Daily Archives: February 24, 2015

A Sore Jaw. And Not Even A Fun Reason For It!

I’ve been eating on the left side of my mouth since last Wednesday, when the great dental bankruptcy experience began.  Off came a bridge, out came a tooth, in went a silicone plug to aid healing, and then stitches.  The instructions were, eat soft foods, only on the left side.  Almost a week later, my jaw is sore.  I guess from only eating on one side?  Fuck if I know.  I can think of much funner ways to get a sore jaw. (Cue Barbara Streisand singing Memorieeeessssssssss).  DAMN I miss the perverted life I lived when I was manic!

Now I eat oatmeal, pudding and yogurt.  I drink smoothies.  I don’t even drink alcohol, since my epic New Year’s Day hangover.  Yeah.  I thought that Grey Goose didn’t give me hangovers.  I guess half a bottle does.  So the other half sits in my freezer, waiting for a lapse in judgment.  I’ve got one marijuana lozenge left, then I’ll be back to total Straightsville.  Sometimes it hits me:  I really need a life!

I have a little more than a month left in Florida, then it’s back to Colorado.  Back to family.  Friends.  Marijuana stores.  And what else?  I need to come up with a plan.  I’m seeing the “Couldn’t Give Less Of A Shit” psychiatrist today, can’t wait!  In the meantime I need to get to the beach and get a walk in.   <———— Since this was written, the rain stole my hopes for a walk.

I don’t usually do this, but I’ve taken all day to write this shitty little post.  And I have to say, I may have to re-think the part about the psychiatrist not giving a shit.  When he was going over my bloodwork (required for the Clozaril) he noticed that my white blood cell count had gone up.  This is just based on his remembering my count from a month ago.  This is a guy who sees probably four clients per hour.  I have to say, I was floored!!  He just remembered??  Even I had no idea…

I talked to the doc about doing TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) instead of ECT.  He said he could do it, but the initial treatment is five days per week for six weeks.  That is not feasible since I’m only here for another month.  So I guess I’ll just keep up the ECT maintenance treatments for now, and then look into TMS when I get back to Colorado.  The big benefit of TMS is that no anesthesia is required.

I am going back to the dentist tomorrow, not sure what he’s going to do but I’m a very nervous dental patient.  I’m going to try to get some exercise in before the appointment tomorrow.  That, and meditation.  We’ll see how it goes!  Hope you’re all having a delicious week!  Peaches!

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar ECT, Bipolar Pothead, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Clozaril, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Online Support Resources

Recently, I have come across people who live in rural areas without adequate mental health resources or live outside the US and do not have the access to mental health resources that the US or some other countries may offer.…


I really do work at it.

Last night I wasn’t planning to stay awake for the exact hour … but I did. It was alright on the whole. Three different people in three different countries told me they’d lit a candle for my mother – I was really touched; it caught me totally by surpise too. I listened to Richard Ashcroft and then some French trance, I chatted to a few friends. It only got lonely half an hour before the hour and perhaps that was good.

I must’ve pinned half the internet on Pinterest. I couldn’t focus on reading or writing, so the displacement activity was good looking images and interesting words. To add to the surreal factor, for the last couple of days, the internet has been going down every few minutes briefly. That’s not an exaggeration, I really wish it was. Given the fact that the mast is over theeeeere on a hill in some dune forest and there are no satellites overhead aaand they only installed a local adsl exchange last year, plenty of this village still use that mast and today, everyone was having issues. We don’t phone a call centre, we phone the father or son. Sometimes both.

Issues … blah blah … internet … blah.
Hmm, okay I’ve checked my side and everything’s fine.
I’ve rebooted, unplugged, checked the thingy on my roof …
Hmm. Eveything looks fine here, let me check the line. That’s fine too.
Alright I’ll reboot the server this side, let me know if there’s any improvement.
There is no improvement.
Ok I’ll check the line.

Blather, wince, defeat.


