Category Archives: musings

My Thoughts On Life and a Plug For a Friend

I was reading a devotional book this morning from a pastor friend of mine who has bipolar disorder when something really caught my eye.

The book was Delight In Disorder-Ministry, Madness, Mission by Tony Roberts. Here’s a really cool website about the book and its author: http://awaywithwordsforyou.com/#

Here are some other quotes from his book: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/40808173-delight-in-disorder-ministry-madness-mission.

Anyway, I was reading one of the devotionals where he talks about his experiences with suicide attempts. In one of them, he says that he felt a strange blend of “both shame and gratitude”-gratitude that his attempt to kill himself didn’t work, but shame that he’d tried it to begin with.

Although I am doing well now, I can relate to him. I myself have never actually tried to commit suicide, but there were times in my life-both as a teenager and as an adult-where I wondered if my life was really worth living. At one point I thought that it would be easier on everyone else if I had died in the accident I got into in 2005-my husband wouldn’t had to go through all of our savings to pay for my medical bills and equipment; we wouldn’t have had to struggle so much financially because of the loss of my (meager) income; I had a lot of other medical bills later on down the line because of some health conditions the doctors couldn’t figure out…do you see a theme here? Yes, I know it’s not about the money, but as someone who’s struggled to the point of having to file bankruptcy because of credit card debt, I know how stressful money problems can be and how it can infect every other area of your life.

I remember saying something about these feelings in 2007 and got a very bad reaction-I was accused of being an attention whore because I was mad that someone else was the center of attention in the group instead of me. Let me pause by telling you one thing: Probably the worst thing you can do to a suicidal friend is accuse them of something like this. They already feel worthless and unwanted; screaming at them and calling them names will only confirm this. It’s one thing if it’s a boyfriend threatening to hurt himself if you break up with him, but another thing altogether when your friend has a known problem that has a tendency to flare up. The people who said this knew I was having problems and, while something much more serious than this had just happened to one of our friends, anyone who knows me at all knows that I would never threaten suicide to get attention. Never. Plus, if I really wanted attention, I’m sure I could find a much more interesting way to get it. Damn, at least give me some credit.

Anyway, about the feelings…a lot of them probably came because my bipolar medication wasn’t working along with/because of the other health problems I’d been having, but a lot of it was feeling worthless because I couldn’t *be* anything-I couldn’t be a mom because of some, um, physical problems the accident caused, nor could I be a career woman like I wanted to be. I’d tried to be several times, but the mental stuff always got in the way. I did not always have these problems; bipolar often sets on in early adulthood, so it’s possible to go through school and set all these goals early on and then not be able to reach them. Ditto my ADHD. I know I talk about this a lot-probably too much. It’s not who I am. It may not run my life, but it definitely has had effects other bloggers can relate to. That’s how I found most of my follow list; they wrote a post I came across on another site and vice versa. They have it much rougher than I do, so my stuff is small potatoes.

A lot of the time you don’t feel depressed so much as numb. You want to reach out to others, but you just can’t find the energy. That’s how it’s been with me for a while now.  Like a friend once said, you’re not depressed so much as bored. That’s one reason you stay in your hidey-hole and don’t talk to people-nothing interesting is going on and you don’t want to drag your friends down. You don’t speak because you don’t have anything to say. It’s not hard to get confused.

You know what’s interesting? I think I always knew I wouldn’t do it…that I always knew that there was always life, that there was a light at the end of the tunnel-I just hadn’t seen it yet. I think I knew that Jesus was still there, I just couldn’t feel Him. It’s weird how I have to remind myself that His existence and care for us is not contingent on our ability to feel Him. I’m happy for people who feel His presence a lot and I certainly have too, but I don’t want to base my entire belief or spiritual “system” on this kind of emotion the way I did before. Sometimes it feels as though I don’t seek Him because I don’t think to the way other people do, but it doesn’t matter because I know He’s always there.

My brain and I are both doing very well now, so there’s no need to be alarmed. All of this happened a long time ago, but reading the devotional made me think about it. Thanks for listening to me ramble on like a freak. Have a good day!

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My Brain On OCD

(Warning: this post talks about nightmarish thoughts and might be triggering to some people. Plus, I ramble on like an idiot. That’s nothing unusual.)

Sometimes I really hate my brain.

Right now you’re probably thinking that that isn’t possible, that you have to actually have a brain in order to hate it. Sometimes I feel the same way. But right now I’m frustrated and upset when I have no reason to be.

