Friday, April 30, 2010


Right now, I am quiet. Grounded. At peace. All is right with the world, and I feel at one with the universe. At least until the fuzz ball wakes up from her nap and demands her supper. But right now all is as it should be.

My father is home, resting. He is as fragile as a day old colt. Which makes me wonder because he is looking forward to watching the Kentucky Derby tomorrow. My dad and horses. Before he met my mother, he owned part of a race horse with several other army buddies. It didn't last very long, one summer, it ate up too much of their money, they wanted that money to spend on cars and girls. Ah, times may change, but young men's desires never do. Cars and women. Gotta love men. My dad never looked at the women, he just loved the cars and the baseball. The only woman he ever fell in love with was my mom.

My brain is fried. Fried , too much going on, sensory overload. I don't know what it's like for others, for me, I am just exhausted. I feel like I could sleep for a thousand years. Too tired to write, too tired to read. The last two or three days I have become addicted to Twitter. I will be there for the next day or so till I  get fully back on track- back with my med cocktail, and my family. Please join me, the hyperlink is on the side bar. I look forward to your tweets- as does Holly. Cats need tweets too.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Milestones And My Dad

Something amazing happened over the last few days. When I first set up the blog, back in October 2007 I didn't know about stat counters and what so when I finally put one in  four months later, I lost a lot of hits. Math was my worst subject in school, I still have nightmares about Alegebra!; but I realized allowing for this four month stat- I hit a magical number last week.   To that I am grateful and humble.

I've spent some time over the last two weeks or so re doing the blog roll- it's gotten bigger. I took off several blogs who's bloggers stopped blogging. And added a few blogs that I thought were wonderful.  I also added a one or two to the funny blogs list.  What amazes me is how many new people are coming into the world of blogging and how talented they are. So many of them are in their late teens and twenties and so full of hope with the diagnosis. How things have changed in the twenty or so years since I was told by my p-doc that I was "Manic- depressive"  then several months later "Bipolar type 1" and I would never be able to live a normal life and my parents should think of placing me in a state hospital or nursing home. We have a long way to go to banish stigma, but look how far we've come in twenty some years!

Lastly, blogging will be spotty for the next few days, and there is a very good possibility it may stop for a week or so. I also apologize if I won't be visiting any blogs.  A very beloved family member was rushed again to the hospital last night and the prognosis does not look good. I am praying he has, like my cat, nine lives, and still has one or two left in him. But alas, I fear, this may not be too much longer.  Get well dad. You have to see the Yanks win one more World Series before you get to Heaven.

(I like this photo. It really does look like me when I was a little girl, and my dad... doing the thing he loved the most in life... baseball and being a dad and a husband).

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Heart Is Too Big But It Won't Break

I have been so sad this week. I don't know if it's sad, depressed, melancholy, acedia; the semantics don't matter. My proverbial pen is sterile and dry. I've been unable to write.  A comment on FB, a comment on one or two blogs so people know I am alive, but mostly off the computer. Mostly just trying to chillax, trying to read, though it's reading the same sentences and paragraphs over and over again.

I keep thinking of this line from Supertramp's The Long Way Home-"Then your wife seems to think you're loosing your sanity/ oh /calamity/ or is it you're way out?" Well, I don't have a wife.  Or a husband. But substitute parents... or my beloved cat, and you get the idea. They were singing about a mid life crisis. I haven't had one of those yet. At least I don't think so. Don't have a fancy sports car, or a Ken doll in the front seat. Wouldn't know what to do with a boy toy/Ken doll anyway. Besides, any girl knows Ken dolls aren't anatomically correct. And I do want a boy friend, even if he would be a boy toy, to be someone I can discuss current affairs, politics and understand the  current Picasso exhibit at the Met with.

I can't read the news anymore. It's breaking my heart.  Take for example the news in NJ over the last few weeks. A dad throws his 3 month old daughter over the South Amboy bridge (12 lanes). A 15 year old girl allegedly takes her 7 year old sister to a party and allows her to be raped by several men at the party, while she drinks in the other room with some other party goers.  New York gets a second Kitty Genovese case where people walk over a dying hero taking pictures of him dying with their cell phones but cannot call 911. My mother is upset over the affairs in Arizona- with immigration laws. I see something else- a divide in the country not seen since the Civil Wars of Lincoln's time. Coffee Parties, Tea Parties- Not relating to Snapple or Starbucks.  And what got me to tears? Bret Michaels. Yeah. And I am not even a Poison Fan. Instead, I am a fan of that stupid VH1 franchise- the Flavor of Love/which begat Rock of Love, which begat I Love New York, which begat Charm School, I Love Money, etc.... all the shows that got me sane when my relationship ended that I watched over and over and over. And I get choked up and teary eyed over Bret Michaels. He who sucks spit with countless ladies (including one I interviewed back in the day I was an entertainment writer). All I can think of is he is my age, and he's got two small children.  He's smart- has anyone seen him on Celebrity Apprentice? If he hadn't gotten into rock and roll, he clearly could have been the CEO of some Fortune 500 company- he really is that smart. Maybe not the book smarts, but certainly the street smarts.

