Daily Archives: March 31, 2015

Tool ~ Lateralus and The Fibonacci Sequence (two of my favorite things)

Filed under: spirituality

Pudding on the Radio

kindle cover

“Dragonface” cover art by Tom Brown

Some fiction for you

What! No Pudding?

Here is a link to a recording of me reading “What! No Pudding?“, a short story from the collection of the same name, about Professor S Fiendish and his best friend, Harold Harold Seal.

The story was part of the 28 March broadcast of “Book It!”, a radio show about books and writing which I present for Sine FM. To listen to the programme in full, click here for the hour long podcast.

To purchase the “What! No Pudding?” collection from Amazon, click here.

To look at a picture of an iguana (1), click where it says “an iguana”. (2)

If you now fancy some pudding, you might want to pop to the shops. Or the shelf with the baking books. Or maybe a friend’s house, if the shops are closed, and you’ve run out of eggs. (3)

Or maybe even an IHOIP (International House of Interstellar Pancakes).

Pancakes for breakfast, pancakes for tea.

Pancakes for breakfast, pancakes for tea.

Another short story collection, “Koi Carpe Diem“, with another cover illustration by the talented Tom Brown, is due out later this spring.

(1) What? You don’t like iguanas?

(2) No, not the second iguana, the first one.

(3) You might want to add that to your shopping list.

Why I Keep Away from Madness, Dyane Leshin-Harwod #MarchMadness

I love this post written by my dear friend Dyane Leshin-Harwood of Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder for STIGMAMA.com. She eloquently and powerfully explains how she takes care of herself, how she pays attention to what feeds and nurtures her, and…

Tool – Parabol

http://youtu.be/aTCwnUSiTrwFiled under: Bipolar Disorder

Today At Midnight

This evening or early morning, whichever one it is for you, at midnight sharp (sounds like High Noon), I will no longer be insured under Medicare, or the Advantage plan that was so helpful in allowing me to see my doctors with no co-pay, and get my outrageously priced medications at less than $10.00. Not […]

How Am I Doing On My New Medication?

I was diagnosed with Bipolar II on October 30, 2014.  Within a week I was on a mood stabilizer.  My primary reason for this post is to examine how that's working for me. 

However, that's not the only major change recently, so I offer this background on my health and meds.  While I have no way of knowing for sure what treatment caused what effect, my gut tells me.  So I will tell you what my gut says (knowing I could be completely incorrect).

Each morning I take:
  • A multivitamin for women over fifty - even though I am forty-five, because the complete hysterectomy and oophorectomy I had last year put me into instant menopause
  • Vitamin D - because I don't get nearly enough sunshine and it can help with depression, especially during the winter (which it feels like we didn't even have here in Utah, oh well)
  • Estrogen - because I am in menopause an estimated ten years early and my doctor wants to protect my bones and I don't like the idea of breaking a hip when I fall
  • Gabapentin - which is often prescribed for anxiety, but that's not why I take it; sometimes my skin hurts for no reason, and gabapentin can help with neuropathic pain; I've been on it since April of 2014, I think;  does it work?  I'm not sure; my skin was hurting a lot over the last week; it feels like a first degree burn, but there is no discoloration and I haven't been burned; I'm going to talk to the doctor about getting off this one at my next physical
  • Lamictal - the mood stabilizer I've been on since the first week of November, 2014; the reason for this post
Each afternoon I take:
  • Gabapentin
  • Vitamin D
  • Omeprazole - a proton pump inhibitor that I take for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); otherwise I often have stomach acid that comes up my throat and makes it so I have a chronic cough, chronic sore throat, chronic hoarse voice, and so I can't sleep; without this medication it will often wake me with a burning in my throat that can't be soothed
Each evening I take:
  • Gabapentin
  • Melatonin - because I don't sleep well, like at all; I need all the help I can get, but everything else I've tried leaves me super groggy the next day; and melatonin is what our bodies naturally produce to induce sleep
  • Armour Thyroid - which is pig thyroid glands "dried and powdered for therapeutic use" (according to Wikipedia); I take this because I have hypothyroidism, which means my thyroid doesn't do it's job very well anymore; I used to take a synthetic thyroid medication but never felt better on it; I found out about this through a thyroid health group on facebook; I had to fight my doctor for it because it isn't as consistent a dose as synthetic, but I have felt better on it; I started this in April of 2014
(I also have Xanax that I take for occasional anxiety and Meclizine that I take for occasional dizziness and nausea associated with my headaches.)

So as you can see, I have gone through many health changes over the last year.  How would I compare where I am now to where I was a year ago?  I am better.  Much better.

I do not have the constant, intense pelvic pain I had before my hysterectomy.  I have more energy on the new thyroid meds, although still subpar for sure; I can get out of bed and do things more often than before.  I don't go through intense PMDD/PMS every month; my moods are more in flow with what's actually happening in my life instead of attacking me out of nowhere.

