Archive for October 2012

Let me just start by saying that I never wanted to have kids and never wanted to get married. I didn’t want either, but I especially didn’t want the kid part. I remember in a college literature course reading Jane Eyre and seeing the name “Adele” for the first time, thinking, That would be a really great name for a girl, like someone’s daughter. Not my daughter, of course, but someone else’s daughter.

I was 26; I’d been with Andy monogamously, which, trust me, was a record for me, for about five months when I started to get the familiar feeling of discomfort. The suffocation of intimacy was closing in on me and closing in tight. We had spent Memorial Day weekend together the way most single twenty-somethings our age did, by binge drinking. We’d partied Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night together, and as the days went on, the stronger the urge for my freedom grew. I invited him over on Memorial Day “to talk.” When he got there, we sat outside on my parents’ deck (since I, admittedly, still lived with them as an aforementioned “twenty-something”) and I proceeded to break up with him through my hangover via straightforward sentiments with the occasional analogy thrown in for good measure (“It’s like I’m a ship and I just need to sail,”) and chain-smoking. After all, he knew I’d been planning on moving away to Charlotte, North Carolina, with my friend Tom. It wasn’t like he shouldn’t have seen this coming. Through it all, he forced a smile, and although I knew it wasn’t genuine , I figured it wasn’t my problem at that point. He shouldn’t have gotten so attached.

Right before he left, he handed me something that I didn’t think much about. “Here,” he said. “Since you were late.” I stared at the e.p.t. he clutched in his hand and kind of shrugged.

“O…kay,” I stammered. “I mean, I guess I’ll take this.” I really don’t remember how many seconds I peed on that stick. I don’t remember what I was thinking while I peed. All I know is, I did do that, and then waited for the result. I looked at the little lines on the stick and looked at the illustration on the box. I stayed in the bathroom for a long time. When I slowly and reluctantly emerged, with a mixture of shock and disbelief, I said, “Ummm…I can’t really tell…I mean, it’s hard to tell…”

Andy took one look at the test and said, “It looks to me like you’re pregnant.” The whole room was spinning, spinning save for those two little lines indicating the life already growing inside me. I asked Andy to leave and then I curled up on the couch and called my friend Missy.

"I’m pregnant.” I started bawling the second I said it out loud. While I don’t explicitly recall her exact words, I know they were full of surprise. I couldn’t stay home by myself so I decided to go to her house. But first I threw away my cigarettes – you know, just in case I decided to keep it.

I suddenly forgot how to drive. How to breathe. All I could focus on is wanting desperately for the tears welling in my eyes to not start streaming down my face, wanting desperately to suppress the urge to smoke every single one of those cigarettes I’d thrown away.

Wanting desperately.

I had wanted desperately for a lot of things lately. But not this. Not like this. Not in this context, and not like this.

Why did this happen? How did this happen and why did this happen to me?

He had done this; he had wanted this. He didn’t want me to leave, so he made sure to do something to keep me here.

It wasn’t possible. It’s not possible. There’s no way. No way.

No way I’m pregnant.

When I got to Missy’s (who, at the time, lived with Tom, the friend I was moving with to Charlotte) she came to the door with a face full of sympathy (although I swear there was a little of Thank Jesus it's you and not me in there). She hadn’t told Tom yet, so we went upstairs to find him packing for our move. “Hey!” he said, and then, “What’s wrong?”

“I’m pregnant,” I blurted out, and then immediately burst into tears once again. His entire face changed as he came over to me. He and Missy were both just staring quietly, unsure of what to say in this surreal circumstance. I made a lame joke about not having room for a play pen in our Charlotte apartment and Tom half smiled as we made our way down the hall to their computer room to do some Googling. The next few weeks changed my life forever.

The days and nights that followed consisted of me crying off and on, slowly telling more trusted friends, and nibbling on Saltines to put my miserable 24-hour nausea at bay. The night I found out, after trashing my Camel Special Lights, I went out and bought a bottle of prenatal vitamins, again, “just in case,” and I was convinced the entire time I was in line at Kmart that everyone who passed me could already tell I was with child. Every night when my parents were safely in bed I went online and learned everything I could about abortion. The questions I kept coming back to were, Will I feel guilty? Will I regret it? I read a lot about those themes and kept telling myself that this thing, this “baby,” was just a cluster of cells right now; it wasn’t really anything, and this was not in my life plans. I called the people I trusted the most, and looking back, almost everyone I told about the pregnancy had children. They all said the same thing, “You will regret not having the baby. You will never regret having it.” I told them all the same thing, “But I’m different; I’m not you. I can’t have this baby; I don’t want this baby.” All I could do was think about how all-around hopeless the whole situation was and cry myself to sleep at night.

