Daily Archives: April 14, 2015

Judging from me, your not depressed! Or are you??

I have a co-worker that out-loud says that she is dealing with depression. More than once.

Now…

Depression is rock bottom. I know. I know that depression comes in many forms and to people everywhere! I know that when I was major depressed NOONE knew! I was so ashamed to let anyone know, other than my husband, that it pained me to go to work and pretend. I hated my who I was, I hated my life, everything was a mess.

So, when someone, like my co-worker, tells you multiple times that they are depressed…is this real? Do depressed people tell you outright that they are depressed?

Also, what do you say back when you’ve dealt with it but kind of feel…like…they aren’t really..

That is horrible to say! How do I know what she going through? How can I sit here and judge depression? The only reason I am saying this is because she is young, she is also at a job she has been at for a long time and that gets really really stale if you make it, she says she has gained weight, she came out of college thinking that she was going to be this BIG thing and realized that it not going to work out that way! Everything that happened to me when I was her age and just started out with my husband.

I feel like I know where she coming from.

So, is that depression or just growing pains? Looking back now, it was Mental Illness for me, but when does the line between Depression and “Its-Life!” meet?

What do you think?


Demons

Exercising-Demons

I suppose the fact I can still joke about it means I’m not dead yet. After days like today in which my traitorous brain just goes into the stratosphere with dysfunction…I never know what could be my last post before I implode, explode, get hit by a zamboni…The exercising demons thing is just funny and must be passed on.

So, yeah…Less than four hours in the dish and…I’m coming apart at the seams. The chest cold, mixed with random panic attacks, I felt like someone had a trash bag tied around my head. And of course I am surrounded by empathetic souls. “Ya gonna live?” Never mind I am drowning in phlegm, my ribs feel bruised, I can’t stop coughing…Now the panic receptors are going haywire for no reason…
YES I AM PROBABLY GONNA LIVE BUT FOR THE MOMENT COULD YOU CUT ME SOME FUCKING SLACK???

I didn’t see this state coming. I was low but I thought I could just sleepwalk through the day. I didn’t realize something as simple as having lunch with others would send me off the deep end.
And it did. The panic attacks lead to a much much darker place.
People all around me, yapping, talking about their super awesome lives and super awesome incomes and this dude’s getting married next month and…Ugh. Having friends is just too much trauma. But then again, I hadn’t planned on a soiree, it was supposed to be a two person lunch.
Meanwhile I am trying to breathe and everything is swirling around me..And I just zoned out and start thinking -and this is no joke and it is totally out of character for me- This is all so futile and I can too weak to exist..I have all those bottles of trazadone and the xanax stash and I could so easily just opt out, my kid would be better off”…

That one single thought TERRIFIED me. You get a feel for what your norm is even when your thoughts are perpetually distorted. This thought was just…Like demonic possession, it was so unlike me. And normally even on the very rare occasion it seeps in, it’s never that dark and all encompassing. I literally couldn’t shake the feeling, like this black cloud had enveloped me. It sounds so dramatic but it was just…It blindsided me and made me wonder how many tiny triggers or one big trigger away from cracking up I truly am.

Needless to say, a simple lunch turned into a nightmare and by the time I picked my kid up, my head was spinning. The panxiety was stabbing away at my brain.
What if the house catches fire? I have no meds on me, I need to start carrying meds! And extra clothes for me and Spook…And if it’s an electrical fire, will I be responsible even though the place’s wiring is a clusterfuck and the landlord won’t do anything about? What will happen if I go to prison…..

People think it’s a joke to think so irrationally. It’s not funny. It’s grueling when your brain buys into its own distorted propaganda. It’s terrifying. Logic can bang on the door but mental illness has it barricaded and locked with a dozen deadbolts.
You’re stuck in this mind frame until the scumbag brain and its plethora of chemical misfires decides to release you.
I know it seems ridiculous. YES, I do hear the things I say and read the things I write. I am all too aware that I can, at times, come off as, well mad as a hatter. Except my madness seems intent on destroying me inwardly as opposed to me acting outwardly.

I am back in my bubble now, beaten up, shaken, and a bit broken. I know the thoughts were a crock of shit put there by the depression and anxiety…But I can never escape them so there’s never any real joy involved when I manage to ride an episode out. It will return, bigger, badder, stronger than before.
And once the self harm thoughts begin to emerge, it’s this scary precipice. If you talk about it, you’ll get locked up. If you don’t talk about it, you’ll implode. Catch 22.
So you accept it as a very bad day for your mental health and hope you cycle out of the abyss.
Personally, I think all the increase/decrease shit with the Prozac has rendered the stuff useless thus my chemistry’s altered negatively rather than positively. That, of course, is logical.

Mental illness really is like living with demons. I know I am supposed to use positive terms like “disorder” or “the issue” but I can only liken it to being demonically possessed. Because I can’t talk myself out of the bouts, it’s like an episode of Supernatural and some demon is wearing my meat suit and doing all this shit that’s really not me…
Meh, maybe that only makes sense to my own fucked up brain.
I’m not absolving myself of responsibility for being a mess, but trying to not be a mess is very much like a demon wearing me as a meatsuit and it does its evil bidding then leaves and I have to deal with the fall out.

