Love, Art, Life

Love, Art, Life

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On Behalf of the Children

Last night I had the privilege of attending a focus group meeting for a new support group starting in my area.  There were about a dozen people there, most of them women.  This particular groups' focus was getting off prescription meds for various mental health issues.  There we were discussing techniques and alternative options for keeping healthy while eliminating or in some cases reducing them.

 We were all in various points on our journey.  Some having just begun to consider their options, others had already quit using 'meds' either on their own, or with help.

Photo by Serge Bertasius Photography from
This is the thing that struck and saddened me.  Some of these people had been on meds basically their whole lives.   The ages of the group varied.  As did the age each person started meds.  Here's the thing, some of them were put on meds as children.  One person shared that she was six years old!  Six years!  Others ten, thirteen, it varied.  But the problem they are facing now is the fear of leaving meds behind not knowing who they would be?

Pharmaceutical medications for various ailments can be and are a good thing.  Honestly they saved my life, and the lives of many people I know.  Life can be very difficult.  Childhood can be very difficult for a lot of us.  But meds at 6 yrs old?  Some of these women had been on these meds for decades, dealing with all the side efffects, and mental issues they come with.

Now I have to say here that I don't know any of their stories.  Nor do I know what they are doing now as far as self-care.  The fact that there they were in a support group for getting off meds tells me that these people are awake and do care about their health.  None of that is my point.

My point is for the sake of our children, please do your research.  I find it hard to believe that people at 6 years of age need such medications.  One mentioned ADD.  Some of them were on more than a few heavy duty meds ( one woman on about a dozen).  It's a vicious cycle created by the meds, the doctors prescribing them, and the pharmaceutical companies.  But there has to be a better way! Especially for a child.

Children are all different.  There is no one size fits all for them, or for any of us for that matter. While there are serious mental health conditions that warrant the use of such drugs I would challenge you as parents to look deeper.  Having gone off these meds myself over the past few months I am
seeing that it's really going to come down to nutrition and exercise to keep me in a place that I can remain off of them.  What it came down to in the end for me was healing all the underlying pain and old blocked emotions that had been in me affecting everything I did and everything I thought.  It all began with finding a good naturopath who found a holistic way of helping me mind, body, and spirit. She did find I have a couple of things that needed supplements and attention for they were throwing my whole body off.

I have seen other children diagnosed with various behavioural issues and had to wonder.  I know this American diet wreaks havoc with our systems from top to bottom.   I have read of kids who have remained med free with diet changes.  I have read of many children being diagnosed with medical issues when really what was going on was they were misunderstood.  Highly sensitive, intuitive or empathic children are often misunderstood and well meaning parents seek professional help for finding out what is 'wrong' with their child.  Nothing is wrong with our children except possibly their diet.

And diet is only one thing we can try.  Meditation, therapy, techniques for dealing with stress and overwhelm, accupuncture, even hypnosis!

Now don't get me wrong I am not a perfect parent.  No one is.  And I am aware that we are all just doing our best and wanting the best for our kids.  It just broke my heart hearing these beautiful women express their unhappiness with their current prescription meds and all their side effects while at the same time bravely sharing their great fear of not being on them anymore since they were children when they started taking them.

Parenting is a tough job.  It is my opinion that this society we've created makes it even tougher.  But for the children's sake please look deeper.  Do your research. Ask questions.  Find out what's troubling them.  People, all people just need to be cared for and understood.  Not medicated.  Take it from me, that drug induced apathy and stupor is no way to live.

Just about to publish this when I found this in my inbox:  Are statin drugs the cause of widespread decline in brain function?  "You can't poison a crucial enzyme or block an important receptor for the long-term and expect a good result," explained Dr. Brownstein in his book Drugs That Don't Work and Natural Therapies That Do.   Click the link below to see the full article.

Now I realize that statins are for cholesterol, but how many warnings do we need?  In Dr. Bruce Liptons book called The Biology of Belief he makes the point that we cannot put chemicals in our body and expect them to only work on the cells they are supposed to work on,  We really have no idea what effects these things are going to have on all of our cells. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Anxiety and Depression. My Story, My Finest Hour.

