Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Light in the Woods

Dawn in the pine forest, originally uploaded by J. Star.

My husband applied and qualified for this.

Good, good news.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


A Course for Nowhere, originally uploaded by Wetsun.

Did I mention that the government turned us down? We are in that in between place where we have too much income from unemployment assistance to get other aid, but too little income from unemployment assistance to live on.

And this week I transferred the last of our savings into checking to cover our bills.

I'm depressed now. Not the chemical kind. The sad kind.

I'm depressed and puzzled. Where is Father taking us with all this?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Characteristics of Introverts

I found this article today here and it described me so well (see below) that I wanted to share it. I feel strongly that pushing myself to act like an extrovert for many years contributed to my eventual meltdown. Mental illness is exacerbated by stress, and it is stressful to try too hard for too long to be what you are not.

Manhattan Snapshots 1974-1975 by dsorine.

"Here are 20 characteristics universal to introverts.

Introverts ...

1. love to read

2. have a few close, true friends

3. are excellent listeners

4. do not like to contribute in class

5. give people energy (extroverts take energy)

6. love to go to their room and close the door

7. may be exhausted by the social interaction required during a typical day at school

8. do not like group work

9. do not learn by repeating things out loud

10. like to connect the dots and insist on turning information in to knowledge

11. are very territorial

12. like to know about expectations well ahead of time

13. suffer from feelings of humiliation if they make a mistake in public

14. are intense

15. hate small talk

16. prefer to write rather than talk and especially don’t like talking on the phone

17. have a private and a public personality

18. say what they mean

19. prefer not to say anything unless it is significant

20. need time alone to recharge their batteries"

Do you see yourself in this list, too? If you are an extrovert, does this help you better understand someone you love?

A thank you to dsorine for sharing the photo at flickr.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Reminder

1 Corinthians 13

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Going Down?

going down, originally uploaded by Calain.

We applied to the Department of Social and Health Services for aid today.

I knew this day was coming, but I did not anticipate how sad it would feel.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Guest Post: Bruised

Forehead Bruise, originally uploaded by Daniel Paquet.

A reader asked me to post the following in her behalf, in hopes that it would help others, in a similar situation, to feel less alone:

Part of me thinks that if my husband were hitting me, things would be easier. At least then I would know what to do and I could have a plan of action. I would leave him, and feel completely justified knowing that I just protected myself and my child from physical harm. But, my husband doesn’t hit me. He doesn’t ever lay a hand on me except when he’s being affectionate.

My husband suffers from bipolar episodes of depression that leave me feeling battered and bruised mentally and emotionally. One minute he tells me that he loves me, and the next minute he tells me he doesn’t want to exist. When he gets in his depressed mood, he often tries to tell me that he feels cooped up, stuffed, contained, and that he wants to be free.

He used to tell me that he needs “more time with the guys to do guy stuff.” Over time, his complaints evolved to needing more “things to do” and “man time alone.” He’s complained about our finances, his responsibilities, and told me that he wishes he were single but couldn’t imagine being alone. He often dreams of being young again, having vitality, and youthful excursions of strength.

When he is gone all day and doesn’t make any effort to engage in conversation or enjoy my company when he returns in the evening, it feels as if I am invisible. He takes time to help me take care of our son, but his efforts are not based on love, they are based on his compelling need to control the situation since I take too much time doing things.

When he is not depressed and in his best of moods, I feel elation, love, and adoration for this man that I married. He can be the best of men, and he can be the worst of men. I love my husband, but I also fear him. I know that his mood can set a tone in our home that affects my emotional and mental well being. More importantly, I know that it can affect our son, and that is what truly bothers me. I don’t want my son to be a on that roller coaster with his father. I don’t want him to suffer through the ups and downs simply because his father has a problem with depression.

When my husband seeks to tell me why he is depressed, his evolving excuses always hover around how my son and I are limiting him in some way. He thinks that he is telling me that the solution to his problems is to have more time to do “whatever seems to fit at the moment”, but what I hear is that my son and I are a burden, and that we keep him from being happy. That he loves us but doesn’t want to be with us.

