Daily Archives: June 26, 2014

Writing

I've always been a writer.

In high school I wrote poetry. During my senior year I even thought about publishing a book of poems. I spent weeks typing up my poems. When all was said and done I had about 200 pages.

I even contacted publishers. One sent me a mailing to send back my manuscript. Then just as fast I lost my interest in publishing my poems and never contacted the publisher. I know now that this was mania. When the mania passed so too did the interest in publishing.

Fast forward more than ten years, and here I am contemplating publishing again. This time I will follow through on it. I will be turning this blog into a memoir. Hopefully in a year or two.

Starting July 8th I'll be taking a 10-week memoir writing workshop through Gotham Writer's Workshop. I'm looking forward to it. Last summer I took a one-day memoir writing workshop through Gotham. It was a nice taste test. I'm looking forward to delving deeper than a one-day workshop allows. The 10-week workshop meets every Tuesday from 10am to 1pm. I'm looking forward to getting feedback on my work.

What do you think of my writing?

The Seven Wonders of the Bipolar World

I wonder if I can get out of bed today.

I wonder if a different drug would help.

I wonder what would happen if I told my friends and coworkers.

I wonder how long this mood swing will last.

I wonder if I have enough spoons for all I need to do today.

I wonder if people can tell that I have a mental disorder.

I wonder if this is the best I will ever get, for the rest of my life.


Clothes Really Do Make the Person

I've been doing a lot of shopping lately (this could be a manic shopping spree, although the mania is starting to come down). With my 17 pound weight loss, I've decided to buy clothes that I feel great in. I've missed getting dressed. I really miss my wardrobe. All last year I felt frumpy and fat. A number of people (family, coworkers, strangers) asked me if I was pregnant. My response was, "No, I'm just fat." It is beyond me why people think it is appropriate to ask a woman if she is pregnant. I found their question highly offensive and invasive.

Psychology Today recently published an article on the link between mood and clothing. Caring about your appearance is not frivolous or narcissistic:

"When a University professor asked students to put on Superman t-shirts, there was a scientific reason behind the request. Professor Karen Pine wanted to know whether the heroic clothing could really have an unconscious effect on the students’ thought processes. Her suspicions were confirmed. She found it boosted their impression of themselves and made them believe they were physically stronger than control groups. This, and other discoveries of how clothing can change our minds, is the topic of her new book called Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion.

When wearing a Superman t-shirt, Professor Pine’s students rated themselves as more likeable and superior to other students. When asked to estimate how much they could physically lift, those in a Superman t-shirt thought they were stronger than students in a similar t-shirt without the Superman logo, or in their own clothing. Through the book Pine reveals how people’s mental processes and perceptions can be primed by clothing, as they internalise the symbolic meaning of their outer layers."

Last year my friends suggested I buy clothes that I felt good in. I didn't heed their advice right away. I wish I would have. But I did not like how my body looked in clothes. My stomach was huge (I really did look pregnant). The one good thing about the weight gain was that it was evenly distributed throughout my entire body. I finally had a big butt! I've always wanted a stereotypically black body.

The article furthers the link between mood and confidence and clothing by saying:

"She describes the link between women’s moods and their clothing choices. Having found that women are more likely to wear jeans when feeling low or depressed, Pine explores how clothing can reinforce negative mood states. She also uncovers recent research into the link between mood and clothing, showing that when women are stressed their world narrows down and this results in them wearing less of their wardrobe, neglecting as much as 90 percent of it."

So choose your clothing carefully!

I’m Sorry to Have Taken Your Time

I haven't written much the last few months.  There's a very good reason why.  Since my diagnosis of uterine prolapse and then my decision to have a total hysterectomy and oophorectomy I really can't think of much else.  I've written a few posts about it but not a lot.

And here's why - I'm pretty sure everyone in my life is sick of hearing about it.

So how am I supposed to write if all I can think about is something others are bored with?

As I pondered this question I realized two things.  First, it's my blog and I can write about whatever I want.  I'm always saying my blog is more for me than for anyone else.  So why am I holding back this time?  Which leads me to the second realization.  I am holding back because again I feel like I am inflicting myself on others and it's my job to protect them from having to experience my life.

