All rise… being a P4J judge

I am a P4J judge badge

The winner has been announced for Revenge of Eve’s Photos 4 Journals (P4J) competition!  You can find out who on the Revenge of Eve P4J winner post.

It was pretty darn exciting to be asked to be a judge in the Photos 4 Journals (P4J) competition.  Every week, I got an email from the lovely Candace at Revenge of Eve with your amazing submissions for the week.  Each week I thought damn, how on earth am I going to narrow down my picks?  The judging criteria, i.e. the photo that evoked strong emotion, was very subjective, and how do I even begin to trust my subjective?  I’m glad I didn’t know who had submitted each photo, because who needs complications with an already difficult decision?

Candace has said that we judges will be getting some stationary goodies from her Not Your Average Chick passion project.  How often does a judge get to be a winner at the same time? Super cool!  Photos to come when I get that special something in the mail…


G2K: Get 2 Know

Revenge of Eve G2K - get to Know

It’s Get 2 Know (G2K) time at Revenge of Eve.  Here are my answers to this week’s questions; I’m in the middle of languishing in unhealthy coping strategies, and the answers reflect that.

  1. If you could change one thing in your life, what would you change?  I would live in a yurt, with a pet yak for a cuddle bunny.
  2. Who would benefit from such change?  Mostly me and the yurt, but the sunshine of our love would spread over the whole yurt-ing community.
  3. Are there steps you can take to make this change happen?  1) Buy plane ticket to Kyrgyzstan.  2)  Purchase yurt.  Somehow I’m guessing this isn’t available on a realtor’s website.  3) Adopt a yak.  I’m not sure if I can just track down a wild one and win it over with my fabulous personality; that will require some research.
  4. How does this impact your life? (The thing you want to change)  In every way, I would think.
  5. How would your life be different from what it is today if this change occurred?  No more work.  No more stress.  No more nights all alone.  Just me and the yak, making sweet non-sexual love.


is a series of questions giving readers insight into the personal lives of their favorite bloggers.

Participation is easy!

Create a pingback to this post

Answer the following questions honestly

Title your post G2K

Use the hashtag #g2k

365 Days of gratitude

gratitude word graphic with woman holding arms open toward the sky

I have been keep a daily gratitude log in my bullet journal, and so far I’ve only missed one day this year (because I was working nights and confused about what day it was).  I try to come up with something new each day, although I’m not always feeling creative enough for that, and some things I’m so grateful for that a single mention just isn’t enough.  Here are some of the things I’m grateful for that have made it into my journal so far:

  • the sun
  • the blue of the ocean
  • my amazing Grandma
  • lots of guinea pig behaviours: the way they beg for food, the noises they make, their funny sleeping positions, the games they play with each other, and of course their cuddliness
  • going for massages regularly
  • treats from Starbucks
  • my comfy cozy home
  • aromatherapy
  • blogging and the WordPress community
  • that I have a doctor I feel comfortable with
  • nights that I get lots of sleep
  • for the natural beauty I see right outside my window, including the birds nesting on my balcony in the spring
  • my friend who supports me even when I’m upset
  • a somewhat odd assortment of food, including pancakes, chocolate pudding, apple pie, baguette with brie cheese, and Raisin Bran
  • cozy socks and slippers to keep my feet warm
  • occasions when I’ve been able to help others


What are some of the things you’re grateful for?


Image credit: johnhain on Pixabay

20(ish) Questions

pile of question marks

I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from blog awards, but when I’m nominated for awards I’ll answer the questions posed to me in this 20(ish) questions format, along with assorted other question tags and the like.  Feel free to join in the fun with your own answers to any or all of the questions 🙂


Questions from A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip‘s quick fire round 7:

  • Are eyebrows considered facial hair or just surplus eye hair?  They’re ear hair that’s gone for a walk.
  • If a kid refuses to sleep during nap time, are they guilty of resisting a rest?  Groan…  They’re a pain in the ass is what they are.
  • She sells sea shells by the sea shore, has anyone asked why yet?  Everyone realizes she’s dumb for thinking people will pay for shit they can just pick up for free.
  • If glassblowers inhale do they get a pane in the stomach?  Groan again…  No, they get a snow globe the have to squeeze out their butt.
  • Why does the Easter bunny carry eggs? Rabbits don’t lay eggs.  What kind of rabbits are you looking at?
  • What disease did cured ham actually have?  Genital warts.  They were transmitted from a warthog.  (yup, groan again!)
  • Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?  They don’t actually believe you about the stars, but it’s too much bother to try to prove to you that you’re a doofus.
  • Why do people keep running over a thread a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?  Well at least now I know I’m not the only one!
  • If you met a vampire, would you let it bite you for eternal life or would you shove a stake in its heart?  Depends if it was Jacob or Edward.
  • Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?  If I lived in a hunter-gatherer society I would quickly starve unless I could find someone to bribe with sexual favours.
  • Have you ever tried to contact a spirit with an Ouija Board?  No but I have cheated while playing with a Ouija board.
  • If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?  All Bran because then I’d always be regular.  But it’s gotta be the All Bran Buds – regular All Bran is just yucky.
  • Have you ever seen a ghost, a spaceship, or anything else you couldn’t rationally explain?  I’ve seen people doing stupid things… does that count?
  • Would you rather fight 1 elephant sized duck or a 100 duck sized elephants?  Ducks can be mean buggers if you get them riled up, so I’d go with the elephants.
  • If l gave you a 1000 dollars, pounds or a currency of your choice how would you double it in 24 hours?  I only need 5 minutes – I’ll go to the bank, withdraw $1000, and boom, I’ve got myself $2000.
  • Ok, you have woken up groggy eyed and worse for wear and find a giraffe in your kitchen, what are you going to do?  I would give it a snuggle and ask it to take me on a ride around the neighbourhood to show off.


