Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The current lineup of the St Paul Contemporary Praise Band: Jake (bass), Bob (guitar), Mary (keyboards), Annie (drums/percussion), Hannah, Chloe, Bethany and Mariah (vocals). August, 2011.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Gots Me A Rock Doc

Close to 5 years ago, in a drunken haze whilst moving stuff out of my home with Craig into my apartment, I slipped on some black ice in the alley and consequently broke my right thumb. (Same alley where I drunkenly fell taking out garbage and sprained my ankle the year before.) I watched the thumb/hand swell and in a fuckload of pain (though the alcohol relieved most of it) overnight, before going to see my PCP, Dr. Bednarska, the next morning. (She's the one who told me several months later, after looking at my liver function tests, that if I continued to drink at the rate I was going, I'd be dead in a matter of months.) "That looks, um, BROKEN," she said, and sent me up to the orthopedist's office, where the X-ray confirmed what Dr. Fahrenbach called "one of the worst breaks" he'd ever seen. I spent the next 12 weeks in a removable cast, going to physical therapy twice a week, unable to drum that whole time. I don't remember much more, thanks to all the booze, about what an inconvenience that experience turned out to be. Fortunately, the hand healed well and life went on.

Fast forward to last Friday night: Drummed for about 2 1/2 hours at practice, played well, comfortable with my parts, so yay. Was looking forward to playing at the service on Saturday. When I got home from practice, I talked to Kate on the phone for a good hour or so, then had my computer out on the patio table where I was chain smoking (naturally), and catching up with my social networking after taking all my night meds (warning: "may" cause drowsiness). At some point, drowsiness won out, and I fell dead ass asleep at the computer with my right hand, already aggravated by drumming for a long time, clutching the mouse. I don't remember what time I fell asleep outside, but I woke up at 1:40 am and went into the house to go to bed.

My right hand felt like it had "fallen asleep." Tingly, numb, pins-and-needles awkward. Just a passing thing, so I went to bed and thought nothing of it. Upon waking up Saturday, my hand just wasn't "right." It was totally numb, with a noticeable muscle twitch in the forearm that you could see poking the skin of my arm up and down. I couldn't grip anything. I couldn't hold a cup. I couldn't put toothpaste on my toothbrush. I couldn't put deodorant on my left armpit with my right hand.

The hand wanted to naturally cave into a palsy position, and the aforementioned broken thumb was completely numb. I tried hot compresses, ice, anti-inflammatories, rolling my head and neck and arm around, and nothing alleviated the numbness. I texted Bob, my guitarist, all afternoon with updates ("No, it's still the same") and told him to bring Dr. Rhythm (our drum machine) to augment me on Saturday night. I *could*, however, play the congas, since the right hand lies flat to bang on the larger conga. Insert complete improv on the congas of all the songs I was supposed to play on the kit. Lordy lord lord.

If you thought my electronic drum kit sounded phony, you should hear the drum machine. It is embarrassing to me as a musician. Yet I realized there was little I could do about the situation but use the machine on a couple of the songs. The congregation was none the wiser and apparently enjoyed the conga augmentation. Yay?

The symptoms hadn't improved over the course of the weekend, so I solicited chiropractor referrals from some friends, and one, Amy, pointed me towards Dr. Randy Kertz. He is a bassist who treats A LOT of musicians. He's, according to Amy, the resident on-call chiropractor in Chicago who the rocks stars all get adjusted by when they're in town and in need of a little TLC. I breezed past his wall of fame in the office today, laden with photos of himself with all the rich and famous musicians he's treated. Sign me up, sign me up!

I saw Dr. Randy this morning, who attempted to whackily adjust my hand, crack my bones, and thought he isolated the pinched nerve to my right upper forearm. It'll take multiple visits to alleviate the symptoms, and he doesn't take my insurance, so this will be a costly adventure. Meanwhile, I talked to my rockin' new PCP, Stosh, who wanted to order an EMG of the arm to check for nerve damage. I ran it past my Tatus, who agreed it was an appropriate course of treatment, especially, Stosh said, since I broke that numb thumb in the past. In any event, I told all parties involved that I need my hand to function correctly by next Friday, when I have to drum again. Right now, I can't even hold a stick.

It's not carpel tunnel, for that is associated with pain, and I have none. It's not arthritis, because it's presenting just like a pinched nerve. Dr. Randy is optimistic. He said there are multiple therapies he can try to get the sensation back, eg acupuncture. The EMG will give the PCP a better overview of what's happening with the nerve. In the meantime, all I can do is wait, and rely on my left hand. Thank God I'm left-handed, though I totally take my right hand dominance for granted. The loss of the grip and control over the hand is what's most annoying. It's interfering with my daily grind, particularly at work.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Picture Got Me in Trouble.

My mom and her sister were going through my grandparents' old photo albums the other day and came across this adorable picture of my ex-husband, Craig, and I. It was taken in 1995, when we were engaged, at my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary party.

It's undeniably a cute picture of both of us. It served to remind me of what was a halcyon period in my young adulthood. I was already unwittingly showing signs of manic depression, but it was before I was addicted to anything. Craig and I were 23 and 24, respectively, and in love. Both fresh out of college, we were working to start building a life together in Chicago, where Craig had uprooted himself after being raised in Emporia, KS. I have a lot of fond memories of that time spent together before we got married, before drugs and alcohol invaded our lives, before our son was even a glimmer in our eyes.

So I posted the picture to my Facebook wall, and tagged Craig, Luke and myself in it. That means it shows up on Craig's wall & Luke's wall as well as my own, along with the commentary other friends had regarding the picture. My friend Anne, who went to college with both Craig and I, commented on what a cute couple we made and asked if we'd ever get back together again. I said no, that Craig has made it clear there's no hope of a complete reconciliation, and that he has a wonderful girlfriend whom he loves very much. I also commented back, "He's moved on and has a wonderful girlfriend and I'm really happy for him because he's happy. That's what is most important. We're still friends and I love him a lot. We were meant to be Luke's parents. Meant to be friends. We just weren't meant to be married to one another, it seems..."

Which was the God's honest yet painful truth. I DO still love Craig. I think he's a wonderful person and a terrific father. I admire him very much. Am I still angry with him that he didn't get me help for my addictions and mental illness while we were married? Sure. But he's mad at me for lots of legit reasons himself, and we're still healing from that. Craig got mad that I'd posted such personal information on Facebook about the state of our relationship, and I'm not sure why. He commented on the photo, "Ok, again, does EVERYONE have to know EVERYTHING? No offense to Anne or anyone else,but really!"

