Daily Archives: January 22, 2015

Fiction Time

Slightly Cracked Observations on… – Let’s go to the Gym

Can I talk a little about the gym for a minute? I joined a gym. No, not bandwagon resolution for the New Year I am going to get in shape […]

GoodTherapy.org blog post: Homework that Helps: Using CBT Workbooks to Reduce Anger

I have a new blog post over on http://www.goodtherapy.org http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/homework-that-helps-using-cbt-workbooks-to-reduce-anger-011715 I am a continuing contributor to the Share Your Story feature on The Good Therapy Blog. My previous article is Stigma: Come at Me, If You Can!

American Sniper


I’m going to spend a moment today on a different subject before it explodes and everyone starts talking.
My husband and I saw American Sniper on Monday. I left before it was all the way over because I didn’t know going in that Kris Kyle died by the hand of a fellow soldier at home. I was almost hysterical. Not because he died but because when my husband came home from Iraq in December 2008 everybody that had been in duty came home. I was so so happy about that.
Little did I know that within a month one of his best friends would be gone from an accidental overdose. Or that 6 years later at least 6 young men that served our country would also be gone.
When you have an up close view of this reality it changes you. It makes things shift in your world.
For those of you who support your soldiers but don’t truly understand what it looks like to be a soldier American Sniper is a truly very closely accurate account of all aspects of a soldiers life. I asked my husband what he thought before I started recommending.

You see I would say pretty close to every soldier who has been deployed, at least in recent years has had to make a tough call or a life and death decision in a split second. You can’t know what it’s like to drive down the road and for the entire drive fear you will hit an IED and be injured or killed.

I say these things to say this. If you have any pride and respect for what our military does go see this movie. I will never understand how my husband feels. I will never know the fear of being in a crowd or driving down the road watching the rearview mirror wondering when someone will come out of no where and try to kill you. I will never know what it’s like for an explosion to happen so close that it shakes the ground.

You can’t possibly know or understand the trial or the pride that comes from walking this path with someone you love. It isn’t easy. It’s not something that has definite answers and definite rules. It’s something you have to make a commitment and concentrated effort to change and to fix. And even then, someone shoots off a firework out side your house and you’re right back on the battle field and have to work your way back yet again.
I couldn’t be more proud to be the wife of a soldier. I wouldn’t trade very many things for the things I have learned and the perspective I have gained being married to an American soldier.

No matter what your thoughts and opinions are on this country our military men and women protect you and your right to speak your mind and disagree. There is NOTHING that these men and women don’t deserve and if you ever have the chance to do even the smallest thing to change their lives or make it easy you should do it with joy and know that even the smallest of gestures means the world to these men and women. 

I know this post is a little off script but it’s important to me and I believe everyone should see this movie. If it gives you even a small amount of understanding that’s a big step.

God bless you and have an amazing day!!


Cyclothymic Circus

Cyclothymia is a mystery to me. The rapid shifts from high, low, stable. I don’t know what my mindset will be two minutes into the future. It leaves you with a sort of mental whiplash where you feel the earth is constantly shifting beneath your feet and you never get solid footing. So you live your life perched on the edge, teetering this way and that way, never quite going over but never really able to step back.
It’s stressful.
And it spills over into every aspect of your life to the point where the cyclothymia is your life. I don’t obsess over it, it stalks me to the point where ignoring it is not an option.

I felt decent yesterday. Uber functional in spite of my recent physical issues. I wasn’t happy nor sad, I was just dealing and doing it well. That made me feel pretty damn good. It’s as close to stability as cyclothymia gets.

Happy Birthday to me. I am in the gray zone, the waters of the dark abyss nipping at my heels.
No trigger. No catastrophic negative life event.
Maybe it’s because the rib is hurting again, a lot, and the hacking cough of the bronchitis makes it agonizing.
Maybe it’s the gray cold day.
I can’t get comfortable. I have no motivation. My mind is spinning and yet I feel nothing but disgusted.
The shrinks will never grasp what it is like to live this way every day of your life. Okay, mood stabilizers help. They don’t cure and they sure as hell don’t control. They manage.
So without meds, the shifts are like falling down a staircase.
With meds, it’s more akin to missing three or four steps.
But falling down every single day, whether a whole flight or a couple of steps…It takes a toll.
I quite honestly resent cyclothymia and I resent more the doctors who call it “the milder form of bipolar.”
I’d rather live my life in long periods of up or down rather than six hour stretches of up, down, stable, standing on my head.
Mild my ass.

