Daily Archives: September 22, 2015

Yom Kippur

As the sun sets today, Jewish people all over the world will don their robes of pure white.  Even now they make their way to the Mikveh, the solemn bath of Living Waters that purify body and soul, in preparation for the Day of Awe, where we stand fasting before the King of Heaven and Earth to confess our sins and beg for forgiveness.  On this day our sins are forgiven, we are released from all vows, the slate is wiped clean for another year.

We wear white, because we are buried in white robes.  In fact, the men wear a kittle, a lightweight embroidered garment, in which they are married, and in which they will be buried.

We fast, and we wear white, because on this day we are like the Angels, who neither eat nor drink.  We wear our burial garments because on this day we are judged, as we will be on our deathbeds.

We fast for 26 hours, both from food and from water.  It’s a hard fast, especially in the Land of Israel where the air is hot and dry.  To add to this hardship, we stand for much of the day-long service.  Some people take on a personal service to stand during the entire service.

It is a day of examining the heart, a day of much weeping, a day of release from the burden of sin.

This Yom Kippur marks the first anniversary of Dad’s departure from this world.  His death.

I don’t know where Dad went when he died.  He didn’t know where he was going.  All he knew was that he was on his way out, and he was terrified.

He was sure he was going to be punished.  For what, he didn’t say.  He couldn’t say.  All he could do was shudder.  He was that terrified.

I have some ideas.

I know that he felt overwhelming guilt for things he had done in the war.  World War II.  He was sure he would have to pay for those things, one way or another, and the not-knowing gave rise to all kinds of imaginings.  He was a man who lived by imagination, by visions, by images, in the shadow-world.  It was the magic of his art, and the plague that visited his dreams.

I knew he would choose this day.  It was the deepest, darkest, most awe filled day.

Why not?  Dad never brooked folly.  If he was to die, it would be on the heaviest day of our year.

As evening approached, he gripped my hand for hours.  My hand screamed with arthritic pain, mine and his.


Darkness fell.  His lips were dry and cracked.  I took some of the Hospice lemon flavored gel out of the cooler and brought the spoon to his lips.

He clamped his mouth shut, with the slightest shake of his head, “no.”

“Your food is spiritual now,” I suggested, knowing that this, his last Yom Kippur, would be his first and last fast.

He nodded.  It was nearly the last movement of the symphony that was his life.

He slipped into a peaceful dream, and I lay down on the vacant bed in the room reserved for dying people.

I must have drifted off, for near midnight an agonized cry jerked me awake.  I rushed to his side.  His face was twisted, his body arched.  I wanted to throw myself upon him, but I knew there was no way to save him from his pain, so I sent him wordless messages…I’m here….I’m with you…I won’t leave you…

Then I knew.  One more thing….

“Dad, it’s Yom Kippur.  Your sins are white as snow.  You are forgiven.  You can go.”

His breathing changed from the near-death Cheyne-Stokes pattern: a period of no breathing followed by several deep breaths, to the imminent-death pattern of rapid air-hunger breathing.  I called the Hospice nurse.  She gave morphine.  I called my mother, and in my doctor calm voice asked her if she wanted to be there.  At first she said no, then thought better of it and said yes.

Soon after she arrived, Dad had grabbed my hand again and I stood there, watching him struggle with the Angel of Death.  At last he knit his brow, and with a determined effort, made the leap.

Oh, how many times have I seen that look, when steeling himself for some odious task!  Dispatching a dying animal, gripping his usual weapon, the shovel…

And now, gripping his own soul, as he let go and tumbled out of his body, into….what?

His grip on my hand disappeared.  I looked at his hand, so tight just a moment ago, now flaccid and white.  His fingers, now blue sausages.

“Lower the bed.  All the way to the floor.”  The Hospice nurse and my mother obeyed.  I got my Siddur, the Hebrew prayer book, while I cried out,

“Shemah, YIsrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Ehad…” 

Hear, O Israel, Adonai is Our God, Adonai is One….


Yitgadal ve’yitkadash Sh’mei Rabbah…

May The Great Name be glorified and sanctified…

As the Deathbed Prayers stretched on, and my mother’s weeping grew louder, the Hospice nurse grew impatient and she called the mortician, who arrived with his impatient gurney.

“The mortician is waiting,” announced the nurse, just as I finished the Deathbed Prayers and was beginning to wash the body that used to belong to my dad.

