You were marching for me


Today is a day that will go down in herstory. 3 million women and honorary women marched around the world to make their voices heard. Our voices. Our outrage and love. Our fears and hopes. Our refusal to allow the horror looming on the horizon to go unchallenged.

Apparently, the world has our back too. They are almost as terrified as we are. Those 3 million people weren’t just here in the United States of America. They were all over the world. Women. All. Over. The. World. Marched. Thank you England, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. But holy mother of god thank you Kosovo. Seriously, Women in Kosovo feel badly for us and wants to stand in solidarity. This war torn country want us to know that they’ve got OUR backs.gty-womens-march-washington-4-jt-170121_12x5_1600

Just before I began writing this, I posted on my Facebook page, “I cried so much today and wore out my love button on your brilliant and beautiful posts from the front lines. I am in love with every woman out there who joined hands and carried signs and loved each other. My spirit soared with every glorious moment you shared and my spirit sped to everywhere you were. I am in awe of the truths shouted loudly, clearly and full of passionate intelligence, wit, and force. No-one will ever forget this day. I have my work to do – work that I can do to contribute to the greater good – and I’ll do it. Proudly, fiercely, and with devotion. You are my heroes and I have your back. Now, I need to blow my nose and charge my iPad again. I’ve got work to do.”

(I apparently was so much in love with the word ‘love’ that my composition skills took a back seat.)

So. I’ve opened my internet mouth. What do I do? I started scrolling down and immediately under my post was one of those Facebook things urging you to pimp your business page. See, I have another page. It’s not a business but Facebook doesn’t get that. Anyway, the only things in the box were the name of my page, the cover photo and the page description. It’s the description that slammed me. It said…

I write.

That’s what I do. That’s what I can do.

I’m a writer.

I write about my journey. I’ve been told that that’s helpful.

So. I’m starting right now.

Why wasn’t I out there marching?

I have friends all across the US who got on planes, buses, cars and trains to get to the front lines. To wear pink pussyhats and carry signs and Be There. Instead, I obsessively watched every moment. I cried. I reveled in every photo and post. I took immense joy from speeches and raps and those fantastic signs. I felt guilty for not being there. Horribly, horribly guilty. And ashamed.

Why wasn’t I out there marching?

I’m not agoraphobic. I’m great one-on-one. I love going to events like the theatre and jam sessions and giving big parties. At the moment, however, I don’t have the ability to handle crowds of potentially angry people. Seriously. Pathologically. I saw how passionately loving and peaceful these 3 million people ended up being. Well before it played out that way, I’d have passed out from fright just before I thought my heart would burst from the adrenaline that pumps through my body when I’m on constant startle reflex. Sadly, this is not hyperbole.

You were marching for me because I couldn’t do it. You marched for everyone who couldn’t do it. There are a number of us. In case there are any who are ashamed to own it, I’m taking this one for the team.

My point? I refuse to be ashamed anymore. This will take some personal work but everything we believe in takes work. This is also work I know how to do. I create things behind the scenes so that everyone in front and in the audience can shine. This is my love for the world in action.

You deserve, in turn, for me not to be ashamed to own it. I’m standing up for every woman and honorary woman who works tirelessly to contribute without marching. Your actions enable me.

I am a powerful and brave woman, responsible for my own destiny. I take chances and both soar and fail spectacularly. I know this.

So, why couldn’t I march?

I also have PTSD and have been living triggered for almost 2 years now. If you don’t know what that means, let me give you a shortcut. Imagine walking through a Halloween haunted house and discovering that they are all real and you can’t get out. That’s what it feels like.

Last August, I began a Hail Mary effort to make the horror stop. The woman – of course, it’s a woman – who is helping drag me kicking and screaming up for air has performed miracles. This is an agonizing and funny-not-funny story in itself. I will brave the telling another time.

When working on PTSD (and just about anything like this), shame is a frequent roommate. It’s not unusual for even the most enlightened people (cough, cough…).  I have to fight the shame and self-recrimination along with fighting the PTSD. And, I have to not be afraid to admit it. It’s such a rude condition, too. Can’t I just have the one thing to deal with without it imposing these pissy complications? Whinge, Whinge, Wink.

