Hunkering Down…

Finally you have done everything you can do. You have an ample supply of water. Flashlights and candles. Ways to charge your cell phone so that you have connection to the outside world, a good supply of food (and some little treats to calm the nerves) and if you’re lucky you have a bevy of soft warm pugs, and a cuddly warm blanket, and a good book or two, and, if like me you have no t.v., you have found a way to get streaming live weather news on your phone.

We are lucky up here in North Carolina that the storm turned inland and not straight up the coast as hurricanes like to do or it could have been much worse for us up here. The worst of the storm is projected to hit overnight and I will be snuggled with my pugs and will hopefully sleep through most of it, but when we got up this morning, long before the hurricane came up to us, the winds were high — the weather report said 20-50 mile an hour winds, and it was dark outside, and there were already branches down. I had to go out to an appointment with the P.A. who manages my psych meds and it was an important appointment that I didn’t want to miss but it made me very nervous to drive out in the windy conditions. I did, because I had to, and my meds were raised as I knew they would be, and I got my medications filled and some extra groceries, and came home. I was shocked when I got home to see a very sizable branch down just a foot from my deck and other sizable limbs and debris down between my deck and my fence. I thanked God because one of my biggest fears is for the fence to be damaged because my dogs could get loose and I’ve no one to immediately help me here but the limbs fell up to and all around the danger zones. Thank God! And the worst is yet to come.

I got the dogs out and in, got them, and me, medications, and got them some treats, put the groceries away and took something for my tooth which was throbbing, and sat down here at my desk. I thanked God when I got news that my dear friends in Florida were alright and other than power out had no damage to their home, and my son and his family in Atlanta were alright too, the storm passed and they had no damage. Now we worry about what will be coming up behind Hurricane Irma, which should pass through tonight, Hurricane Jose, which is projected to possibly hit the east coast, here, where I live, in Wilmington, North Carolina. We wait and see.

I have been doodling but got stuck somewhere in the middle. Blank holes stared up at me and my brain just stalled out. I put my pens away and decided that maybe tomorrow I can finish the little drawing, and I listen to the wind blowing higher and harder outside, hitting the walls of the house like waves crashing up against an ocean going vessel. We are rocking along, waiting, waiting, waiting for it all to be over.

I feel quiet inside. I am only a little afraid, frankly my meds help a lot. I had a dream last night that a person who is close to me moved away and wasn’t the least bit bothered how it would affect me. I felt marooned and alone. There were copperheads in my bed, I was in danger, it was a terrifying dream, one of those dreams where you wake up and are so afraid you are almost too afraid to even get up to go to the bathroom. Finally I did and rushed back to curl up with the pugs under the cozy blanket but I was afraid I would go back to sleep and into that frightening and sad dream again. Nights can be very hard. Eventually I woke up to the wind, branches were all over my deck when I went out with the dogs, a dark and unsettling morning.

There is this odd sort of soup one can get lost in when mental illness meets physical pain meets outside circumstance like impending storms and you can turn round and around and look for some place to land and feel adrift and lost. I am taking one moment at a time. I fed the dogs, I got something to eat myself, I have sat here puttering on the computer just so I would feel connected to the outside world. Just the other night another dear friend who is also agoraphobic and I talked about how much of our worlds are online. It is as though I feel connected during the day when the computer is on, even if I am not actively engaging with anyone, but when I turn off the computer at night — most of the time I leave it on just so I don’t feel quite so cut off — the world falls away. Most of my life, as someone who rarely leaves home, is lived, here, on the computer. Facebook for example is no mindless preoccupation for me, it is a place where I live, where friends are, where I feel connected. People often talk about needing to “unplug.” I worry the power will go out with the storm and I will not be able to see my people. I think the internet has probably saved more people than anyone will ever know.

Now it is about 9:45. It is usually 10:30 or 11 before I get off the computer for the night but I am very tired. I want to cozy up in the big chair with the pugs and I have a book ready to start tonight, one I’ve had for awhile and never read, and I’m excited because today my new charging cords for my iPhone arrived. One is 10′ long so I can keep my phone charging while I watch the news for awhile. I used to love to watch MSNBC in the evenings past 9, it really helped me feel not so alone in the evening. But I could no longer afford cable t.v. Now I am delighted to find MSNBC live streaming on my phone and have been following the weather reports at night, and a little news. Something about “live t.v.” being on and not just Netflix to make you feel less alone. I was never a big t.v. watcher but when you’re alone, and it is late at night, and it will be hours before you sleep, it’s a big help. But it runs down the phone battery more quickly and my phone cord couldn’t reach for me to hold it in the chair. Now with the new cord I am all set. As all set as I can be.

