Tag Archives: mental health

Survival Of The Scared Shitless

Well, I had a couple of ‘decent’ days. Spook and I had a decent prepaid meal at the park the other day.
She managed to eat two cheesesticks before declaring that she was bored and it all sucked. I enjoyed it, but then, I’m used to boredome and everything sucking, I truly do appreciate the gift of a pizza Mr. M bestowed upon us. Made me feel kinda….ugh, hopeful, like perhaps I’m not a complete waste of space.

I had two days of being functional. I swept, mopped, did laundry, cleaned cat boxes…which is difficult for me as every part of me feels coated in dried concrete 24-7. I treasure the days I am in the mind frame-and body-to get shit done. I wish I felt that way more often. Some people are all too happy to give advice on what works for them and makes them a high functioning superhero but…sadly, it’s never worked that way for me.

Today seemed not so bad but then SPLAT. I learned that my sister got slapped with an old bill from our old address and it damaged her credit rating. I was paying on the bill (I thought) albeit slowly, only to learn…I was using the wrong account number and paying on a bill that belonged, well to The One Who Shall Not Be Named. I fucked up, big time, and I am humiliated and now on the family shit list and further in the hole. I will fix it, I made the mistake (however unintentional) because my sister was helping us by putting that bill in her name when we found ourselves abandoned and fucked on that front…My last wish was to do something to screw her over but…here we are. And of course, she will tell the entire family, so I will be persona non grata and maybe that’s what I deserve for being a screw up. I could make a dozen excuses and explanations and they’d all be valid, honest, and for real. It doesn’t change anything though. Until I fix it, I am gonna be on the ‘evil bitch’ shitlist with the entire family. And even then, I’ll remain there as her credit as impacted.

The level of embarrassment and shame are enormous. Worse, my kid is staying at their house tonight so who knows what venom they’re spewing to her about me. I’ll have to pick her up and face their wrath and since I am mid-curse, hormonal, and have to also face the donor in court Monday…It will be a miracle if I don’t end up on lockdown in hard restraints. I am just to that point where I have tried so damned hard and I still can’t get it right or be cool, calm, and collected…and I am not whining, I own my screw up, but my precarious mental state kind of goes without saying. In my family, “sorry” and “I will fix it” count for nothing. Everyone is out to tear everyone down. And it is infuriating because my sister has been married to “Beavis” for 20 years, he doesn’t work, doesn’t even mow the damned lawn, and she thinks the sun shines out of his ass.

He idolizes Hitler and Charles Manson, and in a way, that’s how I view him. He’s so charismatic, to a certain faction of gamers and wanna be bikers, he has people willing to pay for weekend white water rafting trips and they loan him $10,000 Harleys to drive but he can’t be bothered to help around the house, EVER, and while he can always wheel and deal for money to take care of their cats or get weed and Marlboros, he’s never given a damn if his kid had no milk for cereal or the whole house was starving. I have nursed my dislike and resentment for 20 years, trying to respect my sister and her ‘he’s my true love, no one else gets me him like I do” but…Honestly, what kind of dickbag has his son come home all proud that he made the honor roll and says, “So what, anyone can make the honor roll these days.” And pretty much EVERYONE in the family hates him, but his mom owns the house my sis and mom and nephew live in, so of course, all lips kiss the ass of the queen. Who enables Beavis to do nothing and yet my sister is constantly having to clean our dad;s house to earn money for food….

So yeah, I fucked up and I will fix it, and I feel positively like shit, but what about that fucking lump? No one holds him accountable, ever, and she preaches his awesomeness and he has a dozen friends who all but worship him but then, that’s his base, the fellow people who when fired from a job sign their final paycheck “fuck you”. So I wouldn’t want to really be accepted in that crowd because, well, douchebaggery isn’t cool even if it is prevalent. So’s Katy Perry and Lady Gaga on the radio, doesn’t make it right or mean I have to endure it.

