Archive for September, 2011

My Fortunate Life

I just completed reading The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok which was a very good memoir written by the daughter of a Schizophrenic. The lives depicted in the book were devastated by the disease.

In 1981 I was diagnosed with severe Paranoid Schizophrenia. Over the years I was hospitalized several times and lived with and without medication. My diagnosis was changed to Schizo-Affective Disorder in more recent years. I have been fortunate enough to have family who stepped in to help me whenever I was unable to care for myself. There were times I completely lost my sense of reality, but my family acted as advocates to get me the care I needed to return to productive life. Had my mother, in particular, not stood beside me when I was debilitated by my disease, I would have probably become homeless and possibly would have died.

I managed to raise my son to become a wonderful young man. He is now a United States Marine. His childhood was mostly a happy one. There were several times I became briefly incapacitated, but for the majority of the time I was an active parent.

Now I am caregiver to my mother who has Parkinson’s Disease and other serious health issues. I am honored to be a help to my Mom who has so kindly helped me through the years.

Every day is a challenge, because even on medication, my mind does not function like that of a disease free person. There are times when I must concentrate extremely hard to maintain focus. There are moments when I fight irrational fears. I have difficulty believing in myself. At times it is very tempting to stop taking my medication, because it does somewhat stifle my creativity and expressiveness.

I thank God I have been able to live as productive and happy a life as I have.

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Notes on my 30 Year High School Class Reunion

A portion of the Pebblebrook High School Class of 1981 met last night for our thirty year class reunion. It was held in Douglasville so I did not have to travel far and the venue was beautiful. The reunion committee did a wonderful job of arranging the event and the attendance was good. I enjoyed seeing so many people from my past. Many gave me a warm welcome, which was very nice. The hugs and kind words were sweet. I was so nervous, but everything worked out well. I wish I could see these friends of mine more often. I carried my Nikon and was able to take some photographs. I would have liked to snap everyone’s picture, but it did not work out that way. I won one of the prizes: a $25.00 Visa gift card that I can use anywhere. I have not decided what I will do with the gift, but it is so nice that I won. Everyone looked marvelous and seemed so happy, I am very glad I chose to go. There were faces missing that I would have liked to see, but it was a joy seeing those who were there. Overall a fabulous evening spent with some of the best people in the world.

Always,
Jo Ann

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Mom took my photo before I left for the evening.

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Thankful Thursday and Thoughts–September 8, 2011

I am thankful:

1.   Mom and I had an enjoyable lunch at Hudson’s Barbecue while we were out to run errands yesterday.
2.   Penny is doing well on the medicine the veterinarian changed.
3.   I have read some excellent books recently.
4.   I archived some of the free eBooks on my Kindle, and with the memory freed the device is working much better.
5.   Alex and I chatted a few nights ago and he seemed to be doing well.
6.   The temperature was a bit cooler, so Hope and I walked a mile last evening.
7.   I have been cooking more, and Mom seems to really enjoy it. I still hate to cook, but it is nice to make her happy.
8.   The recent storms have passed us by without any damage.
9.   Jeremy fixed the air conditioner on my Buick.
10.  I cleaned out all the freezers, so there is only good food inside.

I have been trying to stay home as much as possible because going into town has been making me very nervous since my niece, Leigh, and her family had their van stolen. I know they were in a different city, and that Washington, D.C. is a high crime area, but I cannot seem to shake the feeling that something bad might happen while I am out. I am more comfortable at home on the average day.

I managed to buy some books and bookmarks at Borders’ going out of business sale. I would have liked it more if I had had more money to spend, but some is better than none. I am so disappointed that my favorite bookstore is ceasing to exist. I suppose Amazon will get my business from now on because there is no nearby physical bookstore. Thankfully a new library is opening near here soon. I read many more library books than books I own. Reading is an expensive habit without library books. The free eBooks on Kindle give me lots of reading material too. One thing I really must begin to do is leave a book if it doesn’t interest me and stop plodding through books just because I started them.

I am planning on going to my thirty year class reunion this month, but am a little hesitant about it. School was not such a pleasant thing for me because I was bullied, though I do have some good memories on the academic side. I have always enjoyed learning. I hope this reunion is better than the ten year one I attended.

Laura, my daughter-in-law, found a puppy. She seems totally taken with Luna who is a black Lab mix. I think with all the attention she is giving the puppy that it should turn out to be a fine dog. I have no doubt Luna will be just as spoiled as my Hope.

I have not been paying much attention to my creative side. I fail to write, I fail to draw, and I fail to paint. Somehow I need to get back to those things, but my enjoyment of reading seems to hold me captive. There should be a balance, where I create and I read, but that does not seem to happen. At least I am not hooked on television. Computers, yes, books, yes, but those things give me some hope that I can be reunited with my creative side. I should really come here and blog more often, but I have little incentive. I often feel I am only talking to myself, and I can do that in my head without all the effort of typing out the thoughts and making them sensible. I manage to post on Twitter and Facebook quite often via TweetDeck, but even that seems futile at times. One day I am going to make a collection of my best Twitter posts and bring them here. I think some of them are quite erudite.

I hope all of you are doing well and living happily. I am happy in my life be it ever so simple.

Always,
Jo Ann

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