Tag Archives: mental health

Homelessness Avoided…Still In Limbo

Well, we went, we saw, we liked, and the guy agreed to rent us the trailer in Armpit. It’s a nice place, front yard with an awning, back yard, shed- great place for a kid. Near the bus stop for school, near the church, near a playground. The only thing not nearby is the gas station but in a town the size of a gnat even that’s not a biggie.

I survived the anxiety and panic. Afterward, stepmonster took us out to supper, at an actual sit down restaurant, not fast food. Which was a first for me and Spook in…months, maybe a year. It was nice.I wasn’t even in panic mode anymore, I guess after 4 hours of it it kind of burned itself out. Stepmonster even bought me a phone card so I’d have talk to make the necessary calls to set things in motion.

Today I have to call the power company about transferring service. Then I need to go to Salvation Army about them paying the landlord dude a hundred bucks or so towards the deposit. Oddest thing, he balked at this, and said no, then it will become a habit. Um…I’ve not once asked anyone for rent help in 9 years, this is a one and done thing cos well, scumlord screwed us. What kind of person doesn’t want to be given money as long as it’s legal? Country folk, I guess.

He still has a few things he wants to do to the place before we can move in so…in a holding pattern. Hellish limbo. My personality is, let’s get it done already…But just knowing we have a place now is a weight off my shoulders.

Apparently not too much weight, as it is 3:15 a.m and I am awake writing this instead of sleeping. I caught two hours or so, woke around 11:30 and try as though I might, even with half a melatonin and o.5 of xanax…my spinning brain won’t shut up, my heart won’t slow down. I have that ‘rooster hour’ mental haze going on and I would love to catch a few hours before I have to get the spawn up for school and face the day. Yet my body and mind won’t cooperate so I lay down, toss, turn, sit up, wait, lather,rinse, repeat.

Soo much to do to prepare to move. Yet until the place is landlord ready-he needs to check the water pipes for leaks, he wants to shampoo the rugs, etc…Limbo.

It’s not lack of gratitude or refusal to accept a win. My disorder just makes me so anxious over every tiny thing it impacts me on every level. Good or bad. That’s my litmus test when people make me ponder whether or not my disorders are legitimate. Does it just interfere with things I dislike doing? Or does it impact even the things I love? It impacts everything, thus my disorders are real and disabling.

But hey…it’s a win. Having a place to live. Hopefully it won’t cost limbs to heat or cool and we won’t marinate in sweat or freeze our spleens off. OOhhh…sunshine spewage. I must really still be tired and need sleep to regain my usual cycnical sarcasm.

Knowing how my scumbag brain works…I will nod off about a half hour before the alarm goes off.

Then be unable to get back to sleep all day. And have zero energy physically or mentally.

Same old, same old.

But hey… I was starting to check out cardboard boxes for wifi access so..this is a good thing. Even if my panic disorder sucks out all the goodness from it.

Saying Good-Bye Well: Part 2


Today was my last appointment with my therapist, Megan.  Last week I had my last visit with my nurse practitioner, Sarah.  There’s been a lot of blubbing (as the BBC might say), and not all on my side of the couch.

I thought I would be a mess.  These two women saved my life many times over.  They taught me how to be bipolar and still function in the world.  When they set up their clinic almost three years ago, they created a sanctuary for me where I was always welcome to hang out with my art supplies.  They are the most professional care providers I’ve ever had.  And I know, without a doubt, that they love me.

I know, too, that their consistency is the reason I can leave them.  I take everything they’ve taught me, their humor, and their open-heartedness with me.  I will be fine, whoever I find in Muskogee to be my therapist.  It will be a new relationship enriched by the healthy, positive ones I had with Megan and Sarah.

Today, the three of us ate lunch in Sarah’s office, laughing and leaking tears in equal measure.  I know this sounds horrid, but their distress lifted me up.   I’ve been struggling with all the uncertainty of this move—not knowing when it will happen, making lists I can’t act on.  Today’s loving closure gave me a much-needed sense of a job well done.  I drove home feeling lighter than I had in weeks.

