Daily Archives: June 11, 2016

Brain Dead


All three of us – my son, my husband and me – are sick with a virus of some sort – flu, perhaps. Exhaustion I already felt now worsened by deep fatigue achy muscles, nausea, and headache. My brain just is not working. Pulling up the wrong words. Not able to construct thoughts.

Still, took my mom to communication recovery group yesterday. Wipes me out to do so, honestly. Have to reconsider it. Another family member in the caregiver support group was familiar with resources and support groups closer to us.

I had tried calling to find out more information about that group earlier and was told that the group was not open and not communication recovery oriented. Apparently whoever I spoke to wasn’t aware of the communication recovery group in question. Difficult looking for resources and getting the door slammed in your face.

Honestly, I don’t know if I’m up to taking my mom to these groups. It helps her, but comes at a cost to me. She and my father insist on going back home, which is not an option. She wants to live with family, which would be devastating. My parents were challenging even before dementia and stroke due to alcoholism and mental illness. We love one another, but doing so can be – has been – painful.

Filed under: Alcoholism, Bipolar Disorder, Dementia, Family, Health, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Stroke Tagged: caregiver, caregiving, communication recovery group, CRG, exhaustion, stroke recovery

Tribute -So Long “Mr. Hockey”

I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Even though Gordie Howe was not born there and left when he was 16 to pursue his hockey career, Saskatoon laid claim to him. He passed away yesterday at the age of 88 at … Continue reading

In The 90’s

It so hot here right now it is in the 90’s going to hit over 100 with the humidex. ugh That means if I wanted to go out not gonna happen. I only like to go to outdoor things, I hate indoors I always feel so trapped.

Hubby is home which is good at least it gives me someone to talk to when I am wandering around trying to find something to do because I ran out of weed again.. sigh. Gonna be a long week.

I can feel that I am restless and today is going to be challenging for me to find things to do. I need to start showing an interest in more of the house work, that could kill 30 mins or so.

Just doesn’t feel like a hope filled day, hopefully that will change.

That A(bandonment) Word Again


This little tiger cub was screaming till I put my arms around her!

I didn’t ask to be abandoned, I didn’t ask for abandonment issues, but I do accept the challenge of overcoming them. I’ve been reading extensively and trying to put all that I learn into practice. Below are a few of the extremely positive passages in some of the webpages and websites I’ve been reading. I have been trying to get over these issues since the beginning of this year and I do believe I’ve made great strides. Before January of this year, I wasn’t even aware that I had abandonment issues and that I could be re-triggered. But now I know, and knowledge is power. I have always stood tall and strong even though I’ve been through some pretty hellish things. I have never given up and I do not intend to give up now:-) With my customary strength and persistence, I am sure I will overcome these abandonment issues and their re-triggering. As I said, since I realized this is something that is happening in January, I have made progress. I don’t react or get re-triggered as much I did when I was unaware that it was happening. Now even if I do get re-triggered, it is for a short time and recovery back to my normal self is quicker. I firmly believe that total recovery is not only possible, but forthcoming. So dear readers, if you are suffering from this issue as well, I wish you and myself all the luck and send you and myself all the positive thoughts I am able to send. Godspeed and good luck, dear readers.

11)The power is within you to turn this experience into an opportunity for profound positive personal growth. Vow to benefit from abandonment rather than be diminished by it. The abandonment recovery program helps you find greater life and love than before. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-anderson/how-i-survived-abandonmen_b_6598014.html

A therapist will help overcome fears of abandonment by changing the emotional reaction associated with abandonment. This can help the person separate the past from present day and work toward correcting their negative and false beliefs. It also helps the person by teaching him or her to develop more positive and realistic reactions to events in his or her life.

True healing from abandonment occurs when a person who has fears of abandonment leans that the fear is in the past and cannot control the present-day relationships providing he or she maintains healthy perspectives about life. 

