Monthly Archives: July 2014

Not Sure If…

53124344I am rather unsure about the state of my mood at this time. I’m in a good mood, but I am feeling a bit more irritated. The line on the meme-picture came to my head after I got home from Stitch ‘n Bitch last night because I was feeling positively giddy. Maybe it was because I had a great time talking candidly about my life and times. Maybe it’s because I’m finally starting to feel comfortable in our new pub; we switched while I was off my meds and it was bad on my anxiety. I don’t really know, and with bipolar, there’s not always a logical reason to anything (as hard as I try to find one for everything!).

IMG_2363Still, things are holding together nicely enough. We’ve finally got a date booked for the removal men to come and take our furniture to the house, woot woot. Which means getting off our arses and getting the house packed up. I chose to start with my desk environs, as I figured that clearing away the stuff I use the most was the best way to cut into dithering and flipping through stuff. Everything else that I’ve packed has mainly been a shoving things into boxes without looking overmuch; we figure we can do any sorting on the other end. Really, I’m rather good at efficiently packing after some ridiculous number of moves across my childhood, and I’m doing a good job of doing it a bit at a time, so (children permitting) it’s ticking along. I hope to manage a good swathe again today after a few days of everything else getting in the way, but… we’ll see. I’ve got to keep reminding myself to take it easy enough that I don’t push myself into an episode.


A jar of spoons for the lacking-in-spoons me

And in that, I have a talisman reminder to take care of myself now! I’d seen a couple of disparate spoonie friends sharing their spoon jewelery on Facebook, and it made me decide to see what was out there. I found an independent shop here in the UK specializing in things to make chronic illness suck less, and fell in love with the little spoons in a jar necklace. So my husband and daughter, being the awesome people they are, decided to buy it for me. I’m never taking it off, hee hee. And really, even though I am doing rather well right now, I know how quickly I can push past the point of reason and end up destroying my sand castle self. No matter how practiced one is in the managing of spoons, we all get that occasional spot of doing well where we think that maybe, just maybe, we can push that little bit further, and nope. I’ve fallen into the drink without a spoon to paddle me out, miasma.

Anyways, I should try to get my day moving, as the hours are passing me rapidly.


The post Not Sure If… appeared first on The Scarlet B.

Introvert vs. Extrovert ~ Several Common Myths

I am an introvert that can be an extrovert if it is absolutely, positively necessary. I tend to spend my time reading, writing, exploring the ideas that pop into my brain to see if they have popped into anyone else’s; … Continue reading

A Different Perspective

Though I’m not much of a fan of the telephone—a fact that has been well-documented here—I actually had a 2 1/2-hour conversation yesterday with a good friend from across the country. Now, this friend and I have never met face-to-face, but we have definitely bonded heart-to-heart; we got to know each other on a nursing website where we once were both moderators, and have been friends for about ten years now. She suffers from depression and is part of my small Facebook support group, but she is also one of the people who truly “gets” me—bipolar and all—and talking with her is like opening a much-loved book and settling in for a good read.

During this conversation, the topic of said disorder came up on several occasions, and it was an eye-opener to hear her perspective on how very much has changed since I was first diagnosed. Of course, I know that things are vastly improved, but to hear it from this particular source somehow made it more real.

“You’ve finally accepted your diagnosis,” she said, almost proudly. “A year ago, you were still in denial and fighting it tooth and nail. You had the idea that if you ignored it long enough it would just disappear. But somewhere along the line you’ve learned that it’s NOT a character flaw, and yes, you’ve even come to embrace it. And that’s healthy!”

After the call ended, I got to thinking about it, and I realized that my friend was spot on in her assessment: I really have accepted my illness as a part of me. It’s not ALL of me, by any stretch of the imagination, and I still think I’d have had an easier life if I didn’t have it. But my attitude is a lot different than it was a year or two ago—I used to try to push BP away as if it were a badly behaved child, even as it clung to me like a burr to a horse blanket. I don’t do that anymore. And as my friend said, there’s an upside to having the condition, because it makes me creative and funny and sarcastic and silly at least as much as, if not more than, it makes me sad and hostile and profane and frustrated.

