Wednesday, June 30, 2010

That Joyous Medication Ritual…

“Let’s sit outside on the porch and listen to the thunder,” dad said excitedly a moment ago. “I do hope we get some rain.  I am tired of watering the lawn everyday.  It is costing me a fortune in water bills.”

Dad placed two folding chairs on the porch and sat down beckoning for me to join him.  He was smiling – looking content.  I love it when he is like this.  I shouldn’t let others dictate my moods, but dad’s peacefulness and contentment was contagious.  I don’t think he realizes what a strong effect he can have on me.

“Oh, how I love a day off,” he said as he turned to me and smiled all the ever more. “I am getting too old to work all the time. I think I will retire soon and sell the store.  I don’t think I would ever get bored retired.  I would love it.  There is always something around the house or yard that needs doing.”

Dad and I are both weather obsessed and listened intently at the thunder in the distance.  I am glad dad and I have something in common for which we love as it always gives us something to talk about when the weather is active.  Sometimes, I can feel awkward around my father when the weather is mild.  We have little to discuss.  I am just socially inept.  You would think a father and son would always have something to talk about.

I took my medications and put my extra Klonopin in my pocket.  Dad handed me a diet Coke to wash them down.  He was drinking a glass of iced sweet tea wrapped in paper towel to absorb the sweat from the humidity.  I was excited to get my medications so early as it would make for a pleasant rest of the day.  I hate waiting until ten every night for them. 

“How is my royalty today?” dad asked smiling vigorously.

“Don’t call me that,” I replied good heartedly aggravated.

I always feel dad is mocking my social anxieties when he does this. 

“Well, are you receiving?  Are you having guests?”

“Nobody comes to see me,” I replied. “I am a social pariah.”

“You and your mother are royalty,” dad said chuckling loving this moment of good hearted jest.  “Your mother is not receiving today either.  She is in the bed.”

“Mom is always in the bed,” I replied scoffing, but it was the truth.  Her Zyprexa keeps her sleepy and complacent. 

It began to lightning vibrantly and dangerously chasing us off the porch.  A good storm was blowing up.  Dad escaped to the inside always scared of dangerous weather and I hurried home to get inside before the storm hit.  Now, it is raining softly and the thunder and lightning have subsided.  It is nice.  This is turning out to be a grand day. 

The Pig…

The trains just weren’t running today.  I saw only two long freight trains and one short local in the two hours of sitting on my favored bench behind the bank. I sat reading my Model Railroaders and smoking.   I did get to see an old dilapidated GP-38-2 from the seventies pick up a string of pulpwood cars in the wood yard. That excited me as the GP-38-2 is my all time favorite diesel locomotive.  Disappointed, I finally walked up to the Piggly Wiggly which is just up the street.  I parked on a bench, ate some cheese and wheat crackers, and began people watching.  There was an interesting little altercation when the police were called when a man had been found to be stuffing steaks down his pants.  I couldn't help but laugh and feel sorry for the young Hispanic man at the same time.  He must’ve really wanted a barbeque bad.  I can distinctly remember the look on his face as he stood a few feet from me handcuffed.  A look of being lost and bewildered. He feigned that he couldn’t speak English as the police officers questioned him.  There is always something interesting happening at the Piggly Wiggly.  It is in a high crime area. 

This morning reminded me of all the times George and I would sit out in front of the Piggly Wiggly drinking beer years ago.  Slop would be panhandling and Ferret would be up to his usual drunken antics.  Cap w/Tag Guy would be standing outside selling crack mute as always.  Clara would usually show up midday after drinking all night and sleeping behind the dollar store in her little nest of dirty blankets.  She would beg me for a few dollars so she could go inside and buy another bottle of cheap wine.  Sometimes, she would feel generous and pass the bottle around to us as we would take drinks of that acrid swill that is Wild Irish Rose.  George always called it cough syrup, but that didn’t stop him from drinking it.  Occasionally, they would chase us off saying we were loitering – the manager blustering obscenities at us calling us vagrants. I lived like a homeless person then, except I had a home.  Old habits die hard as they say.

I just called dad and asked for my medications early.  He said he would call me when he got home.  He was at Ponder’s nursery picking out new plants to line the edge of the fence in the backyard.  My father’s busyness astounds me.  He is twice my age and I couldn’t do half of what he does.  I would be lazily at home on my day off after working for days.   His days off are spent cleaning and improving the house and yard.

Dad and family are going to D.C for the 4th.  It is my sister-in-law’s birthday as well.  Dad told me last night he wished I was going and it shocked me.  Usually, they don’t want me to go as I can be hassle medication issues and all.  I have to take extra medications to make it through the airport and all that travel.  Dad will laugh and say they have to dope me up for the trip.

Late Night Journeys…

I am slowly growing acclimated to staying up all night and sleeping in the afternoons. It has been a slow and gradual process as I still grow very sleepy in the evenings after taking my medications.  The urge to go to bed after dad leaves is very, very strong.  That 2mg of Klonopin no doubt the culprit as it can be such a sedative.  I love being a night owl though – a creature of the night.  I have missed this lifestyle so much loving the dark of the evenings and the quiet calm it imparts.  The world is asleep and I am up and about exploring the town and my little environment around me.  I feel this is the only way I can deal with that anxiety that haunts me every afternoon.  It is helping I believe.  As I’ve said before, early mornings are always bliss for me mentally.  I feel so well from about 8pm to noon the next day.  My unorthodox lifestyle allows me to do this. 

I drove over to get my diet Cokes around 1am. There were a lot of people out and about walking the streets tonight. My fellow night owls.  Mom had a care package of another little note of encouragement, toilet paper, paper towels, cigarettes, cigar lighters, and Maggie’s heartworm and flea medications on the porch.  I stuck the Cokes in the freezer to get cold when I arrived home.  I then shoved them in my backpack and set out for a walk down to the park in front of that dilapidated cotton mill as I listened to my little Sony weather band radio.  Tonight on Coast to Coast AM they were talking about space and the cosmos. They also had Major Ed Dames on for the last hour.  A remote viewer which makes me laugh as he never predicts anything concrete. He just waffles around the questions asked by the host.  It was an interesting show. More along the lines of which I like best.  Not all that fantastical end of the world 2012 and government conspiracy stuff.  I sat in the park drinking my ice cold diet Cokes smoking cigarette after cigarette as the katydids sang over the din of my radio. It was a moment of Zen.  I felt all was right in my world.  I was imbibing in all the things I love about life these days.

For some reason, I am finding myself unable just to sit at home content as I normally would be.  I usually tend to be agoraphobic – afraid to leave the house for fears of an anxiety attack.  I want to be out of the house finding my usual routines of months boring. Driving makes me nervous so I find myself walking everywhere I go.  I have this strong feeling of wanderlust – this strong urge to be out of doors and exploring.   It reminds me of my mother when she has trouble with her mental illness.  She will sit in the backyard in the swing until dad gets home from work saying she can’t go inside alone – that the walls are closing in around her.  I have walked more in the past few days than I have in months and my legs are sore to show for it.  Maybe the exercise is good for me – the release of endorphins that improve my usual dour moods. 

There was a previously unknown to me dollar in change in my backpack this morning.  I was exuberantly surprised.  On the way home early this morning after listening to my radio show, I stopped by the convenience store and bought a candy bar.  The sugar rush was pretty awesome as I walked home past the poor neighborhoods the line the street up from the convenience store. It was either that or a .99 cent can of Steel Reserve lager.  I felt laden with energy.  I felt strangely empowered.   I am finding myself laughing giddily in my own little world a lot these days.  A more gentle sign of my mental illness.  There is a mentally ill man who works in the hardware store next to dad’s pharmacy and he will laugh like this for no apparent reason. He is always grinning lost in his mental illness.   I feel a kinship with him these days as I know what he feels.  Laughter is good for the soul even if it is mentally ill induced.  I have these strong moments of laughter and excitement that are intoxicating they feel so good.  Dad would call these manic bipolar phases. 

I am not far from soon setting out for a morning of watching trains.  I have to stay up until 12pm and then I will come home and go to bed for the day – sleeping the afternoon away.  I wonder what strange creatures I will see on the tracks today?  I love people watching.   I will live vicariously as the patrons of Kroger walk by with their plastic sacks of groceries and twelve packs of beer – wondering what their lives are like. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another Night Owl Evening…

Dad left at ten after our medication ritual and Maggie’s food ritual.  He was kind of quiet tonight, but I didn’t take it personally.  “Tuesday’s are my hell day,” he said sitting on the couch as we watched the tail end of Hawthorne.  For years, we watched The Weather Channel during the medication ritual as dad waited for my medications to take effect.  The Weather Channel has fallen out of favor as far as our routines go.  We have both grown disgusted with their gross hyperbole and over-sensationalization of minor weather events.  I call it the death and destruction channel these days as they love to sensationalize disaster. Long gone are the days when meteorologists would report the weather in a sensible manner. And who in the hell wants to wake up with Al Roker?

“You have good taste in television,” dad told me complimenting me tonight. “You find interesting shows to watch.”

I took Maggie for a long walk through our neighborhood after dad left – grinning as I walked as I felt so calm and relaxed from my medications.  My limbs feeling like Jell-O.  My mind a serene marvel.  Maggie was just thrilled to death to go on this little late evening journey.  We walked all the way down to the elementary school and back taking the back roads to avoid the traffic on the main street that runs by my house.  I reveled in the katydids singing in earnest tonight – a signature sound of a Southern night.  It reminded me of all the times I would sit on my grandmother’s porch as the katydids sang before bed drinking iced sweet tea.  We would try to spot out of town license plates on busy highway 280 as a game as we talked about the day behind us. Dad’s mother was a very special lady who took life at her own special pace.  I still think my life would have turned out vastly different if she had lived longer and I lived with her on her farm in my late adolescence. 

