Daily Archives: March 18, 2015

Okay, I Am Starting To Get Nervous

  My insurance company has been notified that I no longer have Medicare part B, and they sent out a letter about two weeks ago that I would no longer be eligible for the Medicare Advantage plan that I have been on for about six years now. My insurance (read: prescriptions) will end at midnight […]

Postpartum Bipolar Disorder Research Study

My friend & colleague, Dr. Walker Karraa, is studying the stigma surrounding postpartum bipolar disorder. If you fit her research criteria and are interested in participating, please do so. Her book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth is groundbreaking and…

Mental Illness and Social Ineptitude

So…Last Friday night when I was in the gutter but I forced myself to take my kid to that playdate…Even though I knew bad juju was afoot.
Thanks to a passive aggressive R, I apparently did something that pissed him off that night (the country music wasn’t the worst I could do???) but rather than confront me…He’s bottled it up.
So I think all is normal and do the usual mouthy sarcastic banter thing with him. Which apparently pisses him off as well. But rather than say so, as I have begged everyone to do with me because doses of my own medicine and guilt trips just make me more venomous…As opposed to facing me like an adult in which case you may hurt my feelings but I will fucking respect you.
I am surrounded by people who don’t give a damn if they are respected, they just want to indulge their own passive aggression.
Anyway…he starts throwing out attitude and slams. When I tossed out a joke and he’d had a bad day, he went for the jugular, comparing me to his kid abusing ex wife who is borderline. Classy as fuck, man.
I probably ranted about this already. Thanks to my short term memory issues, I’m not sure if I even put on underwear today. Probably not. Fuck.

So he bottles it up, lets it fester, than lets loose on me with both barrels. Even though I am apologizing, he’s just trying to pick a bigger fight with more insults. And when I try to remind him it’s not personal, I’m having a rough time with the mental stuff (and I banter the same with Kenny, who totally doesn’t get his panties in a bunch), it was just meant to be sarcastic banter and it’ not my fault he’s had a shitty week…
Then I am using my bad personality as an excuse for having mental illness and thus behaving like a jerk.
Yes. I absolutely burst into tears for no reason because it benefits me greatly. I looove sticking both feet, shoes, socks and all in my mouth because I’m either manic or pissed off or depressed.
I ADORE the fact that I am socially inept and the constant moody go round agitates it.

I am not absolving myself. In all fairness, I apologized even though I wasn’t aware I’d done anything wrong (this is where, ya know, SPEAKING UP would come in handy, if any of these people had been blessed with a fucking spinal cord). I tried to make amends, be sincere.
When he gets like this, though, he’s every bit as bad as any mood or personality disorder. He just refuses to see himself for what he is, focusing instead of the flaws of those around him. Because according to him, he’s a nice guy who doesn’t have any real flaws.

How have I not consumed massive quantities of arsenic to avoid these people?
It’s bad enough to be mental and socially inept, but you can’t very well adapt, change, and grow if the people around you get the remain the same assholes they’ve always been while you are forever reminded you’re not good enough.

This goes beyond misanthropy.
This is me trying to save my fucking sanity. It’s precarious enough without some alleged friend (or, ya know, my family) telling me I use mental illness as an excuse to behave badly. Such utter crap.

I mean, what is the right thing here? If I say “Okay, I’m an asshole” then it’s me having a pity party. If I say “accept me the way I am” well, then I’m being stubborn and inconsiderate. If I burst into tears while gushing apologies, I am still wrong. I walk away and retreat into my own little world, I am wrong.
How does anyone figure out this social bullshit?
I’ll own many quirks and dysfunctions.
But if you can call me a c*nt on Monday and I laugh it off yet by Friday it’s got me bursting into tears…
That’s not personality. That is an ever changing mind state and my responses all seem to hinge on where I am at in that cycle.

I don’t have a chance in hell.
Maybe I don’t even care.
Maybe I just want to pull the dirt blanket over me and take a grave nap.
Depression, anxiety, all of it just leaves you hollowed out and pissed off and sad and you don’t even know why because last week none of phased you and this week, it’s got you coming apart at the seams.

