Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I used to think 30 was old, and I in NO WAY feel like I'm turning 50 tomorrow, on Wednesday. That's a half-century old!
Where did the time go, I ask?
Ah, well. I've learned a lot of things, made plenty of mistakes, had tons of laughs, cried a whole bunch, and met a lot of interesting people along the way.
I'm ready for my next 50 years, please and thank you benevolent (yet sometimes challenging) Universe.
I heard if you haven't grown up by the time you're 50, you don't have to. A good thing, since I wasn't planning on it anyway! *cackle*
Thursday, December 4, 2014
This is why I wouldn't want to do group therapy--because when people are in pain and hurting, it impacts me so much on the inside (though I may not show it on the outside), that my anxiety disorder kicks in, along with the nasty PTSD side effects, and I end up feeling unwell. If I become too emotionally upset, I get sick because my system gets so run down from it all.
So, if I ever tell you, "I am not ready to talk about this right now," or, "I have to sit with this; I'll get back to you later," please don't push me. There's a reason why I tell you those things. Respect my boundaries and wishes, just as I would do for you.
And while I do meditate, practice breathing, and do other things to assist with managing my Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and PTSD, it takes much more than those things to treat my issues. Simplistic advice for complex problems doesn't wash, especially when you aren't me and you don't know all the facts or backstory/history.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
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Some dreams are more disturbing than others, but they're *never* boring. Last night I was in a cafeteria with my daughter Britt. The cafeteria was full of all sorts of food -- but it was weird, odd food. Strange colors, strange combinations, odd dishes.
Britt kept wandering off, which annoyed me. I'd turn around to ask her something, and she was gone again. When I went to call for her, I'd yell for Wendy, even though I knew her name was Britt. The name Wendy came out of my mouth each and every single time, and I'd go, "Damnit, I meant Britt!"
I told Britt about the dream and when I mentioned that I called her Wendy over and over, she replied, "Mmm...Wendy's sounds good." Lol! I have to agree with her. I could go for a Frosty right now.
Yes, I know it's not healthy food and all of that. I'm not completely daft! I still want a Frosty and a spicy chicken sandwich. So there! ;-p
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
This week I'm pleased to feature a guest blog from Jonathan Porter, a writer and editor based in Chicago, Illinois. He's also my son. I'm proud of him and excited to share his work. Please visit and follow his blog at https://jonathanporter.squarespace.com/blog/
Last night, en route to an early morning encore of The Daily Show, I watched a city burn and smolder, and knowing now how it all came to pass, I can only feel sadness. Sadness for a community and generation that mistakes peace for inaction. Sadness for a society so insulated and paranoid that militarizing local law enforcement is touted as progressive. And sad for a culture that champions its witch hunt of bigoted language but still succumbs to closeted, hegemonic paternalism when mired in racial controversy.
But above all, I grieve for Michael Brown's parents. For their loss, and their (so far) unattainable single wish: peace. Despite a string of non-violence pleas from Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden as well as a steady media narrative that condemned any act of looting or violence as counter-productive and disrespectful, the Ferguson saga always seemed like a racial crucible destined to boil over. This has to at least be the thinking of St. Louis County Chief of Police, Jon Belmar, who, when asked to assess the preparedness of his agency, implied that no amount of preparation could contend with a community hell-bent on tearing itself apart.
No one will contend that the Ferguson protests have been 100% diplomatic, but unilaterally characterizing every protestor as an unreasonable anarchist is symptomatic of the apathy that continues to erode the deep rift between Ferguson's white-washed law enforcement and its predominantly black populace. Belmar expressed disappointment when the first fires were lit Monday night and the St. Louis County police have taken that one step further on Tuesday by prohibiting all forms of protest or assembly along West Florissant Avenue and near Ferguson police headquarters.
The Ferguson police contend that the forced dismissal of protestors is a necessary action needed to prevent further arrests, injuries and property damage, and unfortunately they're right. Despite possessing what I classify as the moral high ground, the majority of peaceful Ferguson protests have been undermined by sporadic shootings, looting, assaults, arson and death threats. Those that have wept for Michael Brown were emboldened tonight by spontaneous protests in more urbane, racial diverse and progressive metropolises like NYC, Philly and LA but the decisive battleground for racial equality remains in the heart of the nation.
The Ferguson protests have been bookended by disheartening violence and have raised real concerns about its core leadership despite coming off an atypically peaceful October, but one constant has rightfully attracted the ire of Ferguson's citizens and that is local law enforcement's unrelenting apologist campaign to absolve itself of any responsibility. This near four-month saga is the equivalent of absolutely irate person being sequestered by a steady stream of "I'm just doing my job." When I see reports from Ferguson, I see citizens having their right to assemble unabashedly stripped away from them under the guise of civil protection. When law enforcement starts disassociating the ideology behind public action, they become better at indiscriminately suppressing perceived threats but they also risk viewing their fellow man as a collection of hazards that need to be suppressed.
Honestly, I think we're past risking that. If you turn on the news, it looks like Missouri is being invaded by another country. There are manned armored vehicles patrolling assembly areas and police officers armed with military-grade weaponry. The reason: to bring peace to a public afraid of the police shooting them. The militarization of local law enforcement is an undeniable national trend and a surprising blemish on the already-well-tarnished Obama administration. This, the recent revelations of Edward Snowden and Project PRISM and the booming growth of the prison industry have bred even more distrust of law enforcement in America -- the place that gave the world this:
Saturday, November 22, 2014
There are no medications you can take for lipedema, which may also be one reason why the U.S. medical community isn't interested in doing much about it. They can't make a ton of money on this through drugs, for one reason.
Even if you have the tumescent liposuction in Europe, this disorder can take over again. And, worse yet, it can take over your ENTIRE body...you could literally starve yourself and it would STILL take over. Lipomas will form, the lymphatic system is compromised, you will bruise easily because the vascular system is also compromised, and if you are lucky, you might be able to hold at stages 1 or 2 (I am currently at stage 2).
