Daily Archives: February 8, 2014

The Shauny Award

shaunya

I’m very proud to say that Naked Nerves has been nominated for the Shauny Award by Jane Adams at “Jane Adams Art: an illustrated journal of eastern and western wisdom”. Jane’s blog is full of her beautiful artwork and images that encompass work from many years of her life. Her writing is as profound as her images and I always find something different and educational to read and see when I come to her blog. She has a deep sense of the wisdom of the planet and shares it in ways that are meaningful and accessible to each of us. I am continually amazed at the beauty she shows us in her work and her deep appreciation of life and all its mysteries. She’s a self described seer and lover of the wisdom of the ages in many diverse ways. You can find her blog at: http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/ and I sincerely hope you’ll take some time to stop by and read what she has to say. I guarantee you’ll be as amazed as I am at the wonder she infuses into her work and how profound her understandings of esoteric teachings are, and how they can apply to real life every day. I learn new things every time I visit her and that’s very cool to me. She’s also a very kind person and has befriended me in a generous way and for that I’m truly grateful. Thank you Jane for offering me this award and for being such a knowledgeable, resourceful and friendly presence in the blogoshpere. Your work has deep roots and you exemplify the excellence this award is all about with your writing and artwork. It’s a privilege to know you….

This award is a relatively new one, and is given for Blogging Excellence, something that Jane does admirably and well.  It’s named after Shaun Gibson, a lad from Scotland who has offered us a unique set of “rules ” for this award. In essence the award says to:

“Show humanity, show love, be yourself,

don’t be others, don’t gossip

and then share with 10 others”

I do try to embody the tenets of this award in my life and work on Naked Nerves and elsewhere, and will continue to do my best to honor the spirit of this award in my life. These rules are just simple common sense to me and are so ingrained in my thinking that it’s not a hard thing for me to do at all. I’m sure the folks here on WordPress would agree with them and their aim – to create a better world. Shaun blogs about how that might happen on his site at: http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/ and I encourage you to check it out to see what he writes about there. Tho the rules may seem simple I think Shaun has hit on a profound recipe for kindness and love in this harsh world we live in. He’s a gentle soul and cares deeply for the state of the world as you can see in his writings. The rules may sound simple but they’re very deep in their wisdom. Thank you Shaun….

While I’ll follow the rest of the rules for this award I’m not going to nominate anyone for this just now. I’ve just gotten too many awards recently and have given them to others too frequently to feel comfortable in giving more of them out just now. Maybe some later day I’ll be able to nominate 10 people but for now I will just thank everyone who has come to this blog to read it and listen to my words and who has found some bit of help here, I hope. I know it helps me to write about the things I do here and I hope others appreciate it too. It’s not everywhere you can read about such things as bipolar illness, chronic pain and disability, and all the other invisible illnesses and mental health issues I  live with in one place. I’m grateful for this platform to be able to write from and for the acknowledgement of its good work. Work like this can change the world if we take it all in. I need to be honest about it and say I’ll just have to do the nominations later and respect the award in my own way. I’m truly honored to receive this and will do my best to play it forward when I can. Thank you again Jane…

Peace and Love to all of you who stop by to visit me here,

Steve


Filed under: Awards, Bipolar, Illness, Mental Health, Relationships, Social Change Tagged: Awards, Bipolar, chronic intractable pain, Coming Out, Invisible Illness, mental-health

The Things We Do For Love

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was driving home from work when I slid on a patch of black ice and lost control of the car. Although I didn’t wreck it, the out-of-control feeling I felt as it spun sickeningly was so terrifying, I decided on the spot that I would never again drive in freezing conditions.

Two decades later, I have long since gotten used to the idea that I have obligations that necessitate my driving in snow and ice. When I was a working nurse, I HAD to be there for the patients; staying at home cowering under blankets was simply not an option. There were times I had to stay overnight at the hospital, but as long as there was coffee, a bed, and access to a TV, it wasn’t so bad.

So why I didn’t stay safe at my son’s house the other day rather than try to get home in the middle of the worst snowstorm in 25 years, I don’t know. I don’t even know why I went to work in the first place; it was already snowing at my house, and I should have known that blowing snow is NEVER a good sign. I almost turned back…..and then when I got to work, there was no snow whatsoever, so I laughed at myself for my wimpiness and set about my business.

My son called around 9 AM to report that the snow was getting bad down my way and there’d been a massive 30+ car pileup on the southbound freeway, just a couple of miles outside my town. You see, people in my part of the country are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals when it comes to driving in snow, and we know it…..but we never learn, even though snow isn’t unheard of in this neck of the woods. We go around corners too fast and have the nerve to be surprised when we wind up in a ditch. We buy tire chains and then leave them in the garage at home. And we pretty much shut everything down when there’s more than a few inches on the ground.

Yet I stayed at work till around noon, when the administrative assistant saw me and asked why I hadn’t stayed home. Apparently the freeway had one lane open, and she urged me to leave while I still had a chance. There was still very little snow at the office, but the clouds were ominous and I certainly didn’t want to be out there after dark, so I decided to make a run for it. I had food, water, extra clothing, blankets, and even a day’s worth of meds in the car along with the emergency kit; what could go wrong?