And I know it’s not going anywhere. This is forever. The first year, I thought Dr. Awesomesauce was just humoring me by giving me that vague “Not Otherwise Specified” diagnosis to chew on while he figured out that I was making it all up just for the hell of it. Now the words Bipolar affective disorder are all over my medical charts, and the symptoms—when I have them—are as much of a reality as the aging face I see in my bathroom mirror every morning. They always were, even before I knew there was a name for them. Now they’re happening less and less often, and when they do, I can usually get past the episode pretty quickly… long as I take my meds faithfully and call Dr. A when I feel myself approaching the edge of the abyss.

Yes, it helps a great deal to hear the perspective of someone who knows and understands me, doesn’t judge me, and is far enough away from the situation to be objective. Thank you, my friend. :-)






Mood Swings

Sometimes I feel like I am on the playground swinging back and forth on the swing set.  Up and I feel alright, down and I am thoroughly depressed.  It’s almost as if my body has a physical reaction to my mood swings now.  I’ve become so accustomed to them over the years.  One minute, all could appear to be right with the world, and the next minute all I can think about is what is wrong with my world. 

We have these strange days occasionally here in the summer, where it will be raining and the sun will be shining at the same time.  In speaking about this earlier today, it occurred to me that days like this are very much like a metaphor for depression.  The sun may be shining, but in my world it’s still raining. 

I’ve been dealing with writer’s block for a while now, and it was only until today….just in the last hour, when I felt my mood shifting, that I knew what to write about.  It starts with an overwhelming exhaustion, loss of concentration, and a need to escape.  Why take everyone around me down with me? 

Lately, I have been feeling a painful sense of being abandoned whenever I am feeling down.  I am grateful to those that have stuck by me through the worst of times, but still angry at those that could only handle the best of times.  Why was I the one that was called selfish?  Why not those that took off because they couldn’t handle the sadness, the pain, the depression?  That feels much more selfish to me than someone who can’t possibly control a chemical imbalance in their brain. 

I always thought I had a select group of friends and family members that I could count on when I needed them.  In the last year, that group has been completely decimated and reformed again.  Maybe from now on, I should call my depression Yoko.  Yoko strikes again.  I can’t blame her entirely though.  I know I am far too ready to call a spade a spade, even when perhaps that spade was a queen of hearts.  I am prone to overreacting, but I have noticed that trait also comes and goes like the mood swings.  So, essentially, I am just a delightful basket of what comes next?

Even now, it’s hard for me to focus.  Hard to find the words.  I keep reaching for my sarcasm to get me through, because if I didn’t I would probably dissolve into tears and curl up in the fetal position.  Moments like this terrify me, and here you are enjoying the fruits of my terror.  Rain is falling outside, and that couldn’t be more apt.

As you can see, my thoughts are scattered.  It’s a battle just to keep my fingers moving across the keyboard.  I want to give this minor crisis in my life a voice.  Perhaps I will learn something about myself.  Perhaps you will learn something about yourself.  When I am down, I am so far down it seems as if there is no return.  All I have the strength to do is sleep.  Of course, when I need it most, it so rarely comes because my brain is stuck on repeat.  It’s moments like this that have me questioning, why?  Why me?  Why now? 

I genuinely wish there was an answer.  Why do some of us carry this burden, while others have glorious, happy lives and do marvelous things without even a moment of sadness?  Yes, that may be an exaggeration of sorts, but you get the idea.  I get it, ok?  I understand that only the strong survive, but if I could trade happiness for strength, would that be a fair trade?  Would I be happy with that decision?  I would love to test the theory, just for a day. 

As I glance out the window and see that now the sun shines amidst the raindrops, I know I will come out of this.  It will be ok.  The trick is not to expect too much too soon.  This weight in my chest will get lighter, and these crazy, racing thoughts will dissipate.  I’ve got 20+ years of experience on my side. 

I can do it.  You can too.