So why would I break down over Bret Michaels? I'm not a Poison fan, like I said. He's talented. I bought his latest song w/ Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana. It's good. But I feel like-  It's like an episode of M*A*S*H, I recall. Hot Lips/Margaret is upset with her nurses during the episode, they keep breaking down in surgery while patients are dying. She keeps telling them to buck up, understand it's war, patients die, get a spine.  The nurses hate her and gripe about what a b**ch she is. Then at the end of the episode, a stray dog that a Margaret has been feeding gets run over by a truck. And she goes into the shower and cries like her heart will break. Over the dog. That's how I feel. All the news stories for the last few months have been causing me to bend, almost loosing my father and the loss of my friend caused me almost to break. And then something like a Celebrity death- or close to death reminds me I am about to break, stop, breathe- you are going to break. Cry now. Take care of yourself now.

We all have to do that. Everyone has breaking points. Here's one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite novels.

"If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders -- what would you tell him to do? I don't know. What could he do? What would you tell him? To shrug.", Francisco D'Anconia, Atlas Shrugged. 

Sometimes we have to shrug. Sometimes we have to walk away, to take care of ourselves. Get off the computer. Turn oft the TV. Go outside in the sunshine.  Especially those of us who are fragile and suffer from depression- we are the most important people. We aren't good to our friends and family if we aren't good to ourselves. That's what I have been doing the last week, trying to take care of me, because I am so fragile. My father's health is as fragile right now as a butterfly's wing. I still have nightmares about my friend's suicide. Maybe I needed the time off to heal. I'm still healing. I am grateful for my friends, family and the therapy cat. 

Here is the first episode of Rock of Love for those who can view it , who want to see some totally mindless TV. Get well Brett. Get well. You got more rocking to do.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Personal Writing Space

Today is a day I am dreading. First I go off to get my lithium levels checked. Not so bad, I don't mind that. Then I go a few hours later to the Oncologist to get my white blood count checked. I've been running a low level cold for the past two weeks or so, and the last time I saw my GP she said my levels were elevated and she wanted me to check with my Oncologist.  I am hoping he tells me I won't need a bone marrow biopsy. It's been two years since my last one, and I keep having to get my levels checked every four-five months. It's been about six - seven months, because I've just been so busy I forgot.  I'm just thinking positive thoughts.

The picture is my writing space- in the kitchen- where I do all my writing and blogging. It's my iBook G4. You can see the second hard drive and the cookbooks, and Beanie Babies that surround it. From the window I can see a big, very old Oak tree, which in the Spring and Summer houses a bird family. Every year, like clockwork, they come back, build a nest and raise baby birdies. Both my cats would watch this progression, like it was number one on the "Cat TV" list. Either that or they were dreaming of ways to serve the new born baby birds.  I am grateful there are two panes of glass separating them from the birds. And they have never been outside.

I will give a brand new Beanie Baby to the first reader who can tell me the applications resting in the Dock. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Guest Blogger- Holly The Cat. A Cat Ponders On Depression

Hello. For those who don't know me, I am a tan tabby cat, ten years old. I've lived with Susan since January, 2003. The woman who rescued me named me Holly since I was rescued a day or so before Christmas, heavy with kittens. A Christmas miracle. But Susan says it's really Holly because her favorite TV show in the entire universe is "Red Dwarf" and she couldn't name me "Cat" now, could she? And "Dave", was out of the question, since I am a girl cat. And if she named me "Rimmer", the ASPCA would come and arrest her for animal cruelty.

My human's been really down in the dumps the last few days.
Susan's  also been feline poorly the last few days. She struggles to get out of bed just feeling tired and has a fever.  She's seen her GP who said she has a cold- and did some blood work. Her white blood count was elevated and she has to see her Oncologist next week. She isn't happy. Meanwhile her head aches more, and she has terrible night sweats so she has been running the air conditioner, and it makes me cold. I go under the covers, and she just sees my tail. Brrr. She says I look like a metronome, only fuzzier. 

It makes me wonder, what is depression, and why my poor human has it so badly.  Susan refers to it as a "Black Dog" an idea she got from someone named Churchill. I don't know about Churchill, other than he lived a long time ago in a place called across the pond. Does that mean he lived near ducks? And it's called "Black Dog". You wouldn't call it "Black Cat". Poor Mr. Churchill. I wonder if dogs get depressed. Cats don't really get depressed. Not like my human, if she can be an indicator.

I mean, cats do get depressed. This past winter I was sad because it snowed so much and all the birdies and squirrels went away and I had nothing to look at from my window sill. There wasn't enough sunshine to stretch out and languish on my tummy fur. But I didn't cry. I slept and  and played with my toys, dive bombed my human's mail, knocked over some books and cd's, and meowed at the TV. I may not be a kitten anymore, but I still know how to play and get into mischief. Susan on the other hand spent days in bed not sleeping, not doing anything, just listening to the radio and not happy. I am always happy if I am not sleeping, or eating or using my litter box.

