Daily Archives: January 31, 2015

A Year and Two Days

Well since I’ve been writing for a full year and two days. I plan to keep writing every day this year as well. I hope that I can get up two years. I might miss a day or two when I move but I hope to find wifi I can hook into to at least post something.

My mood today is anxious. I haven’t been able to completely relax and I can feel that I could easily lose my temper. I’m what I like to call itchy, not quite bitchy but the itch is there. I don’t want to do things I don’t want do. I don’t want to be told my opinions don’t matter. I don’t want to listen to what other people have to say. I know these things will bring out the capital B.

I’m trying to keep my temper. I am trying to remain calm.

I’m not feeling great physically. I’m not feeling great emotionally. I am anxious about our trip. I’m anxious about feeling bad and I feel like all my nerves are on edge. I hate this feeling.

Maybe it will be better tomorrow.. maybe..

January Farewell

I had a pretty decent month. As a matter of fact, I can’t believe January is actually gone. It seems like we just got the Christmas stuff put away and here we are, looking at February.

I started a spreadsheet to help me with my recovery goals. It has really helped. I’m going to take a look back and see how it went.

I had quite a few things that I wanted to do every day. I’ll start with those:

EXERCISE: Uhhhh….I exercised 6 days out of the month. Okay, this is not exactly good, but I think it is better than December. I read an article I liked about exercise and depression. It said to move around 30 minutes a day, six times a week. This is supposed to stave off depression. I figure this sounds reasonable. As bad as this is, this wasn’t my worst result of the month.

DIET STUFF: I’m supposed to drink 4-5 shakes per day and 64 ounces of water. I’ve been doing okay with the shakes…not perfect, but moving toward it. The water is coming along. I like to drink a diet soda or some iced tea every day but if I drink all of my water forget it. The priority needs to be the water. How hard is this?

COOKING DINNER: I’m shining here. I cooked dinner every day this month, except about five days when we had other plans. I cook for the four of us at home, and make a little extra and freeze portions for my son who lives away. I am really proud of my efforts in this area.

CANCELLING STUFF: I have been terrible at this for quite a while. I cancelled something 11 days out of this month. This might have been something with friends, a doctor’s appointment, a group meeting, or whatever. This was one of those things where I’d get up in the morning, look at my couch, and just decide I couldn’t do it.

Most of my friends are understanding about this but I hate it. If I were my friend, I’d get sick of it. This is a big problem for me and I’ve got to get better at it. On the positive side, I had seven days straight where I did not cancel anything.

One reason I get into cancelling stuff is because I haven’t showered and I hate to. This brings us to our next activity of:

SHOWERING: I only started keeping track of this for the last half of the month. But during that time I did well. I can go and just shower every three days and be pretty good. I’ve also learned to shower the night before and just let my hair dry and then I am ready to go in the morning. This shower issue is one of the big problems left over from my serious depression. I will now go and shower by myself without someone else in the room, but I still hate it.

MY BEST FRIEND: Some of you know I have been working on this relationship. I kept track of how much we interacted this month. The good news is that we texted 13 days out of the month. That’s not bad. I think we only talked about twice. I’d like to talk more. We did have a solid week where we had no communication. I don’t like that. And we have no plans to see each other in person. I’d like some plans, even if they are far off and tentative. It’s hard to make new memories if you don’t see each other. Things seem a little better these last few days… so who knows about next month?

DEVOTIONALS: This is a part of that retreat I went on a while back. I’ve done these all but 5 days this month. Good job!

EATING THE BAD STUFF: I’m supposed to drink my shakes and water and have a “reasonable” helping of the dinner I cook each night. That’s it. I’ve only been able to do this three days this month. And, gee, tomorrow is the Super Bowl. I hate psych meds. They make you eat everything in sight.

KLONOPIN: I was taking 3 tablets of .5 each at the beginning of the month. I am now down to 1 1/2 of .5. Am glad to reduce the Klonopin. I am SO sick of people saying “Klonopin is really addictive. You should be careful.” I’d really like to say something unladylike back, but I don’t. I like my Klonopin. It’s the only psych drug I take where I feel anything.

SLEEPING UPSTAIRS: This is a weird goal. But I get on my couch at night and watch TV or listen to an audio book and then fall asleep. After I take my meds around 8, I am pretty drowsy. It’s hard for me to get up the stairs to bed. But if I sleep on the couch, my neck and shoulders go haywire. My poor husband has tried to get me upstairs, but he says I look so peaceful he hates to wake me up. I just kept track of this for 10 days and I made it to bed 8 out of 10.

WEEKLY STUFF: I went to church twice this month. But I did a bunch of missions work and collected food and toys and games for the shelter. I saw five friends socially this month. I think that’s pretty good. I went to 3 out of 4 NAMI meetings. I did my daughter’s math lesson plans 4 out of 4 weeks this month. (This is my form of volunteering. She has a special ed class.) I only went to my women’s group two out of four times. I should definitely improve on that. That is a good group for me. I went places or on “dates” with my husband five times. I checked and worked on my friend list four times this month. All of my friends are up to date on texts, dates, and conversations. Plus, we had that Christmas party last month so I saw most of them there.

