Outside My Corner Of Things


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I find irony in this.

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I don’t know, maybe Music Monday will be regular.  Maybe monthly.  But this is a pretty song that’s been running in my head.  So I’m sharing.

(I do have next Monday’s scheduled.)

 

 

Tomorrow and Wednesday get kind of deep.  I have had them written and scheduled for awhile now, but keep pushing the release out.

Odd for me.  I know.

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The following is not a paid review, but I was given a free copy of the book and CD for the purpose of reading, enjoying and sharing my thoughts with you, my readers.  Everything I have to say is of my own opinion.  After years of people being convinced I should pitch scrap-book software and the likes to you all, I was honored to be approached with this offer.

Twenty-Six and a half years ago, Pat Engebrecht lost her daughter to Borderline Personality Disorder.  At the age of 29, after years of failed attempts, many hospital stays, struggles with sexuality and the loss of an eye from a police shooting to the face in a hospital parking lot, and a life lived with mental pain and anguish, LauraJo succeeded in taking her own life.  She had a life filled with success as she was an accomplished tennis star, writer, musician, artist, friend, daughter, sister.  But as we are all too aware, sometimes that isn’t enough.

Depression knows no reason.  You can’t tell the angry or sad voice in you that you have too much going well for you to be this hurt.  If it chooses to sink its claws in you, love is not always enough.

25, 30 years ago, BPD was only just emerging in the world of mental health diagnosis.  Too few saw it as a legitimate diagnosis and those who did simply didn’t know how to treat it.  30 years later, to be honest, we aren’t much better off.  Even with DBT and the latest medication there to offer, for all too many, BPD is a death sentence, and most of us are terminal.

Our own hands leave those floundering over our loss, wondering what went wrong.  Could they have done anything different?  What caused our mental anguish?  What were we thinking?

These days we have the online world of blogs to try to show the inner workings of our minds.  30 years ago, LauraJo had her journals.  What we put on public display, LauraJo kept locked up in a chest she crafted with her own hands.  It was 2 decades before her mother, Pat, could bear to open the journals and read them.  Inside was the inner workings of a suffering mind.  The ups and downs chronicled in painful detail.

Pat took those journals, added her thoughts and details of what was going on in her daughter’s life at the time of each entry, and created a book that she hopes, and I know, can make a difference.

I know in my heart that if LauraJo had lived to see the internet, she’d be fighting the fight of awareness and proper treatment, while helping to fight stigma, along with us.  However, we lost her 10 years too early.  In her place we have this beautiful work.

A book showing that despite popular opinions of her time and ours, BPD isn’t always a result of poor parenting.  A book showing mothers, fathers, and friends that their love was received, but the hurt went further than any amount of love could fix.  It shows those of us who might be contemplating suicide exact how those we love will be effected.  “No one will even miss me.  They’ll be better off without me.”  This book is 304 pages of evidence that we’ll always be missed, by all those we have touched with our lives, and no one is ever better off without us.

Pat took the pain of the loss of her amazing daughter, and used it to create a book that shows us how suicide effects all those left behind, how suicide can happen despite love and success, and the inner working of a troubled mind.

This book is not an easy read.  No book on the subject ever could be.  I had to read it in bits and pieces as my heart broke a little more with each page.  Broke for a daughter in so much pain with life, and a mother in pain with the loss of life that even she saw coming.  She fought so hard to keep her daughter with her, but reader and mother alike knew it was only a matter of time.

Please go get this book.  There is a CD of LauraJo’s music out there as well.  I recommend listening to the CD first and then during as a companion.

This book will move you.  This book will break your heart.  This book will show you what it’s really like.  It’s real.  It’s uncensored.  It has heart, hurt and loss.

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The recovery I want to achieve means attaining the level of control and stability I felt when I was last well. It means simply getting on with my life. And at the moment I can’t do that, because the side effects of the meds are almost as disabling as the original symptoms were. Obviously I am happy that I have very few bipolar symptoms now. And so I understand why people keep telling me that I should be proud of how far I have come since this time last year. But here’s the thing: compared with where I was, yes, remission is great. Fantastic. But that’s not my goal. I just want to feel normal, instead of participating in this this ceaseless “choose your own adventure” life of trying to work out the potential consequences of every decision. And so I find it difficult to be positive about where I am right now. True, I’ve managed to get off the rollercoaster, but I’m still hoping to leave the theme park. Or, to put it another way, I may have walked 500 miles. But to get back to what feels like the “real me”, I have yet to walk 500 more. Step by effortful step.

This is only the final glimpse of a realization those with a disability like bipolar or BPD fight each day.  I must stress that you go read the full story so that you may understand where this realization comes from.  You’ll find it over on Miss Charlotte’s blog: Purple Persuasion.

Her words to me on writing this post, stresses why it is so important for it to be shared:

Some people use the terms interchangeable but I think they are different. I wanted to show how when you have a disability it carries on affecting your life even when you are relatively “well”.

