Daily Archives: March 25, 2016

Could we all just stop comparing the size of our boo-boos?

This post has been brewing in my head for weeks now. Finally…I think the words are going to come together coherently and cohesively.

We hear it constantly, especially those of us with mental health issues. “Be thankful for what you have.” “You could have it worse.”  “I have a mortgage and six kids, you pay rent and have one, who has it worse?” “Oh, you’re hyperventilating and feeling sad today?I have fibromyagiaverythingisbrokenomgnoonecouldfeelworsethanme.”

It’s only a slight exaggeration, face it.

The bottom line is…When things suck, they suck. It doesn’t matter if you are rich, thin, poor, obese, smart, dumb, have a lisp or are missing an arm….

Humans experience sucky things.

Life seems hell bent on invalidating anyone’s right to voice their struggle with said suckage. We are to silently embrace the suck. It could be worse.

Fuck, yeah, it could be worse.

But personally, I’m not gonna tell a POW, “Hey, at least they only hit you with the bamboo a hundred times today instead of a thousand, that’s something to be thankful for!”

SCREAM ABOUT IT. BITCH ABOUT IT. MOAN. WHINE. VENT. GROWL. GRUMBLE. GET IT OUT.

It is perfectly okay to say something sucks in your life. It’s YOUR personal experience. You are not competing with someone in Cambodia who does not have enough food for the week thus your feelings are invalidated.

It sucks when bad stuff happens to others, it especially sucks when it happens to us. And the best of us have the self awareness to know, without being told repeatedly, that it could be worse.

If we scramble around comparing our broken arm to someone who’s had a limb torn off by a combine…we will NEVER feel anything but miserable.

I read too many, and write too many posts, where the writer can barely get out their feelings without feeling socially required to point out, I could have it worse, thus invalidating their own situation.

The world, and society, so obsessed with its extremes, makes zero room for balance.

I think it’s fine to say, “Okay, my booboo is small enough to be covered with a band aid but if I am out of band aids, I have the right to say, well, fuck a fancy bag, this sucks!” Sure, the dude with the lacerated hand trumps me. So does the kid who needs an organ transplant, or the family that has ten people living in one room.

Someone will always have it worse than someone else. The balance is in knowing when you’re simply venting your feelings without saying, “My despair trumps all”.

We all have various sized booboos. Our booboos all hurt to varying degrees.

So how about we cut each other, and ourselves, some slack…And agree that it’s okay to discuss our booboos without it becoming a competition of who has more suck to embrace.

We all have valid feelings. We should not be forced as a societal norm to invalidate ours, or anyone else’s.

As long as in the course of venting your booboos remain aware, and retain perspective, on how others do have it worse….

I think it’s just fine to talk about your booboos. And I even have some spare band aids if you need one. Just let me know-neon colors or Minions.

 


Fond Easter Memories

I was brought up way too Catholic. I was raised to be a virgin until marriage. (HA!)  I was told it was wrong to masturbate.  (HA HA!!)  I was kept home on Good Friday so that I could grieve Jesus’ crucifixion.  My brothers and sisters and I were NOT allowed to play, or smile, or have fun, because TODAY was the day that Our Lord was crucified!!  We resented being expected to cry about this.  Frankly, we didn’t give a shit.  We were just living for Easter Sunday, and biting the head off of those hollow chocolate Easter bunnies.  We would sneak out of our rooms and gorge on the loose jelly beans in our Easter baskets.  What the fuck, we earned it.  We sat through the Stations of the Cross.  We listened to a blow-by-blow of Jesus’ beating, and the walk to Calgary.  Still ahead of us was Easter Mass, where the church was more crowded than any other day of the year.  We had to get there early.  We had to wear our fanciest outfits, including gloves and hats.  We had to sit still for HOURS.  Was Easter even worth it?  We wondered as we worked through the robin’s eggs and malted milk balls.  Near-puking by bedtime, Easter candy eaten, our brains buzzing with sugar and caffeine, we thought “I can’t wait until NEXT Easter!”

