Daily Archives: July 30, 2016

Mental Status

I have really grown tired of the usage of the term “mood”.  Bipolar is just a mood disorder. What has you in such a bad mood?

Bipolar is less mood and more a state of mind. Mental status taints everything you do. Bad moods can be shaken off or ridden out. A mental status that revolves around darkness or, worse, nothingness…It’s a prison and you’re locked in, unsure if parole will ever be granted and even if it is, will it matter.

I mention this because while Pristiq has definitely helped more than prozac did, I am still stuck in this mental state where everything feels like a chore.Everything annoys me. Everything feels exhausting.

While I get out of bed and do what I have to, most days bare minimum still, my mind is still not in a good place. If anything, I’ve accepted that I am on a stationary bicycle and no matter how hard I pedal…I go nowhere, accomplish nothing, don’t even lose weight. I am stuck in psychiatric limbo.

I bully myself a lot. I mean, a lot. Let all of depression’s lies sink in, make me doubt myself, question whether I am just a lazy malingerer. Which opens the door for my critics and all their spewage about how I am lazy, shiftless, making it all up, not trying hard enough.

One of Spook’s devil girls was here the other day and I said something like, “Don’t ask me, I’m not good at that stuff.” And this 8 year old says, “Yeah, you don’t work, you’re not good at anything.”

I let it roll off me (thank you, lithium, for vetoing the urge to smack a brat during shark week). But it infuriated me. I do occasionally still help R at the shop, even if I am unpaid, uncredited, and unappreciated. I TRY to do what I can when I can. Their father sits home and plays video games and can;t even nuke their goddamn ramen noodles for their lunch so they bring it to me.

That’s just fucking infuriating. And ya know, I am getting goddamn sick of society’s “tee hee, kids say the darndest things”. NO. There’s no excuse for any child that age to be that fucking rude. EVER. If my kid said that to someone, I’d ground her for a month. You’re never too young to learn not to be rude and to show some fucking tact.

But then I am the pms-ing bitch beast from Hades right now and ya know what….zero fucks are given.

Life is just on my last nerve. I buried kitten number 5 so Feet’s entire litter died. Shady had one kitten and I have to lock her in a pet taxi for her to feed it, she wants it dead. I can’t even count on my usual joy-kitties-because even that has turned to shit.

This election bullshit has me ready to drink the fucking special Kool-Aid. R and now even my own father are forcefeeding Trump on me and yet the more I read about the republican agenda, the more I want Hillary. Corrupt, sure, liar, duh, she’s a politician. But at least her platform doesn’t center around taking away women’s reproductive rights. (Her stance on it seems to change according to who contributes more money.)

And it’s not simply the pro choice stuff that gets me. I got one email the other day about this republican sponsored law that Trump has ALREADY agreed to sign off on once in office…and it criminalizes adultery, homosexuality, as well as consenting adults having sex outside marriage. CRIMINALIZES who you sleep with.

How am I the only one fucking terrified by this level of intrusion into my personal life? At least the Clintons are openly corrupt whereas the republicans tend to be absolute hypocrites who do all the bad stuff but it’s ok cos they repent in church.

Crazy lady says what?

I gotta stop reading this shit. Nothing I do is gonna have any impact. They want you to think your vote matters but did we not learn anything from Colorado and its superdelegates who swept Hillary in while marching of Bernie’s prone body?

I almost never indulge in politics. The fact this bothers me so much says I am petrified of how things turn out either way.

I have no use for corruption. Yet I also cannot abide the republican and its old boys’ network view of women as lesser beings who shouldn’t be allowed choice over our own bodies. (And who the fuck do they think they are making laws about who any consenting adult can sleep with, married or not????? That’s a moral issue more than a legal one.)

Maybe R is right and I am just a moron.

More accurately…I am afraid of being stripped of even more of my rights, as if the patriot act didn’t do enough…now I gotta worry about a couple of old geezer Republicans dictating whether I can choose to use my uterus or not…It is fucking scary. More people should be scared, even if you are a pro-life. Because once the law makers start peeking into your bedroom, prying into your body and personal choices, we are but a skip away from an all new holocaust.

Don’t think for one moment Trump wouldn’t toss every single mentally ill person under the speeding bus. We don’t contribute and when we do it is not enough so we simply don’t matter.

