Daily Archives: September 26, 2014

Do you ever struggle to ID your emotions?

I wish I could afford therapy. I don’t want CBT strategies right now, I just want someone to tell me what mood I’m in from time to time. Not knowing and not being able to work it out is frustrating, to put it mildly. I used to just know, I presume it’s ‘normal’ to just know.

Maybe I’m over the fascination of my own symptoms and side effects now, after almost two months of obsessive research. A good sign, I think. When confused, I try to get back to basics.

mood dis·or·der (noun)
    a psychological disorder characterized by the elevation or lowering of a person’s mood, such as depression or bipolar disorder.

My next question is why am I  unable to work out wtf I am feeling. My google fu failed me. I couldn’t work it out and I have no idea if everyone goes through this. A few years ago I noticed I was growing less fond of talking about emotions, but being able to identify them came later (and got steadily worse).

To conceive or not to conceive – Is that really a valid question?

Let me be clear from the off…… This is not ‘sound medical advice’, this may not even be sound – or advice! It just happens to have been on my thoughts a lot lately and I had to get it out … Continue reading

The Anniversary Waltz

What a difference a year makes…..fourteen months ago, we weren’t sure if Will and I would make it to our 33rd wedding anniversary, and now here it is late September again and we’re about to celebrate Number 34 tomorrow.

It’s amazing how much things change during a long marriage. You start out with honeymoon dreams and very little else, but as you build a history together, the dreams are replaced with something of substance that you can lean upon when times are tough. That’s when you learn the difference between loving someone and merely being “in love” with them. The mushy stuff—the sickly-sweet Valentines, the Kama Sutra oil, the hearts and flowers—all of that goes away with time, but if you can look over at your mate and feel safe and secure, that’s really all that matters.

And I do feel safe and secure with Will. I always have. For 34 years I’ve been loved unconditionally and supported in whatever I wanted to do, no matter how challenging my behaviors or how complicated it must be to love me. I didn’t know that kind of love when I was growing up, and it took me about 20 years to figure out that this was the real deal; sometimes I still struggle with the concept of receiving unconditional love, even though I have no trouble loving him and our children that way.

But whatever the reason, I know Will does love me utterly without reservation and always has. I don’t have to do anything to earn it…..it’s almost like God’s love in that way. Then again, God does work through ordinary human beings, and maybe Will is His instrument because I’ve always had such a tough time accepting love, let alone believing I deserve it. I still have my doubts on that score. However, the statistics say otherwise, and the proof is sitting right over there at his desk, working on his model airplane engine.

Happy Anniversary to my soulmate of 34 years! Realistically, I can’t wish for another 34, but we’ll continue to take life and love one day at a time, and that’s good enough for us. <3


Suicide

Trigger Warning – this subject may be upsetting for some people – this blog post is about suicide. Yes, I said the “S” word. Suicide is a word many people don’t like hearing or saying. It’s a serious word and a dangerous word. It’s a scary word. But it’s not a word that should be shunned. Suicide is often the symptom of a mental illness, in this case, of bipolar disorder. Statistics vary, but most of my research indicates 25-50% of people with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide at least once. The language is changing: we now say someone died by suicide, or in general, death by suicide. In Canada, attempting suicide was decriminalized in 1972 and so the term “committed suicide” has a negative connotation.

If you know someone with bipolar disorder and they’re having a particularly difficult time, don’t avoid the subject. Ask them straight out if they’re thinking of hurting themselves. Talk about it. Ask them if they’re thinking about killing themselves. As them if they have a plan. If you have any suspicions, don’t leave them alone. Talking about it will not make it more likely that they will act on their thoughts. That’s a myth.

When someone with bipolar disorder becomes manic they can act recklessly and take risks. They can also become psychotic. As well, when they are depressed, the hopelessness and helplessness can become too much to bear. Perhaps they’re feeling trapped. When in doubt call 911. They need a mental health professional. Always take talk about suicide seriously.

Prevention of suicide starts with awareness, conversation and medical treatment. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. You might just save a life.


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I know the empathy borne of despair; I know the fluidity of thought, the expansive, even beautiful, mind that hypomania brings, and I know this is quicksilver and precious and often it’s poison.
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar

I am an anomaly. (But that’s ok cos so are you.) Let me count the ways … eh whatever, these days I guess most of what my friends would call eccentricities can be ascribed to bipolar disfuckingorder. Even my creativity, apparently.

The truth is that I had no idea who the hell I was even before the bipolar diagnosis. I’d lost touch with me about a year beforehand. And then I went head first into depression and psychosis, then more depression, then anhedonia.

And now? Is my research and reading actually hypomania?

image

I’m too agitated to think properly, my memory has gone for a ball of shit.

Shoutout to whoever landed on my blog using the search term deep sea fuck.

Without the struggle I wouldn’t realise how strong I am

At my last session I told my doc I had an online blog. I’d been pretty pissed off that one of my friends from the ‘outside world’ had been reading it without ‘permission’ and told her so. Doc thought this … Continue reading

Take Your Damn Meds

By the time I was diagnosed with bipolar, I was already meds compliant, having been treated for PTSD and depression for a couple of decades. The more I read about bipolar, the more sure I am that obediently swallowing pills (I have a psychiatrist I trust), is essential.

