Daily Archives: May 30, 2016

I’m a Good Daughter, I Promise

Filed under: Alcoholism, Bipolar Disorder, Dementia, Family, Stroke Tagged: alcohol related dementia, aphasia, caregiving, dysphagia, guilt, memory care, vascular dementia


Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, Dementia, Family, Mental Health, Stroke Tagged: aging, alcohol related dementia, anxiety, aphasia, caregiving, emotional catharsis, memory care

Topsy Turvy

I hate medication adjustments. Since increasing the Prozac I have experienced stable mind frame, restless mind frame. Today is anxious and paranoid day.  Bipolar is a bitch. When the only thing you want-a stable baseline- is the one thing you absolutely cannot have…it’s a wonder any of us survive this crap.

On the plus side…I did not have to pay to have the death trap towed. Luckily it broke down a block from Ursula’s house so R and his son in law just pushed it to their house. So it sits. R still thinks there’s hope for the stupid thing. Maybe. Let him fuck with it. I am washing my hands. The Buick looks rough but rides like a frickin wet dream and it makes me happy. I like older cars. So with some help from a wondermous benefactor (you know who you are and I love you, girl) I will be able to get the title and all switched to my name Friday. Hopefully thus will end my automotive woes and that will be a great deal of pressure taken off me. That red car has been a bloody nightmare.

And my dad’s still not speaking to me over the damned thing. Not that my heart is breaking. It does lend to some dread and anxiety as my sister is having a cookout tonight and I agreed to bring Spook. Dad will be there. If he starts lecturing me for not being able to “get along” with the death trap I may just shove him face down on the grill.

Better yet…Mark sent me a pic of the perfect grill which could easily be a backyard crematorium.

One to rule them allTell me that isn’t badass!

We went to a cookout at R’s last night. I don’t even like cookout food. But I couldn’t come up with a legit way to duck out. I didn’t even feel particular mental. So we went.  Twas not a bad time. Of course, I spend more time sitting alone or playing bubbles or whatever with the kids than I do trying to blend with the adults.

An odd thing happened on Saturday. I was like super chill. Perfect frame of mind. All the things that normally drive me batshit…simply didn’t. And no, I was not drinking or loaded on Xanax. I let the kids play inside all day. A and J said they wished I was their mommy. (Ha, I thought I was a grouchy mom, but apparently I am not as bad as I thought.) I assured them they have a mommy who loves them very much. Last thing I want is some angry parent accusing me of trying to steal their kid. I got enough trouble with one child and all my furkids.

One week of school vacation down. Ten more to go. Kids, kids, kids. I can’t think of a legit reason to keep her inside away from them. Maybe that’s proof the med increase is helping. Normally, I can think of a hundred reasons to keep the petri dish from bursting my safe bubble.

Wonder how long it will last.

That’s the ultimate bitch of it all. Feeling good for a few months then it all goes to shit again and the damned doctors can’t even explain why. My kingdom for meds that simply work and keep working.

Now I have a fire breathing dragon grill to replicate. I may need to toast a paternal figure if he pisses me off too much.

Weekly Wrap-Up May 30, 2016

Mood Well, at least the week started off well. I was in good spirits through last weekend and the first couple of days of the week. Four times a year I do a presentation at the local community college on Buddhism and being Unitarian Universalist. No problem. I did great. Things changed on Wednesday midday […]

The post Weekly Wrap-Up May 30, 2016 appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.


The tech liked to smile a lot and would sit and listen to anyone talk for as long as it took for them to have their say.  He was also the one who took vital signs at night–blood pressure readings, temperature, etc.—and did the suicide watch checks.

So when he knocked on my door one evening, I wasn’t too surprised to see him standing in the hall when I opened the door.  He was smiling as usual.  “Come on out here,” he said.

I stepped out of the room and waited for him to state his business.   He said, “Come on out here with me and help me load the truck.”

“What?” I said.

“Go get you some good shoes on and come out here and help me load this truck.”

I looked down at my navy sandals.  “These the only shoes I got,” I said, dropping into his vernacular.  “I don’t think I’m supposed to do that.”

“Come on,” he said.

I stared at him.  “I don’t think I’m supposed to leave the hospital,” I said.

“It’s okay.  You’ll be with me.  That makes it okay,” he said, still grinning.

“I don’t think that’s my job,” I said.  I was trying to say no every way I could think of without using the word.  “I’m sure you can find someone else to help you better than me.”

“I’ve got a dolly—you’ll be okay.  Come on and help me load this truck,” he said.

Then I had a thought.  “Okay.  You’re testing me, right?   This is a test to see if I’m really crazy enough to leave the hospital with you.  This is some kind of test, right?”

That response startled him.  He rolled his eyes up toward the top of his bald head.  “No, I don’t think so. Are you going to help me load the truck or not?”

I just stared at him for a long minute. I could not figure out why he was asking me to go do something one of the other techs could help him do.  I had never had a conversation like this one in all my times on the ward.  “No!” I finally said.  “I’m not!”

