Daily Archives: November 6, 2015

Author Marie Abanga’s “Darling Dyane, My Heroine”

Originally posted on Marie Abanga's Blog:
Lady and her Lovely Lucy Have you ever waited for a phone call with much anxiety because you feared the person may end up not calling as promised? Have you ever spoken to someone and you never wanted that conversation to stop? Wait a minute, have you ever…

On The Subject Of Jealousy (Warning: A Couple Of Risque Pictures)


On the subject of jealousy, I have to admit that I can be a very jealous person sometimes. Especially when in relationships with significant others. I do know where this issue comes from. As a child growing up, there was always something sort of “off” about me; I was an eclectic and fairly eccentric child (nothing has changed, really.) I did, however, have a “perfect” younger sister. She was the one who was on the Junior Varsity and Varsity girls volleyball and softball teams, she was the one that everybody fawned over saying “Your sister is so pretty,” which of course left me wondering what I was.

I was not popular at our very small private school. In fact, I think I may have developed a healthier self image had I attended public school where there are many different types of people and cliques. Public schools are not made up of only doctor’s and lawyer’s kids (even if I was one of them.) I did not play sports, I preferred books to the company of other students (they were mean to me so why should I want to be with them,) my GPA was much more important to me than being a popular “jock,” I did not dress like the popular kids (tried that; it backfired about 2 months later), I listened to the “wrong” music which meant that I listened to heavy metal and hard rock not the whiny albums by The Cure or Robert Smith. All of this and more equaled ostracism and bullying.

I figured there must be something really wrong with me, and became so depressed that I probably qualified for Major Depressive Disorder. I quite literally did not speak unless I had to for about 2 years. Anyway, back to the subject of jealousy. The first person I remember being jealous of was my sister; she was so pretty, and popular with lots of friends. She was who I wanted to be at that age. Now, I would rather be true to who I am. However, the seeds for a disposition to jealousy were sown. Every time someone told me how pretty my sister was my first thought was “What am I, then?” If she was so pretty, and she and I look similar, then why was I not pretty?  Looking back, I can see how my eccentricity put people off. I simply refused to be part of the “in” crowd because they were mean to people who were different; I tried to be “popular” and that lasted about 2 months of the 4 years I attended this school with it’s warped sense of diversity (there wasn’t any.)

Growing up believing myself to be extremely ugly, I find this has carried over into adulthood. Even though I like myself inside (for the most part), I still have this struggle with my looks. If my significant other makes a comment about another woman’s attributes (which, in my opinion is rude), then I immediately compare myself to her, and wonder what is wrong with me. Then I get jealous of the woman especially if she is a young woman because I am climbing into middle age. The pictures below are the way I feel society wants women to look, and I have to say it is not the norm; although one wouldn’t be able to tell from the proliferation of photos like these. These women are probably half my age, and yet I am jealous of their beauty. I never looked like that although I came close in my late teens and early 20’s. This is not an attainable ideal for most women. Yet, women continually try. 

Is this what women are supposed to look like?
Is this what is considered beautiful?
Is this what is considered beautiful?

Even though as I have grown into a woman, I have been told that I surpassed my sister as far as beauty goes (I am not a hag), I still find myself jealous when the significant other comments on other women. Why am I not good enough? What is wrong with how I look? What on earth is he doing with an insecure, Bipolar woman who is prone to anxiety both social and general? For that matter, why am I so insecure which is what jealousy is based on? 

I have a sneaking suspicion that the activities of my ex-husband exacerbated a tendency to insecurity and jealousy. For the last two years of our 4 year marriage, I slept alone, ate alone, watched TV alone while he spent hours on the computer watching pornography. I was alone in a loveless marriage. I was being emotionally and, to an extent, verbally abused. He knew I had body image problems, yet he persisted with his hobby. I did not become truly jealous of the other nude women he watched for hours on end until he moved downstairs and began to treat me as if I were a maid. I couldn’t understand why he did these things considering that I am not ugly; I am actually quite pretty when I am in a good mood. Bad moods make everyone look bad. He ignored my pleas to at the very least cut down on his porn time. 

