Coloring Within the Lines

Well, I made it. Grieving the loss of our family pet while decreasing a couple of medications.

I’m still standing, and doing it very well. I believe I will have the strength to look inside myself when things seem to go a little wonky. I’m smart enough to know that I’m not perfect and that my mental status can be precarious so I have to be vigilant. I have to eat right and exercise my body as well as my mind. I need to reach out to those who are on my team, and most of all, rest when I need to.

I would like to say I’ve been busy, but mostly I’ve been “adult coloring”. Yes, I find it almost as relaxing as knitting. I have found that I color with whatever pencil I pick out of the pile of leftover colored pencils my kids brought home from school at the end of each year. I have some fancy colored pencils, but the Crayolas work just as well for me. I’ve even made mistakes that would drive me crazy but this exercise has kept me focused on what really matters. If I start in a pattern and stray off, my first instinct is to berate myself. Just as in life…..does it really matter? Will it matter in the big picture?

Crap. I’ve lived my life coloring outside the lines and berating myself for doing so. Now I can see which parts have made me who I am today. Some past shenanigans are not worthy of revisiting because I have learned what I needed and then let I them go. Not that I’m perfect and negative thoughts don’t sneak up on me but I’m onto them. I can choose to let the negative thoughts take over my mind, or I can move along to another topic. It gets easier and easier to work on blocking negative thinking.

Through all this, some of the things I’ve found made me smile:

  • We’re finally working on reinforcing the deck. I’m going to get my sanctuary back. It’s been slow going because it has been h-o-t here.
  • Couldn’t find one of my cats and later found that I shut him in the pantry.
  • The pain I was feeling in my mouth was a fractured tooth. The dentist pulled it. While I’m not completely pain free, I can feel it diminishing so that I can smile…all snaggly toothed. Naw, just kidding. The tooth is a chomper and nobody can see it. Soon I will get an implant. The big thing is that the pain is going away.
  • color

I hope you find something to make you smile today.

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My Sky is Only Dotted With Depression

I’m doing very well tapering off some of my meds. However, I have to learn who I am again. I’ve always been here, but I’ve been hiding behind a fog of side effects. There is a person with a sense of humor just waiting to burst out. I see that person now and again, but I want to see more of her.

Surely these feelings are temporary, but I’m lacking confidence. I know I can do…well, just about anything I want to try. I may not become an expert, but at least I try what my little heart desires. So where did my confidence go?

I can say that I’ve ironed enough of my husband’s work shirts that I’m a semi-pro. For some reason, I’m doubting my ability to get every wrinkle out of his shirts. That’s impossible and I know it (at least it is for me). So really, why is it bothering me that I can’t seem to iron a stinkin’ shirt without ironing in a wrinkle or burning myself?

Ironing is not the focus of this post. I just wanted to record how my mind is changing while trying to adjust to a little less of the handful of medications I’ve been taking for…oh, how long has it been?

One of those pills has taken away my chutzpah and I want it back.

The one benefit of tapering off is that I feel I can be more focused on the exact thoughts that meander through my mind. The crap I tell myself–one of which must be that I can’t do anything with any competence. I’m changing those thoughts though. Yes I can do what I want, and the only person stopping me, is me.

I am just a person who has depression from time to time–sometimes cycling quicker than I expect but it isn’t who I am, it’s just my challenge to observe and let it go—celebrating when I feel free.

Last week we lost a massive part of our family, my most favorite dog ever. It was hard for us and it still seems strange in the absence with all her noises. She will be greatly missed.

However, I found the following beautiful recently:

  • I finally found some sheets to fit our bed that won’t slip off
  • I lost 9 pounds
  • we got a new car for me to drive – a Mini Cooper. I love it!
  • Babysitting the grand puppy for a weekend
  • Deciding and compromising on the color of our bedroom and bath–it will be the same color – boring but it is what we could both agree on
  • Football season is getting closer!
  • naps

Hope you find some beauty in your day!

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A Little Mental Humor

This post is mainly to commiserate with my fellow sufferers who ride the medication rollercoaster and live amongst the normals.

Once again, I’m tapering off a medication. One I don’t think I need and Dr. Pills-a-Lot has finally agreed to try and cut back. I mean, how many different antidepressants can one take to help with depression before the doctor figures out that the current combination no longer works. Does he not listen to my whining?

