Memorial Day

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Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die. ~ Mary Elizabeth Frye

Visit a memorial and pay your respects for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice this holiday. Don’t cry, but be proud and thankful. It’s hard to hold back tears, but remembering where, what we are, what we have because they gave the ultimate sacrifice. Remember the honor and bravery of each soul. Take your kid and teach them, tell them a story. Remember a friend or family member. Cry if you must, it’s not about those serving now but those who gave all.

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“Understanding me”

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“Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.” ~ Charles Bukowski

I’ve done a lot of reflection, experienced great things, great people, and been part of some extraordinary projects and events even since my last post. Again, this is such a silent illness. If you know me in person you will rarely see me without a smile on my face. What is hard to admit is how many times I wanted to run or avoid any human interaction. I forced myself, not because it was for the experience, not for the social reward, but to make myself experience life. I do this because my family and my friends mean more than this thing I fight in my mind.

On social media, you only see the good and rarely the bad. I promise for every extraordinary experience, I’ve had a great fall from the over stimulation. It was never someone’s fault and I am thankful for the wonderful things I am blessed to be apart of socially and recreational. I am able to listen to everyone, hear everyone, remember, and listen. I do put together huge pictures in my head. It’s almost a curse, I pin and connect everything and have amazing epiphanies. People want to see other failures, it’s astonishing. I see it everyday, someone who volunteers and moves on to another endeavor is always criticized, success is criticize.

I connect the dots in my head and have an overwhelming sense of shame for knowing something I should not know, only because three or more people placed puzzle pieces via causal conversation. I was able to see it all completed, and it hurts me like a dagger upon completion of the puzzles in my head. I’ve found myself withdrawn from those whom I never wanted to finish the puzzles, but regrettably by forcing the smile and “living” it was inevitable.

As, Bukowski said above, “I do not have time for things that have no soul” and I shall not make my time available to be sucked dry of any hope I have to win the battles in my mind. I fight too hard everyday to erase, remember, and overcome the thoughts in my mind.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” It’s questionable to the origins of the quote, was it Plato? Most likely Ian McClaren, but it is something we should all remember.  I am reminded daily by brief encounters, private messages, emails, or comments on wordpress that I am not alone and we are all very different, but….you are not alone.

Remember, you deserve understanding.

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My Top 6 Books about Mental Illness

Absolutely great list and post to read and books to check out

How to enjoy being introverted…with some mad women steps….

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Let’s explore how I reset and enjoy the healthy time alone.

1. Learn to observer and watch people. It’s simple, watch children play and interact. Sit in the bar or group and listen. It’s much the same. Listen, don’t talk, unless spoken too.

2. Enjoy your time alone. It’s rare, turn off every device in the house for 20 minutes. Everything, phone, WiFi, televisions. Actually, go find the breaker box main switch and flip it off (turn the usuals off before doing this), you’ll instantly feel peace. It’s a strange sensation. Close your eyes and feel the lack of WiFi and electricity…..you will feel it if you shut it all off.

3. Learn to talk to yourself. You can always be kind to yourself. Learn to appreciate what your mind tells you in silence. Many times I’ve ignored what I knew or I should have done only to have my mind tell me, “I told you so”. So it’s worth listening and talking to yourself. No one will ever love you or listen to you like yourself.

4. Volunteer! You can do the smallest thing and change a life. But you do it on your own, you don’t do it to seek recognition. You just do something that helps others selfishly.

5. Decide you’re going to learn a skill or project. Complete it! I wanted to learn electrical repair. Several vocational classes and yours truly can fixed a toaster, wire a lamp, or do general household repairs. It was so rewarding, I continued with woodworking, plumbing, and auto repair. I’m a bit obsession so don’t use me as an example.

6. Make a list. I hate list, but make an agenda of things you want to accomplish before bed. Make sure the first this on your list is MAKE YOUR BED. Trust me, if you don’t make your bed you’ve screwed up the list. Make your bed, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and then that first thing is checked off your list.

7. This is by far my hell on earth task, working out. Yes, workout! Walk 30 minutes, yoga, run, or what ever your vice….even sex. I prefer the latter. Sex count.

8. Do something completely alone. I’ll go to the movies, bookstore, and then have a drink and dinner while writing in my journal, ALONE! It is possibly, my best advice if you’re a mom or dad with a schedule. Plan a run away monthly!

9. Approach and engage strangers and be genuinely interested. I’ve learned so much about people just by removing the stigma of societies norm. I’ve made some of the best and life long friends whom I don’t think I could live without if not for letting go of my preconceived impressions based on societies normal. I’m in a military community, so normal is pretty straight laced.

