These are my thoughts. They are not meant to make sense. They are my echo into the woods. I am the tree that falls, and it is here that I make a sound.
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Sunday, November 28, 2004

I never said I was an angel

When I was younger - late teens through to mid twenties - I was a very bad girl. Before I was married and into my first marriage, I was dishonest. I can look back now and in retrospect label these events as hypersexuality expressing itself truth of the matter doesn't change no matter how well I try to play with the window dressing. Am I proud of what I did back then? No. But I can't change it.

Sunday mornings I am the time keeper for my husband's hockey league. Today he was at a tournament with one of the woman's teams he coaches so I went to his league alone (early mornings - first game is 7:50 Sunday). I stayed for my required three games and as I was heading to the ladies room for a pitstop before I drove the 20 minutes home, a man stopped me.

"You look really familiar to me", he said.

Strange thing was, he was really familiar to me as well. He asked, "Do you come here to watch the guys play?"

"No," I said. "I'm the time keeper."

"Oh! So you're the time keeper for the league before mine. You look so familiar though". He was staring at me quite intently.

I asked "Where do you work?" because somewhere in the back of my mind that's where I thought his identity would reside.

The lightbulb went off in his head and he got a very peculiar look across his face. He said very deliberately, and pointing a finger at me "I know you who are."

Puzzled, because I hadn't made the connection yet, I said "What is your name?" He repeated himself "I *know* who *you* are." He went to one of the dressing room doors and then said, "Hey, I've got to get changed. Then I'm coming right out to talk to you." He smiled at me strangely and then went inside. I turned to go to the ladies room and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

"Oh - my - God," I said out loud. There were three men from my husband's league standing beside me. They asked me if something was wrong - I was in such shock. I said "I know who that man is" and essentially ran to the ladies room.

When I came out, because I spent my time in the ladies room doing nothing but drilling on the identity of this man and what it meant, I approached these three players. My husband wasn't there, and I felt like I may need some help.

"Ok...ummm...there might be a man come out of that dressing room looking for me." They looked confused. I said, with a sigh, "A long time ago, when I was a lot younger, I used to be a very bad girl. That man knows me from that time and this is not a good thing. Not at all. If he comes out of there looking for me, I need you to tell him to go away. Please." One man still looked confused, one was smiling and one was very serious. The one that was serious said, "You're leaving now, right? Going right to the parking lot?" I nodded. He said, "Go. We'll talk to him if necessary."

I went to the parking lot, shaking.

You see, I also forgot ALL my medication yesterday, taking all three doses at once last night (both doses of the Depakote and the dose of the Seroquel) about 11 pm last night). This didn't help my frame of mind. As well, I also forgot the morning dose of Depakote today. I was scared, paranoid, shaking.

Then I drove home, playing in my mind the various scenarios of this guy coming out, asking the other players where I am (he would have seen me standing close to them when he and I spoke, and he now knows I'm the timekeeper so they would know me). And when they say I'm gone and that I'm married etc (or whatever), he would then launch into a detailed explanation of my past performances. It REALLY bothers me that that may have happened and that these men, who genuinely like me, may think less of me now. I also wouldn't put it past this man to approach me regarding a renewal of our "acquaintance".

When I came home, I also told Rob. He KNOWS I was never an angel and he just shook his head saying "Unfortunately some of your past is catching up to you. You're going to just have to deal with it".

I asked him, though, one very important question: did this make him think any less of me.

No, he smiled. Not at all. Big sigh of relief.

Then he said, But you should also keep in mind that your reaction to this, and the penalties and trouble you got into in your hockey game last night (another long story), after not taking your medication, should tell you that you are NOT ready to cut back on it.

Sadly, I think he may be right. And that bothers me too.

Rob's napping right now and I'm still edgy from this encounter. This man from the rink knows a great deal about me, and it worries me. I will just have to make sure that the next few weekends for Rob's league, I have someone around if Rob's not there that I can go to if trouble happens.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Taking the plunge...ok, a dip

Well, I've just listed a piece of my jewelry on eBay. If you go on and do a search in the Jewelry category for "beaded wire" you will come up with (probably on the first page) something entitled "Delicate hand made beaded wire bracelet". That's me :-)

Baby steps...
Thursday, November 25, 2004

Dodging the Christmas bullet

It seems I've dodged the bullet of having to host my family for Christmas. That would be a nice powder keg of stress. My one sister has got her fiance to agree to host it there. I am one of four children, and including my parents, we all live in five separate cities, all about an hour from each other, with my house being the most central.

