Daily Archives: June 15, 2012


One of the problems that I have with my birth family is the semi-recent realization that not a one of them seems to think that I’m entitled to feel. My feelings have to be me being a drama queen, shoosh and don’t you dare talk about them (except for one period as a teen where my parents threatened to send me to an asylum for not talking about them; this put my ability to explain how I was feeling back by a decade). I try to not waste my time being bitter, and have instead tried to make it clear that my feelings are valid and real. I am permitted to feel exactly how I am feeling, and how dare you try to guilt me into not having any emotional entitlement. One of my sisters has gotten a lot better about it (and is part of why I increasingly value my relationship with her. That, and she’s a neat cookie), but the other… oi.

You see, I am the eldest of four children. I am also from my mother’s first marriage; my natural father didn’t want any children, and they separated while she was pregnant with me. Why you don’t sort that out before getting married is beyond me, but I don’t hold it against him (and indeed, have a cordial, if distant relationship with him). So she remarried when I was six months old, and my (step)father has been Dad ever since. They never lied about me coming from my mother’s first marriage, so I grew up always knowing and accepting this. Unfortunately, the sister who comes after me has always ‘joked’ about being shafted, how she should be the eldest because she is more responsible and a better leader (*coughbullshitcough*). She’s always been one to make ‘jokes’ like that, about how she’s prettier than me, smarter than me, more feminine than me, etc. I never considered these things jokes. My friends never considered these things jokes. The only person that ever did as far as I could tell has been my mother; her stance is that we should all ‘get along’, which is code for, ‘Your feelings need to not exist because your sister is too high IQ to get people things’. Which is true after a fashion — I still remember her sobbing because she couldn’t follow a conversation between myself and my mother on the subject of decency. And so, we have never been permitted to try to help her be a better person because of whatever guilt-ridden pony my mother chooses to stay perched upon. It’s not a particularly healthy situation.

This, of course, finally hit a boiling point in recent years. Having found a bit of mental health and vague stability, I suddenly had a lot less tolerance for being told how stupid and socially inept I was, and how grateful I should be that she deigned to help me from her high horse. Mother felt I should continue sucking it up because the poor ickle baby was stressed out over work and wedding planning; in her mind’s eye, Mom felt I should be my sister’s whipping boy (while claiming she advocates for all of us). So I told her she was never permitted to give me anything resembling advice ever again, and quit talking to her. If she was writing any emails, they were immediately feeding into my trash. I removed her from my messengers, and while I didn’t block her on Facebook a second time (I did once after she felt the need to berate me for getting into an argument with mother; as she is the last daughter back in  our hometown, Mom will kowtow ten ways to Sunday to have someone to live vicariously through), I set it up so she couldn’t see anything I posted, and that none of her posts made it into my feed.

Her engagement eventually fell to pieces (the problem with falling for potential, which I do commiserate with), and somewhere in there, she actually started acting vaguely like a human being enough for me to wish her a happy birthday and let her see stuff on my feed again (not that there’s anything really interesting on it, but eh). Her posts towards me were polite and kindly, and she expressed a desire to restart her life a bit. I’m wary, of course – what if she still thinks that somehow I’m the ‘bad’ and invalid one who is too stupid to cross the street (never mind my lack of debt, family, marriage, life-long commitment to self improvement , dual citizenship, etc) and that she can continue to behave as such? Her behaviors of the past feed my anxiety and depression so thoroughly that she seems to think I’m some cowering defensive critter, rather than actually having enough social intelligence to realize that, oh hey, maybe I need some help and compassion. And because I have had this period of stability, I am hesitant to disturb it.

