Daily Archives: January 6, 2015

a letter to bipolar

Nifty notion stolen from the one and only Modern Scarlet O’Hara. The links in the letter go to songs; there’s a track listing at the end.

let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain
you like your girls insane
– lana del rey

What ho, Bipolar! (Not in the jovial old fashioned English greeting way, I’m calling you a whore.)

I can’t blame you for the genetics or the trauma that triggered you, but you are an absolutely unwelcome and uninvited guest. I begrudge the fact that it took you so long to tell me your name, the mask you wore hurts me so much. You’re here now. You didn’t even wipe your feet. You never said sorry. Youll never die. And now my pension plan is suicide.

Some things haven’t changed at all since the diagnosis. I hate myself after mania, I hate myself during depression and because I don’t ever get a break between episodes, I only like myself when I am manic. Looking back is shitty – I still own the bad stuff, but I resent having to credit you for the (few) good things you brought. I don’t like you, not one bit. I just know all the jargon now. And of course, the meds are often almost as bad as the disorder.

I shouldn’t have called you a whore, because no matter how much I pay you to fuck me, you never leave afterwards. And you’ve definitely given me an STD.

I’m doing all the right things to negotiate a peace with you; right now it feels like there’s no mercy. Alright you twat, I’m done anthropomorphising you.

Regard (not regards, certainly not kind or warm ones),
Yours (unwittingly and unwillingly) Sincerely,
Worst Wishes,
I am your most humble and obedient servant (but I resent it),
At your (reluctant) service,
Lots of Loathing,
Goodbye and thanks for all the lithium,

*angrily scrawled signature*




Ahem. They’re mostly male vocal sorrowful songs with guitars in them. Some are live, because I like the song with the audience singing, some are acoustic, because I like that too. Almost all of them reflect my age. It’s all music I really like. It doesn’t flow smoothly, but then, neither do I.

bipolar – krizz kaliko
alanis morrisette – uninvited (unplugged)
johnny cash – hurt
david bowie – sorrow
lana del rey – born to die (acoustic)
manic street preachers – suicide is painless (live)
kid cudi – maniac
seether – broken (acoustic)
placebo – meds (acoustic & slowed down)
blue october – calling you (live & acoustic)
eminem – without me
kenneth stirling – i fucked it up
coldplay – death and all his friends (live)
leonard cohen – sisters of mercy (live & slow)
devendra banhart – be kind
pink floyd – wish you were here (unplugged)
bob dylan – serve somebody
nirvana – lithium

And now, a happy song – from Shonen Knife vs The Carpenters top of the world.


(YouTube screenie, Mister Leonard Cohen – this one’s for you, mum. Okay, also Coldplay, Dylan, Floyd.)

I’d Rather Become a Persistent Cough Than a Virus

In reply to the WordPress Daily Prompt Jan. 6, 2015

For Posterity

Your blog just became a viral sensation. What’s the one post you’d like new readers to see and remember you by? Write that post.


I suppose if I were to be really honest with myself, my pride wouldn’t mind the boost of self-importance and superiority that would naturally be felt, if my blog ever happened to become a viral sensation. But knowing myself as I do – with my complete aversion to crowds and criticism – I’m sure I would choose to disappear, rather than subject my writing to the microscopic analysis of too many “professional” opinions. I think I would rather my blog be given the attention of a persistent cough, as opposed to a virus. I would prefer the realistic hopes of staying consistent, rather than becoming a short-lived sensational explosion – with the resultant pressure of remaining suspended in the air, in order to avoid the inevitable fall.

Being that this is a bipolar blog, it would be easy to assume that I would want to be remembered by an eloquent post of affliction, or a newly discovered cure that would bring instant headlines of fame and fortune, and the illusion of success. But I’ve lived long enough to know that none of those things matter. If you don’t have your mind, nothing else matters.

