Daily Archives: October 5, 2015

I’d Do Anything If Only

Atina!  Stop shredding your bed!  Atina!  You can’t have chocolate!  You’re a dog!  Chocolate is NOT good for doggies!  Atina!  Get that goddam wet ball out of my face!  Atina!  SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!


Last night was a total wreck.  For some reason Atina spent her night growling, woofing, and outright barking, at something that I could not see. 

We are in a well-lit campground, so if there was, like, a bear strolling around, or a bull moose, or a hedgehog, I’m certain I would see it. 

Maybe it was some perv hiding behind a tree, whacking off.  All night.  Sheesh.

On this premise, I chalked Half #1 of the night up to Virtuous Vigilance on the part of the Pup.  But when Night Half #2 rolled wearily around, I got cranky.  I shushed.  I gave orders.  I YELLED.  I cursed. 

As grey dawn faded into a grey rainy morning, I felt worse and worse.  If there’s one thing that kicks me right out of orbit, mentally and physically, it’s sleep deprivation.

And of course my baby still needed her walkies, and breakfast, and more walkies, and playtime…And I needed large quantities of thick coffee, and something to force into my queasy stomach so I could take my pills, and I needed to use the bathroom, and brush my teeth, and put on clothes…And Atina, none the worse for her own sleepless night (who knows, maybe 🐶 s only take 😸 naps anyway…), was red hot and rarin’ to go, while I was dragging serious ass.

I got to feeling cross and cheated and just plain ill-tempered, and then I thought about something that happened, and my mind changed.

Here is what happened.

1989. I was pulling a two-week stint in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit–the PICU. 

My residency program was working us like slaves because we were down four warm bodies.  One, my sweet ward partner, died in a car crash.  One got meningitis from a kid she was treating.  One got hepatitis from her dear boyfriend when he got back from India.  And one was on a sort of permanent leave, because he had miscalculated a chemotherapy dose and the child died.

So the house staff were stretched much thinner than usual.  Instead of every third or fourth night call, we were on every-other or every-every night.

In the PICU we usually did every-other-night, actually 24 hours on, 24 off.  But since we were so badly strapped for staff, the PICU director came up with a brilliant plan:  he would live in the PICU for two weeks, and I would live in the PICU for the next two weeks, and then we’d switch off again for another month.  That way we’d both get to see our families, for the two weeks we’d be off.  And of course if things were slow, our families could come and visit us in the call room, which was an 8 x10 ft luxurious affair made of beige-painted cinderblock, with a tiny bedside table to hold up the phone, and a worn metal chair.  

When you switched off the overhead fluorescent lights, you were instantly plunged into darkness.  Fortunately, every doctor carries a penlight, so at least you could find the bed, if you ever got a chance to actually lie down.

Hypervigilance is a common symptom of PTSD.  Therefore, since half of my consciousness was always scanning the PICU for problems, I never really got to sleep. 

One night when we had a truly puzzling and terribly critical case on the unit, I lay staring into the velvety black of the call room.  Everything had been taken care of, rounds, orders, and the nurses were wonderful and right on top of things; so there was no reason not to catch a few winks.

But I was in the grip of free-floating anxiety, so I felt my way along the wall until I found the light switch, and lacing up my Rockports, I sidled out into the unit.

We’d received a case that day that came in via the ER.  It was a little three year old boy, who presented with a high fever and blueberry muffin looking rash.  I mean really, he looked like a blueberry muffin.  But unlike muffins, which are good, he was not good.  He was in very bad shape.  Septic shock of some kind.  Our usual tests could not detect the pathogen, or anything that could have caused his condition.  This was 1989, remember.  We’ve learned a lot since then.

We ran through every possible infectious disease that we knew about, and every form of toxic ingestion or exposure, and every possible cause of bleeding and organ failure, but nothing came out positive.

So we did the only thing we could do: we put the little guy on life support, gave him fluids and antibiotics and steroids, and prayed that with supportive care, his body would come through whatever it was, and heal itself.

This was not to be.