I should have said FUCK OFF, this is my dad’s body, this is our religious tradition, this is Yom Kippur!

But I didn’t.

I watched them load him up, like a piece of meat.  They were casually chatting.  His dead face hung out; I pulled the sheet up to cover it.  My mother screamed.

His precious blue arm, the one that used to give me jovial hugs, had got caught between the gurney and the strap that held him on.  I pointed this out to the mortician and he fixed it, visibly irked.  My mother had declined a casket, since Dad was to be cremated.  Why waste money on a casket, only to burn it up?  No money in this deal for the mortician.

Now we have finished the twelve months of saying Kaddish, to help his soul make the journey into the Next World.  I am pretty sure I don’t believe in any Next World, but since I won’t know until I make that final leap, I leave the subject open.

Yitgadal ve’yitkadash Shmei Rabbah.


Up, Down, Left, Skitter

I’m not sure I can blame the increased dose of Depakote, but my fatigue levels are pretty bad right now. There’s probably some cyclical contributing factors as well, but man. I don’t want to move. I just sort of want to blob. Which doesn’t mean that sleep is as easy as I’d like, and definitely have had some weird even for me dreams crop up. Meh. *shrugs and yawns* I’m just glad that I was caught up on Bipolar Blogger Network things for the most part, though I feel a bit… sad? meh? well, some degree of minorly negative feeling that I’ve not been rocking the extended social media stuff for that as much lately. It’ll swing back. Hopefully.

Honestly though, I’m not quite sure where my mood is. I’ve been feeling irritations that I class as both related to depression, and related to hypomania. An example of the former is my need to constantly have some sort of game up, preferably a slow real time strategy that I can poke at in passing while doing other things. It’s a white noise of sort and provides me comfort and distraction. Usually, I’ll find one and stick to it for a couple of weeks or months in a half-assed fashion, and it serves that purpose well. I’m a bit all over the place with that right now, and well. I know the moment I start recognising the comfort of a rut, it’s in that moment I usually recognise that I’m in a depressed state or about to hit one hard. I’m not exactly rut-happy? I’m just… I don’t know.

As for the other irritation, it’s the irritation borne of the thin skin thinning further, the acidic blood burning and bubbling more harshly beneath. Of course, it’s not like it’s conveniently visible so people like my darling kiddos can see that they’re on the last flayed synapse of my last sputtering nerve. I’m mainly holding it together, which I’m proud of myself for, but that doesn’t make it any easier (especially in dealing with the smaller one, who *really* doesn’t get that I need a bit of space yet, bless her).

Still, whether or not the Depakote is to blame/to thank/whatever, the former is more prevalent than the latter. And I’d be lying if I said that didn’t worry me. I always forget just how severe my depressive episodes are until I am deep within them, rolling around in naked nerves and the poetry formed of filthy fridge magnets scattered across the bottom of the pit. Hah, and here I am putting in all sorts of purdy turns of phrase here — it’s a sign! Maybe. Hopefully not. No, just being silly and amusing myself, doot doot doot moving on MOVING ON. *cough*

Where was I going with that? No idea, honestly.

But yeah, if I am honest with myself, I am feeling a bit rutty, and I don’t know what to do. Even if the rut includes good things, like going out on a weekend with the family to go geocaching, even if it includes things I love like gaming and crafting, it’s all just sort of palled slightly. And yet, not — I feel the joy of it brighter than I ever did in the pre-diagnosis past. Mixed episode? Could be. It’s just so hard to say when it feels neither and both, and neither nor both. Heh, maybe this is what euthymia feels like? I’m not convinced, but what would I know. It’s been a long time since I experienced it on the regular, so.

Eh. I guess I’ll just have to keep dragging through the days and see where they lead. Eh, I know, not my usual little glimmer of cheer. It’s still there, but it’s buried under a heavy dollop of pragmatism. Pragmatism’ll take me further right now, I think. *nodnods* Still hoping things are going okay for all of y’all out there though!


Happy Birthday to ME!

So now I’m celebrating my 45th birthday today.  I’m handling it petty well–much better than I did my 40th. My fortieth I think I was suicidal. But now I have some years of stabiity to look back on instead of time wasted (in my eyes).  So I am in a much better place now than I was then.

Trying to get some things done before my surgery tomorrow.  I’m doing laundry so I won’t be lifting any right afterwards. So that is a chore.  But at least I won’t have to worry about it if I get it done.

