Daily Archives: July 24, 2017


There are a few words in the English lexicon that appear to draw a lot of power. Sport is a good one. Lots of things claim to be sports, and saying something isn’t a sport is often very controversial; so much so that pretty much anything type of physical competition is now considered a sport. […]

The Brain Bugs Have Returned

I find myself at a loss often to describe what generalized anxiety disorder is like. Best comparison I’ve found is…brain bugs. Yes. Not technical, not pretty, but if you’ve ever been outdoors on a summer night or on a picnic and felt several bugs crawling in your hair or on your skin…THAT. Only it’s inside your brain and not actually on your skin. The bugs are not real, they just feel…so…damned…real.

I had a brief respite because my kid went to live in the sticks for a few days with my dad and his crew yesterday. Amazing how much calmer I am without the life of another human being solely in my hands. But I didn’t escape the kids. R and I saw out in the yard and the kids still came around even when I sent them away. And I interceded at one point because this girl Abigail was being bullied and I really like her. She’s the tween who had supper with Spook one night and saw me getting flustered and actually asked, “Is this too much for you?” I got a soft spot for the nice ones, they are few and far between. As proven by Spook’s brand new bike being ripped off during a brief but mega vicious thunderstorm last week. OF COURSE,DAD, I should have totally gone out into the middle of driving rain and huge bolts of lightning to secure an 80 dollar metal bike. Silly me, thinking even shitty trailer park parents would keep their offspring inside during a driving rain and lightning storm. I suck.

Anyway…I kicked ass yesterday while the spawn was at church. I did laundry, folded 8 baskets, did dishes, cleaned all the cat boxes, swept, mopped, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom…And then I took my meds right before she got home and by the time she was back…I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Because that’s what happens when I take them together. But if I space them out, I forget one or two of them and all the levels go FUBAR so wtf. And once the sleepiness passed, I got a killer migraine from the bright sunlight so when dad came to fetch her, recrimination rang out in his voice because I looked like I’d been asleep while my kid was down the street playing. Sorry if bright sunlight makes me look disturbed. Migriane didn’t help much either.

Today, because for fucks’ sake, I was still in debt to R, I had to go to the shop Which of course meant I woke at 5 a.m. and couldn’t nod back off so I took a Xanax then dropped out an hour before the alarm and then kept waking every 5 minutes because I was scared of oversleeping and having the texting chihuahua on my ankles. It disturbed me so much, I got up and even got there 15 minutes before I’d promised. Faking joy, of course, because depressed people aren’t allowed. And ya know, I can fake the smiley face or at least amiable silence.

What I cannot ever seem to do is fake my way beyond the brain bug anxiety. It set in after 2 hours and I was itchy and twitchy and my mind was OCD about ‘let me out of here, i need my safe space, please, mercy, uncle, please stop torturing me!” And R doesn’t understand anyone’s anxiety but his own so he was just puttering along while I’m all whip cracking to focus so I can do what I need to do and abscond…While the brain bugs gnaw away at my brain and central nervous system. And while coming home did calm me some…I went back out and found myself in the bright florescent store light, feeling the brain bugs return, making me all itchy and twitchy again. As if the accidentally pink hair doesn’t draw enough attention (never ever accidentally bleach black hair platinumm and apply red dye unless pink is your goal, no no no)…Being all twitchy and looking paranoid like someone about to rob the store cos you need to escape just makes you even more noticeable.

Now I am home and in for the night and it’s not a thousand degrees outside so it’s not a sauna inside and I can just breathe. For now. When I start thinking about my dad being so snotty about me saying I want my kid home by Wednesday evening for her church group and him saying “we’ll see’…My anger issues start bubbling. Because she’s my kid and my word should be law but he and my mother have to usurp me then wonder why I loathe them both. And with her birthday the week of August 7th and everyone having all different plans for her…My anger issues aren’t gonna go away any time soon.

Fortunately, I have the start of school mid August and return to a schedule that cannot be disrupted by grandma and grandpa fun pants because even they’d be held accountable for putting their fun ideas over her schooling…I will cling to that. Yeah, the school clothes and all that is stressful and all the starting activities will make the brain bugs start crawling but…it will also mean I survived another summer with brain bugs, incompetent meds, and a yammering ungrateful spawn…

That is no small thing. She breaks R down, and he’s a narcissist, he should be able to take on the most loud annoying child on the planet. Mine breaks him.

I am so kick ass.

Now I’m gonna go pet the brain bugs. Hey, I said I’m kick ass and I survived my kid all summer. Never said a word about ‘with sanity in tact’.

