Daily Archives: April 10, 2013

A-z Challenge; H Is for Holy heck where is H? Mental Moment

H was for something else but I seem to have lost it…. HOLY Heck where’s H? I suppose by rules this has me disqualified but I will continue on…. H […]

Wednesday’s Quote: Patty Duke

My recovery from manic depression has been an evolution, not a sudden miracle.

Brutal Senses: How Being Bipolar Feels

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ever since I was rather young, I wondered why everything felt so… big. All my senses were in overdrive, and it was very obvious to me that everyone felt I was some sort of whinging drama queen. I was, ‘obviously’, just being overly dramatic about everything, making everything bigger than it was, so why didn’t I just go away and pretend to be fine with my agony being laughed at (yanno, instead of being recognized as being so severe as to cause the rest of the mind and body to shut up shop to survive)?

One of the biggest reliefs for me in getting my bipolar diagnosis was finding out that I wasn’t alone in feeling everything so strongly. I am not a drama queen. I am not an attention seeker. I loathe histrionics. I had to bottle how I felt about everything, how everything felt, so that I’d not be mistaken for some ‘I broke a nail, the world is over!’ attention-seeking sort. I didn’t want folks to mistake me for that, even though every noise and smell and feel and sound was like a hammer fall against my psyche.

It still makes me feel like people probably think me a drama queen though for simply trying to take care of myself. For example, when people are very happy and excited about things — I think many of us with bipolar can agree that it’s nearly as bad as someone screaming at the top of their lungs at us. It’s still a lot of emotion and output that we sponge up and cannot dispel so readily. And, I’m sure that many will agree with me, it is a big reason to engage in avoidant behavior no matter how well we might otherwise be doing. While I might have been able to take it on the chin when I was younger (and self-medicating in the worst possible ways), it’s not something I can handle so well now. Even small encounters can set me in a bad, physically shaking way for an entire day. Not that I normally admit to this, ’cause some people are bastids who looove taking advantage of that sort of fragility for their own sick edification.

Nor is it to say that me or anyone I know dealing with a mental illness wants people to stay far away. If anything, I know that me needing to take care of myself means that well-meaning friends retreat to a far distance and never attempt to cross the gap again. I can’t, which is something I make clear; with my limited spoons, I’ll save them for people who come to me. I emphatically relish in sharing in the good and bad and helping those who I care about… as long as they don’t hit me with a wall of pure feeling without warning. But it’s that old saw — as hard as it is for us to get by with our bipolar, we also have to deal with the fact that those who are around us can’t fully savvy how we’ll be day to day, and that it’s easier to stay retreated. I can’t blame ‘em per se, but I know those who I converse with daily understand that even with my flaws and blow-ups, I’m as loyal and loving a friend as anyone could ever want… as long as they’re willing to hold up their end.


The post Brutal Senses: How Being Bipolar Feels appeared first on The Scarlet B.

Hello, Cruel World

For four years, my anxiety and panic were so bad, I HAD to avoid any sort of news site lest I be crippled with panic, anxiety, paranoia, and feelings of doom.

I have been back on sites like Fark,. Reddit, CNCBC, et al for a few weeks now…and while often entertaining…I am of the mind that people are still, by and far, the cruelest assholes known to man.

Example one: Someone submitted “My gf’s students (grade one) were to bring in something that starts with a letter of the alphabet and one kid brought in (a picture of the word Xanax with words like “social event” “money worries’” etc on the pill.)

Ya know what?Fine, some doctors prescribe it willy nilly and it is used as a coping mechanism instead of medication.

BUT every once in a blue moon,for those of us with legitimate panic disorders that cripple us, Xanax is like the cure for the cancer. So I really resent the insinuation that ALL Xanax users use it as an escape from their problems. “Some” of us go off the rails without it because IT WORKS. So go pass your judgment on those who abuse it and no those who are helped by it.

Example two”

A “confession bear” post on Reddit by someone who says: “I beat depression on my own so I view my friends who can’t do it as weak.”

One time bout of minor depression beat on your own? Fine.

Try 18 years of it, over and over, with therapy and meds, nothing every really improving no matter how hard you work or try…

THEN you can tell me how weak I am.

Example three: “When I see overweight people…I don’t care if you have the best personality on Earth, I still want nothing to do with you.”

Ya know what that says to me??? In spite of being “mentally ill”: and “fat:”, I am still a  better person than you because I have the balls to look beneath the surface.

Not a bad day, but not a great one. Again.

But the more I deal with people, the more i WANT to be alone. Because for every kind person there are ten cruel judgmental assholes out there and I refuse to let them dictate my self worth.

I personally find passive aggressive people disgusting. I think wearing plaid flannel should be a crime. I think all men should have long hair. I think all blondes are dumb. (well only cos my sister is, I’m a little biased, sue me.)



I had uber panic attacks during the day. Mostly I felt numb and like I just didn’t give a fuck.

At one point it hit me that the well being of another human being- a child- rests on my shoulders and I started to panic. Like insane panic.  Because I have to pat myself on the back when I remember to shower everyday. How c0mpentent a mom can I be??

