Journeys: cot #204

A map of The Earthsea realm drawn by Ursula K....

A map of The Earthsea realm drawn by Ursula K. Le Guin. Original map published in Tales from Earthsea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m packed for the journey
Sandwiches, hobbit tales
Viking eddas, bottles of water
Camping gear, the Iliad

Travel companions arrive
Frederick, Karl and Frans
More to join along the way
Virginia, Agatha, Margret

Ballads, walking sticks
Star map to guide us
Soon we will reach
Camelot, Earthsea, Narnia

Oh, come with me
Let go of earthly limitations
We can trek to wherever
Our imagination travels

English: Map of Narnian world as described in ...

English: Map of Narnian world as described in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


paths of dappled sunlight; inspirational steps

Bruce Cockburn (album)

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That I received the candle lighter award, and that it seems I’ve chosen (or did it choose me?) a path of dappled sunlight filtered through the leaves and needles of strong, healing trees today, that my furthest steps so far are on the path of gratitude and thankfulness is by no means a condemnation of writing/blogging about the dark side of things. Whatever your dark side or demons are, they are parts of your journey that might/need to be told.

We all blog for our own reasons; our own goals: catharsis; expression; creativity; coping with demons; writing about the good, the bad, and the ugly that make up our worlds; that are a part of ourselves. Part of my self-designed therapy — while I wait to meet with a therapist in a couple of weeks — (with the help of many comments, emails and conversations, too) is to let my positive ear do the listening for a while.

At least for now, I’m trying to leave the demons in the darkness; to shut them in a closet (figuratively as we don’t actually have a closet) so their whispers aren’t so loud. That doesn’t mean I suddenly think that chronicling dark issues and feelings is inappropriate, misplaced or wrong. It’s just that my current path, my current aim is to walk through and towards the sunlight. To use the tao of the crossroads to head east into the sunrise.

This doesn’t mean I’ll become “phony,” and write happy things when I’m not, that I won’t complain about chronic pain or the health insurance system. There will be days filled with tears; there will be days, perhaps, I do need to go down the dark and dangerous path (holding on to the fact that I’m not really walking that road alone with my demons – there are folks out there I can reach towards). What I want to do right now is to reach out to the folks who care; to remember I have a safety net of internet friends when I take a mis-step on the tightrope of my life.

I admire the bravery of those who blog about their mental health issues – by doing so, they are revealing their private selves; making public the pain, the emotional insecurity, the despair, the isolation. They are not afraid to say what haunts them, what holds them back from the sunshine, what demons lurk in their dark corners. I know I have yet to deal directly with my demons; but for now I’m trying to NOT make them a part of my day; to keep the tears from falling.

The candle lighter award came as one of those serendipitous moments when I was still looking for a path to chose (or chose me). Taken with the earlier phone call I mentioned, and the arrival of a very special parcel full of fun and caring things – seemed like an omen. To take those tentative steps further down the path of dappled sunlight; the path of inspiration – my own and others; to light a way in a world of shadows.

Some folks are working on Day Books, others on gratitude journals. I think I’ll try an write something inspirational and positive every day I can (words of my own and of course borrowed from others – with proper recognition).

When (not if) the demons come back, please remember they are whispering louder than the positive ear can mask. They’ve broken down that virtual closet door and are following me around. But then, it’s the demons, the mental illness crisis that’s talking/blogging not really me. I’m still in there somewhere, as Bruce Cockburn wrote: “kicking at the darkness til it bleeds daylight.”

I really hope that my self-designed therapy, the wise advise of internet friends that I’m gathering into a kind of virtual booklet to help me along, will hold me together til my appointment on the 21st. And my sessions with the therapist will keep me on that dappled sunlight path of recovery.

Thank you all for listening, for being there (even if I didn’t see it/realize it). I have lots of pixie dust, wishing/calming stones, a few fairy wands, and other small gifts of gratitude to disperse. Today is the dappled sunlit path with trees to heal me. Tomorrow, I hope, the path is to a clearing where I can sit in a meadow of wildflowers and address some envelopes. Too bad fairies don’t deliver!

Today’s inspirational quotes are from the wrappers of my cough drops (I have a nasty cold right now): Don’t give up on yourself; Be resilient; Conquer today; Get through it; You’ve survived tougher. Of course, Halls’ “pep talk in every drop” is part of their television campaign, but hey, today, that’s all I got — a lot of cough drop wrappers, lol.

(photo removed: sorry, didn’t realize it wasn’t in public domain due to method by which I found it: just imagine a path through a woods with dappled sunlight through the leaves, and streaks of sunshine making pools on the forest floor and path)

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faretheewell good friends; safe journey; safe home

Institute of Mental Health 4, Nov 06

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I’ve been feeling for a while now that Phylor’s Blog needed a sabbatical, if not retirement (not only based on computer usage pain). There is no theme, no focus – odd bits of poetry or prose prompted by carry-on Tuesday or a blog carnival. Efforts to participate in November’s month long blog fests hampered by pain and feeling like the power has gone from my writing. I feel like red penning my blogs with comments such as I gave to my students in my former life: “you’re trying too hard, just let you ideas flow in your own words; you have a story to tell”. “Be more clear and concise; you might have all the best ideas in the world, but if I can’t understand them, then they are lost.” “Don’t run your essay through a thesaurus or rely on the jargon, run the words through your mind as well as your heart and soul.” “You’ve got great ideas there, but focus, concentrate, hook me into your story with an opening line that draws me in, and make each paragraph hang on the other (like a game called barrel of monkeys well before your time) drawing me further and further into what you have to say.”

