Update

Called the doctor the other day and told him I was too sleepy to drive and do my job. He said I could take half the Abilify. I noticed the difference immediately!

Unfortunately I am still slightly cognitively impaired, but it isn’t too bad. So I finally went back to work today. I notice my mood is also better. I feel calm and not annoyed and brain racing all the time. Tommorrow I go put in an application to be an actual Napa driver…meaning regular hours, insurance, benefits, not having to drive my OWN car, (that’s the big one!) and other things. I think I will be hired. Please send a little prayer/beam for me that things happen for the best…

OUT OF THE FUNNY FARM INTO THE FIRE (or, more elegantly: mixed bag of fleas)

Random ramblings from the recently released donkey (beware! Long rambling ahead!):

Some of you “in the know,” know about the expression I like to spread around, “Thanks for the fleas.” This is from Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, a story told about her experiences in a concentration camp. She tells of her sister(?) Betsy’s
penchant for thanking God for ALL things. Corrie loses her temper and snarkily asks, “Even the fleas?”

Betsy says, Yes! Let’s thank him for the fleas! And they did.

It came to their attention afterward that their Bible, the only source of hope and inspiration they had, was free from confiscation, because their barracks were flea ridden, and the guards wouldn’t come in.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a mixed bag of fleas. I’ll get back to that later.

I got out of Woodland Hospital on Tuesday around 1:30. I really wasn’t ready to go. I knew I would have a big load of responsibilities waiting for me, the most pleasant of which would be contacting all the cheezfriends who had supported me. My family and I ended up wasting precious time going to Mercy Medical for paperwork that wouldn’t be ready until Wednesday. Then I had to go pay bills and run errands with deadlines. I had all sorts of nasty surprises awaiting me with my car, as my father and son tinkered with it. It is a ’92 Acura with, I swear, what must surely be a poltergeist inside. Methinks said poltergeist was angered by their tinkering. Nuff sed…

Here’s a synopsis of what happened to me and what I did, since January 27th.

Many of you know the dynamics of my relationship with my father. It is an extremely rare, to the point of shocking, occasion for me to talk back to him and get into an altercation. This is what happened. The details aren’t important, or this post will never end. Suffice it to say that I quickly exploded out of control and into a rage, from all the suppression, and it was ugly. Of course, he did not see this as something to stop and analyze; he merely responded with cold fury.

I was so enraged with impotent fury that I went to my room and continued to drink. (Yes, drink…more on that later, with final positive results)

Eventually, late at night, drunk and in a tunnel vision (that means, dear friends and fellow Christians, that I had no thoughts of my family, including my son, or my cheezfrends, or God. I simply had a one track mind and nothing else. Very scary…when the Bible says “…he who is deceived by it is not wise” that is not a ticket to drunkardness. It is a warning about the slippery slope that drunkardness is…) I pried off the blades of a disposable razor and cut my wrist.

It was harder than I suspected. I then thought about laying down on my arm and making it numb, and then cutting it. Thank God I was too impatient and angry to bother. I just let it slowly bleed and thought I would just go to bed and let it bleed out.

I awoke POd and severely angry to be alive. I finally went to the computer and started researching what I could do for help. I just knew it wasn’t right to be doing this, but I didn’t value myself enough to think I was worthy of going to the ER. It was a scary thought to go to the ER. I have never done anything like this before. I was afraid I’d be treated with derision and turned away. I have no money or insurance to pay that kind of bill. I knew calling an ambulance would awaken the household and might bring derision and anger and all manner of hysteria from my family. (No, I wasn’t thinking clearly…but I can still imagine my father’s face of disbelief and anger at the possibility of waking up to such a spectacle) So I got in the car and drove to the ER. At this point my wrist had a nasty cut in it, but it wasn’t oozing, so that was no heroic feat.

They were so kind at the ER. I was immediately taken into the back and they had me in a room on a bed within a few minutes. I was to end up being there from about 8 am to 4:30 pm. I cried on and off all day. I was sad, numb, and felt hopeless. I was like a zombie.

