Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Eve in the "Ghetto"

My brother Ben has told his oldest son Aiden (age 5) that I live in the "ghetto". I don't. I live on the edge of the "not-so-nice" neighborhood! Anyway, here is my own version of the classic "Twas the Night Before Christmas", with a couple of extra stanzas added because I am verbose! So, here goes:

Twas the night before Christmas and all through my pad,
my kitties were being, well, quite simply, bad!
The stockings I hung on the wall with such care
are gone, disappeared, to I don't know where.

I had been nestled all snug in my bed,
my hair going which way all over my head.
I was wearing my sweats and my red Christmas socks
and lay there wondering if I'd locked all my locks?

Because out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
I ran to the window, not graceful at all,
and stuck out my hands to break my big fall.

The moon shining down on my grass dead and brown,
"Oh why no snow now?" I thought as I frowned.
And what to my bloodshot eyes did appear,
but a grocery cart pushed by a man drinking beer!

He was old and hunched over, not lively or quick
and I prayed "Oh dear God, don't let him be sick!"
Beside him his dog, quite ugly and brown,
was jumping as the old man yelled "Dammit, git down!"

"Now Bruno? Now Boxer? Now Jimmy? Now Spritzer?
You know damn well who I'm talking to mister!
Git up off the ground and climb up that wall.
And hurry it up 'fore the cops she does call!"

The dry, rustling leaves were swirling around
as that poor dog tried climbing up off the ground.
Up towards the roof, now that was his goal,
and he almost did make it, God bless his poor soul.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing and barking "Woof woof"!
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
drunk stinky man came tumbling down!

He was dressed in a coat and had two different shoes
and pants with deep pockets to carry his booze.
A bag of old cans he had flung on his back,
and looking at me, he put down his red sack.

His eyes, how they watered, his vision all blurry,
his cheeks were bright red and his speech was all slurry.
His small wrinkled lips were pinched tight and were pursed,
and he picked at his beard as he yelled and he cursed.

The cigarette butt held so tight in his teeth,
the smoke circling 'round his head like a wreath,
his face was quite dirty and his gut stuck way out,
he's not one of my friends, of that there's no doubt!

He was grimy and sweaty, a sticky old elf,
and I shrieked when I saw him in spite of myself.
He was blinking his eyes and turning his head
when I briefly envisioned how I would look dead

here in my humble, lowly abode,
here with my kitties and no one would know!
He still had not spoken much more than a word,
as he sifted through trash and I thought "How absurd!"

This man didn't come here to kill or to maim!
No, not that at all, that wasn't his aim.
But rather to scavenge some drink and some sup
for himself, his imaginary friends and his pup!

And as he tripped and fell flat on his face,
and before I did comment on his lack of grace,
it dawned on me that we were one in the same,
and that three years ago, that too was my game!

I was once dirty and stinky and messy,
and drunk and slobbering, to that I'm confessing.
So I say "Thank you" to God for bringing that elf
and for reminding me that, all by myself,

I am just as lost as that little old man,
and despite his appearance, he is part of God's plan!
So I grabbed him a blanket and covered him up,
and at the foot of my bed made room for his pup!

Merry Christmas friends, family, brothers and sisters...

Kris(ten) Kringle

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just Another Manic Monday!

Well, I've already written about being depressed, so why not write about being manic?

I have been fortunate to have been relatively stable for the last 3 years or so with only a few minor mood episodes. And definitely not anything lasting for more than a couple of days each time. My past experience has been that episodes of depression or mania last for weeks at a time. I've learned something new. Well, new to me. A manic episode can start and snowball in a matter of 4 days! That was my experience a week ago and it was beyond out of control. The "fun" part lasted two days, I think. Then it progressed to anger, impulsive behavior, and then some, in a matter of hours. I had a brief manic episode back in May but got it under control with the help of my therapist and psychiatrist before it got to the point where I couldn't stop the ball from rolling. But not this time. Last Monday, in a 24 hour period, I got my nose pierced, got my tongue pierced, added a little navy blue coloring to my hair (actually, it doesn't look too bad!), had 14 debit transactions totalling approximately $1000.00, used up a whole tank of gas without leaving town, literally threw away half of my possessions (this was not in a suicidal frame of mind) so that I would have less to clean and organize in my apartment, convincing myself that I was just going to live "simply" from now on. I even pawned some jewelry and electronics for next to nothing for some fast cash. That about covers it, as best as I can remember, or care to admit to, anyways.

After much resistance, I agreed to go to the hospital to get re-established on my medication regime. I was angry. I have not had a psychiatric hospitalization in three years now. For me, that is a record. I know the "nut houses" all too well. Also, this episode was not the result of deciding to say "screw it" with my meds and be my own doctor as has been true of me in the past. After a few restless nights and sleep disturbances that had started weeks ago, I lost track of when I had taken my medications and out of a fear of accidentally taking too much and overdosing, I panicked. By early Tuesday morning, I was frantic and decided that maybe it would be best to get rid of my medications - all of them - even non-psych meds. I have overdosed in the past and although I wasn't suicidal in the least, I was worried that people wouldn't believe me so (and my apologies to the environment, water supply, and raccoons) I threw everything away. Within that 4 day span, I could not recall when my last doses of anything was and I was already going through significant physical withdrawal. I had uncontrollable muscle spasms. I had not slept at all for five days or eaten anything for at least three full days. I was lightheaded. My vision was blurry. My hands were shaking uncontrollably. One minute I was melting, the next I was freezing. I could not physically sit still. My speech was pressured and loud. My thoughts were racing and seemed to me to be like a word-association salad of some sorts. And I was scared and confused.

I am now trying to put the pieces back together. My apartment is a disaster. I still do not know what all I threw away or donated to charities in a flurry of activity. The amount of destruction that took place in just a few short days has left me angry and frustrated with myself. This wasn't supposed to happen anymore. But it did. And it may again some day. I can't worry about that. I do not know what tomorrow or the next day will bring. I have friends who also have bipolar disorder who have been stable for more than ten years. They still tell me that they do not know what the next day holds in store for them either. The course the illness takes is different for each person with this diagnosis. It is not very predictable and there are no guarantees. Now, one week later, my sleeping is getting back on track. My thoughts are coherent and cohesive. I can sit still. I am grateful to be coming out of this "mess" now. Although I did some out of control things, it is nothing that can't be straightened out with time. I stayed sober through this. That in itself is a miracle. I did not hurt anyone else or myself. That is a miracle. I have many friends who were there for me, saw the worst of it, went above and beyond to help me get to the hospital, take care of my cats....and loved me through it all. They reassured me that everything was going to be okay and they did not leave me to struggle on my own. They answered the phone each time I called, they listened, they cared. I so desperately needed that.

