Daily Archives: October 19, 2014

A nothingy update

Grief changes everything. It’s a brutal metamorphosis. A caterpillar at least gets the time to spin a cocoon before its internal organs dissolve and its skin sloughs off. Nicola Griffith

I’ve been reading blogs lately, but not saying much and not writing much here and reading less about bipolar … because I’m at the stage where I’ve researched enough to answer current questions. So now the blogs are more significant, because you (we) are living it, coping, not coping, thinking, being …

Lithium is still assaulting my tastebuds heinously, I can only eat and drink totally bland stuff or the aftertaste is vile. I’ve got a rash on my chest and an internal stye and I’ve lost track of what to blame on lithium.

Mostly I’m just boringly depressed. Going on for month 16 of it too. So much fucking fun.

I Am Enough

I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t experiencing some type of turmoil in my life. I grew up with 4 older brothers and an older sister.  They all took their fair share of recreational drugs or drank alcohol.  They caused my parents many sleepless nights.  Unfortunately, at an early age I began to experience the anxiety that would also cause me to lose sleep.  I don’t think I had a fair shot at a healthy existence.  Not for lack of trying. 

As the years went on, I knew something was a little off with me too.  Being overweight and made fun of a lot in middle school didn’t help.  High school went a little better.  I suppose I could have been considered popular.  I certainly wasn’t an outcast.  Yet, by the age of 19, my suspicion that I wasn’t wired quite right became a fact.  I was depressed, and there wasn’t a thing I could do to fix it.

I started seeing my first psychiatrist then.  I remember the first medication I was ever prescribed was Prozac.  I honestly don’t recall if it helped or for how long.  It was just the beginning of an arduous journey through the county health system.  At the time, I didn’t have mental health coverage, so I had to take what I could get.  It worked out alright for several years.  They really didn’t give a damn about you, but you didn’t have to pay for your medications.  I always lived by the motto, “Beggars can’t be choosers”.

With the depression came horrible anxiety.  Borderline Personality Disorder would soon follow, along with PTSD.  The older I got, the worse I got.  There came a time when I was on 7 medications at once.  I found myself drifting in a sea of worthless relationships with men that made me feel like a freak.  In 1998, I was in a long distance relationship that began online.  He asked me to marry him.  Before that could happen, but after the deposits had been put down, he dumped me.  Apparently a psychotic episode and a psychiatric hospitalization make you less appealing to the opposite sex.

With his hasty exit from my life weighing heavily on my shoulders, I taught myself self-injury.  I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time.  I didn’t know anyone else knew what it was either.  Ironically, I discovered it when I was rejected by another male acquaintance, and I had it in my head that life wasn’t worth living.  It was an accident really.  A failure of sorts that became a coping mechanism when things were too much for me to handle. 

I realize as I look back on the past that it most certainly appears that I just didn’t experience a single happy moment in my entire life.  That isn’t true.  I found happiness quite frequently.  I held some gratifying positions with successful companies.  I was often promoted and thought of to be a problem solver.  I partied on the weekends, I met famous people, I went to concerts and sporting events.  I had a best friend that I met in 5th grade that was a constant in my life.  We were never apart for long, no matter what path we chose for ourselves.

I made new friends and met a lot of people online.  You know, in the 90’s when it wasn’t quite as terrifying as it is now.  Back then, not once did I think I was talking to a pedophile or a stalker.  I was lucky that everyone I met was who they said they were. 

The problem with my life was that as happy as it could be, the misery was a thousand times worse.  I didn’t ever put two and two together.  It never occurred to me that I couldn’t just take a bunch of medication and go on about my business and I would be all better.  I didn’t understand that I had to do the work too.

Once I made that realization, I started to make better choices.  I stopped meeting multiple people online.  I buckled down and worked really hard.  I met someone that although at first we didn’t seem compatible, we eventually discovered that we missed each other once we were apart.  In 2001, we were married.  Thirteen years later, he still knows how to make me laugh.  We are happy, even though I still have my highs and my lows.  I would be lost without him.  My calming force in a sea of chaos. 

Although I have spent over 20 years dealing with bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, panic disorder, borderline personality disorder, and self-injury; I am ALIVE.  I consider myself a survivor.  A warrior to say the least.  Every day I wake up and hope that it will be a good day.  Unfortunately, not every day can be. Thankfully, I am learning to process the guilt a bad day brings.  I am learning that I didn’t ask for this, and I certainly wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.  But, I can do this.  If only people could understand how much energy goes into fighting this fight. 

