Monthly Archives: August 2017

Mama’s Got Ink!

Well, I did it—I finally got my semicolon tattoo! Almost 60 years old and I feel a little bit like a rebel, getting my first one (and it really is addictive like my family members and friends with tattoos say, because I’m already planning my next) at an advanced age. It’s on the inside of my right forearm, where it can be hidden with long sleeves if absolutely necessary. But I’m wearing it proudly as a symbol of my promise to my late husband that I would do as he asked and stay alive…no matter what life throws at me.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the semicolon except as an example of punctuation, it’s a metaphor for life as a person who has considered or attempted suicide. You know how the semicolon is used to connect thoughts in a sentence; the author could have ended the sentence at any point with a period, but instead decided to continue it. (See what I did there?) The author is you, and the sentence is your life.

The tattoo is more common than you might think. Several years ago a young woman named Amy Bleuel started Project Semicolon to honor her father, who died by suicide as a result of severe depression. It started out with people drawing semicolons on themselves with Sharpie markers, then caught on among the mental health community, many of whom wanted something more permanent. So the semicolon tattoo was born.

Sadly, Ms. Bleuel herself suffered from serious mental illness, and in March of this year she ended her own life at the age of only 31.

But for those of us who have looked into the face of death and lived to tell about it, our story is NOT over. We are warriors, survivors; while I personally have never attempted suicide, I know in my heart that if I had been sent home that day I checked myself into the ER for suicidal ideation and intent, I wouldn’t be here. You see, I knew where the pills were, and where the gun was…and it still scares me that I came so close to ending it all. In fact, the only reason I didn’t was that I didn’t want Will to find my body.

I don’t have him to keep me honest anymore, but I have many other reasons not to end my sentence. This tattoo will remind me of that every day for the rest of my life. My story isn’t over.

 

 


Status Unknown

Well I am in a weird kind of limbo when it comes to this new job.  I believe that my background check has been completed.  I got a call last week from the account manager stating that they needed to finalize the contract with the company, and I would hopefully start the day after Labor Day (which is Tuesday September 5th for those not in the US).  Then this week I heard from the recruiter that they are waiting on something from the company (the contract?) and hopefully they’ll have a start date for me soon.  So I guess I’m not starting next week?  I don’t know.  I’m so nervous and ambivalent about starting this new job, that I’m not asking for clarification, or pushing for a start date.

Meanwhile, I am wrapping up my maid duties with Mom & Dad, with one day to go.  It will be a sad day, because I have loved spending so much time with Mom and Dad.  But, I am a terrible maid because I have to fight my naturally lazy tendencies and also because it’s so damn hard on my fibromyalgic body!  I have to take frequent ice breaks for my back.  So I’ll be glad to be done with the work.

I also am wrapping up with Dr. Flaky.  I just finished writing documentation for her new assistant that I am going to turn into a handbook, 42 pages at last count!  I’m nothing if not thorough!  Saturday will be my last day working for Dr. Flaky, and then I’ll meet with her on Monday to give her my final bill and the handbook.  This will be a sad parting because we have developed such a nice working relationship.  She is a genuinely good person and has been very good to work for despite her flakiness.

So, I will have all of my current work wrapped up and if I don’t start a job next week, then what?  My mind immediately goes to marijuana, bad idea!  Then I thought, maybe I’ll clean my apartment really good.  God knows it needs it.  Then I laughed and laughed.  Would I ever be that bored?  Oh well, it’s a good thought . . .

Hope you are all well…let me know!  Peach out!  BPOF!


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

Hurricane Leftovers

So we are experiencing what’s left of Hurricane Harvey in terms of heavy rain and the possibility of spinoff tornados.  We already had a batch of those in south Mississippi yesterday so that has been sad. It has been one wet and rainy August, really a wet and rainy summer, the whole time.

It’s sent my mood very much south–I’m thinking about all I went through during Katrina.  But Bob is actually finally out of the generator business–that part of the business is being sold to two distributors in Texas and Tennessee.  So they no longer have to worry about disaster prep and aid at his office, which he is thankful for.

I have class off today and I went back and slept in some. I feel better having done it, more alert and whatnot. Still have house stuff to do but that is all.

Hope everyone has a good rest of the week.

 


I’m Fine…Keep Telling Yourself That, Dude

After a conversation with R last night in which I propose a compromise where I can somewhat help him keep the shop open without it impacting me financially or emotionally…the positional asphyxia has lessened but only slightly. I am going to try a few hours every other weekday, and we’re going to keep doing the barter thing. I help him out, he hands over the credit card so I can buy gas or cat food or whatnot. And of course, auto repairs.

He was not exactly happy about this arrangement. He kept pointing out that it would cost him potential business, working that whole guilt trip thing but I didn’t back down. I pointed out my last uber meltdown trying to keep up with what he expects me to be, the one where we didn’t speak for 5 months cos I had to remove myself from a situation that was crushing me during a crushing depression.

