Dreamed A Dream

Let’s Go Back To Sane Governance!
The numbers were coming in for voting and the Democrats were winning big. We were going to be okay. There would be a lot of damage to undo or repair, but we weren’t succumbing to dictatorship. The worst elements among us were shown the door. You want a theocracy? Why don’t you move to Saudi Arabia, or any of the desert nations that control their populations under the only version of belief allowed. What if your religion is banned? You think dictators have it right? Move to your beloved Russia where they routinely kill, poison, or maim those who disagree with the party line. What if YOU were against their policies and practices? Better get a food taster, or keep your opinions to yourself… We can co-exist, and it will be an uneasy alliance, but it will work because while we don’t all get all of what we want, we will get most of what we need. We will shore up our Constitution, and follow it. We can be a better version of Democracy, or we can vanish with something you will not want in its place, but it will be too late to do anything about it then, so I hope it’s to your liking – and that you’ll remember you did it to yourself. To those of good will: Vote Democrats, all the way! * * * © seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current  

Season’s Greetings

Autumn has come. Not on the calendar. You won’t find it there with as general as our Pope Gregory’s, or Gregorian, calendar is.

I feel it though. I woke to a cold, crisp morning, drier air, no twittering birds building or protecting their nests and territory. They’ve begun their winter duties, saving their energy for long flights ahead, or hunkering down where they’ll winter over.

I’m both dismayed by and glad for the change – life is always a mixed bag – something I’ve never been good at adjusting to. I must do it well enough though because I’m still here. Adapt or die.

My mother told me about some book she was reading about biology, and our place in life, and once we’re done with our child-bearing years, life has no use for us. We’re an unwelcome party guest, staying too long and boring everyone.

But that’s just biology. Humans, and many other species, offer so much beyond biology, which is probably why we kick around much longer than our hormones signal. We can produce enzymes to quell those hormones, but we have to work for it. 45 minutes of sustained, heart-beat raising, exercise a day makes anti-breakdown enzymes drip for 24 hours. A pretty good deal! Joyful living boosts those ‘I want to live’ enzymes too.

And here I am in another passing season, and I can’t escape getting older, but I can slow its progress. I can look forward to autumn colors, and nights by the fireside. I can plan next year’s garden, and I can laugh at myself for taking it all so seriously.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Inch By Inch, Row By Row

I’m gonna make this garden grow. All it takes is a rake, and a hoe, and a piece of fertile ground. Inch by inch, row by row, someone bless these seeds I sow, someone warm them from below ’til the rain comes tumblin’ down…

Gardening is a life lesson. The whole kit and caboodle right there – from pulling those weeds, digging up those rocks, to preparing the soil – and, finally, planting the seeds.

And it’s never done until harvest time. There are weeds to pull, bugs to fight off, and tender care all summer long. Even after harvest it’s wise to clean up the garden, and maybe sow winter rye or something that will keep the soil in place over autumn into late fall.

Winter is the time to plan, and wait, but Spring comes upon us often fast and furious. The cacophony of insects, birds, animals, and mammals all jockeying for space to nest and begin the next generation to carry on.

Sometimes all the love and care in the world doesn’t keep blight away, or relieve stunted growth. Sometimes the weather is bad for weeks on end, and all you can do is start over, if there’s enough time left in the season, or hope next year will be better.

What is more hopeful than a seed, and a garden?

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

And That’s How It Is

I’ve been so stuck in the past – as though it’s vital I get back there, as though that’s the only part of my life that mattered, as though now is a wasteland unworthy of notice when it is actually rich, and actually all there is. The past is gone – just like Steven Tyler sang in Dream On

all those years ago when, ironically, he was just becoming an adult.

I think the pain makes me feel alive, the longing gives me a sense of purpose, like: ‘Don’t forget how things were!’ – but it’s a lot of revisionist history because so much of my early life sucked-ass.

I was battling panic disorder, undiagnosed major depression, and PTSD – before PTSD was a word, and then only by soldiers who had witnessed untold horrors qualified.

Well, sorry, but trauma is trauma & fucks you up for life. Trauma literally changes your brain. My brain is different from non-traumatized brains, so stop telling me to have a better attitude! It doesn’t work like that! (“That’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works!“)

It’s also accepting, or trying to accept, that my beautiful boy, the light of my life, has grown up and not only doesn’t need or want my counsel, or my – anything – but he’s a man, and wants to be seen as he sees himself. I cannot divorce my connection to him as my boy, so therein lies the rub. So, that’s present pain.

I’m older. That’s present pain. There’s nothing I can do about it. That’s present pain. I’m lonely for connection more than just my significant other. That’s present pain. I can’t seem to hold a job. That’s present pain. My family is dying off. That’s past and present pain. I miss old connections. That’s past and present pain.

We’re living in bizarro world with dangerous politics and a megalomaniac president. That’s present pain, panic, anxiety, and PTSD!

Those are my fears writ large. The President is basically Michael Rapunzel, the head of the commune/cult, and the President’s sycophants, like Rapunzel’s, can’t see his horror, or they revel in their chance at power and gain riding on his coat tails.

I’ve been down this road and now I’m living through it again. It’s harder because I know the outcome. It’s all about oppression and control, not co-operation or decentralization of power. The President, like Rapunzel, is mentally ill, and no one is stopping him.

I can look at the present pain in my life and do what I can to minimize it. I know it’s also a flux issue. My feelings, needs, and desires change – sometimes on a daily basis  – but there are times I’m truly joyful instead of longing for it.

