Daily Archives: January 9, 2015

Bipolar1Blog: Part of Bipolar Blogger Network !

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Bipolar1Blog is a part of Bipolar Blogger Network, which is a collection of very good, creative, informative, and amazing blogs about Bipolar Disorder. I am so proud to be a part of this network! Now readers can go to: http://www.bipolarbloggernetwork.com and put in bipolar1blog in the search bar and there I’ll be! Also, there are many other blogs there, such as “A Mind Divided”, “Kitt O’Malley”. “Blahpolar” “Bipolar, Unemployed, and Lost” and many, many  others, that are so worthwhile reading. Visit and read, my friends :-)


Bleaching Bipolar

Over the years, since being diagnosed with bipolar, I’ve developed an almost poetic affinity for bleach.  I love the way it stings my eyes and burns my nostrils with the harshness needed to fix caked-on messes.  I love how it brings things back to the way they once were, before the filth claimed them as its own. I love the crisp freshness of nothingness it leaves lingering in the air. I love the way it eases my mind with the confidence that no matter how disgusting things have gotten, they can always be made clean again.  All of the stains, all of the mistakes, can slowly be transformed back to purity.  Bleach does things to dirt that I would love to have done to myself.

 

But this post is not all about metaphors.  It’s really about the mundane task of keeping things clean, and the tremendous struggle this can pose for those with bipolar disorder.  For myself, the things I have the most difficulty keeping up with, are the things that need to be kept up the most – the day-in-and-day-out dirt that never quits being produced. These are the things that don’t forgive you when you fall behind (which may feel like every day of your life).  They just keep slapping you across the face every time you look at them.

 

My home is an absolute disaster, and I’m really not exaggerating. I’m not one of those people who warns you that their house is a mess simply because one dish is in the sink, or one pillow hasn’t been fluffed.  I’m fully capable of looking at my life objectively and calling-it-like-it-is, and when I say disaster, I mean disaster. Disgusting. Shockingly so.  Before I got sick – especially several years before – my home was immaculate.  Maybe not to my standards back then, but to my standards now, yes – immaculate. And it stayed that way.  I had a regular cleaning routine. I was extremely organized.  Things got put away, messes got cleaned up, laundry got washed, dishes didn’t fester, dinner got made, friends came over.  Entertaining was my passion and practically my trademark.  I lived a completely normal existence, taken totally for granted, by a completely normal mind.

 

For me, there was a very clear line of demarcation between “before diagnosis/after diagnosis” as far as my ability to focus and stay on top of things.  I once had the ability and energy to deal with the everyday dirt that life brings.  But there came a point in time when I looked around, and nothing was the same. Nothing was where it should be, but I couldn’t remember where it belonged.  The chaos buzzing inside my mind became the chaos all around me.  The filth that I felt inside myself was now reflected in my surroundings – staring back at me, mocking me – with no way to escape its gaze.  I simply became trapped in my own disease. Now, everywhere I look, I’m reminded of my broken mind, and my lack of ability to escape from it.  Everywhere I look, I’m reminded of the wife and mother that I’ve become, versus the wife and mother I used to be – who I want to be still – who is now so far out of my reach.  Now I can only watch as I see her in the distance… slowly drifting away.

 

It’s the typical vicious cycle that struggles spin us into: things are cluttered because of the bipolar, but the bipolar is worse because things are cluttered.  It spins me around till I’m dizzy, and I’m not sure which is worse – the bipolar or the mess.  Looking around now is painful, like a dagger constantly poking at me, not caring that I’m already bleeding – and the irony is that I am that dagger.

