Random (but not really)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lightening Strikes

It’s almost amazing how one thing can change a situation from horrible to pleasant.

I had to get downtown to pick up our car (the battery kept dying because the trunk light wouldn’t go out) and on the way to the PRT, ran into a friend I hadn’t talked to in a couple of years. She also needed to go downtown, so we went together.

Long story short–the PRT was down due to lightening, so a trip that should have taken 20 minutes ended up taking and hour and a half.

Normally, this would be incredibly frustrating, but we spent the entire time talking and catching up, so the whole trip ended up being rather pleasant. Of course I would have preferred not standing around or walking in the heat and humidity, but it was very good to talk and catch up.

So here’s for having the right frame of mind.

Written by Michelle at 4:55 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Uncategorized  

No Friends For You!

So, after two invitations in less than a month, and (I must admit) against my better judgment, I finally joined Facebook.

It is nice that I can keep in contact with people after they’re gone, such as graduated students who I’ve worked with. It’s also interesting that I found several family members, including two of my cousins, one of whom is in high school. I almost feel like I shouldn’t be looking.

But the best thing was check out the site today and seeing this message:


Written by Michelle at 11:39 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: West Virginia  

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I knew there was a reason I never go to Think Geek.

That would be because I never knew until now that I NEEDED a Working Wooden Trebuchet. But I do.

However I’m going to sit on my hands.

Because I saw a bunch of other stuff I needed more.

That place is possible more dangerous than Despair.com.

Ack! Now I found something ELSE I need.

Must. Sit. On. Hands.

Oh! Look! They’ve got MISTAKES as a t-shirt….

Written by Michelle at 8:21 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Regrets Only

I feel all embarrassed, reading the comments in response to my last depression post. I really wasn’t expecting any comments, I just wanted to get stuff out of my head. But thank you for the comments, I do appreciate them.

Which brings me to something else I’ve been thinking about recently–the difference between how one perceives oneself and how others perceive you.

I am pretty sure that those who knew me in high school and college would in no way recognize the person that I have become. Not only in looks (!) but in how I behave, what I believe, and who I have become.
When I was younger I was incredibly judgmental (hell, I still am, sometimes). I saw things in black and white, good and evil, and could not for the life of me understand how people could hold opinions that were so obviously wrong (i.e. different from mine.) But as I screwed up my own life, I came to understand that there wasn’t necessarily a thing such as evil, and that evil was sometimes the result of a cascade of bad decisions and poor judgment.

I also was doing my best to screw up my life. Much of it stemmed from attempting to self-medicate, but some also came from immaturity, and my inability to deal with my mental state (which circles back around to my attempts to self-medicate).

But slowly–slowly!–I started to grow up. It took me a lot longer than everyone else, but I eventually got there. I also learned better ways to deal with my depression and OCD. (First Rule: Never drink when depressed. Ever. Second Rule: Don’t drink when depressed.)

And I talked to people. And while talking people I learned to listen. And I learned that people usually have sound reasons for the opinions they hold, and that those opinions are not usually bad judgment as much as differing priorities. (Though I draw the line at GWB. Anyone who thinks he is a good president doesn’t just have different priorities–they have something seriously wrong with them.)

And I learned to think before I acted. This sounds like such a small thing, something you hear repeated all the time, but it’s something that took me years to learn. And I still have not mastered it, but I’m getting better.

And through all of this I changed from who I was to who I am now. Except that I’m still the person I was then. The person I am now still carries all the guilt of what I did then; My past colors my current perception of myself. How do you escape this? Can you ever escape this?

But here’s the funny thing. If I hadn’t screwed up so much, made so many mistakes, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I might still be the judgmental little snot I was when I was a teenager, still seeing the world in black and white. I wouldn’t have the patience I’ve gained, or the understanding that people screw up. It happens. And that they need to be forgiven.

But sometimes, what helps the most is the realization that without my past–and the many things I regret about my past–I would not be the person I am today. I would not have the life I have today. Because despite the depression an OCD, I know I am damned lucky. I have a marvelous, wonderful husband. I have a family who supports me. And I have good friends.

And really, what more could anyone need?

Okay. You’re right. I also have disposable income to buy books. See how lucky I am!

Written by Michelle at 7:45 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Really Random Bits

For the incredibly cute archives, we have baby hedgehogs who have adopted a brush as their mother. And of course there are lots of adorable pictures of the baby hedgehogs and their “mother.”

For those who read fantasy, Bookslut looks at fantasy book covers with wizards. Snark included.

For something even more strange, foam attacks an Australian beach. I realize this was natural, but I associate foam like that on a body of water–especially that color–with pollution. So the pictures kinda squick me out.

And less cute and even more strange, Mike the Headless Chicken. I vaguely remember hearing about this years ago, but now there’s a website. And it has pictures. It also explains how Mike the Headless Chicken lived, including how they fed him.

And one last cute thing… if you haven’t been by in awhile, Stuff on My Cat is putting up new pictures every hour.

Written by Michelle at 7:03 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mental as Anything

You know, that phrase never made any sense to me. As a pejorative, it works only under the assumption that “mental” is a negative. Which it isn’t. It’s positive or negative or neutral, depending upon the context, as in “mental agility” “mental illness” and “mental state”. So why would you make a word having to do with your brain function a pejorative? Is it specifically a slam against mental illness, or is it more vague and instead referring to those who use their brains?

Of course I can see both as possibly valid, considering how American society seems to value intelligence.

But that wasn’t my point when I sat down to write.
I’ve been thinking for several days about mental health and mental illness, and why it’s so difficult to admit to mental illness.

I recently talked to two professors, to let them know why I was not going to be taking classes again this fall, and I wasn’t sure when I’d be taking classes again, because I’m incapable of continuing until my mental health is more stable.

It was very difficult to have those two conversations, despite the fact that I was talking to my public health professors. Even though I was sure these professors would understand the implications of what I was saying, it was still very hard to say it.

One of the things that depression does is leave you with a huge sense of vulnerability. You assume that everything is your fault–if someone is in a bad mood, I have to figure out what I did wrong. If someone says something to me that I take the wrong way, I can sit and obsess over what I did to deserve that comment, even if the remark meant nothing to the person who said it.

So admitting to depression and mental illness is opening yourself up at a time when you’re already vulnerable. You already feel inadequate, and then you’re expected to admit that inadequacy to other people. Even if this society were accepting of mental illness, this would be a hard thing to do. It’s even harder knowing that some people will see your confession as a confession of weakness.

In essence, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. You feel incapable to properly dealing with a situation, and in confessing your weakness, others then assume your lack of capability. I know that eventually I’ll be over my depression and move on with my life, but I wonder whether in confessing this weakness, I have reduced myself in the eyes of those with whom I have shared this. I will no longer be “Michelle the geek” or “Michelle the software support person” or “Michelle with the quirky sense of humor” or “Michelle who bakes awesome chocolate desserts” but will instead be classified forever in the minds of others as “Michelle, who suffers from depression, so maybe you should be careful around her.”

Perhaps they would have good reason to feel that way. Maybe depression is like breaking a vase. You can patch it back together, but it’s never quite as strong or as good as it was before it broke.

But if I’m lucky, it’s like a patchwork quilt. When the quilt wears thin in one place, you just patch it up with a new square of material, making it stronger and giving it even more character.

Written by Michelle at 11:32 pm      Comments (6)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Discretionary Spending

I have $150 worth of books on pre-order from Amazon, from September 1st to the end of next March.
And they’re all paperback.

It’s a sickness I say, but one from which I don’t want to get better.

Written by Michelle at 7:32 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  
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