Daily Archives: July 24, 2015

Call Me Crazy, But…

smoking-gunNot again.

Another movie theater.  Another slaughter.  Another deranged man with a gun.  Another gun that never should have found its way into that man’s hands.

At the same time, Iowa’s governor is trying to close down the last two mental health hospitals in the state.  Plus, Iowa’s psychiatrists receive the 4th lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the nation.  In 2011, we ranked 47th in the nation for the number of psychiatrists per capita, and the exodus is ongoing (who could blame them?).

No psych docs.  No hospitals.

And no gun control.

So, why aren’t mass murders happening in my cineplex?

Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, said in a 2014 interview that a history of violent or assaultive behavior is a better indicator of future violence than any mental illness diagnosis.  Substance abuse is also a strong indicator of violent behavior.  Mental illness is a risk factor for suicide, he said, not for homicide.

People with severe mental illness are more likely to be victims, rather than perpetrators, of violent crime.

Do we know yet if drugs or alcohol were involved in the Louisiana case?  No mention one way or the other, but we know he had a history of violence.  And we sure do know he was bipolar.  The media latched onto that buzzword immediately.

It seems clear to me—people who are drunk, high, or beat their wives should never be allowed to buy a gun.  People who have a history of hurting other people or themselves should never be allowed to buy a gun.  Period.  I would be included in that group because I tried to kill myself once.  Call me crazy, but I don’t think I should have a gun either, because I’d hurt myself before I’d open fire at the next Marvel movie.

Still, the debate about rights and mental illness keeps us from actually doing something about the guns.  Diversion tactics.  When will we stop talking around the problem?  When?


The Normal Bipolar

normal

So I have been sitting around (literally) trying to figure out if I am back to “normal”. Before you rush in and tell me there is no such thing as “normal”, give me a chance here.

I want to sort of compare life before and after this last depression/ breakdown. How was I before and how am I now?

I tried to figure out what normal meant. There are some crazy, abnormal people walking around out there who do not have mental illness. You know, the co-worker who takes your stapler and does not bring it back? That guy.

When you’ve had as much therapy as I have, you start to recognize somewhat normal vs. needs to get into therapy NOW. I feel much healthier mentally than many of the people I meet. You may know the feeling. But I’ve got to compare myself to something…and I guess I’ll have to guess what is the average way non-bipolar people handle life.

I can’t hold a job. This to me is not normal. Most people my age are working or are choosing not to work for some reason. (As an aside, school is starting up around here soon. I’ll pop up an archived post about my missing school. It’s kind of sad.) I know I could organize a classroom and get ready for the kids. I could do a lot of the paperwork without trouble. I could show up, although I wouldn’t be the one with the most make-up on. But I could not stay all day. I’d get pretty tired after just a couple of hours on my feet. If another adult said something unkind to me, I might cry. Not a good behavior for a teacher.

I don’t think I can even do volunteer work. Driving to church or the food bank on a regular schedule seems overwhelming. And something inside me doesn’t WANT to volunteer. Isn’t that selfish? I’m glad to bring in canned goods or give money, but don’t want to give of myself. I’m just not ready to work for free.

I went through a lot of training to be a speaker for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness). I don’t like to do that. I get a bit panicked over how I am viewed after I give my talk. And I have to dress up and put the dreaded make-up on. (Not to mention shower!) If it seems like I am fixated on make-up, I am right now. My daughter told me I need to be wearing some…not a lot…but some as part of my recovery. And she is right, I do look better with some on.

I look pretty normal. If you don’t count me being overweight, I blend in perfectly in a crowd. And hey, I am losing weight. Eight pounds now.

So back to my abnormalities.

I can’t handle jury duty. I had my doctor write an excuse for me. I thought I might cry, or get in a panic situation. I just couldn’t sit all day or sit on a jury. I’ve done it before and know what it takes.

I have trouble driving. That’s not normal for my age. I’m okay once I get in the car, but I still prefer to be driven everywhere. I haven’t tried the freeway yet, and have just stayed around about a five mile radius of the house. The good news is this is getting better. I can go a little further each time. Today I drove to lunch and back.