That last part is an ongoing issue for me.  It has been for as long as I can remember.  I often feel guilty when I take others' time.  There are many people I would like to be closer to.  There are many people I'd like to visit.  There are many people I'd like to spend time with.  But I don't initiate these encounters because their time is limited and they shouldn't have to spend it with me.

Even when people have loosely invited me to do so.

"Let me know when we can get together for lunch."  "Stop by again some time."  "Come see me."  But because there's no scheduled time I am sure I'll pick the wrong time and they will let me stay to be polite, but they will be counting the minutes until I leave because they've got things to do.  More important things to do.  More important than me.

It sounds stupid when I say it; but it's how I feel.

Why do I feel this way?  I'm pretty sure it's because my parents always made me feel like I was a burden.  So now I feel like a burden to everyone.  (Which is also why it's so difficult for me to ask for help - even when I really need it.)

And because I am such a burden, I want to protect people from me.  I don't want to be the albatross around their neck.

It's dumb.  And I'm working on it.  And now that I've realized it about this situation I'm going to stop it.

This is my blog.  And I want to write about my pain and upcoming surgery.  And if you don't want to read about it, you're a big girl (or boy) and can take care of yourself.  Click away and go somewhere else.  You are responsible for your choices and feelings and I am responsible for mine.

I'm hurting.  A lot!  I feel like there is an alien inside my uterus eating me alive as it chews and claws its way out.  My ovaries feel like they are tied in knots (okay, maybe that's my fallopian tubes).  Sharp, shooting pain that radiates down my leg making it difficult to walk.  Sometimes I can't stand up straight because it hurts so bad.  There is no position that makes it better and no pain killer seems to help.

I have so much I still want to do to get my home and life ready for my recuperation time.  It's four days away now so I'm running out of time.  It's a bad time to be hurting so much because I can't do anything.  It is making me prioritize though, decide what's the most important to get done.  It's also reminding me I'm making the right decision about having surgery.

You see, I'm terrified of the surgery.  But more terrified about life after surgery.

I don't want to be anesthetized. I don't want to be cut open.  I don't want parts of my body removed.  I don't want those first moments coming out of anesthesia, being disoriented, nauseous, and helpless.

I don't want to be the patient.  I don't want to be the center of attention.  I don't want to need help.  I don't want to be weak.

I don't want to hurt.  I don't want to be on narcotics.  I don't want the rebound headache that's going to follow.  I don't want the potential depression that could come from sedative use.  I don't want the hormonal hurricane that will follow and the emotional trauma I could experience and/or cause.

I don't want my family to worry about me, especially my children.

I don't want to be an inconvenience to anyone.  I don't want to take their time and emotional energy.

And we're right back where this post started.  I don't want to be a burden or a bother.

The decision is right.  I am sure of this in my heart.  And mind.  And body.  I just wish it didn't come with so much other junk.

A quiet-ish mind

Alas…my mind is quiet. REALLY. Maybe I am just tired but for once…the cyclone of thoughts is absent. I feel accomplished, calm, and content. It happens rarely but it’s happening now. I like it. DO WANT.

It could change on a dime but for now…I’m going with it. Quiet is good in a mind that is so often unquiet.

Okay, shameless self and friend promotion.

The blog of Bex.

My ADD random blog of idiotic musings

And remember…

If you want the voices in your head gone…Announce that you’re going to start charging rent. Those mooches won’t pay for anything and will move out immediately.

 

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Weight Loss

As I've written before, I gained 52 pounds in about a three or four month window last year. I normally weigh between 125 and 128 pounds. I've never been heavier than 128. At my heaviest last year I weighed 171.

I can proudly report that I have lost a total of 17 pounds! I now weigh 154. I exercise two to four days per week. And since I got out of the hospital two weeks ago, I've been making a conscious effort to eat less. The IOP (Intensive Outpatient Therapy) nurse also told me that the new medicines I'm on (Latuda and Lithium) respond better to exercise, so I'll have an easier time losing weight.

I'm hoping to lose another 14 to 19 pounds. So my new ideal weight is 135 to 140. I don't know if I'll ever see 128 again. My primary care doctor told me that I was too thin before. But it's the only weight I've known. I'm naturally thin. I didn't hit 125 until my mid-20s; I'm only 30 now. And I'd like to fit into my old clothes. I can't fit about 75% of my wardrobe. And I love clothes!

