Daily Archives: January 8, 2018

The Support Staff

I am of the opinion that going through a mental illness is at least equally difficult for the close family and friends as it is for the person experiencing the illness. That might sound surprising, but there are a lot of illnesses that are like that, like dementia, for instance. The reason I say this […]

Sometimes Advocating For Yourself Feels Like Shit

If you follow my blog your probably know that I’m back on the job market.  It’s only been a week since I left my job, but there are not oodles of jobs out there that I am qualified for, and I’m a bit nervous about how long I may be looking.  Actually, I’m more than a bit nervous.  I don’t have a lot of money saved up, and this may take awhile.  So, I took a giant bite of humble pie and I applied for Food Stamps.  I want to cringe with shame even saying it.  But really this is what Food Assistance is for, is to see people through a lean stretch of time.  If I can get some help with food expenses, why not do it?  I need to conserve every dollar I can.  I need to be a sensible adult here.  I mean, I hope I get a job quickly, but realistically, I need to take care of myself and be frugal.

I also signed up for a resume workshop with my local Workforce Center for next week.  I think I need professional help with my resume, especially since I’m trying to break in to a new area of IT.  I’m hoping they can help me refocus my resume and give me feedback to make it more polished and to have a better shot at getting that first call from recruiters – which may lead to an interview.

Finally, I called Cigna today and asked them where the hell my insurance ID card was, so I can make some appointments with Dr. Drugs and my therapist.  They’re waiting on my payment, which I just paid because I just got the damn bill.  This is the insurance I signed up for in November, mind you.  Cigna, get your shit together!!  So I have a week or two until I can make appointments with Dr. Drugs and my therapist.

All in all I’d say it’s been a very low-fun day but I have done some good shit!  I also got my light therapy and my walk in, even though it was gloomy and I sure didn’t want to walk.  I just treated it like a prescription that I had to take.  Bleh!

Hope you all are having a glorious Monday!

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar and Self Care, Bipolar and Work, Bipolar Disorder, Psychology, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Bipolar Self-Advocating, Blogging, Depression, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Anxiety And Depression’s Manifesto

We, depression and anxiety, issue as our mission statement, that we will do everything in our considerable power to ensure that you rarely enjoy life, rarely sleep well, and never trust yourself nor feel secure.

As an anxiety disorder, it will be single minded goal to keep you edgy, tense, paranoid, and filled with self doubt. I will tagteam with depression to thwart all efforts you make toward healing and stabilizing. Every time you tremble or feel your heart race or sweat break out over your body..You will owe this to me and I delight in knowing that I have the power to make you miserable with no end in sight. It will be my distinct and perpetual pleasure to cause you stomach aches, often with embarrassing and gross outcomes, that will ensure you never gain self respect or self esteem, that others shun you, and that this will also cause you to want to shun yourself. The self control you so desperately desire will also continue to elude you, with only brief glimpses into what self control feels like. Much like a drug dealer handing out a free sample here and there, I will dangle just enough semblance of control every so often that you get a taste and want more…and then I will deny you until you become a husk of yourself and start to feel not just like a freak, but a freak with self destructive thoughts.

And I, depression, solely vow to aid anxiety in keeping you off kilter and ensuring that your life is not fulfilling yet filled with so much unhappiness, tension, and rejection that your destructive thoughts might one day cause you to give up and seek escape through suicide. And to add insult to that injury, everyone around you-family, friends, doctors, therapists, and the ignorant world at large, will say you took the easy way out and castigate you for simply having a breaking point.

Prior to this, however, it will be my daily, and hourly, goal to torment, torture, and haunt you. I will fill you with a sadness you cannot explain, a darkness you cannot illuminate no matter how hard you try. And oh how you will try so hard, what with the medications and therapy and holistic approaches and denials. You will give it all you’ve got and you’ll end up losing. Because I am depression, I am all powerful, I possess you. You suffer from me. Your suffering is why I exist. Making you suffer even more is why I exist and thrive.

Society will whisper sweet nothings in your ear trying to cure you, fix you, tough love you out of it…They will say stick to medication and therapy. They will say toughen up, get over it, snap out of it, grow up. They will torture you as much as I do and it will wear you down over and over until hopelessness becomes as much a part of your existence as breathing. Except after years of battling me, you’ll be so exhausted and demoralized, even breathing will become an insurmountable task. And even if your desire to live is iron clad, I will make sure you are weakened, and that the distorted dark thoughts batter ram you every hour of your life. It’s what I do and I do it well.

