Daily Archives: March 1, 2016

Sand

My brain is built upon the sand... (short poem)

Mental Health Update

So I went to my therapist yesterday and talked about anger and stress. She told me the best thing to do with anger is verbalize it in a healthy way so as not to internalize it and let it grow into something big, like it had before I went to the hospital.  I had let myself get angry about some of my life choices in 2004 and what has happened since then, so I was dealing with some big-time anger issues and we’re going to develop a plan to work on that.

Saw my psychiatrist today and no one had gotten him the information that I was in the hospital last week.  So he was unpleasantly surprised by that.  But I assured him I was better, back on my Abilify, and that they had gotten the insurance to pay for it.  So he said he was glad of that and hoped I continued to do well.  WE made  a  follow up appointment for three months and I was on my way.

Been a long day.  I need to work on my schoolwork but have had trouble with motivation. I don’t’ know why I’m so slow about it this week.  I haven’t felt like settling down to reading anything.  But I’ll get it done.

Happy Hump Day tomorrow!

 

 


Pets on Parade

We lost a cat this week. Sarah. She was a really good cat…white with blue eyes. But she got old. Twelve years. It was time. I said good-bye and my husband was nice enough to take her to the vet. I miss her, but we have plenty of other pets. Three dogs and three cats. Two of the cats are not my fault. One was my mother’s and one is my son’s. I think we are close to being on TV as “pet hoarders”.

I just got back from my psychiatrist’s office. Sometimes I think that is a waste of time. He could just phone in more meds. Maybe that would work. He wants me to keep a calendar of anxiety and mood levels. This is to help know how the Rexulti is doing. I’m on 1.0 on the Rexulti but the 1.0 has only been three days. It needs more time.

My psychologist says this blog is a good place to unload. So here we go: I am sick of being sick. I have some situational depression and would like to have a pity party. I can’t really do this with friends so I will do it with you. (Actually, I consider you guys friends….) I have been wondering what my life would have been like without my absent and/or shitty parents. I wonder what my life would have been without mental illness.

Of course, I am old enough to know that most people had bad childhoods. Apparently, not many people knew how to parent. If you had a meal and a roof over your head that was good enough.

I also wonder what life would have been like with some money. Not wealth, but enough to go to a fancy college and have parental support. Or join a sorority. That kind of stuff that other kids were able to do. But this is a pity party. I’m sure lots of you had it worse.

But most of all, I imagine life without mental illness. I would not have lost so many friends. (I just lost a good one so am a bit sensitive there.) I would have been more successful at jobs. I might have been able to go to law school. I would have been a better principal and not so subject to the whims of stress.

I feel like my life is over. I have nothing more to achieve other than perhaps to be a good wife, mother, and possibly grandmother. I can still be a good friend if they don’t all wander off because I am afraid to leave the house to see them. Most all of them have bent over backwards to keep things going.

I am off the couch a little more and have been taking more showers. But I get so tired.

I took my daughter for a spa day on Saturday. We got massages and hung around by the pool. It was great and she appreciated it. I hung in there and stayed as long as she wanted. She teaches school and has a spring break coming up. I made a list of things we might both do together. She is good company.

I also have been playing a board game called “Pandemic- Legacy”. My husband has a friend who is crazy about board games. They needed another warm body so I am doing it. It’s fun but extremely complicated, at least for me.

I went to church Sunday. It seems like every week I meet someone nice there. They’re having a garage sale and I plan on going to help. I hope there is some good junk to buy. I love to get a few things at garage sales.

I wanted to say how much it has helped to read around here on the different mental health blogs. It is as though many of them are writing for me. Fellow sufferers just can’t be beat.

I’m still becoming more home bound. I just don’t like to go many places. I see concerts and things I might like to go to, but then I think of being scared to ride or drive there. I think of getting too tired.

I have a forlorn looking quilt sitting on my sewing table. It just needs a border. But it has been waiting and right now I have given up. It just doesn’t seem very fun. It is a pretty quilt, though, and I hope I can get back to it. My book has also taken a big hit. I had some support to do that, but I lost that and it just seems pointless. But that sounds like depression talking, right?

As my doctor says, at least I am not seeing or hearing things right now. That’s a big improvement.

Back to the friend thing, I applaud all of you who hang with us mentally ill folks. It must be really hard to understand if you’ve never been psychotic. Or to listen to someone who is depressed, when maybe you don’t see anything to be depressed about. Or maybe to put up with someone cancelling because they are scared to go out.