Usually it's not caught early because women are just advised to 'diet and exercise.' Well, if you're traditionally overweight, that's fine. But this is NOT the same thing. This is a GENETIC DISORDER, WITH UNKNOWN CAUSES (BUT THOUGHT TO BE HORMONAL IN NATURE).
So, before you judge women, you should know what you're talking about. Only a few men have gotten this disorder, but roughly 11% of the population of U.S. women have lipedema. Most go undiagnosed, because they're told, "Oh, you're just overweight!" No...this is NOT the same thing, folks. That's like telling a diabetic to just regulate their sugar by using mind control.
Please watch enlightening video. Update what you THINK you know about some people -- me included. Because while there are many horses out there (people who are simply overweight), there's a group of zebras, like me, who have a genetic disorder that causes pain, swelling, bruising, mobility issues, and other uncomfortable things.
Increasing lipedema and lymphedema awareness is important so that, someday, women who may have it can get diagnosed before they're well onto their way to the latter stages of the disease.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
Revamping my author website.
Still have another section or two to complete, so excuse the parts under construction. However, please bookmark the site and stop by when you get a chance!
I am required to do breathing exercises for my recently diagnosed lipedema and lymphedema. Deep, proper breathing, particularly to activate the L-2 area of the spine, where a large cluster of lymph nodes is located, is important for all of us.
Each week when I go in for Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD), my physical therapist has me do specific breathing exercises while she works on different areas of my body.
Once I finish with this round of therapy in a number of weeks or months, she will teach me what I will need to do from home as far as MLD for the rest of my life. That will, of course, include instructions for daily breathing exercises.
So, proper breathing is only helpful for these diseases (which are not curable, only manageable), but I feel terrific when I do them as well. Breathing not only helps the lungs and other parts of the body, it's essential for proper function of the lymphatic system, which is a system I didn't know much about before August, when I was diagnosed. The majority of people have NO clue and they should learn how it's incredibly important to their lymphatic system, which supports the circulatory system and is essential for good health!
Make a note to learn how to breathe properly, then practice it daily!
Sunday, November 16, 2014
The other night I read an article about how much time people spend on Facebook. Most of the time, people may underestimate how much time they stay on the popular social media site. A link in the article led me to an app that would calculate how much time I'd spent on Facebook. I knew I'd languished in the pages and profiles of FB for hours. I also knew I was on Facebook most every single day. Still, I decided to check out the app and get an idea of just how much lollygagging I'd spent on Zuckerberg's addictive social media haven.
To put it bluntly, I was stunned. Taken aback. Actually, appalled might be a better word. Or perhaps horrified. Any way you cut it, I knew the calculation would be high, but until I saw the final total, I didn't realize just how high it was. Ready? *deep sigh* According to the app, since November 2012, when I launched my new personal profile, I've spent 173 days on Facebook. Yes, you read that correctly—DAYS. In more eye-opening terms, over the past two years, I've spent a full six months of my life on FB, posting statuses, replying to comments, returning messages, writing messages, sharing photos, and on and on. SIX months of my life, and for what? I'm still stunned over the results. I knew Facebook was a regular, almost daily, part of my life. I knew I spent way too much time over the site. But until I saw the actual figure, it didn't sink in just how much time I'd wasted over the past two years.
What could I have done with that extra six months? Almost anything, but specifically, I could've been writing my next book (or two). I could've read more books (I read about 50 to 80 a year, but imagine how many others I could've consumed!). The beginning of 2014, I took up crocheting once again after a 24-year absence; I could've learned quite a few new stitches or learned to crochet several new items. I could've taken more online college-level courses. Let's face it: I couldn't done a heckuva lot more interesting stuff than stare at Facebook for hours, refreshing my feed over and over again.
Now, I'm not saying you should be busy all the time, producing nothing but work. That's silly. I'm not saying social media is terrible, because it's not. But what I am saying is that six months of one's life spent on Facebook over a span of two years is a ridiculous amount of time pissed down the toilet. Time most often spent arguing or debating about politics or religion. Time that could've been more emotionally, mentally, and creatively rewarding (with more to show for it!) Six months of my life is too much of a chunk of that two years. Way too much.
By comparison, I spend much less time on Twitter. It helps that Twitter restricts your updates to 140 characters—unless you cheat and use Twitlonger, which I've done on occasion. With Twitter, I've found it helpful and informative when it comes to developing and/or breaking information on a global scale relating to science, global events, literature, tech, and countless other subjects. You will uncover information much earlier than you will at the major new outlets, such an CNN. I've seen it happen numerous times.
The best part is that Twitter takes up less time in my day. A single visit (or perhaps two) in a day usually suffices. Sometimes I won't check Twitter for days, though. But when I do, it's a quick visit that is a lot shorter than lingering for hours on Facebook. What's more, my blood pressure doesn't shoot up to dangerous levels over political and/or religious posts. Most of my feed is populated by people in the publishing industry, which is nothing but advantageous if you're a professional writer, blogger, and copy editor like I am.
So, having discovered the horrible truth of just how much I've lingered on Facebook over the past two years, I decided it was high time for a break. I won't deactivate my account, but it's clear I need to use it less often. MUCH LESS!
For now, I'll be hanging over here on my blog or on Twitter at @Mother_of_Crows if you want to connect. Or follow me. I'd like that. And hey, I'll follow back if I can. I'm at the limit right now, but I usually clean out my list every couple of months, if not sooner. Following the self-aware Roomba is interesting, but I'm sure you're much more so...right?
In the meantime, I'll devote more time and energy to my writing and fewer days to feeding my (obvious) FB addiction. I doubt most people will notice anyway, and that's another win for me.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Saturday, November 8, 2014
I want to recognize my beloved husband for going with me, faithfully, to every appointment and being there in the room when everything takes place. I couldn't ask for a more supportive husband! I'm still bummed that what I have is not curable, but my therapist and my husband keep me positive. He reminds me that I'm beautiful and that my condition hasn't diminished his love for me one bit.
