Daily Archives: January 22, 2014
On Monday, we packed into the car and headed to Towson for a family therapy session. This was the first time all four of us were in the same room with a therapist. Here’s what everyone thought of it:
I enjoyed the family therapy session and was very relieved to see that Jenna’s therapist is a no-nonsense woman who is not afraid to be very direct. The main take-away for me was coming to peace with the fact that Jenna’s illnesses are hers to deal with. That’s not to say that the rest of us can’t be helpful and supportive, but it’s Jenna who needs to manage her own affairs. As much as we would like to remind her that she should put away her laundry/clean her room/study/get out of bed/wash some dishes, we can’t continue to do that. She’s an adult. She knows these things and must learn to summon the strength and resolve to just do them. Our interactions with Jenna should be positive — they should be on an adult level — and they should be enjoyable. We are here to help when she asks for help, but the rest is up to her.
I looked forward to our session as a family, and I was not disappointed. Having met Jenna’s therapist the week before (for a full briefing), I knew she would not let this meeting turn into something useless or way too emotional. I had hope we would have a positive experience together that would shed some light on how to help Jenna and help ourselves deal with Jenna. We were entertained by the therapist’s perception that children should start doing their own laundry when they can reach the knobs of the washing machine and dryer. I say ‘entertained’ because it made us all laugh. However, I think both kids got the message. I was encouraged by the message that it’s time for Jenna’s dad and me to enjoy ourselves a little bit after spending so much time and effort teaching life lessons. Most of all, I learned something for myself–I want to use better language to reflect what I WANT out of life. I have what I NEED. It sounds like a little thing, but I think it’s going to be one of those ‘ah-ha’ moments when I look back on learning this lesson.
Family therapy, for me, did not do much. Having said that, I don’t think it was a waste of time. Jenna’s therapist was very funny and personable, but she gave you the facts as they were, without any emotional cushion. The session was mainly between my parents and Jenna. I just sat awkwardly between Jenna and my mom, only speaking when prompted. I think it was a good experience for the three of them but a little unnecessary for me.
Before that session, my family and my therapist existed in two separate worlds. My therapist knows only what I’ve told her. She sees “Towson Jenna,” the college student trying to make her way as a writer while managing bipolar. To her, I must seem charming albeit troubled. I purposely arrange it that way. She does not know that after I make pasta I leave the pot in the sink, that I stay in bed all day too often, and that I can be generally unhelpful at home. Within the first five minutes, my dad made sure to shatter that illusion. My therapist now knows that I can be messy and selfish at home. Although this almost had me in tears, it felt good to know she was finally seeing the whole picture. It reminded me of my time going to church and being told how kind, sweet, and angelic I was. Then I would go home, scream at my parents, fight with my brother, and refuse to do my chores. I always felt like I was tricking my friends at church. It bred more shame and angst. Now that my therapist knows the whole story, I feel more accountable. Hearing how important it was to my parents that I help out at home finally resonated with me. Making messes and being unhelpful is disrespectful. I need to change my behavior to create a healthier home environment for all of us. This is not a bipolar issue, this is general human decency issue. I am not five years old anymore. I know how to do my chores, and I should be doing them without being told. I found this therapy experience to be valuable. I hope we can do it again sometime.
So that sums up our family therapy experience! Have you ever had family therapy? How did it go?
If there’s one thing that bipolar has taught me, it’s to NEVER make predictions…
I wrote the following passage in my journal back in 2009. Though it’s a little bleak in attitude, I think fellow rapid cyclers may be able to relate…
Why make decisions, when my mind will change with my next breath? The sun pops into existence, shining brightly, too brightly to feel like a sun at all. Its artificial spotlight catches the sight of my brain parade as it shoots across the stars and scatters. Suddenly it is night, and the blackest shade of black cannot elude the emptiness that grips my inner being. The thickness of it chokes my lungs, the carelessness of it rips out all feeling apart from grief. Because the loss of feeling is a grief, a longing for things lost, an absence of purpose. It is a separation from self, a growing disbelief that the self ever existed at all.
I close my eyes and open them, and again the sun blinds me, burns me. Along with it rushes a disturbing wind of thoughts and ideas. The grand illusion of it all! I feel on top, running along at inhuman speed, when the reality of the matter is I am free falling off the edge, oblivious to everything real and solid.
Why trust my mind, when my mind controls me? It is apart from me, a bullet flying madly through the air toward me. It creates me, destroys me, and though I am linked to it in scarring patterns, my mind and I remain strangers. We are wildly grasping at straws in effort to become one. We are two objects chasing after one another like a dog chasing its tail, only it is impossible to tell who is the head and who is the tail. Instead of working together in a constructive coexistence, we attack each other. A black eye here, a broken bone there. We are at war on uneven grounds.
The sun comes. The night comes. Quickly, quickly! The constant spinning, the constant tug of war. It exhausts us both. We fall silent, wounded, against the contrasts of unruly bliss and derailing misery.
When are you going to wake up world, and realize, the enemy is in our minds.
