Daily Archives: May 15, 2018
Kimberly Morand Kimberly Morand’s book review for Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder “knocked my socks off. (Well, I was sockless when I read the review, but my socks would’ve come off had they been … Continue reading
Please pray for me. I’ve run into something that I can’t talk about yet. Pray that I can find peace and clarity,
Based on last week’s “Illness Identity?” post and the research that lead to discovering that term and notion, I have been trying not to view mental disorder as some insurmountable demon haunting me in my daily life. The theory the professionals have cooked up (this week’s trending Kardashian, I suppose) is that by viewing our disorders negatively it gives them more power over us and we surrender more of our identity to them. While intellectally I can grasp this concept, living with mental chaos isn’t as cut and dried as they’d make it out to be.
It may not be the spooky paranormal demonsand malevolent presences of horror movies, but I’ve seen mental disorders take lives. Of course, it is always deemed ‘suicide’ but the driving force to it is almost always the malevolence of the disorders and the toll they take over time. Once your will to fight has been tapped out, exiting stage is often the only peace people can find. I am not a proponent of self harm of any sort, but I don’t condemn and I do understand how it goes that far. Too many friends have been lost to mental demons, by their own hand isn’t the relevant part.
The relevant part is being haunted by your own mind. We all know our minds, and disorders, aren’t seperate entities, it’s a package deal. Part of what makes some of us creative, intelligent, empathetic, interesting- can stem from our battles with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, and a plethora of other psychiatric demons. These are also the very things that impact our identities in devastating ways, ruining our ability to work, to parent, to maintain relationships. Even basic hygiene becomes a dragon to slay. For anyone, especially those in the mental health field, to consider this without appropriate severity is cruel and disrespectful.
Recognizing a disorder doesn’t mean you define yourself by it. Refusing to be shamed into silence isn’t a sign of weakness or waving the white flag and letting the disorder become your identity. Acknowledging the daily malevolent presence of whatever hinders your life is not some sort of negative. One of the biggest signs of courage by my estimation is when we have the self awareness and bravery to step up, say this is a problem, and seek help. That is no small feat. And being open about your conditions, well, with the stigma attached, that itself is like scaling a mountain.
So right or wrong…I stare down the monsters under my bed, the voices inside my head. I face the malevolent presences. I exorcise my demons by any means necessary. I don’t flinch, don’t blink. They do not define me but they certainly impact me. I won’t diminish this by pretending they’re minor or don’t exist. I am also not giving the disorders more power over me by refusing to cede to denial.
I’ve read a lot of blogs on wordpress that deal with mental disorders. Everyone has their own way of coping, of viewing their struggles. One writer views her disorders as a battle with her brain whom she calls Brian and is convinced he is out to destroy her. One friend views it as a specter. Another chooses to view minor symptoms more positively, as a constant companion, a merging of identities that grants strength.
For me, defiance and rebellion fuel me. So when I view my disorders as dragons to be slayed, demons to be exorcised, a bully to stand up to-this is my positive. This is how I cope, and I don’t really think it’s up to the professionals to say it’s wrong without proof it is somehow negatively impacting our determination to feel better.
If you read things like that and it helps you gain perspective, more power to you.
But if you are like me and have your own coping mechanism that works for you…don’t fall victim to trends, even in psychiatry and psychology. We are the ones who live it, who live with it, and we are experts when it comes to our own mental chaos. Battle it your way.
Now I am off to banish some brain gobblins in hopes I may at some point scale the mountain that is called bathing.
My battle with interrupted sleep continues to the point of madness. I must have woke 4 times between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Then round 3:30 I woke and my brain really started to riot. Songs I don’t even like screeching in my head. Racing thoughts causing anxiety to rise. Hyper awareness of the clock ticking off, the crushing exhaustion of simply needing to pack my kid’s lunch…I tried the ‘total darkness/silence/no electronic devices’ thing to remove anything that might stimulate the wakefulness…Instead of soothing me, it made all the noise in my head louder. Five a.m. I said the hell with it and got up even though it’s going to make for a very long, very mentally miserable day.
