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Hey you guys

I hope everybody is OK. . .I’m not seeing many new posts among the blogs I follow and read. If you’re like me, depressed and blocked, I’m pulling for ya!

I am depressed right now . . . keep thinking I’m coming out of it but it’s exactly like the 72-hour migraine I had recently. . .every time I thought the end in sight, another stab came at me. Writing? Normally, depression triggers vomitus on paper. Not lately. I have writer’s block, so there’s my excuse.  Perhaps maybe this time, when the depression lifts a little, on a sunny day, I’ll have something to share.

Right now all that I can share is that I pray for everyone who struggles with this disease. For one more good day. For the bad days: understanding that another good day is going to come along. Or hopefully a whole bunch of them!

God bless.

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Crying. That’s all, just crying. What is there to say? There will never be enough tears for those poor little kids. The lost, and the survivors. When I can bear to, I will pray, please do the same if you can.

I am one of those pathological, chronic self-examiners. A form of self-centeredness that concerns itself with worrying that things I said and did will affect others who have long forgotten about, or did not even notice, what I did, said, or thought; and also with analyzing every thought and feeling I have to examine and judge my motivations and their truth or falsehood. It may arise from all those inappropriate behaviors I “acted out” (God, do I hate that term) and said and thought in the past that were NOT forgotten, were held against me, swung around to bite me in the ass, and so forth.

In any case, were I to have been truly ashamed of what had occurred in the crisis assessment, that tendency toward self-examination would be the reason that after a week or so of self-flagellation, I would fall over myself apologizing to everyone concerned for the scene I caused. Which, of course, did not happen. To begin with, I did not cause the scene.

It was later denied by the therapist, and in a so-called investigation of the complaint I lodged, that she was yelling at me and my husband as we left the building. Well, yes, she was. A trained crisis counselor. Yelling out the glass doors into the cold, polished and windowed lobby in front of God, the receptionists, the pens with giant flowers on them, and everybody else: “You had better be back here on Monday morning!”

Very professional.

I arrived at that institution for responsible reasons; to seek treatment for my condition before a crisis occurred that would have a damaging impact on my family. Instead, the crisis was initiated there in the therapy session. It was by no means over when I was thrown out, or as they call it, “left voluntarily.” I was in far worse condition than when I arrived. Truth be told, I struggled into my old, deteriorating car, whose door is literally falling off, in a truly suicidal state of mind. I was ready to kill myself. There was no help, no hope.

There was the list of things, embedded in my mind, that I had planted there myself to automatically prevent suicide. They were MY safety, which I invented, with no help, suggestion or input from their behavioral therapy, whether dialectical or cognitive.

Why was she yelling? Maybe it was indirectly because I froze when I saw the police officers. That instinctive reaction to past trauma and abuse may have been interpreted as me subsiding from my “tantrum” at the prospect of “punishment” by the authorities, which of course would lead one to the conclusion that I had “worked myself up to it” as she put it, for the purpose of creating a scene, flouting every behavioral skill that I had ever been taught. This is only speculation on my part. A mere crazy person cannot fathom the sublime workings of the vast, disciplined minds of her betters, even if her betters are just kids.

When one breaks apart as I broke apart, the one thing they need is tolerance and competence from their therapist(s). If an institution’s “trained professionals” cannot discern the difference between a real breakdown and a tantrum thrown for the purpose of making a scene, but the institution stands with moral certainty behind their employee’s incompetence as professional, appropriate and effective handling of the situation, then that institution needs to be nuked.

I of course filed a grievance, instead of engaging in the more favored behavioral skill of “Opposite Action” by apologizing and sending them roses. They responded to the grievance with what they called an investigation, which, as described in the Resolution of Grievance they sent me afterward, consisted of interviewing the therapist about what happened. They did not interview my husband, who was there, the only witness throughout the farce.

Throughout the Resolution of Grievance, the language referred to everything the therapist said and/or chose to write down during the session as factual and honest. Throughout the same document, the language referred to everything I reported that I  experienced, observed, felt, and heard, as mere “belief.” As in: ‘[Therapist] did (or said, or said you did) blah blah blah. You believed that blah blah blah. So the therapist was correct, and you were incorrect, because you merely believed, while whatever the therapist said is what actually occurred.’