Loneliness-A Silent Killer

I look around and wonder what I actually contribute to this world. My job. My marriage. The few relationships I barely can hold onto. To the blogosphere. Doesn’t feel like much. Doesn’t feel meaningful. Doesn’t feel necessary.
Yesterday we were on a busy freeway heading grocery shopping. We travel a bit to save money. We sat in silence during the 25-30 minute drive. My head cocked out the passenger window. My body language spewing…closed off. He drove pretending to look around. Commenting on a “site.” We have driven this same path every 2 weeks for years. Nothing new to see. Just trying to fill space. Meanwhile I’m trying to hold back tears.
I’m an alcoholic. Through and through. Had some amazing bouts of sobriety. But occasional slips..really relapses..have been more of the norm over the last year. I got caught w a bottle in my bag during dinner last night. I would have told you I was acting normal. Better than normal. Jovial. Inquisitive. Alive. Red flags I suppose. My husband knows me so well it’s actually scary. He said he could tell from the way i walked to the bathroom at the restaurant (to take a hearty swig) something was off. Unbelievable.
As we shuffled seats so I could watch the baseball game on the same side of the booth, he swiftly grabbed the bottle from my bag and slammed it on the top of the table. Next swift move was to flag anyone and get our bill. The meal not finished. Once paid up, he stormed out and left me to follow like a pathetic drunk. Which I did. Full of shame.
Our communication has been wrought w tension. I have voiced he no longer seems to want to listen. He seems to have invoked a “positive mentality.” A mindset change. So, nothing is that bad. Nothing should cause stress. Or anxiety. In his 48 years of life he finally reached out to a therapist. Basically because of my last mixed manic episode. He was traumatized. So, I guess he is learning how to protect himself. Probably a bit of codependency work. By the way this revelation of seeking therapy slipped out during an argument. Otherwise I’m not sure he was going to divulge this information. Honestly, it really hurt me he didn’t want to share that w me.
I know what the real reason behind the drinking is, but I chose to use the bathroom remodel is stressful routine. You…you..go off to work while I have to listen about all the problems the contractor is facing. Believe me there are many. Our plumbing is a mess. Then, I come home and hear about mishaps. I have to get up at 5am to get to the gym, mostly for a shower. Do you not know I need sleep. 6 hours of sleep per night is not enough. On and on I yell. Louder and louder.
The truth of why this bottle is in my bag today and yesterday and the day before is because I am ferociously lonely. I lost friends due to the episode. Some who didn’t know about it at the time, have now also fallen off. Texts and calls go unreturned. Or I get, maybe next week..after this deadline..we will definitely go for a hike. Weeks go by. People just don’t think of me. Or remember me. Or want to hang out w me. Its painful. I don’t understand why. I’m willing to look at it. But, in the interim I am a lonely mofo.
Following suit w the new positive mentality pilot I keep things locked up. Its not my husband’s fault. He deserves to figure out his survival too. But, I have no one to talk to. No support. So I feed myself w liquid courage. Super justified right!
Its awful. The secrets. The lies. The shame. The denial. Its no way to live. I know this. I believe this. Yet here I am.
Nothing to offer here. Not even to myself. So, yesterday on that highway. We were cruising along. Traffic had stopped but I think my husband was lost in his own mind. For a split second I wasn’t going to warn him. Hoping I would careen through the windshield and it would be over. Epitome of selfishness. But, he didn’t deserve to get hurt. Much less the folks in front of us paying attention. So I yelled…honey! and we swerved a bit. But collision averted.
We made our way through the day w few words said between us. Remember that book, how to make friends and influence people ( I apologize for not giving proper respect)? I need the cliff notes. Don’t even want the influence piece. A bit of guidance. A hint of hope. Something. I used to think I was a good person.  But, now I wonder.
I tell ya. Loneliness is going to kill me.

Lydia’s Got A New Set of Wheels!

No, I did not trade my van in for a new car, T-Bird or other. In fact, we are getting ready to sell the van and stick with one vehicle for now. And these new wheels aren’t new, I just … Continue reading

Missing You

Bob finally nailed me down on why I was so down all the time.  I told him it was because I was missing  my middle one an awful lot more than I should have been.  He seemed to accept that, offering to take me up to State to see her one weekend.  But of course he started it off on the wrong foot, saying I had seemed ot do better while my youngest one was gone to camp and was I upset she was back home.  I said no and got really angry with him for even suggesting that.

Anyway, my youngest will be gone again this week going to my parents until Thursday.  That’s the day I have the SOcial Security interview and I go pick up her schedule and school-issued computer so I hope she gets back on time for us to go get that as early as possible.

I have no idea what I’m going to do today.  I can’t seem to settle down to write anything and I don’t want to do house stuff.  I just don’t know.


Can Cardio Exercise Aid in Concussion Recovery?

According to John Leddy, the director of the University at Buffalo’s Concussion Management Clinic, controlled cardio exercise is good for recovering from concussions.


Long considered a forbidden activity for individuals with concussions, cardiovascular exercise is slowly becoming recognized as a recovery tool.

For that, you can thank physician John Leddy. As the director of the University at Buffalo’s Concussion Management Clinic, where he also is an associate professor of orthopedics, family medicine and rehabilitation sciences, Leddy for the past five years has conducted research suggesting that supervised workouts on treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals or stair-steppers – performed for as little as 10 minutes at 80 percent of a patient’s target heart rate – can help in the recovery process. He also claims a cardio workout provides a clearer indication than cognitive testing of when an athlete is ready to return to play.

