Daily Archives: October 2, 2013

As I Was Fiddling Around With HAL (my computer)

I had this thought. Bipolar disorder, several other mood disorders, PTSD, and other anxiety disorders are all considered chronic and …

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Celebs with Mental Ilnesses? Oh My!

Celebs with Mental Ilnesses? Oh My!

What? Wait? They are just like.. US?
Come on people, mental illness doesn’t stop because your on TV, movies, or have loads of cash. I mean, your healthcare is WAY WAYYY better than the average bipolar-jo, but they still suffer even more silently than we do. Can you imagine..?

Here are some famous soldiers!


The Appeal of Self-Harm


It’s been a rough day, so I may blog about it in a little while.  That usually helps me more than anything, especially since I haven’t been to the therapist in a while.  Everyone needs an outlet, a way to release the tension that is self-expressive without being harmful.  I honestly think writing is what has kept me from engaging in more self-harm.  It’s a figurative slicing of the veins, as opposed to the more dangerous, literal form.  I recall a brief time years ago when I did engage in self-harm, mainly cutting, and it was because I was such a wreck I couldn’t even get words out on paper (or on the computer screen).  I was stuffed to the brim with emotion and terror, and there seemed no way to get it out.  So I cut.  And it helped somehow.  Obviously, it was not a good solution, and it’s not something I would recommend to anyone.  When I didn’t cut I drank.  And sometimes I did both. Later, I found other ways to help release the pain when I am unable to focus enough for writing. Like painting (which I am horrendous at, but it’s relaxing).  I still occasional have an urge to hurt myself when I am extremely upset about something, but I think it’s been about three years since I actually did it.  I am very proud of that.  I am also very aware that those three years could go down the drain in a matter of seconds if my need for relief becomes too strong.  As much as I normally hate pain, it has such an appeal when my emotional turmoil is so high. It’s the ultimate distraction from what is going on inside my head, and add in the release of endorphins: voila! A messy bliss, though for me it was always accompanied by a horrible shame for what I had done, and then disgust (I have an aversion to the sight of blood). For anyone who has never had the urge to self-harm it may sound like the weirdest thing ever, but for those who do struggle with it, it feels like the only way to get that monster out. 

Branching Out

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know my content is as versatile as my moods.  I’ve always been a self-starter and perpetual student. I like learning about new things and this has proven beneficial to me after my bipolar diagnosis. I’m coming up with a sound strategy for handling my therapy, treatment and just every day life in general.

Part of this involves reaching out, once again, to the blogosphere to find support. There are currently no group therapy sessions available in my area but I love to hear from other people and how they are handling their diagnosis and every day life with bipolar. From what meds worked for them to the benefits of exercise, any input I hear/receive is beneficial to me. So I have looked into other blogs that detail life with bipolar. I’m super happy to report that I came across The Bipolar Blogger Network, full of amazing blogs written by people in all walks of life who live with Bipolar Disorder. It’s extremely encouraging to read some of the posts, others are definitely less cheery. But there is definitely a sense of community, a sense of belonging and no stigma or judgement.

I’m excited to become a part of the BBN as a blogger. I encourage anyone who has questions about bipolar or mental illness to check out http://www.bipolarbloggernetwork.com or DBSAlliance.org. DBSAlliance is also running a campaign called the Say It Forward Campaign through social media. The goal of the campaign is to help reduce stigma so that people suffering from symptoms or already diagnosed do not fear seeking out treatment. I’ve already tweeted a few messages associated with the Say It Forward Campaign, but they definitely have some interesting, easy-to-digest facts regarding mental illness and treatment.

I’m bound and determined to not let this diagnosis get the better of me. I’m using it to do something positive and hopefully positively impact the lives of others. I hope you’ll join me in supporting people with mental illness and reducing/eliminating stigma.

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Filed under: Blog Stuff, Self Discovery Tagged: bipolar, blog network, Mental Health, stigma, support, wellness

School

No posts from me so far this week and that frustrates me.  As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m currently following the advice of my pdoc and am taking only one course this fall.  I was angry at him and myself.  It turns out it was a good decision.  I’m taking English 101 and I’m having a difficult time balancing my school work with every day tasks and giving myself some free time.

In addition to regular schoolwork, I’m working on the 1st of 4 essays we’re doing.  I’m a bit more freaked out about it.  If I’m struggling to balance everything right now, how am I going to be able to handle going full time?  I’m frustrated and frightened about the idea.

One big concern I’m having is regarding my free time.  Basically, my hobby is reading and writing blogs.  I’ve been unable to do either this week.  Is this going to be the norm?  I hope not.  The last time I abandoned this blog was by my own choice.  I’d hate to have it forced upon me.  We’ll see what happens over the upcoming weeks.  Overall, I’m fairly confident that I’ll be able to continue, but there’s that spot in my brain that thrives on me worrying and it’s speaking loudly this week.

