Daily Archives: June 4, 2016
Filed under: Alcoholism, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Dual Diagnosis, Family, Involuntary Hospitalization, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Psychosis Tagged: anosognosia, denial, family dynamics, lack of insight
He was a boxer, but he was so much more than that! He was born Cassius Clay in Louisville KY, but converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In Pakistan, when I was growing up, in the 60’s (after he’d won the Gold medal in the Olympics,) we were HUGE fans of his. Even our mothers and grandmothers followed him and cheered him on in “The Thrilla in Manila” and the “Rumble in the Jungle.”
He had razor sharp wit, he was a poet, he was a Pacifist and a Humanist.
Some of his best quotes are:
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.”
“I wrestled with an alligator, I tussled with a whale, I handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail, I’m bad man….Last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick,”
“It will be a killer and a chiller and a thriller when I get the gorilla in Manila.”
Don’t count the days, make the days count.”
“Live every day like it’s your last because someday you’re going to be right.”
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
Most likely he got Parkinson’s disease as a result of the rabbit punches to his head while boxing. He battled it for 32 years and last night, at age 74 he succumbed to it.
We loved you Muhammad Ali. You were The Greatest!
In August, I will attend (or at least I registered for and paid to attend) two conferences: #BlogHer16: Experts Among Us in Los Angeles and NAMI California: Back to the Future – Building on the Past for a Better Tomorrow in Burlingame, a suburb of San Francisco near SFO airport.
I’m kind of freaking out, worried about going to the conferences, nervous that I may become overwhelmed and trigger mood cycling (live in too much fear of triggering symptoms). I plan to stay in hotel rooms by myself, for that will enable me to recuperate each day, and will give me somewhere to hide and decompress.
As part of #BlogHer16, I joined the BlogHer Social Media Influencer Network, enrolling four of my social media channels for potential advertising: Facebook (personal profile), Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, and Instagram. This site will remain ad-free (for now).
Using my social media presences to advertise is a completely new thing for me. The ads will be clearly labeled as such (as is legally required). Honestly, not sure how comfortable I feel about it. Testing the waters…
Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health, NAMI, Triggers to Mood Cycling Tagged: #BlogHer16, advertising, anxiety, NAMI California Conference
Anyone remember that commercial (I think it was for Abilify) where the woman was talking about her depression and how it felt like she had to wind herself up like a doll every day….THAT. That’s how I am feeling.
Of course, all people see is me functioning, getting shit done (aside from housework) and that means I am bloody cured and fucking faboo. So much bullshit. Were it not for my kid and cats, I probably wouldn’t even bother winding myself up every day.
That’s not to say I don’t feel a positive difference from the prozac increase. I can tell I’m not as far under the surface as I was. But I AM still under there, kicking and clawing my way to get a breath of air.
So yesterday was “transfer everything from the death trap” day. I dreaded it. I left Spook at my mom’s, braved DMV…and I was there maybe ten minutes. Five minutes to get the insurance swapped out.
Then fucking Hell on Earth trying to remove the plates from the death trap and the Buick because my redneck motherfucking dad and stepmonster put them on using a various assortment of bolts, zip ties, screws, rusted out plate holders…
Literally, I spent TWO damned hours running back and forth to where the death trap is, taking various tools trying to find one that would do the trick. I thought that was bad enough. But NOOOOOO. I went to remove the plates from the Buick, which were secured by hillbilly stepmonster, and spent over an hour with various pliers, screw drivers, I’d have used a fucking sledge hammer if I’d had one. I think I created new curse words to describe that faction of my family. There was no godly reason on any planet why those plates had to be on there that tight. I am far from a weakling but dear god….
So I finally got it all done and spent a half hour picking gravel and leaves off my butt and out of my hair cos I was playing fricking Twister on the ground trying to get leverage to yank those bolts…
Relieved I was. I was also so disgusted I am glad my dad’s not talking to me. I don’t know what his problem is but it’s probably hard to pronounce.
Spook got invited to this big cookout with B and her grandma and the other kids from here. Six lovely hours without any kids driving me nuts. Ya know what I did? Fuck all. I could have showered. Ha, the meds still aren’t making me care about that shit. I could have done dishes, folded laundry, cleaned the floors…I did nothing.
