Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Teething Stage

I’ve been wandering around wondering if I have feelings left to hurt. When I’m alone, I’m almost certain that I’m heartless and soulless.

When you’re in limbo you find yourself with your head in the clouds, or anywhere other than the present moment, to avoid reality. Because reality does bite once it’s past the teething stage.  And what do you know? I have no Anbesol to take the edge off.

Bottom line: I don’t believe in love anymore. I never believed in finding “the one” in the first place.
Hoping this is just a stage, a transition.

Baby steps. Baby steps, I tell myself. With time this confusion will pass. I need to recognize this despite the fact that it seems impossible for me to move on. Obsessing is part of how I was built.

How many times did I endure the heartache? How many times do I look back and say, that was the moment? That was the moment you should have left. There are so many moments, in retrospect, that I start to lose count. But no worries, it’s all written down somewhere. So that when I stumble across it in my wayward travels I experience hell afresh.

I keep stopping to tell myself that the years were not wasted. After all, I was becoming someone, and even managed to create someone. Such a little beauty that seems to represent the best that was ever in us.


You do get to that point where you think you no longer have the capacity to feel. Then the thought of no longer being able to feel , or a memory, or a song on the radio, makes you wail. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Something New


Currently in search of someone to light up for.

Let me explain.

I drove around this morning to find that this song was not about someone new, but about someone who has been there for the last thirteen years. And it very nearly broke me.

For the past few months, I wanted to be able to feel again. To feel anything but this void that I find myself in. Now I want to be prepared the next time I drive into a pile of feelings. 

Despite the potential consequences to my psyche, despite the fact that I'll probably never be ready, and despite the reality that memories crop up and emotions will linger, I am in search of something and someone new.

I want to know what it is to be appreciated for who I am. I want to drive around singing like a madwoman at the top of my lungs. I want to be weird and carefree for once in my thus-far  paltry existence.  

Perhaps most of all, I want to light up like a fucking Christmas tree at the thought of someone. 



I can’t believe that you would think
I’d never see that you deserve the best (deserve the best)
If you’re afraid, then I’m to blame
I should’ve never let it come to this (come to this)

Sometimes we just have to walk through the fire (the fire)
Just to see once more what has never shined brighter (shined brighter)

Don't say enough, we’re not out of love
We just grew up having to find out that
Hearts go astray, sparks slip away
But I have to say, I still light up for you
For you, I still light up for you

Don’t let the tears undo the years
That got us here we traveled all this way (all this way)
And no matter how we sort it out
Know I’m for sure that you’re the one for me (the one for me)

Sometimes we just have to walk on the wire (the wire)
Just to understand we have never felt higher (felt higher)

Don't say enough, we’re not out of love
We just grew up having to find out that
Hearts go astray, sparks slip away
But I have to say, I still light up for you
For you, I still light up for you

Nobody said it would be easy
We thought we could prove them wrong
And we know it takes more than a feeling
To carry the two of us on
But I still believe in our love
Yeah I still believe in us
I still believe in us
I still light up

[x2]
Don't say enough, we’re not out of love
We just grew up having to find out that
Hearts go astray, sparks slip away
But I have to say, I still light up for you
For you, I still light up for you



Friday, November 27, 2015

On Becoming Self-Aware

Trying to determine your own self-worth is a learning experience.

We all make mistakes, but I refuse to beat myself up over my perceived infractions. I am a rare and delicate creature and given time I will come to understand that regret can sometimes be a good thing.

It is, in fact, better to have loved and lost. But the important thing is not to lose your sense of self. I was lost for so many years that I began to doubt my own existence. It's no way to live. I have recently come to the sometimes harsh realization that I am real. What I think and say matters. I have limited influence over what other people will do, but it is imparative that I assert myself. And that I continue to be myself.

Part of me is music. Part of me is writing. Part of me is my lovely daughter. Part of me is the light of self-realization. Part of me is hope. Part of me is a profound love of the world that I am priveleged to share. Part of me is regret, but day by day I am shedding that part. There is always a new facet of myself on the horizon, and new parts of myself to love.

Change is not necessarily a bad thing: evolution is a necessity if we are to grow as people. I grow by the hour it seems. I grow into things and out of other things, and none of it makes me a bad person. It is the essence of what it is to be human.

And it is time to be forgiving of others who are also ultimately human. I leave you with this beutiful piece by Hugo Wolf, sung by the lovely Jeanine DeBique. 

.
The Forsaken Maiden

Early when the cock crows
Ere the stars retire,
I must stand at the hearth,
Must tend the fire.

What beauty in the fire's light,
When the sparks are leaping,
I stand gazing long at them,
Lost now in my grieving.

Suddenly I remember,
Unfaithful fellow,
'Twas you I was dreaming of
Until the night had ended.

Tears well up and fall
One upon the other;
The day has just begun—
Oh, would that it were over!
 - See more at: http://www.cingolani.com/2em.html#sthash.o0lsEbAh.dpuf

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Every Which Way but Loose

Well those of you who know me well (or read my stuff at all) will be quite shocked to learn that I drove on the freeway the last two days. I must be losing what's left of my mind.

My job is going well. I still find that I need to get out more (some immersion therapy, if you will, to combat social anxiety). The struggle is real, people. And it’s really with people. But I can no longer drink myself into a stupor in order to say the things I’ve been feeling. Time to be as brave in real life as I purport to be online. Watch out Boise, I may even start singing sober again.

Interestingly, all of those years I spent nearly crippled with stage fright, I never thought of having a drink to loosen up. I was too much a perfectionist and thought surely imbibing something before a performance would negatively influence my pitch, among other things. Little did I realize (though it was suggested by one professor) that what I needed for this anxiety was medication. I didn’t take kindly to the suggestion that I needed to be medicated at the time, because I was a young twenty-something and I knew everything. Yes, those of you who knew me in high school and college might readily recognize that my head was, and sometimes still is, stuck up my own ass.

Yet I wonder if they had struck upon this particular cocktail of medicines earlier in my life. What might I have accomplished? I love my daughter and I don’t regret one second of our time together. But I wonder about how my path might have differed if I had followed my preferred professions.

And then, naturally, I wonder if it is too late for me. I’m almost forty years old (though some would argue a tad preternaturally preserved). Can I still do this? Can I open my mouth and allow music to consume me once again? Can I perhaps get back the octave of range I’ve lost? Or was that simply something that was never meant to be?

And then there’s the other art I love, that of acting. I started out in plays because I found it was the only way to speak in public that didn’t involve my stage fright. I became rather good at pretending to be someone else. No wonder, since I wore the mask of normalcy over my illness for so long.

