Friday, February 26, 2010

Freeing Fridays

Well, everyone I know is talking about SNOW! But luckily, we were spared. Seems the forecast didn't turn out as big for Philadelphia as they anticipated and I'm happy to say that we actually are seeing sunshine! It's a great end to a great day.

This has been such an up and down week, full of accomplishments and frustrations. But over all, as I sit here on a Friday snow day, I can say that this has been a good week. A great week in fact, given the way things have been going for so long.

Today, I got everything accomplished I set out to do, and I did it all by noon! My freedom today comes from so many things, but the most fun one is having shoveled the sidewalks. Something like shoveling the sidewalks is a HUGE feat for me. It means actually leaving the house and doing physical activity that makes me uncomfortable. I know, sounds pathetic to some, but the struggle is so real and true for people suffering mental illness. But the best part of shoveling this morning, is that Tony didn't have to do it. And that is such a freeing feeling: to have accomplished something for us, that makes his life easier. My freedom today comes from freeing up his burdens, if only a half hour of one, but a burden none-the-less.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Smiles on Sundays

My smiles today are a result of jokes, laughter, cuddles, and fun with Tony after a very difficult week for the two of us.

It's days like these, where the smiles feel like sunshine, and remind me what life is truly made of. I am overcome with a calming sense of peace and humility that the small things in life are what make it so worth living, and those times when the anguish is almost too much to bear are not the end, because more sunshine smiles are possibly just around the corner.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Silly (Smarty-Pants) Saturdays

I think I can speak for a lot of other couples out there, that one person in the relationship is usually the "good one" when it comes to certain things. Well, in our relationship, I used to be the "good one" when it came to words, vocabulary, Scrabble, crosswords, and the like. It was cute, I used to kick butt in the word department. It made me feel smart.

BUT THEN! Tony got his hands on my crosswords game for Nintendo DS and it was just downhill from there. That man has mastered that game so successfully that he's lightyears beyond me in terms of the crosswords and anagrams and even word searches he has accomplished. That man is a machine! I mean really? I had no idea he was playing the game THAT MUCH! But he was.

Well that was just the start I'm afraid. Last night we downloaded Boggle on XBox. That boy whooped my butt! I was dumbfounded. That used to be one of my favorite games and he just nailed it!

So then we (I) decided we should try Scrabble Slam, the card game. Yet again… ass handed to me. What in the world?! When did this shift take place? I was the good one with word games! I'm so devastated. I better get to using my brain again, or it's going to turn into tapioca pudding mush! Fo' real.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mental Health Ponderings

I was chatting with an old friend of mine today about the difficulties people face who have mental health issues and finding and receiving the help that they really need. Both of us have been in positions where we needed some very serious help, yet were continually told to "look here" or "call there" and it was exhausting. And we wondered why it is so hard to find mental health help when you really need it. And don't these people understand that we need "mental" health help, which means that if we are asking by this point we are likely not in a position to be able to call twenty different phone numbers to narrow down what we really need?

And we had a laugh over an analogy but it struck so close to home. If someone has a broken leg, you would not tell them to "walk over there and get a wheelchair," would you? But that's what it feels like is happening when we are in the throws of needing some serious help with mental illness. We say to a professional "I need help, I don't know what I'm going to do anymore…" and the professional tells us to call this person and that person and see if we can get an appointment somewhere and it's usually over a month wait. Why is it, that those of us with mental health issues, are expected to call upon our mental abilities, which we clearly are having trouble with, at times when we have seemingly nothing left? It's just something to think about.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

It is Thursday, and I cannot believe it has come already. But I'm glad for it because in the midst of my uncertainties this morning, I can take some time to sit back and reflect on what I am thankful for today, this week, in general.

First and foremost, I am thankful to be sitting here writing. The last week was a tough one with medication changes and I was unable to type well for a week. I'm still having trouble but am telling myself hopefully it's just because it's the morning and I'm still stiff and groggy! But to have that ability back is phenomenal because it's one of my favorite things to do.

I find there are so many things I take for granted even when I don't think I'm taking things for granted: like typing, like being alert and cognizant enough to be able to have a conversation, read emails, and even watch TV. But this past week those abilities were challenged. I am just so thankful to start feeling like things are connecting in my brain again, enough that I can feel some semblance of functioning again!

I so am thankful for music. It has been my constant companion this last week through Pandora. I had truly forgotten just how good music makes me feel and how it touches my mood just by changing up (or down) the tempo.

And finally, I am just thankful today for the ability to be thankful. Things get tough when I don't expect them to. And a seemingly great day can be washed out in an instant for me. Not knowing what one day or one minute will hold helps make those good minutes, like right now, that much more to be appreciated.

