Daily Archives: June 24, 2012

On loving, and having a Beloved, and being a bipolar blogger

The very first thing that I must mention here is that my Beloved and I are in a tough spot.  You see, if I tell him what I’m going to be writing about in my next blog post, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle sets in:  according to Heisenberg, nothing exists unless it is observed; and the mere fact of being observed changes observed phenomena. (I would like to add the link here to the International Physics Society article about Heisenberg, but my handheld won’t let me. I hope to add it later.)

So if I tell him, “today I am going to blog about how we interact as a couple when one of us is bipolar,” then he will certainly wish to discuss it (like the good Beloved he is), and then my post will not be anything like my original conception.  Which, sometimes, might be a good thing;  but since the purpose of this blog is to express and explore my raw, uncut, unprocessed feelings about my experience of bipolar-ness, it rather thwarts that purpose to process things prior to publication.

I must say here that having a Beloved who actually wants–not merely wants, but is eager to–process my experience with me is a dear delightful thing, one which I have never before in my life experienced.  So it does pain me a bit to forgo his proffered gift, and go ahead and write my piece, and discuss it afterward.

He did extract a promise from me, that I would send him a link to each piece as it is published.  And I did invite him to subscribe, which would ensure that he is notified maybe even faster.  I don’t know if he did or not, finding myself suddenly shy about asking.  I send him the links anyway, unless I forget.

I am used to writing all the time.  It is a need, like eating–no, more like going to the bathroom, if the truth be known.  I have no control whatsoever over when a piece will hit me and demand to be let out.  Two in the afternoon, three in the morning, the Sabbath (on which it is forbidden to write, so I guess I will be spending time in the Jewish version of hell. Maybe I will get to meet Spinoza.)

Writing is old hat to me.  Having a Beloved, on the other hand, is an entirely new style dance.  Not that I have not had lovers before:  let us not begin to count them.  I’ve been married.  Twice.  But a really truly Beloved?  Not till now.

What this does for me is: it puts sharing into an entirely new perspective.  Yes, I now have someone who actually cares how I feel, and wants very much to participate in my process.  For my part, I have lived my life quite alone, even when in relationship, so transitioning into sharing sometimes leaves me feeling confused and clueless.  I’m hoping that time and practice will smooth the way.  I desperately hope that he’ll be patient with me.

And a big–no, big is not big enough: think of a better word–challenge for me is to be both aware of the Uncertainty Principle, that simply observing a phenomenon changes it, and yet resist living my life in fear that this or that thing I write might offend my Beloved, or anyone else who has a stake in how I feel. I must evolve a new, functional version of the self-edit. I do not know what that might look like, since I have never had one.

Having grown up in a house where “children are meant to be seen and not heard,” where displeasing the ruling tyrants reliably lead to being squashed like a bug, it’s hard for me to navigate the waters of any relationship, let alone a real and genuine one where people express their feelings and opinions openly, and sometimes get passionate about them. My Inner Protector Alarm goes off more frequently than I’d like it to: “Danger, danger! Raised voices! Dive, dive!” (Submarine alarm sound from movies)

This includes both real and imagined threats, arising from both internal and external sources. The good news here is that I’m becoming more aware of the sound of the dive alarms, whereas previously I would find myself at the bottom of the ocean having not a clue how I had arrived there.

This is just the tip of this particular iceberg. I hope to see myself opening up here and writing my heart out, quite literally, without self-censorship and without fear.

Copyright 2012 Laura P. Schulman all rights reserved

Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll

As I discussed in the previous edition of this blog, Lance Armstrong’s miraculous recovery from testicular and brain cancer helped to dramatically reduce the stigma surrounding what some used to coyly refer to as ‘male cancers’.  One of the biggest consequences of the aggressive treatments that Armstrong underwent in 1998 had the effect of rendering the father of two impotent.

There is a lot written about the impact on men’s genitals of riding long training miles in the saddle, and consequently on their ability to have an erection and function sexually.

