Thursday, January 12, 2017

Daily Depression Management: Some Possible Answers


My favorite painting:  Flaming June,
by Frederick,Lord Leighton
I wake up around 9:00 a.m.  Since this is the most energy I’ll probably have today, I get out of bed and take a shower.  It takes me a full forty-five minutes: some twenty just getting through the shower, then drying off, moisturizing, brushing my teeth, and double-checking to see I haven’t forgotten anything. 
I’d guess I usually put on three applications of deodorant before I’m SURE I remembered it.  But, that’s life with brain fog.  I’ve stepped out of the shower without rinsing the shampoo from my hair before, too ashamed to admit how many times I’ve probably done that over the past fifteen years.
It’s time for breakfast, but insulin, first.  I have a little kit in the fridge to keep my materials together: two kinds of insulin and their corresponding needles.  I have this down pat, now, so it’s not quite 10:00 by the time I’ve put the kit back into the fridge.
I’m thirsty, so I try to figure out whether to make instant tea or just throw some baking soda in a glass of water.  Baking soda would be easier, because I don’t have to use a spoon, just sprinkle some in.  I’ve probably been eating too many acidic foods lately, anyway, so time to alkalize my body.  Now it’s 10:00 a.m. and yes, I just spent fifteen minutes making a decision (while preparing my injections) and acting on it.
I usually eat a banana and an apple for breakfast, but I forgot to buy bananas yesterday.  Thank God today isn’t a yoga day, which starts at 10:30.  I’ll be able to fix myself something to eat for once, instead of just fruit and nuts.
I see an avocado, and remember buying it last week, not quite ripe.  Squeezing it, I decide it’s now or never.  Scrounging in the rest of the kitchen, I come up with more ingredients: chips, baby spinach, a yellow bell pepper, an onion, salsa, sour cream.  Too bad the hubby’s not here to fry some hamburger so I can officially call it ‘taco salad’, but I have to be on top of my game to trust myself with the open flame of a gas range anymore.  Hell, I barely trust myself to cut up the onion and pepper without accidentally cutting off the tip of a finger.
Me and my rock.
The salad is mostly done, when hubby walks through the door.  He says he forgot a paper at home, but I suspect he’s picked up on my wish to have meat on my salad; he’s remarkably psychic with me.  He starts the meat, and I note the time: 11:45.  Yes, it took me an hour and forty-five minutes to gather the ingredients from my tiny six-by-nine-foot kitchen to fix a salad, all while my insulin is dropping my blood sugar and I’m growing increasingly hungry.  And I'm lucky I didn't happen to think any thoughts that would make me burst into tears, too.
I come in here to write on this blog, and the meat is done at 12:05.  Hubby calls me in, I add the meat and salsa, and sit at the computer to eat it while cruising Facebook.  I’d like to think I made a lot of decisions to account for the hour and forty-five minutes it took to fix myself lunch, but the only one I can remember right now was asking hubby to take some old beans out to the compost area.  Even then, I completely forgot to have him include the kitchen scraps I’d been generating from my salad.  How much of this can I blame on brain fog, anyway?
Now it’s 12:33, after noon, so time for my ‘head meds’, my daily antidepressants and supplements.  I pick up the gallon baggie from the arm chair’s table on my right to line the bottles up on my tray table.  I take them individually out of the bottles, swallow them with the baking soda water, put them all back in the baggy, and transfer the baggy to the extended window ledge on my left.  It’s the only way I can keep from taking them more than once a day.  When it’s past midnight, I’ll put the baggy back on the arm chair table.
Now it’s 12:47, and I’m wondering whether to mention all the other little things that have been going on all day long.  Waking up to one doggie’s puking sounds, and getting them out the door when I noticed she thankfully didn’t puke, just made the sounds?  The phone calls I ignored so they would go to voice mail and I could get my breakfast salad done?  Staring at the avocado pit in my hand, wondering if I should ‘start’ it – as if I could finally remember to water a plant every day for however long it takes to grow into a tree?
