Daily Archives: January 11, 2015

Still Grumpy, Yet Saw Some Beauty

Here are some pictures of what i think are some beautiful area’s near us, Schramm Park and Platte River. I don’t feel much like writing today. Still wondering if it is the Lithium, I’ll give it a bit to adjust

Platte River Platte Schramm Schramm Parl Platte Frozen

Home Sweet Home

We are finally moved out into our new dwelling place. I can’t write much because the internet is not working and I’m typing on my phone. But I wanted to let my readers know that I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. Thanks for continuing to follow me. Love you all!


Life Simplified

Using WordPress Reader Lists has simplified my life. There are a seemingly infinite number of excellent blogs to follow, read, like, and comment on. If you comment, I will respond. I “follow” those who follow me. Whether or not I read … Continue reading

I do not whisper. I ROAR.

Originally posted January 11, 2015 on STIGMAMA.COM I do not whisper. I ROAR. Kitt O’Malley | Stigmama Motherhood has been transformational for me. I am NOW building a new foundation. My identity changed. Now it changes again. I have constantly … Continue reading

The Lighter Side of Insomnia

I’ve had insomnia. Lots. January seems to be an especially bad time of year for me. Ambien has reduced the frequency, but nothing banishes it completely – the obsessive thoughts, the catastrophizing, the worrying, the worrying about how worried I am. We’ve all been there at 3:00 a.m., trying to will ourselves to sleep.

What could possibly be light-hearted about that?

Just this: An actual x-ray of my insomniac self:

T-shirt by Headline Shirts. Photo by me.

T-shirt by Headline Shirts. Photo by me.

Indeed, my friend Leslie and I, both afflicted with insomnia, recognized this as our mutual problem. We began to end our late-night commiseration with the sign-off, “Death to Hamsters!”

Our mutual friend, the incomparable, incorrigible Tom Smith, heard of this and ran with it. Here is the result, for your amusement.

Imagine, if you will, this performed as a sing-along with a hundred people joining in on the chorus. It may not put you to sleep, but at least it puts insomnia in some kind of loony perspective.

At least it does for me.

Notes:

No hamsters were harmed in the making of this blog post. A rubber duck may have been squeezed, but it had nothing to squawk about. So if you’re with PETA, chill already.

Lyrics to Hamster Brain available here: http://www.tomsmithonline.com/lyrics/hamster_brain.htm. More of Tom Smith’s oeuvre can be found at tomsmithonline.com or http://tomsmith.bandcamp.com. They’re not all as weird as this. Some are even stranger.


Seriously, WordPress? Take Two

I just did this long post on the last three days and wordpress ate it. Failure, gone, fuck you, internet goblins.

Suffice it to say, it’s been a shit weekend. Car broke down. Cigarette machine broke into three pieces. No way to go buy one, had to piece one together out of three I’d been stripping for parts over the years.
Had a couple of drinks before I went out with Mrs. R. Not like I was driving, right.
So by the time we pulled into that packed parking lot of the mexican restaurant…I wasn’t joyful, but I wasn’t traumatized. She asked, “Are you sure you’re going to be okay with this?”
I was ok, thanks to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, but it meant a lot she’d show compassion like that. I’ve known her three years and she gets it. I’ve known her idiot husband almost 20 years and he still doesn’t get it.
So the margaritas flowed and we talked and it was…Almost fun. I even forgot my digestive and tastebud issues and we shared a nacho grande platter.

Unfortunately, I paid for the food more than the alcohol in physical agony. Gastrointestinal torture panel all day yesterday.

Got to listen to my dad scream about fixing my car and its cost. I tried to give him the cash I had to contribute and he screamed “I don’t want your fucking money.”
W.T.F.
Just proved to me therapy works. He’s screaming and cursing the whole time and I, rather than being reduced to the family mantra of “scream it out”, maintained composure and spoke calmly.
Evolution and personal growth, yay.

Today…The stomach torture seems to be over. Well, from the mexican food. Now I have shark week prelude cramps and backache. Life is fun!

