à la débandade

Dear Internet,
After all the cheeriness of #lismentalhealth week, it’s time for happier random updates.

Hah. I (sorta) fibbed.
This morning I woke up with the overwhelming feeling of TheSads, which are feelings that come in waves, typically lasting a few hours or sometimes a few days. There is no cause for TheSads, I’m often not triggered, and they leave just as quickly as they come.
There are a number of reasons of why TheSads are hanging out today: I’m going to start ovulating in a few days (my mood is all over the place when I start ovulating), I’ve been job hunting for the last few days and that’s always depressing, and I’ve been smoke-free for the last six days which is also a grump inducing mood.
These are legit reasons for TheSads to shuffle hop step across my mind’s stage.
These are normal things to feel.
After dragging myself into the shower and getting ready for the day, I started clutching various particular straws on the pretense if those things were firmly, and safely, in my corner my life would be so much better.™
I know that’s not true. I know I’m deluding myself on those things.
I know there are lots of things I cannot control that are a part of my life and I have to just keep putting one step in forward of the other. It’s hard. It feels like a snail’s pace. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m making any progress when I am.
The usual bullshit.
At the meeting with my therapist a few hours later, the conversation turned to that morning’s feelings: Why am I clutching at straws? Why do I think I can change the past? Why blah blah blah? (To be fair I’m not concentrating on one specific thing in my past to change, there are a whole host of things I would adore to change, but that is neither here nor there.)
After talking this out with her, I started to feel better. I teared up (mascara that actually doesn’t run for the muther fucking win!) in therapy, as I tend to do, when discussing certain subjects which are really facades for my frustration levels of not being to make the massive changes I think/want I need: Job, place of my own, my own money.
I keep harping on those things because those are things that plague most of my thoughts. Sometimes I can keep those thoughts in a cage and smile evilly at them and other times they gang up like, well, gangbusters. Most of the time these days they are in the cage but this morning they decided to make an unwanted appearance.
After the discussion with my therapist, I felt better — I always feel better. It could have been the coffee I was consuming during my hour. It could be the release of those thoughts. It could have been the greasy lunch I had later.
I spent the afternoon starting this entry, combing through job sites looking for positions to apply, and prepping for Thursday’s obedience class this evening. TheSads, which were starting to abate, came back in full force: Why did I fuck up this particular job interview? Why did I fuck up that job interview? How much different would my life would have been if I had not done X,Y, or Z?
I started feeling awful all over again. The feelings of failure, worthlessness, and my own stupidity came crashing down in waves.
It’s always a struggle to get them under control.

I got new glasses. How exciting! (Not as exciting when I figured out how to safely wax my under arm hair last week but I do like living on the edge.)
Still. Very exciting!
This is my fourth pair of glasses in the last 20 years. I’m thankful my script hasn’t changed too much and rotating the previous three pairs hasn’t been that big of deal as time went by.
Until last year.
Last year I discovered I needed progressives. You know, bifocals.
I’m officially old.
I couldn’t afford new glasses and contacts thus the optometrist recommended getting contacts but adding a pair of those cheap reading glasses you find everywhere to help with the near sightedness. I didn’t like pairs I found so I continued working with just contacts and sort of winging it which really didn’t seem to be that big of deal.
After it hit the one year mark of my last appointment, it was becoming pretty clear, despite my attempt to convince myself regular contacts were just fine, I needed those new glasses. Contacts be damned. (Honest truth: I have enough unused contacts from the last few years, due to slight difference in scripts, to last me another solid year.)
TheExHusband agreed to front me the cash for the new specs and trying on new pairs was that week’s excitement. (Did I mention I liked living on the edge?)
I had the following demands:

  • Buddy Holly frames. I’ve done the fancy, quirky pairs over the years and I wasn’t loving those frames so back to my trusty Buddy Hollys.
  • Anti-glare/scratch and a few other thingies
  • Black. Preferably matte.
  • Lenses sit far enough away from my eyes so mascaraed lashes don’t streak the glass. (Yes, this has been a problem in the past.)
  • Properly fitted.

The last one was the most important as left alone to my own devices none of my previous pairs really fit my face and after a while, some of the arms were stretched out due to my large head and mounds of hair.
With the optometrist’s help, I found the perfect pair and hoo boy, am I pleased as punch!
I am a vain, vain person and I would not have considered wearing glasses as a regular thing until the last few years. (This despite almost everyone I met would mention at least once how great I looked in said frames.) Now that I have found a pair I love and look fabulous in, I feel more confident in wearing my new specs.
(It was pointed out to me I could have gotten said specs way cheaper at Zenni Optical but as fit was more important to me, there is no guilt for what was paid. Now that I have the specs for my specs, I’ll be buying from Zenni in the future. (Also Zenni is optometrist approved.))
When I posted the above image on Facebook, in addition to the usual “you look great!” comments, numerous women posted my eyebrows, make-up, and skin is on point. Here are my secrets:

With the exception of Yes To, Rimmel, and Kat von D products, everything else was recommended by rankandstyle.com. Since I’m on a drugstore budget, I’m pleased as all get out I was able to find products that worked and worked well with spending a small fortune.

If you’re into librarian-y things, I’ve started the redesign of my librarian profesh site which includes starting and updating a blog in addition to the occasional site updates. One of the suggestions from a prof was to start writing about my experiences in the job market, trends in library land, and commentary on current practices. THIS! I can do.
I’ve been importing the librarian-y posts from EPbaB over to lisa.rabey.net and it’s been going fairly well and it keeps the site current where as before it was a bit more stale. I’m also updating my, “So, You Want To Be A Librarian” series which you should check out if you’re thinking about getting your MLIS.

