Category Archives: Mental Health

Healing

Before I started blogging, I hadn’t done much personal writing.  I’m a medical writer at work, so I’ve been working with words for decades.  But they weren’t for me.  They weren’t about me.  And they didn’t help me get beyond my share of those things that landed on my shoulders and my heart and pushed down.  Tried to drag me under.  Things that succeeded sometimes, I’m sorry to say.

For years I’d grieved.  I couldn’t get beyond the loss of much loved family members.  Until I wrote this post.  Now, I think and write my stories with more smiles and fewer tears.  Through the humor I found writing it, I got myself back.  And them, too.  It was a win-win.  By writing it, I was able to heal.

I had forgotten that really, the only thing as powerful as words is being able to laugh.  When I first posted Both Sides Now three years ago, my bloggin’ buddies didn’t quite know whether it was OK to laugh.  It is.  I did.  I do.

My long-time bloggin’ buddies may remember this post.  I’m posting it again mostly for myself and for my newer friends.

*     *     *

Both Sides Now

“The Season” makes me crabby.  Grumpy.  Irritable.  I’ve come to hate it.  Everything about it.  I hate the music, the crowded stores, the decorations.  I especially hate the decorations.

Last year a friend stopped by our house in the middle of December.  “God, it’s December 15th,” I said to her, “and the only decoration I have up is the wreath on the door!”

“I don’t think that counts, Lease,” responded my husband John. “You didn’t take that down from last year.”

“Oh, yeah.”

Tonight, I’m looking around at my undecorated house thinking, “uggggh,” not “Ho ho ho!”

It wasn’t always true, though.  I used to be one of them.  I was a veritable Christmas Elf.  I baked, I decorated.  I embroidered Christmas stockings for the whole family.  My son Jacob and I built gingerbread houses that did not come from a mix or a box and were actually made of gingerbread stuck together in the shape of a house!  My friends got a bottle of homemade Irish Cream liqueur.  Some used it to get their kids to bed on Christmas Eve.

But mostly, I sang.  The records, tapes and CDs came out on Thanksgiving.  From the moment I woke up the day after Thanksgiving, until New Years, I would trill away.  “White Christmas,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”  I belted “Mele Kalikimaka” when I had an established escape route to avoid people trying to punch me.  I know the words to all 18,423 verses of Frosty the Snowman.  I would start singing in the shower and keep going until John tackled me and put duct tape across my mouth, usually at about 8:30 a.m.  Regardless, I’d start up again the next morning.

If the current, Crabby Christmas Me got a hold of the old Merry Christmas Me, I would slap myself silly.

So you see, I do understand the Christmas-sy part of Christmas.  The love, the joy, the traditions.

But now I see the other side.  And it’s that “tradition” part that is to blame.

You see, my family’s always been fairly competitive.  My mother and her sister Ruth were particularly so.  They’d argue at each shared Sunday dinner over a million things:  whose gravy was better (my mother’s), who cracked the best one-liner (always Aunt Ruth – she was a hoot), and most traumatically for me, whose young daughter was taller. (Duh, Maureen was almost a year older than me – of course she won every time.  But you’re not taller now, are you?  And you’re still older, Maur.  You’re still older.  How do you like it??)  Darn, I wish I’d missed the competitive gene.

When I was a kid, Aunt Ruth was high on the list of my favorite relatives.  Now she’s tops on an altogether different list.  And it ain’t Santa’s list, neither.

Because Aunt Ruth started a family tradition.  A competition.  But it’s not a family tradition I recommend, especially during the Christmas season.  In fact, it should have a warning, although I’m not sure where you’d put it:  Don’t try this at home.

You see, Aunt Ruth started the tradition of kicking the bucket on a major holiday.  What fun!  Great idea!  Not many families do that!  Hey, we are DIFFERENT!

Knowing Aunt Ruth, I’m sure her last thought was “Doris, you’ll never top this one!  I’m dying on Thanksgiving!!!!”   She was no doubt a bit miffed when my mother joined her a couple of years later.