I eventually made an appointment at the nearest abortion clinic. One of my friends took off work to drive me. I called the clinic the morning of and asked all kinds of questions. “Oh, girls come in here, some of them seven or eight times,” was one of her answers when I’d asked about the pain. I’d been brushing my hair in the mirror and froze. That floored me; I was having an abortion conversation like we were talking about a pedicure appointment. The woman on the phone said, “If you’re at all not sure about this, don’t come in. Take some time to think about it.” I hung up the phone and stared into the mirror. Who am I?

The following week I moped around the house, staying in while everyone else partied, in general just feeling sorry for myself. How could I do this? I didn’t want to be with Andy. If I kept this baby I would do it on my own. I’d have to stay around here, which I hated, but I knew I could never move away with Andy here. He’d want as much involvement as I would, should I come to terms with having this baby.

Then one night, it happened. I had a dream filled with baby’s cries – my baby’s cries. In my dream I went to pull my baby out of her crib. It was a girl. Her name was Adele. It was then, that I knew.
I could do this.

And I did do it. I followed my heart, my gut instinct, and I feel that my life right now is exactly what and where it should be. Andy and I ended up falling in love when Adele was four weeks old – but that’s another story.

The bottom line is, I made the best decision for me…and I’m glad the decision was in my hands, that I had that decision to make.

I went to a facilitator training last week to help me, and all who attended, facilitate the support groups we’re set to do.  I’ve been facilitating my bipolar/depression support group, Shelter from the Storm, for a few months now, and I was really looking forward to the training because I love learning, in general, plus this is content I’m very interested in – or else I wouldn’t have started the support group in the first place.  I knew this training would help me become a better support group facilitator.

I arrived at the training on day one, not really knowing what to expect, besides assuming it would be informative…other than that…well, training I’ve been to for other jobs was always pretty boring. Partly because those jobs weren’t right for me, and partly because some people should not be in the position of training anyone to do anything.  I’m sure some of you have been through similar experiences.

Well, let me just say that from the very start, I knew I was going to love this training.  Initially, with all of the trainees thrown in together, we were kind of quiet.  Hesitant.  Looking each other up and down curiously…you know, just not really sure what to expect.  Once we started doing activities together, we loosened up a bit. I started to get to know some of the personalities of some of the people I was interacting with.  It’s hard to explain…and this might sound corny, but…it felt like I’d known all these people my entire life.  I’ve had that feeling a lot lately.  I’m not going to quote the Bible or anything here, but this past year for me has been the most “magical” year. I think people have been coming into my life for a reason.  A specific reason.  Every one of them.  Including, and maybe especially, everyone at this training.

I won’t go through every activity we did, step by step, but just kind of give an overview of it all.  The first day we pretty much broke the ice, engaging in those intial conversations, learning about our backgrounds, which support group we’d be leading.  I just felt so welcome and “at home” with the workshop trainers…each one is a unique, deeply caring person, and I could tell that simply by looking into their eyes.

We learned a little about empathy, about how some of the people coming into our support groups might feel.  Everything was so interactive that it wasn’t possible to feel bored.  At the end of each day we had a “community meeting” where we all met up and contributed our thoughts about the day.  Even though I actually consider myself an introvert, I felt compelled to speak quite a bit during this whole process.  I think because I just care so much about it, and it definitely helps to know that the people training you really, truly care about you and about what you have to say.  I think that’s rare.
The second day of training was wonderful.  We were introduced to the concept of a “labyrinth” and how to make one…then how to go through one.  (A labyrinth is kind of like a maze, except with a maze, you have different choices of path and direction; with a labyrinth there is one single path that leads to the center and then back again.) This might sound crazy too, but before the labyrinth we made that day was even started, I envisioned the final product to be exactly as it was.  It was beautiful.  Each of us took turns walking through the labyrinth we made out of some craft supplies - colorful yarn, realistic-looking fall leaves, candles, and affirmations to stop and read along the way.  There was also music playing (which I’d also envisioned) sort of Enya-esque, and soothing. Once we walked through the whole thing, there was a bowl in the middle and we were to each take a card and pour this packet of sand we’d been given into another dish.  The sand represented something we wanted to let go of.  The card contained a concept and then an explanation; mine was about being in the present – something I’d actually been thinking a lot about.  The whole experience was very spiritual for me…I just could feel it in the air.  I felt so peaceful during the labyrinth experience.  It was my favorite part of the training.

