Daily Archives: June 7, 2015

Love/Hate Challenge

Just Plain Ol’ Vic dared me to take the Love/Hate Challenge to list ten things I love, ten things I hate, and then nominate ten bloggers to do the same. I pass on nominating ten bloggers, instead using the challenge as blog post fodder.…

blue october

Skin Is Too Tight

Oh, wouldn’t it be lovely if I went one day without a complaint…Oh, it would be wondermous to have a day without complaint. Bottling things up isn’t my style so whine and cheese it is.

My skin feels too tight today. It happens sometimes. Almost like the skin of someone shorter and thinner has been stretched and pulled and forced over my bones. Every inch of my skin feels like it is sunburned and bruised. The fact it’s humid as hell and reaching up toward ninety degrees before noon only intensifies the sensation. It’s gotta be psychological or age or something, makes no sense otherwise.

Last night I hit my wall and I granted myself permission to hit that wall. I was exhausted. So cryptify, with spawn, around 6:30 pm. Watched a special on the Winchester Mystery House (amazing what passes as rich eccentricity and yet for poor people, it’s mental illness).  Spook would not wind down and my headache hadn’t died down, so it seemed an eternity before I could doze off. And every time I did, she woke me with some complaint. (Must be genetic, though my complaints are rarely physical whereas she gets a hangnail and demands to be taking to the hospital.) Eventually we both slept. I kept waking up, which has gotten very old. Fortunately, I don’t remember any dreams. I know I had them, nothing stuck. Must have been that extra Xanax I snuck in to ensure falling asleep before 1 a.m.

Today is proving a challenge from the get go. But I am less exhausted so I’ve started the Mt Vesuvius of laundry and done the dishes. Sunday school people didn’t come for Spook or even email or call to warn me so she’s pissed at me. Like I can give information if I don’t have it. She’s been on tirade after tirade. Wanting ice cream for breakfast. “Grandma lets me!” “You lied to me about Sunday school!” “The sun is too bright, I don’t want to play outside.” “I have nothing to do.” “Mommy, mama, mommy mommy mama…” Soundtrack of my life. It’s grueling for someone so sensitive to noise.

I feel off. Not depressed or particularly anxious. Just this darkness tugging at me, making me uninterested in everything. TV,  books, games, everything. Hell, I’m reading three different books simultaneously because none of them are keeping my interest. Is it me or are they all that boring? I tried Orange Is The New Black yesterday. One point five eps in, done. Meh. Then I watched three eps of the new show Bosch, which is based on the Harry Bosch novels I really love. It’s pretty good, but with a noisy child and other distractions, a little hard to follow.

I’ve moved onto the movie Coma my sister told me about. It’s based on a R0bin Cook novel which I read over 20 years ago. Even says so in the promos. My sister, when I said, “Oh, yeah that was a great book…” She gives me this blank look. “I thought it was just a movie, I didn’t know it was a book.” Yep. Because that’s been the biggest difference our whole lives. She was busy living the bubblehead life while I was indoors reading. Bad me. Preferring books to mindless social activities.

But in an effort to prove I DO have a sense of humor and am not 100% immersed in negativity…A video from youtube that I find fucking hysterical. There’s part one and two, but three is my absolute favorite as it mocks Siri and Sugar Ray. Just remember….PICTURES OF SPAGHETTI.

 


“perfect” is not a bipolar word…….

BFF

Well, lots of you have heard me talk about my best friend Sarah. One of my manic spells caused us to “break up” for three years. We’ve been back together about two. She’s come to visit for a few days and I thought I’d give you the scoop.

Day #1-

Got off to a bit of a rocky start. Remember how Danny had the 3 D’s? Well, he had a big test that morning in his summer school biology. We got him up at 8 to review, but Sarah’s plane came a little early. We had to split up. My husband went to get Sarah and I stayed home to finish the studying. (BTW, Danny did great on the test…he said he was “grossly overprepared.” Snort!)

So Sarah shows up from the airport and we all had some muffins and juice to get started. Then she and I were off to our big day at the spa.

Now this spa is my favorite in town…it just has everything you need, is so clean, and the service is really great. It’s actually sort of decadent. You start out there there by selecting a stone from a small pile. This tells you your “energy” for the day. My energy was “success”and Sarah’s was “love”.

