Daily Archives: April 18, 2017

The Coolest Thing I’ve Heard In A Long Time


Six-year-old Nate Butkus has had his own podcast, The Show About Science, for nearly two years.  He’s clearly a pro!  His interview skills are right on the money as he digs deep with his guests, who started out being easily accessible family friends, and now are respected scientists and other famous geeks.

I’m happy to see how Nate’s dad supports his kid.  When Nate said he wanted to do a show about science, his dad, instead of mumbling something about being way too busy, actually took Nate to a sound studio.   Then, when things took off, Nate’s dad made room in his busy life to be his young son’s recording engineer.  Good on both of them!

I hope you enjoy Nate as much as I do.

And then it’s not…..

I have done pretty well for the last 3 years. I have had issues here and there but I have been mostly stable. 

Well, it started when my son won 4th in State in his weight class for wrestling. Whoop whoop!! Anyway, the second the match was over I went into a full blown panic attack. I thought it was because he deserved 3rd place, which he did, but boy was I wrong. 

I made the hour long trip home alone with the music turned up. On that ride I realized it wasn’t the match that was bothering me. It was that it was over. Wrestling being over meant that all that was left is graduation. And then the crying started all over again. 

I have been trying since then to get myself ready or prepare myself for graduation, and get to a place where I could make it through that day without being a complete basket case. 

A couple weeks ago I finally faced the fact that isn’t going to happen. And that I need something to help me, if even just for that day. I refuse to destroy HIS day because I can’t control my emotions. 

One day in the car I caught one line from the song My Wish, by Rascal Flatts, and it literally took my breath away. Out of no where. I can’t even think about the actual day without tearing up. 

Then some stuff at work got added to that and I just can’t deal. I want everything to go away. I just want to be left alone. I am not allowing myself to isolate because I know that would only make it worse. And I HAVE to make it through graduation with a smile on my face. He deserves it and he has earned it. And I am so far past proud of who he is and where he is going. 

So I had another panic attack this week mostly because of work. But I know that the underlying reason is that I am not handling this whole graduating thing well( see sitting here with tears running down my face even talking about it). I don’t want my son to see me this way on his big day. I want him to see and know how proud of him I am and that he is truly amazing!

It’s really not fair. I don’t want to be this way. My logical mind can seperate the two but my subconscious seems to be stuck and I can’t figure out how to get it unstuck. I am so unbelievably overwhelmed and I can’t figure out how to make myself fix it. So at this point I am wondering if I am just gonna have to be almost comatose to make it through this day. I don’t want that either. I want to remember this day. I want to treasure it. 

See I don’t know how to live without him with me. I had just turned 18 when I had him. He has always been there. I have never been an adult without him. I have tried to say that in an effort to prepare myself. But even as I type this my eyes well up just saying the words. I will have to start to learn how to be my own person, and not a Mom. Of course I still have my younger 2 but they aren’t far behind him. 5 and 6 years from now I will be in the same place with them. But I don’t know how to do that. I can’t even begin to know how to enjoy life and have fun without my babies. To be clear I have always been a mother. I have always had someone else to think about and worry about. To make a decision strictly for myself very rarely happens. There’s always kids involved somehow, even if it’s just finding a babysitter. I don’t really know how to do anything different. And I am pretty confident this is not something anyone can tell me how to do. I have to figure out how to let go and how to be me all by myself. Well, with my husband of course but that’s not the same as kids. 

I know they will always be mine. I know they will always be around and love me, us, and each other. But that doesn’t change the fact that my subconscious is having a field day with this. And I am suffering in the process. I have taken what amounts to a leave of absence from work. I really can’t deal with this and some issues that are going on there. I hate to admit this is where I am at. I don’t want to be here. I want to keep working so I have spending money. But I’m gonna have to give that up for now because I can’t carry all this stuff into a work environment. It only makes it worse and I can’t do my job right. 

This isn’t fun! It’s not something I want or would choose. But one thing I have learned is that if I don’t listen to what my mind is telling me it will only continue to get worse. So I will take this time off. Unless I get a handle on this,  likely until after we pack my son up and move him into the dorm in August I will be working on other things here at home. Maybe I will try to make some things to sell or for Christmas presents for family. I have to take this time. I have to slow down and wrap my mind around these majors changes. If I don’t I know it won’t be ok. And I could likely end up hurting the people I love and care about, and I do NOT want to do that. It’s hard to face this reality, especially when I have been so stable, but ignoring won’t help anyone. 

