Trying to Write

I’m working on continuing my story, but I’m finding that I’m having a hard time.  My thoughts are coming out jumbled and don’t flow like I want them to…it is frustrating.  I’m not exactly sure why I am writing this post, other than to let you know that I am still working on providing good content that you might want to linger and read for a bit.

Perhaps it’s being spent from my day at work, I don’t know.  I am trying to figure out a schedule so that I can be clear and write what I want to write, but I haven’t found that balance just yet.  Please don’t give up on me yet.  I’m working on finding a balance.

I used to write in the mornings before I went to work, and that might turn out to be what I do, I just feel so rushed in the mornings.  By the time I get home every day, there isn’t much time left.  I started out writing this blog with such good intentions and I’m frustrated that I have been neglecting it.

I will find my balance.  Somehow, someway.  Thanks for sticking it out with me…


Work and Zombies

So things have been quite busy for me as of this past week.  I’m liking my new job, which is awesome, but it doesn’t give me much time to focus on my writing.  Up at 5 a.m., home by 6 p.m., dinner and bed by 9.  Goodness, I feel old!  But, the extra cash flow is nice and very much needed.  Momma’s got to pay those student loans back someday!

I find myself behaving kind of manically at my new job.  It isn’t bad, per say, I think it’s just that I haven’t had human contact on this level for a very long time and I so much want the people I work with to like me.  I get excited when they engage me in conversation and I might come across as over eager.  I guess you could say I’m a people pleaser.  That isn’t such a bad thing, is it?  I have been fired from so many jobs prior to this gig that I don’t want to screw anything up or give them a reason to let me go.  I don’t think that will happen, I’m just a little jaded, I suppose, and like I said I don’t want to screw this up.  I NEED THIS JOB!

So, this past weekend, my husband and I were given the opportunity to participate in a Mardi Gras parade.  It was for the Krewe of Chewbacchus, which is just like it sounds, a parade based on the great Wookie himself, Chewbaccha.  It’s a fun parade with all kinds of geekdom going on.  You have people who dress up like Star Trek characters, Star Wars characters (duh), Dr. Who characters, etc.  Pretty much anything you might find at Comic Con has a place in this parade.  My brother has a zombie themed brass band back in Texas and he brought his band to march in the parade.  My husband and I got to be the banner holders that lead the band.

It was a ton of fun – lots of drinks and good people and happy times.  The downside is that we ended up walking about 12 miles on Saturday, given the parade length and the walking to and from various locations so we could be a part of the parade.  I am sooooo sore from all that walking and I have blisters on the balls of my feet.  OUCH!  But, all in all, I think it was totally worth the effort.  It was so much fun handing out beads to the people in the crowds.  We also got lots of high fives and fist bumps when we didn’t have anything left to hand out.  I would do it again…my husband on the other hand, is a different story.

So, I leave you with this picture of my husband and I dressed up in our zombie best.  May the force be with you!  And, your brains look delicious!


New Job

I got hired!  I’m so exciting to be working on this project – this job has been a long time coming for me.  Yesterday was my first day and I’m working on something completely foreign to me, but still using the skills I have required over the years in my other jobs.  I’m getting ready to head out the door for my second day and I’m actually looking forward to work!  That hasn’t happened in a long time.  It’s just going to be tough navigating getting to and from work due to all the happenings of Mardi Gras.  I take the street car to work and we live right on the parade route.  It’s going to take some masterful fan-angling in order to get home from work each day because the street car shuts down 2 hours before each parade.  Parades are in the evening.  Guess my hubby is going to have to come pick me up on the days there are parades.  I know that adds stress to his day, but at least I’m bringing in an income!  I hope you all are happy and well.  I will write more later today when I get off work.


Looking Back

I’m sharing with you today a piece I wrote on my old blog just after my mental break.  I was still extremely manic and angry and confused.  This post doesn’t make much sense to someone just coming in from nowhere and picking up my story.  Reading this post now, 3+ years later, I am reminded of how truly out of my mind I was.  I’m simply offering this as evidence to my declined mental health.  In it, I say that I am a “whole person”.  That is the farthest thing from the truth given the point I was at when I wrote this.  Please be kind…

connect the cause and effect

one foot in front of the next

this is the start of a journey

– Gnarls Barkley, Going On

Dear NOLA,

It’s been a while since I’ve written you a love note, but please rest assured that I still love you more than the moon and the stars.  I love my peeps in LA and TX, and boy do I have peeps!  I never realized how my sparkles and sunshine put a smile on some peoples’ faces.  That really makes me feel loved, knowing that people are laughing at with me as I stumble my way through becoming a full fledged New Orleanian and honoring my strong, “Remember the ALAMO!” approach to life.  I wear my Fleur De Lis pin with pride, like a badge of honor.  I’ve earned those stripes now.  I’m a whole person and the “finishing school” that I was enrolled in for the past 6 weeks held up a gorgeous mirror and assisted me in my transition into who I want to be when I have finished cleaning out my house.  