I had got Rob to agree to host it here in the event that no one else would, but yeah! my sister pulled through.

To top it off, it looks like we're having it on the 26th at her place, so that will likely leave the 25th for a nice relaxing day!

Finally, things seem to be calming down - I'm moving a little closer to baseline stability.

I am the Little Engine that Could.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I can't be that old

Tonight is a strange night. My 13 yr old son and I are going to a local school for the arts that he wants to possibly attend next year.

Next September.

When he enters High School.

I can't be that old. I'm not yet 36. How can I have a son in high school. I just left high school last month, it seems.

Tomorrow is another information session, at his own school, to go over the raft of schools in the area. This session tonight is a special one, just for the arts school. My son is quite gifted artistically (I mean with paper and pencil) and has thought about this school since he was about 8.

Wow.

High school.

But I have it on good authority (had my hair cut recently) that
1) I have NO grey hair, and
2) because of the colour blonde I am (kind of a golden ash blonde), I will have to have basically a whole mop of grey hair before it really shows.

Maybe I'll be one of the younger looking high school moms :-)


Sunday, November 21, 2004

Savannah mania

The show yesterday was a learning experience. I didn't come close to recouping the money I invested, but I did learn several things and I did sell some pieces after making some adjustments in my pricing. Some of the things I learned:

1) People genuinely like my jewelry.
2) The jewelry would have been better displayed against a black background rather than my festive red for more "pop".
3) People always want to believe they are getting a bargain.
4) Trying new things is rarely a bad thing.

As you might imagine, I was a bit on edge, putting my goods and my ego on the line. And because I had to man the booth, I couldn't run around the way that my mind wanted to. So I did the next best thing available: I kept my fingers busy and continued to create more jewelry while I was manning the booth.

When I got home, I was still on a controlled high. Then it was time for hockey. And while my Saturday team has only lost one game this year, the game last night we struggled. And all of a sudden I was struggling. Inside. And Rob, our coach and my wonderful husband, could tell right away. I told him I was struggling. He touched his temple and said "here?" I nodded. Another player said "what? Are you stiff? Is that what you mean?" I shook my head and said that no, it was a long story. And I explained to Rob later that sometimes when my feelings and thoughts are like that, it's like a beast of burden in the African savannah covered in a massive cloud of flies. They buzz round and round, incessant, mocking, impossible to control or keep track of. The beast swishes its tail half hearted now and again but it can't do anything to keep control of it. That's what the thoughts are like sometimes, that cloud of flies. Sometimes it's almost like I can hear them (the thoughts) actually buzzing. I asked him if the analogy made it better for him to understand and he said that yes, strangely enough it did.

Off and on today I've been struggling again. If I had to chart my mood (which I will), and you consider "0" stable and +100 hospitalized mania and -100 hospitalized depression, I've been bouncing between 75-80 and 15 all day. With a good dose of dysphoria thrown in now and again. My drive back from my Sunday hockey game tonight was at 80 miles an hour and I was deliberate dodging 18 wheelers all the way. Now I've just finished mowing down a small plate of nachos I made, and now due to the guilt, I'm considering going and riding the stationary bike for a half hour or so.

I need cohesion. And I have to try and stop letting my bump in the road bother me as much as it is - I want that stability so I can drop the freakin meds.

The decision is made.

Bike for a bit. Maybe back in a while to vent a bit more.
Friday, November 19, 2004

Ch-ch-changes

I've been filling out the mood chart and it did help me when I visited my Little Tiny Pdoc. It allowed me to say without equivocation that the past three weeks have been essentially stable. I told him about the chart and he asked what kind. I explained it's essentially a dot graph, with stable being "0" and there being four classifications on the positive and four on the negative. The graph since November first has resembled a nearly straight line, with all but a couple of dots being either stable or mildly manic (dot #1 above).

This is good.

He mentioned that my last blood test shows my valproic acid levels are back below normal. He's going to have me do another round of tests before I see him just after New Year's and determine from then if the meds need to increase yet again.

