On F**king Profanity…

If there’s one indication as to how sensitive some people are, its in how we sometimes censor profanity.

I’m certain there are people who read the headline of this post and thought, “Oh thank god he didn’t spell out fucking!”

I’m amazed the the power of profanity can be completely obliterated by substituting a few letters with symbols, or a bleep, or even changing the word entirely to something similar. People know what you’re saying, but the fact that you didn’t actually say, or type it makes it somehow less offensive.

I honestly don’t understand that. The offensive word is out there, everyone knows it, but the fact that its eluded to is somehow okay to people whose sensitivities would be ruffled if the word was fully presented!

Now, that being said there are people who get offended by substitutions. I had some guy have a complete and total meltdown because I used the term mother-fracker on a FB post he was tagged in. (it wasn’t an insult post, just something humorous that happened in an improv class).
So I guess that’s okay if you’re going to be offended by profanity that you show the same level of outrage at substitutions as you do to the actual profanity.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I want to move on to the use of profanity in general.

There are people who feel that profanity is un-necessary. My mother has often said that profanity is for the weak….or something like that.

Much as I love my mother, I also love science. The latter tells us that people who use profanity tend to be smarter, healthier, more honest, and happier.
Don’t believe me…here’s a link! (sorry mom!)

Anyone who has spent any time with me know that I can, at times, be quite profane. That’s a fancy way of saying that I swear a lot. I admit it, I sometimes use f-bombs as punctuation. This basically means that according to science that I’m a fricking genius!!

I’ll admit that there are a lot of times when profanity really isn’t necessary to get a point across. But there are times when, no matter how large one’s vocabulary, nothing else suffices for emphasis.

For instance, lets say someone comes up with the idea of separating children from their parents simply because they sought asylum in this completely made up country called Southofcanada.

One could say that this idea is completely idiotic. Sure, kinda gets the point across, but how does that compare to:

That idea is completely FUCKING idiotic and the motherfucker who came up with it should have their fucking gonads locked in a vice in a burning building.

So I guess in closing I’ll put it out there if people swore more we’d be a lot smarter, healthier and happier!

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I Am a Proud Left Wing Liberal “Nut Job”

That’s right.

I’m not particularly bothered by those on The Right who make liberal use the words “Leftie” and “Leftist” as insults because I’m proud of who I am and the stand I take.

What does being a Leftie mean to me?

It means that I believe:

  • In taking care of those less fortunate
  • That not everyone who is brown is Muslim
  • That being Muslim doesn’t make someone a terrorist
  • That taking in refugees is a good and humane thing to do
  • That immigration and refugees make our country stronger
  • That if its between two consenting adults, its not anyone elses’s business (even if they want to get married)
  • That a traditional family is whatever works for those involved
  • That everyone deserves to be treated fairly by everyone else
  • That workers deserve a fair, livable wage
  • That everyone deserves shelter, food and safety
  • That we have a responsibility to our fellow humans to act with kindness, wisdom, and compassion

Thoughts after my 4th heart attack

So yeah, 8 days ago I experienced my 4th heart attack.
My third was only 27 days before that one.

Before I say more I want to talk about how I knew this was a heart attack…because it is a frequent question.

Imagine the pain when you twist your ankle. Now imagine the pain when you walk on that injured ankle.

That’s the pain, only its in your chest, and you can’t help it by rest, elevation and ice.

In my mind the most worrisome thing was how quick #4 came on. I was feeling okay, watching tv and talking to a friend. The conversation wasn’t contentious, but I was talking about past events that had made me angry.

The pain hit out of the blue. I knew immediately what it was but hoped that it was just stress or anxiety.
I took my nitro spray, no effect, same thing with two chewable aspirin. I took another dose of nitro with no relief.

I then told my friends what was happening.

My overwhelming thought during all this was how embarrassing, having a heart attack so shortly after the previous one.

So half the emergency services in my hometown showed up. Fire, 2 cops and finally EMS. None of that helped the embarrassment.

So I was rushed to my local ER where after a short stay they fired me back into an ambulance to the Cardiac Cath Lab at St. Mary’s in Kitchener. As they wheeled me in to the cath lab I joked with the cardiologist that I’ve been through enough of these I could probably just do it myself.

After that I spent a few hours in the CCU at St. Mary’s before being transferred back to Stratford where I was discharged the next day.
So, heart attack late Monday night, discharged Wednesday morning.

I’ve been struggling with the fact that death is no longer an abstract concept for me.

