30 June 2005

Dedicated to the one I love...talkin' 'bout my guy...

When my guy and I first met, my life was undergoing some radical changes.  I had gone from being a graduate student working on a PhD to being disabled and not coping very well with that.  I was living off savings, having not yet been cleared to receive my SSI/SSDI checks.  I was terribly uncertain about any aspect of the future.  I had tried to work as a cashier for a few days with a grocery store, but tired easily and had debilitating panic attacks when I forgot a procedure, thus gumming up the works and having to wait for the customer service manager to come unravel the situation.  In general, I was a mess.

When my guy first came to my house, I was very nervous.  I had no idea if I was ready to even consider dating someone, let alone actually doing it.  I was very anxious that I would have a panic attack, and I knew that worrying about it was increasing the odds of having one, but I just couldn't seem to get a grip.

My guy was very gentlemanly.  He was quiet and observant, calming.  He spoke with me about my many books and some various academic theories.  He put me at ease because this was familiar terrain to me.  He asked questions and listened to what I had to say.  Given my past relationships with men, that was a bit of a marvel to me.

We took things slow.  Really spent the time to get to know one another.  It was the first time, the only time really, that I've ever really DATED anyone.  He was very patient with me, concerned, caring, and attentive.

Gradually, my panic attacks in public places grew less frequent.  He had been safely encouraging me to take more and more baby steps, further and further, in my path of rediscovering myself, remolding myself, and coming to terms with the very idea of being "Mentally Ill".  Because he accepted and loved me, I began to, too.

He has seen me at high hysterical peaks of Mania and low despairing depths of depression.  He has seen me happy and lively, laughing.  And he has tucked me in to bed when I could barely drag the covers over my body.

While all this was going on with me, he was and is there every step of the way.  During this, he has decided to apply for PhD programs, interviewed, and been accepted.  Those of you who are regular readers know that he has just completed his first year.

He works as a psychologist for the State.  He also is coauthoring a chapter on interviewing children, their teachers, and parents.  He is also teaching 50+ undergrads in a summer course that is very intense.  He is also taking on other responsibilities.

His own personal life and relationships with others has taken some rather sharp turns since we've known each other.  His grandfather has died.  Family members have been ill.  He's moved and helped his siblings move.

He is there for me.  He is there for his mother.  Should his sisters ever call upon him, he's there for them, too.

Is he perfect?  No.  But he may be perfect for me.  We communicate well.  He is willing to discuss misunderstandings til we clear them up.  We laugh together, but he lets me cry too.

He has times of doubts.  He worries that he might be over-extending himself with all the work that he is committed to doing, and doing well.  Sometimes, I think he is too hard on himself, expecting and pushing himself toward perfection.  Ease up, I tell him.  Give yourself a break, I say.

Sometimes, he shows far more consideration for others than he allows himself.  He even lets me take my dogs with me when I go to visit him.  During spring break, he got a hotel room that allowed pets so I did not have to make other arrangements.  He did it without me even asking him to.

He tells me I look wonderful, that I am wonderful, when I feel horrid and am sure that I look just as bad.  He encourages me to exercise, but doesn't harp on me about it.  Sometimes, he watches me with a special look in his eyes and on his face, and I know that I am loved.

Ya know, I don't have to hold out for a hero, because I've already found him.  So, as yet another song says, let's hear it for my baby!!

29 June 2005

I'm a spaz, see...?

Ok, I am sometimes reminded, painfully, of just how much of a spaz I can be...

A couple of months ago, toward the end of April, I think, I was outside and managed to fall UP the concrete steps leading into my trailer.  I cracked my kneecap into the edge of said concretely immobile, hard step.  My knee swelled and turned lovely shades of purple, black (oh! yes! there are shades of black), red, and blue before fading to a sickening combination of yellow and brown as most bruises do.  I thought, given time and ice and elevation and naproxium sodium, it'll be fine.  Just fine.


So I am still having unstable moments (with my knee, I'm talking about here), where my knee feels like it is going to twist.  My muscles are twitching.  I have a soft squishy mass (how's that for medical terminology?) floating on top and around my kneecap.  Any time something brushes me, including the friggen bed-sheet, sharp stabbing pains take my breath away.  But all this is occassional.

