Daily Archives: February 21, 2014

I love my mom

Here’s a link to an interview my mom did with Mama Bear. I had one up too, it’s still there. Please don’t criticize my mom. She has never done anything wrong. Abuse? HA. I never wanted for anything. She’s been my best friend, my accomplice, my partner in crime, and my mom, of course.


My mom grew up with 2 sisters in a loving family with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma was a stay at home mom, while Grandpa worked at GM to support the family, and support it he did. My aunts and mom never wanted for anything, either, and Grandpa never laid a hand on those girls, or Grandma. He was a gentleman, through and through, and loved Grandma with everything in him, and still left room to love his daughters fiercely and when his grandchildren were born, he loved them too, and included his new son-in-laws.


Grandma and Grandpa always supported his daughters. He was always with Grandma, who he called “Mom”. He gave her the world. She did a lot of knitting, sewing, any craft, really. She was an intelligent woman and could make anything. My mom picked up a lot of that and is a very creative woman. You should see some of the things she’s done for first attempts, on a whim. “I should make a cake shaped like a purse for cousin-Wee on her birthday”. Then she does it, and it looks professional.


My moms was MUCH nicer.

My mom doesn’t give up. Once she made a carrot cake for dessert, and dropped it. So she made another one, because she knows we love carrot cake. We gave the broke one to the horses at the barn! When I was a kid, being bullied at school, she did everything to stop it. The school didn’t listen. So she’d drive me to school before work every day. She didn’t start working out of the house until I was old enough to take care of my brother and I after school. She did sewing work until I was 12, freelance, for companies. She believed in being there for her kids, and growing up at home with them. My dad worked full time and we saw him at family supper, which was usually around the table, and when we got older, we’d eat on TV trays.


Everyone and every animal at the barn loved the carrot cake.

Out of the second she made and iced, she gave me 1/3 to take to the barn because I had fallen off and owed baked goods. They decided they she’s official baker now.

She taught me a lot. She pushed me to excel without stressing me. She’d help me with homework until it was beyond her. She taught me how to sew, knit, cross stitch. My earliest craft was cross-stitching on those big plastic canvases. We’d always go to Mary Maxim with grandma, every year, for the big sales, and Grandma would knit us a new sweater (we always kept them) and we’d get craft supplies. We still go. My mom would get something to do, and I’d get a kiddy kit. I would make bracelets, or cross stitch, or paint by numbers.


Everyone has one. Mine were just cooler, with Mario, horses and more. Still have them! ūüėõ

Grandpa was a talented, patient man. You know those matchstick structures? We’d get him one every Christmas. He’d make amazing ones.. trains, the CN tower, all sorts of things. My parents have all of them around the house. He did complex paint by numbers that would boggle most peoples minds. A trip to grandma and grandpas was always SUCH a treat. When my mom was training on computers to go back to school, we got to stay with grandma and grandpa, and even walk their dog!


My parents decorated their house with my grandpa’s creations.

He has made a lot of what’s in that pic. I’ve tried my hand, so has my dad.

They’re HARD and require a LOT of patience. This shows how patient Grandpa was! Amazingly patient. WOW. He made over 10 of those things.

My mom supported my horseback riding, even though she was scared of horses. Fortunately, my dad was with me the first time I fell off. She would have panicked. She’s seen me fall a few times, and seen how the instructors handle it, so she’s okay now. She’s seen me through major injuries, and had a few panics. When I broke my jaw on a therapy pony I was training, she said they better get rid of that pony, if he was throwing an A-circuit rider, he could kill a disabled child. They listened. They got rid of the pony, GOOD. Good for her for saying that. Because it was true.


I’ve fallen off a thousand times.

This is sorta what happened, except the jump was wood, I hit it with my face.

Fortunately I was wearing a helmet. I broke the left side of my jaw, and chin.

With mental illness, she took me to my doctor, not involuntary, and kept the self injury up to me to confess. I was 14. So, I was protected by consent laws and she didn’t have to be in the room, but I kept her there. I was then put on Paxil, and after a few years, Effexor and a few other antidepressants. We tried ¬†a naturopath, when I had the insurance. After a few visits, we decided it was a load of crap.


The day after my 16th birthday party, I was still 15, she took me to learn to drive in a parking lot. I later, lots of years later (like, this year) told her I was hungover. She laughed, because my friends mom had been chaperoning (it was a triple party, my friends birthdays were the 28th and 29th, I was the 30th) On my birthday, I got my G1, first license in the graduated system. When she hit jackpot at the casino, she bought me my first car and gave me some $100 bills! She had plenty left for myself. It was her first time at the casino. She spent less than $10 before the bells rang! Then she left. ūüôā


When I was 15, I had my first part time job. She’d drive me in for midnight, pick me up before work at 8am. Or if I started at 8pm and got off at 4am, she’d drive. So I didn’t have to deal with scary people on Clifton Hill, or call for a security escort, she’d come right to the building. At 4am, on a busy night. She made sure I got safely to and from work. I worked until I was pu on disability and on and off. I have always paid my car insurance. I have always had a car, she thinks that is important in independence. She has taught me independence.