On a side note…The dr office finally called and the teleshrink wants to “research” before he tweaks any of my meds, prior to me getting in for a face to face with the on site doc.
Sounds scary.
And I just know they’re gonna start pushing the atypical antipsychotics. It’s not stubbornness, it’s benefit versus side effects. I mean, the lamictal could have given me a fatal rash, I rolled the dice on it. BUT if it had made me as loopy as Abilify did, it too would have been thrown out of the ring.
I need to be coherent. That’s what I am hoping a face to face with a pdoc will accomplish. Let him know I am sincere about getting better, I just can’t handle all the side effects that impact my ability to function as a parent. When I had nothing to do and could afford to sleep 12-15 hours a day, fine, I’d fry my brain on any pill they’d toss my way in hopes of being fixed.
Other than the coma sleeps, none of them did fuck all.
I’ve come full circle but I am going to keep an open mind.Maybe this doctor is competent. Hell, maybe he even graduated from the university of Pomeranian.
Makes me a little nervous that Dr Chihuahua is doing research.

Ok. I have hit my wall. I am edgy, irritable, nervous, pissy, angry, sad….I have the entire gamut going on as far as every negative emotion is concerned.
Viva la depression.


I spent almost the entire day in bed yesterday. I didn’t go to work. I didn’t pick up my child...

The post Daybed appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.

Dear Depression…WTF?

I am always hard pressed to define “depression”..
Dark cloud over head?
Black veil pulled over the consciousness?
Forcefed muscle relaxers while being blind folded?

What is depression, exactly?

I can honestly say today…I am feeling it, even if I can’t quite define it. It’s just this all encompassing tint over everything I see, feel, touch, smell…No rose colored glasses here. Just a haze of black smoke obscuring my view of anything that might signify hope, faith in humanity, or a point to this whole life thing.

Mind you, this is not how I want to feel.
I want to feel great and bouncy and hopeful.
Something is denying me that.
I have lots of crappy things going on in life that could give me “the blues”.
But this has been going on so long and it’s not merely triggered by the crap circumstances. I’ve been perfectly stable, mood wise, during the worst crises of my life.
Depression doesn’t give a fuck.
Not do the people around you. As intangible as depression is for sufferers, it’s nearly beyond the imagination of those around us. It’s much easier for them to dismiss depression as a character weakness, lazy, shiftless, unmotivated, negative, pessimistic…

Depressive days like this remind me of the “good” old days, prior to being smacked with the mental illness label. When I was manic and then depressed and everyone just called me “moody” , “mercurial” (oh, like these idiots know any big words, but you get the gist) and my favorite, eccentric.
Liking Halloween decor year round is eccentric.
Bouncing off the walls with joy for a few months then sinking into an abyss where you just want to die…
That’s an illness.
But back in my manic pre label pre medicated days…I worked. I made money. I had freedom. Given, not a lot, bills and all that. But I felt so good about myself, so worthy, so hopeful.
God, I miss that.
What I don’t miss is the resounding crash into the mood abyss that, like clockwork, appeared every year as seasons changed. Or I’d get very manic and decide there is no tomorrow, no need to worry, just fuck this, I can do better.

Instability personified.

But I had hope.
I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me that therapy couldn’t fix, that I couldn’t “counsel” myself out of.
The labels, the repeat cycles, the fact no matter how hard I try nothing every changes for more than a couple of months…
I’m not merely eccentric or lazy.
I have an illness. A metastasizing chronic illness of the brain that fucks up every aspect of my life, good or bad.
So is that why I am depressed today?

Tis the thing about depression. It makes no sense, there is no logic.
Much like a manic episode can result in laughter at a funeral, depression, too, can distort things and cause your behavior to be inappropriate in relation to the situation.
I have lots of reasons to be anxious and stressed.
But depressed?
Not really.

So…scumbag brain…What gives?