Also to my credit will be society’s own ignorance and lack of empathy. Combined with anxiety’s influence and my desire to destroy you, you will be made to feel like you are less than nothing. Like offing yourself would be doing the world a favor. And face it-if you’re disabled by your condition and unable to hold down a job, you will be viewed as a drain on the system thus a non productive member of society who many think should be subject to eugenics for bad dna.

Many of you will give twenty plus years to meds and therapy and doing your best only to still feel hopeless and society will reassure you that you are correct to feel this way.

Some may experience periodical bouts with me or anxiety or with both, and you may respond well to medication and go on with a productive happy life with us in the rearview mirror.

Fortunately for us mental disorders, we can always rely on the genetically disenfranchised, those who struggle endlessly and are resistant to medications. Those who have poor support systems, abyssmal mental health care professionals, and a system of health insurance companies who think a two day stay and a script for a medication you can’t afford qualifies as adequate care. And because it’s all about money, they won’t feel the least bit inept or bad when you succeed in self destructing.

Resistant is futile. Anxiety and depression will always win. You will never be significant, you will amount to nothing, and you’re not even entitled to the pursuit of happiness. We will ensure happiness is but a fleeting feeling, a dealer’s freebie sample to make you want more but we will never allow it. We own you. Society laughs at you because they know we own you and they are part of the masses who determine what is and isn’t a serious illness worthy of competent treatment and an ounce of empathy.

For those of you too strong and stubborn to believe the lies that anxiety and depression tell you…Fear now. Your subpar psychiatric care will ensure that eventually you lose faith in yourself and that perhaps, you just are lazy or a lost cause and you just might consider that awful, final ‘s’ word that would certainly end your pain yet cause a lot for those you leave behind. Not that we, your mental disorders, care.

Come to think of it, other than leaving a mess behind and funeral costs, your loved ones probably won’t care that much, either. If they did, they’d have supported you all along, right?

This is our manifesto. Anxiety and depression will perservere and we will break even the toughest of you. If we fail to do so, we will weaken you to the point that lack of support will break you. But like the sadists we are, it is never truly our goal for our sufferers to end their lives. What satisfaction for us is in that when we no longer can make you suffer? We want you alive and aware, suffering through the ups and downs, day after day, year after year. It is our insidious method that makes doctors think you’re malingerers, that make counselors think you just have personality disorders and can’t face your own flaws. We are all powerful and you are not.

You will not win.

Author disclaimer:
This was written from the point of view I feel my own anxiety and depression take. There is no endorsement for you to harm yourself nor to give up trying meds and therapy.
Never ever give up on yourself even if it feels everyone else has or that you should because it is hopeless. Depression lies and anxiety amplifies those lies like stack of Gibsons.
Rage against the dying of the light-and share this post if you know even one person who might find it useful.
And once again…NEVER EVER QUIT ON YOURSELF. The world, the professionals, the disorders-they may not always have your back but even if your thoughts are distorted…you can have your own back. And believe me, on wordpress, you have a tribe backing you if you are willing to reach out to any of us.
We’re warriors and warriors fight the enemy to the bitter end.

Faulty Support Cells Disrupt Communication in Brains of People with Schizophrenia

This research shows that schizophrenia may NOT be the result of abnormalities in neurons, but actually abnormalities in cells that support neurons. These cells are Glial cells or Glia. Glia includes two major types: astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.  Astrocytes are the brain’s principal support cells, while oligodendrocytes are responsible for producing myelin, the fatty tissue that, like the insulation on electrical wires, wraps the axons that connect different nerve cells.   The source of both these cells is another cell type called the glial progenitor cell (GPC).

When the production of glia is abnormal, there is less connectivity and nerve impulses are not optimal.

When glial cells from schizophrenic people are turned into pluripotent stem cells and then Glial progenitor cells and injected into brains of neonatal mice, these mice show all the symptoms of schizophrenia, they were more fearful, anxious, anti-social, and had a variety of cognitive deficits. While mice who were implanted with glial cells that were from normal people did not show these symptoms.

