Podcasts

Podcasts aren’t really my thing, but this one is different. This podcast gripped me from the very beginning and held on tight. If you haven’t heard of it, you should really give it a shot. Make sure to choose a full episode, not the mini-sode.

A full episode is when each host brings a story and tells it. A mini-sode is when fans and listeners send in letters with their stories.

My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

They don’t just discuss true crime. They also talk about mental health and how to stay safe. And they’re just hilarious people. They manage to take true crimes — scary, horrible stories — and lighten them up making it very entertaining without being so morbid. I don’t think I’m doing it justice, but if you’re at all interested in true crime you’ve got to try them out! They’ve got a website, fan cult, and a book.

They’ve got cats, hilarious stories of their lives, and a great sign-off…

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered! SSDGM!

APA Paper – Veterans and PTSD

I’m in an Orientation class and they’re teaching us how to write an APA style paper. Coming from an English major to Psychology major means switching from my well-known MLA style to the foreign APA style. Anyway, so I’m learning that. We get to choose our own topic. I chose veterans’ suicide rates and PTSD.

I’ve done lots of research and reading statistics and government produced documents. The point is… the state of the government and public’s relationship with veterans is pretty bad. The suicide rates and extremely high and getting higher. The ages of those committing suicide are getting younger and younger. And it seems like there’s a lot of talk and everyone agrees that something should be done and veterans should be taken care of, and yet nothing is actually being done. Not enough anyway.

It’s time for the public to stand up and demand better treatment for our vets, better facilities for them, and better education and training of the people working in these facilities. They need a bigger budget to accommodate this.

I’m ranting, but something should be done. Vets should be a much higher priority than they are now. They shouldn’t be homeless. They shouldn’t have trouble finding jobs. They should be able to get help from educated people dedicated towards their mental health. There should also be some kind of education, training, preparation for families of vets coming home with PTSD or any other mental illness.

Okay, I’m done now. But come on… America, the greatest country in the world but if you look at the state of veterans, we’re pretty low. Not enough people are speaking out about it. Certainly, not enough people are doing anything about it.

Done now. For real. But seriously… like if you agree.

Woman’s Best Friend

Cammie now, aged 6

There’s no way to describe the bond between a dog and its owner. This little pup just always wants to be by your side, barks a little when there’s someone in front of the house, and will only eat her food if you’re eating. Now, that may sound like a needy dog, but for a person who was suicidal it’s perfect.

She warns me if someone’s coming to the house so the doorbell or knocking doesn’t send me into a panic attack. She reminds me to eat a meal every now and then because I’m making sure she’s eating. She never lets me feel alone because she’s always with me or if I’m in my room, she’s across the hall watching out the window to the front of the house.

She’s a smart dog. I know all owner’s say that, but it’s true. It doesn’t take long to train her to do something (like not jumping on you when you come in the door, shaking your hand, sitting and laying down with hand signals only).

She’s really the perfect dog for me. With all my mental health issues, she balances them out. When I’m down, she comes and lays with me. When I’m getting into a manic phase, she’s there to help me let out the energy in a safe manner. She seems to know when I want to self-harm and she puts her head in my lap.

If you’ve got problems, if you’re lonely, I highly recommend looking into getting a dog. Make sure you can handle the responsibilities and everything that goes with it – money for vet visits. Get it neutered/spayed. And look from a shelter. Those dogs may feel exactly like you do and just need a home and some love. So if you’ve got love to spare and money and are willing to try, adopt a dog. Cammie is a rescue and I couldn’t be happier.

Another Diagnosis

My psychiatrist doesn’t live in my state. She used to, but then she moved and now we have our appointments online. I don’t need to leave the house which is something that I love, but it’s also a problem. Part of the problem is that I stopped going to therapy. I just felt like I wasn’t getting anything from it and I sat in an uncomfortable chair, in a too warm office for an hour and complained. I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong or what, but them’s the facts.

My new diagnosis, I’m sure you’re wondering what it is. Well, it’s dum, dum dum! … I’m now diagnosed with agoraphobia! What’s agoraphobia, you ask? It’s a type of anxiety disorder where you avoid things that make you uncomfortable, that could bring on a panic attack or other things that you don’t like.