But I also know I am surrounded by so many logical minded people who love my kid if I was doing wrong by her, they would turn me in for it, as they should.

So I can only assume I am doing right, or at least given points for attempting to do right.

It’s almost 10 pm. My panic instinct is beginning to kick in and remind me I NEED to be in bed like now.

I have no idea what that is about, I think it sucks. I can’t seem t0 shake it no matter how hard I try and it pisses me off and depresses me. I don’t want to be weak, for fuck’s sake. I think to endure all I have equals pure strength and yet every day I am reminded someone else is stronger, did something more impressive, blah blah blah.

It makes me want to die, sometimes.

Sometimes, it makes me want to hunt down the person who said the offensive thing and give them a dose of unmedicated bipolar and panic disorder.

I will show you weak, bitches. Here’s a mirror.


My mood is crashing and I have accomplished nothing.

But at least my cat Nightshade came back., The nightmare kids last night let her outside with all their running in and out. Which made it sooo much easier to send them home tonight. You do NOT ever fuck with my cats.  Once you have done something that fucks with my cats, you can consider yourself on the eternal shitlist.

My mom says I am a bad person.

I simply don’t care.

And my apathy has never been more apparent because earlier tonight, I spotted The Donor outside the convenience store STILL wearing the red uniform shirt declaring him a basic minion. Which means he lied about the full time position at Home Depot, and he STILL hasn’t been repromoted at this job.

Other than gloating over his narcissistic bubble being burst…I just didn’t care enough to be bother by seeing him. Which should be liberating but instead makes me feel shallow and heartless. How much could I have loved him to feel nothing at the sight of him  now? He fathered my child, ffs.

Yet seeing him I literally felt nothing beyond celebrating confirmation of what a pathological liar he is.

I am evil.

I don’t want to be.

I want to be a great person and declare that my kid needs her dad.

But I don’t believe it for a second. A real parent would NEVER be able to go almost two years without seeing their kid. My God, even after R and I broke up and in spite of his kids not being mine, I still saw them every week or two because I loved them.

I can be apathetic, but I cannot be heartless. I think my cat going missing proves that, because I was more concerned with finding her than all else.

If you take responsibility for something or someone, and you fail…you are a loser.

And while I may be a fuck up, I am NOT a loser. I care, and take responsibility for, my choices to have a child as well to have cats.

I doubt I make any sense but whatever.

It’s indicative of how mental I am.


National Child Abuse Awareness Month: Signs of Physical Abuse

Boy am I having a hard time with these posts.  Maybe it’s because I spent 20 years in the trenches as a pediatrician, many of them in the emergency departments of hospitals large and small.  I know I have a hefty case of PTSD from it all, because when I even think of writing these things my stomach goes into a knot and I have an almost uncontrollable urge to bolt.

In today’s post I want to talk about signs of physical abuse that everyone who interacts with children should know about, and be alert for, and know what to do if they see them. I went to my usual source for slides and looked at them, and found that I am no longer capable of looking at color slides of abused children without getting sick.  I guess that’s a good sign, because it means that at least I am no longer capable of dissociating when I look at the patterns of injury.  I had been planning to include some slides with this post, but now I’ve decided I won’t, because they are so heart-breaking that I really don’t want to put them up.

I used to have a slide lecture distributed by my professional organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, that I took around and showed to teachers, school nurses, volunteer firemen, and anybody else who wanted to hear the talk or who I thought ought to hear it.  I stood up there, brave professional woman, and showed them all these gruesome pictures of inflicted injuries, knowing full well that some of the people in the audience had been abused themselves as children, and that some of them had inflicted injury on their own children.  I must have given that talk well over 50 times, and I never got through one without at least one person in the audience breaking down in tears.  It’s a hard subject.

But even harder is for the subject not to be broached, and for those who are the most likely to be on the front lines of child care to be ignorant of the signs.  How many of us have heard, over and over, about children who have had multiple reports made to Social Services regarding suspected abuse, and the case is neglected, and the child dies?  These children are dying of nothing less than torture.  So if we see or hear something that makes us suspect that a child is being abused, REPORT IT!  Where do we report it?  We usually start with the Department of Social Services, or DSS.  If they don’t act promptly, call 911.  And if you in any way suspect that a child is being abused RIGHT NOW, call 911.

Patterns of Injury

We all know that children run around careening off of every object in their world, including one another, and they all get bruises, cuts, and scrapes; sometimes they even break a bone getting torpedoed off the trampoline or crashing on their bikes.  My own son broke both of his wrists (not at the same time): one by flying over the handlebars of his bike, and the other in an unintentional (on his part) game of roller-derby.  His teacher called DSS on me.  I said, good on her!  Then he broke both of his legs, one getting tackled while playing flag football in sixth grade, and the other playing Varsity football in high school.  Nobody called DSS about those.

There are places that you normally see bruises, scrapes, and cuts: knees, elbows, cheekbones, eyebrows.  Those are the places that stick out and get whacked on inanimate objects.  And the bruises don’t look like anything in particular; they’re usually oval-ish or irregularly shaped.  Cuts are usually jagged and also over bony prominences: how many of you and/or your children have a scar on your eyebrow?  That’s because that’s the part of your face that hits the ground first.  It IS a part that gets hit by a fist first too (besides the nose), but for some reason we see this less in abuse and more in adolescent fights.