It’s gotta get better. I mean, the focalin already has my mind slowed down enough to be able to cope. Which has slowed the anxiety at times. And the mood stabilizer is keeping me from any manic expeditions.
Unfortunately, the anti depressant is an epic fail and I am fairly sure life is useless, I am useless, and I’d like to take an eternity long dirt nap.

Depression 101.
Or is it 666.

index


A Dialogue With The Beast

Me: I know there is light. There must be, I know it, so how can you fool me so often? So well?

A Talk with My Dad

Open, honest, heartfelt communication has never been a thing in my family.  Especially with my dad.  He's always been very honest and direct, but never touchy-feely.  When I was young, he was emotionally abusive and I was very scared of him.  There are times even now when I am scared of how he will react to something and am not truthful with him because of it.  He's 72 and I'm 45.  I thought I'd be over that by now, especially with nearly ten years of therapy off and on.

All of that is so you'll understand what a big deal this story is.  My dad is my mom's primary caregiver.  I'm her secondary caregiver.  She isn't currently diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's, but we've been helping her care for herself for about five years now.

The other day I was finally able to sit with my dad and have an open, honest, heartfelt discussion about how my mom is really doing!  I'm so proud of myself for that.  It was very difficult, but I did it.  For me!  Because I needed it.

I worried that he didn't think she was as bad as I do (and everyone else does).  I worried that he still thought if she could just get off all the meds she takes she'd be okay.

But that's not the case.  He did not flinch when I said I thought she was in the early stages of dementia.  (Trust me, if he disagreed with me he would have said so and probably told me I was stupid to think so.)  He is an old cowboy and really doesn't get stressed.  He just rolls with things.  He suggested the best way to deal with the situation is to just take it as it is and not be sad about it.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could do that like him?

The last time he left town (for a much needed respite, a golf tournament with my brother, which I fully supported), things were the worst they've ever been with my mom.  My adult daughters were supposed to stay with her and take care of her.  (Before that week, all that would have meant was driving her around, helping her get food, and maybe doing some laundry or shopping for her.)  But she was in severe pain, needed an MRI (which I took her to) - which made her pain worse because of the way the technician adjusted her, and tried pain pill after pain pill to get some relief while waiting for her appointment for an epidural injection.  Her anxiety was through the roof.  Because things got so bad, my girls were not enough.  She needed me, like a scared toddler needs her mom.  She was clingy and scared.  All of a sudden I needed to be with her 24-hours a day, including having her take over my bedroom and sleep in my bed because she emotionally couldn't go home (she has some PTSD issues with that house which flare when she's bad).  It was a horrible week that broke me time and time again.

Because of our lack of open communication, I never told my dad how hard it was on me.  But someone did, because during our open conversation I could tell he knew and is doing what he can to not leave her again.

I was able to tell him, very honestly, that I think I could do it without it being nearly so bad now.  My perspective has shifted.  First off, it wouldn't hit me out of the blue.  Now, if he has to leave town and leaves one of my daughters in charge, I will schedule my life knowing I might have to take over at any time (including always having a bag packed, ready to stay with her for a couple of days at the drop of a hat).  But most importantly, I've learned to see the things she does as the illness, not her.  She isn't the one making my life hell, the illness is.  She isn't the one yelling at me, the illness is.  She isn't the one refusing to cooperate and follow through on the things she said she wanted to do that I worked so hard to make happen, the illness is.  That really helps.

Thinking of myself as her caretaker has changed things.  Choosing to be her caretaker, because she's my mom and I want to help, has made all the difference.

She may not ever be diagnosed, as long as my dad is alive and fully able to care for her.  He said he doesn't see any point in it.  He doesn't want to know what's coming; he'd rather just face it when it does.  Why spend more time worrying?  I'm a planner.  I would like to know what's coming so I can be ready.  But I can honor how he feels.  All the testing would be so hard on her.  She really struggles when she has to have any kind of testing done or make it to doctor's appointments.  And I understand what he's saying about just living where we are in the present moment.

So he can stay there, and I'll do my research.  I've joined a group on Facebook for people with dementia and/or caregivers of those with dementia.   This group is about information and support.  Mostly support.  And sharing their stories, which help me and others find possible solutions for those moments that leave us frantic.  And answering questions of those who are now where they've already been.  I read what they write and try to remember it for the future.  I can see so much of what they say in my mom.  This group has already helped me so much.  They strengthen me through the dark times.  It helps to understand more what it is.  It helps to see some of what may be coming.  It helps to hear them speak with concern for their loved ones when I'm just feeling put upon.  But mostly, it helps to know I'm not alone.

Today Is Random Poem Day

“Love” by Czeslaw Milosz Love means to look at yourself The way one looks at distant things For you are only one thing among many. And whoever sees that way heals his heart, Without knowing it, from various ills ~ A bird and a tree say to him: Friend. Then he wants to use himself […]

A Spring Face-lift

Picture

Yes, you’re in the right place!

