Shifting Sands

There are many definitions to “function.”

Most days I find myself checking inside, feeling how I feel right now, and reminding myself that this is how I do “function,” at this moment in time.

Maybe in five minutes I’ll function some other way, but that is something I can neither predict nor control.

My goals are slimmer, tighter. I will take a walk. I will play with my dog. I will give a go at reading this book, and if it won’t read, I’ll put it down and try another time, or not. I will be happy if I remember to give both my dog and I our pills. I will consider it a triumph if I don’t get angry. These are things I now call “functioning.”

I used to go to work every night and save lives.

“Bye folks, I’m off to save lives,” I would say to my family. And I did. Save lives. Just not theirs. And not mine.

After the crash, it has been as much as I can manage to live from day to day. I don’t know why I do it, since there’s not much I can contribute any more.

Maybe I’m finished with the “contributing” part. Who knows.

At this point I just have to be sure I stay far away from the tongue cluckers. I’m too fucking old and busted up to let myself feel bad just because I did the best I could, continue to do the best I can, but now the definitions have all changed.

It’s taken me a long time to get this, to see it clearly. There’s a grieving process, mourning who you were and what you loved doing and how it defined you, both in your eyes and in the eyes of those who knew you then. It’s like giving birth to a stranger. Who the hell is this person in the mirror?

I guess that’s our job now…getting used to who we are, the shifting sands.

The broken shards.

I give the filthy homeless people money.

Critics disdain: why do you give those filthy people money? They’re just going to go buy booze with it.

That’s not my business, what they do with it. If booze is what they need to get from one day to the next, am I God to say that I know better than they do?

Tomorrow, that may be me standing there with a sign out. Or you.

Who knows, that filthy smelly person might be Elijah the Prophet. He’s said to take the form of a down-and-out person, the kind you wouldn’t let in if he came to your door begging.

How do you know this person’s personal tragedy?.

There but for the grace of God go I.

The longer I live in this tiny camper, the closer I get to myself. It’s not comfortable. Not the camper, and not myself. I can’t avoid the truth: in many people’s eyes I am a failure. They can’t boast about their “daughter/mother/cousin/niece the doctor.”

No, don’t. Don’t say I’m still a doctor, because I’m not.

I’m just me.

That’s all.

Just me, and if that ain’t good enough for ’em, fuck ’em.

Leave a comment


  1. Yehudit Emunah

     /  April 12, 2016

    We are all just doing the best we can with what we know and what we’ve got. And we’d all be better off if we could remember that instead of being judgmental (myself included). I love you, and you’re amazing.

    • Yehudit!!!! It’s so nice to see you here. I miss you so! Yes, and I know that you know exactly what I’m talking about. None of us know what this world of lies is going to throw at us. All we can do is to roll with the punches as best we can.

      I want to know all about what’s going on in your life. Email me: moxadox **at g ma il

      Love you, can’t wait to catch up…thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot to me…❤

  2. Hi Laura, I know you are a kind, generous healer and you’re doing the best with what life has thrown your way. I wish you weren’t alone, actually with Atina you’re not alone. I can only hope things get better for you. Sending you loads of positive thoughts and love, my friend. Xxxooo

  3. I really just want to say I feel so much closer to you and your blog now. This post is everything I believe in. Having a messy past and owning it, moving on and not judging other people going through crap. Great post 🙂

  4. I love your words, Laura… Sending you love, CC

  5. When I lost nearly everything due to my bipolar, I spiraled into hell until one day I stopped and thought about something I read (I have no idea where.) That something was that I had a blank slate. A place to start all over again. Most people aren’t lucky to have that in their lives, but some of us get thrown into it.

    • You must have a very strong center, Bradley. Most people can’t do that. It took me about five years of drifting aimlessly before I was able to really latch onto something I could immerse myself in. I’m glad you’re able to look at the blank slate aspect as a positive thing. I personally felt like the “who I am” party had been totally erased, and it terrified me. Wish you’d been there to explain it! Would have changed everything! (Glad to see you here, Bradley! I have missed you.)

  6. I’m glad you give money to those ‘filthy homelsess’ people. Why are the well off the only ones who need a whisky?

  7. Midwestern Plant Girl

     /  April 12, 2016

    You’re actually the best. Getting to know yourself is a great way to spend your time. You still help people all the time, whether it’s your knowledge or $10 handed out on the street. Keep on keepin’ on Sis-ta!

  8. I’m with you Laura. If nobody likes who you are and who you have become after a torturous life…..fuck ’em. We don’t need them anyway.

