Tuesday, April 25, 2006

May is Mental Health Month

It's hard to believe it's almost May already!! It's just around the corner!! With May on it's way, we have Mental Health Month coming up soon.

Dad was always involved in fund raisers and educating people with his own knowledge of mental illness, and of course, he was an inspiration to me in all his efforts with the mentally ill.

This weekend, Ryan and I are walking in the "Homeward Bound" walk in Indy to raise money to help the homeless. We were able to choose exactly which organization we would like our donations to go to, and I chose the Mental Health Association. My donations will specifically go to the homeless in central Indiana who have mental illnesses. It helps them seek help, find support groups, get job coaches, and find a safe home or group home if that's the best thing for that individual.

So, I'm starting a couple days early for Mental Health Month, but I plan on getting involved with a couple other activities to help raise money and/or bring awareness to our communities about mental illness. In June, I will be involved in another walk in Indy that's sponsored by the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI.) The goal for the all the people involved in raising the money is $75,000.00. With only 45 days to go until the walk, we are only at 10% of our goal. Hopefully with all the walkers' donations, we will meet, and maybe even exceed our goal.

The theme for Mental Health Month this year is MIND YOUR HEALTH, which focuses on the mind-body connection. It has been proven in many cases that with good mental health, your physical health is easier to manage. Mental health issues often turn into physical health issues. Stress and anxiety can be very hard on your body physically. NAMI and other mental health organizations hope to bring more awareness to the country about mental health issues, and how they can be treated and sometimes avoided completely with the right knowledge.

I hope that my interest in this will bring more people to research it for themselves. It can be very difficult to deal with mental illness, whether it's you or someone you love, or maybe even people you interact with on the job or in public. Knowledge is the best defense when it comes to helping someone or helping yourself.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Am I really THAT OLD??????

Well, as most of you know, I turned 30 last year. I have alwyas been very fortunate as far as not looking my age, and until 30 hit, I never really felt my age either. It seems crazy, but I now believe people when they tell me it's downhill after 30.

I have had so many problems with my health over the last few months. I thought it was all in my head at first, but today, my OBGYN confirmed I'm not totally crazy...at least in this case :-)

I started having night sweats a few months ago. At first, I thought it was something like too many blankets, pajamas that were too thick etc. After I changed the bedding and what I wear to bed, the night sweats kept happening. It's horrible!!! I will wake up five or six times every night drenched in sweat. If I'm wearing anything :-0, I have to change my clothes several times each night. I also push Ryan over in bed so I can get to a dry spot. I have actually been so hot a couple times that Ryan has woken me up because HE can't sleep. For awhile, my therapist and I thought it was perhaps stress related. I have had trouble sleeping for reasons other than the night sweats, so he put me on a sleeping pill called Lunesta. When I first started the Lunesta, I would sleep well all night, but I knew that I had been sweating because I'd wake up to my alarm with wet, curly hair stuck to the back of my neck. Now that I've been taking them for awhile, I will wake up a few times each night again. It has become a real pain in the a**!!!

Anyway, I had the joy of seeing my OBGYN today for my yearly exam and mentioned this to him. He ran some blood work, and called back only a couple hours later to tell me he's putting me on a new birth control with a higher level of estrogen. He said my hormones are unbalanced, which can be a sign of early menopause. He called my night sweats "hot flashes." I never thought I would be having hot flashes at the age of 30!!!

I may be the first of the cousins to go through this crap!!! Dr. Hott doesn't expect me to see full blown menopause for several years, but he said I will probably be through it by the age of 40. As long as we can keep my hormones levelled out, he doesn't think I will have anything to worry about for a few years. But, WOW, I sure didn't expect THAT news!!! I kept telling people, kind of jokingly, that I was starting menopause, never thinking that was even close to the truth.

So, Sarah, keep havin' those babies for us, because if I don't start soon, I'll probably never have any....and I don't plan on trying any time soon either!!! Some people might be heart-broken by the news if they wanted children, but I've been so indecisive about it that I feel like this is just meant to be. I haven't had children yet for a reason. I'm not ready, and I don't know if I ever will be. If menopuase sneaks up on me, I believe it has happened this way for a reason.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Beautiful Mind

I just started reading A Beautiful Mind by Silvia Nasar. Most of you are probably familiar with the movie starring Russell Crowe as John Nash. If you haven't seen it...I highly recommend it.

