Category Archives: Children

The Seven Stages of Pissed Off

The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

All the death gurus I’ve read or heard quoted claim there are stages of grief. I have to say that at the moment I’m in the white hot lava mountain of rage otherwise known as anger.

It’ kind of hard to deal with because at the moment I’m angry with my family and everyone else I’ve even known who puts themselves in harm’s way to the sorrow and fear of their loved ones and friends.

I’m angry with my grandson for choosing to live a sad and dangerous life; choices that left his 26 year old beaten, drugged up, frozen dead body on the ground in a train station in Boston. Those of us left behind to mourn him are left holding the bag. I’m pissed off because it seems like he got off easy. He doesn’t have to face each day knowing that he’s gone forever. He’s not left with a life time of “what ifs.”

I’m angry at those members of my family who still abuse drugs and alcohol and live on the razors edge of death in a myriad of ways because of their actions. Who will I have to bury next?

I’m angry at family and friends who suffer from an assortment of mental illness and refuse to seek or maintain treatment. I’ve been told by a number of them that well “I’m not hurting anyone but myself.” Excuse me but that is total unadulterated bullshit. Hello but you are torturing those who love you.

Having substance abusing, and or mentally ill friends and relatives is like having a stalker. The situation grinds on relentlessly for years and then decades. Your heart jumps into your throat every time the phone rings. “What  is it THIS time?” Are they in the hospital? Are they in jail? Are they missing…again. Are they dead?

It’s a slow kind of torture that never ends. You can’t do anything about it. Maybe having an actual stalker would be easier to deal with. You can report them to the police. You can take out a restraining order. You can go incognito. If all else fails, you can move to another city or country to get away from it.

But you can’t get away from substance abuse or untreated mental illness. You can hope, you can pray, you can go into denial and refuse to answer the phone, but you can never get away from it.

To anyone who thinks that their self destructive behavior is their business and not anyone else’s….I would like to brain you with an iron frying pan and then lock you in a closet for a year or three. You ARE hurting the people who love you.

 Mental Illness – A Crime Punishable by Death

Rest in Peace, Christopher

Rest in Peace, Christopher

When did mental illness become a crime punishable by death…without even a trial? That’s what can happen to a loved one if they live in the frozen North of our great country. I’m so angry that I’m having extreme difficulty putting it into words.

My grandson has been struggling for years now. His latest residence was a homeless shelter for veterans in Boston. He got in some kind of disagreement with them and they threw him out, in the middle of the night, when the temperature was in the teens. If it was that bad why didn’t they call the police? I’d rather my grandson be in jail than in a funeral home waiting for us to bring him to his final resting place. There are not enough tears in the ocean to shed at this travesty.

Many of our young people are behind the eight ball in multiple ways; inner city crime, emotional disorders, mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness and many more problems. Most health care professionals have no training in treating people with alcoholism and mental illness together.

Many will say “we can’t give you any medicine for mental illness because you are drinking.” I’m sorry, but that is a big giant load of horse crap. Maybe if they gave someone a valium they would calm down, go home, if they have one, and go to sleep, instead of wandering the streets, and even dying on a park bench or a train station. Are they afraid of liability issues? I wonder.

So my grandson is laying in a coffin now. He slipped through the cracks. But can we even call it a crack?? It’s more a huge fissure that’s getting wider every day. Pray for our children.

Our Cat Has Pneumonia

Knick KnackYes, indeed our beloved feline has pneumonia. I didn’t even realize that could happen to cats. This poor kitty picked his parents well when he adopted us. He has been the most high maintenance cat I’ve ever had. My sneaking suspicion it is because he’s male. I never had these problems with female cats. Oh, just kidding…well no I’m not, actually. Human males can be a bit high maintenance as well, in my experience.

In retrospect, Mr. Kitty had been trying to tell us he’s not ok with bizarre behaviors; inappropriate urination – on the stove, my shoe, a pile of laundry, hacking up unmentionable ectoplasm all over the house, pawing at us and then running to hide. But when he started gasping for breath we finally figured out he was in crisis and rushed him to the vet.

So now we have a kitty with pneumonia and have to give him medicine twice a day and hope for the best. Giving a cat medicine is no easy task. Of course it doesn’t take him long to figure out our nefarious plan and hides. Then it falls to me to drag him yowling, hissing and scratching out of whatever his hidey hole du’ jour is. We wrap him up in a bath towel like a burrito, so he can’t claw us to shreds, and then give him a dropper full of antibiotic and an anti-congestion pill. He of course struggles, growls, tries to get loose from his towel straight jacket and in general acts like we are skinning him alive for sport.

Just like a child, Kitty doesn’t understand that all these horrible things we are doing to him are for his own good. It reminds me of a sister when she was a kid. She fought like a banshee every single time she needed to take meds. She never did figure out that it was inevitable. She absolutely would not take medicine without a fight. It took 5 of us to hold her down. One sibling to each arm and leg, and one kid to hold her nose long enough for her to open her mouth so my Mom could pop in the medication. It’s sort of ironic really, because she’s swung to the opposite extreme in her adulthood and will take anything she can get her hands on.

Painting With Words

Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging. ― Maya Angelou

Maybe some people have a knee jerk reaction to the term “grow up.” Perhaps it’s more of a case of growing into yourself. Little girls like to play dress up with mommy’s clothes. Boys like to do it too, I know because I have brothers. Now they didn’t dress in my mother’s clothes, but we had a lot of fun coming up with costumes.

