The Funny Thing About Mental Illness

The Funny Thing About Mental Illness

03/27/18/The Funny Thing About Mental Illness


The funny thing about mental illness

Is that a diagnosis works by

Spilling your lie over someone

Who tries to find a match

But the picture puzzle is just

Shades of color and missing pieces


The funny thing about mental illness

Is that the treatment is just throwing things at the problem

And deciding which thing

Is the least bad

But the problem is camouflaged

And deftly dodges the slow projectiles


The funny thing about mental illness

Is that it’s a flowing river ride

Sometimes softly flowing

Sometimes lower or higher than normal

But there are also rapids

And terrifying waterfalls


The funny thing about mental illness

Is that it’s all in your head

So those around you have a hard time

Believing that you are fighting for your lie

But sometimes they just don’t care

Enough to stop pushing buttons

Until something breaks


The funny thing about mental illness

Is that you never really “get better”

You just learn to cope better

But coping better means fewer people

Believe that you are struggling

And more people are pushing buttons


The funny thing about mental illness

Is that it is exhausting to just exist

Everything takes more energy to get done

And if you get derailed, it takes even longer

To calm down and get back to it

But people just think you’re lazy

And they derail you anytime

Because it’s not like you do anything anyway


The funny thing about mental illness

Is that you can’t just let things go

And the more that people harp on you over it,

The more distressful and disruptive it is going to be

But they don’t care about sparking an anxiety attack

Because you don’t actually matter

As much as the thing they want


The funny thing about mental illness

Is that it’s not funny at all

But everyone treats it like a joke

Until you start laughing too


I inadvertently took a break from this blog because of mental illness. Last Memorial Day, I had a PTSD inspired anxiety attack and ended up shoving my way out of a literal corner and walking for around a mile with no shoes. I found myself in a park with bleeding and burnt feet and no phone. Luckily a stranger came by and called an ambulance or me, in retrospect, I should have asked him to call my spouse instead. I ended up with basic wound care, a diagnosis of “anxiety” and an ambulance bill my insurance decided wasn’t necessary for them to pay. I also ended up getting anti0depressants and a good dose of fat shaming from my, now former, family physician.

That medication amped up my executive dysfunction and I gained over 50lbs without changing my eating habits one way or another.

I went off that medication a month ago with no ill effects and have been playing catch-up ever since. Over the last 9 months, I have developed some bad habits and so have my kids. My home is no longer clean, I haven’t written fiction or poetry and I almost lost my job.

Apparently, I need my anxiety to function. I am doing a lot better and working with a good medical team and support system to get back where I want to be, so don’t worry. But, I wanted to share this to let y’all know that I don’t sugar-coat my lie to look perfect online. I don’t want or need pity. I want to end the stigma around mental illness, because the funny thing about mental illness is that it is more common than you think and the support systems are not there to help. Because it is so stigmatized.

Next time someone is struggling, instead of telling them to suck it up (my favorite is “moms don’t get days off” because it is just bursting with shit) maybe ask how you can help.

And never stand between someone and their exit, especially after they have answered your question and asked to be left alone.

About: NaNoWriMo With D and the Fledglings

About: NaNoWriMo With D and the Fledglings

The kids and I have made goals for National Novel Writing Month which fit with our various skill levels and time constraints. We also chose to do stories which fit a theme. They chose Minecraft. I, DD, will be writing a story in three parts about a cosplayer sucked into the Pocket Edition on his phone. DK, 9 years old, will be doing a story in three parts about a RPG that he has had on his mind. LC, 5 years old, will be drawing a picture book in three parts about her imaginary animal, a hono, saving the world.

We will be uploading each part on Fridays and you can catch up with the posts by clicking on the NaNoWriMo category. Instead of making three new posts each week, I will just be editing the story posts to include the new material. That way you don’t have my parts interrupting your scroll through DK’s story.

About: Meet DKH!

About: Meet DKH!

Hi I’m DKH! I’m here to talk to you guys about me, videogames, and books. If you want to know hints ask me in the comments about videogames or books. You can also ask me about my life is going in the comments.
I’m 9 and like videogames and books. My favorite subjects in school are math and recess. I like coffee and chocolate. I play games mostly on the Xbox One and the 2DS. Some of my favorite games include Zelda games, Minecraft, Tumblestone, Zuma and Candy Crush games. I like puzzle games, bubble shooters and RPGs. I also like playing board games and dice games with my family. I like FPS games but my mom doesn’t let me play a lot of them.
I just got a link manga book for my birthday date with my mom. I can’t wait to finish reading it. I really like reading manga. I read picture book to my little sister. I read graphic novels and comic books. I also like books about dragons and magic.
I like shows, I do not like chores. I like books, videogames, link, Minecraft, Pokémon, Tumblestone and Candy Crush.