NO NO NO NO Every increase of either the Epival or the Seroquel has had an immediate attendant 5 lb weight gain. I fight it so hard: I play ice hockey three times a week, I run at least three times a week for 2-3 miles each time, I ride our funky stationary bike at least 50 km a week. NOTHING budges it.

I told him if my meds change, I'm looking for a reduction, not an increase. He folded his tiny brown hands in front of his cheesy Freud goatee and said in his Bombay accent: "That will all depend on how you are feeling when we get the next results back".

Since I am well armed with almost three weeks of good and even moods (it's written in the chart so it must be true), I left his office confident of a medication reduction soon and a gradual return to my svelte but athletic build.

Then yesterday I had a staff meeting. The fine details are irrelevant but I've had it independently verified by another staff member: I was the target of some bashing ("When are we going to have people do x, y and z properly in the system?" and the only person who actually wasn't nodding in agreement and who had those items as a job function was me. At the end of the meeting, this "mystery" person - me - was compared to a dog who has been rapped with a newspaper so many times, the animal is dense and pees on the floor constantly. That is their words, not mine). I was immediately in a rage. I held it in, trying so hard. I sat in the meeting taking my ball point pen and digging it into the fleshy part at the base of my thumb near the wrist, a favourite place. The urge to throw things and destroy the room was barely containable. I bit the inside of my mouth to hold in the words: they were weighing down my tongue like so many fish in a net, bursting to get out. I left the meeting (which ended at 5.20 pm) and went to the parking lot, popped the clutch too quick on my little 4 cylinder Accent, and literally squealed out of the parking lot. All the way home I screamed and yelled in the car and my latent paranoia gorged itself on the new data.

I would think that my difficulty to maintain even keel today is directly related to the top spinning off its centre yesterday.

I came back from North Carolina to a massive workload (little had been done), and had a snippy sales rep of ours today bark at me that I had done something that was unprofessional (I had sent a copy of something through handwritten, per his instructions, but didn't black out his comment to me on the top to do the very thing he had asked). I went into a silent rage again, baring my teeth at the computer and running through quite graphic imagery in my head of what I would like to have done to him.

I had a phonecall at one point today from another of our reps, who happens to be a part owner in the company, who was asking me to drop everything I was doing (for the fourth time today at that point - three other times followed). I was quite polite on the phone. Then when I hit the release button, I took the receiver and, holding it in my hand like a hammer, slammed it on my desk four times, quite hard, in rapid succession. It put a dent into the desk. One of my colleagues just looked at me, eyebrows raised. If he only knew what a tame release that was.

And in the back of my mind is a phonecall I received about a week and a bit ago from the best boss I've ever had. He's at a new company, a competitor, and was just "letting me know where he was" and after our 20 minute talk, he let it drop that he would be making changes there in the next few months and be looking to hire the best again "nudge nudge wink wink" he said. I would work for this man again in a heart beat. An additional bonus is that his middle daughter is autistic and been diagnosed with clinical depression about the same time as I was with bipolar disorder. I am terrified of letting my current employer know about the disease. Allan, this gentleman, would be far more understand about the vagaries of the disease and I would know without hesitation that my job was safe. Then earlier this week I received a call from a former colleague (we had both worked for this man) and we compared stories. He figures we'll soon be at the same company again. Not a bad thought, but this is a man who on a regular basis tells me he has wet dreams about me. Do I want that again?

And the final thing: tomorrow is the show I've entered for the jewellry I make. I will be up at the crack of morning to be there to set up and spend my whole day putting my ego on the line.

I've got a lot to think about, which only feeds my tendency to the manic. But the bipolar way is to put the cart before the horse. No, scratch that. A better analogy: the bipolar way is to either sell the horse for glue without even putting it in the race, or to mortgage the house to build a shining gold cart and forget where the horse was when it came time to race. I need to grab hold of myself again and slow things down.

I need to get that chart back to level.
Monday, November 15, 2004

Knock on wood

When I was away, for a couple of different reasons, my meds schedule was screwed up - either I was late (Wednesday and Thursday) or wasn't able to only take half (on Friday).

And I'm still here, still stable. And I know that things are moving along tickity-boo because I have been filling out the mood chart. I've been hovering between "stable" and "mild" on the high side for almost 2 full weeks.

