Daily Archives: June 9, 2012

loss

yesterday was my friend’s birthday.  we’ve known each other since 2002/03 and have been close friends since 2006.  i sent him a text wishing him a happy birthday sometime in the early afternoon and he responded that he and a bunch of friends were going out to get shitty later that night, and that he wished i was there.

i read the text and realized i probably wouldn’t be able to get shitty anymore period.  well, i could but i’d be putting myself at risk of some serious consequences, possibly.  the gravity of not being able to socialize with friends in this way is like a punch in the face.  i love drinking and partying with friends.  now i get to be automatic DD?

f.m.l.

i thought of saying to my friend, how are you going to take it when i tell you i can’t drink like the boys?  that i have a serious mental illness?  will you still be my friend?  will you understand?


is being ‘normal’ really this boring?

i’ve been on 900 mg of lithium for a little over two weeks now.  i’ve experienced some strange fluctuations since starting.  first, there was mild hypomania and then really deep depression and then back up to another mild hypomania, followed by a sense of panic and then…

———————————–FLAT————————————–

i feel like i’m living in 2D.  activities sound BORING.  all of them.  sometimes i want to bang my head against a wall because it sounds like a bit of fun.

i get bored reading and playing video games and walking my dogs and talking to people and writing my blog.  i even found a stray puppy yesterday and brought her home, thinking there’s no way to get bored with a puppy!  but i did.

i’m on my way to becoming a robot.


my evil twin?

the idea of accountability seems to be coming up a lot in different contexts.

XBF gave me a very long talking to about accountability, making the argument that “people” don’t really get the sense that i take responsibility for my behavior.  he said this after i was bitching about my aunt telling me she wanted to say “fuck it” to our relationship.  imo, she could communicate anger and frustration without saying something like that.  he tried to tell me that she was trying to communicate that what i had done (not talked to her) had hurt her.  i wasn’t sure i bought that story so i asked for a different example.  he eventually gave me one that seemed to stick (although i don’t really remember it at the moment, and he’s not answering his phone to remind me).

my take home message: he felt i need to understand the role i play in situations and to take more responsibility for interactions.

(i still don’t buy the bit about my aunt.  that’s a load of crap.  perhaps somewhat disturbingly, XBF seems to side with my family members more often these days.  i wonder if he realizes how dangerous and stupid that is.)

i’ve also been thinking about responsibility in relation to mental illness because of the realization that some people have tried to use bipolar in an insanity defense.  how successful they were, i don’t know.  but it seems to open a whole can of worms.  is there a case to be made that bipolar episodes are periods of insanity?  and this brings me to my next question.

one of my commenters brought up something i have secretly felt but so far have been unable to admit to anyone, myself included.  it is that being diagnosed has been accompanied by s huge sense of relief.  being bipolar (possibly) means many of the failures that weigh heavily on my shoulders can be lifted.

(yes, i do recognize that this feeling does lend support to XBFs earlier comment about my lack of accountability)

it begs the question: am i responsible for my behavior during a bipolar episode?

while that sounds scary, i’ve never been one to argue in favor of free will anyway, so it just meant losing more control i didn’t have in the first place.

i keep reading about the distinction between behavior resulting from the illness and behavior resulting from the self.  to be honest i think these are hokey terms and ways of thinking about it, but i’m picky.  but how easy would it be for you, if something you did or something you said could be explained away as a symptom of illness?  would it not be tempting to put all of your less desirably characteristics in with your bipolar evil twin, while you yourself are a normal and lovely human being?  where and how do you draw the line?

not that i endorse this guy (he is selling a gimmick, as far as I’m concerned), but maybe tom wootton had it right when he wrote about being able to “harness” depression and mania (or hypomania).  rather than distinguishing between illness and self, learn how they interact and be able to manage behaviors that way.

and rather than setting a goal to suppress those characteristics, embrace them because they are a part of you regardless.  to manage them is not just about stuffing them into your broom closet and pulling the china cabinet across the doorway.

is this a possibility?  what is more manageable?  embracing one “you” who is always sick, or splitting yourself into one “sick you” and one “normal you”?

 


One More Cup of Coffee

While reading one of the volumes in my not inconsiderable library of cycling books I was interested to learn that pro cyclists will often have a double espresso and pasta for breakfast.  I favour boiled eggs, toast and a nice cup of tea.

