Daily Archives: May 21, 2015

Let’s do another Topic Not Otherwise Specified Post

I have deemed it so that I’ve had enough time to bellyache about stuff. So I’m gonna do a topic not otherwise specified, bounce subject to subject and let the emotional gamut run. Even if it dares to go to that place where people puke rainbows. Unlikely but it could happen. Pegacorns.

Some of my happiest moments, and by happy, I mean calm and content, are when I am home, in my bubble, not feeling threatened and panic stricken. It’s not avoidance so much as it is survival instinct. If you are feeling raw and fragile, the worst thing you can do is place yourself in a situation that will exploit this.
I have to go get my kid from school in about an hour. After a relatively peaceful morning, I am filled with dread to go back into the petri dish and risk an adverse reaction. And I never know how combative and defiant she is going to be so that’s always a wild card.

I am watching a law show in which the defense attorney said, “Lawyers purposely seek out the weak ones with mental illness because they know those types can be manipulated.”
I don’t see having mental illness as weakness. If anything, if you manage to live with mental illness, you’re an example of strength. Too many have taken their own lives because it got to be too much. Those of us who keep going, even when we’re fragile and beaten down and emotionally raw…That’s strength. Shame people aren’t intelligent to see that.

I didn’t remember how loud kittens are. Absinthe is a crier. Loud and incessantly so. Her brother, not so much. I know they need time to adapt to the change of home but wow…My sensitivity to noise is unbelievably delicate.

I bought a new soda today. Lebron’s Blend Sprite. I didn’t taste any cherry but the lemon lime and orange were there. I drank half, gave half to my kid.

My sister called me at the store freaking out about whether the new kittens are eating, did I need to bring them by to nurse. I’ve been raising cats since I was 5, it’s what I do (as well as being midwife to dozens of mama cats too lazy to cut the cords.) I can’t believe my sister thinks I’d let them starve. Of course, I introduced them to solid foods. Even some canned stuff with chicken and gravy. And there’s that whole thing where I’ve kept a kid alive for almost six years. Jebus, sis, get a grip.

When I stopped for milk (I actually got it right and bought white milk) the cashier manager lady said, “On the run again?” People think I am super busy and rushed but truth is, I’m just limiting my dish exposure by doing things quickly. I don’t fuck around in the dish, it’s bad for my mental health. Maybe as bad as Latuda.

It’s not a constant thing, but it is common. I break out in hives at random intervals because I am anxious. That’s what the second trip into the dish did to me.

Upon my return today after fetching the spawn, Absinthe came waddling to the door fast as she could as if I’d been gone for hours. Kittens crack me up. Proves she’s already adopted me as her human. Her brother just likes my chair.

When I talked to my sister about taking the kittens, I told her I wanted a girl and a boy, one calico, one black and white. And she says, “Well, you probably don’t want the runt black and white one…” WRONG. He was one of six, he obviously just didn’t get as much as his siblings, there is nothing wrong with him. I always pick the ones who are somehow “less healthy”. The undercat, as it were.

Not a fan of the show, but some female politician tweeted that she will never again watch Game Of Thrones because of some rape scene in the last episode. Um…Grow up because this shit’s been happening for years? I suppose I’m a hypocrite because I swore off anything with Tom Cruise in it after his “mental illness is imaginary but I pray to an alien clam” spiel. Then again, I never much liked him to begin with. He did make an awesome LeStat but I’m fairly sure little acting was involved, he just happens to be a douchebag like the character.

It’s terrifying to see how many hoops adoptive parents have to jump through to get a kid. But if your uterus can serve its purpose, pretty much any asshole can have a kid. Which is good for me, considering how bad a housekeeper I am, and how my mental state bobbleheads. Jebus, adoptive parents have to be pretty much sainted. Not saying protecting kids is a bad thing, but kids do NOT need that level of perfection to be cared for and loved.

Contact with other persons has proven to be…challenging. Not because I am volatile today but because I am DEAD inside today. My affect is apathetic, numb, fake, forced. R called and I barely felt a thing when he critiqued me for not checking his email. (Cos that’s totally my responsibility, wtf.) My dad and stepmonster stopped by to feed scraps to my oudoor stray cats and it was all I could do to feign interest and plaster on a fake smile. I almost feel…disconnected. Yet I know it can swing to another extreme in the blink of an eye. This is a tightrope act I do not like at all.