I want to think I am coming unhinged but I actually feel such clarity on the entire political matter. Both of the candidates are plain bad. We are plain screwed. Question is…Do I want massive wall to keep out foreigners if it means I can’t have a bootie call without facing charges cos some dumbass republican thinks it’s right to criminalize sex…

Hell fucking no. Let in a gazillion foreigners.

Stay the fuck out of my bedroom and OUT of my fucking uterus.

Moi, opinionated? Nah.

I think I am hypersensitive on the mental health front. I watched a series about crimes involving the mentally ill and it…It was a good show (Canadian, of course.) But it drew attention to things that I don’t think we are ever going to be able to tackle. Like a woman who was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and agoraphobia. She hadn’t left the house in months then one night, to go see her niece play in a band, she went to a nightclub. And she was terrified and fainted and of course…some jackass commented, “If she were really sick and agoraphobic, she couldn’t have left the house tonight.”

This is our struggle. Because if we can manage it ONE time, we must be cured and just faking it. No one would ever say the same of a cancer patient who was having a ‘better’ day and ventured out with her family. Nope.

Mental health issues are the bastard child of medicine.

I had another scary realization watching that show, too. The cop was ordered to undergo a psych eval and the doctor who went to court and declared him unfit…Well, he himself was a narcissist nd pathological liar who was pissed at the cop for hanging out with his old gf….

Yet we are beholden to these people. Psych professionals are just as flawed as we are, just as disordered, just as prone to personal bias, lying, misconstruing…

Okay, so it was fiction. I live the non ficti0n version, where even my best friend’s shrink daughter is as fucked up as I am and yet in control of whether people get help they need or are dismissed. I have legit concerns.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’m gonna go back to binge watching Chicago Fire. I tried two other times to get into it and couldn’t, now I am liking it.

It’s all about mental status. Guess mine is feeling pyro-ey right now.

 

 

fatcat


6 Things People With Mental Illness Might Be Scared To Admit

You know, it’s possible that everything on this list is just me. But working in mental health advocacy for some time now, I’ve learned that it’s never really “just me” or “just you” – if we’re struggling, it’s almost guaranteed that someone out there knows that struggle.

Confession: I was hospitalized four months ago and I’ve been afraid – afraid of myself, afraid of my friends, afraid for my life – almost every minute since then.

Of course, I was scared to open up about it until I realized that it’s the fear that holds us back. If we never admit that we’re hurting, we can never find the support and reassurance that we need to pull through.

It’s true that I don’t know your story or your struggle. But I hope that, by knowing mine, you’ll feel less alone.

Because it’s okay to be scared – and you’d be surprised at just how many of us are putting on a brave face, hoping that no one sees just how afraid we really are.

Since I got out of the hospital, I’ve been faking it with the hopes that no one sees how much pain I’m in. But today, I’m letting my guard down – I’m hurting and I’m afraid, but I know I’m not alone.

1. I’m afraid that I don’t deserve to be happy.

I recently posted on the LQTU Facebook page about how many people with mental illness tend towards self-sabotage when they’re happy.

And, no surprise, many people responded with comments and messages about how they’ve sabotaged their own recovery – and at the root of it, it seems, is a conviction that they didn’t deserve their recovery to begin with.

Been there, still there. What I’m scared to admit sometimes is that I don’t feel like I deserve to be happy – so I push my happiness away.

Happiness scares me because I feel like I’m going to let everyone down. There’s so much pressure to be “recovered,” so much pressure to be “better,” so much pressure to have your shit together.

Sometimes I try to dismantle my own happiness because I don’t feel worthy or good enough – like I can’t live up to the expectations of being healthy – and it feels easier to relapse and let things fall apart with no room to disappoint myself or anyone else.

For me, alcohol is the quickest way to sabotage myself – and damn, I am a skilled self-saboteur when I’ve got a glass or a bottle in my hand. But before I pick up the drink, I try to remind myself that instead of fearing happiness, I should give myself permission to feel it.

Happiness is not a prize that you win or a reward reserved for the best or sanest people – it’s just a feeling to be enjoyed and a feeling that everyone is entitled to.

You don’t have to be “good enough.” You just have to let it in.

2. I’m afraid that if people see my illness, they’ll think less of me.

When I had my breakdown, I was lucky enough to have friends supporting me – in ways that were often to their own detriment. Much of it is gone from my memory, but I have flashbacks, and when I do I’m always gripped with one thought: they will never see me the same way again.

I’ve always been afraid that if people saw me during a breakdown, they would realize that I’m not perfect.

