Daily Archives: February 4, 2015

Day Two In Dallas

Yesterday turned out pretty good.  I got to visit with my BFF and hug her. It felt so good to finally be so close to her. We talked for a couple hours and it felt so natural. I am not sure what I was so nervous about.

The rest of the time was pretty boring. Like today has been so fucking. I am not experiencing much difference than when I am in Omaha. Except I keep getting little jolts of anxiety and I’m kind of dreading the drive home. I still have a whole other day of this. I wish I was brave enough to go out by myself.

Being stuck in a hotel room for three days is not something I think I will do again. The next time hubby has a trip I think I’ll just stay home and be bored there. Sure I won’t get to sleep with him but I will feel more comfortable.

I have this feeling that something bad will happen constantly popping into my head. It’s so annoying. Hubby still won’t be back for another 3 hours. Plus I’ve been waking up earlier then I do at home which is making the day even longer.

If anyone has any suggestions of what a person stuck in a hotel room can do with herself, I’ll gladly take it into consideration, cause this just blows… Maybe I’ll get hubby to take me out tonight to at least get some fresh air.

Love In A Bipolar World

When you find that special person that you know you want to spend the rest of your life with, you have to consider a lot of factors.  If you are bipolar, the list of considerations changes quite a bit.  Should you tell that person up front?  Will it scare them away?  What if you don’t tell them, and you experience depression, anxiety, even mania?  

I know in my situation, I met a couple of guys before I met my husband, and I was always brutally honest.  I never kept my condition from anyone.  I was sure to make it clear that there was nothing easy about my situation, and there would be ups and downs.  If the discussion ever warranted, I also made sure that they knew that kids were not in my future. 
Some seemed to think they could handle it, but truthfully couldn’t.  The first time my depression kicked in, they stopped calling.  Others were long gone before I finished the words, bipolar disorder.  Joe was different from the start.  He was kind and caring.  He seemed to accept my issues.  He came from a strong Catholic background, and I knew it would be hard to sell me to his parents.  Particularly with no grandchildren in the mix. 
It didn’t take very long for Joe to realize that perhaps I wasn’t right for him.  He suddenly dropped out of the picture, and I was left confused and alone.  I hoped my disease wasn’t what scared him off, but deep down, I knew it was.  Not many people know that about us.  Our first time trying to make a go of it, we just didn’t click.  I suffered through a series of mentally and sometimes physically abusive relationships after that.  I convinced myself that this was the best I could do. 
In May 2001, Joe started calling again.  I was guarded because I didn’t want the past to repeat itself.  My parents were thrilled, especially my mom.  She had always liked Joe and she was constantly worried about the other guys I chose to spend my time with. 
Joe confessed to me that he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about me.  That a couple of years earlier, he wasn’t grown up enough to understand what challenges I would bring to the table. We worked harder at a relationship this time around, and by the end of July we were talking about marriage and moving in together. 
When I look back on my failed relationships, I absolutely cringe.  I never should have settled for the pain and heartache I had to endure.  My self-esteem was so far in the toilet.  I just knew that since I wasn’t truly good enough for anyone, that men could treat me as such.  I just accepted it.  After you subject yourself to this for years, if something good comes along, you can hardly recognize it, let alone believe it’s actually happening. 
I’m here to tell you that you do not have to allow yourself to be treated like you aren’t worth it.  You are not broken, useless or a failure.  You have just as much to offer this world as anyone who doesn’t suffer from mental illness.  There will probably always be that little voice inside your head telling you that this one is going to walk out on you too.  Don’t let that voice take over! 
Relationships are hard for anyone.  They are even more difficult on those of us with bipolar.  I’m not going to tell you that it’s always perfect.  Once you find the love of your life, it’s pretty damn close.  Honesty, communication, and laughter.  You must have all of these.  Talk about your feelings!  Give them a voice.  Know that your spouse loves you for you, and for the happiness you bring into their life.  When you get down, don’t do what I’ve done in the past and offer them a way out.  It hurts them more than it hurts you. 
Anything worth fighting for is hard work, we all know this.  When you find love and acceptance in the eyes of your best friend, you will know true happiness.  Don’t doubt yourself or your relationship.  You will, of course, have ups and downs, there is no way around that.  Everyone does!  Yours will be a different set of challenges, and you must be realistic about that.  Just know that you can do this. 

