Daily Archives: June 5, 2014

A Response to Critical People


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How I Function (When I Do)

I recently was involved in an online discussion. I probably should have been doing something else at the time, but it caught my interest and I jumped in.

It was (or at least became, in part) about getting up, getting dressed, and doing the work (or art or whatever). One person stated that she worked at home, but she needed to get out of her pajamas and get into regular clothes as a signal and reminder to herself that it was time to work.

I work at home too, and when I can make myself do the work, I do it in my pajamas. I reserve getting dressed for when I have to go outside the house – maybe three or four times a month. Pulling myself together that way takes much effort, many spoons, that I need to invest in doing the work.

So am I high-functioning or low-functioning? Yes.

We also discussed Dale Carnegie’s admonition, “ACT enthusiastic and you’ll BE enthusiastic.” This advice comes in various forms: Fake it till you make it. You get good at what you practice.

It doesn’t work that way for me. I can pull myself together for a limited time and on the phone, talking to a client, for example. I can fake it for that long. In my pajamas. A few months ago I had to drive to a face-to-face, multi-person business meeting – all together, about a half a day. By the time I got home, I was not just fried, but extra-crispy. Even the next day, I was too exhausted to do much more than get out of bed. It did not result in my being any more pulled-together thereafter.

So I was high-functioning for half a day and low- to non-functioning for a day and a half.

I suspect that most of us go bouncing back and forth between high- and low-functioning, with an occasional pause in the middle. It probably goes with the mood swings.

There are high-functioning activities I can (sometimes) do: earn money and blog, for example. There are also ones that I used to be able to do, but now can’t: cope with taxes, travel abroad or on business, tolerate crowds. And there are things I can do for a limited time or with help: grocery shop, cook a little. Also things I can do, but not as well as I did before my brain broke: solve puzzles, analyze, concentrate.

I suppose you could count napping as something I can do better now. I am a truly high-functioning napper. Not much of an accomplishment, maybe, but it beats the hell out of insomnia!


Good Bye and Fuck You, Clozaril!


Well I had a Sizzle (ECT) last Friday and I told Dr. BigHeart that I absolutely had to go off the Clozaril.  In addition to it being the world’s biggest pain in the ass to be on, (having to get blood drawn every single week, chasing after the lab to fax it to the pharmacy, picking up one week’s worth of pills every week), I also couldn’t stop gaining weight due to the pot-like munchies.  Dr. BigHeart agreed to let me taper off.  So I’m on a half-dose this week, then after that, finito!  I’ve been a bit stuck in the mud this week, watching kind of a lot of shit tv and beating myself up for it.  But tonight I have a DBT Group get-together at my house again (I think, I’ve been texting everyone and haven’t heard back except for one sorry) so I have to move around and spruce up the house today, and go to Trader Joe’s and pick up some snickety-snacks, because I AM the Hostess with the Mostest!  I also need to get to the Library because I am out of reading material.  So yeah, I have to leave the house and do things.

I went to Grill Night at this beautiful country nine-hole golf course last night called Haystack.  Grill Night means they cook up a bunch of yummy shit on the grill and have live music, it’s a really fun summery thing to do.  This is a picture, that’s Haystack Mountain.  Isn’t it beautiful?  You could smell the flowers from inside, it’s pure heaven.  Hey, here’s an idea!  ENJOY THE DAY.  Yeah.


Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar ECT, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Clozaril, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

The Road Trip Aftermath

So..yesterday Bex and I braved the Dish, and a larger dish at that, by driving to the state capitol for a girl’s day out. Mom kept Spook. I got lost right off the bat. It’s inevitable when I go to places I am unfamiliar with. I mean, I’ve been going to the mall and such since I was 16, it’s all in a central location on a main drag. But when it’s in the downtown bustling area…I am directionally challenged. Needless to say I never did get to go my Big Lots.

We did the other stops on the itinerary though. The Mall was anticlimactic, we only went to two stores. I did like the dollar jewelry store though. Then we went to this new place, Five Below, and I was like a kid in a candy store. Five dollar lava lites? HELLS yeah.