In her card to me, Megan wrote in part:

I am a better person and a better provider because of the things I have learned in our work together.  You are super fucking awesome, and I will miss you tremendously.

Sarah wrote:

“In a world of ordinary mortals, you are a wonder woman.” —Queen Hippolyta (Wonder Woman’s mom).  I will miss you dearly.

I am so grateful to have had them on My Adventure.

The Birchwood Team. Megan—back row, second from left. Sarah—front row, in the chair


25.5 is how many hours I was awake Monday to Tuesday due to anxiety. I finally crashed around 9 a.m. yesterday and slept an hour and a half. Normally, I’d be concerned about the timing of this ‘up all night’ incident as a precursor to a pre-spring hypo/full manic episode. The fact that I took a melatonin and tried to sleep and wanted nothing but to sleep and yet still could not no matter how tortuous consciousness was…That’s anxiety, not mania, not hypo mania. When it’s any form of mania, for me, I don’t want to sleep, I don’t try to sleep, and I either go full on creative or full on hyperactive. This time, I was not creative and I got nothing done, I was just awake hour after hour agonizing about our living situation.

Last night I zonked before ten p.m. and I did sleep, but I woke often, and I woke early, because there was ice and school had a two hour late start so I was getting notifications. Of course on any day I can sleep in I wake early, it’s life’s little ‘fuck you’ joke. Like weekends with a kid who can’t be dragged out of bed for school without a crane yet come Saturday they’re awake with the bloody roosters.

My anxiety has skyrocketed today as days count down to us needing to be out of here. We have a line on a place in dad’s armpit town, he talked to the guy and stepmonster is gonna come get us tomorrow to go look at it (ya know, since it’s 16 miles round trip and my death trap won’t run over 30mph without a death gasp). I am not wild about this, at all. But I am also sick of not eating or sleeping and feeling like my skeleton is crawling out of my skin. We have to do something and it’s not my job to think of myself right now. My damage from growing up in a small town has to take a backseat to making sure Spook has a roof overhead and I am just gonna have to put on the big girl panties and deal with it. I’m not committing to a 20 year contract to live there. This could be a six month or year long thing, or hell, it may turn out to not suck so much.

I hate myself for thinking that or writing it.

I think mostly I fear my sister and mom might be right and dad and stepmonster may be making a power play to take over my daughter and turn her into a mini redneck version of themselves. And without a reliable car and depending on them to provide me with transportation…I am going to be in no position whatsoever to defend my right as her mother or my independence. That is the worst position (aside from living in a cardboard box with no wifi connection-just sayin’).

To demonstrate how redneck and ignorant my dad is…he thinks because the rent for this place in his town is fifty dollars less than what I pay here, it is going to save me money. Except I will have to pay water there ($25 monthly), trash ($45 every three months), and of course, ten bucks gas every time I need to run into town for groceries or appointments. Moving there may be necessity, but it is not one bit cheaper and it is not at all convenient, so this is how I know that my dad only sees things from his perspective. Saving fifty bucks on rent isn’t saving a penny if I’ll be spending another hundred between water, trash, and travel money.

Again, though…this looks to be our only feasible opportunity and it is a two bedroom so at least I wouldn’t get stuck sharing a room with Ms. Snores A Lot. (Love her to pieces, but man, she could suck down tile ceilings with that snore.) It’s not even a lock, the guy just agreed to let us look at the place and he’s going by what they have told him about my situation. I don’t take anything as a given anymore because…well 2018 has been a dick so far and as far as the former landlord-now-property-manager giving a good reference…I’ve seen the man out and out lie to my face repeatedly so…not breathing easily there, either. There’s also the matter of doing laundry, I don’t know if Armpit (so shall the town in question be known here on out) still has their laundromat, which would cost even more money. I don’t even know if they have mail service, everyone seems to have a post office box, which again, MORE FUCKING MONEY. They have a restaurant open 8 hours a day, a gas station open til 7 p.m. and of course, said post office. That is it. I might go brain dead from boredom, especially if stuck with no gas to escape to town.

