Daily Archives: January 23, 2015

Rio Grande Gorge, Taos County, NM, USA

Filed under: Nature Tagged: National Monuments, Nature, New Mexico

“Out in the Milkweed” & Stigmama

    Happy Friday My Blogging Friends! I wrote this piece “Out in the Milkweed” for the cutting-edge, award-winning website/blog STIGMAMA. STIGMAMA’s tagline is “Motherhood. Mental Illness. Out Loud.”  I loved it as soon as I read that.  I started … Continue reading

Note to Teacher

In reply to the WordPress Daily Prompt Jan.23, 2015 Easy Fix Write a post about any topic you wish, but make sure it ends with “And all was right in the world.” _____________________________   I’m still in my no writing mood, but I need to get something off my chest that I’ve been pissed off about since this morning.  … Read more →

Fucking Depressed Again

Last night I started to feel blue. Just a little sad. There was no reason for it so I know my bipolar depression was trying to slam it’s heaad through the door.

Sometimes I can just sleep it off. However this morning I woke up twice as sad and I’m feeling very hopeless. I think I will just go back to bed. I see no reason to be awake and spend all day alone and miserable.


Social Woes

I survived yesterday’s vile mood shift. Towards evening I even pepped up a tiny bit, though that might have been the wine my friend with benefits brought me. (Yeah, yeah, judge me, it was my birthday and I ain’t dead yet.)
Had a rough night, couldn’t get comfortable with the bruised rib and turning over was agonizing. The coughing fits didn’t help. What it resulted in was hitting snooze for 70 straight minutes and waking up with 16 mins to get my slow poke fit throwing kid ready for school. I am rocking the solid parenting thing. We left same time we always do so she was in no danger of being late, but she still gave me a stern lecture on “almost making her late.” She’s like a moody 12 year old in a 5 year old body.

Thus far I have done fuck all but feed cats and wash out a couple of trash cans. I’m not feeling the high motivation thing. My dishes are piled up (Oh no, panic, the world will implode) and the laundry is about three loads behind. Need to clean cat boxes.
Housework is cruel and neverending. That’s why I don’t sweat it as much as others. So I get it all done in a timely fashion every day. It’s just going to keep going. Vicious cycle. It will get done when it gets done. Meh.

So tonight is my birthday outing with Mrs. R and I think she was going to invite one or two other women. The anxiety has already begun. I don’t even know why. I did fine last time (okay, I did have the starter drinks to ward off panic, but I am nearly incapable of socializing without a drink, bad as it makes me look.) I’m so ill at ease with others, even people I’ve known my whole life. I feel like I am on display and under obligation to perform and behave a certain way.
Cyclothymia finds this hysterical.
Anxiety decides that’s the perfect time to flare up.
So rather than social outings being some “yayyy” thing…They are some “uggh,can’t wait til it’s over” thing.
I do put the fun in dysfunction.
It doesn’t matter whether I have a good time or not.
The lead up anxiety and dread pretty much nullify any fun to be had.

But I have a role to play and so I shall. I will smile and show gratitude and laugh. All the while counting the minutes until I am off display and can just go back to being my moody loner self.

This is a crucial point for me in my mental disorders. It is also one I highlight vehemently when I go up for review on my disability claim. Mental illness for me isn’t some opportunistic excuse to avoid things I don’t like.
I can’t even enjoy life because this shit interferes with every aspect. Even things I love.
Some want to point out my periods of functionality and how I have managed the single mom thing.
Makes me wonder how they would feel if they only functioned highly a few months of the year then were judged as all better.
Yes, I manage. I don’t do it with grace and I struggle. I don’t see the other options.
I chose to bring my child into this world. There is no opting out of being a mom to her.
Mental illness just makes it harder. Failure is not an option so I try even harder.

I fail, a lot. There are days my kid goes out with her shoes on the wrong feet and I don’t even notice til after the fact. Some days I forget to brush the moss off my fangs.
The world doesn’t end and my heart isn’t breaking that the super soccer mom league won’t be extending me an invitation.