Craig and I got a divorce. We can't change that. We're not going to get back together. I accept that. It doesn't mean I don't still honestly love him and want him to be happy, for I do. And I don't care who publicly knows I love that guy or who doesn't know. I don't care if his girlfriend knows. She's not the jealous type, according to Craig, but lovey-dovey things from me on his page bother her. I kind of file that under "too damn bad." I have a 20-year history with this man and a child we're raising, who needs to know that his parents are a team, no matter what.

Craig came to the ER some months back when I was having a heart scare, to take me home. He sat in the waiting room and was eventually let in to be with me, before I was discharged. He told the security guard in the ER that he was my husband. Just made things easier, he said. The ER docs, who knew me well at this point, thought that Christopher was my husband, since he'd been in there with me on numerous occasions too. Whereas Chris wouldn't even admit to them that he was my boyfriend, Craig said he was my husband. And a little part of me will always refer to him as my husband, though we've been apart for 4 1/2 years.

August 3rd not only would've been my dad's 70th birthday, but also would've been mine and Craig's 15th wedding anniversary. We both thought of each other on that day. To date, the only time I have cried in psychotherapy has been whilst talking about Craig. So much is still unresolved and I desperately want the chance to make amends (part of the 12 steps) to Craig about the harm I caused him and our family.

Until that happens, I have pictures like this one to remind me of the happy times I had with Craig, and too bad if he feels like our privacy was invaded.

Craig, you're a mensch and I do still love you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


George Harrison? I've loved him more than life itself since I was a kid. He's my favorite artist of all time (sorry, Flaming Lips). Martin Scorsese's bio pic of George will be nothing short of phenomenal. He is sorely missed. My Sweet Lord! Check out the full trailer for the film "George Harrison: Living in the Material World" at I'll be dragging TOC to this one, whether he likes it or not, for sure.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Useless Things About Me

1) I don't floss. I should, but I don't.

2) I have to use the middle stall of the bathroom in the hospital where I work or I flip the hell out.

3) I sucked my thumb until I was 10. I still sleep with my Curious George, Winnie-the-Pooh, and a stuffed leopard, along with my baby blanket, at 39. I am not ashamed!

4) I obsessively bit my fingernails until 4 months ago when I suddenly stopped and got over the habit.

5) I believe it's possible to be in love with more than one person at a time.

6) At present, I have Tweeted 6,311 times.

7) I'm perpetually freezing because I have so little fat on my body.

8) Relative to #7, I'm 5'8" and I weigh 115 lbs. and still manage to have DD boobs. Everyone thinks they're fake, which they're not, and I feel like I'm in a circus act. I'm very self-conscious about it.

9) My car, a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica, has endured multiple drunk driving incidents and has the scars to prove it. Yet I still drive it.

10) I taught myself to play the drums, after my father and brother were both drummers. Nobody showed me how to play. You either have it or you don't. I can't read music. I play by ear, which is harder than it seems.

11) I married the first man I slept with. I have told other young women that this is ill-advised.

12) At present, I have no desire to quit smoking. So quit nagging me about it.

13) While I believe it's every woman's right to choose what to do with an unplanned pregnancy, I personally would never have an abortion. I'm Pro-Andrea. I had a miscarriage when I was 26, and addicted to narcotics. It was nature's way of telling me something was wrong.

14) I'm politically apathetic. I'm a declared Democrat and extremely liberal thinker, and believe anarchy should be the rule of society.

15) My father died from alcoholism at age 42 in 1984, when I was 11. The only time I've been to where my father is buried was to bury my grandparents. He didn't have a headstone until a couple of years ago, and I've never seen it. Most times, I feel ok with that because I know his soul's not there. Just his bones. What's the point?

16) Related to #15: I was on the brink of acute liver failure when I stopped drinking on February 21, 2008.

17) My husband and I went out to breakfast together after we appeared in court for our divorce in March of 2009, after a 2-year separation. I still love him very much and always will.

18) I obsessively love The Lawrence Welk Show.

19) Despite my intense love for coffee, if I drink it in the morning, it makes me sick to my stomach. So I drink green tea instead.

20) Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains the Same" has been played more times on my iTunes than any other song.

21) I have very little memory of my son's preschool years, from about age 4-7. I was in an alcoholic fog. I see pictures but I don't remember much about it.

22) I still have days when I want to get high to the stilts and drink myself blind. I choose not to, one day at a time.

23) It has always puzzled me how drummers can play with a lit cigarette in their mouths. Doesn't the smoke burn their eyes?

24) I haven't made amends yet to everyone I harmed while drinking, and that weighs heavily on my heart.

25) I wear 3 sterling silver rings on my wedding ring finger that I got from a married man.

26) I still count my sobriety in months, not years. It took me 8 hours to be sober enough in the hospital ER to consent to inpatient rehab, after I declared that I was a threat to myself and others. My blood alcohol level was something like 3.4 when I went to the ER.

27) My son makes me supremely happy, most of the time. I consider him my greatest accomplishment. He's one of the only things I haven't totally fucked up in my life. He's a bonafide genius, and I don't just say that because I'm his mom.

28) I've always hated Disney ANYTHING.

29) My older brother took the clothes off my Barbie dolls and pretended they lived in an nudist colony. He also put the stickers on my Star Wars X-wing fighter that I got for Christmas in 1977, which still ticks me off to no end.

30) I have no appetite. Ever. I haven't been hungry for food in upwards of a year.I force-feed.

31) I let my son say the word "fuck" in proper context at home and don't dispute him. He knows not to say it outside of in front of me, and I don't mind it at all.

32) Related to #31, I am happy now that my 11-year old has his own espresso maker. He needs a jolt of caffeine in the morning to wake the hell up. Otherwise, he's a zombie.

33) It's true that time flies when you're having fun. July 7, 2011 was one of the greatest nights of my life spent with 2 men I each love dearly, neither of whom I fucked around with.

34) I have no idea how the scars on my forearm healed to the point it looks like I never used to slice my arms. I chalk it up to a miracle.

35) I suffer from utter driving anxiety, though I have a GPS. I frequently get lost, and have a phobia about making left hand turns. I avoid them as best I can. I hate driving somewhere new when I don't know exactly where I'm going.

