Marijuana: Nature’s Blessing

Oh crap. I forgot what I was going to write. I hate it when that happens…

I use marijuana- legally- it is prescribed to me. I have several chronic pain conditions that require pain management and marijuana works for me better than many (and by many I mean MANY) presciption pharmaceuticals I have tried in the past to manage pain conditions like Fibromyalgia. Fibro as we so often call it because who has the damn time to say Fi-Bro-My-al-Gia whenever anyone asks- bears many symptoms. I have incessant pain in my neck. Pain that prevents me from looking down for any extended period of time without searing pain that reaches up through my skull and out my ass- literally my tail bone so yeah, my ass and leaves me bedridden for a period of time. Fibro also causes my speech to slur, my muscles in my legs and back to contract so bad I vibrate. My fiancée often rubs my legs therapeutically to help release the tension and spasms that sometimes prevent me from walking without a cane or just plain walking. I also suffer from osteo arthritis in the majority of my joints. These are the days I don’t take stairs. I have endometriosis, an endocrine system disorder that results in many cysts to form around my reproductive area, spreading out towards my vital organs. In my case, I have cysts around my ovaries, uterus, bladder and bowel. This causes inflammation and cramping, nausea, IBS, and my personal favorite- vomiting. I was also diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which goes hand in hand with Fibro. I have degenerative disc disease and scoliosis, basically, my back and spine are a mess. In additional to all that, I have had a lifelong battle with depression and crippling anxiety and was recently diagnosed with PTSD. I have no support from my family, despite having four parents. I have few people I call friends, but they’re fantastic friends and I would not change them for anything.

I at one point had trusted many (many) doctors with helping to control or at least manage my shit-storm of symptoms when I found myself being basically poisoned. I was taking SOO many medications for sleep, anxiety, depression, arthritis, endometriosis, fibromyalgia. “Try these antiflammatories”, “try these medications”, “try these anti depressants”, not realizing they were destroying my liver in the process and making me massively overweight. I decided to take a different approach and tried cannabis at the age of 27 for the first time. It took my pain away, it took away my nausea, I felt better. Through a lengthy process of research, at this point I studied Nutrition and Wellness and despite not becoming certified in the end I learned a lot and it opened a lot of doors for me in nutrition and fitness. I lost 125 pounds, was teaching classes at a local fitness club, worked for a fitness chain and then had to leave due to surgery and illness.   

My illnesses have since stripped away my ability to work a proper job. It has taken away my independence, my money as I cannot work which means I am poor. My self esteem, and self worth. I have lost family, many friends and I am divorced. I have at many times felt completely hopeless, trying to make ends meet, trying to feed myself. 

I now live with my fiancée and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Oh well surly you must qualify for disability then?

Not so fast. I must first meet humpteen thousand qualifications first. What they don’t tell you is that most people are denied several times prior to being accepted- so in the mean time… They don’t tell you that they will also look at your partner’s income and although it’s not a well paying job by any means, it BARELY keeps a roof over our heads, and we live in a tiny, 140 year old, poorly maintained apartment in a sketchy neighbourhood- basic food (nothing fancy like a bunch of fresh produce and fancy meat cuts)- Internet and phone service but it will be too much as I’ve had applied with two other prior partners in the past. They also don’t tell you that in order to qualify you have to see and have documents from specialists of all kinds, psychiatrists, your GP- and currently I have none of these- since moving to New Brunswick. The doctor situation is astonishing here, meaning- there is NO ONE accepting new patients. You also have to write a novel explaining your symptoms, your medications, everything you have done and tried AND prove that is also “Severe and Prolonged” and affects your ability to work and apparently that despite everything I have mentioned to you I did not qualify. Then you can appeal- takes up to a year. Then you have to wait another 6 mos or a year to re- apply. It’s a nightmare for someone with chronic illness. It’s not as definitive as say cancer, or being paralyzed. It’s a struggle.

We struggle.

We love each other, but we struggle. Just with finances.
The point I’m trying to make despite my digressions, was that I use medical marijuana. I chose this option over opiates. That’s a whole different discussion there but we all know that it can be useful in short term situations, but for chronic pain, with no end in sight, opiates do not work and can easily become physically addictive. I have witnessed this first hand with friends and family. It’s not for me.

Marijuana is the only thing that relieves the majority of my symptoms, it may not be for everyone, as everyone is unique, but it works for me. It helps me to relieve physical symptoms, which allow me to at least do housework, cook, walk my dog engage with my partner and sleep well. The only side effects I get are sometimes the munchies, thirst, the giggles, and I often say things like “Alright, alright, alright” in my best Matthew McConaghy voice.

It also sometimes allows me to be creative and write. It helps my thought process my brain is often full of “Fibro fog”. This is the place where simple sentences, cognition and general conversation can be a challenge.  

I’m not alone, many Fibro patients are beginning to try cannabis products. It comes in many forms now. You can smoke it, vape it, eat it, drink it, take it via flower or bud, capsule, oil, dabs, shatter, you can even rub it on your skin and bath in it. The best part is that NO ONE has ever died from marijuana. You can’t even overdose on it. By overdose I mean die unless medical intervention comes in.  

It even elevates my mood. I’ve been known to dance in my kitchen to music at times.  

The government keeps it illegal. This is also a topic for another day but when you research it and if it’s something you think you’d like to try, always research it first, research it at length before you approach your doctor, bring articles if you must, I had to in order to finally get my point across after a few years of asking. But yes when you research it, you may understand the “politics” behind marijuana. I’ll post a few links to some great articles below.

Another side effect is that sometimes you start out writing a humour piece and end up writing a pro marijuana legalization piece because you initially forgot what you were going to say. 

Contact your doctor today and tell them they suck.

Live Humbly, Be Charitiable, Live Graciously.

Sam

Articles of Interest

Journal of American Medicine: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338266

Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20100830/marijuana-relieves-chronic-pain-research-show
Medical Jane: https://www.medicaljane.com/2014/06/13/chronic-pain-and-the-theraputic-benefits-of-medical-cannabis/
Norml: http://norml.org/library/item/chronic-pain

IMAGES
“3d Pain Relief Concept Illustration Design” by David Castillo Dominici Xourtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Types of Medical Cannabis: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis

“Marijuana: Safer than Peanuts” http://medicalcannabiscultivation.com/medical-marijuana-card/
“Pills Bottle With The Prescription On White Background” Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net 

Posted in Arthritis, CFS, Chronic Illness, Coping, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Health, Marijuana | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goodbye SparkyLee/ Coming Clean

For years I have written under the pseudonym of SparkyLee Anderson. I chose this initially because I figured it would be a short time affair writing pieces that no one would read so if it flopped no would be the wiser that I had failed as writer; my life long dream.

I have now been blogging for five years and have picked up more followers than I imagined I would so, in accordance with my “living my true self”- I have decided to come out (again) only this time I’m not coming out as a lesbian (which I am) but I’m coming out as Samantha (Sam) Clattenburg.  

But who is this Sam Clattenburg ? 

Me Doing What I Do

Well, she is reluctantly turning 42 next month but will probably still tell people I’m 37 because I use a lot of facial creams and with my OCD nightly regime I still think I can pull it off. If I can’t then please don’t tell me, let me live in my happy little bubble.

I am also crass. She swears A LOT. I try not to take the Lord’s name in vain as much as possible but instead I tend to curse a man named Jesus H. Rodriguez instead. I figure it’s safer; but, if there IS a man out there named Jesus H. Rodriguez with a lot of bad shit happening to him, I deeply apologize. 

I was mainly raised by my auto mechanic father, and I have 3 younger stepbrothers so I was basically a Tom boy but I looked girly which played against my advantage for things like playing Army or dinkies and later on being picked for things like Dungeons and Dragons (something I still resent) thanks Ian and Aaron for excluding me from your sausage fest fantasy games while I wept quietly in to my pillow cursing my vagina and my non existent boobs. (Jk- I still love you guys) As a child I played a lot in my sandbox with my Tonka trucks, climbed trees and ate dirt. I also like Barbies a lot which was confusing. 

I move around A LOT. I have lived in six provinces (or states if you’re American or some shit) although I never left the country, not because I don’t want to; I’m just poor lol. In 22 years I think I lived in a total of roughly 20 different places.  

I am divorced. It was a mismatch relationship to the extreme. I like Doctor Who and she fancied sleeping with other women. I am now in a relationship with someone I love very deeply, I fancy her quite a bit and pretty much think she’s the cat’s pajamas. I even followed her to another province when she got a new job. 

