Daily Archives: July 26, 2015

I’m Not Dead

Usually when someone stops writing, particularly someone in this genre (mental illness), I start to wonder if they’re dead.  So, just so you know, I’m not dead.  Here’s what’s on my mind at the moment . . .

I’m already completely sick of Caitlyn Jenner. SICK!! Does she think that being everywhere (and I DO mean everywhere, this morning when I took a shit there she was in my toilet!) is going to make her new series a success? Well guess what, Caitlyn Jenner! I am already so sick of you, there’s no way in the fucking world that I’ll watch the series chronicling your totally rich-as-fuck life as you transition or whatever. You know what? Being so rich that you can live at the beach in a mansion and buy $500,000 cars takes the sting out of a lot. So don’t expect me to have oodles of compassion for you. You’ll be ok. You can buy whatever you need. Including a compassionate therapist. Or twenty of them.

Colorado is experiencing climate change. I know people think it’s up for debate, but this is the wettest spring and summer I have ever experienced in this state. We have had so much snow (Snow in Spring, including the day I returned to Colorado from Florida, which was a total insult) and so much rain (this Summer, it’s still going on!!) that this joint they call Colorado is totally and atypically GREEN as fuck!!! It’s also buggy. Not buggy like the South but still! The mosquitoes have West Nile Virus and every time I turn around it seems like I have another mosquito bite. I swear to GOD I better not get West Nile Virus!!

I haven’t had ECT since I left Florida, so I haven’t had ECT since March. This is the longest I’ve gone since I started in December of 2013. I’ve been glad to get away from it. My mood has been all over the place, including but not limited to passive and active suicidal ideation, blandness, hopefulness, grief over a life not well-lived, and dogged determination to do better and get better. I’d say that right now I’m in the very last stage mentioned. So, I hope that taking too much Advil for chronic pain doesn’t kill me, now that I kind of want to live. Have you heard all the recent shit-talking regarding Ibuprofen and how it can cause heart attacks, strokes, and general death? It’s a bit alarming. And I’ll take an A+ for the most excellent jump from one subject to another unrelated one in a paragraph! YEAH! Such writing!!

Well now that I’ve broken my writing fast, I will try to write more regularly again. See you in a week! BPOF

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar ECT, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar


Kitt O'Malley:

Thank you, Trash Diaries. As someone with bipolar type II, I know that my symptoms are less severe than others. That’s not to say that I do not cycle or that I’m asymptomatic – I’ve screamed at and hit my son, I’ve flipped the kitchen table and slammed doors, I’ve been psychotic and struggled with intrusive thoughts and impulses. BUT – and this is a huge BUT – I know that bipolar disorder is a spectrum disorder and that some of us have it easier than others. That is why I was not diagnosed as bipolar for decades. Hypomania looks MUCH different than full-blown mania. MUCH. Mania can be incredibly destructive. Hypomania (aside from the irritable bitchiness and rage) can result in overachievement and make one look more like a superstar than someone struggling. In fact, my workaholism is a symptom, but a very DIFFERENT symptom than others. Thank you for this post. It is WRONG for us to deny each other, to put each other down, to expect life to be positive all the time. There is no positive without negative. Some people’s depression and bipolar disorder does NOT respond to treatment, to medication, to ECT, to CBT, and it is NOT their fault.

Originally posted on TRASH DIARIES:

It started a little over a month ago. I was going through my WordPress Reader and there was a post that started me on this road to fury. I thought it was time to look for new kindred minds to add to the roster, so I carefully went through the tags, only to find things that made memad.This once therapeutic space has become somewhat of a torture chamber and I’m not sure I signed up for this.

The problem, as usual, is me. Something broke and I snapped. The magma is burning through everything. I’ve reached a point of no return and I don’t know if I even want to find my way back.

When I started this blog I had no idea what would happen. I had zero expectations. That’s why all the good things were such pleasant surprises. It was good to have an outlet for…

View original 1,311 more words

Filed under: About Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Parenting, Discrimination, Hypomania, Mania, Psychosis, Stigma Tagged: bipolar spectrum disorder

blogger recognition award

(scheduled post)

Grave news, dearest readers… I have been recognised, despite the false nose and the silly hat. And by that, what I mean is thank you very much, Leslie.


