Daily Archives: July 11, 2016

Free Fallin

Because I’m free! So the last week or so has put me in a bit of a free fall with my mood. I’m hesitant to declare things have made a turn for the worse officially. But I have had a handful of days over the last few weeks where my anxiety has been very bad. […]

When Life Is Difficult And Stigma Makes It Worse

Ready. Set. Sail! In my mind, the worst part of having bipolar disorder is the sense that you can’t accomplish anything. It’s that awful feeling when you make all these wonderful goals and tell yourself that you are going to be productive only to have anxiety and depression swallow you whole. Then you realize the… More When Life Is Difficult And Stigma Makes It Worse

On HuffPost, “56 Today!” :-)


June 30th, the day the calendar year ends, the day contracts expire, the fiscal year ends… that is the day I made my appearance into this world! This June 30th was my 56th birthday and an idea popped into my head: I’m going to get a photo shoot done on my birthday. And I did. My friend and amazing photographer Jesse Lane Sparrow (artsbysparrow@gmail.com) and I went to the Yew Dell Botanical Gardens (http://www.yewdellgardens.org/main-page.html). I took two dresses with me, and put on the floral one and off we went in search of beautiful vistas in which to take the pictures. And we found many. This is a beautiful place, it was my first time there, but surely not my last. I celebrate my age with these pictures. This is the youngest I will ever be and I am enjoying it. And I tell myself that we are beautiful, no matter what our age. In our teens and twenties, we had the beauty of a freshly blooming rose. In our 30’s and 40’s, we were like the old fashioned cabbage roses. And now in our 50’s, we continue blooming. We are so fortunate to be alive, vibrant, beautiful, and full of wisdom. Having lived 56 years, and having gone through many burdensome and sad things, I feel I have matured and become wise, although I still have a very young spirit. I feel the freedom from many things that comes with age, freedom from obsessing about my looks, my weight, being “popular,” and freedom from having to prove myself.

And the take home message here is:

Ladies, own your beauty! No matter what age you are, as we live healthier and take better care of ourselves, age, truly is only a number! Be proud of your age. As witty and wonderful as Oscar Wilde was, this quote from one of his plays seems quite outdated now: “One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would do that would tell anything.” Ha! Yes, and what of it! We will tell our age, and we will tell anything else that we want to. Like our ideas about life, longevity, beauty, family and all things important to us!

PS: I love Maleficent, don’t you?

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I learned a new word about a month ago: neurodivergent.

Some of you may have heard it before and know what it means.  For those who don’t the following  is from Wikipedia:  “This portmanteau of neurological and divergent originated in the late 1990’s as a challenge to prevailing views of neurological diversity as inherently pathological, instead asserting that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as a social category on par with gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability status.”

In other words, I’m no longer mentally ill.  I’m neurodivergent instead.

The article goes on to note that the term is controversial, with two opinions basically shaping the debate–one side that believes that bipolar disorder, autism, etc. are mental diseases that should be treated as such, and another that believes that people with these conditions are merely variations of normal human behavior and should be protected from those who would force them to behave differently or “conform to a clinical ideal”. There is even a part of their platform that actively advocates what is called an anti-cure perspective.

In other words, accept them, accommodate them, but don’t cure them.

I can’t think of a position more damaging to the mentally ill than this one.  Don’t work for a cure?  What kind of talk is this?

I’ll say this much for the record as far as I can tell.  I have been manic.  I have been depressed.  I have on occasion been normal without psychotropic medications. I will take normal any day of the week over manic, mixed, depressed or any other variation. I don’t need the PC police coming along and telling me I’m normal when I’m not and that I should simply learn to embrace my differentness.   I cannot do so.  I  will not do so. I will fight bipolar disorder with every tool in my arsenal, including medication in whatever form they give it to me.  I will be educated about my disorder and will fight for my rights as a patient to have my disorder treated on a par with heart disease and diabetes.  I feel this “neurodivergent  ” viewpoint I just as damaging as criminalizing mental illness.  It’s too much of a pendulum swing.

After decades of fighting to get a treatment model instead of a punishment model, along comes what is essentially a license to ignore the needs of the mentally ill once again, this time by normalizing their behavior.  I’m sorry.  This movement is wrongheaded and damaging, no matter how well-intentioned they are.


Change of Plans

When you have chronic illness and a low immune system you always have to be prepared to not be able to follow through with plans no matter how well you tried to account for every situation. I was all set … Continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up July 11, 2016

Mood Not too much to say about my mood. Overall I’m still doing great. I had a few bouts with depression last week, but I think they were more related to the heat and being tired. You may recall that I made a commitment to walk five miles to the library each day. This allows […]

The post Weekly Wrap-Up July 11, 2016 appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Eye Twitches and Crazy Mail


Me being a not-morning-person

My body has continued to make sure that I understand fully that I might not be outwardly stressed, but inwardly is — my right eye has been twitching as if it were trying to take flight for days now, and I developed a huge fever blister. Thanks body, here I am trying to take the high road on something causing me anxiety, and you make me out to be a liar! Hrmph! Having said that, I decided to quit waiting for Instagram to actually engage in customer service, and set up a new account. I think the only one of y’all following it was Laura, but if any of y’all are bored enough to want to see pictures of me, my kids, and crap on my desk, you’re welcome to come join the party!

