Oracle Cards: Week of April 28 – May 4

Since I am now selling Tarot readings, I thought I’d give you guys a peek into some stuff I do for myself.

I will say that a lot of the time I was depressed (so much of the last 10 years), I did not have a consistent spiritual practice, and that includes not using cards for a long time.

But lately, I have been more consistent. I’m reopening myself to the spiritual, being in tune with myself again.

One of the things I like to do is draw cards for myself from time to time. I’d like to say that I do it daily, but that would be a bit disingenuous. I have the intention of doing it daily, but too often I allow other things to get in the way.

I’m working on practicing more with newer, non-Tarot Oracle decks. There are some really wonderful ones out there. Oracle cards are more modern than Tarot. They may or may not use traditional imagery. I’m really drawn to ones that are pretty new. They usually have between 40-60 cards, as opposed to 78 in a Tarot deck. They are not organized the same way as Tarot. Currently, I’m spending a lot of time with Wisdom of the Hidden Realms by Colette Baron-Reid.

I would like to post a weekly reading, so you can see a bit of what I do. I am still learning this deck, so I do use the book a bit, but I then meditate on what the book says and interpret it by what it means to/for me (or a client). If I used Baron-Reid’s words, I will use quotes.

In this book, for most of the cards, if the card is upright, the spiritual character listed is an Ally. If reversed, s/he is a challenger. Some of you that have already gotten a 3 card reading may realize that this is slightly different from how I do a 3-card with Tarot. Different cards, different way to read. 🙂 But there are always different ways to interpret. The thing is to be clear on what you are doing before you draw the cards.

First Card – Present influence


The first card here, representing a present influence, is The Lady of Lightening, as a Challenger.

She warns of unexpected bad news, but also gives hope in the form of a message to wait out the storm.

I think I know what that is about. I don’t feel like sharing that here and now, though.

Second Card – Suggested Action

The Diamond Dreamer as an Ally.
His keywords, seen on the card, are material wealth, and true prosperity. 
Considering my most recent post, I like that!
Apparently, he helps create coincidences to help you reach your goals. “If you want a house, you’ll be led to it, if your priority is a new job, with the right continual steps, you will achieve this.”
On Friday night, I found a listing on a temp agency’s website for a “Math Content Editor” that seems to fit a lot of my skill-set. The pay is FABULOUS.
But he reminds me that I have to do some work, too. Today, I need to tweak my resume to fit the requirements and get it actually sent! (This is one of my biggest stumbling blocks). They can’t know I’m perfect for the job if I don’t tell them.

Third Card – Probably outcome (based on 2)

The Cosmos – The keywords here are creativity and vastness.

This card is ALWAYS an Ally, even when reversed.

On the creativity side, “Remember. . .  you’re always co-creating with the Divine.”

It talks about how we are all interconnected and when I do things, they affect others, even if I don’t know how. It’s a message to keep creating and changing things – go forward. But there’s also a message to “be mindful of your thoughts and actions: both are influencing your outer world.”

Overall

It’s all well and good to break down each card like that, but what does it mean that they were drawn together, in this order, on this day? This is where the intuition part comes in. 
What I’m getting is that even though I may feel like I’m in a bad place right now (Lady of Lightening), if I keep making an effort towards things I want (both Diamond Dreamer and Cosmos), and I am clear in my intention (Diamond Dreamer), and I allow my creativity to come through (Cosmos), things will start to pull together for me – I will get what I want (both Diamond Dreamer and Cosmos).

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Some changes (or "In which I reveal my finances")

1. Tarot offerings – I originally wasn’t sure how I’d feel about doing readings remotely. I thought that I’d prefer to do live readings with Skype or Google + Hangouts, but found that I actually enjoy having the time to reflect, let the cards sit a bit, and then type up the readings. So, I changed it to offer all the readings by default as PDF files via email and mention that I can be available for the live readings as well.

I also added a longer 7-card reading at a low introductory price ($20), but all intro prices expire on April 30!

2. I added an Amazon Affiliate store. I’ve always linked to products on Amazon through my affiliate id., but it hasn’t converted into any sales. From now on, if I talk about something, particularly books, I’ll add that item to my store.

3. I want to expand the reach of my blog. Pretty much all my regular readers are personal friends. That’s great, and I love that you guys read, especially when you comment or talk to me on FB. Some of you have even bought readings already, and I’m so excited to do them for you. But my friends aren’t necessarily the target audience for things I want to do in the future. So, I want to reach more people.