I am about to sleep for two hours and then wake up so I can listen to tonight’s Coast to Coast AM.  I wonder what crazy shit they will talk about tonight?  God, I love that show.  It is so over the top and entertaining.  I am listening to last night’s show again right now.  They are discussing alien agendas and end of the world scenarios at the moment.  You should see the grin on my freshly shaven face. 

No $10 Dollars for You!

“Where did you get ten dollars?” my mother asked me as I handed her a check this afternoon on her grocery run.

She was sitting in her car with an astonished and worried look on her face.   She looked at the check in her hands and then looked back at me

“Nielsen called me and I took a television viewing habit survey.  They paid me and mailed me a check,” I replied.  “I just don’t want the temptation so I am giving it to you.”

“Thank you,” mom said with a sigh of relief. “Thank you for being so honest about it.  You know you can’t have money.  Your father would die if he knew.  It would worry him to death that you’ve found a new way to make money.”

I smiled.  I was just glad to get rid of the money.  It had been driving me crazy all day since I got that check in the mail this morning. It sucks having an honest streak sometimes.  I could’ve gotten really, really drunk tonight. 

“Tell dad to let it pay for my camera part,” I told her as a compromise.

She said she would and I began to unload all my groceries from her opened trunk.  Mom must’ve felt frisky today as she got me some interesting foods.  She got me the largest jar of Kroger peanut butter I have ever seen. She said they were on sale for six dollars.  There was also two bunches of bananas – something I love and haven’t gotten in months.  The thoughts of peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch made my stomach protest in eagerness.  I was just so starving by the time mom arrived.   Men just can’t subsist on toasted mayonnaise sandwiches alone.  Mom also got me a large extremely varied selection of Lean Cuisine Asian meals just like I had asked for when I called her earlier.  It was nice to have some more variation in my diet this week.  I had grown tired of the usual Marie Callender meals mom gets me.  You can only eat so much cheesy chicken and rice.

George stirs us all up… 

Mrs. Florene called me this afternoon.  She was frantic with worry.

“Did you get a depressing letter from George today?” she asked.

“It was pretty bad.” I replied with worry as well.

“He sounded pitiful in the letter he wrote me!”

I told Florene how much I’ve missed him.  George was my social life and my entertainment.  He was always busy with something and he always included me.  He might have had a ton of problems, but he was a good guy – a very good friend.   A friend that didn’t take no for an answer and got this hermit out of the house.

How are you feeling?

I’ve felt much better today than yesterday.  The anxiety only lasted for three hours around lunch then subsided.  I am hoping this is a sign that things will only get better with every passing day.  

Maggie’s brought me a ton of joy today.  She’s slept for most of the day by my Lazy Boy on the couch.  It has been comforting to look over to see her sleeping so peacefully.   It had this calming effect on me that is hard to describe.  She can make sleeping look so damned good!

The Tracks as a Central Nexus…

The railroad tracks near my home run behind Kroger and several poor neighborhoods.  They are often used as a thoroughfare to between these neighborhoods and the grocery store.  A trail of sorts.  Often, I will see poor people walking the tracks carrying a twelve pack of beer from the grocery store on their way home including me as one of the poor souls this morning sans beer.  This morning was no different.  I sat on my bench around eight watching trains as one fellow walked down the side of the tracks.  I immediately put out my cigarette putting my pack in my pocket as they always ask for one and it is an awkward social moment for me. I am not exactly exuding cigarettes these days.   I was wrong today when the man reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette and lit up as he walked by.  Whew!   He didn’t ask.  Sometimes, you just can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

I studied the man closely as he passed. His face looked pitted and scarred from years of sun.   He was sloppily dressed in a tattered button up shirt and dirty pants. He had on a green John Deere cap that clashed with his clothes.  On his feet, were some very cheap generic looking tennis shoes.   In his hand was a twelve pack of very cheap ice beer.  This screamed alcoholic. I was tempted to ask for one in one of my alcoholic moments.  He was headed for downtown and I wondered where he was going.  The bridge across the Chattahoochee was near so he must’ve been headed for a neighborhood in West Point across the river.  He was probably going to settle in for a morning of drinking beer and either listening to music or watching TV.  I’ve done it many times in my life in similar circumstances.   

I left the tracks after watching several trains and walked the long walk up to Kroger.  I wandered the store growing hungry at all the food. I was starving and a glutton for punishment today.   Mom would be here around lunch with my groceries.  I was making a mental list of things mom could buy for me.  I was going to call her when I got home.  I was especially interested in the frozen Chinese food.  That sounded and seemed so wonderful to me.  Ah, orange chicken!  I also checked out this weeks Blu-Ray disc offerings.  Not much interested me.  Movies are terrible these days catering to the lowest common denominator.

It was about 10am when I left Kroger and headed for home.  I took a shortcut through the mill village ever aware of my whiteness in a black neighborhood.  Elderly people sitting on their porches watched me warily as I walked by through their streets..  Poverty surrounded me.  This neighborhood used to be so nice decades ago when the cotton mills were still running.  Now, there are no jobs and the  poverty is pervasive and systemic.  These people are just scraping by and the vagaries of yard care and house upkeep fall to the wayside.  

I arrived home to a big greeting by Maggie in the fence.  “Where have you been?” she seemed to be saying. “I’ve been lonely without you.”  I checked the mail and there was another letter from George.  This has gotten to be almost a daily occurrence on the weekdays.  I opened the letter and began to read as I stood in the yard when I was accosted by a man walking down the street with a clipboard.  He was a extremely nice looking young man – very athletic. He was selling home security systems. 

“Do you own your home?” he asked.

“My father does and he is not here right now,” I replied.

The young man thanked me for my time and headed across the street to my neighbor’s house despite the ADT security sign in their front yard.  I sighed in relief at the short amount of time it took for that social interaction.  I hate being solicited. 

“I miss momma’s cooking,” George started his letter with.  “My cellmate is a goober.  He talks all the time and never shuts up.  I just want to come home.  I am sick and tired of this place.  My only joy is playing basketball in the recreation yard.  I could die for a cigar.”

I felt so sorry for George and it made me thankful for my freedom.  I should be in jail as well with all the DUIs I got over the years. Dad would always get me off by calling the judge or hiring a good lawyer, though.  George didn’t have that luxury. 

The Trials of Life, Alcoholism, and Mental Illness…

I can remember back in the early nineties when I was first diagnosed as schizophrenic.  I was strangely elated.  Most people would cry in horror at being diagnosed with such a devastating disease of the brain.   We now knew what was wrong with me – the strangeness with what I had struggled with since I was a child.  The paranoia.  The delusions.  There was the hope for help with a solid diagnosis.  I had answers and not some nebulous accusation of lack of character or laziness for the cause of my problems.  Medication after medication was tried with little absolution to my problems, though.  It was a time before the atypical antipsychotics were discovered or were still in clinical trials.  I grew depressed and drank heavier and heavier – my hopes dashed.  Beer my soothing mistress for my mental illness addled brain.  My father says it wasn’t until we tried Zyprexa years later that I had a breakthrough – the drug that had so helped my mother’s schizophrenia.  I was able to work a stressful prestigious job and I got married.  There were terrible side effects though.  I couldn’t wait to get home from work to get in the bed and sleep until the next day.  Bed was bliss.  Bed was an escape.  I was constantly sleepy and morose.  I didn’t realize it then, but I was terribly, terribly depressed.  Next, we tried Risperdal.  The side effects went away.  The depression lifted, but I began to drink heavier.  The Risperdal was more conducive to this and didn’t interfere with my drinking like the Zyprexa did.  I wasn’t sleeping all the time.  My marriage then fell apart.  I lost my job.  My then wife just couldn’t take the chaos that was my alcoholism.  I ended up homeless losing everything in the divorce – signing everything over to Rachel in a fit of drunkenness in a lawyer’s office.  Homelessness was a disastrous time of constant drinking and severe cold.  I lived in a tent in the woods like some modern day alcoholic Thoreau.  I drank so much I couldn’t afford an apartment.  Drinking was paramount then. I would go days without eating because it would interfere with the amount of beer I could drink.

I tried everything to quit drinking once my mother convinced my father to let me live in my late grandmother’s house next to theirs. There were conditions to me gaining a home and that was to straighten up and get sober.   I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.   I went through detox countless times often driving hundreds of miles to hospitals for which Medicare would pay.   I tried AA and would go a few times, but would end up drunk a few days later.  I looked terrible.  I weighed almost 300 pounds from drinking thousands of calories of beer per day.  My eyes looked yellowish and dim and often red shot.  There were black circles under my eyes.  I will never forget pacing the floor of my den as I drank my seventeenth beer of the night realizing I was going to die soon if I didn’t do something drastic to quit.  I had to get serious.

It was about this time that dad decided he had to do something drastic or his oldest son was going to die from alcoholism.  He got power of attorney over me and took over my Social Security disability account.  The money was cut off and we went through a tumultuous time of severe withdrawal.  Dad and I fought like cats and dogs.  Nights would be spent screaming accusations at each other as I would plead with him for a drink.   I would do anything to get drunk.  I was inescapably addicted.  It was then that I discovered mouthwash.   I read an online article about a man named Listerine Gene who would get drunk drinking his namesake.  Mouthwash was only a $1.09 a bottle at Fred’s dollar store and it would get you just as drunk as whiskey or beer.  It was terrible to drink, but the urge to get drunk overrode any inhibitions about the nasty taste.  I would somehow manage to scrounge up a dollar a day to get drunk. Dad was at his wit’s end with me. 

