Daily Archives: March 25, 2015

Nothing To Say

Yesterday I went to my therapists and I found myself struggling to find something to actually talk about. I know as bipolars talk therapy is beneficial and will have us with our recovery. Bah recovery seems like the wrong word. We don’t ever truly get better it’s more like parts of us go into remission if we are lucky.

I find when I am in a good place none of the bad stuff really stands out. The same goes for when I am in a bad place, none of the good really stands out. Should I try for therapy when I am only in a bad place. I think that would be very difficult, considering I can’t even get in to see her again until late May.

I’ve been enjoying life more lately. Keeping my house sparkling clean, cooking meals every night, doing laundry and dishes as they need to be done instead of letting them build up. I’m playing games on the computer with my husband again and it feels really good. I’m also trying to get in at least a mile every single day and am losing weight.

I know the depression is going to come again but I’m trying to avoid thinking about that and just stay in the moment.


Myths About Mental Illness

Now that I have ventured back into reading other blogs, which inevitably leads to reading other blogs and clicking on other links, as well as my boredom fetish of reading Reddit threads in spite of its toxicity…I’m not sure if I am better off or worse off. There’s still a lot of misinformation (even from people who claim to have a particular mental illness) and once again, there is no hard science when it comes to mental illness. Just theories, experiments, suppositions, assumptions.
Oh, and a lot of professionals contradicting each other and jockeying for “My theory is the truth” status.
So if everyone can just get in the ring…I’m going to join in with my own personal experiences to bust some myths. Sadly this won’t involve gunfire or blowing shit up like the TV mytbusters but maybe it will blow up the box on how some view mental illness. Taking your information from articles done by professionals is one venue.
If you want the truth, talk to someone who LIVES it.

Myth #1:
Mentally ill people are violent.
Total bullshit. Is it possible? Yes. But it’s possible to be violent due to use of alcohol, drugs, a life crisis, or just born plain mean.
If anything most mentally ill people are far too consumed by their illness to even contemplate violence.

Myth#2:
Mentally ill people are lazy.
Again, absolute bullshit.
Until you know what it’s like to struggle out of bed each day due to the state of your own mind, it will surely seem lazy. In fact, I think we work harder than anyone because we are at war with our illness, ill equipped to handle even more deviation and stress, and yet expected to get through it just like the masses without illness.
THAT takes work and strength you cannot imagine.

Myth#3
Depression is just “the blues” and people choose to feel melancholy.
Perhaps this myth is the one that infuriates me most. There has never been a moment in my life that I thought, “Oh, wow, I am going to be depressed because it’s so much to want to curl up in a closet, cry, and pray for death.”
The fact anyone can even say something like that with a straight face is galling.
Depression is a lot like being drugged. Until it wears off, you’re basically a stumbling zombie and willpower has nothing to do with it. Much like going to the dentist and having your gums shot with Novacaine, it doesn’t matter how much you want to not feel numb or puffy or have your taste and sensations affected. It wears off when it wears off.
If you went through three hundred days a year feeling like your brain’s been shot full of Nocacaine, you might realize how it can distort and adversely affect a person.

Myth#4
Bipolar patients simply want an excuse for their erratic, impulsive behavior to avoid taking responsibility for their poor choices.
Again, manic episodes and major depressions (for bipolar 2) are like being drugged against your will. It’s like the part of your brain that grasps consequences has been shut off. You are in your own little world.
But when you come to your senses after the episode, no one empathetically touches your shoulder and says, “It’s okay, you weren’t quite yourself.”
So the notion that bipolar gives us an excuse is ridiculous. It just makes it worse.

Myth#5
Anxiety is a personality trait.
I don’t dispute that there are certain triggers that can cause anxiety and heighten it. I don’t dispute some are just high strung personalities.
But an anxiety disorder means it’s not just a fear of public speaking and sweaty palms. It has triggers and sometimes, it’s completely random.
The physical aspects are grueling.
Self pep talks, relaxation techniques, medication, therapy…None of it is a cure for the most serious of anxiety disorders.
Most people say “I’m nervous” and I laugh at them because aside from sweaty palms, they’re fine. Not to belittle them at all, it’s just…I go on a date and have a panic attack so bad I’m puking over the side of a boat.
I’ll take sweaty palms any day.
It’s like obsessive compulsive tendencies verses OCD. Okay, you like everything just so, you can’t stand disarray, you check twice that your door is locked. That’s a personality quirk.
When you spend hours every day washing your hands until they are raw or scrubbing a floor that is spotless…That’s a disorder.

