Daily Archives: January 6, 2014

Dear Ignorant Haters- how about you suck eggs?

Dear Ignorant Hater , I understand you are afraid of me and know that fear causes you to act a dick, attempting to make me feel less than you think […]

Pet-Peeve #1: “I’m Humbled”…Um, No You’re Not

My annoyance with mock-humility…

My Journey to YouTube Land

Why I left YouTube once before, and why I’m now giving it another shot…

Sombre Ombre – A Story of Shaken Identity

There are only a few things in life now that seem to be able to get under my skin and eat me alive. Way less than when I was younger. One of them is when I can’t find something – when I know for a fact it is within 3 feet of me. I can’t tell […]

Slow Emotion

Regular readers will know how I am plagued by mood swings, especially sharp bursts of irritability.  Ironically, one of the most stressful activities for me, given the name of this blog, is fixing a puncture. I have written about this before, you can read what I have had to say about what punctures mean for me by reading the 2 posts below that I wrote back in the Spring



Last  month I suffered 2 punctures. The first one was when I was in the centre of town – no repair kit to be found in my panniers  ( will return to this point shortly.) Frustrated, annoyed, mystified (the puncture occurred while my bike was locked up outside my doctor’s surgery, which is to say, stationary. I wheeled my bike to the nearest bike shop, and for a princely sum, they fixed it. Stress levels reduced thanks to my finding a solution quickly – as in the past (see blog posts above) I found someone who could fix the puncture.


The next puncture was what we call a slow puncture. It’s not immediately apparent. I discovered it one morning as I cycled away from my house. Right from that moment my reaction to what had happened – and what I would have to do – was different. The bike went back into the garage, and I walked. I worked out there and then that I wouldn’t have time to fix it for a couple of days. I didn’t fret, I wasn’t preoccupied by the thought of doing something I find very stressful, that I am not very good at.

That was new.

But since I wasn’t fretting about it, I didn’t give it any thought at all. I failed to notice any difference in my reaction to having a puncture to fix. Before I actually got down to fixing the puncture I made a Plan B in case I just couldn’t fix it, couldn’t get the damn tyre off, or the hole was too big to patch up. I looked up the bus schedule (I had to get to the train station the following morning  to go to work.)

That was new.

Only then did I set about preparing to fix the puncture.

I assembled everything I needed, took the wheel off … you get the picture. The hole was so small that I couldn’t find it. Still no grinding of teeth, throwing of tools. I then took the next step and put the inner tube in some water – the bubbles showed me the spot immediately. I applied the patch, slightly inflated the tube and in one go eased the wheel and tube back in place. I put the wheel back on the bike, pumped up the tyre and cycled round the block a couple of times to make sure the patch was doing the job.

Then it hit me. What had happened? I had been totally relaxed; I behaved, well, like a bike mechanic. But I couldn’t understand why. The puncture had happened at an inconvenient time. I had had a couple of days to stew over having to do something I find stressful and still I had acted as though I did this sort of thing every day.

One thing I knew – it stood as evidence. Proof that I do have the capacity to act in a calm collected manner even when in a stressful situation.

Since then I have discussed this episode with my psychiatrist. He suggested that I log my outbursts. I agreed that I would draw up a chart and note down what happened to provoke my flashes of irritability. True to form I haven’t done so yet – but I haven’t noticed any outbursts yet, either.

While it is still a mystery to me as to why I was able to fix the puncture without going red in the face and having a tantrum, I do have a theory: is it possible that all this preoccupation with wanting to control my irritable outbursts (I think about it every day) has somehow contributed to a calmer me?

A Little While, a Little While

A little while, a little while,
The weary task is put away,
And I can sing and I can smile,
Alike, while I have holiday.

Where wilt thou go, my harassed heart–
What thought, what scene invites thee now
What spot, or near or far apart,
Has rest for thee, my weary brow?

There is a spot, ‘mid barren hills,
Where winter howls, and driving rain;
But, if the dreary tempest chills,
There is a light that warms again.

The house is old, the trees are bare,
Moonless above bends twilight’s dome;
But what on earth is half so dear–
So longed for–as the hearth of home?

The mute bird sitting on the stone,
The dank moss dripping from the wall,
The thorn-trees gaunt, the walks o’ergrown,
I love them–how I love them all!

Still, as I mused, the naked room,
The alien firelight died away;
And from the midst of cheerless gloom,
I passed to bright, unclouded day.

A little and a lone green lane
That opened on a common wide;
A distant, dreamy, dim blue chain
Of mountains circling every side.

