Posts Tagged With: illness

Going Crazy…Be Back Soon

Going crazy…be back soon. That’s my favorite joke I tell myself every day lately. If I could find a bumper sticker that said that, I’d buy it. I’m sure there’s one out there, I just haven’t looked.

I know, it’s politically incorrect to make fun of or joke about, well, just about everything nowadays. But I’m simply laughing at myself when I say that.

The way I see it, I can laugh or I can cry. I choose to laugh. You see, I’ve battled depression off and on throughout my adult life. At times the battle nearly did me in. Luckily, blessedly, I’ve had people on my side, even if I haven’t always recognized it or allowed them to help.

I’ve also had family members, close and distant with their own mental health demons, and all the daily battles and years long wars that entails. Some lost that war, and what a horrific loss.

My best advice from the front lines? Don’t be silent about it. Don’t be ashamed by it. Talk to someone about it.

A close friend, a clergy member, a family member, a health care professional, a counselor anyone. There are help lines you can call, there are more people out there who have been exactly where you are.

And if you’ve been there, don’t be silent about it either. It’s not something we should be hiding. Our experience could be the saving grace or the hand that deflects the last straw.

Imagine realizing the person you’ve looked up to as a role model, the with it, always together, mellow person lets you know they’ve battled one of those mental health demons. Wouldn’t you want to know how they did it? Would you feel safe talking to them about your own worries, or the concerns you have about a spouse, a child, a parent? Imagine then, being the person who could help, and then open up and be that person.

Back in the Paleozoic era, when depression grabbed ahold of me and pulled me into a dark and bottomless pit, there was one medication available to treat it. Now, the list is longer than my arm.

You say you don’t want to go the medication route? Fine, there is still help and caring people with information you could use to win this war.

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Reach out for help. Or reach out to offer help. Either way, don’t be silent about it. Please.

Click here, or here, or here, or here, or here to learn more, to get help, to start opening up, to begin to change the world.

And then, enjoy these lovely jokes about being crazy. Because we all need to laugh.

mh28The aspiring psychiatrists were attending their first class on emotional extremes. “Just to establish some parameters,” said the professor to the student from Arkansas, “What is the opposite of joy?”

“Sadness,” said the student.

And the opposite of depression?” he asked of the young lady from Oklahoma.

“Elation,” said she.

“And you sir,” he said to the young man from Texas, “how about the opposite of woe?”

The Texan replied, “Sir, I believe that would be giddy-up.”

frank-cotham-if-you-have-any-mental-health-issues-you-d-like-to-discuss-now-would-be-new-yorker-cartoonQ: How does a crazy person travel through the woods?

A: They take the psycho path.

20906102_low

And these t-shirts are pretty funny, too!

Seriously, laughter might help, but it’s not a cure, not usually.

Ask for help. Offer help. Open up. You’ll be glad you did.

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Categories: Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Not my “A” Game

Do I have to show up with my A game?

Or can I just show up?

How about if I show up in my pajamas?

My A game is definitely down today. Might be best not to show up at all, even in pajamas.  Does anyone have the number for calling in sick to life?

Open bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and Ext...

Sore throat, earache, head ache, me ache. Sleep remains elusive and fickle. The doctor and I get to chat today. With any luck I’ll leave with a prescription or two or five that will a.) help me sleep; b.) take away some of this dumb pain; and c.) cure whatever this is that’s ailing me. Maybe he can even write one up for d.) an attitude adjustment that minimizes whininess and self-pity.

It’s probably a virus. That’s why I’ve waited this long to visit with the doc. When I go to the doctor only a few days into an illness, I’m told it’s a virus, or it’s what’s going around, and I should drink lots of fluids, get rest and (ha) take it easy.

Somehow my body isn’t getting the message that this is “just” anything and that it should heal itself.

I feel so whiny and wimpy when I think of how my best buddy has suffered through five flipping years of pain, chemo and crap. And she’s done it with less whining in five years than I’ve produced in the past week. You’d think I’d have learned something from her amazing example of perseverance and perkihood and optimism.

I have.

I’ve learned that she’s exceptional and strong and gutsy. I’ve learned that she’s kept her focus on her family. Her priorities have been on three things: 1.) doing what’s essential for her own spiritual well-being; 2.) doing what she can that’s necessary in caring for her family; and with any remaining energy 3.) she does some nice stuff that brings variety and beauty and enjoyment into her life.

That order of priorities has kept her focused and hopeful and happy, in spite of the pain and loss and sickness.

So maybe I can’t bring my A game today. But maybe I can muster my B game and stop being whiny. I could do that.

Right after a nap and some Tylenol.

Categories: Family, People | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Mess of Mixed Metaphors

“I am the captain of my soul, I am the master of my….” whatever…

Whoever said that, whenever they said it, didn’t have the eternal cough of the blue plague of 2013.

Sure you can pick your attitude but that’s about it.  You can’t pick up an extra packet of actual physical energy at the corner drugstore when the survival of your basic vital organs has taken precedent over, oh, lets say, walking and sleeping and eating.