Even with maximal supportive care, his body deteriorated.  He had been unconscious when he came in, and never opened his eyes or gave any indication of awareness.  His kidneys stopped working, and fluid was backing up into his organs and tissues.  We tried our hardest to keep up with that too, but soon it was clear that this little boy was not going to make it.

I can’t remember who we were waiting for.  His mother had died, I remember that.  It was just his father alone who took care of him.  We must have been waiting for someone else…to be there…when we took him off the vent.

As I turned the corner from my call room to the unit, I saw the boy’s father sitting on a hard chair, his knees up against the bed, stroking his little boy’s swollen hand and weeping, his shoulders heaving.

I laid my hand gently on his shoulder and said nothing, waiting.

“Yesterday,” the father sobbed, “He was running around making so much noise, I told him to shut up…Oh, if he would only make that much noise again!”

Monday Off

Sort of.  My kids were off school, but I went to a parent-teacher conference for my youngest, did schoolwork, had a teleconference with my professor, went to lunch as a family with Bob, and then went shopping for the small one for some fall-weather clothes.  SO it has been busy.

My department head at my school has had a very good idea for me.  I have my week at school coming up, and he suggested that I meet with a counselor on campus early in the week to kind of have a meet-and-greet with her so that she will be familiar with my issues and can help me in case I get into some kind of crisis when I get there.  I thought that was very thoughtful fo him to try to make sure that I was going to be all right.  I think it will make BOb feel better too. So that is set up now and reassuring to me.    I think I’m going to enjoy the conference.  We have private meetings set up with the authors and all kinds of things going on.  So I am looking forward to it.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Demi Lovato Naked…Yet She Has No Asshole!

Free The Asshole!!  REALLY.  Demi.  Baby.  You go on and on about how hard you have worked to be “ok with the skin you’re in” and all, and you claim to be in unretouched photos, but you have no asshole!!!  How can this be??  Here’s the link to the page and video:  http://www.tmz.com/2015/10/02/demi-lovato-vanity-fair-naked/?source=gravity  I just have to know, how can this be?  Is it true?  Are Hollywood Starlets having their assholes removed, because they no longer have a need to poop?  Is drinking all their meals and peeing sufficient?  Is having an asshole the new shame that we must cover up??   Is being asshole-less The New Black?    In 3…..2…..1 the entire Kardashian family will pose naked, bent over, showing us their vast, gargantuan LA-created silicone asses without the asshole!  I can’t wait.  I’m SICK of having an asshole.  I’m going to get on a waiting list RIGHT NOW for financial aid for asshole removal.  DEMI GIRL YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE STARTED BUT I’M IN!!!

Filed under: Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: #assholefree, #demilovatosmissingasshole, #lookmailostmyasshole, #noasshole, Bipolar, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

What is darkness?

Light is not the lack of darkness, on the contrary. It is actually the other way around. Darkness is the lack of light. Some would argue that darkness is an […]

Anxiety, Panic & Paranoia: Just a regular Fall

It’s officially fall. For people without a mental illness this means, pumpkin spice flavoured everything, leaves changing colours, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. Except if you have a mental illness, like me, we are battening down the hatches to brace ourselves against the winter blues. The short, cool, cloud covered days and early nights do not help […]

Scumbag Brain is well, a scumbag

Scumbag brain and allergies decided I needed to be awake at 4 a.m. today to tend to my coughing and drainage. NOT AMUSED. I did manage to get back to sleep (half a Xanax was necessary by five thirty) but still…Not funny.

In an effort to “break” the stagnant pattern the depression has caused me to fall into, I stayed in my bedroom this morning but I turned on music. Definitely wakes me up. And watching Spook rock out to Manson’s “Beautiful People” is funny. But upon return from dropping her off, I’ve gone back to the calm of a show I’ve watched a dozen times. But it is pretty much my favorite episode of Deadly Women, featuring Bathory and LaLaurie. Proof that violence was around long before heavy metal or gore flicks. And woman are not the weaker sex, at all, we can be just as violent as men. Take note of that XY holders.

