Plain Plait

Modern Sculpture of a Woman with Long HairI manage to keep this bag with me. Years. I may well have been born with it.

Its many-colored haircloth is seamless and drawn tight on itself by a braid. I have repaired it with my own strands; first blonde, then browns, now grays.

It must weigh half an ounce, if that. Here—open it. Yes, open it.

I know! Black as any night with storm. I have known moments in life to be so dark. Is there a scent of rain from within, or does my imagination brew it? No trick there; it is as small on the inside…except—well, no, that would sound dramatic.

Those dark moments I mentioned? I-it sounds wild.

Yes, alright. How to tell you?

When I don’t know what more there is, the times my mind empties and no solutions come, the braid looses itself as the sides of the bag bulge.

I have learned to accept the strangeness of it and let the bag fall away on its own.

Then into life appear the most uncanny blessings. I cannot not ask for what I do not know I need, but there it is. I gather the slack bag and try to embrace what is given me, hope.

Surely you haven’t lost yours? Oh. Come, let me help you weave.

© 2014 Sandra R. Davidson


Really? Labels on Psychology Today

Beyond YourselfMental health issues have come a long way from being covered up by family or applying the label, “nutcase.” Labeling reduces people to objects, convenient as the phrases may be.

Psychology Today is the last place I would expect the use of derogatory labels such as “crazy.”

Here is a list of the instances of crazy in the article by Donna Jackson Nakazawa.

Paragraph 1: “…[someone] simply acts crazy in ways that confound us…”
Suggestion: Drop the word crazy.

Paragraph 3: “How can we stop feeling embroiled in other people’s craziness?”
Suggestion: The word behavior would be a suitable substitute for “craziness,” though I can think of other alternatives.

Item 11: “…to prevent a crazy-making altercation…”
Suggestion: Slightly less succinct would be, to prevent an altercation that leaves us with distressing thoughts.

Item 14: “…who’s driving you crazy…”
Suggestion: How about, who’s become the center of your thoughts.

Also, I ask, “Who is behind the wheel driving? And why isn’t it you to begin with?” That could be another article in itself. I suspect there is more than one side of the equation that needs to address mental health.

Postscript: From the point listed in response to paragraph 3 [“How can we stop feeling embroiled in other people’s craziness?”], are we conveniently turning away from recognizing others require help? We likely are not the person to help them; however there are many ways to foster connections between the person in need and persons who can offer help.

Sandra R. Davidson

Wary Dreamer

Rarely have I dreamed of myself or as myself.

Perhaps it is the writer in me, those times when I wake from dreaming and, in the dark, scribble franticly to capture the essence of contiguous or repetitive dreams. No matter what the dream, I wake as if movie credits had
According to a professional source, this is highly unusual. A woman who has worked in the counseling profession for more than 20 years said she’d never had a client who dreamed this way.begun to roll. This is not to say I am unaffected by the dreams.

Tools of Eviscerate Action

There have been few exceptions and I find them alarming and disturbing to the point I do not wish to rest, to risk sleep and another first-person dream. One span was in my early 20s. On a nightly basis I was eviscerating a person I knew; the details were visually and tactilely real.

These dreams pushed me into my first experience with a counselor. Obviously I resolved the underlying fears attached to the dreams and to the object of the dreams.

I’m not a violent person, though I know I could be if the act were necessary.

I’m dreaming in second person and first person again, sometimes switching between the two. Most often these dreams feature people I know. I can identify the key triggers, but they are rusty things, things I thought I had dealt with years ago. I feel I can find no resolution because the fears are known to me.

I want to go back to my normal. I can find no way across the chasm except down and forging through.

Reminding to Remember

“I’d like to have balance in my life, but I don’t feel I do as a rule. Sometimes for short periods of time I seem to achieve balance, and it feels real good—so good that I’d like to have it all the time.”

Balance today was revealing and also self-revealing. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and it’s hard to admit where I have been and how different I want to be from a reactionary recluse.

Jean writes, “…I don’t have to spend energy any longer scolding myself for being lazy. I’m not lazy; I’m terrified….” I take a deep breath and support my jaws in my hands as I stare at the screen. I’m not a survivor of ritual abuse or cults. I don’t have multiple personalities. Abuse. That is what we have in common and I’ll not crack myself open to count the ways, means and times.

 Jean goes on, “…the false belief that I am only worth something if I am being useful to others. …but my instinct is to put myself last. …I am worth as much as every other human being on earth—no more, no less.”

Agh. My husband, he tries to unravel my illogic when I say I am using more resources than I am giving back. I seek some—well, balance, of course, but also purpose. I do not wear a watch. That I cannot have in our home a ticking clock counting the wasted minutes and counting down to whenever it is that I will cease to exist is ridiculous but necessary or I too would be (and have been) paralyzed.

I want to turn away from you, from what you feel because your words, experiences ignite a volcano at my core—destructive, cleansing, and eventually the bedrock from which new growth rises.

Turning away is not an option. I can accept what pieces of you are so familiar to me, and I can remind myself that I know, I already know. I often just need to remember and your timing is usually right when I need reminding.

Melatonin and Lack of Data

“…people exposed to high levels of EMF have lower levels of the anti-convulsive melatonin, leaving them prone to so-called “micro-seizures” and the resulting hallucinations this can lead to.” via Magnets, Mental Health, & Me: Down The Rabbit Hole | Depression Time.

Electromagnetic fields and hallucinations. Hmm. This is concerning. I live alongside multi-line, high-voltage power poles. According to the National Institute of Health, power lines are non-ionizing and the electromagnetic field strength plummets within even short distances. “If you are concerned about EMFs emitted by a power line or substation in your area, you can contact your local power company to schedule an on-site reading. You can also measure EMFs yourself with the use of a gaussmeter, which is available for purchase online through a number of retailers.” (National Institute of Health)

I take the supplement melatonin to help regulate my circadian rhythm as I’m prone to insomnia. I’ve heard of limited studies about melatonin being used to help people who are blind regulate their sleep cycles since they do not have light and darkness cues, though it seems to work in only half the participants (more studies underway). Melatonin decreases with age and often the elderly experience irregular sleep/wake cycles, so perhaps a supplement makes sense.

Electromagnetic fields is a new one. I have been diagnosed with periodic limb movement disorder (restless legs but involving more than just the legs) and melatonin is reputed to help with this seizure-like problem, though there is little data to prove or disprove this notion. The Mayo Clinic has a grading system, A through F just like in school, regarding melatonin’s rumored effectiveness, as well as cautions. This is a drug (yes, drug) with little testing to its claims.

The only reference I could find to (hypnagogic) hallucinations has no direct connection to EMF or melatonin. Rather the condition is a complex mechanism—just as we are. This was an interesting jaunt though and what helps some, helps some.

Cause: Mental Health

In light of Friday’s murders and suicide, citizens of the United States immediately react with fear. Their children react with fear. This is a normal response after any shock. Elsewhere I said yesterday 27 lives are as essential as one, but when you’re in the center of black you can’t feel that your life or anyone’s is touched by light.

Earlier in the week I listened to an interview with a man who has put himself in danger and has many enemies for doing and saying what he believes in places where expressing a perspective seems to be a crime punishable by life imprisonment without just consideration. The interviewer asked if he was afraid, Continue reading