Daily Archives: March 1, 2014

The Warm Breath of Spring

…..well, at least we had a day of it. Yesterday it was 61 degrees and the sun was peeking out between the clouds, and all of a sudden it felt like the promise of new beginnings was about to burst forth. Or some such cliché. But whatever it was, after the long, cold, evil winter we’ve had, it felt MARVELOUS.

Today things are pretty much back to normal, e.g. chilly, damp, foggy, and otherwise yucky, but as I looked around my yard this afternoon I saw signs of spring everywhere: the daffodil shoots have worked their way up through our cold, wet clay, there are new leaves forming on the rosebushes and the hydrangeas, and even the lithodora, which I’d feared had been killed off by the arctic cold and the heavy snow, is showing signs of life.

And under my mellow exterior, Manic Barbie is jumping up and down for joy and yelling “YIPPEEEE!!!”

Oh, yeah, I can feel it all right. We’re changing to Daylight Saving Time in a week, and already the prospect of longer days is making me think ahead to warm twilights and the commingled smells of new-mown grass and meat grilling on the barbecue out back. Already my fingers are itching to start digging in the dirt and getting ready for gardening season……why, I can practically taste sun-warmed tomatoes straight off the vine as I type this.

Cue Manic Barbie: “Ican’twaitIcan’twaitohPLEASEspringcomenow!!”

Actually, what I really want is summer, because springs here tend to be merely a less-chilly extension of winter—basically, dreary and wet. We do get the occasional warm spell though, and the fact that the temperature broke sixty degrees on the last day of February bodes well. Last year it was 75 on Easter Sunday, which is almost unheard-of in late March, and we went on to have a warm spring and a most pleasant, long summer. I’ve always been a warm-weather kind of girl, so I treasure every day of sun and 70+ degree temps I can possibly get.

There’s only one little fly in this particular ointment, and by now I’m sure you know what it is. It doesn’t help that I’m coming off a brief episode of hypomania and the leftover energy is still stirring itself around just under my calm surface…..all I’d need are a couple more days of sun and relative warmth, and suddenly EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE! and the world literally bursts into bright colors. That’s when the blue eyeshadow and turquoise-colored skirts come out to play, when I’m breezy and sassy and carefree…..and when the sleep hours go down and the anti-psychotic dose goes up.

Naturally, Dr. Awesomesauce watches me like a hawk around this time of year, although he felt confident enough in my ability to use my PRNs correctly that he said it was OK to go two months between appointments this time. Of course, I can always call if I do start coming off the spool, but obviously that method is best avoided as I’m not terribly reliable about that. I tend to think I’m not doing as badly as I really am, like last week when one of my best friends had to tell me, literally, to take a Pepsi break—in other words, get the hell off the Internet and go to sleep.

It would be much better if I could just get the hang of catching these things faster. I’ve done a lot better in the past year, but I still have this habit of sitting in the middle of a mood episode with my mouth hanging open, not believing I’m really having one. The thought process goes like “Oh HELL no, this is NOT happening, I am NOT manic or hypomanic or anything else. My brain’s just making it up. I’m FINE!!” or words to that effect.

In the meantime, spring is on its way, so I’d best be prepared: Garden tools cleaned and oiled? Check. Hose inspected and not needing to be replaced? Check. New pots and potting soil purchased? Check. Zyprexa prescription refilled and easily available to shut Manic Barbie the hell up? Uh-oh……


A Hard Rain

I’m not getting out much – without getting wet, that is.

It has rained ceaselessly on these jagged islands since mid December. Across the country people have been washed out of their homes. The news headlines have moved on to drier ground: a seemingly never – ending number of trials involving well-known media personalities charged with serious offences ranging from rape to phone – tapping.

Regular readers will know that I describe myself as an all – weather cyclist. But lately something has, well, started to drip on my enthusiasm for pedalling in horizontal rain.