At the same time…I wonder if this isolation might be what I need. Get in the slow lane, keep to myself, maybe be able to focus on my writing when Spook is asleep because being so isolated might lower my anxiety and allow me to focus better. God, slap me with a rotting mackerel already for spewing this limited sunshine. Gross. I am likely gonna hate it because it will bring back every traumatic memory from my adolescence and teens where the small town redneck bullies made me want to die daily. But I am 45 now and it’s time to move on, blah blah blah. Some things you move on from but their imprint is a scar that flares up whether you want it to or not.

And this is where standard issue people start rolling their eyes and call me narcisstic and tell me it’s about my kid, not me, and how self centered I am and all I talk about is me me me and I am a horrible person always playing the victim…

Oh, wait, that was what the heroin using shrink said to Analiese on How To Get Away With Murder thus my paranoid brain instantly jumped to, “Oh fuck, is that why nurse doc didn’t help me or believe a word I said? Did she think I was a narcissist playing victim????” And this is where mental healthcare/shrinks/counselors totally confuse and baffle me. If I am supposed to go in and talk, isn’t it supposed to be about myself and how I am feeling and what I am going through? The very definition of narcissism, acceptable not even in my supposed care and management and cure? It is all these self doubt causing questions that have caused me to give up on therapy. The doc nurse and abandonment by Dr. B have made me seriously question if I will ever get the proper professional to actually do more good than harm. But then it goes right back to my own brain rolling its eyes at me and snarking, “Victim much?”

Grrrrr. It’s maddening. And certainly doesn’t help the depression. I have been running on sheer anxiety for weeks and the depressive abyss days certainly take precedence even if I rant more about the anxiety…But it’s come to my attention just how depressed I have been yet scared to admit the sevetrity lesy some well meaning genius professional decide it means I’m an unfit mom. The only person being neglected here is me. I don’t watch my super fave shows like The Flash or Supernatural. I can’t focus on the shows I do try to watch. I am glad to be awake only about two hours of the day, long enough to get a caffeine burst and an acceptable nicotine level. The rest of the time all I do is count down hours til I can go to sleep. And as we’re out of melatonin and the script sleepers damn near kill me…I am going to be spending a lot of time awake, breaking out in nervous hives, twisting stomach aches, and spinning thoughts.

I don’t know where to begin packing. I am frozen, like a deer in headlights with a car speeding at me at 120 mph. And I can’t seem to move. It terrifies me. I should be packing, my kid reminds me constantly. Well, first we need boxes, then we need to have a place to go, and I have to determine the space we will have going from a 3 bedroom two bath to a two bedroom one bath, no outside storage shed. I am trapped in don’t stop, don’t go mode.

Still…I am plastering on the brave face and validating my kid’s ‘nervous-cited- state (thank you, my little pony, nervous-cited is almost a cool way to describe it) while assuring her the move could be a great thing for us, who knows. I mean, I was once stuck in such a depression I thought our world would crumble if the donor left. And ya know what? He handled it like the cowardly cockweasel he is, sneaking his shit out and announcing he wanted out via a 30 second phone call but…within a couple of weeks I was on the mend, realizing how much better I felt without him. I just didn’t have the guts to risk change by admitting it when he was here. And Spook was only two and he wasn’t all that interactive with her so she didn’t even notice his absence. It was something I thought would be catastrophic yet it turned out better than it was, so I often beat myself up for my inability to overome my fear of change and extricate myself from unhealthy situations.

Maybe being forced at metaphoric gunpoint to make a change is what I need. Or it may be push me over the edge, God knows I have been hit from all angles this year with devastation and bad luck. I’d like to at least keep the door cracked open on things being okay, minus any sunshine spewing. Sunshine helps my mood, but it just makes me feel like a traitor to myself if I trade in my hard earned cynicism to blow rainbows up my own skirt. If I wore skirts.

So…depressed. Anxious to the nth. Terrified. Feeling helpless and hopeless.

Still alive and kicking and doing what has to be done for my kid.