My first car, 1989 Plymouth Acclaim. Except mine wasn’t in that good of shape.

The brakes failed after 3 weeks. The mechanic didn’t fix them, they failed again.

The rad exploded. So I got a 4 banger Mustang, in the winter.


It was sweet, except it handled like crap in a Canadian winter.

So Grandpa gave me his 1993 Oldsmobile Cutlass, when he bought a new car for him and Grandma.


Mine was in better shape than that.

It was an AMAZING car. I drove it until the body fell off.

They stopped making them because they just do not break.

Mine never saw a mechanic.

My first hospitalization scared her. My second angered her, because she was so scared when I wasn’t at work and my car was at home, and I hadn’t called. The hospital said they wouldn’t take care of it. They didn’t. My BF at the time went over with coffee and talked to her. She came in, cooled down. She’s never been really angry with me. She’s been pissed off, but has never held a grudge.


I hate disappointing her. On grad day, I wore a dress she picked out (I liked it, wasn’t my first choice, but it was hers) and the damn heels she picked out, that I could barely walk in. 2012 Grad. She was so proud, she even bought the schools super expensive roses for me. It was¬†her day¬†to be proud of me. She helped me financially, so did Grandma and Grandpa, may they rest in peace, together forever, and I wanted it to be special for her. Don’t tell that dress itched like hell, and those heels were almost impossible to walk in LOL. They took me out for supper after, I had people over swimming.


My grad dress. Couldn’t do much with my hair, coz it was so short.

My mom picked the dress, it is pretty, but it was uncomfortable. It matches my eyes well.

It was 2nd or 3rd in my pile of about 8 dresses! I took her opinion, though, and went with it.

I wanted the day to be special for her, too.

I love my mom. She has helped me in so many ways. She’s been my best friend, an accomplice, and most important, my mother. She’s never¬†not been there for me. She’s always been by my side. She pushed me to get through college, following my instructions of “Don’t let me ever think of quitting”. She stuck by me. She’s supported me through MI, stepping up to that bat when needed.


She’s helped me financially, she’s helped me in every way possible. She gives me little gifts, she’ll help me set things up, she helped me move, she helps my friends out, she’s just damn cool (as said by all my friends!), she’s intelligent as hell, she has so many talents and strengths, she can deal with¬†anything, and she will stand up for me if I need it.


I couldn’t have asked for a better mom.

I’ll never be as great a person as she, but I can try.


Fitness Friday: Fitness When You’re Sick

Fitness Friday #4: Fitness When You’re Sick

You’re Just Like Me: Dyane





So you have a mental illness.. Which one?

Bipolar one and generalized anxiety

When were you diagnosed & how old were you?

I was 37 years old and six weeks postpartum when I was diagnosed with
bipolar.  After my little girl was born, I stopped sleeping, became manic
and to top it off, had acute hypergraphia (compulsive writing).  It was
bizarre and none of the doctors recognized what was going on at first.
PPD (postpartum depression) gets a lot more attention, unfortunately.   I
can’t remember when I got my anxiety diagnosis though, but my anxiety has
been around a long, long time.

How do you cope with your mental illness?

I tried the med-free route but that backfired and I was hospitalized.  At
43, I’m a walking pharmacy. I take Parnate (an MAOI), lithium and
Seroquel. ¬†I also take a drug called Baclofen for anxiety. It’s supposed
to be non-addictive. ¬†I hope that’s true as I developed a nasty addiction
to benzos.  I have had ECT done twice and it worked for me the first time.
I have a great counselor and I blog. ¬†I am working on my book “Birth of a
New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar” for which I secured a
publication deal last year before I relapsed and cancelled my contract.

What are 3 words that you would describe how your illness makes you feel?

Ashamed, hopeless, weary

What are some ways you relax from your illness?

I used to be a certified personal trainer, and I really believe in
exercise helping mood. I work out every day unless I have a very good
reason not to do it.  My pdoc says to get 20-30 minutes and he stresses to
do it daily.  I read my Kindle, I write, I take hot baths.  I cuddle with
my two little girls. I use my Sunbox bright light every morning while I
check Facebook. I was using medical marijuana, but I stopped once I
started taking Seroquel because I was paranoid the two wouldn’t mix well.
I might revisit it.

What is some advice you would give to your fellow soldiers fighting this

If you can find a live support group with DBSA or NAMI, I’d give it a try.
Meetup has groups. ¬†I agree with my cool friend the blogger “Bipolar On
Fire” to find other bloggers with mood disorders in the blogosphere (i.e.
WordPress) – there are amazing writers out there who can help you feel
supported and understood.

Do you have any books, websites, writers, shows, music, etc that has
helped you cope that you like to share?

Lots. ¬†Melody Moezzi’s “Haldol and Hyacinths”, Dr. Liz Miller’s “Mood
Mapping” (She was in the awesome Stephen Fry documentary “The Secret Life
of the Manic Depressive”), Rebecca Moore’s “Moorestorms: A Guide for the
Bipolar Parent”, ¬†BP Magazine & its website blog, Esperanza the
Anxiety/Depression magazine and its website blog.  I pre-purchased an
excellent-sounding book by Dr. Ruth White called “Preventing Bipolar
Relapse” and Wendy K. Williamson’s upcoming “Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to
Survival: Tips for Living With Bipolar Disorder”. ¬†She wrote a cool book
called “I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar”.

