Daily Archives: July 4, 2015

Bore-polar

Woo hoo, I managed to play TWO whole songs before the anxiety kicked in and told me I had to turn it off or my brain would implode in my head. NOT liking this anxiety. Panxiety because my stupid ass half believes the faulty messages being sent. Mental Illness is The Borg, Resistance is futile, and I will slowly be assimilated.

Happy July 4th. Whatever it means. I am pretty sure those who founded our “independence” here in the United States are spinning in their graves since we’ve become so Orwellian and gotten so far away from the fundamentals the country was built upon. (Digression but it would be frigging awesome of MTV did a Celebrity Death Match featuring our found fathers against the current “we must watch your every move to protect your from terrorists” regime.)

Speaking of Moron Television…Boredom set in looking for shit to watch so I thought, meh, in spite of the logo, I’ll watch this series called “Scream”. (FYI, the mask is way scarier now, which is awesome!) The first twenty minutes, I was like, oh wow, MTV didn’t fuck something up for the first time in twenty years. Oh how wrong I was. It devolved into teenage babble and teenage angst and the whole horror thing seemed to vanish. BOOOORING. That and the usage of the word “bro” made me want to vomit razor blades at the actors saying it. I say dude a lot, but seriously…BRO? Ick.

Yesterday I watched the new show Complications. Not awful but my interest started to wane. Today I found “Mr. Robot” and ya know? IT IS AWESOME. I could have girl wet dreams about taking down the 1%, not because I’m an anarchist or cyber terrorist but because…”A government for the people, by the people” has become arcane as a notion. We need a revolution to take down those in power. (OOpsy, am I on a watch list now?) Seriously, if you have a chance, check the show out. What sold me in the synopsis was that the lead character has major social anxiety disorder. YOU MEAN IT’S NOT JUST ME????? Yay. I related.

I slept last night, off and on. Which was fucked up, because I let Spook sleep in my bed and she barely woke, aside from the sleep talking thing. I swear without alcohol to keep me down, my mind doesn’t know how to enter deep sleep. And while there are techincally *options* (sleep meds that result in coma-esque states)…I’d rather be a bad girl and have a drink at night. It doesn’t render me non functional and surprisingly, doesn’t give me massive headachy zombie hangovers. Figures, everything that works is “bad” for me. Yet the socially acceptable cures can ruin my kidneys and make go for a drive while asleep yet not remember a thing are all good.

 

I had a LOT of weird dreams. The one that’s still baffling me is the one where I suddenly developed a fear of heights. I’ve never had that. Oh, I get that exhilarating “should I be scared” thing on roller coasters and ferris wheels, but it’s never been a phobia, just a new high. (Yet malls terrify me, go figure.)

My kid asked me at 9 a.m why I was getting up. Which was funny, considering she’s normally up by 7. Truth was, I had to pee and needed a drink. Once she was up…The chatter began, wakening my anxiety and irritation. She sleeps with me, is with me every waking moment, and this morning she was right at my elbow, complaining about everything, telling me I am stupid (because I told her to quit smelling her shoes and complaining they stink) and just being a jerk. Motherhood is glamorous as fuck.

We did our dish thing ‘cos the cats needed food. That’s enough dish time for me today. Three days of it and I need distance. Isolation. My attitude becomes virulent. I can’t keep up with the breakneck pace others thrive on. I am supposed to feel bad and inferior for this, I suppose, but I know me better than anyone. I know who I have always been, in a depression or not. I should be allowed to draw my line in the sand on what is healthy and what is detrimental. If only the mental health professionals would get on board instead of insisting one size must fit all and if you’re not an extroverted social butterfly, you are somehow defective.

Mind you, I am in no way criticizing those who are social or at least want to be when their disorders aren’t acting up. It simply isn’t who I have ever been (outside manic episodes) and I simply don’t view it as some big disorder.  (On a side note, all my rants about the medications and the side effects THAT I HAVE HAD are not meant in way to detract from those who have had positive results from the same meds.)

Actually followed through on the showering thing last night. Woo hoo, victorious. Yet come this morning, I couldn’t be arsed to do more than spray on deodorant, put on clothes (including underthings) and be done with it. I pondered eyeliner but it just didn’t happen. My kid is clean and dressed and fed, as I am. Miraculous. Oddly, we are both wearing sequined shirts today and yet it wasn’t planned. Hers is blue, mine is black and silver, yet…She has conjoined twinned my brain.

