Hope, In Times of Darkness

Some time ago, I had gone through something that nearly pushed me over the edge. It was something that I never expected, nor had any idea how to deal with. Someone very close to my heart made some bad decisions and threw her own life into a chaotic whirlpool, at the same time turning my life upside down. This post is not about that person or the events that took place but rather the effect it had on me and my own life.

I had never in my life been so depressed. Not many people knew, just family and very close friends. I couldn’t talk about it without crying. I couldn’t go anywhere without crying. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t focus. I wasn’t able to sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was up at 5am every morning and didn’t go to bed until 1am. I was in a daze. I was barely living, just going through the motions. I felt dead inside. I felt lost. I felt shame and guilt, and I couldn’t pull myself out of this deep abyss I had been thrown into. I wasn’t suicidal, but I remember thinking it wouldn’t be a bad thing if I just fell over dead.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The events that took place had absolutely nothing to do with me, but when bad things happen to someone you love dearly, it will do things to you that you never thought possible. It didn’t help that “certain people” insinuated that I did something wrong. I was treated as if I did do something wrong. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything wrong. It was not my actions that caused the events.

I carried guilt and shame for a few years. I was depressed and saw no end in sight. I had never even considered seeing a therapist. I mean, that’s what family and friends are for right? You have a problem, you talk it out with someone you know and trust. Right? Well, when I was referred to a specific therapist, I thought, “How am I suppose to talk to someone I don’t even know, about these things?” Also, “How can I trust a total stranger with my innermost, deepest feelings?” I knew I had to do something so I made the appointment.

Never in a million years did I think I would be seeing a therapist! I cannot tell you how much it helped me to talk to someone unbiased, someone who was not there to judge or tell me how to feel. It was a slow process. It took an entire year to get in a better place. I saw light, after a long time of being in such a dark place!

My therapist helped me realize that the events that took place were not my fault. My head knew this, but my heart didn’t. She helped me to understand that the shame I carried was not mine to carry. I didn’t do anything wrong and now I could stand tall in my words with “certain people” who insinuated otherwise. My therapist gave me the tools I needed to set boundaries, and walk my own truth. She pretty much gave me the strength to go public with my blog not too long ago. I still see my therapist at least once a month. I used to see her weekly, but she still helps me and I don’t see an end to my visits with her anytime soon.

I guess my point in writing this is just to let others know that there IS light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re depressed, please reach out for help. I know that’s hard as hell, but others may not reach out to you. They may want to help but may not know how or even what to say. They may keep their distance because it’s uncomfortable for them. People just don’t know what to do to help. If you have the opportunity, see a therapist. If you don’t feel comfortable with one then find another. If you can’t do that, then find someone who will listen, not judge, and try to help you find a solution. Please, please, please do whatever you can to help yourself. YOU are important!

There’s hope in times of darkness. You just may have to look a little harder to find it. Just please look and keep looking until you find it.


Back On Track!

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, then you know I have pain and mobility issues. You also know that I am in dire need of knee replacement surgery. First, a not-real-quick recap:

My journey started around 11 years ago, with a doctor that didn’t do anything from the very beginning. Now, let me just say that I knew I needed to lose weight and I KNEW I had to do this myself, but from the get-go my doctor did absolutely nothing to help me with anything. I had trouble since my first child was born, trying to lose weight. She said, “You just need to count calories” and offered absolutely NO assistance or guidance. She gave me a script for pain meds and that was the end of that.

When I FINALLY got my doctor to refer me to a specialist in 2016, I was thrilled. I thought I was finally getting somewhere. Well, the specialist was an asshole with a God complex and shamed and belittled me for 40 minutes. (It’s not like I weighed 600 pounds…not even half of that at my heaviest!) It was something I will never forget. Anyway, shortly after that happened I signed up for Nutrisystem.

Nutrisystem was what I had needed years ago but never had the money to spend on it. It works but it’s quite costly. I did the program faithfully and religiously for almost a year until I was so sick of the food I had to take a break. I had lost 60 pounds, and with high hopes went to see my new doctor, who set me up with a new specialist.

The new specialist was impressed that I had lost 60 pounds in less than a year. However, this was not enough of a loss to consider surgery yet, plus I needed to strengthen my leg muscles.

Fast forward, to last summer. I was so sick of Nutrisystem foods that I stayed off the plan for a bit. We had company off and on and we went out to eat a LOT. Then, Thanksgiving rolled around….and Christmas….and well, I GAINED 25 pounds back!

