Daily Archives: May 26, 2016


One of the things you always hear about Bipolar Disorder is “moody”. The disease is labeled as a ‘mood disorder’, it is often characterized by excessive ‘mood swings’, and people who are moody tend to be labeled as bipolar by their friends and enemies. But boy do I hate this descriptor. Mood swings are part […]


So Bob and I headed out to St. Dominic’s.  This time, I saw what people on the front lines of mental illness have to do to protect the mentally ill and the other patients in the hospital. As soon as the triage nurse entered in the computer that I was there for suicidal thinking, I jumped the line of all the patients there before me.  A nurse came out of the back and motioned to me.   “Julie Whitehead?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Come on back here to holding,” she said.

I wondered at that term.  I told Bob to stay where he was at the desk, that they were already calling me back, and she led me back to a windowless gray-walled room with a box bed anchored in the middle of the area with a thin grey mattress covering it.  She asked me to change into a blue uniform made of some indestructible plastic-fabric material and put all my clothes and my purse into a “personal belongings” bag and left me in the room by myself to wait on the doctor.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Finally I was seen by the doctor on call.  He asked me a few questions (I don’t remember what exactly) and left me alone again to wait, this time on an intake counselor from the mental ward.

I thought, “You know, if I weren’t really suicidal when I got here, I might be once I got out.  This is nerve-wracking.”  But intellectually I knew the reasons behind a separate waiting area—to get mentally ill people out of the waiting room into somewhere safe.  I remember being given a blanket to wrap up in because the temperature was dropping outside, and I was barefoot and bare under my uniform, which offered very little protection from the cold room.

After I talked to the intake counselor, I heard her talking to the psychiatrist on call on the phone on the other side of the open door.  “White female, carries a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  Says she’s having suicidal thoughts with no real plan. Multiple admissions but none in the past five years,” I heard her say.

After a while, I was told I would be admitted but they had to wait until they had a person available to come pick me up and take me across the street to where the mental ward was.  I was relieved to finally be admitted around 9 p.m. that night.  I ate cold roast beef and potatoes from a tray in the ward dining room and surveyed the room out of the corner of my eye. A group of patients was talking about Elvis Presley’s heyday when he was alive in Memphis in the late sixties.

“Elvis was bigger than Micheal Jackson ever was,” one tall guy was saying.  I’ll call him Jackie.  “He would rent out the movie theater and let people see his movies for free.  He gave away Cadillacs to poor people who came up to him on the street.  He was BIG.”


Ten Days In Lockdown Part IV – Throwback

This week I’m doing things a little differently. I’m doing a throwback every day this week. This is the fourth post of a five part series originally posted in March 2014 regarding the ten days I was in lockdown. I felt the need to post again. If you missed earlier posts, you can go back […]

The post Ten Days In Lockdown Part IV – Throwback appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Piles of Paperwork

Last week Sadie and I had to update my ANSA and treatment plan yet again.  She expected that we could do all this in one session and still have a little time left over to talk.  She was mistaken.  We got the ANSA done with 5 minutes to spare and she asked if I wanted […]

A Cautionary Tail

Donald started sitting in with our band.  At first I was pissed because everything about him was sloppy, including his guitar playing.  He banged away with abandon, juking his head around like a rocker.  We played Irish music, not rock. 

I knew J.J. wouldn’t let just anybody into the band, so I didn’t say anything.  Saying something might lead to several days of stony silence from J.J., which I both resented and feared.

After a few practice sessions it dawned on me: Donald’s wild thrashing was nevertheless in tune and on time.  He provided the solid backbeat the gave our other guitarist, Dave, the room to solo. 

Dave was a respectable flat-picker. 
He also brewed killer ale.  Brewing back then was not the snobbish high tech fad that it is today.

In the ’70’s beer was made the regular way, with a largish ceramic crock, some water, canned hopped malt, regular beer yeast, and a layer of cheesecloth tied over the top to prevent wild yeast, bacteria, mice, and small children from getting in.

