Daily Archives: May 15, 2016

Aloneness *ya I know it’s not a word*

Today I feel like basically just chillin’ not having to entertain any one or any dog. Just kind of want to sit in my own head and listen to dance music. You know kind of be one with my aloneness.

Normally I crave so much attention and honestly rarely ask for the amounts I truly want.  I’m sure hubby wouldn’t mind but he needs his own space as well. He likes to play games that basically take a lot of focus. Something I don’t have, ha!

So we’ll do our own thing and hug once in a while in the middle and it’s really nice.


Faith-Full Sunday – “Strong Enough”

One of my favourite verses is Philippians 4:13 “I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength.” Now, when I first read the verse, I thought it meant I could do EVERYTHING as long as I believed in Christ. … Continue reading

A Bipolar Child

I suppose I was a bipolar child. I don’t really know, but I assume I was, because now I’m a bipolar adult.

I think I was more of a depressed child, which actually makes sense, since I have bipolar 2, with depressive episodes far outnumbering hypomanic ones. There were some times, though, when I would laugh loudly and inappropriately in class, triggered by a word that reminded me of something funny I’d read. There were times I’d walk around with a village-idiot grin because of some minor accomplishment like winning a live goldfish at a school fair.

Depressed child with toyBut mostly I remember misery. Tears. Loneliness. Hysterics. Confusion. Isolation. Hurt. Despair.

I’m fairly sure my depression wasn’t reactive, mostly, although parts of it surely were. The bullying, betrayals by friends, not understanding social conventions – all these were things that could easily make a person depressed, regardless of brain biochemistry.

But by and large my life was what would be considered pretty damned idyllic. I had stable, loving parents, a comfortable home in the suburbs with good schools, all the food I wanted, and as many toys as I could play with. I had a sister and a neighborhood full of children my age, but I remember being perpetually lonely. I had a good education, but looking back I realize that my illness prevented me from getting the most from it. There was no sexual or physical abuse or neglect. No one close to me died or suffered major trauma, at least until I was in high school and my parents suffered illnesses. Even then, they did a good job of keeping life as normal as possible. At the time we never felt it was a tragedy. It was just something we got through together.

That just leaves endogenous depression. Or at least the depression half of bipolar disorder. I remember one day walking home from elementary school and thinking, “All these houses look so pretty, but the people in them aren’t all happy.” It was somewhat of a revelation to me.  I had several major meltdowns, which I’ve written about before, and hundreds of smaller depressive episodes (http://wp.me/p4e9Hv-6J). I had nervous twitches and tics, and was prescribed Valium for them.

During my high school years, it was suggested that perhaps I ought to go to the school district’s psychologist. (This was probably during the episodes of inappropriate laughter in class.) My parents, who were not really familiar with mental illness and psychiatry, asked me if I wanted to go. I didn’t. I probably should have, although back then – the seventies – it’s fairly unlikely that I would have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, of any type. I might have gotten some help for the depression, though. They might have taken me off the Valium.

Like most lonely and misunderstood kids, and perhaps most depressive children, I found my salvation in books. They were friends, distractions, instruction manuals on how to survive, food for my emptiness, a place to lose myself when the world was too much with me. By and large it worked, at least as well as anything could – a self-prescribed and self-regulated form of instinctual bibliotherapy.

These were not books on how to make friends, or ones that promised to teach a child how to cope with emotions. They were for the most part pure escapism. Fantasy and science fiction, mysteries and adventures, literature and bestsellers – a complete mishmash of classics and trash. Those were my doctors, my therapists, my Prozac, my mood stabilizers.

I look back now on myself as a child – mentally disordered, undiagnosed, untreated – and wonder how I survived  as much as I did.

If I were a child these days, would I get the help that I needed then? Would my parents recognize that I was not just odd and unhappy, but mentally ill? Would I have been diagnosed properly? Medicated properly? Counseled properly?

With all that needs to go right and all that can go wrong during the process, it feels like getting help for a bipolar child certainly was – and perhaps still is –pretty much of a crapshoot. I made it through, but I hope it’s easier for a kid like me these days.

 


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: anxiety, bipolar disorder, bipolar type 2, books, bullying, childhood depression, coping mechanisms, depression, mental health, mental illness, my experiences

Well, Here’s an Overdose of Positivity!