I would prefer to be remembered as the simple person I once was – before I became broken by this complicated, all-consuming illness. I would love to be remembered as the attentive wife, mother and best friend, who was freely available to those I love. I would love others to recall my former vibrance and willingness to participate in life. I would love to see the mouths water with anticipation at the meals I once created with my legendary cooking skills – back when food still inspired my senses. I would love to be forever remembered as that good little girl I once was – back when I actually cared about hurting people’s feelings.

I don’t want to be remembered by this blog, and its words resulting from a stolen identity. I don’t want to be remembered by the self-indulgence it takes to create a place like this. I don’t want to be remembered as the damaged victim of a ravaged brain. But the truth is – no matter how selfish or defeated it may sound – some of us are victims. We are forced to live a life we don’t recognize, created by circumstances beyond our control. We are forced to live as the crumbs of our former whole self. We are forced to roll in the mire of self-pity, until we are sick of our own stench.

If I am ever to be remembered by anything I write, it would simply be this: If you can relate to any of my words, you are not alone.

Geriatric Dating

Every once in a while, I hear of some couple in their 80’s or even 90’s getting married.  Good on them!  I applaud their courage.  I will dance at their wedding.

On the other hand, I, who have passed my 61st year, am surprised I’m still alive, let alone thinking about getting married again.

Of course I do not have any prospects at the moment, but my recent date put the idea in my head.

Do you realize that not so long ago, the median age at death was 35?

Since for the most part we have conquered infectious diseases in the developed world, the average lifespan has climbed to 79.  That was last week.  This week, it’s probably 85.  Next week our prospects will be 95.  I’m nearly, but not entirely, joking, of course, but as we begin to find more and better cures for various lethal conditions, we will doubtless be saddled with longer and possibly healthier lifespans.

Women nearly always outlive men, so there is a plentiful supply of widows available to the widowers and divorcees out there.

But there is a thorny problem: many–or, stretching myself out on a limb, I will say most–single men prefer younger women, especially as the wrinkles and the various effects of gravity set in.  They are mistaken, of course, because older women have a lot to teach them, both in and out of the sack.

I have a number of male friends, some of whom I have dated at one point or another.  All of them are in their 50’s or early 60’s, and all of them are looking for a 30-something with whom to start a(nother) family, or simply to admire.

I have known these friends from a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 40 years; and I have watched them get slower and fatter and grayer and balder, and they still have not discovered the elusive 30-something, preferably never-married and childless, with whom to cuddle up in their new love nest.

The natural consequence of living is that we get older.  Let’s face it, if we keep on keeping on, we are going to get wrinkly and saggy.  We will not look like we are 30 anymore.

There are days when I look in the mirror and mutter to myself, “Who was that plastic surgeon again?”

Right.  I know women who have had fantastic face lifts, tummy tucks, butt lifts, titty lifts, and within 5 years it’s all back where it was before, except that now they’re covered with scar tissue that is much less attractive than the sagging body parts they had before.

I, for one, am past the point of Internet dating.  tried it after I was a divorced 30-something, and it proved frustrating even then, since most of the male factors mostly wanted a wham-bam, but after 40 I was tired of dodging the gropers and gave it up.

When I emerged from my last long-term relationship, at age 48, I dove straight into the Orthodox Jewish life.  That meant no touching, no singing together, dates either set up by friends or matchmakers–and Orthodox internet dating, managed by a matchmaker, of course.  Ho-hum.  And the men I met that way were either obnoxious or exasperating or both.

Now that I have emerged from that life, I feel rather like the subject of Shel Silverstein’s poem:

“Whoops, we’ve been caught by a Quick-Digesting Gink

And now we are dodging his teeth

And now we are restin’ in his small intestine

And now we’re back out on the street!”

Except.  Now.  I.  Am.  Sixty.  One.  Years.  Old.

And not only that, but those of you gentle readers who have been faithfully following my blog, and I do love you for it, and for who you are, and for your own blogs, and everything….you all know that life has been a bit of a rough ride for me.  This cowgirl has seen a lot of biffs and bangs, got bucked off a few times, and as I have told the few prospective dates who have wandered in and out of my life, I am a “scratch and dent model.”  But no bargain by anyone’s stretch of the imagination.