Once the beer began to “work,” making a disgusting cap of brownish foam on the top, caring for it became a collective labor among the residents of the house.  Whoever happened to walk by the crock, if there happened to be scum on top, he skimmed it.

But this is not a mere diversion.  The beer was what brought Donald in the first place.  It was at one of the delirious parties at Jacob’s.  Through a thick haze of Morgan’s Ale, his guitar playing seemed outrageous and just the thing.

Once J.J. brought him home to practice, it seemed like a done deal.

Only thing was, he was always doing disgusting things, like eating his boogers.  Jeezis, I cannot stand that type of thing.  If I were the vomiting type, there would have been even more of a mess.

How relieved I was when Donald announced he was going to Ireland to learn to play the concertina!  Thanks to all that is divine!

The night before he was to fly to Ireland, I am sorry to say, he came over to light farts with J.J. 

The Morgan’s Ale was flowing, and the two of them were in hysterics, making torches out of their asses.  I went upstairs to hide.

Suddenly violent screams burst out downstairs.  I ran down to see what the emergency was, and cheeses k. reist if Donald didn’t try to one-up J.J. by taking off his underwear! 

Now Donald had–HAD–a very hairy ass, which went up like a torch when ignited by his gas jet.  He received bad burns to his delicate parts. We transported him to the small town hospital in the back of the car, face-down, butt-naked on top of the sofa cushions.

He couldn’t change his plane ticket, so after his convalescence he booked a flight to Newfoundland.  I secretly snickered at that.  I lived in Maine for a few years.  One of the great Maine forms of entertainment was to trade Newfie jokes, like this one:

“If there are two kids playing in a sandbox, and one of em’s a Newfie, how do you know which one?”

“I don’t know, how?”

“It’s the one the cat’s trying to cover up…”



The moral is, if you’re going to light farts, keep your underwear on.

You’re probably wondering what ever did happen to Donald.

He enjoyed New Foundland so tremendously that he went for a hike in the interior, failing to bring with him any water, map, compass, or any other of the Ten Essentials.  Of course he got lost, was not found for several days. After an extensive search, he was discovered, dehydrated, hungry, and hypothermic.  It gets cold at night above the Arctic Circle.

We received letters from Donald (letters!) every few weeks.  Then the letters stopped.  In a very brief and scratchy transatlantic telephone conversation, Donald related how, by the time he recovered from his case of exposure, the sea ice had locked Newfoundland in.  No ships could get out or in.   Airplanes weren’t flying; it was too cold.  He would be back in the Spring.

Spring came, and no Donald.  Married a Newfie girl, gonna have a little Newfie of their own!

All’s well that ends well.

Just remember what I told you…

Trauma Llama

I thought yesterday sucked out of the gate as my sinuses were so infected even my gums hurt as well as my head. I figured seeing the shrink would just make the whole day suck more but I was trying to get through it.

And then en route to my 11:30 doctor appointment, the death trap quit running. Amid a fucking funeral procession. I got it running, told the doc I was on the way, then the fucker quit AGAIN and went nowhere. So I had to call back to reschedule then TRY to get mom to answer the phone so she could come get me…GRRR.  She did (oddly, two different gentleman stopped to make sure I didn’t need help, which in this town is odd) and then she let me drive her car home and keep it so I could get to the doctor.

I LOVE this fucking Buick. The paint job is pretty decrepit but the interior is posh, everything fucking works, it rides smoothly, runs quietly…So I told my mom I’d buy it from her if she was willing to sell it. I’d have to make payments, of course, but she said…Okay. And I’m like, excellent, I’ll just wait for the city to tow the Grand Am off the street (as I have nothing til Friday) and I can settle that tow bill and disposal with the city. I mean, what else can I do?

I called to tell my dad mom and I were wanting to make this deal.

