Monthly Archives: June 2014

Missing…My motivation

I got up and dressed today. Was going to go to the shop, Bex agreed to babysit for an hour or so. Except she didn’t get up til nearly 1pm (fuck you seroquel) and by then…the heat and all the kids running in and out had me losing motivation. I was determined…and then…I just can’t make myself to do it. In fact, the thought of going outside my door sends me into an inexplicable panic.

The professionals like to spew about triggers and patterns and there HAS to be one, you’re just not seeing it.

There truly is no rhyme or reason to my mood swings, my anxiety, my paranoia. It sweeps in from nowhere for no reason and I try to do battle but nine times out of ten, I fail. I feel these emotions down to my bone even as I try to talk myself out of them with self bullying. Get up and just do it, you loser! Get over it, you’re being a wuss! Don’t be a child, grow up and grow a pair!

I am so sick of this rinse, lather, repeat cycle. So sick of not being able to make sense of it all. I can’t fix it if it doesn’t follow some logic that I can view as dysfunctional and try to correct.

This is where my confusion becomes all encompassing. Am I bipolar or do I just have a bad personality and weak character? They send so many mixed messages. One will say it’s the bipolar or anxiety. One will say it’s my personality and I am not pushing myself hard enough. If it’s both, how do I distinguish between disorder and dysfunction?

Personally, I’m not convinced I have a personality to be disordered. I am my illness. It doesn’t define me as a person, but it taints my every thought and action every minute of the day. If I’m not in my right mind, how can I determine what’s wrong with it?


And I melting in the humidity, my clothes sticking to me, making me even grumpier.

I was fine earlier.

Nothing happened.

Now I am in the abyss.

What. The. Fuck.

Behind the yellow door, a man’s mental illness worsens – The Washington Post


Everyone is worried about the man in the house.

His ex-wife, his mother, his father, his neighbors, the psychiatrists he has seen and no longer sees, they are all concerned because he has been alone in the house in suburban Maryland for two years.

No one knows what he is doing. No one knows what he is thinking, what he is eating or how he is surviving. In two years, since his frightened wife took their three young boys and left him there alone, he has not spoken to anyone for more than a few minutes. He has not let anyone beyond the front door, which he has fortified with a new lock, a piece of plastic bolted over the window, and a piece of plywood bolted below that, all of which he has painted a bright shade of yellow. He keeps the living room curtains shut.

The man in the house, a 42-year-old who once earned six figures working on Capitol Hill and was a devoted husband and father, tells his family that he is not sick, even though a psychological evaluation found he had “a schizoaffective disorder, depressive type with persecutory delusions.”

As far as they know, he has stopped taking the psychiatric medication prescribed after he told police that God was speaking through his 3-year-old son. He has quit his job and stopped paying bills. His family doesn’t know what to do.

His mother leaves bags of groceries on the porch. His ex-wife sends text messages, and his responses are increasingly worrying, such as when he refers to his sons as his “suns.” His father is always leaving a version of the same phone message — “Hey, this is dad. Let me know if you want to come out and talk. We love you. We care about you.” — which his son never answers.

Once, the man’s family might have handled the situation by having him involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution. For decades, it was a routine and simple procedure: If a doctor agreed that the patient had a mental illness, he could be institutionalized even against his will.

The problem was that it was a process with few safeguards, and during much of the 20th century, all kinds of people who didn’t belong — from free-thinking women to gay people, minorities and rebellious children — wound up locked in hospitals where abuse was common and conditions were often bleak.

Fitness Update June 22, 2014

An Important Announcement The weekend both the name and web address for this blog changed: The new name is “Insights from a Bipolar Bear” The new web address is Please update your favorites list. Why a Fitness Update on a Bipolar Blog? Over 80 percent of people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, […]

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I’m Here

A few years ago I read Alice Walker's The Color Purple. I thought it was a good book. And a few years later I saw it on Broadway. I really liked the soundtrack. There's one song, "I'm Here," that particularly spoke to me. It is about courage, and strength, and resiliency, and self-love. I love it. I sometimes think of it as my anthem. Here it is.