10. Set goals, writing it down and put it in an envelope. In one year, I will have….? Next one, In 5 and 10 years. It can be big, it can be as simple as I’ll stop biting my nails. But, when you open that envelope you’re rewarding yourself. Do monthly envelopes! It’s goals with the satisfaction, you put it in writing and you accomplished something for yourself, not someone else. You discover and achieved it for yourself.

That is my alone time. That is how I’m alone and not defined by anyone else.

Chasing butterflies at night

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I was a very internal kid regarding emotions. My love of the hunt, survival, and outdoors encompassed my childhood. Appalachia is a special place full of magic. Nature is my therapy.

Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget the past but brief moments flash back. Those moments flood back, I’m catching lighting bugs as a child in a mason jar. Catching June bugs in summer. The humidity is in the air and a storm is brewing. Storms in the mountains shake the earth. Suddenly a lighting bolt strikes, I cried.  It knew something bad had happened and my salvation hurt. My oak tree was struck by lighting in my front yard and I felt it’s pain. I think I can remember feeling it dying that night. It lived, but suffered, struggled, and eventually it was cut down. The strike was the death sentence, but the final euthanizing came by chainsaw. I watched it come down with tears. It was the end of something I’d known my whole life. Like watching an animal euthanized.

Solitude today is torture and pleasure, my mind never stops. Solitude is necessary for my survival. A storm brings me peace and closure because of that single memory. I crave summer storms, because of the energy I feel for all living thing.  I wanted 10 kids, I’m sure my oak wanted a forest. I’d like to think that my oak has bloomed and reborn many times.

I still have a leaf from the tree, but wish I had a kept a seed, an acorn.

The oak and I have both ended our lineage with different stories. I just wasn’t struck by lighting, but touch by fire and fate.

The dreaded cone of shame!

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My cat is a narcissistic psychopath and my dog is a drug addict.

Let me introduce you to Lucy, my Portuguese Water Dog since I’ve already given you a glimpse into my cats troubled mind. But before you say, “Oh you have a Obama dog” I’ll stop you, I had Lucy long before President Obama. But as I was saying, Lucy my PWD has humorously vet diagnosed anxiety issues that lead to Irritable bowl syndrome. I think she has undiagnosed borderline personality disorder and mild schizophrenia. I certainly think the animals in my life were destined for my family because any other would have been a death sentence.

My whole life I’ve had stray dogs, mutts and rarely had health problems. But this beautiful little fluff ball wooed me, the promise of a hypoallergenic, and that they didn’t she’d sealed the deal. Within a year, health problems began manifesting, skin allergies would trump all her mental disorders.  Aside from all that, we love the nut. We loved her enough to recently fix a sudden onset of health problems, a blood hematoma in her ear, skin infection from allergies, double ear infection, and an eye infection, when it’s all said and done it damaged my checkbook by nearly $2000. But here’s the fun part, the cone of shame and she’s now a drug addict. Yes, a drug addict that is currently slapping the shit out of me with the big plastic cone begging for Tramadol. BEGGING!

The big damn plastic cone of shame is her weapon. She will slap the walls, bump into everything, knock things over more than the psychopathic black cat. She makes her presence known and will go to the kitchen to beg for her pills. Sunday, we finally gave her the last dose.

Monday was withdrawal hell! At times I think the dog is dying, she trapped the cat with her cone. In my head, I imagined a conversation from the dog, “Cat go knock the pills down or I will eat your black heart.” My kitchen is very narrow and each time I walk near the kitchen the dog rolls onto her back in submission for her pills. Then when she sees I’m walking away, up she’ll bolt and knock into me over and over and over with the cone. I tell myself, It’s only for three weeks and I spent so much I have to leave the cone on her. Last night, midnight…plastic scraping drywall, back and forth.  She’s learns this get a response from me. I kick her out of my room only to have her torture my children.

We survived the night. Tuesday, I think I was going mad, had to take my own anti-anxiety medication. The plastic scraping along the walls. She is taunting me back and forth raking the walls like nails on a chalkboard. Even the cat walks by and hisses at her. Even the cat has had it with the cone. The dog constantly flips over on her back begging for her Tramadol. I swear I saw her purposely trip down a couple steps and limp in hopes I’d get her more pills.

It’s morning now, I hate the damn cone. I snap at every clumsy move the dog makes now. She’s somehow knocked my coffee over twice. I think I’ve found myself a trigger. Hello Benzodiazepines!

I’m now walking around singing “Sunshine, lollipops, and Rainbows” by Lesley Gore. If you don’t know her songs google. You can thank me later for the songs on repeat in your head. As if it wasn’t already crazy enough, this too shall pass. I’ve planned myself a mommy night. No family, no pets, just me and a quite corner in a bookstore, coffee shop. I’d even settle for hanging out in Target for a couple hours without, “Mom, can I get this?” Maybe I’ll go have a meal and glass of wine.

My family can see the black dog coming, literally!

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