Every neighborhood has them. Though you usually do not see them until just before the trash is picked up. I’m not talking about rats but about the “homeless” that forage in trash and recycle bins looking for food or soda bottles to trade in for 5 cents each.

My neighborhood has Tom.  He has been coming around for over a year and I’ve learned a lot from him in that time.  I learned that just because you are combing through trash, doesn’t mean that you are homeless.  Tom is on disability, his wife works part-time, his daughter, who works, and her two children live with them.  They barely make ends meet.  They are not homeless but they are one paycheck away from being homeless.

The reason I write this post isn’t to tell you Tom’s sad plight but to honor him.  Even though he is in chronic pain from a back and hip condition, he volunteers two nights a week at Salvation Army to help the homeless that are sheltered there.  He does it because he knows how close they are to being the same way.  He is also a drug/alcohol counselor – voluntarily.

My point is this, the ones that do not have much, seem to be the ones that give back more often.  The ones in pain are the ones that push themselves. 

This blog is about Tom but it is in thanks to the millions like him that need to forage for food and money, yet give of themselves for free – just because. 


A Not So Happy Story

Posted: March 20, 2013 in Death, Depression, Mom, Personal
Tags: , , ,

Every time I think that my journey through the territory of my mental health is heading in the right direction, something sets off another landmine, blowing a hole right through my comfort zone.

Sometimes I know what will set me off but today’s explosion was a complete surprise.  I knew that the last time I went to Worcester to see my Mom that she was going to be dead before I came home.  She was that ill and there was nothing left that the doctors could do.  

There was something I could do however and that was sit by her bed for four days and watch as she slowly slipped away from me.  For the first few days she was conscious and we were able to talk.  I am lucky that the last thing she said to me was “I love you”.  

Towards the end things got bad.  The pain med wasn’t working, she was gasping for air.  It was horrible.  And even as horrible as it was, I am glad I was there.  
Because I was glad, I thought that her actual dying was out of my mind and that I was grieving her being gone.  Not so.

Fast forward to today.  My sister-in-law’s father-in-law has Parkinson’s and has less than 48 hours to live.  She started telling me in detail what he was like when they saw him a few days ago.  It could have been me watching my mother all over again for what she was saying.

That’s when I literally screamed for her to stop talking.  I could feel myself shaking and trying not to cry.  I was once again in the hospital room, sitting next to my Mom and feeling her get cold.

I now know that I need to deal with this issue.  It’s not something I’ve ever discussed with anyone, not my husband, not my counselor, not even with myself.  I figured because I was privileged to be there at the end that I had no issues with it.  I was so very wrong.

Will this “cure” me?  I doubt it, I have too many other issues to ever be cured but will talking about it help me?  Definitely.  

It has taught me that, even when I think something is a blessing, I need to discuss it because it could otherwise come back and bite me on the ass.



The Rules

1. Display your new award.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.

My Thanks

I would like to thank the Academy.  Oops, wrong speech.  I would actually love to thank Lil Miss Fox for nominating me for this award.  If you aren’t following her, why not?  She makes you think, and better yet, she makes you feel. 

7 Things About Myself

  1. I’ve been a photographer since I was four but I hate having my picture taken.
  2. I went back to college at the age of 52 – just because
  3. I collect Asian ball-joint dolls.  Only boy ones though because they are prettier than the girls.
  4. I learned to roller skate and ice skate by the time I was three.
  5. I played on the first all-girls hockey team in Worcester, MA
  6. When I was little I wanted to be a ballerina…and an auto mechanic.
  7. I’m happiest either behind a camera or playing in dirt and tending my plants.

I nominate the following 15 blogs

 1. Ecclektic Ghana
 2. Neliza Drew
 3. Mumbojumbo
 4. Strange Attractors
 5. The Siren’s Tale
 6. Someone Fat Happened
 7. Briggette’s Banter
 8. The Bell Jar
 9. Don’t Forget to Feed the Baby
10. Findingravity
11. The Runaway Mama
12. Pen, Paper, and Crazy
13. A Clown on Fire
14. Forward Walking
15. Insanity


Last week was not a good one for me.  This week is a little better.  I am on an additional medication for stabilizing my mood.  So far it seems to be helping.  Either that or I just haven’t hit any triggers this week that have set me off.

