bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Tag: anxiety

It’s a bittersweet symphony, this life.

 I’ve always felt a profound connection with this song – Bittersweet Symphony, by the Verve.

As I’ve been hearing this song a lot in the past month, the resulting thoughts and feelings that this song generates for me have been rolling about my brain for some time.

I hemmed and hawed about posting these thoughts, as I am aware the subject matter can be quite triggering for some.

And yet, in the spirit of my ‘Keeping It 100’ project – I decided that I might as well share those thoughts today, the intent being that if I come clean about this particular part of my personal history, perhaps someone out there might feel a little less…alone.

***So please be advised: In this post, I discuss my mental illness, including some details/references to episodes of personal self-injury.***

I was once diagnosed with bipolar axis 2, and I thought that I was – for many years.

I even took medication for about 5 years  – which I hated doing – because that’s what I was told would help me get a handle on myself and my negative thought patterns, behaviors, and emotions. 

(It’s one of my personality traits: I’m pretty much a strict follower of prescribed rules regarding certain aspects of my life. )

Though the high level of prescribed medications actually didn’t help – for obvious reasons I’ll touch upon in a minute – I took my meds as prescribed, without fail.

And yet, I still found myself with a distinct inability to feel happy. 

In therapy, I was told to embrace change, to meditate, to talk about my feelings, and to reject negativity.

And this song – Bittersweet Symphony – signified all of these aspects to me:  this song resonated deeply with me because it gave me the words to describe my personal struggle with being bipolar.

Because bipolar was the blanket mood disorder that was ascribed to me.

My being bipolar was the explanation and the reason that I displayed all those ‘negative’ personality traits: moodiness, a penchant for melodrama, emotional instability, anger management issues – even the personal quirks that I talk too fast and too much was ascribed to be further proof that I must be bipolar.  (The speed of my delivery must indicate the speed of my thoughts!)

And oddly enough, as much as I hated it, the diagnosis of bipolar was a relief too.  

Because being bipolar explained everything.

Even if it didn’t.

When I went off medications in late 2001, my psychiatrist at the time insisted that I shouldn’t because he claimed that possibility that I would self-injure again or attempt suicide. 

But my stubbornness er, determination to prove him wrong was a powerful force.

Thus, it is a point of pride for me when I admit that I did not even think of self-injury nor suicide for 12, almost 13 years.

But when my 20 year marriage was on the rocks and I left my husband in the summer of  2014,  to stay with LOL, my self esteem was at an all time low.  

And I admit that I entertained some dark thoughts while I was staying with LOL.

While I am certain that she felt that she was helping me, I realized within that month, that I had simply traded one form of mindfuckery for an even more insidious form of manipulation. 

I felt as if my world was falling apart – and I was simply existing between that rock and hard place, and while I should be ashamed of this, I suppose, thoughts of self-injury came rushing forward like an equally manipulative but familiar friend.   

 (Trigger warning: discussion/reference to self-injury follows)

Now, allow me to point out that the desire to self-injure is not the same as suicidal ideation.

This is a concept that has only recently been recognized by the psychiatric community. 

An act of self-injury is not, and should not be conflated as a suicide attempt, and yet I have been in therapy long enough that I can recall when it was difficult to find a therapist/psychiatrist that subscribed to the idea that self-injury event did not equal a suicide attempt. 

And yes, I have a ‘helpful’ but essentially misguided Massachusetts social worker to thank for a three day stay in a state mental ward in 1998 to show for that.* 

But if you have never self-injured but have always wondered why the fuck self-injury should not equal suicide attempt, allow me to explain my personal take:

When I have self-injured, it has always arisen from my being in an intensely overwhelming emotional state. 

Usually my self-injury arises out of a combination of anxiety coupled with despair, as well as – and this is the most important part – a desperate need in me to have control of something. Anything.  The levels of my anxiety and despair have reached critical mass and I am not just emotionally overwhelmed – I feel like I have lost control of everything. 

