Category Archives: peer pressure

Today …

is my birthday.  My forty-ninth birthday to be exact.

A day that begins a journey to the big five-0.

I started the day feeling, for reasons that escape me, sad and melancholic.  After all, what, in nearly fifty years have I done.

I wanted to be somebody, do something, see somewhere, make a difference in someone’s life.

I was certain I had failed, but then today happened.

I was minding my own business, doing my job when I heard a voice saying to me, you need to do something.

Do what?  I’m a nurse, I check folks in, take their vitals and get them ready for the provider to see them.

But that voice would not be quieted.

It continued to speak as I continued to do my day job.

Unbeknownst me, my day job was the target and the voice didn’t give me the opportunity to dismiss it as there was something I had to do.

So I did it.

The person I  was drawn to was sad, helpless, feeling betrayed and telling me that they loved Jesus as they listed their worries.

I know Jesus and He knows me.  Worries are not things that effect His people and He reminded me of this as I was being sucked into the worries of someone He was trying to help.

I opened my mouth.  I asked them what good could come from the worry they spoke of if they truly loved and believed in Jesus Christ.

“My family says, my boyfriend says, my friends say that I’m not worthy.  They say I’m nothing without them”

Tears.

I ignored the tears and asked them why they let people tell them they they are worthless when they have professed their love for Jesus?

Tears and excuses that convince them they are worthless and unworthy.

I hold my own tears at bay because I, too, have felt unworthy, worthless and ashamed.

I ask them if they are are ashamed?

More tears, this time wracking sobs that answer the question more clearly than words.

I ask them why they are ashamed and when there is no answer I ask them if they are ashamed because they denied Jesus as their savior and succumbed to the opinions of the world?

The sobs became unbearable and I, too, began to weep.

I can’t help it.  You cry, I cry.

They were being tormented on every side, encouraged to do things that they were not comfortable with by people who declared Christ to them.

I took a moment to compose myself and called upon the name of the Jesus to help me discern what He was saying and what blasphemers were saying in His name.

This person was t0ld they were useless and unfit; unable to care for for themselves, much less anyone else.

I called “Jesus” on them.

I prayed with them and called a spade a spade.

More tears, mine and theirs … more mine than theirs because I was spiritually hurting for them.

The tears I cried weren’t only my own, but also those of Jesus.

His tears make me cry even harder.

I hope the tears the three of us cried will help this person speak the name of Jesus when they feel hopeless and defenseless.

I had two other conversations today that mirrored the first.

The evil one will willingly and gleefully use family and friends to turn people away from Jesus and he wants, most of all, for them to forget that his evil cannot stand in the name of Jesus.

The one thing I made clear to the ones I counseled today was to speak the name of Jesus, either out loud or in their mind.

It doesn’t matter where or how the name of Jesus is spoken, evil must flee; must run away, must cower, must make themselves scarce.

Don’t worry, don’t despair, don’t wonder what to do next.

Say or think the name of Jesus.

After that, you are free to make any choice you like.

If you choose Jesus, He will protect you, however, if you don’t choose Jesus, He will never forsake you, but wait until you are strong enough to choose Him.

The downside of this “win-win” plan is that if Jesus comes while you are still “deciding”, He will not recognize you when you call to Him.

Choose now or take your chances.

I know my name is in the book.

I suppose my question to everyone reading my post is is … do you?

Do you know your name is in the book and at the day of reckoning , will Jesus look at you, as and say “that one is mine, let them pass”, or will  He say “I’ve never known that person, cast them away”.

Choices.

Not to be taken lightly.

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And then there was light …

beautiful, blinding, mind-boggling, life-altering light.

That is the nature of bi-polar disorder, or in the more politically correct lingo, manic-depressive disorder.

The verbiage doesn’t change the nature of it, it simply makes those who have no clue about what it is, entails or emulates, feel better about saying it out loud.

Sometimes there is darkness, but when the darkness lifts, there is light.

And light in the aftermath of darkness is profound.

I would love to be able to explain this phenomenon, but I can’t.

I couldn’t even begin to explain it.

You either understand it because you live it or because you know someone who suffers from it or you are completely clueless.

If you are clueless, then there is nothing I can offer that will make the light bulb flick on above your head.  You will never know the depths or the incredible  highs of a brain that is well beyond your understanding.

I’m sorry for you, but can’t help your indifference.