This language conveyed quite clearly that they held nothing I said as credible. It demonstrated total lack of respect for the patient as an intelligent human being. It revealed that the patient’s point of view is insignificant to them, because they view the patient as insignificant and, indeed, crazy.

Do I want this institution nuked? I don’t want this institution nuked because it is my only treatment alternative in this tiny, redneck town. So, what do I do? Protest their “Resolution” of my grievance? Their Grievance Resolution invites me to. Or should I bend over and take it up the ass because if I would only practice the skill called “Radical Acceptance” my ass would hurt less.

In the end, I wrote out my entire dispute to the “Grievance Resolution” and then employed the behavioral skill of  “Opposite Action” by not sending them the disputing response. Now I practice the behavioral skill of “Interpersonal Effectiveness” by being as sweet as sugar, or at least as sweet as I can be, whenever protocol and hoop-jumping require me to be in their office. So you see, the behavioral skills as practiced save me from alienating the guardians of my only avenue to my doctor who prescribes the live-saving medications. Isn’t behavioral therapy beautiful?

A couple of days after the incident, the medical assistant called and told me that my doctor had prescribed a change in my medication. I noticed INSTANT improvement (which is rare). I had gone in there seeking just this kind of treatment–medical–and had I received it when needed, none of the rest of this would have happened.

Within three days of the incident, people from Social Services invaded my kids’ school, ripped them from their classrooms, and threw them into closed, lonely rooms and interrogated them. Then they came to my house and tried to be disarming. They found no danger to the children, only love and an uncommon maturity and intense loyalty to their mother on the part of the children.

The one thing I have learned from all this is that the mental-health institution is NOT a safe place to go when I am in crisis or in imminent danger of crisis. All crises must be worked out on my own now, as there is no safety, respect, or confidentiality extant in the institution any longer, if ever indeed there was. I go to the treatment center only as needed in order to continue medical management by my very competent and respectfully-behaving psychiatrist.

I had another breakdown today.

I went postal.

I have just had it with the wrong mail landing in our mailbox. It’s been happening for awhile, and I’ve just been putting it back in our box with a sticky note that says “delivered to the wrong address.” However, because you can trust almost no one these days, I am wondering what all the neighbors around us, with their sharp, psychedelic claws and their possibly lie-spewing, terrible teeth, are doing with OUR mail in the meantime.

Today we got a FULL mailbox stuffed with ALL other people’s mail. I snapped. I’m sorry, it happens. I ran screaming to the phone and went postal on the poor post office lady, who of course was completely innocent and had nothing to do with the mail carrier’s mistakes. Fortunately, she gave me a tongue-lashing in return, and my emotions got reeled in for that moment, and I think we were OK by the end of the conversation.

But I am not okay now. I’ve been sobbing and yelling and being condemned for expressing my feelings.

Day to day, I’ve been depressed lately. But I’ve been doing my best. Trying really hard. I mean, really really hard, to behave in a manner that doesn’t inconvenience people or render their feelings uncomfortable. Even though, on an almost constant basis, others stream hurtful words and actions my way and I’m expected to bend over and take it with a smile. If I don’t, I’m blown off as just “being that way” or end up having puppy-dog idiots with low self-esteem (rather like myself) thinking that I hate them.

So…I just want to give up. But I know I can’t. I’m not special in my pain. It’s just the human condition. I am blessed that God the Father gave us lives as humans so that we can even experience and learn from a “condition” at all.

So I slathered myself in various essential oils for “Peace and Calming,” “Balance,” plain oils of lavender, peppermint, and wild orange, because those are the ones I have. I’ve taken homeopathic flower blends and aconite “for fear and fright.” These are all courtesy of the wonderful friends I’m reminded I do have.

I have taken an extra one of my meds, which I am permitted to do by my psychiatrist, who knows I have reached a reliable mindset on such things. I have stopped short, though, of indulging in such “medication” as is now legalized in the state in which I reside. Instead, I’ve put on my pink sweats and my pale blue sweatshirt with the pink unicorn on it…yes…I love unicorns. I’ve loved them for decades. I loved them before they became a fad for losers.  I see them as a symbol of both purity and rebirth.

