Daily Archives: May 8, 2013

Triggered

Was neither up nor down at the start of the day.

I was okay for awhile. Then came some minor cramps, reminding me it is curse week, being uncomfortable made my mood come down significantly. I rode it out. Forced the laughs when he “made” me sit through all these comedy clips on Youtube, only a couple of which I actually found funny. Ya know, being a heavy set girl myself, there’s just nothing hysterical to me about someone singing a song about “your big fat friend.” in reference to picking up hot chicks at a bar. Oh, and the kill a kitten song…SOOOO not funny. My funny bone must be broken.

Mid day, overhearing a phone call in which it became crystal clear how far down I am on the food chain at the shop…My mood plummeted. And that is what we call a trigger. I tried hard not to let it show but the mood dipped so suddenly, and so far down, that I actually had to walk away, go outside, stand in a corner with my head against the wall, fighting back tears, and basically bully myself mentally by pointing out that I am NOT weak, I am NOT wimpy, and I AM in control.

The counselor says this is me failing to regulate my emotions.

I’m not saying she is entirely wrong…But I’ve had reminders like this other days that slid off my back because I wasn’t feeling all fragile and hypersensitive.

Take a woman with cramps and hormonal fluctuations who also (ooops!) forgot to take her mood stabilizer this morning…Being reminded that in spite of all you do you are still in last place behind a slew of users and self centered assholes…is a fucking trigger.

Unlike pre mood stabilizer days, I no longer do the blow ups and tantrums. Instead, I just become very quiet and distant and monosyllabic. Which is not a bad thing compared to the alternative. Yet it was taken note of, and once again I was reminded that no matter how well I do medicating the moods and regulating my emotions…it is never going to be “enough” for the people around me who just don’t get it. Outside of the normal things that affect your mood, like a bad day, illness, etc, they don’t understand why someone’s moods shift willy nilly and it makes them uncomfortable so of course, you must conform and if you cannot, well, then you’re just being difficult.

That makes me feel hateful and defiant. I am not difficult because I have an illness. All I have ever heard about is how hard it is on the people around me, a fact I do not dispute and even empathize and sympathize with. It IS tough. But not once has any one, not one person, ever shown an ounce of the same for me considering they can just walk away from my shit yet I am trapped here. It’s hard not to have a chip on your shoulder when surrounded by insensitive self serving assholes.

The sunshine spewer said I need to find new friends to surround myself with.

Um…I have tried. Unfortunately, this area I live in  is not rife with people possessing enough sobriety (POTNATION!) or intelligence to grasp my issues. And trust me, no matter how well I try to keep it all buried deep beneath surface to shelter the weak psyches, it always comes bubbling over. It’s a disorder. If I could control it with will power, I wouldn’t be taking meds that make my hair fall out and give me stomach aches and memory loss and…

Fuck it, maybe the counselor is right. It’s ALL me. I am making excuses, I am failing to regulate my emotions, I am satan.

I’ve tried to find friends on line. It was through one of them I met the donor, actually. See how well that all worked out.

I am not without blame here, but I think she (the sunshine spewer) oversimplifies something that is quite complex. Or maybe I am just insane. Dear God, I used to take comfort in my counselors. The last ten years or so, comfort has not been included in the price of admission. Is this some sort of tough love thing where counselors try to toughen you up by blaming everything on you?

My brain hurts.

I got to thinking that perhaps it is time to enroll in classes and just part ways with R and the shop…But my squealing car brakes serve as a reminder that I need those damn brownie points if I don’t want to be on foot.

FUCK>

I say I can’t do anything right but I am totally wrong.

When it comes to having the mood swing from hell, I am a rock star.

Now…I am going to try to do something, anything, to help me climb out of this abyss. I do not like it here. The dark side promised me cookies and it turns out, they LIED.

I don’t want to be on the dark side anymore.

I want my bloody cookies, demmit!

 


Wednesdays Quote: Marya Hornbacher

“Soon madness has worn you down. It’s easier to do what it says than argue. In this way, it takes over your mind. You no longer know where it ends and you begin. You believe anything it says. You do what it tells you, no matter how extreme or absurd. If it says you’re worthless, you agree. You plead for it to stop. You promise to behave. You are on your knees before it, and it laughs.”
― Marya Hornbacher, Madness: A Bipolar Life

Preaching to the Choir (About Mental Illness)

I think that we are all very brave for standing up and sharing our experiences with having a mental illness. I think we are brave to put our lives out there so people can see they are not alone. Having said that? It’s pretty easy to do these things in a warm and supportive community bubble. We all know (give or take) what the rest of the group are going through, and even if we don’t have the magic bullet words of support, knowing that we’re all out there for each other goes a long way towards making sure each of us are able to take the next wobbly step on our journey upwards and onwards.