  9. Your words bring a huge transparency to the lives of so many in the same situation. It’s criminal that it is indicative of so many lives but I applaud your words and how much it resonated.
    I wish you well daily, both you and Atina.
    Blessings. Susan ❤️💐

  10. Reblogged this on Owls and Orchids and commented:
    How life can ‘turn on a dime’ and it often takes a painfully long time to recognise life again, let alone be willing to accept it.

  11. These times are to allow you to look within….yes, get angry, get sad, get a dozen other emotions…but in the end you will find you…many struggle with that, as it should be, so that you will appreciate the beautiful person, and love for that person, by going through and understanding who you are.
    And in the end, it IS that love that really matters, the love of self, that place we hide profusely by pointing our fingers at everything else in life. And it isn’t until we begin to see that it actually just us reacting to how we feel about ourselves.
    It is a hard journey, but I know you will touch what has more meaning than anything else in your life, and in that you will find the peace and happiness that we all seek to find in our hearts.
    May your journey bless you with that love, the unconditional love that we all search for, and find, within 🙂

  12. Gee Doctor Laura, you have knowledge and that can not be taken away. I was once a RN but when I retired at almost 74 years of age I let my license go. My younger friends keep up their license and they are 67 to 75 years old. They kept their license so that they can continue to call themselves a registered nurse. Frankly I find that kind of vain but maybe not.

    You do have a purpose in life and one day your once used skills might just be needed for some fellow human. Your life still has value, no matter how you view yourself or, how crass folks view you. They do not count. Have you given thought to writing about your life ? I think it would be a tremendous read and a great education for other folks with Bipolar Affective disorder.

    This blog is an education of or in itself and I like how you write.

    • Thank you so much. You really have lifted my spirits!

      I do keep my license, and I keep up on my CME, in the hopes that one day my body will cooperate and I will be able to resurrect my medical acupuncture practice.

      Well, I’ve got a good start on the memoir…97,000 words and I’ve only covered 5 months. Sheesh, I’ve got another two months of this particular adventure to go. Then I have a novelized version of another part of my life that looks at what might have happened to me in similar circumstances, with different outcomes. I’ve come to a particularly traumatic chapter, a nightmarish happening that I don’t want to write. I know I NEED to write it, but I don’t want to. I will, eventually…

      It sounds like you’ve had an interesting life, yourself!

      • No really all that interesting but maybr. As of the ;=last 6 years it’s been a nightmare from hell. Mhydaughter got sick with auto immune disease and is now about to start a new biologic. I deveooped afib.ot a pacemaker 1 & 1/2 tears ago.Teh mhy son had the ATV wreck, and f=gee do I stay busy for a 79 year old.. Driving my son to appointments etc.about 5-5 days each week.

        But you life is fascinating and I hope you get that book published. And who knows maybe a new miracle drug will come along.

  13. Laura, its a profound piece of writing, alas it is coming due to the turmoil you must be feeling within.

    Yeah, sometimes we do so much for people we care about and they may disregard it completely in the end. Good to give something to someone who values that more than his life.

    And you are not at all a failure. Having the courage to be independent with so much of baggage in no mean feat.

    Love and light to you.

    • Ashu, thank you so much for your kind words. As usual, you see the depth of meaning in mine. I very much value your comments, as the things you see in my writing are often things that I myself did not see. This is the beauty of art: that the viewer, or reader, sees things from her own perspective, in her own context, and these things too are an integral part of the work, which is more collective than proprietary in nature. So when you shed light on something I have written, you are opening new doors for me.

      I have failed to live my dream of practicing medicine in good health until the age of 100, then missing work the next morning because I died in my sleep. That’s a pretty good failure, isn’t it? 😉

      • Life would be so easy if everyone could choose to die in sleep. Such a nice way to exit.

        Oh come on! your life is a huge buffet of various dishes. Concentrate on the dishes that your could prepare so well and discard those who did not turn up well while cooking . Choosing them will give you a bad stomach :-)))))

        Take care

  14. You are just you, and you are a healer, a doctor. Even though I no longer practice psychotherapy, I am both myself now and what I’ve been and done. Plus, your medical training informs how you live your life and what information you share. I learn from you. You are a teacher, a writer, still a healer in ways you may not be aware of.

  15. God I am so with you on this
    Everything you said rang a bell and knocked on the door
    I now have to pick and choose
    Where before I just did
    Great post Laura
    It brings tears to my eyes
    Because it’s one thing to say it to yourself
    Yet it’s a reality check when you read it
    Today is not my day
    I feel like a shit popsicle
    I hope all is well with you
    As always
    The Professional Cannon

  16. Everything we have ever been makes up who we are now. Yes, the sands shift around, and sometimes stuff gets revealed and at other times it gets covered up again. Doesn’t mean it is no longer there.

    And the words you write are healing. For yourself, and perhaps for someone else reading this by accident but feeling it resonate and then knowing that they are not alone in the world.


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