Daily Archives: November 5, 2015

I have found the BEST cure for mental illness!!!!

Mind you the cure is more distraction, very icky, and only temporary, but I swear it worked wonders for me…


There is no time for pondering one’s misery nor feeling anxiety over anything except not hurling on the wall, or passing out from sweating chills while hurling. It was the flu or food poisoning or something, but it kicked my ass yesterday. I was its bitch well into the wee hours this morning when the fever finally broke, allowing me to ride out the shivering sweats (my poor Vanilla blankie saw me at my worst!) and awake not praying for death. Face it, it doesn’t get much more distracting than  to wake at 3 a.m., choking on sinus drainage while fighting with the urge to throw up and shivering cold while yanking all your clothes off cos your skin feels like it’s boiling.

I’d forgotten what true physical illness was, I had such a good patch of awesome physical health. Having gotten my “flu” bout out of the way for another couple of years…I am just glad it’s over and I can hold down food and liquid and am not shivering under the blankie in the dark while warning my kid not to block the pathway to the toilet. Vomiting is not my favorite. I cannot believe people choose to vomit for whatever reasons. Ugh. No, no, no.

I am betting I was infected last week during the school activity. It’s always the smallest dish dwellers that bring me down, like cute fuzzy koalas and their razor “i will cut you bitch!” claws, I am betting being immersed in that building with all of them last week was my ground zero. Oddly my kid seems unaffected but it will undoubtedly come and be ten times worse for her cos she has that half assed Canadian immune system (“we can live happily in negative 500 degrees and play hockey with our moose, but don’t let us get  a cold germ or it will become ebola!). So if I got hit with all three and it rated a ten on the sucky scale, when my kid gets hit…It’s gonna be at a hundred and the only thing she won’t be spewing is pea soup but only cos she won’t eat it. (Seriously, who does want to eat that nasty shit?)

I would have handled it with more grace had it not happened in the wake of the sinus infection from hell. I feel soo much better today and yet still like a pokemon on steroids chose me and kicked my ass in the form of bruises and yanked muscles and a bubbly tummy. I’m still draining, my nose is still raw ( FOUR boxes of tissue in three days, I’m like a frigging faucet), but I am upright in a chair with a light on so I am on the mend.

Prior to the ebolafluplague of ’15, I am sure I had lots of discombobulated thoughts and anxieties to rant about. Ha, spewing literally stopped me from spewing metaphorically here. Anyway…No time to have panic attacks except for the timing of your spewage so…I think this will be the rare post I don’t unleash a torrent of “die in a fire” sentiments in. Lots more time for that with the Hellidays coming.

Seriously, though. If you are drowning in anxiety and depression and sheer fury at the shitness of life like I was…Get a few illnesses going on simultaneously. Once you stop wishing for death, all your mental problems will still be there and probably bitch slap you upside the head while you’re busy doing the “yay, I’m not puking anymore!” jig…But for 16 hours of distraction from your brain’s illnesses…Physical illness does the trick.

Let this be a lesson to me when I am my lowest thinking it can’t get worse. There is always the “Thank the pegacorn I am not throwing up today” argument and it’s a damned good one.



It’s my mother’s birthday and I started to feel miserable and fragmented and jagged yesterday. I’m having some solitude, which is possible because I have two guests till Tuesday. I’d be lousy company anyway and there’s every chance I’d feel agitated and trapped and turn into a (more) grouchy asshole. It feels as though every…

The Fear of Relapse

Pictureimage – pixabay

I got up today. I guess that’s always a good thing. But today I fear would have been better off spent in bed. It’s one of those days where I can feel the pressure of tears behind my eyes. My head is fuzzy. My heart is heavy. My body is moving slowly.

This is not the life I signed up for. My brain tells me to be grateful for the life I have. And I am. For the most part. But there are days like today where I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Today is one of those days that you can’t really explain to others. And that you can’t really expect others to understand.

It’s a day of heartache. A day filled with everything that has gone wrong. I ruminate over the career I lost, the friends I lost, my lifestyle changes. I think of the deaths I’ve weathered. The changes to all my major relationships. I just want someone to hold me and let me cry. Someone who can really understand. But I’m alone.

Days like today fill me with fear. Fear of relapse. My life has been stable lately. Stable for quite some time. And I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve been enjoying life. That surprises me to say. Wow. I’ve been out running errands, eating in restaurants and participating in activities. I’ve been helping around the house and shuttling my daughter around. I’ve been engaged. Then whack. Today hits.

