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Rant: Facebookery “I Read It on the Internet, So It Must Be True.”

I’m baaaaaaaaack!!!

I have emerged from hibernation because, spoiler-alert, I’m infuriated again.


It’s been making the rounds of my newsfeed. Another precious reminder for people to do their research before funding the corporate bigwigs and campaigns and already-bursting-pockets when they think they are helping out Johnny-on-the-corner. Well, I agree with the sentiment. You should definitely understand how your money is spent when you consider any charitable donations. I would suggest doing your research.

Ahem. DO YOUR RESEARCH. if you did, you would find that this very popular picture, this picture that has been trolling around share sites and social media, this picture that uses quite specific figures to delineate charitable misconduct… IS COMPLETELY INACCURATE.

If you were to DO YOUR RESEARCH, you would find that sites like snopes.com and charitywatch.org completely discredit the purported information.

Ah, yes. And so we come to the crux of the problem: Time and time again, folks on the internet request that you “do your research” when faced with any question. Of course, that “research” is completely legitimate if you found it on the internet! Of course, if you go into your “research” with any preconceived opinions, you will, regardless, find completely unbiased resources. Of course, if you use your “research” to sway an opinion or provide proof for your unconventional stance, that “research” is obviously from a reliable, accurate source.



Now, you might be shocked to find that irrefutable resources have to compete with far less reputable ones. Especially on the internet. Have you heard the saying…?


Well. I’m hear to tell you: THAT IS WRONG.

Once upon a time, doing research required a visit to a library, exploration of scholarly journals, perusing of current encyclopedias. Now, if you read it on Wikipedia, or a blog, you can be guaranteed that information is up-to-date and accurate. NOT.

Yes, genuine scholarly research can lag behind more current resources. Even instant and recommended media generally has a bias, but if you tackle any issue with the knowledge that such biases occur, you can still approach a topic with a degree of surety, even on these internets.

This problem has been surfacing so often lately. Frankly, it’s contrary and unethical. People claiming that you need to “do your research” then provide links to various, unmonitored, disreputable articles, blog posts, and sales-garnering sites.

I see this most often in arguments that rise from differing opinions on parenting topics; breast-feeding vs. formula, co-sleeping vs. cry-it-out, etc. But, it most especially “scorches my agates” in the immunization debate. Time and time again, I see references to sites that claim dangers in the current recommended immunization schedule. Now, regardless of my opinion on this topic, I can provide data from my “RESEARCH.” I tend to use resources like: the Centers for Disease Control, a public, government entity. Or, the World Health Organization, a global, medical network. That’s not to mention the various physician associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics. Of course, if you do your “research” you may find a differing opinion on sites like www.naturalnews.com. So, let’s put our thinking caps on and decide which sources might be more likely to provide verifiable, well-regarded, accurate information. Hmm…. Any thoughts?

The problem with the “do your research” proposal? It’s being used to support cockamamie ideas and give credence to distorted fallacies. And, all-too-gullible audiences make assumptions that you have “done your research” and drawn appropriate conclusions. Of course, there is no immediate differentiating between the reliabilities of that research in the available scape of a newsfeed or forum.

In the immunization argument? We have created a debate where there is none. When did my fellow SAHMs become better-informed than the CDC, WHO, AMA, and numerous other well-established and well-regarded acronyms? When did we decide that we should make important decisions based on anecdotes and fear and mistrust of authority?

I recently followed an online forum that, honestly, scared me. Comments included such gems as:
“Unvaccinated children or people in general have better immune systems. Your body is intended to fight these illnesses off.”
“What’s the point of vaccinating if they still get the disease they prevent? Hmmm…”
“I disagree 100% with the herd immunity concept. Sorry, but it’s not totally scientific.”
“Don’t believe what big pharmaceutical tells you… big pharmaceutical shells out BILLIONS of dollars each year to autism case. If that isn’t admission I don’t know what is.”
“I want longitudinal research before I let my kid be the guinea pig.”
“If you think pharmaceutical companies do not miss lead people look up the Tuskegee trials.”

I’m going to assume my readers can see the errors inherent in these comments and not voice my individual concerns for each. This was a small sample of a far greater population; A mere peppering of ill-conceived, argumentative Facebookery.