I was 'up' for Maxine's 90th birthday.
A fabulous dinner for a
fabulous lady!
This is what really ticks me off.  It’s 1:00 p.m. and I haven’t gotten anything done but this blog.  I’m a fairly smart person – I got a 4.0 GPA for my master’s degree – but most people judge ‘smarts’ by how fast you can act, correctly, to situations.  And depression is such a severe lack of energy that you get overjoyed when you can manage to think a concrete thought.
When your ‘flashes of brilliance’, or, say, something you must remember, overcome the brain fog for an instant, you cling to them desperately.  I complained about not being able to think to some of the people at my yoga studio the other night, and one person said she’s had that happen, but it was an allergy that didn’t make her sneeze, and recommended NasaCort.  Another person spoke about how this NasaCort really helped, so I spent about ten minutes before yoga chanting NasaCort in my mind.
During final relaxation, I panicked when I realized I had forgotten the name of the medicine.  When we sat up, I suddenly remembered and blurted out to her, “NasaCort?”  She said yes, so I physically chanted NasaCort, NasaCort, NasaCort to myself until I got to the store, some twenty minutes later.  I’m certain anyone watching me fill my car at the service station thought I was some lunatic, talking to myself.
One of the ways I’ve been managing my depression lately has been to NOT fight it, but rather, try to figure out what it is teaching me.  That's really the big question:  WHY do I have depression?  Obviously something’s not right, or I wouldn’t have it.  
So I’ve tackled the physical side, changing my diet and doing yoga and minimizing stress, which is what probably caused the adrenal overload and nervous breakdowns in the first place.  I’ve tackled the mental side, taking antidepressants and working with psychologists and going through fifteen years of abandoned junk in my house in my year-and-a-half-long ‘spring cleaning’, still in progress.  But what about the spiritual side?
I’m a practical person, but also spiritual.  And if there’s one thing the spiritual community constantly emphasizes, it’s that things happen for a reason.  So, what is the reason I have depression / bipolar disorder?  As in, what's the lesson it's meant to teach me?
Brain fog: I’ve prided myself on my intelligence, so I needed to experience being virtually incapacitated in order to get humble.  Now I try to discover everyone’s hidden genius.  Whether they graduated from high school or not, I feel like everyone has a secret superpower, like quilting or baking.  EVERYONE has something they can teach me.
A book I wrote with/
for Aunt Maxine
Lack of energy:  I used to be able to work twelve and fourteen hour days as a teacher, so I needed to slow down.  I’ve used my bedridden status to come up with stories I type up and publish when some days I can barely sit up in an overstuffed armchair.
Inability to get anything done:  I was an alpha-overachiever for so many years, so I should realize my value, and everyone else’s value, despite not having ‘anything to show’ for my efforts.  Now I realize we aren’t ‘worthy’ because of the things we can do; we are worthy because we are alive.
Unstable body:  I quit testing for karate belts at my brown belt level because by law you have to declare your ability to defend yourself when you reach black belt.  So lurching into the furniture and walls while walking through the house has undoubtedly taught me not to judge anyone’s clumsiness, or any physical condition at all.  Can you deny Stephen Hawking, another sufferer of depression, is currently the most brilliant man alive?
So maybe I do have a few answers.  I’m taking better care of my overall health, that is certain, and I’ve seen some improvements, especially doing yoga.  I’d hate to think it’ll take me another fifteen years to get out of it, though.  I pray daily for a miracle, but until then, medications are my mainstay.

