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Apr 18 2014

Adventures in Mental Health Care

You may have noticed from the fact I’ve flaked recently, but Wellbutrin stopped working in a big way. It did a great job removing depression at first – which unmasked an underlying anxiety that increased and increased and increased. Then it stopped working on the depression. Sigh.

My day job has spent the past several months jabbing the rage, depression, and anxiety buttons nearly constantly. It’s got to the point where I have nightmares about it, which added insomnia to the list. Double sigh.

And my doctor is on sabbatical so she can spend time with her kids. Triple sigh.

Image is a cat collapsed face-down on the back of a sofa. Caption says, "I love you, couch. You understand me."

It’s really hard to cope with change when you’re super-depressed and anxious, so it took me a while to work up the courage to go through the process of getting a new doctor. Luckily, a friend at work went from all storm clouds all the time to near-blissful happiness, and her doctor was accepting new patients. I saw her Tuesday. I bloody love both her and the new clinic. She was a lot more prompt and thorough than my previous doctor. She found me something that will, with any luck, destroy both the anxiety and the depression in one go. We’re phasing out Wellbutrin. I’ve got some Xanax to fill in the gaps while the new stuff gears up to full effect. She listened to me when I told her my tiny little body burns through ordinary doses of drugs in a flash, and dosed accordingly. And she also sent me down the hall to the lab to get my thyroid tested, which I’d meant to ask for and completely forgotten. I love docs who actually look for other underlying causes rather than just assuming you’re mental. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 16 2014

These Aren’t Weeds, They’re Easy-Care Flowers – Plus Daffodils

Later in summer, the boys will have to start mowing their back yard. But for now, it’s a wonderland of tall grass and beautiful wild flowers.

Image shows a dandelion and purple archangel blooming side-by-sideThey’ve got some gorgeous ones in the front yard, too. These daffodils are the strangest I’ve seen in a long while.

Image shows a daffodil with white outer petals, and a shallow corona that's yellow in the center and red on the very outer edges

I’m used to them having coronas that extend out like the bell of a trumpet, but this one’s tiny.  The flower barely seems 3-dimensional.

Daffodil nodding over another plant in the lawn

See – if you look at them from the side, the corona almost vanishes.
Cluster of daffodils

And one had a wee spider hanging out behind its bloom.

Daffodil with a tiny brown spider on its stem behind the flowerI usually don’t think of daffodils as brooding, but this one certainly looks like it’s deeply contemplative.

Drooping daffodil

They’re really lovely, and it’s only just the beginning. The Pacific Northwest spring, summer and fall are all full of flowers. Many of them might be considered weeds by flower bed purists, but I think they’re all wonderful. We’ll have lots.

Apr 15 2014

Mount Si and the Three Rivers

Spring adventuring has begun now that the rain pauses for minutes at a time. B and I buggered off from work on Saturday and headed out to the North Bend area for a little adventuring. Alas, our favorite eatery there has closed, but there’s a Herfy’s in Fall City, and the Three Forks Natural Area is right there. We adjusted plans accordingly.

If you’re ever in the area, do stop by here on a relatively clear day. The views of Mount Si from various spots are sublime. Here’s one across a field of dandelions.

Image shows Mount Si, a field full of bright yellow dandelions, and skies with big fluffy white clouds One day, I will bring my lounge chair, and sit in this field, and just watch the light change on Mount Si. Those cliffs turn cloud shadow and sunbreaks into poetry. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 14 2014

Spring Life with Kitties

Easing my way back from spring break. This week shall be a little light fare, in which I will share fun and pretty pictures with you, and link to other people’s hard work in order to provide a bit of substance. Sort of like taking you out for dinner, but serving dessert at home. I hope you’re in the mood for sweet, because I have definitely got it.

Spring’s finally arrived. There are dandelions blooming all over the place, and Luna’s enjoying her first spring with them. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 07 2014

Spring Break

Lessee… Behind in research, writing, communication, housecleaning, and catching B up on Doctor Who. I’m afraid that means it’s time for

Image shows an alligator  leaping from a river. Caption says, "Spring break!"

I hate to do it, but I’ve gotta take the week off to catch up. I may pop in with a bit here and there, because I’ll miss you. But expect light fare, until I return bearing the meatiest posts I can muster.

See you soon, my darlings!

 

Apr 06 2014

An Obvious Alternative

You know, maybe we should be debating abortion after all. We sometimes get so hung up on the way things are and the way we think they should be that we forget there’s more than one way to solve our problems. Yes, it’s true that there isn’t a lot of common ground between anti-abortion and pro-choice folks. One side wants to prevent pregnant people from getting abortions, and the other doesn’t want to force pregnant folk to be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies. So what do you do with an unplanned pregnancy, eh?

But maybe there’s a way to prevent most abortions AND not force unwillingly pregnant people from staying pregnant. Maybe there’s a third way. Mimmoth has an innovative idea:

Perhaps we have been asking, over and over and over, the wrong question.

If we are going to deprive people of bodily autonomy to save wonderful wonderful fetuses from death there is an obvious alternative that we, as clear-eyed skeptics willing to question tradition and religion, should be examining–an alternative that causes less harm and does more good, as it benefits not only women, but also men.

The question we ought to be asking is, should we sterilize men to save wonderful wonderful fetuses from death?

Every man over the age of puberty would make a few sperm donations, which are frozen away, then promptly be vasectomized, period, no exceptions. The frozen sperm is saved for when he and his partner decide together to have a child. In the meantime, never again need a man fear being tapped for child support for a child he didn’t consent to. And never again need a woman fear being made to endure pregnancy and labor for a child she didn’t consent to.