My story today begins with this video.  

This video moved me.  So much so that I thought I have to blog again after months of silence.  I must add my voice here.

I tend to be a strangely positive person.  That is to say I feel like I am, in general, a realist, or a negative person; but for some strange reason I am positive (foolishly so) when it comes to people and human nature.   My descent into deep depression happened gradually.  One trauma on top of another added to traumatic childhood events and a life full of commitments and stresses became too much for me to bear any longer.  Having to be too strong for too long was definitely the case.  I held on as long as I could, but in the end depression won.  It wasn't pretty.  

"We did not ask for this, but together we can fight this"  
                                                 ~Faris Khalifa

Being a reader, I searched high and low for answers to 'solve' this new dilemma.  How do I get back to being 'right' again.  Being 'me' again?  In the process I found information.  I found people who struggle as I do- lots of them.  And I joined a few groups to help support me in my new way of being. Trying to find new ways of coping with my present reality.  

 A lot of what I find online these days talks about stigma.  The stigma of mental illness.  Here's where the strange positivity comes in.  Stigma?  What stigma?  I often thought.  See I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  

Over this past few weeks I've been interacting with people more.  People who don't know me and my challenges.  Some strangers, some new found friends.  And I've discovered that yes, stigma still exists.  I guess it's always been my sincere hope that people will try to understand others, even if they be strangers.   Try to understand that even though they cannot possibly 'understand' everyone's behaviors and motivations that they too would recognize that most of us are really just trying to do the best we can. 

Then I saw this video.  

The courage of this man astounds me.  Putting himself out there in such a vulnerable way to try to help.  To try to stop the stigma.  I realized I had to add my voice.

This video was painful for me to watch.  I know where he's coming from.  I know that dark place all too well,

"This is not for me....  But for those not as fortunate.   Those who feel like they don't have a voice."
                                                                         ~Faris Khalifa

Lately I've heard opinions expressed about people with mental illness that at first I was tempted to accept.  "After all the one expressing it is a doctor", I thought.   But something wasn't sitting well with me.  I heard things such as "People need an identity, they NEED to be special in some way".  "They wear these diagnoses like a badge".  and "I think what's behind depression is self-pity."

Over the past week I've had some very rough moments.  Moments I thought I might not make it through.  Moments I realized that yes I am much better now than I was- my current holistic treatments are working wonders,  But maybe I will have moments such as these for the rest of my life.  Moments that are too dark to describe.  Moments I think I wont survive, I don't want to survive.  And in those moments it broke my heart to think about what others had said about people with mental illnesses.   Stigma is still alive and well, even among health care professionals.  And this is why I have chosen now to speak up.

 I was diagnosed with a Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, PMDD (Pre-menstrual Dismorphic Disorder), Body Dismorphic Disorder, Adult ADD and have general Anxiety as well. I have been medicated for all of the above and am still on some meds to this day.   It is not a fact I go around sharing- even though at times it does seriously color my outlook and my life.  And at times I do wish people knew because I feel their confusion at my behavior.  It is not something I am proud of, or would choose to have to deal with.  Honestly it sucks!  And at times sucks the life right out of me.  I am able to appear ok in most circumstances.  And my whole life I have been able to hide my true feelings well.  But it is my diagnosis and something I have to consider everyday.  

The thing about opinions is everyone has one.  And that's ok.  But opinions are just that.  Opinions.  We all have our own based on our perceptions, and our experiences.  Perceptions  are that way as well;  no two people perceive things the same.  We each have our own reality and outlook.  The more I thought of those opinions expressed earlier in the week, the more upset I got.  I wondered what were their opinions based on?  Have they ever had the experience of being abused, physically, verbally or sexually?   Have they ever been in war?  Have they experienced neglect, trauma or broken homes?  Have they had the misfortune of  being homeless?  Or a combination of these things as many people have?   And how can they, having not experienced the full range of things one can experience in this life, make these statements about Depression, Bi-polar,  Anxiety or any disorder or dis-ease really?  In my opinion it is the height of arrogance to make judgements based on what we ourselves, personally know.  We have not experienced what others might have.  We each have our own journey. 