Point being…There simply is no aspect of my life my disorders don’t spill into.
It makes life a very tough thing to navigate.
and there is no GPS with life so you’re on your own.
Not easy when even fun things get tainted.

But I will paste on the happy face because for once in my screwed up life, I have friends who care enough to want to go out with me. Which means my social awkwardness has improved to the point of no longer alienating everyone.
It’s still awkward. It’s still excrutiating.
But I’ve made progress.
Small victories must be embraced.
Margeritas will help, though.

grieve, weep, repeat

I’ve been avoiding getting back to this.

Alrighty. It’s getting closer to the two year deathiversary (thanks Dyane) and it is, of course, causing some pain very deep in my gut. Heart. Soul. Feels. Whatever. Nextofkin was here last year, this time it will be me and the dogs. And I think two of her friends will remember. 


The only escape left to me is sleep.

A kind of laziness brings me back to normal life. I am like a prisoner who is enjoying an imaginary freedom while asleep; as he begins to suspect that he is asleep, he dreads being woken up, and goes along with the pleasant illusion as long as he can. – René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

Is sleep a little death too? I can never remember if la petite mort is a sneeze or an orgasm. I googled. It’s orgasm. For the past two years, I’ve begged for sleeping pills in early December, so I could chase oblivion when things got too shitty. I’d do almost anything to avoid feeling it. Sleep, distraction, busyness – those seem to be the defaults. Even when I write about it, I spend as much time getting sidetracked as possible. Obfuscation is the word.

Okay. Fuck!


I don’t sodding well want it to be true. I hate it. I miss her. I regret stuff. I know that the word justice doesn’t apply, so I don’t scream it at the universe, but I want to. It gets in the way, this grief. I don’t howl and sob the way I used to, but the weeping comes from a very deep, dark place. It rips right through me, punching my ribcage, kicking my heart and then stretching out to twist my jugular. I cry much, much less.

The thing about death, said my friend, is that it’s so final. Then she drew breath to qualify it, probably thinking I was about to say well duh; it’s true though and what’s more, it says pretty much everything that needs saying about the shittiness of death. It’s final. That’s it, door closed, no do overs and no, you don’t have time to say that one last thing. It’s over, there’s a hole where she ought to be. It’ll always be there.

I projected all of it on to cancer for a while, railing and raging against it.


I am still shocked by the speed and violence of it.


I was manic while she was dying. It was the best and most welcome and productive shape I’ve ever been in. And I thought it was recovery from ptsd and that it was a deep and permanent change. No matter the fallout later, I am still damn glad and grateful for the rocketfuel that got me through those weeks. Two fucking weeks, that’s all it was. And I handled it like a jet fighter pilot. I was invincible.


The narrative grows increasingly irrelevant with time and the telling of it. The wound is the loss.

Swearing helps a little bit. It’s my version of dispelling emotion by having a drunken brawl. Early on, I felt so much rage and hate and I hadn’t a clue wtf to do with it. I cursed and cursed and sometimes, when I was driving and there wasn’t anyone else around, I’d scream. I thought I would let out a scream loud and powerful enough to shift the earth on its axis (lol), but of course what happened was fairly brief, not incredibly loud and it hurt my throat. it helped a lot though. I think I screamed at the sea a time or two, when the beach was deserted. I don’t need to scream anymore.


Brain zaps beat me up a bit sometimes when I’ve been pondering it all. Dzzzhhhhht … that sick feeling, as though my brain shifted slightly in my cranium. No psychosis for over a month now and it’s month 18 or 19 of depression with intermittent agitated depression. I don’t research suicide obsessively now, I spend less time reading Rilke on death, I can read again. Progress.

Fine. Progress. I’m on track. I am still miserable, angry and sometimes disbelieving. That’s fine too. Everything. Is. Fucking. Fine. I’m tired of whining again, I’ll get back to it … soonish. Right now I am passive aggressively throwing a sulky tantrum at the universe. It doesn’t give a shit.


