Daily Archives: July 10, 2013

Clear Skies

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The impending doom feeling that I had in my previous post has cleared.  The world is still spinning, I can hear children outside playing.  All is good from my perspective.  It really was a horrible feeling and I’m glad it’s gone.  In fact, my depression is much lower this week.  I still feel that underlying layer of depression that’s always there, but it’s not as noticeable.  It’s not overpowering my other feelings.  As a matter of fact, I feel damn good today.

The speech class I’m taking is going great.  I’ve been struggling with school since I started, but I’m grateful that I’m finally starting to do better.  We’ve had two tests so far and I got a “B” on each of them.  In addition, I did my first speech today and aced it.  This makes me feel more optimistic about taking a larger load this fall.  I feel my life moving forward like a country song played backwards.

Tomorrow I have a midterm exam and, of course, I am nervous about it, however, I’m nervous about every test I take.  It’s natural, I guess.

I hate to jinx it, but yesterday and today are the first good days I’ve felt, without being manic, in a long time.  I know that this feeling isn’t going to last forever, but I’m not going to let that bring me down.  I’m going to continue on and live my life to the fullest while it lasts.  I guess the only negative is that I’m having this good period at the same time as my exam.  Rather than getting out and enjoying it, I’ll be stuck at my desk studying  ’til later tonight.  Oh well, I have the rest of the week to enjoy it and I am planning on it.

 

Breaking the Silence of Stigma: Ruth Jacobs

Ruth Jacobs no borderWelcome to Breaking the Silence of Stigma, a series of very personal interviews with people who, like me and perhaps like you,       live with mental illness.

It’s only by breaking the silence and speaking out about the reality of living with mental illness that we have any chance of breaking the stigma that surrounds it.  It’s a silence that suffocates, that increases suffering….it’s a silence that kills.  

Our inaugural interviewee is the very brave Ruth Jacobs, published author, campaigner against sex trafficking and human rights violations, blogger, and mother.

Breaking the Silence of Stigma: Ruth, how long have you known that you are living with a mental illness?

Ruth:  Over twenty years.

BSS: Can you share with us your diagnosis/diagnoses?

Ruth: I have post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar – although the bipolar diagnosis is being reviewed by a new psychiatrist.

BSS:  When were you diagnosed with these?

Ruth:  I was diagnosed with a mild bipolar-like illness, cyclothymia, about fourteen or so years ago I think. It’s hard to remember as before then I had various other diagnoses. The bipolar worsened over the years until it was finally diagnosed bipolar type I.  I can’t remember when the post traumatic stress disorder was diagnosed, but certainly years after I first suffered symptoms.

BSS:  How were they diagnosed?  Did you have any special testing?

Ruth:  I am pretty sure the diagnoses have just been made from sessions with psychiatrists as an outpatient and inpatient. I don’t remember any special testing, though having said that I have a vague memory of wires attached to my head, but that might be from something medical; my memory is not good, which is probably caused by the PTSD, though could be from the numerous overdoses I took in my twenties.

BSS:  Have you ever been hospitalized due to your illness?  How many times?  Do you think it helped?

Ruth:  I have been hospitalized a few times. I can think of six but it might be seven. And actually it’s not all for my mental illness on its own, but mostly because I self-medicated with drugs. I had psychosis from crack a few times and I was a danger to myself so being hospitalized helped keep me safe for that period, but didn’t help with my mental illnesses. I was unhelpable most of those times because I wasn’t willing or wasn’t ready to give up drugs. When you are an intravenous user of heroin and crack, there isn’t much a psychiatrist can do about your mental illnesses.

BSS:  Are you on medications for your illness?  Do they help?  What about side effects?d

Ruth:  I have had so many medications and concoctions of medications, always with side effects though to varying degrees of severity. Most recently, a new psychiatrist has taken me off all medication so she can reevaluate the bipolar diagnosis. I am pleased about this, as I do prefer not to be on medication due to the side effects.

BSS: Have you ever had ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy)?

Ruth: Thankfully, I have never had that.

BSS:  What other things do you do to help with your illness?  Do you go to individual therapy?  Group? Other things?  What, if anything, seems to help?

Ruth:  I have had years of therapy, mainly individual though also in groups. Sometimes it has helped, other times not. I found eye movement therapy, EMDR, worked extremely well for some symptoms of PTSD, especially flashbacks, but it also reduced nightmares too. I had NLP at the same time and I believe that helped particularly with anchoring – something that has been very hard for me to cope with.