Winston Churchill – who coined the phrase ‘black dog’ to describe his bouts of depression – had a pretty remorseless view of coping with mental health relapse. He once wrote: ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’. There’s quite a lot that me and the 2 time British Prime Minister and Nobel Laureate (Literature, 1953) don’t see eye to eye about, and this is one of them.

This attitude belongs to the Carry on Regardless school of thought. For me, it is like a scab in my brain that I cannot stop scratching. There is so much Good Advice out there, so many well-regarded Self Help Books ( a library of which I have read,) and so many wise words ( a few of which have been written by me these past 3 and a half years).

Right now, if I hear someone else utter sapient suggestions for how I could make myself  feel better, I am likely to, to ….. stare blankly into space.

I don’t know what I need at the moment. I am indoors, relatively dry, and the radiators are making the weather.

A Hard Rain’s A – Gonna Fall

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?

Oh, where have you been, my  darling young one?

I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains

I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways

I’ve stepped in the  middle of seven sad forests

I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans

I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard

And it’s a hard, and  it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard

And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna  fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?

Oh, what did you see, my darling  young one?

I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it

I saw a  highway of diamonds with nobody on it

I saw a black branch with blood that  kept drippin’

I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’

I saw  a white ladder all covered with water

I saw ten thousand talkers whose  tongues were all broken

I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young  children

And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard

And  it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?

And what did you hear, my darling  young one?

I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’

Heard  the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world

Heard one hundred  drummers whose hands were a-blazin’

Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody  listenin’

Heard one person starve,

I heard many people laughin’

Heard the  song of a poet who died in the gutter

Heard the sound of a clown who cried in  the alley

And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard

And  it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?

Who did you meet, my darling young  one?

I met a young child beside a dead pony

I met a white man who walked a  black dog

I met a young woman whose body was burning

I met a young girl,  she gave me a rainbow

I met one man who was wounded in love

I met another  man who was wounded with hatred

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard,  it’s a hard

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?

Oh, what’ll you do now, my  darling young one?

I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’

I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest

Where the people are many  and their hands are all empty

Where the pellets of poison are flooding their  waters

Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison

Where the  executioner’s face is always well hidden

Where hunger is ugly, where souls  are forgotten

Where black is the color, where none is the number

And I’ll  tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it

And reflect it from the  mountain so all souls can see it

Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start  sinkin’

But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’

And it’s a hard,  it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Bob Dylan (1941 – )


Is Society to Blame for the Mental Health Care System not working?

Image

NEWS FLASH:  Mental Illness exists in our world. One in Four people in the United States have a mental illness. Mental Illnesses really are chemical imbalances in the brain. They are not a sign of weakness. In fact, those who endure a mental illness are probably stronger than those who don’t have one.

With that said, why is it that no one wants to talk about it? Well, one reason is because of the stigma.  If you are lucky enough to not have a mental illness, then you might not understand it. You most likely have judged those with mental illnesses as being crazy people who go out and commit crimes. 

Well, not all of us go out and kill people.  Less than 1% of those with a mental illness are violent. People with mental illnesses are more apt to be a victim of violence.

It really upsets me that the stigma in America is still so bad.  It is like we are treated like the blacks were treated when they were fighting for their Civil Rights. We are outcasts.  It is similar to how gays were perceived up until recently. Most of society has accepted that blacks are equal to everyone else and that gay people should not be shunned and made to feel like they have to hide it.

When will those with mental illnesses get their turn?  Nothing will change until people start talking about it. One good thing has been happening lately is that celebrities are letting the world know that they struggle with a mental illness. Most of them are using it for the good. We need the other ones to do so too. There is nothing to be ashamed of. They need to use their clout to educate others.

Our media needs to start talking about mental illness. It is such a taboo topic. There is no reason why when a tragedy occurs and a person with a mental illness is involved that in addition to talking about the incident that they could offer information about what the illness is, what to look for in others, where they can find resources and to let people know that it is ok to get help.

