Category Archives: not doing well

Things change

I have separated from my wife Julie. We are not planning to get back together; still trying to figure out how to pay for the next step.  Also, my youngest son finally launched into his own apartment- to be closer to his job. All the cats went different directions- the 2 white cats (including Blizzard the Blind and Annie the Peculiar) went with Matt. Noel and Lilith went to Julie’s. I have Ruth, the small stumpy calico, who cries day and night. My apartment is sparsely furnished. I have 2 chairs and a bed. It’s a basement apartment, sort of a cave. My best window view is of a stone wall; the other windows you can just see bark-dust.

It is a challenging and heartbreaking time. Also coming up on the birthday of my daughter Erin, who killed herself 20 years ago at the age of 13. I’m not always doing a terrific job of taking care of myself yet but I’m getting the hang of it.

A good time to post one of my favorite poems.

Little Word, Little White Bird – by Carl Sandburg

Love, is it a cat with claws and wild mate screams
in the black night?
Love, is it a bird–a goldfinch with a burnish
on its wingtips or a little gray sparrow
picking crumbs, hunting crumbs?
Love, is it a tug at the heart that comes high and
cost, always costs, as long as you have it?
Love, is it a free glad spender, ready to spend to
the limit, and then go head over heels in debt?
Love, can it hit one without hitting two and leave
the one lost and groping?
Love, can you pick it up like a mouse and put it in
your pocket and take it to your room and bring it
out of your pocket and say,
O here is my love,
my little pretty mousey love?

Yes–love, this little word you hear about,
is love an elephant and you step out of the way
where the elephant comes trampling, tromping,
traveling with big feet and long flaps of
drooping ears and straight white ivory tusks–
and you step out of the way with respect,
with high respect, and surprise near to shock
as you say,
Dear God, he’s big,
big like stupendous is big,
heavy and elephantine and funny,
immense and slow and easy.
I’m asking, is love an elephant?

Or could it be love is a snake–like a rattlesnake,
like a creeping winding slithering rattlesnake
with fangs–poison fangs they tell me,
and when the bite of it gets you
then you run crying for help
if you don’t fall cold and dead on the way.
Can love be a snake?

Or would you say love is a flamingo, with pink feathers–
a soft sunset pink, a sweet gleaming naked pink–
and with enough long pink feathers
you could make the fan for a fan dance
and hear a person telling their lover,
Speak, my chosen one,
and give me your wish
as to what manner of fan dance
you would have from me
in the cool of evening
or the black velvet sheen of midnight.
Could it be love is a flamingo?

Or is love a big red apple, and you don’t know
whether to bite into it–and you knock on wood
and call off your luck numbers and hold your breath–
and you put your teeth into it and get a mouthful,
tasting all there is to it,
and whether it’s sweet and wild
or a dry mush you want to spit out,
it’s something else than you expected.
I’m asking, sir, is love a big red apple?

Or maybe love is goofer dust, I hadn’t thought about that–
for you go to the goofer tree at midnight
and gather the leaves and crush them into fine dust,
very fine dust, sir, and when your man sleeps
you sprinkle it in his shoes and he’s helpless
and from then on he can’t get away from you,
he’s snared and tangled and can’t keep from loving you.
Could goofer dust be the answer?

And I’ve heard some say love is a spy and a sneak,
a blatherer, a gabby mouth,
tattling and tittering as it tattles,
and you believe it and take it to your heart
and nurse it like good news,
like heaven-sent news meant for you
and you only–precious little you.
Have you heard love comes creeping and cheating like that?

And are they after beguiling and befoozling us
when they tell us love is a rose, a red red rose,
the mystery of leaves folded over and under
and you can take it to pieces and throw it away
or you can wear it for a soft spot of crimson
in your hair, at your breast,
and you can waltz and tango wearing your sweet crimson rose
and take it home and lay it on a window sill and see it
until one day you’re not careful
and it crackles into dust in your hand
and the wind whisks it whither you know not,
whither you care not,
for it is just one more flame of a rose
that came with its red blush and crimson bloom
and did the best it could with what it had
and nobody wins, nobody loses,
and what’s one more rose
when on any street corner
in bright summer mornings
you see them with bunches of roses,
their hands out toward you calling,
Roses today, fresh roses,
fresh-cut roses today
a rose for you sir,
the ladies like roses,
now is the time,
fresh roses sir.

