3,2,1 CONTACT!

propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

This week I did something I thought I’d never do again. I had an eye exam and was fitted for contact lenses. I’ve tried them in the past with good luck, but just never followed through. I cannot seem to keep my glasses where I can find them. I spend a lot of my time each day searching the house for the last place I laid them down. I even have two pair with the same prescription, so either will work, but neither will come out of hiding.

I have a unique problem with my vision, which causes all this fuss. When wearing glasses, I have problems with my peripheral vision. The glasses frames are always in the way of my seeing things. I’ve tried every kind of frame, including the no-frame frame and my vision is much the same.IMG_4119-2

The last time I got new glasses (if you remember), I also got a concussion. Of course, that was in Mexico, where I walked everywhere, and I stumbled over a piece of sidewalk that had jutted up. That was four years ago. I haven’t had my eyes checked since. I know, I know. Bad girl. It wasn’t until lately that my vision worsened. I’d be working on the computer writing and my eyes would blur and ache. I had to take a lot of breaks. Hubby finally talked me into going for an exam and it turns out that the prescription I have worn since I was sixteen (that rarely changed) had changed quite a bitl19WPw3v

I had to make a decision. Did I want to try contact lenses again? Or did I want to try another frame with no frame? I used a new ophthalmologist who has a practice about nineteen miles from us. I was very impressed with the thorough exam he gave me. Afterward, he took a lot of time to chat with me about the options I had available. I’m not really sure why I scrapped the contact lens idea fifteen years or so ago, but I decided to try again. I am a perfect candidate for monovision. The doctor thought it the best way for me to go, especially since I’m on the computer so much and have the problem with peripheral vision. He fit me with a lens that very day. I go back this week to be sure the contacts are doing their job. He’ll check the fit and the vision. At that time he’ll tweak anything that needs to be changed.

This is day four with the contacts. So far, so good. Well, almost. This morning when I was putting in the first lens I lost it. I stood perfectly still, not wanting to step on it or ever be able to find it again. I looked all around the bathroom. No contact lens. I looked at my clothes; even shook them a little. No luck. Carefully, I knelt to the floor, where I gently swiped my hand in a back and forth motion, hoping to find it. Still no luck. I repeated this motion a couple of times more, then stood back up.file000256677703

“Great,” I thought. “Four days and I’ve already lost a lens. Guess I’ll have to go back to glasses. At least they’re bigger and a “little” easier to find.

Suddenly I looked up and there it was! Clinging for dear life to the bathroom mirror was my contact lens.

“Eureka!” I thought, as I gently pried it off and put it in the cleaning solution. After cleanng, it was easy to insert and my big adventure was over.

Even though I had this little mishap, it hasn’t curbed my enthusiasm for wearing contacts again. For four days I have seen clearly and my eyes have not ached.   I don’t get freaked out when I catch the frame of my glasses in my peripherial vision. I think It’ll take a little time to get used to, but once I do, I think it’ll be worth it.

Here are a few interesting facts about contacts I gleaned from the Wikipedia site:

  • A contact lens, or simply contact, is a thin lens placed directly on the surface of the eye.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci is often credited with introducing the idea of the contact lens in 1508.
  • In 1949 the first corneal lenses were developed. They sat on the cornea, as opposed to across the eye, and were able to be worn up to sixteen hours per day. These were the only lenses to have mass appeal through the 1960’s.
  • Contact lenses had to be redesigned to allow air to access the eye. In the 1960’s, gas permeable lenses were designed. They were referred to as “hard lenses.”
  • Monovision is the use of single vision lenses (one focal point per lens) to focus one eye for distance vision (typically, the person’s dominant eye) and the other eye for near work. The brain then learns to use this setup to see clearly at all distances. A technique called modified monovision uses multifocal lenses and also specializes one eye for distance and one eye for near, thus gaining the benefits of both systems. Alternatively, a person may simply wear reading glasses over their distance contact lenses. Care is advised for persons with a previous history of strabismus and those with significant phorias, who are at risk of eye misalignment under monovision.

Do you wear either glasses or contact lenses?  I’d love to hear your experiences.  Maybe you even have some advice for me?Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

 

Inzaredonecover

 

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

 

inzaredtwocover

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

 

13ext

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

 

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook

 

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You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Google+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear of Falling, Part 2

propic11_1_1This post written by L.Leander, Writer of Fearless Fiction

You may wish to read Fear of Falling Part 1 before you read this because it is a continuation of that post.

