I just got my Masters of Social Work acceptance letter today. It is dated the day after my interview - I guess my feeling that I aced the interview was right. I'm so happy I could burst. Everyone was telling me I was a shoe-in, but I was still unsure of myself. I'll write more later when I can think straight again. :) :) :)

Interview News

When I called to schedule this morning, they wanted me to come in TODAY! So I explained to my boss, canceled appointments and rushed home to get ready. I'm VERY glad I got all my shopping done yesterday! I put on my new dress, pearl necklace and dress shoes, dug my purse up from the depths of the coat closet and had time for a hair style before the meeting. I'm TERRIBLE at doing my hair, and they stylist even made it look a little "fallen" as if I'd done it this morning. *grin*

The interview itself started with a case study, which fortunately for me was mental health based. Having actual social work experience was very useful for that little challenge! Then they took me to a big table in the back and I sat there alone wondering if ten people were really going to interview me. It was festive though, there were two bunches of balloons and an empty punch bowl, looked like they were going to have a party and lent a congenial atmosphere to the department.

The head of admissions came and introduced herself and said, "I'm taking you to a little room where we're going to put you on the hot spot." In fact, the interviewers were challenging but supportive. They listened carefully without interrupting and asked follow up questions. They asked me to reconcile my desire to do research with my Cs in math, and I just told them that I know it's a weakness, and that I definitely need a research partner who is good with math, but I know this about myself. I did tell them that I have depression and it contributed to my switch from case manager to floater. I hope that doesn't disqualify me, but I don't think it will.

They transitioned from asking questions to explaining the course of study, a double masters with Public Administration and the global learning program which lets students take study trips to nations around the world. At that point they both slipped and said "when" instead of "if", with the head adding "IF" with a smile and a bit of a twinkle in her eye. They complimented me on several of my answers and said they were impressed with the passion in my social justice essay.

Overall it was a great experience and I'm glad I had no time to fret about it. I feel very good about the interview and I will be surprised if I am not accepted, which is way more confident than I've felt to this point. I'm off to buy stationary for thank you notes!

GVSU Called!


Luckily, my phone was dead so I got the message just now, after the work day. I'm sure I would have sounded like a blithering idiot who just won the lottery. Now I can call back pretending that I have some sort of calm dignity. She won't SEE me bouncing up and down while I schedule.

I have the hugest grin on my face right now!

Now I have to go shopping for a dress or suit.

Reason Cannot Save You From Insanity

My husband forwarded me the following blog post. This is the clearest example I've ever seen of undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia. Note the intelligent, cogent and rational description of this unfortunate person's life in the past five months. This shows the degree to which altered perceptions can affect the ill individual. One of the least understood things about psychosis is that the perceptions are real, just faulty. People feel the puffs of air and see the skin color changes and can't tell delusions from the truth. There is absolutely no qualitative difference for most folks. It takes most people with schizophrenia years, even decades, to learn which perceptions are correct and which are symptomatic, and it amounts to memorization of the symptomatic content. The perceptual reality of the symptoms never goes away unless medication successfuly eradicates it. This poor person is sleeping on a desk in the living room because they are so afraid of the bedroom now.

I noticed something that I share with this person. Since the onset of the muscle problems I analyze every glitch of my body as potentially part of what is going on. I'm hot a lot of the time now - is it related to the muscle problem, perimenopause, or a side effect of my new medicine? Are those muscle twitches normal? Have I always had them and just never paid special attention? Everything is potentially part of the experience of illness (or in this person's case, perceived torment.)

I'm quoting this in its entirety. I would love to offer a gentle but firm explanation of what it going on to the individual, but comments are closed. Most of the comments were cruel, but a few were kind and sensible. I hope this person has loved ones around to help them get treatment.

This article describes harassment and barrage of assaults I have been
experiencing on my body during the past five months.

I am an American citizen, an immigrant of Middle Eastern origin. I
have been living in the US for 35 years; I am non-religious; my
politics tend in general towards left-of-center. Around the beginning
of the Iraq war, years 2003 and 2004, I expressed on Internet forums
- mostly on this site - my opposition to the Iraq war in strong
language and talked about George W. Bush in unflattering terms which
are commonly heard now but were not so commonly heard then.

