Thursday, October 29, 2015

Therapy! Yeah, um no.

I've never been one to go on a rant about "Yay! Can't wait to get on over to therapy and share my thoughts!" ...because fuck that.

I think therapy is a joke. It doesn't work for me personally. If it works for you, go therapy power, and I applaud you for taking risks.

I've been told that I didn't give it a chance...blah blah fucking blah! It's worthless to me.

And how does that make you feel?

And now...let's breathe. In---Out.

What the actual fuck?

I've been to therapy forcefully because my insurance required it if I wanted to continue to see a psychiatrist. I've been to therapy willingly. I've canceled the hell out of some therapy appointments.

I hate walking into that office and sitting on the couch only to have this person with a degree in talking stare me in the eye as if I should know where to begin and how to say it.

How about you lead the way?

How about you ask me some questions other than...How does that make you feel? 

You know where I've found the best therapy that doesn't cost me a dime?

For one, running was free therapy. I ran like a motherfucker in Florida because...below sea level. Colorado and its altitude doesn't work for my lungs.

The other is by reaching out to online communities. There's a lot of like minded people out there in social media who will become your very best friend even if you never meet them in person.

So therapy can screw off along with support groups. Support for what? You want support from me as you rant on about your loved one with a mental illness you haven't done enough research on to even understand?

Pffffft...


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Invisible Illness

I've been up since 5:30 this morning foaming at the mouth thinking about all of the people in this world suffering with an invisible illness who are ignored.

Why is it that family and friends will band together and gather around a hospital bed for someone with cancer? I'm not saying that cancer isn't important.

What I am saying is people are cowards when it comes to invisible illness.

For someone with cancer, you bring them cute hats to cover their hairless heads and maybe some chicken soup. You sit there looking on with pity and angst in your soul. You comfort that person. You make them feel special because they are special.

Guess what? I'm sick too motherfucker. Just because I'm not losing my hair or puking or being rushed to the hospital with pneumonia doesn't mean that what I'm going through should mean any less to you.

Oh you poor thing...you didn't know what you could do to help? You didn't know what to say?

How about...Hello!

How about...I'm thinking about you!

How about...Do you want to order a pizza and watch a movie?

That last one is my fucking favorite. You wouldn't even have to speak to me. Just sit with me for two hours and eat a slice. But we didn't do that because you didn't know what to say.

There's a lot of people out there who think they mean well. They think they're doing enough by giving you space. They think not saying anything at all is better than saying something awkward.

You know what?

You're thinking too hard.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Some Days are Better Than Others

They say everything it happens for a reason
You can be flawed enough but perfect for a person
Someone who will be there for you when you fall apart
Guiding your direction when you're riding through the dark
Oh that's you and me

You and me we're searching for the same light
Desperate for a cure to this disease
Well some days are better than others

But I fear no thing as long as you're with me


--You+Me | Rose Ave.

***

Every one of us needs someone in our life to lean on. To tell secrets to. To ask for advice. To sit silently and understand what the other is experiencing and know what she needs to move forward. Every one of us.

It is my belief that people with mental illness need this even more. 

Sometimes we're lucky enough to have this person in the flesh. You could go to her house and drink wine or meet up for coffee for no other reason than to be there for each other. 

Not all of us are that lucky.

The people I have live thousands of miles away. These people are always available when I need them. I can shoot out a quick text or pick up the phone (usually text because phone calls mean I have to actually use my voice--I've always been better expressed in written form) and they're there for me. No matter the time of day.

My most coveted friend lives in the land of cheese. We've only met in person one time. We met online over a decade ago and we talk every day. She leans on me and I lean on her. We never judge and only offer advice when it makes sense. 

Snap out of it! Fuck you...

See? Today was a good day! You're not really depressed. Fuck you some more...

Try some exercise! Why haven't you fucked off yet?
 
That's all nothing but bullshit. I would never offer advice like that. There's good advice, there's bad advice, and there's advice that should never come out of your mouth. This is where the whole think before you speak may come in handy. Don't offer do this or try that...don't you fucking think I've done that already? This isn't new information, asshole. 

