Daily Archives: September 29, 2017

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

Thank You, Xanax!

That makes me sound like a major druggie.  Well I had my big two-hour interview with four managers today, which actually was two hours and twenty minutes but who’s counting?  ME!  It was a fucking marathon!!!  I studied yesterday and all morning today and then right before leaving for the interview, which I was very nervous about, I took half of a 0.25 Xanax.  Man, did that do the trick!  I was able to calm down and answer their questions with a clear mind and I didn’t have any brain freeze!!!  Wow did it make a big difference!!!  I sound like a Xanax salesman don’t I.  Well after my nightmarish interview where I froze up several times, this was quite a change.  Things were very positive, I answered questions calmly and succinctly, and overall it was a very pleasant experience.  WHAT?!  Yes it’s true.  So THANK YOU, XANAX!!  I’m not going to take it for every damn occasion, but dayum!  In those extreme cases when my head is about to explode, it’s nice to know I have the option.

I am going to sleep well tonight, knowing I have done all I can to get this job, including writing thank you notes to the interviewers.  It’s all in the Universe’s hands now.  I feel good about things.  Sleep well, friends!  Peaches!


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