warning: long story about my suffering

howling frog, or maybe a toad, found on walk this morning, he expresses so much of what I have felt and been through these past couple of weeks

It's been a weird couple of weeks since we returned from the UK.
Pain in the mouth, most intense near to where the implant/tooth crown is, however it wandered here there and everywhere in the mouth; continuous pain - especially I think in the head where you just can't get away from it - is debilitating, crippling, just plain awful.
So for three weeks I was in pain, almost all of the time, I went to the dentist, got a second opinion from an implant-specialist, their conclusion: there's nothing wrong physically and after what I told them about the disastrous reorganisation of the service department at Miele, my former-former job as coach and front office employee (the one before the 3month reception stint) all of which happened to coincide with the very slow implant business, my body just couldn't deal with healing and work related stress all at the same time....and so, I didn't know this was possible, the stress chose the weakest spot, i.e. my mouth, decided to settle there and now I am in pain!
So on the one hand relief, the implant doesn't have to be removed (the entire procedure lasted one and a half years, so I'm not keen on losing it) but what to do?
Fysiotherapy was recommended and I have had 2 sessions and kind of know what to check, from time to time during the day; have an appointment with a dentist specialised in gnawing and how to deal with it, at the end of August.
I consulted my GP, maybe I should have started there 'cos he prescribed medication (gabapentine, used for epilepsy in larger doses) I take 2 capsules a day and what it does it sort of resets your brain, so the communication between the overactive nerve and brain stops signalling 'alarm' all the time; there was once a reason for the pain, but that is no longer the case; it enables me to kind of remove my thoughts from the pain, so for a week now life has improved dramatically; more good days than bad days, like last Friday: pain increasing all day and me becoming hopeless, desperate in the extreme 'oh no not again, will it never end?, why me?', and I ended up driving into town with our eldest son to buy weed and back home he rolled me a joint and after a few tentative puffs, I could at last inhale..... I became very relaxed, stoned enough to go to bed and sleep! last time I did this was 30 years ago I'm guessing; so I now have my stash in this basket, haha

Of course the physical part is just the half of it, the mindset towards this specific pain must change, but more importantly, I have come to realise I fear pain and I have to deal with this fear, if I want to improve the quality of my life and grow up, which I do. Time to face my demons.
One of them being the need to please, which I suppose is another way of saying I fear being rejected....
I am now in therapy, for the first time in my life, with a hypnotherapist (about time you had therapy at 55 my dear friend M. commented) 
Accepting who and where I am now.....looking back and perhaps I might uncover how it all came about, it's a very practical therapy, which I like.
I sense it helps

To top it all off my left eyelid got infected and I decided to remove my eyelash-extensions and now look at my face in a whole new way;if I do look tired now, so be it, that's who I am (our youngest said he prefers me without)

see left eye is still a bit smaller (on the right in photo)

Physical activity also helps: tai chi every morning with the husband, we don't practice the so-called set, we start with stretching exercises and stand in 5 poses 5 minutes each plus two song movements for the legs and the arms, I just follow his example if I'm honest, he has practised tai chi for 25 years now and has had lots of classes from various teachers and has also read a lot about it all, I am very lazy in that respect; yoga a couple of days a week, daily walks with Django and as the weather has been deliciously hot, swimming together with him in the river nearby, and oh yes the medication means I can't drink alcohol anymore, which is a good thing too......
a couple of days ago, eyelashes with extensions! Django and me after a swim

Life in the studio and garden with all that entails: reading, making, staring, meditating etc is healing
small clay objects I made at a friend's house, she has an oven!!
start of a new piece: Yorkshire Dale Tale

painted these with my eyes shut, starting from the top 
several insights so far:
- if you I want help all you I have to do is ask for it
- I have actually been making the Small Pillows for myself: as soft comforters for Me in a harsh world, hoping they could become something similar to others
- self acceptance starts now
- I truly enjoy exercise
- I must stop trying to please 'everybody' and start paying proper attention to those who matter most to me (this is the only 'must' I can handle)
- paying attention to what matters most to me is also better for my soul, see quote from Kurt Vonnegut found on Wicked Waif's Instagram

