Daily Archives: September 23, 2016

Second Chances for Life

Idaho National Forest

Four years ago I almost lost my life because of untreated bipolar disorder.  During a manic and psychotic episode I drove 3300 miles until finally landing in the mountains, lost on foot in the Idaho National Forest.

In the middle of winter, after two days of surviving without a coat, socks or backpacking gear I was rescued by two people riding ATV’s.  I don’t think I would have survived the elements for one more day.  My only injury was dehydration and frostbite.

Because of my experience I am a person who feels very strongly about finding the right treatment regimen.  I am adamant that bipolar disorder left untreated can lead to unwanted and serious consequences.

But I can also say that it is imperative to find the right treatment team.  I was under the care of a physician and therapist at the time of my episode.  But I lost insight into my illness and then stopped all my medications.

For a very long time I blamed myself for what happened.  Then I realized that having bipolar disorder is not my fault.  Where I am accountable is making certain  I do the best job possible in managing my illness.

The first time anyone shed light on bipolar disorder signs and symptoms was in the hospital in Idaho.  I wish more treatment facilities would take the time to educate patients about their illness.  It made a world of difference to me.

This experience among others, has taught me not only about bipolar disorder but also about myself.  I learned that even in my most compromised state of mind I had the will to live.  I learned just how strong I have been.  I learned it was not my time to go.

With this second chance at life I want to make sure I help educate others about mental illness.  I want to help eliminate stigma because it dramatically affects all of us.

I also want to share I have recovered.  Even though I have been to a stage 4 mental illness I have gotten better.  I work.  Give talks.  Write.  Advocate.

No matter where you are in your struggle with mental illness, know you can get well.  It is a fight but it is possible.  I am living proof.

“Never underestimate your ability to make a difference in someone’s life.”


Sometimes I make New Year’s resolutions on my birthday.   I don’t know where I picked up the habit, but I do It occasionally.  Here are a few I’ve thought up yesterday:

Listen to more good music

Work on my writing every day

Eat if not less, then better

Stay awake more

Stay in touch with friends more

That’s a small start on a list.  I think it’s plenty to  work on in the coming year.  #herestofortysix


Tears, Tears, wherefor art thou tears?

Yesterday, our beloved cat Willow died. She was 6 and a half years old. She just got very skinny, wheezed a bit, and she was gone. I buried her and couldn’t even muster up a tear. Whereas last week, overrun by hormones, every tiny thing had me crying.

What the fuck is going on with me?

And as if my inability to cry on command doesn’t make me feel shitty enough, I can’t even find a recent pic of Willow because, right, my old laptop died and took everything with it. FFS.

I am so very frustrated with how topsy turvy it all is. And it doesn’t seem to get better. Yet sunshine gets spewed at me and my desire to Z Whack said spewers increases exponentially. DON’T tell me it will get better when obviously, it just gets worse for some of us. How about a supportive “sorry it sucks” as opposed to “Chin up, this is just a challenge, you’ll bounce back!”

What’s worse than the general anguish of bipolar and not being in control of your emotions?

Being medicated for bipolar to the point that you have NO emotions outside a hormonal shitstorm.

No wonder people think  I am either heartless or too mooshy. I have no middle ground. I either rage and cry, or I am numb.

Willow deserves a show of grief. She was my Gray Bitch. My Pillz-e.

Damn it.

And if anyone says “it’s just a cat” I will bash in a skull or ten.


Another minor medical crisis

I’ve been having a bad time with my eczema, and have made the doctor aware of this 3 weeks ago. I’m still fighting to get a new prescription, which I’ve been asking for for a week now, and without which I will go into adrenal crisis and definitely end up admitted to the hospital. I’m currently waiting for my GP’s office to open so I can ask them for a skin scraping test, which is only one of the hoops I need to jump through to get my goddamn refill. You’d think these were fun drugs, with all the shit I’m having to go through to get them, but they sure aren’t.

In any case, I’ve been in a constant state of abject terror for a week and a half now, partly from the nightmarishness of being in pain all the time, can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, etc., and partly from the fear of running out of pills, which don’t just help the skin, they actually keep me alive. I have enough for 2 more days. Hopefully, I can get an emergency appt with the GP and they will do this test (no idea if they do that there, or if it can come back the same day), then call the dermatologist and beg for a refill again. If I don’t get a refill, I will have no choice but to go to the ER over the weekend and get pumped full of painkillers and IV steroids. I’ve told them this. Everybody knows this. I don’t know why they can’t just give me the Rx and then have some tests, because I am tremendously stressed out. I know in the back of my mind that someone somewhere will do whatever to keep me from going into adrenal crisis, but I still get stressed out without the pills and I know it’s all been a lot harder than it should be. Considering the adrenal insufficiency, I feel like I should never, ever be this close to running out, for reasons of safety and because I lose my mind when it happens.

Redwood Baths & Bulletproof Coffee Keep Me Sane…Sort Of

fHenry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Fall Creek Unit, California photo courtesy of David Baselt   This post was originally four times as long, and it covered too many topics. Thankfully, I saw the literary light and I deleted most of it. Some folks might think that writing profusely about all sorts of things sounds rather manic; … Continue reading Redwood Baths & Bulletproof Coffee Keep Me Sane…Sort Of