Daily Archives: August 14, 2014

Am I Sad or Depressed?

“Am I sad or depressed?” is a conversation I have with my psychiatrist on a regular basis. He’ll ask me how I’m doing and I tell him that I’m not sure. This week is easy. With Robin Williams’ death, I am sad, but it’s not always that easy to tell the difference. I guess it’s […]

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I don’t wanna…please don’t make me…NO NO NO

Yeah, I don’t have the big girl panties on at the moment. My mood went to hell in a handbasket after a night of hypomania (stayed up until almost 3 a.m. because I was just in that awesome zone of mellow and focused). Day was okay. Then the “out of comfort zone” anxiety set in. Then my car flooded and wouldn’t start. From there, it just slid down the rabbit hole. Triggered? I suppose. But it was also inevitable following hypomania. Doctors consider this “mild” compared to full blown manic episodes but it’s really not mild when you’re going through it. You don’t know what hell is until you go from being ten feet tall and bulletproof to being in this current mamby pamby “I’m a bad mom, I’m bad at this, I fucked this up, omg, I am so fat and ugly and everything is goddamn pointless why am I even bothering to draw breath?????” place.
It’s not self pity. It’s just fucked up chemicals taking a mood shift and bit of bad luck and swirling it into this dark billowing cloud over my head that is sucking all the joy and replacing it with negativity and hopelessness.
Mild, my ass. I was awesome. Now I am ass trash.

And tonight is my kid’s open house at school.

I am searching my warped memory bank for any viable excuse (dirty little lie) that might get me out of it. Because god knows it’s all about me, not the child. (This is why I think I am a lousy mom.) The brain’s not having any of my bullying or pep talks, though. It’s pretty sure this current mood is the real deal and everything is going to shit and I should just drink bleach and stop polluting the world with my ineptitude. It will pass, that’s the only true saving grace of cyclothymia. How I feel at 2 pm is usually the opposite of how I feel at 10 pm. Until the shift happens, though…It’s pure ass trash land. Asstrashapalooza.

I don’t wanna go. Please don’t make me. NO NO NO!
I suck.
I’m not right in the head.
I wanna be better, do better. Why why why did the mood crash have to happen on this day, at this time????
And why am I just sinking further down the rabbit hole the more I think about it instead of that mommy thing kicking in and telling me I can have my meltdown and selfish me me me time later?

This is why I absolutely loathe being happy to any extent. I can’t capture it and hold onto it, it’s light trying to bottle lightning. Life is so much easier if just content or flat out depressed. Happy is but a distant memory and you learn to live without it. But when you get hypomanic and feel those bursts of happiness, you want to keep it forever and wallow in that energy and joy and feel so normal and functional.
And it’s yanked out from under you like a rug.
And you land on your face.

This is why I strive only for contentment. I don’t need to be ecstatic. The fall is too hard. I don’t want to go up. I don’t want to come down. I just want to stay in the happy medium, in the middle.

And I can’t even get that right.

A song I am currently crushing on is by Stitched Up Heart.
And concerning bipolar, this is indeed…
the way you get to hell.

The Loss of Robin Williams, and the Reality of Depression


Kat touches on what so many of us suffering from mental illness face every day.

Originally posted on A Kat Galaxy Blog:



My husband I were on the couch, television muted, listening to music.

A red banner announcing Robin Williams’s death flashed on the screen.

He was only 63. We immediately thought suicide, or overdose.

We shut the music off and turned the volume back on the TV.

Indeed, he took his own life, reportedly by asphyxiation. 

A dear friend from high school died that way a year after we graduated.

A shocking announcement.

This morning, as I turn on the news and start my day, it’s palpable.


Yesterday, my husband argued with me as I phoned him on the way home from…

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Why does it take the death of a celebrity to get people to talk about Mental Illness?

megaphoneRobin Williams, a comedian/actor died on August 11th. For the past three days everyone has been talking about him, his mental illness and the sad details of his death.

There has been increase in talk about mental illness (some good, some bad). The amount of talk has increased in leaps and bounds.  It is great that it is a topic of conversation.

However, mental illness was a problem before his death. One  in four people are affected by the disease.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.  How many people knew that before August 11th?  How many people knew that Robin Williams suffered from bipolar disorder? How many people even knew what bipolar disorder was?

I am glad that people are talking about mental illness. However, how long will it last?  If it’s anything like other famous people and their deaths in the past, not too long.

Mental illness needs to be talked about not only when a famous person dies, but all the time.  It does not just need to be discussed among those affected by mental illness, but by everyone!

People need to be made aware that mental illness is something that can be treated, what to look for in others, where they can get help, that there is hope and recovery, and there is no shame in getting help.  Instead, people oftentimes only hear about the horrific things that happen in the news that involve people with mental illnesses. Instead of the media taking those opportunities to educate others about mental illness, they contribute to the stigma oftentimes.

Robin Williams’s death is awful and I am glad that it has brought the talk of mental illness to the forefront. His death deeply saddens me yet I hope that much can be learned by it. My fear is that the talk about mental illness will stop in the near future. The 25% of the population that suffers from mental illness deserves more than that.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Robin’s  family during this difficult time.  I also am thinking about the families of the 30,000 other people who have committed suicide this past year.


Psychotically Yours?

The last couple of days, I have had this incredibly pervasive ‘memory’. My brain seems to insist that I was once married when I was in the Air Force. This absolutely never happened; I was never even engaged to anyone until my current (and only) spouse of seven years. But the feeling that this happened is so demanding and insistent that even with no supporting memories, my brain is on the verge of giving up and deciding that it is headcanon. Even with my tendency to have very vivid dreams, I don’t remember dreaming this ‘fact’, I have never had something like this happen before.