36) Related to #34, it's by the grace of God that I'm still alive today, period. Still, I never have envisioned myself living to be an old lady. I have always felt that I will die young. It's one reason why I have my memorial service planned out already. I don't want a wake, I don't want a casket. I want to be cremated and scattered over somewhere special, though I don't know where that is yet. Maybe inside a Louis Vuitton store.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"I'll Stand By You." Thanks, Man.

One of my best friends put this on a CD he made for me recently. It meant so much to me. We're like twins in a lot of respects. Too much alike to work out as a couple in the long-term, for we'd ultimately bring out bad behaviors in one another. Still, our love is unique and precious.

Oh, why you look so sad?
Tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now
Don't be ashamed to cry
Let me see you through
'cause I've seen the dark side too
When the night falls on you
You don't know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less

I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you

So if you're mad, get mad
Don't hold it all inside
Come on and talk to me now
Hey, what you got to hide?
I get angry too
Well I'm a lot like you
When you're standing at the crossroads
And don't know which path to choose
Let me come along
'cause even if you're wrong

I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you

And when...
When the night falls on you, baby
You're feeling all alone
You won't be on your own

I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you

I'll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you

Why We Write

My former English professor-turned best-selling fiction author, Robert Hellenga, posted the following idea to his Facebook page today: "Anaïs Nin says that “we write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection.” There’s a lot of truth in that, but it’s not the whole truth. We also write to probe mysteries." I commented that I write to ward off the insanity.

But probing mysteries is also accurate, as is Nin's statement. My writing is largely reminiscences of the past, of moments I wish I could recapture, of feelings I didn't accurately express in the moment, or dialogs that run in loops through my head, unstoppable. Writing ideas, fantasies, triumphs and tragedies DO help me ward off my perpetual struggle with insanity. Some of what I write makes no sense to anyone except me.

My therapist said I should keep a journal of private thoughts that I *don't* want the entire websphere to know about. I disagreed with her on the subject. I live my life publicly, I love whom I want to love, and I speak my mind, regardless if gets me in a pickle or not. I write without abandon. I don't do drafts and find that type of writing very constrictive. I edit only grammar and punctuation. The rest is stream-of-consciousness. Some pieces turn out really well; others don't. I dig myself into a world-wide ditch posting some of the shit I write about.

I earned my BA in English-Writing in 1995. At the time, my writing was focused on poetry, on which I did my senior writing workshop. My poems were largely logopoeia, or language poetry. I used to sit with a thesaurus and thumb through to find words that I thought fit well together on paper. Sometimes those poems had spark and meaning. Other times, it was all disjointed blabber. I haven't written a poem in almost 15 years. I never got the hang of fiction writing, despite taking Hellenga's class (I think I got a C). I lacked the focus and attention span to write a solid piece of fiction and found poetry in it's brevity to be my preferred expression. Blogging again is a great outlet for my feelings/thoughts.

At present, I have 8 friends publicly following me on blogspot. I don't know (blogspot doesn't tell me) how many people are following me anonymously. Of those 8 people who are following out loud, the vast majority of them already love me. That's awesome. I am trying every avenue possible to advertise my blog so that more people follow it. I post links everywhere. My audience is a mystery. I have a natural writer's vanity when it comes to seeking attention through my writing. I want to be heard. The blog is a chance to tell everyone what's going on in my head when I don't have time to connect to each of you personally.

To me, it's a better expression of art than the crap I pulled in college taking studio art, when my pieces were unusual, interactive loads of hooey. I created a canvas on the floor of the art studio and painted a giant, horrible landscape of Chicago's skyline and had to re-paint the floor to it's original color after my project. I did a piece where I sat naked from the waist up and had all the other artists in class paint words on my back. I failed miserably at ceramics. Hell, I tried. But I always came back to writing.

My brain refuses to unwind. Part of being bipolar with manic tendencies. This is my outlet. Welcome to my life.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset

My little boy isn't a little boy anymore. He's going into 6th grade on Monday, is 5'2" and has the personality of a 45-year old (read: he's more mature than his mom). Here are some awesome shots his cousin Jake took of him today. I still don't see any of myself in Luke. To me, he's the spitting image of Craig, save for his hair and eye color, which are the same as mine.

I'm Pretty Crazy Anyway. A Good Quote.

‎"Writer’s block results from too much head. Cut off your head.
Pegasus, poetry, was born of Medusa when her head was cut off. You have to be reckless when writing. Be as crazy as your conscience allows." - A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

Friday, August 19, 2011

If Anyone Is Interested In My Band...

Here's the link to my band's page. There are video and audio clips a'plenty. We rock the house of God every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 5650 N Canfield Rd, Chicago IL. You can contact me for more information.

Music news

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trouble Looms Large For 2 Flaming Lips fans. Up-and-coming therapist makes vain attempt to help out.

I've made no bones about 2 things in life: A) That I've unsuccessfully attempted suicide before and B) that I know The Flaming Lips. And Lord knows, everybody on Earth knows I'm a junkie/alcoholic. Some people also know that I'm going to school to become a therapist. This puts me in a precarious position sometimes.

Hundreds of thousands of people admire The Flaming Lips for bringing such positivity to the universe. Such messages of love and encouragement, laced with superb music backing up the souls of a bunch of guys who really are the salt of the fucking Earth. They're genuinely good people. I love them because of WHO they are, not what they represent, though I love that too.

Fans of the band have befriended me on Facebook, knowing that I know the band, and sometimes use me as an intermediary between them and the Lips. I don't generally mind, unless it's annoying random fans asking me for backstage passes or whatnot. I refuse to suck up to my friends on behalf of superfans, and that's just the honest truth.

Occasionally, I'll get an email or a wall post from a fan who's in trouble with his/her personal life. These fans I pay attention to. I refuse to ignore them. By sheer coincidence, I had 2 such fans reach out to me today. I worked all day, so I hadn't had a chance to check messages until after I got home, shredded from a busy day and sort of still filled with enough of my own crap, but I feel I owe it to these people to try and help out if I can. I'm no licensed shrink, but I do remember what worked for me. I had to get clean and sober first, and stop fucking cutting, to GET IT. I'll be in therapy for life, methinks, and so fine.

One of the teenage boys who emailed me today is a new fan of the band, having heard about them through one of my really close friends. He watched their simulcast internet show a few weeks ago and his life changed. It brought him out of a deep depression. I told Steven about it and he was really happy to hear that. What Steven doesn't know is the tremendous sense of responsibility I feel towards these troubled individuals who seek my help when they're at the brink of ending it all.

