Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blogroll added and other changes

Well, it took long enough, but I have updated my blogroll, and added a few other things to my blog that I am very proud of.

There are links to explain how this blog came to be, and the wonderful people who inspired it. There are links to help if you have come here and are suicidal. There are fun links and links to my most favorite place in the universe, New York City.

And there is the blogroll. Every one of those links have been picked my me, there is something in each and every blog that has moved me, touched me, touched my soul. I don't agree with everything on them, but I admire these writers and enjoy reading what they have to say and hope you will too.

If there are any blogs that you know about that you think I might want to look at and consider adding, please contact me.

That is my cat's email. She is my secretary.

I pay her in Pounces.

And clean her litter box twice daily.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Self-Injury Myths and Common Sense

Please click on the images to bring them up full screen....Thanks......

And hang in there. I've been there. i understand.


151 things to do before you SI

These tips come from Self Injurers and can help you if you feel the urge to SI. I hope this list comes in handy for some of you, and with hope will prevent someone from self injuring. This list comes from

1) Exercise
2) Putting on fake tattoos
3) Drawing on yourself in red marker (make sure it's washable!)
4) Scribbling on sheets an sheets of paper
5) Writing (poetry, stories, journal, etc.)
6) Cuddling with a stuffed toy
7) Being with other people
8) Watching a favourite TV show (preferably a comedy)
9) Posting on web boards, and answering others' posts
10) Thinking about how I DON'T want scars for the summer
11) Painting your nails
12) Going to see a movie
13) Eating something ridiculously sweet (or any favourite food)
14) Doing school work
15) Surf the net
16) Go into chat rooms to talk
17) Call a friend and ask for company
18) Playing a musical instrument
19) Singing
20) Looking up at the sky (night is especially beautiful).
21) Making your own list of things to do instead of SI
22) Punching a punching bad (with gloves on)
23) Snapping a rubber band on your wrist
24) Cover yourself with band-aids where you want to cut
25) Mix warm water and red food colouring, and put in on your skin (feels and looks like blood)
26) Letting yourself cry (can be very difficult for some)
27) Sleep (only if you are tired)
28) A hot shower, or relaxing bath (no razors in the tub, though)
29) Play with a pet
30) Detangling yarn or necklaces
31) Re-organizing your room
32) Cleaning (hmmm...I very rarely use this one!)
33) Having a pillow fight with the wall (yes, neighbours may think you are crazy, but that's ok)
34) Knitting or sewing
35) Reading a good book
36) Dressing up very glamorous (make sure no one can walk in on you, though)
37) Colouring my hair
38) Listening to music (not angry music though-that can trigger)
39) Watching a candle burn (no playing with the flames!)
40) Finding someone else you can help out
41) Meditate
42) Watching a scary (but not bloody) movie.
43) Work on a website
44) Have a vivid fantasy love affair with a celebrity
45) Go somewhere very public
46) Bake
47) Alphabetise your CD's
48) Chewing leather (especially if you SI by biting)
49) Buy a home Henna tattoo kit (peels off the next day-similar to skin picking)
50) Painting or drawing
51) Ripping paper into itty-bitty pieces
52) Hugs-(this one is very nice...)
53) Writing letters or email
54) Talk to yourself (or if that feels weird, buy a small tape recorder-I then feel like someone is listening)
55) Stroke nice fabrics
56) Hug a pillow
57) Hyper focus on something like a rock, hand, etc.
58) finger-paint
59) Scream real loud (I LOOOVE this one-just make sure no one is home)
60) Dance
61) Make hot chocolate (mmmmm....)
62) pop bubble wrap
63) play with modelling clay or Play-Dough
64) count to one hundred
65) Build a pillow fort
66) pop balloons
67) Hug yourself
68) Sex
69) Reading things in a different language
70) Going for a nice, long drive
71) Complete something you've been putting off
72) Drinking absurd amounts of tea
73) Breaking plastic plates
74) Tearing up socks
75) Throwing socks against the wall
76) Archery
77) Rock climbing
78) Take up a new hobby
79) Organise bills and such
80) Cook a meal
81) Go out for ice cream
82) Buy a stuffed animal (I collect Beanie Babies)
83) Look at pretty things-like flowers or artwork
84) Create Something
85) Pray
86) Throw socks against the wall
87) Make a list of blessings in your life
88) Read the Bible
89) Go to a friend's house
90) Take up fencing
91) Watch an old, happy movie
92) Call a Help hotline or your Therapist
93) Talk to someone close to you that knows
94) Throw a temper-tantrum
95) Hit things-other than yourself
96) Ride a bicycle
97) Polish silver or jewellery
98) Gardening or watering house plants
99) Memorizing German poetry (silly, but works!)
100) CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!
101) Feed the ducks or birds or squirrels, etc.
102) Draw on the walls
103) Play with face paint
104) Do very Glamorous make-up
105) Colour with crayons
106) Memorise a novel or play or song
107) Put on boots and STAMP
108) Stretch
109) Find butterflies
110) Watch fish
111) Come up with baby names (even if you're not pregnant
112) Make mashed potatoes
113) Make a tape of your favourite songs
114) Name all of your stuffed animals
115) Go SHOPPING!!!!
116) Get into my PJ's and just veg.
117) Buy cheap teddy bears and take out anger on them instead of self.
118) Throw everything (except glass) into the centre
119) Go to a loud concert
120) Play the 15 minute game (say you can't cut for 15 minutes, and when the time is up, start again)
121) Plan your wedding / prom
122) Hunt for stuff on Ebay (you can find ANYTHING there)
123) Alphabetise your books
124) Hunt for your perfect home in the paper
125) Take up Tai Chi
126) Try to make as many words out of your full name as possible, then do your friends names)
127) count ceiling tiles/lights
128) go clubbing
129) search ridiculous things on the web
130) colour-co-ordinate your wardrobe
131) do a home tan on yourself
132) sort all your photographs
133) colour (or scribble) over the pretty women in magazines
134) plan a dinner party
135) play with a slinky
136) but yourself some toys and play
137) start collecting something
138) get a tattoo / piercing
139) play video/computer games
140) do a trash clean at your local park
141) Play on a swing set
142) go out and perform a random act of kindness for someone
143) call up an old friend
144) write yourself an "I love you because" letter
145) put on fake nails
145) try to build something
146) re-arrange your house
147) go to a public place and people watch
148) go through all your old stuff
149) go bargain - hunting
150) smile at least five people (you usually end up smiling genuinely yourself.)
151) go to the zoo and rename all the animals.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Can you really take the cat out of the jungle?

