Wednesday, December 16, 2015

More about DWI cases

To the person who wrote me a recent comment that I'm not going to publish, I want to say thank you so much for what you said. It was really touching & lifted my otherwise-rather-glum spirits. Thank you for taking the time to reach out & tell me your thoughts. It meant a lot.

In rather exciting news, a case from Minnesota has been picked up by the United States Supreme Court!!! This is probably the closest I'll ever get to being at SCOTUS, so I'm nerding out about it. It's even a case I've talked about to you all! It's the Bernard case involving whether or not the state can make it a crime to refuse to submit to a dwi test. I've voiced my opinion that I think it's wrong to charge a person with a crime for not consenting to a search. And the law in Minnesota on this topic continues to be a moving target. The court of appeals recently held that the state cannot make it a crime to refuse to provide a blood sample. The Bernard decision had dealt with breath samples--it's ok for the state to charge you with a crime if you refuse a breath sample.

So, presently, here's what we know on this topic:

If you're arrested for a dwi & refuse to provide a breath sample, you can be charged with test refusal.

If you're arrested for a dwi & refuse to provide a blood sample, you can't be charged with test refusal.

If you're arrested for a dwi & refuse to give a urine sample, who the hell knows? The courts haven't decided this yet.

To make the cluster even more fucked, the statute says that if a cop first asks for a blood sample & the person refuses, a urine or breath test must be offered instead and if a cop first asks for a urine sample & the person refuses, a blood or breath test must be offered. So you can refuse some tests but not others & some we don't know if you can refuse & sometimes the cops have to offer you a different test which you may or may not be able to refuse.

So. That's fun. Good luck trying to understand that mess.

The right to refuse the blood test causes the most trouble for drug-dwi cases, when it's not alcohol that's the issue, it's drugs. Unlike alcohol, you can't smell it on someone & it doesn't show up on a portable breath test. And many of the "possibly high" indicators are also "possibly medically related" indicators. I had a dwi case once where the police thought it had been drugs, but turned out the guy had had a seizure. Slow cognition, droopy eyelids, confusion, garbled speech...hard to say what causes that without a tox screen of the blood. And any defense attorney with half a brain would be able to get a case like that either outright dismissed or to win at trial if there's no proof of any drugs in the person's system. In the past if a person refused to give a blood sample, they'd still get charged with a crime for refusing. (The most ridiculous parts of the test refusal statute are that 1. The penalty for refusing is almost always more severe than failing the test, so ACTUALLY DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED is less serious than not giving a sample and 2. Yo can be charged with & convicted of a dwi-test refusal even if you were 100% sober. So combine those two stupid things and you wind up with the possibility that a completely sober person who values their civil liberties & refuses to consent to a sample gets a gross misdemeanor dwi-test refusal charge with the possibility of a year in jail, while an actually intoxicated person driving with a BAC of .15 gets charged with a misdemeanor dwi with the possibility of 90 days in jail. Way to keep our roads safe, legislators!!!!)

The easiest fix to all of this is to just make cops get a warrant for a blood, breath, or urine sample. Then there's no arguments to be had about the test refusal law & what type of tests you can or can't refuse, etc. When I get a case w/ a warrant involved, my immediate reaction is, "well shit" bc most of the time, that will prevent any 4th Amendment arguments about unlawful searches or seizures. All that terrible, horrible, damning evidence that tanks any case we may have gets to all come in. And the thing I challenge the most during pretrial hrgs is warrantless searches (and not to brag, but I win a lot of those, too. Bc I'm a badass.). So, the quickest & easiest way to head off all these issues w/ dwi tests is to just get a damn warrant authorizing the police to collect a blood, breath, or urine sample.

However, the police & the state & the courts strongly dislike this option. Dwi cases make up a large chunk of criminal cases. And the state gets a shitload of money on the cases. On a misdemeanor dwi case, you can expect a $300-400 fine, $80-85 in "court costs" (aka your fee for using the court system), a $25 alcohol assessment fee (which goes to the state and not to the place where you get an alcohol assessment done), and a $680 license reinstatement fee. That's a lot of money. And it goes up from there. If your test is high enough, you pay the state $680 and you have to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car, which is a few hundred dollars & get the device read every month, which costs at least $100 each time. So, dwi cases are cash cows.

Yes, yes, I realize that drunk driving is a problem & people get hurt or killed. In law school one of my roommates was t-boned by a drunk driver & almost didn't make it. She ended up in a coma for 3 months & had yrs of rehab & still has ongoing problems from it. So I GET IT.

Still, dwi cases are a bankroll for the state. And if the police were required to get warrants, that would slow them down, although with the availability of telephone warrants now, not that much. And it's inconvenient. A lot of dwi arrests occur after bar close or on the weekends. Judges don't want to get constant 3:00 a.m. phone calls to issue warrants.

The fact that it's inconvenient or slows things down doesn't trump the 4th Amendment. At least, it shouldn't. And the courts have said that in the past. But when it comes to dwi cases, that doesn't seem to matter.

So, the answer to the problems w/ the test refusal cluster is "get a warrant" but since the legislature & courts don't like that solution, we get a giant mess. But now that SCOTUS has the Bernard case, hopefully we'll get some clarity.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Staying afloat

To start, a message for the people who have been leaving me hateful/hurtful comments lately--1) I have comment moderation turned on, so I have to approve your comments before they actually get posted, so no one will ever see your mean words because I'll never approve them. 2) If you dislike me so much, stop reading my blog. Seems fairly simple to me. 3) I actually don't care whether you approve of me or not, so if it means that much to you to say awful things anonymously via the internet, knock yourself out. Seems extremely petty to me, but you do whatever you need to make yourself feel better. 

Moving on...

As I've expressed on here, I'm struggling with my depression pretty badly lately.  I've had my medication dose increased and I've been doing the stuff to try to help myself through this rut--doing things that make me happy like sewing and painting and drawing, spending time with my friends and family, listening to/watching stand-up comedy, working out and eating well, etc. It's definitely better than when I was last going through a serious bout of depression, during my divorce, when all I did was sleep and work and cry and wake up every morning wishing I had died in my sleep.  So, on the positive note, I have learned from my divorce-induced depression stage how to cope with my depression periods much better and how to take care of myself during these periods. At least that's one positive. 

That being said, I really think I need to make a change and get out of this location I'm currently in. I don't particular enjoy living in rural Minnesota, especially when almost all my friends and family live rather far away from me. I would much prefer to live in the metro area. And I think I need to live in the metro area closer to the people I love in order for my mental health to be stable. I feel like if I can get back to the metro, my mental health situation will be much better. Of course,e I'll deal with depression no matter where I'm living. It's just part of who I am, like my thyroid condition or my hypersomnia.  It's just a part of me. I know that I will have difficult periods in the future. But I also know that certain things can aggravate my depression and make it much harder to cope. And one of the major things right now is that I live so far away from people that I care about and that I live in a location that I don't want to be living in. I don't enjoy living in rural areas. I like the city. I feel happiest in the city. 

I live out here because of my job. I love my job and I love my office and the people I work with. I have a fantastic group of people that I am lucky to not only have as co-workers, but also as my friends. I know that I have been extremely fortunate to have these people in my life. But, the only thing I have out here is work and that's not what I want my entire life to be about. Of course, being a public defender is a huge, important part of my life that I wouldn't want to give up, but it can't be the only thing in my life. And right now, it is. Because everything else is too far away. So, I need to be back in the metro. I need to be closer to my family especially. My poor mental health is affecting my ability to do my job, because I am having a hard time focusing on some days and I have difficulty lately feeling motivated. I don't get the same excitement about stuff the way I typically do when I am not dealing with feeling depressed.

Getting out of rural Minnesota is a necessity at this point. All I want to do is be a public defender and also be closer to my friends and family. I don't want to have it be either work or the rest of my life. I want the areas of my life to be in harmony together. 

In the meantime, I am working on trying to keep my head above water and not give in to the sadness and hopelessness that comes with depression. I am trying to make it through each day. 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

I can't settle

I've been trying out online dating again, because apparently I like to torture myself. Dating is miserable & I hate it. Online dating is especially miserable. I have gone on a few dates & I'm pretty much over it now.

One date told me I should be more of a girly-girl. I'm pretty happy with the level of "girly" that I am, thanks. I like to look good, paint my nails & do my makeup & my hair, I like cute clothing, & I own a fair amount of pink items. I also have a sailor mouth, love a good dirty joke, & can't resist a perfect opportunity for a "that's what she said." I am a sassmouth with opinions & I'm brash & I am smarter, sharper, & wittier than most guys. If it freaks them out, too damn bad. I am who I am & I'm not going to be more girly just to appease some insecure dude's ego.

