Monthly Archives: March 2015

Dreadhead

It is so maddening. When I get one aspect of my spectrum of disorders in hand, there’s another one to step forward and demand its time in the spotlight of destroying my sanity. My mood is okay today in spite of all the crappy stuff yesterday.

But the PANIC…Oh panxiety is devouring me.

Today I have to venture out and learn if my car is saved or doomed. That car isn’t even mine, it’s my mom’s and I can’t buy another one and…It’s just setting off terror receptors akin to being chased by Leatherface.
That anxiety ties into rapid heartbeat, paranoia, and of course, pretzel gut and severe sensitivity to outside stimuli. (I want to cover my ears childishly to block my kid’s incessant mindless chatter.)

Then there’s the whole disability review lurking every moment of every day. I have resigned myself to the fact that I can’t do anything about it. I am at their mercy and I have a bad feeling in my gut. Not that I blame them. I’ve been waiting to be cured for over twenty years now. No one could be more frustrated by my start and stop progress and regression than I myself am. This is sooo not how I saw my life turning out. Not that I have it all that bad, mind you, outside the mental stuff. It’s just…I always considered myself this fierce strong woman who could conquer anything by willpower alone.
Then the depressions kept hitting until the fierceness was gone and it hit me. I am human, I have an illness, and I can’t do a damn thing but keep trying to get better even if it seems futile.

And Thursday is the new shrink. In person. Never met him before. I don’t know if he’s gonna be like the osteo shrink from hell (“Zoloft isn’t working because you don’t want it to work” or maybe he will be indifferent or will he be open like Dr Amazing was.
I am filled with dread and hope at the same time.
I can go in there with my list, explain myself but again…One more thing I can’t control. His predisposed biases, his psych philosophy and style, his ability to listen, willingness to take more than three minutes.
Just so much up in the air right now and I am out of control. It’s making pretzel gut a daily event.
I dread facing each day no matter how solid my mood and mind seem. Because the anxiety has stepped up and taken place of that aspect.

It hit me after months of the seasonal depression…We have about six solid months of warmth and sunshine ahead. This could be my prime time, I could bounce back. It could go either way.
Then I think, oh god, six months of shrieking children running loose because the parents can’t be bothered with them. Six months of kids in the streets with bicycles paying no attention to traffic. Six months of more traffic, more noise, more people out and about. All catalysts for the anxiety.

I hate the depressions but they are generally the more manageable anxiety period. Except the last winter, for whatever reason the anxiety went rampant. Hell, there were days I wouldn’t even take a Xanax. Then Bam, suddenly I need more than my prescribed dose to keep from going off the rails. And there was no trigger.
I get so sick of that part of the doctor stuff. They insist everything has a trigger and with me, it simply doesn’t. One day I will hear a car horn honk and it will set me the fuck off into paranoid anxiety land. Another day I will have 12 kids playing in my yard and it’s barely an annoyance.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT TRIGGERS IT BECAUSE THERE IS NO TRIGGER.
Oh, sure, the classics heighten and metastasize it.
But often..It’s ninja panic. Stealthy, sneaky, from out of nowhere.
I wish it would die in a fire.

So my gut is churning and I am dreading this entire week no matter how much I try to spew sunshine and rainbows. Positive thought is as good for mental illness as prayer is for fictional illness. It may help at times but for the most part…If I could talk myself out of feeling batshit crazy, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Blah. Meh.
The holding pattern is the worst. I just want to rip the bandage off, know one way or the other with most stuff. Is the car DOA? Is my livelihood being hacked away? Is the new doctor a douche?
It’s hell on the panxiety, feels like I am on autopilot waiting for all these answers and I am at the mercy of others to get them.

Not that I am Greenday fan but one line from “Basketcase” keeps pounding through my brain.