If you’ve read all this. Thanks! I hope maybe something resonated with you and you might be better for it. Even if not be blessed today!!


We’re having out Easter weather a couple of days late.  THunderstorms yesterday and this morning,  I haven’t been caught out in it so I’ve been all right.  I am so tired today.  Bob had another bad night with his cough; neither one of us got any sleep.  I’m starting to despair him ever getting better without going to the doctor and doing some kind of serious intervention.  I don’t know what else they can do with allergies but something has to give around here.

I seriously don’t feel like doing anything at all but sleeping. I still have two workshopping essays  to do this week so I haven’t finished my class stuff yet.  My brain is just foggy,  I’m going to get another coke and drink it and see if it helps my concentration any.  I;m hoping I’m not slipping backwards.  I think this is just going to be an off day and if I get a good night’s sleep tonight that I can make it better tomorrow.’

I have the meeting with NAMI this week on Friday.  Hopefully that will go well.   I am looking forward to it.  I just hope it doesn’t become some kind of skirmish between God people and others.  I don’t know how it would get that way, but I can easily see it doing so.  I am just going to have to say “In my experience” a lot.

Been getting rejected lately.  Two pieces on bipolar that I had a lot of hope for were rejected.  They didn’t “fit” what the editors were trying to do.  I wonder what that means, because they were special issues: one about invisible illness and another about people on the “margins”.  So we will see if anyone else is interested.

I suppose I will just keep pressing on.  Hopefully I will wake up and not be so drowsy the rest of the day.




IMG_4140Are some people simply more unlucky than others? Are their burdens of negative things more heavy than those who fly light as a feather? Or are we all equally likely to be blessed/cursed? Do some people simply handle adversity better than others and therefore seem never to have anything bad happen to them? While, do others fall apart and constantly tell the whole world about any and all negative things that may have befallen them?

I have bipolar disorder, so it is more difficult at times to regulate my emotions, specifically the DEPTH of my emotions. But, if you’ve been reading my blog, quite a few negative things have happened to me. That is the truth. I have coped with them as well as I could have done. Still coping. Still trying. Still standing.

Just some thought.


Good, good, good! Toning down the intensity of negative emotions, going from describing your emotional state as severely depressed to, let’s say, feeling bad, this will make you feel better. And feeling better means better at coping with the negative emotions. Feeling better means not having to deal with the catastrophic effects of your highly negative emotions, not on you, not on your body or your mind! All good. 

https://www.tonyrobbins.com/mind-meaning/transform-your-words-in-4-steps/?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Editorial&utm_content=Transform%20Your%20WordsPosted by Tony Robbins. 
“Without language, we find ourselves living in a state of emotional chaos. Our brain has given us the potential to communicate in extraordinary ways and the way we choose to do so can improve the neural functioning of the brain. In fact, a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress. If we do not continually exercise the brain’s language centers, we cripple our neurological ability to deal with the problems we encounter with each other.”

– Dr. Andrew Newberg, Words Can Change Your Brain

In a previous blog post, Change your words, change your life, we talked about how our habitual emotional vocabulary shapes and controls much of our emotional experiences in life – how the labels we put upon our experience become our experience.
Today, let’s take a look at how you can transform the quality of your entire life simply by becoming conscious of what habitual vocabulary you use for negative emotions, and shifting them with words that break your patterns and provide you with new and better emotional choices.
Your assignment is very simple: Below you’ll see my 10-day challenge. I call it “Watch Your TV,” watch your “Transformational Vocabulary.” The labels you attach to your experience can transform the way you feel. Again, it’s not hard to realize that if you habitually take any intense emotion and say it’s “depressing,” it’s going to feel very different than if you say you’re feeling a little “down.” Being enraged by somebody’s reaction is very different than being a bit frustrated by their response. Saying to yourself they utterly rejected you, is quite different than they didn’t agree with your suggestion.