Well, actually, I did stop at a yard sale. And nearly ran screaming out the door when I realized it was my former mother in law having the sale. The one who told her son right in front of me that he could do better than me. She never liked me. I didn’t bolt though. I’m not that same immature girl I was when I married D, I have grown and evolved and I don’t have time for people who can’t acknowledge that. To my shock, she was pleasant enough to ask how I’ve been doing. And true to my hindered social skills, all I could think was, “Doing just fine.” I mean, what else can I say? “Sorry your husband died, he was a wonderful man. Proves evil just lives on.” Yeah, I think that might have crossed some lines so socially stilted it was. Her daughter didn’t say a word, just gave me the evil out. She’s the bitch who wouldn’t let my brother play with her kids because well, he’s related to me and I am evil. Pfft.
I was further irked yesterday when I went to pay the internet bill…and after driving four miles out there…fuckers were at lunch til 2:30. FFS!
Oh and I had this moment of sheer terror and panic because the Buick started bucking and making a noise and it just died. In the middle of the busiest thoroughfare in town. I started it again. It died again. By then all I can think is, “Not again, COMEON!” But it started back up and has been running fine. I don’t even dare mention it to my dad or R. They think the cars are fine and I am the problem. Sure,that absolutely explains why I drove the same car from age 16 to 27. Because I tear them up.
I am so utterly sick of kids running in and out and bickering and screeching. I literally covered my ears earlier it got so bad. I wanted to go all Mad TV Vancome lady and scream, “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” I should send them all packing. But then my kid will be on me like white on rice telling me how evil I am. The other day I wouldn’t let her wear flip flops to church and she told me she doesn’t want me to be her mom anymore.
Feel the frickin’ love.
In further aggravation, the shrink changed my Focalin to generic Ritalin BUT no one bothered to tell me I have to drive six miles out to their office to get the paper script. I mean, he called me Tuesday and made no mention of it. I called Thursday and Jill told me I have to come get it. But I was busy with the car stuff Friday and they close at 11 that day so I gotta wait until Monday, then wait for the pharmacy to fill it…I don’t know if I am just feeling aggro or what.
I know I can’t wait to try this methylphenidate. I’ve never had any ADHD drug but Focalin. I can’t complain, least insurance will pay for this one. So hoping it helps slow down my brain. My body feels comatose and sleepy and yet, my brain bounces around, 100 miles an hour. I can’t remember what I went in the other room to do. Did I feed my kid lunch? Oh wow look at that bunny! People think that’s a joke but it really isn’t. To have such a chaotic brain is not the least bit fun.
Oh…This is rich. I had to email the donor. Spook needs new glasses but they don’t know what part of his plan she’s covered under. I lost his number (probably on purpose) so I emailed three days ago. Not a fucking word. And even better than that is, I emailed my so called divorce lawyer last week and have heard nada from him.
Ain’t life just a bowl full of cherries. Rotting, maggot infested cherries.
Okay. Back to binging the new show I found. It’s called 19-2. After Hemlock Grove, I figured I was up for a good cop drama. Best thing is, it’s Canadian and those people make some damn good TV shows. And some kick ass metal bands, too.
I’d never survive the poutine, though. That’s just narsty.
I’ve been kind of blocking the fact that hubby is leaving Monday for 5 days. Today he brought it up and now I’ve been obsessing about it. I’m so glad my mom in law is coming to stay with me. I don’t know that I could do 4 whole days with no outer contact. I was trying to listen to music but it seemed like every song that came on had something to do with missing someone. I got teary and shut the music off.
The new weed is not that great. It makes me over eat and makes me just want to lounge. I prefer something that keeps my body moving.. ah well.
I’m gonna go spend time with hubby while I can.
These are all valuable but for me #9: Think before you act. That is the one I really need to improve upon. I do think before I act, but I think I don’t think well enough about some of the things I do and how they might affect the people, my friends, who are at the receiving end.
Also “Navigate tough interactions with ease” is so true. Whatever issue you’re having difficulty with with someone else, you have to realize there is a complementary issue in you that is involved!
And the one about opening your heart and listening to feedback that is tough to hear; the feedback is probably tough to hear because it is precisely what you need to hear. Just like the exercises in the gym that you hate are the ones you need the most. Haha.
Also, of course, Focusing on your relationship with yourself and being compassionate and loving towards yourself. This one keeps coming up over and over again in all the “Improve Yourself” articles! One of the VIA, very important advice!
12 Insightful Reflections on How to Change for the Better
Follow this brilliant advice from top wellness experts to help you dig deeper and tap your truest, most beautiful and loving self in the New Year.