I am glad I went out Friday. It was the first time in two years I went out with another adult after dark. It was kind of fun.
Of course, I feel like I’ve suffered massive blood loss and am weak and woozy. Same thing every time I “have fun”. Like too much stimulation overwhelms me and bleeds me dry.
I’ll do it again.
In another two years.


kiss me first – lottie moggach

“Don’t believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

Kiss Me First is about suicide and about online identity, so the book had me at once upon a time, only it didn’t start that way, of course. The reader topples straight into the action, but here’s the basic premise, from the book itself.

image

“The idea, in a nutshell, was this: The woman — Tess — would inform her family and friends that she intended to move abroad to start a new life in some distant, inaccessible place. She would hand over to me all the information I would need to convincingly impersonate her online, from passwords to biographical information. Then, on the day of her “flight,” she would disappear somewhere and dispose of herself in a discreet manner, handing the reins of her life over to me.”

That’s Leila, the impersonator and narrator, who is also a cybergeek, an LOTR fan and WoW player. In fact, it’s WoW that triggers her journey down the rabbit hole – but I’m not giving out any spoilers. She is also socially awkward, unpretty* and unpopular; gloomy English setting doesn’t help matters much either. Several reviewers described Leila negatively (flat, grey), but I am not sure I agree, and she reminded me of Chi Park (the short, Chinese woman on House MD in season 8) in some ways.

“I hadn’t spoken to Rashida for a few years, but had kept track of her on Facebook, and knew she had moved to Rottingdean with her fiancé, a management consultant. I sent her a message telling her mum had died, and she said she was sorry, and that if I was ever in Rottingdean I must visit her and Stuart. I noticed that she had posted a new picture showing off her engagement ring, and she had done her nails like the girls at school, with a stupid white stripe across the top, which was disappointing.”

So that’s (bipolar) Tess and (geek) Leila. Then there’s Adrian, who runs a forum called Red Pill. And the plot proceeds, in a decidedly cerebral manner. The story flits between past and present (pre- and post-suicide), which is a method I’m fond of.

I like Lottie Moggach’s writing style (she’s Debbie Moggach’s daughter), it’s free and fluid. I have no idea whether the author is bipolar, or in love with/related to someone with it, or whether she’s simply brilliant at research and getting right into her characters’ skins. Here’s Tess, with startlingly impeccable bipolar-suicidal logic (it’s drama-friendly bipolar i as usual).

“The other day you were saying something about “beating” manic depression, like it’s a dragon to be slain or something, but I don’t feel like that. It’s this thing that is part of me, ingrained into my character, and I will have to live with it until I die. This is it. I read this quote once from this woman, which was “No hope of a cure, ever, for being me,” and that’s exactly how I feel.
Every day, when I wake up, I have to make the decision whether or not I can bear to live with that. The thing is, now I know the script. I know what happens to me. When I’m drugged I might feel on an even keel but I’m only half alive. I’m just existing. All my fire and creativity go. And when I’m in a manic phase I’m too alive.
If I’m not on pills, then I’m crazy and I hurt people and I want to die. And if I am on pills, then I lack my fire, and I don’t feel things deeply; I’m just shuffling through life like everyone else, using up resources, eating food and shitting it out…I’m living a mundane life, just for the sake of it.
And when I look at the future, I can only see more of this same old shit…I just don’t see the point in repeating the same things over and over again, becoming more and more invisible, going to sleep and waking up, always doubting my own instincts, feeling either half-alive or out of control. I just don’t want to do it anymore.”

I had so many hell yes moments with Tess.

Suicide is a tough subject and it’s difficult for most people to listen without panicking and problem solving; it is interesting to follow the storyline because of that. Obviously I’m not suggesting that any of you off yourselves, I’d be heartbroken if you did, but I do think the topic is very worthwhile discussing. The book doesn’t push you one way or the other.

“Life is about quality, not quantity, and it’s up to each individual to judge whether theirs is worth living or not.” (Leila)

Naturally, it brings up the subjects of right to die and assisted suicide.

Fun sidebar fact: Social taboos have prompted the creation of death cafés, to facilitate conversations about it all.

You might find the book utterly depressing, I don’t know. My badass sorrowful and nerdly** self enjoyed it very much. It brought up interesting questions for me. For example, when pondering whether someone was in their ‘right mind’ (whatever that is), does their saying …

“A warning: Im a complete fucking nutcase. Sorry.” (Tess)

… incline you to think they’re actually sane, or not?