I am ashamed to be Irish if this is still the attitude to Mental Illness……

Let me start off with the Who and What! St. Patrick’s University Hospital is Ireland’s largest independent not-for-profit mental health hospital. They recently conducted research on how the Irish general-public view those individuals with mental health problems. This is a … Continue reading

Portions Of Blog Post This Morning By Bradley On Coming Out With Mental Illness ~ Got My Brain Going (Again)

From Bradley’s post: “Coming out of the mental health closet was also difficult. I tried to hide it from all but my closest friends and family. I did feel shame. I didn’t want to appear lazy when depressed or crazy when manic. Eventually, I did choose to come out as a man with bipolar disorder […]

Coming Out With Mental Illness

Coming out is not easy. In my life, I came out as a gay man and as a person with bipolar disorder. Both were difficult. I was cautious when I came out as gay. I live on the west coast in Los Angeles, but, most of my close friends and family live scattered throughout the […]

The post Coming Out With Mental Illness appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.


Or Why Thrift Store Shopping is Fun. Things around my urban farmstead…they help distract me from some health problems I am having.





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Depression or Mania; its all the same when you struggle

I’ve often thought of myself as strange. Strange in a way that few others could understand, because lets face it, if you haven’t struggled with bipolar disorder, how could you possibly understand how I feel right? I am a rapid … Continue reading

The Butterfly Effect

Well, it’s back to the racing thoughts thing again. I was wide awake till after 1 AM thinking of all the things that need to be done in the next few weeks, and could barely finish each thought before the next one demanded my attention. My mind is like a butterfly, flitting from one idea to another, only alighting once in a while…..and usually on something I DON’T want to think about.

There’s just too much going on in my life right now and I’m overwhelmed. I’ve got to get a job. We’re having a garage sale this weekend to (hopefully) raise enough money to keep us afloat for a little while longer while we figure out what to do. I HATE this—my house is in utter chaos, what with all these boxes of stuff to sell, and I’m already feeling claustrophobic. I still haven’t figured out how to pay rent here and save up money for a smaller place. At this point, I think we may try to stay here a little longer and keep getting rid of stuff so we don’t have to rent a storage shed when we finally do move.

So last night, my thought processes were going something like this:

 “I wonder what we should charge for the weight bench and the double bed. What are we going to do with the stuff that doesn’t sell? I wish I could shut my brain off and go to sleep. OOF! (cat using my abdomen as a launch pad) I want to have this GYN appointment over with so I can get on with my life. I don’t want to be nervous about it but I can’t help it. Thank goodness I have an appointment with Dr. A next week. He’s really gonna love THIS tale of woe—still out of work, have to move, next to no money, and female problems. I’m so afraid this will be my last visit till I can get insurance again. I haven’t seen a bill from his office since last fall—what is up with that?? I need to pee but don’t feel like getting up. I’ll just try to settle down here. What the hell was that noise?

“My back hurts. I wonder if I should keep my mother’s dishes and the ancient set of encyclopedias. Remember, everything I save, I’ll have to lug. OUCH! (another cat ran across me) Who’s gonna help us move if Mandy and Mike move up to the mountains? Haha, how do you like that bit of alliteration? Hmmm, Will is wheezing…..must’ve stirred up a lot of dust in here when he was cleaning. I need to get back out in the garage tomorrow and go through more stuff. I’ve got to wash all those clothes I’m going to sell. Oh, shit, I forgot to do the online unemployment thingie. Better do that first thing in the morning. I’ve only got about three months left, what are we going to do if I haven’t found a job before then? I never thought I’d be unemployed this long.

“I can’t even buy a break these days. Is anything ever going to go right? I feel like I’m on the edge of depression again, but my mood chart says different. Whatever……it’s situational, there’s nothing to be done about it. You know, this whole ‘grownup’ business is highly overrated, I wish I could go back 40 years and have nothing to worry about except how my hair looks and if I can get an ‘A’ in my civics class. On second thought, no I don’t. I have to go to sleep, dammit. Shut UP, brain!!!”

And that filled up the space of a whole five minutes, if that. I was awake for a long time. You get the picture.