These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

My answers to some of the questions from Cee’s Share Your World

  1. Fond childhood places?  My childhood places that I liked the most, were the woods up behind our house, and the caves we would dig in the snowbanks around the driveway.
  2. Thing(s) you are most proud of?  I think what I am most proud of was going back to school at the age of 28, and getting my degree five years later.
  3. Have you been through any official rites of passage?   My one and only official rite of passage, I believe, was when I was baptized in early 2008.    Another was when I was sworn into the US Military. How about unofficial?  I cannot think of any unofficial ones.  My life has been pretty boring, I guess.
  4. What is your role in your family?  I am the oldest of three children, the only girl.  I was also the one to get into more trouble than my brothers.
  5. Define family.  I believe family is not what I was born into, but rather those around me, who love me and share life with me.
  6. Do you get on with your siblings?  One of my brothers, I have not heard from since the day after our mother’s funeral.  That was more than four years ago.  I am in contact with my youngest brother and text with his wife.  Our plan, is for me to move in with them in Texas, when the MS has gotten to a point where I can no longer live by myself.  The only problem with that, is that I’m heat sensitive, and it can get pretty darn warm in Texas during the summer.
  7. What small things have you seen or taken note of today?  I noticed the spaghetti sauce that had run down the front of my cabinet beneath the microwave.  I had a small disaster incident last night while trying to put my ravioli into the microwave to heat the sauce.  Due to my wonderful lack of coordination, there were ravioli here and ravioli there, and on the floor, with sauce everywhere from here to next week.
  8. What makes you happy?  Being out in (is that an oxymoron?) the spring and fall weather, with a breeze blowing and the leaves rustling.
  9. Do you have good self-control?  It depends on the situation.  If I feel I’m being treated inappropriately, or that no one is listening to me, then no, I don’t.  I can’t seem to keep my mouth closed and my opinions to myself.  But I have good self-control when it comes to not picking up that first drink (I am an alcoholic, sober 17 years now.), and when I’m trying to teach someone something, I have good self-control.
  10. Are you good at making decisions?  I am good at making bad decisions . . . and then when I do make good decisions, I’m always second guessing myself.
  11. How often do you cry?  I rarely cry.  The one thing that will make me cry is when I get extremely angry, usually over something I have no control over.
  12. Have you ever had any altercations with the police?  I think there have been three, maybe four.  There were three, due to my drinking and driving, resulting in spending the night in jail.  The other was when I sideswiped a police car that was sitting in the middle of a 4-lane road, right on the yellow line.
  13. How do your relieve stress?  Sitting down with my laptop, and playing Sudoku until I reach the point where I can’t make any sense of the puzzle.
  14. What did you once love, but now hate?
  15. Is doing nothing a waste of time?  Not at all.  Sometimes I need to just sit here, and fall asleep in my recliner with the cat asleep in my lap.
  16. What is cluttering your life?  All the stuff I have in my apartment, that doesn’t have a permanent home.  I like the living room tables, and the dining table to be completely cleared off except for lamps, the phone, and the wooden napkin holder in the center of my dining table.
  17. How do you help people, in small ways, in large ways, however?  I help people by carefully explaining or even showing them how to do something which is confusing them to no end.
  18. When’s the last time you did something nice for a stranger?  Being a single woman, in a wheelchair, I try to avoid strangers.  But when waiting in line at the grocery store, letting someone in line ahead of me because I have a lot of time to do nothing anyway.
  19. Who inspires you the most?  I think the person who inspires me the most is the pastor of my church.  He does not go up to a pulpit, and preach at us, but stands in front of us, teaching us about the Bible.
  20. Do Apps help or waste your time?  I think, for the most part, Apps waste my time.  Usually when I get caught up in an app and can’t stop, and put it to the side.
  21. Does Facebook make you feel bad?  I enjoy Facebook.  It gives me the opportunity to showcase some of my photography, serves as a place where people have access to my writing.
  22. What music are you listening to right now?  Absolutely nothing.  Except for the cat complaining in the background, and the leaves blowing around outside my open window, it is quiet in here.  If I do listen to music, it would be Contemporary Christian of music from the 60’s and 70’s.

Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you I had a wonderful week of competition with other disabled veterans, in San Antonio, TX.  I’d also tell you the driver of the express coach to O’Hare, loaded me aboard the bus, then waved me off when I started to ask how much for the fare.  I’d tell you I made it to the airport in plenty of time, and breezed through security, without the usual hassle that I’ve experienced in the past, as a wheelchair user.  I would also tell you, that while waiting at the gate, the airline lady came over to me, and told me that a gentleman in first class was offering me his seat, if I would like it.  Well . . . yeah!  They were giving me drinks throughout the entire flight, as well as a choice of meals to choose from.  I had a delicious Asian Salad.  I would tell you about my experience, once I reached San Antonio.  I made it from the gate to the shuttle buses if a good amount of time, since I had packed light, with only one carry-on bag, my laptop, and my CPAP machine.  After waiting a considerable length of time, a shuttle with a wheelchair lift finally arrived, but they weren’t going to take me and had to go in and check that out.  He finally decided he could take me.  He opened the back door and let the lift down to the pavement.  I rolled on and he pushed the button.  The front end of the lift started to rise, but the back stubbornly remained on the ground, and the front would go sliding back to the ground.  I got off, he tried the lift again, and it still wouldn’t go up – without me even being on it.  I was afraid I had broken as my humongous large chair probably weighs close to 400 pounds, and that’s without me in it.  He finally got me aboard and we were off.

 Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I did my best throughout the three events I took part in, one each day of competition.  I played table tennis first, and I did well in the first round, but not as well as during warm-up.  I would tell you that I got pounded to the pavement floor by a competitor, who it turns out just happens to belong to a national table tennis team.  He must practice for hours on end each day.  I didn’t think that was a fair go-around, but I gracefully rolled away, and joined my friends on the sidelines, one of whom had my phone, and took some very good pictures.  I would tell you that my second event was bocce ball.  I made it through the first two rounds, and then lost to the person I had played against, two years earlier, at an exhibition event for bocce ball.  I believe I lost to him then, as well.  Also, I don’t remember seeing any other women playing, but I could be mistaken.  The air rifle event, was really rough on me, physically.  The MS has progressed (probably why they call it “progressive”) and I couldn’t hold the rifle still enough to even see the entire target, much less those tiny little dots I was to aim for.  They got a stand for the air rifle, and one of the volunteers helped to adjust the sight, so that I could actually see the individual dots I was to aim for.  Another volunteer was helping, by putting each pellet in the rifle, and telling me which dot I was to be aiming at for my next shot, and telling me how far off I was with each shot.  I did a poor job hitting those targets, and didn’t even stick around to see what my final score was.  I would also tell you that the trip home wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the first flight.  We took off late, arrived late, and I waited about an hour for them to bring my chair to me.  I missed my shuttle bus and was screaming scrambling through O’Hare, trying to find the shuttle bus, and when I took the elevator to garage level – twice.  When I finally got to the ticket counter, the fare was $27, and I had $25 on me.  I ended up giving her the $25 in cash, and putting the remaining $2 on my debit card, as I wasn’t too sure about how much was left in my checking account.  The lift on the next bus was broken.

Image result for CoffeeIf were having coffee, I would tell you that the beginning of October is kind of bittersweet.  My mother passed away, four years ago, on the 1st of October.  I would also tell you that the end of the month not only brings Halloween, but a Halloween birthday as well.  When I was in elementary school, she would bake her famous ‘chocolate drop cookies’ and bring them to my school, so I could share them with my class.  All my teachers wanted the recipe of those cookies.  I  like birthdays, except these last few years, my age is starting to seem surreal, uncertain at times, and higher than it was a year ago.  I would tell you how, throughout the years when I was a kid, my mother would throw a ‘surprise’ birthday party, then we would all pile into the car to go Trick-or-Treating, after it got dark!  Imagine that.  We had to use a car, because we lived way out in the country in upstate New York, and the nearest neighbors were up to several miles away.  I would tell you that I always enjoyed those birthdays, and somewhere deep inside, that child who had wonderful birthdays and Christmas’s, is still buried deep within me, and that part of me, I might never let go of.  I would also tell you to have a great week.

