Profundity Is Not On Today’s Menu ;)

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I had great aspirations to write a high-quality blog post over this weekend.  I envisioned typing a few paragraphs filled with a pearl of wisdom or two.

It ain’t gonna happen.  I’ve given up.

On Friday I started writing about topics that were very disturbing that I plan to complete at some point.  This morning I realized that I don’t want to focus on pain, terror and suicide today.  I need a levity break.  Summer is in the air and in my brain, and it’s going to be over 90 degrees where I live today! 

When I read fellow bloggers’ posts I don’t require each and every creation to be worthy of a Pulitzer.  I love the variety of writing that I encounter in the WordPress reader.  I bet you do too.  A simple description of a writer’s experience ordering a latte at a coffee shop appeals to me.  Each of you would write about your different impressions, sights, smells, sounds etc.  So I remind myself that even though I’ve tackled biggie bipolar topics in the past, there’s welcome room for the seemingly mundane moments and subjects as well.

This weekend it has been just me and my six-year-old Marilla and of course Lucy, who is now an eleven-week-old feisty, furry, adorable pup.  My husband and older daughter flew to San Diego so that he could receive the “People in Preservation Award” from the Save Our Heritage Organisation in North Park, San Diego.  He was honored with this award for his acclaimed book Quest for Flight – John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West.   This was the first time we’ve been apart since my last hospitalization a year ago.  While I felt steady about our brief separation, some anxiety came up for me all the same.  (I’m already a VERY anxious person!)

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Yesterday I planned for Marilla to spend the afternoon at her friend’s house.  I had met the parents a few times before, and I really liked them.  But my damn social anxiety got in the way during each of our interactions.  I used to be a very social person.  I was even selected for jobs because of how I interacted with all kinds of people face-to-face.  Now that I’m anxiety-medication free and alcohol-free, I’m 100% present with this angst that I loathe so much.  Lo and behold, my puppy has already been helping me to reduce those feelings, and I’ve brought her with me almost everywhere.  But Lucy can’t “fix” me.

When I dropped off Marilla at her buddy’s house, it was a quick “Hi there, thanks for having her!”chit-chat that lasted less than five minutes.  I wore my new sunglasses so I could feel more incognito.  (I took them off at the last minute, though, because I felt it was rude to wear them when speaking with this parent!)  

A few hours later when I went to pick her up it was different story.  I planned on a slightly longer interaction since picking up your child always takes longer than you think!  I held Lucy in my arms as my talisman although damn, at seventeen pounds she is getting HEAVY! Then I heard the dreaded words:

“Come on in!”

Fuck it.” I thought.    I gave up.  “I’m not going to try to come up with a feeble excuse.  Yes, I could go back home with Rilla and Lucy, and then stay glued to the computer the rest of the afternoon.  Or I could give this a chance.  I’ll wait and see how uncomfortable and panicked I get!”

To make a long story short, we left six hours later.

Yes!

This couple had a lovely backyard with a pool and hot tub.   They were friendly with their neighboring families, so much so that halfway through my social soiree, some of their neighbors stopped by to hang out and chat with us.  As I’ve written about in a previous post, I live surrounded by recluses for the most part.  This easygoing, delightful scene would NEVER happen on my street.  They have block parties there too – of course they do!  

Their three kids and mine were having a complete blast in their pool.  I felt more at ease than I had in a long time with “strangers”.  Plus the parents already knew about my bipolar disorder for I had disclosed it to them briefly in a previous conversation. (That was something that I regretted at first.  Later on I was relieved that I did it because I felt I could be myself and not worry about accidentally uttering the “b” word.)  

To top it off, I left with some beautiful clothes that the mom no longer needed, and which I sorely did.  It was a one-stop socializing and shopping experience.

Lucy loved being there as well, and received plenty of appreciative pats.

I wish I could have had a few glasses of wine or even better, a few strong Patron margaritas…I still had that anxious feeling lurking the whole time which alcohol can smooth out so well.  But I hope, as in weight training, that the more I do this kind of thing, the more confident I will feel in social settings.  

I doubt I’ll return to how I used to be in terms of social events, but then again, if you told me that I’d be spending  a whopping six hours at my daughter’s friend’s house with people I didn’t know well, I would have guffawed.

I hope that whatever you’re grappling with, you’ll make a positive breakthrough with it very soon, be it big or small.  We all have been through hell.  It’s time for a little joy, don’t you think? I’d love for you to comment about what you are presently grappling with in your life, aside from bipolar, even if it’s a “little thing”.  I find it all pretty fascinating. 

Thanks for reading as always!

Dyane

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p.s. watch me serenade my eleven-week-old American Farm collie mix Lucy with Kiss Them Where The Sun Don’t Shine!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=451352228334420&set=vb.100003789417669&type=2&theater

 

 

 

 

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My Name is Dyane, and I’m a Puppyholic

I probably shouldn’t jest about a term that ends in “holic”, so I hope I don’t offend anyone.  

If you’re taken aback, please pardon me.  I’m under Lucy’s spell.  

Here’s item #1 to support my claim, the video “Dy & Lucy”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB8cXH8xeko

I actually had the audacity (and/or foolishness) of posting that video on my Facebook page.  You know you’re in puppy love when you don’t care too much that you’re posting a video clip in which you rolled out of bed, you haven’t brushed your hair, you didn’t put on a stitch of makeup, and hmmm, when was that last shower?  Plus you look a little bit…crazed. (As much as I loathe the word “crazy”, I do look a bit wacked out in my glazed eyes.)  