I am an animal lover, particularly dogs. If you tell me your name, chances are I’ll forget it- tell me your dog’s name and I’ll greet him/her by name every time we pass. I think it’s because I tend to like animals more than most people. Animals are honest, in the moment and just don’t give a shit. They don’t care what you look like in the mornings, if you’re sick or broke, Hell, they’ll even follow you to the can while you poop for God’s sake. Not that I want friends and family to watch me poop, in fact, I urge you not too as I have performance anxiety and I like to read in there so.. Don’t bother me. 

I often eat food late at night while standing over the sink. I don’t give a shit really. If I’m hungry, I eat. The sink aspect is because I’m too lazy to sweep up crumbs of jam filled toast off the floor, plus I don’t want ants.

I’m allergic to everything. I’m one of those gluten/wheat free douchebags that people often complain about. I apologize in advance for taking too long to read ingredients.

I’m also very sarcastic, but dorky sarcastic. I can’t help myself but if you’re gonna say a line in front of me like, “I don’t know, I just couldn’t make it fit” it is my urge, no- my duty to retort “That’s what she said.” 

I’m very socially awkward. This may be part of the reason I used a pseudonym for over five years. I plan to write more about these socially awkward stories in the future, under my real name therefore laying claim to some of the most embarrassing crap that could happen to a person. Yep I’m coming clean. 

I’m planning to begin a new blog under a new domain name (TBA) and hope to get that up and running within the next month.

I’m essentially the same as SparkyLee only I’ll be writing for me, I’ll be more honest and I refuse to write fluff anymore for simple traffic on my blog. To date: the most successful article on SparkyLeeGeek’s blog is titled “The Magic of Giovanni Ribisi”. Seriously, whenever I check my stats, sure enough that article has been viewed. This is great and I appreciate the traffic but I don’t want to be known as the broad who is “obsessed with Giovanni Ribisi” to quote one reader. No Sir, I just happen to think he is a gifted actor and judging by the stats, so do a lot of others. In my fantasy, it’s ACTUALLY Giovanni Ribisi himself reading it daily to pump himself up for whatever actor role he is preparing for; or maybe he’s having an off day and needs my article to cheer him up. You’re welcome Giovanni. Please keep making films.

So essentially, I hope this transition is easy and seamless, (any tips or suggestions are welcome in the comments section) I also hope to maintain my supporters and followers but I am looking to grow and pick up a few more a long the way. I understand I may lose followers but to quote Ray from the “Trailer Park Boys”, “That’s the fuckin’ way she goes.” 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,
Sam. 

Things that please Sam

Posted in Blogging, Growth, humor, Inspiration, Lesbian, LGBT, life lessons, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Things That Drive Me BatShit Crazy

crazy-woman

These are just everyday little things that happen, but when you have ME/CFS and constant pain it doesn’t take much to push you right over the edge of insanity. Sometimes the end result is simply a bunch of cursing and expletives, sometimes it makes you throw a mug against the wall whilst yelling “Fuck you Kelly Clarkson!” sometimes, you just curl in to a fetal position and cry wishing you just return to the womb and stay there.

These are just a few things that really grind my gears.

 

When you have to pee and the toilet paper rips mid wipe falling helplessly in to the toilet leaving you with pee on your hand and you’re left wandering around the bathroom in a panic much like Carrie did when she first got her period in the girls’ locker room.  DAMMIT!

Living in Eastern Canada means we have like 10 months of winter so boots are a necessity.  Why can’t they make socks that stay up when you pull your foot out of your boot?? I have 3 pairs of boot slip proof socks (don’t ANYONE touch them!) but the rest?  They just pull the fuck off when I remove my boot and I’m left doing some kind of one footed tribal dance to prevent my bare foot from touching the cold (and now wet from my boots) floor DAMMIT!

Touch screens.  We all have devices now with touch screens, but with ME/CFS you often have spasms.  I’m trying to click the article about the happy ending for that rescue dog but instead I keep clicking on the ad for penis enhancement.  Let me be clear, as a gay woman, I have no use for this.  I have no intentions of enlarging any penises of any kind.  Not for my guy friends, my brothers or my father for that matter, they are on their own.  But now my browser thinks I have an interest in penile implants and impotence drugs.  DAMMIT!

Water temperature can be infuriating as well.  I live in a 140 year old building with probably 140 year old plumbing; it’s not uncommon that the temperature will go from freezing cold to scalding hot in a heartbeat.  It’s like dancing the fucking hokey pokey in the shower some days, hopping back and forth, and side to side sticking your left foot out to turn the taps.  DAMMIT!

When your dog barks for no good reason.  Nothing makes you pee just a little bit when it’s deafening quiet when your dog just up and decides she’s going to have a conversation with herself and that guy walking down the street out the window.  I just spilled my tea all over myself.  DAMMIT!

I used to have a dishwasher, for years I had one.  Now I have to hand wash everything several times a day but fine whatever.  Here’s my beef with dishwashers; YOU HAVE TO RINSE YOUR DISHES prior to putting them in the dishwasher.  The last time I looked inside a dishwasher, there were no little hands with scrubbers attached to them.  Put that egg covered plate in the dishwasher and I swear I will crack that now cooked on egg plate over your damn head.  It takes two seconds to rinse a plate.  DAMMIT!

I hate sweeping the floor, but what I REALLY hate is that line of dirt/dust that just refuses to be collected.  “Nope, I’m just gonna move a little farther back, a little farther back, a little farther back” “GET IN THE DAMN DUSTBIN YOU SON OF A BITCH!”   DAMMIT!

Know it alls.  We all know at least one.  I have a debilitating illness; I’ve had it for over a decade now.  I have studied Nutrition and Wellness, Personal Training and Fitness Instruction.  I have literally dedicated the last 10 years of my life trying to find answers, trying different medications, reading study after study, seeing a plethora of doctors, trying a multitude of treatments and supplements; it’s safe to say it has basically consumed me. Yet, there’s always someone out there who thinks they have the answers to your problems.  Sure they don’t have the illness, never read a medical journal in their life and are overall healthy but they’re going to tell you their opinion just the same. This is the part where I grit my teeth, smile, say “I’ll look in to that” but secretly… I want to punch their face in to a jelly.  DAMMIT PEOPLE!

 

It’s important to note that I am not a rage filled witch bitch.  This is simply a humorous look at the things that drive me batshit crazy.  I rarely lose my temper these days, but I have my triggers, we all do  and I’d love to hear yours in the comments section.  What drive you crazy?

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sparky

image

Purple Butterflies for Fibromyalgia

 

IMAGE

Crazy Woman  https://mpasho.co.ke/kenyan-women-are-crazy-here-is-why-east-africans-do-not-want-to-date-kenyans/

 

Posted in CFS, Chronic Illness, Comedy, Fibromyalgia, Funny, humor, Musings, Women | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Eerie Mysteries

Mystery ghosts

As long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the bizarre and unexplained.  As a child I had to rely on books that I got at the library or through the mail.  When I was fourteen, my neighbor had all the brand new Time Life Books that explored the Mysteries of the Unknown, like UFO phenomenon, psychic powers, ghosts and spontaneous human combustion; I borrowed each book one by one until I had completed the series.  Now, thanks to the internet, I am free to explore any topic I want at length until I feel satiated.  Over the past year I have researched some fascinating cases, here are ten of my favorites in order, saving the best for last.

10 The Mysterious Sound Heard All Over the World

Mysterious Sounds Since 2011, people all over the world have been reporting a deep hum or buzzing sound and no one really knows the source.  It has been heard and reported in Canada, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand. There are some hot spots in England, New Mexico, North America, Australia, Scotland; and Canada. The real source of the sound still remains a mystery.  I have heard this eerie sound late at night/early morning and the sound ranges from a low buzz to a higher pitch squeal seemingly coming from either the atmosphere or deep inside the earth.  There are a few theories out there as to what the sound could be.  Possible suspects include exposure to electrical power lines, gas lines, fracking, industrial equipment, electromagnetic radiation, it’s even been said that this is the  End Times complete with its own Apocalyptic soundtrack; buildings under construction can also result in humming or squealing sounds as winds rush through incomplete building structures.  The sound can often start and then dissipate later.  About 2% of people have heard this hum and it has been described as one of the most annoying sounds in the world.  There are many videos and recordings of this mysterious hum. Have you heard it?  And if so, what do you think it is?

