Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: The Holiday Season Broke and Mentally Ill Style

Today is the eighth anniversary of my father's passing. I thought about that day early this morning. I didn't appear to be grieving because I wasn't wailing and gnashing my teeth. I had already grieved watching him deteriorate as he did. There wasn't anything left in me. I've felt for a long time that there isn't anything left in me. I'm not cold, which I've been accused of a lot. I just don't have anything to offer.
The memory that comes to the forefront of my mind is my mother leaving two messages on my phone. The ringer wasn't working on my phone; I would be soon to get a new one. I was sleeping with the phone under my hand, but I didn't feel the vibration. The first message was her telling me that my father had died. The second was her telling me that again, demanding that I call her back, and finishing off the message with "you're never there when I need you." She didn't apologize for saying that, which doesn't surprise me. I informed her that my phone's ringer wasn't working correctly, that I had tried to be aware if a call came, but hadn't felt the vibration. Well, she never apologizes when she says hurtful things, so I guess she and I are even.
I fucking hate this new YouTube push to force people to pay for the service by pausing the playlist every so often to ask "are you still there?" No, Bitch, I died, but my zombified body keeps responding by saying I'm still here. The joke's on you.
In other frustrating news, I guess I paid the price for thinking I could buy yarn and get away with it. I ordered three skeins of yarn to keep working on my blanket, and some payment clashed with another, so I ended up getting an overdraft charge and am now $36 in the hole. Those fucking overdraft charges should be criminal. They only ever harm people who are struggling financially anyway.
Tonight's supper will be turkey chili and baked potatoes. At least those are two things I can ensure that my son will actually eat. My mother's right that he's kind of fussy, but there again, she refuses to believe that he's actually autistic. People with autism tend to have issues with food textures far more than people who don't have the condition. But, of course, my mother is always right.
I was just talking to my son about how we are both, in spite of what has been drilled into us by members of the extended family, very productive. However, we are not productive in the ways they deem worthy. We are terrible with housework--absolutely rubbish, let's be real. We are unable to work the kinds of jobs that they deem worthy. 
If I had ever been able to make my writing pay, they might be proud of me. A little. But it still wouldn't have been the kind of work that they would truly have deemed worthy.
All I'm doing as far as holiday decorations this year is putting a string of lights up on the fence at my son's townhome. We can't have a tree because the four-legged dumbasses will knock it over. When I was a kid, my father became a kid again every December 24, because that was when we decorated the tree. He loved decorating the tree so much and went way overboard. We had so many decorations. Now they never see the light of day.
Maybe one day I will decorate for the holidays again. I don't know. The first year we had a really nice tree was when I was ten years old. That was the year my father got a good position as a professor at a small college and we moved from Albuquerque to a suburb of Denver. Everything was so wonderful on that Christmas when I was ten years old. 
I realize now that my bipolar disorder onset when I hit puberty, which is why I was an emotional wreck during the holidays when I was eleven and trying to hide it so I wouldn't fuck things up for the rest of my family. 
We always took the tree down on the day after New Year's. The year when I was twelve years old, I was once again in a tailspin but trying to hide it. We got the call that my paternal grandfather had died from a massive heart attack while he was out feeding his horses. I burst into tears. I thought it was my fault that he was dead because I hadn't been grateful enough, so God took my grandfather.
I learned a lot about my father's side of the family that year. I wrote a cheeky poem about it recently, which is titled "My Family Skeletons." You can read it here
At the time, it was actually very traumatic. My twelfth year of life was not a lot of fun. It seemed like everything was falling apart. There was a lot of contention surrounding my grandfather's will, and I was being bullied mercilessly. I started self-harming, and on one occasion, I swallowed a bottle of aspirin. I ended up with a sick stomach and throwing up. I didn't tell anybody what I'd done.
So, I guess what I'm getting to in my long-winded fashion is that the holidays are not happy-happy-joy-joy for some people. I tend to have kind of a neutral approach to them at this point, but that's because I'm emotionally numb. For some people, the holidays are extremely difficult. It's supposed to be a happy time, and people who are already struggling get added guilt heaped on them for not presenting a happy face to the world.
Please do not shame or berate people who aren't "in the spirit" during the holidays. The joy is not universal.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It Festively~

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Fake Friends, Fibroids, Incontinence, and Keeping it Real

