The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder – NYTimes.com

I dont think I’ve ever seen bipolar detailed in such spot on, excruciating detail.

The only issue I can take with it is the author’s experience of psychosis. Correction: Its not her experience, its that many readers will assume, incorrectly, that all those with bipolar also experience psychosis. This is absolutely of no fault of the author or her experience. Its ignorance and stigmas connected to mental health disorders.

But THIS is a clear start to real discussions and understanding. I applaud this author’s brutal honesty.

The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder – NYTimes.com

For The People?

I dont usually do this, but I have to opine about the Senate’s vote today in Washington.

First, let me say this: I firmly believe in the 2nd amendment. I am a gun owner and I appreciate the right to bear arms and protect my family.

However, I also suffer from a mental illness. For many personal reasons, which aren’t even relevant to this subject, I was hospitalized last year. When my husband came to see me at the hospital I asked that when he went back home that he move our firearms so that I shouldn’t know where theywere.

Was I mentally ill enough to take that firearm and hurt other people? No. Had I thought I could EVER take a life with a firearm, without being in fear for my life, I wouldn’t have even allowed one in our home to begin with.
Was I mentally ill enough to take that firearm and harm myself? Probably not, but as a responsible gun owner I know statistically that the chances rise for suicide when a firearm is available.

Having said that I want to say this:
Today’s vote WAS shameful. What was presented were basic, common sense provisions that RESPONSIBLE gun owners can AND should get behind and our supposed “representatives” let us down.

Look, as gun owners we cannot rant about our right to bear, buy, own arms and shake our guns in the air and say you can take it over my dead body, “from my cold, dead hands” without owning the responsibility. We need better background checks and common sense provisions in place.

Gun shows and online sales should be done away with. As a RESPONSIBLE gun owner you should WANT to buy your firearms from a reputable, knowledgable dealer. Frankly, I think you should be required to go through gun safety training before you’re issued a license to use a firearm. You know, think about someone who buys a motorcycle. Most states require that you go through a motorcycle safety/riding training before they issue you a license to operate it. Does it make any sense to put an untrained motorcyclist on the road? NO! But untrained gunowners? cmon!

I also think you should have to renew that license every couple years. Additionally, I don’t know why on Earth we need assault weapons. Everybody likes to claim that our founders gave us the right to bear arms and so we have the right to bear ALL arms. Sure, ok, but Im pretty sure our founders did not envision the arms that exist in our world today. Or the brazen disregard and ignorance so many citizens have now. We text while driving vehicles 60mph – stupid! My point is that maybe people who want to own the same weapons the government is entitled to should be required to go through government/military training. Why on Earth does it make any sense for any Joe Schmoe with no training to buy an ASSAULT RIFLE?!?

Also, if you’re going to stand up for your rights please know what you are standing up for. Read the bills being voted on. Stop being ignorant. No one is making a conspiracy to take away our firearms. A gun which kills people is not the same as forks that make people fat and they die so outlaw forks. You are not making a great case for the gun rights cause. Guns are made for the sole purpose of inflicting bodily harm. There’s a HUGE difference. Really, any person who wants the right to bear them should realize that.

No, gun control will not prevent all crimes because criminals will still sell and buy unregistered firearms to commit crimes. On that note I think there should be more allowances for concealed carry because realistically, its not the people with this training and licensure that we need to worry about AND honestly, if some whack job starts popping off,  Im hoping someone with a concealed carry is ready! If criminals think someone trained to shoot and kill has a weapon to defend people in their vicinity, I’m betting they’re gonna second guess the crime. Concealed carry in  most states, like my fabulous Ohio, are stupid. We can have a concealed carry license but if a sign is posted on the door that no firearms are allowed, and they’re posted everywhere, you can’t carry your firearm. Basically it gives me the right to conceal carry in my car and in fresh air. DUMB!

Really, instead of the ridiculous amount of money of government is speanding in riot gear and biohazard suits in South Dakota , it should go to something smart, like average people having access to emergency response training. Here’s a good example: the stupid color coded terrorist system Homeland Security has provided. Does ANYBODY even know what the colors mean or what response we should have to them? It means absolutely NOTHING to the public. And who is everywhere, all the time – THE PUBLIC! See something, say something? What should we look for? What should we say and to whom? I see and say stuff everyday but I don’t think any of it is going to stop a terrorist. Look it up, on average it takes something like at least 7 mins for trained personnel to arrive to an emergency. I think if someone is already trained and on the scene we are in much better shape.

I don’t know how to fix the system. I don’t have all the answers, but we have to start brainstorming, talking and coming up with solutions instead of digging our heels in for our own political/personal interest which is not going to do ANYTHING for ourselves, our families, our communities…our country.