“Sometimes I give myself the creeps…Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me..It all keeps adding up..I think I’m cracking up…”


yeah its just another linkdump

No theme no hook no spin, no gluten, no preservatives no nothing but links. Mhm. Okay, maybe a little sporadic snark. And traces of nuts.

(This is a scheduled post.)

Depression didn’t make the Germanwings copilot kill 149 people. I’ve been thinking about this a lot (we all have) and the only thing I could think of that might cause it, that is linked to depression, is psychosis.

The next one is for Zoe:
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Follow this link to find out why.

Why World Bipolar Day? I am a little perplexed by this, “Take notice towards strangers, acquaintances, and perhaps loved ones with eccentric personalities and unstable moods.” Brb going out on the streets to diagnose biolar y’all.

Fighting stigma the bipolar day way – Serena Goldsmith, the “shining star of bipolar”. (I would like to be known henceforth as the dark matter of bipolar, tyvm.)
My brother’s struggle – Yale Daily News
Bipolar depression overview of the phenomenology, diagnosis, and clinical course of bipolar depression and review of various treatment approaches including phar-macotherapy, alternative treatments, and psychosocial interventions.
Life with postpartum depression and undiagnosed bipolar 1: I thought I was a bad mom.
Bipolar Barbie – poem (I’m in two minds about the meaning/intention of this one, but I think it’s rather well done).
UBC – Canadians with bipolar and memory problems wanted for study.
Women diagnosed with depression may be bipolar – Compared to men with bipolar disorder, women with bipolar disorder have heightened chances of developing simultaneous or overlapping symptoms of mania and depression rather than separate bouts of these extreme changes in mood.
Bipolar patient clings to hope of normal life one day – praises electroconvulsive therapy. (Carrie Fisher does too.)
Misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Part II
Case discussion of distinctions between bipolar, borderline personality and ADD
Psychiatric Myths Dispelled by Doctor – Fighting Antipsychiatry, Or How Antipsychiatry Groups are Wrong – Natasha ” Bipolar II disorder may be a syndrome that runs in families and is underdiagnosed – See more.
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2 new bipolar websites with 2 new online tools.
Is this 69yr old woman the oldest person to be diagnosed with bipolar?
Ammi – a bipolar story from Malaysia.
Chinese factory owner diagnosed with bipolar after handing out iPhones to staff.
Bangkok – it’s time to talk about mental illness.
Dealing with the side effects of bipolar meds.
Does Empire get bipolar right?

The latest in offensive wankery from Urban Dictionary, here is the link
in case you can be bothered to downvote it. *shrugs off UD dismissively*

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Like, oh em geeeee, Netflix Motherfucker.

Unless this woman really is bipolar, she can stick her adjectives up her … nevermind, she already has stabbing pains in her vagina. However – I hope she feels better soon and I hope she doesn’t have bipolar.

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On a cheery note, I’m starting to see my own blog in bipolar news alerts (today it was my reblog of Kitt’s bipolar day post). *cuddles blog*

Taking Stock

Well, I’ve been blogging right at five months now and have over 3,400 views  I just established a Twitter account and a Facebook page and will be expanding on that in the months to come.  The audience keeps growing; I have gained in visitors every month since October and have 33 WordPress followers so far.

I’ve completed the second draft of a manuscript of a book since working on the blog–I hope in another six months to be able to start looking for an agent after I have a solid track record with the blog.  I’ve met some amazing people along the way–readers and commenters who are learning about bipolar disorder and those who are living with it as well.  I thank each and every one of you for the support you’ve been giving me the past few months.  I feel like I’ve finally found my audience and people to whom my writing means something.  That is a great boon to a writer to know that someone is reading and cares about what you put out.

As far as my condition goes, I seem to be stabilizing a bit from earlier in the year.  The obsessions have all but disappeared.  I go back to my counselor in April and will get her take on how I’m holding up.  I still have some challenges to work through–the end of the school year is always crowded with events and places to be and things to do.  I’m going on a two-day blog hiatus starting tomorrow since I’ll be on a field trip with my youngest daughter to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  That is a milestone in itself–I once thought I couldn’t travel without Bob because I was scared of being away from home and having an episode.  But I see this trip as another step in my recovery.  So wish me well on this trip and I’ll be back Friday!