A very small price to pay, however, for being able to haul my tired ass and my dog to the beach first thing this morning. Being bashed about by lively and rather chilly waves sorts a whole lot of stuff out. I had coffee with my neighbour, I ate healthy stuff, I washed dishes, I did laundry. Every time I paused, agitation climbed into my mind and played castanets, so I kept going. Towards evening, I did a couple of minor jobs in the garden and then wandered around with my phone, photographing what I suspect was the finest sunset this summer.

It grew dark and Thor began to fling Mjölnir around and there was an unusually wild storm for this area. Four hours later and it’s still raining – we are always grateful for it. I watched Good Will Hunting and then Catch 22. I’d forgotten that part of Catch 22’s denouement is a truly startling bit of heartbreaking gore. It jolted me, but it was also interesting (the jolting).

I managed to upload a stack of photos to fb, by leaving the phone alone. Disconnect, reconnect, disconnect, reconnect … but eventually there’s enough of a gap to allow stuff through.

I can’t seem to stop the jaw clenching and I think my blood has been sneakily replaced with battery acid, but I think I got through it okay. Thank goodness for my friends, my dog and my environment. Also – chocolate. I am tired and wired, and both immensely sad and extremely grateful. The tremor’s annoying as hell at the moment. Eh, no … I am not going to whine.

How are you? You’re looking great for someone who … oh wait, I probably shouldn’t mention that in public.

Safety Plan

Just wanted everyone to know that I carry a safety plan similar to this one in my purse at all times. My psychiatrist and psychologist also have a copy. I haven’t had to use it yet, but it is a tool for me when I need it. If you know someone who might benefit, please pass it along. Thanks.

CLINT MALARCHUK: An Amazing Follow Up Interview By Samina Raza.

Clint  Clint

A really AMAZING interview with Clint Malarchuk. He is a philosopher, and has a deep understanding of his illness, and what it takes to stay well. He truly understands life in general! Thank you Clint. All my best wishes. So happy to know you! It starts below.

Hi Clint, it’s so wonderful to talk to you again. How are you? Thank you so much for your response to my interview, I was so happy to get your message. I think the interview went really well last time, but I realized that I never asked you any questions about how everything is now…

C: I,ve been busy. Traveling quite a bit and public speaking about mental health, getting busier. Mostly in Ontario and Alberta.. Oh I get it, you mean where I’m at today. Yes, I can talk about that.

How are you doing now, moods, anxiety, mental health?

C: I would say that I’m doing very well today. that you know that part of it is educating yourself and through experience you learn when you’re starting to struggle. Like stress, when I start getting stressed out, that’s when I have to take the extra time to check in with myself. I’m not sure if I told you last time, my tools are a 12 step program, I meditate and pray everyday and I try to exercise. I have a workout routine that I try to do every day. Those things keep me balanced. Now I can say that when I feel like I’m stressed out, and I’m starting to maybe slide into obsessive thinking or anxiety especially, it’ll get me so anxious, then I have to take my time and I double up on my medication because sometimes my habit is to rush through and plow through everything and now I’ll take a step back and I’ll take the time to meditate to bring my anxiety level down and then I can approach the problem or the stress or what ever is going in my life, whatever is the stressful situation a lot better and a lot clearer.

Oh wow! That’s amazing! Guess what, you just answered ALL of my question. Ok, we’re done. Haha.

C: Haha. It’s almost one question: how are you doing today and what keeps you in the healthy range. I make it sound easy but sometimes it’s not. When your anxiety gets going, it’s hard to just say “Ok, I’m going to go meditate then,” and fins a quiet place and you’re trying to meditate and your mind just keeps bouncing back to what you’re trying to forget and ground yourself and center yourself. So it’s not always easy. I don’t want to make it sound like “Oh, I’m doing great because all I do is this and this.” And also the medication I’m taking is in my system and it helps me.

Are you on anti-anxiety medicines, like a benzodiazepine?

C: No. antidepressants. I take Cymbalta. And I take Seroquel, I take it at night because it helps me fall asleep. I take a 100 mg.

Ha! I take 125 mg of Seroquel.

C: Yes. But judging from Facebook and your blog posts, when they come up, I think: when does this lady sleep? So are you a night owl?

I am, I am a night owl. I go to sleep, for example at 3 am and then stay asleep, I’m not working right now, so there’s no reason for me to get up early. So then I get up around 11 am, sometimes noon. It’s BAD! I feel like i’m a teenager.

