Saturday, December 02, 2017


I thought it might be nice to post at least one entry this year. No, I didn't disappear into this void we call life. No, I didn't go to the store and forget my way home. No, I didn't die although most days I feel like death warmed over! No, my hands weren't amputated. No, my brain didn't take another hiatus to visit the Cuckoos Nest. No, I haven't been so busy that I haven't had the time to spare to tend to something (I'm sorry, Mildred) that once brought me so much peace and happiness. I wish I could write about all the wonderful adventures I've been having, but they all would be lies.

So what's the truth? What bug has crawled up Mildred's ass and refuses to leave? Where have I been and why is writing no longer the friend it used to be? Why when I was contacted by someone (Jnuts, please forgive me) I admire deeply and have always felt is a kindred spirit did I cower in the corner of my infamous cave like someone who is slowly shutting down? Why have I started pushing everyone I love away? Maybe after surviving, yet another holly jolly festive holiday season, I'll perk up and come out to play again. 2018 just might be fabulously freaky and we all know there's nothing like getting your freak on in high gear after a large lonesome lull. If anyone is still out here, I'm still out here too.

HELP!!! Lassie, get a rope! Mildred has fallen in the well of despair again and can't get out...

Sunday, May 29, 2016


"Pace with grace" keeps going through my head on what seems like an infinite loop.  First, how does one pace with grace? Is there some specialized step to make it graceful or is it just a matter of attitude and like a person who struts their stuff, they can pace with grace like a fine sashay. Second, how do I get rid of this continuous loop? I'm afraid I'll replace it with something far worse.  Earlier in the week I couldn't get the song Big Yellow Taxi out of my head and now I'm pacing with grace...

I went to my yo yo inspector today (Wednesday) as a walk-in and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to wait all day to see her, but I can't say I was satisfied with the outcome.  I definitely need to figure out what's triggering all this anxiety and then find some way to make it dissipate without the use of all these pharmaceuticals. 

So far I haven't been able to find some middle ground...either I take no meds and pace with grace or I take the meds I was prescribed to take and feel zonked all the time. My anxiety level drops, but all I want to do is isolate myself and sleep. My only hope is that my body will adjust to the meds after taking them for awhile and I won't be a zombie anymore.  How I want my mojo to come back like a welcomed old, trusted friend and for me not to be caught up on this anxiety merry go round.  

I completed my last painting on 5/25/16 and now, have no interest in painting again because all I want to do is sleep. I'm wondering if I'll go a whole year again without painting, without writing, without doing much of anything. I guess time will tell. It always does!

P.S. The loop is gone and the pacing has subsided, but all is much too quiet on the home front... 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


I think back to the days of growing up in the "hood" when children interacted with each other.  We spent our youth by playing hide and seek, kickball, dodge ball, tag, hopscotch, jump rope, four square, and many other games like marbles, jacks, Quaker's meeting and when it rained we got on the telephone and organized a place to play board games at someone's house for the afternoon. On days when the girl's did their thing, we played with Barbie dolls while the boys did who knows what! The thought of being cooped up in the house alone only happened when we were sick or on restriction. Regardless of the weather, we wanted to be outside with each other.  When it was cold and snowing, we rode our sleds and ice skated and when it was summer we went to the public pool and found stuff to do outside in the sun. 