I’m no longer constantly triggered. It’s been about 3 weeks. I am like a toddler who falls down a lot but can sometimes giggle about it because I fall on my padded tushy and occasionally miss hitting my head on the living room coffee table.

I’m no longer living in crisis. May I express here and now what a mind-blowing thing this is? In the process of going from 100 to 5mph, I’ve discovered that my day-to-day stress management skills are a little atrophied. I don’t need those super-powered survival skills that my brain has been focused on every day. So, she’s also teaching me how to deal with the whole spectrum from miffed to ripping mad. It’s pretty cool.

Here’s how your marching + my personal brain health work are now combined.

Last night, as I was writing this, I made my first Facebook post about Donald Trump. The afterglow euphoria of this herstoric day was not yet faded and I was getting to work like promised. I am accepting the baton. I feel empowered and supported enough to do so. I stood with you every moment, soaking in your ability to do this. I feel my post was intelligent and had substance. I’m happy I made it.

Is this a big deal? It is for me. I put myself out there and stated what I believe in with no fear of repercussion because the repercussion didn’t matter. I felt I could handle it. It’s also what I do and I love it.

I write.

I bet there will be a day when I can go to a gathering. I fantasize about going with friends and not puking in the car on the way there. Maybe it can be like hountitled_artworkw I learned to love broccoli. It started out covered in stir fry sauce and great gooey things like that. Slowly, there was less and less goo and more veg. Eventually I was like, “Give me the broccoli STAT!” Maybe we can get together for coffee and I find that we accidentally run into more friends at the Colectivo. We have a great and passionate chat about something important. Maybe we all walk to our cars together and stand in the parking lot getting worked up about the thing that’s happening and what we’re going to do about it. All of a sudden, someone’s holding a banner and it won’t phase me a bit. I’ll be like, “And, my banner is going to say (something really brilliant)!”

Thank you for marching for me.

(Did I mention, I love you?)

 

 

Hi, my name is Susan and I have a vacation prejudice


(This was written in November of 2016 and has noodled around since then but here goes)

Date: Monday, November Somethingth Three Days Before My Anniversary and Barely Into our Six Night Visit to Max and Nancy’s Home near Cabo San Lucas, Meburroxico…

My best friend sleeps with a white noise machine. So have I for the last 3 nights. It’s called the ocean. The experience has made such an impact that I wonder if I should pick one up – a machine, not an ocean – when I get home. Probably not. I suspect that there’s no way to replicate this sound. It’s not just the noise. It’s about letting go of the voices in my head.

I’m on an honest to god vacation. From my monkey brain and my fears.

Preconceived Notions and Insecurities…

Back in the late ’80’s, when I (and my shoulder pads) started climbing my peculiar corporate ladder, I had young women co-workers who dreamed of this kind of romantic – romanticized – escape to a seaside paradise. I never shared that wish. I was mystified by how fervently they dreamed of sitting by a pool or by the ocean, getting a tan, drinking margaritas from sun-up to sundown, and shifting from a bikini to a mini-skirt to go out partying all night. I condescendingly – and silently – saw it as a desperate grasp at being beautiful. Holy crap – stick a fork in my eye. B O R E D just considering it.

Of course, the fact that I would never look good – as defined in my 20’s – in a bikini or mini-skirt never entered my condescension. My incredible social awkwardness – which made me want to vomit at the idea of clubbing – never entered my keenly honed sense of distaste. Of course not. Of course, my current physical awkwardness of lugging around an unbalanced body nearly at it’s height in weight but now on 54 year old knees never entered my current trepidation of accepting the gracious invitation that led us here. Well, perhaps a little.

What to do? What to do…

My previous vacations – the Bucket List Biggies – were Europe. Or hiking. Or hiking in Europe. All perfectly brilliant optionhome-banners. Nearly always the kind of vacation where one needed time off between flying home and going back to the office in order to recover from the vacation. I’ve built those requisite days into the end of this vacation but my mellowed brain is instead pondering how to use those bridge days to hang onto this feeling. Should I buy that white noise machine?

Ever since I conceived of ‘vacation’ as something I could do myself, I clung to the belief that the days must be full, comprehensive and thoroughly planned. This current mind and body trip to stay with friends in their stunning home on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico near Cabo San Lucas and just barely north of the Tropic of Cancer isn’t about hanging onto anything except the stream of consciousness that whisks hours away watching the ocean do it’s thing before during and after a couple of sunrises. Plus dips in the infinity pool.

