How Hapkido Has Become the Greatest Weapon In the Fight for My Life screenshot

While I continue trying to bend WordPress to my will (it’s not going well 😡 🤯, just don’t even right now), I have something cool to share. I was honored to be asked to talk about my struggle with invisible illnesses for the MyTherapy Blog.

MyTherapy is a new app that schedules your medications and reminds you exactly when to take them. It also works for daily measurements like blood pressure or blood sugar, and other therapies. I’ve tried it; it’s attractively designed, intuitive, and includes a lot of thoughtful little touches that other similar apps lack.

The interview I took part in — along with 5 others — is part of today’s article at the MyTherapy Blog. My part talks about how taking martial arts classes, specifically Hapkido, has completely rewritten my story of fighting invisible illnesses. It really has radically altered every aspect of my health and quality of life. (The rest of the article is really good, too.)

Read the whole thing here, and please share it with anyone who could benefit from the information it contains!


Merge In Progress

Excuse the mess! Renovation underway!

I’m trying to simplify many things in my life (because Lupus [and Fibromyalgia {and POTS, and more}]), and one way I’m doing that is to consolidate all of the various personal blogs I’ve done over the years into one single website. I’ve got way too many of these things, most of which haven’t been updated in a long time, so it’s time to clear out the mess.

Soon you’ll find my blogs about Invisible Illnesses, Assorted Geekery, my in-depth examinations of Lost (a personal favorite), free fonts, and yes even that kooky Morphsuits article (which I still love) that cost me a job — and someday I’ll tell that whole story… All of those articles will be in one place, right here at good ol’ Which will make it easier for me to add new content to any of those topics if I’ve got something worth posting.

Don’t be surprised if you find some… additional things added in as well… perhaps other content in need of archiving…

Now I wonder what that (ahem#3cough) might be?

Until everything is sorted out, things may look a little wonky here and there. Don’t fret. It’s all going to come together.


An Easy Litmus Test for Depression

Am I depressed? Or do I have Depression?

There’s an easy way to determine if you suffer from Major (aka, Clinical) Depression, or if you’re just depressed, aka feeling blue.

To clarify, when I say depressed, with a lower-case “d,” I’m referring to the emotion. It’s the temporary feeling that comes and goes like every other emotion, and is caused by circumstances. When I say Depression with a capital “D,” I’m referring to the chronic mental illness that’s not always reactionary, but is always beyond your control.

Say you’re feeling down, and it’s a sensation that won’t go away. How do you know if something deeper is going on in the old noggin’, or if you’re just in a slump that’s a little harder to shake off than usual? Is it Depression or depression?

Here’s a really big clue: Your behavior around others can reveal which one you’re experiencing.

When you’re depressed, you don’t care who knows it. You tell people, you tell them why you’re feeling that way, and you want someone to sympathize with you. Emotional depression comes with the implication that it’s a temporary condition. Just like happiness or anger, depression will go away after a while. And — and this is crucial — it’s “normal.”

If you suffer from Major Depression, you go out of your way to fake seeming normal. You hide it with every ounce of energy you have. And I think that’s largely because of the societal stigma that’s still attached to mental illness. You don’t want your friends or loved ones to think there’s something really wrong with you. And that’s not even necessarily a selfish act; you may do it to keep your family from worrying.

Major Depression, the mental illness, is not temporary. It’s chronic. So you hide it, because you don’t want anyone to think that you’re becoming a nutjob who’s going to wind up in a mental hospital on suicide watch.

So here’s your litmus test:

  • If you’re depressed, you show it.
  • If you suffer from Depression, you instinctually hide it.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this is not a formal diagnostic tool. But if there’s a dark cloud hanging over you that won’t go away, and you find yourself actively hiding it from those around you… Please call a psychiatrist. Now.


I’m Not Reliable Anymore

Thoughts puppy

I used to be sharp. Focused. Reliable. I was on point, all the time. It was one of my finest skills.

I remember what it was like.

But I’ve come to a painful realization: that quality is gone from me. It has slowly slipped away.

It’s not like dementia. I don’t blink and suddenly have no idea where I am, or who I am. I’m not losing my mind. I’m just in a permanent brainfog. Imagine your mind swimming in soup: your synapses are firing but they take longer to make connections because your brain is trapped in mush.

I forget things I’m supposed to do. I’m late with work assignments. I can’t keep up with my kids. Sometimes I can’t concentrate. It frustrates and astounds me to no end how hard it is to remember names and terms. There are days when Depression strikes and it’s paralyzing. I’ve already forgotten half the stuff I was going to put in this blog post!

This sucks. I don’t like it, and I don’t want it. I rail against it. It’s especially troubling when your family is struggling financially and you can’t find regular income because you have an invisible chronic illness and Depression and brainfog and every day your debt gets bigger while your income gets smaller and smaller

Am I over-explaining? Yeah okay, you get it.

Anyway. I can’t deny it anymore. I’ve been excusing it for a while. Everybody has one-time deals, “off days,” and whatever. If something slips by every once in a while, it’s a fluke. No big deal. But if it happens repeatedly, it’s a pattern.

It’s been a long week, so I’m probably seeing things through tired, overly-dramatic eyes. Freely admit, it’s entirely possible. Wouldn’t be the first time.

But there’s no denying that things have changed. I’m not like I used to be.

Maybe I can get back what I’ve lost with the right doctors and the right treatment. I hope and pray for that.


Special Enhanced Edition for iBooks – $.99!

The Invisible Illness Survival Guide - Special Enhanced iBooks Edition screenshot

Today I’m excited to present the iBooks edition of The Invisible Illness Survival Guide. Far from just another edition of the book, this one is “Made For iBooks,” sporting a brand new, full color design, interactive elements, and extra resources and content. A few screenshots to give you an idea:

The Invisible Illness Survival Guide - Special Enhanced iBooks Edition screenshot

The Invisible Illness Survival Guide - Special Enhanced iBooks Edition screenshot

The Invisible Illness Survival Guide - Special Enhanced iBooks Edition screenshot

The best part: For a limited time, it’s on sale for just $.99! That’s cheaper than any other edition of the book — and you’re getting way more bang for your buck.

Speaking of which, here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between the five editions of The Invisible Illness Survival Guide:

  • iBooks Edition: the most definitive version of the book, with special interactive enhancements and additional content, available only on Apple devices
  • Print Edition: for those that want to hold and turn real paper pages; features the same design as the Kindle Edition
  • Kindle Edition: the original version, which has images and icons included
  • Kobo Edition: same as the Kindle Edition
  • Nook Edition: a bare bones version without many of the images and no icons; Nook’s editing software made most of the book’s custom formatting impossible, so this stripped-down ebook costs a little less

If you haven’t picked up your copy of The Invisible Illness Survival Guide, don’t wait. The $.99 special price won’t last long!