Uh oh. I need to do something, right? So, in January I purchased an exercise machine called an Air Walker. It’s an elliptical, but not a traditional elliptical. It’s more like a glider instead of a stepper. I purchased this scary contraption because the video showed the woman was NOT having to bend her knees. Perfect for me! I started with 5 minutes a day and worked up to 5 minutes, 3 times a day. Not a lot, I know, but it was more than I was doing before! I worked up to 10 minutes twice a day and now, I’m doing 15 minutes twice a day! Yay! That’s 30 minutes a day and just a little over 1700 ‘steps’ per day. I feel my legs getting stronger. I’m not using the wheelchair as much, but still using my cane.

Also in January, I restarted Nutrisystem. Then I f***ed up. So, I started again…. I restarted the program 4 times since then! The food was just too much for me to hack anymore. Not that it’s bad; most of it is decent and some quite good. It was just the same ol’ same ol’ over and over again. Blah.

That’s when my daughter, SR, texted me and told me that she was doing Weight Watchers. She told me a little about it and the cost wasn’t too bad; less than $20 month for online only. So, I signed up! (Apparently, WW has changed quite a bit since the last time I looked into it.)

I started last Sunday and caught on very quickly. It’s not hard to do at all. No meetings or humiliating weigh-ins. You track the food you eat and stay within your point budget, determined by WW. One week later, I have lost 8.4 pounds.

I lost 8.4 pounds in one week!

(I know some was probably water weight but I’ll take it!)

I’m back on track, finally. I will keep on until I have my weight down (and my BMI) to what the specialist wants and I’ll get my legs stronger so recovery will go smoother. I can’t wait to go back to the specialist and say, “Hey, enough waiting. Let’s get the show on the road! I have an exciting life left to live!”



An Interview With An Aromatherapist

Back in the early 2000’s, I became friends with a great lady who was the owner of a little online business called Mystick Scents. Her name is Becky Long. I started by purchasing products from her for my own use and for my little online business called Scents Essential. We became fast friends and in 2006 she sold her business to me! I merged the two businesses together and kept the Mystick Scents name.

I had learned a great deal about aromatherapy and how to make lotions and creams, body sprays, bath salts, etc., from this woman, my mentor, and friend. Eventually, I started to venture out into creating my own recipes. It was a great experience! But, my physical health was slowly on the decline and I had to close Mystick Scents in 2010.

Becky and I are still friends; besties if you will. She now owns a business called Herbs 4 Health. She writes a blog and has a Facebook page. She has been forever trying to educate the public about essential oils and aromatherapy. I thought an interview would be a fabulous idea! (Links are located at the end of the interview for your convenience.) Enjoy!


Becky, can you start by telling my readers about yourself, your specializations, and where you can be found for more information?

I am certified in both herbal medicine and in aromatherapy. I am also known as Herbmama. The business I own is Herbs 4 Health and I also have a blog called Herbmama’s Words. I can be found on Facebook along with the business and blog.


What is an aromatherapist?

An aromatherapist is one that is educated in and uses essential oils to help improve one’s health whether it be physical, emotional or psychological.


What exactly is aromatherapy? 

Aromatherapy uses plant materials & aromatic plant oils, AKA essential oils and other aroma compounds for improving health, psychological or emotional well-being.


What or who inspired you to go into this field and when did you get started? 

The quest for knowledge in this field happened when I had a bath/body biz called Mystick Scents. Then I became a sponge and just had to know more & more which led to my certification.


How are essential oils used? 

Essential oils can be used via inhalation, topically and internally — the later only by a trained aromatherapist as it can be dangerous.


How are essential oils extracted from plants? 

There are basically 2 methods for extraction: the distillation process where the plant material is heated and then the water/oils are separated. Any by-product from such is sold off. Then there is cold pressed which is exactly what you think it is….peelings from the citrus are pressed to get the oils.


How do people know the best method for using essential oils? 

A lot of people don’t know, which is why they can get into trouble. The best way to find out is to ask, not just assume you already know. You might have an essential oil that can cause more issues than what you started with.


How do they work? 

Essential oils can actually change brain chemistry. They can work on what the body needs at a particular time. They are a type of fat or oil so they can easily get into the body’s cells to do the work. Although we aren’t allowed to say…they can heal. They are anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal so they can work on those types of maladies.