January 1, 2016
We all want to evolve. That desire is what drives most of us to work toward becoming better versions of ourselves. Year after year, we painstakingly peel back the layers to get to the heart of who we really are and who we aspire to be. But as anyone who has ever spent time feeling down in the dumps or had a conflict with an irate co-worker knows too well, it can be tough to stay cool, calm, patient, and kind on a regular basis, especially in the face of discomfort.
That’s why we turned to the experts—psychologists, yoga teachers, and meditation masters—for their thoughts on the best practices for getting to the root of negative emotions, taking a look at yourself when you’re blaming others, naming your role in what’s not working in your life, and more. Of course, it’s not easy work. “Your quest for improvement will invite tests for your self-destructive doubting aspects,” says Elena Brower, a yoga and meditation teacher in New York City and author of the newly re-released Art of Attention. “However, if you can see these tests and lessons for the blessings that they are, every new understanding can help you grow.”
Linda Mainquist, co-director for the Center for Leadership Performance at the David Lynch Foundation agrees, though cautions that it can be tempting to get into a not-very-helpful “self-help” mentality. “These days, we seem to make ourselves eternal self-improvement projects, always trying to be better at something and pointing a finger at ourselves,” she says. “When we do this, we are ultimately telling ourselves we’re not good enough.”
Enter these mindful practices, all of which focus on helping you usher in a mentality of loving-kindness toward yourself and others as you continue to walk your own path.
1. Focus on your relationship with you.
“In order to be the best version of yourself, you have to create an ideal relationship with yourself. Cultivating this kind, close relationship with the heart of who you are takes time and is an ever-evolving process, but it is the most nourishing relationship you’ll know. To start, write down your dream for this relationship with yourself. Think of this vision as your root system, which will help you to question and release negative inner dialogue that’s possibly plagued you for years.” – Elena Brower, yoga and meditation teacher in New York City
2. Put together a purpose statement.
“Slapping a smile on your face and thinking happy thoughts isn’t going to make you a nicer, happier person in the long run. To really thrive, it’s crucial to create inner well-being, which will help you exude genuine gratitude, kindness, and joy. Start by asking yourself if you’re living ‘on purpose.’ Are your resolutions for change in line with your gifts, passions, and values? Often we go right to thinking about ‘the how’ of personal change without thinking about ‘the why’ we want to improve. Creating a purpose statement and keeping it front and center in your life will help you focus on fulfilling time, not just filling time.
– Christine Whelan, Ph.D., a professor at the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Creating a purpose statement and keeping it front and center in your life will help you focus on fulfilling time, not just filling time.
3. Stay the course.
“Remind yourself that magic takes guts. If you start wondering, ‘Where’s my spiritual awakening?’ Remember that effecting change takes stamina, especially when you’re not seeing the desired progress right away. Give that loud, noisy voice saying ‘I can’t’ to God, so that you can drop into the quieter and more loving voice that reminds you ‘I can.’ Obstacles are inevitable, but they make you stronger and connect you to your tender heart. This is a process alright, but there’s magic in the repetition.” – Dana Flynn, a yoga instructor at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City and Brooklyn
4. Hone your ability to see yourself in others.
“Take a moment to consider the Laws of Karma. All of us have passed through the same things in the past—perhaps even worse than what we are trying to deal with and seeking to understand now. We have to accept that whatever is happening is perfect, and we have to be patient. Then, with a little bit of compassion (which means to see yourself in others), ask yourself, how can you hurt anyone? How can you criticize anyone? There is no room for this.” – Sri Dharma Mittra, legendary yoga teacher and the model and creator of the Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures
5. Navigate tough interactions with more ease.
“When you’re struggling in your interactions with someone in your life, assume you’re in a dynamic. For any ‘bad’ trait you’re observing in another, you have a complementary one. Figure out what that is, and be ready to own your part in this particular dynamic before you ask the other person to own anything that’s bothering you. Similarly, when someone gives you feedback about you, assume it is valuable, especially if it’s hard to hear. Really take in the comments and make the other person’s reality valid, even if you don’t agree. When you can let yourself feel what another person feels, you are giving the gift you wish to receive—the gift of compassionate listening and a new willingness to collaborate.” – Elena Brower, yoga and meditation teacher in New York City
6. Turn around negative energy.
“Practices that uplift and elevate you can undercut the power of negative emotions and destructive habitual patterns. Such practices might include an inversion—any, from Headstand to Bridge Pose, will do. Flipping your perspective of yourself, others, and the world around you can bring awareness to the base of the pelvic floor by activating mula bandha, which gives rise to a feeling of weightlessness and possibility. Another powerful way to flip perspective is to practice the ancient technique of Skull Shining (kapalabhati), whereby the forceful exhale lifts the diaphragm muscle upward as if it is knocking on the door of the heart, igniting the dormant areas of the brain and, as a result, awakening you to your highest potential.” – Rima Rani Rabbath, yoga teacher at at Jivamukti NYC who leads teacher trainings for Jivamukti Yoga around the world.