This isn't something I have ever shared much about. I have spent so much time trying to "think" my way out of having bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, more than 8 college and graduate school courses in psychology did not make me immune to this disorder. I still struggle to see this as a "legitimate" problem, because I'm smart. And I'm smart. And I'm smart dammit! Well, smart or not, I need to acknowledge that this is a significant part of my life story. There is still so much stigma attached to having a mental illness. How can I expect that to change if I continue to walk around, ashamed to admit that I do have a mental illness? I am finally realizing that it is only a part of who I am. It will not define me unless I let it. So, now you know, perhaps more than you wanted to. God bless you if you are still reading this. My reasons for sharing are a bit selfish. It is therapeutic for me and it is an act of acknowledging what I am working so hard to adapt to. Today, it doesn't have to kill me. I don't have to "fix" myself, for that implies that I am broken. My attitude has switched from curing to coping and living my life fully. That is perhaps the greatest miracle of all!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Am Not My "Labels" - I Am Me!

I'm sitting here reflecting on all of the "labels" that have been used over the past 41 years to describe me as a person. I remember being labeled "gifted and talented" as an early elementary student. Kids with this label were separated out from the "others", those not considered gifted and talented, and given extra attention, extra opportunities to participate in academic enrichment programs and extracurricular activities. (The "others" weren't given these same opportunities in the 1970s. Where's the common sense in that?) I was a part of a Saturday educational program which exposed me to algebra, trigonometry, geometry, Latin word roots, vocabulary words that were longer than my arms, and challenging essays to read, comprehend, and discuss intelligently. I was 10 years old. At the completion of this program, I was registered to take the SATs right along side the high school students. My feet didn't even touch the floor sitting in those desks. Interestingly enough, I achieved my highest score on the SAT that very first time I took it, even though I took it 4 more times before graduating high school. So...I was SMART. And that meant I would be going to medical school because that's what smart people do.

I moved through college and graduate school with an acceptable GPA, despite the new label I was given. I became known as "the girl who drank way too much", too many nights in a row, and had to, on more than one occasion, be literally dragged back to my dorm room by friends who watched out for my safety. By my mid twenties, that label was officially upgraded to "alcoholic". This should come as no surprise to those who attended school with me or those who would later come to be coworkers and friends of mine. That label is not nearly as desirable as being an academic overachiever although I do believe that I did a much better job of being an alcoholic than I ever did of being a student! Medical school was out. Graduate school was almost out. I struggled to be a dependable employee and citizen. I equated being an alcoholic with being a dismal failure. I relabeled myself as a LOSER, because that's what alcoholics are.

Then in 1998, it became clear that there was something else going on besides active addiction. I found myself becoming increasingly more out of control, even during periods when I had been able to stop drinking for a while. Some days, I was so depressed that I couldn't even get out of bed. I wouldn't shower. I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't answer the phone. I wouldn't open my blinds. I simply layed in my bed for days on end. Sometimes I'd cry for hours, other times I couldn't cry at all. Then after several weeks of deep depression, my brain would get a surge of activity from what seemed like the middle of nowhere and I was on top of the world. I went shopping and bought lots of things, most of the time not even remembering what I bought. I maxed out all of my credit cards. I had ten of them at one point. I would go for drives with the windows down, music blaring, chasing down other cars and semis and blowing right by them. There were times when, out on the highway, my speed exceeded 100 mph. If you've ever driven a compact car at that speed, you know that as you whiz by a semi, the car vibrates and there is this tremendous draft or pull towards the truck. I was never scared. It never occurred to me that that was dangerous. I did not have a death wish, I was having fun. I finger painted my coffee tables. I went for days on end without sleep, not even feeling tired physically or emotionally. My creativity flowed easily and I came up with so many brilliant ideas! I drove to Utah and back, stopping only to go to the bathroom and buy another cup of coffee, with a dead rabbit that I had accidentally run over, gently wrapped in a light blue baby blanket on the front passenger's seat of my Mazda Protege, in a snowstorm one January about 6 years ago. When I finally saw a psychiatrist, he told me I had a mental illness. I was Bipolar. I took that to mean that I was CRAZY because I thought that is how mentally ill is defined.

It was around that same time when I was finally ready to be open about my sexuality, something I thought I'd never do. I was preparing myself to live a life alone, no intimate relationships, believing I was a sinner damned to hell for all of eternity. Once again, another label. This time BISEXUAL. I have had a number of unfortunate consequences as a result of people finding out that I wasn't that "nice girl" boys could bring home to meet their mothers and I quit several jobs because I was being harassed and didn't have the inner strength and courage to stand up for myself and fight for my rights. I felt "less than" and so, believing that I somehow brought all of this upon myself, moved to another state and started over. But I soon discovered that no matter where I moved, there I was.

I am also a "PK" - the oldest daughter of a United Methodist minister. Most people assume that I know almost as much about the Bible as my father does. Surprise - I know very little about it. I never saw the point in learning anything about God because I knew that I was going to be going to hell. Isn't that where all "over achieving, alcoholic, crazy, bisexuals" go?

Thank God I do not always see myself as the sum of my labels today. There are still some days where I wonder how or why I became such a misfit. Why couldn't I have been a "normal" middle class, mid western girl interested in starting a family and joining the PTA or becoming a Girl Scout leader? If I had, my life would not be nearly as interesting as it is now. I would not have met some of the fabulous people I call my friends today. I would not be open to meeting new people. I don't even use the label "strangers" because I believe that all people are "strange" in their own ways. Today, I do not identify myself as an "overachieving, alcoholic, crazy, bipolar, bisexual". Because those labels place a limit on how I am perceived and on who and what I have the potential to become. I'm still smart and I still love to learn. I am sober, for 2 years and 10 months now. I have bipolar disorder but I am not my illness. That may seem like simple semantics but it is important for me to realize that my mental illness does not define me. Nor does my IQ, my alcoholism, or my sexuality. I refuse to continue to apologize for who I am. I am coming to know God in my own ways. I may not attend church regularly, but I have developed a very spiritual connection with God and pray and meditate daily. I keep a list of things I am grateful for. I volunteer my time to help others in need. I extend the hand of friendship to those who cross my path, no matter what labels they are carrying with them. And most importantly, I am MYSELF! And I kinda like ME today, labels and all.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Maybe I'm Just Blind...

