly am not interested. I'm just easy to talk to.......which is weird that his co-worker says I always look mad. Hmmmmm, never considered that. But the boys do say I look different when I'm writing my book, which makes sense. I just explain that I have to concentrate. They get it......and apparently the co-workers did as well. 

Yet, I remember when we were at the hotel for the last job......and everyone commented that I looked so serious and non-approachable, until they caught me smiling and talking. Then, the "insta-friend" would occur......and frankly, I don't want to be that involved in everybody's life. Especially as most of the road workers (like we are) don't have family along, so the men tend to be very lonely. Conversations can go on forever it seems, and really pushes my defenses by a certain point. So, I suppose, whether I realized it or not, I've learned to stay focused on my own business, and not appear friendly. That's sad in a way. 

But do I want to change? Not really........I'm not bothered that the general public isn't eager to approach me. It saves me from a lot of hassle, and there are enough people who seek me out for dialog where ever I go anyway. I have made a habit of ending conversations nicely, as they can go on for extensive periods of time, and then the typical request to "email" each other. Really? No thank you.......besides, I'm here with my boys, and need to stay focused on them, where I'm going and what I'm doing. So, yeah......even when I was in classes, I made friends, but also kept a lot of people at bay. That's fine with me.......I'm not changing. 

Interesting, my boys say that my smile is like my hair.....I keep it up and tucked away when in public, but when home: they both come out. They say it's because "they are too special for everyone to see". I'm not sure if this is such a healthy thing. However, there's no denying that when I used to live by putting on a smiling front, I was literally so approachable that everyone clung to me; and I was open to not only everyone's ideas and opinions but victimization as well. Since I've stopped smiling to please everyone, I've become more aware of people who are truly unsafe, and have also avoided those who are simply overly curious about my personal life. 

I'm not sure.....maybe this will change in a few years, or maybe I've just reached a point where I realize that I don't have to please everyone, and I don't have to be emotionally available to all. Frankly, a lot of people wave to me on the balcony, and I don't know who they are. Most are men, and to my way of thinking: I don't know who you are, so I'm more than a little hesitant to wave back. I just smile a wee bit, and go back to my work. I honestly don't know why most of the cars who pass by wave...maybe it's a Texas thing. Since most are men, I really am uncomfortable with smiling or waving in response. 

Then I recalled that I have always been this way with men. I have never been open or approachable. Of course, mom had her rules and the Kingdom Hall had strict regulations on behavior, so some of this stems from that era of my life. But, I have also been hurt a great deal by men, so I have just learned to keep a distance. I had a boyfriend tell me once that I remind him of a beautiful cat who has been abused. I sit there, all charm and beauty, but there's something that says I just may scratch and hiss if you get too close. I also have some wonderful girlfriends who tell me that the only men I have let near me were those who (with the exception of my husband) were so pushy that they ignored any boundaries or defenses, and that was the first red flag to several bad relationships. Husband has been the only one who has treated me gently.....and he's certainly not the most outgoing of people. However, he never pushed me, and has always allowed me the peace to simply relax around him. I don't have to perform or be a "certain way". 

He has commented, (as many others have), that my facial expressions often remind him of Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis or Angelina Jolie. They claim there's something in my eyes that communicates much more than mere words. That observation often reminds me of a Broadway musical tune that I've sung for years:"no words, can tell, the story my eyes tell, when you look my way, you'll hear what I say......to the people in the dark, still out there, in the dark."

As Dante is growing older, he notices more often the switches that occur. Of course, raising children places different demands throughout the day. He in particular, can become quite challenging at times. He told the psychiatrist that my eyes change and he knows that he needs to stop arguing and listen. As he put it: "she can make a face that makes you feel like you're the smallest person in the world". Oh no......what am I communicating to my children? 

So, later I asked him about it.....his response was actually reassuring. He said "I just know when your face looks different, that I have pushed it too far, and am not listening. I know what I'm doing, but sometimes I just feel like arguing. Then you look at me, and I realize how rude that is. I feel really bad, so I stop. I'm glad you don't yell or hit, you just look. I'm lucky." Okay.....I think I understand. 

Hence, I conducted an experiment. I actually allowed myself to switch voluntarily.....I allowed one of the insiders who I suspected dealt with Dante the most to come forward. First, I said: "does the face look like this?", and then allowed the insider to come forward. Instantly he smiled and said, almost joyfully: "YES!!! That's the face, that's the look you have when I'm being sneaky, or doing something that I know I shouldn't do. It creeps me out, but I know that's just you telling me to stop." 

I wondered at his joyful response, until I realized that to his perspective, this was still "mom", the person he loves and feels comfortable with. Even with that insider full out, he was relaxed, not terrified, but certainly respectful. Perspective is an interesting thing, and as he explains it: "I don't get hit, or yelled at....you just look a certain way, and I know I'm going to lose the argument." So, apparently Meghan (the insider) doesn't degrade him in any way either.....it's simply a matter of boundaries and respect. 

Husband confirmed as well......there's facial expressions with each insider, and the only time he feels concerned is when a particular insider becomes insecure or frightened. He recognizes that as a sign that I am not centered in the present year, and that I am struggling with flashbacks and memories. Well, for all intents and purposes, that is what is occurring, and I'm grateful that after many years, he can understand. He says he wishes he could "fix" those emotions, but realizes that only I can do so. I must reconnect with myself and my system simply needs to reground in the present time. I have to face my past, and the emotions inherent within those memories, as no one else can do so for me. 

Just my thoughts for the day......I truly don't know if this behavior stems from childhood, trauma, DID, or a combination of them all. It could also be that I'm finally recognizing boundaries and in reality, and not bothered in the least that some people find me unapproachable. The only thing that does concern me is that I have learned to not trust the general public. What message does that deliver to my children? And yet, to live differently has also shown me how many predators there are in our daily existence. 

Perhaps, as time goes by, I will change yet again and learn to trust the world more. Perhaps I won't....and this is simply who I am. Two things I do know is that I'm not repeating the parenting style I was raised with, and my life is far different now than it has ever been. Would I change these things? Absolutely not. 

Just my ten cents for the day......hope everyone can find a bit of peacefulness today. Sending warm support to those who feel alone or are hurting......
Shelly
 


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    Shelly Dowen-Johnson

    I am currently traveling with my husband across the United States, due to the nature of the work he does. 

    I am the mother of two boys, one who has recently been diagnosed with Early Onset Childhood Schizophrenia (Schizoaffective Disorder). 

    It appears the Dowen family gene sequencing contributes much more than the darling dimples both boys have inherited!  But, as always, with love, tender care and support....we will thrive! 

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