Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I'm Not Ashamed Of My Mental Illness

Let's be honest, it's not something to be proud of, either. It's not like someone with Diabetes or Muscular Dystrophy goes around saying, "Hey! Look at me! I have an illness! Look at me, look at me, I'm so cool!" I'm not saying that.

What I am saying is that having a mental illness makes me determined to be open, to talk about it, to discuss what I go through.

Well, ok, I process externally so I tend to type up most everything I'm feeling anyway. Once I hit the 'publish' button and send it out into the nether to be read or ignored, the thoughts are no longer bouncing around inside my head.

Talking about the onset of my BiPolar Type 2 / BiPolar Depression, Anxiety, Psyche Ward stay, visits with my psychiatrist, and suicide attempt, are ways for me to cope. So really, this blog and my posts aren't honestly for anyone else; it's to help me process.

So why do I make it public instead of private? Because communicating is sooooo helpful. I'm a little strange that way.

I have found that most others who struggle with the same thing or different variations of these illnesses feel that there isn't anyone who understands.

Do you know why they feel that way? Because people who have never had clinical depression or anxiety have NO IDEA what it is like. I know this, because I'd never, ever, ever had it, nor understood it until I went through post-partum depression after my son was born. Two years of post-partum. That sucked. It was wonderful when that was over!!

The year I turned 40, the mad chemist experimenting inside my brain decided to switch things up on a more permanent basis. This sudden onset was/is not a pleasant one. I say sudden because I was privileged to live most of my life of working and having babies with a normal, healthy, robust amount of energy. I have met and know several people who have struggled with depression their entire lives.


I cannot even comprehend living with this, trying to manage this while working - sometimes two jobs - finishing my degrees, and having small children.

These folks do it silently, with few people who understand, listen, or help when needed. They struggle with adulting while dealing with the guilt of not being capable of basic things when it's a really bad day.

They are heroes in my eyes. Do you hear me? HEROES!!!

I fell apart after a year and needed to be hospitalized. I was trying to claw the skin off my face because the pain was the only thing connecting me to reality. After another year, I really did attempt suicide. Coping with the onset of anxiety along with the depression was simply too much. TWO YEARS.  Two years, and I couldn't handle it. Still am attempting to manage it.

So these folks who've lived with it for their whole lives? HEROES. I'm not even kidding.

Some are absolutely ashamed to talk about their mental health or their hospitalizations. Some simply cannot admit that there is an issue because they feel like they should be able to control it.

--- This one was me. I spent a good six or seven months convinced it was some sort of early menopause. My doctor ran just about every blood test possible, checking my hormone levels, my thyroid, the levels of vitamins and minerals in my system, etc. I was convinced that I could talk myself out of it or fix it with every naturepathic or homeopathic strategy I knew.

Nope. Depression. After three or four months of therapy and some low doses of temporary meds, diagnosed with BiPolar depression. No more temporary meds for me. Mood stabilizers AND anti-depressants with some Xanex on the side became necessary. In spite of every alternative health trick I knew. Wahoo. Boy, that went over well with my family. NOT. ---

I need you to realize that some cannot talk about it openly because of private personal reasons. And others simply don't feel safe discussing it with anyone.

This one right there? This is horrible and awful and sooo lonely. Understandable, though, because of the prevalent attitude. You know, the one saying that people who are depressed are using it as an excuse to be lazy. Should just cheer themselves up and get over it. Or claiming anxiety to get out of doing something they just didn't want to do.

*frustrated sigh*

I am one of the very few willing to talk openly about my experiences, my honest thoughts, or the massive grumpy days I have. Currently I have been in a horrible mood for nearly two weeks. Everyone frustrates me, I feel like they're all jerks and inconsiderate. Most of that is me, I know, but it's how I'm feeling.

Logic part of my brain says "don't interact with people right now. At least not the ones you love. Just hug them tight and keep your mouth shut. You get paid to be nice to people at work, so the pretend happy face works there. Wish you could keep pretending at home."

Illogical part of my brain says, "Who cares. Everyone can just go to hell. I want to move and live by myself out in the boonies where I don't have to see anyone, hear anyone, or have anyone getting into my stuff, move it around, break it, or whatever else is making me feel picked on."

Am I ashamed of these thoughts? Well, if I were, I wouldn't be typing them up here. Do I wish I could turn them off? oh yeah.

What I *can* do about these feelings that I cannot control is try to interrupt the tape. I kiss on of my kids' neck up and down until they giggle like mad. Or hug them tight for several minutes. I read out loud. I do anything I can to distract myself and concentrate on anything BUT the thoughts and feelings.

You who don't know Depression don't have a clue how hard it is to have to continue to interrupt these stupid stupid destructive thoughts that run in a loop.

Depression LIES, but it is oh so believable.

I need you to understand this. Those of us who struggle with Depression have our super awful bad days. It's such a fight to get out of bed. And some days that's the only battle we win. If our sinks are full of dishes, the floors not swept or vacuumed, it doesn't mean we don't care about living in a yucky environment. Oh, trust me, we care very much.

A depressive's messy house means one of two things: 1 - There are a bunch of kids living there and it's laughable to even think of summoning the energy to reinforce daily chores.

2 - Looking at the mess and seeing all that needs to be done is overwhelming. Knowing where to start is simply impossible and makes us cry. Summoning the energy to pick up a pair of socks and carry it to the laundry basket is hopeless.We feel guilty and horrible because any normal human being should be able to do something so simple. So we sit and stare at those socks and wish we could do it, wondering what the hell is wrong with us that we can't even do that simple little thing.

And anxiety? It's the weight of an elephant sitting on your chest, the pain of drawing in a breath, panic caused by ... ?? something?? People? some thought? Noise? What the heck triggered this?? And then can't breathe, can't breathe, can't breathe, curling up, shaking, then sobbing uncontrollably for AN HOUR!!

Ok? YOU PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER EVER EVER IN YOUR LIFE EXPERIENCED THIS?? Shut up about us folks with these types of mental illness being lazy. Just stop it. Right now.

This is real. I struggle with this.

I am not ashamed of the symptoms of this illness because they're real. Are you ashamed for having a runny nose when you have a cold? Or a raspy voice when you have a bronchial infection? I'm not proud of my symptoms; oh, they are so very frustrating.

Trust me, I'll tell you up front if I'm being lazy about cleaning, or just can't do it. Believe it or not, I DO recognize the difference. One involves the inability to summon motivation and energy. The other is simply not wanting to do it.

When I don't want to do work I hear my grandmother's or my mother's voice telling me "Sometimes you just have to do what you don't want to do."

Being incapable of doing the work means having to tell those voices to shut the hell up, because ranting at myself won't help me feel any better. It certainly won't make the weight of the world go away or prevent the fog of darkness from jumbling my thoughts so I can't concentrate.

Do you understand? This is my reality.

I have received so many messages, emails, phone calls, and visits from people who just wanted to talk about their struggles. Who couldn't believe that I'd talk openly - in church, for crying out loud, or on Facebook - about my constant fight. One woman was having such issues with anxiety that going to church was hard for her. Her husband didn't understand at all, and she was so worried that she was the only one suffering. She cried on the phone as we talked about it because she was so relieved that someone understood.

You guys. It is sad and heartbreaking that people don't feel safe discussing this issue. That we are considered weak. Trust me, we're not. As often as I've complained that I *feel* weak, I'm smart enough to know that because I'm still here, still fighting, and still attempting to be the best mom I can be, that I'm NOT weak.

And hey, dr. laura? I am so very, very angry at you for convincing my mother that my illness is made-up by big pharma to sell more drugs. Thanks for that. Means a lot. (Nope, not capitalizing your name.)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Um, Thanks?

I speak openly about my struggles with depression and anxiety.

Adjusting to the changes in my physical chemistry has seen me throwing temper tantrums, anger at God, anger at the physical imperfections in this body, grief at the loss of control, frustration at the new obstacles in my path and at having to re-train my brain for a new thinking process, acceptance and a determination to see this through, regressions and despair, hope and strength. I am a living dichotomy of emotions.

I have my ups which are awesome. When the meds are working, my thought processes are in line, and I'm not listening to the depressive rhetoric that pops up. I can take on the world and manage those mean curve balls that life throws.

