Daily Archives: July 1, 2014

Yikes: Antidepressant “Add-on”?

It's so unfair that with psych meds, the side effects show up quickly, but the benefits (if they work) don't show up until weeks later. I'm just thinking about this because I'm starting a new med: "Abilify". (Trust me, this is SO not an plug. The last "promising" med was awful for me, even with the cool anime eyes.)

Back From CA

Well I had a pretty good trip to California. It was interesting that the threads of Mental Illness and Addiction were woven through the family reunion, with two cousins being in treatment, one for addiction and one for mental health issues, and another cousin telling me that her son suffers from severe depression. There was a vibe coming from the whole family like, let’s lift the veil of secrecy regarding these issues and talk about some of what is definitely our family legacy, genetically. We do have a rich history of mental illness, ranging from Depression to Bipolar to Borderline Personality Disorder, as well as a ton of drug and alcohol dependency. No judgments, that’s just the way it is. With the few relatives that I told what’s really going on with me, that being serious Bipolar Depression and being on Disability since December 2013, I felt very loved, supported, and absolutely not judged. It was a revelation.

One of my dearest cousins, who is so short and petite that I have always referred to her as The Pixie, strongly encouraged me to begin both a yoga practice and a daily meditation practice. She pointed out that there are several credible studies that show a decrease in Depression among those who practice daily meditation and yoga. So, I started today. I did a short guided meditation on You Tube (I will seek out deeper meditation support at the Boulder Shambala Center) and then did a twenty-minute yoga class that I found on my cable’s On Demand selection.

I have emailed a request to the Boulder YWCA for career counseling services, as I am very keen to take the Strong Interest Inventory to see what else I might be suited for since I do NOT want to go back to IT, when I do go back to work. The YWCA is closed this week so I’ll have to be patient and wait for a response.

I had a phone call from the private disability company just checking my status and this stresses me out to no end, as I am terrified of them withholding that monthly check. I could not function in a job right now, with my mood so up and down. Mostly down. I am going to have to use my DBT skills to manage the stress, I suppose. I just scheduled a session with a new DBT therapist, I have to wait a couple of weeks to see her. I am still trying to come up with a reason to live and something to feel excited about. Survival just isn’t that appealing to me, I hate to say. But I will keep trying.

If you’ve read this all the way to the end, thank you. I am not my bright sparkly self right now. Hope your week is going well. Peaches! BPOF

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, DBT, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Does mental illness evolve?

I got to thinking today, what with the advent of hand sanitizer in every store and this outcry for diligent handwashing…If this is so vital to our health and survival, why did we not need it 50, 60 years ago? It might have been considered a good idea but there was nowhere near the uproar then.

There’s the argument that antibiotics have caused certain germ strains to become immune and mutate.

Which begs the question…

Does mental illness do the same? Is it possible some of us have the wrong diagnosis simply because the “professionals” haven’t really updated their diagnostic tools to accommodate illnesses that may not be textbook but are nonetheless legitimate?

For all they know, tripolar actually is a thing. I’d certainly qualify since I never seem to quite meet their neat little list for bipolar one or two.

They are too fast to throw in personality traits as some sort of mental disorder (last year it was introversion they were considering as a disorder) and they like to glad hand you by saying, “Oh, it’s if you have this cluster of personality traits that you have the disorder.”

Dude, I have a cluster of traits from every category and honestly, I don’t see most of them as particularly damning or fatal. My personality may contribute but it is not the driving factor. My mind, messed up by genetics or chemistry or because my mom ate a hotdog with msg when she was pregnant, was, is, and will always be the problem.

Maybe I am the first to have this particular disorder and because of that, I am lumped into a category I don’t quite fit so I have to be quantified by being assigned all these personality traits that don’t fit “normal” behaviors. What is a normal behavior? Just because it’s experienced by a million people, how does prevalence make it “normal”? We are taught that we are all individuals and no two people are exactly alike.

Yet mental healthcare professionals are sending the opposite message by declaring a bunch of personality traits a disorder and telling people you are  X when in fact you are Z. Inexact science that it is, I don’t believe I am wrong to want to be treated like an individual, listened to, and have my diagnosis based on my experiences, my history, my patters.

So…if a physical disease can be the first of its kind in the textbooks…Why can’t a mental disorder? Maybe there is no borderline personality disorder, maybe it’s a whole new illness no one has termed yet.

