Daily Archives: May 7, 2015
The Post of My Heart: “The Found Girl” on The Lithium Chronicles
Dear Friends, It has been a hell of a week. Last Friday I was high (it was natural! No inhaling took place. ;) from sharing my good news about my book deal with Post Hill Press. I’ll be honest with … Continue reading
Posted in Read Along
I Think We Need a Bigger Boat
I found out today that my therapist and the nurse practitioner who provides my medication supervision are leaving to start a private practice of their own near Des Moines.
If you’re in the mental health delivery system, you’ve probably experienced this kind of trauma. It takes years of searching to find a therapist who gets you, to find a psychiatrist or NP who works with you, only to have them leave, or the clinic closes, or whatever kind of insurance you have doesn’t work anymore. The most essential piece of your recovery drops out of existence. So you flounder, and in that vulnerable state, have to start searching all over again.
I’m lucky in that they will only be an hour away. After talking with my therapist today, my plan is to stick with them if they can get Medicaid-certified. Lots of “ifs.” So, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Except it is.
I hate how stuff like this confounds and unmoors me. Even with a solution in sight, I feel hysteria crawling up my throat. Just when my support system seemed to be jelling, just when it seemed safe to go back in the water…
I have to watch my catastrophizing—I see sharks when it might just be tuna. I have to keep breathing. I have to remember I’ll be fine no matter what happens. I’ve been here before—back when my boat didn’t even have a motor. So, I’m okay. I just wish there wasn’t so much chum in the water with me.
Posted in Read Along
Tagged mental health
Dreams From Darkness (quote)
Why do you need to spin these dreams from darkness?” – Peter Carey, The Chemistry of TearsFiled under: quoth Tagged: darkness, dreams, quote
No, the title is not a typo and no, Apple has not laid claim and patents to mental illness (yet). I was watching one of my new fave shows earlier, iZombie and it just hit home how their script parallels mental illness, just with zombies.
She (lead character, Liv)is turned into a zombie. She gets a job working in the morgue and there she procures the brains she needs to eat. Except with every brain comes traits and memories of the person they belonged to. She uses this to help police solve crimes, et al. But, and this is loosely quoted, she said something to the extent of, “You know you’re under the influence of the brain you just ate but knowing it isn’t enough to keep you from doing stupid things.”
bing bing bing bing.
I know much of the time my brain is distorting and lying. And I should “know better” than to act upon any distortions. Yet so much of my life is lost in bipolar limbo, knowing you may be about to burn a bridge because you’re mind is altered…isn’t enough to stop you.
Key thing being, altered mental state.
And there is no denying that in the past few weeks I have been altered to the nth. Med changes and anxiety spikes, recurrence of panic attacks, manic episode, crushing depressive episode…I’m a train wreck who wants to be a nicely appointed bullet train with a specific destination.
I was in the dish maybe 3.75 hours today. And I faked it and it sucked. Because even if my mood is “meh”…The anxieties, and panic, are crystal friggin clear. It’s all in my head. It won’t kill me. I’m making too big of a deal of it. Suck it up.
No more possible than avoiding the side effects of a zombie eating brains (usually of really evil people, or just shitty.)
Truth be told, I’d almost rather be a zombie and eat brains than have mental illness. There’d be more compassion involved and fewer side effects from brains than psych meds. That and I just really like the word zombie.
But I have escaped the dish of petri for today and am calming down (even though crazytown thoughts are still bouncing off the walls of my brain, reminding me I have a gazillion things to be anxious about and 80% are feasible threats.) Mrs. R’s coming back tonight so I am looking forward to three straight days of not being at his beck and call. Or I hope so. If she has plans, that could put the baby into alone territory and then he will be beckoning. He who makes fun of me for being broke, gripes that he’s flat busted, yet just loaned five grand to his daughter and her husband.
What the actual fuck. His kids are all so educated and employed and all. LIES.