Me (puffy endocrine face and all) and Crowley

I don't give one single fuck if you find me attractive or not
Every person is deserving of basic common decency, not just the ones you've deemed "fuckable"

This post is a response to Nicole at Cauldrons and Cupcakes. I tried to leave a comment on her blog, but. like so many Wordpress blogs, the overly aggressive Spam filter ate my comment. See "why Cie hates Wordpress."
Nicole, thank you for sharing your struggles. I started being real about my health struggles back when I was first diagnosed with type 2 bipolar disorder at age 38 and have been doing so ever since. I was raised in a family that believed in hiding their problems. I've since had to become used to more and more physical issues while trying not to hate myself for having them, because ill health was seen as a weakness when I was growing up.
The one thing that I was disinclined to discuss even after I started being honest about my psychiatric and endocrine issues was the incontinence that I've suffered with since I was 40 years old. I never saw a doctor about it until this past year because of a history of trauma and because I didn't want to be humiliated for my size while in a compromising position. I am a big person, and, given my endocrine issues, it would be almost impossible for me to be anything but and still be standing. The treatment of larger people by the medical establishment is unconscionable and leads larger people to avoid treatment until they experience critical health problems. 
I finally found a doctor that I felt I could trust to discuss my "plumbing" issues, including my "annual period" that I've had even after menopause. She told me that this sort of bleeding was abnormal and referred me to an OBGYN who turned out to be wonderful and compassionate. She never once made an issue of my weight. I had a D&C done, which revealed that my uterus is chock full of fibroids and polyps. Given that I no longer have a need for this particular organ, it is coming out in three weeks.
I've read that fibroids can promote urinary urgency. I have urge incontinence as opposed to the more common stress incontinence. I'm crossing my fingers that the hysterectomy might help improve this problem. I'm not one of those people with "light bladder leakage." Sometimes I can stop it before it becomes a full-on flood, but not always. Those dainty little panty liners wouldn't do doodly squat when I lose urine. I have to wear the big overnight incontinence pads.
It's possible that I should have had a hysterectomy years ago. I've always had really miserable, heavy periods, but I attributed them to my endocrine problems. People with hypothyroidism are, apparently, prone to heavy periods. I might have done something about it sooner, but because of the trauma I've suffered, I really don't like people "up in my business." Not that anyone likes gynecological exams, but I am psychologically traumatized by them. The idea that I might be belittled for my size made it a real no-go, and, thus, I avoided having such an exam for close to 30 years.
The medical establishment really needs to change their approach to larger people, to women, and probably to people as a whole. Many people who go into medicine lack compassion. I am a former nurse (still licensed, no longer practicing) and I can attest that nursing school was one of the most fatphobic environments that I ever had the displeasure of finding myself in. If we want a healthy population, we need to treat people of all sizes and with all issues including addiction with respect and compassion.
As for your "friend," I'm sorry that you discovered that she really wasn't one. (One of Nicole's "friends" berated her for being open about her health issues and sharing "unflattering" photos of herself.) I hate those discoveries. But in the end, it's kind of freeing to drop away from the people who like to imitate millstones.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Deep Thoughts With Cheesy and Barack

I wish there wasn't so much onus placed on being perfectly healthy. Nobody's perfect. Everyone has shit that goes awry, even those people who have supposedly "perfect" bodies. For instance, my cholesterol readings are actually stellar. You could frame that shit and put a blue ribbon next to it. But my endocrine system is a fucked-up mess, and my triglycerides are elevated. 
None of this shit says anything about my mind, my soul, my work ethic, my devotion, or anything else that I think is truly important. But a lot of people act like shit like blood sugar levels, abnormal labs, or a number on a scale defines a person on a moral level. It doesn't and can't.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Holiday Size Shaming: Thanksgiving 2018 Version

