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Category Archives: All About David

Can I find it in my heart to have acceptance of things I wish were different? And is it true then that I really wish them different after all?


Mindfulness

Mindfulness (Photo credit: Cathdew)

I used to be a part of a group at the other mental health office — DBT, dialectical behavioral therapy.  It’s a type of cognitive behavioral therapy intended to stop people from doing self destructive things.  I’m thinking maybe it’s time to get back to it.  There’s a major emphasis on acceptance and being mindful.  These are things I desperately lack.  I lacked mindfulness when I tripped over a bottle and fractured my ankle.  I lack acceptance of the basic facts about my mental health — the treatment, the best way to work with it, the need to accept the limitations inherent.  I lack acceptance often of my baby’s adoption.  It feels unjust although it is very possibly the right thing.  I lack acceptance of some of my own strengths, which causes me to throw away some of the possibilities of achievement inherent in them.

It’s time to reclaim myself again.  I’ve allowed myself to languish too long.  It’s true I’ve needed to recover from my fall.  The fall was a symptom, though.  The way I’ve been acting, I know I’ve been manic or hypomanic recently.  I know Chris hasn’t labeled it as such, but it is blatant to anyone who would pay attention.

I think it’s just been in the past two weeks.

I have a doctor’s appointment this coming week, I believe.  I’ll confirm it.  I’ll make sure I can go.  And I’ll ask the questions necessary. . . set up transportation or see if I’m able to get on the bus safely.

I’m going to be venturing out on my own just down the street with my crutch for the first time since I fell.  I had been nervous because I didn’t want to fall again.  I kind of stayed home.  I think, actually, perhaps I may have made only one other trip.  I forget if I did or not.  I know I’ve gone down to the store with Chris a couple times.  This weekend, he helped me get to the DMV.  He also helped me around the house.

My mood was elevated, and I was overly angry at times.  I was just lecturing.  I’ve also been really serious and intense.  I think these are symptoms, maybe irritability.  I would have to verify, but I really think so.

Anyway, I’ll do what I have to do this week.

My house is stocked with healthy food because a church friend, who’s also the minister’s wife, gave me a ride over to the store again.  She’s really sweet.  They’re moving because her husband didn’t seem to find his true passion with this congregation.  I guess sometimes that’s just how it is.

I’d like to get to church for a little while before they leave.  I’d like to move up in my independence, maybe drive myself there.  I need to find some kind of efficient way to get over there.  I’ll work it out.  I feel it’s an important part of my life.

Next month, April, is a big month in my life always.  It used to be the end of the year was somehow significant because my birthday was in Christmas time and because my grandfather’s was just around Thanksgiving.  The whole season was packed more than anything.  Now April is my wedding anniversary (10th), my father’s birthday — God rest his soul (5th), and my son’s birthday (24th).  Last year, on my father’s birthday, my son was taken out of my custody.  That was the last day that I cared for my son in my own home.

Is it tragic?  I could say it’s part of what I had a feeling would happen for some time before it did happen.  I just had an intuition that this was not going to be an easy road, that there would be roadblocks, and probably it would not go smoothly.

When I found out I would be pregnant, I was asked whether I wanted to keep the baby, put him up for adoption or — terminate.  I knew for a fact I would not terminate him; that much was certain.  I’m pro-choice in general, but I knew I would not kill my own.  I remember lying on the hospital bed where I was when I found out.  I just stayed in bed and got up to walk around, drink chamomile tea a bit.  I don’t remember if they removed all my meds or not.  All I know is that I accepted it.  I accepted the plan that I felt was not completely my own but that had been a choice I made one way or another.

I am so glad I accepted that.  I am so, so glad.  I would never have had any part of this road change other than maybe the fact that David had to go through so much medical strife when he was first born, in the first six months of life.  I would always have chosen to give birth, to raise him if I could, and if it was not workable, if he was not getting what he could from me — I knew I would have to let go and let him have the life he deserves, the best life possible.  This is what I’ve always known deep down, and this is why I made that initial choice.