I require careful watering and fertilization.  An orchid is nothing to the maintenance I require.  My brakes are bad, transmission needs an overhaul, tires are bald, I have a poorly patched hole in my muffler, and I mix metaphors.

As if that were not enough, I am terrified of exposing the lumps and bumps life has dealt me.  I dread the revelation that I am chronically preoccupied with refining my suicide plan.  I suffer from various chronic physical illnesses that limit my mobility and versatility.  My teeth require frequent patching and emergency treatment.  My joints are for shit.  And other, more embarrassing consequences of aging that needn’t be discussed here.

I bring this topic up because I know I am not the only one out there with these insecurities.

Whenever I open the question of whether I will ever gather the courage to enter the dating scene again, invariably I get all sorts of encouraging comments saying, “Oh, you’re such a wonderful person, one day Mr. Right will show up.”  And depending on my mood I either laugh hysterically, or smack the unfortunate encourager in the gob, because I only bring the subject up when I’m having an attack of The Lonelies, which could last an hour or a day, but not much longer.

I have a lot to do.  And I’m not sure that, after all these years as a crotchety old hermit woman, I could share life with anyone else.  My dog is good company.  She doesn’t care that I am set in my ways.  She likes my routine.  She doesn’t mind that the bathroom is outside.  She herself goes outside to do her business, so why shouldn’t I?  (BTW my outhouse is frozen solid at the moment, which complicates things.  Don’t ask.)

I suppose if some Prince Charming were to show up at my door and say, “Oh by the way, I find wrinkles, sagging breasts, and stress incontinence irresistible in a woman,” I would be suspicious as hell, unless he happened to be 79, in which case I would give him tea and send him packing.

Made IT Through Night One

I didn’t think I would be able to sleep last night without my big teddy bear but I managed to fall asleep after 2 hours or so. Luckily they have Cosmos on Netflix and I find it to be very relaxing to listen to or watch as I am trying to sleep.

Ms Ren my little yorkie cuddled up on the bed with me and when I woke up she had managed to take over 3/4 of the bed so it was just like having hubby there. lol.

Today I am really feeling the fact that he is in another town though. I get hugged multiple times a day, followed by snuggles in the evening. It makes me feel weird to not be touched. I don’t like it when anyone but him steps into my bubble, but my bubble feels so empty.

My mood is ok, like I’ve said I’ll take ok over being depressed.

I’m trying to look forward to things like getting on a mood stabilizer and also the big thing of the house.

Not sure if I told you about it yesterday but I found out it is going to be another week before we hear about our closing date, color me disappointed.  Still normally all this stuff would knock me on my ass and leave me stuck in bed sleeping and crying and I’m up and watching some TV trying to figure out something to do with my day.

Can’t wait until we get into the house and I have access to all my stuff. Finding things to do will be easier then.

One more night and day to go to snuggles.. whew..

I Miss You Dad

Dad I dedicate these beautiful lyrics to my best friend on the other side, Richard David Leshin, who died January 6th, 2009. p.s. Dad, I know you’re reading this. I’m gonna kick your ass when I see you again for leaving … Continue reading

Post-Holiday Depression

I’m struggling right now. Had fun on both Thanksgiving and Christmas and a wonderful, quiet New Year’s Eve playing games with friends. I’ve read and heard many ideas how to keep the holiday blues away, but the holidays have never been a problem for me. In fact, I love Christmas. I struggle, as I am […]

The post Post-Holiday Depression appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Uncle Matt

Now that all of the hitting 100 followers and the beginning of Blogging 101 has settled down, it’s time to get back to work. We’ve got a bipolar life to talk about.prisonSo we’ll start off today with the story of Uncle Matt. Uncle Matt is my half-brother, although I always call him my brother. I have no other siblings, so he is it, good, bad, or ugly. And there’s been a lot of bad and ugly.