Important note: if you ever go to ER and ask them to notify your family, don’t. Ask for a phone and call them yourself. I asked them to notify mine, and was told okay (by an unknowing soul, I’m sure) and then lay there for hours and hours expecting with doom to see their faces come around the corner, peering at me, as I lay there feeling smarmy from my incredibly smarmy and selfish act. When they didn’t come, I started to wonder. Finally in the afternoon, I asked again and was told they don’t notify. I found out I could have a phone brought to my room and was told sure! and there was no time limit! I immediately got ahold of mom. I don’t know why I thought my mother would be exasperated and disgusted with me, but she was not, of course. Maybe I thought it because I was so tired of myself that I thought she was, too. She was terribly kind and warm. Unfortunately it was too late for them to get there on time with anything for me before I got transferred to Woodland at 4:30. The techs were so nice and friendly. Everyone was. It was an eyeopening experience. I figured they could all see my lame, wussy attempt at cutting myself and look at me with a pained, disgusted expression saying, “You are wasting our time. We are here for REAL victims, REAL patients, not the likes of your pathetic, whiny self. ” It was humbling to be treated so kindly by everyone.

They drove me to Woodland Hospital in Woodland, IN. It was embarrassing to be wheeled in strapped on a stretcher and knowing all the patients were checking me out. Again, met by much kindness. When I plainly (as I do, donkishly, LOL) told them the chair was too small for my big butt, and I needed another chair without arms, the sweet tech started talking about how tall I was (I’m only 5’5 1/2″, but she was tiny,) as if to say, oh, you’re not fat, you’re tall. 🙂 Such a sweet lady. .

The next day my family came. I felt awkward. Not much smiling. Still zombie like. I think mom was kind of stunned. It truly was a strange thing for me to do. Sean was his normal, computer faced self. Dad was subdued and polite. He did not appear to be drunk. They brought me things.

Never during my stay did I ever feel that taboo feeling of being in a psych ward, or afraid of it. I just cocooned and felt taken care of and calm. Sometimes I cried and was depressed, but it got better.

The food was wonderful and plentiful, and the staff and patients came to care for me.

They diagnosed me with depression, BiPolar disorder, and gave me Antibuse.

Those three meds have me knocked for a loop. I’m always sleepy, and I’m confused, too. I am unable to think of simple things sometimes. I haven’t gone back to work yet. I am stressing over that. I don’t know if I can…I’m a courier. Calling the doctor tomorrow to talk about THAT problem.

I didn’t miss the alcohol when I was in there. Don’t really miss it now, either. Isn’t that strange?

WHile in the hospital, I called work and was told this coworker, a girl I feel like a mother or sister to, a very young married mom with 2 small kids, had lost her husband. He died of a brain aneurysm. His funeral was when I was in the hospital. She had no idea why I didn’t come to it. I was devastated. I called her and cried and explained what happened and how sorry I was. He was the only goodness in her life, I think, besides her kids. How incredibly heartbreaking. I keep thinking about Valentines day and how hideous it will be for her. There is always someone else to make you realize what a whiner you are being. What can I say to her? I am at a loss.

Wednesday I spent approximately 4 hours messing around with a Medical like office. You’d think I’d be about crazy. I filled out the form wrong, and basically was an idiot. Poor clerk. I was very calm though…then started crying at some point (before the paperwork fiasco) for no discernable reason. Just sat there and the tears poured down. That’s what it’s been like. This crazy behavior.

Coming home I thought about my cheezfrends, and how much they love me and support me and what a heinous, selfish thing I’d done. And I realized even given that, they loved me anyway. Then, for the first time, the enormity of God’s same kind of love struck me and I felt like a worm. I began verbally accosting myself and crying.