I never really even debated staying with my son, even though I certainly could have. Will and I had gotten some not-so-good news from his oncologist over the phone that morning, and all I could think of was getting home to him. I needed to hold him and be held by him; and I knew that if I didn’t make it home that day, I’d have to spend the entire weekend at Ethan’s because it was only supposed to get worse. So off into the storm I went, even though I was afraid of what I might find in the middle of it.

I had only gotten about five miles from the office when the snow hit hard, quickly covering the freeway, and traffic began to get backed up. To their credit, other drivers were keeping a respectful distance from one another and going slowly (when we were moving at all, that is). At one point, we didn’t go anywhere for 45 minutes, and I began to wish I’d turned back at the last exit and gone to my son’s after all. The snow was falling faster and faster, and the possibility of spending the night out in the elements if we couldn’t get moving on that road scared me. I had supplies, to be sure, but what if I needed to pee?

It took five hours to drive 30 miles. By the time I reached the outskirts of town, there were several inches of snow on the freeway and cars were sliding everywhere despite the fact that we weren’t going any faster than 10 MPH. I’d been doing OK throughout most of the trip, thinking about Will and how badly I wanted to be home with him, but now I was starting to get really, really scared that I wasn’t going to make it unscathed. Cars were going off the road, and I wasn’t really in good control of my own, especially on corners where the snow was deeper. But damned if I was going to let a couple more miles of frozen precipitation keep me from my hubby’s side.

Finally I got to the steep hill that leads up to my house, and I leaned forward and gripped the steering wheel as I pushed gently on the accelerator. And the phrase from the Little Engine That Could was cycling endlessly through my mind: IthinkIcanIthinkIcanIKNOWIcan.

And I made it, up the hill and then down the sloping driveway to where Will was waiting, and the bear hug I got when I disembarked with wobbly knees was well worth the harrowing journey. Now I’m really glad I was able to get here, because we’ve been snowbound for two days and tomorrow’s not looking too good either. But at least we’re here together…..and every moment counts.

 

 


Post Treadmill Cool Down


I read my last post the other day and decided, its title was perfect. It was trash. It made absolutely no sense at all. The rantings of a crazy broad running in circles in a round padded room. What a pile of shit! I laughed at it yesterday and today. At least I had something to laugh about, even if I was the butt of the joke. The song was great, though.

Update on "SuperBetter" game (SuperBetter.com):

It's helped me out most days, guilt-tripping me into doing things that I want to do but need that extra massive, in-your-face-in-writing "Quests" to complete. You don't want to fail. You don't want to record that you fought various "Bad Guys" and lost. It shows up on your activity feed, I guess you'd call it? You want to do things to see yourself progress in gaining strength in various categories, including emotional and physical.

You can be creative and make your own "Quests", "Bad Guys", and "Power Ups" that help you along in your success. There are also links to information on the science of parts of the game that are interesting.

I've gone from just curling up in a ball again, in a safe, possibly overmedicated state, freaking out with anxiety nonetheless, to taking a brisk walk to nowhere while watching "Supernatural" or On Demand tv. I'm up to 2mi now, and am working my way back to 3-5, 6 days a week. Ugh, meaning 6 fucking showers a week! Two miles may sound like nothing, but it's a hell of a lot more than staring at the huge machine in your living room, and watching the gigantic fucker collect dust. I even allow myself to wear and dirty more shirts, pants, socks, which I felt too guilty about doing before. Feeling like I didn't deserve to wear clean clothes.

I still haven't managed to get outside like I'd like to, but I believe it has decreased my daily anxiety levels. I also don't freak out if I get separated from someone if I'm in the store with them, as long as we have phones. It's taking time, but shit, man, it sounds like things are progressing, slow, but better than before SuperBetter.

Now if I could just beat the shit out of that "Kitchen Monster" ("Bad Guy") I created... I should have called it Bessie the Kitchen Grazing Cow.

Final word at the moment is crippling anxiety levels lowered! Exercise increased! Feeling good about some little accomplishments I've made toward feeling better mentally, emotionally, and physically, etc.  

Ok, back to the rest of my stupid life. Yeah, my spouse was being a dick the other day. He doesn't know how to have a relationship with someone for more than a few months, let alone as long as we've been together. He's never lived with anyone other than me, he's a Brit, he's never lived with a crazy woman before. I'm not making excuses for him, in my eyes, ears, head, and heart, he's pretty ignorant, and the crazy hyper-emotional part of me says that I'm easily hurt by some shit, take some things to heart that shouldn't be, and blow some things out of proportion. He's a bit like me in some of those ways as well. Sensitive. Missing and/or abusive dad, not much else. Depression, taken care of by meds, he says.