But, most significantly, I haven't had any episodes of severe depression since I started the mood stabilizer.  I was initially put on it to control the hypomanic episodes that can come because of Bipolar II.  Those were hard to give up.  They were days of extra energy, lots of extra energy, when I didn't need sleep and could get lots done - all the stuff I didn't have the energy to do most days.  When I first met with my psychiatrist I asked her why I would want to give those up when they're so great.  She told me they cause brain damage.  Oh.  Okay.  I'll give them up.

As I researched Lamictal I read that it can often have the side effect of also helping depression.  I held a tiny spark of hope that this would happen, but not much.  I've tried so many meds for depression over the years and had so much therapy, but none of it took away the depression for good.  The meds didn't work at all or made me suicidal.  And the therapy could sometimes get me through a tough moment if my appointment happened to hit during an episode.  But usually the black dog (as depression is referred to by those who suffer) would just come out of nowhere and pin me to the ground.  And I just tried to survive until he let me up again.  I couldn't fight him off.  I just had to wait until he was done with me and moved on.

Since I have been on the Lamictal I have not been pinned to the ground by the black dog.  Not once.  He's chewed on my leg on several occasions, but I haven't gone completely dark at all.  There was one time when I'd say he knocked me to the ground pretty hard, but that was situational, and I recovered from it much more quickly than I normally would have.

So here's the deal.  And I hate to say it for fear of jinxing it.  But I believe the Lamictal is helping with my depression.  For real.  And it's kind of amazing.

Just as my psychiatrist said it should work, I have ups and downs, but they aren't as high or as deep as they were before.

And there's still a part of me waiting for it to come back and hit me in the head.  I've sometimes gone through long periods without depression before, only to be dragged down again; what if this is just one of those?  Depression has been a part of my life since I was a teenager.  The idea that it could finally be under control is something that's difficult for me to wrap my brain around.  I feel like it's an "I feel better so far, but we'll see how it plays out" thing.

And there's a part of me that doesn't want it to completely work.  Depression is part of my self-definition.  It's part of who I am.  If it works, I will have to learn to be me all over again.

How Am I Doing On My New Medication?

I was diagnosed with Bipolar II on October 30, 2014.  Within a week I was on a mood stabilizer.  My primary reason for this post is to examine how that's working for me. 

However, that's not the only major change recently, so I offer this background on my health and meds.  While I have no way of knowing for sure what treatment caused what effect, my gut tells me.  So I will tell you what my gut says (knowing I could be completely incorrect).

Each morning I take:
  • A multivitamin for women over fifty - even though I am forty-five, because the complete hysterectomy and oophorectomy I had last year put me into instant menopause
  • Vitamin D - because I don't get nearly enough sunshine and it can help with depression, especially during the winter (which it feels like we didn't even have here in Utah, oh well)
  • Estrogen - because I am in menopause an estimated ten years early and my doctor wants to protect my bones and I don't like the idea of breaking a hip when I fall
  • Gabapentin - which is often prescribed for anxiety, but that's not why I take it; sometimes my skin hurts for no reason, and gabapentin can help with neuropathic pain; I've been on it since April of 2014, I think;  does it work?  I'm not sure; my skin was hurting a lot over the last week; it feels like a first degree burn, but there is no discoloration and I haven't been burned; I'm going to talk to the doctor about getting off this one at my next physical
  • Lamictal - the mood stabilizer I've been on since the first week of November, 2014; the reason for this post
Each afternoon I take:
  • Gabapentin
  • Vitamin D
  • Omeprazole - a proton pump inhibitor that I take for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); otherwise I often have stomach acid that comes up my throat and makes it so I have a chronic cough, chronic sore throat, chronic hoarse voice, and so I can't sleep; without this medication it will often wake me with a burning in my throat that can't be soothed
Each evening I take:
  • Gabapentin
  • Melatonin - because I don't sleep well, like at all; I need all the help I can get, but everything else I've tried leaves me super groggy the next day; and melatonin is what our bodies naturally produce to induce sleep
  • Armour Thyroid - which is pig thyroid glands "dried and powdered for therapeutic use" (according to Wikipedia); I take this because I have hypothyroidism, which means my thyroid doesn't do it's job very well anymore; I used to take a synthetic thyroid medication but never felt better on it; I found out about this through a thyroid health group on facebook; I had to fight my doctor for it because it isn't as consistent a dose as synthetic, but I have felt better on it; I started this in April of 2014
(I also have Xanax that I take for occasional anxiety and Meclizine that I take for occasional dizziness and nausea associated with my headaches.)

So as you can see, I have gone through many health changes over the last year.  How would I compare where I am now to where I was a year ago?  I am better.  Much better.

I do not have the constant, intense pelvic pain I had before my hysterectomy.  I have more energy on the new thyroid meds, although still subpar for sure; I can get out of bed and do things more often than before.  I don't go through intense PMDD/PMS every month; my moods are more in flow with what's actually happening in my life instead of attacking me out of nowhere.

But, most significantly, I haven't had any episodes of severe depression since I started the mood stabilizer.  I was initially put on it to control the hypomanic episodes that can come because of Bipolar II.  Those were hard to give up.  They were days of extra energy, lots of extra energy, when I didn't need sleep and could get lots done - all the stuff I didn't have the energy to do most days.  When I first met with my psychiatrist I asked her why I would want to give those up when they're so great.  She told me they cause brain damage.  Oh.  Okay.  I'll give them up.