Emotionally, my thought-patterns and self-image have swiftly become stuck in an endless dark loop of hopelessness and negativity. 

I have likely hurt someone’s feelings with what I’ve said and done.

It is likely that my words and behavior have concerned (if not terrified) someone I love.

I start thinking in absolutes:

Nothing is good.

Everything is wrong.

It is all my fault.

I cannot fix it. 

In short

I feel I have lost control of my thoughts and emotions in response to the situation.

Then, that emotional situation might be coupled with the physical symptoms of what is most likely a panic/anxiety attack:

My heart, blood and breath rates are going through the roof.  I am bathed in a cold sweat, and all major muscle groups ache and twitch with tension.

My neck is tight, my chest feels constricted.

If I’ve been on a crying and/or screaming jag, it’s likely that I’m become so congested from crying that I am having trouble breathing, my stomach muscles ache from all the clenching/sobbing, and my throat has probably gone raw from screaming/crying.

My head and teeth ache from clenching my jaw, and I cannot seem to regulate my body temperature.

I am shaking. 

I feel nauseous.

If I’ve lashed out physically, I might have gone and broken something. 

I have likely terrified or upset others with my physical response.  

I may feel like I’ve physically lost control of my body and its responses to the situation.

The loss of control – in the combined mental and physical responses –  is terrifying.  I feel disconnected from myself.  I need to get control of something.

I want to get control back.  I want to connect again to my body and mind.

And so then, I might focus on the repetitive actions of scratching/picking at my skin.

In extreme cases, I might move to using other implements – usually something with a point or with a sharp edge – and I might proceed in cutting or scraping until I reach the desired level of pain which brings me relief. 

It’s the pain, you know.  I need to focus on the pain. 

It is my attempt to create a little physical pain as a distraction –  to distract myself from my mental pain. 

The pain is nothing more than a coping strategy – the effort to create a controlled distraction for myself, from myself.

Self-injury is a coping mechanism some people develop to deal with emotional pain.

But self-injury was, in my case, an unhealthy avoidance maneuver/coping mechanism.

But self-injury, in my case, was never a suicide attempt. 

I didn’t want to die; I just wanted to have control of somethingand in the case of self-injury, it was a cause/effect paradigm that was much easier to control. 

When my levels of emotional pain and the anxiety/panic attack sensations were overwhelming (out of control), this was a pain I could handle, something I could control. 

Though honestly, I do understand now how my anxious attempts to create sensation-situation I can control could easily lead to damage – anywhere from permanent scarring to accidental death.

(And yes, I do have scars as reminders of several episodes of self-injury.)

So.  There’s the background on the memory of my feelings that led to most of my self-injury attempts, which includes that last major self-injury attempt in 1998.

~~~

But back to June 2014 – when my husband and I seemed definitively headed for divorce, I left my husband and I was living with Local Other Lokean. 

I was, as you may imagine, feeling an overwhelming level of despair.

(And as I had mentioned before, it was the first time in 12 years that I’d even allowed myself to entertain thoughts of self-injury.  That alone was a sign that I was in way over my head in  dealing with my emotional pain in a healthy way.)

So I checked myself into the closest mental health facility that took my insurance which happened to be in Bartow, FL.

While there, I began therapy, and again, I was put back on bipolar medications, also for the first time in 13 years.

I thought about what my psychiatrist had said to me in 2001, and I had to chuckle: if his understanding of the unmedicated bipolar patient were to be trusted, why did it take me 12 years unmedicated to get to this moment?

The assigned therapist couldn’t answer that question.

As well, she couldn’t answer why the bipolar medications that I had been recently been given (and took as scheduled without fail) for the last 3 months did not seem to have any of the desired effects.

I still couldn’t sleep more than a few hours a night.  I felt just as anxious, just as ‘manic’ as ever, though the meds did affect my memory skills and I did have trouble concentrating most of the time. 

If calmer meant feeling as if I was uncomfortably drunk to the point of nausea, then I wanted no part of this version of calm.

But I am a follower of rules in regards to my mental health, so when the doctor suggested I try another medication, I did.

So I tried another medication.

And another.

And another.

And yet, it was not until relatively recently that any psychiatrist, social worker or therapist thought to question my bipolar diagnosis. 

I would explain what my symptoms were, and they would ask if I ever had a diagnosis.  I’d tell them that I was diagnosed with bipolar axis 2 in 1997, and then,  they would write me a prescription for another bipolar medication.  

And it didn’t seem to matter if the medications didn’t work – I was bipolar, wasn’t I?

I started to wonder.