It's hard enough to manage your own psychoses sometimes to be able to mend others' lives. But people seem to think that's part of what will make me a successful therapist....that I've walked these roads before and I have practical experience and survived (God knows why).

So this is what I wrote to the first suicidal kid tonight. Tell me if you think it was an appropriate response:

Saw your post on my Facebook wall. Just got home from work so haven't had a chance to respond until now. Facebook is supposed to be a place where you connect with people--either friends, family or like-minded strangers who enter your life randomly. To you, I'm one of the last category. I'm sorry you logged on and felt such a disconnect instead of Facebook being a positive place where you can go to love and be loved.

K tells me wonderful things about you. She says that you're very artistic and intelligent, and that you're funny and compassionate and a joy to be around. She admires you very much. I admittedly don't know much about your past, though K has told me you've been at the brink of suicide on multiple occasions.

She said that you watched the Flaming Lips concert on the internet, and you instantly felt much better. Their music is like that. They bring such a positive message of encouragement and positivity into the world, and they've saved me from many a foul mood. I also know them as people, and they honestly love their fans with all their hearts.

I can tell you, after 2 failed suicide attempts, that it ain't worth a quarter of the shit it takes to fucking off yourself. I haven't attempted suicide since I got sober in 2008, but I can tell you I've been in that desperation and felt that isolation that you describe. It feels like you're broadcasting to the whole world and nobody's listening. You just want to shout out "LISTEN TO ME MOTHERFUCKERS!" and sometimes the universe doesn't cooperate. Which sucks royally.

But I assure you, someone is ALWAYS listening. You're meant to be on this earth for a reason, even if you don't know fully yet what it is. We all go through horrible times and awful shit happening to us, and sometimes it's too much to bear alone. I know that. That's when you reach into art, or music, or friends, or whatever it is that DOES bring you joy.

I throw myself into music and writing when I'm depressed. That always works for me positively. I also know when I can't take it anymore and I reach out to friends.

I use to cut myself. A lot. With a steak knife, deep into my right forearm. It hurt so badly that I had moments where I could forget the pain in my head because the wounds I'd self-inflicted were way more painful. It was a HORRIBLY UNHEALTHY coping mechanism, which worked. No matter what was bothering me, I'd be right there with a knife jabbing into myself. And I had a kid at home to raise who saw my scars and saw me bandaged up and I didn't think twice or give him any consideration as to how seeing that would affect him. It worked for me and I was too selfish to care about anybody else.

I stopped cutting 2 years ago, and thankfully, my scars all healed and you can't tell anymore that I used to cut that arm.

Of course, I've been medicated for my mental illness for a couple years, and I remain sober. I'm a big believer in fucked up brain chemistry and the need for psychiatric drugs, even if you poo poo them. I don't know how you feel about them, but as a fucked up drunk junkie who cleaned up, I can tell you they worked wonders for me.

It's hard to press forward when you don't know in what direction you're facing in the first place. But the answer's not to internalize that pain and take it out on yourself. You're worth a lot more than that, to a lot of people, I'm sure. It's when you think you've totally had enough of this life that you have to grasp what little is left and cling to that for dear fucking life.

I promise you that when you awaken the next morning and you're still alive, that it'll be worth it. One day at a time, brother. Just survive one more day. I promise you it gets better. Trust this from someone who's walked your path and survived. We all want to leave a legacy behind...better it be one of meaning, spirit and positivity rather than the mark of someone who fucking gave up.

You can contact me at any time. I will always listen.

Until then, keep hanging on and I'll keep you in my prayers.


Living On Borrowed Time, Without a Thought for Tomorrow.

Oh yes, it all seems so bloody easier. You know, like what to wear, very serious-like. Am I gonna get another pimple? Does he really love me? All that crap. But now I don't bother about that shit no more, I know he loves me. All I gotta bother about is standing up. Ooh da da da da da da da da, dee bob a bob a beep. Alright, you can get up now.--Paraphrased from John Lennon

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Tao of a Ticked Off, Manic Woman Who Isn't Being Heard, Part 46.

Among my many delightful neuroses, I have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Unmedicated for that, I'm edgy, irritable, sweaty, my heart races even more than normally (with a pulse in the mid 100's), shaky, unable to concentrate, I sleep very little and am up at 5am, and I bite the heads off of everyone, leaving them in my fucked up wake.

For the last year and a half, I've been on Estazolam for anxiety and insomnia. My family doctor prescribed it after a week during which I'd been up for 36 consecutive hours, couldn't sleep and was literally hallucinating. I was seeing double of everyone.

Estazolam is part of the category of drugs called benzodiazapines, or "Benzos," which calm the central nervous system and regulate the body's fight-or-flight response. They work wonders for people with GAD and PTSD. After the hell I was going through with my ex-boyfriend, my family doctor increased the dose from 1mg at bedtime to 1 mg twice a day and a 2mg pill to take at bedtime. Beautiful. I was sleeping soundly, my condition was under control, and I was doing very, very well.

The family doctor graduated her residency in June, writing me 5 months' worth of Estazolam upon her exit, to keep the therapy as-is. I have no fucking clue why, after all that time, she decided to call my shrink and ask him if it was ok that I was on benzos given that they can cause chemical dependency.

All of my doctors know my addiction history. I am very open about it. The fact remains, however, that I've been a more than responsible patient with my benzos and have taken them BY THE BOOK, not abusing them whatsoever. Dr. K immediately said "No way, that treatment's not appropriate for her, cancel her refills." The clueless new family doctor, a 2nd year resident, who was assigned to me (thank you, Public Aid, for the legion of fucktards I have to see as PCP's) agreed with him blindly, and despite me telling her that I was symptomatic with insomnia again, told me to take it up with Dr. K. Dr. K Rx'd a THIRD antidepressant, which didn't help, and told me to take the issue up with the family doc who was prescribing the Estazolam.

Enter mental fucking pinball back and forth with doctors as I rationed my dwindling supply of Estazolam as best I could without going into full-blown withdrawal. Anyone who knows anything about pharmacology knows that benzo withdrawal is even more brutal than narcotic withdrawal, and that you can't just cut a patient off those meds without a safe, controlled, 10% dosage decrease over the course of at least a month.
It's basic drug knowledge. My Tatus wouldn't help me (he's just the cardio guy and I honestly felt horrible asking him for an Rx), my shrink wouldn't help me, and my young family doctor (who's only met me in person once) essentially said I was up shit's creek and take it up with Dr. K. Dr. K's brilliant idea this morning was to admit me into rapid detox from the benzos, which only serves to cause more severe withdrawal symptoms and is overall a poor idea. I told Dr. K that I have a job to do and a son to raise and that he could go fuck himself.

