Daily Archives: May 7, 2013

Blog for Mental Health 2013

Alright folks, here it is. Here’s my pledge.


I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project.  I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others.  By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.  I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

I have used the open invitation from  A Canvas Of The Minds to join this project!

As most of you know, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2002 at the age of nineteen. It was a troublesome, really rough and such painful journey to stability. But bipolar disorder doesn’t end at stability. It’s something that I live with, but in my stability I’m here to share my story to help others and to help fight stigma that’s so stuck on mental illness! I’m married with three kids and I attribute my stability to God, my doctors, my wonderful husband as well as very supportive parents. (Hi Mom)

This pledge is my opportunity to commit to mental health awareness. I can publicly display this badge to instantly tell my audience what this is all about.


Mrs Bipolarity

Some of my Heroes

In February, Carrie Fisher, of Star Wars fame, acted erratically while performing on stage during a cruise, which included her belting out songs off key, and having to clean up after her dogs who pooped on stage. Carrie was not drunk as some believed. She had to see her doctor and have her meds adjusted. Carrie has been up front and honest about living with bipolar disorder and even wrote a couple of books about it.

Carrie Fisher is one of my heroes.

A few weeks ago, Catherine Zeta-Jones checked herself into a health care facility to better manager her medication for her bipolar disorder. Catherine has been open about having bipolar disorder, hoping it would diminish the stigma associated with it.

Catherine Zeta-Jones is one of my heroes.

In 2004 Jane Pauley released an autobiography, in which, she openly discusses being diagnosed with bipolar.

Jane Pauley is one of my heroes.

Other heroes I admire are Jean-Claude Van Damme, Linda Hamilton, Sinéad O’Connor, Mariette Hartley, Sting, Patty Duke, and more.

None of these individuals are my heroes because they are celebrities. None of them are my heroes because they are celebrities who have bipolar disorder. I consider these folks heroes because they are celebrities, who have bipolar disorder, and have been open and honest publically about it. Coming out of the mental illness closet can be a huge inspiration for many out there living with bipolar disorder. It also comes with a huge variety of risks. Each of the individuals above took that risk in industries that are all about the publics perception.

Coming out of the closet as a gay man was extremely difficult. I knew it was going to change my life forever, either good or bad. The same thing can be said regarding my coming out as being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mental illness is a scary thing. It’s scary for the individual with the disorder, and it’s scary for the general public, most of whom have no idea what it is like living with bipolar, chronic depression, schizophrenia, etc.

My entire purpose for starting this blog 5 years ago was to educate and to let others know they are not alone. In most respects I believe I have been successful. I continue this blog with those same goals today. I look at the names above and am happy I don’t stand alone with that goal.

Hate It When This Happens

A friend called me last night to tell me that a mutual friend had been in a car wreck.  No, she wasn’t hurt.  And she had had a couple of drinks, but she’s a big girl and can hold her liquor, usually.  Didn’t know what she blew, but the cops ordered a blood test on top of the Booze-O-Meter, unusual.  And you know the funny thing was, she ran into the guard rail three separate times before she finally lost it and flipped over.  She refused to go to the hospital though, refused all care at the scene.

And there’s more, says my friend.  T_ is a massage therapist, a very good one with a large practice, and lately she’s been falling asleep right in the middle of giving a massage.  My mind snaps into place here.  Falling asleep GETTING a massage: yes.  Falling asleep GIVING a massage: no, no, NO.  Brains do not do that under normal circumstances.

What else?  Oh, there have been some minor problems with memory, a large recent weight gain, headaches, double vision…

STOP!  Stop there.  My mind says brain tumor.  That is ALL my mind says.  In fact, it doesn’t say it, it SCREAMS it.  She must go to the emergency room NOW.

She has a doctor appointment in June for the headaches, my friend says.

That’s very nice.  She can keep that appointment when it gets to be June.  It’s the beginning of May now, and she must go to the emergency room TODAY.  NOW.

OK, says my friend, who has been my acupuncture client since 1998 and knows that tone of voice.  OK, she says, I’ll go and get her.

This morning I wake up to an email from my friend.  T_ has been transported by ambulance from our little local hospital to the big regional hospital.  They’ve been there all night. The brain tumor is huge and pushing on her pituitary gland, among other things.  Won’t know what kind it is until the biopsy.  They’re still doing all the preliminary workup.

Thank G-d she called me.

I wonder why the Creator, if there is one, and in these cases I must say it fuels my doubt, took me out of my profession by way of my illness.  S/he gave me, as my birthright, a degree of intuition that could be called Second Sight.  I don’t need to hear more than two or three sentences regarding a case, if it’s a fresh one, and I nearly always have the diagnosis right in front of my eyes like a movie marquis.  It is a great grief that my ability to practice medicine, which I worked so hard to achieve, was snatched away from me.

The Sight was what propelled me into medicine.  And yes, there are still times, like this one, where someone in need will call me and I can help them.

It’s a beautiful gift, but a cruel judgement against me that I don’t get to use it on a daily basis anymore.  I wonder what it all means…if it means.