I rounded up some quotes about being bipolar and taking your meds.

I take my meds. Number one, two, three, four and five is that I take my medication.
Marya Hornbacher

Love is not enough. It takes courage to grab my father’s demon, my own, or – God help me – my child’s and strap it down and stop its mad jig; to sit in a row of white rooms filled with pills and clubbed dreamers and shout: stop smiling, shut up; shut up and stop laughing; you’re sitting in hell. Stop preaching; stop weeping. You are a manic-depressive, always. your life is larger than most, unimaginable. You’re blessed; just admit it and take the damn pill.
David Lovelace

Every pore of you is crying and you don’t even understand why or what. I actually kind of died and got born again as a result of taking the meds and having a chance to, you know, build a life.”
Sinéad O’Connor

“Suddenly I wanted to get better. Mania wasn’t fun anymore. It wasn’t creative or visionary. It was mean parody at best, a cheap chemical trick. I needed to stop and get better. I’d take whatever they gave me, I pledged silently. I’d take Trilafon or Thorazine or whatever. I just wanted to sleep.”
David Lovelace

There were a few things scarier than a bipolar vampire off his meds, but to be honest, not that many.
Rachel Caine, Daylighters (The Morganville Vampires, #15)

NAMI Week Ten

This was the last week of NAMI Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Program ©. Last class agenda:

  • Revisit BRIDGES Consumer Stages of Recovery. BRIDGES, Building Recovery of Individual Dreams and Goals through Education and Support, is a NAMI Tennessee copyrighted program that provides education and support to persons diagnosed with a mental illness. Here are the BRIDGES Consumer Stages of Recovery quoted from our handout:
    • Event 1 – Crisis: Psychosis, suicide attempt, mania, episodes of severe depression
    • Stage 1 – Recuperation: Stage of dependence. After trauma of mental illness episode ~ exhaustion of body, mind and spirit.
    • Emotions: Denial, Confusion, Depression, Humiliation, Isolation, Self-hatred, Resentment, Anger
    • Needs:
      • Safe place to rest – a lot of sleep
      • Someone to take care of me
      • To provide basic needs: Nutritious food, personal hygiene.
      • I am unable to take on even the simplest task of daily living
      • Medications (probably)
    • Event 2 – Decision: “Time to get going” – I must make it for myself. If I rush it, I may have a setback. If I resist it; I will feel bored and empty.
    • Stage 2 – Rebuilding: Rebuilding independence, ability to do things for myself. I need help to learn and practice living skills. I feel “up” when I succeed and “down” when I don’t.
    • Emotions: Hope, Grief, Discouragement, Boredom, Self-doubt, Trust, Fear, Excitement, Anxiety, Frustration with setbacks, Pride in success
    • Needs:
      • Tell my story: To have others hear my pain and despair
      • Learn about mental illness: “What is happening to me and why?”
      • Persons who believe in me: Mentor/teacher/friend
      • Getting and managing: Money, food, clothes, a good place to live
      • Learning (relearning) social skills and working skills
    • Event 3 – Awakening: “I am somebody. I have a dream!” Coming to know “the new me.” Starting to dream about who I am and who I can be. I am the Phoenix rising from the ashes.
    • Stage 3 – Recovery/Discovery: Building healthy interdependence: Starting to know, “Who I am and what I want to be, who I care about and who cares about me”
    • Emotions: Self-acceptance, Appreciation of others, Confidence, Anger at injustice, Assertiveness, Helpfulness to others
    • Needs:
      • A personal vision: A dream to strive for
      • People who appreciate me
      • Intimacy: Someone to love
      • Meaningful work: A chance to leave footprints
      • To advocate for self and others
    • (Source: BRIDGES, Building Recovery of Individual Dreams and Goals through Education and Support, 2006)
  • Empowerment
  • Advocacy
  • Opportunities for involvement in NAMI ~ before class started, I had filled out and submitted an application to volunteer. In fact, the reason I initially signed up for NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer class was that I wanted to volunteer for NAMI. As I found out, I had much to learn from the class. This is spite of the fact that I have been a mental health consumer since I was 18 years old, and I am licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist.
  • Mindfulness
  • Evaluations
  • Celebration

Filed under: Mental Health, NAMI, Psychosocial Education, Recovery

Feeling Like Hell

I’m sick, I have a cold, I have a Uti and frankly I am way too tired to post.

Therapy was good.

Day with MIL was good.

I’ll post picture of the hole soon, promise.

Night night.


Difficulties

One thing I have trouble with is knowing that I have to keep taking my medicine.

Lately I’ve been feeling great, so my mind is telling me I don’t need them anymore. But I know better. It’s one of the things my psychologist warned me about. I have to keep taking my medication, or I could have a massive plummet to my stability. But it’s something that is troublesome. I have to consciously think that everything will not remain stable if I stop taking my medication.

And lately I’ve just been having trouble with it. My brain keeps telling me, “Oh you’re fine. You don’t need the pills.” Which I know isn’t true. I need them, or I’ll go off the rails.

It’s a bit of a struggle for me lately. I just have to get through this, and remember that I need to keep taking my medication to make myself healthy.