Trust and a Shuddering Pillar

So life’s good at figuring out when things are pretty awful, and punching you in the face for good measure. Just in case you didn’t get the memo Re: Awful. As I have mentioned a few times, I have an off and on affair with Depression. I mean, it’s always there, ready to come in and make itself at home whether I welcome it in or not, but occasionally I’ve been able to ignore it long enough to get things done. This isn’t a tenable solution “Long Term”, so I’ve tried medication… with Varying Levels of Success. In any event, right now I’m not able to afford medication, so I’m back to the “Ignore it and hope it goes away” stage of treatment. What this means is that beyond the normal grey haze that my perception of the world is cast under, is that for (Increasingly frequent and longer) periods of time, my perception of the world goes from “Grey” to “Black”.

No matter how well I sleep and eat, I have no energy (Assuming I “do” sleep in eat… which is not guaranteed). Everything I do is not only “Useless”, but actively “Bad”. Everyone has nothing but contempt for me, and all that I am and do. I have failed at everything I’ve ever attempted, and no matter how hard I try, I will fail in this too… and so on. These are not intrusive thoughts that can be whisked away by exercise and positive thinking (Which is what folks that do not deal with depression commonly think), but “Truths” of life (Accompanied by a desire to try and explain them… as even I don’t accept my excuses”… it took me a long time to talk to medical professionals and admit this to myself ;?). It’s like, if every so often you woke up, and your vision was gone and your muscles all refused to work beyond what it takes to move your body… but only for that day (Week, Month, Year… different folks are differently affected). It doesn’t matter how many people tell you that nothing has changed… you are not going to be able to get through your day the same way you did before. And while it seems to be impossible to convey the reality of a mental disorder to someone without one… our country has time and again proven how little facts matter… so I’ll not waste the time here trying to do so.

In any event, back to the reason I’m writing today. I’m at the low end of my mental wave pattern, and life is doing it’s Facepunch thing. Someone whom I would have considered a pillar of my life has begun to shudder violently. There are a number of reasons, some good, some bad (and none suitable for discussion in this venue) that this is occurring… but the short of it is, I can not currently rely on them the way, until very recently, I would have said I could… and while the future may end up better than it is currently, some trust has been lost, potentially forever. As I tend to keep my “Inner Circle” incredibly small… I don’t have a lot of folks I trust that thoroughly. At the top of my wave form, this would have just been an unfortunate occurrence, and I would have been easily capable of waiting it out to see what the future holds. At this time though, it’s an earthquake while I was already on shaky legs. I will press on. “This too will pass”… but this blog is an outlet for me to “Keep myself honest”… and if I’m being honest with myself… I’ve not been handling everything as well as I would like.

Business, Headaches, and a Flipped Car

While sure, one could likely cause the others, in this case they are all unrelated. Setting up the new business is chugging along, and we’re nearing to a formal launch. After which there will be a small flurry of activity here, and then a sort of radio silence… unless you know where to look. ;P (We’re running a launch contest, guess close to our Phone Call Time, and win a free piece of clothing. If you’ve been interested in what the fuss is about, here’s a no effort chance to find out. We’ll choose a closest above, a closest under, and if someone hits the nose on the head… we’ll come up with some kind of a special gift for them).

The headache is due to my quitting the newest medication I was on. There’s a waning off period, and not only is it causing a (Thankfully light) headache, but it’s giving me this kind of woozy “High” feeling that’s been rather bothersome. I don’t feel safe driving until it’s gone, and it’s already been sticking around for a few days now. ;? Soon enough it’ll be a problem of the past, but for now, it’s unpleasant.

The Flipped Car was another kid on the road in front of our house that probably needs to go back to driving school. I can be a bit pithy because thank goodness nobody was hurt (And at a glance there was no major property damage. Nothing of ours was wrecked… This Time at least, and the kid was walking around looking ashamed. I’ll do another loop down there when the sun comes back up).

From my perspective I heard a heck of a noise. Went out and saw an upside down car. Verified with the kid that had just crawled out that he was alone in the vehicle and physically unharmed (I couldn’t tell if he was under the influence… or just in shock at having just crawled out of a flipped car, but there were no marks or blood. He was very lucky… and I have no idea what he flipped the car on), and then pulled my car down the driveway to provide light to the scene. The police were already called (The neighbors shockingly “Also” heard the noise), and showed up shortly thereafter, so I re-parked my car and came back in to finish working for the night. It would probably have been a bit crass to have come back with a camera (Even though nobody was hurt), so there are no pictures to share.

So all in all it’s been an interesting evening. There are other things I could write about… but this wooziness is bothersome enough that I’m going to call it a night.