I’m sure there are some physics involved – science with an exceptional tan – that enables that let-it-go synapse I’m experiencing. Or, disables other synapses. Something I do every day with the right medication and something that I do every night in order to sleep at all. If I sleep. Which, I’ve managed to do quite easily – perhaps for the first time in my life – here.

In the social awkwardness category, my anxiety about this getaway was horror at imposing myself for so many days as a guest in someone’s home. Joyful and engaging pre-vacation get-togethers with Max and Nancy led to their kind invitation to visit. I didn’t want to jinx that magical connection by being the guest that would never leave. Our hosts are neat people and our dinners made me feel witty, curious, and relaxed. How in the hell could I keep that up for more than a 2-hour dinner, much less for almost a whole week? I’m so screwed.

Our hosts have pulled out their sure-fire menu of guest experiences and it’s working like magic.

Nancy asked what we wanted to do when we got here. I was clueless. The activities and sights are usually what drives me to visit a particular place. We came here simply because we were invited. Thank goodness she extended the invitation several times – often enough for us to plunge in and say yes. Blessed tenacity.

We contributed a few activity ideas. I wanted to sit and stare at the ocean, read my book and hike. Maybe do some writing. Fry wanted to snorkel, parasail, body surf, ride horses, eat hot peppers, snorkel, drink tequila, hike and snorkel. Nancy crafted the perfect itinerary.

This is the weirdest, freakiest c99fafd9c69abe86c38cd0eb83bd2ed03ombination of heart-palpitating experiences and the calmest atmosphere in which to experience them. Not only did I have no idea what to expect and pre-worry – but I released all control. I pretended to consider and choose among Nancy’s suggestions of what we should do at any given time but really, I just trusted her. She built in plenty of time for me to sit and stare. I have reveled in rolling with anything.

Their magic has worked miracles…

My goodness, my pathological concern about my inability to be enjoyable company for so long and to not be underfoot has evaporated. I don’t feel like I’m imposing.

My goodness. I actually can stare at the ocean for hours and never be bored. The sound of waves crashing outside my screen door – which we keep open all night long – does not drive me bonkers.

My goodness. I can walk into the sea up to my knees and get buffeted around and get scared I’m going to fall and not be able to get up and be okay. I can dunk my head under the water in the pool and swim 2.2 strokes before blowing my air and following the bubbles up 6 inches and be okay.

It’s only been 3 days. I have plenty of time to screw this up.

Friendship…

This extended visit is enabling our friendship vs engendering the horror I anticipate will happen when Nancy and Max realize that I’m a boring fraud. I’ve learned that Nancy and I share a similar criteria for calling someone a friend. It’s an honorific, heavy on the honor, that’s earned through shared experiences and enough of a world-view Venn diagram overlap. I believe we are friends.

I believe that Max and Fry share a similar criteria with each other for considering someone a friend. It consists of proximity and an innate delight in their humanity. That’s all the groundwork needed. Everything else is showing each other the electrical room for their solar paneled home and the website of their artwork and sharing exceptional tequila and a gorgeous sense of adventure. That and their respective devotion to their iPhones are all the Venn diagram overlap required.

Baggage…

For the first time in my memory I managed this trip with carry-on. Perhaps that primed the pump. My ‘must have handy’ bits and bobs have pared down dramatically. I started out with earrings, purse, antacid tablets, credit cards, nail clippers, eyeliner, and a variety of ‘spring into action / take immediate care of whatever catastrophe might strike’ supplies. It’s now my phone for pictures and posting. Lip balm, sunscreen, bottled water and… that’s it. Oh, and the sun hat that Nancy lent me is convenient. Right now, I’m using it for set deco on the table where I’m writing. I don’t need it. It just looks pretty sitting there. Like I’m ready to spring into action. Which I’m not.

I’ve been wearing my bathing suit, sandals and cover up dress in various combinations almost non-stop.img_0054

Living here started out as a dichotomy to my American-expect-smooth-sailing sensibilities. Their beautiful home built from plans they crafted with their architect contrasted with a bumpy, dusty, long, long, long adventure of a drive from the newly paved main road to get to their house. I would get righteously lost if I tried to find my way out.

