The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.

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Rainy Days and Fridays

Eventful day for me. Or at least a busy one.

I had broken sleep last night. First was a thunder storm that woke me up. Then there was a helicopter in our neighborhood. I heard from the neighbors that the police were in the street outside the house. I gather there was a man hunt of some kind but so far I haven’t found proof of that. Next came my early morning pee wake up. Then the alarm went off.

Once the handyman left, I got to work on my computer. I have applied to Via Hope to take my certified peer specialist class. It will cost $575 but it seems like my boss is behind me taking it. She will pay for it, if there’s enough money. So I filled out most of the application for Via Hope but I still need 2 recommendations. I asked a friend from MHA and one from DBSA to help me out.

I tried to help V make a thank you video for donations received but I am not a cinematographer. She made one herself and it’s much better.

I made split pea soup for lunch, and right now I am making barbecue pork for dinner. We have 4 packs of pork so we need to eat it timely. There will be a lot of pork and a lot of split peas in the upcoming 2 weeks. The trick is to make it taste different.

I did take a nap this afternoon. That wasn’t part of the plan but it happened nonetheless. I think it was because I was tired from my broken sleep.

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I Have Been Demobilized

I got a notice that I was requested for a 60 day deployment. It lasted 19 days.

I’m a little disappointed. Friends of mine are working at the central office but I was released. I even asked to stay. I told the leadership team that I didn’t need to be home for Christmas, maybe someone else was wanting to go home? But no.

I am frustrated with this job right now. I enjoy it so much, but I so seldom get to do it. I feel like I’m getting somewhere with the organization, but I don’t get to go out in the field very often. Friends of mine have, but not me.

I am told that the list is managed by an algorithm. I have asked what I can do to make myself more appealing to the computer, but nobody seems to know. I think somebody knows but I don’t know how to find them.

Boy there are a lot of “buts” in this.

So I am thinking I need a regular job. Something that meets more regularly. I’m sad about this because 40 hour weeks kill me. I like the irregular schedule. Only I can’t keep going without getting paid.

So I was home for Christmas. I saw my daughter, who wasn’t feeling well, so we watched movies and ordered Chinese food. It was actually a good day.

I don’t want to go back to job hunting, but I guess it’s time.

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Way Too Early Friday Morning

It’s Thursday night, it’s Friday morning, it’s that gray area when you get to decide what time of day it is.

By the clock, it’s 1:29 Friday morning. By my sleep habit, it’s the middle of the night on Thursday.

Funny how it’s getting up that makes it the next day, not the clock. Although this is a planned all-nighter so sunrise will make it the next day.

But it will still be today. I might even still have the same clothes on.

What’s going on, that I’m not sleeping?

My daughter got mugged in Deep Ellum last week and we need to go to the DMV to get her a replacement ID.

Mugging. That’s something you don’t like to think about. When I was young, when ATMs were a new phenomenon, we used to carry $20 “mugging money” so that we wouldn’t get knifed for having no cash. Nowadays, well, apparently my daughter was slipped a mickey. She says it was GHB, but since she didn’t do a drug test, I have to wonder how she knows. Maybe date rape drugs are surprisingly common these days and the young folk know the difference. I don’t know.

I just know she freaked out, legitimately. She had a chain maille chain attached from her jeans to her wallet and they broke the chain to get the wallet. Whatever else happened, this was a determined mugger. They also got her phone and her vest, but she got those back. A friend of a friend recognized the vest and knew it didn’t belong to the person wearing it. They got it back with the phone and left them with a local club management, then put the information into the grapevine.

I would rather they had called the cops about this, but my opinion is immaterial. Not to mention ACAB. My kid is, well, alternative looking. Not someone the police would find sympathetic. Doesn’t mean she somehow doesn’t deserve sympathy, but she’s not a Plano girl, blonde highlights straightened hair perfect teeth cheerleader type. She’s a tough little green haired sprite in Doc Marten’s and black denim. Not the right type to be a victim.

So I am up all night, to be sure we get to the DMV early. Last time we got there about 11 am, they were already booked for the day. I figure I need to pick her up about 7 am and be there before 8. You just never know.