This topic of immunizations is not a parenting issue, at least not solely. It is a matter of public health and safety. Time and time again, moms credit themselves will the ability to make informed decisions and, therefore, the right to choose against the medical establishment. Here in Michigan, this freedom has done a disservice to the public as lowering rates of immunization and increasing outbreaks of serious, transmittable diseases threaten the health of the elderly, the young, and the immuno-compromised. A recent mLive article confirms that vaccination-waivers are a credible threat to public health. And, a significant source of dismay for myself: that so many moms and dads are making questionable decisions based on unreliable information and flaunting their capacity to do so, over better-informed and more reliable, more sound outlets.

Ugh. I can only hope that science, and more significantly, critical-thinking will prevail.



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While I believe ArtPrize is a great event, it is far from perfect.

My complaint: the crowds. First, a ridiculous amount of visitors crowd into the city. This increases the traffic exponentially. Grand Rapids is relatively traffic-free. It’s not that waits don’t occur, they simply pale in comparison to regular rush-hour/construction/weather-related/seasonal jams elsewhere. If you have ever sat on I-696, I-96, or US-23 in metro-Detroit on a Friday afternoon in the summer when everyone has decided to leave work an hour early to beat the traffic; you know what I mean. If you have ever been on I-75, I-4, I-95 when the sudden influx of snowbirds have migrated south in their silver or gold Lincolns and Cadillacs and Buicks, complete with beaded seat covers and lack of turn-signals and proportionally deficient maximum speed-limits; you know what I mean. If you have ever been tailgated, cut-off, or passed with a baleful look and colorful language by a rear-wheel drive sportscar in a complete whiteout and zero-visibility, only to creep by the very same vehicle mere miles but unfortunate and irritating hours later as it is towed across the now-closed outer two lanes from the median ditch; you know what I mean. If you have permanently affixed an unkindly gesturing hand out your driver window as the well-coiffed in their import vehicles have ignored the “Left Lane Closed in 2 Miles… 1 Mile… 1000 Feet… 500 Feet” to favor a self-indulging zipper merge; well, you know what I mean. So, when I claim that Grand Rapids is relatively traffic-free, it’s a real, apparent blessing.

Therefore, with the mass influx of visitors during ArtPrize, the city undergoes a traffic transformation that can be extraordinarily frustrating on a typical commute. Simply finding parking can be an enormous challenge as “Lot Full” signs litter an otherwise easily-navigable city.

And the traffic frustrations are not limited to vehicular crowding. The foot traffic is outrageous. Waits in lines become regular. At the grocery store, pharmacy, post office, park, funeral home, wherever. It seems that whenever you have an errand to attend to, hundreds of other folks have decided to do so at the exact same time. The bus system is overloaded even with specially-provided extra routes. Restaurants are on a consistent wait. And with the time spent in check-out lines, you should be able to bone-up on every celebrity scandal and miraculous-appearance-of-Jesus-in-toast from the past ten years.

All of which are minor complaints respective to the claustrophobia imparted by the ArtPrize proper visitors. The venues can be so stifling, it’s absolutely anxiety-producing. Even the outdoor installations can be so surrounded that the horde is impassable. I mentioned the experience of feeling physically separated from my stroller, an altogether not unusual experience in an environment of such extreme population density.

But, I could really get past the presence of all the new people, if they weren’t “those” people. Ugh. Art can bring out all sorts of people, families, spectators. It is known, however, for attracting a certain set. Those folks with their air of superiority. Free-trade-coffee-carrying, hand-dyed-scarf-wearing, bobbed-gray-hair-rocking, haughty-gazed, supercilious “art folks.” The judges and jurors with their perplexing critical favorites. The tourists with their imperious make-believe grasp of bewildering artist statements. And, especially, the artists themselves; with their unrealistic and arrogant view of the significance of their work and the correspondingly-expected promise of the respect it should garner.

