Daily Archives: October 29, 2015


So apparently the ABC-TV show “Modern Family” is planning to re-air last year’s Halloween episode that depicted a haunted house situation where the house was an asylum. This doesn’t really seem like much, especially considering “American Horror Story” made an entire season out of being in an asylum. But anyway, the National Alliance for Mental […]

Martha Stewart On Crack Is BACK, Baby!!

Ok, there’s no doubt that crack is whack. But calling myself Martha Stewart On Crack is just the best way to illustrate the wacko-but-awesome creations that I have been coming up with as of late.  The lime-green fur ottoman is a thing of beauty, BEAUTY!!  After a TWO YEAR hiatus of no creativity, it’s fucking good to have it back!!!  It’s been a painful two years.  I have no doubt that various and sundry mood stabilizers robbed me of said creativity, those mood stabilizers (or as I like to call them, Zombie-Inducing Devil Pills) would be Lamotrigine and Clozaril.  Of course as you know, Clozaril gave me the added bonus of thirty extra pounds.  Yayyy!  But I digress.

For someone who is artistic-like, I can’t even tell you how joyful it is to be back in the flow. And how sad the last two years were without my creativity!  It’s just, like, I feel alive again!  I have projects!  I wake up in the morning excited to do things!  And when I finish one thing, I gotta have another project waiting in the wings.  My nephew is the same way.  He is even more creative.  And what do we have in common?  We both are on my arch-nemesis:  Abilify!  What the fuck is in this shit??  I mean, they have some funkified commercials, but now I’m starting to drink the Kool Aid!!  (Whispering) I think it might be working.  Don’t tell anybody.  It’s torture to admit.

Ok, get ready, here comes the u-turn….and I flipped the bitch! Just HAD to tell you that I just listened to the audio-book version of Jenny Lawson’s (The Blogess) new book, Furiously Happy, and goddammit if you suffer from any kind of mental illness and/or if you like to laugh, YOU MUST GET THIS BOOK!!!  This woman is out loud and proud about her mental illness, and so fucking funny about it at the same time!!  And I just felt so GRATEFUL to her for telling the truth, the hard sad truth and the funny truth and the crude foul-mouthed fucked-up truth about living with mental illness!  It is so! Worth! The Read!  Or the listen!!  Do it.

Well, Peaches and Herb, that’s it for now. Notice how I didn’t even mention those fucking Republicans trashing up MY TOWN last night??  I am denying their existence.  Peach to yer Mama!

Filed under: Bipolar Creativity, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Furiously Happy, Hope, Humor, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader, The Bloggess

Thank you, Mary Ann

PillRite Monthly Pill Management System

Thank you, Mary Ann Andrews, the creator the PillRite four week pill management system, for responding to my post about forgetting to take my medication by giving me a PillRite. Like many of us, Mary Ann Andrews struggles with a chronic illness requiring twice daily medication.

Three weeks using the system, it has served me well. I can see my pills since the caddy holds them vertically. When the evening comes, I take my finger and go from morning to evening to make sure I’ve taken my night-time (divalproex), which is paramount for maintaining my stability. I take two psychotropics (divalproex and escitalopram), atorvastatin for cholesterol, montelukast for asthma, and vitamins (multivitamin, fish oil, glucosamine chondroitin MSM).

Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, Gratitude, Medication Tagged: Mary Ann Andrews, medication compliance, medication management, PillRite

Phantom Limb Pain

There’s a crazy phenomenon that sometimes happens when a person loses a limb. The nervous system thinks the limb is still there, so that the person continues to have the sensation of having it.  I mean, to the point of the former owner freaking out because they want to put on a sock because the foot is cold, but the foot persists in not being present.  This is called a Phantom Limb.

But since the limb has really been amputated, the limb also feels the pain of that, and of the injury or disease that lead to the amputation.  This can become a terrible situation if the limb doesn’t get used to being amputated and settle down.  How can you relieve the pain of something that doesn’t exist?

I just realized that I am suffering from Phantom Limb Pain.

Some of my readers know that I am caring for my beautiful Belgian Malinois, Atina, who is dying of kidney disease.  She is now 19 months old, and starting to slow way down.  I’m enjoying her delightful self for now, and I will take care of her until it is time for her to go.

I just received the final pathology report.  It is terrible.

For those who don’t toss around medical terminology on a daily basis, let me give you your word of the day:  nephron.

