Monthly Archives: September 2014

Living The Dream

Yes, folks, it’s official: I got the writing job!!

It’s what I’ve dreamed of all my life. To do something I’m passionate about AND get paid for it is all I’ve ever really wanted, and today, that opportunity arrived in the form of a welcome letter and a contract. The money won’t keep the wolf away from the door, but that’s not the only reason for doing it…..it’s also because the offer is a huge sign of respect. For my contributions to nursing. For my ability to capture in words complex situations and emotions. Heck, even for my twisted sense of humor (that I got from being a nurse). I feel so honored; the fact that I was one of a few selected from over a hundred applicants amazes me, even though I’ve worked my tail off for years and done some of my best writing for little or nothing.

It also shows how far I’ve come in a little less than three years. I was once almost banned from the website for repeatedly insulting other members, and while some of that was related to being under the influence of Wellbutrin, I can’t excuse my behavior for the rest of the time I was acting like a jerk. In retrospect, this was one of the major turning points in my life—it was when I received a formal warning that I knew something was terribly, terribly wrong and I needed help—and in many ways I credit the administrators for forcing me to get it. And now look at the rewards!

This will be the first time writing under my own name. I’ve always used my screen name for my articles, just as I do here, but this is the real deal and I’m actually OK with it. I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I write. What I AM is proud, happy, nervous, excited, and humbled…..and I can’t wait to get started. Woo-HOO!!

 

 

 

 


Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

As I type this, I am in pain. I slipped and fell on my kitchen floor today, not fun. Besides that, I’m in emotional pain from a particular individual I work with who is cruel and miserable. Her harsh words triggered a depressive spiral that I haven’t been able to come out of. I’m actually surprised by the level of this depression. It came on suddenly and is painfully insidious. I’m having very dark thoughts and I am finding day to day duties difficult to complete.

I usually find some solace in one of my many hobbies, but I’ve lost interest in most of them. I know this is most likely temporary, but it is still disheartening. I am having trouble in regards to conversing with God, as well. My mind is too crowded with doubts and insults. I try to comfort myself with knowing that no matter what, God does still love me and I’m nowhere near as awful as my mind (and some people) would like me to believe.

I am afraid there is no feel good takeaway in this post, I just cannot summon brightness in the midst of this dark depression. But I will keep holding on, ignoring the lies depression tells me.

Filed under: Self Discovery Tagged: bipolar, depression

Faking It To Make It

This weekend: total ass trash. I had a mini meltdown and got snarky over something irritating but minor with someone I would never want to hurt. Yet I did inflict pain and it makes me feel shitty, especially because compared to my past history of “blow ups” this was barely a blip on the radar.
I try to force it all down.
I am failing.
I mean, R gets to punch walls, my kid gets to have thrashing tantrums, Bex gets to stomp to her room and slam the door…Meanwhile, I am expected to keep it together, bottle up my anger and hurt and stress…Walk on eggshells because I am surrounded by timid people who think me having a meltdown is some affront against them.
It’s exhausting.
I never told anyone else I was stable or reliable or someone to count on. I am entering my downward spiral with more on my shoulders than ever before and now I don’t even feel entitled to mini meltdowns lest I hurt or offend others.
Perhaps I sound petty.
The meltdown helped. Because an hour or two later, I’d let it go. The point is to just purge it, get the poison out of your mind. The question is, how to do this without someone somehow making it about them and how you are mean to them, how you are too emotional, unreasonable blah blah blah.
I don’t have a clue. I am socially inept, always have been.

What I do have a clue about is my current cycle on the bipolar coaster. The cyclothymia is kicking up due to the seasonal affect starting up. My moods don’t hold for more than an hour or two. My interest is scattered, focus nil. I don’t want company.I want to be a robotic mom and I want to get lost in my tv shows. I can’t wait to batcave at night. I feel…toxic, and it’s like inflicting my current incarnation on others is contagious so I want to isolate.
The shrink would say to keep fighting it.
I’m to the point where my nerves are so edgy I can’t even enjoy music and my writing…I am forcing spurts here and there but it feels forced and thus it is crap.
I’m fighting, damn it.