We changed into our spa robes and slippers and went to check out the jacuzzi. There’s always the question in the jacuzzi and steam room about whether to go naked or not. I like naked cause I hate to peel a wet bathing suit off. Sarah’s a little more conservative. We usually wind up doing what everyone else does. There was a semi-naked girl in there so we stripped. After the jacuzzi, we did the steam room, but we couldn’t stay too long in there. Too hot.

Next comes my favorite spot:

relaxation

This is called the “relaxation” room. It’s a blast to come in here, snuggle up on a bed and gab. You’re supposed to whisper, but normally no one is in here so you can talk. So Sarah and I did some gabbing. We went over my mania and our “time out” from our relationship. We also covered a million other topics.

It was soon time for lunch, so we sat out on the terrace by the pool and had shrimp wraps and cosmos. Rough. Then it was time for our treatments. I had a massage and Sarah had a facial. That was a good part!

We put on our swimsuits and headed out to the pool. It was cloudy and perfect. (I don’t like to sit in the hot sun.) I drank a gallon of diet coke, and they even provided us with a glass of champagne. We sat around, talked, and Sarah got in the pool. We got hungry again and ordered a cheese and cracker type tray. We polished that off and decided to head home.

We watched a little TV and that was Day #1. Exhausting 🙂 But I was proud of myself. I drove us to the spa and back and kept up with the day just fine.

Day #2-

It was National Donut Day so I ate three donuts.

My husband, Sarah, and I decided to play glow-in-the-dark mini golf. It was pretty fun although my husband skunked me. He had something like 5 holes in one. We had a good lunch and then went to see “Love and Mercy”, the movie about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. I really recommend it, although there were a few scenes that sort of upset me as he was also mentally ill. (If you see it, let me know what you think.) We came home for a rest as I had a raging migraine.

I gave up the day at this point and sent my husband, Sarah, and my daughter off to happy hour at a local pub. They did dinner there. I was out due to migraine meds.

Day #3-

Pool Day. (Am writing this with a slight wine buzz. Yes, I know you should not drink and take meds. I do it anyhow.) Very simple day of hanging around the pool. Put on some music and laid around in the water and the shade. Got a shower and rested for dinner. Another headache. Brought in Mexican food.

We’ve still got church, tea, and breakfast out tomorrow to finish her visit.

I think my “best friend” relationship with Sarah is pretty well healed. I always want to talk about our former problems but she does not. But it is hard for me. 95% of my relationships while manic have been broken. And I don’t bother to try to heal them. I have done mean and stupid things to people while manic. I know it hurts people, but I just get out of control. Not to mention embarrassed.

So things are not perfect with Sarah. But “perfect” is not a bipolar word.

Me and My Brain: A Story of Love and Dysfunction

As they say, of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most. Or anyway, a properly functioning brain.

I love my brain, despite all the trouble it’s given me. For many years I thought it was the only measure of my worth, the only thing about me that made me special, the only thing that I could truly rely on.

I reveled in learning, in thinking, in reading, in questioning, in contemplating, in discovering. My body was not dependable; my brain was.

Little did I know the biochemical pitfalls that were waiting for me. Little did I know that my brain was ill. Disordered. Unbalanced. At the very least, uncooperative.

For instance, my brain decided other people were always pointing and laughing at me. Sometimes they were, of course, but that paranoia became my baseline assumption. (Shrinks call that “ideas of reference.” I just called it life.)

My brain played back for me every socially awkward or embarrassing thing I ever did, either randomly or at the worst possible moments.

My brain made me cry at the stupidest times – at an upbeat sitcom theme song, when someone mentioned foreign travel, when opening boxes from the garage, when thinking about my college years or birthday parties. Whenever I was confronted with how damaged I am.

My brain had irrational thoughts. Bad thoughts. Cutting. Worse. You know what I mean.

Eventually my brain refused to let me live any kind of a normal life – go out, talk to people, care for my house or my pets or myself, or even read, once the greatest joy of my life, the thing my brain and I best liked to do together.

But my brain also worked just well enough to send me looking for the help I needed. I’ve gotten back parts of who I was and what my mind was. And for that, I’m grateful. Even with it disorderly and uncooperative, it’s still the best part of me.