I have to be on bipolar meds for the rest of my life to stay sane and stable. What's the big fucking deal if I have to be on benzos my whole life to calm the crazies? What's the fucking difference?

Blew in another call to the family doc, who agreed to Rx me a week's worth at the sustained dose of 4 mg a day, with a follow up appt next Wednesday. By then I will have seen my new PCP, who is smart, compassionate and knows my body chemistry quite well. I have every confidence, since I've proven to him in the past that I take my drugs responsibly, that he'll keep me on Estazolam long-term. His drug policies are stringent: you have to sign a written, witnessed contract that you won't pharmacy-shop, that you'll keep all your controlled substances at the same pharmacy, that you have to bring your pills in for him to count at every visit, all reasonable requirements for anyone on long-term controlled substances. He, in turn, promises in the contract not to cut you off your meds abruptly, and understands that physical dependency and psychological dependency are two different things. His contract vows that he will likewise be responsible in his treatment of your conditions if you are compliant with the contract. That's invaluable and a great idea. So rock-n-roll.

I'm not sure why the communication between all the doctors got so fucked up. I'm an admittedly complicated patient with a lot going on in my body. So for now I will stay treated for the week, and we'll see how next week pans out. Surely someone will eventually actually listen to me as a patient. A responsible patient who is struggling right now.

The first rule of physicians is what, "First, do no harm." Well, abruptly cutting off benzos IS doing the patient harm. So let's avoid that, shall we? If the doctors want to all get technical about this situation, worthy of mention is the fact that I NEVER gave the family doctor permission to talk to Dr. K. in the first place. I didn't sign a privacy waiver enabling them to mutually discuss my therapy. If they want to play hardball, I have no qualms about throwing HIPAA in their faces and suing the shit out of both the shrink and the family practice for blatantly violating my privacy as a patient. I'm that ticked off.

My young son just told me yet again, "Settle down, you crazy bitch." Truer words were never spoken.

"You May Say I'm a Dreamer, But I'm Not the Only One."

My deep, intellectual question on world religion hasn't left the transoms of my mind. I posed my theory to several other people, most of whom agreed with me that Christianity isn't the only "right" or "correct" religion out there. My random sample included Christian ministers, the highly educated and lastly, the category I like to call "simpletons".

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea that my son's Lutheran school teaches, or at least Luke's interpretation of what they're teaching, which is that people who aren't Christians are fundamentally flawed characters. Luke insists he doesn't hate people of other religions, he just "hates the fact they're not Christian." That's not tolerance. That's not acceptance. What's the difference between that and Luke saying he hates an Indian man because he's Indian and not caucasian? Luke defaults to "well, that's what I was *taught.*" "Forget what you were taught, Luke, and tell me how you honestly feel," I told him. He honestly hadn't put any thought into it until I mentioned it. My 11-year old is perfectly capable of absorbing abstract ideas, and I told him I wanted him to seriously think about what I was proposing. It made him uncomfortable and a little frightened, rattling his whole belief system. Sorry, son, but Mom's a radical punk just like Jesus. God gave you a brain and the power to logically reason; use it.

My friend Nicole is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. They're a far more liberal denomination who accept and understand other world religions while keeping their worship Christ-centered. She told me there's a UCC church here in Park Ridge, which I'm seriously considering checking out. Nicole said to me, and I quote, "It's probably not a surprise, but in my own study and reading of the gospel, I just can't affirm the exclusivist reading that says that the ONLY way to God is through Jesus Christ. Jesus was a "radical punk" (love that turn of the phrase, btw) who welcomed all kinds of people and wanted everyone to be included. I had a theology professor who told us, 'Don't put God in a box.' She pushed us to use new language of affirming God in bigger and more expansive ways. I try my best to live that, even in my limited way. One way I do that is by respecting people of different faiths."

I'm increasingly finding the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is just too conservative and closed-minded for me as I mature. I sort of *have* to keep Luke there in school and play with my band and be a good Lutheran until Luke graduates 8th grade.

I asked my Tatus what he thought, because I respect his opinion. Mind you, I was very tired when I talked to him on the phone, but what I gathered was that he agreed that the school shouldn't be teaching kids to loathe other religions, and that it is indeed narcissistic of us to believe that Christianity is the sole way to Heaven. And he's a staunch Catholic. My impression was that he's curious about some of the teachings the Catholics advertise as fact. (I'm likewise nerve-ended about some of what the Catholics do...that whole praying to saints and Mary thing? How is that different than praying to the millions of Hindu gods? God got himself into quite a pickle by saying "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Separate issue. Never mind.)

I asked my ex-husband what his dad thought. My late, ex-father in law was a Presbyterian minister who had a PhD in theology. He too was enlightened enough to recognize that other religions had validity and that Christ wasn't the only way to Heaven.

I decided to jump the intellectual ship and ask a simpleton. I explained the African Pygmie twig analogy to a 25-year old girl I work with, and all she could come back with was "Well, I was taught that other religions are a sin so I feel like I'm sinning if I say I like other religions." I said, "Fuck what you were taught. What do YOU, as an adult, believe?" She said "umm" and "uh" a lot, and just kept, like my 11-year old, referring back to "Well, I was taught..." Failed experiment. Moving on.

As I proposed in my last blog on-topic, nobody can prove me either right or wrong, and I won't find out if my theories were correct until after I die. My Christian praise band is busy trying to hold faith interventions for me and I've been essentially ex-communicated from them on the subject, which is too bad. It's not that I don't believe in Christ as my Savior, for I do. I just think open-mindedly.

Liberal Christianity: More fruit, fewer nuts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mania, Defined.

maniac [ˈmeɪnɪˌæk]
1. a wild disorderly person
2. a person who has a great craving or enthusiasm for something, i.e. a football maniac
3. (Psychiatry) Psychiatry obsolete; a person afflicted with mania
[from Late Latin maniacus belonging to madness, from Greek]

That terminology bothers me. "Afflicted" with mania. Granted, the psychiatric definition of a maniac is archaic and not blanketed upon patients with bipolar disorder anymore. Hell, the label "manic-depressive" isn't widely used anymore either, clinically *(unless you're Dr. Lips, one of my bosses, who, along with his fashion sense, is still in the 1970's). I don't consider myself afflicted with bipolar disorder. It's just a facet of my personality that is generated by a chemical imbalance in my brain, a treatable disorder that is currently in a pharmacologically-induced remission.