But it’s not so easy to stand up directly against people outside of the bubble. I know that we all see our fair share of people, of ‘friends’ posting ‘funny’ things slagging off mental illnesses. I had such an incident yesterday. A back-home friend from yesteryear posted something he thought was funny that I felt was insulting, and I told him so and why. I did it even knowing that it would leave my anxiety spiked through the roof, and my heart racing, and my paranoia going into overdrive about the vitriol that I was going to receive (my brain is always convinced that people are going to be hateful and nasty about anything I say. It makes me a bit defensive sometimes). It’s also painful for me because me in the post-self-medication days has no armor; there will always be a part of me that longs to be shit-faced drunk, which often feels like a warm ‘safe’ place to have opinions. I like having opinions. I like sharing them. I just have to pick and choose extra-carefully now because it’s always going to hurt me physically and mentally to do so.

Because I knew I wanted to talk about this after posting last night, I made myself go see what my friend’s response was. Well… let’s just say that it didn’t fly, and was rather abusive. It’s that old saw — if person X thinks it’s funny, then it’s funny and you’re somehow an asshole. In this case, it turned out said friend had his own mental health issues, and felt that I was out of bounds for being offended. So then, if we were black and I was offended because you as a black man posted something racist, would I be out of bounds? What if we were both Christians, and I felt your post was slagging off my faith? Oh, you say those aren’t the same things? I think they are, world at large. It’s the same rule I apply when moderating the kinship I’m an officer in over at The Lord of the Rings Online – if someone is offended, they are not wrong. Apologise, be mindful of offending your compatriots, or scoot off. Respecting other people is, amazingly, a good thing to do!

In the end, I told this friend that I was sorry he was feeling poorly, told him I wasn’t going to stand around for the abuse, unfriended him, and moved on. It breaks my heart how often I see this particular issue from friends and family Stateside — they get really worked up and angry at me for daring to be open about my mental health state and saying stigma doesn’t fly because either:

  1. They feel they cannot do the same, or
  2. They resent me ‘forcing’ them to come out into the open about their mental illness.

I do understand that admitting to mental illness is against the whole rugged individuality American culture is hung up on, I do. But who are you harming if you hide your illness away? Why, yourself — 1 in 4 people will have a mental illness in their life, so it’s not like you’re the odd one out if you have depression, or bipolar, or an anxiety disorder, or whatever permutation of mental illness one might call their own. Your illness isn’t going to magically go away if you tell someone else off for daring to stand up against stigma and stereotyping.

Anyways, I do hope he gets to feeling better, but as said — I’m not sticking around to find out. And as much as I go out of my way to love the ones who need it most (which is why I do my best to make the rounds and share my love and support with you guys <3), I know that part of taking care of me is not putting myself out there to be anyones’ whipping boy.

<3

The post Preaching to the Choir (About Mental Illness) appeared first on The Scarlet B.

Do I feed on the misery of others?

In spite of a very rough night with cramps, backaches, waking up, and little sleep…

I was almost happy today.

And I feel lousy about it because R had even more bad luck hit him and his wife was calling chewing him out even more and the guy who hit his car’s insurance is screwing with him and…Honestly, I just felt like I had to be the chipper one simply to avoid being one more asshole. Kicking a guy when he’s down is not cool. Sure, people have done it to me repeatedly so I should want to lash out at whoever is available…But I didn’t. It could be empathy, self control, a rare good mood. I never know. I just know it was not a sucky day and my mood held pretty steady the whole day. Enough so that after I picked up my kid, we made a trip to Wal-Mart. I HAVE to be in a stable place to face that hell hole.

Then we came home, the little girl from hell came over not give minutes after we pulled up, and my mood crashed. I love kids, but man, that one is on my last nerve. She wasn’t here two minutes before she started demanding drinks and food and complaining and telling me to shut my mouth. I swear she is the female version of Damien. I shall call her Damiana. I don’t think I am being unfair or it’s a mood thing, the child is just plain rude and mouthy. I also not it’s not her fault, it’s what she’s been taught or not taught but still…Way to ruin my good mood, spawn of satan.