So much of my own identity only ever gets expressed online now, that I kept forgetting that it was a main theme in the book. Leila says (about assuming Leila’s persona),

“It was like having an avatar, but much better.”

The disconnect between on and offline, of anyone who cares about their image, is frequently huge and that seems to be Moggach’s main point; it threads its way through the book in various ways. And then there’s the issue of what we project and who we are online. Compare Leila pretending to be Tess, with the rest of us pretending to be who we want other people to see. As Tess journeys away from reality, Leila moves towards it.

So – well written, interesting plot, but … despite the intrigue, I didn’t agree with the book’s (few) changes of pace along the way and I found the ending unsatisfactory. It all went from yeah to meh for me, unfortunately***.

*yes I know it’s not a real word.
**not a real word either.
***that one’s a real word.

image

Extra, extra, clickallaboutit!
Read an extract.
Blurbs, a different extract and book trailer here.
Brief video interview about the novel with Lottie Moggach. (Where you can also find out how to pronounce her surname.)

Tess’ advice to Leila:
‘Firstly,’ she said, ‘you’re not as crap as you think you are.’
‘I don’t think I’m crap!’ I said.
She shushed me, and carried on with her list. ‘Wait until a man has been divorced a year before you think about going near him. It’s OK to dislike your family. You’ll spend your life chasing the feeling of your first line of coke. It’s worth spending money on a good haircut.’

Connor to Tess:
I’m not trying to guilt trip you, I just want to be honest. You make me want to be honest. I was absolutely devastated when you ended it. Beyond gutted. I pretended that it wasn’t such a big deal, that I knew we weren’t suited, that I agreed with whatever bullshit rationale you used – ‘we don’t make each other the best possible versions of ourselves’ or whatever. But you did make me the best ‘me’. I honestly think I knew then that you were it, my chance for the life I wanted, and that I’d blown it (I still don’t know how exactly) and that the rest of my life would be a compromise.

Songs that have nothing to do with this post:
Girls kissing girls …
Jill Sobule – I Kissed a Girl (1995 – nooooot Katy Crappy Perry)
Jen Foster – I Didn’t Just Kiss Her
Kate Nash – Kiss That Grrrl
Coeur de Pirate – Kissed a Girl (Katy Perry Cover)

lalalalalalaLINKDUMP!

At last, an article about the bipolar brain that has some information that looks useful.
The tl;dr is: differences in the cerebellum are found in bipolar people – except those taking lithium. (Iowa)

New Melbourne-based research, however, has found sufferers have reduced ability to recognise emotions in other people’s faces.
why people with bipolar disorder don’t always see how you feel

They’re not sleeping pills, they’re Prescription Headrests

image

Now this is a sleeping pill.

image

Another variation of a sad trope, Man accused of throwing daughter off bridge had bipolar disorder. (Florida) Hey that’s no way to cure bipolar!

“Blu Matter Project wants to lift people out of depression… one sweaty yoga mat at a time,”
Organization Provides Yogic Liaison for People with Bipolar and Depression (Toronto)

A new bopolar memoir (Edmonton):
From the desert sands of Southern California to the dark hallways of a mental hospital in his home town, Leif Gregersen strives and survives all the worst life can throw at him. In the groundbreaking work, “Inching Back To Sane”, this renowned author shows us what it really is like to lose what is most precious to all of us-our mind.
That’s from the press release, so no clue whether it’s any good. Foul adware on page too.

Through the Fire: The Story of an Intersexed, Bipolar Queer Kid Who Rocks MP3 FULL (3.25 MB) – Deonna Kelli Sayed. It doesn’t mention the bipolar.

More audio: the mind of a hypomanic a bipolar journey through sound. (Finally, something about bipolar ii.)

Using math to describe bipolar (you can download the research paper the article is based on too.)

image

The Bipolar Blues – a short film by the Wellcome Trust – a good intro to what it’s like to be us.

Stone Temple Pilots – Bi-polar Bear (latest addition to my YouTube bipolar playlist.)
Bipolar Ball – Wrecking Ball parody by Sarah Moore.