So it’s been fun being a coward and hiding in the shadows. I’m going to start getting out there somehow. Maybe I’ll even end up a geriatric actress in a laxative commercial.


Stranger shit has happened.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Miss Mood

I'm trying not to be too swayed by my emotions. It's not working so well. One minute I'm fine and the next I'm openly weeping. Alone time is not my friend in this respect.

In Utah, I was a bit of a social pariah, with the exception of my husband's work circle. Now I find myself with a variety of social events on my calendar. It's strange, and a tad overwhelming. It's good that I'm getting out but I still find it difficult to mask my anxiety.

I filled my prescription, and I feel more balanced. I have a vehicle now, and a job. My boss is very focused on goals, which is inspiring. I've lost a bit of weight without really trying. These are all excellent things.

And yet I'm struggling with my moods. I wonder how much is circumstantial and how much is just brain chemistry. I am at odds with myself. At times I know exactly how to articulate, other times my brain refuses to work with my mouth when I speak or my hands as I type. I am at once bold and then immeasurably shy. I have moments of calm only to have my pounding heart or shaking hands betray me. I started books in earnest and then abandoned them almost completely. I spend way too much time on Facebook, scrolling repeatedly, when I should be accomplishing something significant. Or even something simple, like remembering to eat lunch,

I sleep well, most of the time. When I dream, it’s about school or one of my first jobs. I’d like to say not all of them are nightmares.

Then there are the issues of awkwardness and silence. On Halloween, Violet and her cousin played “the quiet game” as we drove them around in the van. My husband and I played the same game as I dropped him off at a motel later that evening.


I am nothing if not stubborn and resistant to change. Yet I know, as difficult and illogical as it may seem, that I want to stay here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shattered

I was finally checked in to the mental health walk-in clinic. I sat in the corner, wary of all the couples present due to my social anxiety. I knew it would be a while. So I decided to check Facebook. I was reading about at a high school friend's overseas adventures when the trouble began.

The patient waiting at the counter seemed like a nice enough person. Nice clothes, hair done neatly, a red plaid wrap around her shoulders. She pointed to the receptionist and said, 'F*** you," in the calmest manner. She then smashed the nearby planter up against the wall, swept everything off the receptionist's desk, and attempted to further damage the wall (and perhaps the receptionist) with a decorative metal bird of some sort. When the gentleman behind her thwarted her from her attempt to inflict more destruction, she walked out. But as she did she smashed the glass of the front door and it shattered. Other witnesses said that the first explosion of glass sounded like a gunshot. I don't know whether she broke the door with her boot or if she had picked up another object, as my view was obstructed by a nearby wall.

The door continued to shatter throughout the evening, dropping pieces of glass at random times.

Oh, this adventure did nothing for my anxiety. I shook for hours after leaving the clinic.

But on the bright side, I got my prescription, after answering some awkward questions. About the wonderful show I was treated to in the waiting room. About the separation, About my old doctor's inability to help me and my new doctor's refusal to see me before November 30th. About my fun trip to the hospital that one time. About any manic symptoms such as overspending and hyper-sexuality.

I was on the verge of tears throughout the conversation. The physician's assistant concluded that, all things considered, I seemed a bit depressed.

The side door was locked when my appointment concluded. I exited with a few employees out the front, gingerly stepping over pieces of glass.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

My Social Butterfly

This Washington Post article brings up a lot of excellent points. As I read it, I recall a tale my mother once told me about how I was quite the social baby. I learned that once, as a tyke, I wanted a particularly ugly man at a bowling alley to hold me. I sat on the man’s lap, and laughed and smiled at him, as if nothing pleased me more than to babble at him incessantly.

That was long before the harm of bullying was inflicted, leading to my social anxiety. And I admit I now try to avoid most strange men I meet in bowling alleys and elsewhere.

My daughter, Violet, also had to cultivate stranger danger. She has always been a social soul. As a baby she once reached out for a female cashier at Albertson’s to hold her. She was insistent, and she eventually got her way.

Fast forward about a year and a half. There was an older gentleman in the dollar store who was raising my red flags for some reason. He was indescribably creepy.  He kept trying to engage Violet in conversation as she sat in the cart. She refused to reply, so he attempted to play a game of “peek-a-boo” with his sunglasses.

The man finally walked away. When he was barely out of earshot, Violet exhaled and commented, “Phew, that was close!” It was a phrase she had often heard watching her superhero cartoons. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.

I am a somewhat the classic introvert. Violet is extroverted like her father, and often tries to make conversation with unfamiliar children, but she remains cautious around adults in social situations.
I still need to explain the “puppy” experiment to her, however. And I think she would fall for the candy trick in a heartbeat.


Yikes.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More Medication Frustration

So where do I begin? Oh, yes, with the last two blog entries.

Called Tricare and they said to get an urgent care referral from my PCM. Called the PCM and the nurse refused the referral because my circumstances aren't considered urgent.

Called four people in Mountain Home, including the so-called advocate's office, which led to another dead end. Some pharmacy guy telling me at first he couldn't help because I wasn't active duty. Then he checked and wanted me to enroll in the medical facility on the base in Mountain Home. 

But I have anxiety, buddy, I don't do freeways. 

So I called up the local urgent care clinic planning on sucking it up and footing the bill. But they won't prescribe medication for an ongoing mental condition. I would need to see my regular provider for that.

Of course.

Once again, the PCM won't see me until November 30th even though I run out of meds in a few days.
And the old doc no longer has me in the system and won't refill my medication.

I called another local doctor and got a message saying they can't get to the phone and BTW, they are closed tomorrow.

I called a mental health place that has a walk-in clinic. I'm waiting to hear back. In the meantime, I'm going a bit insane.

What now, since clearly the government does not care whether a psychiatric-patient dependent goes off of her meds? I'm so glad that up until now I have not had a problem getting them. Upon simple reflection, though, it appears that I am one of the lucky ones.

I can't begin to fathom what the struggle is like for many of our veterans.

  



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Help!

Ready to report that Ativan is a controlled substance. Very controlled.

My old doctor (the new one I was assigned right before I left Utah, mind you, not the one who prescribed my meds) could not fill the prescription because I was already enrolled here. No one told me this until I called the old clinic again, though I sent a detailed message describing my situation the day prior. Yet another dude told me to call Tricare/United Healthcare, which made me want to scream. “As jacked as it sounds, the whole system sucks…”

I had a conversation with a representative named Carlos who apparently thought he couldn’t help me until I had called every doctor on the defunct website list in my quest for a new Primary Care Manager (PCM). Since the numbers I was calling led to disconnected numbers, pediatrics, and neurosurgery, this whole prospect of actually finding someone on the list who was actually at their designated phone number was…hmmm…disconcerting. The phone numbers and addresses were not matching up to actual providers. And the provider I was assigned upon moving here was a floater in urgent care clinics. Apparently there was no way to verify her location or a good phone number for her.