It’s true that this would deprive more people of bodily autonomy–all men instead of one third of women. But the harm would be much smaller. Instead of vomiting through nine months of pregnancy and screaming through eighteen hours of labor we would be talking about a half-hour visit to the doctor’s office, of which the shaving would be the most time-consuming part of the procedure.

With every child a deliberate decision on the part of both parents, abortions plummet–not quite to zero, alas, as there are those rare tragedies when a wanted pregnancy goes badly awry–but by easily 90-99%. Surely that is cause for rejoicing, if saving wonderful wonderful fetuses from death was actually the point.

And it may turn out, when it’s men’s bodily autonomy we’re talking about stripping away, that bodily autonomy is important after all, so we’ll live with abortion on demand and without apology. That’s also okay with me.

#UpForDebate

Brilliant! There is so much win here. MRAs could stop whining about getting spermjacked – they’d never have to worry about that again! Fetus worshippers could rest easier, knowing that the only “babies” being “killed” would be ones where it was self-defense. Women wouldn’t have to worry about unwanted pregnancies and birth control. Even God would be happier, knowing sperm was no longer being wasted. The “no sex except for procreation” crowd would still be grumpy, but they’re only happy when they’re mad, so even they would be satisfied.

It’s the perfect solution. I look forward to it being implemented in the very near future.

Image shows a cat sitting slumped over like a dejected person. It's front legs are draped like arms with its paws in its lap. The caption says, "Don't look. I just got back from the vet.

 

Apr 05 2014

How Would You Like to Take a Hike Across a Geologic Diagram?

There’s a place in Oregon, not too far south of Mount St. Helens, where you walk across a parking lot and see all the components of the subduction zone that fuel her. How awesome is that?

First, we’ll have a bit of a diagram.

Cross-section of a subduction zone. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

This is the idealized version of a subduction zone, showing you all the relevant bits. There’s an even better diagram here, showing you the structural high that can be created as the oceanic plate dives beneath the continental one. I encourage you to study both images for a moment. As with all diagrams, these are simplified versions of real-life structures. You usually don’t find anything so simple in the field. But I can show you a place where you can actually see those diagrams in action, without squinting. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 04 2014

Floral Interlude

Some of you asked for flowers. It’s not been a good year for flowers. When I have the time and energy to photograph them, it’s been peeing down rain. When I’m trapped doing other things, usually indoors, it’s been bright and sunny and wonderful. I’ve determined the weather is mocking me.

But I did manage to slip away on Wednesday afternoon and catch a few for ye. We’ll start with those, then continue on with some of the lovely flowers some of you have sent.

Green and White Roof

Green and White Roof

I think these are dogwood. They’re on an enormous tree, and looking up through them towards the sky is like having a green and white floral roof. I could stand a house with a ceiling like this.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 04 2014

Ah, So That’s the Purpose of a Baby!

I suspect this isn’t far off from how cats actually view us:

Image shows a baby sleeping on its side, with a cat sleeping behind it, cuddling it. Caption reads, "Brand new can opener"

This about did me in, I’ll admit. I’m not one for thinking of babies as cute all that often, but this is just outrageously adorable, and then the caption just makes it perfect. Bravo, person who created this lolcat! Well done.

Apr 03 2014

To The People Who Love to Opinionate on Not Medicating a Mental Illness

Fuck you.

Fuck you and your sanctimonious crap about how you believe psychiatric drugs aren’t good for us, and we shouldn’t take them, because we’ll be oh-so-much-better.

Bullshit.

You know, I really wish more people cheered for the medicine, and fewer acted like it was a personal failure and a potential death sentence to take psychiatric meds. Because I’d still have a mother if she’d listened to her first and best psychiatrists, rather than the assholes who told her she could and should do without the drugs.

As it stands, I have a shell of what used to be my mom, living in residential care and never able to leave it. There’s nothing left of the person I adored. Just an echo. Her mind would still be intact if she’d stayed on her drugs. She didn’t, and now she’s gone.

So fuck you, assholes who burble about how the drugs are harming us. Fuck you, people who shake their heads and cluck their tongues and judge. I will be flipping you off with one hand while happily taking my medication with the other. I don’t want to end up like her.

I know our current drugs aren’t a perfect solution, and that they sometimes lose their effectiveness as our bodies change, and we need to adjust them. I know they won’t always keep the depression and anxiety away. But they mitigate it. I’ve reached the stage where I’ll have to be on them for the rest of my life if I want to live with my mind mostly intact, and I’m good with that. I’ve watched them help other people I love, watched them return people to life who had nearly left it, and I love them for that. I’m glad we have something. Because I know what unmedicated serious mental illness looks like, and it’s horrific.

So fuck you, with your “I stopped taking meds and now I feel so much better!” My mother fell for your schtick, and she felt great – right up until the last of her lithium and antipsychotics cleared her system, and the suicidal depression and nasty voices came back, until paranoia paralyzed her and made her terrified of everyone and everything. My mother kept falling for your bullshit, and each time, a bit more of her slipped away until she couldn’t come back. You might have a mild enough case of whatever it is you were taking pills for that you just needed the temporary boost and can now do without. Or you may be in that honeymoon period before your mind collapses in on itself again. I don’t care, to be honest. I just want you to fuck off, and leave those of us who have decided we don’t want to risk going on a one-way trip down the wrong road the hell alone.

Don’t start that bullshit with me unless you have overwhelming scientific evidence of a better way to treat mental illness. You don’t have it now. And if you try to wave some fuckwad’s pop psychology book of bullshit in my face as proof, I may do something very Not Nice.

Then again, I might be able to contain myself. As long as I’m on my medication, it’s easier to keep my temper around sanctimonious assholes like you.

Image is a finger touching a cat's nose. Caption says, "My grumpy button. Ur pushin it."

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