Monthly Archives: April 2015

You’re Just Like Me: Unknown

I got a personal story, from someone who will remain anonymous, about their experience with mental illness. I love it because they don’t hold back with their experiences and I can relate to a lot of it. A lot of times we think that we are by ourselves when it comes to mental illness and situations that arise from them, but we aren’t. This story proves it..

Thanks to this person for sharing and please share your experiences with us too @ [email protected]


I was violently sexually assaulted at the end of my freshman year in college. It was a turning point in my life that led to years of running away from reality and self-medicating with heavy drug and alcohol abuse and sex wherever I could find it. I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder without ever knowing what that was. I was a musician and let my music be my excuse for moving around the country and not staying settled in any one place for long. For five years I was on a manic high long before I had ever heard the word manic. On my 23rd birthday I got scared after I injected cocaine and had the most incredible high of my life. I had a lucid thought that if I ever did that again I would never stop. I haven’t had any illicit drugs since that night in 1985. But I was far from out of the woods with my lifestyle. Although I stopped drugs I didn’t stop drinking and I was still hungry for sex and addicted to pornography.

 

Although I had grown up in a conservative Christian home, and used that faith to pull me away from drugs, I hadn’t really bought into religion and grew up just faking it as my parents dragged me to church every week. Then in August 1985 I ran into an old friend from church that I hadn’t seen in years. He invited me back to church to see a new pastor who was far different that what I had experienced before. I was intrigued and decided to go. I met my wife that day. I knew it the day we met after we went to lunch with a group of people. I even told my mom that afternoon that I had met the girl I was going to marry. My future wife didn’t see it the same way, however she did agree to go out on a date with me.

 

We began having sex a few weeks into the relationship. I was 23 and she was 18. After six months she was pregnant and we got married. All the time we were dating I was faithful to her even though I was tempted to mess around on her. After we were married and had our first child I began to get restless. I had my first affair a year later and over the next few years I had several sexual encounters with other women. I was a horrible husband. My wife didn’t discover my double life until we had been married for 13 years. At that time my life fell apart. I thought I was going to lose everything but I didn’t want my marriage to be a failure and I fought to keep us together. I entered into a recovery program for people with sexual addictions and spent the next three and a half years in the program. It saved our marriage as my wife went through a spouses program as well.

 

It was during that time that I was first diagnosed with depression after a failed suicide attempt. I was prescribed an anti-depressant that kicked mania into high gear. I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder less than a year later after struggling to maintain my sanity and fighting to save my career. The first mood stabilizer I was prescribed was lithium. I can’t remember if it worked for me or not because I was so deep in denial that I took the pills for six months and then quit. But in that time the lithium killed my thyroid. I began to gain weight and feel miserable about myself. When I tried to go back to the doctor they wouldn’t see me because I had missed too many appointments. I looked for a new psychiatrist and he gave me a new prescription for an anti-depressant and mood stabilizer. It didn’t work and I kept having rapid swings in my mood that was threatening what little stability I had in my life. After five different psychiatrists over the next six or seven years I was fed up with the weight gain and thought I was doing better, maybe even cured of my illness. Over Christmas in 2008 I decided that I didn’t need my medication any longer and went off them. Two month later, on the job, I was traveling in Portland, Oregon where I met with two young women in their late 20s. One of them was dying of cervical cancer. I spent about 12 hours with them, listening to their stories and triggering my own depression. I needed someone to talk to about my feelings but I didn’t know where to turn. I cycled rapidly from depression to mania and in a desperate need to talk to someone else, I created a fake Facebook account. I pretended to be a young woman living in Texas, where I had lived during my prodigal days. It began a downward spiral.

 

Over the next several months I became enthralled with this new life I was building and created a second fake account to be her friend and to help build friendships with others on line. I was addicted to this and it became consuming and very destructive to my real life. The mania I was in was filled with incredibly loud racing thoughts that made it hard to focus on anything except the self-medicating addiction of my fake double life. I was a manic train wreck, living on 2-3 hours of sleep, not communicating with my wife and letting my world collapse around me. I cut my friends out of my life and was generally an ass to everyone around me.

 

A few months later I was laid off from my job, partly because of the economy but also because I had become dead weight as I lived a double life. Soon the fake profiles weren’t enough and I began reconnecting with friends from high school. One of the women, who lived on the East Coast, sensed my vulnerability and began heavy flirting with me. I welcomed it and made plans to leave my wife and move there to start a new life with her. On a Sunday I told my wife that I wanted a divorce and that I was moving out east. It didn’t go well. In all of the times that I had been unfaithful to her and got caught, and all the times I lied to her and got caught, we had never really fought, until then. I stayed in the house that night and had planned on leaving on Monday. But during the night I had another one of those lucid thoughts like the one that saved me from drugs. I apologized to my wife, told her how messed up I was, and called my psychiatrist with an urgent plea for help. A few hours later I was checked into a behavioral health hospital and for the first time in my life, I began to get the real help that I needed.

