Daily Archives: April 15, 2013

Bucket List

Before getting sober, over nine years ago, I struggled for survival. I slept on a lot of peoples couches, but after being sober for six months I was homeless. No one was willing to take me In anymore. I was losing hope. All my old friends were gone. I eventually understood that there weren’t friends – they were just drinking buddies, but it took me awhile to understand that. Feeling lonely, I continued to lose hope. I was sleeping on park benches, in bushes or anywhere else I could get a little shelter. At that point my life was over. There was no future for me…just death. I would look at the really bad off homeless people who were passed out all day, sunburned and unshaven. I envied them. They had finally given up. No worries anymore. Just slowly wasting away until they die. I was sober. I didn’t understand why all this was happening. Shouldn’t my life be getting better, not worse?. I didn’t understand, at that time, that I had undiagnosed, untreated bipolar disorder.

I had no future. I knew I’d die with nothing to my name. There must have been a small ounce of hope in me or I would have killed myself. I finally got my life on track for a little while, but it wasn’t until I began treatment that It got better. It was slow at first, but eventually my life became a country song played backwards, I gained hope again. I felt that I was going to finally have a future and I do.

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With hope and joyful expectation in my life, I decided to make a bucket list. Bucket lists seem to be the craze nowadays. Back in my day we just called them a list of things to do before you die, but Bucket list is the new catchphrase. I never thought I would live this long, so it’s exciting for me to be able to make such a list. None of these are way out of reach, so I think they are all doable before I die. I’m excited to get started.

Here, in no particular order, is my bucket list:

Llama packing
Train trip across country in sleeper car
Get my weight down to 160 pounds and become a lifetime member of Weight Watchers.
Run a 10k
Take my daughter to Hawaii
Go water skiing
learn to play tennis
Become fluent in Spanish
Buy a house
Learn sign language
Learn to play a flute
Attend a 30 day Buddhist silent meditation retreat
Take a cruise/trip to Alaska
The Northern Lights (the Aurora Borealis), polar regions
Vacation in Egypt
Vacation in St. John, US Virgin Islands
Visit Hearst Castle
Visit Winchester House
Take Maurice to the Biltmore House.
Earn a bachelors degree in Religious Studies
Earn a masters of divinity degree
Become a chaplain
Get a home with a meditation/prayer room
Write and publish a book
Ride in a hot air balloon

What are the top items on your bucket list?

My Brain Runs on Windows ME

If you’ve never had the misfortune of using a computer with Windows ME (Migraine Edition) then the reference will be lost on you. But I had one with it and it was so wonky, not even a reboot made things work properly.

THAT is how my brain is today. I got sleep, even slept in a little late. Proper reboot.

SYSTEM STILL UNSTABLE AND THROWING OUT ERROR CODES AND LOCKING UP.

With the curse at its end and the new start of the week following a good sleep, I thought I would feel better than I did yesterday.

I do get tired of being wrong.

Because today I am running the gamut of anger, depression, frustration, and just being pissy. My entire body aches, my stomach is twisted in knots, I gnashing my teeth…

I don’t want to listen to music, watch tv, read or well, anything, but stare off into space chainsmoking. There is no light in me today, it is all just blackness and “why am I still alive, this is so fucking pointless!”

I most certainly do not want to go be around people, this is one of those volatile mind spaces where I usually manage to burn several bridges by snapping at people.

Grrrrrr.

Why can’t I find some fucking stability, even for a couple of weeks? I’ve cut down on caffeine, pretty much quit drinking, getting more sunlight…I am doing everything I am supposed to do that will supposedly make me feel better…and I do not feel better.

OMG.

I am incompatible with life.

Which means…

MY BRAIN IS RUNNING ON VISTA!

Kill me now.

Eh, much like the postal service won’t be stopped from delivering the mail by rain or sleet or snow…

My morbid sense of humor will not be held down by my brain’s crappy OS.