Image from
Your holiday feast should not come with a side order of body shaming

The inevitable holiday size shaming.
Trigger warning for size shaming and a brief mention of weight.
Disappointed but not surprised.
It is stressful for my son to go over to visit my mother on holidays, but he agreed to it because my mother was worried that Denny's would be terribly crowded. (I had suggested that we just meet at Denny's so no-one has to cook.)
My mother bought a flannel shirt as a gift for my son. My son is a tall, burly fellow with a little bit of a belly, either an in-betweenie or possibly a small fat. My mother made a point of patting him on the belly and saying "you need to lose this gut."
I wasn't aware of this until my son brought it to my attention after we left. He said that the funny thing is, last time he was weighed at the doctor, he actually dropped seven pounds for reasons unknown because he hasn't been dieting. He said the technician was praising him and he told her it didn't really make a difference to him, to which she responded with a look of surprise.
My mother refuses to acknowledge that leaving his home environment can be difficult for my son, who is high functioning autistic and has issues with anxiety (including a degree of agoraphobia) and depression. He becomes overly stimulated with my mother's insistence on keeping the television on, to Dr. Phil or the news or such. The constant barrage of advertisements is even more distressing to him than it is to people who don't become overstimulated. He doesn't react to stimulus in any perceptible way, but he will become withdrawn for a time after the fact.
It makes me sad that my mother continually shoots herself in the foot when it comes to her relationship with my son. I guess she knows that I'll flip my bitch switch if she mentions my weight, so she has to inflict her opinion on somebody, and she thinks since my son is a guy, he should be "tough enough to take it" when someone is "being real" with him.
I don't know if it's even worth bringing it up with my mother, because she will be "terribly hurt" by my "attack" on her and ask me why I'm always so "angry" even when I am speaking in a perfectly even tone and not doing any name-calling or making accusations, none of which I can say about her past interactions with me.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Ending the Stigma: Hoarding Disorder

This is a response to a post on The Mighty about what gifts to give and what gifts to avoid giving to a person who is struggling this holiday season.
Do not give a person who struggles with hoarding disorder (a subtype of OCD, NOT laziness, and if you think it is laziness please unfollow me now) things, unless it is something like socks which everyone can use and which are going to wear out. I appreciate money (helps to pay down debt or maybe buy some yarn for my craft projects), gift cards, and socks. Oh, yeah, I wouldn't mind some organizational bins either.
I don't know why I wear out socks so quickly, although, admissibly, some of them do fall victim to the Sock Gnomes. I have a whole bagful of socks which have lost their mates, and I've never figured out where they've gone.
My son and I are working on getting rid of the huge amount of stuff that I accumulated through my years of hoarding disorder which was only treated with blame and shame by those around me, and thus became even worse because it made it a bigger source of anxiety and so my reaction was to stuff things away and not deal with them. We have the storage unit about halfway cleared out and are aimed at having it entirely gone by early next year. 
This has been an enormous struggle for me, and it has pretty much destroyed my life. I'm trying to get my life back so whatever I have left can be spent doing things that are worthwhile rather than struggling with a surplus of stuff.
I still have a shed full of stuff and three spare rooms full of stuff.
I've known people whose hoarding disorder, probably combined with depression, was so severe that even doing basic cleaning was impossible for them. I've been down that low a few times. What didn't help one bit is hearing things like "lazy," and "disgusting." These television programs that exploit people with severe problems for the entertainment of assholes wanking to schadenfreude make me sick. To me, it's like watching someone being tortured or raped to watch those programs. It's disgusting the lows to which people will stoop, where instead of trying to help someone who has a serious problem we point fingers and ridicule them.
Many years ago, I rented out a townhome to a woman who had severe hoarding disorder. I was getting Section 8 payments from the government for allowing her to stay there. She wouldn't allow the inspectors in, and the HOA eventually wrote me a letter threatening to have me thrown in jail if I didn't evict her because there were huge numbers of flies in the windows.
When I got in, the place was beyond a nightmare. There were a few bags of things which were salvageable and which I took to give to the local thrift store to sell. Other than that, everything was trash and there was also dog feces everywhere. For reasons unknown, she had disconnected the pipes under the sink and had slime-covered dishes soaking in two basins in the sink.
This woman had two sons. One had a predilection for violence and eventually ended up in the Fort Logan state mental health center. The other one wasn't violent but he seemed totally "at sea." 
I never hated this woman for what she did. I felt sorry for her. I knew she had a serious mental illness. There was a housekeeper who was sent by the county to help out. (I did have to pay her, but it was at a reduced rate.) She was very disdainful, said she'd been here to help the tenant before, and that all said tenant did was "lie on the couch on her fat lazy ass and apologize for the condition of the place.) The tenant had a heart condition, which is why she was on section 8.
Being disdainful and hateful and exploiting rather than assisting people with a serious disease helps no-one. It is a barbaric society which turns people who are suffering into sideshow entertainment.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Manosphere Morons and Other Idiots on the Internet vs. Reality

(via Why the "cock carousel" is bullshit, according to SCIENCE)I 

I wanted to share with you all my response to this post, first because David Futrelle is really cool and I love the way he takes apart the assholes who populate the so-called “manosphere.” 

