EEG Jitters

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This is going to be me in like an hour. I’m probably stressing over nothing, but all the weird suction things and being in a hospital period are starting to freak me out. I’m sure it will go just fine, and I will, as usual, be overreacting, but at the moment I’m very very glad my husband is coming with me to help me find Diagnostics Clinic H and hold my hand. ❤

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Today Was Better

Today was better than yesterday.
Last night Ivy slept.

Today I accomplished my goal of the day – phoning Meghan the social worker to help us get back on our feet with housing, with respite, and with therapy.

Going to be going for an EEG on April 5, slightly tempted to shave my head before I do so. Resisting temptation until it can be done by skilled hands.

Starting ‘Self-Concept & Communication’ outpatient therapy group at Grace Hospital April 18. Have intake assessment meeting with Michelle in Psychiatric Ambulatory Services on April 11.

Becoming weary of struggling to survive all the time, and yet invigorated when viewing my goals for each day as survival mechanisms. So many people don’t, but dammit, I’m going to be a survivor.

Following the adventures of someone I met in Tulita who is now in New Zealand. Inspired by this woman’s love of life and beauty inside & out. Blessed to have met her in person.

Have been sleeping a lot lately, and feeling sick to my stomach. Difficult to tell if this is stress-induced or viral. Doesn’t feel bad enough to be viral. Possibly stress. Having a conversion disorder has proved if anything that I apparently have no clue how to deal with actual problems.

What I really want to do with my life: go back to school, finish my B.A., eventually get doctorate and teach English Literature. I want to travel more and I want to raise Ivy to be a successful, happy, independent woman. I want to get a tattoo. I specifically want to travel to England to search out family roots. I want to learn more about herbs and crystals. I want to make Graham happy. I want to make at least one other person happy too. Is this attainable? Who knows? But it’s what’s in my heart.


Book Review – Cycling to Asylum by Su J. Sokol

I have just spent a few months finishing up reading Cycling to Asylum by Su J. Sokol, and today I finally finished it. I have to say, the title seemed to provoke more interest and intrigue than the content provided. I enjoyed the character of Laek, a free-thinking teacher from New York in what could conceivably be called a near-future dystopian period, but I absolutely disliked his wife and his two children, basically because Sokol stops at crucial junctions in the story to do a chapter on every single person in the family and their point of view on the same event, which could have been consolidated instead of making the reader read laboriously through the same event four times. If each character was to have his or her own chapter, I would have preferred for that chapter to carry the story a little further, but in this book that just simply didn’t happen. The parents moved much of the story along, the sister a little bit, and the youngest child’s chapters were all completely unnecessary.

That said, I do enjoy a certain sense of national pride when I read this book – that Canada is where people go to find hope and a new life (this publishing house publishes several Canadian-based works, so I expected nothing less from them). They leave New York to get away from violence and terrorist groups to find a new life and hope in Montreal. I enjoyed Sokol’s accurate use of the intermix of English and French that characterizes much Canadian speech, especially in Quebec, and I thought the mood of a Canadian city in winter was captured best of all. Also, I enjoyed the sexual/relational freedom Laek and his wife Janie enjoy in their marriage, as their relationship with Philip seems to represent a bridge between the bad parts of the U.S. they are leaving behind and the good memories they made there.

All in all, I give this book a solid 3 out of 5 stars, for an interesting storyline, but no more than 3, for taking too long to reach a climax and the staunch formulaic nature of the manuscript.


Flotsam & Jetsam

Hello everybody! It’s been a little while since my last entry, so I thought it was about high time I updated!

This might be a bit choppy because I still can’t concentrate very long. But, how have I been, you ask?

Honestly, I’m starting to feel well again. I’ve been put on an antipsychotic and the voices in my head have quieted and I finally feel like my thoughts are mine and mine alone again.