I am super physically dependent on my meds. I get ill (sweating, headache, loopy feeling) if I miss them or I am late. Yesterday, I forgot them until noon and my whole day was off. My night meds are what get me to sleep. If I’m having a tough day, I have a Klonopin. Usually it helps.

I struggle with shaking hands. Filling out a form, signing a check, or holding a teacup is near impossible. Normal people can fill out the form at the doctor’s office.

When my day is planned, I plan two things out of the house. That’s all I can do. Stringing three things together is too much.

My free time is on the couch or in bed. Aren’t “normal” people up and moving around the house doing things?

A few years ago I hopped a plane (okay, I was manic) and flew across the country alone to see a singer’s concert I liked. No way would I travel alone now.

I do the basics of self-care. I don’t use fancy lotions or do some sort of face routine for wrinkles. I clean myself and wash my hair and comb it and it’s what you get. I am doing a little make-up so that’s a good sign.

Sitting in an academic class is beyond me. I am interested to see if I can sit in this quilting class I am starting.

Life is hard in grocery stores. I send my husband. I shop online for clothes and avoid Costco. I used to love it. Crowds get me now.

I constantly relive the “bad” things I have done while manic. Some people don’t let me forget. If I throw out my mania, I’ve been a pretty good person.

I wake up at 2 or 3 and ruminate on life.

My conclusion is that normal is still far beyond me. I think I am still fighting a bit of depression.

On the positive side, I went to a crafts store today. I bought needles for my sewing machine, thread, a pair of left-handed scissors, and a little fabric to practice on. I’m going to give the quilting a try.

You guys are the best…may your day be normal.

Opportunity Knocks?

Old Door Knocker on Wood Door

Yesterday I was volunteering at my local mental health nonprofit, which shall remain unnamed for now (okay, it was NAMI Orange County). I learned that one of their staff members recently gave their resignation. When they do list the position to be filled, I very well may apply for it.

No doubt many others will apply as well. Many with recent nonprofit administrative experience. Others who are very involved with NAMI OC as volunteers. The competition will be fierce.

Yet, it intrigues me. My local NAMI knows me. They know that I have bipolar disorder. They know some of my skills. I like the office staff. We get along. Who knows? Maybe it will be a good fit for me.

Back in February 2014, I had considered returning to the workplace through the Social Security Ticket to Work program and was helped by YourEmploymentNetwork.com. Today I reestablished contact online, but I’m only interested in this one job. I do not know how that focus will work in terms of using Ticket to Work. I shall find out in due time.

If I do not get the job, then so be it. I just don’t want to throw myself into the job market whole hog. I want to wait for and apply only for those jobs that align with my passion for mental health advocacy.

Maybe reentering the workforce will even be good for my son. It is about time that he was more independent of me. The kid is 15, after all. He should be able to ride a bike to and from school, even if we live up a ridiculously steep hill where the alternative is to ride in the bike lane along a six – yes, SIX – lane thoroughfare with a 50 mph speed limit. We are even willing to purchase duplicate textbooks for him, though I should have had that included as part of his 504 accommodations.


Filed under: About Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder, Disability, Mental Health Advocacy, Mental Illness, NAMI, Parenting, Recovery, Vocation, Volunteering Tagged: 504 accommodations, NAMI OC, Social Security Disability Income, Ticket to Work

My Voice!

All I have is my voice
Don’t try to silence me
I have no mansions
I have no jewels from the bowels of the earth
I have no fame
But I have my voice
I was not allowed one as a child
Awful abuse left me mute
Don’t say anything, she’ll kill you
Not taken seriously, never heard, may as well have sewn my lips together
Now I am grown
And it has taken me a lifetime to find it
But I have my voice
Theatre has shown me I have a voice, even though the words are not mine, the voice is
I will use it to shout about what is important to me in my own words
Mental illness, the insanity in violence and terrorism, the oppression of whole groups of people, the wrongs I perceive in this human society
Don’t tell me to be quiet, don’t tell me to shut up
You can turn away from me, that is your prerogative
But do not silence me
I will not be quiet, I will keep on talking, writing, even singing about issues that are important to me
I am powerful, I have a powerful voice, I will use it to bring attention to wrongs that need to be righted
I have a voice, I have the right!


