invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

light January 14, 2009

I can finally see the light. Not sure how long it will last but things are a little better. We somehow managed to pay our January rent and are now figuring out how to pay February’s rent.

I have decided to stay on the Celexa and Xanax until things calm down. If you know me, you know how difficult this decision was. I dream of a life free of meds, those meds that only help me escape and of course damage my body, my brain. Several of my side effects are gone though, the insomnia…finally. I think that was the Abilify and it is completely out of my system, I hope. No more slurred speech, feeling like a zombie.

Good riddance to a nasty drug.

I can’t find the commercial on youtube that has been running constantly on television but it basically sends this message and not once in the ad is Abilify described for what it is, an antipsychotic. Instead they are flat out deceiving the public into believing this is an “alternative” to be taken in conjunction with an antidepressant. The following information all comes from the Abilify website where you clearly see the words: ABILIFY as add-on therapy for depression. REALLY?!?

Finding relief from unresolved symptoms of depression can be challenging. Medicine can affect each person differently. A clinical study showed that many people with depression did not achieve adequate symptom relief after taking an antidepressant.

If you’re still dealing with unresolved symptoms of depression even after trying one or more antidepressants, it may be time for you and your healthcare professional to consider adding ABILIFY to your antidepressant treatment. You may be able to achieve additional symptom relief.

Clinical studies compared the use of an antidepressant plus placebo (sugar pill) with the use of an antidepressant plus ABILIFY. When ABILIFY was added to their antidepressant treatment, people experienced significant improvement in their symptoms of depression compared to people treated with an antidepressant plus placebo.

ABILIFY is approved by the FDA to help improve symptoms in adults with major depression when added to an antidepressant. Although everyone responds to medication differently, in clinical trials with add-on ABILIFY, some patients experienced a significant improvement in symptoms of depression as early as 1 to 2 weeks.

The advertisement runs fairly long because these jokers need to tell you the disgusting side effects, where again, Abilify pretends to be an antidepressant:

Antidepressants may increase suicidal thoughts or behaviors in some children, teenagers, and young adults, especially within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed. Depression and other serious mental illnesses are themselves associated with an increase in the risk of suicide. Patients on antidepressants and their families or caregivers should watch for new or worsening depression symptoms, unusual changes in behavior, or thoughts of suicide. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient’s healthcare professional right away, especially if they are severe or occur suddenly. ABILIFY is not approved for use in pediatric patients with depression. Elderly people with psychosis related to dementia (for example, an inability to perform daily activities as a result of increased memory loss), treated with antipsychotic medicines including ABILIFY, are at an increased risk of death compared to placebo. ABILIFY is not approved for the treatment of people with dementia-related psychosis.

Hopefully soon these ads will disappear, they will be outlawed. Enough on this subject and back to what was to be my original post. I am taking small steps. Trying to eat healthier (not easy with little money) but I’m opting for soup vs. a .99 frozen pizza. I’ve gained at least 10 pounds since going back on meds a month or so ago and really need to watch what I put into my body. I’m hoping to get out and start walking again-I used to walk 5 miles a day and I miss it. But it is so very cold right now, not the best time to start. I want to say thank you to everyone who stopped by sending good thoughts. Knowing I’m not alone has been what’s kept me alive for so many years. So, truly, thank you very much.


life January 4, 2009

Filed under: life,love,peace — clementine @ 12:29 am
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i’m watching Good Will Hunting and I completely forgot how much I love this film, for many reasons. fifteen plus years of therapy and I’ve never been fortunate enough to meet a Sean Maguire (the Robin Williams character) type. too bad. but such is life, maybe someday.

my cat is snoring. bundled in blanket. i would take a picture but i don’t want to wake him. oh, the simple, sweet things in life.

just got off the phone with one of my dearest friends. her brother is dying, she’s staying up with him in ICU tonight. the doctor said maybe two days, if that. born with downs syndrome and is 53. a long life. but now, dementia. pneumonia. she is in a good place. shock, most likely. and i just want to hug my loved ones.


happy holidays December 24, 2008

Filed under: depression,donate,life,love,peace — clementine @ 8:21 am
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our holiday party went well. many people packed into our house. cold outside. a few windows had to be opened from the body heat, wood burning in the fireplace and the food cooking in the kitchen. friends brought homemade hot cocoa. wine. red velvet cupcakes. cookies and brownies. salads. teriyaki chicken sticks. meat pies. cheese. crackers. and plenty leftover for us. thankfully, since we are broke. i was okay surrounded by many for the first time in a long time. no anxiety. no insecurities. i was just me.

my parents sent christmas presents and a few friends brought gifts. my parents also sent target gift cards, mostly spent on food but we were able to buy a few presents for each other. we will have a nice christmas morning under the lights. and then back to reality. how to pay the january rent? it will work out, i know. i must have hope. if you can donate, the button is still there on the right.

i hope all of you have a wonderful holiday. i hope you feel peace, love and understanding. i know i will. under the tree full of good memories from the past and present. decorated with my grandmother’s ornaments. the many ornaments given to me by my parents. and the handmade ones. colorful lights. all a delight. it’s the little things i treasure most.



a rainy but clear day December 15, 2008

Filed under: antidepressants,life,new beginnings — clementine @ 10:10 am
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Although it’s nearly 50 degrees outside and raining, i have built a fire. it’s very calming. i have not been able to sleep lately, waking between 7 and 8 every single morning…after going to bed between 1am-4am. I am constantly exhausted and yet cannot sleep. Insomnia is one of Celexa’s side effects. I suppose that is the problem. I’m also having other Celexa side effects that I won’t get into here. So, what to do? Well, I will call my doctor. Sadly, I know the drill all too well.

