Daily Archives: March 9, 2015

Alcoholics Anonymous

I’ve always found that alcohol can solve all of my life’s problems. Can’t sleep, alcohol. Anxiety, alcohol. Can’t talk to...

The post Alcoholics Anonymous appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.

Tracking The Cyclothymic Shifts

8:20 a.m.

After another night of toss and turn, snooze and wake…And a battle with the snooze button…
I am a half hour post Prozac and feeling pretty…hopeful. Well, I’ve got too many unresolved issues in my head to be content or hopeful. But I’m not in the gutter and that’s a plus.
I did something last night I am probably going to live to regret but I reached out to someone I consider a friend. I just wish people weren’t so damned afraid to be direct. It feels like junior high. Tell me yay or no. I actually have more respect for people who tell me to fuck off than avoidance or lies. But…Immersion therapy. Face what scares you most, deal with the consequences, positive or negative.
I don’t like it. It’s out of my control.

I also wrote a letter to the center where I see my shrink. I am going to go print it out at the library and get it mailed today. Maybe they will get it by Wednesday and call me to fit me in with the doctor. That or they will blow me off. That’s the norm. But part of my self imposed immersion therapy, I am rolling the dice for better or worse. In hopes better may come out of it.
Yeah, I want to laugh at that.

My stomach is in knots. I have too many unresolved issues. Not knowing is the bane of my existence. And as I recall, social security left me hanging for five months last review. By the time this is called yay or nay, I am going to have a dozen ulcers and have clawed off every inch of my own skin.

To be continued. The only way to truly track the descent into the mood abyss is to compare my mood from morning to evening.

9:18 a.m.

Damn you, Pellek. Damn you, youtube. I spent a year cringing every time Bex or my kid launched into “Let It Go” from Frozen. Now thanks to some dude doing a metal version that really rocks, I can’t get the bloody song out of my head.
The lyrics resonate.
Bloody hell.

“A kingdom of isolation,
and it looks like I’m the Queen

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know”

ARGHHHHH.

I am feeling manic. I know it’s manic because I feel ten feet tall, bulletproof, the world is my oyster, and all I can think is, “Hey, I’ve got this.”
It’s not real, though. It’s too high a dosage of Prozac all at once. Split over the day the mania never happens.
This way, I get my boost in the day, then come evening. SPLAT.
I think this doctor is…Um, well. He graduated from the university of chihuahua, which may well be a good school but I still can’t say it without smirking. Really, dude? Why not University of Dalmatians?
Oh, yes. Manic.
But my stomach is still in knots, courtesy of the anxiety and all the unresolved crap in my life at present time. It’s funny how my anxiety is either generalized and unexplained or when the world outside my bubble intrudes, it goes off the charts.
I want to breathe again.
Wow. My mind is all over the place. No wonder people like me when I am manic. I feel fun. I must be a blast, until the mood crashes.
Though I still maintain if people weren’t ass trash, they’d accept me no matter what mood cycle I am in.
God, I am naive.
One of the first lessons I ever learned was when my mom told me, “Be yourself, people will like you.”
HA HA HA HA HA HA.
Hard lesson for a kid to learn.
The only time people have ever liked me is when I pretended to not be myself.
And call it hubris or denial I don’t think there’s anything all that wrong with me. I am very up front about being abrasive, direct, and irritating. I know who I am. I try to do better but hey, I fail a lot.
Tying my own self esteem and validation to others is pointless.
I know people way more irritating than me.
Or at least they irritate me. Then again, everyone does.
I’m a bitch, what can I say.
Manic episodes…High money can’t buy. Too bad it’s just a fallacy.

9:47 a.m.
I am hungry and the meds on an empty stomach sometimes leads to nausea. So I need food but it repulses me. Catch 22. This mental illness stuff is fun. NOT.

10:01 a.m.
The downside to manic mixed with anxiety…Mania is fading, paranoid anxiety is setting in. Rapid heartbeat, sweating, jumping at every sound. Fairly certain forces beyond my control are out to get me.
God, it gets old.
What gets older is people acting like this isn’t making a huge negative impact on my entire existence.

1:35 p.m.

