Daily Archives: April 22, 2013

Guilty Pleasures

According to The Urban Dictionary a guilty pleasure is something that you shouldn’t like, but like anyway. Here are some of mine:

peanut-butter-banana-sandwich

Peanut Butter and banana sandwich. This one is not too crazy. It was Elvis Presley’s favorite after all. I think he liked bacon on it though. Gross. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine because of my incredible lust for peanut butter. I can not have peanut butter in the house because I’ll eat an entire jar in one sitting.

abba

I can’t say much about my love for all things Abba.  I’m so ashamed.

fosters-home-for-imaginary-friends
Fosters Home of imaginary friends has got to be one of the best cartoons of all time.

arco

Hamburger from Arco.  Yeah, I’m sure they sound gross, but they are delicious.  When I was struggling, these $1.50 delicacies were part of my regular diet.

bellbivdevoe
Bell Biv DeVoe.  ”Do Me Baby” is one of my all time favorites.

Vanilla ice ice ice baby1

I’m one of probably 5 people who’d admit it, but I loved “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice.  Hell, I can still remember every word to that song.

steel_magnolias

Steel Magnolias.  Major chick flick, but I love it anyway.

green-acres

One of the best shows ever.  The surrealistic Green Acres was silly, but underneath it all was a brilliant satire about government bureaucracy

RuPaul

RuPauls Drag Race.  A campy reality show featuring bitchy drag queens.  Who could ask for anything more?

glee

Currently my number one guilty pleasure is Glee.  Anyone who watches the show knows that Season 1 was great, Season 2 was good, Season 3 sucked, and there are no words to describe how bad Season 4 currently is.  Despite its massive ratings drop, Fox has renewed Glee for a 5th and 6th Season.  I can’t peel away from it because of my hope that it will eventually return to its former glory.  In the meantime I’ll bear the horrible storylines while enjoying the good music.

There are my top ten Guilty Pleasures. Let me know some of yours. I’d love to see them.

Fat

Since I first started writing this blog in the summer of 2010 I have made no secret of the fact that I am fat; that I am not the ideal weight for gliding up hills on my bike.

I weigh 14 stone.  My doctor says that I should weigh 12 stone something.  So, according to my generous calculations I am about a stone and a half too heavy. Of course it’s well-known that obesity and dieting are topics that attract plenty of attention.

I find it striking – and pretty offensive - that people seem comfortable to comment on my weight in public and, if I’m not mistaken, this happens to men rather than women notwithstanding the strong emphasis that the media puts on women regarding this issue.

Recently I joined my parents for coffee with a couple whom they have been friends with since we lived in the same village in the late 1960s and early 70s.  I didn’t like going to their house the atmosphere was thick with tension – a result of domestic abuse and unfaithfulness by the husband - as I later learned. I had not seen him for several years.  He greeted me with the comment ‘you’ve put on a lot of weight.’ I managed to control myself (unusual, I must admit) leant over and whispered: ‘I’m over weight thanks to having to take 300mgs of Quetiapine every night.’ I did my best to ignore him until I could make my excuses and leave.

While it’s true that (according to the handy leaflet listing the side effects) 1 in 10 people will gain weight on these tablets, that’s not the whole story.

I accept that I have a responsibility to manage my weight, to take into account the weight gain, and take steps to reduce this as far as possible. It makes me think of how I relate to my mental health challenges and what I can do about them. In my job as a Peer Supporter I am full of hope and (I hope) inspiration to people like me who struggle with what we euphemistically call ‘troublesome symptoms.’ I am happy to share strategies to promote recovery.  This is all very well, but I don’t always apply this approach to myself. It’s easier to think (and say) that I can’t help this, that this side effect is just part of the price I have to pay to manage my mental health. What a sensible approach.

Or not.

Being over weight is not part of who I am. And while there is much more to me than my diagnosis, I accept that it is part of who I am. The trick is to be able to identify those things I can change by taking practical steps (paying close attention to my diet) and seperate out those things that are a constant, about which I have little choice if I want to stay reasonably well (taking my medication).

I can see that my reaction to an observation about my weight is inconsistent with my usual approach to discussing mental health issues at every opportunity. I think that’s because it means my having to accept that while the side effects are part of the story, I am censoring any discussion about the role I need to play in managing the whole of the impact that my mental illness has on me.

