Daily Archives: February 12, 2015

“All Who Wander Are Not Lost”

The other day I sniffed the air, opened my eyes wide, and leaped…into a world I have always wanted to own.

Yes, own.

For years I slept in an ancient army-surplus mummy bag, stuffed with feathers that stuck into your skin and made sleep a chore.  It was definitely not waterproof.

Eventually I graduated to a fifth-hand Eureka pup-tent, which I still own.  I found it last year when some workers were taking down an old house, and it was stashed away in a corner of the attic.  I gave my truly amazing Marmot four-season mountain tent to my son, along with the really excellent down bag I haven’t used in years and years.  He does use them.  He’s in that part of his life.  One day maybe he’ll pass them along to his own daughter or son.

So I, longing to own the road rather than be owned by it, have acquired a small camper van.  It has everything I need in it, unlike the barn I have been occupying for the last several years.  It has a tiny but functional bathroom, complete with tiny but functional shower.  It has a large back seat that converts into a king-size bed.  A king-size bed!  Maybe I need another dog.  Noga would never forgive me, though….that mass of blonde hair is Noga.  She’s 13 pounds of fierce.

20130319_221249I have been asking myself, truly, is this the life you want?  To purposely NOT have a home?  And the answer is always a resounding YES!  I need a break.  I need a break from fucking everything.  To be able to pick up and amble my way to New Mexico, Colorado…Boulder, such an interesting patchwork community….and I want to see the Redwoods.  I lived in America for 54 years and never saw the Redwood trees in Northern California!  What’s up with that?  I guess it just wasn’t time yet.

If you asked me if I plan to be a gypsy for the rest of my life, today I would say no.  Tomorrow, who knows?  I don’t want to be constrained by time.  Geography is a bit of a challenge for me, as I really would rather be gypsying in Israel.  That, however, is not only physically impossible, it is outright dangerous at this moment.  This breaks my heart.  My constitution is not set up for war.

So, no, I have no idea where this is going, where and when and how long it will take me…but it will be a liberation for me, a throwing off of all obligation and responsibility.

I’m already finding others who live on the road–mostly people like myself, who have had enough of working their brains out for–what?  A fancy house?  Even a not-fancy house?  There was a time when a fancy or not-fancy house looked mighty good to me, when I was outside huddling in my not-water-proof feather bag.  Now people of my generation are saying good-bye, so long, farewell to permanence, and have formed a loosely knit family of choice, meeting up at campgrounds or by a lake, or any place they choose.  I guess we’ve regressed, hit the road again–the Woodstock Generation gone to seed.

I’m going to try it and see what it’s like.  I’m a solitary person–this way if I want a little human company, I know where to find it; and if I want solitude, well, that’s everywhere to be had.

February’s here and that means………

I have family in Australia. The land of sunshine and red earth, they all call it Paradise.. Hey Edel, we live in Paradise…!! I hate ‘em.. I emailed my brother last Spring and described the swans nestling on the banks … Continue reading

ffs february

2015 is not a Leap Year.

To be honest I don’t think it’s even a spring to your feet year. Not for me anyway. I really hope yours is going better – and I am very aware that mine is light years away from being the worst. I digress. Clearly a 28 day February is preferable to a 29 day one. The tradition of women being able to propose to men on the 29th passes me by without a ripple.

Clang association back up there … not surprising (mixed state). I don’t loathe February because I’m single and valentine’s day approacheth – it’s primarily because it’s the month my mother died. Then there is this mixed state and valentine’s day will possibly hurt a little, because I’m a romantic – but it’s also alright. I want all my friends and family who have partners to have some quiet and intense romance and fiercely, joyously passionate sex, followed by sublimely slow lovemaking. And then, there is the fact that after months of effort, my beautiful, lovely, loving Hyaenadog’s neurological problems are accelerating, the silver bullet of cortisone is just beginning to affect his organs and we are now out of treatment options. Palliative care as long as possible and then he will need to go gently into that sodding voracious dark night. As another far too short lived shining soul didn’t quite say, my heart is broke but I have no glue.


There’s a verse in that song that applies untouched though.

Skin the sun
Fall asleep
Wish away
The soul is cheap
Lesson learned
Wish me luck
Soothe the burn
Wake me up
Dumb (Kurt Cobain, 1990)

Grunge-nerd sidenote: the version I linked is live, in 1994, which is the year Kurt took a shotgun and … you know the rest. The MTV Unplugged version is lovely too, particularly for the lines that he and Krist Novoselic harmonise. Nirvana is my go to music for a certain kind of sore. It’s one feather lighter that Johnny Cash’s final album (American IV – The Man Comes Around) and one heavier than Leonard Cohen. I can pinpoint my level of distress by the music I crave. I start at that point and eventually (not necessarily that day) I want the Shonen Knife vs The Carpenters album, at which point I am safe for human consumption for a while. I am playing Nirvana now.