What’s so interesting is, I’ve always been nocturnal. a night owl. I prefer rain to sun. dark to light. and yet, i’m finding waking early is very peaceful. as i sit here and drink coffee, my mind is clearer than it would be on a morning when I find myself awake before 11am. I believe there is a reason for everything. and today it is good i am awake because i am able to sit here, awake, and pray for my sister’s best friend’s 2-1/2 year old daughter who was diagnosed with a rare cancer, Retinoblastoma (there are approximately 350 new diagnosed cases per year in the United States) and they are removing her eye as I type. Chemo and radiation were not options because the tumor was very large. UPDATE: since I’ve been writing I just got word she made it through surgery and is doing well.


it’s the simple things December 14, 2008

Filed under: life — clementine @ 2:54 am
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I’ve been using genius at itunes and really loving the feature. certain play lists bring back so many memories, both good and bad. i never listened to music as a child/teenager with the exception of Madonna, Michael Jackson and The Cars (oh, ok a little Tiffany, Journey and Pat Benatar) but over the past several years I have found comfort and happiness in so many artists (Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Amos Lee, Tori Amos, James Taylor, Death Cab for Cutie, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Aimee Mann, Nick Drake, Ani DiFranco, Jeff Buckley, Arcade Fire, Pixies, Radiohead, Elliott Smith, The Cure, Interpol, Miles Davis, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash,Tom Waits and Nina Simone to name a few…) I have a difficult time writing these days without music playing.

Last night I avoided going to a party-still not quite ready to socially interact. And yet, we’re hosting a holiday party on the 20th. I will spend this week planning a party (with no money) and luckily it’s potluck so I’m hoping to find something creative to make with items in our pantry and counting on friends to bring a variety of good foods. I will prepare myself to interact with friends and loved ones without breaking down. That’s the tricky part about medications, you never know how they might affect you on a daily basis. (I won’t get into why I really despise the antidepressants and antipsychotics tonight)

Tomorrow I will paint. Nothing significant or fancy. I’m painting the trim in our guest bathroom. I’m using the excuse that I need to do this before our guests arrive next weekend and liven the room up a bit. But in reality, it’s a form of therapy. Lining the floors with blue tape, paint splattering everywhere and all over me, shiny new trim and finally…a nice long, hot bath afterward.

Five years ago I was fortunate enough to befriend Joni Mitchell and she immediately told me upon our first meeting, “You need to find your center.” It was a powerful statement especially coming from her and I’ve never forgotten it. I think that’s what most of us living with a mental illness long for…finding that center. I have been working on it and have decided sometimes it’s the simple things in life that get me closer to that place.

And so I will paint, and listen to music. stare at our Christmas tree lights and our fireplace. shop for angel tree families with money from the richest of rich in our town. i will burn cinnamon sticks in water over the stove since I can’t afford one of my most favorite things in the world-candles. open holiday cards and smile. and i will dream of reaching that center… (more…)


happy thanksgiving November 27, 2008

Filed under: life — clementine @ 8:33 pm
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it was a bittersweet thanksgiving.
i thought of my family most of the day.
we debated spending the money making a big dinner but decided the leftovers would last a week and would equal less than what we would spend on groceries. and thanks to the new trader joe’s in town, it wasn’t that pricey after all.


trader joe’s brined turkey
corn casserole
roasted sweet potatoes with maple syrup, orange and spices (via
yeast rolls
cornbread stuffing
mashed red potatoes with garlic
pumpkin chocolate chip squares (thank you martha stewart)

happy thanksgiving everyone.


fall…winter…life November 25, 2008

Filed under: family,life,love,pain — clementine @ 1:03 am
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i have always loved fall. there is something about the crisp, colorful leaves that brings me much joy. i have fond memories of raking big piles of leaves as a child (or my father would rake them) and my sister and i would jump in them. there is a picture on my refrigerator and i’m guessing i was about seven, my father is standing there with a rake next to a pile of those crisp, colorful leaves and i’m just sitting in the middle of the pile. i was happy and innocent then. maybe that’s why i love fall so much.

it’s cold here and we’ve been building fires, they are very comforting. another reminder of the past i suppose. as i type i see our cat has left his blanket near the fire and is lying on the marble, as close as he can get to the fire. we, of course, keep a good eye on him…but he too, loves the comfort and warmth of a nice fire.

our first fire of the year…

and now winter is approaching…the holidays…and there is a feeling of emptiness inside. my heart is still breaking. at this moment, i’m thinking of my mother’s stuffing and her jingling sweaters. thursday i will make her corn casserole and think of her. but i will make it for my husband, who loves corn. soon we’ll put up the christmas tree. a tree which we will decorate with ornaments that all bring back so many beautiful memories of the past. i’ve been told i shouldn’t live in the past (and i don’t think i do) however, the past should live within us all, the good and bad. i don’t want to erase the past. i don’t want to forget those memories. i want to forever remember them. all of them. and so, as i hang the ornaments this year, i will remember the good times.

and i will smile while fighting back the inevitable tears.