Daily Archives: October 7, 2014

Tumbling Down

I had The Talk with Will late last night.

I’ve done nothing but stew and plot and plan for the past week or so, and I figured I’d better let him in on my thought processes. He’s been watching me like a hawk and asking if I’ve taken my meds, which I know means he’s worried about an impending mood episode. Last night he went so far as to suggest I talk to Dr. Awesomesauce, even though I’m not clinically depressed and I don’t think there’s anything the good doctor can do for me at this point. I am, however, severely stressed out, and the anxiety is mounting by the day as my life continues to unravel like the sleeve of an old sweater after a stray thread has been pulled.

I just wanted Will to know that I am deeply sorry for taking him with me on this downward spiral. Friends and family can tell me till the cows come home that it’s not all my fault, but part of me isn’t buying it. I keep thinking that if only I were stronger none of this would be happening, even though I know on an intellectual level that it’s not a character weakness, but illness. And then the part of my brain that’s (still) in denial about the illness stands up and demands to know why the hell I can’t just power through things like any other self-respecting human.

It’s become obvious that it’s time to talk to the family and quit minimizing the trouble we’re in. I’d rather walk on hot coals than admit how bad things really are, but pride is a luxury I can no longer afford. I never dreamed that I’d have to ask for charity…..they shouldn’t have to take care of us. Nor should the taxpayers. I swore long ago that I would never again darken the doors of a welfare office, but it’ll have to be done because we’ll need food stamps. Food stamps! Never in all my years as a working nurse did I think we’d need them again. But I can’t work as a nurse anymore, and no one else apparently is hiring 50-somethings with a spotty job history, so again, there’s not much of a choice.

And I think that’s what bothers me most of all…..the fact that my choices are being taken away by circumstances, some of which are beyond my control. I don’t like not being in control. This sucks SO badly and all I want to do is run away. I remember feeling that way earlier this year for different reasons, which just goes to show that you better be careful what you wish for because you may get it. I wanted to get out of the rat race and live an authentic life…..well, guess what, I got out of the rat race all right, in fact I got kicked out of the rat race, and there are few things more authentic than poverty.

Sorry to be such a downer today, but other than the fact that it is a gorgeous and unusually warm October day, there is no joy in Mudville, so to speak. I had ONE freaking job—taking care of Will and me—and now I can’t do it like I used to, and there’s no going back. Phooey.

 


LithiYuck Lithium

I have felt that odd whirr of wings in the head.
—VIRGINIA WOOLF

Five days on 1250mg of lithium and the bad taste and nausea have increased a lot. I’m not gonna take any tonight, or I will barf.

Maybe it would’ve been alright if I wasn’t having a mixed episode, but I am. Rage spikes and tears with no cause tend to get pointed at the latest lithium side effects.

It’s been a while since I enjoyed eating or drinking anything.

I had blood drawn today.

It’s in My Head

I have been having the worst headaches lately. They’re sitting there right below the migraine threshold, mocking me. Such is life with bipolar, eh?

Now, I actually went to the optometrist last week. We were due for an eye exam, and I expected to be told that my eyes had pretty much disintegrated. It turns out they’re rather photogenic and structurally sound, and that my vision didn’t get nearly as bad as I thought it had. It’s still worsened enough to warrant a new prescription, but ah well. Those will be in on Friday, so I look forward to seeing if that will help with the headaches as well. It usually does more than the slight change actually reputedly warrants. Anyways, this sort of stuff tends to come in spates, so hopefully it’s on the way out regardless.

Physicality aside (that and the continued aches and pains of postpartum and aging), I’m doing pretty darn well. Too darn well, in fact. I’ve got knitting and cross-stitch on the go, and I’m baking like a fiend. I’m hoping that it’s just being in a good/stable mood, and not swinging around to hypomania. I don’t feel like I’m glowing, so it’s probably fine, but still. It slightly annoys me that I have to consider whether or not my functionality and mood are due to a swing rather than just kicking back and enjoying it without thinking about it too much. The things some people get to take for granted, am I right?