 

As you can imagine, I despise unexpected visitors. DESPISE! Nothing causes me more trepidation than a knock on my door. My stomach is instantly tied into one giant knot, and it’s difficult for me to breathe. An unexpected guest = humiliation, heaped on top of the already huge pile of debris that’s left of my self-worth. The judgment that visitors think (but politely won’t say out loud), I more than make up for myself:  “You filthy pig!  How can you live like this?  How can you be so lazy?  What do you do all day? “  And my reply to this imaginary judgment is:  “Yes, look at it.  Take a good, long look.  Because whatever you see – whatever you are thinking at this very moment – I can guarantee I’ve thought much worse. I can guarantee that the disappointment I feel in myself is far greater than any dirt you see on my floor.”

 

Difficulties and struggles are much easier to confess when they live under the cloak of the past we have conquered.  It’s much harder to separate your identity from the battles you are currently fighting.  But this is my past as well as my current truth, and truth is what I write. Chaotic surroundings have a way of dousing you in so much shame, it’s hard to even see who you are in the mess, much less find a solution, or know where to begin. But yet, we’re expected to.

 

Not too long ago, I had a hypomanic surge of actual, complete thought processes, along with boundless energy – the perfect combination in Bipolar Land. It was that magical moment – that beautiful place of clarity – that a rare manic episode can take you to. Everything was clear, the synapses were working, I suddenly got my intelligence back, and I felt as though I could conquer the impossible. Because of this perfect storm, I was actually able to dig myself out of my mess. Every room was clean, in order, and together, and my mind was content with the harmony of my new surroundings.  I was able to think clearly, to organize and delegate, to shove the worrisome thoughts out of my head long enough to keep the accumulated clutter at bay.  Unfortunately, clutter fought back with a vengeance.  I had a fleeting glimpse of the old me, when for a brief moment she broke free from the wreckage. But she was inevitably sucked back into the past.  Oh, the way sanity teases me so cruelly.

 

You know how it goes – all it takes is one bad day.  One day of not feeling well, one day of somehow getting out of the rhythm, one little bump that sends me tumbling back down the hill of accomplishment.  It’s just the sad reality of my fragile stability – it never lasts for long.  I’m always slapped back to the realization that it doesn’t belong to me anymore, and that the person I once was – the person I knew, who once lived inside of me – has long ago been dead and buried.  And I mourn for her.

 

I know that cleaning your house sounds like an easy fix. I know I sound like a drama queen, when the solution is so obviously right in front of me.  I know what my mother would say to me if she saw it:  “Just get your butt up off the couch and clean this place up! Stop being so lazy!  How can you live like this!?  This isn’t how you were raised!  Just put your mind to it, and get it done!” But there comes a point when the simplest things bring the greatest struggles, because they should be so simple.  And all you see when you look out around are seven-million-simple-problems, that need seven-million-simple-solutions – each one begging you to fix them first. It’s just so much easier to close your eyes and wish it away.  It’s just so much easier for an already compromised mind to shut itself off, and pretend it’s not there.

 

My life has been reduced to a series of starts and re-starts.  No matter how much I will myself to never sink so low again, I know that I will always return to the mire that has now become uncomfortably familiar.  My self-esteem will continue to ebb-and-flow with the tide of my mind – wherever it decides to lead me on any given day.  No matter how unpredictable this illness is, you can always predict that the highs will be followed by the lows. The rare times I find myself somewhere in the middle – in that perfect spot of hypomanic productivity – I’m always grateful for the bleach, and the peace of mind that it brings. Everything can be made right again, everything can be erased, everything can be brought back to its brightest state – the way it was meant to be.  I envy that sweet forgiveness that it grants, and the finality of seeing past mistakes so easily forgotten.  I wish I could forgive myself so completely.  I wish I could wash my soul, and finally be rid of the filth that I feel inside.  I wish I could be so easily fixed.

Uncle Matt Part #2

So we are on our way back to the Uncle Matt story. First off, however, a few housekeeping details. Most of you know I am taking this Blogging 101 class. So if you tune in here and see any sort of changes, that is what is going on. A few changes may be permanent, but most are just assignments designed to stretch my blogging and tech skills a bit. (Many of you will notice the new non-blurry header!)