I hung up on Carlos when he told me to take a look at the website with him. Sorry Carlos. “Said no, no, you’re not the one for me…”

My husband (bless him) went to patient advocacy and the Tricare representative at Hill AFB (another acronym, for Air Force Base). Anyhow, the liaison there put me in touch with the liaison here (well, scratch that, pretty close to here, about an hour away at Mountain Home AFB). Two ladies who were better versed in Idaho providers took over an hour to determine that my assigned provider was unavailable. They then assigned me someone who is an actual PCM, taking new patients in my area. “Hallelujah!!!”

Um, well, the new provider has no openings until at least November 5th. They can’t even make me an appointment until Monday because I’m not in their system. Back at the ranch, I’m running low on meds. “How am I going to be an optimist about this?”

The liaison lady told me they could help me at Mountain Home AFB Urgent Care. So I went there, waited 35 minutes for a pass for my Mom, and went to Urgent Care. The lady there said, oh, hey, sure, we may be able to get you a prescription without even having you seen by a doctor.

“You’re just too good to be true…”

Indeed, dead end. They could only fill narcotics on base and because it’s a weekend, there was no one at the pharmacy. I was told to go to the ER in Mountain Home, and they would help me. As an added bonus, it was again suggested that I call Tricare if I ran into trouble.

I have no idea why a doctor couldn’t just write a prescription to be filled off base considering that a mental patient is about to go off of one of her long term meds. But what do I know?

Went to the ER. Explained the situation. Was told I could only fill the prescription locally when I was in Triage. Ok. No problem. Then I was told they were only allowed to prescribe me five pills.

After all the medical mediocrity of these last weeks, they gave me a lovely bracelet to admit me to the ER. The doctor led me past another patient to a bed with my own curtain for privacy. Then the tears started, silently. I was at my limit. “As the tears of frustration roll down my face…”

When I was released I was told I could fill my prescription anywhere. Does no one know how to do his or her job anymore??? So much conflicting or inaccurate information.

I was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder and panic attacks. Apparently they thought my tears were an overreaction to a recent, stressful situation. What they didn’t understand was that jumping through flaming hoops tends to singe you a little. “Doctor, doctor, can’t you see I’m burning…?”

So I have ten days of anti-anxiety pills (apparently 10 was the real limit) with no appointment in sight. I was told (har de har har) that I would be better off going to a local urgent care clinic if I needed more medication. But I need a referral from Tricare for that, so chances are slim that it will be covered. Apparently someone with multiple mental disorders does not merit any urgency in the eyes of my particular health care system. But for now, I must “Take a breath and take a seat and take [my] medicine…”

Imagine how difficult it would be to get this medication if I had no insurance.

I wanna be sedated.



(Special thanks to the Beatles, the Jacksons, KT Tunstall, Handel, Bastille, Frankie Valli, Curtis Stigers, the Thompson Twins, Floater, and the Ramones, for making all of these songs in my head possible).

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Medication Complication

I’m having some major anxiety about running out of anxiety medication.

My old doctor, who I saw last month, was supposed to renew my Ativan prescription along with my other psychiatric meds. He neglected to do so, and when I moved to Idaho the countdown began. I couldn’t get an appointment here until the 19th of October. My old medical facility graciously offered me a “bridge” of medication to cover the days until I could see a new provider.

And now, for your reading pleasure, a clusterf*** of massive proportions.

They assigned me to a new provider when I got here. Unfortunately upon calling her number I discovered that she no longer had a regular clinic to work at. She is what’s known as a floater for urgent care clinics, and she has been floating for two years now. So much for the accuracy of my insurance company’s information.

So I scheduled the appointment for the 19th with another provider at her old clinic. I called my insurance company to verify that I could see this particular provider. But when I called to double check my coverage it turns out that she only accepts the standard version of my insurance, which is not the type that I currently possess. So I was forced to cancel the upcoming appointment and find yet another provider.

I can’t find a doctor to save my sanity, basically. I’ve called my insurance company at least five times trying to sort this out. Each time they referred me to the website, which is completely out of date and doesn’t even have current phone numbers for the listed providers.

I got a lead from a provider who said a few health clinics in the Boise/Meridian area actually take my health insurance. I made an appointment with a local nurse practitioner, but that glorious occasion will not take place until the 18th of November. I searched, and searched, and searched for her name in my insurance database and finally found her. So I *think* I might actually be good. But I’m still not sure if my old doctor is willing to write me a prescription to cover my crazy ass until I can see this new provider.

So I got another lead through the behavioral health search tool for a nearby mental health clinic. The main providers are listed on the site, and therefore take my insurance. I’m fairly sure, at least. The guy who was available for a new patient? Not so much. The clinic told me to (HA HA HA MOTHER OF GOD) check the website to verify that I was covered before I came in on November 2nd.

I’ve decided what my new profession will be. I will be in charge of verifying the accuracy of information on my insurance website. I figure I’m already halfway there, at this rate.

In the meantime, I have four more days of anti-anxiety medication. I may end up in the ER if I run out, which is a really fun prospect. Cutting out a controlled substance cold turkey can be difficult, especially if the drug prescribed is a benzodiazepine. In fact, Ativan is so addictive that you’re not supposed to be on it long term, and I’ve been on it or years.

Still no word from my old doctor.


Yikes.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Separation Communication: Common Denomination?

I’m not ready to do this yet.

We were at a family member’s wedding last night and this morning everyone is exhausted. I so enjoyed seeing members of my extended family. But this week has worn me out physically and emotionally.

Now I have to speak with a member of my family who is currently living by himself in Utah.

I hate being in limbo. From not having our military orders on time. Or from the six weeks we spent in lodging while looking for a house in Utah. Or the many deployments and other assignments we were required to endure. Now this, a separation (of my choosing this time), lasting an undetermined length of time, is the latest limbo bound to drive me loony.

I am trying to create my path to happiness and preserve my little family, but I’m not sure I can have it all.

My husband is bound by duty to stay in Utah until he can separate from service. I need to determine my own wants and needs and see if I can fit into this equation again, this strange and complicated word problem.


