WATCH THIS SPACE!

I am crawling out the abyss of depression and I am going to be writing here again, but I have no idea when or about what. Just putting you on notice. I’m still out here, skulking about, endless conundrums on my mind, trying to nail down some clarity. During a recent panic attack in my therapist’s office, while I was crying hard and she was coaching me to breathe and think of a peaceful happy place, I protested, “I can’t, I can’t.” But I took a deep, cleansing breath and exhaled and imagined….the color turquoise… the color I have always associated with clarity, and then turquoise waters on white sandy beaches, and I began to calm down. It’s obvious, I thought, I only need to go to the Carribean. Then she told me to go to my happy place and my mind immediately switched gears and put me in a beautiful castle in the north of Britain: Hogwarts. I breathed a few deeper breaths and felt the panic recede. If reality was unbearable, there was always the world of Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione. Especially, Hermione, whom I identified with strongly.  Maybe I need a vacation in the Carribean…or Hawaii…(yes, please). Maybe I need to reread the Harry Potter books. Not just watch the movies or listen to the audiobooks. ACTUALLY READ THE BOOKS. I don’t like the narrator’s voice on the audiobooks. If only Alan Rickman had read them! *sigh*

Anyway, it was clear that I had finally hit bottom and needed to find my way back up and out. I had stopped listening to the news. I didn’t care about Trump or anything that was going on. (I know, shocking!!!!). I got sick of Facebook and started purging friends in alphabetical order causing a slight panic among people who don’t even know me. I would post my “memories”, posts from other years, but I hardly looked at my friends’ posts anymore. I deactivated my Facebook and left it completely for 5 days and loved it, but it called me back. There is a love/hate relationship there. But I just stopped thinking creatively. I had abandoned all writing projects. (Simple rule of writing: Writers WRITE.) I watched the same movies over and over, listened to the same books over and over, too lazy to sit up and read from my Kindle or a REAL BOOK. I listened to the same music over and over…..Prince, mostly,(still haven’t accepted he’s gone) and John Mayer. Thankfully, Mayer introduced some new music that I have been positively giddy over. Just the change I needed. His music is always right on time.

So there I was, feeling “meh”. I changed my profile pic on Facebook to Grumpy Cat and made grumpy statements. People were amused. I was deadly serious. And then a friend posted a video that was an incredibly lame attempt at humor at the expense of anyone intelligent enough not to buy into stereotypes. It was a black man, a “gangsta” (their word, not mine) who promised to explain George Orwell’s 1984 from his point of view. So I pressed play, expecting mild humor and was overcome with a horrendous white man’s caricature of a black man, a completely, racist, stereotypical portrayal of this “gangsta” who used language I have never heard come from the mouth of any black person I have ever met, and I know a few. It was shameful. I was embarrassed for the man portraying the “gangsta”, and felt he ought to be ashamed of himself and embarrassed, too, but I supposed they paid him the right price. This video filled me with so full of negative emotion that I really thought for a few minutes I might be having a heart attack, but I recognized it as panic brought on by pure provoked anger. Racism is a trigger for me, for many reasons I won’t go into here. It should trigger anger in everyone, maybe not to my degree. I decided to get some feedback. I shared the post on my Facebook page with the explanation of how racist I found it and how angry it made me and waited for my friends to respond. One hour went by, two hours went by. No response. No likes, no comments. This made me angrier. In my anger-addled mind, I reasoned that probably a  lot of people on my friend list thought this video was funny and didn’t care that it was racist and were too afraid to say so to me. And this made me angrier. And the anger and panic built. I was talking to two different friends by text and they were both trying to talk me through it, begging me to breathe. It just MAGICALLY happened that I was on my way to a therapist appointment that very morning and was about at the boiling point when she called me into her office. So I got in there and finally let go and I told her about the email, and I suddenly realized how really unimportant it really was in the great scheme of things. Yes, racism is important, but it’s vast problem that is not going to be overcome by me throwing a tantrum over a video. And then I remembered, and I told her, “This is not what I wanted to talk to you about.” And I calmed down a little and told her what I had planned to talk to her about, which was some things my mother had said about me to a good friend of mine. Terrible, hurtful, damaging things. As my mother has been the main subject of my therapy for many years, it wasn’t too surprising. But when I looked the therapist in the eye and told her my mother said that I hadn’t turned out the way she wanted, she inhaled sharply and startled a little and for a moment I thought she might cry herself. But she didn’t. I did. HARD. I cried and cried.  I curled into myself in the chair and rocked myself crying and gasping for breath and confessing random worries and secret hurts. “I’m never going to have a baby. My cat is getting old. I can’t deal with losing her. She’s like my baby. ” And on and on, every doubt and fear and insecurity, until I was completely spent. I got my cry out, and cleaned up my face and answered the therapist’s questions. She’s fairly new. I’ve only seen her a few times so she is getting caught up on my history. I explained to her how my mother had emotionally abused me my entire life. That she loved me, but she loved me too much. She was clingy. Nobody loved me more than she did, but she couldn’t stop criticizing me. She made me dependent on her and then when I became independent she flipped the tables and became dependent on me. When my therapist asked, without a trace of irony, “So would you say she used guilt…” I just burst out laughing in her perplexed face. I laughed and slapped her on the arm and kept laughing, nearly hysterical. “Oh, sister!” I said as I wiped the tears from my eyes again. “Does she use guilt??? Yes, ma’am, she does!” And I was laughing again, and she finally laughed with me. And I thanked her. I had needed that laugh!