Blogger Recognition Award Rules:

1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.
2. Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post. Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).
3. Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created.

I love you all long time and this list isn’t a top 15, my scientific method here, in order to achieve the most equitable results, was to start off by plaguing Kitt and then to browse my blog feed and hoover up the other 14 in no particular order. No need for quality control, because I don’t follow blogs unless I like them.

And the nominations are… entirely irrelevant, because we’re already at the handing out the awards stage.


Kitt Oh’Malley, for having the luck of the Irish, despite her no awards policy. Also for being the most ardent stigma fighter around.
Robert M. Goldstein, for the steady flow of artcandy on my time line.
Jipsi, for bravery and sorrow.
Zoé gets the I wish I’d said that award for the following quote from her latest post, which I am going to steal for my about page.

“I’m the poster child for everything they don’t want bipolar disorder to mean.”

The Persistent Platypus, for having a way cool username (and header image) and a thing about alliteration. I can haz that too.
Menomous, for services to ellipsis and for emptying his head out into posts that always make me smile at the word skills. Stream of consciousness at its finest.
Assholes Watching Movies, for their astounding contribution to delightfully named blogs – and for writing bloody good reviews too.
Lost Ironies, whose voices tell her not to follow back, and for some beautiful writing – her latest post, for example.
Leo, for telling it like it is in a wonderfully articulate way, with brutal honesty. And for being older than me.
roughghosts, just for following me. All the way to South Africa. (I’m in a witless protection programme now.) Also, he was the first to comment on my about page. He despises awards, that’s why I’m awarding this one. Hah.
Angel of Struggle, for doing something I always wanted to – she blogs in rhyme. I’ll do some one day if I remember to.
Lard, for his undying devotion to world peace and sweetness, for his equally cute sidekick and for making me smile.
Two Fingers Two Cubes, for blogging the way blogs used to be blogged (as a journal), before we all crawled into our niches. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy in my niche, but it feels good to snoop through people’s diaries too.
Kids are gifts, whose son was cruelly stolen, and who retains her compassion and humanity throughout. Also, she blogs every day.
Shirley’s daughter, for being unselfconsciously herself, for the fact that her blog is her happy place – and for being an award free blog.

That was fun, I think I’ll harvest nominees this way in future. Increase your chances of featuring in my next list, by posting just before I write it. Except for Kitt, the only effort required by me there, will be coming up with new things to say each time. If you’re in an award free zone, please know that I’m totally not expecting you to do anything about this one (hope you feel appreciated anyway though).

Alrighty then, on to rule #2. “Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers.”

I got diagnosed, it shocked me rigid. I spent a couple of weeks reading sites and blogs and forums, I talked in one particular forum, which was incredibly helpful, but I needed more. This blog started off as a place to dump my research while I tried to make sense of my new label, I was also desperate to network, to find people I could ask for advice and so on. 15 years of blogging in various corners of the Internet taught me that a blog and the community surrounding it can be the best possible port in a storm. And this one is.

As for advice, it totally depends on what you want from your blog and what you want to give. Settling in with your tribe is a good start – read other blogs and comment on them. Forge some good connections. Be authentic, write whatever the hell you want to (flakiness is authentic too, if that’s who you are). Give what you want to get is a good rule of thumb. If words like optimise, maximise and monetise are running through your mind, there are a ton of tricks out there. Problem is, without good content and a genuine voice, the tricks ain’t worth shit.


This post was brought to you by verbose hypomania, menopausal night sweats and a woeful lack of sleep. Thank you for flying the unfriendly skies with Blahpolar Airlines.

*drops mic, hops off hypomania and goes for a nap*

bipolar symbols

(scheduled post)

So many ways to express bipolar disorder… Most of them are dualities, showing neither the points between the poles, nor the very varied nature of the disorder.

Click to view slideshow.