How do I know? Because I think I know my body and how it reacts to certain drugs. I’m feeling the way I do when I’ve been on Prozac too long. A flat, semi-emotionless, machine. I’m already on another antidepressant so why not try and let the Prozac go and see how I do. Besides, if he would read his little pill journal, he would see that some of the combinations I take are not good together. That mood stabilizer he has me on, has some major interactions with certain other drugs. He should know that.

Anyway, I have a signal for my dear husband, who means well, but still doesn’t totally get depression. He doesn’t get how my brain will have to adjust by slowly tapering it off of a drug it has depended on for years. So I explained it to him in detail that while tapering off, if done properly, I should only feel my mind adjusting to the change. To me, that translates into some not so great days. Not that I’m over the edge with craziness, but just that I would like to be left alone and conversations are something I would not like to partake in.

Today was one of those days. I let him know when I talked with him at his lunchtime that today was one of my off days…..just so that he was warned before he got home.

So….guess what question he asked me while on his way home? “Are you feeling any better?” Well, as in my best interpretation of the southern way, bless his little heart, does he not get it yet or is he not listening to me?

I did not answer him, but if I did it would have been an emoji:/ Or give a huge eye roll, which was what I did since we were talking over the phone.

All I require is a little space to let my mind adjust. Perhaps, one day, I shall regain some of the good stuff that medication suppresses while staying on medication which will help.

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Living Among the Canopy

We have been grand puppy sitting this weekend. I love the little stinker but she must sleep with someone. My husband has a rule about no animals in the bed but the first night he caved in and let her “sleep” with us. Eventually, I moved to one of the extra, empty bedrooms in order for my husband to get some sleep. Since there was only one person in the bed, she had more room and we slept a little better.

I didn’t bother closing the blinds since the room faces the top of the trees.

This morning, as the puppy was trying to wake me up, I slowly opened my eyes to see the tops of the trees and the sky. Oh, how beautiful the sky was, so blue and cloudless. This morning, I felt like blue sky. Lately, I’ve felt like blue sky.

However, for me, storms will undoubtedly roll in. The hypomania, the depression. Just as predicted for this afternoon, we will be having thunderstorms to ruin the blue sky.

That kind of describes how my life goes. If I’m lucky, I can live with mostly sunny skies as long as I take my medication and take care of myself. We continue tweaking my medication because, I swear, I’ve been over medicated. I’m still looking for a new pill pusher who is accepting new patients and is on our preferred provider insurance list.

We have enjoyed watching the grand puppy but feel sorry for her when the thunder rolls in. Her escape is to hide in the bathroom. When the thunder rolls in my mind, I have nowhere to go except within. Changing my thinking by telling myself,  just like a thunderstorm it will pass and the sky will be blue again. Not an easy feat, but I have been more successful than I have been in the past.

I’m going to enjoy the cloudless, blue sky while I can. Hope you have a blue sky kind of day.

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When It Touches The Soul

Recently, I have read some blogs regarding feelings of instant attraction. Whether it’s to art or to people.

The people thing I understand and have most of my life. There were people I’ve met that I instantly had a connection with but I didn’t know them. However, from somewhere deep inside, I knew they were a part of me somehow. Ah, maybe that sounds a little crazy to some, but I’ve felt it….what can I say?

As for art?

Well, I’m not an abstract thinker. I follow all rules and directions in every part of my life. If there are no rules, then I make some hairbrained rules of my own to stick to. Therefore, I haven’t been too attracted to art other than pure photography—the kind that isn’t photoshopped to death.

Last weekend we perused the vintage store. They call it an antique store but I’m searching for that perfect antique shop with real old things. When did mid-century stuff become antique? Not in my mind, it isn’t.

Anyway, this time there were a lot of art pieces. Some abstract, some of flowers, some of landscapes. I noticed them. One inspired me to study it for quite a while and I found beauty in the painting. The brush strokes, the use of color, the chosen scene. I loved it.

Just as I have found in some people, I had to walk away from it. Like the timing wasn’t right as if the person or this particular piece of art didn’t quite fit into my life at the moment.

