Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

credit cards

Any minute now Dempsey’s tail is going to knock over one of the two glass vases we have sitting on the old tattered chest and I will have to sweep up the glass. But until then, I will try to focus on this.

Addiction -the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. “he committed the theft to finance his drug addiction.”

Many people struggle with addiction and varying degrees of addiction, as well as addictions to a variety of different things. I have battled my share of addiction over the past 25 years and seem to be dealing with it again.

Addiction affects everyone differently and not only does it manage to harm the lives of those in direct contact with it, but it destroys those of loved ones as well.

I am now trying to manage an addiction to shopping. I love to shop. I really really love to shop. In the morning before breakfast, in the afternoon on a break, in the evening while watching television – just the act alone of shopping is so satisfying that I have created a black hole for myself that is going to take some serious digging to get out of.

I have overcome alcoholism, drugs, smoking, vaping and I am sure many other things so I hope that this will just be another addiction I battle and beat. With the debt running high and the money running low, I wonder how I am going to get out of this predicament I have gotten myself into, but with the support of family and friends and alot of planning and budgeting, hopefully this will soon be a thing of the past.

I want to credit the fact that I am still sane to the love and support of one of my friends who constantly reminds me that God is on my side and will never forsake nor leave me. I often forget about that and forget to take the time to pray for help and guidance, but her ongoing encouragement keeps me believing I can and will get through this. Thank you bunny boo for your kindness, support, inspiration and fortitude. I love you very much.

It seems that everything I touch turns to an addiction. I guess I just have that type of personality. That means for the rest of my life I have to be aware of everything I do and keep things in moderation.

If you feel you have a problem with something, be it shopping, alcohol, gambling, drugs, or anything for that matter, please don’t wait until it’s too late to ask for assistance. If you ever need to talk about something, I am putting it out there that I am an open person to talk to. I have been through a great deal and can offer even more. Take care of yourself and always remember that in moderation things aren’t so bad. Keep praying and utilize the support you have around you.  Don’t let things get so far out of control you have to take extreme measures to get them back on track.

“Before you pass judgment on someone who is self-destructing, it is important to remember they usually aren’t trying to destroy themselves. They are trying to destroy something inside that doesn’t belong.” – JmStorm

You are always one decision away from leading a totally different life. Let that sink in.

 

 

Breaking the Habit

juul

Meet my best friend, Juul.

Now, am I a quitter? Well, for most of my life I have been a quitter at alot of things. And once again I am a quitter at something else. But this time, it’s for the best. After about a year and a half of intense vaping, I have decided it is time to put it to rest. Not necessarily because of all the health hype going around, (maybe that’s a part of it), but it is just time to let it go.

About a year and a half ago, during the summer of 2018, I picked up my friend’s Juul and tried it out for the first time. I was immediately hooked and have been vaping ever since then. I used a variety of vapes, not just the Juul (although it was my favorite). I found it to be more socially acceptable than smoking and definitely more okay than a pot vape pen.

From day one, Dustin hated it. And so did my parents. Just seven years ago I had broken an 18 year habit of smoking. They certainly didn’t want to see me become addicted to something else so habit forming. And my goodness was it habit forming. There were times when I didn’t take a breath of fresh air for hours – I just vaped for every breath. I won’t lie, I was addicted. And I loved it. I really really loved it. I could vape in public places without people knowing it. I could vape inside the house, despite Dustin hating it. I could vape whenever I was stressed or depressed. I could vape when I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. And I did. I vaped – ALL THE TIME.

I never thought it would be possible for me to put the vapes down. But through sheer willpower, prayer, my family’s support, my tireless strength and my desire to do better for myself, I have been able to quit vaping (only for a couple of days now). I mailed all my vapes to a friend of mine in Dallas – it’s going to be like Christmas in October for her- so I could be as far away from them as possible. Now, I feel a little irritable, somewhat cranky and secretly wishing I could find some random vape somewhere, I must prove to myself I can do this. So far, I put down alcohol 16.5 years ago, cigarettes 8 years ago and I can certainly give up vaping.

If you are wanting to make a change in your life, just make sure you are one, doing it for the right reasons. Two, be sure you are doing it for yourself and not someone else and three, don’t give up when it gets difficult. You have made it through far worse things in your life than what you are dealing with now. You will make it through this. One day at a time.

Delight becomes Pictorial

fail four                      fail two                            fail one

These pictures are ads for games that popped up on my phone while I was playing another game. Obviously the computer did not successfully conquer the game, but rather FAILED instead. Without sounding too sensitive, I feel the word FAIL is a rather harsh word to use if someone doesn’t win at a game. I don’t know if there are more children, teens or adults playing these games, but FAIL is such a turn off to me. I think it has such a negative connotation that is way too critical for the player. What about “try again” or “good try”?