They live in a town that at first glance looked to me like a bunch of large houses with lots and lots of space in between them and a bar and grill on the corner of the access road. I had an initial but brief Romancing the Stone: “This is a town?” reaction. It’s a town because Nancy and Max are so connected to their neighbors.

Flora and Fauna…

The flora is low, dense, gutsy, unpolished and dusty – except for the potted plants in colorful Mexican pottery that line their patio. The flora is also beautiful once you let yourself love it – which is easy to do as soon as you – meaning me – decide to drop the ‘but it’s not pine trees’ wistfulness. It’s beautiful. Especially the palms. And everything else.

There are no road signs but free-range burros roam around in the afternoons. I just looked up to see a hawk about 15 feet from their wrap-around windows facing the Sea. Flew parallel to the patio and my strategically placed writing table facing the sea.

The fauna are mostly the aforementioned free-range burros. We witnessed a mama protecting her baby from fellow burro marauders yesterday afternoon. It was quite the braying high drama conflict. We’ve also seen free foraging cattle ranging from Guernsey’s to Brahmas grazing at the side of the main roads. Can’t call them herds since it’s usually 2 to 6 of them at a go. Lots and lots of vultures. Great big ones. Hanging on the thermals – the vulture version of surfing – and keeping tabs to see if we’re feeling okay.

By the 3rd day here, it all seems perfectly natural. It’s just what you see and do. Time expands. There’s distance to cover between things. A trip to a waterfall and to a hot spring took all day. It’s a land of ‘you’ve got to want it’ and you do.

Life…

There’s nothing else to do and it’s more than enough. It’s not a compromise. It’s paradise. Not just because of the view but because of what it does to you. You can’t help it. Just try. You will fail. Why? It’s a mystery.

Yeah, you can get used to it but I get the rose-colored impression strife is more about the tribulations outside this world. Every home and life has it’s bumps like trying to figure out international health insurance options. The wind knocking down a glass and breaking the plate underneath it. The flock of birds looking for fresh water every morning who descend en masse to their pool and poop in the water regardless of how many twirly things you hung in the palm tree or the fake crocodile floating in the pool. You know.

Changed…

Thank you, Max and Nancy. You changed my world.

This is about as introspective as I’ve gotten in and for the longest period of time – or 3 days, whichever comes first. I’ve chatted with Fry about observations but they’ve lasted as long as it takes for the next 2 waves to come in.

I’ve changed for the moment. Will I be able to hold onto it when I get home? No. Does it matter? No. Am I ‘all better’? No, but better. Has my world expanded in just 3 days in magnificent ways that I could never have imagined?

Yes.

A week of cat hospice


Our cat died on October 26, 2015.

A week before Russell left us, he began a new phase of life.

His week  of hospice wasn’t a bad life. It was an odd mirror of his normal routines. Instead of making his way through his usual day, we simply carried him.

Russell Scot Fry adopted us in 2001 and was fully grown when we became family. Since 2008, Russell lived a fairly healthy life for an FIV positive cat. He’d even disappeared for 5 weeks once, during which time he went from a 20 pound Big Boy to a 14 pound, frightened little guy. He was a fighter and we nursed him back to health. Years later, hypotension, kidney disease meds were a daily fact of twice a day life.

He put up with it with relative equanimity – wriggling and hating it – but never holding a grudge. I finally figured out how to powderize the pills well enough for him to eat them in his food. Hiding them un-pulverized always meant a licked-clean pill rolling around on the bottom of his bowl.

We didn’t bother with the daily pills once he stopped eating and drinking.

This enormous, loud, handsome family member changed. Since I work from home, I was on daily cat duty. A visit to the big water pitcher we left on the hearth in the morning was cause for celebration. On the rare days he’d drink, I’d call my husband over and we’d clasp hands like our little one just took his first steps.

More often than not, he’d heave the water up soon after, but that became part of the day. I’d mop the mess and carry him to his cushy spot on the loveseat. Russell probably didn’t care, but it made me feel like I was doing something by fluffing before tucking him in.