I also feel that the experience opened me up more.  I felt more comfortable talking within the group after that.  On the inside, I’m a shy person…on the outside, I just go with the “fake it ‘til you make it” philosophy, like when I’m teaching.  I pretend to be confident and hope that I come across that way.
The three days of training was just so much fun for me…but it was more than “fun.”  It was one of those experiences that I feel truly bonded a group of people together.  I felt the same way after I attended a court-ordered weekend class because I got a DUI six years ago. I also felt the same way after both times I’ve done jury duty.  (And I might be the only person who actually loves jury duty – but I do.)

The leaders of the training, Kathy, Doug, Jerry, and Meghan, each brought something magnificent to the table.  Kathy is very intuitive, reflective, insightful…she just has the ability to make everyone in the room feel relaxed.  Doug possesses a refined dignity and thoroughly observes his surroundings.  Jerry is both hilarious and intellectual – the best combination.  Meghan is very accepting and kind, and like I told her at the training, I love her voice.  It’s almost melodic…graceful.  And all of the trainers were graceful.  They were also warm, caring, deeply invested, and charismatic. 

I really could go on forever about what I enjoyed about these few days…I think experiences like this do bond people together.  I felt a connection with everyone who attended the facilitator training.  We spent quite a few hours together, and each one of us wants to help people – I think I felt connected to everyone right away because of that, and then, through getting to know people better, related to them in many more ways.  I met so many strong, intelligent, funny, amazing individuals, and it is one of those experiences I will look back on as being one of the most extraordinary of my life.
My bipolar/depression support group meets Mondays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Delphos public Library if you, or someone you know, may be interested.

Overcoming Breast Cancer

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which obviously affects all involved physically and on a deep emotional level.

It is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This is also something that touches people in a visceral way – physically and emotionally.  Opal Sproul, of Waynesfield - my grandma, found out she had it in 1983.  She found a lump in her breast taking a bath. She was 61. She had surgery in February 1984; they did a modified radical mastectomy and took out all the lymph nodes and some muscle. After the surgery that took her first breast, she had the second one removed two weeks later.  She had to have physical therapy to regain strength in her arms.  She now has bone scans every year to make sure there’s no growth anywhere.

I remember when I was really little, I was sitting in my parents’ hot tub with my grandma.  I asked her why she didn’t wear a bikini.  She said, “Because I don’t have any boobs!”  While I didn’t fully understand it at the time, it was the first time I realized she didn’t have breasts.  That made an impact on me, and I’ll never forget it.

My grandma uses prostheses with her bra, and she doesn’t like to wear anything low-cut because of the scarring.  She had a good attitude about the whole thing, though, saying she didn’t have a need for her breasts anymore. They didn’t define who she was.

My great aunt Laura was 52 when she was diagnosed, four years earlier than my grandma. She just had one breast removed and then had chemotherapy and radiation.  Laura had a reoccurrence at age 60. The cancer had metastasized to her liver.  She had chemotherapy again. 

One night the doctor said she wouldn’t make it through the night.
In the morning, Laura sat up and said, “You gave up on me, didn’t you?”

She went on to lead a productive life; she kept working for several years.  She died in 1996, from complications of breast cancer, the result of the chemotherapy, and cancer growth in other areas.

My aunt Darlene Chiles, of Waynesfield, started getting mammograms before she was 40, because she has fibrocystic disease, which means she has lots of cysts and lumps. She’s had 3 biopsies over the years, and she’s gone back for more magnification mammograms and ultrasounds.

 In April of 2011, they sent a biopsy of her left breast to the Cleveland Clinic for diagnosis. The pathologist had said it was a complex sample. The diagnosis was:   invasive breast cancer out of the duct and into the breast tissue.

