Adult Adventures in Ear Tubes

I could not help but laugh when the ENT suggested I get ear tubes for my recurring ear problems. A 45 year old woman getting what is commonly thought of as a kids procedure; yes, that about explains my life. However, since the tinnitus and deafness are competing for what is going to make me go insane, I gladly agreed to the procedure.

My 7 year old had hers done a few months prior so I thought I understood the procedure. Oh No. I was sorely mistaken. My daughter got the better end of this deal. When she had hers done they gave her nice relaxing drugs and put her to sleep. Adults do not get the same treatment.

Ear tubes in adults are a quick, in office procedure with local anesthetic. I am sure that works fine for most individuals. However, I am one of those people that are incredibly difficult to numb. When I tell you I need a very high dose to get numb I am not kidding. Max that stuff out or I will feel everything!

Sadly, I felt all of this. It was not the worse experience of my life but it certainly was not pleasant. Now, I had ruptured my ear drum earlier this summer. If I had not done that, this procedure would have freaked me out a lot more.

The procedure itself is very simple. A tiny slit in your inner ear and insert the tubes; which are teeny tiny. The popping, pressure and pain from it was not fun. It also hurt a lot more for the rest of the night than I had anticipated. Unexpected side effects were my sinus’ draining and my jaw hurting (probably from stress clenching).

Three days later I am glad I got the procedure but disappointed that I still have random to low level tinnitus. I had been hoping that it would be completely gone. We had performed hearing tests earlier in the year and I knew to expect a drop in my hearing; however, I am still adjusting to that. Although, I am grateful to not be completely deaf as I have spent a good part of this year due to my ear problems, especially in my right ear.

My hearing has always been better than my eyesight and something I have always highly relied upon. It is an adjustment to not have that sense be as strong as it was in my youth. As we age, we change and hopefully have the grace to adapt and accept the changes with grace.

The one good thing to come from this experience is that I better understand my partner’s difficulties. He is deaf in one ear and having experienced this for any length of time has been eye opening. I never understood how dramatic even a slight hearing loss was when in a room of conversation. It can be very confusing as the sounds sometimes all rush together and your mind tries to make sense of it all. Now, that is if you hear anything at all. At my worst people would be talking across the table and I didn’t know except for the fact I saw their mouths moving.

Adventures in living,

Irisa

Wildlings, Errands, and Parental Judgement

The snow is calming my spirit. I am drained from school prep and two errands with my wildlings. This morning was an inability to focus and by the time I had one kid dressed another was undressed, sigh. However, we made it to school in time.

Off to the grocery store. Only one trip running off and chasing the youngest while telling the middle child to stay put. Only one unknown item in the cart at checkout;caught before paying thank you!

Library. Dear gods I am exhausted from the library. Teaching the youngest to not run off ; not remove all the books, and not climb the shelves. Reminding the middle boy to stay off the computers … books please! Keeping them both within eyesight. The men’s room there is nice. I know this from having to fish the two year old out of there.

Then we rode the elevator upstairs so I could check out two books. We’re fine, we’re fine. Elevator stopped. Alarm sounded. Okay, I got this. Running off once I got where I needed to be. Fine. Fine. Some illusion of control maintained. Long enough to get two books and go back downstairs.

Mad toddler because I wouldn’t let him set off the alarm. He laid on the floor crying while I checked out. It’s fine. The library staff was nice to me. Okay. Coats on, trying to leave and toddler meltdown commence.

And there it is. A screaming, kicking, tantruming toddler. Refuse to walk, fine. I tried to pick him up; now the kicking, thrashing, and sliding out of my hands. We make it outside; oh yeah my coat isn’t zipped and it is 18 degrees out. I can’t keep ahold of him and don’t want to drop him on the sidewalk. I attempt to put him on his feet.