In other news, I found some Sesame Street stamps for my mail. I figure, the way things are, people deserve a postage stamp that will make you smile and remind you of childhood. I will get some mail together tonight as part of my staying up. I have some things to send out for my Etsy shop (I sold a hat, yay!) and a box of cards to write. They’re already addressed, I just need to put messages in them. I also have a pack of postcards with liberal social issues on them that I want to send out. I want them to go to people who appreciate them, though, so I might put up a lottery.

Mr Momo Kitty has stopped vomiting, so either it was a hairball or it was a stomach virus that passed. Charli Cat has been trying to sit on the computer all night. She succeeds from time to time, and then I have to move her. Right now she is sprawled on the back of the sofa behind me.

That’s about all the news from here. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

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Self Harm (not me)

I was fast asleep at 5:27 this morning when my phone rang. I’m not normally up at that time, so it took me a while to figure out what was going on. I saw that it was my daughter’s girlfriend’s phone number. Okay, the timing was weird, it could be a pocket dial, but maybe my daughter was trying to reach me for some reason. I tried to call back and didn’t get an answer so I sent a text. Within minutes the phone rang again.

It wasn’t my daughter. It was her girlfriend, who was clearly freaking out. My daughter was cutting and she wouldn’t let her girlfriend take care of her.

“Call 911 if you need to, and I’m on my way,” I said. I am used to this so I was pretty calm. I was more concerned about her bleeding out if she cut deep enough. I got dressed and headed out for the half hour drive through Dallas to my daughter.

There was a surprising amount of traffic for so early in the morning, but once I got to Spring Valley, I hit all the lights green. When I pulled up to the house, the garage was open so I let myself in and entered the art room.

Now it had been about 40 minutes and a LOT can change in that time when you’re talking about someone’s emotions. I found my daughter sprawled on the sofa with her girlfriend in latex gloves trying to attach butterfly bandages to her right shin. Let me be straightforward. My daughter had hashed up her right leg from knee to ankle. Not her usual scratching, as the doctors like to call it, but some actual cuts. She was laughing and joking. Time to go to the hospital.

Daughter did not want to go to the hospital. Last time she’d been seen for cutting was at Baylor, which doesn’t have a psych ward. They kept her for the required 72 hours and eventually had to cut her loose. They hadn’t been able to find a bed for her at another facility either. She remembers the experience as being like torture and didn’t want to go through it again. Understandable, but not necessarily the best choice.

Girlfriend googled mental health facilities and we were directed to Medical City which used to run Green Oaks, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, Green Oaks has been shut down, just gps hadn’t caught up with it yet. Dallas has lost, I forget if it’s 2 or 3, mental health inpatient facilities in the last 5 years, and nobody has picked up the missing beds. This is just another casualty in the quest for profitable health services.

We changed direction and headed up to Methodist Richardson. I’ve had good luck with their outpatient program and girlfriend had been there for trauma, so that seemed like a good choice.

It was probably about 6:30 or 7:00 when we arrived and nobody was there. They took us back right away. The doctor came in and inspected her leg and didn’t react. Then he went away for a while. He came back with a nurse and a lo-o-ong needle and a staple gun. Not the kind you buy in a hardware store, but essentially the same thing. He numbed up daughter’s leg and went to work. It took 39 staples and 27 stitches to close up the worst of the wounds.

The doctor checked with us all about her mental state. Again, I’m going to be straightforward: My daughter has never wanted to kill anybody (except maybe her molester but that’s another story) and she only wants to harm herself in certain situations. Once she’s done the cutting, the desire to cut passes. So we could say with clear consciences that she was safe to go home. The doctor asked if we’d like to talk to a social worker. Well the nurse had already given us a fat packet of information so I asked if the social worker would have anything different to offer. Probably not, was the consensus, so we declined the social worker.

Now you should know, this does not mean we are ignoring the issues. Daughter has a psychiatrist who handles her medications. She is working with Genesis women’s shelter to get a case worker and a counselor. She has her girlfriend and she has me. We talked about some other ways to handle stress and pain, and it looks like she might take up kick boxing to help let out some of the big emotion.