I hope I lose another five pounds this summer. I joined the YMCA for the summer. My goal is to take three fitness classes per week for the summer: spinning, cardio, yoga, water aerobics, and zumba. During the school year my job subsidizes a personal trainer to work out with the faculty and staff. We only have to pay $5 per class! (Side note: I teach at a great school.)

What are your fitness goals? What do you do to stay motivated? Do you have any tips or suggestions for me to lose the last 14 to 19 pounds? Thanks in advance!

Lee Thompson Young

Actor Lee Thompson Young committed suicide last year. He was just 29 years old. He suffered from Bipolar Disorder too. He is best known for the Disney series The Famous Jett Jackson and the TNT series Rizzoli and Isles.

His family has broken their silence and are talking about his death. Read about it here. His family has started a foundation in honor of Young called the Lee Thompson Young Foundation. According to the website, the foundation's mission is to "promote mental health literacy through the Foundation's mission and vision. We envision a world in which mental illness is recognized by all as a treatable, biological disorder and the stigma associated with it no longer exists; a world that supports and encourages wholeness and wellbeing at every stage of life."

What a great mission and vision! I hope that my blog is reaching the same goals. I am not stigmatized by my disorder and have no problem sharing my story. I hope that by reading my blog it demystifies mental illness for you. I hope that by reading my blog you become more empathetic. I hope that by reading my blog you are able to look out for your friends and loved ones who might be battling their own mental illnesses.

Thank you for reading :)

Rock, Paper, Scissors

And now, back to life in the real world where I’m still out of work, there are few suitable prospects, and I’m playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with the utility bills to try and figure out which is going to suck least when it gets shut off. If I let the phone bill go, not only I but my husband and sister will be without phones. If I let the cable/Internet bill go, I have no way to fill out online job applications or even see what’s out there. And if I let the electric bill go, we won’t be able to use any of those things. Then again, if we let the rent go, none of the rest of it will matter anyway.

I don’t see any way out of this mess that won’t cost us dearly. And when I can’t see beyond the end of my nose, my mood goes in the toilet. I’m not sleeping well and have been a little down for the past few days, but this morning when I was assessing our finances, I had a few moments of weakness and allowed my mind to wander off down paths that are much better left unexplored. I imagined the relief of not having to deal with any of this shit anymore. I even thought briefly about how to accomplish the deed, which wouldn’t be difficult with the pharmacy I have in my house.

I am heartily sick of worrying about money. And more than that, I’m sick of being afraid: of becoming homeless, of not being able to afford meds and food, of losing my pets and especially my dignity. As much as I’ve been through in life, I’ve always had one thing going for me, and that’s pride. I don’t do failure. I’m not going to start now either, because I’ve finally got it through my head that I’m not a loser. But right now I’m sure as hell not winning, and with the exception of the memory of holding my new grandbaby yesterday, I have lost my happy thoughts.

As always, however, my stronger self pushed its way through the steaming pile my mind had created, and I began chanting to myself, “This too shall pass”, which is my mantra for getting through these things. I also reminded myself that ending it all is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and chided myself for even letting it into my consciousness. It’s just MONEY, for Pete’s sake. It means a lot, but it’s not worth that.

Ever the visual type, I imagined myself stomping the S-word into dust and sweeping it out the door. Good riddance.

Two hours later Will and I were out running errands, and he said something silly that amused me far more than it should have, and I broke up. It was the delicious kind of laughter that has more than a little hysteria in it, and I hee-hawed until tears ran down my face. But it was healing, for it knocked down the wall my fears had built up and calmed me down. A LOT.

So now I’m sitting here writing this post and feeling a bit sheepish for allowing my brain to try to murder me, if only for a few fleeting minutes. Yeah, I’m depressed, but I’ll be OK—this is all situational. And not being particularly impulsive at this moment in time, I still have the ability to think things through. Two years ago, I’m not sure I would have thought it through. Nor would I have told anyone what I was feeling. What a difference time and medications can make!

I still hate what’s happening, and I’m desperate to find a way out of it that doesn’t totally suck. But June’s rent is finally paid, the water, lights, phones, and Internet are still operational, and our car is still insured (even though our rates just doubled because of that stupid no-damage accident in February, which is a rant for another day). Next week, I’ll have to choose which utilities will remain in service…..but I don’t have to do it today. And I’m not going ANYWHERE.