On a side note, he was on his Sandy Hook conspiracy thing again (and I do not dispute the fishiness to that story) but he brought up the Google map thing to show how it won’t let you see the school. Then he showed my how to get from his house to the shop on Google maps. And son of a bitch, there’s a picture of the shop, on Google, with my car in the lot, and oh, me smoking a cig on the front step. Thanks for blurring my face you evil privacy destroying cretins, but FUCK OFF. Next time I see that creepy Google car anywhere near me I am going to flip it off with both fingers. I lead a quiet life, use pen names on line, avoid social media like the plague and rarely post specific details about myself. Yet courtesy of Google I am etched into the internet. No one knows who I am, but it’s still creepy to the nth fucking degree.
I love my technology and all but this is ridiculous. Blurring my face isn’t entitling me to privacy. It’s just making me a little less conspicuous. And it’s creepifying. The donor always said, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.
Such bullshit. I don’t need to have anything to hide just to expect a modicum of privacy. Sitting outside should not be an activity that allows Google to invade your privacy whether they blur details or not. Now I gotta ponder how many pics might be out there when I hurriedly dashed out in t-shirt and panties to feed the cats. Sooo my paranoia monster has reared its head, the panic is off to the races and I’d like to know why the fuck I am not entitled to sit outside in bumfuck without Google taking pictures. What happened to “don’t be evil” as your motto, assclowns? Just what I needed, more to fuel my insanity.
Bloody hell. Zombiehood can not come soon enough. I will trade anxiety disorder for eating brains any day.
Posted in Read Along
Tagged anxiety, Depression
Went to see my psychiatrist this morning. He said I seemed to be doing very, very well right now, especially considering the time of year.
This May marks his ninth year of treating me for my bipolar disorder, and we have been through a lot together. My runaway episode, my near-constant mood shifts early on, all my hospitalizations, and my current longest time of stability since I’ve been diagnosed. I thank God for him and his understanding of what kind of treatment I need.
I already understood a lot about mental illness before I was diagnosed, and that has discomfited some people I have been in treatment with. A therapist told me one time, “You know too much,” when I happened upon the reason she had asked me a particular question. He has never seen it that way. He accepts that I’m as knowledgeable about the disease as I am and works with me to make me more knowledgeable about my treatment options and why he does what he does. He has none of this “God complex” that so many doctors have, and I’m thankful for that because nothing irritates me more than a doctor treating me like I’m an idiot just because I have a mental disorder.
So I just thought I would post about how thankful I am for modern psychiatry that recognizes that these are physical as well as emotional diseases and that we are no longer in the dark ages about mental illness as we were before the medication revolution. And I wanted to thank Dr. Andrew Bishop for his role in keeping me and so many other patients stable and able to function in society.
Surviving Schizophrenia: A Journey
Please note: This is a guest blog from Rebecca at “A Journey With You”. I hope that you’ll take the time to make a comment of encouragement to our author. After all, it takes some courage to step up and write. Thank you!
I grew up in a small town. We were poor, and my dad was an alcoholic. In the mid-seventies, when I was eleven, my mom and dad got divorced. My mom married my step dad and we began a completely new life. My step dad was a civil engineer and changed jobs frequently so we moved a lot. I ended up graduating from high school in Cairo Egypt.
After high school, I attended college in Washington State. I changed colleges three times before graduating with a BA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia.
I was first diagnosed with depression when I was in my mid-twenties. I was a social worker for child protective services, and my marriage to my college sweetheart was falling apart. I remember telling my husband at the time that something was wrong, and I wanted to talk about it. He said, “If there is something wrong, it is with you, because I think everything is fine.”
His statement seemed so final and dismissive.
It wasn’t long after his shutting me and my concerns down that I moved out.
I moved into a little attic apartment that I called my treehouse and I bought a bright red couch. I had once asked my husband if we could have a red and white checkered bathroom and he said no, that he didn’t want to look at that every day. Buying that red couch was my way of stepping out in the world.
