I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by … Continue reading →
“Diagnosis: Mental Lite!” — Chapter 33 of David Leite’s self-deprecating Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression — reminded me of the two decades it took before I was diagnosed bipolar type 2. For twenty-five years Leite…
Oddly, my bipolar and binge eating symptoms hibernated while I was sick with bronchitis, sinus and ear infections (Can my body not multi-task? Is my brain too small to hold it all?), so the return of mixed-state depression/rage must mean the other stuff is on the way out. Yaay (?)
While being physically sick is no fun, the vacation from mental shit-storms and out of control compulsion is heavenly. It’s like being normal, only full of snot and really, really tired.
I’m still tired and semi-full of snot, but yesterday I rode sad anger back to bed and built a nest of portable projects around me to keep the yammering in my head at bay.
Henry and Emmett attended, but even they knew not to poke the bipolar bear who had no fucks left to give.
One of the hard things about coming back to my normal state of mental abnormality is that I’ve done so much cool art stuff these past two months. When I could barely breathe, I read a bit in Susan Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy about collecting words, then made Word Cookies out of old art magazines.
I carry them in this little bag that fits nicely in my purse, and offer them like Fortune Cookies to whomever I’m with (which has mostly been people at the drug store, my therapist’s staff, and a few civilians willing to chance my germs).
I’ve been brave about drawing in my journal.
And I created a spread that fell together like a story. Poor Tom Hiddleston, dumped by the harlot Taylor Swift, gave a heart-wrenching interview in February’s GQ that reminded me of Sting’s song Why Should I Cry For You? A little research gave me details I’d missed just listening to the song, like “under the Dog Star sail,” which refers to Sirius, and “north, northeast, the Stones of Faroe,” which led me to the tiny cluster of Faroe Islands off the coast of Iceland. I loved the metaphor of a broken-hearted sailor on the bleak, Arctic seas. And I loved pulling together all the elements for the collage.
The wall quilt I started before I got sick is turning into a fabric collage—a place to try new skills like painting and stenciling on fabric. Tearing apart my old art magazines for the Word Cookies, I found wonderful tips and examples. When I gave a fuck, the possibilities thrilled me.
The materials to make three new art journals came out of my cupboard. I finished two. The third now languishes on my table, waiting for the fucks to come back.
The Buckaroo Banzai journal
My favorite quote from the movie by evil Emilio Lazardo.
Art by Andrea Matus DeMeng
I took a class with Andrea at ArtFest.
One week in therapy, Megan and I looked at commitment, not just making commitments to others, but also keeping promises to myself. I realized that my longterm goal of writing a book to be published carried no joy for me anymore. In fact, working on it was often painful. Why was I doing this again? So people at my funeral could get a party favor? Morbid, bipolar-based reasoning.
I don’t have to prove myself a writer anymore, or leave something “of substance” behind. I can spend my life pleasuring myself with weird art that practically falls out of me, instead of grunting over tortured prose. So, I let that ancient goal go. There are, my friend Sue tells me, only so many fucks a person can give.
Yesterday, in my Nest of Apathy and Rage, I emailed Megan, just to whine. I knew, eventually, that the anger and depression would shift, but it was big and ugly yesterday. Even if I had none, I wanted someone to give a fuck.
Have I mentioned that my therapist is awesome. And funny. She wrote back later:
So I saw my psychiatrist and he upped my Klonopin and cut my Pristiq to see if we couldn’t get a handle on my symptoms. I see him again in two weeks to see how it’s working. I’ll be done with most of the stressful stuff by then so we will see how it goes. I feel like such a wimp not able to hold up under everything that’s happened, especially since it’s all been positive events–even the middle one’s car wreck. It was scary but she came out of it all right. I just can’t handle stress of any kind it seems. Good or bad.
I feel like going back to sleep but my middle one is home from school for good so I likely won’t go to bed this afternoon. I just need to get everything settled out and taken care of. We will see how it goes.
Daily Prompt – Panicked Wow, it has been ages since I have sat down to write a post and a lot has happened. We have booked the movers, the cleaners, and the telephone/cable/internet company. Our official move date is May … Continue reading →
It is not exactly official, but any therapist I have ever had, as well as my mother and numerous boyfriends have said that I am the queen of being hard on myself. Now, I like the idea of being a queen (Let them eat cake! Ha!), but I don’t think this is the sort of thing that I need to continue to be proud of.
There are tricks to not being so hard of yourself, and I learn and then unlearn and then relearn them about every three days. Or more often, if the circumstances merit. Just like the rest of life, your response to life will really vary based on hundreds of different factors.
I have been trying especially hard in the last ten days to be gentle with myself, because I have had some physical maladies (getting both toenails pulled surgically from my big toes) and rehab time with those maladies, and some psych med issues, not to mention being far off my routine (mostly because two toes have been keeping me at home, fairly immobile) — well, it was really too much for me to think that I wasn’t going to have a stumble or two.
Now, the beauty of getting older (and I mean, one of the MAIN beauties) is that, every once in awhile, you learn your lesson. Sometimes you have to repeat it two or three or five hundred times, but it gets learned and it sticks in your head and, every great once in awhile, the stars align just so and BAM! you work yourself through your issues without going into great drama and hysterics.
I say maybe, because although the last ten days was fairly manageable, I had some seriously hysterically tearful moments. Happily, I can say they were short-lived and didn’t put a damper on my entire life. I have found that there are things (things, yes, these things) that can be done to make life a bit easier.
For me, I have rediscovered that I need quiet/alone/introvert time at least a few hours every day, and if I don’t get it, I become very, very cranky. This has maybe been a hard lesson for LarBear to learn, but as an example, about thirty minutes ago, I yelled, or maybe just said loudly, “Ok, I’m going to the office,” and he (for once) didn’t take it personally. He is starting to “get” me, after all this time, thank goodness. So here I am, with my headphones on. I shut off my peripheral vision (just in my imagination), and have been sitting at my glorious desk, crafting this superb document for the interwebs (ha!) and doing my very best to stay in the moment.
It really does work, at least for me. A few of the other things that help me are music (loud in headphones, preferably), taking a drive, a shower, lighting a new candle, putting on makeup, sitting on my front porch, writing things down in my planner, and last, but most certainly not least, I do a lot of journaling in my altered art journals. I also make these little books out of scrap paper. I am going to end with a few pictures of altered art journals and the mini books so you can get an idea. They are pretty awesome, another amazing thing I have learned from art therapy.
Assuming that my therapist, Brynne Lum, LMFT, was not available (she’s very popular), I called my psychiatrist to see if he was available. He was! Yay! Alex Michelson, MD saw me, listened to me, and reassured me that it sounds…