the lost little spark of madness

You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
~ Robin Williams July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014

Unbelievable!

My daughter Abby described the feeling of hearing the news of Robin Williams’ death this afternoon perfectly. It was as if suddenly all laughter and joy was sucked out of the atmosphere.

Unreal!

To hear his death was by suicide and that he had been struggling mightily of late with severe depression made it all the more palpable for me…for so many. Sometimes the most gifted, the most brilliant, the most talented, the people who touch your hearts with the most laughter, joy and love are the ones living in the darkest depths of despair.

If you only knew.

I know.

I know too well. I was raised in that despair. I am living in that now. God what hard work it is to live every day like this!

My heart breaks for this huge void left in the world, for the heartbreaking loss his loved ones must now live with. Still I give thanks…for the laughter, so much laughter…for opening my eyes to a different, delightful world view seeing the humor, the laughter and the joy in the simplest of things every day. I give thanks for his truly amazing body of work and the fact that each one of my children could recall their favorite characters he portrayed…except for Mork…none of them knew about Mork from Ork.

GAH!

Kids!

The first thing I intend to do is go through his vast filmography and binge for the next few days. There’s nothing else on TV worth watching right now so why not? Yes, introduce this circus act of mine to Mork from Ork is on that agenda for sure.

The next thing I intend to do is go to my doctor for help because the depression and anxiety I live with is becoming again too much. The usual self care is just not cutting it lately. When your young son points out that he doesn’t like your overwhelming sadness well, yeah, it’s time to ask for help. I have no shame in that. There should be no shame, no hiding, no fear of being mocked or looked down upon as weak, no brushing depression aside as a “lesser” disease. No one should feel shamed to ask for help. I’m asking for more help.

I’m also sharing thoughts and information from a February 2010 post about suicide, anxiety and depression because people need to know…people need to care.

It’s Never Painless
originally posted February 27, 2010

My heart just breaks for Andrew Koenig‘s family and the family of Michael Blosil,  Marie Osmond’s son. I can’t imagine any parent that would not feel for the pain they must be in right now.

Living with depression is hard. Living with a loved one with depression is hard. I don’t doubt how hard it was for Koenig’s and Osmond’s family. I don’t doubt the pain both young men suffered through and the pain their families are in is more than evident. Still I have a hard time with those who choose ending their life as a way to end the pain. Walter Koenig spoke of how despondent his son was and how low he sunk in his despair but I would suggest that this wasn’t the case. I don’t doubt the depression he shares that his son had suffered from but it takes energy to do something about the depression one suffers from. The same would be for Michael Blosil as well. It takes energy to seek help or accept help and it takes energy to decide to end it all.

I speak from my own experiences. Working on recovering from depression I know how hard it is. This last year has been so hard, so very hard. It is hard-freakin’ work. I also know watching my own mother living with bipolar disorder over the years that it takes energy to take your life or attempt to take your life. In the lowest, most despondent times of her life mom never had the energy to do much of anything. She physically could not. As a child I did not understand why she could not get off of the couch and why she would remain in the same clothes for days just curled up in a limp ball there. I just knew that in worst days this was how it was. This was her life…and it was our life. It was when mom would get up off the couch that I would worry because that is when she would do something and her doing something would be to attempt to take her life. She attempted this a number of times when I was a child. She never was successful. Years later in a more candid, close moment she shared with me the depths of her pain and how she just wanted it to end. She admitted that she really didn’t think of anything else. She just wanted the crushing, crippling pain to end. I told her then and I still believe now that had she been successful in any of her attempt the pain would not be over. No. The pain would remain. It would remain with her children, with her parents, her husband, her siblings. We would carry her pain. We would carry it with us always.

Suicide is not painless. The pain remains.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • fatigue and decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • irritability, restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • overeating or appetite loss
  • persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) — or the deaf hotline at 1-800-4889.

Warning signs of suicide with depression include:

  • a sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • always talking or thinking about death
  • clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse
  • having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, like driving through red lights
  • losing interest in things one used to care about
  • making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
  • saying things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”
  • talking about suicide (killing one’s self)
  • visiting or calling people one cares about

Remember, if you or someone you know is demonstrating any of the above warning signs of suicide with depression, either call your local suicide hot line, contact a mental health professional right away, or go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to help, to hug, to talk, to be there.

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas change the world. ~ Robin Williams

 

“I like your show…can you send me some underwear?”

Overheard under The Big Top:

Daniel- I want to write a letter to Ellen.

Mom- Okay

Daniel- Can I give her a picture of me too; so that she’ll know it’s from me?

Mom- (with a little sarcasm) Do you want to autograph it too?

Daniel- YEAH! AWESOME!

This is what happens when your kid realizes he is like Internet famous. No, not viral or like a celebrity, but he knows he has fans thanks to mom’s blogging and the fact that he is pretty awesome. Does he imagine that Ellen reads Adventures in Juggling? I’m not going to ask.

So he sits down and autographs a picture of himself signing it: To Ellen, Love Daniel xoxo. And then he begins his letter telling her that he likes her…he likes her a lot. He loves her show. She is so so funny. She’s kind too. Oh, and he just loves her underwear….Can I have some of your underwear? he writes. Yes, he wrote that. He also offers that if they were to ever meet he would hug her because he loves her and because he is a pretty great hugger…a lot of people say that about me he adds.

Daniel- Can I ask her to give me a giant $10,000 gift card too?

