Daily Archives: April 13, 2014

On Whether Manic Depression Is A Blessing Or A Curse Or Both

So, this is a question I struggle with periodically. Is Manic Depression a blessing, curse or both? There is no denying that my life has changed immensely both for the good and the bad since being diagnosed in the early 2000′s. But, is my life really worse than it was before? Was I truly happy, […]

On Whether Manic Depression Is A Blessing Or A Curse Or Both

So, this is a question I struggle with periodically. Is Manic Depression a blessing, curse or both? There is no denying that my life has changed immensely both for the good and the bad since being diagnosed in the early 2000′s. But, is my life really worse than it was before? Was I truly happy, […]

Living Dead Girl…again

I feel like the walking dead. Yesterday drained me. Did I work?  No. What did I do that sucked the life out of me? Social activities.

I took my kid to the easter egg hunt. That sucked. Major crowd, but I was doubly Xanax’ed so other than being uncomfortable, I was dealing. It was when they did the 3-4 age group hunt. 100 eggs for 30 kids. They specifically said no parents, and about ten moms were out there rushing around scooping up eggs for their kid. My kid got ONE egg. It made me mad. It also made me sad when my kid said “I only got one egg, that makes me sad.”

Every time I think my opinion of people might simply be depression or past scars…Some asshole proves I was right all along.

It was soul sucking.

We were invited to a cook out Mr and Mrs’ R’s house. I hate cook outs. But after six months of coming up with excuses to avoid socializing I FORCED myself to go. It was awkward. Ten people, half of whom I didn’t know, most of them half my age. I drank wine. That helps with anxiety. It doesn’t make me a social butterfly. I tried to fake it and smile and interact. Mostly I wrangled Spook and R’s 2 year old granddaughter while the adults were busy talking. Meh, it’s my role in life, apparently. I am just more comfortable with kids.

Then his oldest daughter, with her PhD in psychology started in another one of her spiels about her bipolar mother (her mother’s diagnosis is borderline and I know this because when I was with R I saw the court ordered report from the custody psych eval they had to have done.) How can you have a psychology degree and not know the difference between borderline and bipolar? Then someone said something about hypochondria and she started in about Munchausen’s and the DSM 5 and blah blah. She didn’t even know the origin of why it was called Munchausen’s.

I did.

I really despise know it all’s. I really despise otherwise intelligent people who have personal issues and transfer them into their profession. Yes, her mother is and was a violent neurotic manipulative hypochondriac. Rather than have compassion, she shows disdain and makes it a case of  “she just chooses to be that way.” Yes, we chose to be mentally ill. It’s such an awesome way of life and people look so fondly on us.

Ass trash.

Being around people like that just pushes my buttons. I went in  a pissy mental space because my dad started in on me about going after the Donor for child support. “He has a brand new car, if he can afford that, then he should be forced to do the right thing.” Well that he has to be forced to take care of his kids says all I need to know about him. Real men step up and take responsibility. If you have to MAKE them then they barely deserve to be called  a father. Then  I specifically told my dad, “Can you just stop telling me about the man, I’m sick of hearing it.”

He called this morning to tell me my uncle saw The Donor at the store he works at.

Utterly clueless and apparently fucking deaf.

I came home last night and stayed up about two hours but my entire body ached, my head hurt, I just felt utterly drained. The shrink keeps telling me being around people will do me good. Yet it never does.

Today I have barely done shit beyond kid and cat care. I feel like I’ve been awake a week and run a marathon.

Instead of nourishing my spirit and soul socialization just taps and vein and sucks the life’s blood out of me.

Joy, joy, happy happy.


Italy’s ‘hidden madness’ exposed

Janet Coburn:

Great photography. Horrifying subject.

Originally posted on CNN Photos:

French photographer Raymond Depardon doesn’t believe in staging people or their surroundings in his work.

The tenet came from the beginning of his professional life, when he was a journalist.

“I am a naturalist, I prefer photographs that are very simple,” he said in a phone interview.

“I like to leave things like they are, like a journalist.”

That philosophy is evident in the stark black-and-white images of his latest collection, “Manicomio, The Hidden Madness.”