I told the therapist the other things my friend had reported: my mother’s derogatory comments on my weight and not working. ( I am on disability. She was on disability, too, before she retired. I guess she forgot about that.) I told her my friend said if she had known I would be so upset that she wouldn’t have told me about it, I said that I thanked her. “I felt that she gave me a gift,” I said. “Now, someone else has seen and knows and it’s not just me, it’s HER. I feel validated.”  I told her I didn’t care about the fat remarks and the other stuff, but the part about me not turning out like she wanted was too much. When my friend told me about that, something in me just broke, and I thought, “I don’t love her anymore.” Now anyone who knows me knows what a source of anguish this is for me. Because I have always loved my mother so much, and I strongly believe in God’s command to honor your mother and father. How can you honor them if you don’t love them? I told the therapist that the ones who came before her had advised me to cut her off completely. Maybe that is the healthiest thing to do psychologically. But I have to think spiritually. She is my mother. Can I really cut her off completely? I have compromised. I limit my time with her. When the phone rings and I see it’s her and I don’t feel strong enough, I don’t answer. I wait until I do feel strong and then I return her call. It takes strength and energy to endure a phone call with her. Because she talks A LOT. If I want to get my word in, I have to be determined. And if I want to disagree with something she says, I have to be ready to stand my ground. And I have to do my duty as a daughter and check to see if she is really ok and safe, which is hard to untangle from all of her physical complaints and comments about the house falling down around her. She is a hoarder. My brother and I would like to help her but she refuses to let us. I have to resign myself to just sitting and listening to her prattle on about nothing. Why? Because she’s lonely, and she’s my mother, and who else is going to do it? Yes, Ms. Therapist Lady, she does use guilt, whether she intends to or not. My dad reminds me that my mother is living the life she created, and I know that’s true. What happened between them was over 30 years ago. Yes, he left her for another woman. I’m not defending that. But she has had ample time to get herself together and create a new life, whether that involved getting remarried or not. That is her choice. It is plenty of time for her to forgive if not forget. But my mother does not believe in forgiveness, at least not for people who sin against her. She is still bitter and derisive when she speaks of my father, never caring that it hurts me because he is STILL MY FATHER. Recently, I apologized to my father for believing all her hatefulness about him over the years, that poisoned my relationship with him. It’s a little late in the game, but I think he accepts it. We have a healthy relationship now.

So this is where I am. Still a little girl trying to win her mother’s approval, almost knowing before I start that I will fail. My question for you, dear reader, is this: What do you want to read about? What do you want to hear about from me? Do you want to go with me on the journey to explore the depths of motherhood?  Both the struggle to become a mother myself and the drama of the relationship with the one that I have? My ongoing struggles with depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety? Do you want me to write about politics? The Resistance against the EVIL TRUMP and other stories of the day, or human interest stories from around the world? Focus on incidences of injustice and inhumanity and racism? Maybe a little of everything? Or something yet unnamed? For the first time, I am blatantly asking for a response to a blog. PLEASE COMMENT HERE OR EMAIL ME AT heathersavann@gmail.com   Tell me what you want to read. What do you want to see here? What do you want from me??? I’m gonna try to give it to you, you wankers!!!!! LOVE AND PEACE TO YOU ALL!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 

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2017: To Blog Or Not To Blog?

WELL. Here I am, finally, some two months or so since my last blog entry. For the handful of you who actually follow me, I sincerely apologize. To say I hit a “rough patch” would be putting it mildly. Sometime in early November, I sort of had a “come apart”. The fact that my hero, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by some 3 million votes but lost the election to TRUMP is not a coincidence. Combine that with the anxiety I felt trying to write a novel in  30 days for the National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo) and I just sort of fell to pieces. No novel was forthcoming. No writing of any kind was forthcoming, not even in my personal journals. I just froze up. I was dead inside. All because of an election, you say? Well, yeah, kinda. It was the most important election of my lifetime, I believe, and it was a disaster. In 10 days, a lying, racist, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic, narcissistic , moronic  blowhard will be sworn in as President, despite proof of Russian hacking in the election, despite, Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote (because even though we complain about the electoral college every election year, we never do anything about it!). 2016 was a rough year. It had it’s bright moments. We should all count our blessings, of course, But it was a long, arduous election cycle, and the celebrity death count was unprecedented. People die all the time, of course, famous and not, but there seemed to be an unusual amount of big names on the In Memoriam lists for 2016. I won’t run through them all, but the most traumatic for me were Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Prince, Harper Lee, and Carrie Fisher, though I admired many of the others.