My Journey: As I Sit Here 1999

My Journey: As I Sit Here 1999

Conformity was the thing that I blamed the most for my angst throughout high school. “As I Sit Here” is based on the fact that I felt different and outcast. I was trying too hard to go the other way for those four years, to try and be as different and unique as possible. I guess it worked as my senior class voted me as “Most Unique,” but at the time it was a mask that I wore trying to be so uncool that I would be cool.

1999/As I Sit Here
As I sit here all alone
I can only think of what life has shown.
If you’re unique—you’re rejected
If you’re redundant—you’re cool.
If you dress how you like—you’re ugly
If you hardly dress—the guys all drool.
And in this world of individuality—the individual is rejected,
While the clone is readily accepted.
How can we be so the same and yet,
Say that individuality is the best bet?
As I sit here and think
About those who are pushed to the brink,
Not the brink of Death-
But of ‘No Resistance’.
The brink of giving in to the Drone’s persistence.
We should be more accepting,
And not so man would be attempting-
To make themselves exactly the same
As someone who has vast ‘fame’.
Don’t care what the world thinks about you-
Only how you think about you.
As I sit here and ponder,
About this world’s most terrible wonder.
I am grateful that I haven’t been changed by
Someone who would make my uniqueness die.
I am grateful that I can be me.
Even if I am the only one who can see-
That individuality doesn’t mean exactly like
The person next to you or at the mike.
Life is meant to be lived by the individual
Not cheap imitations of those who are ‘cool’.
As I sit here and make conclusions
I pledge to myself that my image—my life—won’t be an illusion.
I will live my life how I want to-
Instead of letting it be decided by you.

The ultimate irony of “As I Sit Here” is that I did form my whole life into an illusion that was decided by my peers. I wasn’t until after I had my second child that I realized how little of my life actually reflected the person I really was inside. I’m still trying to find him, I think that he’s going to be pretty awesome once I dig through this debris.