Because, not to be outdone, Mom arrived in the afterlife on Easter Sunday.

Their party really got going when we reached Y2K, and my sister Judy died unexpectedly on my birthday in January.  Now, you might argue that my birthday is not, technically speaking, a holiday.  Not a paid day off for most folks.  But hey, in my book, this qualifies.  So there.

As time went on, there were fewer and fewer holidays I could celebrate.  The only big one left was Christmas.

Guess what happened on Christmas, 2000!

Yup, Dad reclaimed his spot at the head of the table with Mom, Judy and Aunt Ruth. Dad trumped them all.  Or because it was Christmas, perhaps he trumpeted them all.  Maybe both.

I must say I am rather ticked off about it all.  Sort of changes the tone of the Holidays, you see.  I plan to have words with all four of them, next time I see them.  And I will not be nice.

In the meantime, celebrating holidays, well, it just seems so odd to me.  Especially Christmas, because Christmas is so stuff-oriented, and most of my Christmas stuff is from them.  It takes a bit of the fun out of decorating.

For a while, I considered joining the Eastern Orthodox Church.  That way I could celebrate the same holidays, just on different days.  I could keep all my Christmas crap!  I could decorate!  I could bake!  I could sing!  But then I realized that the change would just give us all additional high priority target dates, and I don’t have enough family members left to meet the challenge.  So Eastern Orthodox is out.

At the same time, I also realized that, when Dad hit the Holiday Lottery, the whole tradition had to stop.  Because I’m pretty sure that biting the dust on, say, Columbus Day, just wouldn’t cut it.  So why bother?

Nevertheless, this whole thing has made me decidedly anti-holiday.

There is one holiday I still look forward to, though.  Groundhog Day.  I just can’t figure out what sort of decorations to put up.

Photo courtesy of Google Images

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Birthday, Bloggin' Buddies, Childhood Traumas, Christmas Stories, Dad, Family, Health and Medicine, History, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Mental Health, Mom, Taking Care of Each Other, Writing

Nope. Not Even For This

In 1983, I’d forgotten about Nate’s birthday — my (then) youngest nephew.  He was turning 7 on November 29.  And I hadn’t gotten him anything.

I couldn’t not send him a present.  I couldn’t send his present late, either.  I had a reputation to uphold, hard-earned through a combination of silliness, indulgence and bribery of my sisters’ kids. The favorite aunt.

So bravely, OK, foolishly, I went to ToysRUs on Black Friday that year.  Because I am a damn good aunt.  A saint.

An idiot.

Not me, but the blond woman looks kind of like me.  (Google Image)

Not me, but the blond woman looks kind of like me. (Google Image)

 

It was a madhouse.  Wall to wall people, shoving each other around to find the latest favorite toy (Cabbage Patch dolls, I think it was that year).  Zillions of people trying to grab things off the shelves, elbows flying, tempers flaring.  I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday again.  I never will.  Nothing would get me to go.  Nothing.

Unless of course, some store re-runs this sale:

Japanese Department Store

Offers Unusual Deal

Finally, braving the mall makes some sense

On second though, nope.  Not even for this fuckin’ sale.  Or any other fuckin’ sale, for that matter!

Hope you are/were smart enough to stay home!

 

*****

My thanks to Toby of Dumbass News for  reminding me of this sign.

(Happy Birthday Nate!)

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Birthday, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Family, History, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Mental Health, Mysteries, Stupidity

A Fun Hangout – Gibber’s!

These days, I don’t have much time to just hang out with friends and crack jokes.  One liners.  Try to be funnier than they are, only to realize that it’s a draw.  It’s always a draw, because when you hang with friends and laugh, well, everybody has a good time.

What can be better than that?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get nearly enough opportunities to do that.  I mean there is work, Duncan* duties (and cleaning up the doo-doo), and the fact that all my friends are spread out around the area, around the country and around the world.

And when I top one of John’s line with the funniest thing ever said by person-kind, he just looks at me, straight-faced, and tries not to laugh.

