Deep, Dark Hole

All too often, people are made to feel ashamed for suffering from anything people can’t visibly see. How sad it is that we live in a world where you’d receive more help and kindness for breaking a leg, as opposed to suffering for the rest of your life? A sick, depraved world; that’s what you face in the world when you suffer from any form of mental illness.

Today was a bad day for me. A bad day on top of G-d only knows how many others which have come before it. I refuse to allow anyone to judge me or make me feel lesser because I suffer in ways they don’t understand. Educate yourself, and maybe you’ll judge a whole lot less.

For me, a bad day could mean any number of things, but it can also mean it’s been a month of despair, or an entire year. I tend to remain silent because support is hard to come by, and quite frankly, I’m tired of the usual rhetoric. The, “I’m sorry to hear that.” crap gets really old, really fast, especially since it is said with not an ounce of genuine care or concern. It is one of the rudest things you can say to me, and I will react and respond to those words in ways you cannot possibly imagine. On a good day I don’t suffer fools. On a bad day, I won’t roll my eyes and pretend one might secretly mean well. No. Those who mean well have better words. If you don’t, I strongly suggest you get better words, quickly. So many people are suffering privately because of ignorance. They are afraid they will lose their friends, family, job, and everything else they value or need to survive.

I see a lot of patently false “woke” people these days pretending to care about things they didn’t care about two years ago, or two months ago. Things many have been silent about their entire lives. It sickens me. It’s so disingenuous. Especially when words exchanged in private are still of the ignorant, hateful sort. There are too many people trying to pretty up their views on others; their judgments.

Too many people are constantly judging a person who is mentally ill, as opposed to trying to help them. I see it and I hear it, and I am not quiet about my views. To do so would be hypocrisy.

I’m going to take care of myself for the next few weeks. Maybe during that time, some people will pick up a book and enlighten themselves. Depression, and mental illness on a whole, doesn’t discriminate. It is the ultimate predator. It doesn’t take out the weak, it tries to take out the strong. Keep that in mind the next time you judge without looking in a mirror first.

I Didn’t Sign Up For This

I’m having one of those days where anxiety & stress are overwhelming. Two steps away from hyperventilating, overwhelming. No, I don’t need pity or to talk to anyone. I’m safe and will (probably) live to see another day.

I considered calling my doctor or texting someone, and then chose not to do either. I’m that strong friend who will NOT burden you with my problems because if a medical professional can’t fix it, how will you? For me, this is common sense stuff, but I also cannot allow anyone to get too close anymore and harm me, which happened twice last year. Never again will I permit that. Trust MUST be earned. I have never trusted women less in my life, but that’s where I am now.

Kitten is my familiar, and if I’m not okay, she KNOWS. She started shrieking to get me into another room. She brought me toys and gave me her, “Come on, you’ll feel better soon.” look that is the most human expression you’ll see if you’ve never seen humanity in an animal before. I’ve lucked out; the cats in my life have always been exceptionally human (I have also had two dogs that I immediately knew were once human. I cried each time because neither one could be mine.). Each time I’ve implied this, someone else has noticed it and acknowledged that they see it, too.

I followed her and threw toys around for her, marveling at her energy and the heights she’ll reach. She played happily, but kept looking back at me. If I threw a few toys and walked away, she’d start shrieking again. She has the biggest mouth, so when she makes a certain sound, it’s alarming and you run to see what’s wrong. Today, I was what was wrong, and she knew it.

Suddenly, Cat came running down the stairs because she heard my voice. She’s ALWAYS listening for me. Be it noon or three a.m., if I breathe, she’s going to follow me. I can cough and she’ll come to check on me like it’s her sole purpose in life.

I don’t have to doubt the intentions of any animal I’ve raised, but people? People will give you reasons to doubt, to not trust. People who think everyone is innately good are so off base, and I cannot imagine being that level of naive. It’s a stupidity I cannot afford.

We are all different. We all have shit we are dealing with, and things we are doing to better ourselves.

Me? All of the above. I’m not a negative person due to bad days and painful struggles. When I achieve goals, I know I have earned my place. My achievements aren’t false and I don’t purchase my goals.

No one hands you anything in life. Not in truth. Be mindful of invisible strings attached and the expectations others have when you allow them that level of access. Use your fucking brain!

