Daily Archives: September 18, 2015

Then there was the time when…

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I was feeling really bad recently, it was all about my son being so far away from us. How we sold our home and moved. My mind kept telling me that parents aren’t supposed to do that, parents are supposed to stay put, kids are the one who are supposed to move away, and then when they want, come back home for a visit. I guess that is generally how it works. But when we decided that my husband would accept the job offer in Louisville, my son had been accepted at Albany Law School. We, at that time had thought that he would be going to Law School in Albany, so no one would have stayed behind in Buffalo. But as things turned out, SUNY at Buffalo Law school called him in Albany and told him he’d been taken off the waiting list, so he resigned from Albany Law and I went and got him from Albany. We scrambled to find him an apartment because there was a housing shortage in Buffalo and we were moving to Louisville in November. And then I got very sick, out of touch with reality mania :-( So those were the circumstances that led to us leaving my son in Buffalo, which had been our home for 20 years. I had actually mostly lived in Buffalo since I was 11. It was where my son grew up, in our beautiful home in East Amherst.

Recently, thoughts of our home, thoughts of leaving my son behind, even thoughts of how my son is not here to east the dinners I cook, all those thoughts had me sobbing, feeling guilty, thinking about all the mistakes I’d made with my son and how I’d never be able to correct them. Basically, I was miserable, living in the past, heartbroken and acutely re-experiencing empty nest syndrome. Every morning I got up sobbing, feeling like my heart was breaking (that’s what empty nest syndrome feels like, a broken heart that your precious child has flown the coop), just negative, depressing thoughts. I wrote to my e-counselor and even she got really worried about the tenor of my email. She told me to call my doctor. I forwarded him the email and asked him for help. At this point, I was beginning to see that this is not just negative thoughts, this is a depression. After my doctor read my melodramatic email, he said the best thing to do is to keep talking to my counselor, this was not a psychiatric issue, it was a psychological issue. I was dumbfounded. I told him that I was so disappointed with his answer, that it basically meant he was not going to help me. After a few emails back and forth, after I insisted I was going into a depression, and these thoughts of abandoning my son, empty nest (again) and all the negative thoughts were actually attaching themselves to my depressed mood, he agreed to help me with my medication and gave me a few options of what to do and I chose increasing my Seroquel from 50 mg to 100 mg. And now, since I did that, I feel so much better. Yes those thoughts are still there, but now they are not destroying me, they are not breaking my heart, the intensity of the sadness and suffering has decreased.

Just a couple of points why mental illness is so difficult to deal with:

1) Imagine having to convince a doctor that you really had broken your leg, and you were crying from pain, not some nebulous psychological issue.

2) Imagine going to a cardiologist, who misdiagnoses you with coronary artery disease, and you look at your own symptoms and tell him the correct diagnosis is a tumor of the adrenal glands leading to over production of epinephrine (haha) leading to tachycardia, and you are right!

I realize that symptoms and descriptions of symptoms, and people’s opinions can be different, and that is exactly why mental illness is not only a bear to live with, it is also a bear to have treated.


Do It

I’m sort of catching myself in a weird position where I am not depressed, and I don’t want to die, but at the same time I don’t care if I live and I feel like it would be better if I was gone. The ECT took away my desire to die, which is great. But […]

Do It

I’m sort of catching myself in a weird position where I am not depressed, and I don’t want to die,...

I fall to pieces…and the guilty wilties…

Guilty wilties, even though I resent that I feel guilty: R called around noon today and apologized for flaking out, one of his adult daughter’s adult friends just lost her best friend and now she has some health crisis and she was there til one a.m. crying on his shoulder and he couldn’t abandon her…

Sorry about her drama, truly, but it wasn’t about her the three times before this, so he’s just using any easy justification he can get and then I get to feel shitty for not backing off cos someone else is having a sucky time of it lately. MANNERS. I am rabid about it but every time I have backed down, I’ve gotten another footprint on my back which apparently says “welcome, wipe your feet  and thank you so much for doing it.”

Needless to say, for all his mimicked apology, he’s still not been by tonight, so that’s four nights of blowing me off and it’s all me being a bitch and selfish and having no empathy for others and…

Yeah, fuck it. People=shit. Except my followers, of course, you lot are awesome. Until we meet in person and you all decide I am the devil because I don’t know how to be a good silent doormat. What can I say, I’m not Canadian. (Sorry, joke from That 70’s Show about throwing stuff at Canadians cos they’re to polite to throw back and would say thank you.)

I spent the day running my own errands and some for my mom, brought home that new cat. I’ve named him Black Orchid. Spook hates the name. Too bad. I feed and water em and clean up their hork and whatever other messes they make. I get to name them. I like the apartment mom and them got, it’s nice for a one bedroom with a cavernous bathroom and all..But that outside staircase is soo long that going up with my bad knees is a bitch. The knees rarely bother me unless I have to use a staircase, in which case I am usually reduced to agony and my knees swell up like blowfish. One of the reasons I couldn’t get out of a walk up fast enough and into a floor level place. Carrying in groceries should not result in being crippled for two days.

Picking Spook up was once again a daunting task. When that massive blob of pastel colors and shrieks comes storming out and they’re swarming like locusts and running and on their bikes and ugh, I felt like I was smothering, I actually snapped, “Hurry up!” at my kid because I was about to have a meltdown. A month and I am going under. I don’t know how much longer I am gonna be able to do this shit without ending up in a Rubber Ramada.

Came home…and that was when I fell to pieces. There was an envelope in the mail box and I wasn’t expecting it. Actually, I was, just like a week ago. I opened it and it was a condolence card from the vet’s office, signed by the entire staff, saying sorry for our loss of Abby. And I burst into tears and I cried and I sobbed because damn it, I still find myself starting to call out “Ab-” and “Arse-nickers.” Damn damn damn fuck fuck fuck, it still fucking hurts. And it was a sweet gesture and the vet’s office always does that when you lose a pet but…It ripped my heart open all over again. Least now I know the tears were real instead of just out of control hormones. I kept everyone at arm’s length for so long and when I finally connected with Abby and Arsenic…It was a deep connection. Losing that just shattered a part of me. That kind card proved it. I couldn’t smile or think it was sweet. I’m still railing against god and Buddha and the sacred pegacorn for taking my kitties away.

And right back to the guilty wilties I go, because my sister lost nine cats in the space of a week, so where do I get off bitching?

So, yeah, my mood did crash after that card and the damn bursting with tears again. THAT, dear psych professionals, is a triggered mood swing. I don’t blame that on bipolar, I blame that on being in psychological pain over the loss of my two best friends. Justifiable mood swing. Which is a rarity because bipolar should make that much sense.

My kid became hurricane Bratina, loud, hyper, pushing me over the edge. I popped a movie into the dvd player, first time I’ve had the TV on in months, and she promptly decided to do everything in her power to make sure I couldn’t watch a bit of it. I thought deviating from my normal routine might help break me out of this stagnation I’ve  been in. Same reason I cleaned up my side table, put my lamp with the dimmer switch on it instead of in the bedroom…Trying to reinvent my comfy corner so that maybe I can start writing again if I can just JOLT myself out of this walking catatonia, which is the bastard cousin of that bitch anhedonia, all branches on the bipolar family tree.

I’m ready to cryptify even though I am fighting it. I think maybe I will fight it a little harder tomorrow night when I know I have a two day respite from the daily hell of pastel pukage known as picking my kid up from school. Where waiting I feel like such a freak cos everyone has their nifty smart phone beeping away as they text and whatnot…And there I am, holding an actual paper book, READING. Because my mind can’t stand idleness, it needs to be entertained at all times and I’m sorry, trying to type on a little phone with my fat fingers does not entertain me. Not like any of my friends would bother to reply. And my sister can’t even have a phone cos ya know, she has to work yet her husband who has never worked has an iphone my mom pays for.

I just don’t know how to not let it get to me. I keep thinking if I let it go, then I’m guilty of complacency. Some stuff should piss you off. What kind of monster hears of child abuse and simply shrugs, “It doesn’t apply to me, I can’t do anything about it.” Yet those same people are recycling nazis and get downright violent when you don’t “go green”. The world’s priorities are in a place I can’t comprehend and truth be told, don’t want to. I’ll keep my anger and hump its leg. Because ya know that adage…

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Yeah, that. That is why I don’t “shrug it off”. Because being outraged is okay and normal and when you’ve become so jaded you only get riled when it applies to you personally…You are way worse off than me and my anger could ever be.

I might be happier, have more energy, less ill will, if I just became one of the denial laden sheeple.

I hope I never find out, though.

I am not sure I’ve ever felt so lost and lonely as I feel now, looking at that kind condolence card and missing Abby and Arsenic with every fiber of my being. People I can go weeks without seeing and it barely phases me.

Losing my furry little babies…Not sure I’m ever gonna be the same, considering it took me a year to bond again after losing my Bella and Azazel.

Life’s pain is akin to the pain of a toothache. There’s nothing worse you can go through, really.

Death is the end game, we should all be racing there.

Or that’s just me, cos if there’s a deity and he is all forgiving…I will see Abby and Snickers again one day, along with all my other beloved furkids I lost.

Crap, I’m doing the mooshy melancholy crazy cat lady thing again.

Hate the fucking guilty wilties.

 

 


Tired

This blurry picture was taken with my ancient cell phone minutes before The Stinging occurred this afternoon   I’m tired. Being around grief is draining. My husband’s only brother has been gone for less than two weeks, so his death is still very recent and shocking. I’m profoundly thankful that I’m not the one in deep grief, but … Continue reading Tired

Tired

This blurry picture was taken with my ancient cell phone minutes before The Stinging occurred this afternoon   I’m tired. Being around grief is draining. My husband’s only brother has been gone for less than two weeks, so his death is still very … Continue reading

The Bipolar Disorder Canyon

It seems like yesterday when I hiked the Grand Canyon, but in reality it has been many years ago.  Much time has passed and most of the last 15 years I have spent battling a mental illness.  It has consumed my energy, stolen away many of my dreams, and kept me from doing the things I love to do.

But somewhere deep inside of me I have tapped into the fighting spirit, the very same spirit that led me to hike that beautiful canyon and strive relentlessly back to the top of the mountain.

The Grand Canyon hike is very opposite of a typical hike up a mountain and then back down again.  When you set off to hike the Canyon, you start at the top and descend down 13 miles to the bottom.  While it seems only physically challenging to go up, it is equally difficult to pound down the winding trail to the bold and rushing waters of the Colorado River.

I think hiking is a great deal like living with a mental illness.  When bipolar disorder started to get worse, I descended rapidly into an emotional abyss.  By the time I got to the bottom of understanding bipolar disorder, I had to climb a long way to get my life back again.

There were days when I really did not think I was going to make it.  The challenges were so steep that I wondered if I could overcome the odds and beat my illness.  Winning is something I stumbled upon with every step I took to recover.  I count the small wins, like learning to manage my symptoms and understanding how bipolar disorder affected me.  The large wins were finding a good doctor and searching to find the right combination of medications.

On a long hike a blister that forms is terribly painful and makes it more difficult to continue walking.  Living with bipolar disorder rubs a lot of blisters all over the body.  It is only when those blisters heal that the pain goes away.  Sometimes it takes years for that to happen.

Learning to cope with all the unexpected challenges in life is what makes it all very interesting.  When you are in the desert hiking at over 100 degrees the very intensity of the heat can leave you exhausted.  When it comes to mental illness, equally challenging is dealing with those external factors like stigma, that can drag a person down and keep her in silent suffering for years.  Not being aware of those feelings of shame, blame, guilt and feeling “less than,” strips a person of much needed energy to make the journey.

What do you do when you are facing a steep climb?

What works for me is putting my head down and taking one small step at a time.  Sure, it gets frustrating and at times I can honestly say I have wanted to give up.  But the hopeful promise of reaching the goal I set out to accomplish keeps me in the game.  The blisters have healed and the walk is much more enjoyable.

I have no plans to descend down a mountain that I cannot walk back up again.  I might take a few steps down every now and then, but I really focus on enjoying the view right from where I am standing.

I pray I never need the amount of perseverance or energy that it took to climb my way out of the bipolar canyon.  It’s always going to be there, but I have learned to respect it and cope with what challenges it has caused me.