Triumph and Loss: Emotional Stability and the Price We've Paid

A friend, or rather an acquaintance, once suggested — not jokingly or kindly — that, in short, I was kind of a mess. Not only a mess, butRearview mirror elephant a mess with a persecution complex. To be fair, he wasn’t far off, at the time. Back then, I was experiencing a full-blown depressive episode with anxiety, which – again to be fair to my friend – is difficult to understand if one hasn’t experienced it. Just because I’ve been officially (“officially” means medical professionals have deemed it so) stable for three years doesn’t make it any easier to manage now. I’ve lost long-term relationships because of it. Hell, in the past, I’ve lost apartments and family support over it.

The worst part of my predicament is that I was never addicted to drugs or alcohol. I never stole from my family and friends, and I never lied to them. I never had to leave a marriage because of a sudden divorce, which, by the way, is probably more horrible than some of the trauma I’ve lived through. But I was homeless, I was alone, and I was helpless for a while. The worst part of being emotionally unstable is that there’s no one and nothing to “blame.” People look at you and wonder why you let everything go to hell. You look at yourself and wonder the same thing. Here I am, and I have faulty brain chemistry. I’ve had it approximately since puberty. When I look for reasons for my past maladjusted behavior, I usually just see a distorted reflection of myself. Like a carnival trick, you get a twisted version of your own reflection: your behavior is not the same as your personality, but you will find yourself and others mistaking it as such. It’s tough to face these ideas and admit that, impaired as you might have been, you are the author of your own pain. Even tougher, however, is simultaneously realizing that your brain chemistry is not your fault and you must move forward.

Continue reading Triumph and Loss: Emotional Stability and the Price We’ve Paid

The Unicycle No One Loved

Just another abandoned blog. I always thought that, really, the saddest thing you could abandon was a unicycle. I mean, look at how awesome unicycles are. People who can ride unicycles really love them, and it’s actually kind of hard to find a unicycle. So can you imagine how utterly depressing it could be to see an abandoned unicycle? Of course, one must admit that it’s super hard to learn to ride a unicycle, and that riding a unicycle is not for everyone (especially those of us without health insurance). But I’m digressing so I’ll just tell you that this paragraph is supposed to segue into something about abandoned blogs. Like this one.

You see the beginning, when the blogger is all gung-ho, fired-up, and a lot of other hyphenated adjectives about his or her blog. Then, if you’re lucky, there’s a slight tapering off before the inevitable shut down and/or abandonment. In severe cases, like my own, there may be one or two attempts to get going again. A couple of redesigns, maybe, and some attempts to add or change focus. But ultimately, almost inevitably, the blog deteriorates into a couple of posts about “I’ll blog regularly this time, I swear!” and maybe a couple of holiday recipes. Mmmmm. Recipes.

Continue reading The Unicycle No One Loved

I Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans

The former residence of Anne Rice, outside of which my friend Jason and I would drunkenly lament our own unpublished states.

A well-known residence in the Garden District.

Let me begin by stating that I currently reside in Austin, Texas, which is a pretty cool place. I have nothing against it. I’m not “doing it wrong.” I’m just not as in love with Austin as I am with New Orleans.

I was […]

Equal Time for Valentine’s Day

Box of Necco Candy Hearts

On a blog I write for called “Get Off My Lawn (http://getoffmylawn NULL.org),” I’m pretty grumpy about Valentine’s Day. But hey, that’s the point of GOML.

And in all honesty, I agree with just about everything I wrote there. Still, I do like certain things about VD that I will share with you […]

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A Little Exercise

A writing exercise, that is. Thought I’d take myself for a walk down memory lane. I’d love to hear your thoughts about when/where you were when you decided to do something you love to do, too!

My interest in writing stories began in the first grade, I think. We had to practice our handwriting […]

A Response to a Response

How about this: Don’t Bother (http://happilychildfree NULL.com/rants/?p=633&sms_ss=wordpress).

