What’s it all about?

 

Here’s a little ditty ’bout….no, not Jack and Diane. I’m not gonna tell you what it’s about, you have to listen.

It’s a little long (it’s only five minutes but some people are impatient). I enjoy the whole thing, but if you don’t have time just listen to about 1:30. Then come back and tell me how excited you are.

I’m counting on you to really listen to about 1:30.

I am not saying anymore. Those of you who really did what I asked will know what’s going on…those that don’t will be out of the loop and missing loads of fun.

It’s heeeeerrrrrre!

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Can I just say thank you?

So many people have been sending kind words my way not only regarding the state of my mental health but also how much they enjoy my willingness to air my dirty laundry all over the internet. Feed back on my writing is always welcome and you’ve been so sweet about that.

As far as my mental health. It’s so nice to know that we are not alone in our struggles. I am finding a new community of depressed people and, ironically, it’s making me feel better. I mean, I’m not happy for others depression but I am happy when someone else comes to me and says, “I feel exactly like that and now I’m not alone.”

To continue on our merry path of depression and loneliness I want to add inadequacy.

Inadequacy and low self esteem. (Yay Teri! You know how to bring us all up!!)

 

As I was going through my divorce I was in therapy. As much as I wanted to get out of living with my ex husband I equally did not want to get a divorce. Divorce was failure. The thought of spending another year with a man I did not like, let alone love was equally as abhorrent as divorce.

I feel I took the lesser of two evils. But this isn’t really about my divorce and why I got one. It’s about how not standing up for the real you can screw things up. And how we allow the people in our lives to keep us down or bring us up.

At one point my ex had done something that really needed to be addressed but I was afraid to bring it up and my therapist said “What will happen if you do, what would be the worst scenario?”

“He will yell.”

She looked at me and said, “Teri, that is the fear of most five year olds, not grown women. Is that really the worst that would happen?”

Yes. My answer was yes. That is what I wanted to avoid above all else. It is why I never challenged my ex over so many things. I did not want to be yelled at. I did not want to be belittled. I did not want someone to tell me how stupid I was, or what a failure I was or to sigh with disgust at my utter lack of ability to do anything right.

Most often, when a yelling match was about to break out- and yes, you can feel them coming, like the rain coming in the spring, you learn to smell it, predict it and do what needs to be done to avoid it- when I sensed one coming on I would work to avoid it. I became the queen of diffusion. It’s partly how the break down of our marriage came to be.

I knew my real feelings about things would bring on conflict so I pretended to have other feelings. I guess I knew about ‘fake it ’til you make it’ before AA. Sadly, by faking my feelings I didn’t allow my ex to react properly. He was reacting to my faked feelings. Meaning my true feelings were never being addressed…how could things ever possibly be fixed if we weren’t addressing the real issues?

They couldn’t. And wouldn’t. And didn’t.

All because I didn’t want to be yelled at.

And when words of adoration were tossed my way I knew they weren’t true because he loved someone that didn’t exist. He didn’t love me, because when I expressed my true feelings he told me how wrong those feelings were. He didn’t love me because he didn’t even know me.

What I am saying to you is….I already had self esteem issues…I don’t know if I was born that way or what. My ex contributed to that bank. I bought into it. Another woman may have been able to stand up for herself, I could not. But this is MY story. This is about ME and how my life choices contributed to what has made me me.

And if you look at the many women who return to husbands who abuse them I feel confident in saying lots of us don’t know how to fight it. Lots choose to stay. And maybe if we all had healthier self esteem that number would decrease. I don’t know.

I didn’t like the woman I was. But I have worked at changing and though I still struggle, I still have depression, I still have self esteem issues, I love the woman I am today.

Most of the time.

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Fake It ’til You Make It

Fake it ’til you make it.

This, as I’ve said before, is a phrase used in AA. The thought behind it is to fake living a sober life until, eventually, we realize we are not faking it anymore.

I am good at faking it.

Not that good, but pretty darn good.