So, I have two visits per week, on average, and my therapist has 24 years of experience treating patients with lipedema & lymphedema. I'm in good hands -- literally!
A couple of things I have to watch out for the rest of my life: one, I can't do hot tubs anymore (not that I did them a lot, but still); two, I have to be careful when I travel by plane due to the effect it can have on my calves, ankles, and feet. It's also recommended that I use an electric shaver instead of razors to shave, since cuts, punctures, scratches all spell bad news in a limb with lipedema/lyphedema. In the scheme of things, it's a day-by-day situation.
A friend of mine asked if there isn't a medication I can take to help. The answer is no. There is no medication that can help, and diuretics, diet, or exercise cannot cure my conditions. The cause is unknown, and lipedema is classified as a rare disease.
Anyway, just an update because Thursday's visit was a good one. I think she said my lower legs were down an inch in some areas, which is fabulous. Too bad they won't stay there permanently, but as long as they're not going up and heading to the next stage, I consider it a victory. I do NOT want to end up in Stages 3 or 4.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
My son, Jonathan, finally has his own site. He is a writer and editor (just like his dear old mom!). But, unlike me, he's worked for cool-ass places like Madison Square Garden and Lions Gate Entertainment.
If you have a moment, please stop by. He is still working on the site, but there's content up there already and it's filling out nicely. Plus, I'm proud and I wanna share it with you guys!
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Both manifested later in life; I'll be 50 in December and so I didn't notice any problems/symptoms until I was middle-aged. Up till then, nothing seemed amiss and everything looked and felt normal. In effect, I received unexpected news and it was a double whammy; not just one issue with my lymphatic and vascular system, but two. Neither can be cured, only managed.
I am just now learning about these diseases and they will be a part of my daily routine for the rest of my life. Since most people haven't heard of them and don't understand them, I wanted to share the experience with friends, family, and whoever else may find themselves in the situation I am now.
A friend of mine wanted to know more so she could understand, so I wrote the below-posted information to help explain it as best I could. Then I realized I might as well post this info on my blog to let people know about this new development in my life and to also inform those who may want to know or may need to know more about lipedema and lymphedema.
As I told my friend Mari on Facebook, "Lipedema is rare and it's not caused by what you eat or how much you weigh. Overeating or improper nutrition do not cause it; therefore, losing weight or restricting calories will not affect the diseased tissue/fluid. In fact, I can attest to this, since I've lost well over 50 lbs over the past few years. It does not matter at all. Anorexics can get lipedema, in fact. So when you say 'care for your body,' that care means keeping the skin moisturized and protected so bacteria can't get in dry or cracked skin or feet. Otherwise you can get cellulitis, and that can be deadly. About 27,000 people a year die from that.
Second, the lymphatic system only moves one way—up. That means blockages or a compromised system can't move the lymphatic fluid properly, and that's a big problem! So, care also includes getting the fluid moving through special massage techniques, as well as compression to keep the lymph from settling in the lower limbs where infection can develop.
Manual lymph drainage is necessary (for a person like me who has lipedema and lymphedema as well.) The vascular system and lymphatics are compromised or damaged. Penrose rehab wants me to come in for manual drainage twice a week, but they aren't sure if our health insurance will cover it. They recommend twice a week for that, and compression garments and bandaging daily, from the time I get up to the time I go to bed (at least 12 hours a day). If insurance doesn't cover the therapy, then it's likely I'll have to try and learn how to do it myself (and I'd prefer an expert with years of training do it instead, if possible.)
Neither conditions can be cured or treated with diuretics or medicine. It will only become more severe. There's no way to completely stop it. So, no, I will not be completely healthy in this regard, regardless of what I do. I can only hope to delay it from advancing to a more severe stage. It already affects my mobility right now, so I just do the best I can and go from there.
Bruising is common, and these conditions can worsen with activity and warm weather. Vigorous exercise—especially without compression stockings—will exacerbate the problem and make things worse. So, as you can see, these are tricky conditions that become progressively worse. The best hope is to try and manage them as best as possible. I know this is a lot of info, but there's a lack of knowledge about these conditions, and it's important (at least for me and others suffering from these conditions) that people are educated and don't make assumptions or think it's simply, "Well, lose weight and exercise more." Nope! If it were only that simple! I can get down to a size 1 and I'd still have it. That's why one physician I read called it a "rare and devastating disease," with the psycho-social aspects particularly hard for patients. I was recently diagnosed, but I'm already having issues with it. Having understanding and supportive friends—such as yourself—makes a huge difference for patients dealing with lipedema/lymphedema.
As I said, doctors and researchers don't know what causes it, but they believe it's genetic (hereditary) and also hormonal. It cannot be cured, and it's the same for lymphedema. Both affect your mobility and can result, in severe cases, in being wheelchair-bound or, in the extreme case, amputation of the legs. Because I've been pro-active in getting a diagnosis and treatment, I don't expect the latter two to happen. The person affected must follow meticulous treatment. It's not something that can be ignored, because you cannot reverse it; it can only get worse. About 11% of women have lipedema, and rarely do men get it (only 2, I believe, from the articles I read from Dr Karen Herbst, who is a doctor in Arizona and an expert in this field). It's classified as a rare disease, as I mentioned before. For men, almost unheard of!
Paul, sorry I hijacked the thread, but I needed to write this up for my page and my blogs anyway. Might as well explain quite a bit of it now! Thanks for asking, Mari. I went way beyond what you asked, but now you know the gist of it all."
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Thank you for sharing your words, C. Yvonne D.!
I've been fairly silent about my journey. It has been a long, arduous journey, and I've finally decided that it's time to break my silence. I spent twenty years of my life living as a plus-size woman. I look back at photos taken over those twenty years, and I see the misery and pain. Yet, what I've realized from losing this weight is that there was also an armor, or shield, that came from that plus-size number. It's finally time to tell my story.
