Daily Archives: August 3, 2016

Because I Don’t Wanna

Not feeling the whole blog writing thing today. I’m not sure why I am really starting to worry now.

Though last night I had a guest and we smoked some weed and drank some beers. It was nice to have a conversation with someone other than hubby. Don’t get me wrong, I never get tired of listening to my husband, his voice is just so soothing and lifting.  It’s just nice to have a excited person to listen to.

Tonight I’m stoned again, tomorrow I will go back to not having any and I am okay with that. It’s not making me as motivated as I would like to be about going out. So maybe I’ll make it a super occasional thing instead of getting more myself, but we’ll see how I feel about it when I’m not stoned.

 


Avoiding

‘ve avoided posting today because it’s not going so well right now. But I read a piece by a girl online that said others out there need to know our experience and know that they are not alone.  SO here I am.’

  I am out of ideas on what to do about my anxiety..  Last night I kept chanting a lyric to myself that goes “I’m no longer a slave to fear; I am a child of God” until I fell asleep.  (Passed out is more like it–I had to take a Xanax just to be still in the bed so Bob could go to sleep).  I am pacing around, hiding under the covers of the bed, and eating like nobody’s business.  I just don’t know what else to do.

 


Connecting With Others #Online

Connecting Online

Guest Post: Connecting With Others Online

– Fliss Baker, NewLifeOutlook

Connecting with other people is vital to surviving, living and enjoying life. It is imperative in managing our mental health; we are encouraged to talk, talk and talk some more about how we feel and how our illnesses affect us.

However, the stigma of bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses, and even bipolar communication problems, can stop us from doing so. It is incredibly hard to voice our pain and insecurities to others, particularly when other people aren’t experiencing what we are.

I have spoken to people many times who can’t show real sympathy or empathy because what I describe is too hard to comprehend. It is for this reason I have often recoiled and tried to hide how I feel, which has made my symptoms worse.

Sharing Experiences

The best advice I was given was to talk to other people with the same experiences, where openly sharing is easy and people understand.

I was unable to vocalize my illness and its symptoms eight years ago because I had no idea what was going on, and neither did my family. My diagnosis came about from my father battling for me to see a psychiatrist after my behavior flew from depression to mania.

The struggle was hard but the hospitalization gave me something I hadn’t had before. I was around people who seemed to be having the same problems. If I was unable to share vocally, I could see others in pain with irritability, aggression, upset, self-harm or in the depths of suicide.

I met people from every walk of life, including soldiers with posttraumatic stress disorder, mothers with depression, a nurse with self-harm injuries and an artist with bipolar disorder. I suddenly realized I wasn’t alone and there was no limit as to the conversation we could have.

I could wake up and tell the nurses and the other patients that I couldn’t handle life and wanted it to be over. It felt impossible to do that in the ‘real world.’ The openness was crucial in my recovery.

Trust Is Essential

There are so many people available to talk and help us through our illness, moment by moment if necessary. However, the first step is being aware of where to go and who is trusted to support you.

As much as we should be opening up, it is important to go to someone you know will listen non-judgmentally and recommend strategies to help.

I was advised by my psychiatrist to link up with local mental health charities. They have excellent websites that not only educate you on your illness, but have chat rooms encouraging discussion.

I could read different posts with titles I could relate to, such as ‘I can’t cope today’ and read the replies. I didn’t respond to any posts initially as I was nervous to contribute, however, I soon felt able to ask questions and share my feelings.

It is an amazing feeling to be comfortable when you connect with others who simply get it.

I was inspired to seek out other places I could communicate easily and found independent chat rooms online. I was suffering with an eating disorder at the time so I was particularly interested in others going through the same.

However, I was warned by my psychiatrist about certain chat rooms, which can sometimes have a negative effect. I encountered this by coming across a chat room where young girls were sharing tips and picking the brains of others on how to restrict food and lose weight. It was scary and I stopped myself from being immersed as I felt it trigger my illness.

Facebook Groups

There need to be safeguards on chat rooms, and Facebook is often a good place where this is implemented. There are many places to talk about depression, bipolar, anxiety and other mental health illnesses and groups usually have hosts.