Sexual Side Effects

Okay, so if the title wasn’t clue enough, let me spell it out here. I’m going to be talking about sex, and how it fits into my life with the new medication. Which of course will require discussing how it fit in my life before. Not in a titillating way, but I’m not one to play coy language games and beat around the bush for the sake of sensitive sensibilities either. So if either the topics, or the combination of topics bothers or upsets you in any way, I’d suggest bailing right now. Like don’t even finish this paragraph, just leave. Cause while I’m more than happy to expand upon anything I’ve written here… If even after I’ve spent like… 100+ words warding you off, you read this and get cranky… I’m just going to mock you for it. Heads up. ;P Mostly, I’m writing this in part to vent some of my frustrations through a “Creative” outlet, and in part to try and provide insight into what “Sexual Side Effects” may actually look like when brought up as a side effect. A lot of times I’ve seen folks assume (For Men obviously, as that is the only perspective I can offer) that it means it’s harder to become aroused, and as a result, erect. But while that may be the case in some instances, that is not what I’ve experienced.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get to the subject in hand… well err… maybe at hand… *ahem*… it’s far too early in this for easy sex jokes. More seriously, to begin the contextualization, I’ll start out by stating that I’ve always had a rather healthy sexual appetite. That said, I’ve not had too much opportunity to discuss the subject of sex with most folks in my life (Puritan societal influence baked into our culture and all), nor have I gone out of my way to hide from it or avoid talking about it when the subject does come up either. Despite that, I hold the view that a more comfortable relationship with sex (And the conversations therein), would do our society wonders. Cause our current fetishization of the human body leads to all kinds of bizarre social behaviors (Folks freaking out about breast feeding in public, awkwardness when personal care tasks become necessary in a social situation, concerns about multi-gendered restrooms, etc.) due to folks not having a clear idea where the line between the body, and “The Sex” lies. You get questions like, Is it sexual if I see a woman’s breast? Is it sexual if I pass a stall where someone is using the restroom? and other ridiculousness. Not to mention that it breeds a weird kind of pseudo eroticism as advertisers and etc. try and play with this fetishism, because there are an incredible number of people out there for whom all their sexual experience is shaped by a few hours at school (Maybe… depending on where / when they grew up) and the media. And goodness forbid they ask anyone questions about any of it. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, women tend to bear the brunt of this fetishization but… I digress… all that’s a post for another day. Suffice it to say I’m very comfortable with both my desire for sex, and the conversations surrounding that desire.

Now, I’ve written before about my general world view. And having just very lightly established my thoughts about and relationship with sex, I will add that due to the limited range of stimuli I tend to… acknowledge? Sexual stimulation has always been a notably poignant experience compared to the general thrumm of life. It should come as no surprise then, that I am intimately familiar with all the sensations surrounding both my general state of arousal, and the entire series of elevations leading up to a potential climax. Whether alone or with a partner, I’ve come to (With extensive practice) know at precisely what level of sensation my arousal process shifts through the stages of pleasure. I contextualize this specifically because with this medication (And the medication I was on some time in the past before the stuff that caused last month’s shenanigans), the last few tiers of elevation are simply cut off. It’s as if the arousal process is muted, and the climax (If there is one), not only occurs at a perceived lower level, but is also Far less elevated itself. So even at climax, the entire experience results in less pleasure than simply moving up the stages of arousal provided before.

So what does this mean in practice? It means that while my actual desire to engage in sexual activity has not been muted even a little, the result of acting upon that desire is not only less satisfying, but also more difficult, and in whole, more frustrating that simply not acting upon it was before. Meaning an aspect of my life that had always provided both enjoyment, and measurable pleasure, has now been brought down to the same general buzz that the rest of my life hides beneath. Sure, it’s not the end of the world. And theoretically the medicine might at some point raise the level of that buzz overall… But for now, it is just one more streetlight burned out on the sidewalk of my life, and it was already hard enough to see the road ahead.

Do not adjust your Television Set

  This is just a test. I’m planning on using IFTTT a little more for social spread, and I kind of want to see what a post looks like through different output methods, and what formatting options I can use. This is also the first post from my new tablet, so it’ll be interesting to see what this process is like as well.

  I don’t have anything particularly interesting to say, but I want to see what multiple paragraphs look like in different output modes, and I’ll post once from each blog to test that out. This is my Personal Blog, so my pratter will be slightly uhhh… Personal? Like a conversation about my day, or sharing of events in my life. Right now the most interesting things in my life are work related… And I’m not feeling super chatty about that. I can say I’m exhausted… And only half of that is physical. ;?