All of my life, I have struggled to find something that I am actually good at.  I have finally found it.  Loving my husband so completely is my calling in life.  He means everything to me, and I can only hope that each and every person reading this can find that as well.  Being married with mental illness is not impossible.  It takes work, but it is more than worth it.  

August 3, 2001

Manic Poetry 101

I’ve written about how my manic and depressive episodes showed up early in my life, but I wasn’t attuned enough to such things to notice what was going on.  But I do have poetry and other writings that reflect what was going on in my mind during those times.  I have one poem written in the early 1990’s in particular that is manic in origin if there ever was one.  I’ll give it to you now–it’s titled “Take a Walk”.

I’ll pick you up in the nearest bar

Feed you a mickey in your Jack Daniels

Drag you home and keep you as a pet–

Just hug you and kiss you and

Call you George–

Some days I just feel like

doing something dangerous

Like wear sexy red satin

underneath a tweedy suit

to go out dancing–undo a

button or two–when we’re

up close and personal

Sometimes I just get in the mood

to be a little dangerous

Let’s create awareness in a

very feral way

as I step into

my high-heeled shoes

to waltz you off a cliff

Because I know how you like it

when I do something dangerous.

Like I said.  Manic.  Never done any of those things.  But I’ve thought about them.  And my poetry reflects a lot of my moods even in graduate school when I felt steady as a rock.  Tune  in tomorrow for more!


Full Disclosure

Welcome to our new readers! We’re glad you are here.

Just a reminder: if anyone has any topics or questions they would like me to write about, just let me know. I aim to please!

One of my new readers brought up the topic of disclosing the fact that one has bipolar to various people. I can tell you what I have done and give you some cheap, free advice on what I might do if I had it to do over again.

Starting in high school and college, I didn’t even know I had depression or bipolar. I knew I had some serious problems but wasn’t sure what it was. If I missed an event or class or whatever, I would tell people I was “sick”. This seemed to work fine.

I was officially diagnosed with depression at age 26 or so. I told no one. I was working as a school principal and knew it wasn’t a good idea to disclose. But I was crying all the time and wound up resigning. Some people probably figured it out anyway.

I stayed home and raised kids. I had very long good periods of mental health. During the bad times when I was sick, I DID have an episode of severe kidney trouble and I just kept on using that as an excuse when I needed to miss something. It seemed to work.

I was diagnosed with bipolar at age 40. I went into full hiding at that point. I was “sick” a lot.

About three years ago, I decided “the hell with this”. I came out of the closet.

Let me tell you about the different groups in my life and how I have handled it. There are three categories 1) those who don’t know (I tell them I am “sick” if there is a problem) 2) those who think I have depression 3) those who know I have bipolar and what that entails.

CLOSE FRIENDS: They all know I have bipolar. I don’t disclose this until about the sixth “date” or so. I start by telling them I suffer from depression. Everyone gets and accepts that. Then later I tell them I have bipolar depression. I’ve had no problems with this method. Many of them want more information, so I explain what I can and refer them to websites. I don’t feel like I’ve lost friends because of this. I DO feel I have lost one or two friends because I cancelled on them too much due to being depressed.

NEW FRIENDS: I don’t let people know right away, unless I meet them in a mental health setting, like a support group. I don’t feel like people need to know unless it’s going to really affect them. If I need to cancel on a new friend, I might tell them I have a migraine or something similar.

NEIGHBORS: We don’t know a ton of our neighbors, but one group we’ve known 20 years. They have no idea. I just go reclusive when I get sick. Because we don’t nose in each other’s business, no one pays any attention. The other neighbors we like are pretty self-absorbed. They do their own thing. I might tell this group I have a headache if I had to miss something.

RELATIVES: I have come out gradually to all of the relatives in town. My two elderly aunts who live out of state don’t know. I wasn’t sure they’d understand what I was talking about. My relatives have basically been supportive, some more than others. The ones who were jerks before I disclosed are still jerks, and the nice ones are still nice.

DOCTORS: Other than mental health care doctors, I do tend to tell all other health care providers. First off, they have my drug history which gives them a clue. Also, I tend to get better treatment (in my opinion). People are a little kinder and they look at me like I might do something scary if they aren’t nice. Hey, I’ll take any advantage I can.