We had planned a trip with friends to a town south of Guadalajara, MX and had already paid for bus tickets, etc. There was no way I wasn’t going, even after the concussion and my Doctor’s orders to take it easy. This was three weeks later. The bruising was faded and I’d have Ralph to help so I wasn’t too worried. Everything went well until the first night and I had some sort of seizure. My whole body stiffened and I shook uncontrollably. This happened a couple of times during the night but with God’s help and Ralph holding me close, I got through it. We had a nurse in our party and I checked

spasguywith her the next morning. She told me to take it easy that day, do a little shopping and come back to the hotel to rest. That’s what I did. The rest of the trip was fine and we had a great time seeing the sights of Guadalajara and did lots of shopping.

When we got back to Mazatlan I was alternately depressed and very anxious. Again, I went to my doctor and he prescribed a short dose of Xanax to sleep and a blood pressure medication because mine was very high and I’m prone to low. We were getting ready to go home to the US and moved to an apartment our friends owned right on the beach. The anxiousness and depression was getting worse and I finally went to the ER. I had wonderful doctors who spoke English and they admitted me overnight for tests. After a Cat Scan and an exam by Mazatlan’s top neurologist, I was found to be fine and went home. A couple of days later we left for the US, going through Mexico City, which wasn’t our normal route.

National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

The airport in Mexico City is one I’ll never forget. I cried for six hours straight while we waited for our next flight. I’d lost my Mexican Citizenship card and even though we looked through everything we couldn’t find it. Ralph had to watch my guitar and fiddle and the other carry-ons, while an attendant put me in a wheelchair and took me to the Office of Residency. I was told I couldn’t leave the country without the card cryingbeing stamped, so I cried some more. Finally, a kind gentleman behind the desk came over to tell me there was only one way I could leave. I’d have to give up my residency. He called for another wheelchair and I believe I was escorted through most of the airport until we came to the Aduana’s office. I explained my problem, they gave me a paper to sign, and then I had to go next door to get another signature. I brought it back, and then was told to go to the bank and pay $3000 pesos (about $30 US). Finally, I was reunited with Ralph just as our flight was ready to leave. I was exhausted and no longer a resident of Mexico, but on a tourist visa.

We got home safely, had some car issues but AAA took care of us. A couple of days later the shaking started again and I was angry and sad all at the same time. I began yelling at Ralph (who is so calm and collected he never said one mean word while I railed and ranted) and we headed to the hospital again, just in case there was something the hospital in Mexico hadn’t caught. The ER doc told me I was tired  from the trip and worried about the concussion when I shouldn’t be. He sent me home. I made an appointment madwith my doctor but she wasn’t available, so I saw a Nurse Practitioner. He was very thorough and said I had high blood pressure, which could be controlled. He gave me a very low dose of meds and a low dose of Xanax to help me seep. At this point I wasn’t getting any sleep at night.

Bipolar Symptoms and Treatment:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-in-adults/index.shtml  

I finally saw my regular doc and she prescribed Zoloft to help with the depression. I continued to live in misery. One day after I had been particularly angry, something inside me knew there was a problem that the docs couldn’t find. Maybe I’d benefit from talking about it. I called and set up an appointment with a therapist as a last resort. With trepidation I walked into that first meeting not knowing if I’d done the pillsright thing. It turned out I had. I saw the person I credit for saving me from more of the terror I had been living through. The first time I went I couldn’t stop talking and crying. I told her how angry I was and all of the other symptoms. The next week when I came for my second appointment she put on some soft music, held my hands and looked into my eyes. “I’m quite sure you have Bipolar Disorder,” she said. I need to have you meet with a Psychiatrist to be sure. Then we’ll develop a plan that’s right for you.

All these thoughts ran through my mind. “I’m not crazy, what is she talking about? I’m 64 years old. You don’t just develop Bipolar Disease this late in life, do you?” The therapist told me I wasn’t crazy but had a treatable disease and once she had the information from the Psychiatrist we would continue our treatment. I made the appointment that day.