And that is where I am left to wonder what to do. I am an independent woman, and would not fear being a single mom if it were necessary. Yet, I know that marriage is sacred and that we are to do all that is possible to keep our marriages together. Too many marriages end in divorce, and I do not want to be divorced. I am fighting tooth and nail to save this marriage because I care about my commitment to God and to my family.

If he were hitting me, I would have a bruise, and a sure sign of abuse. No one would question my need to have a dramatic intervention in our lives, but I am not bruised on the outside, I am bruised inside. Some of me thinks that I have the victim mentality that commonly comes when a person is abused. I keep thinking of ways that I can be more loving, more kind, and a better person to stop the hurting and to stop the depression and its accompanying critisms. I blame myself for these problems even though I really know that they are completely out of my hands. I have to battle the automatic thought that “I am not suffering any more than women that put up with husbands who are less perfect than they had hoped.” Deep down inside, I am not healing from these episodes and the things that are said during depressive outpourings of emotion. I am no longer capable of keeping calm and feeling in control. I feel sad. I feel angry, and I want peace instead of turmoil in my home.

I need a plan of action, and I am out of the answers that I hoped would work. I feel resentment for this roller coaster I am asked to ride over and over again, day after day. It needs to end. But, what do I do? I am praying for answers and hoping someone will be inspired to say the right thing at the right time, because I can use all the help I can get.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Video Clips: Sharing Experiences

In conjunction with an upcoming documentary on PBS called Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illness, the Fred Friendly Seminars have posted many clips, of which this is one, on YouTube. I found them fascinating. This was one of the longest, but I was very intrigued by what Ms. Hardin had to say about the use of marijuana and its ties to schizophrenia.

Personally, I identified most with the experience of Scott Whitley, while Nancy Edwards' story was to me the most touching. The panel discussions are very interesting, too, as well as many, many more of the clips from those who share their experiences with mental illness. Here is the YouTube page.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Staying Afloat Unemployed

Last Friday marked the three month anniversary of my husband's last day at the Boeing Company after having received a layoff notice. Despite due diligence in a job search, he continues to be unemployed. Here is what has happened in the last three months:

(1) Due to provisions in the contract between the SPEEA union and the Boeing Company, under which my husband was working, Boeing has continued to pay for our medical insurance--up until now. We just received a bill for $1,373.91 to be paid by September 1, for one month's health insurance premiums. But I will have more to say about that later.

(2) We have been receiving about half of our former income in the form of a weekly check from the Employment Security Department of Washington State (commonly called an "unemployment check"). By using food from storage and cutting back, we have managed to get by on these checks by supplementing them with 200 dollars per week from our savings account. Our savings are still in good shape.

(3) Mental-health-wise, this has been a good season for me. I seem to have finally settled on the right combination of medications, and having my best friend husband spend every day with me has been wonderful, as well. Because of savings and food storage (thank you, Prophets of God) and a good worker's contract (thank you, union and company) and unemployment checks (thank you, legislators), we have not had worries this summer and have been able to enjoy the time together, taking walks, grocery shopping, watching a favorite television series, and sitting at the beach, tossing pebbles into the water. It has been a very healing time for me, and I have been more and more able to function like I used to. It has been a time of Peace.

(4) With continuing assistance from state and federal programs, we will be able to subsist on our savings and food storage for six months more, while my husband goes to college for the first time. He is all signed up. His tuition will be paid by the State of Washington.

Our savings are depleting, but should last for another six months, despite the jump in medical insurance costs. This is because our insurance premiums will not be as high as indicated by the statement we received in the mail last week. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009 as part of the Economic Stimulus Package, we are entiled to COBRA premium assistance.

COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) made it possible for workers to keep their health insurance after layoffs by paying their premiums out-of-pocket. ARRA cuts the costs of those COBRA payments by two thirds. The bottom line is, we need pay only 35% of our total insurance premium for each of the next six months. (A thank you to the President and Congress.) We have already sent our first check for $480.87, and we have just enough left in our savings account to do that five more times.

(5) Our hope is that husband can stay in school and complete a two-year degree in business management. The next six months look good. After that, we will see what Father has as our next surprise. His plan for us is certainly working out so far. (A call back to Boeing would sure be nice, I think.)

A thank you to lapstrake for the photograph.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Drama Triangle

Some time ago, a dear friend introduced to me the Drama Triangle, which has since saved me a lot of grief. Once I recognized such a construct operating in a relationship important to me, I was able to step back and see it with much less heartache.

The idea of the Drama Triangle is that in relationships we may be inclined to take the roles of victims, persecutors, and rescuers, none of which are healthy. When a particular relationship I was in was at its most heated, I drew a triangle with the word victim written at one point, persecutor at a second, and rescuer at the third point of the triangle, with the warning to "stay out of the triangle" written alongside. I posted it on my refrigerator as a constant reminder. It helped.

Wickidedia has a good explanation here. If you have not known of the concept before, maybe it will be a help to you to understand about the Drama Triangle, too. I'd love to hear your stories. Please share if you feel so inclined.

A thank you to Heather for her inspired teaching and to bram_app for sharing the above photo on flickr.

Friday, July 17, 2009

NAMI Memebers Talk About Mental Illnesses

NAMI has posted a collection of videos of members speaking about their experiences with mental illnesses. I found them quite riveting; encouraging, too. Here is the link.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Those Who Support

How blessed we are that the world has men such as these.

I am so very thankful for my husband, who is in so many ways like Bill.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Good Rain

I have long been aware of the scripture which teaches us that our "Father which is in Heaven . . . maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."--Matthew 5:45

For a long time, I read this scripture thinking that his sun represented good things and rain represented bad. Where I live sunlight is a precious commodity, while a nearly-constant threat of rain keeps things rather gloomy.

I have grown to realize that both sun and rain are, of course, blessings.

Since I know that it is my Father who is making the sun to rise on me, and is also sending the rain, I think I would be wise to welcome both, whether I bake or shiver, am drenched or parched.

There is something to be said for basking a bit in sunshine.

There is something to be said, too, for keeping one's umbrella turned bowl-side up.

A thank you to ovizo0n for sharing this photo on flickr.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Joey Pantoliano Speaks Out Against Stigma

Joe Pantoliano is the founder and president of "No Kidding, Me Too!"  For more information on the work being done there and a link to a trailer for an upcoming documentary, visit the website home page at NKM2.org.

I like to visit there and read and watch the videos to help me remember that I am part of a community, that there are others who understand what I feel and experience.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nice Axe

Nice axe, originally uploaded by Lonnon Foster.

We are unemployed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Driving on Overload

Here is a picture of how I'm feeling lately. Thank you for asking.

Manic again.   Lots going on inside this brain.

A thank you to maxw for sharing this photo in Creative Commons on Flickr.com.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Need for a Predictable Life

A thank you to _aeb for sharing her drawing in Creative Commons on  flickr.

From Matters of the Mind*:

     "Some suggestions for helping others cope with bipolar illness include the following:

          "Create a low-stress, comfortable environment.  Keep sensory stimulation, such as noise, at a low level.  Keep life predictable." 

I guess it is no wonder that I am feeling depressed again, with a lay-off notice looming over our heads, scheduled to show up this Friday.  Kind people are helping in every way possible to keep it from happening.  I feel blessed so much, too, for savings in the bank, for food in the pantry, for the help of friends and of heaven.  

But I do think that I will be healthier when life is more predictable once more.

*Matters of the Mind:  Latter-day Saint Helps for Mental Health, Edited by Marleen S. Williams, Ph.D., W. Dean Belnap, M.D., John P. Liningstone, Ed.D., Deseret Book, Salt lake City, Utah, 2008, page 164.