There are days I’m connected to life and loneliness vanishes.

There are times my son calls or texts and I feel better for our connection rather than inadequate or stupid.

I’ve even been kind and accepting of my aging at times instead of railing against it – but anything I’ve ever let go of has claw-marks all over it.

And string hanging off those claws.

And glue holding the string on.

And then duct tape when the glue starts to peel…

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

April Is The Cruelest Month

T. S. Eliot’s line in, The Waste Land, speaks of April’s cruelty in uncovering what was covered and dampened by winter’s snow.

I think of it opposite – that April hems and haws its way into May – delivering warmth and budding growth, only to snatch it away in frosts and freezes.

Warmer weather and longer light modifies my depression, but April fools me the whole month.

I know April’s not to blame. I understand depression is a brain malfunction rather than a seasonal disorder, but Cabin Fever is practically literal for me – seeing as I live in a cabin.

I have been walking and getting out as much as I can, but the cold is enervating, depleting, and I need energizing.

I tried, Ketamine, a controlled substance & experimental depression drug under my doctor’s care, and it was another failure – a temporary, dissociative, relief from my depression with other untenable side effects. She said we’re using desperation measures now, and while some might really enjoy being altered that way, dissociation is not a good substitute for dopamine.

Sunshine, exercise, eating well, and decent rest are all helpful, but not helpful enough.

It’s also weird how February used to be my most dangerous month, then it expanded into March, and has now creeped into April. I don’t understand why that is. I used to assume February must be when some of my worst trauma happened, but now I think it’s some other mechanism. Maybe my aging brain is making less and less dopamine?

New drugs and treatments come on the market all the time, and I hope to try another round of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation by Brainsway instead of Neurostar. The Brainsway machine provides a slightly deeper brain stimulation that has shown statistical insignificance to Neurostar, but my sensitivity might respond better to that type of stimulation.

http://brainstimulationclinic.squarespace.com/magnetic-stim/

I can only hope…

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Deplete

Waning Days of January

It began around January 23rd, and probably before then – building up – but that’s when I noticed the pall overhead and me trying to duck it, unsuccessful again. It begins with dread – or not dread exactly – but disturbance. Something is looming, something I try to stay ahead of, but am swallowed anyway.

I offer up all the positive messages I can. I acknowledge, ignore, accept, and end up pleading for its end.

Imagine a usual route you take, maybe some minor annoyances with traffic, or people, or maybe potholes, or other manageable blips on the way – and then you sense something when you get in your car one morning. There’s no reason – nothing seems different. The weather is good, the drive starts fine, and you chide yourself for misgivings about potential something ahead. A dog runs into the road and you avoid hitting it, and feel relieved. OK, that was it, that was the curve-ball that day, but your heightened awareness doesn’t ease.

You continue your routine, accepting the foreboding, or whatever it is you can’t shake, and then a tire blows, and you navigate your car to the side of the road. Vehicles pass by as you make calls to work, to a tow company, and you think that this was what your gut was warning you about.

Days pass, and the sensation dulls a bit, but doesn’t leave. It’s gnawing – like a toothache you hope will resolve on its own.

These days are leading to the precipice, but I’ve been triaging the whole time. It’s as though a separate entity is controlling my brain – or something beyond my control.

I know that’s not the case, I’m not possessed, I just can’t change the direction. I have to buckle up and hope I ride this out better than last year – better than all the years, probably since I was born, or whatever traumatic event(s) my psyche re-lives every. fucking. year.

Therapy: check. Antidepressants: no go TMS: check, but insurance won’t cover another round, and I can’t afford it out-of-pocket. Wise Mind Group: check. I’m starting a 13-week group today, and I’ve done this before, and do use cognitive behavioral techniques, but trauma is like trying to catch a greased, wild, pig. Even if you catch it, the pig isn’t domesticated.

The pig is autonomous though. Maybe the pig doesn’t think it’s self-determined – it probably doesn’t consider ‘self’ at all – but it knows enough to not want to be caught, and is frightened and raged at the trying.

February looms, but spring will emerge. That’s hope. The world still turns.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Several Things At Once

It’s one of those nights. I’m both grateful for and disheartened by a good memory. It’s good that I can step back in time and ‘be’ there – kind of like a time traveler – only backwards. It’s not eidetic memory, but fairly close.

So what do the brain ‘experts’ have to say about that? Every memory we have is apparently ‘shadowed’ or ‘colored’ by our remembering. So, are memories reliable? Hellz yes! Just because we experience those memories with nuance, doesn’t mean they aren’t reliable.

For instance, when I was beaten when learning to tie my shoes, I can see it with my current perspective, so that memory goes back in its slot with the new information attached, but the memory is still true.

My struggle understanding life’s meaning, purpose, or existence, makes life tougher to endure. I don’t have certitude, and I deeply distrust those who do. They’re often the ones with the most skeletons in their closets.

Everything changes. People are fallible, situations change, and then change again. ‘The only constant is change,’ declared Heraclitus.

Do we merely exist because biology, or are we somehow ‘higher’ beings? Those who take literally the words that humans allegedly wrote a thousand years ago, or worse, attribute to others as truth, are terrifying. They wreak more havoc than non believers.

I appreciate the scientific method, but I try not to deify science, either, because science isn’t perfect, and we’re always uncovering new or different information or interpretations.

Being kind is important to me. I strive for integrity and honor in my words and deeds, but I still act from fear.