Now I know.  I know I made the right decision, and I know that everything is for the best.  It’s amazing to say that at long last.  I just know everything will be fine.  And I’m grateful, so very much.

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Fracturization (As the Crutches Turn)


MetroPCS billboard, $40 Unlimited talk, text, web.

MetroPCS billboard, $40 Unlimited talk, text, web. (Photo credit: JC0598)

365 Day 69 Genetic Testing

365 Day 69 Genetic Testing (Photo credit: lornagrl) - Someone's hand after genetic testing

I have a good friend who is a deacon at a church called Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.  He kind of acts in a fatherly capacity and has ever since I started to have my life more intertwined with county mental health treatment.  I first started to talk to him before my life became controlled by the courts (conservatorship).  He continued to be a grounding source of wisdom during the time when I was institutionalized, later when I was at a board and care facility, and finally when I came back to the Monterey area to begin with the transitional housing community at which I met my husband almost five years ago.  He has stayed the course as a true friend, offering advice, frequent kind gestures, and support in general.  He helped me yesterday when I had to go to the orthopedic doctor to get my ankle examined and a wrap to stabilize it.

He also tried to take me grocery shopping, but I did not have my ID to make the check.  My credit union was not open.  I needed to activate my new card, but I could not that day.  As a result, I have not been able to pay my Metro PCS pre-paid phone bill.  I have to activate the card in person.  I e-mailed my friend, but he does not always check his e-mail.  I also e-mailed another friend who is wife of the minister at the church where I personally would attend.  Frustration.

My husband said he would come over this week and help me do some things, help me to get some food, maybe with showering (you know, hand me the towel, maybe help pull me out of the bathtub since I don’t have a seat for the shower, clean up).  He might not be able to come tomorrow because his mother is insistent that we get this genetic test for David.  I told my husband to tell her that I currently can’t afford it.  I am trying to get insurance to cover the test.  He told me she was upset at me for not being able to pay for it.  I tried to call the hospital before my phone was disconnected.  I left a message.  I was going to find out precisely how much the test costs and if they think the insurance I am currently applying for would cover that.  I can’t call now except using an online phone.  I’ve used Gmail, but I don’t know if it does long distance calls.  San Francisco is long distance to me.

Tired of frustration and stress, people not being understanding, tired I really am.  I told my mother that I think my mother-in-law does not really care one way or the other if I am well.  She (my mother) pointed out how Patricia (mother-in-law) sure enjoyed being around David.  I answered that she may enjoy that, but she really doesn’t seem to care at all about my interests.  Honestly, inside, I feel she wouldn’t care if I fell off this great Earth.  I’m sure that’s a terrible thing to say, but I get that impression.  I stayed with her for a couple months while my husband was going through some troubles, and she wasn’t very understanding when I was depressed while my marriage was in trouble and I had to stay away from my own home with the baby.  She didn’t seem very compassionate.  She wouldn’t even drive me to the doctor, only stay with the baby.  It seemed as if my own needs always came last.  I’m not sure if that is the way most in-laws are.  I don’t know, not having much experience.  I don’t know if I’m perceiving things differently.  I’m no expert, but I can only say how I feel.

I don’t know how long I have to just stay home while I wait for my ankle to be somewhat better.  I don’t know what the indication would be that I could do things on my own.  The doctor gave a six to eight week projected recovery period.  That timeline falls outside the anticipated date for my son’s birthday party.  I’m sure I could ask in three weeks when I go to see the orthopedic again.

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

 

Two Pluses and One minus Equals One Plus, Which Puts Me Ahead of My Game


Rainbow over Monterey

Rainbow over Monterey (Photo credit: JamesMoberg)

English: The Monterey Institute of Internation...

Image via Wikipedia

Seal of the Monterey Institute of Internationa...

Image via Wikipedia - Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS)

I don’t really like that title, but I could think of none better.

Sometimes the old adage goes, “One step forward and two steps back.”  Sometimes not.