Yes, I'm clarifying that when my meds are working, I can think better. Meds work for me. I need people to understand that.

No, The meds do not solve all of my problems. I am not magically cured. I still have to control my thoughts, my attitude, and the crazy difficulties of life. It is my responsibility to see when I'm getting overwhelmed or over-extending myself, which is a trigger for a down.

But it bares repeating: The medicine takes the heavy weight of the air, the dark fog that surrounds me, and lightens it, letting the sun through.

I have my downs - my fairly severe downs. I'm openly blunt about when I am having issues with contemplating suicide. This is one of my safety mechanisms. If I *tell* people I'm thinking about it, it means I'm not *doing* it. It means I'm putting myself out there so I can make use of the awesome support system of friends and family that I have.

I see a psychiatrist. I take meds. I communicate - or try to.

A doctor's visit does not an immediate fix make. The nail has not been removed from my forehead - I am trying to remove it, but it is a slow, slow, slow process.

So that's where I'm at.

Hugs, happy thoughts, commiseration, encouragement are all part of what keeps me going when I can't find the strength to want to keep fighting. But I am here. I continue to go to work. I continue to get out of bed, breathe in and out, giggle with my kids, and help them try to enjoy their childhood. I fight.

If this warrior spirit within me wasn't working overtime, I wouldn't still be here.


After yesterday's FB post and admission of my anxiety regression, the offers and suggestions have been rolling in. All of the helpful hints, links, cd's, books, supplements, food additives, whatever, that I have been inundated with in the past 24 hours are extremely overwhelming. I'm almost sorry that I admitted just how bad this recent low is.

It feels like people are saying, "You can't possibly be trying hard enough to be ok. You need to do THIS."

I'm still struggling to want to be here. I still feel wounded and vulnerable. Enough that it kind of hurts to have all of the 'do this! do that! Try this!' thrown at me.

Kind of hurts? no. Let me be honest here. Hurts enough that I was extremely angry or insulted every time I logged onto facebook and had a new message. Anger is so much easier to feel than hurt. I felt attacked or that I was not good enough.

Should people apologize for offering help? Good heavens, no. Should they be worried about offending me? Again, NO. My emotional armor is fairly non-existent right now, but it'll grow back. Walking on egg shells around me would just piss me off even more.

*I* am responsible for how I feel.

Just saying that right now, offers of help feel painful. Why? Because it's a reinforcement that I can't take care of myself all the way. Does that mean folks shouldn't offer help? NO!!! I NEED help.

My emotional reactions don't make a whole lot of sense right now. It's just part of where I'm at. I hope that I've been polite and grateful in my responses. I recognize that my gut reaction is rude and off-putting, so while I'll discuss it's existence here, I certainly won't act on it.

Logically, I know that people care and are trying to help.

I'm open minded enough that I will try stuff if I feel good about trying it. Not today, though. Nor tomorrow or next week while I'm working on the challenge to discard and throw out things that are overwhelming - self-imposed or otherwise.

I love and appreciate everyone who has been so loving and supportive.

Just, please keep in mind that if I'm not super excited about what is being offered, it's because I'm going to have to take some time to be ready to hear, read, listen, eat, or add to my med regimen.

I'm overwhelmed by the basics right now. Let me get that part figured out and the willingness to try new things will be back.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

An Hour And Two Xanex Later

(note: some hard truths about teenage kid here. You don't get to give her lectures if you know her. this is about me, not about making her life harder than it already is.)

I have been in a pretty steady decline for a few weeks. Last Friday I very badly wanted to walk that long walk and go for a late-night swim in the Great Salt Lake. (Note, it was about 30 degrees at the time).

I was a good girl and went home. Texted a couple of friends and told them I was having real struggles. Spent a lot of this week venting and trying to work through my thoughts with a very good friend.

Saw my psychiatrist today. I had my husband come in and give him an outside perspective, I felt it was needed.

My meds have been upped. I have been challenged to identify all the stressors in my life that are making me feel overwhelmed and out of control. Also to be honest about the self-imposed expectations that I can't live up to, face them, and let them go.

A lot of that includes delegating to my kids.

The worst part of this decline is that my anxiety is back to full blast.

Tonight when my kids wouldn't quiet down when I asked them, when my teenager wouldn't stop arguing with me or demanding that I defend every opinion or statement I made, when I couldn't find the right words to help my 8 yr old with her stupid (yes, STUPID) division homework, I lost it.

I rocked in my bed and sobbed for an entire hour. Couldn't stop. Texted my 20yr old daughter and told her to call her teenage sister and make her stop fighting with her siblings. Get them to calm down, shut up, and play together. They were quiet for like 5 minutes. Then began yelling at each other to shut up.

I know kids need to rough-house. I know they have a right to play. And they needed to take it down to the basement where I couldn't hear them.

Sob, sob, sob.

MP3 player on. Turned up LOUD. Gonna be deaf in a few years, but I don't care. It shut out the noise. That helped. still couldn't stop sobbing.

I swear it felt like it took forever for the xanex to work.

My 11 yr old brought me a chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate is always good.

Then she got the brush and started smoothly brushing my scalp. then did a scalp massage. Fifteen minutes after that (an entire hour of sobbing. I cannot even believe this.) I stopped sniffling and could breath.

Not gonna lie, I still feel like there is an elephant sitting on my chest. I still feel like any little thing will set it off. Have my earphones in still, even though the little ones have gone to bed. Asked my kids to please clean up their craft mess in the living room because if I looked at it I would start crying again. In fact, almost started again just asking them to take care of it.

My 11yo explained the math homework to her little sister. The 7yo pulled out his Lego's and sat and played quietly. The teenager made dinner for the little ones. The mom breathed in and out.

and right now? Right now I don't want to talk to my teen who is still awake. I completely understand that 15yo's are gonna be the way they're gonna be. I was one, once. I'm not going to deal with it anymore today. I just can't. If that makes me a bad mom for being frustrated with it, then so be it. It's simply the way it is today.

I have communicated with the kids that my mental state is bad right now. They have seen that there are very real consequences, whether they understand them or not, when they don't listen to me when I tell them that I cannot handle their behavior and they need to move it or stop it.

the little ones were all a-hug. all worried. The big kid just said, "Hi" when I finally came out of my room, able to handle the open spaces of the house again. Hi. In that obstinant way that only a 15 yr old can.


I love my kids. I am so proud of them. But wow, the teenage days are a very real pain.

I'm not going to feel guilty for being angry at the attitude.

My mental health is what it is, like it or not. I am fighting. I am trying to cope and fix it and improve. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have gone to the doctor. I wouldn't be communicating with friends and saying, hey, I'm having issues.

I wouldn't be here if I wasn't fighting. I'd be done and gone.

I can't do that, though. Much as I really, really, really want to escape the pain and the hard right now. Oh it's so hard. But my kids need me. They need their foundation to stick around so they don't have permanent trauma the rest of their lives. Right now knowing that is what's keeping me communicating and trying. Eventually when I get to a better place I'll have a better attitude about being needed. Right now, I honestly resent it. that's the horrible, honest truth.

So. anxiety attacks, depression so bad that suicide is on my mind a lot right now, and a family full of young children who are loud, rambunctious, and energetic. Not exactly an easy combination. What God was thinking, sending my six children, I don't know. But it is what it is.

I can do this, dammit. I can delegate a lot of the hard, I can find some order. I can find some joy. Even if it's small, it's still do-able.

Right now? Right now after that xanex and crying jag, the with this dumb weight still on my lungs, I am going to go lose myself in World of Warcraft for a few hours. Because I can. Because the house is finally calm and quiet and safe. Because I need to shut my brain off so it can unscramble.

Anxiety is no fun, folks. It's real. If you don't understand it, don't judge it. It's not like it's controllable. The beginning signs are there and steps can be taken to ward it off, but sometimes it just happens anyway.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Right To Feel Old

It's no secret that once I hit 40, I felt like my whole body had pretty much rebelled and was headed for the junkyard.