Answers please on the flipside of the flip side of the reverse side of a doubled sided coin …  You can only see that side if you look through a one-way two-way mirror.


Questions from A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip quick fire round 8:

  • What’s your philosophy in life?  Guinea pigs make everything better.
  • Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?  Introvert all the way baby.
  • What was the best phase in your life?  While I was doing my first university degree.  I had so much fun during those years.
  • When younger, you had a dream job, what was it?  I don’t remember what I wanted to be when I was very young, but I know that when high school rolled around I wanted to be a cardiologist.  Why, I really don’t know.
  • Did you get close you your dream job of young, now that you are grown up?  Right now I’m in my current dream career.
  • What’s more important to you – looks, brains or humour?  That’s a complicated question.  What are we talking about?  A friend?  A life partner?  I value intelligence, I enjoy a quirky sense of humour, and if we’re talking romantic partner physical attraction is a must (although what is attractive to me does not necessarily correspond with what is generally considered good looks).
  • What’s the best age for marriage?  Whatever age at which someone happens to be mature and finds the right person.
  • If you have children in your life [be they yours or family/friends] what advice do you give them if any about when they are older?  Use condoms.
  • Do you ever stay friendly with exes?  Yes, although as a general rule I’d say it probably doesn’t work that well.
  • What’s an ideal weekend for you?  Hanging out at home with the guinea pigs.
  • What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done and would you do it again?  I had a one-night(ish) stand with an Aussie I met in Turkey when I was in my early 20’s.  It was irresponsible and fun, but the only thing I would change is him giving me mononucleosis (yup, the “kissing disease”).
  • Ok, so you are nearing the end of your days – and you offered to live your life once more but are allowed three changes – would you accept those changes or live your life the same way again?  Is none of the above an option?  Once is enough!
  • If you chose those three changes what would they be?  One yurt, one yak, and one me, all combined into one happy little love nest.
  • When you are enjoying some ‘alone time’, what do you think of?  Guinea pigs.  But somehow the ‘alone time’ in quotes seems suggestive of autoerotic activity.
  • What are your top 5 movies to date?  Dirty Dancing, Top Gun, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Sixteen Candles, and Can’t Buy Me Love.  Gotta love the 80’s.
  • Fess up, we all like some routine and order to our lives, what can you NOT go a day without doing?  Multiple cups of tea in the morning.  With milk, no sugar.
  • What’s the most exciting thing to have happened this year?  I’m more inclined to ask has anything exciting happened this year?
  • Did you ever play Battleship the game as a kid or for that matter maybe even now?  I’m fairly certain I played it back in the day; that may just be a fabricated memory, but it was definitely popular back when I was a kid.


Answers please on the third skin of a banana please using pixie dust and egg!  That sounds a little too R-rated for me!


Come on, you know you want to answer a few – that’s what the comments section is for!


Image credit: qimono on Pixabay

Weekend wrap-up

wrapping paper, ribbon, and twine

Here’s what happened in my life over the past week:

  • I worked 6 night shifts at one of my jobs.  One of the shifts was a last-minute overtime shift which meant I couldn’t stick to my normal medication and sleep schedule.  I was reminded that I can’t sleep if I don’t take medication, no matter how exhausted I am.  It’s hard to say how much of that is the effects of depression and how much is because my brain is used to having drugs.  Regardless my brain on no sleep is not a pretty place, and I’ve been pretty low-functioning for the second half of the week.  Overtime makes for damn good money, though.
  • At that same job, I saw on the schedule that in a couple of weeks a new hire is going to be orientating to night shift, and rather than schedule this person to orientate with me, they’ve booked the person to orientate on a different unit with another casual nurse who’s only 3 months out of nursing school.  Now I don’t have any desire whatsoever to orientate new staff, but I’m sensing an underlying not-so-subtle message here; this isn’t the first time they’ve made it clear that they don’t want new staff orientating with me.  Fuck that place is obnoxious.
  • I’m fairly certain my other job is going to cease to exist.  HR has set up a teleconference for all staff in my program on Monday, so I should find out then what’s up with the suspicious hints lately.
  • I saw my doctor for the first time in a few months.  I didn’t really feel like I had anything to say.  I told him I was doing fairly ok most of the time.  He wasn’t totally convinced, but he said I looked good so he would let it go.  Normally I’m not a fan of the “you look good” routine, but he’s consistently observed that when I’m struggling I don’t even try to put on a mask with him so it’s quite visible, so in this particular situation it didn’t bother me.
  • I had dinner with my brother, and while it wasn’t quite as painful as the last time I saw him, it was still uncomfortable.  He was telling me about some of our parents plans that came as news to me, and it bothered me that I was hearing this stuff via my brother rather than directly from my parents.  Pretty much all my parents ever tell me is where they’ve gone out to eat or what they’re watching on Netflix.  I’ve been feeling alienated enough from them all ready, and now I feel that even more so.
  • I decided to go ahead and book a flight to Italy for October.  I’ve been contemplating it for a while now, and I finally came to the conclusion that I was never going to feel fully comfortable making a decision, so I might as well just go for it.  And I’m flying on points, so if I end up cancelling the flight it’s not the end of the world.