The day of the psychiatrist appointment came and I was nervous, but it turned out I didn’t need to be. I saw a woman psychiatrist in my health network and she is just as calm and kind as my therapist. She listened to me and read the therapist’s notes, agreeing with her that I had Bipolar Disorder. I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks. I begged not to be put on Lithium because I’d heard horror stories about it (a lot I knew!). She started me on an anti-seizure medication that works for Bipolar as well, and a low dose of Xanax to sleep. I was already taking the Zoloft my primary doctor had prescribed.

I was so sad. I didn’t want anyone to know I had a Mental Disorder because I thought they’d think I was crazy, less of a person. I felt worthless,like I was barely hanging on.  I couldn’t write, play my music or sew, activities that I’d always hangingonenjoyed. Instead I read a book a day and worked on 1,000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzles, things that gave me peace. I did reach out to two people I knew wouldn’t judge me and would pray that I could accept my diagnosis and follow the regimen I was prescribed. One is a close friend from Mexico and the other was Cherley. Both have held my hand when I thought I couldn’t make it, prayed for me, and assured me that everything would settle down and I’d be all right. I clung to their words and I know how the power of prayer works, so I relaxed a little. Cherley kept in close touch with me, making sure everything was ok and offering her help in any way she could. (I offered to leave WW&W but she told me I had things to write about that people wanted to hear). I cut down to one post a month, temporarily, until I feel less pressure. My other friend, Shilo, and her husband came out of their way for a visit on their way home from Mexico to Canada. It was so special to know I had friends I could count on. Of course, I told my family first. Their reaction? “So what? It’s a treatable disease and you’re our sister, you know how much we love you.” My daughter already knew and was also a source of support but she was going through medical issues of her own at the time.

happy-sun_1After I got over the shock I realized I was happy. There was a name for what was wrong with me. But I wouldn’t tell anyone. I’d just keep quiet about it for now. I began taking the drugs my Psychiatrist prescribed and slowly the panic attacks and depression began to level out. I continued weekly therapy with  my therapist and a visit every six weeks to the psychiatrist for med checks and to see how I was doing. Through my therapy I realized I had been Bipolar since around the age of 17. I could pinpoint exactly when the panic attacks started, as well as the depression. How I ever got through it all until I was 64 shows my strength, or so my therapist told me. I suffered a lot of abuse and through it all I remained strong, being the main breadwinner for my family and a good mother to my children. Through it all I suffered extreme panic attacks and debilitating depressions and I had a deep feeling of unworthiness. I accepted it as part of my life, so never sought help.

Patients like Me: www.patientslikeme.com

So what do I do now? I have been seeing the same therapist and psychiatrist since this whole fiasco started, in April of 2013. The meds prescribed have had to be adjusted a bit but they have settled both the highs and lows and I sleep well. Most of my life I was a 4-hour a night sleeper. It feels good to get 6 or 7.sleepingpig My therapist and I developed a plan for me that includes meditation morning and night, and walking every day. She stressed upon me that people with this disorder need to feel safe and that a repeating certain things every day helped with that. I had never meditated before but love it now.  I go to bed at the same time every night and have the same sequence of events to get ready for sleep.  I meditate, take my meds, do a crossword puzzle and read.  All have helped.

The anger rarely shows its evil head any more, I’ve calmed down a lot, and even though depression tries to find a way in I have a plan to head it off before it gets too much to handle. I have a contract with my therapist regarding suicide (which I have never contemplated) and a list of what to do if I’m feeling out of control. She even gave me her personal phone number in case I had to call.  My therapy sessions are down to every two weeks now and my psychiatrist sessions down to every two months.

I took a pro-active stance when I found out my diagnosis. I read just about all I could find on Bipolar Disorder, its symptoms, what sends it out of control and the many great achievers who have had or do have the disease. I’m in good company, I think.