The chemical harshness of the mouthwash was what saved me.  I could no longer drink it.  I would take a drink and throw up violently – my stomach protesting. My sister warned me that I would soon develop pancreatitis.  I went into an ever deeper depression when I realized I could no longer drink.  I had exhausted all options.  I had no money.  I couldn’t work with my mental illness.  I finally got sobered up, but it was a shaky stasis.  My father had finally won the battle with which he had fought with a bulldog like tenacity.  He never gave up on me despite all I put him through.  I was going to live and possibly sober for a change.    

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spirits Lifted…

I heard the familiar honk of mom’s horn as I sat in the den a moment ago.  My spirits were immediately lifted.  I was so hungry for something other than mayonnaise sandwiches and the cokes would be a treat for later in the day when the anxiety subsided.  Maggie came tearing inside the house barking and whining furiously.  Mom said she could hear her out at the car from inside the house.

“Why don’t you get out and see Maggie?” I asked mom after walking out to the car. “She would love to see you.”

“Oh, I better stay in the car,” mom replied. “I don’t feel like walking that far.”

I couldn’t help but smile.  Mom and I are strange creatures.  We have our routines and it sends us into a tailspin when they are deviated upon. Mom was content to carry on our usual routine of the drop off. 

“How are you feeling?” mom asked as she usually does.

“I’ve had better days, but I feel better now,” I told her. “I am so hungry for a hamburger.”

Mom smiled and handed me the sack and told me to get my cokes off the backseat.  I watched as she drove away and I walked back inside.  It is going to be a better day.  I can just feel it.  It is these little joys that can so make life worth living.  

Midday Report…

I went to bed early this morning at 7am and awoke at 1pm and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I was so, so disappointed.  I walked into the den and started up a Coast to Coast AM show from last year and then put some bread in the toaster for lunch. I so wanted to sleep the day away, but to no avail.  Once I am up, I am up.  Maybe I will take a long nap later. I do hope so.  I wish I was like Maggie and could sleep on a whim.   Maggie’s on the bed enjoying the cool air from the fan on the floor.  It is eighty degrees in here – just like I like it.  I was hoping to sleep through that tough period I experience from around lunch till 7pm.  Sometimes you just don’t win the prize or bring home the bacon.

I can feel that anxiety creeping in despite taking my Klonopin after awaking.  I let the Klonopin dissolve in my mouth for a faster effect and crossed my fingers hoping for the best.  I could’ve used two or three today.  It is so disconcerting.  It scares me to death.  I am so afraid I am going to have one of my extreme, excruciating anxiety attacks.    The whole deal just exacerbates upon itself.  I feel so out of sorts.  It is like this extreme knot in the pit of my stomach.  I am hoping it will ease up later in the day as the day progresses like it normally does.  It makes it hard to take satisfaction out of my usual and normal routines of the day. I can’t get situated or comfortable.  I thought writing about it may help so excuse my whining.  Why couldn’t I sleep all day???   I am so sorry for whining and complaining.  I want to regale you all in good, positive tales.  Not tales of woe.  Things really are better when compared to a few weeks ago – the anxiety not near as extreme.  I just don’t know what to do and feel better writing about it.  My blog is like therapy for me. 

Mom brings fast food and cokes this afternoon.  It will be around 5pm when she arrives. She will blow her horn never getting out of the car and I will walk out to get the food and drinks.  Maggie and I both look forward to that. It will break up the monotony of the day and I am hungry.   I am out of groceries again – mom is just not buying me enough for me to get by on and I am doing so well on the bulimia front so I know I am not wasting food. I haven’t gained weight so I know I am not eating too much.   Grocery day is tomorrow and I will have to get by on toasted mayonnaise sandwiches.  That is all I have – mayonnaise and a loaf of bread.  This being without money really, really sucks sometimes.  I have four grocery stores in town and no way whatsoever to buy any food when I need it.  In a softer, gentler world, I would flip burgers down at a fast food joint.  Collect my paycheck every two weeks.  Be independent and go about my life in a normal, more mainstream manner.  Extended sanity would be the key to living this way. 

Positive Thought for the Day…

I have to remind myself how far I’ve come.  I was on the path to destruction.  Within months without dad’s help, I would have been just another statistic.  Another homeless mentally ill drunkard.  The not drinking is hard, though.  I miss it dearly.  Dad says I have been mourning about it for years now.  Today would be a prime candidate for getting drunk.  Any day was a prime candidate for getting drunk to be explicitly honest.  I have this insane urge to seek out feeling extra-normal and high be it Benadryl, caffeine, Klonopin, or beer.  Let’s just be glad with my father’s help I am able to stay sober most days.  I do think my life would be far worse off with the chaos alcoholism creates. 

I have expressed weakness with this post so it will probably garner a nasty negative anonymous comment as usual.

The Night Owl…

I went to bed at 9pm and awoke at 1am refreshed on just four hours of sleep. Maggie was curled up next to me sound asleep snoring softly and sighing in her sleep. Occasionally jerking from her dreams – her eyes moving wildly under her eyelids.  She looked so comfortable next to my arm curled up in a tight ball.  She must’ve been cold and couldn’t get under the comforter with me hogging it. I had it pulled tightly over me as I had turned the air down really low last night in one of my rare arctic moments.  I hated to wake her, but I was on a late night, early morning mission.  I immediately jumped up wide awake out of the bed to Maggie’s great chagrin, throwing on clothes, and excited to drive over to get my six diet Cokes for the day. And then to hurry home to start writing a blog post after my Cokes got ice cold in the freezer. Routines, ya know?  I take such satisfaction out of doing this routine.  My early morning bliss.  

Mom puts the Cokes out on the porch before she goes to bed around 11pm so I knew they would be out there by now.  Maggie heard me put on my shoes and the jingle of my keys as I put them in my pocket and went tearing outside barking up a storm to pave the way for my trip.  She does this every early morning without fail.  She is my supreme protector as always.  Dad was still up with every light on in his house when I pulled up in the driveway. I almost knocked on the door to see what he was doing, but I was on a mission that couldn’t be delayed.  I don’t know if he realized I stopped by or not.  He had been down at the pharmacy doing his usual quiet Sunday night of bookkeeping and bill paying. He has done this for as long as I can remember from 9pm to midnight every Sunday night. Charlie usually accompanies him and does the accounting end of the business. That was Charlie’s major in college which he fought so hard to obtain.  Charlie joined the military and was stationed in Thailand to pay for college on the GI bill.  He said he ate nothing but bananas the whole time he was there the food was so gross. Charlie is a very, very picky eater.     

1am is a cool, awesome time for me.  1am means Coast to Coast AM is on live until 5am. I am enamored with this show as you probably already know.  Tonight they are talking about autism.  George Knapp is hosting and he can be abrupt and brusque sometimes with the guests making things lively.  It should be an interesting show, but anti medical establishment as usual which can grow tiresome at times, though.  Everything can’t always be a conspiracy as is often the case on these shows.  I can already guess the issue of mercury in vaccines causing autism is going to be the highlight of discussion tonight. They can be very predictable.  George Noory, the usual weekly host, harped for months about the dangers of the H1N1 flu vaccine saying it was deadly.  His ignorance astounded me.  There were wild theories thrown about that the vaccine would be used to genetically manipulate us. lol  I guess I am going to turn into a mutant now since I got the vaccine many months ago.  I will believe my brother and sister, both accomplished doctors who say it is perfectly safe, over a radio talk show host who touts a spice, turmeric, as a cancer cure.

I know I am saying it a lot these days, but I feel really, really well lately and it is so damn nice. It bears repeating for the wonderful thing it is.  I felt so ill for so long.  For weeks, I felt like something drug out of a dank swamp – rising from the primordial ooze to another hell filled mentally ill day.  It is hard to sleep because you are frightened you will wake up back in hell land again.  I don’t ever want this feeling to end. I feel as if I am in a dream and I don’t want to wake up.  I always feel my best in the wee hours of the morning when my medications are still fresh in my body.  I am trying so hard to stay up as late as I can tonight so I will sleep all day tomorrow.  Around lunch to 7pm is always my hardest time with my schizophrenia and the anxiety.  I can only guess my medication levels drop and I grow tired both mentally and physically as the day grows long.. 

I got a wild hair up my butt and moved my computer desk from my computer room into the den.  It was a spur of the moment thing.  It looks cluttered and ungainly and dad is going to complain, but I like it so far.  I like the convenience of it.  I like being able to keep up with Twitter as I watch TV since my new laptop died a few weeks ago. It took a good thirty to forty five minutes to hook everything up and get back on the Internet. Now, my command center is complete.  Everything is at my fingertips. The HDTV.  The home theater.  My computer.  I don’t ever have to leave my den again!!! lol   I am writing this from the comfort of my Lazy Boy in the den with my keyboard in my lap.

For weeks, dad has been promising he is going to order the part I need to get my camera working again.  I am getting extremely frustrated which is unlike me as I am usually very laid back.  I called him last Monday to remind him and he assured me he would get Tricia to order it.  It still hasn’t arrived.  I don’t understand dad’s obfuscation about this.  Does he think it is going to cost a lot of money?   I want to get ugly and exclaim that he can drive to Alex City and take my sister furniture then why can’t he just order a $16 dollar computer part for me?  If I had money, I would just drive down to Best Buy in Auburn and easily purchase the part.  I have missed my camera so much.  I feel like I have lost a friend. Maggie has missed being captioned as well. hehe

Dad still believes I don’t need to be attending all the AA meetings I go to.  He feels it is too much pressure on me socially and mentally.  “You just can’t do all that,” he will tell me.  “It is just too much pressure on you to drive all that way and sit through all those meetings.”  It shocks me when he will say this.  I don’t understand this and it is just completely, absolutely strange.  He told the same thing to my psychiatrist as well to my psychiatrist’s raised eyebrows.  He thinks he alone can control my drinking through the lack of money and watching me constantly.  He says he can see signs when I am about to drink or abuse Benadryl.  It is a fool’s errand in my opinion.  I think AA is about the only way I am going to be able to garner a viable social life successfully these days.  I love the camaraderie and the way everyone sticks together and supports each other.  It is probably the only way I am going to be able to stay successfully sober for any length of time as well.  I still have some misgivings about the religious overtones of the program, but my brother’s wise words echo in my mind when I  have doubts.  “You’ve got to believe in something,” he told me. “Why not God?  It wouldn’t or couldn’t hurt.”    

