Daily Archives: December 6, 2015

A follow up note

Last time I left off, I was suicidal.  Again.

Not as bad as the last time, but still pretty bad.

This time, I ended up going into the hospital.  A little “staycation”, as it were.  Not planned, of course.  I was just trying to do the intake interview for an Intensive Outpatient Program, which I could accept that I “needed”.  Then the lady told me she wouldn’t let me leave.

Sign the papers, or be committed by the state.

That’s a decision I hope not to have to make again.

My trip lasted about 4 days.  It was over a weekend, too, so I didn’t even get the full benefits of regular meetings and such.  Lots of drawing and coloring though.  A very, very expensive art class.

But, it changed things.  In a great way.  I learned that I was fighting depression, which was a problem.  But the bigger problem is that I was terrified of people.  I had no safe place, anywhere.  And without somewhere to feel safe, even if in my own head, I was spiraling out of control.  I lost my grip.

In the hospital, they have rules.  Boundaries.  Things I should have but don’t.  They’re imposed on everyone, and so they dictate the terms of the relationships you make.  I loved this.  At the time, I thought, if only I could figure out how to bring those rules out in the real world!  As I saw more and more of what that meant for interacting with others–that there would be no judgment and that you could be safe–I felt the weight lifted.  I felt like I could be myself, without being attacked, belittled, shamed, cussed at, or manipulated.  I was able to spend an entire day in the group room…with other people!  I had been almost certain that would never happen again.  I even felt playful at one time, which I hadn’t felt in so long.

It was a gift, this time in the hospital.  Because I saw that I needed to address the terror I felt about people.  I needed to build a safe place in myself, and work on creating the safe places outside, with others in order to sustain myself through the dark times.  This changed everything in how I approached healing.

I got out, and the next day I went to IOP.  I was still scared.  I couldn’t tell an emotion from a hole in the ground.  But I was headed in the right direction.  I was asking for help, which for whatever reason, is so hard for me to do.  I’ve been doing that, a little at time.

I’m still scared of people.  Still wary.  Still feel my heart race when someone gets too close.  But I keep reaching out, even if just a little.  Like my friend in the hospital told me: you give a little trust, and see what happens.  Not too much, like casting a fishing rod and winding it back just a bit to see what you get.

It’s a little odd.  It still feels pretty isolated sometimes, to always be on guard.  It’s safer though.  I’m more observant.  I’m looking out for myself.  I give a little trust, and if it’s respected, great!  If not, okay, I hold the line there.  More positive actions must be taken to advance!

It feels good to know that I’m doing this because I’m worth being respected, and that I have value as a person, and as a friend, which shouldn’t be pissed away or taken advantage of.  One of the great lessons in the last several months was examining how I treat other people, and how people I love and who love me, treat me.  And for whatever reason, I started using that as the barometer.  For example, I’d try and imagine someone I trusted deeply behaving a particular way (a behavior I wasn’t sure of or that caught my attention somewhere in the back of my mind), and then considered what I would think of them–and what they would presumably think of me–if they did that thing.  I started being able to see when the lines were being crossed.  Not only did I start seeing it, but I also started feeling it in a way that I could sense it in the moment and act on my feelings.  Somewhere a well is filling inside me, because I’ve been able to tap into it several times since then–to be in the moment, to approach a situation with a sense of confidence, of calm even.

It hasn’t stopped the utter terror I’ve felt in response to threats, which I’ve unfortunately received recently (it can come with the job).  I still had the panic attacks and my anxiety was spiked for days.  When it came to game time, though, I did tap into it.  It was there, somewhere.

I’m not perfect yet.  But it is so far from where I came.


A follow up note

Last time I left off, I was suicidal.  Again.

Not as bad as the last time, but still pretty bad.

This time, I ended up going into the hospital.  A little “staycation”, as it were.  Not planned, of course.  I was just trying to do the intake interview for an Intensive Outpatient Program, which I could accept that I “needed”.  Then the lady told me she wouldn’t let me leave.

Sign the papers, or be committed by the state.

That’s a decision I hope not to have to make again.

My trip lasted about 4 days.  It was over a weekend, too, so I didn’t even get the full benefits of regular meetings and such.  Lots of drawing and coloring though.  A very, very expensive art class.