If this makes my diagnosis narcisstic, then again…the mental health, er behavioral health, community is guilty of bad behavior.


The internet has eaten 3 things I have typed out to post in the last week! To say I’m aggravated is an understatement. I don’t pay attention to what I write most of the time. But it’s almost always good! 😊

So I will try again with a post from last night….

When did I become a woman? More importantly at what point did I start viewing myself that way?

I was thinking last night about a certain situation and I ended up calling myself a woman in what was to possibly be my words to someone.

As soon as I had the thought I was immediately sidetracked. I have never seamlessly called myself a woman. Much less referred to myself as one in discussion. When did that change happen? What has happened in my life that I now believe I embody the word woman?

Up until 3 and a half years ago when I was medicated for my Bipolar I would have told you I’m not grow up to be considered a woman. I refer to myself as girl, lady, female, anything else. And really it has been in recent months I have started to look at myself differently.

I AM a woman. I have lived if life that has taken me places I never thought I would go and given me things I never even knew I wanted. I am funny, intelligent, hard working, caring, loving, friendly, considerate, empathetic, and wise. Why shouldn’t I consider myself a word that embodies so many of those things.

I have fought and give my tears for so many different things. I have given of myself to the people I love and I have stood strong in the process. I am in ways and in many cases the calm in the storm. I embrace what is happening and I seek ways to learn from it.

I have peace I don’t think I have ever had before. Maybe it’s in that peace that I have found the strength to see the amazing, kind, and loving woman that I truly am.

So today I will face my day with the knowledge that I AM enough! That the thing we as women strive for is the very thing I have finally found. I am a strong woman. I am a loving woman. And I am a woman that knows what she wants and how to get it.

I am a woman that can take that peace and apply it to the situations and issues in my life and use the wisdom I have found to help others along the way. I am a mom and for a long time I thought that word defined me. But now I realize that yes being a Mom does in many ways define. But being a woman is about ALL of me. And all of me is enough to be called a woman of grace and dignity and love. And for that, I am eternally grateful!!

Be blessed!!

FYI- I don’t think it’s as good as the original. But it’s pretty good. Lol

When Invisible Illness Isn’t Entirely Invisible

One of the hardest struggles people with mental health disorders face is the fact that unlike other medical ailments, mental health issues are often perceived as invisible or behavioral and no one takes you seriously. Society does a 4 out of ten in its grasp of bipolar one, maybe 6 out of ten for its grasp of depression, (0 for comprehending bipolar 2) and as for anxiety disorders…BIG FAT NEGATIVE TEN.

Having an anxiety disorder isn’t merely being high strung. It’s like every nerve ending being in flames and your brain is the fire department only they forgot to bring the water hoses so the fire rages on and no amount of self bullying or pep talks or cognitive bullshit therapy can help during the worst of the anxiety attacks.

I have, over the years, learned to avoid situations that could trigger my anxiety thus resulting in an embarrassing and societally-frowned-upon meltdown of sweating, hyperventilating, and throwing up over the side of the boat. i’d say I get it right 60% of the time. The worst part, however, and this was diagnoses when I was 14…I internalize stress which agitates the disorder.

My anxiety, well hidden at times or not, isn’t entirely invisible if people were to pay attention. It’s not a matter of being wound like a clock or shaky or cranky.

For me, anxiety, at its most extreme, comes with a plethora of physical symptoms that aren’t invisible at all. Thing is, they are embarrassing so not really something I want people to notice. All the trips to the bathroom because I pee when I am nervous. All the trips to the bathroom when pretzel gut kicks in and my innards feel like they are making a jailbreak. The ice cold sweat soaks the armpits of my shirts and drips down my side, stench free yet sooo humiliating because I’ve used every product available and none of them do a thing for anxious sweat. The shaking hands which cause the dropsies and people assume you’re a clumsy oaf. The inability to form coherent thoughts until you’ve ridden out the panic attack and regrouped with some isolation ‘me’ time. The days when you are so stressed and sweaty, you do actually have a musty odor. Oh, and those lovely pretzel gut noises that perform their symphony of gross noises, as if running to the bathroom abruptly at odd intervals when the innard prison break hits.