CHURCH: I am gradually disclosing here. It’s a fairly new church so we don’t know everyone yet. The church secretary knows, the pastor knows, and the prayer chain leader knows. If it comes up, I would tell anyone else there. My women’s support group knows and they have been incredibly supportive.

MY HUSBAND’S FRIENDS: This again has been a gradual process. A few of his friends have mental illness in their families so he told them first. They have been super understanding. He tells other people as it comes up and as it is needed. His boss knows just in case he needs to stay home with me for some reason. (My husband is semi-retired, works from home, but sometimes travels). Sometimes I go on trips with my husband and one of his friends. For sure, these guys know. I find men to be very accepting and understanding.

WORK: Uh, no. I don’t ever recommend telling work. The reason I have felt free to come out of the closet is because I don’t work anymore. It had to be a big secret before.

I have heard so many stories of people disclosing at work only to find themselves being watched very carefully and let go at the slightest infraction. I know there are federal laws and all to protect us, but it all sounds like a mess. I never told anyone at work I even felt depressed. I was teaching school as my last job and of course gossip spreads like wildfire at a school. As I got sicker, I used the old “kidney” routine.

There are two women I worked with at this school that I am still friends with. One of them has moved to another school. I came out and told her I have been suffering from depression. I don’t think she made the connection that that is why I quit work. The other friend is a pretty close friend but she still works at the school.

Now it’s been two years since I taught there and they have incredible turnover so it’s not as though many people would remember me. But I still don’t want the remaining people to know I have bipolar. I am not sure why. Maybe because some of these people are darned mean. So this friend I have that is still working there does not know I have bipolar. She thinks I have depression brought on by my kidney troubles. (Yes, I know this is an asshole way to handle this.)

Anyway, you can see this disclosure thing is complicated. But I do feel better every time I tell someone. I haven’t lost many friends (if any), and really if someone leaves it’s their problem. But full disclosure is something to be well thought out.

Blog for Mental Health 2015

I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project (blogformentalhealth.com). I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.…

What goes up . . .

Well I am finally done having visitors.  First, my parents were here for two and a half weeks.  I honestly didn’t know how I would handle so much time with others since I’m used to being alone, alone, alone but it was really good to have the ‘rents here.  Then, just as they were leaving, my sister M came for a long weekend to celebrate her fiftieth birthday.  We are so close and we had just a wonderful time.  Talking about everything in the world, going to the beach, walking here there and everywhere, laughing, and, my gift to her, swimming with the manatees.  Yes.  It was incredible and I highly recommend it, if you ever have the chance!!  We spent two and a half glorious hours in the waters of Homosassa Springs, snorkeling about with these gentle giants.  It was spectacular!!  I just tooled around in the water, saying “Thank you, God!  Thank you God!”

I was so sad to drop my sister off at the airport on Monday afternoon.  What a downer to be alone again.  I had an ECT treatment yesterday, and they made me take a drug test!  Why?  I don’t know.  I really don’t like this ECT provider at all.  And I don’t know if the ECT is helping.  At first, I thought yes.  Then today, when I just plain didn’t want to wake up, I said, why do I bother?

Well, time to find some other meaning in my life.  I can’t just live from one visit to the other.  I think I might go to the botanical gardens today.  I think getting out of my comfort zone and doing new things is good for me.  I did a lot of it while my parents were here and I need to keep it up.

So, how is life in your world? <3

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar ECT, Comfort Zone, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader


Today’s categories are research, opinion and celebs. There’s a Financial Times op ed that I think e v e r y b o d y ought to read, I’ve commented within the post. I think it defines the pivotal problems of mental health globally and currently incredibly well. I have no idea why I filed it as research. *shrugs and wanders off*


This is what I call sensible research. ECT is the clear front runner in a race where the competitors are still just walking along. We need a sprint.

ECT Beats Drugs for Resistant Bipolar Disorder
However, remission rates were “modest” in both groups, highlighting the need for new and more effective treatment options for this “challenging clinical condition,” the authors, led by Helle K. Schoeyen, MD, PhD, Division of Psychiatry, Stavanger University Hospital, in Norway, note.

