Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why I Love Modern Pharmacology

When I wrote the little blurb about myself (over there to your right) I make a comment about how
modern pharmacology keeps me smiling. I thought I'd take a minute to explain that comment.

About 17 years ago, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. At the time, I was going through some major stress in my life. As women try to do, I was taking everything on myself and thinking I should be able to "fix" everything even if it wasn't even my problem. It got to yhr point where I was about one step from making what is called "a permanent solution to a temporary problem. When you're this sunk into a black hole, it's REALLY hard to pull yourself back out of it. A lot of people find this hard to understand. You get a lot of comments like " Just think positive", "Don't worry so much", and "Think about all the blessings in your life". What people don't understand, though, is that the person with depression can't help worrying, can't think positive, and doesn't see blessings in their life. I remember my mind going around in circles worrying about EVERYTHING, thinking that everything that was happening was my fault, and that if only I could do something different everything would be better.

I think that's where the idea that depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain comes in. The depressed person is LITERALLY unable to see anything in a positive light. And, of course, there's the feeling that everything going on is your fault, everyone in your life would just be better off without you. Luckily, I was able to spend a few days in the hospital and start getting my head on straight, as well as starting on some good drugs!

For quite a while even after you're feeling better you have to deal with the continued feeling of "I should be able to handle this" and some shame for having to take drugs in order to feel better about yourself. It took me five or six years to get past those feelings. I finally came to the conclusion that I have to think of depression the same as any chronic illness. If I had diabetes or high blood pressure I would have to take medicine for the rest of my life, so what's so bad about taking pills for depression?

Now I DO feel grateful for my entire life. I don't take on everyone's problems, and I do feel like I can handle almost everything that comes along. Even though I've had to change medications several times ( sometimes they seem to become less effective over time) I'm grateful that there are pills available to help me feel better. (And so is DH, believe me!) Sometimes I worry that when these pills lose their effectiveness, "what will I do if there's no more pills out there?, but in general I just try not to think about that. No need to start worrying about something that may not happen for a while, if ever.

So this little blog entry is not to make anyone worry about my mental health. I really am doing great right now. I just wanted to try and explain some of what a person goes through when they're suffering with depression. I know it's hard not to try and reassure a person that "things will get better", but the best thing you can do is just be there for them. Try to stay in touch and let them know that they are not alone. And if you think they are getting to the point that they might take that permanent solution to a temporary problem, do your best to encourage them to seek help. Let them know how much you love them, and how much you'd miss them if they took that drastic step. Don't be shy about bringing up that scary subject. You might find they are hoping someone will bring it up, because they're too scared to admit they need help.

In closing, let me just say that I'm more grateful than I can express for all my family and friends out there. You were there for me when I desperarely needed help. You may not even think you did anything, but believe me, you DID!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthdays

I forgot to mention it before, but happy birthday to Mom and Pat. Sorry I can't be there (to share the cake and ice cream with you!) Yep, I'm still me. LOL!

Why Do I Travel?

When I travel (which is only about once a year because that's all I can afford) I always go on group tours, and usually I go alone. (Lest you get the wrong impression, I go alone because after 20+ years in the Air Force DH just isn't interested in traveling). People always seem to be amazed that I go by myself, but I'm not really alone, which is the reasoning behind the tour travel.

Anyway, I travel for a couple of reasons. I've always been fascinated with seeing new places, and even as far back as high school I had a wish to go to Paris. I haven't been there yet, but hopefully someday. I also find it fascinating to see places and countries that have been around so much longer than the US. Places like The Forbidden City in China, Sienna in Italy, or the beauty of Vienna Austria. How cool is that?? It's exciting to see places I've seen in movies, like Venice and Rome. Every place I go, I take a picture of the road or path where I'm walking. What could be be more emotional to think Julius Caesar walking on the same cobblestones by the colliseum in Rome, or an emperor walking on the same bricks in the Forbidden City?

Of course, travel is a learning experience, as well. I've been fortunate that the group leaders of each group I've been with has been an amazing well of information. History, customs, artists, architects.And how else would I get to have the pleasure of visiting a school in a small village in Costa Rica, watching the kids sing songs and dance?