Please bear with me. I'm very tired but I felt like I needed to write a follow up to my posting from about 12 hours ago. If you have read that entry, well, you know that I have found myself in a very dark place, a very lonely place, a place that finds me unsettled. But, just as all of my friends have assured me, God will find me, even when I'm lost - literally lost!

Earlier this afternoon, after some rather emotional conversations with dear friends, I decided that rather than going home, I'd go to the park for a little while and just enjoy breathing in the fresh air. My first thought was to go to Columbian Park. I definitely know where that is. Then I thought to myself, no, I'll go to Happy Hollow Park. I'm 97% sure where that is. And then it hit me. I wanted to go back to Earl Park, to a place I would go with one of my closest friends a little over 12 years ago when I wanted to sit back and enjoy God's creation. I was 85% sure I could find "our spot" again. So, I headed out, set the cruise, cranked up the music and started my journey to a place that is about 30-35 miles west of Lafayette (I think?). When I saw the sign for Earl Park, I made my turn off of US 52. And I didn't recognize anything at all. But I was still sure that I could find my way there because I found it in 1999.  I mean, come on, how hard could it be? I'm a smart girl! I started down a road that led to another road that led to another road that dead-ended at a corn field. The road just stopped. There was a cornfield to my left, a cornfield in front of me, and some water to my right (a branch of the Wabash? a stream? No clue.) I had been driving for about an hour. Far enough away to cross into another time zone and there I was, in a field. No bathroom in sight. I forgot to go before I started out because the place that I was trying to find had a bathroom. And now...I had a little problem.

I got out of the van which I parked at the edge of the field and started for the corn. Even though I was somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, west of Swarmington, Indiana, I started wondering if I should roll up the windows and lock the car before wandering off. Because my iPod was laying on the front seat. And maybe, just maybe, someone could be lurking behind those dried out corn stalks, waiting for their opportunity to snatch up a free iPod. Didn't think about that for too long because...I had a more pressing issue. I walked far enough into the field that I was pretty sure I couldn't be seen from the road and yet I could still see my van. And I had a dilemma. Many know that I'm just a little particular when it comes to restroom facilities. I won't even use an outhouse or Porto-potty. But I had to go. Sorry for any visuals this creates, but I've already bared my soul so...I kicked off my flip flops. And lost the pants and the pink boy-shorts. I balled everything up and tossed it a good 10 feet away so nothing would get wet. I figured out how to stand so that I wouldn't pee on my legs because that would just be gross. And after a few minutes spent convincing my body that it was OK to let go, I...yeah. Putting my pants back on was more of a challenge because I can't balance at all on my right leg. And yes, the surgeon did mention something about having difficulty walking on grass. He didn't say anything about cornfields but he probably didn't think he should have had to. Dried up corn stalks are not very sturdy for those city folk friends of mine. So I grabbed onto three of them and bunched them up to make one strong one to hold onto while I worked my way back into my pants. Got my shoes on, headed back to the car. The car keys were not in my pocket. I had to go back to find them, somewhere in the vicinity of where I marked my territory. Found them. When I turned around, I noticed that there were a couple of logs floating in the water. There had to be at least 20 turtles sunning themselves on the logs. And I had to smile. If you've noticed, my blog picture is of a turtle, sitting on a log, in the water. I do not believe that that was a coincidence.

I started out on a journey to find something, anything to bring just a little bit of peace to my heart. I thought I knew where I was headed. And I got lost. Maybe it's hard to find what you're looking for when you're straining so hard to see something you want to see? I thought I needed to be at Earl Park. God thought I needed to be lost amongst the fields somewhere in rural Indiana, next to a couple of logs floating in the water, and the turtles basking in the sunlight. I was out there, wandering around, lost and a bit nervous about my ability to find my way out of there, and God found me. He came out there after me, turned me towards the sun, and said "Here I am, silly girl!" As I got back in the car to leave, I noticed that the leaves had changed colors. Yellow, auburn, violet, orange, brown. I hadn't even realized that they had changed colors, even though fall has always been my favorite time of the year. If I hadn't gone searching for something to restore my hope, I would probably not have noticed that the leaves were brilliant in the sunlight. I do believe that I could have laid down and fallen asleep right there in the corn field. I immediately felt the tremendous load I've been trying to carry lifted off of my shoulders and I felt light, free, loved. I felt peace. I turned the music off for the ride home. I let my hand hang out of the window and felt the breeze blowing through my hair (I haven't had hair long enough to blow in the breeze since 1997!) and I could breathe. I could breathe!. And I know now that I am going to be OK. I'm going to be more than OK. I'm going to be able to start moving forward again.

As I entered back into the West Lafayette city limits, I turned on the radio. This is what I heard:
"Somewhere in this darkness
There's a light that I can't find
Maybe it's too far away...
Or maybe I'm just blind."

The next verse starts like this:
"So hold me when I'm here
Right me when I'm wrong
Hold me when I'm scared
And love me when I'm gone
Everything I am
And everything in me
Wants to be the one
You wanted me to be"

Even though I was "gone" for a while, quiet a while, God kept looking for me and when I was so sure that I was lost, he found me and he led me home.

I debated about sharing this experience, worried that I wouldn't be able to convey what I felt this afternoon. I had even briefly lamented that I didn't think to bring my camera to take pictures. No picture could have captured what was laid out before me. And I don't need a picture to hang on the wall in my living room because I have it wrapped around my heart.

Thanks for not giving up on me, God. And thanks for bringing back my smile. (Not sure I'm so thankful about the peeing in the field, but maybe that was a good thing too!)

And the song was "When I'm Gone" by 3 Doors Down. Funny thing is that although I've heard this song many, many times, and liked it, it was not on my iPod. It will be soon.

Thank you friends for your patience, love, and understanding. And for believing God wouldn't walk away from me, even though I couldn't seem to find him.

God Won't Give Me More Than I Can Handle? I Beg To Differ...

So, here I am. Sitting in front of the computer at 2:59 a.m. I say that so you will know when I actually wrote this entry because blog spot never publishes an accurate time. Maybe it's the time zone setting? I don't know. And I do not care to know.

