Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quiet Sunday

I know too many cute fixes can destroy a blog, but -

after what I wrote the other day, just letting people know I am still alive, and working on a serious piece. It's hard to write at the moment, but I am doing my best. See you all back on Mon or Tues.

In the mean time, the latest Madness Radio downloaded this morning into my Podcasts. It is with Robert Whitaker, and I highly recommend listening to it. Gianna Kali has the scoop here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today is Respect Your Cat Day!

Did you know today is Respect Your Cat Day?

Maximum people love to celebrate cat day, if we spend a day on our lovely cat then it will became beautiful. For this reason every year we celebrate Respect Your Cat Day on 28th March, so just pamper your sweet cats with loads 'n loads of love. Take some time out of your busy schedules and cuddle up these cute, furry creatures. Spend some time with your loving pets and make others do so too. However don't miss this day without celebration make the day beautiful

Photo of Holly sleeping.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Slow Suicide or Chemical Hairshirt

When I set out writing this blog, I like many didn't have a clue what I was doing. I just new some how, I was going to do something different. I wouldn't rail against the drug companies, there are bloggers out there who do it and do that brilliantly. I wouldn't write about recovery- steps needed to get well, there are others who write blogs about that and do that brilliantly. My niche would be something different. What goes on in your head during the thoughts of a broken brain crying out to the heavens to be heard when it is in it's madness. Sort of like Pepys and his diaries, only without the verbiage of kissing dead Queens of England.

So I write about brief periods of madness, the down and dirty about manic depression and mania. And a couple of cute fixes or pictures of my cat, because what are the joys of sharing your life with a pet if you cannot post their pictures on the Internet?

So it should come as no surprise to those who read this blog, that last Friday I went to a conference to man a booth there, for an organization I belong to at the State level. I had a nice lunch, and enjoyed the company of some real nice, wonderful people. About 1 pm I was feeling so tired, a side effect from Leukocytosis, I think, I drove home, and crashed. But on the way, stopped at the supermarket and bought some food, and some supplies for that time of the month.

Sometime between Friday night late, and Saturday morning, the black dog came. Maybe it was from a weekend of so many deaths- famous people, who seemed to go in threes, Natasha Richardson, Jade Goody, Nick Hughes, and and those not famous but still die by their own hand.

My brain is rebelling. I don't know how I am going to get though that weekend. I have no desire to write, I am too depressed to write. Something that has never happened before. I have always been able to write even from the deepest depths of hell. But my Mac mocks me. I cannot even bother to turn it on, despairing at the emails I need to write and the thought of blogging or working on my novel- it's too much. It's too much to even stroke the cat. That is a huge warning sign. When she is not Queen of my Universe, and most Exalted Feline, you know I am depressed.

It seems life has passed me by. No children. No marriage. My wedding dress hangs visible in the closet mocking me. Despite everything, that was the best day in my life. I should get rid of it, but somehow, just cannot though it torments me. I feel so empty right now- I need to be held so bad. If "The Devil and Daniel Webster" was possible- I am certain I would sell my internal soul for ten minutes to be held and to hold someone. I am also incredibly horny- it's been two and a half years now- but that's neither here nor there. Yeah, I am feeling hyper sexual. Maybe that is adding to the mix. I don't know. I just know, I cannot see myself being past this weekend. I don't want to get past it. I want to sleep. And it's been several days since I have slept. So I have bought a bottle of Advil PM, 50 pills, a bottle of Sominex, a bottle of CVS blue capsules. I have my prescription Motrin and my lithium and Cymbalta. And sometime over the weekend, I try to lie down to go to sleep sleep for an hour and go into the kitchen , pour a glass of milk and take some pills. Anything to sleep. And crawl back to bed, and sleep for another hour or two but I cannot get more of two hours at the most, and long for sleep, for blessed unconsciousness. And it's not coming. Back to the kitchen and more pills, more milk. Lie back in bed, turn on the radio, and listen to the sound of some DJ droning as I hear my heart beat like it's coming out of my chest like a Tex Avery cartoon. But still, no sleep. I just want to sleep.

Sunday night the vomiting starts. Monday morning I wake and see I have emptied all the sleeping pills bought- all in the effect of trying to sleep. And from Monday to Friday I cannot keep anything down. It is on Friday I realize it's from the pills. I basically overdosed without knowledge of over dosing- 50 Advils, 5 Motrins, 25 Sominex, 8 blue capusules. Was it intentional? I don't know. I can recall my last attempt in November 02 where I tried to hang myself and the rope broke. I can recall taking a kitchen chair outside with me, making the noose, looking at the moon, and kicking the chair away. I recall what it was like to start dying. But this- this wasn't to die. This was just to sleep, to find sleep, and maybe never wake up again, but maybe not.

