Daily Archives: February 18, 2015

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is “Real,” Institute Of Medicine Declares

The Institute of Medicine has proclaimed that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is real.

Oh. My. God.

Does this mean that those of us who suffer from it will no longer be branded as malingerers, neurotics, and cranks?


But only if our PCP reads the article.

But wait!  We now have proof.  We have a weapon!

Print out the article and bring it with you to your next visit.  Your PCP either will or will not get defensive.  You may or may not have the ability to change PCPs if they get their back up about it.

But the main thing is not so much about our doctors.  It’s about US.  It’s about the medical arm of the National Institutes of Health, founded in the 1800s by none other than Abraham Lincoln, issuing a position statement declaring that CFS is a real disease, and providing an ICD10 code for it, which not only legitimizes it as a proper diagnosis, but gives providers a billing code and a way to justify medication choices.  If any effective medications are found, that is.

There is one, and only one, diagnostic criterion for CFS: post-exertional exhaustion out of proportion to the exertion.

For instance, if I do ten minutes of gentle yoga, I have to crash out in my recliner for an hour.  Clean the snow off the front steps for fifteen minutes: two hours and counting, in the recliner.

A few years ago, when I started having trouble climbing three flights of stairs after having done so effortlessly for years, my PCP was concerned about my heart and sent me for an ultrasound.  The doctor who read the study sneered: “You’re out of shape, that’s all!  All your ultrasound shows is exercise intolerance.”

I tried to explain that I dragged myself from one end of hilly Jerusalem to the other every day, but instead of getting stronger I was getting more and more exhausted.  He snorted and pointed at the door.  I slunk out, feeling foolish and invalidated.

So rejoice, O Chronically Fatigued!  We are Recognized, we are Real, we are….tired.


The Eggshells That Are The Ground The Mentally Ill Walk Upon

How would I describe myself today? Precarious. My anxieties have quadrupled, my paranoia has gone rampant. Re-reading some old blog posts, and seeing just how little progress I have made in spite of my best efforts, has me feeling desolate. In fact, while I have people around me, even a friend who came to sit with me last night because I was in such a state…I feel so utterly alone. The lack of joy in life I complained about a few days ago…Seems pretty insignificant compared to the overwhelming darkness enveloping my mind.

And yeah, ok, I have some outside stressors that heighten it all. I’ve finally washed my hands of a friendship that never really was and it makes me both pissed off and sad. I am facing a battle for my own stability and well being which impact my child and leaves me able to think and obsess over nothing else. The cold weather is making the depression grip me like a vise. The panic attacks come in waves, knocking the wind out of me. Oh, and I fell down the steps on the snow this morning so I’ve somehow wrenched my back.

Dealing with reality doesn’t bother me.
Dealing with reality while my mental state is dangling by a few frayed threads…bothers me immensely, almost to the point of paralysis.
It’s like my mind is a flesh eating bacteria, spreading, consuming, devouring, until there will be nothing left of me except to don a straightjacket or walk in front of a bus.
Which is only a mild dramatization. As I have told every doctor I’ve ever seen…I don’t really get suicidal impulses. I just have many days where if a speeding bus were coming at me and I needed only to take a step back to save myself…I’d probably choose not to.
The panxiety is at fever pitch. I can honestly say hearing R talk about all his 9/11 conspiracies when I dropped a shipping label off for him really did not help. The world has become a place so ugly, so vile, and the truth is…who even knows since perception claims to be truth and we all perceive things differently and sometimes we are programmed by repetition to believe something is true when in fact, it was reported incorrectly.
Needless to say, it was not what my nerves needed today.

My mind is a cyclone of activity and yet, I am paralyzed.
And to make things worse even though the opposite was intended by a well meaning friend…GRRRR.
I wish I could just get shock treatment and be done with it all. I am so sick of being…sick.

I think what really pushed me over the edge was a Foamy The Squirrel cartoon called “Drugs in your head.” I love Foamy, he always makes me laugh.
But then came the inevitable rant equating people who take antidepressants being the same as people who smoke pot or snort coke or smoke crack.
I am so sick of that mentality. “You can’t handle reality, so you shovel pills.”
The reality is, anti depressants do not get you high, they do not necessarily dull reality and make things easier.
When you are truly ill, they simply help correct the problems that hinder normal life. Being equated with a crackhead really did send me over the edge. And yes, it’s a cartoon squirrel, I am being asinine, but the mentality…is out there, in droves.
And much as it pains me to admit it, it is not without a measure of validity. When we became prozac nation, the doctors did start tossing out bottles of pills if someone was blue for a couple of weeks. Kid too energetic? Medicate ADHD.