Alan Rickman: a gentleman in real life and often onscreen, though he will probably be remembered for his starring role as the cold, brooding Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies. That gorgeous bass voice will forever haunt me. I have a recording of Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native narrated by him, and I treasure it and listen to it when I have trouble sleeping.

Glenn Frey, founding member of the Eagles, one of the all-time greatest rock bands. Lead singer of so many classics of my youth, like “Take it Easy”, “Heartbreak Tonight” and so many others. I regret I never saw the band perform live.

PRINCE….What can one even say about this genius? He was just the best. He wrote his own music, his own lyrics. He could play every instrument. People tried to compare him with Michael Jackson. I’m sorry, but NO. Just NO. His was my coming-of-age music. I had put him away for awhile but since he died I’ve been listening to him every day. I just can’t say goodbye.

Harper Lee. Her death wasn’t such a shock. She lived a good long life. She wrote one of my favorite books, one of the greatest books in all of literature, To Kill a Mockingbird. It was adapted into a wonderful film and she rested on those laurels for many years and no one thought she would ever write another book. But about a year before she died, a second book was released, possibly against her wishes. Her state of mind was unknown. I read Go Set a Watchman and wish I hadn’t. It had some of the same characters as her first book but they were too different. I don’t believe she really wanted that book published. I believe someone took advantage of her to make money. A sad situation. But that can never erase the wonderful legacy of To Kill a Mockingbird.

And dear Carrie Fisher. I identified with her so much. She was open about her struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction. It’s easy for me to talk about being bipolar because I’m not trying to maintain a career. But she was in Hollywood, an actor and also a writer. She was very brave. And had such a wicked sense of humor. She and her mother were so close, it reminded me of my relationship with my mother. When her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, died within a few days of Carrie, I thought, “She just couldn’t make it without Carrie, ” and I could imagine my mother doing the same. Or me, if my mother died. So close we don’t know where each of us begins and the other ends.

So this is what all has been on my mind during the time I haven’t been writing. Death and disaster. I want to be optimistic for 2017, but it’s hard. The question I have now is: To blog or not to blog? If so, why? What is my purpose for keeping this blog going? I don’t have a huge readership. I can barely get my friends and family interested, and often not even them. I think I started just to be writing SOMETHING. Well, now I am writing something. I have a memoir project I’m working on and I’m outlining a novel, both potentially paying projects. No one is going to pay me to write this blog. This is sheer vanity work. This is just  getting my name out there (I guess. Is it really?). It’s a place for me to blow off steam. That was especially useful during the election year. It’s my place to share my opinion. Bur really,  who cares about my opinion? Not that many people, really. So I don’t know how much time I will be spending here, honestly. I’m committed to resisting the Trump regime so I may write about that. But I mostly intend to work on other writing projects, so if I’m in here, that means I’m procrastinating. I thought this would be a good forum to talk about bipolar disorder and maybe help others who suffer mental illness but I’m not convinced I’ve done any good. I think I may have just spilled my deep, dark secrets in vain and now everyone knows I’m crazy and thinks I’m a narcissist who can’t stop talking about herself.

Maybe I’m just in a mood. I don’t know. I had a medication increase recently and it should start helping soon, I hope. The fact that I’m even at my desk, on the computer, typing a blog is an improvement. Maybe I’ll come around and think of some brilliant new blog topics to dazzle you all with. Who knows.