When my husband would leave for work every day, he’d take a few minutes with Daddy’s Cat to explain that he didn’t have to hang out waiting for him to get home in case he decided it was time to go. He wanted to make sure Russell didn’t feel the pressure to keep going once it was no longer time.

During the day, I’d check in on him curled up in what became his afghan, his smelly afghan. A light hand on his flank just to see if he was still breathing. He’d look up at me like ‘whu? yeah, Mom. still here. zzzzz…’

He perked up when we’d take him outside. Before FIV, he was an indoor-outdoor adventure cat. Big game hunter. King of the neighborhood. Cock of the walk. Scourge of squirrels and bunnies everywhere. Outside was the magical place and he knew how to work it. Smart cat learned that if he checked in with us every once in a while, he could stay outside longer.

It made him so happy that getting carried outside became a regular event. On the grass and along the garden verges, he was once again Jungle Cat. Rubbing up against the yucca was cause for near delirium.

He crafted a bit of a routine, always ending up in the same corner by the base of the bay window. Sunny, perfect view of hid kingdom and just hidden enough. Russell kept an eye on things from there.

Routine was important to Russell. Mornings, downstairs for breakfast and evenings, upstairs for tv time until it was time for bed. At bedtime, always according to Russell’s clock, he herded us into our room, and hopped up on the bed into his spot. He would stand there, surfing the covers while I straightened the bedclothes. I like smooth sheets and Russell got very good about rolling with my tugs and tucks.

When going up and down the stairs got to be too much, I carried him. But, he was always able to get up on the bed himself.

There was a glorious nip in the air that late October. Russell’s greatest cat-passion was being on his cushion in front of the fire and the chill made a fire a delight. Truthfully, though, we would have cranked up the air conditioning and built a fire if it had occurred to us. We are those kind of cat parents. His cushion in front of the fire was always there. Always ready just in case.

One week after going into home hospice, I called our vet to check in. She was so caring and kind. She gave us some of the best advice and I’d like to share it. We all knew that it was only a matter of time. The one-day-at-a-time aim was to keep him comfortable and give him a good life. The one thing that could not be allowed to happen was for him to suffer.

All loving pet parents understand this. Never allow your pet to suffer. But, how do you know? Everyone offers the platitude “You’re cat will let you know when it’s time.” I find that to be specious bullshit. Nothing wants to die. Not a cat, dog or human. Your cat is not going to look at you with the expression that says “Now, please.” The best you can do is guess and then live with it.

Here’s our vets advice. Pick the day before the day it’s time. By the time it’s ‘time’, it’s too late. Your pet is suffering. So, we did. We called her that Monday morning to check in. We talked. We decided that that evening would be it.

Russell had a brilliant last day. Tucked into his afghan. Being Jungle Cat. Melting in front of the fire on his cushion.

It took 2 shots. One to relax him and one to make his heart stop. He died on his cushion in front of the fire.

My husband dug a hole in the garden in his corner – the spot he’d picked out. Just hidden enough and just sunny enough. Where he can always be Jungle Cat.12189264_10207967875864664_974061828700583590_o

To Tai Chi or not to Tai Chi – getting over myself


It takes me a while to figure out how to incorporate new things into my life. My typical practice is to muddle along with an idea wrapped in frustration until I have an aha that reflects how simple the thing really is. Yes, I try my damnedest to complicate things.
 
I’ve been taking tai chi for about 5 months now and have enough body memory to attempt a session at home but I have been unable to wrap my mind around the logistics. Where? When? Is anyone watching? Music? Silence? Will I do enough? Will I do it right? Will I get bored?
 
Where? In the front room.
When? Whenever I find the lull I seek.
Is anyone watching? Probably Ron Scot Fry, but he thinks that my movements are pretty.
Music or Silence? Yes.
Will I do enough? Yes.
Will I do it right? Yes.
Will I get bored? No.
 
This last question is the crux for me. I used to get bored, bored, bored training for my marathons. Last week, Sifu Kevin explained that tai chi is never boring. Today, I agree. There’s a wu chi space that happens after monkey brain stops flinging poo for a nanosecond. I’ve experienced it in class but never doing tai chi alone.
 
Sweet.

Benzo withdrawal for fun and profit


It slices, it dices, it makes mincemeat of your brain. And by ‘your’, I mean mine.