I was watching a TED Talk recently given by a teacher of 30(+) years. One day a young boy approached her after he had gotten his test back and said what is this number here? I got 18 out of 20 wrong. And she said, “But honey, you got two right.” And she had written a +2 on his paper rather than a -18. The way we approach people and the positivity we bring with us when we do says a lot about our character. It can also change the way another person feels about themselves. I think all teachers should give pluses instead of minuses, but that’s just me. How much better would children feel about themselves?

It’s also all about perspective. One day a young girl says to her mom, “Mom, I want to be an astronaut.” And her mom replies, “But honey, to be an astronaut you have to spend years in school, be super smart, spend lots of money and beat out alot of other little kids.” The girl replies back, “Mom, that’s just four things.”

This wins the prize for shortest blog I have ever written but, I just wanted to say, the phone people need to change the word FAIL to something else and we need to change our perspective on life. If you change the way you look at things, you things you look at change.

Title is a poem by Emily Dickinson.

Green is no Longer the Color

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For so long I thought my mental illness had held me back from so many things. Because of that, I have often felt a sense of entitlement to things. I have harbored so much jealousy and envy for so many people for so long because of what they have accomplished in their lives, because I hadn’t been able to accomplish in life what I had wanted to.

Let me introduce you to a few important and very successful people in my life. My best friend from college owns her own professional photography business. One of my cousins has her masters degree and teaches at the college level (and also has her real estate license). My other cousin has been employed with the same company for 15(+) years. My best friend from high school obtained her EdD as a single parent and now teaches at the Doctoral level while homeschooling her two children. I have two friends who are professional models, one from Dallas and one who recently moved to the East coast. My sister raises three children while being married to a coach and has taught school for 15(+) year now. One dear friend holds down a job as a case manager while raising four kids on her own (and she is the best damn case manager ever)! A friend I met at my first job ever has been a successful medical technician for over 20 years now.

As you can see, I have always felt I have had big shoes to fill. And I have always felt I have failed. Although I did get my BS in marketing, that is hardly worth anything anymore, especially in the field I work in. I have allowed myself to be eaten alive with jealousy and envy for too many years. Why did this have to happen to me? Why does my mental illness have to hold me back from doing all the normal things everyone else is doing? Why can’t I achieve the same level of success everyone around me is achieving? I have been asking myself these questions everyday since I was diagnosed and first started noticing I was not reaching my potential. Then the inevitable happened. I let it consume me and I let my mental illness start to define me. I let it take over my identity. I was no longer the fun loving, bubbly, outgoing girl I used to be – I was the girl with the mental illness.

For so many years I have allowed myself to let that identity control who I was. I always felt that I was being held back from the things I was entitled to – all the things my friends and family were out their accomplishing.

Let’s put a pin in that for a moment, because at this juncture I feel it is necessary to brag on myself a bit and talk about the things I have accomplished. I may not have a secondary degree or have held down a long-term job, but God knows I have had struggles and I have overcome them.

  • I have been sober for 16.5 years
  • I quit smoking in 2011
  • I have been consistently working for 6(+) years
  • I give presentations about living with mental illness to local schools, police academies and colleges
  • I use my experience with mental health issues to help others that are dealing with the same thing
  • I successfully manage to take a rather large regime of medication everyday
  • I get up every morning and make it to work (that used to be a major problem)
  • I finished college on time amid being diagnosed with a major mental health diagnosis
  • I used to write for the Longview News Journal
  • I manage to maintain a marriage with a wonderful man who puts up with more than his fair share of bullshit
  • I am an amazing aunt to three nephews and one niece
  • I overcame panic attacks and conversion disorder
  • I can now go to public places on my own
  • I don’t let the fear of large crowds paralyze me anymore
  • I overcame a two year fear of stairs
  • I am a creative writer

Now then, I feel a little better about myself. Back to the pin, For so long I was so jealous of what everyone else was accomplishing and what little I thought I was. But, times are a changing and it’s time to get off that horse and start doing things for myself. Unfortunately it took 20 years for me to believe in myself, but I finally do.

  • I am capable of getting a masters degree.
  • I am capable of holding down a job for a long length of time.
  • I am capable of sharing my story with others to help them overcome theirs.
  • I am capable of rising to the occasion when need be.
  • I am capable of holding down a full-time job and not relying on disability anymore.
  • I am capable of being a better wife, friend, daughter, sister, granddaughter and aunt.
  • I am capable of not letting fear paralyze me anymore.
  • I am capable of being proud of who I am instead of being sad of who I’m not.
  • I am capable of not letting my mental illness define me.