It's been several weeks since my last posting. Since I had already written about my recent struggles with depression, I thought I'd wait until I was feeling peppy again. Well, I'm still waiting for that peppiness to return and I figure that if I sit around waiting to feel better before writing something new, I may never write again.
Those closest to me know that the past 12 months have been very difficult for me, especially with regards to my physical well-being. I've been to the ER 13 times, had a 4 day medical stay, a hysterectomy, gallbladder removed, hand surgery to repair a damaged blood vessel and remove a clot, and an ankle fusion and tibial bone graft. I have had x-rays, CT scans (with and without IV contrast dye), MRI's, ultrasounds, upper GI scopes, a colonoscopy, a biopsy...yeah, I think that covers most of it. And lots and lots of blood work. I don't know how they expect my blood count to stay where it is supposed to be when they keep taking tube after tube after tube of blood.  After each "situation" seems to be resolved and I feel like I'm getting back up on my feet, I get leveled by another earthquake, followed by sometimes more severe aftershocks. Each time, I have crawled out of the rubble, brushed myself off, and started moving forward again. But life keeps throwing punches my way. I have also dealt with some significant family relationship stress, attended the funeral of a friend's 21 year old son, and been notified that my prescription drug benefits are being cut effective November 1. And that is what has happened in the last 10 days. I started the appeal process for my health benefits and my appeal was denied. I spent 3 hours yesterday morning at the Social Security office and the Medicaid office. I then spent 1 1/2 more hours on the phone in the afternoon trying to get answers. Well, no one has them. I don't know how many times my calls were transferred. Each person said the issue was not with their agency or department and when I called who they told me to call, I got the same answer. I have had to fight for my benefits for 2010 and 2011. Each time, it took approximately 5 months to resolve the issue and constant phone calls and trips to meet with someone, anyone, in person. Well, I do not have the energy to go through that process again. Not right now. I am physically exhausted. I am mentally exhausted. I am emotionally exhausted. And I do not feel God's hands holding my heart.

Some of my medical issues are greatly exasperated by stress. I have medications to treat the symptoms but the problem will not be resolved until my stress level is under control. I have been praying, reading daily devotionals and meditations, and praying, and talking to friends, and praying, and going for walks, and praying, and taking bubble baths, and praying, and petting my kitties, and praying, and watching funny movies, and praying, and making a list of what I am grateful for and listing my blessings each day, and praying.....and I am barely hanging on. I have forgotten when the last night I got some sleep was. I haven't been able to keep food down again since Tuesday evening. I lost track of the days and so my bills got paid late for the first time in a year. I don't even remember when I last fed my cats. They were meowing rather loudly so I ventured into the kitchen to find their food bowl empty and water bowls dry. I feed them twice a day. And as I stood there, I could not recall if I had fed them that morning or if they have been without for a day or more. I'm putting part of that on them however (perhaps as a way of trying to alleviate guilt) because their food bag is sitting on the kitchen floor, open, and they haven't helped themselves. Every other cat I've ever had has always gotten into the food or chewed holes in the bag if it's been left out, even if their bowls were full. So I'm trying to decide if my cats are stupid or lazy. Either way, it doesn't matter. I'm not being a very good kitty momma.

I know that I can count on my friends for support and guidance. But at least for me, right now, I am not comforted by their words. Acceptance. Letting go. Doing the next right thing. Pray more. This too shall pass. And God doesn't give us more than we can handle. I do know that what I'm going through won't last forever. Nothing does. I know that there are many others facing some of these same struggles and then some. I'm not proclaiming that I have the worst life out of anyone on the planet. And I don't expect life to be rainbows and butterflies all of the time. But knowing that doesn't take the heartache away. A little bit ago I was sitting out on the patio looking up at the stars. Tonight, the sky is clear. I must not be looking far enough or hard enough because I still can't see God. And I don't feel him. And I am afraid. This is more than I can handle. There is no more "oomph" inside me. Since I'm not able to move forward, I'm just trying to hang on tight enough that I don't fall behind.

And I keep praying, even if I don't think God can hear me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Name That Tune # 2

My iPod is definitely getting a workout since I decided to cancel my cable service over a month ago! I just snap it onto the iPod dock on my stereo and let it shuffle through my favorites. The song striking my fancy the past couple of days? Here's the lyric:

"You're just an empty cage girl if you kill the bird."

I must admit that I've been feeling a lot like an "empty cage" lately. I have been spending way too much time bouncing back and forth in my mind, looking for the answers to any number of problems that I am facing today. If I could just think hard enough and long enough, I am sure that I would be able to figure out why my GI system is not cooperating. I could figure out why there seems to be a little "snafu" with regards to my ankle healing after surgery, especially since from an orthopedic standpoint, I was doing better than expected. I could figure out why I am having difficulty with some of my interpersonal relationships. I think I should be able to figure out why, why, why. I mean, why not?

Why not? Because I am looking in the wrong place for answers. I could spend the rest of my life driving myself crazy with thinking and more thinking. I keep forgetting that I will get exactly what I need from God, if I allow Him to be in charge of my life. I wish that I could say that I am very dedicated to regular prayer and meditation. I'm not. I get busy with my day, the time flies by, and I'm too tired at night. What? Those aren't good excuses? No, they are not. I am finding that I need to make a more conscientious effort to incorporate prayer into my daily routine. A couple of things I have learned are that I can engage in prayer any time of the day, anywhere I am. And I have learned that time spent in prayer and quiet reflection (where I am listening to God, rather than talking at God) leaves me with a sense of inner peace and calm. I do not really need to have all of the answers. I just want them sometimes. If I keep spinning my wheels over things that I have no control over, I end up feeling very empty and alone. If I want my cage to be full of life, I need to allow God's spirit and the love of those around me to feed my bird...

The song? "Crucify" - Tori Amos, album "These Little Earthquakes"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Darker Days

It's been a little while since I've posted something new. I have been going back and forth in my mind whether or not to post an entry reflecting the "darker" side of me. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to go ahead and publish an entry, even though it is not the type of posting that I have been doing thus far.

As many of my close friends and family know, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder back in 1998. Over the past 13 years, it has been a struggle to find the right combination of medications to keep me "stable". Most of  the time, I have found that many different combinations of mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic medications would work for about a year or so and then stop working for me and my symptoms return. That has been one of the most frustrating things about my experiences with treatment. I have been fortunate to have spent the last two and a half years on the same medications without needing any adjustments, and have been the most stable that I've probably ever been since being diagnosed. I've had a couple of short lived manic episodes during that time, but didn't suffer too many negative consequences, definitely nothing compared to what I have had to deal with in the past.