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Quest for Klonopin…

I was over at mom and dad’s at lunchtime when Charlie pulled up in dad’s Ford  F-150 truck which was filled with antique furniture.  I was standing outside knocking on the backdoor to no avail.  It was as if no one was home. I knew they were there. I was on a quest for Klonopin and my daily medications.  I didn’t want any anxiety whatsoever today and was going to nip it in the bud by taking my medications early if I could convince dad I needed them. 

“You can never get them to the door of that big damn house,” Charlie said excitedly and emotionally. “Here, let me try to call your father to get him to the door. He better answer that damned phone of his.”

Charlie’s cell phone rang and rang with no answer from dad.  Charlie started to bang on dad’s bedroom window anxiously and impatiently.  I went down around the side of the house to ring the doorbell several times.  All their cars were there.  The BMW was in the garage along with mom’s Honda Civic, and dad’s Honda CR-V was parked outside in the driveway. 

“What are you doing over here?” Charlie asked me patting me on the knee affectionately as we finally sat on the back porch hoping someone would finally open the backdoor. 

“I’m here for my medications and I hope it doesn’t piss dad off,” I replied. “I’m treading dangerous waters I fear.”

“Why would he be pissed?” Charlie asked looking stymied. “It will save him a trip tonight before going to the pharmacy.  You would think he would be glad you want your medications for a change without being forced to take them.”

“He just gets perturbed when I ask for them early sometimes,” I replied. “It’s like he doesn’t want to be bothered with it.  I never really actually know how dad is going to react. It all depends on what kind of mood he is in.”

Finally, the backdoor was opened.  Dad was very glad to see us, calling us the welcoming committee, and walked out to his car with me to get my medications.  He wasn’t pissed. Just concerned that I wanted them so early.  He felt I would take too much Klonopin all at one time having taken my lunchtime dose.  That was my goal.  I just wanted to relax today. I wanted that mellow gold feeling that only three Klonopin can impart. 

“I’ve been cleaning crystal in the front of the house and didn’t hear all the commotion,” he told me as we walked back up the driveway to the house. “That’s something Helen doesn’t do well. She leaves streaks.”

“Goddammit John,” Charlie exclaimed and stammered when we got back inside the house. Charlie was standing in the den looking red faced.  “Answer your goddamned phone!  And answer the goddamned door!”

We all laughed nervously at Charlie’s candidness.  Charlie was just a little pissed.  He says this happens all the time to him.  Dad and Charlie will often argue like close brothers would do. 

I waited my thirty minutes for my medications to take effect.  Charlie was talking a mile a minute about some antique furniture he wanted to sell dad and my sister. Dad wasn’t too impressed with what was on the back of the truck.  I called Charlie Sanford and Son and he laughed.. I was also just glad to be sitting in mom and dad’s cool house as the ceiling fan above blew down upon us – a safe, comforting zone for me.

On the way home, I ran over a squirrel.  Tears streamed down my cheeks as I realized I had taken a life.  I don’t know why I got so emotional.  It was just a damned squirrel.   Maybe it was the medications coursing so newly through my veins.  I felt better when I arrived home and Maggie jumped up in my lap as I sat down in my Lazy Boy.  Maggie’s been extremely abnormally affectionate today and it has warmed my heart. I love it when she gets like this.

The rest of the day has been a relaxing day of weather watching, TV, Internet, and Coast to Coast AM.   I am so sore from last night I didn’t feel like doing much today.  It hurts to move.  Getting out of this chair is laborious..  Charlie really worked the shit outta me last night and yesterday evening.   

The Weed Whackers…

I was furiously pacing the floor when Charlie arrived at my house late yesterday evening armed with all things to trim and cut shrubbery.  I have my own yard care arsenal under the house as well that dad bought me when I moved into this house and I brought them out reluctantly.  It was a surprise visit.  I watched warily as he unloaded implement after implement from the trunk of his Chevrolet and sat them in the front yard.  He was just laughing and carrying on -- making jokes and being his usual acerbic self.  I was a little apprehensive at first – worried he would have to do all the work and I would have to sit on the sidelines. I was so worried I would have an anxiety attack from our exertions.  These are the kind of fears I am going to have to overcome to live a “normal” life. I keep having to tell myself that no one ever died from having an anxiety attack. I would just have to quit and come inside to lie down.  This, too, would pass.   

“Let’s get your shrubbery shaped up,” Charlie said handing me a plastic sack of diet Cokes as a treat as is his usual custom these days. “You’re going have the nicest yard on the block. I want to outdo those neighbors across the street.”

“Well, they just whacked down their shrubbery to the nub!” I replied with an air of astonishment.  “They were using chainsaws!”

“We won’t go quite so far,” Charlie replied laughing with raised eyebrows.

Charlie did this out of the goodness of his heart.  He is such a kind hearted and good soul.  He could have spent his time doing a hundred other things he liked on his Saturday evening.  Instead, he spent his Saturday evening doing a tedious and dirty job for his best friend’s son.   He knows I have trouble motivating myself to do such things and his help was the one trick that got me out of the house and working.  We worked for hours trimming shrubs, pulling weeds, and cutting down fledgling pecan trees.  It was dark as we finished and sat in my den both sweaty and tired watching our British comedies.  There was a huge pile of debris and cuttings up by the road by the time we quit.  We laughed jovially at Mr. Humphries antics on Are You Being Served? – our favorite character as we cooled off.   Charlie then drove to Arby’s to get us both the #19 special, a turkey sandwich with Italian dressing, for which we are both obsessed with these days.

As we sat in my den eating our meal, Charlie talked of his son, Randall, who is retarded and autistic.  Randall is a year older than me and the doctors said years ago that he would never live this long.  Charlie really opened up to me about his problems with Horsefly, his pet word for Randall, which is uncharacteristic of him.  Charlie’s not one to burden you with his problems.  Charlie could easily put Horsefly in a group home, but dad says you would have to kill him first. 

“He keeps choking when he eats,” Charlie said. “It worries the shit out of me.  This is a new development.”

“Is he still sleeping in the day and staying up all night?” I asked.

“Oh, hell yes,” Charlie said laughing. “He is just like his father.  We don’t sleep.  We are an odd bunch.”

“I am a lot like Horsefly,” I told Charlie empathetically. “I can be so obsessive compulsive. I can understand his strange thought processes.”

“You brought him out of his shell as a child,” Charlie told me gladly. “And I will never forget it.  You could set off dynamite next to his head as a child and he wouldn’t even flinch.  You would actually play with him and he would just laugh and laugh.  I am forever in your debt.  He would have never learned to talk and interact without you.”

“Is Horsefly still bowling and going to the movies?” I then asked Charlie.

“Oh yes,” Charlie replied as he wiped more sweat from his bald head and brow. “You know we can’t disrupt our routines.  The same routines we’ve had for years.  He will bowl so fast he is a sweaty mess afterwards and he will watch the worst movies in the theater.”

Charlie then got up to go turn down my air conditioning telling me my father could afford it. I laughed and smiled. “Shit! It’s hot in here!” he said.  This, of course, made me freezing cold.

Dad soon arrived with my medications later in the evening.  He was in a super duper mood – so excited about our exertions being so keen on yard care.  I watched from the window in my computer room as dad walked around my yard looking at what Charlie and I had accomplished.  I felt this extreme feeling of pride. Nothing makes my father happier than to see something like this.  

“Goddamn, that looks good,” dad said of my yard as he walked up my steps to come inside. “Charlie said he was going to get you up and working and he did.”

I stood at the door and welcomed him in as Maggie went completely bonkers at Poppa being here. 

“I had to take lots of breaks, though,” I told him. “You know me and my heart rate.  I have to be careful about those anxiety attacks.  There were a few times I felt shaky and Charlie brought me water and told me to sit on the front steps.”

“Charlie can work like a dog,” dad told me smiling. “He can outdo me.  You both did good.  You’re doing better, son. Yard work is good for the soul.”

Before bed, I turned on all my outside lights and stood out in the yard marveling at what we had accomplished.  It did look so good and I was so proud.

Dad then made an assessment of the inside of my house for cleaning.  I had cleaned the other day, but we are both determined to get things cleaned up better and Charlie’s help was just the impetus we needed.  I sometimes get down and out that my house is not as clean as mom and dad’s, but then I remind myself that mom and dad have a full time housecleaner in Helen as well. 

“The only thing I really see you need to do is mop and clean all your hardwood floors,” dad told me of his assessment. “And get up all of Maggie’s dog hair.  The couch needs vacuuming and your tub and stovetop need scrubbing as well.”

I made a mental list and will get started today.  Sometimes, I just need help with things like this – help to just get started and motivated.  I can be kind of oblivious at times about such things being a single guy without a lot of house guests.  To be honest, I just haven’t felt like doing this stuff for months and now feel able.  That extra medication is doing the trick as far as my crippling anxiety is concerned.  It is a new beginning I think and I am excited about it all.  The chaos that was my mental illness addled life for months is starting to get organized.        