The real secret to transforming your life is to wake up and become conscious of the patterns that are currently unconscious and shaping the way you feel.
Ultimately the way we feel determines the quality of your life. You could have whatever you think life’s dream is—building a billion dollar enterprise or a family that totally loves and adores you—but if every single day you live with the emotions of feeling frustrated and angry, then the quality of your life is called frustration and anger—it has nothing to do with the economic opportunities you have, much less the love you are surrounded by.
The quality of our lives is the quality of our emotions.
The power of Transformational Vocabulary is its simplicity. It provides you with an immediate tool to increase the quality of your life. So here are the four steps to your 10-day challenge:

Become conscious of the habitual words you use to describe your unhappy or distressing feelings. Begin to notice the labels you are putting on things.
If you say something like, “I’m so worried about this,” stop yourself and acknowledge that “worry” might be too strong a word. Maybe what you really are is “a little bit concerned.” Monitor your language and make sure your language isn’t exaggerating the intensity of emotions. Or better yet, consciously pick a word that would lower the negative intensity (instead of saying that you are “furious” with someone, describe yourself as being a little “irritated” or “disappointed with their reaction”).
If somebody asks you, “How’s it going?” instead of saying, “Okay,” what would be a word that might put a smile on your face to even say, that would break your own pattern? Like, “You wouldn’t even believe how I’m feeling!” with a smile, to be playful with yourself. Or a simple response like “I’m committed” or “I’m lucky” or “I’m grateful.” And then take a moment to think about what you are grateful for. We often lose sight of what’s beautiful in our life because of a few things that are out of line with our expectations.
My wife Sage is truly a master of this. Her favorite language pattern is when most people would say “S**t” she says, “Sugar doodle,” or when something really brutal happens, she’ll often say “Ooooh Boy.” Her response seems so ridiculous. It’s not that she doesn’t know how difficult things are, but her state of joy is infectious – her language patterns don’t just break her patterns, but mine and everyone’s around her as well. She truly expresses more joy and happiness than anyone I know.
Write down three words you currently use on a regular basis that intensify your negative feelings or emotions. Maybe you use words like “I’m frustrated,” “I’m depressed,” or “I’m humiliated.” Come up with alternative words that will lower the intensity of those negative emotions. Maybe instead of “depressed” you say you are “a little bit down.”
What would happen if instead of saying you feel “humiliated” you say you are “uncomfortable” with how the situation was dealt with? You can soften emotional intensity even further by using modifiers like “I’m just a bit peeved,” or, “I’m feeling a tad out of sorts.”
Write down three words that you use to describe your experience that is somewhat positive. When someone says, “how’s it going?” come up with three alternative words that will amplify and intensify the positive feelings and inspire you. Instead of talking about how things are “all right,” replace those words with “incredible,” “outrageous,” and “spectacular.” What’s a positive word that if you really thought about your whole life, you could say and own congruently?
Get leverage so you follow through. Pick two key people in your life – a close friend and ideally someone you respect that you would not want to disappoint. Pull them aside and explain to them your commitment to replace two or three key words in your vocabulary.
Most importantly, give them permission if they hear you using the old word to ask you if that’s really the word you want to use to explain how you feel. For example: Let them know if you start to say, “John f’n pisses me off,” that you want them to intervene and ask you, “Do you mean John’s behavior frustrates you a bit J?”
I know this sounds ridiculous, but if you are committed, a simple reminder will get you to catch yourself and lower the intensity immediately. It will help you recognize that you have control of your own space in this moment and by simply selecting a different word, you can change the meaning completely. If you do this well, you’ll find yourself smiling while you do it, like an inside joke. But it’s impact is no laughing matter.
Or if you use a phrase like “I’m depressed,” you may want them to ask you, “Hey are you depressed about this, or are you feeling a little bit down?” Are you frustrated or fascinated by how people often respond to things? Making a commitment to make these changes to a dear friend or an important and respected colleague will give you the additional support and incentive to actually follow through and break your own patterns.
By carefully and consciously selecting the words you are attaching to your experiences and doing it for a ten-day period, you’ll find an immediate change in how you feel and this becomes positively addictive. I can tell you for those who have lived this ten-day plan, the experience can be life-changing.
Again, I know it sounds overly simplistic, but if you test it out and are diligent with it for 10 days, you’ll experience a transformation in your emotional patterns – and the emotional patterns we live are what control the quality of our life. You’ll even feel the difference in your body – a lot less pain and a lot more pleasure. Don’t you deserve to have a better quality of life? Plus when you’re in a great state, how do you treat others? The better your state, the more powerful the impact on everyone around you – your businesses, your friends, and your family.
© 2017 Robbins Research International, Inc. All rights reserved.