Before we get to the Uncle Matt part, I have to give a bit of background. My mother and father were one of those “hit and run” high school marriages. She then married three more times. I don’t even remember #2 and #3. But #4 was Uncle Matt’s Dad. (Mom got married again to a saint (#5), but that’s another story.

So Mom and I were living in a one bedroom apartment with no car. We shared a bed. She took the bus to work. And along came Matt’s dad. He had a car. He had a job with union benefits. (A big deal in 1968.) He hung around Mom and with her marital history, I think it took them about two months to get married. We immediately moved into a TWO bedroom trailer. I had my own room and we had a car. I was living the life. (I think I even had a record player.)

Early on, Matt’s dad was nice to me. He wasn’t a father figure, but I had no idea what one was anyway, so that was fine. He came from a large family of aunts and uncles and cousins and they all got together and had big feasts, etc. I liked all this, being an only child. I loved all the food.

Now someone forgot to mention one thing to my Mom. Matt’s dad had been in prison. For a while. For armed robbery. But he nor his family ever said a word about it, so we blissfully went on our way.

We moved to a house in the suburbs. We paid $13,000 for it. I have to mention the color scheme to add some humor into this post. It had a paprika colored front door, red shag carpet, cantaloupe formica countertops, and avocado green appliances. Just lovely.

Someone at some point in the next couple of years got the bright idea to have a baby. That would be Uncle Matt. I was twelve at this time and involved in school and didn’t pay much attention. I do know that my mother got pregnant and laid down and really never got up again. She’s 73 now and still “resting”. So Mom gives birth to Uncle Matt and is way too tired to deal with him. My stepdad and I came to an uneasy truce about it. I took care of him from I got home from school till about midnight, then stepdad took over till about eight when he left for work. We left Uncle Matt with my Mom in her room during the day. She had clean and sterilized bottles all made (by yours truly), clean diapers, (we used cloth back then), and that was about the first year of Uncle Matt’s life.

At around this time, stepdad decided he would take the high road and start being an asshole. He yelled night and day and threatened to hit my Mom and me. Fortunately he never bothered Matt. After a while, he made good on his promises, and he started hitting. This had to be a terrible thing for a little boy to see, but I guess no one thought about it. I remember glass being broken and cops being called and the police saying “We can’t do anything…this is a family incident.” I remember losing a tooth and having bruises on my face and the school knowing and doing nothing. Things were different.

Uncle Matt started sleeping with me. He did this till I left home for college when I was seventeen. He was about four then. He was just too darned scared to sleep in his own bed. I couldn’t blame him.

When I had the chance, I got out of there as fast as I could. I left Uncle Matt behind and didn’t look back at that time. I am sorry that happened, but it was self-preservation on my part. And I knew his dad wouldn’t hurt him. He would just have to put up with a lot of screaming and fighting between his parents.

Well, guess what? Right after I left for college, my Mom got up out of bed and divorced Uncle Matt’s dad. I don’t think she liked being the exclusive punching bag. I thought this would be a good thing for Uncle Matt, but he just headed in the wrong direction. By second grade he was skipping school. He never liked the teachers and they never liked him. And none of them liked dealing with my crazy mother.

Then my mom met Frank, the saint. This was husband #5. I mean this man walked on water. He treated everyone so well and never had a bad word for anyone. How my mother talked him into marrying her I will never know.

Frank, my Mom, and Uncle Matt picked up and moved to Denver, far away from the bad influences of Matt’s dad. But the trouble went on. Matt ditched school. My Mom (kind soul that she was) heated a belt up in the oven and beat Matt with it. Matt’s Dad told him to set the apartment on fire so Mom would send Matt back to live with him. You get the idea.

Matt’s behavior got so bad that no one really wanted him and he just kept bouncing around from place to place. I even took him in when he was in eighth grade. But I came home from work one night to find him drunk and high and asleep on my front doorstep. I didn’t want to deal with it. I had my own troubles.

