Daily Archives: July 7, 2015

The Parasitic Twin That Is My Brain

Having been forcefed a steady diet of “Life is what you make it” and “it’s all how you look at things…” I have decided I am not mentally ill at all. Nope. I had a twin in the womb but it was parasitic and attached itself to my brain, so I get all the mood swings and anxieties of two people in one neat little package.

Okay, maybe I’m not that far gone, but the comparison isn’t wrong, if you consider mental illness the parasitic twin that is sucking the life out of you no matter how hard you try. And it can’t be removed due to complications that would result in your death so your only option is to LIVE WITH IT.

Which is the equivalent of asking someone how they want to die- gun, knife, noose. You’re dead no matter what you choose so it’s not even a matter of having an option.

My parasitic twin has been behaving itself the last  2 nights (it’s the anxiety, sleep disturbance, and dreams acting out like brats) , but that will come to a halt now that I have exhausted my Cymbalta 30 mg stash and will no longer be able to do the split dose. I have yet to figure out how to empty the capsule so I am getting the same amount and I’m not sure I want to tempt fate. I take the powder, even mixed in something, and have a reaction to one of the buffers or additives they use…Well, I don’t want it to get worse.

I stopped yesterday and asked the pharmacy lady about the “split dose doesn’t make a difference”. She was, of course, hesitant to say a word because disagreeing with doctors, even in a generality, is as bad as treason and you may be shot to death with spiked pickles. She said six times to go talk to him because everyone’s chemistry is different. Then she added quietly, “Talk to him again and if he won’t listen…Get a second opinion.”

So much can be said without really saying anything directly.

I was exhausted yesterday after the dish experience. Yet bedtime came and it still took almost two hours to drift off. Dreams. More dreams. My kid waking me to climb in my bed. More dreams. Wake up. Wake up again. I barely got up in time to get the trash out at the curb because they can come between 8 or noon and you can’t leave trash out overnight…I was relieved to not have any dish agenda, though I did choose to address a small agenda on that front. Returned the FedEx thing for R and got a few things (for cleaning, oh joy) at Dollar Tree. That was enough of the dish for me.

Yesterday was a humidity laden inferno. Today has been beautifully gray, wet, and cooool. Still, cat fur is sticking to me. Makes me ponder shaving them all and claiming they are Sphinx cats….Uggh, no those things are frightening.

So, yeah…My brain aka parasitic twin aka mental illness and I are just gonna zone out for the evening. I want so desperately to write…Yet the block is back and my attention is skewered and I’m…GRRRRR. Ready to stab very long pins into my voodoo doll. Being artistic yet not being able to express it is the tenth circle of hell Dante never mentioned. I mean, I can’t even chase my tail in circles with written drivel. I’ve got nothing.

My kingdom for some inspiration. But then, it’s not entirely out of the norm for me. My writing usually runs fall and winter (my version of hibernation, I guess) and dies off for spring and summer. Should have seen it coming, but much like the depression that didn’t hit until after Christmas and sucker punched me like a dozen ninjas…You can prepare but you never really see any of it coming.

Probably because I have that fecking parasitic twin mental illness blocking all the space in my head.

Of Course. Obviously.

As one might expect, everything went fine with the appointment. We had less than a minute wait to see the doctor, all my tests came back clean, and I’m booked in to have the IUD/coil installed later this month. I guess one could argue that if I hadn’t been climbing the walls and insisting on the backup everything would have gone badly… ’cause yanno, Sod’s Law.

At least today was sort of cold. I was able to curl up in my bathrobe all day, which apparently was a level of snuggliness that pushed my anxiety down to something manageable. It helped that the littlest was having a good day as well; we drove each other a bit batty yesterday. I’m hoping tomorrow is as good as today. You guys know how it is — you come down and should be all sorts of better, but instead there’s still some residual titchiness and anxiety sparks.

Anyways. That’s done for now. Hopefully I’ll have another good night of sleep and hit tomorrow feeling decent.