Anxiety aside, I’ve been doing really well. I’m relieved that the current medicine combination continues to do such a good job of keeping my bipolar in line. I feel pretty solid, you know? And it’s been long enough since the current combination was put into play that I, for the most part, have kind of mentally blocked/forgotten what ‘normal’ felt like. I prefer this normal, yanno? The normal that has me smiling and laughing and being involved in my family’s life (or as much as crippling chronic fatigue will let me be). Naw, my only complaint on that front is that I still have no idea when I’m going to see my psych next, but I’m not complaining at this second because it means that it’s increasingly less likely that the letter is going to come inviting me to attend while I’m on vacation!

Wait, was was the crazy mail then?!

Now, the crazy mail was unexpected goodness. Even if it didn’t have its usual private and confidential across it, I just knew it was a letter from the mental health ward. To my massive surprise and pleasure, it was a copy of a letter from Dr. K to my GP (Dr. N) asking him to get on the ball with my ADHD referral. I got myself excited and misread it as saying that she’d organised the funding as well, but still. It’s amazing to see that she’s working so hard to push this through me. Yeah, I know that she said she was going to do just that, but it’s still edifying to have the proof in your hands. It’s still not a pinned down, confirmed and paid for referral, but it means a lot to me that someone is out there trying to help me improve my quality of life in more ways than one.

Anyhoos, it’s Monday, and that’s my ‘day off’, so I am going to get back to zoning out while the littlest has her nap. Hope all of y’all out there are doing well.



Beating Mental Illness

How do you beat a mental illness?

There are many different ways to overcome a mental illness.  In my view my greatest victory came when I was no longer absorbed with my diagnosis and everything that negatively resulted because of it.

This meant I had many months and years of healing.  I grieved for my losses and gave thanks for all my gains.  But I had to face each one of these challenges, give it a name and work to overcome it.  I delved deep into every emotion I felt.  I challenged myself to be okay with the disappointments.  I gave in to not worrying about changing the past.

I learned every single thing I could about bipolar disorder.  I needed to know my enemy to beat my enemy.  Because I don’t perceive anything positive about having an illness.  I don’t like mania because I lose my good judgment.  I abore depression and can find no positive aspect about living with it.  Unlike some people who believe their illness is a part of them I refuse to embrace it.  I fight for wellness.  I manage bipolar disorder to the point where I rarely have any symptoms.

How do you win?

Winning in life is a personal definition.  We all have our own views as to what that looks like.  When it comes to mental illness I define winning as equivalent to recover.  So if I recover I win!

I have recovered and continue to recover. Each and every experience has moved me closer and closer to living the life I have created for myself.

I wanted to be a mental health advocate and that is what I have become.  I wanted to speak about recovery and I will be giving a keynote speech in November.  I wanted to be more involved in the community and now I am on two non-profit boards.

I am winning because I have chosen to fight.  I deal with the naysayers who want to keep me stuck in a nice and neat bipolar box.  But I refuse to be pigeonholed in that way.  I have broken through to a new frontier where I can finally look at myself and all of my experiences.  Much bigger than only a mental illness diagnosis.

I am winning by putting my life back together.  What was once rich and fulfilling before bipolar disorder has now returned to that level of enjoyment.  Rebuilding life means I am actively engaged in creating my own masterpiece.  I am not allowing others to paint a picture of how they think my life should look.  I truly enjoy beating the odds and defying all the negativity that can come from having a mental illness.

In short here is what it takes to beat mental illness:

#1-Information and education

#2-Providers who will listen and work with you

#3-A fighting spirit

#4- Live authentically

#5-A vision for recovery

#6-A dose of healing potion to deal with the past

#7- Refuse to settle for less than you deserve

You beat mental illness by facing it toe to toe and never giving up the battle.  Fight. “Never give up.  Never give in.  Never never never.” ~Winston Churchill


Standing at the top
My knees suddenly buckle
All the certainty and hope
It flows from me in salty tears
I know, suddenly, what is happening
I am losing my peace,
And as quickly as it had come
It is leaving me again

I lie crumpled, wrinkled at the highest peak
And slowly feel my body tip over the edge
It starts at a slow tumble
But my bones are all broken
And my head is not attached
The laws of physics take over
I roll more and more quickly down the slope

Midway, my body meets a patch of thorny branches
And I am punctured, deflated further
Now an unrecognizable rag roll
Toppling down from a height she did not appreciate
Nearly as much as she should have,
Especially knowing this exact fall from grace
Was bound to happen, as it always does.

Filed under: shorts Tagged: anxiety, Bipolar, cycle, depression, episode, mental-health, regret