Day or Night (Archives 9/10/14)

day and night

PLEASE NOTE: This is a post archived from September 10, 2014.

It’s a tough morning. My arms feel like lead and it’s not so easy to type. But from where I am it’s probably a good idea to get a blog entry out.

Yesterday, last night, and this morning have all been bad for the voices. Wait…those times have been good for the voices but bad for me. Mostly I have heard the football stadium crowd, with a few voices thrown in. Sunday I actually watched a football game on TV and the noises sounded exactly the same.

The perphenazine causes me to have very vivid dreams. I usually remember these dreams right when I wake up. Last night I dreamed about an old pastor of mine. He was talking to me and kept talking even after I woke up. I get confused between the voices, the dreams, and the noises.

I can’t really do much. Someone suggested music on headphones and that did help. I have a good book to try today and my devotional. TV is not bad but I have to turn it way up. Since I’ve been stuck at home for a few days, I moved my location as to have a change of scenery. I gathered my phone, computer, books, glasses, purse, and coffee up to our guest room. I just couldn’t look at the den one more day.

Now I am on six meds. I am either borderline insane, or my doc enjoys doodling on his prescription pad. I really shouldn’t say that. Dr. D has been there through thick and a lot of thin. He told me Monday (when I ditched the appointment) that we would get through this and I would feel better. Dr. D is from a different culture and he can be a bit gruff at times. So for him to be kindly was really a stretch. I know he cared about how I am doing. I’m not totally alone.

My husband is trying not to act too concerned. But this is the worst the voices have ever been and he knows it. I haven’t even told him the extent of the whole mess. He keeps nicely mentioning that the hospital is an option if I keep feeling so bad. The only reason I would go into the hospital is if they needed to try me on some tough meds, that I needed supervision for. I don’t feel depressed and I don’t feel at all like hurting myself. I DO feel very disappointed in my mind. I was dragging myself into recovery, and I just got drug right back out. And the hospital sucks big time. I HATE snotty therapists who lead group therapy as if they have been there. I hate sitting in therapy with a bunch of overly medicated people. (Uh, I guess you could throw me into the overly medicated group, myself.) I much prefer my peer led bipolar support group.

I wish my phone would ring and someone would magically say, “Lily, I love you and those voices WILL go away!” I feel lonely and crummy. I feel bored. Worse yet, I feel terribly shaky. I feel tired as my sleep has really been on and off.

One time when I was hearing voices years ago, I heard a couple of dogs on the street talk to me. This was while I was driving. I looked over at the corner and a dog was standing with its owner and it just started talking. This happened twice. So I have three dogs here at home and I keep looking at them, hoping they will say something. But they just bark. I guess the voices don’t show up on request.

You know, I had plans today. I needed to get a shower and do a little ironing. I was going to go to yoga. And then this afternoon, my husband and I were going to catch a movie. But I am scared of the noise in the shower. It might crack my head open. Yoga might work but I am wobbly and exhausted. A movie just sounds awful. I don’t need any more loud noise.

I want to get better and out by Friday. I am meeting my young bipolar friend that I mentor for breakfast. And then a good friend of mine and I were going to stroll around at a pretty open air mall. Saturday another friend, my husband, and I plan on going out to some garage sales. I also want to get my bin of Fall stuff out and decorate the house a little. This always helps me feel better.

I love to chat online with my “mentally ill” friends and one of my younger friends said something I found interesting. Now this is a sweet girl of 19 and she struggles daily right now. She said that during one of her tough times she was convinced that her tears could cure cancer. I don’t know why that spoke to me as it did. Perhaps that something good could come from all these tears?