My head is hurting. The sunlight is like slivers of glass being poked into my brain. I don’t like it. Tylenol is doing fuck all, I think it may be one of those light sensivity migraines which requires me to take shelter in a dark, quiet room. Those are not my favorite and I swear it was the light that started it in the first place. Of course, the doctors claim this is just some goth affectation, like having a headache is pleasant enough to be stylist, ffs. Not to mention, I am not goth, I just like gothy stuff. That this is considered some sort of personality flaw and mental health issue is insulting. Jebus, put a dimmer switch on the fecking sun.

Early school dismissal makes the day seem neverending. My god, it’s not even 5 pm yet and I am ready for my crypt. All this sunlight and noise and activity around me with people out and about and kids yelling and cars…UGH. It’s just too much stimulation.

Why is it when you make a choice that has a bad outcome, you are told to “learn from the mistake.” Yet if you do something repeatedly in an effort to “be open” only to learn it never works out…Then you’re just giving up and letting a bad experience hold you back. What the actual fuck is that? Life presents is with one catch 22 after another, you can never do the right thing.

Raised by wolves…Dad and stepmonster gave Spook this puppy purse when they popped by and already one of her little friends is trying to blackmail her: “Give it to me or I won’t be your friend.” My kid is a terror but she has basic manners, ffs. These friends of hers are little monsters and their parents just let them be.

Not even 6″30 pm and I am ready for bed, or at least my crypt. Unless things change with my mental status very soon, it is going to be a very long and grueling summer from hell. Why can’t I just snap out of it? I WANT to. But it’s not happening. Because that’s not how this mental illness shit works. But even I wish it did.

On a funny note…

white utensil

I’m the Wrong Demographic

I’m mourning the cancellation of two of my favorite shows from this TV season.

forever  battle creek










I know—the Black Rhinos are nearly extinct and the human race as a species seems to be eating its young, but if I think about that stuff I’ll never get out of bed.  So I focus on something inconsequential.  Like how My Shows always get cancelled.  I have a history of being the wrong demographic.


Alphas (2011-2012)


Dollhouse (2009-2010)

Men of a Certain Age (2009-2011)


United States of Tara (2009-2011)


Moonlight (2007-2008)


Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)

Joan of Arcadia (2003-2005)


Carnivále (2003-2005)


Firefly (2002-2003)


Millennium (1996-1999)


Beauty and the Beast (1987-1990)


Well, you know… (1966-1969)

I hate when interesting, well-acted, well-scripted shows go belly-up.  I hate when fake dating, fake celebrities and humiliation get all the air time.  Because that audience buys more stuff.  Economics sucks.

Geeks can sometimes make a difference.  Star Trek resurrected nicely.  And Firefly got a feature movie.  But mostly we have to grab these sweet berries before the corporate crows pluck them for good.  Yes, I whine and howl, but I also sorta like holding this end of the spectrum.  It’s my lot in life to be weird.  Shiny.


It’s the people, it’s the relationships that make the most difference in a life. It starts with loving supportive parents, then loving supportive friends and maybe even neighbors. Then it is friendly, supportive colleagues. And of course one of the most important relationships is with the person with whom you are going to spend the rest of your life, your significant other. If all these relationships are loving and supportive, then you have a great chance of succeeding (what does it mean to succeed? more on that later) in life. These relationships are so important. If you are in trouble and you have a web of family, friends, well family and friends, what else is there? then this web will catch you if you fall. If it is tightly knit, you won’t fall through. If you have a close relationship with your parents, then you can reach out to them, and if they are loving caring parents, they will help you to the utmost of their ability. That is what parents do, they help ensure their progeny survives. In evolutionary terms, the purpose of an organism is to pass on its DNA, and parents can do that by being loving, caring, supportive to their children, thereby assuring that their DNA is passed on. So there is an evolutionary argument, as in survival of the species, for being loving and nurturing. That is why maternal instinct exists, that is why babies are so adorable and lovable, because we are supposed to take care of them. Not only as a family, but collectively as a society and a species. I think anyone who doesn’t have these instincts is a sociopath, a seriously defective individual, who cannot participate in this loving, nurturing survival dance. But hopefully and luckily, even though our parents most likely weren’t perfect, they were not sociopaths either. So here we are, human beings who were hopefully given enough love to survive and flourish. And we in turn form attachments, and have a family, and have children, and we are loving and supportive to them, and the dance goes on.

Of course, a person with a mental illness fares better when they have support and love from their friends and families. Life is hard, you need friends and family. Life with a mental illness is harder still, you really need friends and family. And if you have a family circle and a social circle, then you will be surrounded with love and support and will fare better than if you are alone. Family and friends, loving, supporting each other, getting on each other’s nerves sometimes (haha) but definitely a necessity for a happy, well adjusted, loving life.

