Daily Archives: July 19, 2016

Things Are Hard Right Now

I’m very depressed. I miss my family very much. My SiL doesn’t have time for me right now because she is too busy dating. I completely understand but miss our weekly hang outs.

I haven’t been smoking any weed which makes everything feel so much harder. I like to be numb. I like to experience laughter. You know good things.

I’ve had a lot of feelings about hurting myself.  I just want the depression to end. I would like to have some focus in my life. I’m so very tired.

My husband is concerned for me and has been staying home. He doesn’t know where my brain has been going. He fears for me when I am this depressed though. He is a good kind man. So I will not hurt myself and if I can’t fight the feelings I will ask for help.

I wish I could describe this.  it’s so painful. My brain can’t focus very well right now either though.

Medicated Mix-Ups

If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I loathe using the phone. Undiagnosed/untreated ADHD don’t go well with trying to focus on a crackly voice down a tube with no facial or hand gestures to help parse what’s being said, so it’s a huge anxiety-causing thing. Hell, even thinking about using the phone pushes my anxiety levels beyond the point of reason, and writing about it is making my heart flutter slightly.

So of course, and I’m not sure why, but half of my meds are suddenly screwed up. My Depakote got doubled based on the last letter from my psychiatrist (which I managed to get fixed for at least this month), while my Zoloft has apparently been halved when I go online to order my prescriptions (despite the fact the right dose was on the selfsame letter). Two out of three ain’t bad, most people usually say, but it’s rather the opposite in this case.

The phone comes in because I probably, likely, am going to need to call Dr. K to get her to sort this out officially. I could potentially ask my friend who works at my doctor’s office to fix it for me, but I don’t want her to get in trouble for helping either. It would be one thing if I hadn’t gotten a call from Dr. A at the surgery harping about the Depakote, but he did, so my paranoia is turned right up when it comes to getting my friend in trouble. Even if asking her would be the easiest thing for me because oh hey, no phones. At least Dr. K is awesome insomuch that I can drop call her and she’ll call me back,but still, still…

Anyways, writing this in the hopes it will spurn me on to call tomorrow and ask her to contact Dr. A or Dr. N about it so it’ll be right before we go on vacation at the end of the month. Otherwise, I’m going to be running short of my Zoloft and that would never do.

Hope y’all are well out there. And preferably, not on fire; it’s roasting here in the UK.


PS — I have a couple of other blogs that I do, and one of them I’m trying to get into the habit of doing as a daily with opinions and life and whatnot. You can find that one at Raeyn[Dot]Com. T’other is at the domain this used to be on, Digitalglitch. That one is crafts and hobbies, and I really need to do an update there as well!

Struggling but better


Woke up and felt very weak. Wondering if this is a side effect of something or I am just feeling pretty bad. I HAVE to get going and get a room picked up here at home for the company coming. Fortunately, all the kids and husband volunteered to help so we’ll get it done.

This is great company…they love to run around and entertain themselves. They also love to eat out so I won’t have to do lots of cooking in this heat.

Thank you to all who were so encouraging last week. Much love to you all.

Good news: I got up and did some cleaning. I feel better. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.


Well, all hell has broken loose around here. My 22 YO got in a verbal dispute with my husband and he has moved in with a friend. This fight was all over pot.

Now I don’t love drugs or pot, but pot doesn’t get me that upset unless it consumes someone’s life. However, my husband is a pot freak. He is extremely anti-drug. Which frankly is his business and his right. So my son, who is getting an allowance from my husband turns out to be using some of this money for pot. (My son did not get a job this summer.) So of course, my husband really yelled about it. My son gave him a bunch of backtalk about how narrow minded we were and it wound up with Danny moving over to a friend’s house. My husband gave him his phone, but not his (our) car. Danny also announced he is dropping out of college to pursue a career in music. (eyeball roll).

I have to tell you that I am not that upset. It is a relief to have him gone. That might seem kind of cold, but he didn’t lift one finger around the house and he was so rude to me. I put up with it in order to keep him in school. But it was wearing me out.

