Daily Archives: March 12, 2014

It All Started At Birth (Ages 12-16) Warning: Potential Trigger

I left the telling of this long story about how I came to experience madness at the age of 12. As I mentioned in the first part of this tale, this was the beginning of my series of trial and error attempts at killing myself. This one would be the first attempt. I used ammonia […]

It All Started At Birth (Ages 12-16) Warning: Potential Trigger

I left the telling of this long story about how I came to experience madness at the age of 12. As I mentioned in the first part of this tale, this was the beginning of my series of trial and error attempts at killing myself. This one would be the first attempt. I used ammonia […]

Swirling Thoughts

I just thought of something…going off my last post–Insomnia.

I’ve always had a really active mind. At night, before I go to bed, my mind is constantly swirling with thoughts and ideas. Everything is just in a huge whirl and dervish that allows me to come up with really good ideas. I write essays and stories very well late at night. I did most of my best writing for college at 2am the night before papers were due (not that I should admit that…now that I think about it). The things in my mind are constantly coming up in new forms and patterns. I constantly have things in my head.

But, at night, when it’s time to sleep, I cannot just shut off my mind. I can’t just go to sleep. I know that isn’t normal. My friends tell me that, my family say this too, that it’s “normal” to be able to just turn off your mind and go to bed. To just stop the flow of ideas and thoughts, to shut down and get the sleep that you need. I can’t just do that though. There are so many things flying about in my head and they just don’t shut off. Shutting off my mind is a talent I never learned how to do.

There’s a pattern even to how my brain goes. When I’m more hypomanic the thoughts go even faster than usual, and when I’m in a more depressed state, they are “slower”. But slow is relative. Even when my thoughts and ideas are slow, they’re still constant and fast-coming. I don’t know what it’s like to have a quiet mind. I’ve never had a time in my life where my brain has been calm and allowed me to just relax without constant worries, doubts, ideas and thoughts constantly crossing my mind. It’s just a matter, for me, of exactly how fast the these things cross my mind and whip through.

I had never really thought about it, until today. I’m exhausted again. Another night of too-few sleep because I was jolted awake at 4.30am by thoughts and ideas that wouldn’t wait a few more hours to push me out of bed. So I got about 5.5 hours of sleep. But I remembered now, hours after I woke up, why I woke up. That’s not normal for me, usually I never know why I woke up, or what woke me up (just like I never remember my dreams). But today I remembered the ideas that woke me up. They’re stupid ideas for a story that I’m writing for fun, something nonsense that I could have dealt with a few hours later in the morning.

I’ve begun thinking that a huge part of my insomnia might be attached to how my brain just won’t shut down. When I take a sleeping aid, which forces my brain to shut down, I sleep quite well. However, unaided…I might do okay on sleeping for only short periods of time before my brain kicks back into overdrive. I know I need to talk to my shrink again about this, but I’m nervous that it means changing my medications, when I’m not having any ill side-effects to these ones, and I don’t want to be put on even more medications. But, perhaps my brain being on constant overdrive might help explain my insomnia.

It’s just a thought that came to me this morning.

Book Review: Good Cop, Bad Daughter

One of my favorite genres to read is memoirs, but it is not often that I find one that moves me to the extent that Karen Lynch’s Good Cop, Bad Daughter did.  Her thorough account of a difficult childhood and how it prepared her for a career in the police field is written with passion and eloquence, with just the right amount of humor woven in.

Karen learned at a very young age that survival would require her to be self-reliant and courageous.  Her mother, Ann, suffered from a severe case of bipolar disorder, and while medication subdued many of her symptoms, she often stopped taking it and drank heavily instead.  Her extreme manias were characterized by paranoia and irrational thoughts. This caused some very rocky relationships with the men in her life as well as a negative view of police and other authority figures.  As a mother, Ann was often neglectful, and sometimes even violent toward Karen.  Karen was often left alone during her mother’s erratic travels and frequent hospitalizations. If it had not been for Jim, one of Ann’s discarded boyfriends, Karen would have been homeless and may not have survived.  

Pursuing what had been her mother’s dream of becoming a nurse, Karen did not feel like it was her true calling.  Still, she knew she had to make something of herself and nursing seemed like a noble career.  Then, one day, she saw a vision of herself being a police officer, and suddenly something just clicked.  Karen knew her destiny.  She just didn’t know how hard it would be to attain it.  