And I’m waiting–for days and weeks and months
I’ve been waiting to see some flower seller,
one of those hawkers of roses,
I’ve been waiting to hear one of them calling,
A cabbage with every rose,
a good sweet cabbage with every rose,
a head of cabbage for soup or slaw or stew,
cabbage with the leaves folded over
and under like a miracle
and you can eat it and stand up and walk,
today and today only your last chance
a head of cabbage with every single lovely rose.
And any time and any day I hear a flower seller so calling
I shall be quick and I shall buy
two roses and two cabbages,
the roses for my lover
and the cabbages for little luckless me.
Or am I wrong–is love a rose you can buy and give away
and keep for yourself cabbages, my lord and master,
cabbages, kind sir?
I am asking, can you?

And it won’t help any, it won’t get us anywhere,
it won’t wipe away what had been
nor hold off what is to be,
if you hear me saying
love is a little white bird
and the flight of it so fast
you can’t see it
and you know it’s there
only by the faint whirr of its wings
and the hush song coming so low to your ears
you fear it might be silence
and you listen keen and you listen long
and you know it’s more than silence
for you get the hush song so lovely
it hurts and cuts into your heart
and what you want is to give more than you can get
and you’d like to write it but it can’t be written
and you’d like to sing it but you don’t dare try
because the little white bird sings it better than you can
so you listen and while you listen you pray
and after you pray you meditate, then pray more
and one day it’s as though a great slow wind
had washed you clean and strong inside and out
and another day it’s as though you had gone to sleep
in an early afternoon sunfall and your sleeping heart
dumb and cold as a round polished stone,
and the little white bird’s hush song
telling you nothing can harm you,
the days to come can weave in and weave out
and spin their fabrics and designs for you
and nothing can harm you–
unless you change yourself into a thing of harm
nothing can harm you.

The little white bird is my candidate.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you
the little white bird you can’t see
though you can hear its hush song
and when you hear that hush song it’s love
and I’m ready to swear to it–
you can bring a stack of affidavits
and I’ll swear to it and sign my name
to every last one, so help me God.
And if a fat bumbling shopworn court clerk tells me,
Hold up your hand, I’ll hold up my hand all right
and when he bumbles and mumbles to me like I was
one more witness it was work for him to give the oath to,
when he blabs, You do solemnly swear so help you God
that in this cause you will tell the truth,
the whole truth and nothing but the truth,
I’ll say to him, I do, and I’ll say to myself,
And no thanks to you and you could be more immaculate
with the name of God.
I am done.
I have finished.
I give you the little white bird–
and my thanks for your hearing me–
and my prayers for you,
my deep silent prayers.

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Filed under cats, not doing well, personal story, poetry

September 1st, 2010

Second day of not feeling well. Yesterday I felt like I was swimming through Jello all day long. Today starts much the same. A sensation of weariness, unwellness, being generally unsatisfactory in all realms. Normally I would attribute these sensations to diabetic issues such as prolonged high blood sugar (something I have a great deal of experience with, as I am a Type 1 diabetic). But, no, blood sugar has been between 90 and 150 all week; good for me, very good.

Work today will involve first a group in the 50 building on “problem solving”. Not actually a topic I proposed but the good people in charge of the 50 Bldg Treatment Mall misunderstood my proposal. So it goes.

As everything feels hard but still I am functioning, I ask myself: “who is dragging this corpse around?” Not me, I assure you. I am pooped out.

Blah blah blah- wait- something good: My friend Arthur (who was once known as Arun) sent me a book by Robert Rankin. Something new to look at (not that I don’t have many books).

I need to review some things, pray/ meditate: not necessarily in that order; before my group. Today will be busy. Not one moment unscheduled it seems. Whomsoever it is that is walking me through this world can do what they want with me, as usual. I’ll try to just watch.

-Rick

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Filed under not doing well, personal story

Happy Birthday, Only Daughter

butterfly

song:

predlightrunnerhappybirthday112108

Erin would be 29 years old today. Tonight we’ll have cake. We’ll blow out her candles. It’s a ritual, it’s comforting in a way. Yes: There will be tears.

grief

I am at work. I should probably not be writing in my blog. Too bad.

I’m sad, tired, but-

I’m not in a panic,

I know what day it is,

I’m not seeing dead people,

I’m not crying (right now),

I’m not throwing up…

Progress. It’s been a lot of years but it gradually gets easier or at least less dramatic.

deathcarriesachild

So, today I’ll be sad. I’ll pray. I’ll meditate. I’ll pray some more. I’ll let the wind blow through the hole in my heart. And, after a very long time, tomorrow will come.

hands_depression_grief

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Filed under Free Music, mp3, Music, not doing well, personal story, pictures, songs for my children

I’m Interwebbing from the Libarry

Didn’t pay my bill so the home internet is on vacation. Maybe later this week if there’s enough money to meet more essential needs in my unemployment check or maybe in 2 weeks when my wife gets paid. (BTW- using “wife” to represent life-partner because it wouldn’t be right to use her real name. It’s one thing broadcastibng my shit all over the interweb but it’s another to put her out in the Blogoshere”.)

