Monday, October 24, 2016

F*ck the cheese and that other thing

I've been thinking about when I was first facing major depression a little over 13 years ago. It's been on my mind since over the last year my Psych NP has diagnosed me with Bipolar after almost 13 years of being treated for Uni-polar. Anyway, when I was first going through it all I was involved with a religious order. What has come to mind is a couple of things that reveal that some people have no business trying to handle the depths and seriousness of someone facing mental illness. Here are the two things that should not be done:
  1. Do not give him/her a copy of Who Moved My Cheese? as a means of working through everything that could possibly be the matter.
  2. Do not tell him/her to look to the crucifix because that is what real suffering is and that whatever he/she is going through pales in comparison and should be recognized as insignificant in light of the suffering of the cross.
Yep, those are real things (like modern day memes) that I was presented with when what I really needed was a mental health professional. Thankfully, my mom did recognize my struggle and swept in to get me and take me to a psychiatrist. Granted, the diagnosis wasn't quite on the mark with him and the other psychiatrists I saw for awhile, but mental health is a tricky thing that can have hits and misses. Right now, and I think Shawn may agree, we might be facing more hits than misses.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Missing the M&M Man

Well, not much has changed on the job front. It really stresses me out, A LOT. I keep feeling like I'm only cut out for retail. There's this part of me who feels like I have to know what I'm doing from the get go; like there is no training for a job. I'm so afraid of not being good at whatever it is from the minute I start.

While I was walking Jarvis today, I was thinking about the job I had in Cleveland before moving here. The last time I worked a Monday-Friday gig. Boy, do I miss that place. I set my hours at 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. I loved that because it gave me a couple of hours before the majority of the office came in for the day. It wasn't anything that required me to have a majority of my time interacting with people. Paid time off was awesome and we had certain paid holidays; nothing like it in retail. My cube had quirky decorations and a fun M&M man dispenser. There were Starbucks runs and some occasional lunch dates with officemates. I camped out in my cubicle except for meetings and chats with co-workers.

At one time, I thought I hated it. That was when I thought I was supposed to be doing some kind of world changing work. Did I know what? No. But, I also thought I was Catholic and trying hard to believe in God, so that kind of played into it.

When I realized that, nope, not Catholic and actually an atheist, I started to look at my job differently. I'm not saying that atheists can't do world changing work. When I was going through all of this self-realization, I had a talk with a friend of mine. She said something to me about how not everyone is cut out to do world saving work, some of us just need to do the nitty-gritty, day-to-day stuff that makes the world go round. That put my mind at ease and gave me a sense of peace about doing my everyday work. That everyday work did include opportunities to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and other stuff, so I did get to do good deeds.

So, here I am without a job. I just want some regular hours, non-retail work. Something like the editing work I did all those years ago when I still lived in Cleveland. The quality assurance kind of stuff. But, I just don't know how to begin to look and find it. This makes me sick to my stomach. The "want ads" are a vast sea of options and I'm not really a skilled sailor to get through it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The heart of the matter

When sharing this Dan Savage column on Facebook, Shawn wrote the following post. I find it worthy of sharing beyond Facebook, so here it is:

This is important. Please read it. If you're someone close to me, please read this and understand that this isn't just some angry political post about how bad the other candidate is compared to my candidate. This is me trying to make you understand -- to really understand -- something important. Something that should be important to both of us.
In the wake of the now infamous video of Donald Trump and Billy Bush talking about kissing and groping women, many people -- including some people that I love and respect -- were quick to dismiss the whole thing as "guy talk" that happened "a long time ago". But it's much more than that. It's indicative of the way far too many men think about women and about sex. It's not harmless banter. It revealed something about Trump that should not be ignored.
After the video was released, a lot of those who condemned it explained that they did so because they had a loved one who also happened to be female: a daughter, a wife, a mother. We shouldn't have to have a woman in our lives to understand that women are people, and deserving of respect. But if we have to view this through that lens, then fine, let's do that.
I have a daughter, whom I couldn't possibly love any more than I do. And depending on who's reading this, you may love her too. If not, think of the woman who is most important to you. Imagine if she came to you and said that some man put his hand up her skirt without her permission. Would you believe her? Would you tell her that this is just how men behave? Would you ask her what she was wearing? If you confronted the man and he implied that he'd never do that because your loved one isn't attractive enough, would you accept that explanation?
Trump bragged about how he could do whatever he wanted to women, including grabbing them by "the pussy" because he's a star. He said that he can't stop himself from kissing attractive women. He's said that he likes to walk into dressing rooms at beauty pageants unannounced so he can see women (and girls) in various states of undress. And when those claims went public, multiple women came forward saying that they'd experienced that very behavior. There's no reason to doubt that a man would do the things he boasts about, and yet there are many who do, and that's the problem. We excuse men for being animals, and we ignore women whom these animals attack. Or worse, we blame them for their attackers' behavior.
I'm not writing this because I don't want you to vote for Trump. Obviously I don't, but what I really want you to understand is that that "locker room talk" is not harmless. It's not typical. It's not okay. It's part of an entire culture of objectification and abuse. Not all men think this way, but far too many do, and the rest of us must speak up and make it known that we don't support it.
Think of my daughter, or think of any woman in your life that you love, and ask yourself if you'd really be comfortable allowing her to be alone with someone like Trump. Ask yourself if you want her to live in a world of Trumps. This is a big deal. It's important. Please don't minimize Trump's words or actions. I know you're better than that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

No longer Miss Daisy

For the first time since mid-April, I am cleared to drive. This is as long as my ECT treatments stay at a rate of every-other-week or longer apart. I am a little anxious about this. It's like being a teenager all over again. I have to ease into it. It requires me to have a licensed driver with me for a couple of weeks. I'm not supposed to be out at night and in high speed, high traffic areas. But, this is progress.

Progress in a life where I haven't felt much.

Monday, October 17, 2016

I hope my skills have improved

So, I've found some old stuff that I wrote years ago. I decided it wasn't right to keep these gems to myself. Here's a little something from sophomore year of high school. I scanned it in from the school's literary magazine, "Ventures".

Then I found this short, short story from my senior year in college. It is actually 20 years old this month. I keyed it in because the versions I had were a draft with mark-up and the published version. I did not like the editorial changes that were made to the published one. It's funny to look back, especially since this was before area codes were required. 