I read a response to a parenting article on Happily Childfree (http://happilychildfree NULL.com/rants/) today.  The author posts a response to a parenting article entitled “How to Stay Friends With Parents (http://blogs NULL.news NULL.com NULL.au/naughtycorner/index NULL.php/news/comments/how_to_stay_friends_with_parents/).” (The grammar in some of these articles needs to be ignored, by […]

The Lost Art of Conversation

egotistical male conversing with a woman

I love to watch people, especially at restaurants. I like to see groups of people and watch their body language as they egotistical male conversing with a womantalk to each other. Recently, though I find people are too busy checking their phones to really engage with each other.

I’m sure I’m as guilty as the next person. I try to have good communications etiquette, but it’s just so tempting to take a quick peek at my phone, especially if the other party at my table is doing one of those 10 minute “this will just take a second” phone checks. In all honesty, I tend not to make one-on-one engagements twice with someone who does that to me. It’s bad enough in a group, but if I’m sitting there with my thumb up my ass while you comment on your friend’s Facebook post, I will remember that and not the oh-so-stimulating conversation we had about your coupon savings at Randall’s.

Ruminating on these topics has led me to think about conversation in general. I am blessed to have several intelligent and well-spoken friends who also seem to tolerate my own verbal troglodytery. (Yes, they really should all get medals, preferably ones made of chocolate.) I decided to take a look at my friends’ respective methods of communication, and why one conversation can leave me interested, energized, and satisfied, while another can leave me bored, frustrated, and sapped of the will to live. I’ve noticed at group gatherings that a lot of people (including myself) have trouble with the following: Continue reading The Lost Art of Conversation

On Health And Weight Loss

Scale in a doctor's waiting room.

Scale in a doctor's waiting room.The other day I was surprised to discover that even with the bizarre month of July I’ve had, I still lost a little weight this month. Four pounds, to be exact, bringing me up to a total of fourteen pounds since May. I’m going to tell you how I began to lose weight, and how, miraculously, I continue to lose and the weight isn’t coming back. It may not work for you, but it may help you decide what your needs are and how to achieve your own nutritional goals. I hope it does!

Because of my friend Andrea’s continued updates on her trials and successes in this department, I decided to create a little post of my own on the subject of weight loss and healthy nutrition in general. I may even make a series of posts. Yes, I know how envious you are of this demonstration of my organization and planning skills. Don’t grovel. It’s unattractive.

A bit of history and background on my fat, and/or lack thereof, in a convenient bulleted list:

  • Anyone who knows me will know that I was obsessed with weight. In fact, I still probably am, but I’m working on it and get better every day. In the past , I spent years thinking I was “fat,” when I wasn’t. I dieted all the time. I worried all the time. Part of this was body image, and part of it was just, well, who the heck knows? Anti-depressants and mood stabilizers seem to help.
  • When I got married eight years ago, I was heavier than I had ever been before, due to quitting smoking, being depressed, and later taking lithium for bi-polar disorder. I gained a total of 35-40 lbs. This was not awesome, but worse, I couldn’t lose it. I lost some before the wedding, but it popped right back on again because the diet was ridiculous and un-maintainable.
  • The only way I started to lose weight was a) by accident and b) by focusing on health and a lifestyle change that I can maintain. I highly recommend that everyone focus on health first. As Count Rugen (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/The_Princess_Bride_(film)) correctly asserts, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.”

Continue reading On Health And Weight Loss

Mental Health Myths

March Hare, Mad Hatter, and Doormouse

If normal behaviour is increasingly being categorised as mental illness thMarch Hare, Mad Hatter, and Doormouseen that creates a burden on individuals, families and on society as a whole.

Judging from my blog, I must think I’m the poster child for mental health or something! The quote above comes from an article in BBC Health News (http://www NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/news/health-10787342) about the changed diagnoses in the upcoming DSM-5 (http://www NULL.dsm5 NULL.org/Pages/Default NULL.aspx).  I have actually been thinking about “overdiagnosis” a lot, but not necessarily by psych health professionals. I’m not really qualified to comment on whether or not the new definitions in the DSM-5 will lead the psych community to diagnose the wrong people. What I am more concerned about is whether people will “diagnose” themselves or others, which they seem to do now just fine, with no outside help from professionals.

Continue reading Mental Health Myths

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Countdown of the Moment

Happy St. Parick's Day!