Late Nights with Zoe the Syrian Hamster

Last month we got a golden brown Syrian hamster for our youngest daughter Rilla.  She promptly named her pet Zoe after “Zoe”, the stunning blonde alien/surfer girl in the epic Australian television series “Lightning Point”. (I swear, when you watch that show your I.Q. goes up 10 points with every episode!)  

As you can see below, the two Zoes don’t resemble one another that much.


At night when my insomnia strikes, I hear nocturnal Zoe “Flo Jo” Harwood running fast on her Habitrail wheel.  As I picture this little creature going nowhere, an endless loop of thoughts run around in my weary brain.  Lately, most of these thoughts haven’t taken me to a better place. They’ve become far too negative and cynical for my taste.  While it’s totally unrealistic to think I can banish all of these thoughts, I want to reduce their frequency.

Easier said than done.

I figure after growing and giving birth to two humans, I can cut down on my negativity.  If I can survive seven mental hospitalizations in dismal units, I can learn to fly a jet!  

(By the way, my flying a jet is not out of the realm of possibility. I began attending ground school when i was twenty, and I’ve flown a Piper Cub twice without crash landing it!) 

Anyway, I got a profound wake-up call last week.  My close friend’s life went from wonderful to an absolute nightmare in thirty seconds.  

Thirty seconds.  About the time it takes to start one’s computer and open up my email.

Since receiving my friend’s horrific news, I’ve woken up each day thinking about her family.  I realize that no matter how lousy I feel, I have a good life going on right now.  It’s time to pay more attention to that.

I have my freedom, and while I can’t jet off to Kauai on a moment’s notice, I’m not in a locked-down ward that resembles the set of “Orange Is the New Black”.  My freedom is something to be savored.  For those of you who’ve never been hospitalized for bipolar, it may be hard for you to imagine that sometimes I find it astounding that I can simply drive over to Coffee 9 and order a double mocha.  (Extra chocolate and yes, of course I want whipped cream with that!!)  Parents who know of my diagnosis and hospitalizations trust me to drive and care for their children each week.  I’m doing 1000% better than I was doing three years ago.

And let’s face it – what’s much more important than designer drinks is that I have a healthy family.  We live in a beautiful place. I have great online network of friends and some special IRL friends too.  And I’m about to create a support group that helps other women with mood disorders find their own tribe, lucky them…with ME!   😉

And, of course, l have lovely Lady Lucy, who has the fastest tongue in the West:

Fastest Tongue


But..I still keep thinking about soul-draining crap instead of concentrating on the good stuff. Talk about a total waste of energy.  I must pull my attention back to the good, over and over and over again.  

I’ve read that a daily gratitude list helps boost one’s positivity   Do any of you do that?  Does it help? (And I’ve been advised about meditation too by my pdoc, my therapist, friends, you-name-it – Zoe Hamster probably meditates during the day…I’m just still not there yet.  But there’s hope for me yet to join the meditation fold!) 

I know I’m making light of some serious issues here.  I never want to offend any of you, and I hope I don’t.   I’ve noticed that many of us bloggers with mood challenges have been struggling a lot lately.  I’d love to know about whatever helps you with your own negativity – don’t hold back in the comments section, okay?  You’ll give me something to ponder when I’m hanging out with that noisy furball Zoe!

see you next week, my friends…