Daily Archives: November 29, 2015

Blank Sabbath

Blank. Because while the rain has stopped, it is still cold and gray outside and it does nothing to inspire me out of my mental rut. On the up side…I have kicked serious ass with the housework the last two days. I did ALL the dishes, even the take home dishes from turkey day, put them away. Tidied the bathroom minutely. Cleaned all cat boxes and that entire area, washed the rugs and rubber mats. I’ve got one load of laundry drying, and I folded and put away FIVE baskets already.

Of course, my dad took my kid for a sleepover last night so I’ve not been interrupted with Uzi rapid fire at every turn. Though Chaos seems determined to take Spook’s place by being attached to me every minute. I go the other room, she follows me. I come back to my room, she follows. Folding laundry proved challenging with my feline twin. Yet…I fucking did it. And it only took three weeks of start and stop and getting caught up then buried…

Now I wait for them to return my spawn. I am watching Vampires Suck. Ya know a movie is funny when my cheapskate ass pays money to buy it on DVD. I mean, yeah, I paid like a penny for it and four bucks shipping but still…I don’t do comedy. But if it’s this funny no matter how many times you watch it…Valid expense. Methinks later after I feed and bathe and put the spawn to bed I may watch The Def Leppard Story again. I’m feeling in need of music inspiration. Theirs is a very inspiring story. Right up til they became a Vegas lounge act wooing soccer moms with tear in my beer ballads.

Of course, what I feel like doing now could change drastically between now and then. Stupid bipolar brain. “Make up your mind” becomes  a comical statement when said to a bipolar person. If my mind could be made up, I’d flush all my fucking pills.

And yeah, another annoying thing people do. “You just expect the meds to fix everything, you don’t want to work for it.” Um. No. I want the meds to do their job of stabilizing my brain enough so my perceptions are correct so my choices are based on fact, not random mood swing 20182 or insecurity three million. I don’t think the term “mood disorder” has done much good to help McMuggles grasp bipolar. It’s a thought disorder. I can be manic as fuck but if my brain misinterprets, “You look nice today” as “You always look like shit, so today is a nice change” the whole mind frame disintegrates.

No amount of therapy and “retraining” my brain will change the chemical misfires that muck it all up. It’s odd how people in general accept schizophrenia and the visual/auditory hallucinations that come with it. “Take your meds, you think clearly.” Yet with bipolar, it’s all “suck it up, you just have a bad personality, blah blah blergyblarg.”

Fuck off.

And another myth (often fed by bipolar people themselves when they hit a solid patch and want to shout it from the mountain top)….there is NO recovery. There’s periods of remission. But medicated bipolar is still bipolar and much like taking Tylenol every day…You can still end up with a headache, or in our case,  bipolar/depressive periods.

One thing I have become convinced of as of late is that, while the mood stabilizers have certainly killed off all but brief hypomanic bouts…My depressions have grown deeper, longer, and all encompassing. Would I want to go back to the pre mood stabilizer days with the hypersexuality, the impulsivity, the retail theft charge after a complete crack up…Hell to the no.  I just also don’t think having every bit of joyful chemicals from your brain absorbed to ward off mania should result in needing a damned army of anti depressants just to lift you from the abyss.

It’s damned if we do, damned if we don’t. And frankly, we should get a little leeway to be grumpy about it.

End  of diatribe.

I am gonna blankly watch Vampires Suck (cringing because I really think that noise the hard drive is making is a sign of impending death and I cannot face the loss of another computer right now, ffs) and ponder supper since I have clean dishes and can cook now.  What I really want is to write again. I need fiction soup flowing from my fingertips onto a keyboard, desperately.

Sadly, no amount of money or prescription pills can spark creativity. That bitch has a mind of her own and she’s been flipping me off for a year now. If I can’t use the “gift” I was given, then just give me a skill I can use to make a living, damn it. This tortured artist thing isn’t working for me. Let me create or let me die.

