Monthly Archives: September 2014

Time to Build a Book?

Showing my Gray

Showing my gray

Brief recap of the past week in reverse chronological order, just like this blog. Note that the second bullet point is where I discuss whether it is time to build a book:

  • This morning I got my haircut and decided to flip my part and show my bit of gray. I’ve earned that gray these past 51 years, so I’m wearing it proudly and looking forward to developing an even more impressive and dramatic shock of gray. For now, this bit will have to do. Hopefully, although I do not feel terribly wise, I’m at least starting to look wise.
  • Time to Build a Book? Okay, so by writing this list in reverse chronological order, I buried the lead, and started off with something less “meaningful” (or perhaps the photo highlights the vanity of these bullet points). So what. Yesterday I started to copy my blog content into Scrivener, “a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents” (Literature and Latte). I had hoped I could simply export my WordPress blog into an xml document and then import it into Scrivener. Unfortunately, since I use Windows rather than the Mac OS, the best work-around I could find (Scriv2DocBook) involved more advanced coding skills than I care to learn right now. Besides, perhaps the process of copying and pasting my posts and pages, including those never published, might inspire me or at least jog my memory.
  • Saturday was the one year anniversary of my blogging adventure. Thank you readers for your support.
  • Coincidentally, on the anniversary of my mental health blogging journey, I walked in the 10th annual Orange County NAMI Walks. My sponsors helped me raise $760 for NAMI Orange County. Thank you sponsors!
  • Last Wednesday, just before I attended my last NAMI Peer-to-Peer class, I applied to volunteer for NAMI Orange County. I probably should give their volunteer coordinator a call this week and follow up on my emailed application. Who knows where volunteering for NAMI will lead (assuming they will take me, of course).

Filed under: Mental Health, NAMI, Volunteering, Writing Tagged: Book writing, mental health blogging, Scrivener

Still Sugar-Free

And the cravings are a real bitch!!! I am still off the sugar (not just sugary foods but sugar in any food, and most processed foods) and it is still a bitch! I am focusing on eating WAYYYYY more fruits and vegetables than I was. I keep reminding myself that I’m working on developing healthier habits that will benefit me for a lifetime. Also, a lot of the time when I’m craving crap (sugar, carbs, junkfood in general) I just have to remind myself that I am fine, I am not hungry, I’ve eaten plenty of food. Sometimes I will have a piece of fruit. This is a major addictive process that I am trying to overcome. Food, carbs, sugar, I have used to medicate so much!!! And I so want to just let go and binge on a big container of ice cream. With gobs of caramel sauce. Somehow, I am managing to keep my decision to change my relationship to food. Mood-wise, I am doing really well. I am feeling positive, empowered and hopeful. I want to continue on this path.

Just a reminder, if you’re interested in going down this path with me (PLEASE, I NEED SOME SUGAR-FREE BUDDIES!!) watch the movie Fed Up. It will motivate you like you wouldn’t believe!!

Hope your week is going well, my friends!! Peaches to your Mama!!

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Fed Up The Movie, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Quitting Sugar, Reader

Walking off Depression

Boy, do I love to walk. More specifically, I love to walk along the beach. Long time readers may recall, at one point that I walked on the beach strand nearly every day. Rarely did a day go by that I hoofed it less than five miles. It was instrumental in helping me lose ninety […]

The post Walking off Depression appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Bipolar Roundup

Another piece to understanding the complex man that is Richard Dreyfuss is to realize that he has been bipolar all of his life and has been treating the condition with lithium since the 1970s.
“I’ve known that I was since I was a kid. It’s not like I outed myself. Anyone who knew me well knew that I had it. It’s not something you could or should hide. It’s what you are.”
Richard Dreyfuss The Big Interview

I’m mentally ill, I have Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, so it’s a struggle for me, the state of myself, with all these users trying to get high. I don’t get high outside, not anymore. When I got my place, I stopped.
John Thomas, homeless guy in Wisconsin.

He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was convinced that he had AIDS and, when a self-financed critically-acclaimed documentary, Rize, about an urban dance form originating from the rough neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles failed to find a large audience, he called it quits, packed his bags, left his homes in New York and Los Angeles and disappeared on a self-imposed exile, trading in his high-flying photographic career for a former nudist colony-turned-working organic farm in the middle of the jungle in a remote area of Hawaii.
Dave LaChapelle From Fashion Photography To Fine Art

I have lived with depression, anxiety, and, as I have recently learned, an atypical form of bipolar disorder for decades. As a result, I have lived a life of ongoing scrutiny and indefinite probation.
Robert Kominar A choir of voices needed to tackle depression in the legal profession.

