Monthly Archives: April 2015

Secret Santa Blog Day

Read the blog and see if you might be interested in joining the Secret Santa Blog Day! I am! 😀

Just me being curious

How much love is there in this church of blogs? How much trust? How much is it really “about the cause and not the applause”? (thank you, Melissa: http://workforthecausenottheapplause.com)

After Susan’s great guest post (http://justmebeingcurious.com/2015/02/17/fear-the-opposite-of-love-2/), He whispered two words: “Secret Santa”. That annual “work tradition” (where I come from). You are given a name, and you buy a gift, and on the same day – everyone gathers together and opens these “anonymous” gifts.

And then He left this (draft post) to simmer gently for a couple of months. Now I find the timer pinging …

Secret Santa Blog Day

You write a post which is published on someone else’s blog – you receive a post someone else has written and publish it on your blog – all published on the same day.

Why?

The content of these blogs is clear: it is about the cause not the applause. So what…

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One small step for man, one giant tube for mankind

Yes, if you remember the moon walk – no not the moonwalk – the moon walk, you know, Neil Armstrong, etc etc – yeah if you remember that? You’re over 50 and you’re way past due for a colonoscopy. It’s currently recommended that you have one every 10 years.

I’ve had 2 or 3 of them, I can’t remember. Haha, isn’t that funny, because the medication they give you is designed that way. And I’M GRATEFUL. Anyway I am having another one on WEDNESDAY. Yes I am yelling. (I had some symptoms which prompted the first one, and polyps which necessitated my having them more frequently).

The part that is memorable, unfortunately, is the prep. But I’m sure you’ve heard allll about that.

Ok, one more colonoscopy joke and I’ll get serious.

Now seriously. Let’s talk about colon cancer. From Cancer.org

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2015 are:

  • 93,090 new cases of colon cancer
  • 39,610 new cases of rectal cancer

Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 20 (5%) … Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. It is expected to cause about 49,700 deaths during 2015.

So I think maybe we ought to take it seriously.

The prep I referred to above consists of a clear liquid diet and a very thorough laxative. Let’s just say it’s cheaper than those fancy colonics you will hear advertised, but just as effective. And will probably do you a lot more good.

Please don’t put yours off!

Walking After Midnight Part II

The title of my blog, “Walking After Midnight,” may also refer to those of us with mental health issues. Our symptoms can separate us from the crowd, and leave us walking around in the dark, sometimes literally.

Many characters in the Bible felt the same despair that we feel. A few examples: “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” (Psalm 13:1). “My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?” (Psalm 6:3) “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!” (Habakkuk 1:2). We feel like we are walking in the dark, alone and with no help. Even when we know that there is help – friends, care providers, clergy, God – we feel judged, misunderstood, alone.

Your own experience may differ, but my symptoms come from depression, anxiety, mania, psychosis. All of these contribute to losses I have had in my life: Relationships, jobs, money, esteem. A place in society. Courage. Confidence. I could go on, ad infinitum. But boy is that depressing!

There is help, but sometimes it’s the wrong kind. People who have not experienced our own form of “madness” don’t get it. When we are suffering, it’s truly rare to find “Earth people” who say the right things. If you do have people in your life who know how to help, who love you – treasure them! If you don’t have anyone to support you – find someone! I heard recently that we should all have about five “go-to” people in our lives.

And don’t continue to expose your heart to those who don’t understand, to those who hurt you. Such people can make you feel small, or defective, every time you go to them. You deserve better than that. Value yourself, and go elsewhere.

Ultimately, in self defense, we must advocate for ourselves. We are responsible for our own recovery, for being as stable as we can be. Here are some of the ways.