A lovely friend came by one night to baby sit- I was still vomiting, and shaking. I tried to lie down and rest, and lay, sweating and trying to breathe, trying to cough to bring up phlegm, crying but not able to make tears. I look terrible. My apartment is a wreck. I haven't cleaned in a week or so, there are dust bunnies and cat vomit on the hard wood floors. I just stopped caring. I just can't deal with it right now. He stayed with me, fed me, held me and listened to me. I don't deserve such people in my life.

And right now, I feel like I am being punished. It's not "Wait til your Father gets home", it's something more visceral. Did I try to suicide- could my brain have worked that way this time? No note, I've never not had a note. I've always planned the few times I have attempted. This wasn't planned. It just-was.

And maybe that is why I did not die though now, talking to the doc, I realize I should have. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be this time. Maybe it wasn't supposed to happen. It was a fevered brain trying to cope as best as it can trying to hang on, to live.

I just know I am still shaking, still sweating, cannot stop crying. Weak as a new born calf. Anxious when I never get anxiety. And maybe I need to feel this too, as some type of divine punishment for my sin(s) this past week. My own chemical hairshirt. I don't know. I just don't know. I just know that I am not suicidal right now, which is a blessing. I have a lot of learning to do this weekend, unlike last.

Is TV ready for a super shrink ?

From TV Squad.

Who would have thought that this year we'd have two shows on the air with the word "mental" in them?

FOX has announced their summer lineup, and it includes a new medical drama titled House. Oh, sorry, I mean it's called Mental. It's about "a dynamic, young psychiatrist who serves as Director of Mental Health Services at a Los Angeles hospital. At work he must reconcile his effective, yet highly unorthodox treatment methods with his conservative boss, hospital administrator Nora Skoff (Annabella Sciorra), a woman with whom he shares a romantic past. As Gallagher takes on new cases, he is confronted with patients battling unknown, misunderstood and often misdiagnosed conditions." House Mental will star Chris Vance.

The last show on TV about a shrink flopped, it was made a few years ago with Hank Azaria, called Huff. Maybe it's time to bring back Bob Newhart as America's favorite TV Shrink.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


With all the celebrity deaths in the last week or so= and I am still rocking from one NYC newsman I've been listening to for years who was murdered this weekend- it makes me realize that friends are priceless. And to paraphrase the Bible- a real friend- is worth their weight in rubies.

I don't know what else to say. But i feel blessed. Blessed to have such people in my life. I wish I could Knight them all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

still here

I am still here. Just battling a bad case of the blues, and this time it effected my ability to write. It has never done that before. MY pen does not get dry from the black dog before.

I am not experiencing problems from my lithium level- it is being tapered down and the levels are OK. I apologize for any confusion yesterday regarding a piece that may have led some readers I was having a toxic reaction to my lithium.

I have a friend visiting tomorrow to make sure I pay the bills for the month- and get some food in my stomach. I will be OK. I miss my blogging friends and readers.

In the mean time, my favorite flower in the world- a Daff and a white rose. Here is a Daff for Spring.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Coffee Break

(With thanks to Therese Bouchard of Beyond Blue).

Rant: Bernie Madoff

My faith in humanity has been restored. Bernie Madoff is going to jail for the rest of his life.

He should make full restitution on all the money people lost, and to the families, who lost members from suicide because he wiped them out .

But this is a start. Here is the story from the AP wire.

There is a word for people like Madoff. But my mother would wash out my mouth if I used it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Walking to California REPOST

This is too much. One month ago, I was sent home from work, on a leave of absence. The company said they would let me be out for up to six months , no worries.

I was Working for a company based in Manhattan, on Wall Street, that lost employees in the Trade Center, has been beneficial to some degree. Sometimes out of the most horrid of situations, a small, good thing, can happen, like the story with that title by Ray Carver. Being a rapid-cycler, even if there are no offices, and everyone is out in the open is ok, if someone walks by my desk and sees tears rolling down my eyes, as I stare into one of the 6 computer monitors on my screen, watching news wires from all over the world. People cry now. It is acceptable. It is blamed on 9/11 fall out.

