Daily Archives: June 25, 2017

Ode to Beyonce

My favorite furry friend Beyoncé has passed away. I found her upon my return home from work this past Wednesday. She was a beautiful, gentle, black and white kitty. Her sister, Sage, passed a year ago. The first month without Sage Beyoncé was lost. She bellowed into our long hallway once the lights went out for the night. It was heart wrenching. But, we also had the opportunity to watch her blossom into herself. I say that because Sage pretty much ran the show at our house. With no alpha personality to share space with, Beyoncé changed from an introvert to an extrovert. She suddenly demanded my attention. Demanded when to be fed and even became a picky eater. Expected to be pet in a certain way. She was now the princess of her domain. But, honestly, she just wanted to be loved wholeheartedly.
I loved her as she would allow. We rescued her and her sister at about 2 months old. We were later told Beyonce was the “runt” of the litter. She certainly acquiesced to her domineering sister. Beyoncé was sitting on my lap once, which was rare. I mean neither of these cats enjoyed being picked up. I don’t think they experienced much socialization those first two months. Anyway, I digress. Beyoncé and I were enjoying a moment and Sage jumped up and swatted her away. Just like that B slinked off. Just so you know, I didn’t oblige Sage and swatted her away accordingly. Its not like we weren’t a happy household. We truly were as a foursome. But there seemed to be some unwritten cat rules.
As miss B gained confidence she even went outside. A big deal considering sticking her nose out the back screen door caused anxiety. Slowly, if we kept the escape door (aka backdoor) open she might venture 1-2 feet. She had to know she could go back inside at anytime. In her own time, Beyoncé came to enjoy venturing in the backyard. She sat amongst the plants in our garden. Most recently she flopped in front of the tomato plants and I called her the tomato whisperer. Like into the summer nights she would sit below the stars only coming to my call. I had a special way of calling her name. She wouldn’t come in for my husband.
Funny enough, she started to love mornings outside. Before I had to go to work. I would let her out, but not ten minutes later she wanted in. Then wanted back out. In the span of an hour I probably let her in and out 5-6 times. It was almost a game. I willingly played along. I felt she deserved it.
In the last months of her life she stopped eating much. She was thin. People would jokingly ask if I fed her. Of course I put food out everyday, she just wasn’t all that interested. She seemed okay, though had to work a little harder to breathe. We did take her to the vet and were told she had a small tumor. I hesitate to say we aren’t ones to put a kitty through testing that would only give us a timeframe, not necessarily a solution. So we brought her back home and loved her more.
Our cats have continual flea issues and I have tried to be vigilant. In an effort to relieve Beyoncé of nefarious scratching I opted to put flea medicine on her. I don’t think her system was strong enough for the medicine. This I didn’t know. I wanted her to be free from pain. Perhaps it helped in terms of fleas, but not in terms of her strength to handle the chemicals.
I left for work on Wednesday morning full of worry. I could see she was struggling. I was hoping the medicine was coursing through her system and it was a temporary reaction. I didn’t think she wouldn’t make it through the day but felt her time in my life was dwindling. She had signs and symptoms of her sisters passing. Seeing her sprawled on the floor obviously vying for her last breath was heart breaking. I wish so much I had one more day. Or even knew I had only one more day. I would have spoiled her rotten.
I am without furry friends. Unconditional love buckets. Sometimes a reason to get out of bed. A distraction from my head. Company.  I have cried.  Waves of emotion wash over me. It’s too quiet in the house.  I cleaned her area and removed food bowls, water, litter box.  I miss her only being willing to eat if I pet her at the same time.  I mean, really, I always have 5 minutes To spare. I miss calling her name as I walk through the front door…Beeeeeyonceeeeeeeeee!
We provided Sage and Beyonce a safe loving home. I know they felt that. In return I felt their love. Rest in piece my favorite furry friends.  I will forever miss you.


Helping myself 

Wow! Sometimes you do something only in the spirit of helping someone, and it totally comes back to bite you in your derrière. You don’t have to do this thing, you are under no obligation to do it. But for some reason you feel someone is asking for your help without using the exact words, so you actually try to help. My advice was actually to read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Also it was about the effects of L-Dopa when people first start taking it for early onset Parkinson’s disease. How that advice could be taken wrongly and twisted to make me feel like I’d done something wrong is quite puzzling and quite beyond me. 

Do I stop helping people? If someone reaches out to me either in words or actions, do I just ignore them to avoid the backlash? Yes. For a bit. Until I understand how trying to help someone is wrong. I’m going to stop. For self preservation. For my own peace of mind and for the peace in my life. I’m going to put myself first. And not go out on a limb to help anyone else. 

I have always been helpful and selfless. But this incident is teaching me how to be more selfish and less selfless, so that I cannot be turned into the scapegoat into which I have frequently been turned. My entire life. I think I needed that lesson. 


The Struggle is REAL!

I feel like I hit rock bottom this weekend.  I hit my threshold of “when I get down to this amount of money, I panic” and I began to panic.  I worked on my studying and took a practice test upon which I did not do well.  Then I freaked out majorly and got suicidal for awhile because I was so scared about failing this test and how am I gonna get a job no one wants to interview me and what am I gonna do if I run out of money and how am I gonna take care of these birds and how will I pay the rent?  I know, breathe!  I got so sad thinking of my family getting the news I was dead, and to YOU guys, I would be another dead blogger, another Bipolar fatality, GOD I got to feeling guilty about all the people I would hurt and let down!  And then I thought….you could sell your car instead of killing yourself couldn’t you?  I mean, the baby birds haven’t even been born!  And I thought yeah, my life is worth more than my car.  I could sell my car and buy myself a little time and sanity and just buy a beater car that gets me from Point A to Point B, I mean, I’d be sad to sell my car, but I’d rather LIVE and not be destitute, I think….So I went and washed my car and vacuumed it and took pictures of it and listed it on Craigslist.  Done.  We’ll see what the Gods have in store for me.  So, that’s how my Sunday went, a little Bipolar rollercoaster for ya!  How has yours been?


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

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Why I Stopped Therapy

I got my first hint that I might be ready to stop therapy when I realized how little I was going. Over the years I have scaled down from weekly sessions to biweekly.

Then I noticed that, effectively, I’d been going only once a month. I’d been forgetting appointments, showing up on the wrong day, oversleeping, or having too much freelance work to do.

Of course, those could have been signs that I was in denial, that I was resisting therapy, that we’d hit a bad patch of difficult issues and I just didn’t want to deal with them.

But I don’t think that’s what’s happened. Here’s why.

I’m stabilized on my medications and they’re effective. When my psychiatrist moved away, he left me with refills and a list of other psychiatrists. My PCP agreed to prescribe my psychotropics if I lined up another psychiatrist for emergencies. I did that, though I couldn’t get an appointment for months.

And that doesn’t alarm me. I don’t have the oh-my-god-what-if-my-brain-breaks-again panics. I don’t have the feeling that my brain is about to break again. I’ve thought about it, and I’m comfortable with letting my involvement with the psychiatric profession fade into the background of my life.

As long as I keep getting my meds.

I have more good days and I’m beginning to trust them. Oh, I still question whether I’m genuinely feeling good, happy, and productive or whether I’m merely riding the slight high of hypomania. But really? It doesn’t seem to matter very much. A little while ago I reflected on a string of particularly good days – when I accomplished things, enjoyed my hobbies, and generally felt content. And I simply allowed myself to bask in those feelings.

That’s not to say I don’t still have bad days. After a few days of hypomania, I hit the wall, look around for spoons and don’t find any, and require mega-naps to restore me. (I’m intensely grateful that I work at home and can do that. Most offices don’t appreciate finding an employee snoring underneath her desk. And my cat-filled bed is much more comfy-cozy.)

I still get low days too, but they are noticeably dysthymic rather than full-out, sobbing-for-no-reason, Pit-of-Despair-type lows that last seemingly forever. I know – really know, deep within me – that they will last a day or two at the most. And just that knowledge makes me feel a little bit better.

My creativity, concentration, and output are improving. I can work longer, read longer, write longer, take on new projects, think past today or even next week. I can trust my muse and my energy, if not immediately when I call on them, at least within a reasonable time.

I have trouble remembering how bad it used to be. I’ve made connections with several on-line support groups for bipolar and mental health. I find I’m astonished at the crises, the outpourings of misery, the questioning of every feeling and circumstance, the desperate drama of even the most mundane interactions. They are overwhelming. But I realized that it’s been a long time since they’ve overwhelmed me. I recognize that I could some day be in that place again – that’s the nature of this disease. But I have a good support system that I trust to help me not fall too far without a net.

I don’t have much to talk about when I go to therapy. There are issues I need to work on – getting older, getting out of the house more, reclaiming my sexuality. But most of those I feel competent to work out on my own.  My sessions are mostly an update on what’s going on in my life at the moment, plus a recap of my recurring problems. But those problems are ones I’ve faced before and know how to cope with. I already have the tools I need and use them without needing a reminder.

So I’ve talked it over with my psychotherapist and I’m quitting therapy. I know that if and when the bipolar starts giving me major trouble again, I can always call for an appointment or a telephone therapy session.

I’m not going to stop writing these posts. I still have a lot to say about where I’ve been, how I’ve got to where I am now, how things will go in the future, and all the many ways that mental illness affects society and vice versa.

You’re not getting rid of me that easily. I’m sticking around.


Filed under: Mental Health