They show the harsh reality of life inside Italian mental institutions in the 1970s. Tufts of a man’s hair poke out of a rope cage as he strains his head against the top in an effort to stand up straight in the small enclosure. The frizzy halos of elderly women’s hair are backlit by daylight in a spartan room. A thin man pulls closed the waist of his too-large pants as he stands in a…

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A Metaphor for Depression

At some point in this vacation/pilgrimage to the place of my upbringing, Charleston, I decided to walk from the motel to a very well-known restaurant that sits at the edge of the Ashley River.  I waited only a short time before I was seated at a window that looked out across the salt marsh to the river..and across the river to the city marina and downtown Charleston beyond.  The experience of sitting at that window has stayed with me...and now I know why.

I came to Charleston to reconnect with sensations I equate with happiness...sparkling water, sunshine, boats, salt marsh, sea birds, etc  In that restaurant, I had the perfect seat.  I was not in the glare of the setting sun, not yet mellowed.  I had the perfect view.  But, I was miserable.  It was TOO FREAKIN LOUD! Annoying music, dozens of conversations, tables being dragged and dropped.  People were having to scream to be heard.  And when I sought solace in the things I loved, I was met with a cold, hard piece of glass.  I could not hear the sea birds, I could not smell the salt marsh, I could not feel the soft breezes or hear the clinking of the sailboat masts.  It was all out there, but it was beyond my reach.  It was not for me.

I am coming up out of a near-fatal depression and I am trying to feel something, something happy, something other than anger, resentment, fear, and disappointment.

It is Sunday morning.  The restaurant is closed now.  I went for a walk in the early morning sunshine, skirting around the large, empty parking lot, beside the salt marsh, across in front of the restaurant (the music is still playing inside), and back along another marina.  I gazed across the water and caught my breath.  There on the opposite dock was a sailboat, painted varnished teak and blue. I'm not good at guessing lengths but she had only one mast.  It was so unexpected, almost hidden like an easter egg.

When you are in a serious depression, you do not really expect to come out.  But sometimes, something so unexpected, something so insignificant, can give you a little bit of hope.

Have you ever been surprised to find hope?


A Metaphor for Depression

At some point in this vacation/pilgrimage to the place of my upbringing, Charleston, I decided to walk from the motel to a very well-known restaurant that sits at the edge of the Ashley River.  I waited only a short time before I was seated at a window that looked out across the salt marsh to the river..and across the river to the city marina and downtown Charleston beyond.  The experience of sitting at that window has stayed with me...and now I know why.

I came to Charleston to reconnect with sensations I equate with happiness...sparkling water, sunshine, boats, salt marsh, sea birds, etc  In that restaurant, I had the perfect seat.  I was not in the glare of the setting sun, not yet mellowed.  I had the perfect view.  But, I was miserable.  It was TOO FREAKIN LOUD! Annoying music, dozens of conversations, tables being dragged and dropped.  People were having to scream to be heard.  And when I sought solace in the things I loved, I was met with a cold, hard piece of glass.  I could not hear the sea birds, I could not smell the salt marsh, I could not feel the soft breezes or hear the clinking of the sailboat masts.  It was all out there, but it was beyond my reach.  It was not for me.

I am coming up out of a near-fatal depression and I am trying to feel something, something happy, something other than anger, resentment, fear, and disappointment.

It is Sunday morning.  The restaurant is closed now.  I went for a walk in the early morning sunshine, skirting around the large, empty parking lot, beside the salt marsh, across in front of the restaurant (the music is still playing inside), and back along another marina.  I gazed across the water and caught my breath.  There on the opposite dock was a sailboat, painted varnished teak and blue. I'm not good at guessing lengths but she had only one mast.  It was so unexpected, almost hidden like an easter egg.

When you are in a serious depression, you do not really expect to come out.  But sometimes, something so unexpected, something so insignificant, can give you a little bit of hope.

Have you ever been surprised to find hope?


Going by home

I had this great idea.  I thought that after enduring a scary and life-changing depression, I should reconnect with things I know I love:  water, sky, clouds, boats, salt marsh, sea birds, ... Charleston, SC. and the surrounding areas.

When I was depressed, I no longer felt any affection for art, writing, photography, or even getting up and getting dressed.  I did dishes and laundry like a mantra.