 

9 Unknown Creatures Caught on Camera

Creatures

 

With the availability of cameras and video these days, it’s becoming easier to capture the bizarre on camera.  For years the internet has been a blaze with videos and photos of mysterious creatures; some say they are aliens, some believe they are the result of government experiments with genetics and hybridization.  Some even believe this phenomenon to be supernatural in origin referring to the creatures as Gollums, Chimeras or even Jinns which are basically a cross between genies and demons.  The creatures range in appearance from tall and upright, glowing, hairless, walking upright or crawling, flying humanoid, to contorted and seemingly backward walking humanoid.  There is no definitive answer for these sighting which have occurred all over the world making this mystery incredibly intriguing.  We can now pour over literally thousands of images and videos capturing bizarre creatures and let our nightmares begin.  Check out some of the footage below.

8 The Dark/Deep Web

the Deep Web

The Deep or Dark web entails approximately 90% of internet content when we as daily surfers only reach about 10% of what’s out there.  Using a TOR browser will allow you to browse the dark web.  Here you can purchase drugs of any variety, buy guns, hire a Hitman, pay to watch children, men, women or animals tortured or browse an unending array of databases.  People have reported logging on and joining rooms out of curiosity only to leave with permanent emotional scarring, some have died, some have been stalked or tracked or hacked.  It’s here where the depraved of the world gather to exchange ideas, perversions and crime for bitcoins, the preferred method of purchase on the Deep Web.  The mystery lies within the fact that the users are all anonymous, it’s difficult to track down users because the browsing technology of TOR allows access through multiple proxy IP addresses making one virtually untraceable. There are many stories surrounding the Deep Web floating around out there including kidnapping and child sex trafficking rings, live broadcast murders and torture, sex fetishes and some say government secrets; because of the anonymity, people in countries with strict internet protocols like China or North Korea Explore have access to sharing and receiving sensitive information.  Explore, if you dare.

7 Black Eyed Children

BEK.png

(Also referred to as BEK or Black Eyed Kids) I stumbled upon on this gem on my favorite internet radio show, Coast to Coast Am.  These are children who just randomly appear at your door late at night trying to gain access to your home using excuses like needing to use your phone, bathroom or simply screaming outside until someone comes to their aid.  Reports of these demon, vampire, werewolf, alien beings have been surfacing the net since the 90s when a reporter from Texas named Brian Bethel told his story through a series of writings and later on appeared on a television reality series called “Monsters and Mysteries in America”, and reports of sightings all over the world began pouring in making the phenomenon that much creepier.  Would you answer the door to a kid with a monotone voice and pure black eyes?  Would you let it use your phone or sully your bathroom?  If you would, well then you are braver than me.  If you would like to learn more check out the books by David Weatherly who not only appears on a number of radio shows regularly but has written books on Black Eyed Children as well as Tulpas and “Strange Intruders”.

6 Exorcism in Indiana of LaToya Ammons

LaToya Ammons

This incident took place in January of 2014 in Gary Indiana.  After moving in to a rental home, a mother, LaToya Ammons, her mother and her three children began experiencing things like creaking doors, mysterious footsteps and shadowy figures.  It only took four months to escalate to the point where her daughter began levitating, the grandmother witnessed this and the girl had no memory of it after.  Ammons and her mother began reaching out for help from clairvoyants to their church.  The church suggested anointing the children with olive oil as a means of blessing and protection while clairvoyants found more than 200 demons at the residence.  They also tried “smudging” the home which is a native practice to burn sage to purify a home of evil spirits.

Ammons learned her 7 year old son was talking to “ghosts” and had even flung himself out a window requiring another child to get stitches.  The kids told health care workers about some of things they were experiencing, like feeling like they were being choked in the home.  This resulted in home visit by CPS (Child Protective Services) where they would be rigorously tested and questioned.  At first it was believed the mother, LaToya was suffering from mental illness and abusing the children.  During one visit one of the boys had spoken in tongues and attempted to strangle his brother to death, once released the older boy began attacking his grandmother, she tried to pray with him but he walked up the wall and landed on his feet.  A registered nurse was there at the time and corroborated this event.  The police were called in for help.

Even the Catholic Church got involved and it has to be serious for them to even consider exorcism.  Not only is it a grueling process but it requires specially trained priests to perform the rituals and requires permission from the Bishop of the Arch Diocese, conducting interviews and visiting the home they witnessed lights flickering, footprints appearing in the living room and swinging blinds in the kitchen.  Ammons, her children and mother went to live elsewhere temporarily.

Upon an inspection with the help of the Gary Police Dept, these officers are now believers in the paranormal having watching their brand new batteries die and picking up some eerie recordings on the police audio recorder.  Pictures were taken and developed revealing dark shadows and what appeared to be a woman.  The Police Officers say they will never set foot in the house again.  The family has since been reunited, been exorcised several times over and have been cleared of any mental disorders; they now reside elsewhere and no further activity has been reported in the home.

5 La Pascualita

La Pascualita

Also known as the “Corpse Bride of Mexico” was something I came across on a late night YouTube surf.  She is a Bridal mannequin that has remained in a shop window in Chihuahua Mexico for the last 75 years.  The eerie thing about this mannequin is that she looks oddly human, right down to the wrinkles in her hands.  The details in her face are remarkably human and simply did not exist anywhere else in the world at the time in the manufacturing of mannequins.  The legend is that the bride was the original shop owner’s daughter who had died the day of her wedding and due to the nature of her untimely death, father so consumed with grief immortalized her forever as a mannequin.  Over the years she has remained in the window being changed behind locked doors.  Her hair has lightened to almost a soft gray and the mannequin has showed signs of aging.  Could this be a real woman underneath the layers of plastic to preserve her forever?  Look it up and decide for yourself.

4 Thoughtforms/Tulpas and the Olivia Mabel Case

Olivia Mabel

In 1994 police in Texas responded to a couple of 911 calls to a home owned by a woman named Olivia Mabel.  When police arrived at the house they found a horror scene straight out of a movie.  It seemed as though the house had been abandoned for several years due to the dust and smell in the air.  Upon entering Mabel’s son’s bedroom (who had died several years prior) they found a deceased Olivia in a rocking chair, clutching a stick figure doll made in the image of her son sitting in front of what appeared to be an altar dedicated to him.  It was determined she had been dead for months.  So who made the call?  One officer who had experience with the occult immediately recognized the writings, which turned out to be Sanskrit, the isolation of the woman and the dark presence she felt while in the home to be that of a Tulpa or Thoughtform.  Tibetan Buddhists believed that through mental focus, discipline and concentration one can create an entity separate from one’s self that can physically manifest.  The mother, so desperate focused all her grief in to an Entity that possibly caused her demise.  There was a note found at the scene that stated “My Aiden, I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry. I should have never let it get like this. I’m leaving. I will not let you keep me you ViLE, Evil CREATURE. Mommy’s coming for you, Aiden, my sweet Aiden. Mommy loves you.”  The note was dated the same day that the officers arrived on the scene even though Olivia had passed away months before.

OliviaMabelCase

Visit www.oliviamabel.com for more information.

OliviaMabel Case

3 The Taman Shud Case

The Somerton Man

Its 6:30 am December 1st, 1948 when passerbies witness what appeared to be a man passed out on the beach in Somerton close to Adelaide Australia.  Upon closer inspection the man who had been dressed neatly in a suit was dead and had been in the same spot for quite some time according to locals, most people assuming he was drunk and sleeping it off as he lay propped up and slouched against a sea wall on the beach.  He had no identification on him aside from a tiny piece of paper left inside his pants pocket ripped from a book reading only “tamam shud” which is a phrase from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyáma a Persian book of poetry and the phrase translates roughly to “finished” or “ended”.  The athletic 40-45 year old man became known simply as “the Somerton Man”.

Six weeks in to the investigation a suitcase was found in a cloak room at a local train station believed to belong to the man, it was estimated it had been dropped off about 11 hours prior to his death.  The items inside the suitcase were just as mysterious as the man himself, again no identification was found.   The case contained several items such as pyjamas, a checkered dressing gown, slippers, underpants, shaving items, pants with sand in the cuffs, an electrician’s screwdriver, stenciling brush, a cut down table knife, sharpened scissors, thread that seemed to be used to mend a pair of pants also found in the case.  It was later determined that this thread wasn’t from Australia and with some train records, it was assumed that the man arrived in Australia either from Melbourne, Sydney or Port Augusta.  Some of the drafting tools found in the suitcase were similar to those used on merchant ships for stenciling Cargo.  There were some dry cleaning tags as well with “T Keane” “Keane” and just “Kean” written on them although detectives were not able to locate anyone with that name.  The original book that the phrase “Tamam Shud” was found and submitted to police about six months later, on the back it contained a series of letters resembling a code and two telephone numbers, one of which belonged to a local nurse who claimed not to know the man but grew visibly upset upon seeing photos of the man leading police to believe she knew more than what she was letting on.  Despite a number of people attempting to crack the “code” this has still not proven to provide any additional information regarding the man’s identity or manner of death.  This still remains one of Australia’s most publicised mysteries gaining worldwide recognition. Some people believe he was poisoned, that it was government related due to the height of the cold war at the time, maybe he was a spy, or perhaps he was murdered by a scorned lover.  No one really knows and the hunt for his identity and cause of death is still ongoing today.