Manic as fuck. LIke bouncing off the walls fast talking “are you drunk???” manic. It’s a fallacy, of course, but man…It’s nice for a wee bit to not feel like the grinch of life. I even spent an hour talking to my Avon lady (I am buying my kid a Frozen watch from her for her Easter gift). I rarely let people in my home. But I went out on a limb and she sat and had a few smokes with me and we talked. That was nice.
If you could just bottle mania (minus the impulsive shopaholic hypersexual poor choices thing) it would kick the ass of any illegal drug.
I even went by the shop and R bought me smokes and lunch. My reward for being pleasant? Though I am betting there’s a bunch of store clerks pondering if I am driving around drunk. Mania does mimic that behavior. Don’t think manic episodes are illegal though.
I need to go get that letter to dr chihuahua mailed.
I hate the post office, this one douche that works there pisses me off with his…well, douchiness. I could get lucky and he won’t be working. And monkeys might fly out of my butt. Oh, wow I am quoting Wayne’s World. Definitely manic.

2:40 p.m.

Ok…Definitely coming down from the manic hours.
One would think being done with the dish would actually boost my mood. I don’t think it has a thing to do with my life or schedule. I just think the lump dose of prozac is not serving me as well as it could were it split. Hard to split a capsule, though. I mailed the letter to the psych center. For all the good it will do.
Yep. Think I have run out of good will for man and there wasn’t a single trigger. Just almost 7 hours since the lump prozac dose. Half life…That’s about right. Kind of sad I know more about this shit than the professionals seem to. But then again, how better to know something than to live it.

3:14 p.m.

Mood is crashing fast and hard. This sucks. I felt so good earlier.
But that is cyclothymia.
Except the part where they call the cycles short lived and mild. My depressions last for months on end. My manic eps last a few hours or a couple of days.
I’m not textbook.
I am however, frustrated.

3:55 p.m.
My kid is giving me a glimpse into what I am like when manic, only hers is all natural battery bunny chatterbox mouth. Dear god, stop and take a breath. It’s like silence is against her programming. Indoor voice is lost on her. She’s like a jackhammer to my brain at times.
And I guess during a manic bout…That’s probably how people feel about me.
Though I’ve noticed they want me around while manic so it can’t be that bad.
Even my old counselors LOVED when I came in manic, said I was a blast.
They were fortunate enough to see the flip side, though, when the depressions hit and I’d wander in like a zombie unbathed in bed clothes and burst into tears.
Doctors never get to see you in all your phases.

4:24 p.m.

And splat has arrived. Not even a gradual come down. Just slip, slide…Splat. I don’t get it. Normally, evening/night time are when I pep up. It means petri dish time is over, kid will be going to bed, and it’s mom’s me time.
I’ve lost even that little bit of happiness.
I don’t need to be manic. I would prefer not to be because wow, I make some shitty choices when manic. But I would like very much for the medication to be split up so I don’t keep going down the rabbit hole as afternoon turns to evening.
There have been times in my life when I had much more going on, way more stress, way more reasons to be splat…And yet I was managing.
So what the fuck is this shit?

It’s not my favorite.
I’ll spare the details of swirling into the abyss. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve lived this part.


the daydreamer award

Thanks lots to that anxious mom for this mission possible (really great question).

The Rules of Engagement
Thank the person who gave you the award.
Complete the challenge they sent you.
Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to. (The amount of blogs you select is unlimited!)
Tell them about it and give them a challenge.
(Please include the rules in your post.)
[You can use the image I have used for the award.]

The Mission
You can remove one thing (be as creative as you want here) from the entire existence of humanity. What is it and how would its removal impact life as we know it?

Flight.

I love a lot of things about aviation. I get literally and figuratively high from the process of take off, I’ll hop into a plane or helicopter any chance I get. When something flies overhead, I rush out to gawp at it. If it’s a fast jet, I grin like a fool and surf the feeling for a good while afterwards. Airshows make me happy; I come from two long lines of idiots who fought and died for their countries, and there’s a strong strain of airforce-ishness in it. It used to be an unstated but rather powerful bond between my grandfather, my mother, me.

The obvious question is, given my addiction to AvGas, wtf am I doing deleting flight from time?

e a s y . . .

(I do worry about the Butterfly Effect, but I’m ignoring it cos it’s too hard to forecast. It’ll be largely utopian bollocks as a result.)