MONTHLY STUFF: I saw my therapist and my psychiatrist once each this month. I did NOT go to my book club, even though I read the book. (I may drop the book club…not sure.) I did get a massage (for mental health!). I was weighed in at the diet doctor once.

So that is my January. The spreadsheet is helping a lot. At least I know where I need to get going. It’s much better than that vague general feeling of “how am I doing…is this recovery?”



Day Three

Well, I made it through the dance competition this morning.  Both my girls danced and did well; I started hurting some towards the end but it was more like mild period cramps than anything else.  I came and home and lay down, and now I’m feeling better.  I plan to be lazy until my youngest daughter does to a birthday party this afternoon and my middle one has her friends over to play games and munch.  So the hard part of the day is over, I think and I swing into next week hopefully pain free!  Thanks all of you for praying for me as I go through this recovery with just not very much to post

Tom Sullivan: Does Fox discriminate against people with mental illnesses?

tom sullivanI am starting to wonder if Fox does not like people with mental illnesses. The recent story of  Fox news host, Tom Sullivan, telling a caller that her illness is made up  is not the first time that Fox has added to the stigma of mental illness. It is not the first time they have discriminated against people with mental illness. They allow the people who work there to do and say things against people with mental illnesses with no punishment.

Sullivan said that he thought people with mental illnesses are just saying they have a mental illness for attention. I have to wonder if Fox News is allowing such behavior by their staff for attention to help their ratings.  He also thinks they are lazy and just saying they have a mental illness to get disability.  I think that Fox News is lazy not to research about mental illnesses and does not do anything when people who represent their network say discriminatory things.

Like I said, this is not the first time that Fox has made things harder for people with mental illnesses.

There was the incident with Shepard Smith where he called Robin Williams a coward for committing suicide. My reaction: Robin Williams a Coward? Apology NOT accepted!

Then there was the incident with Bill O’Reilly where he talked about how another violent episode because of mental illness was making America look bad.  My Reaction to Bill O’Reilly’s Opinion Regarding Mental Illness

I have heard people who work for Fox use  words like schizo  instead of crazy.  They have used mental illness as synonymous for crazy too.  (“The real mental illness is coming out of the White House.”)  Using terms like these so loosely are wrong and contributes to the stigma.

When is Fox going to stop adding to the stigma? Do they not know that by not doing anything to punish their staff when they say such things could potentially prevent  people from getting help?  Do they not know that these people who don’t get help because of the stigma could potentially commit suicide or possibly hurt someone else?

They are so quick to mention that someone who has committed a crime has a mental illness. What they don’t say is that less than 1% of those with mental illnesses are violent. They also don’t’ use the opportunity to educate people and let them know where to get help.

I think what Fox has allowed when it comes to mental illness is appalling.  If someone there had said something negative about someone who was black or was a homosexual, would things be different?  Fox News would never be able to get away with calling someone from those groups lazy or downplay  the things they face in any way.

I wonder if there will ever come a time when people from the media who say negative things about people with mental illnesses will  suffer consequences.   1 in 4 people in America have a mental illness. I find it very hard to believe that there isn’t anyone who works for Fox doesn’t know someone with a mental illness.  When will they speak up about what the person they know endures? When will they let the network know the harm they cause for those who struggle with mental illnesses?

The media does not help when it comes to the stigma of mental illness. I would now have to say that Fox is the worst!

Let them know how you feel:

Twitter: @FoxTV @sullivanradio

Facebook: Fox News  and/or Tom Sullivan 

Email: tomsullivanradio@foxnews.com


I Take “Crazy Pills” and I Am Not Ashamed


Illustration by Jessica Krcmarik

[The illustration features a place mat with an array of breakfast foods and coffee. A pair of arms rests on the mat. One hand is holding a spoon; the other hand is clutching onto a pill bottle.]

I remember the first “crazy pill” that I ever took. I was on vacation in Tennessee, sitting on the edge of one of those generic motel beds with a hideous blanket covered with — what was it? Seashells?

Pill bottle in hand, my mother looked at me with apprehension and said what many folks would say to me for years to come:

“Are you sure about this?”

I nodded, looked her in the eye and without hesitation, I said, “Absolutely.”

In the years that I have been taking psychotropic medications, never for a moment have I regretted my decision. Have I been afraid of what happens in the long term? Sure. Have I contemplated the impact of “big pharma” and my piece in that frightening puzzle? Definitely.

But for me, trying to survive each day trapped within an agonizing depression was not an option. Attempting to end my life again was not an option. Continuing down the path that I was on? Not an option.

When I looked back at my life, I realized I had spent more time struggling than I had spent truly living. And I knew that if something didn’t change, bipolar disorder was going to kill me.

Everyone and their brother has an opinion on my decision to take medication for bipolar and anxiety. But have you tried meditation? What about acupuncture? Have you changed your diet? What about fish oil?

Initially, I entertained them. I explained that I had tried everything that I could, and that medications had been my last resort.

