Daily Archives: December 22, 2013

You’re Too Sensitive

How many of you have heard those words directed at you, from someone who is supposedly close to you?  A parent?  A sibling?  A Bestie?  A life partner?

I’ve heard that a lot from my immediate and extended family, and from lovers and friends too.  And all it means is that…”You need to grow a thicker skin,”  as my mother would say, when I sat crying over some stabbing remark from a school bully, or a school chum, or a teacher.

A thicker skin, so that their barbs would not penetrate my naked soul.

My excellent psychiatrist reminds me often: “Some people have sensitive stomachs.  Some people have sensitive lungs.  And some people have sensitive brains.”

For what is mental illness but an extra-sensitivity of the brain?

We perceive so sharply, we feel so deeply, that at times it drives us over the edge, becomes intolerable.  Sometimes we see things other people can’t see, hear things other people can’t hear.  Does this mean those things don’t exist?  Or are they scenes and voices of the Other Side of the Curtain that usually separates our present consciousness from what is, in some philosophies, said to be an alternative plane of existence that parallels ours.

Jewish oral tradition teaches that there are many such parallel universes, and that there is a thick curtain that divides our world from theirs.  On the other side of the curtain are angels, demons, creatures that we have no way of understanding.  If that curtain were to weaken so that human beings could perceive what was on the other side, we would instantly go mad, because our brains have no tools for integrating such phenomena, which are completely outside our human capacities.

What if a person’s brain was so sensitive that the curtain, for them, became thin, and they could perceive a tiny bit of what lies behind it?  What if, seeing that this person was so sensitive, beings from the other side were able to see him also?  A collision of worlds would ensue.  The deafening pounding on the Doors of Perception (Huxley) would be intolerable, and might cause what we call illness, madness, insanity.

Even in the absence of such a foray into the mystical, a sensitive brain will perceive subtle nuances that others will not even notice: a tone of voice, a disdainful glance, a rolling of the eyes, a certain walk and posture–all of these have meaning, but not all of us are aware.

Some of our brains are sensitive to the weather.  My mood changes if a cloud briefly covers the sun.  Some are bothered by the cold, others by heat.

Our sensitivity to our own feelings extends into the social realm, especially.  Some of us feel unstable and panicky when alone, and comforted in the bosom of friends and family.  Some are exactly the opposite.  For instance, the first thing I do when going to a club or restaurant when I’m with other people is to identify the rear exit, in case I need to make a quick escape.  I can deal with people one-on-one if they interest me, but if I find nothing to grab onto I will start feeling desperate to get away within a short time.  Likewise with parties, I have made a deal with myself that I will stay for one hour, no more, and sometimes less if the people are too loud for my brain, literally or figuratively.

Sensitive people are the pioneers, the innovators, because “out of the box” is our middle name.  We don’t have to force new ideas out of our brains.  Our brains teem with innovations, inventions, revelations of the intimate structure of existence.  Our main challenge is to put those new concepts into action, because our brains are not always gifted with marketing skills.  Some, like Steve Jobs, are brilliant promotors of their products: I believe one has to have a certain measure of grandiosity to take an idea out of its cradle and present it to the world in a package that is easily understood, a package that fills a void in some way.

For some of us, our extra-sensitivity is nothing but painful.  It is too invasive.  It disrupts every aspect of our lives.  We cannot function with it.  But neither can we get away from it, shed it like some extra (thin) skin, because we were born this way.  At best, we can learn to manage it, often with the aid of medicines and therapy.  At worst, it kills us.

If given a chance, would I give up my sensitivity?  No.  But I would modify it in the Jobs direction, except without the volatile and sometimes unpleasant temperament.  That might be too much to ask, but if given the chance, why not go all out?

Then, would people still say, “You’re too sensitive?”  I doubt it, because “success” makes other people smile and nod and want to get close to you.  The smell of success is sweet.

But if, like me, your sensitivity has been too much, and success in the accepted sense of the world has slipped away, then once again one is liable to hear the old refrain:

“You’re too sensitive.”


Huff Huff Wheeze

Hello folks, I live! Sort of! Still!