I’m floundering a bit on what to focus the blog on. I’m doing more personal growth and spiritual work lately, and to me that seems to dovetail nicely with the mental health stuff I also talk about. But it seems that people don’t search for those terms together. I thought about toning down the mental heath stuff, but it’s so central to who I am and what I go through, that I don’t feel I can. So, I will still talk about my struggles with bipolar and in particular depression, but I’ll be adding more of the self-help/personal growth/spirituality stuff, too. I’ll try to make the post titles obvious as to which is which because some people like one more than the other.

4. Begging, money, stupid crap like that – Here’s the deal. . . Unemployment compensation ran out for me in January. Between tutoring, a tax refund, a few hours a week of research for a small company, and some help from Vocational Rehab (and now selling some readings), I’ve been . . . getting by. I’ve had to borrow gas money from the kid a couple times, which is embarrassing, and had her phone get turned off (for a day or two) a couple of times.

On May 1st, I get $733 for my VA disability payment, plus $532.24 from Voc Rehab. This is the only guaranteed income I have at the moment (and last week was the last week for getting work from the small company).

Starting May 1, rent is $700 plus I have to pay $133.33 for May, June and July for the pet deposit I sort of never paid. Management finally realized I have the cat (thanks to all the trouble with the A/C), and I’ve got to pay. The manager is allowing me three months to come up with it, but even that is a bit rough at the moment. Plus, I have to include the water bill (can’t find the bill at the moment, but it’s been running $55-68/mo) with my rent on the 1st. I still have a storage unit. I’ve been trying to whittle down what’s in there so we can get a smaller unit, but it’s slow going. The rent on that has gone up every year, and is now $164 – which is ridiculous. And yes, there is stuff in there that I do NOT want to get rid of. I *will* be in a 2-bedroom place again at some point and have the room for the stuff. So that’s:

$1265.24 coming in on the first and roughly (depending on the water bill) $1057.33 going right back out. Then there’s the $73 for the electric bill and the $100 on the internet bill (I’m a little behind on both), leaving me about only $35 for gas and groceries for the whole month. Now, final exams are coming up, so I’ll likely have some tutoring appointments to help out with that, but not nearly enough. And I have to pay for a CPR class (~$30) and $70 for my teaching credential.

June is interesting.

First, tutoring dries up in the summer. I usually have a couple of summer clients who are either repeating a class or trying to keep their skills up for the next one, but last summer, I ended up with only one for only part of the summer.

If I do pay for the CPR class and credential, then Voc Rehab will call me “employment ready” and I’ll be eligible for 2 months more of the subsistence allowance at the full rate of $725.78. So, that will help. But I have to be able to pay for the class and processing fee for the credential to get that.

So, yes, I guess I’m begging a bit. If I can’t land a job in the next couple of weeks (and I’m long-term unemployed, which makes it tough), I’m kinda screwed.

I’d so much rather earn the money through affiliate sales, tutoring and doing readings than have any more given to me. People have helped me out so much over the last several years, especially during times when I could not earn (applying for disability and doctors telling me not to work) but I’m still used to being independent. I’d rather earn than beg.

A couple of people have bought Leonie Dawson’s Incredible Year Workbook – THANK YOU! It now takes 2 months to get paid for that, but it seems to be pretty standard across affiliate programs and every little bit helps (for a reminder, I get 50% of anything bought on her site through my links). Since this is the only one of her products (and it’s the cheapest) that I’ve actually used, it’s the only thing I feel comfortable hawking, but if you like her stuff and want to buy anything else, it would help me out if you went through my link. I’m not sure how long the tracking cookie lasts, but at least 24 hours.

Also, I do have Google Adsense on this site (you may have noticed). To date, I’ve made a total of $22.22 from it. While that’s a very interesting number (not only for the repetition and palindrome, but in numerology 22 is a “master” number) but they don’t send a check until it hits $100. More eyes means more earning, so please, if you know anyone who might enjoy any of my themes or particular posts, I would appreciate you sharing it with them.

All this to say. .  . I’m adding a “Donate” button to the sidebar. This week a couple of fantastic people wanted to help me out, but didn’t want to get a reading, since they don’t believe in that kind of thing. I totally understand that. I know a lot of the people who read the blog are not remotely interested in some of the stuff I’m trying to hawk.