And to all a good night. Sleeping Face on Apple iOS 9.3 Sleeping Face on Apple iOS 9.3 Sleeping Face on Apple iOS 9.3

PS I love the GIF’s:-)

WONDERFUL  FUTURE

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” When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ~Haruki Murakami

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“Love without reason—bloom without season.”
― Debasish Mridha


Back to the Garden: My Inner-Hippy, & Me

The twilight after a sunny afternoon: Doncaster, May 2016

The twilight after a sunny afternoon: Doncaster, May 2016

Warnings for: Inner-hippidom; comparative serenity, & rat guts

One of the joys of having a cat about the house & garden again is that they are very good at bringing me down to earth. This cat is a hunter, though until recently we thought he only played with his food. A few days ago – crucially, just before I was due to go out – he made an odd sound which made me think, “Ah, an invader kitty is giving him a hard time.” Being reasonably tender hearted, I opened the back door, only to realise that the reason he was making a weird noise was because he had a rat in his gob.

Oops, indeed. We only found out what had happened to the rat the next morning, when my husband pointed out a slug-sized, black bit of gut, just behind my desk chair.

“What’s that next to it?” I asked my husband.

“Looks like a foot to me,” he replied.

Cheers, cat.

The captain of his soul. Also, feet.

The captain of his soul. Also, feet.

Our garden is more wild than wildlife garden. Whilst we do get a lot of wildlife in the form of medium to small birds, as well as bees, and insects, it doesn’t have the lovely, cottage garden look that “wildlife garden” conjures up. It also lacks a pond, though that’s mainly because I’m lazy, & have little in the way of engineering skills.

Very few creatures other than me, the cat, the previously mentioned “invader kitties”, and the birds & the bees ever visit, so from late spring til late autumn, it can serve as a sort of extra room. One overlooked by the back windows of our near neighbours, who I hope have better things to do than look at a middle aged woman doing a spot of early morning garden in her dressing gown, and favourite bunny pjs.

With only today to go til I’m off for a week, I’m looking forward to letting my inner hippie have a bit of a run, which means spending time in the garden, and tidying up an area where I like to burn candles, and joss sticks.

I’m also having surgery for early breast cancer, including removal of a lymph gland. I’m looking forward to the post surgery. Not the potential hurling, and/or flaking out: no, the part where they say “You can go home now, Mrs North,” and they don’t see me for dust.

My hatred for hospitals was honed to new spade sharpness thanks to my first few admissions to the local psychiatric ward. Which, unfortunately, was located in the same part of the hospital where the breast cancer care unit is now. One stairwell seems unchanged from when it was a psyche ward. Whilst the pictures are gone, and the smells aren’t the same, that aura of misery, and feeling of being trapped, still remains.

Post surgery, I’ve been warned not to do any heavy lifting for a month or so. Which is why I have an imminent date with some tomato plants, and my 2nd attempt at a wildflower patch. It won’t look like this:

Chatsworth gardens: September 2015

Chatsworth gardens: September 2015

For starters, our garden hasn’t Chatsworth style garden statues, not to mention the space, and staff. I am quite fond of Spook, who was a gift from friends.

Spook! plus bird feeder

Spook! plus bird feeder

The old wok in the picture to the left was our bird bath for many years, but was retired when I bought a genuine bird bath from the RSPB. The new bath is waiting for me to clean it, and set it up properly again.

The part of me I refer to as my inner – sometimes, wannabe – hippy loves my time in our garden, small, scruffy, and unplanned though it may be. It’s full of herbs, and periwinkles, and – when I put the food out, and the weather’s right – blackbirds, sparrows, starlings, collared doves, blue tits, and great tits.

We even have a pair of robins who visit regularly. The male is getting quite bold, too.

The garden has almost always been good for my mental health: if I’m hypomanic, it’s a safe place to burn off some energy, without fear of pissing people off. If I’m low, it can lift my spirits, whether by doing some actual gardening, writing outside, or simply being a someplace for a quiet cuppa.

Whether your hippy is an inner or outer one; whether you have a garden of your own, or a nearby park or wood you like to visit, I wish you joy this springtime morning.