My need to one-up and be one-up’d has led me to a really fun new blog.  OK, it isn’t really that new.  OK, I’m a rotten person because I should have done this post a while ago.  It’s Gibber Jabberin!

Blatently stolen from http://gibberjabberin.wordpress.com/ . Sue me.

Blatantly stolen from http://www.Gibber Jabberin.wordpress.com.
Sue me.

Now, we regulars over there give Gibber a hard time.  Well, we give each other a hard time, too, but I’m talking about the hard time we give to Gibber now.  (You’ll have to visit the site to see how we treat visitors/commenters.)

You see, Gibber is brilliant.  She set up a blog where everybody else does all the work!  Seriously!

Folks send her questions — predominately stupid questions.  She introduces them, and her followers read and comment.  Then we abuse each other.

It is Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

much fun

Today, one of my questions is featured!  My first musical question:

Head on over to Gibber Jabberin’ and see if you can answer the musical question.

And then see if you can answer a question for me — why didn’t I do this post sooner?

Apparently, stealing stuff from Gibber is habit forming.

Apparently, stealing stuff from Gibber is habit forming.

Zorbear told me that my links weren’t working.  In case my fixes didn’t work, here’s the site:  http://gibberjabberin.wordpress.com/ .

*     *     *

I haven’t posted any pictures of Duncan lately.  So here’s one.

Duncan in waning sunlight Photo Credit:  MEEEEEEEE

Duncan in waning sunlight
Photo Credit: MEEEEEEEE

(I do not have the Midas touch — Duncan has not turned yellow or gold.  He is still Cammo-dog, black and gray.  But I like this picture and he never ever sits still!)

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Family, Farts, Huh?, Humor, Mental Health, Wild Beasts

The Spoon Theory: Best Explanation EVER! (IMHO)

Elyse:

Most of you know that I have Crohn’s disease. Currently, I am doing fine; but there are times when I don’t have nearly enough spoons.

For anybody who has or knows somebody with health issues, this description my help explain what it’s like.

 

my thanks to Benze of http://benzeknees.wordpress.com for leading me to this post.

Originally posted on The Musings of a Digital Vagabond:

Arty spoon

Okay, so posting this might get me into some trouble, and if it does, I’ll have to take it down. But this is hands down one of the best explanations of disability I’ve ever read in my entire life. It was written by a girl dealing with lupus, but it’s extremely applicable to most other physical conditions of which I am aware. I’m kind of hoping that this lovely young woman will be inspired to write a monologue for me, but since I don’t exactly see that as being in the cards, go to her website here and support what she’s doing. But for now ladies and gentlemen I give you my favorite explanation of living physical disability, spoon theory.

The Spoon Theory

by Christine Miserandino http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy…

View original 2,121 more words

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Crohn's Disease, Family, Health and Medicine, Mental Health, Taking Care of Each Other

Way Too Many Ducks

A little while ago, my husband, John, nearly made me vomit.

That’s no easy task, as I have a really strong stomach — it makes up for my shittier lower GI system.

Did he make an unappealing meal?  Drive around curves like a maniac?  Take me out on a boat in choppy water?

Nope.

He read the news today (oh boy).  And he felt compelled to share.  That’s when I got nauseous.

Maybe I need to back up here.

You don’t know this, but John loves the theater.  Drama.  Shakespeare.  Comedies.  He loves to go to plays.  He has, in fact, penned a couple of them himself.  But he hates, hates, hates, musicals (with the notable exception of Les Miserables).

So today, after reading the news, he informed me that we have to go see a new musical that will be coming to Broadway.

I was immediately suspicious — once again proving that I am smarter than the average bear.  It had to be different from the usual musical fare to get John’s interest.

And different, this musical certainly is.  The musical that John wants to see on Broadway is called

“The Duck Commander Family Musical.”

It is the rags to riches story of the Duck Dynasty folks.  On Broadway.  The cost of barf bags will no doubt be included in the ticket price.