When breathing in becomes akin to sucking air through a soggy wet sponge and exhaling is more like a ’55 chevy truck trying to get started on a subzero morning, attitude counts for zilch.

Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day (Photo credit: simon_redwood)

No amount of perkiness is going to hide that hair sculpted uniquely by the pillow you molded, wrestled, cursed, punched and eventually drooled all over. The lovely color coördinated pajamas you carefully picked out to show stalwart resilience, sooner than later give over to a kind of Harry-Potter-got-dressed-with-some-things-from-Hermoine’s-bottomless-purse-look that should never be purposely duplicated.

And when you think you’ve cheerfully hit that magical spot in the illness where improvement feels imminent, you’ll overdo it by, oh I don’t know, sweeping off the front porch rug and running a load of laundry. And suddenly you’re back to desperately whispering sweet nothings to your lungs in hopes of pacifying them into a quiet stasis.

Days and nights run into each other, not even bothering to say excuse me, in a kind of manic rush of boring nothingness. Where is optimism now? In the trash can with the overflowing used Kleenex and saltine wrappers.

The formerly comfy couch and I have become too well acquainted. It’s not a healthy relationship anymore. I’m thinking of cutting back to visiting once or twice a week.  I’d like to renew my friendships with my boss and her neurotic dog, my car, the grocery store, my gardening and the laundry.  It’d be wondrous to see real live people again, too!

Highclere Castle

Too much Netflix, too many books, too much internet combine into a perfect storm of fevered sleepless weirdness involving Downton Abbey, White Collar and Sherlock Holmes which, oddly, seem to go together ever so well.  At least they did. In the haze of cheerful coughing everything is lovely, loverly, lovely!! Cue the soundtrack to “My Fair Lady.”

But now, ah yes, now I am on the upswing.  No, nix that.  I did not say that.  I don’t want the virus/bacteria/evil dark Sith to know that I think my body is winning.  After all, Attitude is Everything and Pride goeth before a Fall and all that. Rest, rest, rest, rest and more rest is about all I am capable of or should try to do.

Han Solo and Chewbacca

Until the rebel forces prevail and the planets all align, I will continue to sip herbal tea, Russian Tea, hot ginger honey and lemon, hot chocolate, mulled cider, broth, powerade and NON-diet coke. Once Han Solo shows up with Chewbacca, then and only then, will I stop slurping Ramen noodles, yogurt, Chicken Soup and saltine crackers.

Do I seem a little lost in fantasy land? Yup, I probably am. I’m teetering on the edge of a not so optimistic attitude, thinking this cough really will never end.

I can’t imagine keeping my sanity intact for an illness of any real magnitude.  As it is, this nineteen-day (so far) cough has pushed me to my perkiness limits.

Don’t worry.  I’m working on it.  I’ll get there.  In the meantime, I’ll just rest and try to stay off the internet as much as possible.

Where’s my book?

Categories: Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Lambchop and the Borg

So it’s day eight of an apparently eternal cough.  I am a mere newbie from all reports I’ve read or heard.

LAMB CHOP

Isn’t Lambchop a sweetie? (Photo credit: happydacks)

To paraphrase a lovely puppet from the sixties, Lambchop, “This is the cough that never ends, it just goes on and on my friend, somebody started coughing once not knowing what it was and they’ll continue coughing now forever just because this is the cough that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends, somebody started….”

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

I’ve heard from some that it only lasts two weeks.  MSH has been battling the crud since before Christmas. I read of one who’s been hacking since the dawn of time, Thanksgiving. My doctor said nine days. How did she come up with nine days? Why nine, not eight, or twelve.  She probably figured by day nine I would have lost track of what day it was (I have) and I wouldn’t care anymore (I don’t.) Smart doctor.

star trek borg race Star Trek Exhibit at Queen...

“Resistance is Futile” So is cough suppressant! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apparently this evil abomination of a cough laughs in the face of antibiotics, chortles at inhalers, becomes maniacal at the introduction of steroids. To quote the Borg from Star Trek, “Resistance is futile.” In other words, cough suppressants are useless, too.

I had a little run in with an over-the-counter cough suppressant that failed to warn me of the possible hallucinations, nausea, light-headedness and chills that would accompany the promised temporary cessation of cough. I know I should have googled it before taking it, but I was already beside myself.  Or at least I was beside my lung, which I had hacked up during the previous few coughing bouts.

At least during the next eighteen hours of coughing I wasn’t quite so freaked out by it because I was, by all accounts, high as a kite!!

The dreams I have between hacking sessions are bizarre and frightening. Perhaps that explains my earlier references to Lambchop and The Borg in the same blogpost.

I’ve resigned myself to living out my remaining days in my robe and slippers, of which I have two choices. My boss, bless her generous heart and sense of humor, gave me a leopard print robe and leopard print slippers as a Christmas gift. So now I can be stylishly near death’ s door.