I’m sure it all sounds too stupid to be true and I just sound bitter cos I fucked up and now I have to own it, but I was feeling this way long before today. Beavis dared to say something about how I don’t take good care of my cats since we had to rehome some of them due to the move and my brain about popped out of my skull. Those cats went to live on like ten acres of farm land where they are fed and watered twice a day and have tons of room to roam and catch mice. I didn’t rehome them out of choice but at least I had the decency to make sure they went to a good place where they’d be cared for. The man has homed several strays I found over the years and they’re all healthy and plump. So to have that p.o.s who doesn’t do a damned thing but play video games all night and piss into empty soda bottles kind of sent over the edge. I’m not making him a caricature like some Mike Judge cartoon, he really is just that….awful. And I hate feeling that way because I love my sister and I don’t want it to come between us, we’ve always been pretty close and on cool footing. But I can’t help but feel the way I do and I’ve felt that way for 20 years. My turning point was when they were doing meth and he actually took her dentures, put them in the toilet and pissed on them. Maybe she can forgive that shit, but man, I’d probably be in prison if he’d done that to me cos I’d have bashed his head against the toilet.

BREATHE.

I’ve never given my blog link to anyone I know in person because years ago, I made that mistake and my sister read some of my thoughts on our fucked up family and she was very hurt and didn’t speak to me for awhile. I don’t want that but bottling it up is poisoning me. Besides…her and mom were pretty smug about knowing from the get that the donor was a fake who would walk out on me and Spook. They have their judgments, same as me. Difference is, I admitted they were right when they were proven right. I’ve been proven right a hundred times about Beavis but I end up being the villain. So much for self awareness and objectivity. I don’t need to be loved that much that I would put up with that shit. If a guy wants to be a house husband and stay home to do housework and child care while the woman works to make money, cool. But a guy who makes the woman work and take care of the kid and take care of the house while he plays video games and rides motorcycles with his wanna be MC…Just writing it makes me need to vomit.

Anyway…Before this all happened…I was having mega anxiety attacks because I realized…OMFG, Spook’s 9th birthday is August 7th. Plus she needs some school clothes plus school supplies…and I can’t do it all and keep the bills paid and now I have this new thing on me….So survival of the fittest and the scared shitless. YEP, another fundraiser. But this one….Just check it out, it’s short and sweet and based on Spook’s own words. I get bogged down with her defiance and anger but the other day when her little friend was here and acting up, she tried to calm him and said, “Listen to my mom. She’s a good mom.”

It’s those little moments you live for, but if I want to keep the power on, it’s not going to get her a Minecraft cake. This one matters a lot, guys, it’s for a little girl who never asked for any of this. She just wants to have a happy birthday and go to school wearing clothes without stains and holes. With all the mindless political fundraisers going on out there..surely a 9 year old girl is worth a $5 donation. Not for me. For Spook.

Pretty please with pegacorn vomit and unicorn farts on top?

Delusion or truth. Again.

Hallucination or Vision? Age 17-ish

Midnight, I’ve walked to the top of a local hilltop, Twm Barlwm with my best friend. The news headlines the evening before was a new Middle East war. Despite not being religious we decide to pray for peace. I do this with the Lord’s Prayer, silently to myself. At the end of this I feel a firm hand on my right shoulder. I assume it’s my friend but on opening my eyes I see he is some distance from me.

A thick fog has enveloped the hill, with a visibility of just a few feet. We are on a hilltop with fog and darkness all around us. There’s the sound of a sheep, or a lamb, which we decide to follow. It leads us all the way down the hill, bleating continually so we can follow as we’ve not seen this creature.

Getting back to the house in the early hours of morning the radio says a ceasefire in the war has just been declared.

 

 

Vision or hallucination? Age 17-ish

Late at night, I have just left my girlfriend’s house to walk the half a mile home. It’s a clear night, bright and dry. Fifty yards from her house I stop still as there is a bright light in the night sky – not a star, but the planet Venus. I don’t know how long I stop there, transfixed. Several minutes, not that long.