In the late seventies, San Francisco had just recently opened up to the idea of female police officers on street patrol.  Many of the older trainers that Karen performed for in the academy were still skeptical, and sometimes downright cruel, about the prospect of a woman making it in such a male-dominated role.  With persistence and dedication, Karen graduated as the only woman in her class and joined the San Francisco Police Department in 1981.  

I really enjoyed this book, though I had my guard up when I first began reading it.  I was afraid it was going to be yet another book portraying the evil side of a “crazy” person, and at first glance perhaps it is.  After all, there is nothing cute and fluffy about bipolar disorder.  Even in the best of circumstances it can wreak havoc on a family, as I can firmly attest to from my own experience with the illness.  It is always surreal reading about bipolar disorder from a perspective outside of the person who has the illness. We are so often painted as “the bad guys” in media, and sadly it is sometimes true.  Yet, as painful as it was to read what all Karen went through with her mother, I finished the book feeling justified in my own attempts to so desperately cling to any shred of normalcy in my life that I can.  I know I try so hard because I don’t want to be that kind of mother who neglects or harms her children.  While I know I fail to be the most stable parent, my heart is in the right place to seek out what my children need and be there for them the best way I can.  Mental illness can rob us of sentiment and rationale. I am no exception.  And yet, I have learned from my highs and lows, and while I can’t completely control what happens, I have learned enough to keep myself in check, to recognize triggers and symptoms, and to trust my loved ones when they say I am getting out of hand.  Ann never learned these things, or else she ignored them.  I think a lot of that can be contributed to her drinking habits; then again, I know what it’s like to try to self-medicate the illness away.  I also know it just doesn’t work that way.  

I would recommend Good Cop, Bad Daughter to anyone who loves a good memoir.  It really opened my eyes to the extent of training that our police officers go through in order to be deemed good candidates for keeping our streets safe.  It also made me realize that out of seemingly hopeless circumstances, greatness can be achieved.  As Karen so eloquently wrote on her closing page, “Hoping for a different life is a pointless exercise.  Ultimately we must all make the best of the lives we are given.” (p.276) 

Science of Mental Health

A cool 3:00 minute video about the brain and mental health!


Filed under: mental health awareness, Ranting, Uplifting, Videos

Guest Post: Dear Bipolar by Christyna L Green

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April 28, 2013

Dear Bipolar,

You make me so unique in a way that only I can understand. You allow me to be expressive in ways that are unimaginable. You are my best and worst friend. You are built directly into my mind and I will live with you always. Together we have accomplished so much. You take me on a ride that can only be explained by superhuman abilities. You then decide for me that I have had too much and you throw me right into the deep darkest corner of hell. You give me days off where it just feels like I am all alone and have complete control over everything. You then remind me of how much control you really have. I have accomplished a complete life change and then you tell me to take it away. Why should you suggest suicide when you and I are so deeply connect and will never be alone? We make a whole person in the way we dance through our minds into euphoria then return to only be humbled by the insanity we create together.

You and I make others look too us for the crazy that exists in this world. Others run in fear while others just join the world we create together. I have come to see a whole new light since you and I have felt the power to see God and then to only return ourselves to hell. I see you for who you are now Bipolar. I love you and you will always be a part of me. Maybe one day we can be just a simple combination of self. How happy we could make each other if we just allowed the insanity to come in and keep it to ourselves. You insist that I take part in your madness and let my mouth, body and thoughts run freely without no boundaries. How selfish you are Bipolar to keep me to yourself. You then see that I am happy without you and then again you take over and put me back into the shadows I just crawled out of.

Bipolar I love you but it is time to make a compromise. You have made me so happy in my own mind that people look at us funny. No one can understand the euphoric sense of a simple joke, such as I saw this cat and it….. You have allowed me to be free and express myself in so many ways to create a new life for us. You then have the need to take this new found sense of self and destroy it and everyone around you.

Dear Bipolar I must understand you, but first you must know that I am in control and I only forget to remember who I really am without you. This is the most precious relationship anyone can have with themselves. This gives a person a complete understanding of every aspect of human understanding and then you and I go and figure out some more cool stuff to do.

You and I bounce back and forth like a volleyball and told to never touch the net. You and I then know that touching the net is what we want. To be in the middle of everything and ourselves.

