Daily Archives: September 1, 2015

Oliver Sacks: 1933-2015

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:
In Vanity Fair, a rare look at the early career of Oliver Sacks. Lawrence Weschler, a close friend of Oliver Sacks, looks back on the life of the best-selling author and neurologist in the early ’80s. The neurologist and acclaimed author died today at the age of 82. He wrote…

Today I wish away

Today was one of those days one would want to just shoo away. You know, stomp your foot as if to scare off like it were a dirty, heavy, lazy fly. I woke up with children in my bed- two of them in fact. I haven’t been sleeping well for the past few nights as […]

First Peer Review

So I turned in my video introducing myself to the class for New Media and have gotten my first feedback on it, much of it positive.  A few quibbles with technique, which are fine because I really had no idea what I was doing anyway.  If they can share ways to fix it, I’ll gladly listen.  I’m still not happy with the video because I felt like I looked fat and old, but I hope no one points that out! :)

Next week we turn in an emblem, a photo with a text attached.  I’m going to write about my one serious suicide attempt with a juxtaposition with  a calm nature scene.  I’ll explain the juxtaposition in the text itself, so I hope everyone “gets it”.  My professor is a poet by trade, so his example is much more elegant-sounding than mine will be.  I just hope again that people get what I’m trying to say with mine.  We will see.

I have some heavy reading this week with the class, with a writer talking about Fascist vs. Marxist ideas of art and the politics of mechanical dissemination of art.  It’s going to be hard sledding, but I think I will get it figured out given a week to read forty pages.  I really do feel comfortable in the class, moreso than I thought I might.  We will see how it goes as we go deeper.

Making a Difference?


Day before yesterday, as I was driving on Bardstown Rd, I saw a man standing by the side of the road with a sign that read “Hungry, please help.” My son and I had talked about this, if we saw something like this, what we’d do. And we had come to the conclusion that we would take a person with a sign like this to an eatery and buy them food. With that in my mind, I stopped and parked my car, walked over to the gentleman and said “I saw your sign. Please pick one of the two food places behind us and I will buy you a meal.” He immediately turned around and starting looking at the two places, one was Rally’s and the other one, I don’t remember what it was, but he picked the other one. We went inside, I asked him to pick anything from the menu, and bought him two meals. I gave him, the miraculously in my purse, $20, (I NEVER have cash on me, but this $20 must have had his name on it!) and was about to leave, when I thought it would be a good idea to ask for his phone number so I could give him any job leads I found. While inside, he told me he had worked as a food service worker in fancy restaurants in Louisville, he had also driven a fork lift, and had some experience with computers. He had taken early retirement and was only getting $900/month, recently he had lost both his part time jobs, and had to move because of deplorable conditions in his apartment which the landlord refused to correct. And now, all of a sudden, he found he didn’t have enough money to eat. So I decided to ask my friends to see if anyone knew of something he could do. He told me his name was Alfonzo, and gave me his cell phone number. Yesterday, I asked my friend about any leads for a job for Mr. Alfonzo. My friend gave me a name and number today, when I tried to call Mr. Alfonzo, someone named Larry answered! I asked him if he knew anyone named Alfonzo, but he said no. My heart sank. I had meant to help Alfonzo as much as I could, but now I couldn’t help him at all. Either I’d punched in the wrong number in my phone or he’d given me the wrong one. I looked back at the situation as it was happening, and I remembered how truthful and honest Alfonzo had seemed. How clean and gentlemanly he’d been. I decided I had written down the wrong number, because he did not, not in the least, seem like someone who lied. The first three digits of the number were 345- ####, so I decided to try 435-#### and guess who answered? Yes, Mr. Alfonzo!!! I gave him the job lead and asked him to call the place. I also told him that I had other friends looking out for more leads. He thanked me profusely, as he had done when I bought him the meal. He seems like such a sweet old man, fallen on hard times.

I know this isn’t about me, it is about helping a man who finds himself in unfortunate circumstances. But it was very difficult for me to realize that I didn’t have his number. I am always afraid, terrified, panic stricken at the thought of losing someone, what the heck does that even mean? Yeah, who knows… but I suspect this fear has its roots in having “lost” my father at about 5 years of age, and then having lost my brother, or maybe it’s just a human fear of loss and of being alone. So my heart plummeted when I found myself with the wrong number, I had been afraid of it all along, that I’d written down the wrong number, and in this instance, my worst fear was realized! So what did I do, did I give up? No, I cried for about 2 minutes, then decided to look at the number to see if I’d gotten it wrong and if I could try a few combinations of it and see if I would get the right one. And the very first thing I tried, it worked!