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Train Kind of Day…

Yesterday, I sat all day in the hot sweltering sun down at the railroad museum next to the tracks watching trains.  I did have some shelter and shade from the tall wall behind me as the sun hung lower in the sky as the day progressed.  I was all set for a day of train watching.  I had sunscreen.  I had a little mini cooler of ice cold water.  Lots of Model Railroader and Wired! magazines to read while waiting on trains. Plenty of cigarettes. And I had packed a lunch of ham sandwiches, granola bars for snacks, and potato chips.  I sat on the bench behind the bank where Ferret would always sleep in the summer when he was homeless years ago.  I kept thinking of Ferret as I sat there wondering whatever happened to him.  Last I heard, his grandfather had gotten him an apartment and he was on Social Security disability for his mental illnesses.  I wonder if he ever got sobered up?  He was an irascible drinker.  So was I.  I could probably out drink Ferret on one of my good days.

My psychiatrist said earlier in the week I needed to try and get out of the house more to overcome my anxiety and agoraphobia, and I took his words to heart.  It was a gamble that I might have an anxiety attack, but I soldiered onwards and left the house.  I saw many long, varied trains and was overjoyed.   I would watch with anticipation as the signal down the tracks would slowly turn from green, to yellow, and then red signaling a train was on the way.  I was finally chased away from near the museum when some really big storms blew up which also thrilled my soul.  These were some nasty storms yesterday knocking my power out for an hour.  The lightning and thunder was almost constant.  The rain torrential.  My grandmother would call these heat storms and would say it’s “coming up a cloud” at the sound of all that thunder.  I was glad I had plenty of Coast to Coast AM shows loaded onto my iPod for that hour of idleness.  I noticed a lot of Union Pacific engines yesterday which are usually only seen in the West and Midwest.  I wondered if CSX, the railroad that owns the line near my house, had a locomotive exchange program with that railroad. I was lamenting the fact that my camera is still out of action.

“Coffee, baby?” Florene asked me as I sat in her kitchen after all the storms had passed. 

You could still hear the rumble of thunder distantly as I sat at the kitchen table.  I had driven over to take care of George’s two cars.  To crank them and see if they needed gas or their batteries charged.  George had written to me in a recent letter from jail pleading with me to be sure and do this for him.  He knew I would forget.  Both cars needed washing badly, but I just didn’t feel up to all that yesterday.

“I can’t have so much caffeine,” I replied, waving off the mug of hot coffee she had poured for me and handed my way. “I am honestly trying to cut down. Anxiety, you know?  I get the nervous jitters.”

Mrs. Florene had just cooked a pot roast she was going to save for Sunday dinner with her sister’s family and it smelled wonderful in her house.  She is always cooking it seems.  The house also had the wonderful smell of caramelized onions and it made my stomach protest.  I was hungry.

“Your lasagna was absolutely fantastic,” I told her trying to make small talk feeling socially awkward without George there. “I ate every last bit of it and Maggie liked it as well.”

“Did you really like it?” Florene asked, beaming with pride as I told her I thought it was some of the best lasagna I had ever eaten.

Last night found me feeling extremely, extremely well.  I paced the floor slowly as I watched TV – a nervous throwback from my less than stellar days when I would pace nervously for hours wracked with mental illness.  I felt wonderful, but still felt like pacing.  My mind works in strange ways sometimes.  I watched Medium – a show which I am also growing to love.  I would laugh giddily I felt so well as I paced in the den – a stereotypical maniacal madman it seems.      

Dad and I took my medications late, late last night.  He didn’t arrive until after 10.  He was in good spirits and extremely glad to see Maggie.

“Why are you smiling so?” dad asked looking amused as I sat in my Lazy Boy.

“I feel so freakin’ good,” I exclaimed. “That terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach has gone away.  I  don’t have any anxiety whatsoever.”

Dad looked wary – saying he was wondering if I was on a manic high much like my mother will do.  I just smiled and told him I loved him and that I was okay.  I just felt good for a change and it was a magical, wonderful thing.  We then did Maggie’s food and water ritual.  I wish you could see her as we do this.  Dad pours out her day old food and refills her bowl with fresh Purina One.  I pour out her day old water and refill it with clean.  Dad makes sure I pour the water outside and not in the sink saying dog’s stuff doesn’t need to be mixed with people stuff.  Maggie watches on, vigorously wagging her tail as we do this – waiting impatiently to eat and drink.  She has become spoiled by this little ritual.

I lay in the bed sleepless until 1am last night feeling the effects of my medications coursing through my veins and body.  I kept thinking of Kevin “The Homeless Guy” Barbieux and his life.  He is such a tortured soul.  He seems to spend all his time in McDonald’s using their Wi-Fi to protest modern culture and politics. I feel we have some parallels to our lives in that we were both homeless and mentally ill causing me to feel a lot of empathy for him.  He had recently written on Facebook about dismay with his life even though he has a home and an income now – all things he had been trying to obtain after decades of homelessness.  “Can some people never be happy?” I thought. “Am I like that?”  I don’t mean to be that way.  I can be happy most times when my mental illness allows me to be so.  I am very appreciative of all I have.  A wonderful house.  A car.  My Mag dawg.  Plenty of good food to eat. The Internet. Alcoholics Anonymous.  I have all the basics for a good life covered.  The only thing lacking is a more vibrant and active social life which I would probably complain about if it got too active.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Feeder Extraordinaire…

Mrs. Florene brought by a half a pan of homemade lasagna and some cheesy toasted garlic bread last night.  She was in good spirits and extremely talkative – very glad to see me.  We haven’t seen each other in days.   She said she had made the lasagna for George’s cousin, Monte – his favorite meal of hers.  She and him ate half and she brought the rest to me after dinner.  I cringed at her driving at her age, but she has little choice without George.  The Skylark is actually getting some use these days.  I wish she would just hire Monte to drive her around as I am unable.  I feel scared to go out of the house lately – that old agoraphobia ever strong and the anxiety keeping me crippled.  So, I am munching on delicious lasagna this morning.  Mrs. Florene makes hers with sausage instead of ground beef and it is very different from mom’s, but good.  Maggie was thrilled to see her and put on a big show -- lavishing her with attention and affection.  I was just glad my house was clean after getting guests.  I had put some effort into it yesterday to get the house presentable with an old friend in town from Nicaragua.  I actually felt up to it for a change.

Dad was really quiet last night and it worried me.  He had worked a 12 hour day, though, and was probably just exhausted.  I tend to project emotion upon myself and others.  I thought he was mad at me at first.  He was kind of surly and abrupt.  He had brought me cigarettes and I worried the cost had made him angry.  I realized the absurdity of it all when he yawned very vigorously and said he couldn’t wait to get in the bed and settle into his night time routines.  He was just tired.  It was 10:30pm after all. He had been at work since 9am. I had also washed my hair, dried it, combed it, and dressed up extremely nicely for him hoping he would notice, but he didn’t say a word.  Sometimes, no words are better than bad and negative words.  I probably couldn’t have taken him telling me I looked like death last night as he did a few weeks ago.

Dad did remark on how warm I am keeping my house.

“It is hot in here,” he said last night as we watched Moonlight. “Maggie is panting.”

“I stay cold all the time,” I told him.  “Earlier in the day, I had the heat set on 83 and I still had on a hoodie as I lay in the bed under my comforter trying to get warm.”

“You have always been cold natured,” he said, dismissing anything more wrong with me. “Your heating bill in the winter is always atrocious.”

How are you feeling?  I feel okay this morning – kind of blah and indifferent.  I slept well as usual.  I always sleep well these days which is nice.  I look forward to watching my favorite TV shows today.  I have been watching entirely too much TV lately with little else to do.  The Internet can only capture my attention for so long. 

Maggie is kind of getting on my nerves with her incessant barking this morning.  Something has really gotten her riled up.  Many of my neighbors are walking to work this time of the morning as I keep seeing them strolling by the house.  Most don’t have cars in this poor neighborhood.  This keeps Maggie busy in her efforts to be the supreme protector of me and home.  I am listening to Coast to Coast AM right now out of Apple Valley, California – the high desert.  The numerology lady is on which I don’t like, but I am still listening with nothing else to listen to this time of the morning.  I am anxiously awaiting the next segment when she goes off.  I don’t put much stock in numerology.   

Thursday, June 24, 2010

That Lucky Cat…

I was just outside feeding Lucky – my deceased neighbor’s cat.  He got a can of tuna and some cheese this morning.  He’s gotten where he will let me pet him, but it has taken months of building trust.  I was hoping to make Lucky my cat, but realized months ago that he was just too fiercely independent.  He would never be a house cat.  He is content to sleep on the blanket I placed in Joyce’s laundry room and go about his business during the day – most likely hunting and fighting with the other male cats in the neighborhood.  He has the scars to prove it.  Maggie looked on in the fence at our interaction and turned up her nose.  Maggie and Lucky have a shaky truce though.  Maggie doesn’t bark at him like she does other cats – other cats will send Maggie reeling.  If I could catch Lucky, I would take him to the vet and get him fixed, but I fear I would destroy any trust we have built up over this past year. 

I drove over this morning to get my six diet Cokes and they weren’t on the porch which was extremely odd for mom to neglect. I knocked on the door and dad answered.  He was all interested in how I felt.

“I feel good this morning,” I told him. “Mornings are always bliss mentally.”

“Have you taken your Klonopin?” he asked.

“No,” I replied. “I am saving it for lunch.”

Dad grumbled some about his worries about me saving up that pill to gather pills to take in one big mass. 

“Promise me you are going to take it at lunch,” he said. “Don’t save them up and get drunk.”

We walked down into the basement to get my Cokes.  Dad grumbled about that as well saying I shouldn’t be drinking them.  He says I get high off the caffeine. The feel good police were in full force this morning. 

