Tuesday, October 23, 2007

512 Miles South

512 Miles ~ That's the distance from my home here in Kansas to my Dad's House SW of Ft. Worth.

It's about an 8 hr drive . . . mainly due to traffic and construction. I had a lot of time on the trip to think. What would it be like after so long seeing my Dad? Is it going to be awkward? Is anyone going to be angry or mad at me? What if it goes badly? Why am I doing this? Is this the right thing? As you can see, a lot of questions circled my mind. Truth be told, I was nervous. Very, very nervous.

So, after the long trip, I pull up to the home. And there, on the front porch, was my Dad and his wife. Waving and smiling. I pull up, turn the car off. And open the door . . . here it goes . . . and I'm greeted by the biggest hug. Instant relief. Any doubts in my mind were immediately gone. As convenience would have it, the first evening was just us, a bowl of chili, lots of pictures, and smiles. It was nice to visit and hear what life has been like for them, and share mine.

The second day was a jaunt to Hurst to have lunch with my uncle, and then over to the Stockyards in north Ft. Worth for some souveniers for The Double D's for watching the pooch. Saturday, we took a day trip to Austin to visit my brother John, and Sunday was Cowboys game and goodbyes. Inbetween, I got to see all my brothers, my niece and nephew, my sister-in-law, a golf course in progress, and just absorb it all.

There's a lot I'm not saying, because it's just for us. But know this, it was such a positive event for us all. After 10 years apart, we had a great time together, and have planned another visit after the holidays. When I get a chance, I'll post some pics on flickr for ya . . .

I miss them all already. I'll be home again soon, Daddy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Long Journey Home

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Wow! I could start this blog with all kinds of cliche's . . . like "Every journey begins with the first step" or the ever popular "Why is it guy's don't ask for directions?" . . . but I won't do that. Besides, I did ask for directions, and that's just how I am. So, let's jump in . . .

On Thursday, I'll be embarking on a trip that is over 500 miles and 10 years in the making. I'm taking off to visit my Dad. I haven't seen him, that I recall, since I graduated high school. Our relationship was tense and strained ever since I entered my teen years. He never did anything to hurt me, or harm me, or really push me away. I was just angry at what was going on in my life, I was confused about who I was, and I struggled with my moods. My mind was in a drink mixer, and all that came out was hate. For some reason, the only adult in my life that didn't hurt me or take advantage of me had to take the brunt of all my anger. I know why, but it wasn't anything he did.

Moving to Kansas gave me a chance to piece together my life and put some order to my universe, if you will. It hasn't all been a joy, but it was the best decision I could have made. I was able to finally move past the abuse by my step-father, accept who I was as a person, and look back and see what relationships needed mending.

The obvious place to start was with my Dad. He's been there, finding out about me from my brother Jim, waiting for me to come around. Then, my step-mom Lisa, knowing both my father and me, intervened. She sent me an email just wanting to let me know they cared. It was the push I needed. Emails have been exchanged, phone conversations took place, and now I'm going to visit.

I'm going on a journey Home, to a place where I've never been. A place that I know has always been there for me, I was just so scared to go. For those wondering the "oh Joe, does he know?" Well, he does, and doesn't care. He loves and accepts me for me. He doesn't want to push me away, he just wants to be a part of my life, and get to know the man I've become. Not much will be said between us, but much will be felt. I know he loves me, I've always known.

Daddy, I'm coming Home.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Take 2 of the red . . . no wait 3 of the blue . . . ah hell, do whatevah!

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This might be a TMI blog, but oh well . . . I guess I just don't fear it anymore. Or am ashamed by it . . .

So, why all the filler recently . . . what happened to the humor and insight (my, don't I think highly of myself!)? Well, I've been preoccupied with my mind. I know that probably sounds bizarre to some, but to me I think of it often. I have to question what's going on, how I feel, what's really behind the feeling - it's a vigilant stance I have to take every single day. Why is that? Well, it's simple . . . the chemistry in my brain is hosed up -- big time! Things don't necessarily click up there like they are supposed to on a regular basis, and I have to know when things need a bit of help.