So he is living with a friend (who knows how long that mom will let him stay?) He has $120 my husband gave him, no car, and no job.

My older two kids living here are greatly relieved also, as Danny was rude to them.

So we have company coming. But really it’s better he has left as there will be no fighting.

I grew up in a home with endless violence and I hate that here. We’ve never had physical problems but a couple times a year we’ll get in a shouting match with each other. It’s generally pretty peaceful.

My mood is surprisingly better…I got up and took a shower, did some sewing, and cleaned up a bit.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.


So far I feel GREAT! Definitely elevated. I’m trying to decide if it’s the fact that Danny has moved out or if it is the change to Welbutrin. My husband says it is probably a combination of both.

All I have to do today is go to my CBT therapist and then on to a dinner group with some friends. We are bringing a store bought carrot cake, so no work.

So I talked to my regular therapist about Danny. He has decided he wants the car. But the car was part of the deal of going to school. My therapist suggested that we come up with a few different scenarios and then meet with Danny Monday or Tuesday to see what he wants to do. I like the idea of letting everyone cool off.


Well, I took the weekend off of writing here….lots of stuff going on real life. Saturday was the big tea I hosted.

It went fabulous! Everyone showed up and everyone sort of wandered in and sat down next to appropriate people. The food and tea were really good. One of the ladies was on a gluten free diet and they made her her own little tier of food, so that worked out. I got a lot of compliments on everything and had a pretty good time. I wasn’t too tired at all. I am glad my therapists said to give it a try and host the event.

Sunday I just sort of laid around and ditched church. I was pretty tired from the big tea. I need to get my butt to church on a more regular basis. I’d like to go something like every 3 out of 4 weeks. We are pretty much doing that now although we are traveling for a couple of weeks and will miss some. I also entertained our company, although they have been a pleasure. They’ve been running around so much and seeing people they know in town…it has been an easy visit.

I forgot to mention I went to a casual dinner party on Friday night. I was a good sport and stayed a while extra and helped rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher. Usually I am too tired to help.

My middle son has a girlfriend and he asked me to go with him to pick out a bracelet for her birthday. I was really flattered that he trusted me.

So today we are meeting with Danny and giving him some options of life. We’re meeting him at a casual restaurant…hoping this will keep everyone calm. Per my therapist, we have written out some options for him, including going back to school and not…and just working and supporting himself. I let you know tomorrow how it went…I am a bit nervous. But if he acts angry or rude, I am out of there and he can totally live his own life for a while till he grows up.


Just got the company off to the airport. The visit was really a success….everyone all got along and I am not unconscious from exhaustion. My daughter flew back with them to spend a week. It’s going to be quiet around here.

We met with Danny. Everyone was very calm. We are basically at an impasse….he wants the car and we want him to finish college. He moped around and acted pretty depressed over not the getting the car but, hey. He can buy his own car. His new immediate goal is to be a Wal-Mart cashier. This is from the same kid who told us he wants something slow paced….lol. I just hope Wal-Mart is ready for him.

I think there is a small chance Danny will go back to school. He still has 3-4 weeks to decide. At least he got his associate’s degree at community college….that looks good on his applications to Burger King.

Got the news that my brother-in-law is fighting prostate cancer. He seems pretty calm about it. He has to go through quite a few radiation treatments. I told my husband to get on a plane and go spend some time with his brother. Men!

Hugs to you all,








Finger Mouse, Albert the Bear, & the Angel Men

2015-03-14 08.46.08

Some fiction for your inner child

Finger Mouse was bored. That was partly because he wasn’t really Finger Mouse, but a bit of pink felt which Sarah’s gran had stitched together, when Sarah was five. The little girl loved Finger Mouse almost as much as she loved fish fingers, and custard, and her gran, and granddad.

That was 30 years ago, and pink felt Finger Mouse – or Brian, as he preferred to be called – had spent most of the last two decades lying at the bottom of Sarah’s sock drawer, up til the point when Sarah moved house, and re-discovered him. He then had a short but traumatic trip round Sarah’s washing machine, on the “delicate” cycle. Along for the ride were a pair of red woollen mittens – complete with attaching string – and a matching scarf which Sarah’s gran had made, and a small, red teddy called Albert after Sarah’s beloved granddad, which she’d won on a grabber at Scarborough, when she was six.