From all that I have read, borderline personality disorder mood swings are generally sparked by outside stressors. Truth be told, I’d rather have that. Because that makes sense, and you can alter your behavior to outside stimuli.
Cyclothymia has no rhyme or reason. It’s just nutsy kookoo. You cannot “counsel” yourself and “modify your behavior” if your brain is forever sending out wrong signals and keeping you in a constant state of flux.
It affects every aspect of my existence.
Sunday when R’s wife said she wanted to take me out for my birthday for drinks on Friday, I was up and it was like, oh, that’s so nice, awesome.
Now that the time to do so is upon me…I am sliding down the rabbit hole and the thought of socializing and faking interest and smiles makes me cringe.
All the professionals I’ve ever seen have told me to power through it, chances are I will have a good time.
They are morons.
Not that they aren’t occasionally right, but the repercussions of doing something your heart and mind aren’t feeling up to…You burn bridges when your mood is exposed to those around you and the little telltale signs of your negativity ooze out.
It becomes a matter of, “Do I want to roll the dice on having a good time more than I want to prevent alienating others?”
There is no right answer.
It’s just life on the edge.

Ironically, I was sick on my birthday last year as well. Which is why I usually blow off birthdays, I don’t want a big show or shows of attention. Because inevitably, my mood will be the ultimate decider and I hate disappointing people who are simply making kind gestures.
And my mood is less reliable than the weather report.
oh, if only there were a Doppler radar for predicting cyclothymic mood shifts ten days into the future.

Yesterday, the world was my oyster. Stable mind frame, functioning highly. I looked around and realized how lucky I am. I have a decent life. It ain’t great, but then again, I don’t care about material or superficial things like others. Their idea of a good life is at odds with mine. My child and I have the necessities and a few frivolities. We don’t go hungry, we have clothing, we have shelter and warmth.
So to have all that and have my gratitude for it change from mood to mood because my evil brain is tainting things with falsehoods…
It makes me a pissed off bitch beast.
My saving grace, and perhaps the only perk of cyclothymia, is that I know I won’t feel this way in an hour or maybe sixteen hours. It’s every changing.
I ride out the mood storm and I get another mindset to deal with.

For now…I ride out the storm. I do it with a grudge and major disgust, though. Mental illness is the cruelest illness of them all. Broken bones heal. Infections can be cured with antibiotics.
Mental illness can only be managed and endured and there is no end in sight. There is no magic day when you will be all healed.
Instability, as a way of life, is not mild.
I think more attention needs to be paid to cyclothymia. Bipolar one and two are pretty mainstream. But cyclothymia…That’s barely a blip on the mental health radar unless you’ve been diagnosed with it. It makes me wonder how many people are out there with wrong diagnoses, suffering because some doctor is telling them their moods shift too quickly to be bipolar so they don’t need mood stabilizers. I’ve been there, done that. They were supposed to help me and instead, I lost about ten years of my life being given the wrong meds which only worsened the mood swings.

Maybe that is the whole point of my blog. Borderline, bipolar, depressive disorders- they’re all out there in the spotlight.
Cyclothymia is some mystery.
Knowledge is power. I guess I want to splay my life open for others in hopes it might help educate. Whether you have a mental illness or someone you care about does…Knowing about it, having facts, realizing it’s not personal and the mentally ill person isn’t beyond redemption or simply a mercurial personality…
That’s the point of this blog.
Shed light on a mental disorder that too few know about.

Cyclothymia is a bitch.
But it is real, and it impacts your life no matter what the doctors say.
It is not mild. It is not trivial.
It is what it is.
I wish it would burst into flames and die an excrutiating death.
It’s the hand I’ve been dealt so I will deal with it.
All the while giving it the middle finger.

Health Insurance: Friend or Foe?

Many of you in the US (and perhaps other countries as well) may face this same dilemma:  Your health insurance company is providing more barriers to care than it is providing the care that you pay for.  In my case, I have Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.  I have had an unbelievable number of claims be adjusted as “Out of Network” when the provider is in fact “In Network”.  Each explanation of benefits that I receive with the Out of Network judgement causes me to have to call them, and it’s usually a 45 minute to one hour conversation, with many transfers from one person to another.  Of course, if the care is judged to be Out of Network, this would leave me on the hook financially for most of the cost.

I am paying around $700 per month for this health insurance, and I can’t tell you how stressful it is to have to constantly be fighting Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to pay for what they are supposed to pay.  This is incredibly triggering, and without a doubt it makes my depression much worse.  I am getting to the point that I am afraid to seek the care that I need, because I am anticipating the ensuing fight with the insurance company to cover my care.

The latest issue is lab work.  I went to a lab that was on BSBCNC’s website as “In Network”, and I am now being billed for the lab work.  On a 45 minute call to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the person I spoke to tried to tell me that the problem was with my doctor who wrote the orders, and that I needed to contact him.  THIS MAKES NO SENSE.  If the lab work at that lab is In Network, it’s In Network!  I am to the point now that I want to hire an attorney to slap a suit on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina for all the emotional distress they are causing me.  What does it take to get the health care that the policy promises???