It’s just food for thought.

Not much else to report. I had an eye appointment at 8:15 this morning (what was i thinking scheduling it so early???) and they kept me waiting for nearly an hour. That irked me. When I get irked, it leads to anxiety. Anxiety leads to anger. Now I might be able to talk myself out of this frame of mind if only it didn’t cause physical effects. Hard to tell yourself you’re not freaking out when you’re sweating bullets from every pore, breathing rapidly, and feel as terrified as if faced with a chainsaw wielding skin wearing madman.

After that I went to the shop and he had me make several calls. Yeah, that’s a trigger for the anxiety too. I hate talking on the phone, especially to people I don’t know. I especially hate the way he hovers when I am on the phone or computer. I can type very fast and without errors if not being watching. Put eyes on me and I fuck up every other keystroke.

By the time I left, my mind was heading into paranoid “omg, must get home NOW, something bad could happen to me” space.

So mood is okay, anxiety is going bonkers.

Another day in the life of…

Tripolar chick.

Yeah, I like it.


Top Things You Should Not Say to Someone Who has Bipolar or Depression

Lists like this are nothing new. I’ve seen them on blogs and mental health websites for years so I never anticipated writing one myself. However, an individual recently made an insensitive comment to me that caught me off guard. Soon after I asked my followers on Twitter to tell me what they hoped to never […]

The post Top Things You Should Not Say to Someone Who has Bipolar or Depression appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Depressive Episode ~ A “Life Choice”

I have been stuck in blue funk mode for about a month now. After about three weeks of just feeling awful about myself, the world, and my non-productive role in it, I finally broke down and called my psychiatrist to refill my anti-depressants. One has to be very careful administering anti-depressants to Bipolar people; they […]

Depressive Episode ~ A “Life Choice”

I have been stuck in blue funk mode for about a month now. After about three weeks of just feeling awful about myself, the world, and my non-productive role in it, I finally broke down and called my psychiatrist to refill my anti-depressants. One has to be very careful administering anti-depressants to Bipolar people; they […]

Ask Me No More Questions (Tell Me No More Lies)

Allo from the land of… something… something. Dudes and Dudelettes, my brain has been converted to pure fluff, ha ha. But we continue to do fairly well on the whole. Having a baby in the house is tiring and stressful and my husband and I have both hit the point of frustrated sobbing, but yanno… par for the course. And honestly, it’s probably better than we CAN admit that we’re frustrated in such a way, ’cause it enables us to support each other better. And maybe, someday, we’ll understand Baby and be able to translate what each cry of complaint is, ha ha (unless it’s just crying for the sake of crying, which dear deity above is extra stressful!). But at least I’m getting good sleep compliments of the Seroquel, and depending on what my psychiatrist thinks when I see him/her later this week (not sure which one I’ll be seeing), I suspect I’ll get the Zoloft rolling again shortly too.

One thing that’s really stood out since the last entry though, in the realm of mental resilience, is tangential to the snippet of nursery rhyme I used for the title. You see, I abhor advice. I hate asking for it, I hate receiving it, and it frankly terrified me. Yes, past tense; I’ve figured out assorted chunks of why it was so problematic in this past couple of months. And yeah, ties into the abusive/narcissistic parent thing, quelle surprise. When one grows up being treated like they’re too stupid to live on their own (and has that reinforced in adulthood via parental bullying and their flying monkeys), ‘well-meaning’ help from people feels the same as the abuse laid down as a foundation for that premise. And really, what the hell yo. I know the bipolar triggered somewhere between 12 and 17 (I had to add a few more years to the front due to OCD things that started popping up that young), and that I made it into my 30s without going to jail, getting fired, or any other number of bad things that could have happened, especially with the total lack of support network I had. Oh sure, I had friends, good friends, but I was in such an isolated place before moving to the UK that I couldn’t really make use of what I had to me.