Unfortunately I’ve always sucked at math. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Where I Hang my Hat

Standing in the front window at my mother’s house always reminds me of waiting for dates when I was a kid.

Here, I am home. My friends are here. My family is here. Memories are here. My first kiss was on this street. Who needs a new house when you have one with great character and company?

Here I have three dogs to laugh at, but I have traded one sickly cat for another.

Then there are the little differences. I can use water straight from the tap and not filter it. I can eat what I want without fear of admonishing eyes. I don’t have to separate the fiction from the non-fiction on the bookshelf. I add fabric softener to the load of towels like a normal fucking person. There is stuff, stuff and more stuff, and clutter everywhere. I can clean up after a pet without being told that I’m not doing it right. Everyone helps clean up after themselves so I don’t feel like the maid.

I have faith in my abilities. I am appreciated and loved. People acknowledge my natural talents instead of trying to stuff me into an ill-fitting cookie cutter.

I have emergency contacts that you can actually rely upon in case of an emergency.

There is always something going on; it’s certainly not as isolated as I have been for many years. I’m a rather phobic introvert, and yet that lack of daily socialization caused much internal strife and seemingly unquenchable loneliness.

Most notably: there is no inference of I love you, but I would love you more if you kept up with the house in the way I prefer. Or if you lost a little weight. Or if you had a "real" job.

This is contentment and comfort. This is home.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Scars Sublime


As with all freaks of nature, I have scars to prove my trials.
 
When I was in kindergarten, a little boy named Jason was picking on me in the lunch line.  He shoved his tray at me, and I shoved back.  He then shoved me up against the nearby rail in the lunch room.  I got two bruises from this incident, which my parents immediately inquired about upon seeing them that evening.  I told them what had happened, and we all figured that was the end of it.

I developed chicken pox the next day.  And I admit, I was scratching all kinds of places I shouldn’t be scratching, including my back.  Most people would have had a few small, circular scars left over from this illness.

So what happened to me?  My bruises scarred over.  I have two large oval shaped scars on my back that have spread over the years since.  They itch like hell.  Once in a while, I toy with the idea of getting something tattooed over them.

I’ve always contended that to live is to “walk with scars sublime.” The Goo Goo Dolls back in the day sang that “the scars are souvenirs you never lose…the past is never far.” And the past can certainly be part of the present with my particular obsessive disorder.

I’ve already discussed my disgust with a certain individual in my past. The one who clearly didn’t know what the word “no” meant. I’ve yet to delve into the scars left by a much longer relationship. I need to somehow go beyond these hurtful words and incidents, to learn what it is to forgive.  I may never forget, but I have to move on.


The scars might be indelible but I have to learn from them, lest the years should lose their meaning. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cheap Shots

I was thinking of you while I wrote this song
But a list of your offenses would take too long
Let’s just say I won’t do another dish
For a no-good, lying, evil son of a bitch

The cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots
Old Crow, Wild Turkey, Mad Dog, Thunderbird, anything hits the spot
Every night I end up doubled over in the parking lot
Because the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots

I’ve been stupid but faithful all these years
So terms like slut and whore don’t apply;
You’ve pushed me past hurt and grief and tears,
One more “See you next Tuesday” and I’ll just say goodbye
           
‘Cause the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots
Old Crow, Wild Turkey, Mad Dog, Thunderbird, anything hits the spot
Every night I end up doubled over in the parking lot
Because the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots
           
Your critical clamoring makes me twitch
But when all is said and done
I’d rather be an ugly, lame, frigid bitch
Than a beer-bellied psycho with a forked tongue
           
The cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots
Old Crow, Wild Turkey, Mad Dog, Thunderbird, anything hits the spot
Every night I end up doubled over in the parking lot
Because the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots

Maybe I just need to detox
I don’t want to get on a soapbox       
But the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots

I know that this might come as quite the revelation
But I need an extended vacation
From this unjust character assassination… 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Change

A lot has been going on lately. To say the least.

I moved with my daughter from Utah to Boise, ID on Sunday. 

I am not interested in placing blame. I feel lost and yet completely at home at the same time. I don't cry until someone expresses sympathy. I have plenty of support here, but I worry. 

I have a disease that thrives on uncertainty, yet here I am.

I will continue to write, because I have to put these ill-formed brain children somewhere. Even if their mother feels a bit shattered for a time.

Same soul, different setting. Time to find my somewhat twisted path to happiness. To strive for improvement, not perfection. And to reflect on the endless possibilities at present.

It is both the least, and the best, that I can do.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Random True Tidbits

Only in Utah would a girls’ soccer team be called “The Black Panthers” with ignorance to the historical and political implications.

My sister had a friend who was born with no arms and no legs. His name was Jake. She took him to a corn maze one year. My tasteless joke, of course? “What do you call a man with no arms and no legs lost in a corn field? Jake.”

Another evening Jake had come over to visit at my mother’s house. There were several candles burning on the table. The cat, K.C., jumped up on the table and proceeded to light her tail on fire. Rather frantically, Jake blew her tail out. Forgive me, but there’s something funny about a man with no arms and no legs blowing your cat out.

My grandmother once told me an anecdote about one of her friends. It seems this older gal had an appointment with her gynecologist. She prepared by using feminine spray. However, when she grabbed the can from under the sink, she didn’t have her glasses on.

The gynecologist was quite surprised upon beginning his exam. “Oh wow, you really got all dolled up for me, didn’t you?” He said. This was rather perplexing to his patient, who had no idea what he was talking about. Upon arriving at home, however, she discovered that she mistook a can of Halloween hair glitter for the can of feminine spray.

My other grandmother would often write dirty jokes and references in her letters to us. They were encrypted, however, by her scrawled handwriting. Once she told my older sister in a letter to “...hold on to her boyfriend with both arms, but keep your legs closed, like your mother.” My Uncle Michael told me the story of how he kept my grandmother preoccupied for a time. On a napkin, he wrote “How to keep an Italian busy. Over.” The other side repeated the same phrase. After flipping the napkin repeatedly, my grandmother said, “I don’t get it.” Occasionally her obliviousness caused hilarity. During one visit she told us that she enjoyed getting “a blowjob” from the hairdresser because “he gives the best blowjobs.”

Speaking of BJs, one time my college friend BJ was a bit drunk. My mattress sagged significantly in the middle and as he was sitting on the edge of the bed, he started to fall in towards me. “It’s a trap!” he exclaimed.