I went down to the dentist’s and went in the door, which dinged whenever someone opened it.  Darren was one of the people to look up, and I motioned to him to come outside.  I don’t know what kind of look I had on my face, but he knew something odd was going on.

I sat down on the hood of his car and talked about why I was running away from home—my parents hated me, everyone at school hated me, I hated myself, and I thought I’d be better off somewhere where nobody knew me and I could maybe get a job and start all over again.  (Never mind that I didn’t even have a Social Security card, much less a driver’s license.)

He asked me all the sane and rational questions.  “Where are you going to stay?  What are you going to do when your money runs out? $30 isn’t going to get you very far,” he said.

“Don’t you think your parents will miss you?” he said.

“They’ve got Summer (my sister) to worry about.  They don’t care about me,” I said.  “No one does.”

Of course I was hoping for the response, “Well, I care about you,” but I didn’t get it.  Instead he asked me to come into the dentist’s office and sit in the waiting room and wait for him to get done, then he’d get me back home.  So I did.

31 days of bipolar: 4

The meme lives here.

4. How do you feel about people who diagnose themselves online and then treat themselves for bipolar?

If you’re enjoying manic depression, you haven’t got it.



I think they’re melodramatic malingering munchausen muggles. We all know that Dr Google will give you any diagnosis you want, and that online quizzes are far from accurate. Beyond that, bipolar is a bitch to diagnose and the average time it takes is 13.2 years. Even if a psychiatrist thought they were bipolar, they would go and see a psychiatrist about it. 

I love this quote about faking bipolar:

I mean who the fuck would want to. why? its bloody fucking horrible we all know that, why would someone do that. it’s not like claiming incapacity benefit like long john silver is it. least he got a fucking parrot

People don’t even do the research before they decide their moodswings = bipolar affective disorder. They get their definition from a fuckwitted and media saturated public, who thinks weather is bipolar too. I’ve read people saying omg and then I went totally psychotic and when I’ve asked exactly what happened, they seem to have mistaken a tantrum for psychosis.

Article: faking it: how to detect malingered psychosis (a very interesting and worthwhile read actually).

They get so much wrong and generally seem to stick to the myths and misperceptions. They’ll complain about their moods changing all day, every day. They’ll tell you that mania is pure fun. They’re either attention seeking fools, or in really in need of psychiatric help (but not for bipolar).

A very mixed bag of answers to someone asking how to fake bipolar disorder.


A note to the fakers:

Treating it yourself is a joke, without a lot of experience to get you to that point. Faking treatment is ridiculous unless you’ve read a pile of books etc. I’m fine with you wanting to fake my disorder, as long as you’re willing to go through all the same pain. And that includes having to try out fucknose however many meds and their attendant side effects. Thank you for flying Bipolair; please enjoy the itching, aching, shitting, puking etc. Or perhaps flip through the DSM 5 again and choose a less severe issue to start with, then work your way up to the big boys like bipolar and schizophrenia. Get a cheaper one too, you’d be shocked at what bipolar costs you in money, along with the huge impact on every other area of your life as well.

You’re insulting, offending, belittling and disrespecting us. You’re contributing to stigma against mental illness, which has seriously negative effects on an enormous amount of people. You really haven’t thought it through properly and you’re pissing me off.

And could I trouble you to stop using BPD as an acronym? It belongs to borderline personality disorder. If your lifestyle doesn’t allow you enough time to type out bipolar, BD is acceptable (some even use BAD).

Good luck with your performance, gimme a yell when you do cancer.


The Dentist of Doom and the Very Bad Cat

It’s been busy lately. Good busy. I’m feeling good, my physical health is improving. Things are going well.

But that’s not to say there haven’t been a few dramas.