Second, to rip a new one for all the assholes who love to claim stupid shit like “if you ship Wincest, it means you want to fuck your relatives” or for whom “pedophile” means “you ship something I don’t like.”

The following is part of my reality, and here are a few other delicious tasty morsels to chew on. Trigger warning for discussion of self-harm and sexual abuse.

I am celibate. I am not having sex with anybody. I don’t want to have sex with anybody. I don’t do relationships right, and casual sex is toxic to me. I don’t like it at all. Above all, I most assuredly don’t want to have sex with my relatives. When I was 19, my cousin hit on me. I handled it poorly. She was a broken person, and my running off to the other room rather than talking to her about what had happened destroyed our friendship. I regret that. But I most assuredly did not want to have sex with her. In all honesty, though, even though I am heterosexual, I would have been twice as upset if one of my male cousins had hit on me.

My cousin and I were both molested by her father. I was very young when it happened and I don’t really remember any details. I started having nightmares after my son was born and I eventually put the flashbacks together. My parents moved away from there when I was still pretty young. Obviously, my cousin would have memories of it happening to her because she was still with him. I was never alone with him after that.

So, the reality is, I don’t really like sex very much, and I certainly don’t like the idea of sex with my relatives.

This doesn’t mean I should get a pass to ship Wincest because I’m using it to work for trauma. I should be allowed to ship what I damn well want without being bullied and so should everyone else. If you think that people need to have been molested to earn the right to ship something, you can go fuck yourself.

I ship Wincest because I see a romantic dynamic between Sam and Dean. I love the idea of a relationship that triumphs despite impossible odds and societal taboos. I do not have an “incest kink.” Sam and Dean are the exception, not the rule. I never thought I’d ship an incest pairing, but they shipped themselves. I just write the stories.

Anyway, the following is my response to the blog post. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but maybe there’s a tiny chance that some ship shamer has a spark of humanity in them and will learn something from this revelation.

My 28-year-old son's high school friends who have married got married older than my high school friends, many of whom married right out of high school. Maybe better sex education and a generation of parents who were less reluctant to talk about topics like sex and drugs helped. 
Personally, I lost my virginity at 16 and I was definitely not emotionally ready for such a thing. Much though I joke about riding the cock carousel, I really never did. The guy I lost my virginity to was this gangly fellow about six foot six and he looked a lot more like Bob Denver than Brad Pitt. 
I was totally in love with him, was planning the wedding in my head and all, and he broke my heart. That colliding with a bunch of other fucked up stuff in my life earned me a trip to the mental hospital over the weekend with superficial cuts on my arms. I was treated like shit in that place which led to my pact with myself that I have kept for the past 37 years: I would die before I ever allow myself to be institutionalized again, even for a second.
What I didn't know at that point and what I wouldn't learn until I was 38 years old was that I had type 2 bipolar disorder, which is trickier to spot than type 1, and I had borderline personality disorder. 
Far from wanting to ride the cock carousel, I had a very romantic mind and a very low self-esteem, which led to my being taken advantage of by a number of less-than-honorable guys. After a horrific and extremely psychologically abusive relationship with a misogynist who would force me to watch really awful porn--we are talking bestiality and scat here--and who would force me to do things like kiss his feet under the threat that he would take his "love" from me, I ended up at his place one night with blood dripping from both wrists because, surprise surprise, after the initial thrill wore off he replaced my position as his "best girl" with someone who hadn't yet "hit the wall." She was in her early 20's. I was 34 at the time.
I wasn't done with ill-advised relationships yet, but even dense as I was I realized that I could not allow myself under the thrall of a creature like this ever again, if not for my sake than for my son's.
Admissibly, my situation was a bit extreme because of my undiagnosed mental illness. But make no mistake, guys like this prey on vulnerable women. They even say things like "the crazy ones are great in bed," and the line from Orange Is the New Black where Sophia tells her son about the philosophy of practicing on an insecure girl isn't a lie. These assholes don't think of women as people, they think of them as things to be used.
Maybe women of my son's generation are savvier about these creeps than women of my generation were. Women of my generation expected a certain level of misogyny. The younger generation may be less willing to put up with it. I certainly hope so.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It Hardcore~