I've discovered more recently that empty promises suck the life out of me.
When someone offers you help in some way or acts like your friend, then retracts, it stings. Being ignored is even worse. This person tells you to contact them whenever you need to talk, then they don't respond. 

People suffering with a mental illness need to know they're not alone. They need to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Each of us knows when the darkness is seeping in and we back off. We lurk. BUT, we're still available to those people we said we'd be there for. Gently checking in. Hey, I know you're still existing out there and I'm thinking of you. It's all a person needs sometimes.

When you can't get the hands on hug you need because all your people are in the distance in body, a virtual one will have to do. Often, it's easier to open up when you're not face to face with someone staring you down. It's easier to come clean and truly admit how you're feeling.

The bottom line is this, if you offered to be someone's person, be their fucking person. Don't wait for them to come to you when they need you. We mostly need you and can't reach out, because....She's going to think all I ever do is whine and complain and am a downer. If she thinks that, she's not your person.

Don't offer your friendship if you can't follow through. It can't be one-sided. If you can't contact me once in a while instead of waiting on me to "check in" then don't offer in the first place. It's obvious that you can't handle it. And you know what? It's totally okay....

Don't be a fucker and offer if you can't handle being my friend. I come with baggage. But you know what, friend? So do you. We all do. 




Saturday, October 24, 2015

Photo Confessional - What a Croc!


Don't adjust your screen. You are in fact looking at a tree with Croc shoes hanging from the branches. Like it's fucking decorative...or something.

You're welcome.

Friday, October 23, 2015

When Treatment Goes to the Extreme - Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

During my last hospitalization (there were three total) I was admitted to begin Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).

ECT was first recommended to me when I was still in the postpartum depression phase of my life (my son is now six years old). My psychiatrist was overwhelmed with my symptoms and the fact that just about every medication he prescribed to me, I was resistant to.

When he mentioned ECT I immediately envisioned old photographs and excerpts from articles I read in the past. There was no fucking way I was letting anyone hook me up to a machine to send electric currents through my body while I screamed at the top of my voice. It just wasn't going to happen.

Years and many psychiatrists later, I was at my breaking point (again). The time of my self inflicted death was upon me and so I stooped to my final option. ECT. I had an emergency session with my then doctor who agreed that the procedure could reset my brain and we could involve a medication switch much quicker than the usual weaning/crossing over process entails. It was a Friday and he immediately contacted the hospital to see if they had a bed for me. I was there once before, earlier in the year.

Once I arrived at the hospital and went through the usual frisking, removal of shoe laces and being searched for sharp objects, I learned that ECT approval required the recommendation of two doctors. It was the weekend at a mental health facility and seeing a doctor, unless it's an emergency, proves to be rather difficult, but I achieved my goal. I was actually pretty damn excited to get started.

The following Monday morning around 4am, I was bused to the facility for the procedure. It wasn't performed in house. The second psychiatrist who recommended me for the procedure was the doctor who was actually performing it.

The scene was a bit insane (unintended pun). The room was set up in a circle of beds with the ECT machine in the middle, pillows facing the machine. To me it was what I would think of as a lab. Everyone would be treated in under an hour and we'd be bused back to the hospital to recover. I can't remember how many of us there was. Four total from the hospital plus others who were outpatient, maybe.

I wasn't nervous until I was lying on that bed. The rocker chick nurse found my vein in a hurry and I was instantly on an IV drip. She inserted my mouth guard and the anesthesiologist administered the drugs. One to make me unconscious and the other a muscle relaxer. To this day, I feel like the medications could have been administered oppositely. I would rather have been under prior to the muscle relaxer injection. My veins felt like they were on fire and the feeling shot right up to my head. I don't know if the drugs have to be injected in that order or if that's just how they personally do it there. I never found out.

Next thing I knew I was in a wheelchair waking up. The first thing that came to mind was if I pissed myself during the procedure. I had goop on one side of my head (I received unilateral ECT), and my head ached like I spent the previous hour banging it against a brick wall.