If you don’t have a lot of family, or if they’re not close by, no worries, good friends are just as loving and supportive as families can be. The saying “Good friends are the family you choose” is so true. My best friends are like my chosen sisters. And we have known each other since were in our teens. I am lucky to have these lengthy, close relationships even though I moved from Islamabad, Pakistan to Buffalo, NY just 10 days shy of my 12th birthday in 1972. I am lucky. I hope we are all as lucky!

Do you write a BLOG?



It’s that time again….get the name and link to your blog in the comments. Tell us what your blog is about. If you can, reblog this, so we get some fresh new blogs.

I’m issuing a challenge. Visit three NEW blogs you’ve never seen and leave a comment. Not just a “like” but a full on comment. Let them know you came from a blog party at Lily’s. If you do this, put a comment in the comment section here. Likely they’ll visit back and like what they see.

This is the way to get new readers and followers. Go for it!

Light Reading

Picked up an interesting book this weekend–“How to Love the Home You Have”.  It has tips on turning your current home, no matter its flaws, into a house you can love.  I picked it up to see if there were tips on furniture arranging and such.  There are, but most of it deals with your attitude, saying you need to have an attitude of gratitude towards your home and an attitude of grace towards yourself for your expectations of yourself.

I lived most of my life with high expectations of myself.  I never aspired to riches, per se, but I did hope that all my life I would continue to achieve at high levels throughout a career and family life.  Now I’ve had to lower those expectations and accept success in small things, such as doing a blog post, rather than big things, like publishing a book.  Not that I’ve given up on that dream.  But I recognize that it’s something that’s not going to come easily.  Just like I can’t remodel a house myself like my mom and dad  did because I don’t have those skills, I have to settle for keeping it neat and clean as best as I can. Some of the readjustment came about with bipolar disorder, but some of it came about with just growing up and realizing my limitations.   I was part of the first generation told to “be all you can be” and I took that to heart.  But some choices you make and some circumstances you face can limit you, like my bipolar disorder has done for me.  I do my best to transcend those limitations, but they are still there, whether I want to acknowledge them or not.

I need grace towards myself in those times when I feel like I’m just plodding along in place, not really feeling like I’m accomplishing anything.  Are there areas in your life where you need to extend grace to yourself and be a little less hard on yourself?  I have many.  Hopefully this habit  will be one I continue to learn as I go about life through a bipolar lens.

Wish You Were Here

My Dad with the great composer Leonard Bernstein After hearing my father audition, Bernstein told him that he had what it took to be a world-famous concert violinist Today would’ve been my father’s 88th birthday.   I wish my Dad … Continue reading

Psychologically Chafed

Today’s Accomplishments to impress and astound: I took my kid to school and took a shower, the first since Sunday. (I took two showers on Sunday, so…Yeah, ok, doesn’t count but…Fuck it.)

Yesterday sucked. I finally got myself out the door to go be captive audience for R…And a couple doors down from the shop…There was a dead cat in the road. After losing Castiel, finding a dead cat was the worst thing that could have happened. I SPAZZED. Tears, hyperventilating, just emotional shrapnel flying. I had a plastic bag in the car so I walked down and carried the cat’s body out of the road and onto a lawn. It was still warm and gushing blood, for all my gore whore stuff with movies…Dead animals get me in a way nothing else does.

R at least made an attempt to comfort me. I was allowed twenty seconds to compose myself before I got to hear about his problems. Meanwhile, all my brain can see are dead cats and his voice just makes me want to kick him in the shin because I WANT TO MOURN AND BE SAD. His coping method is to move along as quickly as possible. Mine is to let myself be sad for as long as it takes. So not even being allowed this small thing…GRRR. I was so glad to leave. When you’re in that sad place but surrounded by someone who views emotion as a weakness…Soul sucking is what it is. Not to mention, with my affect so off, every word I said got his panties in a bunch because of course, his first assumption was that I was being mean. In my current state, I can say I love you and I hate you and the tone never changes, I’m DEAD inside except for the pain and anger. And even that feels draped in black gauze. The only other time I ever remember my emotions being this affected was on Lithium. Is this my new norm post Latuda? Heaven help me if it is.