What a mess today is. But the truth is it’s not just today. It’s been building. Today I have just found the words to write about it. What if I relapse? The course of bipolar disorder dictates that I will. What would it look like? Would I find myself back in bed, hiding from the world? Or, is this it? Is how I’m feeling now the beginning? What will happen to my life? Will the people who have been standing by me stay? Or will it be too much for them to handle, again? How will I cope? That’s a lot of questions. And I’m afraid for the answers.

I feel pressure to remain stable. What will happen to my family if I relapse? What will I lose this time? I don’t think I could cope with any more loss. I feel that people think I’m “better.” That because I’ve been well for a while now that it’s expected to be my normal. Well it’s not. And I’m afraid of what that will mean. I’m overwhelmed with fear and anxiety of what is happening. I don’t want to go back to that dark place.

So what to do? There’s the million-dollar question. I see my psychiatrist regularly. He’s aware that I have a tendency toward winter depression and that that can lead to a full-blown relapse. By altering my medications he’s trying to avoid that. In addition to the meds, he has started me on a natural supplement that apparently behaves as a mood stabilizer. As well, he prescribed a light box. I am to sit in front of this light for 30 minutes a day. It is to combat the effects of less sun and to hopefully lift my mood.

But today will be today. I can’t change that. I’ve learned that and I accept that. But it doesn’t take away the fear and anxiety of tomorrow. I will do my best to deal with my demons and get through the day as best I can. Though today feels like more than I can handle, I know somehow the clock will tick and the day will pass. I wish for this pain to pass with it.

Working Hard Today

I realized that my library books were due today that I had checked out for the trip to see the authors, so I had motivation finally to really work on my paper and get it done so I could turn the book in this afternoon.  I think I did well; I squeezed out five pages after I set the font to  the correct size. (Times New Roman 12 point).  I’ll turn it in later this afternoon after I let it rest and make sure it’s what I want it to be.

I also turned in a fiction submission to a journal in New Jersey.  They had sent my department head a call for submissions and he forwarded it to all of us,.  I try to act on things he sends to us so he is not wasting his time in doing so.  I had a short-short story, written into he form of four newspaper articles, telling about a double murder that isn’t quite what it seems.  SO I sent it in and will hear I reported how well things were going with my mew medication, and he seemed  with that.  SO that was a good thing.

I am really trying hard to not give up hope for this blog.  I don’t’ feel like I am reaching people because I may get a lot of hits on one day out of a month, but I generally see less than 10 hits per day. This after a year of blogging.  I’m just discouraged and don’t know if my story of doing well is resonating with people who need hope.   I would hope so, but it’s not translating into consistent readers.  I just need guidance on what to do with it, I guess.

Looking for that something and possibly finding it

I’ve been out of hospital for a few weeks now and during this time I’ve been rattling my brain just to find myself- find the taste of life within the marrow of my bones. As mentioned in my post on my other blog OLE, I’ve been drowning in self-doubt. After an episode, I always seem […]

The Knife Intifada Video

Yup, you’re right.  I don’t drag politics into my blog, because my blog is about living with mental illness, and I hold to that.

However, there is something going on in the world that can no longer be ignored, pushed off as a one-off, or justified by other actions.

Rather than waste more of your time, I ask you to watch what’s going on here, and regardless of your political position, ask yourself, “what does this mean for ME, as a human being, and for the world?  Do I believe in genocide for any reason?  Who is the people who are marked for genocide here?  Are they a numerous people?  Is genocide condoned by the UN?”

Would Ingrid Jonker have lived today?

By Ilse Pauw, Health24 Ingrid Jonker committed suicide over 46 years ago. Would modern-day psychiatry have saved her life? My lyk lê uitgespoel in wier en gras op al die […]

And this! “Early treatment for brain inflammation could prevent schizophrenia, study finds. “

The disorder may be a side effect of our immune response.


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There’s no shortage of research identifying the possible root causes of schizophrenia, but a new study published this week is the first to demonstrate that the brains of people with schizophrenia – or at risk of developing it – have significantly higher levels of immune cell activity than those with no sign of the disorder.

