Archive for October, 2017


The Calphalon

When I met my friend Sysylia, she was a happy person always grilling, laughing and playing with her dogs. Her apartment was in the same quad as mine. We often let our dogs play together and became good friends. She stood by me when I went through a bad break-up, helped me move, and was always there to encourage me. I no longer lived in the quad but I was only a few buildings away.

On Saturdays, we would often get up early to go to Central market for the best pick of the fresh seafood being delivered and purchase our groceries for the week. Then the following day, we would spend the day in the quad, cooking our food on the grill and possibly boiling our crabs or crawfish. Best of all, we had many long talks.

It was during one of these talks, I found out she had been engaged before to someone that was deceased. Then, in that same conversation, she told me in confidence that she was sick, very sick. Her former fiancé had been ill, a result of his past iv drug use. Soon, she discovered she was ill too but the good news she told me, was that she did not need to be on all the medications. She had great faith and knew she had been healed. I was skeptical and worried but she said not to or it would make her wish she had not told me.

In 1996, I once again had an apartment directly across from her. We were still talking and hanging out when we could but she was tired all the time. She said she would probably never marry and own a set of Calphalon pots like she always wanted. We would go to many of the kitchen stores in the area and just look at the sets of Calphalon pots and pans. I used to think she was silly but humored her and went along. Before I graduated and moved back to the Dallas area, she asked me to promise her that when I marry, I would buy a set of Calphalon pots.

We talked and emailed often when I left but as time went on, those calls and emails became less and less. Then, her phone was cut off and no emails came. I thought she was just busy. Turns out, she had gotten sick just before Christmas of 1997 and died the first week of 1998.

In a blink, my dear friend was gone. After Sysylia’s death, her mom was going through Sysylia’s things and she found my address. She wrote me a letter to let me know she was gone. She went peacefully after being sick for a long time. I didn’t want the letter to be true but I knew deep down, she was.

I am now married to Andrew. God sent me a good man, one that wants to be a husband to me and is a good father to Patience. About one year after we married, I received a surprise gift. I can no longer remember if it was Mother’s Day, a holiday or my birthday but I received a set of Calphalon pots and pans. I wanted to cry as a flood of memories came to mind. My promise to Sysylia had come true!

I love and miss you, my dear friend. May you be at peace until we meet again!

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I have had a blank post open for days, wanting to write but not knowing where to begin. There are so many things going through my mind that I want to get out into this blog but none of it would come out in a coherent fashion and I don’t want to talk in circles which would bore you to no end. I have felt the desire to write which I haven’t had in a long time but my thoughts are so disorganized, I do not know if I can do this. I cannot even zero in on one subject to discuss. Perhaps I should focus on some new things I learned about my diagnoses.

As I have stated many times, I live with mental illnesses. I have mentioned schizoaffective bipolar type (SZA-BP) and panic disorder but I have become aware of a couple that I had suspected but the actual diagnosis is new to me. I live with OCD and PTSD. I am not ready to talk about the traumatic events in my life so I will discuss OCD. With the OCD, I don’t wash my hands constantly or repeat actions a certain number of times. Mine manifests in a few ways that I can pinpoint but there are bound to be others.

First, I am hung up on numbers divisible by three. The volume of the television must be divisible by three so it is likely to be 27, 30, 33, etc…My car radio or whatever flashdrive I am playing has the volume set at 6, 9, and 12 when others are in the car but when I am alone, I will go to 18 or 21. I will like a Facebook post or tweet if my like will result in the number of likes become divisible by three. On my posts or tweets, I fret when it isn’t liked by such a number.  Simple and not that obsessive, right?  Well, I also set my cruise control for the speed I am driving at a number divisible by three, depending on the speed limit. I was fine at 36, 42, 48, and so on but it has come to my attention that my speedometer is off by 1. Now, I don’t know why but this caused me great difficulty at first. When I would be driving, let’s say 42, I now knew my car was actually going 41 and it bothered me but to go 43 at a glance, the number isn’t divisible by three. I finally decided I would indeed go one mile/hour over the number that is visibly a number of three, knowing I am actually sticking with my usual choice of numbers that were acceptable to me.

