Daily Archives: February 2, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday!  I know that as people age they start not liking birthdays, but I sincerely doubt that will happen to me.  I LOVE my birthday! I think thto someone who has had a lot of health problems, a birthday feels kind of like a victory celebration:

My brain tumor didn’t kill me! Bipolar didn’t kill me! No other surprise things killed me! I lived for ANOTHER WHOLE YEAR! WHOO HOO!

bdaypug

No but really…I love my birthday. I love my whole birthday week. I wear a tiara to work on the day of my birthday. I go on a weekend trip to Northern Michigan every year where my friends come from all over the country to celebrate with me. I get every free birthday meal in town.

I keep waiting for a referee to come out, blow his whistle, and call a penalty on me for excessive celebration. It’s a bit over the top.  “Become mature” has been on my list of things to do for years, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

If I was on a therapy couch talking about my birthday, I would say, “It all started back when I was a little kid. My parents made the rule that I could do whatever I wanted on my birthday.”  Of course, when I was six, the biggest I could dream was, “I want ice cream before dinner, and I want to go to the store and pick whatever Barbie I want, and…umm…I will not make my bed! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!”  I was drunk with power.

I think my parents discontinued that rule the year that I tried to use my day of power to make a new family rule that I was also in charge on every other day.

What’s not to love about birthdays? People you never talk to post on your facebook wall, and you’re like, “Hey, for one second of your day, you thought about ME! How kind! How awesome!” And then you feel all fuzzy inside. I love some good old fashioned fuzzies.

Cheers to all you fine blog people who have made the past year of my life so much easier than any I’ve had before (except, like, when I was five, because any year of life where nap time is a thing is a good year). You’ve become my friends, my supporters, and a group of people for whom I have more respect than I can possibly say.  Thanks.

Here’s to next year.


Paramedic

It was the summer of 2001. I was riding the 60 mile route from London to Brighton, on the south coast, for the first time. I had started cycling, as an adult at least, the previous summer (a fund – raiser for my children’s primary school.)This would be the longest distance I had ridden by a long, long way. I had been diagnosed with depression 4 months earlier and had spent much of the intervening period signed off work and in the care of my psychiatrist, G.P., family and friends. My preparation for the event had consisted of a couple of rides with my friend Ivan who would be joining me, up and down the rolling hills north of my home.

I remember the beginning of the ride, the peleton snaking through the south London suburbs early that sunny Sunday afternoon, before the group thinned out.

Nine miles into the ride I was picking up speed as I swept down a slope. Too late I saw the yellow – clad marshals signalling a left turn at the bottom of the hill. Instead of slowing down, passing the turning and going back, I steered my bike left, made the turn at speed, and came off my bike, landing on the tarmac by a grass verge. A St John’s ambulance paramedic was soon by my side and found me clutching my left arm. He inspected it and declared that since I had not broken the skin I was safe to ride on.

Gingerly I eased my way back on my bike and saw my friend waiting for me at the top of the hill. He had not seen what happened, and being the much fitter one, was waiting for me to catch up.

My left arm was so painful it was all I could do but hold the handlebars. I couldn’t change gear and cycled the remaining 51 miles of that hilly route without moving the chain onto the smallest cog (most useful for tackling the numerous climbs that made up much of the remainder of the route.)

I cycled on because the paramedic told me I could.

On arriving at the seafront not far from home, I dismounted in front of the 3 generations of my family who had come to see me finish and lay flat on my back. By now my left arm was so sore I had to ask for one of them to remove my cycling gloves.

After an uncomfortable night my wife took me to the Accident & Emergency department of our local hospital and the doctor I saw confirmed that I had broken the radius bone at my elbow.

Image result for radial bone fracture

I was my very own hero. I had cycled 51 miles with a broken arm! I have shared that story numerous times over the years, including in the archives of this blog. If cycling has saved my life – as I have claimed from the very first sentence of the first post back in the summer of 2010 – then far from making a mistake, that paramedic gave me the gift of rising: rising far beyond what I thought I could ever achieve. His mistake helped to save my life.