This Jumbled Mind

It’s in the stillness
As I try to catch my breath
Be at ease
In this jumbled mind
My heart aches the most
Cries out for who I used to be
Covets the self assurances
I once carried so deep
Vies for the belief
I am off essence
I am of substance
There is more than
Mere madness that defines me
As the pain lingers
And the tears fall
I beg for mercy
To end this insanity

Lurgy, the Protestant Work Ethic, & Me

Most raccoons’ worth ethic is simple, ie, 1) eat,  2) make more raccoons.

Warnings for: self pity, hacking cough, the smell of onions, strong likelihood of swearing.

I spotted the happy looking little chap with the bow tie, and arresting blue eyes, over the weekend, at a writing day with some writerly friends. We, and our laptops, were at Doncopolitan HQ, here in Donny town. It’s an old Co-op building which those nice chaps and girl bosses at Doncopolitan magazine share with several small businesses.

I highly recommend Donco HQ to anyone in the area who is looking for space to have a similar event, including a band looking for a place to practice. There’s plenty of space to write, chat, and relax, plus a kitchen in which to prepare your cuppa, or lunch. Plus, we got to use their mugs:

Mugs advertising a recent play about the local coal mines

For those who don’t already know, Doncopolitan Magazine is a free ‘zine which carries articles about everything from art, to pubs, to gigs, and social issues, for and about the town of Doncaster. It’s been going for at least two years now, and as well as writing a few pieces, I’ve been reading it from the start.

Gerald C Dalek and I reading the first Doncopolitan.

I’m sitting here, writing this blog, whilst eating the stinkiest food possible – spring onions, regular onions, & garlic; all that’s missing is curry – and feeling slightly guilty about calling in sick earlier today. The Beloved assures me it’s not the first time since working in mental health that I’ve rung in sick due to a physical problem, rather than a mental one. Feels like it, though.

Damn that Protestant work ethic of mine. Even though I know that night shifts & a bad case of the lurgy do not mix, not if I want to do a proper job that is, I still feel bad about not reporting to work. I had to cancel a CBT appointment, too, not something I’m thrilled about, either. I’m sure it’s possible for me to reflect my conversion of 20 + years ago, and develop a Pagan work ethic, but how would it differ, beyond taking home as much recycling, and compost, as possible? (1)

Suggestions on a postcard – or, better yet, the comments section below – please.

Adding to my guilt, for no good or useful reason whatsoever, is that I had a really good, productive time at yesterday’s writing day. I wrote most of Chapter 4 of my work in progress (WIP), and made decent headway into Chap 5, which also represents the 2nd of 9 intended sections. I ran out of steam around four-ish, and gratefully accepted a friend’s offer of a lift home, as the lurgy had started to really go for the (sore) throat.

We interrupt this blog for two definitions of lurgy:

  1. My, non-native speaking, description: “A horrid something which is more than a cold, less than the flu, and involves some, or – if you’re really up shite creek, looking mournfully for that fuckin’, missing paddle – all of the following: lethargy, aches and pains, snot, sore throat, hacking cough, sneezing, and – if you’ve well and truly been stuffed by life, and germs – sick.”
  2. The dictionary definition of lurgy: “noun (facetious) any undetermined illness”.

Huh. Get you, dictionary. I think my definition is a lot more interesting than yours. Not that it matters: if you’ve got the lurgy, you still feel pants.

Writing companions: Nothing to do with the lurgy, really: I just thought that yellow chap looked well cute.

(1) Something I’ve been doing for awhile now.

