Daily Archives: July 9, 2017

The Final Meltdown

(C’mon, 80’s music fans, let the tune of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” become an ear worm.)


So, not the final meltdown, never is with bipolar, there will always be another and another but this last week..I reached rock bottom. And I mean, the kind of rock bottom that leaves you feeling ashamed and embarrassed and like crawling underground and rotting there rather than face people and own your behavior.

Most insulting is that everyone’s blamed my behavior on my meds failing. This particular meltdown had little to do with meds or bipolar. That may be an exacerbating factor, but 99.9% is menstrual dysphoria. The thing no one in my life, including my shrink/psych nurse, gives any credence to. But it’s real, it’s all consuming, and it is EVERY FUCKING MONTH. Now the extent can vary by monthly cycle but at least half a dozen times a year…

I basically go bonkers for ten days that month. It’s random, too, so no predicting or planning. No avoiding situations where the behavior is going to result in…shittiness.

Wednesday I dropped my kid off at my mom’s. And was informed by my mom that my dad and stepmonster have a pony ride thing planned for my kid’s birthday. WTF? They didn’t ask me, didn’t inform me, didn’t invite me. Menstrual, bipolar, or what not, how is that remotely okay? I AM HER MOTHER. They also declared, not asked, that they were keeping her 4 days that week for her to go to bible school at my brother’s church. WTF???? So that lit the fuse.

The old friend with bennies popped in and could not have been less interested in company or sexy stuff. (Fuck off and die, lithium.) So I was pissed that not even my mojo was working, cos hey, I deal with people all the time and hate it but I manage. But my own body being a traitor? COCKWEASEL. Didn’t help by this time I had watched the ep of Grey’s Anatomy where Derek died so the hormonal tears were lurking everywhere.

Around midnight the fuse burned until exploding like a stick of dynamite when my sister texted to tell me my kid has, FOR THE SIXTH TIME THIS SUMMER, lice. And they were treating her with the very chemicals I FORBADE and even got a dr note for the school to avoid. And they’ve done it before, too, and it started war and they went and did it again. And to make it all worse, it wasn’t my family that discovered it AGAIN, it was my brother in law’s stoner buddy who thinks because he has three awful female teenagers it makes him an expert on MY child. Then I got the lecture on how could I miss it, I must have not gotten it all, blah blah, we’re just trying to help Spook and you…

WTF am I supposed to do when her friends don’t get treated or one does but the parents might have it but don’t treat themselves? I can’t lock her up. I can’t put her in a clear hamster ball. What am I supposed to do? And while my sister was “this stuff happens’ my out of control hormones and emotions were telling me my mother’s likely plotting against me as an unfit mom to take Spook from me. Logical? Probably not. But my mother is a two faced back stabbing monster half the time, so it’s not entirely without basis. She goes out of her way to be nice to my face then undermine me at every turn, especially with my kid.

So two separate factions of my family just hi-jacking my kid and going against my wishes caused me to explode. I threw my phone, aiming at the wall. I ended up hitting my laptop screen. GAME OVER. Couldn’t trash the five dollar shitty phone, had to hit the computer I loved so much. Shame was immediate. But hormones and emotions just rampaged and I eventually silenced my phone because I couldn’t deal with my sister and her friend and the lice and having zero input on my kid’s life..I spent two hours deep breathing and talking to myself, saying I have to calm down, I got this, I can clean up the fall out, I can…

By morning and my appt with the nurse practitioner (her scripts say DR, so I don’t understand at all)…I wasn’t as bad but my first words when seeing her were to warn her there was a good chance I was gonna curl up in the corner of her office and bawl. And I tried to explain, no, the meds aren’t doing it but MOSTLY every month, it’s the menstrual dysphoria. Based on her reaction, I may as well have been blaming it on tarot cards rather than trying to explain what is a ten day long dire condition for me every single month.

Oh, she asked the right questions. We talked meds (I went off lithium ten days and lost 13 pounds, HELLO????), we talked my eating habits, my sleep, my anxiety. I suggested Trintellex because I have heard good things and I’ve tried all but leeches and attaching myself to the car battery…I just had the distinct impression she was rather…dismissive of the menstrual dysphoric factor. Odd how NO ONE discounts pregnancy and menopause hormones yet the idea a month cycle can turn so vile is beyond their intellect…

She said not to go off the lithium and get the blood work done.Meh, close to the next appointment I will fake it. But I got the Trintellix (whatever, they changed the name so it may as well be called Clown Dick, which btw, is a character from the twisted Syfy show Blood Drive)…Day one, I got an excrutiating intermittent stomach ache that was worse than labor pains…Scared the HELL out of me. But I took it today and no agony so…one day at a time. It could be the magic bullet to make the combo work. (Lithium still can fuck itself.)

Thing is, my kid stayed at mom’s 2 days. By the second day, I kept waiting for them to bring her back cos my car is running so shitty,but they never did so finally I said, let her stay. I missed her so much. After the night before’s usurping, last thing I really wanted was her to be there even longer. But I was hurting, the car’s chugging scares me, andby ten p.m. it’s just…fuck it. And my kid confirmed they pretty much planned it that way. If I came to get her, she couldn’t stay but otherwise…they were waiting me out to keep her there.

Because they think I am a danger to my kid. My mom point blank asked it, then I guess after I went off on my sister over the lice chemicals…it became a bigger issue with mom. She sent her number home with Spook in case I “lose it” or she gets lonely. I mean, the other day, I had to tell my kid NO to conversation while anyone is in the bathroom and she whined that she gets lonely going pee. HOW AM I EVER GONNA NOT MAKE HER FEEL NOT LONELY WHEN NINETY SECONDS TO PEE MAKES HER FEEL ALONE?????? It’s not a contest, but I can’t win here. I cannot be a proper mom when everyone, while well meaning, keeps undermining me.