I was fine the whole time. Heavy traffic and being lost made me jittery but for the most part, I felt confident and pretty cool. THEN came the trip back. That was when crazy came knocking. I became excessively paranoid about car problems, I felt this ominous knot in my gut, my anxiety skyrocketed, my mood crashed. Paxil must have a four hour half life because when it wears off, it’s crash landing. I did not like going from feeling normal to feeling like a bucket of crazy. That is my life, though. High functioning and normal, then knock knock, guess who’s back? CRAZY. Nutsy kookoo time.

But I got back into my safe space, took my evening meds, and things leveled out. Til cake vodka entered, then I was AWESOME. Unfortunately, I was so awesome I fell asleep in the chair and have no memory of doing so. I somehow ended up in bed. No memory. Like I got roofied. I did not like that at all.

Today, I showered, went to get my kid, and Bex cooked omelets for us. (YUM.) NOw I think we are both in recovery from yesterday’s outing. It was fun until it wasn’t. I can’t believe some people do that shit every day and LIKE it. Geesh. She has a friend over and their high pitched chatter is like nails on a chalkboard.

I had this epiphany yesterday driving back, while crazy was barging through the door and my mind was spinning. I spend a lot of time in this blog griping about my kid and  I am deficient in pointing out the ways she is as joyful as trying. And I do that a lot with everyone. I think it’s all I’ve ever known is people saying shit like, “You do this wrong, you annoy me when you do this, you’re not good at this…”I’ve been vilified and I think now I transfer it onto others when they hurt me or stress me out. This is something I need to work on. Unfortunately, I blew off an appointment with that crappy counselor and got a letter saying they’d no longer be able to serve our needs. Whatever. She wasn’t doing any good, anyway. Plus when you don’t click with a counselor and feel like you can be honest because when you are they just tell you you’re doing everything wrong…It’s time for me to try this child discipline thing on my own.

And draw attention to the ways she tickles me. She says such funny things. She makes me laugh. And when she says in the morning, “Mommy, will you snuggle with me?” it’s just the most warm fuzzy feeling I’ve ever had. I need to focus on the good more and less on the bad. Not just with her but on a whole. I get so hurt by people who reject me based on my mental issues, it becomes compulsion for me to point out their every bad quality without regard to the good. How unfair of me, even if my evil side thinks it’s warranted.

Now…time to recover. Too much stimuli makes me exhausted. I’m sure my lack of motivation to do housework will make the OCD queen feel like it’s falling onto her but I assure her, it is not. I don’t worry about these things too much. The carpet needing vacuumed but waiting a day or two isn’t going to crash the economy or blow up a school full of kids. It may irritating to someone with ocd, but I will get to it in my own time and I don’t expect her to tend to it for me. I am to blame for many things but if you brought OCD from England with you…it’s all yours, wench. :p

On a final note…I got this button yesterday that is my new mantra…”God grant me to vodka to accept the things I cannot change.”

Hells, yeah.

Of Two Minds: A Review

This review is two years late. I had never heard of the 2012 documentary film “Of Two Minds,” and am fortunate Maurice stumbled upon it while surfing through movies available on Netflix Instant Play. Because I had never seen the film, I can assume that many others missed this sometimes good, sometimes bad, always interesting […]

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Indiscretion, And Its Consequences

I just tested the marvelous remission I have been having, of the enzyme shortage in my small intestine that necessitated taking enzymes made from pig pancreases (just for irony’s sake, since I keep Kosher).  During the last 4 years I’ve had to take enzymes with everything I ate, so as to be able to digest and absorb it and not have it just come out in just a slightly different form than it went in.

And I’m lactose intolerant.

And I’m gluten intolerant.

And fructose intolerant (fructose is the sugar found in fruit) to a certain extent–I can only eat melons, berries, and apples.  Anything else makes its way out with alacrity.

When I discovered that I am in the “donut hole” or “coverage gap” of my Medicare prescription coverage–if you have the good fortune not to know what it means, it’s too complicated for me to explain right now–so I’ll just say Medicare stops paying for meds at a certain point, and leave it at that.