Fortunately the chat with the sunshine spewing lump did sort of validate me enough to grow a pair and tell the kid NO you need to go home to eat and you will NOT tell me to shut up. Then my kid channeled satan and I just sent Damiana home and brought my demon spawn inside. She had a fit, but it wasn’t too long. I fed her, bathed her, now she is watching Clifford.

Maybe there is something to this assertive “mean” mommy thing. Being the good guy got me nothing but trampled on. Maybe I’m just gonna be the mom all her friends hate because I’d rather be an adult figure than their friend. Doesn’t mean I won’t get a supersoaker and drench their bratty butts.

Now…my head has started to pound and I have housework to do and I know my mood will bottom out at some point…I dread it, because it felt so good to feel good today. I was in control, assertive, upbeat, helpful, empathetic…Everything I want to be when my brain isn’t telling me to be something else. I know it seems I blame scumbag brain for everything, but it’s really the brain’s faulty wiring to blame for a lot of it so it seems justified.

I did have a moment of clarity today.

I see how beaten down and unhappy R is with his life. And he chooses to accept it, as if it’s a punishment for something and there is no alternative.

I don’t want to be that person.

Maybe lumpy sunshine spewer had a point and it is time for me to start making changes. Maybe they stick, maybe they don’t. I put off having a kid til I was 36 because I was always waiting for the bipolar and anxiety to stabilize. I think maybe a part of me was waiting to “outgrow” it. It never happened and I rolled the dice and okay, the relationship with the donor was a fiasco, but I don’t regret Spook a bit.

Who knows. I may sign up for some sort of classes, take a chance on myself. I could succeed. Or I could fail again.

Failure and I are old friends, though. Close friends.

It would be nice to meet success for a change.

I’ll never know until I try.

I just know I don’t want to be a passive complaining “what can I do about any of it” person. I may be wonky but I have always stood up for myself and done what I wanted, at least as long as my stability allowed it.

I just hope the mood holds for awhile.

Because when it slips into the depression and the anxieties seep out…that is where the insecurity seeps in and devours me because my brain keeps telling me it’s all pointless.

It may be high time to tell scumbag brain to bite me and defy my own better judgment.

And take a chance on myself.

 

 

 


49 Shades of Mommie Dearest

My mother is not quite as fearsome as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, but she can give her a good run for her money.

She’s a classic Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Me, Me, Me, Me.  In fact, my private name for her is MeMe.  She’s always a step ahead.  If I lose one pound, she loses two.  If my disabled father is not moving fast enough to suit her, she’ll take off at her swinging clip and leave him to fall face down on the sidewalk.  Things like that.

My childhood was one big nightmare on toe shoes, tiptoeing around on eggshells, never knowing what I would inadvertently do to set her off into a screaming rage.  I spent a lot of time outside.

I never knew which of my possessions was up for disappearance next.  Or my pets, for instance: which would be given away, which would “just die,” which would “run away.”  The only ones that stayed were the ones she and my father considered their own.

As most of my bloggie friends know, I ran away at age 16.  My mother went to a psychiatrist (the only time in her life) who told her it wasn’t her fault: I was just a rebellious teenager who should be left to learn my own lessons.  I did: homelessness, hunger, rape, prostitution.  Good lessons.

For some reason I was not killed, and eventually pulled my way up and out, and even more eventually became a doctor.  That made Mom happy, because it reflected well on her.  See, I turned out well after all.  It wasn’t her fault.  But I never returned to the parental “home,” which was not my home.

Then things got pretty bad when I had a breakdown and lost my practice and everything I had, and ended up totally disabled and bankrupt.  No help from Mom there; in fact, she persisted in telling her friends that my practice was going great!

I moved to the other side of the country, and that felt better, to be on a different coast and less in the weltering chill of her force field.  And then I moved to the other side of the world, which was even better.

On a mission trip, I fell in love with Israel: in particular, Jerusalem.  As soon as I set my foot on the broiling hot stone paved streets, I knew I had found home.  A year after the trip, I went back to study in a Jewish women’s seminary for a month, which turned into three months.  I shed buckets of tears praying at the Western Wall for God to please bring me home.  It came to pass, in March of 2007, that I moved to Israel to stay.  I was Home.

It wasn’t easy.  I moved eight times in the first fifteen months, for every reason you can think of, and some you would never imagine (bracket fungus growing out of the kitchen walls after a flood soaked the plaster).  I felt like the Wandering Jew, and in my own country at that!  How ironic.  But never, even through those hardships and others, did the feeling of joy at being home ever leave me.  For one who has never had a home, the delirious joy of having found Home is hard to describe.