Last Friday, I lost my personal items on the bus.  I may have posted about this or I may not.  Either way, I lost the following in my purse which was beautiful and had a nice rainbow glitter design on the front with a zipper and was the kind that could be worn cross body style because it had a nice long strap.  It was dark blue, and I think I bought it while I was in my undergraduate years.  I lost the following:  One pink small-size eco-friendly moleskin (certain type of journal/writing book) made with 100% post-consumer materials — this said it would be recoverable only I didn’t have the foresight to actually register it at the website like they suggested, one wallet with two debit/credit cards (credit union and major bank), two or three checkbooks, a bunch of receipts, some cash, my set of keys (with apartment keys & mailbox keys), random lip balms, maybe some lotion, and I’m sure other stuff I’m not thinking about.

This week has been partially about backtracking.  My credit union knows me even though I only just started with them this year.  They were kind enough to allow me to withdraw cash although I do not have my ID (oh, yes, that must be one of the things I forgot to list!).  I had to get back to spare key I had given my husband to get in on his own.  He no longer can do so.  I’m waiting for my friend who works with the management of my apartment complex to call today so that I can get into my mailbox and get my mail to include my beginning-of-the-month check that I receive from a certain fund.  I will go over and remind her gently after lunch.  I may just hang out with her in the office for a while.  I’ve called the post office at both the distribution center and the regular post office where I would receive the keys.  I left a message, but I will have to call again after lunch as well.  I’ll hope I can go on Monday.  I’ve been so busy lately running around to other parts of town to visit my son on Tuesday, before that visit my husband, also go to see an Episcopal-Lutheran priest yesterday with him (although I am of neither denomination; I am Unitarian Universalist).  I haven’t even had time to go and volunteer this week.

I’m supposed to make a list of activities that I will be doing with the peer center in Monterey called Our Voices.  It’s another center run by peers mainly in Interim, Inc.  The link to that organization is provided, of course.  I haven’t done this yet, but I will today.

The other thing I did (bigger) is that I contacted Monterey Institute of International Studies online this morning and requested information about their program where a person can get a Bachelor of Arts in International Policy and a Master of Arts in another field within three years total (for both programs).  I decided I would find out about various language programs.  I’m interested probably in the Translation and Interpretation program although I started out looking into the programs where one would teach a foreign language or maybe English as a Second Language.  The admissions person said they would have a particular person talk to me about that all next week, someone who advises based on all the language-oriented programs.  This venture is really exciting to me because up until now, I was looking and looking and never had found a calling.  I’m approaching a resolution to the search that I’ve been having for about two years.  I will be proud to be on a road.

My husband and I talk of moving to Monterey or Marina, which is closer to the Peninsula where I live.  I’m in a more landlocked part of our area.  It’s somewhat safer on the peninsula and more pleasant overall.  The atmosphere is different, and it could be much more comfortable.

We’re going to be attending this Episcopal-Lutheran church every other week.  Christopher did not like the idea of every week.  I guess he feels he needs some Sundays to stay at home or relax.  I recommended that we could still be in touch with the reverend regardless.

I would love to live in the part of Monterey near the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS).  It’s the downtown area where there is close access to all kinds of shops, activities, some friends who live near there, and there is Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both close by.  Plus, this would be closer to both of our respective mothers.  It would make life much simpler and more peaceful, I believe.

Christopher has started to volunteer with a non-profit organization called Loaves, Fishes, and Computers.  Their mission primarily is to sell refurbished computer systems at a very low cost to create a greater access to these resources.  It’s great experience, and I’m impressed with him for doing this because he has never really volunteered before.  He has always wanted to get into a job with computers (currently is a landscaper for Interim, but he wants to expand away from this to his greater interest in computers and technology).  He does not have formal training but is very knowledgeable with figuring things out and is very personable when he is relaxed.  When he’s experiencing anxiety, he can be contentious, but more of the time he is fine.

I see if we take things easy, allow the time of transition to pass and look forward to the days when, as the priest says, our son can make a choice about having a relationship with us in future years, focus on the present without looking backward to create depression or too much into the future to create anxiety…. If this all can be achieved, then we will be on a healing and wonderful path.  This is my goal, my prayer, and it is my wish.