Speaking of my spawn…She was finally introduced to some midwest culture today. She went outdoors, came back in screaming bloody murder. THERE’S A RAT IN THE TRASH!!! She was hyperventilating. I went to check it out. It was just a nasty opossum and it was more scared of me than I was of him. He tipped the trash over and he wouldn’t come out so I got a broken mop and ushered him out. He ran over the yard and vanished. My kid kept screaming and I had to explain the opossum phenomenon we have in the midwest. It was hysterical. Yes, they are nasty critters. But about fifteen years ago, one got into the stairwell of my building and I came home at dark and saw it hiss and bare teeth at me. It was freaky but I INSISTED the landlord use a live trap and set it free rather than kill it. Had it been say, a pedophile, I’d have killed it myself. But a possum? Meh. I’ve known people way scarier and more rabid.

I am TRYING to become more active on line in a social capacity. It’s odd that I even have to try because at one time, back in the MSN chatroom days, it was where I parked and lurked. Now..it’s hard for me to work up the nerve to talk to people, even in an email or comment. (I barely responded to blog comments prior to this year, I was so petrified of people.) I think the biggest problem is, I’m very brusque, outspoken, and inevitably, I am gonna say something to alienate. It’s never intentional, I’m just being myself and being honest, but mine is not a popular world view. So if you try to engage me and I seem reluctant…It’s NOT you, it’s me. I really am that socially inept, no matter how hard I try. I get all weird with people who are religious (because I am not), I constantly walk on eggshells because I swear so much and most consider it offensive…I am a walking ball of insecurity who really doesn’t feel I have the right to truly be who I am when interacting with others. A blog is one thing. One on one…It’s just difficult for me and it’s on no way BUT me.

Borepolar.  Because it’s become so redundant, it is boring. Every day brings a different mind frame. And it’s not because of the mood stabilizer. That is why I don’t go all manic and out of control. This is the depressive aspect of bipolar two. The professionals want to call it borderline, because my swings are so ongoing and short lived, but since I prefer to be alone and don’t fear abandonment…I find flaws in their diagnosis. It’s much more likely I have cyclothymic shifts even if my depressions do last far longer than is normal for that category. Trying to shove us all into some book checklist of what qualifies us to be a disorder is such a disservice.

I have zero plans for today/tonight. The 4th has become a joke for me. Independence and freedom, my ass. Call me a truther, or conspiracy theorist…I’d say you’re in denial. And the fact that following 9/11 close to eighty percent of Americans were willing to sacrifice personal freedoms and privacy to feel safe from “terrorism”…I’m not wrong. The sheeple have spoken and all our rights will be taken away in a manner that no one will realize it until it’s already done. What’s to celebrate about that? This was NOT what our forefathers had in mind and anyone who thinks they did is batshit.

Okay. Off the soap box, prepared for comments about being a moron and stark raving mad. Whatevs. I’m a realist and I truly hope I am dead before they start microchiing us like chattle.

Borepolar gives me too much time to ponder this drivel. Yet anxiety disorder means I can’t keep too busy because it makes me crash and burn.

*cue fireworks*

Happy hellidays.


Not Really Urgent Care

Two summers ago, when I was still very new to the medication that I am still on to this day,...

The post Not Really Urgent Care appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.

the pills are alive with the sound of puking

All you need is a medical dictionary, to lend a sense of gravity to things, amirite? I was contemplating my evening head rushes (med rushes) and thought I’d check on their formal name – orthostatic hypotension. Worst side effect of the orthodizzy hyporushes? Accidental falls.

Now I’m starting posts with digression, what next…

image

Well, this post is another of those that are for me. Just a record of this whole fun process, in case I need to look back. This is my boringpolar, badpolar, bloodypolar, bi-fucking-polar, bitepolar medtime story.

To test some or other theory, I’m taking all my meds in the evening at the moment. Because my brain sees that as a lamotrigine increase, I’m back with that old favourite side effect, acid reflux. It rears its peevish head each time the dose increases and is nasty to get through, but it’s gone within a week. That plus the head rushes turn my evenings into uncomfortable ones at the moment. Lamotrigine isn’t supposed to cause head rushes at all, but it was the only common denominator while I had morning and evening head rushes, and now that the timing has changed, the morning ones have stopped. If I snack on my meds around bedtime, it’s all too revolting to try to sleep. Sunset seems to be the time, so there’s enough time to groan through it while there are distractions around.