I was talking about bipolar disorder with TOC (my middle-aged soul brother/boss/doctor)yesterday after my cardiac checkup, and discussed the same with my mom later last night. I admitted to both of them what a delicate dance it is to keep me sane. And how hard it's been. How bipolar people function and relate in the world. This chemical imbalance in my brain...a lot of people want to know who I used to be and what I used to act like. Thus, an vivid illustration:

Apart from the fact Dr. K and I have been oil and water since the day we met, I must give credit due to him figuring out my mental malady. He tried multiple combinations of antidepressants (Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft) with antidepressant boosters (like Abilify) when I insisted I wasn't depressed all the time. Not a good, compassionate listener, our Dr. K. (I'm in the market for a new psychiatrist, if for no other reason than that creepy poster of Icarus Dr. K has in his waiting room, but I digress.)

Just the opposite, typically. I described to him what my life was like over the last several years: frequently paranoid, often suicidal (2 veiled, failed attempts), cutting my right inner forearm with a steak knife regularly, overspending, over-sexing, over-drinking, over-drugging, overeating, weirdly creative, full of grandiose ideas that got shelved, able to function on 2 hours of sleep and get a crapload of shit done, but unable to concentrate my full attention on any given responsibility. I gained a fuckload of weight and was 216 lbs.

Before Luke was born, I'd spent a year, 1998, lying on the couch, drinking Kool-Aid, watching reruns of "ER," smoking cigarettes and taking a shitload of narcotics, on disability from work. A whole year. My husband was dumbfounded and didn't know how to help me, even after coming home multiple nights from work to find me virtually catatonic and unresponsive. By the grace of God, I kicked narcotics cold turkey in February of 1999 and, after a miscarriage in August of '98, I got pregnant with Luke in May of '99. After Luke was born in 2000, mania was still there but was coupled with short bursts where I was literally just too tired to roll out of bed and take care of my son. When Luke was 3 or 4, I started drinking, quickly becoming a full-blown alcoholic. Whatever it took to numb the insanity.

Giving no thought to the ramifications of a life-altering decision, I impulsively and drunkenly left my husband in March of 2007. I was pulling all kinds of batshit that had been going on for upwards of a decade, in reality, starting in my early 20's in dribs and drabs. An unstoppable fucking crazy train. And no one fucking recognized it, stepped in and dragged my ass to a doctor or rehab. For that, I tend to blame my ex-husband, as he was in the thick of it and just watched me destroy our family. (But I'm a forgiving person and that's water under the bridge. Craig just didn't know WHAT to do. And in hindsight, that's ok. I went through all that for a reason, God knows.)

After my divorce, though I was finally clean and sober, my (former)boyfriend wanted to break up with me because he was (rightfully) convinced I'd gone insane. I was convinced he wanted to chop me up and throw me into Lake Michigan. Seriously. (Which now makes sense given who he is, but that's another story for another time.) My behavior was too erratic for him to handle. I was incapable of working a job. I forgot nearly all of Luke's obligations, where to be when, et al. I was drumming, and would make up great fills and awesome parts, but was unable to remember my parts no matter how diligently I practiced my art. Everyone around me was growing increasingly frustrated with my behavior.

I was untreated that whole time, not seeing a psychiatrist until I got out of alcohol rehab in February of 2008, when I was assigned to Dr. K. I got very good at hiding my crazy from my family and friends but inside I was rapidly crumbling into pieces. Living in side my head was a bitch.

Go and visit some of those blogs from 2008. They're really creative and well-written, but they MAKE NO SENSE. They're a cacophony of disjointed thoughts rambled on page after page. They all made perfect sense to me at the time, but in retrospect, holy crap.

It took Dr. K 2 years and countless medication combinations to arrive at the conclusion that I was indeed bipolar, when he settled on a successful combination of a mood stabilizer and an anti-psychotic (Lamictal and Geodon, newer drugs) with an antidepressant booster (Zoloft).

True, getting clean and sober helped out a bit, though I was still cutting (and wearing long sleeves a lot). Once the Geodon and Lamictal kicked in, and with some cognitive behavioral therapy, I stopped cutting. (I don't think I've cut since around February of 2009, though that's all sort of foggy.) The urge to cut is still there, as is the impetus to abuse drugs and alcohol. But nowadays, I function on a relatively even keel, though I'm prone to manic episodes every now and then, which are few and far between. I've been working for the medical practice for 2 1/2 years. (I think I got my job literally a month after I started taking bipolar meds.) I'm a really good mom. And daughter. And friend. And musician.

I'm keenly aware when I'm manic, and I usually tell Dr. K and we adjust my meds, and it goes away after a few days with no lasting complication. In the interim, however, my co-workers tease me, my mother worries frantically, and Luke just rolls his eyes. I still have intermittent delusions of grandeur and crazy ideas that never make it to fruition.

I'm writing again, which makes me happy and is a positive coping mechanism for my mental illness, though what used to take me 15 minutes to write now takes an hour, which is frustrating, and I find myself editing a lot, more sensitive while putting my thoughts out in public.

I'll always be the neighborhood psychotic drumming junkie, but I've grown to accept that as just part of what makes the whole Andrea, who is not delusional in saying that she's awesome. I am med-compliant; I still need pharmaceuticals to calm me down (a point of huge contention with Dr. K and I right now) and I live life with little abandon.

Andrea. Mania defined.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Enthusiasm For Life Defeats Existential Fear Part 2

I'm so drawn to this new Flaming Lips song. What a surprise? It's one of the most positive songs I've heard in a long time. Bless you, Lips.

Lyrics to Enthusiasm for Life Defeats Existential Fear (Part 2) :
I woke up from a bad dream
Glad, glad that it wasn't the real thing
Your hand, waiting there for me
Oh yeah, this world is evil, but still
The rest is up to me

I woke up from a sad dream
Glad, glad that it wasn't the real thing
Your sparkle, waiting there for me
Oh yeah, this world is suffering, but still
The rest is up to me

See the moon, falling
Old sun, exploding as
It's going to be a sunny day
Oh yeah, I'm thinking it
Don't you forget it now
It's happening

See the moon, falling
Old sun, exploding as
It's going to be a sunny day
Oh yeah, I'm thinking it
Don't you forget it now
It's happening
That's what's happening
It's just what's happening

That's what's happening
I think it's happening
I think it's happening
I think it's happening
I think it's happening
I think it's happening

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I'm Having Oodles of Fun With The "BeLEEber."