To replenish my soul, as well as thinking about Brimstone being all alone with both siblings dead, I snagged two new kittens my sister’s cat had. One boy, one girl. Boy is black and white, the girl is calico, about the same age as Brimmy. Just what I need, more mouths to feed and care for, right? Well, kittens are like narcotics for me. I  cannot be a hateful ogre when faced with adorable balls of fur. I’d say they make me happy, but post Latuda, nothing makes me happy. Just less stabby. So pardon me while I huff fluffy little kittens, The girl is Absinthe (Abby-sin,for the spawn’s memory) and the boy is Alchemy (Ally-C). They have cuddled up in a fur pile with Brimmy so I think I did the right thing for all involved. To indicate just how catcentric I am, I am sitting on the very edge of my chair because their fur pile is at the back and I don’t want to disturb them for my own comfort. Were it a person in my chair, I’d tell them to move. Kittens, legal heroin.

I feel like I’m sleepwalking, to some extent. I’m going through the motions but it’s like my mind and body have been injected with Novacaine so I’m bumping into everything and I can’t feel it because I am numb. Plus, I am making the stupidest mistakes. Like the other day, I grabbed some milk. I was wide awake, in a blindingly well lit store, I set it down, I carried it to the car..And it wasn’t til later when I went to get some milk for mashed potatoes, I realized…FUCK, I got chocolate milk. How the hell did I not notice I got brown milk instead of white? Not a subtle difference. The housework has gotten out of control again, seven baskets of laundry to be folded. I sent my kid to school today and didn’t even realize til she was getting out of the car in the sunlight she had lint on her black shirt and pants. (And I have my fifty shades of evil mother in my head from the other day, “You don’t send her to school with lint. And her colors don’t match, I NEVER sent you girls out in clothes that didn’t match!) And I felt bad, but then  I remembered the hell I’m going through right now. My kid is clean, fed, and getting educated. Fuck some lint. Could have gotten it playing with the cats before school, I can’t be on top of every shallow aesthetic detail.

I’m doing the run on sentence thing again, smeg. I think I’ve gotten dumber.  But there’s no way to know for sure what is the new norm. I’m off one med, starting a new one, the pharmacy caused my Focalin schedule to be disrupted…It’s probably going to be a month before I can even discern what is going on with my brain. And I don’t give a damn what they say about Latuda being out of your system in “four days”. It may not appear on a test, but the aftermath is very fucking real. I was tapered off Cymbalta and still had withdrawal for two months even though the doctor said it was not possible. My faith in doctors, shaky at best, has become wrought with suspicion and fear. If a doctor has to get out his iphone to pull up a list of “popular and common” side effects for a med, rather than actually know them because, ya know, he’s a doctor and educated and all…It’s not a good sign. And leaving out side effects that are so common they are first up in the pharmacy literature…I’d never take my car to a mechanic who was so lacking in basic information on the job he’s performing. Of course, it’s entirely possible I am having notions of grandeur and am actually a lunachick.

Off all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.

THIS is where mentally ill people become the best targets for manipulation and abuse. We can’t always trust what our own mind is telling us, how we’re feeling, how we perceive things. Not because we’re blind to our flaws, or unreasonable, but because our wiring is crossed and sending out wrong messages. It’s so easy for someone to use that against you. I see people do it to me all the time. And I am humble enough to know I do go off the deep end sometimes so there are things I do that are legitimately annoying, angering, et al. Not being able to trust my own mind is absolute ass trash. But over the last few years, I’ve come to a method of discernment. Because of the cyclothymic rapid shifts, I can be mad about something at noon and forget why I was mad by 6pm. My general rule is, bite your tongue, let it be for now, and if it’s still bothering you in a day or two, then you speak up.  It’s been very helpful in letting me determine what’s a good response and what is actually a distorted response that validates the “crazy bitch” remarks. Some stuff I totally forgot hours or a day later and even marveled at why it made me mad because by then, I was pretty apathetic about the whole thing. And sometimes, when my response is legitimate yet I am surrounded by people who’d rather manipulate and blame me and make me doubt myself…It’s still festering a day or two later, it bothers me and I can bring it up now that I’ve calmed down. The assclowns don’t stop manipulating but at least I’m in a state where I am calm and collected and stating my case in a sane manner rather than flying off the handle thus validating their opinion.