Back at the hospital, I took a quick shower and spent the better part of the day in bed sleeping. My memory was shot to shit and I just wanted to fade to black. All of this was taking place on the day I was set to die, but didn't. I chose to get help instead.

I was only approved for six rounds of treatment if I remember correctly. My memory is still fucked. In fact, I cannot recall a single moment of my middle son's childhood prior to the age of six. Apparently it's one of the rare side effects. I should have followed up with maintenance treatments, but didn't. My insurance didn't approve it. From all the research I've done on the topic, ECT normally begins making the patient feel better after six rounds. Right when I stopped.

I bring this up because my current psychiatrist mentioned trying it again if my treatment doesn't go as planned. If you asked me four years ago, would you do it again? I would say hell no. But I trust Jack and am off the fence about it. I'm at the ready if necessary, but only as a maintenance ritual, outpatient. It'd be worth the try.

When I see a scene in a movie or TV show that involves electroconvulsive therapy, I get depressed and begin crying. The procedure has come a long way and helps so many. Back in the day, it was used for mostly the wrong reasons and in a barbaric fashion.

Don't give up on yourself. There are other avenues available. Many options. I know first hand how hard it is to believe that one day you'll get better and feel human again. It will happen if you stick to it. It takes patience (which I lack) and perseverance.

How far would you go to save your own life?



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Without a Struggle - A Short Story

It has been a while, a long while, since I've written a fictional short story. This can be labeled as horror or a psychological(ish) thriller. I hope you enjoy. Feedback and constructive criticism is welcome. Just don't be a dick.

***

The bell above the door pinged as he entered the diner. He stopped to take in his surroundings before his small framed body shuffled toward the red stools at the counter. They were covered in grime built up from years gone by. The place should be condemned.

The servers glanced in his direction as he wiped off the chair before taking a seat. He could overhear their conversation word for word, taking it all in and committing it to memory. The one with the name Peggy on her name tag walked in his direction, grabbing an empty, permanently stained white mug on her way over.

“The usual, honey?” Peggy asked. She was an older woman, her tone like ice. It was just about quitting time, and now she was stuck here until her newest customer paid his bill and moved along with his evening.

He nodded and answered, “Yes. Thank you.”

Peggy filled the corroded cup with stale black coffee spilling most of it on the counter. Her mind was elsewhere. Before cleaning up the mess, she walked over to the kitchen to shout out her final order of her shift.  

“I need a hockey puck, Stan!” Peggy demanded. It was diner talk for a burnt hamburger. She grabbed a used up, contaminated towel to sop up the spill.

At the pastry case she cut a slab of pumpkin pie, some of it toppling off the side of the plate. She lifted her head in her regular’s direction to make sure he wasn’t looking, then picked it up with her fingers and molded it back into its original shape. Once satisfied with the concoction, she delivered the seasonal dessert.

“What’s your name, doll? You come in here every other night, I hand over your charred up burger and watch you choke down the dry monstrosity and wash it down with whatever pie is on special and old coffee. What’s your story?”

“Adam. I’m just Adam. I don’t take to talking much while I eat. Just like to fill the void in my gut and move along,” he answered.

Peggy stood there leaning on the counter shocked by the response. “Well, at least you’re honest. I like that. Food will be ready soon. The burnt part takes a bit longer than is normal,” Peggy shot back at him.

He watched her wander back and rejoin the conversation with the girls. The redhead snorted mid-laugh as she threw her head back, unable to control herself. He knew the chatter was about him.

Each of the women were in costume. He was glad Peggy chose to be Dorothy. It was a much less whorish Halloween costume than what was plastered on the others.

The bell above the counter to the kitchen chimed and once again, Peggy broke loose from the crowd to deliver Adam’s order and top off his coffee.

“At least you decided to be original,” he mumbled.

“What was that?” she asked.

“Dorothy. It’s original. I like the added personal touch with the red and white striped hosiery. They bring out the ruby color of your shoes,” he replied, never meeting her eyes.