I often wonder why and when exactly those days stopped and the isolation began. Was it a gradual change or did it happen overnight? I often wonder how the decline in the sale of board games matches up to the rise in sales of electronic games. Is there a direct correlation between the two? I guess as electronics took root, children's attention and focus turned from each other and towards a world of imaginary creatures where one didn't have to go looking for an adventure because the adventure came to you at the flip of a switch. I often wonder why parents allowed electronic gadgets to become a babysitter, a friend and an entertainer. What we learned as children about teamwork, dispute resolution and organizational skills dwindled away and was replaced by the solitude a child now finds comfort in.  It seems children no longer play outside and I hear adults claim it's because it's so unsafe to be outside.  Has allowing children's lives to change so drastically created a generation of socially awkward human beings who have social anxiety issues? Have we given children an easy excuse to be clumsy, couch potatoes?
I won't dispute the safety factor, but I do know there is safety in numbers and being so isolated stunts a child's social development and skills. How can a child learn how to properly interact with others if doing so is never encouraged?  Has it become easier for parents to just buy the newest electronics for their children instead of insisting they spend time outside playing games with their friends or would doing that brand the child as being the neighborhood outcast? Play outside? What's that all about? Who would trust someone who plays outside and has fun doing it?  Have we raised a generation of freaks and geeks who are addicted to electronic crack?

Sunday, May 22, 2016


I've recently returned to writing and painting. I think both things are positive outlets for all this pent up anxiety I'm feeling and it sure beats pacing and doing tedious housework all the time.  I can't say I'm a master at either craft, but I guess I do well enough to form a sentence or two in order to construct an idea to elaborate on or as I like to call it, rambling... My skill at painting is acceptable and I have to admit I'm my own worse critic.  The following is the piece I finished today. I never name my pieces because I like for them to be whatever the viewer wants them to be, thus no name, just a number. My signature, Van Goggins was given to me by my closest friend.  She named me after Van Gogh. Van is not my first name, but Goggins is my maiden name I don't know what Van Gogh's diagnosis was, but I rather like the fact that he was "special" and special people need to stick together!

When I started painting this picture I wanted to include the cancer I have on my middle finger, but figured that might be a little over the top.  Besides how does one abstractly depict cancer? Of all places to have cancer, I have to have it on my middle finger.  While they tell me it's not a terminal type of cancer, it's cancer and no cancer is good. And yes, it makes me anxious especially since I have to wait another month to get in to see a specialist to have it removed. 

I keep envisioning my middle finger rotting off and the thought of that doesn't bring me joy.  I'm partial to my middle finger...some of my best angry moments involved using it to signal to someone that they had gotten under my skin. Now, it seems the only thing under my skin is cancer.  I've been fighting the urge to do my own surgery, but I have a feeling that would only make it worse.  When this first appeared on my finger over 12 weeks ago, I assumed it was a possible spider bite. 

I tried on three separate occasions to get my primary care doctor to look at it, but she wouldn't even come near it. WTF? I know it's not pretty, but put some latex gloves on and come over here and look at it. NOPE! She blew my mind by how she acted.  I know we all have bad days, but when a doctor has a bad day that means mistakes are going to be made! What I finally ended up doing was getting a new primary care who solved the problem in a matter of minutes. He nixed the notion that it was a spider/insect bite because there was no drainage or infection associated with it. I know it looks sore and it is sore,when I bump it. The question of the day is how many times do I bump it in a 24 hour period and how many shining expletives do I say per bump? 

P.S. I noticed a few days ago it's starting to grow hair from it.  Great! A hairy cancerous finger! What more can one ask for?

Saturday, May 21, 2016


When I was younger I had no worries.  I did as I pleased when it pleased me.  I always thought I'd be one of those cool old hippies as I aged. It makes me smile thinking about being laid back with a live and let live philosophy.  I guess for the most part I fit that description, but last year something happened to me.  I can't really explain it because I don't understand it.  It's like something short-circuited and made me a little crazy.

I started having panic attacks and they got so frequent and debilitating that I had to be hospitalized.   I do know one thing and that's that I never want to go back there again. It's just not a warm, fuzzy place to hang your hat in a time of emotional need. So regardless, of how bad things may get, I'll find some solution that doesn't include being someplace where I feel like I'm one of the herd. While I was there, I didn't see any people get the help they needed because the atmosphere promoted "let's get the hell out of here as soon as possible" instead of "I need to stay here and fix what needs to be fixed.  And when you get right down to the reality of the situation the doctors and patients have no real say on the length of any given admission thus making it extremely difficult for any doctor to do their job. 