Ok, I know, I’ll be careful. I will not give Mr. Alfonzo my home address, obviously not, I will not meet him anywhere in the dark, and I will not empty out my bank account and give all the money to him, haha. This man is honest, he is in no way a crook or a charlatan, he is simply a man fallen on hard times. And all I’m going to do is help find him a job. And yes, it is only one man I’m helping, not all of humanity, but for this one man, I hope I will be making a difference!

Tuesday Is Trash Day For More Reasons Than The Obvious

It’s 8:22 a.m. and already I’ve nearly had a car wreck. Awesome. It was one of those alignment of the evil stars, moon, sun things. Just as I had to take my kid to school, my histamines kicked in and convinced me every inch of skin was itching. Then my sinus meds wore off from yesterday and BAM, I got hit with seepy eyes and drainage. Early morning sunlight, yapping child, flip flop caught on the pedals and…Had to slam on the brakes hard cos I nearly pulled out in front of a mini van. Nothing like that to get your early morning panic going. Least my brakes are good. I still want the legal right to muzzle my child in the car, she is far more dangerous a distraction than eating, texting, smoking, and juggling flaming torches while driving.

So aside from the sinus misery (took more meds, hope they kick in soon) I think I may not murder anyone today. That is, of course, a joke. I never murder anyone on days ending in D-A-Y. I just sew them together as a human centipede…

It’s gonna be like this, me all weird, as I am out of Cymbalta and Focalin and waiting to hear if my mom is gonna pay back the $20 she owes me or if I am gonna have to be weird(er) until Thursday. I got my monthly statement from my Medicare script plan yesterday and I had NO idea just how expensive my treatment is for one month. I assumed since all my meds are generic that maybe at most it was eighty a month. Ha. More like $386. Given I am on five different meds but my god, even as generics, what kind of job would I need to afford that every month? Plus the $150 for a ten minute med check…Mental illness is trash. Expensive trash.

Could be worse. Could be the over $700 a month for that damn Laduma. Latarda. Latuda. Whatever. That shit was toxic, I may as well have sucked on arsenic cubes.

See, this is me, this is who I am. I have a tiny copay on my meds and insurance handles it all basically and yet I am still fretting over being too much of an expense. I blame my father, he’d have had us born in a barn with a cow doctor delivering us if it would have saved him a buck. (Though considering I saw Dr Chihuahua, could the cow doc be any worse?)

Ok, sinus drainage is ass trash. I made it 42 years without a sinus issue now I am suddenly the queen of drainage, wtf. Just a tiny break, here, life, please? For the love of satanic pegacorns, cut me a break!

There was another showdown with Spook last night over bedtime. She went bonkers so I called my stepmonster who normally scares the hell out of that kid. I put it on speaker phone so she could hear what I have to deal with. And not even she could talk the child into submission, Spook kept screaming at her, too. It’s not that I am out to vilify my child, at all. But it does get old when people assume I am dramatizing because I am somehow rendered “fragile” by my mental issues. There’s no dramatizing here, I am raising a little version of possessed Linda Blair. When she just kept screaming, I got off the phone and just left in her room screaming. After a half hour, she went to sleep. This morning…like another kid entirely, as if nothing had happened. Shades of chemical imbalance, no?

I guess that’s about it on that personal front, for now. Day is young and R wants me to pop by the shop to show him how to order business cards (yeah, he has a degree and I have a GED, who should be showing who computer shit?) so I may have a brain bleed yet and spew some more.


I’d like to take this time to step aside from my mental stuff and ranting and say thank you to all who have donated- money, good wishes, reposts, their time doing these things- every tiny thing you wonderful amazing people have done in an effort to help our Abby Cat get treated by a vet. $55 has been raised thus far and though the goal was set at $300, I am hoping I can raise even a fraction. If I can get enough to pay for the visit, flea dip, and antibiotic, I may be able to work out a payment plan with the vet for all the rest since my cats have been going to him for over twenty years. It’s my hope, anyway.

Abby slept on my pillow all night and I kept waking up, rubbing her fur, making sure she hadn’t stopped breathing. Because, okay, mom to kid or cats, I am a neurotic helicopter. This morning when we got up, Abby followed us, making a beeline right for the food dishes. Considering Sunday all she could do was curl up by the sun at the door, no eat, no drink, barely able to open her eyes…I think my tending to her abscess helped considerably. That little cat has so much fight in her, I am envious. She wins the spork of fortitude times ten. Now that she has eaten, drank, and groomed, she is napping on what has become “her” table.

Thanks again, everyone, for showing this pessimistic cynic that there are good people out there. I was wr…wro….wroo…Ya know, that w-r-o-n-g word about everyone being a jerk. Sincerest thanks to all who have helped- be it money, your time to repost this, or even sending well wishes for Abs…YOU GUYS ROCK!