Love

Sometimes I feel like I'm destined to live the rest of my life on my own. I'm not talking about having friends. I'm not talking about casual relationships and I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about having a partner, someone to share myself and my life fully with. Someone who loves me for me and who can see beyond my illness. I sometimes feel like having Bipolar has damaged me beyond repair and that no one will ever want me as I am. I don't know that I will ever be good enough for anyone to truly love. I don't know that it would be fair to put someone through all the shit that happens in my life because of my Bipolar. Would it be fair to subject someone to such intense mood swings? I know when I'm high I'm pretty affectionate and pretty full on. I want company and I want physical contact. On the flip side, when I'm depressed, there are times when physical contact repulses me and I just want to be alone. I don't know how to deal with what I'm feeling a lot of the time so how on earth is anyone else going to deal with it? 
I thought I'd found my soulmate in my ex husband. I thought I'd found the love of my life. If he couldn't put up with my moods then I'm not sure anyone else ever will. He told me that the hardest part of our relationship was the uncertainty. Not knowing what he'd come home to. He also said that was the most exciting part. Would I be sprawled naked across the kitchen table or would I be sobbing like a child in the corner? Would I be jumping up and down with excitement because he was home or would I completely blank him?
 I have fallen in love so many times....probably too often and too easily. Each time it's a different kind of love. It's very real at the time and it really does mean something. I'm sure it is possible to love more than one person in a lifetime, or even at the same time, it's the intensity of it that changes. I can say that every time I've fallen in love I really meant it. I've lived it and breathed it and felt it but it's never been the same as with my ex husband.
Love is a bit like sex I suppose, it can mean whatever you want it to mean.
People use the word love lightly.
People use the word love to get what they want...I'm sure I have.
The words "I love you" have so much power and yet that's all they are...words. Words don't really mean shit without actions.
If you love someone unconditionally then I believe it really is there forever. I don't think you can fall out of love. If you say you hate someone you loved then you probably never loved them at all. I hate what my ex husband did but I don't hate him.
I'm sure there are thousands of couples that stay together, not through love but because they fear being on their own. At times I do fear being on my own. I long to have someone to share my life with and I know I have so much to give but I really can't see it happening. Equally I fear being with someone all the time. I think I'd rather be on my own than risk failing again and I rather be single than just make do.



Right after work and at night..

I am my MOST anger-est!! (THAT’S A WORD NOW!)

I have noticed that right when I get home, and right before bed, is when I pick fights, get mad for no reason, am restless, and rude. I don’t know why, but my brain clicks into I-HATE-YOU-DON’T-TOUCH-TALK-TO-ME mode. I feel liek a shit when I lash out at my husband. 

EXAMPLE TIME!: Last night, we watched ‘This is the End’. A really funny movie! Well I was feeling great until I hit the bed, and he tried to cuddle with me. I instantly got mad for no reason. So, I told him that today, at the strike of midnight, that it was 5 day of NO SMOKING! He didn’t give me a answer I liked, and I blew up. I told him that he never supported what I was trying to do, and that I always have to support myself (which is kind of true…), but I made such a big deal about it. 5 days is a accomplish for ME, not him.

UGH!, I don’t know why I feel so ANGRY at these times. I even sometimes feel angry upon waking up, for no reason. I blow up at my cat because he is scratching himself. SCRATCHING! What is going on? Is this BIPOLAR? or do I have an ANGER issue…still…underneath it all. 

 

Anger is my middle FUCKING name!


Untreated mental illness an imminent danger?

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50156091n

HELLO AMERICA! WAKE UP!! This is happening all over your country, and our world. The question now is: what are we going to do about it?


How Do I Pick My Reading Material?

Well, I guess I’m just an old fuddy-duddy when it comes to “what to read.”  I love classics:  Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Hawthorne, Tennessee Williams, and jeekers crow, I just read Gulliver’s Travels in two days!  That was trippy.  Now I’m reading Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley.  Hemingway is also good.

I have to read anything that has to do with traveling for the sake of adventure.  Tolkien’s masterpiece story cycle, of course, which I think I have gobbled up at least five times; Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer), Into the Woods (Bill Bryson), and (drum roll) my own memoir-in-progress, A Runaway Life (you can read snippets here).

Sometimes I pick by genre, and seek out books that call out to me by browsing Amazon.

Sometimes I do the radical thing, and actually go to a traditional brick-and-mortar bookstore, if I happen to be “in town,” which is an hour-and-a-half from the town in which I live when I’m in America.  Here in Jerusalem, there are several cozy coffee houses sporting floor-to-ceiling book stacks.  You are welcome to browse, pick, sit, and read over your cuppa as long as you like, in the big overstuffed chairs each with its own floor lamp.  Yum.

Sometimes I’ll be at my parents’ house, where NPR is permanently blasting (they are hard of hearing) and Diane Rehm or Terry Gross will be interviewing some lucky author. If it speaks to me I’ll instantly grab my laptop and order that book.  Thus came The Help, The Life of Pi, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, and others TNTC (Too Numerous To Count.)