7. Be with your heart.
“Sit or stand and simply be with the energy of your heart. Imagine your yogi sisters and brothers right there with you and begin to breathe in and out for everyone. Plug into this living, breathing support system and feel how connected you truly are. Remember, no matter how many times you have thrown love away, it belongs to you. You can open your heart one more time. This is where your real power is—it’s in the power to transform your heart and to love in the midst of great heartache, mad challenges, and difficult humans. A daily heart-centered practice will help you build your spiritual foundation and allow you to bring more energy, sweetness, and forgiveness into your life.” – Dana Flynn, a yoga instructor at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City and Brooklyn
You can open your heart one more time. This is where your real power is—it’s in the power to transform your heart and to love in the midst of great heartache, mad challenges, and difficult humans.
8. Resolve through the 4 Rs.
“Take refuge in the idea that things aren’t just coming at you, but also they are also coming from you. Cultivate a healthy regret toward the ways you have responded to situations in ways that aren’t ideal without beating yourself up. Refrain from setting goals that are too far out since habitual patterns take time to break. Repair a previous misstep either in person or by sending that person your blessings—that’s how much power your thoughts have!” – Rima Rani Rabbath, yoga teacher at at Jivamukti NYC who leads teacher trainings for Jivamukti Yoga around the world
9. Think before you act.
“Patience is important. You have to analyze your thoughts before you put them into action, otherwise you’ll end up hurting someone else and creating bad Karma for yourself as well. Remember, everyone passes through the same thing, the same mistakes. Yoga is to see God—to see love everywhere. How can you see fault in God? Impossible!” – Sri Dharma Mittra, legendary yoga teacher and the model and creator of the Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures
10. Meditate to mediate your emotions.
“Oftentimes when you’re not acting like your better self, you are being reactive rather than responsive. Reactions are quick and usually thoughtless; being responsive is when we’re able to take a step back and ask yourself, ‘How do I want to deal with this?’ There are many ways to create this gap—to get hold of yourself and not react—and meditation is one of them. A meditation practice creates that greater connection with your non-reactive, silent witness and enables you to rise above old scripts, patterns, and injuries, and be better able to choose a new response.” – Linda Mainquist, Co-Director for the Center for Leadership Performance at the David Lynch
11. Get grateful.
“When I am in swimming in negative judgment or self-loathing, my gratitude is very far away. That’s when I reach into the mantra ‘thank you’, and I practice it on the retention of the breath. Breathe in and, at the top of the inhalation, hold your breath gently and say ‘thank you’ to yourself, then exhale.” – Dana Flynn, a yoga instructor at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City and Brooklyn
12. Slow down and show yourself some love.
“Our minds and emotions can go so fast. The kinds of subtle feelings that help you tap into your better self are more quiet and expansive. That’s why simply slowing down can help you access what’s underneath your anger or fear. It gives you some time to just be with yourself. Of course, self-compassion is key here, letting you clue into your specific needs in each moment and also helping you cope when the slowness allows the tough stuff to bubble up. I think there’s a lot of shame that can come up in our lives, which is like a moldy blanket covering up something real. It’s not useful—and self-compassion is the antidote. ‘I feel bad, but I’m not bad.’ That’s the mantra.” – Linda Mainquist, Co-Director for the Center for Leadership Performance at the David Lynch Foundation
By Meghan Rabbitt
I’ve been struggling with some emotions that are too raw and close to the surface lately and I’m worried about my reactions to things. I seem to be on a hair thin trigger these days and my anger levels are right below the surface. I know that the current political landscape, in particular the race for president, is affecting me greatly. But it’s more that that, and I wonder whats going on? It seems worse since I got on this current regimen of Wellbutrin and I wonder if this is one of the subtle hints of fracturing that I’ve experienced before on it, but in more obvious degrees. It’s confusing.