  We’ll see. The main reason I have this tablet is because it was on a promotion for free with a data line at T-Mobile while I was adding Tahirih to my plan. I’d been considering a Data Line for a while now, and handing me a Tablet to sign up your one was too good an offer to pass up. In a ‘Hilarious’ twist of fate, my old tablet broke after I ordered this one, so lucky me for running into this deal? ;?

To Drug… or Not to Drug…

Ominous, I know. ;P But seriously, that’s the choice I faced recently… and against all my ‘better’ judgments, I decided to try drugs. Sertraline to be specific… though you’re likely to recognize it more by its ‘Street Name’, Zoloft. I’ve talked before about my personal struggles with depression, and the form it takes for me. I don’t get into it too often, as the story never gets any more interesting than that. It’s no fun, it makes life difficult when there’s no other obstacles, and I’ve dealt with it for as long as I can rightly remember. So recently I made a commitment to really do something about it. Now without a lot of money, and really… no time to commit to therapy, that was off the table (Not that I truly believe in the potential for therapy in my situation considering all the avenues I’ve already taken. Who knows… if this is unsuccessful maybe I’ll revisit it in future as I know quite a few people who have benefited from it, but for various reasons it’s a no go for now). So that left drugs.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know that due to my childhood asthma, I illogically grew to loathe the use medication. The short story goes that since I couldn’t even run across a room without wearing myself out and risking an asthma attack (Thus the need to carry two separate inhalers 24/7), I formed a negative association with my inhalers. I know… they provided me the opportunity not to die… I should have loved them. Hey, I’m not defending kid me’s logic, I’m just telling it like it happened. ;P In any account, that irrational distaste led to an adult that doesn’t use medication unless he has to, which is far less often than you’d think. >.>

So back to my depression. It was hard for me to even acknowledge that it existed (Due in part I’m sure to the social negative stigma towards mental difficulties of any kind), and harder still to accept that it wasn’t something I could just will away… as much as I’d tried. Heck, I’d even read up on all forms of self help, therapy studies, etc. (I would sleep through Psych 101 at this point. ;P) and have tried the lot of them. Positive Manifestations, Exercise, Directed Thinking and Breathing… and so on. None of it worked. Sure, there were moments where I felt ‘better’… but there were always moments I felt ‘better’. That’s a far cry from feeling ‘good’ though (Or really… feeling anything most of the time), and during my low points… it’s hard to get anything done that doesn’t have to be done (And sometimes, even the things that have to be done get put off)… So something needed to change.

So here we are. I’ve made a decision not to let this define me, and though in the past I would have said taking medication is doing just that, I’m coming to realize that by doing so (Or at least trying it… there’s no guaranteed success here, and I may still be working from square the first), I’m giving myself what I hope is the best opportunity to succeed in that. Only time will tell. And hey, even if it doesn’t work… it can’t be said that I’m not trying everything. I’ll be trying as time goes on to document this period (And we all know how well that tends to go ;P) for reference… we’ll see.

In Memory of Lynx

  Sixteen years? Longer? I’m honestly not sure how long Lynx had on this earth. In the end, it matters not. What does matter is the quality of the life he had… and I’d like to think it was a good one. A little more interesting at times than he’d perhaps have wished… and maybe a little duller during other occasions… but overall good I’d wager, if the affection he continued to express to the very end is any indication.

 

  Do cats reflect on their lives toward the end? Are they even capable? Or is it only humans that sit for hours at a time ponderously going over the moments that compose the narrative fabric of our lives? If he were to reflect, what would he consider the high points? Finding a family as loving as it was loud and ramshackle after being beaten near to death?  A combination of people and animals that from afar held more in common with a farm than a family. Or perhaps after a long drive across the country, it was a high to discover a new home, where silence was more common than the raucousness he’d come to know.

 

  What would the lows be? As a kitten, coming close to death at the hands of… Whomever it was he escaped from before finding his way to us. Perhaps it was the week or two he spent wandering a neighborhood he’d only recently moved to, before finally finding his way back into the house. There’s obviously no way to know, as cats are notoriously bad spellers. But it’s interesting to ponder.

 

  It’s said that cats know when the end of their lives approaches… and in Lynx’s Case, that was obviously true. He had a cancerous growth in his throat that made it progressively more difficult to eat… up until he was down to a liquid diet only. And though he had to have been progressively hungrier, he never complained, or made his pain obvious. I can’t know whether or not that was for him… or for us… but to the very last night, he behaved as if nothing was wrong… weakness aside.