My husband’s favorite color was brown. I threw out everything brown.
At the time, I was writing poetry and getting it published in university journals and other magazines. I was really starting to come out as an artist. I was in therapy. I had many friends.
I made a couple of bad choices regarding men and those relationships ended up putting me on a stressed out downward spiral.
It took a year or more of that extreme stress for my mental health to begin to deteriorate. I ended up psychotic.
When I first became psychotic, I thought that someone was drugging me. I thought all the fears, all the sweats, all the paranoia and inability to sleep were due to a drug that someone was giving me. I had no idea that I was experiencing a psychotic episode.
Because I was a social worker, I knew all the laws about involuntary and voluntary commitments so when my family tried to intervene and get me into a psych hospital, I just said I wasn’t a danger to myself or others. I also lied about the extreme paranoia I was experiencing.
After visiting many hospitals and many attempts, I voluntarily signed myself into a psych ward. By then, I was so psychotic that they kept me isolated for three to five days (I can’t remember the length) before letting me out in the general population. By then, the medications they had me on had started to ease the symptoms of psychosis.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features. That diagnosis would stick for almost ten years. Later, I would be told I was well and taken off all medication (which led to a psychosis that lasted six months), and then I was diagnosed schizoaffective and eventually I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
It is still amazing to me that people can be in college, or working at their career and then end up with the symptoms of a severe mental illness. It can knock people out of their prime with a speed that takes the wind out of everyone around.
I am happily married now, in treatment, and getting some of my poetry published again. It took a long time to get the correct diagnosis, treatment, and get my life back on track. I am happy to report that the stereotypes and stigma around paranoid schizophrenia are not accurate. I am living a meaningful life. I still have symptoms of my illness, and I miss the twenty-something woman I once was and the path she was on, but there are new paths and I plan to put one foot in front of the other and forge a new way.
I am currently trying to devote my time to writing. I attend both a poetry and memoir writing group, and instead of traditional therapy, I have a writing coach that is a LMFT, of course I see a psychiatrist and take my medication as if my life depended upon it, because in a very real way, it does.
I blog because I want to educate people about paranoid schizophrenia, be an advocate, and practice my writing. It is wonderful to interact with so many amazing people. If you have the time, come and be a part of my journey at http://www.ajourneywithyou.com
I hope to hear from you.
Technology, Privacy, and Searchable Text
Mhm. Social control. If you’re now already covering your tracks and generating enough false leads to confuse spyware and so on, please start. Not just online either; please be aware of RFIDs etc and screw with those. And teach every bored looking teenager you meet, to inflate a condom and float it gently up to cctv cameras so they block them.
Originally posted on Longreads Blog:
The Defense Department, through its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), started funding academic and commercial research into speech recognition in the early 1970s.
What emerged were several systems to turn speech into text, all of which slowly but gradually improved as they were able to work with more data and at faster speeds.
In a brief interview, Dan Kaufman, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, indicated that the government’s ability to automate transcription is still limited.
Experts in speech recognition say that in the last decade or so, the pace of technological improvement has been explosive. As information storage became cheaper and more efficient, technology companies were able to store massive amounts of voice data on their servers, allowing them to continually update and improve the models. Enormous processors, tuned as “deep neural networks” that detect patterns like human brains do, produce much cleaner transcripts.
View original 80 more words
I don’t know how else to describe how I feel today. Guess “adrift” will work. Kinda floating aimlessly, feeling overwhelmed and unclear. Kind of sucky title, though. I’m usually more creative. Guess my creative bone is MIA same as my sanity. On a side note, I took my meds, without food, and I got so nauseous I gagged. I tried to eat, got two bites in, and was gagging again. Oh, the joys of happy pills. Ass trash clown shoe side effects.