Sucks to be poor, but not much really. We have food. The lights are on. The water hasn’t been turned off yet (later this week if not paid).

My wife works. Together between her pay and my unemployment we make about $3200 a month.

We can’t get foodstamps or other help because our major money eater is healthcare- I pay almost $00 a month for my insurance plus another $400 for co-pays (insulin, psych meds, other mostly diabetic supplies, doctor and shrink visits). Healthcare doesn’t count as a deduction from income for foodstamops or other public assistance. Can’t even get help with utilities.

So- let’s see how this comes out.

$3200 income

minus rent ($1000) = $2200, minus medical ($1200 including wifes meds and co-pays) = $1000, minus food and hygeine (about $500- still feeding a large 19 year old who is in school) = $500, minus car insurance ($200) = $300, minus gas for my job hunting ($100) = $200, minus electricity ($125- lowball) = $75, minus water ($75) = zero, minus gas/garbage/internet/ phone service/ clothing, birthdays/ etc. (oops! doesn’t matter how much those things cost because we don’t have the money).

So, every month is a matter of juggling what we can’t pay and getting deeper in the hole. Last month we had to park the cars because our insurance lapsed. Well, that should be okay, right? Nope- the bus fares just went up to $2.50 per ride. And wife’s job depends on car- she gets reimbursed for her mileage but with gas prices this high it doesn’t cover all costs so car has to be bailed out. And many of my job interviews are nowhere close that I can get to by bus. The bank account is in the red perpetually. We might as well just close it.

Whine, whine whine. Many folks have it worse. Hell, we had it much worse many times. Bankrupt twice. House repossessed. Home burned down last spring. Wife out of work for years.

No music or pictures today. The library computer won’t take my jumpdrive.

So, it’s a good thing I didn’t find any jobs because I wouldn’t be able to access/ attach my resume and other stuff.

Hey! Good things happen every day, if you know where to look.

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Not thinking right and I know it…

No poetry this post, sorry. Tune in next time, soon.

Yes I take drugs.

I take 4 different psych meds, not high dosages and I’m unable to notice any annoying side-effects. There have been several times in my mentally-ill life that I have been med free and doing fine, thank-you. The last few years I have needed, or seemed to need, some chemical support to stay operational. This doesn’t count the insulins I need to survive type 1 diabetes.

Late last week I got 2 calls in one day telling me I was “not selected” for jobs I interviewed for, both were jobs I’m very well qualified for, thought I did great in both interviews. The clincher on one was when they said they found someone who was more experienced in a particular area. It just so happens that, no ego here, I am probably the very most experienced and qualified in this specific area in the state. Made me feel like a loser. Made me feel paranoid about my mental-health rep and the possibility that people I had listed as references who are so very supportive to my face may actually be undermining my job search. “Objection!”…” But Judge, this goes directly to the subjects state of mind!”… “Okay then, I’ll allow it…”

A few days back (…4?…5?) I ran out of 2 of the most important psych meds. One helps me sleep (among other things) and the other is an SSRI. Now, I know all about abrupt SSRI withdrawal, personal and observational data gained at some difficulty. But, thing is, I have been broke. Can’t afford even the co-pays. Also, 2 days back I ran out of one of my insulins; again, can’t have what ya can’t pay for. My sleep has been very odd- it;s like I’m sleeping but can’t tell if I’m awake or dreaming. I sweat very heavily (yeah,too much info, sorry).

I have been getting more and more “weird”. I have thoughts and perceptions I know aren’t right. It has become harder to carry on even simple conversations with family members because I have to keep editing myself, trying not to say something too strange or something that might worry my wife or younger son (who still lives at home).

I haven’t brought my lack of meds up at all. I know we don’t have money. I have feared that my wife would call my mother or some other family member. I am so sick of begging, being dependent. It reinforces my feeling of being a pathetic loser. BTW- I know that this is also probably an example of not thinking right.

I haven’t called anyone who might be helpful- well, I called someone but they weren’t answering and so I stopped trying. I have become more and more paranoid that people will find out how worthless, pathetic and crazy I am. I have become increasingly afraid to talk to anyone.