I think the difference between cats and humans is simply this. Cats live in the moment. We don't think about yesterday or tomorrow. It's all about the moment we are in. Right now, I am on the computer. In a moment I will be in a fluffy comforter, in a nice warm bed, in a patch of sunshine with my stuffed panda bear.

That is nice. I guess we are all Id.  Maybe if humans were all Id, too they wouldn't be so sad. Humans should be more like cats. Or the Cat from Red Dwarf, just live in the moment, and think about eating little fishies. And looking cool.   Something like that.

I won't comment back but paw hugs, head bonks, scritches and tuna is appreciated.  I got some serious nappage to do now, I've missed two naps, and it's almost bed time.  Meow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When I Was First Diagnosed-Repost/Rewrite

I was almost 23. I just finished school and was supposed to start a PhD program in the fall. My life was spinning out of control, I was completely in the thrall of full blown mania. I had over 70 graduate credits under my belt and for the last three years all I had been doing is working on two Master's degrees at the same time, while being a teacher's assistant, tutoring writing and history in the learning lab, cleaning houses and teaching sunday school. In the summer I took classes, lived on campus as a Residence assistant, and taught and tutored SAT prep off campus. I was treated as a peer in my department, and if they saw anything suspect, which some of them did, they just wrote it off to me being ultra creative and one of the budding geniuses they ever saw. Several professors were mentoring me as a protege, and all of them saw me finishing the PhD by the time I was 25, landing a job at some college or university and writing and publishing and teaching. And that was what I wanted for my future too. I had just finished my first novel, and was happy. A major publishing house wanted to publish it.  Looking back, the only time in my life that I was ever happy, truly happy was when I was in school. Only one professor, said to me "You're the next Sylvia Plath. You will be a suicide too by the time you are 33".

Yeah, right, I told him. Right along with Anne Sexton and John Berryman.

Then, that April my life started spinning out of control. By the end of the semester, I threw down my dissertation on the English Chair's desk and went back to the apartment I shared off campus with a female roomate and her fiance. And slept for several days straight, waking only to use the toilet. I hadn't been depressed before, never like this. Maybe it was residual from the rape the month before. Though I had thought about suicide before, I never attempted. Not really. At least I hadn't thought so at the time. 

I had Tylenol, 50 pills, downing it with a bottle of ice cold vodka and OJ. Gagged a lot, and semi regurgitated, but kept going until the entire bottle was finshed. I washed the glass I had used, put it on the drain board, and tucked myself into bed, with my teddy bear. And fell asleep.

Woke up in the Emergency room of the hospital. The guy I was semi- dating at the time found me, unconscious and unresponsive. Apparently he called an ambulance and I had my stomach pumped. He stayed with me the entire time, but when the admitting doctor told me I *HAD* to go to the psychiatric hospital, he stared down in my blue eyes and told me he could no longer date me, now that I was about to be labeled "crazy" and going to the "nut house", I could keep f***ing him, but we were finished as a couple. This was the first but not the last of the boyfriends I lost because of my illness.

The first doctor in the hospital diagnosed me as unipolar- he was just dealing with the suicide attempt. He put me on Prozac, which had to be stopped after a few days because I literally felt I was crawling out of my skin.

The second doc I saw actually spent time with me and asked the right questions. And then I heard it. Manic Depression. He sugar coated it by calling it Van Gogh's disease. Maybe this would help amielorate the blow must of thought, knowing how much I adore Van Gogh. I don't know. Eventually Manic Depression was out and Bipolar was in. Now I was Bipolar 1.

I never accepted it, though I knew in my heart I was, my brain didn't want to accept it. I took my lithium like a good girl, and did the mandatory blood work required by the doc. And I went through all the other meds I went on, not questioning, just taking because part of me thought if I took these meds it would go away and I would be normal. I would have a normal life and live happy. if I just took the meds and ignored the diagnosis, I would be normal, and my life would be normal. I was the perfect consumer. I didn't question the pills, didn't investigate them, and even though most of them gave me terrible side effects I kept taking them because I just wanted to be normal and thought this would let me lead the life I was meant to live.

My family didn't accept it either, my father telling me to buck up, and try harder. My mother just told me to take the meds, go to the shrink and go to work, and in my spare time date. I got to be quite good at dating, mastering the art of the blind date. But I just didn't feel normal. The meds left me weak, gave me the runs constantly. They never told anyone else there was anything "wrong" with me, and I know this caused a rift in their marriage, my mother believing the meds and hospital stays and much later,  ECT would cure me, my father saying there was nothing wrong with me that hard work couldn't cure and I didn't need meds.

And it didn't work that way. All the meds, all the different shrinks, other stays at the hospital, even ECT trying to bring me back to normal. I've lost jobs, lost countless relationships. It's always been the same. Good enough to F**K, never good enough to have children with, should they wind up like me. I tried to ease the hole in my heart and soul by food, but that didn't work. Alcohol made me comfortably numb like nothing else could, but it's been almost 14 years since my last drink.