I’m still in hospital on the psychiatric ward until my lithium and valproate serum levels normalize, but I’m hopeful that in the psychiatric medicinal side of things, this new medication I’m taking called risperidone will continue to bring such positive results.

I only had one mini-seizure yesterday, and before that I hadn’t had one for nearly a week, so that’s good. My doc thinks they are probably caused by stress, which I didn’t know was even a thing. Just to make sure and be thorough, I’m scheduled for an EEG on April 5 at HSC, and to be honest, I’m pretty scared. Anyone wanna volunteer to come hold my hand while I get wires strapped all over my head? After that, they give the results of the EEG to a neurologist and he/she decides whether or not I need a CT scan. My hunch is that it will be fine and I won’t need to go that far.

Currently Reading:

  NIV Archaeological Study Bible

Cycling to Asylum by Su J. Sokol

Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France by Évelyne Lever

Sexy Origins and Intimate Things: The Rites and Rituals of Straights, Gays, Bis, Drags, Trans, Virgins and Others by Charles Panati

8 Legs Up by C.W. Clark

Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

A History of Byzantium  by Timothy E. Gregory

Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan

Grimm Fairy Tales Vol. 1 by Ralph Tedesco

Quite a mindful! But I switch to a different book after every chapter, so I can read a lot of books at the same time.

Today I’m grateful for:

  1. The lovely dinner/bookstore date my husband took me on today
  2. Lestat is fitting in so well with the other cats here.
  3. McDonald’s double cheeseburgers. Not a lie. They’re like crack burgers when you come back south from being on the 63rd Latitude after 4 months lol

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How did your day go, guys? What are you reading? I love comments so feel free to leave some below! Peace out.

– SharaLee


Update – Back in Winnipeg

My last post found my family and I still in the Northwest Territories, and now we are back in Manitoba. It’s been a long tough journey and it’s not over yet. I was given too much lithium by the doctors up north and suffered the effects of lithium toxicity, and I also started having seizures. I was having seizures every night to every other night, and it got to the point where my husband was afraid to go to work or leave me alone with Ivy for my safety, so he asked his work if we could have a 3-month leave of absence to go back home where I could get proper medical care, which they granted us.

I’m still having seizures even though my lithium dose is now down to 600 mg (it was up to 1500 mg before!!!), so I’ve been put on the wait list for the psych ward at Grace Hospital so I can get the tests I need (CT scans etc that they didn’t do in NWT), but also the psychiatric care I need (I have bipolar disorder, and this crazy fluctuation in lithium needs to be closely monitored for my own safety, as well as the possibility that these seizures are probably psychogenic since they are non-epileptic, so I will probably need some further analysis/exploration in that area). This is a really tough time for myself and my family. I hate knowing that something I am sick with is taking my husband away from a job he loves, and I hate not being able to control my own body (a few days ago I had a seizure in front of my father-in-law and brother-in-law; they were good about it, but it’s embarrassing all the same).

I’m still trying to read as much as I can, but it’s been really hard lately. I’m really sorry to any authors who were really counting on a speedy review, but I am very sick right now, and I just can’t read the way I used to. My head is full of a lot of noise all the time, and it’s like I can hear all sounds all at once at the same time. I also feel like something about my personality has changed since I started having seizures, but I don’t know what exactly. I have a very strong sense of paranoia almost constantly that I’ve never had before. Things are scary.

I might not be using this blog to post about books only as much as my own personal journey. I need somewhere to vent and my pen-and-paper journal just can’t keep up with my thoughts as fast as my fingers on the keyboard can. I’m sorry for those of you who followed me expecting literary reviews only (as this blog was meant to be originally), but I feel it has evolved somewhat, so I want to include some more personal things too. Thank you everyone who reads/likes me. Your support means a lot to me. This might sound completely pathetic, but sometimes, I forget that I actually exist, so knowing people read this helps remind me that I do. It makes no philosophical sense but I think it might be part of all the depersonalizing that has been occurring lately.

