Daily Archives: May 21, 2017

To Bird Or Not To Bird

zebra finches

I am struggling mightily with the impulse to buy some pet birds.  It’s Spring, and I hear the beautiful birds singing, and I just want all the birds!!  I have had Zebra Finches before (other birds too) but I like Zebra Finches because they are zero-maintenance.  They don’t want to be held or cuddled or paid attention to in the least – they just live their precious lives in their cage and if you get a male and a female they make precious babies!  OH!  How I want to get some!  Then I could just sit in my chair and watch my birds.  And avoid studying.  Oh.  Yeah.  That.

Part of me says “Wait until you pass your certification, then this will be your reward” which is a great idea but fuck me I don’t want to study!!  I have just rebelled and rebelled and I haven’t studied for a week!  This isn’t good people!!!  I’m supposed to take the test at the end of the month!  This is my own deadline but it’s for a good reason, I need to go out and get a damn job!  Have I mentioned how I feel about getting a full-time job?  I know I have.  I feel like SHIT about it!  Oh lawd I think all this shit is tied together.  Could getting pet birds possibly help me in some way?  Could I become homeless with pet birds?  These are the things that pop into my head.  I dunno, I just think pet birds would contribute to my home harmony.  That sweet little song . . . C’mon people talk me into it!

Well that’s about all for this week except we had a damn snowstorm in the middle of May and I had to say What the FUCK, Colorado?!  That sucked.  It is beautiful today, though.  Snow all gone.  Hope all is great in your world.


Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar and Studying, Bipolar and Work Tagged: Bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, Depression, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

The “Am I A Horrible Person Debate?”

So it’s no secret that I am absolutely a TV junkie. I binge watch like a pro and sometimes, the characters start to feel like family and friends. Not in a ‘lost touch with reality way’ but in a comforting way.

And then there are episodes of shows that trigger me. This week there have been a couple.

One episode was centered around a missing schizophrenic. His psychiatrist said, “I’d rather be alone with a paranoid schizophrenic than a bipolar or borderline patient.”

And logically, I know it’s fiction, just a TV show. I also know there are doctors and ‘mundanes’ who actually think like that and believe it.

It bothers me. Because I’m not violent. I am volatile but since a proper diagnosis and mood stabilizers, I no longer have the outbursts of throwing things then hiding in the bathtub n shame. Even then, I didn’t go after people. Walls hit with shoes, plates broken to vent frustration, sure. Like ten years ago. To hear that bipolar and borderline disorders are classified as having a propensity for violence really pisses me off. While some patients may lean that way, the sweeping generalization that ALL are dangerous…NOPE.

So one more thing that leaves me wondering…Am I a monster? If I’m not one now, am I eventually going to snap and become one because apparently, that’s how even the professionals view bipolar disorder?

The other show that got me locked in a loop on my own worth as a person involved a father who had walked out on his daughters and he told his adult daughter, “I had to leave, there was no way I could have stayed with your mother and survived.”

And right back to…I ran the donor off, I was a monster, I did everything wrong and logic was out the window for most of it due to pregnancy, not being medicated, being wrongly medicated. And of course, I did that horrid thing of projecting some of my own issues on him without even realizing that’s what I was doing. I begged him to stay even though deep down, I knew it was all wrong and I’d known it before I was even pregnant with Spook. He was the one telling me I was a quitter, give it more time, nothing is wrong, he’s happy with his family…

He said that right up til 3 days before he walked out by sneaking out his stuff and a 30 second call saying, “I can’t do this anymore.” What was I supposed to believe when I was so mislead? How could I be a monster when I was simply believing what I was being told?

And while trying to hang on even though he made it clear his wasn’t strong enough to handle my mental conditions and it was dragging him down..I was wrong but my reasoning was pure. I didn’t want to give up on one more thing. I didn’t want to be a quitter, again. I didn’t want my child punished by having no father just because I am difficult.

Looking back, it’s all so clear. Especially now that karma has bitten me on the ass and my daughter pretty much erodes my self esteem and sanity on an hourly basis. Is that how I made the donor feel? If so, wow. I am a monster. Not that he didn’t bring some of it on himself, always monitoring my every expression and asking are you okay and not letting up even when I said ten times to let me ride out the mood swing, it;s not your fault. That would set a sane person off being battered rammed constantly and especially when he made my condition all about him, as if it could be boiled down to what did he do wrong.