For example: yesterday, Duck and I explored several more venues including our traditional riverside route. Outside of the Gerald Ford Museum was a musical art installation. It was essentially a large-ring xylophone or glockenspiel, if you will. The observer was invited to take a hammer-mallet-thing and hit the metallic bars as they ran around the ring. In doing so, you would produce the song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Of course, as Ducky witnessed several people perform the melodious route, she clamored for a turn. We got in line. We waited. She picked up a hammer-mallet-thing and approached the installation- instrument. And, the artist came over, took her hammer-mallet-thingy away, and advised me that it was not a device for toddlers. Inevitably, Duckers started throwing a fit. The artist told me he was making a sign to that effect, but it simply wasn’t meant for the younger-than-ten-crowd. Usually, I can respect the requests people make of me as the parent of a toddler. You want to enjoy your dinner at a restaurant? We try to keep her quiet and entertained. You want to watch that movie? We won’t bring her to the theater until we can reasonably expect her to behave. You want to hear the gospel? Churches have actually have a kid-friendly room, just for us. But, there is a point at which I am no longer expected to make your life conveniently free of my hip-high nuisance. You, sir, are an asshole. You created a large-scale, outdoor installation in a park. That installation is essentially a giant, interactive, musical instrument. That instrument plays a childhood-favorite, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Yes, I can totally see how it was not meant for toddlers. (I’m looking at you, Tom Kaufmann, dumbass creator of the Music Go-Round).

This is only one instance of a pervading pretentiousness that shadows the ArtPrize experience. While I tore my screaming child away, I’d wager that I received only a couple of sympathetic glances. The rest of the spectators assumed condescending shrugs of disapproval. Of my child’s behavior. Of my inability to control her in such an preeminent and ostentatious environment. The ArtPrize habitat breeds highfalutinry. Almost every piece includes “DO NOT TOUCH” signage, if not blatant barriers. Even the 3-D installations. Made of unique materials. Outside. So, what you’re saying is: the elements can wreak havoc on it and birds can crap on it, but my two-year old can’t touch it? Well, that’s dumb. Just dumb.

Art is a sensory experience. Oftentimes, the experience could be enhanced if you would just let us “see” your piece, in every sense. I understand that you fear damage, but let’s assume that the crowd you hope to attract is respectful and avoids making any mistakes. I’m not suggesting you subject your beautiful canvas to the whims of the masses. I’m simply suggesting that your large, outdoor, indestructible, metal dragon should be enjoyed, photographed and, well, fondled if your audience chooses to do so.

Your audience. Because that’s what is too often forgotten by the artsy-fartsy. ArtPrize is for everyone. It is designed as a social experience that includes the entire public. The appeal of the event is inherent in the idea that popular opinion matters and that art isn’t just served to us by the critical elite, to be digested as directed. ArtPrize is a great event… But the highfalutinry has got to go.

Lest I give you the impression that the event is nonetheless anything but enjoyable overall, a few more favorites from yesterday:

Birch Grove by Judy A. Steiner can be seen at the Courtyard Marriott

The Wind by Gil Bruvel at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Further proof that ArtPrize is fun… For everyone.

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Rant: Celebration, Commemoration, and Delusions of Grandeur

So, it has been a wee bit since my last post. Apologies. I can only assume you’ve been waiting with breath that is bated…

Duck and I spent a few days in metro-Detroit with the Bear Pack and stayed at my parents’ home, Grandpa and Grandma Grizzlies’ den. Henceforth, they will be known as such. It is without irony. During the course of our stay, Duckers turned two. Now, she’s been terrible for at least 20 months, but we still felt that we should celebrate her birthday as she makes it official and enters this dreaded and difficult age.

We kept it pretty simple: We blew up some balloons, threw on some party hats, and she enjoyed a little cake. Both Grandfolk Grizzly were there, Panda Bear, Beer Bear and myself, and, of course, the birthday girl.

Duck is the first grandchild on both sides. She is quite spoiled. For this past Christmas, she received soooooo many gifts from various family and friends. Too many. As a consequence, Santa (ahem, ahem), decided to put most of her gifts away unopened for a later date. She still received a couple gifts from Santa in the morning, but we put a half-dozen wrapped gifts in a closet to wait for her birthday.

You may notice that we left the holiday wrapping on the presents. Oh well.

Fortunately, we also had a significant break in the winter weather. After cake and presents, we went to a local petting zoo and wandered around with the animals. Springtime is a great time to see the new babies and they did not disappoint with new piglets, goat kids, and lambs. Duck really loved the horsey. I was partial to the cow and calf.