So here I am struggling. The last year I've had to go a complete overhaul with the med cocktail and at one time I was on 9 different meds in my cocktail at the same time. This past two years alone, I've gone through two psychiatric hospitalizations, one regular hospitalization and one rehabilitation hospitalization from this illness. It's cost me the last year of my life.

All I have is my writing and my cat. I know I will never have a family of my own, or children from my body. I can deal with that, and I am accepting it, but I get so lonely sometimes. Some nights it is so unbearable I just lie in bed with the thought I need to hold and be held so bad I don't think I will make it til the dawn. I don't think I will ever have a relationship with a man again, I have friends who are men, but to have one that I can live with and grow old with, I think that will escape me, much to my chagrin and heart ache.

This illness may have robbed me of a life, but it won't rob me of ME. It won't destroy my soul. I came into this world half dead, backwards, kicking and screaming. That's how I want to leave it. Kicking and screaming, putting up a good fight.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some changes in the template and a great play wins a Pulitzer

My friend Peter is working on the blog template, so things might be a little wonky over the next few days. I really appreciate the time and effort he is putting into this, since I am really a Luddite when it comes to adding bells and whistles on my baby. Yes, I think of my blog as my baby. Let me know what you think.
When it's up and running it should be a master piece. He will be available to do other blogs as well... He is starting is own business.

I am proud to report that "Next To Normal" won a Pulitzer yesterday for drama. I was fortunate enough to see this play last year with my friend Peter, and funny enough with blogger Sandy Naiman, at the same showing, but we didn't have each other's cell numbers and missed each other! Dang!

Next To Normal- what can you say about this play- it's the story of a family, who's matriarch is bipolar and has to deal with depression, death of a child,  suicide attempts, ECT, and takes your heart and soul out of you, yet somehow you leave the theatre feeling like there is hope. Sandy has a brilliant review of it here. I tried to review it, but the whole ECT scene triggered me so hard I was weeping. When the lights went up, I found out I was sitting next to the wife of one of the big New York magazine editors and she was weeping too; her Aunt had ECT and we were swapping Kleenex. It's going on a national tour, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Words To Live By

I love this band. I still don't know why they never caught on  at this side of the pond.  Been playing this song over and over along with the rest of their stuff and it's helping.

Bless you all and may it help heal all those in pain, and find the solace I found in it.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Gratitude. Dad came home from the hospital yesterday. We came so close to loosing him,  had things gone slightly worse by a few hours and they had to operate, we would have lost him for sure. Grateful he is still here, and that he watched baseball on TV today, and was almost able to yell at the umpire. Thank you all for the well wishes. It meant so much to me I don't know what to say. 

I feel fragile, like I am in mourning somehow, and my dear friend Mary is in mourning over a friend who died the same way... the world just seems to be going topsy turvy and is making no sense. Maybe it was always this way. There is so much I want to write and I cannot. I'm sterile. I have ideas, but they dry up after a paragraph or two. This has never happened before. It's like the egg gets fertilized but doesn't implant. Yet you feel like you were pregnant. Maybe in time I can pick up what I have been writing and finish it, but right now, it's unusable, unworkable. Dry. 

I'll remind you all I am on Twitter, trying to learn it, and would love to have people follow me. I just posted the following quote on writing on my Twitter feed which is "Going Through Hell". 

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April may not be the cruellest month, but today was the cruellest day

Of all the pieces I have ever written this is the one I don't want to write. Over the weekend my father got sick. He was rushed to the hospital early this morning, and after some tests, a CAT scan and some other tests, he is resting comfortably and will be in hospital for a few days. For a little while, we thought it was touch and go.

On a younger person, they would have had tests, been hydrated and sent home. On an elderly person, they stay in to make sure all systems are go. He is in some discomfort but he will be ok.

Not so for one of my favorite readers, Jenn. I won't use her last name, suffice to say she lived on the West coast, and was always astute in her comments, and wrote the most marvelous emails to me on the side. She was a suicide survivor, and like me, was physically hurt from one of her attempt and took some time to heal. My last email from her was on April 1, when she was worried about my own struggles with the proverbial black dog, and how I was doing everything in my own personal power not to go into that good night.

About an hour ago I got a phone call and an email from two separate people telling me that Jenn gave into the Black Dog this weekend and left this sphere. I don't know any thing more than that, and won't until I get a promised letter from her. I do know this, she was so depressed that a friend of hers came up from the Mid-West to visit so she wouldn't be alone, and she had her cats, and had just gotten back together with her boyfriend.

I don't condemn her. I understand what it was it's like to be at that point and want to jump. Maybe she wanted to succeed or maybe she didn't. A. Alvarez in his seminal work " The Savage God" makes a salient point that the Sylvia Plath he knew didn't want to suicide when she did, it was a cry for help to Ted Hughes she wanted him back and she was homesick and over-whelmed with two small children. Alvarez is convinced Plath misjudged the gas by comparing UK gas to US gas and makes a convincing argument that Plath simply miscalculated the gas equation.