I also found out that this started the night before. Daughter was feeling needy and felt like girlfriend did not pay her enough attention. Girlfriend did not pick up on it until after the cutting. I have to say, I think this is daughter’s fault. As a SARK says, “Ask. Ask again. Ask differently.” I don’t think daughter asked clearly and I’m pretty sure she is understated in her needs. I’m not pointing fingers here. Girlfriend feels pretty guilty about not getting the hint, but really she can’t blame herself for daughter choosing to cut. It’s not her fault. It’s not really daughter’s fault either, since when a person is upset, they don’t have a clear picture of how they come across. Daughter might easily have believed she asked bluntly for what she needed and somehow wasn’t as blunt as she thought. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I just know the situation left my daughter upset enough to cut.

I asked why she cuts. She said that when she does it, endorphins are released which of course makes her feel better. It actually resolves the problem at the time, though of course it doesn’t solve the root problem.

I just wish she would stop cutting up her perfect body, but it is her body, I don’t have any control here.

And I wish I could make the world safe for her. “You can’t fix me,” she says, but I don’t want to change her, I want to change the environment she lives in. And I can’t do that either.

I am sharing this story because people need to know they are not alone. Parts of life suck. Some emotions are big and overwhelming. But you are not alone, someone else has been there too. I can’t prevent you from cutting, but I can encourage you to find other ways to express your pain. Your life matters.

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One of Those Days

Sleepy. I have dozed most of the day.

I did not make it to my artist group meeting this morning. My alarm went off at 7 and I dropped back off until 8:37, too late to get there by 9. I want to go but I had several early mornings this week and I will be up early both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday I have the first class in the Peer Support Counselor series. It’s 6 hours and I’m thinking I may need snacks. I may have to run out tonight and get some drinks and snacks for class.

Sunday I have brunch with R and afternoon visit with K. No Artist’s Way meeting this week, which is fine. I am working on the exercises for week 2 still.

I tried to watch a documentary called The Last Shaman but I fell asleep. It’s about a depressed college student from Massachusetts and he trek to find ayahuasca. I don’t know if he found it helpful or not because of the nap. I hope he did. I’m not sure I care enough to watch it again, though I might.

Charli the kitty has slept on my bed all day. She is suddenly awake and demanding attention. Momo is awake too but he is chill.

So the exercise for journaling for today was to right a list of things we enjoy doing. I wrote the 20, then added 5 more. In theory, the point of the exercise is that we don’t spend enough time doing what we enjoy. I found for me that I didn’t have to pick 2 things to try to incorporate into my week. I already was planning to do about 5 things from the list. I guess I’m not blocked? Except I feel a lack of inspiration. I want to make stuff but I don’t know what to make. Where do people come up with their ideas? I don’t seem to have any.

I have been hungry all day. Rather frustrating. I keep nibbling and snacking but I never feel full. I ate crackers, spinach dip and crackers, a crab tortilla roll up, coffee, chicken, pasta, a strip of Girl Scout cookies with milk, a chocolate ice cream bar. I could still eat. I am out of nuts and deviled ham. Nuts would be good. Maybe I should get some for my class snacks. I am out of foods, though, so a trip to the grocery store would be a good thing. I might make it to the local convenience store.

Laundry is in the dryer and I need a shower, so come to think of it, I probably won’t make it to the store. Maybe I’ll wake up early enough to go before class, that would be good.

I did call the unemployment office. They said I wasn’t paid because the government did not confirm that I wasn’t working any longer. I asked the agent if there was any way to send a reminder. She put me on hold and came back to say that there is a 2 week limit for a response and they hadn’t heard anything, so she was going to update my account so I could get paid. Still not paid today, but I apply for payment again on Sunday. I need to file a new claim too for the days worked in September to December. I counted, and it’s 92 days so hopefully that’s long enough for a new claim.

I need to figure out employment.

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Sick and Angry

I am still so sick. This has become a cold, a bad cold, but just a cold. I’ve been blowing my nose for over a week now. How can there be room for this much gunk in my head? My brain must be shrinking. My face hurts from sinuses being too stretched.

I can’t smell anything. Or at least I am starting to smell stuff again but I can’t always tell what the source is. Roommate L was making cauliflower and I could tell she was cooking something but I couldn’t tell what. I suppose that’s an improvement.

