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Knocked Over By A Feather

IT WAS A BIG FUCKING FEATHER…

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friendship

On the Horn

When I started Kindergarten in the fall of 1979, my teacher taught me the alphabet, how to write my name with a stubby pencil, that sharing is caring and made me memorize my address. And, of course, my phone number.

Not surprisingly, I still remember it, the same phone number that I had for almost 20 years.

Area code 216-228-3609 (Not my current phone number, I have no idea who’d answer now if you dialed it.)

There was a girl named Melanie who was my best friend in those early days and when she called my house, she’d ask whoever answered (usually my ma) “Is Mer there?”

“Mer, you have a phone call!!”

Well shit, someone actually wanted to talk to me.

I’d excitedly grab the receiver of our landline rotary telephone, nestle myself into the chair that we had next to it and engage myself in conversation about Barbie Dolls, the latest episode of Punky Brewster or whatever else little kids talked about back in the 80’s.

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Those leg-warmers Punky was wearing on TV last night were totally boss.

Hit fast forward and when I was a teenager, my uncle bought us a cordless telephone for Christmas. I could now go sit in my backyard at the picnic table and talk with my peeps whilst enjoying nature, making sure to stay in range.

Those were the days, my friends.

The only person that I talk with on the phone now with any regularity is my mother. Once in the morning and then again in the afternoon around 3PM. I’ll rarely get a call on my smart phone from my old friend Elinor who moved to North Carolina or my best blog friend Alice who lives in Texas.

That’s about it, unless you count the times when I have no other choice but to make an “important” phone call. (Example, please don’t turn off my internet, what the hell would I do with myself without Wi-Fi?)

Last week, my friend Paul aka Desertcurmudgeon was going through a bad turn. I offered up my phone number in case he had any interest in, you know, talking to a live human being for a fucking change.

This past Saturday evening, he took me up on it.

It felt like the old days! For two hours, we told stories, personal anecdotes and I think a couple of times I burped, although not loud enough for him to hear unless he was really listening.

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Did you hear me belch, Paul?

Anyways, in a world where we now mainly communicate with people digitally, it was an official nostalgic experience. Not only do I know Paul through his wonderful writing on his blog, I now know what his real voice sounds like. I know if he snorts when he laughs (he doesn’t) and I now feel like he’s more than just an online friend.

He no longer just lives in my computer, he’s a real, honest to goodness person. I heard the inflection in his voice, something that you can’t get from an online chat.

I highly recommend talking to an online friend on the horn. Pick one and ask them.

Seriously, you guys. Let’s all kick it old school and help bring back this archaic form of human communication.

If we try hard enough, we might even be able to forget about our insanely chaotic world for a little while.

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Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure, done under general anesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses. – The Mayo Clinic

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One of my closest friends, who is struggling with depression and extreme anxiety, is currently preparing to undergo ECT treatments. She asked me if I could write a post about it and I told her that I would be pleased to do so.

Whenever a loved one is experiencing a health problem, I do research on it so that I can try to fully empathize with him/her. I like to know what’s going on and how I can help in any way possible.

I especially understand depression and anxiety, two soul-crushing bastards. Although I was lucky enough to finally find the proper medications to alleviate my symptoms, my friend hasn’t been as blessed to find that elusive chemical cocktail. Her therapist and psych doctor recommended ECT as an alternative option.

Like most people would react, she was obviously hesitant and scared shitless. She wanted to know my opinion off the top of my head and I told her that I would do it if nothing else worked, because living with depression/anxiety is like hell on earth.

To me, the pros outweigh the cons. As we like to joke, zap me doc.

She’s had to take numerous tests to make sure that she’s healthy enough otherwise, wean herself from anxiety meds for her safety during treatments and take an extended leave from work. She also lives 400 miles away from a hospital that performs the procedure, so she’ll have to stay in a hotel nearby for patients during the course of her ECT, which at this point is 3 days a week. She has a husband and two children, who just want her back as healthy and happy as humanly possible.

If I had the money, I would go stay with her. But I can’t, so I am backing her up from afar.

ECT has a bad rep from decades of horror stories, which is why she is so afraid to tell people she’s going for it. Personally, I think that’s she’s one of the bravest people that I know. All she wants is to finally feel like herself again, to eradicate this fucking albatross that is depression/anxiety. If she needs to let a doctor shock her brain to do so, she is willing to take the chance of memory loss and a myriad of other possible side effects.

Antidepressants also have side effects. I learned that firsthand many years ago when I had a manic episode while taking Wellbutrin and just two years ago on a newer med called Brintellix, which made me take action on my suicidal thoughts.

We all react differently, so what’s right for one person can be devastating to another.

My friend really needs some support right now and I know that I can count on you guys to give her some.

And babe? I love you, girl. I’m here, always.

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