Daily Archives: June 30, 2016

FIL Is Here

So far it hasn’t been uncomfortable but I’ve been stoned lol. That helps a lot. I ran out though again.. sigh. I wish I had my own plants, so I could just have it whenever I wanted it and didn’t have to trouble anyone else.

I don’t know how the next several days are going to go but I’ll ride them out cause that’s what I do.

Whats the worst that can happen anyhow right?


My Cat Has (Feline) AIDS

I will start off by saying that this is just a preliminary diagnosis for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and we will have to wait to have another more accurate test. The vet took drew blood from her twice today and … Continue reading

My Farmer’s Market Social Anxiety & “I Don’t Feel The Magic”!

  Ever since I recently reached my goal of losing thirty pounds, I’ve felt like my old self in some significant ways. Before I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder in 2007, I worked at a family-owned gym as A.C.E.-certified personal trainer and circuit training instructor. I didn’t attend college with the intention of working in … Continue reading My Farmer’s Market Social Anxiety & “I Don’t Feel The Magic”!

The Wrong Bus

Yes, despite what the title seems to suggest, this is a blog about cycling and mental health.

So why the reference to public transport all of a sudden? I took a bus yesterday – a couple of them, in fact. I didn’t see cyclists pedalling along through the rain – streaked windows. I wasn’t musing on the fluidity of movement that cycling brings in comparison with the shuddering, groaning and wheezing of that most asthmatic of vehicles – the bus.  No, I wasn’t thinking, in any depth, about anything at all. Nothing Mindful about that; just so many rivulets of skull – based activity that eventually settled into a pool of flaccid, of soon to be forgotten, angst.

I caught the wrong bus. I misread the arrivals board, or the number on the front of the first bus that arrived, just as I made it out of the rain and into the bus shelter. It took about 20 minutes before it dawned on me that I had jumped on the wrong bus.

For those of you reading this in Barbados or Equatorial Guinea it may be difficult to understand, but this British ‘summer’ has been very, very wet. When it should be, well, what we like to call barbeque weather. I like to call myself an all weather cyclist. Actually, I’m fast becoming a no weather cyclist. I have been driven away from doing the one thing that best promotes my good mental health. And it’s been going on for a while now. I volunteered to help marshal the London to Brighton sponsored bike ride (a life – changing 60 mile event that I rode 10 times in 11 years between 2001 – 20011.) Came the day, and I just didn’t show up. I knew that they were short of volunteers, and I still stayed away. I’ve volunteered a couple of times to make sure riders don’t take a wrong turning, calling out encouragement to the most ragged looking of the trailing pack. But not turning up this time round didn’t so much as create a ripple on the calm waters of my conscience. That afternoon I found myself in the passenger seat of my wife’s car going for drive in the countryside. A drive? This something we never do. We had to change our route. A couple of roads were closed …. to allow for the sponsored bike ride that I had ridden 10 times in 11 years, and that day had not bothered to help organise.

Amid all the fanfare of my going back to work this week after 4 weeks off sick with depression, catching the wrong bus yesterday reminded me just how far in the wrong direction I have allowed myself to stray these past few weeks. It feels like I am in such a poor state that I can’t even get it right when I am recognising that I can’t do the things that are good for me, that I love. Yes, that’s cycling I’m talking about. It’s like my psychiatrist increasing my dose of Quetiapine (a mood stabiliser) as he did a few weeks ago, and my not swallowing the extra pills. Actually, I have been taking the extra pills. I’m treating them like they’re working. If not chemically, then mentally, at least. If you think this post is rambling and drooling, you might just be right.

Today I took another bus. This time I checked and checked again, that it was the correct bus before getting on. Little did I know there was a diversion. After a while I looked out of the window and I saw unfamiliar sights. The wrong bus … again! I staggered to the front and sked the driver. He told me about the diversion, and that, yes, this was the bus I wanted.

I haven’t cycled – even a short trip in and out of town – for a few days now. But today, despite everything that I am going through, I did take the right bus.



Let me do my work each day;

and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me,

may I not forget the strength that comforted me

in the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours

that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood,

or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river,

when a light glowed within me,

and I promised my early God to have courage

amid the tempests of the changing years.


Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments.

May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.

Though the world knows me not,

may my thoughts and actions be such

as shall keep me friendly with myself.


Lift up my eyes from the earth,

and let me not forget the uses of the stars.

Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.


Let me not follow the clamour of the world,

but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;

and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.


And though age and infirmity overtake me,

and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,

teach me still to be thankful for life,

and for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet;

and may the evening’s twilight find me gentle still.

Max Ehrmann (1872 – 1945)







Runaway Brain

So I took my meds. Adderall on board. Now I am jumpy and my brain seems a little jittery. Rather than a dozen racing thoughts, I am down to a couple. And I desperately want to go with them. Start organizing this place. Get my shit together.

Yet depressive inertia, and the general inability to plot plans of attack that comes with depression, hinder me. Leading to frustration followed by self loathing followed by I AM A LOST CAUSE, WHY CAN’T I JUST DIE ALREADY.