It's been awhile since I wrote, I just have been too depressed to write. I still am, but thought I would share this lovely moment with you all.

Just watching the sun come up.

Holly is watching the sun too, but she is more entranced by the birdie on the window sill....

Imagining if it should be fried, baked, roasted, under glass, BBQ'ed....You get the idea.

Silly cat. You can take the cat out of the jungle but not the jungle out of the cat.

I am so glad there is 2 panes of glass separating cat from bird. The bird doesn't know how lucky it is.

That's all I got right now. I wish I had a pithy, erudite post instead.. I just am too depressed to write, and cannot write. But I do send love to all who will read this. May your day be has happy as the cat is right now watching the bird, and dreaming. Or as lucky as the bird is, knowing it won't wind up as pussy cat dinner.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

And now for something completely different-Politics!

I found this piece this morning by my friend Larry, a talented journalist who has a blog on Beliefnet. Larry is a good guy, I know him in real life from state advocacy, and he has always been kind to me. I respect the work he has done while he lived in this state, he is probably the best support group facilitator I have seen in my state. It's very well written and should be mandatory for all who want to know where the candidates stand on health-and mental health issues. It's OK if you don't agree with him. Just listen to what he has to say and take that away with you....


So What Does the Election Mean for US?

The “us” in this case meaning those with mental illness, a subject I guarantee you will not hear Barack Obama or Joe Biden discuss on the campaign trail, let alone John McCain and his running mate TBA. Too controversial, after all ...

But a President can make a gigantic difference for those of us with mental illness – helping rally a mental health parity bill through Congress (and ideally including such language in an overall national health insurance bill), and undertaking regulatory changes at the Department of Health and Human Services to assure equal treatment of those with mental and physical illnesses if Congress continues its shameful and bipartisan reluctance to act.

Obama has promised his cabinet will be bipartisan. That, in turn, has inspired my “dream a little dream” on the subject:

That if Obama wins, he names GOP Minnesota Congressman Jim Ramstad as his Secretary of Health and Human Services. Ramstad is a recovering alcoholic (and devoted attendee of 12-step meetings) who has been Congress’ mightiest champion of parity laws for insurance/reimbursement of substance abuse and mental health treatment. He is prominently pro-stem cell research. Ramstad is a member of the board of directors of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at ColumbiaUniversity in New York. He’s retiring this year, so he’s under no obligation to campaign against Obama as he might be otherwise. And by both legislative and life experience, he is supremely qualified for the job.

Imagine having the consumer perspective championed at the highest levels of government. Would wonders never cease?


Thank you Larry for this amazing piece.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm still here....just having a rough time w/my meds

It's been a few days since I last posted.

I've been going through a med change, added something to the cocktail, and have been taking Klonepin in addition to get some sleep.

I have wicked diarrhea and nausea off the chart. I am walking around with the bucket for that. I got some food down 2 days ago, but the last day and a half, cannot even keep down tea and toast.

Being a lithium user, I know to stay hydrated. So I am drinking water with either a lemon wedge or orange wedge.