My husband always reads my writing and always gives me feedback. Most of the time he is very ,very positive. As we were riding in the car over the weekend he says, “Babe, don’t you think it’s time to go see your doctor and maybe up your meds? People are reading the blog and calling me…they are concerned. I’m concerned. Should I be concerned?”

Soooooo, no depression conversation today. (YAY!)

Let’s talk about organization and forming good habits. (YAY…wait, what? Let’s go back to depression.)

Being organized has never ever been my strong suit. I do really like all the things you can buy to BE organized. But to actually use them? Not so much. I find as I am getting older that few things grate on my very last nerve more than not being able to find something. Or forgetting an appointment.

My one weapon to battle that is to make lists. But then I can’t find where I put the list.

So I got a calendar.

Don’t even tell me to use my phone. No. Can’t do it. I love paper and pens and stationary and stickers and pens! I really like pens. I choose a calendar over my phone because I can just flip back and get a look at what I did or flip forward and see what’s coming up. And there is no eye strain. I find the phone to be too small for me to enjoy using it.

Besides, the visual of having a calendar makes me look like I’m organized which aids in the fake it ’til you make it theme.

What I will do with my phone is write notes down during the day as stuff comes up and transfer it to my calendar that evening….well, that evening or the next…or on Sunday…mostly….ummm…more like, sometimes it then makes it to my calendar

I find I am always trying to improve myself, to incorporate better habits into my day. My Fitbit was the device that got me hooked on achieving goals. My goal was 10k steps and I found if I was close I would get up and walk around the house just to get the last few steps needed to reach that goal.

Before the Fitbit  I thought of myself as ‘moderately active’. Fitbit says the reality is I am closer to sedentary. Ouch. 10k is not as easy as I thought.

What I have read lately about forming better habits says you should attach the new habit to something you already do every day. For example, you want to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. You brush your teeth everyday. (I hope, if not, this could be your first good habit to start.) Attach the new habit of exercising to brushing your teeth so that brushing your teeth acts as a trigger to exercising.

Now brushing your teeth triggers you to exercise so you add the next habit, making your bed perhaps. Brushing your teeth triggers you to exercise. Exercise triggers you to make your bed. One act, that you already do daily is the springboard to many better daily habits.

Using my calendar to measure my successes.

 

I have made a little grid in my calendar. A daily habit tracker. My list is about fifteen items long. Some examples are walked 10k steps, had no sugar, cooked dinner, stuck to food plan. At the end of the month, if I’ve been successful with most of my goals the pattern on the chart looks kind of cool.

(This is not my tracker but it is the design I am going for.)

I only started this last month in the middle of the month. I think, over all it worked well for me because the idea of an empty space was  often the inspiration I needed to get things done. Not to say there weren’t lots of blanks-there were. But really, if they were all filled in what would I aspire to this month?

I am adding a new daily habit. Meditation. Mindfulness seems peaceful to me these days. Sometimes, the non stop buzzing of thoughts in my head can be too much. Other times the thoughts are negative and can spiral down, down, down and I am hoping meditating can help control them.

I’ve got my calendar, my daily habit tracker and my pens…I’m on my way to…to do something. I have an idea. Why don’t you call me and we can set up a time to have coffee. I will put it in my calendar and we will talk about what you do to be more organized or what habits you practice on a daily basis.

Image result for call me gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squirrel Lady

After word got out that I had saved a squirrel some people referred to me as the squirrel lady. (Okay…most said CRAZY squirrel lady). Either way, my reputation as a squirrel whisperer became known across the land. With fame comes fans. Let me tell you, there are sooooo many crazy squirrel ladies and gentlemen out there. It’s nuts.

Here is the most famous  Squirrel lady. I see some similarities between her and I…but I would never sell my squirrels!!

It is illegal to keep any wild animal with fur in my state. Even as a licensed rehabber you are not to keep them more than a few months and so what I was doing was against the law. I’m a squirrel outlaw, which sounds much better than crazy squirrel lady. I think I pull off both titles.  Anyway, I looked into becoming licensed but with licensing comes many, many people calling with many, many baby squirrels in need of saving.