Peggy stilled. Her customer continued to surprise her with his conversation. Not only did she finally learn what his name is after months of coming in during her shifts, but it was also the most she had ever heard Adam say. She wasn’t flattered. She was disturbed.

“Huh.” It was all she could muster up. “Can I get you anything else? Maybe some mustard. Ketchup?” She knew he would decline. He always did.

Adam shook his head. Peggy took the hint and walked away.

“Fucking loon,” she said. He made her uncomfortable.

Adam heard her comment and his crooked smile spread wide before shoving a heaping forkful of pie into his mouth. He chewed slow and pretended to keep to himself, but he was eavesdropping on the women’s conversation.

“I’m heading out. Gotta get home to throw candy bars to all the tiny satans who ring my doorbell,” the one dressed as a slutty cat said as she exited. The bell pinged as the door opened and closed.

“I don’t know what she’s all worked up about,” Peggy started, “I can’t wait to get home, open up some windows to let the chill swoop through and put on one of them scary movies. I turn my porch light off around nine o’clock so those kids know I’m done for the night. As soon as you know who finishes eating that deader than dead piece of cow, I’m out of here for the weekend!”

A few minutes later, Adam stood from his stool and threw down a twenty dollar bill. He chugged down his remaining coffee in one gulp, scalding his mouth and throat in the process. He enjoyed the pain. When Adam could torment himself without drawing his own blood it gave him pleasure.

Peggy’s eyes locked on Adam’s. He nodded at her and walked out the front door. Peggy shivered.

“Fucking guy is weird!” she admitted.

“I know. He can’t be much taller than a gnome. Short and creepy,” the one who thought the cheerleader outfit made her look sexy replied.

Peggy stood there with a blank stare until she realized freedom was just beyond the glass door until Monday morning.

---

At about half past nine, Peggy flicked the light switch off and the front of her house went dark. She poured a glass of bourbon reserved for nights like this. It was time to finish the horror movie she bought at the convenience store on her way home.

She found the most comfortable position in her favorite chair, covered herself with a blanket, and unpaused the TV. The room was drafty and she pulled the blanket up to her chin leaving one arm out for easy access. She sipped her bourbon, the ice clinking in the glass as she set it on the end table beside her.

Midway through the movie Peggy heard what sounded like something being dragged through gravel. She paused the movie again, the frame freezing on a woman holding a telephone receiver up to her ear. The room was silent, the only sound coming from the ice maker refilling in the kitchen.

Peggy’s flesh was covered in goosebumps. A little spooked, she got up to close the windows. She started with closing the front door and flipping the deadbolt then shifted her attention to the living room. She reached up to grab the lip of the window when she noticed the large hole in the screen. “Little shits!” she shouted. Had to be  the neighbor kids pulling a Halloween prank, she thought.

Peggy shrugged if off. The movie was waiting and the ice in her booze was beginning to water it down. In that moment she felt like she wasn’t alone, but shrugged it off to the typical the fears of Halloween night and the movie she was watching. Sleep tonight would include having the lights on in the bedroom as well as the trail that led to the bathroom.

Peggy twisted around and saw somebody in a mask standing in her living room, creating a shadow from the illuminated TV screen.

“You’ve taken your little prank too far. Time to go home and get a toothache from all that candy,” Peggy said, “Go on!” The children in the neighborhood were devious at times but they were all likable.

The kid didn’t move. He just stood there staring.  

“Fine. Take off that mask so I know which house you belong to. I’ll take you by the ear and let your parents deal with you, you little shit!” Peggy started toward the child who was interrupting her perfect night then froze in place when he began to speak.

Drag Me to Hell? Really Dorothy? You disappoint me. Next thing you know you’ll trip and fall when I come after you,” Adam muttered. It was the last time she would hear him speak tonight.

She stood still, her pulse racing.  

Adam?” she asked.

Without a word, Adam shifted his attention to the kitchen. He didn’t bring any tools with him. He wanted the night to be personal for his victim and himself. Grabbing a rather dull knife after rustling through the drawers, Adam moved with confidence and determination back to Peggy. She was in shock and while Peggy couldn’t see it, she knew he was grinning under that white mask.