My husband is cheerful. He puts up with all of this in a positive way. It helps a lot that he is semi-retired and doesn’t have to go to the office every day. He is just one of those people who have been blessed with a positive chemical balance. He is damned lucky.

So now that I have had my pity party, I hope you are still speaking to me.

love to all,

lily

 

 

Happiness

Happiness abounds. Granted, I’m not experiencing happiness to the level of the picture above, but I’ve been doing pretty damn well for a while now. I’m savoring it the best I can, My gut response is to give credit to the meds, but I haven’t had a change in meds in quite some time now, […]

The post Happiness appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

What’s Mental Illness Got to Do With Success?

 You can read the whole article if you click on the link below. For me the most important thing in the article is what I have put in quotes below. And the sentence I’ve made bold is what I’m trying to achieve, and therefore it talks loudly to me. It’s not easy to recognize why you do the things you do, and keep on doing even when they are counterproductive. It’s only when you stop and examine your behavior, that’s when you realize the source of your behavior. And when you can pin it down, then you are able to change it. So that’s what I’ve been doing examining some things, some behaviors, actions, trying to understand where they come from and  once understood then I can stop engaging in those behaviors. And that is true change. To start out with being oblivious as to why you are doing certain things, that’s where you start, then you go onto trying to understand why you’re doing something, then you get some understanding and then you make a change. That is pretty revolutionary! I would say that is pretty inspirational, that you can change something, a behavior based on childhood trauma, (let’s say abandonment by your father or abuse by your mother.) That is the change I am capable of, it is the change we are all capable of! And that is success!

“The challenge, then, is twofold. The first part: Helping those suffering from mental illness learn to recognize, and then harness, their illness to their benefit. The second: To encourage an open dialogue that’ll encourage those who suffer to talk about their struggles in a way that encourages others to get the help they need if and when they need it. Certainly, these are minds that have the capability of imparting real change, both in themselves and in others.”

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/whats-mental-illness-got_b_9272768.html


Socially Selective Versus Anti-Social

Let’s face it. I watch way too much true crime TV shows. Deadly Women, 48 Hours, Dateline, 20/20, Deadly Sins, Behind Mansion Walls, Forensic Files, et al. It’s not an obsession so much as a psychological interest. If you think about it…What does make a person snap? We with mood disorders are considered “crazy” yet a large percentage of those who have committed murder…do not have an underlying mental condition aside from personality disorders. It is interesting for me, with my cornucopia of diagnoses, my fucked up family and upbringing, and some of the shit hands life has dealt and yet…I’ve never hurt anyone physically. So what causes the line to be crossed if it isn’t simple mental illness or bad nurture?

Most Evil claims it’s often a trifecta of brain injury, mental illness, and a traumatic upbringing.

And the number one shared diagnoses of almost every serial killer…”anti social personality disorder”.  I find this a complete misnomer. As the douchebaggery simpleton manual is constantly evolving, the terms we’ve long known evolve as well. Anti social is no longer synonymous with being a loner or shy. It literally means that you hate society and think you are above it, that the rules don’t apply to you.

So I want to banish the term “anti social” as it is applied to me by my own mother and society as a whole, simply because I am “selectively social”.  I am a loner. I’ve never killed anyone or bombed anything. (And FYI, most serial killers are known to own/carry a copy of Catcher in the Rye and that book bored me into a coma. Just saying.)  I have to make choices based on my mood cycle and anxiety level as to how much social contact I can handle. Some days, I am a whirlwind and feel like a badass. Other days I feel sad and nervous and meek and can barely handle a cat meowing at me, let alone hold a conversation with a person. If overloaded with stimuli, especially social, at that time, it can cause a downward spiral. I make an informed and intelligent choice not to put myself into a position that makes splat inevitable.

This does not mean I hate society. (My misanthropy is aimed solely at mean people.) I do not think I am better than anyone else. I believe the rules apply to me same as everyone else. I do not view murder as “ha, one more asshole dead, good.” While I do have a “fuck you” attitude and I am a rebel…it is never aimed at anyone specifically but at notions I find offensive or cannot grasp.

When able…I have friends. I go to cook outs, drink wine, watch Dr Who and such. I go out, do things. Talk on the phone.

I simply cannot help that my disorders give me limited resources so I have to be socially selective. In this case, “It’s not you, it really is me.”

Unless you’re a mean person who tortures animals in which case I hope you die screaming.

(And I make no apologies for that statement even if it makes me a bad person. I have lines that cannot be crossed and cruelty to animals or children are it. PERIOD.)

So in closinganti social is OUT. My brother in law hates the world (he got fired once and signed his final paycheck “fuck you” but couldn’t figure out why they gave him a bad reference) yet he will have four to five gamer friends over seven nights a week. HE is the epitome of anti social all the while being very social.