~~~

Well, finally in April 2016, I started going to another therapist who also had a degree in  psychiatry.

Oddly enough, my bipolar diagnosis was the first thing that he questioned, mostly because I’d begin to question it myself. 

So I laboriously described both my past and present symptoms in great detail over the next two months. 

As well, we talked about my meditation practice, negative self talk,  behavior modifications and mindful choices.  

Also, to ease my mind – and satisfy the insurance company – we sat down with the latest DSM of psychiatric disorders and methodically went through the symptom lists of bipolar axis 1 and 2, schizophrenia, OCD, ADHD, borderline personality disorder, and several anxiety disorders.

Turns out, according to his professional opinion, while I am melodramatic, talk fast, and I definitely have my moments of rage and depression, I don’t fit the diagnostic criteria of bipolar either axis one or two. 

As well, I am not schizophrenic. 

Nor do I have borderline personality disorder.

And I do not have ADHD.

But I do have an anxiety disorder with some rather definite overtones of OCD.

And that, my friends, is all I needed to know.

It’s nice to finally be heard and understood.

As well, it is good to finally be working with a therapist and a correct diagnosis.  It’s good to finally be able to function.

While the path to this point was not easy – I am grateful that I am making headway on treating my life-long issues with anxiety and depression.

~~~

* By the way: Thank *you*, Claire!   Sending three policemen to meet me at my home directly after our appointment on that miserable January day was an especial treat…and your suggestion/threat to the intake staff that I might require a straitjacket to ‘calm’ me when I arrived at the hospital for intake was a lovely though unnecessary touch.  Thank you ever so much for giving me and my powers of self-control the benefit of the doubt!)

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The Other.

<<<<see previous post for context<<<<<<

1 September 2016 – Day 2

The visualization today requires one to look in the mirror and ask oneself:

What is being hidden? What is holding you back?

When I looked into the bowl – I saw myself, at approximately age 10 or so.  I was crying, I was cutting – words into my skin.

And then I saw myself (at age 6 or 7) sitting at a table, deep in concentration.

I am making things out of clay.

My mother is there, but she is cleaning the kitchen.

(I am remembering, I am hearing snippets of my mother’s commentary:  Stupid little junky things and making such a mess.

These were things my mother hated: messes and ‘junky things.’

And I am making a mess.

According to her, I am sitting there, always making ‘stupid little junky things.’  My mother hated them; but my father collected them.  I see them lined up on the top of his bureau, these things I’ve made.

I watch myself trying not to cry, trying not to listen or to care about what is being said.

I feel defeated.

Suddenly, the words

strong

and

creative girl

run through my head as I consider my younger self in this vision.

It is difficult to see her.  I want to push this away.

I want her to be someone who is not afraid to say ‘No’

I want her to be the sort of child who is not afraid to stand up and tell her mother:

You are wrong. 

That is not true.

I am more than you know. 

I am more than you think. 

Where is she? The one who can do – the one who is unashamed – to create, to be, to shine?

She is crying.  I am crying.

Suddenly I remember those words, said just a few nights ago:

How dare you dull yourself for others….

I saw a girl who stopped trying.

The girl who gave up, who accepted their words

their ridicule

their anger

feeling like she deserved this treatment.

The quiet girl who simply tried harder to be perfect.

I wanted to show you…the one who decided to accept their opinions rather than creating herself. 

This is the one who hid.

This is the one you hid.

And then, I saw a ten-year old  girl pinned to the wall of a well-lighted bathroom – disassociating from the humiliation of what her mother is doing.

‘Come here, will you? Stay still! Just let me…goddamnit, I am trying to help you!….’

Feeling ashamed.  Trying to disassociate from the pain of fingernails digging into skin; face feeling hot and swollen…. and crying.

‘You know, you’d be so pretty if you would just let me fix…let me get this….’

I feel ANGRY.

This is the girl who holds it all in.

This is the girl who doesn’t complain.

This is the girl who didn’t think that she could win, so she didn’t fight.

This is the girl who acquiesced.

I wish that I could tell that girl that she did not deserve that  —  she did not have to accept that treatment – she didn’t have to allow her mother to do that.

I realize that this is why I have always inwardly cringed a little bit at those words Accept and Allow.