I don’t know what the day may bring and I am apprehensive.  I hope today is good.  We are off to a good start.  I am able to take satisfaction out of the Internet this morning – something I couldn’t do yesterday.  I am content to check the blog and look for updates on Facebook.   As far as Twitter is concerned, I tend to post and interact in spurts.  Sometimes, I feel like I am posting to the ether though.  Who reads all that stuff?  I was once enamored with a single woman on Twitter until I realized she was simple minded.  She called herself a writer, but never updated her blog.  I just didn’t understand that.  She was a pious Vegan and it would have never worked between us as far as friendship goes.  She preached too much.  I would have to fight the urge to tell her we, as humans, are omnivorous.  Our teeth prove it.  It was certainly interesting while it lasted, though.  I will have to admit to that.

What are you feeling?  I feel calm and collected this morning – taking so much joy out of listening to the radio and browsing the Internet.  I am listening to a Coast to Coast AM show from last year about 2012 and the coming apocalypse.  These shows about 2012 and the Mayan calendar always make me chuckle – they take this stuff so seriously and it is much ado about nothing.  I am always amazed that these people can talk for four hours about something that isn’t even real, but I still listen fascinated.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

He’s Looking Good…

“You look so good tonight,” my father told me affectionately as he sat on my couch.  “You would never know you were struggling mentally and internally.  Your eyes look so clear and bright.  A few weeks ago, they looked deathly and dim.”

“That’s the conundrum of mental illness,” I decreed. “That’s why it is so hard to diagnose.  You go into the ER for a severe anxiety attack and they don’t know what to do with you when all their tests come back that you are physically fit.”

“How is your anxiety?”

“I feel better tonight than I have in weeks,” I told him. “I don’t want this moment to end.”

Dad smiled and reached out to hold my hand.

“Good,” he said almost quietly as if he was relieved.  He turned his attention back to the Weather Channel that was droning endlessly about disaster on my television. 

We made it to the doctor.  The doctor prescribed me an extra Klonopin to take around lunch time when my anxiety hits the hardest.  Dad had mixed feelings about giving me that extra pill tonight.  He is going to have to trust me to take it prudently and as prescribed.  He can’t watch me swallow it the next day and thus save them up.  I think it will be an important step in us building trust between us again.  The ball is in my court.

We ended up eating at Hardee’s instead of Western Sizzlin’ earlier today.  We were both overjoyed when we learned they served breakfast until lunch and we could get our sausage and steak biscuits we so love. I got dad to order an extra sausage biscuit for Maggie which she just inhaled when we got home.

We got a big rain today and I was so relieved.  My lawn was parched.  I almost thought it was hailing the rain drops were so big and making such a clamor on the roof.  It didn’t last but thirty minutes, but it was thirty minutes of bliss for me.

Mom called tonight after dad had gotten home from our medication ritual.

“Your daddy says you are feeling really good tonight,” she said.

“Yes,” I replied with an air of relief in my voice. 

We didn’t talk but just a moment, but it was good hearing mom’s voice and her concern and love.  I’ve said it before, but my mother is one of the few people who gets me and understands me after her own trials and tribulations with mental illness.   

Off to See the Doctor – the Wonderful Doctor of Opelika…

Today is the day.  I am nervous already.  I am hoping for anxiety solutions, but my doctor is notoriously hard to convince and apprehensive about prescribing me new medications.  I can only hope for the best.  Dad and I are leaving at 9:45am to drive down.  I am going to ask that my father sit in the lobby while I talk to my psychiatrist.  He is going to balk immensely, though, most likely admonishing me for hiding things from him.  I want to be able to talk candidly and honestly about my problems with my doctor without worrying about alarming dad and suffering any repercussions.  Dad will often speak for me during these sessions and I want to have a voice today. 

Yesterday was okay.  Honestly, I am learning to live with the anxiety.  I lay in the bed all day yesterday watching television to fight off the anxiety and it leaves me with little to talk about this morning.  Mom brought my groceries yesterday.  She buys me the same things every week.  The same variety of Marie Callender frozen meals.  The same poptarts.  The same sandwich fixins.  The same variety of Chef Boyardee.  I need to go to the grocery store with her to start getting more variety. I just haven’t felt like it lately.

On a positive note, we will most likely eat at the Western Sizzlin in Opelika for lunch.  Dad often drives down there on his lunch break from the pharmacy to get the grilled chicken plate and loves it.  I will get a steak and baked potato and relish it.  I will also enjoy a salad piled high with lots of garnishments.  I can already taste that blue cheese dressing now.

I got another letter from jail in the mail from George yesterday.  It was so good to hear from him.  The letter was mostly about sex and his lack thereof.  He says he still can’t get used to the open toilet in his cell and hates to use the bathroom while his cellmate watches and laughs.  George wrote that the prison food had given him the most terrible case of gas.  That made me smile the way George wrote about it.  I will have to transcribe one of his letters in a few days when I feel up to the task.  George was also talking about how inept his lawyer was during the trial and that he got the short end of the stick. 

My anxiety from yesterday eased up around 8pm and I didn’t want to go to bed last night I was feeling so much better.  I stayed up till 11pm watching more TV and the weather.  I am sleepy and drowsy this morning.      

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It was My Own Fault – Stupid Me…

Yesterday afternoon, I got so excited about my fast food Monday and my diet Cokes – like a kid in a candy store.  The excitement sent me over the edge, though.  I drank all three 20oz diet Cokes in short succession and would later regret it immensely.  It set into motion an anxiety attack of the highest order – the kind of my nightmares can only conjure.  The tingling of my body started as I sat at this computer – a sensation of confusion.  I continued to drink the caffeine laden Cokes like some heroin addict in the back alleys of New York – the slums where the homeless hang out and where the addicts shoot up.  Then my vision went all wonky and weird.  I shakily stood up and raced for the bed to lie down in my efforts to stop it before it got to going good.  My heart started to pound in my chest as the room began to spin.  My body felt all cold and clammy, and I curled up in my warm comforter.   My feet were freezing.   Online literature says anxiety attacks should only last 20 to 30 minutes, but mine belie that.  Mine last for an hour and a half to two hours.  I lay in the bed doing my best to calm down for two hours metabolizing all that caffeine I had just imbibed. I had to turn off all noise and stimuli.  Just the sound of Maggie stirring on the bed made my heart rate increase. I’ve began to experience severe dehydration, psychosis, and extreme paranoia during my attacks and that is disconcerting.  I was so worried that Charlie or dad would arrive and I would still be mid attack and acting weird.  This sends my paranoia reeling and can send me into a tailspin.  Dad will search my house for beer and Benadryl on such occasions because of my strangeness and it will send me over the edge with paranoia – extremely exacerbating my attacks.  It was my own fault.  I should’ve known better to drink all that caffeine when I was already experiencing lots of anxiety.  You live and you learn.  I just had to drink the Cokes, though. 

Charlie stopped by with supper last night.  He didn’t stay but just a minute, but he did take time to see Maggie which thrilled her soul.  He told me he loved me as he was leaving and that meant so much to me.  I had never heard him actually say that before in the open.  It was a very special moment for me after such a disconcerting two hours.  On the plate he brought was a huge portion of roast beef, macaroni and cheese, garden tomatoes, butter peas, homemade pickled cucumbers, stir fried and spicy baby asparagus, and cornbread.  It was delicious and I had just recovered from my attack when he arrived and was starving as usual after such an event.  My anxiety attacks give me a terrible case of the munchies.

Dad arrived around 9:30pm.  I was ready for my medications – my body spent from what happened earlier. I felt so exhausted. So tired.      

“Tomorrow is your Risperdal Consta injection,” dad told me last night. “Do you want me to call you in the morning to make sure you are up?”

“Yes,” I replied. “You never know with me.  I might be asleep or I could’ve been up since three.”

“Be sure to shower, shave, and put on nice clothes,” he told me.  “Don’t go out in public looking like a homeless person.”

Dad then asked me how I felt.  I told him of my earlier attack and how relieved I was it was over.  I asked him what he thought was making me have so much anxiety.  My suspicions are that it’s a medication issue, but I wouldn’t dare tell him this.  He is rabidly pro medication.  He had no answers despite being the pharmacist.  We talked of medications I could take to alleviate the anxiety, but they were all addictive like Xanax, Klonopin, or Valium.  Dad told me my psychiatrist would be wary in prescribing them to me with my past history of substance abuse.

“But you give me my medications and control them,” I said with an air of pleading in my voice. “Surely, he would trust you. Tell him you will make sure I don’t abuse what he prescribes!”

Dad shrugged his shoulders and said we would see when we went to see him tomorrow.  Dad then turned to look at me and said, “Cry.  Put on a good show.  Have an anxiety attack in his office.  Act crazy.  Stand up and pace the floor while we are in there. Then maybe he will prescribe something that helps.  Tell him you are miserable beyond reproach.”  I hated the thought of all that subterfuge, but it might just work.  I don’t know if I can conjure up tears or an attack on a whim, though.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Dearest Mother…

It is fast food Monday’s around here at Andrew’s casa.  Every Monday, mom brings Maggie and I hamburgers and fries.  It is a treat I relish.  I don’t get to eat out very much, and love a good hamburger if you can call McDonald’s good.  It tastes fine to me.

“How are you feeling?” my mother just asked pulling up to the front of my house in her car.

“I’ve been pacing the floor all afternoon again,” I replied solemnly. “I did manage to take a nap at lunch, though, and that was amazing.”

“What makes you do that?” mom asked. “Don’t you get tired?”

“The anxiety,” I replied. “Walking takes my mind off my problems, seems to soothe the anxiety, and I watch TV as I pace from room to room.”

Mom handed me my and Maggie’s hamburgers and fries in a McDonald’s sack. I reached into the backseat to get my three diet Cokes to drink with my meal.  Mom had also gotten me a big bag of Crystal Light of various flavors. 

“I worry about you,” mom said. “Something is still not right with your medications.”

“I know. I am hoping Dr. Kern will help me this Wednesday.  I am hoping we are going to the psychiatrist.  It is about time. I was supposed to see him again in one month.”