I wasn’t prepared for that and the thought of more than one at a time sounded nuts to me.  I decided Sheldon would be enough. Until my husband texted a photo of a baby squirrel with the words “Can you save her?” Heck yes I could! Bring her! And that is how we got Hazel. Two weeks later someone else called and we got Esther. Both of these girls are out in the wild now, Hazel still comes to the house for an early evening snack.

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Hazel was a messy eater and would not let me wipe the top of her nose after eating. This is what caused her to lose the fur on top of her nose.

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Esther had an injured front leg and back leg and other gross things.

The following spring, April 2017, we got a brother and sister. Hagar and Hilda and somewhere in there we took on a blind squirrel, Helen. Yes, Helen. She got that name from some one else and it pretty much fits. She is a red squirrel all the others have been gray.

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This is Hagar and Hilda on the ride home with me. They didn’t even have their eyes open yet.

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Helen, you can see how red her cheeks are compared to the grays.

In my two years as a secret squirrel saver (Hmmm…SSS, also a bit better than crazy squirrel lady, but I still like outlaw better.) I have saved five squirrels and made the life of a blind squirrel a little better. Our life is quite nutty.

And I’m telling you, each one has taught me a life lesson. Honestly.  I believe it all began with depression. And prayer. Please God, help me get up from this spot. And He sent squirrels. I’ve had such great experiences with all of them that I felt I needed to share the wisdom gained through squirrels.  Hence the restart of the blog, though it will not be all about squirrels. It’s just what’s on my mind these days.

My over all lesson? God has always sent help when I’ve asked. More often than not, the help does not look anything like what I expected. Here’s some advice you can take and apply to your life today. If any of you are praying for something, I think He will ultimately send you what you need, but most likely will NOT send you what you ask for specifically. Pray for squirrels. Chances are He is gonna thing that’s a nutty thing to pray for, you most likely won’t get them. And if you do? Well, who ya gonna call?

Be a little wild today…go nuts.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Conundrum

I want to draw a better picture of  what depression looks like. For me. Maybe for others. Far be it for me to think mine is textbook and everyone else’s looks like this. I am certain they are all different. But I also think some will relate to what I’m saying.

I’ve explained that it works better in secret. Somewhere in my head I know I am depressed and should be doing things, something,  to help me escape it but somewhere else in my head is the fear of what life would look like without it. And part of it is I decide in my head that the energy to come completely up for air is not worth it.

Not unlike alcoholism which also works better in secret. Somewhere in my head I knew I had a drinking problem and I loved my drinking so much that I didn’t want anyone to know how much I drank for fear that they would make me give it up. Continuing to drink was much easier than quitting, I will take the easy way.

It makes no sense, I know it doesn’t, to want to STAY depressed.

I want you to know that you have not caused this deep darkness. You have not added to my reasons for being down in the dumps . You are not on the list of things that make me sad. You are not responsible for my depression.

Just as you are not responsible for bringing me out of it. You can’t.

It’s not to say that I don’t take great joy in the company of friends. I do. I still love to laugh. I always, always feel better after spending time with friends, talking on the phone with anyone, exchanging texts.

It’s just that sometimes, when the invite comes, I think to myself, ugh…I have to look presentable. Ugh, I have to leave my sweatpants at home. Ugh, I have to put on make up. Ugh, I should probably shower, shave my legs, smell better, brush my teeth. These simple things that most people don’t even really think about doing become daunting. They feel so overwhelming that I just can’t. Just. Can’t.

Fake it ’til you make it. An often used AA saying. You fake feeling great without alcohol until eventually you do feel great. So I muster up enthusiasm for going out and I’ll be darned if I don’t feel better. I will gear up and go for a walk and guess what? I feel better. I put on make up and something other than sweatpants, and inevitably the whole day does feel better.

Depression is a conundrum. Isolation feeds it, strengthens it and I know I should avoid it, yet it is what I crave.