They say domestic cats are still preprogrammed with certain wilderness skills. It’s often why they will sleep with their “person” or “people”. My cats have their own beds and they use them, but when I’m hurting, be it physically or emotionally, they’ve got my back. People? Not so much.

Kitten is my constant sidekick. Writing? She’s next to me. Trying not to meltdown? She will come to comfort me. I know she loves me because she will bust open the door to my room and just stay by my side. She doesn’t stand on ceremony.

Cat is different. She requires an invitation in calligraphy. She had me for the first year of her life, and while she needed a companion so she’d stop attacking me, she officially outgrew this need a few years ago. To this day, she will still crawl into my lap like she did as a tiny bean, and she won’t move. She thinks she’s still about three pounds. She is sweet and sassy, but ultimately they are both fiercely protective of me, even when I’m asleep. They have woken me from nightmares and cuddled close when I feel cold and completely empty. They often treat me like I am the mother cat. The way they greet me is the way a kitten would greet its mother. It’s beautiful and a little sad because I know they were both taken from their mothers too soon. 😦

Not to knock my real friends, but these are my girls. I know they will be with me until the end of their lives. I made a commitment when I filled out their adoption forms, wrapped them up in a warm blanket, and put them in a carrier to take them home. They immediately trusted me. A cat can live over twenty years. Every single day, I pray I have that long with them. They are such blessings and I never worry about them secretly judging me. I already know they do, but I also know they’d kill for me.

I didn’t sign up for all this pain and strife, but I did sign up to love my little balls of trouble. People will come and go, but your cats will stay by your side because they know your heart better than anyone else. That’s unconditional love in the truest form.

Sorry dog owners; I can only speak for what’s mine.

© 2020 by Lisa Marino and Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Days On The Ledge


I’m not a good actor, ask anyone who truly knows me. I don’t excel at faking things with bullshit, smiles, and pretend laughter in an attempt to project that “Everything’s great.” When people try that with me, I wonder what they’re trying to prove by lying.

This morning, I was on that ledge. I’m not off of it, and I might never be. Everything in me was trying to push forward and plan my day, which had been planned for weeks, but my body was screaming at me to stay put. My best friend talked me down and reminded me that it’s okay to cancel if I don’t feel I can do something. So after hoping medication would help (it didn’t), I made four calls and cancelled my appointments. Part of me felt immense guilt (I rarely cancel on anyone. Especially last minute. It’s even more rare for me to cancel a medical appointment, or in this case, two.), but another part felt calmer. I’m still NOT okay. I just know that when I feel immense dread, I have to listen to my body and my intuition. Whatever Higher Power intervened on my behalf today, despite making me feel like a basket case, did the right thing. If pushing makes you question your safety, LISTEN. My intuition is NEVER wrong. It has kept me alive during natural disasters, and one unexplained disaster. You can be strong and smart, and still say, “Not today.”

These next few days, I’m going to try to be calm and focus on me. I need the break. I need quality sleep and to not be in physical or mental agony. It’s OKAY to not be okay. I lead by example. You should try it.

#MentalHealthMatters #EndTheStigma #Depression #Anxiety #Intuition#RetrainYourBrain #TalkAboutIt

copyright © 2012-2019 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. Excerpts and quotes from the material also require consent. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. Further protection is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Scheduling Conflicts

When you suffer from any form of chronic illness, you can choose, or not choose, to see your life as a bunch of doctor’s appointments. I try not to, but lately…

Without insurance, I didn’t have to think about it. I only went when I had no other choice, and there are doctors I’m still paying off for the few emergencies/scares I did have. With insurance, I’m in high demand. It’s almost laughable. You get told how long the wait will be, only to have someone call and say “The doctor can see you tomorrow at three.” Good for the doctor, but I can’t make it because you didn’t even ask if I was available! It’s like having to turn down dates you’re not enthused about.

Tomorrow afternoon I have an appointment in Boston that I hope goes well. My conformation call is supposed to come in tonight. I still have lab work I’ve got to get done ASAP, an appointment to reschedule once the lab work comes back, and an appointment at the end of next month to “look forward to”. I have to call the neurologist’s office back, seeing as how I missed their call earlier today.