Maybe that is what happened to my friend. I just hope that where ever she is now she is at peace.

Shantih, Shantih, Shantih.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nominated for a Dosie Award

My blog was nominated for best "patient or caretaker" catagory for this years "Dosie" awards. While I am thrilled to be nominated for an esteemed award like a Dosie, there are also a few other very good blogs that were nominated that I want to give shout outs to. Bloggers that helped inspire me and helped me when I first started blogging, namely, Stephany at Soulful Sepulcher, Gianna at Beyond Meds and Philip at Furious Seasons; and some other ones which I never heard of and never read until I saw this list. Writers who deal with cancer, MS, Cystic Fibrosis, Migraine, Diabetes, and other maladies. All deserving.

So if you like me, vote for me, but if you like another blog, vote for them. It's important that you vote. For me, like I said, I am just over the moon that I was nominated.

If you are also inclined, on the same voting form, they have a separate category for best Observer/Commenter blog. Give it up for fellow NJ boy Ed Silverman of Pharmalot fame. He's awesome. I also like like PharmaGossip, (I follow him on my Twitter feed) because he writes well and he uses Cheezeburger cats. How can you not like someone who uses a Cheezeburger cat?

ETA: The final rounds have been announced. Gianna Kali and Ed Silverman made the final cut, which I am thrilled for both of them. Gianna has written about it at her blog here. Please check out her blog and if you are inclined, vote for her, she is a wonderful woman, and the information and resources she has on her blog about meds and alternatives to psychiatry are incredible.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Answers to all your magical genie questions

Two weeks ago, I asked my readers to submit questions to me, and I will answer them.
It's a little late, but here are the answers from their questions!

Q: If you could have any super power, what would you like it to be?

A: Other than having George Clooney fall madly and passionately in love with me, I would like to learn the secret to have a successful blog and keep readers! And to be able to balance my checkbook to the penny. That in itself would be a super power, no?

Q: I check your blog daily for updates and am curious about so much about you. Thank you for opening up to questions! Do you have any of your writings prior to treatments available for reading?

A: Thank you for reading my blog every day! I am beyond flattered. Do you mean my treatments prior to therapy/diagnosis or prior to ECT? If you mean therapy/diagnosis I was 22, so it would be a bunch of papers from college which I am sure are floating around somewhere, I have them in boxes, some where published in journals back in school, and one poem which was published here, actually won a prize, but I don't know. I lost my thesis several moves ago, and I don't think any of the articles or things i wrote for the school Lit mag or newspaper were collected on computer form. I have several unfinished novels and what not, which alas, will never see the light of day, they were thought to be good once upon a time, but I think they are just talented juvenalia But I am my own worst critic.

The writings on mental health I did prior to ECT for other sites have been reproduced here, and are also on my ex's site under a pseudonym. I did a lot of entertainment writing which you can find via Google,but that is extremely dated. Basically almost everything I have written then in my life that is not academic is here, with the exception of my private diary.

Q: Did you get some relief on your struggling with daily tasks? Do you have any tips? I am in one of those places.

A: Daily tasks, the best advice is "One Day At A Time". Some days I can do a few things, some days if all I can do is shower and take care of the cat, microwave a TV dinner and write a paragraph, it's still a good day. I just cannot compare myself to other people. There are a lot of high functioning people out there, and a lot of low functioning ones too. I know I will never be high functioning again, and just have to keep that in mind. One Day At A Time.

Q: Winston Churchill is credited with saying what you named your blog. Does it inspire you when you read about significant figures in history who struggled with what we struggle with?

A: Sir Winston does inspire me, but I actually got the quote from a friend. I was originally going to go with a quote from Shakespeare. I would say honestly the one person in living history that I could relate to and inspired me was Princess Diana, I know it may seem lame but she seemed to understand depression, eating disorders, and since she was a year older than me, I looked up to her and was gutted by her untimely death. Two books that helped me with this and find other historical figures that dealt with issue were Kay Jamieson's "Touched By Fire", and "Manic Depression and Creativity' by Jablow, which is on my night-table, as well as "The Noonday Demon". These are my mental health "bibles". And I am in awe of Andrew Solomon.

Q: Does loving on your cat help you feel better?.
I have told you that I have 8 cats, that is a long story and I didn't choose it but one day my husband said "It takes a lot of cats to heal" he has been amazingly flexible and accepting of my past which did include some horrible treatment of cats by my tormentors. Having cats and treating them right is healing for me.

A: Both of the cats I have had in my life have made my life livable, I shudder to think where I would be without either one of them, and how lucky I am that they found me. Both were abused and would have been put down if it wasn't for me, so we bonded., they need me to stay alive, I need them to stay alive. And they need me to open the can opener.

Q: If you could choose, what historical figure you would like to meet?

