Becoming Jill: Adventures in Adulthood

I Feel Lucky
January 10, 2011, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Depression, Positive Thoughts

I hope that I am not a shallow person, but sometimes it takes events like the shooting in Arizona over the weekend to remind me how very lucky I am. I have struggled with mental illness for over a decade now, and it’s easy to get caught up in regrets, and wishing that things had worked out differently, and feeling despondent that I haven’t achieved very much in my 30 years. Then something like this happens, and reminds me that I *am* lucky, because I have people in my life who care enough about me to make sure that I get help.

The more I read about the young man who caused all this sadness, the more clear it seems that this tragedy was not the result of over-inflamed political rhetoric, but rather from untreated mental illness.

While my own particular issues have never made me want to hurt anyone else, I can understand how it happens. I don’t know if this young man was aware that he was ill, but I do know how hard it is to get treatment. For one thing, when you are mentally ill, it’s just hard to get anything done. A lot of days, taking a shower is more than I can accomplish, and let me tell you, getting mental health care is a whole hell of a lot harder than taking a shower. If you don’t have insurance, it becomes an even more monumental task. If you do manage to get to see a doctor, can you afford to purchase the medicine they might prescribe?

I am so very, very lucky. Over the years, I have had family members and friends who would take me to the doctor if I couldn’t get there on my own. I have parents who could pay the bills, even if it meant making sacrifices elsewhere. Sometimes I have even had insurance. Right now, I am going to a great non-profit clinic where each visit is 10 bucks, and they give me sample medications for free. If I couldn’t get samples, my depression meds would cost $145 per month.

I don’t know anything about this young man’s situation, but I can empathize with the many people in this country who can’t get the help they need. I am so thankful that I can.


A Positive List
January 9, 2011, 6:08 pm
Filed under: Positive Thoughts

Another day of fending off the sinus infection, so my brain’s not really up to analyzing any positive thoughts, but here’s a random list of things that have made me happy in varying degrees today:

1) Dozing on the couch wrapped in my down comforter while watching Cranford on PBS (again, dork porn alert!)

2) Snuggling with my kitties on said couch

3) Eating steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast (yum!)

4) Looking at the pretty blue sky

5) Using my space heater for a bit to warm my toes

6) Looking at pics on facebook of various friends’ various babies

7) NOT having a baby of my own!

Chapter 22: In Which My Best Friend Makes Me Laugh
January 8, 2011, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Positive Thoughts

Well, so far, all this positive thinking has been pretty hard work! I know that changing one’s thought patterns doesn’t happen overnight, but I did think it would be a little easier than this…

Luckily, a chat with my best friend nearly always puts me in a good mood, and provides positive thoughts-a-plenty. The lovely and amazing Karen has been by my side (or, more often, on the other end of the phone) for all the ups and downs of the past decade, plus a few years.

When you know someone for that long, you just know certain things about them– all the little quirks that make them fun and unique. Here’s a bit of the gospel according to Karen: Diet Coke only, regular tastes weird; peeing in bushes is not itchy, awkward, or revolting, but actually what she does for “fun” on vacation; social activities must be arranged around the Vikings football schedule; soup is not real food.

I called her this evening, and she informed me that she was making soup! This, the girl who for 10+ years has steadfastly waged a war against soup. I have known her to eat chili on occasion, but chili, she says, is not soup. Her argument against soup, is that it is akin to bobbing for apples, and if you want veggies, don’t float them in water, and if you want water, just drink a glass. So you can imagine my surprise when she told me that she was making soup of her own free will.

This post is going no where fast, and I am having a hard time explaining why I found it so hilarious that my anti-soup best friend is making soup for dinner, but there it is. In any event, I love having someone in my life who can laugh with me over the most mundane details of our lives, and who brightens my day by just being who she is.


Chapter 20: In Which I am Thankful My Dad Didn’t Die
January 6, 2011, 7:34 pm
Filed under: Positive Thoughts, Uncategorized

So, remember back in early November when I said I was going home for 2 weeks to help my dad recover from surgery? Well, that 2 weeks turned into 6 plus 2 major holidays, and my dad nearly died of septic shock.

I’ve been putting off writing about it, because I have basically been in recovery mode since returning to MN about a week ago, plus I’ve been sick. However, today seemed to be the right day!

Basically, when Dad’s catheter was removed after a month, he got a really bad bladder infection, which put e. coli into his bloodstream (sepsis). Being a man, he was refusing to let me take him to the doctor until he was bad enough that he had to go to the ER. He was then admitted to the hospital on IV drugs, and we thought he was going to be fine. The next day, his fever spiked to 105, his oxygen levels dropped to the 60 percents, and he really almost died. Luckily, my aunt was spending the night in his hospital  room and was able to run and get help, and he was transferred up to the ICU and changed to different drugs. He spent a few days in the ICU before returning back to a regular room and finally getting discharged a few days before Christmas. After all that, he still had to have IV antibiotics 3 times a day for 12 days! That e. coli sure doesn’t mess around…

So, needless to say, the holidays were a bit stressful and chaotic, but we were all really glad that dad is making a good recovery! He went back to work on Monday, and is doing great, although he’s pretty tired. So, public service announcement: if you suspect you have sepsis, get thee to the ER!




Chapter 19: In Which I Appreciate Naps
January 5, 2011, 6:27 pm
Filed under: Positive Thoughts

Today’s positive thought is brought to you by the wide world of naps!

Seriously, how wonderful are naps, especially when you are sick, and have all the kinetic energy and personality of a wet sandbag? I had one of those flat-out, dead-to-the-world, drooly naps today, and it was great. Still feeling sick, but ever so grateful for the restorative power of naps, especially the ones where you have a fluffy kitty on your feet!

Here’s hoping that tomorrow brings better health and slightly more profound thoughts…