Daily Archives: October 8, 2014

Submit to STIGMAMA

STIGMAMA_submissions_stereotypesWalker Karraa, PhD has done an incredible job growing STIGMAMA | Motherhood. Mental Illness. Out Loud. at stigmama.comSTIGMAMA is currently calling for submissions of essays, poetry, personal stories, fiction, professional perspectives, photo essays, and art about STEREOTYPES. Submit to [email protected]

Help STIGMAMA widen its reach. If you are a woman of color, mature mother, grandmother or great-grandmother, young woman, childless (whether or not by choice), or LGBT, please add your voice. The more voices, the greater diversity of voices, the better.

Thank you, Walker Karraa, PhD for creating STIGMAMA, a safe, mutually supportive place in which we can share our stories and overcome the stigma(s) attached to mental illness, or mental difference, and motherhood. STIGMAMA has made a positive difference in my life. Let it do so for you, too. Join us.


Filed under: Mental Health, Sexism, Stigma, Writing Tagged: diversity, mental illness, Motherhood, photo essays, professional perspectives, stereotypes, stigmama.com, Walker Karraa

High Anxiety: Chapter 2

Today is a better day. I didn’t take any Ativan last night, but I went to bed at the normal time and slept well. I had a talk with my son yesterday, and it’s looking like Will and I won’t have to live out of the car after all.

Needless to say, this is an enormous relief. It’s not the ideal situation, but we are far short of the ideal situation and I have to accept that for now. It also serves as an important lesson in how to discern depression from anxiety. I’d feared I was going into another depressive phase— or worse, a mixed episode—but my baseline mood is just that, while the anxiety has mounted over the past few weeks as money gets tighter and our time in this beloved old house grows shorter.

What a concept. I’ve been SO afraid of losing my shit in the midst of watching my life collapse around me; but now that I understand what I’m experiencing, I can calm down a little. I’ve always been a nervous Nellie, but it wasn’t until my late 40s that my anxiety began to flare out of control; now it’s as much a part of me as my bipolar, and sometimes it’s even harder to fight it than BP.

I think it’s that way because this is such an insidious sort of thing—just about the time I think I’ve got it contained, it changes shape and slithers back into my consciousness, making me feel fearful and silly at the same time. I may be a grown woman, but anxiety is so unpleasant that like a child, I hide under the metaphorical bed and hope that because I can’t see the threat, it can’t get me. (Don’t laugh—sometimes at night when I’m really freaked out, I’ll even cover up my head with a blanket and pretend to be invisible.)

But this time, it’s a relief to know that it’s just plain old anxiety and not an impending mood episode that’s raised its ugly little head. I never thought I’d say that, but the last thing anybody needs right now is me falling into a depression or going ape shit. I’m not panicking, and for now, that has to suffice.


Mental Health Awareness Week




It's Mental Health Awareness Week (October 5th to 11th).

And I'm guest blogging at Strut in Her Shoes all week. My posts will be a combination of new stuff and recycled stuff.

Check the first two posts out here and here.

National Mental Health Awareness Week

What is mental illness?

nami 2A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.

Learn more about treatment and services that assist individuals in recovery.

bingo

Find out more about a specific mental illness:

Find out more about conditions sometimes related to mental illness:

What does recovery look like?

As people become familiar with their illness, they recognize their own unique patterns of behavior. If individuals recognize these signs and seek effective and timely care, they can often prevent relapses. However, because mental illnesses have no cure, treatment must be continuous.

Individuals who live with a mental illness also benefit tremendously from taking responsibility for their own recovery. Once the illness is adequately managed, one must monitor potential side effects.

The notion of recovery involves a variety of perspectives. Recovery is a holistic process that includes traditional elements of mental health and aspects that extend beyond medication. Recovery from serious mental illness also includes attaining, and maintaining, physical health as another cornerstone of wellness.

The recovery journey is unique for each individual. There are several definitions of recovery; some grounded in medical and clinical values, some grounded in context of community and some in successful living. One of the most important principles is this: recovery is a process, not an event. The uniqueness and individual nature of recovery must be honored. While serious mental illness impacts individuals in many ways, the concept that all individuals can move towards wellness is paramount.

Merely Agog

Mental illness by the numbers

Check out NAMI’s fact sheet, Mental Illness: Facts and Numbers, to find out more about mental illness.

(Thanks to Kitt O’Malley for posting the information from the NAMI website.)

Lithium Yet Again

I think come down to your previous dose till the nausea settles, then we must think about splitting the dose in morning and night time dosages

Okeydokey, so that’s 1000mg for now. Relief.

I’ve slept most of the day today. I was supposed to take the dogs to the beach, but I snored on the couch instead. Town tomorrow and vet too.

Blah blah.

“This too shall pass” (Persian: این نیز بگذرد‎, pronunciation:īn nīz bogzarad, Arabic: لا شيء يدوم‎ (“Nothing endures”), Hebrew: גם זה יעבור‎) is an adage indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets, and is often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words.

The Skepticism of Auto-pathography. The Unreliable Narrator.

blahpolar:

Is any narrator reliable?

