Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Weed vs Psychopharmaceuticals

I have successfully titrated down from 750 mgs of Depakote per day to 500. Weed is certainly a factor in this successful transition since for reasons I don't understand, I can sit still with my feelings when I'm a little high so that I'll really feel them.

My staff explains that the whole point of taking Depakote is to coat your feelings so that you're not overwhelmed by them thereby giving you the means to examine the connections between those feelings and the behaviors that sabotage your life with the intent of changing those behaviors. In order to free oneself from destructive and/or generally unhelpful behavior patterns, it is necessary to recognize not only the environmental stimuli (read "shit of your life") that trigger your personal demons, but also the reasons underlying the demons themselves so that it is possible to understand the specific and particular environmental stimuli that have become the triggers for your individual emotional chaos. When one finally understands the nature of his/her own personal mishigas, then s/he can quit inflicting it on everyone else and have satisfying personal, professional and sexual relationships. As far as psychotherapists are concerned, at least the long term talk therapy kind, satisfying personal and sexual relationships and meaningful work is what life is all about.

As a preschool teacher, I can confidently declare that the Hokey Pokey is undoubtedly a factor in the answer to in Life, The Universe and Everything - which would make the Hokey Pokey part of "42" for everyone who enjoyed The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. So is satisfying sex for anyone who is wondering.

The thing is that nothing can really be meaningful unless you can feel the emotions that go along with the territory. Singing and dancing with friends and/or little kids is really fun as long as you can get over being uptight and revel in the moment. Putting your whole self in and shaking it all about feels great in pretty much every context I imagine.

Consequently, I have come to the conclusion that being on Depakote had started interfering with my ability to find meaning on account of I needed my emotions to fully participate in the experiences of my life. Weed, on the other hand, seems to be enhancing my ability to mellow out, breathe and take some time to reflect on said experiences.

I maintain that Depakote was 100% effective, if not exactly necessary, when it came to coating my feelings when I was married to Buzz Kill. That's not to say Buzz Kill was the problem. Velvet has concluded that Buzz Kill and I are both excellent individuals. It's just that we suck as a couple. At the time, I was still learning to identify my feelings so that I could direct my life accordingly. They had to be coated, and held up to examination in the shrink's office twice a week, so that I could even tell what they were. The experiences in my life had left me very confused.

The blog is not the place to discuss those experiences. We all have our own personal stories and details. The point is I was confused to the bone about how respond to people in real life and crashed about like a video game race car that is out of control and smashing into the stands, the bales of hay and the forest surrounding the race track.

It's taken some work to stabilize after dropping down to 500 mgs of Depakote. The result is good, but the road was rocky and Handsome, Charming and Wonderful took a major hit. The worst is that I went off on the Summer Boyfriend Reality Show tangent within days of having to dash down to see Granny since she was fixing to die that very minute back in January.

I'm not going to credit smoking weed with giving me this insight, but I will reiterate that I'm not afraid to feel my feelings when I'm smoking and I've spent my entire life escaping my feelings. With the reduced Depakote level, a couple of bowls and a push from Dr. Nir, I let the grief and loneliness I felt from Granny's death flood over me. As I've looked at the undeniable connection in timing between me shaking HCW's cage and my anxiety over Granny, it's become clear that I had a crisis in faith.

Faith in Life, The Universe and Everything, and in Love in particular. As it happens, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is the last book I ever read out loud to Velvet at bedtime. Many valuable life lessons are revealed in that philosophical text. Just the ticket for renewing one's faith. Maybe I'll read it to myself again. Maybe I'll read all the way through So Long and Thanks For All the Fish, but I'm getting at least as far as The Krikkit Wars. I love that story.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Quarter Cup of Granny

I didn't come back from Texas with a quarter cup of Granny. The idea of security at the airport giving me shit about Granny in my carry on luggage was entirely too much to bear, and I didn't want to put them in the suitcase I checked. For the moment, her remains remain in Houston. She may be scattered in the hills surrounding Lake Tahoe at the beginning of August.

Ever since she moved in with my parents back around Thanksgiving. Granny slept in my room. I wasn't all that fired up about sleeping in my bed. When she moved back home from the skilled nursing facility, they put a hospital bed into the room, and that's the bed Granny was in the night she died. It's not like she died in my bed, but she spent a hell of a lot of time in it as she lay dying.

Sleeping in Granny's bed that had been my bed turned out to be rather peaceful. My psychiatrist thinks I might as well have crawled into the coffin with her, and even if that's true, I still found it comforting. Besides, she didn't have a coffin. Right now she's 0n a sideboard by the kitchen table in a white cardboard box suitable for Fed Exing.

I don't quite know how I think or feel about Granny dying. Nobody I liked ever died before. My grandparents on my dad's side are dead, but I hated my grandfather and my meemee was another East Texas Pitbull in Pink. One thing is for sure, though, there are not many people in your life who always think you're cute and who are proud of you even when you think you suck. Granny the Ho was one of mine.

Now that Velvet is off in the wilderness of Wyoming, hiking and fly fishing his was to college credits in Environmental Biology or something like that, it's pretty quiet. He spent some time with Buzz Kill's side of the family in California who are all competitive, aggressive, type A individuals which was actually very productive because now he has a clear direction for college. He's going to be some kind of engineer. He can still be a Cult Leader if he wants to, but everyone has to have a day job. He's excited and enthusiastic about the college search, mentioning names of far away places like Arizona and Boulder. Both great places, but awfully far.

Last week Velvet called from Wyoming the night before the kids all handed over their cells and hiked off into the Rockies. He went into the bathroom to call so the guys he was playing poker with wouldn't see him call his mom. I told him to remember every time he looked up at the moon that his mama was looking at the same moon. He said, "Yeah. And probably throwing things off the terrace."

He's right about that. Tossing salt, flowers and candle stubs off the terrace during different phases of the moon is my most favorite way to focus my energy. When I finally get Granny's ashes up here in a unique and meaningful container, I'll be able to hang onto the little bit of her that lives on in me in a concrete way. Philosophy, theology and abstract ponderings are entirely too nebulous to be any help sometimes. Sometimes you need to be able to hold something in your hand, feel it on your skin and know it's real. Right now, I've got two rag dolls she made and the Love Beads she wore when she lived in Laguna Beach back in the Sixties.