I just thought I knew what it means to miss MY New Orleans.  MY New Orleans is EVERYONE’s New Orleans and that’s why I love you, NOLA.  You give everyone a gracious, southern hug and a hankie when he or she needs a good cry in the proverbial bubble bath.  You even feed your “chickens” filling comfort foods and tight squeezes of the hand. To top it off, every member of the restaurant/hotel/hospitality industry is kinetically infused into the pulse of this city.  Combined with the efforts of the N.O.P.D. and major shake-ups in city government, and I have a front row seat to a fascinating study in city planning. I am learning the world by observing your constant adjustments to your gumbo recipe.

Let me say this:  I’ve always been a bit of a Nervous Nelly.  I’m really shy and overcompensate with my loud, VIVA LE TEJAS! attitude.  I have also spent my life with the knowledge that the world IS my stage.  I just have a hard time differentiating between “front of house” and “back of house”.  I have a slightly better understanding of the pulse and mojo going on in Southeastern LA, but by no means do I claim to know anything except what my mom and dad, friends and family have told me and through my own experiences here.

Thank you, New Orleans, for giving me a TIME OUT! so I could tuck in my slip properly.  During my time out, I learned a lot about myself.  I really AM a Nervous Nancy and my doctors made me realize that a 5′ 9″ woman in her early 30s should weigh more than 115 lbs. Watching the movie BLACK SWAN stirred up some serious self-image issues that I had been mashing down in my Pandora’s box of troubles.

I now have my own label and it doesn’t feel good.  I am an anorexic former ballerina who really needs to eat a sandwich.  I’m working with my super-fab team of doctors and mi familia now to get back to MY TRUE strong, West-Texan tumbleweed roots, cross bred with your live oak trees, NOLA.

After all, I’ve always been a little bit Texan AND a little bit New Orleanian.

I hope you can continue to take me as I am, ’cause I’m not ready to throw in the towel.

With love,

Kel :6

 Peace Be With You . . .

10 Things You Don’t Know About Me

As I have been writing my story, I have realized that I’m so much more than my diagnosis.  Yes, something bad happened and it changed the course of my life dramatically, but I am still someone who has hopes and dreams and experiences that aren’t related to bipolar disorder.  So, here is a list of 10 things that you don’t know about me.  You might be surprised by the life I have lived thus far…

1. I was born with 2 holes in my heart and a crimp in my aorta.  I had open heart surgery when I was 2 years old and for a long time my life was consumed with visits to cardiologists and taking antibiotics every time I go to the dentist.  I have a scar that looks like a big exclamation point in the middle of my chest.  It used to be an embarrassment, but it has become a badge of honor.

2. I was a ballet dancer for 20+ years.  I actually have 2 college degrees that are centered around dance and non-profit organizations.  I don’t look like a dancer anymore, due to my meds causing weight gain, but I even performed in Italy during graduate school.  It was quite an experience.

3. I grew up in a smallish town in Texas.  Football was/is king.  I am proud of being from Texas but I’m even prouder to be a New Orleanian.  Home is where you feel most comfortable.  Laissez les bon temps roules!

4. People who cross their eyes freak me out.  It makes me terribly uncomfortable.  I had a reoccurring nightmare when I was little about people changing into aliens when they cross their eyes.  Irrational, yes.  But, I still don’t like it.

5. I love the Muppets.  You know, Jim Henson’s Muppets.  They never fail to bring a smile to my face.  I think Miss Piggy is one of the most glamorous characters of all time.  Maybe someday I’ll be glamorous like her.

6. I once convinced 2 college guys I met on Spring Break that me and my bestie were from Russia.  We had them convinced the whole evening and laugh about it even now.  Boys can be dumb.  Babushka…

7. I think llamas are beautiful.  They have really luscious eye lashes, and who doesn’t appreciate nice eyelashes?

8. I really like to cook.  My husband and I cook extravagant meals together on a meager budget.  There is something awesome about mastering a bechamel  sauce on your first try.

9. I don’t like it when people touch me with their feet.  Not that a lot of people have touched me with their feet…my husband does this to me nightly and it makes me stabby.  Keep your feet away from me!

10. I have never ridden a motorcycle.  My dad was a spinal cord rehabilitation nurse and forbid me to ever ride on one.  The fear still lingers.  Sorry, REDdog!

So, I hope you learned something new about me.  Nothing that I have shared is too earth shattering, I just hope it gives you a little insight to who you are reading about.  My life hasn’t always been consumed with my diagnosis.  It’s just what I am currently dealing with.  Maybe someday, I’ll get back to a ballet class.  One can always hope.

The Following Months

After I was released from the mental hospital, my life became a complete blur.  I started seeing Dr. Teeth at his private practice, where his red-headed assistant was ever present at each of our meetings.  It was frightening because he was treating other patients that I had been with in the hospital.  I was trying to distance myself from the people and memory of my week and a half stay, but their presence at my appointments was a constant reminder.

My paranoia about the cars and church bells was slowly edging its way into my psyche, making me a shell of the person that I used to be.  I was taking handfuls of medications which only made me a zombie. I didn’t feel like I was improving, just drugged.  I had been a voracious blogger prior to my break and I tried to continue writing, but my posts came out angry and delusional.  I was trying to hold things together but I was failing miserably.

