Sunday, 11 June 2017

Dire Wolf - Dire Self

I'm in a period of introspection and reality awareness ever since the death of Chris Cornell. He was my age. He had money, a career, a family that loved him, more than most people on this planet, yet he still chose to take his life.

Robin Williams was another devastating loss. He had fame, a family that loved him, wealth, friends, and yet, he too ended his life.

They say that money does not buy happiness. I think that should read money does not defeat depression and pain. There are many stages and versions of depression.

There's the blues, the Yorkie (4 pounds) of depression, something you can kick off in a day or too where you feel, meh.

Then there is the Miniature Poodle (15 pounds) of depression; lasts a few days longer but still something you can exercise away when you increase your dopamine levels naturally. This is usually situationally based; loss of a job promotion, breakup of a relationship, different expectations of outcome.

Next is the Bulldog (32 pounds) of depression. This is when you are depressed for more than two weeks and you cannot pull yourself out of it. Nothing matters. You don't clean yourself, you don't get out of bed and you don't go to work. At this point, you need help. Sometimes you cycle a few weeks of the year and the rest is fine. Sometimes this happens once and you are good.

Then comes the Irish Setter (70 pounds) of depression. You are longer in the depressed state than out of it, but you can still come out of it. This is serious depression where nothing matters. Nothing good lives in this state, but you have no control over how long it lasts or if it goes away. You hurt, physically, emotionally and in your soul.

Last is the English Mastiff (150 pounds) of depression. This is the end state of depression where no matter how good life is, nothing can pull you out. Medication is usually tried, upwards of 50 or more, to find the correct one to balance your mood. If you are lucky, you find the right one and you coast. Life is good, you are content, balanced, but you need the medication to live. Then, something catastrophic happens. You lose a child or a partner. You have now bypassed all stages of depression and come to the Dire Wolf of grief and depression.

The pain is so overwhelming that you want to tear your skin off just to feel something else. Anything else. You vacillate between pain and numbness. Basic human needs fall to the wayside. You might remember to eat, or bathe, or brush your teeth. You might still work and grow comfortably numb for 9 hours a day, shutting off the emotions, tramping those suckers down so hard and so deep that you can effectively bury them without losing momentum on projects at work.

But you go home and you think. You watch a movie and you see a face that resembles the person you lost. And you sob, lying on the floor wanting it to end. Not necessarily wanting your life to end, but the pain. The gouging, tearing, ripping pain the clutches at your soul piece by piece. After a few days, you grow numb again. Until the next reminder, or worse, the next catastrophic event like being diagnosed with a chronic illness that will render you a vegetable in a few years time. Then, that is the point when some people say, enough.

No more pain. No more suffering. No more Dire Wolf tearing at my throat.

Robin Williams said "I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone."

A lot of people with chronic pain or illness, or serious illnesses end up alone. Friends and family cut you off, and when you need them the most, these people scatter. I have heard story after story of kids abandoning parents, siblings cutting other siblings out, friends, best friends leaving the wounded and the weak, like somehow what's happened is catching.

And it is a Catch-22. Depressed and grieving people want to be alone. They want to disappear in a time and space of nothingness. They need to grieve, sometimes for years. It is difficult being around a person like that. Believe me, if I had a choice I wouldn't be near me either. But the burden that is placed on the partner or the children of the grieving is so incredibly difficult and stressful, and usually these people, these loved ones are collateral damage, because family and friends don't just cut off the victim of the Dire Wolf, but everyone else that stays and supports the severely depressed.

I wrote this in terms so that people might understand what depression can be, for people who have had the fortunate alignment of the right stars at the right time and have never been depressed.

I wrote on FB one day, "If you think you know what depression is, you don't. If you think you know what suicidal depression is, you still don't".

Reach out if someone is hurting. Your words, your sitting in silence, your presence might make a difference.

And if you are the one with the Dire Wolf at your heels, please reach out until someone listens.

And, last, if you know your brother, sister, mother, father, uncle or friend is a caregiver, reach out to them too. You can make a difference.

Suicide Hotline USA: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Hotline MB: 1-877-435-7170....seems like all the provinces have their own.

Saturday, 8 April 2017


I was in a bit of a quandary as to where to blog this; here or on my website Only Five Star Book Reviews. Either would have been appropriate, but I still don't know if I am going to write a book review or an op-ed piece on the content. And, I guess I figured it will be a better fit here, because I can talk about anything, not just the writing, the characters, the pace, the story line, the theme, plot or a myriad of other writerly things.