I think I will pack things up for the night. Put things away in the kitchen, take the dogs out, get night-time meds for all of us (maybe even have a wee bit of apple pie, comfort food that I got when I got my meds) and call it a night. I hope you are safe wherever you are, I hope you are hunkered down with the things that bring you comfort and I really hope you have little people (that’s what I call my pugs) to cuddle up with. Small people really do make the night more bearable.

Good night sweet ones, sweet dreams. Do whatever you need to do to feel safe tonight…



September Writing Challenge With Effy Wild, Day 11)

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  1. Dear Maitri, I can so relate <3 I hope you don't have any more nightmares. Do you have an outside antenna? We got one and can get a lot of FREE tv stations.
    I hope your weather gets better soon. We are in Western NC and tonight our winds are supposed to be gusty with a lot of rain. Yes thank goodness our friends and family are safe in Florida too.

    • Hello Dear Jean and no, I don’t have an outside antenna. I’m glad you’ve got that. And I hope things go well for you where you are. I just took the dogs out to the potty and it’s pretty windy out! And I’m so glad your friends and family in Florida are safe. Thank God for that! Take care honey…

  2. Paula Brown says:

    I’m glad you are here and feeling a little better. Hoping that you sleep through Irma’s arrival and it is over quickly. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers always, even when I am not here. Sometimes I’m just not feeling chatty but I read all my friends have to say and comment here and there. Been a little down lately, think I’ll call the doctor and up my meds. Just finding it hard to stay on track. Start projects but somehow get distracted and head off in a new direction. I could spend hours finishing various started projects in the sewing studio. Maybe the changing atmospheric pressures are messing with my head… Who knows. But you have my phone number and I’m rarely in bed before 11 so any time you are lonely and scared, pick up that phone and call me. I was thinking of you so much the last couple weeks when I was taking care of my god-dog, Huey, the sweetest pug. I enjoyed visiting him twice a day and walking and snuggling with him a bit. I truly understand why you are so in love with your puggles… they truly are little love bugs. If I were required to have a dog, I would definitely look for a pug. What a tribe that would be, 2 cats, 2 ferrets and a pug. Guess it should be 2 pugs….. A moment in fantasy land….. Love you gal. hang in there. Hoping Irma barely brushes past you and you will be fine tomorrow. No nightmares, ok? sleep tight.

    • Sweet Paula, you are so dear honey. Yes the storm passed through overnight and thankfully there was no more damage than the big tree limbs that fell down yesterday in the high winds. I did not lose electriciy. It is a mess on my deck with tree branches down but no harm done. I am sighing a sigh of relief even as we wait to hear if Hurricane Jose is going to come up our way as they predict it might. Thank you so much for your friendship, it really helps to know that you are here. Blessings and love to you Paula…

  3. Dearest Maitri…….I’m so relieved that you and the pugs are safe and hunkered down.
    I have several friends like you who live in the states that were affected.
    Thank God they are all ok!

    I can relate to the alone feeling that nighttime can bring.
    Sometimes I even feel it with my husband sleeping peacefully right beside me!
    I am envious because he can shut down all the chatter in his head…..or maybe he doesn’t have the chatter!

    I love having our dogs sleep with us, because if I wake up startled or panicky, I just reach for one of them and they are more than happy to give me kisses, and snuggle up closer to me!

    I’m not doing so well with my Meds too, but for me, it’s the pain Meds. I feel that this pain is too big for any pills and I see a hip replacement surgery in my future. If it can help me live a more normal life, so I can get down on the floor (and back up again!) with my baby granddaughters, it will be well worth it!

    Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I’ve been so busy with the blessings of starting a beautiful relationship with my amazing birthmother!
    sending big, warm hugs to you! XOXO

    • Donna, thank you so much dearheart, and I know what you mean about the dogs. When I was married and my husband was asleep but I was awake it was still like being alone in the world. And I’m so sorry that you are having so much pain honey. I hope you can get whatever you need done so you aren’t in pain any longer. And you just don’t know how happy I am for you that you have found your birthmother and it has gone so beautifully. For some of us it wasn’t the fairytale ending we dream of, my experience was a nightmare, but it is good to know there can be mother and child reunions where all goes beautifully as it should. I know you feel the deep blessing that this is. I wish you well honey…

  4. As always, I can relate to everything you talk about and it brings me comfort. Life is hard on my side of the fence, but I do know it’s still harder for others, and I pray for them while I try to make my own life worth something. Love and need your postings Maitri xoxo snuggle up tight, I will be with my chubby little senior hound rescue xo