Filed under: Bipolar, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Fond Easter Memories, Hope, Humor, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Fond Easter Memories

I was brought up way too Catholic. I was raised to be a virgin until marriage. (HA!)  I was told it was wrong to masturbate.  (HA HA!!)  I was kept home on Good Friday so that I could grieve Jesus’ crucifixion.  My brothers and sisters and I were NOT allowed to play, or smile, or have fun, because TODAY was the day that Our Lord was crucified!!  We resented being expected to cry about this.  Frankly, we didn’t give a shit.  We were just living for Easter Sunday, and biting the head off of those hollow chocolate Easter bunnies.  We would sneak out of our rooms and gorge on the loose jelly beans in our Easter baskets.  What the fuck, we earned it.  We sat through the Stations of the Cross.  We listened to a blow-by-blow of Jesus’ beating, and the walk to Calgary.  Still ahead of us was Easter Mass, where the church was more crowded than any other day of the year.  We had to get there early.  We had to wear our fanciest outfits, including gloves and hats.  We had to sit still for HOURS.  Was Easter even worth it?  We wondered as we worked through the robin’s eggs and malted milk balls.  Near-puking by bedtime, Easter candy eaten, our brains buzzing with sugar and caffeine, we thought “I can’t wait until NEXT Easter!”


Filed under: Bipolar, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Fond Easter Memories, Hope, Humor, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Fond Easter Memories

I was brought up way too Catholic. I was raised to be a virgin until marriage. (HA!)  I was told it was wrong to masturbate.  (HA HA!!)  I was kept home on Good Friday so that I could grieve Jesus’ crucifixion.  My brothers and sisters and I were NOT allowed to play, or smile, or have fun, because TODAY was the day that Our Lord was crucified!!  We resented being expected to cry about this.  Frankly, we didn’t give a shit.  We were just living for Easter Sunday, and biting the head off of those hollow chocolate Easter bunnies.  We would sneak out of our rooms and gorge on the loose jelly beans in our Easter baskets.  What the fuck, we earned it.  We sat through the Stations of the Cross.  We listened to a blow-by-blow of Jesus’ beating, and the walk to Calgary.  Still ahead of us was Easter Mass, where the church was more crowded than any other day of the year.  We had to get there early.  We had to wear our fanciest outfits, including gloves and hats.  We had to sit still for HOURS.  Was Easter even worth it?  We wondered as we worked through the robin’s eggs and malted milk balls.  Near-puking by bedtime, Easter candy eaten, our brains buzzing with sugar and caffeine, we thought “I can’t wait until NEXT Easter!”


Filed under: Bipolar, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Fond Easter Memories, Hope, Humor, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

All Systems Go

Sunday, before dawn, I’ll be on my way to ArtFest and points West.  Just one final checklist to run through.

“Flight Controllers? Give me a Go/No Go for Launch.  Booster…”

2011-honda-cr-v-ex-lWe had our glitch yesterday.  Testing a new GPS device on the trip to Des Moines, I left the unit turned off, but plugged in when I went in to my meeting.  Two hours later—dead car.  Controlled hysteria ensued.  But, just like Mark Watney, I got to work.

The other folks at my meeting found jumper cables, and I cancelled the two other appointments to hurry home to my mechanic (since I could only hope it was a dead battery).  Even though they were booked solid, Rich, Rose and Jeff at Alley Auto hooked Corvus up to telemetry and determined the battery sound.  Just unplug anything from the USB when the engine isn’t running.  Good to know.

“FIDO…”

TomTom took almost two weeks to determine the problem with a celebrity voice I tried to download to my GPS unit, but now John Cleese is officially telling me where to go.

“Guidance…”

I love how easy it was to book overnight stays at the Bed and Breakfasts through Airbnb.  It’s giving the hotels in California such a run for their money, that there’s a new tax on B&Bs there (the bastards).  All the B&Bs along my flight path confirmed and anticipate my arrival with utmost glee.  Or at least they promise not to greet me with a shotgun.

Guesthouse on the Green, Billings, Montana

“Surgeon…”

The sinus infection is nearly done, just a few sniffles and a mostly-baritone voice.  I’m taking my whole medicine chest with me just in case as well as good trainers for those fifteen minute breaks every two hours to walk off any fomenting blood clots or nasty butt boils.  Too graphic?  Just wait.

water“EECOM…”

I’m packing a cooler with lunch supplies, a crate of chips, enough Ramen noodles for two weeks, a bale of bottled water, and everything I need to make my daily Shakeology smoothie.  So, basically my whole kitchen  (Oh, and the seasonal jelly bean or two).

“GNC…”

The wild rapid cycling seems to have slowed the last few days.  Anxiety and mania have mellowed to gentle anticipation. A lot of that has to do with preparation and gnat’s ass attention to detail.  When the car died yesterday, I told my sister I was so glad I tested the GPS unit before Sunday, and that I was thankful Mom taught us to be anal.  My sis texted back, “Yes, it does come in handy.”

audiobooks-200x200“INCO…”

My friend, Ellen, at the library gave me an extension on the dozen audiobooks I borrowed.  Between those, my iPod, and a few additional CDs, I ought to stay entertained.  Since I’ll be driving seven to nine hours a day, I won’t have much time to stop at wayside junk shops, but if one happens to jump in front of me…

Back to Normal 10:10:15

 “Network…”

Sue, The Cat Whisperer, will be tending my ground crew while I’m away.  The steely-eyed missile men took to her immediately, and seem to know that she’ll be The Keeper of the Treats.  I’m so lucky to have reconnected with this friend from high school who loves felines as much as I do (and is used to a swampy litter box).