Lithium May Be Bad

I am  annoyed. No I’m beyond annoyed. Everything is ticking me off and I have no patience.  I wanted to throw my laptop across the room because it isn’t loading properly. People are saying stupid ass shit, which makes me want to say mean ass shit. Grrrr.

I had a pleasant day earlier, went out grocery shopping and had lunch at olive garden. Then I bought a new cute pink purse and wallet. After that it all went to shit. Plus I think I am getting another head cold. So I don’t  know what is setting me off.. Just general annoyance, lithium or who fricken knows.

Anyhow, can’t make a decision after one day whether lithium is for me, I just know I have to be careful because I am sensitive to medications..

Wish me luck I need it.


Inflammation 101

immune-boosters

Your immune system is made up of white blood cells and is the army of your body, it is in charge of keeping the invaders out. Invaders like viruses and bacteria. To do that, it produces molecules called cytokines which are the communication molecules of the immune system. Some cytokines are called Interleukins. Interleukin 10 is an inhibitory cytokine, meaning it tamps down the immune response. Interleukin 12, on the other hand is a pro-inflammatory cytokine, meaning it activates the immune system cells to divide and attack. There are many cytokines and they are produced by the cells of the immune system, such as T cells, B cells, Dendritic cells, Macrophages, Neutrophils and more (all white blood cells.)

The absolutely AMAZING thing about the immune system is that our immune cells can rearrange segments of their DNA to produce millions and millions of different molecules (called T cell receptors and Antibodies) which can recognize and bind to foreign antigens and pathogens. This gives us the ability to recognize and destroy millions of pathogenic things such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungus, molds and allergy causing molecules. Think about how many disease causing organisms there are, millions of bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, molds, poisons. The immune system can form T cell receptors and Antibodies to recognize all of these and at least give a very valiant effort to get rid of them!

So the T cells and B cells and Dendritic cells, and macrophages and more kinds of immune cells can make molecules that will recognize foreign pathogens and foreign molecules. Then these cells will engulf the pathogen or allergy molecule and digest it or destroy it, thereby getting rid of the pathogen or molecule.

However, as AMAZING and miraculous as our immune system is, if it mistakenly turns on ourself, it can wreak havoc on us. This is called AUTOIMMUNITY. When our immune system erroneously thinks that our joints are an invader and starts destroying them, then we get what is known as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Our immune system can start attacking our own pancreas, in which case we’ll get Autoimmune Diabetes. So when the immune system reacts against our own body, that is autoimmunity. All autoimmune diseases are a result of this. Steroids suppress the immune system, suppress the white blood cells from attacking our own organs, that is why steroids are prescribed for autoimmune diseases.

Same with life threatening allergies, for example a peanut allergy. The immune system goes out all guns blazing against something that is totally harmless like a peanut or other foods or even pets. Again steroids are used to suppress the immune system and for immediate treatment of allergies, epinephrine aka adrenalin is used to relax airways and tighten blood vessels.

(Just an amazing fact: Neutrophils, which are a part of the innate immune system, if they fail to phagocytize bacteria, they “spit out” their DNA and trap bacteria in these DNA nets, where the bacteria die.These Kamikaze neutrophils die as well!)

There are markers of inflammation which can be measured by blood tests. One such marker is C Reactive protein, another is increased levels of certain cytokines (such as IL12) another is simply white blood cell count. If any of the aforementioned markers are increased, inflammation is increased.

So now, what people are finding with depression and bipolar d/o, is that inflammation is increased, and when people are in remission from depression and or bipolar d/o, then inflammation and its markers are decreased.

So what does that mean? Well it could mean that our white blood cells are reacting to something perhaps in the brain and that reaction causes depression to happen. It could mean the cytokines that increase when inflammation happens are causing mental illness. It could mean a plethora of things. Hopefully, scientists will find out what soon and discover a treatment for this cause.

There’s also this article “Is Inflammation What’s causing Your Depression?”  http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/link-between-inflammation-pain-and-depression

Another article: “Mood Disorders Linked to Inflammation.” http://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-mood-disorders-tied-to-autoimmune-diseases-infection-061213