I got my children

I can't hold them now

They may not be here

But they still mine

I hope they know I still love them

Got my house

It still keep the cold out

Got my chair when my body can't hold out

Got my hands doing good like they supposed to

Showing my heart to the folks that I'm close to

I got my eyes though they don't see as far now

They see more about how things really are now

I'm gonna take a deep breath
I'm gonna hold my head up
I'm gonna put my shoulders back
And look you straight in the eye
I'm gonna flirt with somebody when they walk by
I'm gonna sing up, sing up
I believe I have inside of me everything that I need to live a bountiful life
With all the love alive in me
I'll stand as tall as the tallest tree
Yes, I'm thankful for each day that I'm given
Both the easy and hard one's I'm living
But most of all I'm thankful for loving who I really am
I'm beautiful
Yes, I'm beautiful
And I'm here

Black Blossoms

Now that the worst appears to be over, I want to invite my readers into the room in which I’ve spent a good portion of the past couple of weeks. Don’t be afraid; just take my hand and come with me for a few moments. I promise to return you safely.

It is a cheerless, windowless room with no decoration save for a vase full of roses which are as black as the night… black as the thoughts of death that have both repulsed and attracted me so often in recent days. They are as beautifully constructed as any natural rose, and yet they give off an odor so noxious that you can hardly bear to be near them. You wrinkle your nose at the sickish-sweet smell and turn to leave, only to discover that the door is locked behind you, trapping you in the room with those ghastly black blossoms and a sense of apprehension.

At first, the feeling is one of mild-to-moderate anxiety. You cast about for something you can use to force that door open, and find nothing. Then you call out, hesitantly in the beginning for fear of rousing whatever ugly spirit may reside in a dark corner; but soon your cries grow louder and more insistent as the wave of panic builds. Finally you start to scream….until you realize that no one can hear you. Because there is no one to hear you. It’s only you, alone in a world which seems to be closing in on you…..and of course, there are the roses. Always the roses.

Strangely, their numbers begin to multiply as desperate thoughts of freedom torment you. There has to be a way out! In your mind’s eye you can see the bottle of pills in your medicine cabinet…..the knives in the kitchen…..the pistol in the drawer. Any one of these would set you free, but you choose the pills because you don’t want to leave a mess for your loved ones to find. Because you’re thoughtful like that. It never occurs to you that it won’t matter to them how you left them, only that you chose to leave them.

You find yourself longing for the feel of the bottle in your hand and imagining the sweet release that would follow the consumption of its contents. After all, you can’t stay locked in here forever, not with that death-smell and those freakish ebony rose petals blooming with every dark thought. You feel your sanity unraveling and wonder how bad this is going to get before it’s over. And as if that weren’t frightening enough…..what if it’s NEVER over? What hellish fate is waiting for you there in the gathering blackness?

And that, Constant Reader, is depression with suicidal ideation.

I’m not quite out of the woods yet, but I’m no longer imprisoned in that windowless room, entertaining fantasies of death. I refuse to take on tomorrow’s worries, because today is all that’s promised to me. And I give thanks that the darkness has gone, the sun is out, and the only roses in my vase are the fresh-cut Hot Chocolates from my front yard. Life is good. And I choose to live.




A New Address

In case you missed the blog post, the new name of this blog is Insights from a Bipolar Bear. In that post I mentioned I’d eventually change the web address. Well, eventually came faster than I originally expected. I decided to just go ahead and change the web address to this blog. Here is all […]

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Can’t It Be “Just Because”??!?!?

Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA:

I am SO on the same page. Stigma strikes again! Maybe the guy has a violent streak–does that mean he is mentally ill? Are character flaws classified as mental illness in the DSMV? I’ll have to look. But I doubt it. Some people are just jerks, but I don’t think you’ll find “jerk” in the DSM. Thanks for bringing up this REALLY IMPORTANT point!!!

Originally posted on Pride in Madness:

Won’t say to much about this but seeing an article called “Luis Suarez’s bite has many questioning his mental health” sends fiery rage through my body. Every time someone does something we do not approve of we have to immediately question their mental health status!

Sometimes people do things. They do things in the moment for whatever reason but it doesn’t mean we need to closely examine them looking for the “why’s”. JUST BECAUSE! Things happen!


I’m in no way making an opinion on Suarez’s mental health status and frankly, I don’t care. I’m making an opinion on how society (us) disapproval leads to the suspicion or diagnosis of a mental illness. This in turns perpetuates the stereotype that people with mental health issues do things we disapprove of and in some cases these things are violent.


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Ray of Hope

I’m better today. I don’t feel great, and I’m still pretty fragile, but the suicidal ideation is gone and I just feel tired, like I’ve been through a battle of some kind… indeed I have.

I got a really good night’s rest last night, and even fell asleep at a decent hour thanks to the full Zyprexa dose. It was nice not to lie awake into the wee hours, ruminating and feeling more and more frantic as the minutes ticked by. It was also good to do as Dr. A had suggested and call a moratorium on worrying about money and job-hunting; yes, the problems are still very much there, but I am giving myself the weekend off.