And here's something else to consider.  Why is it that these illnesses seem to be rampant?  What is going on in our society, in our world that has made life so hard to bear for some of us?  Isn't that a better question?  What can we do to help?  

This Stigma is unwarranted.  These mental health issues come from somewhere.  No one chooses them.  No one wants to be 'special' like that!  What about other expressions of disease?  Do we stigmatize cancer patients, or people with heart conditions?  If someone is on Blood pressure meds do we theorize that they wanted this outcome?  That they go around wearing their  diagnoses of Lupus, or Thyroid problems like a badge?  To garner sympathy?  We don't. 

 That would be cruel.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Life is pain highness....

Life is pain.

There is just no way around it.  I'm not sure it's as painful for some, as for others, but we must all have our share of heartaches.

My lamp has moved.  Did I mention that?  Right now I sit here in someone else's bed, in someone else's house crying my eyes out.  I am missing my firstborn who moved out just as we were moving.  To another state!  Everytime I see him, or hear his voice I flood the earth with my tears and feel as though my heart will burst open.

I hate crying.

I hate pain.

It makes me wonder about life.  If life is in fact pain can I bear it much longer?  I'm not so sure.  I have cried a lifetime of tears already, and there are many, many more to come.  Who can be positive in the face of such facts?  Clearly not I.

I'm trying so hard to change my thinking, and be a more positive person, less realist.  But when I hurt how can I be positive?  It's just not me.  And I have hurt my whole life.  The pain just never seems to end.  It did let up for a while but then traumatic events occurred that make me wonder, does it ever really end?  I'm afraid it does not.   And I think that scares me more than anything else.

this is my message to the universe...  please. help. me

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Welcome to my Wonderland

So here's the thing I'm learning about truth.  People don't like it.  I must have inherently known this all along, and that is why I wouldn't couldn't speak my truth.  I am a people pleaser.  If there is something someone wouldn't like in the past I would just suck it up and deal with it myself. And for some reason I am really good at reading what others would not like.  That is however changing.  More out of necessity than anything else, and here's why:    
Arthur Rackham [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

The truth is that most of the time, maybe, no not maybe-- most of my life I have wished I was someone else.  At this very moment.  I wish I was different.

I guess I have never felt good enough for anything.  Or good enough at anything.  I have no degrees, no skill sets, not even any interests at this point other than staying in bed and hiding under my covers.  I am trying to change that.  That is not how I want to spend my life or at least I don't think it is.  I know it's not a wise thing to do.  But the options?  Drag myself out of bed, put on my mask and get all ready to go out into public and appear 'normal'.  Yeah, sounds like fun, right?  Until I get out there and there is too much stress, too much input (HSP, remember?) and not enough down time for me.

John Tenniel [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
I used to think I was a pretty decent mom.  I have well adjusted children and a husband who says he's happy.  I have had friends who have come and gone.  Most of my life I get the feeling no one has ever really understood me.  Heck I don't even understand me.  I tried to get along.  To be kind and loving when I could. Tried to do right by those in my life at the time. But in the end between all the denying my own feelings, and needs and various traumas that have plagued me even in my adult life I have found that I just can't do it anymore.  Any of it.  I used to say "at some point self-preservation kicks in".  It's an automatic thing.  We are programmed to survive.  Even when it's difficult.  Even when the easiest most pain-free thing to do would be to just give up, roll over and die our nature is to survive. That's the place I find myself in most days.  I want to get up, put on the mask and the costume, pretend I'm fine and go on, but my self preservation keeps me from doing that.  Then I feel that those who love me are disappointed, and saddened that I just won't do it.  They don't understand that I literally can not.  I try to explain,  but I understand it is a difficult thing to comprehend. Especially for children.  I just won't cooperate and don't fit into their perfect little worldviews.  This is difficult for me.  I would love nothing more than to be able to go on pretending until all of my kids are grown.