It is March and Manhattan is healing. The stores and restaurants near Ground Zero are opening again. The new Mayor has been doing a great job of taking over the reigns left by his magnificent. predecessor. Only the stream of tourists demanding to see the site, the once majestic skyline now looking like a beautiful woman who has had her front teeth punched out, reminds us, as well as a daily report in the tabloids of another victim, being pulled out of what was once the World Trade Center. Time heals all wounds, and the part of me that was born in this great city, is amazed that is has become stronger, more unified from this.

I wish I could say the same thing for me. In some ways, I am stronger, in some ways not.

I have not been to work for a month. I did not plan on this, I went to the HR dept to complain about my new boss, and ask to be assigned to another department. Their response was to put me on a leave of absence.

The first few days were fun. I slept till nine instead of waking up at five. The employee assistance program was calling me daily to check up on me. I was hooked up with a new shrink, who seemed to be nice, an older man who strongly resembled the author John Updike. He listened to me, heard my story, and put me on a dose of Lithobid. And for a week it was fine. Then he would discuss raising the medication doubling the Lithobid and adding Wellbutrin to the mix. I started getting physically ill. But I was home, and that was great. I could stay in my pajamas all day on the days I did not have therapy and write. And as anyone who knows me , either from here, or in real life, my raison d’etre is writing.

I found myself rising and falling, going from very mild mania to very mild depression, but it was all good. I didn’t mind. I was coping. The depression wasn’t low, the mania, nothing more than what would happen to someone after a double latte at Starbucks.

Then it fell. Old suicidal feelings took over me. I haunt the train station here, waiting for a train to jump under. Too many people. I take the train into the city, and sit by the platform, waiting with the homeless, the prostitutes and the alcoholics. I talk to them. Maybe I don’t have things so bad. I have a roof over my head, and despite bad genes towards alcoholism, I have been sober for six years. I see all types go by, the businessmen and women rushing, always rushing in their 300-dollar suits and pristine leather briefcases. The traders, the lawyers, the vice presidents who are too low on the company totem pole to get a car service and take the train. The commuters from Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut.

My medication is adjusted, blood is drawn to be evaluated. I get on a first name basis with the lab technician who does this. I find out that she and I share a love for “The Simpsons”, and we discuss the philosophy of Homer (Simpson) while she draws blood 2 times a week. The lithium goes up again, that is not working, and yet a third medication, another mood stablizer is thrown in for good measure.

I get manic. I go to the doctor, in a manic state. He is surprised. Instead of coming in sweats and keds like I have been doing, I come in with a pair of linen pants and a silk blouse. My hair is perfect, and he has never seen me wearing makeup, or shoes, or even jewelry. I sit down, on the couch, crossing my legs, in a determined manner. All this is new to him, these are not the moves I make when I am depressed. And I start talking. And instantly he knows, I am not better. I am worse. I am higher than a kite.

I find myself calling a lot of old friends during this state. One night, I decide to call a very good friend of mine, who lives on the opposite coast. The next morning when I call him, I am witty, I am humorous. I am flirty. And I proposition him. He and I are good enough friends he knows something is wrong, the last thing you could ever say about me is I would do something like that. And although he is flattered, he tells me no, and talks to me. But I am off laughing, nothing can go wrong. Everything is lovely. I feel good. Every part of me feels great, it's like I am a Christmas Tree, all lit up and beautiful and I want to show everyone how bright and pretty I am.

The next time I see the shrink, he asks what I am going to do, and I tell him I am going to go to California to visit friends. That is ok, he says, but how are you getting there. Plane? How long do you plan on staying? Are you sure you want to fly out for what would only be a day or two?

I am going to walk. It’s only 3000 miles. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days.

Uh oh. Warning.

“Susan, you know you can’t walk from New Jersey to California”.

I laugh. The doctor is sooo stupid! Of course you can. You can do anything when you set your mind to it.

“Susan, have you written anything lately”,

No. I cannot sit still long. Even sitting on the couch, I cross and uncross my legs rapidly, tapping my toes. I meet my parents for lunch later that day, I can’t sit still. I am ravenous, inhaling the food like I was a teenager.

I decide to clean the apartment, do redecorating. I wash the car. Finally one afternoon, after several days of only sleeping maybe two to three hours a night, I lie down for a nap. I am suddenly tired. I realize with all the extra exercise my muscles suddenly ache, and I start to count each aching one as I nod off to sleep. It is roughly four in the afternoon.

I wake up and it says six. It is still light out. Hmm. That shouldn’t be. I go to the kitchen, rummage in the fridge and see a school bus drive by. Huh? Six thirty ? In the sunlight?