Which lead me to wonder why a girl who moved out at 17 even without parental consent, is now such a spineless wussy at 44. WHAT HAPPENED TO ME??? And it’s not that I care about them, I love them, but family is a proctology exam without lube for many of us…I think it’s because my parents are aging and my kid loves her grandparents and I don’t wanna be the asshole who keeps her from knowing them however long the universe deems is left. Yet, they are damaging me mentally so…

Did I mention my desktop computer happened to die the same night I went and fucked up the laptop? (which just needs an external monitor, its brain is okay, thank pegacorn I kissed enough of R’s butt to get this slimline laptop as a spare). That desktop was bought, used, 3 years ago, for $75 and came with monitor, mouse, keyboard, cam, mic…it was an amazing deal and thankfully I stored most of my stuff to external hard drive so the death isn’t fatal to my digital media…But still…I own what I did, I meant to hit the wall and as usual, my aim hit the laptop screen with the phone (still, it can be used with ext monitor)…Just…FFS. Isn’t it enough the car is leaking brake fluid, the back brakes are failing, and it’s backfiring minus the muffler system which makes me think it’s gonna burst into flames…

I just don’t understand why everything has to go wrong at once. But I own what I broke, even if I’m convinced my hormones were as altered as if nine months pregnant and demanding pickles and cotton candy…I own it.

I even made peace with my sister and her friend, they were kind enough to not hate me for being hormonal. My mom…while nicey nice to my face…

My kid woke me this morning and asked to get in my bed cos she had a nightmare that when my meds quit, I spanked her and wouldn’t stop and she was terrified.

I haven’t swatted her once in over a year because I don’t wanna be that asshole parent who says hitting is wrong yet spanks their kid.

Which means only one place she could have gotten the spanking idea and I trust my sis and her friend, they know how much I love my kid. My mother, however…She thinks she’s doing well but she’s…kind of the devil. I’m not perfect. I kinda suck sometimes. But I would sign myself into a psych ward if EVER thought I was even close to physically harming my child.

And if crying in front of her because one of my fave Grey’s Anatomy characters died is abusive or some shit…

Fuck you all. Emotion is good, even if real people are such assholes, it’s only inspired by fictional characters.

Not been my finest week but yesterday I bleached my hair then dyed it crimson. Today I made Jello and pudding for my kid and finally mowed the lawn and helped R with some computer glitch…Behaving badly does not make one bad.

Though my grounded child’s poor behavior makes me wonder. That’s another post, though.

Self-Care and Human Needs

Self-care is one of the hot topics these days in the world of bipolar disorder and the people who live with it. Self-care can be as basic as remembering to eat or as complicated as knowing and avoiding your triggers.

Back in 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow created what he called a “hierarchy of needs” – a series of stages that human beings must go through on the way to the ultimate goal of “self-actualization.” With few changes, the concept, usually illustrated as a pyramid, has continued to influence the study of human motivation and developmental psychology.

So what does self-care have to do with the hierarchy of needs?

The most basic needs of human life form the base of the pyramid. These are called “physiological needs” and are essentially what a person needs to stay alive: air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing. Without meeting these needs, a person cannot move up to the next level of the hierarchy.

A large part of self-care is devoted to meeting these very basic, fundamental needs. Air is usually not a problem but shelter and clothing can be, for those bipolar persons who are homeless – and there are more than a few. Many of us are just one financial reverse – loss of income, insurance, options – from being homeless.

The most common advice for self-care is to pay attention to these base-level needs: Remember to eat. Stay hydrated. Get enough sleep. At times, it’s a real struggle just to meet these self-care needs. Add “get exercise” to the list and it can suddenly be overwhelming. People with bipolar or major depressive disorder often need help accomplishing them. That’s as high as we get on the pyramid.

The second step of the pyramid, which people need to work on after they’ve met the requirements of the first step is called “safety needs”: personal security, employment, resources, and health. Again, the needs on this step may seem insurmountable, and may – probably will – require help to achieve.

But they are self-care needs too. Current society may not view them as such, but that’s because they tend not to struggle with them, at least not on the level of a person with a mental disorder. Individuals can sometimes help meet these needs, but more often government, community, or charitable organizations provide necessary help. Talking about self-care at this second level may seem like pie-in-the-sky to those who have not yet conquered the first. But truly, taking care of these needs is a form of self-care, enabling one to maintain the gains represented by achieving those of the first level.

The third level of human needs – and self-care – is called “love and belonging”: friendship, intimacy, family, sense of connectedness. Again, this is not usually thought of as a part of self-care. But it certainly is. Many of us – I include myself – lose friends, become estranged from family, fail at intimate relationships. There are other places to look for ways to practice self-care on this level, however.

Therapy groups and self-help groups can lead you to people who share your problems and may be able to help you in achieving self-care. (My husband met one of his dearest friends, who provided support, listening, understanding, and companionship, at a self-help group meeting.) If in-person meetings are not possible, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress provide opportunities to meet some social self-care needs through various groups and online communities.

The top two levels of the pyramid are not as easy to think of as self-care, and not as easy to tackle. Level four is esteem: respect, self-esteem, status, recognition, strength, freedom. And five is self-actualization: to become the most that one can be. Realistically, these are not strictly speaking things that can be accomplished through self-care. Even neurotypical people may never complete step four, and there is reason to think that few people ever reach self-actualization. These are goals to strive for, but not guarantees.

Wherever you may currently be on the pyramid, the important thing to remember is that self-care will help you reach the next step; that each follows the one before; and that your bipolar life will improve with every step you achieve.


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: Abraham Maslow, bipolar disorder, depression, hierarchy of needs, mental health, mental illness, mutual support, self-care, support systems

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