Did It Really . . . ?

So many years have passed since I left home.  I moved out at 17, when I went away to college.  Even the memories from that time are vague.  I soon learned I could drown it all out with a bottle of vodka, missing classes due first to hangovers, then the fact that I was too drunk to go to class.  My fourth semester, I totally bombed out at school, which resulted in the loss of two scholarships.

It only took me about a month to decide I had to move away again.  I joined the Navy.  Boot Camp was difficult for me.  I was going through withdrawal from the alcohol, but I didn’t want them to know that.  I wanted to get through it as quickly as possible, so I could move on to a somewhat less strict environment.  When I was diagnosed with mono, I was afraid that would hold me back in my training, that I wouldn’t graduate with the rest of my class.  But I did, though I wasn’t actually at the ceremony, due to my illness.

This proved to be my downfall however, which eventually led to discharge from the military.  Their reasoning  – “Unsuitability due to alcohol abuse.  Not recommended for reenlistment.”  That took me all of nine months to accomplish.  I was drowning in alcohol uncontrollably, with no clear way out that I could see.

Those memories though, continued to haunt me.  Some were very distinct, while others were just vague memories that I couldn’t bring to the forefront, but still knew they were there.  I remember fear.  At night, my heart would pound from the fear,  causing me to think that I was hearing his footsteps coming down the hall to my room.  Sometimes they were, sometimes not.  But this was tearing up the insides of a young child, eventually a young adult, with no clear path that would lead me to safety.  I dreamed of running away to live in an abandoned cabin in the woods.  I had read a book when I was in Second grade, titled, “The Boxcar Children.”  It was a story about three young children, who ran away from their grandfather’s house.  They lived in an old boxcar that was still on the tracks, in the woods.

It has taken years upon years to reach the point where I am today.  I’m not sure I know exactly where that is, but I now have psychiatric diagnoses, which explain why my life is the way it is now.  It explains the odd symptoms, which in the past led me to attempted suicide, more than once.  Thankfully, i survived those attempts.  I have been in psycho-therapy for more years than I can even count.  But I have progressed greatly. 

My blog clearly describes my life with childhood sexual abuse.  When your abuser is your father, well . . .

Taboo Word Challenge for 9/22/16

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 taboo

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge 

 

 

Share Your World #37

rocksHave you ever owned a rock, pet rock, or gem that is not jewelry?  I used to carry around a Tigers Eye, oh, back in the 80’s I guess.  I loved that stone, and I still do if I happen to see one.  But as far as pet rocks?  I was too old for those (or so I thought).  When I was younger (quite a bit), I used to collect interesting rocks, particularly during the summer of 1989, when I was taking a 2-week Geology class.  We packed up our camping gear, and spent two weeks, roaming through the rocks and geological formations in southern Illinois.  I know, who would have thought there were any kind of hills or canyons in Illinois?  I still have pictures to prove it, but not the rocks.

What is your greatest strength or weakness?  I believe my greatest strength, which is my mind, is also my greatest weakness.  Due to mental illness, even as a young child, my weakness was the mind, and that as I grew into adulthood, was plagued by nightmares, flashbacks, fears of things, real or imagined, which prevented me from living a fulfilling childhood, and caused me to live as an adult, still caught up in the mire of mental illness.  This lead to alcoholism and other behaviors that caused me to lose one job after another.  I believe that my mental illness was caused by both parents, as well as a gene carried by my mother.  My father was a pedophile of the worst kind, not that I’m sure there are varying degrees of pedophilia, and I was his victim – at least the only one I knew about.  My mother was a narcissist, who I believe also carried the gene believed to be needed in order to develop Borderline Personality Disorder.  This form of mental illness continues to plague me even today, causing irrational fears, inappropriate emotional responses to certain triggers, short, highly emotional relationships, fear of abandonment, and many other symptoms.  I also suffer from anxiety and depression.  Combine those with the MS, stomach issues, thyroid, parathyroids, and gall bladder problems and the results of all these problems, and I take 22 medications every day.

