Daily Archives: July 18, 2013

You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

Wow what a difference a few years makes.  When I started this blog in 2008 I was a mess.  During that time I could not talk in a complete sentence.  I would start a sentence and midway through I would draw a blank and have no idea what I was going to say.  I would freeze for a quick moment and then ask what was I talking about.  About half the time the other person in the conversation would say “I don’t know.”  I suspect that frequently they did know, but wanted to get away as fast as possible.

I also struggled with spelling.  One of my older posts refers to this.  For some reason I started typing all words exactly like they sound.  can’t became kant.  should became shood.  heard Microphonebecame hurd.  This required me to spend an enormous amount of time checking, rechecking and rechecking again before hitting the publish button.  Today I am able to spell again.  Now, I’m a firm believer that can’t should be spelled kant, but that’s for a different post.  My grammar is still awful, but that comes from having terrible grades in English, and not due to any side effects of mental illness.

It’s a liberating feeling to say the least.  It’s exciting when I’m having a conversation with someone these days and they stop me to say “you know we weren’t able to have this conversation a few years ago.”

I’m taking a speech class this summer and that’s going great.  I’m averaging a “B” on all tests and an “A” on all speeches.  In fact, my speech professor says that one of my speeches was “brilliant” and that I “have a gift.”  And that I “should have it published.”  Talk about validation.  In my opinion, my delivery needs a little work, but my classmates are telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.  Apparently they can’t see my hands shaking behind the podium.

I hate to brag – but I am.  Seriously, it was not long ago that I determined that my life was never going to get better.  That the way it was – was the way it was going to be.  What I was feeling was forever going to be a part of me.  Suicidal thoughts?  You bet your ass I had them.  Hell, I have them still today and probably the rest of my life, but when they do come up they are mere flashes that die quickly in my mind.  I must stress that I am far from being cured.  I still confuse easily amongst many other things.  But the me that is around today is far from the me there was 5 years ago.

I endured a lot of pain and a lot of grief, but here I am still standing.  I’m glad I fastened my seat belt because it was a bumpy ride.  I’m going to keep them on cause despite how well things are going in my life, I know it will continue to be a bumpy.  Still, I have come a long way, Baby.

Finding Answers

Does bipolar have to include depressive episodes? I had a manic episode two months ago. The mania was an experience so raw and revealing it cannot be described. The days leading up to my hospitalization felt incredible – I was so happy, my mood so elevated. I was elated.

I’ve never felt depression. Perhaps my time in the hospital would be described as depressed. I cried and screamed every day. I could not escape the nightmare of being in the psych ward and being forced to take drugs. It was a horror I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. But, that was situational. I think any human being would be upset given that circumstance. So, was that depression or just anger, sadness and fear?

The Doctors say that when someone experiences an episode like mine, it is “usually” followed by depression. While I have been struggling with many emotions, I don’t believe it would be labeled as depression.

So, am I truly bipolar or is something else at play? If I never have a depressive episode or experience, can I be labeled bipolar? Was my mania something else?

How can I objectively tell you what caused my episode or what is “wrong” with me? I am clearly biased. If I knew what caused it, wouldn’t I have avoided it all together…or at least stopped it sooner? If I knew I was acting crazy, wouldn’t I have just stopped?

Doctors still ask me what I think caused my episode. Am I supposed to know? I don’t think any one thing caused it, but clearly something pushed me over the edge. I don’t know if I’ll ever know what caused it, but I think I need to be comfortable with not knowing.

How do you find comfort in ambiguity? Can I move on from such a huge event, even with all of the unanswered questions? Can I avoid another episode without knowing what caused it to happen? I don’t know.

Write From the Heart

Sitting in silence
Avoiding the violence
The news and the TV
Too much stimuli for me
I need time to think
To write, to use ink
Time for contemplation
That will bring elation
I can’t force a thought
Feelings can’t be bought
It must be sincere
That is all they will hear
Write from the heart
It was that way from the start
It will come when it may
They will say what they say
Regardless of others I must still play
I know in the end, it will all be okay

Betterer (Or Something)

Yesterday was my sixth wedding anniversary. It was a lovely day of not doing much of anything; I stayed home to recover from a visitor from back home. He was most courteous and a good time was had by all, but it was still that person in my space. At least he shifted his visit dates to not coincide with yesterday, ’cause I enjoyed having a meal out with my husband, and then spending the evening the same way we did the evening of our wedding — chilling outside in a pub beer garden. I learned something new about knitting, the weather was randomly pleasant amongst this horrible heat wave, and my sleep has just about returned to normal!

Past that, I’m still not quite sure what my state of play is. The feeling completely worn out and exhausted continues, but so does the nasty head cold (ergo, they could be related). My mood continues to stay amazingly even — I’d not believe it possible were I not in my own skin. Oh, there’s still the occasional spot of anxiety, but I know most of that is self-perpetuated by getting excited about wanting to do things and then trying to do them all at once. I break myself of that here and there, but it’s a habit that doesn’t quite want to die. *chuckles*

But for the most part, it’s glorious, ’cause I can actually *feel* gratitude and appreciation and all these nice healthy emotions that were often hidden because I was too busy fighting with the wilder swings. It’s wonderful to look at my family, or my cats, or my house, and think about how great my life is. I suspect gratitude in the banalist sense is an emotion that is taken for granted by those who aren’t fighting down the way up highs and lows. Or does that make sense? It does in my head, but I accept that doesn’t always translate well to ‘paper’.

Anyways, things are goodish. There’s not a lot of room for personal complaint. :) It would be nice to have a bit more energy and spoonage to socialize a bit more widely (I’ve had to cull down to a nub because of the lack of energy), but I’m okay with it for now, hence lack of room for direct complaint.

