30 Things About My Invisible Illnesses

Borrowed from Angel the Alien

30 Things About My Invisible Illnesses You May Not Know

1. The illnesses I live with is: Depression, Bipolar II, PTSD, a touch of OCD, Sleep Disorder
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1996 
3. But I had symptoms since: I was born.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Learning to keep away from un-needed stress and stressful people.
5. Most people assume: That bipolar disorder means you go from happy to sad to happy to sad all the time. That’s not the way it works.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Getting out of bed.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: I don’t have one, but I do like the Investigation Discovery Channel a little too much.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: my Kindle
9. The hardest part about nights are: Insomnia, over-thinking every little thing and night terrors. Not fun.
10. Each day I take 5 pills (3 are happy meds).
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: use counseling, but cannot go off my meds. I’ve tried and it is bad news bears.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I don’t know. Maybe a physical one, because then people would see that it’s real.
13. Regarding working and career: My PTSD has been a problem with quite a few jobs, but I’ve managed to work consistently since graduating college. I’m not able to do the career I wanted to do, though, for many reasons.
14. People would be surprised to know: I’ve been through a lot more than they realize. Some people know the bare facts, but no one knows the details – not even my counselor. People who don’t know me don’t know how empathetic I am. Sometimes being an empath does more harm to me than good to others.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: This has been my reality most of my life, so it isn’t new. The hard part was when one of my best friends (who was recently diagnosed as Bipolar, the same as me), described me as “ill” to another friend. She said it in a negative, pitying way, like, “She can’t help the way she acts. She’s just ill.” That really hurt my feelings and frustrated me. Yes, I have mental illness, but I never expect a best friend to speak down about me regarding it, especially when they have the same brand as me.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Re-wire my brain through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. You truly can re-train your brain to be more positive and perform positive coping techniques.
17. The commercials about my illness: claim that I’ll be able to run around in my yard playing fetch with my dog if I take them. Um, no.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Since being dx with PTSD, I really miss the days when I would perform with my whole heart and soul onstage.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: This doesn’t really apply to me since I have always had it. 
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: That still doesn’t really apply, but I guess it led to my blogging!
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal I would: I honestly don’t know . . .
22. My illness has taught me: that I’m not alone out there. There are many of us out there. We just need to support one another.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “Smile!” Don’t say that. Don’t do it.
24. But I love it when people: listen without judging and really want to understand me.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: “When people tell you who they are, believe them.” ~Maya Angelou
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Give your meds a chance to work before discarding them and that things will get better.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: I find there is truly a fine line between creativity and madness. I’m a more creative person because of my illnesses.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: I said, “I’m crazy!” She said,”You’re not crazy, because you realize you’re acting crazy. Real crazy people don’t know that they are.” Quite true.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I like to help people understand. 
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: good.

Guest Post: Betsy Basset’s Tips for Dating

betsy(Betsy turns in chair) Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. I’m Betsy L. Basset. Basset Hound, community activist, squirrel chasing champion, the most modest and wonderful animal you will probably ever meet. (sips coffee from bowl)

Recently, my fellow blogger and (so I’m told) red haired person, She, asked me to write some tips for dating. I immediately slept for 4 days to prep for this piece. But how does a simple (and yet complex) Basset like myself best share the knowledge that she has gleaned over her 9-14 year life? I may not have mentioned that there is some discrepancy as to how old I am. A lady never tells (wink). Also, I’m from the pound and I can’t use a calendar. Anyway…back to my wisdom.

Men. Who needs them?

There. Done. Hahahahaha! I kid! That was just a little Basset humor to brighten your otherwise dull, human day. Well to start with you …zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… (6 hours pass) Oh, my apologies. That was just a little Basset nap. Not to be confused with a cat nap which is stupid. Like cats. I mean, honestly, who naps for 10 minutes?! STUPID CATS, THAT’S WHO! OK. (clears throat)

As I was saying…the first thing you need to recognize is that you don’t need a man to make you happy. Get that out of your mind right now and you will be MUCH happier in your life, I assure you. You know what? Let’s start a list to keep this all organized. There is going to be a lot of good advice (and drool) flying at you from every angle! Get ready for the…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…oh, sorry. Here we go!

1. Be happy alone.

Look…you are YOU. There is only one you and that’s pretty awesome! Before you even consider dating, work on loving yourself and making yourself a priority. If the world didn’t have you, it would be a little less awesome. If the world didn’t have me, Betsy L. Basset, you would all perish in a dark, squirrel filled abyss. So you know, we all bring something to the table.

2. Do some good.

My human once met a guy while walking dogs at the shelter where I lived. She wasn’t there to meet guys. She was there to meet ME, her perfect dog friend. But the point is that if you use your free time to volunteer you can do some good for your community AND meet like-minded people in the process. It’s a win/win! But not for that guy. My owner found out that he had like 13 cats in his apartment. She’s allergic…because she’s awesome, and her body actually rejects cats on her behalf. YEAH!