And really, with me, I only have to worry about going up for coming down. My hypomanias have always been extremely pleasant; I never really went out of control. I think. In some ways, it’s hard to remember details because things have mainly blended into a nice homogeneous whole. I know, remission/stability is the goal, and I think that I’m in a pretty good place. I need to keep asking my husband what he thinks, just because I value his perspective.

I am thinking about asking my psychiatrist to consider upping my antidepressant next time I see him/her though. I’d done some reading that suggests it could help with the OCD stuff, but then, I don’t know if it’s bad enough to really warrant treatment. ‘If a little is good, more is better’, they say. I definitely mull on that a bit. Do I actually need higher doses of anything, or do I just think that I’ll feel better for more meds? I have a history of alcohol and substance abuse, like many people with bipolar, though neither have been a factor in my life for many years predating my diagnosis. I don’t *think* I’m trying to find a high, and really, who would look for one in side effect-riddled psychiatric meds?! The joys of having to overthink everything.

Bipolar UK LogoPast that, today is Bipolar Awareness Day in the United Kingdom. The point is to raise awareness and understanding of bipolar and its prevalence in the UK, much like every other bipolar awareness campaign out there. As media portrayals continue to demonstrate, there is a long way to go in getting people to have an actual understand the realities and variances along the bipolar spectrum. But of course, that’s why I’m here in part, hee hee.

This year, Bipolar UK is asking for people who are affected by Bipolar (either as someone who has bipolar, or is a carer, etc) to take part in a survey:

http://www.bipolaruk.org.uk/bipolar-awareness-day/

I’d rate it a pretty important survey to take part in wherever you might be, so do try to chip in your two cents if you can!

Hope everyone is doing well.

<3

RIP Claireodactyl

This morning I heard that you committed suicide and to be frank, my reaction was mixed. I’m sad about it, of course. You were always so bright and kind and your comments really stood out. I will miss you. If your blog wasn’t private now, I’d sit and read it all, just to spend time with you.

I also know that you attempted suicide recently, that your mind was not a happy place and I can understand any bipolar person wanting to catch the bus. I really hope the end wasn’t too hard or painful. I hope there was some peace in it.

I really hope your nearest and dearest will be ok.

I think Hell exists on Earth. It’s a psychological state, or it can be a physical state. People who have severe mental illness are in Hell. People who have lost a loved one are in Hell. I think there are all kinds of different hells. It’s not a place you go to after you die. 
– Al Franken

October 7, 2014 – Be there

blahpolar:

Dear caregivers of people with neuropsychiatric and neurobiological disorders, please don’t forget that when you’re holding the umbrella for us, you should still stand under it xoxo

Originally posted on Motivating Giraffe:

Be there

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Miss Independent

hearingvoice

For the first time, perhaps in my life, I am now mentally independent.

You see I used to hear voices. Not your average self talk. But actual voices, from people who had passed. These “People”, as I began to refer to them, told me that I was special in that they could communicate with me, that I had a gift. The People were my moral compass, my life guides. The People told me repeatedly that they “only wanted the best for me, and for me to be the best person I could be.”

I can’t remember when exactly the People became a part of my life. But I distinctly remember their presence during my adolescent period. Most of the time The People and I lived together comfortably. I accepted what they told me, and I never told anyone about them.

It never even occurred to me to tell someone, as their presence was all I knew. I had no idea that I was experiencing psychosis. I had a gift , goddamn it!

A few years ago, I casually mentioned The People to my psychiatric team. Suddenly I was being ushered into the on call psychiatrists office and being prescribed heavy duty anti – psychotics. I was in shock, and in trouble. The drugs didn’t work, and the voices got angry at me. They didn’t like being talked about. This was supposed to be our secret. They got nasty. I felt guilt and shame.

By the time I was admitted to hospital they were telling me to kill myself. They told me I was a bad person, who did not deserve to be helped. I was taking time away from people who were actually sick. For the first time in my life I saw them in person. They followed me around. They told me what a evil person I was. They told me I was lying. I didn’t have psychosis. I was just trying to get attention. And because the anti psychotic drugs never managed to vanquish them, I believed them. If I truly had psychosis, surely the medication would rid them?