A: Honestly, I cannot think of any. I have been disappointed by every famous or "A" list celebrity I have met, and I have met quite a few. I like ordinary people best. The only historical people I would like to meet are my two grandmother, one of them died before I was born. But if I had to pick any historical person to answer your question- I would pick Jack The Ripper so I could finish my novel on him. I would also like to meet Dr. Doolittle so I could talk to the dogs and cats.

Q: What would a Raymond Carver short story about your current life say?

A: Other than the fact I have 13 1/2 years sober, I don't think he would be too proud of me, and tell me to keep writing harder and push myself harder. My favorite writers that I would sell my soul to write like would be Dickens, Tolstoy, Joyce and Carver. I shudder to think what a Carver short story of my life would be like, could he handle something so Existential? I think my life might have started out like Carver but right now it's Kafka on a bad day.

Q: I also hope you can continue to write daily. I was sent a tip on ‘Writer’s block’ recently: ‘Record what you want to say, transcribe it and then edit’. I don’t know if this would help you. I haven’t tried it yet, as I am having a different problem at the moment (not enough time to write or shall I admit my ‘poor time management’?)Any tips?

A: I have a microcassette recorder and I speak into it when I cannot write fast enough or I get an idea for something, a sentence, a vignette, something. It helps. My head always has ideas, the problem is most of them don't pan out, they are skeletons which I cannot put flesh on. For time management, get a maid. Housework can wait. Writing can't! (I hope my mother doesn't see that).

Q:Where did you get the inspiration to start blogging? What keeps you going with it?

A: When my marriage ended, several friends helped me to write a few pieces to guest for their blogs, and then encouraged me to start my own. It was the best therapy I could have. What keeps me at it is other than the cat, it's the only thing I have in my life that is good and pure, and means anything to me.

Q: If somebody gave you a "monfellou", what would you do with it:
a) play it, because it's a musical instrument;
b) cook and eat it, because it's a vegetable related to the marrow;
c) wear it, because it's a kind of cloak; or
d) call my bluff, because you believe that I've just made the whole thing up?

A: Call you bluff, you made it up! But I will take a moonpie, any day, even if they are fattening!

Q:: I just started a blog about depression ( I was planning to write about the problem of evil this weekend. That is, if there is a god how could he let things like illness happen (especially mental illnesses that are so bad they make people want to kill themselves)? Has illness affected the way you look at life? I think everyone confronts this question in some way, whether it's through illness, or hardship, or the loss of a loved one. It's kind of deep and maybe too serious, but I find it really interesting to talk about. Check out my blog this weekend for my thoughts on the matter!

A: This is a toughie, and probably deserves it's own entry. It's also on every entry of this blog. I was diagnosed when I flamed out and crashed at 22, I probably had this since 7th grade, if not earlier. I've been depressed and suicidal since I was four. It's made me look at life much differently than anyone else I know in real life, which is why I relate better to books than real people. I don't know, but yes, illness has affected how I look at life.

Q: I have one more question. If your life were a movie, what genre would it be and who would you like to play you

A: If you were to portray me as a child through high school , it would be Lisa Simpson, get rid of the sax and add a clarinet. As an adult, it would either be Edie Falco, or Alice Ripley. I like stupid movies I don't have to think about and just enjoy but I love Film Noir, and anything by Frank Capra.

Q: I know that you have written about suicide, you've lost friends to suicide. You've written about feeling suicidial.
What would you tell someone, how do you move away from that feeling, those plans, those thoughts?

A: It passes, do anything to take you out of that feeling; eat chocolate or ice cream, go for a walk, listen to music,phone a friend, get a companion animal, have sex, do anything to take you out of the moment. I find a warm bath helps, a good cry, and a cat snuggle. If I had a boyfriend I would jump his bones so the feeling would pass, and it burns off calories at the same time. A win win!

A: To Wonder Woman who left no question- Thank you.

Q: At what point did you decide to become a mental health activist?
And how did Holly get to be so smart?

A: From my ex, he was and I learned from him, I am grateful for his mentorship. Holly is smart because she is a cat. I believe she is smarter than me, because she picked me to be her human to share her life with. They say fish is brain food, and her favorite food is tuna, maybe she got smart from the fish?

Q: Do you resemble Barbara Eden?
A: Yes, before I went on Seroquel, and if I put my hair up in a pony tail, no, she has an innie, and I have an outie. Do you look like Larry Hagman?

Q: if your soul was pulled out of your body, what would happen to you?
A: This is just my opinion, I am not a religious scholar or a theologist. Your soul travels on after you die and depending on your religious beliefs you either go to heaven, or you get reincarnated to the next life(s) until you become an angel. Or a spoiled rotten kitty cat. But if you want to know if people can live without their souls, yes, they can. But those people are not happy. That kind of unhappiness has nothing to do with depression, and I have spent too many sleepless evenings listening to Art Bell on the radio.
I really don't know the answer, I struggle with these questions myself.

Q: chocolate hot cross buns or just ordinary, run of the mill hot cross buns?

This was a lot of fun. Lets do it again sometime!