Captain Stone and the Crew of the Stormrise Pt. 3

Captain Stone and the Crew of the Stormrise Pt. 3

* * *
It wasn’t until dinner the next evening that Pepper and Stone managed to get a moment to speak to each other. The Wisp was waiting for him at the table when he came in, a reader paper in each hand and a wrinkled brow as he seemed to compare the two.
“New job?” Pepper asked, moving to take the papers from him for dinner.
“Maybe,” he replied, sighing as he handed them to her. “Maybe a new war between the P’sha and the Black Cats. The P’sha want to hire us for some wet work.”
“Weren’t they the ones who…”
“Yes.” Stone cut her off before she could finish the sentence and pulled her chair out for her.
“Do they know who you are?” She asked, concerned, as she sat down.
“No.” He said, slowly, his eyes had a faraway look in them that made her suddenly uneasy.
“No.” He was more present this time, more firm in his answer as he let go of her chair and moved to his own. “Different name, remember? Plus, they think I’m dead.”
“Well then, on to more pleasant topics then?”
“Of course.” Stone flashed her a smile. “I seem to have fallen asleep before the juicy part in that story last night. Is that where you are picking it up tonight?”
“No.” She blushed and picked up her fork. “I will let you read that for yourself, after dinner.”
“Good or bad?” He asked, slyly, starting his own dinner.
She just smiled and shook her head as she lifted a bite to her mouth. Her bowl contained a mixture of insects and decaying plant matter, belying the common belief that Wisps lived off of solar radiation and water. Her mouth actually contained grinding teeth to break the carapaces of insects and her digestive system was probably the most human-like thing about her.
Stone ate whatever Evie decided to cook for the crew, tonight it was a hearty stew from Stone’s home colony and he tried not to remember being served something similar by the P’sha priests.
It didn’t take too long for the friends to eat their respective dinners in comfortable silence. When they were finished, Pepper handed the reader paper to Stone and set about clearing the table.
“So, this is the scene, huh?” He said, leaning back and placing his free hand on his full stomach. Pepper didn’t answer and he didn’t wait for her to.
She watched his face as she gathered the dishes and too them to the elevator which would send them back to the galley.
“Well,” He said, not looking up from the paper. “They certainly got the fact that Wisps are hermaphroditic right, but why use human parts when you aren’t even a mammal?”
“Why use outdated human terms for any of it?” Pepper asked, coming to set a covered tray down on the table.
“Huh?” Stone asked, looking up at her.
“Wisps have different biology than humans, we also use different phrasing for biology, gender, sexual relations, etc. So why use the term “hermaphroditic” which is considered outdated by even human botanists?”
“Oh.” Stone looked away, thoughtfully, for a moment before turning back to her. “Apparently, I haven’t shifted completely out of the box with my thinking, I apologize.”
“At least you admit it.” She said, pressing her mouth to his forehead in a kiss. “Have you finished the scene yet?”
“Yes.” He handed the reader back to her.
“Good, then it is time for dessert.” She pulled the lid off of the tray to reveal two bowls of ice cream topped with chocolate covered insects.
“Wow, when did we get chocolate?” Stone asked, picking up his spoon as she placed a bowl in front of him. “Can you eat chocolate?”
Pepper laughed, taking her seat and her own bowl. “We got chocolate from our last raid, also plant based ice cream so I can have that too. I can eat small amounts of chocolate, but the dairy products in it will give me indigestion at higher doses.”
“Good to know.” Stone was already about halfway through his treat and reminded Pepper of the young boy she met decades ago, eating sweets like a starved man.
* * *
After dessert was cleaned up, Stone changed out of his armor and into his sleepwear, chatting idly with Pepper and trying to keep the topic of conversation light.
“So, how much of that scene would be possible?” He asked playfully, catching her around the waist and drawing close.
“You rogue!” She exclaimed, playfully smacking his shoulder. “While I certainly have the equipment to give you some enjoyment, you are sadly lacking.”
Stone laughed and released her with a kiss. “Too bad, I kind of like the idea of being the dashing hero with a girl in every port.”
“Is that why you have a crew made up of female-identifying people and fly a vulva shaped ship?” Pepper laughed, pulling away and sitting on the chaise in the lounging area.
Stone just stopped and stared at her, she almost laughed again at his deep-thinking face, but decided to let him go on uninterrupted for a second.
“I’ve never thought about that before.”
“Which part?”
“All of it.” Stone said, sitting next to her and laying his arms on the backrest of the chaise. “Especially the ship though, I bought it because it was cheap and looks like a fish with the solar sheets out. But, you are right, with them in it does resemble a vulva. The female-identifying crew hasn’t occurred to be either until just now. If I, Rosie, and Evie weren’t gay there would be a lot more shenanigans on this ship.”
Pepper laughed harder, imagining an awkward orgy with her human friends. Stone pulled her close with an amused smile.
“What do you want to do before bed, my dear.” Stone finally asked as her laughter subsided.
“We’ll read in a second, first I want to show you something on the viewing screen.”
“I’m not sure whether I should be afraid or interested?”
“Both.” Pepper said, working the controls in the armrest to bring the screen to life.
There was a sudden burst of dramatic music and Stone jumped at the volume. The screen lit up with a man standing tall and looking off into the distance. He was wearing black exoarmor, the type that you would wear in a ground battle, and had a patch over one eye. The patch, like the breastplate on the armor, had a skull and crossbones on it, both looked brand-new.
“They made a movie?” Stone groaned, moving a hand up to cover his eye. Pepper intercepted the hand.
“Keep watching, it gets better.” She was grinning and her eyes were sparkling in a way that piqued Stone’s interest.
Into the scene on the viewer swept a, human, woman dressed as a Wisp. Her hair and skin were dyed green and she had a purple strapless dress on which looked like a wrap on top and pedals on the bottom. The man on the screen swept the woman into an exaggerated kiss before drawing his sword and yelling “Onward, men! Let’s get that booty.”
More dramatic music played as a montage of battle scenes appeared, finally fading to black as a release date was displayed on the screen.
“Three months until that travesty.”
“The crew wants to screen it.”
“Of course they do.” Stone laughed. “You and Evie work it out and I might even show up.” He extracted himself from around Pepper and got up.
“We were thinking that, since it comes out the week before, we would make it part of your birthday celebration.” She called after him.
“I don’t have birthdays.” He quipped, heading to the bathroom to relieve himself.
Pepper smiled and shook her head at the predictable answer as she got up to turn down the bed. Three months from now he would be sitting in the ship’s lounge area, eating popped corn and laughing at the movie with the rest of them. He would even blow out the candles and eat a slice of cake; but, she would let him play curmudgeon in the meantime.
* * *