Tagged: dictionary definitions, Doncopolitan magazine, guilt, lurgy, mental health, Pagan work ethic, physical health, Protestant work ethic, stinky food, writing

Understanding Stress

Okay, I know that title is a little ironic. After all, stress can come from not understanding or not being prepared for a situation. In one of the groups I am in, someone asked how to deal with stress when … Continue reading

Why Twitter Sucks

Tonight I watched a movie Cure For Wellness. As disgusting as the notion of an oral speculum to forcefeed eels down one’s gullet into their gut…

The thing I watched on Crack’d today disgusted me far more because It is not fiction.

A “tweet” from our Twitter addicted loudmouth president actually posted about some dude “is wearing eyeliner today.” The dude, A, does not in fact wear eyeliner, and B, the dude sewed Trump University and won 25 millions bucks so…

Is it just me thinking our “president” is as immature as a six year old with the name calling, misinformation, and sheer venom against anyone who has not bowed before his self proclaimed awesomeness? HOW DOES THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE SPARE TIME TO ISSUE SUCH VAPID ‘tWEETS’??????

At the risk of putting my insignificant self on some government watch list for not thinking Trump’s butt spews sunshine and rainbows…Even in my psychologically melee, I still manage to work up rage towards a powerful being who is so goddamn petty. My closest friend calls me ignorant for not bowing down to Mr. Trump.

I am far from ignorant. I have wanted nothing more than for President TRump to prove me wrong in my assessment of him as an egomaniacal arrogant blowhard. I WANT YOU TO PROVE M,E WRONG, SIR!!!

But daily I am assaulted by his infantile activities, his narrow misogynist views…And as open minded and forgiving as I want to be…

I find him vile. Never before has a PRESIDENT OF OUR AMAZING COUNTRY used social media to insult how others look, to disparage those who sued him for wrong doing and won, never ever has a president been allowed to behave so irresponsibly, so amorally, so DISGUSTING.

You ‘normal’ fucks wonder why big pharma is making a gazillion bucks and the shrinks all have foreign vistas…It ain’t just our brain chemicals misfiring.

We have SOULS. We do not dish out insults about one’s appearance or pull sour grapes when someone calls on us our shitty behavior and wins a court case. We do not take to Twitter time after time just to prove how almighty important we are because as God intended…we are humble enough to know that no matter how intelligent, creative, business savvy or wealthy we might become…

It does NOT EVER entitle us to judge others as lesser beings because of their gender, sexual orientation, political association, socio economic niche…

The “imbalanced” know people are to be judged on their merits and their wrong doing. If a court decides you are wrong and awards 25 million…NUT UP AND TAKE IT LIKE A MAN INSTEAD OF ATTACKING SOMEONE’S APPEARANCE. If someone offends you…stick to the issue and elaborate, name calling things like “fat” and “pig” make you beneath the presidency. Hell, my 7 year old knows better and she doesn’t even Tweet or have her finger on the nuke button.

And don’t get me started on the impeachable offense of how Mr President Trump’s hotels rake in money from foreign dignataries which could well influence his political decisions EVEN IF the party line is that he signed it all over to family members.


How is that not putrid and offensive? He’s not allowed to use his own vast wealthy but why should taxpayers pay for him to play while important programs are cut and his republican army starts repealing basic human rights for anyone not born with a penis?

My friend R says I don’t see the big picture.

Do I think it’s awesome so many American manufacturer have opted to stay in the states instead of hightailing for cheaper labor and parts places?>I am in favor of more jobs, more American made products. Hail to Trump for that much.

At the same time…Many employers are not using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to cope out potential employees who apply. They can use your drunken beach pix from ’02 to deem you unhireable. They can take one sentence uttered in 2008 and call you an undesirable.


I am not longer feeling pride in being American. It seems like it is being run by a male Kardashian and if that makes me a bitch for saying so…so be it. Pardon me if my functioning brain finds it offensive that the president has time to Tweet but can’t follow through on half the promises/lies he used to get elected. But then, we didn’t elect him by popular vote, did we. THe powers that be used their “my electoral college thing counts more than your citizen vote”.

So anyway…sorry for a political tired, it is a can of worms I’d rather not open but…Jeebus, seeing those Tweets from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES insulting someone ON THEIR LOOKS just set me off.

High school never ends, no matter how rich and successful and powerful you get. It makes my soul cry tears of blood, to be honest.