Be healthy, all.  Namaste.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Promo with S.M. Schmitz



The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!


Come find out why we love science fiction romance, at smschmitz.com/promo, where you'll find over forty of the hottest ebooks out there for $.99 or even FREE!  Tons of them are series starters, too!

I have my first book, Dignity, up for $.99 -- it's the most recent (3rd) edition.  I don't plan to fiddle with it any more, because it's as perfect as I can make it. 

I've been rewriting all my books, to tighten them up and deal with minor issues.  I've completed up to Dynasty, including the CreateSpace editions, and hope to get them all finalized in all formats by the end of the year!

As always, you can get the ten books in the To Be Sinclair series at Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Payhip, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and more places than I know exist!

And please, support my fellow independent authors.  You can make a big difference simply by discouraging ANYONE from pirating ebooks!  First, authors usually have something on sale at any given time.  Second, they're usually waaaay cheap, especially compared to hardbound, paperbound, or even traditionally-published ebooks.  The most expensive ones I have out are $4.99, and that's for a huge, creaking 200,000 + word novel!

Third, paying a pitiful few dollars is the ONLY way to get your favorite authors to keep writing!  We wouldn't self-publish if the presumption is that someone will steal our work.  We are like the mom-and-pop store on the corner, trying to make ends meet.  So every single sale means a lot to us!

I hope everyone has an awesome holiday season, and I hope to be putting out three new books in 2017: all of them are prequels set in the Sinclair universe, but a few hundred years before the main series.

Namaste


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

SFR Brigade Presents: Excerpt from ABILITY

The Science Fiction Romance Brigade is a fabulous group of authors who offer a monthly Showcase so folks like you can get a taste of upcoming sci fi romance novels.    See this month's offerings at SFR Brigade Presents

My current excerpt is from Ability, book 9 of the To Be Sinclair series, which is now available for pre-order and will be live on July 20th:



The first female navigator in the Demesnes' Service, Princess Brielle Sinclair proves she can handle it all -- her duties, the hazing, her surly bunkmate.  She's totally ace, but her cyborg implants also give her the ability to 'see' stelluric waves, the building blocks of wormholes and stargates.


A technological disaster shortens Brielle's liberty on the planet Venturi, and leads to the retrieval of her sophomore chemistry lab partner, Lord Zak Ellison, a deep undercover agent dealing with the disaster while enslaved by a mysterious being. When her ship then gets embroiled in a puzzling energetic influence from Venturi, the Emperor needs her to handle the situation. 

How can Brielle extricate Zak from this horrible assignment, as well as help him with his troubled past? And what will it take to deal with the stelluric problem they've nicknamed the 'hellbeast'? 



Excerpt:
Nodding sagely, Ortiz directed one nod out toward the mat.  “Want to spar?”
“I only spar with Sentinels.”  At his notable surprise, she shrugged.  “I was responsible for the medical discharge of two cadets in boot camp.  I’m not about to pit myself against men who have something to prove by beating me, or who might hesitate because I’m a woman.  Because I truly don’t fight to work out; I fight to kill.”
Ortiz swallowed.  “Mind if I spread the word?”
“Not in the least.”  She stretched her legs again.  “I better do my sit-ups to balance out all the emphasis on my traps and lats.” 
“Yeah, I can see why you leave it for last.  Why do you do them upside-down, though?” 
“Because I think legs should be as useful as arms, especially if the ship were to ever lose gravity.” 
Grinning at his further surprise, she went to hang the weight bar on the highest notches she could reach, wrapped her knees over it, and began her sit-up routine.  Left, center, right, center, she never counted these, instead letting her mind roam freely until she could do them no longer. 
Hanging there afterward, heaving great breaths, she stared upside-down at the men, a few of whom were staring right back.  She wished she could spar with them, but these weren’t the sharpest, smartest, or fastest men in the Service; Sentinel recruited those men.  She simply couldn’t justify risking her life, or anyone else’s life, just to ‘work out’. 
With one more sit-up, she grabbed the bar, dropped to the floor, and practiced some crescent kicks to loosen her legs before heading back to her bunkroom.  Ortiz must not have spread the word fast enough, because four men jumped her as soon as she left the gym, each grabbing one limb. 
Fighting as dirty as she could, she bucked, bit, screamed with rage, and broke one man’s neck when she kicked her foot out of his grip and squarely into his head, feeling the crack through her cleats.  As he fell, sheer adrenaline and a twisting trick helped her pull another man over her body, breaking his forearm against her hip in an ugly compound fracture that spurted a generous amount of blood all over her, causing him to howl. 
“Hey, hey!” one fellow shouted, letting go of her other arm. Landing on her hands, Brielle twisted her other leg out of the last guy’s grip, gained her feet, and backed up against the wall of the corridor.  “We were just gonna treat you to a bit of hazing.” 
“Yeah, well, guess what?  You just cost your buddy his life.”  Brielle spat toward his face, with the bloody spittle falling just short of his feet.  “And that’s what I think of hazing.”  
She ran up the corridor as fast as her exhaustion would allow her.  Looking back just once, she saw the men huddled in grief over their companions, as men from the gym and nearby Sick Bay, Dental, and Psych departments came out to investigate the extremely brief incident.