The Cutting

The Cutting

10/28/14/The Cutting
I missed this
The cutting
Holding the blade in one hand
And my skin taut with the other
Like watching the fat sliced from the side of beef
Slice and pull
Until the weight of the fat pulls it away
To splat on the floor
How deep do I cut before the weight of this world
Overcomes the bonds
And I fall away to the floor
A gift for the dogs

Not the wrists or arms though
That’s the first place they look
The insides of my ankles and calves
The tableau that lays flight
As I sit with legs crossed
Little blood with the bright red scoring
Just the exquisite pain
Of the repeated scratch
Invisible even to those who look
Just like me

Beautiful words fail me
As the pen and page have
So I carve one phrase
Into the deficient body
Not Good Enough
In the end
That is all there is
And all that I am

This poem seems apt today. I’m constantly reminded that my stuff doesn’t matter to anyone else. My possessions, my writings, my hobbies and even my preferences get shoved aside for everyone else’s stuff. When it hits me that I am spending all my energy doing things for them that they won’t do for themselves, not getting any thanks for it, and ending up with my possessions or plans ruined, it really hits me hard. I’m not cutting tonight, but I want to. I will always want to.

The Expectations of Family

The Expectations of Family

This past weekend I was able to spend a day with family and I generally had a good time. It reminded me of other family times, such as a five-day trip to my childhood home in 2013. There were good times then too, but also some not so good times. Trying to wrestle a cranky toddler during an Eagle Scout Ceremony, for instance, but we all lived through them. One thing that I noticed is that each person that I talked to during that weekend had an expectation of who I am. This is not necessarily a bad thing and I must say that I do the same thing, I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t. As I talked and visited with family, extended family, and practically family I realized that some of them were going off of incredibly old information about me and didn’t seem interested in learning anything new and different. At thirty I was just starting to figure myself out for me, but I found myself fitting back into the expected roles that others see in me. To this cousin, I am the wild child with purple hair and a contrary attitude; to that uncle, I’m still an ignorant teen who talks too much, etc. Much of the time I was talked over, which is one of my biggest pet peeves, and I found myself just shutting up and wondering how things would be if those I was talking to were actually listening.

How do you break the masks
Born of the expectations and opinions of others
When you say one thing
And they repeatedly hear another
Is it worth the effort
To take the hammer
And break those masks
Or is it better to just
Walk away
From the expectations and opinions
And from the family
Perpetuating them
To never look back
At the masks

I am trying very hard to break all of the masks that I have made over the years and to not fall back into that trap. The features picture is titled “Pale in Comparison” and I drew it to represent who I am with versus without the masks. I tried to be too perfect in too many situations and it led me to a breakdown. Super-mom couldn’t stand the sight of her kids. Super-wife wanted to strangle the husband. Super-homemaker couldn’t even find the vacuum. So, I locked myself in my room for almost two weeks and growled at anyone who dared to disturb me. The conclusion was that if I was true to myself, broke all the masks, and ignored the expectations of others, then I could be happier. The trick is to figure out who I am under all of the masks. Breaking the masks for myself is fairly easy, breaking them in the eyes of others is another matter and I am sure that the expectations of family, friends, and others will be my biggest hurdle. It’s almost 4 years later, and I still haven’t managed to make any headway.

My Journey: The Odd Side of 1999

My Journey: The Odd Side of 1999

I am odd, I’ll never claim that I am not. One of the things that people, particularly my husband, think is the most odd about me is that I love cheesy disaster movies. I blame my dad for this one. If he didn’t like watching them, then I wouldn’t have started watching them with him. I also blame my dad for my love of Science Fiction movies and both of my parents for my love of reading. I’m fairly certain that they do not mind being blamed for those things. One of the earliest memories that I have of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles came not from reading the book or seeing it referenced in a movie. It is of an anthology of Science Fiction stories that my dad had on audio tape. These stories were narrated by two of my favorite Star Trek actors. The Ray Bradbury works on that anthology included “There Will Come Soft Rains” and it has stuck with me more than any other single work. These two poems were in part inspired by that story and in part by other works of Science Fiction on page and screen.

1999/The Blast
Tires screeching, fear binding.
Heat searing, light blinding.
Everyone now scared, now dead.
Burning light flashed first orange, then red.
Last one died seconds after the first.
All of the consequences, this one is worst.
Sadness gropes the rest of the nation,
The government cowers in humiliation.