It is such a disservice to those who are truly mentally ill. Being told we have a weak character and can’t handle reality. That is ignorance. Anti depressants don’t get you high, and if they work right in the right dose, they don’t numb you to reality. I fail to see how we can such an evolved society capable of creating things such as the internet and organ transplants and artificial limbs…Yet the general populace still has no grasp of mental illness.
Thank you, Prozac Nation, for bastardizing an illness that is very real to many of us.
Those who doubt, who say the pills are evil, that nothing is wrong with us but bad personality and weak character, thanks to the prevalence of how psych drugs are pushed wily nily…
You are wrong about a large number of us.

And for me I think the proof in that is, I suffered through a bruised rib without more than Tylenol. I had bronchitis and a sinus infection for six weeks and toughed it out rather than run off for a quick med fix. I don’t like going to doctors, don’t like being poked and prodded and given an antibiotic to fix one thing while it causes some other feminine issue that also needs to be treated medically. I’d rather suck it up.
So the fact I admit I have a mental illness and need to be medicated, not just for the sake of functionality, but as well as the well being of those around me who have had to deal with my mood swings and such…
It’s a sign of strength, being able to face an ugly truth about yourself. I can’t conquer this mental illness on my own, god knows I have tried. Exercise, diet, light therapy, chakra therapy, aromatherapy, hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups…I spend so much of my life working toward getting better it often feels like I don’t even have a life.

And when I never seem to “get better” for more than a few months at a time regardless of how many lifestyle and behavior changes I have made…It’d be so easy to let the naysayers get inside my head and convince me I’m a malingerer, I’m part of prozac nation, I’m just weak…

Thing is,I am not weak minded. My mind is strong. However, it is not entirely stable and that is something I have to contend with every single day. I don’t get days off. I don’t get to say, “Oh, nothing went right today, so I am going to be depressed.” Nor does “Oh my gosh, this day was amazing, I am cured” apply.
It’s all about mental states. I’ve been through tough times (having my own broken into and stuff stolen), the transmission blowing up on the car, being left a single mom…And provided my mind frame is stable enough, I can roll with the punches.
But then there are times when nothing catastrophic has happened and I have every reason to be hopeful and upbeat…and it’s like there’s this black blanket tied around my head, blocking out all light, air, hope.

So maybe the psych meds don’t cure all. Maybe they have some nasty side effects. Maybe using them feeds the big evil pharma machine.
But I know what life is like with them and without them.
And I’d prefer not to go back to screaming and throwing things at people’s heads followed by dissolving into a closet in tears for a week. If the meds help me not behave that way anymore…
I guess I will have to learn to live with the judgments. They are based on ignorance, or personal bias, not on any hard science. Mental illness simply isn’t as cut and dry as medical science. And because there is no X Ray to prove whether you’re a pill popper out to get high or actually have mental imbalances going on…

It’s always going to be my word against that of others. Except I have a medical file of my mental history that could rival several college textbooks. The evidence is right there for all to see. And still, some will not.

I will close with this quote that resonated with me on many levels.

“You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe”

― Carl Sagan

I Would Like A Break, Please and Thank You

This is just a short post to update you on my health. I went to my doctor today and was formally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I’ve been battling the symptoms for some time, and I can’t even begin to tell you how many tests and appointments I went through until we could definitively name it as fibromyalgia. This means I am now bipolar II with major depressive disorder, chronic migraine and fibromyalgia.

Considering how bad my depression has been of late, I am honestly handling the diagnosis well. I pretty much knew that was going to be the  diagnosis, so I was prepared. I’m glad we can now begin the task of getting me back to feeling good. I’m still really tired, physically and mentally. So much has been going on and I really need to focus on self care and not worrying about things beyond my control.

I’m incredibly grateful for the people I’ve “met” through the WordPress/online community. You have all become a part of my support system. Take Care!

Filed under: Wellness Warriors Tagged: bipolar, chronic illness, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, medication, migraine

Announcing March’s Blogging U. Offerings: Blogging 101 and Photo 101


Here ya go, guys!

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

We’re excited to offer two Blogging U. courses this March: Blogging 101 and Photography 101. Read on to learn more about each course, see how Blogging U. works, and register!

And you'll get a badge! Who doesn't love a badge?

Blogging 101: Zero to Hero — March 2 – 20

Blogging 101 is three weeks of bite-size blogging assignments that take you from “Blog?” to “Blog!” Every weekday, you’ll get a new assignment to help you publish a post, customize your blog, or engage with the community. Whether you’re just getting started or want to revive a dormant blog, we’ll help you build good blogging habits and blogger connections that will keep you going over the long haul.

You’ll walk away with a stronger focus for your blog, several published posts and a handful of drafts, a theme that reflects your personality, a small (but growing!) audience, a grasp of blogging etiquette — and a bunch of new friends.