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, bipolar type 2, brain, brain vs. mind, depression, mental health, mental illness, my experiences, reading, support systems

This Brilliance is not Mine

 

Show me an out-in-the-sunshine cyclist who dares to ride in lycra who has not fantasised about winning mountain stages in the Grand Tours, or charging over the line first in the sprint finish on the Champs Elysee. Well, O.K. there must be lots of them. Show me an amateur club cyclist rising along the banks of a windswept velodrome who has not dreamt of glory over 1km.

I can show you a cyclist who whose weight approaches that of his steel – frame tourer and who rides a staggering 3 miles to the station and back 3 mornings a week. I can show you a cyclist who is so anxious about the prospect that he will get a puncture on a ride home from the shops, that he doesn’t take a puncture repair kit with him for fear that he would struggle – and fail – to mend it on the pavement in front of all those passing folk on the high street, bike mechanics every last one …..

These dreams of glory are never far away. The fact that I live half way up the fearsome, iconic Tour de France climb, the Mont Ventoux, helps with that.

Confused, dear reader? If you’re wondering where this is going you would be right. Some of us do achieve great honours, lasting respect and admiration. Some of us do act as an inspiration to others.

I have noticed a contemporary trend that some mental health advocates, researchers and others have of naming famous people (mainly men) who have or had Bi Polar Disorder. Amongst them, Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale,  Friedrich Nietzsche ….. I would really like to see Beethoven’s medical records, talk to his psychiatrist. Time and time again it is not medical ‘experts’ who are making these post mortem psychiatric judgements, but historians. I’m looking forward to reading Dr Sigmund Freud’s work on the Hundred Years War …..

O.K., now I have got that off my chest, I have to concede that there is a formidable list of folks who have seen a head – shrinker and received a career – enhancing diagnosis. And that just adds to my sorry realisation that the nearest I am going to get to leading the peloton, with the yellow jersey on my shoulders, past the memorial to Tom Simpson on that moonscape mountain on which he died, is crunching the gears on the hill – the hill!!! – upon which I live.

We are not all brilliant. We are not all talented, we are not all full of potential, on the cusp of world – wide recognition. And our dreams of greatness, of messiah – like powers, crumble away with the first thinning of the mists in the Alps, the Pyrenees. And then the rapid descent, our hopes aerodynamic, all the way past the excitable crowds, who know nothing of the wind chilling the sweat on our chests.

I return from my mountain – top finish on the mighty Galabier – and turn in to my street. I free wheel to a stop. I fiddle about with my keys. I open the garage door, and restore my bike to its rightful place among the assortment of cycling odds and ends and random pieces of long – unused furniture. Then I open my front door, enter, and I go and do a wee.

Did I mention that I have won the Nobel Prize in Literature every year since, since, well …. forever?

 

Kubla Khan

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.

 

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

 

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

 

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

 

Through caverns measureless to man

 

Down to a sunless sea.

 

So twice five miles of fertile ground

 

With walls and towers were girdled round;

 

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

 

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

 

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

 

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery

 

 

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

 

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

 

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

 

As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted

 

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

 

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

 

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

 

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

 

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

 

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

 

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:

 

And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

 

It flung up momently the sacred river.

 

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

 

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

 

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

 

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;

 

And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

 

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

 

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

 

Floated midway on the waves;

 

Where was heard the mingled measure

 

From the fountain and the caves.

 

It was a miracle of rare device,

 

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

 

 

A damsel with a dulcimer

 

In a vision once I saw:

 

It was an Abyssinian maid

 

And on her dulcimer she played,

 

Singing of Mount Abora.

 

 

Could I revive within me

 

Her symphony and song,

 

To such a deep delight ’twould win me,

 

That with music loud and long,

 

I would build that dome in air,

 

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

 

And all who heard should see them there,

 

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

 

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

 

Weave a circle round him thrice,

 

And close your eyes with holy dread

 

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

 

And drunk the milk of Paradise

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)

 

 

 


This Brilliance is not Mine

 

Show me an out-in-the-sunshine cyclist who dares to ride in lycra who has not fantasised about winning mountain stages in the Grand Tours, or charging over the line first in the sprint finish on the Champs Elysee. Well, O.K. there must be lots of them. Show me an amateur club cyclist rising along the banks of a windswept velodrome who has not dreamt of glory over 1km.

