Daily Archives: October 3, 2016

Bipolar

I’m sitting here in my car at my daughters cheer practice and a commercial comes on about Bipolar 1 depression and a clinical trial that may be helpful. I won’t call because I feel like for the most part I am under control. However, the fact that I even entertain the thought is something that bothers me. 

I spent the first 6 months after my diagnosis saying “wow you mean this feeling or that reaction is actually normal”. See I spent years trying to make myself different, or talk differently, or feel differently. I would make myself sick wondering why those around me wanted me to change so badly. I spent most of my teens and twenties fighting anyone who wanted me to do something differently no matter the reason. I couldn’t understand why me being different was so bad or why(so it seemed) I was supposed to change when those around me so obviously had no intention of doing so and whatever they did was ok. Being a teenager sucks. It’s hrs and confusing. While I can’t say I knew I was bipolar back then I did know that I was different and I constantly felt like there is something wrong with me. I was 17 when one of the teen leaders for our youth group took me out to lunch before a mission trip to ask me to have a good attitude and make sure everyone had a good time. That’s probably not the exact words but that the gist. Or it’s what I heard. It was a painful conversation and it was even more painful in a way when my newly prescribed anti depressant actually made me able to be different. What do you say to people who think you just decided to change your attitude and be nice? The answer is there isn’t an answer. In order to explain you also have to let a large group of people into the inner part of who you are and expose yourself in a way that most adults can’t do, much less a 17 year old. I remember crying more than once because all of my choices sucked and I was pregnant on top of it. It was not a good or fun time in my life. 

As an adult I try to be that person that someone needs should they need someone. I can’t count how many discussions I have had about mental illness BEFORE I was even diagnosed. The biggest place in my heart is for people who struggle, and feel alone, and only really want someone to listen and care. I love that I can do this in a way that reaches people and makes them feel a little less alone. 

The sad part for me is that while I live my life doing and being that I sit in my car pondering joining a drug/clinical trial for people who are Bipolar. I sit her and wonder if there are things I feel and do that still aren’t normal. But because I have been where I’ve been I think I’m better. And I am in many ways. I can see real ways that I am not the same person I was 2 years ago. But I also worry if I could be even better. It’s a very strange feeling as you are trying to figure out what is normal inside your head and what isn’t. It’s not like a broken arm, get an X-ray, and then a cast. All better eventually. When I start to struggle or get very emotional I always wonder if I am too far outside of normal. But I also have those times when I think “I’m probably not reacting enough”. Ugh! It hurts my brain!!

Ultimately, I only want to love the people in my life and change the world for the better from time to time. I’m sure there will be more times when I think, and worry, think some more about things I don’t know how to control or fix. But as I look in my rear view mirror sitting in my car at the most beautiful sunset, I know this. I know my family loves me! I know God is with me and leading me, and I know that when its all over I will be more grateful for my lessons than regrets. 

Be blessed today!! Feel free to leave feedback or contact me. 


Mindfulness

So I have had a few posts before about the different therapy methods used to treat common mental illness. And if you would like to see more articles about CBT, ACT and other things like that, please look below this article to find links. But today I want to talk about these things in terms […]

Depressive Undertow

Today has been utter shit. I woke up so lethargic and groggy, I came back home and decided to nap a bit before I was due at the shop. I even set the alarm. But when it went off, I hit snooze three times. I literally could not drag myself out of bed. I didn’t even have my morning smoke, or tea. I didn’t take anything to sleep last night. For the first time in days the sun was out. I can’t figure out why I was so dead. Today was check day. Normally I am all about out the door and getting a rare treat, pack of smokes, getting bills paid, errands run.

Today the depressive undertow just got the best of me.

By the time I decided I HAD to at least go pay rent…I went out to find the car battery had gone dead. Apparently I left the lights on. I don’t remember using the lights as it was sunny. Best I can figure is my purse bumped it when I was dragging my hazy butt out of the car. I called mom first but it was a no go as they have the new fangled shit that’s all computerized and fear jumping an old clunker would fry their delicate wiring.

None of the neighbors had jumper cables or did I.