 


Thanksgiving 2015 + Gratitude


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food! And you know that I love to eat; just check out these two food posts.

This year I spent Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family in Pennsylvania. I was a bit worried that I might not like his mother's cooking, but my worries were pointless. The food was good. We had traditional black Thanksgiving foods: ham, turkey, yams, macaroni and cheese, collard greens. His family also had dishes that my family doesn't make on Thanksgiving: lasagna and chicken parmigiana. 

All in all it was a relaxing and fulfilling holiday. I hope your holiday was wonderful, between the food and quality time spent with family and friends!

Furthermore, 'tis the season of reflection and gratitude.

Here's what I'm grateful for:
  • My physical and mental health. 
  • My family.
  • My boyfriend.
  • Being able to pursue my MSW and change careers.
  • Blogging and sharing my story and life with you all.
  • My friends.
  • The things we take for granted: a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear.
  • Health insurance.
  • Good credit.
  • Savings.
  • The readers of my blog, especially those of you that leave comments. I love to hear from you all!

What are you grateful for this season?

Thanksgiving 2015 + Gratitude


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food! And you know that I love to eat; just check out these two food posts.

This year I spent Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family in Pennsylvania. I was a bit worried that I might not like his mother's cooking, but my worries were pointless. The food was good. We had traditional black Thanksgiving foods: ham, turkey, yams, macaroni and cheese, collard greens. His family also had dishes that my family doesn't make on Thanksgiving: lasagna and chicken parmigiana. 

All in all it was a relaxing and fulfilling holiday. I hope your holiday was wonderful, between the food and quality time spent with family and friends!

Furthermore, 'tis the season of reflection and gratitude.

Here's what I'm grateful for:
  • My physical and mental health. 
  • My family.
  • My boyfriend.
  • Being able to pursue my MSW and change careers.
  • Blogging and sharing my story and life with you all.
  • My friends.
  • The things we take for granted: a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear.
  • Health insurance.
  • Good credit.
  • Savings.
  • The readers of my blog, especially those of you that leave comments. I love to hear from you all!

What are you grateful for this season?

Choosing DBT Skills

In response to my emotional meltdown in The Silent Rejection, someone asked me what DBT would have me do in this situation.  It seemed more appropriate to make a separate post than to ramble on and on in a comment. I was in so much pain at the time I wrote the previous post, that […]

My New Mental Health Tattoo

Once again I have gotten a tattoo, supporting the cause of mental health.

A few months ago, I became a part of what’s called the semicolon project and wrote about it in this post: http://wp.me/p4e9Hv-9G. For those of you who aren’t up on the terminology, a semicolon tattoo represents mental health awareness, especially erasing the stigma, and suicide prevention.

The semicolon was chosen as the symbol because in writing, a semicolon indicates a place where a writer could have completed – or stopped – a sentence, but chose to go on. The semicolon says, in effect, “My story isn’t over.” The idea is to have the tattoo someplace visible – in my case, on my left wrist – and use it as a conversation starter.

Most people will assume that since I am a huge grammar nerd, my semicolon tattoo is some weird manifestation of love for punctuation. Then I can tell them that it’s a whole lot more. You can find out more about the semicolon project at http://www.projectsemicolon.org/.

My new tattoo represents bipolar disorder. Again it’s made up of punctuation: two colons and a paren. These symbols, unlike the semicolon, have no special meaning in writing and are never seen together in that order. Instead they make up a double emoticon: looked at one way, the colon and paren make up a smiley face. Looked at the other way, a frowny face.

New mental health tattoo

New mental health tattoo

This symbolism is easier for anyone seeing the tattoo to grasp. In a way, it’s a minimalist version of the comedy and tragedy masks you often see in theaters.

Again, it’s a conversation starter. Bipolar disorder is not well understood by the general public. This is particularly true of bipolar disorder type 2 – the kind I have – which many people have never even heard of.

