Daily Archives: March 4, 2015

Michelle Obama is on our side!!

Michelle Obama fights stigma of mental health care.. Yes! Finally Some recognition from the White House! Don’t you think this is just a little too late coming?? Oh well! At least some wheels are rolling

It’s Been Awhile

It has been a long time since I felt genuinely excited about a new relationship. And I don’t mean because...

The post It’s Been Awhile appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.

Mental Health First Aid program

Mental Health First Aid Please check out this great article about the first class of Mental Health First Aid program!

Survey Says…

Long time in coming… below more emotionally substantive content are the results of the survey I took in mid-February. First of all, my first reaction to being asked to take a survey is a curt “No” then an abrupt disconnect.…

dumping links again

Fresh links about bipolar disorder, plucked from the tree of knowledge … eh. Links. Read ‘em, don’t read ‘em.

Mexican women with psychosocial disabilities are suffering systematic abuse of their sexual and reproductive rights, according to a new study.

Singapore: high court suspends activist lawyer M. Ravi from practise due to bipolar hypomania.

Canada: The psychiatrist, his bipolar patient and their hair salon enterprise. “It is inappropriate to enter into a joint business venture with a patient … and it’s never OK to hug a patient, and this is particularly true for psychiatrists, even if it is intended as a gesture of support.”

Australia: Clive Palmer suggests Prime Minister Tony Abbott ‘commit suicide’. He once refered to former Queensland premier Campbell Newman as “a nice little fellow with a bipolar condition (who) sometimes doesn’t take his medication”.


I really, really want to read this book:
Dr. Perry Baird died at the age of 56 from complications after he was given a lobotomy. Four decades later, a remarkable chapter in his life’s story arrived on his daughter, Mimi’s, door-step. It was in the form of a manuscript he’d written in 1944 during one of his stays at Westborough State Hospital. The manuscript became the foundation for a book Mimi has written about her father’s career and illness. It’s called, “He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him.”

If there’s a blip on the radar, it’s bipolar disorder. Shrinks have suspected a connection between IQ and bipolarity for some time, but the data hasn’t really been there. In 2005, though, a Finnish study reported that high math scores on IQ tests in early adulthood correlated with later diagnosis as bipolar, and a recent large-scale study of Swedish records found that kids with excellent high school grades were much more more likely to be diagnosed as bipolar in adulthood.
Are smart people more likely to be depressed?

Royal Pharmaceutical Society: Atypical antipsychotics: overrated and overprescribed.

Bipolar risk boosted by accumulation of rare versions of genes: People with bipolar disorder are more likely than others to have several rare versions of genes that control how much nerve cells fire. Future research will need to explain what role these brain changes play in bipolar disorder.

Focus Psychiatry Online special bipolar issue – (download PDFs):


JE, who has been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, also known as manic depression, has been in therapy since she was 14 years old. This is one of seven interviews with young professionals about their experiences with therapy and its costs.


Thou shalt not diagnose thyself – how to distinguish between bipolar and everything else.

… if your mood switches, and is reactive to external stressors, multiple times throughout a single day, this is likely not bipolar disorder.
Is bipolar really the cause of your mood swings?

Ask the Doctor: Is It ADHD or Bipolar — or Both. An accurate diagnosis is an essential first step in the treatment plan because what is effective for one disorder may be quite the opposite for the other.

Cyclothymia is in the same family as bipolar disorder, but the symptoms don’t always meet the criteria for full-blown hypomania or depression—in other words, the highs aren’t always as high and the lows as low. The fluctuations are also more frequent than bipolar fluctuations: lots of little mood swings.


Haunted By Jihadi John

Last night, I had a very troubling dream.  I was awakened by the touch of cold steel on the back of my neck – it was Jihadi John with an ax!  I was terrified, and flailed about, but was immediately overpowered.  And then it dawned on me – I was about to die!  In my mind, I told myself that this life was over, and I needed to prepare myself for the next realm.  As Jihadi John swung his ax, I woke up.

All day, I’ve been haunted.  Not just by the terror that I felt, but at the almost immediate acceptance that it was my time to die.  I was ready!

On further reflection, I see that my close family ties keep me bound to this earth, even when I don’t want to keep going, which is often.  My love for my family, and their love for me, inspires me to try harder to do the things that I know are good for me, even when I don’t want to do anything.  Although it’s been good in many ways to be in Florida for the winter, I am really looking forward to returning to Colorado in a month to be with my family again.  I am very, very grateful to have such a loving and supportive family.

How are you?  I hope you are all well.  <3

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Gratitude, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

It’s Only Morning

and it already feels like a long day.  All I’ve done is get up, eat breakfast, and get ready, but it still seems like I’ve been up a long, long time.  I don’t know what to put it down to.