The next day, on our way home, we stopped in Lansing to visit with my in-laws, Beer Bear’s parents. We had a nice dinner with them (and maybe a little more cake) before getting back on the road to Grand Rapids.

Altogether, it was a very nice family celebration. Simple and still special for my Duck.

Which brings me to the meat of this post: No big party. No rentals. No photographer. No outlandish gifting. No favors. Not even one Pinterest project. Was my girl happy? Absolutely. Did she get to celebrate with people she loves? Yep. Did I fork out a fortune on a second birthday? Nope. Not even a little bit.

I am constantly amazed at the lengths to which folks are going nowadays to commemorate every single milestone for their kiddos. Be it small or large, each accomplishment seems to warrant a big to-do.

Young birthday parties are regularly huge events that require forethought equal to the planning of a wedding. Decorations, hiring a photographer, crafting a guest list, catering food, renting a venue, ordering a cake, etc. It’s ridiculous in my opinion. At one and even two years old, the kids won’t even have a memory for these events. More often, in my experience, going overboard can be overwhelming for them. But, the expectation for extravagance exists. Sidenote: Mayhaps our situation immediately precludes me from seeing a “party” as requisite. Duck has no siblings, cousins, or bosom friends. I do understand that we are inherently able to keep it smaller than a larger family might. While I can see how family-size may impact how one would celebrate in certain ways, it doesn’t forgive the ever-apparent extra expenses. Doesn’t anyone trust Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker anymore? Sheesh.

But, it’s not just birthdays. I cannot believe how parents are memorializing every event. They are hiring professional photographers all the time. Maternity photo shoots, newborn shoots, announcement shoots, monthly shoots, seasonal shoots, birthday shoots, cake-smash shoots. I’m not suggesting that I do not want to capture those moments myself, but I have a point-and-shoot camera and an iPhone. Truthfully, my favorite photos are always of everyday life; those tiny moments that surprise you. Second sidenote: Ok. We did take a family portrait last spring. But only because I bought a great groupon deal. And, it was our Mothers’ Day gift to the Grandmas… win. Also, strictly speaking, I may not have wanted to “capture any moments” during my pregnancy, professionally or otherwise. Even my mom agrees that I was a hideous beast. Less “glowing,” more “Quasimodo-ing.”

Every achievement is highlighted on my newsfeed too. Again, it’s not as though I don’t feel pride and want to share it. In fact, I’ve been accused of overdoing it on Facebook. The Duck is a cool kid. She does cool stuff. But… everyday? I swear. Some kids do something absolutely amazing every day. Every. Single. Day. Ohmigosh! They farted today? Wow. That’s great. Do you need to publicly commemorate every step? Seriously.

If everything is special, nothing is really special.


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Not-so-much-Rant: Alopecia is Dumb… But, Grin and Bear ;)


In the second part of my Beautiful Duckling campaign, I thought it best to remind you of some fellow baldies. They, like my Duckers, are pretty damn amazing. Strictly speaking, they are men, but… gender-schmender. They are likewise hairless comrades.

1. The bald baddies. This list of folks includes: Samuel L. Jackson, Lex Luther, Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, the Rock, Gru, etc. Somehow, baldness frequently coincides with bad-assery. Maybe because they are more aerodynamic. Maybe because they don’t need to spend copious amounts of time on styling and whatnot. Maybe because the sheen from a bald head can blind and disorient a nemesis during a high-speed pursuit. Will we ever know what came first? The chicken or the egghead. Not likely. But, in these cases, bald = bold.
Of course, I am excluding any allusions to the Skinheads. For obvious reasons. Ew.

2. The professionals. Mr. Clean uses his shiny top to subliminally remind you of his polishing power. Jason Alexander and Larry David successfully create comedic approaches to their troublesome receding hairlines. Yul Brynner and Ben Kingsley adopted recognizable and signature looks within the ever-growing Hollywood drone mechanism.

