My Introduction at a Pathfinders Meeting
This new group of women that I got to meet today are all P.O.N.F - Paralyzed, Overwhelmed, Fearful, and Needy. In fact, that's why we were all there, including the leader.
I suggested that we call ourselves the PONF Pathfinder People. (Try to say that 3 times fast!)
When I saw the question in our workbook that we were to address as we introduced ourselves, "Do you feel overwhelmed, paralyzed, or needy?" (we added 'fearful' during the session), my answer was, "Yes!" There was no "or" about it.
My life defines PONF... and during introductions was one of those times it showed its ugly head.
The leader of the group, a friend of mine, knew how much I was struggling. When it was my turn to introduce myself, she offered to do so for me. However, I knew she would tell the highlight reel of where I am and I wanted to share where I really am.
Really, I did.
But I had been shaking more and more from nerves as my turn got closer and closer... when I started to share, tears started to flow instead of words.
I ended up taking the leader up on her kind offer... but I had been correct. She said some of the great things I have accomplished. She did mention a little of why I was having a hard time, but of course, it's rare to share someone else's struggles for them - it's just not done.
Anyway, when I asked her to share for me, I also asked if I could write out what I really am feeling today.
I had planned to email this directly to the group members but it's been a while since I have included a synopsis of who and where I am here... so why not post it for those few who read this blog?
Let's see... where to start?
Easy facts first.
I'm married - for four months now. It's my second marriage and my husband's first. His family was absolutely positive that he was never going to marry - and after five years of dating, I was sure they were right.
They were wrong.
Side note... I'll try not to make this too long (...and everyone reading this says in unison, "Too late!") so for some aspects of my life, I'll provide links to those who may have the time and desire to find out more.
First link: a cute story I wrote about when we first started dating - https://www.spotlightonstigma.com/2020/02/
Back to the facts (these aren't quite as "easy")...
My husband has multiple mental and physical issues (but not as many as the rest of us in the family do). Not long after we first started dating, he was in and out of hospitals for several months. I took care of him throughout that time (when I wasn't working my part-time job, that is... my freelance work was moved aside for the time).
He was eventually diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease called Still's Disease. He does okay most of the time - when he's not having a flare-up, that is. (By the way, he's having a flare-up now).
I have one daughter who is now 23 and living with her fiance'. She has multiple mental and physical issues and had to drop out of college and is still unemployed two years later due to them. (This will be a recurring theme.)
They aren't planning to have kids but I have a plethora of grand-dogs, grand-cats, and grand-rats.
Second link: a plea I wrote to the teaching profession about kids like her - https://www.spotlightonstigma.com/2019/10/to-all-of-teachers-of-those-with.html
My husband and I live with my parents, who have multiple mental and physical issues. In fact, my mom is in the ER, even as I write this, because of falling in the garage and hitting her head. I talked to her earlier and she told me to wait at home instead of with her. As there's nothing I can do there and I have a webinar I have to cover soon, for once I took her up on it - but I'm keeping in contact with her in case that changes and she needs me there.
Third link: some information about a few of my mom's issues - https://www.spotlightonstigma.com/2019/09/sometimes-doctors-dont-know.html
About me - I have multiple mental and physical issues. My social anxiety disorder, combined with the low cycle (depressive cycle) I'm in currently due to my bipolar, type 2 is the main reason I couldn't introduce myself in person today.
I also deal with multiple other physical and mental issues and am currently experiencing a flare-up with one of them - fibromyalgia.
Fourth link: a somewhat in-depth essay about these issues, at least those diagnosed before July 2019 (several have been added since) - https://www.spotlightonstigma.com/2019/07/
On top of that, in the past three years, I've had cataract surgery in both eyes (with complications), a major ankle injury that kept me in bed for about 8 weeks, carpal tunnel surgery in both wrists, and rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder (my dominant side). This fall I need to have rotator cuff surgery on my other shoulder (of which, by the way, each shoulder surgery has about a 6-9 month recovery period).
Fifth, sixth, and seventh links: an essay on post-cataract surgery and gratitude, a little about how I felt shooting The World Games after my first carpal tunnel surgery, and how it was going a couple of weeks after my rotator cuff surgery - https://www.spotlightonstigma.com/2020/06/ and https://www.spotlightonstigma.com/2022/09/engagement-surgery-and-world-games-oh.html and https://www.spotlightonstigma.com/2022/12/two-weeks-post-rotator-cuff-surgery.html
I grew up in Birmingham and moved to Tennessee after my first marriage. I moved back here in 2016 due to a combination of professional junk and my parents getting to the age where they needed help.
In past lives I've been a radio DJ (at Jeff State - not professionally); an audio engineer for church, bands, and TV (professionally); a songwriter, musician, and part of many worship teams (amateur); a worship leader (for a tiny church), came very close to being ordained; and was a special ed teacher for 25 years.
I'm learning ASL (sign language) after wanting to become fluent since I was a young child with a friend who had deaf parents. I gave up on that dream in my 30s and at age 54 it's finally happening. (It helps to go to a deaf church!) I'm still dreaming of becoming a licensed interpreter at some point.
Currently, I'm a professional freelance writer and photographer, and yes, I've won some awards for both. Our fearless (fearful?) leader already mentioned that. It's a very long story that I don't want to get into today, but I'll just sum it up by saying that God took something very, very bad and made it very. very good.
Last link: how God got me where I am professionally - https://www.spotlightonstigma.com/2023/02/my-your-voice-editorial.html
(Aren't you glad I didn't feel up to introducing myself today? We'd probably still be there now and at the time I'm finishing this post, it's dark outside. 😊)