But, it changed things.  In a great way.  I learned that I was fighting depression, which was a problem.  But the bigger problem is that I was terrified of people.  I had no safe place, anywhere.  And without somewhere to feel safe, even if in my own head, I was spiraling out of control.  I lost my grip.

In the hospital, they have rules.  Boundaries.  Things I should have but don’t.  They’re imposed on everyone, and so they dictate the terms of the relationships you make.  I loved this.  At the time, I thought, if only I could figure out how to bring those rules out in the real world!  As I saw more and more of what that meant for interacting with others–that there would be no judgment and that you could be safe–I felt the weight lifted.  I felt like I could be myself, without being attacked, belittled, shamed, cussed at, or manipulated.  I was able to spend an entire day in the group room…with other people!  I had been almost certain that would never happen again.  I even felt playful at one time, which I hadn’t felt in so long.

It was a gift, this time in the hospital.  Because I saw that I needed to address the terror I felt about people.  I needed to build a safe place in myself, and work on creating the safe places outside, with others in order to sustain myself through the dark times.  This changed everything in how I approached healing.

I got out, and the next day I went to IOP.  I was still scared.  I couldn’t tell an emotion from a hole in the ground.  But I was headed in the right direction.  I was asking for help, which for whatever reason, is so hard for me to do.  I’ve been doing that, a little at time.

I’m still scared of people.  Still wary.  Still feel my heart race when someone gets too close.  But I keep reaching out, even if just a little.  Like my friend in the hospital told me: you give a little trust, and see what happens.  Not too much, like casting a fishing rod and winding it back just a bit to see what you get.

It’s a little odd.  It still feels pretty isolated sometimes, to always be on guard.  It’s safer though.  I’m more observant.  I’m looking out for myself.  I give a little trust, and if it’s respected, great!  If not, okay, I hold the line there.  More positive actions must be taken to advance!

It feels good to know that I’m doing this because I’m worth being respected, and that I have value as a person, and as a friend, which shouldn’t be pissed away or taken advantage of.  One of the great lessons in the last several months was examining how I treat other people, and how people I love and who love me, treat me.  And for whatever reason, I started using that as the barometer.  For example, I’d try and imagine someone I trusted deeply behaving a particular way (a behavior I wasn’t sure of or that caught my attention somewhere in the back of my mind), and then considered what I would think of them–and what they would presumably think of me–if they did that thing.  I started being able to see when the lines were being crossed.  Not only did I start seeing it, but I also started feeling it in a way that I could sense it in the moment and act on my feelings.  Somewhere a well is filling inside me, because I’ve been able to tap into it several times since then–to be in the moment, to approach a situation with a sense of confidence, of calm even.

It hasn’t stopped the utter terror I’ve felt in response to threats, which I’ve unfortunately received recently (it can come with the job).  I still had the panic attacks and my anxiety was spiked for days.  When it came to game time, though, I did tap into it.  It was there, somewhere.

I’m not perfect yet.  But it is so far from where I came.


A follow up note

Last time I left off, I was suicidal.  Again.

Not as bad as the last time, but still pretty bad.

This time, I ended up going into the hospital.  A little “staycation”, as it were.  Not planned, of course.  I was just trying to do the intake interview for an Intensive Outpatient Program, which I could accept that I “needed”.  Then the lady told me she wouldn’t let me leave.

Sign the papers, or be committed by the state.

That’s a decision I hope not to have to make again.

My trip lasted about 4 days.  It was over a weekend, too, so I didn’t even get the full benefits of regular meetings and such.  Lots of drawing and coloring though.  A very, very expensive art class.

But, it changed things.  In a great way.  I learned that I was fighting depression, which was a problem.  But the bigger problem is that I was terrified of people.  I had no safe place, anywhere.  And without somewhere to feel safe, even if in my own head, I was spiraling out of control.  I lost my grip.

In the hospital, they have rules.  Boundaries.  Things I should have but don’t.  They’re imposed on everyone, and so they dictate the terms of the relationships you make.  I loved this.  At the time, I thought, if only I could figure out how to bring those rules out in the real world!  As I saw more and more of what that meant for interacting with others–that there would be no judgment and that you could be safe–I felt the weight lifted.  I felt like I could be myself, without being attacked, belittled, shamed, cussed at, or manipulated.  I was able to spend an entire day in the group room…with other people!  I had been almost certain that would never happen again.  I even felt playful at one time, which I hadn’t felt in so long.