At my heaviest weight, I tipped the scales at just over 325. In fact, my doctor at the time joked about calling the Broncos to add me to their roster if gained any more weight. I bounced from diet to diet, trying to lose weight, while secretly sabotaging myself.
When I went to see my kidney specialist (nephrologist) in February of 2012, I had been seeing a therapist for over a year. I knew I was sinking. I knew I needed help. As I sat there that morning, I received some hard news. My nephrologist looked at me and said, point blank, "If you don't lose weight, you're going to die. You are killing yourself, and only you can fix it." He then wrote out a referral for a dietitian, and a surgery consult. I was suddenly confronting a fear bigger than the one that had kept me heavy.
I spent hours in fear and agony while making the choice to follow through with the dietitian. I felt I was now working on paying someone to humiliate and laugh at me. The tapes of being bullied throughout my formative schooling years had led me to a lifetime of self-ridicule. I learned how to beat myself up better than they ever had . Even today, some of those words haunt me.
I finally went in, and I'm so grateful I did. My dietitian didn't teach me anything I didn't already know, but she did become a vital player in my weight loss; she became my first cheerleader. I also followed through with my surgery pre-op appointment. The nurse in the gastro office informed me that I qualified for the surgery, but would have to prove over a six-month period that I could follow a diet plan and become healthier. I asked if it was possible to lose enough weight to no longer qualify for the surgery. She told me that at my current Body Mass Index (BMI) of 33, it would not be possible to get under the 28 BMI requirement in six months. I thanked her, because in that moment she became another vital player: she had given me a goal.
Somewhere around my fourth month of weight loss, I was no longer dieting. My health was at risk and I didn't want my children motherless. I had gained a voice, a piece of self-worth, a morsel of self-satisfaction. I can't give specifics of what changed; I can't tell you that I started pumping iron, or working out crazily; none of those things happened. I did work out for thirty minutes, almost every morning, on the Wii Fit. I ate proper portions and began walking more. It wasn't that I was suddenly trying. It was that the weight loss had finally found its hold on my heart. I discovered the missing connection.
I overcame my first challenge at the six-month mark. When the nurse called back for my next surgery appointment, I proudly told her I had successfully lost seventy pounds—enough weight to no longer qualify for the surgery. The extra pounds magically vanished and I no longer engaged in stress eating. That was until a gentleman at the store noticed me. He smiled and said hi, and while I know he was simply being friendly, I reeled into a familiar, dark place. I lost my shield and I was no longer invisible. Thankfully I remained in therapy, because the next weeks would prove challenging.
What nobody tells you about weight loss—the taboo part of the whole challenge—is that no one talks about what put you at that weight. It took weeks for me to realize my weight had become a shield. Part of it was a false sense of security. You see, I had been raped when I was thinner. My weight gain had become a double shield. I felt invisible when I was heavier, and in being invisible, you feel safer. If they can't see you, they can't hurt you. There was also a part of me that believed if someone tried to hurt me, I could stop them because I was bigger, heavier. If nothing else, I could sit on them. My weight made me miserable, but it also protected me.
I still have those moments of fear and anxiety. It's not that I never stress eat anymore; instead, I have learned to limit what and how much I eat. I haven't had to fight to stay thinner; it happens because much of my life has truly changed. A year ago, I started T’ai Chi. It has been a tremendous help. Also, I took up bike riding a month ago—something I never thought I’d do again.
Recently, I overcame one of my final challenges. I became overweight. You might wonder, "What? How is that good?" When you start at morbidly obese and move to simply being overweight, it becomes a celebration. I still have weight to lose, but I'm no longer actively trying to lose weight. Instead, I'm learning to be happy and healthy.
The best news is that I went from stage four kidney failure down to stage two. My nephrologist was right—only I could change my life and my future. You can, too. You can become bigger than the bullies and the rapists on the inside. You can also overcome the outside.
What people sometimes forget is that you don't have to do it alone. There are people out there who can, and will, help. All you need to do is ask. Everyone's struggle is different, yet at the core we are all the same. You can face the hard work and challenges, because you've faced worse and you're still here, still kicking. Find your voice, your passion, your zest for life, and overcome the pain of your past. You are the only one who can do it, and you can.
A mother of three and a grandma to three, C. Yvonne D. was born with a kidney disease called IgA Nephropathy. Her condition was exacerbated by a medication cocktail given to her in her thirties that was supposed to help her cope with the painful onset of fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. In her words, "I have spent 42 years afraid of almost everything. I've been defined by my titles, pain, diseases, and mental health. I am in an ever-evolving journey to push through these definitions, for they are such a small part of who I am. I am learning to be me and I'm ready to share a piece of my story."
Saturday, July 19, 2014
I am at a place -- sometimes a campus, an amusement park, a high school, a sprawling housing complex, a fairground with rides, a city or town. I end up getting lost and wandering around for hours.
Although I ask for help, either I get vague or wrong directions, or no response at all. I try all different routes to get to where I need to go, but I end up somewhere else, and even more confused.
It's a frustrating, depressing dream that never seems to end. In the dream, everyone else is oblivious or they are nonchalant.
I'm well aware how this dream mirrors the challenges that have come up over the past few years. I get the symbolism and the layers of meaning. One day soon I'll find my way and I won't be lost in my dreams anymore--or in real life.
It's up to me to figure it out, as it has been most of my life. Except I'm weary and tired. I need a break, but as they say, people in hell want ice water, too. I'm not sure why I haven't given up, like many people would have.
My psychiatrist was amazed I am not a substance abuser or alcoholic, based on my life history. It goes against my nature, I guess. If I give up, I surrender and I'm beaten. I'm not that type of person, though.
Once I get knocked against the ropes, it takes time for me to recover, but once I do I'll come out swinging again. I'm tenacious, if nothing else. Stupidly so, perhaps. This recurring dream reflects that.