Then I had ECT.

Suddenly the voices started to recede, then they disappeared. For the last two months, for the first time in…as long as I can remember… my mind is quiet.

As odd as it sounds, some days I struggle with this. It’s like leaving a toxic relationship. For the best part I feel free, open, and relief. But then some times I hear myself thinking “What would the people say?”. I miss their advice, crazy as it sounds.

Sometimes you feel comfort in the uncomfortable, merely because it is what you know. And I have to relearn how to deal with life without their guidance – no matter how helpful or unhelpful it is. I have to make my own decisions, without first referring to my guardians. I have to come to terms with the fact that I was not “special” at all – just psychotic.

I don’t know how long this mental quietness will last. Some research indicates that ECT will only keep symptoms at bay for 6 – 12 months. I don’t know what the future brings.

But I do know that, right now, I’m independent. I’ve broken free. I still thank The People for the lessons they have taught me, but it’s now time for me to make my own way in the world.


Solo Bipolar

Since my obsessive research convinces me that a support system/treatment partner is vital, I decided to open up to a friend (I suppose) who is nearby and who gets all up in muh business, even though I do not trust her. I told her about support being blah blah blah and to her credit, she said, but you need to learn not to shut people out. Totally fair.

So the following day I was droning on about it all to her and at some point I said, I’ve just got to get my head round it, I won’t always talk to obsessively about it. She said, jeez I hope so!

Eh well. All the info out there by people who love people with bipolar is all about coping with the person. It’s fucking depressing. I just don’t have anyone nearby.

Onwards.

Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Living with my mom in law is not all that it is cracked at to be.

There are going to be times when there is conflict. Food, TV Shows, etc.

I can see the conflicts coming.

I love hanging out with her. I miss time alone with my husband. I miss being able to watch or listen to what I want.

I’m gettting pre-frustrated. Ya thats a word, now anyhow. lol.

Must breathe, breathe..


Blessed Is The Righteous Judge

Baruch Dayan ha’Emet.

His already cold white hand slithered through my soapy gloves like a live fish as I tried to wash the fingers: blue sausages strange to me, unlike the skillful fingers that twirled and carved and painted in an epoch now seeming so long ago.

“Those hands, those hands,” my mother murmured over my shoulder.  She had volunteered to wash his body, a last act of kindness, but gave up when she saw that he was really dead.

“His fingers are turning blue,” she observed, almost casually.  I wanted to back-hand her, but instead interlaced my fingers with the cold dead ones in order to wash his arm and chest.  Just a couple of days ago we had interlaced our warm fingers just so, when he first lost the ability to talk.

“Look, his chest has hardly any hair left on it,” chirped the grisly bird at my shoulder.

How long had it been since she looked at his once bear-like chest, black with thick curly hair?  Probably when he ceased to be a “man” to her, which she had had no compunctions about trumpeting in that booming voice of hers, at her famous dinner parties, with him sitting right there shrinking into himself, mortified, unable to defend himself.

I concentrated on rinsing off the soap with clean wet washcloths, and tried to close his mouth, which had fallen open some weeks ago, making speech even more difficult for him; and now it seemed that it had stuck that way, and I couldn’t get it to stay shut.  I could not stand to let his gullet stand open to the public like that, so I called for some gauze and placed a carefully folded square behind his teeth.  It looked odd, but seemed better than the gaping maw.

The undertaker showed up before I had a chance to wash his face, and suddenly the hospice nurse became all business: a stark contrast to the all-compassion face she had on before he died.  Now it was just the routine, slide the limp item over from the hospital bed to the undertaker’s stretcher and strap it on.

His elbow was caught up in the strap, and pinched horribly; it hurt me to see that already he was treated like a piece of meat, only not so carefully, having no intrinsic value.  At the very least it was disrespectful.  I bounded forward and started to pull his arm out, and was intercepted by the undertaker, who did it for me but was visibly miffed.  Fuck him.