I read an interesting article on mania and anger the other day. A leading psychiatrist here in Seattle said that it was wise to beware of labeling anger as mania in Bipolar disorder because it was more often caused by substance abuse. It’s an interesting theory. I’ve not been diagnosed with substance abuse, but I’ve smoked pot since I was in high school – some 50 years now- so obviously some would say that’s my issue. But I’ve always used it carefully and now it’s strictly medical and I smoke it sparingly. My psychiatrist doesn’t mind and my counselor and ND both suggested I use it. So I don’t put much stock into this notion myself. Denial? Maybe, but I think not…
I believe that it’s more than just that. It’s dreadfully close to wrecking me. It Feels like mania, not just anger. And it’s too sharp and too intense and takes me over so much that even little bits of angst can throw me into a fit of rage where I seriously want to hurt someone or myself or destroy the world. Typical, I guess, but it’s no fun at all. Not like the bright sparkly hypo-manias I’ve had so often in life that inspire me to do good work in the world. This is a destructive mania and I’m afraid of it.
I haven’t had a lot of florid manias in my life. Mostly they’ve been long term experiences where I entered into lands uncharted and tried new things that haven’t been done before. Like creating an innovative non-profit healing arts center with my credit cards, working myself to the bone and finally ending up in bankruptcy and disability. I had a Vision you see but I couldn’t see the whole picture and I ended up in disgrace and struggling with it’s futility. It hurt me badly. It was a 4 year manic episode. And no one even noticed, because I hadn’t been diagnosed yet.
Most of my manias haven’t been that obvious to other people. But they have still been filled with lots of anger and rage, thru my whole life. I can remember times when I was a kid that I would explode in rages that terrified my little brother and caused my parents to label me with ADD as an adult. They told me my anger was palpable and horrible when I was young and had those fits of rage. Sounds like the beginnings of Manic Depression to me, eh? I was a horrible little child I think, tho no one in my family is alive to tell me how bad it really was. I can’t remember much about it but I know I wasn’t a bad kid per se, just angry and unpredictable.
So back to my proposal here. Given my experiences in my life I can’t say what is causing me to be so angry these days. I know I can’t discount the situation in the world. It really does affect me. I’m super empathic and I feel the suffering of others deeply. It hurts me. It also makes me mad. This is a problem and I haven’t figured out what to do about it yet. I hope I can keep it under control but I dunno. I haven’t broken anything or slit my wrists, which I’ve wanted to do many times. I haven’t exploded at Louie or any of my friends. And I actually haven’t hurt myself, except with my thinking, which is bad enough.
I try to calm myself down when I feel this anger growing but it’s very hard to do. I often have to resort to drugs and take some Klonopin, or when it’s really bad, some Abilify, that will knock me on my ass and put me totally out of it. At least it’s better than the rage but it wastes me and I don’t really like that. But it’s better than the anger for sure. If I don’t know where it comes from and what to do to stop it I can at least alleviate it some and that’s good for me. I also use CBT to tell myself to Stop It! But that doesn’t always work out too well. I’m often too far gone, unless I catch it early. Sometime I can, but not always.
I think this is a bit of a manic response to situations that I can’t control and that cause me distress to the point where I crack up and lose it. Or is it just anger? I’m still confused. It’s been there so long, but then maybe I’m just an angry person. I don’t think so tho. No one I know would ever call me that. But I would. I feel it so much. Sometimes I know that my anger is invigorating and it helps me come out of my depressions really well. But this stuff is out of bounds and isn’t connected to reality. It’s troubling. I’m at a loss as to what to do besides trying to just live with it and try my best to deal with it safely for myself and others. So far, so good. Maybe it doesn’t matter what it is, maybe what counts is dealing with it well. Sounds good to me…
How’s Your anger level?
Filed under: Bipolar, Depression, Emotions, Hypo-Mania, Invisible Illness, Mania, Mental Health, Self Harm, Social Change Tagged: Bipolar, health, Invisible Illness, Manic Depression, mental-health
I wanted to take a minute to let you all know I will be taking a break from the blog.
I have no idea if I will be back in a week, a month or never. But right now, I just don’t feel much like keeping up with it.
I am exhausted, but doing well overall.
I’m trying to do what my CBT therapist recommends and look at the healthy side of things. I plan on getting my butt moving in that direction.
IF this is good-bye, I will miss all of you and your kind comments, prayers, and thoughts.
Please feel free to keep in touch at [email protected]
This statement has two very different and very impactful meanings for me. First, I was told 30 years ago that because of my physical and mental health concerns I would never be able to work another day in my life. In … Continue reading