I can show you a cyclist who whose weight approaches that of his steel – frame tourer and who rides a staggering 3 miles to the station and back 3 mornings a week. I can show you a cyclist who is so anxious about the prospect that he will get a puncture on a ride home from the shops, that he doesn’t take a puncture repair kit with him for fear that he would struggle – and fail – to mend it on the pavement in front of all those passing folk on the high street, bike mechanics every last one …..

These dreams of glory are never far away. The fact that I live half way up the fearsome, iconic Tour de France climb, the Mont Ventoux, helps with that.

Confused, dear reader? If you’re wondering where this is going you would be right. Some of us do achieve great honours, lasting respect and admiration. Some of us do act as an inspiration to others.

I have noticed a contemporary trend that some mental health advocates, researchers and others have of naming famous people (mainly men) who have or had Bi Polar Disorder. Amongst them, Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale,  Friedrich Nietzsche ….. I would really like to see Beethoven’s medical records, talk to his psychiatrist. Time and time again it is not medical ‘experts’ who are making these post mortem psychiatric judgements, but historians. I’m looking forward to reading Dr Sigmund Freud’s work on the Hundred Years War …..

O.K., now I have got that off my chest, I have to concede that there is a formidable list of folks who have seen a head – shrinker and received a career – enhancing diagnosis. And that just adds to my sorry realisation that the nearest I am going to get to leading the peloton, with the yellow jersey on my shoulders, past the memorial to Tom Simpson on that moonscape mountain on which he died, is crunching the gears on the hill – the hill!!! – upon which I live.

We are not all brilliant. We are not all talented, we are not all full of potential, on the cusp of world – wide recognition. And our dreams of greatness, of messiah – like powers, crumble away with the first thinning of the mists in the Alps, the Pyrenees. And then the rapid descent, our hopes aerodynamic, all the way past the excitable crowds, who know nothing of the wind chilling the sweat on our chests.

I return from my mountain – top finish on the mighty Galabier – and turn in to my street. I free wheel to a stop. I fiddle about with my keys. I open the garage door, and restore my bike to its rightful place among the assortment of cycling odds and ends and random pieces of long – unused furniture. Then I open my front door, enter, and I go and do a wee.

Did I mention that I have won the Nobel Prize in Literature every year since, since, well …. forever?

 

Kubla Khan

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.

 

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

 

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

 

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

 

Through caverns measureless to man

 

Down to a sunless sea.

 

So twice five miles of fertile ground

 

With walls and towers were girdled round;

 

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

 

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

 

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

 

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery

 

 

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

 

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

 

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

 

As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted

 

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

 

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

 

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

 

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

 

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

 

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

 

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:

 

And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

 

It flung up momently the sacred river.

 

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

 

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

 

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

 

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;

 

And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

 

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

 

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

 

Floated midway on the waves;

 

Where was heard the mingled measure

 

From the fountain and the caves.

 

It was a miracle of rare device,

 

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

 

 

A damsel with a dulcimer

 

In a vision once I saw:

 

It was an Abyssinian maid

 

And on her dulcimer she played,

 

Singing of Mount Abora.

 

 

Could I revive within me

 

Her symphony and song,

 

To such a deep delight ’twould win me,

 

That with music loud and long,

 

I would build that dome in air,

 

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

 

And all who heard should see them there,

 

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

 

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

 

Weave a circle round him thrice,

 

And close your eyes with holy dread

 

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

 

And drunk the milk of Paradise

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)

 

 

 


jay-z and danger mouse

Loneliness of the Long Story Writer

The St Pancras clock is a tickin' ...

The St Pancras clock is a tickin’ …

“Delay is natural to a writer. I walk around, straightening pictures on the wall … ” – EB White

Warnings for: whinging, diversions, badgers, and Sherlockianism.

Also, a tune by Chicago

Time has been on my mind – if not my side – a lot, of late. This is partly due to the moving of the office clock. Which has not, of course, stopped us all from looking where the clock was.

What creatures of habit we humans are! Writers, I suspect, ever so much more so.

But what about the writers’ characters? Yes, I have mental health problems, but I don’t think talking about characters having “habits” is a sign that I need to stop typing, and ring the Crisis Team.

Ask any writer about their characters, and unless they’re from the Intensive Planning School (1), I suspect there’s good odds that, given time and perhaps wine (2), they’ll say something like:

“What a stubborn bloke Sherl is! I’m trying to get him to move the story along, but will he? No, he just wants to sit there, and work on that flippin’ monograph about the 17 different type of baked beans on sale in the SW11 area of London.

