Daily Archives: June 23, 2015

Production

lonely woman

So here I am feeling better. I’m not depressed and I am getting out most every day. But I wonder if I am productive.

What on earth do you do with your life when you are 56 and disabled? Do you sort of let life pass you by?

I don’t feel disabled right now. I feel okay. Do I feel like I could get dressed every morning and get to a job? No. Not even part time.

Most of my friends work but that is okay. They still have plenty of time to get together and I am of course very flexible. I have even been able to travel a bit with them.

I’m not quite making all of my goals right now. So it’s not as though I’m doing everything and am still bored. Some things are coming so much easier, like showering and doing my devotional. Other things, like staying on my food plan and exercising are not showing up on the map.

Yep, I am a little bored with life. This is sort of sad, because I think this is all there is. I don’t want or need any big crisis to take my attention. I just want a spark. Some reason to be excited.

I need to be driving more. If I were I could go see some friends in a nearby town without my husband. There’s no reason for me not to drive. It’s just that my husband drove me around when I was sick and he hasn’t stopped. I think he still feels safer if he drives. And I really hate parking my Tahoe. Does anyone else “pull through” when they are parking so they don’t have to back up?

I don’t want to volunteer to do anything. I don’t feel like being tied down to a time to do something. I like donating food and things to the food bank, but don’t want to work there. I feel like my time is valuable and I should somehow be getting paid. (This is no offense to volunteers…I admire them.) But when you are on disability (private), working is a big no-no. So any activity I do would have to be volunteer.

My meds make me a little wonky. They are serious meds and affect a lot of my life. The other night, I forgot to take my night meds. I fell asleep just fine but woke up with a mild headache. This progressed to the mother of all migraines. If I miss my daytime meds, I start getting dizzy, having heart palpitations, and sort of leaning to one side. This is after missing ONE dose.

Don’t I sound like a whiny loser? I do to me. I have so much to be thankful for but I still feel lonely and sad. It’s crazy, because I have good “real” friends and good “cyber” friends. I have some friendly relatives. I have friendly kids and a nice husband. Feeling lonely should not be an option.

My 27 year old daughter, Rachel, and I are going away for the weekend. I’m looking forward to it. We’re going to do some funny stuff. We are getting facials and going on a ghost tour. We are also (the next day) going on a FIVE hour jeep ride to check the area out. (I bet my bottom will be sore!) So you can see I have something to look forward to.

I think I am just in that “blah” range of emotions. The not happy, and not sad thing.

I sure get tired. I can go for about a half a day and then I need to lie down. I guess it’s not really realistic to commit to any regular thing. Just going to church is not as consistent as it could be. I think I need to get my ass in gear and get some of my current stuff done. Then I could righteously complain about being bored.

Hey. My closet is clean. My pantry is beautiful. My nightstand looks great…no clutter. (We won’t talk about the table in front of my couch.)

I’m still listening to that “how to be happy” book on my phone. I haven’t been meditating for ten minutes a day. I think I’ll save that for next month.

I wish I wasn’t sick. I wish I wasn’t bipolar. I’d like to be a plain person. Just plain.

Post-vacation

Had a good session with my counselor today.  Talked about our vacation and how that went–it was relatively stress free and how that was a good thing.  Vacations in the past have often put me in mild depressive states because the preparation all fell on me and I was responsible for so much.  But now the kids are old enough to manage so many things for themselves so preparation and traveling are not nearly as stressful for me as they have been in the past.

We went over my concerns about being in the MFA program–the initial euphoria has worn off and I’m starting to try to look at it realistically.  We talked about the time I’d be spending on campus, the expectations of the program, the need to file papers with the disability office, etc.  I still feel confident that I’m doing the right thing for myself; I’m just starting to realize how much the program is going to demand from me in a  way I haven’t experienced in a long time.  I’m glad I gave up teaching to do it because I think it’s going to take up a lot of my time.  Which is only right.  If you want the degree and all that goes with it, you have to put in the work.


It goes on..

The CBT continues, fortnightly now rather than weekly. I know the theory well and can anticipate the answers my therapist requires. This whole theory works on anxiety generally, I can see that. What it isn’t working on is everything related to bipolar.

I can only, consciously, attempt to affect those moods that are triggered by actions. Those moments I am aware of. In the moment of.

But bipolar doesn’t work like that; there are no warnings of hypomania, no consciousness when in the state itself. Then, I’m unaware of what I think, say, do. How I act, often. I only know of those times in hindsight, when I get to reflect and to mop up. Metaphorically speaking.

