Daily Archives: January 13, 2014

Blog for Mental Health 2014

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I’ve been meaning to write a post about what Bipolar Disorder has meant for my life. And here comes a situation wherein I’m asked to do just that in order to qualify for putting this badge on my site and being a part of the 2014 Mental Health Blogroll. Here are the words of the Founder of this project:

“I pledge my commitment to the 2014 Blog for Mental Health Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

I couldn’t agree more. I think that everything I write in Naked Nerves is about mental health in one way or another. That’s my perspective at any rate. It all comes down to your mind and how you treat it and to your interactions with others and how you deal with them when you have a mental illness. And how you stay healthy with one and don’t fall off the edge of the earth as it’s so easy to do.

A bit about my story. I wasn’t diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder until I was 45 years old. That’s pretty old for this disorder and all I can say is that I just plain didn’t get caught any sooner because I lived below the radar by living such an alternative lifestyle my whole life. I used different paradigms for my ways of being. I was just a hyper guy with some mood swings. No big deal eh? Wrong!

I’ve always been an alternative type and I never even knew what Bipolar was until shortly before I was diagnosed with it. But ignorance is no excuse and it’ll get you anyway. My mom gave me a book on depression and in it were stories of folks with Manic Depression. I recognized myself much better in those stories, so I went to a psychiatrist and said I think I’m bipolar. Am I? And he said, You Bet You Are!!!

At the time I was running a non profit educational center I’d started back in 1990 and I worked pretty hard at it. In fact I totally burned myself out doing it. I was grandiose in my Vision of what I’d created and I worked my ass off to make it happen. I overdid it and didn’t have enough help and it nearly killed me. Pretty classic I guess, for this disorder anyway…

I reached the point where I had such a severe mixed state episode that I lost it completely and had a mental/physical/spiritual/emotional breakdown that changed my life forever. I haven’t worked since and doubt I ever will since I’m now 63 years old and still too unstable for the job market. This cycle has happened to me Many times in my work life and it’s affected my career thru that my entire life.

Even tho I was 45 when I was diagnosed with BP, I was treated for depression when I was 29 and tried to kill myself in the process of coming out and dealing with identity issues and just felt too crazy and horrible about myself to live. Fortunately I survived that attempt and I’ve never tried it again, tho I want to often still.

But I have responsibilities to people and I can’t leave my lover, friends and family. I have to stay alive now, but it’s hard sometimes. I don’t care about myself then and wish I could just die, but it’s the love of others and my caring for them that keeps me here. I”m so lucky to have people to love and to love me. It keeps me alive.

I figure I’ve had this illness since I was a little kid. I can remember many rages and mood swings as early as then. I was a handful as a child and my parents didn’t know how to deal with me much of the time. I wasn’t a bad kid, just supper hyper and always changing in my moods and behaviors. I embodied the forms of bipolar even then before I knew it and it’s affected how I’ve lived forever.

I don’t mean it’s been the cause I’ve been the way I have been for my life. But I do recognize that it has had as big an impact on me as just about anything in my world ever has done. It’s allowed me to create so much in the world in the way of my work and cool things for my community. I did that when I was hypomanic and I’ve been that way most of my life so I got a lot done.

But I also had the crashes that came after my super creative days. I’ve fallen into the Pit so many times I can’t count them. But I always come back out again and that’s the main thing I try to remember about this disease. It always changes and if I feel like dying one day I can count on the fact that one day soon I’ll feel alright again and go on with my life. Knowing this can save me if I let it in.

I have to save myself. No one else will. I constantly work on my issues and my awareness of being bipolar and what it means for my life. I have to live Very Consciously and take good care of myself in all ways – diet, rest, people I hang out with, things I choose to spend my time doing and all the rest.

It takes a lot of concentration to do this and that comes and goes but my will is strong and I have excellent help from my partner, counselor and psychiatrist and other healers so I’m lucky and grateful for their help. I still cycle every day and some days I fall so deeply into depression that I just can’t believe it. In so many ways I’m a model of recovery, but in others I’m still a basket case.

But you wouldn’t know it to meet me. I seem fine, a curse in itself in some ways. Looking like you’re not ill and yet being ill is challenging and why I started this blog in fact. To write about what it’s like. Mental Health issues are about as Invisible as you can get, unless you’re in a super bad state of course. But usually you can’t see it and that’s a problem. It needs to be more Visible.

The folks who started this Mental Health Project seem to feel the same way I do as far as talking about it and how so much is connected to our mental health. You can read more about their project here: http://acanvasoftheminds.com/2014/01/07/blog-for-mental-health-2014/. I feel a connection with these folks because of our similar views and my support of what they’re trying to do in making the invisible more visible.

As they say, mental health is Everyone’s issue, not just those of us who have a mental illness. So please do check out their site and learn some more about this cool project that has been going on for a couple of years now. I think it’s great and I hope you’ll consider putting their badge on your site too if you feel the way I do about it.

Education is our salvation if we want to lead whole lives and be accepted in our societies. I’m trying to help others by blogging here, and to help myself too. I always feel better after I write a good post, not to say they’re all good…. but I try. So remember that we all have mental health concerns and it’s important to acknowledge them and come out about them. We’ll change the world if we do….

Blogging for Mental Health in 2104 and beyond!

