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Archive for April, 2008

Dare I Say It?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

It's been quite some time since I've wrote on my personal life here, or taken the time to update my readers on my two great life struggles - my mental and physical health.

The reason I haven't been writing about my life is because...well, to be honest, my life sucked. Nothing particularly awful was happening other than the regular nuances of day-to-day living; it was my mental state that was, quite literally, sucking my will to live.

That's just it, you see? I had no will to live - not much of one at all, and that grew every day. As I, almost mechanically, went through the steps of getting through each day I always felt - just in the background - this omnipresent feeling of the other shoe about to drop. I would wonder how much longer I could go on this way. I didn't really speak to anyone about it, because I couldn't quite a put a finger on why or how it was happening...I just knew it was.

Everything I did was steeped in anxiety, frustration, and apathy. I woke up, forced myself to work, smiled and laughed appropriately at everyone, and came home exhausted from the exertion of pretending everything was okay. It wasn't. Baret saw this more than anyone, naturally, and how negatively this playing at a life I was uninterested in was destroying my very spirit.

The problem was the constant, nagging depression - just enough to not be overwhelming - and the growing anxiety. My anxiety has gotten worse as I've gotten older, and things I used to do with ease and no thought cause me to silently panic often. I don't share this with many because I have always been strong; the person who could do anything and had no fear. My growing fears and anxiety were like a sign of failure and weakness to me and I was terribly ashamed.

I was the one my mother and sister, more reticent and naturally shy, would look to or depend on to do the talking, sort of lead and take over if we were out and about. I liked this aspect of myself - I liked to be strong and dependable; someone that made others feel comfortable while I sort of took the reins. As this ability in me dwindled, I became much more introverted and solitary. I am no longer the social person I used to be. I've always preferred to stay at home, but that has grown into a leaving-home-makes-me-panic scenario. I am ashamed to even have to admit it and furious with myself for being weak.

A lot of it - I am sure - stems from the severe depression I was thrown into after my first surgery failed. I had to re-learn how to be comfortable in my own skin; for almost two years I felt like a prisoner in my body - a being that existed only in the mind looking out from the eyes of the broken shell I inhabited. Though I attended holidays and social functions, I was never truly "there". The ability to walk about and mingle was gone, too, so I often found a place to sit and sat there like a stump silently crying that I could not join in or be part of the activities and gaiety surrounding me. Isolation was my life.

This faded to some degree as I learned to live a now disabled life, and re-learned how to "live" inside my broken body. I learned new ways of coping, of surviving, and getting around. I can say I am never truly "comfortable", but even that is something you get used to. However, I do believe this left a (hopefully not) permanent scar on my psyche...so that now I am not the outgoing, extrovert that I once was.

It doesn't help matters that I have an obvious, severe limp with my "frozen" leg and often have to use a cane or even a wheelchair to get about. People stare. I can say that it doesn't bother me, but it does. I'm not like everyone else anymore, and I may never be.

Add to all of that struggle the fact that my brain is chemically imbalanced; even for a regular person learning to live with a painful disability would be challenging - it is even moreso for someone who is naturally prone to depression, anxiety, and mania.

All of this has accumulated and I - at this point in my life - was going downhill rather quickly. I knew it, I felt it, and I pondered when the end would finally come. At some point, I realized, I was going to totally lose it. A nervous breakdown would have been the least of it; suicide the worst.

This didn't frighten me as much as you might think. In fact, in some ways, I wished for it to come. I was that miserable. I knew I could not continue to live with this warring in my brain for much longer.

Then, suddenly, things changed. I got a new primary doctor - one who cares about his patients. (Why I left my old one is an upcoming post) I got referred to a new pain management specialist, who also cares about her patients. Sadly, since 2002 when all of this began for me, a doctor who gives a crap has been nearly impossible to find. And now, I have two.

I have been put on Lyrica...and it is changing my life. I started it on Friday night (April 25) and by Monday was noticing a difference. My pain management doctor is working me up to 75mg twice a day - but I am already seeing results at 50mg.

