Finding Inspiration In Unlikely Places

December 24, 2019

I Know this is silly but here’s a Pez dispenser of Wonder Woman. I saw the newest movie with my mom and was really inspired.

“Do or Do Not. There is no try.” Yoda Star Wars He was on my nephew’s bedroom wall. Yoda has always been my personal favorite.

Okay now to get serious.   I have to start with this picture.   When I was on vacation with my dad I was feeling pretty good but I was remembering some things that were a little bit painful.  My dad helped me enjoy myself and relax but the thing that helped me the most was eating a nice dinner and finding this shirt.  “Take Time To Be Kind” Hard Rock Café Honolulu, HI.  A couple years back, I found a quote by the late Kurt Vonnegut.  Kurt said, “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”  Since my parents named me Charity that is something that I have tried to always be: kind and compassionate.  I don’t always succeed especially when I’m relapsing but I think that it’s an important message.  I can be pretty mean and hard to live with when I am unwell.  There is too much hate in the world right now…Let’s all strive together to have this as one of our goals.  To me it doesn’t matter who you are, what you what you believe as long as you are kind to me and my friends and family and don’t yell and cuss a lot, you’re okay in my book. 

Take Time To Be Kind Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu, HI

Everyone who knows me knows I love to shop but rarely find anything in the stores that fits me the way I want it to fit.  But I was shopping at Target and they had this tank top.  It was paraphrasing a quote by Mahatma Gandhi.  It says “Be The Change You Wish To See In The World.”  I bought a magnet several years ago that introduced me to this saying and it has always been one of my favorites.  The amazing thing about this shirt for me is that it empowers me to be my best self.  But when I’m sick I get so cynical and depressed about it thinking I’m useless and have no purpose here.  I constantly have to be reminded by my mother that I made a difference just by being born. I have never gotten more compliments on anything I was wearing in my life if you don’t count when I got really dressed up for the weddings i was in. I was in the middle of relapse when I had my dad take this photo. It will probably be the only time I include a photo from the dark times.

Okay bare with me I just have two more photos. I could feature different quotes every month I have found so many good ones but I will just share two more with you.  I have finally been given permission to include a quote on my blog from one of my personal heroes, Pat Deegan.  She is a survivor who lives with Schizophrenia and is one of the most successful people I have ever met.  She travels the world to promote her program Common Ground and trains peer specialists and does all kinds of other stuff I don’t even know about.  I wish I would have taken notes when I met her but she treated me as an equal.  Even though I am not schizophrenic, back in 1999 that was the first diagnosis they gave me because I was psychotic.  Anyway, sorry for rambling but here’s her quote.

Thank you Pat for helping all of us who live with mental health challenges. Thank you for being an excellent example of how with enough support, proper treatment, and determination we can succeed.

My goal is to write in such a way that people will have hope and hopefully will relate to some of the things I write about…I wish that I could just write whatever but I am very sensitive to negative feedback.  That’s why I have been writing my book for so long and haven’t been more aggressive in trying to publish it because it has some references to God.  I hope my friend knows how thankful I am for her.  Even if we never talk again I will always remember she opened my eyes to so many things that I used to be afraid to look at or I felt uncomfortable about.  Some folks on youtube and a discussion forum for depression made me feel really bad about myself and I considered giving up posting comments but since it’s anonymous I will continue as long as people don’t trigger me. I have learned not to take everything other people say personally especially when you don’t really know them in real life.  Of course, that is much easier said that done.

The final quote is from Kay Jamison I wasn’t able to find a way to get her permission but I am sure she won’t mind.  She really helped me when I met her after I told her all of my diagnoses, my degree, and my dream job I asked her if she thought that I would ever be able to work.  She said and looked right at me, “There’s always hope.”   2008 was a very tough year for me but meeting her and some other peers at a Depression And Bipolar Support Alliance conference made a huge difference in my life.  That’s where I met Pat Deegan too.

Thank you for your patience my dear readers. I hope this is your best year yet!

Peace,

Charity

Relapses Happen

I recently had a month and half relapse.  I didn’t stop my medications I just was stressed, anxious, and frustrated because I was having a hard time sleeping.  I started rapid cycling between hypo mania and depression.  It started off with a volunteer opportunity not working out and almost running out of my medication.

Relapses do not mean you are a failure and you have to be ashamed of yourself.  As long as you seek help from others and are trying to get better then you have nothing to be ashamed of.  Relapses are a very common part of the recovery process.  It is important to contact your psychiatrist and therapist the moment you think you might be relapsing so that you can begin receiving the extra support and treatment you need right away. 

Sometimes this means a medication adjustment…sometimes you need to better use the coping mechanisms you already have.  Victoria Maxwell wrote a great article on how to prevent relapse. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/crazy-life/201903/help-prevent-relapse-mental-illness.   She’s a writer, an advocate, and a motivational mental health speaker and former Canadian actress who lives with Bipolar Disorder.   Check this article out!