One of the worst physical manifestations of my anxiety disorder is not invisible at all, and according to my mom, she has it, her mom had it, and that is our skin breaking out in itchy red hives or spots or welts when we are on anxiety overload. I’ve had all the tests, no physical cause, just ‘stop internalizing your stress and try to balance your anxiety triggers.”

Today’s proof.

I can remember being a kid at the public pool and between flea bites and my nervous hives, they would ask me to leave because they couldn’t risk me being contagious. Talk about mortifying. I don’t think I’ve been back to that pool since I was 12. Mind you, the above is a minor reaction, it gets much worse and often results in such a rash all over my body. I’d hardly call it invisible.

Society as a whole simply refuses to face the fact that mental health disorders often manifest in physical symptoms and even if you can’t see them or we don’t discuss them, it doesn’t mean they are invisible or fictional. Trust me, there was nothing fictional about my date on a gambling boat where I hit the crowd, went into panic meltdown sweating and hiding in the bathroom, make up melting off in tears…and when I managed to be convinced by my date to go outside on the deck…I promptly barfed over the side of the boat. He still tells that story. Because it was charming, not humiliating at all for me.

So before you go making assumptions about ‘invisible’ illnesses and assuming there’s nothing disabled about us…

Try on my shoes and walk a few miles. I’ll do you the kindness of not saying your blistered feet are a figment of your imagination and your battered psyche just needs to snap out of it.

Mental health issues may be a cross many of us bear miserably, but the one thing about it, in my experience…I truly believe that what we suffer from…makes us a very empathetic, compassionate group, who otherwise may never have become sensitive to the plight of others had it not mangled our lives.

It’s a shame the world places far more value on mindless Tweets, fashionista heiresses, egomaniacal rap stars, and the wonderful quality of empathy is just…irrelevant. In my world…it’s about as crucial a trait as breathing is when I want to gauge how well I am going to get along with someone.

I could have used a lot of empathetic friends back in the day when I was brave enough to go out and risk my anxiety turning things into an embarrassing scene and all those so called friends either ditched me or phased me out for making them uncomfortable.

Those are the people I really hope karma pays a visit to. I hope karma bites them on the ass and it has rabies and ebola and then I can tell them how it’s all in their heads and they’re inconvenient and embarrassing for me with their invisible ailments.

Bitter, moi?

But no matter my resentments or grudges…I would probably still extend a hand of support and empathy even to my worst enemy if I felt they truly wanted and needed it.

Not even my misbehaving brain chemicals can change who I am at the core, and that is a caring, albeit with a whiplash sarcastic humor, person.

Though if Trump or Kanye West approached, I’d have to return to bitterness and look for an exorcist. There’s only so much insane ego a woman can stand, ya know. Some people just rub me the wrong way and it’s their personality, not their politics.

How Anxiety And Depression Put Your Life On Hold

I’ve often expressed to my doctors how saddened I am by how much of my daughter’s childhood I have missed due to crippling depression and anxiety. Mind you, I’ve been here for her every day since she was in utero. But over 8 years, I have experienced so many depressive bouts and skin crawling anxiety, I fear I have missed my chance to truly bond with her over fun outings. I’ve never taken her to the public pool or a movie (that crowd terror I have.) So many days I am just too low or wound too tightly or frozen with the inertia of it all…I’m not a very fun mom. And it breaks my heart and I really wish the professionals would GET that. None of them really do, though, to them it’s just an excuse or complaint to be taken with a grain of salt.

For me, it’s like seeing my kid’s loving childhood ‘I need mommy” years pass me by and I can never get them back. It is heartbreaking and frustrating. I try so very hard, even on my worst days, I at least try to make her laugh a few times with faked silliness. Before long she will hit double digits and become a tween and I will be little more than an embarrassment to her (as is normal for kids entering that age zone). To look back and see all that depression and anxiety have cost me…The doctors, therapists, and disability powers that be will never in a million years understand how devastating it is, how nothing can ever make up for it.