No air travel would mean no whizzing from place to place without a real journey in between. If you wanted to go somewhere far, you’d have to really want to go. You’d have to work out how to drive or sail there or take trains or buses – you’d see just how far you were going, and even though there were still engines involved, you’d still see the scenery close up and get at least a little travel stained. No in-flight entertainment would cause far more interaction between you and your surroundings. Journeys would matter, they’d be taken seriously; you can’t do 6 000 miles by land or sea without some serious effort.

Third world countries wouldn’t be invaded by over privileged gap year kids with delusions of helpfulness. More travellers would be the sort of people you’d want to meet. There’d be less foreign aid to colonise and disempower places. There’d be far less loutish and disrespectful tourism. Wars would be different without planes and choppers and drones. It probably wouldn’t be any better or worse though.

Less travel and emigration would make people value their travels more highly. It would also leave most people less dissatisfied with their homes and an easier journey back if they did need to wander. Friends and family wouldn’t be as fragmented and scattered as they are now. I’d love to think that so much less movement would encourage people to work harder at taking care of their own environment and communities. I’d love to think that things would be better, but of course, they probably wouldn’t.

Afterthought
I’m not nominating etc etc, because most of my readers* have serious award allergies.

*May contain nuts.

The Tiger Stripes of Survival

The late Thomas: "I am a wild and untamed thing."

The late Thomas: “I am a wild and untamed thing.”

Mother’s Day is a bit of a drag when you neither are, nor have, a mum. My speculative children are very remiss when it comes to sending cards, and chocolates. As for my own Mom, I hope there are books, and cats, and sweets in the next life. (1)

“What immortal hand or eye/
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”
– “The Tyger”,  William Blake

I do like a bit of Blake.When, many years ago, a friend was getting married, and was stuck for hymns, I suggested “the feet song“.

Much as I love Blake’s “Tyger”, and enjoyed watching the zoo’s Siberian tigers play in the Detroit snow when I was younger, it’s not actual big cats that are on my mind. Nor their delightful small cousins, felix catus, many of whom I have counted as friends and companions over the years.

If, like me, you’ve wasted a lot of time on Facebook over the years (2), you’ve probably seen a closeup of some anonymous woman’s stomach, with the caption:

“Those aren’t stretch marks.
They’re tiger stripes!”

Except, given it was on FB, it probably said “there’re”. Because in Facebook, no one can find an editor. Or a dictionary.

But enough of my cattiness. The point is, some of those women have other scars. Scars which they share with their fellow, childless sisters. And brothers.

Some scars are literal, and visual. Others, hidden in the depths of livers, and kidneys, and hearts. Oh, the hearts.

And they ain’t tiger stripes. Or indeed, just scars. They’re the marks of survival.

Of survivors.

A word like “survivor”, when used in the mental health community, can carry connotations of surviving the mental health system. But that isn’t what I’m getting at here.

I can ruminate over what I don’t have, including kids, til the cows come home. (3) I can feel regret, and shame, and most of the other, more unpleasant emotions, thinking about what happened in the run up to my gaining my own scars.

Alternatively, I can drop my handbag, do a spot of “Dad dancing” (4), and sing along with Gloria. Not the verse. Just the chorus.

Tiger? Survivor? Both? To quote Ian Anderson of “Jethro Tull”: “Join the chorus if you can”. And if you want, of course.

Hey, hey….!

"Newton" - a statue in the grounds of the British Library, and styled after the art of the poet and engraver William Blake

“Newton” as imagined by William Blake, at the British Library

(1) Mom, I hope you’ll show me round the next life, if there is one. Because you’ll know all the best libraries, lunch counters, and cats.
(2) Years which, like the time spent watching “Baretta”, and “Doogie Howser: MD”, I’ll never get back.
(3) Why do cows struggle to return? Why don’t they have the homing instincts of pigeons, or sheep?
(4) Dad dancing: it’s not just for blokes, or fathers.

