Daily Archives: August 9, 2015

Manicky state

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In the best of times, I am an intense person. But when I become manicky, my emotions, reactions, speech, intensity, and volume go up, way up. When I’m angry, I’m furious. When I’m happy, I’m overly joyous. When I argue, I do it at full volume, and will not really listen to an opposing viewpoint. I’m aggressive, I’ll say things plainly, to the point of rudeness, without really meaning to be rude in the least bit. I become extremely sensitive, I might think someone is attacking me (in words) and attack them (with words) in returns. If I think about being with a person who is like the one I just described above, it sounds like a nightmare. Anger, aggression, “attacking” people, arguments, all in a loud voice. Ugh, I think you might find that as the definition of the “psycho bitch from hell” entry in the Mirriam Webster edition of the dictionary! I wonder if all the poor psycho bitches from hell have bipolar disorder?

But the crazy thing is that after this manicky behavior manifests itself, I realize what has happened and I am full of regret, but by that time, my friends and family have already been exposed to this unpleasant behavior. Too late to do anything except apologize :-(

How can I realize that this is about to happen and head it off at the pass? If I could do that, I would consider myself almost cured! I have been on higher doses of Lithium and have been stable for a while, with some minor ups and downs. But major stress in my life will push me into a manic or depressive phase. And by the time I realize it’s happening, I have been somewhat extreme in my behavior.

I’m trying, I’m really trying. I don’t want to upset my dear friends and family, I don’t want to impose on them with my “insanity.” I want them to know how much I appreciate them and how much I wish for good things in their lives. I want them to know I am there to help them through thick or thin. Not the negative things that happen because of my illness and are not coming from my true self, My true self is positive, supportive and loving. Really it is. And I wish the banshee in me would fall asleep forever and never resurface.

To all my friends and family, with love, hugs and peace.

Please dear friends and family, the loud woman is not me

The angry woman is not me

I am peaceful, loving, positive

My true self, my true heart wishes only love and happiness for you

The anger and loudness come from illness

An illness that tests me daily

But an illness that I will conquer for the sake of all my loving and beloved friends and family!


The Uselessness Of Mindfulness

Originally posted on Take a Ride on My Mood Swing:
The mixed messages that life sends is enough to make me drink bleach. “You’re the only one putting pressure on yourself, it’s all in your own head.” Talk to others…“You need to suck it up, life is hard, no one else gets to sit on…

I Can’t Forgive Those Who Abandoned Me During 7 Hospitalizations

  TW/Trigger Warning: brief mention of suicide Today’s post consists of my non-politically correct, extremely angry feelings which were stirred up last night. That’s when, sweaty from a 45-minute-long elliptical workout, I found out a family friend is being hospitalized … Continue reading

Sorry my friends, I know it’s time to increase the Lithium

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The stress of seeing my aunt so frail and ill, stress in general, has me visiting the land of manic behavior again. My emotions are exaggerated, intense. My voice volume has risen several decibels. People are actually leery of me as I must seem like a crazy woman on the warpath. I might have terrorized one of my sweetest friends and my friend Madiha, who is actually a psychiatrist, was having a difficult time “conversating” with me as my intensity level was off the charts.

I’m sorry my friends, I don’t mean to terrorize you, sadly sometimes I simply cannot help it. I value everyone of your friendship. I know you’ve been patient with me before, I beg your indulgence now. These blips in my mood catch me off guard and by the time I realize it’s happening, some damage has always been done :-( I know it’s time to increase the Lithium, and I am increasing it tonight.

I know my friends don’t have to put up with this, they can simply go find another more normal person with whom to be friends, someone whose reaction intensity doesn’t frighten them. I know that. I am stuck with this illness, on the one hand it makes me ultra sensitive, able to feel intensely, but it also makes me react just as intensely to seemingly innocuous things. Maybe it’s like PTSD, where a loud noise will illicit the same response as bombs going off in a temporally distant war had. Or in my case. the noise doesn’t even have to be that loud, I just react intensely and loudly to all things if you catch me in my intense mood. Damn this mood disorder. Difficulties in life are enough to try one’s patience but having a mood disorder which can throw your emotions, and behaviors off, make your friends afraid of you, cause you yourself untold pain and suffering… because, you know, people can walk away from you, but you can’t walk away from yourself, no matter how much you may want to… Lithium, yes time to increase the Lithium! All will be well.