Originally posted on Welcome to my WonderLand!:

Auto-pathography is an autobiography that is focused on the disability/disease or disorder of the author. The skeptics criticize the ability of any authors who write autobiographies to adequately create a self-representation and self-regulation of their work. A mental illness narrative asks whether the discourse of mental illness can be narrated as a true debilitating condition. Questioning whether it is the author’s therapeutic or pathological identity that is engendering the narrative. The author is also tainted by their medical identity or label, influenced by their psychiatric categorization of symptoms and the effects of ongoing medication treatments. The reliability of the narrative is completely undermined by the person’s mind that has been altered by both the illness and the treatment, ultimately creating a fictional self-story that can’t be in any complete way corroborated.

Authors all write for different reasons, whether it is to directly mislead the reader or as a vice…

View original 110 more words

Anxiety Disorders- what fresh hell

The mood was neither high nor low today.

The anxiety…was like a cannibal gnawing on human flesh with an insatiable appetite.
(Yeah,I know how to turn a phrase and paint a picture.)

Went to the shop while Bex took on spawn sitting and the neverending lice battle. I don’t like the word lice and all of its social stigma so…they shall be dubbed icky ickies.

In spite of a morning dose of Xanax, minute by minute,hour by hour, the anxiety boiled to the surface with no catalyst. Then came the jumpiness and paranoia. I started to have panic attacks when driving to get lunch and felt like the others cars were too close and made me feel boxed in and exposed. Anyone who looked my way suddenly became,in my mind, a potential threat. anxiety shot even higher.

My nerves are so bad, I am breaking out in hives more and more often. Oddly,once I calm down, the hives pretty much disappear except for my own clawing at my flesh leaving marks.
Got a killer stress stomach ache. Started feeling weak and woozy toward day’s end as the anxiety metastasized into this Staypuft marshmallow size panic.
A firetruck and ambulance went speeding down the streets sirens blaring…and I got even more nervous thinking,omg,is my place on fire.
(See,the shrink would declare this my personality and pessimism and letting my imagination go wild but…It only takes one time of literally waking up with a building on fire and firefighters pulling you out in your pajamas to traumatize you. I used to love the color red but since that incident…red is kind of a trigger color, reminds me of the fire.)

I sorta threw Bex under the bus and claimed she needed me home so she could have a break from the kid. It’s the only thing that will actually get R to shut up with the “One more thing…Oh, you need to do this before you go…Hey, can you do this…”
But I needed OUT of there, pronto. Being surrounded by non empathetic “suck it up and calm down” people during an anxiety episode isn’t tough love, it’s cruel and unusual punishment. Escape is the only real answer so they don’t make you feel even lousier for not being able to handle it.

So I fled the shop like a bank robber feeling a bank.

Once I was home in my safe space and had an hour or so to regroup…
I was fine. Other than being further imprinted with one more bad experience out in the petri dish.

The shrinks and counselors say shit like, get back on horse, you have to face your fears and learn to cope with the panic. No matter how many times it has happened. No matter that the anxiety is so bad it manifests itself with physical issues of great discomfort.
Pull yourself up by the boot straps and carry on.
Um…The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
If I were to whack my thumb with a hammer a hundred times and go complaining that it resulted in physical pain…
I’d be advised to avoid hitting my thumb with a hammer.
But social anxiety and panic attacks that seem to strike randomly as well as when triggered- meh,suck it up and get over it. Get back on that horse.

I keep trying. It just never results in a different outcome. So what’s the fucking point? I’ve retrained my brain as much as I can. Maybe it’s some sort of new strain of post traumatic stress disorder. You see and experience nothing but criticism, misery, bad luck, and pain and it just etches a notch into your psyche and renders you a nervous basketcase.

Or for all I know, it could be the orange dye in boxed mac and cheese.

I just get sick of it being downplayed like no big deal because it’s not a big deal for others. Get sick of being treated without empathy and invalidated.

Meh.

On the plus-ish side…I had a third of a can of Mangorita left from last night so I drank it tonight. And had to force myself to take those last few sips because suddenly, it’s making me want to gag. No appeal at all.
Which means my manic/mixed episodes are cycling downward. I really don’t have a drinking problem (which is what everyone who drinks says.) But I actually went to the local rehab center over the years to discuss it with them and they said I am stress drinker who self medicates to handle anxiety and slow my brain down enough to calm down.
Winter is not just seasonal depression season.
It’s also my lower stress and anxiety season because I don’t like getting out in the cold or bad weather and nor do the masses. Without the added noise of excessive crowds and noise outside and traffic…
I calm down and drinking becomes this once in a blue moon take it or leave it thing. As it has manifested for years now. Of course, you can’t be honest with the shrink about it because they think more than one drink a year makes you an alcoholic.
In spite of their education and experience,I still think I know me better than anyone and I’ve been through this so many times, the pattern is well established.