I started questioning my good works. I decided I was a coward who did good deeds because subconsciously I am afraid of punishment and I think being good will keep me out of trouble, not because I am a good person. I basically ripped myself several new orifices on the way home, howling all the way.

Then I decided to throw melodramic attention w…. into the mix, and that I was beating myself up so I could get my melodramatic-spike fix. I was doomed. I could think of no good intentions, no purity of motive to defend myself. By the time I got home I was exhausted from the self-attack and its resulting confusion.

That’s what I’m going through. It is very selfish. I need the positive feedback, yet I feel guilty about it.

I am staying hopeful for when the meds kick in. Right now I’m just kind of feeling strange.

More later if I think of it.

Thank you to all who sent love and concern, and posted and emailed. I love you all so much. You help get me through. Bless you and yours.

It Wouldn’t Be Fair

I was thinking this morning about how people say the Bible has been altered and tweaked and how now there is confusion about meaning and intent.

I wrote this little story this morning with that in mind, thinking about how it is human nature to utilize slippery slopes and lame excuses to our moral detriment.

I am particularly pleased to share this because I feel that it is a valuable, thought-provoking tool for everyone, whether one has a religious faith or not, because it addresses the moral issue of following spirit of the law as opposed to letter of the law.

It Wouldn’t Be Fair!-A Kafleen the Donkey Allegory

“DO EAT THE BOSTON CREAM PIE IN THE FRIJ!”

said the note on the refrigerator when they returned home from school.
They gathered round it and stared at the obvious handwriting of their
father. They were hungry, foraging for snacks, and that pie beckoned
like a lusciously-dressed siren.

“DOOOO EAT THE BOSTON CREAM PIE,” Evelyn repeated in a
chant-like tone, her nose close to the note, eyes crossed, bugged out, as though scrutinizing closely.

They sniggered wildly.

Obviously, they knew deep down, father had somehow accidentally
omitted the “NOT” in his haste-perhaps to go to the grocery store?-as there was not much in the refrigerator.

The exquisitely made-with-mother-love pie beckoned sweetly.

“Frij,” snickered Adam. “What’s a frij? Makes no sense!”

“Sounds obscene, even,” Another added.

They tittered nervously, staring at the pie. Its chocolaty goodness
seemed almost to vibrate.

“There’s one in the REFRIGERATOR,” one of them said. IT must be a
DIFFERENT pie,”

and,

“Couldn’t hurt to sniff it…”

The BC pie was carried to the counter. Their noses and eyes scrutinized it closely.

Tittering, commenting and questioning snarkily, they circled the pie like hyenas.

“It DOES demand that we eat it!”, the Other said. “And we SHOULD
be obedient children!” (nervous twitters again) “How FAIR would it be if we were punished for following the instructions?” (hands on hips, huge
innocent eyes punctuated this line of logic)

After a period of similar justifications, they soon found themselves picking at the pie.

They weren’t really eating it. Just …testing it. Why, if something brushed against it in the refrigerator, or fell on it, accidentally, the same marks
could have been made.

“Hell,” said one, “might as well have a SLICE now.”

They were almost finished with their innocent law-abiding deed, the pie
plate empty, their stomachs full, when their father suddenly appeared in the kitchen, groceries in hand, the smell of their favorite take-out dinner

food guilty pricking at their full stomachs and empty consciences.

Their smeared, chocolate faces stared in horror, frozen, mid-bite, at his furious, shocked, hurt, and disbelieving face.

Scalding, hot shame now ran through their bodies. Not a single voice
dared look in that face and smartily cry, “But you told us to do it!” Deep
inside their guilt swam boiling through their veins.

There was hell to pay.