But my mind is also my greatest strength.  It got me through school with high grades, and then making the Deans list when I went back to school in the late 1980’s.  It is where my love of music, singing it and playing the guitar, saxophone, clarinet and the piano, originates from.  It is where my creativity stems from, allowing me to take a good look at myself, learning, understanding, and growing from my past.  My creativity has led me to writing, and then writing poetry, but also the ability to sit and look at an abstract design on the page and color it in, never knowing from the starting point where I will end up, but it is almost always something I feel is really good. 

firefliesWhat makes you feel grounded?  I think what makes me feel grounded, is being out in the country, or the woods or a forest, all of which make me more aware of this world that God created, and created me to live in, enjoying the ‘fruits of His bounty’.  Watching the fireflies blink bright green in the darkness of my campsite, or in the back yard when I was growing up (I don’t see them much now, since I’ve become city-fied. I don’t even have a backyard now.).  Or rolling down the bike path in my power chair, with only the sounds of the birds and insects that are all around me, when I am in areas that are overgrown once again with grass and bushes, and in wooded areas that I pass through.  The feel of the sun on my face in the Spring and the Fall, since I can’t be out much during the summer due to the MS, as I sit, stretched out in my chair, talking with others whom have come out to enjoy the nice weather, and the company as well.  Nature is what it is that makes me feel grounded, I guess I’d have to say if I was to put it all in one boring sentence.  😄

 

Would you rather never be able to eat warm food or never be able to eat cold food?  Oh this is an easy one.  You’ve all heard of comfort food?  Well, to me, comfort food is food that makes me feel good, and this is warm food.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my bowl of ice cream in the ice-creamevening, no matter if it is in the middle of summer or the middle of winter.  But cold ice-cream-conefood can get warm, and then definitely loses its appeal so just does not apply when talking about comfort food.  You can reheat a cold dish of chili, but you can’t put melted ice cream back onto the cone.  😬

 

 

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?  From last week, I am grateful for that monthly government check which just plops itself right into my bank account every month.  I’m grateful I was able to pay all my bills for the month, and still have some money left for groceries, as well some to put towards my upcoming trip to San Antonio, TX.  

This week I am looking forward to cooler temperatures, when I will be able to go outside and enjoy myself once again.  I look forward to practicing for the events I will be taking part in, at the Valor Games Southwest, in San Antonio, TX.  The Valor Games are adaptive sports competition for disabled veterans as well as Active Duty members.  It is a time to celebrate old friends and make new ones.  I need to be able to get outside and practice for the air rifle event, find a Senior Center where I can practice my table tennis from a wheelchair, and to just go bowling.  A healthy body is a happy body.

Cee’s Share Your World is a weekly feature and all are welcome to play along.

What’s going on in your world?

 

You Wouldn’t Like Me If You Knew Me

Taboo Word 9/9/16

Mental health is getting more attention today, than it has ever gotten before.  Why?  It affects something like 1 out of 3 Americans today.  More and more soldiers are coming back from war, forever damaged due to what they have seen and experienced during their service for their country.  It affects children, abused children, and these children, once they have grown are affected as well.

I was one of those children, and I was also in the military, and am now diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, MST or Military Sexual Trauma, anxiety, and depression.  Including medication for MS, I take like 22 different medications daily, and have been unable to work for two decades now.  

My symptoms, besides those due to the MS, depression and anxiety, include fear of abandonment, intense, unstable emotional responses like anger, anxiety, that are difficult to control, and often inappropriate to the situation, and chronic feelings of emptiness.  

I often have anger, anxiety and feelings of emptiness.  I went through many self-damaging acts such as unsafe sex, substance abuse, self-injurious behavior which includes self-harm, attempted suicides and even excessive spending.  I have caught myself more than once pouring through catalogs or across the Internet, looking for something to buy.  I went through an entire catalog yesterday, before I realized what I was doing and threw it away,

The image I look at in the mirror looks back at me with sallow skin and sunken cheeks.  Sometimes I go for several days, or even a week or two, eating maybe one or two meals a day, and not eating the foods I need to stay healthy.  