Which left me calling R, who I had already pissed off by failing to show at 10 a.m. He got snarky. I  begged him to come give me a jump. He was pissy about leaving work but considering all I did for him last week when his car was down…FFS. Besides, he left an hour early the other day to put on his Green Lantern costume and participate in a parade. Surely twenty minutes to help me out isn’t asking too damned much?

So he got here and we had to push the car out so we could align the cables. Of course, my dumb ass forgot to put the key in so I could put it in neutral and he mocked me relentlessly. I said, “Fuck you, I’m not running on all 8 cylinders.” He sneered, “You’re sure not!” Well DUH, cockweasel. Got the damned thing running. I offered to buy him lunch for his troubles cos I really was feeling like a moron. He lectured me about how I had to have known ahead of time the car was dead and I just didn’t want to come in. I didn’t know until I tried it at noon. I was in a depressive narcolepsy, not that he cares to understand. Not a bit of empathy.

(Even now he is texting, “Did you look up that information I asked you to?” Um, we’ve not been home an hour, I have to give my kid a snack, do homework, put away groceries, plus all her friends are here and bickering…DAMNIT he acts like I don’t even have a kid to care for.)

Traffic was a bitch due to road construction which brought on the panic.

I managed to pay rent, put gas in the car. Went to Dollar Tree where the lines were long. My purse strap broke. (And yeah, it’s a ten dollar purse from China and a first world problem, but still, I LOVE this purse and now I’ve got it attached with big safety pins amping up the whole ‘she’s such white trash’ thing.)

(Cripes, my kid just got stung by a sweat bee, how the fuck can R not understand how full my plate truly is here????)

Spook was disappointed that I wouldn’t take her to the book fair. Well, my day has been shit and I just needed my safe space. Not like I have money to spare. Nope, no mermaid blanket again this month, ffs, one tiny thing and I can’t even swing it. But I will pawn some dvds or whatever like last year to get her a book or two. Just not today.

I am NOT doing well here. I am flailing. Going under. And I swear 80% is just unchecked Xanax. Would a 1mg increase make a difference? Well, it used to work like gangbusters and it’s the only thing these doctors haven’t been willing to try. I’ll be the first to admit if it makes no difference but why can’t we at least try it?

If there was a not sucky spot or two…I ran into a guy I worked with as a teenager, shocked he remembered my name. (I always went by my birth name there, no one ever called me Niki, I guess it was my way of disconnecting my true personality from that whole soul sucking corporate thing.) He told me I was looking real fine. Flattering, considering I’ve gained 80 pounds, my roots are gray, and I exude all the joy of a terminal patient wishing for death. I just smiled politely cos I am not used to compliments, at all. In fact, it makes me uncomfortable to be complimented on anything other than my mind or humor. You get insulted enough for appearance even from your own family…It happens.

Another possibly bright spot is I found a Patricia Cornwell book I’ve not read and got it for a buck. If my brain would slow down enough to truly let me enjoy reading.

SEE? I am TRYING to see the plus side amidst a sea of shit.

Now…to close this on a musical note. This song has always resonated with me, its topic being about trying to be what others want you to be and feeling caught in the emotional undertow.

 


I Seem To Have

run out of things to say today.  I’m still tired all the time, no matter how much caffeine I put down.  I don’t feel really down today–I’m just sleepy.  I went to the grocery store and that was all right.  I’m waiting for another good idea for  a short story.  I’m trying to get my nerve up to put together my response to this week’s reading.  750 words is a lot for me.

I wonder if I’m even doing the right thing in trying to publish right now.  I may should wait until I have more put together, more revised, more that’s good to read.  My “Hot Lead” piece actually offended a reader at Freeze Frame FIction, which I did not intend to do.  I’m just not sure what to do right now.