It is what it is

Yeh. It’s been one of those days.

I cried. A LOT. Just bouts, or spells, of crying sporadically. Yes, like a crazy, hormonal woman. Just like that.

The first crying spell came in the car ride with my Dad to DBT this morning because it occurred to me that I had an appointment with Dr. Sue this afternoon and had no way to cover my co-pay because of the ongoing expense of DBT. That sucked.

Then I just couldn’t get it together from there. This led me to “call in reinforcements” for my emotional walls and I completely shut down and was unfocused for much of DBT. I was asked to “check-in” for the day and was evasive. I just would not. Even this small opening to utter words made the tears start again.

When getting in the car to head home with Mom, I was instantly agitated when she inquired if I “think this is working”. This being DBT. As if it were some magical wand that could be waved around and “POOF!” *all better*. Then, I snapped at the kids which made me feel horrible. So again, the tears came. I shoved headphones in my earholes and cranked some music which wasn’t meant for soothing. Obviously, that was unproductive. Oddly, no, not oddly at all food was the rescue. Gross but instantly gratifying, McDonald’s food. (Note to self: Back to food log, do the next right thing.) I definitely don’t want that to get out of control again.

The thing that actually did help, was sharing my new slideshow and music app on the iPad with Mom and the kids. There’s something about soaking in good memories.  (Side note: Mom seems more emotional lately too – this also made me snap back into emotional shape. That’s deep rooted, but not going there today.)

Talking with Dr. Sue also made me quite emotional, but it was a good conversation.

Dinner with the family at the table worked well at improving my mood, as well as working on a project together. I had the kids help me prepare a care package to my dear friend Darryl in Afghanistan. I was also to get some validation from therapist Lynn about my frustrations with DBT. Bottom line: I need to lower my expectations and just attempt to take away 1 new thing that works, for me, every session.

Here, at day’s end, I feel more at peace with the world that 12 hours ago when I was contemplating another inpatient stint. Really, its the last thing I want, well suicide would be the last I want and if it stops that, then I suppose it’s a very desirable thing when Im not feeling safe with myself.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m happy to have gotten through another day.

As Diva pointed out with a laugh the other day, I already have a life worth living because of my amazing kids and wonderful family, I just have to learn to LIVE it from moment to moment.

Turning bullshit into fertilizer

I was discharged from the intensive outpatient program (IOP) today. That was a step that followed the partial hospitalization (PHP) that I entered upon leaving my admission on the psych unit.

I realize now that I haven’t done much journalizing. There really was soooooooooo much processing in PHP & IOP everyday and mostly through group therapy that I could have noted, but it was heavy and uncomfortable. They say that’s how you know it’s working. Learning to sit with your discomfort, to acknowledge it and sit with it is one of the most unhinging experiences I have had. That’s tough stuff. Sure, there were emotions, sadness that brought me to tears and anger that made me want to storm out and away … anywhere else. But I’m glad I stuck with it though and didn’t throw something at Larry. Nicknaming him LarBear in my head definitely helped me cope. SEEEEEEE? Coping. Check.

I find a mentor in mindfulness in my psych nurse, Maureen. I love Maureen. What a calming presence she is. I took so much away from her lessons about the way thoughts can control you and how you can acknowledge, identify, process and actually release them. Fang v. Wise Mind.

Wow! Just so very much.

Tomorrow, I start Dialect Behavior Therapy (DBT) which supposedly changes the way you talk to yourself regarding your thoughts. I think personally that if you can change your thoughts,  you can change your world and it’s time to change my world.

Im also back in individual counseling. Lynn is someone I can respect. Im starting to identify and deal with my traumas. IT makes me feel like crying. The body reactionary things that still happen because of the traumas that El Chuba Douchebag caused … I need to deal. I don’t want him to still have any effect in my life now. That piece gets me very frustrated.

I realize now that these traumas have been resurrected because of control issues. Me losing control to the medical mishaps led to me mentally reattaching to the last place where I lost control. Unfortunately, that all revolves a very abusive relationship.

BOOM! I got this shit down.

The time I lost my mind

Just over 2 weeks ago, the day after Mother’s Day to be exact, I drew a glass of water and set it next to a bottle of pills. I was done.

I had simply had enough of everything I do in life being futile, taking the high road only for it to bite me in the ass while the low life, pieces of shit seem too multiply in numbers daily and always seem to come up smelling like roses. It’s sickening.

Im sick of watching my kids hurt and to be sincerely helpless in curing what ails them. There’s something seriously fucked up about your kids’ “father” (I am using that term VERY loosely) walk out of their lives to avoid child support and drug testing. Even more so…trying to find words to comfort your 11year child cope with his best friend being terminally ill with cancer? Simply unfathomable.