Cock robin surveys his territory: Spring 2016

Cock robin surveys his territory: Spring 2016

Tagged: bipolar, breast cancer, Cancer, cats, gardens, hippies, mental health, nature, psychiatric ward

Spring, Summer, and the Winds of Change…

Unseasonably cold here in Louisville, the radiators are on! Spring was here momentarily and it looked like summer was close on its heels, but the mercury has dipped and we’re wearing jackets again. I’ll be going to Buffalo soon for my darling son’s graduation from Law school, a dream come true! But how time has flown, with its wings of gossamer memories, flying, flying, hurrying into the future. Wish I could stop it for just a second, spend time with this son of mine, know he’ll be close and I’ll be close to him. But I’m being silly, of course, no matter where his young life takes him, I will not be far behind. I am so looking forward to his graduation, I’ll be taking lots of tissues and using water proof mascara, haha. I still think I am in my twenties, now he is in his twenties, and I am the age my parents were when I was in my twenties… well this is getting confusing, and I am simply writing to quell this anxiety that has all of a sudden arisen in my breast. So many days of no anxiety had me a bit spoiled, thinking “Hey it’s gone, the anxiety’s gone!” Yes it was gone for a bit, but now it’s back and I have to conquer it all over again. But I will, I’m sure I will. I have done it so many times before. The last time was the beginning of my play, when I thought I couldn’t learn all the lines, couldn’t memorize all the stage directions, but I did, and it became my most favorite play I’ve done to date. So I know I can do it, conquer, wage war against anxiety and win.

Where does it come from, this anxiety? What molecules in my brain, what second messengers in my neurons start the cascade that results in this ubiquitous anxiety?

Exercise! Tomorrow I’ll exercise and the endorphins will take care of it.

There’s nothing specific, just a feeling of unease, feeling ill at ease, about what? I don’t know, no real enemies to battle, nothing finite.

I’ll be fine. I am fine. My son is fine. Wherever he goes, I will be close behind, making sure he settles into his new life, making sure he has everything he needs, making sure a cleaning lady cleans his place once a week, lol.

Well isn’t this weird and sort of inane… just how I’m feeling, emotional, anxious and perhaps a little troubled, about what, what? The future? Time to read “The Power of Now” again. Eckhart always puts things right, in perspective. I’ll give my fingers and your eyes a break now and go read and meditate. And pack, pack for my trip. Oh and I got my hair bobbed again, love it, no anxiety there!

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Dear Future President,

delpresinsFor a year now, the presidential candidates have been dodging questions about the problem of mental illness in America. Some will bring it up when talking about gun control and others ridicule the mentally ill.

Well, when is the question going to be asked, “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THE PROBLEM FACING AMERICA IN REGARDS TO THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM?”

Donald Trump is going to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out and send the people here illegally back to where they came from. Well, Donald Trump, you can’t keep the mentally ill from entering the United States because many of us are already here legally. You can’t send us back either. Where would you send us?

The mental health facilities are so overcrowded that people can’t get the help they need.

People are too embarrassed to get help because politicians and the media contribute to the stigma that prevents people from getting the help.

People are not educated as to what signs to look for and where to go to get help. One in four people in America have a mental illness- that means that everyone most likely at least knows someone who has a mental illness.

So, what are you going to do Trump, Clinton, and Sanders?

I think the people who have mental illnesses, their families, and anyone who has been affected by a mental illness due to tragedy deserve a right to know.

I can give you some answers since you can’t seem to come up with any of your own. At least if you have, you have not shared them.

1. Ask the mentally ill and their families what is lacking and suggest what could help.

2. Ask the employees at mental health facilities what they see as problems and see how they would fix it

3. Consider bills that are in Congress right now

4. Go visit psychiatric hospitals and see how awful most of them are. The patients are being treated worse than animals and not getting the care they need. The Emergency Rooms are filled with people who can’t get help.

4. Visit the prisons and see how many people who have a mental illness are there instead of a psychiatric facility

5. Stop the revolving door for prisons and hospitals by having inexpensive if not free care after someone leaves

6. Finance things like Medical First Aid, Peer Support Specialists, NAMI, DBSA, and Mental Health Association instead of having them rely on donations

7. Ask other countries what they are doing

8. Revamp NIMH (National Institute for Mental Health)

You can’t just throw money at the problem. You can’t keep dodging questions, you definitely should not add to the stigma like I have heard some of you do. There are 25% of Americans who struggle with mental illnesses and we deserve to know how you would handle the crisis before we cast our votes.

The topic of mental health deserves so much more than any candidate or media outlet gives it.

I suggest you:

-INVESTIGATE

-Ask for solutions from people who are in the trenches

-Do SOMETHING! Talk about SOLUTIONS

-PROMISE that you have things you are going to do to help the mental health system within your first 100 days in office.

I hope to hear the topic of mental illness talked about at the debates and I think that it is not only the responsibility of the politicians, but also the media. Don’t just let them talk about it- Make them come up with a policy as to what they are going to do. It is just as important to America as any other issue.


Plato Says

Music is a moral law.  It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything.  It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, and just, and beautiful. — Plato

Just obeying the Law and creating a modicum of order today with these two.