Want to ensure you don’t miss any articles? Sign up for our email notifications. Just type in your email address in the box labeled “Subscribe via Email,” which is located
To Kiss the Rain.Filed under: Bipolar Disorder
I will start with the words of the founder of this project: “I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 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 […]
Yeah, that’s the deepest thought I can come up with at the moment.
I went to bed at a decent time last night, even took a Trazadone. The brain decided to go hyper and dredge up every anxiety inducing thought possible so I was awake til almost two. So when the alarm went off…I slept through six snoozes and it shut itself off. I leapt up at nine, not with joy, but because I was late calling my sick kid into school, plus I had to get her in with her doctor and oh yeah, the trash truck is outside so lemme go out in jammies freezing my ass off to do that real quick because my loser ass can’t drag itself out of bed.
That was how my day started.
But automaton mommy got it all done. My kid has a dual ear infection. Explains a lot, except for why she complained about everything hurting including her pancreas but never said a word about the ears.
There is this misconception that up and functional is the same as not being depressed. That level of ignorance cracks me up. Yeah, I functioned, but it was automated. Built into the operating system. And while at the dr office I started getting nauseous and some lady was talking to my kid and my paranoid kicked in and told me the woman was too friendly and probably a kidnapping loony fish. Logically, I know I am being ridiculous. I hope. But the reality is, shit does happen and being a little wary isn’t unwise.
I functioned, but I was just…ill at ease. I love my kid and I want her to be healthy, but there was just no more feeling to the whole outing other than “do the mom thing”, And it’s like that with everything, even things I enjoy, not just things that cause me anxiety or whatever. I’m functioning and yet, the whole time, it;’s akin to a damn treadmill. Going nowhere. No real joy. Just…automated.
And I want it to end NOW. I hate feeling this way. And it’s honestly been a long time since I;ve had such a bad depression and ne that lasted this long. When you can’t come up with one thing to look forward to because nothing makes you nfeel happy…it’s not a great place to exist in.
I want to be happy. I want to have hope and joy. I want to think of the future with anticipation.
Famous last words of a depressive. Just like I told my shrink when she asked if I’m suicidal. I don’t have the energy to kill myself. That’;d require caring.,
No video today. Sore throat, sore back, and lukewarm tea is all I have going on here.
I don't really have much to say apart from the fact that it saddens me when I am reminded how other people are suffering too, from depression, crippling anxiety, suicidal ideation...
I spent most of the afternoon sleeping, as I was knocked out by some Seroquel.
I think what's kept me alive for the past week or so is a "game" called SuperBetter. Here is a bit more about it. It was created by a woman that was suicidal, to save her own life. It got me back on the treadmill, feeling better about little things that are a big job to me like getting dressed, exercising, taking a shower, etc, though I'm still a shut-in. I recommend it, to at least try it. I was suicidal when I started, and now I'm not. I'm not thrilled about life, but I feel like I have accomplished some little things towards my goal of "not wanting to shoot myself in the head and live and be happy".
Tomorrow I have to go to the psychologist, which I'm not looking forward to, but I'm almost looking forward to leaving his office and going home alone on the bus with my ipod and sunglasses, my head empty of the emotional dump I will have taken on the guy. Emotional dump and run, and the green tea is free. Well, included in the price that Medicare Part B doesn't pay. I will feel alone, but alone and free. My husband will be sitting around at home. He's been laid off from work.
I already miss being alone during the day, no matter how isolated I feel sometimes, at least I can do it privately. That means, of course, that I feel alone when my husband is around. Yeah, shitty marriage. Don't want to go there now. "Supenatural" is on.
My sleep sucks ass, but at least for the first few hours, I'm good. I spray perfume in my hair before I go to bed for my own kind of "aromatherapy". I get to sleep even faster with that, though I do take 600mgs of Seroquel. Whatever works, right?
What do you do when the pill that is showing you a glimpse of stability is also impairing you with crippling nausea each night? What do you do when the doctor says it’s your choice to stay on the medication or not?
It’s getting close to midnight, and I’d much rather be in bed right now. Instead, I’m in the kitchen, trying to distract myself so that I don’t get sick, cursing Latuda. I’ve put up with side effects before: tiredness from lithium, acne from Lamictal, weight gain from Risperdal. But this is the first time that I’ve questioned whether the negatives outweigh the positives. I’ve stayed in bed awake for hours, trying to think calm thoughts to soothe my stomach. I’ve also been on my knees in the bathroom, throwing up. Some nights I’m able to fall asleep before the nausea sets in, but usually I don’t escape so easily.
If this were any other medication, I would be off it by now. No question. The one reason I keep taking the little white pill each night? It’s working. I haven’t hit a lowest low since I’ve started taking it, and that is a huge improvement for me. I’ve been fairly stable for the past couple weeks. I’m not ready to give that up.
Do any of you have advice for dealing with nausea? I’m taking the pill with food (more than 300 calories as directed by my doctor) and plenty of water. My dad says I should try one of those bracelets. Do those actually work?