I wish I could leave it at that.

It’s so irritating that I have to take fistfuls of drugs every day, and they all cost a fortune.  When my discount mail order pharmacy told me that my copay for my intestinal enzymes was going to be $1500, I bridled at that.  One thousand, five hundred dollars for three months worth of enzyme.  OK, it’s only $500 a month–my bad.

Then the pharmacy tells me that the price for the whole prescription was actually $4000 that’s four with three zeros behind it.  Th $1500 was only the copay.  Well, fuck me.

So I decided I was going to make a trial off the enzyme.  Maybe either God had worked a miracle and not told me about it, or my intestines healed themselves (which, if you believe in such things, is kinda the same thing).  Even if I still needed the enzymes, all that could happen is about 4 or maybe 6, if I was unlucky, hours in the outhouse while my most recent meals bailed out the other end.

So I just held my nose and dived into the deep end.

I ate lunch.

I waited.

Nothing happened.

I ate supper.

Nothing happened.

The next thing that did happen was normal and healthy.  More so, in fact, than when I was taking the enzyme.


So for the past few weeks I’ve been feeling pretty cocky, eating whatever I liked and going to the bathroom like a normal human being.


But it’s another Jewish holiday.  This time it’s Shevuot, which is all about the Hebrews accepting the Torah at Mount Sinai, which is now somewhere in Egypt, just to carry irony a step further.

One way we celebrate Shevuot is by eating dairy foods: quiche, ice cream, cheesecake.

I make a cheesecake that is obscenely delicious, so that’s what I made, to follow up a dinner of fettucccine aglia i’olio with fettuccine made out of mung beans (yeah, I know) because I’m lactose intolerant.  Lots of olive oil.  Olive oil is good for you.  Yeah, and then I had a gigantic slice of my sinfully yummy cheesecake, made with a pound and a half of ricotta cheese and eight ounces (I guess that’s half a pound, isn’t it?) of sour cream.

Fat grams?  Oh, please.  Don’t harsh my buzz, OK?  I learned that expression from a shop girl who was on her cell permanently while I completed my purchase.  Calories?  Hah.  It’s a holiday, right?

But I forgot about the sour cream.  Only has four grams of carbs per serving, but guess what those carbs are?  You guessed right!  Lactose!  And guess what else?  I do not have even one gram of lactase, which is the enzyme that digests lactose, in my body.  Anytime I want to eat a lactose-containing food, I have to consume several lactase enzyme tablets along with it.

Can you believe it, I didn’t even think about lactase enzyme!  I just tucked right into that wedge of cheesecake, made of pounds of dairy delectables, and did not think a thing about the lactose intolerance part.

Hey, it’s a holiday, right?  Why would I still not be able to digest my food?  Seems like on a holiday I should be given a general dispensation to eat like a normal person.  And this is not a holiday like the Fourth of July, either.  This is a big one, that was commanded on Mount Sinai.

So why should I have to take all kinds of digestive enzymes in order to digest my holy holiday food?  It doesn’t add up.  That’s why I’m not so religious anymore.  Yeah, I thought it was a “test,” too, at first.  Then it stopped being holy, and started being just plain awful.  So much for the depth of my faith.

So as I’m writing this, in between trips to the outhouse–it’s dark and only lightly raining–I’m parsing out, in my mind, what this particular episode could be about.  Pig enzyme deficiency?  Oh, I hope not!  That would further dash my faith in the Almighty.

No, I’m fairly sure this is a lactose intolerance issue.  It has the hallmarks: the tell-tale sudden onset of cramps so intense that I can’t breathe and break out in a sweat–don’t ask me if it’s a cold sweat, a hot sweat, or just a regular sweat–when in the throes of it, one doesn’t pay much attention to such things.  And then the panicked runs to the facilities.  I won’t say “toilet,” because I don’t have one.  I remember when I did.  It was convenient, and one didn’t have to worry about bears, etc.  Don’t laugh.  Up here on the Blue Ridge, we have all kinds of Things That Go Bump In The Night.