Trump’s America

I just watched the cursor blink for several minutes with that headline above it, willing it to disappear, wishing I could change it to something more joyful, more victorious. But I am a realist, and this is our reality now. Donald J. Trump will, barring any unforeseen  accidents or acts of God, become President of the United States of America on January 20, 2017. That is a cold, harsh fact , that I and tens of millions of Americans are struggling to accept today. Some are not accepting it. #NOTMYPRESIDENT has been seen all over Twitter and t-shirts and many have taken to the streets in protest. I have mainly just taken to my bed. I wasn’t sleeping well before the election and not that it’s over, I am still struggling, but am sleeping a little better so I am hitting the sack every chance I get. Not just to sleep, but just to get away from news and social media. I haven’t turned on the tv since before the election. I have been on Facebook, but I read a few posts, made a few posts, and left. Too depressing. Everyone is talking about the voters and their reactions and their feelings. I am wondering about Hillary Clinton, and her family and friends and staff. I read that everyone was weeping during her concession speech. Except for her, of course. I’m sure her tears came later. I hope they came because they needed to come. All that time, and work, and effort, and putting  herself in the public eye, and being constantly grilled by the media and being professional and pleasant while being constantly scrutinized and slandered and being promised that this was her time. The convention, and the debates. Oh, the debates, where she outshined her competition so brightly that no one doubted that she had this election in the bag. Sure, it might be close, but there was no way America was really,  SERIOUSLY going to elect TRUMP, the loud-mouthed, overbearing, belligerent, sexist, bigot. Right? But they DID. Nearly 60 million Americans. My faith in the American public is BLOWN, not that it was ever strong.  SIXTY MILLION PEOPLE voted for this man, who is openly racist, sexist, and xenophobic. Who doesn’t believe in climate change, doesn’t have a clue about foreign policy, doesn’t have a clue about anything, really, that doesn’t pertain to him or his companies or family. I bet Hillary cried. But I bet she cried more for America than for herself. Because she knows what a disaster has been initiated. In a little over two months, our nation is going to be at great risk, if not already. Our allies and our enemies have taken note of what has happened here, and we will no doubt be tested. Will our allies stand by us? That depends on what kind of relationship Trump forms with them, and who knows what that might be? He’s rude, arrogant and self-centered, so, we’ll see. All the plans Hillary had for her term in office….gone. Obamacare won’t get fixed. No communication between communities and law enforcement for better race relations and criminal justice reform. Certainly nothing in the area of climate change. No common sense gun regulation. No immigration reform. No, he will just be focusing on that wall around Mexico he promised and making us pay for it. Trying to punish women for miscarriages and abortions. Promoting private prisons for profit. Deporting peaceful law-abiding Muslims for being Muslim. Restart torturing prisoners at Guantanamo. That’s just his short list. He’s shown himself to be an impulsive thinker. Whatever mood strikes him each day may dictate his next move. And “dictate” is an apt word,  for he plans to act as a dictator. He has no idea of how government works, no concept of checks and balances. He just knows he’s the boss. He plans to rule over America with his tiny little fist. Unfortunately, he’s got another almost 60 million Americans that voted for Hillary that are very unhappy right not and are not heeding the calls for “unity” and “open mind”.  I, for one, am not going to join the #NOTMYPRESIDENT crowd. It was a democratic election. We all voted. He was elected. He’s the new President. I despise him, but he will be my President. I will be ashamed of him, but he will be my President. I will most likely write about his foibles and faux pas daily in my blog, but he will be my President! That’s right. I will openly embrace him as President Trump, because I am going to be following his every move and providing commentary here on my blog every day until one of us dies or he is impeached and do everything possible to make it go viral. I’m sure I’ll be just one of many, but I’m going to do my part. Why? First of all, I voted, and that gives me the right to complain. And secondly, I intend to show Trump fans just what they voted for. Rub their noses in it? Maybe, just a little. I’d rather they read my words than have highly unpleasant conversations in person. I am Southern, after all. I can handle confrontation, but I don’t like it. It’s so unladylike, and it makes me perspire. Heavens!  Is this the Christian thing to do? Well, most Republicans don’t even consider me a Christian, so that is a moot point, but as it turns out, I am a Christian (God knows, and that’s all that matters.) and I think God wants me to use the talent he gave me for putting words together to good use and I think keeping people informed of the doings of their dictator/president is a good thing in a free society. And I’ll be watching the doings of the followers of this dictator/president, too, and reporting on that. But more on that later. 

But back to Hillary. Poor, poor, Hillary. Yes, she will enjoy a wealthy, comfortable retirement. No need to pity her too much. She has Bill and Chelsea and grandchildren and time to relax or travel or do whatever she has always wanted to do besides be the most powerful woman in the world. But I grieve for what could have been. We will have a female president one day, but I wanted it to be her. I feel that she has earned it. I think she is almost overqualified for the job. But it is not to be. She is still my hero.