This means that any comments that are considered triggering are removed and users are aware of the regulations. Initially I almost felt bad that somebody might be told their comments were unhelpful, but then I realized that with a big group of people, we have to look after the majority to ensure everyone is kept safe and well.

I am still part of the Facebook groups, although I now don’t feel the need to contribute at the moment. I do, however, read the posts and if something is particularly moving and relevant to me, I will post something in return.

Connecting Offline With Phone Helplines

Offline, phone helplines are have been really important to my recovery. I personally find it helpful to listen to a voice at the other end that can listen, soothe and understand.

Charitable helplines are set up with highly trained individuals who know how to treat people who are incredibly vulnerable. They understand if you phone up with any problems where you are distressed and even if you are under the influence of substances or alcohol.

They also know how to deal with suicidal calls and will stay on the phone no matter what — keeping the call completely confidential.

The transition between needing to connect for support and to share support is crucial in recovery. I go through periods where I need advice and recommendations, but then want to share advice and recommendations.

Both roles are very important to me. I show my vulnerability in some cases, then feel real self-worth when I receive a message back saying “that helped me, that got me through my day.” We all know how much we need to have a purpose to keep our mental health in check.

Based on personal experience, talking to trusted people face to face, over the telephone and online using charities and regulated chat rooms is without a shadow of a doubt really helpful.
Because of this I know there is always someone out there for me. The key to is to search for the right places where you feel safe and comfortable to share and receive information.

I have asked my psychiatrist, community psychiatric nurse and mental health community team for recommendations. My only advice is to avoid triggering chat rooms, which could increase your anxiety and exacerbate your symptoms.

Take responsibility for yourself and look after your mental health. That’s the key when connecting with other people.


Fliss-Baker

Fliss Baker was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar in 2008. She’s passionate about ending the stigma attached to mental health and blogs about bipolar disorder. You can find more of her writing on NewLifeOutlook.


Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, Mental Illness, Recovery, Self care, Stigma, Support Group, Triggers to Mood Cycling Tagged: Facebook groups, online support, peer support, peer support groups, phone helplines

A Sad August

august

Wed:

So last night was a weird night. My husband woke me up at midnight to tell me he smelled something burning. I didn’t smell anything but I got up anyway and we went over the whole house. So I woke up and could not go back to sleep. I finally got to sleep at three. That’s not a good scenario for me. I woke up this morning groggy and desperate for more sleep. But I got dinner in the slow cooker, did a little on my quilt, and did my eyebrows. I just have to do my devotional stuff and go to yoga at 2. We’ll see how far I get.

I am feeling a little desperate today without my normal sleep. I usually sleep pretty well. My sympathies to you out there who suffer from insomnia….I don’t know how you do it.

I’m working on a Christmas quilt but am in no hurry. If  I don’t get it done this year, I’ll finish it for next year. I just try to do at least a little on it each day.

I am a little disheartened over something. I went back over some entries from my blog a year and two ago. It’s all the SAME thing. Nothing has really changed. I am still struggling with the same old stuff. You’d think I’d have made some progress by now, but I haven’t.

So here is an entry from last August:

“As you can tell, I am feeling pretty good. I had a depressed day yesterday with the migraine and today is a tired, weak sort of day. Tomorrow my husband is out of town, so I am planning on spending all day on the recovery quilt. I am proud of myself though. Even though I got up late and felt tired today, I am getting all of my stuff done I had set out to do.”

Doesn’t that sound exactly what is going on now? Blech!

Thurs:

Just one of my worst depression days. Almost went to the hospital. Will try to write again tomorrow.

Fri:

Today is better than yesterday, but I am crying a lot. Not sure why. My aunt from Florida is very sick, but she is okay for now. I just feel very lonely and like my life is over. Doesn’t seem like much point to anything. I am up and working on a few things, crying all the while.