Now today I go back to work to see what mess I have left after three day absence. I also have the craft show Saturday and I'm not even close to being ready (I need more inventory so I'll be making jewellry in my sleep). These two items will test my mood, to see if things genuinely are levelling off or the three days away from work (one of my big stressors in life) simply allowed me to have some peace and quiet in my mind.

I'm leaving for work in about 20 minuntes. Knock on wood (as I touch my forehead) things go well.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Good to be home

I got in from North Carolina around 9.30 pm last night. It is so good to be back home.

It wasn't a bad trip. Don't get me wrong. But it's not home. No matter where you live, home is always good to come back to.

There were about 25-30 men there from all over the US, mostly places in the south (Texas, West Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina). It always amazes me during these trips the accents that I encounter. American accents vary wildly from region to region. In Canada we only have probably three main accents: Down East, Quebec and the rest of Canada. It's interesting from a historical perspective to try and decipher why the American accents are they way they are. Usually one deciding factor in language variation is isolation: the more isolated an area is for a length of time, the more that language or dialect will evolve in its own path. But the trade between states and the size of the population would imply less isolation than would be assumed due to the degree of dialect variance. It would be interesting to study that.

While we were there, our hosts took us to an authentic German restaurant where we had wonderful food. One of the men who work for our hosts said we would love the next night's dinner: Japanese (I don't like fish much). He said they cook it right at the table and that food will be flying everywhere and you'd have to catch it in your mouth. Ya, sure, says I. I'm not THAT blonde that I'd fall for such a lie, I told him.

Well - we get to the Japanese restaurant Thursday night and sure enough, food is flying everywhere, he's flipping cubes of zucchini into his pocket, into the little divot on top of his chef's hat, and then says to me to open wide. NO I say, laughing. He says - Come on we having fun. So I do it and he misses. He said AGAIN. So we do it again and sure enough he gets it in my mouth. It was hilarious. He also was able to bounce an egg, in the shell, against his spatula like a bolo ball against a paddle, and then flip the egg up, turn the spatula on its side and let the egg land on the sharp edge of the spatula, cracking it for the fried rice. It was quite the show.

There was a gentleman there at the training session originally from Wyoming but now working in Philadelphia. My boss and I sat next to him on the shuttle to the hotel and he and I found out we were both history majors in university, me going to York in Toronto and he attending West Point. So we chatted further and it turns out he was stationed in Iraq for a year, guarding a non-working oil refinery. And then he started letting loose regarding the prison scandal and the political instability in the area. He's quite discouraged about the situation and believes that there is nothing the US can do in this area now, that rightly or wrongly they've stirred things up and because of the prison scandal in particular, America's reputation is tarnished for at least a generation there, and likely elsewhere in the world. He served in the army for 12 years and was honourably discharged 5 months ago. But the tension in his face and body talking about the situation was clearly evident.

Behind me in the bus, my other colleague was talking to a gentleman about the election. He said "So, do y'all in Canada laugh at us and our situation here?" My colleague very wisely said "what do you mean". He said "ya know, with the election, and the war and stuff". My colleague said that he personally was happy with the results of the election because that would mean George W. would continue to spend money which is good for the Canadian economy, and the dollar would probably continue to be lower, which helps Canadians somewhat. The other gentleman said "ya, but what about the war?" My colleague said "You know, we really would have been there to the best of our ability, if the UN had sanctioned it." (We're big on the global partnership that is represented in the UN). The guy (from Texas, by the way) said "ya ya I know", shrugging his shoulders.

Then, in the airport, a woman was waiting for the flight to Dulles Airport which was at the next gate to ours back to Toronto. She heard us talk and said "oh, so, you guys are from Toronto". Yep. She wanted to know what we thought of the election. My smart ass colleage said "You guys had an election?" She said that she is always curious what other countries think of the US but that maybe because Canada was so close we think pretty much the same as the US. I said "The best way I can describe this recent election is, pretend we are like your best friend in university and you're going out with a couple of different guys, and then you choose one over the other. Because we are your friend, we don't tell you who to date, but we have our own opinions that we keep to ourselves because we still like our friendship". She laughed at that.