Suffices to say, it’s a bit on the disturbing side.

Having bipolar disorder, I know that I am at higher risk than average for postpartum psychosis. And while I don’t know if one weird little brain nag combined with my slightly higher than average level of paranoia means that I’m actual psychotic, but I’m certainly wary (which feeds the paranoia, naturally!). I’ve discussed it with my husband, and have had him keep me in the loop about his opinion of my behaviors and mood (which gets a clean enough bill of health). So really, I’m not inclined to dash down to the A&E and risk getting committed over a niggle, ESPECIALLY since I think being confined would instantly make me a million times worse. I have a rather large personal bubble, and pretty much lose all ability to function and not cry if I’m restricted in my freedom of movement.

So what I’ve done for now is taken an extra 25mg of Seroquel, which is an ultra-titchy dose, but it tends to kick the brain taco very quickly. And it seems to have helped me put The Marriage That Wasn’t out of my head pretty firmly. If my brain continues spouting stuff like that, I’ll call my doctor and get her to up my dose officially. If that doesn’t help, then I’ll suck it up and go to A&E, or call the Crisis team. But considering that I mainly feel stable, cheerful, and functional, I’d definitely rather wait and see.

What do you guys think? I’m fairly confident that between myself, my husband, and my mother-in-law that we’re all satisfied that I’m doing alright currently. But as being psychotic/having psychosis is outside my realm of experience to date, I’d certainly not turn down some opinions/shared experiences.


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The Absence of “WOW”

I don’t want to seem ungrateful or anything, but what I could really use right now is a good dose of hypomania.

Yes, I know it’s ridiculous. Yes, I know it’s stupid, especially after everything I’ve gone through to get to what I consider to be relative stability (although Dr. Awesomesauce argued that point with me the other day; he doesn’t seem to think I’m quite as stable as I think I am). But I miss my fire and my passion, and I can’t help thinking that getting them back might propel me out of this lassitude and into taking action to correct the course my life is on right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for the decrease in what used to be some really wild mood swings. It’s not a bad life, although most of what’s happening in it basically sucks. It’s just what I call—for lack of a better term—the absence of “WOW”.

Now I find myself wondering if this is the way most people are all the time. Is this how it is to never be too hot or too cold? To be sad, but never depressed? To be happy, even joyful, but never, ever the least bit manic? I guess my perspective is a little skewed because up until recently, I’ve never known life without the full spectrum of moods. And I imagine it wouldn’t take too much messing around with my meds to set the clock back.

I keep thinking about calling Dr. A and asking him to let me taper off the Zyprexa and see what happens. He definitely doesn’t want me on two anti-psychotics forever; he said as much the other day. And then I remember what happened the last time I tried decreasing the dose—not only did I go off track, I went too far the OTHER way and wound up having serious thoughts about getting off the choo-choo altogether. No bueno. So I’ll wait till I see him next month and if I’m still feeling dull and unmotivated, I’ll ask. I’m not foolish or reckless enough anymore to try it on my own.

See? Even my willingness to take chances is strangely absent. That’s probably a good thing, but I feel like I’m missing out on something.

Now, I realize this line of thinking can be dangerous. Lots of bipolars have gone completely off their meds (and their rockers) for the same reasons. I would never do that, simply because I remember how long it took to get my illness under control and how many med tweaks I’ve had to endure. (At last count, I’d been through a grand total of 26 adjustments.) And as a clinician, I know that the odds are against me wrestling this beast back into submission easily if I were to turn it loose, even a little. So I don’t let myself think about that too much.

I just wish there were some way that I could be silly, funny, creative ME without all the bad stuff that sometimes accompanies hypomania—the crappy sleep, the irritability, the inability to focus, and the chance that it could develop into full-blown mania. I want my “WOW” back!




Not With A Bang, But A Whimper

I don’t usually get all maudlin and soppy when a celebrity dies, but the death of Robin Williams has hit me unexpectedly hard. Maybe it’s because he was “one of us”, suffering from depression and addiction despite all the advantages of his wealth and fame. He was also reported to have had bipolar disorder according to some stories, although I suspect these may be anecdotal since the reputable news sources have mentioned “only” severe depression. But what scares me about this particular loss is that I completely understand the kind of desperation he must have been feeling to believe suicide was the only way out.

I wish I didn’t understand it. I wish I could be one of those people who can throw around terms like “selfish” and “cowardly” without a care because they’ve never experienced profound depression. But I’m not, and I wouldn’t wish the illness on my worst enemy.

Contrary to popular opinion, suicide is NOT a selfish or cowardly act. It is the act of a person who has reached the very end of his (or her) endurance and sees nothing ahead but more darkness and pain. It’s a myth that suicidal people don’t think about their families and friends when contemplating their exit from this world; in fact, they often leave notes that are full of love and regret. But once they have convinced themselves that their loved ones would be better off without them, it is very, very hard to go back over that bridge without direct intervention from someone they trust. And sometimes that help comes too late.

Robin Williams had access to the best medical and psychiatric care money could buy. He also had the love and admiration of millions; he made us laugh, he made us cry, he made us think. He was a complicated, deeply flawed, but ultimately decent human being who, in the end, just could not reach out for the help he needed so badly. What a heartache it is to see a life that brightened so many other lives end in such an undignified fashion.

If any good is to come of his death, let it be the end of the stigma that accompanies mental illness. No more sweeping it under the rug, no more stereotyping people because of it, no more ignoring its sufferers. No more.

The world has lost one of its lights. I hope and pray Robin Williams has finally found the peace and acceptance that eluded him in this life. RIP.


Blue Jean Dreams

In a stolen moment of calm, half-remembered dreams wind around me ... I see their faded patterns, every crease a story.