Another lady, who shall remain nameless, became distraught when her nearly-new car began to behave strangely. It was sitting in the driveway and would periodically lock and unlock, and set off its alarm for no discernible reason. Convinced that the car was possessed, she took it into the dealership. They insisted that they could find nothing wrong with the vehicle. Unimpressed, she demanded that she receive a new vehicle.

She brought her new vehicle home and it behaved normally. Upon taking the laundry out of the dryer, however, she found her husband’s key fob to the old car.

Anyone else have a funny but true story? Leave it in the comments if you will. I could use a laugh.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mental Moments

It’s been over six years since I was hospitalized. This is some of what I remember.

I sang songs from Broadway musicals at the top of my lungs while restless and wandering the halls. I was suddenly in a place where fear of performing was insignificant compared to all of my other fears.

Upon intake, the guy who interviewed me told me that I would be responsible for all damages (for example, if I were to get angry and throw a chair). I assured him there would be no chair-throwing or acts of melodrama on my part. My struggle was internal and getting that outwardly angry never was my style.

The staff was so concerned about not having belts, pencils, etc. around in order to limit the potential degree of harm and self-harm, but the water for the tea was SCALDING hot.

My husband gave me roses, and a member of the staff cut a 7-Up bottle in half and let me keep them in my room. I was told repeatedly by patients and staff how lucky I was to keep them because I could have hurt myself with the thorns.

They had a shampoo/body wash combo in the showers that didn’t work very well. Every time I am in a hotel with shampoo and body wash dispensers it reminds me of my stay in the hospital.

I kept trying to concentrate enough to read or write but couldn’t manage, even though reading and writing were once thought to be my strong suits. I don’t know whether this was from my deteriorated mental state or from the massive doses of drugs they were administering.

I have never been much for puzzles but I found them a relaxing pastime between groups. It was as if the puzzles helped me put the pieces of my brain back together, to try and figure out why I had behaved the way that I did.

A lady diagnosed with schizophrenia told me of one of her frequent hallucinations during dinner. She said that sometimes, when she chewed, it felt like there were four mouths chewing simultaneously inside of her mouth.

Another particularly content-looking gentleman told me, as he smiled wistfully in his rocking chair, that he suffered from bipolar disorder and was recovering from an overdose on Trazadone.

There was one little lady who could predict when it was time for her to go back into the hospital. She had packed herself a few little suitcases. She had magazines with horses in them that she brought specifically for arts and crafts. Another particularly articulate gentleman told me he coped with his bipolar disorder by using street drugs for six months and then going to the hospital for the other six months of the year.

The only person who scared me in the hospital was the stalker guy who suddenly professed his love for me.  He wanted me to write to him on the outside, knowing full well that I was married. He frightened me a little, mostly because he seemed to enjoy pushing the other patients into crisis. He thought I could relate to him because we both had OCD. “And how do you deal with your pain?” He asked me. I wanted to answer, but refrained: Well, I’m in the psych ward, so obviously I didn’t deal with it very well this time.


Though no truly frightening incidents occurred during my stay, I overheard the beginning of drama at my exit interview: “Ma’am, we’re going to have to ask you to calm down.” Woman, enraged: “WELL THEN YOU BETTER GIVE ME SOMETHING TO CALM DOWN.” The staff ran frantically to assist in the situation. 

I was totally like, see you later, bitches. I’m OUT. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Daddy Are We There Yet? By Miles Away

New article at Mostly Planned, a tribute to my dear father.


WTFI???

Warning: this blog entry contains the swears. Yes, the bad ones. Read on if you dare.
When she was younger, I would often forget that my daughter knew how to speak.

Let me clarify.

I knew (or, at least the part of me that was not in denial knew) that at a mere three years of age she was old enough to articulate many things.  However, I never expected her to repeat everything that came out of my mouth. At the same time she also developed an incredible memory. She began repeating some of her father’s colorful catch phrases as well, like a tiny parrot with Tourette’s syndrome.

One day my younger sister and her fiancĂ© brought fast food over for their daughter, Hannah.  Hannah was kind enough to share her food with Violet. Violet accidentally spilled her water on the floor, and clearly stated, “Fuck it.” Later, when helping her grandma in the garden, she became confused and said “What the fuck it?” My mother and I held back tears of laughter so she wouldn’t repeat that particular phrase.

Then, there was my sin.  And it was a biggie. When I had reached my limit, or when my daughter was attempting to perform Eval Kneival-esque feats from the couch, I had a tendency to blurt out: “Jesus Christ!”

On certain days, Violet would repeat this blasphemous phrase.  She even incorporated it into her play.  “Hello,” Batman ever-so-casually greeted Wonder Woman.  “Hello,” Wonder woman kindly reciprocated.  “Are you okay?” Batman asked, referring to some recent danger our fairest of Superheroes recently endured. “Phew, that was close,” Wonder Woman replied. “Jesus Christ!”


Now Violet is a whopping nine years old, and she knows well the difference between good and bad words. She even yells "bad word alert!" at us when we swear.  This does not deter her from occasionally saying “what the hell?” at home, but I pray she doesn’t say it in school.  If asked, I will staunchly argue that she picked it up from watching Ghostbusters.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

New Article: Driving, Me: Crazy

New article discussing my driving, and preferred lack thereof, up at Mostly Planned.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Father, Who Art in Heaven

She saw a painting in a shop one day of a majestic wolf. She was interested enough in it to inquire about the price.

My mother had been working night shifts at the Post Office, and it was rough on her.

There she sat on the couch, looking dejected, with her coffee mug clenched between her small hands. She had bags under her eyes. It was afternoon, and she had just woken up to get ready for work.
A few moments later my father came home, lunch pail in one hand and the wolf painting in the other. “I picked you up a little something on the way home from work,” he said.

“Eddie,” she replied, crying, “We can’t afford this.”

“Don’t worry,” my father said with a grin. “I charged it.”

This was just one small example of how my father showed his love and appreciation for my mother. It was a moment I would never forget.

I received an email yesterday asking if Ed and I would mind trading shifts with a few other church greeters. The problems with this email? The church was in Arkansas, and as I replied to the sweet lady who inquired, the only Ed I knew was my deceased father.

My father often comes to me in dreams. Most recently, he was helping to move me out of what looked like a college dorm room, even though everyone insisted that I was still in high school. He was carrying my daughter’s comforter, which is decorated in colorful hearts.

My daughter never had the opportunity to meet my father. He passed away from a sudden heart attack in 2002. He was buried a month after we celebrated his 53rd birthday. She hears so many fond stories about him that she cries about never meeting him.

Violet reminds me of my father in many ways. She is able to start a conversation with anyone, much like my Dad. No matter which public venue we found ourselves in, my father would come out of his shell to have pleasant conversations with other people.