The star tells me a story: the meaning of Love. I return to my girlfriend’s house, make myself unwelcome as it’s quite late now. In the kitchen I proceed to tell her all about Love as transmitted to me. This takes an hour or so of manic speech. I eventually leave, and run home – ecstatic, full of intense energy and happiness – jumping off walls, climbing over obstacles, unable to wear myself out.

Some years later I discover this story was a re-telling of Plato’s Symposium, something I’d obviously never read at that age and indeed had had no exposure to.

 

 

The Sandwich Saved Me

What do you do when depression is flogging you and your efforts to fight back take more out of you than give back?

For me, I retreat into binge watching TV shows. This weekend, it’s been both seasons of Jessica Jones, based on a Marvel comic. For the last few years, I’ve been absorbed with the DC comics series like The Flash and Arrow. It never occurred to me Marvel series might have something quirky to offer until I watched this year’s Cloak and Dagger. Now I have two Marvel universes to get lost in when the sandwich isn’t saving me.

Come on, that is hilarious! And kudos to them for season one with David Tenant as the evil villain. Oh I love that man, he brings snark to every character though some of his work has been pretty…shall we say bleak? Or is that just British not-Dr.Who-programming? Nah, I watched the US show Gracepoint with Tenant, he’s a very versatile actor. Easy on the eyes too but it’s always the accent and the snark for me.

I guess I am posting because…I woke again, this morning, and was disappointed that I was awake. Which I guess means disappointed to be alive because dead people can’t wake up, only the living can, so if every single day you are filled with disappointment and dread upon waking…stands to reason something is wrong with your life or your mind. My life is plenty 50 shades of fucked up but currently, I think the depression is just winning 6 out of 7 days of the week. Which I predicted would happen when the doctor refused to up my meds and leave me hanging for three months, but hey, what do I know, I’m just the fucking patient who has to wither in this mental space and watch my life slip away from me.

And it pisses me off and fills me with shame. So many others have it far worse, their lives are far more meaningful than mine, and here I am, feeling like I lost all my limbs when I am abled bodied yet my mind won’t cooperate for shit and honestly, I am about self-bullied out. I am pep talked out. I am shamed out. I WANT THE SANDWICH TO COME SAVE ME NOW.

My kid returned from her zoo outing and ya know what? I’m kind of glad I didn’t take her. All she did was gripe that they couldn’t buy her this and they had to eat hotdogs cos it was the only semi affordable thing then she was griping in the car on the way back so much they actually stopped to buy her a coloring book and crayons to shut her up…And she had the nerve to tell them she thought it was boring at the zoo at one point and damn near made my nephew’s girlfriend cry. Welcome to Spook experience, people, all the work, zero gratitude, and incessant complaints all in hopes maybe once a week you hear the word ‘thank you’ and get a hug. Pfft…If I want to be dissed and hear complaints, it’s called every day of the week. So even a $150 trip to the zoo didn’t please her. Maybe she’s just one of those kids nothing will ever satisfy.

She just found out her little friend next door is going to be moving and she is pretty bummed. They’re gonna stay in Armpit but I guess living with the mother in law and grandma is too much for them, they want their own place and good for them. If I’d had to live with any of my family once I had Spook, blood would have been spilled. Lots, and lots, and lots of blood. I am trying to be supportive and sympathetic for her sake, but she’s having none of it, she wants to embrace her misery in a chokehold. Sigh. I want my misery to fuck off and die in a fire.

I did have a little ‘cool but in a sad way’ moment earlier when she said she was soooo exicted for tomorrow. I asked why and she said because we have the standing pizza date in town. She’s looking forward to taking lunch across the road to the park and eating with her mom….Yeah, right. She’ll take two bites then find another kid or some playground equipment to ditch me for. But she’s looking forward to it and I am too. Thanks to our very good friend Mr. M preordering and buying it for us, I will be getting one wish granted this week-for Marco’s pizza. And it’s so very good and they don’t do a lot of business so I feel like I have to eat there every chance I get before they too are run out of rural hell….Anyway, we love you, Mr. M.