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Caregiving Techniques: Slide Sheet + Sly Speaks: Devalued Professions

SMART Slide Sheets, Patient Not Able to Assist

This series of videos from MedCo Technology is helpful for both professional and home caregivers. They offer techniques to minimize the likelihood of injury to the caregiver.
Most injuries in both institutional and home settings happen because the caregiver is rushed. Institutional settings, particularly long-term care facilities, are often understaffed. Many times at-home caregivers are without help and may be caring for other children if the handicapped loved one is a child, or for children as well as an aging parent.
Caregiving tends to be a profession/skill which is devalued. It is seen as something which uneducated people do, and tends to be seen as a “woman’s profession.” “Women’s professions” tend to be paid less well than so-called “men’s professions.”
Modern society will remain mired in misery until people in all walks of life and in the devalued helping professions and situations are seen as worthwhile, contributing members of society, which they, in fact, are.

~Sly Has Spoken~

 Image copyright juliahenze
Purchased from

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Me Too

Image copyright Andrea Arroyo

This is a response to a post by Juliet James on Medium

Honestly, Noah sounds like a horrible human being.
I have plenty of these stories myself. There was a guy named Shawn who I went to junior high and high school with. The girls all called him Scummy Shawn. He was always grabbing our breasts and buttocks. When we would go to an adult about it, we were brushed off as being overly sensitive. Boys will be boys. Just tell him to stop it.
One day Shawn was with a guy named Charlie. Charlie was a bit of a doofus, but he was harmless. Shawn grabbed my buttocks and told Charlie "grab her tits, dude." 
Charlie blushed and said no, he didn't think that would be cool.
Shawn grabbed my breast, and I wheeled around and kicked him in the marbles. He doubled over and groaned that I was being childish. I told him I'd become downright infantile if he ever touched me again. He never did.
I wish I hadn't had to resort to that, but I'm not sorry I did it.
A couple of years later, I ended up in the mental hospital after a half-assed suicide attempt. There were a lot of things that led to this. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had type 2 bipolar disorder, which didn't help. The factors leading to this incident were the fact that my aunt and my two cousins had moved in with me, and the cousin who was my age picked on me constantly. I was bullied at school, and my boyfriend, who was two years older than me, coerced me into letting him take my virginity. He then dumped me.
I was treated abominably at the mental hospital and promised myself that I would die before I ever ended up in one of those places again. I have kept that promise.
Looking back on it, the majority of sexual experiences in my life have been coercive. The guy who ended up raping me after I broke up with him used the come-on line "you don't want to be celibate for the rest of your life, do you?"
In fact, I would have been fine with being celibate for the rest of my life. I don't like sex very much. However, I have a very low self-esteem and still carried in my mind the idea that a woman without a man was somehow not a complete person. This is an extremely toxic idea and leads to women remaining in abusive relationships, but many of us have been fed this idea from a very young age.
It is distressing to me that there are enough people in this country who think a woman being assaulted matters so little that we now have "President" Pussy-Grabber in the highest office.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Why I Wouldn't Take a Cure for my Bipolar Disorder

Now, here is something that will blow y'all's minds.
If there were a cure for bipolar disorder, I wouldn't take it.
I know a lot of folks are saying "but why wouldn't you want to fix this thing that is wrong with you?"
First, you may have heard about people who have had procedures done to restore their sight or hearing after years of being blind or deaf, and they have trouble adapting to the world with this new sense. They have learned to "hear" by feeling vibrations, or to "see" by touch and sound. The new sense throws their perception off. 
I would not know how to think and feel without bipolar disorder. I would have a lot of trouble adapting. I might even become suicidal. 
Further, I have come to believe that this anomaly doesn't make me "wrong." It makes me different. The world is too quick to deem difference in cognition or physical ability a bad thing which needs to be repaired. I think it would be a better world if we embraced people who deviate from the norm rather than shaming them into conformity or isolation.
Would I take a cure for my endocrine problems?
In a heartbeat! I would love to not have to stab myself in the abdomen with a needle before every meal. I would love to not have to worry about whether I will one day develop diabetic neuropathy or start losing my vision because of diabetes. I would love to not have increased risk of vascular malfunction because of this dumb disease. I would love to have a thyroid that actually works. I would rather not have had polycystic ovarian syndrome. My endocrine system is a cluster fuck. If someone could cure this mess, I would be thrilled.
If someone could cure my glaucoma, I would be over the moon.
I don't want my bipolar disorder cured. I have navigated the world with it for pretty much my entire life. To completely change the way my brain works would be frightening and, I think, detrimental. 
But if someone could start working on cures for my physical ailments, I'd really appreciate it.