 

I was not out of the woods. I had shaken the core of my family and done immeasurable damage to my relationships with my wife and kids. After I got out of the hospital I was not allowed to come home. My wife packed a bag for me and I went to stay with a friend an hour away. I was unemployed and at the time, unemployable. I was an emotional wreck and my marriage was on the rocks.

 

After a couple of weeks my wife let me come home but I slept in a spare bedroom and was on a strict curfew and limited computer access. A couple of months later, Thanksgiving was coming and my sons were coming home. I needed to move out of the spare room for them and my wife let me back into our bedroom, so long as I slept on a pallet on the floor. It took months before I earned enough of her trust to sleep in my own bed and the bed stayed cold for a very long time. I was however, done with the Facebook fakes but I was still an emotional basket case. All told I was out of work for 17 months and we were limping by on my wife’s part time income and my unemployment checks. We barely hung onto our home but we made it. Our relationship was getting better and I was able to go back to work in late 2010. The only problem was that the closest job I could find was 750 miles away. I took the job and began an eight-month commute. My wife and I had done a lot to rebuild our relationship and she went out a limb to trust me living on my own so far away. We had been going to church again and I had been taking it much more seriously than ever before. I truly got to the point where I believed in Christ as my savior and worked hard to live a good life.

 

While I was living away, my wife and I would talk on Skype every day and would end our hour or two conversations with prayer before we went to sleep. I was not doing porn or fake Facebook at all during this time, but some old habits crept back into my life. I was drinking every day and I began smoking again, a habit that I had quit successfully for many years. On the weeks when my wife came to visit or when I came home I was able to avoid drinking and smoking, as I didn’t want her to find out. So the lies were again piling up.

 

After eight months I was recruited to come back to my hometown to work for one of the largest technology companies in the world. I jumped at the chance and came home. With my willpower I was able to quit smoking, for the most part, and quit drinking, again for the most part. At first I loved my new job but after 18 months the stress was beginning to tear me up. I went into a deep depression that made it hard to function. My doctor, who had taken me off anti-depressants a year earlier, decided to put me on Prozac. I protested to that drug but he insisted and I trusted him. Six weeks later I was suicidal and my attempt on May 23, 2013 failed because the truck I jumped in front of was able to stop in time. My doctor had me committed to the hospital on a 5150, mandatory 72-hour hold. An old psychiatrist of mine was the doctor on call at the hospital and after less than 24 hours I convinced him that I was fine and he released me. I fired my psychiatrist and found another one who got rid of the Prozac and put me on Wellbutrin, which is what I had originally asked for.

 

I spent the next three months on disability and took the time I needed to recover emotionally and physically. I was in therapy and support groups 3-4 times a week during that three-month period. Even after I went back to work I did therapy twice a week for the next couple of months. After two months back on the job the stress was building again and I couldn’t take it so I quit. My new employer didn’t offer the same health plan and I lost my doctor and therapy groups.

 

That was 18 months ago. Since then I have been doing mostly very well. I joined the Board of Directors for Mental Health America Central California, a position I since left because of time conflicts. I went back to school to finish the degree I had started 33 years earlier. With the exception of a few lies that my wife has caught me in, I have been doing pretty well. The lies I have told are stupid lies, mostly about whether or not I was looking at porn, which I was but denied. I still struggle with that sometimes, but it is getting better. The racing thoughts are still there, in the back of my mind, but the volume is so low that I don’t always notice them. I can still feel the cycling of my moods, but I am well medicated and the cycles are easily managed with a little conscious effort. I am getting stronger every day.

 

Through all of this, my wife has been the most patient, forgiving, and loving person that I could ever hope for. She never gave up on me. We both made a promise to remain married and that is one promise that I will never break. Today, life is good. My career is in good shape, my relationships with my kids are better than ever, and I am back in church getting my spiritual life on the right track after living in the wilderness for so very long.


My Kid Gets Migraines

My son has suffered migraines since he was at least two years old. I would regularly get phone calls from daycare to pick him up because he was sick again. We did not know what was happening. We thought that…

Big Bad Bruce (Jenner)

When my brother and I were little we found a treasure trove of records, 45’s and 78’s which were my mom’s and her brothers when they were younger.  We still […]

Big Bad Bruce (Jenner)

When my brother and I were little we found a treasure trove of records, 45’s and 78’s which were my mom’s and her brothers when they were younger.  We still […]

Big Bad Bruce (Jenner)

When my brother and I were little we found a treasure trove of records, 45’s and 78’s which were my mom’s and her brothers when they were younger.  We still […]

the discouraging blunder reward

My insincere ingratitude to Morgueticia of the Mood Swings  who bestowed upon me the prestigious Encouraging Thunder award, which exists either to promote flatulence, or to make Thor feel better about himself.