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On the 19th of March, my mom, sister and I piled into my mom’s car and drove.  Her GPS “Maddy” took us the scenic route past farms, cows, horses and trains, without an interstate in sight.  But we were in no hurry.  We gave ourselves 5 hours to make a 2 hour drive.

We got to the bookstore in Dayton with plenty of time, so we parked the car and decided we’d go into the bookstore to look around, and find out event details.

Around this time, I realized my husband had given me a 50 with the idea that he didn’t like me wondering so far from home without any sort of cash.  I sent him a quick note warning him he’d set me loose in a bookstore with cash.  He made it clear he had been aware longer than I had, of the situation, and that I would indeed owe him.

There was one survivor.  He goes by Washington.

Funny how all three of us bookworms didn’t really realize that the book signing in a book store would involve, you know, many, many books.  I think we blocked that part out in our quest.

Our quest to meet The Bloggess.

After we spent ourselves broke, we wandered to a nearby subway for an early dinner and then a few other shops to poke around.  But with only an hour and a half left before the signing started, we made our way back to the bookstore to find our place in line.  With a heads-up from the vixen Dawnie, I knew we needed to be there well in advance.  We were the second group in line, but it grew well before 6, when we could find seats.  By the time The Bloggess was presented at 7, it was standing room only.

We had front row seats.  Score!

The Dayton reading had the privilege to be the audience that was not allowed to witness a single curse word, as she read a chapter from her book.  So Jenny, in advance, set about finding the chapter with the fewest F-bombs, and friends.  The winning chapter had only 12 words that needed replaced with hippopotamus.  You heard me, hippopotamus.  But oh you should have heard her!

We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more.

Then we single file got to meet the Goddess that is the Bloggess and have her sign our books.  Our coveted books of inappropriate hilarity.  I was lucky enough to be able to have 2 copies signed.  I bought the paperback version for myself (with a new bonus chapter, yo!) and had my older hardback version signed for my good friend Lisa who was spending the day back in Columbus growing older.  No, seriously, it was her birthday.  When I mentioned this to Jenny, she was sure to wish her a happy birthday in writing.  Lisa is one lucky hippopotamus!

We are all very lucky hippopotamuses.  Not just that this book has been written by someone so very real and honest and inappropriately hilarious.

But that this single person could make it clear to all of us who are so very isolated and alone, that we are in fact one of millions and not so different after all, is something we all needed.  We aren’t the only one with chronic pain.  We aren’t the only one with crippling anxiety.  We aren’t the only one with depression so bad we can’t leave our bed for days if not weeks.  We aren’t the only one who has cut to feel something.  We aren’t the only one.  You, I, Jenny.  We are all so unique but in the ways we need to be the same, to not be alone, Jenny has made it clear we are a community.  She has given us that gift.

So we are very lucky hippopotami indeed!

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Sorry about that, but it does.

I have a favor to ask. One that doesn’t actually require you to do anything.

If you are already planning an Amazon purchase or 20, can you enter the site by one of the links I offer?

You don’t have to buy anything specific our even special, but by simply starting your shopping from my site with one of my many links, I get a little cash to put towards my own Christmas.

In thanks, I offer:

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Having mastered the best muffins ever, and succeeding in a cake, I got creative.

Image courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen, who also provided the idea.

I took her from scratch version and did my “I can’t really bake yet” twist.  As in I used Bisquick and followed their recipe for pancakes.  Then I followed her instructions for how full to fill the muffin tin and how long to bake at what temp. (1/2, 15 min, 400F).

They are in the oven as we speak!  So nope.  No clue how they turned out.

But once out, if not a chaotic mess, I’m going to fill the crater with pure fruit jam, and then add a thin layer of powdered sugar over top.

And since my test audience is a 4yo and a 9mo, I’m guessing popular opinion will be that they turned out just fine!

And should we all three agree they turned out fantastic, I’ll increase the size and age bracket of my test audience.

Or I’ll go back and figure out what I did wrong.

You know, one of the two.

Meanwhile, you should join me on pintrest and help me brainstorm ideas of how to indulge my sweet tooth and sabotage my waistline.  We just need to make sure it’s worth it!  (Hint: It always is.)

 

Edit 30 minutes later: So.  Don’t use the Bisquick.  I’m assuming the posted recipe would have turned out right.  But my easier version was a pancake ball, not a pancake crater that could hold goodness.  Don’t get me wrong, we still ate them.  I mean, my test audience didn’t care what they looked like and we still smothered them in fruit and powdered sugar.  (Ok not Samtron’s.)  And so they did taste good.  They just looked not so very pretty.  And when the above picture is what you are aiming for…

Also.  Note to self:  Always assume I need to use cooking spray.  My muffin tin is about as non-stick as super glue.

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