So, if that’s you, please hit the Donate button here or on the sidebar. It is through PayPal, and I do have a merchant account from back when I sold books a lot. $5 at a time adds up.




For some reason, I’m completely certain that come Fall, I’ll have a job. I don’t know why I’m that certain, but I am. I don’t know where it will be, or even if it will be teaching (I think so), but I’m certain. So, it’s a matter of getting through the summer to get to that job.

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Fear of moving forward

Here I am, once again, feeling stuck.

Last night was the last class of my student-teaching seminar.

I turned in all my assignments. The last one isn’t graded yet, but I’ve got an A right now. If I totally screwed it up, I suppose it could drop to a B, but that’s unlikely.

I still have to finish two Teaching Performance Assessments (TPA), a CPR class and pay $70 to the state for processing fees.

That’s it.

Problem is, I’ve had the material to finish up the TPAs for a year and a half. There are four of them, and two had to be done before student teaching and the other two were supposed to happen during student teaching.

I have the materials.

But the things are stupid and long and repetitive.

I can’t work on it for long without wanting to throw my computer across the room.

Of course, that’s not really the limiting factor.

I’ve done lots of stupid, long, and repetitive things in my life; who hasn’t?

File:The Scream.jpg
The Scream – Edvard Munch
(Yes, I feel like this: complete existential angst)

The limiting factor is fear.

The closer I get, the more scared I am.

I still haven’t gotten the letters of recommendation and/or introduction from my mentor teachers.

Why?

Because I’m embarrassed I haven’t asked for them yet. I should have done so in January 2012.

I’ve been told that because I’m finishing up the requirements and it will only be a matter of weeks until I get the credential, I can start applying for jobs.

Except I really can’t without the letters of recommendation.

Sooo, I have to get them. I’ve planned to do so several times in the last few months. But I’ve never actually done it.

I know that I will feel a lot better once I do.

But still, I stall.

I’m terrified of interviewing for a teaching job.

I know it’s because it’s new, and because I’m not completely certain this is something I can do.

I keep realizing that other people at my stage know so much more about the hiring process, about résumés for education, about what they are supposed to do. I never invited the principal to watch me when I was student-teaching. I didn’t know I was supposed to. Others knew they were supposed to. How?

And I’m in a position now where I have to get a job, NOW. It doesn’t matter what it is – I just need to be able to bring in at least $1000/mo through August to be able to pay the bills. And I keep putting it off.

I’m scared into immobility; gone “tharn”.

I have been here before – this is one of the ways I create a crisis, over and over again.

I’m aware of that.

And I still do it.

This is annoying as well as scary.

And I know how much better it will be once it’s all done and over with.

After all, I agonized about graduating from my university so much I forgot to put in my application, and never walked in the ceremony.

Isn’t this exactly the same thing?

It’s just a little bit more work. Just a bit.

And then something I’ve been working towards for almost 11 years now will be done.

Don’t I deserve that?

There’s also a thing where once I’ve got the credential, I’ll get two months of job search assistance from the V.A. Voc Rehab people, including $725/mo for those two months, money I could really use.

Actions for the next week:

1. Finalize and turn in TPA 3.
2. Find $$ for the CPR class and preliminary teaching credential application. This money will be refunded by the VA, but I need to come up with it first.
3. After my tire is replaced, get my butt to the school I did my student teaching in to get the letters of recommendation.
4. Apply for . . .how many? Minimum of 2? temp agency and/or tutoring center jobs.

Must.Take.Action.NOW.

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Self Love: Feeling Worthy

A few weeks ago, Diana posted a fantastic post about feeling worthy. In it, she quoted a Facebook post by Paul Carter.

click to return to the previous page
photo from Unprofound.com
What seeds are you planting in your mind?

The greatest gift you can ever give yourself is the undying belief that you are worthy. Someone who doesn’t value their own self worth cannot fully accept anything gifted to them or anything earned.

If you do not believe you are worthy of someone’s love, you will never experience it. If you do not believe you are worthy of adoration, you will never experience it. If you do not believe you are worthy of adoration, you will never receive it. If you do not believe you are worthy of being strong you will never know it.

Inhale and grok* the belief that you are worthy of things both gifted and earned. .  .

There is a lot here.

We’ve often heard that if you don’t love yourself, you can’t truly love someone else. But this feels .  . . more. . . somehow.

How do you change your belief in yourself so much that you feel “worthy of adoration” without becoming completely narcissistic?