I still haven’t worked up the nerve to call the dr office. I get so nervous prior to appointments and during them,it’s not something I relish. Especially since this current doctor seems hell bent on diagnosing a personality disorder to overshadow the bipolar when half the time, she’s not even reading the right chart.
If she had read my chart, she’d know about the seasonal depression that’s been going on for 30 years. She’d have wanted to see me sooner to ensure it’s not flaring up. If you can’t even study my medical history and be aware of lifelong issues…
Yeah,I’m not trusting any personality disorder diagnosis.

I’m ranting again and I had planned on this being a short post. One more thing I’m not good at. Faster Pussycat has an old song called “Babylon.”
“No, you won’t shut up, you’re just babbling on and on…”
That’s how my writing is, I guess.
It’s that attention deficit combined with a need to vent.
Oh,look a bunny.What’s that shiny thing? Do you have a bike? I like ice cream cones.
Hey, I know who I am, I have no delusions or illusions.

Not looking forward to calling the school tomorrow to tell them the kid still isn’t nit free. She’s not been cooperative and since I won’t use chemicals…It’s a process. But Bex has been helping a lot and I think we can get it done. In a few days. If the school has a problem with it,maybe they should keep a nit removal service on retainer to deal with this crap. And weekly nit checks during peak seasons.
But,nooo,it’s the parent’s problem to deal with the icky ickies and all their eggies and it’s supposed to be an instantaneous cure.
Meh. Fuck ‘em. Their nit free policy is a good one, but when you’re half blind like me and trying to comb the underside of a screaming banshee’s hair…
If I could just one of those tables they kept Hannibal Lecter strapped to and put her face down so she can’t squirm and kick during combing…

As I said, I do know how to paint a picture.

Now…I have binged on the petri dish of society and life in general, purged, and I think it’s time to slither into my bed so I can turn around and do it all over again tomorrow.
Joy,joy, happy, happy.
Ass trash.


Mental Illnesses #MIAW

Quoting NAMI’s webpage Mental Illnesses
http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness

What is mental illness?

A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.

Learn more about treatment and services that assist individuals in recovery.

Find out more about a specific mental illness:

Find out more about conditions sometimes related to mental illness:

What does recovery look like?

As people become familiar with their illness, they recognize their own unique patterns of behavior. If individuals recognize these signs and seek effective and timely care, they can often prevent relapses. However, because mental illnesses have no cure, treatment must be continuous.

Individuals who live with a mental illness also benefit tremendously from taking responsibility for their own recovery. Once the illness is adequately managed, one must monitor potential side effects.

The notion of recovery involves a variety of perspectives. Recovery is a holistic process that includes traditional elements of mental health and aspects that extend beyond medication. Recovery from serious mental illness also includes attaining, and maintaining, physical health as another cornerstone of wellness.

The recovery journey is unique for each individual. There are several definitions of recovery; some grounded in medical and clinical values, some grounded in context of community and some in successful living. One of the most important principles is this: recovery is a process, not an event. The uniqueness and individual nature of recovery must be honored. While serious mental illness impacts individuals in many ways, the concept that all individuals can move towards wellness is paramount.

Mental illness by the numbers

Check out NAMI’s fact sheet, Mental Illness: Facts and Numbers, to find out more about mental illness.

Related Files: Mental Illness brochure (PDF) (PDF File)

http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness


Filed under: Mental Health, NAMI Tagged: #MIAW, Mental Illness Awareness Week

A Sad, Soggy Mess

The last few months have found me suffering from my migraines a bit more than previously. This combined with the bipolar and financial worries have me feeling so incredibly stressed out. The frustration with the migraines is really the worst part of it, but it exacerbates nearly every other problem I’m having in a vicious cycle. I get a migraine, so I call off of work, lose pay for that day and then I stress about money. Then I start beating myself up for it, saying that I should have gone in to work, I should be more responsible with my money, etc etc. This sends me into a depression, I stop taking care of myself, and then we’re back to square one.

I go to a migraine clinic tomorrow, where I will, once again, undergo various tests, answer a billion questions and then leave, feeling no more relieved, understood or hopeful. I keep trying to have hope, to think that maybe this neurologist will have the answers, that they will find the magic drug to take away the pain. The research I have done on my own has revealed there is a huge comorbidity of migraine and bipolar. This particular information has resulted in me having a cartoonish image of just what my brain looks like with all of it’s neurological and biological flaws.

The last few days I have felt especially tearful, but I refrain from crying because that, too, gives me a headache. I truly am a sad soggy mess at present.

Filed under: Wellness Warriors Tagged: bipolar, depression, migraines, pain

Don’t Jump The Gun

I’ve been feeling crappy all damn day. Feeling ill gives me anxiety. It’s the one thing that can undo me.

I have been considering cancelling my therapy session and my visit to the salon all because I feel ill now.

I was upfront with my husband about it, though honestly if I cancel I likely wont be. He told me not to jump the gun.

I hate that it makes me so anxious that I plan to just hunker down and not leave the house. It’s ridiculous.

Tonight I at least got to watch TV shows that I enjoy(ed).

Short post tonight cause of the naughty tummy. Tomorrow will be better I’m sure.