mental illness…

that’s my new field. what i’m going to be dealing with for the rest of my life.

did you know that 50% of americans will have at least one of 14 diagnosable mental illnesses in their lifetime. 50%!!! THAT IS AN EPIDEMIC! most of them will never get the treatment they need, a lot of them will not receive timely treatment, and a handful who reach out will be unable to afford the services they so desperately need. the others will be forced onto waiting lists, waiting to see someone, waiting to be medicated, waiting to find someone who cares about them.

what is this country that we live in? we hate old people, we hate people who aren’t white, we hate women, we hate children, we hate politicians, we hate people with disabilities, we hate people with mental illness, and the list goes on and on and on. i find myself incredibly tempted to move out of this country, but i realize with a heavy heart that nowhere is any better. where can i go where the general consensus is to see people as human beings, as being worth time, effort, energy.

how did we turn into such a self-absorbed, hateful society? how did we become a society in which it’s ok to deny treatment for sick people, where it’s ok to leave children in abusive homes, where it’s ok to harass and demean and marginalize people of different races, colors and sexualities? or have we simply always been this way?

who are we to decide who is worth helping and who isn’t? who are we to decide who is allowed to love and who isn’t? who are we to decide how others should live their lives as long as they are not harming themselves or others? why is it ok that people in maximum security prisons get dish tv and 3 meals a day and a 3 year old is forced to beg for food or money on the streets? isn’t anyone working on a way to make prisons more economical AND better psychologically for the inmates? isn’t there a way to house them that rehabilitates them, too? why do we just lock them up and forget about them and then WONDER WHY THEY END UP BACK IN THE SYSTEM?

what is this country coming to? what is our WORLD coming to? how do we make a difference? where do we even begin?

lookin’ up…

totally excited about today!!!

first off, i’m FINALLY talking to some people about starting volunteering in mental health, so that’s really exciting. i’ve been on the search for about 3 weeks now and it’s about TIME that something finally starts to shape up. i got all pretty and everything for it too. YAY!!

secondly, i’m auditioning next week to be part of the kidventure band at my church. kidventure is the sunday morning during worship time for kids. james does the tech stuff for it every 3 weeks or so, so that’s cool. i don’t know if this means that i’ll be down there EVERY week or what, but i’m auditioning which means i’ve been playing my guitar again! poor clinty’s been feeling really abandoned. this is the first time he’s been out of his case SINCE WE MOVED. i know… a little ridiculous. i’m also auditioning on the keyboard. i don’t know if i need to prepare two songs, though. hmm… should probably find that out.

thirdly, james is most likely going to register me to run my 5k this weekend. they opened up some more spots and there are only 50 for the 5k… which means they’ll probably go fast. you can only register IN PERSON at the civic center and i can’t get there until 3. so… hopefully he can get there before then to do that for me. i would love SO much to be able to run it, but of course, it wouldn’t be the END of the world if i didn’t. i’d probably survive. besides, it’s what i get for waiting til the last second to register.

fourthly, it’s a four day weekend for me starting in just a few short hours! yay for monday and tuesday off!! of course, i’ll still be working super hard on homework those two days, but at least i don’t have to go to class. i’m turning in a paper today that’s actually DUE next wednesday, but i’d rather not worry about it over the weekend. i’d rather focus on my other two research proposals and get a BUNCH done on those instead. as well as catching up on reading for my abnormal psych class. i’m a bit behind, but from the people i’ve talked to, they are too and are planning on catching up over the weekend as well.

fifthly, it’s the red wings home opener tonight and we have nhl center ice. which means that we’re having people over, makin’ some delicious noms and watching hockey! james is so adorable when he geeks out about hockey and it’ll be a good time having friends and (possibly) family over to share that. we don’t see these people NEARLY enough and what better way to spend time than something we all really enjoy? should be a blast although seating might be tight. small apartment, not a WHOLE lot of seats, but whatev. really, we’re ALL pretty much family through james so it’ll be just. fine. 🙂

finally, i totally shaved my legs this morning. i hadn’t shaved in… well…a while. i don’t even know when the last time was, but wow. amazing. i love the feeling of freshly shaved legs. i shaved because i wanted to look pretty today and wear a skirt. it’s SUPER nice outside (which totally explains why i’m sitting INSIDE writing this) and so it’s nice to be able to dress up, look nice, wear sandals, the WHOLE nine yards. it’s amazing how doing something so minor can change your WHOLE outlook on the day. or maybe it’s just the combination of awesomeness today.