As a Suicide Attempt Survivor, I’m Still Waiting For Stories of Resilience On TV

Approximately 92-95% of suicide attempts end in survival.

I didn’t know this, though, when I tried to end my life almost eight years ago. I’d only ever heard of stories that ended in death or in hospital beds. I’d only ever seen them as a plot twist on a television program or tragedy porn in the news. To me, people who attempted suicide overwhelmingly ended up in the ground, or on occasion in psych wards, but there was never any life to be lived afterward.

There was never a single story that said to me, “You can survive. And then you can truly live.”

Imagine my surprise, then, when I woke up alone, head pounding, room spinning. There was no point of reference. What do you do when you survive? Where do you go? Later that night, I googled “suicide survivor,” but back then everything I found was for people who’d lost someone – never for someone who’d nearly lost themselves.

I went to bed. I got up the next morning, went to class. When I saw my therapist a few days later, I mentioned it in passing, ashamed of my failure, trying to remain casual and unaffected and distant. She asked me how I felt now and I said I felt nothing. 92-95% failure rate – I know that years later – but in that moment I thought I must be the only one who could fuck up something that should be so straightforward.

Stop your own heart. There must be a thousand different ways to do it. I’ve seen this on television a million times, I told my therapist, teenagers like me who dramatically and precisely erase themselves. She asked me how I did it, and I told her just like a teenager I saw on Dateline. It was supposed to be quick. It was supposed to be simple.

“I don’t know how I messed this up.” My hands curled into two perfect fists.

She asked me if I was going to try again and I told her, “What’s the use?” I was embarrassed. And you can’t 5150 someone who’s too embarrassed to try, who’s treating the whole ordeal like nothing more than a terrible faux pas, something to be forgotten. Someone who isn’t dangerous anymore, just humiliated.

Television, with its drama and sensationalism, didn’t prepare me to live. It didn’t prepare me for the next morning, when my life was still the same as I’d left it.

Television only prepared me for trying. It allowed me to imagine the vindication and justice of succeeding – portraying suicide as triumph, suicide as revenge, suicide as release, suicide as justified, suicide as beautiful tragedy, suicide as an art form, even, as the answer – but it never prepared me to survive, for everything after.

No one told me how to rebuild my life. No one told me how to take the fragmented pieces of myself and thread them back together. I was only taught how to die, and never how to live.

Find me a story of a survivor who’s glad to be one. Give me a survivor who gets their own damn show, where suicide isn’t just a plot twist for shock value but the genuine truth of their struggle.

Give me the 13 Reasons Why of the 92-95% of people who wake up and have to face a world they weren’t expecting to see again, see a reflection they’d already parted ways with.

Give me the stories of teenagers like me whose lives aren’t sensational because of how they died, but instead tremendous because of how they survived, how they lived. Give me more than trauma porn. Give me more than triggers that exploit their traumas – more than the blood in the bathtub, the wailing of the ambulance, the walls of the psych ward.

Give me their full humanity. Give me recovery, give me relapse, give me resilience.

Give me back my humanity. 

There are youth like me who wake up to a spinning room, posed with the question of how they will rebuild. They’re looking for stories like theirs to help them engage with trauma and reimagine their lives – and they’re only finding this in the form of tragedy, revenge, descent.

If the overwhelming majority of us will survive, why do our only representations confine us to madness or death?

Every single day, people like me survive. People like me live, and along the way, discover something worth living for. We grow up, we get older. We find ways to become whole. We’re so much more than our proximity to death and the pain that we’ve held in our bones. And our singular trauma doesn’t exist for the sole purpose of entertaining you, nor is it designed for your consumption.

We’re more than this. We’re larger than this.

When will I get to see a story like mine on the screen? Show me someone who lives. Show me someone who survives and goes on to truly live.

We’re still here. We’re still waiting.

Help me keep Let’s Queer Things Up! radical, accessible, and free. Please consider donating as little as $1 per month to our Patreon Campaign.

We need you. You need you. If you ever need support, please consider the following crisis resources:

The National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Lifeline for LGBTQIA+ youth: 1-866-488-7386
Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

Or check out my favorite mental health apps at this resource list.