 


Weekly Wrap-Up October 03, 2016

Mood Not sure how I’ve felt. I haven’t been depressed. I haven’t been manic. I think my week was just meh. On the other-hand, I think I’m out of touch with my feelings. I am eating everything I can get my hands on, no matter how hard I try not to. The fridge was stocked full of fresh fruit, which…

The post Weekly Wrap-Up October 03, 2016 appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

This is Real Life

I am not a fan of the question “how are you?” I just don’t know how to answer it. My therapist asked me this as i sat on the couch clutching the pillow. On my walk to her office i was all over the place. Praising myself for actually getting out and walking. Angry I am not working out at all. Trying to notice my surroundings. Fighting back tears. Giving in to tears. Perseverating over what i want to talk about…work, parents, fears, lack of relationships, crushing loneliness. Wanting to just turn around and go home. Smiling at passersby. All the while being cradled by music that carries me down the bike path. It was a somewhat grueling 30 min jaunt.
As i struggled to find words, the right words mind you, to express the chaos i wade through on a day to day basis she sat patiently. Just 2 weeks ago i had a breakthrough session where i felt i was there for the betterment of myself, not just to combat bipolar disorder. I was “ordered” to start therapy after a suicide attempt in Nov 2014 by my husband. I finally got around to finding someone in January 2015. I figured 6 months of obligatory therapy was all I needed. Well in those initial months, as we were getting to know each other, it was more like crisis management every 2 weeks. It still is to a certain extent. But as I was saying, last time I saw my therapist i was in a space where i was ready to focus on the me who isn’t bipolar. So much focuses on that damn diagnosis. I think I focus on it much more than i realize. I mean how could i not?
I saw her on Thursday, but just the Monday before I was planning my death. I was in such a dark hole. I simply could not communicate to my husband. I sat in lone silence while my mind plotted against me. And sure enough she and I were thrust back into crisis management. Angry, frustrated, hopeless tears fell onto that pillow as I held it in my lap. I was explaining i was giving up everything. Wasn’t going to pursue life any longer. What was the point? She listened. And listened. My voice rose and fell. Rose and ultimately i fell silent…lost. She honored every one of my feelings and then played devil’s advocate.
In my perseveration, I also guess how my therapist will respond to my woes. In a previous post i discussed the idea of always being behind the camera, watching others living life. I knew she would say something along the lines of, well we can’t always be in front of the camera. Life happens. She of course didn’t use those exact words, as i can’t truly read minds. Intellectually. Conceptually i TOTALLY agree with this notion. However, emotionally and all tied up in symptoms and mood swings I can’t untangle myself in the moment to see it this way. But, it was a gentle reminder that everyone has bad days, awful days and even more awful days. Everyone at some point probably feels the pangs of loneliness. Maybe not to the degree I do, or maybe they do. Who knows.
So, here’s the best part. I unloaded all that junk i was carrying for a week in 50 minutes. I was able to receive that gentle reminder. I was also able to hear that perhaps I shouldn’t give up on pursuing life. Its okay to have my art journal sit untouched for weeks at a time. Its there when i am ready. The even better part is that I got out into the world and literally kicked up my heels and danced. As i stood before one of my favorite musicians and listened to her sing out her own pain, i moved and swayed to the rhythm. In that moment, i wasn’t carrying the burden of bipolar. I didn’t even care i was the only one standing up and dancing. I was too busy pursuing real life.


What to do after a mental illness diagnosis 


No one wants to hear those words you have an illness.  But outside of cancer there are few diagnosis that trump a mental illness label.  It can be very depressing.  So now that you have it -what do you do next?

Here are some common answers to that question:

1.  Deny it.  Belief the doctor or therapist is wrong and you are perfectly healthy.  It is everyone else who has the problem.

2.  Cry.  It is a sad day to get told something is not quite right and that maybe you will need medications for the rest of your life.  That’s no fun to hear.  Grab a box of tissues and let it all sink in.

3. Rejoice.  Well a little dramatic but if you were looking for something to explain how you thought or felt or acted and now all of a sudden things made sense that’s a pretty good day.

4.  Question.  Is the doctor right?  Get a second opinion.

5. Accept it and start learning how to recognize warning signs of the illness.  Become a student and learn everything you can so you manage the illness and it does not manage you.

6.  Ignore it.  Pretend as if the doctor has not just told you you have a severe mental illness and you will need treatment most likely for the rest of your life.

In my personal journey I have done each one of those responses.  #6 is by far the worst choice in my personal experience.  But I do understand all the choices and know everyone has their own reasons for choosing how they react and deal with it.

No matter where you are in your process think about what worked the best for you.   In the end #5 gave me my life back.  It is my choice and recommendation for others confronted with this challenge.