This week is finally my mammogram appointment which has me alternately relieved and a bit scared.
From a few weeks ago,

“…able to find the benign lump in my right breast, discovered a year ago (2014/15) with my first mammogram. (If you recall, I had a total of six mammograms including an ultrasound over six months and it was decreed everything was fine.) The lump is located at the intersection of my armpit and my breast, so I would not have found it if I was doing a self-exam.
Speaking of which, I go in for my yearly mammogram this week and hopefully the benign lump is still benign. I shudder at the thought of getting a biopsy to make absolutely fucking clear it’s benign.
LADIES! Get your tits checked.”

I’ll obviously update the status once I know, but whatever deities you pray too, keep me in your thoughts the lump is still benign.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 20152014, 2011


And I’ve been looking for my truth
Since God was a boy Guy Garvey

Dear Internet,
I’m taking a break from making holiday cards as there is only so many pithy messages one can write before the hand gets tired. The breakfast bar looks as if Michael’s has thrown up glitter and paper everywhere. I’ve received so many responses for the cards I closed down the form because a girl can only make so many damned cards. What is surprising me the most is I have not sliced a finger with the Exacto knife or glued things together that are not paper.
Edit: I’ve made all the damned cards and have loads of extras. If you want a card, go to bit.ly/HolidayCards2015.
I’ve been getting back into crafting again to help quell my brain and the satisfaction having a finished product made by oneself. I started with coloring this summer, moved on to knitting again when I found my knitting supplies. This, of course, meant I had a ton of projects started and no idea now who or what said projects are for. I tore each project back to a ball of yarn, using said yarn to knit myself a long scarf. Nothing fancy, just a garter stitch back and forth. I forgot how to fucking purl, cast on, and cast off. These are all simple stitches and if it were not for kind friends on Facebook and YouTube, L-ville would hear the brunt of my swearing on why I could not do what I had mastered so long ago.
A million and half years ago (2010 –  2012) I ran an Etsy shop, Excessively Diverting. I sold handcrafted holiday bulbs, pins, bookmarks, and other trinket specializing in out of copyright books and authors such as Jane Austen, the Bronte’s, Charles Dickens, and so forth and so on.
The shop was successful but the time & cost could not justify keeping the shop open as the majority of sales came during October, November, and December. When breaking down the wholesale cost of making the items and I was paying myself $0 per hour to keep prices competitive, meant I was barely breaking even. I kept all of the templates and other similar items in a box for said store re-opening sometime in the future, but I don’t even have a permanent place to live so that’s not happening anytime soon.
Back to crafting! I also do cross-stitch, which has been slow going. I started a project of matryoshka doll style Avengers ages ago as gift for someone I now have no idea who for. Captain America and the Hulk were finished before I realized I had fucked up the dimensions. That project is just hanging out in one of my craft boxes for something as I do not want to waste what I have already completed.
Then there is the holiday cards, which I’ve been steadily working on for the last week. I was perusing Etsy, Amazon, and other sites for cards to send this year, as you do, when TheExHusband suggested I make the cards instead. This is marvelous idea as I owned most of the major supplies required and all I needed to purchase was paper and a few colored glitter gel pens to finish the cards. Buying office supplies? Oh twist my arm. I have a large vintage tackle box chock full of pens of all sorts (gel, glitter, fountain), colored art pencils for the coloring, nibs and ink for said fountain pens, highlighters for paper and otherwise, drawing marks, and disposable calligraphy pens. Then there is my notebook collection which has grown so large, I have at least on packing box filled to the brim.
One could say I have a fetish for office supplies.

It’s been a couple of days since I started this entry, not finishing it as I didn’t really haven’t the heart. TheSads are again attacking, which probably amounts for and while TEH has been great on cheerleading me on to not dwell, but when you hurt, everything hurts: brain, body, emotions, feelings. Every change in inflection from whoever sends a cavalcade of feels from my brain to my toes.
It’s in that particular space I don’t want to be touched or spoken to. I want to do my thing (crafting, reading, watching TV, whatever) because I don’t have to think when I do these things. This is where I can not worry about my actions, my words, my being intrusive to someone else. It’s where the crying jags come, less frequently now but still appear nevertheless.
The non-touching part can be problematic when you’re around people who simply care about you and want you to feel better.
A friend on the Facebooks shared a mantra, of sorts,

Which has been a gods-send for me to remember that TheSads are a part of life, are not permanent and will leave at some point.

Yet a couple more days have passed since the above update. TheSads lasted all of one day, where I soaked TheExHusband’s shirt with tears. The following day I was feeling slightly right as rain and the day after that only got better.
For about a week I’ve been walking 17 minute miles on the treadmill since I wrote the above and the endorphin high has been awesome at keeping sad feelings at bay. I get up in the morning, throw on my workout clothes, eat breakfast, and head down to the in-house gym with a bottle of water and workout for about 40 minutes. The workout is two minutes to warm up, walk two miles at 17 minutes a mile and then cool down. With my Spotify “get fit” mix in my ears, the time passes quickly.
I haven’t done yoga since we’ve returned back to Louisville and while one could point out I was being lazy, I will retort there was no space in the condo for me to lay my yoga mat down. True facts.
The lack of space has much to do with my stuff taking up all the available space. Over the past weekend we moved all of the boxes down to TheExHusband’s storage unit and now the condo looks huge. After some furniture shifting, there is now space for my yoga mat and the condo doesn’t seem as claustrophobic as it once was. I joked to TheExHusband that as we’ve shifted all of my things into the storage, I will now get a job.
You can bet on it.