C: Some people, I think are wired differently. My wife, she gets up at 3:30 or 4’o’clock in the morning. She is a figure skating teacher and she goes up to the rink and they’re on the ice at 6 or 6:30 am. She doesn’t have to get up that early, but she does. She likes to take her time. She says it’s quiet. I can relate to that. There a lot of people who like the quiet of the morning.  My sister’s like you, she goes to bed late.

How about you?

C: I can go to bed at 9 pm and get up at 7 ‘o’clock.

Wow, that is so wonderful! I wish I could do that! I don’t take my Seroquel till I am done with everything, like posting on my blog. I’m sure if I took it at 9 pm, I’d be asleep by 10 pm. I’m going to do that.

C: You take Seroquel? And what else do you take?

Yes I take Seroquel. And then of course, I take the mainstay for bipolar disorder, which is Lithium. I take everything at night, all at one time.

C: My sister’s like you, she’ll clean the whole house at night.

I feel very creative at night, it seems like my mind works better at night. And in the morning, I don’t want to wake up. Don’t wake me up, please. Haha.

C: I’m like you in that, maybe it’s because of the medication I’m on, I have a hard time waking up. I need a lot of coffee. I drink a whole pot. Over a couple of hours, I’ll drink a whole pot of coffee. And then I’m ready to go, but till then I have a hard time. Don’t let society make you feel bad. There are a lot of people who do better at night, they stay awake till 3 in the morning, they go to bed late. There’s nothing wrong with that. Who says that’s wrong?

As long as you don’t have to go to work.

C: Yeah. Well if you have to go to work and you have to be there at 8’o’clock in the morning, well then… But if you have your own schedule, then what the heck. You know? Society again, just like with mental illness, stigma, society, lets not let society dictate to us.

I agree with you. And you really answered all my question! The next one I was going to ask was “How are you keeping well?” And you answered that. The next one was “Are you on medication?” and you answered that. The next one is: Is exercise and nutrition important? And what do you do for exercise?

C: You know I used to lift weights a lot, but now as I am older, I am careful with my joints. I’ve got dumb bells. I do TRX, it’s straps, a suspension system. They hang from something up high. You can see it on youtube. It’s cardio and muscles. I do that with dumb bells and in my barn, I punch a bag a lot. 

Yes, ok, you look like you’re in really good shape. And you horseback ride, right?

C: Yes, I’m glad you brought that up, because I find that my animals, I have a little dog, and she is my emotional support. When I meditate, I lay down and the cat lays on my belly and the dog curls up beside me, it is very relaxing. Petting them, and hearing the cat purr and the dog all cuddled up, that all kind of gives you that calming feeling. So they’re therapeutic. And of course, when I ride, that’s therapeutic too.

That sounds great! I always feel like animals, like dogs and cats pull out the love that’s inside of you.

C: Yes, yes. Well I’m really in to animals. And people have always said that, when I work on horses for my business, the horses that no one can really get close to, I just walk up to them. And people say “How did you do that, what are you doing? This horse is always afraid of people!” I believe in your energy, we all have it. We’re animals just like they are, so I really believe that my energy is really confident with animals, so they respond to me.

Ha! You’re the horse whisperer!

C: Yes (laughing) some people say that. I take that as a compliment.

I’m going for a weekend for healing therapy with horses. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll blog about it.

C: Just remember your energy and try to be in tune and they will respond. You’ll get more out of it if you’re in tune with the animals. Be confident with them, and supportive and you’ll get a lot out of it.

Yes, you’re right, you’re right. That is great advice and I am definitely going to follow it!

C: And you can just call it love, that’ll simplify it. Haha.

So true. It’s the energy of love. And what they do at the ranch I’m going to is, you walk into the herd of horses, and whichever horse picks you, is your horse for the weekend! Isn’t that cool?

C: Yes, it’s cool. It’s kind of what I’m talking about. Yup.

Yes, like your energy sort of matches that particular horse’s, so he’s yours.

C: Yup.

The next question was “Have you or would you try meditation?” and you just answered that. So here’s the next one. What has been the most helpful thing in your recovery and well being?