Now back to the final two episodes of season 2 of Jessica Jones. No sandwiches have saved lives this season, but they did have an episode called “Shark in the Bathtub, Monster In The Bed.” Oooh, sharks and monsters and sandwiches, oh my. One of them please save me. God knows my psychiatric care center isn’t doing a damn thing to even try.

And people wonder why I watch so much TV and prefer fiction to reality. Yeah, total mystery. NOT. Bloody hell.

Talking to Ourselves

people woman relaxation girl

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Recently on Facebook I asked how many of my friends knew the meaning of the semicolon – other than as a mark of punctuation. About two-thirds of those who responded did. The rest either didn’t or had some vague idea but no real knowledge. But I’m pretty vocal about mental health issues and a fair number of my friends have similar problems and difficulties, so that two-thirds figure is likely not representative of the population at large.

Yet I see increasing numbers of t-shirts, bracelets, and other paraphernalia adorned with semicolons and sometimes colorful butterflies or the word “warriors.” But nowhere does it say what the semicolon stands for. For those of you who don’t know, the semicolon marks that place in a sentence where a writer could have stopped, but chose to go on. As such, it has become a symbol for suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

I have a semicolon tattoo myself. I don’t regret getting it. It reminds me, as the saying goes, that my story isn’t over. But when I got it, I also hoped it would be a tool for education – that I could explain to those who saw it and asked what the symbol meant.

Unfortunately, no one has asked.

I’d hate to think that the semicolon has become like a secret handshake that identifies members of our tribe to one another, but leaves out the rest of the world. As stigma-fighting symbols go, it doesn’t seem terribly effective.

The political conversation has become so fraught that no one talks to anyone who doesn’t believe in the same things. And I’m afraid that, like them, we’re largely talking to ourselves.

Self-talk is important – definitely something we should pay attention to and work on improving. But if we really want to fight stigma, we need to talk to other people about it.

I see a fair number of stigma-fighting memes and discussions, but unfortunately, most of them take place in mental health support groups, where the message is not as much needed as in the larger world outside our band of the mentally ill.

Of course, there are organizations such as NAMI, Bipolar Awareness – Stop the Stigma, and Stigma Fighters that dedicate effort to reducing stigma. And they are doing a good, necessary thing.

But what about the rest of us? What can we do to break out of our shells and involve the rest of the world in our cause?

One thing is to question other people’s assumptions when we see or hear them. When you read a post that calls the weather bipolar, answer it. Explain why that’s not a good comparison – that it trivializes a very real problem that millions of people face every day. And when someone assumes that a mass shooter or other terrorist must be mentally ill (or “off his meds”), remind them that those with mental illness are more often the victims of violence that they are the perpetrators of it.

Will people get the message, or will they just dismiss you as “politically correct” or a “social justice warrior”? Personally, I can think of worse names to be called, and many of us have been called them. But just as “retarded” and “gay” are no longer acceptable as synonyms for “weird” or “stupid,” we should try our best to make “crazy” and “mental” and “psycho” and that annoying little twirl of the finger by the temple no longer acceptable as shorthand for behavior that one doesn’t understand. (I still haven’t figured out how “dumb” and “lame,” both ableist language, have managed to skate by.)

What I’m saying is that to fight stigma we need to engage with the world outside. We need to explain why certain uses of language are hurtful and what the truth is about the many people who are affected by mental illness.

I’ve had to smack a few friends on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper when they get it wrong and I try to put my two cents into other discussions that are portraying the mentally ill insensitively. I think about what I’m going to say and even practice it before I speak or press send. (Sounding well-informed and reasonable is the way I want to express my message.) I post my blog entries to “public” as well as to friends and support groups. Sometimes I even talk to my family about stigma.

As a group, we need to do a whole lot better at not hiding from stigma but confronting it wherever we see it. We can live with stigma or we can fight it.