When we get older we are told to put away childish things. What I want to know is…who defines childish things? I put away painting and creativity for 50 years because I bought into the lie. You mess around with finger paints, water colors, crayons, but then you grow up. Other activities are deemed more important. Making a living in a mind numbing horrible job. Pay the rent, raise the kids, wash the clothes, feed the starving hordes, buy a house, buy a car, work for a charity in your “free time” because you are supposed to give back, never mind that you giving to someone else’s idea of what is important.

I’ve been reading this book called the Artist Way, by Julia Cameron. I read it years ago, but put it away. The author points out in excruciating detail all these fallacies when it comes to creativity. She suggests treating your inner artist as a child who wants to come out and play. If we put it off this child, just like a physical child, will have a tantrum. It manifests as stress, boredom, ennui, and feeling like something is missing in your life.

First Oil Painting

First Oil Painting

To the left here is my very first every oil painting so don’t laugh! I struggled with it and finally declared it finished because any additional paint I added just seemed to make it more blurred and muddy. I learned a lot about mixing and blending colors from it.

Any way back to the Artist Way, Cameron states that we shoot ourselves in the foot when we label ourselves as lazy when we fail to let go and start creating. What it really going on is fear with a capital F. There is a huge difference there.

This rang true for me and I realized that I’d been doing it for 50 years. I’ve always loved to write so the first step I took to get away from the fear was to start a blog. And let me tell you, I almost had a stroke the first time I pushed the “publish” button. And over the past couple of years I’ve been through a gamut of emotions. But, I gave myself permission write about what I wanted to write about. Then I had to give myself permission to not write when I didn’t want to or felt I had nothing to say that I wanted bared to public scrutiny.

The last week or so writing fell by the wayside because I’ve been caught up in painting. The creative part of my brain is expressing itself in colors, textures and shapes instead of written words. It’s an interesting state of mind. I get so caught up in it that words seem foreign. Now that I’m back to painting with words, they seem to come out a bit different than before. I’m loving it and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.

I Slipped and Got Stuck In My Head

In gaining a deeper understanding of madness, we gain a deeper understanding of the core existential dilemmas with which we all must struggle, arriving at the unsettling realization of just how thin the boundary really is between madness and sanity.  Rethinking Madness – Towards a Paradigm Shift in Our Understanding and Treatment of Psychosis. Paris Williams Ph.D.

rethinking madnessWell this blog went dark for a week or so because of traumatic dealings with my daughter who is mentally ill and addicted to drugs. I sort of ran out of things to say and was starting to feel and sound unhinged, even to myself. As a result I went into hibernation mode. For a couple of days I was depressed and stayed in bed all day watching the entire 2 ½ seasons of Titus High Performance, a show that was on the Fox network years ago.

It’s a show starring Christopher Titus a stand-up comedian, and is loosely based on his life. He was raised by an alcoholic father and a manic-depressive, schizophrenic mother. He married a girl who also came from a dysfunctional family of Irish catholic alcoholics, the brother a burglar and a drug user, the sister constantly having babies by different men without being married, the younger sister selling drugs….you get my drift. One episode is a thanksgiving dinner that turns into in a food fight and escalates to a brawl and shootout and the entire family ends up in the emergency room covered with food, burns, a dislocated shoulder for Titus, bumps and bruises.

So anyway I watched this show to “ground” myself, as in I’m not the only one with an insane family of origin. Then the next day I started percolating into a rage of “I’m sick of this shit, I can’t take anymore.” I was so angry that I was shaking. I ended up screaming at the dishes in the dishwasher. “When all the dishes are clean there is no place to put anything!!!! We have too God damned many coffee cups!” Mr. Husband caught the tail end of this when he walked into the kitchen and I turned to him and yelled “STOP BUYING COFFEE CUPS!!!!” That just made his day, lemme tell ya. All he had really done was to cook a wonderful 4th of July dinner. So sorry Hubman, really I am.

In this down time I read a bunch of books about dysfunctional families, substance abuse, etc. There are many different perspectives on these issues. Then main thing I take away is that I’m not alone in this struggle and I don’t have to put up with unacceptable behavior from anyone, including from my children.

When I get extremely stressed out I tend to turn in on myself and get quiet and hide. Fortunately for those around me, I don’t turn actively psychotic and start throwing rocks at the neighbors or burn down the house. But inside my head there is all kinds of freaking and shrieking going on. I get stuck in a loop of repetitive thoughts. Things like what I’m going to say to my daughter next time she calls, and blah blah blah. It’s absolutely crazy making and exhausting.

The thing I realized is that when this happens I become physically and emotionally paralyzed and just sit there staring into to space or at the TV. Being a writer and budding artist I decided to sit down and try to get this out of my head and onto paper. That was an interesting development. I tried to draw a sort of combination infinity sign or yin yang. What I discovered was that I was having trouble making the 2 sides connect, how odd. But then I started writing in all the things going on in my head versus all things going on physically. When I was done I had a graphical representation of what was going on in my head. The revelation was that the mental side of the drawing had tons of stuff in it…fear, guilt, anger, frustration, apathy, boredom, while the physical side had not much of anything except ills such as a headache, stomach ache, neck pain and so on.

That’s when it hit me. God grief, I’m stuck in my head! I need to get out of here and start living in the physical world again. I need to get moving around and doing things again. I hate when I get stuck in my head. It’s like mental plumbing trouble. I wonder if there is such a thing as a laxative for my brain.

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