Now, I find myself clinging to my boyfriend, and am extremely jealous of his friendships with other women. I feel threatened by these relationships even though rationally I know I shouldn’t be. I am not certain that I am worthy of being loved (thanks ex husband), I do not feel like I am sexy anymore (ex husband again), I have a really hard time believing that he means what he says when he tells me I am beautiful and “wonderfully made” (his words.) All of this stemming back to childhood. And, carried into adulthood.

I am going to end this post with a non-Photoshopped, unretouched


photograph of a woman many consider to be one of the most beautiful women ever, and she is not a stick figure; she is curvy and proud of it.

When Is Enough Enough?

I lived with my father as he slowly died in increasingly excruciating pain over years and years.  When my mother was home, she forbid him to say, “I hurt,” and she withheld his pain medication “because it made him sleep all the time.”

He slept all the time anyway, because that was the only way he could reduce his pain level.  He groaned in his sleep, though.

Unfortunately, I have inherited the disease that caused his pain: degenerative joint disease, with the added agony of degenerative disc disease.

For the past few weeks the combination of mental and physical pain has me close to the breaking point.  I can’t take opiates because they make me itch, and my skin condition makes it impossible to scratch without tearing off pieces of myself, leaving a wound that takes a month to heal.  In addition, the docs in this part of the country are so afraid of opiates that they refuse to prescribe.  So I’m stuck with using mj, which is somewhat illegal here.  But I have things to do, so I can’t use enough to really relieve the pain, because that would put me in bed.  So I’m screwed.

The psychic pain–there are no words to describe. 

Part of it is endogenous.  Part is environmental–the part of the country I’m stuck in at the moment is grey and damp, two things I can’t stand.  The sun came out for five minutes today and it was balm to my soul.  I’m out of here just as soon as my task is done.

My task is to clean my stuff out of my father’s old studio, where I lived for the last four years of his life.  It took me four days just to clear the spiders out.  Now I’m sorting  through things, making three piles: throw out, because of damage from humidity; give away, because I’m not going to use anymore; keep.

Just to to the situational depression off, Atina is not doing well.  This week her labs were worse.  Her kidneys are getting leakier.  They’re no longer holding her blood proteins in her blood.  They were leaking protein before, but her serum proteins were holding their own; now her kidneys are leaking more than her body can produce to keep up with the loss.

Today we took a short walk in the woods.  It’s been raining for weeks, and since it had stopped this morning (but is back now) I thought it would do us both good to take a walk.  But she wasn’t interested in playing in the creek, and although she carried her ball, she didn’t want to play with it.  And she simply collapsed halfway through where I wanted to go, which is only half a mile on flat ground.  I had to sit down and wait for her to recover.

Now she has fallen off the driver’s seat, which is where she normally sleeps, and is passed out on the floor where she landed.  It looks like she’s nearing the end of her sweet life.

When will my misery end?

I want to stay alive until my son finishes his Ph.D in May.  I want to see him off on the next part of his journey.

He and I have talked about what we lived through with his grandpa, and that I have the same illness, with the added fun of bipolar.  We have had the talk about what will happen when I can’t stand the pain any longer.

It’s one thing to talk about it, and another thing to live it.  I know he’ll survive.  But losing one’s mother is a terrible thing.  And living in agony is a terrible thing.

There will come a tipping point.  I keep on living for others: for my son, for my dog…should I get another dog?  Can I live that long?

In three years my income will be drastically reduced, to the point where I literally can’t live.  I guess that will be the end of the line, if it doesn’t come sooner.

Forgot My Meds

Not exactly forgot.  Just took them later in the day than usual.  We will see how this goes.  Hopefully it won’t be a problem.

Listening to Louis Prima this morning to celebrate Adolphe Sax’s 201st birthday.  :). Not really.  Found out about the birthday via a Google doodle and listening to Prima because I didn’t finish it out yesterday.  Silly stuff.  But I like it.  A lot of novelty songs but some true jazz classics too

I’m working on a project for my class that uses both images and text.  I’m trying to tell my story using bits and pieces from my memoir but am running out of images in our library collections on the computer to use in it.  I don’t’ do pictures very well–as a subject, photographer, or manipulator.  But I’m trying to do it as an extended project.  So I need more images.  I guess I can just search and search for other types as well–landscapes, etc.  I’ll just keep working on it.

