Daily Archives: October 5, 2014

Nifty Doodad

Last night hubby snd i got into a fight becausee we were both grumpy sbout not hsving our own. I reminded him thst we just need to keep our eye on the prize.

Now that his bronchitis is better we went out to Gretna for a walk and it made us more relaxed. I really am looking forward to our new home.

I lost my ipad cover and hubby got me a new one that has a keyboard attached which will eventuaslly make blogging easier. Right now I am making a lot of errors as i get used to it. It feel better than actively writing on the ipad though.

image

Neat right?

WE also got costumes for our dogs, Ren will be Wonder Woman and Charlie is Super Girl. They will be adorbs!!

That’s pretty much been my day. We got some time alone which is good. Its been better day thats for sure.


my central nervous system is a screaming demon

Mood is less shaky today. Nerves are worse than yesterday. Hives, knotted stomach, every sound setting off the paranoia receptors, paralyzing fear for no real reason.
On the plus side, I have been uber productive.
On the negative side, I spent the first three hours of the morning doing battle with my kid over the lice issue and combing. still doing battle, actually. She had such a screaming mimi earlier, she threw things and hit me while yelling like a banshee on meth.
That is the side of her only Bex and I see. For everyone else she is this halo wearing cherub and I am the impatient overly demanding mother who simply is too harsh on the angel snowflake.
Much as I love my daughter, I don’t think allowing her to manipulate me with insults and tantrums on every single necessary issue is teaching her right from wrong. So if I am stricter than I’d like to be, it is because I can’t get her reined in with the ‘let me be your friend’ bit.

Had to go to the grocery store earlier. It was packed and I had a major panic attack to the point I actually had to sit in the car a few minutes waiting for my head to stop spinning, my heart to slow down, and my knees to stop wobbling.

Now my head hurts and I am nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. My fucked up brain has decided to latch onto my mother’s insane ranting and convince me the child wellfare people are gonna take my kid away because I’m not as together and on top of everything like I should be.

That’s one of the reasons ‘the Middle’ has become one of my favorite shows. The parents are less than perfect, less than traditional, they lose their cool occasionally and raise their voices. their house isn’t a furniture store room of sterility. but above all else, they have a lot of love.

The world needs to get over its notion that only perfection is acceptable. Parents are flawed and fucked up and we miss things even if we spend all our time with our kids. It doesn’t mean we are neglectful or don’t care.
And considering how my moods fluctuate therefore my stability and functionality does as well…instead of judging me, you’d think they’d be offering to help me out during the rough parts of my illness.

ha. expecting anything but disdain from my family is the definition of delusional.
i really need a priest to exorcise the demon that is my mother from my head. i don’t know why i let her tear me down so much. it’s like letting her win. and that is against my nature and rebellious streak.
Then again, if that were enough i’d rage against my disorders and kick some ass. after all, as my family tells me, it’s all in my head and i am just lazy.

their hypocrisy makes me want to throw up. they are allowed to be less than perfect.
i am supposed to jump through flaming tree chippers in tact to please them.
there are times i think i should write them all off. all their excuses but no slack for me…

It is what it is.

They love me in their own utterly incompetent way. Guess their idea of positive reinforcement to is ensure I never gain an ounce of self confidence.

Frankly, I have the bipolar for that. it came to my attention to do i am rapid cycling. mixed episodes. that never bodes well.
I am beyond frustrated.
This has been the weekend from hell and the week is not looking any better. Mom said if I don’t use the chemical shampoo and get her back to school pronto they will take her from me.
On that one I will fight. We spent sixty bucks on store stuff and prescription stuff and it did fuck all last year. Except make our scalps so dry we itched them raw all over again.
As her mother, it is within my rights to say no, I will not use these chemicals on my kid.Since the school has a no nit policy then it will take a couple of days to ensure they’ve all been eradicated.

Oh, crap, why am I letting that evil monster of a mother of mine pollute my mind and incite such terror in me. everyone knows she’s gone batshit crazier since she retired. And she’s used the child wellfare thing against me over every tiny thing. kid hasd cat hair on her clothes, omg, they will take her away. you have cockroaches, they will take her away. you don’t clean the litter box six times day, it’s an unfit home.
My mother is plain evil and nuts.
My counselors always did say I was the sane one of the bunch even with all my issues.

I’m just going to do the best I can, keep dealing with this lice thing (or the icky ickies, as we are calling them) and let the chips fall where they may. Imperfect is not a synonym for neglectful or uncaring.

Now to find some ibuprofen for my throbbing head.

Decapitation seems too extreme for a headache so ibuprofen will have to suffice.