So I'm in my cool down and relax period after my time on the treadmill. I'm supposed to be letting myself be OK with being stinky, sweaty, messy, nasty, runny old makeup, in my underwear, etc, It's hard for me, because I used to feel rushed to take a shower right afterward, as if I was going to die or something. No more pressure. It'll happen. No more potential anxiety-causing shit like that. Relax and be proud that I matched yesterday's record, and that in the very near future, I'm going to be breaking some more records and taking advantage of our DVD collection.

I don't feel so shitty today, but I am a little anxious about the possibility of having to go to the grocery store, even though I've made a list, know where everything is, will have my phone, and know that once I get in there that I won't feel too anxious at all. I'll be too distracted by all the movement and shit around me. I'll be OK. I'll keep telling myself that I'll be OK.. I'll be OK. I'll be OK. I'll be OK.

Got venom?

I had so much hope that today would be different than yesterday since school was open again and routine was returning.

Oh, noooo, the chemical maelstrom in me has other ideas.

I was ok until after I got my kid on the bus. Then it became a two hour ordeal trying to bully myself into a shower. Which is tough enough with depression but when you’re shivering non stop and it won’t alleviate even with blankets or layers of clothes..The prospect of ice cold air on your skin is as appealing as gargling razor blades. I hemmed and hawed internally. Finally ripped the band aid off, so to speak, and enjoyed another hour trying to get warm again but hey, at least I met societal norms. That’s all life is about anyway, trying to fit some mold and live up to expectations of others because of the godforsaken mold.

I thought it might be okay, picked my kid up off the bus, thought grocery shopping was in order…SMACK!!!! From out of nowhere, and i mean nowhere, came the anxiety, paranoia, fear, and panic. It hit like a storm, no preamble, no trigger.

Which makes me want to eat the souls of people who tell me to identify my triggers.If I could I would, damn it! It’s not that simple for me. Maybe it is for a million other people who fit the textbook mold. But on my child’s life I swear…there was no trigger today. It just hit like a linebacker and I went down hard. I got us to a store grabbed necessities and came back home because I just couldn’t do more than that. Not with a woozy swimming head and this overwhelming paranoia causing me to feel absolutely terrified.

My old counselor, who did NOT suck at his job, told me some days when it’s that bad, you can only meet one small goal and then give yourself permission to not feel well and ride it out. That advice has been gospel to me for sooo many years. He was a bloody sage, and I mean that whole heartedly. Best.counselor.ever.

Except I get the displeasure of being surrounded by a new regime of people who somehow think I am just not trying hard enough or am enabling myself to be depressed. I mean, the ONE amazing thing learned in therapy has become this thing to bite me on the ass now and I am fucking resentful as fucking hell.

Which brings me to…maelstrom. Yeah, it took me awhile to figure out why my Lithium apathy was suddenly dulled and all of this aggressive hatred and anger was coming on.

Hello, PMS. I don’t have the happy PMS, though.I get the dysphoric kind that once a month, turns me into a psycho hose beast. Or more so, anyway. I don’t like feeling angry at people for no good reason, especially when they mean well and it’s just that my opinion differs from theirs and my opinion happens to be reinforced with a surge of unpleasant and uncontrollable hormones.

This is not something anyone without menstrual dysphoria can understand, not simply men. Some women don’t have it and they don’t get it either. But it’s a lot like having a fever and you can just feel it raging through you, making you feel hot and flushed and heated. I get this for a week every damned month. It makes me volatile, but it isn’t a choice. I didn’t opt in. I’ve had men with the mentality that “women use their periods as an excuse to be a bitch to men.” Oh, sweeties, if only that were true, I could turn it off and on.

Kind of how I feel about being bipolar. There is no off switch.

But again, goes back to the mold and meeting societal expectations. I don’t even fit into my disorder because all my symptoms are so outside the box. Which makes people question its legitimacy.

I am just feeling so hostile and I hate it, this is not me. Apathy is my thing. I like numb. A little anger and self indignation are good. THIS level of anger is just wrong. I know it’s the hormones colliding with the mental stuff and I am trying to rein it in and not spaz out…But sometimes it gets away from me and sometimes venting is good. I’ll never be convinced otherwise. At least I vent by writing. I dont think anyone has ever ended up on Deadly Women for angry typing.

I’m pondering the death of this blog. I’m just so disgusted with everything, with myself. I wish I’d never learned about mental illness. Life was less complicated back when people just thought I was an eccentric nutbar. Maybe I’ve become to absorbed in mental illness. Or maybe I’;m just in such an altered state I should go to bed to ensure a surge of hormones don’t drive me to start chopping off my hair.  I used to do that. A lot.

I even hate this blog right now. And my nerves are so bad, I have’t been able to listen to music in 2 days because that which I normally love and thrive on…now sets off panic attacks. I have no idea why. But the panic is pretty much hovering near the service constantly these days. I don’;t know why that is, either.

Maybe I should just go with the anger, I at least know what that’s about and that it will pass in a few days. This other stuff….defies logic and explanation and that’s just gonna make me crazier. I’d say how crappy I feel right now but then I’d have to feel guilty for it because obviously it’s all my own fault. Yeah, next time I won’;t check that box on the application saying “Yes,I want to be mentally ill.”

Ass trash.