I have the shakes, and for the first time in my life, night sweats. I am too young for the change, so it has to be from the meds.

On top of that I have headaches that are so bad I have tears in my eyes.
The stuff I normally take for migraines isn't working this time. Neither does Tylenol.

I found a lovely post in Candida Fink's blog yesterday about achieving a baseline with this illness. Neither going up or down, but achiving a stable state.

I am willing to put up with all of this in the hope, no desire to achieve that normal state.

I want to be normal again. I want to be a good friend, daughter and sister again. I want my personality back. I will do anything for it.

ETA: Saw p-doc and had a slight med adjustment. I feel human again......

Friday, August 15, 2008

Something has to give ***Triggers****

I am drowning.

i am definately hypomanic right now, but in a mixed state of depression.

i slept last night. 5 hours. And now I have hit back down to melancholy but a difference.

I have not left the apartment in 2 days. i have not showered since then. I am still in my pj's.

I look like a mess. Every now and then i re arrange my hair into a ponytail, to get it off my neck so I can surf.

I cannot stop throwing up from the anti depresant. The only respite I have is from sleep.

When i can get it.

My mind races quicker than I can type. bits of songs, bits of literature mix in with today's news.

my brain is shouting. I cannot take it too much longer.

And the black dog bites at the same time, voices telling me to jump in the water and never come back up.

Sleep with the fishes.

The cat comes over and I yell at her. i've never yelled at her before.

Something has to give. I just want to go to bed now and stay there for the rest of my life.

How ever the hell long it is. I stopped caring.

ETA: I am not suicidal. I just wish I had never been born.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hour Of Lead

Been ultra rapid cycling the last day, and slept finally for 2 hours last night That is 2 and a half hours in 2 days.

I am no longer hypomanic and all that entails.

I have crashed to bottom, but I am not at rock bottom. I haven't gotten to existential-yet. I don't want a repeat of this year, my own anno horribilis.

I wrote 16 entries yesterday for this blog. I am sitting on them, wondering if they are good or just products from a manic mind. The thoughts yesterday were coming faster than I can type, and I can type 50 wpm.

Holly the wonderful cat, or my own personal therapy cat has been watching me carefully. She refuses to leave my side unless it's to use her box, or put her face in her food bow. I feel blessed. And her purr is extra loud, like she knows I need to hear it and in my own depression my senses have dulled. So the purr gets extra loud.

It's my hour of lead. I will be OK once my brain quiets down an I can let go.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fun-What is a dog or cat?

What is a Cat?

Cats do what they want.
They rarely listen to you.
They're totally unpredictable.
When you want to play, they want to be alone.
When you want to be alone, they want to play.
They expect you to cater to their every whim.
They're moody.
They leave hair everywhere.
They drive you nuts and cost an arm and a leg.

Conclusion: they're tiny women in fur coats.

What is a Dog?

Dogs lie around all day sprawled on the most comfortable piece of furniture in the house.
They can hear a package of food being opened half a block away, but don't hear you when you're in the same room.
They can look dumb and lovable at the same time.
They growl when they are not happy.
When you want to play, they want to play.
When you want to be alone, they want to play.
They will love you forever if you rub their tummies.
They leave their toys everywhere.

Conclusion: They're tiny men in fur coats

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On Cats, Writing and Dickens

I have been trying to write all day long, every time I get on a roll, I see a tan tabby stretch herself across the keyboard. Or swipe my hand with a wayward paw.

I have to drop everything to play with her, groom her, lavish her with love.

It reminds me of Charles Dickens' cat, William. Dickens, like me loved cats. (What is it with writers and cats anyway?)

It seems Dickens adopted or found a cat. He and his wife took it in, and it became his favorite cat. Dickens named it William, after Shakespeare.

But then one day as Dickens was hard at work writing he realized something was wrong. William was in the same room as him, on the floor, giving birth to kittens.

It was then William became Wilhemina.

Wilhemina shared a special bond with Charles Dickens. If you go to his house, a stone throw's away from Russell Square in London, you can see where Dickens lived with his most favorite cat. You can see the desk where he wrote daily. And if you are real good, you can get close enough to see tiny marks on the desk. Marks made from a cat's claws.

It seems that when Wilhemina wanted attention, or thought Daddy Dickens had been writing too long, she would raise an elegant paw and scratch the desk. Or jump up on the desk and blow out the candle.

There has been a lot said lately on animals and mood. I have been fortunate that the two cats I have had in my life were more aware of my moods than I was. They knew when I was ill and would do things to prevent me from cycling all the way down.

Maybe Holly knows I should be off this thing today and wants some love. Like Dickens cat did.

And if you are ever in London, check out the statue of Hodge in front of Dr. Johnson's house. It's the only statue of a cat I can personally think of other than the cats engraved on the statue in front of Betsy Ross' house in Philadelphia.