Had a panic attack right out of the gate this morning. My kid started her blubbering whiny “I just wanna sleep” then came the wardrobe fit and yelling at me because I told her to put her glasses on, eat breakfast, then brush her hair. And the louder she got, the more attitude she flung at me…I started to hyperventilate. I had to cup my hands over my mouth and focus on breathing, which did not go over well with her. It’s like she wants to make it worse. Yes, I know, I am distorting. It’s just not a pleasant way to start the day.
I capitulated last night and took her to play with L. It was a mistake because now I am so drained and overwhelmed, I feel the crushing need to stay in all day and vegetate. But his highness wants company. Honestly, the things I will do for a pack of smokes.(I have zero problem rolling my own, saves an ass ton of money, been doing it for over ten years but occasionally a smokey treat I didn’t roll is niiiice.)
It never ceases to amaze me just how fucked up I am, considering hanging out with a friend a hardship. This is what others live for, it’s fun, it’s called living, it’s mentally healthy. Yet it kills my soul. And I refuse to be convinced that it’s some sort of crime to prefer quiet alone time as opposed to the noisy socializing thing. Introversion is not a disorder.
Last night was…fail-ish. I had a Mangorita, then switched to the Margarita premix minus alcohol. Placebo effect. I think margarita, my brain thinks “alcohol” and the fact there’s zero booze in it seems to not matter. L kept calling me mommy, because she hears Spook call me that and R went off on that, saying it couldn’t be allowed to slide or his daughter the psychologist would kick my ass. Blah blah blah. I think some people just make too big a deal out of little things kids do. I get a kick out of the way L comes rushing at my kid, yelling SPOOKY and they hug and giggle. It makes me smile. Little makes me smile, ya know, where the smile reaches my eyes. It reminds me of how much those little things mean, the very things the donor dismissed so harshly.
We watched Arrow. Or as much as we could. L wanted to have a pillow fight with my kid and whacked her with one which sent Spook into a meltdown and R pulled out the satan voice on L. She told him to leave her alone. And it was off to the races. He got down on her level, in her face, and said, “I treat you no differently than I treated my own kids. You will NOT defy me again.”
I am awful. I had to hide my face behind my hand because the more he laid down the law, the more she grinned and flopped about and completely blew off the time out. And that’s what I do to this day. Roll my eyes, smirk, feel compelled to rebel. And of course, he made it clear that’s why my kid is so poorly behaved and his kids are so successful and educated and their kids are so well behaved and…Oh shut the fuck up. I was there for two years when his kids were little. For his memories of them “never defying” him I have memories of the older two defying him at every turn. The youngest was just a sweetie pie but those older girls…I guess if he has to admit they defied him he somehow loses face as a good parent. Oddest thing was, he went out of his way to defy his parents when he was a kid and brags about it. Hypocrisy’s greatest hits.
WARNING: This next paragraph could indicate spoilers in Arrow so if you have not watched last night’s episode, run screaming now. But it is relevant.
R was always this big Trekkie, big with the logic and coldness. I called him Spock because he was so emotionless. He touted “needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” until I almost puked. And he hasn’t changed a bit. Because during one scene last night in which a badass woman was forced into some daddy imposed gender role…I said, why doesn’t she just kill him? I’d be damned if my dad determined who I’d marry and breed with.
And R asks, “Have you not ever done anything for the good of others in spite of your own needs?” Um…I once lived on Cheese nips for a week so I could spend what cash I had on cat food. I wear clothes with holes in them so I can spend money on nicer things for my kid. Sacrifice is one thing. Being bullied into basically sacrificing your entire belief system (and I am fairly certain forcing a lesbian to marry a man qualifies) is not acceptable and no, I will not do it. Prince fucking Charming Checkbook could knock on my door, declare he wants to be my kid’s stepdad and spend exorbitant amounts of money on us…And if I didn’t at least feel something for him…No, I would not choose money and a father figure for my kid over my own needs. Selfish? Maybe.But as a child of parents who stayed married for 28 years for the sake of the kids, even though they hated each other, agreed on nothing, put us in the middle of their fights, and sent us very mixed messages..That’s in no one’s best interests. So hell no. I can make sacrifices for the good of others. I just won’t strip my own identity and make things worse by simply fitting into some societal norm of “two parent household.”