Summer In Solitary

The garden of my new house, my rental house, surprises me each day: bleeding heart, tiger lilies, lungwort, coreopsis.  Unpredictable, because this is not my home backyard, and when I say home, I mean the house I spent the last fifteen years in, tearing down faux-Victorian wallpaper and painting sunnier colors.  That backyard was often filled with desultory weeds, persistent mosquitoes, and the combined poop of two Labrador retrievers.  My ex-husband and I were lazy about landscaping, preferring travel over staying put, or lounging in a lawn chair with a book over earnest tending.  We had spurts of homeowner energy: ten garbage bags of weeds and brush, another of dog poop, mossy rocks scrubbed, swingset de-spider webbed in under an hour.  Then nothing for weeks.  Even though the yard was the size of a postage stamp, it was overwhelming (in upkeep) and underwhelming (effort + time did not = results).  One of our great tricks was to dump massive amounts of mulch over everything every few months to hide the forsaken landscape.
At my rental house, because there are no dogs, a rabbit frequently hops around the yard to the great delight of the kids who have named it Stacy.  And there are cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, and hummingbirds that fly in low and peck around in the grass.  Landscaping and maintenance?  Hired help descends weekly to mow the lawn, pull weeds, and trim bushes into manicured shapes. But as marvelous as these surprises are, I am still struck dumb every day by the fact that I am not home.  I don’t actually mean the physical structure of my former house, but home—a place, a space that is meaningful, that allows for stability and shared mutual purpose.  Because this is a rental house, everything feels transitory.  I’m afraid of leaving my imprint on the space as my landlords would deduct the damage from my deposit.  Nothing feels like mine and everything feels like not mine.  I go out for a run or walk and often have to remind myself that this house is coming up in the middle of the block.  Or put my key in the lock and am astonished that it opens.

I live here and yet, I don’t because everything is impermanent.  Am I even creating present memories?  In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard writes about home being a space for dreaming.  The only dreams I remember have to do with my previous, wedded life and I am awake half the night anyway, my gut gnawing at itself with anxiety over where my life is headed.  Do my kids, who live here every other week with me, consider this their half-time home?  Or is it more like a bed-and-breakfast, a place to stay, with me, until they return home to their father?  Of course, they reassure me that they love it here: there is the long, double-lot yard where they can play Nerf gun war with their friends, and they love taking evening walks around the new neighborhood—it is serene compared to the traffic that rings their other home, and then, I have central A/C which means they no longer have to sweat through the nights. 
But do they long for here when they are back there?  Which gets at the real question: do they long for me when they are gone every other week?  Because I always considered myself inextricably home for them, as they are for me.  Which is why everything feels transient: I don’t have a partner to call home anymore.  On the weeks without my kids, when I walk from the garage to the house, I feel overcome by emptiness—there’s no one waiting inside to welcome me back.  On these summer evenings, when the light is long and late, I often am eager for the dark, and bed, and Ambien.  And then I remember to lighten up; it’s summer!—I no longer have to shovel three feet of snow from the sidewalk each morning nor walk through the snow tunnel in the backyard.  So I take my dinner outside (yes, usually a lame bowl of cereal-for-one) and sit in the lawn chair, watching the birds, and the rosy sky and remembering that the life that is coming back to me may surprise me yet. 



More answers to some Questions: Bipolar Disorder 101

Starting and then finishing anything these days takes a huge effort. My mind wanders and goes off on little journeys all its own, flitting from topic to topic as others either talk to me or I simply sit quietly on … Continue reading

More answers to some Questions: Bipolar Disorder 101

Starting and then finishing anything these days takes a huge effort. My mind wanders and goes off on little journeys all its own, flitting from topic to topic as others either talk to me or I simply sit quietly on … Continue reading

Bipolar, Unemployed & Lost Vlog

Originally posted on Bipolar, Unemployed & Lost:
Please check out Dyane’S BLOG!: https://proudlybipolar.wordpress.com/ p.s. i am wearing my fitbit, which i love… get on that..

Bipolar, Unemployed & Lost Vlog

Please check out Dyane’S BLOG!: https://proudlybipolar.wordpress.com/

One Week

One more week and I’ll be in surgery for a hysterectomy.  I really, really hope this takes care of my problems.  I can’t imagine why it shouldn’t unless there’s something seriously wrong they don’t know about yet.  I’m praying against that so I hope everything just goes off without a hitch.  At least I’ll come home to a clean house because my ladies will be here to help Tuesday while I”m at the hospital.  We will see how it goes.

So tired.  I guess I’ll take another Coke at lunch and try to wake up some more.