As a tester, I made myself ask for some advice on things. The one that comes to mind was a silly game-related question, but I couldn’t find a good answer and figured it was worth risking a chunk of my sanity to find out (and also, because it was innocuous enough to not require lots of pile-on follow-up). Not only did I get the answer I required, I had a good conversation with friends and was able to see their further suggestions related to the core subject (Minecraft) without utterly flipping my shit. This is big, ha ha. I’m not sure I’ll ever be happy with purely unsolicited advice, but I think I might be moving to a place where my natural response to it is not an abusive one. I own that — even if I have no desire to beat down my friends, my natural developed defense mechanism honed by that less-than-ideal growing up situation wasn’t a good one. And realizing this after reading a piece last summer about the isolating effects of having been abused, and unintentionally repeating it and wondering why nobody wanted to hang out with you, was definitely part of the unravelling to where I am today. I’d link the article, but I apparently misplaced it — boo! It was really useful though.

So yeah… as said, things are good, and getting better every day. For now though, I need more caffeine. xD


The post Ask Me No More Questions (Tell Me No More Lies) appeared first on The Scarlet B.

Promises In The Dark

I’ve backslid quite a bit today. Things are coming to a head in my life and I am greatly afraid of where it’s headed. It seems to be in a free-fall that I cannot stop; I’m in a place where life just keeps getting worse, and I keep losing more and more. Maybe not all of it, but I have a lot to lose, and pretty soon it’s going to be my home and probably a good many of my possessions. I can’t even plan for tomorrow because today’s ground is too shaky and it takes all I have to stay upright.

I look around at the space my husband and I have occupied for over 11 years and am filled with dread at the prospect of packing up 3,000 square feet’s worth of stuff and moving it to a storage shed. I’m not at all sure where we’ll go; there are apartments in our price range but they all require at least the first month’s rent plus deposit plus pet deposit, if they take pets at all. We don’t have that kind of money; if we did, we’d stay here. We knew that one day we’d have to downsize; we just didn’t know that it would be under these circumstances.

So now my brain has shit the bed again—I am completely overwhelmed and I feel paralyzed to the point that I can barely look at the want ads on Craigslist. I’m not having much in the way of suicidal thoughts, thank God…..no, this time it’s the GUILT that’s doing me in. I feel like all of this my fault, that I should have tried even harder than I did to survive those last few jobs, that if all this mental illness stuff hadn’t happened, I could still be a nurse and keep us in the lifestyle we’re accustomed to. I even apologized to Will today for getting us into this situation. How hard it must be for him to have his fortunes attached to someone as unreliable as I am…..and yet, he refuses to blame me for any of it, even though he’s stressed out too.

I wish I could go back to being a nurse, but I can’t. Every time I even think about being responsible for another person’s life I get sick to my stomach. I almost made several significant mistakes toward the end of my clinical career—in no small part due to my inability to focus and manage competing priorities—and I know I’m right to give it up. But it’s humiliating to have to do it because I’m sick…..and tired…..and scared.

I try to remind myself that I also have physical limitations that I don’t feel I should have to apologize for; why do I feel the need to do so for my mental health issues? If I did anything wrong, it was to self-medicate with food for 30 years, which made me fat and led to the onset of the arthritis which restricts my ability to do physical work. If I should be ashamed of anything, it’s that…..not the bipolar.

But I promise one thing, and that is no matter how dark my world may be, I’m going to stay here and fight it out. I can’t say I’ll never think about checking out early, but I won’t do anything about it. And the depression can go to hell.

Online Psychotherapy

Today NPR posted an article about online psychotherapy. It's an interesting read. I suggest you check it out.

Online psychotherapy has a few benefits. Like what if you move but loved your therapist. Through Skype you'd still be able to keep your same therapist and have continuity of care.

However, I don't think I'd like to Skype with my therapist. We have had phone conferences if I couldn't make it into the office or if I was having a crisis. But for the most part I prefer in-person sessions.

There's a lot your therapist can tell about you in person: have you gained weight from the medicine, what is your affect and disposition, are you making eye contact?

Ultimately, the decision rests with the patient. I say go with whatever type of therapy suits you best. At the end of the day what matters is that you are getting the help you need. I can't recommend therapy enough.

Ve’hi Sheh Amdah L’Avoteinu–In Memoriam

Ve’hi sheh amdah l’avoteinu

May the One who stood firm for our Ancestors

Ye’hi sheh amdah l’avoteinu ve’lanu

May He who stood firm for our Ancestors and for us

Sheh lo echad bilvad amad aleynu,

Because not just one has stood upon us,

Aleynu le’charuteynu

Upon us to completely destroy us.

