Daily Archives: March 10, 2015

F*ck Bipolar

(Warning: F Bomb Minefield Ahead)

I woke up furious this morning.  It happens sometimes.  When I start to shift out of a long siege of depression, there’s no telling what form the sudden influx of energy will take.  Anger is a safe bet.

I could see what a wet washrag of a life I’ve had the last two months, and that lit me up.  So much hard work just to stand in place.  I railed against the shittiness of dragging around a mental illness.  I slammed into my car, grabbed coffee and journaled to bleed out the fury.

Fuckit!  Fuck being a GOOD GIRL because THAT really works for me.  Fuck being the poster girl for crazy.  [A friend] asked me yesterday if I had a goal.  The only one I could think of was “Stay Out of the Hospital.”  What kind of FUCKING goal is that?!  Is that the best this putrid hump of a life can give me?  Staying out of the hospital, being miserable, and telling myself that’s OKAY?

I’m so sick of myself and my fucking compulsions and Mom’s voice in my head and constantly PUSHINGPUSHINGPUSHING to Do the Right Thing.  Take Care of Myself.  Fuck this shadow life.  FUCK BIPOLAR!

It went on for a few more pages before I started to wind down.  You get the picture.  When I left Panera to see my therapist, I was still furious, but had a plan about how to use all that hot energy.  I decided to make some Fuck Bipolar cards (see below).

I want to give these away, so if you have bipolar disorder or love someone who rages against it, let me know.  Put your name and address in a comment (I won’t publicize it), and if you have a preference for either the boy or the girl.  I’ll send you one, because I’m making lots.

Because Fuck Bipolar.

Fuck BP Girl


Fuck BP Boy

Spring Has Sprung!

Sorry I haven’t been around much this past week or so, but I’ve been doing the tango with pre-hypomania and having some difficulties with focus. I refer to dancing because I’ve been able to stay away from the edge of that precipice; thank God for meds or I’d be jitterbugging on the moon right now. Although it’s still technically winter, the weather in my part of the United States has been uncharacteristically springlike, and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom before the end of February.

Accordingly, my mood has risen with the temperature. It’s been upwards of 70 degrees the last couple of days, so I’ve been pretty energetic even though I haven’t really been able to channel it constructively. If it were a little later in the year, I could be outside tending to a garden, but if I tried to plant anything now it would die immediately because the soil is still too cold. Plus the danger of frost is very much an issue, and will be until May.

As it is, physical activity is limited because my knees and back have been aching ferociously. It does not, however, stop me from doing my happy-feet thing and shakin’ it to Bon Jovi and Def Leppard on the radio. I found this awesome FM station thats plays nothing but pure rock and roll from the ’60s to the ’90s, some of which I haven’t heard since those decades. There’s nothing quite like trying to compose a blog post while the Stones are doing “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”!

From Death in Venice to Empathy in Venice


Eloquent read.

Originally posted on Listening With Empathy:

The city of Venice itself is the most significant symbol in Thomas Mann’s story. Even in 1912, when Death in Venice was published, Venice was sinking into the swamp on which in was built, sinking back into the unexpressed in the sense of that which is present but unacknowledged, that which one does not even know that one does not know. For example…

Turner on Venice A View of Venice by TurnerVenice

Venice is the place of Othello’s insane jealousy of faithful a derivative and deviation of love that goes horribly wrong with awful consequences Desdemona. Though falling short of the clinical madness celebrated by the symbolists, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice evokes a dialectic of resentment at social injustice, in the context of the greater madness of prejudice and the destructive letter of the law. George Gordon, Lord Byron, himself an individual touched by fire (Jamison 1993) and a notorious manic depressive given to destructive furniture…

View original 1,080 more words

Manic To Morose in Seven Hours

So…I spent my night tending to a friend who basically overdosed on booze and quaaludes. I was almost out the fucking door until one of his friends called and asked me if I would stay and make sure he didn’t, ya know, die. So I did. But I am getting really tired of being the one he calls when he’s wasted. Which apparently is always.
Makes me realize just how far I’ve come over the years. I used to be an idiot like that. Hitting rock bottom is the only way out. I feel sorry for him but on the other hand…I’m not a bloody nursemaid.

Then I had a flat tire on the car. Had to call R to take my kid to school while I waited for stepmonster to come to town and fix it. I do not like being stranded, it’s terrifying. This town is so spread out, walking is unrealistic. Must have car.