Taman Shud

 

2 The Mysterious Death of Elisa Lam

Elisa Lam

February 19 2013, caretakers at a historical Hotel in Los Angeles investigated what guests reported as a weird smell/taste to the hotel water when the body of 21 year old Canadian Student Elisa Lam was found.  She was fished out of the water storage tanks of the Cecil Hotel (now called “Stay on Main”) in downtown Los Angeles.  A few days prior to her discovery, she had been reported missing, police released video footage of Lam in the elevator; her behavior was erratic. The footage was roughly a four minute video clip taken from the hotel’s elevator.  In the video, she stayed close to the elevator and appeared to be hesitant, almost hiding from someone (thing).  At one point she leaves the elevator standing just outside using hand gestures, as though talking to someone, but no one else appears on camera.  After which she gets back in to the elevator pushes all the buttons before exiting the elevator for good.

The medical examiner deemed her death an accidental drowning and it also appeared she suffered with a Bi polar disorder upon interviewing friends and family.  The only drugs showing up on a toxic screen were clinical doses (or less than) of prescription medication, and there was no alcohol in her system.  The mysterious part of this is the water tank she was found in.  It was not easily accessible, she would have had to access the hotel’s rooftop which required a passcode and keys, climb a fire escape, a ladder and then lift a very heavy lid to the water tank, climb in and then close it again. The unlikelihood of such events have led people to question whether her death was really an accident, foul play or something paranormal lurking in the hotel.

1 The Dyatlov Pass Incident

Dyatlov Pass

This case consumed me for a few months.  I read all I could find online, watched every video including the film Devil’s Pass which is loosely based on the case.  I even read a couple of books about it.  How could nine experienced young and healthy hikers all succumb to death within mere hours of one another with no definitive answer to how they died?  It’s February 2nd 1959 in the Ural Mountains bordering Siberia, when 9 hikers, students of the nearby Ural Polytechnical Institute are in the midst of a winter hike through the mountains in order to earn merits for school.  Before they reach their destination they pitch camp for the night and within hours end up slashing through their tent and dying what seemed to be brutal deaths.  Most of them were undressed or shoe-less which made no sense for experienced hikers.  Many bore fractures to skulls, ribs, legs, and one girl had her tongue torn out, forensics would later to determine she was alive at the time.

Dyatlov Pass Incident.jpgIt took months to recover all the bodies which were reported to have graying hair and an orange tint to any remaining skin.  The investigation reported that the students met with an “unknown compelling force” but no other explanation was ever given.  Some theorize that it could have been an avalanche although, there’s not much evidence to support that, some think it could have been military related such as weapons testing which was reported around the Ural Mountains close to that time during the cold war, or it could have been what the aboriginals believe to be a Yeti.   It’s one of those cases you can really sink your teeth in to but you’ll have to draw your own conclusions as no one will ever know for sure what happened that night.

Listen to the Coast to Coast am broadcast about the incident

Dyatlov Pass Group

I highly recommend the books Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar and Mountain of the Dead by Keith McClosky, they were both compelling reads and can be found on Amazon.com.

I hope I have intrigued you enough to look further in to these bizarre mysteries for yourself.  Thanks for reading

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sparky

 

Sources

Ghostly image   www.mirror.co.uk

Sounds Out of Heaven Image  allnewspipeline.com

Strange Sounds Website http://strangesounds.org/the-hum

Creature Image  www.disclose.tv

Deep Web Image www.quora.com

Black Eyed Chidlren Image extraterrestrials.wikia.com

LaToya Ammons/ Image  www.fromtheotherside.org.uk

LaPascualita   http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/la-pascualita

LaPascualita Image leyendasdemexico.net

The Bizarre and Lonely Death of Olivia Mabel   http://www.americas-most-haunted.com/2016/01/21/the-bizarre-and-lonely-death-of-olivia-mabel/

Olivia Mabel Police Reports http://oliviamabel.com/post/129894373642

Olivia Mabel Photo   www.oliviamabel.com

Mabel Altar Image elftreemedia.com

Evidence Photos  www.americas-most-haunted.com

Taman Shud/Somerton Man/ CipherMysteries http://www.ciphermysteries.com/tamam-shud-somerton-man

Somerton Man Photo www.phys.org

Taman Shud Code Photo  www.adelaidenow.com.au

Elissa Lam Photo  yournewswire.com

Daily Mail UK News   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2401175/Dyatlov-Pass-Indicent-slaughtered-hikers-Siberias-Death-Mountain-1959.html

Dyatlov Pass Incident/Images

locklip.com

theunredacted.com

realunexplainedmysteries.com

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Creepy, Lists, mysteries, Top 10 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does Chronic Illness Look Like?

Living with pain seems to be all I know. In the last few months it’s gotten worse, especially since my father pulled away from me. Again. My mother did this years ago so I’m no stranger to neglect, but anytime my father isn’t happy with my life he lets me know he’s disappointed in me; this hurts. 
I made the mistake of asking him to co-sign a line of credit for me to use for school. I went back in my thirties to get in to fitness and personal training. I LOVED being at the gym. Pushing my body’s limits, being drenched in sweat, and my own personal accomplishments. I was robbed of all that due to an emergency surgery. I have Endometriosis. In my case, my entire endocrine system is fused together by a clump of cysts. They tried to remove the large ones but there were far too many. My bowel, uterus and kidneys are so fused together, they were concerned about nicking other organs while operating. My surgeon said and I quote, “I’ve never seen anything like that”- startling. I had experienced several cyst ruptures and a large amount of blood and toxic poison was just sitting there in and around my stomach. I had some cysts removed from my ovaries but many remain. I’ve been nauseous almost every day for years now, which could be the Fibro but could also be connected to the Endometriosis.  

 

Symptoms of Fibro

 
The Fibromyalgia diagnosis came first. Endometriosis on top of that. I was well on my way to a living hell. Add to that, degenerative disc disease, Osteoarthritis and a host of food and chemical sensitivities. I was 37 but medically, I was more like 60. At my last job, I honestly spent more of my shift throwing up in the bathroom or sweating profusely. Brain fog. Stuck in a state between awake, asleep and dreaming. A nightmare. My (ex)wife, Doctor and I decided that I couldn’t keep working. Not even part time, due to the unpredictability of my symptoms. It gets worse every year. I wake up most mornings so weak and dizzy that when I get out of bed I have to hang on to walls to keep from falling. Throughout the day my speech and vision become impaired. I am so tired that I can’t even hold my body up. (I am currently writing this propped up in bed with pillows.). I don’t remember the last time I felt comfortable, let alone pain free. I get swelling around the base of my skull which causes migraines and vomiting. My hands puff up so bad I can’t grip things like a tea mug. My legs and feet also swell. 

  
Winter is the roughest part of the year, the cold hurts my body. Everything tenses up and I shiver uncontrollably causing more pain however, too much heat makes it difficult to sleep or get comfortable. It makes it hard to breathe. The lack of sleep can become emotionally and physically taxing leaving you feeling completely drained.
The crushing, ever-present fatigue that comes with these chronic illnesses deserves a paragraph on its own. I don’t get tired; I get mind-altering, crushing fatigue that WILL NOT let me keep my eyes open. I throw up from being so depleted of energy. This – coupled with pain and frequent flu symptoms – makes it impossible to lead a normal, productive life.

  
Well over a year ago, my ex wife left me. I think that she thought I was lazy. She would make passive aggressive digs at me – that I didn’t “earn” things. Things in the house and the money were HERS – not mine. She stripped away any remnants of confidence or self-worth I had, leaving me feeling absolutely useless. I couldn’t have children (which she knew from day one) I wasn’t wealthy (which she also knew and accepted from day one). She didn’t love me “through sickness and in health” like our vows said she would. She turned mutual friends against me telling people I was “just lazy”. She clearly didn’t love me enough to stick by me. She didn’t love me enough to even bother learning about what was even wrong with me. I was lost. I tried turning to my family but they didn’t care. My father’s encouraging words were for “me to suck it up”.

  
I am still lost. What are you supposed to do when you can’t work?  