My kid gets out of school early today, some sort of school improvement planner thing this afternoon. I have this sheet the school sent home wanting the parents to volunteer for the end of year fun day, to supervise, serve, et al. And I WANT to participate in my kid’s school life, I want to be a help. I just don’t see how I can let myself loose on civilized people and masses of noisy children when even the people who know me best are finding my every response nasty. It has to be returned tomorrow. I honestly don’t think my nerves or my mind can handle even a two hour exposure to a hundred fifty kids, all the teachers and parents…It’s weird. I never felt bad when I asked the doctor to write me a note to get out of jury duty (face it, last thing any defendant wants is a bipolar person deciding his fate or holding up the jury because their wonky brain is rejecting logic on that day.) But when it comes to not participating in my kid’s school life, it bothers me. I am not an uninvolved uninterested parent. I am, at this juncture in time,a bit of a livewire. That much stimuli…It could be a powder keg. So how do I beg off without becoming “that bitch who won’t lift a finger to be involved in her kid’s school life.” GRRRR.

I want to sue the makers of Latuda and the doctor, I was not this fucked up prior to that stuff. My blog can attest to it. Just watch how the tone and lucidity changes from the pre Latuda posts and the ones during its use and then after. It’s pretty obvious. I understand medications have side effects, they cannot always be predicted, people respond differently…But with my disability review pending and me actually get worse instead of an iota better…This is nerve racking. “Hi. I think you should hire me for this job because the powers that be think I am A-okay. Just be aware that I may fly off the handle, stab you with a spork, and then  collapse in a pile of fury and tears at random intervals. I am totally stable and able to do this now.” Jebus, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

On the plus side, it’s warmer and sunny today as opposed to yesterday’s cold (we all turned our heat back on which hasn’t been used since March) and rain. That helps lift my mood out of the sewer. Still feeling psychologically chafed. Like blisters have formed and if there is the tiniest bit of friction the blister will explode and raw open wounds will be rubbing together. This is not simply thinking negatively or being scared. This is my reality. The fact I’ve managed to not stick my head in an oven is truly amazing. I just keep sleepwalking. It’s all I can do.

I think R wanted me to pop by the shop today. I don’t think I can do it. Yesterday was bad enough, him taking every word I said as some sort of snark. Until my proper affect returns, being around others is just not advisable. My kid is so oblivious to anything but her own needs my state isn’t a blip on her radar, and I like it that way. My shit shouldn’t be her problem. But mental illness isn’t like some drug habit you can simply stop using or go to rehab for. It’s just the elephant in the room that is never going to leave and even if it’s mentioned…It changes nothing.At some point, my kid is going to catch on that her mommy isn’t quite “like other moms.” I don’t look forward to that day.

Okay, purge over. I showered, that was my goal for today.Now I am gonna zone out and do nothing. Which allowing myself to do just might result in something getting done. I work quite well when not under the pressure to perform.

To prove my funny bone survived Latuda…Just a couple of ha has I found.

pink slipbears

good evening and here is the eight o’clock blues

(scheduled post & tw for grim, long-winded and self indulgent misery, as well as allusions to abuse, self harm and suicide), plus the usual effing and blinding.

I’m so down that it’s possible that the heaviness of my heart (as well as my amazing, long running role of Lead Balloon) could weigh me down enough to


right down through the earth’s core and come out somewhere in the Marianas Trench, instantly dying of burns sustained on the way, plus collapsed lungs. Fun. Almost as much fun as I am right now, in fact.

As usual, I could easily make a list as long as my arm (in 8 point font) of plausible causes of depression, and the causes would all be legit contributing factors adding weight to the burden. But they wouldn’t actually be causes at all, just rocks in the pockets of the black dog that’s been at my heel since birth. (How’s that for a mixed metaphor, cocktail suckers?) I swear by all the incessant yet quiet burps of lamotrigine induced reflux, that depression birthed me and depression will kill me. The cause is motherfucking bipolar, the contributing factors aren’t far off its strength either.

The other thing, is that everything’s hitting me double today; it’s the day after the hallucination on the beach. I told an entire story about a wedding using the word ‘funeral’ instead. I put my sunglasses on upside down. I fell over from a standing (standing still nogal) position – twice. My ears are doing strange things. None of that is particularly noteworthy; the worst thing about the day has been (and still is) dizzying and nausea inducing headrushes. No big deal, just sliiighty off kilter. Depth perception juuust off, balance juuust off etc. It doesn’t hurt much, but it does make the day hard work in general.

