Her Mind Is No Longer Her Own

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Alzheimers doesn’t take big things away, it takes very small things that don’t seem all that important until you string them together; it’s a disease that seems to ‘cut the dog’s tail off one inch at a time’…which is just cruel and malicious if you ask me.

She only remembers one phone number out of the dozens that she memorized over the years. She doesn’t realize that she has already asked me that questions 3 times – in the past hour or that she just called me by her youngest daughter’s name. She has no idea how long she was married, or how many grandkids she has or if she still has that pink shirt or how to use the buttons on the tv remote. It’s all just lost.

Alzheimers takes away very small things.

Every single day, some part of her brain walks off into the sunset and waves good bye. She doesn’t realize this is happening. She doesn’t know that there is a dark shadow creeping through her skull wiping away important information. Her mind tells her over and over again that she is perfectly fine.

In a way this is a big blessing. She still knows who everybody is, she knows how to laugh and she knows where the bathroom is and how to eat a McDonald’s ice cream cone. She listens to the news with Pop at 6 o’clock every evening and always comments on the things they show. She tells me that life was upside down back in her day too, and that all the countries got together and fought to put things right again. She makes me feel hopeful.

I’m glad she isn’t aware of the tears I shed whenever I leave. I want to hold her in my arms and never let go of her. I want to keep every piece of her close to me so I can protect her from the horrors of Alzheimers. But it is an unpredictable, evil thief that chips away piece by little piece of every one of its unsuspecting victims and is never satisfied until there’s nothing left to take.

Fuck you Alzheimers.

Fuck you and the train you came in on.

A Collection of Madness and Magic

The Lithium Chronicles

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My mind is light and dark and always uneven,
a rest stop for a long line of weary travellers
and mischief makers; a home to thousands
of manic spiders spinning sticky webs
of dark delusions against the back of my eyes.
My ears itch with the whispers
of hyper charged bits of paranoia.
My throat burns from the speed
at which I swallow the rants
and raves of transient thoughts,
and I am able to breathe again.
My blood boils with electricity,
ferocious enlightenment kicking
through the walls of a dead heart
and I am alive again.
A collection of madness and magic,
I am a place where art and illness collide.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

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I Sink Deeper

I am good for a while.
I'll talk more, laugh more, sleep and eat normally. But then something happens. It's like a switch turns off somewhere and all I am left with is a darkness of my mind.
But each time it seems like I just sink deeper and deeper. And it's scary.
I'm terrified that one Day I won't make it back up. I
feel like I am gasping for air, screaming for help. But everyone just looks at me with confused faces, wondering what I am struggling over, When they're all doing just fine.
And it makes me feel nothing but crazy.

Fear The Fire More Than The Fall

Please Stop. Read this carefully. Think about it.

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of 'hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing.

The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant.

The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames.

And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump.
Not really.
You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

The Bravest Act Of Their Life

People like to say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and they’re right—but those standing in the darkest places can’t see that from there.
When someone takes their own life, we can view it as a tragedy for their loved ones, as a reason to mourn their leaving, as a squandering of what that life may have one day become, we can even be really angry at the senselessness of the loss.

But we should never use the moment to insult the dead by trying to shame them after they’re gone. Believe me, they really wanted to stay.

They did the very best they could in the worst seconds of their lives. They were as brave and strong and selfless as they were able to be in that moment.

Les Waters will never forget his reaction after he ate a hamburger at a restaurant in January 2015.

“It’s like your throat swells up, you can’t breathe, your blood pressure drops, and you black out,” said the 63-year-old man from Harcourt, a small community in eastern Ontario.

Waters, an avid hunter and meat lover, learned he had developed a rare allergy to everything made from beef, pork and lamb.

A bite from a tiny tick, recently spotted in Canada, is to blame.

The culprit, the lone star tick, is named for the white dot or lone star on the back of the female. Native to the southeastern United States, it has slowly migrated north, hitching a ride on birds, deer, and domestic animals.

Waters is not sure where the tick found him, but he suspects it might have been on a hunting trip in northern Quebec. The lone star tick has been found in neighbouring New Brunswick.

“The two we have which were contributed to us by people in New Brunswick, one fed from a human and one fed from a dog,” said Prof. Vett Lloyd, a biologist at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.  

Dr. Lloyd says the lone star tick, unlike other ticks, is aggressive. “It is one of the few that will actually chase their prey. Once they know that you’re there, they will trundle towards you,” she said.

The lone star tick, which is moving from the southeastern United States into Canada, is named for the white dot on the back of the female. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control/Associated Press)
How these ticks cause the allergy that affects Waters, which was first identified in the 1990s, is complicated.

When the tick bites a person, it spits a protein called alpha gal into the blood.

That’s a compound present in beef, pork and lamb, and humans usually digest it harmlessly. But when it appears elsewhere in a person’s body, for example in the bloodstream, it causes a strong reaction.

The body develops antibodies to fight back, and the battle causes symptoms that range from a general rash to a severe anaphylactic reaction. There is no treatment yet.

I need you to know this

… None of us have it all figured out. None of us are immune to pain. We are all on this planet, lost together. We are never as alone as we feel. We are all here together to help each other live. If you think the planet really would be better without you, then you wouldn’t have been born in the first place. I’m serious. You are here because you are meant to be. This world needs you, even if you can’t see it. We need YOU.

… Yes, life sucks sometimes, actually a lot of the time, but it isn’t hopeless, I promise. Every single day things have the potential of getting better. They WILL get better. Pain hurts so much … but
joy and love are out there too.

… When I get happy now I feel it deeper than most people. I feel its full intensity because I know what it’s like to be in excruciating pain. Joy is a gift. Even if I only get to experience it a handful of times in my life, I want to squeeze every drop from it. I can honestly say NOW that happiness is real.

… The things that stress me out matter, yes, but they aren’t everything. Yes, I’m broke. Yes, I’m ALWAYS in pain, but dammit, the sun was out today. I am breathing on my own. I can walk (after dr's saying I would never regain that strength). I can hide under the covers and snuggle with David all day if I want to.. I can eat ice cream for supper. I can laugh. I can cry. No emotion lasts forever.

… By choosing to live I can help people. Maybe I might be able to help one person feel better. By helping even just that one person I am also helping myself.

… Ashley, you have no idea what you are missing. I wish there was some way I could share this thing they call happiness with you. I think you'd still be here right now if you had gotten a chance to feel it for yourself …

I miss you.