“IT’s okay.  I’ll just get somebody else.  I just wanted to know if you’d help me.”

I stared at him, then turned and went back into my room.

A few seconds later, I heard another knock.  “Hello?’ I said,

He opened the door.  “Don’t worry,” he said.  “I was just messin’ with you.”

I stared at him again until he shut the door.  I spent a few minutes pacing the room trying to figure out what that had all been about.  Then I decided I would need to warn people he was up to something in case they weren’t as laid-back as I was and took him at his word, so I went out and related the story to Carson and had a good laugh out of it.

Bipolar Awareness Day Talk hosted by SADAG & Akeso

Hello there!  The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) held talks all over South Africa in celebration of Bipolar Awareness day held on the 26th May. I was asked to give a talk based on my life experience, living with the disorder. The talk was hosted by SADAG as well Akeso Kenilworth clinic in […]

8 Key Traits of Paranoid Thinkers

Sometimes I think I am guilty of a few of these biases. This is a good article because if you can be aware that you are thinking in some of these paranoid ways, then you can tell yourself to stop. Or at least try. Knowledge is power!


In everyday language, the term paranoia refers to someone who feels excessively suspicious without justification, and/or that others are plotting against him. They read far too much into everything people say and are quick to criticize, but they are not open to criticism themselves. The term “mountains out of molehills” aptly describes paranoid individuals. Research indicates that many of us, perhaps 15 to 30 percent, will regularly experience suspicious thoughts. For example, about 42 percent of college students reported that at least once a week others were spreading negative comments about them. The overall emotional state of a person who is paranoid is a negative one (depressed mood, anxiety, and lowered self-esteem).

Paranoia is disorder of mind, not a flaw of character. Paranoid individuals tend to have false ideas about the world and people. Here is a 8 such biases that prevent them being rational:

1. Confirmation bias.

A suspicious person is a person who has something on his mind, and searches intensely for confirmation of his anticipations. He will pay no attention to rational arguments except to find in them some aspect or feature that confirms his original view.

2. Attention bias.

The instrument for an individual’s confirmation bias is his attention. His attention is intense and exceedingly narrow in focus. For example, a person with low self-esteem is highly sensitive to other people ignoring them. They constantly monitor for signs that people might not like them.

3. Disorders of reasoning.

Once a suspicious person accepts a belief based on some evidence, he is reluctant to give it up. When hearing new evidence, he is less likely to revise his original judgments about the possibility of alternative explanations.

4. Distorted reality.

The paranoid person imposes a biased view on the actual world. Their thought processes go from belief to evidence. A paranoid person generally listens and watches only for specific clues that interest him, which tie into suspicious beliefs. For instance, in a conversation with a coworker, he overlooks nuances and misses the true intent as he fails to read between the lines, instead focusing on what he wants to see.

5. Persecutory delusion.

They are blaming individuals and they explain life events by blaming others. For example, they explain negative events (e.g., losing a job) by attributing them to the malicious intentions of others rather than worrying about whether they are inadequate in some way. (The flip side of persecutory delusion is grandiosity, which serves to defend against anxieties and vulnerabilities. In an attempt to cope with low self-esteem and the fear of that no one loves them, they convince themselves that everyone does.)

6. Paranoid projection.

Projection is the substitution of an external threat or tension for an internal one that one’s self denies. For example, “I hate him” becomes “He hates me.” This mental operation is central to paranoid thought. For example, a paranoid person who has made a small mistake on the job will search for clues of disapproval (or dislike) in his boss’s behavior. When he finds that sign, the biased anticipation becomes a conviction of disapproval.

7. Overvalued ideas.

An overvalued idea is a simple idea that resembles a delusion, and often guides specific behavior. An example is knocking on wood to protect yourself against misfortune. Many people endorse the “10-second rule” that says you can eat food that has fallen on the ground only if you pick it up immediately. One aspect of superstition is the idea of magical thinking—that you have control over the world. Many hotels don’t have a thirteen floor. But what could happen to a guest on the 13th floor that would not occur on the 14th floor?

8. Erroneous sense-making.

The suspicious person can be absolutely right in his perception and at the same time absolutely wrong in his judgment. Making sense is a deep human motivation, but it is not the same as being correct. Michael Gazzaniga (2008) argues that the pressure to justify one’s actions reflects the operation of “an interpreter system” in the left-hemisphere (analytical) brain. The interpreter (the “I”) is driven to generate explanations and hypotheses regardless of circumstances. In other words, the brain only perceives what it wishes to. As Mark Twain remarked, “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”


Self soothing, I’m still working on it… When your anxiety levels, or fear levels are sky high, what do you do? Do you turn to substances to reduce them? Do you turn to people to reduce them? Or are you able to self soothe, and bring yourself out of the anxious, fearful, even panic stricken thoughts?