How has your week been?


Image credit: Rawpixel on Pixabay

3.2.1 Quote me!

Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess tagged for for A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip’s 3.2.1 Quote me game, on the topic of greetings.


“Don’t tell your friends about your indigestion. ‘How are you’ is a greeting, not a question.” – Arthur Guiterman

Oh, and they don’t want to know about your mental illness either…  Perhaps we just need to permanently remove the question mark from “how are you?”


“A hat should be taken off when you greet a lady and left off for the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat.” – P.J. O’Rourke

I have a feeling this was what he may have had in mind:



Image credit: The Daily Mail

What is… judgementality?

psychology word graphic in the shape of a brain

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychological terms.

This week’s term: judgementality

Shortly after I scheduled this post in my queue, I saw a post on the same topic on Scarlett’s BPD Corner.  I figure a topic must be a pretty good one if it’s on multiple people’s minds at the same time.  [As a quick spelling geek comment, judgementality is spelled with an e after the g, while judgmental is more commonly spelled without an e.  I also had to look up what the noun version of the adjective judgmental would be, because I really didn’t know.]

According to Psychology Today, being judgmental involves getting satisfaction out of making negative moral assessments of other people.  This serves to increase the judgmental person’s sense of self-worth by establishing that they are better than others who fail.  The judgmental person may quickly leap to conclusions, and move from an assessment that another person’s actions are wrong to a view that the person as a whole is flawed.  Humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers recognized the negative impact of judgementality, which was why he believed therapists should demonstrate unconditional positive regard.

We all consider the world through an evaluative lens, and Psychology Today suggests several factors come into play in determining whether this is being done in a constructive or destructive way:

  • the use of empathy to understand where the other person is coming from
  • the values-frame dynamic: whose values are being used to frame the judgment and why?
  • the power dynamic: how much influence do your judgments potentially carry?
  • the person vs situation dynamic: is this a selfish person or a person being selfish in this particular situation?
  • the person vs act dynamic: distinguishing between the person and their actions
  • the open vs closed dynamic: are we open to changing our evaluation if new information arises?
  • the shallow vs expert knowledge dynamic: a strong evaluation shouldn’t be based on limited knowledge

Another Psychology Today article points out the distinction between making an observation such as “he talks very slowly” and adding a judgmental conclusion to the observation “he talks very slowly, therefore he must be stupid.”

Being judgmental isn’t something that’s generally seen as desirable, but we all do it to a greater or lesser extent.  I think mental illness makes us particularly likely to pass judgment on ourselves, but perhaps it makes us less likely to be judgmental about the challenges that others are facing.  I see a difference between judgment that is kept internal and judgment that is acted on externally.  A lot of the judgments I make remain with the inside-my-head voice and don’t spill over into my interactions with people.  I also try separate general observations of broad groups from specific individuals (e.g. in the case of racial stereotypes about bad driving).  If I think someone is batshit-crazy for their religious or political beliefs, I try to keep in mind that is only part of who they are and don’t extrapolate to them being batshit-crazy full stop.

I struggle with passing judgment on others’ intelligence (or more specifically, lack thereof).  I’m a fairly intelligent person, and there are a lot of stupid people out there in the world.  I sometimes feel kind of guilty about this, since it seems so snobbish, and I’m not always sure where the line lies between making an observation and being critical.

In my work I think I probably struggle the most with being judgmental regarding antisocial types.  My clinical approach is to give a very controlled, matter-of-fact non-reaction when they talk about their criminal and other assorted nasty behaviour, but on the inside I’m thinking damn this dude is a scumbag.  So much for empathy.

I think it’s not a bad idea for all of us to give some thought to our own particular flavour of judgementality and whether it’s helping or hindering us.  What are some of the contexts in which you find yourself passing judgment on others?