“Call me tonight and let me know how you feel,” mom told me. “Eat you some supper, drink your Cokes, and get to feeling better.”

I thanked mom – sad to see her go.  I get so lonely sometimes.  She didn’t stick around today most likely to go crawl in the bed or read books as she normally does in the afternoons.  She had been to Julia’s earlier in the day – the weekly meeting of the Catholic ladies.   They have finger foods and gossip about people at the Catholic church.   “I get so tired of them talking about that Catholic church,” mom will say as I laugh.  It was good seeing my mother.  I love her.  She is dear to me.  Charlie and her are the only people in my life that actually “get” me and my modus operandi.  

Driving with Charlie…

“Woah!” Charlie said laughing as we narrowly missed a car in downtown West Point, Georgia yesterday afternoon.  Charlie jerked the car back into his lane.  Charlie was talking a mile a minute about a myriad of things and not paying attention to his driving.  He was fretting over how his hairspray just wasn’t holding his hair like it used to. Charlie is also bald for irony.  We were on the way to fix Charlie’s wife’s computer.  She couldn’t get Shockwave Flash to install and wanted to look at some videos someone had emailed her.  Charlie is such a flighty and nervous driver.  I held on to the “oh shit!” bar for my life as the cup of fruit juice in my hand sloshed around violently. 

We arrived at Charlie’s house.  He brought me two diet Cokes and I swooned at them as I sat down at Janice’s computer.  It took me literally seconds to install Shockwave as I drank my Cokes.  I don’t know what problems she was having, but I didn’t have any.  Shockwave installed flawlessly.  I couldn’t believe how slow her computer had gotten since I last used it, though.  It was a tediously slow little contraption to navigate.  People junk up their computers so easily with lots of crap that slows them down.  It is an eMachine after all as well.  Not your most illustrious computer -- a Wal-Mart purchase on a whim when Janice’s last computer went to the great computer heaven in the sky – her power supply giving out and I couldn’t fix it. 

“Come on,” Charlie said as I sat in the den watching TV with his wife. I was finishing my last diet Coke as a Lifetime television show starring Chevy Chase and the late Farrah Fawcett played on the television.  “Let’s go get you some supper.  I am bringing you a roast beef supper tomorrow night as well.”  Janice was cooking a roast in the oven and it smelled heavenly.  My stomach grumbled at the prospect.

We headed down through the Valley to Arby’s so I could get the number 19 special that Charlie has gotten me hooked on – a turkey sandwich with Italian dressing as a garnish, diet Coke, and curly fries.  Charlie dropped me off at my house and I hungrily ate my food -- gingerly giving Maggie bites of curly fries as she sat at my feet begging.  I was starving.  I savored the big cup of diet Coke as well as I sat at my computer watching Twitter busily tweet through Twhirl – interested in all the New Zealanders tweeting about the All Whites. Their soccer team.   

I then drove over to dad’s to wish him happy father’s day and give him the card I had gotten for him.  He was so glad to see me for a change – in very high spirits. 

“Thank you!” he said happily as I told him happy father’s day walking through the back door handing him the card. 

We took my medications and sat in the den talking for 30 minutes waiting for them to take effect.  I savored this time with my father with him in such a good mood.  Dad was doing what dad does on a day off -- in his pajamas reading books on the Royal Family as the sprinkler system spewed copious amounts of water in the back yard.

On the mental illness front, I am doing okay.  I had one period yesterday where I had to walk very vigorously for an hour and a half.   I had to walk off some anxiety I was experiencing.  I was overjoyed at getting my medications so early yesterday.  They made me feel so much better.  I was in the bed at 7pm after taking my 2mg of Klonopin, though.  Very early for me.  Maggie got on the bed and we settled in for the night as I ate a can of Chef Boyardee mini ravioli and turned the thermostat down to 76 as the TV droned in my bedroom.

What are you doing now?  It is 4am.  I have the heat on in the middle of summer set to 81 – waking up cold.  I just drove over to mom and dad’s and got my six diet Cokes for the day as I listened to Jazz music during the drive.  The Cokes are in the freezer getting cold.  Maggie is outside barking up a storm as she often does to pave the way for my trip and back.  I am listening to Coast to Coast AM and not quite sure what they are talking about since I am so intent on writing this post.  I feel really good right now and it is intoxicating.  I know I use that word to describe my feel good moments a lot, but it is the best word to describe how I feel.  Mornings are always mental bliss on the mental illness front.       

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Getting More Comfortable with Sanity…

I still struggle some, but it’s getting better – much better.  I had periods yesterday where the anxiety would well up, but then dissipate after I would lie down for a bit.  I have to be so careful of all stimuli around me that affect me.  I also had a few experiences with severe giddiness and euphoria that almost turned into anxiety attacks with me getting so excited at feeling so good.  It is intoxicating to feel such a way after weeks of dire, suicidal, and morose feelings.  I would have to lie down then as well and calm down.  It’s a shaky stasis, but I do feel I am doing well and getting better.  Let’s do hope so.  I went through such a devastating period for a few weeks back where I lost the will to even live.  My whole life was in one insane disarray.  I didn’t want to get out of bed and face my life as it was then.  All I wanted to do was just die to escape the pain and torment that can be my illness. 

I was overjoyed at two episodes of Bones on WGN out of Chicago last night.  They were out of sequence, though, so I was kind of lost for a moment. I lay in the bed watching them trying to calm down from one of my episodes of severe euphoria and giddiness.  I have completely fallen in love with that show.  I checked out all the torrents for the show online and they have all 5 seasons available on all the major torrent websites.  I am having to resist downloading them not to violate copyright law.  I will just ask for them on DVD for Christmas. I will eventually see them all on commercial TV as well, but it’s hard to wait!

“We’re all crazy in our own way,” Charlie told me last night during our medication ritual. “Some of us just don’t admit to it.”

I smiled and it made me feel better about my own insanity.  Charlie has a good way with words and an interesting outlook on life.  Charlie had brought my medications with dad being out of town for father’s day festivities for which I wasn’t invited.  It is a unwritten rule that I don’t ask Charlie where dad was and what he was doing.  It will cause a moment of extreme uncomfortableness as Charlie will feel the need to lie about dad’s whereabouts.  It made me feel so sad that such things must be hidden from me, the mentally ill son.  Maybe I am just being paranoid as I have a tendency to do.  Don’t always think the worst Andrew! 

Charlie and I watched Hyacinth Bucket’s antics on Keeping Up Appearances on Georgia Public Television last night.  We both love these “britcoms” as GPTV calls them.   Charlie laughed and laughed and it was contagious.  I found myself chuckling as well even though I had seen this episode probably 10 times.

“I am bringing your medications tomorrow,” Charlie told me as the episode ended.  “We will go to Arby’s and get the #19 special again in the afternoon.”

I so look forward to that.  That sandwich is delicious.  It will be good to spend time with my “uncle”.

I pray today is a good day mentally.  I start out so well in the mornings – feeling sublime.  I can take such satisfaction just out of living and that is amazing for me for I was always such a morose and depressed individual.  I feel as if I can take on the whole world the few hours after waking.  It is like the eye of the hurricane or the calm before the storm. If I could just carry this feeling throughout the day then the quality of my life would be vastly improved. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Long Time Coming…

Have you ever just been excited about getting out of the bed?  So excited for what the day may bring?  That’s how I felt this morning and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way.  I felt so good as I stood in the kitchen making a breakfast of cheese toast and drinking my six diet Cokes for the day.  Dad is taking a day off today and says he may just let me “go” for the foreseeable future.  He thinks I am back on track.  And I think I am as well.  I just want mental wellness and savor each day I feel sane.  Each day with a peaceful mind is like the most exquisite gift from God. 

There was a cold Maggie in the bed this morning with me. On a heat induced whim, I turned the thermostat down to 78 last night.  I usually keep it on 82.  Maggie was under the covers scratching and carrying on this morning digging at her cooties.  I laughed so deeply as the covers would move wildly from her exertions and she would eventually poke her head out to see what I was laughing about.  Crazy dog.  She doesn’t miss a beat.

Dad and I were sitting in the den last night as he asked me how I was doing.  He was particularly interested in the bulimia.  I was proud to report that I am doing extremely well on that front.  I have slip ups from time to time, but for the most part, I am eating well and keeping it down.  The phone then rang while we were talking.

“Aren’t you going to answer that?” he asked as the phone rang incessantly.

“It’s just some survey,” I replied with a surly tone. “They called earlier in the day and asked for someone over the age of eighteen.  I feigned teenager to avoid the call and they said they would call back when an adult was home.”

Dad laughed. “You and your phone phobias,” he replied. “You can get things complicated just like your mother!”

The initial call caused me lots of anxiety by the way.  I hate the imposition of these calls.  I was put “on the spot” and certainly didn’t want to answer a survey about consumer matters.

Mrs. Florene also called me last night just before I was retiring to the bed.  I could tell by the special ring my phone makes when she calls.  She didn’t talk long, but wanted me to stop by today to pick up half a chocolate pound cake.  JOY!  She makes one of the best chocolate pound cakes in the South.  We didn’t talk much about George and I was kind of glad.  I miss my friend so deeply and every conversation about him reminds me of this.   

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Lick Away From Happiness…

I laughed and giggled uproariously this morning when I woke up to Maggie licking my hair vigorously.  “Crazy dog!!!” I exclaimed as I sleepily lay in the bed and pulled the covers closer to me.  Maggie loves to do this and it often happens in my sleep.  My hair will be all crazy afterwards sticking up in every wild direction wet. I rolled over and gave her a big hug and she was like, “Hey! You’re interrupting me!  We’ve gotta give you a bath!”  I love her so much and would let her get away with anything.  Dad says I have her totally spoiled and she doesn’t mind – not doing what you tell her to.  He couldn’t get her off the couch last night.  She just wanted to be near him.   I just want her to have a good life. I just don’t feel the need to exert control or dominance over her like my father does. 