When the Heart and Soul Go Walking


Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.  ~Elizabeth Stone

I wrote something similar to this right after my son was born.  I said having a child was having your soul walk around outside your body.  One element of this is that if that part of one’s soul is not in immediate sight, then the parent is likely to always wonder after the welfare.  Even if I know with almost complete certainty that my child is well cared for, I still want to know. He will always be my child, even when he has a different last name, calls someone else “mommy” or goes off to college as a young man.

Love is love; the heart is the heart; my son is my son.  Every day.

(accidentally posted twice


[Was having trouble posting this.  Anyone who read this version, go see the other one, thanks.]

Letter I wrote to a Rabbi at a Local Temple


I have often wondered about Jewish traditions since my mother’s side is Jewish although by an interesting turn of events her parents decided to join the Unitarian Universalist community when my mother was young. My grandmother felt she had a religious experience that led her to explore other ways, and my grandfather was staunchly atheist. This created a mixture of beliefs, but I still think of our family as having “Jewish roots.” The only part of our family that still practices the traditions is my aunt’s family in Oregon and my mother’s cousin in the Bay Area. I have little knowledge personally although I have attended Congregation Beth Israel in Carmel Valley in the past.

In addition to my spiritual journey or maybe as a part of, my husband and I as well as our family at large are undergoing a transition whereby our first and only child — our son, David, nearly two years old — is in a process of most likely being adopted by a family who were selected for us. We have had a long road, best not explained in writing. I am somewhat at a loss about how to go about accepting the change. I start to believe I have done so but then my mind gets to churning or someone suggests there might be options I haven’t thought of pursuing, and then I get wound up in that all over again. I guess I have not decided if there is any response appropriate or possible other than to simply allow this to happen. My nature would be not to allow it to happen. My inclination on the other hand is to do what is best for my son although I do not have proof that this cours of action actually is the best. I have only the word of some social workers and psychologists (things I can explain later), but I do not know in my heart that this is right for my son. I cannot see the future, and I cannot see how he is doing other than through word-of-mouth. I can only trust others, and this is hard for me like you wouldn’t imagine.

I have written a short children’s story that I am making available through Amazon and shortly through some local channels such as Steinbeck Center (perhaps), gallery/bookshops, Bookshop Santa Cruz, and whatever else.

My husband and I are simultaneously trying to make sense of our marriage since we had to separate due to instabiliy. We are always unsure what the best solution is and hesitant to make changes. We still have regular contact but we reside separately since he is in a special kind of housing. I would allow him to explain.

I have invited my husband to attend a service soon but would want to know how late the services usually go since we travel everywhere by bus. If there are other events we could know about or times when we could talke to the Rabbi, please make me aware of them.

Thank you.

Wilma

Today is a Day for Art


Often I feel words on a page have life.  I used to walk around my university as a freshman and sophomore with poetry running through my mind describing my inner philosophies and illustrating my current life through verses that I never remembered but which kept me entertained on my long walks around the largeUniversityofCaliforniacampus inSanta Cruz.  I enjoyed all the walking, and I enjoyed all the thinking.  I enjoyed them probably too much because I did not notice that my life and my consciousness were disintegrating without my awareness, as is the nature of a shift of this sort.

Since I lived in words and thoughts, when I stopped being able to express myself lucidly due to a lack of cognitive ability or clarity, my depression started, and my world seemed to dramatically shut down.  My mood became dark, and my motivation screeched shut.

I didn’t care about anything, not even enough to brush my hair.  I was paranoid about food content.  I was vegan in those days, but I was paranoid that not only were things I might be eating possibly non-vegan, but that this non-vegan-ness, this contamination, well – it might make things poisonous.  In response, my housemates, made a very involved vegan dish of lasagna that I always made myself normally, a gesture they made in an effort to encourage me to eat.  I would not eat because of my paranoia, and the girls grew increasingly concerned.