Image credit: GDJ on Pixabay

The best things in life are free

shaggy yak

The world is pretty darn expensive these days, especially when income is limited related to our mental illnesses.  But there are some pretty cool things that can be done for free, and here’s a few that I’ve come up with:

  • You may wonder why I’ve chosen a shaggy yak picture to go along with this post – well, it’s because the internet allows you to find free photos of anything you could possibly want (and I mean who wouldn’t want a shaggy yak)
  • Speaking of the wonders of the internet, it allows you to learn about just about anything at no cost
  • Snuggling with animals
  • Reading (the local library is my go-to for books, and I love that my library has ebooks that can be checked out)
  • Writing
  • Watching nature
  • Thinking about the mysteries of the universe
  • Listening to things like raindrops falling, the wind blowing through the trees
  • People-watching
  • Walks in the sunshine
  • Daydreaming
  • Singing along to your favourite songs
  • Love (cue J.Lo song My Love Don’t Cost a Thing, but don’t cue the video because I find it annoying)

What are your favourite free things to do?


Image credit: hbieser on Pixabay

Book review: Furiously Happy

book cover: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

In Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, Jenny Lawson uses “furiously happy” as a weapon to counter mental illness, and intends to “destroy the goddamn universe with my irrational joy and I will spew forth pictures of clumsy kittens and baby puppies adopted by raccoons and MOTHERFUCKING NEWBORN LLAMAS DIPPED IN GLITTER AND THE BLOOD OF SEXY VAMPIRES.”  This is my kind of gal, someone who doesn’t let depression stop her from embracing her quirkiness and finding humour in the world around her.

Some chapters talk specifically about mental illness, but the majority are funny anecdotes.  The book is jam-packed with all kinds of critters ranging from living to taxidermied to costumes, including Rory the scary as hell taxidermied raccoon on the front cover.  There are also random observational rants, e.g. about female clothes not having pockets, and a pocketbook being neither pocket nor book.  She talked about being bewildered by a Japanese computerized toilet, leaving me wanting to shout me too soul-sister!

She challenges some of the stigma around mental illness and its treatment.  She sarcastically observed that if someone’s cancer returned, “it’s probably just a reaction to too much gluten or not praying correctly.  Right?”  And then there was the gem about dealing with medication side effects “which can include ‘feeling excessively stabby’ when coupled with some asshole telling you that ‘your medication not working is just proof you don’t really need medication at all.'”

You know those silent moments that crop up every so often when you’re seeing your therapist?  Jenny knows how to fills those awkward silences with panache, with such observations as: “Is it normal to regret not making a sex tape when you were younger and your boobs still pointed vaguely at the ceiling when you were on your back?  Because I feel like no one ever talks about that.”

She points out that seemingly having it all doesn’t mean not being depressed of anxious.  She admitted that “I only have a few days a month where I actually feel like I was good at life…  The other days I feel like I’m barely accomplishing the minimum or that I’m a loser.”

I don’t usually rely quite so heavily on quotes when writing reviews, but Jenny’s words are far funnier than mine, and I wanted to share some of my favourites.  This book is laugh out loud hilarious, and a delightfully sneaky way of attacking stigma without being  primarily about mental health.  You will read more about taxidermy than you could ever imagined, and you might even be tempted to get your very own taxidermied armadillo purse (yup, that’s a real thing, Google it).


You can find Jenny on her blog The Bloggess.


You can find my other book reviews on my blog index.

Image credit: Amazon

3.2.1 Quote me

old-fashioned key sitting atop stones

Rory at A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip tagged me for his game 3.2.1 Quote me.  The topic this time around is balance.  Both of these quotes seem quite relevant to my life.


“Perhaps there could be no joy on this planet without an equal weight of pain to balance it out on some unknown scale.” – Stephenie Meyer


“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” – Betsy Jacobson

The way the media talks about suicide matters

cartoon face shushing surrounded by the word suicide

The way the media reports on suicides can affect the likelihood of the suicide contagion (or “copycat”) phenomenon.  There are a number of organizations that have put together media guidelines for reporting on suicides, and this is a summary of some of their recommendations.


  • include local crisis line information and other community resources
  • include warning signs and information about what to do
  • report on suicide as a public health issue
  • get information from suicide prevention experts
  • use the terms “died by suicide”, “completed suicide” or “killed him/herself”
  • look for links to broader social issues
  • if possible provider education the links between suicide and other issues such as mental illness and substance misuse
  • avoid the use of language that normalizes suicide or presents it as a solution to problems
  • word headlines carefully, and avoid using the word “suicide”
  • be particularly careful when reporting celebrity suicides
  • avoid printing a photo of the person who completed suicide, and if one is used it should not be displayed prominently



  • don’t use sensationalist headlines
  • don’t use prominent placement (e.g. front page) or undue repetition
  • don’t use photos of the location/method of death, grieving friends/family
  • don’t describe a suicide as inexplicable or without warning
  • don’t quote/interview first responders about cause of suicide
  • don’t describe suicide as “successful” or “unsuccessful”/”failed”
  • don’t report specific details of the method
  • don’t offer over-simplified reasons for the suicide
  • don’t romanticize the suicide
  • don’t present a melodramatic depiction of suicide or its after-effects on others
  • don’t label certain locations as “hot spots” for suicide
  • don’t use hyperbolic descriptions like “suicide epidemic”
  • don’t publish suicide notes



Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention


World Health Organization


Image credit: geralt on Pixabay

3.2.1 Quote me!

I was tagged by Beckie’s Mental Mess for A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip‘s 3.2.1 Quote me game.  The topic is energy.