Darlene then went to an oncology surgeon.  She talked to friends who had breast cancer. She went to a doctor that a friend had had years before.  “I knew I wanted them both removed, with mom having both removed. I was never really worried, I knew from the time of diagnosis I was gonna be fine. I knew it was just a bump in the road.”

 Darlene missed 2 weeks of work for her masectomy.  She didn’t have incisinal pain, just pain from the positioning of her arms during surgery. She opted for reconstructive surgery. “And they look good,” Darlene said.  (And they do.  I’ve seen them.)

As far as advice for others going through this, Darlene said, “It’s going to a top-notch facility to get screenings done and not missing those anniversaries of getting them done. You have to be an advocate for your own health. If you’ve got a feeling, go with it. There was never a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be perfectly fine.  Everybody was real supportive.  In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a big deal for me. A lot of people think it’s losing their femininity, losing breasts. Small price to pay. Never have to have mammogram again.”

Darlene also said that having a good support system and friends and family who have been through it helped her. Plus, she got, “new boobs. I show my boobs a lot. I didn’t used to flash my boobs quite so much.”  She continued, “Who you are isn’t contained in any body part. Having surgery doesn’t change who you are. You are the same person.”

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is not limited to spousal or family abuse.  It can also occur in the form of intimate partner violence, meaning relationships in which people are dating.

Craig and I met the summer I was twenty-one, home from college until fall classes resumed.  My friend Stephanie and I had plans to go out.  Looking good, as it was the summer she and I spent every second of the day lying in the sun ingesting little more than cigarettes and Diet Mountain Dew, we were both tan and skinny.  (I didn’t say healthy.) 

One night we drove to a bar the next town over.  Much of my early twenties was spent doing very important things like drinking until blacking out.

We were on the dance floor when she nudged me, “Look over there!”  The most muscular arms I had ever seen in person, attached to an overall smokin’ hot body and face that was clearly out of my league was in my direct line of vision.  The buff and hunky types were never what I’d go for, because, well…they’d never go for me.  “He’s hot,” I said in awe to Stephanie, wiping the drool from my chin. 

Hope was immediately abandoned, as I would never possibly gain the interest of a human being that impossibly good-looking.  Somehow, though, he and his friend made his way to us and seemed to actually be interested.  And the hot one was interested in me.  He started making small talk and I obliged but never put much stock into it, figuring he was merely being nice.

After a while, the bathroom was screaming my name.  Once inside, a girl that I’d seen with him earlier said, “Craig wondered where you went!  He really likes you!”  Disbelief doesn’t even begin to describe it.   I turned to stare at myself in the grungy bathroom mirror, looking hard to try and see what he saw.
When I exited the bathroom, the bar was closing down and he was waiting for me.  “So can I get your number and we can get something rolling?”  he asked.

It seemed too good to be true.

Craig and I began dating and I was on top of the world.  He was by far the hottest guy I’d ever seen, and I was still in shock that he’d find someone like me attractive, even though men were recently appearing interested in me - I’d “blossomed” since high school, which means I went from a B to D-cup. My hair had also grown out, which apparently can make a world of difference for men (although as it turns out, the focus on the body inevitably becomes, um…much lower…which they prefer without hair.  Go figure.) 

The signs were subtle at first.  We were on a date and he asked me if there were one thing I could change about his body, what would it be?  Laughing, because his body was ripped to perfection, I giggled out a “Nothing!”  Assuming he’d say the same, I asked him.  “You could work on your arms,” he said with a semi-disgusted smirk.  My heart sank and I felt a lump grow in my throat followed by a little anger.  I calmed down a little with the rationalization that, well, yeah, I guess I could work on my arms, right?  What’s so wrong with that?

Working on my arms turned out to be hour-long sessions in the gym with him as he also proceeded to tell me what to eat.  A vegetarian at the time, I didn’t get enough protein from food to build the muscles he wanted to see on my body, so he recommended I buy cases of protein bars and drink protein shakes. He sat me down one day and said, “Okay, I have a diet and exercise plan laid out for you.”  He then proceeded, like a military officer, to bark at me that I was not allowed to let anything remotely tasty touch my lips from this point on.  “There’ll be no doughnuts, no more pastries, none of that.  We’re gonna whip you into shape!” 