what the heck is going on with my face…

that’s a statement. as in, you’re getting the answer now.

i went to the doctor and apparently, while i was sleeping, i bit a chunk o’cheek flesh off. which means a few things for how i’m living my life for a while:

  1. no chew foods for two weeks (sometimes i decide i’m too cool for this rule)
  2. 3 advil 3x a day (or 4 if i need more)
  3. swish with liquid benadryl twice a day
  4. sleep a lot so as not to be conscious of the pain

i’m not going to lie, this is one of the more painful things that have happened in my life. not just the cheek that’s missing, but it’s giving me headaches because i’m so tense, it’s hard to eat, it’s hard to stay hydrated. i just want to nap on the days i’m really tense but our wonderful subie isn’t exactly outfitted for great naps. i take them anyway because it’s nice to not be aware of the pain in my mouth for a while.

the food thing, that’s not so much of an issue. we’ve been pretty creative and 5 year old like getting mac and cheese, spaghetti-os, instant mashed potatoes, fruit smoothies and trying some new soups. like tomato bisque. super good mixed with mac and cheese. some days, though, i decide that i want different food, like last night when i had a burger and a bar. because i wanted them. they were tasty and worth the extra effort of eating.

talking, though, has been a totally different story. i have this annoying little lisp thing going on, which i can eliminate if i’m really concentrating on it. and if i talk too much, my jaw muscle gets really, really tight. or playing my flute does that too. again, pretty annoying. my jaw wasn’t TERRIBLY happy last night after eating real food, but sometimes you make the sacrifice. i spend most of my day in silence if i can. the problem is that i’m a pretty chatty person once i get to know someone and have something to talk about. of course, lately it’s been about the hole in my face, but still. talking is very tiring, so once classes are done, i like to isolate myself at a table where i don’t have to talk anymore. it’s nice.

facts aside, i feel really dumb for this. i mean, seriously, who takes chomps out of their own face while they’re sleeping? apparently i do. and who doesn’t realize that they’ve done it?! i just woke up and it was there. ridiculous! (also, i’ve had to heat my lunch a second time because it was taking so long to eat…sigh) i mean, the story is kinda funny, yeah, but i feel stupid about it. i hate how much it’s interfering with everything.

on the plus side, at least i have james to take care of me and look out for me. he’s been a real trooper through all of this with my whining and complaining about how much my mouth hurts. i try not to whine too much, but this sucks. 😦 i really just want to go home. i’m so done with this week. that might have something to do with the fact that it’s a 4 day weekend for me. not like it’s going to be a REAL vacation or anything. basically, i’m just going to have lots more time to get LOTS of homework done. to really catch up on everything, to work on my TWO research papers, to read and read and read (yes, textbooks, no pleasure reading for me).

so anyway. this post turned whiny so i’m going to stop. i didn’t mean it to turn whiny but i guess these things happen.

anything annoying on your plate lately?

fat cheeks…

so i’ve been “sick” for the past 5 days but it’s been a weird kind of sick. as in, the only real presenting symptom was the swelling of the area of my mouth behind my molars, which are giving me these ‘adorable’ fat cheeks and ridiculous difficulty in eating and talking. i’m pretty much only eating no-chew food and i’ve developed this crazy lisp because i haven’t been able to close my mouth enough to say my s’s without putting myself in excruciating pain. it’s weird. it gives me headaches. and today, the most fun thing happened! my jaw is all tense and doing these weird spasm things.

*sigh*

yes, i’m going to the doctor in the morning to figure out what the heck is going on with my face.

anyway, i didn’t come on here to complain about my fat cheeks.

i actually wanted to talk more about all the life changes that people are making and how i’m finally jumping on the bandwagon. it started way at the beginning of the summer(ish), but probably before now that i think about it, with tab wanting to lose weight. then In It To Gym It popped up. then other people started doing things like exercising and losing weight and getting back into ballet after a years-long hiatus, reorganizing homes and lives, trying to find the things that will make them happy and fulfilled and leading better, healthier lives.

i started really running seriously again a couple months ago. and honestly, i’ve loved it. i LOVE running. then school started again it became a game of trying to find time to do other things than school. i was on campus all day doing homework, doing it in the evening, in the morning – all the time. it’s pretty much all i did. i realized VERY quickly, however, that i was being really crazy and unhealthy about my homework. at the rate i was going, i’d be burned out by oct. 1.