My doctor calls these OCD tendencies. I never would have thought of that before now because when most of us think of OCD tendencies, we think of people who constantly wash their hands and insist on rubbing everything down with hand sanitizer or wet wipes for fear of catching the slightest germ. We might also have the tendency to worry about body odor, which I definitely have. At one point as a teenager I had 14 different kinds of deodorant because I couldn’t find the right one. Hey, you have people in school saying you stink both behind your back and to your face, you’d have a complex too.  To this day I still wash my underarms when I want to go out, even if I’ve had a shower that day. Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing.

I’m writing because I can’t seem to get all these scary thoughts out of my head. The thing is, these thoughts don’t come after watching horror movies or extremely violent shows; they come from completely random things that make no sense whatsoever. For instance, something I heard years ago on a TV show about some kids being on trial for animal abuse came up when I looked at my orange cat. I see him being thrown from a car and hear the lady who owned him (or, if he’s a typical cat, *he* owned *her*) talking about how everyone she loved had died and that that cat was her only companion in the entire world. It scares me to death because, while I don’t see that happening to my cats, I can’t get it out of my head. Also, this show was on probably 15-20 years ago. The tiniest things that most people wouldn’t even remember bother me.

I also remember how I had a dream that my husband and I were homeless and so desperate for food that we had to eat one of our cats, but we couldn’t figure out how to cook him so he died for nothing. That was a dream I had years ago that had me waking up crying, but it came back full force when I heard a news story where a little boy and his mom had to eat their cat because they had been left homeless by a war in their area and didn’t have anything else. It was one blurb in one news story I can barely remember, but I remember that. I’ve thoughts of abusing one of my other cats, of cutting myself, of stabbing my husband.  When I hear certain songs I imagine myself telling my husband I’m leaving him or that I am having an affair. None of these are true, none of these are even remotely in my character, and yet they remain in my mind.

Also, some of the thoughts aren’t even actions. I’ll look at my husband and hear the “flatline” noise that comes when someone dies.  This is somewhat relevant: he was in the hospital about 7 years ago because of an infection around his heart. Since he has a misshapen valve it was harder to treat; our doctor told us that if the anti-biotics hadn’t taken when they did, he’d have died. I’d be looking at him and think of him being in the Holocaust despite the fact that neither of us were even thought of when that happened-our parents weren’t even born, let alone us. I’ve had thoughts of us being really poor and using our last dollar on a Chinese buffet. I have thoughts of my husband quitting his job and laughing about it while taking me by the hand and us going to a Mexican restaurant and thinking, what have we done? One of the reasons I make up so many romantic stories is so I can keep those thoughts of out of my head enough to go to sleep. The weird thing is that this happens even when I take my sleep medication, but not when I don’t. If that makes sense.  Either way, it doesn’t matter since they usually come when I’m awake. Creepy.

I’m told that that’s the rub about OCD tendencies-that we *know* we would never do the things we think of doing or that these things would never happening, and yet the thoughts persist and come into our heads at completely random and unpredictable times. When I remind myself that that’s what’s going on, I feel better. Sometimes. Sometimes that either does nothing or gets worse. That’s why my doctor put me back on Prozac-apparently that’s the only thing that helps.

I don’t really have an ending for this, so thanks for listening to me rant. I hope I’m not alone in all this.


Love/Hate Challenge

http://justplainolvic.com/2015/06/07/lovehate-challenge/comment-page-1/#comment-2026

I got this idea from “Just Plain ‘Ol Vic”. Basically, we name ten things we love and ten we hate. I’m not that interesting so you might not care one way or another, but here are my lists.

 

Love-

Red Curly Hearts clip art

-God, although I don’t show it well
-My husband
-My cats…animals in general, really. I have five of them. I would take home every homeless little whatever if I could.
-My family and friends
-The joy my friends’ little girls show toward everything. I still think it’s sweet how one of them saw me across her yard and ran to hug me at full speed. That was two years ago, but I still love it.
-Chocolate!
-The sheer beauty of nature, especially flowers and animals.
-Mediterranean food. It’s the main way I get my husband to eat salad.
-Movies, music and TV. I just wish I had a talent or way to get into any of these, particularly music. I can carry a tune in a bucket, but that’s about it.
-Taking pictures. At this time I only use my phone and iPod, which have surprisingly good cameras. Even so, I would love to learn how to take professional-grade pictures with professional-grade equipment. I think there’s a digital camera around here somewhere, but it’s not mine.

 

 I like most people until they give me a reason not to. I think that, aside from earning our salvation  (because that’s just not going to happen), non-perfect humans have the capacity for good and the capacity for evil.  There might be a few on the far ends of the spectrum…I guess the Mother Teresas and Hitlers of the world…but, for most of us, it’s a matter of degrees.  Jesus is the only perfect person who ever lived, but that tends to happen when you’re the son of God.