C: Well I’m a big proponent of getting yourself treated because you’re sick. You’re not weak. Because some people say “Just don’t be depressed” or “Don’t be bipolar.” They don’t know. But once they understand it’s a sickness, it’s a chemical imbalance, then they say “Oh ok.” It’s ok, I go to the doctor, it’s like diabetes or another illness. So once they realize that, they understand. I am a big proponent of medication. Some people aren’t, but I believe that when you’re sick, you go to the doctor. And if you’re chemically imbalanced, whether it’s your pancreas/diabetes or if it’s your brain/serotonin, it doesn’t matter. So I believe medication has saved me. And that in itself was not easy. As you know, you try different medications, different doses. And it’s not immediate, you have to be on it for a while before you figure out if it works or it doesn’t work. So, that was a long trial for me.

Yes, yes. Well they used to give people who have bipolar d/o SSRI’s like Zoloft or Prozac. But now they say that SSRI’s cause more mood swings, so they are taking us off them. I was taken off Zoloft, something I’d been on since the 1990’s. SO I have been having some trouble coming of it after so many years.

C: Yes, me too. It’s like you have withdrawals, it’s not a good feeling. You feel sick.

Yes. But almost, the physical symptoms I can handle, but sometimes I feel depressed or anxious… but eventually it’ll go away. They say that for people to come off Zoloft takes 6-12 months for their brains to normalize! I’ve been off it for almost 6 months now. So I am hoping things will get better soon!

C: Yes, right. But don’t forget, it takes a long time to be on those medications before they either kick in if they’re going to work, or you figure out “Oops they don’t work, I have to try something else.”

You are so correct! I was on a LOT of medications. But the side effects were so awful, seemed worse than my illness. I’ve found 3 medications I can take, one was Zoloft, and then Lithium and Seroquel. That’s it.

C: I took Zoloft for a long time too.

It didn’t work?

C: Oh no. It worked really well. Then I think I was on it for so long that my body got immune.

True, your brain gets used to it. There are semi permanent changes that happen in the brain when you’re on something like Zoloft or Prozac. And when those changes happen, your brain stops responding to the drug.

C: Yes, I think that’s what happened. Because I took it for 14 years. I wasn’t getting checked by the doctor regularly either.

Oh yes, I read that in your book. I’ve had some good doctors, and then I’ve had some who were not good at all.

C: Yes. Same here! I’ve spent years trying to find a different doctor. It’s difficult to change, especially if you had one who you trusted a lot.

So true. It’s a bit scary to change doctors due to moving or their retiring. I feel it’s a traumatic event. And on to the next question: Is there something you feel you need to work on, if so how will you work on it? You sound really good…

C: No, I still have to.. and whether this is exactly mental illness, but for me it seems somewhat it is, that I have to work on my issues. There’s self love, and I don’t know if this is a product of my upbringing, what I went through with my dad. They’re just issues. I think we all have different issues. I have to be kind to myself, and remind myself that I deserve to be happy. I think that growing up in turmoil, that anxiety was the norm for me. And sometimes, if I’m not feeling anxious, I feel like I have to think of something to worry about, to get anxious. Because that’s where I’m comfortable, Even though it’s not a good feeling, but when you grow up that way, you feel like something’s missing. I think a lot of people may be able to relate to that but it’s a bit of a hard thing to understand. Think about it. You probably know people that love the drama, they love it when something’s going on, when it’s not good. Maybe that’s what they miss in their life, because as kids they had that. I don’t know, but I know for me, I think that’s pretty accurate. I have to be conscious of, I have to be really in tune with my feelings, and my thoughts. What’s going on? Why are you feeling anxious? Why are you not feeling anxious? Be in tune with myself. And this is where medication helps too.

I think medication is key too. I would not be sitting here interviewing you without the Lithium and even Seroquel. I’d probably be in a hospital.

C: Oh I’m sure I would too. I’d probably be dead.

Oh gosh, I hope not. That’s so scary!

C: No, it’s true though.

Needless to say, I am really, really glad you’re here! Lets just keep it that way!

