Depression Again

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Been really fighting off a depression slump again, and I’m losing. Today I slept in until after noon – that is often one of the first signs that the depression is getting real. The longer and later I sleep in often correlates directly to a diminishing mood.

You may ask if there is something triggering this slump. The holidays often seem to be related to the issue. Last night I had a dream about revisiting the house my dad died in when I was 12, I’m sure that might have something to do with it – approaching the holidays and thinking of all the family losses again.

My cat, Spyder, really has me down too. He has been sick for over a month now. We’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on 3 vet visits, 3 rounds of antibiotics, special diet foods, and medical tests – all to be no closer to a real answer about what is wrong and with him not getting any better, at least not for long. He’ll get a little better on the antibiotics, but once they stop, he quickly gets sick again. Yesterday and today he hasn’t even been eating and just sleeps all day.

Feeling pretty low and hopeless at the moment.

Poetry – Sylvia Plath Reincarnated

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I fear I may be
the unfortunate reincarnation
of Sylvia Plath.

Born fifty years to the day
from her initial entrance,
I draw the parallels
between our lives –
lines that connect
far more than astrology.

Both of us poets,
wordsmiths
living through our literary confessions.
Desperate to be taken seriously –
a gift freely granted
to the masculine,
but almost impossible to achieve
with a soft voice and gentle hands.

Both with daddy complexes
due to the abandonment
of an early death,
we seek that missing link
in other men
(some more worthwhile
than others).

Our final connection results
in a morbidly strengthened bond –
a certain disregard
for our own lives.

We dream of being free
from this earthly game,
but lack the forbearance
for a lengthy battle.
Instead, we choose to dream of release –
and in our darker moments,
even plan it.

Stressful Week – Sick Kitty & CFS Flare Up

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Our poor, sick kitty Spyder.

This week has been stressful. First off, I have a sick kitty that has recently cost us over $700 in vet bills (for severe diarrhea) and even after spending all that money and giving him antibiotics and treating him for parasites just in case, he isn’t any better. The clean up hasn’t been any fun at all either.

I’m not sure if he is not any better because something else is wrong with him or because we had a hell of a time getting him to eat the food with his medicine in it. I don’t know how much of the medicine he even got down. He has a follow up with the vet this Friday, so we’ll see what they say. Maybe they’ll give us another way to give him the meds or run more tests to see what is going on. Either way, more $.

I have also been struggling with exhaustion, full body achiness, and general malaise since our trip on my birthday near the end of October. My CFS/ME is flaring big time. Chronic fatigue syndrome sucks and the name is misleading, because it is so much more than fatigue. It is more like the worst flu that keeps on going and going and coming back again and again.

Wish I had better things to report, but that’s the truth, and I always try to be honest with you all.

Art Show Anxiety – Past Wins, Future Failures? Am I Good Enough?

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Ok, so this past year I placed and won an award in a pretty prestigious art competition. One of those fancy ones where you have to pay hundreds of dollars to even go to the art show and sale, and the auction bids can get pretty crazy. It was for charity though, so I didn’t mind the high price stuff related to it. This was definitely the most “high-brow” art show I have been a part of.

Now they have announced that the first year’s show was such a success that they are doing the competition for 2020 too. I plan to enter and am excited about it, but also really nervous and filled with self doubt. I keep feeling like if I don’t place at all next year or at least place as high as I did this year that I will somehow be failing.

I tell myself this is ridiculous. There are so many talented artists out there and if I don’t place again it won’t mean that I am less talented, it will only mean that they preferred someone else’s take on the contest subject matter. Also, I want other artists to feel the happiness I felt when I found out I had been selected as a winner. I don’t want to be selfish.

I know deep down this is probably about my perfectionistic streak and low self-esteem. Part of me feels like it was just a lucky fluke to be recognized by the “elite” art world at all. I wish I could not put this unnecessary pressure on myself. I know it isn’t healthy or helpful. Any suggestions for how to let go of the fear of failure?

A Few Favorite Photos From My Birthday Trip

My husband and I had a great time on my birthday trip, although I am exhausted and extremely sore now! It will probably take at least a week for me to recuperate physically, but it was worth it! Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip:

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Rainy days are still beautiful in Kentucky.
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Just a girl walking along an autumn road…
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A reminder that even while we are on vacation, social issues abound. House the Homeless.
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Two aging sweethearts lol.
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Watching the leaves fall into the river.
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Dance as if no one is watching.
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This speaks to my Irish soul.
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Art and nature combine.

 

Weekend Birthday Trip – Spooky Fun, Here We Come!

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My birthday is the 27th of October, so my husband and I are going away for the weekend to Louisville, Kentucky (about 2 hours away or so) to find some spooky Halloween fun. I love to visit places that are supposedly haunted or paranormal, so we plan to go to a haunted sanatorium which used to be a tuberculosis hospital in the early 1900s, during the “White Plague”. Needless to say, there was a lot of tragedy there, which seems to breed hauntings.

We also plan to try to find a cursed “witch’s tree” and visit one of the local cemeteries to see KFC’s Colonel Sanders’ gravesite. I need to decide on something to leave at each site as a gift. It is recommended to leave ketchup packets at the Colonel’s grave, but I don’t really get that as I don’t think of ketchup at all when I think of KFC. I’m more likely to think of BBQ sauce, gravy, and honey for my biscuits. As for the witch, what do witches like? Especially nasty ones that will curse you if you don’t please them?

