Daily Archives: August 12, 2017

I’m Not Settling For ‘Good Enough,’ And Your Psychiatrist Shouldn’t Either

Crazy Talk is a mental health advice column, getting real about life with a mental illness. While I’m not a medical doctor, I am a card-carrying member of Club Crazy, living the good life with depression, OCD, and complex trauma. We’re talking all things mental health — trauma, happy pills, mood episodes, and whatever else you tweet me about! Check out last week’s column here.

Recently, I wrote a Twitter thread about what it’s been like to finally find the right medications. “Finally getting the right psychiatric medications,” I wrote, “was like realizing I’d been playing my life on ‘expert’ mode with a broken controller.” 

The response? Overwhelming. And one question that popped up a lot in that thread and in my inbox was something to the effect of, “Is ‘good enough’ with my mental health a good place to settle? Or should I not be settling at all?”

To answer this question, we have to dive into my history a little bit.

In 2016, I was in and out of psychiatric hospitals and outpatient programs. For years, I was misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder, which meant I was put on countless medications that weren’t very effective for what I was actually dealing with. Back then, my philosophy had always been, “If I’m not suicidal, I’m fine.”

This resulted in a pretty well-established pattern. I’d struggle for a while, I’d coast. My medications sedated me, but a lot of my symptoms were always beneath the surface. I wasn’t totally miserable, but I was never truly happy.

Then something would trigger me — next thing I knew, I’d be flung into a complete crisis.

After one too many breakdowns, I found my current psychiatrist. He took one look at the seven or eight medications I was on and said to me, “Something isn’t right.” I explained to him that despite all the pills, I was never really more than just okay. And he was the first doctor I’d ever met that told me that “just okay” isn’t actually okay.

Let me repeat that: “Just okay” isn’t actually okay, especially if it doesn’t last.

Thus began the long process of reassessing all of my diagnoses and completely transforming my medication regimen. The process was so involved, I had to be hospitalized so I could be closely monitored while coming off of four medications quickly and simultaneously. And while it wasn’t exactly fun, it was the beginning of getting my life back.

Because with a real advocate in my corner, the goal was no longer survival. The goal was recovery. The goal was becoming my best self. The goal was finally living.

Here’s the thing: If you’ve been depressed and anxious for your whole life like me, you may not actually know what it feels like to be mentally healthy. This makes it easy to settle. This makes it easy to say, “If I don’t want to kill myself every second of every day, this is probably fine.”

The bar is set so low, we accept a quality of life that doesn’t have a whole lot of “quality” to it at all.

And our clinicians don’t always help in this regard. If we’re willing to settle, sometimes they are, too. I once saw a psychiatrist who said to me, “If your grades in school are fine, I don’t know what you need from me.” (Spoiler alert: I needed antidepressants, Doc.)

Sometimes when we aspire to be “okay” or “functional” — get decent grades, hold down a job, be able to shower and comb our hair — we forget that there’s more to life than just being okay.

There’s being able to appreciate a piping hot cup of coffee in the morning. There’s doing work or finding a hobby that’s meaningful to us. There’s enjoying the company of our friends. There’s having passion, ambition, and investment in something more, something bigger. It’s a good thing to be able to survive, and it’s important, too. But I’d like to believe we all deserve more than that.

Do you remember the last time you laughed deeply, maybe even until you cried? Do you remember the last time something good happened, and you couldn’t wait to call your friend and blather on about it? Do you remember the last time you actually gave a fuck about your life? Felt excited? Felt interested? Felt curious?

I spent most of my life going through the motions. I may not have always felt empty, but it took a long time to ever feel full. And while surviving is your top priority, I don’t want to live in a world where mentally ill people give up on thriving, with clinicians that enable us to.

Sometimes we do need to coast. Pace is everything, and this mental illness thing is a long freakin’ haul. But coasting should be a pit stop, not a final destination. This is especially important to remember, because too often while we’re coasting, we miss some of the warning signs (like boredom, for example) that can evolve into full-blown depression.

While it’s not reasonable to expect a dramatic shift overnight, it’s not unreasonable to say, “Actually, I want to be more than just okay. I want to be well.”

You deserve to be well. And you deserve a clinician who believes that you can be.

signature

PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING AS LITTLE AS $1 PER MONTH TO MY PATREON CAMPAIGN TO HELP FUND MORE FREE RESOURCES LIKE THESE, AND ACCESS EXCLUSIVE CONTENT WHEN YOU DO!