It’s my blog and this is me after all, and thus I shall indulge in my usual pompous pontificating. Of the selection contained in that tharr slideshow above, this is the graphic that I feel illustrates bipolar best. The caption explains why far better than I ever could. I have one addition to make – I like the fact that it doesn’t involve emotion, or anything else that blatantly and visually implies that a human being has any hope of controlling. This was a purely rational choice, it doesn’t please my heart or my design eye, but I’m sure an overpaid ad agency or an underpaid artist could come up with a prettier version. The absence of faces and emotion also suggest the fact that bipolar isn’t all about moods at all. It’s not even filed as a mood disorder in the DSM anymore (the DSM 5 has it in a chapter of its very own). I’m not saying I think this is the best depiction ever, just the best of the images I found.


What most people see when looking at a person with bipolar is the two points and the curved line that represents the warped peceptions of the individual. The bipolar person on the other hand sees the straight line choices. There are no curved lines in the illustration or in the reality of the bipolar person. All the little inconsistancies of the straight line decisions will warp the plan of reality into what others see as wrong. Hecatescrossroads.wordpress.com

Of course, while the bastard is still called bipolar disorder, the binary images I loathe so much are, in fact, perfectly valid. Bah! And also, humbug! Thing is, even being filed as a mental illness detracts from its true nature. More people need to read more neuroscience and stop plastering us with emoticons. The name, descriptors and images haven’t got a hope in hell of refinement without it.


At this stage in my wandering thinking, what I’d like to see as the global official bipolar logo (har har) is the image to your left. My reasoning is as follows. Although the mood/emotion control centre is the brain and not the heart, they both work as symbols on real and perceived levels. Physically, the number one cause of death in manic depressives, is heart disease due to excess cortisol production. The other major physical effects are in the brain, including things like the hippocampus shrinking and taking our memory with it, grey matter losing the battle against white, and so on. Plus, it’s good looking. It’s so good looking that I’d be happy to see it tattooed right down my calf, purely for the eyecandy quotient.

How about you, sweet readers? Which symbol/s work or don’t work for you? What would you like to see as a new image? As the featured image of this post implies, let’s brainstorm.

Under Uzi Fire

My kid has been yapping at me incessantly for four hours. I mean, she doesn’t pause for breath. And she doesn’t know what an indoor voice is, she’s just loud. And some days, it’s background noise. Then days like today, every peep she makes is like nails on a chalkboard. I am under rapid Uzi fire with her filling every moment with her own voice. Which means…I’m entering that bizarre “post hypomania” space where I become irritable without much justification. Yay.

I think my earlier post was totally justified, though. The idea that one of my favorite bloggers is going to go away, simply because a bunch of insensitive people decided to hit their comment button because the world will implode without their input…And they hurt her, which hurts me. And they angered her, which angers me. I love her writing style. I like her unique perspective on life, on mental health issues.I love her humor. I am infuriated that such ignorance and cruelty could make her go away. We love you, Zoe

I think the ignorance of supposedly educated enlightened people blogging about having bipolar is almost comical. “Anger isn’t part of bipolar.” Actually, inexplicable bouts of anger and inappropriate emotional reactions to things that aren’t a big deal, is a hallmark of a bipolar cycle. I know, because my doctor told me so, when I was complaining to him about being so pissed off all the time and not understanding why. Just because you, personally, don’t experience it doesn’t mean it simply isn’t a symptom. And lots of these shiny happy bipolar people have their med cocktail just right so of course, they’re not experiencing the true symptoms of bipolar. I just find it comical that people could eschew to thousands of followers that anger isn’t part of bipolar disorder. Hell, even Hollywood and the movies managed to get that part right.

No day is complete without a belly full of outrage. As I’ve said over and over, my anger, when well placed, is fuel for my soul. It’s what keeps me fighting. I won’t have it invalidated by those whose approach to life is different. I will cling to my anger when it is justified. I will not “let it go” or “lighten up”.  Knowing the sheeple mentality on the net, I am sure I’ll be facing some major trollage after that past. Because we can’t have strong women speaking up against bullies’ right to be bullies. No, no, that won’t do. Must. Spread. Own. Opinion. Forcefully. With. Insults. Or. Sunshine. Fuck that shit.  So stop waiting for me to assimilate and move along. Lots of shiny happy blogs to read, don’t waste your time on mine.