 

 

Rumi on Grief

Filed under: About God, Family, Gratitude Tagged: Blessing, Grief, Rumi, Sorrow

Spring Break

Well, it’s the start of spring break and everyone is off in different directions.  My oldest took the youngest out for a little shopping trip, my middle one is with Bob at work, and I’m here enjoying more peace and quiet.  I feel like I’ve already spent a lot of spring break time with them with the “snow” days  we’ve had the past couple of weeks, so I am enjoying the solitude for a while.  We’re here until Thursday afternoon, when we’ll go to Birmingham, Alabama to watch the youngest compete in a dance competition on Saturday.  I’ll be on blog hiatus during that time, so take a trip through the archives if you haven’t already while I’m gone :)

Trips are always interesting to handle with bipolar disorder.  Any interruption to routine has the chance to kick off something interesting.  But we’re taking this trip to be low-key except for the competition, which will be a high-voltage affair.  Dance teams throughout the Southeast are coming, so the pressure is on our girls to compete well.  We’ve had a time getting the young one’s hair to behave for the style the teacher wants it in, but we finally found a bun apparatus that makes her hair somewhat manageable and smooth in a low ballet bun.  So that has been a blessing since my bun-making skills are not up to par.  One of my many failings as a dance mom.  (I’m sorry.  I just can’t take it as seriously as some people do.  I apologize to all the dedicated dance moms out there.  It’s just not life or death to me).

I may be taking along my book to edit on during our down time.  I will have to see.  I may have enough reading material without it since we won’t have as much down time as we initially thought.  But pray for the girls to do well and hopefully everything will go off without  a hitch.


09032015

Thanks for the comments on yesterday’s posts, I’m sorry that I haven’t replied to any of them. This morning I feel blank.

I thought a while back, about how sci fi on tv and film always seems to have a moment of complete solitude. Aloneness. Someone stands distressed on a post apocalyptic landscape, or in a spaceship, watching silent light years stretch ahead. It’s always them and the sky, them and the vast emptiness of space. There’s always a black hole or a wormhole and an imminent threat of plunging into it; a vast unknown and no hope of return. There’s the poignant departure from the home planet, instant wistfulness and the possibility of loss.

On the flipside of all of that literal alienation, the hope and excitement of the journey, the fierceness of battle and the tender passion of love under fire. Sci fi bristles with technology and thought experiments, but the best (and the best trash) of it, expresses human nature on the edge, at its finest, lowest and loneliest.

Endings are never real or realistic. There are happily ever afters, Thelma and Louise/Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid brave deaths, and sometimes time travel or some other option of immortality means there’s never really an ending at all. Ancient tropes in futuristic conditions. Escapism with baggage.

All of that, I think, is what we are.

I hate it.

Here is a sweet picture with pretty words.

image

#Mental Health Art Day

Thank you for being apart of our Mental Health Art Day! I hope I inspired you to start your own and help awareness of our mental illnesses and soldiers

Clint Malarchuk’s Amazing Commitment to Getting and Staying Better!

clint cowboy clint cowboy

My second interview with Clint Malarchuk, posted on 2/24/15 (link below*) is pretty amazing all on it’s own, in it’s full length! In this post, I have chosen some things that Clint said that struck me as quite profound and just talked a little about those passages. Clint is amazingly intuitive, intelligent and insightful. He is also incredibly committed to doing everything in his power to stay healthy. I have learned a lot from him in just the two interviews I’ve done. I hope this post will be helpful and insightful for many. I hope he writes more books, I sincerely believe he has a lot more to tell us and teach us. Thank you Clint for doing the interviews. Best Wishes and Happy Trails :-)  http://www.malarchuk.com/

https://bipolar1blog.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/clint-malarchuk-an-amazing-follow-up-interview-by-samina-raza/

“Like stress, when I start getting stressed out, that’s when I have to take the extra time to check in with myself. I’m not sure if I told you last time, my tools are a 12 step program, I meditate and pray everyday and I try to exercise. I have a workout routine that I try to do every day. Those things keep me balanced.”

This is pure insight and introspection and an amazing commitment to his health. This is just so impressive, it is clear that he is going to stay healthy. Every avenue you can think of that one can take in the quest for good mental health, Clint is taking here.

“I find that my animals, I have a little dog, and she is my emotional support. When I meditate, I lay down and the cat lays on my belly and the dog curls up beside me, it is very relaxing.”