A heaven so clear, an earth so calm,
So sweet, so soft, so hushed an air;
And, deepening still the dream-like charm,
Wild moor-sheep feeding everywhere.

THAT was the scene, I knew it well;
I knew the turfy pathway’s sweep,
That, winding o’er each billowy swell,
Marked out the tracks of wandering sheep.

Could I have lingered but an hour,
It well had paid a week of toil;
But Truth has banished Fancy’s power:
Restraint and heavy task recoil.

Even as I stood with raptured eye,
Absorbed in bliss so deep and dear,
My hour of rest had fleeted by,
And back came labour, bondage, care.

Emily Bronte (1818 – 1848)

Quote For Today ~ Simon & Garfunkel

I am wondering should I make this quote a quiz? It is a fairly recognizable song. It is on their 4th album with the same name as the song, Okay, if nobody guesses I’ll put it up as a regular quote. Feel free to use any resources at hand even that old vinyl copy of […]

Because of Sara Lomas

I like to give credit where it’s due. Sara Lomas of Laments and Lullabies is definitely due some credit, but …

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Because of Sara Lomas

I like to give credit where it’s due. Sara Lomas of Laments and Lullabies is definitely due some credit, but …

Continue reading

Insert Title Here

Title having been decided upon, I have decided that I need a break from myself. But, everywhere I go, there I am. It’s like I am stalking myself. Maybe it is because I am going through another phase where my sleep patterns have gone all wonky. I still need a spa week, though. That would […]

Identical Cousins

Before I was diagnosed with bipolar, I remember being terribly afraid of bipolar disorder. I was ok with being depressed, but for some reason I was terrified of bipolar disorder. I guess it meant that I would be “one of those crazy people” who had breakdowns and needed lithium and couldn’t behave properly in public. I still struggle with the diagnosis, mostly due to the stigma associated with it. But I’ve come a long way in understanding the condition and being more informed.  My own thoughts on bipolar prior to the diagnosis were hilariously, ridiculously inaccurate.

When I was young there was a TV movie called “Call Me Anna”, which was based on actress Patty Duke’s autobiography. In “Call Me Anna”, she is extremely open and honest regarding her struggle with bipolar disorder and the damage it caused her career and personal life. I don’t remember too much of it and I really should see if I can watch it online somewhere, but when I was young it made quite the impression on me. The overall gist I took away from it was that Patty Duke was crazy and I didn’t want to be like Patty Duke. Her name became synonymous to me with unbearable, uncontrolled “wacko” women. As I grew older and it was becoming more obvious I was suffering from some sort of mood disorder, there was a relief in that I was “just depressed” and overall that I wasn’t “Patty Duke Crazy”. That was an actual adjective I had in my head for bipolar. I guess in my confused adolescent head there were varying degrees of crazy roughly drawn out by TV movies.

Remarkably, as the psychiatrist gave me the diagnosis of bipolar I didn’t start crying or wailing and throwing myself on the floor of the office. Because that, my friends, would have been Patty Duke Crazy. I was determined to keep it together and I was really quite OK until I talked to my mom. I allowed myself to have a mini breakdown at that time, I think because I felt like I disappointed her. We talked and I mostly got over that feeling and I started working on understanding bipolar and how I could live with it. It’s a continuing process and I’m really trying to reach out to all corners of the world as well as it’s wide web for help.

One interesting thing I did learn in my research is that Patty Duke is one hell of an advocate for people affected by bipolar disorder. Her admission of the disorder was unheard of at the time. She has been outspoken about her treatment and has even testified before Congress about mental health parity. Her website www.pattyduke.com lists the ways she’s been active in both mental health advocacy as well as keeping her acting and singing career alive. She’s a wonderful example of taking control of the disorder but not losing creativity or passion. Plus she’s Samwise Gamgee’s mom in real life.

I will always have a slightly different way of thinking that has nothing to do with the bipolar. It’s my odd sense of humor that makes people laugh or just say “Huh?”. So my odd sense of humor thinks that perhaps Patty Duke is my mental health spirit animal. Perhaps I remembered that deliciously 1990′s  TV movie so that I could one day find out that being “Patty Duke Crazy” isn’t all that bad, in fact I think it’s kind of cool. Who doesn’t want to be like an Oscar winning actress who has championed a cause like bipolar disorder?



Are there people you look up to as you fight your own battle? Is it a celebrity or a regular Joe? Please share who that would be in the comments!

Filed under: Self Discovery, Wellness Warriors Tagged: bipolar disorder, Call Me Anna, depression, mental health advocacy, NAMI, Patty Duke, pop culture, stigma, television