Daily Archives: September 18, 2017

Remember – Mental Illness is The Enemy!

Several years ago I received a call from a friend of mine who wanted to tell me she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was a rather traumatic diagnosis for here to hear.  Certainly life threatening, but also treatable.  I was impressed with how she dealt with it.  She made cancer her enemy and did everything she could to fight against it.  And you know what?  She beat it.  She is now over 15 years cancer free.

What I’ve learned about mental illness is that it is also life threatening.  From the first time I experienced suicidal thoughts as a sophomore in college to the relentless dogging of “you should just kill yourself” tapes that played in my mind a few years ago.  I learned from the time I was twenty years old that depression was and will continue to be my number one enemy.  It threatens my life and makes me vulnerable at times to the hopeless thoughts that wander aimlessly into my brain.

The difference between cancer and mental illness is that there is a cure for many types of cancer.  There’s no such thing for mental illness of any kind.  Of course there are medications that make it more tolerable, but nothing that takes away all of the symptoms.  It’s a fight.  Sometimes a daily battle and other times an intermittent harsh reality of living with a chronic illness.

If you ask most people if they were afraid of cancer they would say, “yes.”  No one wants to get cancer.  But people are afraid of mental illness for all the wrong reasons.

Many people have no concept of what it’s like to suffer from so much anxiety a person can’t leave their house.  People still believe a person with depression just isn’t trying hard enough and he’s just plain lazy.  Those with bipolar disorder are labeled as trouble makers and moody.  People with schizophrenia – just plain crazy.

When my friend went to the doctor for her breast cancer consultation, I went with her.  As a matter of fact, I jumped on a 2 hour plane flight to go to her doctor appointments with her.  I wanted to show support.  I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone in the fight against her number one enemy.  The disease that was threatening to take her away from all of us much to soon.

This is how we all should rally around those who are struggling with mental illness.  The enemy is not the person who has the illness.  The enemy is the mental illness.  It’s the disease that causes an interference in thinking, emotions and behavior.  It affects the most important organ in our entire body – the brain.

Yet, those who have mental illness are often left to fend for themselves.  Especially when they aren’t fun anymore.  When the struggle is the most difficult and support is truly needed, many are left isolated and alone.  That isolation leads to a worsening of symptoms.  A more complex illness.

I want people to know that my bipolar disorder is a serious life threatening illness.  I manage it well.  But the moment I let my guard down, the minute I miss a day of taking medication, the days I don’t get enough sleep, is when the enemy threatens my life and everything I have worked hard for.  The enemy nearly destroyed me and I’m not going to let that happen again.

I just wish everyone knew mental illness is the enemy.  And if we are not diligent it will continue to steal our loved ones from us in one shape or form or the other.  Sometimes the difference is having a team to fight the illness with us.

The next time your loved one complains of depression symptoms or has a panic attack, offer compassion and a kind word.  Sometimes all it takes is saying, “Are you okay?  How can I help?”

 


Meds update

I’m on a relatively recent cocktail of meds now and overall they’re doing their job. The side effects are substantial, significant. I continue to pile on the weight (quetiapine). I ache literally in every cell of my body, constantly. I’m sedated much if not all of the time. I still don’t sleep through the night.

20mg of fluoxetine caps the low moods. 600mg of quetiapine stops the psychosis and the high / mixed moods pretty successfully. (Though see my other post of today.) And the latest, 500mg of valproate stabilises my mood. These three meds seem to have made friends though they gang up to bully me now and then. They know I need them.

I still have ‘extremely intrusive suicidal ideation’. I still have ‘rapid and uncontrolable mood fluctuation’. But regarding the former, I can control it more (hopefully – time will tell). And the latter, the valproate seems to have gone in with fists flying there.

It’s taken months to get the GP surgery and local pharmacy to get my (psychiatrists’) prescription right. This has caused me a lot of stress and worry. It’s isn’t rocket science; it’s a straightforward repeat prescription that should take moments to set up. So far it’s been 3 or 4 months of getting it wrong. Three or four months of stress. I wrote my GP surgery a begging letter recently, imploring him/her to get the ‘script’ sorted. I can do without the hassle basically.

I speak to no-one about my illness. No professional has come forward to offer me counselling or has even offered an ear. It’s all bottled up, and I hold down a stressful job because I hate the thought of being defeated by the evil bipolar monster. I’ve spent the day shaking and confused (again, see my other post of today). Got home, had a couple of glasses of wine, took my meds. Is it bedtime yet?

 


Spooky Action, not much of a distance

I am fastidious about my pre-bedtime routine. This is dictated by my (bipolar) anxiety and OCD. In the living room, I make sure the TV is off, the lights are off and the door is shut. This is how it always is, how it always has been.

This morning I came downstairs and stopped when I saw the door open and lights on. My first thought was that I’d  been burgled (unlikely as the house is as tight as a drum). But no, the lamp I always use was on and another lamp I seldom use was also on. The TV had switched itself off on the power-saving mode.

There was no sign of a break-in; windows were intact as were front and back doors.

This hasleft me feeling ill and uneasy all day. Thinking about it, I can guess only at two posible explanations:

Memory lapse (wouldn’t be the first) probably linked to the dissociation I have with my bipolar. Brief psychotic episode (again, wouldn’t be the first). Had I come downstairs in the night and watched TV or done something else? I have no history of sleep-walking.

It’s all very strange. Spooky action indeed.

 

 


Bob’s Doctor Visit

Bob has finally broken down and is going to the doctor.  He had a bad coughing fit when we went to the game, to the point that we had to leave with me driving home at night.   SO Janet is taking him to the doctor this morning and we will see what he recommends.

THis week is going to be rough with my W class. We have an essay due, I have a creative project due, and we have three discussion threads to answer to.  I’ve got the essay and the creative one done but need to get on the discussions as soon as I can.  But I am so sleepy right now I’m not sure I’d be coherent.

One more hour for my office hours then I go home and eat lunch.  Bob’s appointment is at 11 a,m, so hopefully we can get some good medicine in him soon and get him well–or as well as he can be.

Got an invitation to go to UMC;s Diversity Day again but am having to skip it since it’s on a Friday morning.  I hate it, but that’s part of having a job. I’ll be glad for it come payday.

I’m still trying to stick to my no caffeine rule but today it’s hard. I don’t feel as bad as I did Friday, but I can tell I haven’t had any today.  I go see TIllie tomorrow and depending on how Bob is doing is whether I go out to lunch with Jo for my birthday afterwards, I will have to talk to him about that.


FAIL

I am up and functioning but in serious self loathing mode. I did 27 hours in the dish last week and by weekend…I had nothing left. I was short tempered, high strung, and my kid’s little friend dramas just amped it up to ten.

I end up with great self loathing. There were two events she wanted to attend this weekend but…Mommy couldn’t. It wasn’t money or gas in the car. It was just two events with massive crowds and traffic and I wasn’t up to the challenge. I pushed myself all last week and it drained me.

I shouldn’t feel bad. Her class dojo for last week was 63%-she lost mega points for talking, inattentiveness, and disrespect. For three weeks in a row she had a hundred percent. I was dismayed to see her have such an abrupt shift in behavior. She claims it’s because she has been struggling with math and science. So I dropped the teacher a line.

Then I went on a further rampage and emailed the principal about this bussing situation. And ha, they got back to me, said, Oh we don’t know why our bus garage people told you (for three years) that you don’t meet the mileage requirement, here, come fill out the transportation papers and your kid can ride the bus. WTF? They lied and only when busted with screenshots showing the mileage and being called on letting those other kids ride do they suddenly apologize and make it right?

It’s proof that blindly accepting the rules-as they have been told to you- is often ignorant. Sometimes, you have to question authority. Paid off this time, though I’m not sure how smoothly the transitition will go what with the bus coming way earlier than we normally leave so she will bave to get up earlier then not get kicked off the bus, which with her behavior as of late, is a big question mark.

I also left a message with public aid about why my food stamps haven’t increased even though I haven’t received child support in a month thus a significant income decrease. If I were making ten bucks more, I’d have to report it in 24 hours. But they can dick me around and leave me struggling to feed my kid and it’s tickety boo. Bullshit. QUESTION AUTHORITY.

Except in the case of my kid’s friend S. That kid sent me on a tirade yesterday. I ran out to get a cake mix and icing so my sister could bake a birthday cake for her mother in law. Not five minutes after I said no, your friend can’t go, the girl’s mom is texting saying the girls really want S to go. I said fine, took them with, even bought them a 99 cent Hogwash drink. And S got all mad because I wouldn’t buy the # Gatorade she wanted. She didn’t say thank you. She invited herself to supper, I said no, then she had Spook try to guilt me and I said no. And THEN her mom texts me asking if she can because it’s what the girls really want. As if being broke and struggling to feed my own isn’t enough, now I got the parents being pulled in to make me feel shittier for saying no?

That disrespect and defiance is not questioning autority. It’s just rude. And I made Spook come in and told S I was not going to put up with her having her mom pulled into it every single time I repeatedly say no. And I spent a couple hours waiting for the angry mother to pound on my door for offending her snowflake because S is on the autism spectrum, ADHD< and has anxiety. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? What the fuck do they think I have? Oh, right, not their problem as long as their kids are at my house driving me nuts instead of them.

My kingdom for a bookworm or couch potato kid. This social butterfly bit is maddening. Maybe it’s just the mentality of the trailer park parents and their kids. IDK. I just know if I had EVER invited myself to someone’s outing, my mother would have shattered my eardrums with screaminging. And if she’d found out an adult had already said no and I asked again…My dad and his belt would have been recruited. These snowflakes these days could use a beat down. Okay, not a beatdown, I was never beaten, but I was scared enough by one spanking when I was really small that I tread carefully around my choices of rebellion.

That’s the problem with the current generation. No values, no respect, no fears. The system meant to protect them ends up being used as a noose around the parents’ necks making us terrified to dole out punishment or even limitations lest our child not get an ipad and run and tell some well meaning adult that we hit them. Guilty til proven innocent. I’m all for protecting kids, but ain’t no one ever been killed or seriously injured getting a hand swat on the bootie.

I don’t like spanking my kid and I haven’t in some time. Probably around the time that last counselor told me she found even a swat on the butt abusive and she’d report me. That counselor did more damage in three sesssions than any other I’ve ever had. Relabeling my disorder even though counselors with ten times more experience said she was wrong, telling me how to discipline my kid…She was an awful fit for me and she is why I’ve never gone back. But hey, I can’t speak up because I’m the mental one and won’t be believed, just viewed as non compliant.

FAIL.

So far today I’ve been to the shop to load all the junked tv parts in my car then drop them off at R’s house for trash pick up. I stopped for a donut (sue me, 99 cents for breakfast is permissable on occasion) then came home, put some of my own garbage in the shed (they won’t take electronic parts, gotta figure out that one for myself), I vacuumed, made some pudding for my kid’s snack when she gets home, and now I am pondering another trip back to the shop for the rest of the junk that wouldn’t fit first trip. And I’ll probably spend a couple hours there in hopes it builds good will and R will spring so I can have some smokes tonight. Because the e-cig ain’t cutting it when the nicotine cartridge is empty. And with my anxiety, it’s either smokes or get me a legalized pot user card cos otherwise I am a grenade with the pin pulled.

Now back to grieving. I am binge watching Sons of Anarchy for a second time and Opie just got killed, I need to be sad for awhile.

Not quite sure what it says about me that I feel more grief for fictional characters than family members who have died.

FAIL.