Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Free on Bond

I saw this while checking out newspapers on the internet recently:

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A man is dead and a woman injured after a shooting Wednesday outside a mall in Columbia. Police said the shooting happened around 6:45 p.m. in the parking lot in front of the mall's main entrance.

Columbia Police Chief Dean Crisp said a man who was stalking a woman confronted her at the mall, then followed her into the parking lot. He said the man then shot the woman and her father. Authorities say the 49-year-old father of the young woman was shot several times and died at the scene.

The daughter was taken to the hospital, where she was able to talk to investigators. Police have not released her name.
Police identified the shooter as 21-year-old “John Doe”, who was free on bond after being arrested last week and charged with stalking the woman. Police say “Doe” was last seen driving away in a green Honda Accord.

Did you get the second to last sentence??? The one where it says he was free on bond after being arrested LAST FRIGGING WEEK for stalking this woman!?!?!

Do ya have any idea how many women die holding a restraining order in their hands?

I don't even know how to respond...there are not even words. I was stalked when I ended a 24 year marriage. My situation was not taken seriously either, fortunately, my daddy is still alive.

F-ing Mad and Smashing F-ing China

I have a hard time differentiating between a “blah” day or two, and the beginnings of my medication losing its’ effectiveness.

For 4 or 5 days out of the past week or so, tears have been a constant part of my days. My anger level is at full throttle. I have always been quick to tears, but until the past few years, say 5 or 6, I NEVER had an anger problem.

When I get angry it is almost always over stupid, non-anger worthy situations. It explodes out of the blue too! There is rarely ever a warning, such as I was already having a shoddy day, or “he had already pushed my last button” or anything like that. No this anger just explodes from a place I didn’t even know existed.

I don’t hit or yell at people or throw things, but there is an absolute burning desire to cuss, especially the F word, and to break something. I have often wondered how it would feel to just intentionally smash a dish or a glass or something. I generally don’t curse and I’ve never been a thrower or a hitter, but I cannot stress how powerful this urge is when it hits.

From what I have written you might not believe me, but I am about as nice as they come. I smile at everyone whose glance meets mine... I will stop and let traffic in if it is not presenting a danger to others for me to do so... If you only have an item or two in the grocery store I will let you ahead of me in line… I take home any stray animals... I’ve paid for someone’s items if they got to the register and ran out of money…but for all that kindness, there are times I want to just SCREAM as LOUD and as long as I can the most horrible curse words there are while at the same time smashing china against a tree, or a person, depending on the circumstances.

I’ve tried twice now to tell my shrink I think I am bipolar, that it is not strictly depression I suffer from. Do I sound bipolar?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

NAMI - Opening My Eyes

I attended a 3 day facilitator training seminar recently presented by NAMI -the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has become the nation’s voice on mental illness, a national organization including NAMI organizations in every state and in over 1100 local communities across the country who join together to meet the NAMI mission through advocacy, research, support, and education.

As you know, I have dealt with severe depression for years (since 1992). I felt 3-4 years ago God was calling me to address this illness in the church and in other faith based ministries. It is an often ignored and/or misunderstood illness and statistically speaking there are many people (one in 4 according to the National Institute of Mental Health) who, JUST LIKE I DID, sit in pews week after week afraid to ask for help because of the stigma attached.

That stigma will never go away (which means less people will seek help) unless we who have the illness are willing to speak up about it and share our experience. Who better to be able to seek support from than our brothers and sisters in Christ? They first much understand a little of what mental illness is though...and what it is not.

This weekend really opened my eyes. I have never been around other people who have, or talk about having any type of mental illness. I've never attended "group therapy" sessions and had never heard other people say the exact same things that I have thought silently for years! (
I was also left wondering if my true diagnosis should not be bipolar rather than major depression, but if and/or when my meds stop working again, I’ll deal with that then.)

I contacted NAMI about 3 weeks ago because of my desire to help remove this stigma, at least among the Christian community. Shortly afterward I was invited to attend this seminar free of charge! We had National speakers and I was there from that Friday morning at 8 am until Sunday at 2:30 pm - all free of charge. I was able to take that Friday off with a minimum of "painful whining " by my boss. I just can't help but believe this has all fallen together like this because God allowed it. I believe he put this passion inside me for other people who are hurting and ashamed.

I took a spiritual gifts test recently also. My highest score was Mercy. My second was teaching. That is just further assurance that this is something I can indeed do. I have put this off all this time for several reasons, fear, the anxiety I have had in public, not being sure it was God's voice I was hearing, etc. I guess now I have just decided if I wait until I am 100 % sure, I will go to Heaven one day having never done a thing to help anyone in this area.

Just want to let you all know what is going on in my world. Those who pray, pray that I will not be afraid or let the anxiety stand in the way of helping to tear down this wall that hinders so many people from seeking help.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I am going to attempt to begin blogging again. I have been stable on meds now for about 8 weeks and if this continues, I will be happier than a pig in mud.

Geese, Goslings and Anatomy Oh My!!