I feel good again this morning and it so nice, so very nice.  Mornings are a joy.  Mornings are Coast to Coast AM, peaceful minds, and diet Cokes.  It is a very, very unique thing for me to feel peace of mind – very unique.  I tend to go downhill around 1pm to 2pm though, but it is livable compared to my past experiences with anxiety.  The anxiety eases up late in the evening for some strange reason on it’s own usually around 7pm.  This happens every day.  I realize this is a medication issue, but don’t know what to really do about it.  I have little control of my healthcare.  I am to see my psychiatrist again soon (maybe next week?) and will press the issue vehemently.  Maybe I need a higher dosage of Klonopin to take. 

I spent most of yesterday watching TV and not in my computer room thus the lack of blog posts.  It is so novel for me being able to sit still for hours like that to watch these shows.  Just sitting still is something of a major feat for me.  I watched two hours of Las Vegas, two hours of Cold Case, three hours of Law and Order, and an hour of Bones.  I had nothing else to do.  Have you ever noticed how many Cop shows there are on TV?  Dad says TV is murder central compared to the actual small amount of murders that occur in the real world.

Dad dropped one of my Klonopin outside last night walking up my steps.  We couldn’t find it for anything and it worried him.  Dad worried I would find it and save it for tonight thus getting extra medications.  I found it early this morning hiding under the ivy growing up my steps and took it.  It will be interesting to see how this affects my anxiety today taking a morning dose. I am praying it will make a big difference.  I am going to try and talk dad into letting me save one Klonopin every day for the mornings.  He fears I will save them up and get “drunk”.  He won’t let me out of his sight until I have taken my medications every night.  He has to see me physically swallow them.  He then waits thirty minutes for them to take affect while we watch TV and he watches me, and then we do Maggie’s food ritual (which she gets so excited about).  Every night, dad pours out Maggie’s old food and gives her fresh kibbles while I put fresh water in her bowl. 

It is sooooo nice having a fast computer again.  I didn’t realize how slow it had gotten until I reinstalled Vista the other night which took hours with all the service packs. I reinstalled the bare minimum of programs I needed to keep it fast and lean.  Email.  Window’s Live Writer for the Blog. Anti-virus and that’s it.  Oh, and Twhirl for Twitter. I am having to strongly resist installing uTorrent fearing it is a major source of malware.  Torrents can be rife with viruses that anti-virus programs don’t often pick up.

Dad and I had bacon and biscuits again this morning.  Mom had gotten me some Smucker’s strawberry preserves and we both agreed the biscuits and preserves was a delicious addictive combination.  I sleepily sat at the kitchen table as dad brought our plates after frying the bacon and baking the biscuits.  He was in a good mood – in good spirits.  He has almost completely recovered from his illness.   We didn’t talk much this morning just choosing to be quiet and together.  The only thing dad kept talking about was getting my hair cut by a good barber.  “I am going with you in support,” he told me knowing of my phobia of haircuts and the close contact intimacy involved.  We have just about gotten my severe case of dandruff cleared up with my daily showers and the prescription shampoo thus paving the way to a haircut I sorely need.   

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who Let the Feel Goods Out?

I feel so well again this morning.  Progressively, I have felt better and better everyday.  The incessant drooling has almost stopped.  I am able to sit long enough to watch my favorite show, Bones.  I no longer pace the floor for hours on end.  My mind grows clearer and more calm everyday.  I can only attribute this to my change back to risperidone away from Zyprexa.  Although, I miss being able to sleep on a whim like I could under the influence of that other drug.  It was the great escape from the torment that was my life.  Whole days could be spent in the bed escaped from my reality. 

I’ve been trying to understand the psychology of negative anonymous commenters this morning.  I understand the intent is to cause pain.  That is easy to discern.  The malice is palpable.  They would probably claim they are telling the truth.  I don’t share but a small percentage of my life on this blog so they can’t honestly deduce my life from my postings.  Whatever truth they seek is sorely lacking.  Sadly, I almost find it amusing – this drive to barrage me with all that nonsense.  This inane need to seek out a hurting or sick individual on the internet and bully them like children on a playground.  I can only conclude that I will have the last laugh as I will probably still be writing this blog long after their attention wavers.  I will probably and most likely have the last say.

I have no plans for the day.  I’ve been up since 3am reinstalling Vista again.  My computer was starting to slow so I knew it was time.  I find myself reinstalling Windows every few months in my attempts to keep it running clean and fresh. 

My brother called me last night on one of the exceedingly rare occasions he will do so.  He had bought a new iMac.  His first.  He’s always been a PC guy. 

“Do all Macs only have a one button mouse?” he asked.

I laughed and told him, yes, they all have a one button mouse.  I have little experience with Macs and couldn’t help him with much else though.

Dad’s sickness is easing up.  He sounded so much better last night.  Less congested.  He was in fine form as he told me to stop feeding Maggie people food.  Maggie had once again ignored her Purina One in favor of strawberry Poptarts.  The Mag dog is currently in the den on the cushion of the couch sleeping.  She makes it look so comfortable.  I’d curl up with her if I could fit.

I wistfully want to blame my current anxiety on my lack of alcohol.  I know. I know. Berate me.  It is just the alcoholic in me lashing out. A drink sure would calm me, though, and it is so enticing.  I’ve been obsessing all morning of hitting the pawn shop with my iPod when it opens at 9am.  I better attend that 8:30am online AA meeting they have everyday.    

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why Schizophrenics Smoke…

Why Schizophrenics Smoke

A Moment in Time…

Dad and I were just sitting at my kitchen table eating breakfast.  He cooked biscuits and bacon again – one of our favorite breakfasts these days.  He’s been getting these frozen biscuits at a grocery store in LaGrange and they taste fresh made after being baked.  My head was hung low in subservience.  I feel the need to be “on stage” when I am around dad – so careful of my actions as not to alarm him or worry him.  I have a strong tendency to act socially strange much of the time.

“Hold your head up and let me look at you,” he told me filling his mouth with bacon and chewing.  “You look so much better!  You are back from the dead!”

I smiled weakly and hung my head low again.  I ate a biscuit and said, “I love you and thank you for what you are doing for me.  Just having you over here every morning brings me such joy.  It’s hard to explain, but your encouragement gives me a reason for living.”

“Families should stick together,” my father told me. “You know what I did for your sister-in-law when she had her breast cancer.  I am doing the same for you.  You have an illness of the brain – a disease.  I would do the same for your brother and sister.”

Dad was off today.  I asked him what plans he had.

“They are putting new shutters in the house today and I think I will supervise,” dad replied laughing.  “You have to stay on those sons of bitches to get the job done right.”

I laughed in turn.  My father always has something going on centering around the house.  If it isn’t the yard, then something is getting painted, repaired, or improved.

“Go get your shower and I will clean up the kitchen,” dad said as he stood up and opened my dish washer. “You need a shave as well.”

I thought of how much this man means to me as I stood in the shower and lathered up.  I love him so very, very much.  I want him to be proud of me.  Families should stick together mirrored in my thoughts.  I would be helpless without him – homeless in some strange city.  Mentally ill and swilling beer to alleviate my mental illness symptoms.  He truly is my Rock of Gibraltar.   

Thunder on the Horizon…

I went to bed to the sound of thunder and rain last night.  It was so very nice.  Maggie cuddled up next to me on the bed under my arms and I and her went to sleep.  I love it when she does this.  Sometimes she just needs some extra attention and I am glad to give.  I love that dog so much.  She brings joy to my soul.  I love it when she is affectionate like last night. 

“Maggie didn’t eat her dog food,” dad said last night during our medication ritual. “I think you are supplementing her diet.”

I smiled and laughed.  “She got a little taste of Mexican Tuesday’s,” I replied. “I couldn’t eat but half of it.  You know I have to be careful about the bulimia.”

Dad grumbled.  He feels Maggie is going to get fat and diabetic with all the people food I feed her.  I know Maggie gets so tired of eating the same old Purina One every day.  I joyfully give her extra treats and food. She doesn’t seem to gain extra weight despite dad’s misgivings.

I feel so damn good right now – the first time in months.  So centered and at peace.  So calm and collected.  Let’s hope this lasts throughout the day.  Y’all be thinking about me.  Yesterday was tough – a day that had me wracked with anxiety.  It would be times like yesterday in the past that I would drink heavily.  I understand it now.  I felt terrible for years with my mental illness and self medicated.  The alcohol would calm me and soothe me – make me forget about what ails me in a fit of drunkenness.  I told mom yesterday of my predicament and how I would always drink at this time.  She said she wanted to give me three of her Xanax to calm me, but dad would kill her if he found out.

“Your sister said you are trying to quit smoking.  She was worried,” dad said last night. “She said you wrote about it on that Facebook thing.”

“I had too much anxiety to call you for more,” I replied. “I felt you would get on to me for smoking so much.  I worry about the costs. I worry about it all. I worry, worry, worry.”

“Get in the car and let’s go get you some cigarettes,” dad told me. “You know Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t do all that and stay away from drinking as well.  Your nerves can’t take it.  Get a couple of years of sobriety under your belt, and then think about quitting.”

I sheepishly followed dad to the car and we drove to Fat Albert’s to get some cigarettes.  I was so relieved and dad was so kind and understanding.  I immediately lit up when we got home and it felt soooooo good.  It halved my anxiety just smoking that first cigarette since 3pm the previous afternoon.

On the bulimia front, I am doing so well.  I eat careful small meals throughout the day.  The last two days would normally be binge days with all the food mom brings me from restaurants, but I did good.  I was careful and Maggie benefitted! lol