3. Be open to “types.”

So you think you want a certain type of guy, right? I know in my younger years I was obsessed with the idea of a Schnauzer and a couple of cute Schnassets (Schnauzer-Bassets) running around a quaint farm. Eating Frosty Paws by the pond, murdering barn cats, etc. You know…living the dream. But after I was adopted by my owner we lived downtown in a tiny apartment with cobblestone streets instead of a yard. She took me to a Dog Daycare and I failed my entrance exam. I had a UTI. Things were bad. Then one day another human began walking me while my owner was at work. He called himself a dog walker and much to my dismay he walked other dogs. Ugh. Other dogs. But there was one dog there named Phinn, a Doberman. He was so incredibly handsome and couldn’t have been more than 1. What can I say? I like them young! (I refuse to call myself a cougar because that is a form of cat.) Things didn’t really work out because Phinn moved to the burbs. But my point is that I always thought I had a type and I was wrong. Once I opened myself up to all possibilities I met some pretty nice dogs. And some idiots. That’s the trade-off in being “open”. Once I met a yellow lab named Sam. These dogs are notoriously hyper and get on my last nerve, but Sam seemed OK. Then he came over one night to “watch a few movies” and it turned out that he had some terrible character flaws. 1) He had never seen Downton Abbey. 2) He chases balls. (Have some dignity.) 3) He looked at other dogs WHILE HE WAS ON A WALK WITH ME! WTH?! Look, I know that we all have options. But at least have the respect to focus on ME while you are in my company. It’s not like the dogs he was looking at were offering free sandwiches (which you can sometimes get in the park if you are sneaky and/or look pathetic enough). That, I could understand.

4. Be yourself.

When most humans I know start dating, they go overboard trying to relate to their new mate. Suddenly they LOVE water skiing and playing Chess. My human has done this. Oh, Lord. I’ll hear her on the phone and she’s all, “Oh, I’d LOVE to go to the rock climbing wall with you! Sounds great!” And then she’d get off the phone and freak out, Googling “What is a rock climbing wall?” Look lady, we all know that on Saturdays you like to clip coupons braless and watch House Hunters. But it never fails. She comes home from the rock climbing experience, throws back some Aleve and never calls the guy again. Why not just be yourself? Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not. Let the new guy get to know YOU…not who you think he wants you to be.

5. Bring treats.

My main philosophy in life is “ABE—Always Be Eating”. Food is a great distraction. If you’re at a restaurant and you find that you can’t seem to keep a conversation going, just eat your food. This is why humans tend to schedule dates around eating or drinking. It’s awkward when you ask someone to meet you by the fire hydrant at Grant and Livingston, and then find out that you have nothing to discuss! If you’re lucky you’ll find a cheeseburger wrapper but those are becoming less and less prominent as the economy continues to spiral downward. But I digress. Even if you are short on cash you can meet for a coffee or pack a snack and meet in the park. If things get awkward, throw a cookie down your gullet and stall for time. Mmmmm…cookies.

Well, that’s all the time I have for now. I hope this advice will help you navigate the perilous waters of the dating world! But remember that in that water there are a lot of fish and cats eat fish so forget that entire analogy about the sea. There are plenty of squirrels on the branch. You just need to run as fast as you can towards the tree, barking upwards at the squirrel until you lose your voice or pass out. Atta’ girl!

Stay Houndy!

Betsy L. Basset

V Mars: The Movie! **SPOILERS BELOW CUT**

The B*tch is Back!


Veronica Mars Movie (At AMC Theatres NOW! I saw it twice opening weekend!)

It began as a dream in a Kickstarter campaign on 3/14/13. Rob Thomas (the creator) and Kristen Bell (the star) were trying to raise $2 million to make a movie sequel to the popular 3-season tv show. In Kickstarter history, it became:
•Fastest project to reach $1 million.
•Fastest project to reach $2 million.
•All-time highest-funded project in FILM category.
•Third highest-funded project in Kickstarter history.
•Most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history.

A total of $5,702,153 was raised by 91,585 backers (including me)! The moviemaking process went into high gear and, in less than a year, the Veronica Mars movie was ready to go, 1 year to the day the Kickstarter campaign began: 3/14/14!!

As a die-hard Marshmallow (or V Mars fan), the movie was EVERYTHING I wanted it to be and more. MUCH MORE! If you’ve never seen the series, I recommend watching the first 3 seasons now and watching the movie when it’s out on video! You won’t be disappointed! Preorder The Veronica Mars Movie today for only $10 on Amazon!