I can barely walk, talk or perform everyday things that you take for granted. Things like taking a shower, making a meal or doing regular housework. Because it’s not a cancer diagnosis and I’m not in a wheel chair (yet), my family doesn’t understand how truly disabled I am. They don’t understand that between daily crippling pain, severe childhood trauma, feeling so exhausted and depleted- I have very little quality of life. I have a fiancée whom I am very much in love with and a dog I adore like my child but beyond that… I will never be a great success of any kind, I will never be wealthy, or even financially stable. I will never have a family, a home or even a car of my own. I have one last thing I’m holding on to and that’s love. It’s kind of the only thing keeping me going right now.
So right now, I have zero money. Actually, I have negative money and I can’t afford my payments. When the phone rings? Immediate anxiety and nausea. I feel like answering the phone whilst stomping the shit out of it yelling, “No! I don’t have your fucking money! Again! For the 75th time this week you all important Gods of Fuckery!” I’m losing my damn mind. I am so worried and stressed over it, I’m not really eating or sleeping which is making it worse. I am trying to apply for disability and get in to this pain clinic that also treats people with PTSD. I have a crap load of blood work to be done and other tests to rule out MS, Lupis, Lyme’s, Parkinson’s and all the other big neurological illnesses.  
It’s like being 2 different people. You have what you consider, “Yourself” which is that small percentage of time where you’re not in crippling pain, hugging toilet bowels, Hell, you may even get out of your pyjamas and experience life once in a while. Then there’s the other side of you. The side that is fed up, miserable in your own body, not understanding the simplest of things, wanting to give up and waiting for death. I have a little voice in my head those days that tells me I’m useless, I’m worthless, I’m a loser, I disappoint everyone and I ruin everything I touch. I hate that voice. Hate it.
My Father is disappointed in me.  

He’s called me. Angry. He left a nasty, cursing message about me taking care of my loan. I’m trying to explain to him that I’m really sick but he just talks over me. They (my Father and Step Mother) down play it, make fun of it, think I’m making it all up. WHY ON EARTH WOULD SOMEONE CHOOSE TO BE CHRONICALLY ILL?? Not that you can choose this any more than you can choose to become diabetic, or to get cancer. It’s just thrust upon you. It’s even harder being sick with no support system. I’ve never had one of those though. Ever. Which is why I’m at my breaking point now.

 

If you could see the pain

 
“Chronic pain and depression increase the risk of suicide (Barkin et al., 2011, Calandre et al., 2011). Social support and family self-efficacy moderate the relationship between family problems and depression in patients with FM (Libby & Glenwick, 2010), and support from a closer social network reduces anxiety and depression, and, therefore, also helps relieve pain” (Salgueiro et al., 2009, Sanchez et al., 2011).
So now here I am, in a city where I don’t know anyone, where there aren’t ANY doctors seeking new patients. I haven’t a dollar to my name but I have this loan hanging over me. Looming. I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do. There’s nothing I can do, I’m a bloody mess and according to my Doctor (in another province) I’m in NO CONDITION TO WORK. 
I love my parents but they are impossible people. My father and mother have always been more concerned with themselves than me. I have frozen in winters because I couldn’t afford heat, I have starved. I’m starving right now! I have had to go without medication. I’ve had to go without so much in my life because of this. They just don’t see it. I can’t keep taking the abusive phone calls. I just don’t know what to do.
I want to propose a campaign. I know we don’t like to be seen on our bad days, and tend to avoid people whilst relying on our heating pads and pain medication…the fact that we isolate ourselves and hide away from the world is means that people don’t see us at our worst. 

Let’s put a face to the invisible illness.

Use the hashtag #FacesofFibro. Snap a pic during your flare ups ( #FlareUp) and spread it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, whatever you use. Let’s show people how it looks to suffer in silence.

 

My #FaceofFibro

 
In all the articles that I read and all the support groups I belong to, one constant remains strong : people do better when they have the support and love of the people they hold dear. What if you don’t have that, though?  
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

SparkyLee

Image Sources
Young Woman Lying In Bed And Having Migraine” by FrameAngel www.freedigitalphotos.net
Woman With Cold Sneezing Into Tissue” by David Castillo Dominici www.freedigitalphotos.net
Lonely Sad Woman Deep In Thoughts” by David Castillo Dominici www.freedigitalphotos.net
“If Fibro was visible, this is what it would look like” Pinterest
Image of the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/147083.php
Image of Fibromyalgia searing flare points http://www.medicinenet.com/fibromyalgia_pictures_slideshow/article.htm
Photos of myself on “Flare Days” taken by me
Article cited: “Effectiveness of Three Types of Interventions in Patients With Fibromyalgia in a Region of Southern Catalonia” /collaborated on by Pilar Montesó-Curto, PhD; Montserrat García-Martínez, PhD; Carmen Gómez-Martínez, MD; Sandra Ferré-Almo, MD; Maria Luisa Panisello-Chavarria, PhD; Sara Romaguera Genís, MSN; Maria Luisa Mateu Gil, MSN; Maria Teresa Cubí Guillén, MSN; Lidia Sarrió Colás, MSN; Teresa Salvadó Usach, PhD; Antonio Sánchez Herrero, MD; Carme Ferré-Grau, PhD) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/852823_2 

Posted in CFS, Chronic Illness, Coping, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I May Be a Hoarder…

 

Hoarding

Hoarding. According to Merriam Webster means: “a temporary board fence put about a building being erected or repaired” Hmmm.
Okay, so the Urban Dictionary describes a “Hoarder” as “anyone that feels the need to find, collect, keep, pack ANY and EVERYTHING because they do not know how to throw things away”

 

Matt from “Hoarders”

In my defense, I do know how to throw things away, I do it frequently actually. It’s just certain items that I cannot part with.

This is a term we have recently adopted with the successes of such self help shows as “Hoarders” and “Hoarding: Buried Alive” which I am guilty of watching.
I’m not anal-y clean but I am fairly tidy. Things have their places and I make my bed and do my dishes everyday. My bathroom is not scuzzy by any means and you could eat directly off my counters, that being said I do have a nasty hoarding problem. Media.
My girlfriend recently accused me of being a “Media Hoarder” to which I responded with a resounding laugh and guffaw, and then I thought about it as I held my external hard drive filled with every season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, “Game of Thrones”, “True Blood” about a dozen of my favorite movies and 52 years of Doctor Who. I then reluctantly opened my “books” file on my laptop to see over 3000 titles. Glancing across the room I see all my books and basically anything with Doctor Who on it.


Okay so maybe I have a problem. When a friend asked me if I wanted some books and old mystery magazines I responded with a colossal, “YES PLEASE!” Now I’m thinking the girlfriend won’t be too pleased when I roll up with more bags of books like I’m preparing for some kind of reading holocaust where books, magazines and general reading material won’t be made readily available to the general masses.

 

Book Club

I haven’t always had the Internet, before I had to rely on the public library with their ridiculous time constraints. How is one supposed to get through and understand Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” in a couple of weeks? That’s theoretical physics, it takes understanding and yes I know I can book it out again but some guy wants it so now I’ll never know how it ends! I bought a lot of used books at some of the now closed quaint bookstores in downtown Halifax, I bought books at flea markets and whenever I got a pay check, that meant one new book. Then I got in to E Readers. Wow!! Digital books are EVERYWHERE! In the last 18 mos, according to my “GoodReads” account, I have read 58 titles! I then begun to find free sites to get books and now, as previously stated, I have a library consisting of over 3000 titles.

I am currently reading my second book of the account of the Dyatlov Pass Incident that occurred in the 1959. If you haven’t heard of this, I urge you to look it up. It’s one of the most mysterious cases I have ever studied. Ten (highly experienced hiking and skiing) students go off for an excursion to the Ural Mountains bordering Russia and Siberia and are never heard from again. When the bodies are eventually discovered, they learn that they had slashed outward through their tent (as if scared by something) running out in horrendously cold conditions barely clothed, some barefoot in to the elements for some unknown reason. The bodies were found with multiple fractures, broken ribs, missing eyes and one girl even had her tongue torn out. The bodies were reported by onlookers to be orange in color and have had graying hair. No one has ever determined how or why this happened. It’s a remarkably interesting case. I really recommend the books, “Dead Mountain” by Donnie Eichar and “Mountain of the Dead” by Keith McCloskey. Excellent reads. The authors traversed the same paths as the dead hikers and release some now declassified information and photos. Fascinating stuff!

 

Me

So I hoard media. You never know when life could change (as mine frequently does) and you’ll find yourself without Internet. At least I can rest easy knowing I will still have all my books and shows to read and watch. I have no shame in digital hoarding, let’s face it, it takes up way less space and requires far less dusting.
With so much to read and such a limited lifetime, I better get reading! Do you hoard media too? Are you waiting for the media holocaust? What do you like to hoard?

