Daily Archives: July 10, 2016

Bad Mom – Spoken Word for Tha.Speakeasy

Old post, but always relevant for those of us who parent while human.

Kitt O'Malley

Prompted by an invite to Tha.Speakeasy Facebook event on April 17th & 18th, I read my poem, Bad Mom, which I’m posting here.

Bad Mom

Bad mom
Selfish mom
Ineffective mom
Permissive mom
Bipolar mom
At times, abusive mom
At times, out of control mom
At times, rageful mom
She’s even hit her kid
She’s even slapped her kid
No excuse
No excuse to hit a child
No excuse to slap a child

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Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Parenting, Mental Health, Motherhood, Parenting Tagged: child abuse, rage

Making Choices About Who to Give Love and Time To

At some point, I made up my mind to stop projecting my thoughts of self-hatred onto other people.  I mean, I’ve made up my mind to do that a few times within the course of my life, but I have really committed to it, at this juncture.  I had grown tired of feeling belittled and invalidated by the comments of others, and found that, while sometimes the other person was at fault, sometimes it was all in my head.

Even keeping this in mind, there are times in our lives when we have to go through the people in our circle, and evaluate who is helping us and who is hurting us.  Sometimes it is the person we least suspect who is actually hurting us.  Often it is a person we don’t think of often, who we don’t talk to much, or just aren’t that close to anymore who is injecting poisonous and negative thoughts into our lives at every random encounter.

This has been the case with my life, I have found.  I have shored up my defenses and boundaries, where it really was lacking and was necessary, but found that I had a few little relationships with others here and there, some I thought very important, some not so much, that I have recently realized that I would simply be better off without.

Last week, I went about the process of figuring out how to terminate the peer mentor process that I have been going through.  After examining what happens at our appointments, thinking about what positives this time-consuming activity brings to my life, I realized that this program is not a good fit for me.  Very little productivity comes out of these meetings, and it is all too clear that my peer support person is working on nothing with me, and is in fact harming me with some of her suggestions.

She suggested I quit DBT groups.  Wow.  Really?  I mean, yes, they drive me crazy, but they are one of the main things keeping me going.  She doesn’t take medication, and is somewhat anti-medication, as well.  She has a negative view of LarBear, and is very opinionated and judgmental.  I just don’t feel I am getting anything positive from the relationship, and in fact I generally feel more anxious and worse in general (about myself) after I see her.

So, I made the decision after speaking with my DBT therapist and my regular therapist, and QoB, LarBear, so on and so forth.  I am no longer going to subject myself to these appointments just because I feel like I *should.*  I am also not willing to be in contact with someone who is flailing along, while trying to help me.  If you are a peer mentor, you should have your life at least somewhat together, you shouldn’t be laying out all of your own problems at each meeting, and I shouldn’t feel like I am the one giving you advice at all times.  I don’t feel comfortable in this relationship at all, anymore.  It is therefore over.

And that is exactly the problem I am having with a few of the smaller, more acquaintance-type relationships in my life.  As if I have explained myself over and over, and the other person isn’t willing (or able) to change.  And in some cases, I just feel like the other person doesn’t care, and I tire sometimes of chasing my tail to make other people happy.  I need to chase my tail to make myself happy, not to benefit other people.  Sometimes there is only so much you can give of yourself to others, and if they don’t give a little back, you can’t keep giving yourself, over and over.

One of the biggest parts of my mental health road right now is to surround myself with people that nurture me, not those who hurt me.  I am putting distance between myself and other people for a reason, and one of the biggest things, is if you never reach out to me, I might just stop reaching out to you.  What happens then?  Change has to happen, is what happens then, and if no change happens, then I might have to give up on some things that I thought could be good, because it turned out that they couldn’t.

 


Filed under: Collection of Thoughts, Life Worth Living Tagged: anxiety, Bipolar, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, BPD, burning bridges, caring, DBT, depression, dialectical behavior therapy, Family, friends, giving up on people, love, making time, PTSD, time

I’m not fucking crazy

Language is a powerful tool. It has the ability to rouse people into a frenzy. It can inspire people to create. It can touch people’s souls. But sometimes, language has the ability to hurt. The old adage goes: “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Well in my experience […]

Struggles and Tears

In the past week I have had to deal with:

  • My husband being out of town
  • Said husband driving home for 10 hours with faulty brakes
  • My insurance company going belly-up
  • My meds running out before new insurance could be implemented
  • My cat going missing
  • My check being late, so I could not pay mortgage, pay new insurance, pay for meds, pay power bill
  • Being immobilized and unable to leave the house

Out of all of those, which do you think came nearest to breaking my brain, causing me to catastrophize and dissolve into prolonged fits of weeping?

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Woodcut by Peggy McCarty. Used by permission.

If you guessed the missing cat, you’re right. One day she trotted out the deck door while I was feeding the dog, a thing she had never done before. I scooped her up and put her back inside, and resolved to close the door further in the future. Louise is 20 and rather thin, so it’s easy to misjudge what she can squeeze through.