It's the insurance companies that dictate what care you get and how long you get it.  While I was there I talked to several other patients who were visibly upset with their doctor for discharging them when they didn't feel like they were ready to go home. The attitude they had bred distrust and contempt towards anyone who was there to help them. The huddled masses sat bitching about the doctor and what an ogre she was. She didn't listen and didn't care...blah, blah, blah. I could see how detrimental that way of thinking was and like the stand up kind of person I am I started talking to the people who were upset and explained it wasn't their doctor who was making the decisions it was the insurance companies.  Once I explained how insurance works (I was a insurance billing specialist for several years) and that regardless of what you get admitted to the hospital for the insurance companies set how many days you can stay for that thing. Insurance companies don't see you as an individual, but as a bottom line and they want to pay the least amount for your health care they possibly can.

It's the reason so many people turn around and come right back to the hospital. Gall bladder removal? It's an outpatient procedure go home the same day as the surgery regardless of how you feel. Now, you may have to turn around and go to the ER later that day because you have developed a complication.  With mental health issues, it's worse... Try to imagine someone who really isn't ready to go home because they're in the throes of a major depressive episode. They must feel helpless being forced to go back to the same surroundings that many times is unhealthy and lacks a support system for the person. Fragile people don't do well without structure and support.  For them, it's easy to turn their frustration and anger on the doctor...after all, it makes sense. The doctor doesn't care. Right? The doctor and the nurses are easy targets!

So that person with depression is started on an antidepressant and probably an antianxiety med as well just for good measure, but the kicker is that the meds don't start working for 4 to 6 weeks after starting them. What's that person supposed to do in the meantime? Twiddle their thumbs and sing Kumbaya? Nope...go home and tough it out. Just remember not to get too vocal or else you'll land up in a locked room on suicide watch. The key to success is to stay calm and learn the ropes so you don't rock the boat.

After my explanation of what insurance companies can and can't do, it diffused a lot of pent up anger.  I brought the matter up in the next group everyone attended and the response was great.  I could see the frustration start to melt away as people gained a realistic understanding about how the system worked and that they didn't have to be mad at their doctor.  I was as bold to suggest that the social worker incorporate this topic into other groups in the future because many people don't understand how the system works and it stresses them out.  They assume everyone is against them and it's rather difficult trying to reach someone who has built a wall for protection.  I'm sure my suggestion never went any further, but it felt good to help a few people. Hopefully, they'll be in the position someday to pay it forward and help someone else.

P.S. Writing helps even though I tend to ramble at times...

Thursday, May 19, 2016


The lyrics to a Joni Mitchell song has been percolating in my brain for several days now. I'm sure there's some deep hidden meaning as to why I cling to this song and hear Joni's voice clearly in my head, but I've been in an anxiety overload lately so the deepest I can get is to say that change can suck especially if it's an unwelcomed change or an unnecessary change. Perhaps as I slowly meander towards my golden years, the lyrics of this song are quite prophetic...

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

One might think that a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot spot are good things, but I'll be honest with you...I rather long for those simpler times without the use of gimmicks and come-ons. My simpler times don't include pink hotels. No, my simpler times aren't like the times the crazed Trumpsters long for. My simpler times are when life didn't seem so oppressive or heavy...when dreaming was not only allowed, but highly encouraged. Now, I sit here wondering how many paradises have been paved and made into a parking lots or something as meaningless as a parking lot.  Perhaps the ultimate in meaningless things to build would be a pink parking garage as tall as the eyes can see filled with yellow taxis.

They took all the trees
Put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Imagine a tree museum.  Imagine our earth without trees.  Imagine mother nature being all, but forgotten and our grandchildren and beyond having to look at pictures of trees and flowers because they no longer exist in the concrete jungle we made in its place. It's not an impossibility! Think about all the living things that no longer exist due to man's gluttony and the pollution he creates as he grows and changes and builds his pink hotels and swinging hot spots. My mind flashes back to a commercial they used to run on television years ago. A Native American stands and weeps as he gazes out over the destruction man needlessly glorifies as progress. Whoever created that ad wasn't paid enough...