“As for his mate Boswell the badger, he’s gone off to work, hasn’t he? Gone and left me with Doctor Daisy LeStrade supping tea with some chap who hasn’t even told me his bloody name yet!”

You may call it eccentricity. I call it rude.

The most famous address?

The most famous address?

Of course, writing this means not writing “Sherlock Jones and the Hound of the Basingstokes”, the short story that’s currently driving me round the twist. I say “short”, but it isn’t. It’s quite likely to weigh in at around 10k, if the previous so-called “short”, “The St Jude Care Home for Mythical Creatures” is anything to go by.

Perhaps I should consult a detective, and have my characters followed?

Perhaps I should consult a detective, and have my characters followed?

“Why not put out a collection of five humorous mystery stories, featuring your usual collection of weird characters: animal, vegetable (3), and human?”

Yeah, right. Did anyone ask the characters if this was a good idea? Or warn me that I’d end up wanting to do a Wolfie Smith on some fictional people, and badgers?

Why keep going? Is it because it would be too time consuming to remove all mention of “Koi Carpe Diem”from this blog? Because I’m one of those saddos who laughs at their own jokes? (4)

Or because I adore this lovely artwork by the fantastic Tom Brown?

Due out as soon as I can get my characters to cooperate

Due out as soon as I can get my characters to cooperate

Please excuse me: I have several distant relations of Sherlock Holmes, not to mention a fictitious badger, to line up against a wall.

Bop bop bop

Do you have a moment, Holmes?

Do you have a moment, Holmes?

(1) As opposed to the Flying by the Seat of Their Pants School of Writing
(2) Or tea, chocolate, a nice biscuit, a sandwich, etc.
(3) For “vegetable” read “trees”
(4) Not for long, though, if you’re reading a section out at a group, and you notice several tumbleweeds passing by.

This Is The Life!

Day Six of the Geodon experiment: so far, so good! My brain has not missed the 20 mg to date, and I’m feeling hopeful. One baby step at a time.

Which brings to mind the fact that I’ve been in remission for five months now, with a couple of very minor hiccups when the cherry blossoms first made their appearance back in late February. It’s been even better since my Social Security benefits began, but overall, this is the longest I’ve been stable in years. Hard to believe that only seven months ago I was suicidal and had to be hospitalized for my own safety.

So I got to thinking, maybe I really should take on some responsibilities now that I’m so much better. I talked about this in a recent post. But then several people pointed out that I’m better BECAUSE of my low-stress lifestyle, and that I might get overwhelmed again if I tried to take on too much at one time (as I am apt to do when my energy levels are higher, like they are now).

Damn.

They’re right.

Maybe that’s why my heart beats faster and I get an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I think of taking a part-time job or getting involved with anything else that requires me to conform to a schedule not of my own choosing. I’m well now, but what about when I’m UNwell? I can’t just fake my way through episodes anymore; that’s one of the reasons I’m on disability in the first place, and why my last two major jobs went pffffffth. I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could simply ignore my bipolar and power through stressful situations without any consequences to my mental health.

Besides…..this is not a bad life. In fact, it’s a good one and I’d be crazy to want to screw it up. I can do what I want, when I want; I can take a nap when I feel like it; I can write whenever the mood strikes me. I don’t have to go out in bad weather. I don’t have to dress up, or even get dressed at all if I don’t want to (but I make myself because I don’t want to slide back into the habit of living in my pajamas). I have time to share the wisdom gained from 17 years of nursing with my colleagues on the world’s largest website for nurses. And I can see my family whenever their schedules are free because mine is ALWAYS free. I’m only limited by distance and gas money (or the lack thereof).

So I’m making a deal with myself. I will continue to be open-minded about opportunities to volunteer or do something fun that doesn’t require a commitment, and I will not beat myself up because I haven’t figured out what that is yet. I’ve been through a lot in the past couple of years and need time to fully recuperate if I can before the next series of unfortunate events arrives. (And they will come—I’m half Irish and we tend to be leery of good times because bad ones inevitably seem to follow them. Kind of like mania and depression.)

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this relative lack of stress and see where the wind takes me next. Summer weather is here, and the air already smells of newly-mown grass and barbecued meats. This is the life!