And if you don’t believe it, deep down, what kind of damage does that do?

Diana talks about not liking it when her friends don’t have a sense of self-worth, when they are down on themselves. I totally understand that. When people I care about do the same thing, I can’t stand it.

For example, when C starts being down on herself, it’s really hard to watch.

Here is this exquisite, beautiful, smart-as-hell, strong, strong-willed, talented, kind, good with small children, energetic, fantastic human being. And she will get down on herself for not being good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, good at martial arts enough. She was raised with a lot of positive reinforcement, and she still has all the same emotional fragility a lot of us have.

And nothing I say helps, because it’s coming from inside.

I know I do this, too. I talked about it a little in the compliments post, learning to just say, “Thank you,” and not add qualifiers or things that diminish the compliment.

When I look at things, particularly the last 10 years, I have not believed that I was worthy. It appears that deep down, I don’t believe I deserve good things. I create crises to ensure I don’t get good things.

I do things that make my life harder. There was a point where money was a big concern, and I missed a deadline for financial aid, and lost money that I needed. It created an even bigger crises.

And I continually do things like that, create situations that turn into crises

I didn’t believe I was good enough for the dream job I had.

I didn’t believe I was smart enough for my major.

I didn’t believe I could be successful.

I didn’t believe I deserve good things.

I am still struggling with these feelings.

Every time I make a step towards something good, some success, financial security, emotional support, anything, I do something to make that thing move further away.

I can tell that I’m changing a bit now, that the inner work I’m doing is starting to bring some success. But it still feels like. . . two steps forward, one step back.

I think one thing that’s helping me is hearing all these successful people talk about their fears and insecurities. Even Oprah!

The show has taught me there is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering, and that is unworthiness. Not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for. Even people who believe they deserve to be happy and have nice things often don’t feel worthy once they have them. 
There is a difference, you know, between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness. . . . 
What I got was we often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/The-Oprah-Winfrey-Show-Finale_1/6#ixzz2QUhF9Kfk

So, how can we turn it around?

I think starting with Louise Hay’s exercise of looking in the mirror and telling yourself, “I love and accept you just the way you are.”

After all, if you can’t do that, how can someone else?

One of the things, besides Diana’s post, that brought this up for me was this TED talk, with Amy Cuddy:

Pay particular attention to what she says about “Fake it until you become it.”

I’ve always hated, “Fake it til you make it,” advice, mostly because I know people who are or have been suicidally depressed and no one around them knew it. They were certainly faking it every day.

But I love her story about her experience with impostor syndrome, especially when she was approached by a grad student with the same feelings.

If you are already doing some kind of daily (or regular) writing exercise, such as affirmations, gratitude/blessings, or just journaling, what about adding to it just a little bit? Add in one sentence with something you LIKE or even love about yourself.

  • I made someone laugh/smile today. 
  • [Name] said s/he thinks I’m awesome.
  • I figured out something important today
Whatever you can think of. I don’t think it’s easy. I’m still having trouble coming up with something to be grateful for every day. But I am adding this to my daily (well, near daily) writing.

What seeds are you planting when you talk to yourself?

What have you done to find a sense of self-worth? What have you done to help someone else feel better about themselves?

*grok – For those unfamiliar, the word comes from Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, a tale about a human child/man raised on Mars by Martians who returns to Earth and tries to figure out human society. In the book, it’s a Martian word that doesn’t translate well into any human language, but sort of means to understand something so completely that you feel it in your bones, you know it instinctually.

Self-love: 4 Songs That Make Me Smile

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember good things in your life.

Through my last depression, I realized something. When I’m on the way down or depressed, I don’t listen to music as much. I will put NPR on the radio in the car, watch TV shows at home, but rarely turn the radio to a music station or Pandora on the computer.

When I’m feeling better is the time when I go back to music, which means I tend to like upbeat stuff.

I almost titled this: 4 songs to make you smile. But, I don’t know if they’ll make you smile. I can only say that they make ME happy. I do believe that music can help shape our emotions, give us focus, make us feel better (or worse – there are songs that evoke anger and pain, too).

I’m often scared to talk about what I like in music. My tastes are usually a bit behind the times, and all over the musical map. I tend to like quite a bit pop stuff, which used to mean some of my friends would make fun of me when they were into alternative and underground. I eventually developed a taste for a lot of alternative stuff, but usually 3-5 years behind my friends.