I am very sad about my old best friend. I lost her because of my illness. First off, when I get sick I am not very fun. But I could not hide my illness and pretend everything was okay, and she was unable to handle things when I got bad. We were friends a long time. I know being apart is best for her, though. She is freer to make better friends. I was taking a lot of her time. So that is a sad thing. It’s hard though after talking every day to never talk at all. I wonder a lot about her family and all of that. And I do wonder if she ever thinks of me and the fun things we used to do. We traveled a lot and had a lot of laughs. For all I know, she could have up and moved to Tahiti. It’s hard.

While I’m having a pity party, I think of all the things I could have done if I was not bipolar. This illness has taken my life. I know some bipolar people get around just fine, but mine is pretty serious. Sad. I look at what others have achieved and get bogged down in sadness. And, yes, I know that many people are worse off than I am.

Sat:

Struggling today. Went back on perphenazine because I had images of the number “7” running through my head. I actually thought about hurting myself which I rarely do. Life is just complicated right now. We have more company in town and my husband wants to go out with them so bad, but I can’t stay alone. So one of my friends is coming over to baby-sit. I am exhausted.

Tomorrow we are going on another short trip with just my oldest son. He is my easiest and I look forward to just sitting around for a while.

I need to get a shower before my friend comes. It is only 11:00 and she is coming at 4:00, so I know I can do it.

I had some brief time to think about my best ex friend. No wonder she could not handle all of this. I cannot handle it myself. She is lucky to be out of this mess and I am lucky to have any friends at all.

Sun:

Had a really good night with my friend babysitting. We had pizza and cupcakes and watched a movie. I fell asleep due to the perphenazine, but I stopped having the hallucinations. I also felt more stable.

It was nice to catch up with my friend.

I have been waking up the last two mornings with serious back pain. I don’t know if it is my back or my kidneys. During the day, no pain at all. This has just been a hell of a week.

The icky company left last night. Even though they were here only three days, it was enough.

We live in literally one of the hottest parts of the country. I can’t figure out why we have so much company. It’s crazy!

We’re leaving at noon to head to another town for a few days. This hotel has a decent spa and a lazy river. My son (25) is excited like a kid. We’re also going to a couple of museums. We’re supposed to get some rain which is really nice here.

So everyone hope the perphenazine keeps working. I don’t want to see a bunch of “7’s” floating by.

Mon:

Slept pretty well at the hotel. Big storm in the middle of the night. Was lucky to lay around the pool all day. Felt pretty good, not elevated, but nothing running through my mind. Still on perphenazine and dizzy. Just wading around and floating in shallow pool water. No deep swimming. Got a blended iced Starbucks mocha which cheered me up a lot.

CBT therapist having trouble getting supplemental insurance to pay. It’s only $19 a time we are missing, but still….I hate dealing with insurance.

Tues:

Planning on working on the treadmill and then getting a massage. Husband and son went to outdoor museum early. I have a couple of hours to kill here in the hotel room.I did some stretching exercises, meditated, and am writing on here.

Still feeling mentally wobbly. Have decided to go back off Jenny Craig and back on Optifast. It’s doctor supervised so I don’t worry too much. It’s just simpler to drink 5 shakes a day….we’ll see how it goes.

I’m using an app called “balanced”. I’ve read all kinds of stuff about what helps depression/bipolar/ life so this is what I am doing:

-driving/riding in a car once a day

-go for walk/treadmill 2x week

-yoga 2x week

-phone meeting with Christian support friend once/week

-floss teeth every day

-every day: read some of a book, do devotional, meditate, think of 3 things to be thankful for

-write in journal/blog every day

-plan to see a friend once a week

-massage once a month

-diet doctor every two weeks

-CBT and talk therapist weekly

-psychiatrist between once week and once a month

-take all meds

I’m doing what I can. Bipolar is a hell of a lot of work.

love you all,

lily

 

 

The Skin Is Crawling Off My Bones

Yep. I am having one of *those* days where the anxiety has come from out of nowhere and kicked my ass. My skin is crawling off my bones but failing. Think it might be more comfortable if it just absconded.