“Energy is an eternal delight, and he who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.” – William Blake

This one I picked because I would like to at least have the power to breed pestilence.  It just seems like a cool superpower.  As long as I could escape from the pestilence after the breeding.


“The key that unlocks energy is desire. It’s also the key to a long and interesting life. If we expect to create any drive, any real force within ourselves, we have to get excited.” – Earl Nightingale

Ok, so this is relevant to me, but what I’m still missing is the piece on how to get excited.  I need this dude to not be stingy and give me that key to that too.  Or call me a locksmith.



Final Friday!


Submit your photos Friday, July 13, 2018!

This Friday is the final Friday for p4j! I am excited for a winner to be chosen. They will receive a bundle of stationery that they are bound to love! If you have never submitted a photo you have a chance to win by submitting this Friday! Do not miss out on some great writing materials.

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G2K – Get 2 Know

Revenge of Eve G2K - get to Know

It’s G2K – Get 2 Know – time over at Revenge of Eve.  This week’s questions:

  1. Do you have a secret crush? Famous or not:  I have a history of crushing hard, obsessively, and irrationally, and then later crashing messily.  My current crush is perhaps not really a crush in that it’s very different from my typical crushes, but I do have feelings about a guy that I haven’t shared with him.
  2. What is their code name? (pet name)  Nothing interesting, just A.
  3. Are they aware of your crush or existence?  We’re good friends.  Presumably he has some idea of my feelings, but he’s not always the most confident so he may not feel sure of that.
  4. How do you act or feel when they are around?  I feel like myself.  I feel more like my real self when I’m around him than I do at any other time.
  5. Would you pursue a relationship if it were possible?  What holds you back?  Sure.  But I’m kinda old-fashioned and I’m a firm believer that the guy should make the first move.  Yeah, it’s a stereotype, and it’s not as though I’m unwilling to drop plenty of hints, but I’m not keen on opening myself up to rejection.  And the nice thing about that particular stereotype is that guys know they’re expected to make the first move.  Maybe it sucks for them, but it is what it is.


G2K is a weekly series intended to provoke deep thought, on behalf of the blogger, allowing the reader to get up close and personal with their favorite bloggers.  Participation is easy!

To participate:

Create a pingback to this post

Create a post answering the questions titled G2K

Use the hashtag #g2k

Answer the questions honestly

Use the feature image

Where to go for insider knowledge on psychiatry

"knowledge is power" written on a chalkboard

Health professionals are required to continually update their knowledge related to their field of practice.  One of the nice things about the digital age is that it’s easy to access continuing education activities online, and many of them are available at no cost.  I freely admit that I’m a geek and I love learning new things, so I thought I would share some of the sites that I use to keep up to date.  Since they’re geared toward health professionals rather than the general public some of the more in-depth info might be a little hard to follow, but I think it could still be informative.

I hope you find something that’s of interest to you 🙂


Image credit: geralt on Pixabay

20(ish) Questions

pile of question marks

I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from blog awards, but when I’m nominated for awards I’ll answer the questions posed to me in this 20(ish) questions format, along with assorted other question tags and the like.  Feel free to join in the fun with your own answers to any or all of the questions 🙂


Questions from Rory at A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip:

  1. What was the weirdest conversation you have overheard?  Hmm, a specific example isn’t coming to mind, but I’ve had a lot of very psychotic patients who’ve had some pretty bizarre conversations with their voices.
  2. If you could be any age [not your current] for a full 7 days, what age would it be and for goodness sake why?  I think 4 is a good age.  Old enough to be aware, but young enough that life is simple and you can just watch Mr. Dressup, Care Bears, and She-Ra Princess of Power all day.
  3. Do you believe in the paranormal, if so why and if not why, and if sitting on the fence – yep you guessed it … why?  Well, I don’t really believe in normal, so pretty much any altered version of normal is A-ok.
  4. If you had a brainwashing machine who would you use it on specifically and why?  Myself to make me believe I’m She-Ra!
  5. What is the strangest, oddest, wierdest or just down right stupidest thing you have ever eaten?  I’m not sure if this is the strangest thing, but a strange eating experience was eating snail soup for breakfast squatting on a sidewalk in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  6. What is your most favourite of all time joke?  I’ve just wasted a substantial portion of my life browsing around on Google to come up with an answer to this, and I think it’s time to call this one a fail and move on.
  7. What food would be the best to make a house out of – discuss and explain your logic?  Overcooked turkey legs – do you realize how tough those babies are?  That house could withstand anything.
  8. Which of my 12 nominees is willing to take part in the Mystery Challenge question of this nomination and which of the 12 is willing to answer the Mystery Challenge Question?  My guinea pig Casper is always up for some play.  She’ll chase you around in circles smelling your bum until you give her the answer.
  9. If you could have a choice of window types and styles in front of your toilet, what would you pick? [You know, where you could sit and watch sort of thing]  Well, not too long ago Rory wanted answers to questions on the back of a 2-way mirror, and I was puzzled by a 2-way and a 1-way mirror being the same thing… Anyway, so I’d pick one of those babies, as long as it was a 2-way mirror/window in name only and really functioned as a 1-way.  Is that wordy enough for you?
  10. You have just bumped into an alien from the planet Jupiter and you say what?  It would depend on the alien’s level of attractiveness, but perhaps something along the lines of “hey baby, you’re outta this world” (accompanied by a little lean forward to show off some cleavage).  Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures…
  11. Of all your behaviours/traits – which one has landed you into the most hot water or trouble?  Not being able to keep my mouth shut when I think something is being done in a way that is unfair/wrong/illogical/etc.