Friday, April 2, 2010

For D- I hope this will help and give you peace

Recently D, a reader, stumbled on this blog and asked the following question,

Hi Susan,

My brother commtted suicide last month. IT was today a month ago that we buried him. We used to talk about suicide becasue we have so much of it the family. He had a lot of life blows all at once, and I really thought he was getting better. What I believe is that he had a 'fuck it' day and could not ride it out. Of course no one knew he had purchased 2 guns at Christmas, not even his best friend. He and I talked everyday and he never told me. I read your posts and I know you struggle with this issue, as I do also, and now it feels so close to me like riding the rim of a black hole. Has anyone in your family ever committed suicide ?>

I spent almost two weeks trying to write an answer to this. Document after document put into Word, and deleted. Words not knowing what to say, and then not feeling they were good enough. What do you say to a woman who's world has turned upside down by the untimely death of a family member? "I am sorry", just doesn't cut it, and "I understand, doesn't seem to be enough.

D I don't know what to tell you. So let me try my best to answer your questions, and I hope I can help you and you can find some solace in my answers.

You asked if anyone in my family has committed suicide. Yes and no. I was adopted when I was about seven or eight months old. So the people I consider my family, are my family but not my biological family. In that family, no suicides. But in my biological family, yes. Yes, and Yes, Lets see if this makes sense.

I know little to nothing about my biological mother and nothing about my biological father. I can piece together some recessive genes from either birth parent, blonde hair, blue eyes, second toe longer than pinkie toe, unable to curl tongue, negative blood type. I didn't find out til several years ago that my birth mother's family had a strange and horrid family tree. According to the social worker who interviewed her and her parents, and who's files I saw with the names redacted, every male on one side of the family was an alcoholic and most of the females were too. (I got those genes). But what shook me to my core was the fact that my would be great grandparents, cousins, great aunts and uncles- most of them were described as "schizophrenic" which was the term they were using to lump both manic depressives and schizophrenics back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and the majority of them either died from alcoholism or suicide or (sit down for this one) lobotomies. I swear I am not making this up. Several of my third, fourth cousins and great aunts and uncles had lobotomies done in the 50s and 60s. My birth mother had a grandparent who had a lobotomy and one who suicided. I probably escaped this by being born when I did, since they no longer do lobotomies and getting sober when I did.

I still suffer from suicidal ideation. For the last two weeks I have been walking that tightrope again, wanting to jump off, and the only thing tethering me to Earth is my mother and my cat. I live in fear of my mother finding my body, and knowing if anything should happen to me, no one will love my cat as much as I do. But there are so many days, so many of them when I cannot get out of bed, feel there is no purpose for my life and just pray and wish for a heart attack so I can die.

I have had friends who have died by their own hands, my friend Chris died that way and I strongly feel he was a suicide, and I have dedicated my blog to the memory of my friend Kevin who died. I know there are several followers who have started blogs in memory of friends and family members they have lost. Some outstanding bloggers are Christa, and Will. Wendy has a blog in memory of her son. I also know of several others who have lost family members to suicide but don't write about it,

I found it helpful to volunteer at a suicide prevention center, it grounds me, and takes me out of my bad place to help others and try to get them out of their bad place too. I've suffered from suicidal ideation since I was four, made three attempts, two which should have and could have been lethal. To this day, I don't know why they failed. Maybe it wasn't my time. Maybe I was meant to stay around and write this blog entry. I don't know.

I do know that I am glad that somehow you found my blog, and you popped by. I hoped I helped you. I know it sounds silly, but the last two weeks when I was at my lowest, I kept thinking of you, and kept on going because of you.

A letter for D, from a mother who lost a son to suicide

To D- if she should find my blog again,

This came from a reader of mine who lost a son to suicide, and wrote this letter for her children. She thought it would give you comfort on the loss of your brother during this time..


I started writing you something and this is what happened. If you want to use it to write something, you can, you can edit it anyway you want, or your can just post it as it is....

When I attempted to write an essay for you on siblings of suicide, I found that I knew NOTHING about siblings of suicide. I am a parent of suicide, I have four children who are sibilings of suicide and I thought I was some expert... This is what I ended up with instead - a letter to my children about the suicide of their brother:

To K, M, E and D (no names to protect their privacy);

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who writes a blog on her life, her cat, mental illness, the use of pharmaceutical drugs in the treatment of mental illness, feeling suicidal, about friends that she lost through suicide, had a woman who's brother died by suicide write her for some help. She was finding difficulty in finding the words to write. I told her I would help out and write something for her to use. When I did write it - I wrote what I knew, from the perspective of a parent. When I was finished, I realized that this would probably not do the young woman any good, because she was not a parent but a young woman who lost her brother. I personally don't have the experience of being a woman who lost her brother.

I attempted to rewrite the essay as a sibling, and did some research. What I found has completely changed the way that I look at my life, and Caleb's life, Dad's life and YOUR life. What I found has humbled me considerably, has made me understand that I owe you all not only an apology but my gratitude to surviving as you have, for you have wandered in a wilderness your parents did not imagine. You have been delegated to the position of forgotten mourners.