Where does that leave me? Well I guess it highlights the fact that I need to accept an uncomfortable truth about my attitude to my mental health.  How can I expect others to change their attitudes to mental illness if I’m not prepared to do so myself?

This is Just to Say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the ice box

and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

William Carlos Williams (1883 – 1963)



Earth Day, And I Am Alive And Well

Earth Day  has always been a challenge for me.  Some of you may be old enough to remember the very first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.  It was a big deal: there had been an environmental consciousness movement rumbling beneath the earth’s crust, and suddenly it broke through in fire and smoke into a real above-ground popular movement with a “Day” all its own!

But that’s not what was happening for me.  I was a misfit 16-year-old, lonely and depressed, and somebody liked my legs, and I got dragged into a dark musty basement and violently raped.  The physical and psychological (not to mention sexual, oh no) consequences have followed me like an unwanted companion all of my life.

Hence, every April 22 since 1970, that would be 42 of them not counting this one, I have had a relapse of the off-the-charts PTSD symptoms that I got courtesy of the events of that day, plus a large dose of depression to go with them.

But.

This year I have been hard at work writing my novel, which is based on the events of that day and the seven months following it.  I have written that scene many times, minutely, going over and over it to make it perfect.  I have submitted it to a few contests as a short short fiction piece, and had it rejected because it was too graphic.  Victory!  I am not pulling punches.  I am not turning away in fear or disgust.  I am writing it like it is, like it was.

And today is once again April 22nd, “The Unhappiest Day of the Year,” as I used to dub it.

But guess what:  I’m not unhappy!  I’m not keyed up with the tension of waiting for the “big one,” the giant wave of PTSD to hit, pulling me under and keeping me inundated until it decides to leave me bedraggled and panting on the sands of release.

I just feel normal.

I grant you, I am a little suspicious of this, but I’m going with it, you betcha.  If this means that all of the agony of describing that day in living color time and time again has allowed it to flow out of my head via the miracle of touch-typing, then I thank all the gods and goddesses there are, even the ones I don’t know about.

Happy Earth Day, people.


Earth Day, And I Am Alive And Well

Earth Day  has always been a challenge for me.  Some of you may be old enough to remember the very first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.  It was a big deal: there had been an environmental consciousness movement rumbling beneath the earth’s crust, and suddenly it broke through in fire and smoke into a real above-ground popular movement with a “Day” all its own!

But that’s not what was happening for me.  I was a misfit 16-year-old, lonely and depressed, and somebody liked my legs, and I got dragged into a dark musty basement and violently raped.  The physical and psychological (not to mention sexual, oh no) consequences have followed me like an unwanted companion all of my life.

Hence, every April 22 since 1970, that would be 42 of them not counting this one, I have had a relapse of the off-the-charts PTSD symptoms that I got courtesy of the events of that day, plus a large dose of depression to go with them.

But.

This year I have been hard at work writing my novel, which is based on the events of that day and the seven months following it.  I have written that scene many times, minutely, going over and over it to make it perfect.  I have submitted it to a few contests as a short short fiction piece, and had it rejected because it was too graphic.  Victory!  I am not pulling punches.  I am not turning away in fear or disgust.  I am writing it like it is, like it was.

And today is once again April 22nd, “The Unhappiest Day of the Year,” as I used to dub it.

But guess what:  I’m not unhappy!  I’m not keyed up with the tension of waiting for the “big one,” the giant wave of PTSD to hit, pulling me under and keeping me inundated until it decides to leave me bedraggled and panting on the sands of release.

I just feel normal.

I grant you, I am a little suspicious of this, but I’m going with it, you betcha.  If this means that all of the agony of describing that day in living color time and time again has allowed it to flow out of my head via the miracle of touch-typing, then I thank all the gods and goddesses there are, even the ones I don’t know about.

Happy Earth Day, people.


Anxiety Says, ‘Retreat!’

It's surprisingly hard to make a stick figure look reasonable while running away

It’s surprisingly hard to make a stick figure look reasonable while running away!

In spite of my happy little child-loving post yesterday, my anxiety continues to be pretty severe. I actually hit a point yesterday where I pretty much took myself offline just to not deal with people; with my default anxiety being heart-racingly high, I didn’t have a lot of resources to deal with other people making it worse by existing.