Theater Gunman’s Family Called Him Mentally Ill, Violent

Another tragedy! UNTREATED mental illness, violent tendencies, easy gun availability.

So what are we calling this? Homeland terrorism or insanity?

Treatment is the key for us, people with mental illness. If our brains and minds are not working properly due to a mental illness, we are not in control of our actions. Treatment is the key, to our living healthy productive lives. Treatment is the key to not allowing tragedies like this, and about scores of other tragedies like this, and all recently, not allowing them to happen. The family of this man tried to get help for him, but the police will not help in prevention, unless a crime has been committed, there is nothing they can do… the doctors won’t help, it is too difficult to help someone who is non compliant. The sick person themselves cannot help because their mind is not working. So what is the answer? The answer is still TREATMENT, medication, and therapy! The Aurora shooter, with his wild eyes, Schizophrenic, the Sandy Hook shooter, with his wild eyes, Schizophrenic and violent, and this man, mentally ill and violent…

Yes, the stigma is there for a reason, people are afraid of mentally ill people for a reason, because they act without reason. The only good thing about mental illness is TREATMENT of it. When a mentally ill person is on medication, in a normal state of mind, then there is no stigma, no possibility of this kind of thing happening.

I thank goodness for Lithium and Seroquel everyday, even if the side effects cause me some discomfort, it is these miraculous compounds that allow me to be normal and functioning. Thank goodness!

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/07/24/us/ap-us-movie-theater-shooting.html?_r=0


Nothing New

It’s just same old-same old around here at this point.  I still can’t drive so I am pretty much stuck in the house until next Tuesday.  He little one goes to camp tomorrow and we will see how it goes for her.  It’s her first church camp–she’s been to Girl Scout Camp a few times bur it was at a camp very close to home.  This time is her first time really off somewhere without us being very close by/in communication.   So we will see.

I may have FINALLY seemed to stopped bleeding.  I’m going to reserve judgment on that until it continues to be clear for a few more days.  That is very exciting to think about–that I can finally go without wearing pads every day of my life again.  I just wish it hadn’t taken such drastic steps to stop it.  But that’s the way it is.

Mood is pretty good today despite being up some last night.  It was free tea day at McAlister’s Deli and our middle daughter brought us some home for supper.  So we were wide awake come ten-thirty, which is very unusual for us nowadays.  I slept some but not a whole lot.  I” need a nap this afternoon, I think.  But maybe not.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!


The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Real Tweets

  Horseback fun in Alpine Meadows   I’ve been missing reading your blogs in Alpine Meadows, but it’s good to be forced to unplug every now and then. Although there is no Wi-Fi in our cabin, I brought along my MacBook … Continue reading

TPIF: Thank Pegacorns It’s Friday

Great-funny-cat-pic-with-captions-430x450Instant complaint? No. Just love Grumpy Cat. He’s so…me. This one is my favorite, I want this on a shirt and a bumper sticker.

b negativeIronically, my blood type is O positive. And they say there’s nothing positive about me.

R’s friend Mark e-mailed me this one because it reminded him of me. I LOVE it.

starveI know, I know. You’re wondering, “Am I on the wrong blog? She would NEVER start a post with funny cat pictures instead of constant bitching!” Hypomania makes you a little not yourself. To prove it’s still me. Because homicidal kitties are always awesome.

kill youSo, yes, thank pegacorn it’s Friday. Not sure why it matters as I do fuck all on weekends but they’ve become my refuge. Maybe because R never has demands of me on the weekend ‘cos his wife keeps him busy with her bidding. If I can just survive the dish today, I am gonna cash in my pennies at Coinstar and attempt a couple of yard sales tomorrow. Maybe. Goal/reward thing. Depends on if this hypomania thing keeps up.