While many people pay big bucks for dieticians and personal trainers to motivate and sculpt them into perfect-bodied individuals, I hadn’t asked for this.  It felt degrading and made me sad.  At the same time, for whatever reason, I went along with it, replacing my hurt with intense motivation to do whatever it took to please him.

Craig and I started working out regularly together, and he pushed me through workouts, harder and harder with each one while he simultaneously powered through his own gym routine, sweat dripping from his blue bandana.  Jaw clenched, veins popping, he grunted angrily with every bicep curl, lat pull-down, or squat that he performed, stopping now and then to guzzle water from a gallon jug and shoot me a casual thumbs–up.  Proud or impressed were two states I hadn’t seen from him until we hit the gym together.  His eyes would widen and he’d smile, congratulating me every time I completed a difficult set. 

The positive reaction I got was what drove my addiction to please him, and my addiction to attain bodily perfection.  He became increasingly complimentary with the more muscle I gained and fat I lost.  And I thrived on it.  While he had never seemed too fazed by the fact that I was working toward a Master’s degree in literature and had a lot of smart things to say, he was thrilled to notice that my behind was firming up.

Because Craig, who appeared to have other interests when we first met, like golf and Jim Carrey movies, slowly was revealed to be more and more superficial, I figured the problem lied in me.  Maybe I was too judgmental.  Having a great body is no small feat, right?  Deep thoughts are overrated, I told myself. Aren’t we all superficial on some level?  Clothes and make-up meant a lot to me; maybe Craig and I were more alike than I thought.  Maybe it was just me.  Besides, how could someone so crazy hot be wrong for me?

My exercising spiraled out of control and my now fervent desire to emulate a cover girl on Women’s Fitness caused me to stop eating altogether, and when I did eat, I got rid of it most of the time.  Craig was so proud of me at this point and loved to show me off like a shiny new car.  He hadn’t stopped offering his “constructive criticism,” however, with helpful tips like, “You know if you get your waist smaller your boobs will look even bigger,” and “If I were rich I’d take care of that bump on your nose.”  He also freely distributed his fashion advice, which means he preferred that I dress like a stripper, and I politely accommodated. 

All my friends hated him and tried to at first tactfully, and then not so tactfully, tell me we weren’t right for each other, but by then I had invested so much time on the relationship and money on a gym membership that it seemed like a waste to give up now.

I became obsessed with pleasing him. 

Although I had smoked when we met, I gave it up for him even though he chewed tobacco, because that was okay for some reason.  Smoking behind his back one night and his discovery of this led to him going ballistic, screaming in my face and becoming unacceptably aggressive.  Somehow I always turned it on myself, explaining away his anger and rationalizing that, ‘He’s right; smoking isn’t healthy.’

So many times during the course of our relationship as my identity slipped further and further away, I told myself I was actually becoming a better person with Craig in my life – after all, my body had never looked better. Plus, he really tried sometimes.  Even though he didn’t manage to get flowers sent on Valentine’s Day, it wasn’t his fault.  All the florists were just booked.  But he watched Sex and the City with me one night.  I mean, come on - what guy does that?! 

His constant remarks about other women became normal to me; I figured all men did that and I was overreacting.  His opinions became my opinions; I started agreeing with him.  He liked when I made out with other girls, so I did that, too.  Essentially, I became everything he’d ever wanted, down to my perfectly manicured fingernails which I’d always bitten away at before, but he’d found that “horrible.”  My hair was cut the way he wanted.  I was his Pygmalion.  Had he gotten the reference, I would have told him this, but I’m pretty sure that’s not explained in MuscleMag.

When I went back to college, he visited me on the weekend that it didn’t interfere with his workouts, only to pack duffel bags full of supplements, cases of tuna, and I can’t forget carrying cooked chicken breast in my purse if we did go out, so he could eat his protein around the clock. 

When we weren’t going out drinking, we’d spend nights renting movies which we never got through because we always started messing around.  Sometimes it would start out playfully, sort of like a wrestling match.  Being the smaller, less muscular of us, I’d do my best to fight back, because sometimes he didn’t know his own strength. 

One time to make him stop pinning me to the ground, which was really hurting me, I grabbed at his chest.  He got in my face with an expression full of rage and screamed, “Don’t you ever grab my pec again!”  It really scared me and I immediately I started crying.  He half-heartedly apologized and left my house while I was still in tears.