BSS:  How has your illness impacted your life?  Things like jobs, education, relationships, children, alcohol and drug abuse, etc.?

Ruth:  It’s affected all of it but I have to try to make the best with the cards I’ve been dealt. Although I can’t work full time at the moment, I still have writing and that’s a very important part of my life. I am sure it was my illness that enabled me to write my book; and I wouldn’t have had the knowledge without having lived the life.

BSS:  If you could give advice to someone else struggling with mental illness, what would it be?

Ruth:  Believe that no one is ever beyond hope. Reach out for help. Be honest – let those people know how you feel and what you need so they know how to help you. Don’t give up. If a medication isn’t working, ask to try another. If a therapy isn’t working, request a referral for a different kind – do your own research where necessary. If you don’t agree with your diagnosis, see if you can obtain a second opinion. If you are uncomfortable with your psychiatrist or other service provider, do what you can to be put under the care of another. I’ve found it helps to connect with other people also living with mental illness. So many people don’t understand and believe there is a way to ‘think’ yourself out of being mentally ill. In my depression, when it is already severe, this ludicrous belief is extraordinarily hurtful.

BSS:  Thanks so much, Ruth, for your incredibly candid interview.  It takes a lot of courage to break the silence of stigma.

Ruth Jacobs’ novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable is published by Caffeine Nights.

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Read more about Soul Destruction, and about Ruth’s human rights campaigns, and her own brilliant interview series here.

Read Ruth’s blog and Soul Destruction Diary here.  While you’re there, consider picking up a copy of In Her Own Words….Interview With A London Call Girl, an interview that Ruth did during her research into prostitution in the 90′s.

Ruth’s recommended links:


Crying and Driving

On our recent trip to Austin, TX my man and I had the opportunity to talk. I mean really talk. The radio was turned off and so I started my confession to him that I knew I have not been holding up my end the relationship. I do not keep a clean home and I do not put our needs above those of our family and friends. I cancel my plans at home constantly to aid my family or friends with their needs. If I don’t I feel stressed….as if I am letting them down. But in all honesty I am letting myself down and my man down every time I neglect my duties at home. It was excusable for a while because my Bipolar symptoms were on the forefront but now that they have calmed down I am just in the habit of not doing my chores.

So now that we are back home I am making it a priority to attend to the house two hours every day until it is in order then it will just be upkeep with dusting, laundry, and dishes….oh and the floors and dogs. I have a full time job at home and it is time I started earning the home I live in.

But this revelation came about while we were driving and talking which brought me to tears because I felt so bad for putting everything else above my, Patrick’s, and the home’s needs. I am sure many of you can relate to this and I would love to hear how you manage to keep your homes in order through the chaos of mental illness and the juggling of life!

Not Bipolar Anymore

When I read this story about premenstrual dysphoric disorder, “All the Rage”, it was like when I first read books …

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Vortex of suck strikes again

To keep this from turning into an epic rant, I am going to take the things bothering me the most and break it down. Or try to, anyway, I suck at self editing.

*Saw the sunshine spewer for the last time today. While she is supportive and finds me funny, her just sitting there staring at me expectantly like I am a seal expected to balance a beach ball on my head…I gotta admit, in spite of my lack of grace in dealing with change, I have *hope* that the new counselor might actually help me. It could be worse, for all I know. But it could be better, too. It’s happening with or without me, might as well go in with cautious optimism.

*R had food poisoning yesterday and I asked him before I left if he felt any better and did he need anything before I went. Later, I sent a text saying I hoped he felt better and included a funny from our running Llama with hats thing. He called later and said, “I am feeling better, not that you care, you were pretty flippant about it.” I swore my head felt like it was going to implode. I told the counselor about it and she suggested I call him on it. So I did, telling him honestly that he hurt my feelings. Which he quickly deflected, making me feel like I was being a pain for having feelings to be hurt. It set a very sour tone for my day.