I already feel soothed by the songs that are just right for the level I’m at. I’ve done my first round of strange and strangled trying-not-to sobbing; I am back to pragmatism. I’m going to give my boy a happy time full of love and later (as later as possible without causing him any more suffering) a gentle and dignified ending. It’s what we owe our dogs.

Amidst it all, I’m up to 300mg of lamotrigine so far. I told my shrink that I think the other meds changed need to wait a month, so I can separate grief and depression. She agreed, with the firm caveat of get in touch immediately if things get too hard. And she said casually oh yes the next one is free isn’t it, and with no loss of face, I got lucky again. Man I am fortunate. She also said if I need ECT, she will forego her fees. I am always, always knocked over by the most amazingly happy wave when someone is spontaneously kind.

I’m shattered right now – there was a lot happening today, plus stress pulsing through me and then sad sadder saddest sadness. There is a storm shifting across my big sky, muttering and grumbling and unable to decide where to break. Here please, we need the rain and I need nature to shake its fist till I feel safe again.

Jesus doesn’t want me for a sunbeam


That’s it … I’m done whining for now … my heart is broke, my heart is broke, my heart is broke.

Broken can be pretty, I can do without glue.

And so can you.

Just Visiting


I like to cruise around the blogosphere and see what the heck is out there. Uh, there’s a a lot. And I usually only hang around bipolar, depression, wedding, and quilting topics. (No, I am not getting married and I don’t quilt.)

Here is a post from a blog called Absolutely Uncontrolled. I am thinking this is the author’s first post. I like the way it deals with disclosure of the blog to family members. Very short, but powerful for me.

This post brought back the feelings I had when I first decided to write. Should I invite all in to read? Or just strangers? Or a few trusted friends? It was a tough decision. Even my husband and kids don’t know lots of what goes on with me in my bipolar world. And some of the crazy things that have happened…..no, I, like the author, would prefer strangers to friends and family.

I did, however, allow my best friend on the site. She is also a writer. She helps me with ideas and gives me feedback. Sometimes I write about her. But we made an agreement. I was to write as though she was not reading it….as though no one was looking over my shoulder. This has worked well.

Here is a post on a short stay in a mental hospital. I love the picture on this.

A little snippet from the blog A Bipolar’s Reality giving you a typical chunk of a day with a new med.

And from Bipolar Balance, some fun thoughts on meds and their side effects.

Just a short cruise around on a Thursday.

Have a good one.



Late Nights with Zoe the Syrian Hamster

Last month we got a golden brown Syrian hamster for our youngest daughter Rilla.  She promptly named her pet Zoe after “Zoe”, the stunning blonde alien/surfer girl in the epic Australian television series “Lightning Point”. (I swear, when you watch … Continue reading

Tenth Birthday

So today is my youngest daughter’s tenth birthday.  She was born somewhere between 7 an 9 a.m.on February 12, 2005.  I knew I was in labor the day before but was sent home by the obstetrician at the doctor’s office and then again at the hospital at 2 a.m. or so the next day.  When I went back the third time, I was through being a “nice” patient and let them know just how much pain I was in.  I was at 6 centimeters by the time I was admitted, and she was born just a little while later.  Little did I know that her birth was going to kick off such a serious change in my life, with my postpartum depression morphing into bipolar disorder within a year.

Today she is a happy young lady involved in piano, dance, and karate.  We recently discovered she has mild dyslexia and are getting her therapy for that and tutoring after school.  She is easy to discipline but defnitiely  has her own opinions about matters that affect her.  I remember very little about her childhood, being in a heavily medicated state for most of it.  She has been a shy child, which was a big change from her two big sisters.  But she is beginning to blossom with lots of friends who love to come to her house and play.  She does not remember me at my sickest—she was just over a year old when I had my psychotic break.  I hope what she rememebers is the mom who makes cupcakes for her class on her birthday and helps her with her spelling words.  Happy Birthday, Bitty Girl!

Act Now to Protect SSDI

Sandy Sue:

Please take a few moments to contact your Congressmen. It’s super-easy.

Originally posted on Kitt O'Malley:

ACT NOW: Last night, I received this email from NAMI to ACT NOW to protect SSDI benefits:


Tell your Senators to protect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits! The Social Security Administration (SSA) has projected that without a reallocation of funds, the SSDI trust fund will not be able to pay full benefits within 2 years. Unless the Senate acts now, monthly cash SSDI benefits could be cut by as much as 19%.