C: And you are doing a great job with your blogs. They are very educational. Sometimes when you read something, you say “Yeah! I just couldn’t put it into words. That sure describes me.” That’s educational.

Thank you so much! I started this blog in August of last year and I said if it helps even one person, then I am successful. So if you say that it means something to you, I appreciate it so much!

C: Oh for sure! And that helps you too because you’re supporting people whom you’re helping and when you do that, it gives you support. And you’re supporting them, that’s what this is all about. Helping each other.

Absolutely. The people who comment on my blog, and post something and the other bloggers and people who subscribe to my blog, we really have a conversation about the things that I write and it helps me and hopefully it helps them.

C: Have you heard of the magazine called Esperanza? They did an article on me.

Oh Congratulations! I’ll find it and post it on my blog.

If your emotions boil over, how do you control them?

C: That would be part of my keep checkin to see what I’m feeling and why and what I’m thinking. To figure out what’s going on, if I’m feeling anxious to ask “Why are you feeling anxious, what are you thinking?” So those things, but also everything else you do, like meditation, and working out. Those things help you keep that balance. So you don’t boil over, that is the number one thing. It’s probably as important as taking your medication. My routine of all the things I do to keep my balance.

How are you managing the alcohol issue?

C: I go to AA. I try to go to a meeting almost everyday. It’s important for me, I feel the more meetings I go to, the more I learn the tools of the 12 steps, how to properly apply them.   

Yes that is really very important.

C: To me it’s like a course in life. Because it’s not just about not drinking. The 12 steps are a lot deeper than that. (Maybe I should go to one, haha, I don’t know if they’ll let me in.) All of them are the same, whether they are for drinking or for gambling, they’re all the same 12 steps. They use the 12 step program in everything. Just look it up, 12 step AA, they’ll be the same as any 12 step program. You don’t have to be an alcoholic or anything, you can follow a 12 step program in your own life. (Ok, I’ll look it up.)

It’s a very spiritual program. It’ll help you. The first step is admitting you’re powerless over alcohol, well, your first step could be you’re powerless over your… life… (laughs.) It doesn’t have to be alcohol or drugs or anything like that. (Right, it can be anything, it could be moods.) Anything, you can apply it to anything. (Hmm, it’s a cool way of looking at it.)

Is alone time important or are you very social?

C: I’m both. I like being with people, I joke around, and I make people laugh. But I also really value my alone time. And my alone time includes my wife. I can’t be around people all the time, it’ll drive you crazy. But when I am around them, I enjoy them.

How do you think you can stay healthy?

C: Continue to take my medication, but also to be monitored, to see the doctor regularly. Because the last time I was taking the medication, I never checked in with my doctor. And I think my body just became immune to it. So, I think it is key to stay on top of things. We’re creatures of habit, and I don’t want to slip back into my old habits of not going to meetings, not doing my meditation, not working out. These things keep me healthy, and the 12 step program, which is very spiritual. So I don’t want to lose my contact with my higher power, so to speak and start thinking I can do it on my own. And sometimes I feel like I’m being selfish, because I’ll tell my wife that I have to go meditate, or I have to go to a meeting, or I have to go workout. I feel like I am being selfish. But I have to do that to be healthy. She understands that. She understands I need to do certain things to keep my balance. It’s just me communicating to her that this is what I need to do, and she says “Yup, that’s good, do it.”

Right, probably if you weren’t doing all those things, it wouldn’t be very easy to be with you and it wouldn’t be very good for your health.

C: Oh yes, she understands. So I have to communicate that to loved ones that this is what I need to do. I hate to be thought of as selfish, if you want to label it as selfish. (I don’t think it’s being selfish.) No. But again society might perceive it as being selfish, but it’s not. (No, it’s taking care of yourself.)

Have you ever looked at this book called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle?

C: Yes. I’ve read quite a few of his books. I have all of them.

Do you feel they help you in any way?

C: Yes. But personally, I find his writing to be a little more complicated for what I like. The book that I really like is “The Four Agreements.” Those four agreements are simple. I really like the simplicity of that book. I try to use that one.