Friday, April 3, 2009

"Everybody Deserves a Roof"

A thank you to franco folini for sharing this photograph on flickr.

As I wrote about on this blog before, I feel a great affinity with the homeless among us. I particularly empathize with a need to have more privacy than what is afforded by a homeless shelter. I was heartened, therefore, to find this website about the EDAR (Everybody Deserves a Roof) project. You may want to go visit the site and see and read more there. Here is bit of history.

"Peter Samuelson began counting the homeless people on his bicycle route from Westwood, Los Angeles to the beach in Santa Monica and return. There were 62 homeless people on those streets, including many women and several children. Peter interviewed all 62 of them and then conceptualized a mobile single-person device that would facilitate recycling (a principal source of income for many who are homeless) by day and at night convert into a dry, safe tent-like enclosure for sleeping, raised off the concrete, with privacy and storage space.

"Peter sponsored an EDAR design competition at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design. As a result, Peter met designers Eric Lindeman and Jason Zasa, who won the prize, and they have been working pro bono ever since. Wire design and fabrication have been provided free of charge by John Ondrasic and Mike Orozco of Precision Wire Inc."

(Read more here.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Divine Design

"Now, as you and I look at our lives . . . , we sometimes do not understand that through which we are passing, but, being submissive, we can trust Him.

"The day will come, brothers and sisters, when the tapestry of your life will be unfolded, and you will see divine design all though it, and praise God for the experience and the tutoring which, in His goodness, He has given you"

(Neal A. Maxwell, "Willing to Submit" [address given at BYU-Hawaii devotional, 9 Feb. 1988, p.8).

A thank you to Whatknot for sharing this photo on flickr.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Like a Submissive Child

"Those who submit like a child do it because they know that the Father wants only the happiness of His children and that only He knows the way. That is the testimony we must have to keep praying like a submissive child, in the good times as well as the times of trouble.

"With that faith, we will be able to pray for what we want and appreciate whatever we get."

--Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in Conference Report, October 2001 or Ensign November 2001

With thanks to Collin Key for sharing this photo on flickr.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Depression: They Just Don't Get It"

There is an excellent blog post today by Therese J. Borchard titled "Depression: They Just Don't Get It." Here is an excerpt:

"I was both enraged and saddened that friends and family were shocked to hear that two doctors sliced me open — before full anesthesia kicked in — to save little David’s life in an emergency C-section. Yet when I voiced the desperation of depression — which made the knife cut feel like a knee scratch — they often brushed it off, as if I were whining to win some undeserved sympathy votes.

But I should know better. Most people don’t get it. And the day I get that through my head I’ll be less disappointed."

See the full post here.

Photo by pulpolux.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are you ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." --Isaiah 55:8-9

I am so thankful today to know that the Lord is mindful of my family and has a plan for our good.

My husband received difficult news yesterday:
As of May 22nd, we will join the ranks of the unemployed.

A thank you to James Jordan for sharing this photograph on flickr.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Boat

Red Fishing Boat at Cape Croker, originally uploaded by Bobcatnorth.
I owned a little boat a while ago,
And sailed the morning sea without a fear,
And whither any breeze might fairly blow
I steered my little craft afar and near.

Mine was the boat
And mine the air,
And mine the sea,
Nor mine a care.

My boat became my place of mighty toil,
I sailed at evening to the fishing ground,
At morn my boat was freighted with the spoil
Which my all-conquering work had found.

Mine was the boat
And mine the net,
And mine the skill
And power to get.

One day there came along that silent shore,
While I my net was casting in the sea,
A Man who spoke as never man before.
I followed Him; new life began in me.

Mine was the boat,
But His the voice,
And His the call,
Yet mine the choice.

Ah! 'twas a fearful night out on the lake,
And all my skill availed not, at the helm,
Till Him asleep I waked, crying, "Take
Thou the helm--lest water overwhelm!"

And His the boat,
And His the sea,
And His the peace
O'er all and me.