Since I have gone public with having a mental illness, it seems only appropriate to introduce people to the disorder in a way that’s creative, nonthreatening, and understandable.  It’s a lot less abrupt than blurting out, “Hey, I have a mental illness!” Even my mother-in-law recognizes that these tattoos are not just a whim, but for a good cause.

The second tattoo is on my right wrist, so no matter which hand I extend, I can open up new understanding about a very real problem that many people live with daily.

A number of articles have come out lately questioning whether a person who gets a tattoo will regret it when they grow older. I think I can say with complete confidence that I will never regret these tattoos. They say something about who I am, something that will not change as I grow older. The disorder will always be with me and so will these symbols. For the rest of my life I can use them to educate, identify with other bipolar people, and remind myself that wrists are not for cutting.

I will say, however, that whoever thinks of these things had better put the brakes on new mental health-related tattoo designs – especially those made of punctuation – or I will soon become the illustrated editor/blogger. At the moment I have no plans for any further ink. My friends, however, tell me that tattoos are addictive. So we’ll see.

A few notes, since everyone asks: These simple tattoos take 10 minutes or less to apply. They hurt a little bit, but not much – a stinging sensation. They may fade a bit at first and need a touch-up. Because they are so quick and simple, you will not pay a lot to have them done. After you get the tattoo you have to take care of it while it heals, moisturizing it regularly for the first 3-6 weeks or so.

If you decide to get a tattoo, check out the studio before you have it done. It should be a professional operation, with high standards of cleanliness and concern for health. Tattoo artists should wear surgical gloves and change them frequently. There may be a consent form to fill out, indicating that you know what you are getting into, and even indicating whether you have various medical conditions or allergies, or have drunk alcohol within the previous eight hours. A reputable tattoo studio will not work on a drunken client.

Do you have a tattoo related to mental health? I’d love to hear about it. But don’t tell me if it’s more punctuation. I only have two wrists.


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, depression, hypomania, mental health, my experiences, public perception, stigma, tattoos

#FeatureFriday: Dyane Leshin-Harwood on POSTPARTUM BIPOLAR

Originally posted on Our Lived Experience:
We’re kicking off our new Feature Friday slot with a great friend of ours and a topic that is her particular field of expertise. BIPOLAR, PERIPARTUM ONSET (POSTPARTUM BIPOLAR): THE IGNORED PERINATAL  MOOD AND ANXIETY DISORDER by Dyane Leshin-Harwood I live with a form of severe mental illness that few people…

The Host: a Poetic Blog

Door No. 1: Chatsworth, Autumn 2015

Door No. 1: Chatsworth, Autumn 2015

Waiting for bad news on a cold, windy day at the arse end of November. At my age, bad news is no longer really news.

Yet it still hurts.

I wasted a lot of valuable time in my youth watching game shows. These days I don’t see many except for “Have I Got News for You”, and its lesser cousin, “Mock the Week”. I also enjoy “QI”.

One of the best things I did with my teens was to take Ms McGlade’s poetry class. She introduced us to Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology”, and I’ve been grateful to her ever since.

I’d show you my copy of “Spoon River”, but it’s so tatty, I’d probably be hauled up by the RSPCB (1).

"All, all are sleeping under the hill" - Edgar Lee Masters

“All, all are sleeping under the hill” – Edgar Lee Masters

Over the years I’ve made several attempts at writing Spoon River style poems, the first for Ms McGlade’s class, back in the 70s. Here’s one from 2012.

The Host

All things considered,
I should be in a mausoleum.
Something with a door,
at any rate.
After all, so much of my life
revolved around them.

No, that wasn’t meant
as a joke, though I tried my best
to keep things light-hearted.

Some thought me a snob.
Others, merely shy.
Because I never stopped behind
for those after-show parties.

Door No. 2: Durham, 2015

Door No. 2: Durham, 2015

In fact, I was never sure
how the people who chose
the one with the donkey,
or the sack full of spuds
rather than the smiling young thing
holding the poster
with the words ‘P & O’
and “Mediterranean”
would react.