And we need more of this too; how can we get better meds unless ‘they’ understand the oldest one we already have? Described as probably the first of its kind, it’s also the kind of research you’d think would have been ongoing since 1970 ish, when lithium was approved for psych use.

Novel integrative genomic tool for interrogating lithium response in bipolar disorder
As a proof-of-concept study, we investigated lithium (Li) response in bipolar disorder (BD). BD is a severe mood disorder marked by cycles of mania and depression. Li is one of the most commonly prescribed and decidedly effective treatments for many patients (responders), although its mode of action is not yet fully understood, nor is it effective in every patient (non-responders).

And here’s a fascinatingly despairing look at the status quo. It’s very worth reading – analyses progress well, against the context of money and cooperation. If you only click one link in this post, make it this one.

Business and the brain: How some scientists hope to cure mental illness
Scientists compete, work in isolation and don’t share data. Pharmaceutical companies, which have all but abandoned mental illness because of costly clinical trials, have no new drugs in the pipeline. They also compete, don’t share data and duplicate research.

Another water-is-wet style academic wankpaper next.

Binge watching TV linked to depression and loneliness
A recent study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that the more lonely and depressed you are, the more likely you are to binge-watch.



Reactions to the fuckwit Tom Sullivan of some teeny show on the fucked Fox radio station have been interesting. Some predictable ones, of course, and some more fascinating, particularly this one by Leonard Pitts Jnr. And please note, the project didn’t receive financial help. Big pharma still sucks troll haemorrhoids.

Science deniers are a growing menace
“I am now the most miserable man living,” the depressed man wrote. “If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on earth.”

Luckily for him, Abraham Lincoln did not write those words to Tom Sullivan. Sullivan, a Fox “News” Radio host, hasn’t much patience for claims of mental disability.

Here’s another quote I liked very much.

Bipolar disorder, once known as manic depression, is one of the oldest diagnoses in psychiatry. It was first described in 1854 by French doctors Jules Baillarger (who dubbed it “la folie à double forme” or “dual form insanity”) and Jean-Pierre Falret, (who called it “folie circulaire,” or “circular insanity”). Both described it as an affliction characterized by moods that cycled wildly between mountain highs and oceanic lows. So bipolar disorder is hardly a fad.

I prefer circulair to double, circle gives more of a spectrum and less binary.

Grassroots advocacy here from Canadian musician Jamie Greer
Greer posted his photo to Facebook with the message, “this is the face of someone who battles mental illness everyday.”
He invited others suffering with mental illness to come public using the hashtag #‎iamafaceofmentalillness‬. Here is the hashtag use on FB.

Rethinking diagnoses of mental disorders
Mental illness may not differ from other medical conditions in this regard. High blood pressure can occur during numerous illnesses, or even as a normal physiological response to stress. But no one would argue that hypertension isn’t also a “real” medical diagnosis in itself, among individuals meeting certain criteria. Similarly, painkillers can bring effective relief without correcting whatever biological abnormality necessitates their use.
Letters in response to the NY Times’ Redefining Mental Illness

Britain’s NHS never fails to fail
FURTHER concerns have been raised after about an NHS bed shortage after a mental health patient was transported 250 miles to Cornwall for specialist care.

Last time I lived in the UK it took me six months to see a social worker who would assess me to see if I needed a psychiatrist. .



Mary Lambert on using her music to talk about mental illness
“I think it’s really important to de-stigmatize mental illness in any form,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of people that are carrying around guilt and shame and baggage for sh*t that doesn’t matter. Everybody is going through something, everybody has had something that they’ve had to overcome.”

I’m going to google and see whether she’s said anything more ‘stigma busting’ in her music than “I’ve got bipolar disorder, my shit’s not in order” – how is that stigma busting anyway? Okay yes, she’s admitting to it, but she’s also implying .. eh blah blah it’s a sweet pop song and by now the direction that my rants take is predictable enough not to do it again right now.

Kareena Kapoor’s next film
According to the director, the film explores section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, which states that a person of an unsound mind can be deemed not guilty of criminal acts. The film will reportedly go on floors this April.

And remember that Bollywood is bigger than Hollywood. Nollywood (Nigeria) just makes more films. Digressing even further, here is a fun list of more Hollywood inspired nicknames.

