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It surprises me how much less I feel I have to define myself for the world at large, nowadays. I know enough about myself at this point to, hopefully, connect with those others that truly resonate and appeal to me, rather than reaching out to the whole world at once.

Though I've grown and aged, there are some things about me that remain unchanged...

I do not tolerate cruel or insensitive attitudes toward animals. They go through enough without being derided or trivialized further by how we talk about them.

I am strong and also vulnerable. It's quite a balancing act at this point to be me, but it seems to be working somehow.

I struggle with anxiety, especially in the form of agoraphobia. Though I still work on recovering from the alienation of parts of myself and my body as a result of these experiences, I have a lot more understanding and internal communication.

I am still stuck on valium. I have tapered down to the last milligram. I became iatrogenically dependent on valium 7+ years ago when it was foisted onto me by a well-meaning, but misguided psychiatrist during a hard time. I have suffered years of physical and psychological side effects from both tapering and from having to hold at doses in order to recover my nervous system between those tapers. I am currently in a hold. It has been two months since my last taper. I am another year or two from being off it altogether still because I happen to be particularly sensitive to the effects.

Fortunately, I am connected to a lot of unseen things that help me get through each day. I feel very lucky for this care afforded to me throughout my life and especially now.

One thing that has changed is that I now know death and grief. I lost a close and dear person in my life unexpectedly, and that is having a lot of impact on living.

I am not sure what comes next.

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