Rationalizing my own poor behavior, right?

No I accept responsibility for my bad behavior. I do not accept his weakness, not being able to cope with my conditions which were made known from word go. I do not accept that I am so monstrous it entitles him to abandon his child and not even attempt a relationship with her. Do I want to deal with him? Hell no. But when my kid asks what she did wrong to not have a dad like other kids…I’d walk through fire to give her a dad even if it kills my soul. Because it’s what you do when you love someone. You stop caring all about yourself and you sacrifice, you suck it up

I will apologize to him for my bad behavior. Not being bipolar, I didn’t ask for that. But my personality quirks that hurt him..I feel shitty about that. I own it. I can only try to do better and be better.

So am I horrible person? I’d like to think no. Troubled, flawed, difficult, sure. But a horrible person wouldn’t think twice about how they contributed to the failure of their relationships. They would blame the other person entirely. That’s a horrible person.

But maybe making that judgment is what makes me horrible.

Sometimes, I think all the therapy actually made me worse as opposed to better. Constant analysis of my behavior, past, present, future, analyzing those around me, wondering what disorders my shrink has so how does he have the right to label me…

That much awareness is kind of stifling and self defeating.


Caregivers Need Care Too

While there are professional caregivers, family members often provide care and support for those with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.

My husband of 35 years is my caregiver. He does a spectacular job – making sure I have my meds, taking me to my appointments, running the errands that I have no spoons to do, keeping the house quiet when I need to sleep, making sure I eat at least one nutritious meal a day.

It’s a lot. And there are things I can give him in return. Things he needs.

Appreciation. When my father was dying of cancer, my mother was his primary caregiver. One day she came to me, wanting me to tell her that she was doing a good job. She knew that she was. She just needed to hear it from someone else, someone who could tell her that her excellent care had been noticed and appreciated.

Appreciation – validation – is the thing that caregivers need most, to replenish themselves, to allow them to keep doing the things that are so vital for their charges. And it’s the easiest to give. When you’re in the depths of depression, it may be difficult to remember to say “thank you,” but it means a lot to your caregiver.

Now I’m mostly out of my depression (usually), and I say “thank you” a dozen times a day. And he always responds, “You’re welcome, friend.”

Alone time. Primary caregiving can be a full-time job. I know that one thing I need in the process of healing is alone time. Dan needs it too. He needs time off, even if that’s just time to retreat to his study and watch a movie or go outside and dig in the garden. I can always reach him if I really need him – for example, if I have a panic attack – via cell phone if nothing else. But, as the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty vessel. That’s part of the reason that he’s able to give me so much of what I need.

Couples time. This doesn’t necessarily mean sex. It means time spent together, doing something other than dealing with mood swings and trauma. It’s a little gift we give each other. Sometimes I sit through a movie I don’t really care for, just to give him the gift of snuggling on the couch. He got me color-and-bake ceramic mugs that are great for creativity and distraction. One rainy afternoon we sat together and each colored one side of the mugs.

Life stuff. Dan does most of the chores and tasks of daily living, but I do what I’m able to. I earn money. I pay bills online and do most of the other computing, except what he does for leisure. I help with cooking to the extent I can – sous-chefing, finding recipes, breading or mixing or inventing dressings and sauces, making grocery lists. He can ask me for help too.

Sharing my spoons. When I do find myself with a few spare spoons – a little extra energy occasionally – I try not to be selfish with it. When I have spoons to spend, I like to shower and dress and go out for lunch. But the other day, I showered and dressed and went for a walk in the woods with Dan, something he’s been longing for. My spoons ran out pretty rapidly, but he appreciated that I made the effort and shared one of his delights. It was another gift that cost no money.

In other words, when you have a caregiver, don’t think it’s all one way. Your caregiver needs care too. Small or large, what you are able to give will be appreciated.

 


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, caregivers, husband, mental health, mental illness, mutual support, my experiences, Spoon Theory, support systems

Storms in my mind

How do I calm the storms in my mind?

The flashes of lightening, the bolts of thunder. The tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards. 

The hammering of my heart, the sickening rush of adrenaline in my veins. The terror of catastrophes. 