Lorazepam. Powerful, seductive, addictive. It also works miracles. It did for me, anyway. My Dr prescribed it about 2 years ago for insomnia. Over time, I developed a tolerance and had to slowly increase my dosage to achieve the same results.

As an adult child of alcoholics and having been exposed in a bad-touch-uncle kind of way to drug users over the years, I have a wary relationship with mind-altering substances. As a bipolar person, I will cut anyone who considers how funny it would be to take my lamotrigine from me. Trust me, I can tell if you even think it. Drug-dar. Violently protective. Perhaps I should up my dosage. But, I digress… which is something you should get used to.

Back to the point – that upping my dosage to achieve the same results thing. I did it under instruction from my Dr. I’d started with 1/2 a pill and had worked my way up to 4 whole ones. They’re teen-tiny but still. On the verge of yet another increase, it occurs to me that there may be no end in sight. I don’t want to need them. Like those tortilla chips coated in lime dust and fresh salsa. Don’t bring it into my house or it’s dinner. The sad thing is, I always run out of salsa before the bag is empty. What the correlation is between the deadly lime crack / salsa combo and lorazepam… I’ve lost myself.

When lost, I hit the googles. Interweb searches quickly fill me in on how life devastating it is to take benzodiazepines for more than a few months and I’m coming up on a couple years. Suspicions of doom, gloom, and psychosis lurk in the horror novel corners of my brain. Helpful articles describe the painstaking, equally horrid and drawn out process for titrating off. Sounds like a plan. Let’s do it. Here’s how it goes…

Down from 4 to 3 1/2… no big deal! I can keep this up for the chat room suggested 2 weeks before another 1/2 pill decrease.

Night two. Sleep? What’s that?

Night three. The googles say I should replace the decreased med with something over the counter. Ibuprofen PM doesn’t interact, so I’m sucking that little blue pill down like a man with a Viagra prescription and an expense account on an out of town business trip.

Night four. I have achieved dopey, frustrated, insomnia. The noise in my head is reaching a fever pitch. But, not just any noise. Music. One song. Loudly. The worst earworm you can imagine. I pretend that the white noise sleep app on my iPad helps.

Night five, the paranoia sets in. This is so ugly, I won’t admit to it.

Day six before night six. I’m terrified of the radio. I cannot listen to uptempo songs I know or one will haunt me until around forever o’clock in the morning. I start loudly singing Mama Cass’s version of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” throughout the day.

Day something, not quite 2 weeks in … I’ve lost the ability to count or feel my tongue …. I have a regular check-in appointment with my Dr. and tell him what I’ve started. He doesn’t physically assault me but does capital A-Adamantly explain that the googles will lie to you. Although delighted with my Mama Cass song choice, he’s speaking slowly and using small words because I’m obviously a naive idiot and should be treated thus. My brain and long stare concurs and I’m too whacked out to take umbrage.

Since my Dr. has met me before (read: knows I am an active participant and decision maker in my health care (read: a pain in the butt)) he prescribes a non-addictive anti-depressant to help me ween off the lorazepam.

Fast forward to today. Particularly appropriate since my vision sometimes looks like I’m jumping into hyperspace. In 3 days, I go down to 2 1/2 pills. The anti-depressant called Tori Spelling or something is helping and I don’t need it every night. The last 2 nights in a row have been good quality sleep. I still hear music in my head (currently “Go Ask Alice”) but some people I work with confessed that similar noisy brain conditions happen to them but they don’t admit it in polite company.

Don’t want to sound crazy, you know. Bless them.

Did I really wish for a good cry? How cute…

A good cry? HAH! I laugh in the face of a good cry. I don’t do ‘good cries’. I do forced-march-blind-with-pain purges.


A good cry? HAH! I laugh in the face of a good cry. I don’t do ‘good cries’. I do forced-march-blind-with-pain purges.

Did I really wish for a good cry? I’d like to say ‘be careful what you wish for’ in a sweet, smug sing-song voice but really, I can’t. I’d like to have gotten what I wished for but I didn’t. For a couple of days, I thought I’d gotten my wish. I cried. It was good. It included a picture of a tragically cute dog. I was fooled into complacency and then – wham. Why do I always forget that this is not how it works? Is it some kind of pain of childbirth memory block?