Then I went manic and my mother called and started going off on me about being drunk at 9 am. and I can’t explain manic episodes to her for shit. She’s obtuse. Mostly she just seems hell bent on believing the worst about me.
So yeah, manic.
I did my hair, put on nice clothes, make up, even earrings. I was feeling soooo on top of the world. So strong, so intrepid.Not feeling like some timid victim but like a strong capable competent person who has it all under control.

Around 1 p.m…I just bottomed out. I am feeling fragile and hateful and fearful and utterly inept.
I am trying to fight it but…
I am failing.
No trigger so I can only assume it’s the lump dose of the prozac making me crash and burn after flying so high.

I want to curl up in bed, stare off into space, and…Ponder why I am even on this planet since I seem to serve little purpose.
Oh, I try to self pep talk because I know the depression lies.
It’s just not working at this time. They may be lies my brain is feeding me, but they are permeating my entire consciousness.

I’d rather be manic or depressed. I don’t like this up and down and yet this is exactly what bipolar is.
Instability personified.

Then around 1 it

et in circadia ego

I want to write about something I’ve never actually put into thought or words properly; I’ve always just felt it. Bleh, now it sounds as though I’m about to tell you something thrilling and scandalous. Welcome to the anticlimax …

The title refers (in a bad pun way) to the fact that it is often largely to do with my circadian rhythms; to be more precise, it’s the good old circadian slump. It arrived like a raincloud wearing boxing gloves at 4pm today; it usually happens round 7pm. Everyone has it to some extent; apparently most frequently round 3-4pm. I’m not usually aware of the jaw clenching and teeth grinding until there’s a fair bit of physical pain, but I’m hyperaware now (probably because I’m hypervigilant) and have been for about a week, I think. It’s a bit different to my usual grim and constant clenched jaw. It feels as though my teeth are on edge and that’s what I’m clenching and slowly grinding. I keep thinking they’re about to shatter and drop out.


And depressed … it’s the kind that gives you a feeling that really does feel like sinking – feels like my centre of gravity has shifted to my belly. Emotions … dread, despair and an unbelievable amount of heartache and heartbreak, considering that there isn’t a situational cause at all. It seems to swoop in and suddenly I’m breathless and fuuuuck but everything is abysmal. Literally. It hurts, it really, really hurts. My teeth feel like razorblades. If I didn’t control it, I’d be rocking to and fro and sobbing. I hate this, I don’t sodding well want it. We’re past full moon, so things ought to be on the up, not feckin’ well spinning downhill out of control ffs. (The moon thing is from my shrink, who says that full moon depletes melatonin. I’m sceptical after reading the research on what melatonin actually does. Pity, I’ve screwed my chances of it working as a placebo if the research is right.)

Yet again, I’m also going to whinge about doing all the right things to no avail. Sudden thought! There’s a quote that is mostly misattributed to Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” (Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain didn’t say it either – it appears to originate in Narcotics Anonymous literature from 1981.) Anyway. The quote – it assumes that ‘the same thing’ is a bad thing and I’d never thought of it before, but what if positive things are getting repeated. Well that whole concept just disintegrated eh? Don’t carry on doing stuff that doesn’t work is more like it.


I am the digressingest blogger in all of space and time.

*makes shrieky retro tape cassette rewinding sounds*

Yet again, I’m also going to whinge about doing all the right things to no avail.

Out of bed 6.30am (a bit late but still fine)
Food, fluids, blood sugar ok, meds.
Exercise: walk dogs.
Social interaction: coffee with neighbour and her guest.
Chores: yep, house and gdn.
Creativity: roughed out a few designs to paint on my stoep floor, made embroidery butch again and roughed out the rest of it to stitch.
Used intelligence: does talking with intelligent friends count?
Time outside in the fresh air: plenty. Even some sunshine to top up the vit D.

What have I missed doing? *Grrrrrrrumble mutter growl*

At one point I got incredibly shaky and anxious about … sweet.fuck.all. It just happened. Adrenalin flood for no reason (as usual)(it’s the PTSD).


Negative factors: Not enough sleep last night.

That aint enough to unleash this level of misery and fear. Knowing it’s actually all down to bipolar doesn’t stop me asking why, why, WHY? I could rustle up a list of things to fret and be melancholic about, but it isn’t that. If it was, there wouldn’t have been such a strangely violent spike. I felt winded by it.

Right now I’m light headed and anxious and the lead balloon in my guts is still there and I am ignoring the horrible depression by writing this, watching Dr Who and going outside from time to time to see what the clouds are doing. I have the front and back doors wide open and I’m counting my blessings. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhhhh!