Having PTSD, it makes leaving my house a little difficult and very exhausting. Being on constant alert, not trusting anyone even if they’re just shopping the same aisle in the grocery store as I am, I’m wondering if they’re going to try to steal from me or hurt me, what do they want? The answer: nothing. They don’t care two figs about me. I know this, but my brain doesn’t when I’m in the moment.

So basically, my agoraphobia means that I don’t leave the house. And when I say that I don’t leave the house, I mean literally I don’t leave the house. I’ve gone into the garage a handful of times. I’ve been in the front yard three times and the back four times. That’s all been since mid-July 2019? I have left the house I think twice to go to my sister’s, but that’s in straight into the car and then straight into her house for the remainder of the trip. Other than my sister’s, I went to my brother’s once late at night to pick up his dog (his baby was in the hospital-whole other story I might tell you later).

Being agoraphobic in this day and age isn’t all that bad. I mean, all the streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube TV) and I can watch literally anything I want. I can have a meal delivered to me from almost any restaurant. And I’ve just recently learned that grocery stores will do the shopping for me. I pick out what I want from online, someone goes around and picks it all up, I pay for it online and then it miraculously shows up at my front door!

So while it isn’t all that bad for me, it actually is that bad for me. Because it doesn’t force me to go out and do things, leave the house. It’s much easier to sink back further into my hole. But since I’ve decided that I’ll be posting something on here once a week, I’ll have to get out and do something. Something that I can talk about. So don’t worry! I’ll try to keep this the least boring blog as possible.

Busy Busy Busy Bee

For the past few weeks, my life has been crazy busy. I’ve been gone from home more than being at home. I stayed with my sister and her baby and fell in love with him completely. (not posting pictures for privacy) I may be biased but I think he’s the cutest newborn baby I’ve ever seen. He was absolutely perfect.

While I was there, my school term started! In a matter of days I went from not being a student to applying, being accepted, registering for a class and then it started! I mean, it was less than a week – the whole process. I was amazed. Promo note: If you’re ever looking for an online university that’s a legit university – Troy University is the best. They work with a lot of military so they’ve been doing online for years as well as having an actual brick and mortar university and different campuses. I’m just starting week 3 of my course and I can say that so far the professor an advisors have made my transitioning so easy. They answer questions quickly and thoroughly. It’s just a great university.

Anyway. I’m doing my class, I’m waiting for a specific job opening that would be perfect for me, and currently I’m cleaning out all my stuff, going through everything. So it’s been a busy time, hence the absence on here!

But I love being able to say, “Yes, I’m a student.”

I want to prove my high school teachers who all told me I’d never graduate college wrong, and I want to get my degree. I want to prove that little voice in my head wrong, the one that says I’m worthless and can’t do anything right. I want to show that even people with mental illnesses and PTSD can be successful!

I’m doing it and you can too!

Official Student and Baby Watch

I’m officially going back to school to finish my degree in psychology!

Due to my PTSD, anxiety, and depression along with my many other mental health issues, I was forced to take a hiatus from school. That short term break turned into 6 years.

But I’m going back now! It’s totally online, 100%, which I love. It’s perfect for someone like me.

Baby Watch.

My sister is pregnant and is due to be induced later this week because she’s so far past her due date that she just can’t stand it anymore.

They haven’t told us the name, but we do know that it’s a boy. So I’m going to be an aunt. I’m going to have a nephew to spoil rotten and even though I can’t emote that publicly and show how excited I really am (mental health issues), I am truly very excited. And nervous. I’ve never really been around babies much, but this is one I get to spoil and send home to their parents on a sugar high!

So that’s my fun news of the week! I’m going back to school, and I’m going to be an aunt!

Anyone else with exciting news? Or boring news? News of any nature really…

Get Rid of the Stigma

My world has recently been shaken by some upsetting news. Someone I know, or rather knew, killed himself. He had been struggling for years,  but thought that he didn’t need any help because he was a man. Being in the south means that there’s an expectation to live up to, being the man of the house, being the bread winner, be the stable rock for everyone else.