“Everybody thought that doing something like this would make people worse, not better,” says Leddy. “But it does make them better, because it’s controlled. Fifty years ago, when doctors started doing stress tests on people with cardiac disease, people thought that would give them heart attacks. But the fact is, stress tests don’t do that. And now those tests are done as a matter of routine.”

If Leddy has his way, his exercise protocol for concussion patients will become routine, too, and he points to rehab clinics around the country that have already adopted some of his ideas. “It’s okay, at some point, for people with concussions to begin exercising again, as long as they’ve seen a doctor and had testing done under medical supervision,” he says. “As this catches on, you might see people in health clubs or fitness facilities who are actually doing this program and trying to recover from concussion symptoms.”

For now, though, UB appears to be the only facility undertaking outcome-based studies in this area. That’s why, in September, the university was among the 15 organizations to receive a sports-related medical research grant from NFL Charities to take the next step. Using the $100,000 grant, Leddy and Barry Willer, a UB professor of psychiatry and rehabilitation services, will spend this year assessing the fitness levels of student-athletes from several area colleges, plus members of the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres, within hours of being diagnosed with a concussion.

“We haven’t done early assessments like that yet,” Leddy says. “But we think the physiology is different right after a concussion versus when someone is recovered. We want to see if the treadmill test is a good way to find out if there is a change in cerebral blood flow when they are symptomatic during exercise versus when they are not.”

The 18-month study began in earnest in January and will include as many as 30 injured athletes and 30 healthy control subjects. The results, as Bills’ executive vice president for strategic planning Mary Owens told UB Reporter, the University at Buffalo’s online staff newspaper, “will benefit athletes at all levels.”

“Replacing the conventional wisdom of long-term rest with a graduated exercise program may improve recovery in those with lingering concussion problems,” acknowledges Stanley Herring, a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and a team physician with the Seattle Seahawks and the MLB’s Seattle Mariners. “A study like this is important because it explores a potential treatment for athletes with persistent concussion symptoms.”

Persistent concussion symptoms are those that linger for more than two or three weeks. Though they affect only a small percentage of concussed athletes, they are what got Leddy (also a doctor for UB athletic teams) thinking differently in the first place. “Why should these athletes be sitting around doing nothing? Why can’t they do something, something that’s controlled and safe?” he asks. “Physical rest beyond three weeks is detrimental.”

So he asked student-athletes with lasting concussion symptoms to hop on a treadmill while he monitored such vitals as blood pressure and heart rate. Patients would exercise to the point where their symptoms – such as dizziness and headaches – increased, and Leddy would then stop the machine and establish 80 percent of whatever the patient’s heart rate was at that moment as the new target heart rate for daily 20-minute workouts. After all, he reasoned, the individual had already proved he or she could exercise at that level without becoming symptomatic. For high-performance athletes, the target heart rate can be increased to 90 percent, while deconditioned individuals who suffer a concussion from an accident or other non-athletic incident may be prescribed a maximum of 10 or 15 minutes of exercise at 80 percent.

Leddy and Willer, who chose 80 percent arbitrarily, based their early research on similar studies (involving concussed rats) conducted at UCLA in the early 2000s. “What those studies told us was that maybe exercise isn’t so bad; it’s the timing that is important,” Leddy says. “It’s not just telling people to go out and do whatever they want. It’s quantifying what they can do and building a rehab program around that information. Now, we tell patients to go to a gym and use a piece of equipment they like that doesn’t involve a lot of bouncing and movement of the head. We want them to get an aerobic workout.”

Leddy and his research colleagues also want to ensure their athletes are ready – really ready – to return to play. Cognitive baseline testing, they say, might not be the answer.

“Most people view concussion as a cognitive problem,” Leddy says. “We view it as a physiological problem that has cognitive consequences. Therefore, what the NFL study may show is that doing a physiological stress, like exercise, is actually a better way to determine if someone has recovered than the cognitive testing that all sports teams use. We wanted something that is more representative of what athletes do on the field, and that is get their heart rate and blood pressure up. The real test for football players is to see if they suffer from any symptoms when they go back to hitting.”

To that end, an obstacle course could be designed in a clinical setting involving participants running in a figure-eight pattern and then colliding with a heavy punching bag, as well as participating in a cardio test. “What I’m hoping is that someday, instead of using a computer test to determine if Michael Vick has recovered from a concussion, they’ll put him on a treadmill. Or maybe they’ll do both,” Leddy says.

Still, some skeptics will need more convincing. Isn’t it risky, they might ask, to take concussed patients to the brink of dangerous symptoms? “We’ve thought about that, for sure,” Leddy concedes. “Do that to people, and they will get worse temporarily – for several minutes or several hours – but it doesn’t last. At least with this, they’re doing something active, and what happens right away is their reactive depression goes away. So if they can exercise and they have a goal, they automatically feel better. They make progress. They see an end point. The exercise is doing something physiologically, but also psychologically, to help them.”

Protected: Pills Like Candy: Chapter 11

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