In all honesty, the fact R and I could get into a spat over a plot line from a TV show is asinine. But it proves the point of why we never worked together. Such fundamental core beliefs at odds is just doomed from word go. And it describes every relationship I’ve ever had in the long term (all three of them.) I get sucked into what is socially acceptable and expected and try to convince myself I feel that way for someone, or I can make myself feel it…And thus the vicious cycle of failed relationships begins. Probably why I am so content on my own. If I found someone I meshed with (and I don’t care if it’s male or female) I’d be on it like white on rice. I just think settling for what is there because it’s expected is bullshit. I want to break that cycle. Plus, the men in this town are not known for their ability to commit and ride out the rough patches. I refuse to bring someone into Spook’s life that may be gone six months down the road. And you get a feel of who is that kind of person. Her donor being the prime example. Not going to make that mistake again.
Okay…I went off on a stupid tangent, obviously the focalin isn’t doing its job today. Whatevs. Clown shoes.
There was a moment last night when he was prattling on about how successful and productive members of society his kids are…And I sneered, “That’s totally not offensive to someone on disability with no job who’s half crazy and always broke.”
To my astonishment he gave me this sympathetic look and said, “I’ve met your family. You never stood a chance from the word go, Nick.”
Very very true. I was messed up in utero. But for all my epic fails and instability, I take the lemons I am given and occasionally make a nice pitcher of lemonade.
And with R, even if he’s in absolute denial, he’s gotten his financial stability from two mega inheritances from dead family members. It’s easy to build a portfolio and all when you have seed money to start with.(His kids are going to inherit $40,o0o grand each lus all his property.) Yes, he’s always worked hard but still…He got breaks financially others do not. And frankly, if I were him, I wouldn’t feel all that fortunate either, considering it was the loss of his dad and grandmother that paid out. Just…sometimes it irks me when he says shit like, “Don’t have two coppers to rub together, do you?” I get it. I’m poor. Shut the fuck up.
It’s just a clusterfuck. R and I are so different. Yet we know each other so well customers assume I’m his wife. A guy asked that the other day and I said, “Ohhhh hell no.” Guess it’ a testament to both of us being decent enough to remain friends and not let our fundamental differences rule. I suppose he’s not so bad. Then again, I’d befriend Hannibal Lecter ‘cos he cooks.
Needless to say, I went, I saw, I remember why I don’t socialize much. It really takes more out than it gives back. And less than my personality, I think the mental shit is what makes it so harrowing and draining. Without the anxiety and different mind frames from day to day I might actually perceive social stuff as fun. I’ll never know. I am not my mental illness(es) but I can’t have them removed so I keep making that lemonade.
I am stunned he’s not texting me. I soo need to recharge, not go get more life sucked out of me. But I suppose I will capitulate. My kid is sleeping over at mom’s tomorrow night so that will be my reboot. Or maybe not. Pretzel gut has me feeling rather nasty in body and mind. I wish I didn’t get so overwhelmed, I feel so weak. But there comes a point when you’ve pushed yourself as far as you can go and need a break. Life in the slow lane suits me fine, let everyone else take the freeway.
Back to…Um..dreading stuff and things. I already feel like the Latuda is heightening my anxiety and after that usually comes a manic episode. I am loathe to admit another med failed me as the doctors seem to think I’m just into musical meds and ass trash side effects.
Sorry for the epic rant. I suck. I rock the sucking thing. Oh, well. Can’t have blog without the bog.
Posted in Read Along
Tagged anxiety, bipolar, Depression
lists, links, songs
Title of the year and article of the week: Gout, Urine and Guinea Pigs (scroll down). And apart from that it’s business as usual, research, opinion, music and film.
But first let me pimp my link. I made a bipolar memes page for all the crap I’ve made. Sorrynotsorry.