3. The artists. William Shakespeare, Pablo Picasso, Shel Silverstein, Phil Collins and company. Maybe they were preoccupied with hairlines, maybe not. But, either way, they could (and I like to think would) recognize and skillfully illuminate the all beauty of baldness.
I decidedly ignored Sinead O’Connor from this list. She’s a bit of a nutter.

4. The characters. Would Homer Simpson, Caillou, Charlie Brown, Stewie Griffin, or Elmer Fudd be the same with hair? What if the animator(s) weren’t quite as quick or lazy on that first day? What if they chose to be more thorough and hadn’t just used a fine-point utensil for a couple curlicues, at most, then called it a day? What if they looked over that first sketch and thought: “mayhaps this calls for a wee more effort?” What if they scratched that first board and pulled out colors in blonde, brown, black, and red? Ugh… Thank goodness they did not.

5. The athletes. Michael Jordan. He makes the case for a naked scalp all by his lonesome. But, with so many other players embracing this look, it’s difficult to watch any game/match/race/etc. without a peep of a smooth dome or two. I cannot in good conscience include Brian Urlacher. Go Lions.

6. The leaders. Americans traditionally do not favor baldies in politics. We usually prefer a nice head o’ hair on our history. But, a few of my absolute favorites actually lacked such luscious locks. Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, though living in the era of the powdered wig, were preeminent baldpates. Grand Rapids’ own, Gerald Ford, was another excellent leader. Even without that highly-regarded head o’ hair.

7. Babies. Babies are cute. Babies can be bald. And, if they are born bald, they likely didn’t torture their mommas with relentless heartburn during their gestations. For real, there’s a correlation between hairy babies and heartburn during pregnancy. Something about the hormones. Ask Dr. Google.

8. Eagles. Would you dare argue that any eagle is superior to the bald eagle??? I didn’t think so. ‘Merica.

9. Gandhi. Maybe one of the greatest teachers… believers… humans? And, a lesson of particular import: “No one can hurt me without my permission.”

10. Patrick Stewart. Duh.



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Rant: Al. O. Pecia is an Asshole

Ducky is bald. I previously mentioned her alopecia diagnosis here.
This past summer, she looked like this…

Then, around Halloween, she developed a patch…

By Christmas, she looked like this…

And, today, she is my little baldy…

Obviously, I know my child is beautiful. But, it’s difficult not to consider that this may be a challenge for her. After all, men struggle with male-pattern baldness all the time. Which is far more regular. If George Costanza had a hard time with it, is it so hard to believe that I might too, on behalf of my daughter?

20140224-231048.jpg(picture from “Seinfeld” Facebook page)

I know it’s what shouldn’t be said, but I just want her to be more normal. Average. Ordinary. I don’t want her to be so different. Yes, I know that her situation could be infinitely worse. Yes, I know (all too well) that in the scheme of things, this is a minor struggle. Yes, I know that I am being shallow and superficial. But, that doesn’t change the way I feel.

All that said, it will never change how I treat her or how I expect her to behave. She is different. She is special. She is also beautiful, she just doesn’t look like everyone else. And, I expect her to understand and believe in her own beauty. I personally do not fit the standards of beauty that our society values, but I know I am beautiful. Not in the “oh, beauty is on the inside” way– if you’ve read any of my other posts, you may be gathering this already. But, I am good-looking. Really, really good-looking. In the fat, lazy, fun, and confident way. And so, I expect my Ducky to understand that she may be different but she is in no way ugly. She’s really a swan.

In honor of her baldness, I would like to share thirteen things that are actually superior to having hair:
1. When in a cat fight, her opponent will be unable to pull her hair, thus giving her an advantage.
2. She will be far more aerodynamic in speed-related sports. She wouldn’t even need a cap to compete in swimming.
3. Furthermore, caps and helmets will fit more snugly when worn. Thusly, her safety and aerodynamics will be at an advantage.
4. It will be cooler in the summer months. Also, she can always be the first to confirm precipitation.
5. She will never get lice. And, she will never be scrutinized as the dreaded “patient-zero” during an outbreak.
6. Should she choose to work in a kitchen or food services, she will never be responsible for the random hair in the food. Not obviously responsible anyway…
7. She will never have a “bad hair day.”
8. And, she will never have to spend money on shampoo, conditioner, products, styling tools, salon services, etc.
9. Also, her carbon-footprint will be lower because she will not be using the aforementioned products.
10. She will never have to deal with massive tangles or annoying hair in her eyes or constant shedding.
11. It will be less likely that she can get lost in a crowd.
12. It will also be less likely that she would leave behind DNA evidence at a crime scene.
13. Finally, no one will be able to produce polyjuice potion in her image. And, let’s be honest, that’s really the biggest relief.