Meds cocktail, that’s what they call it… The list of ingredients changes from time to time, but it’s always served shaken, on the rocks. Images online show attractive piles of pills, as cheerful as jellybeans. I keep hoping mine will be that way, but I’m stuck on an endless conveyor belt of boring medication – white, ochre, beige. Fucking beige ffs, as if bipolar depression wasn’t depressing enough. Considering how much the meds cost, you’d think big pharmacy could easily churn out some pretty ones, the way they do for kids. My first psychotropic medication, sugar coated and smiling. Or maybe some black ones with teeny white skulls, so you’d know you were in for some nasty side effects. The put the pall in palliative for sure.

image

Back to sunset, sundowners at sunset (lol). I take my pills and something to wash them down with and my phone in case the sunset is worth photographing, tonight I downed the downers with naartjie juice. How very South African of me. I always swallow the lamotrigine first. I buy 200mg tablets, which is the cheapest option and they’re about as big as my face. They’re the fucking beige ones; of course they are. I break them in half (they’re soft enough not to need cutting) so I have four of those to slurp. I used to be able to take lots at once, but by the end of a month of lithium side effects, my throat rebelled. I get those down and then the two sets aline (ochre), which seems almost pleasant by then, because they’re smaller. The chlorpromazine tabs are small and glossy and white, they’re the bedtime meds, if I remember. The only capsules I have are white too, they’re sulpuride, prn for anxiety.

I gotta get back to taking my whassupplements in the morning (zinc, magnesium, probiotics). I gotta work out how I’m gonna use the probiotic powder once the capsules run out; it’s animal stuff, exactly the same formula as the human one and a fraction of the cost. Cost… I don’t have medical aid. It looks like I might be able to get lamotrigine and chlorpromazine courtesy of the taxpayer, which would be a mission, but very worthwhile. Just under a grand a month (ZAR – around 100 USD) hits me hard.

image

My psychiatrist tells me that I get a lot of the more unusual side effects, she’s written a paper about me. I’m so proud *rolls eyes*. They include horrible breathlessness on seroquel and a loony situation with lithium, where my kidneys coped better than fine all the way to 1000mg and then, while they were still coping beautifully, my stomach fell apart in all directions. I might be going on to a small dose of lithium in future, to combat the cognitive fuckups I’m currently enjoying. Ha fucking ha.

I’m not special, everyone who journeys through bipolar medication, that hellish hamster wheel, goes through horrible stuff. Meds with side effects, meds for the side effects, lucky dip meds that may or may not hit the spot. The meds-go-round, they call it, the search for that magic combination that’ll create the holy grail of stability. The combination that’s almost guaranteed to stop working at some point. I’ve only been doing this for a year – a year is nothing. I wouldn’t be on this trip at all if one simple antidepressant hadn’t hurled me into the worst and longest meltdown I’ve ever experienced. It took a few years after that to get the joyous diagnosis. Thank fuck I have my psychiatrist and bloggers to hold my hand through it all.

Ellen Forney illustrated it perfectly, I’m definitely still at the pain in the ass stage.

image

Ellen Forney, Marbles

Blind regards,
Blahpolar (suffering olympics gold medallist)

3 Quotes 3 Days Challenge…Day 3

art

I think anyone of a creative ilk can relate to that one. Be writing, drawing, painting, creating of any sort…We are our own harshest critics and we can do something a hundred times…Yet never be satisfied.
Choosing which self labeled mistake is truly an ARTFORM.


Don’t give up… ever

I like op-shopping.  There’s nothing like walking into an opportunity shop, with a purse filled with coins, and walking out with some amazing recycled finds.

At the moment, my favourite winter jacket, scarf and leather boots are all from op-shops and cost a total of AUS$18. The boots are a brand I really like and had never been worn, the jacket is a stunning blue wool and just looking at the gorgeous orange striped scarf makes me feel happy.

Me in my op shop jacket

Me rocking my op-shop jacket and scarf!

I’ve written before about how much I love taking something set for the rubbish dump and turning it into something beautiful and useful.  One of my favourite rescued pieces is the white buffet, sitting in my family room.