Those of us who have limited resources and choose to be selectively social…It’s not a disorder. It’s just survival.

 


Seeing Bipolar Disorder as an Energy Disorder

I am not a medical doctor; my primary care physician would be delighted to hear me admit this.  After having a disorder for 60 years, however, one begins to know things.  Just to be safe, though, I will preface all of this with the caveat that, what I am about to say applies to me, and may not be true for other people.
Bipolar disorder (for me) is primarily an energy disorder.  (I thank my former psychiatrist for explaining the energy disorder view, to me.)  Tendencies to be brilliant and creative or, conversely, financially irresponsible, when manic, depend on circumstances.  If I am working as a programmer, I create highly-efficient and complex algorithms and code at lightning speed.  Likewise, at the bottom end of a cycle, I can be sad, lacking in faith or hope, or even suicidal, if circumstances are dire or weighing heavily on me.  If circumstances are okay, my down times find me tired, disinterested, or vegetative...but not despairing or suicidal; My energetic times find me getting my housework done, easily and cheerfully.  If I'm in high energy state, I can clean all night.
This perspective on the bipolar condition gives me a vantage point from which to address 'mood swings' with strategies that do not include medication...as long as I remain aware.  For example, if I am full of energy, exuberant, optimistic, and the future looks only bright, I need to stay home and off of the retail web sites.  At those times, my high energy and optimism flies on ahead without consideration of budget and ramifications.  Mania does not cause me to over-spend; it obscures or glosses-over the reality of my limited resources.  In truth, my mood is not swinging, my pocketbook is.
Conversely, if I am sad, depressed, and see no hope in my future, there is truth behind my emotions.  A year ago, I saw no change, no improvement, in my prospects. The shock of losing my job last summer, however, put me in the hospital for a week and a half, during which time I entertained the idea of change and possibilities.  My children are now launched and so am I.  I am comfortable, secure, have a lot of (but not too much) hope and optimism about my life here at 5022 and so, when I am swinging through a low-energy period, I am merely low on energy.
Interestingly, other ailments seem to follow the energy cycles, as well.  I had severe IBS before being diagnosed bipolar.  When I started taking the correct medication for the bipolar disorder, the IBS leveled-off and has seemingly, gone away.  (An aside: when I was put on the wrong medication for me, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, not just by symptoms; I had the tell-tale type of tissue present in my intestines.  Colonoscopies since then, have shone no such tissue.)
Another disorder, that I still suffer from, that also follows the swings of energy level, is fibromyalgia.  When I am in a low energy state, I usually also hurt all over.  (I have been carefully diagnosed; I have the usual overly-sensitive places on my body, typical of the disorder.)  If the low energy state lasts long enough, accompanied by the seemingly-constant pain of fibromyalgia, I can get discouraged, and feel without hope...the result, a depressed mood.  Chronic pain can bring on disappointment and a loss of hope or faith, in anyone.
Bipolar disorder does not make me sad or depressed; it is the lack of energy that I need to deal with stressful situations, or need in order to concentrate, or need to be creative that is what makes me sad.
My strategy (for me, remember) is to be aware of my circumstances and my energy.  Some activities or tasks are better left for a 'higher-energy' day.  Shopping is better left for those in-between days when my energy level is not too high or too low.  (In fact, I have been known to buy things that are not necessary out of anger or in defiance of my low-energy state.)
In my previous essays, I suggest many other strategies that I used before I looked at Bipolar Disorder as an energy thing.  I believe they are still relevant, but seeing the disorder as an energy issue removes the common, yet unwarranted and damaging viewpoint that Bipolar Disorder is a character flaw...that bipolar people are bad people.  (I will go so far as to add that if a bipolar person is dangerous or destructive to others, there is something else going on in addition to the bipolar disorder....in spite of what Hollywood may lead you to believe.)
I have chosen to wean myself off of bipolar medications.  At one point, I was taking 3  or 4 different bipolar medications, along with others prescribed to address side-effects, as a "cocktail," a commonly used term describing the mixture of a variety of ingredients taken together toward the desired result.  I have had to stop most of my medications over the last 2 to 3 years, under close medical supervision, because of adverse effects of taking those medications over a long period of time.  Then, once I began moving (and my prospects improved), I weaned myself off of the final medication, over a 6-week period.  I avoid energy influencing foods and drinks (like sugar and caffeine), avoid artificial flavors and colors, and eat foods and take supplements known to be good for nerves, blood sugar, and brain function.  Adequate sleep and exercise are crucial, as well.
Again, I am not a doctor; I don't even play one on TV.  But, and this is a BIG BUT, when I prayed to Jesus, directly, to heal me of Bipolar Disorder, I believe one aspect of His healing was to show me how to look at my energy and my circumstances as separate factors which work in compound to affect my feelings, thoughts, and behavior.  My energy swings have been easily recognizable and manageable since praying to Him.  And He has encouraged me to pass along to others what I have observed for myself.  I hope this is encouraging if not helpful to others who suffer with the disorder.  Like a medical doctor (which I am not) it is my intention to "Do No Harm..." and to God be the Glory.