My father is the only person I ever met who truly loved his job. He was a carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for almost thirty years. Though he had his share of gripes and dog bites, he sincerely loved providing good customer service and was friends with many people on his route.

Beside his family and the Postal Service, Eddie also had another great love of his life: baseball. He was on three softball teams the year he passed away. Every Christmas we bought him new memorabilia of the Yankees or baseball in general. He was buried with his softball glove, and the back of his tombstone bears the Yankee symbol.


I miss my father every day, but I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful memories of a great and very humble person. Thank you, Dad, for showing me the true meaning of the word “gentleman.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Sanitation and sanity have the same opening letters.

On a related note, as a child, I remember developing a nasty case of Zebritis. I was almost five years old when the disease took a turn for the worse and manifested itself in an obvious way. I awoke one morning to find several black, ball-point pen strokes seeping across my wrist. Though I could not read, there was also a word written between the lines. When I asked my mother who wrote on me…er, what was wrong with me, she said that the word read “Zebritis.” It was an illness, she explained, that people contracted by washing their hands too much.

Naturally, I didn’t get it. I thought that any preschooler had to wash his or her hands many times a day. Hands were dirty little playthings, and at times I could even see the dirt. Therefore, they had to be scrubbed, then re-scrubbed. It made sense to me, and since the Zebritis never came back in its terrifying written form, I figured I was alright.

My primary obsessions have always centered on contamination. The accompanying ritual, hand-washing, plagues me even now. I am afraid to touch almost anything, and my wrists are always flexed slightly upward. As my ex- almost brother-in-law described it, my hands are continually perched in a “mantis-like” position.

Hiding my symptoms wasn’t always easy for me. Mr. Whittaker, my sixth grade teacher, once told my class a story about a good friend of his. It seems his friend, upon learning some scientific facts about germs, couldn’t stop washing his hands. He would touch something icky, like dirt or some other horrific form of nature, and then he felt compelled to wash his hands. He would touch his jeans, for example, and then wash his hands.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

I suppose Mr. Whittaker was attempting to explain my behavior to the class in a roundabout way, and it certainly was nice of him to try.

At one point during that same year, we had a substitute teacher who reported me to the school nurse. She was concerned that I had a bladder problem of some kind because I requested the bathroom pass so much. Little did she know that I was having a torrid love affair with the gritty hand soap in the elementary school restroom.

The washing is worse in times of stress. Sometimes, after my daughter was born, I would scald my hands as a punishment for some perceived sin. Guilt is a powerful force. And the force is strong with this one.

My grandmother used to cover my hands in Vaseline and socks at night so that my hands wouldn’t get so chapped. Now I have special goat-milk lotion I can put on at night. I still randomly bleed, sometimes in front of other people (and usually without noticing until they point it out to me).

Yesterday I washed my hands at least fifty times, until my knuckles were bleeding again. It wasn’t intentional, I just happened to be cleaning. Cleaning days involve a lot of germs. The vacuum is dirty. The mop bucket is filthy-dirty because you have to pour the dirty mop water into (gasp) the toilet. The list goes on. I even wash my hands after handling something as innocuous as dirty laundry.


I don’t know what I did before antibacterial wipes. Good for toilet seats, doorknobs, and despite what the warnings say, the occasional use on your palms. So as I stare at my filthy computer keyboard and fantasize about washing away these squirming germs on my hands, I bid you adieu.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Judge Not?

So this afternoon, I dolled myself up with some Younique products and took some selfies for a friend’s makeup party. I just wanted to show off some of my vast collection, though I admit I put on a bit more makeup than I usually wear. I made a few disparaging remarks about my makeup before I left to pick up my daughter from school. “Do I look like a hoe-bag?” I asked my husband, jokingly. He responded with a tactful comment: “That lipstick is a little dark.”

Fast forward a half an hour. I stand around waiting for my kid, a little worried that my brown, shin-length skirt might be blowing around a little too much. So I held it down demurely. My daughter emerged from the school and we proceeded to the crosswalk.

Normally the polite, accepting lady principal is there to help us across. Today, there was some other school employee or volunteer, an older lady wearing a bright green school T-shirt. She took one look at me and her face transformed into a mask of disgust. Then, clearly offended by my presence, she looked away.

Holy wow, did I deserve such a look? Sure, I’m showing a teeny bit of cleavage and you can see my tattoo on my right ankle. And as I stated before my lipstick is a little darker than usual. Do I deserve to be gazed upon and immediately shunned with palpable abhorrence because of this?

Let me give you a hint: the answer is no.

We live in a conservative, competitive environment here in Utah. I’ve heard rumors that you won’t get hired unless you list your bishop as a reference on your resume. But time and time again I’ve laughed those rumors off. Because it couldn’t possibly be that political, right? Not everything is controlled by the members of the LDS faith, is it? It couldn’t possibly be…

And yet, so many times, I have been rejected for jobs in two school districts here. Because I had almost a 4.0 GPA in college, I know I am qualified for many of the positions. I am a tad nervous and shy when interviewed but I have been articulate at the very least. Yet here I sit with all my experience in the performing arts, unable to procure a job teaching first and second graders to sing for eight hours a week. I also have a propensity for being a book nerd: I wrote short historical books in junior high and participated in the Battle of the Books. And still I was unable to land a position as a part-time library assistant.

These, of all my rejections, were the ones that nearly broke me.

I cut out enormous parts of this blog thinking that someone would find it and judge me for my illnesses. But it gets worse. It seems I am being judged simply by my appearance, or by my absence of garments. Or both? I hate to think the worst of people, but it’s difficult not to when they seem to think the worst of you, for no logical reason.

I have many Mormon friends in my family and from my school years in Boise. And sure, there have been attempts to convert me, and some disdain on the parts of only a few judgmental individuals. I believe that the Mormon Church is good and beneficial to its members in many ways. I specifically admire the fervent focus on family and helping one another. The LDS friends I have are kind and sweet: they respect my religious preferences even if they have their own fast-held beliefs. And I respect them and their choices, even if I do not to adhere to the principals of their faith.

I still hold out hope that I’m just being paranoid. But that look, that single look, made me furious. 
And it made me question my job-seeking efforts this last year. Is there even a point in continuing the search?

So for all of you Judgy McJudgertons out there: look out, there’s a quasi-Catholic in town. And I’m quite tired of putting up with this shit. I will continue to present myself the way that I want and I do not give a flying fuck if it offends you.