His mantra? “You’re fine.” He said it over, and over, because he is convinced mental issues are b.s. and that by repeating himself enough he can convince me I am indeed fine. Ha ha ha. Guess what? I’m really not.

Prior to him showing up, I was in fact, about to go ballistic on a yard full of screeching kids. God, the two and a half days Spook was grounded were so peaceful, we didn’t find, the noise was minimal…But she was good and I let her off the hook as planned only to be thrust right back into the drama and demands and the older kids are flocking together and ditching her and she wants me to go tell them they HAVE to include her. Sorry, baby girl, it doesn’t work that way. And she is still harping on those fucking devil girls. Yeah, the ones who can’t play with my kid cos they told their dad I yelled for them to kiss my big fatt butt. No, I was not talking to them, I told them I was not talking to them, but they still went and told daddy and he banned them from having contact with my kid supposedly until I apologize.

Doesn’t work that way, McDouchey “I send my kids to your house in negative 16 degree weather to use your phone to call and demand their grandpa bring me cigarettes”. Not to mention his oldest angel spent one church night in the office cos she kept saying “motherfucker” on the church bus. And this guy wants to make me look like some sort of monster for mouthing back to a teeny bopper that had nothing to do with him or his kids? Nope. Besides, the drama went down 30 points since they got banned from our house and selishly, I like it that way.

Point being, any time my kid plays,it turns into drama and bickering and noise and my nerves start fraying and the nervous stomach ache that has become a constant companion begins churning like cola poured on battery posts. I AM NOT FINE. I am hanging by a bloody thread, whether your itty bitty brain can grasp it. Grrr, the non believers when it comes to mental illness really make me want to grab a shovel and start whacking skulls. (Z whacker is needed now!)

“You’re fine.”

He just kept saying it while trying to talk me into doing it his way. And every part of me wants to declare myself cured and say pushing myself will be good for me, but I’ve lived it long enough to know that’s not how it works for me. I am standing my ground on this one even if it comes served with daily guilt provoking comments from him. Besides, the way this other place works him a few weeks then lays him off then he goes back, lather, rinse, repeat…it’s not worth upending my entire world and shaky equilibrium only to be told, oh, now I don’t need any help so you’re on your own for gas money or whatever.

I am NOT fine. And you are delusional for thinking I am. I am managing and I use that term very loosely. I told my mom the other day that my life has been reduced to nothing but kid drama and lice treatments. And it’s true. I have got to find some peace, find something for myself, something that nourishes my soul and gives me emotional strength. Generally that comes from writing but if I am busy helping him during the hours she is at school and then I can’t get any peace to focus until after she goes to bed by which time I am so beaten down I could be a corpse…

“You’re fine.”

Yep. Totally. That’s why when the fire truck sirens went off awhile ago my first thought was, “Hope they’re not going to my house!” And I actually breathed a sigh of relief to see it go in the opposite direction. This is not normal anxiety, this is not rational thought. Daily stomach aches aren’t just part of life. I have legitimate disabilities and limitations and no one resents it more than I do but it is what it is. And I warned him should I melt down because it happens every winter…You don’t get to to play the ‘how could you let me down’ card.

In other news, I was supposed to have a child support check today. No check. WTF? First thought is, “Donor quit his job and absconded”. Second cheerier thought (yeah, I’m going to hell, whatver) “Hey, maybe he died!” Seriously though, aside from holidays the deposits have been like clockwork so a little panic is warranted. Then again it could be something as simple as his employer’s pay period not fitting the normal schedule and it could be there tomorrow. IDK.

I still haven’t heard back from social security about whether I ‘qualify’ for my request for a new social security card from the on line application. That makes me nervous but we all know the governt moves at the speed of snail unless it’s the IRS then they’re cheetahs.

So many things making me uneasy. Worry leads to worse anxiety which leads to physical symptoms which worsens the depressive feelings…

I’m not fine.

This Isn’t an Empty Box

I created this collage about the experience of recurrent mental illness: how it destroys the positive aspects of me and how even when I do just what the doctor ordered I still have symptoms. The blank space is for anyone else who is struggling to tell your own story. Make your own collage. Draw. Write […]

Reblog – Identity Crisis: You vs Your Chronic Pain

Originally posted on Treasures On The Sand:
“Don’t let your struggle become your identity.” -Unknown In our daily battles with chronic pain, it can be very easy to lose ourselves in the fight, allowing our pain to define who we are. We toss and turn, struggling for control. In the end, it is just easier to…

“Is bipolar disorder contagious?”

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I’m driving home from the store with my 82 year old mother and we start talking about my book, “Bipolar Disorder, My Biggest Competitor,”  In many ways the book has unleashed good ole’ Esther.  Since I wrote about some of her struggles with bipolar disorder, she has talked more about it in two weeks, than I believe I have heard in more than 30 years.

Tonight she says, “People need to understand when you’re psychotic you don’t know what you’re doing.  But people don’t understand.  They think there’s something wrong with you and that they’ll get it too if they hang around you.”  “Mmm…is bipolar disorder contagious?” I asked jokingly.  “Some people think it is.  Like you have some horrible disease and if they come around they’ll get it.”  I laughed and we continued our drive home.

Then it hit me, after 30 years my mother finally articulated how bad she felt when her relatives stopped coming around.  They literally stopped inviting her to their houses.  She became an outcast.  The “crazy” sister.  Shame on them.  It’s not like all their lives were perfect either.

So, as a family member of a loved one with mental illness, I’m quick to defend my mother and sister.  But when it comes to me living with a mental illness and becoming an outcast myself, I sort of just give everyone a pass.  I suppose it’s because for so long I felt like I caused my own suffering.  It was my fault I had those episodes.

I ask my mother, “Who was there when you went through your first tough time?”  “You were,” she answered.  “Your dad didn’t know what to think.  But he would come in the house and ask me if I was doing alright.  He didn’t understand it, but he tried.  I’ll give him that”  I smiled and said, “There were a few people who I could have thrown under the bus in my book.  They did some not so nice things.  But I wanted to take the high road.  And truthfully, I didn’t want to spend time having a pity party for myself.  My life is far too blessed to feel sorry for myself.  I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

However, as we drove further down the road I realized Esther really did have a point.  Some people treat bipolar disorder like it’s contagious.  As if a brain disease can magically rub off.  Perhaps that’s why they stop answering calls, not returning text messages or give you all your pictures and press clippings back, as one uncle did with me.  He had become ashamed of who I was, and when I needed him most he turned his back on me.

At the end of the day I just move on and say, “I’m not crazy, just contagiously bipolar.”  Whatever that means.

 

 


Just When I Thought I Was Out – A Mid-Afternoon Mental Moment

Have you ever felt like you finally got out of, or beyond something, then suddenly found yourself right back in the middle of it, whether by choice or by accident?  Was it somewhere you thought you might never be again?

Positional Asphyxiation

What would you do if a friend threw a curveball at you and placed you in an impossible situation? Where helping them could totally scew you over in numerous ways, but by not helping, you are considered a lazy unsupportive traitor? What would YOU do?

I find myself in a position that has me feeling like I am suffering from loss of oxygen…If I help my friend, it places me in a spot I can’t handle and am in no shape to say I can, but he doesn’t listen or care, he just wants me to cooperate with his agenda or I am being a lazy traitor.

At the same time, he is requesting of me stability and strength I simply don’t possess at this time. Not with seasonal affective disorder looming and me already coming undone in small ways. (I found I couldn’t even remember what clothes my kids wore to school, I entered the same part number 30 times today and still had to refer to an email to remember it, fairly sure bugs are living on my skin and they are invisble-not good!!!)

Then come financial issues because hey, you want someone to basically work part time yet can’t pay even minimum wage and that all has to be documented and reported and I lose benefits yet it’s not increasing money for my kid, it’s actually going to take away. Not to mention even if I could pull off 24 hours a week…well, bam, I am obviously cured so disability goes away but I’m still too much of a wreck for the doctor to sign off even if the government cuts me off and no one will hire me because, HEY, UNSTABLE CHICK WALKING.

I WANT desperately to help my friend, I so do. But he wants an indefinite commitment that will harm my precarious financial situation as opposed to help and it escapes him how this is possible because, hey he’s never had to work with the damned system.

I am NOT lazy. I am NOT wallowing. I am NOT ‘giving in’ to my mental demons. But they are pounding on the door and it’s just a matter of time before they bust it down.

My solution, of cpourse, was snark first, then point out negatives for both of us (his other job doesn’t pay enough for him to pay me minumum, hello???) but he just kept poking, like I am being some sort of backstabber who wants to sabotage instead of help. My loyalty first and foremost is to my child and myself, our situation. If helping him actually costs us, then I’m sorry, it’s not worth it. And here I am saying, I’m prolly gonna go down the rabbit hole soon anyway, cos seasonal is a disorder, after all, but…deaf dears.

I said come talk to me, maybe we can arrange something. Ya know, like people call to make an appointment, I go open the shop, help them haul in or out their item, write a ticket up… I am in zero shape to spend my only sane hours-while my kid is at school- out in the petri dish where my anxiety and paranoia rampage and rape my mind. FFS, if I were *there*, I’d be groveling around town for a dishwasher job or toilet cleaner, whatever at least pays minimum. I think I am doing a service admitting my limitations and yet I am treated like disloyal lazy scum.

What would YOU do in this position?

Positional. Asphyxiation. Keep friend and lose sanity and stability or burn bridges and get blacklisted?

Can’t. Fucking. Breathe.


8 Things Transgender People Do Not Owe You

It gets tiresome to have to explain our lives and trauma repeatedly just so cisgender people can 'get an education.'