I’m angry and petty and controlling, and work toward being less so, or cultivating the better aspects of my nature, but it’s a constant striving.

Thankfully I embrace fun, joy, laughter, and adventure too – and the best I can hope and aim for is balance in my life.

Whatever I meet upon death, if there is anything beyond this world, I will deal with then. After all, we’re directed by spiritually enlightened beings to live in the now, to follow the middle way, and to know that the future does not exist.

I wish for peace to all those of good will.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

 

Possessed

Day broke with a deep frost across the land yesterday: the first volley of winter. Nature appeared to hold its breath – nothing stirred – the air itself seemed under a sorcerer’s spell.

The heaviness must have seeped into me, the entire day spent fighting the pall, trying everything I could to reclaim myself.

It wasn’t until late afternoon that I realized it was depression. I had picked up every tool in my box to no avail. Redirecting my thoughts didn’t do anything, nor did changing my environment, reading a book, watching a comedy, pinching myself to stop the thoughts (there weren’t really any thoughts except trying to feel different), and acceptance. Even acceptance and cognitive skills did nothing to ease my condition.

I thought sex would at least release endorphins, and if they did, my S.O. got them all. I enjoyed the physical feelings, but it didn’t end the possession.

I finally fell asleep sometime after 3, the alarm jolting me awake at 7 this morning. I hit snooze and got up a half-hour later, dragging myself to the kitchen to make coffee.

Waking up more fully, I realized the spell had broken. I feel fine today.

You’d have sworn some terrible tragedy befell me. You’d have wondered if I’d just come back from my best friend’s, or my child’s, funeral.

You’d think me callous and unfeeling to see today’s change.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

Into November

This is my tough time of year. I notice my melancholy in October – the end of summer transition – and I do what I can to mitigate it. I have a light-box that provides full-spectrum light, and I’ve busied myself with Halloween decorations, & attending a party, but I missed my son and the Halloween fun we shared when he was little.

I made the mistake of telling him, hoping for some connection or commiseration – I know, I know – am I stupid, or high?, and he was not nostalgic. I think it freaks him out that he was ever a little kid, and that I remember it all. It makes no difference that he’s getting older, he’ll always have the child perspective, and I’ll always be the weird has-been parent. I should have shared my longing with a friend, or a therapist…

So, I binged on Halloween candy, sugar-coating my feelings, and started pulling out my cold weather clothes which I’ll wash & put in the bureau after putting away the Halloween decor.

It will take some getting used to the brown and greying landscape again, and my mood will shift when the cloud-blanketed sky moves on & the sun illuminates the last golden leaves clinging to branches, or providing shadow-play through the woods and surrounding hillside.

Sauteing onions and garlic for the chicken soup creates more warmth and delicious aroma, heightened when coming in from the cold, and satisfying my hunger – unlike the sugary snacks that take more than they give.

Writing helps too. Getting out the essence of my longing – parsing my underlying fear of irrelevance, of aging, and of my existential loneliness.

Remembering that youth’s bounty was mostly a more flexible body because my life was dogged by my dark story and my clinical depression. Having more energy & vitality was nice, but I mostly just existed, and it’s only now, with better perspective, and some relief of my depression and anxiety through TMS, that I’ve been living more than existing.

Aging is payment for life on Earth – and regardless of relative time scales – everything decays, and nothing stays the same, no matter my, or anyone else’s, wishes.

Acceptance is about the only choice I have if I’d like some peace, but until acceptance and approval get untangled for me, life remains a battle.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

Sea(son) Change

I’ve mentioned that transitions are tough. Over-arching changes, like the season, the landscape, life & death, create dissonance (some more than others) to which I respond seeking consonance.

Mr. Holland’s Opus exemplified the hero’s journey archetype that has always stayed with me, and of course the title’s double entendre showcases how the story is not only literal – about his life as a musician – but his mental & spiritual journey from inexperience to mastery, immaturity to maturity.

All that happens in life, all that I conquer, or that conquers me, is just part of the story. I often feel used or abused by the cosmos, that I’m a bit player in some story I was thrust into, tripping over myself, getting the words wrong, and singing off-pitch.

But I keep stepping out onto the stage, is the thing.

You’re not going to find inspirational motivation from me, often more Eeyore-ish than Tigger-ish, but you’ll find I’m true, that I’m continually striving toward mastery.

Several religious or spiritual works have described self-mastery as the first order of business; I’m hoping it doesn’t take the better part of my life to realize some self-mastery, but just as everything else in life sometimes this is as good as it gets, and I need to make peace with where I am without proverbially throwing the baby out with the bath water.

E. K. Brough’s words comfort me: “And remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.”

https://www.thefreshquotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Remember-We-All-Stumble-Every-One-Of-Us.-ThatS-Why-ItS-A-Comfort-To-Go-Hand-In-Hand.-%C2%BB-Emily-Kimbrough.jpg
E.K. Brough, aka, Emily Kimbrough

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

National Suicide Prevention Week

Being suicidal is embarrassing. I should be better, stronger, cope well, and not need anything from anyone. I should be as strong, or resilient as I see others in my life who are not suicidal on a regular basis.

I’ve written about it, thought about it, talked about it, but when I’ve attempted – a really pathetic attempt, btw – I wondered if I could get someone to kill me. It wouldn’t be murder; I was asking for it, but what would that do to them? I can’t ask someone to harm their soul to help me die.

Also, if I wasn’t successful at ending my life, maybe I should be here. Maybe there’s hope, maybe there’s reason to stay.