I don’t have it all figured out, I don’t always have it under control, I can hurt people, I can be selfish, I can be psychotic – and everything that I was up until that point is replaced with the memory of me at my worst.

I’ve believed that if I didn’t control my mental illness and package it in a way that was acceptable or inspiring, my value to other people would be diminished. And these days, I’m constantly afraid that I’m not worth enough – even if nothing anyone has said or done indicates otherwise.

I try to remind myself that my worth can’t depend on how others perceive me or my illness. When I’m obsessing over how others see me, I ask myself, “Well, how do I see myself?”

And if how I see myself is particularly negative, or I am noticing things about myself that are harmful or not good, I know that I have some self-work to do – and that’s not the responsibility of my friends or loved ones. That’s work only I can do.

3. I’m afraid that I’ll lose control.

Happiness is not a guarantee for anyone, but when you have a mental illness, you can sometimes become hypervigilant, convinced that at any moment an episode will grab you by the ankle and pull you down.

I’m tapering off of my anti-psychotic medication right now, and it’s felt like walking on eggshells, tracking my mood every day and searching for signs that something might be wrong.

Every time I see something out of the corner of my eye, I worry I might be seeing things again; every time I’m sad, I panic that it could be the beginning of a depressive episode.

It can feel like any particular thought or feeling is a sign of impending doom if you scrutinize it too much – and it starts to feel like you can’t trust yourself or your perception of reality.

Especially when you’ve just come off of a breakdown or traumatic experience, it can feel like the ground underneath you will never be solid. The instability can make you a little crazy (literally).

But it comforts me to know that as I work at my recovery, I’ll slowly get my footing again.

4. I’m afraid that my illness makes me a bad person.

It has taken a long, long time to be okay with saying, “Sometimes I act in really shitty ways when I’m struggling with my mental health.”

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I have hurt people. Sometimes I’m a walking stereotype of borderline and it takes a lot to deal with my shit, be accountable for my mistakes, and reel it in.

What I’ve realized overtime is that being “good” or “bad” is not the point. I think it’s really a question of being responsible or irresponsible about the impact of our behaviors.

I spent a hell of a long time being more concerned with denying that I was hurting other people because I didn’t want to think of myself as being “bad.” It was about my ego; it was about preserving this image of myself as being “good.” It was irresponsible because I opted for denial instead of ownership of my behaviors.

But in recent years, I’ve worked on accepting that instead of being “good,” I should aspire to be responsible: recognizing when I’ve done harm, being accountable for it, and helping to facilitate healing between myself and my loved ones.

Whether or not you are good or bad isn’t important. But your choices will determine the kind of impact you have in the world – so commit to making the best choices that you can.

5. I’m afraid that I won’t survive it next time.

I can’t tell you how many mentally ill folks I’ve spoken to who have all said, “I won’t make it past [insert young age].” Episode after episode, it feels like we barely scrape by, and when we get to the other side we’re certain that we could never face it again.

Sometimes when I try to imagine battling another psychotic, depressive episode, I swear up and down that I could never survive it. And when I imagine trying to live with these illnesses for much longer, I despair about how it’s almost guaranteed that I won’t live a long life.

But when I’m convinced I won’t live to see 30, I remind myself that there was a time when I thought I wouldn’t live to see 20.

I also remind myself, like I explained in this article about depression (it’s one of my favorites, you should read it), that sometimes mental illness tricks us into thinking we can see the future – the simple truth, though, is that we never could and we never will.

Back when I was attending AA meetings (which was… interesting, to say the least), the thing that stuck out to me was the idea of taking it one day at a time. Sobriety, just like mental health recovery, feels huge when we look at the long term, the big picture.

But they both can feel a little more manageable when we keep our eyes on what’s in front of us, because that’s what’s within our power to control.

This seems (1) cliche and (2) laughably simple, I know. But even so, the only way we can move forward is one step at a time – so every day I remind myself that the only moment that’s relevant right now is the one I’m living in.

Believe me, I understand the fear. I don’t know how long I’ll live, and that scares me. I don’t know if I’ll be able to manage the next episode, and that terrifies me.

But what I do know is that the choices I make today – the ways I choose to take care of myself in the now and the support I put in place – can make a difference tomorrow, and even beyond that.

And really, for better or for worse, that’s the best I can do.

6. I’m afraid that this illness is all that I am.

Everyone likes to remind me that I’m more than my illnesses. But this struggle is my every day – if I’m not drowning in a depressive episode, I’m fighting hard to keep my head above water and my life intact. There isn’t a single moment that I’m not somehow impacted by these labels.