However, I’m still playing armchair quarterback, and second-guessing myself as to why I’m always so quick to deny the possibility that maybe—just maybe—it’s not mere life events that are causing me to ricochet between hope and despair. Maybe it really is the fact that I have an illness which causes extreme mood swings, and not just a character weakness or an inability to cope with life.

That’s a hard concept to grasp when you were taught from earliest childhood to “suck it up, Buttercup” and that “good” people accept full responsibility for everything that goes wrong in their lives. There was no room for the idea that SOME things are nobody’s fault—they just happen. Losing that State job wasn’t my fault; it just happened. Having difficulty finding out where I belong in the world now isn’t my fault either (even though I still have to do something about it). But I can say that to myself a hundred times—I can even type it onto a computer screen—and still not believe it entirely.

This is where a more objective observer—or two, or three—can be most helpful. In addition to Dr. A, I happen to have several friends who have been fighting the same disease for years, and when one, or all, of these people tell me the same thing, I have no choice but to pay attention. Admittedly, my perspective is skewed, and by default I am over-critical and much too hard on myself for things that I readily forgive other people for. These people give me a ray of hope when I need one; they lift me up when I fall; they call me on my BS; they nourish my soul.

They also know how far I can be pushed, but always stop short of pushing me too far. What’s unique about the situation is, with the exception of Dr. A, I have never even met these people in person. We all “know” each other from a nursing website, and now have our own support group for nurses with mood disorders on Facebook. Yet while we’ve never heard each other’s voices or hugged each other, we know each other more intimately than most of the people in our “real” lives.

These are the people I trust to tell me the unvarnished truth when I’m out of control, even if I don’t ask them for it. They are the ones I listen to most because they know this disease as well as I do, if not better because they’ve dealt with it for so much longer than I have. It’s not that people who DON’T suffer from it have nothing valuable to offer; it’s just that these folks have looked into the monster’s eyes, stared it down, and won. And that, more than anything, gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to do the same.

In the Arena

Today’s manic masterpiece of the moment – fashion ad with my addition of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” quote and a dash of photographic manipulation

Nobody gets out alive anyway

Yep. That’s the mental space I am in now. I sit and ponder the sheer enormity of the world and how every tiny cog in the machine has to operate in precise concert for everything to keep going as it is meant to…And I lose all hope that change is even within the realm of possibility. If it takes that much to keep it all afloat, how will anything ever be different?

Some would argue that this is a pessimistic attitude. Maybe they would be right.

Maybe I am right.

I mean, nobody gets out of life alive, anyway. So where is the point in living to die? Why strive for better when it’s all you can do to stay afloat? Fact is, you can cure cancer and AIDS, have  a gazillion dollars, everything-and at the end of your tour of duty, you go out with a toe tag same as the lowliest cretin on Earth.


I’m not saying I wave the white flag.

Just saying this is one of those days where my mind has wandered into territory it’s apparently too overwhelmed by. If there is no hope to get out of life alive, why am I fighting so hard to survive? What’s an extra 30,40 years with a multitude of mental illnesses dragging you down repeatedly? What’s the purpose of a life with no support system, no empathy, and no one who has the compassion to understand or care. They just want to judge you harshly.

That’s been my experience. I wish it’d been different. I’d love to spew sunshine and rainbows, I really would.

It’s a choice, they say. I call it denial. Life is both beautiful and ugly and in between are the shades of gray. You can enjoy the ride but it doesn’t mean you don’t have your days where the ugly has overshadowed the beautiful and the gray…

Mood disorders are like being under the influence. They taint your every thought, action, reaction, opinion…And a day or week later, the haze lifts and you’re like a totally different person. The thought of 40 more years of this shit doesn’t really fill me with enthusiasm. Yet the thought of not being here for my kid doesn’t sit well, either.

This s a shade of gray, I guess.

To quote a line from a Wednesday 13 song: “Pull the wings off a fly, watch it suffer and die…And I’ll never get out of this life alive..Drenched in blood with no alibi.”

Nobody gets out alive. Nobody. So you take your good, your bad, and your shades of gray and you just try to muddle through.

Even on days when you’re fucked up brain is trying to convince you there is no point and even if there were, you’re useless and don’t serve a purpose so why bother anymore.


those are the days when you have to fight even harder to remember…It’s ugly out there but there are some amazing, beautiful things, too. It’s something to hold onto.