Pre-order on  Amazon

And thank you, SFR Brigade!



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Kindle Scout campaign: Ability

My blogging hiatus has resulted in my latest novel, Ability!  The tenth book in the To Be Sinclair series (one was Book 6.5), Ability features Princess Brielle Sinclair, the first woman to qualify for the all-male Service of Sinclair Demesnes.  Here is the blurb I wrote for the Kindle Scout campaign:

A princess battles an odd threat to her ship
The first female in the Demesnes' Service, Princess Brielle Sinclair proves she can handle it all -- her duties, the hazing, her surly bunkmate. Yet when she discovers an old classmate holding down a deep cover on a troubled planet, she faces a nightmare of epic proportions that no one else understands -- except Zak! 
Brielle is glad to have found him, but now her ship is in danger. Can she preserve her reputation and master her unusual innate talents while combating this mysterious threat?
Length:  112,600 words.
You have 30 days to 'nominate' a book, and you can have 3 nominations at once.  Once that book's campaign finishes, it opens up another nomination you can make.
I've read that Kindle Publishing doesn't necessarily offer contracts based on the nominations, but I'm sure they are a good indicator.  The terms of the Kindle contract are pretty good:  five years, a decent advance, clauses for if the book doesn't sell very well.  Regardless, I'll be publishing Ability this summer!
I was disappointed that the initial excerpt is only 5,000 words, though.  That isn't even halfway through the first chapter for me!  I spend a good deal of time with world-building just so when I eventually mention 'pre-emps' or an EVA suit's O2 valve blowing, you'll be able to imagine it instantly and integrate that image with the action.
Enjoy the campaign!  And all the usual:  share with your sci fi friends and relatives, tweet it, etc.  Here's the link:  https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/XUGXBEG1JO2S
And thank you for your support!  It's been a long, hectic time since I've had a chance to blog.  I'm hoping to find what passes for 'normalcy' soon!
Namaste.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Spacefreighters Lounge: Eva Caye's favourite character

Spacefreighters Lounge: Eva Caye's favourite character

How I Fell In Love With A Lady

I'm over at Spacefreighter's Lounge today, talking about Felice Sinclair, the central figure of my To Be Sinclair series.  Thank you, Greta Van Der Rol, for the opportunity to share my favorite character with your readers!

Come join us!

Spacefreighter's Lounge




Friday, August 14, 2015

Everyone, On Board! Eight Things We All Need To Do, Every Day

No big introduction, here; I'm just going to lay it all out like I see it.

1.  Recycle.


August 12th, 2015 was  "Earth Overshoot Day": that annual moment when humankind's use of natural resources exceeds the planet's ability to produce and replenish them.  See this post on Live Science, or the graphic-heavy National Geographic.

Slums of Mexico City
The absurdity, and the horror, of Overshoot Day doesn't even take into account the population explosion occurring.  What will the needs of an extra four billion people within the next twenty years do to our planet?

I blame two things:  our culture of incessant consumption, and that horrible economic practice known as 'planned obsolescence'.  Spending money, and spending it on poorly designed goods that won't last you a lifetime.

Antiques are good.  They were made before the 1950's, when 'planned obsolescence' really took root in manufacturing, so they presumably have more life in them than their original owners.  Acquiring a useful antique is recycling at its finest.

But what matters is that we all, each and every one of us, set aside a small fraction of our time to develop habits that will pay back in the future.  Even if all you do is crush up your eggshells and add them to your potted plants, those eggshells are not going into the trash.  There are hundreds of thousands of suggestions for ways you can recycle, from composting coffee grounds for earthworm farming to using old t-shirts for quilting.  

Atlantic garbage
Since you are reading this article, that means you are online, so run a search on recycling, and add just about any word you please after it.  Recycling paper?  Take up papier mache as an art form!  Recycling tires?  Use as a raised bed, or even as a small pond!  Recycling shoes?  Local homeless shelters!

