Colorado · Documentary

Murder Porn

I’ve been sucked into an endless marathon of murder porn. I tried watching documentaries about historical events, or literary figures, or food, but my brain wants crime. The rhyme & reason behind the full English breakfast is nowhere near as interesting as the sordid details of the BTK Killer case, or all of Henry Lee Lucas’ false confessions.

Chalk-Scene-Murder

I’ve always been fascinated by crime, and criminals, whether in detective stories, films, or on television, and I even considered studying criminal psychology. (There is too much math involved in any kind of psych degree for me, so I stuck with books.) I’ve read my fair share of true crime books, and am a big fan of Ann Rule. These days, it’s documentaries, though. I stumbled across the website DocumentaryAddict.com a few months ago, and have been going back ever since. They have a wide variety of programs, ranging from episodes of crime television shows, to award-winning documentaries. Back when I had a television, I watched several of these crime programs on a semi-regular basis, along with shows like ‘Law & Order: CI’, ‘Bones’, and ‘Rizzoli & Isles’. (These days, I do everything online.) However, I can’t remember ever seeing an episode of any fictional show that got under my skin the way some of these real life programs have.

 

I’ve learned about an 11-year-old girl in England who murdered two little boys; she was convicted, but they didn’t know where to send her! So she spent 12 years in a state school, getting therapy & an education, then did 12 more years in a women’s prison. She was released, and has led a normal, happy life since then, apparently. I share a house with an eleven-year-old, and even at his worst, I cannot imagine him killing anyone! Then, there was the man who lived in my home town, Grand Junction, Colorado. He called 911, saying his wife and daughter were missing, and that there was blood in the master bedroom; he claimed that this was how he found things when he returned home from work. After nearly a year of investigation, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department (which includes some folks I know!) found this poor woman’s body buried in the landfill. Her husband had shot her in the head while she slept, then put her in the trash compactor at the plant he managed; they never found the little girl. It was heartbreaking, and at the same time, made me very proud of my home town; dozens of people gave their time to comb the desert and foothills around Grand Junction, looking for them, and spent weeks sifting through garbage, all for people they didn’t even know. There are stories of women who kill for a baby, literally. Stories of truly evil mothers-in-law, who go after their daughters-in-law with guns, knives, and in  one case, run her down with the car! (I want to take this moment to say that my former mother-in-law is not in this category. No way, no how.)  And these aren’t even the BIG serial killer cases! These are just “normal” people. Well, not the girl from England. Not any of them, really.

One of the first things I watched was about some great unsolved cases in history. Among them were Jimmy Hoffa, the Black Dahlia, JonBenet Ramsey, and Adam Walsh. Watching the Adam Walsh story reminded me of what an amazing thing John Walsh has done; he has taken a tragedy, something that easily could have destroyed his family, and turned it into something good. He & his wife were instrumental in getting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children  going, as well as getting the Child Protection and Safety Act passed. His work on America’s Most Wanted led to the capture of over a thousand criminals. It’s said that the show has captured more criminals than it has aired episodes! John Walsh is a hero.

 

Major Depression · Mental Health Issues · writing

Dejection

I know that nearly everyone on the internet has written something about death and depression in the last week, and so I hesitated to write this. After all, I don’t want to be like everyone else, now do I? But frankly, the issues I’m writing about here have been on my mind for much longer than a week or two, and Robin Williams’ death only served to bring some of them to public attention again. I haven’t posted since the end of July, and these mental health issues are why.
I don’t feel much these days and it is causing me to do some big thinking. I’ve no problem with anger; getting angry is easy. But everything else is nearly impossible. I know what started this, but how to fix it is a whole other kettle of fish. I don’t trust emotions much any more, especially since I am not feeling that many of them, and when I do, they are bad. I’ve always let my heart, or my “gut” guide me, and for the most part, it’s gotten me in trouble. It started with Steven, and all the crap he put me through, and then got worse after Michele died. Her death, and especially her memorial service were very difficult for me; even though we knew she wasn’t going to make it. But that service just about killed me. I physically shut down, was ill for nearly days. I ended up spending most of the time I was in my home town in bed, rather than seeing people, which I regret. Losing her, my best friend for over 30 years, was devastating. I miss her every day. 
 I’m spending too much time wanting to sleep, hide in my room, or just vanish into my mind these days, and it worries me. They say if you’re worried about the state of your mental health, then there’s nothing to worry about, but I am not sure that’s true. I can worry about having a panic attack and still have one (or two or three); I can be nervous that I’ll not make it through the week without a slightly manic episode (I’ve not been diagnosed, but I likely have low-grade bipolar disorder 2) and still have one and end up spending money that I don’t have, or something else I shouldn’t do. I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder –also known as Clinical Depression– along with a type of seasonal affective disorder. I’m just a bunch of fun. I fight against demons of health, physical and mental, every day, and it’s getting really old. There are days I just feel like giving in, finding a nice looney bin and checking myself in. While I was watching television the other night, I was almost jealous of the guy in the mental health treatment center; he looked so content. Part of me just wants to climb inside my mind and hide forever. Of course, that is kind of what I am doing these days, isn’t it? I just hide in books, and movies, and internet crap. 
I am scared of so much–things I was never afraid of before. Anxious and worried so much of the time. I want to stay in bed. When I think about going out, I start getting nervous, and if I think about it too long, the panic attack starts. My heart starts racing, I start tracing, I feel faint, can’t breathe, and my fingers get tingly. Then all I can do is close my eyes, take deep breaths, and hide somewhere private until it passes. It’s easier to stay in my room. 
Reading Coleridge doesn’t help, though…
 