Okay so, I started coming back around after all the pregnancy nausea hoohah. I was dealing with brain fog and chronic fatigue, and that was annoying for any number of reasons. But then, THEN? I got slammed by a week of migraine and migraine-like headaches. A week. When I can’t take codeine. GAH. And it was even more annoying because it meant I couldn’t use my shiny gorgeous HD desktop monitor because it was a trigger and darn it, I wanted to play Sims. *grumps*

But thankfully, I DID start coming out of it, and along the way I was even able to return to work, AND deal with my backlog of emails! Hello new Network folks, I told you I’d try to get back on the ball. :D

I also felt that I should update on how things have been going since coming off of the Zoloft. I would deem it passable, but not ideal. I find that my mood is spiking into anger really easily (which I attribute to coming off of it in the first place), and that my threshold for stress has bottomed out again. I’m still feeling cushioned enough that I’m not overly worried, but pile a few stressors on me and all those pregnancy hormoes at the same time, and I’m liable to scream (and have once or twice, which did feel good… sort of). I still think that coming off of it was a good call for enabling me to have the pregnancy and labour that I want, and I can only hope that whichever psychiatrist I see next month will agree to continue on.

Yes, I said whichever. MY psych is retiring at the end of the month. We have a perfect understanding of why I want to come off my meds (the NHS won’t approve a home birth with stuff like Seroquel in the system due to the effects it can have on the fetus/baby), and that I have no intention of sneaking off of my meds — I want back on the second this kiddo is born. I’ve said it before, but in case any of y’all are new — hospitals push me into nervous breakdown territory in well under an hour due to the lights/noise/people/energy. Even doing a home birth, in my home, with only 3 other people present, I got to a point where I had to hit the gas and air HARD to tune them out. So yes — I’ve managed to well establish that I know what I want to do for the sake of my mental health and the health of my forthcoming progeny, and it does make me slightly weary and wary of maybe having to argue my case again.

Past that, just taking it easy and enjoying some gaming. We got an unexpected Christmas bonus, so I got a 2DS/Pokémon X bundle for £99 (no desire to ever have a 3DS, as I couldn’t use it), and my husband got himself a PS Vita. But yes, me and Pokémon… I think the husband is learning what it’s like to be my PokéWidow. *giggles* I’ve been addicted to the franchise since I first saw the cartoon in 1994, and he’s never had to see me before when I have the newest game in my hot little hands. I kid, of course — he’s happy that I have something that I enjoy so much, ’cause he’s a top-notch human being.

I hope that everyone out there is doing well, and is having a relaxing holiday season.

<3

The post Huff Huff Wheeze appeared first on The Scarlet B.

Something’s making me mad


I'm now wondering if I've done the right thing by stopping my tablets. I'm so fucking restless. I don't know what I want or need. I feel like I'm going to scream. I can't seem to concentrate. It's 3 o'clock in the afternoon and I've done sod all. I was going to do so much today. All I've done so far is wander from room to room not knowing where to start. My language is appalling. Good job I'm on my own. I've got presents to wrap and I can't bring myself to do it. The closer it's getting to Christmas the more wound up I feel. I keep telling myself it's just one day. Trouble is it's not just an ordinary day. I really wish I could just go to bed right now and wake up when it's all over. I'm not really liking people at the moment. I don't know why because everyone's being extra nice. Even that's upsetting me... people being nice.  I feel like I could actually punch someone. People are either gushingly happy and full of it or moaning when they really haven't got anything to moan about. People really are stupid....including me. It pisses me off. How can I go from feeling reasonably happy to feeling so cross in such a short space of time? I had a lovely time with a friend last night. Why am I so horrible and ungrateful today? Nothing changed in the night. It's not that I don't want to see anyone enjoying themselves. I don't know what it is. I'm trying not to spend too much time on my own because I know it makes things ten times worse. Too much time to think just  magnifies everything.
I'm going to have to be so careful that I don't upset anyone over the next few days. I'd never forgive myself.
I don't know if it's lack of medication or Christmas that's making me feel like this. I'm not going to take the tablets again. It's too soon to tell. I'll decide what to do in the new year.
I'll probably wake up tomorrow and be happy as anything again. I have a feeling I'm in for a bit of a roller coaster over the next few days.


