Monthly Archives: September 2017

The A Word

Yep. Another post involving The A Word. The dreaded anxiety. Free floating today. I don’t know why, perhaps hangover the week in the petri dish even if it was a shorter week thanks to many appointments for my kid and me. (My kid and I? Whatever.) Still, it was a trying week just the same, possibly because while the appointments got me out of the shop, I was actually dealing with other, far more public and populated places. It definitely took a toll.

Fortunately, not so much as to cripple me today. Still managed to drag my ass for a couple of yard sales (in part due to my kid’s relentless nagging, I think without it, I probably would have said forget about it.) We also went to three different stores for various household supplies. By the last store, I was at the end of my rope with traffic and noise and people. Especially a tense moment at the last place, which had nothing whatsoever to do with me. Some woman jumped this dude who came in on a motorcycle and I guess he was going too fast and almost ran into her and her little girl. As I have renumerated, I don’t handle confrontation at all, even when it’s nothing to do with me. I seriously thought these two were going to come to blows and it set off every panic receptor in my body. FLIGHT, FLIGHT, FLIGHT. Sadly, I’ve got too little fight left in me except for the big picture stuff. Survival and all.

There has been the added drama of my kid’s social life. First I get a note from S’s mom asking if S can stay the night with Spook, she has no phone anymore so we have to write notes. So I said okay, after 5 p.m. so I can get some stuff done. Then came the devil girls (they are oddly now allowed to play with my kid since I became the neighborhood spokesperson, getting all the kids back on the school bus route) and of course, my kid can’t play with more than one or 2 at a time and there was drama. Name calling. Thievery. S doesn’t want to stay now, and I guess she told her mom to say no and that upset my kid, who then said she didn’t want S to stay, she wanted the devil girls. I have no idea what is going on now. I will stand by my word if S does show up to stay, but otherwise…Enough fucking drama. My nerves don’t need it.

I am stressing because our kittens, Adelitas and Sachel, will not start eating solids and their shitty mom Cleo has declared them weaned and refuses to feed them. I got Kitten Chow, moistened it with water, with warm milk. They aren’t interested and I am terrified they are going to starve themselves. So I’ve taken to using a medication syringe to feed them tiny bits of the Nutri-gel, in hopes it will stimulate their appetite while nourishing them. I don’t want to lose my two little Manx kitties. Well, Sachel is a bobtail but Addy is pure Manx, not even a nub of a tail. Beautiful, sweet lil babies.

I was further distressed by a visit from stepmonster. That beast had to the nerve to gush to me how their neighbor’s car broke down so they loaned her one of their 5 vehicles. Yet these people couldn’t lift a finger when my last 3 cars went belly up. Can’t help their own fucking family, but help a damned neighbor they’re not related to. And oh, supposedly it’s cos she’s a single mom with a toddler but I know the fucking truth. It’s because she has a job and with my dad, that’s all that has ever mattered. You don’t work, you’re dirt. It doesn’t matter the reason. You could be in a coma and he’d expect you to have a job. More than being hurt, it just pissed me off. They didn’t give a damn when I was stranded, with their granddaughter and they had extra vehicles. I haven’t had any sort of accident or speeding ticket in 25 years. Last ticket I had was when Spook was an infant and it was for a stupid seatbelt violation. It’s not like I’m a terrible driver. They’re just fucking rude and cruel.

I may have my issues with my mom and sister’s zoo-esque lifestyle living together like a commune but when I had no car, my mom came through letting me have back the one I gave her, then giving me the old one Dad had passed onto hers. I just don’t get my dad and stepmonster sometimes. Everyone seems to like them but the way they treat me and Spook is rather monstrous. They’re still taking food to my mom and sister’s crew (they usually make my sis clean their house to earn it, but they don’t offer me that option, because stepmonster prefers my sister’s cleaning to mine and hey, fair enough, whatever) but mom and sis have triple the income I have, they get food stamps, and still, Dad helps them out more than us.

And don’t think my kid, even at 8, hasn’t noticed how little the whole family helps us while helping the other side so much. “I’m sorry you’re not Grandpa and Grandma’s favorite child, Mom.” FFS. Do these people not see how that belittles me in my child’s eyes? Of course, it doesn’t much impact her opinion of them, because hey,sometimes they take her places or buy her stuff or in my mom’s case, she shovels 4 cupcakes her way every other hour. What’s to not like when you’re 8.

The saving grace is that I have long been an outside in my own family, i’m pretty used to it. And taking any help from my dad’s faction is akin to taking out a loan from a loanshark, even when you’re paid up, you’re still having it held over your head. Not worth it.

I was also treated from two seperate sides on donor sightings around town. I don’t know why they bother, I don’t care if the man lives or dies. Hopefully he lives in agony until he’s a hundred as punishment for abandoning all 3 of his kids and blaming the moms instead of owning his own asshole-i-ness. Someone swears they saw him working at a gas station here in town. Well, good for him, maybe the state will enforce the child support at some point. He was also spotted at the hospital and frankly, I hope he has an STD. Yeah, I’m evil. And I barely think of the man until people start bringing him up and of course, they’re all outraged at his shitty treatment of Spook and the fact he blames it all on me. As stepmonster pointed out, he saw her and dad with Spook out in public multiple times and he didn’t even cast a longing look to his child, he actually turned away, didn’t even attempt to talk to her. And she was with them, so he can’t play the “Niki will start a scene, that crazy bitch” card.

In some cases, it’s less denial and more apathy that keeps me feeling less…volatile and spiteful. If I don’t hear about him, I forget he even exists for the most part. Wishing him ill is just me lowering myself to his level, but at some point the emotions do get the better of me and I lash out in tiny, petty ways. I’m a lowly human. To my credit, at least on the two occasions we encountered him in public, I made no scene and I didn’t punch him. I mean, if I’m so volatile and intimidating, that would be the expected response, right? But I didn’t. Because I’ve grown as a person, in spite of shitty circumstances and a misbehaving brain.

I lost the med lottery today. And it’s weird. I ate first, took my meds, ate a little afterward. And still got slammed with nausea and a headache and grogginess, not to mention acid reflux. And I had the audacity to do my usual and lay down in my dark bedroom waiting for it to pass and Spook’s posse came in and accused me of falling asleep and not supervising my kid. I was not asleep, ffs. I am able to lay down and close my eyes without nodding off 99.9% of the time. Nothing gets my dander up like a false accusation. Especially from a bunch of mouthy brats.

I am feeling better now, though 0.5 mg Xanax barely took the edge off the A word. I guess this is my new norm. I wonder if the dual anti depressant therapy could be heightening the anxiety, that is known to happen. But going into seasonal affective disorder, I can’t afford to cut back the anti depressants. Oh, and that’s one more stressor, my Medicare drug plan stuff came and they’ve changed the forumulary covering even fewer brand drugs, and they’ve made it clear they intend to to switch all of us to a similar drug that is cheaper. Which means before 2018 I’ve got to get the nurse doc’s office on a waiver so they can’t take Trintellix away from me. I am all for cheaper as long as the med has the same effect. But I’ve tried their idea of “similar” and none of them worked. If they yank out the one that helps I am screwed.

So all things considered…I guess I have many reasons to be anxiety ridden and to have spiteful or fearful feelings. And even if it’s not justified, it’s still real and it’s still a pain in the ass.

Social security disability reviews always ask for examples of how my disorders interfere with my ability to lead a normal, quality life.

The more proper question is, how don’t they?


Havening 2

Went for my second appointment yesterday. Of course the method was the same, thinking an if issue, where do I feel it (in my solar plexus), distraction by making a list of 20 things I’d find in my haven, which yesterday was the forest we took hikes in in Lake George. Then again following Kimberly’s hand with my eyes as she moved it side to side.

The beginning score of anxiety/fear was 8. The end score was 6.

Again the most amazing thing was the colorful light show I saw as I sat there with my eyes closed. This time it was swirling dark purple sometimes with dark green swirled in. Then an extraordinary thing happened! The purple concentrated into a brilliant purple diamond. Weird! I know! But I saw it. This concentration of color into literally a brilliant purple diamond, like one on your ring, happened a couple of times!

I still do feel anxious though, perhaps a bit less.

The problem I went to get resolved was my tremendous anxiety, fear, and worry about my son. Sending him all the love in my heart.


4 Things the Queer Folks in My Life Taught Me About Resisting Toxic Masculinity

This community taught me not only what toxic masculinity demands of men and masculine people, but also the possibilities that exist outside of it.

Shamanism

Interesting! Helping spirits, light, Source, sounds lovely! Nature based, intuition, and again, Love! Sounds like a fairytale to me though, love the positive thinking and actions.

Mood Crash

Having Bipolar Disorder is painful.  In particular, having such variable moods is painful.  I feel like so many stressors are weighing on me, such as needing a job, finances, isolation, etc., that I am getting depressed.  This morning I got so worried about money that I literally threw up.

I feel like I should take some action, like go stay at my parent’s house for the weekend, just so I’m not so isolated, but I don’t know if I can make myself do it.  I feel frozen, just stuck in the muck.  Also I’m worried that I’ll go to their house and they’ll see that I’m in a bad place and they’ll worry about me, and I don’t want to worry them.  I just wish my life wasn’t so unsettled.  It feels precarious, and not having stability sets me off.

I hate to write about such shit, but I try to be truthful about where I’m at, and this IS a blog about a person with Bipolar Disorder, which means I’m not always rainbows and unicorn farts.  I wish that were the case, but that wouldn’t make me very genuine.  I hope to hear from you about how you deal with stress, instability, financial fear, etc.  Thanks for reading!


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

A little bit of hope

hope

I have been blessed the past three weeks to travel around the state of West Virginia and speak about mental health to college students.  One campus had a young man who had died by suicide a few months ago.  He had been a member of one of the sports teams and suddenly quit.  He began isolating himself and stopped hanging out with friends.  Those things he did are warning signs of suicide.  But people around him didn’t know those signs.  Now they do.

Another campus had a young woman who died by suicide.  She had a diagnosed, serious mental illness.  I believe all family members who have loved ones who live with mental illness should be trained in mental health first aid.  They should know the warning signs of suicide.  Before it’s too late.

I go to college campuses to shed light on mental illness.  I want people to know there is help and there is hope.  Sometimes I get to hear the stories that inspire me and keep me fired up about spreading this message.

I had a college athlete approach me and say, “Ahh…I kinda struggle with this stuff.”  I smiled.  He knew I understood him.  It didn’t take a lot of words to hear the emotional pain in his voice.  His struggle is depression and often times that means a battle with suicidal thoughts.  When he shook my hand and said, “Thank you for sharing your story.”  It was a gift to me that in some small way I spread a little bit of hope.

Then, a few days ago I received an email from a man who had experienced a lot of tradgedy in his life.  He was overwhelmed with grief, depression and was self-medicating with alcohol.  He told me, “Thank you for what you do.  You just might have saved my life.”

I didn’t respond to his email right away.  I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of my work.  On some level I knew how important educating people about mental illness and suicide is.  But on a deeper level grasping the fact that your work can help save someone’s life takes every word I say when I give these talks to a hire level.  But the work is not about me.  It’s about reaching people of all ages, one person at a time, and allowing the gifts, talents and skills I have been blessed with to help other people.

As I’ve become more visible, I’ve received some healthy feedback, mostly positive.  But there are people out there who don’t understand why I would do this work.  Why I would write a book that would highlight some of the most difficult experiences in my life.  I did it and I would do it again.  Because sometimes all some folks need to hear is “you’re not alone in this fight.”

Turns out–a little bit of hope saves lives.  I’m humbled by this work.  I’m honored for this calling.

 

 


Blogiversary

Yesterday got my four year anniversary notification from WordPress.com. Still copying and pasting posts into Scrivener for eventual publication as a book. Not all posts will make the cut. Plan to begin with a narrative of my mental health journey…

The Carousel Never Stops Turning

Guess only die hard fans of Grey’s Anatomy will get the title of this post, but even aside from the show…it’s a meaningful statement. The carousel NEVER stops turning. You can get ill, throw up, try to jump off, maybe you land injury free or die from a busted skull. That damned ride just keeps going, and until death, there is no escape. There is only holding on when you can, jumping off and hoping for the best when you can, and trying not to throw up on any children riding the same carousel. (Sue me for trying to inject a bit of humor into an otherwise humorless situation.)

The anxiety ninjas arrived today, about three dozen, swinging nunchuks and swords, coming at me from every direction. I’m trying to duck and cover and get in a few blows of my own but alas…Those ninjas are kicking my ass.

I always have anxiety before any shrink appointment, so I can’t say it was unexpected. The level of this particular ninja attack left me feeling overwhelmed, terrified, pounding heart, sweatiness, wooziness, nausea, headache…Yet my blood pressure was perfectly normal at the office.Inside, I swore I was having palpitations and the room was spinning and yet those damned numbers, the tangible proof society demands to prove you’re feeling what you are feeling, remained within the perfectly normal range. Talk about insult to injury. Even I start to question myself when the scientific data contradicts what I am personally experiencing.

For me, in my head space, it’s very real. It’s crippling, terrifying, neverending. The carousel ride from hell run at warp speed and that awful music blaring to the extent my eardrums shatter. But the scientific numbers remain normal so obviously…I will never be viewed as anything more than a malingerer.

One line in the sand I drew today when I finally got to see doc nurse was to explain to her that her constant clacking on the keyboard while talking to me was a big issue for me and surprisingly, she didn’t do it this time. I don’t know if I angered her because she is a trained professional, for all I know, under the smiles, she might have been plotting to have me labeled cured out of spite. (No, I don’t like the fact my brain goes to such a dark place automatically, but I guess when the dark stuff happens to you enough, it becomes ingrained to at least suspect it.)

She didn’t seem all that worried about the state I was in. Unwashed hair, couldn’t remember last time I showered, I sleep in 3 hour intervals, then can barely drag ass out of bed come morning. I left out all the stuff about the shop/R stress, figuring that would just get me another lecture about counseling or, worse, “But you are managing.” Being ambulatory and half competent is not managing, it is grasping at straws.

I am all for counseling EXCEPT for the one place in town that takes my insurance as their previous counselor screwed up my head worse and of course, R’s daughter is on staff there so she would have access to my records and has repeatedly shown an inability to respect privacy laws or show basic empathy for those with mental issues…With my pre-existing trust and panic issues, there is NO rational reason why anyone would want to risk their fragile mental state becoming fodder for this woman’s private conversations. (And it’s not a matter of maligning her, I have been witness to her lack of discretion and professionalism as she tells R stuff and he tells me, so the entire counseling program is compromised. To speak up about it, even anonymously, in this small town, would leave no doubt who and where the information came from, and that’s not merely burning a bridge, that’s setting an entire village on fire.) Suffice it to say, if the disability deities want me in counseling, they can feel free to expand coverage to a local counselor that hasn’t psychologically scarred me.

So anyway…Doc nurse had no answers about the anxiety except to blame situational (yeah, that’s some of it) and saying by taking my meds in the afternoon I am probably causing my own insomnia. I know this to have been debunked, however, as I used to take the meds in the morning and still had trouble getting to sleep at night and staying asleep. I’m not a know it al, I am not non compliant, I am simply experienced with trial and error of finding out the best way to take the meds. Maybe I can shift the Lamictal and Wellbutrin to morning, but the Trintellix is staying after a meal. That level of nausea is worse than anything lithium ever dished out.

She increased the Trintellix to 15mg, said see you in 4 weeks, or can I do anything else for you. I was dumbfounded by that last part, like I was at a convenience store. What did I forget to get a pack of smokes? Almost felt like a dismissal. But I suppose it’s typical. Anything short of saying you want to harm yourself or others is pretty much dismissed. There’s you pill, here’s a quarter, call someone who cares. (No one remembers that Travis Tritt song from the 80’s/90’s? I had to have a country song to assign to my dad as a ringtone, that one seemed fitting, cos hey, I don’t much care about your ranting…)

Ranting. I am the pot calling the kettle black. Ranting is all I seem to do. When I’m not busy rambling.

Anyway…back to the shop, took a Xanax (I needed her to see how strung out I was on the anxiety, if you go in all calm and collected, they dismiss you even more,so I didn’t take it beforehand), and now…I am supposed to blast some stereos to see if they will ‘act up’ but my noise tolerance today isn’t very high so I think I will watch Chicago Fire instead. I’ve waited 5 months basically to see how it turns out. Though the ‘will they live or die” thing likely isn’t good for my anxiety.

Just comes a point when the anxiety has robbed me of as much as I can allow it to. I can’t even get into this season of American Horror Story because it’s too realistic and terrifying. I look at this country and I see the hatred and sheeple mentality and it is become a cult, no clowns needed to terrify and repulse. Maybe in a few months I will be able to handle it. Not right now.

The anxiety has ruined Supernatural for me. Lucifer, too.

So, no, whatever shows I can work in without having a massive mental breakdown, I am gonna brave it even if I have to keep the volume down low or use the closed captioning to avoid the noise all together.

The anxiety ninjas may have beaten me down, but I’m still gonna get back up. Because that carousel never stops turning and on rare occasion, it’s a pleasant ride and I think that’s good enough reason to keep fighting.


Three Years

My mom tried mailing me a check for my birthday so I could go shop for what I wanted, and it hasn’t arrived yet via USPS.  THe local post office was rude when I called to check on it, so I reported it stolen to the postal investigation people.  So maybe if it’s just loose in the post office, maybe they can find it. We will have to see.

Had a good day in class today and a good conference last night with my class; I had a story up for review in the conference and everyone said good things about it, including the professor.  SO that was nice.  I’m waiting for my grade on the craft paper that she had us rewrite so we will see what comes of that.

SO this week marks three years since I started the blog. I hope it has been helpful to readers and that you can say that if you came here, you went away feeling encouraged or better understood. Over 11, 000 hits and 3,500 visitors, I feel pretty good that my work may have made some ripples in the world.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

 


Caffeinated Podcast Adventures & Lessons Learned

TGIF, my friends! I hope that you’re doing well! As some of you may know, I was super-anxious to record my 1st episode with “Dr. Kat” of the program Mom & Mind. Fortunately, she was so awesome & encouraging that I was able to calm down. Then last Monday I joined the hosts of Podcast … Continue reading Caffeinated Podcast Adventures & Lessons Learned