I feel I'm so lucky to be able to travel like I am. Even though I may have to work overtime for a year in order to afford a trip, it all seems worth it when I get to see a new country and meet new people. A lot of people aren't able to have the opportunity to travel, but if you are, take advantage of it. I don't think you'll regret it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why I support gay marriage - Eureka Street

Why I support gay marriage - Eureka Street

This article was forwarded to me on Twitter and I thought it brings up some interesting points. See what you think. Food for thought.

Where Do Stories Come From?

As you've probably figured out by now, I read a lot. A lot, as in, several books every day, a lot. If books were fattening, I'd be that 1000 pound woman the fire department has to cut out of her house to get her to the hospital.

Not only have I always been a reader, I've always had a secret wish to be a writer. What better job could a person have than to be able to come up with stories that entertain, fascinate, or educate other people. The thing that really stumps me, though, is how authors come up with the ideas for the stories they write. When I've read interviews with authors, they seem to say that a book or story just starts with an idea that they have. Like it just appears in their brain. I'm sure I'm making things sound too simplistic. How did Tolkien come up with the ideas for The Hobbitt and The Lord of the rings? What kind of a mind do you have to have to come up with things like hobbitts, elves, magic rings, demons, and middle earth? When I think of minds like that, I think there's no way I could ever be an author.

For now I guess I better stick with what I know, which for now includes this blog. I'm not sure if anyone is actually reading it, but it helps me get some thoughts out. Maybe one day it will lead to some magical other world, and I'll become as entertaining as Tolkien. Or not. *snort* :-)

I have a lot of admiration for writers, though. Even some of the other blogs I've read are amazing. For people who are not professionals, and some who are much younger than me, some of the folks out in the blogosphere are really talented. So for now, I'll keep reading and hope that someday I can at least make someone laugh, even if I can't take them to a magical land far, far, away. If not, I can always threaten them with an enema tube! MUAHAHAHA!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Does Blogger Have Spellcheck?

Obviously I'm still getting the hang of this blog/gging thing and the way this works. In the last post, I meant to say WIFE, not WOFE. WOFE looks a little too much like WOOF, and since I'm also a WIFE I didn't want anyone to think WIFEs were dogs (WOOFs, get it?) *sigh* I'll never be a celebrity for my comedy.


Have you ever thought about celebrity (or celebrities)? It seems logical to me that 'celebrity is formed from the word 'celebrate'. Therefore 'to celebrate' means to make a person a celebrity, right?

Who are our celebrities today? Movie or television stars, sports players, musicians, and sometimes people who haven't actually DONE anything but get their name out there. (What, exactly, has Paris Hilton done to be 'celebrated?) I like my share of movie stars and musicians just like anyone else; don't get me wrong. But maybe there are other, unknown, people that are more deserving of the title of celebrity. How about a soldier who saves even one of his fellow soldiers, putting his own life on the line while doing it? What about the person who stops to help you out when your car stalls at a traffic light during rush hour? How about the friend who drives you home after you've had too much to drink after work on Friday night?

I think anyone can be a hero. Bring your wofe a flower; put a note with a smiley face into your kid's lunch bag; buy a cup of coffee for the homeless guy sitting on the corner. Anyone can perform a Random Act of Kindness (RAK), whether it's big or small. You can do these RAKs anonymously if you want. Wouldn't it be fun to know you made some's day just a little bit brighter?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Win and a Lose

A couple of interesting things happened. The first (which had Twitter all a twitter) was the end in of DADT. For those of you not aware, this is the ruling "Don't Ask Don't Tell", which forbade gays and lesbians from serving openly in the US Armed forces. As of 12:01 am on September 19th, this rule has been abolished. In my opinion, this ruling goes a long way towards the eventual ending of discrimination based on sexual orientation. I can imagine there are a lot of differing opinions out there, so to quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."