Speaking of such, my Louisville job interview went really well as they are bringing me in for a two day in-person interview in a few weeks. My Connecticut interview, via Skype, is tomorrow. I’m nervous but I feel pretty confident about both situations. I need to get a mutha-fucking job. Full stop. I’m doing research on both positions and living in both locations. If by some grace of the gods I get two offers, it’s going to be a really hard call. The bennies for both are nearly identical but the pay is wildly disparate: $20K between the two at their minimum pay rate. Taking into account the cost of living for both cities, the Connecticut job will allow me to pay down my $20K credit card debt that much sooner. (Which is crazy to think about when the cost of living is a bit on the high side.)
You might be thinking, “Okay. Get through the damned interviews first” and I get that. I do. But I have to think about these things so I’m not making half-assed jumps for one over the other. Both positions are awesome and I can do a lot of good at both institutions, so if I come to this crossroads, I’ve got a lot to think about.
It should go without saying if only one position offers me the job, that is the one I’m taking. A girl cannot be picky.
If neither offer me a position, I’m starting the search again in January when the academic job search reopens.
It should be no surprise I’m exhausted from the amount of job hunting I’ve done over the last 11 months. But it will get better soon, this I do know.

One of the last things I said to TheBassist before the break-up was I’m emotionally exhausted and that is still true. The idea of dating right now makes me nauseous and compounded with reading OkStupid, just ugh. (I would implore you to not read OkStupid for the simple fact it will depress you on the state of humanity.)
I’ve resigned for not dating for year but I will be open to finding new friends in the area I’m living in permanently. In Louisville it would be super awesome to go out with other people not TheExHusband and it would be super cool to meet new people on the East Coast. Friends are good. Dick pics are not.
I dragged TheExHusband out to a social event last week and that went…not so well. It was run by one of the larger social groups in Louisville and the crowd was mainly yuppies and other ilk; not my scene at all. TheExHusband and I met a few people, mainly creeper guys who were there to pick up women and “get free shit” (as told to us by one such individual). I was feeling anti-social, part of TheSads, and TheExHusband was amazed he was the one making introductions rather than myself. I’m a pretty outgoing person when I need to be but I just wasn’t feeling the vibe of this particular group of people. TheExHusband mused we need to find our own people, geeks and such, and there are socials for them so that will be on our agenda in the upcoming weeks.

I’m leaving the house on a daily basis, I’ve cut sugar out of my diet and eating as little dairy I can get away with, I’m exercising, and meditating (131 days in a row and counting), — you know, all the things that I need to live a life and that I should be doing anyway. But I loathe to talk about ThePlan, in this space, right now because I always have good intentions and then they peter out. I want to make these changes permanent — and I think this time they are sticking. I don’t feel rushed about doing these things, I just do them. I may not be talking about such matters in-depth as I am wont to do but I will at least give some kind of update every now and then
A big part of my feeling better will be when I get a damned job. That’s a certainty that cannot be denied. When that happens, everything else will fall into place.

Finally, it is a mere 209 days to Lisa-mas.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2013, 1998

eyes big love-crumbs

Dear Internet,
The crisis is over and I’m feeling better. Yes, I’ve been taking my drugs (because that is the first question people ask). Yes, I’ve been in touch with a local to Throbbing Cabin therapist whom I’m seeing next week. My therapist in CT has been notified (by me) on what’s going on. I have enough drugs to keep me going for some time.
I am fine.
After the small mental hoopla, I caught a massive cold that was borderline strep. The plague1 showed up on Friday as well as did redness in my right eye that didn’t look quite right. Sunday saw me in the urgent care because I was feeling so awful, bodily, I could barely sleep and the red-eye was getting worse. Turned out I had a massive cold in not only in my head but also my eye. Yes, your eye can catch colds.
Since this is all viral, of course I passed it on to TheExHusband. Now we’re two sick peas in a pod.
(The question I keep posing on social media is: How much mucous can a body have? I was informed, biologically, the more hydrated you stay the more mucous the body produces. Of course.)

I’ve been thinking about doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Always a tryer, never a winner should be on my tombstone.
But who wants to wait until November? Why not attempt two novels? Sure, I said to self. Why not?
Why not indeed. Inspired by the framing of a piece I wrote 19 years ago, I started writing. Then I thought of another idea on how to structure it. Then another. Then another.
I’m a big fan of using sketch books for mind mapping. If you flip through mine, you’ll see loads of notes, dialogue, and minutia written down in a variety of colors (thanks gel pens!), which includes the beginnings of several projects. The digital notes are for research I canvas from the internets but the nitty-gritty of stuff is in this sketch book.
While mulling over how to best approach writing a novel without writing a novel, I came up with a couple of ideas that could work. As I was working these out last night, I found I changed the structure of the book at least three times. What I originally wanted versus what came out was fascinating process. But it was encouraging and the current set up is something I can totally do without putting too much stress on my brain. At least, at the moment.
It’s a long slow, hard road to get to anywhere, that’s for damned sure.
In other news, I’m now a contributing writer at nerd underground.
1. I have a tag for The Plague? Who knew.
P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!
Today in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2013, 2003, 1998

time: 1:06

Dear Internet,
When you start wiping tears off of your phone, while playing solitaire, you know shit just got real.