I cant process it but somehow a semi supportive babble finds its way out of my mouth to this young man’s mother, whom I have developed a very close, personal relationship with. My husband has befriended the Dad. We go to the hospital and treat them to a meal in the cafeteria or sit during chemo, where my jedi being this amazing, other-worldly creation who gets in the over-sized hospital bed, where no kid should occupy, next to his friend, reading letters from classmates, playing video games….

And if none of this was enough, I lost a baby and the majority of eye sight. Enough. Who is this God who will never give us more than we can handle? Why can’t I get my shit together and suck up when this boy’s Mom, she’s a tower of strength?

How any higher power found it fitting to grace me with a baby, only to decide it wasnt meant to be after all the down in the muck, bullshit I’ve been through, OH! and then slap me with a life altering disability which rendered me unemployed and completely co-dependent on others is just…beyond words. Watching the horror of this cancer ravaging a child’s body…no words.

Honestly, if you had told me a year ago that I, ME, would ever come remotely close to a suicidal thought, much less developing a plan and acting on one I would’nt have believed it, but then this world had always been too cruel and my heart too tender. Long ago, before….well I had considered suicide to be the most cowardly, selfish way out, but Ive gotta say that in my mind that day, in my nightgown at 2pm, eyes bloodshot from crying all day and my trembling hand holding that glass of water, I believed in my heart of hearts that I was a burden to my family and that they would be better off without me.
THAT IS CRAZY! It is. I know it is. Killing myself would destroy my husband and kids, and my Jedi…that is the most horrific thing I keep thinking about now.  How the hell I arrived at this conclusion is a really good question, but one I may never be able to offer any reasonable explanation for.

It really is a miracle that I turned and walked away. I have a sneaking suspicion that my Uncle was the angel on my shoulder that made the difference. He committed suicide two years ago this fall. Im convinced he too was trapped in error thinking that made him feel his own disabling condition rendered him a burden to his wife and that he was relieving her from a burden she would not otherwise walk away from. What a lie!! Everything that happened after his death was nothing he would ve wanted for her, the love of his life.

Just like him the issue in my case isnt a lack of fulfillment or love. I have a wonderful husband. Honestly, the man should be nominated for sainthood. He calls me beautiful when Im in sweats and no makeup, he whole-heartedly loves “our” children as our children, he’s a good man who I adore and am completely devoted to. My beautiful children, my world, are the most precious, delightful people I have had the great privelege of not only knowing, but raising and watching become AH-MAZING, productive, well-adjusted wonders. You see it wasnt that they werent good enough for me, I didnt feel worthy of them.

(sigh)

My husband found me locked in our bedroom, balling my eyes out. To say he was scared for me is a severe underestimate. He spoke to my doctor and they both convinced me to go to the ER to be checked out. I was admitted. After talking with a psychiatrist at length, it was determined that the combo of medication a neurologist had prescribed to aide with the severe eye pain which accompanied my vision loss, migraines and “consequential depression” was what actually pushed me into this emotional breakdown.

As I have known for awhile, I get manic and guess what? Manic AND depressive people need different medications than tranditionally depressed people! (Oh, and its not manic depressive anymore, its just bipolar or bipolar II in my case, but nobody wants to say that because people will think they’re crazy. Just FYI.) What ensued from that AHA! moment was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced, withdrawl.

oh.         My.       GAWD.
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL AND THE FOLLOWING IS NOTHING MORE THAN MY OWN OPINION AND EXPERIENCE.
I had mind altering migraines and electrical shocks that corsed through my whole head, down my spine and extremities. I had terrifying dreams and waking nightmares, nausea, dizziness and the worst body aches EVER. My joints, muscles and skin hurt. I literally hurt to the touch, which made it very difficult to sit, sleep…anything, everything hurt. That’s pretty much all I remember of the first five days.

After 8 days, I was properly medificated (yes, thats my word) and discharged into a partial hospitalization therapy program. Its all group based which has been difficult for me. I either feel like I need to help save everyone after hearing their stories or feel much more depressed. I guess the one big positive is that everyone comes from different walks of life with different problems, but we’re all there and we’re not alone.

(You’re not alone. If you or someone you know needs help, please call: 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Let your story TO BE CONTINUED, not THE END)

Ain’t no easy way out

I’m being discharged today.

There is a part of me the is obviously, very much looking forward to getting the fuck out of here and going home. I miss being in Jer’s arms. I miss my kids faces and perspectives on things. I miss my bed, fo schizzle.

Then there is a part of me that is anxious as all hell about going home.

This is a safe, controlled environment. You might surprised to know that there isn’t much that is out of control or at least unexpected (nothing is unexpected from crazy people, I guess) but I’m sick of the feeling of being out of control.