At the other end of the spectrum, 14 year old Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide. Jamey was cyber bullied due to his sexual orientation. Some of you may know that I have a long history of depression myself, so this sort of news is especially difficult to hear. Sexual orientation aside, no human being deserves the abuse this young man endured. Yes, teenage years are difficult, and "kids will be kids" but this is just plain unacceptable in my opinion. There are no "quick fixes" for this problem, but it makes you wonder what sort of values are being taught in the homes of the kids who think it is cool or even okay to treat another human in this way. If you're able to volunteer time or money, consider giving to your community mental health organization, or to your local Boys and Girls Club. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America provide education & career programs, character & leadership programs, health and life skills, and many other programs for kids in all walks of life.

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now,,,:-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Miscellaneous Meandering

It's been a few days because I'm in the middle of my work cycle right now. I think hospitals probably have the strangest scheduling options of any industry, I swear. Some have self scheduling where you can make your days different each week if you want to. Some have semi-set scheduling where you can occasionally make changes. We have set schedules where always work the same days and you can't make changes unless you trade with someone BEFORE the schedule is finalized, which is usually 5 to 6 weeks ahead of time. Then of course, some hospitals work 10 hour shifts and some work 12 hour shifts. Very few work 8 hour shifts any more. Mine does 12 hour shifts.

So anyway, I work Thurs, fri, sat; have Sunday off, then work Mon, Tues, wed. THEN I'm off till the following Thursday again. Today is Monday, and the only reason I'm not working tonight is that our census (the number of patients we have) is low. Too many people were scheduled for the number of patients, so I asked to be cancelled. I have an extra day off in the middle of my working days!

I work about an hour from where I live, so I don't get a lot of time to sleep during my work cycle. I get home around 8 or 8:30 am (did I mention I work nights?) try to get to sleep by 10 or 10:30 am, then have to get up at 4pm in order to show, eat, and leave for work by 5:15. My sleep time is 5 or 6 hours if I'm lucky. The day I have off in the middle of the cycle is dedicated to sleeping; usually 18 out of 24 hours.

This actually is a good schedule. I love that I have a whole week off between schedules. I'm able to take short trips without using vacation time, thereby saving up vacation time for when I take a real vacation (like going out of the country). I work overtime in order to take my longer luxury vacations. Only problem being that overtime has been in short supply recently, so I probably won't be going anywhere until 2012 at least. I shouldn't complain, though. I don't know how people with families manage to work 12 hour shifts, let alone if they're single parents.

Enough about work. As you may or may not know, I live in Nevada. The big news here is all about the terrible accident last week at the Reno Air Races. I have to admit I didn't even know it had happened until I went into work that night. It's a terrible tragedy, and I can't imagine being that poor pilot or his family who were there in the audience that day. I can't even describe the feeling I get when I think about the terror that pilot must have been feeling before he crashed.

We've had a lot of sudden deaths here in Nevada. Just ten days ago there was a shooting (or shootings, actually) in an IHOP restaurant in Carson City Nevada. ( Did you know Carson City is the capital of Nevada? Most people think it's Las Vegas!) Another very sad day. Can you imagine going out to breakfast, minding your own business, and suddenly being confronted by an angry man with an automatic weapon? I'm not an NRA member, but it makes you think about gun control. But I suppose people who want a gun are going to get one, one way or another. It's sad, though, that it's the innocent people who get hurt when someone's angry.

Enough of my wanderings for now. My thought for the day: give a hug to those you care about. You never know when you might lose them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Blog is a Blog is a Blog

Just now I was browsing through some other blogs on this site, and it's interesting the variety of things people post about. Some blog about their families, their hobbies, their lives and experiences. I think all age groups are represented, except possibly the very young and very old. But what we all seem to have in common is the desire to look at our lives and determine our meaning to ourselves and others.

Especially as we get older we are trying to figure out what we've done with our lives and how we've affected other people. Over the last thirty years or so, I've done a lot of thinking along those lines, and I still haven't come up with too many answers. What I DO know, however, is that I feel more calm and happy than I did. Although I don't feel as old as the calendar says I am, I'm not sure I'd want to go back to my teens or twenties.