I can’t explain why he did what he did. I can’t explain his reasons because I don’t know. There was no note that we’re aware of yet. He didn’t get the help he needed because it’s so stigmatized and seen as such a negative thing, a man needing help emotionally. I still don’t know how to process it, but that’s what’s been happening.

About a year ago, the man who lived across the street sent his wife out to the grocery store so that when she was gone, he committed suicide. I can’t imagine it. Well, I can. I’ve been suicidal in the past. I’ve literally held a gun in one hand and a phone in the other. Because I knew how it would affect people I loved, I used the phone and reached out for help. There’s still a stigma, even with women, but I think it’s worse for a man.

If you’re reading this and you feel like ending your life is your only solution, I’m here to tell you it’s not. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I know what I went through and am still going through. I know that it’s hard and some days you don’t want to get out of bed or even open your eyes because that moment between dreaming and waking when the world is nothing but black is better than real life. I know what that’s like. You might think that no one cares about you or will miss you, but there is someone out there who does and who will. Even if that doesn’t convince you, reach out for help anyway because it can’t really get worse, can it?

Call the national suicide hotline (US): 1-800-273-8255

If you can’t actually talk about it, try texting CONNECT to 741741 to talk to someone for free.

Just try it. It won’t hurt. Before you do anything, talk to someone, anyone, because this world needs YOU. You just don’t know how yet. Seeking out help doesn’t make you less of a man, less of a woman, or less of a person. Seeking help is that first little brick of inner strength. We all have it if you dig down deep enough. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Talk to someone. You never know how it’ll help.

I can’t help but think that if there was less stigma around suicide and mental health, that the two people I mentioned (not including my own family members) would still be here today and would be able to reach out and help others by sharing their story. So share yours. Talk to someone.

Valentine’s Day

…is over and no complaints here! Because you know what that means!? The sappy movies are over on TV and all that candy is on sale!

But seriously… I spent my Valentine’s Day waiting in a doctor’s office. How fun is that? Let me tell you. None. No fun at all, but it is what it is. It had to be done and I’m glad it’s over with. Maybe it would’ve been nice to have someone to share Valentine’s with, I don’t really know. All I know is that despite everything and all the work I’m doing on myself right now, my anxiety lets me do hardly anything at all.

Anyone else like that? You imagine yourself doing something, can picture it so clearly in your mind and are excited and happy about it, but then when it comes right up to it, you chicken out? That’s me.

This year, I plan on forcing myself to do something different, something I haven’t done in a long time. And I plan on doing it and writing about it on here, so that’s me holding myself accountable. I will be going to a Mardi Gras parade. At some point. In 2019.

Because it’s Mardi Gras time and the king cakes are out for sale now! 

So yum! I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve always kind of wondered about king cakes and like where the tradition came from. Maybe I’ll do a little research and do a post on it! What do y’all think? Interested?

Judgment on Humanity

I’m in New York and there’s been a murder. A man murdered a state trooper who responded to a call that a man was suicidal. His name is Nicholas Clark and he’s from the little town I’m in. He came back here for his burial. Hundreds of cars, at least a hundred motorcycles (all state troopers) escorted the hearse. I could see the whole procession from the front porch and hear the bagpipes as they played “Amazing Grace.” People lined the street and for some time I was disgusted by it. That people turned a families grief into some sort of spectacle with their folding lawn chairs lining up on the sidewalk as if there were a parade. I was very uncomfortable with the situation. I thought that the family deserved to have their graveside service private. Their grief is their own, not ours to gawk at.

But once the majority of cars were in and through the cemetery I saw people approaching state troopers who were directing traffic (what little there was), but they were standing outside of their cars and off their motorcycles. Each person was thanking the troopers for their service and saying they were sorry for the troopers’ loss.

It surprised me. I was disgusted with these people, but really they were showing a unity and support that I hadn’t expected. It was a good surprise. It pleased me to see this side of people, The sad affair of an officer responding, trying to help people and being killed because of it is tragic and shows an ugly side of humanity. These people in this crowd were there in support and union in the loss, the tragic and unnecessary loss of a life. The loss of the potential he had to help people, to raise his children, be there for his family and friends through the good times and the bad. Thinking of all that might’ve been brings tears to my eyes and makes me question whether people are mostly good or not.