So, hopfully, I’ll get over this and return to being a useful and present member of my family pretty soon. If I’m lucky, they’ll remember that I’m not having these breakdowns because I think they’re so fun and neat such a good idea.

In the meantime, don’t give up. God’s Word promises that God won’t give us more than we can handle and endure.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life wishing I had never been born.

Now I have two kids who are just like me. They wish they had never been born.

In the aftermath of a huge argument, precipitated by my reaction to my husband’s reaction to my son’s reaction to the news that his trip to see his cousin was going to be postponed yet again, my son, my daughter, and I were sitting outside on the ground.

The clouds overhead were dark and carrying rain, the light was in that stage of the gloaming where the clouds and the trees to the east are so fantastically colored that they look fake.

I groped and grappled in my mind for words to comfort my son, who has been diagnosed with ADHD. He insisted that my fight with my husband was his fault, that it was always his fault, that he wants to kill himself every time we start arguing because of him.

“What exactly do you think you will get out of killing yourself?” I asked him gently.

“The fighting will stop.”

“No,” I explained. “The fighting will get worse. Your dad and I will fight until we get divorced or I kill myself. Then your sister will have a dead mom and a dead brother.”

I was trying to talk him into thinking beyond the moment. Thoughts like that are what stop me from killing myself. But just as soon as I uttered those words, I realized that I may have just added fuel to his fire. Because he also carries a great rage inside. It is that rage that he turns in on himself. But I sense he can also turn that rage outward, and ideates this much more often than I realize.

Thoughts like the ones I just expressed might just push him into killing himself to get revenge.

Flash to a few moments before, before we all sat down. I was looking for him, and he came walking over from an unexpected direction, his pocketknife out and open.

He said something. I told him to give me that knife, that he was far too angry to be carrying it just now. He gave it up without hesitation.

Recalling that moment, I realized I could not take back the words I had spoken, and so I simply changed the subject. After a period of silence, I asked him what in this whole world would make him happy. He could not answer this.

“Anything,” I pressed. “If you had the power to make a whole new life, different parents even. What kind of life would make you happy?”

“A life that never was,” he said.

To my bewildered sorrow, he clarified:

“I could only be happy if I had never been born.”

My daughter, drawing in the dirt on the other side of the electric fence wire, nodded agreement. “Me, too,” she mumbled to the earth. She is on medication for depression.

I felt so heartbroken. My kids are just like me. I have passed on to them my hopelessness. They are only 11 and 14.

I determined to think before I spoke again, this time.

Finally, I said, “I’ve felt like that, too, before.”

“I feel that way all the time,” he said.

It seemed there was no winning this one.  I launched into how much his father and I love him, and how sorry I am that we fight, and that none of it is his fault, and that all of it is my fault, I start all the fights with his father, and how much his father cares and wants him to be happy. It was all so desperate and now, trying to remember, seems so empty. We all knew we were together, and separate from someone else.

Eventually the dogs came over. I started picking the loose fur out of one, and white dog hair flew everywhere. My son laid backwards to escape it. He seemed annoyed.

“It’s snowing!” I said. Then the other dog came up and pushed his little nose into my legs. “Oh, no.  I know what’ll happen if I try to pull loose hair off of you!”

My son was smiling.  I imitated the dog’s yelp, sure to occur if I plucked a loose tuft of fur. Soon we were all laughing. Then the cats came over, and my daughter had the tuxedo cat chasing a weed in circles while the calico kitten crouched intently at a distance, watching every move, and the lazy, long-hair orange cat just watched. We were all enjoying the pets together and I thought inanely of the healing power of animals. Everything was all right again. Or so I thought.

Out of nowhere, more dark words came out of the mouth of my son. More tears from me, wishing I could give him whatever that elusive thing he needs that love alone cannot provide. And as my attention remained focused on him, my daughter was silently suffering from a crushing series of blows that had occurred this week. I couldn’t be there for them both. I didn’t know what to do.