Um…

We sure could use that like pretty much anyone else I know. Actually the IRS would LOVE it and definitely take it because that’s what they’re doing to us right now but…

Mom- No, son. You shouldn’t ask her for money. I think just telling her how much you like her is enough.

Daniel- I’m still asking her for underwear.

Mom- That’s fine, son.

 

Idina Menzel is my Spirit Animal

Or is she really Adele Dazeem? Regardless, she is bad-ass and by far my favorite vocalist EVERTake Me or Leave MeDefying GravityLet It Go…and so much, much more.

And this, this is perfection.

But paired up with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, how could it be anything but?

In case you are wondering, my Travoltified name is “Lara Stewaeert”

scrubbing out

Recent conversation under the Big Top:

Mom, check it out there is a new reality show about nurses. It’s called Scrubbing In and it looks really cool.

Oh really…:::checking out the trailer with my darling daughter::: Of course that is reality for nurses!

Really?

Um…yes. Of course I wear skin tight scrubs to show off my body and wear my hair long and perfectly curled and coiffed when I go into work and care for sick patients with gross body fluids everywhere…just like the rest of my colleagues. And when our shift is over you know we are at the club knocking back shots, raising hell, breaking hearts and seeking fun. Oh yeah, you know that is my life!

Whatever, mom!

In all fairness to these nurses who star in this new “reality” show, I was judging you all. Perhaps I was being unfair. So, to be fair, I decided to check out the season premiere.

Um…

Yeah…

I was not judging you unfairly at all.

Not

At.

All.

Is this how you really want your patients and their families to see you?

Boys and girls, for what it’s worth, no this is not a nurse’s life…not any nurse that I have known in my 23 years of working my butt off in my chosen vocation. No, no, no we don’t go into this field of work hoping to meet some hot, rich doctor and hook up with them. We come in all shapes and sizes and looks and you certainly can’t judge us by the scrubs that we wear. Take note, skin tight scrubs showing off every curve just doesn’t work in a job setting where you are constantly on the go for 12 hours saving lives and dealing with blood, sweat, urine, a whole lot of poop and every other gross body fluid imaginable. You might want to put your gorgeous hair up out of the way of those body fluids too…I’m just saying. We don’t practice nursing skills on each other. That’s what annual competencies, continuing educations and skills labs are for. We work hard. We work very hard and yes, at the end of the day (or night) we do unwind. We play hard, we love hard, we sleep hard, we juggle so much…family time, friend time, play time but, for most of us, it is not Jersey Shore meets Grey’s Anatomy; especially since neither involve nurses at all. This “reality” show does nothing to educate the average person about the lives of real nurses. It doesn’t even come close to the lives of any nurse I have ever known and worked with for any length of time in the last 23+ years.

I don’t not like this show for the fact that it makes me look bad as a nurse. It could never make me look bad. I dislike the show for the fact that the nurse-patient relationship relies on a patient’s ability to literally trust a nurse with his or her life or the life of someone they love. If this show changes the public perception of nurses to the image of drunken wild children with only minimal competency, the problem isn’t that our reputations are at stake. The problem is that an image like that erodes patient trust consciously or otherwise. And if patients don’t trust the nurses who are supposed to care for them, they likely won’t seek out care. They won’t let you care for them or the ones they love. Making a caricature of the image of nursing is a potential threat to public’s health and safety, and for that, MTV and these young “professionals” should be pretty ashamed. Of course shame is the last thing they feel because…WHOOOO-HOOOOO!!!! PARTY!!!

Watch the show if you must. I weep for the IQ points lost but to each his own. I have been know to occasionally keep up with the Kardashians, why I don’t know but I do. Just know this is not real. Not at all. The moment where you find yourself in a hospital with a nurse at your bedside know that you have so much more than just a nurse at your bedside caring for you. and know you can trust us to work our hardest and do our very best to give you the very best of care because we are all so much more than just a nurse and definitely much, much, much more than the nurses portrayed in Scrubbing In…lucky for you and your loved ones!

Read the American Nurses Association’s response to Scrubbing In here

.

photo from Peek A Boo ICU.

and while this blog has been ignored…

Much too much has been going on.

Pumpkin pies being sliced and sold for the Sober Grad fundraising efforts. More being sold at the football game tomorrow night with me in charge. Yeah, me. Really I don’t even recognize myself anymore.

Come by and buy some pie.

Not for sale, but ready for consumption is the Tears of Angels IPA. Hollie called it. It did indeed taste like the tears of angels…if they made a tasty IPA.

If it’s Fall it must be IEP time. This year was so much easier than last year. It’s amazing the respect a parent gets when advocating for her child’s special education needs after bringing in an advocate and doing a little bit of name dropping last year. I can not thank my friends who offered their services, advice and let me drop names last year enough. Oh and Daniel is doing so much better this year. It’s amazing the difference in the development of a child’s social skills when they are able to stay in the same school environment for more than one or two years.

More time for more charity work. Free gourmet food, wine tasting, delicious martinis and time spent with a few of my favorite co-workers make it worth it all the more.

And perhaps there has been a bit of binge-watching going on. Yeah, I just now discovered Breaking Bad. I can’t believe that I so very quickly finding myself caring about characters that seem to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever but I do. Seriously, none of them seem to be good people at all…except perhaps Walt Jr. and baby Holly. I just started Season 3. No one tell me how it all ends up.

I mean it.

La la la la la la la…La la la la la la la…La la la la la la la…

I can’t hear you.