Because of a lack of validation and security as a child, the abandonment issues grow. However, by addressing these feelings, it is possible to break the cycle. http://www.bandbacktogether.com/abandonment-resources/

A therapist or counselor can often help a person learn to separate fears of the past from the reality of the present. It may be possible for individuals to achieve cognitive transformation through this process and thus develop more positive reactions and realistic expectations for their lives. When individuals are able to recognize their fears are rooted in the past, they can often begin to develop the ability to minimize the way fear controls their emotional responses to current relationships and events and achieve healing from past experiences. 

Many types of therapy, from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) to dialectical behavior therapy, can address abandonment issues. Psychotherapy for abandonment often focuses on helping a person address and tend, in a self-compassionate way, to the parts of the self holding on to the memories and feelings associated with abandonment trauma. This form of self-exploration might include distinguishing the vulnerable, helpless child of the past from the stronger, more capable adult. Simply pursuing treatment with an attentive, empathic therapist can often help soothe a person’s abandonment fears.

Abandonment issues can be overwhelming, but individuals challenged by these fears can frequently learn to manage them in ways that are healthy and productive. Methods of addressing and overcoming abandonment issues might include:

  • Exploring ways to care for the self
  • Developing the ability to access a safe and calm “center” when fears threaten one’s sense of safety or security
  • Learning to successfully communicate needs in intimate relationships
  • Building a sense of trust in others


Reblog – On Spending

Originally posted on decoding bipolar:
Spending can be an issue during mania for many that struggle with bipolar disorder. I struggle with this. It is also perhaps my biggest indicator that mania is on the horizon. I don’t usually give…

Mental Illness can be messy

As I sat working on a keynote speech I am delivering it dawned on me that I was going to share some of my less pleasant moments to reinforce my point.  Then for a brief moment I felt kind of vulnerably empowered.  

You see the reality of mental illness is that sometimes it is just a bit messy.  It is not prim and proper – not politically correct.  It can have a whole chapter devoted entirely to one single mess.  Sometimes a person might have more than one mess and therefore multiple chapters.

As for me, well like most people with bipolar disorder I could write a great deal about those challenges with adversity and I plan to do that.  But it is most important that people read the entire book.  Because the story is really more about the clean up and less about the mess.

The glory is in crossing the finish line with your arms up, fist pumping in the air.  This is what I call recovery.  What I am sharing in my talk is about how I did it and how many people who have mental health conditions recover.  

You just don’t hear much about them. You really only hear about the mess.  

Let’s change that…”Triumph Over Adversity:  An Olympians Journey with Mental Illness”