The Uselessness Of Mindfulness

The mixed messages that life sends is enough to make me drink bleach. “You’re the only one putting pressure on yourself, it’s all in your own head.”

Talk to others…“You need to suck it up, life is hard, no one else gets to sit on their ass because they’re tired…”

So which is it, motherfuckers?

Which brings me to an all new rant. This mindfulness/narrative therapy in which the whole point is to let go of the past, be mindful of the present, and not be self critical and negative. This is a fucking winner. NOT. Because what happens in therapy is so NOT the way the world really works. Want proof? I can let go of my past but it keeps biting me on the ass.

Job interviewer: “I see you have this misdemeanor shoplifting charge on your record…That’s going to be a problem.”

I’m living in the now, not judging myself, and yet…In the real world, it doesn’t apply. No one cares that at the time of that charge, I’d just lost a very good friend and I was at rock bottom and self destructive to the nth. No one gives a damn for the reason.

Job Interviewer: “Your employment history is very spotty, you don’t seem to stay at one job very long.”

Again, doing my best to move on, own my mistakes,and do better…And there it is, gnawing on my butt cheek. Never mind the job history pretty much displays the very pattern of bipolar depression, by which standard, I am perfectly normal in my mental illness. No one gives a flying fuck. You can try to explain, but there are a dozen candidates without that limitation who are going to look a lot more appealing than you. Game over time after time. Defeatist or plain reality? Therapy would say defeatist. It’s just reality.

New age shiny happy therapy method: “Be objective, do not judge yourself negatively. The past is the past, focus on the present. Be mindful of this moment.”

Reality: “You act like all the bad things you’ve done don’t count, you need to grow up and take responsibility.”

Shiny happy therapy method: “Be positive. Just because something has happened once does not mean it will happen again. Let it go, live in the now.”

Reality: “I stole something 11 years ago, it only happened once.I’m not that person anymore, I can be trusted now.”

“Well, you have a history and that does play into employment and being trustworthy.”

such utter rubbish even if well intentioned.

Now, I realize I am prone to looking for the worst, playing devil’s advocate. It’s not negativity. It’s experience. It’s lessons learned the most playful way. I’ve really lost job opportunities over that one misdemeanor from so long ago. All my brief job stints have impacted how I am viewed. I can let it go, but I can’t move on if my past has tainted me and no one will even roll the dice on me.

And perhaps the cruelest part of all this shiny happy therapy is that you start to believe it. You let your guard down. You’re all pumped up on the “The past is the past, I can do this” party line. Thing is, a positive attitude and “let’s do this” mind state do not make you stable enough to handle the stresses others can. In a way, it’s building you up for failure when your attitude fails to veto your mental illness. The therapists may mean well, but I think they’re a bit sadistic. Admitting you do have limitations due to a disability is not the same as refusing to try. Frankly, I can tell myself a thousand times if I flap my arms hard enough I will be able to fly like a bird. Silly? Well, is a therapist telling you that you can do anything you set your mind to. With bipolar, what your mind is capable of in May could change by June. It’s setting you up to fail. You can live in the now. Bipolar has a way of changing the now without really informing you.

The defeat felt when assuring people, like employers, that you are stable and capable, then failing…And failing those who gave you a reference…Agonizing. Humiliating. And avoidable, with a little bit of compassion and leeway from society. Ya know, the same society with all the laws for wheelchair access, no discrimination against those with disabilities. Which oddly doesn’t apply to the mentally ill. People with knee issues can have a place to sit on a job. If you have panic attacks or abrupt mood swings, there is no hitting a button for ” a break” so you can ride it out and gather your wits. There are no mental health sick days. Your disability is invisible so no concessions need to be made. You are just one more normal little worker bee.

