Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Let's Get Physical

Oof!

Sometimes mental illness isn't just mental.

I'm taking a new (to me) medication to treat my depression.  I believe I mentioned?

Anyhoo, the depression seemed to abate about a micron's worth, but that may have been a combination of therapy (I started that, too) and placebo effect, because it rallied and is back with a vengeance.

Foolish mortal, thinking that wee pill could tackle such a monstrous monster!

Depression isn't jut wandering around in a beige cloud of nothingness.  It has some physical aspects, too.

I ache.

All over, but especially anywhere I've hurt myself in the past - my back, neck, toes that I broke, the foot that I broke, hand and wrists that I broke.  Hey, I've broken a lot of bones.  Proof I used to be active, anyway.

My psyche is screaming.

It's difficult to get out of bed, but even in bed I feel all the twinges and complaints of a frame that's been carrying too much weight - physical and mental - for far too long.

I know it'll get better, or at least tolerable, but right now, folks, I feel as beat as a bongo at a hipster hootenanny.

How are you doing?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Alive.

I'm alive today.

Today I am alive.

It hardly seems an accomplishment, not something to be proud of, not like climbing Everest or saving someone from a rampaging lion or performing open heart surgery.  But it is.

For me, alive can sometimes be a victory.

I am alive.

Tired, yes, and worn.  My eyes are puffy and my hair is a mess.  My shirt is torn and my pants are stained.  But.  I am alive.

I made it through the dark hours, when my mind would not stop, not even slow, not for a moment relent and give me peace.  I made it through the sibilant whispers, insidious voices telling me that I am a failure, that struggling, that the constant fight, all of it, is useless, pointless.  I made it through the loneliness that washes over me and drags me under every.  Single.  Night.

I am alive today.

I am mentally ill.  I don't slay dragons.  I do battle with my own mind, a psyche that has been turning on me since I was a child.

I am alive today.

Alive.

So many warriors of the mind have fallen, but I am still here.  I am not always well armed, but I fight tooth and nail, scratching and clawing at the ravenous beast that has consumed so many souls.  I can't make it give them back, but I can keep it from swallowing me whole.

I am alive.

I am alive, and I am mentally ill, and the two aren't always compatible but I make them work.  I'm not weak.  I'm not stupid.  I'm not being punished by god or gods.  I'm just wired differently.  My brain malfunctions on a cellular level and there's no fixing it.  No quantum mechanic to turn a wrench and make it right.

I am alive today.  Some days, today, alive is all the victory I can claim, but it is still victory.

I am alive.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Goings On

K2 and I are working on a little project.  It's only taken us about a decade to get back on it.  Check out our fund raiser, wouldja?  And feel free to contribute and share it along.
 
Meanwhile, it turns out that Casa de Crazy needs a new roof.  Oy.  The old roof is...well...old...for a roof.  24 years, to be precise.  That's, like, a Million in roof years!  I was hoping it would keep another year or two, but we've pushed our luck as far as we can.  The last storm that rolled through here damaged it beyond its ability to magically withstand/repair weather damage.  Insurance peoples have been called and things are in motion, and it all gives me a headache because expensive!  Poo Mum, shes the one who carries this burden.  I was hoping I could just get it patched and be done with it, but the shingles have been pummeled and the vent pipes need new thingies and it's just time.

So two huge things going on for me, right now.  I prefer to focus on the music, but I imagine the roof is going to be a constant THING in my head util it is done, especially with the wet year predicted.

What're you up to these days?

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Letter

Dear Body,

I know that I have not been kind to you in our long-seeming history, and I know that over the years I have been rather neglectful of your needs.  I am sorry.  You have done your best to carry me through each day with vigor, and I have rewarded your steadfast service with scant sleep, stress, unhealthy (but oh-so-tasty) food and drink, insufficient exercise, and little medical attention.

You've been remarkably resilient.  Until recently.


Dear body, I can understand when leg muscles ache if I've been walking or climbing mountains or stairs (which sometimes feel like mountains) or working them on those infernal weight contraptions at a gym.  I can understand feet, ankles, knees, and hips that snap, crackle, pop, and zing when put into service after carrying excess pounds all these years, even when many of those excess pounds have been shed.  I can understand wheezing, sneezing, itching, watering, and running when I've been dusting or playing with furry critters.  These things, and more, have cause and effect.