So, Monday, I go see the doc.  She scolds me, I shoulda came in when it happened in April.  Yeah, well.  I'm a spaz, we are not entirely responsible or rational people.  She schedules me for Physical Therapy today.  I ask about x-rays, she says no, I go away.

So, I go today to see what I will see.  The therapist says that she doesn't like the way my knee feels.  I don't either.  She says that she isn't comfortable with it.  You're telling me!  She says that she would really like me to be x-rayed.  I go back to doc, get orders, and go get x-rayed.

Now, we wait.  The radiologist comes in at 8a (I'm sure s/he'll have other rays to read too).  After the radiologist reads said rays, s/he notifies my doc, who notifies me and the Physical Therapist...at least that's how it goes in theory.

IN other spazziness...

I went to the pig drawing site.  I drew a pig.  I reloaded to clear the drawing board a number of times.  Finally, I just drew as best I could, cuz my muscles were getting more spastic the more I try to steady them.  That sucks.

It's ok to laugh at my pet pig.  My friend's 6 year old daughter could do much better than me.  BUT, that's MY pig.  stomp.

Draw a Pig

See my pig and what it has to say about me.....

26 June 2005

Boy gives birth to baby?!? NOT

Today must be the day for amazement as I glance through the BBC news.  A 16 year old boy in Bangledesh was complaining of stomach pains.  Doctors discovered a four and a half pound fetus that had formed inside him, with the exception of a head.

WHAT?!?  How is THAT possible?

Well, very rarely there may be a situation which arises in which two fetus develop as conjoined twins (as in the "siamese twins" scenerio); but, one fetus absorbs the other, resulting in a case of inclusion twins.  The absorbed fetus continues to develop, as a tumor would, inside the other twin--even after birth.

Ok, my thoughts are:

"Oh... my god"

and then

"good thing this is very rare."

I can't quite imagine the sorts of trauma the 16 year old boy and his family are enduring.  I can't quite imagine the situation.  What a very odd thing...

"Ta-Ta For Now", Mr. Winchell

Who patented an artificial heart in 1963?

How about a disposable razor?  Or invisible garter belt?  Or a flameless cigarette lighter?

It was the same man as was the voice for Tigger in Winnie the Pooh.  Tigger is known for his jovial parting phrase, ta-ta for now.  Paul Winchell applied the tag line, borrowing it from his british wife's repetoire.

Disney's Tigger Winchell voiced Disney's Tigger from 1968 to 1999
Paul Winchell did many things in his life.  Surprising that he had accomplished such a wide variety of noteworthy feats.  It is sad to say, he passed away, at age 82, today.

24 June 2005

NAMI (California) & Tom Cruise

Well now, it just doesn't get any stranger than this...at least, not tonight.

RE:  Tom Cruise/Access Hollywood

"Departing from his more familiar role as a movie hero, actor Tom Cruise recently made a foray into medicine," playing doctor of the day..."what you do is vitamins," Cruise asserts.

Yes, vitamins can sometimes supply helpful doses to the depleted systems, no doubt.  But,
"(b)ecause of sharp drops in hormones, as many as 80 percent of women feel some depression in the first two weeks after giving birth. For about one in 10 women, though, the depression grows more and more acute" resulting in post-partum depression.  These women " have a real illness one that needs treatment by professionals, not amateurs," the Houston Chronicle states.

23 June 2005

NAMI & the Silver Ribbon Campaign for the Brain

It's sleek, elegant, and classy.  It is a pin that looks professional enough to wear on my jacket's lapel.  It stands for anti-stigma, first and foremost.

"Always Wear a Silver Ribbon:
To show you care about someone with a brain illness
To help break down the barriers to treatment and support
To help eliminate the stigma against those who suffer
To show you believe there is HOPE
Through education and research"

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has a website with many informative and helpful links.  Not only can you learn about various brain disorders and mental illnesses, you can also learn about what sorts of resources and support groups are available in your area, you can enroll in their FREE education courses (Peer to Peer and Family to Family, just to name two), what YOU can do to make a difference, and so much more.  I encourage you to educate yourself because chances are you know someone who has depression, bipolar disorder, or some other brain illness.  Help to fight the stigma, take the first step, arm yourself with knowledge; because knowledge is power.