Presidential Debate #2: “Locker Room Talk”

Everyone waited with bated breath to see how Donald Trump would squirm his way out of questions about the recent video comments unearthed of his from 11 years ago in which he gleefully described groping and grabbing women, unaware, apparently of a hot mic that was on . He talked about trying to have sex with a married woman and told NBC’s Billy Bush that you have to “grab them by the pussy”, among other tidbits of advice. Prior to the debate, many top Republicans came out against Trump, withdrawing their support, stating that they could not support a candidate who made such statements about women, as if this was the first time he showed himself to be sexist. Supporters were starting to scatter. How would he handle it? As only Donald could. He doubled down on it. When Anderson Cooper asked him the question, did he think his comments about women equaled sexual assault he dismissed it all as “locker room talk”. Simply, “locker room talk”. Which, I assume, is some code for, ” perfectly  acceptable”. In a split second he turned that over into talking about what was wrong with the country and ISIS and what he was going to do and everything except what the question was about. He finally admitted, yes, he said it, yes, he had been embarrassed, but look at what’s happening in the world with ISIS!! Heads being chopped off and whatnot. He really wanted to talk about ISIS. To be sure, ISIS is very important, but it’s highly unlikely they are going to be brought down by Trump alone, though he would have us all believe it so.  And that to him was really more important than any offensive language he had used about women or even any offensive behavior he had engaged in. All across America, athletes looked at each other and their coaches and asked, “Locker room talk?” I’m sure in a few locker rooms, that may be the case. Or by a few individuals in locker rooms across the country. But I would not insult all of our young men by saying, “It’s just a thing.” I’ve heard many women on the right in recent days try to dismiss Trump’s disgusting dialogue as “just guy talk”. UM, NO, MA’AM. Not every guy talks that way. Guys have dirty mouths sometimes, there’s no denying it. If you are in a relationship, you may enjoy your guy talking dirty to you.  But the average guy does not go around talking about doing things to women without their consent. That’s what we call rape culture, and that needs to STOP. Guys, when you hear it, you need to step up and say, “HEY. NOT COOL.” Ladies and gentleman, we all need to remember the  Word of the Day, and that is CONSENT. If you do not have consent, then you do not have sex. That is the rule. ALWAYS. NO EXCEPTIONS.

A lot of other things were said in the debate but I think I decided to focus on “Locker room talk” for this blog because it is so vitally important in our society as men and women continue to navigate their roles in our society and attempt to communicate with each other. Hillary performed admirably as usual, maybe not quite as in control because of the town hall setting, but she held her ground. But she stood up to Trump’s bullying well, with all his lurking about behind her, pacing and sniffing and playing to the crowd, threatening to throw her in jail. She was tough, as always, which even he admitted at the end.

But back to “Locker Room Talk”.  People need to learn to talk openly about their needs and desires in a dignified way, asking for what they need or want, not just grabbing and taking by force. In the meantime, we have a President to elect and one of them is a sexual predator.  Yes, I said it. In case you didn’t hear or have forgotten, Donald Trump is charged with the rape of a 13 year old girl, and is set to go to trial soon. His “friend” whom he used to spend time with in the company of young girls, is a convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein. This is a man we are SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING FOR PRESIDENT. Liar, sexist, racist, cheat, etc. So many labels I can pin on this man. In every way he thinks he is above the law. He doesn’t pay taxes.  I could write for hours about how unfit he is for the presidency. But I just have one question. DO YOU WANT A RAPIST FOR PRESIDENT?  

I’m In Repair

Facebook post from last night: My husband and I took my mother out to eat for lunch today and in the ladies’ restroom I had the pleasure of seeing myself in a full length mirror for the first time in a long time. I was not unaware of my weight gain, but I was not quite prepared for the image that greeted me. My first thought was “Mama Cass” and the words to “California Dreaming” started playing in my head. Tears welled in my eyes, but I thought, you know, of the two women in the group, she did have the better voice. And also, I thought, taking a deep breath, there is always something to be grateful for. At least I’m not starving. Right? Right. Still, I wish somehow I could choose my mental illnesses. Instead of bipolar and ADD, I would be severely OCD, with specialties in cleaning and exercising. I would be disturbed, but thin and meticulously organized. But the mental health lottery doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. You play the hand you’re dealt.

 