Questions from Life is too short just lick the spoon:

  1. If you could sell years from your life with ten thousand dollars each, you many years would you sell and why?  I would sell the last 15 or so years, and then I’d be in my early 20’s with some money in the bank, which I think would work out very nicely.
  2. If you have all the money from the world, how would a perfect day look for you?  Sitting on the terrace at a chateau in Provence eating very expensive cheese and sipping very expensive wine
  3. What is your biggest flaw?  I could dwell on this for the same epic amount of time spent on question #6 from Rory, but instead I’ll throw in the towel and move on tout de suite (or toot-sweet for the non-French-spelling-inclined).
  4. What is your happiest memory?  Something simple from childhood – maybe doing cartwheels back in the day when cartwheels were easy rather than requiring the assistance of a crane.
  5. If you could go back in time and change one thing about your past, what would you change and why?  I plead the fifth.
  6. If you would try to describe yourself with only a sentence, what would that be?  Geeky crazy guinea pig lady.
  7. How many friends do you think you have and why do you consider those people to be friends?  I only have one in-person friend these days, which is an improvement from zero so probably worth hanging onto.
  8. What is the most unique thing about you?  I’ll have to go with the same as #6, geeky crazy guinea pig lady.
  9. In your opinion, which being on this Earth is the most interesting and why?  The yak.  Because it will keep me company on long winter nights in the yurt in Kyrgyzstan.
  10. Imagine you have the power to create anything, what is the first thing you would create and why?  Aerosolized empathy spray-bombed all over the world.  The second would be aerosolized intelligence.
  11. Imagine you could erase anything in this world, what would you erase and why?  Ignorance, because I think it’s at the root of a lot of the world’s problems.


Come on, you know you want to answer a few – that’s what the comments section is for!


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Weekend wrap-up

wrapping paper, ribbon, and twine

Here’s what happened in my life over the past week:

  • I worked five night shifts, but I stuck firm to my sleep schedule so it’s been ok.
  • There have been indicators that make me suspect that for one of my jobs the particular program I’m working in is going to get shut down, which would mean bye-bye job.  I’m just trying not to think about it.
  • I’ve done very little writing this week.  I just haven’t really been focused enough for it, plus working full-time hours gets in the way of both reading and writing.
  • I finally started looking at the Italy guidebook I bought several weeks ago.  It takes me one step closer to actually making a decision to do a trip in the fall.
  • I’m not usually prone to migraines, but I had a nasty one on Thursday that involved pulling over to throw up on the side of the road.
  • My guinea pig Oreo is quite the resilient munchkin.  She wasn’t feeling well at the beginning of the week and I was quite worried about her, but now she’s back to her happy self.  I wish I could bounce back that easily!
  • It seems to be getting easier to make small talk when it’s expected.  I guess appearing to be more polite is probably a good thing.
  • I’ve let meditation fall by the wayside.  When I think about it I sort of feel like I should try to pick it up again, but at the same time I’m having a hard time caring enough.  I have been trying to be more mindful of the sounds of nature.  Last night it rained quite hard and the sound of it was so soothing.
  • I didn’t make it to yoga this week, but I had a massage and got out for a walk most days.
  • Some goings-on on my balcony: From my 2nd round of attempting to plant a  balcony garden, I’ve got a little itty bitty basil sprout, which counts as success in my books.  And the woodpeckers that were hanging out on my balcony in the spring had disappeared for a few months but are back now


How has your week been?


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What is… Self-esteem

psychology word graphic in the shape of a brain

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychological terms.

This week’s term: self-esteem

Wikipedia defines self-esteem as “reflects an individual’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth”.  It reflects a person’s beliefs about the self and emotional states.  Self-esteem is seen as a predictor of outcomes such as academic achievement, happiness, and interpersonal relationships.  While there may be short-term variations, self-esteem is thought to be an enduring trait.  Self-esteem is heavily influenced by life experience, particularly childhood experiences.