Being human is about being real. I'm being real with you, even if it's uncomfortable.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Win one of five free copies of my soon-to-be-released eBook, "Aim To Write: Tips & Tricks for Freeing the Scribe Within." Details below!
Sunday, June 15, 2014
I know what I'm passionate about. I know what I can accomplish when I set my mind to it. If I want it, I will do it. If I don't want it or lack the interest or dedication, I won't do it.
What is it that YOU want? Not your family. Not your friends. Not your spouse. Not your kids. What do YOU want?
What makes your soul sing? When you engage in that activity, do you slip away, losing track of time because it's a pleasant experience and you're in 'the zone'? That's a hint right there. Whatever makes you feel that way, pay attention to it. Pursue it.
Don't ask other people's permission. Don't ask them what THEY think you should do. It's not about them. It's about YOU. Nobody knows you better than yourself.
Unless you're clear on what YOU want (not what people THINK you should want or be), you won't accomplish anything near what you wish for. Getting clear is utmost in importance.
I've lost some clarify over the years, or sacrificed it for other things and people that were merely distractions from the genuine passion that lives within my core being. But now, RIGHT NOW, I am crystal clear on what I want, and I aim to get it, one way or another.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
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Saturday, May 31, 2014
In a nutshell, in summer of 2006 I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), PTSD, Dysthymia (dysthymic disorder), and dual depression. I went in for a study on depression and, after running through all the prelims, I was told my problems were too complex for the study. I had no idea. It was an eye-opener for sure!
According to mentalhelp.net, "'Dual' or 'Double' depression is a term used to describe the condition of a person with Dysthymia who also develops a more severe and persistent Major Depressive Episode at the same time. As mentioned previously, dysthymia is a less severe type of depression that involves long-term, chronic symptoms that do not disable, but which do make it difficult to function or feel good. People diagnosed with double depression require aggressive depression treatment not only during the acute Major Depression phase, but also during the chronic low-grade Dysthymia phase that follows in order to try to prevent future occurrences of Major Depressive Episodes. Studies suggest that individuals with double depression often respond well to antidepressants for their Major Depressive Episodes, but that their low-grade dysthymic symptoms may not abate completely. In other words, if you suffer from double depression, medication may relieve your most severe depressive symptoms, but you may not experience periods of feeling completely well."
So yes, I do smoke weed when I have anxiety attacks or feel like I'm about to have a meltdown. Now, I can tell you that I'm proud of myself for accomplishing what I do, given the fact that I've had days when getting out of bed was a major feat. I wouldn't wish all of this on anybody, BUT if you suffer from any of these conditions, take heart that you CAN still function, even though it's difficult at times.
Don't be too hard on yourself (still working on that myself!) and remind people that you DO have these conditions, so people who aren't struggling with them can learn about them and offer you support and assistance. You are capable, strong, and resilient!
Feel free to message me at any time if you need a boost, okay? I've been there and done that. Still fighting it...but winning (or so I believe)! Blessings & love.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
In the copy of the genealogical papers I have from the family historian on my birth mother's side, my 9th generation ancestors, William Hughes and (Mary) Molly Daten, married in Surrey, England. Molly Daten was born in Wales and lived to be 87. They had six children: Mary Hughes (1748-1810), Susannah Hughes (1767-1834), Rebecca Hughes (1769-Unknown), Elizabeth Hughes (1774-1870), Moses Hughes (1774-1841), and Milburn Hughes (1776-1867).
I have Scottish ancestors as well (Clan Fergusson and Clan MacNeil of Barra), but I haven't spent as much time investigating my Welsh, Irish, and Northern European ancestry.
After having my DNA test done, there are so many parts that make up the whole. I love this stuff!
Perhaps when I go back to the UK, I can visit Wales and see my friends Gareth Tamplin and Robin James Ganderton.
Monday, May 26, 2014
Just a notice: I'm VERY outspoken, tend to be blunt at times, am affable most of the time (but do not suffer fools), and am not a Christian (a lot of my family/friends are, though).
My most potent weapon are my words and my acid tongue when I get riled over something—Paul can attest to that. He calls it verbal (or written) napalm. I also curse at times and, as a typical Sagittarian sun sign (with a Virgo rising and a Gemini moon), it can be an interesting and oft-confusing ride at times. I often open my mouth (or type things out) without thinking that I might inadvertently offend someone.
One rule I have that will not bend is that this is my blog, and thus is my virtual home. This means I say what I want, post what I want, and do not ask for nor require your approval to share unvarnished, raw thoughts or posts here. If you start problems or attack other commenters here, I will delete your comments and you. So keep things nice and polite. Instead of getting butthurt or stirring up shit with me, it's best to ignore my posts for a while, scroll on by, or unfriend me if you're bothered over something I post. I am who I am and, at 49, I'm not changing who I am to avoid making you feel uncomfortable
Here's what you need to know: I'm an ex-Army brat, a professional writer and editor (17 years as of this month), pagan (for 30 years), pro-choice, pro-gay marriage (I have a gay brother and numerous gay friends who are like family to me), independent liberal (and a proud American!), not big on guns (though if you want 'em, I don't want to take 'em away, unless you shouldn't have them for obvious reasons), love swords/daggers/katana/sharp gadgets, intrigued by Samurai, a Japanophile, into Eastern philosophy/social psychology (I minored in philosophy and majored in communication & psychology in college), curous about what causes abnormal behavior (esp. sociopaths/psychopaths), a nocturnal soul, and a paranormal investigator (for 9 years).
Oh, since I'm a professional copy editor, so I do get wigged out over misused apostrophes and misuses of your/you're or there/their, etc. Take it with a grain of salt, though. We all make mistakes; in fact, I make them frequently! Nobody is perfect, after all. ;-)
If you message or email me, I answer as I can. When I'm working or involved in creative projects, I do not answer personal messages or texts until I'm ready. Unless you pay to retain me 24/7, you will have to learn patience *grin* Unless it's bleeding or on fire, or if I'm otherwise engaged, ya gotta wait.