I have a great network of people who care for me. My husband deserves the most credit. He went with me to a few therapy sessions, where he learned to recognize signs of a breakdown in my routine. When I get loud or hyperactive he just puts his hand out and lowers it (meaning, you’re getting out of control). When I’m depressed he lets me cry on his shoulder and tells me everything will be fine and that he loves me very much.ralph

In the last year and a half I’ve learned a lot about myself. I am so much calmer than I have ever been. I can leave the bed unmade or the dishes undone and sit on the deck bird-watching with Ralph. I don’t make spur of the moment, rash decisions. I think about the pros and cons before I decide what the answer is. I’m not angry any more, instead, I’ve embraced the fact that I have Bipolar Disease. It doesn’t define me; it’s a disease I have that is treatable, as long as I follow doctor’s orders. I will never quit taking my meds because I never want to go through another episode like the one I had in Mexico. I am thankful for the concussion, because without it I would never have sought help. I was sure there was something wrong because of the concussion and that’s why I was so agitated and depressed.

loveisThroughout my entire life God has had to knock me on the head to get my attention. This time He did that literally and I couldn’t be happier. Life is sweet because I am learning to accept that people love me. I have learned that the abuse I suffered was wrong and that I am a good and talented person, not a nobody who can barely cook a meal or keep a man happy. That’s all a part of my past, not my future. With my therapist’s help we have addressed the issues that have haunted me for years and I feel a great weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel good!

My Psychiatrist has gone to great lengths to balance my medications so they work for me. She took me up slowly and the meds I’m on now seem to be working. They include an anti-seizure medication, an anti-depressant, and something for sleep. That, along with my therapy sessions has helped me stabilize. My hope is that others will read this and go for help earlier than I did. I have known something was wrong for a long time but I hid it and tried to ignore it. It never went away but I knew it was there, bipwaiting to pounce. What a relief to know that if that happens now I know what to do to get control before either the mania or the depression takes over. I no longer have the Fear of Falling into a deep void from which I’ll never return. I’ve quit worrying about what might happen and instead enjoy every day. When I start to become tense and loud my fabulous husband catches it right away and with the secret signal I realize I’m getting out of hand. When I’m sad I take a day off and do something I like to cheer me up. And, I’m learning not to be ashamed of the disease, but to embrace it. It doesn’t define me, but it’s part of who I am, part of my creativity and personality.

It’s been about a year and a half since I began my medication and therapy for Bipolar Disease. I’ve written nothing, not promoted or marketed my books, and rarely kept in touch with other authors. I just didn’t have the energy. It’s something I’ll have to work on soon. Up until now I’ve only wanted to stay in my own home, go out little, and try to sort through my life and what I do next.

If you’d like to learn more about Bipolar Disease here are some links. I guarantee that you’ll be surprised. I was. My husband has Diabetes. I have Bipolar Disease. Both are treatable, but with you for life. It doesn’t matter to me now. But it’s taken this year and a half to admit to the world that I have Bipolar Disorder. Guess I’m joining the ranks of the artistic and talented. I just read that Demi LaVato is speaking out about Bipolar Disease, with which she was diagnosed recently. Beethoven was thought to be Bipolar. Katherine-Zeta-Jones has Bipolar II. Patty Duke, Mel Gibson, Marilyn Monroe,Edgar Allen Poe, Richard Dreyfuss, and Patricia Cornwall are just a few of people I share my disorder with. Here’s a link to a list of other very creative who are Bipolar. If they can admit it, so can I! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_with_bipolar_disorder

Online Help:

www.nimh.com

Have you ever had something nagging at you that you ignored?  Was it ever resolved?  If so, you can identify with this post, I think.  There.  I’m officially out.  Now everyone knows.

Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

INZARED bookcoverkindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

 

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

InzaredTheFortuneTeller_Feb19_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

 

13ext

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

 

13marketingtipscover

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook

 

You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Google+

Something really got to me!

AWBR x 600This post is by Nancy Jardine.

No. I’m not talking about something that annoyed me: entirely the opposite!

Last night, I was preparing to write my post for this blog when the sound of an incoming Facebook message blooped. It wasn’t the best of moments for me to get so incredibly excited, since it was right on time for my 2 and ½ year old granddaughter to go off to bed – said little’un now resident at Grandma’s house.

So, what got to me and made me so hyper I was jumping from room to room – as every grandma does, you know? 5743235_s

 The message began like this: “Dear Mrs, Jardine…” Oh, dear!  – I thought, so formal – what on earth have I done to offend someone on Facebook, but the next bit made me whoop with excitement.