Peggy made a run for it, without falling, toward the front door. She jerked the lock and tugged on the door, but it didn’t open. She gave up, standing with her back to him.

Adam walked up behind Peggy and placed his left arm around her waist, his erection pressed into the back of her leg. She towered over him but knew there was nothing she could do to fend him off. Her long brown curls hung down her back and Adam took in her scent.

He forced her to spin around wanting to see her green eyes wide with panic. Adam wanted to feel her heart pounding against his own. Peggy’s bladder emptied as the cool blade of the knife was placed against her neck. Adam dragged it across her warm flesh and exposed the velvet red blood. His grasp on her was lost when her instincts kicked in as her hands pressed against the wound.  She fell to the floor and he watched as blood seeped into the carpet.
 
The metallic scent rushed at him. The plain meal he had eaten earlier at the shitty diner stayed where it belonged.

Adam knelt down next to Peggy and tilted his head to the side to take in the view. He focused as the breath left her body.  

Lifting his blood stained hand he removed the mask, folded it, and tucked it into the front of his pants. He smoothed Peggy’s hair out of her face, stood, and crawled back out of the window he came in earlier when her back was turned. He walked around to the front of the house and removed the hook lock he installed a few nights earlier.

His first kill surged through him. It was even better than he imagined. He envisioned this moment since the seventh grade while watching his first horror movie. He worshiped Michael.

Adam left. His plan unfolded almost without flaw.

He wanted to hear Dorothy scream.




Tuesday, October 20, 2015

When the Darkness Falls (Again)

How often, when you're on the up, do you cause stress and anxiety within yourself wondering when the next downfall is going to occur? It always happens, doesn't it?

The downfall…

In my personal experience, as my mental illness ages (matures), it feels like it becomes more and more difficult to pull out of the lows (or is it my aging that causes this?). As it does take place, I want to just give up. The quicksand is pulling me in faster than it ever has with each cycle of depression. Suicidal ideation becomes strong. The thought of leaving this world seems like the only (best) solution.

I've been doing extraordinarily well for about three weeks now. I met Jack, got on the right combination and dose of medication, and have been feeling fantastic. Some would say that my actions appear rather (hypo) manic in many ways. I started to wonder that myself, but honestly, I think this is how I'm supposed to feel. How "normal" people feel. I'm sure there are some people who wish I would just stop talking part of the day (Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from you!)

There is another low around the bend. I know this. It's going to suck. It's going to take longer to snap out of it. I'm prepared for it to happen. I'm not prepared for the emotions that come along with it, but I'm prepared for the occurrence itself because it always happens. 

BUT...how do you know when your current down-spin is your mental illness or situational bullshit? I think we mostly want to blame it on our illness because the bullshit always exists. It never seems to go away. 

How's your marriage? There's always bumps. Sometimes more often than not. You promised like hell you would never go to bed mad, but it happens more often than you’d like to admit.

How's your financial situation? We could all use some extra monthly income. Paying for health insurance alone requires a second, full-time job.

What time of the year is it? Do you suffer from seasonal depression? A lot of people I know use a special lamp to get their daily dose of vitamin D when it seems like the snow isn’t ever going to stop falling, and let the sun shine down on them naturally.

Are you providing yourself with enough self-care? Self-care...what the fuck is that?

I’m not here to diagnose you. There’s a lot of information out there about the many forms of depression. If you’re not going through a rough time because of something negative that recently happened in your life, you probably need to talk to someone.

It’s hard to keep moving with the mundane when you’re down and out. I find that when I keep to my normal schedule during the 9-5 and take a time out on the weekends, it helps tremendously.

It’s okay to bake a frozen pizza for dinner. Your family will survive.

It’s okay to leave the dishwasher to be unloaded for another time. That’s what paper plates are for.

Do take care of yourself. Take a shower. Wash your hair. Brush your teeth. Wear comfortable clothes. Put clean sheets on the bed. Anything that makes you feel refreshed.

Then binge watch Netflix and take it easy.

You deserve it.