Every time I get sick again I hope it will be the last time but I know my life is never going to be easy living with several mental illnesses.  I don’t mean to sugar coat relapse because it a really awful thing.  I just refuse to let look back on it and let it ruin the rest of my life.  Sometimes the nicest things happen even when I feel terrible.  I was sitting outside at a coffee shop feeling lonely and depressed and someone bought me a cup of decaf.   I was crying walking home from where I had tried to volunteer and I got to talk to my best friend and he was a great listener. 

Carpool Karaoke & Two Songs That Have Helped Me 1.) Cope With Relationship Loss & 2.) Encourage Me To Be My Best Self

September 24, 2019

For me, music is a very important coping mechanism as long as I’m not experiencing migraines.  When I listen to music lyrics are most important.  I have done karaoke four different times in my life.  My favorite was the most recent time when I was in Santa Cruz at a family friendly bar that opened earlier than most karaoke joints.  I sang Country Roads By John Denver.  I thought it would be so much fun to have someone to sing with depending on the song choice and the partners’ vocal range.  My mom thought it would be funny if my dad and I sang the old song Anything You Can Do.  It was a duet in a the movie Annie Get Your Gun sung by Howard Keel and Betty Hutton.  “I can do anything better than you can…” etc.

  1. Coping with relationship loss Song

I have been told in the past that I shouldn’t take lyrics too much to heart because there are so many possible interpretations.  After I had a relationship with someone end, I told one of my bffs that Love Song By Sara Bareilles was my favorite song that would always remind me of him.  My BFF had a completely different interpretation of the song.  She said it just sounded like Sara was telling her agent she didn’t want to write a sappy love song because it wasn’t her style.  I still think of my ex when I hear the song but it’s not a longing anymore.  It’s a ‘I’m so glad that he’s not in my life anymore’ type of a song and it’s very encouraging and empowering!

  • 2.) Encouraging Me To Be My Best Self

There are so many of these.  It’s hard for me to pick just one and they constantly change depending on my moods.  My most current favorite is called Little Wonders By Rob Thomas.  Sometimes it helps my mind stop racing when I think about the future and appreciate the small good things that happen in the present. 

As I mentioned in my last post, I watch Carpool Karaoke regularly on YouTube.  I appreciate the classics like Stevie Wonder and Elton John the most but it introduces to me to some of the more popular artists than the Millenials enjoy.  Stevie Wonder is definitely my favorite so far.  I even enjoyed Celine Dion even though I’m not a big fan of her music.  Spoiler alert: At the end of the video she and James wear wigs and get on a boat and do a parody of “My Heart Will Go On.”  I got so sick of that song playing over and over on the radio so I got a good laugh out of that.  I wish I could thank James Corden for Carpool Karaoke…it does get a little naughty sometimes but I still really enjoy it.  Maybe someday I’ll make a friend that loves Karaoke as much as he does.  Find songs that make you happy and enjoy your life!   Until next time, my friends!  My next post will be on how to find inspiration in unlikely places!

Correction To Restorative Yoga Post

I am sorry. I accidentally wrote that the bolsters in classes I attend in class are softer than the one I bought. Actually the opposite is true. I love my bolster. The ones in the classes I have attended are really uncomfortable for my low back. Sorry for the confusion. I am still learning how to edit these posts. My next blog will be about music lyrics and how they have been very influential in my life and some of the songs that have inspired me to and encouraged me to strive to be my best self.

Sometimes when I feel sad I watch Carpool Karaoke on YouTube and it’s my only current favorite television show that is really popular. James Corden is a British actor who is a television host who works in Los Angeles. He drives around LA and calls a friend (usually musicians but sometimes actors) and asks for help getting to work. In California you only need two people to drive in the carpool lane and it saves a ton of time. I was looking up song lyrics on YouTube one day and it came up on my screen and now I am totally hooked. I don’t always like all of the musicians he picks but it is a really funny show. Check it out…you might like it.

Driving Miss Charity

I am increasing my confidence in communicating with the opposite sex while riding Uber & Lyft.  I have two best girlfriends.  One I have known since I was 6 and the other since I was almost 26.  Both are married, one has 3 daughters.  She is a few years younger than me but is wise beyond her years.  The other is less than 1 year older than me and knows me better than almost anyone else on the planet.  They both have patiently listened to all of the dramas and high points in my dating history.  One is a great listener and the other makes me laugh when I am sad.  The funny one made me watch 40 year old virgin after I broke up with an older guy.  My ex was not like him at all!  They both taught me that I don’t need a man to be happy and I can never settle for the wrong guy.  I deserve the best. 

They both know that I haven’t been on a real date for a long time.  I’ve been asked out a few times since but I have learned that taking things slow is the best approach.  I will suggest coffee first.  Riding Uber and Lyft reminds me of when I used to have several male friends on the internet.  You can say anything you want to.  You can create a different version of yourself and there’s no commitment because you get a different driver every time. 

So I’m not into lying but I have come up with the same safe script for every driver, male or female.  It’s still easier for me to communicate by email or text than in person. 

  1. Hi, How are you ____?
  2. Where are you from?  (listen, wait for them to ask). I’m from WV originally but I live in CA now.
  3. What do you like to do for fun? (listen, wait). I like to travel and write and do yoga.
  4. Weather
  5. If they ask what I do I say I’m in transition.  I do stuff at my church. 
  6. I ask them if they like their job.