A nephron is the basic operating unit of the kidney.  It has three parts, which all have different essential tasks in maintaining the balance of fluids and electrolytes (like sodium and potassium) in our bodies.  In addition, special cells called podocytes keep our serum proteins from leaking out.  These are the parts of the kidney that maintain fluid and electrolyte homeostasis, in a delicate and incredibly intelligent system of checks and balances.  Any disturbance of kidney function can lead to a disruption in the system, depending upon which area of the kidney is damaged.  And that can lead to illness and death.

Atina’s biopsy shows that 90% of her nephrons are fetal, which means that kidney development was arrested before three weeks of life.  The pathologist writes that this could be due to disease or toxins being transmitted to the pup through the mom’s milk.  The remaining 10% of normal nephrons are becoming ballooned out of shape from having to process all that pee by themselves, and their podocytes are starting to detach, which is why her urine is full of protein.  Soon those few functioning nephrons will die, and then Atina will die.

I stopped by the vet’s yesterday for another reason, and just for kicks had Atina stand on the scale.  She’s gained three more pounds…of fluid.

When I first got her, she weighed 55 pounds of skin and bones.  She looked like a sick cow.  With treatment and lots of love, she put on ten pounds and was looking and acting like a normal, healthy, happy, bratty adolescent Malinois.  I started her in Service Dog training and she was doing great.  I had this spark of hope…

Then she started looking weird and puffy.  Despite treatment, her blood pressure was sky high (another kidney function thing), and she went back to drinking gallon after gallon of water, and peeing like a waterfall many times a day, and even needing to go out at night sometimes.  And her weight keeps creeping up, and her appetite keeps slowing down…

I’m glad she’s with me, and that I’ve had the honor to be her very own human and caregiver, friend and mutual aid society.  We are passionately in love.  She’s asleep now, but if she knew that I am crying she would rush to my bed and throw herself on top of me, causing various injuries.  Since I know that they are love bites, scratches, and bruises, I take them in the spirit in which they were inflicted.  And once her initial exuberance settles down, she cuddles and kisses and lets me cry in her fur.

Aside from the love injuries, I have been injured in many ways since becoming Atina’s personal angel.

I needed a service dog to guide me through the next ten or so years of my life.  Instead I got a very sweet invalid dog, with whom I fell in love, from whom I will be parted very soon.

This beautiful sick girl of mine cost me $12,000 up front, and more than $10,000 in medical expenses so far.  I have used up most of my financial and emotional resources, and at the end of the day, I won’t have a dog, and I won’t have the money, and since even now I keep myself alive by force of will, Atina’s death may sever the thread I’m hanging on.

Everyone says, “Sue the bitch (who sold you the dog)!”  Easier said than done.

Yesterday I had a telephone consultation with an attorney from the State Bar Association’s referral service.  He listened to the “short version,” told me he had no experience with cases like this but would be happy to litigate it, outlined the essential steps, reminded me that his hourly fee is $210 (a bargain, actually), that the case would cost a minimum of $20,000 to litigate, that we would surely win, that the first thing he needs to do is to examine the purchase contact and look at some other things, and that in order to do so he needs a $5,000 retainer.

Phantom Limb Pain.

Before I became a disabled person, back in the days when I went to work every evening, relished in healing the sick, lame, and halt, and also in bringing home the bacon and frying it in the pan: if someone needed a legal spanking I had only to pick up the phone, and if my own attorney couldn’t do it, he knew someone who could.  Retainer fees?  Not a problem.  Not a question.  Not required!  Don’t even offer!  They knew I was good for it, and besides, they might need my expert witness services one day…or their kid might need to be sewed up on a Sunday… But now all I have to offer is

Phantom Limb Pain

as I am cut off from myself, and I can’t get back what is gone

I can feel it, even see it, but it’s gone

And now I have to beg some abogado, please, please

If you think my case is so straight-forward, please take it on contingency, or reduced fees, or even pro bono

I have Phantom Limb Pain, don’t you see

I’m not what I once was
I find myself in reduced


I am among the lame and halt now
As one day you yourself might be

As odd as that might seem

No one ever dreams it will be them
Believe me, Mr. Esquire, Sir, The Hon.,

no one ever

believes that it can get worse

But it can get worse

And then it can turn into

Phantom Limb Pain

This Gets A LIttle Confusing . . .

But hang with me because it comes out well in the end.  Saturday I was checking my email when I got a noti ce in my box from a literary contest I had entered once I started school at the urging of my professor,  They said I was a finalist in the contest but they did not have the name of my story.  SO I sent the name and told two people–Bob and my professor,

My next email I get says, sorry, I’m only a semi-finalist although the judging was very close.  So I kind of forget about it.