This is why I Can’t.

Because I realize when I accepted that – I accepted the unacceptable along with the acceptable and I allowed behavior that should not have ever been allowed.

And why?  Because I thought that if I was ‘good,’ I would be loved…but I was never good enough.

‘Here.  Step into the light.  Look at your face…let me fix that….’

Crying didn’t help.  Anger didn’t help.  Physical resistance only led to escalating altercations that just exacerbated things between my mother and I.

So what did I do — to cope?

I learned to ‘fix.’

Like my mother, I compulsively examine my face in the mirror.  I pluck my eyebrows and pick and scratch at the skin of my face, trying to fix.

I am wrecking my skin. I routinely  over-pluck my eyebrows.

And she ‘taught’ me how, because at some point, she stopped pinning me against the wall – because I learned to do these things to myself – to fix.

But I always feel so ugly afterwards.

Each time I tell myself that I won’t do it again.

Until the next time, every time that I feel or see an ingrown hair growing crooked or feel a bump or a flake of dry skin.   I always think my ‘fixing’ will make things better.

So I spend a lot of time examining my face in bathroom mirrors, looking for the slightest flaws – lumps, discolorations, hairs.

I also pick and scratch and worry the skin around my fingernails and at the tips of my fingers… and while I do not bite my fingernails, I try to keep them short enough so I can’t.

I convince myself that I’ve gotten better, you know.

Because it has to have been a good 25 years since I had gotten so lost in scratching or picking that the only thing that broke me out of my stress-induced reverie was that my fingers were bleeding.

When I’m stressed, I lightly – though compulsively – scratch my scalp.  (I still actually find head-scratching rather soothing.  Head-scratching is one of the only OCD things that I still do that doesn’t seem to do too much damage, but I can be obsessive about it, and thus feel ashamed enough to sit on my hands on my particularly ‘bad days.’)

It is OCD.

But the important difference between my mother and I – is that I respect the bodily autonomy of others.

And I have been through enough therapy to realize that what my mother did was abusive and wrong

This is hard.

You must step into the light…

But I realize that I am the one holding me back.

 

Month for Loki, Day 9: Beginnings.

This is my third year of making July a Month for Loki, and I feel a bit like I’m cheating to be using a writing prompt.

I figured that I might as well answer this particular prompt today for two reasons.

First, for the three years that I’ve been dedicating July to Loki, I’ve always found myself at one point or another in the month attempting to answer this question in a post.  So, in that regard, I have written perhaps six variations of my answer to this question in the past three years, but I’ve always been reluctant to actually post it for various personal reasons.  So there’s that.

Secondly, there’s the ‘inevitable nudge’ reason: this is a question that has come up on several occasions during five – count ’em five – separate conversations that I’ve had with others this week.

So, here goes…

How did I first become aware or know of Loki?

The truth is, I’m not entirely certain.

On the one hand, I could say that I’ve known of Loki since I was a kid, but I’ve only been considering myself as Lokean in the past three years.

There seems to be a weird dichotomy there – how could I have always known of Loki but never noticed Loki in my life?  This is the reason why I read other’s answers to this question with great interest but I’ve been reluctant to post the answer to this question myself.  Simply because I don’t like to share a lot about my upbringing or childhood because it was, in a word, dysfunctional.  And the shame factor gets pretty high when I consider that, yes, there is no doubt that I was considered a ‘weird’ kid by family and strangers alike – and not to put too fine a point on it, I learned at a young age that the way that I experienced the world was not normal.  When pressed, my mother and my three older siblings often attempt retroactively to put a positive spin on things by insisting that they thought of me as simply an ‘imaginative’ and ‘sensitive’ and ‘easily spooked’ child,  but they are reluctant to admit to how they reacted towards my imagination, my sensitivities, and the reality of why I was often deeply affected by — if not terrified — of damned near everything on a daily basis until I was about 13 or so.

In short, it had become deeply ingrained in me that there are many thoughts, feelings and experiences that, if I talked about them with others, garnered me anywhere from looks of mild concern (oh sweetie, that sounds scary) to grimaces of discomfort (oh my goodness, that’s an awful thing to talk about [swiftly changes the subject]) to lectures of outright dismissal and warning hissed through gritted teeth (If you keep talking about that, people are going to think you’re crazy, so stop talking about that right now / Shut up!)*