However, I am now in the midst of a period of pretty significant depression that has been gaining momentum for about six weeks now. I was hoping that perhaps it was due to my having to deal with many serious health issues over the past year. I was hoping that now that I have been able to get out of the house and walk again after my ankle fusion surgery back in June, I would feel better again. But my mood is not lifting. Once again I am facing day after day not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to eat, not wanting to be around people, crying often, and other symptoms too numerous to mention. I do not like feeling this way and I am frustrated that I will have to continue to deal with managing my bipolar disorder throughout the rest of my life. I saw my psychiatrist this morning and she decided to do a little "tweaking" of my medications to see if this can be resolved. I hope that it does lift soon. Depression is not only mentally and emotionally draining, it is physically draining as well. There are times when it feels like it takes 72 hours to move from Monday to Tuesday and time just drags on and on.

The good thing is that I have learned to identify changes in my moods which lead me to manic or depressive episodes. I have learned from experience that I can ride through the darkest of days and make it through to the other side. Going to a bipolar support group and having a few close friends who also have this disorder has been a tremendous help to me. I have finally realized that there is always hope as long as I continue to do the next right thing, see my psychiatrist, my therapist, and strictly follow my medication regimen. Today, I am grateful that my depression is not leaving me feeling hopeless and helpless or even suicidal. That is progress. It was not too many years ago where I wouldn't have been able to say this or believed that things would improve. I try to remember that it is always darkest before the dawn. And I have learned that it is OK to share when I'm struggling. No one's life is always good or always bad. If I only share when I'm doing well, I am not being true to myself and I am cutting off friends and family who are there to support me. So, I will continue to hang on, trudging through the "muck" and allowing others to help me through. I no longer feel that this is something that I have to face alone.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It Pays to Follow Directions

I'm not always very good at following directions. It's not because I can't read them. It's not because I can't understand them. It's because I think that I already know what they are going to say and that I probably don't need to even bother looking at them or listening to them because I'm intelligent, and therefore I'm surely capable of figuring things out by myself! Over the past 20 years, I have assembled at least a dozen bookcases, shelving units, a couple of entertainment centers, a stereo stand, and a computer desk or two. You know the kind made of some sort of particle board painted to look like something much fancier and more expensive than it really is. I've found that they are all pretty much the same. So when I bought a cabinet with doors to serve as my pantry in my apartment several months ago, I figured it would be a piece of cake and that I'd have the thing assembled in about an hour and a half. I started screwing the shelves in after attaching the top of the cabinet. I then attached the bottom shelf, flipped the thing over, and tacked on the flimsy cardboard backing which miraculously holds the whole unit together. Then came the time to put on the doors. I had the hinges. I had the right screws. But I couldn't seem to make them fit. Somehow, the holes were not where they were supposed to be. I kept trying to make it work out. I tried for half an hour, growing more and more frustrated and shouting expletives at the top of my lungs. So, after reaching my boiling point, I pulled out the instructions only to discover that I had managed to screw the left side of the unit where the right side should have been. They looked the same to me. On closer observation, I discovered that the left and right sides were the same, except  for where the holes for the hinges on the doors were located. I had reversed them. The only way to make it work would be to disassemble the entire unit, which I couldn't do even if I wanted to since I had already tacked on the back. I thought about having my dad drill new holes on the sides so that I could make the hinges work. Wasn't going to happen because with the shelves already in place, the drill could not reach where the new holes needed to be drilled. So...my pantry has no doors. It looks just like a bookshelf. But it cost more than a bookshelf would have. I could have saved myself some time and money by going the cheaper route and just buying a bookshelf. Crap!

I think I have learned my lesson. At least for now. I recently had surgery to fuse my right ankle on June 21, 2011. This was a "follow-up" surgery to having a titanium plate and steel screws put into my right foot and ankle after shattering my heel in an automobile accident in May 1997. After this most recent surgery, I was in a cast. I was instructed to put no weight on my foot whatsoever and to keep my right foot elevated up above the level of my heart, 23 hours a day, for 6 whole weeks! After the first week or so I had had it. It took everything I had in me to strictly adhere to these directions. By the end of the 6 weeks, my x-rays showed that I was ahead of schedule in the healing process and so I got to bypass phase two, which would have been a walking cast and partial weight bearing, and move on to the "boot" and putting my full weight on my foot as tolerated. I was thrilled because this meant that I could take the boot off and shave my leg again. I could bathe it and put lotion on it. I could take it off to wiggle my ankle and my toes several times a day. But, I still had to sleep in that thing. And I was not to even think about trying to walk on that foot without the boot. I tried to sleep in my bed a couple of times but it wasn't working out as I had to lift my entire leg in the air in order to roll over and because my ankle was fixed at a ninety degree angle, I couldn't comfortably sleep on my side or my stomach. I have never been able to sleep on my back. So, it was back to sleeping in the recliner for 4 more weeks. As tempting as it was for me to "cheat" and take the boot off at night to sleep, I didn't do it. I continued to follow the doctor's directions.

Today was my 10 week post surgical checkup. This time, the x-rays showed that the ankle was completely healed and there were no indications of any adhesions or scar tissue. When the doctor moved my ankle around, it had a little more movement than he expected. And there was no pain when he stretched it, bent it, poked it...Great news! No more boot for me! My surgery was a great success and I am now able to wear shoes again, even flip flops! I can go barefoot in the house and on the grass. I can step into and out of the shower. I can sit in a chair without propping my leg up on a stack of 4 pillows. I get to sleep in my own bed tonight! What was anticipated to be a 3 to 4 month recovery period turned out to be a 10 week recovery. And it was in large part due to the fact that I carefully followed all of the doctor's directions to the letter, day in and day out, no matter how badly I wanted to cheat a little. After all, I have a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy so I do know a little something about orthopedic surgery, recovery, pain management, the use of assistive devices for walking and bathing and toileting.  Thank God I didn't assume that what I knew would be enough to get me through the healing process without following the doctor's directions! There is a young teenage girl who had the exact same surgery that I had, on the same day. I would see her at his office every 3 weeks for follow-up visits. She had not followed the directions. Because it didn't hurt "too much", she assumed that it would be OK to go ahead and put some weight on her foot, as long as she was still using the crutches. Her ankle was not healing at all like it should be. She is facing the possibility of having to have the surgery redone and starting the whole process all over again. All because she didn't follow the directions.