In the last 20 years, I’ve experienced more pain than anyone should ever have to bear.  The death of my mother brought me to my knees.  The more recent death of my brother, on my birthday no less, sent me on a tailspin.  Yet, despite the outside influences that could have and should have broken me, I still fight on.  I see the doctor, I take my medication.  I give my feelings a voice no matter how hard it is, and I keep waking up every day with just a tiny glimmer of hope. 

There may be days when I look in the mirror and feel like a failure. Sometimes, I want to give up.  Then, I remember the strength it took to get me to this point in my life.

 
I remember I AM ENOUGH.

 

 

 

 

Dear Life: Would You At Least Start Using Lubricant?

…..please?

I am definitely having a downturn. It’s situational. There’s so much that needs to be accomplished in the next few weeks and nothing is even remotely settled yet. I’m looking at finances and the numbers scare the hell out of me. Will and I have to re-home three cats whom we’ve had for their entire lives, and it’s breaking my heart even to think about it. One is 14 years old, for Pete’s sake—who’s going to take care of her for the few years she has left? I never thought I’d have to give up having cats, but my son-in-law is wildly allergic and we can’t take them with us. But then, I never thought life would come to this.

I’m beginning to think filing for disability was a really good idea. I’ve continued to look for jobs, but I can’t get around the fact that the market is horrible for people over 50 and my work history over the past five years makes me look like a complete flake. I’m not getting down on myself for this, it’s just a fact of life; and having been a hiring manager myself a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I understand why employers are reluctant to take a chance on me. It doesn’t make my work search any easier, but I get it. I really do. I only wish I could fix it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if life came with “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” buttons?

I have also resigned myself to the fact that I am going to go through this transition whether I like it or not, and I can’t be expected to stand here grinning like an idiot while it happens. I wish I didn’t have the bad thoughts that accompany these down times; they seem to come whether I’m clinically or merely situationally depressed. But I can usually banish them by forcing myself to think about something else—today it was the movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, which not only distracted me but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I also made a big pot of chili and a pan of cornbread for dinner; who says I have to get bogged down and wallow in my miseries?

So I’m in pretty decent shape for someone who is NOT having a good time in life. I see Dr. Awesomesauce on Monday, and I’ll bring all this up to him but I don’t think it will alarm him too much. He’s seen me through these things before—as have you—and I always come out on the other side. Always. There will be no early exit from the festivities. And maybe if I tell myself enough times that it’ll be OK, it will be.


More Hearing Advocacy Training

Friday I shadowed another Mental Health Association (MHA) of Orange County Hearing Advocate at two different hospital psych wards, one in Orange and the other in Santa Ana. Neither hospital was as nice as the one in Laguna Beach; though, one was definitely nicer than the other. The patients, too, were quite different. Suffice it to say that though I’m aware of the problem of homelessness of many people with severe mental illness, I received a crash refresher course, and it was sobering. It is tragic that so many people live in a chronic cycle of short-term involuntary hospitalizations and homelessness.

I plan to research more about mental health patients’ rights in California. Here are some online resources that I found listed on the Resources page of the California Association of Mental Health Patients’ Rights Advocates ~ CAMHPRA.org:

California Patients’ Rights Resources

California Government Links

National Patients’ Rights Resources


Filed under: Discrimination, Involuntary Hospitalization, Mental Health, Mental Health Advocacy, MHA Tagged: California, California Association of Mental Health Patients' Rights Advocates, California Mental Health Services Authority, California Patients’ Rights Resources California Advocates, Mental Health Association, Patients Rights, resources

Let it all fall down…

My mood was low today. Not necessarily unhappy, just…tapped out. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually overdrawn. This whole petri dish high functioning thing completely drains me. I view it as running a certain number of miles on a tank of gas. I’ve run way more miles than I had gas in my tank so I am sputtering along on fumes.
With this lack of energy, I didn’t rush out the door today. I procrastinated. Reminded myself to breathe, to relax, not to jump through my kid’s hoops ‘let’s go, let’s go, when are we going”…My life seems to revolve around her schedule and one day a week I like to let go of that stranglehold routine and do things at a leisurely pace.
I thought the longer I waited, the more motivated and calmer I’d get.
I was very wrong.