 

Hate-

Proud Nerd Image clip art

-Snobby people
-People who are racist/sexist/homophobic/etc
-Beer…although there are some hard ciders or flavored beers (i.e. Redd’s Apple Ale) I like
-The smell of fish and liver pudding. Don’t ask.
-The way I get obsessed with things like TV because I don’t have a job or much going on outside the home. I also hate that I’ve not been able to work, so money isn’t our friend either.
-People who go out of their way to make everyone else miserable. They can’t stand to see anyone happy because they want everyone else to be as ill-tempered as they are.
-People who hurt animals
-The way I can be selfish and frustrated sometimes
-The fact that I can get so stuck up my own butt that I don’t catch the things going on with other people around me. I especially hate it if I get a guilt trip about it.
-People who are mean just for the sake of being mean

Wow, I always thought of myself as a positive person, and yet I found it a lot easier to think of things I hated than things I loved. Maybe it’s because I don’t spend as much time thinking about things I love enough to be able to put them into words? No, that’s sad. Maybe it’s because I like most things (or am at least ambivalent toward them), so it’s easier to narrow the things I hate down? I don’t know. I just think that life is too short to go around throwing fits and arguing with people over trifles. Most things like what soda you get, who cleans the catbox or what food you bring to a party aren’t things worth bickering about, especially in front of other people. Some people call this being a doormat, but I call it picking my battles. Most of them aren’t worth fighting.

Now, it’s my turn to “tag” ten other bloggers. Hopefully they won’t mind.
-DA Ugly Duckling http://dauglyducklin.org/
-Express with NeJae http://blog.nejae.com/
-Notes From The UK http://notesfromtheuk.com/
-Cee’s Photography http://ceenphotography.com

 

I’m not as active in the blogging world as some I know. Again, I hope they don’t mind.

 Oh, and, I did think of one other thing I love.
 -A full moon reflecting on a perfectly still tide
I grew up on the beach. I think I’ll always love stuff like that.

What Anxiety Is Like In Nine Short Drawings

Yes, I know, this is just a link…but I came across it today when looking at something else and thought you all might find it helpful.

http://distractify.com/joe-white/finally-this-illustration-explains-anxiety-perfectly-for-those-who-dont-understand-it/

 

I’ve used the “raining” metaphor to describe depression before-it’s like a black cloud is following you around all the time when the rest of the world is sunny. People will tell you to cheer up or think positive but, just like the rain in real life, no amount of “good thoughts” stops it. Not for long, anyway.  Therapy, anti-depressants, prayer etc can act as an umbrella but they don’t necessarily stop the rain from coming back. People usually understand it when I explain it like this, but every now and then I will over-hear people talking about how anti-depressants and therapy aren’t “real solutions”, and what depressed people *really* need is faith in God/right belief/etc. To that, I only have one things to say:

Yes, God is the one who can ultimately stop the rain. However, you would never criticize someone for using an umbrella to help them weather the storm. We ultimately don’t know whether the rain is going to stop tomorrow, next week or next year (weathermen try but they can be wrong), so use that umbrella as long as you need to. Ignore anyone who suggests you should go without it because they probably wish they had one too.

Just to end on a happy note, here’s another link:

http://www.cheeserank.com/culture/dear-god-these-pizzas-are-straight-up-madness/


Share Your World Week 4 (?)

I’m a little behind on things when it comes to challenges. I have blog award badges I keep meaning to post but something always goes wrong (gee, thanks, WordPress), several posts I need to complete and all kinds of other random stuff I keep meaning to sort out.

Last week I found a “Share Your World” post on Nonsense and Shenanigans and thought it might be fun to jump in. Here are my answers to Week 4. I might go back and add the previous weeks to catch up, or I might just go on from here. I haven’t decided yet. Anyway, here it goes:

1. Where did you live at age five?  Is it the same place or town you live now?

I was in Allen, TX, a small town outside of Dallas. The next town over, Plano, is where the Dr. Pepper bottling plant is located. I remember getting to tour the plant on a field trip, where we got to have a sample…I also remember our teachers being pretty bothered by the fact that they now had to deal with a bunch of kindergarteners who had been given Dr. Pepper and sent back to them. I still love the stuff.

2. You are invited to a party that will be attended by many fascinating people you never met.  Would you attend this party if you were to go by yourself?

Maybe. Do I know the person who invited me, or anyone else? The question never said I wouldn’t know *anyone*, just that I wouldn’t know the “many fascinating people”.