 ~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Insecure Writers' Support Group: I'd Rather Edit Than Critique

There was a post about critique groups on the Insecure Writers' Support Group last month. While I'm able to see the validity of such resources, I'm honestly not much of a joiner in the first place. Second, I dislike the term "critique group." I would much prefer to be part of an editing circle.
So, what's the difference?
While critiquing and editing may amount to the same thing in the end, to me critiquing embodies picking someone's work apart, while editing implies a close examination of the work in order to smooth over any rough spots and repair any holes. My mind sees editing as positive and critique as being a close relative of "criticism," and, therefore, negative.
When I edit someone's work, I look for basic issues such as spelling errors and issues with grammar, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph structure. I suggest alternative wording if I feel it would make the work read more smoothly. If there is a confusing aspect to the piece, I point out what I find confusing and ask if the writer could perhaps define this aspect more thoroughly. Sometimes when one has been working on a piece, they know their world top to bottom, front to back, and it can be easy to forget that the reader is not so familiar with their wonderful world.
I pride myself on being a compassionate editor. I would never use terms like "stupid" or "dull" to describe someone's work. Even if I find what someone has written absolutely cringe-worthy, I will find something positive to say about the work while making suggestions for improving clarity and readability.
There are all too many unfortunate stories of people who ceased creating after someone tore their efforts apart. I don't ever want to be the person who is responsible for making someone stop writing. I would much rather be part of an editing circle than a critique group if I were to join a group at all. While the difference may be mere syntax, I find it to be an important quantum shift. I don't want to dole out criticism; I want to suggest improvements which will strengthen an author's work.


I offer affordable proofreading and editing services or am willing to work out an exchange in return for a product or service of comparable value. Visit my editing services page here.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: The Effects of Bullying Last a Lifetime

I'm now almost 54 years old, but the bullying that I endured all through school still affects me to this day.  I have always felt that I was hideously ugly. If I'm completely analytical about my appearance, I'm actually fairly ordinary-looking, but when one lives in a society which has a very narrow view of beauty and constant bullying is added to that, one learns to loathe one's physical appearance. I honestly don't like it when people compliment me on anything because my initial thought is that they are just trying to get something out of me.
When I was in the third grade, I was sexually assaulted by two of my female classmates. I was too ashamed to say anything.  Later, a boy in that same class pinned me up against the wall and told me that he was going to kill me with his pocket knife. I wet my pants, and when I went to the school nurse, she laughed at me and told me that I was being silly. This boy was very popular, and he was never punished.
Throughout school, the bullying that I endured often had sexual overtones. There were horrible rumors that I would have sex with any boy who wanted it. In fact, I was so naive that I thought a "bl*w j*b" was blowing in someone's ear, and I wondered why anyone found that sexy.  Boys would often grab my breasts or buttocks. The adults never did anything about it. In one math class, the teacher was sitting right there while my classmates said things like "she plays with herself" and "she'd play with her t*ts if she had any." Up until I turned 18 and realized that my breasts tended to get in the way when I was doing things, I hated my "flat chest." I actually have rather average-sized breasts, not that anyone should be bullying someone with smaller than average breasts.
I have never enjoyed sex, but once I got into high school, I allowed my boyfriend to take my virginity. He dumped me after that, and I ended up in the mental hospital over the weekend with a slew of unkind doctors and nurses looking down their noses at me. One nurse even told me that I was a freak and I would never be normal. To this day, I'm proud of my sixteen-year-old self who told her: "better a freak than a b*tch like you." I don't know how I found the strength in me, but I stood up to those jerks, and I tried to be helpful to the other patients who were in there with me. My roommate was a woman in her 50's who was so severely anorexic that all her bones were showing. She had trouble voicing her needs, so I tried to be her voice.
Remembering these things makes tears of anger come to my eyes, but they won't last long because the message that crying is weak was so deeply internalized. I have a lot of trouble crying. I didn't cry after the deaths of some of my close relatives. I didn't cry when I had to have my beloved rescue cat put to sleep on his sixth birthday due to kidney failure. It's not that it didn't matter. I've never recovered from it. There's a gaping wound in my heart that will never be filled. I get accused of being cold and uncaring because I don't cry, but I simply can't. Crying was a weakness that my bullies would exploit, so I never let them see me cry.
I have major mental illnesses (type 2 bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder which manifests as hoarding objects, not animals.) Any coping skills I have with these diseases have been developed on my own. "Mental health professionals" have only tried to medicate me into normalcy even though I do not respond well to psych meds. They make me manic and psychotic. Family members offer wisdom like "just stop being like that," "just stop thinking like that," "just stop looking for attention," and "just act normal."
I have been completely unsuccessful in life, and, if it weren't for my son, the honest truth is that I would have been long gone. My life has been a series of loss and disappointments. With the psych conditions I have, it would have been an uphill battle anyway, but with the self-loathing I learned from being bullied all through school, the battle became impossible.  
When my diabetes worsened, I became unable to work the difficult jobs and long hours that I had always prided myself on being able to work. I am now living in poverty. If it weren't for my son, I'd be homeless. I do not have hope for things getting better.
Bullying destroys lives, but all I ever heard is that it was my fault that I was bullied, and if I would just "act normal" and "ignore it," I wouldn't "bring it on" myself.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Thursday, November 1, 2018

