Sean came into the living room tonight to report there was a little yellow cat on the porch meowing, so he opened the door to investigate, and it chased into our entryway after him hissing and spitting and meowing. So I come out to see if there is even really a cat since you never know with Sean.
There is a cat. And it is indeed meowing over and over as it almost frantically walks around on our steps looking at me through our kitchen window. I open the kitchen door and, as previously described by Sean, the cat comes running into the entry towards me, hissing, meowing, and trying to get into the house (even with giant Piper eagerly trying to join in on the fun!). So at this point, we are trapped in our apartment by this cat that I am convinced is rabid or something. I have never seen a cat act like that.
As we contemplate our plan, the cat leaves our porch and walks down the driveway so we can’t see her anymore. Sean is satisfied to move on with life. I, of course, am not. I go outside to see where the cat went and to check in with our neighbors who are cat people (and I mean CAT PEOPLE- like run a feral cat rescue, cat people). The second I turn the corner the cat comes at me doing the same hissing, crying, meowing. I talked to her (because I speak to all animals like they are people), “What is your deal? Are you lost? Are you hurt.?” When she reaches me, she starts rubbing on my legs and standing up on her back legs acting like she wants me to pick her up, but hisses and backs up if I start to bend over. Repeat. Repeat. “Ok weird cat. I’m going to see if you belong to someone.”
She did. Our neighbor exclaimed, “Oh my god! She got out earlier, and we haven’t been able to find her, and she’s never been outside before!” He walked outside with me, and the cat immediately ran (meowing, of course) into his arms.
And that was that.
I just can’t stop thinking about that little cat and the emotional turmoil she was CLEARLY going through. So much so that I honestly thought she was rabid. She was terrified but knew finding people, STRANGERS, to help her was the only way to get back where she belonged. She had to trust in people when it was going against her natural instincts. A giant internal emotional battle inside a tiny yellow cat. A tiny yellow cat who let herself trust (as much as she could) and is now home.
I am at a 2-day training. “CBT for Suicide Prevention”
First of all. I should note I am bad at trainings, conferences, workshops, symposiums (I don’t know that I’ve ever actually been to a symposium, but I’m sure I would hate it). I hate them. I am that ADD 6-year-old boy in school wiggling in his seat, bugging people next to him, playing with anything he can get his hands on, getting up to “use the bathroom” over and over, etc. Think I’m kidding?
So yeah, I look miserable and like I am not paying attention, but I actually am taking it all in; which was the original point of this blog before I got immediately sidetracked.
If I ask you if you have ever thought about killing yourself, have I suddenly put the idea of killing yourself in your mind? Have you read this and now are suddenly thinking, “Shit! I never thought of that idea! You know what? Imma kill me today! OMG TYSM!” No. You aren’t. Yet we don’t ever ask the question even though suicide is one of our country’s leading causes of death. Every time we hear of a suicide, we hear things like, “We had no idea.” “He never said a word.” “She seemed fine.” “She seemed happier than ever!”
When the presenter was talking about this, I parallelled it in my mind with people who don’t want sex education in schools because then kids will want to have sex. Then I thought to myself, “What a great analogy to use with people! Just like sex education at schools doesn’t cause kids to fuck, asking someone if they have ever thought about suicide won’t cause them to shoot themselves!”
Then I remembered we are living in the Handmaid’s tale era and there are still a large majority of people who still think sex education causes sex.
Moral of the story: Ask the question even if it feels weird. You could save someone’s life.
Take it from someone who knows… I Jumped Off The Golden Gate Bridge
I was just sitting here on the couch when I suddenly thought “I should probably be working on that paper.” Then I looked around to see if anyone heard my stupid thought because at the same time I had the thought I remembered THIS IS NO PAPER! It’s summer break, DUMMY!
So now what? LOL Blog I guess? I could clean… But that’s crazy talk.
I am so used to being busy both physically and mentally that I have no idea what to do with myself in the absence of busy. I’ll figure it out, but for tonight I choose snacks and ‘Dragonfly’ -an all time fav that Lonnie told me he noticed was on Starz.
Thank god I have to work tomorrow.
Apparently spending the whole month of October on my death bed wasn’t enough. I’m sick again. For about 2 weeks now with 3 days of weirdly being perfectly fine in the middle there somewhere. I’m told this is “normal.” “Part of the grad school and internship experience,” they say. Freaking “they.”