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

It's incredible when I think about all the poison we've ingested in our lifetimes and here we are still polluting...still damaging the place we call home. We eat food full of GMO's, hormones and other chemicals without thinking about what damage that had done to our brains and our bodies. My mind cries out for places like Flint, Michigan whose water supply has been not only poisoned with lead, but worse, our government, our protectors have allowed and encouraged things like that to happen as our infrastructure decays and crumbles and another pink hotel and swinging hot spot is built. We, the people expect to be protected against ALL enemies foreign and domestic, but that oath that is taken by our leaders seems to be taken too lightly. I consider lead to be as much of an enemy as any terrorist is. I consider leaders who pledge to protect us yet turn their backs on us in our time of need more of an enemy than a leader or a protector.

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Unfortunately, we all have our day in the sun and then we die. The land we had hoped to make a better place, the life we had wanted to give our children and the dreams we all seemed to have dissipate into a paved paradise.  The big yellow taxi takes us all away whether we're ready or not, but in the mean time can't we do more than sing a song of protest? Can't we actually do something? Can't we do anything to make the world a better place or should we start saving our pennies so we can see the trees when they're in a tree museum?

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got

Till it's gone
They paved paradise

And put up a parking lot

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Any pet owner of multiple pets knows that each pet has their own distinctive personality. One of my pets is a doxiepoo (miniature dachshund/toy poodle mix) or "doodle" (what he was sold as).  B.A. (Be Anything) is just too smart for his own good. SERIOUSLY! I'm confident enough with his abilities to have him match wits with many people...especially with the juvenile politicians in the current presidential clown show.  Let’s see, they’ve discussed penis size…B.A. has them beat there.  He’s hung like a horse! In the matter of wives…B.A.’s significant other is a queen and his mistress is a quite lovely German Shepherd named Sasha who lives next door. His sister, Libby is protector of “The Portal” (a reflection on the living room ceiling that she stares at and guards diligently).  As for foreign and domestic relations, we have ambassadors to: China (Shih Tzu), Scotland/UK (Dandie Dinmont Terrier), France/Germany (Doodle) and North America (American Shorthair Feline). For specific policies, please refer to B.A.’s website:

Each day B.A. amazes me with how he manipulates people. For example, he views ALL visitors as someone new to play with him. After just a minute or two, he deposits one of his favorite toys at the feet of any visitor and starts "using his words" (a command he knows to do in order to let anyone know what he wants.) In this case, it's to let them know it's playtime. He also knows to go to Grandma, if Momma tells him "no". These are just a few of his many characteristics that make him a unique member of the pack in which he's a member.  One of his fellow pack members is a cat who think's she's a dog. We call Tara a "cog" (cat/dog).  Actually, I don't think any of them knows what they are, except Fenway (an extremely spoiled Shih Tzu)! She definitely knows she's the alpha of the pack. I call her "Cujo" when she's in her bossy mode because she acts like a cross between the cartoon character, the Tasmanian Devil or the rabid Saint Bernard Stephen King featured in one of his many novels...except without the foam and biting!

Another thing that distinguishes B.A. from the others is the gifts he deposits occasionally on the floor in the den. This gift is a perfectly formed "shitsicle" (a word I made up because the tird looks like an ice cream cone). This ability is one he formed as a tiny puppy. When he has to go to the bathroom, he sits down completely and as he starts to have a bowel movement, he slowly lifts up his bottom, thus forming a glorious SHITSICLE.


Monday, November 30, 2015


Hello world! The rumors of my untimely demise have been grossly exaggerated. While some will jump for joy over this news, others will grumble and moan.  I seem to have that effect on people. This anecdote seemed appropriate to signal that I've finally come up for air with my twisted humor intact. Or maybe it means the Zoloft is actually working.

