Daily Archives: January 20, 2013

Daily Post Challenge (Sort Of)

Note: Somehow or other, this post got posted without its title.  I could not abide that, so I fixed it.  The rest of the post continues to be regrettable.

I have been “sort of” doing WordPress’s Daily Post Challenge.  I usually post daily.  That is my hat tip to “challenge.” But so far I haven’t found their topics inspiring, and I almost always have some burning issue to blog about.  But today’s DPChallenge caught my eye.  ”Have you ever broken the law?”  Like, really?

Hmmm.  I have to think about this.  I have a morbid fear of breaking laws, probably stemming from childhood when my parents devised creative punishments for my childish transgressions, like locking me in the car for hours (with the windows cracked a bit, of course).  But maybe not.

I really think my original terror of breaking the law came about through a near-death experience when I was ten.  My parents wanted to “take a nap” (we all know what THAT means, if we’re parents) and sent me out to play, with explicit instructions not to ride my bike past a certain point on the country road we lived on.  Well, not exactly on, since our driveway was nearly half a mile long, but it was the nearest paved road.

I rode down the permitted road till I got to my friend Colleen’s house.  Colleen had a lot of brothers, and could pee standing up.  Her parents worked, like, ALL the time and were never around, so Colleen and her brothers did whatever they wanted, and only ever ate things out of cans and boxes.  Anyway, Colleen got her hand-me-down Stingray bike with the red sparkly seat, which I coveted greatly, and we headed off down the forbidden part of the road.

We hadn’t got very far when something went wrong with my bike pedal, and as I looked down to see what it was, I swerved right into the path of an oncoming car and was hit, or so they told me after I came out of the coma.

Of course an ambulance-chaser lawyer was on the scene almost before I got to the hospital.  After I got home from the hospital, my parents actually asked me, at age ten, whether I thought they should sue the driver who hit me.  I panicked at the very idea, since I KNEW that the only reason the car had hit me was that I had disobeyed my parents, and to sue the poor driver, who was only the instrument for carrying out Divine Justice, would be heaping transgression upon transgression; so I begged them not to, and they didn’t.

Later on in my life, when I was desperate for money, I had no qualms about selling marijuana.  I thought the fact that it was illegal was ridiculous, especially since I sold it at fair prices.  There was nothing whatsoever wrong with providing freaks with good dope.  And I hitchhiked a lot, which was illegal.  I drove my 1967 Volvo B-27 late at night on curvy back roads as fast as I possibly could, and got stopped once.  The officer looked into my sweet young scared face and said, “All right, Miss, I’m not going to give you a ticket this time, but I better not see you driving that fast again.  You could get yourself killed, you know.”  I nodded vigorously, quaking with fear (since I am really afraid of breaking laws and the possible consequences, but mostly of policemen).

A bunch of years later I did get a ticket for driving my three-quarter-ton black Cummins Diesel Dodge 250 pickup with the eight-foot bed, diamond-plate truck box and running boards, at 90 miles an hour on a straightaway. I was thinking about a relationship that had gone bad, and wasn’t paying attention.  That truck could hit 120 and you wouldn’t even feel it.  Oh God I was in love with that truck.  I know the officer had a hard-on when he walked up to it.  All men did.  I loved the power of it.  The ticket bummed me out because it caused my insurance to go up, but I didn’t regret letting 590 cubic inches of diesel ponies out on that straightaway, no sir, no way.  I guess I got corrupted by the sheer power of that truck.

Since then my legal life has been pretty bland.  I got fined for having a tail-light out.  I got stopped because it was coming on dusk and I hadn’t put my lights on yet.  All vehicular infractions.

Now we come to the Breaking Of Religious Laws department, in which I am a hopeless heretic and recidivist.  To explain the underlying premises of the infractions would require more words than you would ever stand for, so I will not go into it.  Suffice it to say that if there is indeed a system in place such as Orthodox Judaism maintains, I will be in a heap of trouble after my spirit abandons its earthly vehicle.  More vehicular infractions.  I guess that’s my specialty, when it comes to breaking laws.  I just hope they don’t lock me in a car.


Lance the Boil

So, Lance Armstrong has confessed to taking performance enhancing drugs. I’ll tackle his intellectually hallucinatory attitudes and behaviour to drug – taking and cycling another time (this issue isn’t going to disappear anytime soon).