I still haven’t won my Olympic medal for bathing and it disgusts me, but disgust doesn’t actually drive me into action. I need to clean house today but it’s doubtful with the lack of sleep that I will have the energy to do it. And the anxiety is amplified when I am running on fumes. The odd thing is, I’m not one of those people who need 8-10 hours of sleep. If I can get 4 or 5 hours solid sleep, I am good to go. Unfortunately, for the last several years, I can’t stay asleep more than 3 hours straight. Wake, sleep, wake, sleep. It takes a toll. Being out of melatonin probably isn’t going to help, but I am trying to conserve gas money by only making trips to town when I can combine errands and Thursday is grocery day so everything, including an air conditioner filter, has to wait until then.
Ugh, air conditioner. I just got a minor break from the crushing heating bills and bam, it reaches 90, the house becomes a sauna, and I have to kick on the window unit which came with the house and looks like it’s from the 1960’s. My dad says it still has Freon so it probably is from that era. But it cools well, even if every minute it is on makes my brain turn into a cash register adding up the cost of the electric bill. At the trailer, we could at least go outside in the heat and splash around in the kiddie pools to cool off. Now we can do that-but our base water bill every month before using a drop of water is $65 so even that is a cash register going off in my brain. It would be hysterical, this myth people have about how cheap and peaceful small town life is versus my reality but instead, it’s just terrifying and stressful.
I can feel the depressive tug. I am fighting it. I went outside and played kickball with my kid for ten minutes yesterday then we splashed in the kiddie pool for a few minutes. And I was exhausted. Her friend came over for a little while. C’s father popped in to check on him and asked me the ODDEST question all covert like. “Do you smoke?” And I was a little caught unaware when he whispered, “Really smoke, like pot?”
Um. No. I have in the past and it wasn’t really my thing, just made me stupid and sleepy.
ODD question. And when I said no he was just all dismissive like, “Oh, well, I’m glad C and Spook are buddies.”
It was bizarre. But also, not the first time people have suspected my ecentric personality, style, and moods likely mean I smoke weed. I spent two hours trying to determine if he and his woman were looking for someone who’d sell to them or use with them or if it was some sort of ‘are you fit to be around our kid’ test.
I have many vices and morally questionable views but I don’t smoke pot. I can’t say I am a fan of hanging out with those who do but I also don’t think it should be the legal quagmire it is. Hey your state says you can smoke it, wait, the federal government says no, you’re going to prison…WTF, America? Tax it like alcohol and tobacco and move along.
I think one of the biggest reasons that drugs were never an issue for me was in sixth grade when I was doing my hot pink hair neon clothes phase some redneck kid told me, “You should do drugs, it’d give you an excuse to be so weird.” He went on to become on the area’s biggest stoners, of course, in addition to being a cockweasel from the word go. If that was what drugs did for you…fuck that, I was out. Maybe that’s why I seem judgey when I talk about pot users, IDK. That kid really put me off drugs-and suicide cos he also told me to do the world and favor and kill myself. Rebellion is my life’s blood, I swear.
We had a vicious storm last night and it destroyed the umbrella on our patio table. That damn thing survived 6 years in the trailer park only to be murdered in Armpit by a windstorm before the actual storm even hit. It may have been used and it was a gift, but they ain’t cheap even used and I’m unlikely to be able to replace it. It’s saddening, we got a lot of wonderful shady days sitting out at that table.
Ninety minutes until I can send my kid to school. Maybe then my anxiety will die down and I might be able to catch an hour nap or something to make up for the sleep wake cycle. Man, I just want 6 solid hours of sleep, to wake up feeling truly rested instead of more exhausted. And I have tried all the pharma solutions for sleep, they’re toxic. I have tried exhausting myself, sleepy time tea, aromatherapy, color therapy, nature sound therapy…
Before my daughter, I was blotto on 300 mg Seroquel and 400 mg Trazadone every night so I’d sleep 12-14 hours. It’d take an hour to shake off the hangover, then I’d function a few hours, and right back to med induced coma sleep. Once I broke that cycle, then I had her…sleep has been an iffy thing for me. I don’t know if this is the new norm or if I have brain goblins that ward off solid sleep. Just know I’d give a kidney just for one week of sleeping through a 5 hour stretch.
I updated our story this morning because it was too rambling and non-explanatory. This time I explained every monthly expense against income and demonstrated there is nothing luxurious going on here. Please check it out and pass it on. I am trying to help myself but I’ve already been rejected for babysitting and as a part time gas station clerk so until the fates decide to work in our favor…we need a couple more random acts of kindness.
I wholely believe in karma and the minute we are out of the woods…I will pay it forward in any and every way possible.