Not only does the finding point to new avenues of research so we can better understand how immune cells contribute to schizophrenia, it might one day lead to treatments that could prevent the progression of the disease altogether, based on early warning signs related to inflammation in the brain.
“Schizophrenia is a potentially devastating disorder and we desperately need new treatments to help sufferers, and ultimately to prevent it,” said Oliver Howes, head of the psychiatric imaging group at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Sciences Centre in the UK. “This is a promising study as it suggests that inflammation may lead to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. We now aim to test whether anti-inflammatory treatments can target these. This could lead to new treatments or even prevention of the disorders altogether.”
Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, serve to repair damage to the brain and defend against infections, but the researchers hypothesised that one consequence of their activity could be triggering the progression of schizophrenia. To test this idea, they used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to compare the levels of microglial activity in a group of participants.
Among those tested, some were patients already diagnosed with schizophrenia, some were at risk of developing the disease, and others showed no symptoms. The researchers found that the activity levels of microglia in the brain corresponded to the severity of schizophrenia symptoms in those diagnosed with the disorder.
“Our findings are particularly exciting because it was previously unknown whether these cells become active before or after onset of the disease,” said one of the team, Peter Bloomfield. “Now we have shown this early involvement, mechanisms of the disease and new medications can hopefully be uncovered.”
It’s early days yet. While the results are definitely promising, the sample size used in this particular study (just 56 participants) is small. But the findings also amount to the latest evidence that inflammation – in the form of potential over-activity of our immune response system – lies at the heart of a host of modern medical problems.
“This study adds to a growing body of research that inflammation in the brain could be one of the factors contributing to a range of disorders – including Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and depression,“ said Hugh Perry, chair of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Board at the MRC, ”and with this new knowledge comes the hope of life-changing treatments.”
The findings are published in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Can Prenatal Choline Cut Schizophrenia Risk in Kids? (Wow! Pretty big news!)

Can Prenatal Choline Cut Schizophrenia Risk in Kids?by Sara G. Miller

In an update to a recent study, researchers say they are continuing to find evidence that women who take supplements containing choline when they’re pregnant may lower the risk of schizophrenia in their children.

The children in the study are now 4 years old, and are already showing fewer early signs of schizophrenia — such as certain attention and social problems — than expected, said Dr. Robert Freedman at a talk in New York City on Oct. 23. Half of the children in the study had an increased risk for schizophrenia because their mothers had depression, anxiety or psychosis.

Freedman, the chairman of the department of psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and editor in chief of The American Journal of Psychiatry, gave attendees at the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation symposium an update on the participants in his study, which was originally published in 2013 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

In the 2013 study, Freedman and his team looked at the brains of the babies when they were newborns. They found that those whose mothers took a supplement containing phosphatidylcholine (a version of the nutrient choline) during the second or third trimester of pregnancy showed improvements in how well nerve cells could block certain signals, compared to a group whose moms were given a placebo. In people with schizophrenia, this ability to block these signals does not fully develop.
This means that people with schizophrenia are unable to block out certain sensory signals, making it difficult to focus their attention, Freedman said at the research meeting last month.

Schizophrenia — which affects about 1 percent of American adults — is characterized by an inability to distinguish some aspects of reality from the imagination, Freedman told Live Science. People with the condition may hear voices that aren’t there, hallucinate and have delusions, he said. And they are less able to function in their daily lives, he said. [Schizophrenia: Symptoms and Treatments]

However, because the symptoms of schizophrenia usually don’t become apparent until late adolescence or early adulthood, studying the disease in infants and children is challenging, he said.

To do so, Freedman and his team turned their attention to neurons in infants’ brains. In the study, the researchers played clicking sounds for the babies, and measured how well the infants’ brain inhibited certain signals. 

In infants whose mothers had taken the choline supplement, the researchers observed more signal inhibition than those whose mothers had taken a placebo, Freedman said at the meeting.

Choline’s potential

It isn’t clear whether choline may actually lower children’s risk of developing schizophrenia later in life; much more research is needed to look at the question. But research has shown that choline turns on receptors in the brain that help promote the development of inhibitory nerve cells.

Many people with schizophrenia — and other mental illnesses as well — have fewer of these receptors to begin with, due to genetics, Freedman said. That means these people could benefit from making sure all of the receptors that are present are turned on, Freedman said.

Choline is necessary for other reasons too, during the development of a fetus, because it is used to make cell membranes, the researchers wrote in their study. However, higher levels than those that are usually recommended are needed to turn on the receptors, they wrote. The current recommended dosage for pregnant women is 450 milligrams of choline daily, according to the National Institutes of Health; foods that are rich in choline include egg yolks, meat and soybeans.