Then there’s the genre of books about mental illness.  This is a mental illness blog, after all. I’m not so keen on books about the scientific aspect, since that is readily available on the Web.  I like experiential memoirs, like Get Me Out Of Here by Rachel Reiland.  It’s the story of a young woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who, by means of hard work, an incredibly understanding husband, and a lot of money, managed to struggle her way out of the labyrinthine clutches of a very difficult illness.  I don’t have PBD, but the story of her getting the upper hand on her illness inspires me.

Likewise, Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures has been an immense help to me in understanding Asperger Syndrome, which I do have.

And finally, the most dear to my hear: the books that people give me out of love.  Precious Bane, by Mary Webb, is a virtually unknown gem by a virtually unknown author.  Mary Webb (1881-1927) lived and wrote in the Lake District of England.  Her love of nature and highly descriptive prose is nothing less than magical.  I now own all of her books.  Some are more to my taste than others, and Precious Bane is the pearl of them all, in my literary opinion.  If you haven’t read it, please do.  My copy, given to me by a special friend, is dated 1929; but you can download yours on Amazon!

My reading habits in the Blogosphere are mostly shaped by the wonderful mental health blogging community, of which I am privileged to be a part.  Many of the bloggers I read have become dear friends.  We share our deepest emotional experiences here, and we have created a totally safe and supportive network.  For many of us, our blogging community has become our lifeline and some of us feel that it is a very effective form of group therapy, sometimes even more effective than “live” group therapy because the level of trust in the mental health blogging community seems to be higher, and it’s possible to choose one’s “group” rather than being assigned to a random cohort.

I read about five blogs regularly, and a few more when they happen to come across my radar screen in comments.  Then I’ll cruise over to their blog and check them out, maybe leave a comment, and if I like what they’re up to, I’ll subscribe and follow them in my Reader.

So, my fellow Bloggies, how do you pick your reading material?  Can’t wait to hear!


America’s Issue with Mental Health & How We Can Fix It


In America, mental health issues often carry a negative stigma that can interfere with a person’s ability to seek out and receive the appropriate treatment. Although many people view mental health issues as an individual problem, the unfortunate truth is that mental health conditions impact all of society. From the workplace to social relationships, the consequences can be dire when a person is unable to treat their mental health condition. While there is no easy answer, there are several things that can be done to fix mental health issues in America through a combination of understanding, education and financial support that will ensure everyone has access to mental health services.


Mental Health Issues in the Headlines


Recent headlines have demonstrated the serious consequences that can occur when individuals are left to cope alone with untreated mental illness. As more information comes available regarding the recent tragedy of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, it has been discovered that the shooter, Aaron Alexis, had a long history of untreated mental illness. This included serious symptoms such as paranoia, insomnia and hearing voices. Tragically, his mental health condition led to him taking the lives of many other people who had no idea of the hostility that was brewing. While there is no excuse for his actions, knowing that Alexis struggled with violent thoughts and hallucinations can explain his lack of self-control.

Reasons Why People Forgo Treatment


Sadly, many people decide to forgo treatment even when they suspect they have a mental health disorder. This can be due to one or a combination of reasons. In addition to concern regarding the negative view of society that pervades discussions of mental illness, many people who struggle to cope with a mental health condition cannot afford to seek treatment or follow up on filling their medicine prescriptions. According to a study conducted in 2011 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, being unable to afford the cost of treatment was the primary reason why people left their mental health condition unchecked.
Being financially unable to seek treatment may seem as though it is a problem only associated with the very poor; however, the issue of affordability goes much deeper than one’s bank account. The study also showed that those who did have insurance still could not always afford their treatment, and some people also struggled with finding a provider within their network. To compound the issue, many people with mental health issues on their medical record have found it virtually impossible to be accepted for a health insurance plan.

How the Affordable Care Act Plays a Role


After decades of negativity surrounding mental health treatment, it is finally becoming a recognized public health issue that is being addressed by federal, state and local levels of government and community involvement. One of the main ways that access to mental health services is being addressed is through the Affordable Care Act. Currently, health insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny a person a policy based upon pre-existing conditions. Additionally, 2014 heralds the beginning of an era when health insurance companies must also pay for mental health services.
As the nation moves forward toward a new beginning where health care coverage will be more accessible to everyone, it is important to stop the debate regarding the negative connotations of the plan. Instead, it is important to recognize the benefits that come with treating some of the most vulnerable members of the population who may be struggling with a mental health condition that with treatment, can be overcome so they can be a positive contributor to society as well as their families.



Derek is currently blogging for Aligned Signs, a site that helps connect like minded people by using astrology, psychology, and personality tests. When he is not blogging, he enjoys relaxing with his girlfriend and catching up on their favorite movies.