So this a very interesting finding, that the support cells may well be involved in the development of schizophrenia!

This could lead to new, and hopefully better, ways of treating people with schizophrenia.

Please read below for more details.



New research has identified the culprit behind the wiring problems in the brains of people with schizophrenia.  When researchers transplanted human brain cells generated from individuals diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia into mice, the animal’s nerve cell networks did not mature properly and the mice exhibited the same anti-social and anxious behaviors seen in people with the disease.

“The findings of this study argue that glial cell dysfunction may be the basis of childhood-onset schizophrenia,” said University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) neurologist Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine and lead author of the study which appears today in the journal Cell.  “The inability of these cells to do their job, which is to help nerve cells build and maintain healthy and effective communication networks, appears to be a primary contributor to the disease.”

Glia are an important family of support cells found in the brain and play a critical role in the development and maintenance of the brain’s complex interconnected network of neurons.   Glia includes two major types: astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.  Astrocytes are the brain’s principal support cells, while oligodendrocytes are responsible for producing myelin, the fatty tissue that, like the insulation on electrical wires, wraps the axons that connect different nerve cells.   The source of both these cells is another cell type called the glial progenitor cell (GPC).

Astrocytes perform several functions in the brain.  During development, astrocytes colonize areas of the brain and establish domains in which these cells help direct and organize the network of connections between nerve cells.  Individual astrocytes also send out hundreds of long fibers that interact with synapses – the junction where one neuron’s axon meets another’s dendrite.  The astrocytes help facilitate the communication between neurons at the synapses by regulating the flow of glutamate and potassium, which enable neurons to “fire” when they are communicating with each other.

In the new study, the researchers obtained skin cells from individuals with childhood-onset schizophrenia and reprogrammed the cells to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) which, like embryonic stem cells, are capable of giving rise to any cell type found in the body.  Employing a process of first developed by the Goldman lab, the team manipulated the iPSCs to create human GPCs.

The human GPCs were then transplanted into the brains of neonatal mice.  These cells out-competed the animal’s own native glia, resulting in mice with brains comprised of animal neurons and human GPCs, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes.

The researchers observed that human glial cells derived from schizophrenic patients were highly dysfunctional.  The development of oligodendrocytes was delayed and the cells did not create enough myelin-producing cells, meaning signal transmission between the neurons was impaired.

The development of astrocytes was similarly tardy so that the cells were not present when needed and were thus ineffective in guiding the formation of connections between neurons.  The astrocytes also did not mature properly, resulting in misshapen cells that could not fully support the signaling functions of the neurons around them.

“The astrocytes didn’t fully mature and their fibers did not fill out their normal domains, meaning that while they provided control to some synapses, others had no coverage,” said Martha Windrem, Ph.D., with URMC’s Center for Translational Neuromedicine and first author on the study.  “As a result, the neural networks in the animals became desynchronized and uncoordinated.”

The researchers also subjected the mice to a series of behavioral tests.  They observed that the mice with human glial cells from individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia were more fearful, anxious, anti-social, and had a variety of cognitive deficits compared to mice transplanted with human glial cells obtained from healthy people.

The study’s authors point out that the new research provides scientists with a foundation to explore new treatments for the disease.  Because schizophrenia is a unique to humans, until now scientists have been limited in their ability to study the disease.  The new animal model developed the by the researchers can be used to accelerate the process of testing drugs and other therapies in schizophrenia.  The study also identifies a number of glial gene expression flaws that appear to create chemical imbalances that disrupt communication between neurons.  These abnormalities could represent targets for new therapies.

Depression and Living With Your Head On Tne Chopping Block

I had a decent almost 2 week run of feeling better minus Trintellix and Benedict R.

Saturday’s metaphoric mail box letter bomb from the landlord has sent me reeling. I don’t know that my child and I have any stability anymore over where we live and that was the ONE thing that prior to this, I had known was fairly solid as long as rent was paid and we minded our own business.

This sell out to a property management group has basically placed my head on the proverbial chopping block, and this is not a great time for that. As if any time ever is, but when battling seasonal depression and riddled with anxiety disorders…this is terrifying.