Morning meds have the brain swirling with hypomania, minus the productivity thing. I just can’t work myself up to it. My kid was doing the rapid fire Uzi thing all weekend and I need quiet and calm. I was gonna send that ADHD paperwork in her backpack but then decided it can wait til I have my conference with the teacher. I want to talk to that woman. It’s been seven weeks or so and my kid is getting worse marks than she has ever had, I wanna know why and how to fix it. Mostly I think it’s all the distraction, she just can’t focus, she is overstimulated. What do I know, though, maybe she just has “I’ve got a shitty mom” disorder.

Now before anyone comments about “You’re a good mom, don’t be so hard on yourself…” Yeah, I get that. But sometimes I feel utterly inadequate and I think a lot of parents do. Kids can make you doubt yourself because it’s driven into your head that they have to be socially programmed and a million other kids got with the program…But for a virulent strain of child, the rules are very different and I am just walking into walls here trying to find a way to reach her. If the studies are right and most personality traits are set in stone by age six, oh dear. She  has one of those personalities that grate on my nerves and it has nothing to do with me being a jerk. I just can’t handle overly happy people who never shut up. Just factoid. I’d be as annoyed with an adult of the same ilk. It just gets frustrating to have everyone around judging my parenting, like my kid’s behavior is a reflection of my ineptitude. Guess what? Kids are just small humans and like adults they have minds of their own. I can’t be held responsible for every quirk she has. That being said…I am sucky at consistency and discipline. I try but…virulent strain of child. She’s as stubborn as I am.

R invited me over for a few last night, he had a blowout with the wife and wanted to talk. But then we go and he keeps getting phone calls and his mood keeps darkening and after a half hour, I fled. Because the hormonal tears were about to burst and he turns vile when I cry, like tears are contagious or something. So we left. Don’t tell me to come by cos you wanna talk then spend all your time on the phone and get snipey with me. Yet I do it and it’s because I’m crazy but with him, it’s because his life is stressful. Hmm…Get off the playground til you learn to play fair, man child.

My menstrual inertia has resulted in laundry Mt Vesuvius overflowing on the couch. It’s all clean. Just needs folded. Meh.

In other news, because the house reeked so bad due to me not being able to afford enough litter to clean them well…I sprung an extra four bucks for this Clump and Seal stuff. And bam, true to their advertisement, unless you’re in the room with the boxes sniffing deeply…You can’t really smell cat boxes. YAY. Of course, I’m not always gonna have the money to spoil myself with the pricier shit but…For once a product does as promised. I am impressed.

How sad is that, I consider buying decent litter “spoiling” myself.

I found a pair of pants this morning that don’t have holes in them. Unfortunately, they are capri, which is not optimal for cold weather. Demmit. I am so willing to buy used stuff, half of my best “gets compliments” stuff was less than two dollars from a yard sale or second hand store. But because I am so oddly proportioned, it’s hard to find pants that fit. So my shirt collection is enormous but pants wise…I  am a step from getting charged with indecent exposure. I’ve tried coming up with a way to cut some budget corners to buy a couple of pairs but…I’m buried alive here with expenses. I can ask for something for Christmas, but my family is not known for listening. And when I ask for a gift card so I can pick what I want, my mom moans about how impersonal it is. Um…No, me picking what I want is very personal. Nutter.

Now, a mini rant. Yesterday I apparently ruffled a few feathers with my rant about multi topic multi post blogs. This was aimed at some fluffballs who claim to be bipolar yet after luring me into following with one decent post…It disintegrates into inanity that makes me question their grasp of being bipolar. Needless to say, unfollow was carried out swiftly. I have a six year old to deliver idle mindless chatter, thank you very much. I don’t care about the latest designer purse. I don’t want to see pictures of your Uggs. (Which are fucking ugly so they should be called Fuggs.) I don’t give a damn about your Facebook drama or how many people gasp at your every Tweet.

This does not mean I am obsessed with bipolar, 24-7. But I like the blogs in which people share their lives and feelings about how how bipolar affects them on a day to day basis. I like substance. I don’t want fashion tips. I don’t want reposts of brilliant stuff about bipolar found on Wiki. I want to read personal accounts. That is just me.

Anyway, to those I offended, I am sorry.