Canadian celebrities retweeting mental health video made by Lambton College students​
Members of the college’s Jack.org chapter released the video – a moving reenactment of a student reaching out for help – on the eve of Bell Let’s Talk Day last week.


In brief

5 real ways to combat stigma – individual and immediate-community based ideas.
Yale students demand mental health reform – we could all do with some of that.
Regional Psychiatric Centre could face eviction under Saskatchewan laws – protest against solitary confinement for mentally ill prisoners.
Deaths of four medical trainees raises questions about study intensity – Australia. Prevalence of stress, depression and suicide in the medical profession.

Old Friends, Daleks, & “Time to Talk”

Me at a "Time to Change Leeds" event, Feb 2014

At a “Time to Change Leeds” event, Feb 2014: Would you talk to this woman?

I have a friend who’s the strong, silent, metallic, tentacled type. Let’s call him “Gerald”.

Gerald, Jake the cat, and I: 2004. Gerald is the one in black.

Gerald, Jake the cat, and I, 2004: Gerald’s the one in black.

Gerald doesn’t talk about his feelings much. In fact, he seldom says more than one word at a time. (1)

The late, great Jake the cat was more chatty. Jake liked to say “Hello!” when coming back inside. Okay, so he actually said: “Ai ai ai!” My husband and I – and, probably, our other cats – knew that meant “Hello!” Or perhaps: “Eh up, love.”

He was a Yorkshire cat, after, all.

I’ve written before about the pleasure which animals have brought to my life. About how chatting to cats like Jake, and my current animal friend, Arthur C Rat, without fear of judgement, or interruption, has been a great comfort.

Animal companions are great. I love being around them: mine, and my friends’ and family’s pets, too. But for me, and I suspect many others with mental health problems, they can’t replace human friends.

I met up with someone I count as an old friend – in the sense of closeness and long-standing, not age – the other day at a local teashop.

Since she’s a writer friend, we chatted a lot about writing, and books. But we also talked about what’s been happening inside her head,  and mine. Including my recent, mercifully short, trip on The Self-Loathing Express. It’s a train a lot of people with bipolar, depression, and other mental health problems know all too well.

Cake courtesy Floristry, aka "Lord Hurst's", in Doncaster

Tasty cake courtesy Floristry, aka “Lord Hurst’s”, in Doncaster

I consider myself blessed that I have friends – including my writerly one – who visited me at home when I was seemingly stuck to the settee through the immobility that usually accompanies my depression. Who visited me in psychiatric hospital, even though, as another old friend commented whilst looking around the place: “If you weren’t already depressed when you came in, you soon will be.” (2)

Friends who met me for walks, and tea, and cake. Who encouraged me when I began taking those first, tentative steps toward one of my many recoveries.

It was good to talk. And to listen, and be listened to. And yes, to have a laugh. Because you can have a laugh with – rather than at – people who are mentally unwell.

It’s Time to Talk. And it’s well past Time to Change.

It's good to talk. Cake is also good. Cake courtesy one of the nifty bakers at Doncaster Mind

Talking is good. So is cake. Smiley cake courtesy one of the nifty bakers at Doncaster Mind.

Thursday 5th February is “Time to Talk” Day. Join the conversation. Support “Time to Change”.

(1) No prizes for guessing what that one word is.

(2) That was some time back. The current facilities are much newer, and better.

20 Days of Valentines—Day 8

A Certain Magic

This bit of magic and more on Etsy.  Click the image to find it.

Disorders in Alice in Wonderland

Originally posted on Curiosity and Creation:

Ever woke up one day wondered, “What psychological disorders do the characters of Alice in Wonderland represent?” Well wonder no more here’s my view on each of the characters.

Please note that I in no way support or allow for the discrimination of persons with psychological disorders. This is merely a satiric piece and it is in no way meant to offend anyone.

  1. Alice- paranoid schizophrenia

It comes as no surprise that the protagonist of Lewis Carol’s masterpieces, appears to be schizophrenic. I mean geez she sees floating cats and talking caterpillars. She also has several violent encounters in this world. The queen of hearts persistently tries to cut off her head. She fights monsters and dragon like creatures. She’s like your modern day anime child or teen. She’s pretty awesome.

We notice that no one in the real world can see this world that Alice experiences. And even though…

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