Daily Archives: September 1, 2016

It’s World Insecure Writers Day!

Since there aren’t enough official “Days” and “Months” in the year, i.e. World Bipolar Day and World Gourmet Donut Month, I’ve decided to petition Congress for yet another day: World Insecure Writers Day Why not? (Okay, okay, I’m kidding!) Today’s post will be rather silly, superficial, and my personal favorite: whiny. (I hope you’ll enjoy reading it regardless of … Continue reading It’s World Insecure Writers Day!

Another Fine Tweet!

I can relate to very single one of these points. How you know you have a #ChronicIllness: pic.twitter.com/TICrbYC9Dt — Men Have Lupus (@menhavelupus) September 1, 2016  Filed under: Chronic Pain, invisible illness Tagged: abilities, arthritis, attitude, awareness, challenges, chronic pain, … Continue reading

Lessons of hardships and insights for those living with mental illness

Walking through adversity is neither all dark and certainly not all light.  It is a kaleidoscope of colors filled with a variety of emotions.

My life has been defined by my ability to overcome adversity.  For the most part I have faced my challenges head on even though I have been impacted by a periodicly disabling condition – bipolar disorder.  I have lived with this disability all my life though you cannot see my wheelchair I assure you it is there.

My comparison is not to discount the great challenges both physical and mental faced by those who do need wheelchairs.  It is more to visually demonstrate the impact of a disabling mental condition.  The challenges of overcoming the affects of facing sometimes severe limitations can only be highlighted by what is obviously understood.  

What is equally important is to acknowledge that some people can recover and live fulfilling lives despite their mental health condition. While others find the struggle overwhelming, limiting and relentless.

There was a period in my life where I saw the latter as my fate.  Stripped of my dignity, confidence and self-esteem the journey back to living became the greatest challenge of my life.

What is inherent in my journey is the importance of overcoming adversity and the necessity of finding hope even in the darkest places.

Last night I had an opportunity to share some insights of what I have learned with a young man.  

Lesson:  If you do not treat bipolar disorder it will get worse!

“Bipolar disorder will destroy you if you do not get a treatment plan and follow it,” I said to a young college student who sat at a support group meeting and declared he was no longer taking medication.  I did not hesitate to share those rather strong words.  They are words I wish I had heard many years ago by someone who had walked in my shoes.

I also told him, “You can have a great life if you learn how to manage your illness.”

I aim to not rain on anyone’s parade but to give a dose of reality about mental illness.  We don’t get to choose what are challenge is in life, but we do choose how we deal with it.  Ignoring a mental illness is not going to make it go away.  Serious mental illnesses, like major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia will get worse over time if they are not treated.

I have been a person who almost lost my life because of untreated bipolar disorder.    I believe my life purpose is to reach out and help other people not make the same mistakes.  But it is my hardships and adversity that gives me incredibly valuable insights.  

One of the greatest gifts is being in a position to help other people.  In an intriguing way the person most helped is often the giver.  I am blessed to share my insights and I hope you find value in my words.


Lessons of hardships and insights for those living with mental illness

Walking through adversity is neither all dark and certainly not all light.  It is a kaleidoscope of colors filled with a variety of emotions.

My life has been defined by my ability to overcome adversity.  For the most part I have faced my challenges head on even though I have been impacted by a periodicly disabling condition – bipolar disorder.  I have lived with this disability all my life though you cannot see my wheelchair I assure you it is there.

My comparison is not to discount the great challenges both physical and mental faced by those who do need wheelchairs.  It is more to visually demonstrate the impact of a disabling mental condition.  The challenges of overcoming the affects of facing sometimes severe limitations can only be highlighted by what is obviously understood.  

What is equally important is to acknowledge that some people can recover and live fulfilling lives despite their mental health condition. While others find the struggle overwhelming, limiting and relentless.

There was a period in my life where I saw the latter as my fate.  Stripped of my dignity, confidence and self-esteem the journey back to living became the greatest challenge of my life.

What is inherent in my journey is the importance of overcoming adversity and the necessity of finding hope even in the darkest places.

Last night I had an opportunity to share some insights of what I have learned with a young man.  

Lesson:  If you do not treat bipolar disorder it will get worse!

“Bipolar disorder will destroy you if you do not get a treatment plan and follow it,” I said to a young college student who sat at a support group meeting and declared he was no longer taking medication.  I did not hesitate to share those rather strong words.  They are words I wish I had heard many years ago by someone who had walked in my shoes.

