Category Archives: Depression

This Is How to Disappear


On and off,
We shared the same place
We laughed, cried,
And fought
But we knew how to
Put on the same face

And when I left,
Years later you said,
“While you were away I felt abandoned.”
I said I was looking for independence
And that’s when I knew
Things weren’t how I imagined.
We saw the world differently
Because the one who survives
Is the last one left standing.

You were always chasing the sun.
And the things we never had.
Where I was the one chasing the gun,
And all the things that were terribly sad.
I preached meaninglessness.
And the importance of chasing
Poetry and pain; it was here when
I thought we had the same face.

You said, “Come back. I can’t do it all on my own.”
But this is how you grow strong bones.
Besides, I’ve been doing it alone for years.
And there you stood on oath,
Until you upped and disappeared
Like a ghost that haunts me still.

Do you ever look back?

-Pennington

P.S.

The title borrowed from one of my favorite singers.  Their song entitled “How To Disappear.”  What can I say if it spoke to me?

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction


I knew something was strange every time I laughed or tried to do a sumo deadlift and tinkled myself.  I knew something was strange when I felt like I had to urinate faithfully around the clock.  I knew something was strange when I suddenly started to experience pain during intercourse.  In the morning upon waking, there’s a dull pain in the center of my stomach that stretches deep into my pelvis.  It plants itself there like a kentia palm.  At the same time, the mid-lower back pain stretches out to the side wrapping itself around my lat, not to mention the top of my buttocks and hips.

It took years to understand what the hell was going on with me.  Why I felt completely exhausted after sleeping 8 hours?  Why my moods were shifting quicker than I could say bipolarism?  Why its been so easy to abandon my fitness goals and sessions?  Why did I feel like I was trying to walk through brain farts daily?  Why all this pain?

Thankfully a visit to the handsomest urologist gave me his recommendation to see his friend who’s also a urologist but deals with women’s sexual health.  It was there where I was greeted by a real life perky sitcom character Karen Walker.  She checked out my vulva, took my urine through a catheter on the spot (with my permission of course) and complimented me on my Kegel.  Then she said, “You have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.  Don’t worry.  It’s fixable!”  I was prescribed a physical therapist who specializes in PFD.  Also, testosterone gel, which is made by a chemist (therefore making it extra tailored and super expensive) for my vulva.

Coupled this PFD along with my growing fibroids (which I was told to ignore if they don’t grow) and it’s no wonder why I’ve been wanting to pull my hair out of my goddamn head for so long.  My fibroids have grown to the point where they have taken my uterus out of its place and is now sitting behind my bellybutton.  The clusters of fibroids have enlarged my uterus making my stomach protrude.  On my medical record it states that my fibroids are well into 14-16-week pregnancy.  So, I’ll see a surgeon next month.  God willing.

Well, for the longest time, I thought I was secretly dying.  Turns out, at least for the moment, I’ve been on a tumultuous ride with hormones.  Keeping a positive outlook has been extremely challenging.  I can’t tell you how long I felt hopeless and completely isolated from the rest of the world.  Of course, I kept praying for answers, for guidance and for the right doctors to come in my path, so I can get the ball rolling.  My prayers have been answered.  Things are rolling.  I’m finally not holding my breath anymore.

I’m moving forward with new breath within me.

-Pennington

Mom


You were the one who first broke my heart.
It was because of you I learned to make pain an art.
I’m the light, but I live in the dark.
I’m the light, but I live in the dark.
I never knew I needed love until I ached,
Until I was shaped by every escape.
In kindergarten, I dropped many tears
On the pages of my homework and always
Handed it in without a world of care.
I never knew I needed to be loved until I saw
everyone else’s parents loved them back, in awe.
In awe, I was. In awe I was because I saw.
I carried around anger like my lifeline.
And I never held it against the divine.
And I never questioned if I was good enough.
I was, despite the hefty handcuffs.
I vowed to not be like you in so many ways.
I’ve set blaze to many things under your name.

