If I had a dime for every time some well meaning schmuck has said that to me, (and by well meaning, I mean, utterly clueless) I could buy Neverland Ranch. “You just don’t want to be happy.”
Hmmm….Ranks right up there with the shrink who told me the Zoloft wasn’t working because I didn’t want it to work. I am super fucking magical if I can control the success of a medication with negative thought alone.
But maybe the idgets are right. I DON’T want to be happy.
I am bipolar two. All my happy experiences are tied to manic episodes where I was “too happy”. I made impulsive decisions, I did things out of character for myself, I had no self awareness, no concept of consequences, I didn’t care who I hurt because I WAS TOO HAPPY.
The mistakes I made while too happy haunt me to this day. So yeah…I don’t want to be happy. Not like that, ever again. It does happen, manic episodes come and go even when medicated. I had a two week period in March when my Prozac was increased and I went manic. The crashing fall from that made me resent the brief respite of happiness. Plus, I did some things that I normally would not do. Like live in the petri dish and have faith in another human being. Once again, it bit me on the ass. And leg. And face. And I have festering psychological anti people rabies now. Fuck mania, fuck the happiness.
What I REALLY want is STABILITY. I don’t need to feel happy. I don’t need to be rich or have possessions or go fun places or have a relationship to validate me to the point of happiness. That shit is fleeting for the bipolar mind. Stability, and being consistently well, now that’s a dream I could happily embrace. My entire life has been instability and no matter how hard I try, it never changes for more than a few months at a time. This has done so much damage to my self confidence, especially when even the professionals there to help me act like I’m being some drama queen. For every one that has seen the hell I go through and commiserated, there are two that have been completely dismissive, if not outright cruel. So not even in my psychiatric care do I have stability.
We all want what escapes and eludes us most. Most people, it’s wealth.I wouldn’t turn down a winning lottery ticket. But I am smart enough to know money isn’t going to cure me. Nor is true love and other fairytales, a fancy car, fancy house, nice things. I have an illness. Money can treat it, not cure it. And the cure so often is as bad if not worse than the illness…No, money wouldn’t fix a thing. It would help reduce stress and increase options of treatment…It wouldn’t give me what I want most.
Contentment. I can live with bad luck, shit happens, et al. I can roll with the punches life throws. I’m not so naive that I think life is rainbows and puppies. I am also not stupid enough to think it’s only bad stuff.
The thing is, with mental illness…Stability is so fleeting, you can be manic and laugh at a funeral, or you can be stable and react normally, or you can be depressed and the world is a blackened cesspool, or so anxious you think the shadows on the wall are out to get you. Distorted thought precipitates everything. So telling me to “cheer up”, “lighten up”, “be happy”, “Be grateful for what you do have…”
That’s as helpful for mental illness as berating and overweight person and expecting it to “motivate” them to lose weight. Tough love is not always the answer. I have never told anyone to tell a chronically ill patient with Lupus or such to “suck it up, be happy.” Yet for mental illness, it’s the party line.
Guess what? IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE HAPPY. IT IS OKAY TO NOT EVEN WANT TO BE HAPPY.
Sometimes, just aiming for stability and contentment lead to happiness, and that’s good enough for me.
If I did have the money to buy Neverland ranch, I’d totally make it the Volatile Femmes headquarters so we could ride roller coasters, pet llamas, hole up and avoid the world, or throw massive Mardi Gras Manic Parties. Much love to me fellow femmes- Blah, Sass, Diane, Tessa,Zoe. And though not a femme, Chris, you’re invited to join our Mental Health Retreat too! Gotta have dreams,right?
Posted in Read Along
Tagged anxiety, Depression, mental health
Today I watched a police officer escort a homeless family out of HyVee’s café. They had been in the booth behind me, so quiet I never even knew they were there—a mother, a father, a little boy about six and a baby in a stroller. I didn’t see them bother anyone or cause a disturbance. They were just resting, watching the big screen TV.
The young officer wasn’t mean, but he wasn’t kind either. He asked what they were doing. He asked if they were staying at The House of Compassion (our homeless shelter), then he got them up and out the door.
I don’t blame him—he was doing his job, I guess. But I’m furious at whoever made the call to the police in the first place. The family looked poor, but clean. They didn’t smell drunk or seem high on street drugs. The breakfast rush was over, so taking up space for paying customers couldn’t have been the issue. Maybe the sight of the sleeping mother was offensive. Maybe the whole idea of homeless people in plain sight was offensive.
I’m sure it never occurred to the complainant to ask if the family needed help or breakfast. Or to call their pastor instead of the police (because anyone who needed to call the police must own a strong sense of morality and, thus, have a pastor). And I’m positive they didn’t understand that a homeless shelter is far from restful, especially for adults who must protect their children. Leaving a shelter exhausted in the morning is the norm. Poverty is exhausting.
When I left HyVee, I spotted them far down the road—the dad pushing the stroller, the mom lagging behind with the little boy. Even at 9:30, the morning was hot and humid. I wondered where they would find a welcoming place to rest. I wondered if that was possible in this town.
Posted in Read Along
Tagged anxiety, Depression
THe middle child spent all last night sick at her stomach. We can’t figure out what brought it on–the doctor just said it’s probably a bug. I spent several hours giving her weak Gatorade sips every fifteen minutes once she started dry heaving. So I am not in a good place this morning–It’s dangerous for a bipolar person to stay up all night like that. I did get some sleep after four a.m. when she took another anti-nausea pill and finally went to sleep. So we will see how the day goes. Rachel is at least out of the house for Vacation Bible School so hopefully she won’t catch it. We haven’t had this level of sick in our house for a long time–but hopefully she will pull out of it with no more throwing up. THey gave her a Dramamine shot at the doctor’s office, so hopefully that will take care of the current ill feeling.