But wait, I showed a sense of humor and I am out of bed. I am all cured, yayy!

People who think that deserve my pissy little bitch moods.

I am floating above the surface but anyone who thinks this is optimal is a fucking moron.

I think I may buy a Magic 8 ball.

Maybe it will be just as reliable in predicting my mood swings as I am.

Can’t be any worse. I am clueless and I am so fed up.


Self-Promotion: A Challenge in Self-Affirmation

Yesterday was a big day for me, after a fashion. I set up a Facebook page for this blog:

https://www.facebook.com/TheScarletB

And I set up a Google+ page as well:

http://www.gplus.to/TheScarletB

I’ll be making use of these pages as another way to follow the blog, for those who don’t like RSS, or email, or following in WordPress Reader. Sharing is caring and all of that, so it behooves me to make it easier for people to access my content (and to make it easier for them to share it when friends if it so suits them).

I admit it -- I'm human. I need people to pat me on the back once in awhile!

I admit it — I’m human. I need people to pat me on the back once in awhile!

But here’s the thing — self-promotion is probably the single hardest thing for me to do. When I was growing up, I was (as one of my best friends put it) the one running the household. I’m the eldest of four, and at age four, I was told I needed to be a grown-up to help things keep running. And I did — I tried to stay on top of chores, I did my best to mediate disputes between everyone, and I even got a job when so pressured to (which covered my expenses, and I also ended up covering other peoples’ expenses as well). I did it with as little complaining as possible, because you know what? It was made abundantly clear that I was not permitted to have feelings. I was a victim of my own competence, and have continued to be my entire life.

Because of that, and because of childhood lessons wherein it was made very clear to me that there was absolutely no point in asking for affirmation in the areas I needed it, I’ve got a pretty painful relationship with affirmation, and the receipt thereof. And that’s the old saw in this extroverted world of ours — if you don’t ask, you don’t receive. But I actually can’t ask for affirmation anymore — if I asked and received, my brain has decreed that it doesn’t count, which then sends me into a rather dangerous spiral. Even admitting this much usually causes me to dive dive dive dangerously, but I think, I think, I’ve rolled this around in my head enough that I can put it into words for others to see finally. It’s rough progress of a sort, so I should make sure do to my part and affirm myself!

Anyways, part of my trying to make progress is this whole self-promotion thing, as well as attempting to make progress on my issues with rejection. Yes, I am totally like everyone else in that I don’t like being rejected. I’d argue it’s harder on me though since spending spoons has to be rationed, and rejection is telling me I wasted a chunk of what precious resource I have. So this is multi-fold — here I am, putting myself out there and saying, ‘Hello world, I hope you like what you see!’, and ‘If you like what you see, let me know and tell others!’. And of course, saying, ‘Hello world, I am totally awesome, and it’s okay for me to say that and I hope that you agree.’

So whatever happens, I put one foot in front of the other, and I’ve taken a step. I’m still having lots of problems right now with fluttering spiking anxiety so I can’t tell how I feel feel, but I think once the dust settles, I’ll be happy with myself. Whatever the end result, I made myself combat a demon. And that is awesome.

<3

The post Self-Promotion: A Challenge in Self-Affirmation appeared first on The Scarlet B.

A Wonderful Therapist

I recently spent over a year in a really unique treatment facility  It was relatively small. Gradually, over the course of my stay, my therapist and I had a lot of discretion about my working and participating in life outside the facility.

As a result, she was able to observe me over time, through several cycles of mania and depression, during different levels of stress and stimulation. And I was able to develop a genuine trust in her sincerity and her approach. It was a tremendous opportunity — if being institutionalized can be called such.

What made her style unique, in my experience, was that she didn’t “tell” me anything about how I “was” or what I did or didn’t do — unless I really pressed her with direct and specific questions. And she wouldn’t make suggestions for for what I should do.