Now, I tend to not care too much what others think, but I still sometimes feel like I have to justify my tastes. I know, intellectually, that is ridiculous, but sometimes old feelings creep up on me.

1. Pop  – Pink – Try

When I first started to hear this song on the radio, I would turn it off almost immediately, because the music sounded sad.
A couple months ago, C forced me to watch this video of Pink’s performance at the AMAs. 
First of all, totally love Pink. She’s unapologetically strong and individualistic, but also compassionate and kind: everything I love in a female role model.

Watching her do this modern dance interpretation of her song was amazing. I was blown away by her strength and grace and for the first time actually listened to the song.

The chorus really speaks to me.

Where there is desire,
There is gonna be a flame.
Where there is a flame,
Someone’s bound to get burned.
But just because it burns,
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.
You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try.

For a long time now, I’ve been able to keep getting up when it has to do with survival needs. But I have pushed a lot of people away.

Lately, a particular person has been reminding me that I need to do this with relationships, too: open myself up again, allow the possibility of being hurt. The song says that even if you are hurt, it won’t be fatal, and then you can try again. And something about the flame mentioned here is reminiscent of a time long ago. 🙂

2. Electronica/goth-rock – The Cruxshadows – Indivisible

Itunes calls this band “electronica” and Pandora classifies it as “goth-rock”. I don’t really care. 🙂 I was looking for new music and someone on FB suggested this band. This was the first song that jumped out at me. My itunes tells me this is the most listened to song on my computer and iPod at the moment. (Their song Valkyrie from the same album is almost as played).

And call it courage, overcoming the fear
to conquer first the demons inside.
That when the madness descends on our dreams
we have the strength to keep them alive
The purpose of one becomes the purpose of all
A phalanx made from what we believe.
A ghost or an angel, a wish or a prayer,
Just open your eyes, your heart, your mind
and BREATHE. 

3. Pop? – Gotye – I Feel Better

Gotye hit the charts this past summer with “Somebody That I used to Know“. I like the song, even though it was way overplayed for a few months. But it is a break up song, with a lot of sadness and bitter-sweetness in it.
But this song, from the same album is even better. It reminds me of some upbeat 70s/early 80s stuff.

I’m having a hard time picking just a snippet of this one; I like almost every lyric, so I’ll just put the first part here; but listen to the whole thing. Something about it kind of reminds me of “I can see clearly now“.

There was a time I was down, down
I didn’t know what to do.
I was just stumbling around, around
Thinking things could not improve.
I couldn’t look on the bright side
Of anything at all.
That’s when you gave me a call!
And I feel better, better, better than before!
I feel better, better!
Now I’m not down anymore!

That sounds like someone who has been depressed and found a way out of it. In some ways I don’t like that it takes another person to get him out of it. But there’s nothing in the song that says this was definitely a romantic attachment that made everything better. It could be a good friend, an old friend, or an estranged family member that helped him find his way back.

4. Chant – Om Gam Ganapatye Namaha

I like chants, all kinds of chants. Somewhere I have a CD of Gregorian chants. I have some tapes and CDs of Pagan chants. And Buddhist and Hindu Chants have always fascinated me.

There’s something .  . .  soothing about repeating syllables in a musical manner. C, on the other hand, can’t stand them. She’s been very frustrated when I listen to 20-30 minutes of “Om Mani Padme Hum”. 🙂

My friend Trudy  reminded me of this one earlier this week.

It calls upon the God Ganesh (or Ganesha).

Ganesh had his head cut off and replaced with an elephant head.

He is known as one who removes obstacles (because an elephant can move anything out of his/her way!), facilitates success (you’ll often see small altars to him in businesses), and is also very playful.

In the brass sculpture here, he is dancing on top of a small mouse – his usual ride! And if the image of a fat guy with an elephant head riding a mouse doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what would. 🙂

From Vishal International

From the website Humanity Healing (click on the link for more info on Ganesh).

Om gam ganapataye namaha!
A very loose translation might be:
Om = Salutations! Everyone wake up!
Gam = The secret power sound of Ganesh. It is his “seed syllable” or bija mantra.
Ganapataye = Another name of Ganesh, the breaker of obstacles.
Namaha = Yo! Ganesh! You da God!

What about you?