Perhaps I have learned something after all. Perhaps because my latest attempt at doing something without looking at the directions had failed, I have become more willing to look and listen to the instructions provided by those who know a little more about assembling a pantry properly or allowing the body to heal after a major surgery. I am so grateful that I followed the directions this time, even though I didn't want to, because it has paid off in the end. Now, I can enjoy what's left of summer, strolling around in my favorite Sketchers flip flops and painting my toenails. I think I'm going to buy a new toe ring to celebrate!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Unplugged

I am trying something new to me. I am giving up my cable and Internet services at my apartment for the next three months. Throughout my recovery period following my latest surgery, I became acutely aware of how many hours of television I was watching and how much time I was spending on Facebook, playing FarmVille and Penguin Toss. I also realized that I had been doing this before all of my surgeries took place. I have continued to surf channels even when I couldn't seem to find anything I wanted to watch and then would end up watching re-runs of "Law and Order" that I have seen at least half a dozen times. It never occurred to me to turn off the TV and pick up a book to read. It never occurred to me to listen to music that I enjoy. It never occurred to me to pick up my crocheting or work on my writing. Immediately following my surgery, I made grandiose plans of all that I could accomplish while I was laid up. I was going to devote those six to eight weeks to writing, reading, and working on any of a number of craft projects that I have started but never finished. Well, none of that happened. The first two weeks were focused on managing my pain and resting, which was necessary and the most important thing to be doing at that time. As for the rest of the time, the issue was not my inability to do these things. It was a matter of laziness. It was so much easier to sit and push buttons on a remote than turn on a lamp and open one of my books. It would take too much effort to grab my yarn and pick up my crocheting hook. So, I continued to watch TV, sometimes up to 15 hours a day. Now that is insane! I felt lethargic and like my mind was turning to mush. I was suddenly painfully aware how much I have missed doing so many of the things that I love to do.

Part of my motivation to give up my cable and Internet was driven by my financial limitations as the medical bills from my four surgeries keep coming in. But the more I thought about it, I was feeling drawn to return to activities that I enjoy and that stimulate my mind. So far, I have "done without" for 1 week. And so far, it has not been difficult. I have found many, many things to occupy my time and have gotten more accomplished in this past week than I have in years. I am aware that I am in an initial stage of excitement and motivation for my newest adventure. And I'm not totally giving everything electronic up and being completely unplugged. I am going to make use of the computers and Internet at the library. It is my hope that by spending less time on the Internet at home, I will be more focused and use my time more productively, focusing on my writing and researching rather than playing FarmVille. I will go to the computer when I feel a desire to do something meaningful to me. And I will continue to check DVDs out from the library, choosing more carefully what I would like to see. I know that there will be a few television programs that I will miss, like "Modern Family" and "The Closer". But now that programs are available on DVD and online, I know that I will not have to worry about missing out on anything because I can always check them out later if I choose to. I am also choosing to read again. I have always loved reading but have not done much of it over the past several years. That hasn't stopped me from purchasing new books that I think I'd like to read sometime. I now have managed to collect over 600 books, none of which I have read. I dust them off every few weeks and scan the shelves trying to decide what to read first, and then I walk away and plop down in my recliner and turn on the TV. If I were to read one book a week, it would take me a little over 12 years to finish them all. That just blows my mind!

So, after some thought on the matter, I decided that I want to at least try to get back to doing things that are meaningful rather than mindless. I have already read two books this week and have found that the time has flown by much more quickly than it ever has when watching "Toddlers and Tiaras". I'm sure that there will be times when I will feel like watching mindless TV for an hour or two and I may even regret my decision to cancel my cable, especially when football season starts. But in the long run, I believe that I will have a greater sense of fulfillment and accomplishment by doing rather than observing and that the time I do choose to spend watching a DVD or working on the computer will be more satisfying because I will have made a deliberate, thoughtful choice for how to spend that time.

Wish me luck with my "experiment"! I am anxious to see where it leads me!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mustard Seeds

I was flipping channels a couple of hours ago, looking for something to watch to help me pass time since I couldn't seem to be able to fall asleep. I stumbled upon a documentary titled "Serving Life" on OWN. Narrated by Forrest Whitaker, this two hour program featured inmates serving life sentences at the Louisiana State Penitentiary who were part of a hospice volunteer program, caring for inmates who are facing the end of their lives and dealing with terminal illnesses. This program was started in the mid 1990's by warden Burl Cain and gives selected inmates the opportunity to do something for another and to reach outside of themselves in the spirit of compassion. Most of the inmates are serving sentences for violent offenses - murder, rape, drug related crimes, armed robbery...I was deeply moved by their stories of how these experiences in the hospice care program have changed their lives and their hearts.

People who know me best know that I have had very rigid, strong opinions about the criminal justice system, what the "appropriate" sentences should be for particular crimes, and about the death penalty. Suffice it to say that I have had very little compassion for those who commit such crimes. I have tried to keep my ideas in my "head", and look at things "logically" and according to what I believed would be the most "cost effective" ways of dealing with "hardened criminals". I have refused to look within my heart and see these individuals as human beings. After all, how could anyone, any human being, do to another human being the things that many of these individuals have done? I believe that some of my rage, and if I am going to be honest, hatred, for perpetrators of violent crimes comes from my own personal experience of being raped at the age of 18. My heart most definitely became "hardened" in the days, weeks, months, and years following that experience.

Most of the TV shows that I have seen over the years, such as "Lockup" on MS NBC, focus on the violence of the crimes committed by the inmates and their continued violent behavior within the prison system. This documentary was the first that I have seen that focused on those prisoners who were trying to make a change in their lives for the good, even though they will never be released from behind prison walls. I watched in a state of disbelief at how those inmates who were a part of this rather innovative program treated fellow inmates with such love and compassion. It opened my eyes to the realization that no matter what a person has done, no one wants to be forgotten and no one wants to feel that they are not cared for. No one wants to die alone. I found myself thinking that even the worst of the worst of us has a tiny mustard seed of good inside of them. I have come to believe that no one is purely evil, lacking any capacity whatsoever to love another. This by no means finds me in a position of saying that what some of these men and women have done should be excused or dismissed. I do not believe that anyone has a "right" to act in terrible ways because that was how they have been treated. I still firmly believe that we should be held accountable for our actions and should have to face the consequences for what we have done. However, I am reaching a place in my heart where I realize that in the end, God will judge our actions and that God's forgiveness is available to everyone, whether I like it or not. It has taken me about 20 years to reach the place where I no longer harbor deep resentment and anger toward the individual who assaulted me back in September of 1988.