(image use acquired for me from: http://www.123rf.com)

I consider myself an official writer since my debut novel was published in 2011, but I’ve never yet been to an official ‘Book Launch Party’. I’ve done my own on Facebook, and have joined the FB parties of other authors but going to a location for a ‘proper’ book launch event has, so far, escaped me.

The remainder of the message made me cry, and I just don’t do that! We Scots sometimes have an even stiffer upper lip than the proverbial English one! The jist of the message is that I was asked if I’d like to attend a book launch of a young Scottish author who, in 2013, won The Kelpies Prize for new Scottish writing for children – a very prestigious award. The winner receives £2000, which some might say in publishing prize terms isn’t the most enormous award, but very few awards these days actually involve large sums of money, so in my terms winning that amount is considerable. Doubly so, as you’ll soon find out my link to the winner!

 Kelpies book Prize Winner Winner for 2013 – Alexander McCall – whose tale is called ‘Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens’. I can’t show a cover yet, I’m afraid but I’d love to – though if you scroll way down Floris Books on Facebook you’ll see it!

I hope someone is asking themselves why I would be invited to such an event. I’m over the moon to tell you that the winner is an ex-pupil of mine! He is now about 20, and I taught him as an 11-12 year old. Around August 2012, I was selling my own novels at our local Farmers’ Market when Alexander and his Dad came to talk to me. I hadn’t seen Alex for a long time but when he told me he was interested in writing I suggested a few places he might try to submit his work- if I remember correctly the Kelpie’s Prize was one of those suggestions. I told him that I had no success with a submission to Floris Books/Kelpies, but he might have better luck…and he did!

Last year his mum alerted me to him being in the finals for the award and when he won, I was so proud of him! He is the youngest ever writer to win the award. Although they were not my own children, when I hear that this or that ex-pupil has achieved something or other I get a nice fuzzy feeling to know they are doing things that make them happy, or show they’ve learned a thing or two along the way from childhood into early adulthood.

I’m quite overwhelmed and will gladly make the 300 mile round trip to the Official Book Launch if I receive an invitation from his publisher. I’m also extremely eager to get my hands on a copy of his book and devour it, but will have to wait till later in February. Presently Alex is studying at the West of Scotland University, but I have a feeling he will be a young writer to look out for. I salute him and wish him the very best!

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

You might like to know the reason for the Book Publisher- Floris Books – naming their competition the ‘Kelpies’ prize. In Scottish folklore a kelpie is a supernatural waterhorse which is more than a little bit naughty! They are said to only keep their eyes above water watching for the unwary, and if any poor mortal strays into their territory they tend to lure them down into the depths of the rock pools or swirling currents. The version of the kelpie that sticks in my mind is the one where they lure their victims to ride on their backs. During the ride their coat becomes adhesive and the poor mortal becomes stuck fast. The kelpie then dives under the water and devours the victim- all but certain parts like the heart or liver. Nasty creature  – the kelpie! But the Floris kelpie books are fantastic reads!

(credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gutt_p%C3%A5_hvit_hest.jpg)

Other versions are that kelpies are also shape-shifters and can transform into beautiful maidens who lure men to their deaths. There are also many images out there of kelpie mermaids, but the water horse version, I think, is the most common Scottish one.

In certain lights I find this painting above a bit deceptive. Is is just me, or do you also see something lurking in the shallows?

Having recently been accepted for 2 book awards, I’m still at the early stages and I’m only now experiencing a little of what Alex must have felt when he went from the first round to the finals. Once again I congratulate him!

I’m now quite enthusiastic about the kelpie stories I remember reading to classes so I’m off to write a post about them on my own blog. It might be ready soon at Nancy’s Novels

Enjoy your weekend!

Nancy Jardine’s novels are available from: Amazon US  http://amzn.to/RJZzZz

Amazon UK   http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nancy-Jardine/e/B005IDBIYG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Also from B&N, Smashwords, Waterstones.com, W.H. Smith, Crooked Cat Bookstore and The Wild Rose Press in ebook formats.

After Whorl: Bran Reborn, Book 2 of Celtic Fervour Series
After Whorl: Bran Reborn, Book 2 of Celtic Fervour Series

 After Whorl: Bran Reborn has recently been accepted for the first stages of The Walter Scot Prize for Historical Fiction 2014– a prestigious UK prize.

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1bNcpNk Amazon US http://amzn.to/1jaYWFw