A few days passed, and the girls took me to the hospital.  I became violent, acted out, and screamed for my rights in the unit, the whole nine yards.  I was hysterical.  They gave me some kind of medication, probably a sedative or maybe a mood stabilizer.  I could not tell you what because it was so long ago and I didn’t care what it was then, anyway.  I didn’t want to take medication.  I felt they were toxic, poisonous, and I just wanted to get better on my own, get back to school and continue on my work with my part time job and my ambitions in life.

Life doesn’t always go as planned.  In fact, in my experience, it rarely does.  Whatever you feel is the path maker in life, it’s not usually governed only by you, I or anyone who makes plans in life.  Sure, we can decide to make changes in our lives, and we can make decisions to improve our lives.  We can succeed at these things, definitely we can.  Still, there are always events, fortunes that present themselves as hurdles.  Life hands you lemons, you can add some sugar or you can find some limes and make it more interesting.

As I went along in my early and mid-twenties, I always had one step forward and two steps back.  I felt I had overcome my hurdles and there would be no more.  I would get to the highest level of wellness I had felt in a while, try new things that I felt I was able to do as a reward and a challenge, telling myself that since I was healthy I could handle more now.  I just sometimes forgot to be cautious.  Sometimes I forgot that I need to be safe with myself and love myself enough to know my limits.  This was not a sign of weakness but a measure of strength to know myself enough that I would not let anything in life make me crumble again.

Time and time I made the same mistake, trying new goals, falling backwards, falling further down than I had been the previous time.  This is related also to the most recent episode with my son, in which I had tried to handle my separation with my husband, new responsibilities as a single mother, my own mental illness challenges, my grief about my father’s death still lingering, and my goals about getting an advanced degree in my field.  I tried too much all at once, and suddenly the inevitable happened.  I broke.  I didn’t break to the point of being unable to be fixed.  I just broke temporarily.  I got back into my groove again later, but I lost a part of my life that time.  I lost a part of my life that I had always wanted even before I had it.  I lost a piece of my connection with my son.

I had always wanted to be a parent.  When I was a young child, I used to take care of other young children.  When I was in fifth grade, my parents wouldn’t let me go to science camp because my father was overprotective.  I helped out in two classrooms with the younger children instead – preschool and third grade.  I have always loved people younger than me.  I love people older than me, too.  I just love people.  They are frustrating and tiresome, but I love them anyway.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

There is an art and a science to being a parent that I wish I had mastered earlier on in my relationship with my son.  I never understood until I was away from him for a little while. I had a lot of input from various sources, including professionals of all types, government officials, a few family members, church members, friends, medical individuals and more. Sometimes too much input is just too much, though.  There is an art and a science just like (and I hate to say it because it sounds crude) there is an art and science to cooking or painting or doing anything that requires precise measurement and ingredients and skill but is still up to the individual to a great degree.

Parenthood is the ultimate version of this, and it is more important than any of the others because it not only affects the parent and the child but it affects the whole world.  That is because this little person who had entered the world through the vehicle of parental attachment will someday contribute to the world in ways that no one will ever envision.  The world will change that child, and that child will change the world.  We know this of course, but I’m not sure I thought of it so much, and I don’t think I gave it precise awareness all the time.  It could be a daunting undertaking if you got too scared about it for all these reasons . . . and so I did, I became scared . . . and I fumbled.

My mothers’ friend who helps her with driving told her that “fear is wishing for things we don’t want.”  Maybe that’s like that converse of the power of positive thinking.  Maybe it is the opposite of that movie/book phenomenon they called “The Secret”.  I’m sure I do not know enough about that to comment, but what I can say I do know is . . . I did not want to lose custody of my son, and I was afraid that this would happen.  This fear made me anxious, and this anxiety made me scared to do almost anything at all.  Fear can paralyze, and I believe it did in my case.