People with high self-esteem firmly stick to their values/principles, trust their own judgment and problem-solving abilities, and are sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.  People with low self-esteem tend to be self-critical and hypersensitive to criticism from others, are indecisive and fear making mistakes, tend to be perfectionistic, tend to feel guilty, and have a negative general outlook.

The last time I was in hospital, one of my doctors was a quacky psychoanalytic type.  He was telling me I needed to do this psychodynamic therapy-based group after discharge, and the part of the group he thought I needed most was the module on improving self-esteem.  I told him that when I’m well my self-esteem is actually quite good, and he condescendingly explained that no, it was not, because if I had good self-esteem I wouldn’t have attempted suicide.  I would’ve slapped him upside the head except that’s generally not the best approach with someone who has the final say in your discharge.

It’s true, though.  When I’m well I have good self-esteem.  I know myself well, am comfortable in my own skin, know what I’m good at and not good at, and I’m fiercely independent, which makes it easier not to spend much time worrying about what other people think of me.  I suspect a lot of that comes from a very well-adjusted childhood.  Affection was never lacking.  School was easy for me and I did well at it, and this was very positively reinforced by my parents.  By the time high school rolled around I felt pretty far removed from the world of the “in crowd”, but I was comfortable in my little niche.  From a young age I wanted to do things my own way, whatever that might be, and again, this was something that was encouraged by my parents.

Being stuck in a prolonged depressive episode, my self-esteem has suffered.  I don’t know this depressed self as well because she’s an unpredictable, fluctuating self.  The things I used to know I was good at are now so much harder and are not predictably reliable.  Some of the things that used to make me me feel hidden away somewhere.  I’m not always self-critical, but I’ve become ultra-sensitive to criticism from others.  Strangely, though, while I’m sensitive to the criticism that is wielded outwardly as a weapon, I don’t care that much about what people might think about me.  As long as it stays inside their heads, I don’t place a lot of value on what others think, in large part because in general I hate people (thanks to the depression).  It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s the best explanation I can come up with.

Has your self-esteem been influenced by your illness?



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Blogging pet peeves

cat with annoyed face

I absolutely love blogging, and I love the blogging community.  But sometimes a little bit of complaining feels good, so here are some of the things that sometimes get on my nerves.

  • Comment “like” spam (consisting of a website address typically containing the word sexy): these likes are extra annoying because, unlike comments, you can’t delete them
  • Legit comments that end up in spam
  • People who leave a comment saying I’ve followed you, please follow me back, along with a link to their blog.  But their blog has nothing even remotely to do with the topic you blog about.
  • Things that make it hard to read a post, whether that be a wild font colour or über-long paragraphs.  Sometimes I end up giving up on trying to read a post because it’s just too difficult.
  • You come across a cool blog, and you want to follow it… but you can’t for the life of you find a follow button!
  • Weird messages via the blog contact form: I like getting messages from other bloggers, but sometimes I’ll get messages from random other people that just leave me scratching my head.
  • Say you see a notification in WordPress that someone has followed you.  You want to check out their blog, so you click their site address in your notifications.  Then you get a message from WordPress saying the site doesn’t exist.  What the hell?
  • The occasional waves of blogging insecurity: It seems like for a lot of us these come along every so often, and I wish I could build a nice little mental barrier reef around my blog to keep them away.
  • Writer’s block: I have a blogging spreadsheet that includes my idea farm, so the ideas are there, but sometimes the brain is just not interested in thinking about what to do with them.
  • I have a small social media presence related to my blog.  Since it’s all blog-related I avoid some of the common pitfalls of social media, but because I’m not on there much there’s a lot of things I don’t understand, and it makes me feel old.  From made-up words I’ve never heard of to hashtags I don’t understand (I just discovered what #ff on Twitter is, which explains why occasionally I would get a large pile of notifications), it’s a regular reminder that I grew up in the days when The Oregon Trail and Super NES were cutting edge, and now I’m puzzled by the young whippersnappers these days.


Are there things that go along with the blogging experience that bug you sometimes?


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It’s out there!

Blue Sky Days 365

I am very pleased and proud to share my exciting news with you.

My book, Kaleidoscopic Beauty, is now available to order on amazon!!!!! 🙂

I definitely made the right decision in self-publishing, to see my work in my very own book is flabbergastingly awesome!

The majority of poems contained in this book were first published on here, although many have been heavily edited before inclusion in the book. If it wasn’t for the support and encouragement of you, my readers, I may never have had the confidence to do this.

So, thank you all, for every ‘like’, every kind comment and every reblog. You have been by my side all the way in the creation of Kaleidoscopic Beauty.

K x

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How not to be supportive

hand statue supporting tree branch

I think most of us probably have a few of them in our lives: the people that want to be supportive, but they’re just way off the mark.

The fixer:  This is the person who wants to figure out how to solve your problems because then you’ll no longer have anything to be mentally ill about, right?

Have you tried… ?  My aunt’s neighbour’s dog’s best friend said that going out for a walk every day made them feel much better.  You should try it!