Myth#6:
Post traumatic stress syndrome is caused solely by abuse or war.
I think any experience repeated often enough that takes a toll on you physically and mentally is PTSD.
That is not to liken a panic attack to being shot at or raped.
But I think the scope of PTSD is rather narrow. One needn’t be subjected to absolute horror to be traumatized.

Myth#7:
Meds are the answer.
Therapy is the answer.
Exercise is the answer.
Diet is the answer.
Because mental illness treatment is an inexact science and we are all individuals, what works for a million people may fail one person. Does this make the one person wrong or beyond help?
No.
For multiple diagnoses, often the right medication combo is the magic bullet even if takes years to find it.
For some, simple talk therapy works.
Others can exercise and feel all cured.
It is not for me, or anyone else, to dictate what will help anyone else.
All we can do is try approaches and go with the ones that work best for us personally.
And I have noticed there’s a bit of snobbery even amongst the mentally ill.
“Well, I just exercise six hours a day and I’m not depressed anymore. You only THINK you need drugs because it’s the easy way out.”
Having had toxic reactions to several different drugs, I assure you it is NOT the easy way out.
At the same time will be someone who’s having a bout of depression and a year or so of an SSRI will make them all better so they expect it should be the same for others.
Rather than judge each other and argue best treatments, we need to focus on what helps each of us and support each other with respect and empathy. Otherwise we are no better than the detractors we rail against.

Myth#8:
You can “snap” out of mental illness.
This to me is as ludicrous as telling a diabetic to “regulate” their disorder without insulin.
I don’t think some people know how ignorant and asinine their thoughts can be.

Myth#9:
Mental illness is just negative thinking.
You can spew rainbows and sunshine til doomsday. If you have a mental illness, it is tainting every thought you have.
As I used to tell the Donor and his shiny happy people demeanor which he tried to force on me…”You can paint a pile of dogshit pastel purple and call it a prety Easter egg..It’s still a pile of dogshit.”
Okay, so I’m crude but the point stands.
Sometimes, things just suck. And if your brain is in that dark place, then it goes beyond negative thought. That’s when it becomes an actual illness.

Myth#10
Those with mental illness are self absorbed selfish “me me me” attention seekers.
Actually, that’s a complete fallacy.
Mental illness IS self absorbed because you’re trapped with it in your own mind.
But as far as being selfish or attention seeking…
It makes me less selfish and more willing to be empathetic.
The last thing I want when I am in a deep depression is a spotlight aimed my way.

In closing I just want to say…
My writing may be scattered, rough, and make no sense to some…And I will never end up on the top ten list of mental health blogs…
But I, and my words, are real. No filters, no grammar/spell check, no editor creating purple prose.
I tell it like I see and feel it.
I don’t need accolades.
I just want to educate and empathize.


Tired

For some reason, I do not want to do class today.  The temptation is strong to just have them read out of the book aloud and cover the material that way.  I don’t tend to do things like that, but I’m just tired of teaching right now. I don’t know if It’s because we’re moving into the research paper, or if it’s a general malaise with teaching itself, or if I’m getting down on everything in general.

I’m so tired.  I just want to go back to bed and sleep.  I did that yesterday and got up around nine something.  I didn’t feel any better; I never do.  I just feel heavy and tired virtually all the time.  I still have  two months left in my dangerous season and wonder if I’m going to get through it or not this year.  I just feel like I’m stumbling along.  I’m excited about the possibilities with  NAMI, and I’m still very positive about how things are going here blogging.  I’m hoping to add Facebook and Twitter accounts next month and see how that goes.  But otherwise I feel a bit directionless.