As I researched Lamictal I read that it can often have the side effect of also helping depression.  I held a tiny spark of hope that this would happen, but not much.  I've tried so many meds for depression over the years and had so much therapy, but none of it took away the depression for good.  The meds didn't work at all or made me suicidal.  And the therapy could sometimes get me through a tough moment if my appointment happened to hit during an episode.  But usually the black dog (as depression is referred to by those who suffer) would just come out of nowhere and pin me to the ground.  And I just tried to survive until he let me up again.  I couldn't fight him off.  I just had to wait until he was done with me and moved on.

Since I have been on the Lamictal I have not been pinned to the ground by the black dog.  Not once.  He's chewed on my leg on several occasions, but I haven't gone completely dark at all.  There was one time when I'd say he knocked me to the ground pretty hard, but that was situational, and I recovered from it much more quickly than I normally would have.

So here's the deal.  And I hate to say it for fear of jinxing it.  But I believe the Lamictal is helping with my depression.  For real.  And it's kind of amazing.

Just as my psychiatrist said it should work, I have ups and downs, but they aren't as high or as deep as they were before.

And there's still a part of me waiting for it to come back and hit me in the head.  I've sometimes gone through long periods without depression before, only to be dragged down again; what if this is just one of those?  Depression has been a part of my life since I was a teenager.  The idea that it could finally be under control is something that's difficult for me to wrap my brain around.  I feel like it's an "I feel better so far, but we'll see how it plays out" thing.

And there's a part of me that doesn't want it to completely work.  Depression is part of my self-definition.  It's part of who I am.  If it works, I will have to learn to be me all over again.

people say i’m crazy

All the way from 1989, this one comes to us via the California Network of Mental Health Clients. I began watching it with one question in mind, has anything changed 26 years later? The accents seem dated (why?) and the fashion too, but the disorders haven’t changed. Issues haven’t changed either, and neither has what we want, what we fear, what we feel, what worries us.

image

::watch it:: on YouTube or read the walkthrough below. (lulz)

“We speak for ourselves.”

Some of my best friends are normal people … Just because normal people started ww1 and ww2, dropped the atomic bomb on hiroshima and nagasaki and committed genocide against native Americans, instituted slavery … I have nothing against normal people, but I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one.

The comedian there was Ron Schraiber, one of the people featured in the documentary. See more – the wild and crazy guy. I jotted names down as they came up, because I like to salute and remember the people who struggle/db with the same things we do. They were all really good to watch. And you know me by now, I always try to find out what happened to them if I can. I couldn’t find much.

Us
Leonard Kaplan
Ron Schraiber, mental health advocate.
Ray Sterner
DyAnne Freeze
Brenda Willis
Debi Davis
Bobbie Pierce
Howie the Harp, died of a heart attack in 1995, aged 42.

Not us
Dr Michael O’Connor M.D. (maybe this guy)

Leonard said that he didn’t mind being called a monster, because he understood what the person saying it to him was going through. Wow. Just wow. That’s compassion at its finest.  He had 300 ECT treatments and said, “I never thought I was sick, I think that’s a healthy attitude.” He spoke about the importance of a good attitude, of self help and of helping others to help themselves.

What’s so sane about a businessman in Sacramento wearing a suit when it’s 103 degrees?

There was great (sad) footage of DyAnne talking to her husband about the issues she had. The only thing I have to fall back on, is that I’m an ex mental patient, and who listens to a crazy person?

They discussed hospitalisation, peer counselling, the fear of involuntary commitment. They showed a patient’s rights group, a creative advocacy group, an alternative mental health group for Spanish speakers and a social survey project.

Q What term, if any, would you like to be called?
A My given name.
(Wellbeing Survey Project)

They discussed families’ concerns vs patients’ needs. Nothing has changed.

I’m a human being.

They discussed the portrayal of mental illness in the media. Nothing has changed. They discussed the difficulty of finding a job. Feeling like a leper. Being described as unpredictable. Nothing has changed. Mentally ill people struggling on the streets … nothing has changed.

The solution is independent living.

They discussed the value of peer groups, the pros and cons of medication, medication being an individual-specific thing, the possibility of disorders being biochemical, the need for self help. Nothing has changed.

image

Feel free to link me to anything you’d like me to review. Unless it costs money. I am a poor African – send me your cast off million$.

Epistle

Dear Disappointing News That I Forgot About And Was Reminded Of Just Now,

Thanks for letting me know I’m not actually dead inside. Asshole.

Sincerely,
But Seriously, Fuck You

Tagged: disappointment, epistle, frustration, mood

“Why I Keep Away From Madness” – A Stigmama Contribution

Me and my writing muse Lucy    Since its inception a year ago, I’ve been a Regular Contributor to the groundbreaking website STIGMAMA.  There’s nothing like this website out there…you can take my word for it!  I’m so glad it exists because STIGMAMA has … Continue reading