 
 
 
Michele · seizures

Selfish to the End

Sometimes watching a television show, or reading a certain book will start me on a train of thought I never imagined taking. I’ve spent the last few weeks watching the HBO series ‘Six Feet Under‘ and it has me thinking about death. Big surprise that a series revolving around a funeral home would take me there, huh?

I’m not having dark, goth thoughts, or seeing dead people like some Haley Joel Osmet wannabe. I’m not wondering about what it feels like to be dead, although I used to, once upon a time. Occasionally, the show has sparked a severe pang of regret, a wallop of a reminder of how much I miss those I’ve lost, and how much it still hurts. Mostly, what it has made me think about is planning. We never really know what is going to happen in life, and there are things that should be on paper.

For years I had what is known in Oregon and Washington as a ‘Advance Directive’ filled out, stating what I wanted done in case of a medical emergency, and who I wanted to make those decisions for me. My sister was my designated person, since she knew my wishes, and can keep a calm head. After Steven and I got engaged, I changed that paperwork, naming him. He was irate to read that I had a DNR order in case or a severe trauma. The idea of being kept alive by machines is totally appalling to me, simply abhorrent. I know now that if something had happened to me while his name was on that paperwork, he’d have been fine with keeping me all Sunny Von Bulowed, if only so he could play the martyr.  Needless to say, his name is no longer on my papers.

I realize it is a bit grim to be thinking these kind of thoughts on a warm Spring evening, yet my mind goes back to the number of times I have awakened in an ambulance or hospital bed, and I can’t help but wonder. What is going to happen if I have a seizure some day and don’t wake up? I do not want things to be any more difficult for my loved ones than they need to be, and more than anything, I want things done MY WAY! Really, what is the point of a memorial service if it isn’t done the way I want it? Seriously. I would be so pissed off if I looked down from Heaven and realized that they were playing “The Wind Beneath My Wings” at my service! Or if someone had the nerve to bury me in uncomfortable clothes! I swear, I refuse to go to my eternal rest wearing pantyhose and heels!

Yeah, that’s me. Selfish to the end.

 

 

breast cancer · change · finances · home · Jolene · kitty · Michele · moving · Portland · transition

I’m BAA-ACK!

I know, you missed me. Now you can rejoice, because I won’t go away again–I promise! Lots has changed since I last posted, including location, obviously.

The last few months have been a time of many changes in my life, and the changes just keep on coming. (I feel like a David Bowie song…) A psychologist I spoke  with ( I’m seeing a psychologist. Big surprise there.) said that I’m in a “time of transition.”

Transition. Oh, yeah. BIG TIME.

In March, about two weeks before my 44th birthday, I left the relationship I’d been in since 2009, and moved from Vancouver back to Portland. It was a very difficult thing to do, but one that had been a long time coming. Making that decision set me free, in many ways; don’t misunderstand me, I wasn’t being help prisoner or anything, but emotionally, I felt trapped. And financially, there was no way out. So I’m back in my parents house, where my money is mine, and I have my freedom while I’m waiting for my disability appeal hearing. That part of my life is up in the air: I don’t know how long it’ll be until the hearing, or what they’ll decide. So my life is definitely in transition.

The largest change was also the worst, and has knocked me off my feet, broken my heart. On April 12, my best friend, Michele Miller Mahmood, died. The breast cancer she’d been fighting took her, and the world lost one of the best people ever created.  I’ll write more about this later, because Shel deserves an entire post, and entire blog, all her own.

I’m struggling to find my way in this new world, to transition into a life where I am on my own. I’ve always treasured my family, but suddenly, they seem so much more precious. My sister, Jolene, is going through her own transitions, yet has given her time to help me when ever I need her. She’s wonderful, and I am so thankful for her.

People keep asking what I’m going to do now. That’s the million dollar question, folks! Let’s figure it out together, shall we?