Thank you body for cooperating for the most part right now, or at least trying. Thank you sister for accepting my help. Thank you Tony for the extra miles you clocked for both me and my sister this week and of course, for being there, and for a super Valentines Day. Thank you doctor for calling me back Tuesday and cutting back my medication dose so that I can function better. Thank you medication for helping me even when I feel like it's not enough, I know you are still there working your best for me. And thank you God and the Universe for reminding me when I least expect it that I am not alone and I have help if and when I need it. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It's coming back.

Taking over my thoughts, my breath, my muscles.

The feeling that there is no end.

The feeling that there has to be an end.

The feeling that… that I want an end.

Overcome with guilt.

Overcome with sick.

Overcome with fear.

Overcome with worry.

Overcome with the force of this thing, this thing that takes me over.

Wanting to explode.

Wanting to implode.

Wanting to disappear.

Wanting to be seen, acknowledged, heard.

Wanting some relief.

Wanting answers.

Wanting a connection.

It comes out of no where.

It comes when I least expect it and don't realize it has been gone for days.

And it is so strong. It is so scary.

But its thoughts can be comforting.

Not sure anymore. Never sure.

One great day turns sour in an instant. And continues. The reality is too painful.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mindful Mondays

Ah… to sit with music in my ears and deep in my head, relaxing on a Monday night after a busy morning. It is truly lovely.

Mindful: adjective 1: bearing in mind: aware; 2: inclined to be aware.

Today I am again reminded of my limitations. I am mindful that my brain is in a very intense fog right now and I do not know one minute to the next what to expect. I am groggy one minute, happy and working through the clouds another, only to be back to being foggy and groggy again. Currently, I am working more clearly and it's a welcome change from feeling so droopy earlier today to the point of sleeping most of the day.

I would like to try to recognize my limitations again today. I so often force things, and in the end overdo it entirely. I strive to be mindful of what my body is telling me when it is telling me what it needs. I also strive to be mindful that these limitations are being told to me for a reason, and not be so hard on myself for not being able to keep up or be who I used to be. People change, their lives change, their bodies change, and situations change. My health has been a huge change and challenge in my life especially in the last year. But I hope that with all I overcome and acknowledge, I learn something new and can keep these lessons throughout the rest of my life to make it a better, happier, more peaceful life.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Smiles on Sundays

What a difficult week it has been. Increased medication which has nearly knocked me out cold, not to mention made typing or focusing on anything extraordinarily difficult. I'm still working on it all.

But through it all, smiles were had, especially today. A fun day out despite the snow STILL piled high on our streets. A grocery run, some yummy snacks a result of that, a nap for me, and video games for Tony as I listen to some great music on Pandora this evening. It's a good night and I wish it didn't have to end in a few hours.

Happy Valentines Day to my baby. Tony, you remain my companion, my supporter, and my strength in times I think I am about to lose it all together. Thank you for everything you do for me. I know you feel funny about thank you's, but this is the only way I know how to even remotely tell you what you mean to me. You come through the darkness I'm feeling to show me light and love and hope, when I am nearly consumed by the frustrations of my situation. You are so strong to be here with me and stand behind, and beside me, when I need you most. I love you baby. I love you more than I ever knew I possibly could love, and that love for you grows every day.

You are my biggest smile, every day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mindful Mondays? Nope, MESSY Mondays

I have decided that I officially do not like today. No offense to Monday, no offense to the date, no offense to anything that pertains to this specific day in time other than the fact that it just isn't working for me. It's just "one of those days…"

Those days are hard. You know the kind, where nothing seems to go the "right" way. Yep. One of THOSE days. I thought I would be okay today. I was fairly apprehensive about starting the week because of some of the things I wanted to accomplish, but I was trying to be optimistic. "Ha!" says the day… not so fast!

Who knows what's going on. My brain and body are not in sync. And the word "frustrating" just does not do justice to the aggravation I feel as I try to get through seemingly simple things. The fact that the internet is having a bad day is also quite a challenge. Things online are not cooperating. My printer upstairs is not cooperating. My body is not cooperating. My mind is not cooperating. Nothing is cooperating.

Then the mail comes, and contains four envelopes pertaining to a recent application I submitted regarding my livelihood and health. Four. I tried to get through them. Lord knows I tried, but I'm so overwhelmed right now I don't know whether to crawl into a ball and try to disappear all together, or tear my hair out in clumps, screaming at the top of my lungs. Or maybe just running around the house flapping my arms in the air uttering incoherent mumbo-jumbo… yeah, that sounds like fun.