Sure, I can continue to live with my shitty coping skills, and inability to control my PTSD, and failed trials of antidepressants, therapy, DBT, TMS, and now my doc wants me to try ECT, and it’s just another awful thing to endure to try to make my life more bearable.

If I found work I could stick with and manage, that would be good, and I continue pursuing doable employment, but you know what employers really like? People who consistently show up and aren’t depressed on the job. They like people who can let shit roll off them and carry on and not get overwhelmed and anxious, and they really hate it when you’re too drugged to do your work adequately. I’m sorry I’m late, I had to take medicine that knocked me out, and now three cups of coffee later, I’m jittery and still can’t focus on my work, and now that’s added to my shame bucket too.

Friends and family have their own busy lives, with their own issues piled up, and the laundry’s not sorted, and the bills might not be paid, and the kids are driving them nuts, or have to be at soccer practice, and good luck, I really hope you get the help you need, and I’m more alone than before I got the courage to call.

Happy, peppy me is the best me, and I like her the best too, but sometimes I pay more for her appearance than if I could allow myself to be quiet and observe.

I pay either way, really, because observing is seeing it all through my depression shield, or filter, or whatever simile works, and the point is I’m never in true connection.

I broke up with my significant other, or tried to, but he thinks I’m just fucked up me & my mood will pass, and he’s right, but why does he stay with me? I couldn’t take the trauma drama. I hate the trauma drama! I’d like to not be me. I’d like to disappear because it’s clear I’m not healing.

It’s clear that all the education, groups, therapy, drugs, meditation, yoga, exercise, eating right, thinking good thoughts, and all the things I try to do to get my life under control has not worked, and why would I hope for anything to change now?

My son deserves his mother, even if I’m guilt-ridden, & shame-filled, but still love him with every fiber of my being. My significant other deserves a healed me, but I’m really unsure he’ll ever get that, so I probably will have to leave and let him get on with his life.

I like me when I’m not around anyone. It’s lonely at times, but I don’t hurt anyone else. It’s sad to know that. It’s really gut-wrenching & messed-up that’s reality for me, but nothing is changing and I don’t know what else to do.

The survival will can obviously be overcome, and the best thing friends or strangers can do is not judge. And maybe listen, or maybe be with me in my pain because it’s not catching, it just sucks.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Another Perspective

I can continue to be tunnel-visioned, or I can take the long view, and the long view is that my friends didn’t seek to harm me with their votes or their perspective, regardless of the actuality.

Yeah, I have to fight harder to keep equilibrium and try to keep our Democratic Republic, but their ignorance is just that – not malice.

They see all things from their religious perspective, and that blinds them to the long view, but the long view is still wrapped in their dogma, whether they choose to see it or not.

The fabled Jesus overturned the tables of the money-changers, saying: “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” – Matthew 21:12-13 NIV

So the long view shouldn’t be on whether their elected officials will vote to try to stop abortion, but on who they are – on their fruits – and their fruits are rotten.

There is separation of Church and State in our country, and I realize they are working to end that, but it shouldn’t be eroded. We have a unique position in the world that we are not forced to anything, but come to choose freely. If they make our nation a theocracy, we become subjugated, regardless of our beliefs, and often forced to live a lie.

Religious people are free to practice their faiths, but not to demand anyone else do so, and if they could see the beauty of this system of checks and balances, they’d want the corruption out of our nation.

They’d fight to end Citizen’s United – to get money, that root of all evil, out of politics. Then we could have true stewards of our nation again. We could vote in actual public servants rather than the current corruption we’re witness to.

Yeah, there will always be those seeking power, and ways to game the system, but there won’t be so many, and disallowing corporations as ‘people’, and foreign money from campaigns, will help greatly in getting back to sanity.

This didn’t start with how any of us voted this past election. This started when money became king, when banks started writing the rules, when the Supreme Court decided Citizen’s United vs. the FEC.

Meanwhile, love surpasses all things.

My struggle is about acceptance vs. approval. I need to accept the loss of solidarity I thought I had with those friends and focus on our commonalities – on what made us friends, or like each other to begin with. We support each other in every day struggles. We laugh, cry, and enjoy each others’ company. We trust that underneath conflict is kindness and care, and our connection contains more healing than hurt.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Impass-ibilities

I have friendships that have been harmed because of their role in placing the mobster occupying the White House. Many claim to be ‘pro-life’, but are really just ‘pro-fetus’ because they don’t give a fuck what happens to birthed humans. My friends knew the kind of person drumph was and they still voted for him.  Now, those of us of conscience and concern for humanity and our earth are fighting for our lives – even theirs, the irony is.

We’re at an impasse. I didn’t want our relationships to suffer, but all I see is their loss of decency and humanity, and I don’t know how to compartmentalize that anymore. I really wanted to be above the fray, but for them it’s a meaningless game, and for me, it’s who we are as a people – as a society.

Maybe they want America to change to a theocracy, but our country was founded on freedom and democratic ideals, and the current administration and republicans are autocrats who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and middle class, and wouldn’t know true religion and spirituality if every prophet and spiritual leader who ever existed showed up at their door.

I’m reminded that I don’t have to hate my abusers anymore, and I don’t have to protect them. I can forgive them. I can do my best to have compassion for them, but I don’t have to give them my energy or time.

It’s hard trying to value what we had and realize that belongs to the past, and we’re no longer the people we once were to each other.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Last Treatment

Two days prior to my last session was fairly horrific with a huge dip in mood & return of hopelessness.

