mental health

Not Dead Yet

I know I haven’t posted since June. I’ve been dealing with my health for most of the summer, actually.

First weekend in July is my annual bacchanal (if you can call it that when I don’t drink my ass off because I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol) at CONvergence. Don’t get me wrong, drinking at the con is not an issue. But after a couple of years ago when most of the volunteers and many of the con-goers nicknamed the convention “VomitCon,” it is expected that people will, as the alcohol ads say, Drink Responsibly. It is the only time a year I intentionally push past my physical issues. Oh, I sit quite a lot (I usually spend the con in the smoker’s area [called due to smoking laws, “Smoker’s Paradise”] talking to old friends I only see at the convention and making new ones). I use my cane. And I don’t completely destroy myself. Yet it requires a number of months to completely recover from the major spoon deficit.

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This Is Our Reality

While I work on a post that requires a hell of a lot of research, I ask you to be patient, just like you have been patient for most of this year because of my health issues. But here’s a quicky to keep you going.

via The surprising number of American adults who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows – The Washington Post

7% of all American adults (that’s 16.4 million) people believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

How is this surprising to absolutely ANYONE who has a couple brain cells to rub together?

We have the person who called in to the KanKakee Daily Journal’s Speakout line (seen to the right) who may or may not have been a joke.  Sadly, I have met SOME people who do actually believe that the meat in the grocery stores are in no way related to actual living animals.

Then we have Donna, “the Deer Lady,”. The audio clip from Y94 Playhouse Fargo, ND radio station states that the “Deer Crossing signs” should be moved to lower traffic areas so the deer know to avoid the higher traffic areas.  Now, there is a follow-up phone call in which she admits to not knowing that the signs for people not deer. But she also claims to have been raised in a small, rural North Dakota town.

I didn’t know a lot about rural towns before moving to one, but I can tell you that there is NO person of driving age in this town that doesn’t know road signs are for PEOPLE. It takes a special kind of stupid to grow up in a rural town and not have a good basis in the facts of living in an area where you are likely to have to deal with wild animals when driving. Not counting the 2 deer or the one raccoon I’ve hit in the last 25 years of visiting my sister up here, I have also almost had an accident by a coyote crossing the rural highway (with no signs about it — but I know damned well deer are not the only animal to cross roads and I’ve primarily lived in urban spaces).

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Identity Without Limits

I was rewatching Halle Berry’s Catwoman tonite, and it got me thinking. I know that Wonder Woman is supposed to be this great re-visioning of what it means to be a strong, independent woman. I know many people looked at Catwoman as a complete and utter failure because of any number of excuses.

But what struck me is that what the movie does is reveals that women can only be free when they choose to define themselves, when they choose their identity and are true to it. It’s not about being “good” or being “bad,” but being who they are at their core.

For some women, being like Sharon Stone (Laurel Hadere) or Alex Borstein (Patience’s friend Sally) is who they want to be. They want to fit in with the world and build power and freedom within the limitations of what our society thinks is appropriate behavior for a woman.

They think if they can somehow attain that power (through their relative “attractiveness” or how closely to the supposed feminine ideal they can be) then they will be accorded the freedom to be themselves. The problem is, by the time that they attain that height, they have become something completely at odds with who they really are. Sadly, if they choose to try to reflect that inner truth, all of that so-called “power” or “freedom” disappears like a burst soap bubble.

The “living marble” that Laurel has become is a wonderful metaphor for this false self. We choose to try to conform as a way to keep from being hurt. We become who our family wants, who our husband or partner wants, who their children or friend group wants us to be — or who WE think they want us to be.

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Dreams and Realities

I find it interesting that as my recovery continues, that my musical tastes evolve.

It’s not that I lose interest in my previously loved music, just that in many ways one can almost chart my emotional recovery by the differences in my musical tastes.

When I was still living with my ex, more often than not I listened to a lot of what is called “bubblegum dance.” Bands like Aqua and Toy-Box were my favorites.   And because I rarely spent money on myself, my Gothic tendencies were the Geek Goth Additionally, I was well on my way to denying all of my dreams (not that they have ever been even close to being numerous).

Now that I’m no longer in that situation, and focusing primarily on my mental and physical health (rather than sacrificing me for everyone else) I have moved from bubblegum to “angry pop” (i.e. Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson – break up songs, empowerment songs, and such) to grungy heavy metal and finally to symphonic metal/cinematic metal and classical crossover music.

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Comparing Struggles

There is always a temptation to make comparisons between your own situation and the situations that others are living in.  Sometimes, it can be a jealousy or envy about someone else’s life.  And it doesn’t just have to be about money, either.  You can look at someone else’s life and wonder why they have what you want to have — whether it is a loving relationship, financial security or simply a slightly better situation than your own.

Other times it can be you (or other people) comparing your struggles with theirs.  Just like the jealousy of someone, this is a toxic attitude to have.

My issues are just that — mine.  It is unfair and unjust of me to say that my struggles are either worse than someone else’s or that someone has it worse than I do.

And the temptation to tell someone that they should just “try harder” because someone else has worse struggles than theirs is a not just toxic.  It is bullshit.  And it often makes the struggle worse, because the person struggling becomes overwhelmed with the need to “push harder” or “overcome the obstacles” before they are truly ready to do so.

I’ve actually had a few people tell me that I am just being lazy, that I need to push myself and  “get back on the horse” about work.  Because much of the issue relating to my ability to work has to do with emotional struggles (my depression and my anxiety), I should simply take my medicine and “act like a responsible adult.”

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Getting Tripped Up

When you have Google basic command prompt commands perhaps it is time to admit that your memory issue goes back further than just the last 2 years.

I learned back when it was MS-DOS, and tended to use that instead of Windows 3.1. Then transferred knowledge over to UNIX/LINUX commands. Windows, no matter how much else has changed, still uses a lot of the old MS-DOS commands.

I was good enough with the assorted different DOS types, and the commands, to get a 2-week gig with a major bank conglomerate, working on their DOS batch files that updated the changes in currency fluctuation. And completed the project in record time.

I’ve still used those commands off and on through the years. Often enough that the basic commands like renaming a file, listing a directory, deleting files, etc were always right there for me to use.

I remembered how to change a directory, but I had to actually look up how to list one or rename a file or some of the other basic commands.

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