Cop punches bipolar grandma.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Medical School have teamed with the University of Southern California and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT for a four-year, $16 million study to better understanding bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. more

Back To Normal

Tomorrow FIL leave and I work a little and it wil be so quiet..

Quiet never thought I would love it, but I can’t wait to have some time to myself. I think I am growing as a person.

Walked again tonight in my in the future neighborhood. Hate waiting for things to happen but someone has moved into the first home in the neighborhood. I’m excited for them.

I’m gonna become better physically to work with my maturing emotionally. It can get better. All of it.

Fear Factor

Did I ever tell you that I’m afraid of everything?

Pantophobia is its formal name, which makes me feel a little better since I know I’m not the only person on earth who experiences a deep and abiding fear of life, particularly its more unpleasant aspects. I’m serious. I’m afraid of spiders. I’m afraid of birds. I’m afraid of heights and enclosed spaces. I’m afraid of the telephone. And I’m absolutely petrified of failure.

I was always fearful, even as a child. I remember having night terrors way back when I was kindergarten age, and it never got any better. I take that back: the nocturnal festivities eventually ended, but I’ve basically gone through my entire life being scared of a hell of a lot of things.

That’s not to say I haven’t faced down my fears and even conquered them in many instances. I may be a fraidy-cat, but I’m far from timid, and that has served me well in life. Sometimes I can even use the fear to my advantage, such as the times when I’ve stepped way out of my comfort zone and benefited from the experience. Nursing school comes immediately to mind, as do getting married and having kids—all of which were as exciting as they were terrifying, and vice-versa. I’d never call myself an adrenaline junkie, but in craving excitement I also have to deal with the fear factor, and there’s something ultimately satisfying about doing something because it’s scary.

Some say it’s a bipolar thing, that it’s “normal” for someone like me to be afraid of so much. Well, I know a few people who don’t have a mental illness of any kind, and yet they lack intestinal fortitude even more than I do. In fact, I have one friend who has never married because she’s too afraid of being vulnerable; of course, growing up in a home where her father treated her mother like crap didn’t help, but she’s had a grand total of two boyfriends in her entire life and she’s pushing 40. It’s awful when your fears keep you from having the life you want.

Unfortunately, being afraid of everything means taking a lot of risks, especially with your heart and your emotions. I have trust issues because of the way I was brought up—if you can’t trust the woman who gave birth to you, who CAN you trust?—and am skittish about relationships, even ones which have proven to be reliable and good for me. It’s like I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop… what am I going to do if my husband dies? If something bad happens to one of my kids? If Dr. Awesomesauce leaves his job at the clinic? How am I supposed to carry on?

This is where the wee little bit of bravery allotted to me comes in. Some things in life have to be faced; there are no exceptions to this rule. I take the chance every day that something awful might happen, because it would be hellish not to have the people in my life who make it worthwhile. My nursing career may have imploded, but I don’t regret for a minute having had those 17 years (even though the last two really sucked). And every time I write something that opens my ‘self’ up to scrutiny, I’m risking having my fragile psyche crushed under criticism….but I do it anyway because not to do it is unthinkable.

Yes, life is scary. But I’ve never known anything different, and as long as I can stand up to the fear, I have the feeling it will all work out in the end.





OCD and Self-Diagnosis

One of the rather annoying things with Bipolar is that it comorbid with any number of other mental illnesses. I refer to these as the Uncaring Cousins, ’cause hey, child of the 80s who loved the Care Bears and Care Cousins. Common comorbidities include ADHD, OCD, panic and anxiety disorders, and all sorts of other things. Myself, I very much have OCD, ADHD, and anxiety issues to deal with… not that anyone has ever officially diagnosed those.

I’m sure some people snort and roll their eyes at that and mutter under their breath about special snowflakes. Okay, but here’s the thing. Mentally ill people, as part of their treatment regime, are highly recommended to track the ever-loving shit out of mood, actions and patterns of behaviors. We often have to be our own advocates, and in that, we are paying attention to things and gasp, become rather expert in our own situations. I’ve read enough about OCD and ADHD from blogs, articles, and medical papers to know that I have both of these things without an official diagnosis. And really, diagnosis is not an exact science. There is no blood test for these things — psychiatrists are having to take what we can tell them and make an educated guess based on *gasp* observation and guidelines. Me, being the expert on me, can similarly make an educated guess, and likewise have had to present this and my main diagnosis as a theory based on my own observations for a professional to basically sign off on.

Mind, the head psychiatrist at my hospital has expressed repeatedly that he wants me to focus on treating the bipolar first. This is fair enough, especially since the OCD isn’t exactly treatable by anything past what we’re already doing (medication would be antidepressants, which I’m already on). The ADHD is the annoying-to-me booger. The NHS doesn’t like to admit that adults have ADHD, and as I was not diagnosed as a child, I’ve not had any luck getting diagnosed — I did managed to get a referral for such, but it got shot down above my doctors’ heads.