Sure, I could live for another few decades, but 4 heart attacks in around 2 years, the last 2 less than 30 days apart drives home one’s mortality.

I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how the wring the best quality of life out of however long it is I have left.

I need to reconnect with people. That means overcoming this thing that makes it hard to leave the house. That means road trips, day trips, even place trips to see old friends.

It means working to enjoy life instead of just existing….or, as I’ve put it, “Waiting to die”.

The other thing that occurs to me is the irony of it all. Up until a few weeks ago I was depressed and passively suicidal.

In closing I hope the people that I love know that I love them. I don’t say it often, but I try and show it when the opportunity arises.

On being a high-functioning introvert

Some people are surprised to learn that I am an introvert and suffer from bouts of social anxiety and agoraphobia.

Unless things are really bad, I have no problems with most social interactions. I can be friendly, engaged and even talkative.
I might be aching to wander away and retreat into my shell but most people would never know that.

When things are bad, I can’t leave the house.
Not “don’t want to”, but “CAN’T”
Here’s an example.

A few years ago I had a heart attack, a fairly serious one. The pain woke me up in the middle of the night along with severe nausea.
I waited 3 HOURS to call 911.
I told people that it was because I thought it was just heart-burn.
I was a military medic for almost 20 years…I KNEW it was an heart attack!

The problem was that I was going through a particularly rough period of my life and just couldn’t deal with people at the moment.
From my medical experience I knew that not only would the responding paramedics poke and prod, but they’d be asking me questions, and talking to me and reassuring me and generally invading my personal space.
Because all that is essential when treating any medical condition.

So yeah, I didn’t call 911 for a heart attack because I couldn’t deal with social interactions!

And yes, I was fully aware that I could die because of that.

That’s how bad my social anxiety was that day. I would rather die than have to talk to another human being.

I finally called because the pain was immense enough to eventually override everything else.

I relay that particular story so you don’t mistake the affects of my anxiety as a lack of willpower or some other character flaw.

At this point some of you are likely saying, “But you have a good job that requires you leave the house (to go to work), and that you interact with people!”

One of the important things to keep in mind is that like many chronic conditions, anxiety sufferers have good days and bad.

If I must leave the house and interact with people on a bad day I have coping mechanisms that help me get through.
Work is usually a refuge for me. Its rare that things are so bad that falling into my work doesn’t mitigate the anxiety.
When it does I have people I to whom I can say, “I’m having a bad day today”, and they’ll know what I’m talking about.
With people outside that circle who notice that I’m off, I use the “not feeling great”, and if they push I’ll chalk it up to something that I ate.

Work is an imperative though. I have responsibilities to my co-workers and customers.

Social engagements are another issue entirely. I often feel some combination of anxiety, trepidation and/or dread whenever a social engagement is approaching. Even ones that I know I will enjoy.
As the time approaches my brain will race around looking for excuses to not go.
Its sort of like this:

ME: Oh no, I think I’m coming down with the stomach flu!!
ALSO ME: Relax, you just farted. You’re fine.
ME: I’ve got a really really bad headache coming on!
ALSO ME: No…you don’t. You really don’t.
ME: But there will be people there!!!
ALSO ME: JUST GET IN THE GODDAMN CAR ALREADY!!!!

You get the idea.

That being said, social engagements of any type are out of the question on bad days.
There is no particular thing that I’m afraid of on these days, its just the idea of simply interacting with another human being seems to be impossible.

Case in point a few days ago I was having a bad day. Unfortunately I absolutely had to go to the grocery store.
It took me a good hour to work up the nerve to go.
When I got there I was distressed to see that there were people canvassing for a charity at the front doors.
I put on my best “Don’t talk to me” posture and strode quickly past, grabbed a shopping cart and WHAM..came face to face with a sweet old lady asking me to support something or other (I don’t know what it was).
I stammered out a no thank you and practically ran into the store.

I picked up a few things, but was so frazzled by the unexpected social contact that I ended up forgetting to pick up what I went to the store for. (and there was no way in hell I was going back for them!)

So the title of this is being a high-functioning introvert, but having read it over…who am I kidding? I’m a mess.

When is it time to say good-bye?

I think one of the hardest things about owning a pet is having to decide when its time to say good-bye.

In my last post I mentioned that Kharma, my 11yo Great Dane is dying of old age.

She had some health issues that her vet assured me were minor, but I couldn’t help but notice how much she slowed down.