What mystifies me, dear body, is when I go to sleep with everything in moderately working order and wake with an ache, a pain, a stiffness, that I cannot explain.  Why does my foot hurt that way?  It was fine before bed last night.  What was I doing in my sleep?  And my wrist.  I went to bed with a wrist that was perfectly...er...wrist-y, and woke with what feels like an unpredictable electrical short in it when I move my hand.  Was I typing or knitting or playing tennis while I dreamed?

Today, it's my shoulder.  It hurts.  Not a delicate ache or an occasional wince, this is a full-on, can't find a comfortable way to hold my arm, ow, ow, owie, ow hurt!  Stretching doesn't help.  Heat doesn't help.  Holding very still is damned near impossible (have you met my children and my cats?) and doesn't help.  Careful movement doesn't help.

Dear body, I have been trying to do right by you.  I know it seems too little, too late, but I've made small changes and keep plugging toward a goal weight that is reasonable and within the range of healthy-for-my-body-type.  I stretch semi-regularly.  I don't go to the gym but I do housework and that should count as a workout (again, have you met my children and the cats?  The housework never ends), and I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Lately I've even given you the occasional Arnold Palmer and Vodka of an evening.

Give me a chance and I am sure that I can continue to improve how I treat you,  but I can't do that if you keep whomping me with these aches and pains that slow me down and make me want to (carefully) crawl into bed and give up until my parts behave themselves!

C'mon, body, you and me are a team.  Work with me, here.

Sincerely,
K

Friday, January 8, 2016

Gremlins, We Has 'Em

Casa de Crazy is a wealth of electrical oddities.

Half of the electrical outlets in my kitchen don't work.  Neither do half of the ones in the dining room.  They all blew out when I plugged something in in the kitchen a few years ago.  I checked the circuit breaker and none of them were tripped.  Also, none of them are labelled so I have no idea which does what or where and electricity makes me nervous so...umm...I just adjust.

One of the outlets in the children's bathroom doesn't work.  There was an incident with a nightlight, a steel wire spring, and an arc about eight years ago.  Don't ask.

The light in my bedroom blew out and it was a coupe of months before I could get a bulb to change it.  No problem for me, I usually don't use it anyway - I like wandering around in the dark barking my shins and stubbing my toes.

The downstairs hall light has been burned out since early last year.  I have a bulb for it but the person who said they'd change it never did and I have this thing about ladders.  I'll get to it...eventually.

The foyer light eats bulbs like a kid munching Doritos, and it's a really awkward light to change the bulbs on so it's been dark for maybe two years now.  Every time I manage to change the bulbs, they last a few weeks, maybe a few months, then fizzle and pop and fall dark again.

One of my kitchen fixtures acts like it's in some kind of sibling competition with the foyer.  I thought I'd put some of those compact fluorescent bulbs in it one time, maybe they'd do better.  Nope.  Lasted a couple of months at best and we were back to darkness.  It blows through bulbs faster than the foyer!

My dishwasher makes a noise.  Not the usual whoosh-swoosh-skoosh-shush noise, more of an a-hunga-hunga-unga-urrrrnggghhh sort of sound.  When it transitions between stages, I have to turn it off and then on again or it will just sit and grind and groan without doing anything.  I don't even put detergent in it, just wash dishes by hand and use the dishwasher to sanitize and dry 'em.

The light in our dining room, not to be outdone by foyer and kitchen, has decided that it won't always turn on when it's turned on.  Sometimes, for fun, it will turn on when the switch is flipped, then turn off despite the switch being flipped, then when the switch is bumped a little it will turn on again.  Good times.

The clothes dryer has lately decided to  join in the fun.  It makes a sound somewhere between a hum and a buzz, with a little rattle tossed in from time to time, which it will do until I go open the door and then close it again, then restart it.

And those are just the things I know about.

I think I need an electrician.

Or an exorcist. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Side Effects

Sometimes the cure can feel worse than the disease!

I'm taking a new medication.  It's the generic equivalent of Effexor.  Like any medication, there are side effects.  Oh, joy.

Long, long ago I took Prozac, and then stopped taking Prozac because the side effects were most definitely not worth the non-gain in mental health (it was largely ineffective for me,not a good return on investment).

I tried Zoloft after that.  Good grief, talk about unfortunate side effects!  Did you know that Zoloft (or the generic equivalent, anyway) can cause gas?  Yeah, neither did I.  It can.  It did.  Ohmuhgoodness, but it did!  I could have provided an alternative fuel vehicle with fill-ups for a year!  Seriously, I sounded like a motor boat putt-putt-putting along.  So, yeah, done with the Zoloft.