Today was day 4 with her home from school. We’ve been getting along pretty well. I can’t say I was fun mommy today because I was making calls left and right about finding a place to live and it was just door slam after door slam, either no pets, not available, twice the rent I pay here a third of the space. It’s disheartening, to say the least.

My dad extended a lovely offer. If I come live in his town in one of the properties his friend owns via section 8, they will let me drive their white SUV and put my old heap on auction. Now this sounds great, right???? WRONG. Being under their thumb is worse than dealing with R. It may come down to being imprisoned that way, but I am fighting it tooth and nail. Last person they loaned their vehicle to all they did was gripe about her running back and forth to town (25 miles round trip) and putting mileage on their vehicle. If she took it to go out on a date or to a bar with friends, that offended them, too. They are so controlling, it would be akin to being smothered and buried alive. I wish I were being dramatic. Even my sister said they are just trying to lure me there so they can basically take over my kid and turn her into a little redneck like them. I’ve seen them try so it’s not far fetched. It’s..last resort. Not to mention what those people can’t grasp is that section 8, even with a willing landlord with an open property, takes at least a month to go through, if not longer. I have less than 2 weeks!

My gums hurt from grinding my teeth with anxiety. I haven’t eaten a thing today, I have no appetite. When Spook asks, “Are you sure we’re not gonna be homeless, mommy?” it breaks my heart. No, we’re not gonna be homeless, though we might be better off if we were. One local agency will help with first month rent and deposit BUT you literally have to be living on the street, in your car, or in an emergency shelter for more than a month. HUH????? So to get my kid a home I have to let her have no home which puts me in danger of having her taken away from me. This system is insane.

Sleep doesn’t seem like it’s going to come easily. I am out of melatonin and I am sure as hell not taking any of the doc’s or doc nurse’s ‘sleeping pills’. Worse hangover than a vodka bender, I kid you not. And they make me sluggish the whole day after and bring my mood even lower. So how are their prescriptions any different from alcohol if both act as depressants?

Again. If you can donate or just reblog or pass on social media…Fundraiser is here.

If you need further proof how dire our circumstances are…this is my current bank balance.

And to add more stress, the yearly registration sticker for my car is do by March 31rst, another $105 I can’t come up with.

It’s hard for me to ask for help so believe me…we need it more than you know.

My Name Is Sludge

Sludgey. That is how I feel today. Like my body is made of lead and any sort of movement is exhausting, painful, and perhaps even dangerous. I loathe these mental spaces where the idea of moving around sets off alarm bells in my head, it’s irrational, idiotic, frustrating. As icing on the suckage cupcake, my anxiety is off the charts and that, too, irks me, because Sundays are supposed to be my peaceful day. Ya know, no mail, usually no calls, just…vegetative time.

Instead the hamster wheel in my skull is churning furiously and needs WD-40 desperately. The churning thoughts and terror replay in an endless loop, making every sound seem overwhelming, every action seem terrifying. My head actually hurts from thinking too much and nothing I do makes it slow down. I am holding the panic at bay, barely, by remindng myself that panicking won’t do a thing to help our situation but…I almost believe it is possible for the human skeleton to try to escape from inside just to escape the barrage of overactive nerve endings threatening to drive me stark raving mad.

Since you can’t really accomplish anything business-ish, ya know, like looking for a different place to live, on Sundays, I figured today would be my freebie day, one day free of freaking out and feeling like a cornered animal. But no, anxiety disorder says NOPE, FAIL. So my heart continues to beat rapidly, my head aches more and more with every passing hour, and I can’t seem to shake it off. Which is the norm, of course, but occasionally a burst of hypomania pops up.

Not today. This is useless, harmful energy of the sludgey variety. I am counting down the hours til bedtime. Just getting my kid bathed and fed and tucked in seems like scaling a mountain sans gear. And I despise feeling this way, this is NOT how I want to feel and I am fighting so damned hard and getting nowhere and that frustration adds to my anxiety which adds to my physical symptoms and if I could make it stop, I would…But that’s the big difference between society’s newfound labeling of ‘behavioral’ health versus mental disorder. Behavior you can change over time, you can choose to act and react differently.