For you younger readers, Mama Cass was a fabulous singer from the 60s group, The Mamas and the Papas. I’m sure you can find their music on iTunes. She sang beautiful harmonies, but she was mainly known for being “the fat one” and dying at an early age. I believe she choked to death on a ham sandwich or something else not very glamorous. That’s all I was ever told about her growing up, and left with the impression that if you were fat bad things were likely to happen to you, and maybe even SHOULD happen to you, like fat people deserved to die young. I got the message. I stayed skinny for a very long time. Then life happened. I grew up,  I became depressed and was given anti-depressants. Anti-depressants helped me realize, perhaps for the first time, that food tasted good. Really, really, good, and eating was enjoyable and I began to put on weight. This was healthy at first, as I had been significantly underweight. But I grew up and developed and began to change medicines often and was  susceptible to the side effects of all of them and I began to put on more weight. I should add here that I have never been a physically fit person, even when I was stick thin. I was never athletic, never enjoyed physical education class in school, even flunking it on purpose in high school by not dressing out out of sheer stubbornness. I never developed the exercise habit. I didn’t like to sweat. I liked walking well enough, if I was walking somewhere, or walking in an area with scenery like a short hike. But walking around and around a track didn’t interest me, and I didn’t see the point of running unless I was being chased, and then it depended on who was doing the chasing. (If it was a cute boy, I might let myself be caught! *blush* coy smile*) I was too cool too dance and aerobics, popular during my time, was lame.I was thin because God made me that way, but when I didn’t take care of myself over my lifetime, when i worked out only sporadically and ate whatever I felt like eating, my body began to change. I went from skinny in my teens to average sized in my twenties to curvy in my thirties to overweight at forty. The decade of my thirties really did the damage. I switched to an almost completely sedentary lifestyle. Sitting all night at work at a stressful job, stress eating, and sleeping all day. I joined gyms and rarely went. I bought exercise equipment and rarely used it. I made plans to walk and did for a while, then quit. I just never could stick to anything. Exercise made me so tired so quickly; my heart beat so fast. I found out that I have “exercise induced tachycardia” which just means when I exercise my normally high heart rate jumps up abnormally fast to a dangerously high rate. So I can’t run or do any high impact aerobic workouts. I can walk or cycle slowly. I can do yoga, pilates, weight training, etc. I just have to make myself do it. But it’s soooooo hard. WHY? Don’t you feel better after you exercise? People would ask me? Sometimes I would. Sometimes I would feel like I was dying or like I wanted to go to bed and stay there. Surely that is not normal, is it? So here I am, today. Not giving out specific numbers but well over and above a healthy weight range. My goal weight loss is 100 lbs.  To get in a healthy weight range, I need to lose 80. I’m trying not to think in big numbers yet. I’m trying to think about 10% of my body weight first.  Just losing that much can have great benefits for your health. I learned that from Weight Watchers, which really works, if you work it and stick with it. I’m not sure what kind of program I need now. Diet or exercise or both. I hardly eat at all. Ask my husband, he will tell you how I don’t finish meals or I skip meals. I’m doing SlimFast right now and some kind of diet pills I got off the internet. But I am tired ALL THE TIME. I have an exercise bike, and I am too tired to ride it. Simple household chores exhaust me. A few months ago, my doctor told me that I still had mono from a year ago! But my blood tests are clear now. Supposedly the virus is gone, but I am still tired and weak. My fitness level is zero. The doctor suggested water therapy and is supposed to be giving me a referral but I haven’t heard from the clinic and I don’t know if Medicare will cover it. If I had the energy, I could go to thy Y in Madison and do water aerobics twice a week. (and the motivation.) But I don’t have the energy. Just started taking super potent max dosage B12 vitamins that are supposed to give me massive enetgy, but so far I haven’t noticed a big change. Taking big dose of vitamin D too. Maybe B12 shots might work? I’m ready to try anything. Adderall worked when I was taking it for ADD, but Medicare stopped covering it and will only cover Ritalin and Ritalin does not boost my energy, at least not at the dosage I am on. At least it keeps me awake. I was sleeping half of every day for the longest. Now I am awake, if barely, but I go to bed early. tired, every night, soon after dinner. Just a blob. That’s what I saw in the mirror in the restaurant. I felt pretty when we left to pick up my mom. I had on a new top, purple, my favorite color, beaded and cut loose and full so it didn’t cling to me and feel tight. Probably looked like a maternity top only I’m not pregnant, just fat. I looked in the mirror and just saw a purple blob, with newly colored black hair that my mother didn’t approve of (she had made sure to tell me as soon as she got in the car) and now in the ladies’ room when I joked I looked like Mama Cass, she didn’t deny it, just remarked something about her career. And I just felt fat and old and stuck  and hopeless. But I have so much to live for. I am blessed with a loving, supportive husband whom I love with all my heart and soul and we have big dreams together. And I am finally beginning to fulfill my dream of being a writer. I can’t let my weight drag me down. I have to get healthy. I have to take care of myself, for us.
Later, when I came home and posted that status, many lovely people wrote kind words of support in the comments and my good friend Kristine McKeown reminded me of our favorite guy John Mayer and his song that has brought us back from the brink so many times. If you’re not familiar with John Mayer, you should get to know him. He is my favorite singer-songwriter. I have often said I feel like he is singing my journals out loud. He really gets me, and I get him. His song “In Repair” perfectly describes how I feel, in this in between stage of not being quite right, but getting there. This fall and winter I will be in repair, and hopefully “when things turn green again, it will be good to say you know me.” Here it is, with lyrics. Enjoy.