Monday, October 19, 2015

Let's Talk About Self-Harm

Self-harm isn't just taking a blade to your skin to expose blood. Someone who is self-harming may be burning, poking, scratching, hair pulling and/or not letting existing wounds heal.

Some people think self-harmers are attention seekers because why don't they just kill themselves and get it over with already? That's not the goal.

I used to self-harm by cutting. When that wasn't enough, I tried burning. Scars are hard to explain to others when they're visible. That's not to say it is the only reason I stopped. Not a day goes by when I'm deeply depressed where I don't think about doing it again.

In my personal experience, I wasn't harming because I wanted attention. In fact, nobody knew I was even doing it unless I opened up about it. I was just really good at hiding it. Most are. I'm an introvert so anything I can do to fade into the background is a priority.

For me, self-harm was an instant relief of built up pressure and anxiety. It made me feel something when it felt like I would never feel anything other than depressed ever again.

How did I stop? The truth is I haven't stopped completely. I don't cut or burn my skin anymore and haven't for many years. My existing wounds never heal.

If I get a mosquito bite, it's an excuse to scratch until I bleed and a wound to pick at over and over again to keep new skin from growing back. My upper back is ridiculous and an embarrassment. I have inflicted my own wounds by scratching and reopening them every single day. Sometimes I do it mindlessly because I really do want to stop. I'll may be sitting on the couch, watching TV, and I'll start scratching until I look down and see blood gathered beneath my fingernails. It's automatic.

For a time, I was getting my nails done every two weeks. Have you ever tried to scratch an itch with gel nail tips on? It's nearly impossible and when you figure out how to do it, it's not worth the money you spend twice a month to ruin it. So it's one possible antidote. But an expensive one.

Medication helps, of course. I'm in a much better place today than I was three weeks ago. That's definitely the medication doing its job because I haven't changed a thing in my day to day life.

Doctors and therapists over the years offered some advice on ways to inflict pain reflective of self-harm, without leaving a permanent mark. A few examples are holding a piece of ice in your clenched fist or pouring hot wax onto your skin. Both are good solutions and do hurt, but it wasn't ever instant or enough for me.

I'm honestly not here to tell you how to stop or explain why people are doing what they do behind closed doors. I want to help bring awareness to the situation. There's probably someone in your life that is self-harming and you don't know about it.

Do you have a niece who wears long-sleeved shirts in ninety degree weather? There might be scars all over her forearms.

Does your best friend's son refuse to take his hat off unless he's alone and behind closed doors? Maybe it's due to a bald spot on his head from pulling his own hair out.

There's not much you can do for a person who is self-harming who doesn't want to stop. You can listen to what they have to say and don't place judgement. Don't tell him how stupid it is. Be the person they can contact in a crisis before making a cut. Don't get angry and yell. You'll only add fuel to the fire already burning inside.

I'm not glorifying the subject in any way. It's an addiction and it's wrong. But some don't realize it.

I'll let you in on a little secret. I still have the razor I used when I used to cut. I keep it with me all the time. Not because I'm going to use it again, but as a reminder of the deeper harm it caused resulting in permanent scars. Visibly and mentally.



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Photo Confessional - Family Contributions

My family moved to Denver a little over two years ago. We're not new to the area by any means. We've bounced between Florida and Colorado over the years. It took us two years to find our perfect home. It's an apartment because who can afford to buy a home in this lifetime where down payments are concerned...but it's ours.

We just put the finishing touches on our cozy abode yesterday. As I sit here on my couch and take in my surroundings, I notice that all of the artwork hung in carefully selected locations were all given to us by a different family member. Each tells its own story and makes our home feel warm and loving...

This was painted by someone in my family decades ago. I don't know who but it's always been my favorite. I often stare at it and wonder what this man is thinking. What was the artist's story behind it? It tells a different tale each time I catch site of it.