Yesterday was another spoke in the mood cycle. After the missed Lamictal, the ensuing hypomania, then the crash…I was at a loss what to do with myself except sit in front of youtube videos. I let the spawn take the kitten in her room, watch her DVD player all day…I was just…of kilter. Low. Jumpy. Lost. Ya know, that restless place where you know all you should be doing and feel shitty for not doing it, yet you have no idea where to start so you simply don’t. My dad visited briefly and I know he probably thought I was on drugs or something, because I was acting downright weird. Avoiding eye contact, crossing my arms defensively, antsy…I just hate an audience during my down cycle. I don’t want the inevitable questions, especially from my sperm donor. If I say I am depressed, he will snark, “What have you got to be depressed about? I’m 70 years old and I put in a 40 hour work week and mowed lawns and when I was a kid, we had to walk to school barefoot on broken glass while being chased by dragons…”

The happy part of his visits…when he leaves. Of course, in my depression, that’s become the happy part of any human interaction. And yeah, yeah, I have to fight it, being around people is GOOD for me, oh vomit. What works for others usually has an opposite effect on me. Because I am by nature an introvert and solitary. It’s my happy place. People…Not so much. I don’t hate everyone. I just like my own hobbies more than I like hearing women chat about pastel colored bridesmaid dresses.

I cooked last night. Made myself this monster burger with sauteed onions, mushrooms, colby jack cheese, bbq sauce, grilled buttery bun. Kid refused fresh food, wanted frozen. Whatever, she got fed. And bathed. I did dishes, washed all the laundry, cleaned a cat box.  By robot me. I’d cryptified before 8 p.m. my mood was so low and my anxiety due to her fits and noise so high.

Sleep didn’t come for hours, of course. My mind kept spinning and the Xanax wasn’t making a dent. I woke up from a nightmare at one point, thought I heard my kid screaming, stumbled out of bed, went to her room, the living room, yelling her name…And turned out, she was right in my bed, I woke her up. It’d been a kid crying on the show I’d fallen asleep to. Dumbass me. That’s what happens when I take a Xanax too late in an effort to sleep. I become disoriented when I wake up, can’t quite tell reality from fiction. Which is fucked up because I can pop it all day long and stay awake, no problem. I am a big jar of what the fuck.

Spook had a fit last night, that while not new, it actually scared me. She’d had Abby in her room for hours and it was hot in her room, I nicely said, “Let Abby come out to cool off…” And that was all it took to set her off. Screaming, stomping, thrashing followed. I took away her dvd player. More screaming. I grounded her, no friends for a week. More fit. Then I shut the door to let her scream it out. I came back, and she was still at it, sitting there, looking almost possessed, as she stomped her feet on the floor and growled in what could have been a scene from the Exorcist. I’m not dramatizing. It was scary. And all I could think was, this child is gonna kill me when she becomes a teenager. If I can’t get control of her at six, by the time she is 13…She is literally going to try to murder me. Paranoid and dramatic?

I hope to fuck so.

Today I am lethargic. It’s dark out, looks like a storm, but midwest likes to do that then the sun comes out and yells PSYCHE! Whatever. I have no plans today but to vegetate. I get so much more done when I don’t pressure myself. If it works, I’m gonna go with it.

Okay, my kid’s playing her  fish game and the fish are going “woof” in her world. Was I that creative at her age? I mean, the underwear hat I wore to kindergarten was pretty ground breaking…

Maybe pegacorns go woof. It’s the only reason I stick around. Just to see what happens next. Though I think I may start wearing a rain poncho when on line. Just so none of that sunshine vomit gets on my skin and infects me. Okay, I’m taking the dark tortured thing to the brink, but I think it’s funny. If you don’t have dark sarcastic humor, you and I really aren’t gonna get along.

Call it negativity, pessimism, whatever.

Just keep your sunshine shitting unicorns away from me. I have enough litter boxes to clean.



PSA #2 for Mental Health Bloggers/Twitter Users/Facebook Users

I woke up this morning to find a post by one of my all time favorite bloggers, and someone I consider a friend, and she was upset by all of the sunshine spewing that has become part of the “positive bipolar” movement. I share her feelings. She’s so rattled, she no longer finds blogging a healthy experience and is considering abandoning her blog and wordpress.