It’s not that I dislike coffee, I enjoy a cappuccino or a latte at any number of coffee shops in my role as a Peer Supporter meeting Peers to talk about recovery, inspire hope and learn how to maintain my own recovery.  Coffee shops act as a venue for my work.  Before you start thinking that I must be bouncing off the walls after a couple of meetings like this from too much caffeine, let me reassure you – I will order a coffee every time - but I may not necessarily drink it.

For me coffee shops serve as venues for connecting with Peers; helping people who are  socially isolated and find bustling places like coffee shops very challenging to spend any time in, to find their feet once more in the outside world.

And so it was for me once.

When I was first off work, and later, after I had given up work and was on Incapacity Benefit, I used to frequent a particular coffee shop.  It was a couple of miles from where I was living at the time.  I used to go there and sit, for what seemed like hours, with a cup of coffee, a newspaper or a book.

I want to say that it was a positive experience, that the coffee had a medicinal effect, that it perked me up.  I’ll come to that; but most of all what it did was fuel my ruminating mind.  Don’t mistake rumination for day dreaming. rumination is a hamster wheel of thoughts and feelings that turn and turn and turn, building up their own malign momentum.  This mind – work is the equivalent of digging holes and then filling them up again.  No insight, no eureka moments, can be found in rumination; it has a self – perpetuating energy that propels moods and thoughts and feelings making them fitter, stronger and more persistent than anything day dreaming can offer.  Looking back to that time (roughly 2001 – 5) I can recall how, despite all the doctors’ appointments, medication, all the counselling, the group psychotherapy what they were all up against was me stirring and stirring my  unhelpful (as I now like to call them) thoughts and feelings like so much sugar.  In short, developing my theories of despair.

The walls of this coffee shop were adorned with pictures of smiling, relaxed people sitting in the sunshine drinking coffee.  Over weeks, months, years I sat there drinking coffee (on my own) rarely smiling or relaxing.

But those  pictures spoke to me of engaging with the world – but in a lighter, happier way; intense, certainly, but engaging with the world outside and not the damp, dark, echo chambers that form the interior passageways of the soul.

There was another coffee shop that I used to visit quite regularly, too, when I was not feeling up to taking the trip into town.  This one was a short walk away.  I used to take my coffee upstairs, it was quiet up there, populated by a few smokers (that was allowed back then).  I remember one regular.  He was somewhat the worse for wear.  He used to pour alcohol miniatures into his morning coffee.  He did so quite openly – he could see me watching him.  We would acknowledge each other with a nod of the head before looking away.  Did I want to be like him?  No, but…..

There was no eureka moment, but gradually I began to see that I could unhook myself from that kind of future and return to another world, not so hopeless or habit – worn.

One More Cup of Coffee

Your breath is sweet

Your eyes are like two jewels in the sky

Your back is straight your hair is smooth

On the pillow where you lie

But I don’t sense affection

 No gratitude or love

Your loyalty is not to me

But to the stars above

One more cup of coffee for the road

One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go.

To the valley below.

Your daddy he’s an outlaw

And a wanderer by trade

He’ll teach you how to pick and choose

And how to throw the blade

He oversees his kingdom

So no stranger does intrude

His voice it trembles as he calls out

For another plate of food.

One more cup of coffee for the road

One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go.

To the valley below.

Your sister sees the future

Like your mama and yourself

You’ve never learned to read or write

There’s no books upon your shelf

And your pleasure knows no limits

Your voice is like a meadowlark

But your heart is like an ocean

Mysterious and dark.

One more cup of coffee for the road

 One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go.

To the valley below.

Bob Dylan (1941 – )


Comment on Lies by psychesalve

It seems like we have a very similar view of mental illness and the way that it operates in our minds and our concept of self. I look forward to following your posts.

This isn’t the post I wanted to write

I seem to be having trouble writing when I want to/need to. The post I meant to write is about self destructive tendencies and the need for them to be expressed somehow. Also something about struggles around having children and things like that.

For now though? I feel a bit stretched past my capacity. My mom, who is a retired psychologist and worked a lot with chronic pain patients, gave her patients the following exercise:

– Get a pile of dried beans and spread them out
– Think of the beans as your total pool of psychological and physical energy*
– Separate out the part that you use just daily just dealing with your pain and put it in one   pile
– Separate out the parts you use for your family, work, play, etc
– Notice how little is left and start forgiving yourself for not having as much energy as you’d like, try to start rebalancing the best you can.