And so, here I am.

But I did have an imaginary friend.

I suppose that a lot of children do.  I often wonder if other children have imaginary friends as moody,vivid and strange as the imaginary friend that I had had.  I mean, I suppose that every child has an imaginary friend that is uniquely theirs – a wonderful, engaging, usually benign being.  I was always delighted to find others who had imaginary friends, and I mostly enjoyed sharing details about mine.  I guess that everyone thinks their imaginary friend is different or unique…but I didn’t notice how different or how unique that mine had been until I was an adult.

You see, I had an imaginary friend in kindergarten. I thought that I had made up that imaginary friend because I was lonely.   I had made a ‘real’ friend named Jenny Glickman in first grade, and she had an imaginary friend, so I made up an imaginary friend for myself, too.  The ‘friend’ I made up was supposed to be a lot like Jenny’s; but hers was a young girl, and mine…was sometimes a girl, sometimes not.  Jenny’s looked like her, she said, and shared the same birthday and everything.  Mine had a birthday, but I thought that it was a secret (which Jenny thought was weird but funny) so I didn’t know how old mine was.  And mine – even though I made zir up – didn’t look like me at all, which Jenny also thought was weird.

She couldn’t ‘see’ hers, but I drew pictures of mine all the time.

Jenny and I made up stories about our imaginary friends, and we spent recess either telling each other the stories that we made up, or pretending to ride horses with them.  The ‘riding horses’ detail kinda sticks out in my mind, I think because it seemed to be the only interest that our imaginary friends seemed to share.  We could all agree that we liked horses.

I remember going home and telling my mother about Jenny Glickman and how I had an imaginary friend just like she did.

And I remember my mother’s response: ‘Well that’s nice. So you have two imaginary friends now?’

And I laughed, and I felt confused.  I argued that no, I only had the one that I had with Jenny Glickman.  And I’ll never forget how she corrected me, saying that I had had an imaginary friend long before I went to school or met Jenny Glickman.

Truth is, we were talking about different things.  She was talking about the Shadow in the Dark.

(You may remember that I’ve written about the Shadow in the Dark here).

So…yeah.

If you want to consider the Shadow in the Dark  as an ‘imaginary friend,’ that’s fine.

The Shadow in the Dark was, at first, quite terrifying to me.  Hardly like an imaginary friend…since aren’t imaginary friends supposed to be ‘friendly’ rather than terrifying?

But the Shadow in the Dark was the reason that I would have done almost anything to avoid going to bed at night.  Looking back on it, I had typical elaborate bedtime rituals that I had hoped would prolong the process, such as needing a snack, brushing my teeth, going to the bathroom, needing to have a story read or a specific stuffed animal in order to fall asleep, etc.  As it is with most, my parents were only slightly annoyed by many of those typical avoidance maneuvers — unless I was still awake three hours later trying to prolong my actual bedtime. (Sometimes I would be the only one left awake at midnight or 1 AM, when they’d notice light leaking out from the bottom edge of the closed bathroom door, and they’d find me sitting on the edge of the tub, praying for sunrise.)   They were baffled by my behavior because they couldn’t understand whatever in the world that I could have been so afraid of.  They thought it would comfort me to assure me that I wasn’t alone in the dark, since I shared a room with my older sister; but I quickly realized that the presence of my older sister didn’t seem to deter the SitD from showing up.  (If anything, the SitD would simply stand quietly by my bed until my older sister fell asleep.)  A few times, I thought that I was being clever by burying myself underneath a layer of assorted stuffed animals, thinking that I could fool the SitD into assuming that I wasn’t there…or maybe I could make myself so difficult to find in that pile of toys that the SitD would give up and leave.

Psht.  Right.

At any rate, I gave up trying to avoid the SitD, and over time, I began to feel less anxious about zir presence… but I still wouldn’t have considered zir much of a friend.

First of all, it seemed obvious to me that the SitD was an adult…a moody yet soft-spoken adult presence that definitely felt much older than my parents.  Whenever zie spoke first, it seemed only to ask me either of two questions, in a curiously business-like manner:

Do you know who I am?

or

Do you want to come with me?

