by Just LeJenD
Guided by prompts from WDC blogging challenges... and of course, life
HI! I'm Jenn - and I'm all over the place (well, at least my mind is). In this blog, I have attempted to gather my thoughts on things prompted/inspired by WDC blogging challenges from "Journalistic Intentions" , "The Soundtrack of Your Life" , "Blogging Circle of Friends " , "30-Day Blogging Challenge ON HIATUS" and, well, LIFE.|
| I'm sure we've all heard that old adage, "What goes up must come down." There's so much truth to that saying, beyond where gravity is involved. Manic highs are most often followed by some pretty extreme lows. Welcome to my Bipolar 2 nightmare. It is so easy to ride the highs, to not stop to consider what will inevitably follow. But the higher you are, the harder you crash. I wish I could keep my feet on the ground rather than flying high or on my knees in tears. Normal life isn't my norm though. And I must play the cards dealt me, like it or not.
My shrink warned me yesterday that if I didn't take care of myself, I was going to snap. She was trying to warn me that the mania could get worse, and I wouldn't have control anymore. Maybe she should have thought about that other possibility. The one in which I find myself once again. Remember silly girl. What goes up must come down, and down, and down. I told Mark earlier what is going on. Being my best friend and husband, he deserves to be forewarned of my disposition. He can make sure there aren't many things around the house I could hurt myself (or him) with. He'll be better equipped to handle my silence and my random bouts of sobbing. There's no good way to express how I feel. So few words even come close to sufficing. Drained, empty, despondent - wretched. In the end, though, they are all just words on a screen. Words that still fail to express the true extent of the experience. And, yeah, I'd like to die or at least inflict physical pain upon myself to force my mind away from the mental anguish. Once upon a time I would burn myself in times like this. I never was big on cutting. Burns caused more pain. But I'm an adult now. And I still have it together enough right now to know that burning isn't the way to go. I just don't know which end is up anymore. Every direction I turn is a southbound road farther down the spiral.
The dogs keep checking in on me. It's like they sense I'm off. Coltrane keeps coming and putting his massive head in my lap and looking up at me with his big soulful eyes. Maybe he's telling me I'm not alone, who knows. Nixon won't leave my feet. He guards me, escorts me through the house, refuses to let me be alone. They know. I wish humans could be as perceptive...
I know I'm not alone. I have Mark, family, and the dogs and cats. And I still have somewhat of a grasp on what is real. Hopefully the ride doesn't get worse. But either way, I know that This Too Shall Pass. Enjoy your lives when you can y'all. Everyone deserves to be happy.
Nixon, my old German shepherd who has been ill for the last little while, is finally starting to get better. There have been no more signs of runny poo and his appetite is improving with each feeding (I started by adding a little bit of boiled chicken pieces and broth to his food to stimulate appetite as the vet suggested). Turned out he just had a stomach bug his body needed to work through. I'm happy his immune system is still strong enough for him to be able to recover. He is even being less lethargic and more playful again. It's good to have my big boy back again!
As for Coltrane, the younger one (my mastiff) he has shown improvement on learning limits both within the house and when we take him out in public. Who doesn't want a dog that behaves, after all? He still has an addiction to tearing up cardboard boxes, but I am sure that will wane with time as he grows out of puppyhood. As with any pet/child, he has his times of forgetting his manners and will try to do things like get into stuff on the kitchen counter (he stole and ate an entire new loaf of bread recently) or steal our shoes. I had to take his teddy bear away from him until he stops tearing everything up and boy was he upset with me! He sulked for over an hour with those big sad eyes locked on me like lasers!
Both cats are still too wary of Coltrane to come inside the house and many days I just see one or the other of them. Yesterday and this morning, however, Psycho and Maple Creme were both on my porch waiting for food and lovings. I sat down on the stoop and they came at me demanding pets and kisses, temporarily forgetting about their food. I think they're getting used to the "new" dog. (Though he is a daunting fellow at 9 months and over 80 pounds!)