So, three doors.
Door Number 1: Birth.
Door Number 2: the bits
in between.

Door Number 3: I’m sorry,
but that information
is temporarily
classified.

Door No. 3: York, 2015

Door No. 3: York, 2015

(1) The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Books.

Light Therapy May Work on Chronic Mood Disorders, Too

  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/light-therapy-may-work-more-season-affective-disorder-180953431/#uPRmTIuxjzTUis8G.01SMARTNEWS Keeping you current

Light Therapy May Work on Chronic Mood Disorders, Too

Sitting under fake sun could help heal chronic depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, too


By Shannon Palus

SMITHSONIAN.COM 

NOVEMBER 21, 2014

Researchers suspect that seasonal affective disorder, first reported in 1984, has something to do with circadian rhythms thrown off by short, dark days. At first, Vox reports, scientists connected SAD to excessive production of melatonin; now they think it has more to do with the mismatch of melatonin production and sleep schedules.

Either way, short periods sitting under a special lamp is recommended as a treatment, and researchers have wondered whether the the effects of phototherapy might be able to treat chronic mood disorders. Now, Nautilus reports, “research into the circadian underpinnings of chronic depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and fatigue suggests that light could help these patients readjust too.”
Phototherapy has long been used to treat certain conditions: the power of artificial sunlight for skin disorders was demonstrated over a century ago. The doctor who won the 1903 Nobel Prize in medicine found that an hour a day of light therapy could help cure smallpox, and lupus vulgaris, a form of tuberculosis. But it’s only in the past couple of decades that researchers have looked at light treatment as a possibility for people suffering year-round from depression or other diseases. 
In a 1992 study, two dozen veterans exposed to a bright light treatment saw a decline in depression and bipolar symptoms compared to a control group, exposed to a dim, red, light. A few more recent studies have since shown that there are also positive anti-depressive effects of light therapy for pregnant women and elderly people, Nautilus reports.
This suggests that light therapy could at least augment other forms of treatment for several types of depression. Last year, a study suggested the treatment could work for anxiety, too. These studies are small. But while skin therapies use ultraviolet light, SAD lamps use a smaller, safer spectrum. The side effects of sitting under these sunlamps are almost nonexistent, and even a possibility of a benefit could make the treatment worthwhile.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/light-therapy-may-work-more-season-affective-disorder-180953431/#HJBMKos2ZvySZUF0.99
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter


A very happy thanksgiving

Hope all my blogging friends had a wonderful thanksgiving. My family and I had the best thanksgiving since we all used to gather at my mom’s house more than 10 years ago. So thankful for my family, my precious son, my beloved brother and sister and my adored cousins who drove 18 hours to spend thanksgiving with us. This time with my family was so heartening, so happy, so joyful for me. We cooked the thanksgiving meal together. We went for walks in our beautiful park. We went out to dinner. For me, this time with family is so precious. All traces of depression were gone. I sometimes think if I lived in a large compound of homes with my extended family, maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t have bipolar d/o anymore. Perhaps that is some mighty wishful thinking… but sometimes I really do think just that. With all my family around me, I was able to live totally in the moment. No anxiety about the future, no depression about the past. I am grateful we had this time together, to laugh and make memories and to strengthen our relationships. My sister also got me addicted to watching “Jane the Virgin,” a good series. Very well acted, albeit a bit simplistic.

A lovely time. Really a lovely and happy time. Now onto other things. Going to Buffalo for my son’s birthday next week. And going to Pakistan in the end of December. I’m actually traveling on Christmas Day!

A smattering of our thanksgiving pictures.


  
  
  
  


The Silent Rejection

About a month ago I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible heartburn.  I ended up having to spend the rest of the night sleeping upright on the couch.  The heartburn has been recurrent since then – never quite so bad as that first time, but then I’ve also started taking medication […]