Can they be used straight on your skin? 

It’s not advisable to use essential oils straight out of the bottle. Only lavender is gentle enough for some. Always dilute and do a patch test if you are new to essential oils or a particular oil.


What is a carrier oil? 

A carrier oil is an oil one mixes with essential oils to apply topically to the skin. Some examples are sweet almond, jojoba, fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil.


How do you know you’re buying quality essential oils? 

One has to find a reputable essential oil supplier with learned knowledge so you know what you are looking for and who you can trust. So many are adulterated now which means other chemical components have been added to dilute the healthful benefits of the essential oils and the body can’t synthesize chemicals. Once you find a good company, there is a way to test to see if your essential oil has been adulterated. Place 1 drop on a piece of paper and let it evaporate. If there is no residue and no oily stain then they are pure.


What’s the difference between therapeutic grade and manufacturer’s grade essential oils? 

There really isn’t a thing as manufacturer’s grade as you say. There is food grade which is different than therapeutic grade. Therapeutic grade can be a relative term as ALL non-adulterated essential oils are therapeutic in their own right. A lot of companies say therapeutic as a marketing ploy. Food grade essential oils are diluted with additives to sell to the food or perfume industry.


How should we store our essential oils? 

Essential oils should be stored in air-tight dark colored glass bottles away from heat and direct light. The more you open them, the faster they can go bad and evaporate.


Some people/companies suggest taking essential oils internally. Is that really safe? 

NO! It’s not safe in my opinion. There are essential oils that can be ingested but only with advice and guidance from a qualified aromatherapist. No way should they be taken full strength as the molecules are too strong for the sensitive tissues internally. There have been (reports of) damage done to esophageal tissues, organs and stomach tissues from essential oils.


 Are essential oils safe for kids and pets? 

There are some essential oils safe for pets but that should be done through research and usually on a case by case basis. One e.o. for a dog or cat may not be ok for another breed for example. Kids…generally, yes but further dilution should be done before and of course the child’s weight/age have to be factored in. There are aromatherapists out there that only treat animals though.


Are essential oils really better/more effective than conventional treatments? 

Essential oils are better than conventional, in my opinion. They are powerful and natural. But that question is really hard to answer so I don’t get myself into hot water with certain government agencies if you know what I mean. 


Can you boost your immunity with essential oils? 

Oh yes, the body’s immune system can be greatly enhanced and boosted with essential oils!


What’s the biggest mistake you see people making concerning essential oils? 

Ingesting them and applying them without proper dilution. Thinking they know it all with like 5 minutes of experience.


Which 5 essential oils are the best to get started with, to always have on hand?

One’s basic ‘medicine cabinet’ should include lavender, peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, and lemon.


What is an essential oil ‘blend’?

A blend is more than one essential oil together with a carrier oil that helps a specific problem whether it be physical or emotional.


Is there a blend or blends that we should always have on hand? 

Oh I think so, yes. Blends for colds, flu, pain issues, things like that.


What’s the most common way people are using essential oils? 

Topically, diffusers and in the bath.


What do you enjoy the most about working with essential oils? 

Mostly I enjoy developing the blends I guess!! Sniffing them as I put them together, figuring out which oil would be best to use, knowing it can possibly help the next person who uses that blend.


How do you use essential oils in your own life? 

I use them for health prevention, to help boost my immune system, as a perfume, in bathing, at times in cleaning too.


What are your favorite essential oils/blends? 

My favorites are the Krud Kicker, my Taurus ‘perfume’ blend, the memory oil. I like them all pretty much. If the blends don’t smell ‘attractive’ people won’t use them.


What do you think scares people the most about essential oils? 

That they know little to nothing about them and that is THE greatest obstacle…educating the public!


What advice would you give someone considering a career in aromatherapy? 

Don’t try to learn or memorize ALL the essential oils, there are far too many. pick a few you want to start with and learn all you can about those. When you are ready, add slowly to your repertoire.


And my last question…. Is there ONE tip you would like to give my readers?

Don’t judge essential oils without learning just a little about them. Try them. They come from plants, trees, barks, roots, flowers, so how bad can they be for our health??!!


