Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Wild Woman Unleashed

 It’s been said that there lives deep within the wilds of Indiana, a Wild Woman. In the dark hours of the morning, she prowls the doorway of her cave, waiting for stray raccoons or possums to wander past so she can yell, “Hey, you crazy critters, get off my porch!”

The Elusive Wild Woman of Indiana

 I’ve been told that she spends her days talking to ducks, dancing with geese and frolicking with the herd of cats that follow her wherever she goes. On rare occasions, she’s even been known to flash a passing car or two. (TOTALLY by accident, y’all!)

 But there’s something about this Wild Woman that some folks might not be aware of - she makes things besides messes. Even though she never refers to herself as one, this Wild Woman is also an artist working in watercolors, clay and anything else she can get her grubby little hands on.

Art Therapy - making something besides messes

 In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the weird Wild Woman would be me. And even though I consider myself more of a doodler than an artist, Art Saves Lives International Magazine said I was wrong and they wanted to chat. So we talked about how my art has helped me deal with mental illness and I couldn’t be more honored to be one of the featured artists in this month’s issue!

ASLI Website Badge photo Phototastic-2015-04-07-13-16-04_zpsmnuvwiqu.jpg

 Not gonna lie to you guys - talking about my crazy is one of the hardest things to do. BUT, for me it’s also a biggie in the fight to kick stigma’s ass. That’s why I’d love it if y’all would check out Art Saves Lives International Magazine. Read the articles, meet the amazing people who are working through different mediums to educate and inspire, and share their work!

 After all, how cool is it when someone can not only make the world a little better by erasing some of the shame and stigma of mental illness, but make it a more beautiful place to be at the same time?

"Legacy" Our past may help to make us who we are, but what we choose to do with it determines who we become
Our past may help to make us who we are,
but what we choose to do with it determines
who we become

 Do you create to help deal with your glitches? (And creating most certainly includes writing!) I’d LOVE it if you’d share links to your work in the comments! Because working together, we’re more than the sum of our parts.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Music, a life sandwich and bipolar mania. With cheese.

 Most people believe your life is defined by the really big things that happen, but the truth is the big things are just the punctuation marks. The good stuff is what falls in between that mostly passes for everyday background noise. It’s those little things that are the meat of your life sandwich. Without them, you’d just be left holding a couple slices of bread and damn, but that makes for one boring meal.

Because brain - mania - coffee - CHEESE!
 And what better to go with meat than some salt, pickles and mayo? Because life with no spice is damn near as boring as a couple of slices of Wonder Bread. For me that spice has always been music.

 Background noise, therapy, soundtrack...whatever you wanna call it, it’s the glue that holds my world together at the times it feels most like it’s falling apart. And right now, it’s the one thing keeping me inside of my skin.

 I’ve mentioned I live with autoimmune disease. To be honest, I don’t even think about it anymore. It simply has become my baseline normal. One of the medications I’ve been taking to help deal with the chronic pain that’s a side helping of awesome for a lot of folks with chronic health issues is Vicodin.

 Now, thanks to last year’s stricter laws, a required change to a Doc who doesn’t prescribe pain meds (increasingly common with the new laws) and an inadequate amount of pain clinics to cope with the number of patients in need, I’ve been forced to ditch the Vicodin.

 Yep, there are some pain issues I’m learning to work around. Yep, I’m currently kinda a bear about it. But there’s something else no one told me I needed to be concerned about...mania, baby!

 OK, so in addition to autoimmune disease, I also live with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. And I don’t take mood stabilizers. My life is an ongoing balancing act of trying to maintain an even keel on a highwire in a wind storm.

 Here’s the thing no one warned me about - opiates like Vicodin can actually act as mood stabilizers. (Probably one of the reasons heroine is a preferred drug for those who self medicate for mood disorders.) So, I was seriously caught off balance when my world kicked into high gear and my brain stopped shutting down. Ever.

 Hello mania, you frazzled old bitch! How’s it hangin’?

 But wait, there’s more!

 Things can’t just get thrown one way or the other and it not have a ripple effect, right? Because when the bipolar dips one way, I lose my tenuous hold on the rapid (often angry) swings of the borderline asshole.

My life is an ongoing balancing act of trying to maintain an even keel on a highwire in a wind storm

 Thus, you have a woman who alternates between various emotional outbursts at 50 million miles an hour. And the thoughts are coming so fast and furious, trying to hold a conversation is like trying to have a deep and meaningful chat on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. With ALL the Traders. At the same time.

 And I have abso-fucking-lutely NO filter! I open my mouth and it’s like a possessed drunken-truck-driving-sailor on a mission to see how many four letter words he can fit into each sentence comes out. (And please, for the love of all that is holy, do not ask my honest opinion about anything right now. My version of brutal honesty is just not a pretty sight.)