If I can get anyone’s attention for longer than 15 minutes, I find myself babbling desperately to get my whining done. By the time the whine is whined, the poor listener either has a suddenly urgent appointment, or has gone deaf and then died. The neighbour still has her head firmly buried in her boyfriend (lol euw), the friend who’s emigrating is understandably freaked, sad and busy with the process (frankly right now, she needs my support more than I need hers) and local friend #3 is a drive away rather than a walk, and I haven’t trusted myself to drive yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Fucking mixed episodes though. This one needs to get its jaws out of my jugular and fuck the fucking fuck right off now. It’s on its way out, I’ll be fine very soon. I need to learn to identify and deal with the warning signs better (apparently they don’t have subthreshold auras the way migraine do; shit I think I mean prodromal symptoms). I’m not sure that I have obvious warning signs every time, but when they happen, it goes something like this… It starts off with something like PMS, not bad PMS I think, but then, I’ve never had bad PMS or period pains, or hectic blood loss etc. My cycle has always been rather insanely irregular and I don’t panic when I miss three in a row, so it makes identifying PMS at the wrong time pretty much impossible. Anyway, at first I weep for no reason, then I locate some reasons and it all feels finite and manageable. Then bam, I’m as agitated as fuck and getting thoroughly pissed off at the slightest provocation and my skin feels hot and the world begins to resemble a wind tunnel. I can feel my breathing, my heartbeat and every muscle; my eyes get blurred and/or my vision starts to telescope in and out. I clench and grind my teeth harder than usual, I get pins and needles. Self harm and suicidal ideations sneak in. There’s a permanent and intense scream in my head that gets really distracting. I’m extra sensitive and stressed and fragile and… you get the picture.

The real danger comes when part or all of the above become strong and chaotic enough to kick me and my actions and reactions completely out of control. Maybe one day I’ll have the balls to write down the worst of my fuckups – but it is not this day.

Things are a lot more contained these days. I live a very quiet life, with a solid routine, I do not drink and I don’t do drugs. I’m a goddamned saint (if there was a god, that phrase would be a literal one). Life is more stable, my decisions are better and on the whole, I’m as depressed as hell on a rainy Sunday and I would far rather be dead. (Disclaimer: ideation, not intention, I’ve been dealing with the ideations as far back as I can remember. Before I could write, I carved secret symbols into wood, about death and hatred – no prizes for guessing who the hatred was aimed at.) Right now, I’m emerging from the kind of shape in which my psychiatrist says gravely, “do we need to look at hospitalisation?” (no, I’m tough and broke and who would take care of my dog?), and into the kind of shape where the bleakness and flat affect cause my psychiatrist and I to have precisely the same exchange of questions. I swear I must be fucking bulletproof.

If the past couple of weeks had been manic, I’d feel as though I were coming down from an E or six now. I tend more towards mixed states than mania though, and so this phase is more like coming off a mean, neat whiskey drunk, sans vomit and headache. I’m sore, sad, snarling; soon I will be a whole lot more sad and sore and despairing. Although things hurt like fuckery emotionally then, they’re far safer than the violent and chaotic self harm and suicide that mixed episodes carry strapped to their waists like… er… the sort of gun Clint Eastwood uses while chewing a cigarette and gazing at dudes in black hats through narrowed eyes beneath a furrowed brow, and above the manliest stubble you ever saw in your life.

(Well if I can’t paint my prose purple to make you smile and mix a quaking shaker of metaphors to make you laugh, what fucking good am I to anyone? I got the devil chasing me and I’m dancing as fast as I can.)

The only difference between my thoughts now and my thoughts on most other days, is that I’m not using the filters, the whitewash or the candyfucking coating we all have to use sometimes to keep the people we love from getting caught up in us and following us into the abyss. I’m not a suicide risk at all, and sometimes I think that fact makes it all more desolate.

So I get up early, I walk the dog on the beach, my meals are regular, I take my meds the way I should, I make sure I’m not too reclusive and much of the time it all seems to make fuckall difference. And so with the time that is left over after all the routines are done, I go for another walk, do some house chores, some garden chores, I read, I write, I get online and everything distracts me from the pain until I pause and then the fucker is back. Sometimes one thing is more than enough to slap me way down. Sometimes I wonder if all the distraction is any way to live at all. Sleep, lather, rinse, repeat, and all I get is defeat.

None of it is any kind of conscious choice or a behavioural addiction. Here’s why. If we accept my psychiatrist’s analysis that my bipolar was unleashed at age five and diagnosed at age 44, we’re left with 39 years of untreated bipolar. If we add ADHD and C-PTSD to the mix, it gets a bit more complicated. If we look at the diagnosis now, it’s even less cheerful.