Of course, I mash these thoughts down with my metaphoric Z-whacker because I know depression is a fucking pathological liar.

I just don’t get it. Why the Adderall makes me feel this way whereas the Focalin did not. It’s not fair to be forced to take a med that is less effective due to some prescription insurance rigamorole. They are hindering my progress with their stupid rules.

Spook has three friends over, they are outside and very loud. Last night, there was a confrontation in which K’s mom came down here and went off about how the girls won’t let her son ride his bike by our house without yelling at him and starting shit. I happened to agree with her.God knows how many times I have told the kids to stay in the yard, and just ignore the boys, even if they are yelling at them. Of course, I’ve said the same to her son who just eggs the girls on. “Don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit” is a good motto. I apologized on behalf of my kid and the mom said Spook’s not as bad as the devil girls and she’s going to have a talk with their parents because “I’m a grown ass woman, I don’t have time for this shit.”

I found her gruff attitude off putting. Like her kid is the crown prince. I watched him throw rocks at my car, at the girls, then when I called him on it, he said, no he didn’t do. Blatant lie as I saw it with my own eyes. FFS. The devil girls fuck up everything. And I really don’t appreciate all these neighbors who think they are so “grown ass” and “have no time” to deal with normal kid bickering. This is my daily life. I guess they think I have the time, am not a grown ass woman, and Lurrrve dealing with this shit every day.

I had zero clue the most stressful part of parenting would be handling my kid’s social life.

So round and round it all goes in my brain, in spite of a xanax chaser. It may just be a couple of stampeding horses/thoughts, but it sucks just the same. I will tell the doc tomorrow but courtesy of asshole insurance, I doubt it will do any good.

I found a guy to haul off the red death trap tomorrow. He’s giving $75 for it and my dad wants me to hand it all over to him because they are in such dire straights. Whatevs, fair enough. Fucking tires are worth more than that. And I asked R if he’d make ten minutes tonight to yank the Pioneer stereo out and he said, “I can try.” Which usually means he’s too busy or doesn’t care so don’t hold my fucking breath.

I can’t get interested in any shows. I finished off Wayward Pines (to date) and it’s fucking creepy. I am gonna see if the library will order the books. I guess after a binge watch, I get restless and have trouble finding something to get interested in. Also…If you watch 2,3,4,5 seasons of a show…the characters start to feel so familiar and when it’s all over…you miss them. It’s not losing grasp on reality, it’s just…parting is but sweet sorrow or some shit.

I am gonna take Spook to mom’s in a couple of hours. Which will make all the extraneous kids go away. I have so many things I’d like to accomplish. I want to organize things, haul things to the shed. But of course, that is hindered as I am down to my last trash bag and have no boxes or storage thingies. I’ll probably do dishes then stare at the unfolded laundry, feel shitty, and still do nothing about it. I swear it isn’t laziness, it isn’t lack of desire.

In the immortal words of the band Helloween…”I want out.”

Get me off this runaway brain ride from hell.

My Brain Hurts!

“What ‘real artists’ have is courage.  Not enormous gobs of it.  Just enough for today.  Creativity, like breathing, always comes down to the question, “Are you doing it now?”  The awful truth is that there is always one small creative act for which we can find the courage.  As with housework, there is always something, and all the little somethings add up, over time, to a flow.  Courage, after all is a matter of heart, and hearts do their work one beat at a time.” — Julia Cameron in The Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart

Blogging is so incestuous.  I read David Kanigan’s post from Monday, and knew I had something to say about courage, comfort zones and whacking the scales off our sclerotic dendrites.  At least I thought I did.  Or I wanted to think about those things.  Or my ego wanted to jump up and down screaming about them.  In public.


I feel pretty brave.  Except when I don’t.  Driving out to Artfest in Washington this spring didn’t feel particularly brave.  Except when I got home and spent the next two months rapid cycling and ducking from my brain’s suicidal dodge balls.  Latching onto art journaling to keep from getting hammered by red rubber didn’t seem brave, just a case of self defense.  It never occurred to me that drawing and painting when I used to be too scared to do either might be stripping some of the cholesterol off my craft.

What really felt brave was buying The Hollow Crown and sitting down to over eight hours of Shakespeare.  It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so dumb.  I listened to the pretty words, knew they were an old form of English, but couldn’t connect them.  I could feel my brain straining, flabby gray-matter-muscles forced to climb a junior high fitness test rope.

Oh, but, the music of the language!  That was the liniment for my bruised brain.  Plus, Great Performances emptied out The Royal Shakespearian Theater to cast these four plays, so all the British actors I adore speak this unintelligible music.

Whose Superpower is Britishness

I take comfort that I’ve never read Richard II, Henry IV (either Part One or Part Two) or Henry V.  I have no bits of them embedded in my hind brain next to the passages of Romeo and Juliet Mrs. Christensen made us memorize in ninth grade.

And, yet, it feels brave to be dumb, to be a Monty Python Gumby shouting, “My brain hurts!”

Sometimes, being brave means finding the right anesthesia.  Sometimes it’s embracing my full-out Gumby-ness.  Either way, my art benefits.

And now for something completely different.