Oooh…. you know what is part of my new common cold experience!? WHISKEY! I read that whiskey tea can be a more effective treatment for cold symptoms than drugs. So when I was sick in October, we gave it a shot (HA…. SHOT — see what I did there!?). Ok #1, DELICIOUS; and I don’t even like whiskey. And #2, it’s TRUE! My stuffiness and coughing are drastically reduced! #3 Even if they weren’t– I’m TIPSY; WHO CARES!? So yesterday at like 11am and hours of coughing, Lonnie suggested a whiskey tea and I said, “Honey… it’s not even noon. I think that’s illegal or something.” He assured me it was fine because it was MEDICINAL. And it was indeed fine. I even felt fair enough to get a little workout in because I ALSO read it’s good to sweat and get everything moving (lymph nodes and blood and shit) when you have a cold.
Summary: Grad school=stress and germs=drinking
Seems about right.
I am currently reading 4 books. It was 5 but I finished one. This goal setting thing is getting a bit out of hand! Toward the end of 2017 I thought a lot about reading and how I used to love it, but never did it anymore because I had such a hard time focusing on anything more than a chapter or a few pages before my mind wandered. So I joined Audible and listened to 10ish books in 2018! But I still felt like I was missing something by not reading with my EYES. It’s an entirely different experience. Studies have shown that for leisure reading, audio and printed word are quite comparable, BUT, when studying for learning, printed text read visually increases retention and comprehension, so there IS a difference! In addition, with all the writing I do, increasing my exposure to the writing of others increases my vocabulary and ability to write more creatively. Some of my favorite compliments are from those that enjoy reading what I write, whether it’s just a simple crisis contact note or a 10 page paper about the mental and physical health benefits experienced by homeless people who have pets!
This year I set a goal to read more books WITH MY EYES! And I am super happy with my progress! I am noticing an increase in my ability to focus and realized (from this experience, and from the 2 books about habit-forming I am reading), I didn’t lose my ability to focus, I just hadn’t been PRACTICING maintaining focus by reading! Wouldn’t it be cool if THAT spilled into the rest of my life and I could actually do ONE thing at a time… and like… FINISH stuff before moving on!?
…said the girl who started this post by confessing she is reading 4 books right now 😉
The other night I posted about not using food to manage emotions and how I was struggling to not do so. I didn’t succumb that night, but yesterday, I did. The difference these days, is I don’t just mindlessly swing into the McD’s drive through and order whatever I want and scarf it down. And then drive back through for a McFlurry. (Yes, that has happened a few times back in the day.) Now I put thought into it and announce to myself, “I am going to go off my plan right now because I want a snack and I want a snack that is yummy because I am stressed, exhausted & annoyed. I chose a little bag of combos and a little bag of peanut m&ms because I wanted to sit and eat them one-by-one and just escape for a little while. Now I KNOW this is “wrong.” Food is not an escape and I need to work on finding other ways to have ‘little escapes.’ But I also can’t help but notice that EVERYONE seems to do this. I spend many of my days in hospitals and college campuses watching people (ok that sounds creepy, but whatever). Even the skinniest, healthiest people use treats to manage stress. On the crazy days in the emergency department, a giant bag of candy ALWAYS suddenly appears in the nurse’s station. Practically everyone in the surgery and ED waiting rooms is munching on something!
If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?
Does this blog seem like incoherent rambling? Yes. Like making a big excuse for my behavior yesterday? No. I actually don’t even feel bad about yesterday which is part of what I am learning to do. Food regret and guilt leads us to saying things like, “Well fuck it, I messed this whole week up now, I may as well just start back at healthy tomorrow….. or Monday…. or next month.” And I don’t do that anymore. There is no “one last meal,” no, “I’ll start back up tomorrow;” there is just LIFE.
My guru Corinne Crabtree says that all the time. Today I’m living it. I had a SHITSHOW of a day and spent a good part of it daydreaming about unwinding once I got home with some yummy treats. That’s not a thing. Ice cream, candy, Cheez Its…. none of those things cancel out a shitty day. In fact, if anything, they would only add to the stress of the day because I know I didn’t plan for them and I know I am eating them for an emotional reason and not hunger and that is not the person I am learning to be.
So here I am snuggled up under a blanket on the couch watching TV. I just finished my planned dinner. I’m thinking about a nice hot cup of tea. I’m not falling face first into a bag of Sour Patch Kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still think about it all the time. I think that is one of the most helpful things I’ve learned over the past few months. It’s natural to think about things. I’m not weird or broken because I have thoughts about wanting a cookie when I see them in their frosted glory on the Valentine’s display at the grocery store. I’m not a freak when I walk past a bakery and smell the bread and want some bread. I’m not damaged because I think about wanting some candy when all the nurses are gathered around the nurse’s station chowing down on a giant bag of assorted chocolates! I can allow the thoughts to come and recognize them and then dismiss them and move on.
Speaking of moving on…. Shit I just remembered I have homework! LOL