Abysmal

I’ve been in the  barely functional grips of the depressive abyss for four days now. Everything is a bloody uphill battle. The anxiety and paranoia have chipped in to make it suck even more. It’s bad when I can’t even work up a good rant for this blog. I just feel like it’s all pointless, hopeless. And I know it’s the depression but it doesn’t change a thing.

I saw the shrink the other day. I had hope for this new one. I was wrong. She upped my Cymbalta (which for some reason isn’t do anything and yet last time it did wonders) and told me no matter how depressed I am I have to push myself and be high functioning. I’m sitting there telling her I’m pretty certain there’s no reason to live…And she says to push myself. Not helpful. If anything it was counterproductive. I ended up feeling like more of a loser because I AM pushing myself and it’s not doing any good.

Part of me thinks pushing myself is what landed me here. I didn’t take a breath after the donor left, I just focused on doing whatever had to be done for my kid, focused on doing what others expected me to do. I didn’t grieve the loss of my marriage. I didn’t come to terms with my illness. I went on auto pilot and spent 2 years pushing myself. And I pushed until I started to crumble and I pushed more and more…Until the illness pushed back and I shut down. Then a so called friend tried to drag me out of the abyss by telling me to push myself…and i tried to please them…and I went further down the rabbit hole.

Pushing myself has not proven healthy or successful.

My kid is testing my patience to a degree that makes me scared. She hits me and screams at me and gets in my face. She tried to stab me with an ink pen. I honestly fear her at times. She displays the hyper aggressive behavior I’ve seen in boys diagnosed with ADHD. I dont want to slap labels on her at four, but I am in over my head here as far as her behavior goes. It is ONLY for me. This is some sort of issue she has with me and for the life of me I don’t know what it is. I’ve done nothing but damn near kill myself trying to be a good mom and take care of her. I gotta be a really horrid person for my kid to hate me this much.

Then I remember she has my genetics and wonder if she’s bipolar junior. And then I get a glimpse at what it must be like for people in a relationship with me. I love you, I hate you, don’t leave me, get the fuck away from me..Up and down and all around. But if it were some sort of imbalance or disorder, it would happen with others. She reserves this side of herself for me and me alone. It wears me down. I have no recourse. I do every single thing suggested, what others do..To no avail. But she’s glued to me from morning to night, she seems to love me, I make her laugh…Its baffling. I am leaning toward counseling, thinking maybe this is related to her father walking out so abruptly and his continued absence.

I just feel like I am drowning. Drowning in responsibility, in emotion, in frustration, anxiety, mood swings, everything. The hellidays do not make it any better. It is going to be a slim Christmas. I am buying for no one but my kid and I haven’t bought a thing yet. Not a thing. I can’t handle the crowded stores. I am gonna do it, but it…It’s gonna be an ordeal.

I didn’t even get dressed today. We had an ice storm and I wasn’t going anywhere so I saw no point. And having been told to push myself, as if what I had accomplished in spite of my depression didnt count, has made me less inclined to fight the depression.

I hate being in the abyss, but it truly is a state of mind. People think moods are just these simple things to snap out of. Buy some pretty shoes, eat some ice cream, all better. It’s not that easy. This is like some drug induced state. It will lift when it lifts and not one second sooner no matter how hard you push or how many shoes you buy. It’s hard. It’s maddening. It’s also lonely to be surrounded by people who just don’t care because they lack the intelligence to get it.

For the first time ever my dad mentioned his grandma who died in an asylum. He asked if I thought maybe it was her genes that made my brother ADHD and my cousin autistic. DUH. He completely blew off the possibility anything is wrong with me. Sure, I’m on disability because all is hunky fuckin dory.

GRRRR.

I think being intelligent and having a mental illness is a curse. People mistake mental illness as being some sort of intelligence deficit. Therefore if you’re smart you can’t be ill. Ass trash.

Low. Low. Low.


Music That Touches The Soul

After many comments back and forth with fellow blogger, Traces of the Soul, about music that truly resonates with us, she posted The Eagles New Kid in Town which reminded me that my favorite Eagles song has always been Seven Bridges Road. It tends to be a fairly obscure and not often played track, So, […]

Going Within at Sun’s Return

4SEAS013

Today is the day. A few hours ago the Cycle moved a notch and the Wheel turned and we started to begin the slow journey back to the Light. It’s been a dark time lately for many of us and it still is I know. But there’s a change in the air and it’s affecting us all, deep in our bones, as we go about our daily routines.