Down and on the ground screaming tantrum. A mom and her kid walk by me, muttering comments and giving me dirty looks. Thanks for the judgement lady. I didn’t need that. What i needed was a moment of kindness. Would it have been too much to pick up the bag of spilled books and help me out? No, instead taking a shot when I was already feeling defeated is exactly what I needed.

Why is it so hard to be kind and supportive? Maybe you are lucky and have never had a child so strong willed that cooperation takes longer to learn. Maybe you have forgotten or never had kids.

I love my wildlings but teaching them how to best communicate, act in public, and getting them to listen can take longer. In the meantime be patient with the parents as we navigate our children and take the time to teach them without breaking their spirits. Have kindness for us because that can be what we need to survive the hard moments. The moments our kids are arguing and we are digging deep for strength and patience, that is when we need kindness because self-doubt about our skills might already be the loud voice in our heads.

Solidarity!

Irisa

Recovering Human

Fear, anxiety, depression. They are very real issues that prevent so many of us from living. These issues prevent us from being our authentic selves. Questions that go round and round in our minds.

How do you love when you were raised that love is a lie?

How do you parent when the parents you had were cruel?

How do you form healthy relationships when all you have known are toxic ones?

How do you love when you don’t understand what love is?

How do you have friendships when you feel you are worthless and nothing to give?

How do you create when the fear is choking you?

To these questions (and more) I say:

I find and embrace the warrior within. The warrior within is the part of me that hasn’t been broken. It is the part of me that wants to eradicate the fear, anxiety and depression. As long as one cell within my body wants to fight, then I have a warrior within that can shine through.

I will use the warrior within to create.

I will use the warrior within to break through my fear.

I will use the warrior within to turn the internal screaming into art and beauty.

I will use my pain, fear and insecurity to create; to be productive; to succeeed. I will dream of love and trust and live my life as though the dreams are real. I will make that type of love real. I will accept that I am loved. I will not let the people in my past destroy the love I have now. Because if I do, I will never feel his arms around me. I will miss the small smiles, tiny hands, big hearts as they show me who they are.

I do not need or want anxiety in my life. I will fight each day to silence your voice. The cruelty you share and play in my mind. The fears you plant in my Soul. The lies you whisper in my ear. I no longer give you harbor in my body, mind or spirit. I will not respond to your call.

I will only listen and answer to love and creativity. I cannot do this any other way because I will drown in your siren’s call if I do not find the warrior strength within. Those that believe in me deserve the best of me.

Now, when the anxiety and fear are in control, I am not the best of me. I am raw. I am honest. I am strong. I am weak. I am broken. I am whole. At this moment I am a contradiction of healing and healed. I am a recovering human.

Recovering from the faults of humanity. Recovering from lies and deceit. Recovering from the weakness of others and the weakness within. Recovering from choices and consequences. I am human who will use her ability to love and create to fill her cracks with gold. To create a new standard of beauty and wholeness. To be real and authentic without apology. I am a recovering human.

I embrace my role as a recovering human and begin the journey of uncovering, discovering and sharing my authentic self.

Irisa MacKenzie

Giving a Fuck

I was reading an article this morning on Scary Mommy. The author discusses the changes that she had to make once she had a third child. I relate to so many of the comments she made. Parenting three kids is a juggling act. Someone is always waiting for your time and attention.

My youngest is a year and half old. Since my pregnancy we have all been making adjustments. From the slowing down as I got big enough to need my own zip code to preparing the kids for another sibling to making peace with the necessary changes in my parenting. Slowly, I have been finding my way to not giving a fuck.

The biggest realization came recently when my anxiety and exhaustion caused a full breakdown in front of my family. Tears and crying that there was not enough of me to go around for all of them. That I felt I was failing them. The most amazing thing happened. Instead of them validating my fears, I received unconditional love and support.

My middle child (age 4) gave me magic kisses and hugs. Squeezing me tight saying “my hugs are magic and will make you better, right?” … always baby, always. The oldest (age 6) gave me a kiss on forehead, told me it would be okay and then went and got my childhood teddy bear. The youngest laid his head on my lap and patted me. In that moment I realized I wasn’t a total failure as a parent. These kids learned unconditional love and support from their dad and I.

