My Vibrating House

Just something very silly that makes me laugh. I probably won’t find it funny for long…especially every time I do laundry but for now, it’s hilarious. And if you need to laugh…laugh with me. A cure for the winter and holiday blues.

Advertisements

Validation

It doesn’t always happen when you see your doctor, being validated. I’m not talking about your parking ticket here, I’m talking about being validated as a person, not just a diagnosis or a problem.  Even in the mental health arena, people don’t often feel as though they’re being truly listened to, especially in the American mental health system. It’s so broken, we’re seen just like every other doctor sees their patients — one after the other in a hurried fashion. There’s little time spent with you, so only the the basics are covered when you’re in for a medication consult with your psych MD. They’re not there to TALK to you…they’re there to prescribe your meds and make sure you’re stable and send you on your way. They talk to you just long enough to make sure the meds are working and whatever therapy you’re receiving from the talk therapists is helping and on track and that’s it. 

But my doctor listens. Or he listened to me. He stopped the usual banter we have, and listened. Granted, I had my journal with me, a bulleted list of points I needed to go over with him so he knew I meant business. And I’m also a suicide survivor, so when I say I’m in trouble…I’m in trouble. My ongoing depression hasn’t resolved, no matter what I’ve done – and I’m doing all the things. I’m doing all the healthy things, or at least trying to, as best as I can considering how heavy the elephant is that’s sitting on top of me. 

So I’m very grateful that my doctor took the time to listen to me, and validate my feelings. And not just throw some more medication at me, although we made some changes there. We determined that in one particular instance, I’m NOT crazy — or at least a specific kind of crazy — and that was a validation in and of itself. It feels like the elephant lost some weight – the depression remains of course, but a worry that was dumped in my lap isn’t mine to worry about anymore. That load can go, thank you. 

Feels good. Kind of. A step toward good. That’s good enough. 

Write Here!

I really am just going to start writing here. REALLY. (Part of this is due to The Bloggess’ post, part of it is me.) I don’t know why I don’t do it, preferring to just post snippets on Facebook instead of truly writing out what’s going on in a format that might actually, I don’t know….help? Especially since I write not for anyone else but for ME.  And maybe that’s why I don’t do it — because seeing my words out on a page, putting them down and pressing “publish” means they’re *out there* .

My mother always told me, “Never put into writing what you don’t mind seeing published in the New York Times,” and so I’ve always had this bit of a block against actually blogging or journaling my real feelings. I’ll talk endlessly about what’s going on AROUND me. If you read back through the few posts on this blog, or my public Facebook posts, you’ll see a pattern of “so this happened” and thoughts on the political climate and what I think about what’s going on in the world. But rarely do I talk about ME. I rarely share with the outside world (or, in the case of even friends-locked posts on Facebook) what’s going on inside my head. That kind of information gets tightly filtered, if shared at all. I play it so close to the vest that NO ONE knew how bad things were with me before my suicide attempt. I just don’t talk about it. 

I understand what my mother was getting at, especially in this digital age (though, this was WAY before it. She died in 1989. Maybe I’ll get into that. It’s part of my crazy.) Writing things down and sending it means it can be printed for all to see. You don’t put your private stuff out there to be used against you. I’m pretty sure this was just part of her paranoia, her own bipolar mania — or whatever damage HER mother did to her — and she passed it on to me. So now I have this odd “block” about writing in a blog because hitting send sends it out into the ether makes it permanent. The internet is permanent. It’s not even anonymous — as much as people think they’re hiding behind their screen names. I don’t ever use my full real name online but I’m sure if anyone wanted to figure out who I was, they could. 

But now, I’m past where anyone could use it against me. What could they do? I’m already disabled and on disability. I already live under the poverty line and struggle to get by. I’ve already had a person in authority over me use my words against me, use my mental illness against because I TALKED ABOUT IT.  And I’m OVER IT. 