As crappy as I feel, a week ago I was taking medicine to feel this good. So I MUST be doing better, right?

We talked about anger in group today. I find that I don’t often feel angry. Part of it I’m sure is that I am medicated into complacency. It’s hard for me to feel big emotions right now, and I’m okay with that. Big emotion seems to make me sick. Part of it is, there just really isn’t that much to get that mad about. And part of it is that I tend to downplay anger. I’m not mad, I’m irritated, bothered, annoyed, perturbed, whatever. It all means angry, I should learn to own it.

What does it mean to own my anger? Well, to know that it’s part of me. It’s probably something that bothers me or where I feel a lack. There’s an issue of some kind that is unresolved and itchy and I’m either unaware or not handling it well. It’s not coming from outside me somewhere, I’m not channeling someone, I’m not possessed, and frankly I’m not that empathic. I am just angry about something and I need to own that. Once I own it, I can work on expressing it better.

It’s very hard for me to say I’m angry. It was the great unspoken emotion in my family of origin. Dad was funny-mean when he was angry, and if you said something, he’d say it was a joke and you didn’t have a sense of humor. Mom’s anger was never taken seriously. I just didn’t get angry. There was always a reasonable response to anything that made me mad so I learned not to overreact and to wait to be told why my feeling wasn’t valid. That wasn’t for all emotions, just for anger.

So I learned not to act angry and I understood that as not being angry. I think I had one fight with my father as a teenager. But being understated doesn’t mean not having feelings. I am not Mr Spock, I am human and I have the full range of human emotions.

So I am learning to accept that I get angry and figuring out what to do with it when it happens. I am growing. Maybe someday I’ll be an adult.

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Art and Games

I have made a background that I am very pleased with, but it needs a focal point. I should really paint something on it, but I am unsure of my ability. I think a simple flower in some lovely pearl watercolors I have would be good. I guess I have to practice flowers in my sketchbook.

I have made a few other backgrounds that still need work, but I am generally pleased with how they are coming. I have a painting I’m working on as well. I am doing a little bit every day and I think it’s working out for me. I have some picture frames and some shadow boxes to make too. I feel pretty well settled for art projects. This makes me happy.

I went to a game night at Cafe Brazil with my roommates tonight. I really liked the people I met. They know each other from an online group. If I want to keep going to events, I have to join the group. I almost didn’t go tonight because the group has a participation requirement. I really hate being told I have to post. Sometimes I don’t have anything to say. But I like I said, I like the people so maybe I can live with posting regularly.

We played a game called Red Flags. The idea is, you try to create someone’s perfect date and another person tries to ruin it. So, when it was my turn, the others tried to come up with good qualities of a date for me. Each person in turn picked 2 qualities. So, for example, is a millionaire and has morning breath that smells like fresh baked cookies. Then the person next to them throws in a red flag, like has 12 children with 12 different partners. The person whose turn it is, picks the combination of qualities they are most likely to actually date. So the game is a little different in a group that knows each other. Still, really fun. Recommend the game.


Looking for Temp Work

I like my government job, but it is seasonal. That means I can go months without working, and that’s kind of a problem for my wallet. I do get unemployment but I don’t like to rely on it.

I googled temp agencies in my area, and Robert Half showed up. I called them and I have an interview on Tuesday. I sent them a copy of my resume about an hour ago.

In the meantime, I need to finish putting my bed together. I left a pile of stuff on the bed and now I have to find where to put it. I need to sleep in my bed, not on the sofa. I don’t mind it, but my roommates are feeling a little crowded. Not so much L, but F, since with his disability he often sleeps in the recliner.

We are trying to go keto in the household. I find the meals filling but I am often hungry outside of food times. And I don’t know what to eat! I think I am going to have some cottage cheese in a moment. I like the creaminess. I miss milk and cookies. I have some girl scout cookies that I really want to eat but I’m putting it off. Cottage cheese it is.

I have a cat sleeping next to me who needs to be petted, so I know what my next activity is. It makes both of us happy.