Friday, 4 days ago?, I was already losing it but the day went to hell way beyond what I could handle. But I tried to handle it anyway. I did everything wrong, at least in the eyes of the people around me, especially my wife. Her car broke down (I’m no mechanic) and she took my car to work, swapping it back later in the day. The bank account was overdrawn and I ended up using the last of my unemployment money to get the balance back to zero.

Thing is: I was so shocked to find the account overdrawn. I knew exactly what was in the account and the day before I talked to my wife about not using the “apparent” balance showing on the account- it was just ghost money that would soon be gone. She made 2 relatively small payments- for gas and $20 cash (perfectly legit uses for money)- and added to the two $35 overdraft fees put us a hundred bucks in the hole. I saw in our future a black hole of overdraft fees that would continue to pile up until we couldn’t do anything about it. (This is not an unreasonable fear in itself- it’s happened before.)

Comedy break:

During the day she wrote another hundred dollars in checks to cover important medical co-pays she needed to get her insurance set up with a new provider. I talked our son into getting a $100 cash advance to cover the upcoming overdraft.

She got a ride home from work after suggesting that we get a “drink” on the way when I picked her up.

She got home from a co-worker. She indicated she still wanted to go get a drink.

We’re still on Friday. Instead of taking her to get a drink I took my son to his bank to get cash and then went to our bank to deposit cash. I went home. My wife was half asleep but I could tell she was mad. Why had I prioritized going to the bank (before it closed)? Why had I spent all our cash covering the bank overdraft?

So, I made it worse. I went out and found a mechanic neighbor who said they would help me diagnose the problem with her car. We found that things were much worse than I could fix on my own (or without money to invest in a real mechanic).

By the time I got back I knew I was in the doghouse and in the very back of said animal abode.

The next day she was still mad. I was beginning to really lose it. My brain was definitely not functioning well. Being incapable of reasonable conversation, made the relationship problems worse. I was even more afraid to tell that I had no meds and was experiencing alternate reality that was more and more scary.

I didn’t go to Friends Meeting- I was too agoraphobic at this point. I didn’t wantto have to talk to anyone if possible.

Comedy break:

The saga continues: So, over the course of the weekend I got weirder and weirder. Tried to stay inconspicuous. Not a complete success.

This morning: cried from 8 am to 10. Then walked around the neighborhood trying to find cans and bottles that I could take to Safeway and get some oatmeal and toilet paper (I judged these to be the most important things I could get). Cried from 12 to 1pm, until got a call from my wife at work. She asked me what was wrong. “nothing”. She said she was going to call my mother and get money to buy meds. I begged her not to do this. She hung up. I cried some more. She called back and said that she would go to the pharmacy and write hot checks to cover the meds. I sobbed until she arrived with a bag of drugs. I had shit in my head that I will not share with you, kind strangers, but just know that it was very bad.

Now I have taken pills, even ones I don’t usually take (some sedatives). My wife has some difficulty being around me when I’m “not right”. I have stayed mostly in our room and either just kept my eyes closed or read a stupid crime novel.

Why did all this happen? How come I let it get so far? Why can’t I call on people when I need help? (Wait: I can answer that last one- Most people don’t want to hear from you when you are “not right”. They want to have you feel better, right now. When you don’t get better right away they get nervous, impatient and can’t wait to hang up. Also, I am not good on the phone. I can’t usually talk comfortably to people I can’t see.)

Comedy break:

Madness, feeling like you can’t think right, feeling pathetic/ worthless and suicidal- these are not good ways to be. I don’t go out of my way to feel like this. In fact I have put an extraordinary amount of time and thought into making sure I don’t go there. But sometimes, the best laid plans….

I know I’m not alone. I spend a lot of time with people who walk the edge. I know that slipping is common and that isolating is a very common response to the slippery slope.

Later this week I will be teaching 3rd through 5th graders at a conference in Corvallis, as part of a children’s program designed to allow parents to attend and give children a pint-sized dose of the conference topic: That of God in Everyone (It’s a Quaker conference- North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

The main result of this engagement that relates to issues at hand is that I will have to postpone the monthly radio show till next week- a full week after the Full Moon. So:

Mad Liberation by Moonlight is postponed until Friday 7/25, I think.

More pictures:

Ouch, Spidey, that lookedlike it hurt…

What is it with me and comic book characters today?

BTW- this following false Advertisement was done by a woman who is “sick of the pink, flowery, sound of music” shtick that goes with feminine hygiene products.

Good luck, stay safe, do as I say, not as I do, please be as happy as the circumstances will allow, if not more so. Until next time…(soon)…

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