Okay, so here we go back to Uncle Matt. I think we left him stoned, in eighth grade, on my front doorstep. Now in this episode, things may get a bit blurry. I am currently on a lot of meds and my memory is shot…not to mention that at that time in my life I was on crazy manic highs and deep dark lows.

My mother and saintly husband #5 moved back from Denver and stepdad remarried a decent woman. So Matt had a couple of places to bounce around to. Mostly during this time he lived with his father. And I think it was around then the trouble with the “law” began. Matt had a thing for underage drinking. Matt was what my husband called a “cop magnet”. For example, once he got so drunk while he was driving, he pulled off the road onto an off ramp, opened the car door and fell out onto the ground. Of course, the overhead light was on, so thirty people called 911. When Matt would get in these situations, his father would go bail him out and hire an attorney. I’m sure he was also doing drugs in there but I wasn’t around him much so I don’t really know.

I’m going to tell the next part of Matt’s story through the women he was with. I have somewhat of a good handle on them. What a group!

The first one was Beth and they got married. She was a quiet little thing, almost sort of mousy. She had a good job and they seemed to get along all right. (I should mention here that although Matt dropped out of school at 14, he did go to auto body shop school, had some talent for it and was always able to get a job that paid well. The problem was keeping a job.)

Now for some reason Matt had a problem staying with just one woman at a time. I understood this with some of the later losers he dated but not early on. Beth seemed perfectly fine to me. Another interesting thing about Matt is that almost all of his former girlfriends and wives carried a torch for him forever and would bail him out, feed him, let him live with them, etc. even after he had cheated on them. Seriously weird.

This was aboutbooze the time Matt started getting DUI’s on a regular basis and spending time in jail. He also lost his license. (He never has gotten it back.) But he would spend three days here, a day there, just sort of float around jail from time to time. Nothing big, and he wasn’t gone long enough to lose his job. (Be aware that plenty of guys at auto body shops drink!)

Next, during Beth, Uncle Matt moved on to Chera. Chera was another bright girl with a good job. What these women saw in Matt I will never know. Chera had a darling little girl and a cop for an ex-husband. But this didn’t seem to bother Matt a bit.

Now Matt and Chera got into the arguing thing. There was quite a bit of yelling and pushing and that sort of stuff. We would have them over occasionally for meals here and there and they would get into it. (I was married by this time.) It REALLY bothered me that this precious little girl was being raised in the midst of all this fighting and I let both of them know I was pissed about it in no uncertain terms. But what do old sisters know?

A couple of years went by and we got into the “Jennifers”. Matt had left Chera by this point and I kid you not, was dating three different women named Jennifer all at the same time. (My husband thought this was hysterical.) There was lots of drama involved with this situation. Clothes being thrown on the lawn, someone’s car seat lit on fire, a patio sliding door broken, it was quite a love fest. This all eventually sorted itself out and we got down to just one Jennifer.

I hate to digress here but would love to mention my crazy mother at this point. She had started drinking really heavily. She was living in town and husband #5 (the saint) would call us to come and break up fights. He would decide to throw all her booze away. I was present at one of these throw-aways and I found a HUGE bottle of vodka under the bathroom sink. Do they make vodka in gallon jugs? Anyway, Mom told me not to throw it away cause she was disinfecting the sink and toilet with it. Meantime, I am still hitting wild mania and big depressions. I wonder why my husband stayed. Probably for the entertainment value alone.

Okay, so we are back to the sole Jennifer. She decides she wants to marry Uncle Matt in a big way. Seriously mentally ill. Of course they have no money. Jennifer hears an ad on the radio about a contest to win a free wedding. You just have to write in and tell why you love your groom-to-be. And she writes in. And she wins.