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: #BlueCrossBlueShieldofNorthCarolinaSucks, @BlueCrossBlueShieldofNorthCarolina, Bipolar, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

London Bridge Is Falling Down (Warning: Potential Trigger)

 The unthinkable has happened. In June of 2014, I was sent a packet of forms by the Social Security Disability department. It was the warning flag thrown to alert me to a medical review of my benefits. A medical review?!?! I never applied for benefits for any medical condition. I applied for benefits for mental health […]

the bipolar beats linkdump

Music by and about bipolar people; also news, quotes and gifs.

Chris Brown‘s probation has been revoked (again).
“The rehab diagnosed Brown as bipolar and kicked him out for making comments about knives and guns during a group meeting, the probation reports revealed.”


Mary Lambert I’ve got bipolar disorder my shit’s not in order has been nominated for a GLAAD award.


Have you seen Next to Normal? It’s a musical about a suburban family, with a bipolar mother, started out on Broadway and won a Pullitzer. I haven’t seen it and I’m not sure I will (because musicals), but there are numerous full performances available on the Tube of You. Please let me know your impressions if you watch it, tyvm.


“It’s not just debilitating, It’s all-encompassing. It’s something you have to work on your entire life.”
“When people ask me what it’s like to live with bipolar, you just have to adjust and figure out exactly how you’re going to live your life the way you want to live it and achieve what you want to achieve. But you can only do that once you get help.”
Watch Michael Angelakos (Passion Pit) Discuss His Bipolar Disorder In New Mental Health PSA #strongerthanstigma


“My highs, my happiness are really high and my lows are very low and I’m not able to regulate between the two,” he said. “Through actual therapy and having kids it’s way more under control and something I can see when I’m on the roller coaster and control it more.”
Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy)

How music might help bipolar kids and teens.

Australian, bipolar singer Sia has freaked people out with her latest video. (Having read the article, I won’t watch the video because triggers.)

Demi Lovato has been nominated a mental health warrior.
“Doing better with bipolar disorder takes work, and it doesn’t always happen at once.”

If your life has been missing a bipolar country and western singer, Jason DeShaw might be your man.
“The day before the show I was struck by a crippling depression which made me wonder if I could go on. With a little help from my friends, I chose to forge forth in spite of the heady fog and total self worthlessness that consumed me.”


Jaden Smith‘s latest lyrics are … odd …
“I’m just tryna spit some lyrics that are more insightful, But you just called me bipo (I’m not) And yeah that stands for bipolar, I’m thinking bout some solar panels but just wait til’ I’m older homie.”

Macy Gray
In a 2007 interview, singer Macy Gray was asked if she was ever diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she told the U.K.’s Daily Mail, “I used to be on medication, but I am not anymore, so if I was bipolar, I guess I am cured.”
In 2010, Gray spoke about how it feels to have the mental illness.  In an interview she was asked to complete the sentence, “Being famous feels like …”
Gray replied: “It feels bipolar. It just has very extreme ups and downs. It’s one thing and then another, and they’re always opposite.”
In 2013 she said she was cured “by will”.
In 2014 she blamed bipolar for losing hundreds of thousands of dollars

Disappearing Act

But most of my high school experience was spent in heartbreak and longing for someone I liked to like me back.  The most drastic step I ever took to get a guy’s attention was the time when I was in ninth grade and decided to run away from home.  I had saved up $20 (that was a lot of money to me then), packed a purse with a change of clothes, and resolved to catch the bus out of town that night going to Columbus.  As a part of my plan, I hitched a ride to Moore’s, a popular hangout spot, with Darren, my major crush at the time who was three years older than me.  He dropped me off and went on to the dentist’s office, which was just around the corner.

I stayed at Moore’s sipping on a fountain Coke and checking my watch every ten minutes.  I meant to stay at Moore’s until it came time to catch the bus that night.  Considering I’d gotten out of school at 3 pm., I had a long wait ahead of me.

What I didn’t know of course was that my mother was frantically searching for me when I wasn’t on the bus when it came by my house.     Why it took so long for it to  occur to her to look at Moore’s I’ll never know.  But once she did get around to it, I was gone—around the corner to the dentist’s office to talk Darren out of another $10 I thought I could use while I was running away.

31 days of bipolar: 3

Grab the meme here.


3. How old were you at the onset? How old were you at diagnosis? How were you given the diagnosis and are you satisfied with the way it was handled?

My psychiatrist reckons bipolar arrived during very early childhood; I was diagnosed last year, aged 44.

After doing some intense and incessant nagging, I got the diagnosis by email. I’d have found it a terrible way to find out, if I hadn’t chased it so hard myself. It was during a 3 month wait for the next psychiatry appointment. Not ideal, but for me, ultimately positive, because I could get on and research and stop panicking in case psychosis meant irrevocably mad. I didn’t have anyone nearby, so I found some online. Also – dogs. Very important.

I asked that last question on a mental illness forum once and although people didn’t bitch much at all, the majority were given diagnoses fairly casually. I suspect that news of chronic, progressive and incurable physical diseases is handled differently. Gravitas, information, reassurance and perhaps even a nice cup of coffee would do fine. With a cookie if possible (choc chip for preference).