John Tenniel [GFDL ( or
 CC-BY-SA-3.0 (],
 via Wikimedia Commons
Then the guilt kicks in.  I have spent the majority of my life feeling guilty for everything.  For anything and everything.  I am an expert at pinning things on myself.  I would make a killer prosecuting attorney if I was the accused.  I'd have the case wrapped up in no time and be off to do the time for it.  Where this all comes from I have no idea.  I have tried many ways to change my thinking.  Change my outlook.  Change anything I could think of to make this all go away.  I mean, I'm only hurting myself in all this.  But it's where I am at.  I cannot seem to change it overnight like I'd love to.  I have spent decades trying to find the answers.  At times I fear the answers just do not exist.  Some things we just will never understand.

Where does this leave me?  I have no idea.  I have no illusions of knowing anything anymore.  It's all I can do to take life one minute at a time and try to do the best I can with that.  That's all I can do.  Welcome to my Wonderland.  Where "nothing is what it is because everything is what it isn't.  And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be.  And what it wouldn't be, it would.  You see?"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Speaking my truth

I am thinking about dumping this blog.  My husband said to me the other day that people would read my blog if I wrote my truth.  My truth.  Not here necessarily, but just a truth blog.  Not a bad idea.  

This is me speaking my truth, just because I feel like it.  Not to get anyone to read it- or sympathy, or anyone to even care.  It's hard for me to believe people really care anyway.  So here goes.    

I am hurting right now.  My heart feels like a lead weight in my chest and the tears just don't stop.  My oldest son moved out yesterday- who knew it would be so difficult for me!  I just want to curl up in bed an cry.  I know this is not 'normal'.  Buy I am coming to grips with the fact that I am not 'normal'.  I guess I've always known this, but never really accepted it.  In fact I think I tried really hard to be 'normal' for a long time.  It was harmful to myself in the end and I will not do that again, but I think it's what most people attempt at least once in their lives.  Then hopefully we learn a better way.

The truth is this blog is difficult for me.  Remember the John Cusack line from Say Anything:
 "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that." -Lloyd Dobler   

Um, yeah that's pretty much how I feel too.  I have never wanted to sell anything.  And yet here I am, an Etsy seller with a blog and a facebook, twitter that I've pretty much abandoned, and a Pinterest profile.   I think if you follow any of my stuff, my Pinterest, my Etsy shop, Facebook you could figure that about me.  It is challenging.  I do end up selling stuff, but the thing about Art is I believe it should be accessible to all so I sell things very reasonably.  Most likely too reasonably.  In fact I've been told that more than once.  But if someone wants one of my pieces I want them to have it.  I want it to bless them, and bring them joy.  I think I was born in the wrong era.  My people were a gift society.  I would love nothing more than to be able to do that.  Just gift everything to anyone who needs it.

The truth is this life is hard for me.  I am a 'sensitive' person given to being overly sympathetic.  I am an HSP.  That is a Highly Sensitive Person who is also struggling with a Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, Adult ADD (whatever that is) and likely other things.    I did not know any of this for more than the first half of my life and honestly if I had escaped the lifetime of traumas maybe it wouldn't be this bad, but the fact is that it is. All I can do now is deal with it the best I can and try to live life anyway.  

The truth is I wish there were a way to opt out of society.  Maybe opt out of life altogether.  It can be so overwhelmingly difficult.  And the pain gets so old.  I have been making an effort for years to change my thinking.  It is overwhelmingly negative, and I think I understand now that it doesn't have to be.  Changing ones whole way of thinking is no small task though.  And it is so easy to go backward.  It's natural for me.  I have always thought of myself as a 'melancholy' and a 'realist'.  The reality is my son has lived with me for 20+ years and I will sorely miss him.  As a homeschooler I did spend much time with him.  More than most people get to, but maybe that is why this is so hard too.  I will miss him awfully.  