He became rougher and rougher with me on a regular basis.  Inside, I was dying, sinking, drowning.  This didn’t feel right at all, and the realization of what was happening was breaking me.  Even though a voice in the back of my head was whispering that this wasn’t right, this wasn’t healthy, this wasn’t me, I told the voice to shut up.

He visited me at college one weekend in January and we went to a small party one night at a friends’ house.  Michigan had literally six feet of snow on the ground at this time.  Craig and I snuck off to the bathroom, something not unusual for us.  Our making out was getting pretty heated.  Somehow, some way, something changed.  He began banging my head repeatedly, hard, against the tile bathroom floor.  All I can remember is digging my fingernails as hard as I could into his arms, to the point of drawing blood, so he’d stop.  He finally did.  To scream at me. 

He ran out of the bathroom yelling that he’s done with me, he’s done with my parties, done with my friends, done with everything.  He didn’t explain further and I don’t know what his motivation was, but it didn’t matter.  The ten or so people in the room who had been immersed in the party, laughing, drinking, and listening to music, immediately became somber deer in headlights, their eyes darting from Craig to me and back again, wondering that the heck was going on.  How did I feel at this point?
Numb.  Frozen.  Paralyzed.

My first instinct was to sprint out of the house and not look back.  So I did.  In my thigh-high boots, leather mini-skirt and beaded tank top, I just ran and ran the best I could through the semi-shoveled sidewalk between the six-feet of snow. 

Between huffing and puffing, I looked back and he was nowhere to be seen.  I was a bundle of fear, hurt, and sadness - packaged in a leather mini and sparkly tank.  A car full of guys pulled up and asked if I needed a ride, so I got in.  My address somehow escaped my lips and I luckily got dropped off without being gang-banged. 

As soon as I reached my apartment, I called my best friend Steve, sobbing about what had happened.  Steve said he was on his way over, but Craig got there first.  Somehow he turned the whole thing on me once again, that I had angered him to the point of violence.  And I believed him.  Apologizing through my sobs, I begged him not to leave.  After all, he was so angry and upset with me, and I had caused it.  It was just a big misunderstanding triggered by drinking.  ‘This wasn’t like him,’ I thought, something I’d thought many times.

We stayed together far longer than we should have.

The funny thing is, the realization that my identity was gone and I had no idea who I was anymore and I abhorred the thread of me I had left – the me I was with him - didn’t hit me when it should have – it came out of the clear blue sky one day when I wasn’t even with Craig; I was alone.  Since I spent all my time at the gym anyway, I had gotten a job there by this point. Working the front desk, aimlessly flipping through a magazine,something struck me like cognitive lightning.  ‘Who am I?’ I wondered.  ‘When is the last time I did something I enjoy doing?  What do I enjoy doing?’  This wave of truth washed over me; I felt my whole body come to a conclusion.  Did I know who I was anymore?   Not at all.  Being myself, doing the things that fulfilled me, engaging in activities that brought me peace, following paths that agreed with my sensibilities – where…where did that go?
I missed me.

It wasn’t a quick, painless process.  The break-up dragged on and on, complete with those post-break-up drunk dials (cue Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”) that I regretted every time.  There were days I could not physically get out of bed.  Kleenex made a killing off of me.  Logically it made no sense – I was leaving something very unhealthy and damaging – something to this day I’ve not gotten over. 

Heartbreak followed because of everything I had put into it and I had wanted it to work so badly.  Even though all along I had really known he wasn’t the one for me, I had wanted him to be the one.  The reality that he wasn’t and that he never would be, left a giant aching hole in my heart…because I had known this but had refused to accept it.  There was sadness, intense sadness.  The sadness wasn’t because he was gone.  The sadness was because I had been gone for so long.

It’s taken years to recover from my extremely damaged self-esteem, and it’s still a struggle, though not nearly as bad as it was. 

I still have trouble setting foot in a gym.

About Me

I have an MA in literature from Eastern Michigan University and I write a couple of regular columns for The Delphos Herald. I am the mother of two young girls, and the wife of a firefighter. I am also bipolar (with generalized anxiety disorder) which somewhat accounts for my occupied mind. I rely on sarcasm the way others rely on oxygen.
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