The Cottage - painted by my father-in-law

The City - painted by my father-in-law

Family portrait corner - all painted by my father-in-law

Created by one of my sons using paint, chalk, and glue - so much texture and brilliant color

Another set of colorful pieces created by one of my sons - splatter paint and a Monet replica

My late Hungarian grandfather used this pan to whip up batches of a childhood favorite treat - Polachintas! Take note, the handle is that of an old broom.

Family room portrait of my husband's late grandmother's home in Florida

Bats on every light switch my youngest and I made because Halloween is our favorite

A Hungarian doily of my late Hungarian grandmother, which used to lay on her couch at one point in time

This arrived straight from the Dominican Republic from our Uncle, a Catholic priest 
My mother-in-law brought this back with her from a trip to Ireland



My home tells a story at every corner. What's shown here isn't even half of it.

 What decorates your walls? What secrets does it hold?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Books Make You Forget How Much Your Life Sucks Right Now

I've read mucho books this year. Some of them were just meh and others I thoroughly enjoyed. (You too can admit you tore into the book released over the Summer, just as I did. You know...the one with all the fuckery.)

I can tell by the third page if I'm going to like a book and continue to read it or place it on the shelf with all the other shit to collect dust. I'm not like some people who have to see what happens and suffer through. What a waste of time when there are so many other books waiting for the spine to be broken in and devoured.

One book I enjoyed from the first printed word was Jane Green's The Beach House.

I know Jane Green is quite the chick lit author (and I have yet to read another book written by her that I liked), but sometimes you just want to grab a read you know will move quickly but hold your interest; a story that makes you care what will happen to the characters. The Beach House did that for me.

It's drama packed and based in beautiful Nantucket. I have no a clue if Nantucket is even something to look at, but Green makes you taste the salt of the ocean, feel the sun kissing your skin, and you'll want to wander up and down Main Street licking an ice cream cone as it drips down your wrist...without the worry of the sticky aftermath.

Without basically copying the synopsis...an older women is about to lose her home and decides to turn it into a bed and breakfast to keep the funds rolling in to pay her bills. Outside of Nantucket, families are falling apart and end up...guess where? The B&B in Nantucket. It's a story of love, repaired relationships, and holds twists and turns I didn't expect to happen. No predictability.

I read this book as powdery white snow trickled from the sky and landed on the car windshield I would have to wipe clean later. It made me feel warm on the inside with enticing dialog and a steamy mug of coffee on the side while wrapped in a fleece blanket.

What have you read this year? What do you recommend?

I have a list as long as my arm of titles I'd like to tackle. My photo gallery in my phone is filled with snapshots of book covers so I don't forget about them the minute I walk away. More often than not, I have two books going at once. One might say I'm a junkie.

---

Mama’s Losin’ It

October is National Book Month, who knew? This post is in response to Mama Kat's writing prompt: Tell us about the best book you've read so far this year.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

If You're Happy & You Know It - - Take Your Meds!

I can think of a half dozen reasons not to take your psych medication before my eyes blink again...

- It makes me feel like a zombie
- I'm still depressed (they're not working)
- I can't sleep (insomnia)
- I'm always tired
- It's messing with my stomach
- My body needs a break (detox)

Sound familiar?

These are the most common side-effects I've personally experienced.

The main reason you're experiencing these issues? You're on the wrong medication!

Look, I know it takes a long time to find the right combination of pills before your perfect "cocktail" is discovered. It took me six fucking years. You've got to keep at it. You've got to work with your doctor; with the right doctor. It is work. Hell, it's a second full-time job for many of us. You have to give the meds a chance to get into your system and work out the kinks (up to six weeks).

Once you realize you found "the one(s)", it's quite the experience. The depression lifts, your head clears, and you want to participate in life again (I'm writing again for the first time in years-something I'm quite passionate about).

At my last appointment with Jack he asked me how I was doing the minute I sat on his over-sized poofy couch. The reply even shocked me..."I don't feel like dying anymore. I even feel sorta...happy!"

He made his usual move where he takes his left hand and smooths back what little hair he has left on his head, and then he smiled at me. In his raspy voice he replied very simply, "It's working."

Sweet funky Jesus, he's right! After all this time, I feel normal. Well, as normal as normal can get for me.