I took part in the ride 12 times in the next 13 years. As I reached double figures the ride became a kind of time trial as I tried to better my performance year on year. It was time to look for other cycling challenges.

In my role as a peer worker, I too have been that paramedic.

Once, I told my story of my recovery to a peer I was supporting in the early stages of his recovery. He had a history of suicide attempts dating back over a decade. Telling my story is something I do all the time in supporting people both individually, and in groups. I’ve been at it for a while.

The next time we met what he said  left me as breathless as I was at the end of that ride all those years ago. He told me that what I had described to him of my own experiences on the road to recovery had – quite literally – saved his life. He described how, only days earlier, having said goodnight to his teenage son, he had gone downstairs to his kitchen, had taken the largest knife he could find, lay down on the sofa in his living room and put the blade to his neck. He told me in a voice as steady as the steel on his skin, that it was remembering what I had described of how I cope with my persistent feelings of hopelessness and despair, that had stayed his hand.

There are times when even I have to steady myself. So I excused myself and headed for the toilet where I spent a few minutes controlling my breathing while resting my forehead against the wall repeating over and over again, ‘I saved his life? I saved his life! I saved his life?’ trying to convince myself of what he had just told me.

I composed myself and headed back out into the crowded café. At the end of our time together, as we emerged onto the street, I stopped him before he headed off and told him: ‘I didn’t save your life, G—, you did.’

 

As the Mist leaves No Scar

As the mist leaves no scar

On the dark green hill,

So my body leaves no scar

On you, nor ever will.

 

When wind and hawk encounter,

What remains to keep?

So you and I encounter,

Then turn, then fall asleep.

 

As many nights endure

Without a moon or star,

So will we endure

When one is gone and far.

Leonard Cohen (1934 – 2016)


Iranian Missiles Not Imaginary

According To Iranian Officials, Obama Administration Gave Unwritten Consent In The Nuclear Talks And In The JCPOA Negotiations For Iran To Develop Ballistic Missiles With A Range Of Only 2,000 km – That Is, Capable Of Striking Israel But Not Europe | MEMRI – The Middle East Media Research Institute
https://www.memri.org/reports/according-iranian-officials-obama-administration-gave-unwritten-consent-nuclear-talks-and

It seems that our last President was talking out of both sides of his mouth when it came to protecting everyday Israelis–and Europeans, and Americans, and the rest of Western Civilization.  

Read the report for yourself.  All of it.  It contains information that shocked me to my core.

As far as the reliability of the source: MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) is an organization that simply translates media from the Arabic, Farsi, and other Middle Eastern languages (as well as African languages) into English.  Their website (link above) is largely geared toward the academic and institutional audience, so much of its content is not accessible by non-affiliated individuals; however, plenty of content is open to the public.

MEMRI translates television from Middle Eastern sources such as the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic State, and Iranian sources.  Thus we can learn what these entities are learning from their media.

Especially shocking are the children’s TV programs and videos made by the above sources, teaching children everything from hatred of America to hatred of Christians and Jews.  This stuff is not staged.  It’s simply what’s there.

If your mind is not open to plain reality, please do open it.  Look at the evidence.  

I find that the vast majority of Westerners get their information from highly biased news sources such as NPR, the BBC, CNN, and the New York Times.  These outlets do not present the facts on the ground.  I believe it’s essential to look at primary sources–what the Arab world is sharing, and I don’t mean the incredibly watered-down English version of Al-Jazeera, which is entirely different from the Arabic edition.  You can read translations of the Arabic Al-Jazeera on the MEMRI site.

Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself!


Groundhog Sees His Shadow, Seasonal Depression Laughs

So, yes, the groundhog saw his shadow thus six more weeks of winter. Which is, as we all know, is some ridiculous  but cute superstition because whether the groundhog sees his shadow or now…Spring doesn’t officially begin til the 20/21rst of March so we get seven weeks more of official winter whether we want it or not. The correlating factor to the groundhog tradition is…will it be light winter weather or will it be ‘kick you in the nards’ winter weather.