Remember The Tooth That Broke Me? Well, I got that fixed. If by fixing the problem, I mean removing it completely. I finally plucked up the courage to go to the Dentist of Doom. I don’t mean a particular dentist. Pretty much any dentist, in my experience, means doom. Quite frankly, I’d rather have a colonoscopy than go to the dentist. I can say that I’ve had plenty of colonoscopies recently, and at least you are asleep, and they bring you a sandwich afterwards. All you get at the dentist is a lecture on flossing and hefty bill.

Anyway I went along, the dentist took some x-rays then informed me rather sombrely that the tooth was not viable. It was badly cracked at the base, couldn’t be fixed, and needed to come out. She could refer me to  Specialist So and So, but he would probably say the same thing and it would be super expensive.

So, playing it cool and casual, I told her: “Ok. I’m happy for it to be taken out.”
“Yep, I can do that now.” she said, grabbing some of her scary looking tools.
“What? NOW?!” I squeaked, horrified. This was totally not the plan. The plan was to smile, walk out that door, and NEVER EVER RETURN.
“Sure. It should be pretty simple, and will save you coming back.” I caught sight of a gargantuan needle. I wept.
“Ok…but…NOW?!” I started to hyperventilate. Then I started apologising and rabbiting on about how I was nervous and didn’t like dentists. Then I realised that I was saying this to a dentist and apologised some more. I think I basically talked as much as possible so she couldn’t get her hands, or her scary tools, in my mouth. Fortunately she had a good sense of humour.

Peer pressure won, and I did it. I sat back in the chair of doom, squeezed my eyes shut, thought of England, and let her whip that goddamn tooth out. Afterwards I sat up, feeling quite pleased with myself, and slurred a version of “Well, that wasn’t too bad!”

Then I promptly passed out, and they had to call Hubster to pick me up. So much for cool and casual.

And this is why I don’t like the dentist.

We also finished renovations on our old house. Long story short, it was a family effort and took many months. We finally had the new carpet laid. New tenants were due to move in within a few weeks. All was under control.

But of course, this is my family. Where things are never as they seem. And things are rarely under control.

Hubster, Master D and I went for a relaxing stroll one evening, and we passed the old house. We decided to have a peek through the windows at the new carpet. As we were looking through Hubster suddenly exclaims..

“Rachael. There’s a POO in there! On the new carpet!”
“Oh har har har.” I retorted. “Very funny.”
“No, Rachael. I’m serious. There is POO all over it!”

I was about to roll my eyes, when he suddenly jumped over the back fence to let himself in the back door. Like a boss. Then I knew he was serious. I looked in the window again, and to my absolute horror Hubster was right. Crap. Crap everywhere.

At first I was really confused. I mean, the house had been locked up for weeks. The only people who had been in were the agent and the carpet layers. I came to the conclusion  that the carpet layer must have taken a dump on his new flooring. Because that’s totally logical.

Then we heard a pitiful meow.

Turned out my sisters cat had somehow, God knows how, gotten locked in the house. Why? We’ll never know. How? We can but imagine. My sister lives next door, but the cat had never been to our house before. Out of all the rooms in the entire house – most of which were tiled – he chose the new carpet as his toilet. How do these things even happen. What the hell man?!

Me being me, I started laughing. Because what else can you do really? Then the agent called and was all “this is going to sound really strange….but the new tenants were having a look in the house, and they said there is a cat in there…” and I laughed even more. I’m still laughing to be honest.

I’m happy to report that all carpets remain unscathed. No animals were harmed (although this was touch and go) and the tenants are still moving in.

He's not sorry.

He’s not sorry.

Seriously. Not sorry at all.

Seriously. Not sorry at all.

And this is why I’m a dog person.

If It’s Not Accessible, Who Is It For?

Since going viral last October, the invitations to speak at conferences and other events have slowly but surely started trickling in.

At first, it was thrilling. I’ve always wanted to travel and talk about my experiences, because I still believe that face-to-face interaction does something that my words on the screen simply can’t. I wanted people to put a human face to the very important issues that I’ve been talking about.