There is a long connection between my experiences with illness, my son, and the introduction of my story about words on a page and their life upon that page.  The connection lies somewhere in the meaning of my own words, my own experiences, what is possible for myself and/or others to learn from them, how I can use what I have to be of benefit, and how can I as an individual, a writer, a mother, and any other person with a role in life – how can I understand these events in relation to myself?  It’s about a relationship with me and a relationship to my life.

I once wrote a final paper in college about a hypothesis I had concerning how the spaces, the nuances, the shapes of words that take form by the author may reflect feelings, even cultural beliefs or reactions pertaining to physical realities about space.

My main thesis in this paper had to do with First Peoples (in particular from North, Central and South America) who had a traditionally oral language (not normally written down on paper) but which still had been converted to a transcribed form when the European inhabitants exchanged elements of language and cultural practices.  I postulated that there were some psychological elements of cultural and linguistic productions that show up in the physical placement of words, sentence structure and overall layout as well as composition as they are presented.  Perhaps, I thought, people from different cultures might show (for example) more open space if they experienced more openness in their physical lives or in their physical space, particular their living environment.

I am sure one could do research about this idea. Perhaps a survey could be gathered between different cultural groups, including subcultures, even communities within a certain culture that differ in living arrangements, perhaps even include institutional communities.  If a correlation were found between physical placement of words on a page or in some other document, perhaps this could be connected to psychological characteristics such as happiness or health of some kind.  Who knows, right?

Maybe people are already doing this?  Who am I to say?  I haven’t read a psychology or other academic paper since sometime the first half of 2010.  That was for an online class that I attempted at the University of theRockies, which is a university inColorado, primarily for different types of psychology but offers some other coursework as well.  I am always so unsure what I want to do in life.  I waiver and hesitate and think I will choose something, then choose it momentarily, but something holds me back.  Sometimes I want to start back into graduate school, but I am unsure what I want to do.  I am afraid if I start on an option, I will start but not like it but want to finish anyway because I have already started.

I already nearly finished a teaching credential program – Special Education with a specialization in Mild/Moderate disabilities, but I was considering getting a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from the same university.  I was studying locally atCaliforniaStateUniversity,MontereyBay– a university with a lot of support from Leon Panetta, who is a local of my area and now I believe is the head of the CIA.  I am not bragging at all.  This is just the facts, ma’am.

Today I engaged in some creative processes:

(1) I talked with a grandfather who was with his grandson, a boy younger than my son.  The boy had long hair and sometimes people thought he was a girl.  He was beautiful, not in a girly way.  Beautiful does not have to have a gender.  Maybe it never does.  The man gave his grandson some chewing gum.  I listened to the man talk about how he is taking custody of this child for his daughter.  I wondered to myself why I can’t take care of my own son.  I realized there is no use wondering this.  Either I take action or I don’t, and if I don’t, I have still taken an action in making a choice and sticking to that decision.  Either way, the decision is made

(2) I attended Breakthrough H’art, an art collective through Interim Incorporated, the mental health agency with which I have been connected for a few years.  I also volunteer with them in two different places.  I started to work with watercolor pencils for the first time but it ended up just being a pencil drawing.  There is a professional artist who helps with the collective, and he made a number of suggestions as I was working on my picture (featuring a tree, hearts, orange Ohm symbol, a variety of colors) as well as saying how I liked it very much.  Others agreed that I had talent.  I felt good.  He said if he had a child he would not send them to art school because he feels once you are trained, you start thinking too much.

3) I was up into the wee hours looking into a way to sell art online through FineArtAmerica, a page which I will make available in time through this blog.  I may post a link on my art section.  Currently, I have only figured out how to make a few pictures available as greeting cards.  Hopefully, there will be more in the future.

4) I agreed to work on a mosaic for a housing community with Interim called Sunflower House.  This is going to be on Wednesdays.  I have to get in touch with the woman in charge again.  I will ask on Friday when I go back to do more art at Breakthrough H’art.

There may be more that I have not though of including as creative such as making dinner and writing.  These are givens, and I do not need to list them.

To me, life is all an art and a science.  It is a balance, and the balance doesn’t have a correct formula so much as one which works best for a given person at a given time and in a given way.