(In the) Rain

(Cowboy Bebop OST – Rain (lyrics))

Whelp, if you weren’t depressed before, you probably are after listening to that song. Sorry about that, sort of. It popped into my head and I felt it was apt to my mood and state of being. Okay, maybe I’m not outwardly doom and gloom, but everything under the surface is rather drowned. And that statement feels too dramatic on the whole, so once again, there’s a disconnect on trying to explain feelings into words. It’s not something I feel exceptionally talented in either, considering I only figured out how to say even the simplest ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ until I was into my 20s. The roots of that stunting lie in ye olde parental blame, so we’ll just move right along for now.

For the most part, I’m just sitting here trying to keep my mind empty, except for one little mantra. As a friend on Google+ reminded me last night — to take small steps, and all the mindfulness that comes with trying to balance self-care against the annoyance of still being all sorts of housebound. The level of frustration is high enough that part of me very much wishes to dive into le booze and ignore all the self-preservation… but those are fleeting thoughts that are fairly easily quashed.

So then, that is to say — I feel horrible. I probably wouldn’t come across as such if you were sitting here talking to me; my sense of humor is mainly intact, and I’m currently engaged in activities of a hobby-based nature. But again, outward appearances lied — I’m cored, body and mind. Everything is sluggish and non-functional — I have no idea how I managing to make words sort of form sentences here. Poor me, etc. *poses dramatically*

So yeah… no idea if I’m actually going to manage to make anything happen besides a drool pile on my desk, and a few stitches in my current knit square. Small steps and whatnot — if I can see a small productive step to make, then perhaps I’ll give it a go. At least, for what it’s worth, I’ve managed at least this today, so that’s worth micro-celebrating.

I hope everyone is having a better braining day than me!


The post (In the) Rain appeared first on The Scarlet B.

Lump Day

After several good sessions where I felt the counselor was helping…Today was lump day. She sat back in her chair and just looked at me and nodded. About the only thing she added to the conversation was “Make limits for your kid” and “You’re making excuses not to move on with your life by blaming the disorders.”


The whole point is to break the cycle and go in to the whole work/normal life thing stable. Which I am not right now. She says I may never be and I am just waiting for what might never happen so I need to go for it. I don’t agree. Telling anyone I am stable right now is out and out lying. And I feel like her urging me to perpetuate that lie is some sort of misconduct. Sure, I want to do the computer courses. But what would be the point in signing up, taking the placement test, getting a loan…only to fall flat on my face because I wasn’t on solid ground? I mean, I’ve done this many times before (um, writing classes, having a literary agent, et al.)

Oh, right, she said that just because it happened once before doesn’t mean it will happen again and I need to keep an open mind.

Happened once? Try happens every single time. I start out manic, thinking I am indestructible and could take on the world with duct tape and a ruler like MacGuyver. That’s why I always end up flat on my face.

Oh, well, we had a good streak. Today she was useless. I kept asking her if she could help me clarify if my thinking was distorted or clear as far as the paranoid thoughts about R and such. She gave me nothing, no feedback, no questions, just that smug blank stare as she lounged back in her chair.

I left feeling shittier than when I went in, which took some doing, because I have mega cramps and my knee is swollen up and bugging me because well bum knees do that shit.

Went to the shop. Was rather feisty at first. Then became absolutely apathetic, staring off into space. By mid afternoon and the tenth telling of how someone totaled R’s parked car at 2 am, I was manic. Which quickly slid into “wow, it’s time to finally leave and go home and nurse my cramps.”

Cripes. Mood gamut from hell.

Told me kid no company tonight. She went back to watching Spongebob. Maybe she’s getting sick of them. One can hope.

I just feel…disconnected yet overly connected. Like I want to scream yet be silent.

Next week, I get to see the shrink and the counselor. That should be as much fun as being bitten by rampaging ebola monkeys. These people are supposed to help me but I am seriously losing faith in that notion. I want to just say fuck it all. Screw the meds, screw the counseling. I am getting nowhere no matter what I do.

But I don’t think I am making excuses. I have failed so many times due to distorted moods and thoughts. Maybe I am being too cautious, but if I were making excuses, I would be holed up in my safe zone, not out there trying to cope. Maybe she had pms or a bad mood. Because she was just of no help at all.

Clarity, how I seek thee.

I miss the days when I had even less to live for and yet, still managed to survive on three hours’ sleep, using every possible moment to indulge all my interests. Since my kid was born, I haven’t been able to recapture that same energy. Now I live for falling into bed at night and not thinking about all this bullshit. That is an excuse. Because things are depressing and seem hopeless and rather than stay awake and dwell on it, I fall into sleep, hoping for some dream induced epiphany. Earlier, I was wondering if maybe I should try really hard to severely injure myself. Maybe if I damn near bled out or had to have brain surgery it would turn things around. Sick, but true. Of course, I won’t because I am the only parent my kid has (I don’t give a fuck what the law says). When I sniffled earlier and she told me I needed to see a doctor to “take all your snot out of your nose”, I cracked up laughing.

THAT is why I am still here. Being her mom was what I was born for. It is the most important thing I will ever do.

So if being a mom feels so right…Why does everything else feel so wrong?

Anyone every tried self electro shock? I’m desperate.