Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Gallows Humor

Gallows Humor, if you've been a Caregiver for any length of time and been Dealing with Serious Disabilities or Chronic and/or Terminal Illness and The System to procure adequate Care and Coverage for your Charges, you have probably developed it as a Coping Mechanism.

If you haven't, I'm already assuming you went wheels off the rails yourself into the Abyss of Insanity or Offed yourself a long time ago!  Because you NEED to find the Absurdity in it all and be able to Laugh about it and not just Cry about it.  Along with the Tears of Sorrow and Frustration it has to be mixed with the Tears of a good Belly Laugh to Balance the Tightrope Act you're the Headliner for in your three ring Circus.

Barnum and Bailey couldn't match the Circus Acts we've had play out in this Family!!!  We've had Gallows Humor Moments that nobody except another Caregiver going thru the Wringer would probably be able to relate to as Humorous in the least.  I could regale you with numerous incidents that at the time were such a tough row to hoe I thought I'd be buried there between the rows from it all.  But then hysterically Share later with Gallows Humor that has us rolling on the floor with riotous Laughter recounting it!

Perhaps it does take us to a form of Madness few can fathom.  Because often we are like a Mad Alchemist who has to Invent the Craziest of things in order to have the Experiment of Surviving it all not go totally awry and so Left that you're doomed and royally Screwed otherwise!

It is also why, having already Raised now Adult Children with Profound Disabilities, that the most Prodigal One with Serious Mental Illness can send me hilarious Facebook messaging like this and she and I laugh our asses off mutually.   It's inherent this Gallows Humor, I'm fully convinced it now runs deep in our DNA and has been passed down Generation to Generation thru Living our Reality such that it is and Surviving it.  Since certain illness carries Hereditary factors it can become The Family Curse.

How do People Live like this... and Who Lives like this anyway?  Well, we do... not by choice but by necessity and when you've got that Hand dealt, well, you've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em as Kenny Rogers would say coz it's all quite the Gamble!  And if you don't KNOW, well, you better Learn, STAT and perfect that Poker Face!  Sorry if you now have Kenny's Gambler lyrics looping thru your Head!?  *Winks*  BTW: Totally off Topic, but doesn't this Pumpkin face resemble Donald Trump and I Wonder if that was Intentional?!  *LMAO*

And pick up a Vice that hopefully won't just Magnify your Misery and might at least take the Edge off.   For me it's Retail Therapy, the Thrill of the Hunt, make my money on the Buy and Sell higher.  To attempt to raise money and hopefully fund all those damned Medical Expenses that you know the Insurance will balk on or refuse point blank to cover or Pony Up for so as to Stiff you with!  I have literally file cabinets filled with the Paperwork from various Agencies, Courts, Providers, Caseworkers, Appeals, Advocacy Groups and Insurance Companies with this trio's Care and Expenses.

It's very good reading for me actually when I'm on the crapper... hope that isn't TMI for ya... but it's True, I drag it in there a few pages at a time and really wanna wipe my ass with it because that's how Meaningful it ISN'T to me!  Plus, ya wanna just shit when you see the numbers on those bills, Yikes, so it's a good thing to be sitting down first... there... on the throne.  So you don't shit your pants instead from the Shock of what you'll be in uphill battle with to NOT pay out of pocket!  Hopefully... awww... who am I kidding... usually you'll get stiffed for at least some of it even if you shouldn't have been... coz they can drag it on indefinitely ad nauseum and Life is too Short, ya know?  At least the Collection Calls are Free Therapy and I USE them for that, Trust and Believe... Love me a Good Rant to some Poor unfortunate Collector who has the misfortune to Call asking why haven't I Paid?!  *Bwahahahaha*

I'm pretty Sure this was similar to my Countenance when I got the most recent pile... and they do come in piles lemme tell ya... piles of shit to have to Deal with on top of Dealing with the infirmity of your Loved Ones!   When I was Dealing with Criminal Law and Real Estate Law in my Corporate Career Lives I didn't have this much paperwork for a Case and I'm not exaggerating that Fact!  You could be a freakin' Serial Killer and your File wouldn't be as thick and your Case as lengthy and drawn out as that of a Parent or Guardian of someone suffering from Serious Disability and/or Chronic Illness!