I wanted to decorate for Halloween today now that the worst of the curse is over. Unfortunately, the gray cold gloom isn’t inspiring me. Rain or let the sun come out, for fuck’s sake. I love rain. I especially love thunderstorms. Which living in a trailer where one stiff wind or bolt of lightning could do us in, one would think they’d scare me. Yet…I find them soothing. I even have an audio recording of thunderstorms I play sometimes to fall asleep. RAIN, damn it, rain. It must be odd hearing me complain about the sun not being out considering how much I gripe about it. But it’s not some “depressive pessimistic” affectation. Bright sunlight gives me mega headaches. I just recognize the importance of it for my moods (which is a 180 from my pre diagnosis days when I was manic more often and relished the gray days, they made me giddy.) Also, the trailer is cold so when the sun is out, it warms things up. Less on my power bill. Good thing.

Pretzel gut is setting in. Because I know it’s a short school week, they get out early Thursday and don’t go back til Tuesday. More rapid fire from Uzi child. Ugh. It’s not some “children are to be seen, not heard” thing. When I say my child does not allow a moment’s peace, I mean, literally, she does not stop talking. Ever. Even in her sleep she mumbles. Throw in the pick up stress, the teacher conference, bills, bugs, sick cat…Yeah, while my physical pain distracted me last week, I am emerging from hormone hell and the anxiety is back in full force. Makes me wanna inflict pain on myself as a distraction. But I’m a pain  wussy so, no.

Now…new shows to watch while the spawn isn’t yapping over them. IF scumbag brain cooperates so I can focus and enjoy. I’m less than amused that now I am awake, the coughing and drainage have suddenly gone away. Really? Only when I need to sleep. Not funny, scumbag brain.

And in my head, I hear the brain give one of those creepy evil laughs, because well, it’s a scumbag.

Daft Trek

Social Services, the Final Frontier.  These are the voyages of one unclassifiable nut-job.  Her ongoing mission: to explore convoluted government gobbledy-gook; to seek out new services that might actually help; to boldly leap over the cracks in the system where no one has leapt before.


After I finished the Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation program in late June, the search was on to find some kind of support that might fill the gap.  IPR wasn’t therapy, but working with Aly for two hours twice a week turned out to be the best therapy I’d ever had.  How can you not go deep and actually problem-solve with that much one-on-one time?  Most participants in IPR spend half their time in groups, but we had trouble finding peers for me (I’ve got so much insight, you know), so Aly and I just met by ourselves.

We both knew no social service could provide what Aly gave me, so we looked at the kinds of support I might find.  She and my therapist thought Lutheran Services of Iowa might be a fit.  I went through two-hour assessments with both my caseworker and LSI, was approved, and started seeing a caregiver in July.

I have a caregiver.  To say I have mixed feelings about that is like saying Emmett is a little nervous (though, here’s a barely-related photo of both guys sitting next to me as I write this with Em combed and smiling).


Anyhoo, it’s taken me all summer to get used to the idea of being a person who could benefit from a caregiver.  When I look at it in terms of what I need to stay out of the hospital, I get it.  But, like everything else concerning my mental health, I don’t fit in the usual categories, so we had to get creative.

Leanne, my caregiver, and I met for coffee once a week all summer at the new coffee house (Yaay! Marshalltown finally has a coffee house!)

Brew House

This was all part of my care plan—to get basic support.  It’s not therapy, but more than friends and family can provide.  For that hour, I get to talk without worrying about my social skills or being reciprocal in any way.  Most human interaction is two-sided.  Conversation is give and take.  And, while Leanne and I do converse, the point is we don’t have to.  For that hour, she’s there for me, and if I need all that time to process, I don’t have to feel guilty, or selfish, or worry about ruining our relationship.  Over the summer, we honed that process to where we’re both comfortable with it.  And it is a true and valuable tool.  Like my new soaking tub, I can relax with Leanne now and just let go.

The other part of my care plan is for Leanne to help me keep my apartment clean this winter.  Since I’m allergic to dust mites, I need a clean living space in order to avoid the asthma flares that lead to bad colds and, often, pneumonia.  Since winter historically brings more severe depressive symptoms, cleaning (like anything requiring effort) flies out the window.