I did crash hard last night and I’m not talking sleep. Just mood. I took half a melatonin because you can’t suffer a bad depressive bout if you’re asleep. Of course, it took forever to kick in. While I waited I did something I haven’t done in four months. I painted my nails. Fingers and toes. (Did pod people replace me? I know, right?) I got these gold/gemstone flip flops at a yard sale for fifty cents last week (can NEVER find used shoes in my big foot size so it was definite treasure find) so I’ve felt compelled to do something to make my ugly feet less ugly. If people are looking at the sparkling blue toenails, maybe they’ll ignore the barge feet. (And no, I’ve never considered my feet barges, my dad started that whole “joke” when I was a child and kept outgrowing my shoes, thus making me very self conscious about having big feet.)

In another feat of accomplishment..I have named all five kittens. (Pictures to follow once transferred from memory card.) The Siamese-ish one with a tail is Oleander. The Siamese-ish with the bobtail is Arsenic. The yellow tabby is Kimido. The all black one is Dahlia (as in Black Dahlia, of course.) And the black/spotted one that looks like its mama Juju is Zatar. I named it after a bar I used to hang out in while a runaway in Hollywood. That place was awesome, it felt like home.

I am pondering actually wearing a bra today and putting on clothes that aren’t frumpy. Maybe some eyeliner, too. The heat just melts everything down and it seems pointless cos I’m just gonna end up looking like a sweat drench hag anyway.

I am doing my “get me in badass mindspace for the dish” music. Spook is dancing to Marilyn Manson’s “Deep Six” right now. Earlier, it was Eminem. Hate rap, love him.

In a moment from yesterday which I’m not sure was funny or if I feel like an asshole..I turned on the vacuum and Absinthe was so started by the noise, she peed on the floor. I get it. I hate the sound of vacuums. And I am terrified of lawn mowers. Loud noise would make me pee my pants too. Bad enough high pitched noises make me have to pee. No joke. I am sensitive to high notes. Which means when R’s soprano voice starts singing, I cringe and head for the bathroom.

In a note on how baby names have changed over the years (and I admit I pretty much made my kid’s name up, only to find out there’s a girl in England, as well as a street, with the same name). One of her new friends is named Heavenly. Interesting. She goes to school with kids named Prince and Beautiful. I like unique names, fuck the whole “it will traumatize kids later in life.” My mom stuck me with a birth name that, at the time, was fairly uncommon. I never use it outside legal purposes, I’ve been Niki my whole life. Fact,my first and middle names were chosen by mom and her mother, after soap opera characters. Awesome, eh?

The down side to hypomania (and yes, I did take my Lamictal) is I am likely to be a Chatty Kathy all day. And that irritates some people. Oh, well. Their existence irritates me.

Okay, my kid wants her hair braided. It’s weird but I can’t do her hair worth a shit. I used to be the makeover queen when I was younger and damn good at it. Since the Nardil Incident…I’ve lost a lot of abilities I used to have. Shaky hands, blank spot in brain. Not to mention my kid inherited the donor’s thin hair, which is a nightmare to style. Meh.

Time to face the dish. In an hour or so. Then a relatively calm weekend, I hope. Aside from her new friends. Ugh. She’s already been feeding them all our food, which pisses me off to no end. Can barely afford to feed us and she’s passing it out to four other kids. I’ve told her a thousand times, my parents have talked to her…kids.

Just for shits and giggles…A picture of me and Spook last Halloween. I was Lily Munster. Spook went as herself.

ntH62eowqhIsN6hOdhpWPwXJMnV5TbL72XTaqrOIXnAFYma3vLOrvnGAnyZHPOPZS1QRJYD-BicH1pY=w1246-h551I could have smiled but that grumpy glare is my default when facing the dish.


emilie autumn’s manic depression leech

(scheduled post)

I prefer to not have it, and then not be artistic, and probably be a lot happier…I’d still trade it in for anything else but, while it’s here, I’m going to use it for all it’s worth so that I’m not a victim of it.

image

Emily Autumn’s Miss Lucy had some leeches gave rise to a whole jar full of them, representing various mental illnesses and struggles. The Asylum Army duly adopted, tattooed, moulded and stitched the leeches and gave them life. I want to show you the manic depression one, of course, although I reckon most of us would need a jar to collect the applicable (co-morbid, how very apt) leeches from those available. Apparently manic depression’s got character…

Click to view slideshow.