Quite a few guys talked to me online but never actually asked to meet in person. I don't ask men out first. It's my litmus test for their personality. I'm a very strong personality when my initial shyness wears off. If a guy can't get it together enough to ask me out first, he's quite likely going to be a pushover. I need & want someone who can match me in having a strong personality. I've dated guys who aren't a match in that sense & I end up dominating the entire relationship & lose interest in him. So, I never ask men out first.

Another date went decently enough, but there was zero chemistry between us. He was nice & funny & attractive enough, buy I wasn't attracted to him physically or mentally. No spark, no draw, no chemistry. I can't date someone I have no chemistry with. It just feels dull somehow.

In both my relationship w/ YKW & Guy, there was immediate, intense chemistry, and both parties felt it. It was intoxicating to be with them, it made me giddy to have any interaction with them, & I felt dizzy with emotion. I need to have that in a relationship. Of course, that's not enough to sustain a relationship, it takes more than just chemistry to make it work, but I do need that to start a relationship.

People tell me it's extremely rare to have that w/ someone. I know this. I also know that I've been incredibly lucky to have had it twice in my life. But I also know that having experienced it means that I can't settle for anything less. I can't grow into liking someone. I can't develop it after we've been dating for awhile. If I meet someone & the spark isn't there, I'm not dating them. Period. End of story. It's there or it's not.

People tell me I am being unrealistic, that I shouldn't rule someone or just because there's no immediate spark. But I've dated guys in the past that I didn't have a spark with & it's just...flat. Having experienced that spark, anything less feels like listening to a symphony w/ ear plugs in, like touching something with gloves on. It's diluted, dulled, blunted, less enjoyable & less satisfying. Sure, I might still be able to hear the symphony to some extent or get the general feeling of something w/ yr gloves on. But it's significantly diminished. And it's a poor substitute.

I don't want a diminished substitute relationship. I don't want to settle for anything less than the full richness, the full experience. I know this is rare to find it, especially for a third time. And I realize I'll likely be alone because I won't take anything less. But I'd rather that than settle.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hello Darkness, my old friend

My depression is in full-swing currently. It's misery every day lately. It's not just bc of Guy, although the breakup did initiate this period of depression. It's everything. I realized yesterday that if I could start over at 18, I would redo every major decision I've ever made in my life. I would choose differently every single time. That realization has made me feel even more depressed, bc it means my entire adult life has been a waste. I wouldn't go to law school. I wouldn't be a lawyer. I wouldn't date or marry YKW. I wouldn't date Guy, either in college or this time around. I wouldn't have moved out to the sticks. I wouldn't have taken a job out in the sticks. Literally every single major decision I've made, I would redo it by not doing it at all. Everything I thought would happen, everything I wanted my life to be, it hasn't worked out bc all the decisions I've made were wrong.

My life feels useless right now. I feel like my entire existence is pointless presently. Objectively, I know it's not true. I can remove myself enough from the emotional wreck that I am to look at things objectively & realize that objectively, there are things I do that matter & people who care about me. But logically knowing that & feeling that are two separate things. I do not feel like that, no matter how much I may objectively be able to know that. And it's the feeling that's killing me.

I've read somewhere that depression feels like drowning but seeing everyone else breathe. But that's not been my experience. For me, it's like slowly have your air supply cut off, rather than the abrupt suffocation of drowning. It's like being in a room where the air is slowly running out, a little bit at a time, so that it takes awhile for the suffocation to occur. So that you have time to really feel it creeping up on you, really feel it leeching away your ability to keep going. It's not a fast thing, but a painstakingly slow & drawn out thing. And as it happens, you know it's happening & it feels like there's nothing that can be done about it. So you either resign yourself to your fate of slow suffocation or, in some cases, you speed up the process & end things. That's not my option, but I certainly struggle with the first option, simply resigning myself to my fate, accepting that things will never get any better, believing that it will always feel like this. It's hard not to, bc that's what the slow suffocation does--it chips away at your strength, a little at a time. If it were drowning, you'd fight furiously to save yourself. But when it's slow & insidious, it's harder to fight. It's already gotten a hold of you by the time you realize it and it's already stolen away pieces of your strength.

So that's where I am at right now. Struggling against the slow suffocation that is my depression. Feeling like it's hopeless, feeling like my efforts will be pointless. Feeling like I am resigned to my fate. It's a bleak place bc it feels like it will never change. Even if I can objectively tell myself that it eventually will. It's the feeling that's hard to overcome.

Friday, November 27, 2015

All aboard the struggle bus

Hey guys, guess what? I bet you'll be totally surprised when I say this, but I'm not at all happy lately. Shocker, eh? Oh, right, no, not at all. That's basically my usual state.

I try really hard to not feel this way. I really do. But I always seem to end up back here for some reason. Like my life is destined to be a horrible suck-fest no matter how hard I try. I hate it. I hate that I can't get out of this.

Lately, it's pretty much my entire life that's dragging me down. I hate wear I live right now so much. I thought I could handle it but it's been way harder than I ever imagined it would be. I'm miserable here. Miserable. I am not exaggerating when I say that I feel like living here is slowly killing me. I love my job, but even that isn't enough anymore to keep me going. If I don't get out of here soon, I'm going to lose it. I'll just be a sad, pathetic shell of myself.

I'm doing everything I can to change things but nothing is working so far. I don't know what I'll do but I know I can't do this much longer.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Unpopular opinion

Recently Adele came out with a new single, "Hello," and the world collectively lost its mind. Everyone was singing its praises & expounding on how it left them in tears. I loved her first 2 albums. 19 & 21 were my "sing at the top of my lungs & bawl" albums when I was heartbroken about the divorce. She captured my feelings so eloquently. I haven't been able to listen to either album since then bc it brings back such powerful feelings for me. Which made me sad bc I loved them so much, even before the divorce. I loved her sound since the moment I heard "Rollin in the Deep." It was so unique & interesting & THAT VOICE!!

So I was happy to hear that 25 was coming out, bc then I could have a new Adele album to love that wasn't soaked in memories & emotion. But, I didn't want to listen to "Hello" right away. I was worried it would make me think of Guy & then that breakup would ruin this album for me. So I purposely didn't rush to listen to it. But one morning I heard it on the radio & decided to not change the station. Her voice was flawless, of course, & the song was beautiful, as expected. But I hated it. I hated it bc the lyrics enraged me as I listened to it.

"Hello" is the most selfish, inconsiderate, self-absorbed song I've heard. And that's why I hate it.

At first, it's ok, the selfishness is not immediately apparent:

"Hello, it's me
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time's supposed to heal ya
But I ain't done much healing.

Hello, can you hear me?
I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet.

There's such a difference between us
And a million miles."

Aww that seems so heartbreakingly sweet. So far, so good, pretty, sad, everything you want from Adele. Then, the chorus comes & it's all over:

"Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry
For everything that I've done
But when I call you never
Seem to be home."

Oh. I see. You broke my heart & now, years later, you want to come back & tell me how sorry you are & talk about how great things were when we were together. Sorry you've got buyer's remorse now, but what makes you think I want to hear from you after all these years?

"Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry
For breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly
Doesn't tear you apart anymore."

Seriously??? First off, you're only interested in apologizing if I'm still all broken up about the shit you pulled on me years ago? How about you apologize because you want to be a decent person? Second off, you expect me to still be a mess over you after all these years? You legit think you are that fantastic that someone is going to be torn up about you after you crapped on their heart & after yrs have passed? You really think you're that special?

The song goes on with similar lyrics & the entire time I am just turned off & disgusted by it. It's such a dick song, couched in Adele's soaring vocals & heartfelt tone so you don't realize how much of a bitch it makes her seem. And it works--people LOVE this song. They cry over it. I'm pretty much the only person who hasn't fallen in love with this song. Because as long as the lyrics are sung with emotion & the music matches that, people don't care what the song is really about.

Don't believe me? Many yrs ago, Blues Traveler wrote a song exactly about this concept. It's called "Hook." It's a great song, full of emotion, and people didn't realize he was singing about how everyone is suckers. And he pulls no punches, starting the song by telling you exactly what the deal is:

"It doesn't matter what I say
As long as I sing with inflection.
That makes you feel I'll convey
Some inner truth or vast reflection
But I've said nothing so far
And I can keep it up for as long as it takes
And it don't matter who you are
If I'm doing my job then it's your resolve that breaks."

Later in the song he even says:

"There is something amiss
I am being insincere
In fact I don't mean any of this
Still my confession draws you near."

But that song blew up & I challenge you not to get some emotional response to it, even knowing it's about how you a giant sucker.