Kuralt-typing-in-his-van“CAPCOM…”

My friend, Cat, loaned me a laptop so that I can pretend to be Charles Kuralt.  My plan is to settle into a comfy B&B each night, cook up a bowl of Ramen noodles, and write a blog post of the day’s excitement On The Road.  I feel very journalistic and savvy since it’s a Microsoft laptop instead of a Mac.

My Butt Itches“Payload…

“I figured the other day that I’d made 87 cards in 81 days.  Since a therapist once told me to eliminate productive from my vocabulary, I’ll just say I’m pleased and amazed at that number.  Some of those cards were special orders or sold on my Etsy shop, but most are going with me.  The vendor show at ArtFest only lasts an hour (Hmmm.  We’ll see about that…), but I’m excited to show my wares and present a funky table display.

“FAO…”

A lot of people helped make this Bucket List Trip a reality.  From Cheryl and Tom loaning me a second suitcase and card displays to my deceased mom leaving me her Honda, I have relied on the kindness and generosity of my clan.  Thank you, everyone.  I am forever grateful.

So let’s go through that checklist one more time.


Good Friday

So everyone is home except Bob for the holiday. The youngest is painting on her project for Classroom City, and the oldest two are doing homework.  I am checking up with my class and making sure I am staying up in the conversations   I had a nice feeling about one conversation; the professor in her comments picked up on something I said and said it was a good suggestion for revision for the person whose essay we were critiquing.  So that kind of made me feel good.

I’m sleepy today.  I stayed in bed until 9 this morning but still want to lie down and rest some more. But we’ve got more to do today so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to. WE will see.

I;m probably sleepy because I took a Xanax this morning. I knew we would be busy and didn’t know how I would handle all three of them going in different directions. But it seems all right so far–we haven’t had arguments and that sort of thing.   So that is a plus so far.

My mood is good today, which is also a plus.  I feel very optimistic about the weekend and everything that is going on. I wish we could have seen our way to going to my mom’s Saturday, but BOb went ahead and made plans with the kids before I realized what Saturday he was discussing doing these things.  Plus I don’t think he wanted to go to the trouble of seeing my folks only for Daddy to cut him out.  So we will see how it all turns out.

 

 


#FeatureFriday: Natasha Tracy in the house!

Interview by the Blahpolar *passes Natasha a glass of water* How would you describe yourself, if you weren’t allowed to mention bipolar? I would describe myself as a writer, speaker […]

Miss Biggess Doggess Has A New Toy!

image

Flagstaff loves me.  The ball of yarn keeps getting bigger and bigger: that is to say, I am becoming more and more deeply involved with the workings of this tiny city that perches on the Coconino Plateau, at 7,000 feet above sea level, nestled among a flock of young volcanoes.

After my thirty-first medical provider visit this month, I was overcome by a sensation that something was lacking.

For one thing, I was drained to the tips of my finger and toenails from my appointment with the new Family Practice Nurse Practitioner.  I hate to think how drained she must have felt!

The purpose of this appointment was allegedly to seek a solution to my stubborn high blood pressure.  High blood pressure is bad.  It damages one’s kidneys, causes strokes and heart damage, eye damage, and basically messes you up, usually without any symptoms at all.

Having symptoms, like headaches and blurred vision, means the high blood pressure is getting to one’s brain.

God knows, I don’t need any more brain damage, so when I realized that my permanent headache and inability to read the Louis L’Amour paperback borrowed from the campground laundry room because my vision was blurry might just be high blood pressure symptoms, I went to the Walgreens and bought a fancy blood pressure machine.

The first time I tried it out, the damn thing read 165/106 (normal is about 120/75).  I ran it a couple more times and it said approximately the same thing.  I didn’t like that at all, so after a couple of hours on the phone I got the soonest primary care appointment available, which was two weeks away.  In between times I did all the things one is supposed to do to lower blood pressure, like exercise, breathing, meditation, cuddling with one’s Doggess, and fiddling with medication doses.  And hoping like hell that nothing bad would happen.

Last night my BP was dangerously high, so I took a rather large dose of my medication (don’t try this unless you’re medically qualified), and my usual dose this morning.  My BP in the office was perfectly normal, so of course I felt like a fool.