Dear Bipolar,

You will not let me work, yet you force me to be in the center of attention only to take it away from ourselves. How can I do this to you Bipolar and then let you do the same to me. Only you understand the mind you and I created and it must stop. We must share who we are if we ever want to live in a true sense of life. I want happiness and you want control over me. You force me to be alone and then I create a sense of self that only I can understand. We must stop

I want to be in the middle without you and I dancing around the drain of emotions. I think I owe it to you and you to me to learn how to be a true part of each other’s life. It is time to open the door and say come on in, be a part of this crazy happy sad world I have created with my best friend Bipolar.

Christyna L Green


Guest Post: Dear Bipolar by Christyna L Green

pen

April 28, 2013

Dear Bipolar,

You make me so unique in a way that only I can understand. You allow me to be expressive in ways that are unimaginable. You are my best and worst friend. You are built directly into my mind and I will live with you always. Together we have accomplished so much. You take me on a ride that can only be explained by superhuman abilities. You then decide for me that I have had too much and you throw me right into the deep darkest corner of hell. You give me days off where it just feels like I am all alone and have complete control over everything. You then remind me of how much control you really have. I have accomplished a complete life change and then you tell me to take it away. Why should you suggest suicide when you and I are so deeply connect and will never be alone? We make a whole person in the way we dance through our minds into euphoria then return to only be humbled by the insanity we create together.

You and I make others look too us for the crazy that exists in this world. Others run in fear while others just join the world we create together. I have come to see a whole new light since you and I have felt the power to see God and then to only return ourselves to hell. I see you for who you are now Bipolar. I love you and you will always be a part of me. Maybe one day we can be just a simple combination of self. How happy we could make each other if we just allowed the insanity to come in and keep it to ourselves. You insist that I take part in your madness and let my mouth, body and thoughts run freely without no boundaries. How selfish you are Bipolar to keep me to yourself. You then see that I am happy without you and then again you take over and put me back into the shadows I just crawled out of.

Bipolar I love you but it is time to make a compromise. You have made me so happy in my own mind that people look at us funny. No one can understand the euphoric sense of a simple joke, such as I saw this cat and it….. You have allowed me to be free and express myself in so many ways to create a new life for us. You then have the need to take this new found sense of self and destroy it and everyone around you.

Dear Bipolar I must understand you, but first you must know that I am in control and I only forget to remember who I really am without you. This is the most precious relationship anyone can have with themselves. This gives a person a complete understanding of every aspect of human understanding and then you and I go and figure out some more cool stuff to do.

You and I bounce back and forth like a volleyball and told to never touch the net. You and I then know that touching the net is what we want. To be in the middle of everything and ourselves.

Dear Bipolar,

You will not let me work, yet you force me to be in the center of attention only to take it away from ourselves. How can I do this to you Bipolar and then let you do the same to me. Only you understand the mind you and I created and it must stop. We must share who we are if we ever want to live in a true sense of life. I want happiness and you want control over me. You force me to be alone and then I create a sense of self that only I can understand. We must stop

I want to be in the middle without you and I dancing around the drain of emotions. I think I owe it to you and you to me to learn how to be a true part of each other’s life. It is time to open the door and say come on in, be a part of this crazy happy sad world I have created with my best friend Bipolar.

Christyna L Green


Chronic Disease and Bipolar Disorder

I’ve recently read some medical journals concerning the lower life expectancy of those living with Bipolar Disorder. Unfortunately those diagnosed with BP have an average lifespan that is 9.2 years less than the national average. It’s believed the primary reasons for this are: Suicide rate Greater Risk of Chronic Disease Lack of medical care I … Continue reading »

The post Chronic Disease and Bipolar Disorder appeared first on Depression and Bipolar Disorder:.

Seasons Change…everything

Clocks went forward Sunday, precursor to spring. Which means an end to the depression of seasonal affect disorder. Right? WRONG. Lots of sunshine, warmer temps and I am more depressed than ever. Plus now that everyone is outdoors and kids are coming to play with my kid, my anxiety is off the bloody charts.