I had one great piece of news and that was the battery company gave me an offer for my exploded laptop and it was about three times what I thought it would be.  It actually covers the cost of the laptop that I purchased and now have.

Monday of this week I started some of my seedlings.  Only four different types but it is a start.  I will do more when I get the paper Sunday so that I may make seed starting pots.

I’ve gone back to every week on my counseling appointments.  It’s something that I probably have needed since my Mother’s death but, as I was pretending I was dealing with it, I kept going monthly.  I really do need to stop lying to myself about my mental state.

I have one discussion post to write tonight and an essay tomorrow and then no school for two weeks due to Spring Break.  I cannot wait even though I do plan on using the time to work on my History final paper.

Day by day, moment by moment, I am healing.  I need to stop being so impatient and let myself heal slowly.

Panic attacks. Everyone has probably had one at some point in time but for some of us, they can be a daily occurrence. For me, at least lately, it feels as if I live on the verge of one every moment of the day. I am always waiting for the second when it spills over and my heart starts pounding and I feel like I need to run away.

Right at the moment, I can feel the walls starting to crumble down on top of me. Everything I do or need to do feels like one more brick in that wall. There are things I want to change about my life but feel that I can’t because I would be disappointing people. I would also be making a decision that would be irreversible. Thus, I am stuck in this cycle and can see no change in sight.

My biggest worry is school. I honestly wish that I could stop going right now but I can’t because that means I wouldn’t be able to get funding to go next semester. So I have to battle onward to the end of the semester.

My second biggest worry is my home. Quite frankly, it is a mess and it is all my doing. I can’t bring myself to bother with cleaning up what needs to be done in my room and this means that the living room is still filled with boxes from my Mom’s from last November.

I feel paralyzed, afraid to make a decision for fear it will be wrong. Instead, I make no decisions and let my life pass by one day at a time with nothing being accomplished. Even now, I have to finish homework by 11pm tonight and I can’t even force myself to pick up the book and read what needs to be read. I have a two essay exam due for my other class by next Sunday. I looked at the assignment and, while it was assigned three days ago, I have yet to start doing any research, nevermind writing.

That rabbit hole that I have fallen into many times before is looming larger and larger as my life falls further behind me.  The bricks are piling up faster and faster and the walls are teetering, ready to topple.

I cannot bring myself to care.


Posted: March 4, 2013 in Personal

It’s always the little things that break you. One moment everything is fine and then one small piece of data enters your brain and the full light comes on. No more data allowed. No more feelings allowed. Not sadness, not happiness. Both ends of the emotional spectrum are cut off from one another by that one small piece of information. All that’s left is a void, an emptiness that nothing can reach and nothing can fill.

You know this is wrong, this non-feeling. You know that, just hours ago, you could feel so why not now? And if you could feel then, how can you bring it back? So many questions and no answers. You look for those answers but they are hiding along with your feelings. Too many things leaving all at once and you are left still standing in that void.

Thoughts of cutting yourself again are there but all they are are thoughts. Even the flash of pain on your skin won’t bring back your feelings so why bother? Why waste the energy on something that is so useless to you?

You wish there was a magic pill that you could take to make the feelings come back but they’ve moved and left no forwarding address. You can only wish them well on their journey. Maybe they’ll send you a postcard from wherever they end up.

Or not. More likely they’ll stay gone until you’ve learned to live with the nothingness inside. You do things, not because you want to but because they are expected of you and they have to get done. Even college which was your saving grace when your biggest loss came means nothing. You do the assignments and hope that you pass. That 100 that made you giddy last week is now merely a number.

So much nothing and not any something. This is your life now. One that has probably been on its way to you for so long but you didn’t see it coming. Such a lovely present that life has handed you. Enjoy it. Who knows when another will come your way?

Meditation, mindfulness, be in the moment. Too bad the moment has no meaning. It’s merely a dot on the clock that passes without any help from you. Nothing works to make the nothing go away. You can see the future and it is a blank canvas and not because you haven’t yet painted your life on it.

It is because your life is nothing but a blank.

If you wish to follow my gardening and herbalism adventures, come on over to http://ravynsapothecary.wordpress.com/