Not even the psychic hotline can predict that shit in the midwest.

Which means for those of us who battle crippling seasonal affective depression…We’re in for a bumpy ride, but just how bumpy? Time will tell…

Like Monday and Tuesday I was half ass functional. Yesterday I shut down. I literally could not drag my ass out of bed except to drop the kid off at school and pick her up. I had every intention of avoiding R’s wrath and appearing at the shop per his request. EVERY intention. But then I shoveled my handful of meds, decided to lay under the blankets until the alarm went off…Then the alarm kept going off. I hit snooze, set for every 5 minutes, and still…I kept nodding off. Which waking every 5 minutes isn’t that far off from waking every hour, like I did last night.

Suffice it to say R was not amused. I was waiting for his snarky text (not that I’d have been roused any more by that than an alarm going off every 5 minutes) but it never came and he had Mark there helping/hanging out so I wasn’t all that inclined to freak out. Fuck ’em. Well, to make him angrier, my lovely Safelink service didn’t even deliver the text til 8 hours after he sent it, which made it seem like I was blowing him off…

What did finally get me up and moving was my mom actually CALLING to tell me to come fetch a leftover turkey to feed the stray cats outside. Maybe because my ringer alert is louder than my text or alarm alert? No idea. But I did get up and moving. WHY CAN’T PEOPLE JUST CALL ANYMORE? This texting bullshit has lead to so many missed messages and misunderstood “it was meant as a joke and I had to take it as offensive and go off like a jerk” situations. Hate texting. HATE it.

That being said, on days when my paranoia and anxiety are so high I can’t answer a phone call…Texting is ok. Fucked up much, Morgue? I KNOW!

Trying to explain bipolar depression and all the medication side effects, sleep disturbances, to R is akin to trying to explain algebra to me. I am never gonna get it and neither is he. He cannot fathom anyone, even those who work graveyard shifts, sleeping “all day”. What he fails to understand, which even a six year old can, is that if you do not get enough deep sleep at night, then you take a bunch of pills any of which can cause random drowsiness, especially when a new med is added or increased, NAPPING ALL DAY MAKES ABSOLUTE SENSE.

Since he drinks himself to sleep every night and sleeps through, he gets rest. He doesn’t get what it is like to not get enough rest, ever, and to constantly hover between anxious hypo mania or somnolence when it comes to sleep. To him, even a knife thru the skull would just be a lame excuse to be lazy.

But every time I think “this friendship is toxic” he does something so amazing it’s like I can’t afford to cut off that life line. I have ZERO doubt my kid and I would still be without heat had it been left to the landlord and furnace guy yet R fixed it and we have been so toasty since…

Maybe I am the problem. Low irritation threshold. Inability to stop trying to educate those who simply don’t want to know.

The one plus this week was my shrink appointment. Now, I had to fetch my kid 45 mins early from school cos my appt was at 2 and they tend to run behind and I had no one else to get her so I took her with. Thank pegacorn I fetched her because they ran 35 mins behind. I was stunned to step on the scale and learn, in spite of eating a ton of fried cheddar cheese curds last month, I LOST weight. I was also shocked when my blood pressure was taken and it was 158 on top. I normally run 120. Which must have meant my anxiety was off the charts or I have some underlying condition that is probably going to kill me.

Aside from my shrink, the next doctor I see will be doing my autopsy. Hate doctors.

But the appt went well, Spook played quietly with some toys he had. He listened. Asked what I wanted to do. I told him increase the Wellbutrin. He agreed. I explained our last appointment and how I felt him calling disability “my new norm” had made me feel as if he didn’t believe I truly want to go back to work. He said nothing was further from the truth, as he can see, in the 2 plus years he has seen me, I’ve never reached remotely close to stable and reliable even for myself, let alone for work. He’d said that only to convince me to stop flogging myself and accept that at this time, I am unfit for work. A year from now I may not be.

Then came the ultimate compliment cos I got frustrated and said, “I’m 44 years old, this is never where I saw myself at this age.”

He exclaimed, “You’re 44? You don’t look it!”