Btw if you wondered why the images I’ve been posting lately are quite sweet and cheery, it’s to offset my intensive whining. I don’t want you guys to end up with your own pugilist rainclouds.

More Calling of Light (Fiction) is up!

Here ya go!


Spring Break , Day Two

Well, I have the house to myself again–the girls are packed off with their grandmother for lunch and some shopping.  I’m glad to have some more time to myself.

Time to myself is very strange.  At times I don’t want anything but complete silence.  Other times I feel like I’m going to explode if I don’t call and talk to SOMEBODY.  Usually it’s my mom.  Other times it seems like I could just stay in the house forever, and others I get so stir crazy that I have to get out even if it’s just to the drugstore to pick up my meds.  SO I guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with alone time.  But right now I’m enjoying it–the girls were bickering this morning and so it is a relief to not be hearing that.

Packing for the trip–I’ve got my day clothes ready and need to sort through and get my night clothes and underwear and whatnot.  Need to do Bob’s laundry before we leave so it ill be caught up.  So much to do and so little inclination to do it. :)  Sleepy as usual.  But I’ll make it.


dolphin1 dolphin2This weekend, I saw dolphins for the first time since I’ve been in Florida.  What a thrill!!  I love those suckers.  This was at Ft. DeSoto Beach, in case you’re wondering.  I’ve been getting in as much beach time and sun time as possible, trying to enjoy the water and heat as it’s my last month here.  Also, I want to return to Colorado with a tan.  :D   I’ve also been swimming quite a lot, both in the ocean and in the pool where I live.  The ocean swimming has been quite good for my spiritual life, as I swim out to the buoys and back (300-400 feet offshore) I continually pray “God protect me” as there are no lifeguards where I swim.  I’m a strong swimmer and there’s pretty much no record of shark attacks, but I still get a little paranoid.

My mood is pretty good, I think because I know I’m going home soon.  How are you???

Filed under: Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, I live for sun and heat, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Why Is My Insurance Company Deciding On My Treatment Plan?

By Lois Caniglia

Last year under a well-known commercial insurance company, decided that my pMD would not take part among their network list. Explanation: “you have enough psychiatrists in your area, we don’t need to add another”. What? How dare they decide to break up my continuity of psych care? Especially when it comes to my bipolar treatment. I would not tolerate handling a switch after a two-year compliance under my candy man’s care. In fact, like a diabetic, we are still adjusting or changing medications where needed.

Despite the phone calls, personally made by my pMD, to my provider’s customer service department always ended with a denial. So, I took matters into my own hands and called the company myself. It took hours and days in dispute that the company had no right to change my behavioral health care plan. This literally took several eight to ten hour days of none stop calls being disconnected, not speaking to the same service representative, and supervisors who lack the critical thinking skills like a broken record stating a policy is a policy nonsense.

So, I demanded an accelerated grievance process and called the main corporate office in Louisville, Ky. I finally got some reasonable results and was granted that my doctor will remain in my network. Unfortunately, the company still refused to allow other card members to continue their care with my psychiatrist. If this scenario or something similar has every happened to you with your insurance co, don’t stop fighting. We have the right to be accountable to our patient care. It is tedious work with extended hours on the phone but worth the fight to keep my quality of care maintained.

This year with another Medicare advantages plan; I have to fight again to maintain my continuity of patient care. Only this time it is to retain my therapist. The company has regulated that they will only pay 20 sessions/year. Any additional sessions will have to come out of pocket. I can’t tell you how many times with other professional providers I had to reestablish to accommodate that complied to my insured network. Feel free to yell out “you betcha”, if you have been here and done that. I have yet, to fight this issue but I am certain I will get frustrated enough to do so at some point this year.

These issues are nothing new to me as there has been a historical change from quality patient care to the stronghold policies by healthcare insurances. These strategic/bottom line/business tactics has been creeping its ugliness for several decades. In my nursing career, I have seen the passive aggressive change by insurances in the early 90’s making itself more evident by the year 2000. Throughout the millennium, there has been a blatant affliction that is destroying continuity and quality of care. Surely, somewhere in the foreseeable future will this be the cause for the mortality of certain policy restrictions.

Utilization nursing was a fairly easy job description that required a simple chart review for cost effectiveness. Today, it has become a ridiculous skill of juggling all insurance regulations and their laws. And that is only one small aspect of the job in hospital utilization. Moving on towards the case management role within a commercial company, where I spent several years before throwing in the white towel of my career, was an eyeopener to how powerful healthcare insurance has over the treatment plan for their customers.