Either way, I think it would depend on what kind of party it is and how I felt that day. If it was something I needed to attend for work or was hoping to do some “networking” for my writing of various kinds, I’d suck it up and go. If it was just to hang out and play board games or something, I’d probably make an appearance and leave if I felt uncomfortable. I know that wasn’t much of an answer, but I can’t count on my shyness and/or anxiety being the same day to day.

3. Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?

It was a small beach town in North Carolina. It’s a nice enough place, but I’m glad I went away to a much larger college and stayed there after. I wanted so much to break out of my shy shell, but it was damned near impossible to do that a lot of the time. If you’re around people who think of you as the shy kid in the corner the way I was growing up, you’re a lot more likely to act that way. I miss the beach sometimes, though.

4. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I used to say a “world traveler”-basically, the people who film documentaries and/or take pictures for National Geographic. I still want to go to every regularly inhabited continent (read: not Antarctica!) at least once before I die.

I was also a You Can’t Do That On Television freak and would write  sketches and “locker jokes” for my My Little Ponies.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Ummm…I guess I’m thankful that I got through last week. I wasn’t in the best of ways. I’m glad this week started off good, though.

Okay, there you have it. See you next week, hopefully. If I remember.


Do we ever really grow up?

my-little-pony-468916_640

I had about 40-50 of these growing up. They didn’t look quite this “anime”, but whatever.

 

I guess I’m thinking about this because a lot of my friends with anxiety or mood disorders of some kind still have a lot of the same fears and frustrations from childhood that everybody else seems to have gotten past. It might just be me, but I think it’s a lot more difficult to let go of things when you have a mind that holds onto absolutely everything and won’t shut up for five seconds.

For instance, my husband has a lot of anxiety about money. There’s a good reason for this since I’ve had so many problems working, which is why I feel like a sorry sack of bipolar scum most of the time. We also went through all of our savings within nine months because I had an accident that rendered me unable to work much for seven months and racked up obscene amounts of bills and stress. But that’s not the point; the point is that any time I mention wanting or needing something, he gets nervous. I know he has anxiety issues, which I guess is one thing that makes him so understanding of the problems I’ve had. He tells me he loves me all the time, that I’m really good for him. I believe it. He’s a lot more than I deserve. Even so, it makes me feel the same way I did when my parents would balk when I needed or wanted anything that cost a lot of money. They didn’t say anything, but they really didn’t have to. The “look” they got on their faces when I mentioned needing $25 for a field trip or $70 to have a new color guard uniform made was enough to make me feel like I did something wrong.

As it turns out, they were having money issues because the treatments my sister got earlier on (doctors, rehab etc) were expensive to the point where they thought they’d have to go bankrupt. At least, this is what my dad told my brother about five years ago. I did not know any of this-I thought that they sent her away because she was bad and they didn’t want her anymore. I feared that, if I wasn’t perfect, I’d be sent away too. If I upset them too much the way she did…and money seemed to be the main thing they got upset about. I used to think that I would probably have turned out less sensitive or whatever had I known some of these things, but whatever. They did the best they could. I know nobody is going to send me away now, just like nobody would have then. Even so, the looks and demeanor my husband sometimes takes when I mention money makes me feel like that ten-year-old kid worried that she did something wrong or the 17-year-old who ran to her room crying when she told her dad how much the “senior stuff” (cap, gown, yearbooks, etc) would cost.

But I’m not a kid anymore. My husband has gotten a lot better about getting nervous and ranting for the same reason-my dad used to do that and it scared the living crap out of me. He didn’t mean to; it just did. To this day, it scares me when a man screams at me in anger. But I’m not a kid anymore. So why should it? Why do I still worry or think I’ve done something wrong anytime someone seems the slightest bit less than happy with me? Or when they seem miffed, period? I know that most people aren’t aware of how their words or non-verbal cues (tone of voice, body language etc) come across. So why do I still pay so much attention to it?

I know I’m not alone in this. It’s just that I think there’s something about the minds of myself and other friends with similar issues (I have a friend with OCD in mind) that holds onto things others would ignore and, in doing so, misses the primary stuff. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it can actually be quite helpful when you’re studying things like philosophy or religion where there are multiple layers you have to sift through. I didn’t realize this before, but one symptom of OCD is unwanted and distressing thoughts. I thought it was just about germs or whatever since that’s what all the movies show, but I learned that my obsession with body odor* and the scary thoughts I’d had about hurting my cats or wondering what would happen if I pushed my Spanish professor off a balcony (no, I didn’t do it) can point back to that too. I don’t want to say I have PTSD because I haven’t had anything traumatic happen that bothers me, but I wonder if people who *do* have even more problems because of the way our minds won’t let anything go.