Ha! The things I wish I could say sometimes. Obviously I cared enough about local opinions to write this blog. One friend of mine jokingly entertained the notion of giving me a “Mormon make-over” so that I would be better accepted in this environment (complete with floral-patterned, floor-length attire and a chunky necklace). But I’m nothing if not an obstinate Aries: I refuse to change to appease a certain religious persuasion.


So I may not become a teacher (or even a teacher’s assistant) while I’m here, as I had hoped. I have approval from the state of Utah but unfortunately not its contingents. If you need me, I’ll be writing on the Internet for free or for slave wages. And looking very pretty (if I may say), despite the looks that I get for it.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Other People

You’re afraid to go to the grocery store.

That’s what my old psychiatrist said to me when I told her I didn’t consider myself to be disabled.

But there’s a difference between being afraid to do something and avoiding it. Sure, you may have to force yourself. But you go to the grocery store, avoid eye contact at all costs, and silently dread the moment you check out. Because checkout time is that awkward span when you actually have to interact with PEOPLE.

I once tagged a random thought about my social anxiety on Twitter. And wouldn’t you know it, the Social Anxiety people were immediately on my case. I know they were trying to be helpful. But the entire point of the tweet was that people scare me.  BACK OFF.

The origin of my social anxiety can be traced to elementary school. We lived in New York until I was eleven. I had plenty of friends in New York, I was outgoing, a social butterfly of sorts. Then we moved to Idaho. I attended Pierce Park Elementary for a few months, and made friends. When we moved from a trailer to a house, though, I had to switch schools.

At Collister Elementary, I started sixth grade. I befriended a young lady who is still my friend to this day.  Another young lady (for lack of a better word) decided that she was jealous of this new friendship. She encouraged all the other sixth graders to make fun of me.  I already felt out of place because of my OCD symptoms. My hand washing was out of control. I came home crying from school almost every day. Nearly nothing was done about the constant teasing by the teachers, and my mother’s advice to tell them to “stick it where the sun don’t shine” was less than effective. I was judged for everything, from my haircut to my demeanor to my intelligence to my clothes. I was everyone’s favorite dodge-ball target.

Junior high school merged our classes with the other elementary school. I tried out for a talent show and though I didn’t make the cut, I was recruited into choir. I was accepted: I belonged. I still got terribly nervous every time I would sing a solo. Because people were looking at me. Judging me. And though I won music awards through high school and majored in voice in college, I never got over my stage fright.

As Satre might contend, “Hell is…other people!” Just kidding. I love people. I find them fascinating, like a scientist studying a venomous spider. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the grace of God and other people.

My own existential crisis happened six years ago. While waxing suicidal, I was forced to do things I was terrified to do. And one of those things was to reach out and trust other people, new people, with very personal information. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of those fine people I ended up in the hospital, where I had to deal with more people. This time they were people like me though, people who were wired a little differently. And I felt comfortable there. For the most part.


But now I have to deal with people every day. People at the store, people at the school, people who come to my door. I just have to remind myself that most of them are not out to get me. And I’m getting to the point in my life where I think, if they judge me, who cares? Then there is the part of me that tries on five different outfits before picking my daughter up from school because to me, I don’t look right. The sad sixth-grader in me is still there, weeping silently, just waiting for someone to pick on her.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Conclusion: Achieving Equilibrium

He warned me about potential suicidal thoughts. He didn’t mention that I would feel like I was falling down on the inside.

I had to get out of the shower early because I felt like I was going to fall down on the outside. I had to get off the stairs, because it didn’t feel right for me to be there. Imminent danger. Essentially, I felt euphoric this morning until the side effects hit me.

And then all I really wanted to do was cry.

I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t type, I couldn’t do anything involving motion of any sort. We were supposed to go to the Zombie Walk in Salt Lake City this afternoon. Strangely, I was a zombie. But I couldn’t walk.

Let’s go back to the very beginning (a very good place to start, sang Maria in The Sound of Music). Holy losing focus, Batman. Wait, what is Batman doing here?

This is kind of what came out of my brain when I got out of the hospital, when they had me REALLY high on OCD meds. I wrote enough to fill a book, but it was gibberish. Now I realize that I was still manic at the time.

This time, it only took a 25mg dosage increase for me to feel “off.” Once it accumulated in my blood, I was pretty much screwed. And I ask, how ever did I drive around on 150mg of this stuff running through my veins? I tried the increase up to 100mg and I feel…as they say, all the feels. Confusion mostly.

To quote my phone, which I used to record my thoughts earlier:

Hey I just realized I can take notes with this thing. Cool beans I wanted to write about how this medication makes me feel because the memories are flooding back of when I used to be on too much vacation and when I fell into my airplane seat and when I would Scooch my butt LOL when I couldn’t get down the stairs without falling. How was a functioning on that much medication I was driving around cracked out of my moon. That’s not safe. When you shake so badly that you fold-down that’s not a good thing you shouldn’t be out driving. No wonder I was nonfunctional and how can you benefit from the euphoria if you crying because the side effects how does this make me better? It’s the day of the zombie walk and I can’t walk because I’m a zombie.
Some of it was the microphone’s fault. Most of it was the medication. It made a lot more sense at the time. Now it’s time to pose a question:

“If wellness in this what in hell’s name is sickness?” Amanda Palmer, Runs in the Family, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, 2008.

EXACTLY, LADY. YOU ARE SINGING MY SONG.
*********

I’m free and clear of the majority of nasty side effects now. Realizing what a miserable, cracked-out bitch I must have seemed like to my husband all those years ago when I was (insert Bill Hicks’ voice) “Reeeeeeeaaaaaallll f***ing high on drugs.”

That bit about schooching on my butt? I would shake so badly that stairs became my enemy. It was either sit down or fall down. I chose to sit down, because when you’re playing mommy and daddy at the same time it greatly aids you NOT to fall down the stairs. This was the psychiatrist’s way of making me functional. But let’s face it: I really was that sick. The delusion of guilt for a crime I had not committed still haunted me daily.

Falling into my airplane seat? From the anxiety and the medication, I had an episode of shaking so severe that I collapsed into the seat on my first trip back from visiting family in Idaho. I remember seeing a young man, confused by this. My daughter was worried as well. My response? “Mamma’s got the shakes, baby.” It was nearly incomprehensible but it was the best I could do at the time.
Cracked out of my moon? Indeed. I used to randomly cut people off while driving. I blamed myself for bad driving. But it was almost certainly true that I did not recognize my limitations. I should not have been driving at all.

How was this my normal for so many years?