We also might do a little bit of antique shopping and visit a candy shoppe there if we have time. A lot of that depends on how well I hold up though. With Ehlers Danlos, CFS, Fibromyalgia, and chronic back and feet issues, I have to be careful to not overdo it too much. I know I will come back exhausted and sore and need to recuperate for a few days, but I don’t want to have to recuperate for weeks if I can help it!

That Shaking? Oh, It’s Just My Essential Tremor…Yet Another Diagnosis

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Yesterday I had my regular neurologist visit to follow up about my migraines and while there I was also diagnosed with Essential Tremor, a genetic condition that is often confused with Parkinson’s from the symptoms. It most commonly affects the hands, head, and voice, but can affect any body part. It can also affect balance, mood, and possibly memory.

My balance, hands and voice are already affected pretty bad at times which scares me since it can be a degenerative condition and it can eventually become hard to speak, eat, write, or in my case, make art, since I am an artist.

My tremors started out in both hands a few years ago and have definitely worsened. At first, I only noticed that I could never take a good picture because I couldn’t keep the camera steady enough to take one. It has worsened since then and affects more daily activities, such as writing, typing, pouring/drinking liquids, dropping almost everything, etc. I noticed the voice tremors starting probably a year or two after the hands.

My balance has noticeably worsened to the point that I often start to fall over while just walking around the house or even standing still. It isn’t unusual for my husband to push me back up as I start to fall over like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

For a long time I tried to dismiss it because I didn’t want to think something might really be wrong. I tried to blame it on anxiety or weird medicine side effects. I am glad that I don’t have MS or Parkinson’s which I feared sometimes. What finally made me bring it up with the neurologist is that the geneticist I saw for my Ehlers Danlos testing a few months ago seemed concerned by how much my hands shook.

The last thing I want to do is take yet more prescription medicines, but I am considering it in hopes that it might slow down the progression and alleviate the symptoms a bit. The only bad thing is that all the meds they use to treat this condition can worsen my depression, so the neurologist wants me to get the ok from my psychiatrist before we decide on a med to try.

Joker Movie – Thoughts and Feelings

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First off, I think this is a great film to really make you think about society and some of the true causes of violence and group anger. This movie can be interpreted many different ways and honestly can make you forget that it has anything to do with the superhero universe. It is gritty and realistic. Phoenix gives an amazing performance, just as everyone has been raving.

Now, on to my actual thoughts and feelings. The first 3/4 of the movie or so is just incredibly sad. I was actually relieved when it started turning to senseless violence because it was a break from the sadness, even though you knew the violence stemmed from that abuse and pain shown in the earlier parts of the movie. My heart ached for this man’s mistreatment at the hands of others all his life, partly because I have also experienced abuse and trauma for much of my life.

This movie brought to the surface many questions I have asked myself my entire life about accountability and assigning fault. In the Joker’s case, he has obvious mental health issues, seems to have suffered severe brain damage as a child, and would likely score sky high on the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) test. The brain damage, trauma, and abuse together may have not allowed this man to have any other kind of ending than the tragic one we see.

Think of it this way, we know that trauma can dramatically change an adult’s personality (think of veterans with PTSD). We also know that brain damage as an adult can make a kind, loving person cruel and abusive (think of athletes who have suffered severe brain damage and underwent entire personality shifts). Now, imagine these things happening to the brain of a child while the child’s brain is still developing. Also, imagine that the child doesn’t get medical care for the injury or illness quickly as the athlete or veteran hopefully would, so there is no hope of minimizing damage or healing appropriately. How much damage can that do to the child’s brain and personality?

It also makes me think about family legacies where abuse, malignant personality disorders, and mental illness have reigned for generations (much like my own family and probably Joker’s from what little we can see in the film). I’m fairly positive that most of my “ill” family members developed their personality disorders in very early childhood as is believed to be the case in psychology. From childhood they never developed empathy the way they should have. They never grew out of the petulance of the 2-3 year old attitude. Although they seemed terrifying to me when I was a child, I almost feel sorry for them now because they are permanently stuck in immaturity.

I wish they showed empathy, but I ask myself how I can expect someone to show something that they have never had. How can I realistically ask them to be something they could not be even if they wanted to be? Some might think this way of thinking is defeatist, but I simply see it as realistic. It does help keep my hopes from getting too high only to be dashed yet again.

 

Joker and American Horror Story Fun

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Today my husband and I finally have the time to go see the Joker movie. I am really excited. I hear it is quite dark and nihilistic, similar in some ways to the Heath Ledger version of the Joker from The Dark Knight movie. I know it probably doesn’t help my depression, but I love dark, bleak movies like that.

Maybe I relate to them because of my depression. I have too much empathy for people to become a mass murderer or abuser, but I must admit that there are many times that I feel like life is pointless, everything we do is pointless, happiness is pointless, pain is pointless, etc. I feel like that most often when in a severe depressed state. I think that is why I look up to artists like Kurt Cobain, Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Sylvia Plath, etc., because they expressed similar feelings at times.

This week I also have been catching up on the tv show American Horror Story and watched the 8th Season called Apocalypse. I loved this season! They brought back the witches from the Coven season which was one of my favorites, and I always love an apocalypse-themed story, but my favorite part of the season was Michael Langdon. Partly because I found him kind of hot, and partly because I found him often hilarious as the Antichrist. The poor guy showed us how uniquely stressful and confusing it could be to try to figure out how to bring about the end of days! Why doesn’t this “son of satan” stuff come with a guidebook???