The precise beginning date of the series of events I will talk about
is uncertain because only towards the end of November 2007, I realized
that I was being drugged and walked backwards in my mind and traced
the start of this approximately to the beginning of that month ...

To explain: During a normal night of sleep, one goes thru a process.
The precise instant one falls asleep is not clearly marked to one's
own consciousness but one is aware of the different stages of sleep
one goes thru during the nite. There are periods of deep sleep and no
apparent consciousness, and periods of dreaming and times of semi-
awaking and becoming aware of such things as the bed and sounds coming
from outside etc and then falling asleep again and going thru these
stages possibly several times. And in the morning, because of the
awareness of having gone thru these stages, we are aware of time
having passed thru the nite.

By contrast: I have been operated on under general anesthesia two
times. The experience of general anesthesia is not like sleeping at
all; it is total absence of awareness; one might describe it as
destruction of time; it is as if one did not exist during the time
while one was under.

Somewhere towards the end of November, I said to myself, I am not
going to sleep; I am being knocked out. This had been going on for
several weeks but it did not hit my consciousness because the
possibility of such a fantastic thing as noxious gases being injected
into my living space was so totally outside the horizon of my

Because, if somebody had talked to me a year ago in the way I am
writing now, I would have said this guy sounds like a paranoid nutcase.

Going back to the past four months, unfortunately, I have not kept a
diary and can only give an account of events in inexact time specs.

I believe the assault on my body started with a test on me as a guinea
pig of a "sleep gas". This is only one of the things I have been
subjected to in the past 4 months. Let me list them:

1) First, more details on the "sleep gas": Once I became aware of
it, I paid attention to how it worked. A typical situation: I am
walking around totally awake and not tired, then I sit down to watch
TV for a bit in my usual spot on the couch. I may or may not feel a
faint draft of air on my face; then, quite suddenly, I feel tired and
sleepy. Then, the effect depends on how I respond to this. If I take
this as a signal that it is time to go to sleep, I actually do go to
sleep and this is what I had been doing the earlier weeks of
November. (Parenthetically, throughout most of my adult life, I
suffered from insomnia and going to sleep had been a big struggle for
me, that is, until November 2007!)
If, on the other hand, I quickly get up and move away from the
spot on the couch, the effect dissipates; I am back to being awake and
untired again! Now, in my experience, this is a neat trick. One
might shake oneself out of sleepiness with coffee and cold fresh air
etc but tiredness does not go away so easily.

2) Now the waking part: I seem to breathe cold air, or more
precisely, I experience what feels like a splash of cold air on my
face and this is followed by palpitations in the chest. This is how I
was woken up. Also, this is how I was prevented from resting.
Another typical situation: I come from work eager to read a
magazine. I set up my pillows on the bed to rest against. Then, the
light blinks, I feel the cold air against my face followed by the
palpitation in the chest. I get up and leave the bedroom.

3) When I was still using my bedroom, I remember waking gasping for
air and running to the window and being able to breathe only with my
face out the window. It was as if something other than air had been
filling my lungs. This happened only for one or two times after which
I stopped using my bedroom. For the past 2-3 months, I sleep in the
living room on my desk; this puts my head on a level against the open
window and I use a fan to drive in fresh air from the outside against
my face.

4) "Dirty air": Not that I can see the dust or anything but I feel
an accumulation of gunk in the back of my throat and on my tongue.
During the times I was subjected to this particular torture, the furs
on my cats were covered with a shiny gunk and they kept licking their

5) A particularly severe attack: I believe it is administered via an
injected gas; it may start with something like the bursting of a
bubble on my temple. Followed by a sickness lasting from a few hours
to a day. Symptoms: finding myself forced to breathe fast, numbness
on the extremities, for long periods afterwards, feeling my lungs
constantly with discomfort on each breath and chest pain that
sometimes take over entire one half of my chest.