Real Life with Bipolar Disorder has received a face-lift. If you are one of my followers who receives blog post updates automatically via email, you may be receiving multiple previous blog posts. This is because as I make changes to each blog, unfortunately, they are re-posted and you will receive the blog again. I apologize for this. I’m sure it is frustrating. I am trying to find a way to avoid this.

I have not completely worked out all the bugs yet, so this site is still under construction. As always, I welcome your comments either by leaving them here on the blog, or by sending me an email. Go to the contact page to see which way is easiest for you.

I guess you could say I had the spring bug and wanted to freshen up the page. I hope you like the changes.

Cynthia


I Live in a Boneyard (a riddle poem)

I live in a boneyard lined in damp velvet / behind a gateway of thirty-odd stones.

Candy and Christy

Just wanted to write a little tribute to two blessings in my life, Candy and Christy.  They are the ladies who come and help me clean my house.  I used to have a cleaner so I could work, but now I have a cleaner because I cannot handle the whole house anymore.  So they come once a week and help me clean.  Not only do they help me do the physical work of it, they encourage me spiritually as well.  They attend the same church I do, an we talk  about the Lord and what he Is doing in our lives.

They love to tell me stories and make me laugh, something I really don’t do often enough.  Once my husband told Candy that he would pay her to come to the house and NOT clean, just sit and talk with me because she is such an encouragement to me.  Christy is the same way  We have kids about the same ages and we talk about them and what we are often up against as parents.  Their visits are the highlight of my Tuesdays, and I miss them if something happens and I have to leave while they are here. They’ve known me for about fifteen years now and have seen me at my worst and at my best and have loved me either way.  So thanks so much, Candy and Christy, for being in my life.


You’re Just Like Me: Sarah

So, you have a Mental Illness?…Which One?

I have bipolar disorder, i was diagnosed when i was 18 after 2 years on anti-depressants and lots of blood, sweat and tears later. I had finished high school and when my parents realized it wasn’t ‘just the stress from school’ decided to listen to me. It was a battle to say the least, various doctors and visits to rehabs with creepy psychiatrists that with one look could make your skin crawl.

 

How do you cope/relax from your mental illness?

Coping and relaxing are in no way easy, but I’ve found that i’m best when i have a routine and keep busy. Boxing has proven to be the favorite form of therapy!!!

 

What are 3 words that you would describe how your illness makes you feel?

Three words that being bipolar makes me feel would be empty, frustrated and alone.

 

If you could talk to world leaders about mental illness, what would be the one thing you discuss?

If i was to talk to world leaders about mental illness, it would be on education- or rather the failings of it. That’s where the stigma and fear begins. Children are never educated on their feelings, therefore we need to implement forms of education that recognition, accept and most importantly don’t desensitize a generation because of the way knowledge is presented.

 

What is some advice you would give someone who is fighting mental illness?

To people with mental illnesses, there is always hope even if it comes from something small, hope is always there. Surround yourself with people who don’t make you feel invalid and will pick up a call from you in tears at 3am.

 

How can we keep in touch with you? (blog, Facebook, Twitter)

 

___________________________________________________________________________

If your interested in being featured as a B.U.L.’s(Bipolar, Unemployed & Lost) GUEST BLOGGER, please email the above questions and answers to [email protected] We will feature your Q&A! I’d love to hear your experience and motivation to fight this horrible disease. Anonymous Welcomed!


All Aboard The Hamster Wheel

The depressive bouts involved in bipolar 2 are a lot like daily trips to nowhere on a hamster wheel. You eat a bit, drink a bit, wander a bit. Then you get back on that wheel and make it spin and you think if it you try hard enough, the faster it spins, the further you will get…
Only you get nowhere. And you’re exercising but it’s not losing you any weight or making you any healthier.
It’s an exercise in futility.

Life outside the depressions is like a hamster habitat with all the colorful tubes to climb and explore.It’s a playground of things to do, see, experience.

But depression is just the creaky old metal wheel going round and round day after day and the futility takes a toll.

I am there today.
I am drowning in so much phlegm, my side aches from coughing, and my ability to deal with people is about less than zero.
See, last night, I got another glimpse into how the adult brats called my friends don’t play fair on the playground. And I realized, without any mental health lack of rationality, that I am essentially their puppets. They dictate even when I am supposed to put my kid to bed so they can call me and talk to me without her interrupting. I mean, who has such audacity as to expect me to put my kid to bed at 7:30 to accommodate their needs?
Then wonder why I am so resentful and agitated.
I get that you have to allow people their quirks and all but shit. Must I always be cast as their bitch?
I just either need no friends or I need friends I can pay to behave like civilized human beings. Unfortunately, the only currency I have is sarcasm. It’s way underappreciated.

I am frustrated and prattling.
I think with just cause. Some people are just really self absorbed and should be smacked with a fish. A rotting stinking maggot festering fish.

On the plus side…I did shower yesterday. That was my accomplishment for the whole day, I showered.
I want my participation trophy now.
And for the love of fuck, would someone put some WD-40 on this creaking fucking hamster wheel?