It’s still pretty bad this morning. While it’s hard to get a hand over my heart due to things like boobs in the way, it still feels like it’s beating a rumba in my chest. I’m doing my best to be mindful and to take soothing deep breaths, but it doesn’t change the fact it’s decided it wants to be going super-fast. And of course, I’m still wiped out from the last couple weeks of this mixed episode, so there’s a whole lot of, ‘Whelp, that sucks’ going on in my head.

The worst part, to me, is that if this keeps up, it’s going to affect my work and social life. At this exact juncture, I cannot imagine going to work tomorrow. I cannot imagine going to my Stitch ‘n Bitch group on Wednesday, if only for concern that this level of anxiety and driving would be a bad combination. I’m sure that if I really wanted to, I could tough it out and prove myself wrong on both counts, but that would require me having just a tiny bit more energy to burn. And honestly, I don’t think that’s terribly forthcoming considering the circumstances.

Of course, this isn’t me giving up. I’ll probably try  my hardest to live this week as normally as possible. I’m just trying to recognize that I’m definitely not okay, and that I should be kindly to myself and default to taking care of myself because I am fortunate to have that option in my life. Even if current Western culture is to push and push harder, I know that’s no good for a fully healthy person, and significantly less so for me.

So for now, I am going to go get myself something to drink, and try to continue being kindly to myself in the hopes today will be enough to enable me to make it through the rest of the week. I sincerely hope that everyone else is having a good day.

<3

The post Anxiety Says, ‘Retreat!’ appeared first on The Scarlet B.

DBT Haiku

learning to accept resistance slowly fading I practice willingness

Mental salad

After a sort of hellish weekend…This is how I feel. Mental salad-ish. A mish mash of emotions and warring moods with general anxiety washing over it all.

The kids were here for about five hours total yesterday but they did at least leave and come back. Several times. They cried they were hungry so I fed them..Then they left to go eat another meal at their aunt’s. I don’t know whether to feel sorry for the kids cos they apparently don’t get enough food at home or to be rather resentful of them.

Mental salad.

It’s not six a.m yet. That I woke up on my own indicates the seasonal affect is finally starting to make its exit for a few months. I could see this as a good thing, but since it all ties into the weather and we have had cold ass days for April, plus all the rain, I don’t want to call it over yet. Let midwest Mother Nature make her bloody mind already, is it still winter or do we finally get spring? Geesh.

I spent yesterday bouncing between moods, neutral, uppish, pissed off, irritated, and down.

My dad showed up so I was dealing with five other people at one time, which I do not handle with grace.

Sent the kids home at 6 and fed and bathed my kid. She went to bed around 8.

I finally got to eat something. Then I went to bed. Of course while my body told me I was exhausted and my head hurt, my scumbag brain decided that would be an excellent time to wake up and start worrying over every tiny thing. Marvelous.

Now I am dreading going to the shop. Since Kenny quit his job, he is there constantly. I like Kenny, but it’s supposed to be a damn business. Not a hangout spot for losers with no life. Geesh, even I can find something to do with myself and that makes it more sad. Now he’s gotta move out of his house and is planning on living in the loft at the shop. If he’s going to be there all the time, why should I be? It sounds bratty and even R was irked with me the other night and asked what my problem with Kenny was.

Hmmm. He thinks he knows everything about the shop when he knows fuck all. He spends most of the time watching TV or videos on Youtube, which makes it hard for me to look up parts or schematics when he’s at the computer all the time. He is more entertaining than R, but I don’t go there to be entertained and have fun. I am trying to learn shit and put brownie points into the “my car needs fixed” bank. I just…I guess I am a spoiled brat and I am irritated by anyone I have to see that often. But in all fairness, there are days I don’t even want to spend time with myself, so it’s not entirely personal.

Oh well, such is life.

Kenny said the other day, “Oh, cheer up, everyone has bad moods.”

And that was when it hit me. Yes, other people have good moods and bad moods and blah moods. Usually coinciding with a bad day, bad occurrences, not feeling well, being stressed…

The day they can come to me and say “Hey, I was at my grandfather’s funeral and started laughing but then I won some money and I started crying…”

THEN talk to me. Because I have been like that. It’s true.

Because that is cyclothymia in a nutshell. Inappropriate mood swings that do not coincide with outside stressors. I could be having the best day on Earth but if the mood shifts, I could end up in a rage or tears or hell, curled up in the fetal position in a child.

But then, isn’t that the human condition? To simplify that which is complex and make it seem trivial? No one wants to tackle the seedier ugly side of human nature.

I don’t get a choice.

This is mental salad.

And it is my life.