i decided to really revamp how i was doing life. i took all the things i was doing and wanting to be doing and i put them on a hypothetical list and i prioritized them. james and i both decided that running was important, so i have been slowly and intentionally working that into the system of weekly life. now that i feel that exercise has been sufficiently habitualized into my routine, i’m finding that it’s time to take another step.

i’ve been working on getting some volunteering in, but this lady isn’t emailing me back. i may have to actually call her, which i’d really rather not do, but i really want to get started on this volunteering. i really want to make it part of my week, part of my life. as i’ve been working on this, a few other people have been realizing the need for reprioritization. i really think i have a handle on how to do this the right way, the way that sets me up for success, the way that makes it manageable and i think that is SO. COOL.

i have finally realized that i can’t do everything. and i certainly can’t do everything on my own. and i certainly can’t do everything on my own everyday. it was one of those things where i had to pick what was really really important and what wasn’t. i then had to let go of the unimportant things. i had to let them fall to the side for a while. as you may have guessed, social networking was one of the things that made the not-so-important list. as far as time-management goes, blogging and keeping up with other bloggers can be EXTREMELY time consuming. i only know that from other people because i only read about 7 or 8 blogs. i’ve tried to up the number but just haven’t found ones that really really grab me. i’ll pick up a few for a few days and then realize that they just aren’t what i’m looking for. and so i drop them and i’m back down to my tiny pool.

and that’s ok for me. i don’t have to have a million readers or have a million blogs to read. i simply don’t have that kind of time. there are more important things to spend my time on, like school and james. so my small circle of peeps is just right to connect me to a few other people and not have google reader rule my life or be SUPER intimidated every time i open it. i think it’s definitely at the manageable level.

so, the next step that i’ve decided to take of things to incorporate into my life is prayer time. i think this is the third time i’ve said this today, but i’m not much of a pray-er. i never really have been. recently, though, i feel like it’s been weighing on me more and more as something that i need to do and to make a priority. i’m trying to pray right before bed and usually i’m good, but there are sometimes where i realize what i’m saying and it’s just mumbly-jumbly-i-must-have-fallen-asleep-and-it-was-part -of-my-dream stuff. that’s when i know it’s time to close it down and just go to sleep. i think God understands.

the other time i’m trying to really incorporate it is the end of my yoga that i do a few times a week. every session ends in the meditation pose with prayer hands. what better time to try to connect with God than when i’m being prepped to center myself? i’m certainly more awake at that time, more able to focus and i can clearly think of people and that’s pretty much what i pray for. i go through my friends, my family, my life group and i try to pray for each of them. the list is pretty long, but i know i don’t have to go overboard. just a sentence or two about each one. sometimes i know that someone is going through an especially hard time and i dedicate much more time to them. sometimes i leave people out. i’ve decided that it’s not WHAT i pray about or HOW MANY i pray about, but that i’m DOING it. that i’m consciously making myself aware of the importance of connecting, of plugging in right away in the morning.

i haven’t gone for a run since i’ve started doing this, but my mind is pretty free when i’m running and occasionally i try to pray while running. i can’t think of a better time to connect than then, too. i’m running early, don’t REALLY have to worry about traffic, i have half an hour (at least) of uninterrupted time to just chat with God about life. i think it brings me back a little, to my earlier college days when we were all trying to find our faith and our path and how we were supposed to be living it. the thing that i picked out and remember the most is that each relationship with God is unique. how we interact with Him, how we connect, it’s all based on how He made us, not just some formula that i follow and that means that i have this great relationship. it’s really freeing to remember that and to ACT on it. yes, there are some things that are universally important, such as prayer and reading, but some people do it daily and other people just aren’t built for the daily thing. it’s more of a weekly thing, it’s connecting in other ways, talking to other people about their faith, living it out in different ways. God eventually leads the relationship where it’s supposed to go. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve tried to do the daily thing and failed. i’m not a daily kind of person. i can barely do anything every day. heck, i don’t even SHOWER every day.

i love the freedom that comes with this relationship and the freedom that comes with readjusting life as needed. i love the feeling of knowing that i’m doing something that’s going to make my life (and hopefully the lives of those around me) SO much better. even if it’s something as simple as praying every day. trying to run a few times a week. low pressure, low condemnation types of things. why do we always set ourselves up to fail? why do we always bite off more than we can chew? i’m resolving to do that as infrequently as possible from here on out. things will come when they come and when they do, i’ll be ready. until then, i’m all about making who i am today and tomorrow the best person possible.