I’m off in every respect today. No idea why. Some days you wake up and you’re just…off. I was so off this morning that rather than head out first thing to pay bills, get gas in the car, etc…It was after ten a.m. before I managed to force myself out the door. I felt scared to leave, which is a disconcerting feeling to have. Fear without cause boggles the mind. It was so crippling, I wondered if I was ever going to be able to bring myself to leave my safe space.

But I yanked the bandage off. Landlord was on site and I stopped the car to ask if he’d have his guys mow my lawn and I could slip him ten bucks or whatever. My mower is the old fashioned push type and the lawn’s gotten so long, it won’t cut. I don’t want to get hit with some “not keeping up the yard” thing so I explained it to him and he said if it’s just this one time, he’ll have his guys do it, no charge. I can live with that. I never meant for it to get so out of hand but when shit breaks and I gotta wait for stepmonster and her manliness to fix it….

Paid rent. Gassed up the car. (I am getting such fabulous gas mileage with this Buick I wonder why I ever bothered with any other engine.) Paid internet bill. Paid power bill. Bought the food Spook requested I cook for her birthday meal with the family on Sunday. Picked up my meds. Was surprised the insurance actually paid for the extended release lithium. (More on that in a sec.) Then we came home, because I was starting to spin out under the anxiety. For me, anxiety is like being on an old school playground merry go round. The higher the anxiety gets, the faster the wheel spins, and it disorients so I can’t think straight or make good choices. Suckage. Traffic was freaking me out. Twice I had people park so close I held my breath when backing out. Usually why I park out in Cambodia and walk the entire lot if need be, to avoid anxiety provokers like that.

Disheartening to come home and realize…Bills pretty much took everything I had. I was able to order Spook one gift, and then to get it here before Sunday cost an arm and a spleen. I wish I could give her more, but the entire family is broke this year. Not even Grandma is going nuts like she normally does with the gifts. I don’t think it will kill the child. She has lots of people and benefactors who have shown acts of generosity and kindness, she needs to appreciate that as the true gift. I know I do.

So…backtracking. Yesterday. I spent 5 hours at the shop. Did little more than fetch lunch but it got me smokes and Spook got to spend time with Grandma. Had a shrink appointment. He kept me waiting for 15 minutes. Oddly, I didn’t really notice. Oh, sure, the skin was crawling off the bones then, too, I just wanted my safe space, tick tock, let’s get this over with. I just wasn’t my normal irate self about it.

I told him I thought the Pristiq is doing something good and wanted an increase. He was pleased to hear me say something positive about a med, noting “This is the first time in the two years I’ve seen you that you’ve had anything good to say about a medication.”  I pointed out that you need positive outcome to make positive statements about a medication and until this, I’d had none. I further begged him to see if there was a better solution to my lithium than taking six pills a day. Turns out, there is, and it was how he was writing it all along, but the insurance company instructed the pharmacy to dole out six pills rather than two of the extended release. He said he’d go to bat for me with them and insist on 450 twice daily. I like this man. He comes in early every day and calls the insurance companies personally on behalf of his patients and literally gives them hell until they agree to pay for what we need. I liked the part where he said he tells them, “I went to medical school for fifteen years, I know what my patient needs, you don’t.”

I gain new respect for Dr B all the time, he’s turned out to be very cool.

So yeah, I got my extended release lithium, so instead of six capsules a day, I get two tablets. YAYNESS. I got Pristiq bumped to 100. He said that’s the max, but he did have a patient he gave 150 IF I feel its necessary by the next appointment in two months.

It’s sort of sad when you get giddy all because a doctor’s appointment went well. Seriously, we would raise hell if a cashier or whatever disrespected us at a store. Yet we cower when it comes to our psych care because to speak up means it will be blamed on our bipolar (etc) moodiness rather than any sense of self advocacy. Crazy, ain’t it.

Not to be a negative Nelly but he did bring up my weight, which he has never ever done before. And it wasn’t a bad thing, I lost a couple of pounds and he told me “80 percent diet, 20 percent exercise, keep it up.”  Nothing sets me off like doctors harping on weight and diet. Just a sore subject for me.