Not pink, not felt. Will never rat on you.

Not pink, not felt. Will never rat on you.

Brian Finger-Mouse had turned a dusty, rusty pink with the passing years. He emerged from the washer a lighter rose colour. He was also swearing, although only Albert, and the mittens, and the scarf, could hear him.

“Really, Brian!” said Albert. “Is there any call for that sort of language?”

The teddy went to Oxford with Sarah, and sometimes acted as though it was him, and not Sarah, who had a first in English Literature, and poetry.

The scarf and mittens didn’t say anything. Being clothing, they accepted the rinse, and spin cycles as their fate, like the small woollen accessories they were.

“Shut yer gob, Albert,” said Brian. “Just because you went to uni is no excuse to be so up yer plush little arse – which, by the way, isn’t so plush any more.”

As soon as he said it, Brian regretted it. There is a crucial – if unwritten, given most toys are illiterate – rule which says that one toy should never mention the main signs of plaything ageing: missing limbs, fading, and thread-bare plush.

Aging is okay, when you're a castle.

Aging is okay, when you’re a castle: Conisbrough, Autumn 2015

Albert hadn’t been designed to be a favourite cuddly toy, let alone someone’s lucky mascot. The cheap little bear blinked back tears, so rapidly that only another toy, or a small child, could see. Then he held up his right paw, which Brian recognised as the universally known toy equivalent of holding up two fingers.

The mittens, and the scarf, didn’t say anything. They never did.

Brian, of course, swore. He’d learned from the original Albert, Sarah’s grandfather, who’d been a sailor with the merchant navy. “Incomer,” he added, just to get Albert’s imaginary blood boiling. The felt mouse never forgot that he, Brian, was Sarah’s favourite long before Albert arrived.

“Felthead,” Albert replied.

The mittens were shocked. Even they knew that under toy rules, referring to someone’s materials in any but the most complimentary of fashions is strictly out of bounds.

Now, now, they would have said, but didn’t, because they were only mittens.

The bear, the mouse, the mittens, and the scarf then achieved a kind of solidarity when, once removed from the wash basket, they were pegged out on the line.

“What the Niflheim is that?” exclaimed Albert, as he swung in the breeze, and gaped at the shiny blue above him.

The mittens, Brian, and even the scarf were all swearing – the mittens and the scarf at the shock of being outside in warm weather. Warm, I ask you! And String protect us! The mittens might have said to each other, if they could speak. It’s unnatural, all this bloody warmth, the scarf would have replied, if it, too, could talk.

Even Doncaster is sunny sometimes

Even Doncaster is sunny sometimes

Brian could speak, at a level which all of them – Albert, the mittens, the scarf, plus the little boy who was playing in the next garden – could hear.

“Must you, Brian?” the bear asked, even as he flinched at the sight of the sun, and from the pain in his ears, each of which were attached to a clothes peg.

“Yes I bloody must, so put a zipper in it, Al,” Brian the finger mouse retorted. Being short, light, and compact, he wasn’t blowing around as much as the others. He was feeling light-headed, as Sarah’s sister Wendy – who was doing a bit around the house in exchange for some baby sitting – had pegged him by his bottom.

Brian looks like a triangle – pass it on, one of the mittens tittered to the other.

The mitten didn’t pass it on, though, being mittens.

“What is to become of me?” Albert moaned. “The shining, the blue, what could it mean?”

“It means you’re on a washing line, you red plush doofus,” Brian replied. “That shiny thing? That’s the sun. The blue? That’s the sky. Now remind me, which one of us has a first from Oxford?”

Dreaming spires, York, 2015

Dreaming spires, York, 2015

The sun? The sky?”

“It’s been awhile, eh, Al?”

Albert nearly fell at the sound of sympathy from his old rival. He didn’t fall, though, as he was still hanging from a washing line.