They have depression dogs now, it seems Clint knew all about the healing power of animals before they were being given little sweaters and allowed on planes. I observed to him that animals pull out the love from inside of us, and Clint conceded, he said “Yes you can call it love, it simplifies things.” Doesn’t it though.

“I’m really in to animals. And people have always said that, when I work on horses for my business, the horses that no one can really get close to, I just walk up to them. And people say “How did you do that, what are you doing? This horse is always afraid of people!” I believe in your energy, we all have it. We’re animals just like they are, so I really believe that my energy is really confident with animals, so they respond to me.”

Clint observes, and quite rightly so that humans are animals, so horses respond to our energy, actually the energy of confidence. Who knows, maybe that’s how people choose their mates, sensing their energy and if it is compatible, well then they are the chosen ones for each other.

“Well I’m a big proponent of you are being treated because you’re sick. You’re not weak. And if you’re chemically imbalanced, whether it’s your pancreas/diabetes or if it’s your brain/serotonin, it doesn’t matter.”

How’s that for profound? People, mental illness is a physical illness. It involves your brain and it involves imbalances in your neurotransmitters. So don’t sweat  it, go see your psychiatrist, get your medications, and get better! No stigma, no shame, no hiding. Just do it!

“Yes, right. But don’t forget, it takes a long time to be on those medications before they either kick in if they’re going to work, or you figure out “Oops they don’t work, I have to try something else.”

This is quite another gem, don’t forget it took a long time for the medication to work. So if you have to come off it, it’ll probably take a long time for the withdrawal symptoms to go away. How insightful is that!

“I have to be kind to myself and remind myself I deserve to be happy. “

This is indeed profound. Who doesn’t need to learn this lesson? How many people, mentally ill or not, are self loathers? Shouldn’t compassion start with oneself? If you can’t be kind to yourself, then how can you genuinely be kind to another?

“I think that growing up in turmoil that anxiety was the norm for me. And sometimes, if I’m not feeling anxious, I feel like I have to think of something to worry about, to get anxious.”

This is truly a gem! Why is there always a nagging voice inside my head making me anxious, even when there isn’t anything to be anxious about? Yes it could very well be that I grew up in a very anxious environment. When things are calm, you miss the anxious adrenalin rush. This is also the definition of an anxiety disorder. So which came first, the anxiety disorder or the anxious environment? No matter. We have to realize that we are in a way, addicted to anxiety. That our minds/brains search for reasons to be anxious. That is probably the beginning, the birth of peace and calm. And not just realize, but really stay on our medication. Again, Clint says just that.

“Helping each other, that’s what it’s all about!”

Such truth in this statement. What else is life about if not helping each other? Are we here to amass diamonds? They’re just glittery stones. Are we here to build ourselves gigantic mansions? How much room de we need to live in? Are we here to be in exclusive clubs. communities, wear exclusive clothes? Well, at least in my book, we are here to be inclusive and just like Clint says: “Help each other.”

Also, how committed he is to his health is astounding! He exercises, meditates, prays, goes to AA  (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, checks in with himself as to why he is feeling bad or anxious, and he sees his doctors regularly and takes his medications. If this isn’t the recipe to Mental Health, I don’t know what is.

“To me it’s like a course in life. Because it’s not just about not drinking. The 12 steps are a lot deeper than that.”

That’s what Clint says about AA. He also believes, as they teach in AA, in a higher power. You have to admit that you are powerless against ____, fill in the blank, it’s your substance of abuse. Or for me Clint suggests it could be “Life” or “Moods” that I am powerless against. Then if you follow the 12 steps, allow your higher power to assist you, you will be victorious over your addiction/illness.

“So I have to communicate that to loved ones that this is what I need to do.”

Also when you are doing all these healthy things, communication with your loved ones is crucial! And not only communication, but their support for the healthy things and for the essential things you are doing to keep yourself healthy. When we have our loved ones’ support, aren’t we more likely to be successful?  And if they love us, then why wouldn’t they give us support?

“And that’s the creatures of habit! If we’re going to change habits, we have to replace them with other habits.”

This one is extremely powerful. In order to get rid of old bad habits, you have to replace them with new, healthier, good habits. How many of us try to do this but end up going back to our bad habits, because we did not replace them with new healthy habits. We may know this and have forgotten it, or we may be seeing this for the first time. Thank you Clint!


#MHAD