The Human Folk:
As for me and Mark, we're getting by. I've had some issues with my mental health again. My Bipolar likes to rear its ugly head every once in a while. At least it has been the mania and not depression. I go today to see the doctor. It'll get straightened out, I'm sure. I'm in a flare too. (When it rains, it pours. Right?) But again, today is Medicine Day. Whoohoo! I take meds every day, but Wednesdays are special. I take my once-a-week med on Wednesday. It makes my handful of pills a bit bigger, but it is well worth it to get some relief from the pain and inflammation that the Lupus SLE and other aspects of my MCTD cause. Regardless of the health and mental issues, I continue to work, come home and do more work. But, I'm still doing less work now than I ever did as a teacher - and I'm getting paid more. (When a retail assistant manager can make more money doing less work and putting in fewer hours than a teacher that had to have at least a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university as well as a certification from the state, there's something wrong with that!)
Mark has been getting loads of customers lately and honestly has more work than he can handle. Summertime in Texas is always this way. People want green lawns throughout the scorching summer and many will pay handsomely for someone to make sure their irrigation systems are in proper working order or to install a system where there had never been one. And Mark is that someone. He's the best licensed irrigationist in this part of the state. He's been telling people it will be at least two weeks before he can get to them, so he'll be busy for the rest of the summer. That is good, because there isn't much work for him in the winter months.
The girls are both doing well.
Kat, my oldest, has her hands full with the two littles. (My granddaughters have to be the cutest kiddos since mine were little!) I'm sure she's tired, she has to be. But she lives with my parents now, so my mom is helping her with the babies. Thank goodness for grandparents and great-grandparents!
Lucy (the baby) is due to move to her new apartment at the end of July. It is a loft and she's really excited. She's proven herself to be quite a responsible adult. She doesn't like to ask for help, but she did ask since she is going to need help moving. She is working on getting her driving license, something that her ex-fiancé had discouraged her to do the entire time she was with him. And she has a new love interest who is helping her achieve that goal by teaching her how to drive a vehicle with a standard (manual) transmission.
I couldn't be prouder of my girls. They have both become strong young women. But isn't that what any parent prays will happen for their children?
There are blessings amongst all the chaos. Sometimes, we just have to look harder for them than other times.
|Yesterday I was told I have COVID. I was feeling so terrible the last few days that I had to bite the bullet and go see the doctor. They tested me for flu, strep, and Covid. And of course, I was the unlucky recipient of the news that I have COVID and I must quarantine myself until all my symptoms are gone. I still feel terrible. I can understand now why everyone says it is bad news. And my doctor is worried that my Lupus SLE will add additional complications to the issue. Only time will tell, I suppose. All I can do is take my meds like a good patient, stay away from others, and get plenty of rest. In the meantime, all I can do is continue to be miserable and try to take care of myself - and let my doggos take care of me.
| Yesterday I happened to see my college creative writing professor. Even after all these years, she still looked the same. I can't say the same about her mind though. However, there were glimpses of the woman I once looked up to some twenty plus years ago. It was difficult, seeing the fierce, articulate woman who had once inspired me to write beyond my comfort level having lost much of her mental capacity. It was even harder to hear that she had not been doing what she loved above all else, writing. When, in her tiny shaky voice, she asked me if I still wrote, I told her I had to write for my sanity and she understood. She seemed pleased that one of her students was still writing after all this time. She told me she hasn't written in a long time though, but maybe she needed to start writing again to keep her mind from going away completely. I told her, "It sure helps me." Hopefully, she will write again, sharing her unique view of the world with everyone once again. I hope, maybe, that I might have inspired she who once inspired me, to pick that pen back up and allow her soul to sing once again. Such lovely voices shouldn't be snuffed out by age, time, or anything else for that matter. But even if she decides not to write, her legacy will continue on through the inspiration she instilled in me and those other classmates who found their love of writing while taking her classes. And all of her creativity and the vivid memories of her youth will live on in those books and poems she had published through her years of writing.
| While times have been rough for me of late, yesterday was even more so. The day began like normal: coffee, news, more coffee, followed by a trip to the pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions that were filled for this week. It was a gray, drizzly morning so I chose to go through the pharmacy's drive-thru rather than go in to get the meds. I never left my vehicle while on that trip into town and pulled into my garage as soon as I returned home.