Survival is not Enough – Throwback

. This throwback was originally posted on December 9, 2013 Survival is not Enough Maurice and I drove home from a funeral on Friday when the old Gloria Gaynor classic came on, “I Will Survive.” For those who don’t know, this song is considered to be a gay national anthem and one of my personal […]

The post Survival is not Enough – Throwback appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Status Update

SNAFU. I think that sums it up…..I want to be this bird and fly away.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Waiting. Get Me Out of Here.

I’m sitting in my endocrinologist’s office, and I just lied to the nurse.  I don’t know exactly why, but I know that doctors’ offices make me all jumpy and nervous.  Then I do stupid things like lie, when that really defeats the purpose of going to the doctor in the first place.

This room is so….white.  Why do medical offices have to be aggressively white?  I understand that they’re supposed to look sterile, but they end up looking stark and scary.  I’m in an albino room.  It’s not natural.  There’s a slightly peach model of a swollen thyroid on the counter, but I’m trying not to look at it.  It’s disgusting.

I’m here to get a checkup on my brain tumor, and you would think that after nine years of various endocrinologists, this process would be old hat.  Nope.  Always scary.  It doesn’t help when the receptionists are extremely mean, the other patients look just as scared as I am, and the only friendly person around is the lady on the waiting room TV smiling while she talks about genital yeast infections.

If I ever ruled the world, I would make the word “genital” an expletive.  It’s so clinical and just…ew, but the lady on the TV was awfully cherry about it.  Why can’t they show something nice and calming on a waiting room TV?  Or stand-up comedy? THAT’S a great idea.  Let people laugh so they won’t cry.  Instead, we have to watch creepy health shows.  Or we can read totally obscure magazines like Osteoporosis and You.

I lied to the nurse when she asked if I’ve been feeling down or depressed at all in the past two weeks.  I immediately said no, which was dumb because just yesterday I told Andy that I was scared I might be falling into depression again.  It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but maybe it’s not depression.  It was probably just a couple of lethargic and down weeks, and I’m sure I’ll perk up any day now!  I’m sure that’s it. Plus, whenever anyone asks how I’m doing, I automatically say fine.  Either it’s true or it’s probably about to be true.  I don’t like the weird and scared looks I get if I admit that I’m not doing well.  Plus, depression is a psychiatric issue, not an endocrine one, right?  I mean, RIGHT?

Fine.  I should have told the truth.  I’ll tell the doctor if he ever actually decides to come in here.  The nurse also asked if I have ever smoked, and I immediately said no to that one too.  That’s because she obviously meant “smoked as a habit, and not for less than a week while you were in Korea being stupid.” Korea’s like Vegas, and what happens there stays there.  Something like that.

The doctor is still not here, so I will take this opportunity to tell you about the meanie receptionists.  The first receptionist totally ignored me when I got here.  I stood there in front of her window awkwardly for a minute until she finally snapped, “Can I HELP you?” in a way that meant that was the last thing on earth that she wanted to do.  I said I was here to see Dr. H.  She rolled her eyes and said, “then you need to check in with the endocrine center.” I think it took all of her willpower not to add “duh” at the end of that.  I looked up at the glass window that clearly said “Endocrine Center.”  There was another lady sitting to the right of that sign, but there was no partition between the lady I was talking to and the lady I apparently needed to talk to.  They could have shaken hands.  I’m sure they’ve borrowed pencils from other.  Yet CLEARLY I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN to talk to the lady on the right instead of the left.  Oops.

I finally talked to the correct lady, and she was wearing a pin that said “Miracles happen!” I’m pretty sure she meant that to be encouraging, but I found it annoying.  For those of us on my side of the counter, no miracles have happened.  We’re there because we still have our tumors, our diabetes, our whatevers, and the trite encouragement from a piece of plastic felt less than genuine.

I have to go to the bathroom.  What if you have to go to the bathroom while in a doctor’s office?  I’d better hold it.  I don’t want them to think I left.  The nurse outside my door is calling patients and saying things such as, “Hi, is this Jane Smith?  Hi, I’m calling to give you the new dosage of ______ drug that you’re taking.  Take two tablets once a day with meals, okay?  Okay.”

I can clearly hear all of this from my room.  I could type you a list of a bunch of local residents and the drugs they’re on.  Isn’t this some sort of HIPAA issue?  It seems like it to me, but hey – I’m no doctor.  I’m the invisible patient with a brain tumor.  Don’t mind me.

So here I am, an hour and a half after my scheduled appointment time, chilling out in an albino room with a plastic inflamed thyroid and feeling bad about lying to the nurse.  I really have to go to the bathroom.  I’ve spent hours more pointless ways than this…probably.  I’m struggling to think of one at the moment, but I’m sure it’s happened.

Doctor’s here.  Gotta go.

BpHope Post #8

Ready. Set. Sail! Hey everyone. Just saw my pdoc and got my meds upped. Feeling really low. Lots of high levels of anxiety… I sat in the car today, dressed up in my cute little pink skirt and black blouse. Hair and makeup done up. I parked it in the garage and closed myself inside.… More BpHope Post #8