Daily Archives: November 29, 2014

Break It Down

The work of breaking down a household—not to mention sifting through the memories of a place where a good portion of our lives happened—continues as our time here grows short. We have one week before we have to be out, and we aren’t going to make that deadline even though we’re getting help from our son and his girlfriend. There’s just too much stuff. We’ve thrown away massive amounts of it, and boxed up more still to be taken to Goodwill. But the sheer volume of our possessions still makes moving it all seem insurmountable, even though we really have accomplished a lot.

Moodwise, I’m pretty stable given the stresses of moving and STILL not knowing where we’re going to go. It’s depressing and I am anxious as hell, but while I was inpatient, I learned the difference between being depressed over my circumstances and being clinically depressed. Not to say that situational depression can’t turn into clinical depression–it can, and did—but this time I’m experiencing sadness, disappointment, grief, and even anger. All normal emotions given what’s happening in my life right now.

We did get a bit of good news today: we’ve been approved for food stamps, which aren’t “stamps” anymore but a debit card which makes using the benefits a little more discreet (and thus more dignified). I just keep reminding myself that we paid taxes into the system for years and if there was any way to avoid needing help, we would have done it. We have also applied for medical assistance through our state’s health plan—we can’t afford insurance through the so-called “Affordable Care Act”—which should lower my prescription costs considerably and assuage our guilt over being unable to pay our ever-increasing medical bills. They go back three months from the date one applies, which would take care of my hospital stay (and boy, I’d hate to see the numbers from that episode!) as well as a couple of Will’s major expenses.

To say this is all a big relief is an understatement. Now, if we can just find someplace to stay for awhile, life will definitely be on an upswing. It’s just a shame I’ve had to lose so much in order to appreciate what I have left. Maybe that’s the purpose of all this…..maybe I needed a celestial boot in the backside so I could reconnect with what’s really important in life. I know I said earlier in the year that I wanted out of the rat race; well, not only did I get kicked out of the rat race, I discovered that as hard as life has become I still want to live it, and I want to live it authentically.

So goes my thinking on a cold Saturday afternoon as we prepare to go to my daughter’s home for dinner, which is always a treat. She is as authentic as they come, and I should be taking lessons from her. There is no pretense, no keeping up with the Joneses, no bullshit in the way she and her family live; and as a result, theirs is the happiest home I’ve ever been in. There’s nothing better than family, and no place like home.

Now, if we can just find one…..

 

 

 

 

 

 


Skip In The Record

For those of us who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s or those who are retro…The concept of vinyl records is known. Vinyl. I miss it sometimes. CDs have better sound quality but vinyl, wow. It was so raw, so real.
But like everything, it had its flaws. It got worn and warped and scratched.
There was nothing as irritating as your favorite record having a skip etched into one spot, usually during your favorite song, and the only way to get past it was to bump the needle a smidge.

My brain, today, is like a vinyl record with a skip in it, only I have no needle to bump and make the song progress. It’s just the same series of thoughts and searing emotions in an endless loop. I can’t distract myself from it. It’s stewing and simmer and brewing and it won’t stop. I feel helpless and hopeless, like it has taken me hostage. I try to distract, to move onto something else.
But the skip remains and the churning thoughts of futility keep going.

I recognize this obsessive compulsive thought pattern as one of my flaws, a glitch in my programming that usually drives me to react impulsively, in a volatile manner, because otherwise, I am going to implode.
Xanax will dull the edges, but for the most part…I am at the mercy of this shit until it passes. There is no true trigger that makes it pass. Much like the bipolar mood cycles, it just takes on a life of its own and will fade out the same way. Fizzle. Eventually.
Until then…
I feel like I am bound in chains, at the cruel mercy of my own twisted mind, and no logical argument with myself changes a thing. I feel weak and powerless, and those are not emotions I tolerate well. If anything, it turns me into a cornered feral animal. My strength and tenacity are all I have ever had. To be stripped of that and placed in this position of my own mind torturing me with feelings that might not even be there a few hours from now…It’s living hell.
It chisels away at you. It leaves you vacant and hostile and basically, a powder keg.

I am learning, slowly, how to isolate myself from anything that might trigger that powder keg to explode.
Unfortunately, I am a mom and there is the constant trigger of my child who literally loves the sound of her own voice and never stops talking. Never.
It’s like nails on a chalkboard when you’re in this mental place.
I need quiet. I need calm. I need to breathe.I can’t even have a clear thought because it’s halted with “Mommy” every thirty seconds. Literally. I have never known a child who talks this much.
And this one’s not just me being irritable and edgy. It’s been witnessed by others who find it pushes them to the edge as well.

So not only am I being flogged by my own brain, my kid is on rapid Uzi fire mode and I can’t think clearly or even take a deep breath.

Proof that even when the moods don’t get you…
Something else will.

It’s easy to understand how people go clinically insane. How it hasn’t yet happened to me is a mystery. Sometimes, I wish it would happen. Lock me up, give me drugs, tell me what to do every minute of the day so I don’t have to make any decisions…
And a day later I would be shrieking and kicking to get free and take control again.
I am an enigma, even to myself.
I know what I am.
I’m just not sure why I am this way.

And it doesn’t matter because figuring out what caused the damage doesn’t make the damage diminish a bit.

It doesn’t even really offer clarity. It just makes me wonder why I’ve bothered and fought so hard trying to fix myself when every single person around me remains the same and clings to their own dysfunction to the detriment of others without even a flicker of awareness or conscience.
Maybe I just don’t want to be them.
Maybe all the therapy just made me more fucked up because frankly, ignorance is bliss and I was at least partially happy accepting myself as a kookoo flake as opposed to constant self analysis of every personality quirk.

I want to break free from it all.
It’s imprisonment. Life sentence.
And no one told me what crime I committed to be sentenced to this.

The record needle skips in the groove, again and again, and no peace is to be found.

Such is mental illness and emotional baggage.


Bipolaroundup

It is amazing how many words get wasted when all that they’re saying is advance planning can be helpful if you’re bipolar.

I was pleased to see the following quote:

However, there are people who get lower levels of depression or manic symptoms which are persistent and different from normal mood, who are able to keep relatively normal life going. Where to draw the line between who is bipolar and who is getting normal mood changes is not easy, which is why you may need to see an expert.

… in a piece called the truth about bipolar, because that early and instant reaction we all seem to get, of people saying oh don’t worry bipolar is totally manageable, has begun to get up my damn schnozz. The correct statement would be remission is possible.

Bipolar & Sex is a decent op ed written by a woman who once dated a bipolar man. The title is enough to get you clicking, right? I don’t need to give you details. It’s a well balanced piece.

I learned a new word (yay):

Sociotropy is characterized by the need for social reassurance, approval and contact.

I found it in an article about bipolar and comorbidity.

It wouldn’t be media-sexy to report that any bipolar people died of cancer or old age or ebola or something. Here’s the latest assortment:

Becca Campbell – accidental shooting
Janet L. Sims – hypothermia after release from prison
Andrea Christine Bartmess – murdered
Tanesha Anderson – head slammed on to concrete repeatedly by cops
Edward Wayne Logan – a Maori, shot by cops
Joshua Fransisco – suicide in prison

Rest in peace. And there, but for the grace of society and our psychiatrists, go many more of us.

Here’s a 4 part series about cops shooting mentally ill people. It will (and should) make you rant.

Cool article on Miriam Toews & All My Puny Sorrows.

Book review Literchoor is My Beat about publisher (and bipolar) James Laughlin.

Shit that bipolar etc people suffer in Kashmir.