Here is a link to his autobiography:

This movie, and now the book, have both been a huge eye-opener to me. It is so much easier to understand the reality of a schizophrenic's delusions after seeing scenes with people in them that didn't really exist. The first time I saw the movie, I was dumfounded when I realized that John's best friend and roommate through college was all a delusion. This helped me to understand the fact that you can't reason with someone when the things they see are just as real to them as anything a healthy-minded person sees.

I've often mentioned to people that I think I'm going crazy...the answer I've gotten from several people is the same.....crazy people don't know they're going crazy. That makes me feel a little better, but John Nash was eventually able to differentiate between his delusions and reality. Of course, he was a genius, and well....I'm not!!!

Within the first three pages, I came across these words that remind me so much of my mom, who is a paranoid schizophrenic.

Some creative people...of predominantely schizoid or depressive temperaments...use their creative capacities in a defensive way. If creative work protects a man from mental illness, it is small wonder that he pursues it with avidity. The schizoid state...is characterized by a sense of meaninglessness and futility. For most people, interaction with others provides most of what they require to find meaning and significance in life. For the schizoid person, however, this is not the case. Creative activity is a particularly apt way to express himself...the activity is solitary...but the ability to create, and the productions which result from such ability, are generally regarded as possessing value by our society.

Before the actual diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, my mother divulged herself in many artistic activites. Sometimes, she wouldn't speak for days, but she would practice her belly dancing for hours on end, and then go paint two or three paintings each day. Her art was so expressive that somehow it seemed OK that she didn't have anything to say. Her art spoke for her. She is a terrific artist. She married Will a couple years ago (also a paranoid schizophrenic) and because of his interest in art, she has become more involved in painting again.

When either one of them go through a couple of their "bad days" as I call them, they tend to bury themselves in artwork. Sometimes they will get on a kick where they have no room left on their walls due to the huge amounts of artwork they have displayed. I'm not sure what has happened to all the work they have both done. It seems to disappear from time to time.

This book has brought a lot of awareness to me about how to deal with Mom and her delusions. One of her delusions consists of talking with a Belgian soldier. Luckily, she hasn't heard from him for awhile. When she does, however, I know now that reasoning with her is not really an option. There's no possible way for her to realize he's not there. It's a hard thing to deal with sometimes, but I have learned over the years that it's best just to listen and let her live out the delusions. She has not been violent in any way for a long time, and that is the only time I think I will ever find it necessary to step in and try to control a situation with her again. Unforunately, violence comes along with the territory sometimes, but I feel better prepared for anything like that after having seen things from a little different perspective.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Houston....We Have a Problem.........

I recieved this as an e-mail.....kind of a joke type thing, but if these statements are true, I'd like to know how these idiots have made it through everyday life. Have a look for yourself. What do you think???

Why our country is in trouble
Perhaps this will explain it all........

A Washington, DC airport ticket agent offers some examples of why our country is in trouble!

1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. --------------------------------------------------------------------

2. I got a call from a candidate's staffer, who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, then she interrupted me with, "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts,"
Without trying to make her look stupid, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa,"
Her response - click. --------------------------------------------------------------------

3. A senior Vermont Congressman called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room.
I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

He replied, "Don't lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!" --------------------------------------------------------------------

4. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife who asked, "Is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." She said, "But they look so close on the map." -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. An aide for a cabinet member once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas.
When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time."

6. An Illinois Congresswoman called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 am and got to Chicago at 8:33 am.
I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones.
Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that. --------------------------------------------------------------------

7. A New York lawmaker called and asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?"
I said, "No, why do you ask?"
She replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!"After putting her on hold for a minute while I looked into it (I was laughing) I came back and explained the city code for Fresno, CA is (FAT), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage. --------------------------------------------------------------------

8. A Senator's aide called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "Would it be cheaper to fly to California, and then take the train to Hawaii?" --------------------------------------------------------------------

9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman who asked, "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them." --------------------------------------------------------------------

10. A lady Senator called and said, "I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, Florida. Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?" I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola, Fl. on a commuter plane.
She said, "Yeah, whatever, smarty!"

11. A senior Senator called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him that he needed a visa. "Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those."
I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!" --------------------------------------------------------------------

12. A New Mexico Congresswoman called to make reservations, "I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York." I was at a loss for words.
Finally, I said, "Are you sure that's the name of the town?"
"Yes, what flights do you have?" replied the lady.