 

  I don’t remember any more the thrust I was originally writing this for… nor am I sure what the point of this ‘is’. All I know is that July 9th, 2014, Lynx found the end of his life… and I lost a member of my family. It hurts, and it doesn’t make any sense, as we all will eventually find the end of our lives… but I loved him unconditionally, and he seemed to love the same… and maybe that’s what I was originally going to comment on… the rarity of that kind of relationship between people… but regardless, ‘that’s’ also what was lost that day.

The Beauty of Fall

I hear about it all the time. As the summer comes to an end the wind begins to dance with the eldest of the leaves, and donning their finest hues, the leaves in turn descend playfully to the ground below, blanketing the now yellowing grass with their lively colors, and reminding us of the transitory nature of our lives. How not only are we never truly done, but even in the waning of our lives we are still full of the rich experiences that have brought us to where we are, and if we only but take a cue from the leaves that dance with the wind, we can share the beauty of our own personal tapestries with the world around us.

And just as no words can ever truly hope to capture the experience of Fall, I recognize how shallow my own attempt at sharing the poignant emotions stirred when I read a passage written by one of my friends. It’s funny the things that inspire, and stranger still the result of such inspiration. She described a leaf, alone in the slowly fading light, it’s colors ranging from the bright yellows, to the crimson reds, resting at the cross section between stone and grass. With the hard rough concrete of her walk brushing the still vibrant green yard of her neighbors as the backdrop, the leaf inspired in her an awe that she was reluctant to taint by trying to capture it with the rudimentary tools available within her phone.

And while so enthralled by the whispered beauty of the leaf alone, as it shouted it’s colors into the night, she was made aware of the neighbors, coming out from their home to observe the young woman standing at the end of their drive. Here she paints the scene surrounding the island of beauty. You have a young woman holding a long forgotten cigarette, wavering ever so slightly as she stands at the end of the drive. Eyes decorated by a wash of dried tears and old makeup, she is raptly focused on what to them, is merely the ground at the edge of their yard.

I think what struck me the most in this story was not only the obvious blow to the heart such a sight brought her, but the candid manner in which she shared this excerpt from her life. She identifies herself as the ‘Crazy person of the day story’ in the lives of her neighbors, and sets this as a bar of experience to which we should all aspire, a notion I could not agree with more.

Now it wasn’t ‘just’ the feeling I got from that post that I wanted to share. It also got me thinking about… well… life. In particular, I realized ‘why’ I love excerpts like this as much as I do. It’s a glimpse at a world I will never see. I’ve written before about being colourblind, and even suggested way in which it may have affected my life. But when I’m talking to someone about it, and they express their sympathy, I wave it off with an expression along the lines of, “I haven’t ‘lost’ my ability to see color, I never had it, so it’s not like I’m ‘Missing’ something. ;P”. It occurs to me that this is why I’ve never felt the loss.

In much the same way that reading an adventure novel allows one the opportunity to explore dark forests of indeterminable age, with massive trunks that bear the weathering of years, underbrush that catches at the legs, and trips the unwary traveler, vines so long in the growing looping from tree to tree with no identifiable beginning nor end. In the same way you can almost hear the rustle of the wind through the boughs above, and the chatter of creatures that dance just beyond sight. The same influence that allows you to smell the once living husks of trees fallen in unknowable storms mixing with the verdant life of the forest today… This same power allows me to see the beauty of the world, the richness of life’s tapestry as if I truly could see the colors for myself. And is the reason that I’ve never really felt colourblind.

She agreed to allow me to reproduce the original post here attributed to her:

So I was walking back to my house after grabbing some food, kind of lost in thought. I saw a leaf on the sidewalk that was the most perfect fall leaf I think I have ever seen. It was school bus yellow at the tip and faded in blazing oranges and pinks into an almost painfully bright red shade and was nestled into some of the greenest grass in the neighborhood.
I stopped short and just stared at it. I considered taking a picture of it, but realized that this would make me that person who takes pictures of leaves on the sidewalk (hashtag nofilter). It was one of those moments that let me know instantly that to try to capture it would be to diminish it. A moment where making it important enough to try and keep shatters the illusion.
I must have stood there and looked at this leaf for at least 5 minutes, because when I came back to reality my cigarette had smoked most of itself without my assistance. Coming back to reality was done because a lady and her kid had come out of her house to see a vaguely disheveled, mildly hungover woman with smears of last night’s eye make up still clinging around faded tear tracks, standing mute and still just staring intently at the lawn from the end of their very short driveway.
Just not living life if you’re not somebody’s crazy-person-of-the-day story sometimes.
It was a really nice leaf.
It has been a trying couple of days.

Lauren Bartle

And link to the Original for those of you that can see it.