So, in sum, "Hello" sucks & it's a dick song & no one realizes it bc it's hidden in the music.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Moving forward

Well, I had my first post-breakup date today. We met for coffee (I had hot chocolate) at 11:00 this morning. It went pretty well overall, although there weren't any sparks flying. He was nice & friendly & we had a good conversation. I wasn't super impressed with his clothing choice, since he showed up in a track jacket, running pants, & a baseball hat. I mean, we were just going for coffee so I didn't expect a suit or anything but he looked like he'd just rolled out of bed. And when he'd take his hat off, it looked like he either hadn't showed at all that day or he had showered & then put his hat on while his hair was still wet. So, his effort into his appearance was marginal at best. But he was nice & there wasn't any weird awkward silences. There wasn't any real chemistry there, though.

I might be spoiled bc with both Guy & YKW, there was this intense physical & mental attraction to the other person, where I found the attraction I had for both of them to be almost intoxicating. I was starry-eyed around both of those two, so I want that again. I want to be with someone who I'm intensely attracted to, both mentally & physically. This guy today wasn't unattractive, despite his terrible clothing selection. He was decently attractive. But there wasn't any spark, no chemistry, no intense attraction. Just like talking to a friend.

I don't it typical not to have that intense draw to the other person? Do people just like the other person a lot & find them decently attractive & think it's good? Did I just manage to get extremely lucky to have found not one but two relationships w/ someone who I'm overwhelmingly drawn to & he, to me? Maybe it's not the norm to feel that way? Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned w/ that since neither of those relationships worked out. Maybe I should be more focused on finding someone who is stable, rather than finding someone I'm drawn to so intensely? And since I'm getting older, not younger, maybe I can't expect to have that sort of attraction with another person? I don't know.

The point is I made it through my first date and that's a big deal. I wish I could say that it meant that I was over Guy, but I'm not. But I am getting out there & trying & that's a step in the right direction.

Friday, October 23, 2015

So much for justice

This actually happened recently in my office.

Defendant applied for a public defender on a Monday. Defendant was in jail when he applied & was going to be in custody until his next hrg. Next hrg was scheduled on Friday at 1:00 p.m. 

Court reviewed the application for a public defender on Friday about 12:00 p.m. The clerk emailed our office at 12:15 say that the defendant was appointed to our office & the hrg was in 45 minutes. No attorneys where in the office (bc it was lunch time) & even if they were, the county where this court is located is 45 minutes away, so the attorney would have zero time to talk to the defendant before the hrg. Our staff notified the court that there were no attorneys available on such short notice.

The defendant's hrg still took place, without a public defender present. Somehow the court got the defendant to agree to proceed w/o counsel (probably threw us under the bus & said we wouldn't send anyone, but failed to mention that we couldn't send anyone bc we weren't given advanced notice of the hrg). At a contested probation hrg.

Fabulous. Justice clearly served.

Monday, October 12, 2015

How to help someone who's struggling with depression

I'm currently in the mIddle of a pretty bad period of depression. Not as bad as when I was depressed about YKW, which is good, but I'm having more difficulty coping bc I don't live as close to my friends & family now as I did when I was going through my divorce. Having a support system is really important & I know I'm not helping myself bc I don't ask for help. But part of why I don't ask for help is bc people feel uncomfortable when you call & say, "my mental health has deteriorated recently & I need some support." It can also be difficult to lean on people bc they may not know how to help someone with depression. The natural inclination is to try to fix it, to ask questions about what's wrong, or to try to encourage them to have fun. None of those things are wrong, necessarily, but they may not be what's needed at the time. So, as someone who has dealt with depression most of my life, here are some things that people have done for me that really helped when I was struggling.

1. Be there for them. I don't mean just in an emotional way, although if they need that, by all means. I am talking about physically being present with them. That's all. Sometimes, when I'm struggling, I don't want to talk about it, I don't want to go do things, I don't want to feel obligated to pretend I'm okay, I just want to sit & watch tv, but I don't want to do it alone. As the friend in this situation, this is probably boring & possibly uncomfortable & not how you'd choose to spend time, sitting on the couch w/ a depressed person, but to the depressed person, it's HUGE. Sometimes, we just want someone to sit with us bc part of our depression is feeling lonely & uncared for. By being willing to physically just be there for them, it can really help.

2. Invite yourself over. Don't wait until the person asks for your company, bc they may not feel like they can ask, especially if they are in need of #1. "Hey will you come over & just sit on my couch with me?" We don't always feel like we can ask people to be with us when we know we're not going to be much fun. We don't want to drag others down & we assume our depression will make you feel bad. So we don't reach out. So call & say, "I'm coming over on Saturday." They may initially protest bc they worry you'll be expecting them to be fun company, but if you insist, they'll finally relent bc usually they do want your company.

3. Invite them to do things. Again, don't wait for them to reach out. And be prepared to have to do things close to their location and/or have to go pick them up. Depression robs a person of their motivation & even small tasks seem huge & impossible. So, even if they agree to get together, if it's far away or they have to drive themselves, they may end up backing out. If you control picking them up or make it easy by doing things closer to them, it's less likely they can back out. They aren't backing out bc they don't want to go, but bc it feels too overwhelming to get into the car & drive.

4. Understand that depression is a form of pain & treat the person accordingly. The things we say to depressed people are awful & we would never say them to people in physical pain. Imagine your friend had been in a terrible accident & lost their arm. The pain is intense & overwhelming for your friend. Would you look at them and say, "Try to focus on the positive-it could always be worse! You could have lost a leg, too." What about, "Someone somewhere has it worse than you, they lost both arms. Be grateful for what you have." Or the platitudes, "This will pass eventually," "time heals all wounds," or "you'll be okay eventually." Those things may all be true, but when your friend is in extreme agony bc of the pain from losing their arm, it's absurd to say things like that to them. The same is true for someone with depression. The pain is different, but can be just as real & intense. So, don't say things like that. It doesn't help at all. We know you mean well, but it makes things worse bc it minimizes the pain we feel. Find other ways to express your support.
"I won't leave you."
"I'm here."
"I'm so sorry you are going through this."
"What do you need right now?"
"I love you."

5. Don't expect them to act normal. Depression makes it hard to be our normal selves. It takes over every thought in our heads & every emotion. So when we are together, please don't expect me to be my normal self. If I'm not laughing or talking or it seems like I'm not enjoying myself, just let it be. I am grateful to be out w/ you, but it's too hard to fight off the depression all the time & pretend to be happy when I'm not. So, let me just be the way I am at that moment. Just like a person with a broken leg needs some accommodations while they are healing, so does the depressed person. A lot of why we don't actively seek out the company of others is bc we know our sadness makes you uncomfortable, so we know we'll have to fake feeling okay. And that can seem like an insurmountable task. So we don't spend time with people, even though we may want to, bc we can't put on a happy face. In order to help us, let us be whatever we are at that time. Don't try to get us to be normal or participate more. Just let us be there & having as much fun as we can at that time.

6. Don't expect us to want to talk about it. The kindest thing you can do is not force the person to discuss why they feel the way they do. They may not know why. Or they do know but talking about it makes the pain worse, so they don't want to talk about it. Simply say, "We don't have to talk about why you are feeling this way right now, but if you decide you want to talk, I will listen."

7. Don't tell us how to fix it. Yoga, exercise, finding a hobby, focusing on good things, mindfulness, meditation, therapy, medication, being around people, counting your blessings...We already know all the ways to "combat" depression. We may not be in a place where we can take those steps, however. Or we may already be doing them. Or we may have already tried them. Or we may not feel like they will help us. The bottom line is we know what the advice is to deal with depression. We don't need to hear it again. A better idea would be to ask, "What things have you been doing to try to alleviate some of your pain?" And then ask if they want you to join in on an activity they have been doing. "You've said you've been going out for a walk every day. Do you want to go for a walk together?" The combination of an activity they've been doing to self-soothe plus a supportive person is double the positive effects.

8. Check up on them. Randomly drop by to see how they are. Send them a text throughout the week reminding them that you're thinking of them & you're here if they want to talk (but it's ok if they don't). Send them an actual card in the mail. My mom did this when I was going through my divorce & she still does it. It brightens even the darkest day, bc I know she took the time to find a card, write me a little message, find a stamp, & put it in the mail for me. Leave a little note on their desk at work. Tell them often that you love them. Depression has a way of convincing us that we are unwanted, or more often for me, that I am forgotten. I struggle a lot with feeling like people only like me when I'm around, like a novelty or something. I know people care about me, but depression convinces me that they only care when I'm around, that when I'm not around no one ever thinks about me or  cares about me. So, let the depressed person know that you think of them when you're not together. It will go a long way. It's a simple thing that can dramatically lessen their sadness. I have recently received a text from 2 of my friends, one of whom I don't see very often at all, telling me they love me & are thinking about me. It's helped a lot to hear that. So, even if it's just an email, a text, a call, a card, check up on them & let them know that they are in your thoughts even when you're not together.