Yes, I agree, Eckhart Tolle sort of blends Zen Buddhism with New Age spirituality, so it can be complicated. But for me, when I first read it, I was like: Wow, this is a new way to be! But then I sort of forgot about it so I think I have to read it again.

C: And that’s the creatures of habit! If we’re going to change habits, we have to replace them with other habits. Like when you said: Wow this could change my thinking and my everyday living! And yet we forget, because it’s a habit. So you have to resolve to practice them everyday. Like “The Four Agreements” is easy, it’s just four things.

Well that’s it, that was the last question. Unless you would like to add anything else. Thank you very much for your time and for answering all my questions. I am so happy you are doing so well. I’m going to start doing all the things you are doing. Stay well and we’ll talk soon.

Treating Myself to My Mind Salon

By Lois Caniglia

I’ve been unconsciously making efforts with taking care of my own well-being. I may have received some subliminal messages from reading social networking posts on topics like medicinal herbs, holistic self-care, and healthy foods. Or maybe it is because my husband has become ill and I am looking to find ways of being a more effective caregiver. Perhaps, I am feeling encouraged by my own treatment experts and their recommendations on self-care. It’s probably, a combination of some or all of these motives.

Let me start with our daughter, who is in college, still calls her Mom on a weekly basis. Sometimes she may call a few times a week. I love that she cares about us enough to stay close by, even if it is by digital communication devices. In the past several months I can hear that she is not taking her own medications for bipolar. Both my husband and I were getting concerned. Almost every conversation, I would tactfully ask if she was taking her meds. I heard the familiar replies as “yes, I am”, “I ran out”, “I haven’t had time to see my doctor”…. I knew these excuses all too well as I said them myself.

It’s difficult dealing with a bipolar treatment plan while trying to keep up with the busy schedule of “life”. College, work, stress of the towering student loans, keeping up with classwork, and on and on, as the world turns our college student must endure. Trying to offer suggestions for effective coping skills, takes a creative mind.
Elaine Aron, author of her book “The Highly Sensitive Person” describes the characteristics of anxiety as:
“Being easily overwhelmed by environmental factors.
Getting rattled by having too much to do in too short of time. The nervous system is easily overly stimulated and overworked-leading to more vulnerable conditions such as anxiety and depression or any genetic condition inherited within the family.”

Suggestions to improve coping skills
I can be unconventional in my approach yet, effective when given the optimal permission to do so. This usually occurs when my daughter feels completely overwhelmed and is open to receive my consummate conversation which reiterates my inspiring force to nurture with empathy. Rather than the “I told you so’s.” I recommended finding time to withdraw into peace and quiet. Enjoy a delicate or fine scents, taste, sounds, or work of art. A 20-minute meditation focused on a rich and complex inner life. Shut the cell phone; take a week break from gaming, the marathon movie nights, and a night of D&D. Take time for a nice long bath. Do a facial mask. Burn some soothing scented oils and play instrumental sounds from her iPhone.

As for my own self care of indulgence, I started out by reading all I can about my own illness. As a nurse, I have a general knowledge on mental illness from studies and clinical experiences. I didn’t have an in-depth understanding and technical skills to improve my own thinking.
I gave a local support group a try. Although we all had a mental illness in common, I found we were all in different levels of our cognitive process. Finding the support I needed seemed limited and a waste of time. It took me sometime to get over my disappointment and pathetic pity party before I turned to the online support groups. I was surprised to learn the wealth of support and knowledge I have gained from this venue.

The daily routine for my own self-care didn’t come from a book or even recommended by my therapist. These are just some ideas from a lifetime of things I’ve tried and found soothing in any given situation. Most have been the influence from the hippy era. The homegrown herbs for a holistic adventure, sipping herbal teas, taking a dip in fresh water and using homemade soaps, a smooth massage with scented oils, spending time with friends of similar interests, or what I like to call “feeling the earth” of the outdoors. Even a slow stroll through an art museum has me returned home enlightened and enriched. All these interventions have been a conglomerate of a few of my favorite things that help to not make me feel so bad.

