geography of my mind

Mental Geography

Artist: O. Louis Guglielmi; Completion Date: 1938


Unstable again. Free falling. Falling. Failing. The familiar, horrid feeling of losing control. The gentle creep of ideas, obsessions, anger, binging into my mind. Demons almost lost, found my address again. And again. And again.

Can’t function. Can’t spell. Can’t type. Can’t read. Can’t remember. Can’t forget. No cocoon of medications, weekly therapy to help send the demons back to those cob-webbed corners where they should stay. Yet, called upon to help others whose dance with mental illness goes from waltz to mosh pit.

Desperate pleas to help write will as will to live is gone. Control freak becoming more controlling. No point in addressing issue as person would never acknowledge any physical weakness, any mental health problems.  Dementia (and I am too familiar with this to not recognize) descent beginning. Anger, denial and blame framing another’s perspective on life, relationships, caring and support.

Me as support? Why does this happen? People come to me as if I am an oracle, a wizard, a miracle worker, a “fixer,” moral, faithful, loyal. I guess I hide my mental illness well. Sometimes people figure it out. Sometimes I take a step back so they can process who I am. The difference between sanity and insanity. I am not who the person sees. I am what they perceive.  Acknowledging either means making self-distant examinations. For example, perceiving the future with out the filters of pessimism or romanticism.

I can change my physical geography, but not the geography of my mind.

Ripples: World Suicide Prevention Day

I just realized that this post for International Suicide Prevent Day (September 10) was never published. A week later, here is Ripples.


When you drop a stone into a still pond, ripples spread out from the center. The first ripples are small and closer together. The ripples spread wider and wider and further and further apart.

You are the stone; these bands of ripples represent the connectedness of your life. You intuitively know the nature of each circle, each ripple. Family. Friends. Your children’s friends. Neighbors. Co-workers. Other parents and teachers at your children’s school. Other students in the class. Sports mom’s and their children. Yoga or gym pals. Facebook friends. People in service jobs you see regularly. The mailman. You build your connectedness through these flowing ripples.

You are the stone; it is quite likely that someone within those ripples are familiar with committed or attempted suicide. (For every one suicide death, there are at there are 20+ people attempting suicide). A co-worker’s daughter. The mailman’s uncle. A classmate or friend of your children, especially as the rate of suicide among teens and young adults is higher than the general rate. A yoga pal’s nephew. One of the people who made you morning coffee at your favourite café. A neighbor’s son back from active duty.

September 10, 2014 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Take a minute to think about how attempted and committed suicide probably has touched your life through these ripples. Or you may be more closely associated. Some one in your family, perhaps your self.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Association for Suicide Prevention estimates globally there is a suicide every 40 seconds. Today, WHO releases it’s word suicide report: Preventing Suicide – A Global Imperative.

And, if you are contemplating suicide, please get in touch with a suicide crisis phone line. The skilled staff understands your pain, and will listen to why you have come to this point. They will talk to you because you are special, unique, and not alone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline '1-800-273-TALK (8255)'

The national suicide prevention life line is available 365, 24/7. You can call, connect through their website for chat. There are Spanish-speaking crisis counselors on staff.

There is additional help available for young adults and soldiers who represent the highest suicide rates.

With in my ripples, I’ve been touched by suicide. I will think of paul* and marc* today. Think of the times when the physical, emotional, mental pains felt too much to bear and I considered suicide. Not to worry, right now I am not suicidal.

And I will think of the death, every 40 seconds globally, from suicide. Think of them, their families and their friends.

I hope you will stop and think about suicide prevention today. And, if suicide has touched your life, then you know how much pain, grief and guilt is involved. The unbearable pain of the person who committed suicide, grief of those who knew the person, and the guilt that they didn’t see it coming, or should have done more or . . . . .

September 10, 2014 is World Suicide Prevention Day. But suicide prevention is a full time, year round goal. Perhaps there is something you can do to help.

pain, suicide, invisibility: dealing with an “imperfect” life part one

I haven’t written much about my health (mental/physical), or health issues since my April Marathon.

I been doing creative writing based on prompts. Some of me, of course, is hidden deep in my writing – my voice, my creative muse. It’s been interesting and fun to explore that side of my writing. It takes me away from the realities of my life.

Writing fiction, fantasy, fairy tales, etc. has been a diversion, a distraction (perhaps too much of one). My chronic pain has become much worse, some times so bad I cry. Where I hurt before becomes more intense. And, I developed new areas of chronic pain.

After years of owning my pain, it now has ownership over me. I’ve even considered making an appointment with my primary care physician to ask for low dose oxycodone to tide me over until the specialists I will need to see have answers. I didn’t. I won’t. I’m off opioids, taking tramadol for pain. 

It’s unclear as to which specialists to contact given the nature of the pain. Some will be dentists – which we have to pay for, others within our network such as neurologists. Some of the issues are more complicated that just “it hurts,” and I hope these are simply blimps in the state of my life.

I hope I get answers this time. For so many years there has been no diagnosis, or misdiagnoses. All my illness are invisible. When the physical/mental pain is unbearable, you will see it in my eyes.

I also have a lot of mental pain right now. I’m seeing a therapist, and we are trying to heal all the open wounds I have from past traumas. It hurts to heal as I have to replay parts of my life I’d rather forget, or try and find some wisp of the years I don’t remember/have blocked out.

I’ve told her things I have never told anyone else. It just feels good to talk, to open up. I actually cried a few times – and I had trained myself to never cry in front of anyone. It took a while. Sometime there were tears in my voice, not rolling down my cheeks.

Why this is part one? I wanted to discuss my worsening pain, changes to existing conditions and the need to find the causes (there will be more than one).

September is a busy awareness month: suicide, chronic pain, invisible illness. In the next post, I will provide links to various organizations. I will also reblog some posts I’ve written on these subjects.

So I hope you made it this far, and will come back to learn more about mental and physical health issues.



world suicide prevention day

A friend’s posting on facebook reminded me of something I should have remembered. September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. In May 2012, I wrote a requiem post about two people who were suicidal. One went into the woods and blew his head off. None of his friends saw it coming. The other, haunted by mental health problems, attempted a slow and painful suicide by starving himself to death. I don’t know if he died or not – my connection to him was tenuous, but I still remember his “deep blue eyes, showing deep pain and sorrow.

Please learn the signs of suicidal thoughts and actions so you will recognize them if displayed by friends, co-workers/colleagues, students, neighbor(u)rs, family members; help that person get the mental health assistance that they need. If you are contemplating suicide, please call your local suicide hot line. There are people out there who care; no matter how alone you feel, you count, you matter.