Sometimes I fear that this struggle is so central to my existence that it overshadows everything else that I am – if I am, indeed, anything else.

And sometimes I worry that it has consumed my life to the point where it’s the only thing anyone else can see.

Every day, I’m still trying to uncover who I am apart from all of this. Trying to get in touch with the joy and passion and thrill that is buried underneath all this, the part of me that lives for something and comes alive for something.

I want to know what that part of me is like, what it takes to bring it to life.

I’m never going to pretend that these illnesses aren’t ever-present in my day-to-day.  I’m never going to pretend that my choices won’t always be informed or influenced by my struggles. And I’m never going to pretend that the impact this has had on me hasn’t touched every aspect of my life.

Just looking at this list of fears, I ask myself if mental illness will always have this kind of grip on me – if I’ll spend every day of my life afraid.

But all any of us can do, really, is try to cultivate something beautiful for ourselves. Something that makes us feel whole. Something that gives us a sense of purpose. Even if the garden is barren, even if it’s covered in snow, we find a way to make something – anything – grow.

We can have something more for ourselves, something that belongs to us. That may not define us or help us put the pieces of our identity back together – but it gives us a place to start.


Reblog – Not Too Narrow!

Originally posted on a cooking pot and twistedtales:
Narrow can be good as long as it’s not narrow-minded. Most narrow-minded people also spout the nonsense that comes from the smallness of their minds. Today we are asked to show bits…

Waiting for Paint to Dry

Bedroom Paint1Today is Paint The Bedroom Day.  The first coat is on the walls and ceiling, so I’m freshly laundered and off to The Brew House to eat, rest and journal.

ETA for the second coat—1:30.

Henry7:16Henry is showing his age today.  He only banged on the door to get in a few times.  In his youth, this Alpha Tom would have hammered the door as long as it took for me to remove said barrier.   But, like most old guys, he’s more interested in going back to his post-breakfast, mid-morning nap.


How Do I Advocate for Chronic Pain? – National Pain Report

Is the current “Opium War” hurting you or someone you know?  Here are some good tips for how to get involved.  Don’t let them kill us with “kindness!”

http://nationalpainreport.com/how-do-i-advocate-for-chronic-pain-8831046.html


Reblog – Meet and Greet: 7/30/16

Originally posted on DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN:
It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!! Ok so here are the rules: Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it…

Bipolar, Rage & Violence

Bipolar Disorder Rage Violence

Sure, having a mental illness does not mean that you will be violent. Still, some of us with mental illness, myself included, do have or have had violent thoughts and impulses. For the most part, I have not acted on mine, at least not the worst of them. I have raised my voice, flipped the dinner table over, and thrown my iPad. Some people like me need treatment to control violent thoughts and impulses.


Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health, Mental Illness Tagged: impulse control, impulses, rage, violence, violent thoughts

Oh, No, Not Again!

So my very good friend met this guy, and he thought that this guy and I might like to be in touch, because this guy and I have some things in common, and all this and that.

So I said fine, tell him he can call me, but if you think you’re matchmaking, well, don’t.  He said he didn’t.  Emphatically.

The guy calls.  He seems nice.  He seems interesting.  We do have stuff in common, and we jabber away for a couple of hours.

Now, this guy doesn’t use computers.  He has a smartphone, but no idea how to use it.  So no exchanges of ideas beyond voice calling.  And he lives far away.  And although he has a camper, he’s not so much into traveling.

Fine, no problem.  I’m not in the market.  I can’t even have sex due to the physical ravages of chronic illness, so even considering a regular relationship is silly.  Thankfully, my sex drive drove off without me some years back, so it’s just not an issue.  And even more thankfully, I’m not lonely.  The opposite: I can’t stand people in my space for long periods of time.  Like, for instance, five minutes would be too long.  I would like to have a friend who actually wants to know me, not a lover who only wants to know my booty.

So a few days ago we have our third phone conversation.

He gets right down to it:

“Where do we stand?  I need to know.”

I explained to him all of the above.  I told him that I’m totally up for meetings along the trail, circling up of wagons (Wild West reference, for you who were not raised on Spaghetti Westerns), serenading the coyotes, and other friendly activities.

Just.  Not.  Sex.  OK?

Judging by his chilly tone of voice, it seemed probable that it was not OK.

You know what?

I don’t give a shit.