- creating is healing
- as is dancing to Patti Smith
- being honest and vulnerable saves a lot of time&energy, as in when friends drop by you cut to the chase, leaving out the bull shit
- from which follows, keeping up a facade costs loads of energy, what a waste!
- holding back the tears (for years) was probably not a good idea, so I have done a lot of catching up there

on a lighter note, two book covers I especially like, see stack below:

books bought in the UK plus 2 mugs, one with a dog just like our Django and the other with book titles on it, most of which I have read or another one by the same author, so I had to buy it you understand, as drinking tea/coffee whilst reading is essential; I've already finished the Cazalet chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard, all 5 volumes! and am now reading  Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse (bought last year at Monk's House)

from which a most beautiful quote, and as I am in the habit of writing those on the walls, as I was writing it on the south facing window frame in my studio I suddenly noticed my 'useless matchbox collection with spent matches' on top of it: how completely appropriate
'there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark'

Making a new cover for my meditation pillow, with a tie dye sheet I made for the nursery all those years ago and insects along the side, blue skies and beetles scuttling seems apt for such a pillow

This is not a depression, I enjoy life too much for that, but if I hadn't been able to deal with the pain - 'cos it hasn't disappeared completely - like I have, with the help of many, both professionals and close friends, not forgetting my husband and our two sons, who have been wonderful and supportive beyond what my words can express, who knows it might have led to one; it feels like I have crashed and hit rock bottom, now the journey upwards has begun.....

I feel I am on the road to salvation!


Patty said…
This post moved me. Thank you for being open and I wish relief for
Mo Crow said…
oh yikes! be well Saskia tooth pain is radical & gosh you are so beautiful, I gave up wearing a bikini when I turned 40!
Saskia said…
heartfelt thanks Patty, being open seems like the only option, the process of letting go
ha Mo, the body is pretty okay, the face is far more wrinkled than the selfie makes out, I do believe there's a hidden filter
Ardensgarden said…
Dearest Saskia,
I’ve missed you!! You are brave to share your vulnerabilities!
Thank you for sharing your journey to wholeness.
I send prayers & blessing for a reconciliation w/ your whole self.
Peace & love,
i love you. I love you naked and sans eyelashes. I love your
fierceness that pulls you forward, your gentleness that makes
pillows, the all of you that is such a grand and great human
being...i will love very much going along with you as you
make your Way
Unknown said…
Your openness and honesty in the telling of this personal .. painful .. struggle was received into my wide open arms. I will hold them in prayer that the worst of it is behind you and that the future is filled with lighter brighter days.
buysse maria said…
hey saskia , mijn glimlach zacht en groot m'n armen wijd open met een hart dat je omarmd " eerlijkheid " is DE healing omarmd door overgave aan het proces , the road to solvation , you do it by yourself but you never go alone , those who are connect go with you .love is with you for ever
Nancy said…
Oh Saskia, your courage and honesty leave a deep impact. I am amazed by your ability to be this open and brave. And I don't know about tooth pain, but I kept relating this to my eye pain. May your healing be gentle and expansive. xo
Ms. said…
I'm just now reading blog posts-It's 1:50 AM on Tuesday August 14th 2018 in Manhattan. I returned fron Zen Buddhist wedding ceremony and party at the Zendo where I meditate with the Sangha weekly for a year or more...that was maybe 9:30PM Monday, an uncomfortably humid grey night in Manhattan, put away the leftover treats, lY down with my feet up and promptly slept 'like a log' till midnight! I'm Seventy Five years in our world and must admit It's not easy to faithfully begin again every day (hour and minute) while living inside this deteriorating human body. I know what pain is for me through having lived through many practice sessions over these decades. Having been a Gardener, I watched, aided, encouraged and accepted the coming and going of plants with developing detachment, which is what's needed for a a successful Perennial garden. It is more difficult to be so easy and compassionate when the issue of impermanence arises close to home and self. So, that's why we practice, reach for help, struggle and keep on keeping on - isn't it? Artists have so many more strategies and tools than economists and no political party can actually derail the creative impulse, especially when it's rooted in love. The clouds of change, ruled by forces out of our individual control, arrive and depart at a seemingly increasing speed. The past is long and deep and is with me still as I advance upon my future and can almost see a horizon out there somewhere. I regularly get on the crosstown bus nearby my East side apartment and travel West to the Hudson river for Sunset. It's a thrifty two hour 'stay-cation' for only $2.70, as well as a thoroughly refreshing shift away from fear, self involvement and obsessive speculation. a widening and softening of all those jagged edges that can dominate thought. There, I 'Wake Up' in the simple NOW>