Later my son and I sat at our kitchen table, and he spoke on and on, lost in fond memories of past excursions during visits with his cousin. Because he needed it so desperately, even though it was late at night, I gave him my “full” attention…to the best of my ability between my racing thoughts, worry about my daughter, and my own exhaustion.

When I convinced him it was bedtime, he went out to the couch. On the other couch, my daughter was lying, her face streaked with tears each of which had been shed for a good reason. Neither went to bed. I feel terrible. I have failed completely to be effective. I have been trying so so hard to be a better parent, and all I achieve is more arguments with my husband, more pain for the kids.

My husband gets angry when we express our emotions by crying or being angry. It’s completely justified, every time HE is angry, but nothing in my children’s perceptions or my own are important enough for it to be okay in this household for us to express any emotion except agreement with him. It is so wrong for me to insist on my right to defend my children to him, because it causes him to escalate, and then our arguments get loud in front of the child being defended. But how can standing there watching my son crying while my husband, yelling, orders him to “settle down?” Could anyone sobbing miserably settle down just because someone orders them to? My son stops crying out of fear, but has not settled down.  I started the argument that led to the tableau of us sitting outside. I am wrong to blame my husband. This is all my fault because I am bipolar and I am a terrible mother. I am a failure.

Even admitting I am a failure is a sin because expressing feelings such as these is self-pity, and there is no place for self-pity on a beautiful piece of land like ours, lush and green, in Colorado, a state that is withering, drying out, and burning like hell itself all around us; and in a marriage that has survived incredible hardships. But feelings are their own beginning and end; and have nothing to do with circumstances unrelated to them.

Food on the table where others have none does not lessen the blow of the loss of a pet. Neither does living in America while people across the globe are suffering tsunamis and genocide ease the pain of deep depression or horrible family crises. Anyone who thinks they do are kidding themselves. I know that I’m a failure as a parent and as a wife and as a friend, I have little to no hope, but I don’t have the option of giving up. I have to try to learn how to strengthen my kids. They are already strong, but very troubled, just like me. Why? Because of me.

Don’t get me wrong. It is late November, and at this moment, I’m despairing. The state that, without fail, evokes the urge to write, and the urge to pray.

However, exhausted from caring for rescue horses and drowning under horrid decisions, unfortunate news to deliver, the impossibility of solitude, the loss of youth, and the probable loss of the only draft of my novel’s first chapter that I will ever have found “perfect,” I have indulged in my first-ever Vodka Binge.

The Lord, and my family, deserve better.

I am LUCKY AND BLESSED to have a FAMILY! I am blessed to have a home. Of course I know this! It’s crazy lucky, and could only be the result of God’s direct intervention. My husband is the hero in this tale, for reclaiming a crazy bipolar freak who had done him every imaginable wrong during a prolonged psychotic episode.

But this used to be my house.

There were candles on my upright piano, and the occasional wine glass left there too beside the sheaf of hand-written music, the residue of petite sirah, scent of blackberry and cloves, dried into the little hollow where the hand-blown stem opens out into a pink blossom of glass

There were shelves lining the walls, with my books, a mad eclectic mixture of fantasy, history, witchcraft, Bibles and Biblical texts, psychology, poetry, all the weird fiction I was assigned to read in college, wildflower books, the Irish language, and guitar chorded music books, Led Zeppelin, Kate Wolf. My Breyer Horse collection circled the living room, right below the ceiling. My childhood remained a vital piece as I approached thirty, and I didn’t want anyone to know me who didn’t understand that. My small circle of friends knew, and made me feel that they thought it was cool.

There was a room with a Macintosh Classic II, the place where I worked on my novel and my art, where the pages were spread all over the floor, the illustrations the most raw, and Rushak’s presence was so strong I could feel and smell him in there as if he were real. Mom sent him a birthday card one year. Oct. 8. It was the coolest birthday card I would ever receive.

KRWN (Farmington, NM) was a classic rock station then. I could hear Elton John’s “Funeral for a Friend.” I could hear “Green Grass and High Tides” by…Ozark Mountain Daredevils? I had a boom box on a shelf over my Asian-patterned rug. There were “tapestries” on the wall. Neo-hippie crap.