I don’t feel good.
Well, what does that mean exactly?
It means the following conversation with TEH, TheBassist, and Kristin (roughly the same conversation, individual times.).
“Having a hard time getting out bed, sleeping 10-12 hours a night, and barely eating.
“(Anything else going on?)  The only things that have been going on is increased stress about being homeless, jobless, moneyless.
“I thought it was related to my period but it’s not – that tends to be mania and BPD. I am just incredibly paralyzed right now and often feel sick to my stomach.
“And this isn’t throwing up sick, it’s the pit of my stomach feeling.
“This feels differently.
“I told TEH I really dont have much left in the tank. He argued I must have something since I am hustling on the (writing) job front. So I conceded I have 1/8th if a tank left. I just don’t feel emotionally any more. I just dont. I cry all the time because I need to protect myself.
“(From what?) The world.
“I cry, it gets rid of whatever feeling I have left; then I can crawl back into myself.
“(Why?) Stay safe. I protect me and me alone.
“I don’t know. I am often too tired to check. I keep my bear close. I read. Sometimes i shower and get dressed.
“All I know is I am really scared. And tired and emotionally exhausted and drained. Something has to give and I think it’s me.”
(Meds changed? No. Dietary habits, etc changed? No. Are you smoking? No (mostly). Are you drinking? No. Are you doing drugs? No.)

This has been going on for months.

I am not suicidal.

I can trace back to January, of this year, when I was hysterical on the phone with TheBassist. He calmed me down, we made plans for me to come out to the East coast, things in my brain cooled to a smolder. In February, much was the same. March was the epic road trip of 2771.7 miles in less than two weeks. Same month the #teamharpy dismissal came. I survived that; it would reckon I could survive everything.
April, May, June, July, August, and now I flipped between the East coast and the south. Four weeks here. Six weeks there. When I was in Michigan, I couldn’t bear to be in my apartment alone. I couldn’t bear being apart from anyone, seemingly specifically TheBassist. I was chainsmoking (when I could) and when I was home, it was jimjam and no shower time.
I put up a pretty good facade.

I have a friend or two who live near the cabin, whom I get in touch with immediately when I get into the area. The other day we went malling and lunch, which turned out not be that great of an idea — at least for me. As we walked around the mall being basic bitches, I watched my reflection in the mirrors as we passed. My friend looked great, hair perfect, make up on point, outfit cute. I on the other hand looked frumpy, my hair was out of control (It’s not been cut or colored for months). No makeup on, even mascara. I was slumped like a semi-colon.
I felt horrible and looked even worse.
I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.

Earlier this week someone inferred I was a hack. Boy howdy, it didn’t take much. Tonight I rocked in my bed, in my head calling myself every terrible thing even remotely possible in the English language. “Hack.” “Untalented.” “Lazy.” “Worthless.” I could go on, but I think you see the point.
When will this ever end?

Malling friend said I put so much shit up on the Internet, I am asking for comment. I could see her point and I think I even agreed with her. But now? No. I create this space to navel gaze, operate, and exorcise my life. I make it public because I’m not ashamed of who I am and I’ve never been one for keeping things bottled up. So what if I keep regurgitating the same #content. When was the last time your life was picked neat and clean? Yeah, I thought so.

I climbed into bed about midnight and it’s going on six. I spent most of the night/morning playing solitaire with the requisite tears and staring at the slant of the A-frames ceiling. I cried some and sniffled, then cried some more.

These are not big fat ugly tears, this are small baby tears that just keep leaking from my eyes. Talking to TheExHusband was painful because my eyes immediately welled up as soon as I opened my mouth. He said it was good I was doing that, I was letting my emotions open up and be honest. I felt like a fraud standing there because nothing seems to be real anymore.
I felt the same talking to TheBassist. To Kristin. To anyone who asked.

I’ve meditate for 79 straight days. When I could be arsed to put clothes on and go outside, I walk. I am happy for a few months and it all comes crashing down. Again.

Will this ever end? I hope so. But honestly? I have no idea. All I do know is that I’m having an attack of The Sads.
And I want my teddy bear.