I know life is 'short'.  Too short not to live it as fully as one can.   And I am trying, believe me, I am really trying.  But right now this is my truth.  I hurt and want to curl up in  a ball and cry.  That's all.  I guess it will just take time to get beyond this.  There are many changes right now.  We are moving, going back to homeschooling, he moved out.  Maybe it's just too much stress all at once.  I don't know.  All I know is that I don't often (if ever) speak MY truth, just as it is.  And tonight I wanted to.  So here it is.  I am trying hard to believe that the truth is good and not pain.  That life is not pain.  Which brings up another of my favorite movie quotes that often runs through my head    Man in Black: "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hello Again

Hello again from my geenie's lamp.  I have a funny story to tell you about this past year that I have not been blogging and a new lesson learned.  It only took me a year to learn it.

Ha!  This is my minds answer to my requests...  
I went into 2013 with my new resolution being to "Speak My Truth".  Funny because I have not said a thing all year.  Not funny because that is what I was trying to overcome.

I have learned a few things this year.  About myself, about life, about truth.  I have for a long time said that I am a lover of truth.  I have searched for it my whole life.  The absolute truth.  At the same time I came to realize over this past year that the truth scares me to death!  And when faced with the truth I tend to clam up. Not to mention that when I try to make myself do something, or think something my mind simply refuses to cooperate.  Like a teeny child having a tantrum, my mind will do all it can to avoid doing what I ask of it.  So I have learned first of all that I need to use reverse psychology on myself.  Sounds crazy, I know, but truthfully aren't we all a little 'crazy' sometimes?

So I started the year with the intention to 'speak my truth' and honestly I failed miserably.  Sounds like an easy thing, right?  Well let me tell you it proved to be a lot more challenging than I ever imagined.  Half way through the year I found myself writing in my art journal " The Truth is I am not a liar, I simply cannot tell the truth."  It made me laugh to realize that, even though it is not at all funny.  My mind works that way, it's quite humorous.

 I have found a lot of answers in that method.  I sit down and write "The truth is________" and see what it gets me.  It's a scary thing, try it sometime.

My art journal tends to be a chronicle of my life and all I am learning day to day.  And I am surprised at how much I learn, and how much there still is to learn.  It blows my mind when I remember all the things I used to 'know' and finding out daily all the things I really don't know.  In fact there are many things that I am convinced one just cannot ever truly know.  That's a scary thought to me,  being one who needs to feel in control of everything.  The truth is I control nothing.  I really know nothing, despite all my efforts to learn.  Some things are just too big for my comprehension.  And that's ok.

I used to think I needed to KNOW everything.  Beyond the shadow of a doubt.  To know the right answers to all the questions.  And that would make me legitimate.  A legitimate __________.  But over the last decade I have learned that life is not that simple.  And no one can ever know anything fully.  Sure there are experts in all kinds of fields, but does that mean they know everything?  I used to think so.  And that made them 'acceptable', it gave them credentials.   The problem is that also made me a 'fraud'.  The truth is I don't know everything about anything, and honestly I don't think I ever can.  Life is just too big and too much of a mystery to fit it all into my little brain.  Especially with all the other millions of things I need to know like school schedules, doctors appointments, social security numbers, the list is endless.  And add a husband and kids into that mix and the list truly does become endless.

Someone once told me "Jack of all trades, master of none".  That little blurb has stayed in my mind my whole life and crippled me really.  If I cannot master things then I have no credibility, right?  Because there are masters of everything these days.  What is a master?  Someone who has dedicated themselves, their time, their energy to learning all they can about a particular subject of their choosing.  Where does that leave me?  Mom of 6 kids just trying to make it through a day without permanently harming anyone?  Jacked that's where.  To have such a high standard for myself is only hurting me.  I suppose the truth is I could choose to be a master of something, if I really wanted to.  But clearly I don't.  I have chosen a husband, six kids, friends, various pets,, respect for the earth and all it's inhabitants and all the commitments that come along with that.  The truth is I simply have no time left to dedicate right now to mastering something else. Now that is not to say that we don't work hard at things, and try to be exceptional at them.  I think we all want that, right?  But it does help me to see that my expectation of perfection is all in my mind.  And I'm done with that.