I have tried mindfulness, optimism, acceptance. Literally there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t even look for a different place to live just in case because we live month to month and as long as I am paying this management company rent to remain here, and the rest goes to keep heat and all on…I don’t have two nickels to rub together, let alone excess income for a first month rent and security deposit plus all the expenses of switching utilities, not to mention being able to move. Because I don’t have a credit card and can’t rent a uHaul or whatever and my family, in spite of their pick ups, have made it clear they won’t ever help me move again….

I guess this situation is what one would call ‘realistic depression’. I call it hellish and no way is my mental health going to flourish living this way. Yet what choice do I have? Any given day this company and its slumlord leader could decide to bulldoze the place and all of us would be screwed. I keep telling myself, I will handle it come what may, I have been here before. Except I didn’t have a child then.

I’m paralyzed with fear and I think it sucks that the landlord/mgt company can do this to us. This is cruel, emotionally damaging, and cause for hives and daily anxiety attacks.

I was hoping to try to get back to writing. I was hoping to take my Benedict R free time and start to mend and get back on board with my competent doctor. I’d even thought that maybe with my yard saling passion I might start selling stuff on line, TRY to DO something. But now with my preexisting lack of focus and anxiety and depression…not knowing on any given day whether we’re going to be evicted or have all the rules changed so that we will essentially be evicted cos if they jack my rent up…I’m toast.

I guess I got too complacent. I believed the wrong person. I tried that whole trust and optimism thing when it would have served me well to remain wary, untrusting, and pessimistic.

I don’t know how to keep going on with life when my every moment is consumed with the next bomb in the mailbox or the next knock on the door or some passive aggressive letter taped to it. Living in terror sucks.

I’d hoped to have today to regather my wits but due to ice and rain yesterday they canceled school so my kid is home today and she is having so many mood swings, I can’t get a grip on my own.

Last week I felt lucky to be alive and strong enough to keep fighting, in light of K’s suicide.

This week, with my ONLY security measure at risk, I just feel vulnerable, scared, and while my child babbles on about her hurt feelings for not getting even more toys and how I won’t entertain her constantly…I feel myself nearing the breaking point. Seriously, how much am I expected to handle? When is the appropriate time to break?

And so I dig my nails into the edge of the cliff I am dangling from and I can only hope some idget does not come along and stomp on my hand and cause me to let go.

It’s all I’ve got right now.

New Good News

I did get good news this weekend–a fiction piece I had sent in for a conference paper was selected for a fiction panel at the Mississippi Philogical Association.  I asked around and there will be a small contingent of MUW people there so that will be nice to see some people again.  Don’t have a schedule yet but I doubt we’re reading on the same panels–one girl did nonfiction, I did fiction, and another guy did poetry.  But I will do my best to attend the whole conference to support them by listening.

I’ve stumbled into a New Year’s resolution.  So far I have sent of one submission per day since New Years Day.  I think I am going to continue this as long as I can find places to submit to through the whole year.  Surely someone somewhere will like what I do if I sent it out to enough places.  Hopefully I will also be creating new work in my workshop and have those to send around as well as what I haven’t been able to sell so far.

My oldest has her interview this morning at ten and my middle one starts her actual job today so I am praying for both of them this morning. I am praying for them to find favor in the eyes of these people and for God’s will to be done in their lives.  I’m looking forward to seeing how far they can go!

Hope everyone has a good start to their week and that your New Year is still bright and shiny!



Watched Avocados do nothing

It’s rare my sleep schedule is quite this disturbed, but I woke up with a jolt of tooth pain (whole other problem) despite taking sinus medicine that required more information to purchase than a gun, my normal night med cocktail of “please, just let me sleep” including Trazadone, Depakote, Celexa, high dose melatonin, and various others that advise against interacting with heavy machinery, and klonopin when I got home from work.

Sometimes when I wake up early, it’s an easy path back to sleep via “What? 2am? No thank you, that’s absurd” and a flip of one of my 7 flannel pillows to the cool side and nuzzling myself back in. Sometimes, though rare, within 60 seconds, you know you’re screwed.