Once from the boat He taught the curious throng
Then bade me cast my net into the sea;
I murmured but obeyed, nor was it long
Before the catch amazed and humbled me.

His was the boat,
And His the skill.
And His the catch,
And His my will.

"The Boat" by George Macdonald from The Master Library, Volume III, copyright 1927, by The Master Library Company, formerly The Foundation Press.

Photograph by Bobcatnorth.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nine Minutes to Touch Your Heart

This is a video sent to me by my husband to brighten my day.
It worked.

I was particularly touched to see that the woman was wearing a hospital gown.

Monday, March 9, 2009


quilt thinking pinkly back, originally uploaded by DallanQuilts.

I have found the creative process to be an essential component in coping with mental illness. My particular choice of work allows me to accomplish the mentally creative and high-energy phase of a project when I am feeling well or manic, and a second, more peaceful phase when I am depressed.

My passion happens to be for making quilts which are finished by hand. A special fund of money has been set aside specifically for my projects. When I am feeling energized and bursting with ideas, I plan and purchase and expend the necessary energy required at the cutting table and sewing machine to satisfy the requirements of phase one of a quilt. In phase two I get to immerse myself in the rhythmic task of hand quilting a top to a batting and back. This part of the process can continue as I cycle into a period of depression. One characteristic of depression is the inability to make decisions. When I am hand-quilting, the only decision I need to make is where to begin with the next line of thread.

I am confident that there are many other creative outlets which also have this two-phase pattern. Knitting is an obvious one. Executing a woodworking project, with its second phase being hours of sanding, might be excellent, as would be planning and choosing colors followed by the sanding of a car prior to a new paint job. Choosing which picture to paint might satisfy the decision-making phase for some, while completing a paint-by-number, with all the choices of color and placement ready-made, might be very relaxing and helpful in a phase two quest for peace. I can also imagine great satisfaction in spending passionate days choosing and constructing fishing lures, to be followed by quiet, peaceful hours with a line in the water.

I highly recommend finding something creative to do. Put into your budget all the time and the money you can afford. Remember, the creative process aids in healing, and may be looked upon as a necessary medical expense. When one is already riddled with unjustified guilt, such a concept may make it easier to move forward and do the thing that you would truly love to do.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chipping Away

Chipping away at the corner, originally uploaded by Underpuppy.

I learned long ago that it was not good for me try to stay with a job, uninterrupted, from beginning to end. I generally become very anxious, for example, if I attempt to put all the clothes away when they come out of the dryer. So, I chip away. It works much better for me to just throw things on the bed, then pick up an item or two, and put them away, each time I pass through the room. How much of this is due to Bipolar Disorder, or to ADD, which I also have, is a mystery to me. Perhaps you have an insight to share about this.

A benchmark for me as to how I am doing with healing, as a matter of fact, is whether or not I am able to unload the dishwasher entirely of its clean dishes in one standing.

What a treat it is when that happens.

Lately, my husband has been doing the dishwasher tasks a lot.

A thank you to Underpuppy for sharing this picture on flickr.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Mind of Late

Devil Rock from Stefan on Vimeo.

I have so many thoughts that I can't think. The spinning keeps me in a stupor. Does anyone know what I mean?

This is my brain on mania.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Living in Fog

Morning, originally uploaded by mysza831.

I love living here, where the outside matches my inside.
I love how fog makes everything quiet and still.
That's just the way I like my life to be:



A thank you to mysza831 for sharing this photo on flickr.

Monday, February 16, 2009

When you have 20 minutes to do so, I urge you to watch this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. I wept through it. It speaks so eloquently to the connection between creativity and mental illness. I am confident that you will be moved by it, too.

A thank you to Timothy K Hamilton for sharing this picture on flickr, and to Chris Hathaway for bringing the TED talk to my attention.

And You?

Heavy snow - 1, originally uploaded by randihausken.

I'm doing what I can today, to fight off feeling like this.

The caption on this picture reads,
"Heavy snow and poor light today, too."