I hope everyone else out there is holding up well.


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Good News and Bad News

First of all I gotta say that I am really proud of Rhonda Elkins for her bravery in allowing me to post the letter that she wrote shortly after her 23 year old daughter’s suicide, on my Wednesday feature “Breaking the Silence of Stigma.”  That letter touched a lot of hearts and did a lot of good.  And I’m proud of my readers for rallying around Rhonda with their words of support, and some frank and open discussion of their own struggles with suicidal thoughts.

And I’m really proud of ME for writing a great review for David Henry Sterry’s new book, Mort Morte.  He’s honored me by using my review as the copy on his web page.  Kinda makes me think about going back to copy writing.  I wrote copy for an online store for a while, then ditched it because they started carrying shit  stuff I didn’t like, so there went my low-paying writing job. I can’t write copy for stuff I can’t get excited about.  Like “Wow, look at these tacky rhinestone-studded chartreuse earrings in the shape of a bunch of bananas.  Carmen Miranda would have put them on her head!  Only $1,200 on sale now!”  Ugh.  Now if someone would pay me to write fun stuff I’d be on it like white on rice.

That’s the good news.

And here’s the windup, now the pitch….oh come on, just get it out.  Er, I mean over with.  Well, I really don’t want to.  I want to stay sunk in denial forever.

I had to go see my shrink yesterday to get a form filled out so that I can take Noga, my service dog, on the plane when I go to Israel twelve days from now.  Eek.  Time is running short, and it’s running like hell.  Anyway.  So I go and see Tony my shrink, and he’s a good egg.  The man really loves crazy people.  He’s crazy himself, freely admits it, and also admits that the reason he’s a good shrink is that he’s crazy.

Anyway.  So he likes to talk for a long time, both because he likes the company of other crazy people, and because that’s how he sizes you up and figures out what brand of crazy you are and if you need your meds tweaked or anything else like that.  So we’re talking and he’s really paying attention to me and not just goofing around like he normally does.  So at some point I lose not just a single word, as has been happening a lot lately, but an entire phrase that I needed to have, in order to express what I was trying to, well, express.  I wanted to describe something but lacked a whole phrase and was trying to find alternative ways of saying it.

“How often is this happening to you?”

“Oh, several times a day.  Even when I’m writing, sometimes I can’t think of a word and just have to put a parenthesis and go back and fill it in later when I remember the word.”

He raises an eyebrow.  Not a good sign.  Tony is almost always upbeat and goofing around, because if he can’t make you laugh then he knows you’re really depressed.  Or if he annoys the shit out of you then he knows you’re irritable and wants to know what’s up with that.  But if he raises an eyebrow….that ain’t good.

“You know the meds that they’re using to preserve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s?  They’re using them now to treat cognitive dysfunction in Bipolar.”

My heart fell out and hit me on the toe.  I winced.

Last year I felt like my brain was misbehaving, so I had a battery of neuropsychiatric testing that showed a big hole in one part of my central information processing.  I freaked on out and called Tony, who talked me down from my freakout and told me it was a known phenomenon in Bipolar, the older you get.  Great.

So yesterday he gently suggested that since the cognitive issues (he did not say “dementia,” thank God) seem to be progressing, he recommended I try one of these cognitive function preserving drugs.  Far fucking out.

And he also suggested that I go back on the stimulants that I hate and had previously refused to take because they make me feel like shit.  He looked up what I had before and it was Adderal.  He said that sometimes people who hate Adderal like plain ol’ Dexadrine.  He said it might give my brain some clarity and help the cognition to cognate.  So I said all right, and now I have two fucking more pill bottles in my pharmacy.  Why me, Lord, why me?  Oh stop with that whiny shit, Laura, you know very well there are much worse things in the world than being crazy.  Don’t even go there.

My kilter is off

Nothing traumatic today, didn’t even have to be at the shop. Amazing how an off mood suddenly renders you unnecessary.

BUT it wasn’t so much a bad mood. It was anger and irritation. I just felt OFF. Snapping at every little thing, things I usually blow off. Today it all just got under my skin and there were times I’d open my mouth and snip and think, God, what crawled up your butt and died, you bitch? I can’t even use the shark week excuse. Best I can figure aside from 90 plus degree heat is remnants of 25 mg Trazadone. It may help me sleep but man does it leave me hungover and reeling.

Still the doctor doesn’t get why I’d rather lose sleep than feel so off kilter every day.

I just…I was functional today, just snippy. Don’t know how to better describe it.

The good part was though, we ran out a few times which meant the neighbor kids were dodged repeatedly and I actually got to  spend quality time with my kid, who doesn’t channel satan when there’s no audience to impress. Yes, she is a bundle of energy and she is full of piss and vinegar, but when no one is around, I don’t have a whole lot of problem getting her to mind. Of course, NO ONE ever sees that. All they see is a mom who apparently is so inept she has zero control over a 4 year old.

Appearances are deceiving, kinda like all the people in this town who pretend to be so church-y and self righteous and most of them are functional alcoholics. Or the so called low lifes, like me, treated like dirt because we’re broke, but really we’re ten times smarter and classier than the ones judging us.

Yeah, it’s definitely one of those “brain reboot” nights because nothing pleasant is going to emerge from this state of having my kilter off.

(Yes, I know that sounds stupid, I am trying to be funny, but why should I succeed at that, since I fail everything else? I keep trying, doesn’t that get me a participation trophy or something?_

Oh, and today the snow cone stand’s flavor of the day was “Blue’s Clues.”

My macabre side has this mental image of that cartoon dog in a blender. I have been watching wayyy too many Simpsons Treehouse of Terror episodes.