Remission feels really good.  Just in case you were wondering.  Everybody have a great weekend!


No, this is not a post about hairstyles. Nor is it a post about Juries. Or juries with this certain hairstyle.

No, the other day while suffering in the dish (every siren, cop, ambulance, fire, storm warning) had my anxiety boiling and I felt the compulsion to flea, go home, make sure everything wasn’t on fire…So I tried some of this logic bullshit and pondered why I am so anxious outside my bubble, why I am so worried about fires and such while I am gone. Hmm…I once woke up in a burning building. Less than two months ago,my mother’s house burned.

Perfectly logical wariness, I’d say. Because shit burns down. While it can happen whether you are home or not, you stand a better chance of saving your stuff (PETS) if you are home. So naturally my brain wants to be home in that event. I might admit the proportion of my fear is a distortion due to these anxieties and traumas but…It’s the real deal.

Thus I live my life dreadlocked. Locked in a perpetual state of dread. And every time I read some pom pom shaking rah rah “you can make it happen if you are positive enough and want it enough” post that is supposed to empower and help me…I find the dread mixing with lethal amounts of fury and hatred. Honestly, if changing your outlook is that simple, YOU DO NOT HAVE A LEGITIMATE ILLNESS. So posting such easy fixes in mental health once again, pisses me off, even if I am not entitled to that. Just does and I just am. (Oh, you post such things so you’re gonna unfollow me for speaking my mind? Cool.)

Now that the flubola has gone, and the “thank pegacorn I am not spewing anymore” gratitude stage has passed…I am back to being dreadlocked, complete with anxiety, pretzel gut, and a slew of angry feelings worthy of a voodoo doll the size of a Buick and knitting needles to stab it with.

Of course, it all started with Monday’s shrink appointment. Given there is much distortion with depression and bipolar but I still feel he was blaming me for not being able to perform optimally on minimal meds as he’d planned. Then I get all paranoid wondering what he wrote in my chart (he doesn’t write while I’m there, so I assume he acts on memory or secretly records things) because I told him it’s gotten so bad, “I don’t even want to play with my kid anymore.” Which in McMuggle could be construed as “I don’t care about my kid so I’ve locked her in a pet taxi at home with a box of kid kibble and a water bowl”. Fuck. If you can’t be honest without fretting over their interpretations and misconceptions, how can these people be trusted to help you get well? Oh, right. It’s us, never them. If I am not trusting him, that’s my own issue.

“Here, splay your innermost weaknesses open to me, I promise I’m not an asshole who is going to misconstrue everything…Oh, you won’t open up to me? That sounds like you’re own trust issues.”


THEN my amazingly asshole father, in spite of four years of me strenuously telling him I don’t want to hear about it, specially called me the other night to let me know the donor had been spotted about with his new gf and was loving on her little girl. Um…And? The man is beneath pond scum, I am not shocked nor particularly hurt by this. By bringing this to me, what’s been accomplished? Reminding me I made a very bad choice in sperm donor? I understand that. Otherwise…nothing good comes of every reporting of the donor’s public movements. My dad is more obsessed with the man than I ever was. That whole thing is played out. The support papers are in the state’s hands now, so aside from that matter…It’ done, over. Shut the fuck up about it. My biggest grievance, is, and always will be, that in spite of being 54 years old, the donor still sees this as some matter between me and him. It’s NOTHING to do with either of us. It’s about a six year old girl who didn’t ask for any of this shit and how he’s done nothing to be a father to her in any way. Unless that’s to be addressed, and face it, it cant be undone and I am not the forgetting type…Just why mention it at all? Maybe my dad wants me to be so distraught I will off myself and stepmonster can raise my kid so she’s not alone when his old ass croaks. Sounds insane, huh? Welcome to the asylum known as my family.

Prior to the flubola 2015, I’d spent the day at the shop where R showed me a video his master’s degree daughter, the psychologist, sent him from the day after Halloween. It showed his granddaughter, age 4, at the table and Mommy-from-hell was saying, “I have to tell you something sad…Last night while you were asleep, Daddy and I ate all your candy…We were just so hungry after all that trick or treating…” And this goes on for almost three whole minutes. The little girl starts whimpering, whining, eyes welling up. And this sadistic beast of a mother just keeps up with that deadly serious tone about how they ate all the candy and, “You okay with that? You going to be okay?”