This Upcoming Week

SICK

Under the weather with a bug that has me achy, fatigued, nauseated, and dizzy. Hope that my physical health improves soon, for I have a big week ahead of me.

SKYPE CALL WEDNESDAY

Annual Emerging Considerations in Maternal Mental Health Forum

Wednesday I have a Skype call scheduled with my friends and colleagues, Dyane Harwood of Birth of a New Brain and Walker Karraa, PhD of Stigmama.com. In February we will be representing Stigmama.com at the Annual Emerging Considerations in Maternal Mental Health Forum. I look forward to seeing my friends’ faces via Skype on Wednesday and in person in February.

MHA VOLUNTEER INTERVIEW THURSDAY

Thursday I am being interviewed by MHA of Orange County to volunteer as a Hearing Advocate:

HEARING ADVOCACY – Advocates fill a legally state mandated role to ensure that involuntarily detained persons in a psychiatric hospital have the opportunity to express their views regarding hospitalization, advocates support them through the process.  Advocates review patient’s charts, interview patients, and attend probable cause hearings with the patient.  Knowledge of mental illness is preferred.  2-4 hours per week, a 6 month commitment is needed.  Training is provided.

~http://www.mhaoc.org/spv-5.aspx

Since I am a mental health consumer and in my young adulthood worked as both a mental health provider and a legal assistant, this volunteer position may be a good fit. If the interview goes well, I will be shadowing a hearing advocate for a while to learn the ropes.

WRITING

As I ask myself what purpose guides me as I pull content from my blog into Scrivener, I’m not so sure that I want to take on writing a book. Perhaps it is to create something else, not a memoir or rehashed blog, but an organized and cohesive call to action for mental health. This call to action need not be a book, perhaps blogging better suits me. Scrivener enables me to quickly and easily organize my blog writing, and possibly rewrite and repurpose old posts that still have merit.


Filed under: Mental Health, Volunteering, Writing Tagged: #MMHForum2015, Annual Emerging Considerations in Maternal Mental Health Forum, MHA

Its Beginning to Look A lot Like Anger

I have a problem. Anger. Anger steeps into me and fills me up into every little thing bothers me. I have to take a minute to myself to actually get right. Is this normal? Does this happen to everyone? When I get out of it, I feel bad for having to take that time for …

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental Illness Awareness Week: Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the first full week of October, NAMI and participants across the country are bringing awareness to mental illness. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger.

This week provides a time for people to come together and display the passion and strength of those working to improve the lives of the tens of millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI

These are some pictures I created in honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week for my Mental Health Advocates United Facebook page that aim to educate and raise awareness of some of the mental illnesses.

MIAW day 1

miaw day 2

MIAW day 3

miaw day 4

miaw day 5

miaw day 6

miaw day 7


Untreated Bipolar Disorder

Apparently, the biggest reason for bipolar people to not take their meds is Anosognosia, or being unaware they (we!) have an illness. It comes into play when an episode happens.

… anosognosia is thought to be caused by damage to the brain, particularly the frontal and parietal lobes of the brain’s right hemisphere. The right hemisphere of the brain controls thinking skills, and damage can result in a number of problems, including difficulty with reasoning and problem solving.

From my initial reading, I gathered that the most serious consequences of not being treatment compliant were rampant episodes plus an increased chance of suicide, but there’s a whole lot more. Basically it boils down to the fact that dear old bipolar (insert hollow laugh here) can be progressive.

The consequences of untreated bipolar disorder:

Future manic and depressive episodes will be harder to prevent.
The disease can worsen with time without consistent treatment, meaning that the intensity and frequency of manic and depressive episodes will continue to increase over a person’s lifetime.
Most likely it will be harder to function consistently in various areas of your life, such as school, work, family and peer relationships, or participation in extra-curricular activities without continued treatment.
more

No meds means a doubled chance of episodes, an increase of depressive over manic episodes and the possibility of developing rapid cycling bipolar disorder. source

I also posted info recently, about the increased health risks and brain damage associated with bipolar, all of which can occur unchecked if medication is not used. The fact that stuck with me most is that it shrinks the hippocampus (see image).

It used to be thought that if you had bipolar disorder, you would return to normal in between mood swings. We now know that this is not so for many people with bipolar disorder. You may continue to experience mild depressive symptoms and problems in thinking even when you seem to be better. more

Natasha Tracy, as ever, has a quality post. This one is about treating bipolar without meds.

3 reasons why I don’t take a mental health day

Almost twenty years on from being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I’m getting pretty good at knowing the signs my mind and body display when they’ve been pushed to the limit.  Not being able to stop thinking about work even after I come home at night, a tight feeling in my chest and being so focused on my “to do” list that it’s 5pm before I realise I’ve skipped my lunch-break.