I had a seizure the night after my husband and I seriously discussed divorce. I thought it was the stress. The wool had been pulled so tight over my eyes that it was scratching my eyelids. And I couldn’t even feel it.

Read, if you will, the precautions listed here.

More than one percent of long-term Anafranil users have seizures. My shrink referred to my seizure as “that unexplained episode.” Knowing what medications I was on, it’s a miracle my health insurance paid for an MRI. Ignorant of me to wonder why it was so hard to get approval: they knew. They knew what had caused the seizure-like activity. My psychiatrist just wouldn’t admit that the medication caused it.

Why was it not considered a true seizure, you may wonder? In true seizure the sufferer passes out. I was conscious when I started shaking and lost control of my body. It was the single most terrifying experience of my life. It may not have been preventable. But I was under the care of someone who should have known the risks, and should have properly conveyed them.

Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda.

*********

It’s a few days later and I feel much better, though I do have a problem getting up from kneeling or sitting. I’ve contacted the doctor and asked to see an actual psychiatrist, which I hope will help immensely. Until next time folks, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel...

Sunday, August 30, 2015

In Search of Equilibrium

He warned me about potential suicidal thoughts. He didn’t mention that I would feel like I was falling down on the inside.

I had to get out of the shower early because I felt like I was going to fall down on the outside. I had to get off the stairs, because it didn’t feel right for me to be there. Imminent danger. Essentially, I felt euphoric this morning until the side effects hit me.

And then all I really wanted to do was cry.

I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t type, I couldn’t do anything involving motion of any sort. We were supposed to go to the Zombie Walk in Salt Lake City this afternoon. Strangely, I was a zombie. But I couldn’t walk.

Let’s go back to the very beginning (a very good place to start, sang Maria in The Sound of Music). Holy losing focus, Batman. Wait, what is Batman doing here?

This is kind of what came out of my brain when I got out of the hospital, when they had me REALLY high on OCD meds. I wrote enough to fill a book, but it was gibberish. Now I realize that I was still manic at the time.

This time, it only took a 25 mg dosage increase for me to feel “off.” Once it accumulated in my blood, I was pretty much screwed. And I ask, how ever did I drive around on 150 mg of this stuff running through my veins? I tried the increase up to 100 mg and I feel…as they say, all the feels. Confusion mostly.

To quote my phone, which I used to record my thoughts earlier:

Hey I just realized I can take notes with this thing. Cool beans I wanted to write about how this medication makes me feel because the memories are flooding back of when I used to be on too much vacation and when I fell into my airplane seat and when I would Scooch my butt LOL when I couldn’t get down the stairs without falling. How was a functioning on that much medication I was driving around cracked out of my moon. That’s not safe. When you shake so badly that you fold-down that’s not a good thing you shouldn’t be out driving. No wonder I was nonfunctional and how can you benefit from the euphoria if you crying because the side effects how does this make me better? It’s the day of the zombie walk and I can’t walk because I’m a zombie.

Some of it was the microphone’s fault. Most of it was the medication. It made a lot more sense at the time. Now it’s time to pose a question:

“If wellness in this what in hell’s name is sickness?” Amanda Palmer, Runs in the Family, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, 2008.


EXACTLY, LADY. YOU ARE SINGING MY SONG.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Quack Quack Quack

Houston, we have a problem.

The problem is that medicine is an inexact science. And that most doctors, at their best, are not exactly rocket scientists.

First we have your garden variety lack of professionalism. Take, for example, the doctor prescribing my medication the summer I ended up in the hospital. He seemed far more interested in talking about sex than my psychological problems, at a time when I really needed help. Thanks doc. I know I’m cute. Could you maybe not contribute to my suicidal proclivities? Thank you so much.

Then we have the doctors that ignore the whole doctor-patient confidentiality thing. You think I’m anorexic? Don’t tell my father. Legally I’m an adult and if that’s your professional opinion, you should be giving it to me.

Straight up incompetence is next. There was a doctor at a clinic in Caldwell, ID that barely looked at me, didn’t draw blood, and diagnosed me with a run-of-the-mill virus. You go home and get some rest, stupid college girl. Knowing that wasn’t the right diagnosis, I got a second opinion. Jeepers, it turned out that my white blood cell count was sky high. I had a severe case of mononucleosis. Thanks for the advice, first doctor, or as I like to call him, Doctor No.

Psychiatry is by far my favorite place to find incompetence and/or complete lack of regard for the person being treated. My counselor and psychiatrist that didn’t take me seriously when I said I thought I was suffering from postpartum depression. And they made light of my anxiety problems. Gee, you’ve had OCD since you were five? Here’s a nice handout on how to think your way out of general anxiety problems. You’ll somehow magically think your way out of this hell-hole you’ve mysteriously found yourself in. Best of luck!

Then there was the lovely woman I refer to as my Shrinky Dink. Oh, blurred vision and diarrhea is perfectly normal on this medication? How nice that you would prescribe it when my husband’s overseas and I’m stuck in BFE, WY trying to take care of my daughter on my own. Clearly driving, or even getting off the toilet, are inconsequential at best compared to my need for this medication!
It gets much, much worse. Oh you had a seizure? Let me send you to a neurologist for an MRI, it couldn’t be the medication. Oh how funny, you were referred to my husband, who happens to be a neurologist.  You have a lump in your throat? And you’ve been gaining a ton of weight? It couldn’t be a side effect, it must be cancer. Oh, you’re lactating. You must have breast cancer. You say you haven’t had your period? It’s surely early menopause. Or aliens impregnated you. Or it’s CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER.

How many times do you need to tell a severely anxious person that she MIGHT have cancer? Because that sort of speculation gets disconcerting after oh, say, THE FIRST TIME YOU MENTION IT.

My question remains: they educate these people at some point, right? I heard you have to have a ton of education and training to be a doctor. But experience would indicate that I’m wrong.

My latest medical professional is more confident than competent, I am afraid. No, seriously, I am afraid. I think I may have to switch doctors. Your current psychiatric medication isn’t curing your blues? Let’s double it. Unfortunately I have a sordid history with that particular medication. Which includes a seizure and several other episodes of uncontrollable shaking, not just a tremor, but shaking so violent that I would sometimes fall down. Don’t they write this information down somewhere? Oh, right, they did on that one form, from my old psychiatrist. It is currently collecting dust, neatly tucked away in a government building next to The Lost Ark.


I know there are good doctors out there, somewhere. I must not have stumbled upon them yet. Let’s hope I don’t actually stumble and break something, because I might refuse treatment. My bad experiences have made me a little paranoid that these doctors are actually *trying* to kill me...