Seeing Bipolar Disorder as an Energy Disorder

I am not a medical doctor; my primary care physician would be delighted to hear me admit this.  After having a disorder for 60 years, however, one begins to know things.  Just to be safe, though, I will preface all of this with the caveat that, what I am about to say applies to me, and may not be true for other people.
Bipolar disorder (for me) is primarily an energy disorder.  (I thank my former psychiatrist for explaining the energy disorder view, to me.)  Tendencies to be brilliant and creative or, conversely, financially irresponsible, when manic, depend on circumstances.  If I am working as a programmer, I create highly-efficient and complex algorithms and code at lightning speed.  Likewise, at the bottom end of a cycle, I can be sad, lacking in faith or hope, or even suicidal, if circumstances are dire or weighing heavily on me.  If circumstances are okay, my down times find me tired, disinterested, or vegetative...but not despairing or suicidal; My energetic times find me getting my housework done, easily and cheerfully.  If I'm in high energy state, I can clean all night.
This perspective on the bipolar condition gives me a vantage point from which to address 'mood swings' with strategies that do not include medication...as long as I remain aware.  For example, if I am full of energy, exuberant, optimistic, and the future looks only bright, I need to stay home and off of the retail web sites.  At those times, my high energy and optimism flies on ahead without consideration of budget and ramifications.  Mania does not cause me to over-spend; it obscures or glosses-over the reality of my limited resources.  In truth, my mood is not swinging, my pocketbook is.
Conversely, if I am sad, depressed, and see no hope in my future, there is truth behind my emotions.  A year ago, I saw no change, no improvement, in my prospects. The shock of losing my job last summer, however, put me in the hospital for a week and a half, during which time I entertained the idea of change and possibilities.  My children are now launched and so am I.  I am comfortable, secure, have a lot of (but not too much) hope and optimism about my life here at 5022 and so, when I am swinging through a low-energy period, I am merely low on energy.
Interestingly, other ailments seem to follow the energy cycles, as well.  I had severe IBS before being diagnosed bipolar.  When I started taking the correct medication for the bipolar disorder, the IBS leveled-off and has seemingly, gone away.  (An aside: when I was put on the wrong medication for me, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, not just by symptoms; I had the tell-tale type of tissue present in my intestines.  Colonoscopies since then, have shone no such tissue.)
Another disorder, that I still suffer from, that also follows the swings of energy level, is fibromyalgia.  When I am in a low energy state, I usually also hurt all over.  (I have been carefully diagnosed; I have the usual overly-sensitive places on my body, typical of the disorder.)  If the low energy state lasts long enough, accompanied by the seemingly-constant pain of fibromyalgia, I can get discouraged, and feel without hope...the result, a depressed mood.  Chronic pain can bring on disappointment and a loss of hope or faith, in anyone.
Bipolar disorder does not make me sad or depressed; it is the lack of energy that I need to deal with stressful situations, or need in order to concentrate, or need to be creative that is what makes me sad.
My strategy (for me, remember) is to be aware of my circumstances and my energy.  Some activities or tasks are better left for a 'higher-energy' day.  Shopping is better left for those in-between days when my energy level is not too high or too low.  (In fact, I have been known to buy things that are not necessary out of anger or in defiance of my low-energy state.)
In my previous essays, I suggest many other strategies that I used before I looked at Bipolar Disorder as an energy thing.  I believe they are still relevant, but seeing the disorder as an energy issue removes the common, yet unwarranted and damaging viewpoint that Bipolar Disorder is a character flaw...that bipolar people are bad people.  (I will go so far as to add that if a bipolar person is dangerous or destructive to others, there is something else going on in addition to the bipolar disorder....in spite of what Hollywood may lead you to believe.)
I have chosen to wean myself off of bipolar medications.  At one point, I was taking 3  or 4 different bipolar medications, along with others prescribed to address side-effects, as a "cocktail," a commonly used term describing the mixture of a variety of ingredients taken together toward the desired result.  I have had to stop most of my medications over the last 2 to 3 years, under close medical supervision, because of adverse effects of taking those medications over a long period of time.  Then, once I began moving (and my prospects improved), I weaned myself off of the final medication, over a 6-week period.  I avoid energy influencing foods and drinks (like sugar and caffeine), avoid artificial flavors and colors, and eat foods and take supplements known to be good for nerves, blood sugar, and brain function.  Adequate sleep and exercise are crucial, as well.
Again, I am not a doctor; I don't even play one on TV.  But, and this is a BIG BUT, when I prayed to Jesus, directly, to heal me of Bipolar Disorder, I believe one aspect of His healing was to show me how to look at my energy and my circumstances as separate factors which work in compound to affect my feelings, thoughts, and behavior.  My energy swings have been easily recognizable and manageable since praying to Him.  And He has encouraged me to pass along to others what I have observed for myself.  I hope this is encouraging if not helpful to others who suffer with the disorder.  Like a medical doctor (which I am not) it is my intention to "Do No Harm..." and to God be the Glory.