The return to despair was devastating because I had counted on TMS to help me even though I thought I removed expectations for or against.

My usual technician, Nick, who is really lovely & has been a steady presence during treatments, didn’t oversee my last treatment. Instead the intern, Mel, who is also kind, and competent, was there with Kim, the other regular tech, who is also fine, and I had a previous connection with Kim outside of the practice so I felt comfortable enough, but neither have the ineffable presence of Nick, so it was a tough last treatment.

The NeuroStar representative was also there, so the room felt a bit crowded, and toward the end of the session, another assistant I’d never met before came in, increasing my stress.

Thankfully, I saw Nick upstairs as I was leaving and got to hug him & say goodbye as he’s also leaving for good in August. It was all I could do to not burst into tears right there, but made it to my car before breaking down.

Andy, my S.O., tells me he sees a difference in me, and I do feel somewhat better, but it’s like the difference between an overcast day and a stormy one – there’s still no sun in the sky.

Another unfortunate incident happened a few weeks into my treatment when I tried to get a form for medical transportation because paying the gas in the car I’m borrowing is costly, regardless of my appreciation for the favor. The form would have allowed insurance to cover the transportation cost, but insurance denied the request.

The psychiatrist asked me why I couldn’t use public transportation and I told her that it wasn’t easily accessible, and was still costly. I later worked out the math, which would have been twice what I paid for gasoline for the car, and even if I could have found a convenient bus there, I’d have had to transfer to their town’s system, having to transfer to 3 buses, and it would have cost me double the fare.

When the form was originally submitted it was denied because Kim told me I hadn’t given a medical reason. I was a bit stunned, and didn’t know how to respond. What the fuck was I going there for? I’m not a medical provider, I don’t submit the forms, so how was I supposed to know what should be on the form outside of financial difficulties, and inadequate public transportation? And the sole reason I was there was because I have intractable depression, and TMS treatments are not offered anywhere closer, but the providers didn’t know enough to note that on the form?

The psychiatrist and the TMS team should have known better, and it sucks when those in helping professions don’t understand the poverty issues that go hand-in-hand with trauma, or can’t be bothered to work just that little bit more on behalf of those they purport to help.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Summer Scent-iment

Riding with the windows down from my TMS appointment today, the earthy scents of fields and pungent brook waters hit my brain in a nostalgic wave as I drove down the rough country road, longing to get out of my car and run through the meadow down into the brook, if only private property and ticks didn’t exist.

Summer days of childhood in the woods with friends crossed my mind’s picture screen for several seconds before receding back, refusing further examination, as though it were a dream I was straining to recall.

Perhaps it was a dream, and this is all illusion. If so, it’s a very good spell. I really feel like I’m here, like I exist, like this is a meaningful journey. Maybe life’s meaning doesn’t derive from the delivery mechanism, but I sure wish I could figure out what it means to me.

I’m still worried the TMS isn’t working, 21 visits in now, when I’m supposed to notice a difference.

I feel bereft of my old companions and our easy friendship. I wish depression didn’t exist & the elusive mind and life fuckery it creates. But that’s like wishing heart disease, or diabetes away. It’s not going to happen. I need to manage it, regardless of how exhausting the task. Eventually we heal or we succumb, and I have no idea which way it’s going to go.

Ease and balance are important, and I strive for them – try to cultivate them – and drain friends who know they can’t quell my demons so they’d rather not hear about it. I supplicate to whatever gods might exist, so far, to no avail.

I’d like to sink forever into that sweet summer dream: running through the meadow, cooling my body in the water, or exploring the woods – forgetting that time or otherness exists.

The upside is that I’m still here, illusion or not, and I get out of bed every day & make it. Coffee remains a pleasure and a boost, and I redirect my thoughts hundreds of times a day, just as I adjust my posture when I notice I’m slumping.

That’s something, isn’t it?

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

Wednesday to Saturday

I’ve always liked Wednesday because of the Addams Family,

https://giphy.com/gifs/60s-1960s-the-addams-family-FYOxEpdW8K1H2/

although Thursday and Saturday are my all time favorites. Maybe I like the way Thursday looks or sounds because why Thursday? Wouldn’t Friday with its weekend association be a more likely candidate for favorite?

Saturday is a day you can like! It’s in hundreds of songs; it implies fun, adventure – ready for action – couched as it is between the end of the typical work week and the start of a new one. And let’s not forget the classic Saturday Morning Cartoons!  They’re not as great now – especially since they’re little more than a marketing tool, but they were so good in the ’60’s & ’70’s. No one has ever topped Mel Blanc for cartoon voicing, and caricature.

http://www.craveonline.com/mandatory/1047625-voice-actors-behind-many-of-your-favorite-cartoon-characters

Although Saturday is just another day for many in the service and health industries, my feelings about Saturday formed as a child, when school was the biggest responsibility I had. Even if I had homework, or chores, or later in my mid-teens and twenties, when I was a waitress (now server, of course), or a cashier, or department store clerk, Saturday still held magic.

We might leave for the weekend on Friday afternoon, but we had all day Saturday to enjoy.

Saturday is still special in our household as my S. O. has most weekends off, and we can sleep in or get up to work our agenda rather than someone else’s.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Second Chances

I’m nearly three months sober, and started a new depression therapy two weeks ago: TMS, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. The therapy uses focused magnetic energy to target the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, thought to be a dark alley depression emanates from.