Sexual Dysfunction is a big issue for people with mental health problems.  Mostly we simply lose interest in sex, just as we lose interest in much of what is pleasurable in life.  This, and the inability to become aroused, causes a whole host of psychological problems, as well as putting strain on personal relationships which will already be under pressure from other troublesome symptoms of a wide range of maladies.

There are other problems that come under the banner of sexual dysfunction, too, but are less well-known, despite having dangerous and disastrous medical and emotional consequences.  I have written about the impact of impulsivity on people with mood swing disorders and those around them.  Irresponsible spending sprees resulting in debt and all the strain on relationships that can cause as well as the regret and guilt that the Big Spender feels later when the feelings of invincibility and super powers crumble away to the desolation of depression wreak havoc on the lives of sufferers and their friends and family.

Some of the most serious consequences of impulsive behaviour come in the arena of sexual promiscuity.  Lack of awareness of consequences, the magnetic attraction to forms of behaviour, and the feeling that everything is possible and positive lead to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases as well as the strain put upon otherwise faithful, exclusive, personal relationships that are damaged by people (like me) who have something as innocuous – sounding as a mood swing disorder.

A person’s sex life is private, right?  It is that province of our lives that we may brag about, confide in our friends about, but we draw a line at discussing such issues openly, like they were just another symptom or side effect, like weight gain or drowsiness.

How far should we take this notion of privacy?  It is true that people with severe and enduring medical problems, both mental and/or physical are forced (an apt description, I feel) to relinquish much of their dignity, privacy and choices as a result of both their symptoms and their behaviour.  Any of you who are not sure about this I suggest you visit a ward in your nearest hospital (actually a corridor in the emergency department will do just as well) to see what I mean.  Hardier souls may wish to spend an instructive hour or two in the Day Room of any number of psychiatric institutions to see what I’m getting at.

So, if patients’ privacy is already compromised by treatment it’s easier to raise issues of sexual indiscretion.  Then what about those of us who are  living our lives in the heart of the community, well thought of folk who work in responsible jobs, and are even responsible for looking after their own, and others’ off spring?

This topic is hard enough for psychiatrists to raise with their patients – mine hasn’t done yet – never mind for those of us who are prone to become caught up in the ecstasy of the moment, and come to regret their actions.

For once I am not suggesting an approach, much less an answer as to how to address this issue.  But I think that it is important enough to start a conversation about it.

Tell me what you think. That, at least, would be a start.

The Flaw in Paganism

Drink and dance and laugh and lie,

Love the reeling midnight through,

For tommorow we shall die!

(But, alas, we never do.)

Dorothy Parker (1893 – 1967)

It Doesn’t Scan

Yesterday, I was reminded just how… unnormal… the range of bipolar feeling is. As I mentioned yesterday, I was feeling annoyed and the like. Elsewhere, this garnered syrupy cheerful ‘normie’ suggestions of how to improve mood, to include throwing a childish tantrum, or singing. Yes, even were I not ill and croaky, singing isn’t going to magically fix bipolar depression. Throwing a childish fit? What a damned luxury, that. For me, if I even let myself start throwing items, I will start throwing more objects and screaming bloody murder and the results aren’t that good.

Still, and I’m sure my fellow carries of mental health issues will commiserate with, I feel slightly guilty because I didn’t conform to what they think is the ‘right’ reaction. I know I shouldn’t — my reaction is right for who I am. It’s not my fault that people get their panties in a wad because their presumptions of correctness are predicated on a manufactured societal norm. I am mindful of that — this is what they know to be correct. And I do my best to try and be gracious instead of furious, even if the former is more in tune with what I’m feeling. Yet there’s a Catch-22 — I want to help make it clearer why their suggestions are insulting and inappropriate, but there’s that wall of GAH, ANXIETY! in the way. This is also fuelled by past experiences where I have managed to explain things, only to get a confused and slightly irritated reply.

I get that it’s hard to be around bipolar people. It’s hard being one, and we don’t have the option of leaving the room to get away from ourselves.  But as long as we can all try to remember that everyone’s feelings are valid and to be expressed as they need to be (within reason and with a respectful treatment of others), then yanno… some sort of middle ground can be reached.