the 49/51 split

Dear Internet,
I woke this morning at 5:37AM with a particular song in my head that was not meant for me. However upon audible relistening, realised it was perfect for a variety of reasons that will only make sense to me.
This has been happening more frequently as of late; I’m waking in early hours with a song in my brain (it is never the same song), that most times, comes out of nowhere. Some mornings, like this morning, there are two that play tag with the other. Then I need to go listen to them on repeat for a bit to exorcise the demon out.
This morning also bequeathed me tears that were shimmering and caught below and I thought The Sads were back. Again. I felt the rough edges of The Sads last night and made immediate plans that upon waking up, I would do nothing but self-care. In that instance it meant curled up in bed, reading all day, under my blanket fort and forgetting the world existed.
But I did not feel depressed, in fact I’m still quite manic. So this was new — to be feel so profoundly emotionally bare and raw but not depressed, in fact, there was some joy. I laid in bed for a few hours this morning, always flipping to find the cool side and always having to have my toes hang over the edge, trying to figure out what this all meant. I checked my phone and caught sight of the email notifications piling up. I knew I had to do some adulting today, I could not push it off like I always want to do. I made a deal with myself — do not think of the larger picture today, but think of the small things you can do. Begin first, with a shower.
When I tell people I am taking a year sabbatical to write a book, they think it’s wonderful and how lucky I am. I jokingly point out sure, come talk to me in a few months when my hair is disheveled and I’m laying about in my own filth. Except, this is not that far from the truth. When I was still working at the academic library, and we were granted nearly a month off at the holidays, TheHusband and I barely left the house. Let me also not speak of how little laundry I do during that period, amongst other things.
It’s easy to get sucked into a routine that is of no good, and I found these old habits raring its head these last few weeks with TheHusband and I working from home. Cobbling together a routine when I was alone at the cabin was easy and I could stick to it, but there is something about being home with him 24/7 where we just feed off the others bad habits that pulls me in its undertow.
So when I cannot get up to the cabin, and I’m working from home, I made myself promise to not fall into those traps, and to begin by just getting up and shower. Even if it meant putting on yoga something and a sports bra under the tshirt of the day, just get up and shower.
(With growing out my hair again (it’s now shoulder length), and not being a big fan of combing it, it is starting to dread. I’ve already had to cut two dread knots in the last week. Keep it together, Lisa!)
The shower.
I started crying in the shower, but it was small sobs rather than a big ugly cry. This had been the crying pattern of late, beginning with the welling of the tears, that turn into a silent storm, with an odd hiccup thrown in. Then I started laughing at myself because a few days prior, I was in a similar stance in the shower (feet spread, water pounding on back, hands on the subway tile) trying to figure out the logistics of a sex scene for a project I’m working on and here I was, on the complete opposite spectrum.
It was time, I knew as I began to shave my legs, to do a self-check if I was having The Sads or it was something else. Here were my truths as I knew them:

  • I’m not in crisis
  • I see my talking therapist, Dr. P, next week, my GP next month to get a referral for a new medicating shrink. I will also ask Dr. P. about another in-network referral to get back on the drugs
  • I’ve been having really near daily soul cleansing conversations with two of my favorite people in the last week
  • My period began earlier in the week and I always get a titch more emotional than usual
  • I cried during Guardians of the Galaxy — YES. Vin Diesel made me weep. I am NOT ashamed
  • One of said favorite people sent me links to cute pug tshirts, earlier in the week a couple of not-so-much-favorite-but-still-up-there-folk sent me links to pug pictures, so I had a big ole case of MissingWednesdays. My pug ovaries are hurtin’

Most of these feels are the normal human condition, heightened sure by the bipolar and raging period hormones, but normal. Sometimes it’s totally okay to pull back and cry. I promise.
So I did.
Once the checklist was done, I was cleansed, and let us not be surprised that now the world did not feel like a big ole chaotic mess. I could deal with this. I got dressed and planned my next step. And when that is done, I will plan the next step. And I will keep making these small steps until the day is done. Build the foundation.
Earlier this week certain lines kept rolling in my head and I recognized their presence from a piece I wrote about a decade ago. The words still resonate, but now for wholly different reasons.
I had, at the time, gone on to record it as an mp3 which you will find below.
(This is not one of my strongest pieces and in fact may be complete crap. I had also just had a bout of reading nothing but e.e. cumming so I was feeling all fancy when I wrote it. I have not listened to the mp3 since the day I recorded it so hopefully it has not degraded over time.)
Emotionally Stripped – the mp3 or you can listen via the embed below

there is a world
	somewhere, in-between
but not here
that exists
emotionally stripped
in this world
i am free
in this world
	there is
		something, anything
emotionally stripped
how far are we willing to play
	in this dangerous game
	how far
	how far
emotionally stripped
i don't believe in bittersweet endings
	of love that is never consumed
	of things to yearn for and
never have
emotionally stripped
i don't believe
	that i'll never touch your face
	or feel your taste
	or see your skin against mine
		shining with sweat
there is a world
	somewhere, in-between
that exists
	sliding, sliding
		downward fall
only to be caught
emotionally stripped


This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2011, 2003, 1999

familiaritas obscenitas

Dear Internet,
I knew mania was upon me not because my brain was slightly throbbing or that I was feeling more invincible than usual, but when having lunch with work husband #3, I was keenly intent on the fish monger and his ice. So much so, I struck up a conversation with him about the habits of keeping the oysters and other delicacies chilled as they laid prettily in the case. I followed up my witty banter with some succinct comment on ice machines and what not.
Really, I am quite the charmer.
Sometimes I don’t know what is worse, curled up in bed in an attempt to keep the world at bay or when it flips and I need to fix all of the world’s problems right this very minute. And if it means staying up until the deepest witching hours to get started, then so be it.
Two weeks ago I was so struck with anxiety and despair, I could barely leave my hotel room while attending a conference. Earlier this week, I was so overwrought with rage that the only way to keep myself from falling apart is reading trashy literature. Then it shifts again and now I am HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY.
And making inane conversation with random fish mongers.
I used to long for normalcy, or even better, a chance of being more even. Now, as soon as this week, I’ve realised those are not the things I need, they are the things I want. What I need is a way to harness, if that is even more possible, and make the fan dance of moods work for me rather than against. Stop censoring myself, for one.
And if the darkness comes, and it has , then I need to surrender to it. As long as I don’t let it swallow me whole, as long as I remind myself it will pass (and it will), to be mindful as much as I can that this is cyclic and I will whirl around the peg board towards something else, then I can survive. To quote Neil Gaiman,

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

And even the very most important thing to remember, (somehow I have to create very visible reminder), to is to apply self-care. Generously. Without regret. For that is how we will slay the dragons.