Halli, the LSI director, told me that their caregivers aren’t housekeepers.  They help clients set goals and work alongside them.  I’m expected to do the real work.  I like that concept.  I asked my sister to do that once, to come over and just help me figure out how to get my place cleaned.  I remembered what a huge help that was.  If I could get used to a stranger coming into my home, I thought that kind of support might help me avoid getting sick so much.

So, last Wednesday, Leanne came over and helped me replace the filters in my air vents.  It’s a big job.  All the vents are in the ceiling.  I put filters in the ones I could reach by standing on a chair, but that was five years ago.  Last week, with a real step-stool, we replaced the black filters (ugh!) and got all the vents covered in the hour Leanne helped me.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning the grill on the intake vent (gross!) and laying filter material across that, too.

Intake Vent

Awesome!  Except I didn’t think to wear a mask.  Oops.  Now I’m fighting the very thing I tried to avoid—a bad head cold that will probably go south soon.  I should have known better.  I wore a red shirt that day, and we all know what happens to those guys.

Feeling Threatened

Ewwww I had an UGLY confrontation with my sister’s ex-husband this morning.  He is, in general, a very angry person, full of vitriol, and the world is out to get him.  Today, he got upset that his daughter wasn’t home when he came to pick up the two kids (we’d walked to the grocery store, innocently, I’d asked the kids numerous times if their Dad had called and they hadn’t heard from him.  We were gone about twenty minutes).  He blew up at me and said he just had to confront me for robbing him of his time with his kids because he always comes to pick them up at the same time and I should have known that and respected that.  When I respectfully disagreed, he really lost it.  I just walked away and closed the garage door on him as he yelled.  Then he had the gall to open the front door of our house as the kids got in the car, the house that he is not allowed to enter, the house that he had come into and had breakfast, and tried yelling at me again, and I lost it.  I told him to get the fuck out and slammed the door in his face and locked it, at which time I got called a psycho and a c-word.  You know HE didn’t say “c-word”.  Haha.  I would have laughed at that.  No.  It was gross and ugly and hostile.

I know.  Why do I have to tell the whole damn story?  Well, I’m traumatized.  I’m not used to such dramatic and ugly confrontations.  There was a time in my wayyyyyyyy back, that this kind of interaction was commonplace.  Now, I don’t allow this in my life.  And the fact that he shoved his dysfunction and ugliness into my life really has me troubled, and feeling violated.  I want to call the police and get an order of protection.  I want to buy a gun.  I want to keep him away from me.  I want to not be a victim, for sure.

I think I will call my therapist tomorrow, and see if I can see her sooner in the week.  As someone who has experienced domestic violence, this really pushes my buttons.  It makes me feel very much in danger.  I do think this person is capable of violence.  It’s hard for me to know where the lines are.  I need to feel safe again.  I quit smoking six months ago and I wanted to smoke SO BAD today!!  For me, smoking cigarettes is such a feeling medicator.  I just had to keep telling myself that a) Smoking will not make me safe, and b) I am done with that.  And I have to keep being done with that.

And done with violence.  Both verbal and physical.  I have to figure this out.  I must be protected.  Safety is job #1.  More to come…

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Anger, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Domestic Violence, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Our Illness is not Mental


This piece is written by a friend of mine over at a mental health support site. She is brutally honest about this condition we both have and I couldn’t possibly have said these things better.

Originally posted on Bipolar First Bipolar Together:

If there is anything I hate more than the term “mental illness,” it is being called “mentally ill.”

Gag me.

I mean, yes there is something rather “messed up” in our brains. And for no reason at all it can randomly make us feel….  sad/bad/crappy/anxious/terrified/awful/full of broken glass/aching/deadened/agitated/unsettled/enraged/flattened/hopeless/numb/broken/lost/needy/emotionally destitute/dysphoric/mixed/depressed………

and I guess “ill” is as good a word as any to use to cover all of that.

Except. it is not.

It would be a good word if it at least made people think that we have physical illness in our brains.  And that this would inspire them to give us the same understanding and compassion that they give other physically “ill” people.

But we all know that is not the case.

If anything “mentally ill” has a more stigmafying effect.  It makes people uncomfortable.  It conjures up unpleasant images.

I know it does for me.  I see a blurry…

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