You could be handling a Complex Corporate Merger more easily and Successfully than wading thru the rhetoric of Dealing with The System as it currently stands!  I had very demanding Careers but it was a walk in the Park compared to Caregiving... oh, and it paid way better too.  Hell, just getting Paid is a bonus if you're a Caregiver, to offset the crippling Cost of it all.  Last December, after three grueling years of the Adoption Process regarding The G-Kid Force, was the very first time in over 30+ years of Caregiving for anyone that I actually got my first Subsidy Check and now became a Paid Caregiver of sorts due to Adoption Subsidy ratings and Laws!  *Hallelujah and can I get an Amen People!*

Unpaid Caregiving is more the norm if you're Caring for Family, especially a Spouse, or are a Kinship Placement of Children, even severely Disabled ones, since that puts you apparently in Volunteer Status according to The System.  I was not always a Willing Volunteer, I ain't gonna lie, I was a Volunteer Involuntarily and Under Protest really.  I had to give up paying Careers to become an Unpaid Caregiver in fact and Live off of The Man's VA Disability exclusively for Decades to stay Home and do this Full Time for the trio.   But the alternative for them would have been bleak had I not overrode my Instincts that it would all be too much for me at this Season of Life to raise another Generation, especially with Special Needs... and Care for an ailing Spouse... it was daunting... still is... Scary shit daily!

Having not been my First Rodeo you see, I knew exactly what I was getting into by accepting the Post, there were zero delusions.  The fact I haven't frequented the Saloon or other such unsavory Escapes is a Testimony of how Powerful Gallows Humor has been to me... that and Retail Therapy.  God Bless when I could afford some discretionary funds for some Retail Therapy for myself... usually by Selling off a Kidney or something... Naw, just kiddin'... Gallows Humor... come on, it WAS Funny!  *LMAO*   Well, in some Countries, like the Philippines it was actually Legal for a time for those who were Poor to Sell their Organs to the Wealthy who needed Organ Donation!  International Pressure only was the reason it was outlawed.  So it's actually not REALLY Funny apart from Gallows Humor, it's freakin' Tragic... lets Hope America never gets to that level of depravity for Health Care or Survival of the underprivileged!

 I've gotten thru it all without the aide of Medications to dull the Experience even!  Tho' they have been offered up by Modern Medical suggestion as a 'Solution' to Caregiving Stress and Burnout.  That things such as Prozac or Valium or whatever addictive shit they hand out in huge doses to Hook ya so you Need Doctor Feelgood as much as you'll need actual Help which ain't coming... would be justifiable... you know... in your situation and all!  Go ahead, we'll write the Scripts, many as you wanna pop!  We even have SAMPLES... you'll Feel Better!  Doctor Feelgoods remind me of the Corner Drug Dealer in the Hood... only they have managed to make it Legal and Acceptable Socially!  Why do you think Heroin is on the rise, it's not that someone wakes up one day and says, Think I'll try Heroin... Nope, usually an Rx Legal Opiate Addict whose Doc finally cuts them off from their prescribed Painkillers they've hadda be on. 

What a Lush I couldda, wouldda, shouldda been had I fallen for their Professional Opinions of what would be the Ideal Solution to the ills associated with Caregiving for too long and without enough Help!  Yeah, I'd of been a Right Tart I'm sure if I'd become dependent upon Modern Medicine to Guide me thru this minefield of an Experience!   Incapacitated probably due to the alleged Solution of it all since you cannot be High on Meds yourself and Caregive adequately!  You HAVE to be Clean and Sober... dammit!   You have to Maintain a level of Decorum and Lucidity or nobody will take you Seriously and you won't be Effective when you go to battle as an Advocate of the Most Vulnerable!  *Winks*

Sometimes the Solution to my Loved Ones Suffering has often been over-medication by Docs that couldn't Cure 'em so just wanted me to Medicate the Hell out of them to make it all more Manageable!  The Balancing Act of what Meds are right for Managing Disabilities with no Cure is quite the Tightrope Walk lemme tell ya!  Instead I chose Gallows Humor over having any of them doing the Thorazine Shuffle or something equally barbaric just for my own Convenience and to render them Lower Maintenance or Calmer and less 'Restless'... ie: Unlovely or downright Mean and potentially Violent, which happens sometimes with Brain dysfunction or injury.