After some searching, I came back with, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere."
The lady retorted, "Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!"
So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, "You don't mean Buffalo, do you?"
The reply? "Whatever! I knew it was a big animal". --------------------------------------------------------------------

Monday, April 17, 2006

Thanks Andrea!!!

Well, thanks to Andrea, I found out about the Leon Russell show this past weekend just in time!!!

Ryan actually had a three day weekend, so whenI found out he didn't have to work Friday, I decided it was destiny for us to go see Leon. Ryan NEVER gets a Friday off work. I was supposed to be on call, but got someone to cover for me until Saturday morning.

So, Ryan and I had the pleasure of seeing Leon Russell live this past weekend. It was an awesome show. Leon is looking a little older than his age, but after a life on the road, I guess a little premature aging may be expected. We were laughing with some of the other fans about how Leon already looked old in the seventies when he was touring with Willie Nelson.

We picked up a DVD called "Out of the Deep Freeze" which is made up of footage from Leon's shows that was thought to be lost. However, someone found it just a few years ago in a deep freezer of one of the guys who had helped with the tour years ago. It is crazy to see Leon in 1972 when he was only my age (30) and he looked 60 then. I can't believe he's still touring....and doing a great job at it!!!

Energy is not exactly on his side these days. In fact, after the main part of the show, Leon said, "OK, now this is the part of the show when I would normally leave the stage and you would yell for an encore. If you could all just pretend I left and came back, that would be great, because my feet hurt, I'm old, and if I leave this stage, I leave for good."

I only came to tears once throughout the show. it was exactly when I expected it to happen....when Leon was singing "A Song For You" which is the song he and Ray Charles sang to Willie on his birthday. I still cry when I see it.....I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that there's a line that says something like "when I'm gone, remember when we were alone and I sang this song for you." Oh man, it's hard to see Ray say those words knowing he wasn't around long after that was recorded.

Overall, it was a fantastic evening. I'm very happy to say that I've had the chance to see Leon Russell live. I would love to see him again sometime. We'll just have to see how he does on this tour. there may be another tour in the works if his health holds up for a few more years. He'll definitely be on my must-see list as long as he's around!!!

Thanks again Andrea!!!!!



Monday, April 10, 2006

my space site

Myspace Codes & Myspace Code

Myspace Animations


Just wanted to let everyone know that I have a myspace site now. Feel free to stop in an leave me a message or comment. I'll have some blogs posted there too. There's a link directly to my site to your right. Come say HI!!!!!!


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dog Philosophy

This was originally sent to me from a fellow dog-lover......I'm sure you'll agree with the "Dog Philosophy."

Dog Philosophy

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue. -Anonymous

Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. -Ann Landers

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die want to go where they went.-Will Rogers

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. -Ben Williams

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.-Josh Billings

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. -Andy Rooney

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.-M. Acklam

Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate. -Sigmund Freud

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult. -Rita Rudner

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down. -Robert Benchley

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.-Franklin P. Jones

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons. -James Thurber

If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise. -UnknownMy dog is worried about the economy because Pal is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money. -Joe Weinstein

Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul -- chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth! -Anne Tyler

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. -Robert A. Heinlein

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man. -Mark Twain

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'Wow, you're right! I never would'vethought of that!' - Dave Barry

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. -Roger Caras

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. -Phil Pastoret

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What are true friends for???

Most of you who know me also know Jerry, my weenie on wheels!!!

Luckily, Jerry has had an amazing recovery with his wheelchair. When he was first injured, he had no control over his bowels or his bladder. I had to express his bladder for him at least three times a day to help him urinate, and well, when he had to poop, it just fell out when it was ready. I know this is gross....but that is where the "true friend" part of the story comes in.

He now has total control over his bladder. His bowel control has gotten better, but when he feels it coming, you don't have much time to get him out the door. Every once in awhile, when I don't move quick enough, we'll end up with a little mess on our hands.

So, I'm in the kitchen today, fixing a sandwich before I have to go to work, and as I come into the living room, I see my neighbor, Cindy, bent over a pile of MY dog's poop picking it up for me. I said "What are you doing?!?!? You don't have to get that...he's my dog, and it's my mess." Her response was, "Well, what are friends for?" Bless her heart, we both had bad timing as far as watching him and not getting him outside quick enough, but she knew I was getting ready to eat and didn't want me to have to deal with it.

How many friends do you have or know that would pick up poop for you? I feel pretty special today :-)


This has nothing to do with my dog or my friend, but I found it amazing. Take the time to watch this video if you can......I thought Jerry was a "Wonder Dog" but that was before I found out about "Faith."