Recently, I have felt worse and worse. I think I have had a steady sinus infection for the past few weeks. I've started getting random migraines out of nowhere. I popped a bursa sack in my right knee at work last week, so I've been hobbling. The cold weather has made the arthritis in my elbow (where I broke it back in 2004) hurt like a bleeping alarm telling me that WINTER IS HERE.

Anyway, on and on and on. My hair is graying. I'm lumpy. I'm not sure if my vision has changed again or if there's some other reason I get headaches after I read for x amount of time. I have to keep a bag of Poise in my bathroom because six babies bouncing on my bladder didn't leave it any kinds of happy. 

ker-blah, ker-waaaah, ker-poop.

In addition to the physical crap, my anxiety has gotten steadily worse this past week, along with the depression. Oh that depression. I hate it, and it won't go away.  Nor will the forgetfulness or aphasia. 

My point?

Today a co-worker asked me how I was feeling. 

The moment she asked me this, I had just come in to work. It was a cold walk, I was freezing, my joints hurt, etc. I had tried to call in entirely because I was fairly sure I needed a mental health day, but I ended up cutting my shift down to three hours as a compromise. So there I was, cold, depressed, attempting to find a smile for work, and hoping to hell that I wouldn't need another xanex to deal with screaming children today.

Because yesterday's mom who shopped around the store for probably a half hour with her tantruming two year old had completely thrown my anxiety into full whammo blammo mode. Screaming kids? No, can't do it. Not today.

My answer to my co-worker: "Oh, hanging in there. Just getting old."   

To which she replied, "You can't feel old. Don't even talk to me about feeling old until you're my age. I'm 61, so you don't even have a right to be feeling old."

I don't have a right to feel old.



I have a right to feel anywhere on the emotional scale that I want to feel. Period. Who the hell does she think she is, telling me that I don't have a right to feel old? And no, she wasn't saying it with a smile on her face, she was waving me away, negating what I was saying because I had no idea what it felt like to be 61. 

True. I don't. I know how it feels to be 42 vs how it felt to be 20. 

MY 42 feels ancient compared to my 20.  And at this moment in time, I FEEL like I am falling apart, old, rusting, and ready for the junk heap.


A few years back, I had this dream - a very real, very vivid, I remember it like I just lived it dream. In this dream, I was a grandma. I had to go down to my basement to get something for my grandkids. I wanted to show them some of the artwork I had done. The stairs were steep and I walked with a cane. I had to hold tightly to the stair rail, because I couldn't see very well. My hips hurt so badly as I walked down the stairs, and I knew if I fell, I'd break something.

When I finally got into the basement, I found my old computer and realized that my old files were in a format not compatible with the current technology. It would take too long to convert them, and my grandkids' visit would be over before I could finish. I'd have to do it another time and wait for their next visit to show them. Only I didn't know when that would be.

So I went back up stairs. Again with the steep stairs and the joint and muscle pain as I creaked upward. And when I got up there, oh I loved hugging and kissing those grand babies, no matter how big or small they were. 

But they jabbered at me constantly and my hearing was terrible. I couldn't make out half of what they said. It was so frustrating to see the excitement in their eyes, but not be able to share it because I couldn't understand it. 

My daughter was packing her kids up to leave finally, and was trying to talk me into moving in with her. She had a point about the stairs in my house being dangerous. I remember hating the idea of having to rely on someone else because my vision was fuzzing and blurry, with most of the peripheral vision gone. My fingers were gnarled with arthritis, useless as tools for writing or painting. A lot of my regular activities were harder now. My mobility was seriously limited by the arthritis in my hips, knees, and ankles. I had a cane, but it was still hard to get around, even though I insisted on walking to keep my health up. Everything was so frustrating because communicating was getting harder and harder.


I described this dream to my then 88 yr old grandfather. (he's 90 now)  He looked at me straight in the eye and said, "That is exactly what it feels like. You'll be prepared when you get here."

So yeah, I may not know what it feels like to be 61 or 88, or someone else's 45. And I may only have a dream memory of a geriatric stage which I'm sure most will tell me can't possibly be accurate. And being 42, I'm certainly not old by today's standards.

But I do have my own physical and chemical issues. Currently I can feel the chemical issues becoming more and more of a problem. Frankly, I'm just a teensy bit worried that I might end up back in the psyche ward fairly soon.  I see my doc next thursday. I promise, if I feel I need to see him sooner, I'll call him.

My point being that my life is just that. MY life. Not hers. Not yours. Not anyone else's but mine. I don't know what it's like to walk in her shoes and she has no idea what it's been like in mine. 

So if I want to say I feel old, I'm gonna say I feel old. With feeling. Because I damn sure don't feel like a 16 yr old.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Who's That Girl?

I looked in the mirror and did not recognize the face staring back at me.

I knew the eyes. Those dark brown eyes flecked with green, yeah, those were mine. The eyes that see too much, sparkle with mischief, feel the weight of the world, love much, and blink back the pain. Yes, those were my eyes, but the shape is off.

The rest of the face and hair and stuff? Who IS that person?

There have been times in my life when I look in the mirror and don't like who I see. That's usually my first indication that I'm struggling with Depression with a decidedly capital D.

But this feeling that I'm wearing a shell? That's new. I've made the analogy a lot over the past couple of years that I feel trapped in my head. And yes, I know I'm aging - thus feeling like my body has outlasted all of its warranties and is decaying all around me comes part and parcel with that. But this is more than that.

I feel like I'm stuck in someone else's skin.

The hair is unruly. It can't be my hair. I know how my hair behaves when I run a brush through it vs when I've slept on it. I know how it behaves wet, with product, or without product. Not this hair. This hair does things I've never seen it do. This hair curls more, parts on either side of my head, and does the complete wrong thing when I brush it. There's no rich dark brown anymore. The texture is completely foreign, and I don't know how to manage it.

The color and texture of the hair, though, that's me getting old. Of course I'm graying. I've earned every gray hair that I have. I know that I have graying hair. I just don't recognize it.

The face? Now that's where I get completely lost.

I always loved my cheekbones. Also loved the shape of my ears. Didn't think much about my nose except to note that I had one and it had blackheads but otherwise it was a nose, found my lips interesting, and was glad my chin didn't have a dimple. Always hated the perpetual double-chin hiding in the wings, waiting for me to lower my head and turn into a frog. I never once used an eyebrow pencil and only used mascara if eyeshadow powdered my lashes into looking lighter. There was always a patch of acne in one spot or another waiting to bloom, and then there was that sign of... life? spark? glow? that gave away the multitude of thoughts going on behind my face.

That's me. That's always how I've pictured myself.

This face, I don't know who I am looking at. It doesn't have that same glow. Where'd the acne go? But more than that, where did the shape go? It's not the same shape.

It has a red nose and red circles on the cheeks like a painted china doll. Or Rudolph. Or an alcoholic. I'm not even sure if those cherry spots on my cheeks demarcate the cheek bones.  The overall pallor is gray. It matches the hair. The double-chin is more than just a hint, and are those my lips? I guess they are, but are they? The eyebrows and eyelashes are graying; the eye lashes require mascara in order to be visible.

I have never, ever, EVER *required* mascara!!  And where did the elvish hint in my eyebrows go??

But it's more than the changes due to aging. Its the fact that I feel surprised every time I look in a mirror. Who IS that person? What is going on behind those eyes? What are they hiding? Where did they put the person who belongs there? The Aura is completely different. This has to be some nightmare.

When my doctor first began trying different medications a couple of years ago, the wrong meds would leave me with the feeling that my skin didn't fit.

This isn't that feeling. In fact, sitting here staring at my computer monitor feels completely normal. I'm wearing my favorite pajama bottoms and USMC hoodie. My toes are cold because they're always cold. I feel like me.

I've acclimated to the "this knee is sore today" and the "Oh, it's gonna snow, the arthritis where my elbow broke is acting up" and the "Now what did I do to that ankle??" pops, zings of pain, and general I'm-getting-older limps and feels.

I've  ... um... well, not *adjusted* to the anxiety and dizzy spells and other things associated with my mental disorder and side-effects of my drugs, but I have learned to identify them and cope.

So how I *feel* on the inside still feels like me. You know, angry that my brain is having the hiccups, joyful and full of grattitude for the blessings in my life, singing because I can, snarking because I can, being silly because I can. etc. It's my brain, I am quirky.