Those are the ones I can think of now. There might be more that will come to me later on and I'll update it. But these tips are a start.

Friday, October 09, 2015

I Need a Reset

I'm truly at a point where I don't think I can take anymore. I thought I knew what hopelessness was after YKW left, but I had no idea. The bleakness I'm feeling lately is all-encompassing. It's horrible & awful & suffocating.

After YKW left, I felt like I was not going to ever be happy again. It was a feeling of resignation, of realizing I'd be forever pushing the boulder up the hill but still pushing it. It was a shitty feeling but it wasn't overwhelming. It just felt like what I had to do. This was my lot in life, this was what I'd been given, so I had to keep pushing my boulder up the hill. But it wasn't overwhelming.

This time, my depression has become overwhelming. I feel like I'm suffocating from it, like it's taking over my whole brain & shutting down my ability to think rationally. I'm feeling like I'm dying slowly & my brain is going into a sort of panic mode, where it's compelling me to do something, anything, to get out. I keep having panicked thoughts about how I need to get out, I need to escape, I need to go, I can't be in this situation anymore, I have to find a way out. It's becoming increasingly harder to function on a daily basis (which typically has not been a problem, I've usually been able to function even when dealing with incredible depression) & it's becoming increasingly harder to maintain a semblance of being normal & okay. For the majority of my life, I have been able to hide my depression & unhappiness from 99.9% of people in my life. So it's become second nature to me to put on a happy face, crack some witty jokes to deflect, & convince  everyone that I'm fine. But, that doesn't seem to be the case right now. Right now, I am fighting the urge to pack up some shit in my car, grab the cats, & drive away as fast & as far as I can. Logically, I understand that doing that will not help me at all & will likely only cause me more complications. But my anxiety-and-depression fueled emotional thoughts are yelling as loud & sometimes louder than my logical thoughts. So I'm struggling to hold my shit together. Really, really struggling, more than I ever have in the past.

I know part of the problem is that my thyroid level is off again. I had a dr appt on Oct. 6 & my level is still pretty high despite being on a pretty high dose of replacement thyroid hormone, so I have to see an endocrinologist now to try to get a handle on it (of course...bc everything in my life had to be extra complicated). And one of the symptoms of having a thyroid level that is too high is depression. So I know that that is part of what's going on with me. But, that is likely only exacerbating the situation, not causing it.

I'm really unhappy with a lot of things in my life right now. I'm actively trying to change those things that are causing me to be so unhappy, but some of it isn't within my control. So, I'm limited in how much I can do, but I am doing what I can. But I feel so disheartened & overwhelmed by everything. I feel like even if I am able to make changes to the things are distressing me, that ultimately it won't make any difference. I'm afraid that everything I do will end up making no difference at all & I'll be disappointed & depressed again by my efforts amounting to nothing.

I really need to have a fresh start. I think that is really the only thing that will help me stop feeling that panicky, "let me out!" feeling. I don't know if it will cure my entire depression problem, but it will certainly help to fix some of the things that are causing me such distress right now. I need to Etch-a-Sketch my life.

And I need it to happen soon. I am barely keeping a lid on the anxious, panicked thoughts right now. I don't know how much longer I can keep trudging along when my brain is screaming at me to find a way to escape my current situation. I don't know how long it will be until my emotions are louder than my reason & I pack up the car & drive away.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

This is a normal workplace conversation

Actual conversation I had at work recently while discussing the various criminal sexual conduct statutes...

In order to fully get this, you should first know that the law defines "sexual penetration" as intercourse, oral sex, & penetration by fingers/hands & it defines "sexual contact" as touching of the sexual body parts. For a woman, this would mean touching of the outer parts of her genitals w/o penetration. You are welcome for that graphic explanation.

Co-worker: Is it possible to have sexual penetration on a woman w/o having sexual contact?

(Pause while I think about that)

Me: Technically, yes, I think so, but it would depend what position she's in.

What do YOU talk about w/ your co-workers?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Trial again

Back in trial again this week. So, as usual, I'm extremely exhausted.

More later. Right now, I need to sleep.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The more things change, the more they stay the same

I saw Guy on Thursday night. First time since we broke up. He had some things of mine I wanted so he came to my place to bring them to me & to have dinner. At first it was a bit strained bc we hadn't talked in a long time & neither of us really knew how the other would be. But it was decent dinner conversation & afterwards, he suggested we watch a stand-up comedy, since we both enjoy that. So we fired up Tom Segura (who is very funny btw) & had a nice time watching that. During the show, I shifted around to stretch out my back since it was stuff from weight lifting the night before. As I was doing that, Guy reached over & started scratching my back. Then he draped his arm around my waist & we cuddled while watching the rest of the show, with his head on my shoulder. He told me a number of times how good it was to see me.

After the show was over, we kept sitting on the couch, cuddled together & chatting about inconsequential things. Then he said out of nowhere, "It's so easy to just pick right back up with you. We always just get along so well when we're together." He was quiet for a bit & then said that he has always felt so drawn to me, that there was this sort of gravity to me that pulls him to me. I agreed & he said that we just have this connection that keeps bringing us together.

He kissed me & after a minute, I said that it was probably a terrible idea for us to be doing that & he said that was probably true. He told me that when he's with me, he doesn't know what he wants to do bc he really needs to have time to be on his own to figure out who he is when he's on his own, but he also loves being with me so much. He said being with me confuses him & makes him uncertain of what he wants to do. He told me that he didn't know how long it would take him before he felt ready to be in a relationship again & that he didn't want me to put my life on hold for him. I explained that I wasn't putting my life on hold for him at all & pointed out all the things I've been doing & the plans I've been making for my future & I said that none of those things have changed. I made it clear that as much as I care about him, I wasn't putting my life on hold for him. He said that was good & that all he wants for me is to be happy, with or without him. He said he wanted to see me again bc he was having a really nice evening (and bc he wasn't able to find one of the things I needed back from him so he's still got to return that to me) but didn't know what we were or how things would work btwn us. I suggested that we date on a casual basis, not as a serious relationship. He said he hadn't considered that before & would have to give it some thought. I pointed out that we haven't ever been able to just be friends when we're together, that we always end up acting like a couple, & that it wasn't likely that that would ever change. He agreed with that & said that it might work to date on a more casual basis & that he'd give it some thought. He said he thinks I'm so unbelievably cool about everything & I'm always so easy to talk to & to feel comfortable with.

We ended the evening with him telling me again how nice it was to see me again & how much he'd enjoyed our time together. We talked about how he was going on an 8-day fishing trip next week & that the week he would be back, that I'm starting a serious crim sex trial so we'd both be pretty busy for the next couple weeks, but that he'd like to get together again after that. He gave me another kiss before he left & said we'd get together again soon. He texted me when he got home to let me know he'd gotten home safely & thanked me again for a nice night.

I'm smart enough to realize how problematic this situation is w/ him & how easily I could end up hurt again. My brain is screaming at me to sever all ties with him so I can't get hurt by him again. My heart, however, is not listening to my brain. Right or wrong, there is some connection there, that neither time nor distance nor prior hurt can seem to erase. I don't know what, if anything, will ultimately happen btwn us. Maybe we'll finally get the timing right & things will work out btwn us & maybe we will end up going our separate ways & never see each other again. That's not something I can worry about right now. For the time being, seeing him doesn't change anything I'm doing or any plans I have for my future. It was nice to see him again but I did mean what I said when I told him I wasn't going to put my life on hold. I never have in all the time we've known each other & I don't intend to now.

The one thing that made me happy to hear was that he also felt this connection, this draw, that we have. After we broke up this time, I wondered if I had imagined that btwn us, saw something that wasn't really there. I felt like I was crazy & I was upset that I had been wrong about things btwn us. I hadn't ever really talked w/ him in any detail about how I felt like we had a unique connection that kept bringing us back to each other, so the fact that he described feeling drawn to me & having an enduring connection w/ me made me feel like I wasn't crazy. It made me feel better to know I hadn't been imagining things. Even if we were to never see each other again, at least I know that the things I felt were real. After YKW left, I was so upset that everything I thought we had btwn us had been completely false. That was one of the hardest things to cope with was wondering if any part of the relationship had been real or not. So, regardless of the end result btwn me & Guy, at least I know that the things I felt btwn us were really there & the connection I felt was real.

I know all the problems this can cause me. But for the time being, I'm not going to stress about it. I don't have the energy to do that. I will keep doing the things I have been doing & he'll do what he needs to do & we'll likely keep coming back into each other's lives bc we can't stay away. I'm not going to chase after him, but I know I won't be able to ignore him when he calls. Whatever we have btwn us, it's intense & I don't know that I'm strong enough to resist. I never have been.