And I still don’t have a heart the way I ought to.
And I sit facing entrances, never giving my back to a view.
And many of my feelings are dead and sometimes ill-advised.
And it doesn’t matter how I tread, I can’t disguise the chill in my eyes.
And the anger I kept has evaporated nearly now that you’re gone.
Permanence is never permanent, and somehow I found a way to live on.
Your body in the coffin was as real as when I imagined it at twelve.
That was the last time I cried and put my feelings on the bookshelf.
The numbness I contained up until that day released at your wake.
I didn’t understand with every preparation came a new defense,
It’s almost as if everything in life made sense, and yet not at all.

-Pennington

Happy 56th Birthday.  You’re infinite now.

Different Now


queen 3

Things are different now.  And of course, it’s expected as nothing in life remains the same.  I’ve become aware just how much I’ve held onto things I shouldn’t have due to fear like ideas, fantasies, job, people, places and things.  It’s strange holding onto something and being afraid of losing it.

Where does that come from?  How many reasons do we need to hold onto something?  How many reasons do we need for us to let go?  It’s kind of crazy because as people we live every day of our lives with things changing all the time, so what are we afraid of?

It’s scary to think of what we do, and what we say and how we are shaped by things simply because we’re doing what we can to keep it.  I know I bring a force that unfortunately places resistance to what is, which in the end, means I will suffer more than I must to maintain a keeping.  Well, is it worth it?

The past few years I’ve been learning and practicing with each new day how nothing is meant to last.  Everything is in an impermanent state – every face, feeling, state of mind, impression and precious moments.  And that’s something I’ve learned is okay.  As a matter of fact, with each change came more blessings and visions I could never imagine due to being rigid within my ways.

I did want things to remain the same for me like my identification with the fitness lifestyle and having my body conditioned.  However, everything is different as it’s supposed to be.  If it weren’t different, then I wouldn’t be different, but because I’m different, everything else is different.  It’s been different going back to the gym.  Sometimes it depresses me.

I still suffer from the physical trauma of having broken my ankle.  Trauma can remain in the body like the way muscle memory does.  I’ve been working on it for years now.  With trauma comes some undesirable associations like intrusive thoughts.  So, for instance, going to the gym and getting on a bike gives me anxiety as I believe (imagined; possibly irrational, but feels real) I’ll break my ankle again.  Before I get on the bike, an image will flash where I reinjure my ankle by slipping off the bike in horrible fashion – a visualization I would love to do without.

Aside from the mental intrusive thoughts, images or flashbacks I have, there are other things that come, which I call the lingering side effects of things that may never go away.  I’ll rock out on a cardio machine (preferably the bike) and within twenty-five minutes my feet will start to hurt and swell, each fueling one another.  Sometimes the pain creeps where my metal rod and screws are.  Other times the pain comes directly from the arches of my feet and travels upwards in an ache that makes me shudder and vulnerable.

Sometimes I stop for 30 seconds because I don’t want the machine to reset my time.  Other times I loosen my shoelace or take my sneakers off, so I can continue with my sixty plus minutes of cardio.  These things do depress me, especially if I look back on my past and feel like I was better than.  I don’t want to look back there because there is nothing there for me but pains of what I had, which will give me present sadness and if I’m not careful will rob me of all the blessings I do have today.

So, I don’t do plyometrics anymore.  I don’t jog anymore.  Maybe I will l someday despite the syndesmotic widening in my right ankle.  I focus on the blessings of having all my limbs.  I focus on how far I’ve come like when walking a single block would flare everything in my body because I had to learn how to walk again, which essentially meant walking the fire for me.  I focus on the resiliency and how good I feel when the endorphins fly like a thousand butterflies heading to the sunlight to fuel their wings with solar energy.

Things are different.  I’m forged by a new fire.  And it’s okay.