But how I look? I mean, seriously, that can't be me. It just can't.

Do I actually look like that? Have I always had "resting bitch face"???  Even putting jewelry on doesn't conjure up 14 yr old me wearing a new pair of earrings and feeling pretty because of some shiny cheap metal I bought for a dollar at the gas station.

So who is this girl? Who is that girl in the mirror?

Is this what it feels like to age? You're you on the inside, but the outside no longer matches?

Monday, November 9, 2015


I have started writing for NaNoWriMo. Whoo!!

Watch me dance and throw a party! Because I am writing! yaaaaay!

Now, that being said, I'm not writing every day. Working exhausts me. However, when I sit down to write, words come. Ideas start popping and the voices start talking.

I've not yet bothered to go back and read what I've written. I have no idea if half the words will make any sense. But I have notes. I know what kind of descriptions I want to give the cities, the streets.

My first drafts are always more of an outline where I write out who does what, where, and why. Then I go back and flesh out the details. and THEN I let someone read it.

This is super exciting for me!! I haven't felt this spark to write since before I went on medication.

Granted, my word count is at all of 2200+ish right now. It's day 9, and if you do the math, I'm quite behind. But that's not worrying me, actually.

In fact, I feel encouraged. I was walking to work today and had several lines worked out in feel and texture as well as the full mental imagery for the next couple of scenes. That means that when I *do* sit my butt in the chair and put my hands on the keyboard to pound out some fiction, it's gonna flow.

Am I going to hit 50,000 words this month? I don't know. I hope so! But I'm not as concerned about the number of words as I am about the fact that I'm writing.

Sitting here writing this little NaNo post is not time I'd otherwise spend writing my steampunk fantasy. No, it's time I'd be spending eating, or sitting in front of Netflix watching another episode or two of Supernatural, or doing my daily garrison chores in WoW. Stuff I do to unwind from the mentally goofy wired-but-tired-but-wired mode that I'm in right now. In fact, pet battles sound like the thing for the day.

I'll take my meds - because I forgot to take them before I went to work - And in an hour the Effexor will have me wide-eyed and bushy tailed. However, if I don't get any writing done today, I'm not going to cry or have a guilt trip because of it. I went to work and had a great day at work. That equals productive day to me!!

Oh! And I'm sketching an idea for the cover of the book. Which makes no sense, but NaNo has this spot to put a book cover for your novel. So I figured what the heck, I'd make a book cover for this story which has a title that... well... um, it will probably be changed after I figure out where this story is going and how it's getting there.

Anyway, I do the sketching on my breaks at work. So that's coming along nicely, too. :) Friends text me back and forth to help flesh out characters when I need to figure out some motivation. It's so much fun to brainstorm about stuff!

It's also a lot of fun to sleep. So there's that. But I AM writing. So yay!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What. The. Flippin. Heck.

Hi there. I am a member of the LDS church, otherwise known as Mormons.  

My church is controversial. It always has been - because it was founded by a guy who said he saw God  -- and no other person, ever, has claimed such a thing, so controversy and oh my the horror.

It's controversial because of the additional books of scripture. Because new words. No one has ever messed with the words in the entire history of the words being set on paper. Not once, nope. So those new words? If you read them, you'll sprout horns and tails, just watch.

It was controversial because of polygamy. Well, I guess it still is? Because history.

It was controversial because it didn't allow Blacks to have the priesthood. And then it was controversial because it did. People joined because of the first bit and people left because of the second bit. Bigotry happens, which sucks.  

I could go on and on and on. Nearly every aspect of my church is controversial in one form or another.

Currently it's controversial because of its stand on same-sex marriage and the baptism of the children of those unions. Obviously no other church has an issue with this, so why in the world won't the LDS church become more open minded?



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Feeling Vulnerable

Ok. I *think* I have our insurance premium fiasco figured out after talking from person to person to person. Now, I just have to get Rob's HR to cooperate. Then maybe we can pay rent ON TIME and catch up on all the other bills. Like all y'all wanted to know our financial woes. Everyone has them, we aren't any different from anyone else.
I don't even know why I'm sharing this. It's been so frustrating having half the amount we thought we'd have every two weeks. It's not like I expect insurance to be handed to us for free. I am all for working for and earning what we have. The cost is so overwhelming, though.
My faith encourages us to have 3 months of savings on hand for emergencies. And we DID. That's the most frustrating thing. We used it all over the summer for *that* emergency. And we had this complete miracle happen in August and September to help us stay on our feet. So it's not like I don't see the miracles happening in our lives every day. I am extremely grateful that we are taken care of even when we don't know how things are going to work out.
I know we'll make it through this, but wow this particular trial is hard. However, Rob has his meds and they are affordable. The kids have insurance in case they are sick. Our homeowners are FABULOUS about working with our situation, but after our fiasco five years ago, keeping a roof over our heads is my biggest priority and biggest fear. It's not like we're *behind* on rent, because we're not. I just hate paying it in installments during the month instead of one lump some as agreed.
Somehow I'll get *my* medical bills taken care of from that ER visit when we were sure I was having a stroke. My meds are affordable. I have an awesome psychiatrist who I love and who checks in with me to make sure I'm stable and doing ok. We have a fabulous pediatrician for the kids and a wonderful GP for the rest of us.
I have great friends. Some days it's really hard not to worry, though. It's hard to acknowledge that some bills are behind. I hate playing catch-up with electricity, phone, gas, cable. Yes, cable. Since Jada does online school for her core classes, internet IS a necessity, not just a luxury.
I don't know why I feel like I have to justify our choices. I feel extremely vulnerable today. Probably because of yesterday's missed meds. I'm also feeling extremely grateful for the people willing to help us. The folks who said they'd call Rob's HR on our behalf for the insurance stuff. The people who let me cry because I'm stressed over things I cannot control but affect my life.

The good people who love us no matter what.

Text Games

When one of my daughters went off to college, we started playing a text game. I texted her a line of lyrics to a song, and she'd text me back another line of lyrics using one of the words in my text.

It was a fun game. We had over 200 texts just in music lyrics. And if we got stuck, people around us were always happy to play, too.

Music is this thing we have in our house. A single word will often cause one or more of us to break into random song before continuing the interrupted conversation.

I loved this game. It kept us connected over the long distance.

This particular child of mine speaks the love language of "Time Spent." None of us knew this until her senior year in college, but she knew she needed time. So while I was existing through post-partum depression, she would come home from wherever she was and insist on my attention to braid her hair. and once she had my attention for that, she'd sit on the step and talk about her day.

Midnight conversations. We've had them for years, from Jr. High until now. To this day she'll call around 11:30pm or later, needing her late night conversation.  It's no longer every day. Sometimes it's not even every week. But it is a connection that *she* started years ago, when she refused to let me fade into the background of non-life when I didn't know how to cope.

Today she messaged me and let me know that her roommate is now playing the lyric game with a relative.

I grinned, but was also sad. I joked back that we were trend-setters.

However -- We haven't played the lyric game since April First.

In fact, after my suicide attempt, she wouldn't even speak to me for three weeks.

This is the child who called Rob that night and told him where to go looking for me after she'd calmed down enough to think. This is the child who patiently and not-so-patiently tried to pull me out of bed on bad days.

This is the child who said, "Mom! You were supposed to go get a tattoo! Not try to end everything! You were supposed to call me and we would go get your butterfly!"

So today, while grinning at the fact that we started a fad, I cried a little. She doesn't like to remember why we stopped in the first place. In fact, I think this is the first time she's willingly talked about the text game since April.

There are consequences you cannot control when you make a choice. I made a choice, and broke part of my connection to a child. It may never fully repair.

As this is one of the more visible/tangible connections I have with my children, I am also aware of the broken connections that are not so easy for me to feel/see. Connections I have to make an conscious effort to find and work on.