No, that does not make me a Hero or a Saint by any means... sometimes I've been temporarily duped in fact by Professional Opinion until the Outcome has proven to be disastrous.   Then you feel awful, since usually they cannot make these decisions for themselves and side effects can be worse than what they're taking the Meds for, so it's a weighty responsibility to make for anyone else!  And the Balancing Act sometimes fails miserably... like now for example as The Young Prince endures Withdrawal from strong Psychotropics he's had to take for Managing SMI for years.  Only to have his Poor Body finally say ENOUGH and start to shut down... so weaned off of all of it he has to come now!

Sure, he won't be as Mellow and he'll Cycle thru the Manic Depressive and Psychotic Episodes more frequently now unmedicated, but what to do when side effects are too potentially Life Threatening anymore?!  That's the million dollar question... so we'll figure out alternative Stabilization Methods hopefully.  He's now asking me, since he's Sixteen, if he should explore Medicinal Marijuana edibles via a Doctor that might prescribe them if I'm willing to Supervise and Monitor the use so it doesn't become abuse?  Apparently he has SMI Teen Friends who are already on that regimen and it is Working Wonders for them, I'm not Surprised, I'm actually a strong Advocate for Medicinal use of it.

Don't Judge... if you've never Witnessed firsthand the horrific Suffering, Dangers and Torment of certain Illnesses and Conditions... or the Pharmaceutical Collateral Damage caused by that freakin' Industry lining their pockets to prevent Cures or consider the Safety of the Patients taking their Rx... then a Marijuana Brownie or Gummi Bear Shaped MJ Candy Treatment won't seem so awful or shocking an Alternative Treatment to you perhaps!?  Even for an afflicted Child who it might just Save or provide better Quality of Life for and keep a Family intact instead of fractured beyond repair when they just cannot Cope anymore and fall apart.

Besides, I have to also Consider that the very high propensity for the Seriously Mentally Ill Teen or Adult that goes off their Medicine to "Self Medicate" has far more Serious and long reaching Consequences and probabilities.   I know this from Experience, the hard way... when I couldn't keep an SMI Teen and Adult Children from Self Medicating and having that Collateral Damage play out.  Which is  more Horrific and Dangerous than anything I could have Dreamed of in the Worst of Nightmares lemme tell ya!   And can lead to you having to Raise future Generations of their Offspring if they are deemed Non Compos Mentis to Parent any Child or even take adequate care of themselves really.

 Opiates, Booze and Meth are far worse Demons than Medicinal MJ to rid oneself of if they go down that Path to try to ease Pain, Suffering and Torment they cannot handle unmedicated and endure.  Suicide is even a Darker insidious seeming "Solution" to end Pain and Hopelessness.  We don't wanna go there... again and again.  I want a more Carefree Life than that, for me and for them all.  The Gallows Humor has been like a Good Medicine in absence of any other Good Medicine that actually Works and doesn't run the risk of Killing you with it's grim side effects.

Yeah, tho' you may Feel like THIS when you're actively Dealing with an Episode playing out, later or even during if it's too outrageous and surreal, you will find the Humor of it and in it.   Pulling a vehicle to a screeching halt while careening down the Freeway because your Child is having a Panic stricken Psychotic Break and thinks Invisible to you Insects are attacking you both can be hilarious afterwards.  Or even during as you jump out there on the Emergency Pull Off Lane in front of God and everyone in Rush Hour and begin stomping the Hell out of the little buggers YOU can't see coz it's not YOUR Reality... to assuage the Panic and ask them, well, have I got 'em all?!?  Yes, this actually happened... the Adult Child might even recall?  Or mebbe not, they don't always even vaguely remember Psychotic Breaks and what they did or said.

