Things Better Left Unsaid

There are some things you just do.not.do to a person who suffers from depression and anxiety. Some things you just do.not.say. Believe me, we hear it all the time as it is — from our own minds. Our “sock monkeys”, “jerk brain”, “psychotic roommate”, “demon”, etc. Many of us have a term for those voices in our heads that, if we’re somewhere close to stable, have managed to dial down to faint hum but are always in the background, muttering.

Muttering things like, “you’re not good enough”, “no one wants you around”, “why even try?”, “maybe you should make another attempt, and do it right this time”. A friend of mine had a bad day, and posted about her anxiety sock monkey giving her a hard time. Her friends commented, boosting her up, sharing their experiences with the same kind of thing….doing what friends do. Doing the RIGHT THINGS for someone that was suffering and having a bad day. Another friend posted about having a tough time accepting herself — and the same thing happened. Compassion is a beautiful thing to see, especially in relation to anxiety sock monkeys.

Then I posted about mine. I said I was feeling lonely – and whether it was loneliness caused by my anxiety sock monkeys working overtime or some other reason…I was also treated with compassion and other friends shared that they too also felt the same way at times. It helped to a certain extent, knowing I wasn’t alone — even though the loneliness remained. There’s no magic pill that suddenly makes everything better, especially when you’re already suffering a downturn in depression.

(I’m coming to my main point, but this is an important tangent. Part of all this is that I was told I “share too much”. Really…I wonder how many of my readers — those who are actually on my Facebook and consider themselves my friends — know just how deep into a depression I’ve fallen. Have I shared that? Can you tell? Have I actually said anything, to anyone? I don’t think so. Not until this very moment have I said one thing to anyone…that’s how close I play it. I post a lot but rarely do I “core dump”. This….this is a core dump.”)

Ok, where was I? Oh yes. So I made the post, went on with my life. I didn’t expect anything from it – I was getting something off my chest, letting out a little of the darkness and I felt better. Now, one of the cardinal sins in mental health is giving an actual voice to those sock monkeys — literally say to a person who is suffering: “Maybe you’re lonely because you really are {insert anxiety reason here}”.

*record scratch* *blinkblinkblink*

WAIT. WHAT? SAY THAT AGAIN?

WTF Jackie Chan

It’s taken me an entire day to process this entire conversation. I’ve slept on it. Talked about it with other friends. Gone over it in my mind, word for word. Made sure I didn’t take it the wrong way. Nope. Armchair psychoanalysis is DANGEROUS, man. Dangerous. And it’s a damn good fucking thing I’m as stable as I am (even though I’m struggling, STRUGGLING, right now). I realize I’m struggling. I know I’m struggling and that I’m hurting and depressed and freaking falling and I know the abyss is over there, in the corner, beckoning. That’s STABLE, because I KNOW IT. I’m so fucking aware of how close to the edge I am. I’m grounding and centering and BREATHING and meditating and doing everything I can to keep myself together.

And I’m suddenly told, “Maybe the reason you’re lonely is because {insert anxiety reason here}”. Jeez, lady. Why don’t you just hand me the fucking gun? Why don’t you just put a pharmacopeia into my hand? ‘Cuz you just freaking pushed a suicide survivor (and you know the recidivism rate on those?) two more feet toward the edge….and “I like to psychoanalyze people so I’m really just trying to help you.”

First off: I have a therapist and psychiatrist, thank you. Second: I have a psychology degree and post-graduate education and training. Only thing you’re qualified to analyze is rocks. Third: Fuck you. Really…fuck you. Seriously? ARE YOU SERIOUS? You actually thought that saying that to me was HELPFUL? How, exactly, was that supposed to be helpful? I’ll wait while you come up with an answer. Especially since I’ve ‘overshared’ and you already know my past and the reasons I suffer from PTSD and all the shit….so, come on. How was that “helpful”?

Whew. OK. I’m done being pissed off and writing about this because people — really — THINK before you speak. Chris Cornell just committed suicide, so all the memes and posts about suicide prevention are going around again. As a survivor, I can tell you that when someone is really, truly ready — they’re not going to call a hotline or a friend unless they have a moment of clarity and those moments are fleeting. And if a person is struggling with the decision, or just struggling in general and are having thoughts — a careless, thoughtless, “helpful” person saying something like what was said to me just might be the ammunition needed to push them over the edge.