I Am Grateful

As someone with a rather chaotic life, everything is catch as catch can. I've tried meditating, but I have trouble doing so. This video is brief enough that it allows me to focus fully on it and to help myself with the brief, encouraging, but not sappy affirmations.

The Cheese Grates It: Using Your Brain Can't "Prevent Dementia"

Every time I see some fucking sharticle postulating how a person can prevent dementia by “exercising their brain,” I want to reach through the computer and punch the living fuck out of whatever fuckwit is wasting people’s time with this shit.
I took care of the elderly, including a large number of them who had dementia, for approximately 25 years. The facility I worked in for 11 years was near a university, and many of the people who ended up there had been COLLEGE PROFESSORS. One of them wrote a book about her experiences as a feminist and activist. Every day when I’d go in to help her get dressed, she would say to me: “I feel stupid.” I always told her that she wasn’t stupid at all, she had an illness that was making her confused. It was heartbreaking.
My father was a college professor. He had vascular dementia rather than a disease such as Alzheimer’s or Lewy Body Dementia, but, nonetheless, all his years of studying and teaching did not prevent him from getting dementia.
A couple of the more unique pieces postulated that a) smelling methane can help stave off dementia, and b) smelling wine can help stave off dementia. So, I figure if I eat a lot of beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower and wash it down with a glass of wine, I ought to be protected from dementia. Also from having people come anywhere within 1000 feet of me.
In recent years, several very talented musicians have succumbed to dementia.

Graphic created by The Real Cie. You are welcome to share it, but please do not erase my signature.

Glen Campbell not only wrote iconic songs, but he also had his own television show. Even after dementia had started severely affecting him, his intelligence and fighting spirit shone through. “I’ll Be Me”, the film documentary about his last tour reveals not only his struggle with Alzheimer’s but his strength of character. If anyone should have been able to avoid dementia by using his brain, Glen Campbell would be right up there.
David Cassidy was far more intelligent and insightful than people tended to give him credit for. His sometimes erratic behavior was due to feeling like he didn’t really fit in and that he wasn’t being heard. It is sad to know that he seems to have felt that his life was a series of mistakes. If anything, this very bright man used his mind perhaps too much.
Malcolm Young was not only musically talented, but he was also mechanically inclined. He worked as a machinist when he was in his teens. He enjoyed renovating things. The reason his band became an entirely different entity even though he was replaced by a relative (his nephew) who had learned some of his styles from the original is that Malcolm took his guitars apart and rearranged the components so they sounded like he wanted them to. This hardly sounds like someone who was sitting there letting his brain idle. If anything, Malcolm seems to have overthought things.
Dementia in its various forms tends to be genetic. Working puzzles may make a person faster at solving problems. It won’t stave off dementia if the trigger for dementia is activated in a person’s DNA.
I’ve lost several people in my own life to dementia. Junk “science” proclaiming that dementia can be prevented by “using your brain” really grinds my gears when people whose livelihood depends on “using your brain” succumb to the disease too.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~