This was about the time of Matt’s troubles with the prison system. Till next time-


i ain’t afraid of no post

A typically morose post, in which I do not say the B word for a change.

“Tattoos were once believed by the Ta’un’uuans to be scars that can sing.” (jill ciment – the tattoo artist)

If I could afford it I’d add some tattoos to my arm. If I could out m.yself I’d show you mine. Every single one of them marks loss in some way; I only realised that right now. Scars that can sing. Inky sorrow and stories in my skin. I can’t go forward until I stop mourning the past. I can’t stop mourning the past until enough time has passed (perhaps).

i would kiss it and you would laugh
on the sheets of a stormy sky
kenneth stirling – tattoo song


Don’t listen to the Kenneth Stirling. one if you’re not into Dylan. Or if you don’t know which Dylan I mean. I am. Since I was 14 and stole a Jokerman casette from my brother. He’s dead now and I mostly wish I was.

The usual caveat: I am not wilfully gloomy, I’m depressed. Fuck cheerfulness, for my part; if a helicopter trip up and down the coast on a sunny day (not today) didn’t cheer me up, I pronounce myself uncheerable. I was so ashamed and embarrassed … managed to fake some cheer, thank goodness. Anyway. This depressive episode (with some mixed ones to relieve the boredom) has been on the go since July 2013 and I think I’ve been counting the months wrong. Suddenly I wonder if I’ll be counting in years – this is month 18. There have been good things – I’m giving you the background overview of it.

got a tattoo and the pain’s alright
just wanted a way of keeping you inside
coldplay – ink


“Why Plath? Why not? She exposed a dirty truth about depression: Sometimes it never got better.”
the plath resolution (longread)

Ag anyway, I tend to look at stuff and think well, when it’s a binary choice, there’s always a 50/50 chance.

“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.” Rumi

Remember, no matter how mawkish, morbid and morose – no consolation or helpful tips or motivational memes. Sometimes I just need to bleed here. And the pain’s alright.

My blog will make fabulous country & western song lyrics one day.

End of Staycation

I guess staycations are a thing, especially when you’re broke. So my kid and I had a two week staycation for the hellidays.
It ended today.
And I am sooo glad my kid has returned to school because 16 days straight of her literally elbow to elbow with me has me feeling smothered. She’s helicopter kid. Love her to pieces, but breathing room is necessity, not some sentiment of dislike.

Now I am watching the midseason start of Sleepy Hollow. Love this show. It’s my “upper” before doing what I have to do today.
Which means going to the shop. Two weeks without having to deal with R and it was really pleasant. I hadn’t realized how oppressive he is to my soul.Just a phone call with him last night was grating. He was snappish, and it was because he didn’t hear how I phrased things, he just assumed I was being a bitch. That’s never going to change with him. Nothing ever changes with him.
It leaves me feeling stagnated, and yet…Not like anyone else is beating down my door asking me to do some work.
Still…the anxiety last night of knowing I must go deal with him and how futile it is…made my mood crash and my anxiety skyrocket.
I’m trying to discern if this is winter depression or have I finally just outgrown this person. I don’t want to be like *that* and abandon people when they become more hassle than useful…At the same time, if someone is affecting my already precarious mental state and there’s no compromise to be made…
Seems like run for the hills time.
I am, however, trapped. I haven’t truly held a job in 15 years and prior to that, my longest job was 18 months. I also have a ten year old misdemeanor on my record so I’m not exactly great hiring potential. I can’t even tell an employer in good conscience that I am stable, the past is behind me…I am better than I was, but bipolar never just “heals up”. It’s a cycle that keeps going and employers don’t allow “whenever you need to take them bad mental health days.”
So I feel trapped with this deal with R and used to, it was actually a good thing, low stress, I could do what needed to be done. Now it just feels…like an anchor around my neck.