The point to all this is: I've travelled in the US about once a year for the last ten years. I have never had so many Americans be uncomfortable with the state of affairs. I had other conversations with people there - Buffalo, Rochester NY, Minnesota, Seattle, Los Angeles. No matter how they voted, there was some discomfort evident about either how the election went or how they perceive the direction of the country to be heading. In past, it's always seemed a homogenous solidarity of the US against the world. Any people with differing opinions certainly did state them, but it was good natured and positive that overall the intentions of those in power were good. Now it seems much more fractured.

It was kind of sad to see. Maybe it was just too close to the election and feelings need to calm down a bit (the election really was so close).

Time will tell if the pessimism I sensed was correct or just reactionary.

blond
Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Time to leave for a while

I leave for North Carolina tomorrow. I won't be back til late Friday night and likely won't have internet access while away.

Stay good, kiddies.

blond
Monday, November 08, 2004

Immigration

I never really came out and said who my preference was in the US election. I felt that, as a Canadian, it was both moot and almost rude: it is not my country. I felt keeping my opinion as neutral as I could was fair.

Apparently, there is so much dissatisfaction with the results (I read somewhere this is the closest ever a war-time incumbent has come to being unseated) that there is an influx of
  • hits on Immigration Canada's website
  • .

    I really don't think there will be the influx here as there was during Viet Nam. But the thing that bothered me about this article is the comments about Canada at the end of the second page.

    We as Canada sit here and behave ourselves, keeping our own counsel and not speaking too much about how things are in the States. We, like a lot of the developed world, rely on trade with the US for a good portion of our economic stability. We are
    also in the top three of the USA's trade sources: they rely on us as well. It's a symbiotic relationship and has been since well before the two countries had a bit of disagreement in about 1812 when a group of Canadians marched on Washington and burned down the White House (don't believe me? look it up).

    It really irritates me, however, when Americans assume to know what it is like to live here. It actually makes me quite angry. I know you're the land of the free and home of the brave, and I know all about the thirteen stars on your flag and what they represent. I am well aware of the culture of Manifest Destiny, championed by the grinning Teddy Roosevelt as he stretched across the Panama Canal. I don't assume to know what it is like living in middle America. But if I chose to ignore objectivity and fairness, I could make a lot of assumption.

    But I don't. I know what people tell me and I relay facts. That's all. I don't make assumptions and I don't look down my nose at your below the 48th parallel.

    Please do me the same favour. We are your quiet cousins here. Personally, in the mood I'm in, I would close the border to all US immigration: you can all sit in the corner down there and work out your problems. Don't bring it here and ruin a beautiful way of life.

    There.

    I said it. And far nicer than I could have (I've edited this a few times).

    Now I'm going to go calm down.
    Saturday, November 06, 2004

    Life Blogger?

    Cliff had a good link to one of "those" quizzes. But this one was kinda cool. It said:





    You Are a Life Blogger!



    Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
    If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.


    What kind of blogger are you?


    And this made me think (uh oh, I hear from the man in the back).

    Why DO I blog? Really?

    I think when it comes down to it there are a few different variations of the same real reason. I blog to be understood.

    I want to be understood by others as a person with a disorder, a disease that she fights against but rarely succeeds in doing anything other than becoming a person with a disorder AND tired. Sometimes I want to be understood as a person with a disorder so that I can stop fighting myself for a moment, let the mask slide off without fear of derision or sanction and just rest, catch my breath for the next round.

    I want to be understood by others as more than a person with a mental illness, because that label has a stigma stronger than any scarlet letter, more divisive and more scarring than any brand or visible deformity. I am talented, smart, funny, original, strong and unique.

    I want to understand the strangeness that is this disease, and the rapidly increasing number of divergent studies, each well intentioned in finding a way to ease the chaos in my mind, our minds, each of us like me out there.

    I want to understand the men in my life, both of them, to display my pride in them and of them, to work out the times they confuse me with their bold-faced straight-forward testosterone responses to my convoluted self.

    I want to understand me, to understand why the rage rises with tsunami force and then is subsumed before it crashes, leaving me hollow and shaken, and exhausted, to only find myself giddy with laughter moments later.

    I blog because I want to be understood as the person I remember before I was diagnosed, the person who faced each day grinning and exuberant. I know she still exists because she plays hide and seek with me.

    Understanding is both the first and the last. To understand is to glimpse peace.

    Copyright © 2005 Blondzila (because no one else would own this).

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