Still, I’ll give it one more very hesitant chance. This is the sister that I ran with most of my school years. Us only being two years apart meant that we freely shared social groups, parties, and the like. Having to cut this relationship is very much cutting a part of myself. I think this period of enforced distance has been good for me — it shows that I can survive without her in my life. But if she’s actually grown up enough to try to restart and rethink, I feel I have a duty to at least give that one last chance. I dropped her a note, so we’ll see how it goes. I think I’ve fought down the urge to give her the piece of my mind that she ‘deserves’, so hoepfully I can keep a firm but friendly line and make it clear that I want to have her in my life, but that she’s got to actually make the effort to know me (which I was saying even before I managed to get meds and a diagnosis). She has got to make the effort to actually treat me like a human being, not a piece of the scenery to take for granted. And if she can manage these things, then she can have a loving and caring big sister back. But if not, well… her loss. Blood is no thicker than water as far as my mental health is concerned. Those may be harsh words, but I think most of my newfound friends amongst the bipolar bloggers, and my old friends will agree that nobody should have a free pass to treat you poorly.

And, having ranted sufficiently, I’ll shoosh now.


fuck off

every once in a while i get a weird sensation.  it’s a dizzy, disconnected kind of feeling.  my memory gets especially bad for a brief period.  sometimes it will happen midday, others at night.  i attribute it to either the lithium i am taking or the trauma i am still processing after my sister was hospitalized.  it’s probably some combination of the two, plus a few other things thrown in for good measure.

this happened to me last night.  i took my normal dose at night right before heading over to XBFs house to pick up a sandwich I left there.  fortunately it didn’t start until i got there.  unfortunately, it happened right as we got into a stupid argument.  i lost track of space and time.  the room felt strange.  i couldn’t process any thoughts.  he said things happened and i have no way of knowing whether they did or not.  i apologized for doing things i couldn’t remember doing, or even imagine doing.  at one point in the conversation i looked at him and said, “i have no idea what’s going on”.  it was a terrifying, embarrassing, uncomfortable realization.

let me back up a little.

on tuesday, i had my appointments with my psychiatrist and therapist.  i brought up my possible move to the Pacific Northwest region and whether bipolars are more sensitive to depressive episodes related to the seasons.  indeed they are, she said.

that’s a problem.

where i’d be moving, i’ve come to realize, there are fewer than 8 hours of daylight in the winter.  and many of those days are expected to be cloudy and grey.  this is worrisome because i’m trying to stabilize my mood and i don’t really want to throw any wrenches in those plans.

there are other problems to be considered.  the location is remote and isolated.  i would be essentially socially isolated from others, and it wouldn’t be possible…or easy, at least…to find a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist who i could see regularly.

these new considerations are leading me to question the benefit of a move to that location.  yes, i would live with my aunt for free.  i would be surrounded by nature and not too far from a city i love (although i’d have to cross an international border to get there).  my dogs would be pretty happy in such a lush environment.  i could save a lot of money and perhaps even get some work done on my dissertation.  but would it come at the cost of a stable mood?

so, i’ve been thinking about other options.  i can’t really afford to live in california right now, and it’s sounding more and more like my grandma will just say no outright if i ask to move in.  besides that the economy there is a total disaster right now, especially for the colleges and universities, so getting a job is questionable.

i arrived at a rather unpleasant and disappointing conclusion.  i could always stay here, i guess.  it’s more affordable.  i have a therapist and psychiatrist already.  there are over 300 days of sunshine, so vitamin D wouldn’t be a problem.  i have some amazing friends nearby.  this may not sound like an unpleasant or disappointing situation to be in, but unfortunately i’ve experienced an incredible number of fucked up events here so it would take a miracle to get me to see the positive side of it.

in any case, when i got to XBF’s house, i told him this.  well, i actually only got so far as to tell him that i’m thinking of staying here when he started in on why it was a horrible idea and there’s no reason to do that and i hate it here and have never said anything good about it ever.  he kept going on and finally i got so fed up and irritated that i said, “did it ever cross your mind to ask why i would be thinking about changing my plans??”

he responded to my irritation, staring at me.  it was a look of disbelief, like i was a giant insect.  this is when i started feeling those side effects i mentioned.  the room felt funny.  dizziness.  i couldn’t concentrate.