The event makes me think not, but the response of the public makes me think we do have something good about us.

Warning: Long Post Ahead

A bead of sweat rolls down the back of my neck. I’m in the New York country side. It’s supposed be cool! I left the south for a break from the heat, not to bring it with me with no AC! Yet, here it is. I’m sweating waiting for the elementary band to come marching down the main street of this small town’s 4th of July parade. I can hear the drums and the cheers of the very small crowd from down the street.  It’s not a very big parade from a two-street town, but it is cute and they do throw some candy. There are horses and most of the “floats” are actually different kinds of tractors. It lasts less than an hour before the entire parade has passed us by.

The whole family is together, and it’ll probably be the one and only time that we’re all together like this at my grandmother’s house. She’s 88 this year and not getting around like she used to, but still all there. So there are eight of us in a three bedroom house. We’ve rented an RV for extra beds, but with this heat and lack of AC it’s not much fun to sleep in a, for all intents and purposes, a tin can with other sweating bodies. The only thing is that it cools down at night. That’s the saving grace. I enjoy the heat of the south – that sticky, sweaty humid air that makes your hair curl – but I do like being able to come inside into the AC. It’s refreshing.


It’s been a few days since I wrote the above, but the internet here is a little spotty so it didn’t post. I’m just going to add to it.

My bipolar-ness showed just before this trip, and I bought a thousand dollar camera that I don’t actually need. It was on sale, but it was still expensive. I justified it by saying I’d be using it to make a movie of this trip because it’ll never happen again.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a separate room away from everyone. People are outside playing croquet, drinking and laughing. Others are in the kitchen helping to prepare dinner (that I’ve been smelling all day and it’s making my mouth water with anticipation). With eight people in this house, things have gotten a little intimate and there’s no place to go to be alone. With my issues, I need my alone time. It’s like recharging my batteries. Not only is there the eight of us, but we have other family members coming over to eat and play games. It’s fun, but it’s also overwhelming. Things get to be too much – noises too loud, lights too bright. It kind of sends me over the edge, so I’ve got to find the time where I can to be on my own. Hiding before dinner seems to be the only time I can.

My family can be loud. We can be angry. We can be hilarious. But mostly what I feel, or rather don’t feel, is a bond. There isn’t a strong bond between all of us like I’ve witnessed in other families who actually enjoy being together and want to and make time to spend together. It’s something I’ve always wanted and am only recently learning to accept.

Another thing I’m learning to accept is that my grandmother has no filter from her brain to her mouth. I’ve got to take everything she says in stride because I can’t yell at an 88-year old woman. I learned also that other people have noticed that my grandmother isn’t particularly nice to me. Of my siblings, I’m the only one who isn’t married. I’m in my mid-twenties and by my age, my siblings (all older) were married or in a serious relationship (which led to marriage). I’m not dating anyone. I have no “prospects” either. I’d like to shout at her, “How am I supposed to be in a relationship when men still scare/anger me?!” Issues from being raped still reverberate through my life. It isn’t something that just happens and you eventually move on. You never move on, you just learn how to live with it. So while she calls me a spinster, she also calls me a brat. My parents help me out a lot because with my issues it’s hard to keep and maintain a job. I can’t yet finish school because of my anxiety, but I want to. She thinks I’m spoiled. She lets me know where I rank in her estimation of her grandchildren, but I can’t tell her why I am the way I am. I have to bite my tongue and turn the other cheek and pretend she doesn’t hurt my feelings or say what I already think about myself out loud. And it’s really hard. I mean really really hard. She doesn’t get it.

This post was supposed to be a happy one about the 4th of July and the fun side of this trip, but I’ve managed to turn it into a whining rant, so if you’ve read this far I’m sorry. I’m not going to change it because it’s cathartic knowing I’m putting it out there and someone, anyone is “listening” to me. It’s therapeutic. But dinner’s ready now, other family members have arrived and I’ve got to do my best to smile and be sociable when all I want is to take a plate into a separate room and eat silently.

Anyway, thank you for reading this far and I hope you had an awesome, safe 4th of July!