...reading my unmedicated, bipolar, lunatic ex-mother-in-law's fanatical stalker tweets on Twitter to some American Idol winner named Lee DeWyze who is from Mt. Prospect, her neighboring suburb. Lee has 99,337 followers and is currently following 100 people. MYEXMIL is not one of them.

Seriously, she's 70 years old, people. She sounds like I did when I was into Shaun Cassidy when I was 8, or Luke's little paramour's tweets on Twitter to Justin Bieber. MYEXMIL lets Lee know when she's coming and going at home, that she's watching him on TV, that she's in his audience, reports that she saw him live one evening.. And I'm thinking soon there will be tweets about her going through his garbage and driving slowly behind his car. She's a "BeLEEber." For sure.

I'd follow her on Twitter, because her tweets are hilariously random, scattered and abbreviated, much like her manner of behavior, but she'd know it was me, for on Twitter, I have no pseudonym. (No, you can't follow me on Twitter if you don't already. My tweets are protected. For good reason.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Because this friend makes me happy.

God is God is God, Until You Can Prove Otherwise, Which is Never.

It was a long-shot dream, but goddamnit, it was MY dream. MY musical vision. I'd spent a decent part of the last 3 years plugging for "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison to be covered by my band at church, arranging the song (against my grain) to fit the Christian perspective, Bob learning the slide guitar parts, me offering to sing the lead with my not-so-great, but peppered-with-vigor voice.

When I brought the song up to my guitarist last week, I mentioned that I wanted "My Sweet Lord" played at my funeral, with the chants to Krishna left intact. (And that I wanted Wayne and Steven to perform it...) "Why would you want to praise Krishna?" he innocently asked me. "Why WOULDN'T I?" It's just another one of God's names." I said, "God is God is God is God." He just about fainted, unstrapping his "Jesus" embroidered guitar strap. ANNIE, YOU'RE SCARING US! SWEET, SUCCULENT JESUS SAVE ME NOW!

I posted this brief story to my Facebook, and my new Pastor, Dave, chimed in. I'd said I appreciated the beauty of other religions, and he commented back with a "Beauty is one thing, truth is another. Isaiah 44:6" A litany of lengthy comments followed between the two of us, during which I raised very valid religious questions with him retorting nothing back but "But Jesus said..." "But the Bible says..." My main point about the truthfulness of other religions hinged on this example:

There's a tribe of African pygmies living in the jungle, and for generations, they've been worshiping a twig. It's a sacred twig, which they revere and honor and pray to. It's all they know. They've taught their children and their children's children to pray to the twig that is their God. Christian missionaries never made it to this remote part of Africa, and thus, the tribe never heard the message of Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior. I raised the following question: "Does that mean that this tribe and all of their generations are banished to Hell just because Christians never arrived to convert them?" "Because if that's true," I said, "God's really kind of a prick."

The dumbfounded Pastor came back at me with this: "In Matthew 28, Jesus gives The Great Commission to his 11 disciples to 'go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.' This passage indicates that, indeed it is possible for the whole world to hear the good news of Jesus as Lord and Savior."

Ok, now that we're back from our trip to La-La-Land, where everyone in the whole universe hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ, let's examine this further:

I'm an educated person. I studied both Western and Eastern religious scriptures and philosophies in college (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, enough to almost have a minor in Religious Studies), and have long since firmly believed one simple principle: God is God is God. God has many faces, many names, many versions, cross-culturally. This radical approach to religion has ruffled the feathers of an awful lot of my Lutheran brethren, especially my new, fresh-from-the-Bible-Belt-Conservative Pastor.

God exists, in a myriad of manifestations, across the universe. Those of us who believe in and worship God have each been brought up in what was the cultural version of God. I and my fellow Christians were raised and educated, exposed to the European, Judeo-Christian version of God that professes salvation only through Jesus Christ. I practice Christianity as my version of religion, because that's the God I was taught to believe in. The Hindis on the other side of the Ganges worship Krishna and a million other Gods, have their own sacred texts, prophets and leaders (yogis). The Muslims have Allah and Mohammad. Buddhists have the Buddha and the monks, et al. The Jews believe in God, but are skeptical about the whole Jesus thing, and that's totally ok. The African pygmies are worshiping the Twig of Life, because that's the God they KNOW.

In conversation with my Christian therapist (I have a secular therapist and a Christian therapist), I brought up my vision of religion, and she agreed with me that it'd be presumptuous and narcissistic of Christians to think OUR way is the ONLY way. And she's right.

With regard to the "truth" of the Bible and it's place in fundamentalist Christianity, we believe it is the Divine Word of God inspired into people who wrote it down. It's God's Word, taught to us in our own cultural tradition. That said, who's to say God didn't also inspire the Bhagavad Gita and the Koran in other cultures? Can we prove conclusively that God didn't? No. Can we prove that He did? No. It's a heated question that will only be answered when we die and go to Heaven, or achieve Nirvana, or wherever the afterlife is. It's a question God can't answer for us. Having faith in God is inherently mystifying.

My progressive, liberal thinking has gotten me into trouble more than once at my uber-conservative Lutheran church. I challenge people too much. I make them uncomfortable by asking deeply intellectual questions that mortals can't adequately answer. I upset and crack their ingrained belief systems, sometimes to the point of alienating myself. Sometimes Christians lose sight of what a radical punk Jesus Christ was. HE was an iconoclast. He ruffled feathers all the time, and it landed him on a cross. Martin Luther, the founder of my denomination, was a radical who refused to accept all the doctrines and practices of Roman Catholicism. (He was also a raging anti-Semite, but we like to gloss over that part in our church.) Radical thinking has been part of religion from the inception of a higher being in humans.

I have a dear friend, Aliya, who's a Muslim. She came to visit me with her cousin in the hospital a few months ago, and we had a lovely conversation, and I adore her dearly. She brought me a get-well gift. A mug that says on it, "With God..All Things Are Possible." And we both believe that. Her God and my God. It's a gift I treasure. I wouldn't dream of attempting to woo her or convert her over to the Christian version of God, for I am satisfied that she believes in God, and is saved, and is loved.