Mental Illness affects everyone, not just the one with who has it. I am fairly sure that my children and husband must have a much harder time going through life than I do, now that my brain chemistry has decided to play mad scientist.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Grouse Grouse Grump Grump Grump

Swept, mopped, scrubbed the counters, table, and dish drain and started laundry. Yay limited work clothes.
Having one of those inexplicable grumpy days, and I feel surrounded by junk. So I cleaned. Maybe now I will be able to think clearly. Need to do my 15 minute ink sketch/doodle/whatever. -- after 15 mins, I can't seem to figure out what I'm looking at anymore, but daily drawing is good for me.
I'm procrastinating opening my sketchbook. And my writing program. And taking a sleep aid so I can get up for work. People who invented morning work are evil evil evil. Just sayin'. I should probably eat something, too.
I think I deserve some chocolate, but protein and vegetables would be much better for my body. But that would require cooking and I just cleaned. >:( My kids are fed, though, so at least I've done right by them foodwise.
I wish I had a chef. Or someone who would remember to put things in the crockpot for me. Or remind me to put things in the crockpot when I wake up. Or have freezer meals prepped for me so I can just pop them in the oven. Because lazy. I should join one of those groups that do them once a month so I have them, because I guarantee I won't do it on my own.
I hate cooking. HATE it. I *can* cook, I can follow a recipe, and I can make my own chicken noodle soup, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it.
I wish I lived closer to my cousin who sells all kinds of fun food.
With Rob being gone from 12:30-10:30pm, he's not here to whip up food, either.
I need to just step up and do the stupid food thing. And what's really ridiculous is that I'd rather sit here and whine about it than do something. /slap
I apologize for the whine, whine, whine. Sort of. Kind of. You know what, if you don't want to read whine whine whine, just don't read this. Because that's how I'm feeling today. The feels are so freaking random, and I hate that I can't control them. Brain jail. Trapped in my stupid head. AAARGH.
Chris. Hymn 135. Go read it again. Although some days the peace doesn't come as soon as I wish it would. Some days this struggle just SUCKS.
At least I haven't yelled at the kids over it. So I have managed some self control.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stability is a Precious Thing

It's nice to feel stable. Ok, in my case, the word "Nice" is such an understatement. It's peaceful, calming, and rational.

The anger is gone. My ability to reason, cope, and just enjoy - even though there is a storm of life going on around me - is back.

Some pretty major crap hit the fan on Monday, and it's made life here extra stressful. This is one of those things that we didn't see coming, and BAM!. Hubster and I spent Monday panicking, making phone calls, emailing, and crying in frustration.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I went to work, smiled at people, and was happily distracted by cleaning up my area of the store. Somehow the knowledge that the world wasn't really ending was helpful. Life goes on, even though it feels like my little world is undergoing an earthquake.

Today I can acknowledge that I cannot change what happened. I can only move forward and try prevent things from happening again, and do what I can to help fix the problem.

This is typically how I handle a problem. First: panic/react. Second: distract myself for a bit so I can calm down. Third: deal with it as best I can.

Now, my coping strategy is probably not the best. However, I'm extremely glad that this problem hit when my meds were stabilizing in my system again. Because I *can* feel the calm. I can feel the peace.

I can feel grateful that I have a home that provides shelter. I can be grateful that we have food, clothes, and plenty of wants in addition to our necessities.

Life is what it is. No one ever said it would be easy. Complain as I might, today I am grateful that I do not walk this path alone. I'm grateful for the ability to feel the support and the love.

Being stable meant that I could take my daughter to the local Barnes & Noble to meet her favorite author. We walked all the way there, we stood in line and looked at all the books on the shelves, wishing we had a million dollars and could buy all the books that looked interesting. And all the awesome picture books just because.

Being stable meant that I didn't need to take a xanex to be in line with all those people, with the little boy in front of me who kept making the same high pitched noise over and over and over and over again. When it finally started irritating me enough, the line started moving and he got distracted. end of noise. :)

And being stable meant that I was there to see my daughter meet her favorite author, tell him about how she loved his books so much that she went to his website, saw his tour schedule and put it on the calendar a month ahead of time. She told him about doing extra chores to earn money so she could buy her own copies of the books just to get his signature in them. He in turn asked her questions about her name, about what she liked about the books, and made her feel important.

Tyler Whitesides, folks. Author of The Janitors series. He's fabulous.

The entire walk home, my daughter skipped and exclaimed how happy she was. And me being stable meant I could enjoy it. I didn't resent having to leave the house. I didn't shake and freak out because of the people. I was able to look at the clouds see the images there and enjoy the time spent with my daughter.

It doesn't mean I'm not stressed or worried. But it does mean that I can be calm, not angry, and willing to listen.

I keep my negative posts because it shows the stark differences between my ups and downs. Between the anger that I can't keep under control and the opposing calm and happy that I feel otherwise.

Today I'm grateful for medication that works for me. I know very well that it doesn't work for everyone, but I'm so glad that my meds are working for me. I'm so glad I have the means to buy them. And I'm so grateful that - even though I have pain in my feet afterwards - I have legs that work so I can walk to/from work and other stores within a two-mile area from my house.

I'm just grateful. I'm grateful I can sleep because the worry is under control. I'm grateful for my friends and all my family who tolerate my mood swings. I'm grateful for my church's general conference and the reminders it gives that Christ knows and understands what I'm going through, so he can better help succor me in my time of need. And while sometimes I don't feel it, I think those times are when He's there the most.

I think I'm going to take this lovely calm feeling and go to bed. And sleep for longer than three hours.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Religion, Rebellion and Anger

I am a deeply religious person. I have quite a few friends who feel that it's an outdated superstition, an organized political 'lead the unthinking sheep to follow whatever I say' kind of thing, or just a horrible idea altogether. And that's okay. Whatever works for them and brings them peace is awesome. My faith and my religion work for me. Today, for some strange, stupid reason I feel like talking about it.

This is seriously one of my most tender, vulnerable spots, and I have no idea WHY I am talking about it here. A place the entire world can see it, mock it, ridicule it, or whatever. But here it is nonetheless. Call it a crazy chemical bi-polar compulsion? I don't know how else to understand why I am sitting here typing this up on Blogger.

I don't normally talk about this kind of thing, but today... Today I've been two days without my medication. I forgot to fill it Wednesday before my insurance stopped. And I forgot to fill it Friday, the day I ran out, then Saturday because I was distracted by walking home in the rain, and then Sunday - well, today I didn't forget, it was just Sunday and my pharmacy is closed. I refuse to go to Walgreens; they always screw up, they're rude, and I much prefer my pharmacy where they know me by name, are friendly, go to bat for my kids when there are insurance screw-ups, and they take the time to treat me like a human.

... I digress.

I'm super distractable today.


Because it's been two days without my anti-depressant, today was a bad day. A sobby, unstable, doggy-paddle like mad to keep my head above water day. A day that I couldn't wake up fully in between very vivid nightmares until I HAD to go to work. And even then I was/am dizzy and distracted and... well... attempting very hard via Xanex and mood stabilizer to appear normal to the world.

Again, ANYWAY...

On the way to work, I had a conversation with God. I don't know if I was feeling guilty? I don't know a lot of things today, but I know this:

I know He loves me. I know he understands and knows what I am going through. I know that He hasn't forgotten me. I know He has a hand in everything going on in my life, putting people in place to support me when I can't deal on my own, cheering me on when I succeed, and loving me anyway when I am rebellious.

And oh am I rebellious some days.

And I am angry.  So angry that on some days - like today -  I want to turn in my temple recommend and scream and rail and say I HATE YOU!!! I HATE THIS! MAKE IT STOP ALREADY!

I do not like being mentally ill. I do not like not being in control of my emotions. I do not like that I have to take a xanex to handle little kids screaming in the store.

I am angry that I have to remind myself to breathe over one simple little mistake - regardless of what it is. Forgetting to sign a permission slip. Forgetting to have my son read. Not seeing a customer at the fitting room in time for me to count their clothes on their way out.  (It's an anti-theft policy and I am far from perfect some days)

I'm especially angry right now that He didn't let me come home in April.

Friday, October 2, 2015

the Semi-Colon

I sent someone a sketch of my current semi-colon tat idea. She mentioned that someone she knew was going to get one 'because they're cool,' which offended her. It kind of offends me, too, to be honest.

Sure it's showing support for mental illness. However, "Because it's cool" doesn't sound like understanding the whole reason behind the semi-colon. It feels like the bandwagon is taking something deeply personal and making it a commonplace cliche.