Writing about alternatives to traditional treatments for chronic pain turned into writing about descent into dementia. Life had me write about death, depression, and whatever the current blog carnival theme was. I have pages of poetry, prose, commentary, rants, musings, and yes, even the occasional haiku that have never seen the white and black of a computer screen. I have a novel (and 3 sequels already laid out) that cover five plus note books, chapters and stories in random order. I have ideas for creativity projects: some to do on my own, and others to involve the chronic community.

And, now I have more than just chronic depression to beat; I have bipolar II – yes, the lesser form of the condition, only recently recognized as more than persistent chronic depression that didn’t respond well to antidepressants. With bipolar II, mania isn’t feelings of grandeur or happiness or power; it’s fury, irritability, frustration. My constant purchases at dollar stores of crafts for projects probably never to be made (no room in this house for that), my determination this summer to buy the stuff for me from what little was left after mom died. She let people use her and steal from her (and wouldn’t let me stop this from happening. So, a couple of high-end (for me) shopping binges, just like the emotional eating binges the stress of the last few years have caused. All caught up in the former anorexic/bulimic/alcoholic I once was.

What I thought was stress and my failures, were only half of who I was. Now I understand the fury that allowed me to kick the chair out from underneath a school bully – who became my protector and friend after that. Or pulling down a shelving unit of dishes, pots, and pans. Of screaming (inside and out). The negative voices, the “not good enoughs,” the lost friendships, the hostility and the loneliness. So Phylor, with her chronic pain and chronic depression, is only half of me.

The inept, uncaring staff the morning after my ER visit told me my husband had cancelled my previously booked appointment (he insisted they leave the 8:15 am appointment open; it was their idea I go to the ER) and that the next opening for an appointment was 3 weeks, I lost it. I apologized when, after camping out in the office, I did see my doctor. She said I had nothing to apologize for; you don’t let someone who had a mental breakdown to wait 3 weeks to have meds changed. She knew when they called to say I had gone ballistic in the office and was frightening the other patients and staff, that the usual composed, organized and compliant me was screaming at the patients who had taken MY appointment that the office staff were incompetent liars, then I was in trouble. She (with me who had slowly begun to wonder if I could be bipolar based on my summer “adventures”) can up with the diagnosis of bipolar II and the drug regime to follow. I still have to tell her that I’m not in a day program, and that like salmon, I’m swimming upstream and the rush of the water is pushing me back.

I have a very long journey ahead. The cold, uncaring day program admissions clerk at psychiatric day program the mental health crisis counselor at the ER arranged for me told me “You can’t be in our program; you take too many drugs.” As barbiturates were found in my system, every drug I used she accused me of was thus one – even a drug for acid reflux and another for nerve pain. Until I persisted, she refused to give me the name of some other psychiatric day program I might try, or how I could contact them. Turns out the one she gave me specializes in bipolar folks with substance abuse issues. I have mental health issues; substance abuse is not one of them.

There are over 120 day programs and self-help groups in my general geographic area. Not one provides transportation. Not one can I get to on public transit unless I walk at least 3 to 5 miles from the train station or bus stop. One organization I came across helps you start your own self-help group. Other than getting myself committed that may be the only why I can get treatment and the help I need. My experience with the mental health profession (except for the very kind, listening, and non-judgmental mental health crisis counselor at the ER on Tuesday) has been one awful. From psychiatrist who ignored my explanation that extended release antidepressants (or any ER meds) are of no use as the extended parts don’t release in my system, or the one who told me I had nothing to be depressed about (poor, sick, no job, and depression-plagued since childhood), just decide to be happy, and on through to the one who told me all I needed to do was join a team sport like soft ball or field hockey and I’d be cured. And, my doctor is moving her office (my fear was always she would close her practice or do like she is moving somewhere I can’t get to on public transport), so I can no longer rely on her to help me try and balance my unstable self.

So, as phylorsblog takes a rest (to be reborn, I hope, into several new blogs with focused themes, whimsical ideas, and a community-wide project), I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have put up with my downs, my rants, my bad poetry, and failing prose. Some will find a small package come their way: I have finally found a few magic wands and a sprinkle or two of pixie dust. I know some of you could really use it!

If you want to chat: will get you to my inbox. I will try and visit your blogs, comment, and maybe participate in a carnival or two. But, for now, the blinds are being drawn, not because I crave the darkness, but because I need to see the sparks of fairy lights. I rejoined facebook so I could participate in a gift exchange. All the materials are laid out on two rolling printer carts; this project, like finding help, I will see through to the end. The facebook page will probably be shuttered too. I need to look inward to stretch outward again.

Thank you, you’ll never know how much all you have  meant to me.