First store wasn’t too bad. Until I’d been in there for ten minutes. It’s not my regular store and it was packed and…I had to get out because I began to feel short of breath and dizzy.
Second store…I crashed and burned. My kid kept asking for toys, demanding candy, everywhere I stepped she was literally underfoot or her nose was attached to my butt cheek. I feel so smothered at times (and I don’t blame that on her because it’s been a lifelong thing when I don’t have enough personal space, tho I do blame her for repeatedly defying and ignoring me edicts to give me space.)
By the third store, I asked (begged) Bex to take the kid to the car and I’d just run in by myself. That was like the last mile in the marathon, only by then I was the walking wounded mentally.
Couldn’t flee home fast enough. Even had to take a seat and practice deep breathing because I was so freaked out.

Kid kept pushing us all day. Mouthing off. Yelling. Crying (crocodile tears) and calling us names, I don’t like you…Never sitting properly on furniture. Bouncing about without looking then bawling because she got bonked in spite of multiple warnings she needed to stop before she got hurt.

My nerves were frayed ropes. I was grouchy, hateful, suspicious, paranoid. Felt like having a plastic bag tied over my head and I couldn’t get enough air so I was churning all these fear induced emotions. Maybe they lacked logic. I found myself getting pissed off about little things. Feeling like lines were being crossed, and maybe they were, maybe they weren’t. I am control freak so I am never sure when I am being logical or doing the feral animal thing because I feel I am being backed into a corner.

On the plus side, the kid went to sleep, I got a bit of a rest and second wind. Bex and I started watching the new show “How to Get Away with Murder” and turns out, the reviews were wrong. We like it.

Batcaving commenced at 8 pm.

Now if I could just get all the neurons from misfiring and telling me I am anxious and making me fearful (of what?????) and paranoid (again, of what???) There was no bad event that brought this current backslide on. It’s just the price of me existing in a fast paced world where I don’t fare well.

I need to work up the energy to shower.
I wanted so badly to write on my story.
Truth is, I have no energy. At this point, I just want to curl up under the warm cover and vegetate in front of my crime documentaries on the computer.
Life is what drains me. If I can’t be in control of schedule and routine and feel held hostage to one that’s not my own…If I am forced out of my comfort zone for hours at a time for more than a couple of days…If I have to deal with people and traffic and stores too often…One more check written on an account that has no money in it.
I am not blind to the importance of routine, of forcing yourself to function even when you don’t feel like it. I just don’t like feeling so chained to a routine it’s like slowly being choked to death by an invisible noose.
I’m kinda fucked up, I guess.
But I’d rather be honestly fucked up than falsely project an image of being all together.

Maybe tomorrow I will feel calmer, less defensive, less cornered and threatened.

One thing about cyclothymia…You don’t have to worry about long periods of a mental state. You come to appreciate a two day run of okay. Two whole days with this shit is like, amazing.
Unfortunately, the depressions that accompany it…Those you can count on lasting a long while and being far worse than you’d have thought they could be.

Part of me wishes I were weaker and could just give up. Become a reclusive shut in, drink myself into a stupor 7 days a week, and become a total Unabomber type whack job. It’s be so much easier.
I’m just not there yet. I may be one day.
Just not this day.
Least I have something to look forward to, maybe.
So long as we can get wifi in our Unabomber shack.
Crazy drunken recluse or not, I am sooo NOT missing my CSI and Grey’s Anatomy.


Fall Is Beautiful

Today my husband and I went and explored some woods near the new house. It’s a national forest called Schramm. It’s really quite lovely and I took some really good pictures. I’ll add them to this post later, I have to move them all over the place to get them on here since I didn’t take them with my iPad.

We talked a lot and ended up walking for 3 fricken miles. I am really sore. I’m not sure how much pain I am gonna be tomorrow but I am in some now. It was totally worth it. Even if I have to stay on the couch all day it was worth it.

I need to exercise more. I realize that I moved to a part of the country where being a larger gal is accepted much easier but I don’t want to be this way anymore. Life is short and I want to live it with energy and verve!

Got lots of vitamin D today from MR. Sun. Also hubby is trying to make it so that I can play my games on her computer. Cross your fingers it will give me something to do with my time.


Ugly Girl

Ugly girl – she just plays –  like she’s one of the guys. At least that’s her safety – her macho disguise. But deep down inside – she has feminine Continue Reading →