The last time I was in an op-shop, I came across a pile of old sheet music.  Something about the beautiful old music, printed in the 1920’s and carefully wrapped in brown paper,  caught my eye and I couldn’t leave without buying it.  I had no idea what I would do with it – my piano playing skills are a little too rusty for such complicated pieces – but I knew that I couldn’t leave it behind.

Today I woke up to the sound of rain.  Being Saturday, I was looking forward to spending some time with the kids – and a crafting afternoon sounded just about right.  While the kids made cards for friends, I pulled out some supplies and set about turning the sheet music into something special.

A few hours later, I had turned the unwanted music sheets into a couple of cute heart pictures (see below) and a bunch of unique cards for friends’ birthdays.

Recycled sheet music

A new use for old sheet music

Hanging the pictures on my wall, I was struck again by how something that seemed old and not good for anything but the bin, was – a couple of hours later – something so beautiful.

Sometimes life can leave us feeling so down, that we start thinking we’re no longer of value to society.  I know when I was sitting alone, locked in a psychiatric ward after the birth of my first baby, I started thinking that my life was pretty much over.  The fear and loathing in the eyes of the ward staff affirmed this thought – that I was no longer an educated, articulate young woman respected by those around me… but someone who had to be kept heavily medicated and away from the rest of society.

At that time, I pretty much felt like those sheets of music, once highly-valued but now abandoned and destined for the bin. And yet, looking at the new pictures on my wall – made from the recycled music sheets – I was reminded of my own journey.  Here I am, eight and a half years later, not only living with mental illness, but thriving.

Being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of 18 was a huge blow.  And it’s something that I’ve had to learn to live with over the past 19 years.  But it hasn’t meant the end of life as I knew it.  I have still gone on to become a wife, a mother, an employee and a friend.

Like the sheet music transformed into something very different, my life may not look exactly like it used to – but it is beautiful in an equally special and valuable way.

My prayer is that everyone reading this who is going through hard times, will realise that while your life may not look quite like you had planned, it may well in the end turn out to be even better than you originally hoped.  Don’t ever think that your life is not worth living.  Don’t ever give up.

Mariska xx

Does anyone else love seeing the potential in things?  Got any stories or photos of your favourite op-shop finds?


More Things I Wish People Knew About Bipolar Disorder

1. Not everything has to do with bipolar. We have bad days just like everyone else. We get mad, sad, frustrated, upset, but it doesn’t have to be due to our illness. In fact, it’s kind of patronizing to accuse us of having a mood swing when we’re really just having a crappy time of it. We are allowed normal feelings!

2. We don’t appreciate being asked if we’ve taken our meds. Again, we experience hardships just like everyone else on the planet, and sometimes we react poorly. Who doesn’t? We also have times when we’re happy, even overjoyed, and it doesn’t mean we’re manic or off our meds.  But it seems like some smartass always has to say it: “You’re not acting like yourself. Did you take your meds today?” Seriously, would you ask a diabetic if she took her insulin? A cancer patient if he went to chemo? No? Then why is it OK to say these things to us? We are not irresponsible children, we are adults equipped with the same constellation of emotions everyone else has, only a little more intense at times. Rule of thumb: if it’s not something you’d say in polite company, don’t say it to us.

3. Don’t take it personally. Our illness has nothing to do with you, and neither do our actions when we’re under the influence of a mood episode. I know it’s hard to understand when someone with bipolar is screaming obscenities and saying hurtful things to you, but it’s really not aimed at you in particular. To be honest, we really don’t have a lot of control over ourselves at these times, and while that’s not an excuse for bad behavior, it is a reason. Of course, there are those who are mean and nasty even without bipolar disorder, but the vast majority of us are decent people who occasionally lose our shit, along with our manners. Please forgive us if you can, and remember—it really isn’t you, it’s us.

4. Crazy is not a spectator sport. I think it’s safe to say that most of us don’t want the world to know we’re ill, which is why we so often retreat inside ourselves when we’re depressed. (Mania, of course, is a whole other story.) I for one can function well enough to pass for normal…that is, until I’m so sick that death would be preferable to going on like that. I don’t want people to see the crazy. I don’t want them to know there are days when I don’t even get out of bed, let alone shower and get dressed and go out. I also don’t want anyone to know the black thoughts that come sometimes when I can least afford to let my mind wander down paths best left unexplored.

(And by the way, I’m the only one who gets to call myself crazy. That’s just how it is.)

There’s more, of course, and I’ll probably tackle those in a future installment. Thanks for reading.