But all this talk of drug taking to improve performance reminds me so much of what the American psychiatrist Peter Breggin calls ‘toxic psychiatry’. At this point I should put my pharmaceutical cards on the table, so to speak.  Abilify, Citalopram, Effexor, Effexor +, Lamotrigine, Mitrazipine, Prozac, Quetiapine, Zopiclone…. These are the tablets I have taken since March 2001 to treat my mental illnesses, to improve my performance. I can’t be sure if this is the definitive list. My long – suffering spouse is convinced that my memory has been adversely affected by my symptoms: whether she means chemically or mentally induced, I can’t recall.

I am one of the lucky ones, for whom a drug regime works. It hasn’t been exactly straightforward, however. Prozac was my debut prescription prescribed by my then G.P. the medic I first told – yes, folks, I told her – that I had depression. The next couple of weeks were not pretty. Sea sickness and dry toast featured heavily. My first, second and third psychiatrists prescribed Effexor – starting  my almost decade long romance with Effexor. Then, later (when my relationship with Effexor was under pressure – not working for me) with my new lover Effexor + But, if the fluctuation in doses was anything to go by, it was a fiery relationship. 150 mgs for long periods, but then up to as much as 300 mgs.

In time – honoured tradition, against medical advice (I didn’t bother to seek any), I stopped taking the tablets – and no one seemed to notice. Not my G.P. (the one writing my monthly prescriptions), not my psychiatrist, my family or friends. 3 months later I quit my (admittedly nightmarish) call – centre job and successfully re – entered the world of mental health work. Then I re – lapsed. Off sick for 5 months in 2010.

Weird as it my seem – once I was accurately diagnosed with Bi Polar Disorder 2 (with mixed symptoms) – my (new) psychiatrist took me off the anti – depressants and I entered the wonderful world of mood stabilisers and anti – epileptics. Yes, you read that right: somehow the anti – epileptic drug Lamotrigine helps with my depressive symptoms as part of my current diagnosis. I wonder if that means people who have epilepsy are not depressed….how did they ever even find out that anti – epileptic drugs work for my particular brand of depression?

Now that I have put you in the pharmaceutical picture, let’s meet the American psychiatrist Peter Breggin. He has written that ‘modern biological psychiatry is a materialistic religion masquerading as a science. ’  He is a leading voice in the anti – psychiatry movement.  This month a  jury in  Syracuse, New York State awarded $1.5 million to the family of Joseph Mazella, a respected basketball coach and Assistant Principal who committed suicide whilst taking anti-depressant (Paxil) and anti psychotic (Zyprexa) medication.  Dr.Breggin was the expert witness for the plaintiff.

Then there are cultural norms which fail to adhere to what western psychiatry class as mental health problems. I have written about the history of suicide in a previous edition of this blog; all right thinking people say suicide is always wrong, right? Not according to tenets of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. According to the teachings of Buddha, suicide is sometimes permitted. In an entry in the The Encyclopedia of Religion, Marilyn J. Harran wrote the following: ‘Buddhism in its various forms affirms that, while suicide as self-sacrifice may be appropriate for the person who is an arhat, one who has attained enlightenment, it is still very much the exception to the rule.’

While Hinduism holds that suicide in the vast majority of cases is wrong it is permitted in rare cases known as  Prayopavesa  – fasting to death. It is permitted to people who have no desire or ambition left, so long as they have no responsibilities.

Jainism is another religion – opposed to violence in all forms - that permits suicide by fasting.  This is known as Santhara.

Mass suicide in Judaism was acceptable in the era of the Roman occupation of the Jewish Kingdom.  In 73 C.E. 960 men, women and children committed murder – suicide rather than be taken as slaves by the Roman forces besieging their desert fortress.

Dr.Breggin questions our selective views of taking one’s life: ‘…in America, aren’t virtually suicidal acts done for the sake of one’s fellow soldiers or for one’s country during wartime thought of not as insanity but as bravery? Why do we think of such persons as heroes rather than lunatics? It seems we condemn (or “diagnose”) suicidal people as crazy or
mentally ill only when they end their own lives for selfish reasons (the “I
can’t take it any more” kind of reasons) rather than for the benefit of other
people.  The real issue seems to be selfishness rather than suicide.’

The Drugs Don’t Work

All this talk of getting old
It’s getting me down my love
Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown
This time I’m comin’ down

And I hope you’re thinking of me
As you lay down on your side
Now the drugs don’t work
They just make you worse
But I know I’ll see your face again

Now the drugs don’t work
They just make you worse
But I know I’ll see your face again

But I know I’m on a losing streak
‘Cause I passed down my old street
And if you wanna show, then just let me know

Richard Ashcroft (1971 – )


Cautiously Optimistic

I am pretty sure that there is still some level of depression lurking under my surface. I feel too jumpy and irritable for it to be otherwise (oh okay, it could be hypomania, but I don’t think it is). But over that is a spoon or two, and that is blissful. I’m definitely trying to push myself towards getting back in the swing of writing things… but that’s definitely a slow push; I don’t want to slide back into depression if I can help it!