Steve


Filed under: Bipolar, Depression, Illness, Mental Health, Rapid Cycling, Social Change, Stigma Tagged: Bipolar, Coming Out, Invisible Illness, mental-health, Stigma

Refocusing

“Man starts over again every day, in spite of all he knows, against all he knows.” -Emil Cioran 
I’m two weeks into the new year, and I am already losing focus on the things I had planned for 2014. As I have stated before, I am not usually into the resolution thing, but I did set a few goals for myself, which were:

1.) Deactivate Facebook for the year (mainly so I would have less distractions, but also because there were some things I was seeing on a daily basis that were really bumming me out)

2.) Finish book revisions on one of my four books (I actually ended up ditching the memoir concept and am rewriting the whole thing in another light…it came to me in a dream, yada yada don’t judge my process)

3.) Do some type of exercise every day (nothing brutal, just something besides light housework and chasing after a toddler, which I have actually gotten pretty good at doing from the comfort of my chair)

I have made good on my vow to deactivate Facebook for the year.  I have made a quick stop-in on the site twice, but that was to retrieve something from my private messages that I had forgotten to save elsewhere.  While I miss the people I socialized with on there (some of them, anyway) I don’t miss the other stuff. 

My book work was strong the first week, but I am already slipping, and I know it is because I am, once again, doubting myself.  I know what I want to write about, what I need to write about, but I am fearful of the consequences.  You know, the point where someone besides me might read it.  But, I must refocus on the project and not the outcome.  Tell that inner critic to go jump down a mine shaft and work furiously until she climbs back out.  I am determined to not let her win this year. I can’t spend another year in failure where this is concerned.  And no, I am not even worried about prospect of publishing; I just want to have a complete book that surpasses the crappy rough draft.  I have four of those.  I just want ONE COMPLETED BOOK! 

I also fell off the wagon when it comes to exercise after one day. Yes, one day.  Actually, to be perfectly honest, I did not even make it all the way through the whole workout that first day.  During the part where I was on the floor doing leg exercises I just kind of…stayed there for a while, and then I got up and forgot about the rest of the workout.  Shameful, I know. But at least I’m honest.  

I have a pattern in my life of starting and quitting things quite rapidly.  I get really sparked up about doing it, actually believe in myself, and then it’s like I purposely go out of my way to prevent myself from accomplishing it.  I know I’m not the only person who practices this type of self-sabotage. But I’m the only one I can actually change.  And that’s what this year is really supposed to be about.  Changing the way I have done things in the past, just for one year, to see if it makes a difference.  I know it will make a difference.  I just have to do it.  I still have 351 days to prove it. So, here I go…

Depression and Bipolar Alliance Public Service Announcement

The Depression and Bipolar Alliance (DBSA) aired this PSA a few years ago. It’s short and sweet and I liked it, so I decided to post it again.

The post Depression and Bipolar Alliance Public Service Announcement appeared first on Depression and Bipolar Disorder:.

Let’s HANGOUT on Google+

I really want to host a HANGOUT on Google+ to talk about Mental Health issues. I think it would be great to get together and chat about what can be done to improve ourselves, our laws, and just mental health awareness in general.

My google+ name is: OHTEMP

Add me, and lets start chatting :)


Shrink Assaulted: Reaction Is Surprising

I feel bad for the shrinks out there trying to help us, the mentally ill and unwell alike, get through this life in the most positive and productive way possible. Unfortunately for the shrink, the job is risky. This is a link to the accounts of an assaulted psych and the surprising result that followed. Please comment below if you think the shrink did the right thing.
http://www.clinicalpsychiatrynews.com/views/shrink-rap-news/blog/patient-assault-an-insiders-view/ca02f8d6868ea1f8c8a762174f178247.html

GRRRRRRRRRR

Bored with the conventionality of proper English, I have concocted some of my own terminology which few others understand. “Grrr” is an all encompassing expression of frustration and anger.

It’s been an uneventful day and still, I find myself down in the gutter, annoyed, flustered and a little pissed off. I am not even sure why. Same shit, different day.

Went out into the petri dish for stuff. Yet again, my brain went bonkers and the paranoia and panic set in and I had to rush home and take a xanax. It’s become more frequent, this adverse reaction to being out in public. It’s never been my thing, going out, I’m semi agoraphobic even at my best. But this level of paranoia and anxiety is definitely new.

Then my dad called talking about how he’s going to look at a property there in Bumfuck (population 200) where he lives and see if he can buy it cheap then me and Spook can come pay him to live there because “You need out of that place.” This put me further on edge. I seem to be the only person who doesn’t have a problem living where we do. In fact, aside from the bug  problem, I am pretty content here. I get my cats, the landlord has never once bothered me, and  I have lots of space. These are the things that matter to me, not location or who is impressed by my address.

I know my dad means well and is thinking of a “better” home for his granddaughter but I have made it clear a thousand times I cannot live in Bumfuck. It’s 7 miles out of town. I cannot do it. I grew up that way, miles away from civilization, and I won’t do it ever again. Not to mention, even if he cut me a break on rent, I’d still have to have trash and water and all that so it’d cost me more when you factor in the price of gas to come into civilzation. I pointed this out and of course rather than think I might have some logic and free will he decided I was being rude and rejecting his kindness. Bloody hell, don’t be nice to me. I’m 41 years old and I am fine where I am at, even if no one is impressed with my posh surroundings. Fuck y’all.

The mood started crashing after the trip out..and it’s gotten worse. Earlier, I felt okay, was looking forward to getting some housework done and writing tonight. Now tonight is here, my kid is asleep…and my head hurts, I am sleepy, I am tired, I am in a foul mental space…It’s gonna be all I can do to get into the shower.

I was hit by a good example of what depression feels like when trying to explain it to those who don’t know. Take a super long day where you’ve been awake 19,20 hours, for whatever reason, and you;ve run around so much your muscles ache and you have a migraine and an upset stomach and you drank too much caffeine so your hands are shaking and everything is a goddamn effort from hell. Even lifting your own feet feels like they are encased in concrete.

Welcome to depression.

Grrrrr.