I made my entire suicide experience and aftermath public on my Facebook page, in the hopes that if someone happened upon it, it might help that ONE person with their decision. And every time I open up and speak freely about what’s happening with me, more people say things like “me too” and “thank you, I needed to hear this” than “shut up” or “you’re crazy, stay away from me.” And writing it out helps me too. It helps to see it out and if I hit that “publish” button…maybe it’ll help someone else. Or not. Because I’m pretty sure no one reads this. And that’s OK. Because blogging again is going to exercise my brain and muscles that need to be worked. 

The fog needs to be lifted and it’s probably going to take some manual labor to lift it. Ain’t gonna be some wind coming by to blow it away. So here I am. I’m gonna blog again. Often. I’m even going to set some Alexa notification or alarm thingie to poke me to do it because I really am SO GOOD at making promises to myself and breaking them. It’s what I’m best at. 

CW: Suicide

So. You probably expected I might have something to say after the latest rash of celebrity suicides.

Hotlines, chats, even Facebook has prevention tools that are supposed to help reach out to those that might be contemplating ending their lives. These resources are great and I am so grateful to the people that man those hotlines — goodness the strength it takes to man those phones. (Aside: I worked as an insurance CSR and got a suicide call. They happen. We aren’t trained for them, not really. But my psychology degree and Priestess/pastoral training kicked in and I was able to do the right work while the supervisors worked to get the police in the town to do a welfare check on the person. I never did find out whether or not he lived through his attempt.)

My point, however, is that people deep in the throes of a suicide attempt don’t reach out. I’ve said (written) this before. We don’t. I didn’t. I was in therapy, on medication, and wasn’t even having suicidal ideation. (I’m not really going to talk about my attempt — I’ve written about it before. You can find it elsewhere). So often people are already in therapy and doing all the “right things”, taking their meds, and still struggling. YOU have to reach out to THEM.

  • And even if and when you do — they still might do it. 

It’s not your fault. You didn’t fail them if they succeed and kill themselves after you tried to stop them.

  • It’s not your decision. It’s theirs.

I know I’m going in a different direction on this than a lot of folks. I think I have a different perspective because I’ve quite literally been there, done that, and have lived to tell about it. Suicide is HARD to do correctly that’s for damned sure. I’m still here so I did it WRONG….*y’all don’t worry, I’m good. Not in any danger.* People who are doing “all the things” and still struggling, when they make the decision to end it — most of the time they’ve really thought things through and gotten their shit together to do it and how. They’ve been thinking about it for a long time, how they’re going to do it, and finally the right time presents itself and it’s done. They are not going to call a hotline or friend for help. They’re just not. I didn’t. (OK. For honesty’s sake, I had a moment there when I thought “hey, maybe I should try to stop this train” but it was really fleeting. I still wasn’t going to call anyone. I was on the ride chose.) That fleeting moment…if they manage to climb out of the abyss long enough to breathe…they might make the call. But so often, we don’t. The abyss’s hold is strong.

Is it selfish? You’re damned right it is. No one knows the internal struggle a person is going through – heck, even the therapist likely doesn’t know 100% what’s really happening because so often we can’t put it into words. Depression lies. It tricks even the person suffering into thinking we’re OK until all of a sudden, we’re not.

So now we’ve had two celebrity suicides. The media is going to talk about them with reverence and the spotlight will again be on mental illness and people will say, “Oh, we need to treat depression and mental illness like any other illness and End the Stigma™. ” That’ll last for a few weeks until the next big story and it’s forgotten. But suicides happen every day by non-famous people, and I’m going to hazard a guess that the rise in suicide in the US is going to up due to the crazy and toxic political climate. It’s terrifying, especially for marginalized communities.

And for those left behind? It’s not your fault even if you reached out and tried to help. But YOU have to reach out. YOU HAVE TO REACH OUT. YOU. 