Our society needs to change.  A few politicians can’t do it, organizations that advocate for those with mental illnesses, those with mental illnesses who are strong advocates can’t do it, the media can’t do it. Society needs to decide as a whole that we need change.  Everyone needs to do their part in changing it all. 

Let’s prevent the next tragedy. Let’s put things in bulletins in churches, synagogues, and mosques that educate people about the different illnesses and let it be known that there is someone there who can listen and not judge.

Judging those with mental illnesses is the problem.  Until that changes, we will all still be considered crazy.  We may do crazy things, but doesn’t everyone? Is it ever going to be ok to tell an employer that you suffer from depression and not have to worry that you will get fired or not hired?  When will telling someone that you suffer from a mental illness be treated the same way as if you told them that you had diabetes or thyroid disease.  

When will things change? I don’t know. However, what I do know is that nothing will change until society decides it needs to. If our society wants to prevent tragedies then we really need to do something about it sooner than later. 

Things need to change, but it is not just the stigma.  The way people with mental illnesses are treated in mental hospitals is awful. The Truth about Many Psychiatric Hospitals  People who need medications to stay out of the hospital can’t afford their medications. Everyone seems to want to just want to ignore the problem. If they don’t ignore it they talk about it and then don’t come up with any solutions.

Well, if they listened to those with mental illnesses, we would have possible solutions. However, because we are crazy, we are not even taken seriously.

NEWS FLASH: (Wouldn’t this be better?)  Those people who have a mental illness are now considered the same as everyone else in society. They are respected and listened to.  People understand that it is a chemical imbalance in their brain.  Hospitals now are better and they are able to afford their medications so less people are having to resort going into the hospital.  Employers understand that someone might have to take a few days off because they are depressed or manic or having anxiety attack and that it is not any different than them having the flu. The media is educating people about mental illnesses. Religious leaders have taken it upon themselves to let their congregations know that there is help available and it is ok to ask for it.  

Right now, as someone who suffers from bipolar disorder and has for thirty years, I am not holding out much hope that the second news flash will become a reality in my life time. 

We, as advocates can keep trying, but like I said it takes a lot more than that.

Trying to end on a positive note: There are a lot of people out there who do care and there are a lot of people who are learning more about mental illness. There are steps being taken in our government to help with this.  There are different activities that happen all over that attempt to educate others. It is not hopeless. It just should be a lot better than it is right now.

 

 

 

 

 


Is Society to Blame for the Mental Health Care System not working?

Image

NEWS FLASH:  Mental Illness exists in our world. One in Four people in the United States have a mental illness. Mental Illnesses really are chemical imbalances in the brain. They are not a sign of weakness. In fact, those who endure a mental illness are probably stronger than those who don’t have one.

With that said, why is it that no one wants to talk about it? Well, one reason is because of the stigma.  If you are lucky enough to not have a mental illness, then you might not understand it. You most likely have judged those with mental illnesses as being crazy people who go out and commit crimes. 

Well, not all of us go out and kill people.  Less than 1% of those with a mental illness are violent. People with mental illnesses are more apt to be a victim of violence.

It really upsets me that the stigma in America is still so bad.  It is like we are treated like the blacks were treated when they were fighting for their Civil Rights. We are outcasts.  It is similar to how gays were perceived up until recently. Most of society has accepted that blacks are equal to everyone else and that gay people should not be shunned and made to feel like they have to hide it.

When will those with mental illnesses get their turn?  Nothing will change until people start talking about it. One good thing has been happening lately is that celebrities are letting the world know that they struggle with a mental illness. Most of them are using it for the good. We need the other ones to do so too. There is nothing to be ashamed of. They need to use their clout to educate others.

Our media needs to start talking about mental illness. It is such a taboo topic. There is no reason why when a tragedy occurs and a person with a mental illness is involved that in addition to talking about the incident that they could offer information about what the illness is, what to look for in others, where they can find resources and to let people know that it is ok to get help.