Or how about the hilarious time Nanna, the newly Dearly Departed One, asked the then Teen Youngest Daughter with SMI to go out and get her some Milk.  Two weeks later she came back, not knowing where she had been for the fortnight and sans the Milk!  The Irony and hilarity being the Milk Company had a 'Got Milk' Commercial on at that time which actually had that similar scenario... we often Wondered if whoever wrote the Commercial had a similarly Disabled Charge and was using an identical incident as Inspiration?  *Bwahahahaha!*

And BTW, if you have an SMI Teen or Adult, don't Assume that the Authorities will send out a serious Search Party to look for them when they turn up Missing like that.  Sometimes you just have to Patiently Pray and Wait until they come back on the Grid and make Contact again... because it will happen often.  You just have to get used to it, have a Peace about those that can only handle being Homeless and prefer it as a Lifestyle... and have Gallows Humor about each incident.   AFTER of coarse you have the enormous Relief of knowing they're still alive and didn't meet with some tragedy while off the Grid. 

 Sometimes they've just been Institutionalized, you won't always be contacted to know for Sure. You won't always receive Help when you call a Crisis Hotline either... I've even been put on Hold or waited Hours for them to send someone... and that's only after you've just said YES, could be... to the standard Question of, "Are they Homicidal or Suicidal!?"   Don't dare elaborate or they will fail to send anyone at all if that Answer isn't a definitive Affirmative and intentionally Vague on your part!  Drop the Phone if you want and really NEED them to be there in a reasonable amount of time in a Crisis... just sayin' what Works... and doesn't based on our Experiences.

Mental Hospitals, Jail, Prison... sometimes those just have to be the Safekeeping Place for those Afflicted that are Danger to Self or others, either temporarily or permanently, dependent upon levels of affliction and duration of Episodes.  Depending on your ability to actually Care for them or not... sometimes you cannot.   But far many others just Live their Lives like you and I in relative Peace and High Function.  Just Needing the Understanding that though they Appear Well, they might need some accommodation to level the playing field some days when their diagnosis becomes difficult to Manage flawlessly.  I'm actually still waiting for Flawless Management of such diagnosis actually, it doesn't really Exist right now for either Traumatic Brain Injury or Mental Illness. 

So, I will continue to find the Humor in Mi Vida Loca because it has made it so much more bearable during the worst of times... and a damned Good Story in the best of times to Share... because honestly, you can't make shit like this up! And I don't care who you are, that's FUNNY!!!  *LOL*


Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian


  1. Caregiving is not easy and is rarely understood by those who have never been involved with it. Gallows humour is always a good recourse when things get too tough. Those pumpkins are so well carved, yet also creepy ..... and yes, there is a resemblance to Donald Trump!
    Keep laughing!

    1. Thanks for coming by for a Blog Visit Jenny and enjoying Gallows Humor, those Fabulous Pumpkins are created by the Talented Ray Villafane and were on display in Carefree over the Holidays. Dawn... The Bohemian

  2. Those creations have me in awe, such talent. This post is so relatable. Medical MJ is my med of choice for my mental issues and has helped a lot, not a cure all but definitely something to look into.Keep on truckin, you have a beautiful soul! Thanks for visiting my blog.

    1. Oh Holly I Thank You for the sincere compliment and yes, Ray Villafane is an Amazing Talent and we enjoyed his Creations so much over the Holidays. We will be looking into the possibilities of Medicinal MJ, I have heard it also Calms and has Healing qualities for those suffering from TBI too, so The Man has also wondered if it might be beneficial to his Healing Process. Thank you for coming by for a Blog Visit to my little slice of The Community... Dawn... The Bohemian


A life touched by God always ends in touching others. - Erwin McManus

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. - Og Mandino (1923-1996)

For creativity to flourish one should try to look at everything as though it were being seen for the first or the last time. - Quote from "A Thousand Paths To Creativity" by David Baird

Is what I'm about to say an improvement on silence? ~ Galen Pearl