On my first visit, the tech & doctor mapped the specific area of my brain using the Neurostar stimulator, and I’ve been adjusting to the five-days a week treatments.

NeuroStar_TMS_Therapy_System
http://www.kurzweilai.net/images/497px-NeuroStar_TMS_Therapy_System.jpg

During the mapping, the pulse was painful while they determined my treatment threshold. The treatment lasts 38 minutes and several seconds, for me. Others have generally less time than I do, but not by much, and typically a lower pulse threshold than me, which I attribute to my redheaded-ness.

Forty pulses delivered in four seconds feel and sound like a miniature jack-hammer – or an eager woodpecker – but the computer prepares me by chiming a few seconds prior to the pulses. After about four rounds of pulses I don’t feel it as intensely, but I’m always glad to hear the ‘ding-ding-ding’ computer chime signaling the treatment’s end.

Worries about whether the treatment will work are thick due to continued suicidal thoughts, but TMS takes about twenty or so treatments before brain changes are apparent. That means I have another week to go before I’ll know it’s working. TMS has helped about 85% of patients, which is good news, but I’m a redhead, so we’ll see what category I fall into.

Today I was going through some papers I’d put aside nearly a month ago and found a notepad I had written goodbye letters to my friends and family when I tried to off myself. It’s hard to read my sadness between the lines of gratitude for their friendship, and while I’m not as low as I was a few months ago, I know I’ll get there again, and I can’t tolerate it anymore.

An AA meeting I attended tonight was on positive attitude, and gratitude, and how that’s the way to pull yourself up and out of yourself and into acceptance, etc. – and for those that works for, brav-fucking-o! But, for those of us who write our gratitude lists, and pray, and think positive, and carry on with positive intention, and ‘choose happiness’, and still want to die, you’ve got a non-patronizing friend in me.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Out There

One of the wonderful aspects of being away is the perspective change, especially when the scenery is so drastic.

There's Your Sign...

I immediately found myself afraid and battled my fear to become curious. I’m visiting dear friends in the southwest – Arizona – and I’m finding myself again assimilating my life’s experiences and what it all means to me.

Watching my dear friend work and interact with the people of her life here is inspiring, and helped me open myself up – just that bit more – to not assume the worst in everyone.

It’s tough particularly now, in our heinous political environment, trusting that there are good people who deeply care about others’ lives. When I’m in unfamiliar territory, everyone is the enemy, and I’m hyper-vigilant, trying to stay safe.

My childhood friend is so open & loving – and not consumed with worries of things she can’t control, where I seek control over things I can’t stop worrying about. It’s not that she’s immune, or willfully ignorant, or tuned-out; she knows how to prioritize or allocate her emotional resources.

I came out here to step away from my life back east. I don’t know how to balance what I want and need with the wants and needs of my significant other. I didn’t come out here because of that, but it helps to be so far away when I’m so troubled about my personal life.

There are good reasons to feel as I do, and there are reasonable solutions which allude me more often than I’d like, leaving me feeling powerless and as though I’m consenting to less than what I desire. We do communicate, but there are always issues that hang in the air – never resolved – just sublimated, until the next time I try to stake my claim for my desires.

I’ve remembered, out in this vast, open, unfamiliar, and harsh landscape, that wherever I go, there I am. Will I succeed, or fail, or some combination I can live with?

It’s as if the stark contrast between the rocky peaks jutting into the sky and the cacti and other desert life dotting the valleys reveal life as it is rather than life as I wish it, but there’s still the ability to thrive. There’s still beauty and variety. There are abundant paths to choose from, or room to make my way – even this late.

Fear can stop me, or I can function beside my fear.

Walking out of the squat main office building, I turned right onto S. Veteran’s Memorial Highway, camera in hand.  The Galiuro Mountains to my left, and the Santa Catalina’s to my right, I felt prey for the vultures – avian or human. Walking briskly while the steady, and sometimes fierce, chilling winds pushed me along, I finally turned back after a few miles, where the wind gleefully made my uphill journey more aerobic.

The Saguaro sentinels greeted me in uneven intervals, sometimes solely, other times clustered, while Organ Pipe, Agave, and Prickly Pear cacti covered more ground among the Mesquite trees, and other desert plants.

San Manuel 1

The Long, Not Winding, Road

fuzzy Saguaro

Organ Pipe cactus

San Manuel sunflower

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Galiuro Mountain Range

I forgot what it was to see so far out, and while I wouldn’t want to live here, it’s been a gorgeous and welcome change of pace.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

The Timing Sucks

Several years ago, when my son was in his late teens, karaoke was getting popular again, and I started going nearly every week. I used to go with my friends weekly back in the late 80’s. We had so much fun then, but life happens and we moved on, and karaoke fell out of favor for a few decades.

Getting back into it was a blast, and it was free! I made friends with several regular singers, and we began spending time at each other’s houses, or going dancing, or on a road trip, and it was a great distraction when my son headed off to college – even though it didn’t cease my depression or PTSD.

We lasted several years as a group, but little by little it fell apart – although karaoke is still going strong – so we come together for that once in a while now.

Karaoke turns out not to be a great basis for lasting friendships, sadly, and worse, my drinking increased, and even worse, my personality change when drinking nearly caused my S.O. & I to break up several times.

I know I have a problem because while quitting is easy, it’s the staying quit that’s hard. As Mark Twain quipped about quitting smoking: ‘… it’s easy! I’ve done it thousands of times.’