I know this is depression talking, but it’s still the way I feel right now.  Pray that someday soon it will lift and I can partake in life more than I’m able to do right now.  Thanks for all the comments and encouragement.


holding hands with melancholy

The bereaved cannot communicate with the unbereaved. (Iris Murdoch)

Sometimes the thing’s so intangible that it hasn’t happened, isn’t happening and in all likelihood, will never happen. Sometimes the road not taken winds itself around your neck and tightens till you can barely breathe. Dreams … perhaps it’s grieving lost, dead, miscarried or aborted dreams. It’s quite a hidden grief – other people might know some facts, but only you see the pain. Society hasn’t even got patience for the most real, physical, in your face grief – it certainly has no time for people grieving unborn, silent, invisible things. (It could be as literal as not having children.)

image

Dead dreams sit like stones in your gut. Sometimes they sneak up and suck all of the air out of your lungs, refilling them hurts hard. Unshed tears sit in your throat and cause a dull and breathless ache. You have no idea how to release the tears and crush the stones and let fresh air in again, so that you can just breathe without needing to be conscious of every damn inhale exhale breath.

On the whole, I don’t want to talk about my wounded ghosts – occasionally I do, with a close friend, but mostly not. Having at long last discovered the joy of not thinking about stuff, I’m applying it like bandaids all over the place. 40 freaking years of staring demons in the face, I deserve a break from the bastards. Occasionally I’m concerned that life could become all about distraction, with no substance. Mostly I’m just grateful to escape the grief tailback.

Not everything acquiesces to the tyranny of self help, positive thinking, inspirational quotes and crystals. Some wounds will bleed and bleed and bleed. Some with make ugly scars. Some need to heal well so you can keep on keeping on, but others sit quietly in the shade. Sometimes you meet it and weep a bit, and then you continue whatever you were doing before.

image

Everyone has to make their own way though heart things, but for me, I think I’m learning that, as with the other more tangible forms of grief, I have to make friends with it. Time certainly fades and/or heals some grief, but not all of it. We are so hell bent on forcing it out, that sometimes we forget it has priceless lessons to give us.

But however you need to navigate through it is the right way.

{Photos & memes by yours truly, so if there’s anything you want, help yourself.}

Group Torture

blahpolar:

I really love this post. It made me think and wince and even LOL for real. You should read it. Srsly.

Originally posted on Bear Trainer:

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When I was in rehab, I detested group therapy. Partly because I have never been good at listening to other people talk about pain when it is so ‘obvious’ what that person could or should have done – and then those that simply like the attention so the waterworks come on instantly…  and also because somewhere in my own self destructive march towards hell, I forgot how to be kind.

There are two people that I remember vividly – and for different reasons. One was a real victim, and the other was a douche bag that was only there because he would lose his inheritance if he didn’t. The real victim was an older woman who had attempted suicide by drinking a bottle of jays fluid, and I think she swallowed a whole lot of pills. Her son found her… and when he told his father, he finished his gold…

View original 1,184 more words

Why Don’t Animals Get Schizophrenia (and How Come We Do)? Article in Scientific American

schizophrenia

Short answer: Because their brains aren’t as complex as human brains. Unfortunately that’s the price we people with prefrontal cortexes pay. In bipolar disorder, as in schizophrenia, people with these illnesses can become out of touch with reality. This is called psychosis, or being psychotic. Auditory hallucinations happen to 90% of people with schizophrenia, i.e. they hear voices, this also happens up to 80% of people with bipolar d/o. There are also visual hallucinations (seeing things), even olfactory hallucinations, where you may smell something that isn’t there! (Luckily for me, I have never had auditory hallucinations, I am forever grateful for this! Interestingly enough, I have had olfactory hallucinations, I smelled the scent of Camay soap once when it was nowhere to be found.)

Let’s get back to the point of this article from Scientific American. It basically says that schizophrenia 9and I assume bipolar d/o in psychosis) are the price we pay for a much more complex brain. It is a defect of the gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) system. This is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it inhibits neurons from firing, in part by suppressing dopamine in certain parts of the brain. So when there is a problem with this system, then neurons that wouldn’t normally be firing are firing, and dopamine is also not suppressed, and this is happening in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). This leads to hallucinations. See quote below.