It's one of those days alright. It's messy. It's difficult, and frustrating, and overwhelming. I'm afraid it is a day where sitting here peacefully, being mindful of what's going on around me is next to impossible. It's a day of deep breaths, and repeated reminders to "walk away for a minute," to "put the papers down," to "remember to eat," and to take a couple more deep breaths because you just stopped breathing again as you looked out the window thinking of the million things going on right now. That about sums it up. It's just a day to breathe… and be thankful for the blessing of being able to sit here and… just breathe.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Smiles on Sundays

Some days are harder than others to find smiles. Today is no exception for me. I find myself feeling terribly manic on the inside, my brain and blood feeling as though electricity is zipping through me, while my body aches and cries out in stiffness and pain from the stress and strains of the week behind it. I am desperate for the ability to sit still, to sit and just completely "veg" out watching mindless television and actually enjoying it. But I feel I need to be stimulated somehow, because if I do not keep my brain going, I feel like my body will explode, or at the very least uncontrollably flail about the room in fits of fury and agitation.

But there are still things to smile about as I think back on my week, and more specifically my weekend.

Our pet turtle, Leona, makes me smile every day, even if it is accompanied by me shaking my head saying "silly turtle." Yesterday, for a good portion of the day, she was basking on her platform so her hind legs were stretched out behind her floating on top of the water. It was too funny, much like when a dog lays on his belly with all four legs stretched out like he's flying. Only Leona's front legs were pretty well tucked, it was just her backside and hind legs stretched out with her big, flat, webbed feet floating behind her as if she were some sort of turtle superhero.

Tony's brother came to visit for the weekend, and I love to see Tony with his family. The smiles family elicits in him make me smile warmly to the very core. I love their jokes, the way they kid with one another, and the lighthearted nature of their interactions.

We ended up getting 28" of snow in Philadelphia yesterday. I love being snowed in. I love opening the blinds to watch the snow fall and listen to the wind howl and blow and drift the snow all around. And I especially love the second day, where the sun is brighter than ever, beaming off the white snow, reflecting into my windows and lighting the house up with sunshine.

I had a blast taking a couple pictures of the snow to send to my good friend in Australia, and found out today that her kids loved the pictures of the snow, and her son even had imaginary phone conversations with me after that. "Hello, Auntie Carrie…" Talk about melting your heart and bringing smiles to your day to hear that!

And she sent photos of the kids and herself and her husband, which made me smile and cry at the same time at the sheer beauty and spirit I see in each of them. It makes me smile that something as simple as a picture, lines and colors, can bring someone closer together if only for that moment.

Another smile pertaining to my friend in Australia, is she asked if I had any suggestions naming their new calf. I can honestly say that until today, I have never thought of what you might name a cow!

And last, but not least, I cannot get through today without smiling that today is the Super Bowl, which means the official END of the football season! Of course I mean no offense to anyone, as I like football too, but football season takes up DAYS of television each week (Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, sometimes Thursdays) and to have a break from watching practically every game of the season will be welcome. Of course, I have a feeling something new will become an obsession (UFC perhaps?), but for now, I will enjoy the last game of the season. I have already enjoyed getting this far through the day without gridiron on! *smile*

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Days of the Week

Earlier this week, I had an idea for some blog inspiration. I already have some other "topics" I can draw from when I'm feeling uninspired, yet want to write. But I was excited to work on this and put a little effort into it to see what comes of it. You may have noticed a couple topics specific to the weekday on which it is written, in terms of the focus-word starting with the same letter as the letter of the weekday. Yep, that's the idea! I have come up with the following:

Mindful Mondays,

Tasty Tuesdays,

Wacky Wednesdays,

Thankful Thursdays,

Freeing Fridays,

Silly Saturdays, and

Smiles on Sundays

I owe credit to a couple other places I have seen similar concepts: one, a blog on, and another from the Facebook page of BringChange2Mind. I liked the concept of dedicating one day to being "mindful" or "thankful," but wanted to put my own spin on it so as not to be too serious all the time. Part of doing this blog for myself was to have the ability and freedom to be serious when I need to be, but remember to be silly from time to time and keep humor with me along this journey. So that's what I came up with!

I have decided I these topics will be left up to interpretation of the day and my mood on that day. I will not force myself to write one every day, as sometimes I will want to write about another topic entirely, and some days I will not want to write at all. And I need to be okay with that. This is not something I set out to force myself to do, but to use as an outlet as needed. I have also decided that the topic-word of the day can be altered or even added to (as was done today with Silly "Snowy" Saturday). It's open, and that's part of the fun!