Cheering You Up

It may appear jejune to some to start a post with a definition, but in this case it well suits my purpose:

cheer (chîr)
n.
1. Lightness of spirits or mood; gaiety or joy: a happy tune, full of cheer.
2. A source of joy or happiness; a comfort.
3.
a. A shout of approval, encouragement, or congratulation.
b. A short, rehearsed jingle or phrase, shouted in unison by a squad of cheerleaders.
4. Festive food and drink; refreshment.
v. cheered, cheer·ing, cheers
v.tr.
1. To make happier or more cheerful: a warm fire that cheered us.
2. To encourage with or as if with cheers; urge: The fans cheered the runners on. See Synonyms at encourage.
3. To salute or acclaim with cheers; applaud. See Synonyms at applaud.
v.intr.
1. To shout cheers.
2. To become cheerful: had lunch and soon cheered up.

I’ve always understood the concept of cheering someone up as causing them to feel jolly, as in definition one.

And I’ve always understood the concept of cheer as in shouting cheers, to encourage, as in cheering on your team.

But, (and yes, I can be shockingly dense) it just today occurred to me that “cheering someone up” can involve the latter definition; rather than doing something simply to make a person feel jolly, as it were, one can “cheer one up” by actually cheering them on, involving a metaphorical act of jumping up and down and saying, basically, “You rock!”

This may seem obvious to you, but it eluded me until now.

It reminds me, again, of how important it is to make the rounds, and “cheer people on!”

I enjoy doing it on ICHC…sometimes it just comes in the form of a simple “LOL” or “snurt” so they know someone is watching or appreciating their humor. It can be huge, though. The possibilities are endless.

When faced with depression, loneliness, and some of the other negative symptoms of the season, I prescribe the “Go Cheer Someone UP!” prescription!

Actually, it works better if you don’t just focus on one person. By putting all your eggs in one basket, you may be disappointed. People get busy, distracted, etc., and they may not notice or comment on your attempt, (that doesn’t make them calloused, just human) so don’t stop at just one, or you may get discouraged.

The Donkey encourages you to Go Cheer Up as many people as you can!

Good Luck and God Speed.

Sobriety, Part III

I’ve had a tremendous spiritual breakthrough in the last couple months that has been a huge milestone for me.

I had become increasingly depressed in a strange, different sort of way than I had been before. It wasn’t any kind of sadness, but rather, a kind of deadness inside that disturbed me. I wanted to die because I was bored with this place, and pissed at its inhabitants. Not because I was in pain, but because I just was greedy and wanted to move on!!! The antidepressant I tried did nothing. Bizarrely, they did not even have the side effects they always did in the past, except for one unusual dream, and that was it. It was as if I wasn’t even taking them.

I had started drinking again over a year ago. It was purely a control issue and a desire to get that old happy feeling back. Well, as I mentioned when I quit before, that warm drunky feeling was to be no more. I could no longer get that. It was infuriating and I felt like a ghost in CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce, trying to get drunk in the afterlife, to no avail.

In the meantime I spent a lot of time praying. LOTS of time praying. Praying for others, of course, but also a lot of prayers that basically went over the same things: to be a better Christian, mother, daughter, friend, and employee, AND (ironically!) to be protected against every tiniest little smidge of emotional pain or unhappy event.

Well, geez, how is THAT supposed to work?????

This did not hit me until something extremely painful happened about a month ago. My mechanic helped me get my car, an Acura I am thrilled with. In the midst of this, I inadvertently offended him.

Since this is a public place, it’s best not elaborated on, but suffice it to say, it was a nightmare. Happily, it has blown over, but this was a watershed experience for me.

Spiritually and emotionally, at a gut level, I knew this was going to be the hardest thing I would need to do so far, and I grovelled painfully. It was tremendously difficult but I instinctively knew what I was doing, coupled with constant prayer, was the right thing. I have always had difficulty apologizing to anyone whom I felt was not likely to be gracious in response, and I knew somehow it needed to be done anyway.

It was then that it was revealed to me that I had an intense desire to grow spiritually but that I was blocking God from helping me by clinging and whining to be protected. The next hardest thing I had to do, possibly the hardest in my life, was to say out loud to Him to stop protecting me from everything and help me start growing, even if it hurt.