What is self soothing, you ask? Well it is the ability to soothe yourself! For me, it is also inner child work. It can be said that it is your “inner child” who is experiencing this terror or panic or anxiety. So you talk compassionately and lovingly to your “inner child” and soothe away the fear and panic, just like you would do to a real and beloved child.

Think about it, if your own son or daughter was having night terrors, as an example, you would comfort them, love them, and soothe them.

So if you are having anxiety, fear, panic, then you can also soothe yourself by talking to yourself lovingly and with compassion and understanding.

Most of the time this technique works for me, sometimes the panic and fear are so extreme that even though my logical brain knows I am experiencing very anxious, panic stricken thoughts that may be due to PTSD or extreme fear of something happening in the future, I know that there is no real evidence that what I fear will come to pass, if the fear and panic are too extreme, self soothing does not work, I then take some extra Seroquel and that mostly works.

If your past includes abuse, abandonment, and trauma, you can develop PTSD from having experienced these. The PTSD can be triggered by various events that you are experiencing in the present. This can elicit emotions you felt in the past as a result of the abuse or abandonment. These emotions can be very extreme in proportion to what’s really happening in the present. I’ll give you an example, my son decided to go to his friend’s house the night before his graduation from Law school. This friend lives across the street from our old house in a suburb of Buffalo. Some pretty bad things had happened when we lived there, so my mind immediately went into panic mode, thinking something awful is going to happen. That my son will get in trouble and won’t make it to his graduation. Also, as a result of losing my brother to bipolar disorder in 1991 (he was 26 years old), I’m pretty certain I have PTSD from that. That also got triggered and I had really awful thoughts about losing my son… that misfortune would take him from me the night before he was to graduate, panic, sheer panic. I called my son, texted him to make sure he was ok, but he didn’t answer. I fought my thoughts by telling myself I was having panic attacks and anxiety attacks and that my PTSD had been triggered. My rational brain was still working, but the irrational part was not listening to it. I spent most of the night embroiled in this panic and fear, until finally I took 25 extra milligrams of Seroquel, and went to sleep. In the morning I felt pretty awful, but I made myself get up, take a shower, get all dressed up for the graduation and went to get my hair done as I had planned. Then came back and called my son, who was fine and getting ready for the graduation. My husband and I went to pick up my son, helped him pick out his tie, and off we went to the Center for the Arts at SUNY Buffalo for the graduation. Everything went perfectly. Funnily enough, I had brought tissues for myself thinking I would be crying, but I totally forgot to cry because my husband, standing next to me was sobbing so much that all I could do was comfort him. My husband, the rock, sobbing! It was just one of the most touching things I’ve ever experienced.

So anyway, the hell I went through the night before was all for nothing. Was it because I have bipolar disorder? Yes, partly, we people with bipolar d/o are extremely sensitive people and things affect us to a huge extent. Was it PTSD? Yes, because of all the things I have experienced in the past and certain things that trigger my PTSD, things or events that make me extremely fearful, switch on my fight or flight response, and the cascade gets activated in spades.

My rational, logical brain tried to tell me my fears were baseless in this instance, but the fear dragged me along this horrible anxious, panicked path.

I wish I didn’t have to experience this “insanity,” I wish, you don’t know how much I wish, I didn’t have to go through this. But I do go through it. I just have to learn how to cope with it better, I just have to recognize it and take steps to minimize it, so my past doesn’t steal the joy and happiness of my present.

My son graduating from Law school is one of the happiest events in my life. I have had a tumultuous, abused, sometimes horrific life, but I am still here. I survived, I’m still standing. And one of the victories of my life is my son the lawyer! No one is more overjoyed than me that my son has a profession now that has given him the ability to make a wonderful life for himself. That is a huge victory.

I was talking to Deb, one of my best friends, about this, and of course being my best friend, she congratulated me upon my strength and perseverance, the strength that has allowed me to survive, standing tall and strong and now my son is all grown up and he has it in his power to live an independent and awesome life! I hope this doesn’t make me sound conceited, but I agree with her. There was a time when I  thought I was weak, but that time is gone. When my son was in trouble,  I stood by him like a lioness guarding her cub. I am so proud of him, and of course I adore him. And I am so glad I found the strength inside me to make sure that he succeeds and our family survives and flourishes.

I am strong! And this is a victory for my whole family!

May we all find the strength that is in all of us and may we flourish and live in happiness and love.



Exciting Things & Boring Things

I have posted over 500 posts and now have almost 400 followers. I don’t understand it but I’m excited someone wants to read what I am saying, So thank you!

I’ve been getting involved with Facebook more and more as it helps alleviate the loneliness and I only have people I care about on there so I can be myself.

I’m super stressed right now about hubbies upcoming trip but at least my mom in law is going to come and stay over for the four nights he is gone. I’m so thankful for her. My sister in law and her invited me out for a beer today but I just wasn’t up to it because of the stress. Going out is hard enough.

Last night I rode to MacDonald’s with hubby I didn’t want to go so I went. I wish I could do that more. It’ll take time but I’ll get there. I don’t want to be lonely anymore.