“The Fantasy”beautiful-fantasy-girl crying

I am tired, stressed, and stick-a-fork-in-me done. It’s usually the end of a big project and regardless of the brilliance and beauty of the end result, I’m strung out. I need … something. In my romantic, wishful thinking lizard brain, I imagine that a ‘good cry’ will do it. Some sort of episode that generates cleansing tears of relief and transition. An event where I’m ensconced in pillows and heave deep, heart-felt tears into soft cloth hankies. I will emerge on the other side with a clear head, glowing skin, and resolve.

“The Reality”

I am tired, stressed, and stick-a-fork-in-me done. It’s usually the end of a big project and regardless of the brilliance and beauty of the end result, I’m strung out. I need … something. I search and search and try to do the right thing and try to take care of myself and have patience and try not to become progressively more and more of a raving bitch. I fail. I fail more. I fail bigger. And bigger and bigger until my failure combined with exhaustion tips me over the edge. I hit full blown PTSD breakdown.

Day 1 is spent being utterly shattered and wracked in agonizing pain. If you’ve never suffered this, I’m not going to try to explain right now. If you have, I feel you blanching in horror with me.

Day 2 is spent being hypersensitive to light, sound, thought, breathing, and whatnot.

Day 3 is energized. Today is day 3.

I’d like another option, please. I grudgingly accept that good cry is a dumb wish for me. My extreme brain chemistry doesn’t get the cleanse. But, is this horrid mental purge the only option? Is this the way it’s always going to be? No figuring, reasoning, bargaining or trying something constructive has eliminated this process for me. Holy crap. On the bright side, it is shorter than it used to be. I’m kind of functional after one day.

I have no pithy conclusion other than the truth. Will it set me free? Perhaps, in a way. It doesn’t change this currently inevitable process but at least I’m not lying to myself about it. Oh, and perhaps I should calendar this cycle. Remove sharp objects. Lay in bottled water. Prep for fallout.

Significantly,

Susan

My good cry – Meh

If a mental breakdown wants my attention, it should request an appointment.


Beware what you wish for.

I spent much of the weekend aware there was a straw ready to break my back and send me into hysterics. It was out there somewhere, lurking, ready to drag me under. To catch me unaware. Not actively seeking it but suspicious. Would it nail me at the photo shoot on Saturday? Or thrifting with my BFF? Or … what? Show yourself, coward!

The insidious straw (see my Blog from a couple days ago) pounced from the e-glow of the daily news. Lalala-lah. I’m curled up on the sofa reading the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on my iPad – we subscribe but don’t get the physical paper any more – which is it’s own story. The headline should have read: “Susan! Run! This is THE Straw”. But, no.

This undated rendered image provided by Activision shows canine star, Riley. "Call of Duty: Ghosts" isn't due until November 2013, but Riley has already become the breakout star of the military shoot-'em-up. After footage released earlier this year revealed that "Ghosts" would feature a four-legged soldier, the Internet uniformly wagged its tail in anticipation. (AP Photo/Activision)

A war veteran bomb-sniffing dog needs emergency medical care and there are no vet (pun not intended) benefits for repatriated canines. Bonus: She’s also suffering from PTSD. I immediately teared up. My brain started spinning. Injustice. Hurt. Anger. A deep need to do something about this situation and an inability to do anything.

Heartwrenching sobs later. I’ve been rude to my husband. I’ve cried for myself and everything and everyone and all the things that have ever happened in my life and everyone elses. It lasted for about 4 1/2 minutes – including the time it took to indignantly drag my sorry butt upstairs and away from the world. (Unless you ask my husband, who will swear it lasted about 3 days)

WTF?

A good cry used to lay me out. Not that I looked forward to it, but I could at least count on a familiar process.

Again, I feel gypped. Only, this time, I’m still wary as well. Will I craft a self-fulfilling prophecy? Will I worry myself into a mental and physical breakdown? This is so tiring.

Whatevs.

I know, I know… what about the dog? She is living with a wonderful young man – the guy who brought her home with him from Iraq – and she’s getting the help she needs.

Me, I’m moving on. I have a full schedule of stuff. If a mental breakdown wants my attention, it should request an appointment.

Have a good one.

Significantly,

Susan