I had a new friend look me up online and encourage me in my art.  Honestly this year I have been struggling with the question "Art. Does it really matter?"   and  more specifically "Does mine matter?"  The world is full of artists and dreamers.  Many of them better than me.  Why add my voice to that? It was the same when I was a singer.  Someone once told me "singers are a dime a dozen"- so my thought was 'then why would my voice matter?'.

The answer to these questions is still formulating in my mind.  And most likely is too long to write here and now.  One day hopefully I will have an answer to that question...

It would really help me realize that an art degree and mastery of all things art related are not a necessity in my life right now...

 maybe when Lucha Pigs fly...  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

2nd Annual Ride The Wild Surf Vintage Trailer Rally

It was like stepping back in time....

 Streets lined with vintage cars and trailers.  People dressed to fit the scene.  Some riding around on their darling vintage bicycles.  It really was a sight to see.   Especially during open house time when many people moved their modern cars from their spots and dressed up for the 'best vintage costume' contest.  There was also a best dressed trailer contest, a potluck and vintage surf movies.  

 My only regret is that I did not go to the open houses or meet anyone.  I wish I could say I took lots of pictures and really captured the feel of the rally, but my 'stress response' kicked in and I took shelter in the Pearls cabin and slept while most of the action was going on.

First we had to check in with the Organizers.  Their setup was amazing!
The Organizers (sorry don't know their names, never met them)
Sign in

The Pearl looked so happy to be there!
(do you see how close those fences are)

Look another Oasis!!

and she's for sale!

 I took all these pics walking around in the evening with the crew and Sobe.  Was wishing I could see the inside of this black and red one.  The open house was from 10 - 2 pm.   Almost all the trailers (except the Pearl) were open so everyone could walk around and check them out.  I however slept through this portion of the events so did not take advantage of this opportunity.   They all had signs in their windows with the make and year of the trailers.  
Many towed their trailers there with their vintage cars

There were Airstreams as far as the eye could see...

Loved all the vintage trucks

the diner (didn't meet anyone actually so I don't know any names)

The Baas' Westerner next to a red Westerner.  ( I already knew them from Prado). 
 The cute couple in the red and tan westerner were interviewed by the travel channel for some special they're going to run.   The couple were dressed in cowfolk attire and their baby in a cow outfit.  So cute!

Oh wait!  I did talk to this lovely couple, but don't think I got their names... 
 This set up was amazing!  See the old fan and radio back there?  And the couch, coffee table, etc.  They looked so comfortable!  Behind the two people sitting on the left there was also an old cabinet style black and white tv with rabbit ears that actually worked.  It was on the whole time.   The evening before as I walked by I spied them watching said tv.  So cute!  Oh, and this is one of the very few I ventured into.  The whole inside was done up in pink!  So pretty!!

this one behind the cute truck was the shiniest trailer ever

more airstreams

This was a trailer and truck designed by one of the Matchbox designers.  He and his lovely wife were kind enough to let me in at this late hour.  There is even a full sized bathroom and shower in there!  He said he had designed a matchbook truck first then thought 'wouldn't it be neat to actually build one?"  

Loved these.  They may have been the most aged.  They were completely authentic
inside very rustic.  The trailer was from before the electricity days.

 The crew taking a much needed break.  I wish I had taken more pics.  I didn't even get a pic of my friend Gretchen and her family, or their lovely trailer.  And one day I shall have to show you Nigel.  I really only took a few of The Pearl and her crew.  I was slightly overwhelmed.  Did I mention the Travel Channel was there filming a special on top of everything else? 

Now that I know what to expect maybe next time I will be better prepared for all the action.  Either that or I'll stick to mini rallys.  :)