Of course, this is just my own expert observation to the effects caused by insurance companies. I can’t poke the blame on the affordable care act, as this legislation was only a dream and not fruition as federal law. From my own resume with insurance providers I have witnessed the rapidly increasing premiums changed with more stringent restrictions identified with a “high risk” title. Numerous disease processes labeled from diabetes to orthopedic surgical procedures gave allowance for denials.

By the time, I reached 50 I was profiled as, in the words of my insurance representative, a “high risk customer” which meant that my premiums will be charged well over $1000/mo and my access to proper care was being restricted that I will have to pay out of pocket. Over the past fifteen years, I have had to change, at the very least biyearly, primary care doctors. Medical records, lab work, radiology studies were displaced or completely ignored whereby, I would have to start over and my assessment was completely amiss that my diabetes wasn’t treated for several years upon onset. How dare a patient/a lowly RN request for an A1C. A blood sugar below 200 is “fine”. This was all going on under a PPO or EPO plan. Go figure. As you can see from my timeline, the affordable care act has nothing to do with the compromise to quality patient care.

This is my own opinion based on work experiences in utilization review and insurance case management. Having obtained a bachelor in science in business and dealing with my own healthcare insurance due to illness. These credentials by no means make me an expert in the business realm of health insurance and hospital accounting but, I felt if necessary to point out that I am not entirely ignorant to this either.

My point leading up to this is keep accountable to your own self-care when maintaining your treatment plan. If you feel your wellness is being “pushed”, push back. I can’t tell you the peace of mind I have knowing that I am able to continue with my psych care as directed. It has been my recent experience of agreeing to change primary care physicians with every change in insurance policies due to increase costs. I admit it can be a full-time job advocating for your own wellness. It can even become exhausting. A change can come but only if we fight for it, kindly demand it, and stay on top of it.

If you don’t have the medical knowledge but feel you are being mistreated, ask. Always ask the why’s, how’s, and what’s. We are more precious than our car engines; let’s maintain our own bodies that way.

Our Wedding Day

A day late and a dollar short - or a week late and a completely different post.

Last Monday, March 2, was our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  I had a post in mind that I wanted to do and have up on that day.  Then my life got kind of complicated and it just didn't happen.  That post is still to come.  But I wanted to get something up for our anniversary, even if it's a week late, so here you go.  Wedding pictures and a bit of detail about our wedding day.

Bill and I met working at McDonald's.  Our first date was November 2, 1989.  We got engaged on December 27, 1989 - my twentieth birthday.  We planned to get married the following fall.  We soon realized we could either get married in the fall or in the temple (Mormon joke about not being able to keep our hands off each other), so we bumped the date up a bit.  We got our wedding license on Valentine's Day of 1990 and were married on March 2, 1990 - his twenty-third birthday (four months to the day after our first date).

Because we bumped it up, we had about two and a half weeks to get everything pulled together.  When I called my Grandma in Reno and asked what she was doing in two and half weeks, she guessed, "Coming to your wedding?"  Yup.  Then she offered to get me a dress and make my veil.  Cool!  She asked what style I liked and what my measurements were.  She said she would have my dress to me in time for the big day.  It arrived in the mail two or three days before our wedding.  That was the first time I'd seen it - and it was perfect!  Exactly what I would have picked out, and she had even lined it for the temple.

And that's pretty much all you get except for pictures and captions.  It was pretty uneventful, except, you know, we got married and had a reception.  I guess that kind of happened.

Now here are your pretty pictures.