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Hoard On,

Sparky

 

IMAGES Courtesy of:

“I’ll see you when I see you” Meme http://appraisingpages.com/2013/08/30/funny-book-meme-friday-part-v/

“First Rule of Book Club” Meme *Pinterest

“Picking Five Favorite Books…” *Pinterest

“That Bitch has a lot of Shit…” *Reddit

“You are one stack of shit…” http://www.killthehydra.com/tag/relationships/

Posted in Books, E Books, Hoarding, humor, Reading | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Living With Chaos…

Our Building circa 1878

Our Building circa 1878

The world is filled with so much anger and meanness.

I’ve known this since I was a toddler.

I grew up in a, let’s say, “Chaotic” home. My father worked while my mother stayed home and took care of me and the house. Sounds normal enough, except my mother suffered from severe depression and chronic illness. She spent a lot of time either angry, crying or escaping in to another world by form of romance novel. I did not have a normal childhood; at this point in time, sure it’s difficult to define what is actually normal, however I can assure you I could fill a best seller with what went on during the course of my upbringing. The biggest things were that I was lonely, insecure and afraid of everything. I wasn’t allowed to join groups or socialize with other kids my age which, as I got older made me more awkward and introverted.  I was not a social child I read books and wrote stories, I did however watch and listen- and I remember everything.

My parents fought constantly, often violently. There was the rare moment of family togetherness and happiness but it was always fleeting. Someone would get mad at someone eventually and hell would break loose. I lived smack dab in between my paternal grandmother and my aunt and uncle. In my case this aunt and uncle, who were also my Godparents, were my father and mother’s brother and sister. My uncle being my Dad’s brother, my aunt being my mother’s sister. There was never a shortage a fodder for fight in my family which at the time bonded over alcohol and drugs and general partying. It was nothing for my Dad and his brother not to speak for weeks on end or my mom and her sister to fight over something ridiculous ending in a foul mouthed open argument from the comfort of their own stoops. The only problem with the parents’ fighting was that the only kids I was allowed to play with were my 2 cousins so if the parents were fighting, I was alone. There was always yelling and screaming and cursing growing up; everything always seemed so chaotic. Even a trip to my grandparents’ house which should be fun was exhausting.

My maternal grandmother was a hard woman when we were young. She always had her hair in pin curlers with a bandanna tied up over it and a long king sized Rothman’s cigarette hanging out of her mouth. She cursed like a sailor, was constantly working (sometimes I think she made extra work for herself just so that she could complain about it later.) I remember accidentally getting in her way in the kitchen once with my cousin as we played her response? “Get the fuck outta my way you little bastards!” *Sigh a day at Grandma’s… She was cranky, fought constantly with my grandfather, accusing him of this or that. She had even treated her own daughters awfully with verbal, physical and emotional abuse when they were growing up. I later learned that she was also abused growing up by her mother who actually turned out to be her grandmother. My grandmother was a product of Great Grandmother’s Kuhn’s greed and disdain for her own daughters. Her daughters were sometimes offered up to the gentleman visitors to the house. My maternal grandmother grew up thinking her sister was her sister when in fact, she was her mother. Crazy eh? My grandfather was much different, in our family we all kind of felt bad for him having to deal with our crazy grandmother. She made it known to all of us little kids that our grandfather was a “rotten cheatin’ bastard” but we all had our own opinion. He was a man stuck with a woman and 8 children, who probably couldn’t leave her in good conscience. He was always kind to us; I remember his hearty goofy laugh and how much he loved playing music and being on his boat. We never blamed him if he cheated, it was only ever the one woman that I remember hearing about so, God Bless her if she gave that poor man some happiness.

Both my parents came from homes where fighting and violence was prominent, they both left school at age 13 (coincidentally, despite their six year age difference) so it’s not surprising it carried forth.

What else do I remember? Being bullied relentlessly. Almost all my cousins bullied me at some point. I have vivid memories of being held down by one cousin while another whipped me across my bare back with a broken clothesline. I don’t even know or remember what I could have possibly said or done. I was such a nervous, anxious child (already with a full blown anxiety disorder) I always tried to avoid or break up fights. I was sick of them. I was sick of people being mean to each other by the time I was 8 years old.

The bullying didn’t stop there, I had a lengthy school career after that. I was always either too weak, too skinny, too chubby, too quiet, too loud, too pretty or too sad for people to like me. I never really fit in anywhere. Even at 41 years old today, I still don’t feel like I really fit in anywhere.

Now that I myself suffer from chronic illness and pain, it’s left me pretty isolated and cut off from my family and people I once called friends. It doesn’t matter how old you get, being hurt by others doesn’t hurt any less. In the past year I went from being married with 2 dogs I adored living in my dream home with lots of friends to living in a shit hole apartment, in danger of being evicted after my girlfriend up and moved back to the United States, because I haven’t been able to work because of illness in 4 years, I went through my divorce settlement money fast as I was supporting basically 2 of us. So now I was alone and broke, my friends who initially said they’d help me out when I needed it were never around to actually do so. My family was of no help, my dad’s words when I called him crying about my divorce? “Get over it and move on.” There were no hugs of support. No phone calls asking me if I needed anything, no support of any kind. To this day, my family doesn’t even believe I’m actually sick!

People are so cold and uncaring. The fact of the matter is, is that I suffer daily in pain; I have difficulty with mobility, cognition and speech. I can’t get around, don’t own a car but do you think anyone would ever offer me a ride anywhere? Nope. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember. My parents once made me suffer through a 2 day asthma attack, I had to sleep sitting up, because my father couldn’t be bothered to take me 10 minutes down to the Emergency center. When he finally did take me, they took me in right away, asked him why he waited so long and told him I had asthma. Upon hearing this news, my stepmother responded, “No she doesn’t” everything was always “a ploy for attention” from my step mother; even when I tried to kill myself as a teenager, she came storming through the front door yelling at me that it was a “sick ploy for attention”.

Even though I grew up alongside my brother, he was treated differently. He had his mother and grandmother on his side. I had a mother whose idea was basically; “out of sight, out of mind” (is to this day in fact) and my selfish father who cared more about himself than me. My brother wasn’t forced to get a job at 15. He didn’t have to pay for his own medications at that age. He wasn’t forced to do any chores in fact; right up until he moved out at like 26, my step mother still made his bed, cooked his food and did his laundry. He has no idea what it was like for me to watch my brother have all of his needs taken care of while mine were just ignored.  Although I don’t hold him responsible or begrudge him as he was just a kid, it would help if he was a little more understanding.  Recently he told me to “grow up”. Thanks bro, for having my back, you couldn’t even take an hour out of your precious time to take me out for a coffee when my marriage fell apart.

I’ve always been on my own it seems and have always been surrounded by selfish, rude, mean or out and out cruel people. What the hell is wrong with people?? If you see someone hurting, you don’t kick them when they’re down. These are basic human instincts that seem to be lost on the masses now.

Most recently I had a falling out with another cousin who lived with me briefly. Because I was already struggling to get by and my girlfriend who had become my best friend, got a job in New Brunswick I had a day basically to decide whether or not I would go with her. Given the fact that I have had no support from family and have lost most of my friends (that’s what happens when you have an invisible illness) and because my cousin was never home and I just assumed she would understand that I needed to go. I needed to get away from all the anger, the bullying by people I once called friends, a family who really couldn’t be bothered with me; I just needed a fresh start. Needless to say, she was less than understanding. She even got her “in and out of jail” friend to threaten me and because they wouldn’t return the keys I literally slept the last couple of nights in that apartment with my door barricaded and a crowbar by my bed. This is what I have left behind. My hope is that now that I have written about it, I can process it and move on easier.

It feels like my whole life I have been surrounded by anger, rage, selfishness, and bullying. I’m 41 now and it stops here and now even if it meant I had to leave half of my belongings behind and move one province over, the hurt ends now.

shelving

Old Antique Built in Wall Shelving

Old Window

Our Old Window View

As I sit looking out our (roughly) 140 year old window in uptown Saint John, I see a new life for myself; a life where I can be quirky and creative, a life where my partner understands my illness, away from my constantly critical family, and away from the negativity I now associate with Halifax. We moved in to a tiny one bedroom in one of the oldest parts of the city. It’s rich with heritage, history and culture and should provide me with lots of inspiration for writing and art.

It always surprises me and pleases me to see families who actually act like family. My girlfriend’s parents are amazing people. They helped us lug and drive all our stuff here even though her father is quite ill. The things they have done for their children and their kindness towards me makes me feel grateful to have met them. It also gives me hope that there are truly kind people out there in the world.

street view

Our Street View

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sparky

All Images are my own

Posted in Bullying, Chronic Illness, Depression, Family, life lessons, Pain, Reflection | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shame

I hope no one notices me

I hope no one notices me

Merriam-Webster defines shame as follows:

: A feeling of guilt, regret or sadness that you have done something wrong or improper.
: Ability to feel guilt, regret or embarrassment.
It just dawned on me that I have been living a life of shame.