One thing’s for sure, this won’t be easy. The doctor has made my discharge contingent on my attendance and participation in the partial hospitalization program. Supposedly, its an intensive, all day program. He did give me the option of attending every other day so I can have a breath in between. (sigh)

Lord, help. Give me strength. I know I’m walking right into fire when I walk out of here. Also courage, wisdom and discernment. My kids need me now.

 

Tales from the psych unit

I definitely woke up on the wrong side of my hospital bed this morning.

I slept well, but I woke up with really bad eye pain, the all consuming kind, and it just set me off. Everything was aggravating to me… noise, people. I tend to get really ballsy when I’m irritated. I’m a lot less likely to bite my tongue. Today was no exception. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s pretty much fuel to everyone’s fire on a psych unit.

Most of what led me here was suppression of my thoughts, feelings and emotions. Obviously that needs to change. Can we call this progress, doc? Can I be discharged now? Although I’m not sure how everyone is going to handle that outside.

Jer has told me that I need to find my “fuck it” button and stop putting up a front for everyone, himself included. As much as I hate to admit it, he’s right.

Having said that I approached the Heroin Bear (another patient) about his shit ass attitude and child like antics. As suspected, his shit had everything to do with withdrawal and not me and we moved on after a few choice words. It seems crazy in the moment, but it more people were as honest as we all are here, there’d be a lot less problems in the world.

I’m realizing more and more that if it’s uncomfortable, its working.

Also, sometimes validation and self-worth does not come from the places we want it to.

The End.

Going off the rails on a crazy train

Its easier to make jokes about this, but I guess if I were dealing in full reality, there really is not much humor to be found in an admission to the “stress management” unit of the hospital.

They (the staff) keep acknowledging the trauma that has gotten each of us here, however, I am having a harder time identifying it. Maybe instead of one big trauma, its a lot of little things that have all built up. The chemical dependency counselor called it “hay bale syndrome”. The idea that a piece of hay is not difficult to deal with, pickup, toss aside, etc. Hell, you could even stick it between your teeth and have a little mystery added to your persona if you pull off the look. BUT, when a bunch of pieces of hay are baled together, the weight is enormous and difficult to manuever.

After nearly a week here, Im better able to be present without dissolving into tears or staying in bed all day, but there is a lot just beneath the surface. When a topic of conversation starts to pull away at my superficial layer, my leg begins to shake uncontrollably and tears brim the edges of my eyes. I dont quite understand the orgins of this emotional crisis/mental breakdown, but I know repeating the same actions/thoughts that led me here will not yield different results. IF there was ever a time for change, it is right now.

I know its going to be uncomfortable and challenging, but Im convinced it will also be completely worth it. I AM COMPLETELY WORTH IT. This is the end of the world as I once knew it, but not the end of THE world. Im still terrified. I will not entertain any psycho babble bullshit. I am keeping it real. Only God knows what that is going to allow to resurface and be plucked from suppression, but its honestly now or never…sink or swim…live or die.

Surgery Stir Crazy

At the end of December I ended up in the emergency room for this excrutiating pain in my right side which I was sure was my appendix, but they did a CT scan and found a rather large cyst on my damn LEFT ovary again. When I followed up with my OB/GYN he wasn’t completely convinced that it was a cyst because as he said, it was on the large side. Lovely. Something new to worry about it.

So I had laprascopic surgery Monday to go in and find out what was going on in my girly parts.

I am happy to report that it was in fact a cyst which had to be drained.

UNFORTUNATELY they also found an extensive amount of endometriosis throughout my reproductive system and attaching to other areas nearby. So that all had to be removed. All in all, that should help a lot. BUT in the meantime, I’m exhausted. I stayed home Monday and Tuesday, went to work yesterday for 6 hours and decided I was gonna come home before I passed out. I came home, slept, ate, and slept again. Got up this morning got the kids ready, slept, went to the doctor for follow up and slept. He’s written me off work til next Monday now. Told me my body has a lot of healing to do and I can either let it or it will rebel.

I’m trying, but, .mania makes me not so good at this idle reclining crap.  It’s bringing me down a little bit.

caught in the doldrums

The real issue is being trapped here in this room. It drives me nuts. Pickle can keep himself occupied with the cartoons, movies and Playstation this fabulous pediatric hospital offers, but idle reclining is not for me. I was made to bussle and this forced idleness is dragging me down. Could be a touch of mania. This situation always seems to set me off. The boredom, the tedium, the hourly uncertainty of the health of my child … not cool.

“She was a sailor caught in the doldrums, waiting with increasing desperation for the faintest hint of a breeze to fill up the sails and let the journey continue.”