That was when the flood gates opened. Then I started having all kinds of ideas for things, e.g., asking for help in getting over my fears, even if I had to do scary things. I cried when I prayed that prayer.

As soon as the car was bought, I went online on Craigslist to sell the Honda. In 5 minutes I had a buyer. He came right out. A few nights later he invited me to his church. It was like home.

Two days before going to that church, I knew it wasn’t right to drink and go to that church. I prayed to God, and said, ok, Lord, if you will hold my hand through this, I will take the money I spend for the booze and give it to you in tithe. I will give you at least 10% every payday. And You can take care of the rest of my monetary needs as you see fit. I will leave that in your hands.

For two days I thought, how can I do this. I just decided to let God worry about it.

Church was at 4pm Sunday. Sunday morning I had a couple of drinks. (I liked to drink on Sunday mornings, but not the rest of the week because I worked) I wondered what would happen. Around 2 in the afternoon (I was sober) I was standing in my room and just silently looking down at my empty bottles on the floor and a feeling of euphoria rushed over me. I started crying and laughing with a kind of glee and started scooping them all up and throwing them away. I dumped out the rest of my vodka in the sink. That afternoon I went to church, tithed $120, and felt awesome about it. I knew I did not have enough money left to pay for my gas for my courier job, but I felt strangely calm that the Lord would provide.

No, this is not normal behavior for me…haha!

About three days later, out of the blue, for no reason, dad decided to give me a Christmas gift early: $300. Mom told me he had already contributed money with her to buy Christmas presents for me so “he must be losing his mind.”

Needless to say, I then had more than enough funds.

I haven’t drank since. The first week, last week, I was euphoric all week. This week I am more subdued. I am also sleeping much better. The first few nights were bad, but mom said she discovered if she goes to bed at 9, she can sleep all night, and I found the same was true for me! I have had great sleep, and great dreams.

So as you can see, things going my way, I have finally come to realize, is not such a great thing. Of course knowing this intellectually is not enough. I cannot stress that enough. ( Pain and experience are necessary to sort of tattoo lessons, if you will, on our soul. That is one of mankind’s hardest lessons to learn: that pain is necessary for growth) Things going God’s way is awesome, and I have learned to asked for that now at all times.

11/18 will be 30 days sober. Again.

The Phoenix Effect

I’m terribly excited. I don’t know quite where to begin because so much has happened and it all has come together. Everything is so synchronistic there is no doubt as to its spiritual significance.

For months I have been depressed, and saw no way through it. It didn’t feel like the clinical depressions I have had in the past, though, and I didn’t know how to deal with it except to continue praying, and to try the antidepressants. After two months, they did nothing. They didn’t even affect my dreams like they used to. I stopped taking them and felt no difference.

I reached a point where I was spiritually wallowing and did not want to continue here. I just whined and cried to God that I hate this place and why couldn’t I move on? Then I would pray, as always, that I would be a better Christian, mother, daughter, employee, friend, and human being while following it up with protect me, don’t let me be hurt, don’t let me suffer, blah blah blah ad nauseum.

Try not to laugh too hard at my blind ironic pleas… 🙂

Sometimes you have to plunge straight into the cold swimming pool, or you’ll stand around forever dipping your toe and screaming.

Finally, something happened that forced me into growth. I had a horrible, humiliating misunderstanding in which I insulted someone who was trying to financially help me purchase a car.

It was a nightmare.

This experience was the catalyst that caused the wake up call and some growth. Suddenly, in the midst of this horrid thing, I realized I couldn’t ask to be sheltered if I wanted to grow from this experience, and that I was going to have to bite the bullet and experience the lesson in its entirety. The instant I realized this, EVERYTHING started flowing together.

It was like a blossoming of a tight little bud. My prayers changed and I was able to even more fully understand about not asking for your will but God’s to be done. I became astutely aware of my interferences, my fears, my prides, my EXCUSES, my self pities, in a way never before seen. And while sickened at this new situation I was in, at the same time there was a new feeling of safety and security, and okayness, and a stronger sense of self and identity and esteem building.