It was a gift, this time in the hospital.  Because I saw that I needed to address the terror I felt about people.  I needed to build a safe place in myself, and work on creating the safe places outside, with others in order to sustain myself through the dark times.  This changed everything in how I approached healing.

I got out, and the next day I went to IOP.  I was still scared.  I couldn’t tell an emotion from a hole in the ground.  But I was headed in the right direction.  I was asking for help, which for whatever reason, is so hard for me to do.  I’ve been doing that, a little at time.

I’m still scared of people.  Still wary.  Still feel my heart race when someone gets too close.  But I keep reaching out, even if just a little.  Like my friend in the hospital told me: you give a little trust, and see what happens.  Not too much, like casting a fishing rod and winding it back just a bit to see what you get.

It’s a little odd.  It still feels pretty isolated sometimes, to always be on guard.  It’s safer though.  I’m more observant.  I’m looking out for myself.  I give a little trust, and if it’s respected, great!  If not, okay, I hold the line there.  More positive actions must be taken to advance!

It feels good to know that I’m doing this because I’m worth being respected, and that I have value as a person, and as a friend, which shouldn’t be pissed away or taken advantage of.  One of the great lessons in the last several months was examining how I treat other people, and how people I love and who love me, treat me.  And for whatever reason, I started using that as the barometer.  For example, I’d try and imagine someone I trusted deeply behaving a particular way (a behavior I wasn’t sure of or that caught my attention somewhere in the back of my mind), and then considered what I would think of them–and what they would presumably think of me–if they did that thing.  I started being able to see when the lines were being crossed.  Not only did I start seeing it, but I also started feeling it in a way that I could sense it in the moment and act on my feelings.  Somewhere a well is filling inside me, because I’ve been able to tap into it several times since then–to be in the moment, to approach a situation with a sense of confidence, of calm even.

It hasn’t stopped the utter terror I’ve felt in response to threats, which I’ve unfortunately received recently (it can come with the job).  I still had the panic attacks and my anxiety was spiked for days.  When it came to game time, though, I did tap into it.  It was there, somewhere.

I’m not perfect yet.  But it is so far from where I came.


A follow up note

Last time I left off, I was suicidal.  Again.

Not as bad as the last time, but still pretty bad.

This time, I ended up going into the hospital.  A little “staycation”, as it were.  Not planned, of course.  I was just trying to do the intake interview for an Intensive Outpatient Program, which I could accept that I “needed”.  Then the lady told me she wouldn’t let me leave.

Sign the papers, or be committed by the state.

That’s a decision I hope not to have to make again.

My trip lasted about 4 days.  It was over a weekend, too, so I didn’t even get the full benefits of regular meetings and such.  Lots of drawing and coloring though.  A very, very expensive art class.

But, it changed things.  In a great way.  I learned that I was fighting depression, which was a problem.  But the bigger problem is that I was terrified of people.  I had no safe place, anywhere.  And without somewhere to feel safe, even if in my own head, I was spiraling out of control.  I lost my grip.

In the hospital, they have rules.  Boundaries.  Things I should have but don’t.  They’re imposed on everyone, and so they dictate the terms of the relationships you make.  I loved this.  At the time, I thought, if only I could figure out how to bring those rules out in the real world!  As I saw more and more of what that meant for interacting with others–that there would be no judgment and that you could be safe–I felt the weight lifted.  I felt like I could be myself, without being attacked, belittled, shamed, cussed at, or manipulated.  I was able to spend an entire day in the group room…with other people!  I had been almost certain that would never happen again.  I even felt playful at one time, which I hadn’t felt in so long.

It was a gift, this time in the hospital.  Because I saw that I needed to address the terror I felt about people.  I needed to build a safe place in myself, and work on creating the safe places outside, with others in order to sustain myself through the dark times.  This changed everything in how I approached healing.

I got out, and the next day I went to IOP.  I was still scared.  I couldn’t tell an emotion from a hole in the ground.  But I was headed in the right direction.  I was asking for help, which for whatever reason, is so hard for me to do.  I’ve been doing that, a little at time.