Hodge, was preening and grooming one night as Dr Johnson was talking to Bosworth, his biographer. When asked about Hodge, Johnson replied "He's not the best cat I ever had, but he is a good cat indeed".

A good cat indeed. A good friend. Miracles in fur that purr and meow.

addendum - I have added a picture of my former cat to the web site.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Adult content blocker added, an explanation

It was brought to my attention several underaged pre-teens have accessed this blog in the last couple of days.

The goal of this blog is help understand what goes on in a bipolar's mind when they are up and down. ALL that goes on in their head, the good bad and the very ugly.

Take no prisoners. Save a life.

I realize some of what I write is tough, graphic and raw. It is supposed to be. If it was just an occasional F bomb every now and then, I would leave it up, erasing it is as futile as Holden Caulfield's efforts to wipe that word off the bathroom wall.

But some of what I write, a graphic description of a failed attempt, the musings that come at the dark night of the soul,, they aren't for pre-teens. They aren't even for some adults!

If you want a site that gives technical terms on bipolar, there are a lot of good ones out there. PM me and I will send you a list.
If you want a medically orientated site explaining meds there are a lot of good ones out there. I don't know enough about pharmacology to write such a blog.

My blog was designed to help me in my recovery, to help me get back on my feet and live the life I was meant to live.

If anyone has problems with the adult filter added, kindly leave your comments below of PM me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Angel in Blue

Ideally, you should feel safe in cyberspace. I know from watching too many episodes of Law and Order that this is not true.

You take precautions.

I admit the Myers Briggs had me down as an introvert. From a family of mostly extroverts. I admit my idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon would be to sit in front of a roaring fire, listing to music and reading, the cat at my feet asleep.

That would be hell to most of my family who like to move and stay active.

I know I isolate too much.

I know my writing habits are strange. I've been hearing that since my first creative writing course as a Freshman in College.

My ex, and almost every other writer I know, professional and amateur, set a time of day to write and that is when they write.

I cannot do that. I have to wait for the bolt of lightning to strike, and then I write. And write and write and write, for days on end straight, til my fingers bleed. And I write. Then I rest, go back to what I write and edit.

Consider me both Eliot and Pound.

My ex, would always tell people I was the better writer. But at home, in private he would yell at me I wasn't writing enough. Because I was sinking down into depression and with depression the darker it gets, the more vast the waste land it is, and I cannot write.

When I cannot write for more than a day or two, look out. Send the men with the white jackets.

When I first set up this blog, I was urged to do so by two of my dearest friends in the cybersphere. The email address that goes out to people is in my cat's name. No one knows my surname. Less than 5 people in cyberspace know who I am in real life.

It was supposed to serve as therapy, a kind of letting my soul go, a safe place for me. It isn't anymore.

The whole goal of this blog was to help other people understand what the hell goes on in a bipolar's mind.

My ex, a published and respected writer in the field himself, once told me, :"No one can get inside the bipolar mind like you do. What you write is difficult to read, impossible to put down and brilliant."

That seems to be the opinion of another friend of mine in real life who said almost the same thing on his blog back in January.

I write, I write. I don't know how to do much else. I am not that good with people. I would rather be alone than in a group. I feel uncomfortable with them, I feel like I have to be "on".

I know this also was a deal breaker in my marriage, the ex would tell me I am too much of a homebody. Like I said, when the lightning strikes......that is the way I am.

I wish I was disciplined. I'm not, much to the wrath of my Creative Writing teachers and other writers I have met and befriended.

"I would suffer like Van Gogh to paint like Van Gogh. I would not suffer like Van Gogh, however, to paint like Gaugin." said Kurt Vonnegut in a New York Times interview.

I believed that. I wrote like Van Gogh painted at the end, painting after painting in the last few days of his life alive, before he put the gun to his chest and pulled the trigger.

Much to the detriment of my family who loves me. Because I don't answer the phone when I am on a roll. I don't get dressed. I stop every hour or so to put fresh ice in my water, or use the toilet.

I don't want to be disturbed. I just want to write, damn it. Leave me alone. The world can go to hell, I will write and write and write. And when I am done, then and only then will I make time for you.

It may be selfish. It probably is, considering I quoted Ayn Rand yesterday and her views on selfishness as a virtue.

It might be selfish to wish I was able to live my life without meds. I know in my heart that 23 years of over 30 different psychiatric meds must have done a number to my brain. How could it not have? It would be ridiculous to assume any thing else.

Besides, As Neil Simon said in the play "The Odd Couple", "When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me".

I went back on an antidepressant around noon yesterday. This morning I woke up with a splitting headache, nausea and diarrhea. I cannot sleep, my brain is going too fast. But I am depressed at the same time. I never had mixed states until this year. I try to write, the ideas are flowing but the hands won't type. I have my notebook out to jot down ideas, and a tape recorder if I cannot hand write fast enough to keep the words flowing.

