Ode to Shiloh

Shiloh was herding his goats when suddenly he caught the whiff of a mole underground. He began sniffing around and was suddenly digging with his paws in the dirt and leaves to unearth said mole so that he could claim his prize despite the fact that he was getting hot although he was glad there wasn't any snow around because then he would not have been able to do his mole digging. It didn't take him long to find the mole. He played with it for a while, licking it even before he let it go as he knew his mom was watching him and would not let him play with the mole for too long.

While playing Shiloh got quite dirty and muddy ending up having to first be brushed to clear away some dirt, leaves and fluff...then he was given a bath. Shiloh did not like being a wet dog and was most miffed about the situation but his mom ameliorated the situation and promising to take him to the dog park. This excited Shiloh very much. He liked going to the dog park even more than he liked herding his goats.

After the trip to the dog park Shiloh's mom noticed that he was really shedding fur despite having been bathed and washed earlier in the day so she had to brush him again and then after giving him some treats she trimmed the hair on his paws which he hates even more than getting a bath.

All in all Shiloh had a busy day and was almost to tired to eat his dinner. He slept well throughout the night but the next day was ready and eager to play with his goats again.


On Writing!

Today is an experience in writing one's fanny off and seeing if you can write three thousand words in one day. I have been writing since about 6 this morning, it is now almost 10 am. I have written 5 essays and have written almost two thousand words. I have taken several breaks in this time to see what is going on in the rest of the world and to rest my derriere. Oh yes, I did take a breakfast break too.

I have found the day to be most enjoyable although I am getting sleepy and will likely take a nap soon. Writing and making up stories has been my "heart" for most of my 53 years. Even in the time that I was unable to write I still made up stories inside my head storing them away for possible use later. It is not possible to remember them all for I have forgotten many more things than I have retained and yet I know that somewhere in the deepest, dark recesses of my mind there are tales that I made up even 50 years ago that someday may again come to light.

For a long time I could not write. The words were in my head but would not come through my fingers to be scribbled down, typed or input on the computer so that I could have them for future reference. It wasn't truly writer's block, the ideas were there but they were frozen in my mind and could not be set free.

I am glad to be able to write again even if what I say is stuff and nonsense. It is a joy to put words out there in the ether so that I can enjoy them and others might enjoy them too. I am no genius and I am not into hyperbole I just enjoy putting thoughts into words and then getting those words written down.

Writing is a cathartic exercise that clears my soul, psyche and mind...I can purge any demons and put them on paper to leave my soul in peace while I try to work through the situation that brought them to life. Sometimes I can even write down those things which bog me down and burn the written page, this allows me to fully escape that which haunts or hurts me.

Most of the time though I write for fun just because it is there and I can do it. I write about love, life, the little dog, coffee, tea, whatever tickles my fancy and then I go on from there. Life is filled with ideas and prompts from the singing birds to the dandelions to the hum of the cicadas it is all part of the universal rhythm that gives us so much to talk about and write about. This is my life, this is my muse, I find the whole of the world to be a fascinating place to write about and enjoy.

My little dog Jezzi, so many things I can say about her, she is love in action and when she gets excited her whole body wags. Jezzi is a fire ball of energy ripping from one end of the house to the other, it is like a Great Dane on the loose rather than a Chihuahua. She is an amazing little dog and I love her with all of my heart.

I had toyed with the idea of a little lap dog for a long time but really doubted that I'd get one. I didn't want to be responsible for another creature. I have the cats to take care of and they tie me down so I really just didn't want to commit to one more thing and then the puppy mill was shut down and there was this little bitty Chihuahua that had been rescued and needed a home. I never thought I'd have a Chihuahua but she came to my house, stole my heart and became our baby. She thinks that Stephanie's room is hers and she sometimes gets a little tiffy when Stephanie takes up space in "her" bed. LOL!

Jezzi can lie on the bed and look out a big window to survey her domain and keep us safe from falling leaves or one of the cats walking across the lawn. People walking into the yard don't cause alarm with her unless they commit the heresy of walking into our yard or even by it with another DOG!!!! Then the alarm sounds and we hear about it. There are dogs outside and Jezzi is on patrol acting like Rin-Tin-Tin on the case. She is so funny.

For the most part she doesn't do the "scaredy cat" little Chihuahua things but she does not like fireworks or thunder. Oh she gets so scared and for some reason she has decided that she does not like my camera that I use for taking my eBay pictures and gets spastic if I even start to unzip the case. She acts terrified about the whole thing. It is sad and annoying at the same time. I can understand the thunder and fireworks but my camera, good golly that is how I keep her in the expensive dog food she likes to eat. I don't know about all that. Jezzi is a pistol, she wasn't sought after but rather dropped in our laps and she has us wrapped around her little dew claws. She will never be part of the puppy breeding industry. The chain was broken with her and she has been spayed so there will be no more puppies from her line. We are doing our part to stop the flow of unwanted animals.