Put on my favorite jacket today and found out it was a little snug :(.  That did  not make me happy. But maybe after my surgery recovery is over I can start some exercise,  I need to do something because the weight is not stay8ig under control.

Went out to lunch with Bob today and was good–I got chicken and watermelon and a small slice of chocolate cake for my birthday cake.  I feel like taking a nap but my little one will be coming home soon so I don’t really have time for that,  But I wish I did :)

Here’s hoping that everyone has a good week–best wishes!

Celebrating 300 Posts of Birth of a New Brain!

  The Very 1st Post: After a Two-Year-Long Hiatus, I’m Back! Getting Better, Getting Worse & To Be Continued   I can’t believe it has been two years since I last posted to my blog, formerly called “Proudly Bipolar” thanks to Anthony Bourdain’s book No Reservations.     I love you Anthony! (in a platonic … Continue reading Celebrating 300 Posts of Birth of a New Brain!

Celebrating 300 Posts of Birth of a New Brain!

  The Very 1st Post: After a Two-Year-Long Hiatus, I’m Back! Getting Better, Getting Worse & To Be Continued   I can’t believe it has been two years since I last posted to my blog, formerly called “Proudly Bipolar” thanks to Anthony Bourdain’s book No Reservations.     I love you Anthony! (in a platonic … Continue reading Celebrating 300 Posts of Birth of a New Brain!

And the verdict is in…

Two weeks of hospital time is on the cards for me next week Monday. My pdoc managed to squeeze me in for a session yesterday late afternoon. She was very concerned about the messages I had sent her over the weekend. The images of her reminding me of a cat disappeared as I unpacked the […]

blood, pus and bad neighbours

Well it was a good thing I’d wrung out the snotrag and sluiced the spitoon, because I needed them both when at around 1am, an abscess on the visiting dog’s neck burst. She didn’t seem right all day, I’d been keeping a careful eye on her and had decided to take her to the vet…

Bipolar: The Ultimate Game Of Chance

I sat through an ad on Hulu for a migraine treatment and they called migraines a “game of chance” because sufferers never know if they are going to have a good day or bad day due to the headaches.

Um…Isn’t that bipolar without the headaches?

Thankfully I don’t have to take botulism for bipolar unlike the newest treatment for migraines (the ad goes on for a solid sixty seconds just scrolling side effects of Botox, kinda makes all psych meds look like amateurs.)

Point is, bipolar means not knowing what you’re going to feel like at any given time. Proof of this is, I spent all summer watching ads for the new show, Blindspot. I was jazzed to watch it. It posts to Hulu and I want to watch it but hey, scumbag bipolar and ADD brain decided that would be an excellent time to go hypomanic and want to tidy up instead of focusing on the show. So even the stuff I enjoy is impacted by this mental instability. Needless to say, I forced my ass to sit down and watch the show after a 15 minute flake out of half watching, half tidying…It was good and I am very curious about where the story will go now. Still…it was a battle to keep my attention on it because my brain was going in a totally different direction.

Bipolar is like a game of Monopoly, but the only cards you can draw are chance, and all my end up being go to jail or pay money.

It got cold last night. At one point I woke and needed to pee but I got out from the covers and um…NOPE. I went back under the covers. THIS is what brings my mood down because being cold makes me non functional. Nothing to do with the damned sunlight. The seasonal is pulling at me, I am ready for bed at 8 p.m. most nights now. And it sucks because the Cymbalta increase from last appointment had been lifting me so I was going to bed around ten or eleven. Now I’m like  Matlock, I may as well start eating supper at 4 p.m. and start taking Geritol.

It’s so frustrating to keep going through this cycle, and the doctor insists light therapy is my only choice. Depression= antidepressant. And while dual anti depressants in bipolar can be a risk, it’s the only thing that’s ever helped. I need a less conservative doctor, apparently. Last December when I was on Prozac and Paxil, I started to come up. Then the doctor nixed the Paxil and down the rabbit hole I went. I tried to explain I don’t need dual treatment during spring and summer but during the seasonal, mania is not happening with a dozen anti depressants. No risk.

But what do I know, I just live with it every day, the doctors have books to tell them about it.