I tell you that so I can tell you this (as my darling husband likes to say) - When it was time to leave again, this time for work, I put the Jeep into reverse and began backing out of my garage. I heard a "clunk, pause, clunk" as I emerged from the garage onto the drive. It sounded like there was something stuck under the Jeep, so I put it in park and got out to look underneath. I didn't find anything under there, so I jumped back into the driver's seat and put the gear back into reverse. That's when warning lights appeared on the dash and warning dings started sounding.
I decided to check the limited information that my Jeep puts on the digital dashboard to see if that might tell me anything. The tire light was one of the lights that had appeared, so I checked the tire pressure readout on the dash. It said my front driver's side tire only had 18 PSI. It didn't look flat when I went into the garage to start the vehicle. (Yes, I checked. I check every time I have to drive anywhere. I've been stranded because of problematic tires before.) Well, I got back out and looked again. Sure enough, the tire was flat. I got a huge knot in the pit of my stomach. What the hell could be wrong? I've gotta get to work and Mark is out of town for the day. Damnit!
Tires don't just magically go flat. I had just driven the Jeep earlier, and the tires felt and sounded fine on the road on that trip. No "clunk", no pull to the side that the tire is on, which would have happened had the tire been flat or even low on that first journey into town.
I thought I might have hit a nail or something while I was backing out. It wouldn't have been the first time someone's road fodder (or my husband's misplaced junk) ruined one of my tires. So, I ran my hand around the tire to see if I could feel anything stuck in the tire. Something poked my hand. What the Hell! I'm bleeding! What is that? Whatever it was that was stuck in my tire was more to the inside, and it was spikey. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and maneuvered it back there so I could take a picture of the mystery object and maybe get an idea of what it might be. I had no idea what I would find.
This wasn't anything of my husband's. It wasn't road fodder either. There was a homemade tire spike in my tire. Someone had taken nails and welded them together, sharp side out, in a manner that resembled a jack (remember playing jacks as kids?). Someone deliberately made this object to ruin someone's tire - and I was the unlucky recipient.
What do I do now? I tried to call my husband, but he didn't answer. Tried again, still to no avail. Then I phoned my boss and told her what was going on and that I would most likely be late getting to work. I didn't hold back with my frustration, and more than a few F-bombs escaped my mouth while I was on the phone with her. She started to laugh. I told her I was serious and she said, "I know. It's just that I have never heard you say 'f*ck' so many times in one sentence!" (Well, I'm glad that gave her a chuckle. I was still none too happy about the situation.) She told me she was sending someone to pick me up. At least I had a ride to work. I left my Jeep parked in the drive and locked it up when my ride arrived to take me to work.
Well, with that taken care of, I tried calling my husband one last time and finally got hold of him to tell him of the whole damned issue. He was incensed, certain someone had come into our garage and placed the thing under my tire or left it on the driveway for one of us to run over. Whether it was actually meant for one of us or not, whoever made the thing did so with the intent to cause damage to someone else's vehicle/tire. I mean, I doubt (and seriously hope against) anyone around here would be making bombs, which is the only other reason one of these not so little quad-spikes would have been made.
Yeah. I'm fine, made it to work on time, and my tire has been fixed, but I still don't feel too safe on the road now. Ugh.
| I've been with WDC for seventeen years as of today. It feels like just yesterday that I joined. Granted, I did take a bit of a break from the site for a while during my later years of university and my early years teaching, as I was focused on my education and my career. But this site is magical, and it called me back just as my brain itched to write once more. There are so many wonderful and encouraging people here. I have begun to build friendships with some and still more entertain me with their stories and poems. Seventeen years and I'm still learning all the intricacies of writing, I'll never stop learning. But it is here on WDC where I find the most support, the most encouragement, and where I often get honest reviews of my work. For those honest reviews, I am grateful. They help me to become a better writer and allow me to see my work from another's viewpoint.