 The good news is, I know these things cycle. I will eventually find my center of balance again and then proceed to do a shit-ton of facepalming about the last few weeks. Until then, I have a killer support system of friends and family who know what’s going on and are miracle workers at helping me stay outta trouble.

 And I have music. The Girl refers to it as my Thorazine playlist and swears it puts her into a coma everytime she hears it. Sleepy Offspring is definitely a price I’m willing to pay to help keep my current level of spaz on the mellower side.

 So there it is. It started with a weird food analogy and ended with absolutely no discernable point, except that prescription opiates to help control pain can end up tossin’ a girl a bone to help with things she didn’t even realize it was helpin’ with until one day it’s gone.

 Because brain - mania - coffee - CHEESE!

PS In my search for info on this subject, I came across a book, The Opiate Cure: Pain and the Bipolar Spectrum by Robert T Cochran. I haven’t read it, but you can damn well believe it just got bumped to the top of my list. (Just as soon as I can sit still long enough to focus.)

Friday, August 7, 2015

I don't wanna see your boobs.

 I’ve been trying to stay off the internet. Not because of any kind of detox, but more a self-imposed cool down period. Because, over the last month, I’ve felt the primal scream to stop the insanity building like an overinflated balloon just below my breasts. And there it is, the very thing that’s got my non-existent panties in a metaphorical bunch - breasts.

 Back in the dark ages, I breastfed three Offspring and turned myself into a portable milking station to feed a fourth that was born too premature to nurse. I’m down with the natural milk thing. Hell, I’m down with the mothers-who-feed-their-babies period thing. BUT, I don’t wanna see your boobs!

 It’s not that I’m a prude. (It’s like you don’t even know me.) It’s not that I view the funbags as overtly sexual. (OK, depending on the way you’re displaying them, I might. But not exactly the point.) It’s not that I think women should hide away in bathroom stalls to feed their tiny bundles of hungry joy, because they shouldn’t!

 What it is, is that I simply don’t want to see your damn boobs.

 Let me lay something out there for all the militant, in-your-face Titty Warriors; there’s this little thing I was taught growing up called respect for other people.

 In case you’re not familiar with the term, respect would be what you’re asking for when you refuse to be banished to the women’s room to nurse. It’s what you’re asking for when you request a private room at work to pump. Respect for your choice to forego the bottle is precisely what you demand in all the lengthy Facebook posts about people being assholes to you at whatever cafe or department store you felt insulted at.

 Right on, Sisters! Feeding hungry children is definitely a respect-worthy pursuit. But respect is also a two-way street.

 Please, before anyone starts the diatribe about how uncomfy Junior is when you throw a blanket over his head, let me point out that there are other choices. For instance, one of my favorite moves was always dropping the girls out the BOTTOM of my shirt. Because guess what? The shirt was like a nursing mullet - party on the bottom, business covered on the top. As far as I can figure, flopping that sucker out the top is nothing more than a total in-your-face move designed to show all the haters you’re demanding to be heard. Or seen, as the case may be.

 And ladies, it’s kinda seriously disrespectful to everyone, in whatever busy place you may be, that doesn’t wanna see it.

 “Then don’t look!”

 Can we apply that argument to the happy nudist that mosies into town to grab something at the Mall? Nope, not so much. Can we apply that principle to a mother disciplining her child in a way you don’t approve of? Oh HELL no! Can we PLEASE apply that thought to The People of WalMart so y’all quit posting the damn memes?

 And before I run outta steam and go into some kind of La Leche League Protection Program, I have one last request for the Boob Brigade - for the love of all that is holy, can you please stop posting your pictures everywhere?

 Yes, a mother nursing her child is an incredibly beautiful, personal experience. And it’s one you don’t have to post t-total topless pics of yourself every time you nurse to prove how fucking admirable you are for doing it!

 Nursing my babes had some very special moments of bonding and the last thing I was thinking was, “Hey, let’s take a picture of this moment so I can share it with the entire world!” The bonding was for me and my child, not for some Universal Hallmark Moment.

 Of course, I also remember times where I had a toddler hanging on my leg, holding a nursing baby with one arm, and trying to cook with the other. Because the real world ain’t always that special. Seriously, I felt like I was chained by the exploding nipples to a small Dictator. Also NOT a picture I’d have wanted making the rounds on Instagram.

 I’m not saying to stop doin’ what you do. I’m not telling you you shouldn’t demand respect and common courtesy when you need to feed in public places. But I am asking you to show the same respect and courtesy to others who simply don’t give a damn how awesome an Earth Mother you are.

 Please, respect our rights to not wanna see your boobs.