6) Equally severe, administered via my car (not in my townhouse).
Burning in the lungs, pain with breathing, feeling as if I am about to
faint. This also lasts several hours. And I actually have a sample
of the substance that caused this. I found an object that looked like
a piece of sponge in front of my garage. I picked it up; it was
covered with a soot-like powder. I brought it near my nose to see if
it had a scent. Subsequently, for several hours, I experienced the
above symptoms with one additional symptom: the skin on my finger
turned white in an area the size of a dime where I had touched the
stuff. This was not a case of the skin being covered with dirt or
powder; the skin itself turned white and remained so even after
washing for several hours. I imagine, about half a dozen times, such
a piece of sponge was placed on my engine allowing the piece to burn
with the heat of the engine with the vapors wafting into the passenger
compartment. In one of these occasions I had a movie theater staff
call the medics and they found nothing except that my pulse rate was
and stayed at a high level. This was attributed to my being excited
even though I was not so.

7) Tinnitus: Ringing in the ears. Now, this is not internally
generated. I believe this is achieved by some sort of electomagnetic
wave or near-inaudible sound wave. The reason: the effect is
localized to specific spots I tend to occupy in my home, for example,
sitting in front of the computer. If I move away quickly when the
ringing starts, it subsides over half a minute to a minute of time.

The general strategy seems to be not to throw all of these at me at
the same time but to sort of alternate between different types of

I never thought I was that important but somebody seems to have seen
it fit to spend an awful lot of concentrated effort and money to
displace me. All these occurrences are not the work of an ordinary
person and the team that is harassing me has access to locksmith
expertise, veterinary expertise, electricians' expertise and and air-
conditioning expertise. I will spare the reader details on all of
these areas for now.

The overall goal seems to be to drive me away and, if that fails, to
drive me crazy, and if that fails, to make others think me crazy if I
start to talk about this admittedly fantastic stuff that is happening
to me.

There are other effects that are difficult to distinctly describe.
There is a lot here that I have not written about. This has been my
life in the past four months. There are days when it feels like I am
walking around feeling drugged and wearing a helmet of a headache. It
may just be a general unwellness resulting from living under torture.

Just When You Say You Hate Something...

...it turns out not to be true!

We started the twins in swim lessons a couple of weeks ago. I got jealous because I love playing in the water and swimming. So yesterday I bought a family pass when we went swimming. And a minor miracle happened.

In the water, I can be active and play with my kids like I used to. For two hours with a few rest breaks. We played tag and monkey in the middle and raced across the all shallow pool, with me handicapped by only walking and not swimming. And it was FUN!

I love exercise under these conditions. It's mild and not aerobic, but it's a few more hours of exercise than I've been getting for months. I'm gonna use that family pass until the lifeguards get sick of seeing us. :)

Bad Fatteh is Doing It Wrong

I'm way behind on this fatosphere discussion, but I wanted to comment on it.

I don't believe that there are "good fatties" - we are all, by simply existing, transgressive in a way that our society is extremely keen to punish. Fat is portrayed as sinful, out of control, non-conforming and willfully unhealthy. We are the "welfare queens" of the aughts, lazy and expensive and contributing nothing to our country.

We are a diverse community, of course, and not a monolith of bad traits as we are portrayed. Through chance and choices we have various levels of health, and that's true of any group of humans. There is value in challenging stereotypes, and very fit fat people do that because the stereotypes are false and reality is complex.

If anyone is a bad fatty, I am. I eat whatever I please whenever I please, until I'm full and sometimes till I'm stuffed and sleepy. I haven't even tried to diet in years, because for me as for 90% of people they made me gain weight. I seldom exercise anymore because of the muscle thing. My favorite activities are sedentary, and I have no plans to change that. I loathe athletic pursuits, and hate virtually all forms of exercise. My PTSD used to give me awesome pain tolerance because I would just dissociate, but now that I've recovered I'm a wuss. I hate pain, and exercise hurts. I'm a size 32 pushing 34. i'm a smidge under 300 pounds. I AM the headless fatty in news reports, except my head is attached to my body. And it has a double chin!

What's more - I don't give a shit. I love myself just the way I am. Do I wish I had a lot of choices in clothes like thinner people? Sure I do. Do I wish I were a good athlete (noting of course that not all thin people are athletes)? Sure I do, more ways to entertain myself would be cool. Does my weight exacerbate the muscle thing and the dance injury in my knee? Of course, that's physics. Would I enjoy blending in and not facing discrimination based on my weight? Yes, I would. And yet I like myself and feel like a lovable and competent person despite being fat. Because I am. And that's not going to change.