What songs never fail to make you smile? What songs speak to what you’re going through right now? I’d love for you to share in the comments or on the Facebook page

Tarot Readings

In the last few months, I’ve mentioned Leela Somaya’s Succulent, Savvy, Soul-full Business Revolution. I was looking for inspiration, to try to figure out something I can do to both help other people and help myself at the same time.

I mentioned in a post part-way through the summit that I had some emotional breakthroughs connected with doing something to start helping others with some spiritual work.

I’m still having trouble figuring out exactly what my focus is for that kind of work. But, I won a contest for the SSSBR that included a 30 minute coaching session with Leela.

During the conversation, I mentioned that I’m not consistent with my blog/webpage, and that I don’t market it consistently, even though I know some of the things I “should” do. She stopped the direction of the conversation and said that we needed to explore that, “Why haven’t you been consistent?”

Of course I’ve asked myself that, and not come up with any satisfying answers. But she said, “Maybe you don’t want it bad enough yet.”

That felt like a gut-punch.

Of course I want it! I’ve put off doing it for I don’t know how many years. I’m making so much progress internally. I’ve done all this stuff to get ready for it. I’ve put up more posts and actually taken steps to DO SOMETHING – which is much more than I’ve done, ever.

But I look at that paragraph right now, and it’s a lot of “I”. There’s no “what can I do for others?” there. And that needs to be my focus.

We also talked about the ebook/workbook I’m writing and she thought that I should offer a service instead of a product first. And then create a product around my service.

And I’m still not exactly sure what that service should be.

But what I *can* do, right now, is give Tarot readings.

I’ve been interested in Tarot since I was a teenager, and began giving readings for fun in my 20s.

I’ve only rarely charged money for it, and usually much less than the going rate for that kind of thing.

In my bad money times, I thought about doing readings in a local metaphysical store, but never got up the nerve to ask how to get started in the store that used to be near me, and now that store is closed.

I used to think that I had to do the readings in person, because it’s simple to connect with a person that way, and read their body language and energy during the reading.


But last month, I had a reading done online by Jess Carlson. I was astonished at how good it was (and if you don’t trust me because I’m just getting started online, buy from her. Seriously. She’s good. And I’m not an affiliate for her. If she had an affiliate program, I would be). She’s a Wild Sister, so I contacted her and asked a few questions. My style is completely different from hers, but she provided some good guidance.

I took a chance, and decided to do this.

I offered a few people test readings to get used to the format, and get some feedback on how the readings went.

I was nervous at first, scared that it wouldn’t go well, that I couldn’t do it in this format. But the response has been amazing.

So far, each reading I’ve done has seemed to help the people I’ve read for.

I remember when I first started tutoring and I’d come home from my sessions so jazzed that I seemed to be helping those kids. And now, I feel the same way about this.

If I can start here, and help people. . . Well, for one thing then I don’t feel totally useless. 🙂 But I also do want to help people reach clarity about issues in their lives, to help them look within and overcome their own fears and insecurities, to help them be strong.

And this is a beginning to getting there.

If you ever wanted to get a reading, I’m having a sale for the month of April, offering rock-bottom prices. I’d also appreciate it if you could spread the word. Post links on your Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media accounts, please. Tell people you know who may be interested, as well.

Thank you!

On Depression, Bipolar and Medication

I want to talk about some trouble I’ve been having with my medications lately, but first, my friend Diana wrote this fantastic post about her battle with depression.

In it, she says:

The one thing you do NOT see on this list is taking anti-depressants.  This is not because I particularly have anything against anti-depressants, but it has more to do with my philosophy that most pills address symptoms rather than root cause, and I prefer to try non-pharmaceutical methods that seem to address root cause. If I ever run into a situation where I don’t improve using other means, then if my therapist and doctor recommend it, I will go with it.

Now, I love D, and it’s great that she is able to get herself out of these problems without meds. She has situational depression, not major depressive or bipolar disorder and that is a reason why she can handle it without meds. And I respect her decision.

There was even a time when I felt similar to the way she does, so I understand it, especially since I’ve always been interested in self-help and spiritual growth. I thought I ought to be able to get myself out of it, that I could think/force myself to be better. I don’t need no stinkin’ medications. I’m so enlightened, I should be able to meditate and exercise myself better!

Um, no.

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar (after having at least three previous bouts of depression that sent me to doctors), they would not even begin therapy until I was stabilized on medications (and that took months).

At the time, I had a friend who sometimes acted like she thought she knew everything about everything. She was angry on my behalf, because she thought they weren’t doing enough for me because they were not giving me therapy. And I admit, at the time, I felt the same way.