We were married in the Salt Lake City temple.  It was overcast that day.  I love this photo because it doesn't just capture our temple, it also captures our flag (well, both of them because Utah's flag is in there, too).
We had a chocolate wedding cake.  It's chocolate inside, too.  We ran out of the sheet cake we were serving and had to serve this as well.  Bill and I only got one bite each, the ones we fed to each other as dictated by tradition.  We did freeze the top layer and each had a bite of that on our one year anniversary (also following tradition); that bite wasn't so good.  There's another layer in the back that you can't see.  The layers went around the center like a spiral staircase.  Our wedding topper was a crystal Salt Lake Temple on a round mirror.  I still have that, although it got broken in half by one of our children when she was small.  I'm not going to name names.
As you can probably tell from the cake photo, we had our wedding reception in the "cultural hall" of our church.  That means we had it in the gym.  We were fine with it at the time.  It was free and looked beautiful when decorated.  But the background of this photo has always bothered me just a little.  I wish we had a photo of the cake with a nicer background.  Oh, and there's no photo of us feeding each other the cake.  Our photographer was gone by then.  Our friend took a picture, but his camera freaked out and the pictures came out all blurry.  No big deal.
These are all of our family and friends who were able to make it to Salt Lake.  Several of the people in this photo have passed on now, which increases the tender feelings in my heart for it.  The guy on the right with his arm on the shoulder of the lady with dark hair is my husband's twin brother.  Fun fact: he had hernia surgery the day before.  But he still made it there to support his brother, and I'm grateful for that (even though he was angry at me for years for stealing his birthday; he might still be).
Only some of them were able to come inside for the ceremony.  In order to enter the temple, each person must have a temple recommend.  In order to have a temple recommend, you need to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and be living by the standards required.  It's a long list.  If you want to know what's on it, I suggest you go to lds.org and look it up.  As far as I knew, no one that was unable to come in was upset about it.  They understood and respected our beliefs.  My dad wasn't able to come in, but he fully supported me getting married in the temple anyway.  In the temple we are married legally and sealed for time and all eternity spiritually.
I'm pretty sure these alcoves were designed just for photo opportunities like this.
And this.  Isn't it pretty?
It is a little tricky to get into and out of though.  This is a picture of him helping me down.  It's quite significant because I was stubbornly independent back then and rarely let anyone help me with anything.  Thanks, honey!
These doors are another must-have photo spot.  They are gorgeous and somewhat imposing in real life.
I call this the dreamy-filter shot.
Notice how the grass is all brown.  It was very early March in Utah, we were lucky to not have snow on the ground.  But I honestly didn't even notice it that day.  I'm not one of those girls who spent my whole life planning my wedding and cared about every little detail (as evidenced by the dress story).  On my actual wedding day I wasn't stressed about details either.  As long as he and I both got to the temple and got married, nothing else mattered much.
Same shot, only this time we're dreamily gazing into each others eyes.  Or something like that.  Knowing my husband, he was probably doing everything he could to not laugh.  Remember the episode of Friends when Chandler and Monica are planning to get married and they're trying to get engagement photos taken but they all look horrible because Chandler can't smile for photos to save his life?  Yeah, it's like that.
This tree is another popular photo spot.  It was a beautifully shaped tree.  Unfortunately I had no idea there was that electrical box in the shot until after we got the photos back.  Really, I was so unconcerned with details I let my mom pick the photographer (and all the decorations and food, except for the cake) and we just let the photographer walk us around and take pretty much whatever photos he wanted.  Most wedding photographers weren't nearly as creative back then  - in the olden days.
Another dreamy-filter photo.  Man, we look young!
This is probably my favorite photo.  That dress really was gorgeous.  There was actually a small train, but I was able to button it up to make walking easier.  My mom insisted on this photo because she loved the detail on the back so much.  I'm really glad she did.  Didn't my Grandma choose well?  And that's the veil she made for me.
This is inside the church where we held our reception (in that cultural hall I mentioned above).  Doesn't it look pretty?  Okay, so in retrospect our backdrop looks like the backdrop for prom photos, but I liked it at the time.
His mom did the flowers.  We used silk flowers.  I wanted to keep my bouquet (which I wanted very small).  I wanted it to still look good years later.  I still have it and it does.  He was very excited to wear a tux and insisted on one with tails.
For years, Bill said this was his favorite photo.  I think it's because he got to be the focus for a change.  It also has that woman-behind-the-man feeling.  This is the first time I've noticed the metal folding chair and the curtains that sparkle like they're from an old gameshow.
Now this is his favorite.  It was my mom's favorite, too, and the only one she got a print of to hang at her house.  I like it now although I didn't when we first got them.  That whole incredibly-judgmental-of-all-photos-of-myself thing.
And that's all I've got for today.  There are a few more, but I haven't scanned them yet.  We didn't have groomsmen and bridesmaids in matching outfits.  We asked our friends to serve as honorary groomsmen and bridesmaids and told them just to wear something that matched our color scheme (black, white, and dusty rose - don't judge, we were just coming out of the eighties).  We didn't have a long formal line (as most people did at Mormon wedding receptions).  It was just us and our parents.  We initially wanted to skip the line all together, but my mom freaked out at that scandalous idea.  The much smaller line was the compromise.  Everyone who came through the line told us how awesome it was to not have to shake hands with and talk to a bunch of people they didn't know and then awkwardly stand next to them while waiting for the line to progress.  No, I guess they just thanked us for the small line, but that's what they really meant.

Anyway, Happy Anniversary to us!