Bipolar 1
Continuous circular course
Rapid cycling
Psychotic features
Mixed features

All of that shit is far, far from the worst I could have wrong with me. The fact that I was medicated for depression for a decade or so means that some of the long term damage to the brain and so on will have been averted. The fact that one antidepressant triggered mania and that some other stuff triggered psychosis means that my butt was kicked hard towards finally getting an accurate diagnosis and some treatment. I am incredibly fortunate to live how and where I do. I am loved by some seriously wonderful people, I have a wonderful dog and I have a wonderful psychiatrist. There are many more things on my gratitude list; I have a metric fucktonne of things to be thankful for, and I am genuinely thankful.

Bob Dylan – Pay in Blood (2013)

My prognosis is poor, but not train smashingly so at all. We all pay in blood and “grief is the price we pay for love”* and without blood and love, life isn’t life at all.

Well I’ll be damned, I thought this post would be purely about putting emotional suffering into a readable form to make sense of it, but I was wrong. Instead, I cleared enough space to write my  long and winding way to a positive conclusion. Fuckit man, there goes my urban decay street cred.

We all pay in blood and “grief is the price we pay for love”* and without blood and love, life isn’t life at all.

I’m talking shit about the street cred, of course, but it isn’t a new conclusion and conclusions tend not to be solutions anyway. I’m still having headrushes, there’s screaming in my head again and I really want to punch myself hard. I won’t though. I’ve no idea whether I’ve ever said so on my blog, but the most important crutch that holds me up, is the fact that no matter how much agony is perpetrated by humanity, we shine too, we are beautiful too. And now I will go and swallow another six industrial strength pills and chase oblivion for a while.

*Queen Elizabeth II said that, apparently.


Ode to Broken Things (Pablo Neruda)

Things get broken 
at home 
like they were pushed 
by an invisible, deliberate smasher. 
It’s not my hands 
or yours 
It wasn’t the girls 
with their hard fingernails 
or the motion of the planet. 
It wasn’t anything or anybody 
It wasn’t the wind 
It wasn’t the orange-colored noontime 
Or night over the earth 
It wasn’t even the nose or the elbow 
Or the hips getting bigger 
or the ankle 
or the air. 
The plate broke, the lamp fell 
All the flower pots tumbled over 
one by one. That pot 
which overflowed with scarlet 
in the middle of October, 
it got tired from all the violets 
and another empty one 
rolled round and round and round 
all through winter 
until it was only the powder 
of a flowerpot, 
a broken memory, shining dust. 

And that clock 
whose sound 
the voice of our lives, 
the secret 
thread of our weeks, 
which released 
one by one, so many hours 
for honey and silence 
for so many births and jobs, 
that clock also 
and its delicate blue guts 
among the broken glass 
its wide heart 

Life goes on grinding up 
glass, wearing out clothes 
making fragments 
breaking down 
and what lasts through time 
is like an island on a ship in the sea, 
surrounded by dangerous fragility 
by merciless waters and threats. 

Let’s put all our treasures together 
— the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold — 
into a sack and carry them 
to the sea 
and let our possessions sink 
into one alarming breaker 
that sounds like a river. 
May whatever breaks 
be reconstructed by the sea 
with the long labor of its tides. 
So many useless things 
which nobody broke 
but which got broken anyway.

Writers & Their Sheds: Nimue Brown

In the second of a series of guest blogs, Stroud-based author Nimue Brown writes about daydreaming, small space living, and sharing a table with an artist.

Nimue Brown

Nimue Brown in first draft mode

Do you have a special / particular place where you write? If so, did you set it up, or did it sort of evolve? Tell us about it.

I have the left hand side of the table for all computer related work. On the right side of the dining table is Tom Brown’s art studio. We don’t take up a lot of space between us. However, for first drafts I tend to work on paper, so that means being curled up in one corner of the sofa with a book on my lap.

I don’t think as well with screens, and if I’m not using any electric I don’t feel as guilty about time spent staring into the middle distance!

Do you usually write at certain times of day, or particular days of the week? To a self-set word count?

Usually I blog first thing in the morning (sometimes as early as 7) and aim to write less than a thousand words for that. Otherwise, I find structure is the kiss of death. I write better and more reliably if I’m not aiming to, if it’s slotted in around other stuff, so I’ll devote whole afternoons to craft projects and bits of book will sneak out of that.

Some writers listen to music whilst they write. Do you? If so, any particular type? Do you change the music according to what you’re writing?

At the moment, I’m favouring anything that doesn’t have words in English. I tend to listen to words and this tends to distract me. I’m very eclectic in my music tastes.