Four years later, the newborns whose moms took choline in the study are already doing better, Freedman said. Those whose moms took choline are less likely to have problems with attention and social interactions, he said. People with schizophrenia often have problems in these two areas as children.

Still, because the typical age at which schizophrenia begins is still many years off — and because the number of children in the study is low — researchers won’t have a definitive answer for some time.

Even without final results, Freedman said he believes that all women (and by implication, their children) could benefit from taking choline during pregnancy.

There are no risks to women at the doses we’re recommending, Freedman told Live Science. In the study, the women took the equivalent of 900 milligrams of choline daily. He did note, however, that if women take much more of the nutrient, they could have some problems digesting it.

Still, Freedman stressed that women should always check with their obstetrician before taking any nutritional supplement. 


I’m working on a writing project – which is the ambiguous name I give to song lyrics, short stories, essays, poems, and attempts at novels, just in case I don’t finish the thing which is almost always. Anyway, the narrator/protagonist of this particular project is starting to take shape and take on dimensions and feel like an approximation of a plausible person, which is what I’m going for. But there’s something missing. My protagonist is not mentally ill. So there’s a challenge here.

The storyline calls for a pretty hefty amount of absurdity, so I think creating a sane character in an absurd setting isn’t, in practice, dramatically different from creating an insane character in a non-absurd setting. I could be wrong about this. I’m excited to find out.

But I’ve been a weirdo all my life and then “weirdo” got stamped with the clinical “bipolar” around age 22, so I kinda question my ability to explore how the average brain works. Maybe I’m just being down on my own abilities and refusing to flex muscles to see if I do indeed have them, I’m kind of negative. At any rate, and I’ve said this before, probably out loud and probably here, I assume that the average brain is a dull space. I assume things happen methodically and I assume the average brain doesn’t tend to question whether or not to pathologize this or that emotion upon feeling it. ‘Course, the thing about average is that it’s a pretty blurry figure. Everyone’s bizarre on their own right, regardless of mental illness. My narrator doesn’t have to be sick to be weird.

‘Cause of course (s)he’s gonna be weird.

So, I guess, in the context of simple daily functioning, how does my thinking and behavior differ from someone who doesn’t have bipolar? Not in the broad overall sense, but more like, what am I thinking as I board the bus vs. the person behind me? I’m hyperaware of how I situate myself in my surroundings. I don’t just take a seat. I often feel watched and very occasionally judged. I have a very hard time sitting still. I have mildly dissociative fantasies to kill the boredom, it’s one of the reasons I’m almost never bored. And then there’s the disentangling of bipolar traits from simple Laura traits, and just believe me, 8 years of therapy will make that hard for anyone. If I explore something long enough, the detail seems infinitesimal.

Maybe I’m in a unique position here, ’cause most often, to me, the world feels absurd and arbitrary. I can totally work with absurd and arbitrary. They’re my vernacular.

Boiling this all down, I guess I’m questioning whether I can craft an imaginary person who responds as reasonably to a situation as is required when I don’t know if I could pull that off myself. Also, y’know, people have done this shit for as long as storytelling has existed so the more I think about this and the more I write about it, the more I’m sort of seeing that this is really an issue with me and my self-doubt. Despite my history of candor here, I actually have a super hard time sharing my creative work, even with close friends because I fret over details, I fret over how they’ll interpret it, I fret over its general likability. Sometimes, I wish I had a proxy who could assume all credit for whatever work I do and I can just enjoy the work (except when I backtrack on that if the work is received positively and I want my props, because of course I do).

Anyhowl, I guess all this explains my sporadic presence here and…my absences to come…sorry…really. BUT! BUT! A couple weeks ago was Casual Bedlam’s first birthday. This baby is a year old! And I’m still writing about about my poop, just like the inaugural post. Poop, one of the greater equalizers. It’s kind of out of character for me to do something for an entire year, so this is a proud moment for me. CB is not my first or second bipolar blog. Some of the early few died before the first post ’cause I couldn’t settle on a font or a background color or some shit. You guys, you guys, I did a thing. I don’t get to say that a whole lot. I get the chance to feel proud of it even less often. So, ending on a high note: Happy belated birthday, Casual Bedlam, here’s to many more!


Tagged: absurdity, bipolar disorder, creativity, daily life, mental illness, poop, therapy, writing