My therapist wants me to ‘notice’ when I become hypomanic. I can’t. Often I’ll know I’m high rather than low. But this is when transitioning from my default position (I’m loathed to call it ‘normal’) towards hypomania or depression. I could attempt to change the moods within that transitioning, but once I’ve crossed the line, I’m out of it. Not me anymore.

And not me anymore is where it gets interesting. And dangerous. And scary. Where that other – those other – personalities come out to play. And they’re not nice. It takes every ounce of effort (subconsciously – I have an effective Super Ego that does its job properly) to remain myself, to stay in the light.

He wants me to access that dark character – those dark characters – who’s part of me. He says let him (?) out, see what happens. That’s not going to happen; I’m never going to let it happen. I might lose Consciousness. Control. It takes great effort to hang on. To hang in there. A couple of weeks ago, walking near the curb with a lorry approaching at speed, I all but stepped out into the road. Because I was hypomanic and it seemed the right thing to do at the time. Because that’s what one does in a good mood, isn’t it? Hell, yeah!

And that’s without accessing the dark side(s) of me.

Therapists, eh?


Dyslexia and Exams; the unfairness of it all.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but rearing young children is a doddle compared to trying to help young adults navigate their way through school, to college, to their first job, through peer pressure and all the angst that … Continue reading

‘It’s my bipolar’ – ‘No, it’s not’….!

I have spent 21 years of my 47 years on this planet living with the label of being bipolar. My life has been seen through the veil, the threat, the symptoms of bipolar. My moods have been described and dismissed … Continue reading

Mental Flu

Words cannot begin to describe the horror I am feeling today at my own state. Yesterday was bad enough. I let my kid go out in public with her shirt on inside out and shoes on the wrong feet. I’m in such a freaking haze, I didn’t notice, I just wanted the dish responsibilities over. It’s not that I’m an uncaring neglectful mother. Jebus, I did better than this when I was in the 8 month depression for hell. I’m getting worse instead of better and I see him tomorrow but he is so hooked on this Lamictal bad-Trilepal god thing, as well as downplaying any side effects or withdrawal. I feel…hopeless.

Took my kid to the doctor today, in spite of a massive migraine I’ve been fighting for over 12 hours. I rarely get headaches. Since Trileptal I get them frequently. A side effect the manufacturer acknowledges but my doctor will dismiss. Being out in the sunlight, under fluorescent lights just made me want to gouge my eyeballs out. It fucking hurts and no one will listen to me, the doctors think it’s some affectation.

Her dr office gave me a bunch of papers to fill out, wanting me to have her take quizzes and draw pictures and test her on words and shapes and shit. At 8 in the morning, you’re lucky I am wearing pants. I filled it in half assed. Then we went in. And as my kid was getting undressed to put on the gown…I noticed her socks didn’t match and were stained, one was inside out. Her dress was baggy and showed side boob. She wore baggy brown pants under it. Then came the underwear from two years ago I thought I’d pitched cos they had stains but she kept them cos they had kitties on them…And in spite of a shower last night, her feet were dirty and her toenails needed cleaned and trimmed…All I could think is, they’re gonna take her away from me, I am not well. I’m haphazard sometimes but this is ridiculous.

On the way out…I had a completely blank moment of panic where I forgot where I parked and I was so utterly confused, I was scared. Spook told me where the car was. I was terrified. What the fuck is that? It wasn’t happening two months ago. This wasn’t the normal confusion of “forgetting”. This was complete blank out.

Between all that, I came straight home. And realized, in another panic, I lost my phone. It’s still out there, somehow fell out of my purse. So there’s another six mile trip I gotta make with the sun scorching my eyeballs out. And R requested my presence, no doubt because he wants that FedEx thing printed out. I’m not seeing it happen any time soon. I am not in good shape. Had a hell of a time getting to sleep last night. Wake up. Dreams. My kid waking up and getting in my bed.(Which I mentioned to the doctor, and she said, “give her some more time.” IT’S BEEN TWO FUCKING YEARS OF HER SLEEPING IN MY BED 7 NIGHTS A WEEK AFTER BEING ATTACHED TO MY ELBOW 15 HOURS A DAY!)