After running up several credit cards, hospital bills, and store card bills, I eventually declared bankruptcy in order to survive, financially.  Ten years later, and I was signing paperwork, agreeing to the conditions set forth by the debt-management agency that I turned to, cutting off all my cards and agreeing not to apply for any new ones.  Mounting vet bills led me to apply for a Care Credit card which is used for vet bills, etc, and even dentistry bills for myself.

Now, several years have passed and I have three, active credit cards, a store card and close to $5000 in debt again.  I sacrifice groceries, to pay more than minimum payments for these credit cards, trying to get the balances reduced and eliminate this newly acquired debt.

A service-provider calls in sick, the day of my appointment and I take it personally, which results in chronic fear of abandonment, and inappropriate anger, thinking that the appointment was cancelled because I felt it was because I had an appointment that particular day.  This has happened more than once within even just the last six months.

Relationships are something that are also affected, often very unstable and intense.  I have been through three such relationships, each lasting only five years, before I do something that ends the relationship.  This has happened every time, and I have spent more than 12 years by myself, avoiding another relationship that will inevitably lead to the same, sad end.

Today, we need to look into suspected cases of child abuse, and listen to our friends, partners, spouses and children, listening and looking for signs that all is not right.  I have managed to stay sober 17 years, and I quit smoking nearly nine years ago.  But that doesn’t mean that I am okay, because I am not okay.  

I experience irrational fears, go through sometimes lengthy periods of depression, and live in a constant state of anxiety.  I live alone, and can spend days, not leaving my apartment or seeing anyone.  No one comes to visit and I do not visit others.  I sit here with my laptop for the entire day, then spend all evening listening to the TV, still using the laptop.  It’s a wonder that I haven’t burnt the hard-drive, with all the constant use it gets throughout each day. 

Noises outside my apartment, I take personally, as though someone is deliberately trying to annoy me, and often do get very annoyed.  I get symptoms which suggest my MS is getting worse, that I have forgotten to take a dose of medication, or something has caused my blood pressure to shoot through the roof.  This often causes me to lie awake for hours at night, unable to sleep, with my mind racing a mile a minute.

If I had a choice, I would not choose to live this kind of life.  But I don’t seem to be able to do anything about it myself, so I suffer in silence, with only the words that come racing from the ends of my fingers and onto the keyboard.  This is my main outlet for these feelings I have to excess.  My search for others out there, who are living lives like mine, is something that starts my search through my email, looking for the emails about new posts, by those who are like-minded, and we share our experiences and help support each other through the trials we go through every day.  Yes, I am one of those who suffer from mental illness, and I no longer want to keep it hidden in the closet, the naked secrets I feel would be exposed if you really knew me.

You wouldn’t like me if you knew about all this stuff, and so I keep it hidden.

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 taboo

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge 

The Man Took Me

Taboo Word 9/7/16

I don’t remember how it began,
It was so very long ago
This was the one certain man
That would not let me go

I was so little at the start
And so my memory fails
The man who had no heart
Prevented my tiny wails

No one heard me cry at night
No one knew my fears
My heart beat fast with so much fright
My face so wet from tears

The man who never let me show
How loudly beat my heart
No one was to ever know
My words, they would not start

The man is gone, for all time
Never again, will cause me pain
The memories now forever mine
I will never be the same

~ van ~

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 taboo

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge 

Inside My Head

Taboo Word – 9/5/16

Things are rattling inside my head
All the things were never said
But now they’re ready to come out
And shock us all without a doubt.

Even I do not know when
I’ll be ready for this again
I cannot do this all by myself
It will end up on a shelf

Listen close and learn to hear
All things I’ve kept due to fear
Here today I’ve set a goal
Reaching deep inside my soul

I must do this, but no, not fast
Or this chance will not last
Talk, no write it all right down
Before the thoughts do make me frown

Alas, I think, the time slipped by
I cannot say it, I know not why
So what it is I’ll do instead
Keep it tightly in my head

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 

taboo

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge

Being A Survivor

Taboo Word – Day 2

What is it that you can find, deep within the mind of a survivor? Being a survivor myself, I’d have to say that the answer is not that simple. Some things that remain, are often things that you don’t want to remember, ever. I believe that I have some of these myself.