Friday, August 21, 2015

I'm my own support person

My efforts to focus on myself to help me through this breakup has been paying off for me. While I'm still pretty emotional on some days (albeit significantly fewer than at first), I have been able to channel my unhappy feelings into exercise to help me feel better. It's not only a good way for me to boost my mood & feel less like crying, it's also had the added benefit of shaving off 30 pounds. So, it helps me emotionally & mentally, plus it has been great for me physically as well. Losing weight was a process I'd started before the breakup, but now that I have more time for myself post-breakup, I've really been able to dedicate myself to it. Since getting dumped has a tendency to make a person feel bad about themselves, the weight loss has been a good way to combat that. I know I look better than I have in a long time & that helps me feel better about myself overall. Not to mention, it felt GREAT when I had to take in my suit pants by 3.5 inches last week bc they were falling off me.

After he sent me that text about how he always wants to hear what I really have to say & that true friends are open & honest w/ each other, I took some time & on Friday last week sent a response. I said I had several thoughts about what he'd said but it wasn't really a conversation that should be done via text. I said that at least part of why I didn't feel like I could really talk to him anymore was because half the time, when I have talked to him, I get no response back, which makes me feel like I'm being ignored. And feeling ignored doesn't lead to a lot of real open & honest discussion. I said I didn't have any idea what he wanted since he was saying one thing & doing the other, so if he really wants to talk to me he knows how to get ahold of me. But I would not be contacting him anymore & I has taken his info out of my phone. That was last Friday. I haven't heard a single thing from him since. But I'm not surprised. Discussing things is not exactly his strong suit, so I doubt he wanted to have a conversation w/ me about that. He wanted to just say, "you can always talk to me" and leave it at that w/o any further discussion. But that's not realistic & I wasn't going to pretend that it was. I also wasn't going to force him to talk to me about it either, bc there's no point.

So, I haven't spoken to him in a week now. It can be hard at times, bc we used to talk every day. But things change. And I know that eventually I won't still miss talking to him. I missed YKW desperately for a very long time but I hardly ever think about him anymore. And I know logically I'll get to that w/ Guy. It sucks for now, but I've done it before so I know what to expect & I have experience weathering the storm.

Most people think he'll eventually contact me again. I have my doubts about that, but most people seem to think he'll eventually want to start talking again. If that happens, I suppose my reaction will depend a lot on where I'm at in my life. If I don't hear from him for another 10 years like last time, I doubt I'll have any real desire to talk to him. People keep asking me what I'll do if he contacts me but I don't know. In part because I don't think it will happen & in part because it will depend.

But, regardless of what he does, I'm moving forward. I'm focusing on myself & what makes me happy. Because at the end of the day, the only person I can really, truly count on is myself.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Reality

Guy informed me that I can always tell him important things & that the breakup didn't change that he knows me better than most people & that true friends talk honestly & openly & that he will always want to hear what I really have to say about things. I wish that were true, but of course it's not.

I can't tell him what I really think about things now. He's demonstrated he's not a safe person for me to confide in. I've opened my heart to him twice now, something that I've never done for anyone else, and twice I've been rejected. Twice after I've laid my heart out to him I've been told, in one way or another, that I'm not enough for him, I'm not what he wants. The more I open up to him, the less he wants me around. How could I ever think I can still talk to him after that? And when he broke up with me this time, he told me he felt "shackled" by being with me & that there were things about me that he despises. Again, how could I feel comfortable sharing things with him when the more I've opened up to him, the less he thinks of me? No one would open up to someone under those circumstances. And let's not forget that even after I'd poured my heart out to him about how much it had hurt me when YKW cheated on me & then left me, Guy still went ahead & did the exact same thing, which almost seems like he was trying to hurt me in the worst possible way he knew how, using what I'd shared w/ him against me.

And even if that weren't the situation, it still wouldn't work. I can't tell him how I feel or what I think. I'd look crazy & desperate & pathetic. And he'd resent me after a bit. Like I'm supposed to tell him that I still miss him every day? That I still cry 4-5 days a week about him? That I wish so badly that he'd call me & say he made a huge mistake? When he starts dating someone else, I'm supposed to tell him how distraught that makes me? How it breaks my heart all over again? That I hope she makes him miserable & he leaves her soon? No, I can't tell him those things. Those are things I'd never be able to actually say to him now. Because things do change when people break up. YKW knew me better than anyone in the world for a long time, but now he doesn't know anything about me. A breakup means a severing of that emotional intimacy that comes from being in a couple. That's the point of a breakup, to stop having that type of relationship with the other person. So, things have changed, whether he realizes it or not.

And he doesn't know me as well as he apparently thinks he does. He had no confidence in my ability to make positive changes in my life when I said I was willing to work on things in our relationship. He said I could never do it. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that when I say I'm going to do something, I do it no matter how impossible it may seem. When I told my mom I was going to law school, she thought I was going to be disappointed when it wouldn't work out bc we couldn't afford that (she didn't tell me that at the time, only much later). But I made it happen anyway, despite some serious obstacles in my way initially. I have met every goal I have set for myself in my life & the fact that I'm tenacious & determined is something anyone who knows me even a little bit would know about me. But he didn't know that. He thought I was a lost cause, that it was impossible for me to make changes. In the last month since the breakup, I've made pretty significant changes in my life already, so he was obviously not right about me. Because he doesn't really know me.

We had only been dating for a year & a half. I'm an extremely private person (not that you'd know from this blog, but that's bc my name isn't attached to it so I feel more free in being honest on here) & I am very slow to open up to people. I take a long time to let my guard down & very few people ever REALLY get to see the entire person that I am. Very few people ever get to know my deep thoughts & fears & concerns. He wasn't there yet. Eventually he would have been, but he wasn't there yet. It takes a long time to get there. There are only one or two people on this earth who REALLY know me completely. Those people have known me for over a decade, who have walked with me through the happiest & saddest times in my life. He isn't one of those people. Maybe he could have been over time, but he wasn't yet.

The sentiment is nice, this idea that he's still there for me to share things with. He does know I don't let many people in & that I HATE losing people I've let in. So I'm guessing he is trying to communicate that he's still here for me. But, he's not, bc he can't be, bc that's not how things work. I can't be honest with him now. I have to pretend I'm fine, even when I'm not. I have to stay silent about the things I want to say. I have to keep secret the things I really feel.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I'll keep on

I've been struggling hard to not let my depression take hold of me again. At least, not like it was in 2011-2012. But it is a struggle every day not to let the sadness consume me. It's a battle every day. Some days I win. Some days I lose. I keep trying every day bc what other choice do I have than to keep trying? But I'm tired. Trying all the time is exhausting. So far I've been able to keep going forward & trudging along. But I won't pretend I'm not tired. I'm so emotionally drained from one heartbreak after one tragedy after one hopeless situation after the next. And I'm finding it hard to accept anymore the notion that things will work out or whatever other platitudes people want to say. I'm 32 & life has consistently been struggle after struggle. I have periods of time where things are good but it never lasts. I've learned through experience that nothing lasts forever, no matter how much it seems like it will, & that includes happiness. At least for me.

I'm tired of being disposable to other people. I'm tired of being discarded when having me around isn't convenient anymore. I'm tired of loving people wholeheartedly only to find out they don't love me. I'm tired of being nothing to people who are everything to me. It's been that way since I was a little girl. I'm worn out now. I'm tired of my life being marked by loss.

I'm rational enough to know that the immediate sadness won't last forever. That will eventually fade. But like everything else, it will leave a scar on my heart & soul. I used to think that I'd meet someone who would help those scars to finally fade away forever, but I don't think that anymore. My greatest fear in life has always been that it's not possible for someone to be in love with me. I think that there is a very good chance that that is true.

I have friends, wonderful, amazing, caring, fantastic friends who I am so grateful for. They are what has helped me through the many hard times in life. But it seems that I can't be anyone's first priority in life. No one wants to share their life with me. On that front, it seems I'm destined to be an island forever.

Loss is an amputation. Eventually you learn to adapt w/o the thing you've lost, you learn you function again, but you're never the same. I've had many losses in life, many emotional amputations. I don't think there's anything left to remove anymore. I'm too tired & I have no heart left to give to anyone. Everyone I've lost has taken a piece of it with them & left me without.

The situational sadness I feel will eventually go away & that will be good. But I still won't have any heart left to give anyone. Everyone has taken a piece of it & gone, so I have nothing left for anyone else. I'll make it through the depression I'm having right now, but I'll still be tired. And I will still know that any period of happiness I have will not last & the good things I have in life will inevitably be gone.