~~~

Do you know who I am?

Zie never answered who zie was, no matter how many times that I would try to guess.  It seemed an endless guessing game, and in the end, the SitD’s identity a remained a strange, puzzling mystery for many years.*

Though there were times when I thought that I was so close to figuring out zir identity, because zie would allow us both to abandon the yes/no pattern after a while, and zie would give me a tantalizing hint:

Are you older than my dad?  Yes.  Do you live in this house? No.

Does my dad know you? Yes.  Are you a friend of his? No.

Are you a stranger? No.  Do I know you?  Perhaps.

I don’t think so.  I don’t remember you. (Zie chuckles)  [calls me a nickname that my grandmother calls me.]

Do you know my [grandmother]?  Yes.

Do you want to come with me?

I didn’t say ‘no’ right away.  I asked zir to tell me where we were going, or why zie wanted me to go with zir.  As it was with the previous question, zie would usually only answer yes or no to questions that I asked, and offered very little information otherwise:

Where are we going? Somewhere with me.  Can my parents come (with us) too? No.

What if they won’t let me (go)? It doesn’t matter.  Why not? Because I am asking you.

At first, I feared falling asleep, because I was afraid that I would be taken away anyway…but then. later on, it seemed to be very important that I make the choice whether or not to go.

It still strikes me today as to how profound that felt – to have an adult -invisible or not, in dreamspace or not – seek my consent, and then, to realize that same adult would honor my choice.

But, at any rate, it took a while before the SitD went away.

And despite what my parents may have hoped, there was nothing imaginary about the Shadow in the Dark.

~~~

And, in 2008, like sneaky tons of bricks often do, I began to connect the dots as to Who my Shadow in the Dark was, a little over three decades since He went away.

~~~

* Gods please forgive others who would demand that a child discuss their experiences (paranormal or not), only to respond to their experiences with such invalidation and aggressive dismissal.  But not surprisingly, it was not until I had my own children that I began to realize the fear that was obviously inherent in the responses and reactions that I received from others; it concerns me in that I have come to consider myself in that ‘skeptical  onlooker’ category as well — but perhaps that is a shadow-work entry for another day  this month.

**In writing this entry, it occurs to me that He may have considered our guessing game to be quite an entertaining pastime rather than the frustratingly repetitive process that I thought it to be.

Bittersweet, odd, and a little sad.

There are several entries bouncing around within my brain right now.

My head is full of too many thoughts on some wildly divergent topics, and I had been meaning to write about some of them in an effort to empty my head of them.  Or something.