It’s a really useful exercise to visualize your own energy levels.  I showed it to my husband and sometimes just tell him that I “don’t have the beans” to do X,Y, Z. It is a good shorthand to saying, “I have used up 80% of my ability to exist just getting out of bed this morning. Please be tender.”

So yes… I have lots to write, but I don’t have the beans.

*Not energy in a metaphysical way, your actual ability to perform your daily life tasks.


This isn’t the post I wanted to write

I seem to be having trouble writing when I want to/need to. The post I meant to write is about self destructive tendencies and the need for them to be expressed somehow. Also something about struggles around having children and things like that.

For now though? I feel a bit stretched past my capacity. My mom, who is a retired psychologist and worked a lot with chronic pain patients, gave her patients the following exercise:

- Get a pile of dried beans and spread them out
- Think of the beans as your total pool of psychological and physical energy*
- Separate out the part that you use just daily just dealing with your pain and put it in one   pile
- Separate out the parts you use for your family, work, play, etc
- Notice how little is left and start forgiving yourself for not having as much energy as you’d like, try to start rebalancing the best you can.

It’s a really useful exercise to visualize your own energy levels.  I showed it to my husband and sometimes just tell him that I “don’t have the beans” to do X,Y, Z. It is a good shorthand to saying, “I have used up 80% of my ability to exist just getting out of bed this morning. Please be tender.”

So yes… I have lots to write, but I don’t have the beans.

*Not energy in a metaphysical way, your actual ability to perform your daily life tasks.


‘S’ is for Sims

I finally broke down and tried Master Controller, and I think I like it. Irregardless, I am going to be Simming up a storm today, because that is what I want to do. This Legacy game is progressing nicely, I am enjoying myself… what more do I really need? Well, maybe more caffeine, but that’s sort of part of the condition of being me. So instead of dredging thinkery, I shall go and enjoy myself.

<3

Screw you, mental illness

Why does mental illness make doing the simplest most mundane tasks such an uphill battle?

Just getting myself into the shower a bit ago felt like pushing a boulder uphill.

Then trying to find clothes to wear because I have gained weight on the Abilify and now my self esteem is in the gutter and I just want to buy muumuus or better, wear a fucking circus tent, because I feel that ginormous.

Most days I don’t even eat breakfast because the thought of frying up some bacon and eggs is just too much. I feed my kid, and she loves convenience food, so what does it matter if I eat?

My only vanity is to never leave the house without eyeliner.

Yes, that’s my priority, paint my eyes black. Otherwise, if I remember to run a brush through my hair, I am having a functional day.

Even at my best, some of this shit just taps the energy out of me.

So screw you, mental illness.

Now does anyone know where I can get some muumuus in a skull print?

 


Ode to Trazzy D

Trazzy D-the artist also known as Trazadone, has been reintroduced into my life as a sleep med. It’s day two and I am splitting the pills into quarters so it works out to about 12.5 mg. It eases me to sleep within a half hour. Tonight it kept me down for five hours straight. Of course, it is 4 am now, so it didn’t keep me down all night but hey. Improvement is improvement. Plus, the hangover is way lesser than Elavil. God, I hate needing pills just to sleep. Makes me feel like an incompetent for not being able to achieve what comes naturally to everyone else.

Oh,well.

Been waiting three days for the stupid pharmacy to get my Abilify in. Seems to me they should know an approximate time for it to be coming in. Instead they keep dicking me around and pissing me off.

El Shrinko wanted to swap the Xanax for klonopin and I nixed it. I think she is finding out just how strong willed I am.

(*** note-if my posts are laden with typos, I am not a moron, my laptop keyboard is pretty much falling to pieces.)

I was sooooo relieved yesterday when my counselor had to cancel out due to an emergency. That’s not right,is it? I just get so little out talking to her. I used to be a therapy junkie back when the counselor actually helped me. This one just has a style that leaves me wanting.

I am hating this whole schizoid thing where I get out of the house and all I can do is obsess on going back home, then I get home and I’m bored and want to go out. I’m such a fucking basketcase, I want to kick my own ass sometimes.

Right now I have a sinus issue that makes it feel like someone bashed me in the nose with a hammer. YAY.

There are days when the rinse, lather, repeat of life makes me feel like I am weighted down with cement blocks. Running the same errands every day for him at the shop. Dropping Spook off, picking her up. It just feels so exhausting. I propel my way through but some days, I want to curl up on the sidewalk and just zonk out then and there.

Oh,well. Pain is just weakness leaving the body and exhaustion is just a reminder you’re not dead yet.