This day in Lisa-Universe:


Wall Fragment with a Peacock. Roman, about 70 CE
Via Getty Open Content

Dear Internet,
I woke this morning with Not So Great Thoughts, which have been intensely plaguing me for the last few days. This morning, however, they seemed much more intense and even scarier than what I’ve become accustomed to. On the days it is harder than usual, I try to remember it will  get better at some point. I fight to breathe for those days when things became clear  and I don’t feel like I’m swimming underwater.
So, then, I will force myself to get up and put together a regime. I got out of bed and immediately took a shower before I even consumed my first cup of coffee. After TheHusband and TheDog woke and did their morning constitutionals (not together!), TheHusband came down with me to the kitchen where we baked for numerous hours. Golden Yellow cake (for trifle), lemon squares, banana bread, and corn bread (for the stuffing) were made. As the baking began to wind down, TheHusband heated up last night’s dinner for our mid-afternoon lunch and we planned for the rest of our week.  My mother-in-law is coming for a week between christmas and new year, so the house needs to be cleansed, food for our holiday and regular meals needs to be prepped or bought, things need to be done that I cannot keep putting off.
At some point, I randomly started crying between pulling out one item from the oven to the other. “The crazy?,” TheHusband asked. I nodded. He said, “Do what you need to do.” And I just held tight to him in the middle of the kitchen while the crying subsided.
Much of my mental exhaustion comes from the sheer pull of energy to have something that resembles a normal day where just doing things is not some herculean effort. I keep trying, desperately, to not let this thing run my life but it is incredibly hard not to let myself just slip under and let it all just flow away.
On December 23, 1996, my grandfather passed away. It is his death, and then later my father’s, that shaped much of my life in unexpected ways. This is why the month of December is always hard to struggle through because whatever terrible thing befalls me it always happens here. Once I’m on the other side of January 1, things become slightly easier.
Yesterday was the solstice and we did not celebrate but I’m thinking that maybe next year we should. Start traditions, which I’ve been badgering TheHusband about for years now, create something for us. Make our own legacy. Because after the solstice has passed, the days I know are getting longer. I watch the times on the sunrise and sunset drift farther apart. The Earth has started its rotation to spring and Mother Nature will soon swap her snow shoes for muck boots then into sandals.
And so it goes on.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 2011


Dear Internet,

I’m so happy ’cause today
I found my friends,
They’re in my head
Lithium by Nirvana

Friday I had my follow up with Dr. H., my medicating doc, and I was hoping he’d say, “Yep, Concerta isn’t working, let’s put you on X and try that instead” and let me go on my merry little way. Didn’t happen. Of course, because that would be far too easy. So, now, then what do we do?
I spent the better part of an hour going over every drug that has entered my system or that I had left in the last couple of months (OTC or prescribed), and went through my entire 1.5 weeks on Ritalin + Concerta experience. Noting to him every little new “thing” triggered by either drug or was put to rest by either drug. I’m thankful that I wrote as much as I did while tracking my mania/The Sads, but I didn’t write enough because he asked me a lot of questions I could not easily answer nor were there any hints in my blog when I checked while at his office. I think it’s important to be a public voice for this drug experience, but sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what I’m doing and how I’m doing or do it in a matter that is more coherent. Maybe it doesn’t have to be?
TheHusband pointed out maybe if I wrote more stream of consciousness (which I did a lot of when I was in my ’20s), it would be easier. I think he has a point. While I plan on keeping up with writing about this publicly, I need to be more diligent on my note taking privately. I bought DayOne for my Mac, iPad, and iPhone ages ago and used it pretty heavily after for the first month or so and then tapered off. It was interesting how much came out when I was writing only for me – though to be fair, when I write here, I also am writing just for me. But writing in a matter that is more private, I suppose, frees up a lot of internal censorship that I unconsciously use on myself. The only glitch I had using DayOne was when I was on computer (like work) that is not MacOS variant based. My solution to that was either bring in my Air (which I’ve been doing more of) or use Evernote and create a folder tag for DayOne writings to transpose later.
So, more writing about this experience. Duly noted.
As I said a few weeks ago, the accepted diagnosis is ADHD with Bipolar with bits of Borderline Personality Disorder thrown in for good measure, which coincides with the diagnosis back in 2005. When I was living in Northern Virginia (NoVa) from 1999-2002, I was seeing a therapist there who cycled me through a lot of drugs: anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics (alternative for the anti-anxiety) for Bipolar and definitely anxiety. I was on, then off, then on, and then off so many drugs that I felt like my brain would just explode. I swore then no matter what the fuck happened, I was NOT putting myself on any of that medicinal merry-go-round again. I’d learn to live, cope, and exist with my current brain chemistry as it is because I could not take that kind of mental anguish again.
So when Dr. H. said he was putting me on lithium today, I burst into tears in his office.
With the exception of Klonopin in the last ten years, I’ve been mainly drug free. I was hell bent on going holistic on the vapors of my brain, but that apparently hasn’t been working and so, where we are.
This where the helplessness started to become so overwhelming that I nearly bolted from his office. I came to him, as a recommendation from Dr. P. to get the drugs for ADHD and monitor them, and now he’s putting me on this medicinal go around for the bipolar, which is apparently triggered by the ADHD? The way Dr. H explains it is that if Ritalin AND Concerta are triggering mania, depression, and other traits of the bipolar, those need to be addressed first before Concerta (or any related drug) can really be effective for me. I’m unlucky in that not only do I tend to metabolize drugs more quickly than other humans, and I also tend to pick up the rare side effects from the drugs. They can’t plaster me with a catch-all drug to cure X because that triggers these other things that have now sprung up.
Dr. H. gets my hesitancy about this, but he feels pretty confident we can find that sweet spot where everything plays nicely and I can feel some sense of normalcy. But it will be tricky, which means I have to be more diligent on keeping track of my moods and everything else in between.
This isn’t the first time I was on lithium, as I was on it during the first chemical-go-around when I was living on NoVa and I remember that sweet spot for like 3 days when I was on lithium and something else where everything was fucking awesome. The world seemed brighter, the colors were deeper, food tasted sublime, and I did not feel like a scatterbrained idiot. Here’s to hoping that we can get there again.
ProTip: Don’t ever read forums, regardless of the reliability of the website, about drugs, drug interactions, or their side effects. Because you’re going to end up self-diagnosing yourself with consumption or the vapors, and never want to leave your house again.
TheHusband, who rejects “white man medicine”1 for most everything gets that in order to make his Pookie Bear better, she’s got to swallow the poison. We’ve been big supporters of whole foods lifestyle for a long time, and while we tend to fall off the wagon here or there, for the most part, for fat people, we are pretty fucking healthy fat people. But we know we can do a lot better, so before this drug shenanigans came into play, we planned to kickstart our healthy eating and exercise again. To be more whole, mentally AND physically just reinforces the idea that we really need to get behind this and stick with it. The goal is that with a better balanced diet, more exercise (as I am more mobile now), and seeing Dr. P. every week and Dr. H. monthly, things will (hopefully) start to get better.
Kale smoothies, here we come. Rah. Rah. Rah.
But darkly, in the shadows lurking, I also know, as it is with any kind of drug that is taken for the brain, there is almost always a dark side before the dawn. That is the risk you have to take.
My regime is 600mg of Lithium (1 300mg tablet taken twice daily), 36mg of Concerta, and my usual assortment of multivitamins and supplements. Because of the Concerta, I’m off caffeine (and have been for 11 days as of this writing). because of Lithium, I cannot take NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc) and I should watch my salt intake. Dr. H. also wants me to refrain from alcohol while I’m on lithium, which means I can’t dip into the Absinthe my brother got me for Christmas.
I’m also allergic to dairy, so there is also that to add into the do not haves.
It’s a good thing I like water.