No more jealousy or envy. Now I am just an overjoyed, completely proud friend and family member. Proud of what they have accomplished and what each of them have become. I am proud that I have so many role models in my life to look up to. I am proud of the tenacity, strength and hard work that each of them put in to get to where they are. That is pure inspiration to me. So thank you to each of you. I hope you know who you are. I am grateful to have you in my life and grateful to be able to use your success story as a stepping stone in my journey through life. Without you all achieving what you have, I wouldn’t have the courage to aspire to achieve what I want to. I feel so blessed and am so thankful to be in such amazing company.

Don’t allow jealousy and envy to control your life. It is like the old adage, drinking a bottle of poison and hoping the other person will die. It will consume you and break you into little pieces one by one. Be proud of your accomplishments and allow others to be a teaching tool for you.

It’s not what you accomplish in life that matters most; it’s the adversity you overcome to get there that counts.

The Paradigm Shift

coins

Living on life’s terms is difficult enough without having OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). I was first diagnosed with OCD when I was somewhere around the age of 20 while a sophomore in college. It has been a downhill trek ever since. Having OCD is so hard. It is so tough to live with, atleast the degree to which I have it is.

The textbook definition of OCD is “denoting or relating to a disorder in which a person feels compelled to perform certain stereotyped actions repeatedly to alleviate persistent fears or intrusive thoughts.” Some people spend less than an hour engaged in obsessive-compulsive behavior-for others it may consume their whole day. I am the latter. OCD consumes not only my days, but my whole life.

I could go into detail about what my obsessions and compulsions are, but I prefer not to. I try not to give them too much thought. However, I will discuss one compulsion I have. There is a phone game called Wordscapes and in this game you can collect coins by watching videos to use to solve the puzzles. Well, I have since given up on playing the game and have made collecting coins a compulsion. I simply play videos over and over all day long, collecting coins. I don’t even want to use them during the game. I just have become obsessed with collecting them.

As of yesterday afternoon, I had collected 407,000 coins. Each video is worth 25 coins. As you can imagine, I have played many videos. I have spent hours, days, weeks and months just playing videos to collect these coins that I have no use for.

Well, last night my sister celebrated her 40th birthday and while we were out at dinner I let one of my nephews play on my phone. Some time later he approached me telling me he had gotten me to first place in a Wordscapes competition. I was happy to hear that until I checked my coin count. He had used 16,000 coins. OMG. I was shocked and devastated, to say the least. It’s like his finger had become a little trigger and he just fired away using all those coins.

I called my husband immediately (who wasn’t at the party with us) with tears in my eyes. I had fought long and hard for all those coins and here I am now with a major setback. The key here is, to everyone else it was no big deal. But to me, it was a huge deal. A gigantic defeat. I have been so obsessed with getting all these coins that when my nephew used so many I was just beside myself. I am looking at like a week of work to get those coins back.

OCD affects many people in many different ways. For me, it is life changing in so many ways. People often think that because they do something obsessively or compulsively they have OCD. But, to actually be diagnosed with this awful disorder, it must affect your daily life in a very negative manner. I have many different diagnoses and OCD has to be the worst. It is so intrusive and totally just a pain in the ass.

Well, all I know is that I am going to have to start watching more videos to catch back up to the number of coins I was at initially. After all, the importance of these coins that I do absolutely nothing with is pretty high to me, for whatever reason.

With OCD, I’ve got 99 problems and 86 of them are completely made up scenarios in my head that I am stressing about for no logical reason. I have heard I don’t have to control my thoughts, but I just have to stop letting them control me. Shit, that’s a challenge.

Until then, I will work on my OCD tenancies and continue to count Wordscapes coins.

The River Runs Red: The Death of Heather Rich

cof

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20 years ago I set out on a project that would change my life. I wanted to write a book. A non-fiction book about a young girl from Oklahoma that had been murdered by three boys from the same town. I became so intrigued with this case. I did years of research gathering everything from court documents, autopsy reports, interviews, arrest records, pictures, attorney meetings, handlings of the exhibits and so much more. But, I became consumed by this and eventually overwhelmed and unable to finish my project. But, I always remember the young lady and still try to share her story every now and then. Warning: VERY GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW.

Heather Rose Rich was born in 1980 in Oklahoma. She was a petite, dirty blonde girl whose bubbly personality and cute smile attracted all she met. She was the only girl in her family as she had a younger brother and two older brothers. She was a popular cheerleader at Waurika High School in Waurika, OK where she had previously dated Homecoming King Randy Wood. In 1996, shortly before Homecoming however, the two split amicably.

