Tumbleweed

tumble-weed public domain photo

Like a tumbleweed rolls,
I careen
end over end
through life.
Never stopping,
never knowing
what I’ll collide with next.

~Maranda Russell

The Problem is Me

Art by Maranda Russell

The following is a poem about depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder:

The Problem is Me
Written By: Maranda Russell

The problem is me.
The problem has always been me.
It wouldn’t matter
where I go,
where I live,
what house I call home,
who is at my side,
who is under my feet,
who is in power,
or what is going on –
the problem remains
as long
as the problem is me.

My Story in 59 Words

Art By Maranda Russell

My Story in 59 Words
Written By: Maranda Russell

I am a product of the heartland,
and many years of dedication.

I am a survivor of abuse,
and the proud parent of creation.

I am separate from my family,
but still trust their education.

I hear earth’s voices unite in song,
and join their recitation.

No doubt my life will face its trials,
yet I strive for graduation.

So…6 Days in the Hospital: What I Learned

Hospital-Corridor-Public-Domain.jpg

Hello everyone! Well, yesterday I finally got to go home after spending 6 days in the hospital. Spending any time in the hospital isn’t the most pleasant way to spend time, so 6 days there certainly isn’t a party. However, some good did come out of the experience. For one thing, the original problem (horrible side affects and adverse reactions from prescription medicines) was solved….at least I hope so. I only say that I hope so because too often in the past I thought that a medication change was beneficial, only to develop an intolerance, allergy, or a Lollapalooza of side effects later.

Another good thing is that I really felt like I opened up and made some friends while hospitalized. After moping around the first day or two and even getting enraged because I couldn’t go home yet, I finally sucked it up and started coming out of my room to hang out with the other sickies. I met quite a few others, who, like me, were struggling with the results of pharmaceutical persuasion. Others were walking around slower than molasses, giving me the impression they were not currently inhabiting their physical form. Turns out I was wrong about at least one of those cases though. Who would have guessed that the guy who left me wondering if he was mildly or even moderately retarded was actually a highly educated and trained research engineer for the United States Air Force? Here I was thinking he was a few french fries short of a Happy Meal, when he is actually helping design and produce bombers.

Another positive? I found a doctor who seems almost a little TOO interested in Aspergians lol. As he declared himself (in similar words at least), “pretty much every great advancement in human history is due to autists”. I’m not sure about the actual historical accuracy of that statement, but can’t say there isn’t some kind of truth hiding in there. Apparently we neurologically diverse humanoids are pretty fascinating creatures to some out there.

A few other brief things I learned:

*Apparently you don’t insult Axl Rose. I don’t care though, the guy always seemed like an asshole (just ask his ex-bandmates).

*Having your own room can make all the difference when you are autistic and forced to live in a crazy sensory environment.

*It is foolish to pick up bugs when you don’t know what they are. The suckers might deliver a wallop of a sting!

*Sometimes the smallest act of kindness, like giving up something you want because someone else wants it even more, can make all the difference in the world to someone.

*Just saying that you like manga is enough for some people to love you!

*Nurses are often the true heroes of healthcare.

Burning bridges and moving on

"Burning Bridges" acrylic on paper, 9" x 12".
“Burning Bridges” acrylic on paper, 9″ x 12″.

Lately I have been on a “burning bridges” kick. I have decided to let go of some situations and relationships that were unhealthy and quite frankly, were draining the life from me in some ways. For quite a while I debated with myself about whether to give up and move on from these things or not. Part of me didn’t want to give up on people I once cared about and move on. I wanted to hold onto the hope that things would change and magically it would all become better. I don’t think this hope is bad, but sometimes if you cling too tightly to that which isn’t good for you, instead of things becoming better, they actually deteriorate more.

When I realized that even thinking about these people and situations was severely depressing me, I figured it was time to release the attachment and move on the best I can. I wish them all the best, but I realize now that they are not the best thing for me at this time. Perhaps we were only meant to be in each other’s lives for a certain period of time, or maybe we do have a future together but need some time apart to grow and change. I have always prided myself on my loyalty to those I love and care about, but I am now realizing that relationships can’t just be one-sided. I cannot make anyone like or respect me, but I can choose to spend my time with those who do. Hopefully as I move on, I will enter a future full of new experiences and meaningful relationships.

Here are a few quotes about burning bridges I have especially enjoyed lately (sources unknown):

“May the bridges I burn light the way.”

“Sometimes you need to burn bridges to stop yourself from crossing them again.”

“The hardest lesson in life is figuring out which bridges to cross and which to burn.”

“Burning bridges takes too long. I prefer explosives.”

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Staying sane during troubled times

nasa-bird-public-domain-free-nature-2011-1024Lately things have been extremely stressful for me. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that I just feel overwhelmed and discouraged by circumstances that are somewhat out of my control, but still manage to weigh heavily on my heart and mind. I think I would have gone crazy recently if it weren’t for my spiritual connections and the support and encouragement of those who love me. Although I am not happy to be facing difficult times and circumstances, I am glad to have the reality check that helps me get back to the basics of what is really important in this life.

So now that I am (hopefully) starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, I would like to share the actual practices and actions that have helped me through, in the hopes that others going through the valley might find comfort and encouragement for their own battles. So here it is, a short list of lifesavers I have discovered:

  • Meditation and prayer – this is probably the one single thing that has helped me the most. I practice a combination of mindfulness and relaxation meditation, combined with prayer based on the particular Christian tradition I follow. I do breathing exercises, practice yoga, meditate to soothing music, read inspirational literature, journal and just spend time talking to God. Regardless of whether you are religious or not, there are plenty of relaxation and spiritual practices that may help you to find that inner peace and stability you need during rough times. Don’t be afraid to go within or look up for help.
  • Loved ones – this includes my husband, my family, my close friends, my pets and even Facebook friends that I have never met in person, but who have shown me great kindness and compassion throughout my troubles. One ironic thing I have found is that sometimes those who don’t even really know us show more compassion and love during hard times than some of the folks who we see on a regular basis. During times like this you find out that some people will always be there for you and other people are merely acquaintances. Although it may hurt, it is good to know who will be there when the chips are down.
  • Take care of your health – although sad and desperate times may tempt you to neglect your health, this will only make things much, much worse. Although I have had days recently where I was guilty of indulging in chocolate and caffeine fests, I find that I feel much, much better when I drag myself out to get exercise and eat what I know is good for my body. Make sure you take time to rest and sleep as well. Sometimes when all seems lost, laying down and taking a nap helps you recharge and “reset” your mind into a more positive direction.
  • Take time to play – this can be hard when you are facing tragedy and constant stressors, but it is important to try to keep life fun as much as you can. So do what brings you pleasure, even if you can only devote a few minutes a day. Read, write, draw, paint, do puzzles, dance around to your favorite music, watch cartoons, cook, shop, spend time with nature….whatever your bliss is, find time for it.

Well, that is the majority of what has worked for me. I can’t promise that what worked for me will do wonders for you too, but maybe it will if you give it a chance. It certainly can’t hurt to try.