More than fighting it these days…I am faking it to make it. Crumbling under expectations and pressures and stressors. I try to look at all the positive around me and still…I just feel defective and slide further down the rabbit hole.
Then I feel guilty for being unreliable and unstable.
I wrote a heartfelt post last night and saved it to draft because I don’t ever want to hurt anyone or seem petty.
I am contemplating this as a draft.
Because I am obviously circling the drain, making mountains out of mole hills, and putting stress on myself that is just that: me. Not others doing it (well aside from R.) Just me.
What I am is so very different from what I want to be.
I want to be strong and tough and stable and problem solve.

What I am, though, is somewhere between hanging off of cliff by my fingernails and falling down into the rabbit hole.

Every. Fucking. Autumn.
But the doctor tells me I’m not fighting it enough, it’s my personality, it’s outside stressors…
Those around me dismiss me as weird or somehow offending them with my moods and urge to self isolate.

It reminds me of a line from the Elvis song “Suspicious Minds.”
—–“I’m caught in a trap…I can’t walk out…”

My life is a spider’s web and every year at this time I get trapped in it.

Sometimes…I wish the spider would just eat me and be done with it already.
Other times, signs of life flicker and remind me I gotta hang on because it always passes.

It makes me wonder, though,how many people said that and went on to lose it and kill themselves. We all have a breaking point. That lip service where god doesn’t give you more than you can handle…is just that.
Platitudes.

There does come a point where you are handed too much to handle…And some people crack under the strain.

Guess the big question is…am I gonna be one of them?


Dammit, Begone “Sally Field Syndrome”!!!

 Sally Field in one of my favorite movies “Mrs. Doubtfire” with my hero Robin Williams   I saw the Oscar-winning actress Sally Field in the flesh once.  The sighting took place when I was a teenager, during a time when … Continue reading

Posthumous

It was in St Louis, Missouri in October 2003, after witnessing a motorist strike and kill a cyclist, that Patrick Van Der Tuin placed a white-painted bicycle with a sign saying ‘Cyclist Killed Here’ at the scene of the accident that Ghost Bikes first started to appear. Since then these bicycles have cropped up across the globe at the scene of a cycling fatality.

Ghost Bike

What do these stripped down, stationary, painted bicycles represent? A memorial, for sure. A reminder to cyclists and motorists alike to take care. One aspect of these bikes tends to go unnoticed, however. They have been stripped of several vital parts before being placed at the scene. The rationale behind this is that it will deter thieves.

When I cycle past one of these bikes I give it a nod. Out of respect to the dead cyclist, one of my tribe. Yes. Yes I should say that. But that’s not the real reason. The real reason I acknowledge these ghost bikes is that they concentrate my mind – and that’s something that takes some doing. I do not mean that they serve as a reminder to me to take care on the road – that’s a topic for another edition.

No, what they make me think about is … is the basics. These are bike frames that are meant to represent their riders and they call to mind basic feelings in me which I choose to identify as those devious fiends: facts. It’s easily done. Any out of breath rider will agree that how they feel ( burning chest, sore legs, numb feet) are facts. How these physical feelings impact on our mood (elation, despair, a sense of achievement/failure) are also facts.

They are true.

So, for me, feelings are facts. Thinking back over the years,  all my counsellors (1), psychoanalysts (2) and psychiatrists ( 4 or 5 ) have tried to persuade me that my feelings (despair, suicidality, hopelessness and guilt) do not fit the facts. The only people involved in my recovery that do not try this approach, by the way, are peer support groups. And, you will be interested to hear, they are the most effective form of treatment I know.