Anyways, if I am careful and remember to think and not let my words get ahead of my thoughts, I might stand a chance of keeping myself afloat. Let’s hope I can keep it going.

<3

How I Learned The Art of Successful Procrastination, Accountability and Commitment

My youngest daughter, the lovely Miss Magpie, turned 9 yesterday. Not a milestone birthday as they typically go but with kids they are all a big deal, and should be [...]

The Insanity Files: The week’s mood-in-review

Monday- started out awful, felt like shit physically, nothing was going right, my nerves were sizzling under my skin and I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown…I was literally, snapping and yelling and starting to lapse into tears. At one point I seriously thought, “I cannot do this, I am not equipped, I cannot do this, put me in a rubber room or let me die, but I CANNOT DO THIS ANYMORE.” The rest of the day was spent in a suicidal depression which sucked the life and soul of me.  I knew the only course of action, aside from giving into the bad thoughts, was to go home, tend to my kid and cats, suck down some chicken noodle soup, and go to bed, Trazadoned out of my head.
I woke up three times that night, meaning…Trazzy-D is letting me down big time.

Tuesday- I had a GOOD MOOD day. I was semi-manic, but felt happy. Which ya know, considering sixteen hours before I was trying not to plot my own demise…was weird. Of course, R was in a horrible mood bemoaning how he may go out of business if repairs don’t start coming in…And I got a taste of what it must be like to be around me in my perpetual state of depression.Except I don’t bitch and moan, I just keep it all to myself, barely speak, and look utterly morose or disturbed. God, I sound fun, don’t I?

Wednesday- The day I realized my new medicine was basically trying to murder me. Your eyeball does not turn bright red and cause you immense pain in sunlight and water while all your muscles lock up on you for no good reason. I stopped Topamax that day. And oddly,it was my last day on Cymbalta. So…Dual medication cessation…

Thursday- another down in the dumps “kill me now” day. Lots of anxiety and panic, especially at night, trying to sleep, not wanting to go to the shop, not wanting to do much of anything but be a hermit.

Friday- I was stiff but moving  better and my eye was more mauve than crimson. On the mend. The entire day, my brain could do nothing  but watch the clock and scream I DO NOT WANT TO BE HERE, LET ME GO HOME NOW, HOME, NOW, HOME HOME HOME. I faked it and faked it and faked it and…the clock mocked me, ticking so slowly. He invited me and Spook over to his house that evening but at that point, my need to not be around people and to vegetate was almost pathological.

TODAY- Up early, in spite of a rough night trying to sleep and stay asleep. Felt okay. Went to my dad’s and he took me and Spook out to lunch as a gift for my birthday Tuesday. I cleaned their house for money to buy Spook’s pull ups. Not fun, considering stepmonster had not washed a dish in two and a half weeks. I kid you not. It took five sinkfulls of water and over an hour to do it all. Then I vacuumed. And I felt pretty good. Being functional is nice. Plus, it was 56 F today, and that took out the seasonal affect, so…I felt good at times.  Though…Five hours gone…my deranged brain started screaming GET HOME GO HOME SAFE ZONE NOW NOW NOW. People assume I am rude or think I am too good to socialize (they’ve told me so point blank) and the fact is, once the panic sets in, my lizard brain cannot be reasoned with. It is time to go NOW, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Returned to my safe zone for awhile. Then popped by mom’s to visit her for her birthday. THEN the really brave part-facing Wal-Mart on a Saturday night. Driving after dark, which has become one of my major triggers since I became so sensitive to bright lights and my vision has slipped.
I felt so good, so calm, I didn’t even realize it was ninety minutes passed Spook’s bedtime, we were just playing and watching Torchwood and…It was a good day,for the most part.

Good days scare me.

Not because I am negative.

But because I have walked this road so many damn times, and I know what always comes after the good. Especially with no anti depressant on board not. And two more months of seasonal affect to face.

I can no longer tell if the Lamictal is working  because I have so many other medication factors going on-starting, stopping, tapering off…I just know I am frustrated with anti depressants and about to give up on them and my sunshine spewing counselor who has done fuck all to help me or even make me feel better in sixteen months.

There are times…when I truly believe I am insane. Not “We, the jury, find the defendant…” But NUTS. Like there is no rhyme or reason to me even to myself. I make no sense. I have no middle ground. I am just a roller coaster ride of extremes.

And…

I am so very tired.

Of me.