Obviously, I am unable to incorporate these ideas as a daily routine. What I can do daily is start off my day with a lemon, cinnamon, and honey water. Drink 8 glasses of water a day makes me feel cleansed and flushed from the inside out.
Washing my face with coconut oil and doing a facial. Most of my days I spend without any makeup. I’m not going anywhere, so it works. A final touch of coconut body lotion softens the skin and tames the nerve endings. Sounds pretty routine for most women but this is quite an achievement for someone who spent days in bed during her dark hours.
I attempt to add a warm cup of herbal tea daily. I would really like to accomplish this 3 times/day.
In an effort to achieve a sense of wellness/metta, a meditation routine on a daily basis helps to apply “principles of ethics, kindness, compassion, peace”, and so on.
Adding a touch of mind and body awareness by using the Hopi crystal healing to energize my mind and improve my thinking. If it’s nothing more than a placebo effect, it works for me.

I write. I am a horrible writer and my years spent doing nursing notes certainly hasn’t helped. It feels good to be creative especially when its something I feel passionate about. Still, I’m a horrible writer but I do have something to say. I’ve lived a life my daughter has learned from. I have struggled through a mental illness that my husband is awed how I made it to the other side. I’ve shared my story with friends who have come back with gratitude and shared their own illness. My goal was simple, if I reached out to one person, just one, I am making a difference. I’ve reestablished purpose. If I do this long enough, I just might find my possibilities are endless.

Believe me I have my weaknesses and I’m not always capable of achieving the daily routine I’ve set out for myself. None-the-less, I am setting goals, I’m moving forward, and I’m planning a purpose in my life with a mental illness. My disorder may have knocked me down but I am strong enough to get up and move on.
That’s my bottom line. It sounds good, anyway. Let’s see if the forecast keeps my salon in the black.

What Does Mania Look and Feel Like?

When I started this blog in June 2014, I was in the throes of a manic episode. For me, mania looks like super productivity, oversharing on social media, excessive shopping sprees, pressured speech, and hypersexuality. It's also hard to keep my attention honed in on one thing; I flit from activity to activity and idea to idea.

This past summer I started Manic Monique's Meanderings, writing 52 posts in the month of June alone (to give you some perspective, the mania ended in August, since September I have written 1 to 3 posts per month). I wrote a few Op-Eds on mental health and contacted about a dozen publications. I was published in The Root. I started blogging regularly for the Huffington Post. I was interviewed by two internet radio shows. I planned and organized a family cookout for about 40 or so family members. I took 5 vacations up and down the East Coast. I saw 5 Broadway plays. I wrote a curriculum for a mental health presentation for high schools and colleges. I created a proposal for an all-boys charter school I'd like to found. I met with a public policy professor to discuss said charter school proposal. I charged about $23,000 to my credit cards. I posted excessively to Facebook and Instagram, documenting my activities and thoughts. And I started dating again, having taken a year break during my depression.

Yup. I was quite busy.

In previous posts, I mentioned how much I love the mania. And I really do. As I've said previously, the mania has saved me from depression twice. But as I'm sure you can imagine, the mania is exhausting. Very exhausting. And it's expensive; I can't control my spending when I'm manic. During my first mania I charged $10,000. But during this last mania I doubled that amount.

The mania lasted three months. It's never lasted that long before. So when September came I was glad to see the mania go.

Between September and January I was pretty stable. I had a depressive dip for a few weeks, but nothing major; no where close to what the depression looked like in 2013-14. This month, February, I've been getting busy again. I'm looking for a new job, so I attended two job fairs. I've had three interviews so far. I took the Praxis teacher certification test for middle school English Language Arts. And this weekend I'll be attending a two-day conference in NYC on feminism and K-12 education. Next month, I'll be attending a three-day conference in Kentucky on white privilege. I'll even be presenting on social justice English curricula I created! I'm a tad nervous as it'll be the first time I'm presenting at a national conference. Also next month I'll be attending a one-day conference here in NJ on Ferguson and activism.

When I relayed my newfound busyness to a friend, he asked if I was manic again. Now normally, that question pisses me the fuck off. In the past, when I've exhibited "normal" displays of emotion, my friends and family have asked me if I was okay. It's annoying to have others constantly on watch for mood irregularities. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the concern, I really do. But at the same time, I feel like I can't express any emotions at all.