I remember one particular appointment with Dr. Teeth.  His assistant was there, of course, and I had broken down crying.  He announced to her, “She needs a hug.  Give her a hug.”  She started to hug me and I backed away, claiming that I was okay.  It was such an odd experience having someone be ordered to hug me and provide comfort.  He was so clinical and didn’t offer any supportive words, only pills.  Saying he was not the right fit for me is an understatement.

The care of our home completely fell on my husband.  I didn’t have the wherewithal to do dishes, cook, or clean.  Here he was working his butt off and having to come home and work even harder to take care of me.  We were still hanging out with our “friends”.  They tried to cheer me up and be there for me, but I was so paranoid that something so simple as watching T.V. brought out the paranoia demons in me and I had to walk away and go into the other room.  I think it was frustrating for everyone involved.

I tried finding a new job, but that was not going well.  I had no business looking for another job.  There was no way that I would have been a productive employee if I couldn’t do something so simple as washing the dirty dishes at home.  My friends tried to put business connections together for me, but when I would meet with those people in a social setting, I would talk about religion – specifically about how the Catholic church was hypocritical and oppressive to women.  Not something you talk about ever, let alone when trying to get hired for a job.

Another paranoia that had arisen was the radio.  I thought the DJ’s were talking about me and to me.  I read into all popular songs that were on the radio, thinking they were written about me.  I thought all the rappers in New Orleans were gunning for my head.  I didn’t know any rappers in New Orleans.  I just thought they were after me because of a few interactions I had with those type people long before my break.

During my increasing paranoia, even my house wasn’t safe.  We had this old security system that had been installed prior to our moving in.  In our bedroom, there was a motion detector above one of the closets that would flash a red light when you walked down the hallway or into the bedroom.  I fixated on this and thought that someone was taking pictures of my movements in the house through this device.  It got so bad that I ended up hanging a scarf over this small motion detector so they couldn’t take pictures of me.  My husband tried to reassure me that it was nothing, but I wasn’t convinced.

I remember one night in particular.  My husband had gone out to get us some food for dinner and I was left in the apartment alone with the cats.  I paced up and down our hallway calling his name and one of our other friend’s names.  I don’t know why I did this – I knew that I was alone.  But I was lost.

My mother-in-law came to stay with us at one point.  She stayed for about a week.  I slept a whole lot and talked about the church bells.  I don’t remember much from her stay with us, all I know is that she was my babysitter because my husband couldn’t watch me 24/7.  He was desperate to make me better and I think he kept on waiting for me to show signs of improvement.  But, improvement never came.  She was here to help both of us, except no amount of help could calm the demons in my head.

I actually felt like I was getting worse.  Of course, I wasn’t conscious enough to really assess that situation, but nothing was making sense and my stay in the hospital hadn’t helped any.  I was a shell of a person and everyone surrounding me was very frustrated.  Dr. Teeth had promised me that if I went to his hospital, I would spend a little time and be better.  He lied.  I came out of there with more problems than what I went in with.  I’m not saying I didn’t need to go, it’s just that my medications weren’t working…weren’t healing my brain fast enough.

I was so paranoid and stuck that I didn’t really know which end was up.  My insecure feelings had lifted a bit, but then they got worse.  I had had my mental break and subsequent hospital stays in August.  I made it until the end of October and I’d had enough.  So, it was on my husband’s and my wedding anniversary that I said we needed to go back to the hospital.

We called one of our friends that is a health care professional and she came over and talked to me.  It didn’t take much convincing, but she said that maybe it was time to go back into the mental hospital.

So, we got in the car and went back to the emergency room and waited for Dr. Teeth to be paged and come assess me.  We were there for hours, maybe 5?  It didn’t feel like that long to me, but for my husband it was excruciating.  He finally showed up.  I said I wasn’t better and he offered me another a bed in his mental hospital.  I was going back in, a little wiser as to what was going to happen.  I didn’t know what was going to happen moving forward, I just knew that I couldn’t keep dealing with the demons in my head.  I was exhausted and something had to change.

A New Possiblity

SOOOOOOOO….I had a job interview this morning!  It’s a temporary job that will only last through August, but I have the opportunity to learn a new trade, per say.  I am very excited, as the guys I interviewed with are very charming and engaging.  I really hope this pans out into something I can do.  I’m facing a bit of a learning curve because this is in an industry that I have never worked in before, but I am ready for the task at hand.  No more sitting around the apartment twiddling my thumbs and having the only interaction I have with the outside world be with the checkers at the grocery store.  That would be an improvement.

Another improvement would actually have something to talk about with my husband at the end of the day.  He is very supportive of what I do at home and I thank him for that and he is my #1 fan with this blog.  I just would like to add something more to the conversation other than, “Oh, I had 67 hits on my blog today!”  I like having that many hits on my blog, don’t get me wrong.  It fuels the creative part in me, I just would like to offer a little more to the conversation and actually be bringing home a paycheck.  These student loans aren’t going to pay for themselves…

So, wish me luck and do a “may she get the job” rain dance in my honor.  I really feel positive about how things went and I hope the other candidates aren’t as dynamic as I was in the interview.

Here’s to new beginnings!