1. He’s Native American.

The Mysterious Case of the Attack of the Sads

Dear Internet,
Morning, December 25th.
Everywhere on the Internet, everyone  is filled with holiday cheer, about presents that were given, love that was received, and cheer for the entire world. My initial instinct was to respond to all those cheer filled posts with messages of hate and meanness. Instead, I closed out of Twitter/Facebook and started sobbing.
I feel like my world is crashing around me and I know this isn’t me, this is the Concerta speaking. If the trade off of focus and getting shit done is this mess of helplessness, crying, and thoughts that are beginning to border on the extreme, then I need to get off the drug.
TheHusband attempted to console me as my lower lip quivered and tears were streaming down my face. He wants me to vocalize, what we’ve come to call “The Sads,” but sometimes there is no reason for being sad, it just is. This past Saturday, I woke up with a plan to get shit done ™ and spent the day in my jim jams, in our dining room, cleaning out my multitude of an  inbox (And for the record, I’m not even finished). The idea of seeing, talking, and interacting with anyone, even my husband, filled me with dread. By late afternoon, he coaxed me to play video games and eat a mediocre take-out we had delivered from a local Chinese restaurant.  On Sunday, I did a 180 degree turn and felt mostly fine, as I did on Monday. On those days, showers were taken and long movies were seen. Now The Sads are back and there is nothing I can do but let it ride this out this time.
I never made it a secret that the holidays are terrible time of year for me, but since TheHusband and I got together four years ago, we’ve been trying hard to start new traditions by making ourselves happy and fuck convention. This year, beginning long before I started the drug experiment for my ADHD, I was giving no fucks about the holidays. I did not do a poll to solicit cards / send cards as I do every year, I did not bake cookies until the very last minute, and we didn’t get the tree up until the 23rd.  Presents were bought at the very lasts of minutes and shipped as expensively as possible. Whether or not we celebrated seemed immaterial to me – it was just another goddamned day.
The three days of Ritalin, I was manic, but I was focused and I got shit done. As the mania started to subside, I felt something I had not felt in a very long time and that was hope. On the week I’ve been on Concerta, I’ve been up and down like a yo-yo, I don’t feel as laser in focus as I did on Ritalin (but there is much better focus), and I’ve broken down into uncontrollable sobs more than once. I found myself being way more surly than even remotely necessary to people, and everyone is a goddamned asshole – even the dog. When I sleep, I sleep for 8-10 hours (with or without Klonopin, doesn’t seem to matter).
The headaches have been a near constant all week, and they travel around my face. Sometimes I feel like my face is a mask about to be ripped off from the pressure behind it and other times, it’s concentrated in a temple or above the bridge of my nose. I’m cold all the time, even when sitting in the warmest room of the house, thermostat at 70, my hands are like ice and I am shivering. My appetite has diminished. I haven’t had caffeine for a week.
Concerta seems to amplify all the worst of what I was feeling without giving me a trade off in return.
Afternoon, December 25th.
TheHusband and I winged it on presents for the holidays this year. It’s hard to shop for someone when that person either doesn’t wants small things (TheHusband) or buys it themselves (me).  As time was running short, I kept flip-flopping on how to celebrate. We want for nothing, and then, we want everything. My brother was slightly easier, he wanted gifts from the heart. So the cookies were made and a hat was knitted. A bottle of Hennessy  and a few choice gift cards to round out his gift. He presented us with gift cards to a DIY place for TheHusband and a Coach bag for me. I feel like everyone wins in this scenario.
We flipped off tradition and TheHusband made Mexican, all from scratch. The only thing he didn’t do was take the cow, kill it, and process it. The cooking took all day, and we were finally able to eat in the early evening hours. My brother joined us, as did his girlfriend. Margaritas made the rounds (2 ounces Triple Sec, 6 ounces Tequila, can of limeade, and a few fistfuls of  frozen ice. Blend until frothy), and we got good and tipsy. Or in TheHusband’s case, his teeth got tingly.
My mood stabilized a lot by the evening when presents were exchanged and alcohol had been drunk, but I was still feeling emotionally overwrought.  Once the kitchen got a first pass through on cleaning, the dog had been walked, we were in bed early and I was asleep before midnight.