    • Dear Sweet Deana, I’m so sorry you struggle so honey. It is so hard. You know the storm passed through the night and the sun is shining and we are okay here, but I woke up very nervous this morning and I finally took an extra pill which I can when anxiety gets bad but I seldom ever do. I have got to get on top of this. And honey it means so much to me that my posts mean something to you. If I help you in any way I am deeply blessed and so grateful. And I love the image of you snuggled up with your chubby little senior, I have adopted 11 pugs over as many years and almost all have been seniors, I just love them dearly. Let your baby take care of you as my pugs are taking care of me right now, snuggled all around me. They are the greatest comfort in the world. Blessings to you sweet one, may we find peace this day and find some ease in the hours…

  5. I’m glad you are safe! Taking one moment at a time is the best any of us can do!

    When the kids and I lived on the boat, the highest winds we were in were 55mph, and that was rough. It felt very unsettling to my body. I can’t imagine being in anything *more* than that and how that feels. I hope you can thank yourself for moving with intention and getting yourself through this!!

    • Thank you so much dear Joy and Gracious! 55 mile an hour winds is SCARY when you are in a brick house! I can’t imagine what it’s like to ride out a storm with those winds in a BOAT! I’m so glad you were safe and made it through. And yes we made it through and this hurricane has passed. Today I feel a kind of crashing because my body has been on high alert for days, it’s as though everything just let down at once, and I am uneasy. I will be gentle with myself today and get through the day moment by moment. I hope you are doing well honey, it’s so good to hear from you…

  6. Your small people sound like such a comfort, sending you love and positive thoughts for this weather system to pass swiftly and with as little damage as possible ❤️❤️❤️

    • Thank you so much Rachel honey, and yes my wee pugs are the greatest comfort, I just can’t tell you how much. And the storm has passed and we are okay, just branches down outside. I am uneasy today, it’s as though my body has been on high alert for days and just crashed today when it was all over. It’s going to be a very quiet day today. I hope you are well honey. Thanks for writing…

  7. Stay safe with your babies and know that while you might feel alone, you are not. There are so many others who understand and care. You cannot see us, but we are sending gentle thoughts to surround you and keep you safe and connected to the energy of the good things, people, and places that still exist.

    • Thank you so much Karrie, you are so dear and I appreciate your kind thoughts so much. And it’s good to know there are people out there who care, it really helps me a lot. I am having a quiet day today. I have written here that it’s as though living on high alert these last few days has worn me out and today I just kind of crashed, so I will take it easy today. It’s good to know you are here. Thank you so much honey…

  8. Maitri, hunkering down and snuggling with your pugs (and a bit of apple pie) sounds like the perfect way to wait out a storm. I hope you woke up to a sunny, calm day with helpers to move those limbs.

    • Thanks so much Linda honey, the storm has passed and we are okay. It may be a couple of weeks before someone can come and clean the branches up but we’ll be okay. It’s a sunny day, and calm, and such a contrast to yesterday’s high winds and last nights storm. I am having a quiet day today, taking it easy, literally the calm after the storm. I hope you are well…

  9. How are you this morning, lovely? I hope the night passed without incident. <3

    • Thank you so much Effy. We are on the other side of the storm now, yes, and the sun is shining. It’s a funny thing, I think because of being on high alert for days before the storm now that it’s over I have just kind of crashed. I’m very uneasy and nervous, but I’ve taken my meds and am having my coffee and just going to have a quiet day. I hope you are okay honey, I hold you in my thoughts and heart all the time…

  10. I hope that things were good for you this morning and there isn’t any damage. I hope you are safe. I do the TV thing too. I don’t watch it, but I like it on in the background. A little less quiet 🙂

    • Hello Dear Sal, yes, the sun is shining and I have some big branches down that need to be cleaned up but the storm has passed and we are okay. And I know what you mean about tv. I do miss having it but it just got too expensive. I’m thrilled to have found MSNBC live streaming on my phone. It keeps me company before I go to sleep. I hope all is well in your world…

  11. Comfort food has to be a good thing at times like this. I have a friend who lived through 2 hurricanes in one season when she lived in Florida. She’s moved to neat Atlanta now but she made me laugh last week when she said on facebook that she had sent her husband out for hurricane supplies and he had come home with a bottle of wine and chocolates (And the supplies she asked for, he wasn’t that daft). It made me laugh, because she said “These are the things you learn after living through 2 of them”

    • Ah Zoe honey, comfort food is a must through a storm! At least for me, and you better believe I had wine on hand! Just having a glass last night helped me. My nerves get so jangly and last night as the storm was approaching I really needed it! We’ve been through some bad hurricanes. Years ago we had Hurricane Bertha and Fran practically back to back one summer and were without power for a week both times and it was summer and hot and dreadful. I feel so sorry for all the people without power. It’s so hard, and some down in the islands are going to be without power for months. I am praying for them. Thanks for writing honey, it’s good to hear from you…

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