Category Archives: blogging

My Seven Favorite Quick Mood-Changers

7qt_lyceum_v2I’m a bit more of an expert in this area than I’d like to be, since I’ve attempted suicide and ended up in a locked psych ward for a few days with intensive outpatient therapy for two weeks after that. I still see my psych guy regularly. My inpatient and outpatient experiences added extensively to my “toolbox” of coping mechanisms. Some are odd. Take what you want and giggle at the rest. Sometimes you just have to laugh or cry.

— 1 —

Anger. I have a lot of anger. For the doctor who fucked up my second surgery and washed his hands of me. All he had to do was read the radiologist’s report of my X-ray and he’d have known my vertebrae weren’t fused. All of this could have been avoided and now I’d be working full-time and being myself. I’m angry at all the patients I did stress tests on who had chest pain while running a 10K or lifting a hundred pounds. When I asked what sort of work they did daily they said, “Oh, I’m disabled from back pain.” I haven’t been able to work at all since 2011, I spend 18-20 hours in bed, and I still can’t convince a judge I’m disabled.

When the anger gets to be too much, I want to yell and break things. So I close the windows, give the dogs treats, and sing/shout along with “angry woman” songs until my throat is raw. Pat Benatar works well, as does Miranda Lambert. Aerosmith is a great choice, too.

I have a stash of Goodwill plates. No stoneware – the more fragile the better. Grab some plates: two if you’re angry, five if you really want to hurt someone. Put on protective eyewear, shut the dogs in the house, and throw those plates as hard as you can at a concrete or brick wall. Of course you have to pick up and throw all the pieces away, but it’s so worth it!

— 2 —

Depression. I’ve got a lot of this one, too. I take my meds, and I read from this book before I get out of bed every day.
believing-in-myself
It’s secular, not religious, and it’s what we started our meetings with during outpatient therapy. I love this book. You can get a used copy cheap on Amazon.

If that doesn’t get you through the day, distraction is my most-used tool. Call or text a friend and ask about how they are doing. Don’t talk about yourself, just them. If you’re able, go for a run. I miss running. I was never fast, but the scenery distracted me. Read a book that you know is funny or uplifting. Or even better, watch a movie that makes you laugh until your sides hurt or makes you get all the tears out. Steel Magnolias always does it for me. I should write Sally Field a thank-you card for the funeral scene.

— 3 —

Envy/Jealousy. This is one I have to deal with more frequently than I’d like. I know, intellectually, that most of the people in the world would love to be me. I can walk and talk, I have a fantastic family, and I worked more than twenty years at a job I loved. I can worship the way I want, say anything on this blog, and I still have health insurance (praise God!).

I tackle this one with my prayer journal. It’s an old Nurses’ Day gift. I write the date, then what I’m thankful for, then what I pray for. It puts in all in perspective. If that doesn’t cover it, or if I’m feeling jealous of the whole world (Hey, it happens!) I write. My words are mine and only mine. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing lyrics, a short story, a blog post, or phrases and doodles in my journal. It’s mine, and no one else on Earth can claim it.
prayer-journal

— 4 —

Exhaustion. Extreme emotions are exhausting. So is chronic pain, which is another issue I deal with 24/7. I read somewhere that you should treat yourself like you’d treat your beloved sister or daughter. Let yourself rest, treat yourself now and then.  Most importantly, have faith. I highlighted a quote about faith in an ebook I was reading recently, but now I can’t remember which book it was in. Anyway, it was something about believing everything is going to be OK somehow even though all evidence leads you to believe it won’t. That’s how I get through it when I’m forced to look at anything further ahead than the next day.

— 5 —

Loneliness. I’ve been alone in a room of hundreds of people. I’ve been alone in my own home, with my family surrounding me. In addition to the faith I’ve mentioned it’s important to have a physical companion, physical affection. I’ve seen all the samplers and pillows talking about how cats and dogs are angels with fur, and I firmly believe it. If you can’t have your own, volunteer at an animal shelter. Pets are overflowing with love.

— 6 —

Pissiness/Bitchiness“. That’s what my husband and youngest son call it, anyway. Personally, I think my filter just finally wore out. I translated mean into polite fifty times a day for over twenty years. Then I spent five years jumping through hoops for people who couldn’t string a grammatically correct sentence together to save their lives and completely lacked compassion. Maybe theirs just wore out, too. My psych guy gave me meds, but the filter hasn’t grown back yet. Obviously, I don’t have any tips for this one except to try really hard to keep your mouth shut, or at least keep the sarcasm out of your voice. If you have tips, I’d love to hear them. I actually offended my 17yo yesterday with my language. Impressive, huh?

— 7 —

Self-Pity. Get. Over. It. Really, I don’t mean to be cruel. I tell myself this nearly every day. Go on YouTube and watch someone without the use of their hands and feet paint with their teeth. Watch a soldier who lost both his legs run a 5K. Google things like “worst living conditions”, “poorest country”, and “most painful diseases”. Make a list of your blessings. It’ll be long!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Very Important Post

7qt_lyceum_v2

— 1 —

I’m writing this on Wednesday, hoping it will post by Friday morning. I use Dreamhost for my blog and email, and I’ve never had a problem with them until now. I lost access to my email on Monday, and it’s been a very trying week. I thought I’d finished “defining myself” (Part I and Part II), but now I’m narrowing my focus. I’m a writer. There are many other aspects to my life and my personality, but I am a writer. Not a blogger, not a salesperson, no longer a nurse. I am a writer. First novel coming out before the end of the year. Follow me on social media and you won’t miss a thing.