On October 2, 1996 Heather, Randy and two of his friends, schoolmate Joshua Bagwell and an older out-of-towner named Curtis Gambill got together for a night of drinking and partying. That night Heather had a date planned with Josh. The four end up at Josh’s grandparents trailer where, as Randy waits outside, Heather has sex with both Josh and Curtis. Curtis, the bad boy of the group, began to worry that Heather would pin a rape charge on them and he insisted they must kill her to avoid that possibility. Heather becomes increasingly more intoxicated and is passed out as the boys take her on a long drive to Oklahoma-Texas border.

The following account is based on court testimony. Once they arrived at the bridge, Curtis takes her out of the car and leans her up against the railing. In Josh’s trial, he states he went to urinate at this time and was never around at the time of the shooting. In Randy’s trial, he states he pleaded with Curtis to not shoot Heather but weigh her down with rocks instead. Curtis, who says he did not shoot Heather, pleaded guilty to avoid the Texas death penalty.

Curtis then shoots an intoxicated, passed out Heather nine times with a Mossberg M9 shotgun from behind. The boys toss her remains over the bridge into the creek below. On the way back to Waurika, they drop off Curtis in nearby Ryan where he takes Heather’s cheerleading jacket and burns it. The other two return to Josh’s where they spend the night and do not go to school the next day.

The following morning Heather’s family notice she is not at home and immediately file a missing person’s report. Within hours, hundreds gather to form searches, many are interviewed and the Texas Rangers have taken over.

The following Friday evening, as Randy is being crowned Homecoming King, an older gentleman and his 7 yr old granddaughter are crossing the bridge when they spot what they think to be a deceased animal. The gentleman shoots the animal twice with a .22 caliber to check to see if it’s alive. At further glance, the man realizes it is a badly decomposing body and notifies authorities immediately.

The authorities arrive at the scene and the body is then delivered in two body bags to the Southwestern Medical Institute in Dallas, TX where it undergoes an extensive examination. Photographs are taken. X-rays are done. Eventually an identity is made by clothes and jewelry. Due to a massive shotgun blast to the back of the head, the brain is completely absent.

Talk gets around this small town of Waurika and the boys names start to come up for questioning. Within a couple of weeks, each are arrested and eventually all go to trial on their own. In the early 2000s Curtis and Josh were able to escape from the Montague County Jail but were soon caught and returned. Each still gives their own story. They are up for parole in 2026 and 2036. For several years I was able to communicate with both Josh and Curtis via snail mail until the penal system cut us off. I learned a lot about the two of them during our communications. Randy never accepted my request to talk.

Today Heather would be 39. But, instead she is forever 16. Remembered for her kindness and spontaneous personality, Heather’s memory lives on with those who knew her best.

I still want this story told. So if anyone reading this is a ghostwriter or willing to work with me, please contact me.

RIP SWEET GIRL.

 

Suicide – Inside the Fire

suicide

The time is quickly approaching. It will be here before we even know it. But is it something we are truly looking forward to? That would be a fat NO, well and a yes. No because the nature of the subject and yes because we can use this time to educate people.

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Of course I wish that we wouldn’t have to dedicate a whole month to suicide. I’d prefer that suicide not be so prevalent that we have to give it it’s own month for awareness and prevention. But, we do. Because here are the startling statistics –

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US
  • In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide
  • In 2017, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts
  • In 2015, suicide and self -injury cost the US $69 billion
  • On average, there are 129 suicides per day
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men
  • In 2017, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths
  • In 2017, men died by suicide 3.54 (x) more often than women

Most of us will know someone that has been affected by suicide in our lifetime. And many of us have varying opinions on suicide as well. Some believe it to be a selfish act and others believe it to be a selfless act. Either way, when someone commits suicide, a great number of people are affected on many levels.

I myself have never had a suicide attempt, but I have been in the depths of depression so bad that I have entertained suicide ideations a number of times. Many people can’t fathom why someone would want to take their own life. But when one is in such despair, hopeless and helpless, and doesn’t seem to be able to find a way out, suicide often seems the better option.

Suicide prevention should be an ongoing, round the year topic of conversation. But for now, we will focus all of our attention to it in September. Community Healthcore is hosting their inaugural Suicide Prevention and Awareness event at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Longview from 5 – 7 pm on September 12. Please join us in combatting this life changing and unfortunate phenomenon we call Suicide.

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, please immediately call the the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255.

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