And if you’re struggling yourself I know it’s hard. It’s so hard. Keep trying. Keep going. Gods, I know it’s hard. All that stuff I wrote above is for those other people that post trite “oh my god, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, boo hoo, they had everything!!” crap. Depression lies. Keep fighting, keep going just a little longer…and then a little longer than that. I’m here. I AM HERE for YOU. FOR YOU. Talk to me: My Facebook My Twitter

Is there more than one way to skin a squirrel?

IMG_1518

I have no idea. I’ve never done it before today. I’ve seen it done in movies, most notably “Winter’s Bone” where Jennifer Lawrence teaches her younger siblings how to do it – and quite graphically – so I followed what she did. Why? Because my dog killed one. But wait, I’m jumping ahead of myself, let me back up.

Yesterday, I let my big dogs out in the backyard. Shortly afterward I heard an unusual commotion, so I ran out to see Joker, my pit bull, at the side fence and Gypsy, my mutt running around upset. Panthera, the neighbor dog was also making a lot more noise than usual at this one junction in the fence. Then I notice that Joker is bleeding from his snout. Gypsy also has blood on her. THEN, I see the squirrel in between the fence and the tree that has grown around it. A-ha. I start to check Joker’s wounds and get him cleaned up, trying to determine whether he was punctured by chain link or squirrel and said squirrel shakily scurries up the tree with some major wounds of his own to tend to. Gypsy is fine, the blood isn’t hers.  Both dogs got a bath while the foster puppies cried outside the bathroom.

Oh yeah, foster puppies. They want to know why they can’t do everything the big dogs do. BECAUSE YOU’RE PUPPIES and only here for the week. Thank Gods.

Later that night, I have to kill a GIANT SPIDER IN MY KITCHEN. I have arachnophobia. It was awful. And the size of a spoon. OMG.

This morning I let everyone out, and everyone but Gypsy came back in. She’s focused on the squirrels. Fine. A couple of hours later I open the door to take laundry out to dry and look to see my garden shoes are covered in drops of fresh blood. The same garden shoes I’d worn the day before, hosed off all the mud and left to dry on the steps. WHOSE BLOOD IS THIS???? Gypsy isn’t bleeding. But why are flies all over her? WHAT? I start looking for the squirrel, it HAS to be the squirrel. Joker and Gypsy are now digging at another part of the fence by the alley. So I open the gate and go out into the alley and then I see it, covered in flies but not dead yet. Oh dear gods. All dogs go back inside but Gypsy. This is her kill. She has to finish what she started.  I put her on a leash and take her to it.

And this is where I discover that Gypsy most likely ISN’T the killer of the animals I’ve found dead in my yard. She’s likely the one that catches them, but Joker is most likely the finisher. I had to encourage her to finish, to kill, to strike the killing blow. I didn’t want the squirrel to suffer for however long it was going to take for it to die — I wanted her to do what a dog does: swiftly break a neck/back/skull — whatever.  And then I remembered what my neighbor said happened while I was on vacation. The dogs had caught one of the feral cats and killed it. He tried to get them off of it, and Gypsy let go as soon as he yelled out, but Joker was the one that held on and mauled until it was dead. Joker isn’t as fast or agile, he can’t jump as high (nor climb a tree the way Gypsy does). But they do team up and hunt as a pack (they ARE dogs) and I’ve watched Gypsy lead the hunt. So she catches, and he kills. Makes sense. She is the gentler of the two but has the stronger prey instinct — she enjoys the chase part, but once that is over, she’s lost interest.

AND NO ONE wanted it after I skinned it, either. My raw fed dogs turned their noses up to fresh meat. Fresh, bloody, warm squirrel meat. Now that’s just rude. Ungrateful beasts. So I had to put the body parts (and it’s parts. Skin, organs, ripped apart limbs…I offered all pieces to five dogs, puppies included and no one wanted any part of it – although the puppies licked up some of the blood) in some bags and store it in my chest freezer until next garbage pickup because rotting squirrel in Alabama heat is just stinky grossness.