There's more, but that'll give you an idea of who I am and what you should expect. That way if you can't handle who I am, you can run for the hills now! *snicker* Otherwise, I hope you decide to stay so we can have fun and laughs together.
P.S.—I also know I'm verbose *shrugs*
"Any action by man, according to the Tao Te Ching, disrupts the already existent, harmonious ebb-flow of the Universe. Is it possible for man to never exert his will, or to never take action in life and in the Universe? It is not possible. Even being born is an action. How you act and what action you take, however, depends upon the circumstances of the situation and the people involved. What is the prevailing atmosphere? How do you fit in that atmosphere...and what is the 'right' action at the 'right' time? The answer is not static and depends upon each and every situation that presents itself. And every action causes a reaction as well.
Taoism is a philosophical belief system I admire. It is one that proves fascinating and provides more questions than answers in many respects—especially for those of us caught in the dualistic Western mode of thinking. On occasion, something clicks and I understand...but then the more I think I understand, the more I realize it is nebulous and formless; The Way, and the understanding of it, cannot be boxed, labeled, separated out, or explained in words. By doing so, the essence of The Way is lost. And thus is a paradox for us human beings, who use words—both verbal and written—to communicate and understand ideas and concepts."
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Friday, May 9, 2014
Please note: we do not take all cases. Due to overwhelming demand, we must determine the severity/priority level of a case and schedule investigations based on that criteria. If you are experiencing activity that is causing you, your family, or your business customers/employees discomfort or fear (or you feel threatened), please contact us at email@example.com.
Due to the volume of emails we typically receive, you can expect a reply within two business days. You may also call our office voice mail at 719.357.8411. Leave your name and telephone number and a case manager will return your call within two business days.
We have conducted over 100 investigations and *never* charge for our services, nor do we take donations. C.S.P.A. was established in 2005—almost ten years ago. If you have any questions, you can message me privately or drop me an email at the above-listed address.
Bev & Paul Sninchak
C.S.P.A. Team Leads
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Please visit my new site & grab a reading from $1 and up. I offer tarot readings, oracle card readings, various astrology charts/reports, rune readings, & handwriting analysis.
A few of my books are available for sale, too. I'll be listing more items in the near future, including art and handmade crocheted/knit items, so be sure to bookmark the site and visit regularly.
Yes, I will still have my Etsy shop, but this site is in addition to that: http://www.nocturnaldivination.com/
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Will she regret it later? Maybe, maybe not. Will she have a 'come to Jesus' moment? Perhaps she will, perhaps she will not. That's for Belle to deal with, and not you. Get it? NOT you. You're not the center of the universe, and you're certainly not the center of Belle's universe. Belle is the center of her universe, and Belle damn sure gets to make decisions that will best benefit Belle. And just as you don't allow Belle to dictate how you live your life, how you choose to pay your bills, and who you fuck, in return you don't get to do those things with her, either.
Except some of you think you do have the right to dictate what Belle does, how she does it, and to whom she does it. In fact, some of you pricks are so upset that you are sending death threats to Belle. Because, you know, if you can't bend Belle to your wishes, you'll threaten and cajole her. She's a woman, after all, and she better damned well know her place!
This is but one example of why so many of my fellow Americans disappoint and anger me. Instead of thinking on a higher level, we cling strongly to a fictional caveman ethic that no longer serves us or our country. You can fight against it all you want, but we are in the 21st century and we are moving forward, not backward into the darker, less educated ages. Using threats only serves to illustrate how fucking afraid you are, and those threats say more about you than it does the target of your threats.
Here's a dose of truth: sex exists. Men and women both want sex. Sexual desire is a normal part of the human experience. People who have sex are no less respectable than those who choose not to have sex. Women have desires, just as men do. Finally, women have just as much right to act upon their desires as men do. Strong, sexual women are not to be feared, but celebrated. Furthermore, like porn, prostitution will always exist. By banning it, you will not make it go away. Instead, regulate the industry and legalize it. Make it safer for the women (and men) who work in the industry.
The one thing I detest most about many of my fellow Americans is how utterly 'respectable' and conservative they pretend to be, when secretly they're probably dressing up, role-playing, and engaging in S & M in their own bedrooms. They attend church on Sundays, but the other six days of the week it's, "To hell with you, I'm getting mine!" Or it's drink, smoke, screw most of the week and cast aspersions on the rest of us come Sunday morning in the pew.
Let's face it: many of us are a bunch of hypocritical shits. What we do in our bedroom is okay, but you'd better not do anything in YOUR bedroom that someone else disapproves of -- that goes beyond a boundary and we'll have none of that, will we? Furthermore, what's good for the gander isn't good for the goose, and we'll tell you so! We dictate the morals and you're expected to follow them. I said you, not me. I can do whatever I want. But you...well, you must behave and stay within the parameters of what I believe is acceptable. That applies most especially to sex, and more pointedly to women having sex. Men get to suck and fuck their way through college with abandon. They're just sowing their wild oats, doing what young men do. But women? You can fuck and suck...but within reason. Otherwise, you're a slut and a whore. Worthless and looked down upon, less of a human being to be sure.
The truth is, many men want women who are sexually free, assertive, and experimental, but all too often it's a Madonna-Whore situation. You'd better be good enough to marry (and not been around the bend too many times, if you get my drift!) if you're worthy of their respect. After all, you must be acceptable enough to take home to dear ole Mom and Dad, right? God knows Mom never got down on her knees for anyone but your dear ole dad, right? Well, maybe she didn't, but that doesn't make her any more valuable or respectable than a woman who did (in my view).