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Rant: Anxiety. It’s the Pits.

I suffer from anxiety. Not the ordinary kind. The extreme, debilitating, agoraphobia-causing, physically-symptomatic, scary, utterly-uncontrollable kind.

I have suffered from anxiety in a more “regular” way. I would worry about due dates and projects. My mind would race with thoughts of unfinished tasks, shopping lists, to-dos. It was a form of anxiety that was almost constructive in its presence; it helped me accomplish tasks. It was a motivator.

Now, it is the worst feeling. It is awful and scary and handicapping and scary.

I think I’ve always had an unusually high level of anxiety. I remember, as a young girl, not wanting to fall asleep for fear that something would happen whilst I slept. At that time, it was an irrational fear that someone would break in my window and hurt my family. Or that I would die. Or a fire. Or some other catastrophic event. I preferred to sleep with my mom. At an unusually late age for that type of behavior. It wasn’t exactly that I was afraid of the dark. More like, I was afraid of what would happen while my world slept. So, I would stay up to take care of it. And, when I could no longer, I would seek refuge with my mom, my fellow insomniac (not for reasons of anxiety but for reasons of bibliophiling). She would take watch while I slept.

That went on for awhile during my childhood. I can’t remember when or how long or why it stopped, but eventually, I must have gotten it out of my system.

Beyond disrupting my sleep patterns, I would to have irrational fears of dying or being sick throughout my day. I remember that I used to play a particular game with myself that allowed me to breathe easier. I would convince myself that I was being irrational based on the occurrence of concurrent/upcoming events. For instance, I would tell myself that “God” wouldn’t let me be sick or die during the month of my birthday. Or right before our spring break. Or before the spelling bee. I would repeat these mantras and actually convince myself that I was being foolish. I adapted quite well and, again, I was able to keep my anxiety at bay.

Then, a few years ago, as an adult, I had my first full-fledged panic attack. At the time, over weeks and months, I had anxiety building again. I did not recognize it for what it was, but I became more introverted than I had been in previous years and began sticking around my home more and more frequently. Then, one night, I was having trouble breathing. A weight was covering my chest. I actually thought it was a symptom of congestion, so I took some medicine for that. It didn’t work. Instead, my heart began racing and I was convinced I was dying.

I waited as long as I could until I woke Beer Bear, my newlywed husband, to tell him that he needed to take me to the hospital. A quick drive in the middle of the night and I was telling the desk receptionist that I was having breathing problems and needed to be seen. Right away, they hooked me up to monitors and began assessing the results. The doctor came in and advised me he was going to give me a shot. Almost immediately, I began to feel better. He told me that my test results were fine. That everything was normal. He had given me a shot that was used as an anti-nausea drug but, often, had the surprising side-effect of treating a panic attack. At first, I was relieved that I was going to be ok. But, the feeling was fleeting. Replacing it deftly in its wake, came the shame. I was so ashamed that I had wasted the time of the staff, doctor, and, most of all, Beer Bear, who would have to leave for work in the coming hours. On no sleep. All because I couldn’t get control of myself. All because I freaked out. For no reason. Ah yes, there was (and is) shame.

The doctor gave me a prescription for tranquilizers and discharged me. I have no doubt that Beer Bear remained as patient and as sympathetic as he could be. But, he didn’t understand. He didn’t really understand. How could he? He was always capable of disseminating the difference between stress and fear and the actual steps that it took for me to have him haul me to the ER. In fact, I feel like I often get this response from people. The lucky ones. The ones who have never felt the vice grip that anxiety can hold on you. The spinning out of control. The spiral of thought that digs you deeper and deeper until you are convinced that your worst fears are being realized. Sure, people have anxiety. Remember that constructive, motivating kind? Some of us have that horrid, unfortunate kind too.