TOday I get an email titled “For Finalists and Semi-finalists” telling me they want to publish the finalists and some semifinalists in their December issue along with the winners and attached a contract tot he email  I look and my story is not on the list.  SO why did I get the email?  I decide to fill it out anyway in hopes they decide to publish me in the future.  SO I send it back.

A hour later I get an email thanking me for the contract and telling me that I WAS actually a finalist and will be published in the December issue with the winners.  So that is exciting news and I look forward to seeing my story there!

Leprechaun Meat and Bison Balls

Yes, you read that title right. Leprechaun meat. Sass and I have warped but vivid imaginations. And Bison balls…Well, when I am truly sad or bored, I visit this dude’s site and laugh until my sides hurt. He as a thing for bison meat, especially bison balls, and his take on everyday stuff slays me. The fact I am doubled over laughing and R will look at the computer screen and say, “It’s not that funny…” Um, that proves it IS funny, you’re just OLD. (Sass, go to that page and look for the comic “clowns of the 50’s versus today’s clowns”, you will appreciate it. Send me the therapy bill ;) )

So…I crashed hard last night. I actually nodded off during Arrow. So I gotta watch that again as I remember nothing. Melatonin kicks in fast when you don’t expect it to. Up and moving today, though it dropped down to 37 degrees and I had ice on the inside of my car windows so dealing with that cold already robbed me of several sporks. Then there are the appointments (the toys for tots thing is a madhouse) and of course, tonight, where my kid gets to have fun and I have to be reminded what an incompetent parent I am. Dread doesn’t begin to cover it.

I mean, it makes me sound petty and selfish, it’s like ninety minutes out of my life to make my kid happy and let her show her friends how pretty an Elsa she makes…But I wouldn’t be hopped up even if they weren’t making parents do these classes cos that school is smallish and last year I attended a couple of events and omg, you could barely walk the halls without getting elbowed. I’m not claustrophobic but when I have no elbow room and no clear path to the nearest exit…No, no, no. BAD, very BAD. I am so twisted and tense as it is, I just wanna get it over with so my intestines will stop playing drunken Twister in my gut. And spare me the “booze is bad with meds” bit because I gauranfuckingtee I will be drinking tonight. It’s an even better buzz knowing I don’t have to pay for it. Kinda speaks volumes about R’s priorities. He’ll stand there silently if I say, “My power’s gonna be shut off if I don’t come up with X amount.”

Now if I say, “I’m out of smokes and I could use a Mangorita…”

He hands me the credit card. Priorities, man.

He called me last night around ten for a “favor”. He wanted me to look on line to find the cheapest copy of season one of The Flash and order it. Found it for less than twelve bucks, free shipping, click his paypal account, done. For that he is buying us those bar tacos today for lunch. I can click buttons for food. Hell, I can point and click for hours for free. It’s my thing. But as I told him…I never had  a computer til I lived with him and he bought one. Once I discovered the intertubes…Never having to leave home to socialize???? Hells yeah. I’d marry my computer if I could. All my friends live inside it. Well, then there’s the fact it acts as a TV, music stereo, I can look up random facts at any time, and doctor up pictures of Count Sporkula. Why would I ever return to living in the dish when I have that all in this little laptop? HIS fault, I’d never have been able to afford one back then to get myself addicted.

Shit, I have an hour til I gotta go to my appointments. I am seriously reconsidering the toys for tots thing. I only used it once, the year the donor walked out, cos I wanted to make sure Spook had Christmas. But the crowd, ugh, and then picking it all up amidst a mob next month…it’s less lazy and more like, Hey, dad usually gives us cash for Christmas, I’ll just spend that on her  instead of myself and avoid the mob scene…And that is pretty much how my kid has gotten Christmas for the last three years. Dad gives me money as my gift and I spend it all on her. I’m not skipping the heating assistance program, that is just basic necessity. And it could free up enough money to make sure I have the hundred by Dec 31 for the sticker on the car.

Speaking of said car…My mom gave me that car, told me not to worry about getting title and insurance all switched over til my nephew gets his license next year (cos it’s close to three hundred bucks to get all that done) and duh, I don’t have it. Well, now she is telling me because of the fire and all their problems, she *may* want the car back for my nephew to have cos, yeah, it’s far more important he have a car to go buy Mochachinos to stay up and game all night than it is for me to ya know, haul my kid around. What the actual fuck, Mom? Like I don’t have enough problems, now I have ten months to miraculously find two, three thousand bucks for a used car?

I know people must think I exaggerate my tales of my fucked up family, but sadly, I don’t.