We’re getting ready for the last dance competition. Not going too far this time, just down to Biloxi on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Then we’re through with dance practice until Labor Day.  I’m saving the last of my books for the trip–Iv’e got two novels, an essay collection, and four books of poetry to read.  I think I’ll take the novels and the collection on the trip to read and see how they could go. I”ll take another break from blogging because I don’t think the venue will have access.

Hope everyone had a good week!

When anxiety metastasizes

(This, from yesterday, while in the dish.)

I just heard a firetruck and suddenly…I am freaking the fuck out. My place is a tinderbox. I’ve been out of my bubble for four hours and my stomach is in knots and churning painfully and I NEED TO GET HOME NOW. But I am stranded in the dish being a good friend and my neuroses and panic don’t give a fuck about that. I need to get to my bubble, make sure it is ok. This is not normal. This is my life, though.
Yep, that’s what it’s like for me to be out in the dish of petri. Hand wringing, stomach churning, panxiety. It’s been this way for many, many years. No one understands it, they view me as anti social, weird, avoiding, always in a hurry, to self important to spend time visiting. But enough bad stuff happens to you…Paranoia and anxiety become a malignancy that borders on post traumatic stress. Not that the counselors or doctors want to hear about the reasons that have helped create the neurotic monster that is me. Friends and family definitely do not want to hear about it. So I suffer. And make no mistake about it, living that way IS suffering, especially when you’ve used every therapy trick in the book, medications, sucking it up. You end up feeling like a failure. And society, even those in the mental health community, perpetuate this unintentionally.
Frankly, for every day I manage in the panxiety zone, out in the dish, even if a basketcase…I consider myself successful. Low standards? Perhaps. But working up the courage, the stamina against all those anxieties eating away at you every moment you’re outside your bubble, and staying the course as long as you have to…It doesn’t matter if you only manage to “succeed” once for every time you do not. Mental illness isn’t a game to be won, it’s not a series of odds. It’s life. Your big “win” is just surviving with this albatross.
The odd thing was, once I was home, place not burned down, no bad news in the mail box, all my stuff inside safe and sound…I started to calm, to not feel so threatened and scared. Off the hook from dish responsibilities (ain’t it sad that I consider hanging out with a friend who buys me smokes and lunch a stressful responsibility?)…I was better. Not great, of course. My kid is trying, her little friends are trying. All the housework is exhausting, just looking at it and not even doing it because I feel buried alive and it’s an anxiety that feeds itself even when I start doing what needs to be done because…it’s never enough. The carousel never stops turning when it comes to housework. The daily mundane chores. Worrying that leaving that sink full of dishes and the floor unmopped will result in a visit from someone who decides your housekeeping skills are “unfit” living conditions for a kid.
No, the anxiety doesn’t simply go away because I’m in my bubble and feel less threatened. And it’s not idle neuroses, either. Again, I’ve always had generalized anxiety but the last ten years or so of the malignant anxiety…is because I’ve witnessed the worst happening. I’ve SEEN that which cannot be unseen. Is it logical to fear it will happen again because it happened once?
That would be one of those questions for the so called professionals and their DSM that say it’s okay for people to be permanently scarred by war or rape or abuse or any other traumatic (as seen by society) event. Who gets to determine what qualifies as traumatic and damaging to a mind?
This is in NO way meant to detract from the seriousness of PTSD and what people go through with that.
This is about things that happen to alter a person, alter their perception, increase their fears, give shape to the monster in the closet. Things that imprint and you fight it and sometimes, it gets better. Only to inevitably get worse again. Because the event IMPRINTED. The notion that we can rid ourselves of this imprint with some psychobabble and whatever technique of the week (which some of them sound stolen straight out of the whackadoodle Scientology club) is laughable. There can be recovery. There can a lessening of symptoms. A change in how we process what damaged us. But it will never ever go away. The memory, faint as it might become, remains.
I’ve been saddled with traits from pretty much every personality disorder known to man. Yet few of these professionals slapping these asinine labels on me bother to hear me out and link why I am paranoid, socially awkward, scared of crowds, a bit love/hate borderline when it comes to relationships. How can you ever fix what’s wrong if no one will look at the root causes? Is it a disorder or is it just something that gives me the right to be wary and a little on edge?