“What’s that green stuff below me?” Albert asked nervously.

“It’s grass.”

This was a new voice: high like Sarah’s, and Wendy’s. Almost, but not quite as high pitched as young Sarah’s had been.

“Who said that?” asked Albert, and “What the -?” swore Brian.

Jeepers, the mittens thought, and Crikey, the scarf agreed, silently.

Portrait of the Mittens with a Middle-Aged Author. Plus a Dalek.

Portrait of the Mittens with a Middle-Aged Author. Plus a Dalek.

Brian looked in the direction of the voice with his closest eye – a black bead badly in need of restitching – then exclaimed, softly, “It’s a little lad!”

“Where?” Albert asked.

“He’s behind you,” said Brian, who had been to several pantos with Sarah, when she was between 7 and 8 years old.

Albert tried to turn his head, but he wasn’t jointed, and in any event, had been pegged with his back to the little boy.

A boy! The mittens and the scarf thought. I do hope he likes red.

“Do you like to play?” asked Albert.

“Don’t be a doofus,” said Brian. “He’s a child. Of course he likes to play. You do, don’t you?” the felt mouse added.

“I’m playing with my Angel men,” the boy said.

Angel in the snow, Hyde Park Cemetery, Doncaster

“He sees angels! It’s like William Blake reborn!” rejoiced Albert, whose fondness for poetry was legendary in the sock drawer, and the old toy box.

“What you on about, Al?” said Brian. “He said he was playing with angels, not seeing them in trees.”

“You read Blake!” Albert exclaimed. “Oh, Brian, how splendid! Think of the nights ahead, reading, ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ together. Oh, the fun we’ll have.”

“With a six year old?” Brian replied.

“I’m five,” the boy said. “Mummy says I’m big for my age. I go to big school soon. My name’s Jack, not William.”

“I’d shake hands, Jack, only I’m at a bit of a disadvantage,” said Albert.

Jack looked up at the little red bear, and the mittens, and the scarf.

“My favourite colour is red. What’s yours?”

“Red!” Albert said, and the mittens, and the scarf, agreed silently with him.

“How do you feel about pink?” asked Brian, trying to keep the desperation from his voice.

“You’re funny,” Jack said to the mouse puppet.

“Funny’s good, right?”


The boy’s face disappeared behind the wall which separated the two gardens.

“Come back!” said Brian, and “Dear boy!” exclaimed Albert, and Crumbs, thought the mittens, and the scarf.

A minute or so later, the boy climbed over the wall, and dropped down into Sarah’s garden.

“I stood on the trike,” said Jack, as he walked toward the wash line. “Mummy and Daddy said I can have a bike for Christmas. A red one.”

The child stood under the wash line, then jumped as high as he could.

“Ouch!” said Albert, as his ears came away, and he tumbled to the grass below, and “Oh for – !” Brian swore, as he too hit the ground.

Huzzah! thought the mittens, and the scarf.

“I have a sandpit,” said Jack. “Want to see it?”

Before any of them could reply, Albert and Brian went flying over the wall, and landed in the other garden.

“I’ll wear you,” Jack told the mittens, and the scarf, as he draped first the scarf, then the string, over his neck.

Huzzah! they thought, again.

“Just like old times, eh, Bri?” said Albert, as he picked himself up, and looked around the little boy’s garden. Brian could see Albert’s glass eyes glisten. He didn’t say anything, for he could feel his own black beads tearing up.

Albert was walking again. Slowly, carefully, the felt finger puppet hovered above the grass. He watched as his old friend turned his red plush head for the first time in nearly 30 years. Then he hovered across to the sandpit, where a little boy wearing a scarf and mittens around his neck was playing with some plastic angels, and a small, red bear.

Red bear at night, angel's delight

Red bear at night, angel’s delight

Tagged: childhood, fiction, Finger Mouse, mittens, poetry, short story, teddy bears, toys, William Blake

Anxiety Again

I’m gong back to my therapist early because I got all lined up to do some creative writing yesterday and got hit with another bout of major anxiety.  What if it’s no good?  What if no one likes it?  AM I wasting my time?  Why do I think I can write this story?  Etc. Etc. ON and On.