To this friend, I told him how my current behavior differs from my behavior this summer: I don't have pressured speech, I'm not spending money, I don't feel hypersexual. But I have been oversharing on social media.

This is what he text me:
From an outside perspective, I feel like over the summer you were focused on doing everything and now you're doing what you're focused on. That's probably unclear. You just seem more focused now. 
I actually appreciated his observation. I do feel incredibly focused now. I'm not being pulled in multiple directions the way I was this summer. I'm hyperfocused on a few actions instead. But I will take his observation under advisement and keep watch. As  much as I love the mania, I'm not ready for another episode so soon.

Iced In

Well, we have ice this morning on bridges and roads throughout where I live in Mississippi.  My kids are out of school today; since we are a rural area, it’s not looking to thaw out as easily as a more urban area might with salt, sand, and other emergency equipment. Reports of wrecks and road closures are coming out minute by minute. So we are in for a wild ride until it thaws out later today.

Mississippi rarely gets now, which you can get out and play in and have fun. We get ice because it simply doesn’t get cold enough for snow around here.  It looks pretty with trees coated with glass-like clear ice.  But it coats power lines, too, and that makes everyone unhappy when the power goes out.  We don’t have the emergency resources for that kind of weather and often have to get crews from other states to pitch in to repair everything when it breaks.

So we will see how today goes.  I don’t have any plans to leave the house until the sun has been out for a while, if it ever comes out from behind the clouds.  I’m listening to the local county music station for news and just heard from my husband that he got in to work okay.  He works for a heavy equipment company, and I imagine they’ll be processing a few orders for generators as people prepare for even colder temps tomorrow.

Something New

The hamsters in my brain are running that squeaky wheel ragged today. Fortunately, this will be a short post.

So I decided to shake things up, try something new and different. Nothing drastic but the prozac says “take one daily.”
As I have learned, miserably, taking it at bedtime or when I wake, results in a mega crash.
So in my hard earned experience and wisdom, I thought…I will take at noon so surely when it wears off, I will be asleep, then I can take the next dose mid day.
Epic fail, actually.
Now I have been at this psych med thing long enough to know, it takes several weeks of patterns of taking the meds to actually make an indent.
Fine, so be it.
But it kept me from crashing until six thirty which is what, 90 mins later than the norm?
Anyone who’d call this normal is insane, more so than I am.

My brain just keeps spinning because my stability is at stake with this current review and all I hear is about people getting cut off even with legal representation…It’s terrifying. Unnerving. Crippling. I am not in denial of reality, life is brutal, sometimes truth means nothing.
Yet I live my truth every single day and the notion that someone will dispute what I know to be fact…
leaves me shivering and cowering in terror.

I want to be better, do better.
But I can’t seem to swing it with a revolving door of tv screen doctors.
Is that my fault?
I must sound insane.
I don’t think I am crazy, especially after watching multiple youtube videos on the history of mental illness and mental health care. What some of these people were put through was barbaric and sadistic. I don’t have a right to complain.
I complain only because I live the truth.
If the world were willing to put up with random abrupt mood swings, crippling depressions, and manic episodes…
I’d have no problems because stability wouldn’t be the issue.

But that isn’t how life works. If you’re not stable, there are easily thirty people applying for the same job that are.

Whats; that saying about grant me liberty…

Grant me stability or death. The world has made it clear there is no in between on this matter.

More Whatif’s

I’m supposed to be happy. I’m supposed to be thrilled that we are closing in 3 days. I’m supposed to finally be able to relax.

I’m so stressed out. The whatif’s are killing me. What if we can’t get to the closing? What if we don’t find out what the check we are supposed to bring is? What if there is bad weather and it messes everything up?

That and a whole bunch more sillier smaller things that are just constantly keeping my mind in constant rotation. It won’t fucking shut up, it’s just thrumming with whatif’s.

It’s made today a not so great day.

I forced myself to go out for dinner though even though I want to curl up in fetal postition and hide. I have to keep pushing myself.

Maybe tomorrow will be calmer but tonight I am going to seek out my husbands arms and let him hold me until I sleep or cry/