Reallocation would mean a temporary shift of Social Security revenues to the SSDI fund reserves. This move will extend the SSDI fund for almost two decades, without cutting Social Security coverage, eligibility, or benefits – and without increasing taxpayer contributions.

Last month the House of Representatives passed a change in the rules that would create a budget “point of order” to prevent reallocating funds between Social Security trust funds. NAMI joined a…

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20 Days of Valentines—Day 16

Trying to be Her Hero

Click the image for more.

From beach to “blah”

There’s nothing like a holiday.  For me, the anticipation starts building months in advance, really kicking into gear a few weeks before I actually depart.  During periods of stress, the planned departure date is there to daydream about – acting almost like a “finishing line” I push myself to reach.

Then there’s the holiday itself: days filled with swimming, BBQs and nature walks melting into one another, time to spend with family and friends – and (in my case)  plenty of time to read a few good books.

But holidays can’t last forever and so, last month I found myself walking back into my workplace.   After greeting my colleagues, and clearing away the clutter left from 2014, I sat staring at the computer screen.   Normally one to enjoy my work, I had to force myself to turn on the computer and start answering emails.

Days later, my apathy still hadn’t lifted. My husband assured me that experiencing post-holiday blues was quite normal, but I couldn’t help feeling like a shadow had come over me.

In the weeks that followed, my mood continued to plummet.   I couldn’t put my finger on it, but some of the joy seemed to have gone out of life.   The thought of having to summon the energy to get through another year, seemed beyond me.  Things that I could usually cope with triggered anxiety attacks.

Unspoken between my hubby and I was the thought that I might be entering another depressive episode.  Neither of us had a desire to return to that dark place.   And so we told ourselves that everything would be better after another short break – this time a week camping in a national park a couple of hours away.

Unlike our last holiday, when I had everything packed a week in advance, this time I left it to my poor hubby to get everything organised.  On the morning of our departure, I dragged myself into the car and we started our journey.

As the kilometres passed, the weight that had been hanging over me seemed to lift.  I listened to the kids’ chatter in the back seat and looked out at the road stretching before us.  I felt like I was running away from everything that had been worrying me – which was exactly what I felt like doing.

By the time we got there, I had a smile on my face again. Every time a negative thought crept into my head, I pushed it away – telling myself I would deal with it after the holiday.   I was desperately trying to recreate the “mountain top” experience of our last holiday.

And it worked.  At least until I returned home and real life started up again.

As the weeks passed – and my anxiety kept building – I had to admit that I need more than just another holiday to alleviate my low mood.  As a mum I can’t afford to not get help when I need it.

And so I went to see my psychiatrist – and walked away clutching a new prescription to help even things out. Now, I’m waiting for them to kick in.

The me I see in the mirror today is a far cry from the carefree me from a few months ago.  But I guess that, having Bipolar Disorder, these tough times are part of the package.  Along with the “mountain top” experiences, there’s going to be valleys of despair.

But when I’m struggling to follow others’ advice and “look on the bright side”, one thing I can do is look back at times like family holidays and realise that life does get better.  And there’s plenty to look forward to.

Mariska xx

PS.  Is anyone else struggling with anxiety or depression at the moment?  What do you do to help cope during down times?  I’m sure all us mums would love to hear your advice.

Surviving Bipolar

It’s been several months now since my brain last attempted to murder me, and with the passage of time the harsh lines that defined that episode and the resulting hospitalization have blurred somewhat. Now I look back and wonder how I could have even THOUGHT about suicide, let alone planned it…..only the method, and whether I had the nerve to go through with it, were in question.

And that scares the hell out of me. Because it could happen again. Because it probably WILL happen again. I’m doing great now, but as I’ve learned to my sorrow, remission is just another part of the cycle; I cycled in, and no doubt will cycle back out at some point.

I wish it wasn’t this way. I wish bipolar were like chicken pox, which is (usually) a one-and-done proposition. Failing that, I wish I could take meds only when I’m actually ill—I hate being a zombie in the morning and a space case the rest of the time. I even scare myself while driving sometimes because I forget to check my mirrors and go along my merry way without being fully aware of my surroundings.

But that’s the price I have to pay for these magificent periods of tranquility. It’s infinitely better than not having them at all, which I fear would be the case if I were not being treated. I still wonder how an illness I didn’t really know I had until three years ago could come screaming out of nowhere and blow up into a raging case of bipolar 1.

Still, it’s easy to forget in between episodes how very sick I can get, especially in times like these when I’m well and all’s right with the world. While there’s no need to borrow trouble, it’s best for me to remember that it all can go bad on me at any time…..and that surviving bipolar means being vigilant for signs of trouble without letting the illness run my life.