Bl3OtqlCQAA1HF-

Oh dear, he literally can’t spell.

Here are the rules, which as you know, are strictly enforced by the Meme Police… waaait, even the Jazz Police aren’t real, I’m pretty sure the Meme Police aren’t either… Anyway, since my own loyalties lie with the Grammar Police, I’ve mended as well as broken the rules.

offishul logo of blog thingy, yasss

offishul logo of blog thingy, yasss

What you can do with the Encouraging Thunder award. (so aggressive, I’m waiting for someone to say ‘stick it up your cakehole’)
Post it on your blog
Grant other bloggers the award.
What you can’t do with the Encouraging Thunder award. (oops)
Abuse or misuse the logo
Claim that it’s your own handmade logo.
What you should do after receiving the Encouraging Thunder award: (squeal with delight, phone all friends, drink champagne from a lesbian)
Enjoy the award. (exploit groupies scandalously)
At least give thanks via comments and likes and/or mention the blogger who gave you the award.
If iziBongo (Zulu praise poetry) doesn’t seem effusive enough, you have no soul. Especially done by a seven year old.

Mention your purpose in blogging.
Oh how I wish I had a porpoise. Or some poise. I’ve blogged so much about why I blog, that even I am bored to coma levels. I keep the main mission statement and rationale over here, behind those unnecessarily pompous words.
Give them all love by visiting their blogs and showing some appreciation.
P.S. You do not have to accept the award. It is entirely up to you. At least this one doesn’t have a ton of questions to answer and none to make up. (meh; I likes questions I do…)

NOMINEEEEEEEEEEEES!!1!!!!!11!!!

you!!!

you!!!

After a lengthy and equitable process involving a panel of hand selected minorities and a small box of aniseed twists… ah feckit, I nabbed you all because you have such fine asses minds… actually the truth is that you lot are the motormouths who have dominated the past 10 pages of comments. Give yourselves a round of drinks and applause.  Stand back folks, I’m about to ping.

*radar pinnnnnnggggg* you you you you you you you you you you you you you you you you you you, many are called, but few can be arsed to do anything about it…

*drops mic and sorting hat*

blahpolar has left the building.

Children and Mental Health

Source: TopCounselingSchools.orgFiled under: About Mental Health, Mental Illness Tagged: Child Mental Health, Child Psychiatry, Child Psychology

Are The Kids Alright?

Someone sent me this cool graphic about kids and mental illness, something I never think about but should. What are you thoughts on the graphic?

Youth-Counseling


Dad

My dad was always and still is an enigma to me.  He was raised in a house with five sisters and one brother but treated me like a boy, teaching me to wrestle, shoot a gun, and haul firewood.  He was always very moody, to the point that I sometimes wonder if he’s not bipolar himself.  He can be very happy-go-lucky and outgoing at times, chatting up strangers in doctors’ offices, barbershops, and hospital waiting rooms, but when his mood darkens, it gets very dark–he won’t talk to anyone because he seems to be afraid he’d say something he’d regret.

One difference in our relationship to mine with my mom is that I never doubted he loved me.  To this day, I know that if something ever happened to me, if I was beaten up, raped, or murdered, my daddy would be standing on the courthouse steps with a gun ready to shoot whoever it was that did it to me.  Once we had some deer hunters shooting too close to the house (we lived in the country) and he took the initiative and shot back with a 12 gauge shotgun.  Word got around, and someone said, “If you killed somebody, you’d go to jail for it.”  Daddy said, “Yeah, but they’d still be dead, too.”

He was a Vietnam veteran, something I never knew until I was about 10 years old.  He never talked about it until around 2000, when he got involved in the VA medical system.  Then he wouldn’t stop talking about it for about the next couple of years.  He didn’t see much direct combat–he was part of the 101st Airborne-they flew them in with big guns, shot up targets, then flew back out.

I could tell a lot of stories about him, but I’ll end with his latest obsession–he bought a disassembled car, a 1927 Ford.  I have a cousin that works on cars, and he jumped at the chance to help Daddy restore this one.  It took a few years and a little bit of money, but now he drives that T-bucket all over the country, getting his picture taken with it wherever he goes.  So if you see a man driving a car painted in  red and white stripes with white stars on a blue field driving around, wave to him for me.  That’s my daddy.