Going into appointments with new doctors is basically a meeting. You give a rundown of your medical history and then they give you their feedback. I’m not even certain I want anyone’s feedback at the moment, but sadly, I need it. Even though they will, in all likelihood, go over any notes from my previous doctors, they’re each going to make their own assessments. My new doctor said “Let’s start at square one and find out what’s wrong.” She even said “We’ll figure this out together.” I was speechless, because up until this point, I’ve received a lot of dismissal from the medical community.

I’ve done the guinea pig stage and I’d like to not return to it, and yet, I’ve agreed to lab work and will soon have to agree to a gamut of tests. MRIs, cat scans, x-rays, and G-d only knows what else some of these doctors will come up with. I honestly just want to write out a document about what I will and won’t agree to; “Here are my medical hard and soft limits.” (I’m being sarcastic.) However, I do feel like I’m agreeing to an alien probe. 😦

When my new primary care physician’s office did intake they asked me for an emergency contact. I responded that I don’t have one. It makes me sad, but it’s the truth. Yes, there are a few people I could ask, but I don’t trust them. I don’t actually trust anyone, except myself. Not when it pertains to medical decisions. In a worst case scenario, I’m pretty sure most of my family would pull the plug and then disappear to make sure no one ended up responsible for my funeral expenses. I’ve seen this happen in other families. A close family friend passed away. It took days for someone to find her, which is truly heartbreaking to me. Her cousin, with whom she was close to, identified her, but after that, the extremely rich family she came from wanted no part in arranging, or paying, for her funeral. The Jewish community stepped up and made sure she was given a proper service. It was the saddest thing I’d ever heard, and I’ve probably heard it all.

In my defense, I’ve decided to establish a living will and submit it to the local courthouse and each of my physicians. I can’t have people thinking they can make decisions for me when they would never be able to tell someone what my eye color is, or my blood type. It’s difficult, knowing I can’t really turn to anyone about this. My cousin did offer, but honestly, I do not think she is capable of making informed decisions on my behalf. She’s a wonderful person, but when it comes to things like this, you have to be able to act swiftly in the best interest of the other person. She isn’t capable of doing that, so why burden her?

I’ve been experiencing blackouts more and more these past few weeks. Getting over being sick (according to my doctor, the infections are gone and my lungs are good, but it’ll be a while until the cough fully goes away, I can no longer blame it on being sick or being exhausted, or the side effects of my medication; this is happening, this is real, and this is scary. I haven’t talked about it with anyone, not really. I’ve talked it with all of you. When I did tell someone about it and tried explaining that 2-6 hours of my life are simply erased most days, they started spouting off potential reasons for it, but there was no care or concern conveyed to me. I’d prefer to hear the neurologist tell me what they are, or aren’t. In fact, I just Googled their office and I’m very impressed by what their specialties are. They do most of the tests on-site, which is such a relief.

Navigating this shit alone is tough. It’s emotionally painful, but I have no choice. And I’m strong enough to deal with what the doctors have to say, even if I’m conflicted about certain things.

Overall, not being able to concentrate today on my novel-in-progress is upsetting. I decided that maybe I needed a break. After all, not many people reach the 600 page mark on a re-write. I should be proud of myself, but I’m not. I sit here, and I wonder “What the hell are you even doing?” and “Why do you bother?” Writing projects this big are, on occasion, mentally and emotionally overwhelming. If I trusted someone enough to talk about what my issues are, that would be great, but I don’t. So today, I feel stalled. I’m going to let it be, because what other choice do I really have?

Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully when I get home tomorrow night, I’ll have fresh material in my head and be able to add a few thousand words to my already insane word count.

In the meantime, I’m scheduled, conflicted, stressed, and would love a break.  I’ll get over it.

copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Do Not Confuse…


I think it’s really important to listen to others and hear them, even if the subject matter makes you uncomfortable. I don’t like to denounce someone’s feelings, even if I disagree with their perspective. People say that words aren’t harmful, but they can be and it’s important to acknowledge that even the simplest way of saying things, at times, can make a person question who they are, or that it can do severe damage.

Sometimes, I think people say things to challenge me. It’s truly not meant to be harmful, but if I’m already bleeding on the ground, I probably don’t need another kick.

I’m so far from perfect, it’s not even funny, but I will be apologizing to a few people this week to be certain that they grasp the true meaning and don’t take simplicity the wrong way.

Above all, always be yourself.