Oh, and that photo is the Atlantic Garbage Patch.  Not the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, with an estimated 5.7 TRILLION pieces of plastic.


2.  Meditate.


Or pray.  Or breathe.  Or banish all thought.  I don't really care what you call it, but to sit while not-doing is a healthy thing.  To sit, deliberately planning not to throw yourself into your frenzied lifestyle for half an hour, is necessary for many reasons.

You can use the opportunity to expand yourself spiritually.  You can use it as an emotional 'time out'.  You can simply meditate by concentrating on breathing, especially if you sit hunched over a computer for any length of time.  Or you can just sit and relax after heavy activity.

Meditation is not 'wasted time'.  It's a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle, a retreat to recoup your thoughts, renew your physical energy, and recover your stamina.  It's good for what ails you!


3.  Educate yourself.


You may be God's gift to the world, but you don't know everything you need to know.  There's bound to be some skill, art, science, perspective, or social issue that you don't know everything about.

The internet is, currently, free, but that might change in the blink of an eye.  There are hundreds of free online university classes, either from individual universities or on aggregate websites, such as edX and Coursera.  There are undoubtedly millions of free websites and books.  Knowledge of all the ages is available to those of us wielding computers, cell phones, and tablets, if we only look for it.

So one day I may be researching free DIY greenhouse plans, and the next day I may be reading up on solar cookers.  That may evolve into finding free books on how to design a passive solar house, which helps me design The Perfect House.  This is a project I've been working on for twenty years because there's just so much to learn about what goes into a house, not to mention new materials being developed every day.


4.  Reach out.


I can personally attest to the devastation inflicted by the disease known as depression.  As a long-time sufferer, I have learned that very few friends will 'stick with you' when you find yourself constantly turning down their overtures to do things for which you have no energy.

As a result, one of the lessons I have learned is how important it is to reach out to people.  If I am in desperate need, I will reach out, but at this moment, I'm talking about reaching out to your family, friends, complete strangers, anyone at all.  For example, I have never understood why people avoid someone with cancer -- it isn't a communicable disease, for pity's sake!

You never know who might be hurting, who might be hiding behind a joke or a smile, or who might actually be contemplating their last moments on Earth.  Since I don't have a lot of energy to do social things, I try to make it a point to reach out to at least one Facebook friend, at least one a day, just a quick chat message:  "Hey, how are you doing?"  They know I will listen to them and try to help, so if they aren't doing well, they will unload.

I adore this image to represent depression.  Despite being on a beautiful beach on a beautiful day, this person doesn't have the energy to experience any of it.  I would have weeks of 'white noise', where I couldn't perceive anything more than a couple of feet away.  Depressed people cry because we don't understand what is wrong, or why we can't DO anything.  

Reach out, even if it's only to talk while they listen, or hug them, or snuggle in their blankie-fort with them.  Or reach out to the elderly -- bring them a meal, or take them out to dinner.  Listen to their stories, because in our youth-oriented and self-centered culture, we have lost the precious wisdom of so many elders.  Reach out, because we're in this all together, and you can never have enough people watching your back.

5.  Downsize.


We all have Too Much Stuff.  Maybe that stuff was useful, once.  But now, it clutters our lives and, even worse, reminds us of who we WERE.  So my question is:  have you grown beyond it?

It seems to me that poor people have more stuff than wealthy people.  They cling to it, because they might need it someday.  I'm sooo guilty of that thought:  "Hey, I could use that in a project!"  But if I haven't used it in the three years since I acquired it, then what is the likelihood I'll get to that project within another three years?  So there it sits, taking up space, and especially, taking up my energy by reminding me that I'm Not Good Enough to get to all those projects I want to do, an insidious self-deprecation most people never realize on a conscious level.

I have taken to getting rid of, or recycling, one item a day. Today I threw out two yogurt tubs, half-full of yogurt that I didn't like very much.  They had been in my fridge for perhaps three months.  A small thing, but I don't need any more plastic tubs, and I haven't figured out how to recycle milk products yet without attracting rats.  (Time for #3 -- Educate myself!)