I have lived this life of shame since I was a child. I was sitting here reflecting as I unwind for the evening and realized a huge part of my issues with self confidence and success lie rooted in the fact that I was raised and grew in to a full grown woman full of shame and guilt.

For example, it began as a child, first of all I lived in a trailer, when everyone else I knew had a house. I was also a weakling; skinny, with weak ankles that constantly sprained, and all arms and legs with big ears and poor hand/eye coordination. I hated gym class with a passion. It was constant humiliation. I couldn’t run like the other kids, rather I tend to run like Phoebe if you’ve ever seen that episode of “Friends”. Basically I’m all gangly, wobbly and I flail about like a child drowning accidentally in the neighbours’ pool.

I had one summer where I stayed with grandparents who treated me constantly and fattened me up, so I got teased; I got made fun of for now being chubby. I was terrible at sports because I lacked confidence. I threw the bat during a baseball game and knocked the wind out of the back catcher kid so bad he was rolling on the ground with a purple face, maybe I hit him in the nuts, shit. (Sorry Chris Gibb where ever you are), because I was clumsy and had NO business being on that field. I was always a bookworm, which I also got made fun of for, so basically a nerd. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t good at sports like the others. I felt ashamed when the kids would yell “Put your weight in to it!” Making fun of my now plump physique in my second hand clothes I received from my cousin who was 6 years older than me. Try sending your kids in baby blue bell bottomed cords that snaps up the front like a bloody diaper and watch them come home in tears and resent you until you are 41 years old. I was ashamed of my clothes. I just never seemed to fit.

My parents also divorced when I was 13 and at that time I was the only kid from a broken home.  Shame.  Counselling, and then more shame.  Apparently it’s not uncommon for children of divorce to blame themselves and this results in a tremendous amount of guilt for a child to carry in to adulthood.

The desire to fit in carried throughout my teens and frankly junior high and High School were a nightmare. I got bullied so much in one school, I mastered the art of skipping class in the eighth grade. I got shoved up against lockers by heavy set girls, pelted with snowballs as I left and I was blocked out of my locker by the “mean girls” in my school. I felt so ashamed. What was wrong with me? I was just a meek, shy, mild mannered kid who enjoyed reading. I NEVER changed in the girl’s locker room either, I chose a stall because I was either ashamed of my body, I’ve always had thick German legs, plus I was was worried that I would get caught sneaking a peek at a boob; I struggled with my sexuality my whole life and didn’t even come out until I was 34. The only problem with changing away from the other girls was because then you get labeled as A) weird B) must have something weird like a 3rd nipple or she’s a “dyke” and back in the eighties it was not acceptable to be gay. Another shame I held in for another 21 years.

I also spent my twenties as fat girl. Yes I was fat. I ate everything and I ate often. All the wrong foods and no exercise mixed with some wrong medications made me balloon up during what should have been a great time in my life. I was ashamed of my body, my size, ashamed to eat in front of others. I was ashamed to even ask for assistance retail stores. I was “mooed” at like a cow on two separate occasions. I finally wised up and changed my lifestyle and dietary habits and lost 120 pounds which I have happily kept off for about a decade now.

I'm Gay Everybody!

I’m Gay Everybody!

The next “shame” I couldn’t hide any longer. I fell in love with a woman. I kissed a girl and I really liked it. I always felt so awkward in my “straight relationships” Like I was sleeping with a brother or a cousin at the very least. My ex boyfriends could probably attest that it often required copious amounts of alcohol for intimacy to occur. I had to come clean with everyone including the God I thought would hate me if I did.

My family were not religious by any means, I however, through my paternal grandmother, began reading the Bible at a very young age, as her eyes failed I read her her favourite passages. At 18 I had decided I would become a nun. I attended Catholic Church 2-3 times a week, studied both religious studies and Latin and because I wasn’t really that interested in men I thought great. This is what I will do. There was a sister I confided in a few times but because I was often depressed she eventually stopped returning my calls. I was now ashamed I had depression, even the church didn’t want me. The shame and guilt of depression carried over to when I was contemplating “Coming Out”.

At 34 I became very involved with The Word only this time l was seeking help for the fact that I have liked women most of my life. I was so ashamed of this “depravity”.  I foolishly believed I could be made straight through church and avoiding women. I once sought counsel from the Pastor’s wife who basically told me I would not get to enjoy heaven if I went down this path. “Hate the sin love the sinner” I was told. I prayed for months and do you know what I got back? “Be yourself” so I did. I came out and told all my friends and family I was gay. Since I have come out, I have lost a few friends over it, went through gay marriage and now gay divorce and am currently happily in love, I’m done with being ashamed of being gay now.

The current shame and guilt I live with daily is the shame of being sick. I have an invisible illness. In fact, I have several. You can’t tell by looking me but I have chronic pain from Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Disc Disease and Endometriosis. I am 41 and at 37 I was unable to maintain work due to chronic illness. I have “Chronic fatigue” which may actually be narcolepsy (I’m getting whatever tests done, always with the tests- I feel like a bloody pin cushion) so my shame is not “Making a living” and being a drain on society. My ex friends, ex wife and even some family still treat me like I’m just lazy and don’t want to work which is really infuriating because I literally feel like I have no control over my own body, but to have no one believe you? That makes you feel ashamed. Guilty for not being able to contribute much financially like a “normal” functioning member of society. Ashamed because at 41 I can’t afford my own car and have to bother my 64 year old father for a ride to my doctor.

I feel ashamed I don’t have what people might consider a “normal life” for someone my age. I could never have children, another shame for not being a “regular” woman. A guilt I carried through 2 failed relationships. I don’t own a home, own a vehicle, have any assets or savings. Because of my illness I fall asleep constantly making me appear lazy, shame. I can’t lift that item because the vertebrae in my back scrape together and lock, shame. I’m only 41! I need help with things like shopping because I can’t carry items or I forget things. Embarrassing shame. I am virtually housebound because public transit (if I can even walk to the bus stop) makes me violently ill from an overwhelming mixture of smells to the motion. Shame, I really should have a car. I can’t afford a car though so, shame.

It’s only now I have come to this conclusion. Well, the shame stops here. This is the year I stop feeling ashamed, guilty, and unworthy. I am in the midst of big move to a new province with my best gal and my dog. She accepts me for who I am, she actually sees past the illness and sees me; and she’s not ashamed.

I look forward to a fresh start with her by my side. I’m not ashamed anymore, I’m not afraid.

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sparky Lee

Purple Butterflies for Fibromyalgia

Purple Butterfly for Fibromyalgia

Image Sources

“Ashamed Girl With A Bag On Her Head” by Stuart Miles www.freedigitalphotos.net

“Gay Pride Flag” by Serge Bertasius Photography www.freedigitalphotos.net

“Butterfly” by arztsamui www.freedigitalphotos.net

“Definition of Shame” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shame

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Have People Become Socially Retarded?

imageMerriam Webster defines “Retarded” as follows: slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress. First use: 1895

People should really take a moment and self examine how they treat others. What happened to courtesy? When did loved ones cease caring? When exactly did people stop being functional as human beings ? Why does how much money you earn determine your worth and value as a person ?

Over the last year several things have become clear to me.

1: People DO NOT know how to communicate. People are quick to defend, quick to anger and quick to judge. People can’t seem to articulate or really say what they mean anymore.

2: People have become socially “retarded”. It seems we are so buried in our work, gadgets and ourselves to even KNOW how to properly interact with others. “Oh you updated your status? It MUST be about me.” Then you can expect a flood of irrational, angry, sometimes threatening, often hurtful text messages.

3: People are threatened by confident people. If you’re a confident woman that automatically makes you a bitch.

4: People are consumed by materialistic ideals. MUST HAVE, MUST HAVE, even if I can’t afford it. MUST HAVE MUST HAVE, now I’m bored. People can’t stop and be grateful for what they have, they’d rather focus on what they don’t.

5: People are just as disposable as those little pink plastic razors we buy in bulk. If you disagree with an opinion or even have an opinion people can take that personally. I learned the hard way that because I was a forgiving person with a chronic illness that I have become disposable to many. Even family members.

6: People forget that others have feelings too. We live in an “All about me” society where no one helps you unless they get something out of it. Where did charity, compassion and kindness go? Is it sitting in a landfill somewhere amongst a pile of useless cell phones?