First, however, it will play the Rio, the Las Vegas theater where the Chippendales normally perform (with significantly less unsightly hair).  Because, you know.  Vegas.

Is it too much to ask that this group of hyper/pseudo Christians will have a special audience?

 

Lions would do nicely, thank you very much.

Am I the only one who simply doesn’t understand the fascination with these vile humans?

NY Times Photo:  Credit Zach Dilgard/A&E

I bet Maria Von Trapp would puke, too. NY Times Photo:
Credit Zach Dilgard/A&

 

 

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Family, History, Huh?, Mental Health, Music, Stupidity, Wild Beasts

Longing for Dick

It was while commenting on Doobster’s post, Art Imitating Life or Life Imitating Art, that I realized that the unthinkable had happened.   It’s true.

Doobster made me look back, and I thought of the men in my past.

George.

And George.

And Ronnie.

Now I find myself looking back fondly. Longing for Dick.*

I'm gonna be sick.  Google, why'd you do this to me?

I’m gonna be sick. Google, why’d you do this to me?

 

I wish I were kidding.

Often, I’ve realized that if the GOP hadn’t gone completely over the edge into fanaticism, that I’d be a Republican.

Google Me This

Google Me This

Because, you see, I remember when Republicans were not crazy. When they were a valuable part of the strong government that built our country into the envy of the world.

When they were not out only to protect their rich buddies. When they knew how to govern.

When they could compromise. More importantly, when compromise was the goal, because they knew that THAT is how government works. And good government works for everybody.

I remember the wonderful things that were done in the 1970s — Environmental laws, highways funded, bridges built.  Government FUCKING WORKED.

But starting with Reagan, the image makers changed the face of government – remember:

Reagan put folks into Cabinet positions who didn’t believe in government.  The Energy and Education Departments were led by folks whose job was to destroy the agencies.  The Environmental Protection Administration was led by Anne Gorsuch who didn’t promulgate the regulations that she had to — by law — promulgate.  People were put into levels of responsibility to thwart the laws they were supposed to administer.

So yes, I am sitting here looking back through history and realizing that the GOP has, in leaps and bounds, ensured that government doesn’t work. [I’ve said for years, why do people want to elect folks to government who don’t’ believe in government? What is the fucking point of that?]

It was compounded by George H.W. and then by George W. who put more and more jokers in positions of power.

And what a surprise, the government doesn’t work any more.

 

So now I find myself looking back fondly to Richard Nixon.  My, ummm, hero.

Google, natch.

Google, natch.

Is there no limit to what these Republican will do to me?

 

 

 

 

* Yeah, I know I skipped Jerry. But he served on a naval ship with my Dad in WWII during a typhoon and Gerald Ford saved the ship. So I cut Jerry some serious slack. Sue me.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Cancer, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Elections, GOP, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Longing for Dick, Mental Health, Mysteries, Politics, Science, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Voting, Wild Beasts

Hiding in Plain Sight

If you haven’t seen this bit from John Oliver’s new show, you should.  You should watch it before Tuesday’s election, and then again periodically, just so you remember what I keep telling you.  That elections matter.  And that it is important to pay attention to not just Federal elections, but to the ones lower down the food chain.

Apparently it takes someone from England, from the country from which we declared our independence, to explain to us just how we are letting our own government get away from us.

Because we don’t pay attention to “the unimportant levels of government.”

Ummm, it is at the state level that we’re really getting screwed.  I can attest to this as a resident of “Virginia is For Ultra-sounds.”    Yup, it is the folks whose names we don’t even know, who get to decide these issues that most impact your life and mine.

They are also the ones gerrymandering the US Congressional districts.  They are eliminating access to abortion, to birth control and screwing us in a hundred different ways.  And the state legislatures are the breeding ground, where the Not Ready For Prime Time Players go until they become the Michelle Bachmann’s and the Louie Gomert’s who end up framing our national debate.

[I read recently that John Oliver has been proclaimed the best journalist currently working.  I don’t recall who said it, but I think they are right.]

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