Yes the psychotic brain, whether in schizophrenia or bipolar d/o runs amok. And it can run so crazily amok because it is so complicated. So complicated that when things go wrong, they go wrong in a big way. Hence hallucinations.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-don-t-animals-get-schizophrenia-and-how-come-we-do/

“They also found that these culprit genes are involved in various essential human neurological functions within the PFC, including the synaptic transmission of the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA serves as an inhibitor or regulator of neuronal activity, in part by suppressing dopamine in certain parts of the brain, and it’s impaired transmission is thought to be involved in schizophrenia. If GABA malfunctions, dopamine runs wild, contributing to the hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thinking common to psychosis. In other words, the schizophrenic brain lacks restraint.”


Tips for when you feel too dependent on others

Originally posted on Never Ask "What If?":
Depression can be pretty scary. It’s especially scary when you’re alone in your room at 3:30am fighting a war against yourself to stay alive while the rest of the world sleeps soundly. Intense, I know. It’s hard to depend on others because you don’t want to…

Gleaming the gamut

There was a skateboarder movie in the 80’s called Gleaming The Cube. Cheesy but I liked it.
That’s how I am feeling right now. I have been through every facet of bipolar and panic disorder over the last 12 hours.
And I was going, wtf?
Then realized…They increased my prozac. DERP. That’s going to have me wily nily for a week or two until it stabilizes.

And what is my excuse for 300 days of the year I feel this exact same gamut of mood swings?

Perhaps it is the cyclothymic shifts that forever has me in a state of flux. The increase in meds just agitate what is already there. It will level out.
Just in time for the new doctor to want to dose me with atypical antipsychotics.
Which much as I loathe the fucking things…I was actually researching shock treatment as well as this promising new “pacemaker” experiment for mental illness. If I am willing to be induced into a seizure of have my skull cut open…
What’s the worst the nasty atypicals can do?
Next Thursday.
I see the new doc in person and I need to have my shit together so I can advocate for myself.
By then I will either be manic or in one of my paranoid introverted depressive bouts where I’d agree with a lobotomy just to get out of there and back to my bubble.

I got a pack of smokes and lunch for keeping R company at the shop. I was bored out of my gourd. He’s watched Guardians of The Galaxy 5 times in the last two weeks, I am burned the fuck out. That mouthy raccoon is awesome but enough…Then at one point there like seven people there and I started having trouble breathing and my already churning pretzel gut amplified. Which made me irritable and foul tempered.
I had nothing to do but allow morons on Reddit to piss me off, then I started reading depression/such blogs and articles and research…
And it just made me want to gargle razor blades.
The notion that depression is caused by negative thought and is nothing more than making your own self feel “melancholy” deserves a shovel to the skull.

Anyway…Five hours outside the bubble did me in.
Then came a pleasant surprise. Some neighbor girls brought the crazy cat lady a little black striped kitten they’d found. Of course, I took him in. He’s tame, very sweet, purrs a lot. He came in and was so hungry he sat in the food dish so he could just keep eating. The other cats are pissed off but they’ll get over it.
I named the new one Pantera.
Yes, the last thing I need is another cat.
But I wouldn’t be me if my heart wasn’t bigger than my brain as far as cats are concerned. Those quirks others look down on are qualities I think help make me who I am. I love cats. And an 8 week old kitten that lays next to me and just purrs so happily, like I am comforting and make him feel safe…
It’s a good feeling.
Hell, it’s almost 7:30 pm and I haven’t retreated to my bedroom crypt yet. Maybe kittens are like fur covered anti depressants for me.
But then why didn’t Shade’s recent litter (one week old) do the same thing?
It’s all just a crap shoot, basically.

About the only thing all my research is teaching me is that for all the progress made in educating people on mental illness…People still don’t get it and half the professionals are just as bad, considering those with mental illness behavior cases or malingerers. Heartening. NOT.

So…I’ve been solid, paranoid, anxious to the point of stomach ache, irritable, uplifted and am sliding back down now.
Viva mental illness and all it’s glorious facets.
(And by that, I mean it can go fuck itself while drinking lye and walking into a fire.)