I watched the Neflix series in two days while I was at home convalescing after a somewhat serious heart condition. I cocoon and nest when I am ill because I have learned through life the only person I can truly rely on is myself. So I hide. I don't want anyone to see me and I become paralyzed until the sympathetic nervous system finally lets go a week or two later. So, for a week or so I binge watch TV, sleep and read. Is it healthy? I don't know. Does it work? Yup.

So during this time I watched 13 Reasons Why. It was profound, sad, frustrating, and so many other things that I do not have words for it. Someone mentioned on my FB post that his daughter watched it and was angry about it. I wondered why. Why would this story of a young girl being bullied, sexually assaulted, lied about and abused make someone angry.

Sadly, this is high school. It was like this when I went. It was like this when my children went, and I bet it's the same now. There was nothing this girl experienced that a million other girls didn't experience. The difference being, however, now we get photographic proof, or video proof and this abuse follows you home. It's on your laptop, your phone, on every phone in the high school. The proof stays there forever. Thirty years later, you can google and find that video of you being sexually assaulted.

And the whispers never stop. You walk into a room and the room goes silent. You know they were just talking about how you gave John a blowjob in the playground last night. Even though that didn't happen. You haven't even been kissed yet, but John decides he wants to save his reputation from you turning him down, by telling everyone what a slut you are. And remember. You are not one of them. You are the new kid in school, because your family moves every two years. So you are always the new kid.

Then the jocks think you are easy, so they start hitting on you, trapping you in the hallway, the classroom, outside, anywhere they can. And they touch you. You cannot stop it. Then when you cry, they call you a whore, a bitch, a slut and laugh. This goes to all of their friends and their girlfriends, and suddenly you are walking down the hall and everyone is making rude gestures, leaving nasty photos an notes in your locker, and tweeting it to all of their friends.

You are shopping with your family and one of the jocks mimics a blow job in front of your mother while looking at you. You wince and want to die.

You're at the corner store and someone else walks in, rubs himself on you while grabbing you. You can't move because you are trapped by the counter. He smiles and says something funny.

The next time an older guy you like invites you in for a coke. He's friendly and persuasive , and then gets nasty because you won't touch him. He rips your clothes off an rapes you. Then as you leave he says, "Please don't tell anyone about this." You walk off in a daze, blood running down your leg and you feel like your head is in the clouds. What just happened?

A few days later, a friend of your parents is visiting and he is leaving the bathroom as you open your bedroom door. He goes on his knees in front of you and mimics oral sex. You are 14 and have no clue what that means, but it makes you feel dirty and ugly and you feel like it's your fault.

This happens every single day in North America. And now with President Trump saying he can't stop himself from grabbing beautiful women by the crotch I realize what a different world we live in, men and women.

I read the book after the watching the series (the series was better) and I felt so bad for Hannah thinking she was all alone. Hannah, you are not alone. There are millions of you out there fighting off teachers, parents, uncles, step-fathers, cousins, brothers, landlords, and bosses.

Reading and watching this just reinforced how ugly it can be, to be a teenage girl in this predatory world. It makes me angry that we raise boys to think this is okay and we tell the girls "to get over it."

And then we wonder why depression is so high.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Such As It Is

This is it. This is what we have been given to work with. One life. One year. One Month. One week. One day. One moment.

For some of us, this is a death sentence because we live with mental illness; depression, PTSD, GAD, OCD, ADD, more DDD's but I digress. I always wanted initials after my careful what you wish for, little one. Others live without illness weighing them down. But, as REM says, Everybody Hurts. Life is just harder for some than others. And what are you going to do about it?

Life is short.  Probably a lot shorter than what we had hoped for. I doubt anyone on their death bed shouts "Dammit, why didn't you show up sooner. I was ready 23 years ago. Now look, dinner is cold. And I'm not reheating it."

Nope, I try not to take things too seriously, because, as you all know, it's all downhill from here. Might as well live as hard as you can and for all the right reasons.

If I had to make stuff up (I know, quit laughing) I would say most of my life has been made up of these incredible moments in time with happy, beautiful funny, incredible kids, an outstanding, quirky husband, beautiful, loving dogs, great careers (did I mention ADD.....) and less of the dark, icky, oozy stuff. 

Unfortunately, it is the dark stuff that sticks and sucks me into the abyss. There are moments so black and so bleak that there is no light. I prefer not to think on these. I work them out, one dark piece of twisted, burning metal at a time. Toss it away. Take on the the next piece. Chew on it for a while and it goes into the heap.