My brain feels like it's covered with cotton balls. I lay in bed last night , listening to the air conditioner spit out a cold blast every now and then, and tried to sleep. And the thoughts raced, even with a Klonepin. At 2 am I can barely hear the traffic there are no cars on the highway.

I tried to work on my novel but my brain is too tired. Instead, I vegged out on the couch, watching daytime TV, and making trips to the toilet.

I feel this in my heart right now.

"And the song that I was writing/is left undone/I don't know why I spend my time/Writing songs I can't believe/With words that tear and strain to rhyme" (Paul Simon).

if my brain becomes lethargic, it won't write. I will try to discipline myself in the future, set aside a block of say , six hours a day and leave that to write. And if I only write a couple of sentences that day it's Ok. I have read enough books on the craft to know that is a verity with writers.

What do you do to a dream that is deferred? Let it die like a raisin in the sun???

What do you do if you cannot dream anymore? You don't feel safe anymore?

And she never had dreams
So they never came true
My fade away angel
Angel in blue
(J. Geils Band, 1981)

Lovely song. Dust off your vinyl records and listen to it. Really listen to it. It was supposed to be written about Faye Dunnaway, but it is so much like me it's scary.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Memories, of the way I was.

A year ago, when my parents sold the house my sister and I grew up in, and moved into one of those new Over 55 retirement communities that are being built up around here, my mother asked me to come over to the house she found somethings she would like me to have, and if I didn't want them, she would toss them.

I went over the next day, where she handed me a large Macy's bag with my childhood memories. Everything was neatly collected. I was amazed.

Mom had kept all things bright and beautiful from my childhood, K-12. There were finger paints, coloring, cut outs, reportcards, extra wallet sized photos, You name it, it was there. Writing exemplars when you first learn how to print, and then in 3rd grade when we learned script.

Stories I had written. It was really wonderful and weird at the same time.

I saw somethings that were amazing and strange. In first grade the teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.

I wanted to be a mommy. And an astronaut. I was fascinated with the whole NASA program from about 67-69 or so.

Then in 3rd grade, the teacher asked us what we wanted to be.

I of course, still wanted to be a mommy. I drew a picture of me with my favorite dolly at the time.

But I wanted to grow up and write books.

it stayed like that for the rest of my life. Motherhood and books.

Strange. Well, motherhood is out of the question unless when and if I ever meet my soulmate and he is patient and wants to go for medical assistance and en vitro and things like that. Or adopt, or has children of his own already.

My mother was the perfect 60's-70's mother. A combination of June Cleaver, and Mrs. Brady. And she was the hottest mother in the PTA. I admire her so damn much.

It is from her I have nothing but respect for anyone who is a mother. Juggling work, a house, children (or child) and hubby is hard work.

I'm crying now. Bare with me.

I realize I, as someone who has not been blessed yet with children should or should not make the next comment.

It's true I don't know what it is like to be a mother. It is true while some part of my brain can only imagine what it must be like to do the 3 am feedings and diaper changes, I've never done it. I've changed diapers in my life, yeah, and I have been "christened" by several friend's baby boys.

I know I would honestly die for my friends' son who will be 2 in September.

But I do know in the animal kingdom, baby birds are kicked out of the nest by their momma and they have to fly or they go ker plunk on the ground. That is nature.

Human beings usually don't experience this until they are about 17 or 18, graduate high school, and then it's either work or college.

I imagine cutting the cord is a hard thing to do.

I know that parents never stop loving their children, no matter how old they get,, and how many mistakes they might make.

By making mistakes only can we grow.

But some day love is... love is.... I always found this to be what I wanted love to be.

From "The Fountainhead"

I love you, Dominique. As selfishly as the fact that I exist. As selfishly as my lungs breath air. I breathe for my own necessity, for the fuel of my body, for my survival. I've given you not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need. This is the only way you can wish to be loved. This is the only way I can want you to love me. If you married me now, I would become your whole existence. But I would not want you then. You would not want yourself-and so you would not love me long. To say 'I love you' one must first know how to say the 'I'. The kind of surrender I could have from you now would give me nothing but an empty hulk. If I demanded it, I'd destroy you. That's why I won't stop you. I'll let you go to your husband. I don't know how I'll live through tonight, but I will. I want you whole, as I am, as you'll remain in the battle you've chosen. A battle is never selfless. [...] You must learn not to be afraid of the world. Not to be held by it as you are now. Never to be hurt by it as you were in that courtroom. I must let you learn it. I can't help you. You must find your own way. When you have, you'll come back to me. They won't destroy me, Dominique. And they won't destroy you. You'll win, because you've chosen the hardest way of fighting for your freedom from the world. I'll wait for you. I love you. I'm saying this now for all the years we'll have to wait. I love you, Dominique." [Howard Roark]

I need to find my I. I need to be incharge of my life again, captain of my destiny.