I appreciate randihausken for sharing this photograph on flickr. I doubt that it ever crossed her mind that this picture would be deemed suitable for display on a mental illness blog.

But, there it is.

Perhaps you, too, feel bent over and burdened and chilled this day. May you have whatever you need to help you to shake off the snow and stand tall again, despite the cold and dimness which presently engulf you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Winter - simplified :), originally uploaded by randihausken.

"In our search to obtain relief from the stresses of life, may we earnestly seek ways to simplify our lives."

--Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Ensign, November 2008, pg 10.

A thank you to randihausken for sharing this photo on flickr.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Proceed with Caution


Depression may be exacerbated by too much time outside the home.
Do not attempt to go grocery shopping two days in a row, even when accompanied by supportive family members.
Pushing limits even slightly may result in dizziness and anxiety upon entering a crowded chapel on the Sabbath.
If this reaction occurs, expect to be unable to function well the following day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Invisibility of Some Disabilities

Am I awful for envying those whose disabilities are visible? The sorts of folks represented in this picture are the only people who qualify for a seat on a bus in Bergen. I would have to stand. But then again, I would never board a public bus, let alone one so crowded that there were not even enough seats for all the passengers.

While others were jostling along viewing the delights of a beautiful city, I would be thankful to be safe at home, dealing as best I could with my invisible disability.

A thank you to Jill for sharing this photograph on flickr.

Friday, February 6, 2009

"The Blessing of the Blackberry Bush"

“The Saints should always remember that God sees not as man sees; that he does not willingly afflict his children, and that if he requires them to endure present privation and trial, it is that they may escape greater tribulations which would otherwise inevitably overtake them. If He deprives them of any present blessing, it is that he may bestow upon them greater and more glorious ones by-and-by.”

--Elder George Q. Cannon, as cited in the story linked below.

Those who know me best will not be surprised when I confess that
this story resonated deeply with me when I read it in this month's Ensign magazine.

It is always encouraging for me to remember the purposefulness of thorns.

See more from Greg Newbold, the artist who illustrated the story for the Ensign, here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When Guilt Breaks Through the Calm

Stormy Coast
Originally uploaded by orvaratli

Reminders are good. Reminders in writing by experts are sometimes especially good. I try to live life as simply and as stress-free as possible, but unwarranted guilt repeatedly disturbs my calm. ("You are selfish. You are spoiled. You are not doing your share.")

I'm thankful for this passage from Matters of the Mind: Latter-day Saint Helps for Mental Health, page 164, under suggestions for helping others cope with bipolar illness:

"Create a low-stress, comfortable environment. Keep sensory stimulation, such as noise, at a low level. Keep life predictable."

These are exactly the conditions I feel are critical for me to maintain. I am thankful to have this additional witness that my impressions are correct, and my desires valid.

It is not only okay; it is right and good and proper to take care of myself.

A thank you to orvaratli for sharing this photograph on flickr.

Friday, January 23, 2009


imperfect 殘念
Originally uploaded by Shenghung Lin

". . . although sin is an imperfection, not all imperfection is sin."

Quote taken from this article in this month's Ensign magazine.

A thank you to Shenghung Lin for sharing this photograph on flickr.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Originally uploaded by tommy martin

Monday, January 19, 2009

She Shines

Knights! In Shining Armour.
Originally uploaded by Isthmene

My very own Princess in Shining Armour rode in and helped me save my head today.

And my hair, too.

Thank you, Kate.

And thank you to Isthmene for sharing this photo on flickr.

A Mess

personal responsiblity packets
Originally uploaded by _aeb

I'm a mess today. I hacked and coughed all night. Slept late. Am low in energy and depressed.

Last night I chopped at my hair. It looks awful.

In short, I am feeling crazy.


A thank you to _aeb for generously sharing this work of art on flickr.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

False Alarm

false alarm....
Originally uploaded by JustUptown

The rash is fading.