Anyway, so that’s what has been going on with me. We are currently staying with Graham’s parents, and Ivy is having an amazing time. Our black cat, Lestat, has bonded well with the other cats, especially Abbey (my in-laws’ youngest cat). Here is a picture of Abbey grooming Lestat:

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Ursa Major – My Favourite Constellation

My Astronomy class on http://www.hogwartsishere.com required me to write an essay on my favourite constellation. It is set up in three parts: first, just what the constellation is and some informational things about it, second, an origin myth surrounding it and third, I got to make up my own creation myth surrounding it! I thought it would make for an interesting blog post! Enjoy!

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For my favourite constellation, I have chosen that of Ursa Major, Latin for “The Great She-Bear”. I have chosen this mostly for sentimental reasons in that the asterism known as The Big Dipper (also known as “The Plough”) can be found in it, and this asterism has always been a comfort to me in when searching the night sky of the Northern Hemisphere no matter where in that Hemisphere I may be. It was the first constellation I learned to find in the night sky as a child, and it is still the first I seek at night in present times. Ursa Major, as well as being in the Northern Hemisphere, is bordered by such constellations as Draco (“The Dragon”), Camelopardalis (“The Giraffe”), The Lynx, Leo Minor (“The Little Lion”), Leo (“The Lion”, a member of the Twelve signs of the Zodiac and the star sign of yours truly), Coma Berenices (“Berenice’s Hair”), Canes Venatici (“The Hunting Dogs”), and Boötes (“The Herdsmen”). Quite the menagerie!

There are a lot of origin myths surrounding this constellation, as it has been visible in the night sky for most of recorded history. The Romans had a myth that a nymph of the goddess Diana, named Callisto, was sought after by the king of the gods (the almighty Jupiter). This made Jupiter’s wife, Juno, so jealous that she turned Callisto into a bear. This was the Roman myth surrounding Ursa Major, and that of Ursa Minor is connected in that Callisto encountered her son while in bear form, but he tried to kill her, so to protect them both, Jupiter turned them both into bears and they became Ursas Major and Minor, or The Bears Great and Little.

A wise woman once told me that the Great Bear was once a girl, shy and timid and vulnerable. She would gather berries and plants from the forest to eat, and her hair was as long as time and as black as night. One day, her innocence was stolen from her by a huntsman, who attacked her, cut off her hair to sell,  and left his children in her belly. She gave birth to twins, but one died, so she was fiercely protective over the other, despite the origins of his father. She knew she had to gain strength and cunning to protect herself and her child from the likes of the huntsman, so she began to eat meat, to build muscle and grew her hair again, thick enough to protect her body from harm, teaching her child to do the same. Little did she know that the huntsman had been a werebear, a shapeshifter. Every full moon, her son would transform from a boy into a bear and wreak havoc on the surrounding villages. The girl, now a woman, did all she could to heal the hurts inflicted by her son, giving aid to the wounded and herbs to the sick. But she knew it was not enough.

So one full moon, she followed her son. She watched as he roared and tore apart a young girl the age she had been when she’d become pregnant with him. And she knew what she must do. Just as he was wiping the blood off his muzzle, the young bear’s mother stepped in front of him and held out her arm. Enraged with the fury of bloodlust, he clawed at her chest, striking deep. At that moment, she plunged a dagger through his thick fur into his heart, and they both died.

In the palace of the dead, she was awarded the longest blackest hair of night and the most prominent place in the night sky, to guide and comfort those in need. She is the Great Bear, and the Little Bear is with her, hers to protect us from forever. The stars are her tears, and if one bottles them, one can heal any sickness. So it was told to me, and so I tell it to you now.

 


Husband/Wife Book Reviews – I Review ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell

I just recently finished reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and I highly HIGHLY recommend it. My friend Kyla once described it to me as ‘The perfect novel’, so I immediately bought it from Chapters (I tend to do such things from time to time). Years later, my husband Graham challenged me to read it (I also tend to buy several books that I don’t end up reading – hence the Husband/Wife Book Reviews, where Graham chooses a book for me to read off our shelves and I for him). It will be difficult for me to review this without giving away too many spoilers, so I will try to be as generic as possible while still including the things that made an impression on me.