 

A Squirrel is Light

My gramma once caught a hummingbird.  She cupped it in her hands and brought it to me so I could see it. It was so tiny. She handled it so carefully. Once I had my fill of looking and got a quick little pet in she let it go. I have no memory of how she got it but I remember how delicate it was and how red the little spot on its throat was. Today I think about that and I realize how unbelievably lucky that catch was. A hummingbird for crying out loud!

I was very young at the time but I am pretty sure that was the point that I realized you could catch a wild thing. If Gramma could catch a hummingbird, surely I could catch a bunny. I would sit patiently holding clovers. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Being a statue. And closer, closer the bunny would come.  So close, but they always took off just before I could grab them. To have and hold a wild thing. To walk outside and have it come running to me.

A dream come true.

Enter Sheldon the squirrel. Poor little thing had been sitting under a dumpster all day calling for it’s mom. A squirrel baby crying for it’s mom is a surprisingly loud chirp. And if that mama is anywhere near, they will come a running. It’s hot out, mom’s not coming, no food all day. My heart hurts a little just thinking about it!

He made it through his first night, despite my logic telling me he would not. (See previous post on how Sheldon landed at my house.) And so I got on the internet to find out what needed to be done to save this little wild thing that had finally come my way. Making my little girl dreams come true.

I estimated his age to be about five weeks and according to the information I found on the internet  he needed to eat every four hours. Formula. With a syringe. Every four hours. So that’s what I did.

I got up as early as 3AM. I stayed up as late as 11PM. I mixed his formula (puppy formula at first, but later, in the underground squirrel network, I discovered a source for formula made for baby squirrels–I know! I couldn’t believe it either). I heated the formula, I tested a drop on my wrist, I kept it warm for the whole feeding, I washed his face thoroughly when done and…I stimulated so he would eliminate…

Yes. Baby squirrels can’t ‘go’ without a little help. So I helped. The best indication of a healthy squirrel is urination and pooping. All the ‘experienced squirrel savers’ on the web knew what healthy squirrel poo poo looked like.  Color, consistency and frequency. It started out dark (mom’s milk) and turned a golden yellow (formula) it needed to be a little pellet, not runny. I learned what to do if there was none, what to do if there was too much.

Why am I telling you so much about squirrel poo poo? Because prior to the saving of Sheldon I had no desire to do anything. I went to bed early. I rarely cooked. Sometimes I didn’t shower. Some days I even skipped brushing my teeth. I wore sweatpants or pajamas all day long. I ate bags and bags of Oreo cookies. I didn’t leave the house unless I had to. Truthfully, I knew that I wasn’t in a good spot and I knew what healthy looked like so just when someone (my husband) might notice that I hadn’t been practicing healthy habits I would rally and do enough to make me look like I was normal, like there was no depression, like I was a happy girl.

Because this depression was mine. As sick as it sounds, as much as I needed to escape it, I didn’t want it to be discovered. I didn’t want anyone calling me out. Telling me I needed to let it go. Pointing out flaws. Depression thrives in secret. Depression is a powerful lover. Depression is possessive. It wants you alone all the time so it can court you. And despite its mistreatment of you, you want it to stay. Because it’s what you know.

This little squirrel needed me. He needed me at a time that I didn’t feel needed. I am telling you that I had been praying for motivation. Pleading that ‘something’ would come into my life that would make me want to take part in the world again. I did not know that Sheldon was that something, but he was. Now I got out of bed. I took care of him. And I started taking care of me. I didn’t want Bob to think that my lack of self care, house care, home care, was because I was spending too much time with the squirrel.  Instead of protecting the depression, I was now protecting the squirrel.

Above all else, I didn’t want him to make me give up the squirrel. Because to lose the light would mean going back to darkness.

**To cover my butt I must say that all rehabbers encouraged me to find a licensed rehabber to take care of Sheldon. Keeping a squirrel is against the law.

 

The Best Advice You Will Get Today

I have impeccable timing for getting to the post office. The line is almost always out the door. Being a bit of a procrastinator I usually have no choice but to go in and wait because whatever it is that I need to mail really should have been mailed the day before. Fortunately there is the self serve center just inside the door and normally I can get all my business done there and avoid the long line. Today I was mailing something as registered mail and had to go inside.