Your matchbox collection is not useless (value judgement) at all in my opinion. I would describe it as an artistic arrangement, an expression of moments in time gathered to a stop point, a metaphor for all that existed in that moment for you and the mystery of that remains, nor does it need a solution . When one observes and describes, rather than judges, authentic things happen.

I was in need of a conversation and you have given me an hours intimate companionship with this post. Thank you.
Saskia said…
hi Sarita, thank you so much for your kind words; weird as it may sound it feels good to be missed, even if it is in this virtual world! this is a much needed journey for me.....

oh Grace, love love love back at you! fierceness & gentleness.....yes, the two are there in my heart, I need both as long as they are in balance....oh this journey, it is scary and then I sense it is exciting too

hi Tina, in your open arms I rest....I used to be afraid of being vulnerable (in fact I was afraid a lot without wanting to admit it) and have discovered that only by being vulnerable can I become strong, more ME again

inderdaad Maria, dit doe ik niet alleen, het heeft me veel tijd gekost om me dat te realiseren...dank voor je warme omhelzing

thank you Nancy, pain in any form has such an has also brought me to write about it in the way I have, being able to share with you is healing too; sharing the burden lightens the load!

hi dearest Michelle, we practice life, that is it! we don't have a clue really when born and it lasts a lifetime to figure it all out; I consider what is happening to me as a blessing in disguise
Also, I don't actually judge the collection as useless, only in the sense that the matches have been spent, I very much value the symbolic significance of it and love how it evolved all on it's own here in my studio
jude said…
Well thank you for this openness. the "fierce" gentleness of it.
you made it all so familiar, the way you have shared. I think this is so important, this sharing, how it will connect us.
And yes, this is not a depression, this is a glorious example of human spirit!
Liz A said…
Saskia - I am so sorry for your pain ... and so terribly bad at bearing it myself that it is a great sadness to witness it in someone I care about. I wish you well, fully and soon.

And your pillows ... I confess I never stuffed the one you sent me, preferring it to be itself ... naked, if you will. It is perfect as it is ... as are you.
Fanny said…
Dear Saskia ,
So sorry for your pain !
I missed you , and so did the Philosopher , greeting me every morning ...
Hope you feel better soon .
Saskia said…
yes Jude, the sharing is important, just knowing you are not alone in your suffering; I felt I had to before I could post about anything else, the 'normal' stuff; to not to would have felt un-truthful...and I am all about seeking out my truth these days, all my soul searching, haha! and yes, I can laugh about it, fortunately, love in return

oh Liz, how wonderful to know the pillow case is still empty, I don't know why I like the idea, but I do; maybe I will leave a few more empty on purpose, thank you for caring and your wishes reach me

hi Fanny and Philosopher! I am glad to know you greet each other every morning, it is easy to forget such seemingly small matters, thanks too for visiting and caring