If I fail it was not from something you did. You gave me the bike,and the training wheels. It's time to take the training wheels off. I realize you did that once before, before my diagnosis, and even during my diagnosis until it became abundantly clear in my 30s I was and always will be bipolar.

But it's time to take the training wheels off now. And like the momma bird, baby will be fine and soar beautifully.

See, mom and dad gave me beautiful wings to soar with.

And I love them with every breath I take and am grateful to have been blessed by them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I have no mouth and I must scream

Today started out like any other day. Blue sky, not a cloud. Humidity down a bit. I couldn't sleep last night, but that is not unusual.

Then the emails. Then the phone calls. People who love me, yes, they do I know they do. But don't understand me, what I have been through and what I am doing.

All I can say is I am taking steps to take back my life. They are not popular. it's causing pain.

To everyone.

Back in 98, I quit my meds, all my meds and for a period of about 6 months I thought I was fine. Perhaps I was. Perhaps I wasn't.

I was only on lithium, and I was between pdocs.

Someone in the news room said something about Beepers after Phil Hartman was murdered and the story was breaking and we were watching it break in real time.

In hindsight I should have gone to HR and made a complaint about this person.

Went to my parents house for supper, I was upset. In a previous lifetime I did voice work and knew some of the people who worked on The Simpsons.

The next day I called the pdoc and was back on Lithium that evening, as well as an anti depressant. I cannot recall if it was Paxil or Zoloft.

Flash forward about a fortnight.

My mother stood by the kitchen sink, scraping the skin off of potatoes for supper. She looked at me and said "I have my daughter back", Then the threat- if you ever go off your meds again, so help me I will do X Y and Z to you".

This was back?? I had cotton mouth. My brain felt like it was swabbed in cotton, I found it hard to string a coherent sentence together in the right time. I couldn't find the right words to express what I was feeling, and said umm a lot. I didn't ponder, I didn't day dream. I felt cow heavy from the lithium and the water retention that comes with it. I couldn't watch TV and I couldn't read or write. Doing these things were like climbing Mt. Everest to me. The poet/philosopher was dead. Dead and gone lady dead and gone.....

But I was a good girl and wanted to make everyone happy. By doing this I had an idea that I needed the lithium to control the mood swings, and keep me on an even keel. But the other, it was destroying my soul, it was destroying who I was. It was destroying ME, my essence and spirit.

I swallowed the meds and tried to be a good girl. I held down a job, made a nice salary, got my writing chops again, started 2 more novels over the next 10 years. But weekends I would just stay in bed and sleep for 18 hours a day, I was that tired. People made me tired, and I needed to avoid them at all costs. I wasn't alive anymore. The girl who existed in school, even in college who would play in the snow, run outside to look at rainbows, play midnight golf on the golf course and jump into the pool there and skinny dip, she was gone. I couldn't look at the stars anymore. That was heaven and my body was trapped in a hell on earth.

One set of great grandparents left a country under Nicholas and Alexandra because they wanted freedom, and America was the best place in the world to be free. I wasn't free. My body was, my brain wasn't. It was under a Tsar of my own making.

They say fake it til you make it in AA. I did that. That was my life. Keep swallowing those pills and everyone is happy.

Don't question. Doctors know best.

It didn't matter that doctors have almost killed me back in 85 when I had Lymes, and this past Spring with Haldol. They saved my life when I was born and should have died. Somehow that balanced out the other one (now two) on the Karma scale.

And now I am still that scared little girl. My brain is clearer than it's been in over a decade. I know that. The poet/philosopher that was me is back. At what price?

this price? It's too high on a lot of levels. It's too caustic, emotionally and physically.

"The curse is on me", said the Lady of Shallot as she left her tower and tried to row across the river.

The curse. The mark of Cain, the dreaded bipolar label and all it entails and is. The curse is on my brain.

I am swallowing hard to stay afloat. What I thirst for is 30 proof.

All I can do is sit on the couch, under the picture of Wheatfield with Crows and wait for the sun to rise. And pray that this new day is better than the day that went before it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Kingdom for some Z's.

Richard the III had it wrong. It wasn't a horse he needed, it was sleep.

My kingdom for some sleep.

It's been days, I don't know how long it's been since I slept, I can get 2-3 hours from the Melatonin, but then I am up and cannot fall back.

I never had a problem not sleeping. Even when I was manic. But now-

What sleep does come, comes with nightmares an vivid dreams. Seroquel dreams. But I am not on Seroquel or any other drug to sleep. Just a glass of warm milk and Melatonin.