Silly (SNOWY) Saturdays

A silly day indeed. We start with nearly two feet of snow… in Philadelphia of all places! The band of precipitation just seemed to cover Southern PA and areas South, so in a twist of events the Northern most part of the Northeast corner of the States did not get a flake! It's too funny for me to sit here looking out the window at cars covered with snow, wind blustering around and blowing the snow all over, yet know that my mom in Scranton is looking out the window to a dry day. I wonder if they have sun!

So to keep with the silliness of the day, the movie of the hour is Major League. I don't think I've ever seen it, and I see why! It's corny alright! Because of the weather, there is barely anything on TV in lieu of news coverage of the "Blizzard" of 2010.

My poor fiancee is outside cleaning off his truck of all the snow. He already shoveled the sidewalks. Such a trooper. And his brother is visiting for the weekend so we'll likely continue the silliness with more goofy movies, jokes, catching up, and maybe even a game or two. Considering I'm not one so much for games, I hope they keep each other company so I can continue to play on my computer and listen to music. is awesome so far. I plugged in one of my favorite artists and have been totally addicted to the station it created for me ever since.

And in a final mention of silliness on this Silly Saturday - my turtle Leona has been basking on her platform, but has her butt hanging off the edge and her two back legs stretched out behind her on top of the water. Have you ever seen a dog lay face-down with his front feet in front of him and his back legs stretched out flat behind him? Yes, that is exactly what my turtle is doing, only the majority of her body is on the basking platform except for her butt sticking out and her two legs just floating on the water. It's hilarious!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Freeing Fridays

Who would have thought that when I came up with Freeing Fridays just a few days ago as a subject for the blog, that I would be so inspired to use it today. Although the event(s) leading up to today's post are rather frustrating, I am so glad it has happened.

Granted, much of my ability to breathe today could be the chemical switch in my brain from being almost totally out of control yesterday to breathing a little lighter today, but I still think it's significant and worthy of mention.

Yesterday I had a major outburst, one that not only had me yelling at my sister but also my mother shortly thereafter. So much anger and frustration that had been pent up for so many years just came rushing out of me faster than my mouth and brain could keep up. I was emotional, unstable, and slightly out of control. But that event, that final opening of pandora's box started dialogue with my mother that I never thought would happen.

We have barely scratched the surface. But for me to finally have the strength (albeit angry) to tell her outright that I do not appreciate some of the things that transpired as I was growing up was so freeing for me.

So today, on Freeing Friday, I would like to acknowledge just how freeing it is to finally tell someone you love that they have hurt you or are hurting you, instead of just taking it and bottling it up and blaming yourself for it. I definitely think there is a time and place for certain things. Yesterday's outburst was not necessarily fair on them. But the weight it lifted off me to finally say "I've had enough!" was enormous. And I feel just a little bit freer today having done that.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

Earlier today, it was so much easier to think about what I'm thankful for than it is at the present moment. This evening took a dramatic downturn that I was not prepared for. I had a very big outburst and meltdown which, albeit frightening, was somewhat cathartic for me. Perhaps getting a lot of that pent-up anger out was a good release. That and the crying - no, sobbing. Tears are always a huge release when they come in large waves. Painful and agonizing at the time, but in the end I definitely feel that chemical release they speak of with regard to crying.

So today I am most thankful for Lou on the Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline. I called in much distress, and she was the one I was routed to. She was wonderful… calm, sweet, straight-forward, and excellent at keeping me talking, even to the point where she was able to get me to talk about things other than what I was distressed about so I was much more relaxed in the end. The first time I ever called a suicide hotline in my life, I ended up trying to commit suicide having ended up more frustrated than I was to begin with. But today, I'm thankful that not only was she kind and concerned, but I was also more in need of someone to talk to than someone to take me from the edge.

I am also thankful for Tony coming home when he was scheduled to go play cards. For him to make the determination that I needed someone home with me tonight without me asking, and still coming home despite my protests means more to me than words can express. It's a quiet night for us, but just to have him next to me as we eat dinner and watch TV helps more than he will ever be able to fully understand.

So for Thankful Thursday: "Thank you Lou and Tony, for showing me love and support when I was at the end of my rope today." I wish I were able to say there will be less and less of these days sooner and sooner, but I fear we may have a long way to go yet.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Precious Moments

Realizing that despite feeling worse than I have ever felt about myself in my life, the man sitting next to me on the couch sees something so beautiful and lovable that he not only wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but insists on it - even if that means living together in a room so small, I can cook us dinner from my side of the bed.