I wanted people to realize that trans people exist, trans people with bipolar no less, and that I am not only surviving, but thriving in a world that often limits us.

But just as quickly as the invitations came in, they were being revoked. Not because I wasn’t capable of speaking, or that the engagement was cancelled – time after time, the conference and workshop invitations were being withdrawn because I had asked for disability accommodations.

As a lifelong sufferer of anxiety, I had requested what many folks with disabilities request – a travel companion.

Sometimes we ask for a companion because we need an interpreter with us. For others, we need someone to offer us assistance because our mobility is limited in some way. For me, with a history of panic attacks, I ask for a companion so that I can better cope with my anxiety that is frequently triggered by travel.

This is not an accommodation I ask for because I want a friend to go with me for fun. This is not an accommodation I ask for because I am trying to inconvenience someone. This is an accommodation I ask for because anxiety severely limits my ability to travel, and having someone with me has made that anxiety more manageable.

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t need to ask for an accommodation; it would be built into the system. Heck, in a perfect world, I wouldn’t have an anxiety disorder to begin with.

But folks with disabilities often need accommodations to be able to participate in events. It’s unavoidable. And in almost every case, we are either asked to foot the bill for the “added expense,” or in many cases, our invite to participate is mysteriously (or sometimes, not so mysteriously) revoked.

We’re told it has something to do with budget, but I can’t help but hear it as, “Your voice does not matter enough for us to accommodate you.”

We are seldom represented at conferences and events – not only because we aren’t asked to be there, but because even when we are, there are obstacles preventing us from accessing the event.

We’re often told that it’s an issue of money, that they would LOVE to have us, that it’s so unfortunate that they can’t accommodate us. I’ve heard this more times than I can count.

But here’s my question: If you cannot make your events accessible to people with disabilities, who exactly are these events for?

By being unwilling to take the necessary steps to ensure that folks like me are able to participate in events, we ultimately create conferences that are by and for able-bodied people. We effectively erase and marginalize people with disabilities.

If you are denying someone the opportunity to participate in your event on the basis of their disability, it’s no longer about money and has everything to do with ethics. It’s not a question of money, but rather, a question of what YOU are doing to ensure that your event is accessible, diverse, and representative of the communities that these events are for.

This applies not just for those who are attending, but for those you have invited to speak.

To suggest that folks with disabilities are too expensive to bring to an event, or a financial burden you are unwilling to take on, tells me that you are less concerned with accessibility and more concerned with the bottom-line.

And that tells me that the problem isn’t with my disability or accommodations – the problem lies with you.

I am blogging about this not with the intention of shaming anyone in particular, but rather, because accessibility is a very real issue that speakers and writers like myself face. I raise this issue, too, as a challenge to those who are organizing events. What effort are you making to both recruit and retain speakers with disabilities? People of color? Queer and trans folks?

It’s so important, especially in blogging communities, that the events we create include as many of these diverse voices as possible. And if you aren’t making an intentional and sincere effort to be inclusive, it’s time to change strategies.

Otherwise, it’s a lose-lose situation. When folks with disabilities continue to be silenced and excluded, these events will inevitably fall flat because they only represent a small slice of what our broader communities really look like.

So I ask again: Who are these events really for?

Sam Dylan Finch is a queer activist and feminist writer, based in the SF Bay. He is the founder of Let’s Queer Things Up!, his blog and labor of love. With a passion for impacting change through personal narrative, Sam writes about his struggles and triumphs as genderqueer and bipolar with the hopes of teaching others about his identity and community. When he isn’t writing, he’s probably eating takeout and dancing to Taylor Swift.

Connect with SDF: Website ; Facebook ; Twitter ; Tumblr

Author’s Note: I know that there is some debate around whether to use “differently-abled,” “disabled,” or “person with a disability.” I acknowledge that there is some disagreement there and validate those concerns completely. I used the language that I identify with most, but recognize that not everyone uses this same language.