I thought I had writer’s block beaten.  I’m writing here every day, I’m writing for my classes and making all A’s on everything I turn in, I’m actually publishing things, and I sat down and completely freaked out. I had to take a Xanax to calm back down.  I wound up in bed watching the minutes tick by all afternoon while the youngest one cleaned her room.

It wasn’t generalized anxiety like last time.,  It was very specific with a specific locus in my writing.   So I’m gong to talk to her and see if I can’t find a way to wire around it.

Wish me luck.


Researchers Homing in on the Genetic Causes of Bipolar Disorder

They have found some rare genetic mutations that may be linked to bipolar disorder. They used next generation sequencing and sequenced millions of nucleotides from affected individuals. They looked at eight families with a history of bipolar disorder through several generations. The researchers used next-generation sequencing to examine the DNA of 36 of the family members. They sequenced 50 million nucleotides from each individual, however, before any conclusive results are gotten, they have to do this with several thousand more people. They are confident that new treatments for bipolar disorder will come out of this research. Amen and godspeed!


Scientists are comparing DNA from families with histories of bipolar disorder with the hope of better understanding what causes the mental illness.

genetics and bipolar

Researchers may be one step closer to identifying the genetic cause of bipolar disorder.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry has identified 84 potential inherited gene mutations that could contribute to the most severe forms of bipolar disorder.

 “We have known since the 1920s that the illness has a large inherited component to it. But in the last eight years we have uncovered particular genetic variations that play a role in setting bipolar disorder in motion,” Dr. James Potash, chair of psychiatry at the University of Iowa and co-author of the study, told Healthline. “These variations explain some of what is going on, but there is plenty still to discover.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), bipolar disorder affects 60 million people worldwide.

The disorder is characterized by “manic and depressive episodes separated by periods of normal mood.”

Manic episodes involve irritable or elevated moods, inflated self-esteem, overactivity, and a decreased need for sleep.

Data from the National Institute of Mental Health shows 2.6 percent, or approximately 5.7 million adults in the United States, are living with bipolar disorder.

Read more: Get the facts on bipolar disorder »

Searching for a cause

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown.

However, the Mayo Clinic says several factors may be involved. These include physical changes in the brain, an imbalance of naturally occurring brain chemicals, and inherited traits.

“If someone has bipolar disorder type I, the severe form of the illness, the odds that their child will have it are about 5 to 10 percent. That is 5 to 10 times the rate in the general population,” Potash said.

The study Potash was involved in looked at eight families with a history of bipolar disorder through several generations. The researchers used next-generation sequencing to examine the DNA of 36 of the family members.

“Next-generation sequencing is a way of combing through each of the chemical letters in DNA (called nucleotides) that spell out genes,” Potash explained. “In our study we went through about 50 million of these for each person we looked at. The idea is to look for misspellings that are present in people with bipolar disorder.”

Earlier studies examining the genetic cause of bipolar disorder focused on identifying common DNA changes that could only explain a small percentage of the risk for bipolar disorder.

This latest research, led by Dr. Fernando Goes of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, instead focused on identifying more rare genetic mutations that are less common, but may be linked to the more severe forms of bipolar disorder.

However, the researchers caution that the data is not yet strong enough to show a direct link between a specific mutation and bipolar disorder.

“One thing we learned is that it will take genetic data from at least several thousand more people with bipolar disorder to confirm that these rare mutations do in fact directly cause the disease,” Goes said in a press release. “We are working with the Bipolar Sequencing Consortium to gather more data and collaborators so we can definitively figure out causes.”

Read more: How to help someone with bipolar disorder »

New treatments possible

Researchers hope that identifying a genetic cause for bipolar disorder may pave the way for improvements in treatment and diagnosis.

“Many of the pieces of the puzzle of what may cause bipolar disorder are coming together,” Dr. Hilary Blumberg, director of the Mood Disorder Research Program at Yale University, said. “Putting these pieces together will help us to better understand the causes for bipolar disorder, find new ways to detect bipolar disorder earlier, and find new and more targeted treatment strategies.”

