Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Times, They Are A-Changing

So it has been about four weeks since my last dose. The first week was really bad, even after tapering off. I don't know how many times I thought, geez, maybe staying on the drug wouldn't be that bad.

But I kept pushing myself to get past the side effects of withdrawal. The drug has a really long half-life in the system -- it took every bit of that week and the next two for it to really subside. Occassionally, I still get the wierd tingly, but I can definitely deal.

On the emotions front, those first weeks were dicey. My emotions were all over the place. It didn't help that work was so busy then too, necessitating 9 and 10 hour days. It got to where one new task landing on my desk nearly sent me into tears. (And I can't stand women who do that.) I had to really fight myself to keep my voice and outside attitude from reflecting the mess that was my head.

And no one warns you about the brain drain. I mean my brain just turned to mush one day, and I've been fighting ever since to get it back. I always close my day with the Nintendo DS and a few Sudoku puzzles to calm down and transition into sleep. (Wierd, I know. But it works for me.) And one day I just noticed that my brain couldn't do it. It was like it was wrapped in a layer of cotton batting -- the input had to fight through the cobwebs to get in and be recognized, and the output had to fight its way into the world.

It's coming back slowly. My brain, I mean. I still find myself with short-term memory issues, and I really don't remember much of the those first two weeks without the drug.

But you know what? I can be happy now without the meds. Oh, it turns out I need a lot more work on my coping mechanisms, but I can recognize what I'm feeling, why I'm feeling it, and can feel the need to change. That's all I wanted.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Medication is a wonderful thing. But too much medicine not only costs a lot of money, it can also make us placid.

With mind-bending meds, you want just enough medicine in your system to keep you off the bridge railings, but not so much meds that you don't have incentive to change. Too much medication makes you content with the status quo. You're just all right - not too happy, not too sad. It doesn't matter if you lose weight or exercise, because it doesn't really make a difference. It doesn't matter if you go to a party at the neighbors, because you don't need to meet new people and make new friends - you'll still feel the same tomorrow.

Well, it's time to end the status quo. Between my pocketbook and the lack of measurable progress these last few years, it is time for me to stop being content. So, I'm going off my meds.

Oh, not all at once. Nope; the meds I'm on don't like it when you try to quit them. The side effects kick in - brain "shivers" (the wierd tingly sensation in your head), disconnection, etc., etc., etc. - when you don't take your daily dose. I'm about half way through a slow tapering off. And it is going surprisingly well - proof that it really is the right time.

Yes, the events of this month - the neighbors, the health problems - did set me back. But for every day of light, there must be night, and darkness. True depression, desperate depression, scuttles back from any hint of light, believing all is hopeless. I, for the first time in years, saw the light of dawn, and embraced it.

Oh, I know there will be setbacks along the way. Light can't be without dark. Contrast is the natural enemy of status quo. But maybe, just maybe, I've learned enough to wait out those stormy nights and hold out hope for the brilliant light of dawn.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Is redemption ever truly possible? How far can we fall and God still lift us up? 

How do we measure atonement? In years in prison, or dollars of restitution? 

All the advances of science owing to testing on "lesser races" or the "mentally inferior" - do we throw them aside as bites of the poisoned apple? If a doctor discovered a cure for AIDS, but only as the result of a study that infected hundreds of unknowing subjects, is he a saviour or a sinner? By curing them, does he ultimately obtain absolution? 

What of the frustrated boy, saddled too young with the responsibilities of man, who kills a baby? Is his redemption possible? Is atonement achieved by years of jail or is something more required? 

And what of us, those who stood by and did nothing? Can we be redeemed, or is too late?  

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blind Faith

What are the biggest moments of our life? Birth, marriage, death. 

When we are born, our family, our community, gathers to bear witness - to the parents' promise to raise a child of faith, to a child's promise to abide by that faith. 

When we are married, we again invite families and communities to bear witness to our lovers' declarations of love everlasting. 

And in death, it is our final duty as witnesses to give testimony, to bestow "life everlasting". 

So what is the most sacred duty of our faith? To stand witness. Not just to passively observe, but to actively witness, and testify. To remind our larger communities of the promises they made before God and man. 

But, when He asked me to bear witness, I closed my windows and my blinds, and tried not to hear. If I could not see, then I could not know. In being blind, I broke faith with God.  

"Our Father, who art in Heaven, 
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy Kingdom come, 
Thy Will be done, 
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
And give us this day, our daily bread, 
And forgive us our trespasses, 
As we forgive those who trespass against us, 
And lead us not into Temptation, 
But deliver us from Evil."

I understand now. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Abyss, Again

You never really notice the climb when you're on the way down. Sure, some days you may look up and see that the sun doesn't look as bright that day, but you attribute it to the weather, and not your perspective on it. You may realize you've gone days without connecting to another person, but you chalk it up to their busy lives, and not the fact that few climb willingly into the dark, cold abyss. 