I still waver back and forth over what I believe our justice system should do with violent offenders. I see stories on the evening news which horrify me and I'm outraged. I struggle with my faith, wondering how a loving, caring God could allow these things to happen. But even though I may still be tempted to believe that in some circumstances, an individual should pay the ultimate price for their crimes and be sentenced and put to death, I keep coming back to the idea that "two wrongs don't make a right". I struggle with believing that God has a reason for everything that happens and that murders, rapes, etc. are a part of God's plan. I do not believe that God plans for any of us to do such things. I do believe however, that God has the power to change people for the good and although none of us can "undo" our past actions, we can choose to learn from them. We can choose to not repeat those behaviors. We can choose to reach out to others in need. We can choose to feel compassion. I try to make sense of it all and I can't. What I can do is hold on to the hope that within every human being is a tiny mustard seed of love and that in the end, love will  prevail. Hatred has never given me a sense of peace and serenity. Love does each and every time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Name That Tune # 1

I have found myself listening to the music on my iPod more often now, perhaps because I can't seem to find much to entertain me on TV. I was having a discussion with a good friend about what type of music I have downloaded and what it says about my personality. It was an interesting conversation. Afterwards, I spent a little time scrolling down through my music and noticed that I have a little bit of everything. Well, most everything. Each song that I have was chosen because something about it speaks to me. For the most part, I am drawn to the story behind the lyrics. Other songs were chosen simply for no other reason than I like the beat. Quite often, a line or two will stick out and cause me to think about something in perhaps a new way, moving in an entirely different direction from the story being told.

My thinking will often take off in it's own direction and every time I listen to a song, I think of something new. So, that being said, I'm going to share what sticks out at me when I hear one of my favorites. It may make sense and relate to the story the artist is conveying. It may not. I might stray far from the intended message, pulling a line out of the song, out of context, and assigning a whole other meaning to it. But I think that's OK because it stimulates my thinking and sometimes opens my eyes to new ideas, much like the way "free association" works. So, a line from the first song from my alphabetical listing on my iPod:

"Why can't you see me through his eyes?" And my thoughts...

More often than not, we are judged, and we judge others, according to all that we are not, to what qualities we are lacking. We compare ourselves to others and see all of the ways we don't "measure up" to everyone else. I believe that the world would be a much better place if we looked toward all that we are and what we have to offer to each other. We all have something to contribute to society. We are all capable of doing "good". I like to think that this is how God sees me. He is not keeping a tally of all of my "faults" and "flaws". I don't even believe that He is keeping a running list of all of my sins. He is not asking me to be just like you and He is not asking you to be just like me. He is asking me to be my best and to do my best with what I have. So, I am choosing to see others the way I believe God sees others and to work toward what can be accomplished if we all work together, lending our talents and ideas and efforts to make this world a better place for all of us. Imagine the possibilities if we all were to strive to see each other through His eyes...

Can you name that tune? It is "According to You" by Orianthi,  album "Believe" (bonus track version).

Until next time...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Have Rules!

I was pretty young, maybe 3 or 4 years old, when I started to understand that life has "rules" to live by. There were rules at home. Clean your plate. Close your eyes, bow your head, and clasp your hands when you pray. Pick up your toys. Don't hit your brothers or sister. Definitely don't put your little brother in your doll highchair and force feed him blue play dough!

I'm not really sure why, but I began making up my own rules to live by. I started by dumping all of my crayons out of the box and then rearranging them according to the colors of the rainbow. Black, white, grey, and brown went in last. And each crayon had to be turned so that the black oval and the word Crayola faced the front of the box. Once I wore out the tips on the crayons, I threw out the whole box and got more. I refused to use the sharpener on the back of the box. I refused to share my crayons because I didn't want anyone messing up my order. I also began arranging my M&Ms before eating them. I carefully examined the "M"s on the front to identify the most perfect ones. I then sorted them into color groups and ranked the groups according to my "M&M Perfection Plan". It would take me about an hour to get ready to eat a small bag of M&Ms. Over the years, I continued adding to my rules. Now, at the age of 41, I know that most, if not all, of my rules do not make sense. And yet, I won't let go of them. My five year old nephew knows my rules. His younger brother will start to do something or touch something of mine and his brother will stop him, pointing out that that is just one of "Aunt Kris's rules". He doesn't know why I have the rules. He knows that others don't have those rules. But bless his heart, he honors my rules.

Lately, when I hear him talking about my "rules", I feel sad. It is a reminder that I do things differently and that I do not deal with change well. I've been reflecting on the impact my rules have on my life. I cannot even begin  to estimate the number of hours I've spent alphabetizing, rearranging, ordering, lining things up...No matter how I do this, I struggle with being able to walk away, worrying that there might be a better way of organizing things than what I had settled on. So, I ruminate and obsess and try to think of a more perfect way to categorize my possessions. It is never ending and time consuming. It is tiresome. It is not what I want to spend the majority of my days doing.

Some of these issues can be attributed to some strong OCD tendencies. Recent life events, taken place over the past two to three years, have opened my eyes to new possibilities and new ways of looking at things. I am beginning to be able to identify what it is that is really important to me and what is holding me back. So, I have slowly been chipping away at some of my rules. My colored pencils and oil pastels are just put in their boxes in no particular order. Some are even broken. And I'm OK. The world has not fallen apart. I can now eat a meal in a restaurant, even if the food is not arranged in the "right" way on the plate. I'm beginning to loosen up on having everything I own alphabetized and categorized. I can even eat a package of M&Ms without grouping them!

I am finally accepting that for many things, there are many ways to go about getting the same results. I am reminded of 10th grade geometry. It was one of my favorite subjects. I spent a lot of time on homework, which consisted mostly of "proofs". Even there, there is more than one way to reach the end, proving the theorem. Sure, there is always the "right" way, the most direct, logical way of getting to the answer. But you can also get there following an alternate pathway. Even if your route is more circuitous, you still arrive at the endpoint. I don't know why that came to me the other day. But it served as a reminder to be open to being much more flexible. The more flexible I can be, the more open I am to all of the possibilities life has to offer. There are some rules that should be followed, that are the right thing to do (i.e. should not kill another). But life can be so much more enjoyable when I just go with the flow and let what's going to happen, happen. The real challenge is in learning how to adapt to the situations as they come to me. Life is definitely more interesting and less rigid that way. And I have so much more free time to enjoy what I am doing each day. I'm going to continue working on "letting go" of the rules that are holding me back and aiming for flexibility in my day to day pursuits. I still have to follow society's rules, but I'm pretty sure that I won't be hauled off to jail if I stop arranging my M&Ms.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Infomercial anyone?