The other realization to my anxiety trigger came from my husband. He pointed out that I wasn’t failing anyone. Our life was not filled with the hard deadlines I was used to from my career and past relationships. Things were fluid here with different priorities than I was used to. We discussed that a bit more.

This moment has been playing over in my mind and my heart. It summarizes the internal struggle I have been having. As a child and young adult I struggled between my wild self and doing as I was told so my parents would love me. This behavior translated into my teen and young adulthood, shaping how I had my first adult relationships.

On a professional level, I learned how to play the corporate games. How to act in that environment so I would get the right review and pay increase. Inside I was drowning. Twisted in anxiety and depression because my true self was being smothered every moment of every day with other people’s deadlines and agendas. All for the pretense of love and acceptance.

On the surface I had a wonderful career and family. Inside I was dying and it made me a person I disliked. Looking in the mirror was painful because the image reflected back was one of self loathing. The more I told my now ex-husband how unhappy I was, the more ungrateful and impossible to please he told me I was. This spiraled for almost two decades until it exploded.

The explosion brought with it much happiness and the life I wanted. But the anxiety haunts me. I have spent so much of my life being what everyone else wants I cannot shake the feeling that I am a fraud. The hardest expectation I have ever had is the one my current husband has for me, to be myself. He likes who I am. Something I am not used to as I was raised that wild, passionate, outspoken, clumsy person is something to be ashamed of.

Today, I have no deadlines to change my personal behavior or habits if I want love. The love is simply there. There are no expectations to have the house and kids look a certain way when he comes home. Alive and hopefully happy (they are toddlers) is enough. It reminds me that even my approach to a more organic and fluid life has been a structured plan in my head with timeframes to accomplish certain changes. The opposite of organic and fluid.

In my own way I have been working towards not giving a fuck what others think of me or what they feel the agenda for my life is for many years. Those that have been close to me over the years have not understood why this was so hard. It was impossibly hard because it was tied into being loved, accepted and valued. Until I learned the true meaning of that I could not move forward.

Each day I get to decide what is important and whether or not I give a fuck. Love is wonderful and messy, not a Hollywood production with music, perfect light, and often unlimited funds. True acceptance is filled with flaws, communication, raw honesty and love. Those are the things worth giving a fuck about.

Irisa MacKenzie

5 April 2018

Emotional Churn

Anxiety and depression cause the ebb and flow of emotions to churn on a consistent basis. A roller coaster is not an adequate analogy, but the ocean is. One moment stormy seas and the next moment calm waters. Never knowing when the tides would change in response to darkening skies.

I have lived with anxiety and depression my entire life. THis is what sent me on the road to spirituality and holistic living. There was no desire to spend my life on pharmaceuticals that made me sick. Medication has its place and should be used when needed, however if I can achieve the same results without pharmacology then I choose to do that.

Practicing my religion, meditation and writing have always given me solace. Feeling the ground beneath my feet, the breeze on my skin and the warmth of the sun comfort and strength. My hands in the dirt release and peace.

The emotional churn these last few years has been horrid. Death, divorce, miscarriages, adoption, pregnancy, birth, losing my land… so many changes in 6 years. Most of the time I haven’t felt that I can catch my breath before the next wave of emotional circumstances set in.

The emotional churn pulled me in for a long time. Deep into myself and my head. I analyze everything for long periods of time. Now that I am once again focused on my spiritual practices and not merely surviving, I feel as though I can breathe. There is a lot to digest about the past several years and the anxiety monster needs tamed once again, but I finally have the strength to care for myself not just my family.

My well is finally full enough to move forward. Each day I regain more for my well and that gives me more for my family as well. The emotional churn of anxiety may never fully leave me. PTSD may not allow for that, but I know it can get better. It has before and it will again.