7: People are selfish. Enough said.

8: Grace. “These are skills that are needed for behaving in a polite way in social situations” (Merriam Webster). Most people seem to lack this. Use words in a polite way if you’re mad at someone. Check your temper because everyone is way overheated these days and it’s likely you will say things you don’t really mean.

9: Making mountains out of molehills. People overreact constantly over the dumbest shit. My advice to all you wound up, tightly strung individuals, “Chill the fuck out”. Sit down and think rationally before you speak or act with the mind the good Lord gave you for all that is holy.

10: Personal victories and success. Traditionally speaking, if a loved one or friend has something good happen to them, you’d be happy for them right? Nope. No one cares, keep it to yourself, someone somewhere is going to be A) Offended B) Jealous or C) Aloof. Just celebrate being you with the people you are closest to. You know who they are.

It makes me sad that this is the world we live in now. Everyone’s out for number one in a dog eat dog world. The number of jerks and assholes out there far exceed the number of genuinely good and kind people; and if you are genuinely kind, you get taken advantage of and walked over. It’s almost like we are slowly devolving back to the apes we allegedly came from (Oh I’m going to take heat on that one, but Rh factor and Rhesus monkey genes, look it up) I fear we’re just a mere few years away from grunting and just grabbing things we want again.

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

SparkyLee
Image Courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net “Woman Showing Middle Finger” by stockimages

Posted in Advice, CFS, Chronic Illness, Coping, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Health, LGBT, Opinion, relationships, spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colouring Outside the Lines

image

A Bad Day

Over the past year I have l learned to be appalled at how people treat one another. People are selfish, viscous, dishonest and just plain cruel.

I have a chronic illness diagnosed as “Fibromyalgia” back in 2003 but new symptoms have arisen that has led me to question this diagnosis, (EDS and MS come to mind) My symptoms now include chronic severe daily pain in my legs, arms and joints, in addition to abdominal pain thanks to a storage shed of cysts planting themselves on my uterus, bowel and bladder. I do believe I now have narcolepsy and am pushing for a diagnosis. I find it hard to stand or sit for long periods of time so I have to lie down a lot confining myself to my bedroom. It’s a hell of a life. You also get to live like a human guinea pig as you try this drug and that, offering even

Big Pharma, Savior to all...

Big Pharma, Savior to all…

more painful side effects that in my body, were simply not welcome. I have gone on the medical marijuana path instead. (Which offers a whole new series of judgements best left to another article)

The thing that bothers me the most is how truly shitty people are about it. My wife basically kicked me out of the house for being such a “downer” all the time. Even her cold hearted mother who I had come to know as “Mum” wanted me out as my “crying annoyed her”, In addition my wife was clearly cheating openly on me. So I had to deal with a divorce, the assumption that I was not not worthy of love, that I was a burden, displacement, the loss of a dog I had grown extremely attached to; that I raised and trained, I also lost any and all trust and respect I had for my wife who promised to love me and be my rock. It was even her that proposed!

Bye Bye Friends

Bye Bye Friends

Next came the friends, falling one after another like a domino effect as they “assumed” I was just lazy and couldn’t be bothered to go out when in fact I am at home depressed, isolated and in pain barely able to hold my eyelids open, at this point I am slurring my speech and am about to drop and sleep wherever I may land. So sorry I interfered or spoiled anyone’s plans. My total bad. Then came the hurtful, hateful and unnecessary messages of those I once cared for and trusted.

You need help, no wait, you’re wait- you’re beyond help” said one friend of mine for 7 years (who I genuinely thought was a friend and cared) as I tried to explain I had been sick from going off ALL of my medications to begin new ones.

Screw you!

Screw you!

You’re just making excuses.” Says other friends. No, I’m sorry but my illness has about 70 faces and today, the face today is that I cannot walk. If not being able to walk is an “excuse” to you and not a cause for concern, you are indeed a shitty friend.

You’re selfish, go get a job bum!” Yes a friend ACTUALLY said this to me. Yes it’s so selfish of me to “want” to live in constant pain, not being able to eat the things I want and can’t afford, having no social life or the ability to maintain a job. Oh and since you’re full of opinions, being broke all the time is super fun as well. Excuse me for being selfish. Pardon me while I enjoy my soup for fucking dinner.

What in the hell is wrong with people? I’m so sick of dealing with being emotionally battered on almost a daily basis by those who I foolishly think love me. I’m tired of being the butt of jokes, I’m tired of people not being able to communicate like adults. It seems when there’s a lashing to give, I always manage to find myself at the other end of the lashing.

10 Things People Have Taught Me:

Only trust yourself. People will turn on you like rabid dogs when given the opportunity.

Protect your heart. If you’re sensitive like me, it’s probably a good idea to limit the number of people you have in your life because Lord knows you cannot please everyone all the time.

Don’t be quick to trust others. Keep yourself closed off, if they know your weaknesses they will use it against you the first chance they get.

Don’t bother taking the time out to “listen” to other people’s problems. Sure as shit, it’ll be crickets and tumble weeds when you need someone.

Never ask anyone for favors, they only complain about them when you’re not around.

Get a dog. They are far more loyal and loving than most people.

My dog ALWAYS loves me

My dog ALWAYS loves me

Don’t talk about your illness or else you will lose your crowd. No one wants to hear about your crippling pain so, just keep it to yourself.

Always wear a shit-eating grin. People (again) don’t want to know, see or sense that you are not well as this detracts from what they want to talk about.

Save your compassion and kindness for stray cats, dogs and birds that have inadvertently fallen from their nests. Surprisingly people tend to forget that you were ever kind or compassionate or even possess a heart for that matter.

Hey! Origami!

Hey! Origami!

Invest money in hobbies, you will need something to do as you sit home night after night isolated and alone in the nightmare that seems to be Fibromyalgia (ATM) I taught myself to knit, draw, paint, Origami and to play the guitar.

Love yourself, often, others don’t so you need love somewhere. (I am lucky to have a girlfriend who is learning the ropes of being with someone chronically ill, I really hope she sticks around).

Are you tired of people too? Do they drain you physically and mentally? Is it wrong that I want to fill my house with animals, move to the mountains where I will wear men’s shoes and hunt off the land never to be bothered with people/society again?

My Messages to People out There:

Stop being assholes. Until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you have NO CLUE as to what someone may be going through.

Call or text once in a while to let us know you care. Don’t wait for us because we’ll just think we’re bothering you.

Get your head out of your damn arses. There is more to the world than your little drama bubble of YOU.

Be kind, Karma is a bitch. The last person that yelled at me calling me lazy and “faking an illness” hasn’t worked in four years as she battles a mental disorder. How does that karma taste? Would you like some salt to make your bitter more palatable?

The truth is this, I wouldn’t wish this illness upon my worst enemy, even the skank that broke up my marriage or my cold and callous ex wife. It’s miserable, never ending, draining, throbbing pain that sometimes is bad enough to cause vomiting. My joints dislocate, the discs in my back are degenerated, I’m swollen every day from food allergies or inflammation, I have to look at the same four walls every single day (I am literally almost mad. Like Jack Nicholson in the Shining mad). Everything I planned to do had to go on hold for a while while I recovered;  my writing has really suffered because depression makes it hard to write lest you come off like a drunken and angry Sylvia Plath, and the brain fog makes me come across as a mildly challenged child with ADHD who can’t get her thoughts together in a clear, concise and readable fashion. It’s like colouring outside the lines for me and that is simply unacceptable.

The truth is, the older and sicker I get, the less time I have for bullshit. It’s pretty simple, treat others as you would in turn like to be treated. Have people totally forgotten and abandoned that golden rule?? If you’re kind to me, I will never forget it and spend my life telling you how appreciative I truly am, on the other hand, if you treat me like shit, expect it back in spades. (And I have collected A LOT of shovels over the years.)

Just be kind to and respect one another, what’s so damn hard about that?
Late night rambles from a sleepless mind…

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sparky

Be Kind

Be Kind

IMAGES/SOURCES

“Smiling Friends” by stockimages freedigitalphotos.net
“Medicine Tablets” by holohololand freedigitalphotos.net
“Sick Woman with Cup of Tea” by Marin freedigitalphotos.net
“Female Hand Showing Middle Finger” by stockimages freedigitalphotos.net
“Excluded From Group 3d Character Shows Bullying” by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net
“Feather Pen And Paper Bird Flying” Stock Photo freedigitalphotos.net
“Fancy Butterfly Isolated On White” by panuruangjan freedigitalphotos.net
My Dog Lucy & I mine

Posted in Advice, broken hearts, CFS, Chronic Illness, Coping, Fibromyalgia, Friendship, Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments