Daily Archives: September 19, 2015

When A Member of Our Tribe Disappoints Us

  Six months ago I had a disappointing experience with another blogger who has bipolar disorder.  I’m curious if any of you have ever experienced a similar situation. Although I no longer think often about what happened, it still comes up, which I’ll explain towards the end of this vent post.   The X File By glancing … Continue reading When A Member of Our Tribe Disappoints Us

When A Member of Our Tribe Disappoints Us

  Six months ago I had a disappointing experience with another blogger who has bipolar disorder.  I’m curious if any of you have ever experienced a similar situation. Although I no longer think often about what happened, it still comes up, which I’ll explain towards the end of this vent post.   The X File By glancing … Continue reading When A Member of Our Tribe Disappoints Us

What Fresh Hell Is This?

Well, I’ll never do THAT again.

I forgot to renew my Klonopin prescription last week and was out, completely, for several days. I didn’t know for sure that Vitamin K was actually what puts me to sleep; I thought it was the anti-psychotics. Needless to say, I was wrong. I’ve been up till after 2 AM for the past three nights, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why. I’m not manic, I’m not mixed, and I’m certainly not depressed. But what I went through last night will not be forgotten soon.

I was lying in bed, wide awake despite having taken all my other meds, when a squeamish, squirmy feeling came over me. Suddenly I couldn’t get enough air; my legs became restless and I kept moving them around, unable to get comfortable. I was hot and cold at the same time. I was also itchy all over, but it was the kind of itch you can’t scratch—it felt like it was internal, like bugs crawling under my skin. I felt as though I was on the verge of a panic attack. In short, I was a hot mess, and if I hadn’t figured out what the trouble was I probably wouldn’t have slept at all.

The answer came as I was staring wide-eyed into the dark, racking my brain for possible causes. I’d had only two Klonopin tablets left when I filled my med minders Sunday night, which meant I didn’t take it Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. I’d renewed my prescription on Monday but forgot to put the pills in the boxes; the new bottle was still in my purse, unopened, as of three o’clock this morning. That was when I finally remembered. Unwilling to wait long enough to get a glass of water, I dry-swallowed that sucker in the blink of an eye; it took over an hour, but eventually the medication worked its magic and I fell asleep around 4.

Now I realize that I was experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal. It’s no wonder; I’ve been on benzodiazepines for over a dozen years and you just don’t go off them cold turkey, even if you’re purposely trying to stop. Which of course I wasn’t. I may not always like having to take meds, but obviously if I’m going to forget one, Klonopin isn’t the one I want to skip. Not that I want to miss ANY of them—I still remember the night back in April when I didn’t take my nighttime meds and experienced the entire bipolar spectrum in one day.  What a cluster that was…up and down and all around, all at the same time. That was another misstep I never want to repeat, so I’m extra careful to make sure I take my bedtime meds. And now I need to make sure I take all of them.

Live and learn…sigh…


Planned Parenthood Stood With Us. Now Queer Folks Need to #StandWithPP.

My partner, who had waited for years to start testosterone as part of their transition, had exhausted nearly every option before finally turning to Planned Parenthood to start HRT.

Planned Parenthood had long been our provider of choice for many health care services because, as a low-income transgender couple, we needed care that was both affordable and queer-friendly.

The image features a pink sticker that says "Planned Parenthood" stuck to the sidewalk.

We need to stop pretending that this issue doesn’t affect us.

Planned Parenthood made us feel safe and respected, in contrast to the misgendering, interrogating of our identities, and ridiculing by nurses and doctors who didn’t understand what it meant to be trans, let alone how to treat trans patients.

They modeled for us what respectful, competent healthcare looks like when dealing with queer populations.

Planned Parenthood stood by us, and when we were ready, they were there for my partner to start their medical transition when everyone else shut the door in our face.

LGBTQ media has been notably silent when it comes to the attacks on sexual/reproductive healthcare and in particular, on Planned Parenthood. They assume, wrongfully so, that this isn’t a queer issue.

They seem to ignore that when you defund Planned Parenthood, you are denying access to important resources that queer folks rely on each and every day.

It’s the hormones that will save a trans person’s life; it’s the HIV test and the support that helps a queer youth; it’s the exam that detects cancer before it takes a life; it’s the miscarriage care that helps a lesbian couple when their world is turned upside-down; it’s the preventative vaccine that protects us down the road; it’s the LGBT youth group that helps queer teens feel less alone.

It’s care that we might not otherwise have access to because of socio-economic barriers. It’s care that my partner and I have relied on for years because Planned Parenthood was the only place we felt safe and, often times, the only place we could go.

Planned Parenthood stands with queer folks every day, and gives them a safe space to get the necessary support that they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives. So why aren’t we standing with them?

It’s horrifying that so many LGBTQ media platforms have had plenty of time to publish (multiple!) articles on Kim Davis but can’t seem to write a single word on Planned Parenthood, despite there being so much more at stake.

It’s disappointing that countless queer folks remain silent while our elected officials try to pull funding from an organization that supports us, as if this doesn’t affect us or our community.

And I’m frustrated by this idea that the attacks on Planned Parenthood are exclusively a “cis women’s issue,” as if queer folks of every stripe aren’t impacted when you strip us of the resources that we rely on for our sexual and/or reproductive health.

I’m proud of the folks who have openly and unapologetically stated their support. But they are too few and far between.

Our considerable silence on this issue is not just hurting Planned Parenthood. It’s hurting ourselves, our families, and our community.

It’s time for all of us to stand with Planned Parenthood. Because even if you haven’t stepped foot in one of their clinics, I can promise you that you know a queer person who has.


Visit Planned Parenthood Action to learn more and find out how you can help.


The image features the author, Sam Dylan Finch, with a pink filter and text that reads, "#StandwithPP" Sam Dylan Finch is a transgender activist and feminist writer, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the founder of Let’s Queer Things Up!, his blog and labor of love, as well as a writer at Everyday Feminism and Ravishly. With a passion for impacting change through personal narrative, Sam writes about his struggles and triumphs as genderqueer and bipolar with the hopes of teaching others about his identity and community.

 Connect with SDF: Website ; Facebook ; Twitter ; Tumblr


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Flipping Off The Script

I gave this whole “let in the light” thing a month with sheer curtains in my living room so I can stave off the seasonal depression with “light therapy”…Today I hit my tolerance wall. I put up a darker curtain to dim the oppressive blinding light and ya know what? Bam. Instantlantly my anxiety level goes down and I don’t feel so jittery and triggered. I’m also not in  the depressive abyss drinking Drano. Maybe it’s ass backwards of every case the professionals have seen before but it works for me so invalidating that fact makes them rather nasty in my eyes.

I didn’t just flip the script. I flipped it off.

I am sick of doing every little thing that is supposed to help my mental illness only to find it not only fails, it is more triggering than my own way. The place is dim, not blacked out. And speaking of which, plenty of gamers black out entire rooms so they can see the screen properly day or night, why aren’t the mental health nazis gnawing on their asses for doing things that are unhealthy? Maybe the professionals need to discern the difference between “unhealthy” and “healthy for this individual specifically.”

I have zero plans today and I am good with that. Fuck housework, fuck people, fuck errands. It’s the yearly shindig in town where people do “cruise night” on the main strip which will be gridlock. I’m not even gonna go there. Once upon a time this was an awesome deal, back when all the cars were classics from the 30’s to the 70’s. I looove classic cars, they give me girl wood. But then came the douchebags with their newer souped up rice burners and neon undercarriages and hub spinners and deafening stereos and it ceased to be about classic cars cruising. It became an excuse for spoiled brats in their teens and twenties to show off their excess income and pretend to be in the Fast and Furious. It’s quite depressing, actually. Sure, the classics still come out. But few seem to give a damn because ooooh shiny spinners and a loud stereo, aweeesome, bruh.

(Insert puking sound here.)

I am well aware that I am a complainer because yes, I have only attended a couple of the valid cruise things when I was younger because ya know, ugh, crowds and massive traffic, noooooo. Still..I might be more inspired to fight the panic were it remotely what it started out as. Seriously. In the 80’s I’d have fought the panic to the death to see Def Leppard. Now that they’ve become a middle aged Vegas lounge act making mommy ballads…Ugh, no way. Gotta be something in it for me and if you sell me a Ferrari then delivery Yugo…

Buhbye.

I supp0se most would consider a weekend with no money to spend and no plans made to be a bummer. For me, it feels like Christmas day. I spent the week doing what I was supposed to, what I had to, accepting shit no one should have to…I’ve earned a day of nothingness. It’s my reward for running the gauntlet of the week. Dealing with Uzi child is a chore, believe me. The questions never stop even after you’ve answered the same one three times. I’m not getting off scott free. Just a respite from the dish of petri trauma. Unless I choose to go out. Choice is everything with mental illness. If you have to do something when your mind is in a bad place, it can be your undoing. Given the chance and choice to do it when your mind is more solid, that makes all the difference.

I did my time in hell yesterday, anyway. My sister is still going to the laundromat trying to salvage all their mildewing fabric stuff from the fire hoses, so I said if she’d make a list, I’d go get their groceries. (Still feeling bad for not actually helping move anything, but as sis said, I had a small one to watch whereas their other friends didn’t plus I was running errands for mom and cooking for them…) A trip to Aldi, on a Friday, even with mom keeping Spook…was not my idea of fun. It’s very different buying groceries for two people as opposed to a list to feed six people. It was sweltering hot to boot, then I had to pack everything up that damned staircase…Not to be a brat but if I stay off staircases of that height, my knee problems go away. Using those kind of staircases ensure my knees will swell up and I will be in agony, seeking more MRIs to explain the issue while the doctors sees nothing on the scan and makes me feel like I am making up one more thing cos ya know, the psych docs doing it isn’t enough.

Grrr. I don’t want to feel like this grumpy lump. I want to do things willingly with an open heart and love and cheer. I fake it, force it, but it is never there naturally. Hell, were it not for this blog spewage, I doubt I’d have any true record of just how bad things have been in my head for so long because I’ve been groomed to hide it so long, so well. In  my world when someone asks, how are you…The correct answer is always OKAY. You never ever be honest, never ever admit things suck. To do so only leads to more invalidation and sometimes even people copping attitudes like you being depressed is an affront to the universe.

Because someone else always has it worse and to admit to being depressed makes you a selfish asshole. Because clinical depression is totally the same as situational. Not.

Last night was sweltering, Spook and I had to shower at 9pm just to get cooled down. All I wanted was to stop thinking and sleep and scumbag brain had other ideas in spite of melatonin. The heat was making me itchy and nauseous. Three days of ninety plus with high humidity made my husk a husk.

Today is cooler. The sun is blinding and irritating but at least my pancreas isn’t sweating. My mood is…relieved. To veg out, to regroup- it’s needed and necessary and brings a semblance of peace. Beneath this peace is a bone weary mind weary exhaustion like being awake for a week straight, dehydrated, and muscles cramped from endless walking. It may sound ridiculous but it’s the aftermath of depression and anxiety when forced to function at the same level of the mundanes.

The shocking thing isn’t when someone with mental illness has to be hospitalized.

The shocker is that so many of us live this way and don’t have to be hospitalized. This isn’t living, it’s existing and frankly, I’m not coming up with any great shakes of gratitude for that bare minimum.

How can I pursue happiness when all my energy is sucked up by merely existing and surviving?

It’s for that reason I flip off the script. I was lead to believe twenty years ago I just needed to find the right med combo and I’d be normal, get back to work, not despise drawing breath…

My attitude is dead on for someone lead to believe so many lies only to learn year after years they are exactly that. Lies. There is no remission for bipolar. There are only more cycles to come, more days to survive, more ways to grow resentful and worn down.

Had they told me that…Maybe I wouldn’t be so let down by the fact things have never really gotten and stayed better.

Therapy worked as well for me as taking tic tacs works for a fucking headache.


Ninja Turtling

Today a coworker made a snarky comment about something I had done.  It was a matter of preference, not a matter of one way being right and the other being wrong, but I am extremely sensitive and instantly took it to mean that I’m a horrible person and can never do anything right and clearly […]

My Cousin

Finally got my cousin to answer the phone today after getting his number from mom this weekend.  THis one is the one that has just been diagnosed bipolar. He’s left his wife of 15 years and says he wants out of the marriage.  SO I talked to him today.

Definitely manic.  Carrying on and laughing with me the entire conversation–even when talking about suicide and depression.  He said for him that things were always really good or really bad, and he’d been that way his whole life.  He’s had a difficult life–his mother died when he was young, he’s had two wives cheat on him, he had his home destroyed by a tornado–on and on and on.  He said he’d been given a medication and he didnt’ like the way it made him feel–after some questioning, he said it made him want to cry all the time.  He said that when he could stay focused, he felt like he could control his mood swings, but when he got “agitated” he couldn’t.

I talked to him about doing things that didn’t make sense–about impaired insight and mixed states and my little trip off to Louisiana and  my suicide attempt and how all of that could really, really hurt you.  I asked him to please, please follow up with a doctor and  try other medications and see how they affected him.  And I asked that he let his wife stand with him if she were willing because of how much help Bob had been to me.    He didn’t argue with me or get hostile for me interfering in his business.  So I thought it was a successful discussion, especially when he asked if he could call me if he needed to talk,

So we will see how this goes.  Pray for him and his family that they can come back together and have a successful marriage and life even with a diagnosis like this one.  ANd pray that if he calls, I know what to say.