When the problem is the very organ in your body required to behave appropriately so you can do the same…it isn’t a behavior disorder, it is a chemical disorder and calling it otherwise is insulting, misleading, and likely going to cause a lot of suicides because people won’t want to get help now that wonky brain chemicals are considered behavioral health problems.

Am I taking this whole label change too personally? Maybe. Mental illness never really dazzled me but calling all mental health issues behavioral health related- it’s infuriating. And it’s not the least bit helpful except to make me feel like there’s zero hope anything will ever get better because my legitimate chemical imbalances are now viewed by the entire medical establishment as something cured by behavior modification therapy.

I do not have enough middle fingers to express my feelings toward this change of labeling.

I do, however, have enough moxie and desperation to keep posting about our fundraiser even though not a cent has been donated in almost a week. I am fighting for a roof over my kid’s head so I will feel ashamed and prideful later for daring to ask for perfect strangers to help us. But we’re as worthy as any cause and none of this happened through any fault of our own. So click on the pic of our lovely Godsmack lounging in the dollhouse pool and visit the page, pass along the link.

The Question I Hate the Most

There are many things you shouldn’t say to a bipolar person: Cheer up. Smile. What have you got to worry about? We all have mood swings. Calm down. You’re overreacting. You don’t look depressed.

Each of these remarks contains a hidden assumption, from simple – you can choose your moods; to dismissive – your anxiety is not as severe (or as important) as mine; to possible gaslighting (see https://wp.me/p4e9Hv-pm, https://wp.me/p4e9Hv-C2, https://wp.me/p4e9Hv-Cu).

I’ve gotten all of those and more. Once I revealed my disorder to a coworker and she’d ask me, “How are you?” with a concerned look several times a day, taking my emotional temperature. But the question I hate most is a simple one.

Are you off your meds?

Let’s unpack this, shall we?

First, the underlying message is that, to the speaker, you are acting in a strange, inappropriate, frightening, incomprehensible, or otherwise “off” manner.

The second assumption is that you must be on medication in order to appear “normal” at times.

Third, that since you do not appear “normal” to the speaker, the only explanation is that you must not be medicated at the moment.

Fourth, that the speaker has the right to give you advice on how medicated you need to be in order to appear “normal.”

And, finally, that “meds” are the answer to all your problems. If you want to fit into society you must be on your guard at all times and medicate until you are acceptable to them.

There is a slightly less offensive version of the question: Have you taken your meds today?

This might be marginally acceptable from a loved one, who knows that you take medication for your disorder and also knows that you are sometimes forgetful.

But really. Most psychotropic medications build up in a person’s system over time and leave the body over a long time as well. Missing a single dose is not likely to have an appreciable effect on a person’s moods or actions.

There are some anti-anxiety medications that have short-term effects, and a bipolar person might have forgotten a dose or two.

But unless the speaker is the bipolar person’s caregiver, official or unofficial, it’s still rather parental and demeaning – suggesting that we aren’t competent to handle something as vital as our own medications.

Of course, sometimes it may be necessary to help a loved one remember to take medication, whether that person is bipolar or not. On a vacation, for instance, when one’s normal routine is disrupted, a gentle reminder may not be amiss. When one has just started treatment and the routine is still unfamiliar. Or if the person actually is a child.

You wouldn’t ask an adult with the flu “Have you taken your antibiotics today?” You wouldn’t say to a blind person “Now, don’t go out without your service dog.” Most people, most of the time, are deemed competent to know their needs and take care of those needs themselves.

But bipolar disorder and other psychiatric conditions, being largely “invisible illnesses,” seem to invite meddling. Everyone else knows what’s best for us, from a different drug to herbal medicine to a walk in the park to prayer.

They know a little bit about the disorders, perhaps, largely through television and celebrities. But they don’t know your particular version of the disorder (bipolar 1 or 2, rapid cycling, dysthymia, hypomania, anxiety, etc.)