He commented that I seemed calmer than before even as I was telling him that my anxiety was high due to being outside my safe space too long. I don’t know what to make of that. I guess I am internalizing it better? But now that he’s made note of weight loss and seeming lower anxiety, I get paranoid he’s going to get in that “we almost have this thing fixed for good” mindset.

I should take the win and shut up, right?

Okay, purge done. (Watched The Purge 2 last night, wtf, that was mental and I don’t even find it that far fetched, especially if the donald is elected.)

Here’s a pic from last night when we were sitting outside. Feet decided to go for a dry swim.

feet swim

 


Caption this Wednesday

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for another “Caption This” contest. Here is this weeks photo: The rules to play are easy: Put in the comments section what you think this weeks caption should be. If you post more than one caption, it is considered cheating, and that is okay with me. This is […]

The post Caption this Wednesday appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Presidential Race 2016 Candidate Profile – Donald Trump, R | Clarion Project

I’m generally an ostrich when it comes to anything political.  I tend to view political machinations as, well, machinations–without a bit of sincerity.  Promises made with no intent to follow through.  Ideological statements that turn out to be the opposite of what really shakes down.

The only thing that makes me really happy that I voted for Obama is that I helped Michelle and her daughters to be living proof that black women can be powerful in a whole new way.  Next Presidential term I want Michelle!  I’m sure she’s got a whole lot going for her in addition to her stunning beauty and style.

On the other hand we have the trumped-up nightmare of a crook with terrible hair barely covering a tiny but dangerous brain.  Let us have a look into this threat to world security:

http://m.clarionproject.org/analysis/presidential-race-2016-candidate-profile-%E2%80%93-donald-trump-r


30 Days of Sandy Sue Altered: 9

Terrors & Buttheads

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Little Angel

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Bit of a Prick

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Works to be an Asshole


My Spiritual Journey in Recovery


Left to right-Pastor Tim Seidler, myself and Pastor Linda Seidler at the Experience Church serve team meeting.

More than a year ago I found my spirit yearning to be fed with the word of God.  Growing up in the Lutheran Church I had a strong foundation of faith but along the way in my life journey I had gotten very angry with God.

After a great deal of heartache, grief and struggle I realized that in my darkest moments in life I had always (and I do mean always) turned to God in prayer.  My healing journey led me to a conversation with Pastor Tim’s daughter, Betsy who said to me after I told her I was mad at God, “Don’t worry he can take it.”

In that moment my heart was touched by her wisdom and strong faith.  Betsy reached out to me and invited me to an event at the Experience church hosted by the Limitless woman group.  They had brought in a speaker named Heather (wonderherful.net) from the Church by the Glades in Flordia.

Heather is a very special Christian woman who also happens to have bipolar disorder.  She gave an inspiring talk about her struggles and pain, but how she was lifted up by her faith in God.

After the program I wrote to Heather giving her a brief background about my journey.  To my surprise she responded to me with encouraging words and a recommendation to find a bible based church to help me in my journey.

All things being said I felt as if I was being led to the Experience Church by the grace of God and his faithful leaders and followers.  I started attending church on a regular basis and was uplifted by the worship team, Pastor Tim and Pastor Linda’s messages/sermons, and the many faithful followers of Jesus.

It did not happen overnight but within a year I found myself stronger, more confident and ready to take the next step in my faith by being a part of the serve team ( I greet people as they come in the door).

There has been several things that have been written about the spiritual part of us  that can benefit in our recovery from mental illness.  I personally feel God works through people and if we open our heart to the blessings he is offering we may be overwhelmingly surprised by the everyday miracles that occur.  Healing is one of them.

Personally I have found a church filled with people from all walks of life who are a part of the Experience church’s message  “A perfect place for imperfect people.”

If you are walking the path and in your recovery journey I could not agree more with Heather, find a bible based church and get ready for all the blessings you are about to receive.

God works in mysterious ways and sometimes obvious ways too!


Overwhelmingly Oriented

Today was my orientation for my return to college.  As a transfer student with a significant number of credits I was eligible to do online orientation, but the fee was $100 either way so I made the 45 minute trek to campus so I could take advantage of the “free” food and tote bag and […]