As they took him away the man in black explained to my mother that they would not be taking him “over the mountain” to Johnson City, the nearest crematorium, until they had assembled “a few” (to make it worth the trip, I suppose), so it would not be the next day or perhaps the next.  Jews are normally buried within 24 hours of death, but since he was to be cremated, what’s the difference?  All of our customs were going up in smoke anyway, so why not that one too?

My mother won that round.  It was what he wanted, it’s in his will, they are not Orthodox, he did not want to be eaten by worms/beetles/what-have-you, and We Believe In Cremation.

Jews don’t cremate.  We believe that the soul needs the body as a kind of GPS cache, so it knows where it came from, at least in the month after death after which it ascends to its Heavenly Home.

And we believe that a part of the soul remains with the body, and will return to Jerusalem when the Messiah comes.

Burning the body deprives the soul of its orientation.  It has no place to rest in those vital thirty days, and it can get lost in the vast spiritual realms.

Not only that, but our enemies shoved us into ovens by the millions.  Do we really want to commemorate that by burning our dead?

I explained to her all these things.  She waxed romantic telling me how they had dreamed of the places where they would spread their ashes.

Where?  I asked.

Oh, um, you know, all those places……

The animal graveyard down at the bottom of the garden where all the pets are buried?  I volunteered.

Oh yes!  She brightened.  And maybe plant a tree, and sprinkle his ashes on it….

Bullshit.

Culture is defined by rites-of-passage and by lifeways: food, weddings, and the rituals surrounding death.  Over and over in the Torah, we are commanded not to take on the customs of the surrounding nations.  We do not share their food, lest our children intermarry and take on the customs of foreigners.

Jews keep Kosher, have special wedding rituals, and have very specific funeral procedures.  None of these involve desecrating the body, living or dead.

For those of you whose culture prescribes or allows cremation, I do not write this to denigrate or offend you, for those are your customs and for you they are good.

For us, deviation from these customs means assimilation, and assimilation means the death of our living culture.

And in order to live properly, we must die and be properly buried.

Baruch Dayan ha’Emet.  Blessed Be The Righteous Judge.


Half And Half

So…I am gonna do something different here. I am gonna half rant about my day.
Then I am gonna half celebrate the things in my life that are good.

On the bad side…
Daylong battle with my kid over combing out the head lice. She kicked,screamed,thrashed, rolled around, hit me…I even got it on video because no one but me and Bex get to see that side of her. At one point,my nerves were so raw, I could have been shot and it’d be a mercy killing. My anxiety disorder has run amok times a thousand so a kid screaming for hours-even when you’re nowhere near them- it takes a toll.
Towards the end of the afternoon, she finally cooperated and let Becca comb her hair out with the Robicomb. This, after hours of declaring Bex to basically be the devil and not speaking to her and suddenly they become BFFs. My kid is either pre bipolar or my mother’s borderline disorder has infected her. In many ways she is a normal quirky five year old. And in other ways…she is so off kilter and all over the mood spectrum it’s like having a 5 year old teenager.
Evening hit and I had to go out to the store. It’s not my favorite. I am becoming paranoid and scared of people again. It sucks because I was so stable for a couple of months and now it’s all coming undone. I normally have my house decorated for Halloween on the first day of October. Between days of rains and this lice debacle…I’ve done fuck all.
Tonight, I am going to watch Dr. Who with R.He is the only one who doesn’t view us as lepers. My kid has been read to,tucked in, and is fast asleep and Bex is here so I don’t feel so shitty being gone for a bit. Dr. Who is an addiction.

On the plus side…
My kid adores me until I say the word “no” and try to be her mom instead of her friend.
Ya know, if her mood is on board. That’s something I can relate to.
I have Bex who loves me unconditionally.
I have my warm fuzzy kitties who lay on me and purr contentedly.
We have a roof overhead,food in the fridge,and clothes on our backs.
The bills are paid.
I’m watching my favorite tv shows now that the new season has started.

As much as some stuff sucks…I have much to be grateful for as well and sometimes it gets lost in all the chaos and bad luck.

Life is imperfect, messy, a roller coaster of ups and downs, and I a flawed.

But my gut tells me it’s worth gripping fast and holding on.

I’m going with my gut because my brain has not proven to be reliable.