You think he’d be cool, right? She doesn’t like old cars, I wanna marry the fricking thing, it’s all in working order and comfy as fuck…

Instead, that prick started screaming at me. Something about, “43 years I’ve tried to get you a car to drive but you never want to put any money into them, I wish I could find something that’d just need gas and you could drive it forever!”

Okay, followers…Did I not recently write that I was fully willing to get this Grand Am worked on, at my expense, as long as I had a loaner vehicle/way around?

He buys me a fucking car that wouldn’t even run, period. None of the gauges work. (I got yelled at for letting the coolant run dry, then the oil run low, and it’s like, fuuuuck, I checked it three days ago it was fine but DAMN wouldn’t it be nice if they designed cars with these things called gauges OH WAIT.) R has no time, or at least “time where you don’t have to be driving it”. Yeah, sue me cos this town’s public transport consists of expensive taxies and buses you have to make an appointment to ride.

Anyway…There I am, thinking, I have finally found the answer to my problem, and this man just keeps yelling at me. Like I broke the stupid car.

And then he keeps carrying on about “getting it off the street” and of course, that’s fifty bucks and where to go with it anyway…He wouldn’t front the money cos they have to have $900 to fix their house foundation…Mom ain’t got it. So…let them tow it, and fine me, what the fuck else can I do? But noo, he had to turn it all confrontational and I’m irresponsible for not having cash on hand, ESPECIALLY now that I am getting that alfuckingmighty child support….Never minding it ALL goes replacing food stamp money we lost so how can I save a damned penny?????

He had me so mad I told him I was running out of phone time and had to go. And I only have 20 mins time left til next week so it wasn’t a lie, but also, it was to escape that oppressive senile fuck of a man. All I could hear was him screaming, “I wish I’d never bought a fucking thing for any of you!”

I never asked. Aside from my first car he procured, and i paid half the bank loan on, I never asked him to get me a car. He has always taken it upon himself to do this shit. I can’t point it out cos then I am just more ungrateful.

I was okay with the city tow thing. If they don’t do it by Friday when I get cash, I’ll call a truck, figure it out. But I thought the solution, keeping this Buick, was perfect and my mom is on board. In spite of my cousin fussing about “what will I drive when I get my license and job?” Um, he can’t get his license til August and we’ve all been told repeatedly that my sister is going to help him get something “better” than this Buick. Have at it! I love the car. I just need $140 to get everything from the Pontiac transferred to it. But now I am gonna have one hell of a tow bill for the impound lot so that may take awhile…

Fuck. I can’t catch a break. And I am surrounded by ass clowns.

Making it worse, dad called R and brought him into it yesterday. After I purposely did not call him and drag him in. So R called me all growling and demanded I bring the Pontiac key to him at his house when in fact, he could have just as easily dropped by here for thirty seconds to get it instead of making me drive mom’s car (I will be less antsy once insurance is in my name, the woman is a nervous nellie from hell). He was copping an attitude. I was pissy as fuck due to the sinus issue keeping me from my cigarettes thus necessitating nicotine withdrawal and pissy little syndrome.I was furious my dad dragged him into it, pissed off at him for having such an attitude…

Yesterday sucked donkey balls.

Today wasn’t as awful. I dodged my dad’s message he left. I don’t wanna deal with him. Mrs R asked for a ride to pick up her car at the dealership today so I took her out there in the Buick and explained what was what…and she agrees it’s ten times the car the pontiac is, so what is my dad’s fucking problem?

I don’t get it, but I am a hair’s width from excising my cancerous father and his crew from our lives. He’s fucking toxic. I mean, this is a good solution to the car problem, mom’s on board and not even venomous and…

Forty three years he’s been holding every tiny thing over my head, including the fact that in 1973 when I was born, my hospital bill cost him twelve hundred bucks. I kid you not.

Respect your elders is a nice concept but useless when they treat you like shit and you just wanna give it back.

Back to more pleasant things. I found a Canadian series called The Collector about a guy who sold his soul to the devil…and the devil isn’t as much of a dick as my father is.