Rather, she would ask me thoughtful, angular questions that made think about things in ways that gave me new insights about my bipolar symptoms. She encouraged me to develop my own solutions and to follow through on my goals.

I’ve seen numerous therapists over the years — lots. Some really, really bad ones, some that were just “there,” and a few terrific ones.

Who wants to share some experiences about what makes for a great therapist? I’m not so interested in what makes for a terrible therapist — because that’s pretty obvious — and Bipolar.Bits is a positive place.

A goal of this blog is to attract those in the helping and teaching professions, and provide them with a different perspective on bipolar disorder, directly from those who experience it.

So, here’s an opportunity to give some positive feedback, and some ideas for growth. It’s also a chance to share and give hope to those who may have had bad experiences with therapists in the past. Thanks!

Grumpy Morgue

Day started out normally enough.

But then the neighbor girl and her brother showed up at ten till 9.

Just lovely.

When they went home for lunch, I “snuck” out to get some groceries.

We were back fifteen minutes and they were back. And stayed four fucking hours.

What’s that amount to in babysitting wages? Not to mention all the food and drinks they had, the messes they left, and my damn mental distress. My anxiety bordered on panic the whole day because while I don’t mind letting the kids play, they don’t fight or anything, it’s just more responsibility put on me when I am supposed to be recharging my brain for another week of dealing with the petri dish of humanity. And when that little girl came down here with food and said she would get sick if she shared with my kid-then proceeded to drink two Mondos, eat chips, and yogurt that are my kid’s…I seethed because my instincts are to nasty. I don’t like selfish people who take but won’t share. I don’t like the way they run in and out as if this is their house. I don’t like the way I told them to clean up their messes but they didn’t.

But am I just bitchy or are these legitimate complaints? And they are children, I can’t expect them to know much better.

I am such a socially inept person, it’s just easier to avoid people. Now that I have spawned, it seems I am required to be a free babysitter for hours, plus feed them and let them do as they please while I serve them. (Yeah, the little girl kept telling me to put her drink in the fridge, no wait, go get my drink, no it’s getting warm, put it up. HUH????)

It sucks to never know if you are legitimately  being taken advantage of or just being a mood swing panicky freak.

Once I sent them home at four (and the girl came back twice even then) I was able to get my kid to eat, then she went down for a nap and so did I. Now it;s almost 8:30 pm and my mood is cobwebby and depressed and irritable. I do not need this stress. Almost six hours total? I mean, what kind of parents do that, anyway? Coming over for an hour or two, fine, but six hours of dumping your kid on someone else? And not even asking if it’s ok, just letting six and 7 year old kids run riot?

Am I being a snob?

I let the girl take Spook for a walk, then stood around hovering nervously. I know I need to let go at some point but my kid is 3…And apparently you can’t let your kids do anything alone until they are 30 now. Oh, except for other people, they can do what they want. But the good parents who actually try and give a damn, no, we can’t leave our kid unsupervised 30 seconds. (This stems from an article I read about parents being up on charges of neglect for letting their six year old walk to the post office alone, one time with her father walking several feet behind her.)

I hate the fucking world.

I hate myself.

I want to go back to bed.

But I can’t. ‘Cos now my kid will be awake until 2 am, the chain came off the toilet so I have to fix that, and I still haven;t fed myself supper or bathed or…Well, anything, ‘cos my whole day was spent babysitting other people’s kids and I couldn’t do shit.

I am so damn irked. Am I being an overreactive bitch? Or am I spazzing out ‘cos I have been in this exact spot before, back before I had a kid, and parents would send their kids to my house for hours so they could smoke pot and one of their precious little snow flakes stole about two hundred dollars’ worth of my stuff?

It could have been a nice day.

Instead it just turned into a bucket of suck and my mood crashed and my nerve endings attacked and…

How can I ever lead a normal life when my moods and anxieties consume me at every waking hour and the slightest stressors make them even worse?