After my trip to the ER, my anxiety began spinning out of control. That’s the true rub. I would absolutely know what was happening. I had a diagnosis. I would know that the shortness of breath, the heart-racing, the nausea, the sudden need for a bathroom; they were all symptoms of anxiety. I would tell myself to calm down, to breathe. I would repeat mantras of relaxation to myself. I would play little games, like spelling words backwards, and counting things I saw, and writing; anything to take my mind off of what was happening. I would take a tranquilizer and pray for a reprieve.

But, I became more and more withdrawn. My fear spread from me dying of a sudden heart attack to me dying in a car crash. I was no longer comfortable driving. Then, I worried that I would have an anxiety attack while in public and not have an escape alternative. I worried that my anxiety would betray me in public and my body would be out of my control and I would have an accident and incur the judgement of strangers. Strangers who, somehow, would’ve had such import to me that I would have felt great shame in their presence. I was no longer comfortable leaving my home.

After a short while of reclusive behavior and, still, experiencing daily torture, I sought the help of a psychiatrist and an endocrinologist (with the help of Beer Bear and my mom, thank you both). I tend to believe that my systems are all intertwined with my hormones so I began treatments for a hormonal imbalance and a proper, daily treatment for anxiety. With this new, daily medication, I hoped to be acting preventatively rather than attempting to tranquilize an already raging beast.

It worked. Within a few months, I felt better than I had in a long time. I was able to start enjoying my days again and become more functional, both in and outside of my home. I stuck with my medicinal regimen for about a year and, feeling confident and steady once more, weaned off carefully.

For a long time, I was good. I may have had situational anxieties, but these were most often brought on by challenging times or specific stressors. I was quite able to manage my infrequent symptoms with tranquilizers again. I still avoided some situations that I knew would lead to discomfort, but, for the most part, was quite functional. I knew better than to test my limits in crowds or confined spaces or the usual suspects.

Unfortunately, recently, my anxiety has reared its ugly head again. I’m not sure how or when it creeped back up on me. All I know is that it’s here and I am afraid again.

I’m writing this at 4 am, not because I needed to write it or because I particularly wanted to share the way I feel but because I was hoping that, by sitting here and writing this, I might be able to shake off some of this ickiness. It’s not exactly working though. I took a tranquilizer. Not exactly working though. I have to get up in less than four hours and be with Ducky all day and I still want to wake my family up and have them take me to the ER. Even though I know what the problem really is. As does Beer Bear. Who has to work. Again.

I am seeking professional treatment. I have been seeing a counselor at an intake center so that I can get an appointment with a psychiatrist. In the past, I treated my anxiety with medicine and it worked for me. At that time, I was able to make an appointment and go seek the help of a psychiatrist who worked with me directly for my medicinal management. This time, however, I am required to complete an assessment with a counseling service to get a referral for a psychiatric consultation. This is only unfortunate for me because I believe in the results of the medicine and it would behoove me to begin that program concurrently with any required counseling treatment, rather than consecutively. I am, however, looking forward to trying the therapeutic treatment this time supplementally. I’m hoping that with drugs and therapy, I can nip this shit in the bud again.

Because I can’t afford to have nights like this; frought with worries and pain and sleeplessness. Because I can’t afford to spiral into hysteria. Because I can’t afford to begin public withdrawal and inhibit the natural development of my daughter. Because I can’t afford to do my writing in the midst of these emotions, in the middle of the night, with the primary goal of calming down and eluding the anxiety monster. Because, while my source of inspiration is clear, my eyes are weary and my mind occupied. Not ideal for a #spellingnazi.

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Rant: English Tooder Ad

I came across this gem in my newsfeed:


This was posted in a garage-sale site that I follow.
First, if you advertise for a job, feel free to proofread.
Second, if you advertise yourself as a tutor, you may want to expend more energy in said-proofreading than, say, a carpenter or plumber or hauler. (Although any position would benefit from a careful and competent advertisement and I do not intend to malign any profession. It’s just that educational services should rely on this as representative of their qualifications).
Third, if you advertise yourself as a “certified English-teacher” and you cannot distinguish “your” from “you’re,” I pity the children who will suffer your tutelage. You’re an idiot.


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