In our society (and this is no excuse for my not seeing your pain) children are considered to be resilient, we don't recognize the uniqueness of the sibling bond, we forget about the importance of siblings as our own siblings are have grown into their own lives, moved away or we moved away many years ago. I wondered if when people stopped you after Caleb's death, they asked how Dad and I were doing, did they think to ask how YOU were doing?

Did anyone acknowledge your pain or your grief?

I did write the essay (although I ended up not sending it to my friend) - I wrote it from how I imagined you would have felt. I didn't know the depth or the truth of your feelings - anger, hurt, pain, love or the impact of what you have lost these last 6 years as your parents have grieved for the son they lost. I know that Dad has been much more connected to you during this time, and has tried to do what he could to help you recover. I can only speak for myself. I may have gotten it completely wrong, and I'm very sorry for that. At some time when you feel like you want to, I will let you read what I wrote, and hopefully, you can help me understand what you really felt or still feel. Hopefully we can help each out finally recover from the tsunami that shook our family to it's very foundation, sent us all flying in different directions and essential stole your mother from you.

I can understand if you feel you don't need this, but I know that it is very important to my finding my way home, and I can only hope that you will find it in your hearts to help me.

Aunt Suzi knew something when she sent us books just days after Caleb's death. She sent me "My son, my son" by Iris Bolton and she sent you "Do they have bad days in heaven? surviving the suicide loss of a sibling" by Michelle Linn-Gust. I can not remember if I passed it on!!! I think M saw it, and maybe read it. In hindsight, I did try to address your pain, but insisting everyone go to at least one counseling session. I have a feeling that this was not really helpful, what we should have done was some family counseling so we could have talked and heard each other - but instead I disappeared in to my pain, and Dad disappeared into his work. My hope is that in the very least, you were able to rely on each other, to talk to each other and find some way forward, and my hope is that it isn't too late to do the same together.

I love you all,


Where I found some information: Rocky Roads: The Journey of Families through Suicide Grief

Please take the study and help research, you each have a unique view that can help others who experience the loss of a sibling -

For those who have lost a sibling to suicide - this is what I can bring to you - something Michelle Linn-Gust has written extensively about:

People forget the importance of siblings in our lives.

- It's the longest relationship we'll every have in our lives. We are typically only a few years apart in age. We usually know them longer than our parents, spouses and children.

- We witness more life events and life changes with our siblings than anyone else.

- We share a sense of family, belonging and culture.

- Time spent together in our early years is greater than with our parents.

- They teach us how to function in society and communicate with others.

- Through the life span, losing our siblings to suicide sets up complicated grief. Typically, siblings will carry this loss through a large portion of life. We might want a way to memorialize the sibling. If we had a difficult relationship with the sibling, there might be unresolved issues we will never find closure for. We might be angry and jealous of our parents and the attention given to them as we are pushed aside. We might be angry at our sibling for being complicit in what we feel as the loss of our parents during their grief. We experience anger that our sibling is not there for important life events, like graduations, marriages, and the births of our children.

No one every gets over a death, it becomes a part of us and we take it with us throughout life.

The links above may be helpful in connecting with others who know what we are experiencing, or we might find getting involved in suicide prevention, or making memorial websites for our siblings help us in our grief. There are many possibilities and each of us will come up with what we want to do when we are ready. Grief and mourning take time - there is not timeline, each will have their own journey, but be assured it does get softer, color will return to our lives and we will find some ways to continue on, continuing to love and remember our sibling for the remainder of our life.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's Official-The Only Anti-Depressant That Works Is- (Repost)

It's official. Word is breaking on the AP and Reuters, UPI, Thompson and Bloomberg wires that the only antidepressant- the only guarenteed way to get out of a depressive state is...


Hearing this news, both Thompson and Bloomberg wires are reporting that Big Pharma is pulling out their hair as pharmacies all over the world are dumping Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil down the toilet, causing these companies to beg President Obama for money to stave off bankruptcy , siting if he can listen to GM and Chrysler, he can help them.

President Obama is remaining silent on this, but has been updated on this situation. The most pressing thing on his agenda today is a meeting with the Queen at Buck Palace and to meet the corgis, and bringing one home for his children, a boy which the Presient has named "Winston", because he likes the name, and it's an all black puppy with a small white spot on it's neck shaped like a heart that reminds him of the late Sir Winston.

The president also has an appointment with the head of Cadburys to figure out why American chocolate cannot hold a candle to European, and will it now need a script from the p-doc to get it? Other things on their agenda is to discuss if the "hot' Green M and M candy is single.

A pharmacy student at Rutpurrs University, contacted by this journalist, stated "this is a nightmare. We all must know Latin for the big drugs, but learning "dispence white/dark/ semi sweet/ chocolate as needed every 8 hours", is just too much, and won't fit on the dispensing pad. I may just drop out before I get my really cool white lab coat which is a real chick magnet".
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