But it’s all good, you see?

Because it’s all about Lucy!

At the ripe age of forty-four, I forgot all about the experience of puppy bliss.  (I also forgot about the house training, but nothing’s perfect!)  The last time I cared for a puppy was twenty-four years ago, in which Tara (Lucy’s great aunt) came into my life.  

Tara’s mother, a Sheltie/wolf mix, had to have a Cesarian section, and I witnessed my puppy being born.  Tara almost didn’t make it.  I viewed her birth through a window at the animal hospital, and the veterinarian repeatedly lifted Tara up and down to clear out her lungs.  I remember feeling such a rush of joy when I was told she would live.  Tara was a fabulous dog in all sorts of ways, and when she died in my arms a few years ago I already struggled with bipolar depression.  When she left me, I sank even deeper in despair.

The fact that Tara lives on through our Lucy moves me.  It feels right.  We put off having a dog for years due to the severity of my mental illness.  Now that I’ve been stable for a while, it’s an opportune time to embark on this journey.  

It’s nice to focus on such a loving, trusting and joyful small creature.  

Being in the garden today with Lucy is the antithesis to being stuck in a mental hospital with nothing except strangers, pills, and misery.  I can’t help but make the comparison between those two experiences – the thought arrives without warning.  I imagine my feeling is related to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); I’m not sure if those intrusive thoughts will ever disappear.  

What matters more than the trauma of hospitalization is that I made it through those suicidal periods.  While I wasn’t magically healed after my last hospital discharge, over time I got much better.  I’m back to trusting my own brain again.  I’m grateful that as I type this last paragraph, I spot little Lucy edging up to me with the beauty of her affection, and I can scoop her up and savor her warmth with every fiber of my being.

Amazing cuteAmazing cute two

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Puppy Love

Pup Love 1Pup Love Two

I’m in love with LUCY!

Yes, as of last night I’ve been utterly smitten by a furry bundle of joy who has been named Lucy Harwood.  My girls chose the name Lucy with such enthusiasm that Craig and I couldn’t say no to them.  Did you know that Lucy is the #1 most popular female dog name in the United States?  I just found that out five minutes ago, but that’s no matter.  God knows there are enough unique names in this family.  I chose my daughters’ names Avonlea and Marilla from L.M. Montgomery’s classic book “Anne of Green Gables”.  I’m satisfied with creative naming for the time being.

Regarding the name “Lucy”, well….at first I was reluctant.  But now that we have this seven-week-old, happy-go-lucky fluff, it suits her!  When we brought her home last night it was an amazing experience.  My family consists of supreme dog lovers, let me tell you.  My girls kept telling us in dazed tones, “I can’t believe this is really happening!” They have wanted a dog for several years, so they are truly thankful for Lucy and they’ve been treating her as if she were royalty.  (Which she is.)

I’m a little high myself on this puppy and perhaps from washing her with strong-scented lavender puppy shampoo.  Lucy had a few fleas and we wanted to nip those little suckers in the bud.  I grew up with dogs on Las Pulgas Canyon in Los Angeles, and Las Pulgas literally means fleas; our poor Irish Setters had terrible flea problems.  I loathe fleas and I will banish them from Lucy’s fur as much as I can!

I now have what I consider an “Emotional Therapy Animal”, but of course that’s unofficial.  I have no idea if registering Lucy for such a title would be worthwhile, but I’m curious.  As far as I know, having an Emotional Therapy Animal allows a person to bring a dog on a plane and into a store, but that’s about it.  

I’d love to bring Lucy to my psychiatric sessions, as that would help relax me.  My psychiatrist rents an office part-time at a very cool, progressive complex called The Satellite.  Other Satellite business owners bring their dogs to work, so I’d think that it would be fine if I did too.  On second thought, what if my pdoc has animal dander allergies and objects to little Lucy?  I wouldn’t bring her along in that case.

As I’ve always been curious about emotional support animals, I Googled “emotional support animal”.  The first link that popped up led me to the “The United States Dog Registry” but they are NOT a reputable organization.

I plan to write more about this topic in the days to come, as today I’m staying offline way more than usual due to my PUPPYLOVE condition – I can’t focus well on anything but Lucy!    But please check out the informative comment my friend, author & dog expert Beth Mader left below in the meantime because it really sheds welcome light on the subject.

I’m also curious what Kelly, my other trusted dog expert over at Mental Health Warrior, thinks of all this.  Kelly is an amazing mental health coach, blogger and mom to her gem of a dog Molly, who is featured in this wonderful post – one of my faves from her blog:

http://mentalhealthwarrior.com/2014/01/how-i-found-the-ultimate-mental-health-wellness-coach/

I’m sure that Kelly will share with me if she’s had personal experience with her dog as a support animal. I am super-grateful to Beth Mader for alerting me to the fishy organizations because that would be the last thing I would want to pursue.  Here’s an extra-big thanks to you, Beth!

In the meantime, I’m going to chill with my new best friend before the girls get home and mild pandemonium ensues.  Just sitting here and writing next to this sweet puppy is such a comfort – there’s nothing like a freshly bathed, snoozing puppy. 

Wishing you a relaxing time that’s all your own today!

Dyane

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