Daily Archives: February 22, 2018

Saying Good-Bye Well: Part 2


Today was my last appointment with my therapist, Megan.  Last week I had my last visit with my nurse practitioner, Sarah.  There’s been a lot of blubbing (as the BBC might say), and not all on my side of the couch.

I thought I would be a mess.  These two women saved my life many times over.  They taught me how to be bipolar and still function in the world.  When they set up their clinic almost three years ago, they created a sanctuary for me where I was always welcome to hang out with my art supplies.  They are the most professional care providers I’ve ever had.  And I know, without a doubt, that they love me.

I know, too, that their consistency is the reason I can leave them.  I take everything they’ve taught me, their humor, and their open-heartedness with me.  I will be fine, whoever I find in Muskogee to be my therapist.  It will be a new relationship enriched by the healthy, positive ones I had with Megan and Sarah.

Today, the three of us ate lunch in Sarah’s office, laughing and leaking tears in equal measure.  I know this sounds horrid, but their distress lifted me up.   I’ve been struggling with all the uncertainty of this move—not knowing when it will happen, making lists I can’t act on.  Today’s loving closure gave me a much-needed sense of a job well done.  I drove home feeling lighter than I had in weeks.

In her card to me, Megan wrote in part:

I am a better person and a better provider because of the things I have learned in our work together.  You are super fucking awesome, and I will miss you tremendously.

Sarah wrote:

“In a world of ordinary mortals, you are a wonder woman.” —Queen Hippolyta (Wonder Woman’s mom).  I will miss you dearly.

I am so grateful to have had them on My Adventure.

The Birchwood Team. Megan—back row, second from left. Sarah—front row, in the chair

When Panic Arises From Basic Stuff

In less than two hours we are off to Armpit riding with stepmonster to look at the pktentially new place. I was okay earlier but now that the clock is ticking closer…my anxiety has blown the roof off the top of my skull. What if he won’t rent to me cos I have zero money til next week? What if I can’t get the power transferred without money up front? What if I can’t get the water turned on cos of lack of money? What if I freeze up from panic and he thinks I am some sort of psycho he doesn’t want living on his property?

What if is a natural question but when it hits irrational heights that cause physical symptoms mimicking physical illness…This is a disorder and it is crippling. For a few moments awhile ago the panic rose so quickly and extremely I honestly thought, “Oh my god, I’d rather just die of an overdose than have to keep going through this for the rest of my life!”

And while extreme, it’s an honest assessment of my feelings. I am fed up with feeling under attack by my own central nervous system. I have tried to ‘unlearn’ anxiety and panic and just breathe and blah blah blah but…I can’t seem to out think the physical aspects caused by my enormous anxiety and ensuing panic. It is a form of torture you can’t understand if you’ve never been there.

Adding to my deer in the headlights terror is the fact I won’t be in my own car, I will be completely at the mercy of dad and stepmonster and they are talkers. They want to shoot the shit for hours and I am more ‘get it done and get back in my safe space’. Being captive to their yakaholism is hellish when your skeleton is trying to escape your skin and you just need desperately to feel safe.

I honestly thought-hoped- I would ‘outgrow’ panic disorder. Anxiety is normal, though my level is psychotic, but the panic attacks brought on by basic grown up things, like an unexpected move and being out of control of my own location, this is not normal. And I can’t seem to beat it, even though the professionals have forcefed me the party line that I can overcome it by changing my reactions and thought patterns. Spoken by people who have never lived every moment in a state of terror for no logical reason to their own chagrin.

I just want this over with. Then I just want to get moved and move on. Limbo is not a good place to be for anxiety disorder. Yet right now I am at the mercy of others and in a holding pattern, stuck in don’t stop, don’t go mode. I loathe it. If I could kick its ass and punch it or shoot it, I would in a heartbeat. This disorder limits every aspect of my existence no matter how hard I fight, the only variance is the extremity of the panic.

45 years of this, and possibly another 20…I think wanting it to just stop is pretty normal.

Unfortunately I’m too stubborn to wave that particular flag. So I stay on the panic hamster wheel and everyone around me acts like it’s no big deal and that is insult to injury. Which kind of hinders your strength to keep fighting.

I wish the mundanes could grasp that. Sometimes support makes a big difference and having none…it’s a lonely place to be and it just causes more anxiety. Which I didn’t think possible.

“Crazy and insane” comments from an NRA spokeswoman

After watching the CNN town hall meeting held in Florida regarding the terrible school shooting tragedy, I was disheartened to hear the NRA spokeswoman use such terms as “crazy, insane, monstrous.” The acts of the shooter were incomprehensible. But those of us who live with mental illness should never be lumped into a small group of people who are violent.

The NRA spokeswoman also said “the mentally ill” should be put into a “criminal database” and be prohibited from having guns. I’m in agreement that people who have mental illness should not have guns. It’s my personal viewpoint. But criminalizing mental illness will keep people from getting the help they need.

Further, what should qualify as diagnosis that make owning a gun illegal? Does that mean a person with depression goes into the hospital with suicidal thoughts and gets flagged as a dangerous mentally ill crazy person? Or is criminalizing mental illness only reserved for the psychos like me who have bipolar disorder? Because In fact I’m the real insane monster.

Do you see how absurd this is?

I don’t want to see innocent people get hurt or killed. I think there needs to be steps taken to keep people from obtaining guns who shouldn’t have them. But the kind of words we choose to debate what should be done matter. Knee jerk reactions usually have far reaching and usually not good outcomes. Fear drives people to react and results in horrendous name calling and labeling.

My hope is wiser heads will prevail on solutions. We as a society have allowed the issues of an abundance of access to military type weapons, lack of intervention to appropriate mental health care and an overwhelming swing toward not allowing proper intervention to help someone with mental illness get stabilized.

But something very important to ponder is to ask why many other countries who have as much mental illness as the United States, but don’t have mass shootings. Or are those of us with mental illness in the United States just different than the rest of the world? That’s what the NRA is arguing. And to me their solutions to the problem are as far fetched as believing mental illness is the sole cause to all the violence in the United States, when we know only 5% of all violent acts are committed by those who have a mental illness.

I’m bothered by people who are given a national platform who do harm to millions of people by calling for the criminalization of people with mental illness. Although it’s a small effort, I’ll be giving a talk today with college students encouraging them to get the help they need if they have signs and symptoms of mental illness. But can I with clear consciousness tell them there won’t be any negative consequences to getting help? I don’t know the answer. But I do know not getting help is a bad choice.

Still Trying

to get over this bug.  I have to do laundry today so I am trying to conserve my energy.  And we have Birmingham starting tomorrow afternoon.  So I am stressed all the way around.

I have been in the bed most of the morning, trying to rest.  I went to church last night since i felt better, but I am starting to wonder if I shouldn’t have stayed home.  But I’m taking my meds and trying to get better.

I think I may go lay down some more. Sorry for the short post that says nothing today.  Hope everyone has a good weekend!