I think I might have gotten off track here, but my question still stands. Do we ever really forget the things we learned about ourselves when we were growing up? Even if the “lessons” were false, do we ever forget about the bad things we learned enough to focus on the good things? Do we ever get past the memories and the feelings that they bring to light? Or are we destined to mentally become our ten-year-old selves when something goes wrong?

I was going to a great therapist last year, but I had to stop because we couldn’t afford it. I’ve joined a ladies’ depression support group that I think is helping, if only because I get to get out of the house and talk with people outside of our social circle. In fact, that’s what we talked about last week-how simply seeing friends in a different setting that usual can be very helpful.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll be able to motivate myself enough to write more paid articles rather than playing Pet Rescue Saga and randomly babbling here. If anyone else is in the same “hold onto everything”, tell me in the comments. Maybe then we can figure out how to keep it from sinking.

 

 

* Don’t laugh. If you had enough people from high school saying you stink both behind your back and to your face, you’d have a complex too.


The Girl in the Back of the Room

I’ve always wanted to be an advice columnist. In fact, that was one thing I wrote in those “where do you see yourself in ten years” sections in those “senior” books we got in high school. Anyway, I wrote this as an “audition piece” for an online women’s magazine. The magazine hasn’t officially launched because of some family issues the editor-in-chief had, so I’ve been given the “green light” to publish this in my own blog. The advice is to the 20-year-old me from the [censored]-year-old me.

My column name is “The Girl in the Back of the Room” I chose it because that’s the girl who sees everything that’s going on. That, and that’s who I was through most of high school. I hope you like it.

 

Dear Girl,

I’m a college student who has been dating her boyfriend for about a year. He just kind of ‘swept’ me into his life; I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend and he gave me a lot of attention when I needed it. The trouble is, it’s gotten to where it’s a little *too* much attention. He always has to know where I am at any given time and makes me feel bad if I want to be alone in my dorm room or hang out with my suite-mates rather than spending time with him. I want to break up with him and have tried to on a couple of occasions, but he always talks me out of it-he says he loves me, that he can’t live without me, that I’m the best thing that ever happened to him, etc. He’s even said that he’ll hurt himself if I leave. I don’t love him or feel the same way about him, but I can’t help but feel like I have to stay so I won’t be responsible for anything that happens to him. If he were to kill himself because of me, I would feel like a terrible person for the rest of my life.

My friends say I need to tell him goodbye in no uncertain terms, but I don’t know how to without feeling mean. I’ve always had a problem with being too nice, but I don’t know any other way to be. My friends also say he’s playing on my good nature and manipulating me into staying with him. I’m starting to agree with them. But how can I break up with him so he’ll leave me alone without having to be mean about it?

-Confused in Connecticut

Dear Confused,

I wouldn’t normally use the words, ‘Bite me’ in an advice column, but I think it fits here; this is what you need to say to your ex because he doesn’t seem able to understand much else! You’ve tried to let him down easy, but now it sounds like you’re going to have to bite the bullet and be blunt. Tell him how you feel or, in this case, don’t feel. Yes, you’ll hurt him and feel like you’re being mean, but sometimes you really can’t avoid it. Despite his statements to the contrary, the nicest thing you can do here is make a clean break.

As for him talking you out of it, don’t give him the chance. Do what you can to avoid being alone with him. Have someone else with you whenever you can. Don’t answer his emails, don’t take his calls, ignore his knocks on your door and have your suite-mates to do the same. If you have to, report him to campus police.

You are not-I repeat, not-responsible for what happens to him! It’s not up to you to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself because he’s the one who controls his actions, not you. If he truly is suicidal, he needs to see a doctor. Either way, I agree with your friends-he’s probably saying this to make you feel guilty. I hate to say it, but what you’re describing sounds like the beginnings of an abusive relationship. If you go on any longer, things will only get worse until you find yourself in too deep to get out. Do yourself a favor and get out now. Believe it or not, it’s okay to think of yourself sometimes. If you’re really concerned about him, tell him to use the campus counseling services or have a mutual friend check up on him. Whoever talks him through it, it should not be you.

As for being a bad person, that is not even close to being true. It would be one thing if you were hurting him out of spite, but you’re not. The fact that you are concerned about it at all shows how *good* a person you are.

Apparently hindsight really *is* 20/20. Maybe now I can finally let go of that chapter of my life.

 

 


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