Do I fight? Do I flee? And who do I fight, where do I take flight?

How can I leave behind the brain that tortures me? It comes with me wherever I go to escape it. 

It doesn’t leave me alone. 

Today it was brought to my attention in the starkest possible way, that I do indeed have an anxiety disorder. A major one. 

Bipolar 1 disorder wasn’t enough, now major anxiety. Uncontrollable, unmanageable, for now. 

I also felt relief, that I know. And knowledge is truly power. Abandonment: pretty well handled. Bipolar: managing, living. Anxiety? I will learn to manage, live with and eventually defeat it as well. 

Strength is my middle name. 

The Self Pity Monster

I suppose the title is a misnomer, because the term self pity is not my description of this phase of a depressive bout, it is what society at large seems to think. This current phase of “Why me, I suck, life sucks, I don’t deserve to live, I fail at everything” is NOT self pity. It is self loathing. It is desperation. It is ‘hanging by a thread and my brain wants to drive me to off myself with its depressive distortions’.

I started today out low but okay for depressed. It was cold and wet and I skipped yard sales. Actually, it wasn’t even an option to skip them, I simply didn’t have the desire or will to go out. And I haven’t turned down an opportunity for yard sales since I was 6 except during a depressive bout. Around one p.m. I took my kid to her grandmother’s for a promised playdate. I hadn’t bathed (the cold and gloom made my motivation about hygiene nil) and I was trying to ward off my mom’s comment the other day about how I can never stay, always have to go, too good to visit them…15 minutes in, my kid actually told me it was time for me to leave, I was hogging her aunt and grandma. And my mom snarked about how my kid isn’t the boss of me, I am the adult. Hmm…this after she made a bitchy comment about “you’re tougher on her than I was on your girls, I’m glad, I was a pussy, I let you walk all over me.”

Um…Reason why I am cracking down on my kid is because she is getting out of cute mindless kiddie age. She made an 11 year old cry at school the other day and 2 teachers had to intervene because she asked an adopted kid where she “came from”. This girl’s parents had signed away their rights and she’d bounced around foster care…Of course, my 7 year old didn’t know better. But it’s really not an appropriate question regardless of your age and Spook was playing victim because the older girl told her to ‘shut up’. Rude on that girl’s part but then my kid would have a tearburst if another kid pointed out her father’s absence from her life. Spook’s old enough to learn tact and empathy and compassion. I don’t know why that is considered ‘tough’ by mom’s standards but…Her seemingly positive support of me was attached to *that* judgemental tone indicating somehow I think I am a better parent than her.

I loathe going around them for that reason. The judgment.

I had a quiet day, following some errands in the dish. During which I had one of my usual “Wal-mart only” weak and dizzy spells. I think part of it is the road work on the main drag and the stress of the closed lanes and navigating traffic. But it unnerved me enough to come home and regroup. Then spend the day anxious without any real explanation.

When my sister brought my kid back she came inside to see the kittens and the ‘self pity monster’ kicked in. Because my sister is a housekeeping goddess and I broke the vacuum again this morning so I couldn’t even claim clean floors…and she made a comment about the strong scent of my Zen wax melts. Then I noticed my kid was in different clothes and had been bathed, as if I somehow neglected her. (They failed to mention she went fishing and got dirty when with them, my paranoid brain just jumped to conclusions.)

And so it started. Another minor tearburst in front of my kid because I caught her in a lie (and she just won the character award at school for honesty last month). Then came “I can’t do anything right.” Then it was “The doctor will want to lock you away, your own family thinks you can’t even keep your kid clean.” Followed by, “You’re buried alive here, you are never ever getting out from under it all, you’re as good as dead.”

Thankfully, though weak and getting its ass kicked, my stubborn rebellion streak spoke up and reminded me, when things are bleakest and you’re at your weakest, it’s time to not give up and not give in, ever.

Am I feeling it strongly? Nope. But it’s still there, reminding me that I am NOT depression’s bitch. Even though I really feel like I am down for the count.

One more lie depression tells.

So while the world at large may consider this the self pity monster…I pity only my child for having a mom with such a screwed up brain. I blame myself for something I cannot control.

Thanks for the social programming, world.Fuck you too.