Ve’Hakadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu

And the Blessed Holy One delivers us,

Matzileinu, mi’yadam

Delivers us, from their hands

Ve’Hakadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu

And the Blessed Holy One delivers us

Matzileinu mi’yadam

Delivers us from their hands

–from the Passover Hagaddah, set to music in the following video by my neighbor Yonatan Razel


In memoriam of the three teenagers who disappeared from a hitchhiking junction/bus stop on their way home, 18 days ago, and yesterday were  found in a shallow grave close by.  

We were all hoping, praying, that like Gilad Shalit, who was abducted from his Army post and held for 5 years in Gaza, the boys would be found alive; tragically this was not the case.

It is thought that the killers were some of the 1200+ prisoners released from Israeli prisons, 450 of whom had blood on their hands from bus bombings, suicide bombings of cafes (which have been rebuilt, and I have eaten in every one of them) and other acts of senseless terror against Israelis, in exchange for Gilad Shalit’s release.

Why are we holding back our hands?  In Samuel I, King Shaul is stripped of his kingship for disobeying God’s command to kill ALL of the Canaanites, including their women, children, and livestock.  Shaul had pity on the women and children, and also on the livestock, which the Hebrew army intended to bring as sacrifices to God, or so they said.  Because of his “humane” disobedience to God, he was sent off to live out his insanity in a place called “Givat Shaul,” or “Saul’s Hill,” which today is covered with banks and factories.  Worse than that, our failure to hold strong in carrying out God’s will has brought this plague of terror upon us.

No, I am not advocating genocide, God forbid.  I am advocating teaching the terrorist organizations that terrorizing Israelis with “rockets,” which are not the kind that fathers build with sons on Saturdays, but are deadly missiles armed with nails and bolts, and with kidnappings and killings by any means they can think of, teaching them that we are NOT the cowards they think we are.  We need to kick their arse so hard that they will crawl back into their tunnels and kill each other (which they are doing anyway) and never DARE to lift a hand against an Israeli child, woman, or man again.

I was thinking that I would again publish a list of the killings of innocent Israelis, children sleeping in their beds or playing in their yards, but the list has grown so long since I last published it that I would have to spend all night collecting data.

But, you will say, nothing trumps the 2009 Operation Lead (Dreidle in Hebrew; I don’t know what it got translated to in English) where 1200 or so Gazans were killed by Israeli bombing.  There were citations of how many “children” were killed in that war.  Please remember that the terror organizations consider it a great honor for their children to go to their idea of heaven by means of martyrdom.  This is part of their education, as can be seen on Al-Arabiyah and Al-Jazeera, and on official Palistinian Authority TV (in Arabic–not their mild English counterparts) and in numerous Youtube videos where mothers are saying that the best thing in the world would be for their children to be shaheeds, or martyrs.  These little shaheeds are sent to greet Israeli soldiers, wearing suicide vests.  The same with women, as you might have heard reported many times in Iraq.  So just because someone is under 18 and therefore classified as a “child” does not mean they are not armed and dangerous.  I will stop now: I know too much, unfortunately, and it is bad for my blood pressure.  The take-home point is that “they” do not think like “we” do.  And this is not some Islamophobic tirade; it is a simple statement of fact, unfortunately.

Why are we trying to throw water on a fire that is burning out of control?  Both Hamas and Fatah (let us not forget that Fatah and the PLO were the brainchildren of Yasser Arafat, who engineered the 1st Intifada in 1987 (he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994), which killed thousands of Israelis.)  In a public statement that later because part of the PLO.Fatah’s mission statement, he was quoted:

Our basic aim is to liberate the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. We are not concerned with what took place in June 1967 or in eliminating the consequences of the June war. The Palestinian revolution’s basic concern is the uprooting of the Zionist entity from our land and liberating it.
—Yasser Arafat, 1970

This was adopted by Hamas upon their formal organization.  Fatah and Hamas are now formally united, although there is considerable in-fighting.

Why are we tip-toeing around a barbaric organization that has sworn to push us into the Mediterranean?  We have been more than tolerant to a nation that has publicly sworn to genocide.

I am not concerned with losing readership over this post.  What I am concerned for is the Jewish State of Palestine, as it was known until 1948.  We have tried and tried and tried to co-exist, but they will not have it.  They want us out.  And what will they have, without Israelis to provide them with jobs, electricity, water, education, unemployment payments?  They will live like Iraqis, like Syrians, like Afghans.  And no one will help them, b’ezrat Hashem.