And I cannot sleep. Instead of flipping to mania, as I should be, I am flipping downward further into melancholy, and past that to the black dog and the despair that comes from existentialism and realization not only is the world absurd, every breath I take makes me tired and I just want to sleep.

The lithium always has a problem with the heat. I sweat more, retain more water and just literally cannot walk in the 100 percent pea soup humidity that is NY/NJ. Add to that I feel cow heavy and irritable from the curse, add heat and stir. One very unhappy camper here.

I wonder if this is how Richard Rouse felt as he had the dubious honor of being the only person to be cooked alive by Henry VIII felt.

No sympathy, I don't want anyone's sympathy. I just wish Autumn would arrive with a cool breeze and I could sleep and feel normal again.

Or win the lottery and go to either Alaska, Greenland or the North Pole and sleep there where it's nice and cold.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sorry and Blue

My horoscope for today.(Virgo)

Today's planetary configurations are pushing you to get some perspective on both your life and the lives of the people closest to you, dear Virgo. You must admit that you have been rather selfish as of late. Of course you know that you are not the center of the universe. So why do you sometimes act as though you were? This is a day to make amends with friends and loved ones alike. They will welcome you back with open arms.

If I have done or said anything to anyone here that was upsetting I am sorry. Sometimes when I am manic I might get a bit too verbose.

Thank You

It's another night with allusive sleep. I just took some Melatonin, and hopefully that will work. I am having some success with it.

I want to thank all of you who have stopped by in the month or so since I have been back on line and read my blog, and maybe commented. It warms my heart to know some of the best and brightest of the mental health bloggers have stopped by. I feel humbled.

I don't know what I would do if I wasn't able to write, and I cannot begin to thank the 3 people who told me to start blogging. For what it is worth, it is saving my mind and my soul, and sanity.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


This poem by Dorothy Parker has gotten me through the Black Dog many times.

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp;
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.


I was driving home from my parent's house and turned on the radio to get the weather report. Instead I got a minute of a talk show , the host on a rave about big pharma destroying our souls with their pills.

I've always thought this guy was a jerk, but every now and then someone, anyone gets it. Even a radio personality who I have never agreed with can shoot a fish in a barrel once in his lifetime.

Since I am almost off meds, just on Lithium, I can tell you honestly I am sleeping a bit better. 5 hours of sleep a night average. One night this week was nine hours and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The humidity dropped a bit but it's still almost too hot to sleep. I want to get out of Dodge and move to Alaska, where it's cold and I might actually be able to catch some Z's.

My skin keeps acting like it's moulting. But it's not moulting, or even shedding. It itches constantly, and it's all on my back and neck. I can reach my neck, but I cannot reach the spot on my back. I've tried a back scratcher, I've rubbed up against walls, all to no avail. I've even put baby powder on it, which brings some relief until it wears off. Same with cold showers, and an exfoliating bath wash with my loofah.

On Thursday I noticed some abnormalities. After my morning shower I couldn't dress myself. It took 20 minutes to put on my bra. Now I know how adolescent boys feel trying to get these things off! Another 10 minutes to put on a pair of pants, and two minutes to zip the fly. I couldn't raise my hands to brush my hair, so I put on a baseball cap, something that took a bit of time too.

My muscles are atrophying again. I went to the gym and really worked out, skipping the stair master and treadmill, working with free weights with my arms. And I couldn't lift them. Not because I was trying to bench press 70 lbs which I could do a few days earlier.. I just couldn't raise my arms.

I've been off Haldol since the Ides of April. But again, the same symptoms are coming back.

What kills me now is the concept of schadenfreude. I never felt it personally until yesterday. I take referral calls from both my local mental health support group, and the state one. Usually they are pretty tame, when is the next meeting, how do I get there, where in NJ are the meetings, etc etc. I usually can answer the calls, or I refer them to NAMI. It's all good, NAMI refers their callers to me. Sometimes I get social workers and pdocs who are looking to get more help for their clients, and think a peer run group sounds great. Often the social workers will ask me about the types of training it takes to run a meeting, and again, I state that too.

But the woman I spoke to yesterday was different. I've spoken to many like her in the four years I have been doing this. A mother of a son in his twenties who was just diagnosed. Just started taking meds in February. He was having a hard time with side effects and developed ed. His girlfriend/fiance left him because of ed. He moved back home to his parents house, he was mopey, still grieving over the loss of what might have been and the fact that the meds were not only putting on weight, they had taken away his sexuality.

She asks if this is normal. I tell her I've seen my weight go up 50 lbs from different med cocktails since I was diagnosed back in 86. I am only 5 feet tall, so 50 lbs on me looks like 75 lbs on someone taller. I have had relationships end because of the illness. Either because I (and I am being candid here and I realize this may upset people and say you COULDN"T have been like that). I lost one boyfriend because I was hypersexual and wore him out. Yeah, it's true. I know most guys would love that , just as they wish for the four hour erections advertised on Viagra or Cialis. I've almost been engaged to someone who, finding out I was bipolar and it could be hereditary, dropped me, citing, he couldn't be responsible for a bipolar child. I've written here he said he could continue to fuck me, but marriage and relationship was off.