Now the happy stuff: my incredible, courageous, loving, patient husband. Without him, I'd be done a long time ago. My children, who have taught me so much in life and have made such an extraordinary difference, my grandchildren who have shown me what's best in life, my dogs, I wish I had enough years to own all the dogs I've ever wanted. My passions, Yoga, horror writing, being an artist, helping others, reading, learning, and my friends. Damn, I love you all. 

Find the happiness. Find the love. Find the hope, the peace, the joy, the passion that you deserve. Do not go through this life wandering and thinking and being desperately alone. Do not give up on yourself or others. Nothing comes to you; you have to fight for it. So go out there and brave the new world. And find the love and laughter for yourself. You deserve it. Baggage or no baggage. 

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Letters to Adam

Dear Adam;

My first son, my little fireball. How did an entire barrel of monkeys fit inside this tiny human being?

You are such a joy to be around. Your laughter and sense of humour, though a wee bit off kilter, speaks to your intelligence. Your compassion and sense of wonder makes me smile.

I see pictures of old punk bands and think, he would love this. Or I watch a movie and think, I can see him rewatching that scene over and over again.

Life has not been easy for you, yet you persevere. You do not wait for things to happen, but go out and make your own magic. Your gifts are many: an extremely hard worker, courageous, stubborn, quick thinker, quirky sense of humour, and your faults are few.

You are growing into your own person, developing a unique way of looking at things, loving people and doing what's right.

One day, my love, we will be together again. My heart will always be open.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Donald Trump Should Come With A Trigger Warning

I am astounded in this day and age that a person who allegedly is groping women and assaulting them against their will is a front runner for President of one of the most powerful nations in the world. To hear him say he is a "magnet to beautiful women" and he "doesn't even wait" he just starts kissing and groping disgusts me.

Then there is the entire Bill Cosby mess, the Jian Ghomeshi assaults, Roman Polanski, Woody #$&)^ Allen, the list grows.

What is it about certain males that think women are objects just meant to be there for the taking? Walking, talking animated Stepford-Dolls just waiting to be groped and assaulted on a whim. Really? 

I blame the justice system, excuse me, the legal system that gives rapists light sentences because having this on their record will hurt their future careers. Really? What about the victim. Her life is ruined. Not just her career. Every day for the rest of her existence it will be in her head that she was violated without the ability to stop it.

I blame society for raising boys to be the 'man' of the house when daddy is gone. Ugh. That phrases sickens me. A six year old is not a 'man' to be lording around his sisters and mother. When was the last time someone said, 'okay you're the woman of the house until mommy comes home'? The implications are that boys are these omnipotent creatures while girls just are.

I blame religion for teaching the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Where the heck is the Mother, The Daughter and the Holy Intuition? And it is not just Catholicism or Christianity. It is Islam, and the Jewish religion and all forms of  patriarchal religions that say hey, if you have this genitalia, you can do this and if you have that genitalia, you cannot. 

I blame the parents that raise their boys to be entitled to take whatever they want. Rich or middle income families that feel 20 minutes of action shouldn't be a death blow to Junior's career.

I blame Hollywood for thinking that a 40 YO actor is washed up if she is a female, but a 75 YO male actor can be the love interest of a 26 YO female actor.

I blame corporations that promote sexism and mysogynistic behaviour, while ignoring the disrespect that goes on, and then wonders why morale is low.

I blame advertising that markets to a generalization of sexual assaults against women to sell clothing, perfume, cars, and even a Big Mac. 

I blame universities where, on orientation women are told not to use the tunnels at the University of Manitoba because they may be assaulted, and instead they should walk outside at -40. 

I blame loser, white trash men that have to go to an organization like Pick Up Artists to learn how to become predators and that they are entitled to jump on any female they desire. And that they are taught how to mislead, lie and drug women for sex.

I blame town councils that, after having an alarming increase in the percentage of sexual assaults, tells women that they have a curfew, instead of locking up the perverts.

I blame rank that instills power in a person that allows them to assault others and then to snicker about it afterwards because rank has its privilege.  

I blame women for perpetuating this myth by blaming the victim. I blame Christian women that buy into the pathos of, if you are married, you should be having sex whenever he demands it.