Too many shadows in my room
Too many hours in this midnight
Too many corners in my mind
So much to do to set my heart right
Oh, it’s taken so long
I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh, but if I take my heart’s advice
I should assume it’s still unsteady
I am in repair
I am in repair
Stood on the corner for a while
To wait for the wind to blow down on me
Hoping it takes with it my old ways
And brings some brand new luck upon me
Oh, it’s taken so long
I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh, but if I take my heart’s advice
I should assume it’s still unsteady
I am in repair
I am in repair
And now I’m walking in the park
And all of the birds, they dance below me
Maybe when things turn green again
It will be good to say you know me

 

 

A Voice for Teresa

Last night’s post on Facebook at bedtime:Today was a strange, wonderful, sad, spiritual, happy, unsettling kind of day. I am going to bed now to ponder these things and try to find peace through sleep. If you love someone, tell them. If someone you know is hurting, talk to them. Don’t wait. Peace and Love to all of you. 💜

What happened to make me sign off with such an enigmatic goodnight? Well, as usual, I started my day on Facebook. (Yes, I’m an addict. No, I don’t want to stop.) I have been steadily adding friends over the past few weeks, mostly Hillary Clinton supporters.  A few days ago, I was scrolling through confirming friend requests, when I got to one, Beverly Canady Fields. A message popped up informing me that I could not add her because she had reached her limit of 5000 friends. Impressive, I thought. I looked at her profile. She described herself as “true blue liberal democrat, feminist, spiritual humanist, social justice warrior with a California <3”. I needed to know this person. So I sent her a private message: “Hey! I can’t add you as a friend because you’ve reached your limit of 5000! Why don’t you kick a few people out and get back to me? Thanks!”  I didn’t really expect to hear back from her, but yesterday, I got a message from her that said, “Try now.” So I did, and I was accepted as her friend. Yay! Thanks, I wrote back to her. I invited her to read my blog and gave her the link. She wrote back a little while later and said I was a “queen”, how much she loved my blog and she was putting the link on her page! WOW! Thanks! I said. I was blown away. I’m not used to so much praise and attention so I was eating it up. We chatted for a bit and I told her I was in Alabama and she asked me if I knew a Teresa from Crane Hill. I didn’t, but I was familiar with Crane Hill, as it was the home of my former step-mother. I figured we probably knew some of the same people. Beverly encouraged me to look Teresa up and add her as a friend. She said we would have a lot in common politically and would have lots to talk about. So I looked her up as we were chatting and I found her with no trouble. But something was wrong. At the top of her profile page, it said, Remembering Teresa _______. I read a few comments and it became evident that Teresa had passed away in July. Without really thinking about what I was doing, I told Beverly this, and kept reading. Then it became evident that Teresa had committed suicide and I relayed this to Beverly also. Beverly was shocked, of course, and, said she needed to get some air and would be back. A chill settled over me. I got goosebumps all over that wouldn’t go away. Why did I tell her that? I shouldn’t have told her something like that about a friend over the internet, me, a virtual stranger. I should’ve just sent her the link to the page and let her read it for herself. And yet, that seemed like a cold way to handle it. How would I want to be informed? Beverly came back and I apologized, but she said it was ok, and we talked for a while, and I counseled her a bit, the best I could, saying all I could think of to comfort her, everything I knew from my own knowledge of being depressed and suicidal. Beverly said Teresa had shown no signs of being depressed and I explained to her that some people hold it all in and show nothing til the end, that it’s an illness and there is nothing she nor anyone else could have done. If someone is not showing signs or making it obvious they are in pain, what can you do? That’s the whole reason I write my blog about my experience with bipolar and depression. I am one of the ones who doesn’t keep it all in. I let it all out, make it all public, even though it is humiliating and embarrassing at times, because I want to end the stigma surrounding mental illness and make it OK to talk about it. I want people who are hurting to feel comfortable talking out loud about being depressed, about having thoughts of harming themselves or killing themselves without being labeled as crazy. I want it to be OK to talk about going to to see a psychiatrist or a therapist or  taking medication without people making fun of them or treating it like it’s a joke. For the record, if I joke about my meds or my shrink, that’s OK. You’re  not allowed! That’s how it works in the world of mental health humor. Only the afflicted can laugh at themselves. And if I laugh, then you can laugh with me. Only then. Got it? Good! 🙂