I’m still scared of people.  Still wary.  Still feel my heart race when someone gets too close.  But I keep reaching out, even if just a little.  Like my friend in the hospital told me: you give a little trust, and see what happens.  Not too much, like casting a fishing rod and winding it back just a bit to see what you get.

It’s a little odd.  It still feels pretty isolated sometimes, to always be on guard.  It’s safer though.  I’m more observant.  I’m looking out for myself.  I give a little trust, and if it’s respected, great!  If not, okay, I hold the line there.  More positive actions must be taken to advance!

It feels good to know that I’m doing this because I’m worth being respected, and that I have value as a person, and as a friend, which shouldn’t be pissed away or taken advantage of.  One of the great lessons in the last several months was examining how I treat other people, and how people I love and who love me, treat me.  And for whatever reason, I started using that as the barometer.  For example, I’d try and imagine someone I trusted deeply behaving a particular way (a behavior I wasn’t sure of or that caught my attention somewhere in the back of my mind), and then considered what I would think of them–and what they would presumably think of me–if they did that thing.  I started being able to see when the lines were being crossed.  Not only did I start seeing it, but I also started feeling it in a way that I could sense it in the moment and act on my feelings.  Somewhere a well is filling inside me, because I’ve been able to tap into it several times since then–to be in the moment, to approach a situation with a sense of confidence, of calm even.

It hasn’t stopped the utter terror I’ve felt in response to threats, which I’ve unfortunately received recently (it can come with the job).  I still had the panic attacks and my anxiety was spiked for days.  When it came to game time, though, I did tap into it.  It was there, somewhere.

I’m not perfect yet.  But it is so far from where I came.


Mom Passing

My mom passed this morning. We were in church when they texted us.

She had some pain yesterday, but that was it. My husband took over McDonald’s to her as that was her favorite. So how is this for a last meal: chicken sandwich, fries, apple pie, shake, and diet coke? That sounds like a decent last meal to me.

I think I am in shock. I have cried a little but that is mostly for what could have been. My mom was not cut out to be a mother and that was just a fact. She was only 75, but her drinking and drugging and smoking reduced her life span a lot.

So now my depression hole is a little deeper but not by too much.

I know if you all were here you’d give me a big hug. That means a lot.

Love, lily

 

We Are Not Amused

In the last few days the bipolar blogosphere has been in an uproar about a post from OpinionatedMan. In it he said,“I get amused by people who claim to be bi polar.” [sic]
Naturally, some people were upset.

It is hurtful to think that someone is amused by our illness. We do not have it in order to be entertainment for others. We do not expect a mild chuckle or a small, wry grin when we reveal that we have a psychiatric illness. We do not find the symptoms, the therapy, the medication, the limitations – the bipolar life – amusing. Not to ourselves and certainly not for the amusement of others.

It is also offensive that he spoke of people who “claim” to have bipolar disorder. There is some debate about whether he meant “claim” in the sense of “say they have but not necessarily truthfully” or in the sense of “own the reality of and identify with,” and, to be fair, since the post was intended as poetry, it could be both.

Although “bipolar” is popular shorthand for someone who has ordinary mood swings, making free with the term “bipolar” is like comparing someone who’s in a bad mood with someone who is clinically depressed. We wouldn’t claim it (in either sense) if it weren’t so.

That’s enough to be upset about, but I think the rest of the post was troubling as well. OM portrayed himself as “multipolar,” implying that his multipolar life is a source of his depth of feeling and writing prowess.

The author thereby denigrates others who struggle with bipolar disorder yet try to create meaning. Many of us write, blog, draw, sculpt, or otherwise avail ourselves of creative outlets. For OM to think that his supposed extreme affliction makes him more creative, a better wordsmith, a creator of higher art than anyone with ordinary bipolar disorder is insulting.

Saying that his condition is multipolar as opposed to bipolar gets us into a game of “Whose life sucks the most?” (The loser is also the winner.) We are to think that no one has suffered as he does, and that no one is a comparable artist. It’s a version of the humble-brag – I’m worse off than you and I’m also better than you.

Of course the author has the right to believe as he does and to say what he does. I would not have him stop writing. But those of us who felt his words as wounds are entitled to speak up as well. Though he has a much larger platform than most of us, his words are not automatically more powerful than ours.