But moments they were, and they were worth keeping stashed in the part of my brain that sometimes gets fogged with depression and recalling those moments becomes a monumental task.

Something in me is waking up, and I kind of like it.

Now, maybe I will try to break some rules or, heaven forbid, I’ll try cooking something without a recipe. Hahaha!


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And Now They’re Chasing Pokemon

The title has little to do with what I feel like writing about. In a way, perhaps it does. How can one silly little game become all the rage so quickly. My son needs to develop some way to waste more time on our phones.

Since I grew up without the luxury of a phone attached to me at all times, I’m not likely to know where mine happens to be. I turn it off when I have appointments because the one useful thing, other than texting my kids, is the alarm. I have it set to my medication schedule. It’s quite an unpleasant sound and I make sure I can hear it when I’m home. I have been embarrassed more than once with that alarm going off in a store.

Anyway, still off topic.

I have been staying away from Facebook for a bit. Mostly, I can’t stand the rudeness that this election season has brought out in some of my friends. Some of you know I’m mature physically, but not so much in the way I act–life is too short and if I’m not depressed, I’m going to take advantage of every moment I have free of that black pit. I quite enjoy it as if I were a kid.

Since I’m – ahem – mature, I have friends of more than 35 years. The few one I’ve had since childhood is exactly as I knew, and still know her. We grew but we always knew each other on a personal level. Meaning, not too many secrets between us.

Then there are the current friends—those I’ve known for 35 or more years…..

…..or do I really know them?

Apparently, the political season has brought out the worst in quite a few—but that’s not new news. However, I have learned a few things I didn’t want to know about a couple of my friends. It’s one thing to get behind one candidate or the other, but to constantly post ugly-half-truths about the opponent of who they are in love with, are the type of people I wish I didn’t know.

Yes, I can unfriend them, skim over their posts, ignore the political posts and pay attention to what the rest of them brag about—yeah, yeah, I brag too. However, I don’t want to unfriend someone who acts or thinks of politics differently than I do. I don’t want to be that kind of person.

What I’m bugged about is the fact that I find soooo many years later that I really didn’t know the people. The same people that I feel the itch to block their posts today. Why can’t I just accept that the idiot they feel should be president is not the idiot I think should be? Does it really matter? Neither one of us will change the mind of the other, so why do these people constantly show their stupidity LOUD and PROUD?

Why should it matter to me?

If it weren’t for Facebook, I would never know these things about some friends because I don’t usually participate in political discussions—I like my blood pressure to stay in the normal range. Maybe my vote may make a difference, but trying to get another to believe as I do is plain old nonsense.

Meh, I will return to Facebook because I do like the grandchildren photos and I love to see where my friends have been and what they are up to. Maybe I should just go back to plain old letter writing—you know, through that place called the post office.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to navigate Instagram in order to see if the pages I follow on Facebook also use Instagram. I’m having some luck.

Apparently, I should be playing the pokemon game—it has a bonus of exercise included.

What more could I ask for?



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The Flicker of Life

One of my favorite things to do is to sit around a backyard campfire. When it’s too hot for a campfire, we like to sit on the deck with candles burning and mosquito coils smoking in hopes of avoiding mosquito bites…….and we talk.

I’ve been with this husband of mine nearly 31 years and my illness has put him through a lot. Many tests to his patience and love; riding a monster roller coaster, otherwise known as my life.

One night this last weekend we had a deck campfire. We talked about how we were going to go about fixing the deck which led to a discussion of other huge tasks that need to be completed. I told him I was working on all my hoard of yarn and craft supplies, along with any other collections of crap I have. I’m thinning out. (Well, I’ve been doing it for a while and it’s taking forever–I’ve decided it’s just because they’re boring tasks)

We laughed at how people always guess that we are over 10 years younger than we are. We talked of living until we are in our 90s. We have more than a few goals and dreams to fulfill and I’m always worried about my cancer returning. It’s part of who I am now. Cancer survivor. Maybe it will never rear its ugly head again, but maybe it will….who knows.

I remember the first time I realized how much I loved the man I married. I remember his exact words at that moment of recognition. Thirty or so years later, one sentence reminded me why I still love him.