The common societal myths toward bipolar and depression are a hindrance and a disservice. You get celebrities preaching about how they take one pill a day and are cured. (Fuck you, Demi Levato and your pro-Latuda tour supposedly to raise awareness of mental health issues, they sponsored your ass to promote their poison.) The assumption made is if so and so only needs one little pill and they’re productive and successful therefore every bipolar person can be and those who don’t are malingerers…It’s fucked up. While a singular axis one bipolar diagnosis is far simpler to treat, especially in those who respond well to medications, for every simple case there are dozens of us who struggle endlessly. We’re not malingering. We’re trying. And zero fucks are given because E for effort isn’t given after first grade.

I’m just so sick of “mindfulness”. I am glad, truly, that it’s proven helpful for many. Right on, rock the casbah, dudes. The “one size must fit all” mentality has to go, though. If something isn’t working for you, as an individual, you shouldn’t be made to feel like a failure.

As for the narrative therapy…I pretty much think that’s what blogging is, without the involvement of a professional. Of course, I don’t do the “view it objectively without positive or negative judgments of yourself” thing. I think as hard as I can be on myself, that’s Borg programming from those around me being so hard on me. It transfers but I think I’ve found a balance of admitting my flaws and mistakes, while acknowledging my small victories and progress.

And I do believe I have made true progress. Not with the bipolar as the meds still aren’t doing their thing properly. But as a person. My kid forced me to grow up, to be less self absorbed and selfish, to at least get my shit together to an extent. By giving myself time to process all that I’ve gone through and not caving into the “let it go, it’s the past” thing…I’ve been able to come to terms with many things. Even with The Donor. I was difficult and with who he was versus who I am…It’s a wonder we didn’t kill each other. I still hold a serious grudge for how he’s treated Spook, but as for me and him…I don’t care. It was wrong from the start. Had I not been unmedicated and preggo, I’d have seen that. I wouldn’t have let all the bad little thoughts control everything, I’d have followed my gut. Which told me, this is all wrong, it will lead nowhere good. That’s on me. I own it. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have viewed it that way at all.

Progress.

And most of it done without a therapist. Because the one I had was a little short tempered and kept saying, “You’ve spent the last forty minutes saying the same thing over and over and accomplished nothing.” Judgey much? This is how I work through things. I drive them into the ground. And eventually…I can see clearly. Having a therapist tell me what works for me is wrong is insulting and invalidating. Is it any wonder I don’t trust them anymore? I’d love to have someone to talk to when things are really confusing…Without trust, though…Nope.

So basically…I am not in favor of shiny happy therapy. It’s crap for some of us. It’s basically enabling denial. And when reality isn’t so forgiving and happy, it’s harmful to be put up on that pedestal.

Everyone is different. Go with what works for you. But for the love of pegacorns…Don’t judge me just because it doesn’t work for me. I’m not negative or being a downer. I am being honest about what is helpful to me. I promise I will TRY not to stick pins into my voodoo doll every time I see the word “mindfulness.”


Effing Aftermath

And the cycle goes on…Following a week in the dish, topped off with the uber stressful birthday party…I’ve landed facedown in the depressive gutter. I am hostile, irritable, everything seems pointless, and I am buried alive, clawing to get out to no avail. If this is the cost of high functionality, is it so illogical I’d just prefer the constant “life in the slow lane” so there’s none of this splat shit?

Making it worse, I have a very sick kitten, no idea what happened, but it’s obvious he is dying. That will be 8 burials in four months. I’ve earned this “fuck you, world” attitude. Seems as long as I don’t form an attachment, evil things just live forever. The minute I let myself forge a bond…Oh, that must be taken away, buh bye, enjoy your misery. And for any jackass saying, “They’re just cats…” Fuck off and die in a fire. My cats are my family and they’re a lot more useful than most people.

Yeah, the pms is amping the hostility up ten fold. Such is the norm. I get the bipolar depression and I get the hormonal ride from hell all at the same time. Lucky fucking me. “It’s just an excuse to be a bitch.” Those thinkers also need to die in a fire.