Potash is confident that researchers are getting closer to identifying the root cause of bipolar disorder after decades of research.

 This is a very exciting time because we have unprecedented tools that we can use to get to the bottom of what is going wrong in the DNA in bipolar disorder.
Dr. James Potash, University of Iowa
“Given that we as a field have been working on this problem for 100 years, you’d think we’d have gotten further. But if you realize that the human brain is the single most complex thing in the known universe, then you begin to see why progress has been slow,“ he said.

Advances in research methods and the advent of next-generation sequencing technology means scientists are able to examine DNA more quickly and cost effectively than was possible 10 years ago.

“This is a very exciting time because we have unprecedented tools that we can use to get to the bottom of what is going wrong in the DNA in bipolar disorder,” Potash said. “New treatments should emerge from these new insights. These are much needed as those we have now work for about two-thirds of people, but that leaves a lot of people suffering, and many who do not survive the onslaught of bipolar disorder.”

Bipolar Disorder Linked With Gene Expression in Unexpected Brain Region

Genes in the striatum have been implicated in bipolar disorder. This is a novel discovery, as research studies done previously had looked at cortical regions of the brain. The impulsivity and risk-taking behavior observed during manic episodes may stem from impaired reward processing and implicate the striatum as a possible region of dysfunction in bipolar disorder. Interesting finding. More research needs to be done which “may shed additional light on the role of specific molecular pathways and neuronal circuits in the etiology of BD, and provide new targets for the development of therapies,” the authors concluded.

http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/news/bd-linked-with-gene-expression-in-striatum/article/509719/New findings by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, reveal striatum-specific genetic associations with bipolar disorder.

An estimated 2.4% of people worldwide are estimated to have bipolar spectrum disorders, which are a significant cause of neuropsychiatric disability. The impulsive and risk-taking behavior observed during manic episodes may stem from impaired reward processing and implicate the striatum as a possible region of dysfunction in bipolar disorder (BD). Neuroimaging data reveal variations between BD subjects and controls in striatal volume, functional activity, and dopamine transporter availability. 

BD heritability estimates are high–between 59–85%, and if the striatum has a role in BD pathophysiology, relevant gene expression changes might be expected in this region. Before the current study, however, transcriptomic research using postmortem brain samples of people with BD has focused primarily on cortical regions.

The study published in Molecular Psychiatry is the first to report the transcriptome sequencing of postmortem striatum samples from individuals diagnosed with BD (n=18) and control individuals (n=17), and they also performed analyses with bioinformatics tools. Changes in expression were observed in 14 genes, and 8 of these were validated by qPCR. These included several immune system genes–LILRA4 and FCGBP, as well as NLRC5 and S100A12, which have been associated with BD and schizophrenia–and various non-protein coding genes.

Functional pathway analysis detected an “enrichment of upregulated genes across many immune/inflammation pathways and an enrichment of downregulated genes among oxidative phosphorylation pathways,” the authors reported. Twenty modules of highly interconnected genes were identified in co-expression network analysis, and 2 of the modules were enriched in BD susceptibility single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Notably, the module found to have the “highest genetic association signal for BD, which contained many genes from signaling pathways, was also enriched in markers characteristic of gene expression in dorsal striatum medium spiny neurons…,” they wrote.

The current results linking the striatum with BD etiology at the gene level are in line with research showing the same association at the anatomical level. In 2 functional imaging studies, for example, decreased activity was found in the dorsal striatum of individuals with BD during reward-related tasks.

The authors speculate that in some BD patients, genetic susceptibility affecting striatal MSN signaling, combined with chronic inflammatory stress, may impair striatal circuits and lead to some of the BD-associated behaviors.

These findings underline the potential importance of striatal signaling pathways in understanding BD pathophysiology. Future human and animal research on the topic “may shed additional light on the role of specific molecular pathways and neuronal circuits in the etiology of BD, and provide new targets for the development of therapies,” the authors concluded.