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Music pick for today...or tonight :-)

You may know him best for the song "Lean on Me" but Bill Withers has a lot more than just that to be famous for!!!

I picked up his greatest hits CD just for the son"Ain't No Sunshine" and was pleasantly surprised when I found many other familiar tunes that I didn't even know he sang.

All I can tell you is this is one of the best CDs you could put in if you're ready for a nice romantic evening. It's one of those albums you can put in, light a few candles, and let the night take you wherever it wants. We'll just leave the rest to your imaginations...................

"Ain't no Sunshine" is one of those songs that brings me to chills every single time I hear it. If you haven't heard it for awhile, use all your computer capabilities and see if you can find it somewhere...that song alone is a must have!!!!!!!!

Songs of a Psychotic

In all my ebay hunting, I came across a very interesting book of poetry that I couldn't pass up. It's called "The Cliff's Edge-Songs of a Psychotic." It was written by a young lady in the 1950's during her stay at a mental institution. The introduction states that she was in one of the "nation's largest mental hospitals." I would love to know where she was exactly, but haven't had much luck finding her info online.

Most of the poetry was written when she was eighteen years old. Even in an altered mental state, it's hard to believe these thoughts and words came from someone so young.

Having seen my mother go through so much in mental institutions all my life, it has been very heart-rending to read her words. She speaks of very specific situations such as shock therapy (which my mom has been through several times) group therapy, and suicidal thoughts.

Here are a couple examples of her work that touched me.

Pendulum - Pulse
This is the rhythm of my life-
The slow
Unhurried swinging of a pendulum,
Marking with fatal pulse the season's round.
The spring outside means nothing;
For, to me,
Fear like the winter snow has frozen my heart.

And can it be that once again the hours,
Passing in cycle slow, will bring the flowers?
Or will Time's muffled drums beat out for me
A long death-march...into Eternity?

Alter Christus
Lord, for the pain I cursed You for last night
I do most gladly offer thanks today...
For, not with pride but deep humility
In me, and by me, and through me, I find-You!
In my stripped loneliness, Your own imprisonment-
My bruises mark Your scourging; and the same
Rude jests ring in my ears that rand in Yours-
And round my aching head I seem to feel
Even today, the racking crown of thorns...
I too was bound-and, though I never died,
I was like You-my spirit crucified.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Willie & Ray bringin' me to tears

All I can say is WOW!!!

If you are a Willie fan and you haven't seen this...you are missing a real treasure.

This was one of the best impulse buys I've ever picked up.

It was actually a broadcast for Willie's 70th birthday party.

There were several people that joined the festivites. The best of them all, though, has brought me to tears every time I've watched it. Now, normally, I'm not an easy person to bring to tears(Thanks to my Lexapro) but the trio of Leon Russell, Willie, and Ray Charles makes me cry every time. I thought it would get easier the more I watched it, but that hasn't been the case so far. They sang a song written by Leon called "A Song For You." It is even more poignant knowing that Ray would only be around a short time after this was filmed.

What really gets me is when Ray is singing his part....just as if he's singing right to Willie. There are a couple shots of Willie tearing up. And even one time I think he literally heaved to get his breath from the deep crying inside that he tried so gallantly to hide. That's when I lose it every time.

There are several other people who sit in with Willie that pull off some mind blowing performances. Norah Jones was absolutely fabulous. She's got such a gentle voice.....it blends very nicely with Willie. Another nice addition to the show was Steven Tyler with "One Time Too Many." Definitely the most shocking part was when Wyclef Jean came out and pulled off a reggae rendition of "All the Girls I've Loved Before." Last but not least, another one of my favorites, Paul Simon, came out to sing "Homeward Bound." Another tear-jerker.

This is by far one of the most touching music performances that I have in my collection.

I'm just so overwhelmed with the Willie, Ray, and Leon performance......I've rarely been pushed to tears by something I've seen on my TV. Live performances are different, on the other hand.....I've cried like a baby more than once at live shows.

Anyway, I felt the need to share my tears of joy with all of you. If anyone ever wants to borrow this, let me know. Or better yet, we could have a party at my house after I get it fixed up and we can all cry together......Love you all!!!!!

A little useless info for everyone!!!

On Wednesday of this week (or Tuesday night for us night owls,) at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.
That won't ever happen again. At least in our lifetimes!

The question is: Do we really care?

You may now return to your abnormal life.