It’s usually around this time that I have to force myself to slow down and – if I can wrangle a meeting-free day – perhaps even  take a “mental health day”.  Only I don’t ever admit to my manager that it’s a mental health day.  It’s an “upset stomach” or a “sore throat” or some other common ailment.

With World Mental Health Day coming up on 10 October, I’ve been thinking about this – and wondering why I have never ever admitted to taking a “mental health day”.  It’s not because I’m not allowed to.  In fact, it’s clearly stated in my employee handbook that taking a mental health day is a perfectly ok use of a sick day.

So why is it that I don’t take one?  Well here it is … three reasons why I don’t take a mental health day:

1. It doesn’t feel like a good enough excuse for a day off work

Flu is catchy and noone wants to share officespace with someone who has an annoying, hacking cough.  But stress or anxiety isn’t visible.  Noone can see the tight feeling in my chest or the way my mind won’t stop racing.  Only I know that this is happening and it’s easy to put on a brave face when I’m at work.  As someone with Bipolar Disorder, I have a perfectly good reason to take a “mental health day” if I need one.  In fact, if it helps keep me healthy and functioning well, it’s actually a good thing. Much better to take a day to nip stress and anxiety in the bud than let it manifest a few weeks down the track in an episode requiring medication and professional care.  Still – when push comes to shove, I’d rather admit to being physically unwell than admit that I need a quiet, stress-free day at home.

2.  It might lead to my manager wondering about my mental health

Noone – I repeat noone – wants the person who is responsible for your future promotions, pay rises and performance reviews thinking that you are mentally unstable.  I don’t have a problem sharing about my mental illness with friends, family, church groups, readers of this blog, my Twitter followers… yet I draw the line at sharing about it with my direct manager.  I don’t want my work performance to be judged on anything except… well, my work performance.  Yes, I have Bipolar Disorder, but for 99% of the time, it doesn’t affect what I do at work.  In fact, I’ve had less sick days in the past year than most of my team members.  I don’t want my manager wondering if I can handle a big project – or whether I’ll be able to cope with a management role.  I’m a loyal, hard-working employee – and that’s all I want to be judged on.

3. It’s too embarrassing

I’ll be the first to admit it, the thought of others knowing you have a mental illness is embarrassing. While organisations like Beyond Blue and The Black Dog Institute have done a great job in raising awareness of illnesses such as depression in the past few years, not many people are aware of other types of mental illness – like mania or psychosis.  Usually the first reaction people have when I tell them I have a mental illness is to say “Oh, so you have postnatal depression?”  Considering my youngest is now almost four years old, I find this a bit odd.  But I understand that this is one of the few mental illnesses that people feel comfortable discussing.

When I mention that I have only ever once had a depressive episode – but that stress can lead to my mood doing the opposite, becoming manic – they look a bit confused and then quickly change topics.  Rarely has anyone actually asked me what I’ve experienced during an an actute manic epsidode or psychosis.  Maybe it’s because the word psychotic has the word “psycho” in it … but in any case, people are still a bit put off when the conversation heads in that direction.  With this in mind, I’d rather not have to explain the difference between depression and mania when I call in for a sick day.

 

So there you have it.  Three reasons why someone who has a recognised mental illness and is passionate about mental health advocacy admits to never taking an official “mental health day”.  With Australia focused on mental health this week, I hope that this is a stark reminder why we need to keep working together to stop the stigma of mental illness and to make looking after one’s mental – as well as physical – health, a perfectly acceptable reason for taking a much-needed day off work.

Are you ok with taking a “mental health day” when you need it?  Check out this website and make a promise to yourself to look after your mental health. 

 


Emotional evisceration

My kid has head lice. I didn’t catch it. She spent the night at my mom’s and her and my sister caught it and began to screeching about infestation and how could I do that to them or my kid. My mom, who I have become convinced is Satan, said,right in front of my kid, “You don’t care about her, you want to get her taken away.”
Needless to say,I’ve been an emotion trainwreck since she went off on me with that one.
My kid even said, “Grandma says you don’t love me.”