But not me. I don’t cry. I just hold my head and try not to bang it on the wall or the floor to get the noises out. People constantly say “are the voices coming from inside or outside or your head?” Honestly, they come from everywhere.

Let’s go on the positive side, as much as I hate to. But you know in recovery, they want you to show gratitude. So I have some. Last night, we sat down with our youngest son and reviewed his college situation. He’s in his third semester at community college and we were figuring out what he should take in the spring. (The spring registration will be here before you know it.) So we limped along and figured what he needed to finish up. He is going to transfer to a state university.So we had to figure out how to do that. He finally has decided to get his degree in applied computing. We’re thrilled with that…it looks like a major with some job potential. So he is moving along. Now we have been parents long enough to know things don’t always work out…but at least for now he is on a path. And this was the kid who had continual problems in school and took a year off after high school to smoke pot and work at McDonald’s.

Our older son will graduate from the university a year from December with a degree in communications. No idea what you can do with that, but at least he will have a degree. He dropped out of college for two years and also smoked pot. Those were great years…NOT! My daughter, a special ed teacher, is settled back in school and doing well.

I am also grateful for my husband, my doctors and my friends. And for you, my anonymous blog readers.

Yesterday was the most views ever on the blog. So I know you’re out there reading. If you have the time, send me a comment or a hello. I sure could use it.

love,

lily

(Edited to add: This was back in the day when a comment was a real treat and surprise. You guys are so good now about chatting and keeping me going. I thank you for that.)

So yeah, about that feeling okay thing…

Yesterday started out good. Mind frame good, anxiety manageable, no gloom cloud overhead for the first time in days.
And then it started. Ya know, reality.
I soo want that shirt: “Shit happens…usually to me.”

First, R’s car broke down on the way back from the out of town dentist, so I had to go fetch him. Going to an unfamiliar unspecified location…Yeah, panic incident number one.

Then my mood started to slide as the anxiety rose and it hit me…I forgot to take my meds this morning. (Hey, I can only get so many things right per day, I drop the ball a lot.) I had none stashed in my pill case. So the slide began. People made me paranoid and nervous. Phone made me jump. I spent much time in back smoking, farrr away from any living being.

I hit my wall by 3pm. The cats had run out of food that morning, I was worried about them being hungry. My stomach was a knotted mess so I thought stepping away, taking my meds, maybe the break would help.
And halfway to get cat food…The car sputters, goes pow, shoots smoke out the back and just dies. In the road. I managed to steer it off to the side but was still in the way and self conscious as hell and panicking.
Awesome. I called my dad (in hopes of talking to stepmonster but she was gone) and he starts yelling at me, like it’s my fault when cars have problems. Thankfully this beckoned stepmonster who’d I rather deal with anyway since she’s the one that does the auto work while he stands and grumbles about her doing it wrong. Meaning, not his way. Idget.
In a moment of random what the fuckness, I actually had two perfect strangers ask if I needed help or a phone. And I was just….floored. Because last few times I’ve had car trouble no one’s been arsed to even look my way. That nice people exist…always boggles my mind. How jaded am I?
Anyway…R and stepmonster pushed the car into a parking lot, then we went back to the shop. My kid was with stepmonster of course so while all this attempt at multiple car repair by them was going on, I had her and people bringing tvs into the shop and my kid was whining and yapping and…Yeah, that on top of my dad throwing out that it could be the timing gone out on the car thus making it fucked…
I was in panic zone. I’d spilled something on myself so I was wet and sticky. I hadn’t had my meds. I was worried about the poor hungry cats. Pretzel gut was in full effect. Meanwhile I have all these people around me telling me to chill out and not worry about it. WTF? I think calmly freaking out (oxymoron?) was an appropriate response. But to the mundanes without mental issues, it is just that simple.
So the whole time they were with my car and I awaited the death knoll…I was sweating so bad I couldn’t even have a cigarette because my palms would have made it soggy. And it was that nervous sweat that makes everything smell musty. More self consciousness thrown in with an impending sense of doom over the car. (You have a hell of a time getting around this town without a car.) And my kid was fussing about wanting to stay another night at my dad’s so like I purposely broke the car to ruin her fun.
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