When my husband got back (safely), he took over feeding the dog. Then the next day, Louise didn’t show up for her morning breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. She usually has a hearty appetite and meows quite loudly if a meal is late.

Naturally, I thought she had gotten outside again and was lost. We searched through the house, calling her name, and went around outside the house doing likewise. My husband thought she might be feeling poorly and holed up somewhere, most likely in the basement, which is also the garage and not easy to search because of all the clutter.

I thought she must have gotten out and succumbed to some fate out in the woods – a dog or other animal, the rain, hunger, illness and debilitation.

I was convinced she was gone for good. And I had thought I still had more time with her, despite her advanced age (20+). I was inconsolable. My precious cat, gone. No knowing what had happened to her. No chance to say goodbye. No way to comfort her in her last hours on earth.

Dan told me that everything would be all right, but I didn’t believe him.

Then, the next day, she showed up at mealtime, bellowing that she wanted food NOW! Dan had been right. She had hidden somewhere in the house and came out when she was ready to.  I had my darling Louise back, for however long she still has.

Then, after the long holiday weekend, the check came and I paid the bills and set up the new insurance and got my meds and went out to lunch with Dan and everything was all right.

Just a little while ago, I wrote about how having a cat saved my sanity (http://wp.me/p4e9Hv-jS) and how they can be good for people with mental disorders. I even said that losing a pet could teach us something about the grieving process.

But when my own cat disappeared, all that philosophizing went out the window (or the deck door). Louise was gone and I was bereft. Nothing anyone could say could make it better. And the situation was complicated by the fact that both one of our other cats and our dog are also ancient. I know I will go through their loss, and likely soon.

Will I hold up any better?

I really don’t know. The other cat and the dog are my husband’s, bonded to him the way Louise is bonded to me. Likely his grief will be greater than mine. Or maybe when they pass they will remind me of how close I came to losing Louise. Maybe I’ll be able to support him in his loss, or maybe my brain will break again. Maybe it will happen when I am more stable, with fewer disasters and near-disasters clustering around my head.

That’s the thing with pets. You never know how long you have with them. You never know whether you’ll be relatively stable when you have to face their loss.

But I know I won’t give them up. The loneliness of not having them is even worse than the pain of their going.

ETA: Dan’s ancient cat Garcia passed away peacefully at home this morning (Saturday). We were both with him at the end.


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, catastrophizing, cats, depression, husband, my experiences, psychological pain

Accepting a Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis: First Stages (Again)

As time passes, old wounds can grow over as we pay so much attention to the current moment, but sometimes something happens, and while we might not even know what that something is, on Monday we may be fine, but when we wake up on Tuesday, you are covered in weeping sores.  Not on your body, of course, but those “emotional third-degree burns” that Marsha Linehan (Queen of all things DBT) refers to when she talks about people with borderline personality disorder.

It just so happens that Borderline Personality Disorder has been on my diagnosis list, off and on, depending who you ask, for a very long time.  Since this past April, it is now very much on my diagnosis list, and I have been instructed to process this.  And I have, and as much as I don’t want an additional label, I do meet criteria for the disorder and I have read books and articles and webpages about it, and it all just screams my name.  If you aren’t familiar with the disorder, I really would encourage you to look at the link I provided above, or even Google search for articles.

I have talked it over with my therapist, and it isn’t that I have BPD in place of Bipolar Disorder, but that the two illnesses interact to make each other much worse and much harder to treat.  I have put off making any kind of announcement on this blog about the “new” diagnosis, but now I am very certain it is something I am dealing with and have dealt with for a large part of my life.

I was afraid that I would be judged, that others would leap to conclusions about me, that people wouldn’t really understand, would just see a “broken” person.  There is a great deal of stigma about mental illness in the world, and there is even more stigma and misinformation about BPD out there, than most disorders.  This is something I am going to live with the rest of my life, and I will consistently  have to manage my life in such a way that I do not devolve into all of the maladaptive behaviors and patterns that it is so easy to slip into.

There’s really a lot to this, and much more that I wanted to say.  What I really wanted to do, though, was finally get the information out there, make the admission, state the obvious,  whatever.   I will follow-up with more thoughts about this (and all sorts of other stuff, too, I’m sure).  My world is shaky right now, but I’m doing as much therapy and DBT and whatnot as possible,  and if worse comes to worst, I always have LarBear and my family.  Not everyone can say that, and I am especially thankful for them and their patience.


Filed under: Life Worth Living Tagged: anxiety, Bipolar, borderline personality disorder, BPD, DBT, depression, diagnosis, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, mental health, mental illness, new diagnosis

Reblog – Violence Isn’t The Answer, What’s the Solution?

Originally posted on The Richness of a Simple Life:
I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past few days. With everything going on, I keep trying to think of what the solution could be. I immediately think extremes…