This is my opinion. Others differ. Here’s the link (http://aopinionatedman.com/2015/12/02/journal-entry-4/) so you can read and decide for yourself how you feel about it. He has apologized and claimed he meant no harm, and has been bashed and trolled, which is not my intention. Think of this as literary criticism from a former English teacher. As always, YMMV.


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, blogging, creativity, OM, poetry, public perception, writing

Home with Curly Jones

Green Bean and Mary went to a rollerskating birthday party.  Neither of us wanted to chase Curly Jones around a roller skating rink so I stayed home with him.  I could see him running out onto the rink, ignoring everyone else, and really getting hurt.

After a lunch of grilled cheese and Cool Whip for dessert (this is not your child) I put Curly Jones "down for a nap".  This means turning the light off, singing a song, locking the door, and hoping he falls asleep.  If he gets upset or is still not asleep after 30-45 minutes we let him out.

I imagine the idea of putting a child in a locked room for nap and at night sounds pretty monstrous.  It might even be illegal?  If so, hopefully law enforcement has better things to do.  A few years ago I would have agreed such a thing made me a hideous parent.  I probably would have denied I would ever do such a thing.  We did not do such things with Green Bean.  We repeatedly took him back to bed when it was time for a nap.  We had a baby gate but did not lock the door at night.  But Curly Jones is a different child.  There are huge safety concerns during the night.  He might leave his bedroom and could go any number of places.  He can climb over the counter and get into the kitchen if you're not watching.  He might even have an idea of how to get the door to the garage open but doesn't want to really go through it in case we catch him.  So in the middle of the night, with plenty of time, without us watching, there is no way of knowing what he might try or what he is already capable of.  If he got out of the house, he is determined to make it to the neighbor's pool.  He got out the front door once and ran straight to their gate.

The Difference a Day Makes

q2My friends, don’t ever let me take normal Seroquel during the day. Hell, stop me from taking extended release during the day too probably — it makes me a zombie so badly. I know that this is common, and I’ve had it before, but I felt like I had to try taking it again during the day to thump at depression. I said that a few days ago when I finally managed to rub enough brain power together to make a post. But man, that first morning back to taking it not in the morning? I had over a thousand words (my two daily writing tasks) and a good and proper bath under my belt in under two hours. It was magnificent.

I also spent some of that time trying to find where Seroquel extended release was suddenly problematic to issue, and instead finding that switching someone from extended release to normal release is a 95% savings. Yeah um… I’ve got to say a big dual middle finger dance to that. I understand that the NHS is under strain, but seriously. I lost a month of my life. Again. Trying to do the right thing in taking my meds. I know I’m not the only one who has suffered thusly. I am pretty determined at this point to make sure that my psychiatrist double red underlines makes sure that they are to give me extended release so I have both the support that Seroquel gives me (which zombie aside, is a lot), and actually be able to do things like washing dishes. Yes, my level of functionality was cut that far to the bone (not hard to do, since chronic fatigue means I’m not exactly highly functional anyways).


 

For now, I’m feeling okay. My sleep is firming back up, which is grand; having moved part of the Seroquel to the morning time meant that what I was taking at night didn’t have the same oomph. I don’t think I am feeling any more or less depressed, and I think whatever hypomania that Dr. K was concerned about (enough to put me on the Depakote) has mellowed out. Which is to say, I am feeling cautiously optimistic about the now? I’m still annoyed that I’ve not heard about when my next appointment is to be… not enough to pick up a phone (evil things), but also feeling well enough that I’m not too worried at this second about waiting. It also helps that winter is my favourite season and having kids makes the whole Christmas-is-coming thing a bit more fun.

And anyways, even with a rude-ass computer today, I’m feeling fairly bright. I definitely can’t complain, so I won’t. Hope all of y’all are doing okay, and that for those with SAD, that it isn’t biting too hard.

<3

Guest Blog: Lola Bipola

Originally posted on Our Lived Experience:
Tēnā koutou, Sanibonani, Hello, Howzit ek sê Greetings from the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa/New Zealand. I’m an ex-pat South African originally hailing from (I’m sure my greetings may have tipped you off) KwaZulu-Natal, living in New Zealand for the past 6 years. I was honoured to…

Guest Blog: Lola Bipola

Tēnā koutou, Sanibonani, Hello, Howzit ek sê Greetings from the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa/New Zealand. I’m an ex-pat South African originally hailing from (I’m sure my greetings […]