It’ll be a few days til we can see this change with the Light, as the sun revolves and the days get longer each day. Each day we have a chance to make new choices and to let go of the things that have been holding us back from our true selves. I know for myself I have a lot to let go of still, even tho I try to do it all year around. Aligning ourselves with the energies of the Cycle can help us if we just plug into them.

Today is the tipping point as I think of it. It’s the day when the energies are all beginning their slow turn toward the summer when it’s all bright out and the sun shines every day. We have to be out with the world more and deal with all the things that we’ve been putting off during this dark time. Maybe we should let them go first, ya think?

It may be getting lighter each day but we’re still coping with the fallout of the past few months of going into that darkness and it hasn’t left us by any means. It’s still in our deepest beings and we have to let it work in us and flush out all the detritus that has gathered in our psyches over the fall and into the winter.

I follow a calendar that changes with the cross quarter days- Mayday starts the summer, August the beginning of autumn, Halloween the start of winter and February the start of spring. So the Equinoxes and Solstices are actually the middle of each season to me. It may sound strange but millions of people have used this calendar over the centuries and it still works today.

So tho we’re at the beginning of the return of the light we’re still in the middle of winter and it won’t end till early February. By then when the groundhog can see its shadow again, we know that spring is coming soon and then we really have to be strong to stand the changes of that new growth. It may start small but it’s a grand scheme and it gets far more intense.

That’s why it’s so important to deal with the dark things now when it’s still dark out and in our psyches. We can access these things more easily now because they occupy our minds with dark thoughts and difficult ideas. It’s the time when we have the energy to go deep within ourselves and see those places where we hold all our darkest desires and passions.

It takes a lot of courage to do this. And it’s not easy to do at all. These things have often been with us for a long time, decades in some cases, but we know it’s time to let them go and we better do it now while we have the energies of the universe on our sides. It’s easier to go into the dark when it’s already dark. You’re more accustomed to it, so to speak.

I know it sounds crazy to think of purposefully going into the dark parts of ourselves. But it’s the way it has to be if you want to get over those things that have been holding you back from living your life. From being yourself, or in my case, from accepting myself. Lack of acceptance is one of those things that live in the darkness if it’s denied. You have to acknowledge it.

There are many things that live in that darkness – lack of self worth, hopelessness, self-hatred, despair, depression and all the rest of the things we deal with in our lives as people with mental illness. It comes with the  territory and it shifts as the seasons do in turn. Sometimes it’s easier but now’s not one of those times. It’s hard now.

I’m not suggesting that we should do things that are too hard for us, but I am saying that we have more working to help us now if we take advantage of it and use it to clear out the crap. We’re in alignment with the dark in ourselves now and it comes out daily for many of us unfortunately. But when it does what do you do with it? Do you let it take over or do you try to befriend it?

Befriending our dark places is the first step in coming to terms with them. Letting them be as they are and not trying to make them out as something they’re not is the best way to neutralize them. It’s difficult to do and I have a hard time of it myself but when I can do it I make great strides in my development. I can change myself if I try and make peace with myself.

There’s a theory that if we want peace in the world we first have to make peace with ourselves. That’s what I’m talking about here. Making peace with our deepest fears and lack of confidence. It can free up so much energy to do this if you can let it happen. What it takes is not necessarily an active process. It’s more of an allowing that has to happen.

So now as we start the journey back into the light we have a chance to allow our false selves to dissipate into the ether of our consciousnesses. Just let it go and be at peace with yourself. Sounds so easy doesn’t it? It’s not but it’s the path we all have to take to get to the other side of despair and depression. It can work if you allow it to.

Just be gentle on yourself and look within and see what you can find. Maybe you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make peace with yourself and with the world as a result of it. This is called the Season of Peace by many and we can plug into that energy too. It’s all part of the Cycle and if we align to it we can make our lives more comfortable. Give it a try…

Happy Solstice to you and yours,

Steve


Filed under: Bipolar, Depression, Illness, Mental Health Tagged: Bipolar, Invisible Illness, mental-health, recurrent depression