To me I always thought that “There Will Come Soft Rains” was about an accidental bombing. It wasn’t until much later, when I was able to read the whole anthology that Bradbury wrote about Mars, that I realized it was about war. But, when I was 15, I didn’t understand that human nature is more about war than about accidents. Of course, the odd side of a writer is that we imagine scenarios for almost every circumstance. This means that I put myself in stories to see how it would feel to be there and how it would feel to live that live. This also means that sometimes the habit backfires on me and I end up with nightmares.

1999/Nuclear Blast
Light, the beginning
Flooding over all
Into each and every soul
Into the cracks in every wall
Then comes the realization
That all you knew is gone
You are left alone
But you must continue on
Out into the light you step
To see the destruction of your world
Not caring now what comes to pass
Human pride eternally muraled
You are now the last
The only one to continue
The only one to remember the past
The only one to see the final death of the human race

I would watch random, rerun, episodes of The Twilight Zone growing up and was told a lot about episodes I’d never seen. The one that terrified me the most was about the survivor of the end of the world who finally had time to read, only to have his glasses break. I don’t know why, but that has been more my version of Purgatory than anything else I have seen, heard, or read over the years. As odd as it may seem, that episode convinced me that I would rather die in an apocalypse than be one of only a handful to survive it.

Different styles of writing embrace different traits. For example, the fact that I am odd translates very well into my Fiction writing and the fact that I am edgy translates well into my poetry. In 1999 I was still experimenting with what worked well and where. The Journey towards that goal is far from over, but I am getting there and learning about myself along the way.

Trigger Project: Gas Pumps

Trigger Project: Gas Pumps

11/29/16/Gas Pumps

16 and white-knuckled
Behind the wheel
Trying to will my hands to not jerk
To follow the argument in my head
How big a Boom, do you think?
There are people gassing up
Fuck ‘em, I want to explode
Forget about it, there’s got to be a shut-off like in that movie
The Stand, I love that movie, we should watch it.
Bet we’re faster, it’s coming up on the right.
That movie is old, probably better shut-off technology now
We’d miss school and out friends would be sad
You Fucking MISSED It! What the Hell, it was our Chance!
Are we sure B even exists? Or A or K? What if all our friends are just illusions? Seriously, do we know?

30+ and white-knuckled
Behind the wheel
Trying to will my hands to not jerk
To follow the argument in my head
Sometimes the argument in my backseat is louder
Sometimes the Boy distracts the voices with questions
Sometimes the Girl distracts them with songs
But they are still there
The Anarchist
The Molly Mormon
The Nihilist
All of Us
Just waiting
For the momentary lapse

My Journey: 1998 Holiday Poems

My Journey: 1998 Holiday Poems

Going through some books and paperwork in storage and I found a whole page of poetry about holidays that had stowed away in a yearbook. There were three 1998 holiday poems on the page, including one of my favorites. I’m glad that I was able to find more from this year that were happy and fun.

1998/Halloween Night
It’s Halloween night
And the moon is bright
The skeletons dance
By the eerie light
The witches’ brew
Is a wicked stew
One drip, one drop
One sip, one slop
POOF…no you
Stay in bed
Cover your head
Don’t go out on this scary night
And watch the ghosts and goblins take flight
It’s Halloween night
And the moon is bright
The skeletons dance
By the eerie light

This was one of my favorite poems, it won me an award in a small church contest, and I love the cadence. Halloween has long been my favorite holiday because of the ability to dress up and have fun.

Spring is the time
For rhythm and rhyme
In the art of love

Not all of my happier themed poems are cliché, but this one is a bit trite. I didn’t dive too deep for my 1998 holiday poems, but they do show that I wasn’t all doom and gloom.

1998/Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving Day, in every way
Is a perfect holiday
With cream pies, family ties
And food that is a feast for my eyes.
I hardly remember
That in one warm November,
The Pilgrims knelt to pray.
Thanksgiving Day, in every way,
Is a perfect holiday!

I think that I was trying too hard to copy the success of the Halloween poem with this one, and it really shows. I copied the cadence and even the rhyming scheme; but, I tried to bring poignancy into a short poem with a fun feel.

In all, I’d say that my 1998 Holiday poems, like most of my poetry from that year, could use a good revision to bring it closer to the person who I am today. It’s been nineteen years and I have grown and changed quite a bit in that time. Not all of the changes are for the better, I am much more jaded than I would like, but the changes in my writing style were hard won and I think I’ll keep them.