But here’s the thing. . . In my deepest places, walking in darkness, being so out of it that crawling out of bed takes all the energy I can muster for the day, falling into the hole that feels deeper and harder to crawl out of each time. . . I simply could not do the work necessary to be successful in therapy.

Back when Prozac and other SSRIs were still new on the market, I started to hear the phrase “I don’t need a crutch” or “medications are just a crutch.”

Here’s the thing. . . . If your leg is broken, you NEED a fucking crutch, and a cast, and maybe pins to hold the damn thing together until it can heal.

While part of me knew that I was bipolar by my early-20s, another part of me insisted that my depressions were situational.

– 91/92 – I was in Italy, and I was depressed. I was socially isolated because the American military community there was pretty small. I didn’t have access to a spiritual teacher/group. I made relationship and career mistakes. I spent too much money. There’s this one particular road that I drove where there’s a sharp turn near a cliff overlooking Naples Bay and every.single.day I wanted to drive over this cliff. I’d think, “I just won’t turn this time. . .” I had at least two other plans, as well. But, I knew that as soon as I wasn’t in that situation any more, as soon as I paid back the money, as soon as I could go back to where I had non-military friends, as soon as my life changed, I’d be fine. Right?

– 94-96 – My second marriage fell apart spectacularly quickly (just like my first – but the first marriage was my fault, and in the second, I felt like the wronged party). I was pregnant by a guy I wasn’t in love with. I was living with another guy I wasn’t in love with, who wasn’t really capable of pulling his own weight (although he did get his shit together shortly after I kicked him out, go figure). It was becoming increasingly obvious I was not going to be able to remain in the military and be the parent I wanted to be, so I was losing a career I thought I’d have for another 11 years. Add into that the post-pregnancy hormones – of course I’m depressed! But I knew that as soon as I got out and could concentrate on being a mom, as soon as I finished my degree (not gonna take more than a couple years, right?) I’d be fine.

– 99 – In the beginning of the year, I was dating a great guy, had a job that worked with me so I could take classes, was teaching a spiritual group, on the surface, things looked fine. I moved back to a city I loved, with people I knew and cared about nearby, with the great guy, and we were talking about getting married. 5 months after we started living together, he was moving out, moving to another state with another woman, and I was so depressed, I was crying on the drive to work every morning, not to mention during work. But that made sense, too, right? I mean, my relationship was ending (again) and everyone gets depressed when that happens, right?

By the end of that year, I finally had the bipolar diagnosis, in part because of the apparent cyclical nature of my depressions.

When I look back now, I can see that I was in those situations because I was sick, not the other way around. But at the time, I couldn’t see that. When you’re in the middle of it, you can’t.

While part of me was relieved, because deep down, I always knew, part of me was also defiant. I guess I always will be.

All this to say: I have a love/hate relationship with my medications.

I know they help me. They help me seen things more clearly. They help me have the energy to do things I have to do when I just don’t want to. They help me sleep longer and deeper than I had in many years.

I hate taking them. I hate being tethered to them, making sure I have enough, making sure I bring them with me, etc. I hate the idea that I probably have to take them for the rest of my life. I hate some of the side effects (although my current regimen is much more gentle than my first one – at least my hands no longer shake, most of the time). I hate my alarm going off several times a day to remind me to take them.

I really, really hate when people tell me I shouldn’t be taking them, because they don’t know, they don’t understand. Sometimes people think that because I’m intelligent and articulate, that I can’t be mentally ill. But I am.

On a daily basis, I take an antidepressant and a medication that acts as a mood stabilizer along with some supplements.

I also have an anti-anxiety medication to take on an “as needed” basis.

And this is where my most recent “hate” sequence comes in.

I’m getting scared about a couple of things, lately, causing anxiety.

Last week, I was having trouble sleeping because the anxiety was getting pretty high.

I do have the “as needed” medication, so I took a very small dose with my regular night time meds for 3-4 days.

And for the whole week, I spent all day sleepy, groggy, hung over feeling. I didn’t get anything done last week:  nothing towards business, nothing towards school, nothing towards my business and not any housework.

So, I’m stuck here.

Either I don’t take that medication and I feel too anxious to think clearly with my belly feeling like its full of snakes OR I spend my days nearly comatose.

Yet another place where I can’t find a middle ground.