I realize I just slept 14 hours. The thought saddens me, but I shrug it off, I was tired. I go to the kitchen table, glass of OJ in hand, and turn on my laptop. I have 40 some pieces of e mail. Wow, I have been asleep. I feel like I should write, and try to. But the thought of writing becomes insurmountable. Instead, I turn the button off, move the screen down, and decide, let me sit in the bed for a bit, and read. I have a doctors appointment soon, so let me just kill a few hours before I go.

I pick up a mystery by an author I like and start to read. I doze off, the phone rings. It is my doctor. I missed the appointment.
The thing is he calls me again, “Susan?” I don’t know anyone with that name. I look at my cat, and don’t recognize her. My head hurts. I’ve done it again. I crashed. The pendulum has gone back and forth, mania to depression. Always depression. Within minutes of my awakening, it goes back to that existential bleakness that becomes suicidal despair.

And during this time, I realize one thing. This time is going to be bad. Indeed, it is. Meds are readjusted, levels raised. I stop eating, and faint from it. I have to take a taxi to the doctor, and am admitted to the emergency room to get hydrated again. I beg the intern, please stop it. Give me something to make it better, or take me outside and shoot me. The intern is tired. There are real sick people here, not just some stupid person who cannot take care of herself.

Can’t they see that I am just as sick? True, I am not about to give birth, have not been maimed in a car accident, or bar room brawl.

I have not worked now for four years. I want to work!!

My heart is sick, my soul is sick. In the long run, bruises heal, stitches fade, bones mend.

A soul that is torn asunder by a chemical imbalance in my brain I did not ask for, does not heal as quickly, and the scars will be much deeper to assuage.

When will people understand?

2002-revised Feb 2008

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A heroine and a blog worth reading

I came across Christa-or maybe she came across me, back in September when my friend Kevin suicided. I have taken a lot of comfort from her site,"Giggle On' over the last few months, and it has helped me in my healing. I don't think I could have made closure if it wasn't for her and her amazing site.
She posted this the other day on her blog, and has kindly given me permission to reprint and link to it.

25 Tips for Survivors of Suicide

For those of you not familiar with the term survivor of suicide - let me explain the meaning. First, I will explain what the phrase does not mean. Survivor of suicide is not used to describe a person who attempts suicide but does not complete the act. Rather, the term describes loved ones left behind to mourn after the tragedy of suicide.


Know you can survive. You may not think so, but you can.

Struggle with “why” it happened until you no longer need to know “why” or until you are satisfied with partial answers.

Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings but all your feelings are normal.

Anger, guilt, confusion, forgetfulness are common responses. You are not crazy-you are in mourning.

Be aware you may feel appropriate anger at the person, at the world, at God, at yourself.

You may feel guilty for what you think you did or did not do

Please keep reading here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

still here

Still here. Very sick, very sleepy....will be writing soon, been dictating into a micro cassette recorder.

Will catch up on emails too.

Meanwhile, to whomever my admirer is who sent me the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares that was just released in the US this week, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I adore Chef Ramsay.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Guest Blogger-Gianna Kali

Reprinted with permission from my friend Gianna Kali, webmistress of "Beyond Meds".

My prayerful and meditative journey of late–beginning lessons of the soul
March 3, 2009 by giannakali
Every morning when I wake up now I start it first with a period of contemplative prayer, followed by a period of mindfulness meditation.

I only began to pray recently, in the last few months when my physical suffering at times became unbearable. Emotionally too I was struggling with questions about why in the hell I should be going through all this. Before that I had a pretty cynical and even anti view towards prayer for myself, though I always gladly accepted prayer from others.

I like the way Daniel Mackler refers to prayer in this post on being your own therapist here:

Prayer, a hateful word to many because it is so misused (by ultra-religious people) and so disrespected (by those traumatized by the ultra-religious), is a wonderful form of self-reflection. It is done best in silence and privacy, so that only you and your own heart can hear your deepest desires and needs. Prayer is a chance to go as deep as you can consciously go, and a chance to let your soul air its most beautiful truth. The most original and honest prayers open the deepest doors, and let us know who we really are and what it is that is most important to us in our lives. They say that prayer is talking to “God,” and when we remember that the Kingdom of God is within, and that “God” is really just the best of our truest inner self connected with the truth of the whole universe, we remember that when we pray we are talking with our best friend in the universe.

So anyway, I start each day in this manner. Prayer with word and thought in my mind, I speak my heart to the universe, and then meditation with the goal of being present with whatever is in my being and embracing it completely. This may include painful and unpleasant feelings as well as positive. I try to embrace it all and simply be with it.

To finish reading the article, continue here.
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