I am finally done reading it, and it was quite a ride. Mitchell masterfully weaves the theme (continuity, birth and rebirth)  of the entire piece throughout various time periods (past, present and future), not only stylistically in that each story section is a different form of storytelling (from journal to letters to a novel to a screenplay to an interview to an orison), but also in the different spellings of words throughout time and especially in the future.

Vast doesn’t even begin to describe the scope of this novel. I feel I could read it eight times over and only just scratch the surface of everything it addresses. Racism, the fight for supremacy, all manner of government systems, belonging to a tribe of some sort. All of these things are woven throughout the various plots and ingeniously incorporated into each story.

I would include quotes, but I feel they could be spoilers, so I will just apologize for the short review and say, I highly recommend this book. It gets a well deserved 4.5 stars out of 5.cloudatlas


Happy New Year!

Happy 2016, dear Readers! I have so much to tell you!

First of all, my New Year’s Resolutions (which are very simple, so that they are attainable are):

– Read all the books on my Goodreads ‘To-Read’ list (therefore getting me 10 closer to my 25-book reading goal for the year: I like to keep the goal low so I can at least get close to surpassing it). A list of my own personal books I want to read can be found here on my Goodreads ‘To-Read’ list.

– Learn more about herbs and their properties (some major financial setbacks from 2015 have made correspondence to complete my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Winnipeg, as well as completion of a program in Homeopathy from the Alternative Medicine College of Canada both impossible at this point in time, so I have enrolled in the wonderful Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (on the Muggle Net of course) to refresh both my knowledge of the World of Harry Potter and also, of course, to learn some things about plants and stars and other such interesting and useful topics.

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Required essays for my courses (like my upcoming Astronomy one on my favourite constellation) are going to make great blog posts, so I hope you’ll join me for the ride as I learn a bit about the magical side of things. Also, just so none of you witches or wizards out there are too concerned, I’m over 17, so the Ministry of Magic can’t have a Trace put on me if I share some of what I learn, and the School has obtained a special exception from the Ministry that I may practice what I learn in my own home, so this is all legal and above board. 🙂

Also, I have finished Cloud Atlas and intend to have a book review ready by tomorrow (had planned on adding it to this entry but it just doesn’t seem to fit). I’ve kind of been putting off writing the entry because I really enjoyed it, and there is so much to say about it, but so many spoilers I don’t want to give away. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend, like I wrote in one of my recent entries.

As you can see, my depression has lifted for the time being, and I am back to my productive, nightwalking self again. Did Astronomy, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Herbology today. Tomorrow will do History of Magic, Potions, and Transfiguration. And of course my book review.

I might be nerdy, but at least I’m not a Muggle. ;*

Love you all and have a great night/morning.

 

 


Epic Awesomeness Award

I was watching anime with Graham and Ivy this morning (xxxHOLiC, seriously a shame they never followed through on completing the story arc for anime), when I noticed my name tagged in a post by my friend over at sfarnell. I have been nominated for the Epic Awesomeness Award! This is my first blog award nomination, and I’ve been having kind of a rough time lately, so for both of those reasons, this nomination meant a lot. Thanks, Simon! You’re pretty awesome too.

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The rules are as follows:

1. You are awesome; tell us why.
2. You are my friend; tell us about other (blogger) friends.
3. Be creative, but it’s ok if you are having trouble with this one.
4. There are no direct questions to answer; let yourself run wild!
5. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
6. Notify your nominees.