Tell us your blog or how we can keep in contact with you:

My blog “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar”
(I blog about non-bipolar-related issues as well!)

International Bipolar Foundation guest blogger



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Managing Mania

I'm a rapid cycler which means my mood extremes don't last for months or years but rather for days or weeks...or minutes.  I've been manic for the past 5 or 6 days.  At first it was great tackling things around that house that needed to be done, throwing out clutter, clearing my desk, organizing my closet,...even going for long fast walks,...

But the last few days have been compounded with confusion, distraction, ADHD-type behavior.  I do have some Adderall that was prescribed last Fall but not started...I had too much crazy $#!+ going on at the time with medications and side effects.  All that has calmed down to a distracting hum...head tremor, busy tongue and jaw (Tardive Dyskinesia), dry mouth.  Maybe I'll try the Adderall today if I don't settle down.

In the meantime, there are several activities I think I will try.  One, is this...writing...getting a grasp of what is going on.  Two...making a "to do" list to get all thoughts and intentions out of my head and onto paper...complete with priorities and the time it will take to do each one.  Three...meditation, yoga, exercise...or maybe all three, after all I have all day.

"Having all day..." is the mindset that gets me into trouble.  I start out in five directions, make a list two pages long, feel really bad when I only accomplish the first four items, ...

Of course, there is so much more to managing mania.  Some manias are not productive but destructive, angry, and chaotic.  Agitated mixed states can be dangerous, in fact.  That's when we use doctors, hospitals, and 911.  My son paces.  I write...and walk...and try to Not go shopping.

In With The Blue, Out With The Black

OK, self. Time to breathe…….in with the blue……out with the black.

It’s a relaxation technique¬†taught to me long ago by a friend who was a hypnotherapist—you’re suppose to take¬†deep breaths and visualize the intake of¬†”good”¬†air (blue)¬†and the exhalation of¬†”bad” air (black). Sometimes it even works, as long as whatever’s got me wound up doesn’t have me wound too tight. I just have trouble remembering to do it before things escalate to the point where it wouldn’t do me any good even if I¬†could remember.

I almost reached that point yesterday. The bumpy road I’ve been on the past couple of weeks took an unexpected detour,¬†and¬†after I got done with yesterday’s rant¬†it¬†suddenly¬†occurred to me that¬†crappy sleep + being sick +¬†high stress =¬†ugly hypomanic state.¬†There. I said it. You have no idea how badly I don’t want¬†it to be true, but the fact that I’ve been arguing politics, having trouble focusing, and¬†even now am sitting here, tapping my good foot nonstop,¬†is a dead giveaway. If I felt better, I’d be cleaning everything in sight.

But not to worry: I’ve gone¬†back on my super-duper anti-crazy pill for a few days, and feel somewhat less wacky today. I don’t have TIME for this bullshit. I’ve been out sick all week, and¬†I have to bring my “A” game to my intensive training session NEXT week. I can’t¬†just¬†stick my head in the sand¬†and wait for this to get worse, which is why I started the Vitamin Z last night even though I wasn’t thoroughly convinced I even was hypo.

What it took was getting called out on FB by a friend who also is bipolar and can always tell I’m cycling by the nature of my posts. And then of course, Will just kept looking at me with this odd expression that I don’t always notice when I’m far down the road to Mania Land, but which¬†means “I know you’re losing it, you know you’re losing it, and I KNOW you¬†know you’re losing it. DO SOMETHING!!”

So, I’m doing it. I had to look at yesterday’s post to see what I’d written—memory is such a dicey thing when you’re hypo—and was actually¬†heartened when I saw that I’d used the word “fuck” only once. Not that I’m proud of it, but as you all know I can be a MUCH bigger potty-mouth than this. I got a good night’s sleep last night, for which I paid a price because instead of coughing all night, I’ve coughed all. damn.¬†day.

But it’s become painfully obvious over the past few months that¬†sleep is a top priority, because I get nuttier than a squirrel when I go more than one or two nights without at least six hours straight.¬†No wonder Dr. A was so insistent on putting me on a sleep regimen—when I follow it to the letter, I’m golden. When I have schedule changes and can’t make adjustments, or am under the kind of stress I’ve been¬†dealing with¬†for the past few weeks, or get double-teamed by asthma and bronchitis…….well, it just sorta goes to hell in¬†the proverbial handbasket.

It’s just a damned good thing I had that chat with Dr. A last week. I’m absolutely FURIOUS that this is happening, but I just keep replaying the conversation about how relapses are going to happen no matter how strict I am with myself on meds and sleep. Nobody¬†else on¬†the planet is¬†half as hard on¬†me about this disease¬†as I am, and at some point I’ve got to¬†let go of the idea that I can control it completely. Even though I am stubborn and think I should be able to. Does that make sense?

In the meantime, it’s in with the blue……out with the black……`cough` `hack`