The good news is, R seems to think he knows what the problem is with the car and should be an easy fix because the part is under warranty.
Bad news is…Um, yeah, I have no wheels atm and oh yeah, about a dozen people got to witness me in huffing puffing deer in headlights panic mode. Fortunately they just thought I was very busy and in a rush. That’s how all the store clerks see me because I am always feverish to get what I need and flee back to the bubble.
Grrr.
By the time stepmom brought us home I was livid. And oddly, it wasn’t mood. I mean, I was fairly solid as far as the mood went so while irritating, car trouble isn’t the end of the world. It was the anxiety that just kicked my ass.
Rather than sink into self pity, I took a shower, regrouped for five minutes, then made cheesy bread for supper. Then I have my kid a bath, a friend stopped by, and a day filled with shit happenings seemed like par for the course. Especially the part where I slept in two hours bursts, my kid woke up screaming six times, and I wake still exhausted and running on auto pilot. Good times.
THIS is what a good mood gets me.
The difference is, when I am mentally solid and rational, I can cope, even if it’s a sweating hyperventilating panic attacked mess of coping mechanism.
On the days the mental frame is not solid…Those are the days I come flying apart and the shrapnel rains down. And I have more of those days than solid ones.

Okay. Rant done. I think.
Shall see what today brings. R is going to take time off work to go fix my car, which reminds me…he can be irksome but he really is good to me and why do I get so damned angry and petty at times?
Damn it, I can’t handle people being nice to me, it throws me off. How fifty shades of fucked up is that.


Blogging For Mental Health, 2015 Edition

bfmh15You know that I am having a rough time if I’m this late in getting around to what I consider one of the most important posts of the year. That is to say, making my annual pledge to Blog for Mental Health in 2015.

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

This is my third year participating, and I think the thing that says it best is — I’m still here, folks. Even if I’m not a particularly suicidal person, it’s still a worthwhile affirmation to make in the face of mental illnesses (and other invisible illnesses). If you’re new to my blog — howdy. This is mainly a personal account, though sometimes I do shove in opinions and thoughts on the news. I write because writing is therapeutic for me, and because I’m glad to share my stories if they help other people feel less alone and ‘weird’. I know talking to friends in similar straits has always gone a long way to help me feel better, so.

Anyways, a year is both a long and a short time in a life. Since my last affirmation post, I have cut ties with my parents (realised they were narcissists, no good), moved house, had my second and final child, and saw my big girl start big girl school. I got back on my meds as soon as #2 was born, so I managed to avoid the worst of postpartum. I did end up getting my antidepressant dose upped last week, which just about perfectly coincided with where after my first child was born I realised I desperately needed help, and finally sought a diagnosis. So things might be a touch bumpy right now, but it’s mainly okay mentally.

Physically is the bugger right now. While I’ve yet to be able to get a diagnosis, I’ve likely had endometriosis bothering me for something like 20 years now, and chronic fatigue through most of that. It’s been especially bad lately, limiting most of my functionality to what I can do from my chair. This is… well, this is probably making the depression and anxiety spikes worse because dude, I would love to get out and about more. I’m hoping getting a Mirena coil fit will help, but that’s been slow going for various reasons (tl;dr can’t get it done at my local doctor’s office now and only just tracked down where I can instead last week). I’m still thinking I might have to go full hysterectomy like my maternal grandmother and aunt had to, but we’ll see.

Anyways, welcome again if you’re new. And as always, I hope that everyone is doing alright out there.