But I'm old and practicallyyelling "GET OFF MY LAWN" to all the young folk.

Besides, just because it means something to me, doesn't mean that someone else can't love the look and want one. It **really** shouldn't bother me how other people treat symbols. It's a punctuation mark, for crying out loud.

Maybe it's because April is not so far in the past, and that experience is still somewhat fresh? Maybe because I want people to understand. I want them to realize the importance and the very real struggle that depression, et al, present to those of us who struggle with it.

A semi-colon to me, right now, says "You're not done yet. You're not done yet. Keep going, you're still writing your sentence." I look at it, and it changes the "I can't do this anymore. I'm done. I just can't." to "Keep going; one more step; one more day; one more line in your book of life."

It's one of my many life-lines on the inevitable down days.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


I'm a teensy tiny little bit worried that I might be going into a manic phase? I have all this crazy energy, and I've had it since noon. I'm not even tired. so... probably a sleeping pill is in order for tonight. (this morning? it's really 2 a.m.??? no way. It feels like 10pm.) But, um, if I start spouting all these ideas for projects I'm going to do and then forget them for another one, that would be a yes, yes in fact I am in a manic phase.
I'm telling you the warning signs now because I don't see them until after the fact. so, you know, I might need someone else to say, "Hey, call your doc."
While my mild manic's are great for interacting with people at work -- ooh, and housecleaning! -- it's probably not a great sign for how my meds are working. It's also a sign that a super bad low is on the way.
So I'm deciding that the happy energy is simply that. Happy energy! FEEL THE LOVE EVERYONE!! I am sending it out to everyone!! I hope my cousins in France and Germany can feel it! smile emoticon

Thursday, September 17, 2015

pros and cons for me of retail work

Cool things about working: Adult conversation, smiling at people, losing a pant size from being on my feet all day and walking back/forth from home. Having a reason to do hair and makeup AND jewelry! Oh, and the paycheck. Did I mention the discount? Because discount = awesome.

Not cool things about work: The kids cheering "Yay mom's home! I LOVE it when you're home!" and becoming velcro when they come home from school on one of my days off. Putting my schedule into my phone and still clocking in late at work (even though I'm IN the store) because the numbers get turned around in my head. Staring at clothes and not remembering what I'm supposed to do with them on my bad days. Jada saying "I'm so glad you're not closing this week. It's nice to have a break." My feet hurting.

 The kids only see Rob during the mornings, because he gets home long after bedtime. Because my schedule changes constantly, they see me at all kinds of different times. /

According to Jada, the pros of this: "Hey, we're learning independence and how to rely on ourselves."

Of course, the cons are: "I don't like having to be the mom." wil won't do his homework for her like he does for me. You know, mom things.

this working thing is hard for me. I mean, I know it's hard for everyone, but once upon a time I was a quick learner, could tell time, could do math, and remember basic things. This is much harder for me now. The forgetful bit is really kind of an issue some days, though.

Not sure if I'm whining, thinking this over, or putting all the thoughts out there so I can do some problem solving to make this better.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why I got a job?

I am working 7pm to close tonight. Can I just say that A- I still don't feel all that great, but I'm not sick. and B - I just don't have the energy to walk there today. I have to get there, so I will, but I am probably going to have to leave an hour early.
Once I get there, I'm usually fine. It's the getting myself there that's the hard part. Today is one of those days I just want to sit in a dark room, curl up and hide.
Which, of course, means that the social interaction is something I NEED to do today.
THAT's the work part.
You know, I have so many friends and family going through stuff so much worse than this. We remember so many folks in our prayers that need blessings and help, and I just feel stupid for my down days. And while I know what I struggle with is real, it seems so mild next to everything else.
Ok, yeah, if there's a repeat of April, then yeah, it's very real and very scary, but... well... hopefully there won't ever be a repeat of that.
I have a lot to be grateful for. I have healthy children capable of being self-reliant. They may not always get along, but as they've grown they look out for each other and remind each other of the rules.
I have a husband willing to work to provide for his family. Who takes his turns doing dishes and cleaning the bathrooms.
I have a home that is current on the rent. I have food. I have medical coverage for my children and husband. I have books to read, I have the internet, a computer, electricity and gas. We have the basics we need, and we have quite a few of the niceties. We aren't rich, but we are not living in squalor.
So blessings. Lots of them. Many, many things to be grateful for. Yet I feel like getting up and facing the day is nearly impossible.
I'll be walking in the sunshine, that will help. I'll be walking. That in and of itself will be good. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. And object at rest tends to stay at rest. Unless acted upon by an outside force, right? Well, I guess today that outside force is gonna have to be me telling myself to get up off my butt.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Semi-Colon fad? It's not just a fad for me.

I have talked about tattoos before, and I know some think it's a great idea, some don't -- or don't even understand why I'd consider it. Some just don't care what I do, because my body, right?

I'd like to explain how I'm feeling. I love butterflies because they represent freedom, which is a very big deal when I feel caged inside my own head. After my long walk in April, a tattoo became something that I felt I needed to do, because even though I can no longer control my mind all the time, I can control my dreams.

 I don't know how many of you have heard or seen the semi-colon movement, a blog post that went viral about a semi-colon tattoo to represent surviving a suicide attempt. I want to let you know that I am not jumping on a band wagon just because other people are doing it. I have never been one to follow a crowd. In fact, I usually will do the opposite just to prove that I can think on my own. 

However, I personally identify with the semi-colon because of my choice in April. And I want to share some of the ideas I'm toying with for when a tattoo won't be a financial luxury I can't afford, but something that I am doing for myself. When it won't be a choice between catching up on some bills or putting ink on my skin. I mean, really, that's just a duh choice, right?

Something simple yet beautiful, something that expresses me. Something small and in a place easily covered for work, yet something I can see when I need to. Because there are times I *need* to see it.

It's ok if you don't understand. It's ok if you disagree. I just wanted to explain where I am emotionally and mentally on this, and why, even though I do not like pain at all, I am willing to do it.

The original quote from the original blog post. When I can find the link I will share it.  

I've always love ink splotches. I love this semi-colon. Not sure how I'd work in a butterfly, but it would be kind of awesome, don't you think? Well, I think so.
Love this butterfly and the simplicity and grace

Ok, how can I NOT love this butterfly??  It's amazing

Oh, I love the splotches and inky here. 

This needs to be a tattoo for me as well. NEEDS to be. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I write my story. Ok, I don't want the words. Just the book turning to wings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Childhood issues

You know, with this assault of childhood memories, I now completely understand why I dislike my birthday and holidays. I had no answer for people who asked, and now that I know, I can smile and say it's just not my thing. I may even get to a point where I don't wince when people say "Happy Birthday." Not today, but someday.

To be honest, I think I'm doing exceptionally great for the insanely fun things I started at Christmas in order to make it fun for my family who I love so much. YAY for that!! It's a very cool moment for me when I can say, "Hey! Look what I did! I turned a negative into a positive! I'm kinda proud of myself!"

-- Besides, the kids LOVE it, and playing silly games is completely worth the effort that all of us big kids do to pull it off. It's FUN! - And Rob, who thinks it's crazy to do such elaborate things, gets into it and plays right along even though I think he'd rather do the sit around the tree and open everything all at once that most people do.

I'm just gonna give myself a pat on the back right now for the Christmas thing. I couldn't do it alone, but it was my idea to start with and that's a big deal. It won't matter later, but right now it does.

I doubt I will ever be a party planner, and that's ok. That's why the Lord blessed me with great friends and family. That stuff makes them happy, and I am super happy watching them play as they organize and set things up.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Job Experiment

Did my first 5 hours of work today. And I learned a few things:

A - keep a xanex in my pocket instead of hiding in my purse so I don't have to wait for break to take it.

B - My interpretation of front to back is NOT the same as normal people.

C - My anxiety was not triggered at all by the people in the store, but by doing an entire go-back rack backwards. And then a screaming baby. I sang to myself as I tried to convince my brain that the Ross way is the Ross way, not my way.

D - I really enjoy interacting with the customers. I like smiling at people and eliciting a smile in response. The high traffic due to back-to-school wasn't nearly as overwhelming as I thought it might be.