Open Heart Living

I live with an open heart. A difficult vulnerability as my heart is mostly scar tissue, and just like the tender scars underneath a chin — from a reckless childhood fall into the edge of a coffee table or drunken stumble into the corner of a bathroom sink — one small bump and I bleed all over again.
My body reveals my reckless, yearning, despairing history. Gravel in the knee after speeding down a potholed hill and tumbling from my bright yellow, banana seat Huffy bike. A thumb-shaped indent in my calf after a German shepherd attack left me scrambling onto the roof of a Volkswagen Beetle so the dog’s jaws wouldn’t catch my neck. A tiny pit near my temple from a chicken pox scab that I picked off when sequestered in bed, blissfully, with a stack of Nancy Drew books and glasses of ginger ale. Rivers of stretch marks on the insides of my thighs from growing four inches in eight months when I was twelve and felt ugly and ungainly and towered over all the boys who called me Olive Oil. A long snake running up my foot from college when I was drunk and then inexplicably bleeding and my boyfriend accused me of doing it to myself while the doctor sewed me back together with twenty-three stitches. Dozens of crisscrossed scars on my arms that I did do to myself with razors and knives and glass, trying to overwrite the chaotic and overwhelming psychic pain with the controlled and deliberate pain of an Xacto blade.
I’ve had to explain all of the scars on my arms to boyfriends, lovers, old friends, new friends, doctors, phlebotomists, even strangers, writhing in shame and panic: They can see and now they know and will leave.
When my daughter was seven, she grabbed my forearm and with her tiny fingers traced the raised, white scars. “How do you think you got these?” she asked. My daughter studied the world around her with focused intensity. She spent hours watching the slow progress of her Chinese Water Dragon molt its skin. Could I really have assumed that she wouldn’t see the dozens of white scars that etched my arms in their sad pattern?
I panicked. How could I answer that question? I was supposed to be the safe harbor against a painful, violent world. What would it mean for me then to be the source of such violence? So I lied.
“The cat,” I said, and pulled my arm away. “With its razor claws.”
When I was at the bottom of the well, cutting my arms in an almost daily assault, my therapist wanted me to write words over the scars and around the new wounds with a black Sharpie: Beloved Holy Forgiven. Words meant to remind me of who I was in spite — despite — my surety that I didn’t matter and hence, should die. Inscribe those words, words of softness and kindness, of redemption and love, onto my skin for everyone to see? How could these words be mine? I blew him off.
At our next appointment, he had me push back my sleeves, revealing a new ladder of scabs.
“What do you see?” he asked.
“Scars and damage,” I said.
“What’s missing?” he asked.
I looked away. More, deeper, dead, I thought.
“What’s missing?” he asked again.
“Oh,” I said. “Words. But I can’t write on my arms. I don’t want anyone to notice.” Somehow, even though “anyone” noticing my scars flooded me with shame, I believed it might be more shameful for “anyone” to see that I might mark myself with hope. Wasn’t that overreaching? Why risk imagining any possibilities that offered joy and grace and connection with “anyone.”
He was persistent so I relented and started wearing the words on my skin, trying not to care about the sideways glances from strangers. When I went for a manicure, the nail technician, Tommy, a chatty, breezy Vietnamese immigrant who liked to watch The Price is Right in between filing each nail, turned my arms over and read the words aloud: Beloved Holy Forgiven. My shame storm rose up: chest tightened, mouth watered, the need to run and dive back into the well. Tommy was saying the words again and again in his broken English in a room full of “anyones.” He smiled, a wide, white-toothed smile, picked up the nail file, and said, “Those good words.”
A few months ago, I was sitting in a booth at a diner with my first post-divorce, supersonic “fling,” T. He had read my blog before ever kissing me, and so knew all about my tangled, painful, shameful past and chose to come back (and has unexpectedly become a longer-term friend). Sex with T. was revelatory: for the first time in decades, my body was a source of unmitigated pleasure and joy. As is so often the case post-tumble, we were starving and though it was past midnight, found a twenty-four hour diner. We were sharing a black and white milkshake and a plate of bacon, when T. asked me to explain my scars, why I felt it necessary to hurt myself in that way.
“It felt like pain’s answer,” I said. “Like having a toothache and grinding down into the throbbing tooth. Somehow, secondary pain obliterates primary pain.”
He ran a finger down my forearm, a tender benediction. Usually I would have pulled away, and tucked my arm behind my back, but the small weight of him on my skin held me in place.
“You don’t do that anymore,” he said, “right? You don’t need to do that to yourself.”
T.’s gaze offered compassion and empathy, the necessary forces of the heart that obliterate shame. For a long time, we just looked into each other, each risking both seeing and being seen. The waitress must have thought we were high, like the giggly table of teenagers scarfing french fries behind us, or practicing some form of introverted tantric sex. But we’d been talking all night about who we were and who we were becoming, and we just rested in the quiet.
This is why I live my heart as openly as possible now, risking vulnerability for joy and grace and connection, understanding that most of the time, or at least in equal time, the return will likely be pain and humiliation and rejection. But that is acceptable, necessary risk because when it pays off? Transcendence. Starfish are creatures of transcendence, like their other name suggests: Sea Stars. Their powers are fittingly celestial. When a Starfish’s limb is cut off, the wound must first heal, but then cells proliferate, reaching for an imagined future. Regeneration of a new limb can take years. In our bodies? Scarring is, after all, healing, and is believed to be our form of regeneration. The scars that crisscross my arms, the scars that were once a source of shame, are now evidence of my celestial regeneration — years in the making — into a life filled with the transcendent possibilities of joy and grace and connection, and a body beloved and holy and forgiven.
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