Leopard Rug

Leopard Rug (Photo credit: Curious Expeditions)

When that robe gets too germ infested I can wash it and wear my puffy blue cloud print robe which matches where my head is at and where I hope to end up should this cough dispense my other lung on the floor.

I have come to one conclusion through this.  Hell is not a fiery pit, it is a coughing fit.

I have a few last words for you.  Hand Sanitizer. Vitamin C. Zinc Tablets. Face Mask.

Be well and may your immune system stay strong!

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Forget Comfort Foods, Try This Instead

Comfort foods.  I could wax poetic about all the varieties, textures, tastes, emotions and colors of myriad edibles.  So could you.

Have you ever considered “comfort memories?”

It’s self-explanatory.  Here’s an easy example.

My son can put himself to sleep by remembering himself through a specific ski run at a specific resort.  Recalling the swoosh of the snow under his board, the bite of the cold across his cheeks, the trees as they blur past, the feel of his muscles as he moves to catch a curve and negotiates the bumps and jumps, all combine to relax and calm him into a deep and restful sleep.

Nice way to put yourself to sleep, huh? I think so.

I have a way of relaxing myself when I’m feeling ill or in pain that, if I remember to remember it, works very well to comfort and ease my body and mind. It’s rooted in how I was cared for as a child when I was sick. It’s definitely a comfort memory.

Asleep on the couch

Asleep on the couch (Photo credit: geekdreams)

I recall pillows propped on the dark green couch, blankets tucked around me, with the TV on low and bluish across the room.  I remember the smell and taste of the concoction Mom would mix. It consisted of a bit of warm water, a spoonful of paregoric, and some sugar.  It was a licorice smell and taste, somewhat bitter, but eased by that spoonful of sugar.  My tummy always settled out if I was nauseous, my sore throat eased.  Sleep came easier in spite of noise or fever or pain.  I can still feel the coolness of the pillowcase as she turned my pillow to the cool side when my fever was high.  There would often be a cool cloth on my forehead and smoothed across my hands and arms, pulling the heat from my body and sending a swell of relaxation through my tired, aching limbs. Even if she was only checking my fever, Mom’s hand on my cheek let me feel cared for, loved and safe.

If I can conjure that image, those sensations, then I can settle into a rest that reminds me of that love.  I can relax and let the discomfort of whatever hurts lift away from me, even if only momentarily.

To know such care and comfort should fall to every child.  Every adult should be able to pull from the library of memory such a book, filled with tales of love and triumph.

What memories bring peace to you?  Is there anything you can recall from childhood, or adulthood, that on remembering, brings comfort, peace, joy, relaxation, love?

Categories: Family, Love, Memory Lane, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Faces of January

January is usually an off month for me.

Let down from the holidays?  Burn out from overdoing it?  Feeling the weight of a new year?

I’ve never been able to pinpoint a why.

January 2010 Snow Scene

January 2010 Snow Scene (Photo credit: ς↑r ĴΛϒκ❂)

Part of me wants to trust that my brain and body know what I need, so I simply wrap myself up in the feeling, hunker down and ride the wave of depression and self-doubt until it rolls me onto the shore in February.  That usually involves immersing myself in fiction.  Lots and lots of fiction.  Five, six, seven books in one month.

That hasn’t really been an option for a few years now.

The other part of me wants to battle it out by doing some deep cleaning, sorting, organizing and rearranging.  I pack up the holiday decorations, scrub down the kitchen top to bottom, wipe walls, touch up paint around light switches and baseboards, clean windows, vacuum vents, move the fridge and stove and clean behind them. All this is done with the intent, not to have a cleaner home, but to attempt a sense of control over my environment.  Which logically, you’d think, would bring a sense of control over my life.  Unfortunately, this is an illusion.

Dirt happens. Life happens. Crap happens. Reality happens.

Oh sure, great stuff happens too, plenty of it.  But we’re not going to gloss over the not so great stuff.  Not in January.  Not today.

Life is hard.

January is my month to admit it, accept it, internalize it, avoid it, fight it, whine about it, come to terms with it.  It’s my reality check month.

Not that other months aren’t their own kind of reality check.  Surely they are, some more than others.  But January seems hardwired for the task.

I’m tired after the fun and frolic and frantic craziness of December.  I’m ready for some me time.

Almost half way through 2012 I had a month that knocked me on my butt.  I escaped to my cousin’s house for rest and recovery.  She was a gem.  I did some soul-searching, some sleeping, some denial, some hiking.  I felt better.  Then I got back on the treadmill and kept going.

It was my mid-year mini-January, I guess.

Book collection

(Photo credit: Ian Wilson)

My body is telling me this particular January is a reading month.  The cleaning may have to wait until this mean cough I woke up with goes away and the headache stops beating me up. In the meantime I have some ebooks, audio books, tangible books.  And I have an electric blanket,  soup and hot cocoa, and blessedly, some Tylenol.

Hoping your January is simply one of renewal and looking forward to good things.

Oh, and any book suggestions you want to send my way would be welcome.

Happy New Year!

Categories: Mental Health, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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