IT’s the last day I teach before spring break, so I get out “early” and can relax for a while before the official start when my kids get off.  On the other had, I have papers to grade still.  But I hope to get them done before the weekend so I don’t have them hanging over me the entire time.

On a down note, my homeschool; class did not turn out.  All the interest I had was from younger students who can take it next fall, or their parents changed their minds once they saw the demands of the course.  So that is a downer.  But at least I have a waiting list already together for the fall and should be able to teach it then.  SO that part is exciting.


Tuesday Mental Collapse

I went manic this morning after a 5 a.m. call canceling school, then my dad called at 5:30. No way was I coming down from the anxiety of that, so I got up…And next thing I know, I am babbling and surfing music videos and digging for a movie to watch. Standard hypo mania. My daughter thought it was fun mommy time.
Now…I’ve come down, hard.
Fun mommy has been replaced with anxious, irritable mommy who finds every sound like Freddy Krueger’s claws scraping a blackboard.
Plus, the kid is in uzi mode, won’t mind, won’t stop yapping, and at the stores, she was a bloody nightmare.
To add to my hatred of the dish and people, the cashier at the store snarkily said, “I notice she plays you like a fiddle every time you’re in here. All she has to do is have a fit and you give in. She’d never have survived in my home.”
Yeah, uh..Fuck off. Most of the month we sit home and get nothing. I wanna give in and buy my kid some M and M’s, spare me the judgment. It really pissed me off. Of course, this woman also told me her kids were up every day, including weekends, by 7 a.m. doing something. I guess a drill sargeant would find my relaxed parenting offensive.
Fuck her.
And fuck this anxiety which is making me cringe with every noise. I swear this child has me ready to rip out clumps of my hair because nothing I say makes her back off. She knows I am on edge and I swear she feeds on making it worse. Sound paranoid? Few people have seen how manipulative she is. She could win an Oscar for her performances. And telling her to go quietly play just makes her come on stronger. I’ve done the time outs, the standing against the wall, taking her favorite things away, denying her candy…
She needs boot camp for five year olds.
And I either need Valium or a higher dose of Xanax.
This anxiety bit is eating me alive and I think it may just be exacerbating my depression.

Mood gutter.
Which after a hypomanic episode where I was feeling kind of up and high functioning (even put on a bra and make up!!!)…SUCKS.
The only thing I can count on with my plethora of mental crap is…It’s going to find a way to fuck things up every time.
It’s stare into space time because…That’s what happens when the manic eps crash down.

Neighbors are outside talking loudly.
It makes me nervous.
But I turned off tv and music because that too was making me nervous. I get enough noise from my kid.
Now these loud mouths.
And I know it’s just me, people have the right to talk in their own yards.
Just wish they had volume down switches.

And now the neighborhood kids are outside literally screeching and screaming. Damn weather canceling school. It’s not fair.
The summer is gonna kill my nerves once everyone is out and about making noise.

A mood swing is a lot like being on a ride that spins around fast then the floor drops out. Only instead of sticking to the wall, you start sliding down and there’s no stopping it and no safety net below. I’m in that space at the moment and I do not like it.
To go from hypomania to this…Like going splat on the concrete from ten stories up.

Ya know how the professionals claim fresh air and getting out and about will lift your mood and lower your anxiety?
I had a couple of errands that could have waited but I decided to try the fresh air thing.
Epic fail.
It’s like I am immune to every treatment that works for others therefore something is wrong with me if none of it works for me.
Bitter doesn’t begin to cover it.

I’ve surpassed my daily xanax dose, which it’s been awhile since I’ve done. Like a long time. But the anxiety isn’t dying down or backing off. It’s making me a bit groggy but I figured it might kick in and at least quash the anxiety.
My fondest wish would be every person who goes into the mental health care field have the disorders they’re supposed to treat.
Until you’ve been here…You don’t have a bloody clue and no book can give that to you.
One of my best counselors was a woman who’d had depressive problems and even been committed. So she understood in a way no other ever has.

I need to make some calls. Unfortunately, paranoid scumbag brain and the anxiety are call blocking me. I can’t work up the nerve. I don’t know why this is, but it’s been this way a very long time. I get paralyzed. Kind of like mail I don’t open until a week after the fact because my mind state is so precarious I don’t trust myself not to come flying apart, emotional shrapnel and all.

Is it bedtime yet? Sometimes the depressions hit so hard, sleep is your only escape and you watch the clock until mercifully, you can succumb to nothingness even for a little while.