Cluelessness  (not a real word, I don’t think) isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but without some understanding of what goes on in the mind of a bipolarist (also not a real word), there is no way anyone can possibly understand how incredibly wonderful the moments of clarity, without racing thoughts, without disorientation, without doubt and insecurities can be.

Without the chaos, the clarity doesn’t mean anything and if one never has clarity, then their accomplishments will be mediocre at best.

It is like walking into a green, summer field and seeing a triple rainbow arch over the green field that is covered by white daisies with yellow centers.

That is what the light is like.

A moment of pure bliss that allows dreamless sleep and pure and beautiful clarity.

It allows me to understand what I have been misinterpreting, to find the truth within the lies.

It really is impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t lost, at some point, control of their conscious thought and then when hollowed out, to crash and burn.

Crashing is not the best feeling in the world, but it is necessary.  It is like the control-alt-delete of the psyche and sometimes, it is at this point that people who pledge their friendship and loyalty jump ship.

How … well, convenient.

When I am depressed, well, I keep that to myself.  No reason to add fuel to the fire of the witch-hunters.

I am who I am and will be who I’ll be.

I don’t need validation from people who pretend to support me when they have no interest in who I am at the core, in the depths of my heart, in the center of my soul.

I am me.  I am not ashamed to be such although there are times when I am made to believe that I should be.

We bipolarists are not an anomaly.  We are a force to be reckoned with because not only do we have brains that see, feel and hear everything, we are able to function during these times of chaos.

That makes us talented and creative and imaginative;  and above all, it makes us survivors.

Those who take us for granted or think they can use us for their exclusive pleasure are the losers.

They didn’t get it.

They will never get it.

They lost the race when they rolled their eyes at our idiosyncrasies.

Our idiosyncrasies and oddities are what set us apart from everyone else and it is something to be cherished and embraced.

We are different, yes, and in being so, we are not cast in the same mold as the rest of humanity.

In my book, that makes us someone special and special is a pretty awesome thing to be.

I embrace it, even when I want to be rid of it, because it calls me to understand more than I should have to, endure greater disappointments than I should have to and to know more than I would have were my brain like everyone else’s.

It is at this point that I ask, who is normal?  Who can maneuver through a mindfield (not a mine field, a mind one) and end up standing, head held high, solutions in hand?

Kind of puts it in perspective.

I have been mocked by ones that I truly thought I could trust.

I have been shunned by ones who have know me for years.

I have been abandoned by ones that I would have bet my life I could rely on.

These things, these events, these setbacks have not broken me yet made me more determined to be who I am.

I am content with myself even when I am discontent with myself.

I am special and the people who are like me will understand completely and hopefully feel special, too.

I am misunderstood and  I am ok with that.

It means that I am a mystery and, let’s be honest here … how cool is that?

We are a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

That makes us cool in the “you wish you could see what my brain sees” kind of way.

Yes.  I am bipolar and I take each moment, each second, each event as it comes.

It is amazing what you can see when you take one moment at a time.

I love my life and though there are times when I forget who I am and can’t string words together to make coherent sentence, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not  a single thing.

I. Am. Me … and I’m good with that.

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side  Market in Cleveland, OH and bipolarist comfort food :)

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side Market in Cleveland, OH and a favorite of this bipolarist’s comfort foods 🙂

When God gives one a heart of compassion …

it is understood that it will get broken.

There is no way around it.

I am still learning this.

I find that is is both  an honor and a privilege to watch the end of life come to pass.

It isn’t easy nor can it be considered pleasant, but it is a part of life that not everyone gets to see.

The living years is what most of us look for, find pleasure in and hope to be a part of.

But to be present when a spirit leaves this world is nothing short of amazing.

The last breath.

The last heartbeat.

The last moment.

I cannot help but cry for it is, in it’s way, very sad … and yet, when there was suffering, it is also a comfort.

I try, in my weak way, to console the ones left behind, but at that particular moment, there really are no words to say.

I can only be there, in the background, in the edges of the moment, to hold a hand or wrap my arm around those who need the contact.

I’m not, by nature, a hugger or toucher.

It doesn’t really come naturally to me as it does to true nurturers … and yet, I find myself being pulled into the emotion.

It is difficult, but I cannot turn them away.

Not in their moment of need.

Maybe I am weak. But if I can offer some bit of strength in their moment of weakness, then my strength has been made manifest.