Lyrica "tricks" my brain into thinking there is no or less pain (or at least makes me okay to deal with it). Since starting it, my intake of Lortab (I was on Hydrocodone 10mg) has decreased noticeably. Whereas I was having to take upwards of 4-6 pills a day (something I constantly worried about and the consequences to my liver), so far on Lyrica I can get by with 2-4 pills a day. I am hoping even that will lessen as I increase my Lyrica dosage.

Not only has my pain improved, my mind has! It has been nothing short of a miracle. My pain management doctor explained that Lyrica is also a mood stabilizer and will help with my anxiety. And has it ever! By Tuesday morning, I realized, I felt...

It's really hard to say it because I can't believe it myself. I felt HAPPY. I vaguely remembered the feeling and Rose estimated it's probably been close to two years since I've felt that way. Instead of worrying about everything with my mind racing, I was just...ok...and "in the moment". I walked into our breakroom that morning and stopped to enjoy the beautiful sun rays coming in the window and was stunned. I was appreciating the moment, enjoying the sun, and my mind was not worrying or running crazy in the background. I marveled at this, and wondered, "Is this how other people feel?".

It's only the second day of feeling "ok" and I'm scared to be too hopeful, but so far so good. My pain is already less and I think we can make it manageable. My mood has improved in leaps and bounds - Baret is stunned at the difference in me - and I now have two good, caring doctors who are going to help me heal in all the ways I need to. Of course part of me is terrified to be too hopeful - that has blown up in my face so many times in the past - but I can't help but feel this is it, this time I am going to get "fixed".

And so that is that and where I've been and where I am. At this very moment I couldn't be happier - something I haven't been able to say for a very long time. Cheers.

Cry Tricia A River

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

As hard as I try, it's difficult for me to dredge up much - if any - sympathy for the "plight" of Tricia Walsh Smith. She is, as you may have heard by now, the misaligned soon-to-be ex-wife of Shubert Organization's president Philip Smith.

The wealthy, Broadway maven Smith, twenty-five years his wife's senior, has opted to enact a clause in their prenup stating he can "evict" his wife from their home after thirty days if there are grounds for divorce. Tricia Smith claims no such grounds exist. She insists her husband of nine years has - without explanation or warning - decided to kick her out of their ritzy nine-room Park Avenue apartment in New York with no help or money.

There's always more to the story, and key elements appear to be missing from this one. Surely there is a reason that Mr. Smith is not only divorcing his wife, but kicking her out without so much as a "thank you, here's the tip". In the video I saw - longer than the one floating 'round the Internet now - she claimed she had never been unfaithful, but cried about her husband leaving her to foot $80,000 in debt on her own. Perhaps it wasn't infidelity that angered Mr. Smith, but his wife's obvious penchant for spending his hard-earned money?

It's interesting to think that Tricia Smith, living in her posh socialite bubble, honestly believes the people of the world - who have to earn their money by working rather than marrying wealthy old men - really would be sympathetic to her golddigging cries of injustice. She claims, in an interview I saw with her, that - to her - this is a matter "of life and death" and the video was made in sheer desperation for the sake of her own survival. She states, repeatedly, that she will be left with "nothing".

This is hard to believe. Even if Tricia is divorced and not given a dime hereafter from her ex-husband's considerable coffers, it is ridiculous to believe that the woman will have nothing at all to live off of or call her own. "Nothing", in Tricia's world, isn't the Ramen Noodles-til-next-paycheck "nothing" of the average person's reality; it's the idea of living less than the means she has become accustomed to. Tricia's "nothing" amounts to living somewhere under the $1,000,000/year bracket yet - *gasp!* - above the $60,000/year bracket. Will she struggle and suffer? Likely her new and less-rich lifestyle will take some getting used to; will she be spending this Christmas warming her hands over a free meal at a local soup kitchen before heading back to her cardboard box? Sources point to no.