Yesterday pushed my levels of tolerance to the breaking point. It wasn’t so much that my kid was bad. It was just my aftermath of too much sensory input and she decides this is the day to talk, loudly, non stop, for ten hours. I was snappy and the kitten thing had me in tears (viva la pms, I got my ninety seconds of tears) and my kid just kept talking and getting mad when I asked her for quiet time. It’s like being poked. You can only take so much before you hit the wall and start channeling satan. I despise raising my voice to my kid  and yet…She won’t respond to nice and quiet. Nope. It’s like she thrives on pushing until I bring out the mean voice. Then she backs off a little. By bedtime, my nerves could have snapped with little more than a gentle breeze.

I’ve decided today I am gonna do NOTHING. I tried to push myself yesterday,hit a couple of yard sales, picked up the yard, washed clothes, had her clean the cat boxes…But rather than defusing my hostility and making me all happy and shiny, it just made me more exhausted because it’s like AM I NOT ENTITLED TO A LITTLE BREAK FROM THIS INCESSANT GO, GO, GO THAT IS EXPECTED OF ME AND OUTSIDE MY SKILLSET? This isn’t some “woe is poor lil me” thing. It’s like I’ve absorbed the world’s pressure and apply it to myself when I should be cutting myself some slack. I did the functional bit all week even if it was like climbing a hill wearing stiletto heels. But having done that…The price is overload and falling apart. Is the world really going to end if I let myself take a break? Will unfolded laundry and dishes in the sink really result in the apocalypse?

There’s something that’s starting to bother me, though. The Focalin was amazing at first.  I haven’t read a book in months. I tried to watch five different movies yesterday and got halfway through each before giving up. I could not get interested.  Surely not all five could have been that bad? Yet, I can watch Deadly Women or Forensic Files marathons for hours. Probably helps that are short in duration and I don’t exactly sit still the whole time. I dunno, just thought I’d get back my attention span and my ability to organize but it has not happened. Definitely a bummer.

Now…to vegetate. It might motivate to take the pressure off. Though in my crampy achy hormonal state,I’m not gonna be devastated if motivation never happens. I am just gonna…breathe in, breathe out. (Thanks for putting that song in my head, Diane, it’s been there for two days now.)

 


A Tattoo Is for Life…

…this one, especially so.

As soon as I learned about the semicolon tattoo, I knew I had to get one – and not just because I’m a huge grammar nerd. Because I’m bipolar and want to spread the word about mental health issues.

In writing, the semicolon indicates a place where a writer could have finished a sentence, but instead chose to go on. This makes the semicolon an effective and beautiful symbol for suicide prevention efforts and those who struggle with mental disorders.

Every day we choose to get out of bed; choose to take our medications; choose to make and go to our therapist appointments; choose to live another day; and choose to go on with our story.

This is not something I invented. Here are the people behind it: http://www.projectsemicolon.com/. And here are some stories about the phenomenon that have been working their way through the media and around the internet.

http://www.upworthy.com/have-you-seen-anyone-with-a-semicolon-tattoo-heres-what-its-about?c=ufb1

http://www.upworthy.com/9-beautiful-semicolon-tattoos-our-readers-shared-to-destigmatize-mental-health-challenges?c=ufb1

Here is my story.

I am possibly the last person you would ever expect to get a tattoo. I am probably the last person I would ever expect to get a tattoo. I’m in my 50s, a former English teacher, married for over 30 years, fond of reading and word puzzles and cats.

Nevertheless, the professionals at Monkey Bones Tattoos in Beavercreek, OH, did not seem surprised when I showed up one day and presented my wrist.

The naked wrist.

The naked wrist.

When I explained what I wanted – to put down a deposit and book an appointment to get a semicolon tattoo – I learned that they had a cancellation and could ink me right away.

What the hell, I thought. Might as well. I had learned about the tattoos about a month before and had thought it over plenty. It was by no means a spur-of-the-moment (or drunken) impulse.

Mike Guidone showed me into his studio and explained the procedure.