Photography 101: A Photo a Day — March 2 –…

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a daylist & a playlist

It was a day like any other day, 24 hours long and ending in Y. (Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently)

And this is a post like any other post, I start out with one topic and write my way towards things I didn’t even realise I was thinking about.


A good day because:
Dog walk
Coffee with friend
Watch sunset in gdn with dog

My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus. (Stephen Hawking)

A crappy day because:
I seem to be, without trying, ruminating to some extent, about dead cousin, mother and dog
Muscle spasm
Missing nextofkin a lot

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this. (Henry David Thoreau)

The lists are sorta even-stephens, methinks. I wish to fuckery that I’d actually take pleasure in something – it seems churlish and ungrateful and although I am neither of those things, it ain’t me babe. I used to pride myself of recognising and relishing joyous things.

Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time. (Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go)

As the cognitive fecking dulling does its thing, I understand more and more why bipolar people frequently ditch their meds. I’m not going to, but suddenly I can relate to the urge. A mixture of razor wit and intelligence, and utter idiocy, has always been the way I see myself. Now I’m starting to wonder whether the meds are ushering me towards moron or mediocre. Neither appeals. I’m still intelligent, but … ag you guys know how it goes.

Tomorrow is no hazardous affair, a day like any other day: tomorrow is the result of many yesterdays and comes with a potent, cumulative effect. I am tomorrow what I chose to be yesterday and the day before. It is not possible that tomorrow I may negate and nullify everything that led me to this present moment.
(Henry Miller, The Cosmological Eye)

Books and poems and articles and excerpts are how I try to make sense of concepts. When I’ve read enough, I start formulating some thoughts of my own. Sometimes it’s all done without making a mark, sometimes it’s on this blog, sometimes it’s curating stuff on Pinterest and sometimes it’s drawing or stitching clumsy cartoons that are so hard for me, and consume so much brain power, that clarity arrives stealthily.

Oh, now, now, now, the only now, and above all now, and there is no other now but thou now and now is thy prophet. (Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls)

I wish this farking spasm would vanish. Xanax didn’t solve th
at one. Hot shower #3 of the day comin’ up.

… and so grow gently old all down the unchanging days and die one day like any other day, only shorter. (Samuel Beckett, “Malone Dies”)

I miss my Hyaenadog such a lot. Poor sweet boy. Poor sad Girldog.

Death twitches my ear;
‘Live,’ he says…
‘I’m coming.’

Ten years to Tahiti, dude, ten years. Anyone wanna buy a soul?

okaylist daylist playlist:
queen – those were the days – ohhh freddie …
jim jones – perfect day – not the jim jones you’re thinking of and not the song you’re thinking of either.
lou reed – perfect day – and a perfect song too.
nick cave & the bad seeds – sunday’s slave – love love love nick cave.
kirsty mccoll – days – RIP, lovely songstress.
faith no more – easy like sunday morning – one of those times when the cover is better than the original. IMNHO.
john frusciante – wednesday’s song – a solo RHCP. He did an album with Josh Klinghoffer that I like very much.
new order – blue monday – so cheesy, so catchy.
leonard cohen – on that day – shhh, I don’t find him depressing, mkay?
morrissey – every day is like sunday – he cheers ne up too. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now makes me snigger.
rem – bad day – I love them so much.
the pogues – I’m a man you don’t meet every day – there’s a lilt in the melody like the lilt in Irish accents. Erm. Eire, not Northern.

Brighten Up Your Day

This amazing Freestyle dance will make you smile….it made me cry, because the love relationship between the trainer and her dog is so strong and so sweet (plus I’m a little depressed, so anything makes me cry)….enjoy!


Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Kurt Vonnegut

I find laughter to be an excellent coping mechanism, lifting burdens from the heart, making light from darkness. Thank you Colleen Chesebro at SilverThreading.com for organizing Writer’s Quote Wednesday 2015. This week Colleen quotes Dame Maggie Smith, in character as the Dowager Countess of…



It’s almost February 20th, the day to fill the blogosphere with Compassion. Write posts about it and post them, you don’t have to have a blog, go to the link below on their Facebook page and write and post. Even though I don’t know exactly what I am going to say, I can’t wait to start writing about Compassion.


This Is Your Brain – Paying Attention

This is an excellent video that was posted on the Mayo Clinic website. While it may seem simplistic for those of us with bipolar disorder or depression, I think we’d be doing ourselves a disservice to scoff it off entirely. This is for those times when we have those moments of clarity or those times […]

The post This Is Your Brain – Paying Attention appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.


I am officially feeling better. I feel happy and not depressed or angry. BUT BUT BUT I want to make sure this isn’t my manic side and I’m really chemically changing mentally. I have another appointment this week to tell him how I’m doing on the medication. I don’t know what I will tell him …