he said he couldn’t believe i came over and within 10 seconds started a fight.


i was pretty sure i didn’t start a fight but i was starting to lose track of things.  i felt completely lost and helpless.  i tried to start over with the reasons i was considering staying.  about the limitations of the pacific northwest.

then it turned into a different animal entirely.  XBF gave me an icy glare and made some offhand comment about me taking the word of my psychiatrist like gospel.  his anger arose from the fact that he had mentioned something about the weather there, and he claims i disregarded it totally, but when the psychiatrist says it, i believe it hook, line, and sinker.

oh great, i thought.  this is going to become another conversation about how much XBF hates psychiatrists.  yet another example of his uncanny ability to turn all conversations into something about him.

so i asked him, point blank.  i could hear the anger in his voice when he corrected me.  it was just my psychiatrist he had a problem with.  hoo-ray.  now we were getting somewhere.

were we ever.  little did i know what was about to come out next.

see, XBF doesn’t believe i have bipolar disorder.  he’s angry with me for starting treatment before getting an official second opinion. he constantly tells me about how lithium is a serious drug.  i pretty much can’t and don’t talk to him about the experience of being diagnosed and treated, which makes for a pretty lonely experience.

so this is what he’s now saying.  that now that i’ve gotten the bipolar diagnosis, i’m acting more like i have it.  that when i try to explain my behavior using bipolar as a reference, i’m just making up excuses.

that’s not what takes the cake though.

then he says all of these other symptoms i’m describing that don’t fit bipolar (the dizziness i mentioned at the beginning of this post, the memory problems i’ve been having, etc)…all of them, he says, are the exact ones *he* described for his brain damage.

in other words, i’m just taking his experience and making it my own.  that i’m imagining my symptoms.  i’m making it up.

for my own safety and sanity, i got up and left.  not before i told him he was a fucking asshole though.  honestly, i don’t even know what to say or think about what he said.  i can’t think of any conversation that doesn’t start with “you’re a fucking idiot”.  and since i learned my manners from Thumper in the movie Bambi, i won’t say anything at all.

my first blog award nomination

I am honored to receive my first blog award nomination from ApplejAxe from Lollipops and Razor Blades.

I became fascinated with her blog a few weeks ago, which would have been right about the time i started this blog now that I think about it, when I read a few of her posts about her past life as a stripper.  I have a special place in my heart for people who do unconventional things for a living (e.g., one of my close friends used to be a mortician) because they see another side of life, one that most people are unwilling to see.  Not to mention, learning about life as an exotic dancer would be fascinating, no?  :)

As I got involved with the mental health blogging community I noticed a number of people who had received awards like this.  Honestly I had some mixed feelings.  I thought it was great that bloggers create awards to recognize others’ work.  It’s nice to see so many writers being rewarded for their time, effort, and talent.  On the other hand, many of these awards function similar to chain letters and I was concerned that they could reflect a popularity contest rather than merit.  And since I tend to prefer the underdog, that bothered me.

So when I received notice that I’d received this award I flip flopped a bit as to whether I would accept and pass on the award.  In the end, I decided to stop being such a curmudgeonly asshole and participate in the freaking community.

ApplejAxe, thank you for the thoughtful award!

And now, The Rules:

  1. Thank the person/people who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share seven possibly unknown things about yourself.
  3. Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire.
  4. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know and link back to them

Number 1, check.

Number 2: seven unknown things about me.

  1. i wanted to be an international spy.  i even looked into the CIA and FBI, but had already smoked pot too many times by then. still, i love spy movies even if they can be a little ridiculous sometimes.
  2. i have been proposed to at least 5 times.  i proposed once.  i am still single.
  3. i really, really want to take up urban exploring but first i need to move somewhere urban.
  4. i have to bring a big sweatshirt to see scary movies because i empathize with the characters too much.  i have even brought one of my only remaining stuffed animals, Thomas the Tiger, with me to movie theaters.
  5. i am attracted to women but am too scared to do anything about it.
  6. i run–no–sprint away from conflict.
  7. i once got charles manson’s writing address for valentine’s day, from my dad who was in prison at the time.  i never thought of anything clever enough to write.