This isn’t some bare bones wedding they have. This place went all out. It was on TV. The bride and groom had champagne and then parachuted from a small plane for more excitement. They had a nice dress for Jennifer, a tux for Uncle Matt, great flowers, food, and music. My daughter was the flower girl and our little son carried the provided wedding rings. The hotel ballroom was all decorated and they had lots of food. But it was very sad. Cause the only guests were my husband, me, and our three little kids. I tried to make a big fuss over everything and I think it helped a little. The hotel rounded up a bunch of employees to eat the food and dance. It wasn’t a bad time, if you like uniformed strangers at your wedding.

Sorry this is going to a part three. Uncle Matt is just quite a topic.

love, lily

Why?

This is what I’m thinking about: Why? Why are we humans so violent? Why are we so covetous? Why so depraved? I’m sure we are the only species that tortures and kills its own kind. Why? Why is there such a hierarchy of superiority? Why are looks so important? “Beautiful” people are considered so much better than “plain” or “homely” ones. Why? Why does racism exist? Why, when we all came out of Africa? Why is the earth being destroyed for the love of power and wealth? Why such short sighted thinking? Why does one family have billions of dollars and is still greedy for more, while millions, and more struggle to put food on their table. Why is it we send our impoverished young men out to kill, torture and mam in other countries and when they return, all crazy from the horrific things they’ve seen and done, we let them rot. Become homeless, go crazy.
Why? With all the intelligence, the creativity, even the love that we humans possess, why all this carnage, selfishness and destruction?
Are any of these behaviors sick? What is considered mental illness and what’s not?


Just a Heads-Up!

Over the next several days, I will be going through my past bipolar posts (from my previous blog), and posting them here.  I just wanted to let you know that they will soon be available in the archives :)

The First Time I Heard the Name Jehovah

In reply to the WordPress Daily Prompt Jan.9, 2015

In Good Faith

Describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality – or lack of – for the first time.

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I’d really rather not discuss religion on this blog, not because I’m not a religious person, but simply because with the topic of religion comes expectations of perfection, as well as the assumption of hypocrisy, layered with a holier-than-thou frosting.  Being that I am more human than most, and have made my share of serious mistakes, I’d rather not have my personal failings reflect badly on my already misunderstood religion – especially since those mistakes are more a reflection of my mental illness than a lack of faith.  The other reason I choose to leave religion off these pages is because these are my personal venting grounds, and I quite enjoy the freedom of being able to talk about my difficulties with the fellow members of my faith, without the guilt of having to live up to some predefined notion of propriety.  With those disclaimers out of the way, and since WordPress asked so nicely…

In my opinion, the name Jehovah is the most beautiful name in the world.  I don’t remember the first time I heard that name, but I do know that every time I hear it, it touches some of the deepest emotions I hold inside of me.  I was raised using the name Jehovah when referring to my God. His name is not God or Lord, anymore than my name is Mrs or Mom.  And because I use his personal name, I have always felt a personal bond with him.  He has become a friend, rather than a cold and distant taskmaster.  For me to describe the first time I considered my faith would be nearly impossible, since I never remember it having a beginning.  My religion has always been there, will always be there, and has defined me more than anything else in my life.  Although I choose to keep it behind-the-scenes in this blog of mine, it will forever be what has shaped me the most, and made me the person I am today.

Time Management

My time management sucks! This is not a new topic here. I’ve posted several articles about this in the past. Just recently, as a matter of fact. As long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with time management. Habitually late, homework, essays, projects and reports all past due. I’ve always felt I had more things […]

The post Time Management appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

rhymes-with manic depression memes

*cough* Might offend Christians, Nirvana fans, Hispanic people and Germans (sorry). I blame my sick and twisted sense of humour. Or it’s all bipolar’s fault. Here are some inoffensive jokes instead.

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Politically incorrect (and worse to come).

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Poor Treebeard.

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Miss you Kurt (pity you didn’t miss) xox

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(I reckon Christ had a wild sense of humour.)

TWO Count Them TWO Sets Of Plans For Tonight!!!

