Lucy Puppy Visits My Psychiatrist!

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Greetings and happy Friday everyone!

Today I planned to write about my Dad, as it’s his birthday.  My father died in 2009, and I’ve written about him in this blog before.  I considered him to be one of my best friends, and he also had bipolar one disorder.  The link to my post about Dad is here:

https://proudlybipolar.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/dad/

I’ve always been into birthdays, and today I can’t help but feel down about the fact that Dad isn’t here with us to celebrate another one.  However, I’ve been comforting myself with the thought that he’d get a big kick out of what happened this morning.

I had my monthly check-in appointment with the best psychiatrist I’ve ever had: Dr. D.  Apart from being the most helpful pdoc I’ve seen over a span of two decades, Dr. D. is also the first dog-friendly psychiatrist I’ve consulted.  With all due respect, from now on I shall refer to him here as “Dr. Dog”.  (Ruff, ruff!)

A few weeks ago, when I emailed Dr. Dog about a med refill, I mentioned that the glorious puppy Lucy had joined our family.  I didn’t know if he liked dogs, but I attached a photo of her anyway since she was so damn cute.  Dr. Dog wrote back remarking on Lucy’s sweet face, and he said it would be perfectly fine to bring her to my next appointment at his-dog-friendly office complex.  I thought that was the coolest thing, and I knew that having Lucy with me would lessen my anxiety.  I was a little stressed about her going potty in his office, but I didn’t let that stop me from bringing her along.

To prevent a puppy accident from occurring, I packed doggy pads, spray cleaner, a roll of paper towels, a couple baggies, a dog toy, and a little container of water!  I’m sure I left something out.  (Just kidding!)  Honest-to-God, I felt like a mom with her a newborn going on an errand, carrying a plethora of baby objects in tow. While Lucy’s accoutrements were much easier to pack compared to infant gear (and infant), I found the task challenging all the same.

When Lucy met Dr. Dog, they hit it off right away.  I was the uber-proud mama of a fur baby!  Dr. Dog told me he was impressed my bringing my array of clean-up items, etc.  It turns out that he used to have a Sheltie who passed away few years ago.  (Lucy is part Sheltie, so of course I took that as a good sign.)

We reviewed my blood test paperwork, and then I brought up the two topics on my mind: my high anxiety, and my sugar & caffeine addictions.  Dr. Dog also considers my sugar and caffeine problems as bona fide addictions. He’s a longtime addiction psychiatrist and he knows what he’s talking about! I’ve become so discouraged with my lack of progress in these two areas in my life.  Diet and anxiety are strongly connected, and I’m perpetuating a self-sabotaging cycle in which the more sugar and caffeine I ingest, the worse my anxiety becomes.  Dr. Dog said he felt a “sadness” for me because these issues continue to bring me down and prevent me from being my best, happiest self.  I don’t foresee any quick fixes here, and I’m working on them with my therapists.  (My human therapist and my puppy therapist.  I’m joking once again – I smelled Lucy’s furry little head a few minutes ago, and I’m high on puppy.  It truly smelled amazing and not “wt doggy” yet. )

At the close of our appointment Dr. Dog remarked that I was doing “very well” despite my self-confessed challenges, which was music to my ears.  He said I could bring Lucy to my next appointment – more music to my ears indeed.  It was lovely to have her at my side in his office today, as she definitely helped me ratchet down my angst.  Lucy was so good and mellow, and she didn’t even go potty on his carpet! 🙂

Along with the bipolar gene, I inherited a great love for hounds from my father.  My Dad adored dogs and he filled our home with his beloved Irish Setters.  (Note to you dog experts out there – I believe that Irish Setters are much smarter than they get credit for!)  It was fitting that today on my Dad’s birthday I saw my psychiatrist with Lucy  by my side.  I know he’d completely approve of the arrangement and perhaps he even had an otherworldly hand in making it happen.  Who knows?

In any case, it’s fun to write about my joyful, vivacious puppy  today instead of dwelling upon Dad’s pain, suffering and death like I had initially planned to expound on.  I’ve “been there, done that” numerous times. This past week I wrote an essay about grieving my Dad for the upcoming issue of “Anchor” magazine.  I didn’t choose the topic; the upcoming issue’s theme is grief.  That assignment drained me, and I feel like I’ve met a “grief theme writing quota” that should last me quite a while.

I hope that my Dad is having fun in the Afterlife; perhaps he’s with his Irish Setters.  I see him in my mind’s eye playing the Tchaikovsky pieces he loved on his favorite Guadagnini violin.  His audience consists in part of Tanya and Amber, his mild-mannered setters.  Dad would understand my decision to blog mostly about Lucy instead of about him and my grieving his loss, especially since he couldn’t stand to talk about death in any way, shape or form!

I miss him.

 

 

 

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My Name is Dyane, and I’m a Puppyholic

I probably shouldn’t jest about a term that ends in “holic”, so I hope I don’t offend anyone.  

If you’re taken aback, please pardon me.  I’m under Lucy’s spell.  

Here’s item #1 to support my claim, the video “Dy & Lucy”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB8cXH8xeko

I actually had the audacity (and/or foolishness) of posting that video on my Facebook page.  You know you’re in puppy love when you don’t care too much that you’re posting a video clip in which you rolled out of bed, you haven’t brushed your hair, you didn’t put on a stitch of makeup, and hmmm, when was that last shower?  Plus you look a little bit…crazed. (As much as I loathe the word “crazy”, I do look a bit wacked out in my glazed eyes.)  

But it’s all good, you see?

Because it’s all about Lucy!

At the ripe age of forty-four, I forgot all about the experience of puppy bliss.  (I also forgot about the house training, but nothing’s perfect!)  The last time I cared for a puppy was twenty-four years ago, in which Tara (Lucy’s great aunt) came into my life.  

Tara’s mother, a Sheltie/wolf mix, had to have a Cesarian section, and I witnessed my puppy being born.  Tara almost didn’t make it.  I viewed her birth through a window at the animal hospital, and the veterinarian repeatedly lifted Tara up and down to clear out her lungs.  I remember feeling such a rush of joy when I was told she would live.  Tara was a fabulous dog in all sorts of ways, and when she died in my arms a few years ago I already struggled with bipolar depression.  When she left me, I sank even deeper in despair.

The fact that Tara lives on through our Lucy moves me.  It feels right.  We put off having a dog for years due to the severity of my mental illness.  Now that I’ve been stable for a while, it’s an opportune time to embark on this journey.  

It’s nice to focus on such a loving, trusting and joyful small creature.  

Being in the garden today with Lucy is the antithesis to being stuck in a mental hospital with nothing except strangers, pills, and misery.  I can’t help but make the comparison between those two experiences – the thought arrives without warning.  I imagine my feeling is related to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); I’m not sure if those intrusive thoughts will ever disappear.  

What matters more than the trauma of hospitalization is that I made it through those suicidal periods.  While I wasn’t magically healed after my last hospital discharge, over time I got much better.  I’m back to trusting my own brain again.  I’m grateful that as I type this last paragraph, I spot little Lucy edging up to me with the beauty of her affection, and I can scoop her up and savor her warmth with every fiber of my being.

Amazing cuteAmazing cute two