In a world where people - indeed, children - are starving to death every single day, it's hard to feel even a little bit of empathy for someone shedding tears over having to live "a little less rich". Most of us who have to work - and work hard - to simply make our way, with little left over for luxuries or even to save, have a hard time feeling sorry for a woman who is bemoaning the fact that she isn't getting a chunk of money she didn't earn in the first place.

Tricia seems to believe that marriage to an old, sexless crone is deserving of some pay and compensation; paychecks for the time she's put in, paid in full, and severence pay, thank you very much. And, oh!, the horrid things the "poor vulnerable Tricia" (as the yellow text on her video claims she is) has had to endure! She gleefully regales the camera, and Mr. Smith's poor assistant, with his lack of desire to copulate with her and her later discovery of his stash of "Viagra, con-doms, and porn tapes". She claims she was "an 'effin idiot" for believing that he could not have sex - as he told her - due to his high-blood pressure" and states the couple have never consummated the marriage.

(Sidenote here - if that's true, sounds like Mr. Smith is *truly* off the hook - annul that damn thing and be done with it!)

Which leads me to one part of the video that bothered me more than the lunatic rantings of a googly-eyed nut; was putting the assistant on the spot like that really necessary?? Tricia calls the woman up - in the middle of a work day, mind you - and starts blathering on about she and her husband's sexless marriage. She then decides to tell this young woman about his stash of "Viagra, con-doms, and porn tapes" and insists the assistant go and ask him - right now - what she should do with his con-doms. You know, because every assistant gets paid enough money to put up with crazy bullshit phone calls during work from her boss's wife. That was so un-called for and shows you just how much Tricia really cares about anyone but herself - in other words, not at all.

(Another sidenote - for a hilarious take on the assistant's point of view, I urge you to view the Doris Kitterman spoof over at YouTube; funny stuff).

Tricia claims, in the interview I saw, that she was "nice" with the video and simply told of her plight. I don't call showing a photo of your stepdaughter to the world and calling her a "bad, bad, bad person" very "nice"; but maybe that's just me. I also don't call harassing your husband's staff while they're trying to do their jobs very "nice" either; but again, maybe that's just me. I sure don't believe airing your family's personal and private affairs for the world to see is very "nice"; but...well you get the idea.

When it comes down to it, Tricia is just another self-absorbed, whiny, spoiled, rich, trophy wife who believes she's getting shunted out of money she feels is well-deserved and hard-earned. When she felt no other avenue was left open to her, she decided to air her and her husband's private affairs to the world at large - throwing a pouty, teary-eyed temper tantrum while showing off all that she would be losing; all the while expecting us to feel sorry for her and someone to step up and rescue her from the "mean, bad husband".

What she fails to realize is that from outside of the small, elite world that she exists in, the majority of us don't give a damn about her or her "life and death situation". There are people in the world with real needs and who are experiencing true suffering; in light of that, it's hard to feel anything but disdain for someone like Tricia Walsh Smith; a woman who wants very much for doing very little and is upset she can't get it.

Cell Phone Use While Driving Soon to Be Banned in Baton Rouge

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

After a long and harried day of driving around town looking for the different clinics my doctor had sent me to for various labwork, I was finally heading home. As I turned off of Florida Blvd. onto Lobdell Ave., I saw the guy in front of me busy gabbing into his cell phone.

Had he, as we made the turn onto Lobdell, commenced to drive, I would've let it slide. Yet, no, Preppy Prick was so caught up in his conversation that driving was, apparently, the last thing on his mind (which is just great when you're sitting behind the wheel). I had to honk at him to go when we got our green arrow for the left turn - the person in front of him went when the light turned, but Preppy Prick and I just sat there while he gabbed as we had all the time in the world (which we did not as that light doesn't last very long).

We continued on down Lobdell at a snail's pace and eventually came to the Government-into-Independence intersection where we sat at the light. I had a perfect view of him in his driver's side mirror and I watched as he ended one conversation then got busy dialing up someone else. He didn't need to be honked at when the light turned green this time, but we continued to plod along at speed only a granny would find comfortable.