She thought this shit was funny!

I rib my kid plenty but this was just sick. Even R was pissed off. L (the little girl) just cried and sobbed for a solid minute of the video while mom carried on with, “We;re really sorry we ate all your candy…”

It made me so disgusted I nearly smashed his damn phone. And I’m the mental patient, really? That went so far beyond cruel and unusual. And when he asked his daughter why she’d done it, she said, “Well, Jimmy Kimmel did it.”

Um…How can anyone use a sentence with that name in it to explain behavior, especially someone with a fucking master’s degree? It’s like saying, “Stick the dog in the washing machine, Beavis and Butthead did it!”

It boggles my mind how disturbed this woman is and yet because she has the education, she is counseling others on how not to be disturbed. On what planet is that not unsettling?

The return to misery after my sickness/thank god I’m not sick respite was cemented when this morning my kid started screaming at me at six thirty a.m. to get up because I was going to make her late for school. (See what you do, daylight savings time, you asshole!) And trying to talk sense to her did nothing but make her scream more. She’s been so shitty to me all week, I am at the point of wanting to go to the psych ward for a fucking break. Her lack of empathy, or ability to even grasp the concept, worries me as it’s standard issue sociopathy. Her donor didn’t really grasp empathy, either. She’s only six, blah blah, but if I don’t instill it in her now, soon she will be an adult with no empathy and likely a featured guest on Deadly Women. No, I’m not dramatic. Bad shit happens or we wouldn’t have such reality tv. Derp.

I should feel relieved as it’s Friday, I will have two days free of pick up anxiety. (Yesterday in the pouring rain was the worst yet as most parents were too lazy to get out of the car and fetch the kid so they just held up traffic in every direction waiting for their kids to come to them, absolute gridlock with children darting between cars, grrrr.) Instead I just feel exhausted already. Or still. And I think maybe in light of ya know, a sinus infection and the flu in the same week, I have every right to be exhausted and worn down. But therapy and the sunshine spewers have robbed me of self validation for if I accept feeling this way, I am somehow feeding my depression.

God, I just wanna start smacking dish dwellers with a shovel.

The bitch is back.

My only regret in life is that I was only born with two middle fingers.


[Submission] Pill popping by alex_elu

Alex_edu submits this photo which shows the medication she needs to take to stay stable. It’s a necessary part of the structure for the day. She has bipolar disorder.  She’ll […]

3 lessons psych wards have learnt in the past decade

Psyciatric wards have come a long way in the last 50 years. But what's changed in the last decade?

Psyciatric wards have come a long way in the last 50 years. But what’s changed in the last decade?

Eight weeks ago, I did something that I swore I would never do.  I walked back through the doors of the public hospital psychiatric ward where I spent some of the worst weeks of my life, after the birth of my first baby eight years ago.

This time, I hadn’t arrived in the back of a police divvy van.  I wasn’t disoriented or confused about why I was there. My mind wasn’t racing or tricking me with delusions. And I wasn’t greeted by emergency room staff who held me down and injected me with who-knows-what.

So why was I there?

Well, it started a few weeks beforehand, when I was out walking with a group of women.  When I found out that one of the women was a nurse in the psychiatric ward where I had been a patient, I shared my story with her.

After mentioning  how shocked I was at the conditions in the ward when I was there, she invited me to come and see the changes that had taken place at the pysch ward since then.

So I summoned up all my courage, and I returned.  And here’s three ways I found this psych ward had changed in the past 8 years

  1. It’s finally hitting home: staff can make or break a psych ward

One of the biggest changes I noticed straight away in the psych ward was the staff – and their attitude towards the patients.  Eight years ago, the horrific conditions meant the hospital I was in couldn’t attract or retain staff.  They filled the gaps with temporary agency nursing staff and “carers”.

This may work in a regular hospital ward, but when you’re mentally unwell, having dedicated, committed staff  is critical.  Seeing regular faces  – rather than a steady stream of agency staff – also helps us as patients to trust our carers. When you’re struggling with psychosis, depression, suicidal thoughts or delusions, a kind word or a gentle touch from nursing staff goes a long way.    Patients deserve experienced staff who are committed to their patients and the reputation of the ward they work in.