– Pennington

Fitness Wasn’t Everything


I had someone tell me once, “Fitness isn’t all there is to the world.” And, although, I knew that, I didn’t comprehend what that looked like or how does one practice that kind of lifestyle, until life told me to take a seat with a cast on.  It was during this time I learned fitness wasn’t everything in life.  Fitness no longer always became the focus for which I identified with.  That changed my perspective on everything else, and it also made room for everything else I had to deal with.

I believe fitness has helped me to manage my bipolar for over a decade.  The first time I was diagnosed I didn’t want to believe it.  I think it’s not uncommon to say that before I was diagnosed, life was better.  But, that isn’t necessarily true.  I want it to be.  However, I understand that the notion of my life being better in the past is most likely stemming from not having the diagnosis in the first place since I can’t unknow what I know.  Nevertheless, the moment when fitness became unavailable for me, it was easier to see how difficult it became to stabilize my mood swings and irritability in general.

I used fitness as a crutch for many things like anger, depression and the void.  There were times I genuinely enjoyed gym-hopping because I naturally thought it was healthier than barhopping.  But, those hourly long sessions five or six times a week at the gym were where I chose to avoid certain life reflections.  So, rather than cut myself with a blade or fracture my hand on a solid wall, I would train to injury repeatedly.  I was using a different method to continue to hurt myself.

When I couldn’t train for a period, I had to learn to sit with my passions.  I had to observe my pain and find times for when I could adjust in healthier ways.  I had to find new ways to regulate my recurring moods, triggers and symptoms.  This was one of the most difficult things I had to do, despite allowing myself to feel what I feel when they arise.  It took a long time for me to realize that not every feeling will remain and not every thought was something I had to believe in.  I also didn’t realize in the way I trained my mind and body reflected my pain, avoidance, passion, anger, sadness and loneliness.

I’ve been a queen of silent pain, abuse and trauma.  I’ve been cold and brutal many times, not only to myself, but to others as well.  Once I started to transition from a masculine approach to more of a feminine one, I learned how to become softer and not have a meltdown.  With changing my mindset, from being open to change and flow while being less critical, clarity came along with ease and it reflected in my training styles as a form of better awareness, in and out my fitness, and life itself.

-Pennington

The Vanishing


I haven’t been in the best state of mind.  Lately, I’ve been trying to adopt different approaches such as talking gentler to myself.  My therapist says, “Try coddling yourself as you would do a young child that you actually like.”

I’m up with the moon throughout the month and down in the soil all the other times.  Occasionally, I wake up passive and on other days I wake up aggressive as fuck.  I’ve come to terms with my mood disorder.  It’s behavioral, it’s learned, it runs in the family.  A few years ago, I’ve become aware of many effects and suspected my actions may or may not have been completely me.  Things have gotten to the point where even the most basic functions of existence do not seem basic anymore.

I lost who I was.  I think this is the way it goes, right?  Aging.  I’m not sure who I am anymore, aside from a maturing woman who’s both lovely and extreme.  I must admit loudly how I’ve been working on how to manage my mood swings for years and for a good part of my life, exercise and writing have kept a slight handle on the swings, but every day the things that used to work then haven’t been working now.  I’m puzzled.

So, I’m older and in some ways, I absolutely adore it and in other ways, I don’t think I enjoy it because the short-term memory keeps failing me.  It dissolves.  I think because there’s something in the water, something in the air, you know, there are things in our food we can’t pronounce, and that shit doesn’t allow our minds, bodies or spirit to function at an elevated level.  It’s like people hit a certain age and they flatline.  I feel there’s so much working against me in general, and this goes back to how I’m not in the best state of mind.

Over the years my discipline and motivation have taken a dive, so much so, it frightens me.  There are plenty of details in between, some you guys know and others I won’t bother getting into at this time.  Still, I’ve been trying to find my new normal concerning everyday life.  I’m going back to the basics on everything and am currently on a search to reestablish some things I used to love about myself, that now feels like the vanishing of a short-term memory.

I feel like there’s a sport psychology book calling my name out there somewhere.

-Pennington

I Heart Pearl Jam


pearl jam
I’m a grunge lady, a 90’s baby.