The Journey to Vibrant – The Little Things

It is funny how a simple little change can make all the difference in the world. I have done a few things lately that have had an impact. I have really crappy finger nails. They split and break and I end up clipping them really short. I am always envious of women who have beautifully …

Learning To Live In The Moment

Another weekend, and no job prospects 😦 .  Part of me wants to panic – and is panicking.  Another part of me is saying, stay calm.  Right now, in this moment, you are ok.  You have a home.  You have food.  You have gas in the car.  You have x amount in the bank.  At this moment you are ok.  Then another part of me wants to say oh my God oh my God oh my God what am I gonna do???  I have to try to keep that part of me quiet somehow.  It doesn’t serve me for sure.  I am ok at this moment.  I have enough money to pay my bills and next month’s rent.  Not much more than that, but fuck.  I have that.

I have these signs all over the house that say “Believe” and I’m like, what should I believe in?  I guess I should believe that I’m going to be ok.  I think I have too much trauma in my past where I wasn’t ok, and that makes it hard to believe.  I’m so afraid of going to that dark place where I’m all out of options, all out of money, and all out of hope.  That’s a big fear.  I’d like to avoid that dark place.  Bigly.

So needless to say, I haven’t heard from Hustler.  I have mixed feelings about that.  Of course, I want to be offered any job that I interview for, that’s just ego.  But, I’m just not sure that I’d like to work for Hustler.  And I’m not sure it’d be a good environment for me.  So, what are you gonna do?  I gave it my best shot.  If I don’t hear from them, I don’t.  I still might . . .

I wonder if there are any other people with Bipolar who have had lots of starts and stops in their career.  It’s very discouraging for me to look at how far I’ve gone in the past, yet feel like I’m starting over almost at the bottom again.  Bipolar Disorder can be a very defeating illness, because it causes periods of instability and inability to work / function.  It makes me feel sad that I haven’t had a more successful career and it’s hard not to blame myself.  The bottom line is, accumulated stress of work renders me unable to function, or lessens my ability to function and brings out very dysfunctional coping mechanisms (drug use, drinking, anger/rage reactions, I could go on…).  I don’t know what the answer is, other than not working, which doesn’t seem to be an option.  I sure do feel happier when I don’t work full-time.

Well it’s the weekend, and I have some super-fun stuff to look forward to, like cleaning out bird cages, and building a new bird cage, and reuniting Peaches and Herb!!  It is crazy-hard to catch these birds, I don’t know how in the hell I am going to catch Peaches to move her.  I tried catching her when she was asleep, bah!  She woke up and flew off.  Hopefully I don’t let all the birds out of the cage in my effort to catch Peaches.  Poor bully Herb seems sad to be alone, he will be happy to have a partner again.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.  Peach out homies!  BPOF!

 


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

Deflated And Defeated

Today sucked. No mega calamities, but had to do the shop thing for 8 and half hours with whiney nagging spawn in tow..And of course, feeling tapped out psychologically means every single tiny thing is like a chainsaw to my psyche. Kid nags and nags and has fits and talks when I answer the business line then knows I need to help a customer so THEN she demands my attention or I am the worst mother ever…And three TV’s and an amp came in today and I heard NOTHING from R about what was done and who needed called or stalled.

Which leads to my other problem. THE NEW ASS TRASH DUMBASS SMART PHONE. I can make and receive calls fine. My holy grail, unlimited texts, are not working AT ALL. People text me, I get nothing, they get mad. I text them, they get nothing, I want to throttle my wireless carrier. I spent an hour on chat support and this dude told me we’d gotten it all fixed and hours later, I can send a text but it bounces back as invalid recipient, or I don’t even get that much so I am all stressed over buying a new phone and expanding my plan on my own dime and my SERVICE IS STILL GARBAGE. I never had so much trouble with Tracfone prior to becoming involved in their Lifeline/Safelink program, since the it’s been nothing but dropped calls and texts that never send or get received or come days later. Yet they won’t own anything even when I have spent almost two hours in a week trying to get this stuff straightened out.

The powers that be are trying to pass a new bill so taxpayers won’t be forced to fund phone access for poor people. I think this is shitty but considering MY CRAP SERVICE under the government plan in spite of me purchasing my own phones and shelling out for extra phone and text services…Something is broken here so our Lifeline isn’t such a safelink, now is it?

Another problem popped up with the car. The driver’s side window had a piece fall off so now the power window kinda bobbles in the frame, and come winter, that is gonna be frostbite city but R says my rust bucket is so old finding that little chintzy piece is gonna be difficult and pricey. Which means, of course, I owe more of my soul to him and his shop and whims and yes, I need the help cos, gotta have a rolled up window during winter but…

Nearly 3 months with a defiant screaming child and her daily mob of friends…I am on thin ice here. Yesterday I said no to her taking her new MP3 player outside and…this is what she did during her tantrum.

Yeah, she sat in front of her door thrashing and punching and kicking until she kicked in the bloody wall. I even recorded the audio to go with it, where she told me how much she hates me and wants them to take her from me or she wants me dead.

Everyone says it’s normal kid stuff, I am overreacting, but kicking in a wall, saying such horrid things to her mother, and being so out of control, even if is periodical and related to me saying no to her whims…Something is wrong with my child. I don’t care if she need meds or therapy or yoga or gluten free cardboard tasting rice cakes…SHE NEEDS HELP. She keeps playing the “I have anger issues” card because I tossed it out once to R as a joke. While it may have some ring of truth…she makes her choices. They say no to her all the time at school and she doesn’t get in trouble or even get notes sent home.

I think my rude awakening was yesterday when one of her friends knocked during her tantrum and I went to tell S that Spook would not be playing any more that night…and my daughter came raging out of her room, in hysterical tears, screaming, and she shoved me and pushed me right in front of her friend.

Normally I am a badass who won’t tolerate being mistreated to that degree. Thanks to Snowflake Society and The Pathological lying snowflake brigade…I can’t even reach for her arm to guide her inside because she will yank free hard enough that a mark is left and I turn out to be the bad guy simply for setting boundaries.

This child is kicking my ass. Every part of me prays to pegacorns, spaghetti monsters, and whatever deity gets you through the day..let this violent behavior be a phase, let it be something that a lot of therapy (if ass trash donor’s insurance will even pay) can help, or even meds, again, IF his ass trash insurance will cover it.

But the ass trashiest donor (oh, sure, there are way more awful sperm donors aka dads but Spook’s deserves a special reward for being so emotionally immature and oh will it bite him on the ass come court time for posting proposal pics with his old gf on line while still married to me only for them to split up and him move on to another woman and they too split…) Least amidst my psych damage I am still able to form attachments to my child, my pets, my friends, my possessions…

He may hold a job and convince people with his fakeness but he is far more broken than I will ever be.

Another thing that really brought me down today, something that never really hit me before which makes me think maybe policies have changed but…my kill the bugs fundraiser..Three good friends saw fit to donate a total of $170. After gofundme and wepay take out their fees and percentages, it amounted to $130. Not that I am without gratitude, I was able to get an estimate (three bedrooms, two baths, and cracked walls and crevices, it’s gonna exceed the $500 I thought was aiming too high) and I did order a big batch of the pricey but very effective stuff I used last time to weed out the ickies…Just irks me that fundraising sites would deduct THAT much, like I am robbing those who were kind enough to donate and because of the fees I still have to keep begging and pleading so I can swing the professional year long contract that is the ONLY way to slay all the roaches.

I am so grateful to those who donated and I pray with all the noodley goodness of the flying spaghetti monster and sparkly rainbow farting magic of the sacred pegacorn me and Spook can get a few more DONATIONS.

And ya know, if you find the on line “scampaign” thing daunting…we’re more than happy to just have the bug killer sent to us via on line purchase or even a prepaid gift or visa/mastercard. We’re not looking for a spa day and endless skiball at Chuck E Cheese. Opening the cabinet without it raining cockroaches…YEAH, that is what we want.

THIS IS A NOT ANOTHER SCAMPAIGN.

And so now that the life has been sucked out of me and even my own child makes me feel unworthy of drawing breath and nothing I do is ever good enough yet I am so exhausted a little part of me could use a couple of days resting at the Rubber Ramada cos damnit, adulting is hard, and it sucks even more when you’ve got chemical imbalances in your brain…

Hopefully tonight I can sleep. No demand to be at the shop tomorrow morning. Maybe I can breathe. Or maybe I can stop being convinced I have bugs in my hair cos I’ve been checked and checked and no one sees anything even if scumbag brain says otherwise…(Kinda like after I got doped on depo provera and was convinced for a year I was preggo even with periods and dozens of negative preggo tests.) Pregnancy and childbirth and single motherhood have really turned my brain to mush and paranoia, and it was bad enough due to brain damage long before that….But the idgets around me fail to see just how difficult it has become, how bad it gets…

Cos by midwest mindset, one you have a kid, you cease to be capable or entitled to anxiety or depression. So says my classy as fuck family.

The final insult…The weather here is changing, getting cooler, even tree leaves are starting to change colors in spite of almost 6 weeks til the fall season change…Both my knees are killing me and that only happens when using steep staircases daily or…change of weather. I like being in pain, it’s awesome. Oh, no, wait, it isn’t. My brain is frigging burnt toast.

So my kid is more erratic than me and violent at age 8. My death trap bucket of bolts car has another problem I can’t afford to fix. The cockroach problems worsens and the “ever so helpful” fundraisers and pay out places rob you of much needed money so kindly donated by such amazing, caring people…R is asking more of me than I have to give and it might get me a bag of cat good or a pack of smokes, but he’s driving a shiny 2005 Mustang while criticizing my ’93 rusted Buick so even if he does keep his word on getting me a better car…

Will my sanity be in tact enough for it to matter?

Don’t get me started on all the political related horrors that pop into my email inbox.

Even without bipolar and its soup de jour byproducts..I think this day and age is as appropriate a time as ever to feel horrified, scared, and ashamed to be an American.

And that is my truth, not my disorder or their distortions. A country that strips away your rights, spits on everything our founding fathers valued, and our leader is being considered a mentally unstable ‘nuke war starter’ by his own people all because he WON’T STAY OFF OF TWITTER…

Feels like I am living a cross between the movies Strange Days and Gattaca. And badass as I may be, I am petrified. Brown eyes,dark hair, too many extra pounds, little proper education, no job AND mentally defective…

Question isn’t why I am so deflated and defeated and scared.

The REAL question is WHY DON’T THE MASSES REALIZE THEY ARE ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK TOO AND FEEL TERRIFIED?

Mental distortions due to psych disorders and psychological damage don’t always mean we those eschew it should wear tin foil hats.

Honestly, we only do that on Wednesdays when we get THE INCOMING MESSAGE FROM THE BIG GIANT HEAD and put on our foil hats, but that’s subterfuge to cover our spaghetti tentacles as we are busy paying homage to his noodliness.

Life is really shitty but as long as you can find humor like that…Guess life has robbed you of everything just yet. And if it doesn’t make you smile, smirk, or become incensed to hear me be so sarcastic about it all…

I gotta try harder and be a better writer. That’s all that has ever mattered to me.

The typos alone should tell you that much. Love me, love my writing, love my typos. Unless you want to work for free and proofread. In which case you are like OCD and we’re not gonna get along so….

LONG LIVE THE TYPOS AND THE TIN FOIL COVERED TENTACLES.

Pardon me now, I am gonna slither off to bed and hope for a few hours I can dream about anything but my current mental state and reality. Even nightmares are better because they do end when you wake.

No, not being Debbie Downer. This is just where I am right now. In my dreams…my bills are paid, there are no roaches, my car runs properly, and my kid adores me. Who wouldn’t prefer that to a reality that is the opposite.

NO MORE BUGS, HELP!!!!


I AM Depression…

I’m the fog clouding the pathway of your life journey. Sometimes I come even when the sun shines. I’m eerie and heavy. I make it hard for you to see. I cause deep emotional pain. But I’m invisible to others. Only you know I’m here.

My presence is haunting. I get inside your mind and shout ugly things. I scream, “You’re not worth anything. You’re a failure! You’re lazy.” Then, I sliver up to you when you least expect it and tell you the world would be better off without you. I tell you I’ll make the voices stop, if you’ll just make a deal with me.

Then, you cry. I like it when you cry. I like to see what effect I’m having on you. When you wipe your tears I’m still here. You can’t cry me away. I don’t like other people around you, because they tell you to fight me. I convince you—you’re better off alone.

Alone. I’m the only one who controls you. I love polluting your thoughts. It gives me pleasure to watch you fall deeper into my grasp. My ultimate goal is to fill you up with nothingness. You’ll only be a shell of yourself. People will leave you alone. You won’t be fun anymore. But I will be with you. I won’t let go. Please don’t try to fight me.

You start to whisper a prayer. I hate prayers. Prayers are hopeful. Prayers destroy my power.

You take yourself to the doctor and ask for help. I hate the doctor. The doctor will help you.

You get a pill box and start taking medication. I hate medication. It causes my power to fade.

You make yourself fight me, but I’m a tough opponent. I’m not going away easily.

You start reaching out and talking to others. They know my secrets.

You win the battle. But there will be more. I’m always lurking. Waiting to reappear.

I AM depression.

 


Spiders in the Night Make Me Tired

It’s 10:30 a.m. and I’m tired. Yesterday evening I received a disturbing email from a relative. It was unsettling because its content indicated that the relative has some signs of Alzheimer’s. (Kitt, I plan on reading your Bipolar and Dementia blog post today!) Later that night around 2:00 a.m., one of my girls woke me out … Continue reading Spiders in the Night Make Me Tired