See, after my last hospital stay (yes, it was a mental hospital - and no I didn't try to commit suicide) I promised myself to learn more about my diagnosis, and myself really. I am diagnosed with three issues - and yes they might seem trendy diagnosises (what is the plural for diagnosis??), but for me they really are there. Until I had these and got help, my life was spiraling down hill. I am bipolar (rapid cycling) - which means I hit really big highs and then crash pretty dang hard fairly quickly. Most people's highs last for at least a month, and lows the same. Mine tend to go week to week and even day by day when it gets really bad. I have PTSD (abuse related) - certain smells, sounds, or images trigger really strong responses in my mind to the point of experiencing the emotions, feelings, or angst associated with it. And finally, I have ADHD. I know, who doesn't. But for me, it hits pretty hard. I can be having a conversation and in the middle, change gears and not be able to recall what was going on before. I'm hell in a meeting because I struggle to follow. It's pretty frustrating sometimes.

Anyway, after my last stay, a couple things happened that shot my confidence in the psychiatry community. First - my doctor had a stroke. It was back to finding a new doctor and starting all over again. While in the hospital the doctor's joked that all of my particular doctor's patients ALL took the same stuff at the same dosages. That shot my confidence in what I was doing. Then, after my discharge, I got hooked up with a new doctor that changed ALL my meds and kept doing it. The final straw was when I got a bill from him. I asked repeatedly if he accepted my insurance, and he said yes over and over. Well, he didn't. So, I hit the point where I said fuck it all. I stopped taking everything . . . all of it. That was well over a year ago. I went back this weekend and listed all the medication I have in my medicine cabinet that I took over the past year, and it's quite a list. I had Concerta (in 3 dosage sizes - for ADHD), Lamictal (in 2 dosages - mood stabilizer), Wellbutrin XL (2 dosages - antidepressant), Remeron (antidepressant), Cymbalta (antidepressant), Abilify (3 dosages - antipsychotic - for PTSD), Ambien (for when I couldn't sleep ~ can't imagine why), and Atavan (for when I couldn't calm down - for PTSD). Yes, in a span from August 2006 to January 2007 I was taking a combination of the above pills. In January, I just stopped. I was tired of feeling numb, and the side effects sucked major ass!

For most of the year, I haven't really had any issues, and I dealt with some big stuff. Now, however, I'm falling again. I'm falling into that abyss that I don't want to go to. I hate it, and I don't want to take umpteen million pills, but I have to take care of myself. I need to find someone that will listen, and care. Find someone that won't have a prescription filled out before I even sit down. I don't want to do this, but I know I must. I have to take care of my mental health. I can't sleep regularly, I'm irritable all the time, I have begun to isolate, things that used to interest me don't anymore, and I had some thoughts that I haven't had in over a year creep into my head. I'm scared to death to walk down this road again, but I'm even more afraid of what will happen if I don't.

So, I'm going to try and make an appointment sometime for this week or next. I'll keep ya posted. So, this is what's going on in JJ's world right now. It sux, but we all have our struggles. It's what makes us who we are.

Take care . . . Hugz!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Navigating the Marsh

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The cool night air awakens my sight,
Ahead of me, more than just a fight
The moonlight above illuminates below
The pale, dark hues dance and begin to show.
There they are, hiding beneath the mist
Their unholy gazes, I must resist
They snarl their lips, drool oozing forth
Carefully I trek, I have been forewarned.
Knee deep in the muck, above I try to stay
Wanting to avoid the conflict, away from the fray.
But the marsh swallows me whole, I can’t get out ~
I reach for something, a hand to bring me about.
I find myself staring, squarely on my level
The dark, gleaming eyes - possessed by the devil.
The fear seizes my breathe, I begin to choke.
I can’t get away, my hope has been broke.
Looking above for the light to rescue me
All I can find is a dark veil, they won’t let me be.
What are these creatures, who are these beings?
Why must I succomb, why do these demons cling?
Their knife like talons, tearing at my heart,
A prize they desire, take it away and tear it apart.
If I value my life, I must fight my way free
If only there was light, I can not see.
Without warning, the veil dissipates
The demons recoil, for the light they hate.
Revealing their true desires, their true identity ~
I suddenly realize their distinct frailty.
So away foul trolls, demons, and fallen saints ~
I do not fear, my heart, my soul ~ your prey I ain’t.
I continue my odyessey, my hope is renewed.
For I am armed with the truth by the light of the moon