Morning, December 26th.
I was up early to take Jeeves in for his yearly oil change and detail, and home by 7:45AM.  I’ve switched to decaf coffee because I can only apparently take so much herbal tea, and  discovering I craved the coffee taste, not necessarily the buzz. I met up with Karen who was home for holidays at Wolfgang’s before heading back to the house. I was yawning through our mid-morning breakfast date, but I haven’t been feeling tired, just drained emotionally.
The rest of the day became a blur.
Early evening, December 26th.
The rest of our presents to the other showed up today and we were both most pleased. I have not left the house since coming home from breakfast this morning, TheHusband has not left at all. The impossible task of sorting out my digital life over took most of my day, as I continue to unsubscribe and delete accounts no longer used across the Internets. I feel like I’m always doing this housekeeping and it never seems to get any easier or lighter. It becomes one of those tasks that needs to be done, but I choose to do this instead of something else that has pressing value.
TheHusband commented I seemed more stable today, and I agreed, except for the lingering headache that I try to forget and find I cannot. No crying jags, no yo-yo, but whatever focus this drug is supposed to give me is not here. I find myself all over the place today as I sort and clean and sort some more. Zero focus. Zero concentration. I have been known to metabolize drugs too fast for the effect to take over, so this is what may be happening, but I really do not know. Against TheHusband’s request, I’ll continue taking the drug until I see the medicating doctor on Friday so that I can come off the drug safely or ramp up to another dose or switch to something else.  I do not see my therapist for another few weeks (holidays), and that seems so far and yet I know it’s not.
When I made the decision to document this experience, it was to provide an outlet for my own voice that often feels strangled, to give voice to those who cannot speak, and to have some tangible proof of what goes on inside my brain (drugged or not). I have very clear goals of things I want to do in the upcoming months, years, and I keep looking at crazed brain syndrome as hindering me in obtaining those goals. I honestly do not know how I made it this far without having some sort of breakdown. The prescribing doc talks about Concerta, Ritalin and like drugs like their snake oil, and I am still desperate to believe him. I need to believe him.
This is where the frustration comes in, knowing that I can have the ability to do certain things, find that that ability to be stunted in some way, and then as I reach out for relief, find that it is almost always out of grasp.
And that, perhaps, is what breaks my heart most of all.

cut-off point

I told someone 30 was my cut-off point. If I don’t accomplish a lot of what I want to do before I’m 30 — I’m gone. Now before you start going “Um, Lisa, that is SUCH a cry for help” and calling your local suicide hotline, don’t bother. 98% chance that I won’t off myself (I made a funny!). Anyone who has known me for years that these things pass with time and I’m never serious — however, I know that many of us feel, that from time to time, life isn’t worth living. And sometimes I’m happy that I made it through my first suicide attempt 10 years ago, and other times I wish I would have died. But that is neither here nor there. I’m just telling you how it is folks, that is why you are here.
I will make no illusions that I’m being serious. For a few days, i was dead serious. But, I have (and will always know) that this passes with time. Being bipolar manic/depressive isn’t cool kids. It sucks major ass. Lemme tell you.
But things are looking up. I’m removing myself from one situation and starting anew life. I’m really digging someone I’ve been digging for 6 months and he’s mein gott(g). I had to say it to taunt him.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, there is so much, that you as a general public are not aware of. So much lies behind me then what meets the eye. Some people are not comfortable with knowing THAT MUCH about me — others want to own my soul. I give what I can — when I can. I give to those I feel deserve it and when I feel they need to have it. It’s not a game — it’s my life.
i’ve always been strong — and I’ve always attempted to make some sort of peace within my life. I’ve always strived to be the VERY FUCKING BEST that I can be. And that threatens people — and it’s harmful to others. My megalomania can be daunting. Fuck, I just created a new IM name: LishaIsGod. heh. Cos, I am god. this is my fucking world and I’m letting you enjoy it. If you piss me off, nothing a little DENY won’t work magic on.

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