I hope you’ve enjoyed my interview with Becky (Herbmama) and that you feel you’ve learned a little about essential oils. For more information, please check out the following links on Facebook:

Herbs 4 Health 

Herbmama’s Words 

Or go to her blog directly at:

Herbmama’s Words  



A New Year, A New Start

I’ve not been writing much as of late. I’ve had much to say but no desire to write it down. Maybe that’s for the better. I sometimes feel like that’s all I do is write about my shitty problems. On the other hand, that’s part of why I started this blog. I wanted an outlet to write about the things I love, the things I despise, and things that make me laugh. Writing, or keeping a journal helps a lot of folks, not just me. It’s been therapeutic. It’s been a positive in my life so I’m not about to quit! I must, however, get back to it!

So, here I sit. So many things that have plagued my life over the last few months now seem less bothersome. Except for one thing: My pain issues. I have over the years tried many things to alleviate the pain, from OTC meds, creams, lotions, and patches to natural herbs and essential oils. I have purchased several items for exercise that I have either not been able to use or they just didn’t help. Last year, I purchased a recumbent bike because I was at the beginning of a weight loss journey that resulted in a 60 lb. loss, but even after the weight loss was still not able to use the bike! I was disillusioned and just plain pissed off! I couldn’t even use the floor peddler I had had for several years. I use to use it every day but when my knees got worse, it became more difficult and the pain would be increased by using it.

In December, I stumbled across a fantastic machine called an Air Walker. I watched a video of it being used and I realized that since I wouldn’t have to bend at the knee to use this machine, I’d have to purchase it and give it a try. I’m so very glad I did! I feel like my leg muscles are getting stronger just since I started using it at the beginning of the month. It has helped me kick-start my diet again and I’m back to losing more weight while making my legs stronger.

With any luck at all, this will be the year I get my knee surgery that I so desperately need to live a productive and quality life. I feel like the last 11 years of my life have just been wasted. Going from doctor to doctor, trying to get help, ANY help has been some of the most wasted time I have ever spent! I know that I need to do the work, that’s a no-brainer. No one can lose the weight for me. No one can exercise for me. It’s on me, I know. It would have been nice, though, to find a doctor who was willing to provide guidance and information, rather than the normal “fat-shaming” that does nothing but tear a person down!

So, I am creating a new me. I finally see a little light at the end of the tunnel. A real light, my own light! Not the fake light I thought I was seeing mid-2017.

Here’s to the new me! Here’s to 2018! Wish me luck!! 


So, What’s Next?

I am so sick of hearing people say, “Stay positive,” or “Have you tried x, y, or z?” No one understands the limitations of chronic pain unless they actually live it themselves. They think they’re being helpful with the positive outlook remarks and suggestions to cure my ailment. I know they mean well but they don’t understand. Those with chronic pain don’t want to be depressed. They don’t want to be sad. They don’t like staying home. When you’ve been trying to get help for over 10 years, you kind of lose hope and you lose yourself along the way too.

I’m nothing like the person I once was! I was a cross-country backpacker, worked with special ed kids, cleaned houses and started my own home Day Care for kids. I did volunteer work, worked as a Med Tech, started my own home business…and now I can’t do any of those things. I was a very independent young woman, with a great sense of humor. I was bubbly and always saw the humor in things. A great example is the time a co-worker and I were helping an elderly lady to the bathroom at the nursing home where we worked. We didn’t get her there in time and I ended up with “splatters of a yucky nature” all over my shoes. All I could do was laugh – not at the elderly lady – but at the situation. What else could I do? That’s just how I was. I had co-workers tell me they loved working with me because the day was enjoyable and went by faster. Don’t get me wrong; I still laugh a lot! I still try to find humor in my life daily, but that doesn’t mean I’m ok with being ‘stuck’ in this rut….and STUCK I am!

This chapter of my life is a most difficult one. I try to stay positive and focus on the things that I can do instead of the things that I can’t but do you know how difficult that really is? There is so much I can’t do! 

So, how do I create Deb 2.0? How can I reinvent myself when there’s so much I can’t do? My physical abilities limit the things I can do to actually change my life, myself. My bestie says that reinventing myself implies there’s something wrong with me in the first place. She’s right. There IS something wrong with me. I’m disabled. How does a disabled person change his/her life?

I would love to change my physical health but alas, that won’t happen until doctors decide they will help. I like who I am otherwise. I like my personality. I like my sense of humor. I am a strong, intelligent, creative, and compassionate person. So, how do I change this chapter of my life into something that I can be happy with?