After Bob, my guitarist, told me last night at practice that the Pastor vetoed "My Sweet Lord" entirely, I was shell-shocked and angry. It's a beautiful song with a beautiful message, and has universally been accepted as a loving hymn to one's Savior. Bob said he'd explain over dinner tonight what Pastor's reasoning was behind nixing it, and I told him that whatever the reason was, it was likely I wouldn't be satisfied with the answer. Thus I stormed out of the sanctuary after practice last night shouting "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna!" at the top of my lungs.

It wasn't simply me being an egotistical musician who was spurned; it was a knee-jerk reaction to what was ultimately a really unfair decision that left a bitter taste in my mouth. It was my attempt to bring something beautiful and meaningful to my congregation, a song that doesn't sound like every other contemporary Christian pop song that we cover, which all eventually sound exactly the same. (Contemporary Christian music is largely banal and insipid, and I'm the only one in the band who doesn't listen to it outside of the context of the band.)I arrive at band practice and the church service on time, I volunteer a dozen hours a month to enhance the congregation's worship experience, and drumming is one of my favorite things to do. I've been playing in the band for 5 years--drunk and crazy and sober and stable, sicker than a dog and thriving like a champion. My bandmates have seen it all from me. Bob no sooner finished a spiel about how everyone has an equal voice in the band, how he didn't want to be "the leader," played 6 tunes and then shot "My Sweet Lord" down at the Pastor's bequest.

Sometimes I think I'd make a better Unitarian Universalist than a Christian...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Do You Realize" we're playing in a cemetery?

Just a hauntingly beautiful rendition of The Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize?" recorded live in a Hollywood cemetery a few weeks ago. Chilling video, beautiful as always with my favorite band.

Not only did I stand up and say, "YEAH!" I put it next to my (not a secret anymore) secret Alcoholics Anonymous sticker on the car. Visit for more information on how you can whoop America into shape with the help of confetti, balloons and a whole lotta love.

"Not Talkin' 'Bout My Generation..." Being Friends with a Boomer

What's it like when one of your most trusted confidants is a 55-year old Baby Boomer, while you're a (still, somewhat) crazy Generation X'er? Totally terrific in some respects, for he has wisdom and knowledge and more life experience under his khakis with which to dispense advice and extend care. Sucky in other respects, for he is not part of the texting/techno world. In a lot of ways, we're operating on the exact same wavelength; in others, we're polar opposites. I told him that's half the fun of being friends with him. It's also, at times, frustrating.

I text him with some regularity, and am lucky to get a brief response 1/10th of the time, which I find gravely aggravating. It's not that he doesn't read my texts...he gets around to them eventually, and has said that he finds them, if nothing else, always entertaining. Texting in general, I think, annoys him, whereas it's yet another medium by which I express myself personally to my friends and family.

I texted him recently while he was on vacation, something to the effect of "I feel like I'm talking to myself." I heard nothing. He isn't chained to his cell phone like I am, and frankly, as are all of the rest of my friends. He rarely has it on, and doesn't check his messages with any frequency, and what he views as freedom and tranquility, I view as isolation and abandonment. Sometimes, I wish he'd just respond with a gentle, "Yes, I'm listening."

Purely coincidental, but my dear girlfriend Patti was just texting me about my day today, and asking me if I got to hang out with him at all and catch up, and I said we didn't have much time this week thus far. "Text him!" she texted me back. If only it were that simple. I have friends in different time zones, with conflicting schedules, doing things all over the world, with whom I text and Skype and communicate as if it were just as easy as dialing a rotary telephone.

I realize he's got a crazy, hectic, long-hours job, a family and a lot of commitments outside of our friendship, which leaves me as sort of low-woman on the priority totem pole, and I accept that, begrudgingly. But I seem to recall us coming to the conclusion recently whilst in conversation that we'd both like to become better friends and do more stuff together that we both enjoy, that other friends of ours don't, necessarily. In order for that to happen and be successful, which is the goal, we have to learn to give a little more, even if it's in very small doses. Damn it all to hell, I'm important too!

Admittedly, I'm sort of a high-maintenance pal to have in your posse. My life is laden with drama...some routine, some catastrophic, some just a pain in the ass. Other times it's rich with adventure, passion and intense awesomeness. I tend to turn to this friend most in times of heavy drama, though what I want is to include him more in the awesomeness. Because bipolar delusions of grandeur aside, I'm a very interesting person to be around. It's a guarantee that he has no one else in his life anything closely resembling me, which I hope he appreciates for it's uniqueness rather than seeing me as a daunting albatross around his already over-extended neck.

He's not old enough to be my father, but I forcefully declared him my Tatus, pronounced "Tah-toosh" a Polish term of endearment that loosely means "Yo, Big Daddy." He is like a father figure to me in a number of ways, but the more I get to know him, the more of a contemporary and peer-like he becomes. So our generation gap is muddied a bit. We have a lot of the same interests: artistically, intellectually, humorously. We're both Christians, active in our respective congregations. But I hang out with rock stars for fun. He goes blueberry picking.

All that said, I'll probably text him over the weekend about *something*. I don't expect him to respond. Those days when I feel like I'm talking to myself, I have to try and remember that it doesn't mean he loves me any less, and I don't love him any less because he doesn't respond...he just rolls differently like a lot of people his age do. Sigh...

Damn, I was crazy. Lovable, but crazy.

My last official blog entry was in May of 2009, 2 months after I started taking meds for bipolar disorder. I've strongly felt that the meds sapped me of every ounce of creativity I had in my insane brain. Prior to that, I was a verbose lightning stream of manic and disconnected thought, often rambling, often entertaining, frequently witty. I think I still retain that side of me that's charming, but now is more focused and stable than almost 3 years ago.

In the interim from that last blog post, I got a job, I settled into home life at my mom's with Luke, I decided to go to grad school to get a PsyD in Counseling Psychology to help addicts/alcoholics like me, blossomed into a great mom to Luke, who's now 11 1/2 and starting 6th grade, fell in and out of love, was embroiled in a majorly abusive relationship with someone I used to adore and admire, saw my finances improve, continued to play drums and make music...all of that good. But I didn't write. I didn't bother. I didn't feel as if I *could.*

Nonsense, said a dear friend of mine recently. "Just fucking write." And he's right. It doesn't have to be perfect, or linear, for that is not the way my brain is wired. But my mind is so perpetually filled with thoughts and ideas, perhaps it'd be an integral part of my psychotherapy to put them down online.

So that's where I'm at right now. Time to get ready for another work day at the medical practice. More on that later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Time Again... get back to blogging. Mind races, heart races, a lot of crap on my plate. Stay tuned.