It All Just Sucks

Honestly this is not some boo hoo woe-is-me post, I just couldn’t come up with a better title at the moment. I was too lazy to eat when I woke up so I thought, I’ll do the mood stabilizers later after I do eat but what can it hurt to take the Cymbalta now while I am thinking about it…Well, the hurt is in my gut which is now burning like a mofo, something that was never a side effect when I took the same in the past but now suddenly it is a random thing. As if my burning stress stomach aches and lowering myself to take Pepcid isn’t enough, then playing the “will the pills make me puke or not today’ lottery…Just what I bloody needed. GRRR.

You can spew all your sunshine and wave your pompoms in my face and tell me what works well for you and it’s all about a positive attitude but you know what? It doesn’t change the fact that MEDICATION SIDE EFFECTS EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE JUST PLAIN SUCKS.

In a surprise twist the other day after being assaulted by some well meaning but ’caused traumatic flashbacks’ pompom waving…I felt like a loser for a couple of hours and then I realized no one has my permission to make me feel inferior no matter my failings and hey, that includes ME. I was busy beating up on myself because I’ve not found my magic cocktail of unicorn farts, medication, and meditating on clouds made of cotton candy I forgot the most important things of all: we are all different. And I really need to get the stick out of my ass because I suck at being given advice, I take it way too personally and in doing so, I close my mind to some positives I could take away from it. I totes want my uicorn fart magical cocktail but until that happens…I’m gonna keep doing me.

And I surprised me because after the loserpalooza mental state kicked my ass long enough, I started moving around the house. Not because I wanted to but because I was pissed off, because I was sick of beating myself up, because damn it, I am fighting as hard as I can and the pegacorns aren’t barfing rainbows on me so I may as well do something. I folded 7 baskets of laundry and attempted to find a place for it all thus making the middle room look less biohazard-y. (It is very challenging to store things when YOUR IDIOTIC HOUSE HAS NO CLOSETS,FFS, whoever designed this place was a fucking moron.) I cleaned cat boxes, tried to clean floors (epic fail without a working vacuum and fans blowing dust everywhere you just swept or dusted, grrrrr.) The humidity that day was so high I had sweat running down my back, indoors, with the AC. 93 outside, 89 inside, what a joyous life. But I got shit done and it felt good. Hypomania always does, though I sure do miss my full blown mania and oh those delicious but lethal diet pills that kept me looking pretty and so energized I could run 56 hours straight but that’s a story for another (never) time.

I zonked around midnight, only to be wakened three times by the rioting cats who don’t do diurnal…I had a nightmare I jolted from at 4a.m. and could not get back to sleep. So I tried boring myself to it by watching, oh dear god, Martha Stewart glazing a ham. (The horror!) Fail. By 6 a.m. I was doing dishes, counting time til I had to take my kid to my mom’s for her sleepover and outing. Which meant by the time I got my ‘me day’ I spent most of it sleeping because I hit the hypomania wall and when I did wake up, I was up til after 2 a.m. and too tired to do anything I had planned because when planning it, I had assumed I’d be well rested instead of my cycles all fucked up.

Today I am edgy and grumpy. My kid is off to St. Louis with her cousin and his girlfriend for her first ever trip to the zoo. And selfishly, I feel pissed off about it. I want her to be happy, but I feel pissed off that my nephew doesn’t work, doesn’t pay a single bill, his girlfriend just had to resign from her job before they fired her, and still they have all this money to drive so far away and go to the zoo and feed my kid (after they took her out of town shopping last night!) and it’s just not fucking fair that I do all the sacrifice and hard work and I can’t even be included in the fun stuff she gets to do. Me, me, me, I know, but is it so wrong for a parent to want to be with their kid doing the fun stuff? It should be a memory for mom and daughter but no, I’ve got every cent tied up keeping a roof overhead so…

So I am feeling left out and petty and at this point…I’d just be happy if I could afford a damn pizza from Marco’s. Everyone takes Spook out to eat, to swim, to shop, and I am always stuck home, can’t even spring for a damn McDouble. Boo hoo, right? Well, newsflash:parents are people,too, and while we are willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary for our kids to be happy…

Some of us selfish bastards would still like $13 to get a damn delicious pizza.