Which brings me to a point: men aren't the only issue here. Women are, too. The moms, sisters, aunts, female friends...you name it. There is plenty of slut-shaming to go around from the female contingent. It can be as vicious—or sometimes even more—than the male contingent. I know about this first-hand. Back in high school, I had more male friends than female friends. Most of the time, I could be found hanging out with guys more than girls. What did I get for it? A reputation, that's what. I mean, if I'm with guys most of the time, I must be fucking all of them, right? (I wasn't). The girls were cattier and more vicious than the guys, by the way. But I kept doing it, 'cause fuck them, that's why. I've always had a tendency to do the opposite of what someone else told me if I knew it got their panties in a twist. Watching them squirm is half the fun, right?
I always fancied myself more of a tomboy growing up. Guys were more fun than girls to hang out with. When you went to the pool, you actually had fun instead of lying about on a lounge chair, sunning. That wasn't my thing (I don't tan, I burn). I wanted to be in the water, having fun. Besides, what if I did fuck all of them? So what? I didn't, but if I had it wouldn't change the fact that I'm an intelligent, caring, creative female who has value. Women who fuck have no less value than women who don't fuck (but who probably want to, I might add!).
Back to my example, Belle Knox. Because she chose to work in porn to pay her college costs, she's somehow a disgrace. Let's give her a scarlet letter! I suppose going into soul-crushing debt is more admirable and sensible than having sex on camera or video for pay, right? Some would have us think so. Maybe what we really need to look at, more than the whole sex angle (or in addition to it), is the reason why education costs so much in this country. The motivation for Belle Knox's action doesn't lie in the fact that she merely wants cum on her face; no, it lies in the fact that, in order to attend Duke University, she opted to take cum shots for pay in order to make sure she could obtain the education she desired from the university she chose.
Let's be honest: waiting tables and delivering pizzas doesn't pay enough to cover those costs. So pause for a minute and consider why so many people think she's despicable for making the choice she did. Isn't it more despicable that she was motivated to make that choice because of the broken educational system we have? And make no mistake, it was her choice and she elected to do porn. To me, it's no different than paid interning at a Fortune 500 company. You're secretly perceived by some as a whore for one or the other, right? The only difference is sucking corporate dick and taking it up the ass for the company is more respected (in many circles) than doing it on camera for a porn production, right? Either way, you're taking it for the team. But getting slammed in the ass for Wall Street's benefit is more acceptable -- at least for some people.
Why is it we squeal like little piggies when we are asked to pony up for education, yet many Americans tacitly accept that spending billions for war is a worthy cause -- even though the ongoing war in Iraq war was most likely started by a president who wanted to get revenge for his daddy. Let's face it -- most of the time, war is nothing more than a 'my dick's bigger than yours' contest led by self-important, egoistic men who have something to prove (or, if they don't, they'll make something up). Yes...all of that is much more important than educating our U.S. citizens and ensuring our country stays on par with the rest of the world in science, technology, and a host of other disciplines. All of that is much more pressing than making sure people have a livable wage and women are guaranteed equal pay. We certainly have our priorities straight, don't we? No, no we don't. And some of us are tired of it.
It's the 21st century. Isn't it time we get past the misogyny (both covert and blatant), double-standards, and targeted hatred toward women? I'll answer for you: yes, it's past time. I know it's painful, America, but you need to evolve one way or another; you can either evolve by being forced into evolving, kicking and screaming, into the future by those of us who are ready to get real, or you can voluntarily evolve by spending more time focusing on education, poverty (in our own country, not just others), fighting racism, approving equal pay for women (what? We still don't have that? WTF?!), and dropping the shaming/marginalization/discrimination of gays, for starters.
I have a long list, but those are several to get you started. Oh, and as for immigrants? Yeah. Your ancestors were likely immigrants. The ones who came to America, killed, and took land from Native Americans. Don't think you're better, smarter, or more refined than immigrants, because your ass probably wouldn't be here without your immigrant ancestors. Not familiar with that time in history? Get your ass to a library and read. Yes, reading is still a thing for some of us.
Truth hurts, but in the end, Belle Knox is an adult. She has the right to make her own decisions, and not everyone has to like or agree with them. Her choices should not make her the target of death threats. Neither do her choices make her less worthy or valuable as a woman. Belle and many other women are tired of your shit, and we aren't going to take it anymore. We will do what we want, when we want, and how we want -- just as men always have. Furthermore, we want equal pay on top of it. Gee, I guess we're being total bitches, huh? Oh, wait...if I were a man, I'd be respected for speaking up and standing my ground. As a woman, I'm a whiny-ass bitch who doesn't know her place, just like Belle obviously doesn't know her place.
We have news for you: our place is wherever we choose to be -- whether it's in a corporate boardroom or sucking dick in front of a camera. What's more, it's none of your business and you have nothing to say about it. We neither ask nor require your permission, just like you never asked or required our permission to throw billions of dollars into failed wars at the expense of plunging our country into economic disaster and hanging our citizens out to dry. Which is more immoral, and why? Which offends you more, and why? Only you can answer that question, but are you willing to answer it honestly and examine the truth (and hypocrisy) of your answer? Think about it, if you dare.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Mom's frogs are around her box of remains, too. I had a moment when I opened up and viewed this pic, though. It's like it hit home just how surreal it is. My mom's remains are physically in a box.
I do know and believe her soul/spirit/essence is gone, of course, and busy with other things right now. But still, I can't yet wrap my head around her being physically gone. I suppose it's a normal reaction. Yet, it gives me pause every single day.
Thanks again to all of you who have shown love, compassion, and care for me and my family since the loss of our mother. Bless you all.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Saturday, April 26, 2014
1. Siamese cats
2. Small dogs (esp. poodles & chihuahuas)
3. Juicy Fruit gum
4. The smell of lipstick (her purse smelled like lipstick and was stocked with Kleenex)
5. Her homemade pizza; in fact, her incredible homemade cooking!
6. Her CB handle in the '70s—Wonder Woman.
7. Red. It was her favorite color!
8. Ice cream. She LOVED it!
9. Long John Silver's. When I visited her in Oklahoma, we usually picked up food from LJS. Mainly because we both loved it and there's no LJS restaurant here in the Springs. Hush puppies—yum!