Like my charming father. I wasn’t home yesterday so he stopped by the shop. Why? “I picked up your yard again…And your window screen was laying on the ground…And we aired the tires up on Spook’s bike since you couldn’t be bothered…What have you done about the heat? Is your sewer backed up because it stinks over there…You need to clean your car out, it looks like a garbage can on wheels…”

I’m 42, for fuck’s sake, and pay for my own shit for the most part so fuck off, sperm donor. If anything positive or loving ever came out of their mouths, I’d keel over.

Ok, time to do battle at finding a pair of pants that don’t have holes in the ass end. And maybe a bra…Ugh, I hate having to go out in the dish and be presentable. Bring on the fucking Muumuus. Black, of course. Maybe a skull print…No, I really don’t do skirts/dresses, my ladybits like to feel safely ensconced in pants.

I think I am done ranting.

(consults voices in head.)

Three out of five agree the rant is over.

The other two are apparently eating leprechaun meat with a side of bison balls.

the situation is…

The agitation that rules my mixed episodes will kill me if anything does. Yesterday I put it down to the hellish and hell-tempered wind, which always turns me into a replica of itself. Bastard. Today the air is calm, the weather is sunny and perhaps I can blame it on having to do (shudder) housework.…

Keeping Mental Notes

Originally posted on Bipolar Codex. New book inspires and challenges our views on mental health Mental Notes is a book of quotes about mental health, collated and illustrated by Bath-based […]

From one day to the next

one day i’m fine, the next i dine on suicide, and pesticide one day i’m down with a frown cold as stone, in agony moan then i am gay for the day inhibitions gone astray, life’s […]

Halloween on the Radio!

I'd love to say I baked these, but I'd be lying.

I’d love to say I baked these, but I’d be lying.

“… there ain’t no easy way out …” – from “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty

Are you familiar with “Feel the Fear, and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers? As a friend who is also a therapist once said, the title is the book. Another friend gave me a copy, years ago. I promptly put it on the highest shelf, and forgot it.

I’ve always been easily frightened – which is odd, for someone who loves Halloween.

This isn't what a scaredy cat looks like

This chap was no  scaredy cat

WordPress is questioning my spelling of “scaredy cat”. Clearly, WordPress did not grow in the States in the 1960s and 70s.

Back to Halloween, which this year falls on a Saturday. Which means that 31st October coincides with two of my favourite things: “Doctor Who”, and the monthly edition of “Book It!”, the programme about books and writing which I present for Sine FM, Doncaster’s community radio station.

I’m not sure how we’re going to handle distributing sweets to trick or treaters, whilst giving the Good Doctor the attention he deserves. Short of fire or flood, North Household Rules dictate that no one so much as sneezes, let alone answers the door, during a first broadcast of the Doctor (1).

If the Doctor's talkin', don't come knockin'

If the Doctor’s talkin’, don’t come knockin’

As for “Book It!”, that’s on from 10 while 11 am, so no worries around the radio show clashing with either trick or treaters, or the Good Doctor. I have, however, decided to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Because, for what may be one time only, I’m broadcasting the show live.

Am I feeling it? Oh yes. What seemed like a good idea, months ago, about setting challenges for myself, and feelin’ that fear, well, with two days to go … Crikey bobs!

I’ve written before about my tendency to swear, usually for England, occasionally for America. This is of concern, with a live radio broadcast just over 48 hours ago. Fortunately, a friend has created a helpful flashcard (2) for me. I call it:

The Crikey Card!

The Crikey Card!

Apologies that it’s in pencil. My friend the dancing demon – a Halloween decoration purchased years ago from Wilkinsons – was unable to locate a Magic Marker (3). Which, come to think of it, would be much more seasonal.

Fancy listening to an eccentric Anglo-American go into a polite (crikey! let’s hope so) meltdown on Halloween morning between 10 and 11 am? Then tune into 102.6 FM if you’re local, or listen live on sinefm.com. I’d tune in, myself, but I’ll probably be too busy pushing faders up and down, remembering who my guests are (4), and trying not to panic.


The ghost of radios past

The ghost of radios present … too present!

(1) Apparently “Doctor Who” is on at 8:15 pm on Saturday (31 October), so let’s hope the neighbourhood kids get their trick-or-treating done early this year.
(2) Don’t know what a flashcard is? Guess it’s not just WordPress that didn’t grow up in 60s America.
(3) Yep, 60s America strikes again. Or 70s. Summat like that.
(4) Guests confirmed so far are horror author Nat Robinson; actor and author Angela Wren; book reviewer Sam Marsh, and Will Templeton and Rosie Jones, writer and illustrator of “The Wicci Woo Wem”