Given, my thoughts on social media like Twitter and Facebook are akin to how I view child molesters so I don’t participate or link thus inviting such idiocy…But HOW DARE PEOPLE BE SO FUCKING CRUEL AND RUDE TO ANYONE! The comments made to her about her blog and thus her feelings make me ashamed to be part of the same human race. The “well meaning” people are bad, but some of the cruel insults are reticent of bullies in school.


Internet trolls are just stupid. They are the bullies from school who just became adult bullies, and to an extent, you consider the source and just give an eye roll. Thank pegacorns stupid isn’t contagious.

But the mental health bloggers, bipolar in particular, who have left her comments on how she’s too negative, can’t be bipolar because she’s too angry, she discusses suicide which glamorizes it, et al…

I find those people repugnant. No one forces you to leave a comment. No one forces you to read it. If that style of writing isn’t your cup of tea, be an adult and move along. GROW THE FUCK UP. This “positive bipolar” movement is like the fucking Borg. YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

Ya know what? I cringe every time I read some vapid research fact laden post with statistics and inspirational quotes out the wazoo. I want to reach through the computer screen and slap a bitch with a rotting fish. They make my blood boil with their “bipolar isn’t so bad, it’s all about attitude and embracing God.” Oh, fuck off. I don’t bother you with my “pessimism”, so show some respect and keep your sunshine spewage to yourself. It’s what adults do. Agree to disagree without resorting to childhood bullying behavior. Even if you think you are “helping” by encouraging someone to be more positive…The road to hell was paved with good intentions. Having these beliefs shoved down my throat are unhealthy, it just leads to me feeling worse because once again, I can’t be what I am expected to be by “polite society.” And I am not alone in this, lots of us find that method counter productive, just as many find the dark gritty side of mental illness too much to handle and unhealthy for their mental state.

You are entitled to your thoughts and beliefs, same as all of us. But to leave such nasty comments simply  because someone won’t assimilate to your shiny happy denial side of the fence is reprehensible.

I don’t leave comments on blogs I don’t find interesting. Or on topics that anger me. Or just because I am in a depression and find happy people a trigger that makes me want to become a human nail gun and spit railroad spikes.  I don’t leave comments and dispute a diagnosis simply because their writing doesn’t reflect what I, personally, experience with my disorder. Invalidating the feelings of others is mean.

Now you may wonder why I am even sounding off on this as it doesn’t affect me. My experiences with wordpress and the mental health category have been incredibly positive. Like 99.8 % positive. So how is her blog my business?

Because, I, like many of our mutual blogger friends, really enjoy her writing and how she puts things into her own words, sets her own tone. We call her a friend and we don’t want her to quit blogging. We don’t want her to go away because a bunch of grown up bullies can’t keep their grubby fingers off the comment  button which BTW, is NOT mandatory and does not translate into OMG THIS PERSON DOESN’T HAVE THE SAME OPINION AS ME, THEY ARE WRONG, I MUST TELL THEM SO!

It makes me sadder than I can say that this friend I treasure has had her wordpress experience become one more negative in her life. For many of us, it’s cathartic and healthy. That anyone would rob her of that should make us all angry. It doesn’t matter if it’s your business, or if it affects you personally. You stand up for your friends when they are under attack. You defend them. You rail against those who hurt them. You speak up and speak out in the hopes that even just ONE small mind will open up to the possibility that even though they meant well…Maybe they were wrong to say what they did, maybe their good intentions caused harm to another.

This isn’t about someone being “too sensitive” or “too easily offended”. This is about someone pouring their innermost feelings out only to have them invalidated, assaulted, and told to basically change who they are and how they feel just for the comfort of others. It’s really simple. If it brings you down, don’t read it.

And for the love of pegacorns, don’t click that comment button. Sometimes, moms are right. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And if you do have something nice to say…THINK AGAIN. Because if you think telling someone whose condition isn’t under control that “you don’t meet the criteria for bipolar, you just need to be more positive” is helpful…

Maybe you’re not so positive. Maybe you’re just delusional.