10. Virginia. The place she was born and, despite all of her travels, the place she always wanted to come back to.
Of course, there are many other things that remind me of my mom, but I wanted to share several of them today. Those of you who knew her will probably recognize some of these things.
For writing, reading, book info, and editing tips, go to http://intrepidwordslinger.wordpress.com or http://elementalmusing.blogspot.com.
For personal posts about life, creativity, art, crocheting, knitting, and miscellanea, visit http://theredmistdescends.blogspot.com.
Read, comment, follow, please ;-) I'd appreciate it!
Friday, April 25, 2014
My guest post contributor is Bev Sninchak, a veteran freelance writer with 16 years experience producing content for online and print publications. She writes about many topics related to life and spirituality, as well as covering topics such as 6…
After 24 years, I decided to start crocheting and knitting again. Why? Because my mother, who just pass last week after a long, cruel battle with Alzheimer's, was my crocheting partner many years ago, before my son was born and after when I was on leave from work while still on maternity leave. Remembering our days together, crocheting and talking, made me feel like I could reconnect with her again in some way, since at the end stages of her disease she couldn't remember many people or things, much less communicate well.
The end of January, I began gathering hooks and yarn. Retraining myself after not working with yarn for over two decades. So far I've completed two scarves -- one for my husband Paul and another for my daughter Britt. I recently started a new scarf. This one's for Jon's girlfriend Cait. She's an Aries, so bright red and black fits her ;-)
e-wrap;">So, along with more personal posts, this will also be a place to post about artistic pursuits, crafting, crocheting, knitting, and (of course) creative writing. I'm toying with changing the name of this blog as well. In fact, I'm sure I will.
For those who also knit or crochet, you can hook up with me (pun intended) on Ravelry.com as well. My ID is nocturnalmuse over there.
Welcome to any new readers, and thanks to the already existing readers who are still popping by here to check out my posts every now and then.
A reminder: I do have a new website (well, it's been around since fall of last year, probably). I have several websites, but my main one is at http://www.nocturnalmuse.com. Bookmark it if you haven't already ;-) I update it more frequently than any other site.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
Dreamy Idealists are very cautious and therefore often appear shy and reserved to others. They share their rich emotional life and their passionate convictions with very few people. But one would be very much mistaken to judge them to be cool and reserved. They have a pronounced inner system of values and clear, honourable principles for which they are willing to sacrifice a great deal.
Joan of Arc or Sir Galahad would have been good examples of this personality type. Dreamy Idealists are always at great pains to improve the world. They can be very considerate towards others and do a lot to support them and stand up for them. They are interested in their fellow beings, attentive and generous towards them. Once their enthusiasm for an issue or person is aroused, they can become tireless fighters.
For Dreamy Idealists, practical things are not really so important. They only busy themselves with mundane everyday demands when absolutely necessary. They tend to live according to the motto “the genius controls the chaos” - which is normally the case so that they often have a very successful academic career. They are less interested in details; they prefer to look at something as a whole. This means that they still have a good overview even when things start to become hectic.
However, as a result, it can occasionally happen that Dreamy Idealists overlook something important. As they are very peace-loving, they tend not to openly show their dissatisfaction or annoyance but to bottle it up. Assertiveness is not one of their strong points; they hate conflicts and competition.
Dreamy Idealists prefer to motivate others with their amicable and enthusiastic nature. Whoever has them as superior will never have to complain about not being given enough praise.
As at work, Dreamy Idealists are helpful and loyal friends and partners, persons of integrity. Obligations are absolutely sacred to them. The feelings of others are important to them and they love making other people happy.
They are satisfied with just a small circle of friends; their need for social contact is not very marked as they also need a lot of time to themselves. Superfluous small talk is not their thing. If one wishes to be friends with them or have a relationship with them, one would have to share their world of thought and be willing to participate in profound discussions. If you manage that you will be rewarded with an exceptionally intensive, rich partnership.
Due to their high demands on themselves and others, this personality type tends however to sometimes overload the relationship with romantic and idealistic ideas to such an extent that the partner feels overtaxed or inferior. Dreamy Idealists do not fall in love head over heels but when they do fall in love they want this to be a great, eternal love.
Adjectives that describe your type:
introverted, theoretical, emotional, spontaneous, idealistic, dreamy, effusive, pleasant, reserved, friendly, passionate, loyal, perfectionist, helpful, creative, composed, curious, obstinate, with integrity, willing to make sacrifices, romantic, cautious, shy, peace-loving, vulnerable, sensitive, communicative, imaginative.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Visit my Nocturnal Divination Etsy shop for autographed books, ebooks, AstroCreativity readings for writers and more!
Please stop by and have a look! There are several more items that will be added for a total of ten to choose from. From there on, items will be swapped out on occasion and new ones introduced.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Sunday, January 12, 2014
The advice, as told to me in my dream, was this: "Serve your own plate."
It is a metaphor for life, and for choosing what's best for you in your life. The meaning behind it is simple: when you go to put food on your plate (perhaps at a smörgåsbord or potluck, for instance), serve your own plate. You alone should choose what items you put on your plate. Do not give your plate to anybody else, and do not let anyone else determine the things you will have on your plate. Select items you most want and desire, because it is your plate (your life). Since you'll be eating those things (experiencing those things in life), you alone should determine which choices are best for you.
The advice in my dream was simple, but profound. I really had to sit with it and think about it for a while. It still resonates with me days later.
It's not uncommon for me to see names, words, phrases in my dreams—actually written out so I can read them. This has been happening with me for the past several years. It's a new development, as I have not had it for most of my life. However, in this dream, the advice was not written out, but spoken.
Again, I do not recall who gave me this advice, but I am grateful for it. I felt the need to share it with you all, because I believe it's something you, too, need to hear.
So, this is your plate. It's called life. Serve your own plate!