My parents are old, and I am the only child.  I had planned on making trips to see them every four months or so, to keep a finger on the pulse.  And I did.  After two years, my father started a downhill slide, and I increased the frequency to every three months.  As you can imagine, at an average of $1200 per trip plus car rental (they live in the boonies, and I would never be without a car: an escape route from my mother), it was a serious drain on my savings.

My father had a small stroke, and some other things started to go wrong with him, so the visits increased to every other month.  Finally, he started falling, and after two emergency trips back precipitated by head injuries, I decided that the time had come to move back across the world and be on site for what I thought were going to be my father’s last days.

His last days turned into weeks, months, and years: two and a half of them.  He’s certainly not the man he used to be, and considerably disabled, but he seems to have stabilized, thank G-d.

I am living in what is basically a barn: his former pottery studio, which I have restored from a rotting shell to a tight shelter.  That is a story in and of itself.  It’s close enough so that if I’m needed I can be there in two minutes, yet far enough away that I have privacy to do whatever I want to do.  It’s tolerable.

But I long for Jerusalem.  When I first came here I would find myself uncontrollably sobbing for hours.  I long for Jerusalem herself.  I miss my many friends, dear friends like I have never had before; and I miss my family of choice, my holy brothers and sisters, with whom I have bonds unlike any I have ever experienced in my previous life.

I miss just wandering the streets, watching the swirling admixture of Jews of all varieties with their distinctive ways of dress, and the plethora of priests, nuns, monks, striding out of their monasteries and convents in the Old City, countless varieties with their own dramatic habits: nuns so covered up in black that they would give any Muslim woman a run for her money, unless she was wearing a niqab; Muslims, the women in every degree of covering–the one I get a kick out of is the college girls with tight colorful hijabs that make their heads look like periscopes,  and skin-tight jeans and high heels; or the head-to-toe chador lady walking arm-in-arm with her mulletted husband in a muscle shirt and cut-off jean shorts.  All swirling around in the streets together, gabbing in the countless cafes, shopping, going to school–doing what everyone does.  And me, me! there among them, one of them.  Home, home at last!

Mom’s been on Zoloft for a month now.  She found herself crying all the time, so when both of them got bronchitis and I took them to the doctor she took the opportunity to tell the doctor about that, and got some Zoloft.  She really is feeling better, you can tell, although she insists on only taking half the prescribed amount.  That’s her.  She eats half an English muffin, half a sandwich, half a tab of Zoloft.  Oh well; what matters is that she actually copped to feeling bad and did something about it, and realizes she is feeling better.  Let’s pray she doesn’t quit just because she feels better.

So today, seeing that she is in a good mood, I decided to break some news: I am establishing a schedule for visiting my home, because I am miserable without it.  I will return every fall for the High Holidays and the month that precedes them, which is a month for study and preparation;  and I will return in the spring for Purim, which is thought of in the States as the Jewish Halloween because everybody gets dressed up, but in fact it is a holiday steeped in deep mysticism.

She shrugged.  ”You do whatever you need to do.  I’ll get along somehow.”  What did I expect?  But the little child in me wanted approval.

“I miss my home,” I said, by way of what I hoped would be explanation.

This is your home!  Your home is right here!”  Her little eyes snapped.

“No, Mom, this is not my home.  This is your home.  You fell in love with this place, and you chose to live here.  I have never lived here.  I moved out of your house when I was sixteen…”

“I know,” she interrupted coldly.

“And just like you fell in love with this place, I fell in love with Jerusalem, and I am very sad when I am away.  And you know that I have a mental illness, and I have to take care of myself.  And all of my support system is in Jerusalem, all of my friends, my religious life, everything.  You don’t want me to end up in the hospital again, do you?  Because of isolation and no support?”

“What, being away from Jerusalem will put you in the hospital?”  Snort.

“What I would like you to do is to start looking into home care options that will give you respite and help while I’m away, so that you don’t get sick yourself.” Long conversation about that, leading to dead ends but it was a start, anyway.

I gave up.  Changed the subject.  Will not speak of it again.  Will just buy the tickets, get on the plane, and be there.  And eventually I will be able to pack up and go back, G-d willing, back to the crazy peaceful whirl of war zone in the Middle East, the only place in the world where I feel safe.