I want this in my face so bad. :s

Even if I DID have that diagnosis, there is no guarantee I could get meds/treatment for it. One of my best friends WAS diagnosed as a child before immigrating to the UK, and even with that diagnosis in hand, her GP can’t give her anything. He can for undiagnosed bipolar treatment, but not diagnosed ADHD! Really, at times I’m tempted to consider the black market of the intarwebs to get my hands on some dexedrine, ’cause I know it helps me a loooot compliments of a helpful friend in high school who shared his or her meds, but I prefer to stay above board. :D

Then of course, there’s the wondering if I want too much. I am so much better than I was before diagnosis and treatment, but I would like to feel even better. And I don’t mean that in a glowing hypomania sort of way, but just… not having to spend ANY time in tiny rituals to dispel anxiety. To actually have some focus and energy; while some of my lack in this regard is due to chronic fatigue, I know it’s not the entire cause.

Whatever the case, the knowing what’s up, whether it be ‘official’ or not, gives me the tools to try and cope with it within my means. I combat ADHD with tiny lists and a hefty dose of behavioral awareness. I try to keep productive things to hand so that when my mind wanders, I’m doing something good like a chore, or knitting, or working on different bits of writing (I’m knitting right now and tending to the baby between writing this in snippets). The OCD I will probably bring up again with my psychiatrist because I feel like it’s starting to eat more of my time. We’ll see. It’s only a real nuisance in that once I start doing a thing, it tends to become a permanent fixture.

Hope everyone is doing well out there.


Lithium Quotes

This from my psychiatrist:

We are winning with the bloods. Your latest test is 0.69
Can we increase by another 250mg? Should be our last increase, but we will check it in 5 days in any case.

Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.
Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

Of all our conversations, I remember most vividly [Robert Lowell’s] words about the new drug, lithium carbonate, which had such good results and gave him reason to believe he was cured: “It’s terrible, Bob, to think that all I’ve suffered, and all the suffering I’ve caused, might have arisen from the lack of a little salt in my brain”.
Robert Giroux (1914- )

Some of us take lithium and antidepressants, and most everyone believes these pills are fundamentally wrong, a crutch, a sign of moral weakness, the surrender of art and individuality. Bullshit. Such thinking guarantees tragedy for the bipolar. Without medicine, 20 percent of us, one in five, will commit suicide. Six-gun Russian roulette gives better odds. Denouncing these medicines makes as much sense as denouncing the immorality of motor oil. Without them, sooner or later the bipolar brain will go bang. I know plenty of potheads who sermonize against the pharmaceutical companies; I know plenty of born-again yoga instructors, plenty of missionaries who tell me I’m wrong about lithium. They don’t have a clue.
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family

It’s difficult. I take a low dose of lithium nightly. I take an antidepressant for my darkness because prayer isn’t enough. My therapist hears confession twice a month, my shrink delivers the host, and I can stand in the woods and see the world spark.
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family

Without medicine, 20 percent of us, one in five, will commit suicide. Six-gun Russian roulette gives better odds. Denouncing these medicines makes as much sense as denouncing the immorality of motor oil. Without them, sooner or later the bipolar brain will go bang. I know plenty of potheads who sermonize against the pharmaceutical companies; I know plenty of born-again yoga instructors, plenty of missionaries who tell me I’m wrong about lithium. They don’t have a clue.
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family

Imprisoned by Insanity

Imprisoned by Insanity (RT Documentary):

It’s a 26 minute look at a criminal/psychiatric institution in St Petersburg, Russia. They focus on a few inmates and also the art therapy programme. I’d love to hear your thoughts/comparisons if possible.

A Little Breakdown

Tonight I talked with my daughter. She again has been dumped by the asshole who she keeps being screwed over with.

I hate that he keeps hurting her. She also informed me that she had been basically been welling herself for drugs. Though she has been clean for 3 months.

I told her if she goes back to this man I will need to stop talking to her. She is mentally unstable and I don’t want to abandon her but she is such a trigger for me.

After the call I wanted to kill myself and felt so guilty and heartbroken for the ways she had turned out. I can’t keep doing this to myself. I started drinking until hubby took the wine away from me. I wasn’t being very smart with taking cold medicine and Xanax and alcohol.

It was a hard day, eventually hubby was able to calm me back down but it made me realize that I might need cut her out of this continues just for my own sanity.

I hope she takes my advice and moves to a new Provence far away from that man and starts a new life, cause this just doesn’t work.