To make matters worse, I disclosed all of my psychiatric diagnoses and their respective meditations, and the NP completely unraveled.  Poor thing, who can blame her?

To her credit, she did a great job of picking out a team of specialists to help figure out what in the hell is wrong with my immune system and nervous system and skin, and whether all these are part of the same problem, or whether they are separate problems.  As for my blood pressure, she told me to keep doing whatever I did to bring it down, and gave me a script for more of that particular medicine.

Driving back from that exhausting appointment, I spied a grocery-store-cum-gas-station I’d seen before but never stopped at, because it looked down-at-heel and sad, like one of those discount groceries that appear and disappear in a matter of days like mushrooms after a good rain.  Today I needed gas, though, and the price was right, so I waited in line till a pump opened up.

After filling my gas tank, my mind returned to my own stomach.  The grocery had a Starbucks logo on the wall.  Hmmm, a green tea soy latte might perk me up!  I went in.

Have you ever had the experience of going into a drab, shabby building, and finding the inside bright, beautiful, and full of your favorite fresh fruits, veggies, and gluten free foods?  Heaven.  I got my green tea soy latte and headed for the aisles.

Half an hour into the orgy I came to the pet stuff aisle and was struck by a largish wave of guilt, since Atina had spent most of her day in the van, while I was enjoying my medical appointment and now shopping my heart out; therefore, I sprung for the $8 on sale “un-stuffed” furry critter with a squeaker at its head and tail.

I paid for my order (Jeezus Kreezus, $120 for those few things?  And this isn’t even Whole Foods!) and hauled my cart out to the van with my one good hand.  Atina glared at me from her spot on the bed.  She had good reason to be sick of being locked up!

The moment I cut the tag off the new Critter and threw it at her, all was forgotten.

She caught it.  It squeaked!  Just like the squirrels that taunt her all day around here would do if she could ever get her pearly whites on one!

Since then, the Critter has been relentlessly shaken, chewed, squeaked (my ears, my head!), and is sodden with Doggess spit.  Now she sleeps, worn out with worrying the new Critter to death.

The best $8 I’ve ever spent.


Miss Biggess Doggess Has A New Toy!

image

Flagstaff loves me.  The ball of yarn keeps getting bigger and bigger: that is to say, I am becoming more and more deeply involved with the workings of this tiny city that perches on the Coconino Plateau, at 7,000 feet above sea level, nestled among a flock of young volcanoes.

After my thirty-first medical provider visit this month, I was overcome by a sensation that something was lacking.

For one thing, I was drained to the tips of my finger and toenails from my appointment with the new Family Practice Nurse Practitioner.  I hate to think how drained she must have felt!

The purpose of this appointment was allegedly to seek a solution to my stubborn high blood pressure.  High blood pressure is bad.  It damages one’s kidneys, causes strokes and heart damage, eye damage, and basically messes you up, usually without any symptoms at all.

Having symptoms, like headaches and blurred vision, means the high blood pressure is getting to one’s brain.

God knows, I don’t need any more brain damage, so when I realized that my permanent headache and inability to read the Louis L’Amour paperback borrowed from the campground laundry room because my vision was blurry might just be high blood pressure symptoms, I went to the Walgreens and bought a fancy blood pressure machine.

The first time I tried it out, the damn thing read 165/106 (normal is about 120/75).  I ran it a couple more times and it said approximately the same thing.  I didn’t like that at all, so after a couple of hours on the phone I got the soonest primary care appointment available, which was two weeks away.  In between times I did all the things one is supposed to do to lower blood pressure, like exercise, breathing, meditation, cuddling with one’s Doggess, and fiddling with medication doses.  And hoping like hell that nothing bad would happen.

Last night my BP was dangerously high, so I took a rather large dose of my medication (don’t try this unless you’re medically qualified), and my usual dose this morning.  My BP in the office was perfectly normal, so of course I felt like a fool.

To make matters worse, I disclosed all of my psychiatric diagnoses and their respective meditations, and the NP completely unraveled.  Poor thing, who can blame her?

To her credit, she did a great job of picking out a team of specialists to help figure out what in the hell is wrong with my immune system and nervous system and skin, and whether all these are part of the same problem, or whether they are separate problems.  As for my blood pressure, she told me to keep doing whatever I did to bring it down, and gave me a script for more of that particular medicine.

Driving back from that exhausting appointment, I spied a grocery-store-cum-gas-station I’d seen before but never stopped at, because it looked down-at-heel and sad, like one of those discount groceries that appear and disappear in a matter of days like mushrooms after a good rain.  Today I needed gas, though, and the price was right, so I waited in line till a pump opened up.