So if you see a child who has bruises on the upper arm, as if someone grabbed him, or on her back or the backs of her legs, especially if the marks are linear (as a belt would make) or in loops (electrical cord) or any other pattern, that is very likely inflicted injury.  One interesting exception is the pattern of red marks running parallel to the upper spine that the Oriental folk medicine practice of “coining” makes (rubbing up and down with a coin, usually meant to treat chest congestion), or the circular red marks of cupping, also on the back and sometimes chest.

Babies who are not yet walking, and especially if they are not pulling up on things and falling down, should NOT get bruises.  They don’t do anything that causes bruises!  Bruises can sometimes be accidental, such as a baby rolling off the changing table or couch; in those cases the caretaker is usually frantic with distress over the event and seeks medical care immediately.  That usually (but not always) rules out abuse.  But if you see a slap mark on the baby’s face or anywhere else, that’s abuse.  Bruising on the ears is a red flag for hard slapping.  Bruising over the abdomen can mean internal injuries and must be seen in the emergency department immediately.


Older kids do get burned, but the cause is always explainable: playing with fire, for instance.  Cigarette burns on an older child signal abuse: that child is probably being abused in other ways also.  Toddlers sometimes get accidentally scalded.  I have seen some horrendous accidental scalds from toddlers pulling electric tea kettles over on themselves.  Since babies’ and toddlers’ skin is so thin, it only takes a moment to produce a full-thickness (third-degree) burn in a small child.  Burns to be concerned about from a child-abuse standpoint are any burn that looks like it has a pattern to it, whether it be the punched-out holes of a cigarette or the “stocking-glove” pattern of a child who is literally dipped into hot water and pushes away with its hands and feet, so that mostly the hands and feet get burned to the same extent.  Some brilliant caregivers get angry with a child who is being potty trained and has an accident, and immerse their bottoms in scalding hot water.  I can’t imagine what goes through these sadists’ minds.  I won’t go through all the varieties of burn patterns, but at this point (if you’re still with me) you get the idea that if there is a pattern to the burns and/or bruises, it’s most likely inflicted injury and must be reported immediately.

Broken bones

It’s hard for a lay person to assess broken bones in patterns of abuse.  One thing that is clear, if you are a caregiver such as a babysitter or a daycare teacher, is that if a baby who was crawling, pulling up, cruising along the furniture or walking, suddenly stops doing this, there’s something wrong.  If the baby simply won’t move a limb or cries when you move it for him, there’s something very wrong.  Report this and don’t be afraid.  Much better to make a report and be wrong than let a baby or child be battered at home.  Amazingly, most small children who come to medical attention for one broken bone are found, on X-ray, to have multiple broken bones in various stages of healing, indicating that this poor child has been repeatedly battered to the point of breaking multiple bones.

One notable exception to the rule that refusal to move a limb means it might be broken is the pesky “nursemaid’s elbow.”  It’s and accidental injury that comes from holding a small child (9 months-3 years) by the hand, and putting tension on the arm, such as swinging the child across puddles (fun!), pulling the child along by the hand because it has suddenly stopped (who has not done this?), or, in the case of my own child, holding the child by the hand and then he suddenly sits down.  Blam!  It pulls the head of one of the two bones in the forearm (the radius) out of its socket, and then it gets stuck and can’t get back in.  My ex-husband was taking my spaghetti-sauce-covered two-year-old son to the sink to wash him off, when my son suddenly sat down, and his screams nearly blew the roof off.  I was an intern at the time, and I had not yet seen a case of “nursemaid’s elbow,” so as we rode to the emergency department I spat all kinds of venom at my ex regarding what I was going to do to him for breaking our child’s arm.  My Pediatrics program director met us at the ER and very kindly explained the innocuous nature of the injury and talked me down from my murderous rage, and showed me how to fix the dislocation (actually it’s a subluxation, but that’s a technicality).  My first case of  subluxation of the radial head, a.k.a. “nursemaid’s elbow.” Some kids have very flexible elbow joints, as did my son: his injury recurred many times, the last time being when he was five years old and was shutting the car door.  The wind caught the door and pulled his radius out and he gave a shriek.  I jumped out and ran around to his side; but by the time I got there he had already fixed it himself.  He was very proud of that, as you may well imagine.

Well, I seem to have managed a few words here on physical abuse.  I may have to take a day or two off now, before I dive back in, as the next topic on the list is sexual abuse; not anything that anyone ever wants to talk about, including me.  But it must and will be talked about.

my feelings are hurt

SO this could be a long story but I HATE long detail oriented stories.

A person who was a new friend to me just unfriended me on facebook because my best friend )who knew the friend much better and longer) wrote her an e mail saying she didn’t want to hang with the person for various reasons. One being something I said to my best friend about the new friend. Confused  I am. Anyhow it is just another reason that I have so few friends. I have high walls and when I do start to let them down I am usually screwed over for it. It makes me think poorly of myself. Geesh I need a cigarette.