For about 20 years I have done without psychiatric medication for one reason or another.  Primarily, I wanted to know that when I have a good day, it's me having a good day and not Pfizer or Eli Lilly.  Also, the worst effect from both previous medications was a loss of connection to my creativity.  I didn't want to sing, or write, or paint, or photograph, or sew.  I didn't want to cook.  That?  Not good.  Psych meds aren't cheap and even with insurance I couldn't afford them - these days, without insurance, they're impossible.

Were ipossible.

Thanks to a place called Avita, I can manage.  Okay, Avita and my mother.  Prescriptions are $4.50 a refill.  I can just about manage $4.50 a month.

While Prozac and Zoloft are SSRI medications, Effexor operates differently.  Don't ask me how, I've no idea, but it's not an SSRI, and so the hope is that it will knock the severe, treatment resistant depression on its ass without killing what I most need to keep alive and well within me.

It can take 6 - 8 weeks to feel any positive effects, but the side effects are on deck from the start.  Whose idea was that?

The dizziness is manageable.  The...er...unfortunate innards I can live with because that will likely (I hope) go away as my body gets used to the new chemicals I'm feeding it.  The headaches aren't thrilling, and feeling like I could sleep for 23 hours a day is a real nuisance, as is feeling shaky and weak.  Loss of appetite is not bother - hurrah for weight loss!  Not hurrah for a suddenly racing heart.

Hopefully that's the extent of the side effects.  There are more, and worse ones, and with any luck they will all fade with time and I will benefit from this medication.  I have friends watching me carefully, ready to let me know if I seem odd, off, stranger than usual or weird in new ways.  They will tell me if I seem happier, or more depressed, or if I am suddenly speaking in tongues.  If I lose touch with my creative source, or if the side effects worsen, or if I don't feel any improvement, I'll wean off this medication and keep on slogging through the swamp on my own.

I am hoping, though, that I can use this medication to get to higher ground.  I won't take it forever - it's not in my nature - but I will use this tool to my advantage for as long as I feel I need to.

Side effects and all.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Stormy Day

Okay, I'm up.

Disappointing trip to the mailbox, but there was a lovely roll of thunder accompanying me down the driveway and the gentle patter of rain walked me back to the house.


So thick, these clouds.  This darkness pervades, and makes my thoughts thick and slow, too.  I am heavy.  Like the wan light struggling to shed its leaden shrouds, I struggle to shed this weight of shades and shadows.

I wonder, sometimes, is it better to be aware as I am that it's not real?  That this feeling isn't real?  That it's the result of faulty wiring, malfunctioning messages of the mind, misfiring neurons?  Or would it be easier if I didn't know, if I believed this was true and everything and all there was or would be?

Is it better to know that there may be hope? Better to cling to that hope and risk being dashed against the rocks of disappointment for the possible transcendence of its fulfillment?  Or to dwell in a twilight of hopelessness without knowing the lofty heights of potential and clarity?

The lights on the tree sparkle, and Sprout is watching cartoons and laughing like a loon, and I have people who love me despite myself, and I know that is good, but right now it is foreign to me, unreachable.  I can see but not touch, and the more I reach, the more slippery it gets, the farther it recedes, and like trying to hold a fistful of water, the harder I grasp the less I can keep.  I feel so far away.

Today I do not want to be open.  I want to be closed up, to curl around this wounded, tender, never-quite-healed place within me and protect it from the world and everything that hurts.  Today I would like to be bundled in the soft warmth of my cozy bed, perhaps with an adamantine shell for extra protection.  I don't want to feel anything - no hope, no despair, no love, no sorrow, no loss, no joy, no misery, no happiness, none of this wondering when I stopped being worth anything to the people who should value me the most, no wondering when I became so ephemeral in the world that is supposed to help me be solid and present and real, no wishing that I could let go of this need for approval or at least acceptance from places I will never find them.

I do not want to be open.

So I open myself a little more.

In the end, I can't let the illusion become more than what is real.  I can't let it win.  The smile?  Is brittle and may shatter at the slightest provocation, but it is pasted on my face because it doesn't want to be there.  I am open, and every aching, raw, miserable inch of me is there to be poked, prodded, judged, and left deeply scarred, because it's the only way I know for it to scab over and some day, with luck and love and perseverance, maybe heal into a puckered, cicatrix of a whole soul.