Later Beverly found out a little more, that Teresa had been in a lot of pain, whether mental or physical we’re not sure, and had gotten in her car and shot herself. I told Beverly that for Teresa to do such a thing, she had to be in a lot of pain, and that she was no longer suffering and that I really believe that. I grew up being taught differently. I grew up being taught that if you commit suicide you go straight to hell. But now I’ve been through depression and suicidal ideation and I know that I have already been to hell in my mind and I don’t want to go back. I believe people like Teresa who suffer so cruelly are at peace now. That is not to say that suicide is the answer. Suicide is NEVER the answer. Teresa’s life is over now. She has left behind many who love and miss her and she will never see another sunrise or sunset or see those she loved or do any of the things that brought her joy. She’ll never see our first woman President elected, and I know she would miss that. It’s normal to feel sad, and even angry with someone who commits suicide. It’s a natural reaction. Why? Always the question, why? Why couldn’t you hold on? But you don’t know unless you’ve been in that moment yourself how painful it is. So we must learn to understand and forgive those who just couldn’t hang on any longer, and let them go to rest in peace. Remember, it’s an illness. It’s not a character flaw. It’s a hormone imbalance in the brain. It’s not just personal weakness. That person didn’t just die to get back at you or to leave you alone or anything else. He or she was sick. That’s the bottom line. Forgive them, and let them go. Let them rest in peace. Focus on the living. Focus on the ones that are still here, and still hurting. Be more aware of those around you. Don’t assume everyone is OK because they say they are. Observe them. Look for signs. Are they sleeping too much? Not sleeping at all? Number one  symptom of depression is change in sleeping habits. Have they lost interest in activities? Do they seem obviously sad or depressed, or is it more subtle? Dark, flat moods. No sense of humor anymore. Do they talk about death or seem fascinated by it? Their own or others? That’s a big red flag. Do they talk about harming themselves or others? Are they angry a lot? Anger turned inwards equals depression.

I am still unnerved by what happened yesterday….making friends with Beverly, being “introduced” to Teresa, and discovering the loss of Teresa. I don’t want to get all spooky  and weird, but I don’t feel it was a coincidence. I feel something spiritual took place. I don’t know what you all believe in, but I believe in God, and I think He used me, and I am grateful for being used, but it is rather unsettling. Beverly said she would like to post the link to my blog on her daughter’s Tumblr which has 40,000 followers. I was stunned, and grateful. Surely this is the hand of God. I look at Teresa’s profile and I don’t want to obsess over it too much, but I know her photo will stay in my mind forever. She’s outside by the pool with a visor and sunglasses on. You can’t really read her eyes but she is smiling, a funny little smile that makes you wonder what she was thinking. I wish I knew. We had 12 mutual friends. She lived pretty close to me. But I never got to know her until I randomly befriended Beverly. I look at some of her memes under her photos. Funny stuff. She and I would have gotten along well. I can almost imagine her voice as I read some of her old posts. I am almost grieving for a complete stranger. I wish I could speak for her. What would I say if I could? I would tell her daughter and other loved ones, I love you so, so much, and this was nobody’s fault. I just couldn’t take the pain anymore. I am so sorry. Please forgive me. Don’t forget about me. I feel that’s what she would say. I can almost hear her saying it. God bless you, Teresa. Rest in peace, sweet lady. May God bless your daughter and all those who loved you and give them comfort and peace and surround them with love and carry them through this difficult time. May they be blessed with a thousand happy memories of you in brighter times. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

Presidential Debate #1: She’s Got This

This is going to be short and sweet. Hillary Clinton arrived on stage, radiant in red, the color of power. Donald Trump showed up looking and sounding like an angry bull and sniffed and snorted his way through the debate. He was cranky, cantankerous, an old man with kids in his yard and worse. He had no sense of humor. He had no manners. He was rude to Hillary and to Lester. I was amazed he got through it without using profanity. It seemed imminent. I think he did say “hell” once. He lied and denied, and lied some more. And exaggerated and embellished and twisted and stretched. And sniffed. He sniffed A LOT. What was up with that sniffing? Some called it “sniffling” but it was not like a  cold; it was definitely sniffing. Was he sniffing something before he came onstage? We may never know. But down to the brass tacks. What did he actually say? A lot of angry, negative things. Mostly about Mexico, and China. He seems obsessed with those countries and almost more concerned about them than about America. But to hear him talk about America, the state of our economy, and infrastructure and jobs, and “law and order”, we are on the brink of utter ruin and only he, he alone, can save us. It was very grim, and hard to imagine anyone wanting to vote for someone with that message, but I know some people will. Hillary, on the other hand, was calm, cool, collected, and PRESIDENTIAL. She spoke like she was already President. She even took the time to assure our allies that everything is OK. Our word is good, despite the confusion of the election campaign. She was organized and had her plans laid out for the economy, for race relations, criminal justice reform , trade, Isis,  climate change, jobs, and more. She was positive and upbeat. She smiled, and even laughed. She laughed when Trump insulted her and turned it back on him . Once he criticized her for taking off a few days to get ready for the debate and she acknowledged that she had and had also done so “to get ready to be President.” Cheers from the crowd. The jaw dropping moment for me, though, was when he went on one of his tirades and accused her of not having the right temperament for the job, all the while seething with rage and no trace of irony. She actually laughed and the crowd did, too. He didn’t get the joke. He never does.