Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Most of you know that I'm home bound. I have driven a car three times this year. I have been home bound so long that I have gotten way past what people call "cabin fever."  My house is now my sanctuary. Not as in Merriam-Webster's first definition of sanctuary: "a consecrated place" but more like the second definition: "a place of refuge and protection."  My house and backyard are a refuge from my diseases.

It seems strange that the place I am essentially bound to because of disease would also be a place where I find refuge. It has not always been this way. I used to think there might as well be bars on the windows and doors as this house has at times felt like a jail. But, over the years I have learned that I have to work at finding a way to live with joy. And changing my home into a sanctuary has been part of that work.

A wood framed rocking chair with vinyl cushions covered with cloth used to belong to my paternal grandparents and now sits in the room that was going to be a nursery but now is referred to as the "sitting room". Surprisingly, the cushions are comfortable, the rocking is comforting and there are enough dog beds to go around for the dogs that do not fit on my lap.

George, myself and our three dogs live in a bi-level home, but when my Migraine is severe or I'm having a Meniere's attack, it is impossible for me to make it safely down the stairs. Last November, we completely remodeled our lower-level living area because we were in the process of starting a family through adoption. It was not until this June that the beautiful space stopped being a storage area and became another calming living area.

We even bought a Beta fish at the recommendation of my counselor/therapist and I must say that watching "little blue" swim around his tank is soothing to the soul.

We have two blue Adirondack chairs on our deck to remind me of our time at the beach house in the Outer Banks. We also have a shaded cushioned bench swing in our yard.

Last night George and I discussed rearranging furniture upstairs so I could have yet another upstairs place that is not facing a television to be, to cuddle with the dogs, to read and to write.

This is my sanctuary. Except my bedroom.

Last week, I was bed bound. Being bed bound is the worst. When I am bed bound, my Migraine is so severe that I cannot get vertical (i.e. sit up in bed) without feeling a trillion times worse. If I could get vertical, I'd be out on the couch because I hate my bedroom with a passion. Walking the ten feet from the bed to the bathroom is a form of torture.  My bedroom becomes a jail cell of sky blue walls and dark navy black-out curtains and an item not included in most cells, a brain-sucker: a Samsung flatscreen television, which with the exception of a couple shows is a necessary evil.
I have spent so much time in my bedroom over the last six years that it has become traumatizing for me to be in it. After periods of being bed bound, I often sleep on the couch in the living room. As each day of the last six years has ticked by, my hatred of the bedroom has grown so that if I do not have a set evening routine, I get a full-blown anxiety attack in my attempts to simply walk down the hallway and go to bed.

Over the course of time, in brainstorming ways to change-up the look of our bedroom, George and I have re-arranged furniture, bought a bigger bed, changed the pictures on the walls, changed the color of the black-out curtains, and switched sides of the bed that we sleep on. After five and a half years of blue sky walls, I would love to feel well enough to paint them a new color.

My six year anniversary of chronic Migraine disease and constant headache (New Daily Persistant Headache) is tomorrow and most of those six years were spent watching mindless tv because I could do nothing else. When I could knit, I did. When I can write, I do. When I can photograph, I try. When I can read, I will. But, when I am bed bound I usually cannot do any of these. I desperately hope the hours will pass quickly with each tv show I watch. I am an early riser these days, and the middle of last week I broke down into tears when the clock read  "9:07am" because I had thought it was closer to 11:00am. Time stretches during Migraine attacks and for this reason, I try to avoid looking at the clock.

I have not yet gotten to finding sanctuary in my bedroom, and never may. So far, the only sanctuary I have found in my bedroom is within myself. I have found refuge in my inner sanctuary where I am with God and he is with me.


  1. I,too, am experiencing a rough week, but of another sort....do I stay or do I go? (You know the situation & you know the "actual" meaning of the phrase)....I hope, but my tears were replaced with a rare smile when I saw your pillow pet.Why did I smile? At Sears Saturday, I hugged one just like it. I love you!

  2. ((Kelly)) I can relate so much with this post. I've been having a love/hate relationship with my bedroom. It's beautiful, but it causes me so much anxiety... reminding me of constant pain and sleepless nights.