<3

“Claims About Andreas Lubitz’s Mental Health Further Stigmatize Mental Illnesses” from The Blog HuffPost

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/muffy-walker/claims-about-andreas-lubi_b_6963932.html

Sensationalizing this tragic news story about Andreas Lubitz crashing the Germanwings jetliner into the Alps and saying things like “Crazed rookie pilot murdered 149, Madman in the Cockpit.” as The Sun (United Kingdom) did when really nothing is known about the reason the pilot did this is further stigmatizing mental illness. Stigma stops mentally ill people from reaching out for the help they desperately need. Perhaps, if Lubitz did have problems with mental illness, stigma is the exact thing that stopped him from getting help!  So why? Why print sensational and irresponsible headlines about this event, why create more stigma? Why say things that have no basis in fact? Why not be responsible and present the facts as they unfold? If it is found out that it was mental illness that caused the pilot to commit this awful act, then by all means say it was. But until then, don’t make up headlines out of incomplete data. Yes I know headlines sell newspapers, but but sensationalizing and making up stories when all the information is not known, well, that’s just bad journalism.

Here’s a wonderful list of things to do and don’t do from the Huff Post article (link above):

“Here are some specific do’s and don’t’s:

  • Share your experience with mental disorder. Your story can convey to others that having a mental disorder is nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • Help people with mental disorder reenter society. Support their efforts to obtain housing and jobs.
  • Watch the language you use:
  • don’t use generic labels: “retarded,” “our mentally ill”
  • don’t use psychiatric diagnoses as metaphors: “schizophrenic situation”
  • don’t use offensive words: “psycho,” “loony,” “crazy,” “wacko,” “slow,” “crackpot”
  • don’t refer to a person as a diagnosis: “he’s bipolar,” instead say, “he has bipolar disorder”
  • Document stigma in the media whenever possible
  • The media also offers our best hope for eradicating stigma because of its power to educate and influence public opinion, so remember to thank journalists when they get it right.
  • Send letters, make phone calls, or e-mail the offending parties
  • Ask your local, regional, and national leaders to take a stand
  • Support efforts to actively expose stigma in the media
  • Educate yourself – the elimination of stigma begins with you
  • Volunteer, join an anti-stigma campaign”

These are helpful, what The Sun is doing is not!


Really

Saw the Legs

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Don’t mess with me today.  Really.


World Bipolar Day 2015

 

 By Lois Caniglia

Today marks the second year dedicated to World Bipolar Day and it is my second year in recovery of my illness. I am the true meaning of manic and the definition of sadness. The date March 30th was chosen on the birthday of Vincent Van Gough.

“March 30th is also Vincent Van Gough, the famous painter, who cut off his ear and was post humorously diagnosed with probable bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression.”

                                              Kimberly M. Aguilina

I’m not a believer in Wikipedia as being true and factual but reviewing to learn the history of bipolar, it appears that my illness identified symptoms as far back as 1025. I have often wondered if there has ever been a time in history when bipolar behaviors were acceptable. Just like wisdom teeth and the appendix all had a purpose in the evolution of man. Is it possible that the bipolar mind had such a purpose? 

I am so grateful to be living in a time when there is a movement to bring mental illness to the table of conversation. “There are 450 million people worldwide with mental illness. Of those it is estimated that the global prevalence of bipolar disorder is between 1-2 % and has said to be as high as 5%.” The World Health Organization describes that “one in four people will suffer from a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives.” 

It should come as no surprise than that today, on Bipolar Day, we campaign to bring awareness and stamp out the stigma that haunts me. 

For today, I cannot be silent on such an occasion for I am not alone. The social stigma is strong but I am strong enough to lend a hand to stamp the harm done out. I am dedicated to bring awareness of the life I lead as a bipolar. I will not stop. I will not be silenced. I will promote the International Bipolar Foundation for the hard work they do for me. All we need is love to support the journey of mental wellness.

I step off of my soapbox with no more shame.

Anxious Annie

Anxiety came on late in life for me. A lot of people with Bipolar experience anxiety and depression before the...

The post Anxious Annie appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.