Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
One of my shy participants added her own flair to her project. She would only let me photograph the end results.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
My "bleeding wound" incident happened during the school day. I had experienced a series of losses, a marriage that ended, a home is a beautiful historic district that I had to sell, an old dog friend had to be put down, my new puppy and I were attacked by dogs that some guy let off of their leashes, my less than competent principal moved my class room to an undesirable location....and the list goes on. I was struggling to stay afloat. I was seeing a counselor, but resisting medication, resisting seeing a psychiatrist, thinking I could fix this myself, wanting it all to go away. I had taken anti-depressants some years earlier and it was horrid, and involved my flushing the last of the meds down the toilet and hoping for the best. But more on that later. It's been over 25 years, so some of the stories start to overlap.
I was convinced if I had a mental illness I would lose my job, lose my home, lose my friends and family, and end up living out of a box under the overpass. So the best way to have that not happen, don't go see the doctor who will diagnose that illness. DUH!
I finally decided to see the psychiatrist for medication. Our insurance was through GHP, at that time you saw the doctors thru a clinic set up. It would be a month before I could get in to a psychiatrist, and the counselor could not find a medical doctor who would sign off on the meds in the meantime.
The principal started chewing on my ear. Not literally.( For every horror story that you can tell about a bad teacher, there are teachers who will can tell you their horror stories. That too is another topic)
It was obvious to all involved, ( and I knew too, but was in denial) that I was seriously stressed. A post traumatic stress disorder caused by the loses in my life. Most immediate was the school situation. I was moved from an area of the building that held my friends and support system. The principal shuffled the deck to maintain control and power over the peons in the building. ( Yes, I am still bitter on some level). I was dropped into " no man's land". It was an area of the building that had a large carpeted area, that ideally would be used for group presentations....it could hold about 50-60 children sitting on the floor. It became the between class teacher supervision nightmare, the place you went to "play tag", met to beat up the goth kid, met to embrace your sweet heart. Yikes. My class room was one of three facing this area. The other two teachers I'm sure struggled as well. It was a huge play pen, wrestling ring, nightmare, between every class. I had broken up several serious fights between 14 - 15 year old kids, bigger and stronger than me. When trying to break up fights you also had to deal with the kids in the circle, who egged on the fighters, who would not leave the area, who would mouth off and resist your direction, knowing you couldn't deal with all of them. I took one kid by the arm, and threatened his grade in my class if he didn't back off from the fighting madness....certainly inappropriate. ( I thought it was better than trying to slug him in the teeth, which is what the other kids were doing to each other....oh...I wasn't a kid, not suppose to do that. And remember I was neither canine nor divine.) I did what any self respecting teacher would do in the same situation. I went to the teacher rest room, locked the door, and started kicking the trash can, until it bounced off the wall and hit me in the shin.
Of course there would be consequences for me later, in the form of a reprimand in my personnel file, that did a pretty good job of making a case for insanity on my part. I am proud to say, that I was able to summon enough energy to write a rebuttal and the superintendent removed the reprimand from my file, which REALLY pissed off the principal . ( oops I'm getting hot reliving these events....bad words. lol)
But meanwhile, back in the bathroom. I was looking down at the dent in my leg, and there was blood and a knock at the door. The school counselor. I let her in. ( This was a tiny room, and neither of us were/are tiny people.) Hugs and reassurances were given, and a suggestion that she call the doctor and we go to the ER to get an emergency psychiatric evaluation. My worst fears come true I must be crazy.....I'll be living in a box under the overpass. It was also music to my weary soul.
I'm sure the diagnosis of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure,or other illness involves the denial and the deals, and the thought that it must be something else, or it's a mistake, surely not me, and if I just act a certain way, it will all be OK, and I'll get a cookie for being good. And this will all go away.
Carol B, the school counselor, was one of the first, of many, faces of God, or angel, whatever you want to call them, who appeared to save my life.
So while my ear was chewed on ( sort of ) that day, it was divine intervention, I went to the ER with my loving friend and coworker, saw a nice counselor in the ER, was prescribed some medication, told that I didn't need hospitalization, would survive, should try to eliminate stress, etc. I went home. My folks were a bit freaked, but supportive and understanding.
The story continues....it doesn't all get fixed there. But it's the first step on the road to recovery, survival and success.