It's the hope that kills. Hope is an evil thing bc unfulfilled hope is what hurts the most. I've learned not to hope.

In the end, I'll be ok. I always am. I'll be worse for the wear, more guarded, more cold, less likely to let people in, but I'll survive. Surviving is what I do. I'll put back on my "everything is fine!" face that I present to the world & keep on keeping on. Bc that's the only thing I know how to do. Even when I feel so desolate inside I can barely breathe, I just keep on keeping on.

After all, this boulder isn't going to push itself up that hill.

Monday, August 10, 2015

I'm running now

So I've started to run recently. I needed something to get me out of my own head & to help me cope w/ yet another breakup. Running doesn't get me out of my head at all but it does make me go from sad to angry, which is a better emotion for me, because I don't curl up into a ball & sob hysterically when I'm angry, nor do I eat a box of Oreos & sleep to avoid feeling so much pain. So it doesn't get me out of my head at all but it does help me cope, so that's something. I don't enjoy it. I hate it pretty much the whole time I'm doing it. But I want to do it, which is a good thing. And it's helping me to lose weight as well as to cope. I am not fast & I walk probably half the time or more & by run, I mean slow jog (slow for others, it's hard for me). But I'm doing it & it's mine & I'm proud of myself afterwards.  Even if I hate it while I'm doing it.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Punishing the "victim?"

In law school I worked on an interesting case as part of one of my classes. It was a real case, with a real defendant. And it involved a charge of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct for engaging in sexual conduct with a mentally impaired person.

The alleged victim was not profoundly impaired or extremely mentally disabled. The alleged victim had been diagnosed with mental disabilities & had some difficulties in some areas, but for the most part seemed to function reasonably well.

In the case I worked on in law school, the alleged victim testified that she knew what sex was, she understood about STIs and about how pregnancy occurs, and that she hoped to have children of her own one day. She was not underage & she testified that she wanted to have sex with the defendant. Her parents testified that they had talked to her about sex & good touch & bad touch & assumed she'd eventually have a family of her own. When asked if he thought she was able to consent to sex, her father testified, "Well if she can't, then I can't because I've got the same mental disabilities that she does." The defendant was convicted.

Now, this particular charge requires that the State has to prove that the alleged victim's mental impairment prevents them from giving reasoned consent to sexual activity. The language of that implies that not all people with mental disabilities will be unable to give consent. Of course there are people who can't due to their mental disabilities, but not all. And in charging out this particular offense, I think it behooves the State to be cautious & really ensure that the alleged victim is actually a victim.

The problem with this particular charge is that it labels the alleged victim as permanently being unable to consent to sex, regardless of what they may want. If a defendant is convicted for having sex with an alleged victim & that alleged victim desires to have a partner or spouse one day and have children, they run the risk that their future partner or spouse will get charged with crim sex, bc the State has already decided that anyone who has sex with the alleged victim is taking advantage of a mentally disabled person. The State has already decided that the alleged victim is too mentally impaired to give reasoned consent to sexual activity. So, tough shit, alleged victim, but you don't ever get to have any kind of sexual contact for the rest of your life because the State has made the decision for you & you don't get to have that in your life.

Admittedly things gets murky in this area. People with mental disabilities are on a spectrum & some people are more or less functional than others with the same diagnoses. But just because it's murky doesn't mean it should be charged out. The result of this type of charge is that it can end up penalizing an alleged victim & taking away from that person the option to engage in one of the things other people get to enjoy. This type of charge is necessary to prevent people who are truly unable to consent due to their mental disabilities from being harmed. But when there is a person who is able to voice that they have wants & desires & understand the mechanics of sex & pregnancy & other aspects of being in a sexual relationship, does the State have the right to claim they can't give reasoned consent?

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Heartache is the worst

My ability to cope with this breakup comes & goes. Some days I'm totally fine & don't feel sad about it at all. Other days, I completely fall apart & I'm consumed by thoughts of him. It's a roller coaster.

It probably doesn't help that we haven't completely severed contact. That makes it hard to heal. It is SO hard to just sever all contact & I know I should for my own mental health, but when he contacts me it's impossible to resist.

I've been focusing on myself & trying to continue with my own self-help improvements. I've been trying to just work on making myself happy & keeping busy with work & friends & family. Thankfully they have all been good distractions.

I just wish that I had been smart enough to listen to myself in the first place, when I kept telling myself that dating again was a bad idea. But I didn't & now I'm dealing with heartache again.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How PDG got her groove back

I'll admit that I have let myself not care about a lot of stuff after my divorce & in retrospect, I don't know if I ever ironed out all those things even after I stopped being depressed about everything & even after I started dating Guy. In deciding how to handle this breakup, I realized I could use this time to become better. I could use this time to improve myself & I could get my groove back. So, I've made decisions to improve my life & myself in order to try to fight the sadness & depression & in order to try to be happier overall.

I have been focusing on tackling one area every day to clean out the clutter that has built up. I've also been focusing on eating better & exercising more. I decided on Friday to start running. I had a compulsion to run in order to try not to think about things & I've decided to try it out as a longer term coping mechanism for now. I did my first attempt at it today and it was pretty decent. A lot of walking in with my running but still. I listened to the comedy channel on my Pandora & away I went. I plan on trying to get up tomorrow morning in time to run before work.

I've decided to try to give myself a reset in life. I thought I knew what I was doing & what my future was going to include, but I was thrown for a loop once again. I am not going to make any major life decisions right now, like moving out of state or anything like that. But I am going to focus on trying to be happier & healthier & overall in a better place mentally. That way, when I determine it's time to make some choices in my life, I will be in the best place mentally that I can be.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Only a phoenix really knows herself

I have been doing a lot of introspective thinking in the past two weeks & especially in the last couple days since the official breakup. Although ultimately his decision to leave was based primarily on his own need to figure out what he wanted & who he was on his own, he had raised some valid concerns about me that I recognized as having validity. I had been willing to work w/ him on those items he raised, but he felt like I was unable to make any changes or progress in the areas of his concerns & that if I did, it would be solely because he had raised the issue instead of a genuine desire on my part to do better.

I find it interesting that he felt so strongly that I was a lost cause. His concerns, while valid, were not so difficult that they couldn't be dealt with. He was concerned bc I am not very neat around the house. I fully admit that. Clutter tends to build up in my spaces. But I knew this was an area that I was weak in, so I was happy to accept help in improving. He felt I couldn't ever improve bc he felt this was a fundamental part of who I am, rather than just a habit that could be corrected. He had no faith in me or my ability & willingness to make changes & improve myself.

He also felt like he was more active than me, which is true. I have been out of shape since the divorce, which has limited my ability to be as active as I once was. I was (and still am) working on this, but again, he felt that this was something that could not be modified or changed. He was unable to believe that I would be able to get back to where I used to be before the divorce depression.

I try to take something away from a bad situation & learn what I can from it. I try to reflect on how I can walk away from the crumbled mess & become a better person. I try to learn something about myself after each trauma, bc otherwise it really WAS a waste of my time.

He may have no faith in me or my abilities. He may feel I am a lost cause that cannot ever improve in areas that I'm weak. He may think I am hopeless & doomed to be a hot mess forever. But that just shows me that he didn't ever really know me. He didn't ever really understand who I am & what I can do if I decide I'm going to do it.

Because he is wrong about me. I'm not hopeless & I'm not a lost cause. I can improve. And I have been over the past week, despite the fact that he'll never know about it. I made a commitment to myself to do something every day for the next 21 days to lessen the clutter in my life. It does cause me to feel stress, so now is a perfect time to lower my stress by lowering the "noise" of the clutter in my life.

I have also been working out regularly since February & have dropped 22 pounds. I have enrolled in a program through work that helps w/ making long-term lifestyle changes in order to be healthier & I have been seeing additional success w/ that. As I've been getting back into shape, my energy & activity level have increased as well. But he felt it couldn't ever happen. He felt I wasn't able to make changes & do better. He lacked confidence in me.

That's ok. I have confidence in myself. I know that I have things I need to improve on & I'm not too proud to say that. I'm also not too proud to accept help in making improvements. And I recognized that he had valid concerns about me. I was willing to work on them for us & for our relationship, but he didn't want to stick around for that bc he had his own issues to work on, which were much more significant than mine. But, even without him, I am making changes to improve myself. I am making steps to be a better person. I have walked away from this situation w/ some insight into areas that others think I can improve in & that I want to improve in. Not for him, not for us, but for me. Bc it's what I want. And because I know I can do it. I've always been able to set goals & accomplish them for myself. The fact that he didn't get that about me just means he didn't really know me that well at all.