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Life With the Spirits

Trying to get back in the swing of things. I’ve been to groups almost every day this week. Groups are good for me. Matt was happy to see me at DBSA. I seem to be a calming influence. Jennifer said the same thing at the groups she facilitates. Recovery International was good too. I missed R but I gather she will be back in a couple of weeks. People took time off for holidays but they should be getting back in the swing of things soon.

I didn’t go to a group today. There is an artist group that meets on Fridays but I slept too late. It was raining when I woke up and it just motivated me to go back to sleep. Speaking of sleep, Charli the kitty slept on my lap today. Well, more in my arms, since we were leaning on the sofa. She was so cozy all snoozed out that I took a nap with her. Naps are good.

I had a dream last night that I was trying to put someone out of the house and they said I didn’t have the authority. They did back off but they didn’t leave. I think it was a spiritual thing, and that it has to do with the boyfriend. It’s a whole story, but I don’t want to tell it. Or rather, I’m going to tell it and I think maybe I’ll name a few names, since it seems like at least one person doesn’t need to be protected.

My roommate F has an adopted daughter D. He loves her and she called from Florida saying that she was in trouble and she just wanted to come home. F is protective of his family and friends, so he took off to rescue her. When they got to Florida, suddenly there was also a boyfriend. And a cat named Zelda, but the cat is mostly innocent, being an animal. So F loaded everybody into the car and came home.

I got home from being deployed and was told that the kids were here. That makes 5 of us in a relatively small house with 2 working cars and no jobs, so a bit stressful, but nothing compared to the personality issues.

The boyfriend, Austin, is unmedicated bipolar. He doesn’t like his meds, says they make him a little zombie-fied. I think that means he’s on the wrong meds, but it’s also not the first time I’ve heard someone complain about them. I mean, the point of the meds is to change the way your brain works, that isn’t always comfortable.

Austin believes he has, and I quote, “kicked Lucifer’s ass” several times. Now I do believe in spirits and entities, so I could believe he encountered a demon, but I don’t think he could just beat Lucifer. I think, well, demons lie. Sort of, “oh, yeah, my name’s Lucifer” because the name has power and would invoke fear for people. And beating these creatures gives Austin a sense of power. He is probably not as powerful as he believes he is.

Austin also states he is a dreamwalker, that is, he can affect other people’s dreams. And I had that dream that makes my roommate L think Austin or something around Austin was threatening me. I don’t think I was threatened, I just thought the thing didn’t belong. I do think that whatever it was didn’t recognize me as the authority of this home; it is L’s house and she has fought for it, she definitely has authority here.

So Austin has been asked to leave. I feel a little bad for him and part of me thinks F and L have been a bit harsh, but his energy is just bad and he doesn’t belong here. F and L feel lied to and disrespected, and who am I to say otherwise? I always seem willing to work with bad energy as if I can fix it but of course I can’t.

Oh, I worry for myself, with the spiritual stuff and the mental illness. I think I am not psychotic, but there are psychotic features to mania. My meds should be taking the edge off that, I pretty much don’t get manic at this point, so I think my experiences are genuine. I mean, they aren’t a symptom of my disorder. I want to take it seriously but I also don’t want to push myself over the edge, if that makes sense. There is sensitivity and weakness here, I want to be sure I don’t hurt myself. Everyone has weakness, I just happen to know what mine is called.

I have bought some incense today. Dragon’s blood, and frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense and myrrh have cleansing properties. Dragon’s blood is a personal favorite, plus there are dragons here. L says they work for good, I think they are chaotic neutral. They have their own agenda and they may or may not be helpful depending on how it fits into their plan. Of course I feel that way about most otherkin beings. Even my cats, who certainly seem to have lives of their own that don’t center around me. L says Charli has been so affectionate today because she is protecting me after that dream. I think she’s just chilly since it’s colder today than earlier this week. I may have issues and believe in weird things, but I do try to debunk things as much as I can. I prefer a logical reason to a woo-woo one, but sometimes you can’t tell.

I am planning to find a circle where I can talk about these things. I need people to help me sort through what is spiritual and what is explainable. You know, someone to bounce ideas off.

Because I do believe in other spiritual beings, but I do need to be sure I’m not sliding into symptoms.

Spiritual experiences and mental health breaks can look remarkably similar.