But knowing my mental state and how the meds are wrecking my body daily..I am glad she has others who financially able to give her what I can’t. Honestly, some of my fondest memories of childhood aren’t of amusement parks or zoos, they’re just the mundane daily things, like playing with a dog, or running through a sprinkler and having ice cream after. Of course, I’m not vapid and my kid kind of is, so her memories will involve everyone but me cos they all have money to do the fun stuff. I won’t begrudge her that. I’d probably have a mental breakdown if I was even sitting in a car in St. Louis traffic (sure would love to see the snakes though, such beautiful creatures.) I still think it’s bullshit that my cousin and his girlfriend don’t have to pay for food or a single expense by living off my mom and my sister. But then isn’t that how everyone views me, living off disability…Difference being, my money isn’t going toward happy fun ball stuff. I prioritize and my kid comes first so if her having food means no trip to the zoo and I’m a downer…so be it.

Really makes me think of everything my parents sacrificed for me and my sister when we were kids. How little they got out of life other than working to pay bills and keep us clothed and fed. Not to mention they hated each other and stayed together for our sake (not a favor) so that had to suck a lot, too. At least I am not stuck with an albatross in my home thus ours is a happier home than what I grew up in.

I still want my Marco’s pizza, though. If I can’t have pegacorn barf and unicorn farts…I just want a damned pizza. I’m shallow and demanding like that.

Favorite #MentalHealth Email Lists

My favorite mental health resources via email (and websites)…

Word Vomit

What an appealing title, right? Who isn’t going to break a finger clicking to read this! Actually, I just need a good purge so whatever I write here will be…word vomit. And ya know, sometimes it’s a lot like being physically ill where the last thing you want to do is throw up but once you do…you start feeling a little less putrid? That is what I hope this post will do for my mental state, which to be honest, has not been good at all, thus the ‘long time, no write’. And yes, if I go more than 2 days without posting, it usually means I am in The Bad Place.

Over the weekend The Bad Place hit hard and I was swallowed up by blackness.

Looking toward the legal proceeding with the donor and how the judge will likely grant him visitation even though he hasn’t so much as mailed the kid a birthday card in 7 years or asked about her when faced with my family members (most of whom seem to side with him cos they are from that antiquated ‘children should have both parents’ mentality, which, in this day and age is absurd…Ideally, yes, kids would have both parents but in this case…I don’t think rewarding abandonment is the right move. ) But once the darkness hit, I started thinking maybe it’d be in her best interest because I am a shitty mom, always down or up, always jumping at every sound, unable to socialize let alone work…Maybe they should take her from me because, plainly, I suck.

And thank pegacorn I’ve been on this hellish hamster wheel long enough to know depression is a blatant liar and distorts the truth. My kid is healthy, happy, creative, smart, we’re very bonded, and she’s got her basic needs met, always.

But then that bastard depression starts whispering, pointing out all my failures, as fluffy and vapid as they are.
“You’ve never taken the kid on a vacation once in 9 years.” “You can’t afford to sign her up for the sports she wants to try.” “You buy her second hand clothes because you’re such a loser, you can’t even work and earn minimum wage to buy her new stuff.” On and on and on it goes.

Then come the Really Bad Thoughts, the ones telling me that she’d be better off if I were simply dead. That I am a hindrance, that I am a bad influence, cos hey, I don’t work and she knows it’s not normal and points it out frequently. I look at all my damn years of meds and doctors and therapists and I’m not any better now than I ever really was. The only change has been in me, as a person, in my personality and thoughts but if I can’t ever escape the bipolar depressions, it’s all been for nothing. I’m an albatross for this vibrant little girl.