If you have feelings of depression, I know it's hard to decide to get help. I hope you have people in your life who are aware and will step in. If you have a friend who you see struggling, do not hesitate to offer help. In the long run, they will be grateful.
My friend Chel, in the Land of ZNE has inspired me to write about my experience with depression. She is trying to encourage conversation and understanding about the mental health issues that so many of us live with. So many of us have stories, some of those stories end in suicide, others stories tell of recovery, survival and success.
We need to tell those stories.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
You ask of my companions.
Hills, sir, and the sundown,
and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me.
They are better than human beings,
because they know but do not tell.
- Emily Dickinson
Above is a self-portrait of me and my golden retriever, Abby. She will be 13 this year. I know her time here is short. But it's a reminder to enjoy today. Abby struggles with arthrits and seizures, but does well with a dose of remidyl daily and some over the counter "calm down" during thunder storms. ( I should give her a glass of wine, since it is 13% alcohol.) I decided to try to take some photos of Abby and me, holding the digital DSL at arms length. Now that was funny.
First Abby is afraid of the camera, which might flash, which reminds her of a lightening and thunder storm, which will mean she must pace around the house, and find a place to hide and pant and cry.Which is not unlike myself.....chaining negative events one after another, ending in some horrid yet unlikely consequence. But she let me do this that day. No flash, no red eye blinking lights, so she tolerated it.
How is that like me?
I struggle with depression that comes and goes, since about 1984. I'm afraid to not take the medicine. I do not want to be in a pit of despair, ever again. It hurts my soul. It takes too long to climb out. It's too hard to climb out. It distracts me from those I love and from what I love. I lie in bed, curled in a ball, or flat on my back, covered with a blanket, that surely will protect me, from....out there.
My friend Chel, in the Land of ZNE is sharing her story, to try to open discussion and understanding about mental illness, depression, suicide. I admire her courage. I will try to start sharing my story.
It's a story of survival, recovery, and I like to think, success. There are success stories.
We should tell them.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
- Richard Rohr, OFM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Just when I thought it was safe to put the wallet away, we traveled on down the road to Danville to Marcia Harmon's Cottage Jewel. A wonderful store full of jewels, linens, photos, and goodies, too numerous to list, all from a vintage era past. Sigh...and displayed so delightfully. I couldn't stop taking photos. I'll let them speak for themselves ( the photos). I ended up with some vintage photos, one a souvenir from Fisherman's Wharf, a vintage silver Ethiopian ear ring and a little silver and enameled watering can pin. ( It of course had sunflowers in it and I had to have it.) Marcia was so thoughtful to let me take photos of all her colorful vignettes.
Chel checks out the wares, while I surprise Marcia with a photo.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Our first stop was Tangerine. Proprietor Gina Gabriell, greeted us with tea and pastries. Always a hit with wannabe artists. She has a lovely little shop in Dublin, which I think doubles as part of her studio. You can find her original art all over. In addition are all sorts of gift items, and supplies for the mixed media artist. I purchased one of her hand made gypsy fortune tellers, you remember those from your school days, I'm sure. I also bought a cute little vintage wooden toy that she picked up on a recent trip to Paris. Check out her blog for info about her trip.
Chel and Gina
In addition to fabulous tasty treats, we made some little eye candy treats as well. Each of us made one of these little treat purses, and she gave each of us a "kit" to go.
I really enjoyed visiting with Gina in her special space, and working on these little treat purses. A tip I shared:When you use your hot glue gun, and you have all those annoying glue stringies...well....use your heat tool and blow a little hot air around your work, and the little stringies just disappear.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Yet another amazing class with an amazing artist, Ruth Rae. We made these delightful necklaces from 16, 18, 20 gauge copper wire. Yes, bare naked straight pieces of wire that we coiled up in secret ways using a drill. POWER TOOLS RULE! And we used sharp metal things to cut with. Ok, lots of pliers and wire cutters. I"m still amazed by how this piece came together. Ruth was so patient with all of us as we did weird things to our jump rings and grimaced at the drill. My first real adventure in jewelery making, beyond stretchy cord and beads. I love it! Ok, now where has my dh hidden the drill? Check out this link to Ruth's blog. That's me seated at the back left of the photo!