I am hurt & I am wounded. Rejection always hurts. But I won't leave from this empty-handed, anymore than I left from my divorce empty-handed. I will grow & improve & rise like a phoenix from the ashes. It's a continual process for me bc I often end up in situations that hurt that are beyond my control. But that just means I'm well-practiced at taking a blow & rising up again.

He was wrong about me. He didn't know who I really am. But I do. I am will come through this better than I was before, even if that just means I'm healthier & have less clutter.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The end

Guy & I met tonight. Well last night now. But whatever. The end result is that I'm once again single & heartbroken. Seems to be a recurring theme.

We had dinner & didn't talk about anything real serious. After dinner, we went for a drive to talk. Also, he wanted to make out, which I found rather confusing because we hadn't even discussed what was going on with us yet. I suggested we talk first, as that would impact whether there would be any making out.

He said he needed to work on him. That he knew he hurt me by cheating on me & that he had done that bc he was unable to talk to me about what was bothering him. He said he didn't want to keep hurting me or other people so he decided it would be best if he didn't date anyone at all for awhile. He's seeing a therapist & thinks he needs more time to work with him to sort out his own issues because he doesn't know what he wants. He said he needed to be on his own & doing his own thing for a bit. And then he said he'd give me a call & ask me on a date, if I'd still have him. He said I'd always be special to him & he didn't regret dating me at all. When I said I did, he got upset & said he hoped I'd never say that again. We both cried & held each other & it was very sad.

He said he still wants to get together w/ me (not sure why) & when I said I'd miss him very much, he said he was only a phone call away. But what would I say to him? The problem w/ us is that we've never been able to just be friends. We have always had this intense emotional & physical attraction to each other that neither of us can seem to resist. When we are together, it always falls into a relationship-y type of interaction. We are each other's siren song. Even tonight, as we are breaking up, we kept hugging & holding hands & he couldn't just say it was forever over bc neither of us can give the other one up. We either need to find a way to make a relationship work between us or never speak to each other again bc we cannot sustain a middle ground.

Regardless, I don't think I've heard the last from him. I won't put my life on hold or anything. But I have a feeling he'll be back.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Become an island

Today I have been sleeping all day to avoid thinking about things w/ Guy. How I ended up in the same situation again, I will never understand. I can't believe anymore that "everything happens for a reason." I used to hold onto that belief for dear life, as a way to explain the hurt & heartache I seem to always have to struggle with in life. But now, I can't believe that.

Even if the depression & darkness of my last relationship served some purpose, what could be served by going through it all over again? What purpose could a repeat of that same pain serve? I can't imagine there is one.

I try to be cautious about who I let in. I don't get close to many people. I keep my distance from almost everyone to prevent myself from getting hurt. I carefully assess whether to let someone get to know me & get close to me. But I still end up getting hurt. The only solution it seems is to isolate myself from others. It's lonely but it's much less painful that way.

As Fiona Apple sang: "Hunger hurts but starving works when it costs too much to love."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hello, Mr. Heartache, I've been expecting you

Well, this week Guy told me he didn't want to see me anymore & chalked it up to there being too many differences between us. I didn't get it bc there have always been differences btwn us & it's never been a major issue before. I asked him to reconsider, especially bc I didn't know these things were significant enough to cause him to want to break up & so we hadn't even had a chance to work on things. He sat on my couch & said the same thing YKW said to me 4 yrs ago: I don't want to work on things.

I felt like I was reliving the horror of my past all over again. Not knowing anything was amiss because the other person seemed fine & then out of the blue, being told there's something wrong & he isn't willing to give us a chance to fix things. It was happening all over again.

I told him how much I loved him, how I didn't think these were insurmountable things that couldn't be fixed. I asked him to give us a chance to make things better. He said he needed time to think about it. He asked me to give him a week to think about things & to talk to his therapist. He asked me not to contact him during this week. He did say that he still loves me so that was something different from YKW. But it was devastating.

On Thursday, I found a number on our phone bill that kept showing up for the last month & I knew. I knew what that meant. I'd seen it before. I texted the number & said I was his girlfriend. She had no idea he had a girlfriend. I talked to her on the phone. She told me they'd been on about 5 dates together. And they'd slept together.

I thought the pain I went through after the divorce was the worst pain I could ever know but it turns out I was wrong. This is worse. Because Guy knows how the divorce & being cheated on ruined me for so long. He KNEW that I went into such a dark depression I didn't think I was going to survive it. He KNEW that I had barely made it through & had barely kept my sanity through all that. And he decided to not only hurt me, but to rip back open that old, freshly-healed wound & then grind salt into it.

Breaking up with me would have hurt, of course. I know that there was a risk of things not working out like there always is in any relationship. But to be so cruel as to exploit the wound he knew was still tender...cheating is hurtful no matter what, but to do it to someone who has shared with you the darkness they lived in as a result of being cheated on, to knowingly tear open that sore...that's a new level of callousness.

Of course I called him & texted him. He ignored me mostly. I said I knew now he never loved me, that he just used me & the fact that he knew I'd always had strong feelings for him, & I asked him why. He said we can meet still on Monday & discuss things. And I can give him back his things from my apt.

I'm dying of hurt. All I want to do is sleep to escape. I'm in so much misery. Everything he said & did was a lie. How naive & stupid I was.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Being a trial lawyer

Being a trial lawyer is an incredibly draining job. It's a job that is hard to explain to people who don't do this work, even to people who have high stress jobs where people depend on them. Trial is all-consuming. And the pressure & stress is unlike anything else.

As a public defender, people rely on me. In some of my cases, people's lives depend on me. Not in the sense that they will die, but in the sense that a guilty verdict will send them to prison & everything in their life will be irrevocably altered.

My last trial, the client was facing 91 months in prison if we lost. That is a long period of time. This trial that starts on Monday, the sentence is 144 months in prison if we lose. The outcome of trial will affect the course of the client's life in a very huge way.

And for most trials, it's a very solitary venture. As the attorney, I'm almost always on my own in the courtroom. I'm the only one I have to consult with & I am the only one I have to rely on. I have to make judgment calls, sometimes on the spur of the moment, & hope it's the right choice. Trial is a solo undertaking. Since it's all day, there is usually no time to go back to the office to debrief with others or discuss the day's events. You're all on your own.

Being in trial is almost a round-the-clock status. Even when court is out, whether for break, lunch, or the end of the day, as the lawyer you're still in trial mentally. There's still things that need to be changed, researched, looked into, modified, added, omitted, altered, etc. Trial never stops until the verdict is read. If I'm not asleep, I'm in trial.

Being a trial lawyer is hard to explain to someone else. It's not like Law & Order where the attorneys can just prance around saying whatever & it wraps up in an hour. It's mentally, physically, & emotionally draining. People who don't do this job can't understand what that is like.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Been awhile

It's been some time since I've posted, mostly because I've been overwhelmingly busy with stuff. Work has been crazier than usual recently & I'm slated to start a 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct trial on Monday. Thankfully, I'm not the only lawyer on the case, so the work is cut down a bit. But it's a huge case & it's been consuming me recently.

Also the court calendar in my county has become a rapid paced blitz. My former county was always on the fast track, no matter what, and it was incredibly hard to keep up. My current county hasn't gotten that bad...yet...but it seems like it's going that way. And that makes a stressful job even more stressful.

One of my co-workers recently had a trial start on Monday & end late on Tuesday night. He was then required to start another trial that Wednesday. Two trials one week. I couldn't do it. I'd collapse.

The calendar routinely has felony trials starting on Mondays & gross misdemeanors & misdemeanors starting on Wednesdays. I have a mixed caseload, meaning I can be scheduled for two trials a week.

And the calendar for all other hrgs has sped up too. It's been making it hard to be on top of everything & to find enough time to do the proper work on cases. So, it's been exhausting.

I'll post more later. For now, I have to do some work for trial...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Goodbye Grandma

My grandma died on Saturday.

I won't pretend my grandma was someone she wasn't. The truth is that my grandma was a difficult person to be around. She oftentimes said cruel & hurtful things. She was a very unhappy woman for most of her life. But I still loved her, despite all that. Even though it was hard to be around her because she was almost guaranteed to say something that would make me feel terrible.

I think she wanted to be loved & give love, but I don't think she knew how. She pushed people away because it was what she was familiar with & what she knew. She didn't know how to show that she loved someone. She spent much of her life being lonely, but it was by her own design.

My mom & my aunts have talked about how their grandmother, my grandma's mom, was an especially mean woman who said cruel, hurtful things. It's not hard to understand why my grandma was the way she was. She didn't know how to be any other way.

I loved her very much. I wish she had been able to accept love from others so we could have had a better relationship. I wish she could have known that our family loved her as much as we did. I can only hope that she knows it now.