I was bullied in school for six solid years. Usually by kids in groups, pack animal mentality. I hurt no one, kept to myself, and still…They tortured me. Spit on me. Passed my journal around for laughs.
Why would I not be wary of crowds and scared people will torment me?
My parents were together for 28 years of miserable marriage and pretty much agreed on nothing and screamed at each other for everything. Does this make me borderline or is it just that all I ever saw was love/hate?
What few friends I’ve had over the years have made it clear, and I mean, in their own words, “Niki’s the weird girl no one wants to hang out with, so I feel sorry and talk to her.” Why wouldn’t I be socially awkward when I got this treatment from “friends”? Which into adulthood became “friends” who made it clear, “You’re cool and all, but I can’t handle your mood swings and depression and it’s embarrassing to go out with you and you have panic attacks so everyone stares.”
How can one spend years minding their own business, yet for whatever reason, elicit rude responses on weight, looks, clothes, et al, from people in cars, walking, in stores, and not be paranoid?
As I became an adult, it did get better. Not my anxiety or wariness, but as long as my mind was stable, I managed to go out and not let it stop me from living for the most part. Except my mind was never stable for long and I’d go down the rabbit hole again and again. I started seeking out friends of my own ilk in depression support groups (back when they had them here). And it was wonderful. Until they all started to get well and I was still stuck on my manic/depressive hamster wheel. They tried to keep in touch, tried to be supportive. But after years of me not improving, and actually getting worse…They all vanished. And maybe I pushed them away because I was too depressed to get dressed or shower, let alone go out and do normal things.
Every relationship I had with guys was an exercise in torture. For them and me. My mood swings and shut downs are living hell. How I ever expected anyone to be strong enough to cope with that aspect is beyond me. But doesn’t that make it easy to see why I prefer being alone? I don’t want to hurt anyone but I can’t change my bipolar.
I had a reaction to Nardil than nearly killed me and left me brain damaged yet everyone still expects the before incident version of me.  Is it any wonder I get so stressed around people because I can’t undo what’s been done and be that super smart capable manic person I once was?
I woke up with my building on fire once. The firemen had to drag me out and I wouldn’t leave without my cat. I sat in my car for two hours with my cat, no one even offered me a blanket even though I was in my pajamas, barefoot, no coat, no keys to even warm the car. Hard not to think the worst of people when they exhibit the worst. Also easy to see why after watching my home burn in shades of red and orange and yellow why bright colors now set me off. And why I am scared of not having a home because of a fire. Because that’s exactly how it was, I had a job, but nowhere to live and no savings.
Fear of coming home to my stuff missing? It happened three years ago when I was in a good mental state and not even obsessing. Walked in and tv and laptop are both gone. Never saw it coming. Now first thing I do through the door is make sure the laptop replacement (which I waited two years for R to fix up for me) is still here and I have old m CRT televisions no one wants. Best way to avoid robbery is to own shit no one wants, right?
I am not making excuses for my neuroses. But they are all so easily explained. Maybe a million other people would be rattled a bit and move along. I don’t have that Teflon coating and it all sticks. The anxiety metastasizes. And I get to go through life labeled dysfunctional when I think pretty much all my dysfunction is easily explained, managed for the most part, and not some  big hindrance to functionality. Normal functionality, perhaps. But I do what I have to do. Does it matter if I can’t survive four hours in the dish without being consumed by anxiety. I try.
It still sucks worse than a bunch of Dysons, Dirt Devils, Bissells, and Dustbusters all running at the same time.
I. am. still. here. And all I want is some understanding. I got this way for very legitimate reasons. So instead of being labeled and flogged for lacking a Teflon coating…It would be really awesome if I could receive some credit for my successes and the fact that in spite of my failures…I keep trying.

I’m not NOT anymore 

Right now, while on break at work, I feel so angry! I have quit smoking for a while and this is my 4th day.

I know that I have to get through the shit before I can get to feeling better but it is really catching up to me. The other day I broke down in Walmart crying! It was a mixed of my anger and not smoking. I just felt like a ball of fire, ready to explode.

I feel like no one understands what’s going on inside ever. Not even my husband. He doesn’t seem to really want to understand. He just thinks taking.l my mediciation is going to forever work and well… 

I’m getting tired of feeling tired, angry, fat, useless. I am changing this and not doing the stuff I don’t need to do!