Our society needs to change.  A few politicians can’t do it, organizations that advocate for those with mental illnesses, those with mental illnesses who are strong advocates can’t do it, the media can’t do it. Society needs to decide as a whole that we need change.  Everyone needs to do their part in changing it all. 

Let’s prevent the next tragedy. Let’s put things in bulletins in churches, synagogues, and mosques that educate people about the different illnesses and let it be known that there is someone there who can listen and not judge.

Judging those with mental illnesses is the problem.  Until that changes, we will all still be considered crazy.  We may do crazy things, but doesn’t everyone? Is it ever going to be ok to tell an employer that you suffer from depression and not have to worry that you will get fired or not hired?  When will telling someone that you suffer from a mental illness be treated the same way as if you told them that you had diabetes or thyroid disease.  

When will things change? I don’t know. However, what I do know is that nothing will change until society decides it needs to. If our society wants to prevent tragedies then we really need to do something about it sooner than later. 

Things need to change, but it is not just the stigma.  The way people with mental illnesses are treated in mental hospitals is awful. The Truth about Many Psychiatric Hospitals  People who need medications to stay out of the hospital can’t afford their medications. Everyone seems to want to just want to ignore the problem. If they don’t ignore it they talk about it and then don’t come up with any solutions.

Well, if they listened to those with mental illnesses, we would have possible solutions. However, because we are crazy, we are not even taken seriously.

NEWS FLASH: (Wouldn’t this be better?)  Those people who have a mental illness are now considered the same as everyone else in society. They are respected and listened to.  People understand that it is a chemical imbalance in their brain.  Hospitals now are better and they are able to afford their medications so less people are having to resort going into the hospital.  Employers understand that someone might have to take a few days off because they are depressed or manic or having anxiety attack and that it is not any different than them having the flu. The media is educating people about mental illnesses. Religious leaders have taken it upon themselves to let their congregations know that there is help available and it is ok to ask for it.  

Right now, as someone who suffers from bipolar disorder and has for thirty years, I am not holding out much hope that the second news flash will become a reality in my life time. 

We, as advocates can keep trying, but like I said it takes a lot more than that.

Trying to end on a positive note: There are a lot of people out there who do care and there are a lot of people who are learning more about mental illness. There are steps being taken in our government to help with this.  There are different activities that happen all over that attempt to educate others. It is not hopeless. It just should be a lot better than it is right now.

 

 

 

 

 


You’re Just Like Me: Rebecca Moore

This week my guest blogger is Rebecca Moore. Rebecca is a blogger for the International Bipolar Foundation. She also serves on their Consumer Advisory Council and co-runs a Bipolar Parenting support group here in her area. She is also helping her local mental health brethren in her  local hospital on their Behavioral Health Initiative Program.

She has also released her second book “Moorestorms Bipolar Warning Signs” It’s available only on kindle for .99 cents !!

YAY REBECCA!

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So you have a mental illness.. Which one?

Bipolar Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and PTSD
 

When were you diagnosed & how old were you?

I was 33 years old and had just had a huge breakdown. A psychiatrist diagnosed me after years of being wrongly diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. I was pregnant with our 7th child at the time and had just came out of a huge manic episode.

How do you cope with your mental illness?

I follow a strict routine. I take my meds on time, the same time ever day. I make sure I eat properly and get enough sunlight. One of my passions is writing so when things are starting to get tough I write in my journal a lot.

What are 3 words that you would describe how your illness makes you feel?

chaotic, dark, lonely

What are some ways you relax from your illness?

Like I mentioned before, I love to write. Right now I am working on my second book about bipolar. I also love to spend time with my husband and my children.

What is some advice you would give to your fellow soldiers fighting this fight?

That they do not need to let this illness define them. They can define their own illnesses.

 Tell us your blog or how we can keep in contact with you:

You can find me through my blog, my facebook or my email.