Pulling out of the depression, I felt vacant and a little afraid of being interested in anything.  I thought a gentle trip home would help.

Well, first of all, it is Spring Break. There are so many people, and so much traffic, no parking, and so much noise.  Everywhere I went yesterday, there were festivals.  What do you do at festivals?  You eat and spend money and get overwhelmed by the crowds.  I do not need that...any of that.

I have seen the shimmering water, the changing light in the sky, lazy clouds, the salt marsh at high and low tides, watched the sea gulls surfing on the wind, and even caught a whiff of plough (pluff) mud.  Lithe, white sailboats are all around me.  It does not do it for me, anymore. It just makes me sad.

I grew up here.  I went to college here.  I went through several relationships while living here.  I have not been by the houses where I lived...that would be getting too close.  My childhood was painful and sad.  I would not do it again.  Since the crisis a few weeks ago, I have spent a lot of time writing and talking about memories of hard and disappointing times.  Being here brings up more...foolish financial decisions, inappropriate relationships, break-ups, mean neighborhoods, frustrations, and prolonged depressions.  At one point in my life I wanted to return and live here.  I can barely afford to live where I am much less live in Charleston.

I have been very critical and intolerant of the frustrations here and that is not like me.  I suspect the new medication I am on has some play in that.  However, while walking in the sand with my head down, yesterday, I struggled with my reaction to it all:  art, photography, salt marshes, etc. and decided I needed new material, new things, new places.  My set of standby's has too many negative memories attached.

I'm feeling a little fragile.  I will need to take it slow.

Any suggestions?

The “High-Functioning” Bipolar

I used to be a fun person.
Once upon a time, I enjoyed going out and spending a day with friends, shopping, seeing movies, even attending parties and other gatherings. I loved having big holiday get-togethers at home and making sure everything that wasn’t red hot or running for the hills was decorated in seasonally appropriate twinkle-lights. I even used to get a kick out of hosting birthday parties for the kids.

Now I’m quite possibly THE lamest person on the planet. I don’t go to parties because the experience of being in a crowded room is excruciating for me—there are too many people, too much light and noise, and I am so easily overstimulated it’s not even funny. I still do a couple of the major holidays because a) it’s tradition, and b) I don’t want to have to drive on a holiday if I can avoid it. But after working all week and using the vast majority of my energies to keep a roof over our heads, all I want is a day where I don’t have to go anywhere and I can lounge in my jammies, work in the yard, or hang out on the computer.

This is the price I pay for being what’s called a “high-functioning” bipolar. I can do what needs to be done to make the rent and put food on the table; I can even manage to go to the store for groceries on a Saturday afternoon and to Mass on most Sundays. But ask me to drive 30 miles one way for a visit or God forbid, participate in a social activity, and I’m apt to break out in a sweat and come up with a hundred excuses for why I can’t make it.

It’s not that I don’t want to go places and do things. Well, okay, it IS because I don’t want to, but I want to want to. Does that make sense?

Being high-functioning means that I can fake ‘normal’ really well. To look at me, to listen to me, you would never suspect that I am mentally ill. I can carry on a conversation and deal articulately with complex ideas. I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few other things. I’m able to teach people how to do tasks, like giving themselves insulin injections or checking their blood pressure; I can discuss the issues of the day with intelligence; and I’m damn good at assessing both the physical and psychosocial aspects of peoples’ lives. It’s just that being a bipolar woman with a career means there’s not enough of me left over for much of anything else.

I’ve tried explaining this to a few folks without much success. But the fact that I am able to have a career doesn’t make the rest of my life work; if anything, it sucks the life right out of me and renders me too exhausted for play.

I’m not sure what the answer to this dilemma is, or even if there is one. It seems almost as though I’m issued a finite amount of energy at the beginning of each week, and by the time I get to Friday, ninety percent of it is gone. That leaves a mere 10 percent for the most important people in my life……including me. Something is very wrong with that picture. And high-functioning or not, I owe it to all of us to figure out a healthier balance between life and work; after all, when I’m on my deathbed I am NOT going to wish I’d spent more time at the office. Or in traffic. Or at war with myself.