Another way OCD rears its ugly head is in my writing. I have been trying to write a memoir in honor of Tammy. Tammy was one of my closest friends. She is no longer with us. She was the one friend that I could call and she would always talk to me. She would call and check up on how I was. I miss her. Tammy always wanted me to put my story in writing because she loved the way I tell a story and she thought I had a good tale to tell so I began from the earliest memories I had and am trying to go chronologically to tell about growing up with hallucinations and delusions.  I was doing great but I am hard on myself with grammar, word choice and spelling.  I am also finding things that should have come sooner or later in my story. I have 20 pages and I am obsessing on making it perfect in the order of events, grammar, etc…I cannot get past the first 20 pages. I review, edit, reread, edit some more and have tried to get each sentence to perfectly say what I want to convey to my audience. I cannot write more at this time. I continue to go over and over the pages I have written time and time again. I have taken a break but I want to do more editing when I should just get the story told and edit later. These 20 pages have me stuck and I don’t know when I will move forward writing. I have no plans to try to publish or even put it in an e-book but I want to write it and hope I do. I will take Tammy a copy and perhaps spend time at her grave reading it to her. I made a promise and I will write it, once I get over this 20 page obstacle.

Now, before I start talking about the next way in which OCD exhibits itself through my tendency to hoard, I am not like the hoarders that must come to mind. I know what you are thinking. You are probably picturing the horror stories on shows like Hoarders. Well, I am not at that level. I have been purging items trying to break the cycle of hoarding. I do this compulsively without even thinking of it by keeping discarded items that should be trash or gathering supplies for projects I haven’t even planned. When we moved into our house, I had a craft room full of supplies, containers, glass jars, plastic jars, cardboard, wood, empty spools of ribbon, and anything else I saw might be useful but to my family was a lot of trash.  I kept things that might be useful in any of the ways I crafted gifts, make play furniture for Patience’s dolls (when she was younger), things I might be able to use again, or things I thought I would enjoy having once I did this or that.

I also bought stencils, made stencils, bought acrylic paints, exacto knives, mod podge, random pictures or scrap paper remnants, different shapes of wood, canvases, art books, markers, colored pencils, crayons, beads, thread, scissors, fabric by the yard, fabric remnants, and other craft/art supplies. I had them stored all over the place. When Andrew needed the space for a home office, I did good. I purged 8+ big trash bags of supplies I no longer needed. I put like things together in bins and I’ll admit, I have more to purge so I am working on it. I try not to buy more. If I see some acrylic paints on sale even though I have two large bins full of paints, I will buy them. I have no plans to use the colors but just in case I need them, I buy them. When crayons and colored pencils are on sale during back to school time, I usually pick up a pack of each because I feel like I need more of the basic colors for my hoard.

Despite my purging, it doesn’t change the fact that our home is cluttered with things that really need to be trashed. It is not in total disarray but it isn’t organized. I have slowed down on saving trash to make something with later but the supplies, I am having a hard time not adding to my overrun containers with more items. These are compulsively saved trash or bought items that are a hoard, not a collection. I collect Pocket Dragons by Real Musgrave. I have them proudly displayed in a curio cabinet and organized. My clutter, even separated into bins of like things together, is chaos. I just do not know that these compulsions can be tamed but I am trying.

I hadn’t planned to talk at length about my quirks that are labeled to be OCD. I don’t know why that is the direction I chose for this post. If you read this, thank you. I am going to post, without much editing, reviewing, rereading, and more editing. I know there will be mistakes I will see later that will make me cringe to have made but this is one more facet of me. Some may say it is just quirky and others think I have a real problem. I see it as a challenge. I want to try to break some of my obsessiveness and compulsiveness where I see it is possible. I don’t think I can get over the numbers divisible by three but I can write just to tell about my life’s journey and I can continue to thin my hoard of items and resist purchasing more to add to the mix. OCD isn’t going to hold me back and keep me bound. I think, with lots of coping skills and practice, I can overcome some of this. I will not let it rule my life, but seriously, the three thing is not going to go away anytime soon.