Numbers 3 & 4: Okay, it took me a long time to generate a list of blogs.  I like too many of them, so I basically picked some that I follow that had been recently updated.  I am also trying to limit my nominations to bloggers who have not received this award already (as far as I can tell on their blog page).  Here it goes…

~ Reflections of a Crazy Life ~

This is actually a tumblr account but her witty quips and phrases really make my day a little better.  Hilarious, indeed.  I even just signed up for tumblr to give her the award but I can’t figure it out so I’ll be contacting bipolarchick79 on facebook.  :)

~ As the Pendulum Swings ~

I love this blog for it’s design and because it is a rich source of information about mental health.

~ A Blog By Any Other Name ~

Raeyn put together the Bipolar Blogger Network (of which I am a member) as a resource for others who have bipolar or who have just been diagnosed.  I think these resources are vital for those who are new to the community.  I, for one, don’t know how well I would have processed everything without the support of the online community.

~ A Canvas of the Minds ~

Okay, is this cheating?  This is actually a blog that is maintained by a number of bloggers who write about mental health.  I am, however, only going to count it as ONE nomination toward my possible 15.  :)

As yet another blogging network, Canvas of the Minds is a great one-stop shop for information and personal experiences with mental health.  You will find some very talented writers there.

~ bi[polar] curious ~

Admittedly this blog originally caught my eye because of it’s clever play on words in the title, not to mention i describe myself as bicurious.  Sarah also turns out to be a very thoughtful writer and covers a lot of topics related to bipolar disorder.

~ Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars ~

This blogger stole my heart with her poetry and I have been hooked ever since.

~ Bipolar Bear ~

I found a kiwi!  :)  This New Zealander writes about mental illness and provides a forum to discuss topics related to homosexuality.  Bipolar Bear brings out my inner Pride.

~ Running Naked with Scissors ~

Any blogger that writes about “bending the rules” has my attention.  Lizzie is hilarious and insightful.  Try it out, you’ll see.

~ Disorderly Chickadee ~

I started reading this blog because it reminded me of a friend back home who studied black-capped chickadees for her Master’s thesis in neuroscience.  I continued reading this blog because DeeDee is a good writer, and because I can identify with her (I am earning a PhD and afraid of what effect the stigma of bipolar disorder will have on my career).

~ Satis ~

Chris is one of my favorite people because he engages you and is very thoughtful in his comments and posts.  Take, for example, the very kind post he wrote to reach out to some of the community dealing with depression.  This post made me cry, and bloggers like Chris are the reason I have had the strength to get through this.

~ Buzzkillbook ~

Peter has written a ton of posts on various aspects of bipolar.  He’s even published a book!

~ Hyperbole and a Half ~

hehehe, I’m pret-ty excited to be nominating Hyperbole and a Half.  In fact I feel a little mischievous and I’m not sure why.  It doesn’t matter.  this blogger wrote Adventures in Depression, which is one of my all time favorite blog posts ever.

~ Bipolarly ~

Bipolarly is thought-provoking.  I also frequently check up on her facebook page where she posts funny and provocative pictures related to bipolar disorder.

~ Frances K Wolfe ~

Frances is who I imagine myself to be, but I don’t really have the guts to execute it.  She includes just the right amount of snark in her posts.  Witty, intelligent, and talented.  Pushes boundaries.  I like.

~ Bipolar Burble ~

Natasha Tracy, as far as I can tell by her webpage, is kind of a big to-do in the bipolar community.  This goes against my underdog advocacy movement but she is just so good I can’t help it.  She provides a real wealth of information about bipolar and mental illness.

Thanks again, ApplejAxe!  You made my day!  :)