2.  It’s more than just medical help: the right atmosphere in a ward is integral

Less than two months after I left the ward eight years ago, it was demolished.  To be honest, I’m not surprised.  It was a dark, dingy place – with cramped conditions, unsuitable living areas and a small concrete courtyard where patients could walk in circles for exercise.

Entering the new purpose-built building, I immediately noticed the big picture windows, fresh colorful paint, friendly atmosphere and artwork on the walls.  The head nurse proudly showed me the art-therapy room, family visit room (with direct street entrance so kids didn’t need to walk through the ward to get there) and an outdoor eating and sports area.   There was even a dark room with bean bags, rocking chairs, weighted blankets, soft music, projected light patterns and musical instruments  – a place where people struggling with mania could go to calm or soothe themselves.

I know it’s only superficial stuff.  But sometimes, the way a place looks, smells and even feels can have such an impact on the way patients feel about being there.

3. Our voices have been heard: patients must be kept safe from harm by other patients

I’ve left the best change for last.  The biggest change that I could see was that, while they shared the dining room and common areas, men and women had separate sleeping areas.  Upon admission, female patients receive an electronic bracelet that gives them access to the female-only sleeping quarters and a small lounge room that they can retreat to if they feel unsafe.  The ward was also built with two wing that could be used as required:  one for regular mentally unwell people and the other for those displaying violent or predatory behaviour.


I guess you’re sensing my excitement.  Well, in my mind this is a game-changer.

In this ward in the past – and most likely in many others around the world –  vulnerable, unwell female patients (and in some cases male)  have been attacked or raped by other patients.  You can’t compare a psych ward to other hospital wards – where patients are there because they are physically unwell.  Genders sharing sleeping quarters in situations where people are psychotic, delusional and not “in their right mind” – and not giving women a safe space – is a recipe for disaster.

I was reassured to see that the safety of women in this psych ward at least, is now top-of-mind for staff.  And in the case that I’m every a patient there again, I’d be very pleased to know that  staff now have the ability to separate out patients known for their violence or predatory behavior.

Have these changes been made in every psychiatric ward?

While I’d love to believe they had, I doubt it.  Less than 50 years ago conditions in psychiatric wards – or mental asylums as they were called – were barbaric.  Change has come, but lack of funds or political will means that it is slower in some places than others.

As people who know what it’s like to be mentally unwell and vulnerable, we need to band together and keep asking for change.   Without our voices, speaking up about the conditions in these wards and insisting that changes are made, others like us will continue to suffer.

Mariska xxx

Have you noticed any changes or improvements in psychiatric wards over the past decade?



Addressing mental illness in African communities

In an attempt to break the stigma surrounding mental health, particularly in seniors, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), together with Aspen Pharmacare, held a Mental Health Awareness […]

Med Change (Sort Of)

I have a confession: I have a crush on Brent.  It didn’t happen immediately – it was probably a few months in, after I handed him my notes of my symptoms between appointments and he whispered that it felt like he was cheating on a test.  He said it was weird, because he was actually the […]

Why Cat Women Will Save Civilization


I don’t really like cats . . . at all . . . ever since one peed on my brand new couch. Cat pee is non-negotiable. Once that starts showing up, kitteh needs to pack her shit and get out! That said, this catevangelist has almost convinced me to run out and get another little feline fucker!

Originally posted on Diary of an Epi Wannabe:

We’ve all heard of Crazy Cat Ladies.  While the term often applies to women with an unusual number of cats, I’ve also heard it applied to women who love and care for cats, even in small numbers.

The caricature goes like this: unmarried women, usually without children, spend all their time and money on their cats, using them as substitute children and fluffy little man-replacements.  Such women are rarely portrayed as glamorous or successful (or heaven forbid both!)  Loving cats has come to mean missing something else in life that “normal” women have: husbands and children.

Leaving aside for a moment that many women with husbands and/or children are also devoted to feline furbabies, I would like to point out that single childless women with cats are actually civilization’s only hope.

  1. Cat Women decrease human overpopulation.

First, and most obvious, women who have cats instead of children are not adding…

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Filed under: Bipolar, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Crazy Cat Ladies