I can do, for this moment, what I have learned through experience to do.  Not book experience, or clinical experience, but life experience.

I understand loss, especially unexpected loss that blindsides you and leaves you reeling from words left unsaid.

It is what it is and there are no do-overs.

It is enough to know that you loved someone while they lived in a way that they knew, unconditionally, that they were loved.

It is enough.

Move forward as you can, but whatever the cost, move forward.

To remain where you are, in grief and sorrow is the last thing in the world the one you lost would want.

Don”t be afraid to live.

If you aren’t afraid to live, then when your time comes, you won’t be afraid to die.

It is a circle.

Don’t break it.

In order to gain my support from “Big Business” for worthy causes …

I have to sacrifice my own personal social media information and that of those that I choose interact with?

What kind of racket is this?

Businesses pretend to want to help spread news and articles of import; to support schools, sports, academics, Universities and the like, but there is a catch.

A rather large, bloodletting catch.

They want you to support them as they “give back” but before they allow you to give your support or share their stories, they ask for personal information and information on others who may have no desire whatsoever to support their cause.

I find this abysmal.

Oh, I’m sure their “people” could come up with a hundred good reasons why I should give up the information they ask, but if they really and truly wanted to help the entities they say they want to help, to share the stories they find so important, they wouldn’t have to resort to blackmail to do it.

That’s what it is.

In the end, anyway.

Blackmail.

I call a spade a spade.

Their policy is “I will allow you to engage our help in supporting causes important to you, share stories that may benefit your peers and friends and all you have to do is let us have access to your personal information and the personal information of people you know”.

The only thing missing is a baseball bat to the back of my knees.

I won’t do it.

I won’t give in.

I refuse to be coerced to hand over what they ask simply because I want to help.

I can write a check that will do no more than clear the bank and implicate no-one other than myself.

Target and NBC are two of the offenders that I have had personal interactions with.

I was really bummed to have to give up NBC’s news app because it is one of the best I’ve come accross.  As it stands, there are things I see on there I want to share with my peers … understandable, right?  NBC, however,  won’t let me share unless I give them access to my facebook profile and friends list.

And Target, a store I used to respect, won’t support the schools they say they will support unless I “tell all”.

They go on and on about supporting schools, but they require a blood payment.

I think not.

I’m not going to play along.

I’m not going to “give up” my own personal information or that of others in order to support anything through big business when I am perfectly capable of doing my part to support it however I can.

Which I have.

Many times.

I don’t have much money, but what I do have, I am happy to give away to help worthy causes.

I don’t need big  business, conglomerates and super-store powers who are more interested in trying to trick me into giving them what they want than they are in supporting the entities they pretend to be behind.

They call it tit-for-tat … i call it something else entirely.

I refuse to play their game.

Maybe I am cynical in some ways.  I never thought of myself as that way, and now I wonder.

Maybe I am.

Maybe I am the type of person that doesn’t give up everything just because a big name is willing to support the same thing I do.

I have standards and rules that I live by.

They aren’t written in stone, but they are my guidelines.

What these big companies offer is little better than the gang of thugs that offers to “protect” a business and then beats the crap out of the owner if they don’t accept their protection.

I find that reprehensible and if they don’t, they should.

Shame of them.

I won’t be a part of it.

Asking something in payment for giving freely is not, in any shape or form, giving freely.

I hear my drummer calling … I believe I will go march to it.

A kick in the teeth is a kick in the teeth irregardless of the animal.

A kick in the teeth is a kick in the teeth irregardless of the animal.

Seriously?

Seriously?

When the Halloween episode of Little House on the Prairie …

makes you hide under the covers and sleep with the lights on for a month, it sticks with you for a long, long time.  We’re working on what, now?  Thirty years?  Thirty five? More?

It sticks.  Trust me.

Ok, so maybe I am the only person, other than Laura Ingalls, who was terrified, freaked out and mentally assaulted at the thought of good-natured, sweet, gentile, patient, unassuming Mr. Olsen taking Mrs. Olsen’s head off with a sword and then answering the knock at the front door with an apron covered in blood.

Maybe I am.

It wouldn’t be the first thing, nor I regrettably admit, will it be the last, that freaked me out while having little or no effect on those around me.

No effect other than making them roll their eyes and mutter comments under their breath that they didn’t think I could hear.

I heard them.

All of them.

Well, most of them anyway.

Or I imagined them which, in my world, amounts to pretty much the same thing.