From "Fast Food at the Centre of the Universe"

From “Fast Food at the Centre of the World”

Do you have a statue and / or pet which you treat as a muse, or at least, a sounding board?

I have a Tom. He hears things as I’m working on them, and I test ideas on him. I also have a little band of people who read things for me to check they make sense, or to help me figure out what needs developing.

If you don’t have a writer’s shed, do you fancy one? If so, what would it be like? Also, do you have a favourite writing “shrine” – eg, have you, or do you wish to, make a trip to a particular house or place associated with a writer you admire?

I think if I had a shed, I would be living in it, not just writing there! I’m set on small space living, which means there are no dedicated spaces for anything, with the exception of the loo! So I could only have a shed if it was also an art studio, and a recording studio and five other people were mostly in it, at which point it just seems like less hassle to go and sit in a cafe – which is something I’m not averse to anyway.

I don’t crave solitude to write, just people with the wit and survival instincts to know when to leave me in peace. And when to bring me coffee.

Longhand, typewriter, dictation machine, computer, and/or…? Are you a fan of a particular type of pen, pencil, notebook, etc? Share your stationery addiction(s), please!

Every book begins with the quest for the right notebook. The paper has to be thick enough to take writing on both sides, the lines have to be close, but not too close, the cover must, at the very least, not annoy me. Then I stock up on cheap black biros, because I can’t hold a pen properly and I kill anything with a nib.

The typing stage needs some work because the action on my keyboard is awful, the shift key mostly doesn’t, and I’ve worn away 11 letters entirely, with another four in dubious condition. Apparently I can touch type, but I’d rather not.

The hand written draft is typed up, revisions happen on the computer, for sanity. I miss my laptop, but I killed so much technology last year that my computer guru told me to get a desktop so that the bits I kill can be replaced in stages.

See all comments about the keyboard.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve got a new novel in the ‘being read by the team’ stage, an audio novel coming out week by week at nerdbong.com, a book on Pagan Dreaming out this summer, I’m supposed to be firming up the script for volume four of Hopeless Maine and I’m starting to think about the next Pagan title.

pagan dreaming coverThanks for the chat, Nimue, and all the best with your projects.

website & blog: www.druidlife.com
Twitter: @Nimue_B
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nimue.brown

The next writer showing us round their shed will be RI Royle.

If you’d like to do a guest blog for “Writers & Their Sheds”, please complete the “comments” form on the bottom of the “About” page.



When we, people with bipolar disorder, are in a full blown manic phase or a severe depressed phase, the doses of medication we have to take to control those phases are astronomically higher than the doses of the same medicine we take when we are in a normal phase or euthymic.

I have been on as high a dose of Seroquel as 800 mg when I was in a full blown manic phase. If I were to take 800 mg of Seroquel today, I seriously think I would not wake up. My body at this normal phase would not be able to handle that large dose. Our metabolic rate increases a LOT when we are manic, therefore the weight loss and the staying awake all the time. So, our body, in that increased metabolic rate state, can metabolize al LOT more medication than it can in a normal or euthymic state. My lithium dose has been pretty large as well when I was in a full blown manic state, and without bad side effects such as loss of fine motor coordination, tremor, diureresis, even hair loss, and acne.

Many psychiatrists think that if I was on 800 mg of Seroquel when I was in a full blown manic state, that 800 mg is my maintenance dose. But they are WRONG! No one needs the high doses that we take in extreme phases as maintenance doses. Maintenance doses are much smaller. For example, I am currently on 75 mg of Seroquel, less than one tenth of the dose that I took in my severe phase.

I have been on such high doses of Depakote that literally half the hair on my head fell out, among other things, and still the doctor who prescribed it to me wanted to keep increasing the dose!

I’ve actually had arguments with previous psychiatrists about this, when they have tried to keep increasing my dose when I was normal or euthymic. Eventually, I would have to find a new psychiatrist and hope that they realized the dosage issue.

Thank goodness, I now have a doctor who realizes this fully, and was explaining it to me when I stopped him mid sentence and exclaimed “Hallelujah, finally, someone who understands this!!!”

These medications are powerful medications with awful side effects. The thing that is most beneficial is to use the smallest dose necessary to control our symptoms while having the fewest side effects. Of course the key is controlling your symptoms, so the dose has to do that adequately.

Just thought I would write about this because I have struggled a lot with this in the past. Now, I feel lucky to have the doctor I have.

And now my Seroquel is kicking in and I am about to fall into a deep slumber, so good night all!