After filling my gas tank, my mind returned to my own stomach.  The grocery had a Starbucks logo on the wall.  Hmmm, a green tea soy latte might perk me up!  I went in.

Have you ever had the experience of going into a drab, shabby building, and finding the inside bright, beautiful, and full of your favorite fresh fruits, veggies, and gluten free foods?  Heaven.  I got my green tea soy latte and headed for the aisles.

Half an hour into the orgy I came to the pet stuff aisle and was struck by a largish wave of guilt, since Atina had spent most of her day in the van, while I was enjoying my medical appointment and now shopping my heart out; therefore, I sprung for the $8 on sale “un-stuffed” furry critter with a squeaker at its head and tail.

I paid for my order (Jeezus Kreezus, $120 for those few things?  And this isn’t even Whole Foods!) and hauled my cart out to the van with my one good hand.  Atina glared at me from her spot on the bed.  She had good reason to be sick of being locked up!

The moment I cut the tag off the new Critter and threw it at her, all was forgotten.

She caught it.  It squeaked!  Just like the squirrels that taunt her all day around here would do if she could ever get her pearly whites on one!

Since then, the Critter has been relentlessly shaken, chewed, squeaked (my ears, my head!), and is sodden with Doggess spit.  Now she sleeps, worn out with worrying the new Critter to death.

The best $8 I’ve ever spent.


Entirely Too Soon to Tell

As recently as yesterday, I was tending to suicidal ideations and paranoid thoughts in my head.  As recently as three days ago, I was ready to go to inpatient hospitalization.  As recently as last week, I had spent the past three months in tears, every single day, for at least three to four hours, off and on.  For, it seems, the very longest time, maybe up to a year, even, with a few brief respites, I have fared with quite poor mental and emotional stability.

It is entirely too soon for me to tell you this, but I laid in bed for a very brief time tonight with itchy fingers.  Itchy to type and tell you the “news.”  Itchy to share my newfound hope, my clearheadedness, my thoughts that it feels as if my life has taken some sort of major turn, and it feels distinctly like Rosa in general is a well-loved Tetris game, and the blocks are falling in very satisfying configurations.

Just as the grass is getting greener and the buds on flowering trees are forming, I can almost hear a more positive and happy and WHOLE version of myself unfurling.  I am sure it sounds trite, convenient, unrealistic, impossible, and (let’s not mince words here) frigging annoying as fuck that I am spinning out into what appear to be much calmer waters with the onset of Spring.  It really IS too soon to tell…but I wanted to tell you, that’s what it feels like.

I have had so little joy, and have been buried quite deep really in the pits of despair for such a gawdawful long time, that I really feel the need to celebrate this first day of hope, of feeling satisfied with *things* in general.  The intellectual Rosa knows that this is my mood cycling up (but hopefully not “too” up) in pace with the weather, the time change.  The intellectual Rosa knows that this is almost another year (already???) of DBT under the belt, practicing it every day or as faithfully as the severely downtrodden and willful can.  It’s also another med change, although just a baby adjustment.

I have another idea about happiness in general, and I was oh-so-fortunate to find the following:

maybe happiness is

I ran across that gem on Facebook, and it spoke to me.  I saved the link at first (as I am apt to do with things that really speak to me but that I don’t want to share because otherwise I would share every other post some days), and then came back to look at it again the next day, and to be frank, I’ve looked at it no less than 30 times in the last week, thinking to myself, could this be?  Is this all “happiness” is? — which begs the question, why have I been letting the rest of the world determine what MY happiness is to ME?

Good question, Rosebud.  Its a good question and its a great question, and the answer for now is that I don’t have to have an answer to that.  What is best and what is good and will make me whole again, I fully believe, is to determine my own happiness.  Yes, that simple.  All of the willfulness in the world has been inside of my fragile psyche the majority of my life, and I (once again, for those who are counting) will be letting that go and putting willingness back in my  heart.

Today was so amazing and wonderful from a standpoint of making myself get things done and do things I have been afraid to do and fend for myself and not make the assumption that I am weak and hopeless and can’t do anything for myself.  So, since today was so great, and that’s what it was like, my new mantra, in addition to the one above, is simple.

I have identified happiness, and I know how to get there.  Or at least I did today.  Maybe someone can give me a nudge if this theory falls all to hell tomorrow or next week or in July.  And feel free to remind me that it was too soon to tell.  It’s really hard not to get excited when the shift is a complete game-changer.

proud

 


Filed under: Life Worth Living Tagged: anxiety, Bipolar, DBT, depression, dialectical behavior therapy, happiness, joy, mental-health, positive, PTSD, self improvement, self-worth, Spring