Through February she just seemed so tired.
Where she used to be first up the stairs when I announced that it was bedtime she would plod, if she even moved off the couch at all.
She started to show little interest in food, except for treats. Even for those she wouldn’t leave the couch. I had to bring them to her.
She wouldn’t greet even her favourite people at the door, nor would she go running at a knock barking her fool head off.

But she didn’t appear to be in any pain. So I coddled her and cared for her as best I could.

On the night I wrote the blog entry I mentioned above Kharma was lying on the comforter behind my chair. I pondered her for a long while. So long that my housemate wandered by and asked what was wrong.

“I think she’s got a week or two at the most.” I responded sadly.

We talked about the signs we’d both been seeing. He kindly offered to take her on her last trip to the vet when it was time.
“No, I’ll be with her when its her time”.

Tonight, just over a week later and its a very different dog lying on the comforter beside me (one of the dogs moved it I think).

She’s still slower than she was, and I’ve noticed it takes effort for her to climb on furniture, but she’s eating her own food, greeting people at the door, and even barking at random things when she’s in the backyard.

With these improvements there are bad days, even bad moments. Last night she looked so tired and worn out again. I had to run out to the grocery store for some things, including dog food. When I returned she was waiting at the door and bounced around with the other dogs.

I’m taking this one day at a time, but I’m finding the question of how do I know when its her time very hard in this instance.

With my other dogs it was obvious. They were obviously suffering. While these were terrible moments, the decision was easy because it was the right one.

I worry that when Kharma’s time comes that I will miss it. That I will take some other sign as a sign that she’s not ready.

I love her dearly. While all my dogs have been, or are awesome in their own way from the moment I met her I knew she was special. She’s affectionate in ways that I’ve never experienced with other dogs (or most humans for that matter).

It would break me if I realize one day that I’ve let her suffer for my own selfish reasons.

I thought writing this would help me solidify my thoughts…but it hasn’t.

I am, in this moment, very sad.

3 Days that Saved My Life

This will be hard to write and for some, undoubtedly, hard to read.

I’m going to share my story in the hopes that it might help someone.

It’s no secret that I struggle with depression. Many are aware that there are days that I wake up regretting that I didn’t die in my sleep.

Mood wise, things got better towards the end of last year.

I noticed my mood slipping, but wasn’t too concerned as it always does during the winter months.

My life went to shit. I made some mistakes in the past that caught up with me and have created a difficult financial situation.

There were other things that I have to deal with that seemed harder and harder the more depressed I got.

Then my 11yr old Great Dane, Kharma started to show her age. Great Danes rarely live past 10, so this wasn’t unexpected, but the realization that my big girl is dying hit me harder than I thought it would. (I got tearful just typing that in fact). She is currently sleeping on the comforter behind me, so she is soldiering on.

Eventually, with everything piling on my depression deepened even further.

Then, one day I realized that things were futile, hopeless, joyless, and there was absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel.

I started to isolate myself as much as I could. I stopped looking after myself. I started subsisting on instant Pho noodles because the act of taking something out of the freezer to defrost was like trying to climb a mountain. I couldn’t even contemplate the energy it would take to prepare a meal, no matter how simple.

Often I would find myself sitting on the couch with Kharma’s head on my lap prematurely mourning her loss.

It became harder and harder to leave the house, except for work.

Even though it was difficult I did my best to stay in touch because I didn’t want people to worry.

Thoughts of suicide started creeping in more and more frequently.

That voice in the back of my head that speaks up at times like this, pointing out that people love me, people need me, my dogs need me, work needs me, and that things will get better became less and less convincing, and more annoying.

There have been a couple of times in the past where I reached this point, and during those episodes I became fearful that I would harm myself.

That fear wasn’t there this time.

There was only fatigue. A bone deep exhaustion.

I didn’t see the point of carrying on.

The internal struggle of choosing between living and dying started becoming a nightly ritual.

I had almost reached the point where the voice telling me to carry on was gone.

Then, at a particularly bad and hopeless moment that side of my brain made a proposition.

“3 days”, it said. “If you’re determined to die, 3 days won’t matter one way or another.”

So a deal was struck. I would wait 3 days and if things didn’t get better I would end things.

When I struck that deal I figured I would be dead in three days.

Three days passed, and I can honestly say that at that moment I’d completely forgotten about the arrangement.

It was a few days after that when while driving home from work I found myself singing along with the radio and realized that my depression had lessened and I was actually thinking about the future.

My personal life is still a shit show, Kharma is still approaching the end of her days, but I have plans on how to deal with it all appropriately. It will be hard, but not impossible.

I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and will eventually reach it, thanks to those 3 days.