He shows me the person he sees when he looks into my eyes. The one who doesn’t beat herself up, laughs at silly jokes, tells silly jokes, snorts when laughing, dances around the kitchen table after a great football play. The one who talks in different voices to each cat, is always there to help another person no matter what the mood de jour may be. The person who is worthy of love and made of more silly and light, than darkness and despair.

Yes, I saw it in his eyes, in the candlelight, while sitting on the deck.

As time goes on, I believe what I see in his eyes as well.

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We used to say “wheee” while on the seesaw. Up we’d go, down we’d go. When we were really rotten, we would try to knock the other off by pushing off really hard, without the other being totally prepared. A kid thing, I suppose.

I would give everything up–well, almost everything–just to have the kind of personality to say…..”Be Happy!” “It’s all in the mind.” Yeah, I’m on that subject again.

Well, hell…..if I could just think about being happy and that I can control this confusing mass between my ears, I would be an expert. And….I would never be anything but happy because it would be such a simple choice, wouldn’t it? I would be the happiest person on earth because I know what it looks like on the other side.

I have learned to recognize when a downslide is coming and I do the best I can to take care of myself and to be easy on what I say to myself. I stop the negative self-talk and replace it with positive thoughts until I believe what I say to myself. Does that make me happy? No…it keeps me from hitting the bottom.

Wheeeee! Here I go!

I feel the downhill roll and I try and slow it by using the techniques I have learned. The best lesson being…I will manage.

I may not be yippy-skippy-happy all the time, but I’ll manage. It’s who I am. It’s part of me until it isn’t. Which may never happen and that’s okay.

Now, I need to go think about being happy so that I can spread the sunshine all around, she says with a bunch of sarcasm.




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Music For a Funeral

When I die, I want my friends and relatives to have a big party. A BIG party with all my favorite kinds of music playing. I want to see them dancing and remembering my life and what I left behind in their heart.

You know what I found myself doing yesterday? Making a list of songs I want played at my celebration of life. As I was making my list, I stopped and asked, “what the hell am I doing”? Is this suicide ideation? I don’t think so….until I Googled it and found that I’m doing quite a few of the things that are signs and symptoms of suicide ideation.

I’m not going anywhere. Nowhere, until I have reached that 100 year mark, and I intend to get there while dancing to those songs on my list.

I have a fear right now. You see, May 31st was my 5th year cancer free—well cancer free until I’m told different. I won’t have my next scan until September. But just as I did the first time, I will fight should the results not be as I expect.

I’m eating better so that I can be healthy. My A1C number is hovering around the type 2 diabetic range. But I don’t want that number to be there, so I will eat better and exercise. (My stinkin’ Primary Torturer just won’t quit harping on the subject of exercise)

I’m in a good place right now. I have been up and down over the last few months. It seems as if I come out of the storm only to be followed by yet another storm. Right now, the sun is shining on my soul and I will cherish every moment of it. I’m making myself stronger in order to ride out the next storm.

There…that’s what is on my mind, and I won’t be making any more lists like that again. The only lists of music I’ll be making are for my tunes to play in my car while I motor around town.

if you are thinking of giving up, please reach out to a friend or call the National Suicide Prevention hotline…1-800-273-8255. Don’t want to talk on the phone? They also have an online chat option. Just don’t give up



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Existential Thinking

Throughout my life I’ve questioned why I’m here. Is this all there is? If so, I don’t want it. If I have no reason to be here, then why do I exist?

I know that I’m not the only person who asks the same questions.

This kind of thinking can really play havoc on the depressed or anxious mind. Perhaps it’s this kind of thinking which leads to depression.

I don’t know, I’m not an expert. It seems to drag me into the pit because I want more. More of everything, especially knowledge. Can we really know everything?


So why am I here? Is this all there is?

Maybe this moment is brief, but I don’t need the answers to these questions anymore.

I’m here, because I am.

Ooooooh. Now, isn’t that some deep thinking for this old lady.😀

Whatever I’m here to do, I’m going to strive to find myself each moment. When I’m depressed it’s not like my brain quits working, it simply works on all the worthlessness within. With the proper help, I can see specks of knowledge which will lead me to the reason why I’m here.

I’m here, because I am.

I can learn to accept that.

I can learn to accept myself…..warts and all.

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