  • Remember that shame has no place in regard to your mental illness. It’s not your fault! You’re not any less valuable than anyone on the planet. This is my greatest struggle in my mental health recovery. I don’t fully accept that I have a mental illness, and I am always sabotaging my own progress. 😦 I mean always!
  • Educate yourself when your symptoms are stable. That way you can gather information on who you are, and that you are not your illness! We are people – not our disease. But we can learn about that part of ourselves when we are well.
  • Gather a support network. Not just groups, but people. People that know you, who understand you. People who will advocate for you in a way that works for you. This includes care providers, family, friends, and others who suffer. And yes, support groups are very helpful.
  • Make a list of things that give you joy, and do them. Art? writing? dancing? It doesn’t have to serve a particular purpose, other than to make you happy.
  • Maybe you find love in your work. Work is not necessarily paid-for employment. Maybe it’s helping others, or volunteering in some other way. Can you give someone rides to their appointments? Water their fish? Maybe you’d like to visit a nursing home with your dog or cat. There are actual programs for those who want to do pet therapy with their beloved animals. Animals have been known to help prolong life, lower blood pressure, relieve depression, and more.
  • Don’t go off your medications.
  • Don’t go off your medications. But if you’re determined, do it with medical supervision. Also, enlist a trusted friend or two to monitor your progress. They will tell you the truth, when no one else will.
  • Think of things that make you feel rich, and do them. I like to walk around taking photographs of flowers, snow, foliage, or other things in nature. Do you like to go to the beach, or to the forest? Collect things?
  • Make a short list of goals for yourself. I am finding it helpful to make a very small list of things to accomplish. We’re not talking twelve. By small I mean realistic and do-able. It may be as simple as taking a shower, or cooking breakfast. Maybe writing for fifteen minutes, or making a phone call.
  • Ask for help! That’s a category in itself. Take advantage of the days when you’re feeling well to practice this! It seems to be the hardest skill for us! And don’t feel you’re burdening someone when you ask for help. People have said they feel helpless when I’m having symptoms. It can be a great joy for them to bless you! Don’t you love it when you can bless someone? It can be something small, like running an errand, or even doing your dishes. Lord knows that even an empty sink can be a source of happiness when we’re depressed or overwhelmed.
  • How about having a support person go with you when you do something anxiety provoking? Maybe it’s going to therapy, or taking a walk. Some things are impossible, but possible with a friend.
  • Build a spiritual life, a spiritual practice. And notice that it says “practice.” It is a daily thing.
  • Write! Draw! Sing! or find some way to express your feelings and thoughts. Even if you keep the results to yourself, or throw them away, it’s healing to get them outside of your head. I used to spend many hours as a child expressing my sorrow in songs to the Lord. Just thinking of that makes me sad, but even the tears are healing, as in this scripture: “… [W]e know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)
  • Make a safety plan specific to your own needs and symptoms. Keep it current as much as you can. Here is a template of one such safety plan (pdf).
  • Don’t be embarrassed when you need to have more intensive therapy. The hospital or day treatment program is just another tool. It is not a judgment.

Can you think of other ways to help yourself? Other thoughts about “Walking After Midnight”? I would love to write a part 2a, or a part 2b (or not 2b lol).

So. That is “Walking After Midnight,” Part II. Part III will follow, eventually. Maybe.  🙂

Walking After Midnight, Part I

Some of you may be wondering, what’s with that title, “Walking After Midnight”?

Well, there are two, maybe three, reasons behind it.

One reason is the most obvious to most of us of a certain age: The song “Walking After Midnight” by Patsy Cline:

I go out walking after midnight
Out in the moonlight just like we used to do
I’m always walking after midnight, searching for you

I walk for miles along the highway
Well, that’s just my way of saying, I love you
I’m always walking after midnight, searching for you

Ok, let’s just call this part one, lol… I’m too tired to finish! Any of you bloggers ever done that?

Tha-RILLED today… :)

Tha-RILLED today.

Now as I typed that, I had a picture of Jo Anne Worley

saying that in my head. Anyone remember her? Sign in please! I bet she would be thrilled to still be remembered. Anyway…

Tha-RILLED! Why?

Well, I set 5 goals for today, and, I achieved them. Got right up from my rump shaped seat and did ’em.

  1. Did the dishes.
  2. Took a shower.
  3. Wrote. Yes, technically had to return to my rump-shaped seat but you know what I mean…
  4. Did DBT homework.
  5. Talked to God

Now looking at that list, it doesn’t look like a whole heck of a lot. But let me show you the list had I not set goals.

1.

Yes, that’s right. None of those things would have gotten done. Sure I would have fed my face, peed (see a previous post), played on Facebook. But seriously, that’s all I would have accomplished.

I’m excited. I could do this every day. Maybe make a new program for myself entitled “set 5 goals.” Wouldn’t that be great?

So why don’t I just stop there?

Because in my mind, it’s never good enough. If I can accomplish 5 goals a day, why not make it 6? Or 10?

And you all know what comes next.

Ahhhh I can’t do it. Why try. I’m no good anyway. It won’t last. And on and on ad infinitum.

Now why do I do that to myself?

Why can’t I just be tha-RILLED for having a good day?

So, back up, Kat. Take a deep breath. Look at that pretty, empty sink. Look at that marvelous word count. Realize that every time you practice DBT you are building skills to help you have the nice, full, rich, delicious life that you deserve to have. Regardless of the fact that you’re 56 years old. Don’t go there. Just breathe, and appreciate.

How about a blogging party!

Hi friends!

My friend Lily has had a couple of blogging parties and it was so fun and interesting to read everyone’s posts! The good thing about a blogging party is that you can get the word out about your blog! And if you’re a new blogger, make sure you get out and go visiting the blogs that are posted here!

So the way you do it is to tell people what you blog about and leave your blog’s web address!

You guys are not mere numbers to me, I have come to know and enjoy so many of you! I hope to learn more as we “socialize.” Grab some cheese and crackers, no whine though… Soda’s in the cooler and there’s a great view from the balcony outside!

I’ll start us off, I’m Kathy and I write about being bipolar, being a Christian, and writing (I am working hard at becoming a novelist). I also write about random things like the weather, my favorite colors, and stress incontinence. Ok I just threw that in to throw you off, but I really have!

Ok, your turn! and make sure to check your blogging link to see if it works!