I’m better today, I should add – I’m still feeling borderline ‘has a sad’ after it trout-wholloped me enough last night to almost make me cry (for no reason, of course!), but a successful ‘homestyle’ dinner of double decker tacos, heavy gaming, and light crafting saw me through alright. I think some more of it today will help me hold on, and hopefully I can keep mainly riding this depressive period out. At least I can try to keep positive, right? :)


Geographical Dyslexia

If only all the walk had been like this…

And it had all been going so well.

Apart from the brief hiatus in my training schedule caused by lack of liquid refreshment mentioned in an earlier post, I was beginning to feel pretty confident about my upcoming walking challenge. My new walking boots were wearing in nicely, I’d been letting my body slowly acclimatise to the rigours of long-distance walking by gradually increasing the mileage on each walk, and there hadn’t been even the hint of a blister so far.

The Ouse (again)

But I think what I was most chuffed about was that I seemed to have finally discovered a sense of direction; which is not to say that I had experienced some kind of grand epiphany about my true vocation, but that I was simply enjoying the rather more prosaic sense of being able to accurately differentiate between left and right.

As I mentioned at the outset of this blog, my navigational skills (or complete absence of them) alone should have been a very convincing argument for not even contemplating walking The Santiago Way, and yet somehow I’ve been confidentially negotiating an eclectic and largely unfamiliar mixture of urban and rural walkways without even thinking about resorting to my iPhone sat nav. Until now.

Perhaps it was just that there was a bit of complacency creeping into my walk planning. After the extravagant beauty of the last walk (see previous post), I thought I’d explore some more of the immediate surrounding area and via a brief bit of Googling found what looked like pretty gentle 9 mile countryside stroll along another section of the River Ouse, starting and ending at the heritage railway Lavender Line station in Isfield, East Sussex. Given that it looked like there were only minimal diversions from a single public footpath, I didn’t even bother to download directions.

And I’m not going to even attempt to provide any here because I somehow managed to turn 9 miles into 14, most of which involved walking the same sections of the footpath twice. It never ceases to astound even me that if I’ve got the option of going in two different directions, I will set off in one of them with utter conviction that I’m going the right way and get it wrong every single time. Something tells me that I’ll be seeing considerably more of Spain than I’m planning to (and quite feasibly bits of France, Portugal and Morocco as well).

But then again, with a bit of time to spare, I can think of worse things to do than getting lost in the English countryside on a summer’s day.

Filed under: Camino Countdown Tagged: Blister, British, Countryside, Directions, East Sussex, English, France, Navigation, The Santiago Way, Training, Walking


Saturday sucked.

Going off of meds, even ones with sucky side effects, is a pain in the ass.

I didn’t even feel like going to yard sales. I ran errands only out of necessity. Then came home to be utterly bored the entire day, not wanting to see anyone or go anywhere, yet so restless I couldn’t sit still or focus on anything at home. I need to get into my pocket, that safe confined spot where I am content to sit at home, read, write, watch tv, et al.

I haven’t been in that pocket in two months, at least.

Thank you, Abilify. It helped my mood, but made me feel like I was losing my mind.

Now it is 1:38 a.m. on Sunday and I woke after four hours of sleep. I fell asleep to the Bone Collector, after watching 3 episodes of Millenium. I watch some dark shit, but for whatever bizarre reason, I find it soothing. Not in I wanna be a serial killer, but I admire the people who catch the monsters and knowing they are out there to counter the balance of evil vs good makes me calmer.

Hell, I don’t know. Maybe I am just babbling.

I hope today is better. The more the stuff gets out of my system, the better I should start to feel. Unless it was helping my mood that significantly, but I don’t believe it was.

I do believe however that I am going to declare myself done with anti psychotics. If she didn;t have such an attitude about about Xanax, she could help me immenesely and wipe out the paranoia by upping my xanax to what it used to be. It’s the only thing that has ever worked.

Because a bunch of assholes misuse a perfectly good medication, though, I am most likely screwed.