Anyway.

~~~

Late yesterday morning, I had an ‘interview’ with the Department of  Children and Families.

As you might imagine, I was dismayed by the fact that anyone from DCF wanted to speak with me, much less so, that they wanted to stop by.

I had to keep reminding myself that the purpose of DCF as a government agency is to assist and to help those in need of their services; their mission statement is ideally one of being of service to the community…and yet much like the FBI or the CIA, I don’t think that anyone really prefers to have to deal with them in any capacity.

But honestly, I couldn’t keep avoiding them either, since they’d been calling, and we had been playing a tense game of phone tag for a little over a week as of yesterday.

So,  I spent yesterday morning feeling more than a little uneasy, and as one does, I was bustling about trying to tidy things up a bit to try to distract myself from my snowballing thoughts of doom.

But the appointed time came, and I was outside dead-heading my roses (how apt that seems — for spiritual reasons — I realize now) when the social worker pulled up.

I don’t know what she had expected of me, but the social worker was pleasant and engaging.   She seemed positively apologetic for asking me so many questions, and for the sheer amount of paperwork that she was requesting that I fill out.

I got through the interview without too much trouble, even though my anxiety level felt pretty high.

(And even more so today.  Yesterday, she informed me that a urinalysis was standard procedure.  She asked if I would mind giving her a test sample since she just happened to have a test in her car    So I did, but today I am concerned that I didn’t ‘pass’  it, much to my dismay, since she was sparse and non-committal in when I phoned her for details surrounding the result this morning.  Um… yeah.  *worries*)

~~~

I have to remind myself that this social worker is representing an agency that would be trying to help me rather than judge me.

~~~

Though what strikes me the most about yesterday, in retrospect, is how we had talked about mental health issues and how humor can serve as a mask and a coping mechanism for those with clinical depression.   I was telling her about my depression and my various diagnoses since 1997, and we specifically talked about Robin Williams at length.

I consider him as an example of  the manner in which I often find myself trying to cope.   I try to see the humor…or the absurdity in things whenever I can.   I don’t always succeed in doing so, but I do try.

I am often inspired in my darkest moments by how closely related my fears are to my joys, and how I prefer to make jokes rather than cry whenever I focus on coping with my anxiety or my depression.

She responded to this with surprise, and admitted that she never made that sort of connection.  Her reaction was something close to delight, and she expressed that she found my way of thinking rather enlightening, considering what I’d been through.

To that, I had to smile, since I was inwardly amazed with the situation: how had I managed to be so entertaining for over two hours when I felt like such a wreck inside?

Who knows?

But I’d bet Robin Williams would know.

 

And that’s why it strikes me as so odd and almost spooky to discover several hours later that Robin Williams committed suicide.

 

There but for the grace of my Gods go I.

 

~~~

Oh.  And here’s another thing.

A strange thing happened while I was having my DCF  interview in the dining room.

About an hour into things, my kid comes rushing into the room, suddenly asking me to hold back our dog, and to please keep him out of the patio for a few minutes.   Meanwhile, the dog is barking and throwing himself excitedly against the sliding doors.

It turns out that a baby bat had flown into the patio… and it seemed to be dying.

But by the time that I corralled the dog, excused myself and got out there to see what was up, the bat seems to have died… because it wasn’t breathing.

Poor thing.

My kid had wanted to bury it in the yard, but I nixed that idea.   (We have three cats, and a dog who all  love to dig, and I feared that it was more than likely if we buried it anywhere on our property, one of them would work tirelessly until it could be gotten to, unfortunately. )

*sigh*

~~~

And then, this morning, while I was out walking to find a place off of our property to bring the dead bat…

Suddenly  I saw something out of the corner of my eye come out of the bushes, buzzing loudly.

I thought that it was some sort of insect — perhaps a dragonfly, or really big wasp is what I thought it was at first —

 

And it flew right up into my face briefly.

Without thinking, I waved it away, which must have disoriented it

Because then it flew downward

and inward

towards me

and hit me in the middle of my chest.

Ow.

 

When I looked down on the ground, I realized that it was a  bright little red and green hummingbird  much like this one:

 

hummingbird

Amazing.

It seemed stunned, and when I bent down to get a better look, it suddenly flew up and away, albeit a bit haphazardly.