This is a warning, so to speak. If you have a friend or acquaintance that is depressed and suffering and you don’t know what to say or do, and you’re afraid they’re possibly going to attempt suicide — GO TO THEM. Don’t wait for them to come to you because they won’t. Don’t berate them, don’t list all their character flaws or all the ways they make you crazy or frustrate you. Don’t criticise them or tear them down. DON’T use their honest Facebook posts against them. DO tell them they matter, that you care, that you love them, that you want them around even if they’re sad or anxious or feeling like a slug.

Words matter. How you use them matter. The people you use them with, and to, matter. Think before you speak.

Hijab for a Day, the Alabama Way

Today is World Hijab Day so as a sign of solidarity, I wore hijab. I occasionally cover my head either for fashion or for protection as I am very fair and prone to sunburn. I shaved my head last February to raise funds for St. Baldrick’s and wore bandannas and scarves throughout the summer, sometimes wrapping like a tichel, sometimes just winging it. Wearing hijab wasn’t too far a stretch from what I’ve been doing so I decided, why not? I’ve been protesting our country’s despicable mistreatment of refugees and immigrants ever since Donald Trump was a candidate.

I live in Alabama. That could mean that I’d get a lot of flack for it, even as a white woman. However, my city (Birmingham) just declared itself as a Sanctuary City so while Alabama is seen as backwards and racially divided and divisive (and is, in many ways and parts), Birmingham itself is a bit more progressive and dare I say it: a little blue dot in a giant sea of red. Still, I was a little nervous as I went out to run my errands, which included a visit to *gulp* Walmart.

Now, I’m used to being stared at. Before I shaved my head, my hair was blue, aqua, purple, and down to my waist. Then with a shaved head tucked under a hat or bandanna or scarf – people often thought I was a cancer patient and I had to correct that misperception. I did get some looks, a couple of turned heads but no problems. No one said anything TO me but one woman decided to take her child and their food home from McDonald’s rather than eat it there after taking a good long look at me.

So that was my experience with hijab for a day. I may do it again, depending on the weather and my clothes. I overheat too quickly and can’t imagine a sweaty sticky hijab is attractive on anyone.

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2017, Still here

I’ve been quiet, I know. It seems to be my modus operandi – I start blogging and have a lot to say and then I get quiet. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s just — I felt like all I was saying was the same thing, over and over and over. Fuck Trump, fuck this upcoming administration, fuck this whole goddamned establishment and it’s anti-woman, anti-other, anti-environment, just plain ANTI platform of hate.

I needed to reset. I still feel the same way, but needed to stop the loop of that mantra. Be a little more positive, y’know? Even though damn, I’m still pissed off as fuck and gonna fight to the bitter end.

So I’m still here. I made it to 2017. Lets see what this year has in store for me, eh?

*ha*

 

 

Dog Shit. Just Dog Shit

**Warning — discussion of dog poop to follow. Really. I’m talking about dog poop.**
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Now. as I have four dogs currently living with me, I have a lot of poop to scoop up. Picking up after Bella is like picking up after a horse. Quite literally the size of horse apples. I’m not all that surprised by that, she’s a big dog. I’d rather muck a horse stall, though. I don’t mind the smell of horse manure, rather I find it pleasant and earthy. Maybe it’s just because I loved horses so much as a kid and I associate the smell of horse manure with my time working in the barns and now with gardening and growth. Horse (and cow) manure = growth so…good stuff. Rottweiler turds, however, not the same. Same size, wholly different smell and I don’t want them anywhere near my compost pile, thank you very much. 
What’s confusing and bemusing is that Pix, the 5 lb rescue Chihuahua makes piles as big as Joker and Gypsy. What the HELL? Joker is 60 lbs, Gypsy is 40. I feed them both the same amount, since Gypsy is so active and lean. I can even tell the difference between her piles and his. Pix is elderly, gets fed way less and her raw food is ground up since her teeth are terrible and yet — you should see the size of her piles! How on earth does she manage to fit all that in her tiny little body? Does she even have intestines that fit all that…where? I’m just…HOW?
Baffling. Absolutely baffling.
Just be glad I didn’t take a photo.