I’m just dead on my feet. I don’t want to go to sleep because the only way she can wake me up from where her room is in the house is to call me on her cell phone. She did that twice after we went to bed; after the call just before midnight I just stayed in her room.
So pray that no one else gets it and that she doesn’t become dehydrated. Thanks for thinking of us.
If that title doesn’t intrigue you, you’re anhedonic.
Interview with a therapist who was once insane
And then there’s this…
He used to be a mole and his name, appropriately enough is…
John Thomas leaves the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse April 18, 2014, after being indicted. On June 2, 2015, a psychologist who examined Thomas said he stands by his diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Federal prosecutors say Thomas, who has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $375,000 in taxpayer money, was caught on a jailhouse phone tap planning to fake the illness.
His wife gave him some advice about how to fake it, she told him to twitch like a cat. How the fuck do cats twitch then? And why? I’ve never met a twitchy cat. Dear John (lol) Thomas (lolol), if you’d like some bipolar disorder, you’re welcome to mine in exchange for a video showing you twitching. Like a cat. You knob.
Hallucinations & Delusions are not necessarily linked to serious illness.
Psychosis rarely, inconsistently precedes violence.
10 celebrity moms with bipolar disorder.
Demi “milking it for all it’s worth” Lovato says recovery from bipolar is possible. (please can I smack her) But wait! There’s more!
Enough sleep treats mental illness effectively.
“Scientists don’t want to discuss creativity,” claims Harvard neurologist Dr Alice Flaherty, who both studied and lived with the condition. “It makes them feel intellectually unhygienic.”
Telling a tale with too many words, Chantal Martineau explores hypergraphia, a rare compulsion to keep writing.
Creativity and ambition linked in bipolar patients.
Writing about mental illness is therapeutic.
Our voices can inspire with our stories.
Relationships & the bipolar trap: Julie Fast on friendship.
Citicoline may control cocaine use in patients with bipolar.
Improving diagnosis and treatment.
Urinary cancers not linked to lithium.
SANE Australia – Bipolar Disorder – Translations
A checklist pamphlet explaining the symptoms of bipolar disorder in easy language.
The following translations are available: English, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Greek, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese. Download pdf files.
My story, black, beautiful and living with bipolar disease.
Examples of the kinds of deficits reported are difficulties with linguistic working memory (word retrieval), difficulties with planning, prioritizing and organizing of behavior (executive functioning), problems with retention of what’s been read or listened to, as well as the experience of mildly dulled or slowed thought processes. For some with bipolar disorder, it’s like they’ve experienced a gradual decline of brain power from their previous baseline level of function.
Cognitive deficit in bipolar disorder (don’t panic, it refers to some people, not everyone)
Bipolar disorder link to altered brain development.
Premature mortality in bipolar disorder.
Mental health treatment forces tough choices.
Invisibly ill, notes on being academic and bipolar. (dude needs anonymity, not sure that leaving out your surname, but including a photo, is the best way to ensure that)
Bipolar disorder and overeating.
Delays in diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder.
Call for better treatment for bipolar in South Africa.
If you’re Boston flavoured, this might interest you:
Assistant Needed For Artist Starting Non-Profit for Bipolar Illness(Belmont)
contract job internship part-time
Assistant Needed For Artist Starting Foundation for Bipolar Illness – Belmont, MA
About the foundation:
Candidates should be interested in helping people with bipolar, depression, anxiety etc., as the organization that is being started is a support group specifically for people with bipolar disorder. The organization will focus on mentorship/sponsorship for people struggling with bipolar and mental illness.
Imagine something similar to the Alcoholics Anonyous model, for people who are functioning members of society, or struggling to function, as they may be recently out of an inpatient program.
The idea behind the foundation is to pass down knowledge, care, and love through support, in addition to traditional medication.
Interested candidates should send a resume and email why you’re interested and how you’re qualified. I’m happy to send you my resume as well.
*Help keep artist/founder (27 year old female) focused and on task
*Help develop and copy write content for narratives and articles
*Ability to be proactive and act independently and contribute after taking initial direction
Skills/Personality you should have:
*Organized, open-minded, good listener, problem solver, good sense of humor
*Good editing skills and succinct writer
*Basic administrative skills
*Adobe Suite, social media, SquareSpace or WordPress is a plus
*Bachelor’s or Grad degree in Psychology or Literature is a plus
*2 month gig
*30-40 hours per week, flexible. Most likely will include some weekends, but I am very easygoing with scheduling
My name is Sara Jacobson and I’m a New York City born, raised, and based artist. I was diagnosed with bipolar illness at 20 years old and have had great success in art, jewelry, and opening my own store on Madison Avenue, although I’m in Boston currently because of some medical issues. Potentially moving back to New York in a couple months.
View some of my work at http://cargocollective.com/SKJacobson/ (“some”, because part of this job will be to expand website work section)
Posted in Read Along
Just to let my readers know, I’ll be off the grid for a few days. I’m going into the hospital tomorrow to be admitted for the first phase of my kidney stone extraction. They’re going to open me up to put in what’s called a nephrostomy tube, through which the beast will be broken up and taken out on Wednesday morning.
To say that I am NOT looking forward to this process would be the understatement of the year. I hate going in for medical treatment when I’m healthy and feeling like crap when I come out. Kidney stone extractions of any type are unpleasant, and this one is guaranteed to be a doozy! But my attitude is that yes, I’m in for a rough few days but so far, my record of getting through rough days is 100%, and that’s a damn good percentage.
See you when I get back. :-)