I also told him, “You can have a great life if you learn how to manage your illness.”

I aim to not rain on anyone’s parade but to give a dose of reality about mental illness.  We don’t get to choose what are challenge is in life, but we do choose how we deal with it.  Ignoring a mental illness is not going to make it go away.  Serious mental illnesses, like major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia will get worse over time if they are not treated.

I have been a person who almost lost my life because of untreated bipolar disorder.    I believe my life purpose is to reach out and help other people not make the same mistakes.  But it is my hardships and adversity that gives me incredibly valuable insights.  

One of the greatest gifts is being in a position to help other people.  In an intriguing way the person most helped is often the giver.  I am blessed to share my insights and I hope you find value in my words.


A Love Story, 25 Years In The Making

Twenty-five years (September 1, 1991) ago I drove North East with my good friend and her cousin. We were going to a tiny place called Seton Portage, where her other cousin, her husband, and their son lived. We stayed in … Continue reading

The Inflamed Brain

Fascinating! People are hallucinating because their immune system has produced an antibody against the NMDA receptor in their brain.  So many immune illnesses are present in people who have mental illness. Now it’s  being found that in many cases there is a connection

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07pj2pw

BBC health reporter James Gallagher explores the increasing body of evidence that a dysfunctional immune system is responsible for the depression or psychotic illness experienced by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people in the UK. James talks to the psychiatrists investigating this new understanding of mental illness and to people who may benefit from treatments aimed at the immune systems rather than their brain cells.
“I believe this is one of the strongest discoveries in psychiatry in the last twenty years”, says Professor Carmine Pariante of his and other research on the immune system and depression. “It allows us to understand depression no longer as just a disorder of the mind and not even a disorder of the brain, but a disorder of the whole body. It shifts conceptually what we understand about depression.”
James also talks to New York journalist Susannah Cahalan. She began to experience paranoid delusions and florid hallucinations when her immune system made damaging antibodies against part of the molecular circuitry in her brain. Treatment to eliminate the antibodies prevented her committal to psychiatric hospital. Psychiatrist Professor Belinda Lennox at the University of Oxford says she has evidence that a significant proportion of people presenting for the first time with psychotic symptoms are victims of a similar autoimmune problem.


Seizures and Bipolar Disorder – Throwback Thursday

A Reminder Before I begin, I want to remind you all that entries in the Caption This contest must be in by midnight tonight. If you missed it, the info is on yesterday’s post. This weeks throw-back is from May, 2014 When The Seizures Began About 15 years ago I had a series of blackouts. At the time I was…

The post Seizures and Bipolar Disorder – Throwback Thursday appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Fear and Anxiety

Sort of consumed by fear. And anxiety. Trying to tell myself that all is well. All will be well. Fear and anxiety is all for the future. What will happen? Will everything be okay? Will my loved ones be fine? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, am being devoured by dread and panic and colossal amounts of fear. Is this depression? Usually in the summer I do go into a depression. But I don’t think this is only depression. It is being a mother who is far away from her child, and at this moment the future is unknown for her child. Education is finished and the start of “real” life is in the process. In my mind it is imperative that the start of this very real life be a “successful” one, whatever that means… Of course my son is responsible for his own life from here on out, he is responsible for the choices he makes, and of course he is allowed to make mistakes. Just so difficult to live with uncertainty, I am sure the tragedies that have happened in my past do nothing to make this unsure time any easier. Of course I am responsible for my own emotions, must not push them onto my son. But I’m telling you, this is not an easy time for me. Smh. Does it ever get any easier, or do you forever carry the past in your heart? Forever worry about what can happen? Going to visit my son again, and hoping for good things. Everything will be fine, I’m sure, I just have to get a handle on my anxious thoughts and heart. 


Bipolar Blackout

There’s a chance I cured cancer and I don’t know it.  On a darker note, I also could have robbed a bank and I don’t know it.  The chance of either is extreeeeeeemely small, but we’ll never know because I have complete memory loss about what happened from early September to the middle of October last fall.

I knew last fall was fuzzy in my memory, but who doesn’t have a hard time remembering things from a year ago?  I told my husband I am excited for this fall, because I was so mentally jacked last fall that I feel like I skipped it.  It’s the best season in Michigan.  I didn’t realize until this week, though, how complete my blackout of that month is.  Now I’m a little freaked out.