I rode out 4 days of those thoughts poisoning my system. Lived only for sleep, which is still interrupted and plagued by nightmares and the dread when I wake in the mornings.

I know I had a brief ‘up’ when the Cymbalta first start working but when the doctor made no changes and left me hanging 3 months before an appointment with yet another new nurse doc…I just feel like they dropped me in a war zone with access to water and military rations, but nothing else. I am stranded in this shitty place and will be for another month at least. And knowing how that place works, there’s a good chance I might even get bumped for someone ‘not doing as well.’

I don’t know how much more ‘not well’ I could be doing to have the dark thoughts lurking and stalking me, to feel so lethargic, stressed, hopeless. This is better than 4 months ago, but after gabapentin and Effexor giving me such horrendous side effects, the bar for better is set pretty low.

I am still juggling the stress of living so close to my dad. Even when they leave us alone, I just live in fear they’re gonna crash my limited safe space. (Conversation with normal person:”Thanks for mowing our lawn, we appreciate it.” “You’re welcome!” Conversation with my dad: “Thanks for mowing our lawn.” “Yeah, you need to be thanking us!” Lack of basic manners totally sets me off!) I keep trying to convince myself it’s not so bad here and yet every time we are in town my kid sees a friend from the trailer park or her old school, she gets sad, I get sad, and realize…We had no choice and we’re making the best out of the hand we got dealt but this is never going to be our home. It’s is my dad’s town (he even knows when I go to the gas station cos it’s such a tiny town and everyone talks) and…I called living in town a cess pool and the petri dish but it was OUR space, our privacy. Now…Armpit just makes me feel exposed and even though my dad’s not footing a single bill or buying us groceries, I feel like we’re depedent on him. Which is ludicrous and yet I fight myself tooth and nail to change my mental state and…FAIL.

Today I took my poison, er, meds, with milk…and got so sick. I ran to the bathroom 4 times in 10 minutes, I was dizzy, nauseous, my head was spinning and…I’m sick of it. I’ve never been a pot user but the more people I talk to who are fed up with the psych meds not working but pot seems to help…It’s not the road I want to go down, but I sure as hell understand why people are going down it. The medi-go-round is the ultimate test in constant aggravation and frustration but I’m not giving up hope. It has, occasionally, gotten me to a good place mentally. Besides, as I recall from youthful dabbles, pot just made me sleepy and if I wanted to sleep all the time, I’d go back on Trazadone, least keep it legal.

But yeah, that’s where I am. Word vomit. Purge complete.

Marco…

It feels like I haven’t blogged in a long time, but I see that’s just not true (Hello, distorted thinking!).  Maybe the disconnect comes from playing Marco Polo with some of my friends back in Iowa and Minnesota.  If you’re not familiar, MP is a messaging app that creates little videos.  It was my friend, Cheryl’s, genius idea to use it, so that we could see and hear each other while giving updates.

I’ve taken my buddies to the Flea Market and introduced them to the baristas at my new coffee shop-home.  They’ve toured my duplex and The Peach Barn (Fried Pies!).  Most importantly, I’ve shared the ups and downs of my illness as my rheostats rebooted after the electrical surge of moving.  That’s something I’ve only done here in my blog, where words can be safely crafted and kept separate from a voice and face that feel too vulnerable to share.

In real-time, I try not to unload when my moods deep-cycle.  I might mention it in passing, or say “I’m having a hard day.”  Right or wrong, I believe too much truth will break the people I love.  And I can’t bear the uncomfortable silence or awkward attempts at sympathy that usually follow.

But, I needed support.  I needed to be real.  So, there were blubbery posts, and manic posts, and little videos where I looked and sounded like a zombie.  No one ran screaming into the night.  No one shamed me.  In fact, the love and support that flowed back to me helped more than I can say.  I thank my friends for that.  Thank you, guys.