I have already freed myself of one albatross. Clean break. Not exactly what I wanted but I have no intention of going through life with “friends” who have broken my trust and my heart and don’t even feel bad about it. I’m all for second, third, fourth chances…In this case…A message was sent to me loud and clear and I give up. I have enough poisonous relationships.

I do not want to go to the shop.
I don’t have a choice. He is going to pay my car insurance (well, technically it’s still in my mom’s name, but it’s gotta be paid) in exchange for my assistance. Necessity.
I think perhaps if I’d had one day to recover from the hellidays minus my kid, I might have been prepared to go in bright eyed and bushy tailed. But not even get a breather…Maybe it’s tainted my view.
I have NO idea.

I feel kind of “hate-y” for a lot of things today. Submissive personalities, two faced people, backstabbers, people who have no empathy, people with the emotional IQ of pocket lint…
I also feel a little hopeful. I need to tie all the negative emotions to the string of a helium balloon and release it into the sky, let it be swept far away from me so that I might have a clean slate to embrace all that brings me warm fuzzies.
My kid. Cats. My tv hows. Music. My writing. Knowing in spite of all my fuck ups I do have a (dysfunctional as fuck) family that loves me…There is much to be thankful for and have hope for.
So why is it so easy to lose sight of that just because some people present as Shiny red Granny Smiths and turn out to be warm infested apples?

Balance. Elusive and yet so desired, so wanted.

Time to take a few breaths, then get on with what must be done.
Dealing with some people really should come with a Valium the size of a hubcap. Including dealing with myself.

“A Spirit of Bipolar”

Another common belief in the church is that mental illness has its roots in the demonic.  People who hear voices are hearing evil spirits that have somehow inserted themselves in their lives. I’ve heard about a “spirit of suicide” and a “spirit of bipolar”.  The Bible does speak to people being possessed by unclean spirits being mentally ill; witness the story of the Gadarene demoniac, whom Jesus healed by casing his unclean spirits into a herd of pigs.

However, the only problem with that belief is that voices, suicidal impulses, and bipolar symptoms do respond to medication.  The right medicine can make the voices go away. I’ve read this experience in testimony after testimony about the efficacy of drugs in helping paranoid schizophrenics silence their voices with anti-psychotics.  Evil spirits don’t respond to drugs. The brain does.  That being said, I don’t deny that miraculous healing can happen.  I’ve seen it over and over throughout my church experience.  And since bipolar disorder is a disorder of the brain, I don’t doubt you can be healed of it miraculously.

However, that is not to say that you should not pursue every medical avenue possible to aid in your healing.  That leads to another belief prevalent in Christian circles—that taking psychotropic drugs is a sign of unbelief or lack of reliance on God to bring you through a depression. Early in my recovery, I called a young lady I knew who suffered a serious clinical depression for advice on how to deal with my diagnosis.  She described some harrowing experiences, including such a deeply depressed mood that her husband considered committing her to the state mental hospital.

At that point, I believe I was taking an eight-drug cocktail to try to bring me out of my depression. So I asked her about her medication. She said she did not take any. She quoted the scripture that Israel, instead of relying on God to win a military battle for them, made an alliance with Egypt instead for help.  God told them that since they put more faith in the “horses and chariots of Egypt” than in him, that they were going to lose the battle.  And they did.  She likened taking medication to not having faith in God to heal you. She said that she simply “prayed without ceasing” and she believed that her show of faith in doing that led to her coming out of the depression.

Again I was crushed.  I felt put down and degraded where I had been looking for encouragement.  I could see the analogy she was making, but I felt that it was a misapplication of Scripture to liken mental illness to God’s relationship with Israel.  I wondered if she would tell a Type I diabetic to stop taking insulin.  Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is necessary for life.  The Type I diabetic does not produce any insulin and so has to take it in shots or pumps or risk death.  If bipolar disorder is a shortage of chemicals in the brain, and medication can stimulate their production, who in their right mind wouldn’t take the medication?  But suspicion of psychotropic medications is deeply ingrained in some Christians’ belief systems.