I had the most awesome roommate for a time. He had become a high school English teacher (there is no higher calling). He loved Kurt Vonnegut. In this house, there was a shrine erected to Kurtz (of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and the movie Apocalypse Now)  every Samhain (Day of the Dead) for reasons that escape me at this moment, but they made perfect sense to my roomie, may he rest in peace. He was privileged to smell the most epic of my farts, after which I collapsed from some sort of interaction from my various meds, and he took me to the hospital in the middle of the night.

There were guitars and pennywhistles and drums and pianos and keyboards everywhere. There were charcoal and pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations of my novel on the walls in the kitchen and living room, right were everyone could see them, vibrant and slightly “off,” personal and disturbing, and I wanted people to see them, and they did, and I felt a little bit understood.

It smelled like incense in my house, and candles. My mom once said it smelled like a candle shop. That was the highest praise anyone could give my home, for in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in the seventies, the Candle Shop was the most magical place in the entire universe. Even counting the occasional visit to a horse farm.

I lived alone, except for the brief time with the roommate. There was one cat, two dogs, a horse and a burro, who all depended upon a bipolar creative type stuck in her right brain most of the time. No one minded.

Mainly, there was no TV in my house. (Well there was, okay, a little b&w with a screen smaller than this Mac notebook’s, which was only used for viewings of classic Star Trek). My mom gave it to me when I started college at the U of U.

My point is that I used to have this house…it was a shoebox that had been for some reason picked up off an oil or coal or some crap field in NM and plonked down right here…and I lived in it, and it was mine, and I had a sense of place.

Now, ALL my books are crammed into a closet of an “office” that my husband had once blocked off and constructed to be my creative space…the ONE thing he could do to show me he supported this part of me…NONE of my paintings, charcoals, or any other art besides a picture of a rescue horse are visible to anyone…NONE of my books or bookshelves remain outside this office…ALL the spaces that friends and the general populace can see are cluttered with dirty shoes and boots and stacked with crap…the house smells like several catboxes…a dog pack lives here and craps on the floor and tracks mud all over and the cats and dogs ruin the furniture…I CANNOT play an instrument if anyone is at home…ALL of my instruments are hidden away…I no longer have time or the self-esteem to be in a band…I no longer read, because there is NO ONE with whom to discuss anything I have read…I no longer read because I have no bedroom or quiet area that will not be disturbed in which to read without a TV blaring or children arguing…I no longer write because my writing studio has become the office in which I must update the Horse Rescue Blog, or enter Horse Rescue stats, or check Horse Rescue Email, or drop any personal pursuit in favor of Horse Rescue outreach or finances, and the only computer in here, a Macintosh, now belongs to the horse rescue, not to me.

The only draft of my novel’s first chapter that I found perfect was not backed up in time to avoid being a casualty of the Blue Screen of Death on my Windows computer. I know it’s my own fault, it wasn’t backed up, but who has time to try to put a bunch of crap on a disk on a computer whose disk drive doesn’t work?  It’s me, the person who cannot sit at a computer and enter statistics and generate receipts and acknowledgements and updates and health data on a double-digit number of needy horses; actually, physically care for them; and be there for kids and husband. Let alone, self.

Fortunately, no one reads this crap. I’ve gotten steadily drunker as I’ve rambled here. I’d be done long ago except that no one could read this because of the typos. There is a tremendous amount of back spacing involved.

I feel like throwing up. There is nothing to look at but my nerveless fingers upon my jeans stained with the filth of about a week of mucking stalls, I can’t think about anything but how crappy I feel. If there was ever a point to this post, I’ve forgotten what it was, except that once I had a home that was mine, and now there is nowhere in this overgrown building that I can feel safe with my feelings, that is, my real, honest, own feelings, that are mine, where I can think clearly and create write and practice.  There is no refuge anywhere. I used to be able to at least write, even though the lofty elite authors and artists and poets of Southwest Colorado LITERATURE don’t consider my genre or my work to be of any value…. but now… nothing.

I feel no sense of place. I know that eventually this feeling, like all feelings, will be replaced.

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