I think I just figured out why women are still marginalized.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Life in Dog Years

How do you picture your life? I picture mine in dog years. I am of that age where I figure I can get one, maybe two more dogs and that's it, and that saddens me. It feels almost like when I realized I wasn't going to have anymore children. It is weird to realize you are living in the middle to the last part of your years.

Did I accomplish everything I wanted? Yes, for the most part. I did. I will never be one of those people that regrets not having done white water rafting, zip lining, skiing, repelling down a mountain or  kayaking. I will never regret pursuing careers such as psych nursing, medicine, philosophy, writing, psychology, or the police force. I will never regret having children, just the number of them. Should have had one more to even things out.

I will never regret having married, traveling the world or living across Canada. I will never regret studying Alternative Medicine, going to University or studying aircraft maintenance. I will never regret speaking four languages fluently, horseback riding in the mountains or finding a passion for horror.

I will never regret buying a Mazda MX-3 and popping a wheelie on Memorial Boulevard. I will never regret listening to Punk and Alternative music super loud and signing at the top my lungs. I will never regret swimming at midnight, drinking on the beach, running with the full moon and howling through the RV park.

I will never regret the passion for my husband, my partner in this life and all others. I will never regret staying home and raising my kids, putting off my career until I was old. I will never regret loving them so much it makes me feel like dying when I cannot see or talk to them. I

will never regret my grandchildren and what great people they are and how happy I am to know them.

I will never regret learning about everything and anything that I am passionate about, regardless of how weird, icky, redundant or strange it may be, because knowledge for the sack of knowledge is a love, loved best.

But I will regret not having all the dogs I ever wanted.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Living with Depression

I have had one foot through the veil my entire life. There are days when the whole leg is through the veil. Today, three quarters of me was there. I did not want to live any longer. I probably will not post this for a while because I am not through the worst of it, but not ready to talk yet. Or maybe I won't ever post it.

I am so worn out by major illnesses and my body breaking down. I am worn out from the pain, mentally, physically and emotionally. So far, the past 8 years have been hell. Lots of great moments, but some very terrible, lost in the agony of screaming on the inside moments, that, I guess, once a year, I hit the saturation point and I am done.

Today was that day. Today, I wanted to kill myself. I told my husband we should divorce so I can die. I thought of my grand children, my husband, my kids and the dogs. I made him admin of all the FB accounts I have so he can tell people, she gave up. I have told him no more dogs, because if I do do it, I don't want to hurt them. I thought about my estranged son, and wondered if it would matter to him.

My son hasn't spoken to me, really spoken to me in three years I think now. I honestly don't know him. I thought I did. He and I were the closest growing up. Yes, I did grow up with my children. And he is the one that is most like me. But I do not recognize him anymore. He is married. And gone.

My mind, body and heart are broken, and pieces of me are scattered throughout world. My soul is in the Netherlands, my heart is in BC, and my mind is lost simply touring the world and wanting me to be whole. I don't think that is possible anymore. I think I will always be the person with the pieces of her soul missing. I don't know if this was the Devine plan, to never feel like I matter to anyone other than my partner and my animals and the odd person. If so, you learned me. Don't know what point is though. I would have rather walked the earth a solitary unit than have a family that is living in the same city that I don't see.

Maybe there is something missing in me. Something that people cannot stand to be around for long periods of time. Maybe I am meant to be alone. I wish I knew. I wish I had the answer to why I am always being abandoned and torn apart. I feel like Prometheous. My liver gets eaten by birds every day, and in great agony, I endure it, only to have my liver regrow to be eaten again.

When is enough, enough? Will I ever beat this demon? I have lived with it so long now, it has become a part of me. My first dance with attempted suicide was at 14, then 17, and then I thought about it more numerous times than I care to remember. Some days life is meaningless and that is okay. It is the days when the soul ripping banshee tears through my mind and body and all I can feel is pain, immense pain physically and emotionally, that I cannot do it one more second.

I have just been diagnosed with cervical stenosis, on top of the fibromyalgia, ruptured brain aneurysms, another brain aneurysm, major surgeries etc.

In my head and heart, I've been wanting to not exist since I was three, the year the abuse started. And I believe the abuse changed the biochemicals in my body to disrupt and destroy my immune system, along with my emotional centres. As I continue to age, my autoimmune system destroys more and more of me, one cartilage at a time.

I went to the orthopaedic surgeon and told him, I thought I was two decades away from this. He didn't say anything.

What does all this mean? I really don't know. But the one thing I am certain of, is without my husband, I would not be here.

Today, I choose to live. For now.