I love anything with rock even though in the hood of where I grew up I wasn’t supposed to.  I wasn’t cool if hip-hop wasn’t the focus.  Of course, 90’s hip-hop was the best for me, too.  But, when I left my friends and their prejudices, I’d go home, crash in my room, yell-sing at the top of my lungs with all my heart and delve into the pits of my anger and depression along with Nirvana, Guns n’ Roses, Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam.

During this time, I remember enjoying Nirvana more than Pearl Jam.  I think it was partly what the media spun though:  Were you more of a Pearl Jam or Nirvana fan?  I think since I was twelve or so, Nirvana took the cake for me, especially after his death.  It rocked me to the core.  I believed I wanted to commit suicide too, just like Kurt, and I tried.

Well, fast-forward to 2001, I was living with a boyfriend at the time and he was a heavy Pearl Jam fan.  He bought their new album that came out and told me to give it a listen or three.  And it brought back memories of how I’d listen to rock music during my deepest darkest depression and write my heart out.  Once again, I was at my most miserable.

And Pearl Jam’s album entitled Riot Act became one of my many blessings in life.  Instantly, I became a Pearl Jam fan again, but this time I knew I was a fan for life because their lyrics, jam and flavor hit me in my core unlike any other band.  This album got me out of a miserable time, and it also made me go back six albums to relearn who Pearl Jam was/is, then/now.

What I love about them is they don’t change their style to fit mainstream.  They’re a 90’s band and they have done a hell of a job keeping up with sounding like a 90’s band.  There’s a lot that goes into Pearl Jam I won’t even bother to get into, but I will a little like when they went up against Ticketmaster or how they sang songs about how fucked up the Bush Administration was even though they got booed and shit thrown at them as they performed in their own concerts.

But, more than anything it’s the evolvement of the band, their songs, lyrics, personal essence, how they individually matured and yet remain collective on every album.  And, so, in turn I have grown with them and I revisit their lyrics because as I age, my perspective grows differently with each passing year.  I go back to what they’ve written, and I get it now or I get it better.  Here’s some I want to share by Pearl Jam.  I wish I can share them all, but that would be endless.

I picked out some lyrics that are dear to me because I either went through it or it resonated with me.  If you have some of your own Pearl Jam lyrics you love or song, please share them with me.  I would love to know!  Of course, I have their concert playing as I type this and sing now:  Pearl Jam Live at the Garden.  Cheers.

Pearl_Jam-Live_At_The_Garden_Bonus-Frontal

Song TitleIn My Tree:  I remember when, yeah, I was young, I swore I knew everything, let’s say knowledge is a tree, yeah, it’s growing up just like me, yeah.

Song TitleWhy Go:  She scratches a letter into a wall made of stone.  Maybe someday another child won’t feel as alone as she does.  It’s been two years and counting since they put her in this place.  She’s been diagnosed by some stupid fuck and mommy agrees.

Song TitleWishlist:  I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on.

Song TitleBetter Man:  She lies and says she’s in love with him.  Can’t find a better man.  She dreams in color.  She dreams in red.  Can’t find a better man.

Song TitleI Got Id:  My lips are shaking; my nails are bit off.  Been a month since I’ve heard myself talk.  All the advantage this life’s got on me. Picture a cup in the middle of sea.

Song TitleLove Boat Captain:  And if our lives became too long, will it add to our regret?

Song TitleLife Wasted:  Darkness comes in waves. Tell me, why invite it to stay?

Song TitleUnthought Known:  Dream the dreams of other men, you’ll be no one’s rival.  Dream the dreams of others then, you will be no one’s rival.

Song TitleI Am Mine:  The sorrow grows bigger when the sorrows denied.

Song TitleLight Years:  I’ve used hammers made out of wood.  I have played games with pieces and rules.  I undeciphered tricks at the bar. But now you’re gone, and I haven’t figured out why.

Song TitleAll or None:  Can we help that our destinations are the ones we’ve been before?