The Darkness...

At one time in my life the darkness overwhelmed me and threatened to consume my whole being. I had suffered many major depressive episodes in the past and somehow managed to work through them but this episode had already lasted for the better part of four years and had worn me down to a nub.

I was working as a psychotherapist and had been putting in 60 to 80 hour weeks. As I became more overcome by the depression I was doing good to get into the office by 10 in the morning and was often calling in sick. My supervisor was angry with me but I was doing the best I could with what I had. I was on very high doses of antidepressants and was taking a mood stabilizer to try to create some sense of balance.

Finally I worked out a plan that might save my life and my career. I wrote a plan to go part time from full time to three quarters time and I would quit doing the emergency after hours work that I had been doing for so long. Out of a big agency I was covering the screenings 4 nights out of seven every week in addition to my regular workload, something had to change. I was about to break under the pressure.

I submitted my plan and it was rejected without any real consideration for the fact that I was so ill and that I was asking for reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities act. I had grounds for a grievance and even a law suit but I was so devastated by the denial I just literally fell apart.

The following day I tried to work but I kept crying tears of quiet rage and frustration at every turn. I could not maintain my professional demeanor once my office was free of clients. Finally after a very trying day, one of the secretaries implied that I was not working (long story but I was) and that what I was doing was not worth what the other secretaries were doing. It was too much I broke down and had right there in the mental health center the moral equivalent of a nervous breakdown. I began crying in active anger and injustice. I had taken all that I could handle at that point and was just trying to get out of the office to go home.

As I was leaving a coworker got the psychiatrist on duty to talk to me outside and he told me that he would tell my boss that I needed time off. He had seen this breakdown coming and had encouraged me to take extended time off already.

I agreed to him talking to my supervisor and then I left. The next day I went to a court hearing that I had to go to and then was off work for what I thought was a month at most.

A few days later I went to get the paperwork done under the Family Medical Leave act and was advised that I needed to clean my office out. I was devastated, clean my office out for a one month leave. I started cleaning it out, was told I had to stop because my boss needed to go get her hair done and to come back in two days to finish up. In that time my boss went through my office decided what I could take and what I could not take and then my office was empty and ten years of being a psychotherapist with that agency was over because I had fallen deeper into the pit of darkness at having my office stripped and emptied. For a one month leave I was being kicked out of the organization.

Oh yes, they paid me well on the agency disability plan and I was cared for but my life had been destroyed in my eyes. I saw myself as a psychotherapist and an integral part of the agency and now I had no identity, it had been snatched away when I was in the throes of a major depressive episode because I had dared to ask for some time off and accommodation under the federal ADA.

At home I tried to sally forth as best I could. I started selling everything I could to help make ends meet, my income had been cut by more than half. I was supporting 3 people on about 40% of the income I had while working. The depression sucked me down deeper and deeper until I became lost in the pit and couldn't find any light.

Finally, in desperation I decided to try ECT in an effort to break up the depression. I don't know how many ECT sessions I had, more than 20 but it made me psychotic and I had moments of screaming mania in the midst of this still unyielding depression. Actually the moments that seemed like mania at the time were probably agitated depression.

I lost all sense of self and boundaries. I was crazy as a loon and almost blew my brains out one dark Saturday. I don't know how I pulled myself back from the edge but I did and got myself admitted to the psychiatric hospital to protect myself from harm.

During all of this my partner Stephanie had to have an appendectomy that went bad, her incision was not healing, she had a collapsed lung, she got MRSA and I was screaming psychotic. It was a terrible time in our lives.

I suffered severe memory loss losing more than 5 years of my live and am only starting to get some of it back now 11 years after the ECT. I suffered brain damage as a result of the ECT and now have a seizure disorder. The cognitive impairment from the ECT has further disrupted my life.

Finally a full year after the ECT I started to pull out of the depressive episode even though I was still depressed, just not so mired down in the miasma of darkness. It took 2 full years for the episode to abate. All in all I suffered for the better part of seven years from a massive depressive episode.

I spent the next several years fearing that it would happen to me again. Once when I was in another major depressive episode I again considered ECT because I was so sick but just couldn't take the risk. I came out of that episode ok but I was so scared through the whole thing. I didn't want to end up where I had been before.

I am now 16 years down the pike from when that major depressive episode started. I have survived. I have lost my career, I have had to reinvent myself as a person because my career had been my identity. I had to realize that it was just a job and that I was a whole person even without that job. It was hard to do but I have finally gotten there even though sometimes it still pulls at me. You don't put everything you have into a career of 20 years and not come away with some sense of loss. It is impossible really.

I am a survivor. I live on disability benefits because besides being bi-polar I have other disabling illnesses. Despite all this I still survive and even thrive in a different life than I could ever have imagined for myself. Twelve years ago I thought my life had ended but in all reality it had just begun.