This week is professional development week at school.  Professional development week is when teachers sit around in mostly pointless meetings and discuss things about the upcoming school year.  This conversation happened yesterday:

Mr. T:  Should we do the raking leaves field trip again this year?  The one where we take the students to rake leaves for elderly people?

Me: That sounds like fun…but we didn’t do that last year.  You must be remembering a different year.

Mr. T: Ummm…we definitely did that last year.

Me: No, I would remember that.

Mrs. S: Hazel, you were a driver for the field trip.

Me: No I wasn’t!  *laughs nervously* No way.  You’re messing with me.  We didn’t do that field trip.

*everyone on staff looks at me like I’m crazy (which, you know, I am…BUT THEY DON’T KNOW THAT)*

Me: No way. *stops laughing, looks around nervously* Wait, really?  Are you serious?

All staff: YES.

Me: Huh.  I don’t remember that.

*everyone looks at me like I’m crazy again*

I cannot believe I forgot a field trip.  I tried really hard to remember, but I have literally no recollection of this.  Ask any teacher about the work that goes into a field trip, and they’ll tell you that there’s no way they could forget one, especially not one from last year.

That was a little creepy, so I decided to consult my lesson plan book and see if I at least have note of this field trip somewhere.  I keep very detailed lesson plans, so if we had a field trip, it would have been in my book.  I grabbed my lesson plan book from last year, turned to last fall, and guess what I found?

BLANK. PAGES.

I could hardly believe my eyes.  I had weeks between mid September and mid October where the entire week was blank.  I teach six classes five days a week.  That’s thirty little white squares staring at me with invisible question marks.  What did I do?  What did I teach?  Why aren’t there any plans?  Why can’t I remember anything from last fall?

The couple weeks in that period that did have things written had haphazard, half-baked lesson plan ideas written in only a few of the squares.  I have no clue what I taught.  It was so eerie…I never leave lesson plans blank.  I didn’t know I did that.  I don’t remember.

I know that last September was the deepest depression of my life, ending with a suicide attempt at the end of the month and a subsequent emergency psychiatric evaluation that resulted in a bipolar diagnosis.  I guess it’s logical that I wasn’t on my A-game at school, but I didn’t know I had done nothing.  I didn’t know I would forget field trips that I apparently chaperoned.  I tried to remember other things from this period: what was my first day of school like?  Can I remember the leaves changing?  Did I go to any football games?

I can’t remember any of it.

Isn’t that super creepy?  What if I did something awesome or awful?  I have no idea.  Has this ever happened to any of you, readers?  Do you have an explanation?  It’s like people who get drunk and can’t remember the night before, but I got crazy and can’t remember an entire month.  I suppose, in the grand scheme of life, losing a month isn’t that bad.  It’s not like a remember anything about my first thirty-six months.  I haven’t lost any sleep over that.  I hear it was a lot of bottles and diapers.

This one’s weird.  I haven’t had anything like this happen before.  I told Andy I was planning to blog about this, and he said, “Are you sure you want to write about that?”  I asked why I shouldn’t.  He said, “People who read that might think you’re…you know…a bit insane.”  They say that if the shoe fits, wear it.  Call me Cinderella to the glass slipper of madness.

If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you already know I’m a total nutter.  This one post isn’t going to make things better or worse.  Like Andy, you have the choice to stay or to leave.  He chose to stay.  I hope you do too.  Then again, if you choose to desert me…no big deal.  I might not even remember it.


Long Day

I had on off day today.  I feel like I accomplished precisely nothing.  I didn’t do any kind of writing and only came here tonight out of a sense of duty to all ten of my readers.  To say something, anything encouraging.  And here it is–God willing, tomorrow is another day.

I can finish tomorrow what I didn’t today. I have done nothing that can’t be undone.  Unless God decides to take me home tonight, I will live to continue one more day.  That thought gives me hope tonight.  Even though I was so sleepy today, I got to school to pick up my child and went to the doctor’s   office for my other child to make sure she got her allergy shots okay.  I went to church tonight and heard an inspiring message that I am the better for having sat through.   I can be an example to my family and friends of someone who can pick herself up again and get things done.

So that is my message tonight.  Get up tomorrow and do the next possible thing.