If you would like to be free of your stuff, there are many excellent articles out there to help you with the who-what-where-when-why's.  Jumble sales!  The Salvation Army!  Consignment shops!  My general rule-of-thumb is: if my house were to go up in flames, would I cry over this?

In addition, downsizing means: a healthier atmosphere (less to dust, polish, and clean); a greater appreciation for what you have (left); money from yard sales, consignments, or auctions; room to display collections you really love; ability to find what you need when you need it (important documents); less to move when you're redecorating or moving; a smaller house or apartment (smaller bills)....  All that, as well as less stress over worrying about your stuff!  Possessions possess US as much as we, them.  Heaven forbid a thief might steal my stash of crochet yarn!

6.  Document.


In this modern age, there are so many ways we can document our lives.  I think about how little we know of humans in the past, and how much archaeologists in the future will know of us!

I do admit that not everything is worth documenting.  I have a notebook for all those little business things that pop up of a day.  But what I really think we should do is document our real selves, so we can see how much progress we have made.  And that documentation should be unique to each person.

My friend Lisa Weston explains it well:  


Lisa and Emily Weston
There are many moments when we avoid having our photograph taken, with numerous excuses. My hair is a mess, I look horrible, I don't have makeup on (girls), I am too busy, I'm not in the mood...... How you view yourself is not how others see you, keep that in mind when your child, spouse, family or friend ask to take a photo with you. They don't see your gray or messy hair, wrinkles or clothes. What they will see is a wonderful memory with someone they love. Don't cheat them out of those moments.
I don't have the patience or talent for photography, so I write.  Each book says a great deal about me, but what I truly look for is my growth as a writer.  In addition, I have notebooks in three significant places -- by my bed (for dreams), by my computer, and in my purse.  These notes may not end up being significant literary documents for future fans, but like Carl Jung's Red Book, I am certain they reveal my inner gods and demons, my hopes and fears, my archetypes and symbols, to whoever might read them.


7.  Contemplate.


Or, as I would say if I threw all manners out the window, "Fer pity's sake, THINK, people!"  

Thinking is the only way to solve a problem, for example.  You may want to invent something that will take the world by storm.  In order to do that, you have to figure out how to fulfill a need people have.

But contemplation shouldn't stop there.  Think about how much you appreciate everyone and everything that surrounds you.  I KNOW the 'law of attraction' is indeed a law, and that everything in my presence exists because I deliberately thought of it.

My favorite, however, is to think about the future.  I will sit in my yard and contemplate what changes I might make.  Or I will sit with my computer and think about the book I'm writing, and how to present the next scene.  

Thinking is the key to success.  People don't just come up to you and say, "Hey, I like you, I'll pay you $80,000 a year to be my accountant," if you haven't put some thought into going to school and getting a degree in accounting.

8.  Grow food.


You don't have to have a big, complicated garden.  But you should know how to grow food, because you might desperately need that skill someday.  You can have a container garden, or you can re-grow from scraps.  I usually have sprouts of some kind growing, and I'm contemplating putting in a pear tree beside the elderberries.

The point is: you should have at least a small portion of your food supply under your control.  Why?  Because the environment is going crazy.  We are currently suffering the sixth mass extinction event in the history of the planet.  You can 'argue' whether 'climate change' is 'real' or not, you can even laugh at those who try to legislate the mere mention of it away, but you need to be prepared to grow your own food, regardless.  And also be prepared to share that food, preferably bartering for foods you don't grow on your own.


Oh, by the way: you may wonder why I wrote this article.  I was inspired by Inhabitat's recent post.  I plan to survive an apocalypse by doing every single thing in this article.  Daily.  I hope to see you on 'the other side'.

 ~ Namaste ~


Eva Caye, author of the To Be Sinclair series, can build a rocket stove, tat lace, handle a gun, design book covers and permaculture garden plans, and teach teenagers critical thinking, although her favorite activities include writing science fiction romances and playing with her doggies.  She currently lives in a tiny, century-old farmhouse with her magnificent husband and two marvelous mutts in Louisville, Kentucky.

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