Rebecca Moore

moorestorms.com

@Moorestorms

 

NewBeck

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Continue reading

Today’s Friday Interview scheduled for TOMORROW!

UGH! So, my computer is a mess! 

So I am typing this on another computer because I wanted to let you know that Friday’s You’re Just Like Me is going to schedule for tomorrow. (It’s going to be AWESOME!)

I’m sorry about the wait, but blame technology… and Windows.

Until then…

If you want to be featured in B.U.L. blog’s Friday guest blogger post, please email me the Q&A to bipolarunemployedl[email protected] The questions are on my blog or just email me and I’ll respond with them! Let share stories and help others not feel so alone!

 


Filed under: Ranting

Small Things, True Things


I go through the motions of simplifying more often than anyone I know.  There are two reasons for this; one good, one bad:

1.)  I recognize that I am much more sensitive to stress than the average person.  Whether this stems more from my illness or my natural personality, I may never know, but I do know when the red lights are flashing and it’s time to reevaluate what is essential in life and what must take the back burner for a while (or forever).

2.)  I keep adding things back after I simplify.  I suppose this is because the momentary relief I feel after I let some things go gets mistaken for me being in a more stable place mentally, and I foolishly start piling the crap back into my life, saying yes to people when I still should be saying no, making plans to resume this and that with bigger and better ideas than ever before, etc.  And then I end up in the same frazzled, overwhelmed, resentful spot that I thought I had escaped.  

It’s an ongoing cycle.  The adding, the subtracting.  

I may never truly learn to stop doing this. Because I end up having to cut out things (and people) that I love, for my own psychiatric good, and then I miss those things and people and decide that I need them more than they are harming me.  

I also get in the mindset that everything I ever want to do in life must be done NOW.  After all, I am not promised tomorrow; no one is.  It’s hard to pack up dreams and not know if they will ever be taken back out of the box again.  For instance, I had decided this year was THE YEAR for me to finish revising one of my books so that I could hopefully attempt getting it published.  I made cuts in things like social networking, I made a schedule, I made a freaking commitment to do this, okay?  But…I have the most remarkable toddler boy on my hands.  He’s adorable.  He’s funny.  He’s a handful!  Like, on a level I never experienced with my daughters or even with the boys I used to babysit.  Imagine, this one little boy exhausting me more than the five toddlers/preschoolers I babysat for five years as a home daycare provider!  So, obviously writing while he is awake is out of the question.  Nap time is a joke.  And by the time I put the kid in bed I am so tired I can’t keep my eyes propped open long enough to turn the lamp off, let alone put something intelligible in book form.  Excuses, excuses, my brain screams at me.  So-and-so did it with young children at home, why can’t you? Because I am not so-and-so.  I am me.  And I know my personal limits.  I also know that, regardless of how much I love writing and the idea of being published, I love my children more.  And that being said, if I never get around to finishing a book because I was too busy raising my kids, that is the one excuse I will accept as a valid one.  

Mother Teresa once said “not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  I may never amount to much in worldly terms, but I want to do the small things for my family with great love.  I have struggled to even do this as of late.  I have shamefully hated being a mother, a homemaker, and even being alive.  But I am going to try harder, and that means letting go of more.  Like the feeling that I am a failure because the house is an utter wreck and I can’t seem to get a handle on the laundry. It means letting go of the idea that I have to please people who will continue to criticize and judge me anyway.  It means releasing the urge to belittle myself each time I get something wrong in the anal-retentive terms I have set for myself over the years.  It means neglecting the idea that I must look at the big picture in order to succeed in life.  Because often (perhaps always) it is the small snapshots along the way, the every day things, the true things, that are what really carry us from one triumph to another.  

So, simplify? Yes. Again and again.  Then simplify some more.  And whenever what is left is small enough to barely reach around you, gather it in your arms and give it the greatest of your time and love, and know that it is good enough.