So what are these facts of which I write? It is the fact, the fact, as bloody  – minded and as selfish as it is, that I envy them. I envy them their death, I envy them their stark tributes, their lack of responsibility that life demands, their air of mystery, the absence from suffering that their crushed bones bring.

While I, all I have, are slow legs and a passionate intensity that can only end in stony sleep.
THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

W. B. Yeats (1865 – 1939)

 

 


Seeing my father on his deathbed made me forgive all the wrong he did

An unusual version of the bipolar parent story by Olivia Snaije, it was a really good read.

Before long he met my New York-born Jewish mother, an artist. She told me that, at the time, he was already suffering from what was then called manic depression, now bipolar disorder. He had said to her: “I always fail at the height of success.”
Read

Today Was Good

I am still recovering but today was pretty good.

We went out to the lot which is always awesome and wandered around one of the houses that is the same model of ours but is further along in the build.

Went out to lunch with MIL and we did a little shopping. I needed some stationary as I’ve decided to write my grandparents a letter. I want to communicate with them while they are still alive. I miss them and went them to know it.

I cooked dinner for the entire family, SIL, FIL and MIL plus hubby and everyone ate a lot and complimented it. It was just tacos but it made me feel good non-the-less.

Lastly we all watch the newest X-Men movie together which was nice as my MIL has surround sound. We shut down all the lights and it felt like we were enjoying it in a theatre. I enjoyed it as well as the ambience.

so no real complaint today except for the fact I have to do laundry and I am a little hypos manic. I am at least getting things done!


Happy Anniversary!

WordPress just wished me a Happy Anniversary! Today is my one year anniversary blogging. Hurray! The process of blogging, of writing, of networking with other writers both in “real life” and online has shaped me over this past year. I now feel intellectually engaged, emotionally supported, purposeful and hopeful. Yes, hopeful. That is HUGE. I now have goals for the future that have grown out of my experience blogging as a mental health advocate. I can see those dreams coming to fruition. Pretty awesome, actually.


Filed under: Mental Health, Vocation, Writing Tagged: anniversary, blogging

Bad…

This is how I feel right now… :(


Filed under: depressed

Der Rapid Cycle

BrunnhildeI’m at that phase of The Chest Cold/Bronchitis Opera where initial mania (Ooo, goodie!  I get to sleep all day and eat Raman Noodles!) gives way to the longer aria of depression.  I’ve been singing this part for several years now, and sometimes the Dark Solo can go on for months.  As can the bronchitis itself.  It’s a nasty, double whammy.  Sorta like Brünhilde losing her immortality AND getting thrown on a pyre.  Heh, Heh.  That Wagner.  What a cut up.

This season, though, I’m finding the depression to be different.  Not easier—that strum und drang never gets easier—but simpler.  This time, I have the gifts my mom left me to help me through the whole Ring cycle—her almost-new Honda and a small monthly income from investments.

sisyphusI’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—the stress of poverty kills.  The hopelessness and desperation it creates turns a person into a sack of mindless meat.  It yanks away the will to live and leaves said person on bloody knees.  It’s a weight that can’t be shucked off or reasoned with—like Sisyphus’ stone (Oops.  Wrong Mythos).

I thank my mom every day for taking away my need to choose between medicine for chest blight and gas for her wonderful car.  I thank her for taking away the stress of being squashed-flat by poverty.  Eliminating that stressor has already made a huge difference in how I deal with my bipolar disorder.  Now I have a real chance to manage it.

But I still have to manage it.  Last week, someone asked me if, since I had a little more money and didn’t have the stress of my Peer Support job, I’d ‘get over the whole bipolar thing now.’  I wasn’t sure how to answer.  It’s not like a cold sore that flares up when you get nervous and then fades away.  It’s not a case of hives.  It’s a mental illness.  I still have to strap on my breast plates and take the stage.  Every single day.  And belt out that damned song.

Don’t be fooled.  The fat lady sings because she has to, not because the show is over.  This is one show that never ends.