I’m a mess. I’ve been a mess. When I see him, though, my panic kicks in and he thinks it’s some sort of hyperactivity/hypomania thing so he’s not seeing me when I’m listless and baffled and everything sounds hateful and grumpy. It sucks. And I don’t know what to do about it. I had hope for this doctor but it was apparently misplaced. Best I can do is go in tomorrow and plead my case.

This is…It’s like having the flu and everything aches and everything is off and you’re sluggish and waiting for it to pass yet it’s not going anywhere…Yet everyone is expecting you to be at your best anyway and not cutting you any slack. Is it any wonder my headache isn’t going away and my pretzel gut is a constant companion? I don’t have all the answers, but I think getting rid of the Trileptal and increasing the Xanax temporarily would be a place to start.

I’m tired of being in this mental space. So tired. Life is passing me by and  I want to care and yet it’s not there. Just layers of haze and gauze and apathy and…hopelessness. That’s the worst enemy you can have.

I do not like my dark place alone.


Three Things I Wish People Knew About Bipolar Disorder

Even though I’m doing well and have absolutely NO symptoms, I thought I’d throw in something educational for the folks with good intentions but who are clueless as to what those of us with bipolar go through. Here are a few of the things I wish people knew about the illness.

1. We didn’t ask for this.

And who ever would? This disorder isn’t glamorous or sexy; it’s ugly and cruel and nasty, and no one on earth would choose to be discriminated against because of it. Yes, it has its “fun” times when everything seems possible and the world is our oyster, but those are far outnumbered by the soul-killing depressions and the irritable manias. There is nothing quite like locking yourself in your own bathroom for three hours, terrified that you’ll harm yourself because you know where the gun is and where the pills are. Does that sound like something a person would choose?

2. With few exceptions, we are more of a danger to ourselves than others. I hate it when there’s a mass killing someplace and automatically the media presumes that the offender was mentally ill. How many times have we heard “he was bipolar/depressed/schizophrenic and off his meds”? Why does it never occur to them that MI isn’t always present in these cases? Sometimes people commit evil acts just because they felt like it. But according to political correctness, we can’t go around making value judgments and calling people evil, So we call them mentally ill.instead.

And the one that gets me the worst:

3. If we could just “snap out of it”, believe me, we would.

Again, who would choose to be so depressed that life has become a burden and ending it all looks like a much better alternative? Being exhorted to “snap out of it” or “count your blessings” does absolutely NOTHING for the sufferer; in fact, it’s apt to make things even worse. Guilt is not a good motivator!

Imagine having a broken arm and being told “Everybody’s broken their arm at least once, just buck up and play through the hurt”.

Imagine having cancer and hearing “This is nothing, you should see my cousin from New York who has stage IV throat cancer and he’s still alive and working at his mechanic’s job”.

Imagine having pneumonia and your best friend says “Oh for Pete’s sake, you are such a whiner! Get out of that bed, take a shower and be a decent human being!”

I really wish mental illness were seen as a medical condition; number one because it IS, and number two because there is nowhere near the amount of stigma and judgment surrounding physical illnesses. Why is it so hard to understand that MI is a brain disorder?  It is no more and no less than a disease of the body’s most important organ, which makes it a medical problem no matter how you slice it. Unfortunately, even most doctors and scientists fail to see it that way, and until they do there is little hope that society will catch on anytime soon.

Anyway, that’s the lesson for the day. I’m sure I’ll come up with more things I wish people knew about bipolar disorder—or any mental illness for that matter—but for the rest of today I’ll enjoy the great weather and the company of my husband. After all, Summer Is here!


Mental Health Recovery Isn’t Always Daisies, Puppies, and Rainbows (And that’s OK)

Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA:

This is one of the best articles on recovery in mental illness that I have ever read. Scratch that: THE best. Way to go, Sam!

Originally posted on Let's Queer Things Up!:

marypoppinsA lot of folks are surprised when I tell them that, despite having a great combination of meds and coping skills, bipolar recovery, for me, does not look like complete and total stability.

I still have ups and downs, and sometimes those mood swings are more intense than you’d expect for someone who calls this phase of their disorder “remission.” I wallow, and I cry, and sometimes it takes a minute before I’m back on my feet.

I say this because I want people to understand something: There’s this idea that mental health recovery is supposed to be some kind of fantastic, magical place where we never experience a negative emotion ever again. But it’s a myth, and a lousy myth at that.

I will probably always feel more intensely than neurotypical folks do. I will have some inexplicable sadness from time to time. I might find myself anxious about…

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