E - I tire really easily. After 5 hours on my feet, I am covered in sweat and am exhausted.

So work? So far I feel like I can do it. Can I do it without my anti-anxiety pill? No. Definitely need that. Glad I have it when I need it.

 My way of sorting things is weird. I know that now. Who knew? Not me.

I grew up playing Pinochle. So I sort: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Nine. Descending order, just like that. And because the lowest number is at the right, the right is then the front, and I move from right to left as I put things in order.

The poor lady training me was convinced she wasn't explaining things right. She did fabulous. I have to retrain my brain that the left side of the rack is the front, even though it's at the back of the fitting area. And when they refer to things being "behind" the sign on the rack, they mean to the right of it, not the left. Soooo strange to me, but ok. I have to put my back against the wall and look down the rack so my brain processes Front here. Back there. Behind the sign from this angle is truly behind it.

This is probably good thinking exercise for me. Currently frustrating and hard, but good for me, nonetheless. At least all of my coworkers are awesome and friendly and happy to answer all of my questions.

I think it's because it was my first day on the floor that I am wired, nervous and feel like crying. But I managed to keep all of that under control at work. I was able to let that out after I was in my van and driving home.

My kids are awesome. The rain was awesome. Being able to stand out in the rain and enjoy the puddles in my bare feet was a FABULOUS way of helping disperse the nervous energy.

When I got home, the kids could see I was trying not to have a complete breakdown. Mina, bless her sweet heart, made me fried eggs on toast. And oh my goodness, the few housework chores I'd asked them to do, DONE, by the time I got home. How awesome is that??? I couldn't even find the right words to tell the kids how proud I was of them, and how absolutely pleasing it was to find the three things on the check-off list done. I wish I had something super cool to reward them with, but hugs and kisses will have to suffice today. Awesome children.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Oh, the joys of processing old memories

There are some things that just shouldn't be shared publicly.

Stuff I'm dealing with now is stuff *I'm* holding onto and am learning how to let go of. Sometimes things that happen during childhood come back full force, and there's nothing I can do but feel it, acknowledge it, and attempt to process it as I am able. Paralyzing as it may feel.

Publicly shaming someone else does nothing but cause more harm. And if nothing else, I can at least show that much respect. Besides, trust me, if it were something jail-worthy, ooooooh that would have been taken care of, because I won't protect that.

I'm angry, yes, but I don't need to be spiteful. The anger is just a stage and I'll get through it. It's yucky and I don't want to hang onto it, but it's currently in the front of my brain, so ... it is what it is. If you find me curled up feeling all sobby and broken, it's part of this phase. But please don't think I'm a victim or consider myself one. I'm not.

I not only survived, but I came out of my trials of youth stubborn, quick to learn, and determined not to give up. And extremely grateful for the people who were there.

 Stuff that is this old is possible to let go of. I can; I will; but I am not the quickest of learners when it comes to emotional crap. However, like the job and trying to learn how to deal with my anxiety by facing it, I'm pretty sure I can do this, too.

Cuz seriously... who wants to define themselves by old yuck? Not me. I'm ME now. And while I'm far from perfect, definitely had my years where I was not the greatest of parents, and struggle with mental illness that is hard to handle some days, I'm still here. I have raised some bright, beautiful children, I have had very successful careers, and very successful school experiences.

So I can do this. -- Some days the depression tries to convince me that I can't. Somedays old emotions pop up and say, "but you're not loveable because of blah blah blah." Yeah, it's a struggle. But today, today I can see a lot of the good, how I overcame and became stronger because of the blah blah blah.

I still have a long way to go. But that's ok. I'm not close to the cliff edge currently. This may be paralyzing and hard to deal with some days, but hard is hard is hard. Life never promised to be easy.

I have a lot to be grateful for. And I believe that as I write through these memories and process them, that I will be able to find something that I learned from each of the experiences.

 TMI? Perhaps. But it's life according to Chris, and this much I felt like I needed to share.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sigh. Everyone has issues. I just realized I don't like mine.

The last few days/week I've felt paralyzed by overwhelming memories from my childhood. Along with the accompanying anger, resentment, and hurt that I honestly thought I'd let go and forgiven.

Today I found an article that talks about learning how to let that go with "start by doing this" instructions. Now that I have a starting point, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I am so tired of this baggage. My chemical imbalances don't need that extra fuel to add to the depression's fire.

aaaaand, this is probably another one of those TMI posts, but dangit... I feel like my brain has just shut down regardless of how hard I'm trying to move forward and be creative and be me. So this is where I am today. Sobby, reliving past gunk that I'm sure my friends and immediate family are sick of hearing about, and attempting to control my temper, my frustration with not knowing how to let go of this, and that desperate fear that maybe I'm the same way.

Uck. I shouldn't be talking about this one on FB. I don't want to point fingers and do the shaming, blaming thing. I'm the one holding on, it's on me to let go. I'm a big girl with my big girl panties dammit, I can do this.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Love Languages

I have a friend who is a therapist. He was talking to me vaguely about a married couple who did not speak the same love language and how he was assigning them homework to practice learning the other's language.


So I came home and mentioned it to my daughter. Oh yeah, she knew all about love languages. She'd had to take the test in her CE Life Roles class in high school. She knew her language and what she needed from others to have a working relationship.

Cool beans.

So the hubster and I took the test. My primary love language is touch. His primary love language is Acts of Service. Which is cool, since we both also speak those languages.

After we learned our primary languages, I was able to figure out why he freaked out so much when the kids had to be asked more than once to do chores. He was interpreting that as an "I don't love you enough to do it."  And he realized that a quick hug a day was not nearly good enough for me. A 30 second hug, and maybe an arm around or a hand hold once in a while was much better for my state of mind.

There are two of the languages I don't speak at all: the gifts one. receiving? giving? Gifts is not a big deal to me; I don't much care about them one way or another. The second language that I don't speak is Time Spent. That one makes me shudder and cringe.

My brother and I were on the phone the other day and he mentioned that his language was also touch, but his wife's was Time Spent. I immediately thought, AAAAHH!!  I would not, not, not be able to handle it if my husband had that one.

I love hanging out with friends once in a while, and I don't mind doing the family game night thing. But that's doing the time spent without thinking about it, and without it being hard.

But sitting and talking to my partner because they NEED me to spend time with them? Just for the sake of being there?? Um. I would kill my husband if he were that needy.

Now, that being said, I have a daughter whose love language is time spent. I don't feel like she's needy at all. If she needs time with me, she comes and sits near me and starts a conversation. It doesn't feel like she's leeching my energy, we just discuss stuff.

The note here is that *she* makes the effort to spend that time. Probably because she knows it would never occur to me to do that in the first place.

The whole "Hey, do you want to talk for a bit?" is the dumbest question I can think of being asked.

Talk about what? Because sometimes no, I don't feel like talking. That question makes me nervous and suspicious.

On the other hand "Hey, mom, let me tell you about my day." Or "Hey mom, I have a question." Or me saying, "You look upset, sweety, what happened?"  Those I can do willingly and without issue.

Usually I'm doing something else at the time my daughter comes to find me, so my attention is divided between what she's saying and what I'm doing. This works for both of us unless I hear something that needs my full and complete attention. Then she wins, hands down. Because daughter.

It feels like girl-talk. I can do girl talk with my daughters because I'm their mom, you know?

However, as a married couple, the hubster and I discuss kids, bills, dreams, goals, (the latter two in short spurts) and once in a while have an "i'm feeling this way, how are you feeling about this?" but not often. Because if I talk about something for too long and too deep, he retreats into his "nothing box."

Which is understandable, because once I start talking it's pretty darn hard to make me stop.

Which is why I have girl friends. I can do Time Spent with them just fine because it's not like I think about it when we're hanging out. But to talk to my husband for that length of time about all the different subjects we girls bounce around? Um... no. In fact, I'm pretty sure he'd stop listening after about five minutes.

I just... wow. I cannot fathom the amount of work and patience it would take to have a marital relationship with someone who needed Time Spent. Pretty sure we'd be divorced by now.

I guess that makes me selfish. And I guess that's why I didn't marry into that. I am too lazy make a conscious effort to learn that particular language to make my marriage work, and I'm so glad I don't have to.