When Erratic Energy meets with Despair

This is where it gets dicey.  If you are familiar with bipolar disorder, you have probably heard the term 'mixed states.' You probably also know that suicide is attempted more often when the sufferer is considered 'agitated.'
In terms of energy, the state of 'mixed state' can best be described ( in my view) as rapidly changing and erratic.  Think of problems with the power lines when the lights flicker or glow brighter than usual, power surges cause appliances and electronics to pop and trip breakers, and computers don't know what to do and often shut down.
If you are attempting to monitor your energy, in conjunction with circumstances, it is nearly impossible to gauge.  At times like that, the state of your circumstances governs what you should do.  For example, if circumstances are okay, walking or meditation may be helpful to even out the energy.  Avoiding problematic situations (shopping, conversations which can go awry, or dealing with potentially stressful issues) is probably a good idea.
If circumstances suck, the combination of that with erratic energy can be dangerous.  Psychiatrists use the term "agitation" to describe the feelings of confusion, despair, hopelessness and panic...and all kinds of red flags fly up. Inappropriate outbursts at just about any frustration are likely.  Poor concentration and the inability to put things in perspective can lead to suicidal thoughts.
It is my suggestion to first 'table' all concern for the circumstances, if possible.  My table of choice is at the feet of Jesus.  Then get thoughts about the circumstances out of your head.  Write them down if you feel the need to keep track of the details but do what you must to quiet your mind.
Then, address the energy.  If it is intense, find a way to release some.  I listen to music that makes me cry...and I usually listen to it really really loud.  The first audition of Charlotte and Jonathan singing "My Prayer," does it for me; or Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" (The premier performance by Arturo Toscanini, if you can find it); or "Bring Him Home" (Colm Wilkinson or Alfie Boe); Nessun Dorma (Pavarotti or, a personal favorite, Alfie Boe "warbles a bit").  I even cry when listening to "NASA's Orion Space Launch set to Interstellar Soundtrack (the 1st one listed)"
But, I digress.  The idea is to expel some energy in a safe and healthy way...and I think crying is healthy.
Before picking the circumstances back up, if you must, you should assess your energy.  If your energy is too low to deal with the issues, and if they can wait, let them wait.  Napping is good.
If circumstances are dire, you need to establish a safe situation for yourself.  Call someone who has experience with such matters.  Let someone, someone who will respond with compassion and strength, know what you are going through. Do not go through it alone.  Being aware of His presence will help, but if your thinking is distorted, your perception of His voice may be, too.
If you do not feel safe, take yourself to the hospital; let someone else do the thinking for a while.  You need to build up your strength so you can see things clearly again, so you can accurately assess your energy and your options and make good choices.
Jesus is there; help is available; you are not alone.  I know what of I speak.

A short post summing up why I dislike Facebook

I have been reading up more on corticosteroids and mental illness, but I’m not going to post about that today. I’m going to make a short post which sums up why I am not making long posts on Facebook anymore.

When I spend 45+ minutes writing and thinking about a post, no one ever responds to it in any way. And then it disappears from everyone’s feed anyway.

When I spend 4.5 seconds reposting nonsense about people eating from fake asses in Japan, people respond to it right away.

ass

And that’s why I won’t be spending any time on anything I post on Facebook from this point on. Not only do people not read or respond to it, but Facebook keeps most people from seeing any given post, anyway, so it’s a horrendous waste of my time to put any effort into posting there.

I’m not disrespecting the people on my friends list, I’m just pointing out that this is the type of interaction that Facebook encourages.