Following are my answers:

1. I’m one giant blush right now, and while I know there are some nice things I like about myself, this is really hard to answer. I suppose if I had to answer, I’d say that I can be pretty awesome because I’m a really good friend, I have learned (more and more successfully) to cut my own hair, at one point in my life my husband and I owned over 1200 books, my life’s goal is to always be learning and growing, I am passionate about many things, and I can be a really good cook.
2. I have some pretty great blogger friends. Strawberry Koi has been an inspiration for being a Mom while still following my creative dreams. breelark always makes me think and chuckle a little with her tongue-in-cheek humour. Scars, Tears, and Training Bras and I don’t comment on each other’s posts much, but she is so candid and honest, I feel as though we are friends. There are many others, including Simon and paulydeathwish, whose posts always make me feel like there are other quirky people like me out there, like I am not so alone.
3. whyineverwantsyphilis Why I never want syphilis.
4. Today’s self-care tip on my December 2015 Self-Care Calendar is: ‘Light a great-smelling candle and enjoy being home this evening!’ Gotta get me a candle. Anyone have suggestions for great scents?
5. Thank you so much, Simon! This truly made my day. ❤
6. I nominate:

– breelark

– Chantal and Shekinah

– paulydeathwish

– Food, Photography & France

– psychologistmimi

– Evilcyclist’s Blog

So there you have it, my first blog award nomination! Enjoy!


Faith in Humanity Restored

I sit writing this in the glow of a lifegiving OttLite. I can feel its therapeutic rays coursing through my veins and warming those dark and cold parts of myself that have been trying to hibernate since this low pulled me in.

I haven’t seen brightness like this since last summer. Brightness without the heat. It’s perfect.

My next door neighbour read my previous post and gave me this light. She also insisted on paying for my meds (I’ll be paying her back next week). I am blown away by the generosity of the amazing people I know.

I must say, so many good things have happened to me from so many kindhearted and generous people that I am convinced: humans are a marvellous race. There are a few bad apples in the billions that populate our planet, but in general, we have the capacity for unparalleled healing and caretaking of one another. We are a basket of roots woven around the Earth, around ourselves, and if we continue to weave our part into the tapestry of our planet, it will continue to be supported. This could be interpreted environmentally or societally, it could be interpreted in whichever way is seen fit to strengthen the care of ourselves, of one another. It’s difficult and a little frightening when one thinks of those who are trying to snip through those threads and weaken the long-term of everything for their own short-term personal gain. That’s why small acts of healing like that of my neighbour to me are so important. Each kindness is a thread binding us back to ourselves and ourselves to our planet. Each good thing we do for someone else is a seed we plant that in time bears fruit for ourselves and for others. It’s a beautiful way of looking at the world.

My December 2015 Self-Care Calendar for today says ‘Double check your wrapping supplies! Tape, wrapping paper & bags!’ You can tell this is a calendar made for those in a commercial society. But I have indeed checked: 3 remaining rolls of wrapping paper, 2 tape dispensers, a pair of kitchen scissors, a Sharpie, gift tags from the Northern Store. Have had these since November. Mostly holding on to what I have left so Graham can wrap whatever he’s bought me on Christmas Eve, as is his ritual.

Nearly done reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Really enjoying it, slightly sad that it’s ending, feeling somewhat like I’m parting with a friend. I’ve dragged this book through a lot with me. Those memories are imprinted on the pages forever. Mustn’t get too nostalgic. It’s a book, and I haven’t even finished it yet. It’s my own book, moreover, and I can reread it in future. Still feel somewhat melancholic about the upcoming approach of its final consumption.

Must sign off now to FaceTime my mother, since our conversation was interrupted by the Health Centre asking if I had enough lithium and valproate to last until Tuesday night. Washing machine is on downstairs and I can hear Ivy singing to herself, but a nice quiet time is good for her too, even if she doesn’t nap. Will call Mom and then see to Ivy.

Today is the official day of Yule. Will be wassailing the trees with hot chocolate instead of cider and watching the Fireplace Channel instead of burning a Yule log, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Blessed be all of you, and Merry Christmas.