21 June 2005

...by any other name, is just the same

Well, that's not entirely true.  But whether you call them sandwiches, scrammiches, crammiches, sammiches, sammies, hougies, sub, BLT, clubs, pb & j's, fluffer-nutters, po'boys, stackers, reubens, sloppy joe's, burgers, et al.; you basically know that you are going to get some sort of filling, stuffed in bread.  Lots of folks have extremely rigid rules about what constitutes authentic sandwiches and any particular derivation there of.  I insist that reubens must be served on toast rye, with sauerkraut, swiss, thousand island dressing, and corned beef.  But that is just me.

The other day, I got a hankering (that's right, I said 'a hankering') for some sandwiches.  So off I went to the deli (not a real one, but as close to, what we have to make do with in this area, Wal-Mart's deli, while not being bad, it is not a DELI, ya know?).  I got some lunchmeats and cheeses.  I found some tomatoes and chips.

Since I already have multigrain bread, the first thing I did when I got home was stack it with provolon cheese, tomato slices, and braunschweiger (liverwurst).  I had not had a sandwich like that since I lived in Pennsylvania, sitting in my grandfather's kitchen as a child, munching away.  In fact, it was so good, I fixed another one.

I also am fully stocked on nutella, peanut butter (smooth and creamy as well as crunchy), various jellies, marshmallow fluff (creme), and a snicker's flavored PB MAX (which is actually quite good).  I even found some Smucker's GOOBER striped strawberry jelly and peanut butter in a jar at the local "2nd Chance Grocery" (like a bent and dent).

Now I am sure we can all come up with concoctions that others found to be just downright gross....Personally, I don't think I could stomach a peanut butter and onion sandwich, but if you can, more power to ya.  I don't mind that some folks turn their noses up at my peanut butter and banana sandwich, it means there is more for me.  Cuz when I crave (ya know, get a hankering) for a certain combo, I get stuck on them for awhile.  Currently I am well stocked.

I have not gone to the extremes of joining any of the Sandwich Clubs.  I have no sandwich named after me.  I don't collect sandwich recipes (well, I don't collect recipes of any kind, I kinda wing it).  I am not going to go into the entire history of sandwiches, cuz you can do that on your own if you want.

But I will gladly recommend Lenny's Subs.  It is an expanding franchise that strikes as close to authentic subs as possible.  If there isn't one near you, there most likely will be soon.

20 June 2005

NAMI Peer to Peer Education

I have a notebook of information to go through from the workshop that took place over the last two weeks.  Most of the hand/print-outs are very straight-forward and do not require much attention.  However, there are a few pages that are very detailed and noteworthy, so I expect to get to them sometime this week.

The workshop was a good thing.  We had a few rough spots, but that is to be expected in just about any sort of gathering.  There were some light-hearted funny moments and some very intense, draining periods too.  Thing is, we all learned something and we all contributed something.

For me, I think one of the most important points I have made to myself is that I am capable of organizing and seeing something through.  I had a few moments of serious doubt, but I was able to push through those times and make adjustments for myself.  Every afternoon, I would come home and take a two hour nap.  I would then get up and do a few things and still make it to sleep at a reasonable hour.  The sessions were very tiring for me, but not impossibly exhausting.  Overall, the good and positive outweighed any negative.

19 June 2005

Dad's Day

If I had to pick one thing about my father that defines him for me, I would say that it is that he never put himself on a pedestal, remaining human and not at all perfectly god-like.  You might think this is a left-handed compliment, but in reality, it is one of the highest compliments a child can pay to her father.  I hope I can clearly express what I mean, but if I fail, just know that I love my dad and I know he loves me too.

See, since I knew my dad was a person (like me), I knew that he would and could make mistakes and that when he did, he never tried to excuse them as not being his.  He owned up to his perceived short-comings.  Sometimes, he would be a little too hard on himself and this while not being condoned, allowed me to identify with him as a person more so.

Dad served as a paratrooper in Vietnam, before I was born.  He was a truck-driver in my earliest childhood memories.  I remember that when dad was home on lay over, we had to be really quiet or go outside to play, so we wouldn't disturb his rest.

As a very small child, I thought dad defined dads, and men in general, by comparison.  Nobody beat out MY dad.  He took the time to be with me, where as lots of my friends' fathers seldom spent time with them.

When I was about 6, we had a large garden and dad was forever showing me which was weed (pull em) and veggie (DON'T pull em); then, before long I was back to pulling all the tender green no matter if it was weed or seedling.  Dad would come back and show me all over again.