If I can take anything from her life, it's to be open to the love people want to give you. Even when it's scary, let people love you. Because they do, whether you let them show you or not. And it hurts everyone involved if you push them away. Be open to the love people are trying to give to you.

I'll miss you, Grandma. I loved you very much, even if you didn't let me show you. 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Let's punish people for crimes they didn't commit!

In yet another stupid decision, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has once again confirmed that DWIs are the actual worst crime possible. In fact, they are so horrible, the state is allowed to punish you EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T COMMIT A DWI. That's according to Dornbush v. Commissioner of Public Safety.

Let's review pertinent info before discussing the details of the case. In MN, there are differing ways to commit a DWI. One of those is being under the influence of a controlled substance. Even if it's legal, like Vicodin that your doctor prescribed, if it makes you too loopy to drive, you can get a DWI. Another way to get a DWI is by having any amount of a schedule 1 or 2 drug in your system, regardless of whether it affects your ability to drive. Just the presence of that drug in your system is enough to convict you of a DWI. Schedule 1 drugs are illegal drugs: cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. Schedule 2 drugs are legal, but considered by the medical community yo be highly addictive & have a high chance of being abused. This includes drugs like Adderall & morphine, etc. So, under this type of DWI, I am committing a DWI every time I drive, bc I take Adderall for my hyoersomnia. The fact that it actually makes me a better, safer driver (because I'm not going to fall asleep at the wheel) doesn't necessarily matter since the law requires only that the drug be in your system.

However, there is a defense available to that particular type of DWI, if you are legally prescribed the drug that is in your system. If so, then you are not guilty of a DWI just for having the drug in your system. Good news for those of us who need to take Schedule 2 medication and still be able to drive.

Also important to know is that the Department of Public Safety will revoke your license if you have a positive test for drugs or alcohol after a DWI arrest. That will happen before the criminal case is settled. It happens fast.

So, in the Dornbush case, the defendant was pulled over for a DWI & charged w/ having any amount of a schedule 1 or 2 in his system. He got his license taken away by the Department of Public Safety, as is the normal course of business with DWI cases. He eventually was able to show that the defense of taking the drug pursuant to a doctor's orders applied to him & the criminal case went away. Then he goes to the Department of Public Safety & says, "Hey, look, I shouldn't have had my license taken away, bc I didn't actually break the law. I was taking the medication as my doctor instructed, which means I didn't commit a DWI. So, can I have my license back please?" To which the Department of Public Safety responded, "No, you cannot have it back."

So, he appealed the decision to revoke his license. The license revocation is supposed to be an administrative penalty for having broken the law. Since he didn't break the law, he shouldn't be punished. Makes sense, right?

Well, no, not according to the MN Court of Appeals. They agreed with the Department of Public Safety, that he could not get his license back. Why? Because the defense that you are taking medication as prescribed by your doctor only applies to the criminal charge, not to the license revocation since that's considered a civil matter. Since the legislature didn't include it as a defense for the administrative revocation penalty, it doesn't apply. Sucks to be you, defendant who didn't actually commit any crime, because you're going to be treated the same as if you did!

The Court talked a lot about how this was an administrative penalty & that the license revocation proceedings are separate from the criminal stuff so the defense can't possibly apply unless the statute were to specifically include it as a defense to having your license revoked. But this argument/line of reasoning falls flat on its face. In Minnesota, if you have a prior DWI conviction or drug or alcohol related loss of license on your driving record, drug or alcohol related loss of license on your driving record, and you get charged w/ a DWI, it automatically jumps from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor, because you're a "repeat offender" who needs to be punished more severely than a first-timer. Did you catch that? It's a conviction or losing your license for drugs or alcohol.

Which means that Dornbush, who has not committed any crime under the law, will be considered a repeat offender if he ever actually does get a DWI. He will be looking at more serious consequences that are reserved for people who have already had one DWI in the past & who apparently didn't get it the first time. He will be subject to forfeiture of his car & impoundment of his license plates. And he'll be required to do jail time that is reserved for repeat drunk drivers, despite not ever having been convicted of a prior DWI!

The Draconian ruling in this opinion kills me. The Court once again doesn't seem to care if DWI laws result in unfair or absurd outcomes or if we end up punishing people for crimes they didn't commit. As long as we can punish people, guilty or not!, for DWIs, that's all that matters. The Court completely ignored the issue with the loss of license causing the person to be facing more serious charges despite never having been convicted & having a valid medical defense.  

Given that I take Adderall as prescribed every day, I find this ruling more than just a bit troubling. I'm now terrified that I could lose my license if I'm ever pulled over. It's so stupid & nonsensical it makes my brain hurt. I don't understand how they reach their decision, because this one makes no sense. It's actually now punishing people who haven't committed a crime.

Punishing. People. Who. Have. Not. Committed. A. Crime.

Just let that sink in for a bit.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Quick updates

So, Guÿ bought me a Kinect for my Xbox for Valentine's day, which is awesome bc I've wanted one for awhile. And then, since I now have the Kinect, I got a dancing game called Dance Central & I'm obsessed. I LOVE dancing & I love learning choreographed dances, so this game is perfect for me. Plus, I'm pretty sure it counts as my daily exercise requirement, since I do it like every day for an hour or more. Seriously, I'm obsessed!! So much fun!

Also, a friend of mine does amazing artwork & also is an actress, so everyone should check out her website at She's incredibly talented, so please go check her out!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

We'll find any way to get around that pesky 4th Amendment

So, remember back in March when I discussed a recent MN Court of Appeals case, State v. Bernard? And I was super incensed by how ridiculous it was and how it managed to completely destroy the entire 200+ years of 4th Amendment jurisprudence?  Well, it was appealed to the MN Supreme Court, which was exactly what everyone expected would happen.  And today, the MN Supreme Court made a decision on that case, which is still way off-base in my opinion, but at least it did not completely decimate the 4th Amendment the way the Court of Appeals' decision had done. 

It's still a decision that doesn't seem to grasp how the exceptions to the 4th Amendment work and still comes out with the wrong holding. And makes bad law that doesn't make sense with other laws already in place and established for a long time. 

So, as usual, let's review this case with swear words and colorful language:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Not Guilty! My favorite words!

I was in trial this week on a difficult case. The charge was one of those where just the charge itself is bad & people assume being charged is bad enough. It was a very tough case w/ difficult facts to work with & even more difficult bc I honestly believed my client was innocent. And those are the hardest to defend bc the pressure to be successful is so high.

This was a commit to prison case, meaning if he were convicted, he'd have had to go to prison, no probation. And it was a long sentence: 91 months. My client had a lot at stake going into trial. And I was so nervous I was shaking at last Friday's pretrial motion hearing.

We started on Monday & wrapped up today. Jury went out at 11:50 a.m. They had a verdict by 1:25 p.m.

My heart sank. That felt too fast to be good for my client. They felt like it was going to be a guilty verdict & I was going to be devastated & my client was going to be beside himself.

The verdict was not guilty. I gasped audibly in shock & joy. So did my client. I grabbed his shoulder, he grabbed mine, and he said softly, "Thank you so much. Thank you."

My client had been in jail since his arrest. He was released after the verdict. He had to go back to the jail to be booked out, but this time, the transport bailiff didn't have to hand & leg cuff him. My client was a free man. My client finally got to go home & get his life back & see his son again.

There is no way to describe the feeling of getting a not guilty verdict. It's relief and joy and excitement and vindication and satisfaction and tons of other emotions all at once. Getting a not guilty that saves someone from prison, that adds even more to the emotional overload.

Seeing your client finally walk out w/o handcuffs and knowing I'd helped to set him's an experience like nothing I can ever explain. It's powerful & overwhelming & humbling all at the same time.

Days like this make it all worthwhile.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Here we go again

So, I had two trials right before I went on vacation last month. I lost both. I had to prepare for 4 trials but only 2 actually went. So it was an exhausting month. I finished my last trial two days before I went on vacation. A much needed vacation by the time it rolled around.

I came back from vacation on January 6th. And today I start another trial. A really serious trial that's going to be a lot of work this week.

Next week, I'm scheduled for another serious trial, as well.

I'm already exhausted & the stress from this first trial is going to eat me alive. And then I have to also try to prepare the other case for trial while simultaneously being in trial on this case. There should be a rule that you can't be in trials back to back. It's too hard & too exhausting. Not to mention nothing else gets done on your other cases.

So, I went from rarely having trials in 2013 & most of 2014, to having prepped for 6 trials in 2 months & actually going to trial on at least 3 and if next week's case doesn't settle, 4 trials in 2 months. That's a lot of trials.

I'm already tired from this week & it hasn't even started.