Well, here I am in the wee hours of the morning, after being up all night. Actually, I've been up for two nights in a row. Most of the time, when this happens I find my mind racing so fast, jumping and skipping from one idea to another before I can even process what I am thinking about. Sometimes I sit up at the edge of my bed and jot down a few key words or phrases to come back to and explore later on. Other times, I start writing frantically, trying to capture what I'm wanting to say. That can be frustrating at times because my mind spins at the speed of light while my hand, well, doesn't. And the faster I try to write, the faster my hand cramps up. Perhaps one day, I'll make the transition to the laptop and skip the "old school" method of scribbling on a legal pad, drawing arrows in red ink to mark what sentences I want to move to another spot. But maybe not just yet. I've managed to amass a huge quantity of legal pads, and not the "cheap" ones, and more pens than I can count. There's something about all of the back-to-school sales that sucks me in at the beginning of the school year. I finished my master's degree in 1995 but I still buy the stuff, just in case....Did you know that WalMart sells boxes of 24 Crayola crayons for $0.25 each? I haven't used crayons in what, over 25 years now? But I am still  convinced that one day I will need them. All 50 boxes of them. That's the limit WalMart will allow you to buy. It may be a little obvious by now that I have some "issues" and struggle with some OCD symptoms. I try not to go to WalMart from mid-July until the end of August. I am slowly managing to decrease my inventory and donate a lot of the school supplies I have accumulated to local charities and group homes for children. Progress not perfection!

Since I have decided to start this blog, I've spent quite a bit of time pondering possibilities and thinking about what I would want to write about. (Perhaps that has contributed to my insomnia?!) Do I want to stick with a specific topic? Do I want to make an entry every day? I have jotted down a dozen or so ideas of subjects to reflect upon and they go in many different directions. So for now, I'm just going to write when I feel inspired to do so and to write about where my spirit is leading me.

Now, to try to make the connection between what I am writing and the title of this particular entry. Fellow night owls can attest to the fact that TV choices are pretty slim pickings in the middle of the night. Take for example this evening. TLC was running episodes of LA Ink all night. They were only showing three episodes. After the third, they'd go back to the first and repeat them all again. VH1 was following suit, running episodes of Celebrity Rehab. Most other channels are running "paid advertisements", enticing me to purchase things I didn't even know I needed! Those product hosts are good. By the end of the 30 minutes, I'm convinced that I really do need what they are selling. I pull my bank account up online to see how much money I have and try to figure out if I could get the new gadgets and still have money left over to buy cat food for Tiptoe and Fuzzy. This is one of the reasons that I do not have credit cards. I do have a debit card but simply knowing that if I use it, the money will come out of my account immediately, is usually enough to stop me.

I will close with a poem that I wrote back on September 24, 2010:

Untitled XII

Do you ever wonder if
the memories you have
chosen to carry from
the very first time you
could even remember
into today are real?
Or are they exaggerated,
distorted events
assembled according to
the directions on
the back of the box
of that kit
no one can live without,
that you ordered
off of channel 12
for $19.95 and free S & H
that first night
that you couldn't fall asleep?

Future entries will be a little more succinct!
Going to try to catch some zzzzz's now that the sun is starting to rise.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

About me...

When I started to create my blog profile, I saw that it was possible to add information about myself in the profile. After staring at the computer screen for several minutes, I opted not to add anything. I didn't feel that listing my favorite books, music, movies, etc. would be anything other than simply lists, and that for the most part, really wouldn't give much of a picture of who I am. And yet I couldn't stop thinking about who I am, how I define myself...

Life is full of "labels", little boxes I can put myself in that would let others know who I am and what I stand for and believe in. These boxes, roles I play, change over time and the more I come to know myself, the more boxes I see to put myself in. These are some of my boxes: child, daughter, sister, mother, lover, lesbian, student, professional, poet, musician, pet owner (crazy cat lady?!), Caucasian, Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, volunteer, Christian, softball player, die hard Cubs fan, alcoholic, mentally ill, disabled...and many, many more. At first, this bothered me. There are too many boxes. And I have very little room in my apartment to store them all!

I am finally beginning to see that I am more than my labels, my boxes. So much more. Today I am striving to love, accept, and appreciate all of me and celebrate the innumerable life experiences that have contributed to the person I have become today. I recognize and embrace the "good" and the "not-so-good". I recognize and embrace my joys and my sorrows, my nightmares and my dreams, my goals and my aspirations, my hopes and my fears, my trials and my tribulations. I think of all of the people I have known over the years, the places I've been, the things I've seen. And what I've concluded is that I am a little bit of everything. I've stopped looking for the "right" box for me.

Can I relate to everyone? I'm going to go out on a limb and dare to say "yes", I can relate to everyone on some level, no matter how small. Have I had the same life experiences as you? For some of you, that can be answered with a "yes". For others, it would be a "no". What I do believe is that there is a common thread, running through all of us, that when stitched together, creates life's greatest tapestry - humanity. I believe that I am a little bit of you and you are a little bit of me.

So, I guess if I must choose a box or two in which to reside, it would be the box labeled "human" and the box labeled "Child of God". That is where you will find me and I will find you.

So You Think You Have Something To Share

Well, here I am, creating my blog site. I must admit that my knowledge of computers, well any technology for that matter, is quite limited. Ok, severely limited. But I'm willing to learn.

I have thought about creating a blog for some time now but was't really even sure what a "blog" was. I now have a number of friends who are bloggers and I enjoy reading their postings. More often than not, they leave me with something to think about, laugh about, even cry about. I am not proclaiming to have any sort of "mission" behind my blog. I don't promise to stimulate your intellect, your sense of humor, or your emotions. I simply wish to share some of my life experiences, my struggles, and my triumphs.

I have always been a "night owl". For whatever reason, my mind seems to start spinning into some sort of, what I like to call, a "story telling" mode. It's alot like having a conversation with someone who is not actually present and listening. Please don't confuse this for the experience of hearing voices in my head (although I have on a couple occassions had this experience as well!) So, that being said, I start out on this new journey of self expression, not knowing where it will lead me. Let the fun begin!