A Doral burns in the ashtray, releasing more smoke into the room than he ever takes into his lungs firsthand. He sits in "his" chair, a recliner that is worn to fit him perfectly, unlike his clothes. His once-white tee-shirt reveals his distorted belly button and all the t.v. dinners that were eaten but not tasted. As he watches one of many television shows that will fill his lonely evening, he decides it's about time to find that blasted piece of paper.
His hand reaches toward the table next to him, just past a can of warm, stale, Old Milwaukee. "There it is," he says, as though anyone is there to hear him or even help him look.
He adds the racing results to the rest of the thrown-away money piled on the floor. "Now it's time to think about this chance," he says to the crumpled paper he holds tightly in his potatochip greased fingers. He looks at the numbers, 8-6-2-7-3-5-1, and asks them, "You brought me luck once, can't you do it again?"
The question takes him back to the first time he saw those very numbers on a crinkled piece of paper. Actually, it was a cocktail napkin. That was thirty years, eighty pounds, and a full head of hair ago. He was new in town, looking for a neighborhood bar to make a place for himself among the regulars. As he took a seat on a stool at the bar, he watched to learn all he could about the customers at "The Eight Ball". The bartender gave him a napkin with his bottle of Budweiser. He thought the napkin looked strange but didn't give it too much thought. Then, he began to look for some of the typical bar top, chewy pretzels. When he looked down, he noticed that the napkin under his beer wasn't ordinary after all. He read what was scribbled on it, "Call me sometime, 862-7351, Barb." His first instinct was to pretend he didn't notice it because who knew how many others had the same note with their drinks? Then, he decided to look around. Maybe he could figure out who she was. After a few glances around the joint, he gave-up, put the napkin in his coat pocket, and walked out. Since Barb didn't approach him on his way out, he imagined how she looked and what her voice was like for the entire walk home.
His apartment was strange to him, and he felt lonely walking into the emptiness. The loneliness made him think about Barb even more. He decided to give it a shot. "Heck! I'm new here, and it couldn't hurt to meet someone." He went to bed, figuring he would give her a call sometime the next day.
He worked up the courage to call her and dialed 862-7351 from memory. The phone number had been on his mind so much, he couldn't help knowing it by heart. As he dialed, he thought about what to say. "You. Me. Tonight. 'The Eight Ball'" was an option. His rehearsal time was cut short when she picked up on the third ring.
"Hello?" she said into his ear.
He stalled for a minute. The voice on the other end was not the voice of the Barb that walked him home in is imagination. This wasn't good or bad -- it was just she.
"Um, Hi. I was given a not last night at "The Eight Ball." Was it from, you?" he forced himself to reply before she could have the chance to hang up on him.
"Yes, it was from me, but I don't want you to think I make a habit of doing that type of thing," she said in response to the question he asked her -- and the one on his mind.
That was how it had all begun. They had dated for a year and were engaged for another. Their wedding was exactly two years after the night Barb wrote the seven numbers on that napkin. The marriage had lasted twenty-one years. He couldn't help thinking about the day those years together came to an end -- when his good luck and his wife walked out the door one morning and never walked through it again.
The music from "The Big Seven" lottery drawing snapped him back to his pathetic present. He's back in "his" worn-out chair with cheap cigarettes, bad beer, and lost chances around him. Now that she's gone, he sits in another lonely apartment, looking at the 8-6-2-7-3-5-1 in his hand, and says to the woman no longer there, "Maybe lightning can strike the same place twice, and maybe your number will bring me luck again."

 The End

Well, that's enough memory lane for now. Maybe I'll get the mood again since I have come upon so many writings.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Campaign induced reflections

Unless you have avoided all media, chances are you know that Donald J. Trump was pretty sure that he could just go up to a woman and grab her by the pussy because he's famous. 

This guy is a scumbag. I have never doubted that. It's been years since my dislike for him developed. The released video just added to my disgust. 

I've been struggling these last few days with the idea that I may have some hypocrisy with all of this. You see, my knowledge of Trump's scumbaggery comes from years of being a "Howard Stern Show" listener. I was an avid listener. Yes, Stern has some segments of his show that were totally about objectifying women. But, many of the women were Playboy and Penthouse models and/or porn stars who made their livings being objectified. Does that make it different? I mean, I never heard anything that implied doing things without consent. So, what does this make me in all of this? As vulgar and offensive as Howard could be on his show, I don't remember anything that showed he was okay with actions without consent. Am I just trying to rationalize my Howard Stern fandom? I'm still not sure.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mind the meme

So, this meme is going around:

Imagine, for a moment, if you will, that I decided to edit it. What if I changed it so that the top said, "This is insulin." and the bottom text was on a picture of needles and vials and pens? Or, what if I changed the top to say, "This is chemotherapy." with the bottom picture being needles and ports and IVs with the "this is shit." text? Can you imagine the shit storm of hate that would come my way?

I grew up a few minutes walk from Lake Erie and a few minutes drive from an amazing parks system of tree lined trails and fields. So, according to this meme, why did I eventually end-up on drugs for depression and anxiety?

And today, well the last 11 years actually, I live in Colorado. The mountains are in view from my neighborhood. It doesn't take long at all for me to get to a trail system. So, again, I ask, why am I going through various treatment options for bipolar depression and anxiety?

Fuck the fucking asshats who continue to make light of the seriousness of the MEDICAL nature of mental illnesses.