I mean, how far down the rabbit hole do I have to go before something gives?
I’ve actually been pondering drugs lately. Not in any serious capacity, of course, it’s just never been my thing. Drugs inhibit my ability to do everything and that won’t do.
But the psychological torment wears you down, especially when you don’t know where it’s coming from so you have no clue how to combat it.
Shrooms? Weed?
Or maybe get a sitter and try Ecstasy for the first time just to get a glimpse of what it’s like to think life is beautiful?
Seriously, how far down the fucking rabbit hole do I have to go to get some relief from the darkness I can’t begin to explain because I don’t even see anything in my life to be all that dark about.
I could comprehend if I were sitting here thinking all gloom and doom. “This didn’t go right, this went to shit, I hate this, everything sucks, why bother.”
But instead I am pondering, this is right, that’s ok, I’ll get over this, nothing’s really changed and I’ve managed before so…

If anyone has the answer to that question, you could totally take down big pharma.

Ha ha ha.
I went out into the dish…And that was when the tears hit.
Ha ha ha ha.
So I fled the scene of the crime, as it were, because I am surrounded by ass hats who can’t put their own egos away long enough to think it’s not about them, it’s not about me being a bitch or weak…I am just struggling. Drowning, actually.
I fought the tears so only a couple got loose but still…FUCK, why did it have to hit in public? I did the pms thing not ten days ago, I can’t be in that cycle again.
So I really am just this depressed.

The thing about depression…
is that it turns you into a robot.
You make the appropriate noises, expressions, feign interest.
Yet deep down, under the mask of normality, you know it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad.
You’re just beyond caring.
Not about people or things you love, just…generalized giving a damn.
You feel so empty and devoid and it’s so much garbage in/garbage out. You want desperately to care, to mean the smiles you force, to feel the joy.
It’s just not there and the more you try to force it, the worse it gets.

Not sure last week’s up and down manic spurts were any better but it beats the fuck out of plotting your own demise in a passive way because you’re fairly certain it’s never going to get better than this and everyone around you would consider it a mercy killing were you to just die.
Damn you, depression.

Bay Area Here I Come!

This weekend I’m going up to the San Francisco Bay Area so that Rebecca Gitenstein can interview me at The Wright Institute for her doctoral study on mothers with bipolar disorder. What do you know – I’m a mother and I have bipolar…

Gratitude In The Now

beach sunsetThere’s nothing like knowing something is coming to an end to make you grateful and mindful of what you have.  I have a little less than two weeks left here in Florida and I am focusing on getting that time in at the beach and the sun.  It is absolutely gorgeous here, deliciously hot, and I pack my backpack, grab my chair and walk the ten minutes to the beach nearly every day.  Once there, I sit in my chair, often working on my What Color Is Your Parachute exercises, until I’m just boiling hot.  Then I get into the water and swim out to the buoys (about 100 yards each way).  It’s great exercise that leaves me somewhat exhausted.

Although it’s been a tough road being in Florida, it’s also been positive in so many ways.  I’ve overcome more than I thought I ever could, and actually in some ways flourished.  I will sorely miss that beautiful beach, the palm trees, springlike flowers, and wonderful heat.  I’m sure I’ll be happy to be home with family in Colorado again, though.  Counting the days . . .

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

Question To My Ladies

I’m writing an article on menstruation and mental illness and I need some help! Can you tell me if your menstrual cycle effects your mental illness? Comment below!

Look At All This Optimism I Made!

So, yes, this is an illness and, yes, much of the time it sucks so hard. But my bipolar isn’t going anywhere and, recently, I kind of decided that it might do me some good to look a little harder for the silver lining when I’m confronted with something that’s potentially shitty, because I do a lot of complaining and I don’t want to have spent more of my life complaining about things I can’t change rather than appreciating them, assuming there’s something to appreciate. With bipolar disorder, there is actually kind of a lot to appreciate. Such as…

– I have greater confidence in my marriage because my husband has seen me do some fucked up shit and is 100% not scared of me (but sometimes he’s scared for me, which is a good thing). I was hospitalized for some super not fun suicide-y shit 3 months after Husband and I started dating and he handled it better than my own mother did (which actually isn’t a compliment, really, because my mom is terrible at being emotionally supportive. She’s good at other stuff, though). But Then-Boyfriend-Now-Husband never saw me as melodramatic, too much to handle, or crazy; he understood that I needed help, so he helped me.