Yes, I’m getting more sure by the moment, that this must be lactose intolerance.  For one thing, the pig-enzyme deficiency deal does not come with cramps or desperate running to the–whatever.  It’s more of a leisurely thing: “Oh say, I think I have to shit again.  How many times does this make?  Ten?  Twelve?  Oh, shit–it doesn’t matter anyway.  Soon it will be over and I’ll just stay in bed for a couple of days drinking mineral water until I can walk without holding onto the walls.”

So far I have taken 6mg of Loperimide, fondly known (by me) as “Anti-shit.”  It’s a very important weapon in my arsenal.  I keep it on hand, in cupboard, in purse (all of them), backpack, everywhere–in case of dietary indiscretion and its consequences.  Even when I needed the enzyme (see, I’m being positive), sometimes I would miscalculate the dosage, and there you go.  Or there I go.

Oh please, all I want is for my body to digest things like normal.  Like I used to, some years back.  Or like most people do.

The comforting thing is that I will eventually shit all of this out, and although by that time I will be dehydrated (yes, I am drinking mineral water even as I type) and exhausted, and tomorrow morning I will be afraid to eat breakfast because I have to drive somewhere.

The good news?  Since I’ve been having this digestive vacation, my ass has got so big it has its own postal code.  So if I go back to being afraid to eat for fear of the consequences, maybe I’ll lose a few pounds.

High Anxiety

Well, it’s not really THAT high, but it’s getting there.

The past few nights, I’ve been lying awake staring at the ceiling till well past midnight, my brain awash in zillions of thoughts that have no beginning and no end. It’s nothing pathological, just a  reaction to the fact that the stress in my life is ratcheting up, and my nerves are strung pretty tight as days go by without phone calls inviting me to job interviews, or good news about the interviews I’ve already done.

I’ve been here before, it’s familiar territory. I hate it, but at least I recognize it and I know it makes me a little crazy, so I’m not alarmed. Every time I’m out of work longer than a few weeks, I get scared and start catastrophizing (“Omigawd, we’re going to lose the house and end up homeless and have to live in our car”); and while it certainly is possible, something usually comes along and saves us.

However, I’ve done the math on this one and it doesn’t add up. Paying $1200 a month in rent when you’re getting only $2000 a month in unemployment and Social Security benefits is next to impossible, especially when you have utility bills, gas, and other expenses (MEDS). I even swallowed my pride and checked to see if we could get food stamps and Medicaid, but since there’s only two of us, we’re still (barely) above poverty level and thus don’t qualify for any form of assistance. That’s easier on my conscience, but it sure doesn’t do much for our situation.

So now I’m back to lying in bed wide-ass awake, long after I’ve taken my nighttime meds, and wondering what the hell to do. Do I totally give up on health care and go to work at Mickey D’s? Do I go back to Vocational Rehab and beg them to train me for something different? Do I keep searching the job boards daily at Craigslist and CareerBuilders and Jobungo, even though I have to wade through hundreds of sales, warehouse and assembly-line jobs to get to one or two real possibilities? And just what the fuck are we supposed to live on while I’m doing it?

Now, why my little pea-brain always has to go into overdrive when I’m trying to sleep is a mystery. I’ve also always wondered why this always happens to women and not men. I mean, Will can be worried sick about something, but the instant his head hits the pillow, he’s OUT—he’s snoring, just sleeping away, nothing bothers him—whilst I, who takes a handful of major tranquilizers, stare off into the dark and ask God for a sign as to what I should do next. What is UP with that??!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not down on myself, and I’m not freaking out because I think I’m a terrible person who doesn’t deserve a good job. Like I told you, those days are over and there’s no going back. No, I’m freaking out because we can’t afford to live in this house anymore but we also can’t afford to move. I’m freaking out because I’m not getting the jobs that should be a slam-dunk. I’m freaking out because I honestly have NO idea of what I’m supposed to do or why the tactics I used so successfully in the past aren’t working anymore. I hate uncertainty, and my life is loaded with it.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of High Anxiety…..