He was fun too.   Dad took me swimming in the scaree water, held me securely while I got used to the rushing chill and the tiny minnows.  He would load us up and take us to get banana-splits for an extra special treat.

Then as I grew older through my teens, it seemed that although dad was spending more physical time around, he was absent in some ways.  He always had time though to discuss endlessly with me.  Eventually, I came to realize that dad was coping with things I would not TRULY understand, although I could be supportive of him in his efforts.  Some of those things dealt with PTSD (Vietnam), self-worth/esteem issues, addiction (alcoholic, dry for 15 years now!!!  good on you, pop!), and sorting out how he feels and thinks about a variety of issues that challenged assumed perceptions.

In a very big way, this makes me very proud of him.  Knowing that he has come a long way in realizing/recognizing, dealing with, resolving, etc. and seeing how he has grown and changed, adapting reactions from anger or rejection to acceptance and understanding is so very admirable.  My dad has had lots thrown at him over the years, and not all of it has been of his own making.

In my mid-twenties, my father and I grew alot closer than we had been.  We traveled together.  We also experienced some intense bonding, such as getting tattoed together.

We began to accept each other as adults, although I will always be his daughter and he, my father.  In the last few years, as I wade through my thirties, he has supported me in many ways in my own struggles.  Dad has been a silent strength for me to rely on when I was udderly bewildered by diagnoses and treatments of my mental illnesses.  He was rock steady in his support, a constant in shifting sea of chaos.

He is a source of guidance, intelligence, humor, comfort, and so much more...but most of all, love.  My dad is a wonderful person, man, father.  I admire him for all that he is.  It is an honor to claim him as my dad, the whole of him, with all the perks and quirks included.

Dad, I love you.  Thanks for being you.  Love, your darling daughter debbie

18 June 2005

Just a quick note

Last night, as I was hanging up the phone, I heard a man's voice.  It just about scared the crap outta me, and I was wearing my cute little cotton pj's with little red cherries all over em.  So instead of sticking near the phone, a sign of true intellegence...I rushed toward the front of my place in the direction of the man's voice.  This is just what Shaddow my almost 4 year old lab would have done.  Thank god it was Scott.  It only stands to reason.  But it was such a big huge surprise and a very pleasant one at that.  So, I just wanted to let y'all know that I'm still alive and will be updating very soon about the NAMI workshop that was, the NAMI workshop that will be, brain-surgery and other ambitions, and stuff like that.  Ok, I just threw the brain surgery thing in there to see if you were REALLY paying attention.  Huggles to all the dad's out there.

12 June 2005

Long Time, No Write

It has been over a week since I last posted an entry to my journal.  One of the main reasons is because Saturday (a week ago) I drove home and went to a Green Party meeting immediately after unpacking the car.  The meeting was interesting and I saw folks I have not seen in 2 years.  That was in large part because last year, I was very very isolated to the farm and did not venture forth to be social on very many occasions.

After the meeting, a good friend and I went to the ice-creamery and sat and visited for hours and hours.  We caught up with each other and discussed many things.  It is always great to visit with her and I am so glad that she had the time to do so.

The following day, I met with another friend for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's.  We both got the Salad Bar and loaded baked potato combo.  We visited and it was so great to see her.  I do see her often in her home, but it is usually with her small children, so it was wonderful to just focus on her.

Monday was her birthday and I went to Wally's World and bought items to make gift bags for several friends.  They were all pamper-me bags.  The one for the Birthday Girl was filled with melon lotions, body butter, wash, and spray; as well as, a huge bottle of caramel scented 3 in 1 wash, conditioner, shampoo.  I also enclosed money to pay back for the lunch.  I had wanted to treat her to lunch but was able only to cover my own.  So I told her Sunday that I would be paying for her lunch the next day.  She was very gracious about that, because she understood that I was not inviting her to lunch and then making her buy her own birthday dinner!  She really liked her bag and couldn't wait to use some of the products.

Another bag went to a friend who just received the final confirmation that she can fly to Guatamala in July and pick up the baby girl that she and her husband have been in the process of adopting.  The baby will be 11 months old then.  They have known since she was 3 weeks old that she was their daughter, but it takes time to clear everything.  In the meantime, they were able to receive pictures and videos of her and they were able to send her clothes and things.  But it is so exciting to have the last piece click into place.  So, her bag was baby products that you can't really get enough of...q-tips, baby shampoo, baby powders, A&D ointment, etc.  She thanked me and that makes it all worthwhile.  I like knowing that it was an appropriate gift and that the recipient is happy with the gift.