I've been through the ringer. I've tried medication after medication. I've experienced all the side-effects. I've vomited through going cold turkey. It isn't fun by any means.

I've been without insurance in my darkest of phases. At a time when I needed the medication the most, I didn't have the option. I made phone calls practically begging for help, and I was turned away. I was told the waiting list to be seen by a psychiatrist was upwards of six months due to a shortage of doctors at certain facilities.

If you have the ability to take medication you should swallow the damn pill(s). Go through the treacherous process of finding what's right for you. I'm living proof that it will happen. It won't be easy, but you can do it.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

We're All Beautiful

Have you ever put on your make-up, wore your new outfit, and your hair was on point all in one day?  Did you look in the mirror and think to yourself, "Damn!  I look good today!"

But have you ever felt beautiful?

Here you are walking to your car, almost skipping, when you see her. The woman who is flawless with her high heels on (and she is owning those shoes). She who wearing all of that sophisticated clothing with her perfect hair and made up face…Then you see your reflection in the car window. Immediately you go from,  Damn,  I look good, to I look like an adolescent. I'm just a small town girl, plain and simple. I'll never be the woman other women look at and have the same thoughts I just had about her.

The once amazing day ahead has turned into, I'm so getting taco bell to feed my feelings at lunchtime instead of the originally planned trip to the healthy establishment to feed my soul with something equally as good as how I felt this morning.

Your mood just flew South for the Winter before it could even enjoy this new Autumn weather we're having.

Do you ever wonder if other women are experiencing the same scenarios about you? Is she looking your way thinking, "Wow, she's rocking those boots...and that necklace? I wish I knew how to accessorize that way, or at all for that matter. I couldn't put an outfit together like that to save my life." 

You know what? It does happen to you. Probably more often than you think. Do you know how I know? When I'm at the grocery store and I'm passing a woman who is looking fabulous...I compliment her. "That necklace! It's beautiful!", "Your hair color is stunning!" I don't do this for the sake of doing it. I do it because I mean it. I want other people to approach me with that attitude instead of giving dirty looks and the knowing of the thoughts crossing her mind, "Bitch!", because she knows I look good. Maybe her self-esteem is particularly low that day and she can't bring herself to smile and keeps walking. I get it. I've been there. I've done that.

A friend of mine recently posted something on Facebook that read something along the lines of...How many women will admit within this post that they check out other women's asses knowing that it looks absolutely perfect (or not)? I was one of the first to comment, yes, I totally do. And I do. 

Women are beautiful creatures with their shapely bodies (all sizes) and varying skin color. 

As Elaine from Seinfeld would say (not a direct quote)...I can put asses in the seat (with her looks and sex appeal).

We've all got it ladies. A positive attitude toward others goes a long way. Think about those women you (could) compliment. How do you think you made her feel while she was on her way to the deli counter to check off item one on her shopping list? She's jumping for joy on the inside and her smile isn't fading anytime soon, even after she's pushing her cart to the car. It feels good to know it. It's called kindness. And it wins every single time. 

I am beautiful and so are you. 

Edited to add an important disclaimer:  Of course beauty begins from within. Sometimes being reminded of our outer beauty strengthens what is on the inside. And that is something quite powerful. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Let's Call Him Jack

How often do you think about it?

Everyday.

Would you ever follow through?

I know eventually, that is how I will leave this world.

Have you ever made a plan?

Yes.

What stopped you?

I was hospitalized. I was admitted the day prior to the planned date.

What was the plan?

A bridge. There's always a bridge.


---


Three hours later, many pages of notes, thoroughly reddened eyes from nonstop tears, and I knew I had met my match. 

My new doctor. With my new insurance. And now, my new medication. 

He's rough around the edges with a raspy voice. He curses at me. He's told me I have had shitty psychiatrists in the past. He's like... Jack Nicholson, only older. 

And he's wonderful. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Photo Confessional

The waiting room where I sat waiting to meet my new psychiatrist. It had been years since I had a full evaluation . Three hours later… What was the outcome?

Friday, October 9, 2015