The tattoo artists work station.

The tattoo artist’s work station.

He presented me with stencils of three different sizes of semicolons. I chose the in-between one. My wrist is fairly small, so the big one would have looked out of place, but the small one wasn’t noticeable enough. The idea is for people to see it and ask, so you can share the meaning and talk to them about mental health and combatting the stigma.

I sat in the dentist-type chair, listened to a brief explanation, got answers to some questions, and was ready to start.

In progress.

Did it hurt? Not particularly. It was a feeling between a scratch and a sting, and took only about ten minutes. Some aftercare instructions and I was done.

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Success!

Then I paid ($80, the shop minimum), tipped Mike, and was on my way. Now I care for the tattoo while it heals, anointing it with unscented lotion several times a day, avoiding sunlight or soaking, and trying my very best not to scratch or pick at it.

The results.

The results.

Am I happy with it? You bet!

And, like I said, it’s for life! My story isn’t finished yet.


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, depression, media and mental illness, mental health, mental illness, mental illness in the news, mutual support, my experiences, public perception, semicolon project, semicolon tattoo, stigma

Med changes, recovery and a jumbled brain

My original plan for this blog post was to talk about my horrible psychiatry appointment. It was among the worst I’ve had and included the advice to “have more sex and love your boyfriend.” Med changes have left me with a brain that feels like a washing machine that has become unbalanced, words jumbling about and I’m unable […]

Happy Anniversary!

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I cannot believe it has been one year. Thanks to everyone out there who has been along for the ride.

hugs, lily

The Longest Hypomania

Historically, when I have a period of hypomania, it lasts a couple of days and then passes on. This has been a couple of weeks now, if not a month plus. And how do I keep getting reminded that it’s hypomania? Because I’ll suddenly feel like I’m made of sunshine, basking in myself, and just full of warmth and happiness at my life. Which truly, I am genuinely happy in my life, but um… yeah… I know the golden feels has always been one of my signs of a hypomanic episode. Long before I knew I had bipolar, I knew I would hit that crest for the briefest of times… and then slide back into the darkness.

So am I complaining that I keep finding myself filled with warmth and happy? Haha, no. Even knowing the why of it, I’m still doing my best to enjoy the positive aspects of being up. I might as well, right? It’s not like I can magically fix it. I’m doing all the right things, like taking my meds, being mindful, sleeping properly, eating, drinking lots of water and so on, so. Having said all that, I guess I do want to see myself return to ‘normal’. It’s also a good place to be.

 


11373885_1635405610049871_2115803359_nSo far so good on taking the Depakote, I have to say. I’ve noticed some incredibly mild nausea if I don’t take it with food, but then? I spent a long stretch of my 20s with severe nausea daily (resulting in a lot of ‘clever’ asshats declaring me to be pregnant every day ¬¬). I know it’s early days yet on it, but considering the first couple of days aren’t making me climb out of my skin, I’m calling it ‘so far, so good’. I have to say that I like the list of things it can reputedly help with, like migraines. I don’t get migraines that often, but I was starting to feel a bit migraine-y on the back of the panic attacks last weekend. So yeah, as long as my hair doesn’t start falling out?

Now, the thing that I’m somewhat more concerned about is the changes in my Seroquel. I’m up to 500mg a day now, and my GP told my husband that they can’t currently easily source the extended release versions because of something in them that the NHS has decided isn’t safe. I can’t find anything about that off-hand, but hookay. He also said I could take the full 500mg at night and it would work fine for a day. I don’t know… I was told by a pharmacist in the not too distant past that one should split a dose as such. So I’ll start by taking it all at night, and go from there. The GP also claimed that there was something in the extended release that made the sleepitude more potent, but I’m not sure I buy that either. We’ll see.

For the moment, just sort of tired and zoned out… which I’m not complaining about. Well, not much. I’ve had a lot of brain fog this week, which is super-annoying, but it’s not like I have to do anything today. I plan on just zoning out, gaming, and knitting, which is a good day to me.

Hope everyone out there is doing well.

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