The rapid fire reactions this morning in that critical minute went something like this: what the hell time is it? Only open one eye to check…why am I…OH HOLY TOOTH PAIN MY JAW IS ON FIRE! Ok open eyes to find ambesol. Slather everywhere. Rage at self for lack of hygiene while at rock bottom (years ago) that basically destroyed my teeth, more rage at my new dentist (insurance) for being an asshole about fixing everything, more rage that I cant just have my old dentist fix everything, considered how much I could scrape together from every last penny of HARD earned savings to pay said dentist, this snowballs into anger at the state of healthcare in general, aaaaaand we’re awake.

So then I start to panic, induced by the fact that I’m now awake and jacked up sleep is my biggest trigger. Then oh, well, I guess I might as well use the time so I can nap later. Wait, is that enabling mania? Well, it’s calm and quiet, might be a good time to figure out meal plans for the week and do some prepping. But that makes a lot of noise, and moms asleep and I don’t want questions. I am hungry though, let’s see what I can find in dark silence…ooo, chicken soup! Damn, no, opening and closing the microwave door makes noise, as does the actual microwaving and resultant beeping. Ok, well, here’s an avocado…

Which is how I came to be holding an avocado in a dark, silent kitchen at 3am, willing it to ripen while I considered my options for a solid 5 minutes.

As I write this I’m still battling every single thought I’ve listed here plus more. Pretty sure I’ll eat the soup cold bc it’s almost 4am now and my stomach is actually growling. Even though I would prefer to make a huge hot breakfast, but that’s a lot of noise in silence. And even if I didn’t wake mom the anxiety of avoiding it wouldn’t be worth the damn eggs.

I just have this feeling that a normal mind would a) go back to sleep after numbing teeth or b) make the damn breakfast/soup/whatever

I need my own place. I’d still wake up with tooth pain, but I could’ve made hot chocolate, turned on a movie, made breakfast, marinated short ribs, taken a shower, fallen back asleep full from food and lulled by movie, just basically done whatever and if I didn’t tell anyone, no one would know.

Disclaimer: my mom’s awesome, I just have no privacy of hiding things like this


Not even 10 mins after posting this (So, 4am?) I blew my nose and half my face dislodged and fell out, so I’m running around like a crazy person bleeding like a stuck pig. Suffice to say mom’s awake now, and I’m watching tv on the couch with the stupid soup. 

Trying to find my voice

It’s been a long time since I’ve truly written for this blog. I’m not sure how I lost my virtual voice. It’s the one thing I felt I had no matter the bipolar episode I was or wasn’t immersed in. My actual voice often goes missing in depression, points fingers in mixed episodes and is in another world when lost in mania. My fingers always work no matter what, or so history could support. I’m not sure if I feel I have nothing to say or I can’t organize my thoughts enough. I don’t know what it is. I guess it doesn’t matter.
Here i am trying to reach out. Trying to find the words to let you in, know where I’ve been, maybe where I’m going. Maybe that last part is a stretch..anxiety talking. Just about a year ago I made the decision to leave my job of 17 years. Since my bipolar diagnosis in 2013 I had missed a significant amount of time per year to hospitalization. But, that’s not necessarily why I left. It  became clear full time work in a demanding position was too much. I negotiated a part time position with a vendor that seemed almost too perfect. Seven months later, I resigned. Not perfect. What job is? But, verging on toxic. Testing my work ethic and belief in accountability. It’s young, ego driven leadership. That’s all good. Just not the right environment for me. I need teamwork and desire for improvement, willingness to look at systems and…
I quit without a future job. That scares me most. Without structure and purpose, depression nipping at my heels, always wins. Under the covers I think I feel safe and sound. Isolation becomes my best skill.
So…I applied for a job I am over qualified for and applied for a job I think matches me most. Somehow applying just makes me feel better. Like I’m trying. Like, perhaps, this last job wasn’t a failure, but a gateway. I have new skills on my resume. More importantly I honored myself and was willing to walk away from a toxic environment into uncertainty. Uncertainty is my nemesis. Fear. It breeds such fear.
One day I’m dancing to the thought of freedom. The next I’m crying over future bills. The next I hover over my resume the entire day. One day at a time. Maybe even half a day is my ticket I think. Still trying to get to the gym. Might try my hand at art. I would love to learn who I am outside of a job.
I wonder what that would look like?

Penny Positive #46

From An Optimist’s Calendar

I admit it—this is my all-time favorite.