The other bag was also filled with lotions, body butter, cocoa butter, sprays, fizz balls for the bath, body scrubs, foot scrubs, etc.  I had given that to my friend that I met on Saturday over ice cream.  Her birthday is next month.  So I included a "just because" amount and a birthday amount of stuff.  I included a line of warm vanilla sugur products because I love them and I really thought she would like them too.

Monday I saw my therapist and we decided that we should start meeting every week for awhile.  Especially since I have been having a rough time with staying stabilized and not swinging wildly to euphoric mania and plunging deep into depression.  I have been having a hard time regulating my meds and sleep patterns.

Then, Thursday and Friday were the first two days (the first half) of the NAMI workshop that I'd been helping to bring to this area.  NAMI is the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.  They are a not-for-profit organization with grass roots, for consumers, by consumers.  I had contacted them in February because I wanted to know how and what we could do to establish our own ongoing support group.  This is the first in a series of steps.  It is Peer to Peer Education.  The second half of the workshop will be this week, Thursday and Friday.

So, Tuesday and Wed, I had been contacting folks to remind them about it.  We had set the dates for this back in April.  At that time, I had 10 folks commited.  Only 5 showed up.  Some folks had poor health issues, which is always a real risk that is present for any obligation.  That's why so many of us don't or can't commit to things because we are not able to predict how we might be feeling at any point in time.  Some of the folks forgot that the workshop was coming up and planned other things which conflicted with their being able to attend.  I was rationally understanding, but emotionally I was worried about how many actually would show and whether they would conduct the workshop anyway.   They asked for a minimum of 6 to 12, but they said that it was ok that only 5 were there.  It actually made for a better group, I think because we are able to participate more and to move along at a faster clip.

However, those days exhausted me.  On Friday, we had storytelling/sharing scheduled.  So I was even more tense.  OF course we have the option to pass and not disclose, but I felt as though it would be good for me to be able to disclose to a friendly group as practice.  Because as self-advocacy and an advocate in general, I need to be able to speak about MI and not give the impression that it is shameful, embarrassing, or criminal.  So, Friday I shared and then came home and was exhausted with headaches and muscle tension and spent much of the weekend recuperating from the emotional drain and physical wear and tear.

So, that's how this past week has been.  Busy, busy, busy.

03 June 2005

Me, me, me, meeeeeeeeee...meme

Andi Klee has tagged me with a meme, which is "a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another", that has been bopping about blogs and journals everywhere...on the net, that is.  The general idea is to select and complete five of the sentences below.  Then, tag three folks to participate in the perpetuation of the meme.

If I could be a musician...
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a psychologist...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a painter...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a justice on any court in the world...
If I could be a world famous blogger...
If I could be married to any current world politician...
If I could be a scientist...
If I could be an actor...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an innkeeper...
If I could be an agent...

Although I know that my occupational options are not limitless,  I do believe that I can be quite a few of those items listed above.  Indeed, I already am a some of those things; take for instance, a writer (and most likely you are too).

I would not be, nor could not be (gee, doesn't that sound sort of Seussian?) a psychologist, a lawyer, an architect, a justice, nor a politician's wife.  But if I could....

...be a psychologist, my guy and I could set up practice together, although I don't know if that would be such a great idea.  For a few reasons, but one would be tension, from spending work and home lives together.  What if we championed conflicting schools of thought?  shudder

...be a lawyer, I would NOT be a divorce lawyer.  In fact, I think I would opt for a fairly non-confrontational route, like intellectual property, dealing with patents, trademarks, and copyrights out of the the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  yea, yea THAT'S the ticket.

...be a
n architect, I would design my own home.  And libraries.  Cuz I love libraries.  sigh.

...be a justice, I would NOT be a Supreme Justice, way way way to stressful.  Might possibly could maybe look into a very small town justice of the peace.  See the above comment on lawyers.

...be a politician's wife, I would give thought to marrying the first woman president of the US....and how probable is THAT?!?

who to tag, who to tag, who to tag...?  I have no clue so I'll post later on that.