SPOILERS BELOW CUT! Continue reading

State of the Union

Things have been, well, things. I’ve been spending most of my time at my book blog. Reading has been an escape for me in a world of night terrors, trauma-processing counseling sessions, money troubles, and relationship snags. I’m working through things a little at a time, and that’s all I can do. Chip. This hasn’t left me much time or energy for being social. At least April will bring a trip to NYC and a writing workshop, although I’m already worried that out of the 10 writers in the workshop, I’ll be a poser among geniuses.

My Psychopath

I’m slowly coming to understand that I was stalked by a psychopath using mind control techniques. Below is a list of the 20 characteristics of a psychopath. The ones that apply to my abuser are highlighted in red.

Hare’s Checklist (from Without Conscience)

1. GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM — the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.

2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH — a grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM — an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING — can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS – the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT — a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

7. SHALLOW AFFECT — emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHYa lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE — an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS — expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIORa variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS — a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home. Probably

13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS — an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

14. IMPULSIVITY — the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.

15. IRRESPONSIBILITY repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS — a failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

17. MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPSa lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.

18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY — behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness. Probably

19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE — a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear. Not sure but I kow he went to jail.

20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY — a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes.
(again, does not have to have all the above, just a few)

Happy Thoughts for the Week

As my 2 actual readers know, I love me some lists!

  • D took me out to dinner last night, then bought me a 1,000 piece puzzle of Broadway in NYC. Doing a puzzle sounded boring, but it was actually quite relaxing.
  • Seeing Phantom of the Opera on Sunday with D. He’s never seen it. He’s a Phantom virgin. While it isn’t my fave show, I must admit that the chandelier part and the boat part are neat to watch!
  • My new book blog

March Goals

Monthly Goals

Here’s my February round-up. I did so-so, but my main goal was to survive. I did.
  • Promote my 15% off sale at my Etsy Shop: Disney Autograph Books & Golden Book Journals are 15% off now through April 6th using code SBP15.
  • Do a search to see if any end of the year craft shows are open yet.
  • Organize the ETC Workshops – stay on top of them.
  • Work on the ETC blog more often.
  • Get Kathy set up with doing ETC member interviews for the blog.


  • See V Mars movie opening day on 3/14/14 with Elaine!
  • Figure out where I’m staying in NYC from April 18 – 20.
  • Buy either a bus or a train ticket from NYC to Albany, NY for April 21st
  • Start EMDR therapy. Oh joy. AKA try to get rid of my night terrors. :/
  • Have dinner with my estranged bro.


  • Finish launching She Read, my book review site; create a header for the blog.
  • Figure out how to transfer all my SBAB posts to my new domain, She Wrote. Does anyone know how to do this? I use Blue Host.
  • Read all of my NetGalley books this month & review them.
  • Post the reviews on Amazon too.

Sneak Preview for April: Visiting NYC from April 18 – 22.

  • Fri 18th: Visiting Heather & possibly seeing a show or visiting with CLOCers
  • Sat 19th: Attending Day 1 of Alex Franzen’s Write Yourself Into Motion Workshop
  • Sun 20th: Attending Day 2 of the workshop
  • Sun 20th: Hopefully seeing more CLOCers
  • Mon 21st: Take a bus or a train to Albany to meet Angel Ila Jean’s family (long overdue)


Angel Ila Jean “Bean” Rathbone

Mugs o’ Comfort Swap!

It’s time for the Mug o’ Comfort Swap!

Mugs and delicious things that go in them.
Your Swap Objective
Fill a package with goodies for your partner that you, yourself, would love to receive.  The package must include a mug, and stuff that goes along with it (tea, coffee, cocoa, cider, etc)- anything else you want to include is up to you!  

Dates to Remember:
  • Sign-Ups Start:  Monday, February 24th at 12AM
  • Sign-Ups End: Monday, March 3rd at 12AM
  • First Post MUST be Posted by: Tuesday, March 4th at 12AM
  • Partners assigned: Tuesday, March 4th
  • Packages Shipped: Friday, March 21st & Saturday March 22nd
  • Show-Off Linky Opens: Wednesday, March 23rd
  • Show-Off Linky Closes: Friday, April 11th
 Mug o’ Comfort Swap Rules
  • After being accepted, you must post on your blog saying you’re participating.  Post must include the button/link back to the sign-ups and must be posted before March 4th.
  • Packages must include a mug and things that go in them (hot cocoa, coffee, tea, etc) 
  • Send things that fit your partner’s preferences.
  • Packages must cost $15-$20 before shipping, to ensure relative value.
  • You must respond to emails from the swap hosts within a timely fashion.
  • Packages MUST be mailed on or before March 21st/22nd.
  • You must send a tracking number for your package to your partner and to us at Chaotic Goddess Swaps.
  • You MUST post and link up your swap reveal post. This is non-negotiable.