It’s really fun b/c every driver is different.  If they’re nice and don’t prod for personal information, I give them a big tip.  Otherwise I only give them two or three dollars.  I thank them and leave.  The first time I did it alone I was a little scared but now I really enjoy it since I don’t go to bars.  I will be okay being single for the rest of my life as long as I have family and friends and a dog or two.  So, guess what single people you can survive without dating!   I have!  Yes, I will admit…the idea of meeting someone when I am doing karaoke in Santa Cruz, reading at church, or volunteering at the school has a lot of appeal…who knows where life will lead me.  But I am running towards myself and my goals…not going to let anyone stand in my way.

Restorative Yoga

I want to suggest just one tiny thing.  Restorative yoga has helped me so much.  It’s a very special kind of yoga where you are taught different poses supported by props.  If something doesn’t feel good, you just have to raise your hand and they will help you adjust.

  The whole point of restorative yoga is to slow your mind down and focus on your breathing and be comfortable.  I do it twice a week and a flow class once per week.  My friend Sandy got me into restorative when I lived in Florida. My favorite prop is the bolster.

You can get a nice one from amazon at a reasonable price if you’re comfortable shopping online.  The softest one I found was on amazon and it’s called the Manduka Enlight.  They look different if you use the ones the studio provides, and aren’t quite as soft. You can get a nice one from amazon at a reasonable price if you’re comfortable shopping online.  The softest one I found is They look different if you use the ones the studio provides, and aren’t quite as soft.

  I’m not going to bore you with a definition of restorative yoga or tell you about several poses because everyone has different preferences of what they like.  My current favorite is “stonehenge”.  You take one bolster and put it on your mat with two blocks under the bolster and you rest your feet on top of the bolster.  You can have a blanket for your head and a blanket for extra support for your back on top of your mat. 

“Shavasana” is the final pose in almost any yoga class.  It’s known as corpse pose because you are lying down flat or with props and everyone is very still and quiet after you get it set up and some people even fall asleep!  Your eyes are closed and some folks use eye masks.  You hold this position for five to ten minutes.  Some instructors give suggestions for shavasana, others say you can choose your favorite.  Only private studios have restorative.  Traditional gyms only have gentle and more advanced yoga classes. 

Online & Other sources for new students

https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/7-restorative-poses-rest-busy-winter-holiday-season

2 Videos that have helped me understand the basics of regular yoga, and some poses I’ve done in restorative yoga

Yoga For Dummies

Yoga Journal Yoga for Well-Being With Jason Crandell: 3 short sequences for Restful Sleep, Greater Energy, and Mental Clarity

Job, Dog, Man


I rescued my dog, a miniature schnauzer in January of 2010.   After I knew I was officially going to adopt her I changed her name to Jubee, short for Jubilant Kind Heart.  I only had her for eight and a half years.  Deciding to have her put down was a very hard decision but I knew it was the right thing to do because she couldn’t hear me at all and she couldn’t see well and she was confused and had lots of accidents.  If there is a doggie version of Alzheimer’s, she had it for sure.  We were planning to move to a smaller house and she would have been so confused and her life would have been harder so I decided I had to let her go.  

Before Jubee, the original life plan after my Masters Degree was Job, Dog, Man.  I got three jobs that didn’t work out and learned some valuable life lessons.  The only guy I ever loved dumped me and I knew that with a dog I’d always have someone who loved me unconditionally and that might even be better than being married.  Dog sitting when I was in college and a few times when I was healthy as an adult taught me how to take care of dogs properly but sometimes I had needed my parents help taking care of bigger dogs.  So when I found out there was a female rescue miniature schnauzer available when I was unemployed and searching for meaning I questioned it.  How does one take responsibility of another life when one barely has one’s life together?   My brother told me to go for it.   So I went to for it.  I met her and was instantly in love and hoped it would work out.  Not long after I adopted her I had my two best job experiences, both temporary but valuable.  Now she’s gone and I haven’t worked since 2013.  I don’t think there’s any kind of connection but I do know my life was better because of her.

            Jubee helped me see the world through different eyes.  I think getting her was the best thing I have ever done.  I have traveled a lot and I’m well educated but I have no idea what my next step should be.  I am working on my book.  I do some volunteer work and I am involved in different ways at my church.  I joined a yoga place that I love.  Constantly I feel like I am not doing enough or I’m not good enough or I should be doing something else.  I should be someone else.  But Jubee always loved me as I am.  She loved me when I was really sick and hurting.  I was always enough for her and she loved me completely.   She will never be replaced but I read somewhere that when you love and rescue a dog they want you to find another.   So I have to stop putting myself down and move forward without her.  It’s never going to be easy but I need to live my life and I can’t keep putting myself down because I don’t have the life I thought I would have at age 38.  I have to find my strengths and move forward and not look backward.   Jubee would have wanted me to be happy.   I changed my life plan when I got her.   I can change it again.   Just because I don’t have some big deal job or a great relationship doesn’t mean my life can’t be good.   I can make myself the best I can be and move forward with my guardian angel Jubee.