15 memoirs of mental illness
10 tongue twisting word disorders
21 things nobody tells you about being depressed
10 strange and obscure facts about mental health
10 mental illnesses and their myths
10 things you should never say to someone with bipolar disorder
10 terrific things about bipolar
10 things I hate about bipolar
10 myths about bipolar
10 more myths about bipolar
7 facts and myths about bipolar
25 things only someone with bipolar would understand
10 brutal things you should know about being married to someone with bipolar
Gout, Urine, and Guinea Pigs: The Weird History Of Lithium. “Gather round and I shall tell you a tale! A tale of a mistaken assumption that started a weird, long science odyssey that included urine, steak, and guinea pigs, and ended in a miracle drug.”
Philippines: Boy with bipolar sells books to earn money for law school.
Movie shines light on mentally ill LGBTQ: “More than one in four members of the LGBTQ community suffers from a mental illness, researchers say, and one affected man volunteered his personal life for a movie to raise awareness. Andrew Cristi has bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.”
Titanic Titus Andronicus: Patrick Stickles on Why His Band Made a 93-Minute, 29-Track Rock Opera About Manic Depression.
Perky Pundit: Your mental health shouldn’t be compromised because of stigma.
It Takes a Village: The Tragedy and Triumph of Detroit’s Slum Village.
Hether Fortune on leaving White Lung, Dealing with Her Demons, and the Third Wax Idols LP.
South Africa: Maternal mental health – bipolar and baby. (Read this one to see a little of why I say our public psychiatric healthcare is sad/scary.) More about mental health in SA.
Fuzzy thinking in depression and bipolar disorder: New research finds effect is real.
Bipolar Disorder and Failure to Launch Syndrome. Sally, Age 21: A Case Study Post published by Robert “Bob” Fischer M.D. (explanation of the syndrome)
Bipolar Speech Patterns: A Different Kind of Subtext.
Crazy good: How mental illnesses help entrepreneurs thrive.
Lil’ Chris did not seem ‘different’ before death, says sister.
Posted in Read Along
Tagged bipolar, Depression
Feelings are just visitors
This post is inspired by the graphic avove that I saw on my Facebook newsfeed from a site called Recovery 4 All: https://www.facebook.com/recov4all?pnref=story
This seems to be quite genius advice. Feelings come and feelings go. How simple! But… yes there is a but, can people with mood disorders do this? I know I can hang on to feelings for days. It wouldn’t be so bad if the feelings were good ones, but they usually are not. The feelings that hang on to me or to which I hang on are usually negative ones, like anger, fear, anxiety, unease, just bad feelings. I wish I could say to them “You have overstayed your welcome. Please go now.” And sometimes I can. But the majority of times they ARE me, so I cannot ask them to leave. Finally, when I realize that they really are NOT me, then I can ask them to leave. Then they lose their power over me and I gain myself and my life back. I wonder, if I had this made into a bracelet or something very visible to me, if I could stop being the captive of these negative feelings?
I recently learned how negatively stress affects you depends wholly on how you view stress. Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en This is a quote from the TED lecture: “When you choose to view your stress response as helpful you create the biology of courage. stress gives us access to our hearts, the compassionate heart that finds joy and meaning in connecting with others and yes your pounding physical heart working so hard to give you strength and energy. And when you choose to view stress this way, you’re not just getting better at stress, you’re actually making a pretty profound statement, you’re saying that you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges and you’re remembering that you don’t have to face them alone.” This is incredible! Your outlook on stress can affect whether you die of a heart attack or thrive and live healthily on. If this can be done with stress, why can we not think our way out of feelings? If we can, then we can have more control over our lives, and we can live the lives we want to live, without anger, fear, anxiety, worry, and unease. I mean, stress is no small thing, and if we can mitigate its effects upon us, then it is possible that we can control our emotions and mitigate their effects upon us. Gives me hope! Hope and resilience, my two best life fellows.