Is She posting Again FFS? Death brings perspective

I wouldn’t be posting yet again because I know flood posts can be irksome…But it was not a run of the mill night.
I was absorbed watching The Flash when R called to ask me to come “hold his hand” at the shop tomorrow. Then he asked if I’d mind some company watching the rest of the show. Hey, my kid’s asleep, I have four sporks left, why not…
Unfortunately, despite of his “I won’t do that, I promise…” The show was paused four times.
Then…
His phone blew up. All three of his kids called to tell him their uncle, aka R’s best friend, had been killed. I’ve never seen R fall apart so completely, so quickly. And I understood because B (the deceased) went up against his own sister in court declaring her unfit so R should get full custody. That did not make B popular with his family but it was the right thing to do.
And his wife, L, gave me a job working daycare. (Although R was quick to point out “she gave you a chance because no one else would.” Gee, thanks. Couldn’t be that she watched me interact with his kids for two years and saw how good I was with them.
Okay, that’s petty but geesh, some stuff stings no matter how true it is.
Neither here nor there.
I knew this man. Not as well as R and he is the kids’ uncle…But he was at the shop a few weeks back, in good spirits…
And now, at 54, he’s dead.
He went to help a neighbor cut down some trees and apparently, the saw sent a limb flying so hard and fast it hit B in the neck, basically killing instantly. And his wife was right there to see it happen, to see he was gone and nothing could be done to save him.
What the actual fuck. You go to help someone out of kindness and you get dead? This is the God everyone subscribes to, because there’s some master plan, some reason for taking away decent people yet letting absolute shit stay alive…
It’s less faith and more logic.
I know some people who are just plain shitty and useless but they live on and on and on…(And sometimes, I feel like one of them, not because I am a bad person but because my best efforts never help me get better and become more than this.)

I’ve never seen R cry like that. Fall apart like that. The man is…for the most part, dead inside. Just emotionally…short circuited.
He wasn’t tonight. Especially as he fielded calls from all three of his daughters, then he called the widow to commiserate…
It was sad. It made me think, why the hell am I bitching? I’m still here.
Things can change on a dime, though.
I could step outside tomorrow and catch a bullet from one of my volatile “drank too much and got too high” neighbors.
No one can know.
And while I wasn’t really close to B (just his wife, when I worked for her)…He was fair to me even though I was essentially replacing his sister in his nieces’ lives…I didn’t dislike the man.
R kept going about how B was a saint, and I think that’s grief inflating someone a bit more than is reality…
But to my credit, I dug down deep and found the social skill (albeit sooooo uncomfortable) and empathy to be a comforting, supportive friend.

I’m not a monster, just because I have mood swings, have my scars, and feel disconnected from other people. It’s far more complicated than simply being “bad.”
I was griefstricken over the death of my kitten Yoda even though she lived only three weeks and had zero chance with that particular birth defect.
I’m not heartless. I am actually quite mushy.

Still…Selfishly…I am down to two sporks. It’s midnight so I can simply slither off to bed but…I just keep thinking about B and his wife and their kids (I used to go to movies with their middle daughter and play ball with their youngest) and I just…my heart goes out to them, no matter how hollow and pointless it is.

WHY AM I SO DEPRESSED WHEN THE BOTTOM LINE IS, I AM ALIVE AND YET SOMEONE MORE FUNCTIONAL THAN ME WITH MORE PEOPLE WHO CARE IS GONE????

It’s sadness, grief, and my own depression talking, of course. I am not important enough to be held accountable for those cruel twists of fate that lead to things like this.
I do wonder, often, why so many have died when they had so much to live for when I just keep hanging on yet making no progress that sticks…
It’s not fair.
I wanna think the fates are trying to tell me I have a purpose to serve and that’s why I am still here.
It’s…so fucked up.

Needless to say, I have to open the shop in the morning so R and his kids can grieve so I should probably make an effort to sleep. I am so sad and anxious I don’t know how easily sleep will come. Then I feel like a selfish bitchbeast because, dear god, how is the man’s wife and children feeling? They’re adults but still, he’s their dad and he’s gone.
Just…why.

It doesn’t cure my depression but it does make me want to lay claim and gratitude for all that I have rather than obsess over what I don’t have. Nothing like the death of someone else to make you realize just how lucky you are to still be breathing. Reminds me of a line from Sixx A.M.’s “Life Is Beautiful.”
“You can’t breathe until you choke
You gotta laugh when you’re the joke
There’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive.”

No matter how much scumbag brain tells me all is lost…
I’m still drawing breath so it ain’t over yet.
Too bad it’s hard to remember that in the throes of mental illness and its distortions.

I just…
What a tragedy. To be killed so cruelly simply by doing a friend for a neighbor…
This is why my faith wavers.
There’s good and bad, hand in hand.
And then there’s just WTF is the point of this exercise in cruelty?

I didn’t see this coming anymore than any of the family did. It’s almost…unrealistic and unable to be believed. Yet it’s real, his wife witnessed it.
That poor woman, living with those images for the rest of her life…

My mental illness isn’t going to be cured by this tragedy but…
It sure as hell does put things into perspective provided your mind is lucid enough to grasp it.

I think sadness is universal,not exclusive to fucked up brain chemistry. It’s sad when someone dies.

As it should be.