What kind of monster of a grandmother says such a thing where a 5 year old can pick it up?
My mother has said nothing good about me since the day my kid was born.
Today, she really plunged the knife in deep.
I LIVE for my kid no matter how tough it is balancing mental illness and single parenthood.
I dropped the ball here but in all fairness,my kid has a scalp as tender as bone china and it was my family that bought her a soft bristle brush which doesn’t do fuck all for tangles so I didn’t catch on. I did use the Robicomb thing once a week (it detected nothing) and lice repelling shampoo. I became psychotically obsessed doing it after last year’s three month lice battle.
The doctor that saw her never saw it. Nor did the nurse who gave her her shots. Or the teachers who knew she has that scalp flaking condition but still checked her hair.We all missed it.
mom screamed,”You should sue them all!”
It was so clusterfucked. Being told upon arrival to pick up my kid, “Sit down,I got something to say to you!” Like I am five years old. Then mom kept saying, “I’m not trying to make you feel bad.”
THEN saying,”Sometimes you act like you don’t even care about her!”

Bex was here, she saw how upset i was with myself for missing this thing.
Mom just kept ranting,then saying she wasn’t arguing with me,then ranting again.
And because I wasn’t in some sort of psychotic meltdown, she thought it was apathy.
No. I’ve seen that the more upset I get, the more it upsets my kid and I don’t want that for her. It’s not apathy, it;s just trying to be calm and deal with the situation. Screaming isn’t gonna help nor is acting like head lice is akin to leprosy or ebola. Though most people are ignorant enough to do that. I’ve heard it all, even from those with healthcare careers who are ignorant enough to think head lice has something to do with cleanliness or income.

I am so sick of ignorance and judgment.

We spent nine hours treating us all, vacuuming, washing all laundry,bagging what couldn’t be washed. Lice is nasty but it happens and this “sky is falling” mentality makes me want to feed people into a tree chipper.
Do some fucking research before you start dismissing it as some sort of poor person lack of hygiene and cleanliness thing.
I’ve been a crap housekeeper my whole life.
I never once had any encounter with lice in 40 years til my kid brought it home from her little friends.

Needless to say, all this tossed on top of hormonal/shark week issues and anxiety from the 9th circle of hell…
I am ready to curl up in bed with my cat Nightshade who seems especially needy and loving since she had a miscarriage.

Cats will always be superior to people in my book. They don’t judge. They don’t care if you’re sad or anxious. You feed them,you pet them, they purr and love you. That’s how it should be. Love really should trump all else.

Amazing I truly believe this even if I have never personally experienced. If that’s not optimism and faith, I don’t know what is.


Kiss Me

In my fevered state, I’ve been looping this song of Ed Sheeran’s.  Sweet comfort.


A Fine Mess

And now it begins: The enormity of what I’ve lost, am losing, and am about to lose is beginning to crash in on me, and it’s staggering.

My unemployment benefits are running out. I can’t find a “real” job. Will’s Social Security isn’t enough to get us into even a small apartment, ergo, that means we are going to be homeless, literally, within a month. We have no place to go. That is freaking SCARY. Thank God our car is paid off and insured, otherwise we’d be SOL with fall and winter coming on. I hate the idea of telling the kids, but we’ll have to have our mail sent to somebody’s address, and one of theirs is the logical choice. And I’ll have to have somewhere to go to write my blog and my articles for the nursing website…..maybe our son will let me use his home computer a couple of times a week.

This is NOT a bid for sympathy or a cry for help. I’m just astounded at how far (and how fast) human beings can fall when the rug gets pulled out from under them. I’ve never gotten this close to being out of options before, and I don’t know how to behave. And it galls me that all this is happening because I have this stupid mental illness that makes it so damned difficult for me to function in the working world, even with great care and an even better support system.

Of course, the one I really feel awful for is Will. He doesn’t deserve this. I don’t deserve it either, but I can’t help feeling it’s all my fault. It’s not his cancer that’s driving us out of our home and turning life into a waking nightmare. It wouldn’t be so bad, and I wouldn’t feel nearly as guilty, if I were in this by myself. But bless his heart, he’s not going anywhere unless it’s with me…..even if “home” is a parking space behind the strip mall.

I don’t know how to do this. Dear God, the problems…..What to do with the pets? Can we afford to rent a storage facility where we can at least put our stuff? And it kills my soul to have to do it, but we’ll have to apply for food stamps and medical assistance when my unemployment benefits are gone. Still, that doesn’t help us with a place to live, and Heaven only knows when—or if—my SSDI case will be approved. It’ll probably be next year before they even look at it.

So things are looking pretty shitty right now, and I’m doing my best NOT to freak out because if I do, all hell will break loose. Last night my stress level was so high that I asked Will for an Ativan, which I hadn’t taken in months, because I knew I’d lie awake till the wee hours and we all know what happens when I don’t sleep. I’m not depressed—of that I am certain—but I am anxious and agitated, and when you couple that with the load of guilt I’m carrying, well, you can probably understand why I’m not having a good time.

What a fine mess I’ve gotten us into. It’s not the end of the world, but I can see it from here, and the view is one that scares the hell out of me.