BRB starting a band called the Manic Street Leeches.

image

TW for the lyrics if you’re a child abuse survivor.

Miss Lucy had some leeches

Miss Lucy had some leeches
Her leeches liked to suck
And when they drank up all her blood she didn’t give a…
Funny when the doctors
Had locked her in her cell
Miss Lucy screamed all night that they should go to bloody…
Hello to the surgeon
With scalpel old and blunt
He’ll tie you to the table then he’ll mutilate your…
Come it’s nearly teatime
The lunatics arrive
The keepers bleed them all until there’s no one left a…
Lively little rodents
Are eaten up by cats
We’re subject to experiments like laboratory…
Rats I’ve dropped a teacup
How easily they break
I’m on my hands and knees until I pay for my mis-
Take off all your clothing
We’ve only just begun
We have no anesthesia
It’s eighteen forty
One thing we should tell you
Before you try again
The tests are all invented by a lot of filthy…
Mentally hysteric
She’s failed the exam
Don’t bother telling Lucy for she doesn’t give a…
Damn that nitrous oxide
For when you can’t escape
They say the surgeons oft commit a murder or a…
Razor-blades are rusty
And not a lot of fun
So when they try to amputate your legs you’d better…
Run and fetch the chemist
A patient’s feeling sad
She’s been in chains for ages and she isn’t even…
Madness is a nuisance
And no one is immune
Your sister, mum or daughter may become a raving…
Lunatics are dangerous
And doctors are obeyed
They also go together just like toast and marma-
Ladies are like children
With brains the size of squirrels
Lets give clitoridectomies to all the little…
Girls are helpless trasures
That daddies must protect
So lie upon the table for the doctors to in-
Speculums are super
And stirrups all the rage
So speard a lady’s legs then put her back into her…
Cage of naked crazies
The surgeon’s here to bleed
The doctors all are learned men and some can even…
Reading can be risky
For women on the verge
It only did us worlds of good to poison, leech and…
Purging is a penance
Phlebotomy’s a chore
No need to sterilize the tools we never did be-
Fore the night is over
Before you go to bed
They’ll take a hammer and a nail and jam it in your…
Headstones in the courtyard
And statues in the park
Are not for the insane
Just leave them rotting in the D A are K
Dark, dark, dark, dark, dark

Nothing To Write About

It’s true: I have nothing to write about. I don’t have writer’s block, there just isn’t anything of interest to say. So why am I posting? Because it’s been five days since my last post and I don’t want to lose my readership. (I may bore them to death, however.)

This being a blog about bipolar disorder and how it affects yours truly, it seems hard to talk about all things BP when nothing is happening. And I do mean nothing is happening…I’m as stable as a rock, I have zero symptoms and my meds are the same as they’ve been ever since I got out of the hospital. Oh wait, I did have that slight decrease in Geodon a couple of months ago, but other than a little wonky sleep, I haven’t noticed any changes.

It’s really quiet around here.

And quiet is good in my case. No drama, no wild mood swings, no crisis situations…just day after day of getting up, having breakfast/lunch, hanging out on the computer, chatting with Will, maybe going to the library or the store or to a doctor’s appointment, taking a nap, having dinner, hanging out on the computer some more, watching a movie, going to bed.

Yeah, I know. DULLSVILLE.

Thankfully, we’re moving in a couple of weeks so getting ready for that will take a little preparation, but this one will be a walk in the park compared with what we went through last winter. All we have is one bedroom and a bathroom’s worth of stuff, which we should be able to move in one trip since we have help. It’ll be pizza and beer for everyone who shows up to assist. I just want this to be the LAST move we make for a good long time.

And then I’ve got to find myself something to do, a hobby or something. (NO, it’s not going to be knitting!) I can’t just sit around the house all day watching daytime television {{{shudder}}}. Of course, there will be plenty of blog material drawn from living with two gay men and being around a colorful assortment of other characters; you can’t discount the potential entertainment value there. But as far as writing about bipolar goes, well folks, that well has run dry.

Thank God. :-)