On my way to a doctor's appointment not too long ago I stopped and took the photo below.  The independently-owned gas station that once had done business at a prime location had been rudely squeezed out of business by two convenience stores very close by. I'm sure that's a too familiar story for many small business owners. Now, the once thriving business claim to fame is barbecued turkey legs (not listed on the sign), sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts and an occasional carwash for some local charity or school.  You can't get more Southern than that except if they offered ice cold moonshine as a beverage to wash away your cares.

As I came to a stop at the traffic light at the intersection on which this once booming business rests, I did a quick double take. Obviously, either new services are now being offered or some young hooligan rearranged the letters to get some laughs. Yep, I actually circled around so I could take a picture on my cell phone from the parking lot. I have to admit I was tempted to ask how much does it cost to get an "oiled anus" because the price wasn’t listed and after all knowing the price is an important thing especially for those who are on a tight budget.  I exercised my almost non-existent self-control by simply driving away with a smile on my face, but only after securing a picture that truly is worth a thousand words or in this case, three hundred and sixteen words.



Saturday, April 04, 2015


Pain is something we all experience and deal with in various ways and those ways are as individual as each of us is.  Over the past year, I've found myself in a few situations of having to deal with some major pain and disappointment due to the collapse of three close relationships...all were filled with negative aspects and no longer brought me the joy they once did.  Letting go and stepping away from any close relationship is not only difficult, it's scary as well.  I must have asked myself a hundred times if I made the right decisions, but in my heart I know that removing myself from the negativity and thinking about what's best for me was the right thing to do.  Some people have speculated that the pain from ending those relationships helped start the emotional avalanche I've been experiencing as of late.  What I think is many things great and small have brought me to my knees lately, but not to pray.

Now, I'm faced with yet another relationship to assess.  When I was at the height of my crisis, I received a card in the mail from a friend who I haven't heard from in ages.  She stated she had read what I had posted on Facebook about my current situation.  Instead of responding to what I had written either in a comment there or a private message or by picking up the phone and calling me, she chose to do so with a handwritten card.  As I read her words that directed me to throw away my meds and to pray instead, I remember asking my son over and over again who would write something like that to someone so fragile.  I cried and paced and just couldn't wrap my mind around the carelessness of such a statement.  The more I thought about it the crazier I got. 

I really had no idea that she read anything I posted on Facebook because she never comments on anything I write.  The times I've written comments on her Facebook page regarding things she posts, my comments would go unanswered while she responded to everyone else who made comments.  In the past I would call her and leave messages on her voicemail, but she would never call me back. I may be hardheaded, but I'm not blind and I certainly can see when someone isn't interested in staying in touch with me so I simply stopped putting myself in the position of being ignored.  I felt like I deserved to be treated better than that especially by someone who claims to be my friend. 

Yes, you read the part right that she suggested that I throw away my meds and pray instead.  Let me say that I respect anyone's religion and I appreciate any prayers my family and friends want to send my way, BUT  and it's a huge BUT, I personally don't pray.  I really hate to label people because that seems so backwards, so I'll just say where religions are concerned I have my doubts and skepticism.  My close friends may not like or understand what I believe to be true, but they all respect it just like I respect their opinions and beliefs.  I guess I should say they all respect it EXCEPT her.  She has always preached to me and claims to be a Christian yet she can't find it in her heart to try to mend the torn relationship she has with her sister.  Her jealousy and mean spirit reminds me of her elderly mother who is filled with nothing but bitterness towards everyone.  The older she gets the more like her mother she becomes.  What I see I can liken to someone thinking they're a mechanic just because they stand in a garage.  People who claim to be Christians should be more Christ-like, be less judgmental, more forgiving, more compassionate, more love-inspiring and most of all they should lead by example. 