We went through the green light and onto the subdivision part of Lobdell. There was a gap that could've fit four to five cars in front of Preppy Prick and the car just ahead of him, but he wasn't interested in speeding up - he was busy on the phone.

As we came to where Lobdell opens up from one lane into two at the Jefferson light, he was going so slow I literally had to go around him or lose all sense of sanity. Naturally, I laid on my horn the entire time - something I try to refrain from doing but I'd had a long day and HE NEEDED TO GET OFF THE GODDAMN PHONE AND DRIVE!

Seriously, as we're coming up to the widening lane, there was time for me and the car behind me to go around him and both get in front of him behind the cars already waiting at the light; and neither of us even had to speed up!

Is driving and talking on the cell phone a problem in Baton Rouge? It absolutely is. Our city doesn't have the world's best drivers - let's be honest - and taking their attention away from the road anymore than necessary is something that should be avoided at all costs.

So it is with absolute and utter delight and excitement I announce that a bill sponsored by Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, has been passed through a House committee on Monday and is going on to the full House for further debate.

Naturally, it's insanely controversial and I'm still wary it will pass through or not.  I drive every day in Baton Rouge, and daily I see accidents and near-accidents caused by careless drivers yakking into a cell phone.  The law, should it pass, would make such distractions illegal; talking with a hands-free device will still be allowed.

It all still remains to be seen if the bill will become law, and - if it is - how vigorously it will be enforced.  If you'd like to read more, including some of the ignorantly laughable arguments against the bill, you can find it on this 2theadvocate link.

Got Porn?

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

On the 21st of March, sxephil, brought up the age-old question of porn in relationships - yes or no, friend or foe? Baret and I both have long been fans of the The Philip DeFranco Show so we had a good talk about the topic ourselves and I left a silly comment, mostly tongue-in-cheek but true nonetheless.

Give it a read:

I don't mind if my b/f watches porn, and often we watch it together. I think it's just part of life, really - men need porn. ^_^

Imagine my chagrin to see two people responding to my comment in the most ludicrous fashion! One astute individual insisted I "must be a guy" (because I like porn?) and the other said I had an addiction because I said porn was simply part of life (well it is - if it's your entire life then that would be an "addiction").

The comments:

OzymandiasD: Wow, your a guy aren't you

RobertsGames: a part of life?, lady thats an addiction. It should just be like, well theres that one site so lets see, not like its a duty.

Obviously one is an ignorant chauvinist and the other a bumbling fool attempting to look clever (too bad he completely misunderstood what I was saying!)

I firmly believe that porn can be used as a sometimes, fun "something different" in healthy sexual, adult relationships. Why the heck not? How that makes me "a guy", I've still yet to figure out. It's shocking to me that in today's society it's still so hard to believe that a grown adult woman could enjoy porn and not be considered weird or sick.

I like to think that we've moved away from these puritanical ideals about how women should be and what they are allowed to express about themselves sexually. Yet it seems not. People seem genuinely shocked that a woman not only enjoys porn herself, but is comfortable enough in her relationship to let her man enjoy it, too (with or without her).

Yes, I made the comment that men "need" porn - facetiously, of course - and to a certain extent, they kind of do. If it helps them to relieve some stress, blow off extra sexual tension, and they enjoy it, what the hell is wrong with it? Men are programmed to spread their seed; I'd rather mine be spreading it into a Kleenex than his hot co-worker's snatch.

As to porn being part of life - well, it is. Get used to it; it's here to stay. You can either turn away from it and ignore it (or futilely fight it, as some do) or you can accept and enjoy it. You don't have to acknowledge its presence or you can freely revel in its debaucheries - either way, porn is a fact of life.

And, I hate to tell you, so is the fact that some women do enjoy it. Even more shocking, some of them enjoy it with their partners! I know, it blows the mind. There is nothing wrong with an adult couple enjoying pornography together to spice things up from time to time.

I suppose I'm just blown away by the fact that I - because I am a woman - get lambasted in comments for admitting to enjoying porn and letting my mate watch it. I just assumed we were way over such prejudices and misconceptions. Sadly, it seems I was mistaken.