I am trying so hard to be strong, to not let this shit kick my ass.
I’m doing everything right so…WTF.
Rather than feel empowered and give myself credit for making the effort, I lambaste myself for not having the strength to beat this thing.
I know I am strong.
But the off kilter brain…says other things and it’s very convincing.

Why, just why…

is when I am in bad shape, that’s when the kid acts out, wants to climb me and talk constantly, and the cats, who are generally apathetic, are suddenly climbing me like a tree and they won’t be deterred. And every fiber of my being wants to scream GET OFF ME LEAVE ME ALONE OHMIGOD I CAN’T BREATHE.
There is zero way anyone can grasp the whiplash all the abrupt mood shifts gives you.

Oh yay. The neighbors have tied their dog outside and it never stops barking. I need the extra noise,it’s totally helpful.
MUTE buttons for everyone.
Or selective deafness for me.
I can’t believe I am so wound and bent, this usually doesn’t start til after the season changes. I think it may be because we didn’t start having the really cold, bad weather until February. Delayed trauma or some shit. Well, delayed or not, my nerves are traumatized.

I tried cat therapy. Purring cats soothe. Did not work.
I tried music therapy.
That was fleeting because it made the anxiety climb.
Now when all I wanna do is fetalize in bed and cry or at least plot my own demise…
I am forcing myself to not hole up in the bedroom and watch “Friday the 13th Part 6.)
I’m a gore whore, scary movies cheer me up.
It’s not working either.
I swear I am losing my mind.

I hit rock bottom and stooped even lower than that.
I called R because I felt like I needed a friend around just to, maybe distract myself from my issues.
For once he didn’t make excuses about being busy, he popped by.
And brought something broken along which he proceeded to fix the whole time he talked about himself and his day.
It was probably a half hour before he notices the teary lump that is me and asks, what’s wrong?
So of course, I say ya know, depression, anxiety, power bill I can’t pay, landlord won’t fix my ductwork, just having a tough time.
And I get, “Hmmph.”
Then more of him talking about him and fixing his busted thing.
I am trying so bloody hard at this life thing and yet…I’m running on fucking empty and there’s no fuel sources to refuel.
No support system.
A doctor who is making me worse instead of better.
The review hovering over my head while I circle the drain and some person with no clue about mental illness is going to say yay or nay to my existence because that income is the only stability I have.

Damn, when I come unglued, I do it with a bang.

Life, Death, & Poetry

2000-09-03 13.03.23

“I guess there were all my sons” – Arthur Miller

“A flag! A flag.” – Edgar Lee Masters

There are times when none of us are able to do anything, anything at all, that helps.

That saves.

That can heal, or help start the process of healing.

As someone who chose to work in a fairly sharp end of mental health, this frustrates me.

And, I’ll be honest, being bipolar carries its own truckload of what can present as overwhelming, tsunammi -like feelings.

Then, too, there’s my age: not yet old enough for a bus pass, or state pension. Or, to be able to blurt out: “I’m 83!”, in the middle of a radio, or TV interview.

Just old enough to feel beaten up by life, and, well, shit happening.

Because shit does happen. Bipolar or not, I have to deal. To keep going.

And also, to grieve.

In another life, I wrote poetry. I still do, occasionally. This is an old one, from a collection published by Smith / Doorstop Books, titled “An American in South Yorkshire”. There’s a poem in it about a soldier. It could be any soldier.

From either of my countries.

Talking to Flags

I who am probably
about to depart
would salute you, but
there’s rather a lot
going on just now, and
not nearly enough time to
give my regards
to a blue white and red
bit of cloth, well,
really do love my
country, you see, but

I’d rather not die for
it: rather raise
or taxes or

That fellow who said death
concentrates the mind
had the right of it:
just now I’m concentrating
on turning nineteen.

Cupola starlings 23 10 12




Another Med

Today I went to see my shrink and we talked about the depression and general lack of motivation. I’m going to stay on the pristiq and latuda and am adding wellbutrin into the mix. She is hoping it will just give me a general push upwards.

Next week I get to do the spit test to see what drugs will work best for me. As it is I think the pristiq is making me gain a little weight and usually it has a lack of wanting to eat side effect. I never seem to get the side effects I want lol.

The house is really getting into shape. I can’t wait for it to be completely unpacked. I am tired of looking at boxes. Just need to wait for my shelves and dressers to get here. Then boom I’ll be done. Have to wait for Saturday though. Guess that is not too far off. Feels like it is though.

My mood was kind of meh today but not completely down. I am still having a hard time finding interest in anything to do though and the things I usually enjoy are also just not being enjoyed. Sigh.

I know it will get better, these waves just have to keep being ridden. I wouldn’t mind a nice smooth even keel for a longer amount of time though. I don’t think that is asking to much.