Seriously, where does anyone get off telling someone to throw away their meds and pray?  I can appreciate the fact that many people have panic attacks and that maybe the prescribed meds give them an adverse reaction, but that doesn't mean the meds are bad.  I keep thinking how she would have felt if I had taken her wonderful advice and stopped taking the anti-anxiety meds that had been prescribed to me and then tragically, I took my own life because I could no longer cope.  Would she have felt any responsibility or would it have been just a big oops on her part?  People need to stop and think about what they say to others especially in times of crisis.  Their words can really impact a person.  It's okay to share your experiences with someone who is going through something similar.  It's usually comforting to know you're not alone, but remember that each person is different and what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for all people. I'm glad my "friend" was healed through prayer, but I think I'll use a psychiatrist, a good therapist and take some meds to help me through my rough spot. 

Now, I need to decide whether or not to post this link on Facebook so she can read all about how I feel and what I think.  What would you do?

Thursday, April 02, 2015


Sometimes we have to let go and just let it happen in order to get past the difficult times and ultimately move to the other side where inner peace can be reached.  I know letting go is a frightening thing.  I also know how putting your life in other people's hands or trusting someone else's judgment is equally frightening.  I just spent a few days at a psychiatric facility.  I want to write about that experience and will do so as the words come to me.  I also want to write about the people who were instrumental in helping me through my crisis. 

I'd like to start with thanking an old boyfriend for reaching out to me shortly before I was admitted to Baptist Hospital's Behavioral Medicine Center.  I think it was his words that initially let me know that letting go was the right thing to do.  I had done it many years before at a time when I had retreated into a very dark place.  It was a time he had viewed firsthand. Due to the pain I had suppressed for many years as a child I finally lost my ability to function normally as a teenager.  I eventually found drugs numbed my pain and allowed me to live in a void absent of all feeling-both good and bad. Outwardly, it was a "safe" place to reside, but inwardly I was slowly headed towards total annihilation.  When I finally let go, I came close to dying, but I can honestly say that without letting go back then I would have definitely died at a very young age.  As defiant and hardheaded as I was way back then, on some level I allowed myself to trust people enough to pull me through so I could go on living and eventually learn to thrive.

Most people know my life is pretty much an open book no matter where I am.  I share things that most people try to keep tucked safely away in some dark, cozy closet.  I share things that cause others much angst and shame.  I use Facebook in much the same way as I use my blog only to a lesser degree because most people there don't like to read lengthy updates from people.  Somehow social media seems to have created a population of ADHD-minded people who like to "skim" through their friend's and their family's lives.  They get all the highlights without any real substance most of the time.

Sometimes I post links from my blog on Facebook so that my friends and family (those people who aren't in my everyday life) can remain "with" me.  I learned long ago that shutting people out is a very damaging thing to do and that relationships don't thrive on neglect.  Yes, I have slipped into becoming a hermit in the last 10 years or so, but my hermitude isn't completely void of people.  My problem seems to be that the people I'm closest to live the farthest from me with the exception of my children who live close by.  Through my written words I manage to stay connected to the people in my life who are most important to me and they never lack knowing what's up in Mildred's life.  

About two weeks ago I posted a very lengthy update on Facebook (or at least lengthy for Facebook standards) that clearly let people know I was in emotional crisis and headed towards a place I should avoid.  I ended that Facebook update with what I thought was a little humor, a very "Mildred" thing to do... 
"One last I get a gold star for the longest Facebook status update?" 
I didn't expect anyone to address my question due to the nature of the rest of my update, but I received confirmation from a blast from my past that indeed the update was a little on the lengthy side.  That confirmation also came with many thought-provoking items.  Although relationships can change and people come and go from our lives, some bonds/connections/friendships are meant to last in strange, unexplainable ways. The private messages he sent me brought me to tears for several reasons.  The most important one was that he cared enough about me to reach out to me in my time of need.  For that, I am truly thankful.  Without knowing it his words were the catalyst that opened the floodgates that needed to be opened so I could finally let go and just let it happen in order to get past this difficult time and ultimately move to the other side where inner peace could be reached once again.