At first it feels good. The mists are cool and welcoming, there is no sun to hurt your eyes, no noise to pierce your ears. There are no people around, so there aren't any expectations. You can sleep all day and do nothing. The chores can pile up around you and no one will care. 

But one day, you notice that every gesture seems slow, heavy, deliberate. You look down and see that your protective layer is made of ice, and suddenly, you feel the cold. 

You panic. You start to notice your surroundings. The steep cliffs of granite, cold and unyielding, looming above you in every direction. The pale cold light barely peeking beyond. The ice makes everything slippery and every movement difficult. With no one around, there is no one to hear your cries. 

Despair becomes real. Hopelessness sets in. And you begin to question the fight.  

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's Time

I've been stuck for a while now, trying to find a way forward that would still leave me whole. I tried to take stock, but all I could see was this mass of old hurts and the laundry list of my lackings. 

Surely in all these negatives, there had to be some positives? 

And this last weekend, I discovered them. I met with this fabulous group of women that I look up to and admire. And I was accepted and liked and yes, loved. And I accepted and liked and gave love. These smart, funny, capable women told me I am strong, and witty, and wise. 

And if they think it is so, then surely it has to be true. And truth is ever true; it cannot be unmade by time or will. 

So, I cannot change the truth of what was: my past made me who I am today, everything these women see in me and more. 

I cannot change what is; we are who we are today. 

I can change what will be. Instead of clinging to the shadows in the ruins left from my past, I can move out into the sunlight, to see and accept the gifts the past has left me. 

It is time to move on.

It is time to let go. 

It is time to forgive. 

Monday, March 03, 2008

Off Topic

Okay, so there is a news story out there today that just maddens me.

Basically, the Earth Liberation Front is suspected in the firebombing of Seattle's Street of Dreams. The Street of Dreams was apparently advertised as being more "green", or environmentally-friendly, than in past years. They used recycled materials, reduced run-off by creating permeable hardscapes, etc. The ELF saboteurs apparently felt that the community as a whole wasn't green enough, because of its placement outside the urban area. (More resources required to bring materials and services to the site, destruction of "wild" areas, etc.)

To me, the (alleged) ELF terrorism cuts to the heart of why so many get turned off by the environmental movement: the refusal to see the world as anything but black and white.

Now, personally, I think a 4,000 square foot home is overkill, unless you're planning to take in indigent widows and orphans. I agree with the idea that most homes have become storage lockers, necessary to our everyday pursuit of more and better stuff. (How many of us actually use our garages for parking cars anymore? The junk drawer has grown to become the junk room - where used-up furniture and broken electronics go to gather dust.)

But what if you entertain frequently, for business and personal reasons? You'd need a bigger kitchen to accomodate the food prep, regardless of whether you cook or leave it to professionals. You'd also need extra bedrooms to accomodate the overnighters, or just guests who've had one to many.

And what if you need room for the elderly parents when they can't live on their own anymore? If they, or you, aren't comfortable with institutional care, you'd want them at home. And you'd probably want to give them their own space so they can feel somewhat independent. If they're in worse shape, you might even need room for a caregiver or nursing aide.

These are perfectly reasonable reasons for needing a larger home. And they're just the ones I thought of in the space of five minutes. I'm sure there are more.

So you can't just make a blanket statement that big houses are bad. Especially when you consider possible offsets.

(Now, what do I mean by offset? Well, I don't live near where I work. But, I do what I can to reduce the impact of all that mileage. I bought a smaller, more fuel-efficient car classified as a low emissions vehicle. When I need to make short errand runs near the office, I check out the public transit options. And I "lump" my trips together - picking up groceries and odds and ends on my way to or from the office. These are offsets.)

The Street of Dreams builders made offsets. They knew that larger homes would equal greater run-off (from water impermeable surfaces like roofs and driveways), so they landscaped (and hardscaped) the property to create better "natural" drainage. They used more efficient heating and cooling systems and Energy Star appliances.

The builders might even have used more earth-friendly design features like wood flooring and cabinets built from certified sustainable harvested woods, marmoleum floors, or PaperStone countertops.

Where do these radical "environmentalists" account for these offsets in their black and white view of the world?

What about the homes' future owners? What about the big software executive who telecommutes, cutting down on his car trips? The owner who hosts parties and shuttles or carpools his guests in from the city? The owner who composts, and has their own organic "kitchen garden"?

Who decides how many offsets we have to have before we can call ourselves green?

Will I be exposed as an earth-killer because I don't live near where I work? Will someone paint "warmonger" on the side of my neighbor's gas-guzzling work van?

The only way to save this Earth for future generations is to work together. To listen to one another and find compromises we can all live with. If I'm too scared of being attacked for my practices, I can't share my point of view. And if I'm not sharing, we can't find a solution.

It is time to take back our cause from the extreme. Lets all promise to listen, and consider, and work together. We can all start with just one thing...