(For those who are unsure as to whom I speak, Laura was not a real person … well, she was, as she was an actress, but her character was just that … a character … made up by the ever talented, though now dead, Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I have read ALL of the Little  House books, unashamedly, multiple times over and do not  remember this particular scene in any of them.  I could have blocked it out, though, because that is what I do with disturbing images that terrify me and make me wet the bed because I am too afraid to put my feet on the floor, opening them to whatever may be underneath it, to walk to the bathroom.)

It wasn’t a scary show, but then neither was The Waltons and the episode when Elizabeth (whom I disliked a great deal anyway)  was becoming a teenager, made me feel the need for serious, long-term, ongoing therapy.

Knowing these things and, knowing as I do what a fraidy-cat, chicken-hearted, scare-baby (thanks Pollyanna, for scare-baby) I am, it is with horrified trepidation that I await the soon-to-be-received Netflix selection of True Blood that is even now on its way to my terrified-by-association mailbox.

The very thought of blood in my mouth makes my usually absent gag reflex perk up and sing the hallelujah chorus.

And still yet.

I can’t imagine what I was thinking.

Yes I can.  Peer pressure.  I succumbed to it.  Pure and simple.

I was recently introduced, by a friend, at least she was disguised as a friend, to Joe Manganiello, aka Alcide.  Well, not personally introduced for if I had met him in person, I would be bragging daily in that “I’m better than you can ever hope to be because I have met Alcide in person” tone.

I don’t know exactly how to brag efficiently because I don’t have much to brag about, but were I to meet that man in person, I would learn quickly.

Or at least fake it persuasively.

And I would become adept at lying, which is pretty much the same as faking it persuasively, but oh dear me …  the stories I would tell.

But all of that hinges on the the possibility that I had been introduced to him in person, when in reality, I wasn’t.

I had not heard of him before.  I don’t watch TV, watch the news, read the newspaper or otherwise partake in life as it happens outside my own definition of reality.

Sometimes I wonder why I don’t just strap a backpack filled with toast-chee crackers and hot mama sausages to my back and live my life in the mountains in a way that would closely resemble Grizzly Adams … or, more aptly, Mad Jack and Old Number Seven.

So anyway, after a brief diversion, I get back to the point; this video, filled with vampires, blood, gore, blood, violence, blood, sex, blood and a gruesomeness that I cannot even imagine … oh, and blood, in the mouth no less …  is on its way to my home.

I was told that this Alcide character didn’t show up until the third season, but to have a single solitary clue what was happening, I had to watch it from the beginning.  I have doubts, however, given my reaction after five minutes subjected to “The Living Dead”, which is not an HBO production, that I will make it through the first episode.

That statement is notwithstanding to the fact that the email from  Netflix with the photo associated with the show nearly made we wretch.

I have striven to be tough, more immune to outside influences, harder of heart and body and more like a living, breathing human being.

I really have.

But I’m not sure I accomplished what I set out to accomplish.

I wanted to be popular.

Like my sister.

I wanted to be good at sports.

Like my sister.

I wanted to have the ability to watch horror movies in the eighties with MY boyfriend instead of running out of the theater crying inconsolably.

Like my sister.

Just ask her.  It was a proud moment in her life.  Actually proud moments because she went on nearly every date I ever had.

But that is neither here nor there.  Actually it is or I wouldn’t have brought it up, but it shouldn’t be.  I’ll just say it that way.

And she, the sister I wanted to be like, watched “The Exorcist” with her friends while I cowered in my room with a thin wall between me and the TV and belted out show-tunes to keep the sound of the movie from my ears.  It was pathetic and likely still the topic of dinner table conversations of those who partook in that particular episode of my life.

And people wonder why I am warped.

I suppose, too, that they will be wondering why I am in the hospital on an overdose on stolen Xanax after only a few minutes of watching the pilot episode of True Blood.

Then they will remember this post and say “Oh …  yeah … well, I’m not all that surprised” as they bite into their warm, six inch, flatbread, tuna with provolone, spinach, avocado, red onion, black olive sandwich with jalapeno on the side from Subway.

Then they will go on with their lives while I gulp down Thorazine and fight off night terrors.

Peer pressure.

Do as I say, not as I do and avoid it at all costs.

I’ve got one hand in my pocket and the other one on an ancient typewritertypewriter

Abby, howling with ecstasy or insanity … either one workslaughingAbby