AND THEN I HAD TO KILL A GIANT COCKROACH.

Can I be done being Madame Death now? Please?

 

All is as it should be.

A year ago, I was headed to DC to march against the incoming administration and EXACTLY the kind of crap that’s happened. Let’s shut the government down because we’re not going to fund children’s healthcare or keep DREAMers unless the WALL is built *among other things*.
 
Today — not one march planned in my city, Birmingham. I’d have to travel to attend one and after being sick with the flu for too long, that’s not going to happen.
 
That doesn’t mean the #resist movement or women’s march is over. Or that I’m done and have given in. I’m still resisting, writing, calling, etc. But I’ve also come to realize something:
 
All is as it should be. 
As horrible, painful, heartrending and downright dangerous as it all seems — there is hope underneath it all.
  1. Sexual harassment and predation is finally being taken seriously and the discussion, while triggering to many, will hopefully lead to changes in how we treat each other as human beings. That is good. But change hurts.
  2. Racism and white supremacy is no longer hidden in the shadows or 4chan chatrooms. It’s out in the open where we can see it, address it face on and come to terms with what we thought we had moved beyond. Even if a lot of white people weren’t outright racist, they were likely complicit in their behavior and they are learning now. That is good. But change hurts.
  3. Same for LGBTQ rights, disability rights, {insert marginalized community here} rights. (I should state that I am part of many of these marginalized communities…being on the LGBTQ spectrum, disabled, of Jewish descent, Pagan, Latinx, but also white as the fucking snow.) I admit to not even knowing about certain things as it related to disability, and I’m learning more every day. And sometimes — I feel a twinge when I realize that I have been complicit or judgemental. But it’s good, and change hurts. It’s supposed to. 

We as a nation are being shocked and shaken out of our complacency. I’m not pleased about our administration — far from it. I voted against it. I think what’s happening is absolutely horrible and fight against it as often as I can but at the same time: It is what it is. We do as we can. Keep on keepin’ on and all those pithy sayings. They all boil down to what my therapist called “radical acceptance”. I (and the country but I can only speak for myself and my perspective) am in a terrible position and while I am pretty terrified of the future, I narrow my focus down to “what can I do now?” and “what have I learned from the past?” in order to deal with the now.

I have hope that we as a society and a species will pull out of this downward spiral, but I may not even see it in my lifetime. Rather than letting that thought dishearten me, I put myself out into the world as a beacon of light and hope to those that will turn things around. Acting with compassion and kindness and love, even when all is awful and terrible and scary (and I’m just as scared and angry — and oh, believe me — I’m angry. I yelled at Trump on the TV the other day, scaring my dogs *again*) is hard. 

Forcing myself to say, “No, I will not give in to hate” when I say to to the TV, “You motherfucker, I hate you. Go to hell.” or some other hateful words is hard. Instead I take a moment, let the feelings wash over me, breathe and move on to focus on making positive change. Which is good. And hard. And sometimes it hurts.

And personally … I now have come to realize that my entire life … as difficult, and full of strife and hardship and loneliness and whoo boy — some major shit …. is as it should be. Hard. The lessons I’ve learned and am learning, are as they should be. Doesn’t mean I like it, that I’m happy or that I think all is well. (There’s a difference between “all is well” and “all is as it should be”.)

Radical acceptance. Because change is good. And it really, really hurts.

Morning Battles

I lie on my side, cradling the fragile little being I love

To protect her from the battle going on behind me.

Listening to the noise, cringing as they clash

Hoping they don’t hit me, or her.

But if they come close, I’m here to protect her from harm

My strong body will shield her.

It’s quieting down. They’re slowing the attacks.

One by one, the aggressors are retreating

Each one lies back down, panting, chests heaving with effort

The puppy has been appeased. The dogs are ready to go back to sleep.

And my old fragile chihuahua has been protected from the morning melee.

I agree, Pix. It’s way too early for this shit.