Flattering even if proof they don’t read your chart.

Today I am going to try to go into the dish and pay bills and run errands. R texted last night asking if I’d come in today and I told him I had plans but could try to work around it then he came back with ‘never mind’. Yeah, whatever, Mark is gonna be there with him today and I have shit to do.

Will I get anything done? Remains to be seen. I’m still upright and awake at 8:30 a.m. so that’s a good sign, right? And I put on clean clothes, put gas in the car, repaid the $20 I owed R for the meds Spook needed for her earache and cold Monday…

So what is different today that is keeping me from being comatose in spite of me getting even less solid sleep last night? I ran out of Wellbutrin, need to get it filled today, starting to wonder if it might be the culprit. Maybe I need to take it at bed time. This medication thing is more art than science.

I just know I am trying my best and while not good enough for those around me, I need to listen to my doctor and stop kicking my own ass with guilt. Easier said than done but I will make an effort.

Okay, a couple of cutesy pics just to break up the same old same old rant.

This was sitting in the school office when I fetched Spook Monday.

school-skullAnd this is the lamp my sister got me for Christmas/birthday.

dragon-skull-lightShe also got me two pairs of earrings, middle fingers sticking up, but they are tiny studs and my shit camera won’t take a decent pic of them.

I think they will be the perfect thing to wear to school functions.

Yes. I will do ANYTHING to avoid being drafted into the PTO. That and…I cannot resist these middle fingers on my fists. (Thank you, Wednesday 13 for that lyric, I luurve you.)

And that’s all she wrote, for now.


Bad News

My middle daughter got bad news yesterday that she was no longer in the running for the fully-funded scholarship at Mississippi State.  She is still in consideration for other scholarships, which we may be able to patch together into a full scholarship, but she was emailed that she was not a finalist for the big one.   She was upset but not just absolutely torn up about it; she’s going to Auburn today and tomorrow to check out that campus again and see if it might be where she wants to go.

I had a piece rejected this morning as well so I know how she feels.  I still have a lot of submissions outstanding but a rejection is a rejection.   I may just hold off on sending anything else out until they all come back.  I don’t know.

 


I’m Not A US Citizen or An Immigrant, But It Affects Me That Trump is President

A powerful commentary. Read it!

Scribblings of a Storyteller

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
― Anne Frank

I chose the title not because I wanted to drive traffic to my website, but because it best explains this post.

I’ve hated Trump from the very first time I heard about him last year. At that time, it did not seem that a sexist, racist, misogynist orange like him would actually be sitting in the world’s most powerful office months later. As women who’d been abused by him spoke up and tapes of him speaking such disgusting and derogatory thoughts about women surfaced, I became sure that after seeing how characterless and disrespectful this person was, no one would vote for him.

Because I believed that with the surge in the number of feminists and social activists defending POC and the LGBT community, no one would tolerate such a…

View original post 1,208 more words


An “All I Do Is Win” Kind of Day

Yesterday I won a writing competition where I thought I had absolutely no shot. Today I won a travel grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Tomorrow’s my birthday. THIS HAS BEEN A GOOD WEEK.

After school today I came home, changed into jeans and a sweatshirt, and then blasted “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled. I danced around my kitchen with my dog because no one else was home to celebrate with me. The beagle and I brought down the house, y’all. I even danced with a treat in my hand so that he would jump around with me until the song was over. When the lyrics would say “Everybody’s hands go up! And they stay there,” I held the treat right over his head so his paws would – you guessed it – go up and then stay there. He’s got some mad skills in the choreography department. We should go on tour.

I tried to find a picture of a dancing beagle to put with this post, maybe something like this…

beagle

But then I found this “dancing beagle sculpture” and you’re getting this picture too because, um, because LOOK AT IT:

beagle2

Life is a roller coaster of wins and losses, but it’s worth cherishing a win (or two) when you get it. Find a win today, and take a second to celebrate it. Dance with your dog/cat/goldfish/invisible friend. Here’s your soundtrack if you need it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGXzlRoNtHU