Tag Archives: bipolar

I miss the mad me

 

It sounds, I imagine, unbelievable if I were to say that I miss madness. Time is on its side, after all; 55 years until I sought help for what, by then, I knew well enough had to be bipolar disorder. Manic depression. This was three years ago.

I exist now with no medical or psychiatric help; all I have is a small cauldron of medications to keep me sane.

My moods are indeed more stable, with the top and bottom of them clipped. That still leaves an awful lot of space in-between for, well, potential insanity.

Something of me has gone. Maybe it’s me? After all, you live with someone long enough you get to know them, maybe very well – or what you imagine to be so. What’s gone for me is my creativity first and foremost; I am a poet, novelist, photographer, painter. Or at least I was. No, I still am. I just don’t do it as much. I’ve started to write a small amount of poetry again and I’ve always taken photographs. I’ve written no fiction in a few years and as I say, a piddling amount of poetry that I don’t know the value of. Is it any good? Well, it gets published – is that an indication in these days of online magazine and journals? Depends which one I suppose.

Madness gave me a sex life. Rather too much of one I suppose. And with it, some confidence and a way around the crippling social anxiety I have now or when sane. Luckily I escaped the uncontrolled spending that may people with bipolar have. I’ve had no inclination to go out and buy a Harley Davidson or a sports car. I did buy several Fairport Convention albums and a load of cheap watches. I am holding down a good job (I have no idea how) and I can handle this limited expenditure.

After all, in the past, whilst manic, I’ve got married soon after beginning a relationship. And bought a one-way ticket to India (and used it).

I read a lot of blogs and articles about bipolar; I’m pretty much a textbook case, though one of my psychiatrists (when I had some) said I was an ‘unusual case’. This, I assume, is because I have both ultra- ultra rapid cycling (ultradian) bipolar as well as a more typical cycling form that has varied from rapid cycling to a longer cycling model.

Some things are much easier for me now, medicated. I had several months of CBT but it didn’t seem to have worked for me. Maybe if I’d been medicated at the same time it would have helped? Some things surfaced during that therapy that I didn’t like, didn’t feel at all comfortable with. Specifically, bipolar dissociation and even DID itself. One of the more ridiculous things my therapist suggested was that I free the other self inside me (and in the mirror) to see what happens. No, thank you.

I can’t honestly say the ‘extremely intrusive suicidal ideations’ are any less present. Maybe a little less severe though. Maybe not.

You might have by now a sense of what I mean by missing madness? When manic or hypomanic – and especially when in mixed moods – I often have no idea what I’m doing. Sometimes I know afterwards, often not at all. I have memory lapses (dissociation?) that scare me. My short term memory is wrecked. I live a separate life in dreams, though I’ve not slept through the night even once in decades.

I’ve put on a load of weight since starting the meds – I usually sum up the choice of being medicated or not as fat or mad? I seem to have chosen the former, though as I said at the beginning of this piece, I’m far from convinced that I’ve made the right choice.

 

 

Home Sweet Home!!!

porch flowers

Glory Hallelujah I am in my new home!!!  The last time I wrote a post, I was on the verge of moving, and now, the move is complete!  The new place is better than I could have imagined!!  It is so nice, and I am SO GRATEFUL for it!!  I really feel like I “put in my time” in my little shithole for the past year and a half, making it work and even being grateful for it, because it was my own home, however humble.  I had somewhat made peace with the dirt and the noise, because I wasn’t going to let it drive me crazy.  But now here I am in a super-beautiful, super-spacious apartment (I’m in my STUDY writing this post right now!), and I’m just so blown away at how much better life can get!!!  Just a month ago, I was wondering if I was going to have to move in with my Mom and Dad, which was a dismal consideration.  Don’t get me wrong, Mom and Dad are great, but at almost 52 years old, moving in with Mom and Dad, even for the best of reasons, would be a real letdown.  Plus, I love living alone!!  My home is my refuge!!  And this new home is a REAL refuge!!

I now have a new couch (woooo!) – the old place didn’t have room for a couch, and I have a coffee table, boxspring, headboard and nightstand on the way.  Right now my mattress is on the floor because my previous bed broke when I moved out of my sister’s house a year and a half ago.  It’s exciting to buy new stuff and a little anxiety-provoking at the same time.  Any time I do some major spending, I get afraid that I’m manic.  But this has all been planned out, and I’m not leaving myself high and dry financially.  I’m still on solid ground.  And, I know I’m done spending on furniture now.  I’ve ordered what I needed to complete the place, and I’m done.  I have to admit, I wish I could buy a little more.  There is a little high that comes with getting new stuff.

Aside from hurting my back last week from irresponsibly lugging around some huge desktop computers, the job is going well.  I remain very grateful for my job, and I believe that I’m doing a good job.  The stability of having a job and a steady paycheck is doing wonders for me.  Even though I questioned whether or not I could work full-time, and I do find it exhausting, the structure and social interaction is good for me.  And financially it’s very good for me.

I feel like practicing gratitude is a very important part of my life now.  I believe it has helped me get to where I’m at, and that it will keep me going in a positive direction.  I’m going to keep focusing on being grateful for everything and everyone in my life.  Including YOU, my dear readers!!

I hope you are all well.  Please check in with me in the Comments below, will ya?  I love hearing from you!  Have a Happy Sunday!  Love, BPOF

Mental Illness

There’s a lot of things that people don’t understand about mental illness. And it is often frustrating when you try to explain to someone what it feels like or why you do some of the things you do. And the blend of the illness and your personality doesn’t have a line where one becomes the other. It’s all mushed up together and leaves you exhausted and lost many times.

I don’t say those things easily, and I think because I am so outspoken, sometimes people equate my illness as something that I have control of. And I don’t. Honestly I take my meds and I logically know that I am better than before I started taking meds. But there are days when all I want to do is crawl in a hole and live there.

I have moments everyday where I wonder if my thoughts or feelings or words are appropriate or not. I wonder if I should say something or not. And often I say nothing because I don’t really trust my own judgment. Do you trust your judgment? Do you spend days or weeks thinking about one thing and yet, still don’t have an answer.

I worry that because I am so outspoken and passionate that I am actually the one that has something wrong with them. My family isn’t really like me. Actually I have met very few people like me. And I can promise you I am 100 times harder on myself than you or anyone else could be. Small miss steps are magnified exponentially in my mind. When some is made or upset with me I literally FEEL it. It stays with me hour by hour, minute by minute until some resolution is found. I confront issues and like confrontation because that’s how things get worked out. In order for me to have close relationships I have to step out there and trust someone that could take my illness and use it against me.

I’m sure that is something that is hard to understand. I mean if I talk about my illness then why shouldn’t someone be allowed to bring it up. It’s not that that bothers me except most people only use it as a weapon when they don’t like or disagree with something I say or do. I’m a realist and in a world full of people who only seem to want to share the beauty of this world, I don’t really fit most of the time. While I am acutely aware of how blessed and loved I am. I still live in this world. And this world has a lot of bad and things bad people in it. And this world has so many people that only need someone to love them and invest a little of themselves in them for the person to get their life together.

There are things that people will never understand unless they live it or are very close to someone who deals with it. The truth is there is visible sin. There is sin that people can see and there’s sin that people commit under the cloak of darkness and never have to confront because no one knows to hold you accountable. I know there are people who disagree with me but I have yet to meet someone that disagrees AND has experienced a big visible sin. Because of this I carried around guilt for years. I still do some days. When I bunch of people look at you and you can feel the condemnation you figure out pretty quick that things will never be the same for you.

Ask me about a specific situation and I can tell you what I think or what I would do. But most people do t take my advice. It requires strength and confrontation. It takes looking at yourself and deciding that the part of you that’s broken is from the devil. And the part of you that is redeemed comes from God. It’s hard to find a balance sometimes. But I believe that when God looks at me He sees His daughter and He knows exactly what I have done and why I did it. But still all He has is love and grace for me.

I have learned that there are consequences to all the decisions we make. Some good, some bad. But who are we to say someone needs to repent or be punished for what they have done. God set it up pretty good to start with. God gives us guidelines. Things that will only help us stay happy and healthy and in sync with Him. When we choose to make bad choices there are always consequences(punishments) built into whatever you have done. I had sex in high school with someone that I didn’t even really care about. And I got pregnant. And then the leaders at my church thought they had the right to punish me. And I was told by one that I should have a good attitude on our mission trip and not cause any problems. Who does that?!?!?! I had someone else tell me they didn’t want to have the teens over to their house again because I said I was bored. Mind you I was 17 and I wasn’t the only one who said that. It’s like the go to thing for teenagers, I’m bored. So I learned at a young age that I was responsible for things that I should have never been responsible for. I had to fight and talk and defend myself and my love for God all because I got pregnant. They like to say it’s about the sex. But it’s not. It’s about the fact that people could see my sin so I needed to be punished. Guess what?!?! That’s Gods job not yours and since my parents didn’t even punish me who are you to decide I’m not worthy.

I carry all these things with me. I live with them everyday. Sometimes what happened 20 years ago still haunts me like it was yesterday. I have tried to let it go. And I logically know that these people thought they were doing what God wanted them to. But they didn’t. They were wrong. And to this day only one person has reached out to me and said “we were wrong, I’m sorry”.

And all of that is why I try to be very careful about what I say and how I respond to things. I probably mess up a lot but I try. It is also why I’m drawn to people who have lived life and who understand that it’s just different. It’s why I want to help people and love them any way I can. It’s why I ask questions and try to learn about the people around me and what is going on in their lives. It’s a gift, a very powerful one. And one that I know God guides me in.

I wish that people weren’t afraid of people who are strong and passionate and not afraid to ask the tough questions. But sometimes those questions hurt people. I don’t do it on purpose but I have a thirst for knowledge and truth. I am very methodically and logical. I have the ability to state things plainly in a way that people can understand them. People who are real want that. They understand that life is messy and that we will never be perfect. Jesus makes us pure and that never changes. This world has so many things that we don’t understand. But God does and when we trust Him we can have peace.

I know that God knows exactly what is going on with me. That He knows my heart and my illness and has no problem seeing pst that to the amazing, strong, compassionate, passionate, zealous person that I am. And He helps me everyday. He sends signs that I have no doubt come from him. Something happens and it is along the lines of something I had been thinking about. I know God. I see Him and I see what He does and what He wants. And I am proud that all the people that have hurt me haven’t for one day pulled me away from Him.

I want to help people. I want people to know that if they have questions or concerns they can come to me. I want people to know that I don’t share about my illness to get sympathy or anything else. I do it because I would be devastated if someone had to suffer some of the things I have been through because I want to make my life easier by not sharing. It makes me tear up every time I think of someone I know suffering because they don’t know that there is help. Or are scared to face whatever happens. I will be there all the way with anyone that wants help or has questions.

And you know what?!?!? I will keep sharing because it’s important to me. And because I believe Hod allowed this strong outspoken woman to have an illness because SHE will be the one who shouts it from the roof tops and makes sure that everyone she knows knows that they are not alone. So I will talk to my doctor next month about my antidepressants and see if we can change things up. Because I know they aren’t working right and I want to be able to live my life. That is what I will do.

Be blessed today! And if you ever need someone to talk to please get a hold of me!!9

Lovely Changes Are Coming!

Purple Flowers

I am so happy to say that great changes are coming in my life!  Well, at least one great change!  I’m moving to a wonderful new place!!  It is about ten hundred kabillion steps up from the place I’m currently living in.  My current place is so small, I couldn’t even fit a couch, and I have no room to do any of my creative projects.  The new place is very spacious, with room for a new couch, it’s a one bedroom with a study, it has lovely granite countertops and nice flooring and new carpet, a gas fireplace (I LOVE gas fireplaces in the winter!!), a closet in the study and a walk-in closet in the bedroom, storage off the balcony, a pool, hot tub, and workout room.  I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!  Oh, and it’s on a greenbelt, not on a damn street, so I won’t have all the traffic noise!!!  It’s just so great.  Now I just need to pack, pack, pack my ass off these next two weekends, (and probably some during the week) and I will move on June 30.  AND to top it off, the month of July is FREE!!!  So that’s how I will finance buying a new couch and a new ottoman for my current easy chair (my current ottoman is busted).  I will also pay my parents back a big chunk of the money I owe them.  It scares the shit out of me to spend money, because it makes me scared that I’m manic, but I have made the decision to spend some.  And I will still have a good chunk left over.  I am SO HAPPY with how things are looking up!!

A few months ago I only had hopes and dreams of moving out of this shithole, but no actual means of doing so.  I thought I was going to have to move in with Mom and Dad, which was a depressing thought.  I am so super-glad that I don’t have to do that.  It will make me feel good every day to be in a nicer place.

The job is going well, although some mornings I feel tired of the same thing over & over and I wonder how I’m going to keep it up.  How do people do this over & over for years & years & years????  Life is so hard to sustain!!!  But I have to keep going, which means I have to take really good care of myself.  Living in this new place will make it a lot easier.  I will be able to work out, and relax at a pool and hot tub.  Also, I’ll be able to ride my bike to work if I want, the job will be about a mile or two down the road.

My mood is holding up well.  I have been getting up early in the morning and walking in the cool air, and I’ve also been walking at work over my lunch hour.  The picture I posted is from my morning walk.  I’ve been getting my 10,000 steps in on most days.  I haven’t lost any more weight (damn it) probably due to the enormous peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I’ve been eating for lunch.  I’ve become lazy on lunch-making.  Nevertheless, I will keep up the exercise and tracking what I eat.  I’m not going to give up on the weight loss!

Well I need to get to packing.  Hope you are all well.  Thank you to everyone who follows me, and welcome to the new followers!!  Let me know how you are in the comments please!!  Love and hugs to you all!  Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers!  Peach out!

Delusion or Truth.

 

A vision? Age 4-ish

Nursery school. I am riding a tricycle in the play-yard. Suddenly everything stops, goes blank and distant and I know I have had a “daydream”. I can’t remember what I saw in that reverie but I know it wasn’t there and then, wasn’t real.

A vision? Age 6-ish

Jesus and some of his disciples are sitting around a campfire at night, cooking, boiling water or soup. Some of the boiling liquid spills onto Jesus’s hand but he doesn’t feel it. I conclude from this (at the time) that Jesus has leprosy.

 

so vivid

Overwhelmed by Good Ideas

 

I subscribe to an online newsletter and print magazine called “BP Hope”, for people with Bipolar illness. It has some wonderful articles about how to maintain your equilibrium in times of chaos, of which there are many in my life. I usually find solace there and some helpful tips on how to better live my life and to stay stable with my ups and downs. So I was a bit surprised to have such a strongly negative reaction to the posts I read when I sat down to catch up some past issues yesterday. I read a few dozen blogs and articles. (Yes, I was being obsessive…) They all had good ideas. But they burned me out! By the time I was done I was feeling like shit for my inability to carry out all these good ideas. It was just too much for me.

I try so hard to be sane and stable and work assiduously to keep a good attitude about life and love and all the rest. But I’m very sensitive to criticism, and tho these articles certainly weren’t meant to be taken as such, I took them that way. While I was reading all these good ideas I gradually fell into a deep hole of depression that stuck with me for the rest of the day. Not terrible, but still awful, because it called into question all my good intentions. Just because I still haven’t “gotten there” yet I think I’ve failed. I think this even after being diagnosed with BP-I for over 22 years and being “stable” for the last 2 years or so. Shouldn’t I know better by now? I guess not, judging by my reactions to these articles. “Stable” is a relative term…

Yeah, I know I’m being too hard on myself. It goes with the territory sometimes. I agreed with most of the ideas I read about, and I do a lot of them a lot of the time, but there were still so many others that I haven’t mastered yet it made me feel like none of it was valid. It goes that way on occasion. It’s a classic CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) sort of situation. I’m falling into the trap of all or nothing thinking that has plagued me for my whole life. I know better, but I still fall for it. I can’t always change my thoughts the way I need to, and I think I should be able to. I am superman after all, aren’t I?

We sometimes say of people with Bipolar that we’re the piece of shit the world revolves around. Boy, does that fit me to a “T”. There’s way too much of the piece of shit part in me, but here I’m manifesting the other pole, where I think I’m a god and should be able to do everything I want to. I can’t. None of us can. It’s classic BP grandiosity, and it sucks. I doubt that I’m the only one who does this sort of thing. In fact it’s pretty common for people living with a mental illness that causes our brains to misfire and go to places they don’t need to go, just because we encounter something that challenges our perceived sense of self. I get that challenge a lot. Mostly I’m fine with it and I try to take it as constructive criticism, or maybe just good intentions meant to help me survive. But then I go and try to do Everything I read about so as to be perfect. It’s ridiculous I know, but there it is.

What I’m learning from this, again, is that I have to take it easy, and not try to engorge a whole bunch of information in one sitting. It’s way too much and I can’t handle it all. I need to take it in smaller doses and absorb it thoroughly before I jump onto the next good thing. I do that a lot and I do try to control it, but sometimes I’m not very good at it. I’m so impulsive – another classic BP trait. I need to slow myself down. I’m clearly a bit hypomanic in the way I approach life all too often. I rush into things and don’t think of the consequences. It’s so typical I’m almost ashamed to say it, but I’m not alone. It’s all part of the BP syndrome after all and we all fall for it at times.

Overdoing things is a big issue for me. I’m currently struggling with the pain of a bad back spasm I got from too much gardening. I’ve been hurting for a week now and it’s all because I didn’t stop when I should have. It’s a bad pattern of mine and I need to adjust it. It’s the same thing I did with my reading. I just think I can handle way too much more than I realistically can. And it hurts me in so many ways – physically, mentally and emotionally. But it shouldn’t drive me into depression just because I overdo it. It doesn’t help me at all to beat myself up. So just stop it Steve! Uh huh… Right…..

We all need to be more careful of ourselves. We’re fragile beings and need to be gentle with how we treat our bodies, minds and emotions. I’m just one example of a person with Bipolar going to extremes. It’s the nature of the illness, but we don’t have to let it control us. I know I can do better, without thinking I’m all special for doing it, tho that’s hard. We have to keep trying. Eventually we might get a clue and even improve our lives. That’s my plan. I just hope I can stick to it. This time…

Be at peace,

Steve

Another Solider: Anthony Bourdain

I am so so surprised.

What happened? Did he leave any note? Man, I remember watching him and wanting to be him. Wanting to live his life.

His life was just like mine.

Another Solider: Anthony Bourdain

I am so so surprised.

What happened? Did he leave any note? Man, I remember watching him and wanting to be him. Wanting to live his life.

His life was just like mine.

Another Solider Lost: Kate Spade

Goodbye Kate.

Your battle is over.

I’m sorry Mental Illness took you but don’t worry, millions of people will look at your story and decide suicide is not for them.

Suicide is not for you. It’s not for anyone.

Until next time…RIP

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/kate-spade-suicide-andy-spade-statement-after-designers-death-today-2018-06-06/

Here’s the thing

When you live the majority of your life with an illness you didn’t know you had it’s hard to find a place to put all the “bad” things.

Just when you think you are maybe starting to get a handle on things and have more control over your emotions some life event happens and it feels like going backwards.

Not to mention that when you have been medicated for a long time parts of you start to change, or maybe I should say adjust. But other people can’t see that. If you don’t see me daily for an extended period of time then you wouldn’t know there is a thing wrong with me.

I have actually had people tell me it’s not true. And my response is always “you aren’t around me enough”.

When you tell someone you have a mental illness they either say “I have that too”(which isn’t true most of the time, to date I’ve only had one person say it and I believe it). Or they just keep doing whatever they are doing. They don’t k ow what to say. And I can only imagine what they think about exactly what that means.

But I’m tired. I’m tired of having exactly 2 people that are there for me no matter what. I know that I have hurt them and if I could change one thing it would be to treat them better. I’m tired of knowing things other people don’t know, I’m tired of looking at things differently than 90%+ of people. I wish that I didn’t see all the things that I see.

I used to think everyone can do what I can do and some just choose not to. But the truth is very few people can do what I do. My daughter always says “you think like me I need to ask someone else”lol And it’s true! But it’s nice to have at least one resin that knows and understands what I am feeling.

We had a discussion about my illness and different things about how it works and what I’m aware of. And the truth is I’m aware of just about everything. I miss very very little of what goes on around me. I asked a girl at work the other day if she was talking to a man. And she grinned but clammed up. I just told her I know everything. Seriously, it’s really hard to have that sometimes. I’m not only aware of what is going on around me but I’m also highly aware of what is going on inside me. So I get to have other people’s thoughts and issues as well as my own. Can you imagine how tiring that is??

I am tired of feeling like an outcast in life. And I’ve pretty much felt that way my whole life. I will never have a ton of friends because I am to blunt and honest for most people. And they seem to think that when I say things I am telling them what to do. But I work very hard not to do that and some of the people I know need to take a long look at themselves.

Last in this mess of a post. When we ignore things going on in our kids lives in order to “protect them” or “raise them right”, we are creating an atmosphere where they never learn to deal with certain situations. I understand you don’t want your child to date until they are 16. But telling them they can’t even have a “boyfriend” (by boyfriend I mean in name only, they only see each other at school). creates an environment where many kids just hide it. When our kids don’t feel safe talking to us they go to someone else. Usually friends and they usually have bad information on pretty much everything. It may not seem like I big deal to ask questions and make your kids answer. I have one that is NOT a talker but I talk to him and ask him questions about the things that are important to him. In the hopes that if he ever needs anything he knows he can come to me. If your kid isn’t talking to you I promise it’s not because they have nothing to say. I have heard parents say “they stay in their rooms, how can I talk to them” or “they don’t say anything”. That might be true. But YOU are the parent isn’t your job to Seek them out and ask questions until you find something they are excited about. It’s not hard but it does require being diligent and conscious of what you are saying and doing. It’s your job to teach the and when you don’t talk to them because you don’t know what to say or you find it hard to talk about say sex. Well it’s not exactly comfortable for them either. But I can tell you this my 13 year old daughter would easily come to me if she needed something. We have talked her whole life and now I know that if she really needs someone she will come to me. I have another daughter that while it took a while she is at least comfortable enough to ask questions if she has them.

It’s hard to feel like you are alone. Even when your doing well and surrounded by people. I am tired of being treated like I’m a failure and have no idea what I am talking about. Not only am I right a lot but I genuinely care about the people in my life.

Sorry this wasn’t too great!!