So if I snap at you, or seem anxious, or don’t want to go out, don’t assume. I have regular “normal” moods too, even when I’m on medication. Sometimes I get annoyed if my husband has lost his cell phone for the third time this month. Sometimes I feel sad if my picnic is rained out. Not every mood is pathological.

So don’t assume you know what’s going on inside my head. Unless I ask for help, refrain from putting in your oar.

And don’t ask me, “Are you off your meds?” It’s an insult, not a question.


I am consumed and I don’t know how to fix it.

I didn’t find out I was Bipolar until I was 33. At 33 my oldest son was 15 before I was diagnosed and medicated. So he has lived most of his life with a Mom that’s a little crazy! I think that because I wasn’t medicated my brain did not see the things that it does now. I knew he was an amazing kid and I enjoyed talking with him but I don’t think I could really see it.

Four years later my meds are fully on board and my two younger kids are 14 and 12(13 in June) and I am consumed by watching them and seeing the things they do. I am consumed by the clarity that I now have. My illness started in 8th grade. I did things I wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t listen to teachers, I didn’t listen to my parents or friends or anyone. At the time I’m not really sure what I thought but somehow I thought it was normal.

I was wrong!! I was messed up and my thoughts were not that of a normal 13 year old. My thoughts were chaotic and I remember over and over telling myself tomorrow would be different. And then tomorrow came and I did something wrong or said things that were inappropriate or started a fight(verbal argument) with someone. I argued with my bible class teachers and parents and anyone else that I thought needed to be set straight.

I have seen so clearly through my kids that so much of my life was not normal. A couple weeks ago my daughter was telling me about a girl at school that always has her phone out but never gets in trouble. So I asked her if she ever got her phone out. To which she replied, “No, I would be the one that would get in trouble and you would yell at me”. I looked at her sand said, “that’s a good attitude to have, I never had that attitude.”

She’s told me that before that she doesn’t do something cause I will yell at her(by yell she means a lecture that lasts longer than she wants and makes her roll her eyes🙄) It doesn’t seem like a big deal but for me it is. It consumes me, I think about it over and over and wonder why I was the one that had to be different. I have always carried around a little resentment but I just can’t take this consumed feeling that I get on a regular basis.

It doesn’t help that I have very good kids. Don’t get me wrong I am so proud of them. I am so thankful that I get to watch them do amazing things. Like last week my 14 year old 8th grade boy used his own money to buy his whole 8th period class valentines. It was like $40 and he just shrugged his shoulder when I said that was really sweet and nice of you. Lily had a teacher ask her to help at a special event at school and she was one of only two people asked.

It consumes me how good and amazing they are and how horrible my teenage years were. I know that I have been able to do a,axing things and that I am a very vocal advocate for mental health. But it’s sure hard sometimes to watch them and not think what if. I need it to go away. I WANT it to go away. I want to be able to enjoy my awesome kids without the thought that I missed out and I was ill for close to 20 years of my life. At this point that’s over half. I am so glad I am better. I am so glad that I can look at my kids and my life and really see and understand what is going on.

But I am consumed I can’t find the light. I can’t stop being sad for my younger self and I don’t know how to let go of the fact that it’s not fair. It washes over me like a wave. I am fine and then my daughter does something or tells me a story and it all flows through me again. I am so happy and at the same time I am so sad. I don’t know how to fix it and I don’t know how to make that part of me at peace. I don’t know what it will take for me to accept it and let it go but I hope it comes soon because being consumed by this at the most mundane moments is getting really old and tired. How sad that I look at my kids and see what missed out of instead of just being proud that I have really GOOD kids!,

As always be blessed!

A Tale of 2 Breaks (My Broken Jaw & My Blogging Hiatus)

My jaw!   Last Saturday afternoon I was walking by myself on a flat, concrete surface a few blocks away from our house. It was a sunny, beautiful day. I finally felt healthy after having reached my LoseIt! weight loss … Continue reading