We did have fun on our road trip to Phoenix. But I mostly read out loud to him, so...

Anyway, massive respect to those who not only speak the language, but those who willingly learn it to make things work.

In my opinion, that's got to be the hardest love language.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Affair With Apostraphes and Commas

Why do I write?

I write because I dream in vivid colors, swimming in the new, the odd, and the real. I write because I can feel and see things through my artist eyes that cannot be expressed in any other way than the power of feelings conveyed by words.

There is an essential part of me that longs for communication and understanding on a deep level. I want to be understood. I want to share my hopes, my visions of the beauty, the strange, and the twistedly weird.

Before my mental illness, I wrote for entertainment and for the experience of living in another world, time, and space for a few hours at a time. I wrote because I loved reading it over and over, caught up in stories and ideas that compelled and pulled at me, begging to be set down.

Now I write to purge the thoughts that plague me. The thoughts come in endless streams, disjointed yet related. I write in long run-on sentences, using too many commas because it's where I stop to breathe, but not where the thought ends. I write in incomplete sentences. Because impact.

I write because I enjoy finding connections and seeing where they lead, so the words 'and', 'but' and 'therefore' find their way into my typing more often than they should.

As I type there is a freedom, an escape from the cage that is now my head. Feelings escape and there is a lightness, a movement that I cannot find in the daily activities that I now have to force myself to do.

There is much lost in the translation from mind to fingers. My pinky is in love with that apostraphe and will possessify or contract anything that ends in S unless I enforce extreme discipline or go back and proof read. Not once, not twice, but sometimes ten times over. Its turns to it's whether I want it to or not. That finger demands to be used. That finger has a mind of it's own and I lack in catching all the errors.

But it is sometimes the errors that make writing what it is. Error is as much a part of me as is the blood flowing through my veins. It may not stain the page rust colored when 'there' comes out instead of 'their' or 'they're' - even though I *do* know the difference.  But the flaw is stil there, innate, beautiful in its own way. Annoying in its constancy.

Unfinished thoughts and words leak in as well. Words that have no meaning. The word Bear appears on the screen when I meant Table because the logic and intellect that once managed such things is damaged.

I write because imperfections must come out, whether in poetry or discourse. Thoughts rot and canker, spoiling everything around them when left to simmer in a rage unexpressed.

Words are cathartic, powerful emotions that I cannot deal with when bouncing inside my head from ear to ear, thought to thought, playing on the tides of my chemical imbalances like dolphins on the wake of a speedboat. Words keep me awake at night until I let them out.

I write because I want to be heard.

Thank you, Chuck Wendig, for this week's writing prompt. :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Snow White and the tldr Huntsman

I love fairy tales, so I was excited about the possibilities of "Snow White and the Huntsman" when it came out. I paid full price to see it in a theater and bought the blue-ray/dvd pack for $5 on Black Friday back in 2012. Then didn't open it until this morning to re-watch it (three years later.)

The movie intrigued me. Not because I thought the movie was particularly well made, but because it had enough plot holes and missing bits that I was sure it *had* to be an adaptation from a book.

I spent hours online searching for a book about Snow White that would have inspired the movie. Now, either I don't have the right kind of google-fu, or the screenwriter and/or director left the plot holes and inconsistencies in the finished film on purpose thinking they were being clever.

*stares confusedly at Hollywood*

I did find some decent fan-fic while hunting. Most of it was better written than the script. And of course some of it read as if maybe that particular wannabe author really had written the screenplay. *cough*


I re-watched this movie last night, er, early this morning, thinking that I haaaaad to be remembering bits of the story incorrectly. Yup, I sure was, but my memory had sugar coated quite a few things.

At 5:30 a.m. I found myself wishing I'd made popcorn to throw at the screen when Snow began her "writhing iron" inspiration speech that made men in the movie cheer (because they were *paid* to cheer) and men watching the movie groan in pain. It inspired me to hit the mute button.

-- I think Writhing Iron will be the name of the my next band. --

tl;dr - the bits I question and snark about because they got the story ALL WRONG!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Child's Wish List

Some things in life hurt. It's especially hard for me when things that hurt me when I was young are amplified ten times or more for other children. This list makes my heart break.

A friend of mine posted this on facebook yesterday, a copy of a wish list from a foster child in Oklahoma.

I read this and was amazed that with a few exceptions, this list could have been mine from childhood. While inducing tears, it also made me extremely grateful for the good things I did have as a child.

* Love. My mother loved us unconditionally
* A Drug/Alcohol free home
* We had soap, and I remember having a toothbrush--sometimes?
* I don't recall ever getting head lice or having cockroaches. 

Everything else, well... yeah. Food and water -- I could tell you stories about my mother hauling 5-gallon buckets of water from neighbors houses to use for cooking/drinking when ours was shut off. Or the heat being shut off in the middle of a Wyoming Winter. 

I don't want to talk about my toys and our (my brothers and my) games being sold. Those memories kind of suck.

Nice shoes and nice clothes were a fantasy. Especially nice shoes. My brothers all needed shoes sooooo badly. I had better luck with the hand-me-downs because other girls' things tended to last longer than my girl things (because I wore my stuff out just as fast as my brothers.) Boys are harder on clothes, period, though, so even their hand-me-downs were already worn through. It's not like we were picky, though. We'd wear what we had, because it's what we had, even if the soles of our shoes flapped around like we were our own drum line.

By the time I was 12, I gave up on the idea of trying to be feminine. I didn't own any church shoes, so I became very vocal about refusing to be girlie or attempting to be feminine - you know, by NOT wearing things like nylons or pumps or whatever cute things the girls were wearing in the mid-80's. My grandmother had made some nice dresses, but I paired them with the first socks I could find (mated or not) and the pair of  shoes I owned - usually a pair of ugly black sneakers.  -- I mean UUUUUGGGLY.

It's an interesting thing, what we come up with as coping mechanisms to deal with the perceived judgments of others.
-- You're gonna look at me and sniff because of my shoes? yeah, well, I don't *want* to look like wimpy girly you and your sore feet and uncomfortable nylons. If I'm gonna sit here for three hours, I'm at least going to be comfortable. So there.--

I wasn't in the foster system. I know for a fact that I have not had a life as hard as most of theirs has been. But my childhood had it's own special brand of hellish that instilled empathy for anyone who writes a list like this.

Here I am, thirty years later, sitting in front of a nice computer in a clean home with sheets on the beds, paid utilitites, and a healthy mix of new and hand-me-down clothes in everyone's closet. 

I am extremely proud of my brothers and who they have grown up to be. One has a Ph.D. in Engineering, One owns his own business. One works hard at a good job that is an hour's drive from his home and family. They each grew up to be good and caring men. They each served honorable missions. They are each wonderful, fun, and just as imperfect as the rest of us. But they grew from where they came from. I wish everyone could see it. Not everyone does, nor does everyone give them credit for being who they are when things could have turned out so much worse.

I am somewhat biased when it comes to my brothers, yes. We survived. We more than survived, we grew from what we endured. And we all respect and love our mother for everything she sacrificed and endured for and with us. She went without food more than we did. She... was amazing.

I cannot say that I am as accomplished as my brothers. I do have my degree, and I maintained a 3.86 gpa (with kids and while pregnant with kids). I climbed my way up the corporate ladder and could be working in a much higher position in the hotel industry if I had chosen to stay in that field. I chose mommyhood instead.

All of that aside, I will only feel like I have truly accomplished something with my life when none of my children ever, ever, ever have to write a list like the one above.

Even better, if I can help another child remove something from that list.

I have limitations with service, yes. More now than ever before, but still there are things I *can* do:

* Love people. Truly. So they see it in my eyes when I smile at them.
* drop a surprise box of groceries on someone's porch. (This one is my favorite. My husband and I love this particular act of service)

I know this is a wandering kind of post with no real thesis or aim, just rambling thoughts. So I may as well end here.

I feel hopeful.

I feel sad for those poor children out there that I can't bring into my home because I am not mentally capable of handling them right now.

I want to be able to mother them all. I am so very proud and supportive of a friend of mine who is a foster parent.

I want to ask everyone to please share the love. Just feel it, share it, and don't overlook those poor kids out there who need someone to love them.