Other people are worse off:  This is the “children are starving in Africa” argument.  As if by reminding you how bad some people have it they’ll magically convince you that you’re not actually mentally ill after all.

It’s not so bad…  Oh, you’ve been bullied, that’s really sad, but look on the bright side, you didn’t get physically assaulted.  Cheer up!

It’s normal to feel that way:  Anyone would feel badly if they had to deal with [shitty situation x], it’s normal!  No need to worry about it!

Are you taking your medication?  I get this a lot from my family, because they don’t seem to understand that I can be unwell and still be taking my meds as prescribed.

You look really good:  This is the good old assumption that if you look good, then you can’t be sick.  Maybe if you’re reminded of this often enough you’ll realize that you were just confused and you must not be sick after all.

Try to focus more on the positive:  Thank you.  Perhaps I will need to remove my pink unicorn horn from where it is shoved up my ass and use it to stab you in the eye – now that would be positive.


In many ways I find it easier to ignore the people who are saying stupid things out of stigma, because I can write them off as being dumb-asses.  I’m less sure how to handle the people who are well-intentioned but clueless.  It’s not exactly polite to ask people who hit them with a stupid stick.  Sometimes I think it’s easiest to just let things slide and try to focus on the good intentions rather than the crap that comes out of the mouth.

What are some of the well-meaning but ignorant comments you’ve gotten?


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3.2.1 Quote Me

rainbow lorikeets perched on a branch

Rory at A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip tagged me for his 3.2.1 Quote Me game.  Feel free to join in, and you can find the details on his post.  The theme for today’s quotes is the art of conversation.

This one fits in nicely with my asocial tendencies:

“Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero


And this one is consistent with my experience that the average person out there in the world is not particularly bright:

“The best argument against democracy is a 5-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill

Evidence-based treatment of anxiety

path forks into 3 possible decisions

In this post I’ll take a look at some of the available treatment guidelines for anxiety disorders.  While psychotherapies are extremely important in the management of anxiety disorders, this post will focus only on anti-anxiety medications.  The treatment guidelines I refer to come from the British Association for Psychopharmacology and the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry.

Benzodiazepines, while effective, are generally only recommended for short term use or where other treatments have failed, and there should be a careful consideration of the risks vs benefits for the specific individual.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

It may take up to 12 weeks to achieve full response to antidepressant medication, but if there is no response at all after 4 weeks it is unlikely that particular medication will start to work with a longer duration of treatment.

1st line: SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor): citalopram, escitalopram, paroxetine, sertraline

Alternatives to SSRI: SNRI (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor: venlafaxine, duloxetine), pregabalin (high dose may be more effective); quetiapine may be effective as monotherapy at doses of 50-300mg/day

2nd line: agomelatine, quetiapine, some benzodiazepines (alprazolam, diazepam, lorazepam), imipramine (a tricyclic antidepressant or TCA), buspirone, hydroxyzine (a sedating antihistamine), trazodone


Panic disorder

It may take up to 12 weeks for medication to fully take effect.  When discontinuing medication after long-term treatment a lengthy gradual taper is recommended (over at least a 3 month period).

1st line: SSRI

Alternatives: some TCAs (clomipramine, desipramine, imipramine, lofepramine) venlafaxine, reboxetine, some benzodiazepines (alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam), some anticonvulsants (gabapentin, sodium valproate)

Avoid: propranolol, buspirone and bupropion


Social Anxiety Disorder

It may take up to 12 weeks for medication to fully take effect.

1st line: SSRIs

Alternatives: venlafaxine, phenelzine, moclobemide, some benzodiazepines (bromazepam, clonazepam) and anticonvulsants (gabapentin, pregabalin), and olanzapine

Avoid: atenolol or buspirone in generalized social anxiety disorder; beta blockers can be effective for performance anxiety but not social anxiety disorder in general


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

1st line: SSRI (may need a high dose)

Alternative: clomipramine

Add-on treatment: atypical antipsychotic, haloperidol, mirtazapine (may speed up response to citalopram)


What has your experience been like with anti-anxiety medication?


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I actually used to enjoy things…

three women sitting on a bench laughing

One of the depression symptoms that’s had a big impact on my life is anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure).  I used to enjoy doing various things, but now they just don’t interest me and seem like just a vague memory.  Summer is a time of year that tends to be strongly associated with pleasure, but it also tends to remind me of what’s just not there in my head/heart right now.

Some of the things I used to enjoy:

  • Going to the theatre, especially musical theatre and outdoor theatre like the local Shakespeare on the beach productions.
  • The local Fringe Festival.
  • Dance performances like ballet
  • Going to the symphony
  • Going out for food/drinks on sunny patios
  • Eating out in general
  • Wine festivals
  • Writers festivals
  • Weekend getaways
  • Playing beer league softball
  • Being part of a book club
  • Wandering around shopping and eating at the funky public market


Do you ever find it difficult to enjoy things that were once fun?


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