Save Abby fund is here and by all means, use social media to pass it around. I have no dignity when it comes to my kid or cats ;)


My beautiful picture

Absinthe, The Great


Dealing with Hypersensitivity

I’m not an expert on the subject, but I do know what it’s like to be (hyper)sensitive. In the comments section of my post about me talking about how sensitive I am, two of my favourite bloggers actually put a name to what I go through on a daily basis. I am, what they call, a highly sensitive […]

Dumb Things People Say To “Help” Those With Mental Illness

It happens to all of us: we’re smack in the middle of a mood episode and a family member or friend, in an effort to be helpful, utters some platitude about how we need to cheer up in depression, or to settle down when we’re manic. But while we know they’re only trying to make us feel better, there are some phrases that are most UNhelpful, and if we never hear them again it would still be a day too soon. Among them:

“Just smile and think positive.” Now, if that were all that was required to pull ourselves out of an episode, don’t you think we would? Nobody chooses to be depressed; believe me, we’ve thought about this one and it’s just not as easy as it looks.

“Have you tried yoga?” Personally, I haven’t because I can’t get down on the floor, let alone do all those contortions—er, poses. I’ve heard that it can be a good adjunct to medications so I wouldn’t dismiss its benefits, but again, if all it took to manage bipolar disorder were a few exercises, the illness wouldn’t exist.

“You need to pray more. God can cure you.” Yes, I’m sure He can, but so far He hasn’t chosen to, and besides, my prayer life is my own business. I have spoken with Him many times about all this, and He’s been silent on the matter.

“You don’t need pills. They’re poison.” I don’t know about anyone else, but my “pills” have saved my life on more than one occasion. I know they can have bad side effects, and yes, I have some of them. I’ve gained weight and have tremors in my hands. I get dizzy when I stand up too fast and I have brain fog. Sometimes I worry about the long term because I’m going to be on psych meds for the rest of my life. But I’m still here. ‘Nuff said.

My _____ (sister, aunt, grandfather, fill in the blank) had depression, and they just used vitamins and a healthy diet to cure it.” For one thing, there is no “cure” for mental illness, and for another, if diet and supplements were enough to control it they probably didn’t have a very bad case. These things can help, but for most of us, other measures are necessary.

“Why would you pay for therapy when you can talk to me for free?” Because—bless your heart—my psychiatrist is an objective observer who can give me the tools I need to cope with all this. He has the training, experience, and skills to deal with complex psychological problems. But I still like talking to you too.

“You need to mellow out. Take some deep breaths and quiet your mind.” That’s like asking a volcano to shut off the lava flow instantaneously. The only non-drug method that works at calming me down was initiated by my husband Will, and he’s probably the only person on earth who can get away with it. He takes both my hands in his, puts his face up close to mine and gently (but firmly) encourages me to focus on the sound of his voice. He will repeat the same mantra over and over, until he sees that I’ve internalized it, and then he strokes my cheek and reminds me that he loves me and that he really wants me to calm down. It’s almost as effective as a PRN Zyprexa.

“Mental illness isn’t real. It’s just a scam to make money for Big Pharma.” This one renders me speechless. Seriously. You can’t reason with people who think like this. Fortunately I’ve been given this line only once, and my quietness must have been taken the way it was meant because the person shut up and a VERY awkward silence followed. If I could have spoken, it would have been along the lines of “WTF is wrong with you?!”

These are a few of my personal issues with the advice given to us by well-meaning “normies”. What are yours?

Online High School

Online High School. An Experiment. Please Wish Us Well.

My son struggles with multiple health issues: migraines, cyclic vomiting, weak immune system, allergies, eczema, depression, and anxiety. The newly defined spectrum syndrome ALPIM (Anxiety-Laxity-Pain-Immune-Mood) describes his constellation of symptoms, but does not yet give us answers as to how to cure or treat the underlying genetic disorder.

Monday, August 31st would have been my son’s first day back to high school after summer vacation. Unfortunately, he was unable to get out of bed to start the school year. He spent last Sunday night and early Monday morning vomiting. No doubt he is stressed out. He said he was worried about throwing up at school. He was probably stressed out about making up his incompletes from last semester. At the end of the school year he was sick and missed taking his finals and completing missed assignments.

I gave my son the option of enrolling in an online high school program, which he chose to do Monday morning as I tried to wake him for school. So last Monday I enrolled him in a k12.com school, California Prep Academy San Diego. My new job is to be his “learning coach,” supervising his progress. We’ll see how that goes. It’s an ongoing process for the two of us.

Filed under: Depression, Disability, Health, Parenting Tagged: ALPIM, anxiety, Anxiety-Laxity-Pain-Immune-Mood, chronic illness, chronic pain, cyclic vomiting, k12.com, migraines, online education, weak immune system