I can tell you it was the first time my heart was broken, and the pain hurt for months.

I can also tell you that my bipolar cost me my marriage. I don't like to talk about this in public, because I really don't believe in airring your dirty laundry in public. It takes two people to make a marriage, it should take two to end it. In my case, it didn't. While he accepted the fact I was a fellow Beeper, and embraced it!, he never could cope with it. My pdoc at the time sat down with him and told him I was one of the "sickest" bipolars he ever saw, and he didn't ever think I would be able to get off my meds and I would always suffer from things that didn't effect him ever, the hypersexuality, the suicidal ideation. He only took Depakote. I was on a med cocktail at that time of at least 4 or 5 different drugs.

I was a hero to my husband, i was working in a newsroom, doing all the grunt work for the reporters, and making a very good living at it. I was making a nice bit on the side by entertainment blogging, at one time I was considered one of the five best entertainment bloggers in the country. I was working on my third novel. He thought I would be able to keep my job, support him totally and we would live happily ever after. And at first, for the first 3 months it was fine. Every day we would ask each other if we had taken our meds. But then I started fllipping into mania, and it depressed him. Seeing him depressed depressed me, and I floated back to depression, mine worse than his because I would get suicidal ideation on top of it.

It wasn't anyone's fault, but it was a deal breaker. He could understand in theory what it was like to be bipolar, but living with one was not something he liked. He wouldn't go for marital counseling, he just felt I needed to try harder. Some days I couldn't get out of bed I was so blue, and he would get upset with me and not understand. Yet when he couldn't get out of bed, couldn't make his own writing deadlines, I would ghost write things for him, try to help him get out of the depression.

We grew apart as people do. Perhaps it was for the best, the marriage was concieved in mania and it was too fragile to last. The ironic part was when we met he was more in love with me than I him. I grew to love him more as his love for me faded. When he left I thought my world would end because at that time I loved him more than he did me.

Back to this lady. She asked how many meds I have been on and I replied I stopped counting at 30. She said she couldn't go through that with her son, is this normal? I told her I have met quite a number of people who have been on as many meds as me or more. I told her honestly, I had been in the hospital 4 times in 20 years, and have tried almost every type of therapy imaginable, Freudian, Jungian, Ericksonian, you name it I've tried it.

I've even tried ECT in a feeble attempt of living a semi normal and productive life.

"What a strong woman you are". She said. She got off the phone saying she would be there next Tuesday and could I talk to her son.

I've been hearing that a lot lately. I don't feel strong. I have done what needed to be done, but never thought it was anything remarkable. I had to learn to re use my muscles because I didn't want to wind up in a nursing home, hooked up to a catherter and unable to eat or dress myself at the ripe old age of 45. It wasn't anything wonderful or brave, it just WAS.

I take lithium because I don't want the kind of mood swings I would get if I didn't take it. It's not perfect but I would be rapid cycling and that's not livable.

I've dealt with crippling depression and suicide attempts, the last one came very close to succeeding. I am lucky. But what choice do I have? I can view my bipolar as either a blessing, a curse, or both. I don't feel extraordinary. I feel human. But I do feel like a fraud for someone to think I am inspirational, extraordinary. Maybe it's the depression talking.

All I know is last night, I couldn't sleep. I was upset about some things going on in my personal life, and kept dreaming the same dream, I was hanging from a tree, birds pecking out my eyes. I know why I was dreaming this, my last attempt, in November of 2002 was a hang, and as I lost Consciousness the rope broke. Had it not broke, I would not be here right now writing this. I know someone who has a gun, and I called him to see if I could borrow it. The old black dog had me by the short and curlies, saying he was boss of me.

I got so far as in my car to collect the gun, and tried to figure out if I would do the deed on my bed, or the couch. Would it look like a scene in Pulp Fiction? Could I really put gray matter and blood on my two favorite pictures? Over the couch hangs a framed print of Wheatfield with Crows by Van Gogh. The irony alone in that statement made me decide against it.

The painting over my bed is the famous Red Poppy print by Georgia O'Keefe, that they were selling right and left at the Met when her show was there. I always liked that print, even if it does look like a giant c**t.

I calmed down when I felt the air conditioning on my face and told myself my brain is playing tricks on me. Ignore the voices and you won't drown. You don't want to be like Prufrock, you want to be alive.

I went back to bed. Sleep did not come easy, but at least, as I counted each breath, I was grateful I didn't listen to the mermaids sing. Not this time.

Maybe I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Who knew?
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