— 2 —

My eldest son called me the other day (cue Hallelujah chorus). It was the first time we’d heard from him since sometime in early May. No, he didn’t call on Father’s Day. Seeing Michael that sad was incredibly painful. I was so very, very close to sending an email asking what we’d done to offend, anger, or insult our son just twenty-four hours beforehand! It’s just one more example of how waiting on God’s timing is always better. I talked his ear off, quizzed him about everything except what toilet paper he was using, then passed him off to Michael. After a few minutes I let John know his brother was on the phone, and he sped downstairs to the studio to wait his turn. Then Aaron set us all up with an app called GroupMe, where we can share the everyday nonsense that really keeps people in touch! And it’s been wonderful!

— 3 —

john ksparks
John had his Senior pictures taken this week. We had a mini-session with a fantastic photographer in La Grange, which was perfect. John hates to have his picture taken nearly as much as I do, so he was much more relaxed with a thirty-minute maximum! Then he had his picture taken at school for the yearbook. All senior girls in drapes, all senior boys in tuxes. I just made the appointment, since I certainly couldn’t complain about his picture. Mine got me a threat from the assistant principal to “make my Senior year very difficult.” I suspect his year was more difficult than mine since I had a great time and I made sure he had to hide 600 pennies on his person during graduation. And I’m not sorry. Misuse of power is always bad, but exponentially bad if the victim is a teen girl. The fact that I just took it as a challenge proves Mr. Akers didn’t know me as well as he thought he did.

— 4 —

Thursday John and I will tour the campus at the University of Louisville. It’s just a casual group thing. We’ll see dorm rooms, classrooms, the student center, etc. No meetings with the marching band director or with instructors in Computer Science or Asian Studies, no “come to Jesus” with the financial aid people or the Speed School admissions people. Of course it will be raining cats and dogs. But I consider that a good sign, since when Aaron fell in love with Morehead it was during the storm of the decade and we couldn’t even make it home without stopping to wait out the storm.

— 5 —

Remember the cute birdcage I bought when my local Hancock’s Fabrics went out of business? Well, now my Muse and the Wine Fairy are roomies, with shell beds, flower pillows, and leaf coverlets. They both seem very happy, BTW, so if you have writer’s block maybe it’s time to bribe your muse!
fairy habitat

— 6 —

Normally it’s Winter that is toughest for me to get through. This summer has been pretty awful, though. The barometric pressure is bouncing around like the ball in a Disney Sing-a-Long, and it’s cause for celebration when I have feeling in all four extremities. I’m taking a cane and extra meds for the UofL trip.

— 7 —

I’m spending an hour a day (four 15-minute chunks of time) searching for scholarships for John. It takes a few clicks to weed out the ones for which you already are enrolled in college, have not survived a car crash that was fatal to someone, or have not read a particular little-known book. But “every little bit helps” as a young relative once wrote me in a thank-you note after receiving $50 (no gifts given since then, clearly) so I’m bombarding him with scholarships he needs to apply for. If I’d had the internet when I’d been a high school senior I’d have gotten a full ride to an Ivy League school!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

How Do You Define Yourself? Part I

I had a very clear definition of who I was from a very young age.  I was told I was “smart” and “pretty”. I grew up in a rural area, so I could tell people who my parents and grandparents were and they knew all they needed to know about me. But then I needed glasses, and my grandmother insisted my short, baby-fine hair needed a perm. Since I was going through that gangly stage (which lasted way too long in my case) and my parents got divorced before any of my friends’ parents did I just hung onto “smart” for as long as I could, and let all the other insecurities build.

I made some new friends in Junior High, thankfully. I didn’t find out until years later that a “mean girl” in the worst possible sense had put a lot of time and effort into alienating me from my childhood friends. But the friends I made in Junior High hung with me into High School, when I finally got contacts. It certainly didn’t put me back in the “pretty” category, but I could pass for “smart and kinda cute” on a good day. I threw myself into any activity that would look good on a scholarship application and didn’t require any actual skill or coordination, because I knew early on that I had no marketable skills and no money for a college education.

I graduated 6th in a class of 600, and got a four-year full-ride scholarship to the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. There I was neither smart nor pretty, but just a name on the roster. A name that was actually misspelled on my diploma, which I had to pay to get fixed. That had to wait until my third or fourth paycheck as a nurse, which was how I defined myself for a couple of decades.

That and Michael’s wife, Aaron’s mom, then Jack’s mom. Then my youngest has his own bullying experience, after which he changed schools and wanted to be called John, his legal name, which he goes by to this day. Is it wrong that I still want to find the boy who bullied him and made his life miserable (with the full knowledge of the Holy Spirit School teacher, counselor, and principal) for tainting the nickname my son used for almost the first decade of his life? I could slowly cut out his tongue with a smile on my face, but it would be pointless since he’s probably bullied so many other people since then he doesn’t even remember my son. He’ll be arrested one day for raping an unconscious college girl and his parents will pretend to be shocked.

Long post, so wait for Part II tomorrow.

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