When I first came to WDC, I only wrote poetry. But here, I was encouraged to step out of my comfort zone and attempt different types of writing. I've tried my hand at short stories, and of course blogging. Longer stories are still daunting to me, but with the encouragement I receive here, I am sure I will one day top that mountain as well. So, to everyone here on WDC, thank you. Thank you for making me a better writer, thank you for the help and confidence, for the friendships, the honesty. And most of all, thank you for being here. You are all what makes WDC so very magical (and addicting). Seventeen years doesn't seem like very long, really. Here's to at least seventeen more years here on this awesome site!
|Blogging Circle of Friends - DAY 3477 - August 27, 2022
Where words leave off, music begins.” — Heinrich Heine
What kind of music helps you get by when things are stressing you out?
I tend to look toward happier, more upbeat music to de-stress me or calm me when I am stressing out. There are many songs I listen to. Here are a couple of my favorites:
(Yeah, this one does it for me every time)
Have a wonderful and blessed day everyone!
|Prompt: Birthdays happen whether we're ready or not. Some people celebrate them by having parties, traveling, shopping, or doing nothing at all. How do you celebrate or not celebrate yours?
Many years I do not celebrate my birthday at all and treat it as just another day. There were years when my girls would surprise me by baking me a cake and my husband would take them to find me a gift or two. But more often than not, my birthday would just be "just another day."
My birthday this year was different though. I decided to celebrate another year of life. I wore a plastic crown and a button that said "Birthday Girl". The day was set aside to do things I wanted to do - and I had a wonderful time. My husband and I even went to a putting competition where, to my delight and surprise, all my fellow disc golfers sang me happy birthday and I surprisingly did quite well in the competition. It might have just been my lucky day, or I might have been flowing on all the awesome birthday vibes - but I was putting much better than normal.
Maybe I'll again set aside time for me to have a "ME" day on my birthday in 2023. Life is too short not to celebrate another year of being alive, after all!
|Just when I think I'm getting a handle on things, something happens to turn everything on its head again. I'm not one for a lot of change. I like things simple, almost predictable. Complications are distractions, uncomfortable and many times anxiety provoking. The world in recent times has drained me mentally. Dissention and fighting amongst everyone, uncertain times, and this whole state in which the U.S. has mired itself have resulted in a lack of zeal about life. I fall asleep early and prefer it if I could just hibernate until things settle down a bit. Hey, I'm an adult. I know I can't do that. I have a job to work at, bills to pay, responsibilities to meet. So I wake up, go to work, come home, and go back to sleep. In my dreams, I'm not bombarded by the insanity. But waking life has still become too much to handle.
Maybe it's because I'm an empath. Everyone else's emotions affect me directly and there's just too much negativity going around and not nearly enough of the positive and I can't seem to distance myself and my emotions from the influence of other people's lives and drama, try as I might. If only there was a way to put me in a stupor, to decrease my awareness to the point of being oblivious... But wait! There is! It just doesn't help when life's curve balls hit me all at once.
Physically and medically, I'm doing great (as far as I know). All the doctors' tests have come back looking good. So here I am. I'm finally fully able to enjoy life again and additional circumstances work to keep me down. My daughter lives in a dope house and refuses family visits to see the new baby - but she sends loads of pictures. We are stressed about the immigration issues in the US (my husband is Canadian but has permanent residency in the US) and what it means to us. My grandma's health has taken a downturn. And as the icing on the recent shit cake that I call my life, my favorite aunt (everyone has a favorite right?) was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and given less than a year to live.
It's hard to celebrate to good things when the bad seems to overwhelm. Maybe I'm just being a Negative Nellie, I'm too close to the situation to tell.
So, I pray. And I work, and I pray. Work keeps my mind occupied for a while each day. The constant stream of people coming in and out of the store keeps my mind focused on things other than my personal issues. I'll probably work myself into my own early grave, but then, life will be someone else's problem.
|Today begins a week of celebration for myself and my husband. It's Canada Day and my husband is Canadian. We begin celebrating today and continue to celebrate through the Fourth of July and after. The Fourth isn't just Independence Day for us. It's also our anniversary. This year marks 22 years of ups, downs, and everything in between - 22 years of being there for one another through thick and thin, and through bouts of mental instability and long times of health issues. I couldn't even imagine being married to someone else. His sese of humor and kindness has seen me through some of my worst times. He's my best friend, and my confidante. He's my Canadian Dream Boat, my knight in muddy Dickies (he owns & operates an irrigation business). So to begin our celebration, Happy Canada Day to everyone out there.