It’s still weird, living here on the Moon, where huge fireworks displays light up every front yard on the Fourth of July, and fried bologna sandwiches are a restaurant menu item.  But, when I wake in the morning, and the first thought that floats up out of the dark is I’ve made a huge mistake, I can gather more and more evidence to the contrary and send that distorted thought packing.  It still has to shuffle off into 100 degree and 90-something percent humidity, but shuffle off it does.  All I need do is shut the door and whisper, …Polo.

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.

 

 

Forgiving and Forgetting

man standing on riverbank

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Forgive and forget. That’s the saying.

To err is human; to forgive, divine. That’s another saying.

But what about when you can’t forget and can’t forgive? When you’re human, not divine?

Forgiveness is a tough subject for me, because there are things I can’t forget, despite the fact that either my bipolar disorder or my meds have made my memory spotty at best. But there are things I remember too well. And some of those I can’t forgive.

I can’t forgive the person who called my mother a murderer because she had her sick, ancient little dog euthanized. And then kept rubbing her face in it by saying she did not support my mother’s actions. This person caused my mother unnecessary pain when what she needed were understanding and comfort. By those criteria, I am a murderer too. A person that toxic is someone I don’t need in my life.

And maybe that’s wrong of me, but it was my decision.

Another person I can’t forget or forgive is my gaslighter, Rex, about whom I’ve written before (see https://wp.me/p4e9Hv-pm, https://wp.me/p4e9Hv-dR, https://wp.me/p4e9Hv-4t). In one of those posts I said, of forgiving and forgetting:

I can’t do either. The memories have faded over time and seldom give me flashbacks anymore. (The dreams still come.) As for forgiving? He’s never asked for it and never would. I’m sure he doesn’t think he did anything that needed forgiving….

That emotional abuse happened, and I can’t forget it. It was my first serious relationship and I left chunks of my soul and most of my barely existent self-esteem in that house on the hilltop. I had failed – at the relationship, at meeting my parents’ expectations, at so many things. I felt I was the one who needed forgiveness and spent much of the following years repeating incessantly, “I’m sorry.”

I once encountered a Christian who said that the essence of forgiveness was to “fore-give,” to give someone something before they ask for it, as in Jesus, fore-giving his life for His followers. Or giving a homeless person your coat before they ask for it.

I’ve since been told that that’s an inaccurate reading of the word “forgive.” But at the time it stuck with me and influenced my thinking. If that was forgiveness, I didn’t understand it and couldn’t accomplish it. Something to do with that “to forgive, divine” thing.

I couldn’t fore-give my mother’s pain. I surely wouldn’t have given it to her myself and I couldn’t fore-give that other person the right or the opportunity to do so.

I couldn’t fore-give Rex my pain. I gave him enough of my life – over a year – as well as some of my hopes and dreams and aspirations. And yes, at the time, my love.

I’ve thought about writing him a letter, the kind that therapists often suggest you write as an exercise in exploring your feelings, explaining what went on from my point of view. But I haven’t – not even the kind that you don’t mail.

It would be futile. I’ve written about the person and the pain here in these posts and it hasn’t done a thing toward making me forget or forgive. Far from forgetting, I sometimes need to remind myself of the pain – to affirm to myself that yes, it really was that awful and to warn myself never to get caught in a situation like that again.

I don’t go through my life holding grudges against everyone who has ever wronged me (or my mother). Everyday hurts – unless they come every day – are possible to let go of. I’ve mostly forgotten the kids who bullied me in school. And I’ve forgiven them. They were kids and didn’t know any better. I’ve forgiven friends who have cut me out of their lives because they couldn’t handle my bipolar symptoms. Sometimes I can’t handle the symptoms either. If I get fed up with my disorder, it’s easy to see how someone else could too.

I’m not going to give you any advice on forgiveness and whether you should forgive or not. The topic is too complex and I don’t know how or why you’ve been wronged.

All I’m going to say is to be a little easy on yourself if you find you can’t forgive what you can’t forget. Those sayings about forgiveness are guidelines, not laws, and your situation may not fit into those guidelines. Just know that I do understand.