WOW well this hasn’t been the best week.  I have had a hard time getting going every day, and I haven’t managed to exercise each day which is my goal (and my saving grace).  I don’t know what my major malfunction is, other than the fact that is hasn’t been very warm here, although it has still been beautiful, for the most part.  I think I am lonely.  No, I know I am.  However, I am excited to have TWO sets of plans for tonight!!  First, I am meeting my friend S and her boyfriend for a drink and I think dinner (S is who I stayed with when I first got to Florida).  I have only seen her once since I moved out of her house, so it will be great to see them.  Then at about 7pm I am meeting friends from my former Meetup group for a poker game!  Yeah!  I am not a great poker player but I am a GREAT bluffer.  So I’m going to work on my poker game as well as my bluff.

Right now I’m off to see the psychiatrist at the Cattle-Call Mental Health Practice, they just process us through like we’re cattle.  The psychiatrist couldn’t be less caring.  But hey! Fuck!  It gets me that fucking Clozaril.  Whatever.

Sunday, the BRONCOS are in the playoffs.  GO BRONCOS!!!!!  Hope you all have a slammin’ weekend.  Peaches!!


Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Exercise, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Go Broncos, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

The Realities Of Mental Illness

So, I was awake until after one a.m. last night. Churning anxiety. My mind wouldn’t slow down, my nerves wouldn’t quiet down. I took an emergency Xanax and still…three hours later, still up and down, brain on overload.
Why, you may ask. Did I get bad news? No. Some anxiety inducing task? No.
I was invited out for drinks by R’s wife.
Is she a scary monster? No. Is it gonna cost me a dime? No, she said her treat, she just wants a girl’s night. (Her usual friend is busy.) Do I not have a sitter? Nope, she volunteered R because he will already be watching their granddaughter. Do I even have to drive? Nope.
So why the freak out?
IT’S A PUBLIC OUTING WITH CROWDS.
It’s really that simple and yet, that complex.
Neurotic, sure. Illogical? To those without an anxiety disorder, absolutely.

It is, unfortunately, one of my realities that come along with my illnesses.

This is, however, the third time she has asked in the last year and I always find some way to spare myself the agony. This time, especially after having helicopter kid glued to me for the better part of three weeks, I am gonna bite the bullet and do it.
Most people get excited to go out. From what I understand, most people go out frequently and consider it normal and awesome.
WTF?
With my panic and anxiety disorders, 90% of the time, social outings are torture than enjoyment. It’s truly a “star,sun, moon” alignment thing.
Others simplify it with platitudes, bullying. “Just go for it, it might be fun.” “Suck it up, if you do it, you won’t have anxiety anymore.”

Oh, how I wish.

I think perhaps this is the one telling area when discerning whether someone truly has mental disorders or has simply gotten lost in Prozac Nation.
Do you have anxiety attacks at your job but can go surf the mosh pit at a concert?
Not really ill.
Because it’s not selective. It crosses over into every aspect of your life. It’s not simply what stresses you or things you dislike.
It metastasizes and even devours that which you love.
You fight it with all your might. And sometimes, maybe you beat it, or at the very least, face it.
But it never gets easier and even if you enjoy yourself, the aftermath of the anxiety and experience resonate for days.

Usually, for me, it’s just not worth it.
Unfortunately, I am in that spot where I had a manic moment and agreed because while I may be a 42 year old wallflower mom…A drink or two away from my child is not without appeal.At the same time, I am praying I don’t get hit with one of the panic attacks that induce vomiting. That never ceases to be mortifying. Ever.
I am going to attempt to do it
Then spend the weekend recovering.

It makes you feel like such a failure when your disorders turn the most basic situation into a traumatizing event.
I read other blogs and people with mental illness like me, still do all these things like going on dates, out to meals, to concerts, the beach, etc.
So why is it such an ordeal for me? What is wrong with me?

Most concise answer I can come up with is…this is the reality of mental illness for me.