However, that's not really where I wanted to take this post. One thing I've noticed about some blogs is that we often have similar experiences even though we may not have much in common right now. I just read some entries on a blog that is written by two 18 and 19 year old guys (I should say MEN) who are just starting their college years. They and I probably more different; they are young, I'm mature (at least as far as age goes), they're gay, I'm straight and married; they live completely on the opposite side of the country from me. But their fears, concerns, and worries are the same ones I had some 30-odd years ago! It's nice to know that some things never change, and that I wasn't as weird as I thought I was back then.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Books, Books, Books or Why I Have No Life!

My main hobby is reading. Anything and everything I can get my hands on. Just ask my DH, who pays the bill from Amazon every month! Seriously, though, you have to admit that reading is a pretty harmless hobby when compared to gambling or hitting the bars every weekend. Every time DH complains that we are single-handedly keeping Amazon in business, I remind him about the ex-wife who gambled away all his money while he was in Korea in the air force. I also can't forget to remind him that I could go out shopping for new clothes every week if he'd prefer!

I think books are a great way to escape; to different places, different lives, and different experiences. Then when I go back to work, the real world brings me back to earth with a really big THUD! I'm a nurse, and there's nothing better than cleaning up bodily fluids to remind you that you're not living in a land with werewolves, vampires, or studly men with "shafts" the size of a zucchini!

However, I digress...I just want to thank all you authors out there for sharing your talent with the world and providing endless hours of laughter, tears, heaving bosoms, and roaring climaxes! (climax...climaxes...climaxii? hmmm)

Excuse me now while I go back to the land of fictional heros and heroines. I have 48 hours until I'm scheduled to crash land on earth again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How Much is That Doggy in the Window?

Okay, what's with dogs and barking? Why do dogs bark, anyway? I was sitting in the bathtub this morning, and all of a sudden the dog starts barking. Nobody's come to the door, I don't hear anything unusual, and the dog is just barking like crazy!

Keep in mind, this is a 70 pound pit bull, so it's not just a little yip or two; it's full-body, bass-deep WOOFING with a bit of a howl at the end! I'm sure if anybody's reading this, you'll tell me it's a territorial thing, right? I don't think he has to worry about his territory, because anyone hearing this barking wouldn't get anywhere close to the house. I know, that's the point of the barking. Hmmm...if they really knew the dog he wouldn't scare anyone. He sounds ferocious but he's really just a big puppy in disguise.

He's a rescue dog; we got him from the SPCA in March of this year. The LAST thing we were looking for was a pit bull having heard all the horror stories about dog fighting, attacks on children, etc. However, when we saw him in the kennel, he was just impossible to resist! He's one of those dogs that smiles, you know? I'll have too see if DH the computer genius can upload a picture for me. Now that he's getting better about jumping on people, he's just a doll-baby! He'd sooner lick you to death than bite you.

Anyway, he's settled down now. My thought for the day is: support your nearest animal shelter, humane society, or SPCA. Even if you can't adopt a dog or cat, consider dropping off a bag of food or some toys. Consider donating an hour or two a week. I bet extra hands are always needed for feeding, walking, or grooming. Animals don't care if you're black, white, straight, or gay. They love you for just being there with a pat or a treat. You've never lived until you've been loved on by an animal!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What's It All About, Alfie?

I hate to admit how many times I've started over on this post, simply because I'm trying to figure out how this all works, but onward we go...

Contrary to what the above title might indicate, I'm not quite that old!  For those of you young whippersnappers out there, that is a song title from the 60's which I believe was sung by Dionne Warwick. (I know...who's that you ask? Look it up on google!)

What's this blog going to be about? I want to try and share my love of travel, both in the literal sense and the not so literal. I love to travel the world, and in my advancing age I've become lucky enough to begin seeing some of the world I only dreamed about in the past. I hope to share some of those adventures with you they come along.

I've also always been a huge fan of books and reading. I have a great admiration for authors and their ability to find the perfect words to describe a person, place, or emotion. I'm sure I won't come close to their level of talent, but we'll see what happens.

Music is also a great way to get a look at how others think and where they are in their lives each day. We all see the world from different perspectives, which I think we often forget in this crazy world. I know that I have often been surprised when I look at the world through another person's glasses.

I hope you'll stick with me while I figure out this strange and exotic world of blogging. I'd love to hear from you, whether you have advice, tips, criticism or just wat to share your experiences. All are welcome who enter here.