Joy said…
I am sorry you have been in so much pain, but glad that you are working through it. Good to see that you are learning who you are deep down inside and accepting it all. You are fine and good without your eyelashes... At age 64 I am accepting and loving myself more each day. The other day a person said a sort of derogatory remark about how I was, and I said I loved the way I am. I feel it's long past time to stop trying to please others by doing what they think I "should" do (or who I "should" be). So, continue to take care of yourself. I love your fabric story, it's charming and comforting.
Sue McQ said…
Sweet Saskia...I am so sorry to hear of your pain. I have six dental implants. One of the reasons (besides regular wear and tear from nearly 62 years of using my teeth!) I have the implants is because I am a long time jaw clencher (TMJ). Back in 1986, my dentist discovered this and since then, I have pretty much, albeit a few interruptions over the years, have been wearing a bite guard or night guard on my upper teeth. So, when I clench my teeth during the night while sleeping, this plastic guard takes up the shock to lessen the damage to my teeth. Did the dentist/oral surgeon suggest a device as such? It has helped me tremendously. Stress is stress, sigh.
Blessings to you and yours.
Dana said…
Aw Saskia, how sorry I am to hear of your pain and how inspiring I find your ability to do what you can to help it and accept what cannot be changed. May you ease back into dental health through your forays into mental health. Yay therapy!!
Julie S said…
I keep Rumi's "Guest House" in my studio. You embody it. Here it is, perhaps for your studio.(With apologies for taking up so much space!!) love.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Nancy said…
Julie~ Thank you for this Rumi piece. I will hold it and share it...and try to absorb it. xo
Sasx~ You don't know how often I've thought of you in this post. You are one special gal! xo
Saskia said…
hi Joy, oh to learn to be able to accept the bodily lapses, aches and pains as one grows older! that is the big question it seems to me these days; and also, the looking at oneself, having been forced to this past month especially, it has been and still is a steep learning curve. Good to know you are there, light at the end of the tunnel, ha.

well Sue, I am a jaw clencher too it seems, and have an appointment with a gnathologist end of August....the bite guard will ready next week before I meet her, had that made-to-order by my present dentist (the gnathologist is also a regular dentist and works in a practice with a group of dentists and implant specialists, I will be moving to their practice - still have to inform my present dentist!) I tend to get my priorities mixed up, am disorganised that way, hence the therapy: learning to take better care of myself and whom I choose as my doctors is part of the process I guess; glad to hear you got proper care from your dentist! and yes, stress is stress, it's how I deal with it, or not as the case may so easily be, that matters more......thanks for sharing your story here

Dana, some days are better than others....avoiding stressful situations helps, but I cannot keep away from those for ever, so I am going to have to learn to deal with them in a more productive manner, yay to therapy indeed; also I find asking for help where ever I can helps loads too: so many people want to share what they know and have experienced, like here for instance!

Saskia said…
dearest Julie, you can take up as much space as you require, no apologies needed!
thank you for Rumi's Guest House, wise words that have not fallen upon deaf ears...I will copy them and hang a print in my studio (and maybe in the loo too as I tend to sit there and if I have my reading glasses with me I like to read as well)
But of course Agatha Christie, I have now (re)read so many I have trouble finding new titles, I find her a first class psychologist with a wry sense of humor; I would recommend E.J. Howard's 'Cazalet Chronicles', if you're interested in learning what life was like for the well-to-do middle classes just before, during and after WW2 in the UK. Plus if you do get hooked, you have so many volumes to look forward to!
Saskia said…
dear Nancyxxx, how tremendously sweet of you! I'm not sure I deserve this, but I'm lapping it up anyways.
Saskia said…
yikes, I wanted to copy your Rumi quote Julie and accidentally deleted your second comment! so sorry, ah the deft fingers sometimes move too fast....grrrr
Marti said…
Saskia, I have been away with grandchildren almost the entire month of August and just got back to New Mexico last night. When I read this, I wanted to give you a hug and hold you but you see, I do hold you in my heart for you are a woman of honesty, beauty, kindness, creativity and strength with the wisdom to know that by sharing your life here, you help us to understand whatever presents itself in our own lives and you do this with dignity and courage. May this path to feeling better go as smoothly as it can for you.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes who wrote Women Who Run With the Wolves, among other books, is someone I return to time and time again, when I need solace. She said, "The most important thing is to hold on, hold out for your creative life, for your solitude, for your time to be and do, for your very life." You dear Saskia are well on your way to doing so...
Saskia said…
Marti, slowly but gradually my health IS improving! a recent appointment with my new dentist/gnathologist, sleeping with a bite-guard, hypnotherapy once a week, fysiotherapy, all in all a full package;-) are helping me get better, both physically as well as mentally, not forgetting an emotional reset! an MOT so to speak.....thank you for dropping by and your very kind comment, the virtual hugs help!
I hope your stay away with your grandchildren was indeed grand, I welcome you back here in our blogging community with a warm embrace.



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