Outside my office, is a huge pond. I have worked there for 7 years now and have watched every January as the same pair of geese come back and begin finding and preparing a nest. I have watched them use a huge clump of pampas grass (ouch). I have watched them use a big planter that has long ago given up the ghost for whatever plant had lived in it. Usually, wherever they make their nest, there is no "roof". By March, they are sitting and by late April or early May, there are goslings galore!

This pair of geese knows me. I personally think all animals "know" an animal person, but these two definitely know me. I am always the first person in the parking lot of our office complex. The geese recognize my car. They know it is time for breakfast when I drive in. I have often wondered if they wait expectantly for me on the weekends and if so how long before they give up and call me bad words.

This time, the pair hatched out 5 babies. That is pretty much average for these two. If you have never watched geese live out their lives, allow me to fill you in on some things I didn't know before I went to work there.

Someone, be it the Mr or the Mrs, is always sitting on those eggs. If it rains, or storms, someone is always sitting on those eggs. If it turns out like this year, and we have a really cold spell surprise us in the middle of spring, someone will be sitting on those eggs.

In case I haven't mentioned it, someone is sitting on those eggs 24-7. They take turns. The female does the majority of the sitting, but a couple of times a day she will get off the nest and get in the pond and splash around and find her something to eat and he will sit while she is gone.

Mr and Mrs are also very, very territorial. Very territorial. If another pair of geese even come flying in as if to "think" about landing on the pond, they start honking and hollering and will run the trespassing pair off. Same for any ducks that might get too close, although they will allow the ducks to live on the pond, just not near the nest. The other geese on the other hand...NO HOW NO WAY are the staying anywhere on the property. That’s just the rules.

Usually each year, they will hatch between 4 and 7 goslings. Generally I have noticed they will lose one or two, usually to the mean, humongous, gross turtles that live in the pond. I mean these monsters are probably 80 pounds. The kind I used to watch my grandfather cook. I have actually seen them be snatched and pulled under the water never to be seen again by the turtles. Horrible to see and there is absolutely nothing you can do when it happens. Mr and Mrs get all loud and scurry the remaining babies away to shallower water where the turtles are less likely to hang out, but for that one it is too late.

I have also come driving up in the mornings and see the entire family just pecking away at the white line on the 4 lane hiway we're located on. I hear the horns honking and I just wait to hear a horrible noise. When I drive up if I see the on the roads edge, I just sit on my horn. Mostly they just ignore me.

Today, I noticed there were only 3 babies with the parents. They are a little old now - if any are going to die they usually do so before they get this old, so I was surprised. Later on in the day, I saw the 4th gosling. He was honking and swimming furiously towards his family. Something was wrong though. Mr and Mrs would not let him get close. They were actually hissing at him and chasing him off, like they do the trespassers. I walked out to get a better look at him.

He was barely swimming, and he was dragging his right leg behind him. He tried and tried to get back to his family, to get back in line with the other funny looking teenagers, but again his parents ran him off hatefully (in my opinion).

I was heartbroken. I have always been a sucker for the underdog, and this was one if I had ever seen one. He was perfectly healthy just yesterday. They had come up and ate both times yesterday when I fed them.

They always eat out of my hand. They hiss at strangers, even at the two men who work in the office with me, but they eat out of my hand. If I sit down on the ground, the babies will actually crawl in my lap. I have watched the men go all the way around the long way to get to the door because the parents will stand there and hiss at them and threaten them when the babies are young but they have always been very cordial to me. They know from whence forth their vanilla wafers come!

When I got off work this afternoon, I went looking for the injured baby. I soon found him, lying by the bank, his leg laid out behind him. His family no where in sight. No way was I going to leave that baby there to be eaten or starve over the weekend, so I just grabbed him up and wrapped him in a towel I keep in the boot of my car for just such occasions.

He was obviously in pain. I hated to hurt him, but if I left him there he would just die...alone. All the way home, every time I turned a corner or put on the brake, he would honk in pain. We were both in tears by time we got home.

All the way home I was thinking what my plan of action would be. Clean the wounds - by now I was able to see something had grabbed him on the leg in two different places. One up near his hiny where his leg was attached and the webbed part of his foot, where he was missing one "toe" and another was hanging on by a thread. I decided to try to medicate him for pain before trying to clean him, so guessing (there was NOTHING on Google about medicating an injured duck) I decided to try some liquid Tylenol PM.

I drew up about 1 tsp into a syringe (again bought for just such occasions as this - and yes I do pull over and get out to help turtles cross the road) and proceeded to open his beak and insert it in the side and pushed about 1/4th in. He immediately being choking and gasping. At once I realized what I must have done. I didn't stop to think about the anatomy being different than that of other small animals I had saved. It never once occurred to me I might be pushing it into his lungs or his trachea, but obviously that is exactly what I had done. He was dead within a minute and a half. Died right there in my arms.

Would he have died had I not caused him to aspirate the medicine? Probably. Would he have suffered or starved to death? Maybe. Could I possibly feel any more like shit than I do? Definitely not.