I won’t be leaving you a comment to tell you so, though, because I’m an adult who can disagree with you yet show enough maturity and respect to not turn it into an assault on your feelings and identity.



I’m to Blame for Making You Wait

“It was not the feeling of completeness I so needed, but the feeling of not being empty.” – Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated I remember the day like it […]

Music Charms the Troubled Mind

Once I knew a man whose wife was going to leave him. I knew he was in a lot of pain and despair about it, though he also turned into a huge asshole before everything was said and done. He was also suicidal for a time.

One day when I was trying to talk him through a bad patch, I asked whether he might turn to music to help him. “What?” he said. “Do you think I should listen to country music and cry in a beer?”

I wasn’t suggesting that at all. I just knew that he was a singer and songwriter of talented amateur status and was known for this in various circles. I honestly thought that music might help.

On the other hand, I always forget, when I am on the downswing, how much music can do for me. It soothes and heals, but it also lets me tap into the emotions that I have been suppressing.

Do I have the inexplicable blues that are part and parcel of my condition? There’s a song for that. Am I feeling unrequited love? Unrequited lust? There’s a song for those too. Is the world spinning too fast for me? Do I need to know that everything will be all right? Or do I just need to know that someone, somewhere and somewhen, has also felt this way? I can turn to music.

“Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional. It has no power to represent anything particular or external, but it has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation.”
– Oliver Saks, Musicophilia

Saks also says, “The power of music, whether joyous or cathartic, must steal on one unawares, come spontaneously as a blessing or a grace.” There he and I part company.

Music can certainly steal on us unawares, whack us upside the head with a memory, a feeling, a piercing stab of emotional intensity, all the stronger for being unexpected.

But we can also choose to bring music into our lives when nothing else seems to touch us. We can tap into those memories and feelings – good or bad – and let the music wash over us as we listen and feel.

According to scientific experiments with fMRI, music uses more parts of the brain than almost any other activity. The neural connections fire all over the place – more so if one is playing an instrument, but even when just listening. The memory centers, artistic areas, language centers, emotional areas – even the motor complexes – are stimulated.

My problem is remembering all that music can do for me. When my emotions are dulled, flattened by the steamroller of depression, I sometimes forget that I can be any other way. The music I love is always there for me. I can bathe in it, wallow in it, be uplifted by it, float on it, join in with it, feel it emotionally and viscerally and intellectually all at once or one at a time. It can express the things that I just can’t.

When you’re depressed is a time for writing bad poetry. Or you can let good poets and songwriters take you with them as they explore the human condition in ways you’re not capable of. I think that’s why they do it – create their art. The really good ones anyway.

There’s also something to be said for music as distraction. A song from years ago – even a frivolous one – can take you away from your troubles, even if only for a moment. This is not the time for exploring new musical avenues. Remembering that things once were good can feed your sadness, your depression, but it can also give you perspective. If you took joy in this music once, there will come a time when you will again. And maybe that time is now.

Perhaps the most amazing power of music is to provoke catharsis. Certain songs leave me sobbing like a baby. They don’t even have to be sad songs, though many of them are. “The Mary Ellen Carter” by Stan Rogers is about as life-affirming as you can get, but it can still turns me into a weeping puddle. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fhop5VuLDIQ) His song “Lies” has nothing to do with my situation personally, but its evocative power touches me nonetheless. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D79XOc1vKzQ) And almost no one I know can make it through Kathy Mar’s “Velveteen.” (http://www.last.fm/music/Kathy+Mar/_/Velveteen)

Afterwards, I feel drained and, if not exactly better, less emotionally constipated, I guess you’d say. Clearing away a bit of blockage can be cleansing. If music can do that – and it can – then I don’t care if its country with a beer, jazz with a glass of wine, or hip hop with an energy drink. Even easy listening with a glass of milk, if that’s your thing.

So thank God and Apple for iTunes. And here’s hoping that my Swiss cheese of a memory will give me a nudge in the right direction when I need it next time.

Filed under: Mental Health, Uncategorized Tagged: being overwhelmed, catharsis, coping mechanisms, depression, mental health, mental illness, music, my experiences, Oliver Saks, psychological pain, support systems