I tried to teach my kid to ride her bike yesterday. (Yes, she’s six and still can’t ride without training wheels even though I took them off at her request.) Frankly, the bike thing makes me a nervous wreck. She can’t ride on our lumpy grass lawn but all that leaves is a bumpy road with traffic coming and concrete to fall on. Damn it. Not to mention, she won’t listen, at all, when I try to give her tips on how to do it. I would make a crappy teacher because I have no patience and if there’s no cooperation, I have no motivation to help. Not to mention how out of sorts it was for me to be outdoors. I felt naked, like I had a target painted on me and everyone was armed with guns, even the squirrels. It’s illogical but I ain’t Spock, there is no logic here. Only mental bullshit I didn’t ask for.

My kid climbed in bed with me last night. Said her Simpsons movie gave her nightmares. Last month, it was the Scooby Doo movies given her bad dreams. Jebus, I have skulls all over, a Freddy Krueger candy dish, a six foot tall Jason Vorhees, and she fears kids’ shows. WTF. I try not to downplay her fear cos it can be scary for a child, yet I also don’t want to teach her it’s okay to run from things that spook you. I guess I don’t get it since I was watching Dark Shadows and reading Fangoria at age 7. Horror has always been my thing. It’s people I fear. They terrify me. They’re the real monsters, they don’t come with hockey masks or claw hands to warn you. They just destroy you when you’re unaware.

I have started to feel like a very shitty mom. My energy is dipping, my anxiety is metastasizing as my mood sinks…I’m not fun anymore. I used to be fun,kids loved me. But that was when I was misdiagnosed, handed anti depressants,and allowed to coast on super manic episodes for months until the seasonal hit. I’d love to blame the mood stabilizers, but before them, it was the same. The catalyst that changed me, changed everything, was that reaction to Nardil that landed me in the hospital with brain damage. I’ve never recovered from that fully. Not that anyone pays it any credence.

It’s crazy that going from a full fried egg to an omelet mentally would impact one’s life, right?

I have no plans today. R asked me to pop in but I think I am going to be passive aggressive like him and “lose track of time”. I need to shower and weed whack and wash my hair. I should dye my roots if only for the sake of trying to maintain some semblance of my former self who gave a damn. Pretzel gut has set in, knowing I have to face that mob scene when I pick Spook up. Day two of five, cripes. All the kids and people and screeching and traffic…It’s kicking my ass fast.

I talked to my stepmom last night and she said my sister asked her to bring the pick up to town today to help them get the remnants from the burned house cos the landlord is locking it down tonight. But when stepmonster tried to explain it had to be between x and x o clock so she could get back in time for her job…My sister had the audacity to say, “Well, it’s my day off, I wanna sleep in til noon.” SERIOUSLY? I love my sister but wow, that’s just…spoiled brat behavior. They also gave me a bag of toiletries the Red Cross had given them because “we won’t use that stuff, it makes our hair feel gross.” OMG. How am I related to that bunch? So fucking spoiled. I’ve lived for a month on nothing more than eggs and water. I’ve had to wash my hair in Dawn because I couldn’t afford shampoo and dish soap. I drove a car without reverse. I had a car with a leaky roof. One where the windows didn’t roll down and had to be lowered with a damned coat hanger.

I had to have been switched at birth. Had to have been.

Okay, I am gonna try to watch the season premiere of Castle now, IF the brain and attention span will cooperate. Games of chance suck.

Aw Nuts!

Everything sucks.  Everything is fighting me!  Words!  Appointments cancelled!   Physical illness!  Ultra-rapid cycling!  Feel like shit!  Dog has been in fucking heat for two weeks and can’t understand that I don’t have what she wants!  Stuck in this stupid RV park with a bunch of stuck up assholes (except for one or two, who have real jobs and I don’t)!  Waiting for things to happen and nothing is happening!  Brain rebelling!  Body rebelling!

AW, NUTS!!!!

Another Day, Another Surgery

Counting down to surgery on Wednesday.  But before that I get to celebrate my birthday, my 45th, on Tuesday.  I went out to lunch with the family on Sunday. out to lunch with my mother-in-law today, and will go out to lunch tomorrow with Bob as a private date. Fun fun fun!

I’m still doing well in class–I made another A on a small project and that was nice.   This week I’m writing Twitter poetry.  I’m taking a poem I wrote about mania (Crazy Days) and adapting the stanzas to twitter length. So that was a fun little project this morning.  I’m going to turn it in tomorrow and see how it works.  Then I’ll have my assignments out of the way before surgery.

Hopefully everything will go well and I’ll go home the same day. That’s what I’m shooting for.  Pray for me that everything will go well with no complications.