That is, until I realized that I was under no obligation to justify my decision, especially to those who did not understand my struggle.

People who did not know what dissociation was, or what it feels like to be in the midst of a paranoid delusion; people who had never felt anxiety that stripped them of their ability to function in our society; people who had never felt emotional pain that seemed to throb from inside the marrow of their bones.

Complete strangers would badger me, presuming to know what was best for me without actually knowing the relentless, devastating pain that mental illness had put me through. Strangers who thought that they knew better than me, the person who had lived through this for years, what my body needed to heal.

Sometimes, it was well-intentioned. But most of the time, it was coming from a judgmental place.

They may as well have been saying, “I know nothing about mental illness, but I’m going to tell you about this random treatment I read about on the internet because clearly you don’t know what you’re doing.”

And it made me so, so angry.

No, medications were not a “cop out,” they weren’t the “easy way out,” they weren’t a “quick fix” that magically made me happy and high and light. They weren’t easy, they weren’t quick, and they definitely weren’t fun.

Taking medication for my illnesses was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made, and it took incredible courage to make that choice. It was a process that took years — years of side effects, years of false hope, years of judgment, years of doubt — to finally get it right.

But eventually, with the right doctor and with a lot of patience, we did get it right. After four years of being the equivalent of a human guinea pig, my body responded at last and I could begin to do the important work of healing. Combined with therapy, my transition, and self-care, I was able to begin again — this time, completely present and alive, no longer struggling just to keep my head above water.

And you know what? I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry for exercising my bodily autonomy. I’m not sorry for making the choice to take care of myself. I’m not sorry for taking control of my life.

Most of all, I’m not sorry for having the strength to choose life over death. Each day that I swallow these pills, I am reminded of the tenacity it took to keep myself alive, in spite of every fiery and relentless urge to end it all. I did what I needed to do to keep myself alive, and I’ll never apologize for the fact that I’m still here.

To be clear: Meds aren’t right for everyone, and they aren’t accessible for everyone, either. We need to do better not just for folks who take meds, but for those who do not or cannot. We need to protect a person’s right to dictate and choose what’s best for their body, and advocate to make those resources available to them — no matter what they end up deciding.

Ultimately, this is not about medicating every single person with a mental illness. It’s about giving us the power to decide how to heal, be it with medication or otherwise, and defending our right to make that choice without pressure, without shame, and without obstacles that prevent us from exercising those choices.

I am not ashamed of these pills. I am only ashamed to be part of a society that still believes it can dictate what’s right for my body, and what’s right for my community.

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

Be sure to follow us on Facebook to get the latest about my articles that I’m writing for other sites, as well as upcoming speaking engagements! I want to meet as many of our readers as possible!

Editor’s Note: The use of the phrase “crazy pills” is not being endorsed as acceptable for mainstream use, but rather, reclaimed in a way that the author finds personally empowering.


Here be (more) links (again) for your perusal (as usual).


How to Spot a Manic Depressive Person
– this is pretty good. The only niggle I have with it is their only mentioning psychosis as a symptom of extreme mania. But I think it’s useful not only for spotting bipolar, it works for keeping an eye on symptoms too.

Bipolar patients with mania/mixed episodes who quit using cannabis do better than their counterparts who continue using the drug, new research shows.

In the first study of its kind, Canadian researchers are investigating whether probiotics, the good stomach bacteria that aid digestion, regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, may in fact be a treatment for those with bipolar disorder.

Things I watched on YouTube recently:
The Bridge (2006 documentary)
If these walls could talk: stories from behind Toronto’s psychiatric patient built wall

The first REM sleep period not only begins too early in the night in people who are clinically depressed, it is also often abnormally long. Instead of the usual 10 minutes or so, this REM may last twice that. The eye movements too are abnormal — either too sparse or too dense. In fact, they are sometimes so frequent that they are called eye movement storms.

31 days of bipolar: 12

Do the meme.

12. Who was/is your favourite doctor (any kind) and why?

Happily I have had way more good than bad doctors, but telling you my favourite one is very easy. First place goes to my current psychiatrist (I say things like that the way other people say current job or boyfriend or whatever). After a gap of about three years, we picked up where we left off almost seamlessly. For months afterwards, she stood between me and giving up entirely.

She’s the one who diagnosed bipolar and all its joyous modifiers for me, by the way. She laughs a lot and is open about bipolar running in her family.  She researches a lot and part of any appointment consists of one or both of us saying did you read … She also charges me for shorter appointments than I get and gave me 45mins free when I was too skint to pay. She says stuff like if it’s a choice between medical stuff and shoes, I buy the shoes. I know there’s a shortage of psychiatrists pretty much everywhere, but it’s even shorter here, because there’s no medical school and things are fairly basic around here anyway. So I feel very fortunate to have such a good, kind and on the ball pdoc.



Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA:

Ugh…this hits me where I live right now…..for the past, oh, about three months now, I’ve been holed up, even when traveling…..unable to leave my quarters because I can’t deal with the inner and the outer at the same time.

Originally posted on depression comix (WP.com):


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