And it’s paranoid fight or flight anxiety,too. I know no one is out to get me. I don’t hear voices saying otherwise. What I am getting is that physical fight or flight thing. I feel cornered, I feel scared. My body responds in kind, pounding heart, racing thoughts, shaking knees, wooziness, vertigo. It’s not constant but it is intense enough that being out in public is making me physically ill because I feel threatened at every turn. And I know I am off my nut but logic is having no impact, so I am trying to plaster on the sane face when inside my insanity is rioting.

I keep thinking about calling the shrink and waving the white flag on Viibryd. I mean, 7 weeks and I feel worse instead of better…Not impressive. And whatever is going on, it’s a clinical depression. There is nothing catastrophic in my life making me sad or stressed. Something’s wrong, I have this chemical maelstrom going on and after 7 months, I am at my wits’ end. But I’ve played the shrink game too long, I know if I do call, short of a suicide threat, they’ll say give it more time.

Ass trash.

My kid has been waking up 2 and 3 times a night. She’s almost 5, I honestly thought she’d be over it by now. What it translates into is I am exhausted. I said as much to my dad’s clan the other day and my brother said, “Well, you had to have her.” Yes, because saying I am worn out totally means I don’t want my kid. IDIOT. I don’t known why he bothered me so much, I mean, he’s the one facing a second stalking charge over some girl in his high school so consider the source. It just set me off and even now it’s a thorn in my paw. Like I need help feeling like a bad mom, now my own brother has made me feel shitty all because after a month of not getting a solid night’s sleep I am fizzling out.

Family is often a euphamism for “people who can by law torture you and suffer no consequences”.

I have several things to look forward to this summer, and things I used to love that I can do and ya know what? I am trying desperately to care, to be positive, to not let fear get the better of me…

But if I fell asleep tonight and didn’t wake up…I don’t think I’d mind.

THAT is depression.

And I’m starting to think my pharmacy is giving me Tic-Tacs as a placebo project because the odds of so many of them not working have got to be astronomical.

I just want to live again. Or part of me does. The part of me that is in the abyss wants to gargle razor blades while juggling chainsaws. Too bad that would be lethal. Might be fun to watch on Youtube.


Up And Down and All Around

And the festivities continue: my maiden voyage at work was a disaster, and tomorrow I get to meet with the bigwigs and the trainers for the postmortem…..oops, I meant performance review. I’m looking forward to that about as much as I would my own execution, but in a sense it’ll be a relief to find out exactly where I stand. Which is probably somewhere out in left field.

I have so many conflicting emotions about this job. It’s such a noble undertaking, but there are literally millions of details and I’m not so hot at being detail-oriented. I can’t remember all the steps of the computerized documentation—I who otherwise am very computer literate—and have to be coached through it like a little kid who’s just wet her pants. I’m not retaining what I’ve learned. I’m having trouble organizing what I need to do in a short time span because I get panicky and my brain vapor-locks. And I can’t put it all together because the pieces are scattered from hell to breakfast.

In essence: I completely SUCK at this. I know it, the brass knows it, everyone knows it. I’ve never been so far in over my head in my entire life, at least as far as work is concerned, and I don’t have the slightest idea how to fix that. I do know that it’s not likely to get any better, because it requires the ability to learn very, very quickly and I obviously don’t have that ability anymore. I’d thought I was doing better; my memory, while never great, has sharpened over the past few months and I’ve been able to remember some things without needing visual cues (e. g., sticky notes). But it’s not anywhere enough for a job that requires being able to absorb massive amounts of input, let alone put it to good use…..and that’s just in the training phase.

Needless to say, the up-and-down mood I’ve been experiencing over the past few weeks has not improved with these latest developments.  As I think I said yesterday, it’s not the kind that can be medicated away; it’s purely situational, and only resolving the problem itself will resolve the mood swings. I know some of my friends are concerned about me; but the truth is, I just need to figure out a way to wiggle out of this as gracefully as possible, and right now there doesn’t appear to be any.

I have a sneaking hunch that it will resolve itself, though…..maybe as early as tomorrow morning. Maybe not. But no matter what happens, I will never regret doing this. I knew I was taking a big calculated risk when I took this position, and yeah, I’ve pretty much fallen flat on my face. Okay. It doesn’t make me a loser. It just makes me someone who needs a much less-complicated, less-stressful, less detail-oriented job.

I just hope I can remember that the next time I interview for one during a spell of hypomania……..that’s how I got here in the first place!