I could literally feel the spiritual growth happening, my awareness changing and refining, and suddenly I was so glad to be alive and able to learn!

I found this book in the house, which has been waiting for me until the right moment, and it is today. It listed 10 Wisdom Statements, and suggested I respond with my way that I will try to manifest it as a reality to my self. So I have copied them here in all caps, and then written after them one of the ways I decided I would try to manifest this.

The amazing thing is how it flowed, and feel I am on the right track to spiritual progress again.

1. YOU HAVE A HIGHER PURPOSE
I am here to conduit God’s love.

2. YOU ARE IN COMMUNICATION WITH THE WHOLE OF LIFE.
I will improve my listening and understanding skills. I will spend more effort on listening than speaking; I will spend more time on understanding the others point of view BEFORE trying to express my own.

3. YOUR AWARENESS IS ALWAYS OPEN TO CHANGE. FROM MOMENT TO MOMENT IT SENSES EVERYTHING IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT.
I will try to listen to that quiet little Voice and not distract my self with petty drama throughout the day.

4.YOU FEEL ACCEPTANCE FOR ALL OTHERS AS YOUR EQUAL, WITHOUT JUDGMENT OR PREJUDICE.
I will try to understand why they feel/do as they do.

5.YOU SEIZE EVERY MOMENT WITH RENEWED CREATIVITY, NOT CLINGING TO THE OLD AND OUTWORN.
How can I give my God given talents to glorify God rather than burying them?

6.YOUR BEING IS CRADLED IN THE RHYTHMS OF THE UNIVERSE. YOU FEEL SAFE AND NURTURED.
I will spend time each day in the NOW where I do not anticipate nor ruminate, but enjoy the current communion with the universe around me.

7.YOUR IDEA OF EFFICIENCY IS TO LET THE FLOW OF LIFE BRING YOU WHAT YOU NEED. FORCE, CONTROL, AND STRUGGLE ARE NOT YOUR WAY.
I will meditate on how I can allow others to answer and act without my input or advice.

8.YOU FEEL A SENSE OF CONNECTION WITH YOUR SOURCE.
I will try to find a way to make other people feel special, rather than trying to impress them with intellectual superiority, thus alienating them.

9.YOU ARE COMMITTED TO GIVING AS THE SOURCE OF ALL ABUNDANCE.
I will focus on the realization that time and attention is a gift and try to give it freely and generously when requested.

10.YOU SEE ALL CHANGE, INCLUDING BIRTH AND DEATH, AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF IMMORTALITY. WHATEVER IS UNCHANGING IS MOST REAL TO YOU.
I will try to anticipate the positive possibilities when change presents itself, rather than panicking.

All these things suddenly came together, from recent experiences, conversations, realizations, and there they all were, just pouring out as suggestions for a blueprint to begin improving my character.

Good listeners are hard to find. I have spent YEARS and years griping and giving lip service to how people don’t know how to listen, they don’t hear, and they spend that time they should be hearing planning what they will say to you.

When they have a disagreement with you, all they can do is thing about how to make you understand their point of view.

After years and years of INTELLECTUALLY knowing this, I did not begin to manifest it as a desire to actually act upon it and change until I began doing this exercise.

I was talking last night to mom about pain and how it is like a tattoo needle and pain is the learning experience.

If we cry to God to keep us from pain and protect us, we cheat ourselves of learning.

I recently forwarded an excellent cartoon out to my friends. I just found it on youtube and I think the impact watching it this way is much more powerful:

A common complaint that people have against God is that he allows us to feel pain. We demand to be free and have free will, yet we want him to shield us from pain. We cannot have it both ways.

It was breathtaking how safe and unafraid I felt once I relented stopped asking God to shield me from pain, but rather be with me as I went through what I needed to learn.