– I usually dress kind of conservatively (as in understated neutrals, not IFB fundie-style modesty), so, when I’m feeling a little hypomanic, the over-confident impulse purchases I make tend to give my wardrobe a little more character.

– When I talk to other bipolar people about our illness, we kind of speak in our own special shorthand. It feels really nice, because, sometimes, I’m the only bipolar person in the room, but when I’m around other people who share my disorder, I feel kinship. It’s pretty neat.

– Sometimes I have these intense deluges of creativity and I get to make stuff with my brain and be really proud of it.

– I know what complete despair feels like. Not everybody does. Despair is its own special flavor of horrible, but it’s part of life and there are times when I literally can’t not despair, try as I might. So as long as I’m stuck savoring this dumb flavor, it helps to keep in mind that being capable of hopelessness is uniquely human. Corny sentiment, maybe, but when you feel like you have nothing left to live for, corny can be plenty effective.

– Sub-point on the despair thing: being pathologically sad has afforded me countless opportunities to cultivate compassion. People in my life who lack compassion and empathy get filed under “Strangers”. At some point, I resurface from periodic, soul-flattening depression and I have to do a little restructuring. It strikes me as incredibly wasteful and impractical to have spent so much time and energy being sad and then refuse to learn anything from it. Like how to be there for someone who’s going through their own episode. Like how listening is usually more important than talking. Like being able to tell when someone needs my company because it’s unsafe for them to be alone. And lots more.

– It’s really, really hard to freak me out. I will buy you a drink if you manage it.

– Sometimes hypomania feels really good. I’ve had episodes that were basically a vacation from self-consciousness. Feeling infallible and invincible is not a pragmatic way to go through life, but being able to feel those things from time to time is undeniably great. Waking up one day to find that you’re smarter, quicker, prettier, more capable, more creative, more productive, and more energetic than you were yesterday is cool as hell. Arguably worth the subsequent massive letdown. Arguably…

– I don’t have a ton of shame left. I think I used up the bulk of it during my childhood.

– Sometimes we get the fun meds. Most of my meds suck in terms of maintenance and side-effects. But some of my meds list “euphoria” as a side-effect. Killer.

– After years of therapy and a hyperbolic myriad of different meds, I’m actually pretty high-functioning. It wasn’t easy for me to get here and things still go really wrong sometimes, but the cool thing is that it’s 2015 and not 1950, so I’ve been able to develop life skills and learn to handle my illness in the real world, whereas, 50 or 60 years ago, I could have been staring down an involuntary lifelong internment in a mental hospital after my very first episode.

– I get high on exercise. I don’t actually know if that’s a bipolar thing or a Laura thing, but after intense physical activity, my brain is fully lit up and I feel like I could pull a freighter with my teeth.

– It’s easier for me to weed undesirable people out of my life. Individuals who interpret “bipolar” as “crazy” are pretty detectable to me at this point. Prejudice and intolerance are two of the most useless things human beings lay on each other. Those who decide to do so can find some other blindingly gorgeous and undeniably captivating woman with a 1,000 point IQ to hang out with.

– I’m almost never bored. Not with this brain.

– Oh yeah, I get to write this blog. I like this blog. A bunch.

So, it should be fairly obvious that I’m in a decent mood today and I recognize that, while I’m feeling good, it’s not especially hard to make a list like the one above. But, just like I don’t want to waste my sadness, I don’t want to waste my happiness either. So when I inevitably get slammed into another big, dumb depression, I’m probably gonna be pretty glad that I flipped on the switch at the light at the end of the tunnel preemptively, so I don’t forget (like I usually do) that the tunnel, does, in fact end. So, show off your own optimism in the comments. I bet you have some and I’m totally stoked to read about it.


Tagged: acceptance, bipolar disorder, bragging, creativity, depression, hypomania, I’m pretty, mental health, optimism, positivity, pride, self-esteem, self-love

But for how long..

I’m having a hard time finding the time to write and the material to write. My brain is feeling fine. My emotions are in check, but what is going on.. where am I? I thought once you find the “right” dose your suppose to be right back at where you was. Where “was” I? Who […]