Song TitleFaithful:  We’re faithful, we all believe, we all believe it.  So faithful, we all believe, we all believe it.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

-Pennington

On Writing


Before the love of writing started I began with reading lots and lots of books – all kinds really.  Then for a few years came book reports.  I enjoyed breaking down a story as well as making drawings for the report cover, particularly as a way to stand out from the rest of the classmates.  After book reports I started to write around the age of 9.

I wrote short stories back then, mostly horror because my family was big on watching horror films and I needed an outlet for my reoccurring nightmares.  So I wrote and wrote and each time I felt my heart become more and more alive.  I remember I enjoyed writing not just because I felt full of life, but because all my teachers said I was good at it.  And whenever someone gave me constructive criticism I was determined to get better.  Eventually I won a writing medal at elementary school because of that attitude.

In Junior High I would go on to write graded screenplays for the entire class to act out on.  By seventh grade I turned my attention to deeper writing like journaling and confessional poetry and during this time short stories were put on hold (and for the most part still is) as my writing began to take on a form of therapy.  With being a loner and feeling like an outcast from family and school, I learned to create friendships with my writing.  Then in later years, I learned about blogging.

So, even though I wouldn’t change a thing, it wasn’t until very recent that I realized I tend to write predominantly when I’m feeling glum (manic), bitter, displeased, enraged or dispirited.  Then of course there are the feelings of when I’m hyped, full of mania (highs) and excitability with huge shots of adrenaline when I train before, during or after.  Once in a blue I write when I’m happy, obsessive or in love too, but my heart lies with writing sorrow first.  So what’s the dilemma?

One dilemma is I believe I’ve limited myself to writing with and/or about certain emotions, so when I’m actually happy I find it difficult to write or get inspired to write.

During the time I was on a mood-stabilizing pill I stopped writing for 3 months completely (which is absurd), not just because it changed my persona to a degree, but because I had less bipolar episodes, less sadness, less excitability, less highs and lows.  I was somewhere in the middle, but not quite.  I wasn’t necessarily happy, but wasn’t necessarily sad.  Maybe neutral? But it made it difficult to find any drive to write.  Now, I’m trying to come up with solutions and creative ways to write about anything and everything to push myself over the boundaries I’ve created.

The second dilemma aside from finding inspiration through negative tone emotions is I started working on a book (a novel).  But, the problem for me is I stopped writing short stories decades ago, so I doubt my abilities since I’ve been out of practice.  Writing in narrative, I find to be more difficult than say, writing a poem, prose or a blog.  This is another challenge I’ve been trying to work on AND I’m open to suggestions from anyone who is kind enough to share.

Thanks for reading.

-Pennington

Under Constant Consideration 2


Under Constant Consideration Part 1

Dr. Endocrinologist referred me to a nurse educator who I believe holds dykeish (is this a word and did I spell this correctly?) qualities because she made jokes (that I didn’t think were that funny) yet blushed with tears flooding her eyes like she was on a date with me that lasted two hours according to her notes.  She even googled her address in front of me.  Then showed me the trail and mileage of when her and her daughter walked from home to school on their journey to lose additional weight. Odd, no?

Anyhow, she explained in more detail about diabetes, showed me videos and we went through the correct ways to use a One Touch Verio.  Lastly, she informs me that I can get rid of the diabetes since it’s in the early stage.  Then goes on to assume I eat white rice and beans because I’m Hispanic.  I said, “No I’m Italian, and that’s where diabetes came from; you know the pasta.”  She chuckled.  I think we left off great after that date because she said if you ever want more education, just make another appointment to come see me.

*

Then there’s this psychiatrist who’s in the wrong field for the discussion subject of choice were forever about weight loss, even though at our last session she says,”Stand up.  Oh, you have lost weight” as she orders me to step on a hippopotamus scale.  She thought it her duty to give unsolicited nutritional advice in her horrible fucking Dolph Lundgren accent:  No peas.  No carrots.  Zero carbs.  Don’t eat carbs at all.  This includes sweet potatoes!   Maybe one day when you lose all the weight you can eat carbs again.  Don’t weightlift anymore.  Weightlifting makes you bulky.  You’ll never lose weight that way.  Only cardio!  Jump.  Walk.  You know what I’m saying.