I  had no other errand on my list today and so it did not phase me too much to have to stand in line behind five other people.  I think it goes without saying that there was only one counter person waiting on the six of us.

Lady number one had two packages all clearly labelled that contained no flammables, bombs, alcohol, live animals or living plants so she was in and out. You could hear the collective sigh through the line when the counter person asked her if she needed any additional stamps and she answered no.

Next lady up. She had questions. She looked to be around fifty and quite frankly I can’t believe there would be questions she could have. It’s the post office. I know she’s been here before. She wasn’t prepared? What could she be asking?  Which corner does the stamp go on? The crowd is restless and twittering with annoyance at her questions and five additional people are now in line.

As our mail guy is tallying up her order he asks her if she needs any stamps.  And she does. But-get this—she wants to see her choices. So the counter guy pulls out a book, a book of choices and starts flipping through the pages. “I have forever stamps, I have flowers, I have astronauts, I have wild animals, I have fruit. ” She interrupts, “Can I see the flowers again?” A groan goes up through the crowd. She chooses her stamps and now she starts in with small talk about how busy it is. The counter guy (whose name is Malek) responds with “Yes, Monday’s are always busier than the other days of the week but for some reason my supervisor has them all working in back.” Malek has just thrown his supervisor under the bus…or the mail truck.

She finally leaves and while persons three and four get their stuff taken care of I start listening to the old couple who are number eight. She has been chatting to number seven and I hear her say, “Him? No, he’s not my husband, he’s my boyfriend and I only date him because he has all his teeth and can drive at night.” Number seven looks at me and we are both biting our lips so we don’t laugh. I think perhaps she also dates him because he is hard of hearing as this comment did nothing to remove the smile from his face as he stood gallantly holding her package. And his car keys. Despite the shaking hands. And cane.

At this point I hear Malek call in for back up over the loud speaker. “Tom Schneider to the window please, Tom, to the window please. Supervisor Tom to the window please.” Malek just offered a sacrificial lamb to the ever growing line of people who are a bit peeved at the lack of help behind the counter and they cannot wait to give Tom the supervisor a piece of their mind.

Now it’s my turn. I realize I don’t have an envelope and I tell the guy, I don’t have an envelope and behind me I can hear the old lady say, “She doesn’t even have an envelope.” Her hearing seems to be fine. I continue with my need to send it registered mail and he shows me the form, tells me how to fill it out, directs me to the envelopes on the wall that are for purchase and says I can fill the stuff out at the next window (or even the next window because all the windows are available for my use).

I complete my paperwork just as number seven pays for his order and give a nod to Malek to let him know I am ready. At this point I hear the old guy say “Step up.” His lovely girlfriend says “Oh no, she’s next, she’s got her envelope now and she’s going next.” Emphasis was placed on ‘she’ each time.

I return to Malek, confessing that I stole his pen but was returning it, to which he smiled. I also tell him how patient he is with all these people, being the only one up here and having a boss that ignores his call for help.  Now he likes me. He presses the seal on my envelope. Asks me several times if I want insurance. Presses the seal again. Gets an additional piece of tape to secure my envelope-much to the dismay of number eight as I hear her say “Oh, she’s got a lot. Look, now he has to go back and get tape for her. She should have brought an envelope.”

The whole time the line just keeps getting longer. But my guy Malek is as unhurried and unruffled as can be. People are grumbling and still there is no Tom the supervisor.

And now here is my advice that will save you agony and pain but not time.

1. There is no such thing as a quick trip to the post office. Let me say it again, there is NO such thing as a quick trip to the post office.

2. There is never going to be more than one person behind the counter.

3. Christmas is coming. They will not add more staff. It will just take twice as long to get anything mailed out. I’m telling you this well in advance. There should be no surprises when you get to the post office on December 23rd to mail twelve packages to family members that must be there TOMORROW and there are fifty people already in line and yes, there will be only one counter person. Bring a Starbucks. Perhaps a fold up chair. And a book.

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

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