*Castiel, the new kitten I rescued, somehow got a broken leg. Not sure how, but the poor thing…I don’t know what I can do to help him, sans have the shelter put him down. I mean, R has a thousand bucks for a car stereo, but spotting me money to take the cat to the vet is asinine. So my heart is breaking while I try to make the kitty comfortable as can be under the circumstances and I just feel like everything I touch turns to shit. My whole goal was saving this little orphan cat and now its leg is broken and…Cripes, it just sucks. And it sucks more to go on line and read shit like, “If you can’t afford to take your pet to a vet, the ASPCA should take your pets away.” Jesus. I found him outdoors, abandoned and dying. I buried two of his littermates. I have tried to do well…It just sucks. I am going to make some calls tomorrow, see what can be done…

*Because apparently I was such a pain in R’s ass today with my ya know, having feelings and all, that I won’t be needed tomorrow. Of course it was a text (I ignored three calls from him) saying I could have “a wonderful day with Spook.” The man has never said anything of the like before aside from the last time my emotions made him irritated.  Tell me there isn’t a direct correlation and I will call you a fucking liar. And weirdest thing is, I predicted it. I knew when the phone rang he was going to tell me not to come in tomorrow. Because any time me being a human deeper than a wading pool annoys him,  rather than see it as maybe himself being a problem, it’s put on me and “Let her come back in a better mood.” HAVING FEELINGS THAT GET HURT OR OFFENDED IS NOT A MOOD SWING YOU STUPID JACKASS. And saying in a text “I’m sorry if I did anything to offend you” when I stood right there and TOLD you what you did to offend me which you blew off…just makes you a dick.

*When I returned to the shop after faxing and scanning for shop business, Kenny was there. And my mood lifted, because Kenny and I play off each other ala That 70′s Show, with the sarcastic burns and barbs. The same thing R takes as some sort of affront to his ego. At one point when we were all bantering (or so I thought) R told me I was mean spirited. And again, I thought my brain was going to bleed. Kenny’s sitting there busting his chops the same way, but I do it and I am mean spirited. Even Kenny said on this one R was in the wrong. For Kenny, R said he would “work on it”.

Bull

shit.

*At one point tonight, my kid has SIX kids over playing. And while it induced panic, it still wasn’t as stressful as dealing with R. Plus, I had such a vortexy sucky day, I sent the kids home at 7pm and when they came back, I held my ground.

*My mom jumped me when I went to pick up my kid. Apparently one of the people R had me call today about picking up their TV because it’s been there 5 weeks…was my sister’s boss and the woman felt that I had been rude to her. Again. Brain…bleeding…That woman got the same spiel all the others I called got. The place is a repair shop, not a storage locker, so yes, after so long, we call to ask people if they’re going to pick up the tv or if we should just sell it.THIS is the problem with small towns. Everyone knows everyone to some degree. Bad enough to deal with rude customers and the oblivious kiddie pool that is R. Now I have to listen to my mother expound on how she knows how I can be sometimes. My own mother takes shots at me daily but no one can figure out why I am so fucked up.

Brain…bleeeeeeeding.

* At one point today I went outside for a smoke, and since he is usually busy lollygagging, I didn’t think a thing about closing the door. Especially since the air was on and I knew even two seconds of the door being open would get him mad. Well, ten seconds later he made a comment about “Love the passive aggressive way you just slammed the door in my face.” Yep. I am totally passive aggressive, that’s why I am so blunt and in your face. For fuck’s sake, I wasn’t paying a damn bit of attention to behind myself, I was looking ahead where I was walking, so I had no clue he was on my heels. IDIOT. Is he trying to make me go insane and reach for a shovel?

Now that I know I don’t have to be there tomorrow (and newsflash, motherfucker, I hadn’t planned on coming in anyway, since my emotion is such a bummer and all) I should feel relieved and revitalized. Instead I just feel fucking drained and depressed. Everything I touch turns to shit. No self pity, just observation. How long before I turn my kid into Jeffrina Dahmer? Hell, I couldn’t even keep a cactus alive, I am such a fuck up. And the bitch of it all is, I TRY so fucking hard. To fail in spite of this just makes me feel like I should throw myself in front of a bus.

But hey, why bother. Soon, R will throw me under the bus.

Of that I have zero doubt.

He hasn’t changed a bit and I’ve only gotten more complex which he absolutely cannot handle.

So, yeah, no need to seek out a bus, it’s coming my way soon enough.

Just hopefully after he fixes this worthless fucking car he advised me to buy.

Does that make me a bad person?

To quote Malcolm Reynolds, “Eh, I’m okay.”

 


A Letter to my Son on the Occasion of Becoming an Adult

My Dearest Joshua (previously known on this blog as  Mr Smarty Pants thinks he Knows it all 16, and 17 yo ) There are times in a mother’s life when she […]