Every session felt like I watched a bad sitcom with my presence in the hot seat as this insensitive cunt tried to tell me who I was based on 3 fifteen minute conversations we engaged in.  Then she tried to question my purpose in life, inquire if I ever soul search and spoke about people who sleep past midnight aren’t normal.  She took the cake by getting angrier than I was because doctors diagnosed me diabetic and it didn’t matter if it was the beginning stages.

There were many things that amused me about her terrible character, but what got me is the fact that she works in a mental health industry yet treats (many) patients (according to many who work in the building with her) like shit and never bothers to read anyone’s chart because she believes she’s too good to do so.  The thing with putting people in boxes is it isn’t accurate even though on the surface it seems the people you deal with are all the time, which I expressed to her.  Then I never saw the cunt again.

Thank god I’m not some shrimpy insecure person.  Thank god I don’t allow other people’s opinions to affect me or my life decisions.  Thank god I’m not a newcomer and have been weightlifting for over 13 years and swear by it.  So, I’m a professional yo-yo dieter, but I’ve also had my share of steady weight loss, conditioned fitness and extra curves that come with it.  I’ve always been proud, but I believe some people want to come in your life and not necessarily lecture or cast dirty spells on you, but they want to destroy whatever good you hold for their own reasons.  I swear that’s what it is.

*

An angelic bird, close partner and an acquaintance each whispered to see a podiatrist.  Once again I had to verbally fight for a referral to see a podiatrist and prayed for the doctor to be a woman for I could use thoroughness and words of light from maternal grace.  Well, I got a woman and one of the first things she mentioned was, “If you didn’t have diabetes, your insurance wouldn’t cover the orthopedic shoe cost.”  (Life, working in mysterious ways again.)  Goes on further to say:  With the shoes, both your ankles should feel stable; you’ll be even and wobble less since you’ll have built in arches.  You’ll experience less pain as you walk.  It’ll be good for you.

What this all boils down to is I’m still under construction.  This is probably why I haven’t written much on any of these blogs lately because I’m not in the best mindset and part of me doesn’t want to display the pessimism in every single one of my entries.

It’s disappointing, this long journey I’ve been riding on, how I continuously see this trend of people (doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, etc) who are in these fields to assist and inspire people to live better healthier lives physically, emotionally, mentally, etc, but fail to do so.  How is it and when does it begin for some people that a job just becomes a job and not what it was intended for?  I guess I believe in practicality and being above and beyond with sensibilities like empathetic (empath) abilities along with a higher vision for existence depending on the occupation.

Still, I don’t want to take nothing away from the two people who did give me hope of course – the dyke nurse educator and podiatrist.  The first gave me positive pep talk, smiles, and probably touched me a few times too many since she thought we were on a date, but she came off focused, direct with the right balance of sincerity, care and concern throughout.  Or maybe she was just being extra nice to me because she enjoyed my presence?  Who really knows?  It doesn’t matter because she was one of the nice ones who did her job and assisted in the best way she knew how.

As for the podiatrist, she mentioned that the good thing about my foot/ankle dilemma is it’ll get better over time, not worse.  The little that she did say carried weight.  I needed to once again get the surge back, the kind where I can remain on the optimistic wave, so I can keep fighting and more importantly never give up.

-Pennington

hiding


art-crespella
I’ve been trying to get out.
I’ve been trying to unearth the right time.
I’ve been talking to dead fish by the river.
I’ve been talking to the celestial body, reigning orb of night.
I’ve been trading places with shadows.
I’ve been in hiding.

I’ve been throwing things out.
I’ve been investigating my patience.
I’ve been talking to ducks by the Brooklyn bridge.
I’ve been talking to the brightest star, singeing god of land.
I’ve been trading in shades of light.
I’ve been in hiding.

-Pennington