A thank you to JustUptown for sharing this photo on flickr.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Leaves broke out with "fall rash"
Originally uploaded by Ctd 2005

I have a rash. I also have that virus which is going around. Viruses can bring on rashes. Lamictal, which is the medication I take to stabilize my mood swings, can bring on a rash as well. I did not know before taking Lamictal that any rash could be life-threatening, but the Lamictal rash, which is Stevens-Johnson syndrome, is such a rash. The standard advisement is to contact one's doctor immediately if a rash appears.

I called my psychiatrist's office when I got up this morning. I could hardly speak because of the phlegm in my throat, from the flu, but I asked for an appointment as soon as possible. I was connected to another receptionist, with whom--between fits of coughing and considerable clearing of my throat-- I left a message on a machine.

Now, after several hours, I have yet to hear back. Left hanging, I feel foolish, realizing that this may all be a false alarm. On the other hand, my vision has gotten increasingly blurred over the past months, which is also a Lamictal side-effect. It would be nice to be able to see what I am writing again. I think that I don't want to be on Lamictal any more.

I feel like all of this is too much for me to handle. I am depressed and crying again, and just when I was beginning to feel some normalcy coming back into my life.

(For those who are searching for information on the Lamictal rash, there are pictures on Google Images, which are like the rash I am experiencing. My daughter, however, was on Lamictal and developed a different sort of rash, which manifested as purple blotches on the underside of her chin. It appeared shortly after she began taking the Lamictal, and disappeared as soon as she stopped taking it with a switch to Depakote. Our psychiatrist says that the rash can appear at any time and in a variety of forms.)

Update: Having just re-read this post, I can see why my mom panicked and counseled me via email to go immediately to the ER. What I did not make clear was that what I was experiencing was just the faint beginnings of what looked like it could be the Lamictal rash. The photographs online are quite graphic and definitely scary looking. I just have a few-- 12 or 15-- pink and red spots.

It is now nine p.m. I never did hear back from the psychiatrist's office. I suspect that, despite my efforts to speak clearly on the message I left, the words came out garbled on the other end and no one could tell who called. Anyway, after taking an Ativan for my mounting anxiety, and spending the afternoon hacking and sneezing, but not dying, I'm not worried much about the rash at this point. I will just keep an eye on it. It will probably leave with the flu virus.

(Sorry, Mom.)

A thank you to Ctd 2005 for sharing this photograph on flickr.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Experience of Grief

Today is the anniversary of the birth, and of the death, of Kristy Palizzi Ragsdale. As the most understanding of friends, her mother, Ann, has helped me through the many bouts of depression which I have endured over the years. She continues to be an example of wisdom and strength to me and to so many others. Here is her latest entry from Kristy's memorial blog. Perhaps you will be blessed today by her strength and wisdom as I have so often been.

The photograph is from www.heraldextra.com, where you can read more about Kristy's story.

The Truth About Perfection

Ready to fly (II)
Originally uploaded by marcelgermain

"Perfection is pending.
It can come in full only
after the Resurrection
and only through the Lord."

Elder Russell M. Nelson
General Conference
September -October 1995

(Italics added.)

A thank you to marcelgermain for sharing this photo on flickr.

Repost: A Reminder

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Painful Things Happen Even to the Pure"

"To those who stagger or stumble, He is there to steady and strengthen us. In the end He is there to save us, and for all this He gave His life. However dim our days . . . may seem, they have been a lot darker for the Savior of the world. As a reminder of those days, Jesus has chosen . . . to retain for the benefit of His disciples the wounds in His hands and in His feet and in His side--signs, if you will, that painful things happen even to the pure and perfect; signs, if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn't love you; signs, if you will, that problems pass and happiness can be ours . . . It is the wounded Christ who is captain of our souls, He who yet bears the scars of our forgiveness, the lesions of His love and humility, the torn flesh of obedience and sacrifice.

These wounds are the principal way we are to recognize Him when He comes."

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
CES Conference at BYU
8 August 2000

A thank you to midiman for sharing this photograph on flickr.