I have been going to therapy for a good 30 years or more, and I am still working on getting past thoughts and patterns that affect my behavior on a daily basis. Some of the memories that I have recovered, have helped me to understand why I’m the way that I am.

These memories are ones that explain why I have the diagnoses that I have. Some of these memories explain the poor self-image, poor self-worth, or inappropriate emotional responses, causing poor reasoning, avoidance of people or places and exaggerated emotional responses.

They can also cause the impulsiveness that leads me to spending in excess, emotional outbursts, and relationships that are short, and often over emotional. My long-term relationships have lasted for five years each, and I’ve been through and used up three of them.

Now I live alone, and everything that I act on, is still based on exaggerated emotional responses to the stimuli around me. This has been my life for the past 16 years. I take part in outside activities, like Bible studies and wheelchair sporting events, but everything is done (hah!) in a way that protects me from experiencing those emotions that are almost always inappropriate to the situation.

So I spend most of my time alone in my apartment, with only my cat, all the things I take part in on the Internet, and Netflix and my big screen TV. One person that lives in this building, understands a lot of my interactions with others, and the thoughts behind my actions.

But now, my therapist wants me to start relying more on my peers, and less on professionals for support. This is very difficult for me to carry out, but I make it seem to her, that I am changing this behavior. This is not easy for me.  Not at all.

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge

Wearing A Face Kept In A Jar By The Door

English: Child in Tiger face paint
English: Child in Tiger face paint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This so describes me totally.  When I’m at home, I don’t need that face, for there is no one to look at me, except for my cat Mittens.  All those feelings that are roiling around inside of me are there for no one to see.

When it is time to go out, I take the face out of the jar, and wear that one over my real one.  No one then can see the pain, anger, sadness, sometimes rage, and fear, that I feel but are not visible.

What if someone saw the real face?  Would they go running, scared?  I think I would.  When it’s in the jar, I only look in the mirror to brush my hair.  I don’t even want me to see that face.

It would make me very, very sad, but then, I’m already sad.

~ van ~

BPD – What It Means For Me

I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder many years ago, and have been taking pretty much the same medications over this time. I have BPD. I know I have it. I recognize the symptoms when they get worse. I wouldn’t dream of stopping them, for fear of the consequences.

It has long been thought that BPD was caused by abuse as a child, or some other horrendous trauma experienced when young. It has been brought to my attention that in order for someone to develop BPD, there has to be one or both parents who suffer from this disorder. This disorder is passed on genetically.

Without the genetics, BPD does not occur, despite popular belief, because of chronic abuse as a child, alone. The gene must also be present. I realized a couple years ago, that my mother must have had the same disorder. Based on the way that she treated me, along with the sexual abuse from my father, I developed BPD.

There has to be at least five symptoms a person must have to be diagnosed with this disorder.

  1. Unstable or poorly regulated emotional responses – anger, anxiety, depression
  2. Inappropriate intense anger that is difficult to control
  3. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  4. Self-damaging acts such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, binge eating, and
  5. Suicidal ideation, acts, threats, self-injurious behavior
  6. Persistent, unstable self-image
  7. Paranoid ideation or severe dissociative episodes
  8. behaviors from most people, impaired social reasoning under stress
  9. Frantic acts due to chronic fear of abandonment, very intense and unstable relationships

To be diagnosed with BPD, five of these nine symptoms must be present.  When I finally learned about Borderline Personality Disorder, it was sort of an ‘aha’ moment.  Now, things that I feel or do, I understand why.  I suffer from eight of these nine symptoms.

I understand why I will do almost anything to prevent what I perceive as abandonment.  I understand why all of my relationships were either inappropriate, extremely intense and unstable.  I understand why I have a great deal of new debt, that has occurred after the agreement with the debt management program,  that I would not apply for anymore credit cards, and this new debt is due to three  new credit cards.  I understand why I became a chronic alcoholic (Nearly 17 years sober now).  I understand the cuts on my arms, the overdoses, and all the threats of suicide, and all of the psychiatric hospitalizations.

I understand now, why I am me, and why I still do many of the things on that list.  Do you now understand me?