Seeing a video of me drunk was uncomfortable, but it gave me the boost I needed to stop.

Sadly, I’ll miss all the drinking games every time the President says something stupid, but then I’d never be sober, and I need to focus…

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

There’s No Common Ground

Nope. I really wanted to find it. I tried to start at the sisterhood, right?! The SISTERHOOD! We know what it’s like being harassed. I have no idea what my black & brown sisters go through because I’m white & privileged to only have been sexually harassed & abused, not subjugated to having race enter into my humiliation & defilement, but trust me, I know what the fuck it’s like to be abused.

I am so angry there is race & culture that enter into it too – like Dante’s circles of hell.

I’m tired of reading intellectuals spout bullshit at each other, especially those who sit back as though they’re so much better than everyone else they deign to engage with. Step. the. fuck. OFF.

America is in dire straits. Not the band, the actuality. We are entering the totalitarian zone with the rise of drumph, the admitted sexual predator, and narcissistic sociopath, whom a sibling, and at least one close friend voted for. WOMEN I know voted for that cretin. I understand men voting for him, but women? I guess I can fathom, in a Stockholm Syndrome sort of way, why women would have thought he’d be – nope, can’t do it. Stepford Wives comes closer to an explanation, or being drugged, or deluded.

Well, I can move abroad, right? I don’t have to stay for the shit show. I have friends & relatives in Canada & Australia. Being a refugee sucks, but it depends on what you’re leaving behind.

Good luck folks – I hope you like your new dictatorship. You all get what you deserve!

Cheers!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Endings Bring Beginnings

I don’t catch on quickly when I’ve been friend-dumped, unless it’s overt. It’s the ‘nice’ friend dumping that eludes me. It shouldn’t, but it does, especially when it felt like the friendship was real.

But here’s the thing about friendships: they’re not commitments. They’re not contracts, they’re gifts.

An old saying about friendships coming ‘for a reason, a season, or a lifetime’ is useful. I’m a fairly loyal friend, unless our values are so different that we oppress rather than uplift each other.

That time has come, and probably has been there for a while, but I didn’t want to see. I also relate to another saying that ‘everything I ever let go of has claw marks all over it’.

It’s painful – and I understand life is pain, but I do my best to avoid it. It’s all about lessons, though, right? I gained from those friendships, and I hope they gained from mine too.

It’s embarrassing when they’ve moved on and I didn’t notice. I just thought they were busy, or dealing with life stuff.

Of course it’s something we all go through – and get through. I hate that platitudes start churning through my brain – my effort to feel better – to find meaning and understanding, but there’s nothing to understand. I did nothing wrong, but it feels like I did. Sadly, my trauma brain, that old, worn, neural pathway tells me I fucked up, and I need to make it right:

…Then the beatings will stop. Then I’ll get what I need. Then I’ll be worth liking and loving.

The only way out is through. The only. way. out, is through.

I’d like it to not effect my whole life, so I must remember that my trauma picks untrustworthy people to try to make trustworthy so I can heal my hurt.

But it doesn’t work like that.

I have to build new, unsullied, neural pathways – and then make them stick. You know, easy-peasy…

Not everyone is honest. Some people just want superficial friends, and there is nothing wrong with that; I just wish they’d wear a sign so dense people like me would know.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Here We Are

Oh no, this is not a new ‘reality’.  This is not acquiescing to ‘what is’, or any other platitude.  We are in horrific times, pergatorious times – and yes – I just made up a word because that’s the kind of times we are now experiencing.

A joke is our President-elect.  Make no mistake, an unqualified hack will be the leader of this quickly sinking country – perhaps a harbinger of the fabled ‘end times’.  Yeah, I know I’m giving legitimacy to fiction by naming it as a thing I believe we’re approaching, if not already in, but, hey, ya gotta start somewhere…

The end times described in antiquitious texts is when the current system, way of life – whatev – is abandoned and a ‘new way’ implemented.  Or it’s when all the ‘worthy’ people will be ‘taken’ and the rest of us – most of us – will be left with the stinking cesspool those assholes helped create.

God looks the other way while Rome burns – or America and the European Union – at any rate.

Thankfully there are many, MANY, folks not burdened by fictional works who are left scrambling to hold onto the tattered remains of honorable, inclusive, compassionate society.

It sucks that it takes a horror show to jolt the fighters among us, but enlivened we are.

Peace be on those deserving peace.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Living Nightmare

So, the goodness I thought would reign didn’t manifest, and the people chose darkness.

They chose hate, fear, misogyny, and it’s the first time a known sexual predator was elected to the highest office in America.

We are lower than we’ve been since John F Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassinations.

Healthcare – such as it is – will be repealed, and people won’t be covered for pre-existing conditions.  Women’s rights – even the right to vote – risk decimation.

Supreme Court justices who are anything but just will be installed, and America will not get over this ruination.

President Obama barely got us out of the hell President George W. Bush got us all into, but at least we were making progress.

The bully elect will knock down and crush the building blocks so painstakingly erected over these last 8 years of a do-nothing Congress, that America also saw fit to continue.

I am bereft, bewildered, and sad for my fellow Americans, especially us women, and for the children who will wonder why we did this to them.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

All I Gotta Do Is, Act Naturally

1099375-clipart-movie-camera-filming-over-a-rainbow-splatter-and-film-reelsAt twelve I knew I wanted to act.  It was what I thought I’d be in adulthood.  I guess it was just going to happen naturally because I never had a plan. I failed to position myself for that occupation, relying on the ‘will of the universe’, or ‘fate’, or whatever my idiot mind told itself – so it never happened.

My first foray into Community Theater was in the early 2000’s.  I had auditioned for a play in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, but didn’t get cast, so I probably told myself I wasn’t ready yet.

I spent the better part of today as an extra in a film, driving over two hours to the set, and riding back home after 10 p.m., exhausted, and probably shouldn’t have been driving, but had I stayed at a motel, I would have spent more than I earned, and had I tried to sleep in a parking lot somewhere I would have been too paranoid to sleep.

This was the fifth movie I’ve been a paid prop in, oops, I mean background work, and I finally realized tonight, after almost getting a featured spot that the director, or the universe, or fate, decided to nix, that chasing acting is trauma re-enactment. I’m still trying to convince those in control that I’m worthy of notice.  I’m so tired of my psyche trying to  reconcile my neglectful past.  It’s not going to happen.

The same cast of characters appears each time, albeit in different physical forms. There are non-protecting bystanders, abusers, and victims.  (Victim is often a loaded word, so hear it un-weighted.)

Rising early, I rush about readying myself for the day’s work, ensuring I have collected all I need and might want, and set out into the dank, murky pre-dawn.  The creeping light flings itself out in eye-searing magnitude just as the crush of rush-hour traffic gathers at the crest of an eastward hill, and I jam on the car’s hazard button, hoping to avoid rear-collision while slamming on the brakes in what appears choreographed timing – as though the traffic were all swimmers breaking the surface one after the other in dizzying succession.

Surviving the first sun-caused hazards, we attempt merging with the big boys and girls zooming along on the super-highway at their break-neck pace: a feat reminiscent of double-dutch jumping  without tangling both jumpers in the ropes – only with higher stakes in the highway metaphor.

Once successfully merged, we soon come to several stand-stills, where many of us frustratingly shift from stopped lane to nearly stopped lane, seeing the traffic gods punish us with every lane but ours beginning to move.

An hour later, fleeing the chaos of four-lanes, for the migraine of two lanes, and a GPS with a shitty sense of humor, or probably just sadistic, I double back to the left turn it told me to take as I was passing it in the wrong lane, and I finally rumble into a bumpy lot, park, and kiss the steering wheel for getting me there without bodily harm or auto damage.

A dozen other, sleepy, hopeful stars ascend the shuttle bus stairs and settle in for our ride to the set.

Once there, we queue up to fill out our pay slip forms, find space to don our costumes, and then stand in the next line for hair, and then one for make-up, and finally find our way into the holding area where there is coffee and juice and cereal and muffins, and why are they feeding us all this crap when we’re trying to stay svelte for when we’re discovered the nineteenth time we cross that street when the director calls: ‘action’? So, I opt for coffee and a banana, and wait for our day’s adventure.

Extra work is similar to traumatic childhood in that we’re never told exactly what is happening that day, and what our role is.  We have to become ‘instant experts’ once we’re schlepped to location and placed.  Then we’re told that we’re excited, or mad, or confused, or disgruntled, or perhaps all of the above, and the day continues with each of us trying to out prop the other.

I swear the women who were behind us who ended up in front of us toward the end of that particular scene were going to end up in the car with the principal actors by the end of the shot.

And here’s the thing:  the principal actors are who matter.  Background is sound and color, and does serve a core purpose, but you wouldn’t know it by the haphazard treatment that I’ve experienced on every set I’ve worked on.

My goal is for principal actor roles.  My reality is that extra work will never meet that goal.  I need to change my approach, or nothing will ever change.  In life, or on film.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Puppet People

If you think about it, we’re self-animated, or actuated, puppets.  We’re going to die, and if you’ve ever seen a loved one’s dead body, you know how they are utterly gone.  Their body seems like some strange putty – some facsimile of who they were, and somewhat recognizable – but definitely not ‘them’.

We are not our bodies – we control our bodies with who we really are.

You reach for an object, not even realizing that you commanded your body to act, rather than being your body – which could or would act autonomously of your desire.  Outside of blood, breath, temperature, neurology & cellular replication, our body, unless compromised by disease or disorder, is controlled by our thoughts.

Hungry: eat.  Tired: sleep, or fight sleep when you need to stay awake.  Scared: hide, or run, or freeze. Happy: smile, dance, laugh.

There is so, so much we don’t understand, all around us.  Some suggest that there’s an invisible (to most of humanity) world going on as closely as anything we can observe or know.

Why are some people psychic, or able to observe what others cannot, if they’re not charlatans?

Why am I sensitive to things my friends aren’t?  I know when I’m in an occupied space, or perhaps a super occupied space.  I lived in a ‘haunted’ apartment for two years, constantly questioning my sanity and perception, but when I moved to another apartment that was not haunted, I could sleep with the light off, and not be afraid to walk to the bathroom during the night.

I have experienced intense energy, or whatever it was, that others seem not to – and I am nothing special.

So what? – right?  It matters because even if we don’t know where we’re going from here, it means we are not our bodies, our physical matter.  That’s pretty cool.  Maybe our brain is the only part of us that matters most, outside of other vital organs, but even those who think our brain is the limit – that everything begins and ends between our ears – that doesn’t account for anything outside our understanding that we experience.

I feel hopeful thinking that my existence doesn’t end here, and I’m as rightfully here as anyone else, and my continuation, while unknown, is as certain as knowing that death is only of my body, but not of my essence.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current